From the monthly archives: March 2015

We are pleased to present below all posts archived in 'March 2015'. If you still can't find what you are looking for, try using the search box.

A Call for Calm: On Taking the Slow, Quiet Journey to Worship


 

Holy Week is in full swing around here. Two services and other options for celebrating the glorious resurrection of our Savior mean extra tasks for just about all of us on staff.

And it’s easy to get caught up in the chaos of making sure that we have everything we need in stock or scheduling out multiple printings, orchestrating that final pew cleaning, or making certain that all of the service details are in their perfect places.

It’s much more difficult to actually stop and engage with the reason for any of it. Working here, where the events of this week take center stage, does not make me the exception. You’re probably scrambling a bit, too.

If your household is like mine, spring is simply a very busy season. If we’re not careful, the whirlwind picks us up and doesn’t drop us back down to earth until Memorial Day weekend. There is always one more track meet to attend, one more school function, one more project at work, one more difficult meeting with a friend who is struggling.

But I want to encourage you to take an hour of your week and set it aside. Right now. This is the hour you need this week — to slow down and reflect on what Jesus has accomplished on your behalf. Consider reserving this hour to go through Summitview’s Journey of Worship.


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The King of the Universe Wants Your Allegiance (and Your Coat)


 


There once was a leader’s motorcade, along with the surrounding traffic buildup, that miffed many religious folks because of the gall of the leader’s bravado. A cloud of dust, a jungle of people crowding about. People shedding their coats, their trendy shell jackets, to acknowledge the royalty and dignity of who was arriving. THE king of Israel? Really? Can that bravado be dignified or royal?

Jesus’ arrival in Jerusalem is polarizing (Luke 19:28-44). It is dividing. Here, we have rebukes and praises. Here, we have stones praising and stones being destroyed. Here, we have adulation and unease. Here, we have the King of the whole earth.

At the inauguration of Jesus’ reign, the angels praised God the Father for this precious gift that was being given: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” (Luke 2:14). Now, 30 years later, a multitude of disciples are exclaiming, “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” (Luke 19:38).

Behold, The King has come, riding on a Kingly-limousine of a colt. There is one King. You are not the King. He invites you into his Kingdom.

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Cultural Imprints: One Giant Leap for Truth


 


Welcome back to Cultural Imprints. In this collection of posts, we're exploring how cultural artifacts impact our lives and shape our understanding of God and his world. You can read the first installment of this series here.


I was 8-years-old when my family and I stood amid a small crowd in the sultry evening air, outside a small shack near the shores of Lake Okoboji in northwest Iowa. A black and white TV was mounted to the exterior wall of the shack, with every eye riveted on the fuzzy images of Neil Armstrong, as he took his “one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” Spellbound and breathless, I watched this historic milestone — the pinnacle of human drive and determination, and it largely set the course of my life.

Within the next few days, I set up a mock command module in my cramped bedroom closet. In the darkness of that “space,” I repeatedly played a 45 recording of Armstrong’s broken, static-laced radio transmissions to Houston control, while gazing through my “ship portal” (a magnifying lens). With vivid imagination, I slowly approached my illuminated Earth globe for re-entry into Earth’s thin, blue atmosphere.

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There's Glory in Using Your Spiritual Gifts (Even if It Isn't Evangelism)


 


“Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms” (1 Peter 4:10).

I shared the gospel with a young woman the other day. God dropped an opportunity in my lap and I seized it. She did not get saved, but a seed was planted. I don’t say that to boast; there have been plenty of missed opportunities in my life. To be perfectly honest, I have not personally prayed with anyone to receive Christ in several years. I love Jesus, I love the message of the gospel, I routinely weep over lost people in prayer, and I am prepared and equipped to share when God does present me with opportunities. But I also understand that evangelism is not how God has gifted me or where he has called me. I do not say that flippantly — I say it with a deep sense of clarity about what he has called me to.

God has gifted me in the areas of mercy and hospitality. I have a strong sense of purpose in serving the believers in the church — of equipping the saints for the work of ministry (Ephesians 4:11-13). I do look for opportunities to build relationships and share the gospel with unbelievers, and there are a handful of women who know Jesus today because I have shared with them. But there are many other people in my life who have a relationship with Jesus today, even though I didn’t share the gospel with them personally. And they might never have heard the gospel from someone else if I had neglected my God-given gifts to be something I am not.

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Cultural Imprints: The Gospel According to Modest Mouse


 


This is the first installment in a collection of posts exploring how cultural artifacts impact our lives and shape our understanding of God and his world.


Two days ago, the indie-emo rock outfit Modest Mouse released their sixth studio album, Strangers to Ourselves. I probably won’t buy the album, but the first single is decent, if you go in for this kind of music. Strangers is significant to me, though, because it reminds me that I am getting old, and that it has been nearly 11 years since the release of their fourth album, Good News for People Who Love Bad News — an album that in a very real way saved my life.

You may have a few problems with the above paragraph, most notably that an album from Modest Mouse could in any way “save” my life. While this is indeed problematic, the musically literate and observant might will also be a little troubled that I attached the “emo” modifier to Modest Mouse.

It is this latter “problem” that I will address first, and doing so will actually help smooth out the first problem of having my life saved by some weird, “secular” emo band that hit its culturally relevant high-water mark in the early 2000s.

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