Top3 for February 28, 2020

Taking a break from the videos today. Back by popular demand is a new installment of my Top3 for the week. Okay…maybe popular demand it an overstatement! But at least one person mentioned it and you know who you are so here goes!

Here are three things I’ve read, been thinking about or have been impacted by this week. Hope something strikes a chord with you too.

#1 – Truth I’m pondering. You can’t get to the Resurrection until you go through Lent and Holy Week.

I like fast forwarding to the end. I quite honestly am not much of a process person…I like the finished product and will often stop short of completing something when it gets too tough or long (sorry about the moment of confession – but I’m among friends right?)

But without Jesus’ life, suffering and even death the resurrection is not possible. In a way it wouldn’t have been necessary. But there is more to that story. Jesus was faithful on the Mount of Transfiguration (Matthew 17) and faithful on the mount of Calvary (Matthew 27).

Whatever you are going through today…if you don’t give up…will be the material that God uses to renew your life. That is his promise seen over and over in Scripture.

9 So let us not grow weary in doing what is right,

for we will reap at harvest time, if we do not give up.

Galatians 6:9 NRSV emphasis mine

#2 – “In those days the church was not merely a thermometer that recorded the ideas and principles of popular opinion; it was a thermostat that transformed the mores of society.”

Martin Luther King Jr. wrote in his Letter from Birmingham Jail,

The church needs to do more than report society’s temperature. It needs to be the place that turns up the heat or turns down the air conditioning. Jesus said in Revelation to be hot or cold. He did not say simply just reflect the society around you.

It is a fine line we walk. Being counter-cultural without being counter to people. Living with conviction and not condemnation might be a better way to say it.

Do you change the spiritual temperature in a room you walk into or do you acclimate to what is already there? For me personally, I’ve been trying to notice what spirit accompanies me when I enter a place? Love? Charity? I pray that is the case for me at least.

#3 – Post-Christian culture attempts to retain the solace of faith, whilst gutting it of the costs, commitments, and restraints that the gospel places upon the individual will.

Mark Sayers from Disappearing Church (p. 16). Moody Publishers. Kindle Edition.

In another place Sayre says that Post-Christianity wants the kingdom without the king. And he is exactly right. Our society talks a lot about peace, and love, and serving fellow humanity. Society prizes risk taking and ingenuity. It wants utopia and ‘shalom’ which is the perfect situation for all people and creation. But society wants to attain it their own way. They have rejected and even are hostile toward anything that smacks of faith in Christ.

And here is the issue – we are called to love and to reach out and to connect. We as followers of Jesus aren’t off the hook because we have been rejected. In fact, we may be in the best place to actually reach them because we are being rejected. Isn’t that what happened to Jesus on the cross? Isn’t that the way his (Jesus) love was shown in its fullest?

So rather than throw up our hands let us instead stand in solidarity with one another and in a posture of welcome to the culture around us. We literally could not be in a better place or at a better time.

Published by Todd Nelson

I'm one of the pastors at First United Methodist Church in Lexington, Kentucky where I've served for the past thirteen years. The sub-title of this blog is "Grace is no accident" which happens to be the defining reality of my life. God's grace (gift) is the reason we have breath in our lungs and hope in our hearts.

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