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March 25, 2013

Reflection for the Week- March 25th, 2013

In the early part of the Genesis narrative, we read that God is the Creator of the world and present in it. Creation exists because this particular God created it. It has a sanctity, but not of its own. Creation, therefore, is special and central for many reasons, most notably because it is created with purpose and a divinely personal touch. We also read that there is a clear biblical mandate for respecting creation; caring for it based on God’s actions and enabling creation to fulfill its purpose of praising God. But the created is not God. The soil, sun and moon, animals, and humans are distinct from God. They are not divine. And God, who is Divine, is not some impersonal force or energy aligned with everything else, but a set-apart, personal God—one who relates, makes covenants, and speaks and acts within creation in an ongoing way. We should not think of God as caught up without restraint in the created world or exclusively identified by it. The Genesis God is the God who sees, names, replies to, and proclaims that what is created is good for its purpose. Thus, God is related to and distinct from creation. When Christians ignore either of these two truths, they do so at their own theological and spiritual peril.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

March 18, 2013

Reflection for the Week- March 18th, 2013

The New Testament clearly highlights that God is love and that Christians are to love God, themselves, and others. Being loved by God then is an invitation to love. Loving our neighbor as ourselves, loving our enemies, and loving strangers are actions that should identify us as lovers. In a quite stunning and remarkable manner therefore, God’s love for us opens up possibilities of having a greater love than could ever be the case otherwise.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

March 11, 2013

Reflection for the Week- March 11th, 2013

There is an acute and desperate need for creating genuine and authentic Christian communities. Churches exist in abundance, but many believers today are sitting on the sidelines about to give up on the faith, or abandoning the church altogether. Searching and perceptive Christians are becoming refugees in what should be the land of the living. When buildings, programs, and events are prioritized above people, we lose the path toward true love and community. In order to reverse our spiritual impoverishment, we need God’s help. It is imperative to move in new directions. Our churches ought to first be true communities. People are the priority. Hospitality, love, and forgiveness are to take precedence, and our communities should be places of alluring redemptive grace. Christian communities, therefore, are not to be “other-worldly,” but “this-worldly.” We are to be down-to-earth, sharing life together in real ways, being real people, and living in the real world. And Christ is to be Lord of it all.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

March 04, 2013

Reflection for the Week- March 4th, 2013

In some churches, people currently receive teaching about kingdom life, kingdom theology, kingdom prosperity, and so on. They learn that the Kingdom of God has already arrived in its fullness and everything is here for the taking. Other churches teach their congregations that the Kingdom of God is important, but not for this present life. These people are taught that the Kingdom of God has not yet arrived, but will at some point in the future. Still other churches completely ignore the Kingdom of God , attaching little or no importance to it whatsoever. All three of these orientations are unhelpful. Better to think of the Kingdom of God as a dynamic action and rule that includes God as Creator, God as love, God as judge, God as the covenant-making King of the universe and Israel . This reigning activity was manifested in the Messiah, the outpouring of the Spirit at Pentecost, the church, redemption now, and ultimately final blessing and judgment on the coming day of Christ. The Kingdom of God , therefore, is to be understood as both already present and not yet complete. Churches that polarize, by teaching that the Kingdom of God is either already fully present, not yet present at all, or to be paid no attention to, fail to adequately represent this tensional perspective. An already/not yet tension is closer to biblical narrative, than a either/or resolution.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery