Dodge Ball at Sojourn

Posted: April 13, 2013 in Uncategorized

When I was kid dogs were free to roam the neighborhood.  Some dogs would chase cars.  They would run behind or beside the car and bark. I used to wonder; What is he going to do if he catches the car?  I think we’ve caught the car, and like so many dogs, we don’t know what to do with it.

We’ve created a buzz at sojourn with an event that is popular and well-attended.  On a typical Friday night 40 to 50 teenagers come out to play dodge ball.  We’ve had super high attendance 150 at one time, and we’ve had low nights, 20 or less.  There are many regulars and each week we see several new people.

In 30 years of ministry (25 as a Youth Pastor) we’ve never seen such consistent success in a ministry event.  A typical youth event will consist of mostly the youth group and some of their friends from other churches.  There may be 10% or less visitors and non-believers.

But this is the opposite.  We’ve drawn the huge crowd of non-believers to church.  Now what?

Are you looking for a ministry opportunity that is really the “front-lines” in evangelism?  Are you wanting a way to obey God in sharing the Gospel?  Do you want to make a huge impact in teenager’s lives while also glorifying God?

This is NOT youth ministry where you walk into a ready-made class of students and teach them a Bible study.  This is NOT a youth ministry where all the kids are generally well-behaved Christian kids.  This is NOT ministry where people know how to act in church, where everyone understands church lingo, where people have been exposed to the Gospel and they are “right there” ready to believe, where there is a typical flow and expectation.   This is NOT your typical ministry.

This is Paul in Athens, Jonah in Nineveh, and Jesus in Capernaum type ministry.  This is you in a room with a bunch of angry, hurting, ill-behaved young people.  They cuss and cut, they lie and steal, they get frustrated and fight.  They are from foster homes and broken homes, some hate to go home and some don’t have a home.  They show up laughing and crying and arguing and yelling and most are excited to see you.  They have have hurt in their heart, a naked picture of their girlfriend on their phone, and bruises from their last fight.  They rarely ask you to tell them about Jesus.

Sometimes we get to tell them about Jesus.  Sometimes they become believers.  It’s rare.

There is no sermon, no band, no videos, no “lesson.”  We don’t have an invitation. We don’t have “visitor cards.”

We play dodge ball.  We love them unconditionally. We model mature and manly behavior (or womanly). We model Christ.  We develop loving relationships.  We engage them in their life.  When the Spirit is ready, He works out a situation where we can share the Gospel.  He always works out situations where we can talk about Jesus, church and the Bible.

But right now we are overrun.  God has brought to us a multitude of people who need to hear the Good News of Christ.  The harvest is plentiful.  The laborers are few.  This is my prayer for the Lord of the Harvest to send laborers.

Contact me if you are ready to get into the field.

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Step One: Focus your Fancy

Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your  life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. – Colossians 3:1-4

Paul tells us to set our hearts and our minds on things above.

He means for us to focus our eyes, mind and our whole self on Heavenly, Spiritual and Godly things.

Focus your thoughts on the things of God not the things of the earth. He tells us this because our thoughts lead to our feelings and our behavior.  If I focus on worldly activities and desires I will behave in a worldly and sinful way.

So, how to I set my mind on heavenly/godly things?

I read the Bible, I memorize Scripture, I meditate on the Word, I pray, I obey God.

The natural result of your thinking is that your behavior changes to match.

Step Two: Finish the Flesh

Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Colossians 3:5 

Put to death means to mortify or to kill.  The famous phrase in the video game “Mortal Combat” is “Finish Him.”  When it comes to you flesh, you can’t control it, you can’t reform it, you have to “Finish” it.  You must put to death whatever belongs to that earthly nature.

He gives a list of this earthly nature.  The list is all sexually related and deals with everything of sexual immorality, plus the immoral thoughts, ideas and fantasies that come with it.  Paul continues adding to this the evil desires to sin and the deep dark evil sexualized passions that well up inside us.  He includes greed in the list because this form of sexual related sins always demands more and more until the sexual perversion becomes an idol, it is worshiped.

We live in a culture that has made an idol of sex.  It is pushed in every aspect of our life.  Constantly.  We are just as depraved and perverted as the first century Greeks and Romans mentioned by Paul.

These are all part of our sinful nature, they are sins of the flesh and we are not told to get our flesh under control or to reform our flesh, we are told to kill it, to mortify it, to finish it…

How do I do that?  By Focusing my Fancy on things about and not on earthly things.  I’m not looking at porn, or at ladies body parts, or at sexually suggestive television, or listening to provocative sexual songs, or reading sexual stuff…I’m mortifying the flesh…I’m killing those sinful sexual desires. (I highly recommend getting married and having a healthy sex life, though)

6 Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. 7 You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. 

Step Three: Fire Your Fury

8 But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. 9 Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. Colossians 3:8-10

The fleshly sexual sins are part of our worldly and earthly nature and must be put to death.  But this next list are part of our emotions dealing with anger and are not so easily “finished off.”  We are told to get rid of these items, like getting rid of a horrible employee.  You are fired.

We are so angry.  We see this anger in the way we snap at people, the cussing, the passive aggressive facebook updates, the eye rolling, the arguments where we drag in events to happened a while back, the mean behaviors we do toward others, the lies, the slander.  We are angry people.

Bruce Banner (in the Avengers) revealed his secret as the Hulk.  He is always angry.  Most of us are the Hulk in waiting.  We are always angry and it doesn’t take much for us to turn green and smash everything.

Our anger is caused by hurt.  People hurt us and we get angry.  When we do not deal with the anger it turns to resentment which is that built-in never leaving anger.  We are hurt people and we hurt other people in our hurt.

Paul gives us the way to put off that anger in verse 12 to 14.  We must forgive.

12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Colossians 3:12-14

You can’t get even enough to take away the anger and pain of the hurt.  There is not enough vengeance, there is not enough telling off, there is not enough withholding love that will heal our hurt.  The ONLY healing is to forgive.

Fire Your Fury by Forgiving your Foe

Forgive as the Lord forgave you.

Here is the key, Jesus forgave you for all the sin and hurt you causes him with your rebellion and your selfishness, your worldly thoughts and earthly behavior, your violation of his Law and His nature.  He forgave you for sin thousands of times greater than the hurt caused you by others.  If Jesus can die on the cross to forgive your sin, if he can forgive you, you can forgive others. You can forgive to the extent you understand this forgiveness.  That’s the secret…forgive.

Focus your mind on the things of God, kill the fleshly desires for sexual immorality, put aside the anger through forgiveness.  Get on it.

English: Jesus Christ - detail from Deesis mos...

  1. He is the representation and manifestation of the invisible God. Col 1:15
  2. He ranks higher than all of creation.  Col 1:15
  3. God’s fullness lives permanently in Him. Col 1:19
  4. Jesus created everything. Col 1:16
  5. He is the head of the church. Col 1:18
  6. He holds everything together.  Col 1:17
  7. He has reconciled believers to God through His death on the cross. Col 1:22
US Navy 090627-N-5207L-045 Marines assigned to...

Push Ups

“..train yourself to be godly. For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come. This is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance.” – I Timothy 4:7-9

“Training” is from the GK word where we get gymnasium.  The idea is that of physical training such as exercises and sports training.  The text says that this physical training is of limited value as it extends to just a few areas.  This is contrasted with the word “godliness” which we need to define.

Godliness was used in classic GK writings at the time to refer to “actions appropriate to the gods.” It carries a sense of reverence which was described as fear of the gods.  When Paul uses it he means a reverence and fear of God that leads to behavior that pleases God.  We also understand it to mean the attitude that goes with this.  Think of “godliness” as my true behavior that reflects what God’s ideal for me to be.

Paul say that this spiritual training is beneficial in all areas, both in this life and in the life to come.

He leads this phrase off with the command, “Train yourself for godliness.”

Our fallen nature could be equivalent to the body of a “couch potato.”  Sin leaves us fat and out-of-shape toward spiritual thought and holy behavior.  We sat on our filthy couch of sin and made no effort to get out.  But then Jesus delivered us and tossed us into the gymnasium of holiness.

Fat guys have to work in the gym.

We find this contrast from Paul, physical training is limited to your body.  It gets it in shape and sharpens your skills in a sport or lifting or something.  BUT, training in godliness is way more valuable.

We have to train ourselves for godliness, for living with a reverential fear of God, for doing the things that make God happy, for being holy, for responding to God in love and devotion, for obeying God.  It takes work because sin leaves us out of spiritual shape.

What does this training look like?  The disciplines.  This is why we do them, because they are our training.  We are sanctified (the process of making us godly) by the Word of God (John 17:17) so anything that gets the word into us is “training;”  Bible reading, study, hearing, preaching, pondering, teaching, and bible studies.  The companion of the Word of God is prayer, so anything that gets us talking and listening to God is good “training;” public prayer, private prayer, prayer with a buddy, intercession, praise, repentance, confession, and supplication and listening to God.

Training requires a plan and consistency.  Do it every day and often.

I just preached the worse sermon ever. You know what I mean.  It was too long, rambling, unimaginative, empty of substance, uncreative, poorly delivered and boring.  I didn’t grasp the extent of my failure until well into the sermon when it was just painfully obvious to me that there wasn’t anything there.  I couldn’t get the point out.  I couldn’t get the illustrations to say or mean what I wanted.  It left my lips and took a slow spiral noise dive into the floor. 

Now I need therapy for this disaster, but we’ll have to settle for a “lessons learned” blog. 

1. ) My ego was the main casualty in this disaster.  I couldn’t wait to get out of there.  It was embarrassing. I made some apologies for taking too long.  I said a few “fishing” remarks about my poor performance and I left.  My pain was caused mainly by the embarrassment of how poorly I did.  I was concerned about what people thought of me.  I was frustrated at my poor sermon because my ego was hurt, not because I wasted the time of 60 or so people, or because I had the chance to share the Gospel with these people and failed.  Nope, I was irritated that they wouldn’t realize my awesomeness.

 

2) The sermon was bad because I didn’t put enough time and prayer into it. Fill in excuses here.  Whatever problems I have with time management and priorities need to get resolved.  When we rack and stack all our church duties we need to put the priority on prayer and the ministry of the word.  All the other important duties need to take a back seat or get delegated.  If you are ever going to prepare a good sermon you need to start with prayer and a good bible study.  Then you need to pray some more and let God give you a decent outline.  Once God has given you His message, you need to practice your delivery a few times before you stand in front of a crowd.  If God’s method of getting the Gospel out is through preaching (Romans 10:14) then we ought to get good at preaching.

 

3) The truth is that God doesn’t need me to be awesome, He needs me to be obedient and get out of His way.  I was in a hurry. I was over-scheduled and didn’t realize it or thought too highly of my self to realize the depth of my impending failure.  So I quickly strung together some thoughts and a short outline.  I tossed in a couple of illustrations and ran off.  I wasn’t out wasting my time or playing. I just didn’t put enough time into a very important opportunity to share the Gospel with people.  I  think deep down that I’m awesome enough to pull this off and I let that get in God’s way.  Next time I’ll relax and focus on God and let Him tell me what to say and do.  Let this be a lesson to me.

I read a blog this week where the writer said we shouldn’t try to be the church down the street, or the awesome church in the news, but to be the church that does what we do well.  We should find out what we do well and do it.

We asked this morning what we (sojourn) do well.  Using our poor grammar, we asked, What are we good at?  Here are our answers.

We are good at;

Growing beards

Potluck Dinners

Hanging out

Eating Ice Cream

We also discovered that we are really good at meeting people, loving people, making people feel welcomed and accepted, and sharing the Gospel.  We are good at reading our Bible, praying, and obeying Jesus.  We are good at worshipping.

So, the goal isn’t to try to do something that we are NOT good at, but to “play to our strengths.”

Sojourn is good at reaching people with the Good News of Jesus Christ.  Let’s keep it up.

 

As we’ve discussed in our sermon series on Identity, people struggle almost constantly with these feelings of fitting-in and acceptance. They are unsure and insecure.  When the come to sojourn they are taking a huge risk.  They have plenty of reasons to NOT go to church and that fear wells up inside of them.  We must help them to visit us.  We can help them by making them feel totally accepted and welcomed.  This is not easy when their natural disposition is the opposite.  Here are some steps.

The Arrival

A person’s first encounter should be with a smiling and welcoming believer.  This means that there must be someone at each door looking out for them (much like the father of the prodigal son).  We’ve done a good job at making sojourn warm and welcoming but people need that friendly face to greet them and reassure them that it is ok to be there.  If their biggest reason for not coming to church is that they are afraid, this is the greatest ministry we can do.

1.  Look for people.

2.  Smile and greet warmly.

3.  Stay with them.

Be Hospitable

Let’s treat them like they are in our home.  We wouldn’t just expect them to walk around and find everything themselves and help themselves to everything.  We must stay with them.

1.  Give them a tour of the spaces.

2.  Offer a snack and drink.  Take them to the snack spot.

3.  Take them to a seat

4.  Introduce them to a few people.

Be attentive

They have come to check us out.  But they are also looking for a connection. We do a lot at sojourn about connecting.  Let’s include the new person.

1.  Include the new people in your conversations.

2.  During the welcome activities, seek out the new person and engage them in the activity.

3.  During anything interactive, attend to the new person.  Help them out.

4.  When they leave make sure you say good by and invite them back.

Headfirst in the Garbage

Posted: April 27, 2012 in Discipleship
Tags: , , ,

Headfirst in the Garbage

Yesterday I fell into a garbage can. I was pushing a giant, 96 gallon plastic container on wheels. It’s called a “toter.” I didn’t realize there was a wrong way to move one of these and I was doing it wrong. The connected lid was flipped back and hanging to about 6 inches from the ground. This made it difficult to take a full step and caused me to lean on the handle, while walking slightly off balanced. I stepped on the lid which stopped the toter, but not my forward, off-balanced momentum, which caused me to go straight down. And since I was falling in a little forward motion, I went HEADFIRST in to the GARBAGE CAN.

There I lay, in the street, face first in a trash can, which gave me a little time to think. It wasn’t that bad; I could relax and I was getting some welcomed time off from work. Then the smell became evident. Then I realized, “I’m in a garbage can, I’m not trash, I don’t belong here.” So I backed out of it and went on my way, acting like nothing weird just happened. A habitual lifestyle of sin is a like a garbage can.

The trash of this world fills it and we sometimes jump or fall head first into it. I used to live in it.

You were taught, with regard to your former way of life,

 
to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. Ephesians 4:22-24

 

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! 2 Corinthians 5:17

When I became a follower of Christ, He changed me to where I just didn’t like living in the garbage can any longer. He delivered me and gave me freedom from all it’s bondage and stink. But sometimes we fall back inside. At first it might not seem so bad, but pretty soon we realize that this is not where I belong. That’s my old life. My new life is free from this can and smells a lot better. When you discover that you are headfirst into sin, back up, repent and get out of it. You don’t belong there, you are a child of God.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.  – John 1:9

Everyone take a drink

I was raised in a church environment that frowns on drinking alcohol. My earliest training as a follower of Christ was that Christians should not drink liquor and there were plenty of Bible verses supporting the conviction. I quickly was convinced that drinking was a bad idea for me and that my spiritual growth would be hindered by alcohol consumption. It has always concerned me when I meet believers who drink. It seems that these “boozing believers” also had spiritual issues in other areas of their lives so I assumed it was the liquor messing them up.

As you can imagine I’m really concerned with the trend among younger (20’s) believers who drink alcoholic beverages and especially when the younger pastors seem to even encourage the drinking. It seems this new group of believers have totally cast off the rules of prohibition and run headlong into alcohol use. So, I’m doing a lot of research into the topic. I don’t think my 20’s drinking friends are doing any research, they seem to just be content that I can’t produce a Bible reference that supports prohibition of alcohol. They smugly chug their Guinness while enjoying their liberty and biblical superiority. Jerks.

Let me give a warning. The lack of a prohibition against drinking alcohol is NOT permission to drink like the people in our culture drink. If we are to drink, we want to drink like Jesus not like the world. If drinking is good (as they claim) then surely the world has perverted it.

Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit. – Ephesians 5:18 The early believers lived in a world of idol worship. One such idol was Bacchus or Dionysis, the god of wine and the worship involved lots of drinking and drunkenness. There were drinking songs and games and lots of revelry, as well as the standard debauchery that goes with drunkenness and idol worship. God is always telling us not to be like them. 1 Thessolonians 4:2-5   For you know what instructions we gave you by the authority of the Lord Jesus. It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the heathen, who do not know God; 

The problem with our drinking is that we drink like people who don’t know Jesus with the purpose of drinking alcohol. Our focus becomes the drinking. This is not God’s plan. Through extensive research I’ve found that the Bible does NOT forbid drinking alcohol, but God doesn’t give free-reign to drink alcohol either.

The Bible’s attitude about drinking can be found in the first three instances of drinking in the Bible. The first is Noah getting drunk after the flood, the second is Melchizedek blessing Abraham, the third is Lot’s daughters getting him drunk after the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah.

In Melchizedek, you have this most awesome and deep spiritual event, a man who is a type of Christ, or possibly a pre-incarnate Christ, coming out with wine to bless Abraham, the father of the Jews. This is sandwiched in between probably the two most heinous and horrible examples of drunkenness you can imagine; Noah’s drunkeness led to nakedness and possibly a homosexual encounter while Lot’s drunkeness led to incest with his own daughters. While alcohol use can be very good, alcohol use can be very bad.

Let’s look briefly at what they were drinking. We can’t assume that what we call wine is what they called wine back in the day. The most used word in the Hebrew for wine “yayin” could have been fermented fruit juice or unfermented. The context usually let you know. We can’t say that all the good references were unfermented and the bad were fermented. There is plenty of contextual cues to know that people were naturally drinking alcoholic wine. Only the men drank alcoholic wine. The women and children were forbidden. They made their wine the old fashion way; picked grapes and squeezed them into a vat. Fermentation started about six hours after squeezing. The fermentation starts because there is sugar in the grape and there is naturally occurring yeast on the grape and in the air. Wine was sealed in skins and stored in a cool area. After three days they had wine at 8% alcohol content. If they left it for a while it could get up to 12%. By comparison, our table wine is 12.5% and some wines are as low as 8%. Many are fortified with some getting up to 22% alcohol content.

They didn’t drink the wine straight. They mixed it. The standard mix was 2:1 up to 5:1. We find many sources and various mixes and recipes. Rabbinic literature said that the wine used during the Passover meal was to be 3:1. Let’s use that as the standard for everything. (Jesus drank it). 8% wine mixed to three to one with water will make a concoction with 2% alcohol content. So a fellow might come home from work and have dinner and celebrate his day of hard work and his success in the field. He has a choice of water, milk and wine. He’ll have wine (about 5 ounces) and it will contain about 2% alcohol. If he wants to get drunk, he’ll need to drink it less mixed or drink a lot (and empty his bladder a lot). He’ll have to work at it. He’ll need to “tarry long at the wine.”

There was nothing wrong with his drinking a little wine. In fact, we have these three verses that speak to the blessings of drinking. He causeth the grass to grow for the cattle, and herb for the service of man: that he may bring forth food out of the earth; 15 And wine that maketh glad the heart of man, and oil to make his face to shine, and bread which strengtheneth man’s heart. Psalm 104:14-15 Go thy way, eat thy bread with joy, and drink thy wine with a merry heart; for God now accepteth thy works. Ecclesiastes 9:7 Use the silver to buy whatever you like: cattle, sheep, wine or other fermented drink, or anything you wish. Then you and your household shall eat there in the presence of the LORD your God and rejoice. Deuteronomy 14:26

It seems that drinking alcohol was OK and a “merry heart” seemed to be the result of the drinking. (Sounds like that warm euphoria that you get).

But there are rules about drinking.

Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. – 1 Cor 10:13

  • Do not get drunk – Ephesians 5:18, Proverbs 23:29-35
  • Don’t be mastered by alcohol – 1 Corinthians 6:12, 2 Peter 2:19 It is addictive.
  • Don’t cause a brother to stumble – 1 Corinthians 8:9-13 People want to fit in, you don’t know what effect it will have on your friend, even if they claim it is fine. You don’t know why they are drinking, what idolatry they are dealing with, etc.
  • Don’t drink while performing your duties as a priest – Leviticus 10:9 (1 Peter 2:9 says we are a kingdom of priests. Let me give you the idea that we should be sober and not drinking when we come to worship or bible study or some ministry activity. Like the priest in the OT, we need to be in our right minds completely when we serve God.
  • Don’t drink during a Nazarite vow. (2 Cor 6:17 tells us to not be like the world. I highly recommend a period of time, often, where you separate yourself completely from this dirty world; the music, the television, them movies, the language, the drinking, etc.)
  • Don’t “love” it – Proverbs 21:17
  • Don’t make it such a big thing in your life – getting an identity from it , spending a lot of money, doing it often)
  • Don’t desire alcohol, love it, hang around it, seek it, chase it, etc – Proverbs 23:29-30, Is 5:11, 22, This has everything to do with our motivations. In this culture, which is fallen and evil, the focus is the drinking. That is the trap into which we fall. We make the focus on the drinking and the party and the buzz.
  • Don’t hang around drunkards and gluttons (in bars, at drinking parties, etc?) – Prov 23:20
  • Don’t drink while you are the king or responsible for people – Prov 31:4-6 Don’t hang around it as a pastor or deacon (the things which go with hanging around it) 1 Tim 3:3,8 (My guess is the over-drinking, the drinking games, the revelry and debauchery) Same for older women – Titus 2:3
  • Don’t cause someone to drink or get drunk – Habbabukuk 2:15

I think these prohibitions will rule out most of what we think goes with drinking; the bars, the dance clubs, the drinking games (beer pong), the drinking songs (Red Solo Cup), the debauchery (flirting, body shots, revelry, etc). Even our parties where our guests are excited about the fact that we’ll be drinking is wrong. It is easy to violate the rule of “loving” it and seeking, hanging around, and chasing it. The rule against causing someone to stumble could easily be a way the teetotaler control you (don’t drink I’ll stumble).

But let me give you this. You do not know why your friend is drinking, you do not know what they are thinking or what the effect of this one drink will have on them. You don’t know if they are drinking in order to fit in, or if they are ready to become a drunk, or if they are of the they type to get addicted, you don’t know and when you drink with them, you could easily be the one to cause them to fall into all sorts of drunkenness and debauchery. Let me give you one more piece of information.

Since we drink like the world we also think like the world and we think that the official level of drunkenness is the driving limit of .08 BAC. Let me give the biblical level of drunk.

In Proverbs 11 and 23 we find the symptoms of drunkenness; Red eyes, reduced inhibitions, “room spinning,” numbness, bad behavior – lusting after other women, saying inappropriate comments, clumsy, staggering, pass out.

Wikipedia gives us these similar symptoms; slurred speech, euphoria, impaired balance, loss of muscle coordination (ataxia), flushed face, vomiting, reddened eyes, reduced inhibition, and erratic behavior. In severe cases, it can cause coma or death.

What is the BAC that produces these symptoms? .055 is the highest BAC you can reach before the positives turn to negative .04 is where the general positives fall off…mild euphoria, warm feeling, social lubricant, etc. We could say that official biblical drunkenness occurs somewhere between .03 and .04 (somewhere after .04 lightheaded and dizziness occurs – staggering and spinning). The point is different for each us since our bodies react differently. We do find that the symptoms for the lower BAC being mild euphoria, relaxation, a warm feeling, may be the “merry heart” of Psalm 104. Ladies process alcohol differently than men and get drunk faster and stay drunk longer. (Hence ladies were not allowed to drink back in the day)

If you check the many BAC calculators on the web you can find out how much you drink to stay in this zone. Essentially, one ounce of alcohol consumed in one hour will raise the BAC of a 100lb man to .032 (right close to the edge of drunkenness.) If you chug it in 10 minutes, then head for another, you’ll be over the line in no time. If you are a 180lb man and you drink one 5 oz glass of average 12% table wine in 10 minutes you’ll be at .022 BAC. It takes time for this to work out of your system. If you have another in the next 10 minutes, so that you’ve had two in about 20 to 30 minutes, you’ll be at .047 BAC which is biblically drunk. It does not take that much to cross the line. Females get a high BAC for the same amount of liquor. (They get drunk faster and stay drunk longer).

How did the early believers avoid drunkenness. They were drinking a glass of wine with a 2% alcohol content. The average man weighed 110lbs and could drink 32 ounces an hour (their cups were 5ounces – this is a lot) and would be at .031 BAC. If he wanted to get drunk, he’d have to tarry long at the wine.

So, what is my heart and the bottom line. I wish you wouldn’t drink alcohol.

  • First, it is not a cultural necessity like it was for them. We have 129 flavors of drink at BK or Firehouse Subs. McD has 10 different coffee style drinks.
  • Second, alcohol is addictive and you never know when you could get hooked.
  • Third, the world over does their drinking and when we join them we lose a chance to be different and not among them. We lose a change to show how God is different. We also run the risk of falling into worldly behavior and debauchery.
  • Finally, we don’t know what drinking will do to our friends. We don’t know how they will be effected and we can’t be sure we won’t cause them to stumble.

 

Sojourn is doing something different!  This week for Easter we will model our worship gathering after what we beleive to be the way the early believers met in the temple.  (modified for us, of course).  We will still sing, pray, preach, and fellowship, it will just be a little more fluid and open.  Image the room set up with the fellowship area with food, the museum of church stuff, the offering area, the be-still-and-know-that-I-am God area, the prayer wall  and several worship stations.  You’ll simply visit the various areas at your own speed, with or without someone, you’ll worship and connect with God in the various stations throughout the hour, however, we’ll interrupt this by calling everyone together at different times for worship through singing, praying together, reading the Word of God, and preaching.  It willl feel like a church-worship-gathering-open-house. We will have an instruction sheet
I think it will be an amazing time of worship together and a great opportunity to bring along a non-believer or young believer with you.  You’ll be able to act like a tour guide and do some discipling and gospel sharing.