Monday Morning Musings for 10.23.17

"I consider everything as loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord...." Philippians 3:8

  1. In this age of individualism, it seems the dominant question people want to be answered before making any decision or choice is "what's in it for me?" This has bled over into church and faith. People look at both their faith in God and their local church and wonder, "What's in it for me?", turning pastors turning into salesmen as they promote what their brand offers over another, including the slippery slope of consumerist theology (Come to Jesus and all your needs, material and otherwise, are met!). 500 years ago, the Reformers had an answer for all of that: Solus Christus – Christ alone. The Church of Jesus Christ has one thing to offer and one thing only: Jesus. The Church offers only that One because that One is all we need and is the One who is unto Life Eternal. He alone is the means of our salvation (If there were other ways, then God has killed his Son for no reason. Thus, Jesus is the way or we're all fools. Intellectually, there are no other options.) as He fulfills the trifold office of prophet, priest, and king. May the Church move away from her consumerist tendencies and learn the satisfying wonder of depending on Christ alone.
  2. RESPONSE TO ME TOO: I have watched the growing number of women declaring "#metoo" on social media, and I have found myself both sad and angry. If you are not familiar with this movement, women are fighting back against sexual harassment and attack by posting "#metoo" if they have been a victim. I've been sad to read the stories, especially of women I know. Sad that they felt the need to bury it for so long. Angry at those who committed such awful acts, and angry that many sectors of our society allowed such behavior to continue as "part of the culture" for certain industries and businesses. We must continue to speak out and stand up. We must report what we see or know. And most importantly, we must reclaim the truth of women as those bearing the Imago Dei, those who are not mere objects, but glorious creations of Almighty God and therefore always to be treated with deep respect, honor, and dignity.
  3. HALLOWEEN: I don't get why this has now become a weeks-long evert with home decor, lights, and store displays that start in early September… it's turning into mini-Christmas. 
  4. I'm not anti-Halloween in most forms, but this seems excessive – celebrating what? A night to get candy? To dress up and act like someone we are not?
  5. Congratulations to Tanner Fox who was approved by the Presbytery of Florida and the Caribbean for ordination as a Teaching Elder (Pastor) in the Evangelical Presbyterian Church. He has already been working on our staff, but will now officially become our Associate Pastor of Mission. It's hard to describe the number of academic and ecclesiastical hoops that you have to jump through to get to this point (all of which are useful and necessary), so you sometimes think the day will never come. Tanner has persevered, and we are excited about having him on our pastoral team!
  6. PET PEEVE: Major events or conferences that send out their information less than 6 weeks ahead of time. I don't get it. Do they think people just wait around for their post or mailing? It's even more maddening when you would have to fly to get there. And even more maddening when they act disappointed that you can't come. Wait, what? If your event is worth attending, and you actually care about giving people the opportunity to attend it, then it's worth planning it six months out.
  7. PUERTO RICAN RELIEF: Part of our Presbytery meeting Saturday also included hearing from eight representatives – elders and pastors – from our three EPC Churches in Puerto Rico. Three spoke, and all three wept at different points. It was heartwrenching. We asked about how we could help – if we could start sending teams – but they have no supplies that teams could use to start rebuilding. They have no power on most of the island, and no water because water needs power. What they need more than anything is mental health assistance and money. They spoke of having to live with no light for twelve hours a day and how depression is growing as a result. They spoke of suicides in their families as people broke under the constant strain of surviving. They spoke of their own guilt of leaving the island even for a few short days because they got to take hot showers and be cool when their friends and families could not. Please PRAY. Please SEND MONEY through EPC.ORG and please think about sending mental health teams.
  8. I was privileged to attend a BioLogos event last week where Dr. Frances Collins was the speaker. He is the Director of the National Institutes of Health and also led the team that first mapped the human genome. He is also a deeply committed Christian who brilliantly shared the ways in which science and faith BOTH help us understand the nature and character of God. Why would the works of God (that which is observable through science) and the Word of God (that which is revealed in Christ through His Word) be in conflict? I would highly recommend his book The Language of God for further reading on the subject. It will fill you with confidence while easing any doubts you have about the wonder of what is physically seen and known. Check out biologos.org
  9. SAD TESTIMONY FROM AARON RODGERS: The most recent issue of ESPN The Magazine featured a long article on the Packers QB. It described how he was raised in a Christian home, but was actually LED AWAY from Christ by Rob Bell, a one-time Christian leader who has now moved into the realm of universalism. (See #1). Rodgers says he is "not anything" anymore. May we always be those who lead others, through word and deed, towards the truth of Christ, dead and resurrected. 
  10. Thank you, Lord, for the cold front coming this week!