Just another beautiful day in the mountains
Over the past few weeks, I have been putting together a tool for our church. We have taken the mission and vision of our church, and combined it with a process to help people develop a Spiritual Growth Plan. Our elder team is passionate about helping people grow in their faith, and this tool is just another way we can help people grow. Here is what we did:
- First, we created a brochure that shows how our events and activities relate to our mission and vision. This brochure has a section of next steps that people can take to grow in the three main relationship areas of their life. Their relationship with God, their relationship with others, and their relationship with the world.
- Second, we incorporated this information into our website at www.mycornerstone.org/next. On our website, people can create a customized Spiritual Growth Plan based on our activities and resources from Cornerstone. The plan is then emailed to them as a report.
- Finally, we incorporated this same Spiritual Growth Plan into our church mobile app, so that people have yet another way to utilize what we have created.
Our goal is that this tool will be continually updated with new resources and activities at Cornerstone. A Spiritual Growth Plan is a way to be intentional about becoming more like Christ. Our Sermon Series Next shares more about our plans and vision for Cornerstone. Here is a screenshot from our website. Let me know your thoughts and ideas in the comments below.
This year I’m encouraging and challenging you to join me in reading your Bible daily. I shared last night at our First Wednesday service that you need a Bible, a pen, and a plan.
- A Bible that you will actually read and understand
- A pen so that you can write down what God is showing you
- A plan so that you can see the storyline of the Bible through the Creation, Fall, Rescue, and Restoration
The plan I am starting with this year is the Essential 100 Plan. It’s a great plan to use if you are just getting started reading your Bible. Here’s more about the E100 plan.
The Essential 100 Challenge (E100) helps you get an overview of the Bible… without getting bogged down. The Plan guides you through 50 Old Testament passages and 50 New Testament passages — The Essential 100 — so you can see the big picture of God’s Word, and form a daily Bible reading habit in the process. E100 is an achievable way to have a “through the Bible” experience; it’s the Bible reading plan people love to complete.
Will you join me in reading through this plan? Here is how you can start:
- At Cornerstone, we have bookmarks available for you. Pick one up and check off your progress each day.
- On the YouVersion Bible app, you can signup for the E100 plan – Check it out here - You can even listen to it through the YouVersion app if you don’t like to read
- Download a E100 Planner here from my blog
If churches could do only one thing to help people at all levels of spiritual maturity grow in their relationship with Christ, their choice is clear. They would inspire, encourage, and equip their people to read the Bible — specifically, to reflect on Scripture for meaning in their lives. The numbers say most churches are missing the mark — because only one out of five congregants reflects on Scripture every day.” (Move, p 19)
If you are a follower of christ, don’t you owe it to yourself to read and learn about the God you are following? Join me and let’s read, learn, and discuss together!
It has been both interesting and frustrating to see numerous articles online about Phil Robertson’s recent comments and suspension from the show Duck Dynasty. Unless you have been on a remote island, you have been inundated with opinions, so I will spare you all the details. As someone who watches the show and enjoys it, my comments are from the perspective of a fan. I have even read several of their books and heard Willie speak in person, so know a little about their family and beliefs. Here are a few takeaways for us.
This Shouldn’t Surprise Anyone
After seeing reports of how A&E has tried to manufacture drama and conflict on the show in the past, the latest news shouldn’t surprise us. Duck Dynasty is a reality show. A&E has edited prayers to remove the name of Jesus and has added bleeps to make it falsely sound like the family was using profanity. It shouldn’t surprise the Robertsons that the network would take drastic action against Phil. They knew what they were getting into when they signed with a secular company that is not focused on family values. However, it also shouldn’t surprise A&E that Phil would say the things he said. He is honest and blunt, and he does not shy away from controversial subjects. He has spoken numerous times in the past about his beliefs.
Our Country is Deeply Divided
This again shows the increasing tension between those who hold to a Biblical worldview and those who hold to a post-modern worldview. Notice that I didn’t describe this as Christians vs. non-Christians. Many who claim to be Christian no longer hold to a Biblical worldview. In our post-modern world, it is inconceivable to many that someone could hold to the belief that homosexuality is a sin. So when a public figure states a traditional definition of marriage and sex, they are immediately labeled as intolerant and bigoted. The problem lies within our perception and definition of tolerance. I like what Rick Warren has said about tolerance.
“Our culture has accepted two huge lies. The first is that if you disagree with someone’s lifestyle, you must fear or hate them. The second is that to love someone means you agree with everything they believe or do. Both are nonsense. You don’t have to compromise convictions to be compassionate.”
― Rick Warren
It saddens me to see the hostility that has been spewed in both directions since A&E’s announcement. There are no winners in a situation like this. I feel that A&E made a huge mistake. If they wanted to show their commitment to tolerance, they could have easily stated that they didn’t agree with Phil’s statements. Instead, by his suspension they have shown their intolerance to anyone who holds to traditional views of sexuality.
Our Media and Culture is Biblically Illiterate
It has amazed me to listen to newscasters and commentators who don’t even have a basic understanding of Biblical Christianity. Many people did not realize that Phil was basically quoting the following passage.
1 Corinthians 6:9-11 ESV
9 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, 10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
Our culture simply finds the Bible offensive. Even many Christians pick and choose the parts of the Bible to believe. Phil was simply asked what is sin. His answer shouldn’t surprise anyone who knows scripture.
As followers of Christ, we must do a better job articulating and communicating the Gospel message from the Bible. The message of Jesus is found in Romans 5:8, “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” We are all sinners, and that is a message the world doesn’t want to hear. Phil used some colorful language, but he also shared a message of hope, but this part has been left out of most articles.
“We never, ever judge someone on who’s going to heaven, hell. That’s the Almighty’s job. We just love ’em, give ’em the good news about Jesus—whether they’re homosexuals, drunks, terrorists. We let God sort ’em out later, you see what I’m saying?” - Phil Robertson
Many Christian Leaders are Afraid to Take a Stand
When leaders start apologizing for what the Bible says, we have a problem. I understand that many in the homosexual community feel attacked by Christians, and for that I am sorry. But I won’t apologize for my belief in what is right and wrong moral behavior as defined by the Bible. As a pastor, I will show love and reach out to anyone, but that doesn’t mean I must agree with their behavior.
The main issue is the authority of the Bible. Is the Bible just a collection of stories? Or is it much more? I believe it is the divinely inspired Word of God. That’s my choice and my conviction. Tolerance means that I respect others, even if I don’t agree with them. So let’s show respect while we carefully articulate the Christian faith by speaking the truth in love.
I’m a little late getting this posted this year. Every year for Christmas, WorshipHouse Media shares free mini-movies for churches. You have to remember to check them out each day, so set a few reminders and head over to their website to find out the freebie of the day. It’s a great way to build up your media library for free.
Today, we took the kids to a Tree Farm in Hillsville and picked out our Christmas Tree. Love making memories with our family. The kids are growing up way too fast!
One of my favorite mobile apps is the Bible app by YouVersion. Today, YouVersion released a new mobile app just for kids. After playing around with it on my iPhone and iPad, I can say that I am excited to see a quality app to get children engaged with the Bible. I still believe that the best way to help children grown in their faith is to teach them a love for God’s Word. As parents, we need to demonstrate and teach the importance of living our life in relationship with Jesus Christ. We learn about God and His love for us through Scripture, so I encourage all parents to check this out! I think this is great for young children up through 9 or 10 year old children.