This weekend I had the immense privilege of sharing at a church’s annual retreat in Richland, Washington. This church is an amazing church in the sense that I rarely encounter a congregation that is so in touch with its surrounding community. For starters, Richland is the area that sadly, during World War II, was the home of eight or nine nuclear plants that refined the plutonium that comprised the bomb that was dropped on Nagasaki. Today, Richland is the home of much of the scientific research and development that takes place in the United States; Richland, therefore, is also the home of some really brilliant minds. Over the last twelve months, the church I was at last weekend has baptized four “PhD”-level atheists. That alone made me sit up and take notice and ask what this church was doing that was making this kind of an impact. After spending time with this church over the weekend, it all makes sense. This church “gets” how to reach post-moderns—and does it quite well.
I was invited to share our series titled “Illuminating Shadows.” This is a four-presentation series on the challenge that many find in harmonizing the God we see through the lens of Jesus Christ with the picture of God we get through the lens of the Old Testament. (This issue is not reconciling the God of the Old Testament with punitive justice. That’s easy. The challenge is reconciling Him with the nonviolent Jesus of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, as well as with that Jesus’ teaching on restorative justice.) The neo-atheism of today is rooted in the subjects of this discussion. In our culture today, based on the Old Testament, many are claiming that God is a nationalistic, violent racist who is genocidal, misogynistic, homophobic, and in favor of slavery. Yet when we look at Jesus, if God is like Jesus (Hebrews 1:1-3, John 14:9), we get an entirely, radically, different picture of God. This series is thought provoking, paradigm shifting and heartwarming all rolled into one. If you have ever wrestled with questions over the God of Old Testament, then this series is for you.
I’ll be posting it on our website later this week and sending out an email when it’s available. Keep a lookout for it.
For all those who were praying for last weekend, thank you. Without your prayers and your support, we at Renewed Heart Ministries could not do what we do. Thank you for partnering with us in enlarging the reign of Christ, putting on display the radical beauty of God’s character of love.
Keep living in that love.
Keep enlarging the Kingdom.
I love you guys.