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Showing posts from March, 2012

Perfect Church

"And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers (Acts 2:42)." How many times have you heard it said that, "we want to be an Acts 2 church." This church described in Acts 2 is held up as the pinnacle of being a church. There is no disagreement that this fellowship of believers was indeed admirable but we need to be realistic about what the rest of the New Testament tells us about the church.

New testament churches were not perfect. If they were the New Testament would never have had to be written. In fact, some new testament churches seemed so dysfunctional that most of us would probably not go there on the grounds that they were worldly or too legalistic. Would you go to a church where there are incestuous relationships and yet the church is still arrogant about their spirituality (1 Cor. 5:1-2)?

Here is a list of some of the issues that were occurring in a selection of churches in the New Testamen…

Hall of Faith

Imagine yourself walking into a great hall of Heaven with millions upon millions of people line up on every side and all around.

The crowd rises and cheers as you make your way to your seat. The applause is thunderous and an energy is running through the crowd that you have never experienced as the presence of Unity is tangible. When you arrive to your seat nobody sits down and are still clapping. You go to lean over to the person next to you to ask why everybody is still clapping but they have tears in their eyes.  Suddenly the crowd grows silent in what seems to be eager expectation. Then as if He appeared from nowhere Jesus walks up and sits on the throne in the middle of the people and says, "you may not have been famous on earth but you are famous here." With that hundreds of people, one by one, walk up on the stage surrounding the throne and say thank you. Some you don't remember, some you only prayed for, some never even met, and others you devoted your life to, b…

Church Division

The Church has divided for centuries for many different reasons. These reasons can be categorized into two categories, personal and doctrinal. Personal divisions are those that are centered on individuals who cannot get a long as a result of pride, injustice, jealousy, etc... Doctrinal divisions are those that are centered on differences in interpreting the Bible.

Divisions because of personal conflicts are the hardest to deal with because of all of the emotions that are involved. Most disagreements even if they start out doctrinal usually turn personal. It is hard for people to allow for differences without thinking negatively of the person who disagrees with them. The reverse is also true that divisions that start out personal can also turn doctrinal. People may justify their dislike of certain people by a difference in doctrine.

The Bible is quite clear on how to work through personal differences. We should consider others better than ourselves (Phil. 2:3). Since it is obvious that…

Persevering through Trials

The book of James found in the Bible gives us some good advice when we meet trials in this life:
Count it all joy (1:2): Trials are not purposeless but are meant for our good (Rom.8:28). They change us from selfish people to people who depend on God. It is an honor to suffer like Christ because we are then experiencing what He went through. Not everybody is deemed worthy of suffering.Ask God for wisdom (1:5): We don't have to worry about making all of the right decisions on our own but we can ask God and trust that He will guide and direct us. Psalms 37:5 says, "Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him, and He will act."Understand the big picture (1:9): Everybody goes through trials and often our trials are insignificant compared to what other people have gone through. We need to understand that trials are for God's glory not ours.Persevere to receive the crown of life (1:12): Our trials and suffering on earth result in blessings in Heaven. Even though we may wonder …

Behind the Eyes

A fading smile shows the long miles. It is those wrinkles in the face that show the kind of race. What is behind those eyes, once you get passed the lies? Is it endless delights or sleepless nights? The smile appears but through how many tears. The smile disappears but for how many years.

One minute there is expectation and hope, but the churn of the stomach and the expectant "but" have you reaching for the life rope. It cannot be forgotten and cannot be wished out of existence like it's not going to happen. The march of reality sets in but living day to day lets you breath again.

Each moment can trigger a memory that brings you back to the start and reminds you of that burden in your heart. It is not the worst that could happen but it is the worst that has happened to you. When the fog clears and your eyes can see the path through the fear then the thoughts are not so near.

There is One who is in control as revealed to us in the Scroll. He demonstrated His love even tho…

Investing

Jesus told the rich young man that he could trade in his earthly treasure for heavenly treasure by giving it to the poor (Mark 10:21, Matthew 19:21). A treasure is something we find valuable such as a house or a car. It is not hidden treasure at the bottom of the ocean or in some cave but is an earthly possession that cost a lot of money. Jesus is telling the rich young man that he can spend his earthly possessions to save up heavenly ones. These heavenly possessions are not identified conclusively in this verse but Paul gives us an idea when he says, "what is our hope or joy or crown of boasting before our Lord Jesus at his coming? Is it not you? For you are our glory and joy (1 Thess. 2:19-20)." Heavenly treasures, in part, are other people who know the Lord Jesus Christ. We can store up money for ourselves or we can invest in other people.

It sometimes feels as if the greatest battle on this earth is practicing delayed gratification. We know that the rewards are better in…