Weekly Howdy 6.30.2016
by LPCC Admin on June 30th, 2016

Howdy Folks:

 As I sit at my desk after feeding the horses, the perspiration sliding down my back reminds me the “dog days” of summer are here. It seems like just a few days ago we were talking about the unusually cool and wet spring we were enjoying. We all seemed pleased, even the crops that were planted. Summer came roaring in like a lion, and when the temperature goes up, the tempers go up, and the crops turn brown. The crops are a visible reminder to all of us that if something doesn’t happen to break the heat and dry conditions (literally and figuratively), the crops, which were once so green but now have turned a deathly brown, will reveal the damage of unchecked extremes. Change comes quickly and often with unanticipated consequences.
 
The weather is not the only thing “hot!” I can’t recall a time when anger has had such a visible, unchecked expression from every group of our citizens, not just the verbal barrages that go back and forth in the news and social media, but the tangible expression of anger that manifests itself in unprecedented attacks and confrontations. I heard a recent international leader ask the question, “Who do the American people think they are?” The question was not a question of arrogance or a reprimand; it was an honest question about the kind of leadership being displayed by those who claim to be the leaders of the Western world? It was more of a reflective question from the international community that looks upon America as the de facto leader of the world, and yet, sees the economic crisis of unchecked debt, the political polarization that threatens the very freedom that is cherished, and the cultural wars that tear apart the foundations of family, education, and community. Many in the international community are asking, “” Who would want to be like America today? The heat and drought of civility is resulting in a deathly brown color in our society.
 
On the eve of our national celebration of freedom, such words seem harsh and discouraging. Depending on which polarized group of citizens you listen to, either the sky of freedom and the red, white and blue are falling and there is no hope or America is still the world leader, the future is bright, and we are seeing unprecedented opportunity and freedom for all Americans regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, or economic class/status. Neither extreme seems to capture the current state of our union, particularly as it relates to the place of religion in our nation. The question that is hotly debated is, “How far have we drifted from the principles and foundations envisioned by those who established our freedom and wrote the Constitution? Can we still say we are the ‘United States of America’”?

 There are plenty of pundits to offer an answer and to give their opinion, so why should another pundit add his voice to the conversation? For some time now, I have thought long and prayed diligently about the need to respond to the conversation in the public square, given the fact that in our postmodern culture, the voice of faith and religion has been removed from the public square. Without a voice, how are we as Christians to speak, and what are we to say? Since on about half the Sundays, I hold the microphone, I have felt the need to speak on the place of good faith in the current climate. It seems a good time to address these issues and genuinely seek the leadership of the Lord especially at the time of the celebration of our freedom.

 This Sunday, I will begin a series of messages that I pray will address the place of our nation in the context of God’s Kingdom, and how we can be good citizens and Christ followers in a culture that is hostile to a Christian voice in the public square. I believe the very best answer to these questions can be found in the most unlikely of places – the trial and crucifixion of Jesus. When the High Priest and Jewish leaders brought Jesus before Pilate, Pilate asked Jesus, “Are you the King of the Jews?” Jesus responded by asking Pilate if he were saying this from himself, i.e. “you say,” that Pilate thought/believed Jesus was the King of the Jews or if Pilate were saying this because Pilate had heard others (Jewish leaders) say Jesus claimed to be King of the Jews. Jesus’ kingdom is not a kingdom of the world of people apart from God, but a kingdom of people in relation to God. Pilate answered him by asking Jesus what he had done, as in why have you been brought before me. Jesus’ response is one of the most profound statements of his earthly ministry, and yet, we miss it, because we are focused on the crucifixion of Jesus. Jesus said, “” My kingdom is not from this world.” In this encounter, I believe, we have a profound picture of the confrontation of power of the empire with the purposes of God. Pilate represented the power of Rome, and life and death while Jesus declared there is no power of Rome and life and death without the sovereign rule of God. And the real question is one of how power is manifested. Jesus’ kingdom is not from this world, but it is for this world.

 In this conversation before Pilate, Jesus answers the question how we can be for the world yet not of the world – An Other Kingdom. Beginning Sunday, we will look closely at the “Other Kingdom” that Jesus brings to us, and how this “other kingdom” can help our nation in a time when it is most needed. The first step is answering the question, “What unites us?” I hope you will be with us for this series, and invite your friends to come. I realize this Sunday is the fourth of July and many will be away celebrating and enjoying a long weekend holiday. But if you are in town, I hope you will join us for worship.

 See you Sunday.
 Pastor Greg
 
 
Howdy Folks, 
 
I’m excited about the new series that Pastor Greg will be starting this coming Sunday. I hope that you will invest in and invite someone to join you and your family with us at LPCC. 
 
We are so excited for all the new folks that the Lord is bringing our way. Many of you who are receiving this communication have begun to attend LPCC within the past few months. We want to do everything we can to help you truly be a part of the family as we help each other have a growing relationship with Jesus. Our Next Steps Luncheon is a great way for that to happen. It will be on Sunday August 28th right after the service. The lunch and childcare is provided, but you do have to register with the number attending and ages of children attending. You can register by email or with your Communication Card in the Milk Can on Sundays. So save the date and confirm your registration! 
 
As we grow larger, we also grow smaller through Round Pen Groups and Ministry Teams. The connections made in small groups and on teams are where ministry truly flows in the church. As Pastor Greg says “Life (church too) is done better in circles than in rows”. So let me encourage you to: 
 
Check out a Round Pen Group. (a list of current groups is listed on our website)Try out a Team. You can reply to this email or use your communication card on Sundays. A list of teams is on our website and at the back tables. Attend our July 10th Ministry Training. Bring a covered dish and stay for lunch as we apply simple yet effective ministry principles to help our church grow smaller even as we grow larger.  

Finally, we have 3 baptism opportunities coming up: 
July 4th in the San Marcos River 
July 10th in the Morning Service 
August 14th in the Morning Service  

​Contact Pastor Marty at marty.mosher@texasbaptists.org or (512) 466-5674 for more information or with questions.


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