In our region of the country, more than 25% of people consider themselves irreligious and most of those were church attendees at one time. But something happened. They quit believing. They started asking adult questions about their childhood faith and were left stranded with an incoherent concept of God; who went the way of Santa Claus in their minds. What if though, that god was the wrong god to begin with?
Do we need God anymore? Some say yes, but they don’t always live like it. Some say no, but find God difficult to completely dismiss. For some, the question is more: do we need religion? More Americans than ever are backing away from religion––and consequently, God. Is it because atheism is all that attractive or because religion is less so?
What's better than a celebration? There are so many exciting things that have happened this past year at Immanuel and we feel it's worth celebrating! You're invited to hear this Sunday, August 27, all about how God has blessed our church and is using us to touch the lives of ALL OUR NEIGHBORS, ALL OUR REGION, ALL FOR JESUS.
We are careful with our investments. We always want to rest assured of their growth and return. So we hire smart people to help us make wise decisions, ensuring that rest. We trust them and their ability to do something with our money...and so we give them our hard-earned cash. Not so much with the church. We don’t fully trust them or the return on investment. Don’t worry, most people feel the same way. The problem is we’re giving to the wrong thing if we’re giving to the church. What if we gave to God instead? Because his ROI is a guarantee. With him, we can trust the give.
Our society loves community and connectedness. This is why social media drains more battery from our phones than any other app. It’s why we buy things based on user reviews and comments instead of price and research. It’s why we text people who aren’t with us while we have people with us. And the best part? We are who we want to be. And yet, we’re lonely and collectively, we feel less known than any generation before us. Jesus calls us to a different way...a better way. Jesus calls us to refuse to solo and join an ensemble.
For centuries people have been trying to live like Jesus and they've employed all kinds of tactics to do so. Most of these tactics involve volumes of reading and hours of classes, leading to tons of knowledge about God. Unfortunately, we've forgotten that being like Jesus is more about being than knowing. And Jesus? He didn't bring a clipboard, He brought a towel...serving others.
How many opportunities in your life have you missed out on because you were too scared to ask? May I borrow your...? Are you available Friday night? Will you come with me to...? The list is probably long. Next question: how many people are not sitting in church this week because you were too scared to invite them? Too often, that list is even longer. If we want to make our church their church, we have to Make The Ask.
They're late...again. That person is a part of everyone's life, aren't they? They can't seem to ever get to wherever it is they're going on time. For some, they're late to faith, too. They've heard about it, they maybe even grew up in it, but they just haven't "shown up" yet. Good news: there was one Ragamuffin who was a Johnny-Come-Lately too...and he wrote most of the New Testament!
Have you ever felt that your story doesn't measure up? Your story isn't exciting; it doesn't have a big "Come to Jesus" moment; and you've been going to church your entire life. The problem is that we're comparing our stories when we should be comparing something else...something that will change the equation entirely. Just know that Jesus' band of Ragamuffins included the "day-ones."