If you are considering church planting as a vocation, then you're invited to visit with Charles Kiser about a new apprenticeship program in church planting. Charles is director of training for Mission Alive -- a premier, discipleship-based, church planting organization.
Jesus redefines reality for us. God is still at work in our world, Jesus says, and he invites us to walk with God. (‘The kingdom of God is near you’ and all are invited to ‘enter into the kingdom’.) Since we’re not accustomed to seeing God all around us, it’s natural to feel a little skeptical. So I want to ask the obvious, but crucial question. How can I know God?
I'm flying Rabbi Dr. David Rudolph in next Tuesday April 4th to speak in my Christian Encounters with other Cultures class. Since I'm bringing him from a distance, I'd like to open the class to a bit broader audience. Please consider joining us. Read on for the details.
Will you reflect with me upon the need for gentleness in our moral judgments?
In our world, the words ‘gentleness’ and ‘moral judgment’ don’t often converge. Morality primarily functions as a stick to beat outsiders – a way to condemn and thus imply our own superiority. We can get real clear and precise about what’s wrong with other people. That’s an everyday skill. Gentleness, on the other hand, shows up mostly in those intimate encounters reserved for family and close friends. Here we tend to avoid clarity, especially if wrongdoing has occurred. Moral clarity is too painful, so we avoid straight-talk in order to be ‘kind’ or ‘considerate.’ Jesus, however, brings gentleness into the heart of morality.
As such, Jesus proves to the be the master of moral transformation. I’ve found no one else who so naturally combines moral clarity and gentleness. This moral fusion of gentleness and clarity is what I want to explore with you.
We’ll allow John’s Gospel to conduct us to our theme of moral gentleness. He does this by observing the way Jesus counters a mob execution or lynching. The story is complex, so prepare to use your mind. We’ll follow several themes as they intertwine in this story.
There’s an old trade secret among preachers. The word is that there are three topics any of which will ensure an audience. If you want to draw a crowd, you can preach on sex, on the end times, and on will there be sex in the end times?
The religious mania over imagining and predicting the future is well known today. We even have TV series that turn on popular conceptions. Evidently, some in Paul’s churches would have understood the attraction – they might have even tuned in. But this impulse isn’t unique either to religious groups or to one particular age. It’s a human thing.