Week of 8.31.2014
HOSTILITY OR HOPE? PART 2
Last week I shared with you some examples of the increasing hostility toward Christianity and the Christian Church. I'll not share more of those examples in this column today, but will certainly do so in the future as is appropriate to keep you alert and aware of the war on your Faith.
The fact is we should never be surprised when our faith is maligned or attacked. Jesus himself said, "If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you." (John 15:18-19)
And we must be careful not to allow the darkness of the age convince us that there is no hope for the age. Historically, the Church has always thrived in times of harassment, persecution and difficulty. The reason for that is that our hope is not in this world or it's system, our hope is in Christ alone. The presence of Christ in us, the promise of Christ to us from His Word and the prospects of heaven before us provide inspiration and dedication to purposes that are far greater than anything this present age can offer, thus our hope transcends "these light and momentary afflictions." (2 Cor. 4:17)
Now that may sound like heavier theology than much of the feel good in the moment kind of spiritual pabulum that many Christian are trying to survive on these days. You know, the kind of... look like the world, talk like the world, walk like the world and try to convince the world that we are imminently “likeable" people. A mildly "Christianized world view" that actually ends up looking more like the world than like Christ. And no, I am not talking about your physical wardrobe or legitimate changes to reach a lost world. What I am driving at is, where is your hope? Better yet, who or what is your hope in? And what hope are you offering the world?
If our hope as Christians is merely in persuading the world that we are decent and caring people, you are going to eventually be completely discouraged and disillusioned when you discover that the darkness hates the light, no matter how descent and caring it is. It always has and it always will. Jesus said, in John 3:19-20 "This, then, is the judgment: The light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than the light because their deeds were evil. For everyone who practices wicked things hates the light and avoids it, so that his deeds may not be exposed. And here is the great irony... many believers today have confused being liked, with being light, as in "you are the light of the world."
Our greatest influence on this world will not come by convincing the world that as Christians "we're okay people" or by persuading them that as Christians, we are just as "hip" as they are, only sanitized. No, our greatest influence will come through living out before the world, the Hope that distinguishes us from the hopelessness of this world. When you and I live as light in the midst of darkness we show our world that Christ is our hope and that our hope exceeds the best alternatives that culture has to offer and endures the temporary hostilities with eyes firmly fixed on eternity.
Subsequently, our attractiveness to the world, if there is any, is best revealed in the distinctiveness of our lives lived for Christ and our Hope in Him. Not in our similarity, but in our singularity, as Paul said, "For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain." (Phil. 1:21)
So, the darkness of the day doesn't negate the hope of the Christian, it only enhances and clarifies it. As John writes..."Beloved, we are God's children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure." (1 John 3:2-3)
Remember God is always trying to take you someplace new. I love being your pastor!!!
For God's Glory Alone,
CHURCH FAMILY NEWS
CHURCH FAMILY NEWS
Marriage & Family Electives | Next Sunday (9.7.2014), we will launch Marriage 101 with Chuck and Monica Locke in room D105. This class is for engaged - veteran couples. Build a strong spiritual legacy with our Parenting Class led by Dianna Byrd in D202. Register by filling out your choice on the Guest Card attached to this worship folder or online at www.rbcdothan.org. You can also just show up and join in.
Young Adult Singles | We are excited to begin the BASIC video-based study with Francis Chan next Sunday (9.7.2014) in the Acts 29 Building. If you have not yet plugged into a small group, check this one out. Fill out the Guest Card tab with this choice checked or register online at the DLife tab.
Divorced or Remarried? | Join us for Divorce Care on Sundays at 6:00 PM beginning next Sunday. We are looking for people to help expand this ministry. Fill out the attached Guest Card and check Divorce Care to get registered or sign up online in the DLife registration.
Financial Peace University | Interested in gaining financial wisdom? You need to attend the nine week class starting September 7th. Insights on current financial issues are in each lesson. I believe any graduate of FPU would agree that the material cost of $100.00 was a wise investment. Information is available at the Welcome Center.
516 NATION STUDENT MINISTRY
Breakfast Club Begins | Monday, September 8 at Atlanta Bread Company from 6:45-7:30 AM. Be sure to bring some money to enjoy the great food ABC has available. With prior notice, transportation drop off to various schools can be arranged.
Tail Gate Party | Wednesday, September 3 from 5:30-8:00 PM in the RFC. Wear your favorite school's colors and celebrate the new school year. Come join us for free games, inflatables, food (grilled hamburgers & hot dogs, plus lots more) and fun!
Discipleship Groups | All New time and all new format begins next Sunday, September 7 at 6:00 PM in the Youth area. Creative Vision Ministry Team, Puppet Ministry, Leadership Team and other courses will be available to choose from. Come see what is offered and find your place to connect while going deeper in God's word.
TRUTH SEEKERS MINISTRY
Opportunities abound in Children's Sunday School | Helpers are still needed in 2nd and 4th grade. Contact Tim Bristow at 792-9406 if you are interested in helping out.
Sunday Night Missions | RA's will meet in room E-211and GA's will meet in room E-207. 1st-5th grade, this is children's mission education including: campouts, lock-ins, service projects and fun events! Kicks off on Sunday, September 7 from 6:00-7:15PM while parents are in Evening Worship service and DiscileLife Classes. Parents, please accompany your child on the first night to fill out registration/parent child information forms.
Bible Drill Begins | September 7th for 4th-5th graders from 5:00-6:00 PM in the Kid Konnection Room (D-201). Parent's, please come with your child on Kick-Off night for a brief Parent Orientation. Children completing this course and representing RBC at the Association drill will receive a full camp scholarship, a t-shirt and a trophy. Call Carmen Pearce at 805-0244 for more info.
RECREATION FITNESS MINISTRY
Fall Golf Tourney | Join us for our Fall Golf tourney at Roundabout Golf Course on Thursday, October 2nd. It is a four person scramble with a shotgun start at 8:00 AM. Entry fee is $60 per person which includes lunch. Get your team together and sign up by September 26th. Registration forms located in Welcome Center and in the RFC. If you have questions contact Bob in the RFC.
Senior Adults | Our next Primetime gathering will be on Monday September 8th from 11:00 am till 1:00 pm in the RFC Meeting Room. Our theme this month is "College Football Is Back" so wear your favorite team's apparel and bring a tailgate type food or dessert to share. I will be providing chicken tenders, so come ready to show your team spirit and also invite a friend to come as well. Hope to see you there!