A decision we must make

The congregation stood to sing an invitation song when a young woman stepped away from the pew and walked down the aisle toward the preacher.

“I want to be baptized for the remission of sins,” she told him, “I want to become a Christian.”

She was so very happy when she walked from the waters of baptism that morning. She was a new child of God. She rejoiced before us as she pledged to give her life to her Savior. Continue reading “A decision we must make”

True greatness

Why is it that people always want to be the greatest? I realize that we should always strive to do our best, but that is not what I am referring to. We want to be better than everyone else in whatever we are doing. Even when equality is emphasized it really isn’t equality that we are after – most people seem to want special privileges and at least to feel they are better than others.

The former communist nations are a good example of this. What started out as a push for everyone to be equal very quickly turned into equality for the masses but privileges for the elite. The modern state of Israel was built on the kibbutz. These were plentiful in the early days of the new state where all lived in a collective community, with each contributing what they earned so that all had an equal share. As more people began earning greater wages they left the kibbutz in order to live on their own and keep the benefits of their own labour. Continue reading “True greatness”

What can your God do?

Ancient peoples believed each god’s influence was limited to a particular sphere. Remember how the Syrians wanted to battle Israel in the plains because they thought Yahweh was a God of the hills (1 Kings 20:23)? The Egyptians were no exception. Their pantheon had a plethora of gods: a sun god, a Nile god and so forth.

Yahweh taught that he is different. Continue reading “What can your God do?”

Where would you like him to be?

Worship is well under way when it begins: A restless child has been thwarted from some contraband he craves, and he begins to cry. It begins low and soft and crescendos into a full-blown wail. Somehow, the preacher, with his mature lungs and microphone cannot compete with the little fellow’s howl. Neighbors stir restlessly. Surreptitious glances are cast his way; when will he stop? Will his overwhelmed mom be able to handle this?

Can I make this point as clear as a bell? I want junior to come to church. I want him here! What better place is there for the little fellow to be? Jesus wants him there too: “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 19:14). Continue reading “Where would you like him to be?”

Why we can’t ignore attempts against the truth

Error surrounds us. From the first, since the days of Jesus, false teaching has spread its wings. How should we react to it? There are extremes. One can see nothing but an enemy. Another ignores it, wanting to emphasize only the positive.

While we follow the truth in love, we must also maintain balance by warning and exposing error. Here’s why. Continue reading “Why we can’t ignore attempts against the truth”

Doing our level best

Purple on purple. There’s no better color combination, in my purple-loving mind! The pansies planted in the fall are a nice complement to the spring-blooming Ruby Giant crocus, which are decidedly NOT ruby-colored.

The Yard Boy spotted the first bloom, and so it seemed like it would be a good time to clean up that bed — for two reasons. First, It’s more fun to work in an area that is about to bust out in luscious color; and second, it’s a smart idea to have it tidied up before full blooms are in danger of damage by garden tools. Continue reading “Doing our level best”

Are you ready for eternity?

“There was a rich man who dressed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. But at his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus whose body was covered with sores, who longed to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. In addition, the dogs came and licked his sores” (Luke 16:19-21 NET).

Jesus told a story about two men, one rich and the other poor. The rich man had all that this life had to offer. The poor man had nothing. It would appear that he was not well, as his body was covered with sores and he lay at the rich man’s gate. He would have been happy to have had just what fell from the rich man’s table. Continue reading “Are you ready for eternity?”

God bless faithful grandparents

I see it more and more in churches these days. Grandparents enter the building, their hair grey and their bodies a little worn, preceded by bouncing, rambunctious grandchildren.

I note that there is a generation missing.

Please don’t misunderstand. I know many good parents who move heaven and earth to lead their children spiritually. The parents of my grandchildren are both good, faithful Christians. But you and I both know this other phenomenon exists, too. The grandchildren suffer broken homes or parents who have fallen away from their faith. It is at this delicate juncture that grandparents intervene. “Can I take the kids to church?” “Can I pay for their church camp?” Grandparents do what they can to keep their grandchildren faithful. Continue reading “God bless faithful grandparents”

Four thoughts on 1 Corinthians 16.1-4

In many congregations Paul’s instructions to the Corinthian church, in 1 Corinthians 16.1-4, is read before the saints make their offerings. It’s a good passage for that. Below are four thoughts on this blessed text.

1. The blessing of limitations

The church of Jesus Christ does not go beyond what is written, 1 Corinthians 4.6. Our practice is restricted to what is commanded. We do not invent new practices. So in order to finance the Lord’s work and express our solidarity with the brotherhood, the family of faith acts within the limitations of his commandments.

This means at least two things. First, the church only makes offerings. God’s people do not engage in bazaars nor do they sponsor or participate in fund-raising projects to raise monies. Continue reading “Four thoughts on 1 Corinthians 16.1-4”