Culture & Theology: Escapism

Here are the notes and audio file from our discussion on Escapism during our last Culture & Theology meeting.
Audio File may be found here: (MP3)

Culture & Theology: Escapism

Notes from C&T Episode IV. Escapism.

Now I need to be upfront right now and say that for tonight’s subject, there is no end all, ultimate solution. This topic is hard for us, because Escapism is different for everyone and there is no one end all blanket ‘solution’ on this subject but I can promise you will walk away from tonight with a new insight on your life, your families life and some nuggets of truth to meditate on and how we as Christians live our lives in a world that is not our home. Continue reading


Innovative Thinking

Two articles came across my path today.  I recommend them to you for your consideration.
The first one has to do with how entrepreneurs are using business to help those in desperate plights in third world countries.  There’s nothing non-profit about it, but it’s helping:

The second has to do with how we as the church might need to shift in how we view ourselves in a post-Christian culture:–hello-true-christianity?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+delicious%2Fgqlf+%28Christian+Headlines+Top+Headlines%29
I found both articles very challenging – moving my thoughts in a direction they had never gone before.  I hope they might have a similar impact on you.

Unbelievable New App

I just downloaded to my iPhone the app from the Jesus Film Media (that’s what you’ll type in as you try to search for it in the iTunes or Android App Store).  It gives you access to the entire Jesus Film (read more about the film here: broken into clips.  Want to watch Jesus calm the sea?  It’s there.  Want to watch Him deliver the Beatitudes?  It’s there.  I believe this will be a great tool for making many of the accounts come alive again for me and a tool for sharing those accounts with others.

Yes . . . it’s also available on the Android.

When you first open the app, go to The Jesus Film and click on it.  Then browse through all the clips they have.  I give it five stars.

Did I mention that it’s FREE?

Answering 7 Common Objections To Long-Term Missions

Answering 7 Common Objections to Long-Term Missions by Ben Stevens

During almost 500 meetings I set up to raise support for service in Germany, I glimpsed a snapshot of current evangelical sentiment towards long-term, cross-cultural ministry. Many exciting things are happening today in the evangelical world, whether in short-term ministry, church planting, or expanding our social consciousness. Yet I cannot escape the conclusion that a major change in the tides has come to the evangelical world regarding missions. Time and time again I encountered intelligent people, both laymen and pastors, who argued passionately that long-term, cross-cultural work is “no longer the way God does things.” Continue reading

Commit To Take a Risk

For the past several months I have been training to run a half marathon. A week or so back I was scheduled to go for a 4 mile training run. Three steps into the run I was tired and my body hurt and I wanted to turn around. It was too early in the morning, I hadn’t eaten anything, and it was hot. This was going to be a painful run. This was going to require commitment. I did complete the 4 miles, because I knew that to complete a half marathon, you have to train. You can’t miss very many days. You can’t just train when you feel like it. I continued when I wanted to quit. If you want to complete a race of almost any distance, you need to train on days you don’t feel like it.
Muhammad Ali said, “I hated every minute of training, but I said, ‘don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.’ I hope you don’t think of Life Groups as suffering, but if you want to grow in your relationship with God and others, it is not going to come without cost. There are weeks you aren’t going to feel like being at Life Group, go anyway. There will be nights you don’t want to risk relationships, do it anyway. There will be nights you don’t feel like caring for the others in the group, do it anyway. Make the commitment right now that you are going to be at Life Groups every week.

Life Groups are like training for a marathon, they do take sacrifice, but if you put in the time you will “live the rest of your life with relationships that started in your Life Group.” Make the Commitment to take the Risk.

PS – I did run the half marathon and I did finish and because of the training actually felt pretty good at the end!

Pastor Roger Graber
Shadow Lake Community Church
Psalm 115:1

Healthy Acceptance

The word “acceptance” is a battle cry of our culture. “You have to accept me! You have to accept me right where I am! Jesus did!” Hard to argue with that. . . particularly when they insert Jesus into the argument.

Jesus did accept people with lots of dysfunctions including me.

That having been said He never said my sins/dysfunctions weren’t wrong; He never left me where He found me (in my dysfunctions); and He never enabled my dysfunctions.

Our culture wants everything in that last paragraph included in the word “acceptance.” We must with discernment not cave in to that pressure.

I’ve tried to illustrate this with a picture. What do you think?


Two Principles To Consider

For many years I’ve tested two principles that I believe directly affects my spiritual growth.

1. I treat others like I treat myself.

I believe my treatment of others is more often than not a reflection of how I treat myself in my most private internal moments. You know that person who is so critical of others? I believe that their behavior is a window into the way they treat themselves.

2. I treat myself like Ifeel God treats me.

Although the first one has proven itself to me over four decades of counseling and coaching people, I find this second principle supported in Scripture. I John says that “we love because He first loved us.” And “anyone who does not love does not know God for God is love.”

The word feel is important here as what we know intellectually many times has not integrated itself into my emotional life yet. I might know God is patient with me long before I feel that He is.

The Greeks even had two different words to explain this phenomena. Oida meant to know intellectually while ginosko meant to know through experience.

Until I feel that God is patient with me, I will have little patience with myself and others.

This process can take quite awhile if none of His patience was ever demonstrated towards me in my past or I’m not currently in relationship with other Christians who can show me God’s patience in the midst of them seeing my authentic self. There’s where I believe lasting change occurs.

What do you think about these two principles? You sure don’t have to agree with these observations of mine.


Take a Risk

At Shadow Lake Church we have a discipleship process, with three key pieces.  Focus, Risk, and Impact.  Life Groups main part of that process is Risk, as in Risking Relationships.  Anytime there is a risk, it is because it could go either right or wrong, it could go well or poorly.  If the outcome was guaranteed, there is no risk.  Of course the greater the risk, the greater the reward, or possible failure.
Continue reading

Culture & Theology: Homosexuality

Here are the notes and audio file from our discussion on Homosexuality during our last Culture & Theology meeting.
Audio File may be found here: (MP3)
– Introduction & Background (0:00-20:30)
– Arguments used for Homosexuality (20:30 – 52:30)
– Questions & Answers (52:30 – 1:13:00)
– Scenarios (1:13:00 – 1:21:00)
Note Handout Sheet – This PDF is a brief overview of the 7 Arguments discussed during the session as well as a Resource list.
“Brain Sheet” – This PDF is an in depth work on the three main sections of Scripture dealing with Homosexuality and some criticisms dealing with those sections.
Please feel free to comment here or send your questions to Travis or Robert by email.;

What will God do?

That’s the question that keeps me coming back day after day, month after month, and year after year.  Not claiming to know the mind of God (beyond that which He reveals of Himself in the Bible), there is so much of my walk with Him that remains a mystery.  Next weekend is just such an experience.

Teams from Shadow Lake have been planning and will be going all over our city to learn and participate in what God is doing through His Church.

What will be some of the lessons learned from those who choose to join this Big Live! experiences?  I am waiting with full curiosity and excitement for Sunday night at 6:00 PM in the field just behind Papillion Junior High to hear the reports as the groups return.  Not knowing exactly what God is going to do . . . not knowing what He’s going to teach . . . but having seen Him do some amazing things . .  . has me planning to be in the front row for that service of celebration.