God is our refuge and our strength. He is the one we can run to in order to find shelter and he is the one who fights for his people to keep our attackers at bay. God is a very present help. What a thought! He is very present, right here, available and loving.
I have always been fascinated by the idea of spiritual gifts, the idea that God would breathe His Spirit into ordinary people in order to empower them to do extraordinary things for the communities of faith in which He has placed them. Unfortunately, we have set church up in such a way that we don't get to see much of this body of gifting at work, and we must do all we can post this season apart to get back to the body doing the work of the body rather than just large groups gathering to watch a few muscles work out on a weekly basis.
In the midst of the global suffering occurring through COVID-19, we once again find ourselves with the questions of Job and his friends. We want to know how God works, and we want simple answers for what He is doing in the world. While many of them may be found, and while the Scriptures and revelation of Jesus Christ within them offer us all we need to know about the nature of God, and lots of information about His work, there is still an element of mystery to His work in the world that we simply must accept, lest we misrepresent Him like Job's friends did, or we attempt to paint Him into a corner like Job did.
We don't like to live with tension. We don't like ambiguity. We don't know how to embrace the word ... AND. What the spread of this virus has been helpful in exposing is that we don't know what we don't know. It has revealed the limitations of our creatureliness in a pretty stark fashion. It is new to everyone and so we are all learning together. You would think that would eliminate our hubris, but it might be making it worse.
I am an exhausted Evangelical, but I am hopeful that God will use this particularly bumpy cultural moment to rouse a sleepy church from its prolonged nap of cultural Christianity, and that what might emerge from this all would be a vibrant Kingdom community of faith prepared to live as sojourners and exiles until we arrive on the shores of the land that we are actually all longing for.
Austin is one of the fastest growing and dynamic cities in the US. It is a place of great opportunity and great need. How can the church love this city in a way that points to the love of Christ and the good news of the gospel?
How much of professional Christian life is geared so that we spend more time complaining about sinners than we spend in genuine compassionate friendship and relationship?
It got me thinking. Friendship is a powerful thing, and while I know that I am blessed in the friendship that I have received and not everyone would have that as their story, Christians ought to be known by the kind of friendship that they give. Genuine friendship ought to mark us as communities of people. I confess that I forget this all too often, but as I enter into my next decade of life I am making a simple commitment to be a good friend to people.