Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Measuring Up

I'm one of the elders at my church. We are primarily pastors, dedicated to caring and praying for the members of the congregation and overseeing the spiritual direction of what is taught within our walls.

We are currently in the midst of bringing a couple new people on board, and part of their apprenticeship is filling out a questionnaire so we can get a better idea about each person's spiritual background and outlook.

As I read through the set of answers from our most-recent apprentice, and look at the partial list of qualifications Paul documented in First Timothy 3, I am practically forced into some self-evaluation...and a renewed doubt as to my fitness for the role.

According to Paul (I Timothy 3:2-7), someone who serves as an elder should be:

  • above reproach
  • faithful to his wife
  • temperate
  • self-controlled
  • respectable
  • hospitable
  • able to teach
  • not given to drunkenness
  • not violent but gentle
  • not quarrelsome
  • not a lover of money

Moreover, he must:

  • manage his own family well
  • see that his children obey him
  • do so in a manner worthy of full respect
  • not be a recent convert
  • have a good reputation with outsiders

I'm certainly stronger in some of these things than in others, but I'm glad this is a list of guidelines as to the type of person who should be in church leadership, and not necessarily a strict checklist.

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Truth is...this isn't such a bad list of personal goals for anyone to do some self-evaluation against.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Giving Up

Here we sit in the middle-ish of Lent, wondering if we are approaching Good Friday and Easter with the proper level of thought and intent.

Some folks choose to give up something "for Lent". A lot of the time, it's something fairly innocuous (like chocolate, or caffeine) and is meant as only a temporary fast from whatever substance or activity is chosen.

I've known people who have absented themselves from social media as a way to test their commitment to Christ or to help themselves focus on spiritual matters in preparation for Holy Week.

They'll even pull out some Scriptures they feel relate to the role Twitter and Facebook play in their social interactions:

  • Titus 3:9  -  Avoid foolish controversies ... and arguments and quarrels about the law, because these are unprofitable and useless.
  • 1 Timothy 1:3-4  -  Command certain people not to teach false doctrines any longer or to devote themselves to myths.... Such things promote controversial speculations rather than advancing God’s work.

Truth is...If something is good to give up "for Lent", maybe it would be good to give it up entirely. I'm not necessarily saying to renounce all social media; maybe just stop using them to engage in foolish controversies, eh? 

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

News for You

Have you ever looked around and felt like everyone is just going through the motions? Like maybe The Matrix wasn't too far off?

I'm thinking Randy Stonehill felt that way when he wrote "News for You".

Everybody's goin' to the movies
Everybody's leavin' for the show
It seems as though we've lost the nerves for feeling
and no one's in the mood to want to know

I got news for you, this is not a game
I got news for you, are you listenin'
I got news for you, we are all the same
And when that is understood
We can start to live again

Can you look inside yourself and tell me
That your emptiness is just a state of mind
And you'll feel better if you just keep busy
If you leave your feelings all behind

I got news for you, this is not a game
I got news for you, are you listenin'
I got news for you, we are all to blame
And when that is understood
We can start to live again

Oh start to live again
People people tell me where have we been

Ever feel as if your heart was whispering
Like a special Voice you never heard before
And something deep inside your soul was tickin'
As if Someone was pounding on the door

I got news for you, this is not a game
I got news for you, are you listenin'
I got news for you, we are all the same
I got news for you, this is not a game
I got news for you, we are all to blame
And when that is understood
we can start to live again
Yes when that is understood
We can start to live again
©1976 King of Hearts Publishing

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Truth is...getting in touch with one's feelings AND realizing that "we are all to blame"  -  that the world is the way it is because "all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23)  -  are both important steps on the road to a real, thriving relationship with the creator of the universe.

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Neil Anderson's "Who I Am in Christ"

John 1:12   I am God's child.
John 15:15   As a disciple, I am a friend of Jesus Christ.
Romans 5:1   I have been justified (declared righteous).
1 Corinthians 6:17   I am united with the Lord, and I am one with Him in spirit.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20   I have been bought with a price and I belong to God.
1 Corinthians 12:27   I am a member of Christ's body.
Ephesians 1:3-8   I have been chosen by God and adopted as His child.
Colossians 1:13-14   I have been redeemed and forgiven of all my sins.
Colossians 2:9-10   I am complete in Christ.
Hebrews 4:14-16   I have direct access to the throne of grace through Jesus Christ.

Romans 8:1-2   I am free from condemnation.
Romans 8:28   I am assured that God works for my good in all circumstances.
Romans 8:31-39   I am free from any condemnation brought against me and I cannot be separated from the love of God.
2 Corinthians 1:21-22   I have been established, anointed and sealed by God.
Colossians 3:1-4   I am hidden with Christ in God.
Philippians 1:6   I am confident that God will complete the good work He started in me.
Philippians 3:20   I am a citizen of heaven.
2 Timothy 1:7   I have not been given a spirit of fear but of power, love and a sound mind.
1 John 5:18   I am born of God and the evil one cannot touch me.

John 15:5   I am a branch of Jesus Christ, the true vine, and a channel of His life.
John 15:16   I have been chosen and appointed to bear fruit.
1 Corinthians 3:16   I am God's temple.
2 Corinthians 5:17-21   I am a minister of reconciliation for God.
Ephesians 2:6   I am seated with Jesus Christ in the heavenly realm.
Ephesians 2:10   I am God's workmanship.
Ephesians 3:12   I may approach God with freedom and confidence.

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Truth is...truth. Promises are promises.