Building Bridges

Building Bridges, Issue 18, September 4, 2020

September 04, 2020 by John Maurice

“We often miss opportunity because it's dressed in overalls and looks like work."  Thomas A. Edison WORK: JOB OR JOY? This Monday is Labor Day, a legal holiday celebrated on the first Monday in September. Labor Day is a celebration in honor of the working class. The day was first suggested by Peter McGuire, founder of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and was initiated in the United States in 1882 with a parade in New York City. In 1884 the group held a parade on the first Monday of September and passed a resolution to hold all future parades on that day and to designate the day as Labor Day. In 1894 the U.S. Congress made the day a legal holiday. Ever the humorist Mark Twain once quipped, “I do not like work even when someone else does it.” Think about your work for a moment. Is it a job or a joy? On my birthday last month my wife jokingly reminded me that if I retired I would be eligible to begin receiving social security. I began working at the age of ten when my grandmother bought me a lawnmower. I walked door to door...

 

Building Bridges, Issue 17, August 20, 2020

August 20, 2020 by John Maurice

 “We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure." (Hebrews 6:19a) ONE GREAT HOPE: A Letter of Encouragement to Steadfast Endurance.  With this title, Co-valedictorian Grace Minter challenged her classmates. With our having to reschedule the graduation ceremony, Grace was unable to attend in person, but her message of challenge and encouragement is one for all of us: Fellow graduates, students, parents, brothers and sisters in Christ, we, the class of 2020, have spent the last season in our lives being equipped to go out into the world and bring the light of Christ’s gospel to those around us according to our apportioned spheres of influence. Through the perseverance of our studies, we showed our commitment to this mission. Yet we are graduating into a nation that is fractured and hurting, a world in desperate need of that light. In a society fraught with uncertainty, fear, and turmoil of all kinds, people everywhere are desperately searching for something solid to cling to that will not dissolve underneath them as so many things have recently. They seek a hope they can truly count on, higher ground on which to place their feet. They...

 

Building Bridges, Issue 16, May 21, 2020

May 21, 2020 by John Maurice

“It is not scientific doubt, not atheism, not pantheism, not agnosticism, that in our day and in this land is likely to quench the light of the gospel. It is a proud, sensuous, selfish, luxurious, church-going, hollow-hearted prosperity.” (Frederic D. Huntington, Forum magazine, 1890). It is amazing to me that the quote above is from 1890. Indeed, the more things change the more they stay the same! The New Testament epistles address various threats that the church faced in the first century, and I would contend that one of the most serious threats contemporary Christians face is that of being lukewarm, rather than being on fire for Jesus. The church in Laodicea was rich, well clothed, and in need of nothing (Revelation 3:17) – which is a fairly accurate description of American Christianity. But the angel condemned the church for being lukewarm. “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I would that you were cold or hot. So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth” (Revelation 3:15, 16). The word translated as spit literally means to vomit. In other words, the Christians in Laodicea were enjoying...

 

Building Bridges, Issue 15, April 10, 2020

April 12, 2020 by John Maurice

“Jesus Christ did not come into this world to make bad people good; he came into this world to make dead people live." (Lee Strobel, The Case for Christ)   This week begins with Jesus being lauded as a king on Palm Sunday as he rides a colt into Jerusalem. The crowds sing and chant a victory song as their hope for a new ruler in Jerusalem is fueled. Yet, on Monday Jesus will begin to face opposition as the religious leaders begin to plot against him. On Thursday, Jesus and his disciples gather in the upper room. As Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper at the Passover meal, he said that the one that dips his hand in the bowl with him would betray him (Matthew 26:23; Mark 14:20; John 13:26). He spoke of Judas Iscariot. On this night, Jesus was betrayed and arrested in the Garden. He would ultimately be tried and put to death upon a cross. Even those that cheered Jesus on Palm Sunday jeered him on Good Friday as they raised their voices with the crowd crying, “crucify him, crucify him” (Luke 23:21). Holy Week shows the absolute worst things of which we are capable. How quickly people turned against Jesus – even those...

 

Building Bridges, Issue 14, March 16, 2020

April 08, 2020 by John Maurice

“Our faith and determination is in the sovereign Lord who upholds and sustains us by His power and love.” from Mid-Atlantic's response to COVID-19 Who would have thought we would be talking about college campuses closing; the cancellation of the ACC Tournament, the NCAA March Madness, and the annual MACU Rally; and a global pandemic this month? I certainly didn't, but here we are, facing a global crisis – and none of us is immune. At the very least, I hope you are taking care of yourself and washing your hands! Last week was spring break for the students at Mid-Atlantic. They left campus and scattered to the four winds by planes, trains, and automobiles. In fact, students come from 20 states, and all of those states have an increasing number of positive test results for COVID-19, more commonly referred to as the Coronavirus. As I scroll through Facebook posts, I see numerous posts that seem to make cancelling gatherings moral or spiritual issues, separating the sheep from the goats (or those that have faith or are moved by fear). I am not typically a fearful person. Perhaps that inclination is partly from a military background, which...