(Post LifeFest Church Retreat):
- Somewhere along the way in our Christian journey, we can easily learn the false notion that one's relationship with God should protect us from hardship or harm. This spills over into the non-Christian world such that when bad things do happen, the non-Christian will ask, "How can you say your God is good? If He was good, He would never allow X to happen." God's goodness is not based on the circumstances of our lives. As Psalm 136 declares, HIs goodness is grounded in the enduring nature of HIs love. He never lets us go, even to the point of personal suffering and death. His goodness is also born of HIs sovereignty. God is the creator and sustainer of the universe. As such, He alone knows what is and is not truly good, and we are in no way privy to what He knows. Thus, we trust in His sovereign goodness. That goodness is also revealed in the how He has redeemed us. Romans 5:8 "While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." We did not merit his love, yet He gave it anyway. This is the heart of goodness. Too often I hear, "Well if God was good, He would have done something to stop X." People, He ALREADY HAS done something. It's called the cross. He died and rose so that nothing in this world will ever triumph over us. Indeed, the old adage is true: God is good all the time; all the time God is good.
- Our all-church retreat, LifeFEST, was a huge blessing – lots of love, laughter, play, and fun – plus a few nuggets of God's wisdom. We also learned about frog tongues, fleas knees/jumping ability, and the ability of termites to pass methane gas. I witnessed a man drink a coke THROUGH the sweaty sock obtained from the man seated next to him, and we almost had a man on a moped attempt to jump seven members of our work crew laying side to side. Wiser heads prevailed. It was an epic weekend, and the good news is that we will have 100 more spots next year as the camp finishes a new bunkhouse.
- It was only fitting for the Dallas Cowboys, in the heart of Tex-Mex country, to use their top draft choice to pick a defensive end named Taco.
- In 1952, Harry Truman declared that one day a year would be set aside as a day of prayer for our nation. The day was settled as the first Thursday in May which we will observe on Thursday. FPCO will host a service in our chapel at noon, but no matter where you are, take a moment on Thursday to pray for our country, her leaders, and her future.
- In an odd twist, the residents around Lake Eola complained about all the garbage littering their yards following Earth Day celebrations.
- Kim Allen, our Director of SHINE Children's Ministry, and Kevin Sheehan, Director of our Student Ministries, did a fantastic job in teaching our children and students through the confirmation process. They answered a host of questions that I doubt many adults could answer as they were examined by our elders. We look forward to welcoming these 42 new members next Sunday!
- Rod Dreher, the author of The Benedict Option, cited a sociological study from 2005 that found the vast majority of teens and millennials actually ascribe not to Christianity, but to Moralistic Therapeutic Deism (MTD). It is the lie of our times, and sadly one being espoused by plenty of churches. It holds that God wants us to be good, nice, and fair – basically, "moral." The goal of life, and what God desires for us, is our happiness; thus, church and one's relationship with God are about therapy. It's about making me feel better about me. Deism says God made the world but is not actually involved in it unless a big problem needs to be solved, and of course, good people will go to heaven. MTD is subtle, widely embraced, and a lie. Listen to it as you hear people talk about their faith or theology. It is the essence of individualism and the opposite of the gospel.
- Next weekend, we will journey to the loveliest village on the plains to watch Kaylee graduate from Auburn with a degree in nursing. This… Cannot… Be… Happening!
- I think ESPN may be getting a clue that their leap into progressive politics is not what people want to watch when they turn on a sports channel. Having lost 11 million subscribers and laying off 100 on-air personalities, perhaps they will give us back what we want to watch. If they were spouting conservative politics it would be the same thing. If I wanted to watch that, I would go to a news channel. We watch ESPN because we are TIRED of all the other that we have seen and heard all day – give us some witty banter, some nicknames, some interviews and some highlights.