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Archive for April 2009

God is Back

That is what John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge say in their book, “God is Back: How the Global Revival of Faith is Changing the World.” I didn’t read the book, the title long enough. However, I came across an April 7th Wall Street Journal article by John and Adrian that was titled, “God Still Isn’t Dead.”

The article pointed out that religion has actually grown because of not having state sponsored religion. I would call it “religious capitalism.” They would say that a church will survive only when you get souls in the pews.

The article gave two statistics that caught my eye.
1. Did you know that 83% of the citizens in Mass. in 1683 confessed to no religious identification? So much for our country founded by only Christians. The authors explained that we as a country have come a long way from our infant years as a nation. We now have close to 75% today who claim to be Christians.

2. Did you know that a fifth of the “atheists” in a recent Pew Survey said that they believed in God. Huh? The authors believe that this statement shows that many of the atheists are more concerned about the fusion of religion and political power than really saying there is no God. They would rather call themselves an atheists than have any religious affiliation.

However, the best paragraph in this article about churches in America describes my desire for life giving churches here in Omaha.

“The churches act both as a storm shelter for people who feel overwhelmed by social change and a community for people who feel atomized. Above all, there is the search for spiritual meaning that has haunted man through the ages.”

I don’t toss and turn trying to figure out new ways to market church to the masses or how to get souls in the pews. The reality is it is people. It is “satisfied customers” reaching out to others and inviting them to a church that offers hope, a storm shelter, a relational connection and a place to find spiritual meaning through Jesus Christ!

May the campuses of Christ Community be that place of hope, shelter, relationships with God and others. May you and I tell others about a place where, “no perfect people are allowed.”

On the journey,
Steve Walters
Sarpy Campus Pastor

Trying to Understand Bad News

There are times when you read the news and move on in life. Then there are other times when the news impacts you internally. This past week I was punched because of the news. On one page in the Omaha World Herald [yes I still like to hold a newspaper in my hand rather than read online] there were articles on the 13 killed at an immigration office in New York state, the three police officers killed at a domestic dispute between a mom and son about a dog that had urinated on the carpet, and the man who killed his family and himself because his wife was leaving him for another man. When you take those stories and add the murder in Elkhorn of a 49 year old man by his 19 year old son and the murder-suicide in Dundee, my head and heart was heavy.

Yet, as I write this blog, I have a good friend who is losing his battle with cancer. He has been saying for the past week he is ready to go home, that he has ran a good race. Guess what, my heart and head isn’t heavy whenever I go and visit Jim in the hospital.

Why is that? Hope.

Not that I hope bad people will be prevented from doing bad things. I have hope because I know that Jesus is alive. When I view these news articles, I need to look at everything with an “Holy Week” perspective. I know that Jesus died on the cross for my sins and I know that He rose from the dead and is alive. I know that I will see Jim in heaven and we have the hope and promise of eternal life.

Christ Community Church and other life-giving churches offer hope. That is what Easter week is about – telling or reminding others that there is hope. Please invite others to join with you in going to church to get a fresh dose of hope.

With all the news we read, hear and see – I’m sure you agree. Hope is needed.

My good friend Dusty sent me this suggesting reading to prepare for Easter. I encourage you to spend 15-30 minutes each day through Sunday reading and meditating on these verses.

Thursday (April 9, 2009)
-Lord’s supper (MATTHEW 26:26-30)
-Jesus prays in Gethsemane (MATTHEW 26:36-43)
Friday (April 10, 2009)
-Pilate surrenders Jesus to death (LUKE 23:1-25)
-While on the cross, Jesus gives 7 remarks in 6 hours
-Pardon (LUKE 23:34)
-Promise (LUKE 23:43)
-Care (JOHN 19:26,27)
-Despair (MATTHEW 27:46)
-Exhaustion (JOHN 19:28)
-Victory (JOHN 19:30)
-Death (LUKE 23:46)

Saturday, (April 11, 2009)
-Disciples respect the sabbath (LUKE 23:55,56)
-The guard at the tomb (MATTHEW 27:62-66)

Easter Sunday, (April 12, 2009)
-The Resurrection (LUKE 24:1-12)

On the journey,
Steve Walters
CCC-Sarpy Campus Pastor

More Comments…

“Certainly expanded my knowledge and thoughts of the creation account, to say the least.” – Mike

“Very intriguing! Much of this was new to me – especially Dr. Ross’ thoughts on Job. I’ll purchase a book! Thanks for the free magazine too! – Laura

“Thanks for bringing an approach to a subject I’ve never heard before! – Cyndi

“Good stuff. Will fuel further productive talks with friends.” – Carol

“Thanks for allowing this view of creation and science to be heard. As a long-time believer who always was taught a literal 7 day view despite the fossil record, Its great to see the harmony of nature w/ God’s word. (I can now watch the Discovery Channel guilt-free!) – Danna

“Thank you for bringing Dr. Ross for his presentation. I work with atheists and Darwinists and am glad to be able now to discuss things better.” – Amy

“Thanks for bringing Dr. Ross in as a speaker especially in response to the promotion of Darwinism here in Omaha (Dawkins). We are young earth holders, but still found a lot of value in Dr. Ross’s talks and his explanation of ‘yom’.” – Mike

“Hugh was very interesting and the controversy was very over-blown about what he is teaching.” – Lori

“We really appreciated the speakers this weekend. It has made us more interested in studying the bible and how science is supportive of faith. Praise God!” – Brad

“Wow. This was an amazing message. This was a great step in my spiritual journey. THANK YOU!” – Ruby