The word “theology” simply means the study of God. And all of us, even if we are atheists, are students of God. We all have opinions. We all have thoughts. We all have, at one time or another, stared into the night sky and wondered, What’s it all about? Whether we recognize it or not, we are all God-thinkers. We are hard-wired to be so.
On this day six years ago, we were on the verge of replanting just outside of Chicago in Northwest Indiana. Growing up in the community I now pastor, I knew it was going to be a difficult task in a difficult area. I knew there would be interesting things we would experience and interesting people we would interact with along the way. One Sunday morning I decided to step out of my office to check on the worship team practicing in the gymnasium. I was out for maybe five minutes only to return to see my desk a mess and my laptop gone. Someone stole my laptop out of my church office on a Sunday morning at 8 a.m.
It’s easy to read the Bible from the end of the story, or to bypass the bad to get to the good. To read the Gospels and forget decades of wandering. To welcome the kingdom and forget about exile. To hear God’s affirmative “Yes and Amen” in Jesus and skip over the generations of divine silence. To see the healing and forget the disease, the years of heartache and pain.
Depending on what tradition you were raised in, you’re probably already inclined to lean toward a specific position regarding women as deacons. However, this should not be decided from our preference or tradition; it’s up to the Word. Personally, I believe that God’s word is authoritative. As the Baptist Faith and Message (2000) reads, “The Holy Bible was written by men divinely inspired and is God’s revelation of Himself to man. It is a perfect treasure of divine instruction. It has God for its author, salvation for its end, and truth, without any mixture of error, for its matter.”
When pain hits, it’s natural to look to each other for comfort, security, happiness, and strength. I believe God allows us to experience seasons where our spouse falls short of filling our emptiness and providing for our needs because we so easily look to each other to fill that void, rather than Christ. However, seeing that our spouse is incapable of meeting our deepest needs can be God’s grace. Lord willing, our eyes will gradually be taken off our spouse and placed on Christ, where they were always intended to be.
They also choose to ignore the many biblical passages warning against the detrimental effects of wealth—and especially love for wealth. You never hear prosperity preachers mention such verses. It’s as if their Bibles are missing them.
A favorite from the archives:
No matter how we over-spiritualize it—whether we say that area is used for pre-service prayer, or yet another review of our sermon notes—it represents more of a detriment to our spiritual well-being than we might realize, both those of us in the congregation and those who preach. The green room is about isolation, about creating barriers between the shepherd and the sheep.
The green room is a place to hide.