Self-focus blurs your perspective and leaves you living in a lonely haze. God-focus gives clear insight and brings joy and delight into view.

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Why Mass Shootings (And Now A Mass Stabbing)?

What has released such horrible wickedness as random motiveless mass shootings (and now motiveless mass stabbings) in America? Here are some things that may have contributed to it:
1) Calling a random mass murder “a tragedy” rather than “the evil actions of a wicked person.”
2) Devaluing human life in the womb. (If human life is worthless in the womb, why should it have value anywhere else?)
3) Over tolerance. (History demonstrates that when there is no social judgment and/or moral taboo, people will do anything.)
4) Embracing and teaching the idea that human life is nothing but the meaningless and accidental result of time, chance, and an evolutionary process.
5) Proclaiming the concept that cravings and desires are uncontrollable and should not be resisted.
6) Continually presenting people as mere objects to be used for your sexual pleasure rather than as deserving your honor, respect, and restraint.
7) Teaching that people are not responsible for their actions, but that their actions are caused by their upbringing, circumstances, culture, and/or heredity.
8) Modern media brain washing that is continually flooding us with and engaging us with images of violence, disrespect, meanness, and other forms of evil behavior and attitudes.
9) Gutting our society of its foundational Judeo-Christian ethics and treating those ethics (and the people who still hold them) with open disdain and disrespect.
10) Removing the non-religious words “Thou shall not kill,” (and the rest of the Ten Commandments) from our schools, courthouses, city halls, and other public places.
11) Proclaiming the myth that human nature is basically good and will avoid self-destruction without the continual need for rigid self-discipline, self-improvement, and moral limits and boundaries set by society (and/or our conscience).
12) Embracing the idea of personal entitlement because of our race, nationality, rights, or family; and embracing the concept that we have the right to be angry, combative, and even violent if our perception of entitlement is frustrated or blocked.
13) Our society’s lack of support-group-style community where people feel genuinely loved enough to open up their heart to others and to share their hurts, needs, concerns, love, and insights with one another. (This happens every Sunday at The Salvation Army Berry Street Worship Center in Nashville, TN.)
–Do you have any other ideas of what may be contributing to such wickedness?
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Making Sense of Noah & The Flood

To understand Noah (the man, not the movie) we need to Noah (know a) few things about humanity’s rebellion:
1) The earliest humans (and all the rest of us) decided that we know what is best for us and that we don’t need God to make all our decisions, so to some degree we have all pushed God aside and done our own thing.
2) Our self-imposed alienation from God has released evil into the physical world and into our own hearts, resulting in a continual epidemic of death, decay, destruction, and self-inflicted misery.
3) Like a loving father with a rebellious child, God longs to restore His relationship with us, but we ignore Him, causing our rebellion and unhappiness to grow stronger.
4) We have set ourselves up for ultimate destruction, because without God, there is no continual quality of life.
5) In the midst of the rebellion against Him, God found a man who outwardly did the right things. So God decided to start over with Noah and his family.
6) The story of Noah and the flood shows that even though Noah did the right things, evil was still in his heart. The Noah movie has Noah say something like: “It’s in us The wickedness in them is also in us.”
7) Putting people in a fresh new environment will not save them from their self-inflicted destruction and misery. They need a new heart — an inward transformation.
8) God’s loving, final answer to man’s rebellion was to take the world-wide, all-time consequences of man’s rebellion on Himself through the voluntary and sacrificial death of Emmanuel–God with us.
9) Today, the living, resurrected Jesus Christ, continues to heal people’s rebellion by transforming their hearts and restoring them to an intimate, ongoing relationship to Him. Yet, Christ’s offer is often ignored or trifled with. Have you received a transformed heart from Jesus to the point that you find even the thought of doing wrong to be painful? His freedom from self-destruction is available to you. (Contact us and we’ll be happy to help you connect with Him.)

 

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St. Francis Practiced Participatory Church

A 14th Century book about St. Francis of Assisi describes Berry Street style worship”  According to the book “The Little Flowers of St. Francis,” Francis was meeting with a group of his followers and told one of them “to open his mouth and say about God whatever the Holy Spirit suggested to him.” The man “uttered marvelous words under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.”
 
Then Francis told “another to speak similarly about God according to the grace which the Holy Spirit gave him. And he obeyed and was speaking very profoundly about the Lord by the grace of God.”
 
Francis told “a third to say something without preparation in praise of our Lord Jesus Christ. And this third one, following the example of the others and humbly obeying, likewise began to speak so profoundly about the hidden mysteries of the Divinity that there was no doubt the Holy Spirit was speaking through him and the others.”
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The book goes on and says that the men were  “one after another speaking sweetly about God and spreading the perfume of divine grace.”  And participatory church is still powerful in the 21st Century.  Experience it for yourself at The Salvation Army Berry Street in Nashville, TN, where regular people “say something without preparation in praise of our Lord Jesus Christ.”  Check it out on Sunday mornings at 10:45, 225 Berry St., 37207.

 

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God’s Waves / God’s Surf

God’s waves
Breaking in my heart,
Surround my brokenness
With His healing Presence.

God’s surf soaks my soul with His forgiveness, love, and peace.

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A word that inspires imagination paints a thousand pictures.

A picture may be worth a thousand words, but a word may also be worth a thousand pictures.  A word that inspires imagination paints a thousand pictures.

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U-Share Church (U2U rather than Pastor2Pew)

U-Share church (not U-Haul) flows from U2U rather than from Pastor2Pew.  Here’s an example of U-Share church:

When the Communists took over China in 1948 there were only about 2.5 million Christians (of all denominations) in China. In an attempt to destroy the church, the Red Chinese locked up all the pastors they could find. With their pastors in prison, the Chinese church caught fire as one-man preaching was replaced by ordinary people ministering to one another. Today there are about 100 million Christians in China. Can we learn from the Chinese church? Watch the amazing 4-part video series, “Jesus in China” on YouTube.

To experience U-Share church in person, visit The Salvation Army Berry Street in Nashville, Tennessee:  Sunday mornings at 10:45 or Wednesday nights at 6:00 — 225 Berry St., 37207.

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