HealingRooms

Turning the Tide…Sort of

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There are many Christian voices clamoring for how to “turn back” the nation to Christian values. I am not usually impressed with the mainstream response of how. It usually involves “going back” to the “good old days” and has a lot of “do” and “don’t” along with it. It also includes throwing stones at the establishments that be.

The subject of change in Christian circles often revolves around “turning the tide.” What is perhaps rightly recognized is that our culture has persons, ideas, institutions, religions (and non) that create forces or pressures (tide) in American culture that are much different than when the Christian religion was clearly the dominant influence. Christians still make up a majority of persons in America, but the impact we have is much smaller in comparison. Perhaps “turning the tide” is the wrong idea altogether?

In Panama

When I was in Panama a couple of summers ago, one of the first things I did was to go to the ocean. As a youngster, we traveled to Florida and swam in the ocean yearly. I would say I am a pretty good swimmer. Panama was different. We arrived at the resort in Panama late afternoon. After being the in the water for a short time, a whistle was getting blown at me. “Get out of the water! The tide is changing…resume in the morning.” I was stunned. I thought, did he know how well I can swim? He didn’t care. He knew the tide, and he knew it was greater than my abilities. So what did we do? We did what we could elsewhere until things changed. Let’s keep reflecting on water and waves to zero in.

When we were allowed in the water the waves were actually very large. As I watched my daughter and cousins play in the sand, I tried to fight against the waves at the edge of shore. The power was incredible and the sand and sea shells scraped against my skin and my balance was never stable. There was nothing I could do to stop these waves from coming and going. But something did work.

I began to sense the timing of the waves hammering forward and drawing back. Instead of fighting the waves I let myself enjoy them and flowed with them. Certainly, the fight was a good workout, but it could not go on forever. With a new sense of timing and rhythm figuring out my motions became easy.  Moreover, with a good pair of goggles I could explore the ocean floor and have an extra adventure along the way.

My advice to those who are fighting; buy a surfboard. Realize that flourishing can still happen in environments that may not be construed to our perfect favor. Perhaps, as we give ourselves the time to discern the waves, we will find the right rhythm, purpose, and strategy. One that is not destined for ruin. And, at the end of the day, let’s remember that the tide will one day turn again.  

HealingRooms

Living Water – Vision Pt. 1

Credit: https://natashabou.com/

Over the last few months the Elders and I have journeyed together through the book “Grace to Lead.” The book is especially good for thinking broadly about what it means to be a Christian, a Church, or a ministry. My hope was that the book would set our sites in the right direction as we think about Living Water’s direction in the years to come.

My hope as a Pastor is to “contend for the faith which was once and for all entrusted to the saints” (Jude 3). This verse is speaking about the contents of the faith. Every Church better be clear that we are representing the Biblical faith. The faith that was infused with the work of the Holy Spirit. An example of this is Martin Luther’s and John Calvin’s own perception of the Reformation in the 1500’s. Both of them thought they were doing nothing new, but rather calling the Church universal to be more faithful to ‘The (original) Faith.’

Anyway, for any ‘visioning’ process, we have to be infused with Scripture, prayer, and a cosmic vision of Christ to the whole world. “For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD as the waters cover the sea” (Hab. 2:14 NIV).

The priority of the Church in every age is taking part in contending for the Faith, making disciples, loving the broken, and bringing forth kingdom clarity in a confused world. We best not forget these things in our own visioning.

In part 2 I will go into more details on our Elder Retreat and the lessons we have learned.

 

HealingRooms

National Day of Prayer with Bruce Fischer

A couple weeks ago was the National Day of Prayer. This nationally organized event gets Christians together in each State for a time of shorts speeches and focused prayer on the areas of influence in our society.

One of the areas of influence is the Military. Living Water Church’s own Bruce Fischer got an opportunity to share some words as well as lead everyone at the Capitol steps in prayer for the Military and our country.

It is important for Christians to integrate into the various sectors of society for the purpose of shining a light. Thanks Bruce for all you do!

HealingRooms

A Celebration of Women

As found on http://diglib.library.vanderbilt.edu/act-imagelink.pl?RC=46111
He, Qi. Annunciation, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN. http://diglib.library.vanderbilt.edu/act-imagelink.pl?RC=46111 [retrieved May 16, 2017]. Original source: heqigallery.com.
Since it was Mother’s Day, I thought I would highlight some of the women in the Bible. This is by no means an exhaustive list.

1.       Mary the Mother of Jesus: Jesus’ mother is not just considered a mom, although that role was incredibly important. She is also considered a great example of faith. She is the New Testament counterpart to the man of faith in the Old Testament. Both Abraham and Mary said, “Yes” to God’s plan for their lives (Luke 1:38).

2.       Junia the Apostle : Junia is often considered the first woman apostle (See Romans 16:7). To be considered an apostle, and in her case a significant one, meant her ministry was significant. Her ministry would have been considerable in the early church in both leading and teaching.  

3.       Priscilla the Instructor: Priscilla is the wife of Aquila in the Bible. Priscilla’s name is always mentioned first. This primacy likely implies that her ministry was more significant than her husbands. Back in those days, husband’s names were always mentioned first, and here we find several reversals. In other words, she was very prominent. She and her husband are even responsible for furthering the education of the great leader Apollos (Acts 18:26).

4.       Phoebe the Deacon: In Roman’s 16:1, we learn of this “deaconess of the church.” To be a deaconess meant you had official responsibilities. Paul considers Phoebe a real asset and blessing to all the churches.

5.       The Four Daughters:  In Acts 21:9, we see Philip the Evangelist’s four daughters “who prophesied.” Although this is a short mention, it is an important detail to notice. These four daughters were all given a special gift for the body of Christ, a gift of very high importance. Their gift and subsequent task, was to speak forth the word of the Lord.

Let us not forget the incredible women of the Bible! Let us not forget that God still blesses, gifts, and graces women to do incredible things in our own day!

 

Let us not forget the incredible women of the Bible! Let us not forget that God still blesses, gifts, and graces women to do incredible things in our own day!