Back-to-School Again

August 28, 2009 in News

“These are the times that try men’s souls.”  — Thomas Paine

Such words aptly describe our position as we charge full-steam into the darkness: it’s a hideous world of hatred and alienation against Jesus, the atmosphere is thick with deceit, and it’s a love-killing world. Who dares stand out as a target?

Scars wait for those who love in this realm, and there will be many scars this year. Yet love is the only way to win: “Love never fails!” the Bible says, and Jesus proved it. But in a world where “the Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it,” even the love of Jesus was opposed viciously (John 1:5).

Will we lead them into a victorious Christian life?

Comfort and tribalism is so attractive for Christians because we know “that the Light came into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil.” (John 3:19) When it’s scary out there, it seems far-easier to lay down and rest comfortably with friends.

But personal peace and affluence is the most dangerous position, because:

“While they are saying, ‘Peace and safety!’ then destruction will come upon them suddenly…But you, brethren, are not in darkness…you are all sons of light and sons of day. We are not of night nor of darkness; so then let us not sleep as others do, but let us be alert and sober!” (1 Thess. 5:4)

There is only one direction: plunging straight into the darkness, where Jesus already lead the way:

For of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace…grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ.  John 1:16-17

Better words never described this fellowship: “we have all received grace upon grace!” The combination of “grace and truth” wins, for sure, because that’s how each of us were won, and nobody was reached by scared, comfortable Christians.

The Fall

So began the opening salvo of our new frontier: “His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace!” The world watches Christians and asks:

Is this the value of our existence?
Should we proclaim with such persistence?
Our destiny relies on conscience.
Red or blue–what’s the difference?
Stand or fall! State your peace tonight! – The Fixx

Christians helped create the “red or blue” political divisions in America (“red” are conservative states, “blue” are liberal states). But what happened to the “grace and truth” message? So much needs to be said, and so few are saying it.

What is your burden this fall?

“Stand or fall! State your peace tonight!” the world challenges us: What is your message? Most Christians choke on the question, isn’t this true?

If you look at things in-motion this fall, it’s clear “stand or fall” is our issue:

  • Baptisms begin on September 13th at West Branch State Park (near Ravenna >> see the park info), but will these young Christians have the spiritual muscle to “State your peace tonight!”

    Baptisms at West Branch - click to see more pics

  • Word is booming with excitement and growth, but how many will say they discovered “grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ” this year? What will happen when spiritual opposition, division or persecution hits?
  • The Identity Project at KSU (formerly the CBS) is all-new this year, starting at least 25-strong, with more coming from Columbus (and Cincinnati?) to join the effort. But KSU is where “men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil,” so “stand or fall” is a very real choice for these students.
  • The Yoerger and Howell/Morscher adult groups are shedding light into a population where “they are saying, ‘Peace and safety!’”  But will they “not sleep as others do,” but “be alert and sober” instead?
  • The post-college groups (Michalek and Hughes) are entering life-changing events like careers, marriages, and new families, all of which is migrating toward the American Dream where “the darkness did not comprehend it.” Will they remember “His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace,” as these new pressures build?

Standing

Really, Christians everywhere need to “stand or fall” now. It’s so difficult to impact today’s world with the Christian message, so garbled it is. So we are taking significant steps toward “standing” as “sons of light and sons of day”…

  1. On Labor Day Weekend at East Harbor, on Saturday evening we will discuss at-length these new ministries and initiatives. Be sure to attend the pot luck, it will not disappoint!
  2. New leaders will be recognized at the Baptisms. There are several of these hard-working, unappreciated servants in our midst, and the Bible says we need to recognize them and “appreciate those who diligently labor among you,” and “esteem them very highly in love.” (1 Thess. 5:11-12)
  3. We are trying to reach young Millennial-Generation Christians before they get swallowed-up by this darkness. They could become great allies. The effort has begun at the NeoZine, RevolutionaryJoy.org, the Identity Project (soon online), and other online media like Podcasts. But it will expand at the colleges and high school(s), which in-turn opens doors for the post-college and adult ministries.
  4. Another Basic Doctrine class begins this fall to equip the many new believers who need to stand up and spread “grace and truth” in their world.
  5. We  will study Ephesians at CT, meeting every week again. This book is a potent and powerful tool in our efforts to spread freedom and light into this darkness.

There are so many other initiatives underway, it would be better to discuss them as a group at East Harbor. But please be alert and aware of this: the spiritual turbulence is fully underway now!

3 responses to Back-to-School Again

  1. It is so easy to forget just how great the grace is that we have received in full. The tendency to default to rules is strong – so deceptive – beyond destructive.

    Not only must we stand else we fall – but we must be vigilant to spy out weakness in our own characters – allow God to create our hearts anew. We must fight for one another – even if it means ruffling some feathers.

    Frankly, this both excites me and terrifies me, but the pain of change and standing firm is so worth it.

    BTW – what time our baptisms – we are out of town that weekend for a wedding.

  2. yeahhh identity project is going awesome

  3. Baptisms: 1-6 PM on 9/13. Great point, Lisa: “fight for one another,” as Paul says:

    Colossians 1:28-29 (NASB) We proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, so that we may present every man complete in Christ.
    For this purpose also I labor, striving according to His power, which mightily works within me.

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