Hi Five Oakers, The weekend's coming and there are a few things I don't want you to miss.
That's a notification that popped up on my calendar last November. It's popped up for the last two years or so. The first time it did, it took me a few moments to figure out what in the world I was talking about. Some of you might have guessed what it refers to, but you may still be wondering why I would have to remind myself to do this. I'll tell you more about it this weekend in the sermon as I talk about why weekly worship needs to be a priority in our lives. It's the last week of our worship series. I hope to see you there.
Links You Might Like
Mary DeMuth on "How to Protect Your Children from Sexual Abuse."
We tried to speak frankly and without embarrassment—not an easy thing to do, but important if you want to have open discussion and keep sex in the arena of normal conversation. The more you’re comfortable with talking about it, the more comfortable your kids will be in bringing you any concerns.
Paul Walker on "The Beauty of February."
Things to love about February: 1) it is short and 2) the following month holds the dawn of spring. But there’s more, even in the midst of these ongoing frigid temps. There is still the hope of a huge, pulverizing snow, which forces the suspension of all activity. (I realize this is not on the positive side of the ledger for some, but the inner child still pleads for a snow day!)
Leneita Fix on "What's Up with Modesty?"
It begs the real question about what modesty is and what it is not. In the 18th century it was considered terribly immodest for a woman to show their ankles. In some cultures it is considered risque for a woman to show her face to anyone other than her husband. There was a time when men wore tights and this was simply considered the “style.”
One More Thing
Imagine living in a part of the world where people call you regularly to see if you're still alive. A Lebanese student studying in Paris was tiring of calling or texting her relatives back home and finding all the phone lines busy every time she heard of a bombing in Beirut. So she created an app that sends a tweet saying: “I am still alive!” with the hashtags #Lebanon and #LatestBombing.
Imagine if the apostle Paul lived today. Everywhere he went he incited riots simply for preaching Christ. He frequently faced death by stoning or beatings or weather.
Five different times the Jewish leaders gave me thirty-nine lashes. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked. Once I spent a whole night and a day adrift at sea. I have traveled on many long journeys. I have faced danger from rivers and from robbers. I have faced danger from my own people, the Jews, as well as from the Gentiles. I have faced danger in the cities, in the deserts, and on the seas. And I have faced danger from men who claim to be believers but are not. I have worked hard and long, enduring many sleepless nights. I have been hungry and thirsty and have often gone without food. I have shivered in the cold, without enough clothing to keep me warm. (2 Corinthians 11:24-27)
What if Paul could tweet a message to friends and family every time word got out that he had been the cause of another riot? What would it say? Here's my guess:
@PaultheApostle I'm still dead. #crucified with Christ #reallife
It's a little too long for a tweet, but here's what he says in his own words:
I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. #Galatians 2:20
You have been crucified with Christ if you are a believer. You are dead to yourself and your sin. But Christ is alive in you. And the life you live is lived by faith. You live by trusting Christ with your life. And you know you can trust him because he loves you and gave himself for you.
Living by faith, crucified with Christ, isn't only a way to battle temptation, it's also how we face suffering and trouble. No matter what hits us we can respond by staying dead, crucified with Christ, and continuing to trust the Son with this life we now live in the flesh. We can trust him because he loves us. He gave himself for us.
So, no matter what you're facing right now, stay dead.