Feeds:
Posts
Comments

New Site and Blog

Hey everyone our new site and blog have launched! Check them out:

www.missionathens.com

and new blog

www.missionathensblog.com

I’m excited to announce that the following men have agreed to be part of our teaching team:
– Frank Beedle
– John Evans
– David Hunt
– John Norris
– Aaron Slaten

These men were picked because they have an ability – and the desire – to help us become a family that follows Jesus by opening the Scriptures and pressing its teachings into our hearts, minds, and lives. I believe these men have been set apart by the Holy Spirit for this particular task.

We’re finalizing the August 2010-July 2011 teaching schedule. The idea is for me to preach around 40 weeks a year and to have these men up front the other 10-12 weeks out of the year.

I look forward to working with them and ask you and your family to pray for these brothers. We’ll let you know when they’re going to be preaching and find ways for you to get to know them better.

Consequences

My dad is not a severe man but growing up in his house, there were severe consequences for not listening to what he told me to do. And listening in our house was clearly defined as doing what Dad (or Mom) told us to do.

That story is familiar to most of us – it’s how we grew up and how we run our house now as parents. Chaos is avoided by clear instruction and willing obedience. Life quickly runs amok when parents fail to lay down expectations with laser-like precision and children act like their ears are clogged with silly putty and keep watching the TV when they should be throwing their empty juice box in the trash.

So on one level we understand the story of Achan in Joshua 7. Anyone who has read from Genesis 1 and survived Leviticus is well aware that God has told the nation of Israel (and by proxy the rest of the nations as well) that they need to follow God if they want to live. The demands and expectations that are clearly laid out bring blessing when obeyed – and are met with swift and severe justice when they are ignored.

Achan gets the death penalty for disobeying God. We struggle with the sentence because the punishment doesn’t fit the crime – he took the equivalent of a pair of blue jeans and a few dollars off the dresser. But the crime is not the amount taken or the theft itself – it is Achan’s willing insubordination to a clear command from God that leads to his execution.

I get that – tough to swallow but I understand the need to both set an example and to protect an entire nation from itself. This is apples-spoiling-bunches kind of stuff. Where I really struggle in this story is with the matter-of-fact way in which the narrator of Achan’s story passes along the information that Achan’s family (‘sons and daughters’ – v 24) is executed with him.

Such actions cut against modern sensibilities and in the end expose a latent and unhealthy individualism. While God does not always punish children for the crimes of their parents – or bring hardship on an entire nation for the crimes of their leaders or fellow countrymen – there are times like the events of Joshua 7 when we’re reminded that our choices have consequences.

One example in the life of our church – we have and will have families that become active members of Christ Church only to pull back and effectively become strangers. We don’t see them in gatherings or in a group. They no longer answer the phone and don’t respond to email or text messages. Sometimes they’re disgruntled with the church (it happens) and sometimes life has forced church to become optional.

What makes these situations so devastating is the spiritual death that such a shrinking back often brings to an entire family. It is rare to see adults re-engage spiritually and it almost always leaves children indifferent or bitter towards both God and His church. This is just one implication of Achan’s story in our midst.

Historically – and tragically – the remaining members of the family we call Christ Church have done little more than to wave good-bye and fuss about people behind their backs. For that we need to apologize to each other and repent to God for our foolishness and lack of concern for His glory and the good of those who wander off the reservation.

Instead we need to embrace a life of mutual accountability that includes active persuasion to not ignore the family and wander away from God (facts that seem obvious to everyone but the person or family involved) along with clear implications from the Scriptures that are acted upon by the elders of the church when family is ignored and the kindness of God is trampled upon.

Again, this cuts against the grain of an increasingly libertarian culture and reeks of cultish fanaticism. But isn’t this how your family operates – because of the potentially devastating effects of not listening to God, you discipline those you’re responsible for. And I believe it is how we must begin to live as a church.

We are a family called to follow Jesus. We must learn to love one another through deeply connected lives that celebrate the blessings of grace and act upon the severe mercies of God with broken-hearted persistence.

New Site Coming!

Just to let everyone know that our new website will be up and running in the next 5 weeks.

We look forward to sharing the launch of the new site with everyone!

The Bible is not an antique to be protected but a feast to be enjoyed and consumed.

Here’s the workbook I mentioned during yesterday’s gathering on ‘Reading God’s Story.’ I’d encourage you to work through it with your family, your community group or your Fight Club.

Reading God’s Story

Sarah Quattlebaum is a student at UGA and is one of our new members. Here’s her take on how she came to believe the gospel and how God has changed her heart:

I was four years old when I prayed and “asked Jesus to come into my heart,” but I don’t think I came to believe the gospel until my sophomore year of college. In my greatest moment of heartbreak and loneliness of my life, the Holy Spirit revealed God’s love for ME; a selfish person who did bad things and didn’t deserve his love. I saw how He pursued me and saved me from my own selfish, unfulfilling desires and pursuits. I still can’t understand any of it, but that is as it should be – it’s part of what makes Him so amazing.

The Holy Spirit changed me, and mended my heart that broken by my own sin. God’s revelation to me enables me to understand He is infinitely valuable, and I want everyone who is as broken-hearted as I was to be loved and encouraged in a community that actively points directly and only toward Christ.

The gospel is the amazing news that God loves his creation so much that He authored the plan of salvation from sin and death. He came to Earth as the only sacrifice while remaining sinless, paid the wages of the world’s sin by dying, and rose from the dead to conquer sin and death and free His creation to live in communion with Him.

I want to love other people the way God loves them, and serve them in ways that they can experience the same mercy and grace that God extends to me. I have new and exciting hope for my life that extends beyond me; I know God created me and picked me to serve His purpose and His people in ways that are unique.