Last Night I sat in bed and again cried my eyes out.…
I weeped with I am sure millions of others who were preparing themselves for the most emotional episode of NBC’s “This is Us” to-date. I won’t spoil it for those who may decide to watch it at a later point in time via Netflix binge, but I will say that in some ways it lived up to its hype as being historical.
In a way none of us are wired to be prepared for loss. That makes walking through it or seeing others walk through it so difficult. Personally I find myself at times trying to mentally prepare for a moment I hope never comes but nevertheless fret will.
Why? Shows like “This is Us” help instill a bit of a panicked spirit in all of us sure but in another sense I think each of us wonders how we will respond in the moment. Here’s to hoping that never comes but what if the unthinkable does happen? Do we have a Miguel?
Family is so important and I don’t want to down play how vital it is and how we should strive for healthy families. But if there is a major flag I can wave having finally viewed the Jack Pearson finale it would be the relationship flag. Do you really have a “first call” friend?
A first call friend is someone who can you can do more with than just hang out and party with. I think we all probably have some people we know that we can go out with and have a good time with chatting it up. But if you strip away everything and lose everything who is your “first call”?
Some of us reading this blog have blood family close enough that when or if the unthinkable came we would pick up the phone and they would be there. But there are countless number of folks around us in Nolensville and the greater Nashville area who don’t have anyone building an intentional relationship with them and consequently wouldn’t have a first call.
Jesus created the body of Christ primarily for his glory and worship. One of the ways glory and worship is achieved is when we go out of our way to develop friendships and see people reached with the gospel. It takes a lot of prayer and effort to do this without an overly religious attitude but when we do it authentically the best way we know in the power of the Spirit to do it God smiles.
So be someone’s Miguel this week. Be someone’s first call friend.
Mahatma Gandhi one of the most well known spiritual leaders of the past century is attributed with the following thought as it pertains to Christianity. “I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are are so unlike your Christ.”
Debate could be had regarding the legitimacy of whether this quote was verbatim from Gandhi or simply a sentiment he conveyed within a conversation to those who ultimately ended up attributing it to him afterwards. But that debate is not the purpose of brining this quote to mention here. Rather this quote surfaces the idea behind the frustration Gandhi like so many others have had with Christianity. Many people who are agnostic, callous, skeptical about Jesus may take great comfort in the notion Gandhi put forward in the above concept. Because lets face it Christians stink at being Christian. However this idea itself is a very appropriate starting point for a very different discussion at this time of year.
One of the truths the bible heralds regarding the story of Jesus we so often read this time of year is Mary his mother conceived him without sexual-intercourse. How in the world does that happen? Thankfully Gandhi so adequately explained it for us. Christ isn’t like Christians. He was the God-man. Fully God. Fully Man. No if, and’s or buts around it. Both his beginning in the womb of a Virgin and his resurrection over death declare exactly what Gandhi struggled with. Christ is different from Christians.
This does not give Christians a license for acting in rebellion but rather a starting point for a deeper understanding of Jesus. If we can’t believe the virgin birth with at least some sort of conviction can we believe the resurrection? Can we believe God exists at all? My purpose is not to be-little anyone or shame anyone but rather call us into a greater understanding of what it is we are saying we believe this time of the year. The bible mentions many times folks who struggle between unbelief and belief. In fact Mark 9 tells an account of a boys father who was struggling with unbelief in specificity. Jesus healed his son after the father admitted his struggle.
Within the day of technology, information, google and the iPhone we are a self educated people. We can do our own research and come to our own conclusions about things. Through quick “research” we can find the various reasons why so many people and clergy for that matter dismiss the virgin birth for “good” reasons.
“Its a story that’s been borrowed from other ancient cultures documents on origins of deities.” “Its barely mentioned in the NT other than the two synoptic writers Matthew and Luke.” “Plus its plain crazy!”
What will you believe this Christmas? Believe what Gandhi said. Christ is different than Christians!
If you’re looking to do some more research check out these links:
Was the Virgin birth copied from Other Religions?
Experiencing the Christmas Story
by Brock Benson
Tonight marks a historic night in Smashville (Yup, I just did it. I’m on the bandwagon. It’s cool). The beloved Predators have the opportunity to do what no professional team has done in my 6 years of living in Middle Tennessee; play for a championship. It’s really cool to see how winning brings a community together like few things truly can. I have heard from a few of our Revivers that regularly attend Preds games that the post season atmosphere in Bridgestone has been incredible. Folks from all walks of life who have nothing in common but the team they root for are finding themselves high fiving and cheering their team to victory. While I can’t consider myself an official hockey fan or even a legit Preds fan yet I will admit that I hope we will be smoking some duck after tonight.
We’ve been in a study at Revive Church the past few weeks called Prodigal Love. Prodigal as we learned in our blog post from last week simply to means to give something away on a lavish scale. It doesn’t automatically entail a sinful path. Yesterday our attention was centered on how Paul describes the strength of God’s prodigal love for us in Romans 8:37-39 and how it creates a confidence for us much like Paul’s that any athlete hockey player or not would be desirous of. This is how God designed us to walk as his children that have been given such a prodigal love.
There will be many nervous fans around the city of Nashville tonight watching and waiting to see if their beloved Predators can do what few Nashville teams will probably ever do…win the big game. Sorry didn’t meant that to sound or be insensitive or anything. That’s just kind of how it came out. But in all seriousness there is a heightened sense of tension or nervousness that surrounds any type of competitive athletic event like the hockey game tonight. Its adds to the edge that athletes talk about having before a big game. But sometimes that edge and nervousness can create an adverse affect too… I remember back in college before my buddies and I played in our intramural flag football championship game I was so nervous driving to the game I got really bad gas. So bad that when Cassie (my wife now but girlfriend then) came to meet me as I arrived the smell was so bad she asked what had happened to my truck…I was a WRECK!
Competition and nerves can do crazy things to all of us. Christians aren’t exempt from this either. We get nervous and anxious like everyone else does about anything and everything. But maybe this struggle is tied to our perspective in how we are looking at our current situations? I wonder if we create this tension and anxiety for ourselves in that we look at life much like the Preds vs. Ducks game tonight. A competition that we have to compete at to be able and win. In one sense this is true because Paul says we all have a race to run. But in a whole other sense we need to remember what else we know and that is the race has also already been won. If I can use another sports analogy think about your life’s race as simply one leg of the bigger relay race. Your leg matters but there are two important facts you need to realize as you run. First your team-team Jesus already has secured first in all the other events of the meet prior to your race. So the victory is yours you just gotta finish your leg.
Jesus competed for us on the cross of calvary so win or lose tonight we walk in a bigger victory that is ours in Him. As Christ followers we enjoy not just victory but a prodigal victory that will be completely ours one day. So as we walk lets walk in the confidence of a Prodigal Victory.
and oh yea GO PREDS!!!!!!
Today is the day! Bust out the cash and head to your nearest florist, grocery store, dollar general, website or wherever and make your purchase for the special someone before it’s too late!
I was joking with some friends and co-workers yesterday about the cynicism we often all associate with Valentines Day…… Of course Russell Stover, 1800 Flowers, Hallmark, Vermont Teddy Bear, Shari’s Berries, UPS and Fed Ex are all in on this day together to get our money! But maybe it is because we need them to be…. In the current era we live in we all have a common struggle to make time for relationships even the most special and sacred ones. Valentines Day offers us the chance to stop, reflect, engage and be intentional. We were created for relationships.
Love, relationships, intimacy and sex was God’s idea from the beginning. Relational intimacy specifically as experienced through marriage and sexual fulfillment is based in Gen 1:27 where God created gender. Song of Solomon hails love and sex as enjoyable gifts from God. Not taboo topics we don’t ever talk about….. Song of Solomon also exhorts us that love, intimacy and sex should be protected and guarded from the “foxes” that run rampant through the gardens of our hearts and lives. Foxes come in all shapes and sizes. These biblical passages along with others have MAJOR impacts on current conversations swirling in public and social media circles on the subjects of relationships, marriage, gender, love and sexuality. I imagine we might all find of few these today as we are scrolling through our feeds. Valentines Day is reminder for Christ Followers to be anchored in Scriptures which ultimately speak life into some of these tender areas we must engage with others on.
Since it’s a school/weekday work night I imagine this might spoil some of us who would otherwise have big valentines date plans. Tonight Cassie my bride and I are going to be on facebook live via the Revive Church page talking Valentines Day/Relationships with anyone who would like to join us from 8-8:30pm. We’d love to have you and your spouse join in with us and ask any questions you’d like. (Seriously anything is fair game.) Not going to promise we will have an answer for everything but we would love to chat with anyone who wants to join in!
Happy Valentines Day!
by Brock Benson
Recently in my time with the Lord I have been working through the book of Ecclesiastes. Fair warning this book is a challenge as Solomon writes some pretty deep things and asks some pretty deep questions. However I still believe it’s a great book of the Bible to read if you’re wanting to hit “reset” in your heart and seek God’s face more earnestly once again.
One of the passages that came up as I was reading a few days ago was Ecclesiastes 8:2-4 which says “I say: Keep the king’s command because of God’s oath to him. Be not hasty to go from his presence. Do not take your stand in an evil cause, for he does whatever he pleases. For the word of the king is supreme, and who may say to him “What are you doing?” One of the phrases that hit me hard in that passages was do not take your stand in an evil cause. Frankly this idea seems like an impossibility given our current political climate. Evangelicals are split like never before on this subject and it has baffled me to see what has transpired in the world of social media in this arena.
I am not going to use this post as a platform to endorse any candidate or any party. That is not my place as a pastor to do so. However my simple plea would be for us to be close enough in our walk with the Jesus that we can readily identify evil and avoid standing with it. This is much easier said then done. Godspeed.