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15 Responses

  1. Duane Arnold says:

    “I will have nothing to do with a God who cares only occasionally. I need a God who is with us always, everywhere, in the deepest depths as well as the highest heights. It is when things go wrong, when good things do not happen, when our prayers seem to have been lost, that God is most present. We do not need the sheltering wings when things go smoothly. We are closest to God in the darkness, stumbling along blindly.”
    ― Madeleine L’Engle

  2. Michael says:

    She was a brilliant writer.

    I will take it by faith that she was speaking a spiritual truth with this statement…

  3. Chris A says:

    Michael,

    I found this to be an uplifting article and thought you may be interested…..

    https://stream.org/cold-water-eden-surfers-spread-the-love-of-christ/

  4. Michael says:

    Chris A,

    Thanks…that was an excellent piece…sent it to my godson as well…

  5. Officerhoppy says:

    “ It is when things go wrong, when good things do not happen, when our prayers seem to have been lost, that God is most present.”

    From experience, when thing go wrong or don’t happen, when my prayers seem to go straight to message machine, God seems absent and I never feel more alone.

    I have felt alone a lot lately. Maybe I expect too much from God.

  6. Michael says:

    Officerhoppy,

    There is no doubt in my mind that the lack of tangible responses to earnest prayer is the single most difficult aspect of the faith.

    The Lord has enabled me to hang on despite the discouragement one often has.

    My view of God hasn’t changed, but it has changed my view of the Scriptures…

  7. Officerhoppy says:

    Unfortunately, I don’t trust him like I used to and my faith in the confident application of the imperatives of scripture has lessened.

    Trying to change that attitude. Don’t know how to do that other thanI deny my experience and just chose to change my mind about him.

    Being honest

  8. The New Victor says:

    I’ve always expected to suffer and struggle, and when things go right I feel like I’m walking a tight rope. I don’t know what that makes me… I just hope and pray that God takes care of my kids if I croak early.

  9. Pineapple Head says:

    Ha, me too TNV!

  10. bob1 says:

    I thought this was a very refreshing meditation on the importance of
    “ordinary church” with ordinary people.

    “For 11 years now, my family has attended a very ordinary church. The building is nondescript, with clean, old red carpet, furniture donated when members were upgrading their living rooms and various works of mediocre spiritual art.

    “The service is standard, with a call to worship and a prayer of confession and some hymns that soar and others that stumble. The people are your everyday sorts, with teachers and plumbers and electricians and secretaries sitting in the pews.

    “I write that it is all ordinary, but of course, as C.S. Lewis once put it, “There are no ordinary people.” The only people we encounter are those created in the image of God, those formed and shaped with the purpose of participating in God’s work of redemptive love in and among us. And so, when those very ordinary people gather for an ordinary service in an ordinary building on an ordinary Sunday morning, it can become something quite extraordinary.

    “Our pastor was out of town a few weeks ago, so she asked me to lead the service. I stood up front and looked to the pews as Joan, age 89, passed Communion to our daughter Marilee, age 12. Nearly eight decades apart, they looked each other in the eye before they shared the broken body and blood of Christ. When I stood in the pulpit to receive people’s prayer requests, I noticed a visiting family with a daughter with Down syndrome.

    “Our daughter Penny is 17, and she also has Down syndrome. In the past few years, our congregation has welcomed a toddler with autism and other teenagers with intellectual disabilities. And here a new family sat, another unexpected indication that after years of this church welcoming Penny without any fanfare or special programs, other families with kids with disabilities might find this a safe and welcoming place, too.”

    https://religionnews.com/2023/06/02/hillsong-was-extraordinary-thats-the-problem/

  11. Michael says:

    Duane, bob1…both interesting pieces…thank you.

  12. Officerhoppy says:

    Great article Bob!

  13. Josh says:

    The Hillsong article is interesting, but I disagree with a few points:
    1. The article and Hulu documentary paint Carl Lentz as having threatened Brian Houston’s power, and thus, ousted. I don’t see this as accurate. Carl Lentz was involved in many extra marital affairs, and once exposed, was fired. This is how we would want it handled. It doesn’t take away from Brian Houston’s problems, and those came to roost a short time later. But Lentz was his own problem, and I have no problem with how his firing was initially handled. As we found out, he was just part of a sick system.
    2. Small, normal, ordinary church breed all kinds of narcissism and abuse. It would seem to be a good guard against the abusive stuff from mega-churches, but it hasn’t proven true.

  14. Captain Kevin says:

    Josh, based on personal experience, I totally agree with your second point. I was part of a very small church about 30 years ago that was, at best, on the fringe of being a cult, and run by a tyrant.

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