Faith/Questions

Three podcasts you should be listening to right now

Good podcasts will stick with you. They get you thinking and open up the possibilities of how you engage with the world.

Much like our human desire to binge watch Netflix, a great podcast will capture us. Are you driving to work? Podcast. Saturday chores? Podcast. Working out? Podcast. Annoying the kids? Podcast. Breathing? Podcast. It’s the talk radio shows our parents listened to while driving us around - but relevant and interesting. Oh, and convenient.

If you feel like you need an extra little push out of your comfort zone, give one of these three a try:

Unfiltered Radio

Unfiltered Radio is a movement on a mission, in our city and our world. The show seeks to amplify the name of Jesus and to lead people to experience the love and grace he offers.

We’ve gotten Jesus wrong. He’s been misunderstood, misinterpreted and his message hijacked by followers and skeptics alike. The bias of church history, politics, religious movements and personal agendas lay claim to his life and mission.

This podcast will have you taking a new look at Jesus. We all have filters we approach Christ with. What does he look like when we strip those away?  

Relevant

Relevant Podcast is a production of Relevant Magazine. It explores the intersection of faith and pop culture. Every Friday introduces listeners to artists, authors, pastors and other influential creatives.

This podcast delivers poignant, sometimes random and always life-changing perspectives on culture and faith. Warning. Once you start listening you’ll want to catch up on all the ones you’ve missed.

You Have Permission

Dan Koch is the host of the new podcast called You Have Permission. He describes his faith journey as complicated. He seeks to engage anyone with questions about God, science, faith, politics, culture and more.

This podcast gives permission to take both Christianity and the modern world seriously. The show introduces listeners to a plethora of experiences and vantage points.

A resource for Christians on the right and left, skeptics and those who are non-religious. You Have Permission is for anyone who wants to explore the questions faith presents. It’s addictive. It’s relevant. You may just get hooked on the episode To Think Theologically About Aliens.

Try all three podcasts and come back to tell us what you thought. Tag @CenterpointFL on Twitter and let us know if there are any podcasts you’d add to this list.


Is Centerpoint non-denominational & what does that mean?

Centerpoint is a non-denominational church in the Brandon Valrico area that is doing things differently.

Yeah right. I hear you. “Non-denominational churches are just Baptist churches in disguise.” If you’ve been part of the evangelical church for any amount of time, chances are you’ve heard this joke. Or how about the one “non-denominational churches are Baptist who like to drink.”

So where does that leave Centerpoint, a non-denominational church claiming to be an alternative to church as usual?  Are we Baptist in disguise? Tattooed hipsters who like our music and comfortable millennial safe spaces? Or are we something more.

Something more

Centerpoint Church is tearing down every unnecessary barrier. Nothing should stand in the way of hearing about Jesus. We see denominations as one of those barriers. Over time denominations can put up hoops to jump through on how to become a part of the community.  Rules develop that are less scripture based and hold more of a “how to get into the country club” vibe.

Everyone at Centerpoint is welcome. There is no age requirement. Tattooed hipsters are as welcome as grandma. Sexual orientation, belief in God, marital status, or musical talent are not pre-requisites.

You are safe with us, exactly as you are.

What does non-denominational mean

Non-denominational is an adjective. It means open or acceptable to people of any Christian denomination. Stick the word in front of church, and it becomes a place of worship, a community accessible to anyone.

When we strip away denomination, we are taking away years of built up historical bias. The church as a whole has molded Jesus to fit a set of rules. Jesus broke through cultural barriers and religious rules of his own time, and he is doing the same today.

Who we are

Centerpoint is a diverse gathering of real people who believe in Jesus. We want to see our city changed by his love. Come join us and see for yourself. You don't have to buy into everything we say, that's the beauty of our non-denominational church. Whether you are a Jesus follower, atheist, agnostic or skeptic, we've designed a place for you to ask hard questions of the Christian faith safely.

Join us this Sunday for one of our three services in Brandon or Live Stream from the comfort of your own home. Before you come, feel free to take a look at previous messages. See for yourself if we hold true to who we claim to be.


Is Centerpoint Church Valrico LGBTQ friendly?

The church as a whole has handled the topic of sex and sexuality poorly. Let me be clear. If you are gay and seeking a church home in Valrico, you are welcome at Centerpoint Church.

Sex is directly related to our view of God. Silence distorts the idea of sex, romance and relationship. This affects our views of God. We cannot be silent.

We are not any church; we are an alternative to church as usual. We don't operate on guilt or shame but dive into hard questions about our faith in a safe environment. We encourage the skeptic, the religious and anyone in-between to explore what it means to follow Jesus.

The problem isn’t sex

Sex is good. God created it. The problem isn't our sex drive; it's letting sex drive us. A great relationship is what fuels sexual intimacy. The function of sex is to nurture a healthy relationship.

Culture is not the enemy. We are to engage culture. Our culture says treat sex however you want but… Swipe Right (for a more detailed three-part sermon series on healthy sexual relationships).

We tend to elevate sexual sin above everything else. That is not the gospel. We are quick to overlook the husband treating his wife like $#*! but are more than willing to throw stones at those the church has traditionally labeled as outcasts. We are quick to call someone a sinner without first evaluating our own lives.

This has to change. The problem is not sex or sexual identity.

We lose kids to the culture, not because we don't entertain them, but because we don't dare them. If we can't talk about our beliefs and the hard questions openly, then we never grow. We hide because we think we can't be honest about who we are in the faith community.

This needs to change.

The sexuality of Christians

There are many gay, queer or same-sex attracted Christians. Some have chosen same-sex marriage while others have chosen chastity. It is the same choice heterosexuals have, though historically the cultural differences are extreme. We disagree amongst ourselves on the restrictions of historic Christian teachings. Every denomination seems to have co-opted Jesus into defending their stance.

If you are part of the LGBTQ community and looking for a church in Valrico, know that you are welcome at Centerpoint. We aren't out to change you. You are welcome exactly as you are.

Called to love

Every person has been made in the image of God and has extreme value. We are called to love. That means we live life side by side, even when we disagree. We ask hard questions about Scripture and Jesus. We value one another and honor how the Holy Spirit is working in each of our lives.

What if God has a destiny and a will for your life and mine? What does it look like to surrender our will, our life, our bodies to God? What does it look like to explore these questions together?

Today let’s commit to hear one another and to ask the hard questions doing our best to remove preconceived biases from the conversation.


Finding Jesus in the midst of fear and uncertainty

Every time you step outside of your comfort zone you are relying on God. That's a faith grower. You are stepping into the unknown, and there is only one place you can put your trust, and that's in Jesus.

We each come to hard points in our lives that we can’t make sense of. It could be a cancer diagnosis, a lost job, the death of a loved one, the end of a relationship… so many things can toss us into a state of confusion, fear and uncertainty.

It is in those moments that we can either choose to run from God or choose to trust God.

Don’t toss scripture at them

As Christians comfort should be about making the hurting comfortable, not ourselves. Often when we are placed in situations that make us uncomfortable, we can be known to throw scripture or sayings we think are scripture, but aren't, at others.

Here are a few examples:

God never gives you more than you can handle.

God helps those who help themselves.

Nope. Not in Scripture, but we sure do love tossing those around into the silence of pain when it becomes unbearable.

Job's friends did. When he was in full on grief, they started mouthing off their theology trying to make sense of his pain because they were uncomfortable. You know what happened, they heard from God. Not in the way they probably would have liked, but they heard.

God showed up and said to Job’s friends, “I am angry with you...you have not spoken the truth about me.” (Job 42:7)

We need to be careful when we sit with others in their pain to not attempt to be the mouthpiece of God. Trust the Holy Spirit to work. Be present and ready when God nudges, but don’t force your way through the discomfort of silence.

Do what Jesus does

Don’t be like Job’s friends. Instead, try imitating Jesus. Show up and be present. Throughout Scripture Jesus shows up where people are hurting. It’s not comfortable. It’s culturally wrong. It’s inconvenient.

You and I weren't called to a life of comfort or convenience. We were created for a purpose. Some days that purpose is just to show up and be present in someone else's darkest moment. Some days that means to trust even when it feels impossible.

Be honest with God

If you are walking through fear and loss hold on tight to Jesus. He won’t leave you. Take what you are feeling to God. Be honest. Your situation, your pain is already known and seen.  

Are you willing to be honest and authentic? Are you willing to sit quietly and listen for God’s presence?


Why every Christian needs an Atheist friend

Having an atheist friend is one of the best ways to not get trapped into a Christian bubble.

We have a tendency, as humans, to choose people who affirm our every thought and make us feel good about our life decisions. When we limit our crowd to people who believe the same, do church the same, vote the same, listen to the same music… you get the idea… we begin to atrophy.

Engage with culture

Our brains die from neglect. We aren’t challenged and begin to slip into “Christianese” language. We forget how to speak to those outside our circles. There is a chance we may even forget how to think for ourselves.

The cure? Engage with the culture around you. Seek out friends who think differently. Find an atheist friend and have real conversations.

Ask hard questions

Questions produce stronger faith. If we never question why we believe something – if we never challenge it – then how can we know we truly believe?

Having a friend who believes that God does not exist is someone worth listening too and hearing out. Your atheist friend will have well thought out arguments that will challenge you. Sit with that challenge and explore why and what you believe.

Yes. You may spend nights tossing around their arguments in your head instead of sleeping. But isn’t a stronger faith that has been challenged and came out whole worth it?

Get outside of the echo chamber

As Christians, we build echo chambers. We do it through social media and with face to face relationships. Over time we gravitate to the people who reflect what we like about ourselves. These people make us comfortable in our -own skin. Friend, that is a dangerous place to live.

We are not called to be comfortable. We are to be world changers. If we are going to be a light for others to see Jesus, then we have to engage with those who see the world differently.

Our best friends are the ones who challenge and stretch us. They don't let us stay the same boring person we are today. They love us as we are but also see our potential.

Solidify your belief in God, share Jesus

When you challenge your faith, I mean dig deep and get to the core of why you believe what you do, it comes out stronger. Before you can share who Jesus is with others, you have to address your own doubts. Don't run from them. Explore them. You'll be better for it.

Don’t believe me? Give it a try.

Invite your atheist friend to dinner. Instead of trying to win them over to your way of thinking sit back and hear them out. Explore their beliefs and listen to the why behind them.