With apologies to the Bay City Rollers, we finally kicked off Saturday night services at Ecclesia last night. There's still a little bit of leg room to go around, which is encouraging to see. Then again, I managed to watch from the lofty perch of the AV team section, doing my darndest to get comfortable with ProPresenter (good program, really ... I just consider Mac products to be of the devil). The message was covering another part of the book of James and came at a time when Ecclesia celebrated it's 11th birthday as a church.
26-27 Anyone who sets himself up as "religious" by talking a good game is self-deceived. This kind of religion is hot air and only hot air. Real religion, the kind that passes muster before God the Father, is this: Reach out to the homeless and loveless in their plight, and guard against corruption from the godless world.
1-4 My dear friends, don't let public opinion influence how you live out our glorious, Christ-originated faith. If a man enters your church wearing an expensive suit, and a street person wearing rags comes in right after him, and you say to the man in the suit, "Sit here, sir; this is the best seat in the house!" and either ignore the street person or say, "Better sit here in the back row," haven't you segregated God's children and proved that you are judges who can't be trusted?
5-7 Listen, dear friends. Isn't it clear by now that God operates quite differently? He chose the world's down-and-out as the kingdom's first citizens, with full rights and privileges. This kingdom is promised to anyone who loves God. And here you are abusing these same citizens! Isn't it the high and mighty who exploit you, who use the courts to rob you blind? Aren't they the ones who scorn the new name—"Christian"—used in your baptisms?
The translation generally used at Ecclesia is Chris Seay's The Voice, but since it's not yet included as a BibleGateway translation, I'll use Eugene Peterson's The Message. Either way, I think it's safe to say that each and every week has been a pleasant reminder of what a great place Ecclesia is to grow in.
Lastly, I should probably go ahead and note my regrets over the slowness of blogging in days/weeks past and set the expectation that things might be about as slow between now and Election Day in November. Yep, the day job is now even more of a 24/7 calling. High School football ... college football ... the NFL ... catching up on reading ... catching up on missed sermon podcasts ... breaking out the guitar to annoy the neighbors with ... all things that have been gradually fading from the list of things I get to enjoy. Look for a little make-up time with some of these after the votes have been counted.
But since I'm here now, why not share a few good reads from the past few days ...
Houston Chronicle: Texans GM Smith gets help from above
The New Yorker: Inside C Street, Washington’s frat house for Jesus
OnFaith: Obama, Beck: Who is Christian? Who decides?
Christian Post: Clark Pinnock Dies at 73
WESH (Orlando): Granddaughter Of Mega-Church Pastor Succumbs To Cancer
The last article references the grand-daughter of one of my faves: Joel Hunter.