I IDENTIFY WITH THAT

I have not been able to put my finger on what has been bugging about titles and labels. Like how people identify themselves. I remember reading interviews on http://www.tomorrowsreflection.com/ a blog by Jeremy Jernigan. One of the questions to each interviewee was something about thinking we need a new term besides Christian to call ourselves. I thought then, and am convinced now, it really doesn’t matter what someone calls themselves, it is in the actions.

They will know we are Christians by our was a song we loved to sing awhile back. Being one in the Spirit, one in His Love. But we didn’t know how to show that love. I have told people I have been a Christian since high school, a believer for a few years and only recently became a follower of Christ, a little Jesus, so to speak. But those are just terms.

Michael Frost posted on his blog, http://mikefrost.net/  that he wants to do away with the term Patriarchy. He made the word sound bad. He wants to do away with the “male dominated” world we live in. To be sure, there are negative aspects of this world. But I thought that is how the families were set up in the Old Testament and the husband being the head of the family is foremost in positive family life in the New Testament. So that is just a term.

I have been working with the senior pastor at our small fellowship of believers, another just a term, to move our small group, life group, growth group, Wednesday-night Sunday school class program into becoming a church of connection groups and striving to be more missional. But the Missional folks, Mr. Frost and the rest, present their way of doing church as the only way and give a very negative impression on those who do not agree with them. They new “real” way of doing things is so far superior to the old, tired way of the past. So how do I apply what I feel will work from column C and mix it with column B to make a column G? By not worrying about the terms. Because, they are just terms.

This is just a saying, a term so to speak, but if we apply Loving God, Honoring Him by Serving Others, it doesn’t really matter if you are a Christian, a follower of Christ, missional or even evangelical.

#LoveGodandHonorHimbyServingOthers

 

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WHY CHOOSE DAYS TO PRAY

prayer

Some have wondered why I chose certain days to suggest to pray for certain areas and why I find it so important to think about it and change it. First, these are not rules on when and how to pray. They are not up for debate. People who have much better prayer lives than I have their techniques and they do very well with the way they pray. I will say this about prayer. Take time to pray. Don’t compare yourself with someone who tells you they pray three hours a day. It is an individual thing between you and God and if you do not have a set time to pray and you find yourself praying as you drive into work or right before begin your work day or class, good for you. Pray when you can, how you can and ask God to show you ways to grow your prayer life.

Monday is for work and school. Most of us either have a job or are going to school. At the beginning of each week, give your work schedule or your studies to God.

Tuesday  is for Neighborhood, Community, Government. This is not a time to complain to God about the neighbor’s dog or the president. It is a time that we can pray that God will touch the hearts of our elected leaders and turn them to a relationship with Christ. We can also pray for opportunities to build a relationship with our neighbors.

Wednesday is a day we can pray for our local church leaders. If something between Sundays is going to happen in a church’s life, it will probably be on a Wednesday. Some staffs don’t see each other except Sunday and Wednesday. Take time to pray for your church leaders for protection, health and that they follow God in how they lead.

Thursday is for individual missions. Pray for missionaries your church supports. Pray for those who are involved in local organizations and, most importantly, pray that God has given you a personal outreach, someone to disciple. Ask God, WHO IS MY MISSION?

Friday is for family. Pray for each member of your family, in your house or in other cities. This may be the only day you see your family for the week. At any rate, pray that God shows them the distraction they need to remove in order to take the next step towards Jesus.

Saturday is a day you can pray for your church gathering on Sunday. Pray that everyone makes it that one hour of the week that the one who is hurting can see that God really cares, the one who is searching can find direction, the one who is lost, can be found.

That’s why I chose each day. If not this format, what does prayer look like to you?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BRICK AND STONE

THERE WERE TWO FRIENDS NAMED BRICK AND SPONGE. THEY WERE VERY GOOD FRIENDS. THEIR FAMILIES PLAYED TOGETHER. THEY SPENT MANY EVENINGS IN THE BACKYARD, WATCHING THE STARS IN THE SKY, THE MOON OVERHEAD, SIPPING THE WINE OF CHOICE FOR THAT EVENING, DISCUSSING THE EVENTS OF THE DAY. THEY AGREED ON ALMOST EVERYTHING. THEY OFTEN TALKED ABOUT THEIR CHILDREN GROWING UP AND MARRYING SO THEY WOULD NOT ONLY BE FRIENDS, BUT IN-LAWS.

ONE NIGHT, STORM CLOUDS, SO TO SPEAK, WERE GATHERING. A DISCUSSION CAME UP AND SPONGE AND BRICK TOOK ON DIFFERENT OPINIONS. IT SEEMS BRICK WANTED NO PART OF THE ENSUING STORM. HE WOULD TURN AWAY ANY ATTEMPT AT MAKING CHANGES AND ALLOWING THE CAUSE OF THE STORMS TO ENTER HIS WORLD. HE JUST DIDN’T LIKE THINGS TO GET MESSY. SPONGE, HOWEVER, WANTED TO JUMP AT EVERY OPPORTUNITY TO ABSORB ANYTHING COMING HIS WAY. EVEN IF IT MEAN’T MAKING CHANGES TO HIS SURROUNDINGS OR HIS VERY BEING. BRICK ARGUED SOME CHANGES MAY CAUSE PROBLEMS TO SPONGE. COULD HE REALLY WITHSTAND THE MANY CHANGES ACCEPTING ANYTHING JUST TO BE LIKED WOULD BRING.

SEE, UNLESS BRICK ADDS A FEW MORE FRIENDS TO HIS EXPERIENCE, HE WILL NEVER GROW. HE NEEDS OTHER ROUGH, HARD HEADED BRICKS AND SOME MESSY MORTAR TO BUILD UP THE CHURCH THAT CHRIST HAS ALREADY SAID HE WOULD BUILD.

NOW SPONGE NEEDS TO BE CAREFUL THAT HE TAKE EVERYTHING JUST TO GROW. THE THRILL OF ADDING TO THE FOLD AT THE EXPENSE OF THE KINGDOM IS A DANGER. SOAKING IN EVERYTHING MAY CAUSE SPONGE TO BE OVER DILUTED AND NOT WHAT CHRIST WANTS FOR HIS CHURCH.

IT SEEMS BRICK AND STONE HAVE SOME MORE DISCUSSIONS DOWN THE ROAD. LET’S HOPE THE WINE OF CHOICE BRINGS THEM TOGETHER FOR MANY MORE NIGHTS. THEY DO LOVE EACH OTHER.

Glad I’m Not You

downloadI remember in the late 60s in San Fernando Valley, there was a new phenomenon in churches. The non-denominational. A couple girls we knew told us with pride that they attended Hillcrest Christian Church. It’s non denonminational, that makes it christian. Others went to Grace Community Church. same sense of pride. My friend Fred told them they, in fact, attended a church in a denomination. He told them that their denomination was called, ready?, non-denominational.

John MacArthur tells a story that while visiting white house staff during the Bush presidency, he asked the staff if they looked upon liberals and democrats as the enemy or the mission field. It was eye opening, and heart breaking to many of them. For they did look at the other side as the enemy. And don’t they still do that, only worse?

Today, politicians, can not agree with someone across the aisle because they are the enemy. Today, churches can not look outside their walls to work together to reach the lost in their communities. They have trouble going between, to paraphrase Luther, the glory of the congregation and the Glory of the Gospel. I am looking forward to Movement Day AZ in September to see if something can be done to bring churches together. http://movementdayarizona.com/

Most tragic is the fact that old wounds are being opened up concerning race and ethnic divides. I know that many will want to lecture me that the problems never went away. For that, I am very aware.

My friend Fred had a joke that went like, life is the sentence you pay for the crime of being born. It was a joke. But my prayer is that people will know the joy of being born different in terms of location, color, ethnicity and the acceptance that God demands. That life is a wonderful reward for being born, no matter where.

The title of this post is a joke. I am exactly like you, and loving it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RICK AND ME

April is birthday month for me and my friend Ricky. He was always older than me. He could always throw harder than me. He could run faster than me. He was stronger than me. I always could sing better than him though. Or at least that is what Marcel said. Marcel would put his finger in the ear on he side that Rick was on when we sang in choir. I figured that meant he didn’t need to drown me out.

Our greatest times were during our high school days at San Fernando First Baptist. They were perhaps my overall favorite days. The days were filled with fun, joy, learning, growth. Some of us did not grow as quickly as the others. But we all did okay.

This time of year, April, especially today, April 3, is the time I think about Ricky and all my friends from San Fernando and all of the others I met as a member of that group. It truly was the Innocent Age. Happy Birthday, Greg. Happy Birthday Ricky. Happy Memories my friends.

ACCEPT, COMPLY, CONDONE, EXIST

coexistOverheard as I was reading this morning, a quote from Stephen Holmes: we always have to be careful not to invest our own interpretations of Scripture with the authority that only the text itself carries; but we must never set it aside.    

It seems every once in awhile we see an example of a well intentioned church leader who, in their loving desire to embrace all will tend to misuse or even reinvent scripture in order to make certain people feel acceptable. In that haste, they mistakenly allow some to feel vindicated with their beliefs.

That is unfortunate. As our methods should be open to change, the message should never change. The saving grace of Jesus Christ, the formation of the church and the fellowship of the body can never be changed.

 

 

 

CCCU, LBGT, NAE ALL SPELL TROUBLE THREE (OF MY MANY) THOUGHTS

http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2016/december-web-only/fairness-for-all-evangelicals-explore-truce-lgbt-cccu-nae.html

There is a such thing as “Confrontation To Come”. It is one of the worries that drive so many people crazy.

Liberals are worried about what is to come now that their candidate did not win the recent election.

Some members of society are worried because the rhetoric they are hearing has them scared.

Christian colleges and bakers are worried because of lawsuits and statements from politicians.

Guess what. Confrontations may come in the future. But instead of worrying about them and planning out who is on your side and a course of defense, perhaps we should be restudying what Peter told us in I Peter 3, Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.

Here are three of my thoughts, oh I have more, concerning the questions concerning two groups of differing beliefs:

  1. THEY ARE TALKING ABOUT DIFFERENT THINGS                                                                   One side is arguing a political point. All groupings of people should have rights concerning benefits, duel ownership, survivor rights. Whether it be a man and woman living together, two women living together, a brother and sister who own a home or want to be on same insurance, two business partners who want to establish each other as beneficiaries. The other side is arguing about a Biblical teaching. God established certain guidelines and they believe. It is a fact that one cannot legislate Biblical teaching and one cannot legislate what is contrary to Biblical truth. FIND COMMON GROUND TO ARGUE ABOUT. BUT FIGURE OUT WHAT YOU BOTH AGREE ON FIRST.
  2. YOU HAVE TO REALIZE THAT YOU NEED EACH OTHER                                                          In many countries, people on both ends of the spectrum are in the same situation. People are being persecuted for proclaiming Jesus as the savior of the world. People are being persecuted for their choices in sexuality. Don’t both sides have compassion as one of their mandates, if you will? There are different reasons why they are persecuted. But the fact remains they are both being slaughtered for what they believe. WE ALL SHOULD STATE OUR VIEWS WITH A GREAT DEAL OF PASSION, AS PETER TOLD HIS READERS. HOWEVER, WE MUST DO IT WITH RESPECT FOR THE OTHER. AND FIGURE OUT WHAT YOU BOTH AGREE ON FIRST.
  3. DID I MENTION FIGURING OUT WHAT YOU AGREE ON  FIRST?                                      That would mean sitting down and talking. Getting together and finding like interests. Jesus was the most inclusive person that ever lived. He partied with people the established, prideful, narrow minded people would never associate with. Partied. One side has always felt disenfranchised and the other side is told to be as inclusive as Jesus. Where do we get divisions and fighting from  that?                                           THE TWO SIDES WILL NEVER TOTALLY AGREE.  BUT NO ONE SHOULD HAVE TO LIVE THEIR LIFE PREPARING FOR THE CONFRONTATION TO COME