CTPress February 14, 2020

In a couple of weeks, Lent begins, and with it, a sermon series I am very
excited about. Frequently, it seems like Christians have an easy answer for
some of life’s more difficult issues. That is due, in part, to our discomfort
with particular subjects, and also the fact that some of life’s challenges are
hard, and we hate the idea of people struggling.

There are plenty of topics I could have picked and narrowing it down was
not easy. I chose issues that are important to us now, issues that affect the
majority of us in some way. The series is called “Facing Faithing Our Fears,”
and I will address addiction, suicide/mental health, intimacy, disease, and
grief. That will take us to Palm Sunday, where will focus on the Passion of
Christ.

I’m still praying about how to address these topics. There are several things
I don’t want to do. I want my messages those Sundays to be based on
Scripture, but I don’t want to simply throw verses at these issues. I don’t
want to explain away the problems, nor do I wish to over-simplify these matters. I am not interested in blame-shifting, shaming people, or demeaning those for whom these issues are significant and challenging.

Some thirty years ago or so I spent spring break in Chicago on a mission trip
to an urban ministry setting. One night, a group of us collected homeless
people and got them into shelters. It was sub zero weather, and the people
we helped would have likely died from exposure. In the van, I got into a
conversation with one of the gentlemen. I told him why I was in Chicago
and how the trip connected to my faith in Christ. He asked me what I
thought he should do, and I told him (very naively, I might add), to “turn it
over to Jesus.” His response was pointed and angry, “Turn it over and then
what? THEN WHAT?” Since that day I have tried to be genuine about my
faith. The good times are good, the hard times are hard, and we must learn
to find Christ in the midst of them.

I hope you are excited about this series. I invite you to pray for me and all
who are connected with planning worship. This series feels important and
special. I am hoping we are able to reach people with the gospel in a way
that is meaningful and helpful.

I hope we are able to answer the question, “Then what?”

Blessings,

Pastor John