Posts in Glory Minute

A Better Way

February 14th, 2019 Posted by Glory Minute 0 thoughts on “A Better Way”

I’m loving this Explore God journey, and I pray you are as well. This past Sunday’s Explore God question was this: Is Jesus Really God? And in an interesting twist of irony, what is a rather easy and straightforward question/ answer surprisingly turned into a tough message to preach!

Spoiler alert- yes, we believe that Jesus is really God. Yet the reality is that we live in a world where many folks don’t quite know what to make of Jesus. So the question really becomes- how do we make known the identity of Jesus as the Son of God?

Spoiler alert #2- I’m not convinced simply telling folks works.

Two images come to mind- First, Jesus is with his disciples, near the end of his life. They are sitting down to a meal, and it’s likely true that they are eating on the floor, with the food in the center, and with them in a reclining position. Worst part- their stinky feet were likely by the food, which begged the question- who is going to wash the feet so they can best enjoy the meal?  Looking around, they realize there is no servant around. At that moment, Jesus stands up, wraps a towel around his waist, and serves them by washing their feet. And in doing so, He reveals how radically different He truly was. Most people allow power, control, and authority to go to their head, but not Jesus. We believe He had this power, control, and authority, yet chose to use it to serve. 

Bottom line- We believe He is the Son of God, yet He’s not going to force it on anyone. Instead, He’ll serve and love until we dig deep enough to discover who He is.

Enter the cross, the ultimate act of service and love.

Second image- A group of us went to Feed My Starving Children on Saturday. The ministry is awesome, both in terms of the impact it is making on worldwide hunger and in its work to share the mission of Jesus. All week, secular entities are participating in packing events. The Christian aspect of the ministry is present, and folks are invited to pray over the food. But no one is forced to. Instead, the vision is to serve and love until folks dig deep enough to discover who Jesus is. Sound familiar?

You can hear last week’s message here.

Peace to you,Pastor Brian

Is Christianity Too Narrow?

February 6th, 2019 Posted by Glory Minute 0 thoughts on “Is Christianity Too Narrow?”

Sunday’s Explore God question was a tough one: Is Christianity too Narrow? At the crux of the question is this: what are Christians supposed to think of non-Christians? And here’s the challenge- because Christianity presents an exclusive way to salvation (Jesus Himself says, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life, no one comes to the Father except through me”) the tone and tenor of Christians can sometimes be off-putting. In an attempt to honor the teachings of Jesus, we can paint ourselves as “insiders” and others as lesser-than, as outsiders.

Jesus frowns.

There has to be a better way.

Jesus also said, “I have other sheep that are not (yet) of this pen. I must bring them also” (John 10:16). Let those words soak in for a moment. There are people, in our lives, who Jesus views as “his sheep”, who are not yet in the fold. So are they really outsiders?  

Jesus has indeed made a narrow way- it’s through Him. Yet in a beautifully divine twist of irony, that narrow way is at the same time open to all. It’s a narrow door, but it’s wide open. And we want as many as possible to walk through.

So the best question and challenge becomes this- what’s the most winsome way to make this known? Through painting others as outsiders, as lesser than? Hardly. When I meet someone who was brought to faith in Jesus Christ through another’s judgment of their life, I’ll perhaps rethink this. But I’ve never heard that testimony. Instead, we give love, grace, and mercy with reckless abandon.

Just like Jesus did for us.

Remember the empty chair, and let’s prayerfully look for the Holy Spirit to open doors this week.

You can hear last week’s message here.

Peace to you,
Pastor Brian

Explore God

January 24th, 2019 Posted by Glory Minute 0 thoughts on “Explore God”

Are you aware that a long time ago, Jesus prayed… for YOU!? It’s recorded in the Bible, and it’s part of what’s called “the Upper Room Discourse”, what Jesus shares with His disciples just before He is arrested. Part of that prayer includes these words:

“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you” (Jesus, John 17:20-21).

Jesus has a hope and a prayer for us, did you catch it? It’s that His church, all who believe in Him, might be one, experiencing unity and community. 

Is that hope and prayer realized? If you look around, you’ll see many ways in which it’s not (yet) realized. Churches fractured, denominations doing battle within and without, and churches feeling isolated and disconnected. In many ways, the hope of Jesus has a bit of a ways to go.

Yet part of what excites me about Explore God is that it’s an answer to Jesus’ prayer in John 17, as nearly 1,000 churches are presently in the midst of this common initiative. (Trust me- it’s not easy to get almost 1,000 churches to do anything together!) So think about it, exactly what we are diving into in worship and in small groups is exactly what thousands of other believers across our region are also experiencing. Jesus is surely smiling!

And the hope behind Explore God also brings Him joy- helping people explore God’s character and identity and grow closer to Him. I hope you’re being blessed by this journey.

Join us on Sunday, in worship and in small groups between services, to tackle this week’s question: “Why Does God Allow Pain and Suffering?” This is the most challenging week of them all, look forward to tackling it with you!

Have a blessed day! 

Pastor Brian

Parties are Good for You

December 20th, 2018 Posted by Glory Minute 0 thoughts on “Parties are Good for You”

Have you received any good news, lately? Good news can sometimes be hard to come by. And even when we receive it, sometimes we don’t quite know what to do with it. Let me explain…

Perhaps it’s a function of our fast-paced, what’s-next culture, but it seems like sometimes we’re just too quick to move on to the next thing. We receive the good news, process it, but are often quick to move on to what’s next. Or, perhaps it’s that we don’t want to celebrate too much because some not-so-good news might be on the horizon. We don’t want the other shoe to drop, so we mute our celebrations.

God, however, wants you to pause and celebrate.

We know this from how God interacts with His people in the Bible. He invited (commanded!) people to have week-long parties, called festivals, celebrating His goodness. The book of Psalms is filled with calls to remember and give thanks and celebrate God’s blessings. The New Testament draws people into worship, an intentional pause and inventory-taking of all God is working. God wants His people to pause and celebrate.

Bottom line- God is making it known to us that celebrating is GOOD for us!

It’s likely true that the next few weeks of your life might include some celebrating. It will include worship, parties, and more. Perhaps you’ll be tempted to think about what’s next, and to look ahead. From God’s counsel- avoid that temptation. Put on the party hat. Smile. Laugh. Savor. God says its good for you!

If you missed the message, you can find it HERE

Have a blessed day!

Pastor Brian

Another Hidden Gem

December 4th, 2018 Posted by Glory Minute 0 thoughts on “Another Hidden Gem”

It happened again on a recent Sunday, and I LOVE it when it happens.  It’s usually in the lobby, but sometimes it happens in the parking lot or in a text/email. I’m speaking of moments where folks share with one another, or with me, how the Word of God impacted them and caused them to reflect or be encouraged or be challenged. And the best part? Nine times out of ten it happens simply from the text itself, and not what I shared about it.

Take, for instance, what happened just a few weeks back. We had looked in worship at how the Lord speaks about his church and uses the image of the human body to help us understand how each one of us is an essential part of it. It’s I Corinthians 12:12-27. I love this text, I love what it communicates, and I love what it means. But someone pointed out to me an often overlooked gem tucked within it. Ready?

“Those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable” (12:22).

With these words, we’re challenged to ensure we don’t let the worldly metrics of someone’s perceived value influence our thoughts on the impact they make on the body of Christ. (That’s a heavy thought, I know… might want to read that one again.)

I won’t give examples, but I will challenge you to let this text do to you what it did to me: consider what parts of the body we might be using worldly metrics to evaluate, and to cease doing so. The Body of Christ functions differently than the kingdom of the world.

And in case you’re feeling “weaker”, or “dispensable”, know with certainty that your Lord, your Pastor, and your church family knows better.

If you missed the message, you can find it HERE

Have a blessed day!

Pastor Brian

If you Care…God Cares.

November 21st, 2018 Posted by Glory Minute 0 thoughts on “If you Care…God Cares.”

A family sat down for their evening meal. It was warm, and they were hungry. It was the oldest son’s turn to pray, but his mind was elsewhere. Running through his mind was what would happen AFTER dinner- his first basketball practice of the new season. There was some excitement, for sure, but also a whole lot of nervousness. How would it go? Who would be on the team with him? Would he like his coach?

Distracted as he was, he began his prayer in the way he normally did. But midway through, he stopped. Turning to his parents, he asked a question that’s probably pretty similar to a question you’ve asked: “Mom and Dad, am I allowed to pray for basketball practice? Does God care about my basketball practice?” Without skipping a beat, and empowered by the wisdom of the Holy Spirit, the Mom replied, “Absolutely you can pray for that. God cares about your basketball practice. He cares about you, so if you care about something, He cares about that too. Pray away!”

Great job, Mom!

Whatever has you distracted today, whatever you are caring about these days, know with certainty that God cares about it as well. He cares about you so much that he went to the greatest length possible- giving up His only Son, Jesus, for you. If He’ll do that for you, imagine, if you even can, how much He truly loves you.

So whatever is before you these days, whatever weighs on you, bring that to the Lord in prayer. He cares, and has the power and desire to intervene.

If you missed Sunday’s message, you can find it HERE.

Have a blessed day!

Pastor Brian

Together

November 14th, 2018 Posted by Glory Minute 0 thoughts on “Together”

Are you growing weary of all the fighting, discord, and antagonism in culture? I don’t want to presume to speak for you, but I’ll take a guess that your answer is a resounding “yes”.

Sunday in worship we looked at an Old Testament narrative that seems like merely a kid-friendly, Sunday School story, but upon a deeper look, it reveals a powerful vision of how God wants His people to function. It’s the story of Moses looking over a battle that God’s people were engaged in, and every time his arms were raised, they would experience victory. However, anytime his arms fell down, they would be losing. As you can imagine, his arms grew tired. And God planned it that way! He planned it so that Moses would need to reach out to his friends, Aaron and Hur, who held up his arms, ensuring victory.

It’s a powerful lesson for kids and adults alike- we are meant to lean into one another!

Culture’s draw toward independence is breeding not only isolation and loneliness, I’d argue it’s actually giving rise to the antagonism and division we are seeing all around us. Yet God invites us into something radically different, and radically better- community.

Because of the work of Jesus Christ in our lives, so many of the divisions we see around us ought not exist among us. However culture seeks to divide, whether it be by gender, age, race, ethnicity, political leanings, socioeconomic status, or the like, the Christian knows and celebrates that the blood of Jesus shed for all of us does an incredibly unifying work in us!

The Christian, and the Christian church, ought to be the most radically hospitable and accepting entity out there, standing as a beacon of light and togetherness in an increasingly divisive culture. May it be so among us, we pray.

If you missed last week’s message, you can find it HERE.

Have a blessed day!

Pastor Brian

dis(connected)

November 8th, 2018 Posted by Glory Minute 0 thoughts on “dis(connected)”

Sunday in worship we looked at a really neat scene from the Old Testament. It’s the story of God’s people working together in a beautiful way, each bringing what they had and what they could uniquely offer to the building of their traveling worship space as they journeyed together to the land God had promised to them. We connected that to our past, and our present, here at Lord of Glory, where all over the place people bring and have brought their gifts to advance God’s work among us. Another beautiful scene.

Yet we also talked about how this portrait of diversity coming together in unity is in short supply these days. In a culture of division, where some 70% of surveyed parents say they hope their kids don’t marry a spouse from “the other” political party, unity is hard to come by. And the result is an epidemic of loneliness that is felt across ages, races, and socioeconomic levels.

Enter then the church. Imperfect? Absolutely. Yet it’s a snapshot, a hope, of the sense of coming together that God envisioned for His people. I love seeing it among us here. I love how you’ll see among us diversity on many levels yet a spirit of unity around our primary identity as children of God. Beautiful.

It exists, thanks be to God, yet we can for sure grow in this even more. Sunday I challenged us to take two concrete action steps. First, reach out because you need it. When you find yourself struggling, lonely, jammed up, find a Christian you trust and open up. Second, reach out because your church family needs it. It’s likely true that you are aware of someone from within our faith family, or the larger Christian faith family, who’s journey is difficult. Reach out, pray, encourage.

This Glory Minute is a gentle reminder to you to take those steps. Have you given them a shot?

If you missed last week’s message, you can find it here.

Have a blessed day!

Pastor Brian

Practicing Patience

October 29th, 2018 Posted by Glory Minute 0 thoughts on “Practicing Patience”

Two quick stories from my life, and I’m guessing you’ll see what binds them together:

First, I recently requested a book from the library. It’s a new one, and quite popular, so I was 22nd on the list. After weeks of waiting, I received an email that it was my turn- yay! Unfortunately, by the time I read the email, the library was closed. I was frustrated… I don’t like waiting!

Second, early last week I was pulling out of a parking spot. Behind me, however, was a line of cars seeking to exit the parking lot, and the line prevented me from getting out of my spot. UGGGh! I didn’t like it… I don’t like waiting.

You likely see the common thread…

Patience is really challenging, and the more we get accustomed to everything in our lives being instant, the more difficult waiting will become. Can you identify?

Not too long ago, I read an article about patience as a value in Japanese culture. It’s taught early on, and highly emphasized in formative years. The result is that folks who grow up in this culture are exponentially better at waiting.

Our faith speaks of patience as a “fruit of the Spirit” (Galatians 5:22-23). That is, the more the Spirit of God is at work in us, the more the gift of patience will be alive in us and flow out of us.

So if life has you waiting these days, find your way to where God is at work- In His word, in worship, in conversation, in prayer, etc.- and see if the Lord might increase patience in you.

That’s all for now- I’m headed to the library to get my book! Can’t wait! (haha)

Have a blessed day!

Pastor Brian

“I am not content”

October 10th, 2018 Posted by Glory Minute 0 thoughts on ““I am not content””

Sunday we kicked off a new message series diving into something that is both very practical and very elusive: contentment. It’s practical in that it deals with our everyday lives and how we live; it’s elusive in that even though we are all desiring it, it’s very difficult to actually obtain. Sunday we took a solid look at what God actually says about contentment, landing on the idea that contentment is not circumstantial but rather is ultimately found in a deeper connection with God.

After worship, I got a flood of replies to what we touched on, and one was rather surprising. One person shared these words with boldness and raw honesty: “I am not content”.

At first, I didn’t quite know what to say. But after a moment, I celebrated this person for their honestly. I then shared that the first step towards finding contentment is realizing that you don’t yet have it! Said a different way, once we admit that we don’t have it, and we ask God to help us find it, He begins His work in us and among us!

So perhaps this is you right now. You echo the statement, “I am not content”. If you are there, or, when you get there next, take a cue from this wonderful sibling in Christ from the Lord of Glory lobby and admit it, name it, and bring your desires to God.

“And the God of peace will be with you” (Philippians 4:9).

Have a blessed day!

Pastor Brian

Dealing With Change

September 25th, 2018 Posted by Glory Minute 0 thoughts on “Dealing With Change”

I’ve heard it said before, and you likely have as well, that the only constant anymore seems to be change! That is, the only thing we can seem to know and count on is the fact and reality that everything is constantly changing! We see it in relatively small things, like technology, and in much larger things, like cultural trends. And if you’re like me, you feel like it’s happening too fast!

Sunday in worship we looked at the story of Isaiah, a man who found himself in a hurricane of change. In a real-to-life vision, he is brought before the Lord and it’s quite the multi-sensory experience! Six-winged angel-like creatures flying, doorposts and thresholds shaking, and a temple filled with smoke all bring Isaiah to repentance. But the change continues as a live coal is brought to his lips as a cleansing and forgiving agent. And in that moment, a seismic change is worked in him, going from inadequacy, shame, and guilt to a willingness to serve and be sent!

We used Isaiah’s story as a springboard to talk about how we deal with change, and I want to invite you today to continue to process the change that is likely before you now. Because, as we said above, it’s not a matter of if change will come to us, but how we’ll deal with it...

As humans, we’re wired to favor equilibrium, yet God promises- in the midst of change, He is there. Sometimes God actually facilitates change in and around us to work something better in us and for us. And while what’s before us might be stumping us and challenging us, I can assure you, it doesn’t surprise the Lord, and He’s working it for our greater good!

So as you process the changes around you these days, I pray you see the Lord’s hand in the midst of it all. He has not left us, and when we truly call upon Him, He does His greatest work.

“Change and decay in all around I see: 
O thou who changest not, abide with me!”

(Abide with Me, Henry Frances Lyte)

Have a blessed day!

Pastor Brian

One Small Step

September 17th, 2018 Posted by Glory Minute 0 thoughts on “One Small Step”

In a recent Glory Minute, we touched on the idea of connecting with people who “like Jesus, but not the church” and who consider themselves “spiritual, but not religious”. This is a rapidly growing subset of our culture, and we would do well to listen to them and meet them where they are.

A few Sundays back, we touched on a challenging passage of Scripture- II Corinthians 5:16, where we are challenged: “from now on, we no longer view from a worldly point of view.” What do you think that means, to not view others from a worldly point of view? Tough one. We landed on the notion that the world invites us to see others as people to evaluate, to judge, to compete with, and the like.

Yet what God has done for us in Christ Jesus changes not only how we view ourselves, but how we view others. Rather than people to critique or compete with, we now see others as folks for whom Christ died. Because Jesus declares they have value to Him, they ought to have value to us.

Bottom line- as we seek to engage a changing culture, it all starts with a small shift in how we view others.

And as we do so, and we listen, and we pray the Lord facilitates good spiritual conversations, know that there is good news here: survey results confirm for us that in many cases, the folks on the other end will feel good about it! Recently, Barna Research and Lutheran Hour Ministries teamed up and researched best practices regarding spiritual conversations. Most interesting to me was this- the majority of people in the “spiritual, but not religious” camp reported that they enjoyed engaging in such conversations with thoughtful, caring Christians!

So as we continue to pray that the Holy Spirit helps us view others differently, we also trust that he’ll work in these conversations. Have a blessed day!

Pastor Brian

Say Yes

September 13th, 2018 Posted by Glory Minute 0 thoughts on “Say Yes”

This past Sunday was one of my more favorite Sundays that we’ve had around here in recent memory. I loved a lot about it- the games in the lobby, the notes written to our military friends, our pantry families, our shut-ins, and our college students, the red boxes we created (and are using!), the popcorn, and so much more. I also loved the massive, awesome, team of people who made that morning happen. I was rejoicing Sunday afternoon. Did I mention the popcorn?

Yet best of all, I loved our theme for the day. The language we are using this month is “Say Yes!”, and we introduced the ‘why’ behind it on Sunday and we’ll circle back around it in the coming weeks.

Why “Say Yes”? Three quick reasons I love where we’re going:

  • It seems like to a skeptical culture around us, the church is becoming increasingly known for what it says ‘no’ to. When people think of the church, they often think about what the church is against. I say it’s time we introduce (reintroduce) our culture to what we are indeed for! We are a “Yes” people!
  • The bottom line focus is that in the midst of all that we say yes to, our most important and our best yes is the “yes” we say to God. Although we are pulled in so very many directions, and it would be so easy to just let faith matters slide, saying “yes” to the things of God does wonders in our lives.
  • Finally, and most importantly, we celebrate that we worship a God who said yes to us in Jesus. Even though we don’t always say yes to Him, He relentlessly says yes to forgiving us and giving us new life again. We have a God who said, and continues to say, yes to you!

This Sunday, building off this, we’ll be invited to actually put this into practice. It’s true, and you know it- faith is not just an abstract concept, and it impacts more than merely how you think… it changes how you live! God wants to help how you live “life to the full” (John 10:10). See you Sunday as we discover how.

Have a blessed day!

Pastor Brian

I like Jesus, but Not the Church

August 27th, 2018 Posted by Glory Minute 0 thoughts on “I like Jesus, but Not the Church”

I love it when it happens, and it happened on Sunday- the message spilled out into conversations in the lobby, and even the Grayslake pool! If you missed it, we talked about how culturally the influence of the church is on the decline, people are attending worship less, and more and more folks are staying away completely. That doesn’t mean, however, that interest in spiritual things is declining- somewhere between 8 and 9 Americans say they believe in God. The latest language seems to be that people self describe as “spiritual, but not religious” and they “like Jesus, but not the church”.

I asked the question Sunday- what are we to do with this? For this Glory Minute, I’d like to summarize what we said, and invite us to apply it this week as we live.

We were reminded Sunday that even with its warts, the Church is indeed God’s idea. It’s built on Jesus, and because it is His creation, it has His hand of blessing. And the best part- because it has His blessing, we receive His benefits. We talked briefly Sunday about the Community we experience, and how that indeed is a gift from God.

Not everybody gets this, however. Some have been hurt by the church. The take home- we bring the Spirit of the church to them! After all, the church is not a building, it’s not an entity that only operates on it’s home turf. Instead, the church, the people of God, are always on the move. And when we encounter the “spiritual, but not religious”, we do as Jesus did- we listen, we ask questions, we break bread. We don’t make them come to us to experience God, we bring the gifts of God and the Fruits of the Spirit to them.

I’ll be praying that each of us get opportunities to “be the Church” this week!

Have a blessed day!

Pastor Brian

Perseverance

August 14th, 2018 Posted by Glory Minute 0 thoughts on “Perseverance”

Ever feel like giving up, throwing in the towel? We’ve all had those moments, those days. Perhaps you are there right now. Life and pressures and uncertainties can lead us to those moments,

You’ve probably never heard the name David Bote; until Sunday night, I really hadn’t either. Drafted six years ago by the Chicago Cubs, the 554th player drafted, I’m sure he felt at times like giving up. Finding yourself in the low level of the minor leagues in baseball is no picnic. Yet David persevered, and Sunday night, he got his reward. With his team, the Cubs, down 3-0, he entered the game as a pinch hitter with two outs and the bases loaded. Perhaps you heard what happened next. It’s called an “ultimate Grand Slam”, and it’s a rarity in baseball- a game winning Grand Slam, when down 3-0, with two outs.

Question to consider- I almost wonder if David was uniquely emotionally strong in that moment, with the deck stacked against him, because he had labored so hard just to get to that moment?

Challenges and struggles can do that- they refine us, they strengthen us, and they uniquely prepare us for what’s to come. So if you’re in a “ready to give up” season right now, consider this- God might be using this to prepare you for something greater to come.

One more thing that helped Bote- his Christian faith. Take a read here.

Pastor Brian