By Elizabeth Cartier
Your steadfast love, O Lord, extends to the heavens,
your faithfulness to the clouds.
Your righteousness is like the mountains of God;
your judgments are like the great deep;
man and beast you save, O Lord.
How precious is your steadfast love, O God!
The children of mankind take refuge in the shadow of your wings.
They feast on the abundance of your house,
and you give them drink from the river of your delights.
For with you is the fountain of life;
in your light do we see light.
Psalm 36:5-9 (ESV)
What a great time I had with the Lord that cool and windy day. The clouds put on a show as you see in the photo. Our God meets us where we are and shows us more of Himself in all of creation.
His love is so big, it extends to the heaven, who know how high that is?
And His faithfulness to the clouds, how good is He to us who seek Him!
I want to encourage you to go out into nature and seek the Lord. Take the word of God with you and read it outloud, let your ears hear what the Loud is saying to you. Listen to His word, let it sink into your soul and spirit, wait on Him and listen. Give Him time. He is just waiting for you to come. He longs to commune with you, His beloved child.
The Lord met me that day by the water and gave me a tune to sing His word back to Him.
What a blessing it is to seek Him and find Him. How He loves to be found.
By Kelly Ladd Bishop
The Dialogues opened up on Thursday, October 16 with a great discussion on church and culture. The purpose of these dialogues is not necessarily to answer the questions asked, but to think together and learn from each other. We shared our own insights and experiences, while considering some thought provoking questions.
During our discussion we looked at trends in American culture, particularly that of cultural relativism, which embraces the idea that truth and ideals are given value based on their cultural context. In other words, cultural relativism allows people to define their own truth and morals. What is true for one person, doesn’t necessarily have to be true for another. We looked at some concrete examples, and considered a number of ways that various church movements have developed in response to this shift away from absolutes.
We also looked at some quotes from celebrities concerning religion, and discussed the view of the church by the “average” non-church going American. The recent events surrounding Phil Robertson of the show Duck Dynasty, served as a good illustration for some of the current tensions between certain segments of the church and the wider culture. Words commonly used to describe the church, like hateful, intolerant, and old fashioned, highlight the perception of the church and Christianity held by many Americans. We considered these, as well as a range of other reasons why people choose not to attend church.
The Barna Research Group provides the following information:
“Millennials who are opting out of church cite three factors with equal weight in their decision: 35% cite the church’s irrelevance, hypocrisy, and the moral failures of its leaders as reasons to check out of the church altogether.”
“Across age and denomination, the top two reasons people said they don’t attend church were the same:
I find God elsewhere 40%
Church isn’t relevant to me personally 35%”
(The above info is available at https://www.barna.org/barna-update/culture/661-americans-divided-on-the-importance-of-church#.VEFuCWeaOSo )
We struggled with the question of how Christians can be sensitive to the culture, engaged in the work of redemption, and genuinely passionate for the people around us, while still being faithful to the gospel of Jesus, and the wider scriptures. Within our culture, how can we balance our orthopraxy (beliefs on how to live), our ecclesiology (beliefs on how to “do” church), and our orthodoxy (beliefs about God, scripture, and theology)?
Our evening closed with a discussion of the following statement:
Many Christian churches are responding to the changes in cultural values by engaging in a culture war, but perhaps the war has already been lost.
We experienced a variety of reactions to this statement, and left with much to consider.
We had a great discussion, people shared wonderful ideas, questions, thoughts, struggles, and experiences, as we dug into these topics together. Thanks to everyone who participated!
Join us on Nov 13 for our next discussion: The Church of Tomorrow.
By Elizabeth Cartier
Jesus answered and said to her, "Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life. John 4:13,14
This long weekend I had a great privilege of taking two very special friends out at different times to listen to our Lord in the whisper by the water. One friend I have known for years and the other I just met last month at the open house.
Two different days, two different experiences. Doesn't He know what we need when we need it?
The first time out was after the rains on Saturday, the Lord cleared the storm and everything was at rest, shimmering and still. The sun even came out .
The second time out, the sky was cloudy, and the water was active. You could hear the sound of it against the rocks.
Listening to the Lord through meditating on His word (Lectio Divina) is so powerful.
He is the living water, nothing else satisfies. He desires to give us His cup of living water, but its our choice, He always lets us choose. His cup is always the best, full of His love and mercy. And when we choose His cup, it is His love flowing in us and overflowing to those around us.
His whispers are directed to our hearts, encouraging our faith. His word renews our minds.
When we take time to be still and listen, He is more then willing to speak. And when we get out in nature and see the beauty of His creation, it refreshes us in every way.
Come be refreshed at our next Whispers By The Water on Sunday, October 26th at 1:00.
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