The Smartest Thing All Smart People Do To Stay Smart and Become Smarter, Most of the Time

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Life is full of firsts. Your first breath, step, word, ice-cream, day of school, ballgame, kiss, car, diploma, job, house, pet, wife, kid… Even today is a first. The strange thing about today is we’ve never done it before. Really, every day is a first. Every second is the first time that second has ever been a second.

This amazes me about the Creator God. Every day that’s ever been is its own. Every person that’s ever been is their own. What an astounding reality!? This reality makes everyday unique. Every emotion worth savoring. Every experience novel. Every relationship its own struggle and joy. Every moment worth attention. It gives each waking sunrise promise that yesterday perhaps couldn’t offer.

But it creates a dilemma too. You see, every human being is trying to get somewhere in life. We have a preferred destination for everything. We want our career, marriage, finances, relationships, faith to end somewhere. Specific. We have hopes and aspirations for our lives.

We all have a preferred destination for everything about us, but the bad news is, few of us know how to get there. And why? Because we’ve never been there. Because, well, that’s how life works. Life is full of firsts. Time holds the future hostage tomorrow. And having never been there, we have no real-life experience on how to get there.

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Four Points that Show What the Church Really Valued

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Authentic community is the context in which we are to follow Jesus. The scriptures say it, the characters modeled it, and the early church established it.

Community wasn’t a doctrine for the early church, it was the environment. It wasn’t a part of life for a Christian, it was the way of life. It wasn’t just another thing, it was the reality in which they did everything. And really, the idea of following Jesus was unthinkable outside of authentic cross-shaped relationships.

But community and relationships seem to be an afterthought any more for churches. Today the idea of church has been developed under an entirely different guise. When people hear the word “church” they think buildings, denominations, and 60-minute services we check off our agenda until next time.

My generation, the millennials, are leaving “church” at record rates because they see it as an irrelevant institution that has failed to distinguish between right practices and right principles. They look at the church and see an institution that has placed a tremendous amount of weight on rituals and rules rather than relationships.

And that’s sad to me… because relationships mattered most to the early church. When you study the early church in the scriptures you see more of a dynamic and expanding network of messy but maturing love-relationships, and less of a formalized institution where everyone needed to show-up and get-in-line or get-out.

So here’s four things to ponder about the early church that might change the way you approach church today:

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Sandusky’s Mistakes Affected Many…

In Galatians 2:11-16, Peter visits the Gentile Christian headquarters in Antioch where Paul’s mission was currently based.  This whole Gentiles-are-cool-with-us movement was a relatively new phenomenon, and at the time was gaining a stronger foothold among the Jewish Christians.  The Jerusalem Council (Acts 15) had recently issued a favorable rule toward the Gentile people, and Peter comes to visit afterwards as a perceived advocate for their cause. (Acts 10; 15:7-12).  His visit from Jerusalem to Antioch was assumedly a nice gesture to promote the good work being done here and offer his good graces as one of the utmost leaders of the emerging church.

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