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