A team of scientists are headed to a northern area of Siberia appropriately named, “Yamal,” which is translated ”The End of The World.” The reason? They found a 250 foot wide gaping hole in the ground.
I have only three explanatory theories for this gaping hole:
- This is a social media scheme that is using NPR to promote the new Avengers film.
- This is the beginning of the end of the world.
- This is just a weird phenomenon of science and natural processes.
If it is the first theory, well played Marvel.
If it is the second theory, I am glad I know Jesus. And you can too.
If it is the third theory, then…cool. I hope geologists have a field day (pun intended).
Food, Fellowship, Bible, Prayer. These are the well-known and oft discussed components of Acts 2 community. But these components must be practiced within the dynamic of community. And when they are practiced in this way, the results may just change the universe. Find out more in the sermon below.
The text I used for this sermon is Acts 2:42-47. It reads:
 And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.  And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles.  And all who believed were together and had all things in common.  And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need.  And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts,  praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.
(Acts 2:42-47 ESV)
Are rear-entry garages, commute times, customizable mobile devices, and “no soliciting” signs nudging us towards more isolation? Does the Bible have anything to say about feeling alone? Does God want something more for our lives? I weigh in to these questions in the sermon below.
The text I use for this sermon is Genesis 2:18-22. It reads:
 Then the LORD God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.”  Now out of the ground the LORD God had formed every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name.  The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him.  So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh.  And the rib that the LORD God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man.
(Genesis 2:18-22 ESV)
 For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another.  But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared,  he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit,  whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior,  so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.  The saying is trustworthy, and I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works. These things are excellent and profitable for people.
(Titus 3:3-8 ESV)
 not pilfering, but showing all good faith, so that in everything they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior. (Titus 2:10 ESV)
 Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, (Titus 3:1 ESV)
 Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness.  Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good,  and so train the young women to love their husbands and children,  to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.  Likewise, urge the younger men to be self-controlled.  Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity,  and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us.  Bondservants are to be submissive to their own masters in everything; they are to be well-pleasing, not argumentative,  not pilfering, but showing all good faith, so that in everything they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior.
(Titus 2:2-10 ESV)
 He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it. (Titus 1:9 ESV)
 But avoid foolish controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels about the law, for they are unprofitable and worthless.  As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him,  knowing that such a person is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned. (Titus 3:9-11 ESV)
On Monday, Christian parachurch organization World Vision announced an HR policy change that now allowed for the hiring of professing born-again employees who were in same-sex marriages that were legal in their states (World Vision is located in Washington state, where same-sex marriages are legal).
33 minutes ago, they announced that after reconsideration (and a storm of controversy, donor backlash, and pulled funding) that they would be reversing their decision.
Now, there is much to wade through in terms of theology, ecclesiology, essentials and non-essentials, when to appeal to the local church, etc… but allow me to sum up this reversal decision in one graphic:
Theology, agendas, leadership, and American values aside, this was ultimately going to boil down to funding. Without funding, World Vision’s organization and mission closes up shop tomorrow. This is one of the realities of the marketplace in America — and why we don’t need legislation protecting pro-gay folks from discrimination in the marketplace. If people vote with their money, then there is already a penalty within the marketplace for standing one’s ground — As World Vision just found out.
I heard Al Mohler say recently that one of his primary strategies for Southern Baptist Theological Seminary was to connect the “funders” to the “future.” SBTS has no shortage of vibrant scholastic activity and is churning out pastors, missionaries, and professors at an amazing rate. Some seminaries are drying up and dying. Why? They are not connecting their funders to their future, for various reasons.
If World Vision wants to continue (and, it may be too late), they are going to have to connect their historical funders (many of whom look like my grandma, vote like my grandma, read the Bible like my grandma, and believe in the value of marriage like my grandma) with their future. Their future may be more in favor of gay marriage, but their funders are certainly not — as today’s reversal reveals.
My prayer for World Vision is much like Trevin Wax’s prayer — that the children would be spared. I pray that the grandma’s with the money have not pulled all funding from World Vision and given it instead to Compassion International — a ministry that has not ever made a decision to affirm gay marriage as a theological point of emphasis.