Tag Archives: church

The Chosen

St. Peter gives us a picture, drawn straight from the Old Testament, of the people who trust in Jesus (1 Peter 2:9-10). We helps us see who they are and what God intends them to do.

First, those of us who trust in Jesus are a chosen people (or race; genos, in Greek). We constitute a new global race, whatever our ancestry, whether we are Jewish or Arab or Indian or Chinese or European, or African, or American. We are the worldwide family of Jesus. We are a distinct (and distinctive) people, the people of God. We belong to each other and we belong to God.

Peter says that we are chosen. This is the second of three times that he reminds his harassed and maligned family living in Asia Minor of this encouraging truth. The world may not want them but God does. He chose them.

Garrison Keilor, creator of A Prairie Home Companion, once talked about what it means to be chosen. He used the familiar setting of a schoolyard baseball game: Continue reading

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Powerful Prayers: The One Who Is Able (Ephesians 3:20-21)

We began the “Powerful Prayer” series eight weeks ago. Each week, we have looked closely into one or the other of the Apostle Paul’s great prayers for the church. What we have seen has been extraordinary. We have had a master of prayer – St. Paul himself – show us why he prayed and what he prayed. Yet our in-depth study of these remarkable prayers will make no difference if it doesn’t inspire us to pray.

If we’ve learned anything, I hope we’ve learned that God expects us to pray for the church, including Lockwood Church. I hope we’ve learned that praying for the church is critical. So, after two months of hearing about praying for the church, are we praying for the church? Have you prayed for Lockwood this week? Have you used what you’ve learned to pray for our church family?

I’ve met people who believe in God but don’t believe in prayer. They think God is going to do what he is going to do, whether we pray or not. That prayer is just a matter of adjusting our attitudes and expectations.

But I don’t believe that. I agree with Henry Emerson Fosdick, who said: “Now if God has left some things contingent on man’s thinking and working, why may he not have left some things contingent on man’s praying? The testimony of the great souls is a clear affirmative to this: some things never without thinking; some things never without working; some things never without praying! Prayer is one of the three forms of man’s cooperation with God.” Continue reading

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The Spirit of Wisdom and Revelation (Part II)

You’re reading a novel in which the main character has a fantastical experience which changes him. From that time on, whenever he shakes hands with someone, he can see what that person will be in twenty, thirty, even forty years.

He meets a handsome young man who is brilliantly successful – straight A’s in college, captain of the basketball team, with acceptance letters from Harvard Business and other top graduate schools. But when he shakes his hand, he can see that alcoholism will destroy his life, his wife will leave him at 35, take the kids, and he’ll be dead by 50.

He is amazed to see how people’s lives turn out, some beautifully and some tragically. Then he meets and shakes hands with … you. Continue reading

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Why Church Is Indispensable

When people came to our church building this past Sunday, I sent them away. In fact, I sent them to other churches. I told them, “Go and bless another church with your presence.” We didn’t meet for worship this week … Continue reading

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Our Church Is Better Than Your Church

I’ve been surprised by people who, in conversation with me, refer to the church I pastor as “your church.” I’m surprised because they’ve been attending for years. Why are they still saying “you” instead of “we” and “your church” instead … Continue reading

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Better Choose Plan-A When There Is no Plan-B

Christian theology teaches that the church was founded by Jesus and is the world’s most important institution. Perhaps institution is not the best word, since the church is not exactly institutional; it is a movement. But it might be better … Continue reading

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An American Brand of DIY Spirituality

For decades pollsters consistently reported that 40 percent of Americans were in church on any given Sunday. But a long-term count of actual attendance in real churches suggests that good Christian people weren’t telling pollsters the truth, and actual church … Continue reading

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Don’t Ignore the Past, Believe in the Future

There are two kinds of people at a party. There are those whose words and actions announce, “Here I am!” and those whose words and actions say, “There you are!” The “Here I am” person might be the life of … Continue reading

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The Perilous State of Religious Liberty

Religious liberty in the United States is in peril. Many of the people empowered to decide which behaviors merit civil protections and which do not are not religious people. They fail to understand religious liberty because they do not understand … Continue reading

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How does a church measure success?

The other day my wife accused me of harboring a secret desire to be a race car driver. We were on vacation in Tennessee, hiking state parks and national recreation areas. Getting to those places sometimes meant driving serpentine roads, … Continue reading

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