Welcome to the new thesometimespreacher.com. My name is Andy, and I'm glad that you've found my blog. Since 2008, I have been blogging about the things that interest me most: Jesus, Scripture, Church, and Culture. What began as nothing more than a place for me to occasionally express my thoughts has become a source of encouragement and inspiration for thousands. And the best part is this: During the dark days of my son Zekey's fight with Batten Disease, people from all over the world prayed for and encouraged my family because of what they found here on this blog.
I am currently working as a church planter in Columbus, Ohio. My beautiful and talented wife, Breena, blogs at breeloverly.com, and also has started an ethically made women's fashion line called Garment Collective. Feel free to reach out to me with any questions or comments via email.

Hope

Naming a church is an odd process. It’s both extremely important and not important at all at the same time. Does it really matter what the church is called? Yes, it does. But, seriously, does it? Well, no.

When I planted Ember Church, I had the name picked out years before we actually even started taking the planting process seriously. The name was tied to the idea, even defining it. I could not have planted a church by any other name. But Ember’s time has passed, and now God has a new church for me to have a hand in leading. And that church has a name, too.

Hope Church.*

Christianity speaks to each of the core longings of human beings: the need to be known, the need to be loved, the need to belong, the need to be forgiven, and the need to have a hope that transcends death. The hope we have as Christians is unique in this world because it is not of this world, though it is for this world. Our hope is rooted in the resurrection of Jesus Christ, and that hope not only rescues us from the fear of death, but gives us confidence to live each day with faith and love.

A mature community cultivates a lifestyle of love in the midst of market-style exchanges, a lifestyle of joy in the midst of manufactured desire, peace in the midst of fragmentation, patience in the midst of productivity, kindness in the midst of self-sufficiency, goodness in the midst of self-help, faithfulness in the midst of impermanence, gentleness in the midst of aggression, and self-control in the midst of addiction.

J.R. Woodward, Creating a Missional Culture (p. 31)
All-Things-New

One of the most incredible passages of Scripture, and one to which I return often, is Revelation 21. It is the story of the consummation of redemption history, of the bride of Christ descending from heaven – walking down the aisle, as it were – for her marriage to the “Lamb who was slain.” The imagery is rich and profound, bursting with anticipation of the new creation, of the world made right, and of the end of the tyrannical reign of sin and death.

In verse 6, the unseen God shouts from his glorious throne, “Behold! I am making all things new!” A proclamation. A promise. God is making all things new. The mountains and rivers will be made new. Not different mountains and rivers; the same, but renewed. Purified. Cleansed.

The same is true for us. There will not be different people; there will be the same people, but we will be renewed, purified, cleansed, redeemed, comforted. This is what awaits us in Christ. But you don’t have to wait for it to happen all at once in heaven. This is what God is up to right now. God is making a new you, and he is doing it through the power and presence of the Holy Spirit today.

As you can see, I’m working on an overhaul of my website. There is still a lot of work to do, but I am going to go public with it anyway. There was one snafu that occurred during the update process, and that was the unintended emails that went out to website subscribers. If you got those emails, I apologize. I hate to fill up your inbox like that, and I believe that I have taken the appropriate steps to ensure it doesn’t happen again.

If you have any feedback or questions about the new site, please feel free to send me an email. I’d love to hear your thoughts. Thank you for visiting, and I look forward to providing many new posts in the future.

My last sermon as a pastor at Grace Church was from John 5:16-30. It is a rich passage in which Jesus argues for his authority to heal and judge, and I was only able to scratch the surface of it in the thirty minutes I had to preach. There was so much that I wanted to get into but couldn’t, including how Jesus referred to his resurrection, the closeness of Father and Son, and just exactly what he meant when he spoke of “life.”

Sermon-Quote-Autonomy-1Instead, I talked about why the Jewish leaders were persecuting him and how tightly they held to Sabbath-keeping. There was almost nothing that a Jew could have done in those days that would have been more offensive, more disgraceful, to both his heritage and his people than to break the Sabbath. And this is precisely what Jesus had done when he healed a man who had been crippled for 38 years, and then told him to carry his mat home with him on the Sabbath. Because of his blasphemy and sacrilegious disobedience of the Sabbath laws, Jesus was labeled a dangerous heretic.

The Sabbath had become the dominant means by which faithful Jews identified themselves. It was a primary cultural identity marker, so deeply ingrained in their way of life and thinking that it could never be called into question. We have something like that here in America: Freedom. Freedom is the American Way. Freedom is the American Truth. Freedom is the American Life. But, by making freedom a cultural idol, we have distorted and perverted it.

Page 1 of 7412345102030...Last »