In light of Jim’s talk this past weekend out of Romans 1:18-32 I anticipate that there may be a lot of questions regarding homosexuality. While a blog on the issue would become rather lengthy I thought it would be helpful to point you toward a couple sermons Jim and I have each done on this topic in recent years.
Check out Jim’s talk from the Behind Closed Doors series, entitled “behind closet doors” from October 27/28 of 2007 and my talk from the Locked Up series entitled “sexual bondage part 2” from July 27/28 of 2009.
Following Jim’s teaching last weekend we had several follow up questions regarding hell. Who goes there, who doesn’t and why. Instead of writing what would end up being a very long blog trying to address the various issues I thought I would offer some helpful resources so you can explore and study further on your own.
Recently a popular teacher and writer named Rob Bell wrote a book called “love wins: A book about heaven, hell, and the fate of every person who ever lived” that turned out to be very controversial. I was asked to write a review of the book. If you would like to read it here it is.
As a rebuttal of sorts Francis Chan recently wrote a book called “Erasing Hell”. I highly recommend it.
Several people have asked about what exactly happens when you die. John Piper has written a very helpful article that lays out what the Bible teaches.
In all this I highly recommend that you search the scriptures on your own to seek out what God has said and what He hasn’t said.
All three of the main sessions from the most recent men’s retreat are available to listen to online. Check it out here keep in mind there is some mature content.
Last Friday as I was driving up to the Men’s Retreat with some friends I got a voicemail. I had to listen to it twice because I couldn’t quite process the news the first time around. Ron Atchley had died earlier that day. Ron was a longtime volunteer at Flatirons. You may not recognize the name, but I can almost promise that you would recognize his face. It was a very rare occasion that Ron wasn’t the first one to open the doors of the church and the last one out. He served on countless volunteer teams. Ron was a servant leader in every sense of the word. Yesterday I caught a few minutes of one of my favorite movies, “we were soldiers”. In that film a leader is defined as the one who’s feet are first on the battle field and the last off. That was Ron. Ironically Ron was a soldier as well, he fought in the Vietnam war the same one depicted in that film.
I’m not looking forward to the next time I teach on a weekend because on Sunday mornings the only person who got to the building before me was Ron. I will miss our little routine of talking out in the lobby about all the sporting events of the previous day. There will be something missing for me and for Flatirons. However we do not mourn as those without hope. I think we can join with the Apostle Paul when He says, “Death has been swallowed up in victory. Where O, death is your victory? Where O, death is your sting?” 1 Corinthians 15:54-55
For Ron it was certainly true “to live is Christ and to die is gain” Philippians 1:21 Ron reflected Jesus with his life, not perfectly, he went through a refining process his whole life as we all do. I am confident that as we talked about this past weekend at the men’s retreat that as Ron’s refining process has been completed, the Refiner can now see His reflection in Ron, perfectly. Ron has run his race and I’m confident he heard these words on friday “well done good and faithful servant.” Matthew 25:23
Tags: Ron Atchley
It always seems like a no-brainer to me. Why wouldn’t a guy want to go up to the mountains in September, get some rest, hang with other guys, play really hard and be a part of something transformational? Then I remember that for me its a known, I’m a pastor I’ve been on literally hundreds of retreats and honestly had lots of fun at most of them. On top of that, some really life-changing times with God have happened to me while on a retreat. For a lot of guys its the unknowns that make the idea of going on a men’s retreat really unsettling. What are the accommodations going to be like? Are we going to be sleeping in tents or some nasty barracks type set up? Are we going to be forced to hold hands and share our feelings? What kind of guys are going to be there? What are we actually going to be doing? All those questions and more make it easy for a guy to just forego the idea of signing up. So with that in mind I would like to try to address some of those questions. First of all the camp itself is amazing, its been done with excellence and the dorms are spacious, comfortable and clean. Check out some of their videos to get a picture of what the facilities are like here. Like everything else we do at Flatirons we want to have excellent, engaging, Biblical teaching that comes in the context of grace and truth. We will have 3 main sessions with teaching and time of worship. Another thing we are committed to is making sure that we get to spend time playing and enjoying the mountains. The last thing we want to do is make men sit in a room for hours on end without getting to enjoy what God has created and the camp has to offer. Because of that we have lots of free time built in, with a large chunk of it on Saturday. Over the past three years of doing these retreats I’ve been amazed at the diversity of men that attend, we have guys fresh out of high school up to guys who recently attended their 50 year reunion. We won’t force interaction or make anyone “share their feelings”. At the end of the day we are just a bunch of guys trying to take some time to reconnect with God, learn a little bit about how to be better followers of Jesus, husbands, dads, sons, brothers and friends and we have a blast while doing it! Finally, I’ve learned that guys often need a personal invite to be the catalyst to get them to go, so if you are guy who is going this year (and you should!) think about who are the guys you should invite to be a part of “Fire on the Mountain” this year. All the info for signing up is on our website http://www.flatironschurch.com/retreats/
Our creative team director, Chris Coleman wrote the following post:
Most of you only know me from my goofball announcement videos or, lately, the Tad and Radbert videos from our Running series as the vaguely despised director, Crick. Then again, some of you don’t know me at all, which means I’m doing my job well. I’ll explain that in a moment.
As the creative director of flatirons community church, my job—and that of my amazing team—is to guide and craft the weekend experience into one that will seamlessly make the jump from the frenzied life you check at the door to a laser-focused heart punch delivered by God via Jim, Scott, the band, and our countless incredible volunteers. Whether you realize it or not, every step you take within our walls is laced with painstaking intentionality. From the signage to the pre-service music to every single element and transition in the weekend service, down to the minute.
It’s easy to look at this attention to production detail and say, “Oh, it’s all about ‘the show.’” It’s not. It’s all about Jesus. Spreading His name and good news is the most important thing I can possibly think of in this life, so why would I or anyone on my team do anything other than push ourselves to the limit for that end goal? That makes absolutely no sense to me and any Christ-follower or ministry that claims “good enough” is actually good enough is complacently phoning it in and they might as well pack up and call it a day.
You see, my work is indeed pushing and directing the creative efforts of our ministry, but when it comes down to it, my real work is to disarm. If I can get you to put your God gun down for even a brief moment, I’ve got a chance to engage you in ways you never thought possible in a church. Furthermore, if I can play a small part in getting someone to the point where they think, “I never knew church could be like this,” then it’s a short walk to “I never knew God could be like this”…and that’s when people give Him a chance and that’s where life change begins.
At the end of the day (or week, as it were), we do our work and then pray continually for God to move us out of the way. This is His church, not ours. My team and I do our best to lay the groundwork and then we retreat to the shadows, behind the scenes, and point to Him. After all, there is only one person deserving of fame and that is Jesus.
Tags: Pointing to Jesus
Our College Pastor Jordan Terrel describes how we point to Jesus in our College Ministry here at Flatirons.
In my opinion, one of the most challenging stages of life is 18-25 years. During these few short years, a young adult will make decisions that will shape the rest of their life. Decisions like who they want be, what they want to do vocationally, what kind of friends they will spend their time with, who they will marry, and ultimately whether or not they will follow Jesus.
In our college ministry the way we point to Jesus is by creating grace filled environments where authentic community can happen, so that we can point to Jesus and truth can be heard. What does that mean?
GRACE: If college students are good at one thing, it would be hanging out. College students live for the party, the social scene, or hanging out till the sun comes up. As a ministry, we like to meet them where they’re at. This happens by creating environments that meets those needs. At times, we will throw large-scale events. Other times, its just a dozen students gathering in a living room; sometimes its taking 50 students camping, or other times its having a few students over to our my homes for dinner or to play video games. The one thing in common with all of these environments is that they are all welcoming environments where people will feel accepted. It’s not about what you believe, what kind of lifestyle or what kind of past you have, you can feel welcome with us. It’s in these environments where students experience ‘grace.’
AUTHENTIC COMMUNITY: In addition it is our hope that in these environments students will have the opportunity to develop real relationships with people who follow Jesus. We call this authentic community. Many times students will meet others and eventually end up in a Bible study on their campus. Other examples of authentic community can include simply bumping into a student on campus or at one of our community groups and exchanging numbers with them. A week or so later, I’ll follow up and invite them out to lunch or coffee. As you might know, college students love to eat! Once again, meeting them where they’re at. Just last week, I took a few students out for a round of golf. Whatever the case may be, this doesn’t just happen once and then end. Our goal is to develop real relationships with students to the point where conversations about life and faith happen naturally.
TRUTH: Individuals in this life stage can be quite skeptical. Why do you want to hang out with me? Are you the real deal? Do you really care about me or are you just looking for your next volunteer recruit? At the end of the day, truth can be spoken freely only if you have earned their trust and there is mutual respect in the relationship. Even then, it can still be difficult for a 19 year-old who is trying to figure out life on their own, to hear it from you. The best example of speaking ‘truth’ to them is by modeling Jesus to them. This happens by allowing students see how I relate to people, love my wife, father my son, or even care for other students.
At the end of the day, pointing to Jesus is a way of life that happens best with people you have developed a real, trusting relationship with. But in order for this to work within the context of a ministry, it has to be repeatable. Paul said to “Follow me as I follow Christ”. If I am going to point someone to Jesus by modeling a “better way to live”, the best way to lead them is to teach them to do it with the people around them too.
Tags: college ministry
, Pointing to Jesus
How do we point to Jesus in Women’s Ministry?
There must be a statement written somewhere for all women’s ministries in churches all over the world that would be an obviously perfect answer to that question. Maybe something along the lines of “W.W.J.D., if he were a woman?” It sounds nice in theory. I don’t know about you, but for me, it just doesn’t fill the bill of needing a currently flesh and blood person to smack me across the face occasionally and yell “snap out of it.” The cool thing about Jesus is that he was a flesh and blood human who really did experience what we experience. “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are . . .,” Hebrews 4:15.
In women’s ministry we obviously look straight at God’s Word for our understanding of who Jesus is, and as our ultimate example of the best way to navigate what are often horrific real life situations. What every woman needs as she tries to do that is the flesh and blood person to scream “snap out of it,” or to sit with her when she’s paralyzed with fear, or to calmly clarify that all children eventually get potty-trained, or to laugh with until you pee your pants at something that would make no sense to a guy, or just to remind you that children grow up and move on and have to deal with their own kids. What every woman needs is another woman (women) to walk alongside her and say “It’ll be okay, and I know that because Jesus already got me through this.” For every situation we encounter, there’s a woman out there who’s already walked through it and will be “Jesus with skin on” for me or for you. It’s what Jesus intended when he left his flesh and blood body and put His message in the hands of the church. Women’s ministry takes the gifts and experiences of every woman in the church and provides a setting and opportunity for us all to put our hand on a shoulder and point towards Jesus.
“The church is Christ’s body, in which he speaks and acts, by which he fills everything with his presence,” Ephesians 1:23.
Tags: Pointing to Jesus
, women's ministry
Dan Foote wrote the following blog on how we point to Jesus in Men’s Ministry here at Flatirons.
I have to admit, when Scott recently sent out the email asking a group of us on staff to fill in the blank, “The way we point to Jesus in our ministry area at Flatirons is: _______________”…my heart immediately jumped into my throat. I can’t help it. Fill in the Blank means TEST and my knee-jerk reaction—born out of years of being a “poor test-taker”—caused this sudden panic.
That being said, I know I’m not the only man at Flatirons who is constantly wondering if he’s passing the test or making the grade as a husband, a father and a friend. This is why in Men’s Ministry we always point to where our hope lies. In Jesus; the only one who holds the keys to a better life…and the only one who can help us pass this critical test called: Manhood. Whether it’s Men’s Retreat, The Trail or any of the other events for the men at Flatirons we will always point to what Jesus says about these 3 things:
(1) How do I draw closer in my relationship with God?
(2) How do I love and serve my family (Wives, children, family and friends) as Jesus would?
(3) How do I live selflessly, outside of my own wants and desires, serving the community around me?
Thank goodness God is graceful to the poor test-takers of the world and makes it very easy to find all the right answers. Ephesians 5 and 6 is a great source that I like to point guys to…in regards to what Jesus says about real nuts-and-bolts, how-to, ways to live. The writer, Paul, makes it crystal clear how we are to live like Jesus: sacrificially, steering clear of sexual sin, loving our wives completely, and being good dads…and above all else, by protecting our hearts, minds and souls with the full armor of God.
The Full Armor of God. I can’t help it. That sounds so “churchy”, but that doesn’t make it any less true. As men, we are at war…and the Enemy is attacking from all sides. He’s throwing everything at us through the media, the internet, and the ethos of our society today. He’s trying to destroy our families, our credibility and our effectiveness in pointing others to Jesus.
And so, in Men’s Ministry, as we point others to Jesus…will always be pointing to what Jesus says in the planning and preparation for this war…this test…which has some costly results, if we fail.
Tags: Men's Ministry
, Pointing to Jesus
I’ve asked different leaders of several ministries around here to write a short blog about how they point to Jesus in their ministry. Lisa Brandenburg wrote the following blog about SHIFT.
The way we point to Jesus at Shift is by inviting Him in to the very circumstances that can lead us to feel abandoned or counted out by Him.
Instead of trying to hide or deny the issues that we struggle with, we openly bring our brokenness and our weaknesses to Jesus so that we can accept the gifts He offers in Luke 4:18-19 when He said:
18″The Lord’s Spirit has come to me, because he has chosen me to tell the good news to the poor.
The Lord has sent me to announce freedom for prisoners, to give sight to the blind, to free everyone
who suffers” Luke 4:18
At Shift, we use the 12 steps to help us walk the path that God has laid out for us, to be set free of the prisons of deception, addiction, chaos, broken hearts or hopelessness. We support each other in concerning ourselves with following Jesus with integrity and dignity and trusting the outcome of our journey to God’s will.
Combining the 12 steps with the “good news” of the Bible serves as a sort of map to help us avoid the obstacles set up by our own limitations and keeps our eyes on Christ as we navigate our way through life. And who can’t use a map?
Tags: Pointing to Jesus