Sep 29, 2005

Old Traditions Never Die; They Just Hang Around Forever

Douglas MacArthur, in his farewell speech, quoted one of the most popular barracks ballads of his earlier days, "Old soldiers never die; they just fade away." It's my opinion that many Church of Christ traditions never die; they just hang around forever.

The slightest perceived infraction of some traditional "church law" will cause the most lukewarm pew-sitter to rise up in arms to defend the one-and-only true church from any change that might disrupt his comfort zone. Often it doesn't matter that a traditional viewpoint has no scriptural basis, it's just always been done that way, so why change!

Several people who are Christians, but not of the COC persuasion, have recently related their frustrations to me concerning the beliefs of some in the COC. One person has a daughter who is married to a member of the COC, and he was told by his son-in-law that he would be forever lost unless he left his current denominational church and became a member of the COC. Another person casually mentioned that all the Church of Christers (sp) where he was from believed he was going to hell, and that he was a member of an apostate church.

If I don't go to Sunday School I sin; if I miss Wednesday night services I'm lukewarm at best, and I sin; if I change the order of worship, I sin; if I don't see the need to pass the collection plate every Sunday, I sin; if I see nothing wrong in women passing the communion plates, and I publicly announce this, I sin; if I think elders should lead by example, not as "church bosses," I sin; If I can't carry a tune in a basket (whether due to allergies, or just a lousy voice) yet sing silently in my heart, I sin. This list could go on forever, and believe me, there are Christians in these groups that will let you know instantly every time you violate one of their cherished traditions.

We don't all have to agree on every little detail, but we certainly need to open our minds to the possibility that we just might be wrong occasionally. I have revisited many of these tradition-bound churches over the years and unfortunately they never change....why should they change, they are THE church, and as THE church they alone perfectly understand Gods Word, so why listen to any non-COC scriptural interpretation!

Some members of the COC (even in the my way or the highway groups) realize changes are needed, but they also realize it will not happen in their lifetime.

Sep 25, 2005

Often The Footprints Seem Faint

Making a decision to follow Jesus is not a part-time commitment. Every day it's important to review our relationship with our Creator. Following Jesus requires daily rededication and renewed energy if we truly seek to pattern our lives after Him.

One day we're on-fire for Christ, and the next day we languish in a lukewarm melancholy state of affairs. Our human nature (more often then not) over-rides our heavenly nature, and often the path featuring the footprints of Jesus may seem shadowy at best.

Accepting Jesus is a complete change in our human nature; we should seek things of a heavenly nature with an eye to spending eternity with our Lord, not a longing for earthly treasures and personal ambitions. It's easy to understand what our relationship to God should be, but an altogether different scenario often hits us right between the eyes, clouding our determination to obey His will.

Anyone able to follow the Lord without running into a brick wall occasionally has my vote for Saint of the Year. The rest of us will just have to struggle daily, do the best we can, and have the guts and determination to reset our course when the wind is knocked out of our sails.

It is way too important for anyone to ignore the call of Jesus. We will make mistakes, run into walls, say and do the wrong things, but when we recall that Jesus died for us on the cross, and that His blood cleanses our every sin, we should have the faith and confidence to daily renew our dedication to be in obedience to His will.

Now I (great big capital "I") need to practice what I preach!

Sep 11, 2005

God Works In Mysterious Ways

Strange how things that seem insignificant at the time can blossom into something really important. Case in point; as I was heading home from my early morning coffee shop routine I received a call from my son wanting me to have breakfast with him, so I found the first wide spot in the road and headed back down the hill to the cafe.

Just as I made my U-turn I noticed a little boy (about 18-months old) and his dog playing in the middle of the road where I had just passed a few seconds before. There was no homes nearby and this little barefoot boy clad only in a pampery-type thing, on a cold mountain morning was having the time of his life.

I stopped my pickup and coaxed him out of the road, but every time I tried to pick him up or get close to him the dog made threatening advances in my direction ..... what now! After managing to keep him out of the road for awhile, and finally realizing that no one seemed to be looking for the lad, I called 9-1-1 and reported the problem. While talking to the lady at 9-1-1, a pickup pulled up and an elderly gentlemen announced that he was the boy's grandfather, and what was I doing with his grandson. Excuse me!

Finally all ended well, and grandpa and grandson rode off into the hills. Evidently the boy slipped away from home while everyone else was asleep, and decided to follow his grandfather to town.

Guess I related all this because it just seems strange how something as insignificant as a cell phone call can have such important implications in a persons life. This little boy might have been found by his grandfather, but I kept him out of the road for at least ten minutes and who knows what might have happened to him if my plans had not been altered.

God works in mysterious ways, who knows!

Sep 3, 2005

New Church; First Impressions

What a difference a week makes! Last week I assembled with the CoC in Lake Isabella CA and was warmly welcomed by all eight members of this group. The week before I assembled (early service) with a CofC in Bakersfield CA and was totally lost among 450 members.

This small group could be considered a house church, but they own a small building that might accomodate 75-80 people. The preacher, his wife, son, and daughter-in-law drive from Ridgecrest (about 60 miles distance) every Sunday to assemble with this church.

There is a somewhat larger CoC in Mt. Mesa (six miles from Lake Isabella) with 30-40 members, but I doubt if they could be any warmer or more Christ-like than the Lake Isabella church. I was humbly impressed with their friendliness and love for each other.

I look forward to working with this small group, and pray that I can be of service to them and the community at large.


Finally settled in my new home and enjoying sunsets, mountain views, and peace and quite. Having said that, I feel fortunate to even have a home, given all the loss of life and property damage suffered when Katrina ripped through Mississippi and Lousiana.

We often take a lot for granted and may not thank God as we should for all the daily blessings He showers on us. When tragedy strikes and puts us on our knees, we realize how fragile our lives are in this earthly existence, and the importance of walking hand-in-hand with our Creator.

Those desiring to help the victims of hurricane Katrina can specify a particular area of the Gulf Coast they would like to aid and send their gifts to:

Gateway Church of Christ
245 Brent Lane
Pensacola, FL 32503

Check John Dobbs blog for more information on how to help these unfortunate victims of Katrina.