"Build houses and settle down; build gardens and eat what they produce. Marry and have sons and daughters… also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you…" Jeremiah 29:5–7
- "Home" is one of the most powerful words in the English language. It is an ideal for which we yearn, one that connotes security, peace, love, and relationship. Right about now as the world seems to have lost its mind, things don't feel much like "home." C.S. Lewis wrote, "If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world."
Indeed, we are. Scripture affirms this world is not our home. We are "aliens and strangers" living in a foreign land, but this has actually been the experience of God's people from the beginning. We have often lived as "exiles" – as a minority culture, not majority culture. It was true in Jeremiah 29 as the Israelites were taken into exile in Babylon, and it is true now. Even so, God gives us specific instructions on how to live in such seasons. We don't hide and isolate; we don't angrily complain which embitters our hearts; we don't accommodate to avoid offending. God makes it clear this is going to be home for awhile, so settle in. Build houses – put down roots – and be productive. Use your gifts to offer something that improves the community in which you live – a good or a service. Create Godly marriages and Godly homes that produce Godly children. The family is always God's building block for culture. As Christians, we SEEK the prosperity of the city to which God has carried us, and we pray for that city. It's not our permanent home, but while we're here, we live with Kingdom purpose and Kingdom focus for His greater glory.
- I was tremendously honored and blessed to preach at The Hope Church yesterday. Their hospitality, warmth and inspired worship were all gifts of God to me. It is a body I have long admired as they embody the truths of Jeremiah 29. Bishop Allen Wiggins and Lady Deborah Wiggins minister to their flock with great faithfulness, but they are also in the city – loving, giving, serving, counseling. They seek the "peace and prosperity of the city" and it is bringing transformation to our region. From affordable housing to education to community redevelopment and homelessness, the Wiggins are making a difference for Christ in our city!
- With all due respect to you many Taylor Swift fans, I am grieving. She announced at the end of her new song, "The old Taylor is dead." Bummer. After listening to the song, the old Taylor needs a resurrection. Who's this new one?
- I WAS WRONG. Yep, I missed it on the eclipse. Badly. I thought it was much ado about nothing, but when it happened, it turned out to be a very cool community experience. People came out of the office buildings downtown, shared glasses, talked to strangers – all celebrating a unique experience of God's created order. Not only that, but it united our nation as TV news tracked it clear across the country. Spectacular pictures emerged, and finally – finally – we were delivered from the cycle of negative news to find once more what it means to come together as human beings. Let's hang on to that.
- THIS WEEK'S SIGN OF THE APOCALYPSE: Twitter user @Arikuyo paid 99 cents at a McDonald's… for nothing. He ordered a cheeseburger and then had the worker remove every single ingredient – bun, meat and all. He left with a receipt and an empty bag. Hmmm… aren't people doing that the world over, paying for things that are worth nothing?
- Jerry Lewis' death reminded me of many Labor Days in which he was the soundtrack for the day. I might not have watched the entire thing, but I would sit to watch from time to time while doing things around the house. He did his telethon year after year to benefit children that Peter Singer would say should not have been allowed to live. Singer and many like him declare that such handicapping illnesses give life no quality and thus should be eliminated. It's a damnable lie, and I'm grateful to Lewis and thousands like him who work show all children their inherent worth and value as those stamped with the Imago Dei.
- Breakfast cereal can be eaten at any time. Basically, you can break it down into three categories: breakfast staples, snacking, and dessert. Your breakfast staples are Cheerios (or Honey Nut), Raisin Bran Crunch, Wheaties, and Life. Your snacking group consists of Oatmeal Squares, Frosted Mini-Wheats, or Honey Oat Clusters. Your dessert group would be Frosted Flakes, Fruit Loops, Cap'n Crunch or Sugar Smacks. All of this eating is, of course, guilt-free because all are "fortified with vitamins and minerals."
- This will be a fun week as college football kicks off in earnest. FSU will upset mighty Alabama, but UF will take it on the chin against Harbaugh and Big Blue.
- First Pres-ers: Get excited about this fall – Shane and Shane concert, Q-Commons, amazing women's retreat with Nancy Guthrie, opening of our new Student Ministry Center, Celebration of 500th Anniversary of the Reformation, and new discipleship courses (catalog out now) with great new offerings for learning and growth!