Good morning, Revelife readers! It's Sunday morning, and for Christians all around the world, today is the day we gather at our local churches to sing songs, listen to teaching and spend time with one another in community. We hope you'll be able to attend a church in your community today!
But we also know that, for any number of reasons, it's possible you can't or won't choose to go to church today. Whatever the situation is, we don't want you to be without the church experience today. That's why we feature the online services at North Point Community Church in Alpharetta, Georgia.
Today at North Point, teaching pastor Andy Stanley continues the series Follow. North Point's services are streamed online live at 9:00am and 11:00am with rebroadcasts at 2:00pm, 6:00pm and 10:00pm (all times Eastern). Hope to see you there!
If you like the services at North Point, you should know that there are North Point Strategic Partner churches all across North America. To see if there is one in your area, click here.
As you are probably aware, the Powerball jackpot has reached a record-breaking $600M. That's a lot of money! So it comes as no surprise that a lot of people I know have purchased lottery tickets.
I've never been one to gamble. It's not that I have something big against it; I just don't think it's a very wise way to spend my money. And, granted, it's not that big of an investment for a possibly huge return, but I've always believed that God has called me to be a good steward of all His gifts -- big or small.
But some people I know are vehemently opposed to Christians participating in gambling, even the lottery. They quote verses like 1 Timothy 6:10, which states, "For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs." Of course, no where in the Bible does it say that wealth is always a bad thing. Proverbs 10:4 explains that "diligent hands bring wealth." It doesn't say wealth is wrong; it just says you should work for it. More Here...
Therefore, brothers, be patient until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth and is patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains. - James 5:7
There are areas in my life that are still in their “seed” stage, and in need of much patience and care. I’ve been walking with the Lord for a while now, but not all areas in my life have. There is this classic thing Christians do as we compartmentalize our walk with God -- this area is all His, but this other one? No, my flesh is too strong and because I obey God in that one area I get a free pass in this other one! The end result is my walk coming to a standstill, and the list of people that I have hurt only grows because I was too selfish to put myself last.
It is nice to look at our walk with God using that farmer example, but the same applies to the “non-Christian” areas in our life. I know we should not have them, but we compartmentalize, remember? Those seeds we planted while not walking with Him, yes the same we selfishly used and abused, they will grow. The hurt we caused on others? Time will water them and resentment will evilly care for each one. Maybe for now the hurt we caused is louder and bigger than our words of apology, but the non-believer does not understand the conviction the Holy Spirit places on a believer’s heart, leaving us in a place that we are just miserable for walking away from God. More Here...
This week in the news I heard about a man who took his family camping at a North Georgia state park. The family rented a cabin but, when they got there, were surprised and offended that the cabin came equipped with its very own Bible. As an atheist, he felt that the inclusion of the Bible on state-owned property was inappropriate.
In response to his complaint, the state first announced it would remove the Bibles pending an investigation. Then the state attorney general ruled that the state didn't have to remove them because it didn't pay for them and because the state would allow any religious organization to donate literature. The man at the center of this debate has suggested he might take the state up on that offer.
State-owned cabins aren't the only places where religious literature can be found. Look in the drawers of many hotel rooms and you'll likely find a copy of Gideon's Bible. While I'm sure some people don't appreciate it, it seems there's never really been a big uproar over it. People just tend to, well, shut the drawer. More Here...
Look! The pay that you withheld from the workers who reaped your fields cries out, and the outcry of the harvesters has reached the ears of the Lord of Hosts. You have lived luxuriously on the land and have indulged yourselves. You have fattened your hearts for the day of slaughter. You have condemned—you have murdered—the righteous man; he does not resist you.
- James 5:4-6
For a long time I believed that the God in the old testament was different than the one in the new testament, and that in those seven hundred years of silence between the two books He changed His mind. I could not the farther from the truth. In the same way, some people like the focus on the fact that God loves them -- that He sent His only son to die in their place to rose again, and because of Jesus we have salvation. Yes that is all true, but the focus is only on "God loves me!"
This thinking, this relationship with God never progresses to anything. Our Bibles gather dust. We are living in sin and don’t realize it because all we know about God is that He loves us. At no point is a relationship is started. He is simply our get out of hell card. When life hits a brick wall, when the unthinkable happens, we look at this God and He has nothing to offer us. What good is your love now that I’m alone? Because our Bibles have only been used to gather dust, we are not aware of the beautiful promises heaven has sent us. We have no idea who God is, yet we reject someone who we never spent any time with. More Here...
There's a paradox in church world. Churches run on volunteers, but volunteers don't run the church. While this might seem innocuous at first glance, the implications of how you approach this paradox can make or break your ministries. For example, although most of the people serving in ministries at church are volunteers, they ultimately don't make the decisions about the areas of the church they serve. There is probably a paid staff person overseeing that environment making decisions on behalf of the volunteers in that ministry, and those volunteers just have to go along with what that person decides.
This can go really, really well or really, really terribly. It goes terribly when paid staff make decisions about changes to implement that drastically affect the volunteer experience in a negative way, and it goes terribly when these decisions are made without asking the volunteers how it will affect the work they do. It goes terribly when, as paid leaders trying to find solutions, we constantly change the way we do things, showing a lack of consistency and making it more difficult for our volunteers to understand their roles. It goes terribly when we focus on the depth of our volunteer base -- that is, the amount we can get an individual volunteer to do -- rather than the breadth, or the number of people we can get to participate. A serving team that has depth but no breadth is made up of few people doing many things with little or no margin, leading to burn-out and frustration.
I've been in this situation before. I'm the kind of person who really loves to serve the church I attend. I'm not satisfied with sitting in the rows every week; I want to be involved. A church I attended in college recognized my desire to be a part of ministry and began asking me to serve on various teams in various roles. More Here...
We want to take a moment to extend an invitation to those of you who haven't submitted something to Revelife in a while. We know there are many of you who have, for whatever reason, stopped submitting your posts to Revelife. It's not easy for us to find good content, and there are many of you who are fantastic writers. We miss seeing your posts in our editor! If you haven't submitted a post in a while -- or ever -- we want to invite you to share with us your thoughts. If you're looking for inspiration, here are some general topics we like to feature:
- current events - social issues - popular culture - personal experiences and testimonies
Feel free to send us anything in these categories or on any other subject that you find interesting. It is the breadth and depth of subject matter we feature here on Revelife that makes our community unique.
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Last night I tossed and turned for hours. It was so strange–out of nowhere, I woke up with an overwhelming fear for my son’s safety. I was afraid that some day, somewhere, when I am not there to protect him, he would fall. Like, literally, fall–off a balcony, down some stairs, or over a rail.
As random as that fear seems, especially in the middle of the night when Isaac was safe and sound in his crib, the fear isn’t new. Ever since Isaac was born, I’ve had an irrational fear that he would somehow fall from a great height. Some of you might remember that during the first week of his life, I made my dad and brother tie a volleyball net over an open stairwell in our home. It was a major eyesore, but I needed it there. Otherwise, every time I walked by that stairwell it filled me with panic.
Since then, I’ve remained extremely nervous about “fall-zones,” like my parents’ balcony, or my mother-in-law’s stairs. If Isaac is remotely near either one, my blood pressure escalates and I quickly pull him (and by that I mean whoever is holding him) away from the edge. I have no idea where this fear came from, but it has persisted, and now it’s apparently waking me up at night.
A friend of mine whimsically commented, "The world is a magical place full of liberals waiting to be offended when the truth is spoken." Words couldn't be truer. Although I can't be too harsh. Wait until the winter rolls back around and wish a conservative "Happy Holidays!" Forget that "Holiday" actually means "Holy Day" -- you've just declared war on Christmas!
The world is at no shortage of subjects to offend. Without question one of the most hot-button issues right now is same-sex marriage. This sparked another friend to ask, "What do you think is the most offensive verse in the Bible?" To those who favor same-sex marriage, passages that define homosexuality as sin (Romans 1:26-32, 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, 1 Timothy 1:8-11) would be offensive. In turn, those who attack scripture for saying such things offend those who believe it.
However, I wouldn't call those verses the most offensive in scripture. I was thinking about this for a while before I came up with an answer. More Here...
I turn from my four church friends to a man – a young man – with blonde hair. He’s a couple years younger than me — a veritable kid with studded earrings. He dons a red sweatshirt emblazoned with the acronym of a local university.
“Yes,” we confirm to him. We were praying. Praying over one of our own in a downtown alleyway just outside the restaurant where we’d spent the last two hours.
The young man steps toward us, wheeling along what I think is his cart of earthly belongings. Only this isn’t actually a cart.