Monthly Archives: September 2012

The old has gone, the new has come!

Most of you probably know that our church has encouraged participation in a chronological reading plan this year.  It has represented quite a commitment as it has been a vast amount of reading.  Nonetheless, everyone I know who has participated has gained new insights into the Scriptures.

Well, today the Reading Plan got to the New Testament.  I love the Old Testament but I have to admit that after nine months in the Old Testament I am excited that the New Testament has arrived!  At any rate, the transition from Old to New represents a great opportunity to plug into (or plug back into) the Reading Plan.

So, I want to encourage each and everyone to finish the year strong in the Scriptures.  Whether you were reading but stopped along the way or never were participating, this is a great time to get into God’s word.  Just go to the YouVersion Chronological Reading Plan and scan the days until you find the day that is Luke 1 and John 1.  (This may not be helpful information but it is Day 274 on my plan).  Start there and follow the plan daily and by December 31st you will have read the entire New Testament!  Then find people who are also reading and have conversations about what you’ve been reading.  Doing so will, I believe, increase what you learn from the texts and encourage you to keep reading.  

So, come on everybody…let’s get to reading!





Spider Lilies



I absolutely love Spider Lilies which is kind of a strange thing because I don’t like flowers all that much in general.  But Spider Lilies are different because, for me, they represent expectation.  Every September they begin to pop up in the most random places.  And when I see them I get absolutely giddy with expectation.  Specifically, I develop an expectation that Summer (the worst season of the year) is drawing to a close and Fall (the best season of the year) is just around the corner.  My mind races toward eating parched peanuts in front of a crackling fire or a day afield with my bird dogs.  I just love the Fall and Spider Lilies stir an expectation in me that my favorite time of year is on its way.

I say all that to bring up something I’ve discussed with a number of people in the last week or so.  I don’t think I often have a real sense of expectation relating to spiritual things.  I don’t know that I often read the Scriptures expecting to hear from God.  I don’t know that I regularly come to our Sunday night gathering expecting to see God move.  I don’t know that my typical prayer expects God to answer.  What about you?  Do you have a sense of spiritual expectancy? Let’s commit together to live as though God might actually do the things He has promised!


Reading Plan Convo

Have you been following the reading plan? Or maybe just been wanting to get started on it? Our weekly Reading Plan Lunch has started back! Meet us at Jo-El’s in West Monroe at 11:30 on Wednesdays, as we talk about the recent readings.

Unveiled :: Worship

Tuesday, September 25/ 7:00PM / Palace Auditorium
Don’t miss this special night of worship!

Even If He Doesn’t……

As I continue my journey through the bible via our church’s reading plan, I am constantly amazed at the new insights I’m gaining. Sometimes, however, the joy is in being reminded of something I’ve come across before but forgotten. So it was as I read Daniel 3 yesterday.

The chapter contains the story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego being thrown into a furnace for refusing to worship an image of Nebuchadnezzar. But it was verses 17 and 18 that jumped off the page for me, anew, as I read the story. It is in those verses where the Hebrew three defiantly tell the great king that they will not worship his image even under threat of death. The reason they gave was a simple one, “If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and He will rescue us from your hand, O king.” (3:17) But to that logic, they added these words, “But even if He does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.” (3:18)

Pop theology tells us that if we have enough faith God will make all our troubles go away. The Scriptures, however, tell us that while God has the power to make our troubles go away, He is worthy of our worship even if He doesn’t.

You may be in a spot now where life’s troubles are ever present and overwhelming. And, if not, you know as well as I do that you’ll be in that place again someday. Next time I am, I’m going to attempt to remember three things from Daniel 3. First, God has the power to rescue me from my troubles. Second, I should ask Him to rescue me believing that He can and will. Third, if God chooses to not rescue me He is, nonetheless, worthy and deserving of my worship.

Anybody can worship God when He meets their expectations. Only the most spiritually mature can worship Him even when He doesn’t! I’m not, yet, one of those people; but I sure want to be.


Volunteer Staff: Cycle Three

The Portico Church is powered by individuals who have surrendered their lives to the Kingdom of Jesus.  In His Service, they courageously spend their time and use their giftings to further His mission of bringing people from Death to Life. Each aspect of The Portico Church is made possible by everyday people giving generously to see that mission fulfilled.

If you are interested in learning more about how The Portico Church is at work to bring Death to Life or you are ready to plunge into volunteering in this work, then the upcoming Volunteer Staff Cycle is for you.

The Volunteer Staff Cycle is a 4-week experience taught by our Elders that explains the history, mission and function of The Portico Church. During the course individuals will learn what their unique spiritual gifting is and how they can join the volunteer work force that makes The Portico Church go.  Brunch and free childcare will be provided.

To register, please email Chris Ramsey

Living in Response to Grace

Denise and I went to some concerts tonight at Universal Studios. We saw For King & Country, Jeremy Camp and Newsboys. As you can imagine, there were lots of church groups and many had the matching T-shirt thing going on. I found myself noticing (and sometimes, I’m sorry to say, privately ridiculing) those matchy-matchy T-shirts. That is, until I came across one that simply said, “Living in response to grace.”

Man, what a powerful few words. How should I live in response to grace? And, more to the point, how do I? For that matter, how do you?

Anyways, I suppose that’s nothing more than my late-night musings. So, do with it what you will.


The Gospel

When Portico Church gathers on September 2nd, we’ll look at Romans 3:21-31.  As I’ve been preparing, the thing I keep coming back to is how easily those of us who have been Christ-followers for a long time get over the impact the gospel had on us.  In other words, we forget (or ignore) what the gospel has delivered us from….and to.  I’ve been reminded of some of the old hymns of the faith that, I think, attempted to capture the dramatic rescue that salvation represents.

I was sinking deep in sin, far from the peaceful shore. Very deeply stained within, sinking to rise no more.  Then the Master of the sea heard my despairing cry.  From the waters lifted me now saved am I!


Amazing grace, how sweet the sound.  That saved a wretch like me.  I once was lost but now am found.  Was blind but now I see.

The gospel.  It’s a really big deal.  Whether you’ve yet to embrace it or been its beneficiary for years, the gospel of Jesus was intended just for you.  Plan to gather with Portico Church Sunday as we celebrate the gospel of Christ!