Saturday, November 9, 2013

Are we being a nieghbor?

Upon hearing of possibly another heroine overdose last night I began thinking. (I say this to fellow Christians). You and I need to be better neighbors. I know that I am making an assumption that many of us are not so please hear me out.

If we really belong to Christ, then the Gospel that we profess compels us to be the one that would stop by the side of the road and lift out of the pit the one who has been despised and rejected by those in society and by other "religious people." Do you and I know our neighbors? Do we spend time with those who are in danger?

Think for a second about those who are rejected, and yes even those who are rejected for their own wrongdoing. Are we "being neighbors" to them? Really? How many people do we know that are hopelessly caught in drug addiction or any other illegal or immoral activity? Are we sitting back waiting for them to fall beyond repair? Are we sitting back and waiting so that we can accuse? Are we sitting back until the day that we can see their faces on our arrest app, then post on facebook and say, "I knew that it would come to this, they got what they deserve!" Are we sitting back until they are dead? Friends, this is not Christ's example of a neighbor.

Perhaps our "hatered" is not so blatent, perhaps we are just avoiding people because we do not know what to do. This does not get us off the hook. We need to learn how to respond. We must pray for these people and get busy learning how to reach out to all people, regardless of anything they have done.

I hope that we might be encouraged by God's grace, to go to those that are hated, rejected by our society, even by many religious groups, and "be a neighbor" to these people.

Soli Deo Gloria

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Saturday, September 14, 2013

Aunt Shirley's Funeral

Our family just returned from a weekend with family and friends as we celebrated the life of my aunt. She lived 73 years and will be greatly missed. Friends and family have asked me about parts of the funeral service. Some wanted to know about the quotations used. They included:

Reading of 1 Peter 1:3-9
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls. 1 Peter 1:3-9 ESV

During the funeral I mentioned two questions and answers from the Heidelberg Catechism. They were:

Question - What is your only comfort in life and in death?

Answer - That I am not my own, but belong body and soul, in life and in death to my faithful Savior, Jesus Christ. He has fully paid for all my sins with his precious blood, and has set me free from the tyranny of the devil. He also watches over me in such a way that not a hair can fall from my head without the will of my Father in heaven; in fact, all things must work together for my salvation. Because I belong to him, Christ, by his Holy Spirit, assures me of eternal life and makes me wholeheartedly willing and ready from now on to live for him.

Question - What must you know to live and die in the joy of this comfort?
Answer - Three things: first, how great my sin and misery are; second, how I am set free from all my sins and misery; third, how I am to thank God for such deliverance.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Practicing Affirmation

With the close of 2012 upon us, I was thinking back about some of the books that I have read over the past year. There are were a few books that were very helpful to me. I would not suggest replacing your regular discipline of reading the Scriptures, but make time for you to read some good books as well. Two of those very special to me this past year have been.

E.M. Bounds - The Power of Prayer

Sam Crabtree - Practicing Affirmation

The latter of these two, "Practicing Affirmation" is by far the most helpful book that I have read this past year. It is available on Kindle for $3.03! Crabtree, one of the Pastors at Bethlehem Baptist Church, discusses the command, joy, and responsibility of affirming God-exalting qualities in others. If you are going to be in any sort of leadership, I would consider this one of the most basic books you should read. If you are a new Christian or have been walking with Jesus for years, you will find this book easy to read, challenging, and wonderfully helpful!

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Sunday, December 2, 2012

Thoughts on Evangelism

I am convinced that it (The wall we erect between "us" - the Christians and "them" - the unbelievers, is often the reason why so many of us and so many of our churches are uninterested and ineffective in evangelism. An "us verse them" mentality can produce fear of the world, a condemning, even hateful attitude toward "sinners," a desire to retreat into the safe haven of our Christian institutions, and an insistence on personal separation from "sinners." If we do not know non-Christians in any personal depth, it is evident that the only evangelism that can take place is technique -based raids from behind the wall of the church into the "enemy-occupied territory" of the world. This is certainly not the kind of evangelism we read about in the New Testament. (Barrs 10-11)

I highly recommend the book by Jerram Barrs entitled "The Heart of Evangelism." This quote is taken from this work and I have found it to be a very convicting! I have greatly benefitted from this man's ministry, his writings, and his sermons.

What are your thoughts?

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