There's An App For That - Intro

I just downloaded the Mac "App" Store on to my computer. 

Now there is an "App" Store for my iPhone, my iPad AND my MacBook Pro.

Yes, I am aware that's a lot of Apple products.  That's how I roll.

"Apps" (short for "application") have become an integral part of our culture in a relatively short amount of time.  They are (essentially) software applications that you download on to your phone, tablet, and now your computer that are designed to entertain you, inform you, guide you and generally make your life better.  Apps put information, games, movies, music and merchandise at your fingertips.  You can have what you want, faster than you ever imagined you could get it. 

Come to think about it, maybe Apps aren't as much part of our culture as they are a response to the demands of our culture. 

For example...

My "Around Me" app on my iPhone and iPad tells me where the closest restaurants, stores, gas stations, etc. are, how to get there and displays the phone number in case I need to call to make reservations or ask a question.  I have an app that tells me how to make any kind of drink known to man, down to the last jigger.  I have an app that lets me download honest-to-God comic books and read them.  I have an app that tells me where the closes Starbucks is located---no matter where I happen to be...

I honestly didn't know I needed these apps until I had them.  Now I can't imagine not having them. 

I think that "Apps" are natural extensions of our perceived need for immediacy.  They begin with the questions, "How fast can I order...? experience? get? buy? obtain?" that seem to permeate so many aspects of our society.

Christian culture is not immune to the lure of immediacy.  All you need to affirm this notion can be found on your local Christian bookstore's shelves.  You will almost certainly find books with short, quick, daily devotionals.  You'll discover countless books that will give you steps on how to quickly and easily become a better Christian.  You may even encounter a few bumper stickers to put on your car so that everyone who tailgates you will immediately know that your car will be driver-less if Jesus returns. 

I encounter needs for immediacy in my church whenever I preach a little longer than usual and people have to remain in church for fifteen minutes longer than their usual hour. 

But following Jesus can't be distilled down to "six easy steps"  There's no software that will help you figure out the exact path you must take in order to more effectively move toward God's will for your life.  And pithy worship services that we attend just to get church "over with," aren't going to cut it if we want to draw closer to Christ. 

I'm pretty excited about where God is leading my church in 2011.  But I know that we've got to do some work before we're worthy to be truly put to the test when it comes to fulfilling our purpose.  There are too many of us going through the motions.  It's time to get a little bit real when it comes to our faith--both communally and individually. 

For the next few weeks, I will be preaching and teaching on the Fruit of The Spirit. 

The Apostle Paul identified nine aspects of the "fruit" that is evidenced when we are being led by the Spirit of God in Christ.  Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Gentleness, Self Control. This is as real as it gets for Christians.  You see, the "Fruit" in the Fruit of the Spirit isn't something that you can just manufacture on your own.  Contrary to what you may have been taught in Sunday School, these aren't characteristics that you can develop.  You evidence them when you are close to Jesus--the "true Vine."

My hope is that through this study my congregation and I will discover not only what it means to walk closely with Jesus, but what it looks like when we do.

I hope that you'll join us.

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