A Walk Down Crieve Road
A few mornings ago I was on a walk with our dog Padfoot (Harry Potter reference in case you did not know). He is still a puppy and so I need to walk him to wear him out. Otherwise he can be quite the obnoxious barker! In order to wear him out faster, I try to find streets with big hills on them. Sometimes we head over to the Ag center. Other times, like the other morning we stay in the neighborhood itself. I often pray prayers of gratitude during these walks. As Padfoot and I were walking we found ourselves walking up the hill of Crieve Road.
I could not help but give thanks for our church’s beginnings on this hill. As we passed the old Partee home, we stopped for a moment. I’m sure the new owners appreciated a random man and his dog stopping at their house, but it was 5:00 am so I wasn’t too worried about it! As we paused, I began to imagine Crieve Road full of cars as it was in the beginning of the church. I imagined all the kids running between the three wide open backyards that housed Sunday School and the different programs we ran then. I imagined all these mid-30’s parents with kids who were working hard to build a life and a future in post-war America. I imagined the Holy Spirit infused energy that street contained at the beginning of the movement that became CBC. I got goosebumps as I welled with gratitude for the Grace God has poured out over this street.
I had a worship service there to myself on this walk. Then I remembered, God’s not done with CBC yet. That DNA that started the church is still around in us. That Holy Spirit infused confidence that God would complete the work started in us is still here. Yes neighborhoods change. Yes the world has changed and continues to change at a rapid pace. Yes we have big questions and opportunities that face us. But that house on Crieve Road reminds me that God’s Gospel has not changed. The tomb is still empty. Grace has been given. And God has great work for us to do!
Posted on 06/24/2019 3:40 PM by Dr. Ray Miller
Giving Power Away
Imagine having a comfortable life and in a position of influence. You have worked hard. God has blessed you with confidence, good morals, a good work ethic, and a few breaks have come your way. It’s not that life is without its challenges. People in positions of influence always have challenges. It’s just that you have been rewarded for steadfastness.
But then a messenger from your hometown comes and gives a report to your boss. Your company works in your hometown and it formed you. The town your co-worker reports is in shambles. The places where commerce is supposed to help with flourishing are destroyed. Leadership in the town is corrupt. The people are facing unemployment. How do you respond? Do you stay in your comfortable position of power? Or do you go back and invest in your hometown?
Nehemiah had that very challenge in the Old Testament. He had a comfortable place in the King’s palace. He had influence even though he was an immigrant. He was blessed with wisdom and hard work. Yet a report came that Jerusalem was in chaos. Its walls and gates were in disarray. Walls and gates in the ancient world both protected the city and provided places of business for people to live prosperous lives. Leadership was corrupt and people faced devastating unemployment.
So Nehemiah left his comfortable position of power, and decided to use his power for the flourishing of others. Power in the Bible is a corruptive force if used for one’s gain. Look at some of the examples of the kings of Israel who used power handed to them by God for their own gain. However, power in the Bible is a force for good when it is given away. We have all been given the same power that resurrected Jesus from the dead. Are we giving it away?
Posted on 06/13/2019 9:59 AM by Dr. Ray Miller
G.R.A.C.E. Habits Part 2
After we receive the Gift of God’s grace, we repent. What happens next? Our attitude changes. Specifically the attitude of our minds. We live in a narcissistic society. It’s all about me. Hence, the selfie. What is not usually stated about the selfie is that it takes 10 takes to get the perfect selfie! Paul calls us to have “the same attitude of mind as that of Christ Jesus had.” Where does this attitude of mind change us? In our relationships. It’s our mindset that changes toward another person because of God’s grace. We need to be constantly asking ourselves what is set in our minds when we encounter a person. Is it judgment? Is it grace? Do we grant generous assumptions or do we look for the worst narrative possible?
For our attitude of mind to truly change, we need to be in constant communion with Christ. Jesus tells us that he is the Vine and we are the branches. Jesus abides in us. Jesus dwells with you. We are the ones who often walk away, not Jesus. When we have constant communion with Christ, we are able to live from a deep well spring of Grace that overflows to the people around us. When we do not, we become like a dry canal trying to transfer power we really do not have to the people around us. Eventually we run dry.
How does constant communion with Christ spill over? Grace spills over in evangelism and justice. When we have received the gift of Grace, when Grace changes our life, we cannot help but tell other people about the Grace of God. Grace also compels us to live a just/righteous life. We will treat our neighbor with love. We will seek the good of our neighborhood, our city, and our world.
Attitude of mind
Constant communion with Christ
Evangelism and justice.
Posted on 06/01/2019 7:11 AM by Dr. Ray Miller