Sermon- “Not Yesterday, Not Tomorrow, But Today”

Today I preached a sermon entitled “Not Yesterday, Not Tomorrow, But Today” based on Luke 4:14-21.

Click on the link below to listen.

Sermon Link.

In Christ,

Rev. Evan

And You Wonder Why People Aren’t Christians: Part X (Inauguration Edition)

My latest blog on Houston Belief


I’ve said many times before that I believe that some people who were Christians and left the faith or those who reject Christianity altogether do so not because of any objection to the teachings of Jesus Christ. They object to the actions of Christians themselves.

This is just another example of how one stupid act can make all Christians look bad.

Pastor Mark Driscoll of Mars Hill in Seattle, Washington has been known for his outlandish statements. Generally he takes to the social media and makes wild statements about what it means to be follower of Christ or how a certain group of people should act.

Normally I just roll my eyes and have a good discussion with other minister friends but this time, he went too far. Now I am not saying that his previous 538 wild statements were somehow deemed “ok” by me, but I think that this one deserves special attention.

Driscoll took to the mighty Twitter on Inauguration Day and tweeted this:

Really Mark? Really? Please inform the masses in what class at Western Seminary did you learn the complex inter-workings of knowing a person’s faith? Last time I checked you and the President were not sharing a brew on the White House lawn.  So then how are you capable to judge someone’s faith and intent?  How are you able to say that he does not know God, that he does not believe in the Bible?

BIG WORDS MR. DRISCOLL, BIG WORDS.

Just another reason why people aren’t Christians and yet again it has NOTHING to do with Jesus. If the image of Christianity is one of judgment and self-righteousness, well we might as well close the doors and go home. The idea that Christians have some sort of mystical power that allows them to peer into the soul and heart of others is a stretch.  This is not the image of Christianity that I want to be promoted.

Could it possibly be Mark that the President and you might have different understandings of what it means to live out the gospel? Is it possible for the two to co-exist?  I am assuming that in your mind they can not.  This my friend is saddening.  If all of Christianity believed in your version of the gospel, it would be pretty plain and monochromatic.  But Christianity is diverse, rich and multi-layered.  Sure we can disagree on theological concepts but if the fact remains that we are doing it as a response to the Gospel and the faith that we hold dear I do not see a problem.  Sure people can take it to the extreme like Westboro Baptist, but isn’t this tweet just as extreme?

Driscoll’s words fly in the face of what Jesus actually taught in the Bible that he claims he knows but the President does not.  The problem with his words not only are they extremely judgmental, but they make all faithful followers of Christ look bad.  Not every Christian believes that the President is not a Christian, not every Christian believes in the same understanding of God, Jesus, the Bible, the authority of the Church or even sin.  Just becasue you might not have voted for the President or even like his policy choices, the President (whether you want to admit it or not) is created in the same image of God that you and I are.  Belittling the President or anyone for that matter is down right wrong.

As Christians in the 21st century we are called to become more than just talking points, cliches and tweets.  Christianity at its core is based in relational loving and caring.

In Christ,

Rev. Evan

MLK, Jr. Day- Book Recomendation

When I was in seminary one of the most popular elective courses was a course on the life and ministry of Martin Luther King, Jr.  To be honest, I didn’t know a whole lot about his life and especially his ministry   Sure I knew the basics: Civil Rights Movement and “I Have A Dream.”  Little did I know I was missing so much.

I never knew how he got started, how his father was a big influence on his life.  I never knew how he struggled with his position as leader of the Civil Rights Movement.  I never had read “The Letter From Birmingham Jail.”  I never knew how much his faith was impacted because of the movement.  I never knew of his famous “I’ve Been to the Mountain Top” speech the night before his assassination in Memphis, TN.

One of the best books I read regarding the life of King was Let the Trumpet Sound by Stephen Oates.  Oates has a way of telling the story of King in a way that transports you back to the South in the 1950s and 60s.  The book tells of King’s childhood and is rise in the church as a minister and how he help start the bus boycotts and lead rallies and gave speeches until his last day.

King’s dream is something that is still being worked out, but his impact on the United States and the cause of justice is immeasurable.

May we remember the words of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.–

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

In Christ,

Rev. Evan

New Blog Is Up And Running

In my previous post, I wrote about a new writing opportunity that I was asked to be a part of it.

Well today I start that journey. See below. (Yes you might recognized the post, but I tweaked it a bit.)

New Project!

Christine de Pizan, Multi-TaskingWhen I was living and working in Orange, Texas I had a brief stint writing religion articles for the Orange County Record.  I really enjoyed it and I liked that people were thinking and contemplating what I was writing. (It was because of the paper that I had the idea for this blog.)  Not all of the responses were glowing but the majority of people like what they read.

Since I left Orange I have been keeping up this blog and starting a new job.  I currently live and serve a church in Houston.  A few weeks ago I emailed the Religion Editor of the Houston Chronicle, the 6th largest paper in the USA.  I knew it was a long shot but I inquired if they were in need of religion columnist.  The editor wrote me back and told me that she was not looking for columnist but they needed religion bloggers for their site, houstonbelief.com.

Houstonbelief.com is site dedicated to religious bloggers from a variety of faiths.  In total there are about thirty bloggers ranging from Christians, Wiccans, Hindus, Muslims, Mormons, and Jewish.   I was honored to be asked to do this and look forward to contributing.

You can find my Houston Belief blog at http://blog.chron.com/modernfaith/  There is nothing to see at this point.  I will keep up this blog as well and maybe have some cross over pieces.

Stay tuned for more to come!

In Christ,

Rev. Evan


Photo Credit:“Christine de Pizan, Multi-Tasking” available under the Creative Commons Attribution License 2.0 at http://flic.kr/p/7wjfaq

2013 Has Begun…. And It Feels Like 2012 Still…

As we have begun 2013, we have more than likely not stopped. Our schedules are just a full as they were during the Christmas holidays. While we are going from place to place-questions resound in our minds. Will 2013 be the same as 2012? Will we have the same thoughts and feelings and connections that we did 365 days ago?

Isaiah 43:19a states “Look! I’m doing a new thing…” This is the hope that we hold on to as we enter this New Year. We are looking for ways that God will show up in a new and unexpected way; we are looking for a connection with God that is different than what we have had before. God’s movement in the world is one that is characterized by change. Jesus reframed old stories, God called people to become something they believe that could not be, and we are called to that same challenge of faith.

This is the challenge of a new year. We are called to examine the last year and make choices that will ensure that the changes we would like to make come to fruition. In any event, the fact still remains that has followers of Christ we are seeking a newness when it comes our relationship with God and Christ. Yes, we might have the same routines and habits, but we return a Bible time and time again looking for a different way for a text to inform us of whom God is, how we are live and what being a Christ follower looks like. If the New Year teaches us anything it is that our faith can not be static. Our faith is one that is energetic and growing, rising and falling, stretching and shrinking.

Through this time of 2013, we will be engaging in a process of reimaging. We will be free to open ourselves up to the possibilities that lie ahead and to the notions of what God is able to do through us.

What would Bethany Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) look like if we re-imagined church and ministry to our neighbors looked like?

We have already begun this process: Advent Conspiracy reimagined what Christmas could be; the Texas Christian Film Festival reimages where God can show up.

Reimaging things here at Bethany Christian Church will take time, energy and most importantly faith. We are blessed with this place; let’s make it stand out for all of Houston to see. Let’s make Bethany not just another church, but a place where we reimagine our faith and encourage others to do the same.

Let’s reimagine together. Here’s to 2013 and to what God is able to do!

“Glory to God, who is able to do far beyond all that we could ask or imagine by his power at work within us.” – Ephesians 3:20 (Common English Bible, 2011).

In Christ,

Rev. Evan M. Dolive

Lance Armstrong and the Deception of Greatness

Lance Armstrong has been called the greatest athlete of all time… until now.

Lance Armstrong won the most grueling endurance bicycle race a record seven times… until he was stripped of them.

Lance Armstrong was the Founder and head of Live Strong, a cancer support group where they tried ‘to inspire and empower’ cancer survivors and their families…. until he was forced to resign.

Lance Armstrong had it all… until he lost it all… he strove to be great but took another route to get there. In his search for greatness he found out that the path is hard to travel and not for everyone.

The troubling part of the Lance Armstrong doping story is not the fact that he used illegal medicines to enhance his performance. It is the fact that through it all he denied it over and over again. He sued people who wrote about it and sometimes won monetary settlements because of it. He was dead set on keeping his house of cards up while the world kept trying to look it.

He is like Pete Rose; Pete Rose was accused of betting on baseball during he career and was banned for the sport for life. He denied his involvement for years… until he broke his silence in his autobiography in 2004. The support that people had for him until that point quickly went away.

Lance Armstrong is now in an elite class that he did not intend to be in. He now is in the class of disgraced athletes who have been caught cheating to attain greatness. Lance Armstrong got rich on the back of a lie, he became famous on the back of lie. Now is famous for the wrong reasons and I believe the worst is yet to come.

Greatness is not built on anything but greatness itself. What is it about the human condition that so desperately wants to be on top, to be the best, the most popular, the most noticed? As a Christian, people would assume I would default to the standard Christian answer: Sin, but you might be surprised on this one, I’m not going there.

No, for me, the heart of the problem isnt sin itself, rather selfishness aka the human condition.

Theologians debate about many different things, christology, soteriology, and the human condition. The human condition is the one thing that plagues all of humanity and the gospel has to answer the problem. It is easy to just make a blanket statement that “sin” is the human condition. Not so fast my friend… you have to get a little more specific than that…

For me the human condition could me many different things but I believe the biggest one is selfishness. Selfishness pervades all of humanity from the smallest child to the oldest adult. As we grow and mature we learn how to handle and deal with our inner struggle with selfishness. I mentioned this one time to one my professors in seminary and she did not like that assertion In her mind it was hard for her to say that a newborn baby was selfish. While we do lift up children in our society on the whole they are kinda selfish. In other instances in the animal kingdom babies are left to fend for themselves, humans do not that. Another professor chimed in and stated he could see “where I was coming” from and stated that there is no biological or even logical need for my 2 year olds horde all of the toys and will not share them. Did someone teach them that? Maybe… but maybe not.

I liked what CS Lewis once wrote about selfishness

“At this very moment you and I are either committing [selfishness], or about to commit it, or repenting it.”

I am not saying that I have some sort of moral superiority to Armstrong because I didn’t cheat at cycling; but what I am saying is that I have the same being in me that caused him to strive to greatness by any means necessary. We are both made in the same image of God, fallible in the same way.

In Christ,

Rev. Evan

2013 Texas Christian Film Festival

The church I currently serve in February will do something that I have never heard of a church doing before.  I started here in September 2012 and one of the first times that I was told that was in the works was a Christian Film Festival… that’s right a film festival.

Bethany Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Houston, Texas will host the 2013 Texas Christian Film Festival. Over the span of three nights, nine films will be shown– films ranging from major motion pictures to inspiring shorts and everything in between.

For centuries the church has tried to make the world in the Church and the world outside of the church two separate entities– the sacred and the secular.  However, when we journey from a church building after worship we are bombarded by the notion that things are not so clear cut as we think.  Our faith follow us out and stays with us, guiding us, directing us, causing us to act.  Our world is one that is a culture immersed with opportunities to see God moving in the world; places where the holy and temporal meet, a special unique moment.

We are able to find God in almost every facet of life if we just look.

Below is a promotional video for the Festival; it contains the trailers of some of the films that we will be showing.  Also, you can learn more by going to www.txcff.com.

Enjoy!

In Christ,

Rev. Evan