Why Keep Sabbath?
Sabbath never just happens. In our 24/7 world, I have never once seen someone accidentally keep a Sabbath…This simple act of not working revolutionizes our lives by re-centering our identity on being with God rather than on what we do for the world. AJSwoboda
Every white pastor in America needs to pray over this article and ask God what He would have us to do so our churches experience Revelation 7:9-10. Ignoring the problem is not only an affront to the heart of God, it will also cost us future generations if our children and grandchildren look around them in church realize the only part of their lives that are segregated is Sunday morning!
A little over a year ago, I preached a series of four messages at Antioch Church dealing with “God’s Promise of A Special Anointing for Women in the Last Days.” I have recently been asked to provide a way for those messages to be viewed online.
I do not use the word, “revelation,” lightly, but the truths God made real to my own heart through this process felt like that to me and have wound up spurring me on to being my Phd soon with my thesis centered around one aspect of the question of women in ministry.
Here are links to those four messages, in case you are also interested in this subject. You will find there is a fair amount of repetition in each sermon, but also new material in each one. Since I sensed this would turn out to be a foundational series for our church and we never have all of our people present in any one service, I wanted to make sure that I was taking as many of them along on this journey as possible.
Here are the links to the four videos:
As a good steward, I must earn honestly, spend carefully, invest wisely, and give generously. As I do, God will meet my needs and use me to meet the needs of others in His name! (2 Cor. 9:6-14)
God must have missed class the day they covered the Enlightenment. Clearly the Almighty did not get the word that He was not supposed to transform persons lives in miraculous ways day after day.
– Grant Wacker in “Heaven Below.”
The West as a whole, and not just Europe, faces a double political challenge from religion today. One is to realize that the world is full of peoples whose genuine faith in the divine gives them a precise, revealed blueprint for political life, which means that for the foreseeable future they will not enter into the family of liberal democratic nations. Only if we give up the fantasy of a universal historical process driving all nations toward a secular modernity can we face this fact squarely and humanely.
The other challenge is to learn how to distinguish between those whose political programs are inspired by genuine faith, and those whose defense of religion is inspired by a reactionary utopianism having less to do with God than with redirecting the faulty course of history. In radical Islam we find both phenomena today, authentic faith and antimodern fanaticism, shaken together into an explosive cocktail.
And even in the United States we are witnessing the instrumentalization of religion by those who evidently care less about our souls, or even their own, than about reversing the flow of American history since the “apocalypse” of the 60’s.
– Mark Lilla
As nominalism shrinks, and secularism rises, our approaches become less effective amidst a reality where almost every church is targeting nominals…
Evangelism – Nominals vs. Nones
Most people in America are nominal Christians. About half the people in America call themselves Christians, but they don’t have any statistically discernable life change…only 25% of Americans call themselves Christians and have demonstrable engagement in that commitment. This reality, and its changing numbers, are essential to understand the future of outreach and evangelism. The challenge is that most of our church-planting efforts target the fastest shrinking segment. We are focusing on those who are nominal Christians because we think this will yield us the greatest result or provide us the easiest path to seeing people attend our church…However, the category of nominal Christians is the fastest shrinking category today. Perhaps 20 years ago, nearly 60% of the population was nominal Christian. Yet now, nominalism is declining about 1% per year…Today, most unchurched people we reach are either dechurched, formerly churched, or are a kind of nominal Christian who is not antagonistic towards church people…when we look at younger adults (specifically college students) only 30-35% would fit the same description as nominal Christians— and many more are secular…As nominalism shrinks, and secularism rises, our approaches become less effective amidst a reality where almost every church is targeting nominals…there is really no marketing-based approach that is going to significantly relate to an increasingly secular culture. We cannot plant churches among secular people in the same manner that we plant among nominals and expect the same return…As we reach nominal Christians, we need to also train people to start reaching the growing secular context…
– Ed Stetzer
Salvation is like an election. From the beginning, God decided He would not “rig” it. At the “ballot-box” of eternity, God “voted” for you to go to heaven. Satan “voted” for you to go to hell. YOUR vote “breaks the tie”!