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Showing posts from August, 2017

Labor Day

Typically, when we remember Labor Day we laud the value of our laborers.  Employees need to feel honored for the jobs they do.  This Labor Day, though, I would like to offer a bit of a different take on working.   No, the Bible doesn’t explicitly provide commandants about what type of employees would should be, but a look at the essence of the message of spiritual living provides us some insight: 1.  We should be employed.  When Adam and Eve were expelled from the Garden of Eden mankind was destined to have to work for sustenance.  In fact, God issued this proclamation, “By the sweat of your face you will eat bread, till you return to the ground, because from it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” (Genesis 3:19).  Throughout the rest of the Bible, the challenge is clear – if a man doesn’t work, he shouldn’t be allowed to eat (II Thessalonians 3:10).  I understand there are exceptions to this rule for health reasons, but the basic principle is simple, we nee…

Ministry Follow-Through

If we were to ask coaches about success one of the more common answers would be the value of follow-through.  Just about anyone can throw a baseball accurately, but superior pitchers have the ability to follow-through with the pitch so they get maximum movement or velocity.  It doesn’t take much effort to carry an oblong ball in your arms, but top-notch running backs have the ability to keep churning their legs and contorting their bodies to overcome the initial contact and gain extra yardage.  The difference between average and greatness may not necessarily be talent, it might be the ability to finish. While follow-through is important in athletics, it is vital in other aspects of our lives as well.  One of the most visible areas is in our Christianity.  Most of us are familiar with Jesus’ call to follow-through with our discipleship when He challenged His hearers, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who i…

Hating Distrust

Last weekend’s events of in Charlottesville, Virginia remind us of the world in which we live.  No, I am not saying that the violence was in any way understandable, defendable or excusable, my point is to demonstrate the lengths to which the world (aka satan) will go to do to divide people and fuel the fires of distrust.  The devil is such an advocate of hate and evil that he can convince people to believe that violence based upon differences has a place in his world.  As I watched the conflicts unfold last weekend it was just another reminder of how satan is using discord to promote his agenda and ensnare his minions.   Throughout time satan has exercised his influence to divide and conquer.  It began with Cain and Able when he used “religion” (a sacrifice) to condone murder.  He manipulated the enmity between two kinsmen, Jacob and Esau, to drive a wedge between neighbors that continues today.  The churches in the region of Galatia had to overcome the issues of divergent backgrounds …

Reaching Out

When you begin a discussion with Mike Brown you are bound to learn something!I am fascinated by Mike’s knowledge, but I find that I learn as much when he asks a question as I do when he makes a comment.Last week I got a text from Mike asking, “What is the goal of encouraging members to reach out and help others?How will it help the church?”.Naturally, I grabbed my phone and began to respond – that’s when I had to stop and think.Why?Over the last few days I have been considering this question and here are a couple of thoughts: 1.It is the right thing to do.The story of the Good Samaritan is in direct response to the question, “… who is my neighbor?” (Luke 10:29).Jesus was in the midst of a discussion of the practical application of the principles of godly worship and brotherly love when He used a story to illustrate the righteousness of providing for people in need.We help others because we are called to love them.The most basic expression of love is serving our fellow man. 2.People need…

Facts About Forgiveness

When Jesus was teaching His disciples how to pray He included some instruction about seeking forgiveness; then seemed to divert from the task at hand to offer an explanation by saying, ‘And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.  And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.’For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.” (Matthew 6:12-15).  Have we given much thought to the concept of forgiveness?  We know that we need it, we have faith that it is available to us and we comprehend the price that was paid to offer it, but what are the practical aspects of this godly gift?  Much has already been written about forgiveness, so here are a few simple things we must understand to embrace it in our lives: 1.  We must seek forgiveness from God.  One of th…

Lessons I Learned From Vacation Bible School

When I look back at my childhood, one of my most vivid memories is Vacation Bible School.  As I reflect on it, not only did I have a good time, I also learned several life-lessons from my time in VBS.  Some of the lessons are superficial (like Hydrox cookies and Great Value powdered drink mix are not as good as homemade cookies and Hawaiian Punch), but others have much deeper meanings.  Here are a few things that have stuck with me thought the years: 1.  If you bring a friend, you will get something in return.  I remember the “I Brought 1” buttons and tallying up the number of first-time visitors we brought to VBS.  The person who brought the most (and it usually was a girl) would get a Bible or some other type of gift.  In retrospect all of us who brought someone and everyone who attended got something just by being there.  As I thought about this I was reminded of Andrew who brought his brother, Simon, to see Jesus (John 1:40-41).  The outcome of this meeting changed the face of Chri…