Author Archives: salooper57

How Can I Talk with Others About Faith?

Do you have friends and family you’d like to talk to about your faith? A good place to start is with talking to God about your friends and family. Ask him for opportunities to speak with them. If that is … Continue reading

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The Right Kind of Answer to Skeptics’ Questions

My friend Amy Snapp started coming to Lockwood years ago. Her sister Cindy had been bringing Amy’s daughter Kathryn to our kids ministry. Because Kathryn liked it, Amy started coming and bringing the younger kids too. But dad Glenn was … Continue reading

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Direct Evangelism and Responsive Evangelism

This is the Apostle Peter. “Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? 14 But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear what they fear; do not be … Continue reading

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Do We All Need to Be Evangelists?

Every Christ-follower needs to be able to speak on behalf of Christ but not every Christ-follower is an evangelist. Most local churches have some evangelists among their people – Lockwood certainly does – but not everyone is an evangelist nor … Continue reading

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Church Life as Soundtrack to the Gospel

The God who “is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9) wants people everywhere to come to him and join his side. A loving, loyal, hopeful church makes it easier for … Continue reading

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And We’ve Got to Get Ourselves Back to the Garden: The Church as Proof that Jesus Is the Way

Ever since humans were banished from the garden, they’ve been trying to get back: back to God and back to each other. The church is living proof that Jesus is the way back. Let me bring this home. Gospel people … Continue reading

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America’s Other Religion (Hint: It Is Not Islam)

According to Pew Research center, 70 percent of Americans identify as Christian. This includes evangelical protestants, who make up the largest bloc in American Christendom, along with Catholics, mainline protestants, Mormons, and Jehovah’s Witnesses.

The next largest religious bloc in Pew’s study is Judaism, which comprises a little less than 2 percent of the population. Then Islam, which makes up less than 1 percent. Some have argued that the second largest bloc, dwarfing both Judaism and Islam, are those who identify as “nothing in particular.” They come in at about 16 percent of the total population.

It is, however, debatable that the “nothing in particular” folks form a religious bloc. It’s like giving an empty space on my bookshelf a catalog number. However, there is another religious group that is much larger and more influential than all those listed above, with the possible exception of Christianity.

Unlike the “nothing in particular” group, this bloc clearly meets the criteria to be considered a religious group, though it is entirely overlooked by Pew and by most sociologists. This group has no official structure or hierarchy, but it invokes a god, possesses a historical narrative (or mythology, as some deem it), and reverences its saints.

This religion has received various labels over the years, but the one that has been around longest, given to it by Rousseau before the American Revolution, is “Civil Religion.” According to the sociologist Robert Bellah, Rousseau outlined the simple dogma of Civil Religion as: “the existence of God, the life to come, the reward of virtue and the punishment of vice, and the exclusion of religious intolerance.”
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The Contrast Society: “See How They Love”

On the night before he was killed, Jesus huddled up with his disciples, told them what was about to happen, and laid out his expectations for them. This is what he said: “My children, I will be with you only … Continue reading

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Church and Kingdom: Not a One-to-One Correspondence

The church is where the kingdom of God takes shape on earth, but the kingdom extends beyond earth, beyond humanity, and throughout creation. Saturn and Jupiter, the Milky Way, the Horsehead Nebula, MACS0647-JD (the furthest known galaxy) are all under … Continue reading

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The Good News Church

Our lives can be proof both of God’s existence and his relevance. We we can make the good news about God attractive to the people around us (Titus 2:9). God intends you and I to be living proof. Our lives … Continue reading

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