The Commons

The Commons

Medicine from a Cave

Enter Psalm 57, a psalm of David, written in a cave while he is actively being hunted. I imagine he could relate to feelings of isolation and fear. What does it look like for you and me to run to God as our refuge, to say along with David, “In the shadow of your wings I will take refuge till the storms of destruction pass by”? I think it looks like resting in truth and responding in faith.   https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/quarantine-hard-god-good/

Quality Discounted e-Reading for Children and Adults Alike

In this “stay home” moment, a number of publishers have steeply discounted or made several books available for free. The TGC bookstore has an extensive roster of quality titles for your to browse: https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/free-discounted-books-quarantine/

Good Samaritans Amidst a Pandemic

One of the primary postures of a Christian is outward. Our salvation means that the curse of the inward curve of sin is broken, and we’re now free to turn outward—to love God and neighbor…                     https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/love-neighbor-pandemic/

Flattening the Curve

The protein-thorned crown of COVID-19 has, in a way,  silenced the noise of modern life by seizing what C. S. Lewis called “God’s megaphone”:   pain…. Physicians reflect theologically on three unique Christian contributions to COVID-19 preparations.

Anxiety, Waiting and the Coronavirus

Writing about events while they are happening is always a bit dangerous. It’s easy to encourage over-reactions and reinforce unhelpful panic in our hearts. That said, the COVID 19 coronavirus provides us with an opportunity to think about how we respond to anxiety. https://www.ccef.org/anxiety-waiting-and-the-coronavirus/      

FAQs Regarding the Coronavirus

Since the beginning of this year, we’ve been reading and hearing about a family of viruses known as coronaviruses. There are 69 species of this virus, seven of which can affect humans.   https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/what-we-know-coronavirus/

Faith, Vocation, and COVID-19

Dr. Francis Collins — the director of the NIH — is one of the most widely respected physician-geneticists in the world, and is deeply involved in containing the coronavirus pandemic…   Francis Collins speaks about the coronavirus, his faith, and an unusual friendship.

C.S. Lewis on the Coronavirus

It’s now clear that COVID-19 is a deadly serious global pandemic.  Still, C. S. Lewis’s words—written 72 years ago—ring with some relevance for us. Just replace “atomic bomb” with “coronavirus.”   https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/cs-lewis-coronavirus/

Updates from the Mission Formation Team

The Mission Formation Team (MFT) exists to guide the congregation in our missions involvement, both domestically and overseas. We desire to connect our members with opportunities for outreach in many places outside of our church campus, including Durham, Chapel Hill, and overseas. The MFT met on August 5 for a discussion that built on a greater commitment to local outreach than we have had before. We talked about a need to better know our long-standing partners. What are their needs,…

Book Recommendation: Dementia: Living in the Memories of God

Having spent years learning the neurobiological underpinnings of dementia, I found myself frustrated when all my knowledge of pathophysiology didn’t really help my patients live better lives (not really) nor their families care for them well. Something was lacking. Seeking to bring theology to bear on the crippling condition of dementia, John Swinton writes in Dementia: Living in the Memories of God, “Dementia is a communal and relational condition that involves but cannot be defined by neurological decline.” Here I…

One Anothering in Women’s Ministry

Last spring, 27 or so women set off on the women’s spring retreat. I’m still humming off that weekend. In so many ways, we got moments of what CGS is about: the real Jesus, engaging real people, for the real world. From moments of hilarity (I mean belly-gut laughter!) that still make me giggle; to moments of honest heartache, wrestling with the stories Jesus has put us in; we got the opportunity to bring each other to Jesus, and Jesus…

A Journey Through the Psalms

Searing pain. Boundless jubilation. Crushing despondency. Desperate fear. Brutal revenge. Steadfast faith. The Psalms, perhaps more than any other section of Scripture, invoke a breathtaking range of emotion, from the soaring heights to the darkest depths of our earthbound existence. They are a window into the soul of humanity and the heart of God, ultimately proclaiming God’s lavish affection for his broken people. From the opening lines of the book – “Blessed is the man who walks not in the…

A Picture of Ministry for All Who Follow Jesus

I’ve loved the book of 1 Thessalonians for a long, long time. Along with Acts 20:17-38, 1 Thessalonians has been a vivid, multidimensional picture to me of what gospel ministry looks like. This picture is not one only for pastors and seminary trained folks. It is for every believer in Christ who follows Jesus in ministering to others – to friends, spouses, children, grandchildren, neighbors, work associates and others. I read 1 Thessalonians and see a picture of what God…

Pondering Vocation

Preaching on Luke 9:18-27, Chuck asked, “Who do you say Jesus is?” We may struggle to discern our calling in life, but how we live is bound to our answer to that question, the same question Jesus posed to his disciples and which Peter answered correctly (Luke 9:18-20). The Gospels portray a particular type of Messiah on a particular type of mission and we are called to follow him daily in his way. That’s the life for which we’re made.…

Updates from the Spiritual Formation Team

The Spiritual Formation Team (SFT) exists to strengthen and mature the Body of Christ at CGS, in Durham/Chapel Hill, and around the world. We oversee multiple educational initiatives spanning the entire lifespan, including Children’s Ministry, Youth Ministry, and Adult Ministries (Men, Women, Sunday morning classes, and Seminars). During our July meeting, we met with Amelia Cassar, our Director of Children’s Ministry. She highlighted 2 big points that we want to consider together: The Children’s Ministry hopes to prayerfully receive a…

Updates from the Community Formation Team

The Community Formation Team (CFT) exists to equip CGS to form healthy, gospel-rooted, redemptive relationships that flow into a beautiful, loving culture where we invite our friends and neighbors into our family. The CFT meets about once a month and oversees the Community Group ministry, the Party Planning Committee, the Young Adult Community, the College ministry, the Welcome Team, and the newly-implemented Neighborhood model for pastoral care. We spent this month focused on the Welcoming ministry. God extended great hospitality…

Reflecting on Vacation Bible School 2019

Why do we invest so much time, money, and effort into Vacation Bible School? Do our kids not learn those things every week in Sunday School and Children’s Worship? Do we actually do that much outreach? Is it worth it? When I first signed on to volunteer at VBS several years ago, I wasn’t asking any of these questions. I was simply a new member and a new mom looking for ways to get to know others in my church.…

What Is the Worth of Our Religion?

It is hard to read the book of James and not feel deep conviction over the ways we fall short of God’s glory. Even James himself said that we all stumble in many ways (James 3:2), and this truth really comes into focus when we read his letter. I often joke that if James was alive today and simply read his letter during the sermon time, many churches would accuse him of not being Gospel-centered enough. How does this imperative-driven…