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Motivational Factors

 

January 7, 2017   |   PASTOR ZACHARY PUDLO
 
motivational-factors

 

Resolutions
 
With a new year underway, many people have resolutions on their minds. I would be lying if I said there aren’t goals and resolutions I too have in mind this year. Common resolutions for many people include losing weight, exercising more while eating less, reading more, finishing projects, spending more time doing things you love, etc… These all seem like good resolutions for an individual to improve him/herself. They are all about progress, getting better, moving forward. With the topic of resolutions being on my mind it got me thinking about what the different motivations are for establishing and accomplishing resolutions.
 
Reasons Behind Our Motivation
 
New Year’s resolutions often are about self-improvement. But what is it that drives a person to self-improvement. In his work entitled The Nature of True Virtue, Jonathan Edwards wrote about the things that motivate people:
 
All sin has its source from selfishness, or from self-love not subordinate to a regard to being in general…And no wonder that men, by long acting from the selfish principle, and by being habituated to treat themselves as if they were all, increase in pride, and come to look on themselves as all, and so to lose entirely the sense of ill desert in their making all other interests give place to their own.
 
Edwards is saying that the ego, love of self, is what drives people. In The Nature of True Virtue he also makes the case that the two main motivating factors behind every sin are fear and pride. Is it possible this true of some of our new year’s resolutions?

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The Dying Horizontal Church

 

December 2, 2016   |   PASTOR ZACHARY PUDLO
church_on-side3
 
The Current Religious Situation
 
From what we see in pop culture, social media, and the news it might lead us to think that the world as we know it is becoming more and more secular. However, the statistics show otherwise. I am well aware that starting out an article stating a number of current statistics is not the best way to capture the reader’s attention (the pictures and graphs will hopefully keep you interested). And if you can make it through the stats you might find some current trends in the world’s religious state of affairs surprising.
 
chart-3
In April of 2015, Pew Research Center published an article concerning the current and future World Religion populations. Summed up: many religions will grow overall, but not all of them will grow at a rate that keeps up with the growing population of the world. Perhaps the most surprising statistic was the projection that the percentage of the world’s atheists, agnostics, and the religiously unaffiliated will slowly but steadily decline from 16.4 percent of the world’s population today to 13.2 percent forty years from now. What does that mean? The world is projected to become more religious over the next 35 years.
 
While Christianity will remain static in its makeup of the world’s population, there is some flux within its denominations. The membership of different denominations over the past fifty years reveals an interesting trend. If we look back 50 years we can see a clear and unequivocal trendline: liberal denominations have declined sharply while conservative denominations have increased or remained the same.
 
A Horizontal Problem
 
What is the reason for the decline in the liberal denominations? A closer look at the theology of the more liberal Christian denominations is telling. Using the United Church of Christ (UCC) as a case study provides some telling information. The UCC is one of the fastest declining Christian denominations. In 1965, the UCC had 2,070,413 members. In 2016, there were 914,871 members, a decline of nearly 56 percent in just over 50 years.
 
Being on the liberal end of the spectrum they fall right in line with the trend of declining liberal churches. So what is it the UCC teaches? One of their statements of faith is,
 
“The unity that we seek requires neither an uncritical acceptance of any point of view nor a rigid formulation of doctrine.”

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In God We Trust

October 28, 2016     |      PASTOR ZACHARY PUDLO
 
Coin Stating In Government We Trust
 
Two Kingdoms
 
Archbishop William Temple is attributed with saying, “Your religion is what you do with your solitude.” A.K.A. What do you do when you have free time? Where does your mind drift? What do you think or daydream about? If it’s the same thing day in and day out, it’s possible that thing has become your religion. Like many of you, in my free time I occasionally will go to social media to see what is trending. I’m guessing I’m not the only one who sees countless political posts and rants, some with threads leading down a dark, divisive path. Right wing, left wing, libertarian, it seems like everyone has a political view they are thinking about, dreaming about and spending a lot of their free time promoting. Is it possible that politics has become our culture’s religion? How does a person’s Christian faith affect the way they relate to politics?

 

In one of his great works, City of God, Augustine elaborates on the Biblical teaching that Christians are dual citizens. Our primary citizenship is in the kingdom of God, but as long as we are on earth, we also are citizens of this world. Our first allegiance belongs to the City of God, and our secondary allegiance belongs to the City of Man. But what happens if those allegiances are reversed? What happens when my dedication to earthly politics takes precedence over my allegiance to God’s kingdom? How will that affect my allegiance to God and the mission he has given to his kingdom to “Go and make disciples of all nations…”?

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