Church Blog

Good morning everyone!! How Lewis Created “What I owe to [the Inklings] is incalculable. Is there any pleasure on earth as great as a circle of Christian friends by a good fire?” - C. S. Lewis As we’ve seen modeled in the life of C. S. Lewis, reimagining our work as a calling from God changes our motivations for creating and the products we choose to create. As we’ll see today, following God’s call to create also changes how we create. The Bible offers a tremendous amount of insight into how we as Christians should work: We should work with excellence, integrity, diligence, and graciousness. But what’s often overlooked is the need to create in community with other believers. For those of us who choose to follow the call to create, we must surround ourselves with fellow Christian creators who can help “renew our minds” (Romans 12:2) with eternal perspective as we create. Again, C. S. Lewis provides a model for what this looks like. During the 1930s and 1940s, Oxford was home to some of the world’s greatest Christian minds, including Charles Williams, Hugo Dyson, Owen Barfield, and most famously, J. R. R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, and his brother Warnie Lewis. This group of friends, known simply as the Inklings, shared a love of the Lord and literature, each of them following God’s call to create through their writings. But they did not create in isolation. For nearly two decades, the group met on a near-weekly basis to read aloud their latest writings, get feedback from the other members of the group, and help renew each other’s minds with regards to their Christian faith. Without constant communion with other believers to refresh their eternal perspectives, Tolkien may have never completed The Lord of the Rings and Lewis may have never finished The Chronicles of Narnia. Like these creators before us, we need regular communion with our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ to renew our minds and refresh the lenses through which we view the world as we create. If our work is to feel like a vocation—a true calling on our lives—we must be willing to follow the example of C. S. Lewis and reimagine our work as service to God and others. When we do, we will find the lordship of the True Aslan, Jesus Christ, changing our motivations for creating, the products we choose to create, and how we go about creating them, in community with others following the call to create. Proverbs 27:17

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Oct 9th at 8:08am


Good morning everyone! From your "sit place with God," embracing His presence in truth and grace, may you welcome the freedom of forgiveness in your life and in your relationships. Forgiveness is for you, in order to overflow in influence to others, and to free you to live to the fullness in your whole being and fulfill your destiny. Living forgiven is freedom! You can only be forgiven by the blood of Jesus. Nothing else. Jesus bore your sins on the cross so that you might be forgiven. Receive and believe that you are forgiven by the blood of Jesus. Forgiving yourself, others, and sometimes even God is essential as you journey through life. There is no way that as you passage through life that you will not be wounded and disappointed. Forgiveness is required to do life well in every relationship. Forgive as God has forgiven you. Remember, trust and forgiveness are very separate issues. Whether the person is trustworthy or not, you can forgive. Trust God to avenge those that have hurt you. Forgiveness is necessary for your well-being. Live forgiven! Forgive freely! Reflection First, write down in your journal whom do I need to forgive? Second, write down what do I need to forgive them for? Third, meet Jesus at the cross, and visualize the person at the cross. With God's grace, offer forgiveness to that person. You might say, "I forgive you, ________" (filling in the blank), until all has been offered in forgiveness and you hear the words of God to you: You are forgiven! Colossians 3:13

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Oct 8th at 8:52am


Good morning everyone! From your "sit place with God," know that He is the God of all Grace. He is both the God of Truth and God of Grace. Choose to embrace Him in both of these attributes in your life situations. As the God of Grace, He accepts, loves, and values you unconditionally because of the work of Jesus at the cross. You are loved, always acceptable, and worthy to be loved and accepted by the God of all Grace, only because of Jesus and His blood sacrifice. There is no work you need to do to get His love or acceptance. When He says He loves you it is because of His grace through the blood of Jesus. Nothing is required from you for Him to love you every day, eternally. It is absolutely imperative you sit in your "sit place with God," to breathe in and believe in this truth until it is secure in your heart. This is grace! There is a second grace: you need the grace of God to live your life. It is only with the help of the grace of God that you can live your life: loved, forgiven, accepted, and loving and forgiving others. From this position of His loving you unconditionally—no work from you needed—it is His desire that you love yourself, live truthfully free, and love others with the same love He shows you. God offers His all-sufficient grace, trusting that you will join your will with His grace and experience His love and acceptance, and then do what He speaks to your heart and mind that will set you free and love others deeply from the heart. Live loved! Love freely! Reflection First, practice from your "sit place with God," meditating on "He loves me." Listen to what you see in images, what you feel, what it looks like, breathing in and believing in "He loves me." Do this as often as you can. Second, consider which of the 4 P's (performing, pleasing, perfecting, and pretending) block you in believing and receiving "He loves me" unconditionally. Third, choose to embrace His grace and your will and do one thing that He is speaking to your heart right now. For example, call a friend, replace a lie with truth, exercise, or forgive. John 1:17

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Oct 7th at 7:43am


Good morning everyone! Why Lewis Created “One of the dangers of having a lot of money is that you may be quite satisfied with the kinds of happiness money can give, and so fail to realize your need for God. If everything seems to come simply by signing checks, you may forget that you are at every moment totally dependent on God.” - C. S. Lewis Do our motivations for creating matter to God? Proverbs 16:2 tells us that, “All a person’s ways seem pure to them, but motives are weighed by the Lord.” The world tells us that the purpose of work is to accumulate fame and fortune for ourselves. The meta-narrative of work today is that it is the primary means by which we make a name for ourselves in this life and prove to the world that we are important, valuable, and worthy. For the Christian, the work of Jesus Christ should be the ultimate measure of value of our life, not the relative fame and fortune we accumulate through our work. C. S. Lewis appears to have understood this truth deeply. Even at the height of his success as an author, Lewis never appeared to clamor for the spotlight, and he lived a relatively modest lifestyle. After Lewis’s death in 1963, people came out of the woodwork to share how incredibly generous Lewis was with his wealth. As Lewis’s stepson, Douglas Gresham, put it in his excellent book, Lenten Lands, “No tramp or beggar would be turned away empty-handed by [Lewis]. Although convinced of his own poverty, he would gladly give to anyone who asked." Ever since Adam and Eve bit into the forbidden apple in the Garden of Eden, we have been trying to cover up our sin nature, not with fig leafs, but with our accomplishments. We think that if we become a millionaire, sign a record deal, get 100,000 Instagram followers, or write a classic novel like The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, then we’ll be able to mask our human condition. Essentially, we use our work as a means of saving ourselves. But as Christians, we know that the work of salvation is complete and that brings an entirely different motivation to our work! Because Jesus said, “It is finished,” we no longer have to use our work as a means of saving ourselves. Like Lewis, the gospel frees us to create for the pure joy of creating, not seeking fortune or fame, but the fame of the One who has called us to create. Proverbs 16:2

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Oct 5th at 5:10am


Good morning everyone! Freedom Over Our Addictions Have you ever wondered what it takes to successfully fight addiction? In the story of Les Miserables, Jean Valjean is constantly pursued and bothered by his nemesis Javert. In a twist of fate, towards the end of the play (or movie), Valjean is given a knife and finally given the opportunity for revenge. Javert says, “You’ve hungered for this all your life. Take your revenge with a knife.” To everyone’s surprise, Valjean cuts the binds and sets Javert free. Freedom is a powerful thing, and it’s exactly the type of thing we need from our addictions. Ultimately, Jesus has purchased our freedom with his blood. Here’s a few ways to apply that as we fight our addictions. First, we need to manage our stress better. If we minimize our stress, the need for addiction is weakened. One way to do this is to put things into perspective. God is in control and He loves you. That means God has a purpose and a plan for you even when life feels hard. Second, we need to be aware of our emotions. Our feelings can lead us into destructive habits if we let them dictate our actions. Emotions are like a warning system, telling us that something might not be right. As long as we bring our emotions to God, we won’t run towards our addictions to soothe them. Third, recognize that addictions affect our entire lives. They’re not only damaging spiritually, but also relationally, financially, and professionally. Addiction is difficult to conquer, but continuing our addictions takes more effort and will continually effect your life negatively. Trust God’s plan for your life. Fourth, and most importantly, confess to God your addiction and sin as soon as possible. Confession takes the sting, power, and secret out of addiction. Reaching out to someone to help you fight is one of the best available weapons. If you are having trouble identifying or stopping, ask those closest to you or seek professional coaching and guidance. If you have a substance issue, a medical facility might be necessary. Call our Lighthouse Network Helpline at 844-Life-Change (844-543-3242) and we will find a Christian option for your situation. Matthew 6:25-33

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Oct 3rd at 7:41am


Good morning everyone! Identifying Your Own Addiction Maybe you’re asking yourself: Where do I go from here? Addiction comes with both good and bad news. Confused? Read on. The bad news is that we are all addicted to something. Yep, everyone’s addicted to something. Everyone’s looking to fill an empty space that can only be filled by God. Left to ourselves and to our efforts, we’d all be left feeling empty and lacking. The bad news in a nutshell? It’s impossible for you to find complete peace and wholeness on your own. But, despite the bad news, the good news is really good. God has given us Jesus Christ. Through Christ, God has weakened the grip of all our addictions. And as we recognize what Jesus has done for us, our addictions gradually lose their power with the help of the Holy Spirit. The first step in this process is recognizing our own addictions. Here are some questions to help you recognize patterns of addiction: What situations cause me to be uncomfortable? This is the trigger that causes feelings of discomfort or stress. These situations lead us to seek out our addictions to make us feel better. What emotions or feelings are the most uncomfortable for me to sit with? The role of the addiction and your addiction object would be to soothe this discomfort. We each have certain feelings that scare us or make us feel exposed to more potential hurt. We want to soothe it and get immediate relief ASAP. Our addiction object is our quick fix. What wrong decisions would I like to hit a rewind button and do all over again? These are our addiction objects. They could be substance use, temper tantrum, gossiping, lying, people-pleasing, porn, sex, isolation, work, controlling behavior, verbal manipulation, gambling, exercise, eating, and so many more. What would a godly perspective of this situation look like, or what would God say to me to help me? This helps us step back and evaluate the situation knowing God is in control, loves us, and has a loving purpose for the situation in our life. He will also provide peace, soothing, relief from our burden, and power over temptation. Recognizing concrete addiction objects are easy. Uncovering behavioral addiction objects can be a bit trickier. Through intentional self-reflection, using these tips will help you see God’s loving purpose while accessing His deep healing for your life. Psalm 32:3-5

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Oct 1st at 11:34am


Good morning everyone! How Does Someone Get Addicted? Have you ever seen “Sharknado”—the first, second, or both? We devote an entire week to sharks, which gets Discovery Channel’s highest ratings of the year. Our culture loves a good shark story. What captivates us most about those movies and TV shows is exploring below the surface and seeing the sharks in the complex world of the sea. In many ways, in order to properly understand addictions, we need to do the same thing—go below the surface and attempt to understand addiction’s complex world. Many people think addictions are shallow, but as we have discussed, their roots are much deeper. Addictions are when we pursue or worship anything other than God to meet our needs. What might those needs be? Usually needs arise out of “stressors.” Stressors are any event, person, situation, thought, or feeling that takes you out of your comfort zone. Some stressors can be positive —starting a new school year, sport, relationship, or hobby. These changes are good, but with them comes new pressures and expectations. Some stressors can be negative—anxiety, sadness, depression, peer pressure, or insecurity. These feelings can arise from a variety of situations. Maybe you’re not getting along with your parents or siblings. Maybe you got a bad grade on a test, or just broke up with your boyfriend or girlfriend. Sometimes these bad stressors persist over time, and deepen. This can cause confusion, lack of purpose, lost identity, or uncertainty about God. We are made in God’s image. Because of this, we must deal with our stressors in the way that God, our designer, has made us to, rather than allowing our stressors lead us to addiction. God has built us in a way such that our ultimate happiness and relief can only be found in Him. All other solutions are temporary, and in many cases we will be worse off than when we started. If we pursue temporary solutions rather than taking our stressors to God, we will develop idols and addictions. Ultimately, God has provided the best solution to our pain—the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Isaiah 26:3

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Sep 28th at 5:36am


Good morning everyone! Addiction Defined by God In 2015, Female Ultimate Fighting Championship fighter Ronda Rousey dominated headlines and the UFC cage. As one sports analyst put it, “She found a definition of herself, and she really liked what she found.” Then she fought Holly Holm. Seemingly unbeatable Ronda Rousey was knocked out and lost. Her life spiraled into a deep depression. She said, “What am I anymore if I’m not this?” She lost her identity. Why? Throughout the Bible, people are seen worshipping idols. When I say the word “idol,” maybe you think of an ancient statue or something. An idol is anything we place a higher value on than God. We see this in the first commandment, “Have no other Gods but me” (Exodus 20:3). God, through His Word, connects these two concepts of addiction and idolatry. Ultimately, addiction is a spiritual and idolatrous issue. Let's see how addiction relates to idolatry. First, addiction and idolatry both occur when something or someone other than God has power over us. When we’re addicted, we give more value or importance to something or someone than it deserves. Nothing other than God should have ultimate power over us. Second, addiction and idolatry happen when something masters us. When something or someone dictates our behavior, we might have fallen into addiction and idolatry. We also might deliberately change our behavior to be more acceptable to someone. These are also signs of addiction and idolatry. Third, addiction and idolatry take place when we worship or glorify something other than God. Where do you spend the majority of your time? Social media? Why does it feel like death when someone takes your phone away? What do you spend most of your money on? What do you give most of your energy or effort to? All of these questions can be helpful in discerning an addiction or idol. Thinking back to yesterday’s medical definition, and combining it with today’s biblical definition, here’s a fuller definition of addiction: pursuing something other than God in a repetitive, habitual, or patterned way to get our needs met and bring us comfort, even though it’s harmful to us. When you face adversity or stress, what do you run to? Where do you find relief or comfort? Your answers may reveal your idols and addictions. Ezekiel14:3-8

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Sep 26th at 4:05am


Good morning everyone! Let’s continue with the addiction theme... What Is an Addiction? We all know that addiction can be fatal. But did you know that deaths resulting from addiction tops that of heart disease and cancer? Some common deaths resulting from addictions are more obvious to us than others—like heroin, drunk driving, tobacco, and alcohol use, while other less obvious addictions like food—that can lead to obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and stroke—we tend to overlook. Addictions affect us not only physically, but also psychologically and spiritually. Let’s spend a bit of time pulling back the curtain on addictions to save our body, mind, and spirit. Addictions fall into two main categories: Substance addictions—these involve chemicals. Common examples are alcohol, caffeine, marijuana, cocaine, heroin, and prescription meds. Process addictions—these involve our behavior. Common process addictions include gambling, pornography, shopping, and exercise. The medical diagnosis of addiction lists these 11 symptoms: Failing main duties at school, home, or work Continuing despite physical harm Frequent cravings or strong desire to use the substance or engage the behavior Frequent social or relationship problems Need more to get the same effect Withdrawal symptoms Using larger amounts or spending more time on the substance or behavior than intended Failed efforts in stopping Significant amount of time, energy, and thought regarding the substance or behavior Time spent on substance or behavior is more than time spent on social, work, or fun activities Continued use despite many harmful consequences Do you see any of the symptoms above in you or a friend? 0-1: No problem 2-3: Mild 4-5: Moderate >6: Severe Simply put, addiction is when something is harming you in some way and you can’t stop doing it. Addiction controls and harms you. No one begins using a harmful substance or behavior hoping it will take control over them. Yet, so often we let these things do just that. Take a look at yourself for a minute. What substance or behavior in your life, if taken away, would make life stressful for you? Would God still be enough for you? Romans 7:15-25 Ephesians 5:18-20

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Sep 25th at 6:44am


Good morning everyone! Is Addiction a Sin, Disease, or Psychological Defect? In the classic movie series Ice Age, we meet a crazy squirrel named Scrat. All throughout the movies he can be seen chasing after an acorn that he can never get. Many people would jokingly describe Scrat as obsessed, or an acorn addict. Maybe your parents are addicted to coffee like Scrat is addicted to that acorn. We often joke about addiction, but it actually can be very serious. Addiction affects our spirit, mind, and body. Spiritual effect—An addict ultimately replaces God as the center of their life with something or someone else. Mind effect—Repeated patterns of poor decision-making makes the addiction stronger and disrupts your thinking. Body effect—Consequences from our poor decisions cause stress and anxiety. SPECT and MRI scans show how this disrupts and rewires our brain circuitry. A better way to understand how these three things relate is by thinking of a computer. Our brain is like the hardware—the screen, mouse, hard drive, wires, etc. Our mind is like the operating system—it makes decisions and tells the hardware how to process and output information. Our spirit connects us to God in the same way the computer owner chooses whether or not to follow the designer’s instructions or plan. God is like the designer and manufacturer of the computer. The computer works best when the hardware is working properly and our operating system is updated. The same thing goes for cell phones. Can you imagine if you tried to run an iPhone on an Android operating system? It wouldn’t work! Why? Because the entire machine is meant to operate in a specific way. Our life works best when the mind, body, and spirit are all working within God’s plan and design. Regularly choosing something other than God is a defect in mind and body and is sin. It becomes an addiction when it becomes a regular pattern. Mark 15:30

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Sep 24th at 4:47am