Challenging our Ideas about Doubt

After twenty years of deep doubt, my conversion was more like what Methodism founder John Wesley described as a “heart strangely warmed.” It came in the form of a two-word question. Over a period of weeks and months, I simply began to ask, again and again, “Why not?”

What happens when you ask questions of your doubt? Michelle started to do so and found herself exploring a faith she held at arm’s length for much too long.

When might doubt be a good thing? What happens when we let Jesus show us what is certain? Rich explains in “When Certainty Kills.”

What does faith have over doubt? The courage to choose to act, no matter what we’re feeling.

Making the most of our time with Family

Are you a parent seeking a more fulfilling balance of work and family life? Here are 7 suggestions (and a recommended book) to get you started.

When you look back at your kids’ childhood, what will you not regret having done? Tim shares his list of “18 Things I Will Not Regret Doing With My Kids.”

Don’t think your family’s busy schedule is leaving opportunity for faith practices? Traci has 6 places/times that might be hiding in plain sight.

Sunday Follow-Up: We Waver

On Sunday, December 15, 2013, Pastor Chelsey shared a message from Luke 18.18-30 entitled “We Waver…” You can listen to it on our current series website (or in the archives). Like the Rich Ruler, we find ourselves wavering in our decision to follow Jesus.

In “We Were Jumpers Then” Kristin talks about the fiery faith of a new believer and our tendency to trade faith for reason as we ‘grow up’. It’s worth the quick read and reflection.

Owen talks about the disruptive nature of following Christ in “You Will Never Be the Same.” Here’s a preview:

Most evangelicals these days just want a gospel Snuggie. Wrap us up. Hold us tight. Numb us until we can feel nothing but hazy contentment. Go to sleep with a big smile on our face. We’re halfway into a dream when…

Come on, Jesus says. Wake up. We’ve got to get going.

Really, Jesus? we whine. I don’t want to get out of bed. It’s so comfy and warm.

What does following Jesus under normal, ordinary, everyday circumstances look like? A book that might help you think it through is This Ordinary Adventure by Christine & Adam Jeske. The Jeskes have gone from an extraordinary life of following Jesus to a more domesticated- but just as important- one.

 

This post provides stories that build upon a sermon preached by Rev. Chelsey L. Harmon at Christ Community Church in Nanaimo, BC.

Stories of Suffering, Stories of God

The never ending question of “why?”

Our links today won’t answer that question, but they will help you seek God.

This week, Philip Yancey’s book, The Question that Never Goes Away, has been a free Kindle download.

Looking at Romans 8.28, Stephen speaks the bittersweet truth that “Jesus Hates Your Suffering.”

When you suffer, run to Jesus. He too experienced pain, rejection, sorrow, grief, and temptation. Because Jesus suffered, he knows exactly how to comfort, strengthen, encourage, and even deliver you.
Randy shares about learning “The Hardest Lesson:” what God provides to those who suffer.
In suffering and trials of all kinds, globally, locally, or in the inner sanctum of your soul, we pray:
May the God of hope fill you with joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Rom 15.13

 

This post is about suffering.

Summer Reading

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This week we’re sharing four different lists of books to explore on four different topics. Since the lists are of non-fiction works, we also wanted to encourage your fiction reading with “4 Benefits of Reading Fiction.”

10 books for Christian Parents

7 books on Faith, Work and Economics

5 books on Singleness

21 books for Twentysomethings

Photo by Alan Levine. Used with permission. Sourced by Flickr.

The heavens declare the glory of the LORD

On Sunday, July 7th, a group of people gathered to discuss an article from our denominational magazine, The Banner, called “Tomorrow’s Theology.” Because the article argues for some things that go against the tradition and historical teachings of the Christian Reformed Church, we thought it was important to get together and talk. For those interested in continuing to learn about the interplay of Science and Faith, or the Reformed Confessions, the following links should prove as a worthwhile starting point.

Science and Faith links

The Ministry Theorem from Calvin Seminary

Origins: Christian Perspectives on Creation, Evolution and Intelligent Design by Deborah Haarsma and Loren Haarsma (formerly titled: Origins: A Reformed Look at Creation, Design & Evolution). This site provides information about the book as well as links to further reading for each chapter.

Two other articles from The Banner: “Reformed Matters: Did Adam and Eve Really Exist?” and “Speaking of Evolution”

Reformed Confessions links

You can read the Heidelberg Catechism, Belgic Confession and the Canons of Dort online by going to the Christian Reformed Church’s “Beliefs” page.

The Winter 2013 Calvin Seminary Forum features articles on the history of each of the Confessions.

Articles from The Banner: “The Belgic Confession: A Good Teacher”“Reformed Matters: A Confession to Celebrate” and “Don’t Know Much about the Catechism”

Body & Soul: Reclaiming the Heidelberg Catechism by M. Craig Barnes. Also available is a small group discussion guide and DVD.

Doubting Thomases populate the world

Nickel Creek has a beautiful little song called “Doubting Thomas.” The chorus goes like this:

I’m a doubting Thomas
I took a promise
But I do not feel safe
Oh me of little faith

Doubt happens to all of us. What we do with it matters. More importantly, how God uses it matters.

To learn that lesson take a cue from the recently passed Dallas Willard.

“If you’re going to be a doubter, make sure you doubt your doubts as well as your beliefs.”

Watch the rest of the short interview to hear what he means and why being in community with our doubts matters to God.

Finding a resource to help with doubt is a tricky one. Can you “solve” the problem of doubt if you aren’t convinced it’s a problem but actually part of your faith development? There are lots of good books out there to support you as you wrestle, not the least of which is God’s good book, so how about a prayer?

Here’s a challenge from Stephen Altrogge. The title is enough to pique curiosity: “Jesus Doesn’t Think My Doubt Is Cool.”

Finally, here’s a video that underscores that you aren’t the only Doubting Thomas in the world:

This post provides inspiration, challenge, and a resource for Christians as they grapple with doubt.

Sunday Follow-up

Yesterday, November 25, Pastor Turk talked about the unique Mission and Vision of Christ Community Church. The message, “Refocus,” was from Matthew 28 (The Great Commission) and you can listen to it here.

He asked us, “Why does the church exist?” and “Why do you believe?”

During the message, we watched a clip of a TED talk by Simon Sinek. Check out that talk on the TED page.

 

This post is a follow up to our Sunday morning worship at Christ Community Church. It provides inspiration to ask the “Why” of our faith and action.

So You’re in College Now…

…and there’s lots to fill your time and think about. Here are a few posts and resources to help you keep perspective:

If this is your first year at University, check out Chelsey Nugteren’s “10 Things I Wish They Told Me at College Orientation” parts 1 & 2, over at Boundless Line.

Maybe you’re in those middle years and have begun to wonder about life outside of college. Where are your passions driving you? What matters to God? What are other people like you reading? Byron Borger shares a list of compelling, thought-provoking, and transforming reads for adults of all ages (but of particular interest to young adults). Your pastor may even have a few on her/his shelf for you to borrow.

Or maybe you’ve been in school for far too long and the wrong sorts of things have become your focus. One grad student shares her struggle with grades and acceptance at The Evangelical Outpost.

 

This post was created with young adults and adults in college in mind. It aims to inspire, challenge and resource in the areas of discipleship, attitude, lifestyle, and faith.

Learn to Listen for God again

It’s hard to become like little children and learn to listen again.

Listening for God is almost a lost art in this day and age; to discern is a verb that has lost its flavour. Yet, discerning the will of God, listening to his voice, following the way of Jesus, these are the ways we define and give shape to the Christian life.

Kasey Hitt reflects on being reminded to listen like a child for God in this piece: “A Story About Discernment: Like a Child.” Hitt reccomends finding a Spiritual Director, but even asking the questions and pondering is a start.

This post is for adults and is meant to inspire them to discern.