Belong

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Romans 12:3-6For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you. Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given us.  (NIV 1984).

My Musings – Far too many Christians are going their own separate ways these days, believing that they can worship anywhere (which they can) and can get along just fine with the fellowship of a local church (which they cannot).  Others prefer to skip in, blend in and skip back out, without building relationships within the body.  In they process they gain little and contribute little. Often on their way back home they comment “well, I didn’t get much out of that service,” missing the point entirely.

It is never about how much we get.  It is always about how much we give.  And ironically, the more we  give the more we end up getting.  Iron sharpens iron, and it is hard to sharpen anything without something to rub up against.  It is difficult for anyone to grow sharper spiritually without rubbing up against other believers in fellowship, worhsip, prayer and the Word.  Sure, we can get by, but that’s somewhat like the steward that buried his talents and was only able to give back to the master what he had been given, nothing more.

“As much as we like to think that it is our smarts [spirituality] that get us a head, it is not everything.  Our intelligence [Spiritual maturity] give us ideas and instructions.  But it is our ability to cooperate that actually helps us get those things done.  Nothing of real value on this earth was built by one person without the help of others.  There are few accomplishments, companies, [churches] or technologies that were built by one person without the or support of anyone else.  It is clear that the more others want to help us [and we them], the more we can achieve [grow].” (From Leaders Eat Last, Simon Sinek).

My Advice – Don’t you want to give back more?  Don’t you want to help others do the same?  Find a local church and do more than just blend in – belong.  Because whether you admit it or not, that is where you do belong.

Enriched in Poverty

Revelation 2:9 – “I know your afflictions and your poverty-yet you are rich!” (NIV 1978)

My Musings – It’s all a matter of perspective. The world may see poverty on the outside, but God sees the riches of Christ in our hearts.

My Advice – There may be lean years early in your career. But remember, no matter how little you have in your bank account, you are rich because you have Christ in your heart.

Who Are You Following?

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1 Corinthians 1:10-13I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought. My brothers, some from Chloe’s household have informed me that there are quarrels among you. What I mean is this: One of you says, “I follow Paul”; another, “I follow Apollos”; another, “I follow Cephas”; still another, “I follow Christ.” Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Were you baptized into the name of Paul? (NIV 1984)
My Musing – It can be a dangerous thing to do, to get so wrapped up in a leader, that you lose sight of who it is that you were following in the first place.  We’ve gotten a taste of that in recent weeks and months as certain high-profile ministry leaders have “fallen,” or at least stumbled.  Where does that leave the faithful flock?  Or the “replacement” shepherd that must carry on?
We also see it on occasion, when there are changes in leadership due to retirement, pastors moving on to a new flock, or other such changes in a Church.  Some followers, leave the flock to follow the past leader to their new “pasture,” never giving the new shepherd a chance.  Others simply fall out of the flock altogether, so tied to the former shepherd to continue on anywhere.  Still others remain as “baaad” sheep, criticizing the new shepherd (“our old shepherd never did it that way”) or otherwise causing quarrels and creating divisions amongst the rest of the flock that is trying to remain faithful.  Then, there is that last group.  Staying faithful throughout the changes, some of which might be hard, uncomfortable or involve a shepherding (worship?) style they really don’t prefer, all for the sake of the rest of the flock and the shepherd they really have been following all along – the Good Shepherd.
My Advice – When changes come (some that may personally disappoint), and they will, stay faithful to the flock and to Christ.  Paul, Apollos and Cephas were all good shepherds of the flock.  But all were following Christ.  Eventually, they passed the torch to others. Paul was martyred and left his calling to people like Timothy, John Mark and Luke, also all good shepherds.   And the Church survived.   After all, who was it that was really crucified for the Church?  For you? Soli Deo Gloria!

Mystery Babylon, the Mother of Prostitutes

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A MYSTERYThis title was written on her forehead: MYSTERY BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF PROSTITUTES, AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. When I saw her, I was greatly astonished. Then the angel said to me: “Why are you astonished? (Revelation 17:5, 7)

Spiritual Babylon – In the last days, many believe that a one world church will be formed, perhaps an amalgam or intermarriage of all world religions in the ultimate in coexistence. This world church (the harlot) will be involved in Continue reading “Mystery Babylon, the Mother of Prostitutes”

Engages With The Church

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Romans 12:5In Christ, we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. (NIV 1978)

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My Musings – While not the only reasons, some believers have forsaken the church because they feel it is full of hypocrites or they believe they can worship at anyplace or anytime. It is true that there is Continue reading “Engages With The Church”

Whatever Happened to Evangelical Christianity?

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Introduction – What Does It Mean To Be Evangelical?

Evangelical – of, relating to, or being in agreement with the Christian gospel especially as it is presented in the four Gospels. (Webster)

In a 2007 survey by the Barna Group (a leading research organization focused on the intersection of faith and culture), 38% of the respondents self-identified as evangelical, suggesting Continue reading “Whatever Happened to Evangelical Christianity?”

The Church In America: A Letter In Waiting?

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HOW THE LETTER MIGHT BEGINTo the angels of the churches in America write: These are the words of the God in whom you trust.

Of course, there is no such salutation in the book of Revelation, or anywhere else in Scripture for that matter, addressed specifically to the churches in America. For at that time, these churches were only known by God. But after reading the letters to the seven churches one cannot help but wonder what Continue reading “The Church In America: A Letter In Waiting?”