Oct 30, 2006

let the little children come

There must be some way to help children learn about Jesus even when their parents could care less. While I'm not always pleased with the Sunday School System in our churches, I am convinced they are a boon for children who, for whatever reason, may not be reached by any other method.

Recently a grandmother (out of state member of the COC) came into our area for a few months to help her daughter (who is not currently in church) during some difficult times. Grandmother always brought her three grandchildren to Sunday school, but now since moving back to her home state the children no longer have anyone in their family concerned with getting them up and ready on Sunday morning

I mentioned my concern to the grandmother that the children might have a difficult time getting to church after she left, and offered to help in any way necessary so they could continue meeting with us; she thought she could influence her daughter to bring the children on Sunday, but a month later and nothing seems to be happening! I discovered the parents are separated, and the children are bouncing around like crazy, so it may be difficult to form a viable plan that will insure the children have the opportunity to continue their biblical education.

There was a time when parents allowed almost anyone to pick up their kids and take them to church, but since the advent of the religious pervert most parents are shying away from this option...and I don't blame them!

So, what is a good plan to help children attend Sunday School when the parents obviously don't care?

Oct 25, 2006

wait for the lord

Job was a shining exemplar of trust and patience, he waited for the Lord to make His point, and trusted Him for deliverance. Americans seem to seldom practice patience anymore; any new trinket that catches our fancy must be seized immediately, even if our pockets are empty, and our checking account has bottomed-out. We circumvent the problem with good old Yankee ingenuity; we grab the plastic monster and charge! Waiting is not the favorite pastime for most of us, we want it right now. Yep, I'm guilty too!

While impatience in a secular society is often dangerous, it can become a major disaster in the spiritual realm if we're not willing to wait for the Lord:
Wait for the Lord; be strong and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord! Psalm 27:14 ESV
Too often we ask favors of God, but when instant answers are not forthcoming we become impatient and frustrated, and doubt God's ability to deliver as promised. Often it's difficult to realize that Gods timetable in no way resembles ours. How often do we give up too soon while the Lord is still in the process of answering our prayers?

Patience is one tough attribute to possess, but we need to trust more in the Lord, and try real hard to get a better grasp of His eternal timetable.

Oct 17, 2006

robotic christians

We all know Christians who have thoughtlessly accepted their parents religion as gospel truth, and hoisted the same age-old personal opinions and lifeless traditions on their backs as their parents bore. Not that everything our forefathers believed and practiced is wrong, but anything that effects our eternal salvation should be accepted only after thorough investigation in the light of God's word.

Each of us will stand or fall before God's judgement alone; it will do us absolutely no good to point our bony fingers at some other person blaming them for our failures. Being a Christian is not a robotic existence where we follow blindly the teachings of men, rather an active participation in following Jesus wherever He leads.

Strolling through life haphazardly without sensing God's presence, and doing His work out of habit rather than love can be lethal to the soul. Everyday (24/7) we are in the presence of our Creator as His angels minister in our behalf, and we are beneficiaries of His eternal promises; surely this should inspire us to live vibrant and gracious lives before Him, not following by habit, but by faith and love.

While spiritual perfection will always elude us, we acknowledge the sacrificial blood of Jesus, and our confessed faith in Him certainly gives us abundant hope. Mimicking Christianity as a lifeless robot is not cool, but living a spirit filled life is the answer. There is great news though:
He saved us not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by His grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. ESV Titus 3: 5-7
We are blessed; God loves us beyond measure.

Oct 11, 2006

my way or the highway

Divisions in the body of Christ are wrong!

It's amazing how easy it is over time to forge a belief system based on our personal interpretation of scripture supported by our dubious common sense.

We often harbor opinions of our parents, relatives, and church family without really understanding the history of these opinions. Often these opinions are embedded in us from birth and have no basis in fact, yet we are primed and more than willing to fuss and fight at the drop of a hat to defend our perception of truth with anyone daring to state an opposing viewpoint.

It's time to reach out to others who don't share our opinions, and let them know we consider them our brothers and sisters without condemning them for what we consider infractions of our "church" rules; not treating them like misguided children, but as equals in God's kingdom.

Many moons ago I honestly believed anyone not professing to be a bona fide member of "our" one and only church (Church of Christ) was apostate; thus only those of us who shared the same personal interpretation of scripture were in favor with God...you can imagine the fate of those who disagreed with us!

There are now, and will be in the future, non-essential opinions that separate Christians in the church, and we can't smugly assume we're always right while everyone else is wrong...we need hours of honest dialogue coupled with an abundance of unfeigned love for those we differ with if our goal of unity is to be realized. We need to completely abandon our my-way-or-the-highway philosophy and agree to extend our hands in fellowship to God's children, even if they (God forbid) only use one cup for communion, or pound piano keys in their worship service.

Oct 4, 2006

sowing discord

Erik Tryggestad writing for The Christian Chronicle presents some difficult scenarios American evangelists create in mission fields when they opt to push teachings that are divisive.

Some mission based churches are being divided by the very things that have long divided churches in America. Some quotes from the article:
Some churches in Malawi sing during the Lord’s Supper. Others don’t.

Until recently, the difference never kept congregations from fellowshipping with each other, said Priestly Nkhonjera, a minister in the small African country.

But then some — including missionaries from the United States — started teaching that singing during communion is wrong.

Now some Malawian churches ask visitors about the issue and, based on their response, either welcome them or show them the exit, Nkhonjera said.
The African nation’s woes illustrate what can happen when churches in the United States export their divisions to the mission field, missionaries say. Young congregations in developing countries often find themselves in the middle of controversies among American churches — including divorce and remarriage, the working of the Holy Spirit and how many cups are used in communion.
These problems shouldn't surprise anyone; pushing our opinions on new Christians, and causing divisions within the Lord's body is not a demonstration of Christian love. Read the complete Christian chronicle article for its full impact.