Posted by: larry | October 12, 2008

On Being Imperfect

Christians reflect Jesus 24/7, whether in a good, or bad light.  Many ungodly people continue to live outside Jesus because they see little difference in their lives and in the lives of those professing to follow Jesus.

Living a Christian life often makes one a bulls-eye for unbelievers who usually judge us by how perfectly/imperfectly we follow Jesus.  When we do something good there is little comment (although they recognize the goodness,) but slip-up (at least in their minds) one time, and our name is added to a long list of Christian pretenders.

Since even Christians are human and sin on occasions, it’s important to acknowledge our mistakes, not only to God, but to those who have observed our mistakes.  Letting others know that even Christians goof occasionally gives them hope, and besides, it’s hard not to like and forgive a person when they admit their guilt.

Perhaps it just boils-down to the fact that our daily struggles, and how we go about living our lives is always on display; some will understand that we’re just human (even if a Christian,) and not judge us too harshly, but others will get great satisfaction when we stumble…such is life!

While a Christian may not always appear perfect in the eyes of the world, we have a God that forgives us through Christ, and upholds us by His grace.

Posted by: larry | September 30, 2008

Some Thoughts on Baptism

Since there is great celebration in heaven when just one person obeys His Lord, and considering there have been many baptisms in our church lately, one can only imagine the grand and glorious party underway at this very moment in heaven.

Recently there has been an overflowing of young boys and girls in our little church who have made the decision to obey their Lord in baptism.  Some may wonder about the validity of baptizing these children at such a young age (8-12,) and it is a valid thought in certain circumstances.  However, these children know God well, and like the rest of us when we decided to be baptized, we didn’t know everything about what it means to follow Jesus either.  If we waited until we understood everything perfectly, we never would be baptized.

My friends daughter wanted to be baptized at a very young age, but she persuaded her daughter to wait until she was a little older and understood things better.  This seemed like a good decision on the surface, but this young woman, whether offended by her mothers actions, or some other reasons, found herself in her early forties without being baptized.

She was finally baptized 4-5 years ago, but her mother for years worried about the consequences of standing in her daughters way, even if perhaps she was right, and her daughter was too young.  There are times when a child needs further study before they are baptized, especially if the child is from a home without a Christian environment.

These young Christians are the future of the Lord’s church, our brothers and sisters in Christ, and we welcome them with open arms.

Just another opinion; what do you think?

Posted by: larry | September 24, 2008

What a Day!

Christians do the kindest, loving, and most unselfish acts every day, but today was special; one wonderful lady (Dawn) in our church donated a kidney to another woman (Debbie, the daughter of one of our elders) whose very life depended on the transplant.

Both came through the surgery fine, and it has been proclaimed a success at this point; please pray that the healing process will go well for both as they recover.

This beautiful act of love by Dawn is a wonderful illustration of what it means to follow Jesus with all one’s heart and soul.  What a blessing and honor it is to have her as my sister in Christ.

Thank you Dawn for making my day…

Updates:

9/25/2008 … Both ladies are walking already, and share a room; looking good!

9/28/2008 … Debbie (kidney recipient) is having some problems; they think she has developed Pneumonia.  She is still in the hospital and the doctors are working on this problem; continue to pray for her.

Dawn (kidney donator) is in some pain, but on her way home doing fine; remember her too!

9/28/2008 … It has been determined that Debbie has Bacterial Meningitis rather than Pneumonia (per email from Dawn.)  I don’t know much about that problem, but trusting Google to give me some answers.  We need to stay in touch with God about this…

Posted by: larry | September 18, 2008

Break time!

Need to take a break for a while; important business…

Posted by: larry | September 15, 2008

Creeds and Such

Churches should be composed of groups of people (Christians) whose beliefs reflect the principles established by God in His Word.  However, man is seldom satisfied with the simplicity of scripture, and often take upon themselves the role of creating additional verbiage through the creation of church creeds, manifestos, and other uninspired writings.

These wordy documents are often designed to conform the congregation to a particular belief-system only subscribed to by a few at the top, but pushed on the whole congregation so that all God’s children will lockstep to the preferences of the few.

Many Churches of Christ that once opposed creeds have creatively coined new expressions for the word “creed” that means exactly the same thing, but is more acceptable to many in the church, and doesn’t ruffle-up quite as many feathers.   These churches have hopped on the same bandwagon as their religious neighbors, and are splashing their manifestos (creeds) on the walls of their foyers and web sites.

While it may be easier to herd the sheep into one smooth-operating congregation by establishing a church creed, it can also be the harbinger of personal traditions that over time become etched in stone, and even supplant God’s Word.

If it’s wrong for a church to promote a human creed that differs with the scriptures, and if it’s useless to have a creed that repeats exactly what the scriptures teach…then what is the purpose of a church creed?  Perhaps you know, I don’t have a clue!

Posted by: larry | September 10, 2008

Apathy, or Whatever

With all the writing I have posted concerning the subject of unity (especially with churches rooted in the Restoration Movement,) it finally dawned on me that I’m a significant part of the problem; I’m guilty of seeking unity without making any effort to meet the people in these divided churches to discuss the problems.

We wait for the church (as a group) where we assemble to instigate initial contact with our divided brothers to try and understand their position better, but guess what…that’s just not going to happen; we are now at a point where division doesn’t seem to matter any more.  We promote inter-church unity, but do little nothing to promote unity outside our group.

Do we consider Christian fellowship something strictly confined within our little church group, or do we see our fellowship extended to those who meet on the Lord’s day in a building with a different “church” name on their signpost?  Unless a church believes it alone has God’s approval to exist, then we have brothers and sisters throughout our communities that we seldom, if ever, have any fellowship.

Division among God’s people has become acceptable to many, and because of all the unfruitful attempts in the past to iron-out our problems we have decided that discussions are useless; we no longer seem to think it’s important to provide a united front to save the lost who are awash in religious confusion

Unfortunately, finding the time and courage to tackle the problems that separate the churches of the Restoration Movement will continue as before, slow and lackluster.

Posted by: larry | September 4, 2008

How to Become a Black Sheep

Christians understand the importance of living a Godly life before their church and community,  but  occasionally God leads in mysterious ways that might appear on the surface as being sinful.  Those inclined to make snap decisions based on outward appearances will have a field day with the examples given in the next two paragraphs:

The town drunk has finally decided to trip turn over a new leaf and throw his bottle away, and he comes to me for help; I am seen with him in the cafe for lunch, and even fishing with him later that afternoon, how am I perceived by my community and church?  You know the answer; I’m considered just another drunk by the community, and my wisdom severely questioned by the church for associating with a drunk.  What appears on the surface is not always what’s really going on!

An infamous local prostitute has finally saw the light, talked to the Creator about forgiveness, and has decided to follow Jesus.  I have talked to her before about being a Christian, and being understandably  apprehensive about going to the church building alone she has asked me to take her Sunday morning.  Being single, I’m now a little apprehensive myself… I wonder what kind of reception we will receive based on outward appearances!  I know, I should have brought her with a group, but since this is my little story…no one would go with us.

While understanding the significance of maintaining an untarnished image in the community is important, it’s even more important to be willing to get our hands dirty helping the lost than it is to worry about what the community thinks.  If helping the lost become servants of God tarnishes our image (in church, or the community) its only in human eyes, not in the eyes of God.

If Jesus ate with sinners, and associated with them in other ways, and we are to follow in the steps of Jesus, shouldn’t we be willing to take the same risks?  When everyone speaks good of us, perhaps we’re not always doing what we should be doing.

Posted by: larry | August 28, 2008

Am I a Monkey’s Uncle?

While I may eat bananas, and have monkey characteristics, please have a heart and don’t answer the monkey question in the title…

In case you haven’t noticed, our daily television programs (especially those dealing in so-called scientific subjects) are working long and hard at cramming their atheistic beliefs down our throats.  Try watching Nova, or just about any program dealing with Astronomy, or any other subjects labeled science, and you will soon learn that we are on planet Earth by accident…the result of evolution and monkey business.

Years ago a family I know (of another religious flavor) threw their TV out the door, refusing to allow themselves, and their children to be influenced by the constant barrage of Christian bashing rampant in the television industry.  I thought they were a little overboard at the time, but have since realized they may have been right on target.

Perhaps it’s possible to monitor our TV viewing habits by carefully reviewing the programming, and mustering the courage to switch channels if, and when, the program becomes offensive.  The real kicker is how close do we monitor our children when they’re in another room, or watching TV with the neighbor’s kids?

My Grandson (11-years old) recently spent a couple of weeks with me and stunned (actually flabbergasted would be a better word) me by his knowledge of the way cartoon programming puts religion down, and denies the existence of God.  The television industry is a welcome guest in most of our homes, even when we know they have designs to denigrate God we still cuddle up to them, get out the popcorn, and revel in the magic they provide. Have you noticed! I haven’t even mentioned the illicit casual sex, foul language, nakedness (or nearly so,) and other indecent behavior they promote for our enjoyment.

Yes, I have a TV, but I wonder sometimes why…could it be the L A Lakers! maybe, but my real reason for having a HDTV is to gain new perspectives about my little furry, long-tailed, tree-climbing family members.  Thank you Nova for bringing me up to snuff about my ancestry; I was under the delusion I looked somewhat like Adam rather than King Kong.

Now that my ranting is complete, well almost! I’m not advocating that your TV should be hauled to the dump, and your children blindfolded and cotton stuck in their ears,  but perhaps we should be more aware of those in the entertainment world who force-feed tons of false information directly into our unsuspecting noggins.  If they can convince us our ancestry is full of monkeys, what will they try next!

New directive

From now on I will have the courage to hit the “off” button when someone has the audacity to presume my relatives are monkeys, even though I resemble those remarks.  How about you?

Posted by: larry | August 25, 2008

A Divided Brotherhood

It has always amazed me how a church claiming to be rooted in uniting God’s children could become so divided themselves.

The Restoration Movement originated with the lofty goal of uniting Christians all over the world by promoting the Bible alone as the only acceptable navigational compass. Today the very essence of unity proclaimed by the early leaders of this movement has disappeared.

Proof of our failure in this goal of unity is manifested by the 30-50 separate groups (according to what source one believes) with roots in the RM that now proclaim different names over their “church” doors.  Occasionally a few of these splintered groups attempt to restore Christian fellowship, but when its all said and done not much nothing changes.

Some groups in the Churches of Christ don’t even recognize their separated brothers and sisters in the RM as being in the Lord’s church.  Too much bad rhetoric, lost opportunities, and an uncaring attitude by many in these groups has probably doomed any chance of reconciliation in the foreseeable future.

Why should we be surprised when other churches look on the Churches of Christ with such disdain; we condemned their belief systems while sitting back confidently (even smugly at times)  believing we alone had all the answers, then right in front of the whole world split every time a few brothers disagreed over the most trivial things.

While my brother and I may not agree on every dotting of the “i” and crossing of the “t” we are still in the body of Christ, and neither of us are at liberty to condemn the other to hell because of our personal interpretation of God’s Word.

Perhaps forgiving each other for past mistakes would be a start; surely as God’s children this isn’t too much to ask!

Posted by: larry | August 10, 2008

Heavenly Speculation

It seems like we’re under a constant barrage of religious books speculating on heaven, and what will happen to us following our death.  Every conceivable angle is broached, and we’re left wrestling with all the new and novel ideas that have been presented:

Will heaven be a redesigned Edenic earth, or perhaps located far out in space a few gazillion light-years away, or maybe only a quick change to a different dimension.

Will heaven be filled with mansions; its streets literally paved with silver, gold, and precious stones.  Will we even need mansions, bodies, food, or anything else we once needed.

Will we be changed to a spiritual body, yet recognizable to those who knew us, or maintain a  seemingly earthly body that is tailored for eternity; perhaps some combination of the two, or maybe even something unimaginable.

Don’t worry about all the speculation. God does everything absolutely perfect, and what He has prepared for us is far beyond our comprehension, and even our wildest imagination will fall far short of the glorious future He has prepared for us.  Wondering about our eternal future is natural, but not one person on earth has the slightest idea of what God has prepared for His children, other than what is written in His Word.

God is good, and He doesn’t make mistakes!

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