Monday, January 28, 2013

DTR - Defining The Relationship

Some of you may not recognize the acronym D.T.R. -- it stands for Defining The Relationship.  Young single men dred the DTR conversation.  It makes them so uncomfortable they postpone, run away, or put off the DTR for as long as possible.  In fact, some men are so afraid of the DTR that they will terminate the relationship if they feel the DTR conversation is imminent.  

The DTR is an official conversation that takes place at some point in a romantic relationship to determine the level of commitment.  You define the relationship to determine the level of commitment, see where things stand.  Is it a casual relationship or is it a committed one?

It's important to Define The Relationship to see if you have moved past infatuation and admiration towards a deeper, more devoted, committed relationship.  If the relationship is one of convenience, just a casual weekend thing, you might become anxious and uncomfortable with the DTR.  You may even have a fight or flight response.

Some of you may have those same feelings in the next few weeks, because we’re going to have a little DTR talk. I want you to Define the relationship between you and Jesus. What exactly is the commitment level? Now I’m going to warn you that some of you are going to get a little uncomfortable, a little anxious…you may even have a fight or flight response because you kind of like the current arrangement you have with Jesus. He seems like a good guy – and you like having something to do on the weekends – what it comes down to is this - you want to have a relationship with Jesus with all the benefits but none of the commitment.

A No Strings Attached arrangement – where you can connect with him from time to time – but it doesn’t really mess with your life. You want to be a fan of Jesus – but not a follower. In Luke 9:23 Jesus put it this way “If anyone would come after me he must deny himself, take up his cross and follow me”.  Followers deny themselves, take up their cross and follow him... A fan is simply defined as an enthusiastic admirer. 

And the DTR question is this: 

For the full message shared on 01-27-13 at First Church of God, Racine, WI; go to:
DTR - Defining The Relationship

(Resources: Kyle Idleman "Not A Fan")

Monday, January 21, 2013

Difficult Times

Well, the Mayans may not have accurately predicted the end of the world or perhaps those interpreting the calendar were wrong...

The first time I remember hearing that the world was going to end was probably 1982.  I remember being scared and hearing how the planets were all supposed to line up and the gravitational pull created would tear the world apart.  There would be earthquakes and volcanoes.  Real chaos.  Didn’t happen.

Oh, remember the hype around Y2K.  People were storing up food and building shelters because come the end of the millennium 1999, major catastrophes would usher us into the Last Days.

There are many who study what scripture has to say about the last days and end times; it is called eschatology.   And while the study of end times is fascinating, there is much conjecture and interpretation that divides various mainline Christian churches.  This morning I am not going to delve into the twists and turns that end time purveyors report, but I do believe it is vital for us as followers of Christ to know that we are in the last days.

Friends, the Disciples knew that they were in the last days.  They knew that the Kingdom of God was at hand.  They knew that their time on earth was limited and that Christ would soon be coming back.  They had a sense of urgency.  Unfortunately, the church of today has lost that urgency.  Too many Christians are more comfortable living for today than setting their hope on eternity.

You might ask, “Pastor Ryan, how do you know we are living in the last days?”  Turn with me to our text for this morning, 2 Timothy 3:1-5
But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come.  For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these. 

Those warnings were about the contemporary as well as the future condition of the church. The dangers that plagued the New Testament church would continue and become worse throughout the church age, as “evil men and impostors will proceed from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived” (2 Tim. 3:13).

Understanding the threat of the last days, how are we (the church) to react; how are we to respond?

Drop down to vs. 14-17
“You, however, continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.  All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.”

For the full message shared on 01-20-13 at First Church of God, Racine, WI; go to: