Having The Right Foundation

larrydec26Having the right foundation spiritually can make the difference on where one spends eternity.  The only foundation that will make it. past this life is one that is based and founded upon the Word of God. It is one that puts it’s trust in the One whom the Apostle John called the “Word.” It is a life built on a trust in the saving work of the Lord Jesus Christ.

We build our lives on all kinds of foundations. Jesus spoke  of those who build  their lives on the sand, which has no permanent foundation. He contrasted that with the ones who built their lives on a solid foundation.  The one who built on the sand had all kinds of problems; the one on the solid foundation had the blessings of God.

We need to base our faith on the foundation of the Lord Jesus and His blessed Word. Romans 10:7 reads, “and so faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.”

We must be found standing on a faithful Word.  We must have the assurance that the Bible we read, study and live by is really God’s Word.

The Apostle Paul answered that question for us in 2 Timothy 3:16-17 “ALL Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

It is the responsibility of every Christian to be steadfast. We have a reliable Bible and in  it we find out how to live the Christian life.  If we will but allow the Lord, He will equip us for service today!

We must be willing to put Him first in our lives at all times, not just when it is convenient for us.  The song “I’ll Put Jesus First in My Life,” tells us in verse 1 that to the Christian the “the world all about me has now no allure.”

This  means that  once we put the Lord Jesus on in baptism  we change “kingdoms.” Paul told the Colossian church that we have been conveyed out of a kingdom of  darknessthat leads to Hell and now we are in the kingdom of the Son of His love, a kingdom of light ruled by the Jesus. We are now in the “marvelous light of the gospel” and have the privilege to help other find that light.

By having the “firm foundation” of the Faithful Word of God, we  are on the path of spiritual growth, a lifelong privilege to look into the very thoughts of The Godhead and know that They love us and want us to, as the Apostle Peter said, “to grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ!”

An Example Of A Sincere Faith

standfirmThe Word of God tells  us   of many   men and  women of faith. We read about how they  put their faith into action.  Serving  God requires  action on our  part. If we are willing to  accept the Lord Jesus as  our  Savior and obey the Gospel by being  “buried with Him in baptism,”  God had promised that  our  sins will be  remitted and we will receive the “Gift of the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 2:38)

We  must  want to  grow “in the grace and  knowledge of the Lord Jesus.” The Lord has promised to  equip His  followers  for  service.  We  must  put  our faith into action and  be “doers of the Word and not  hearers only.” We must desire to grow spiritually.

We  must endeavor  to have a  faith that is real, a faith that is  active and ongoing. The  Apostle Paul had that  kind of  faith and he shared the importance of that faith with Timothy, as well as others.  Paul never ceased to encourage Timothy. I’m sure  he learned that, in part, from Barnabus, who is  called “the son of encouragement.”

Faith, like other characteristics of  believers  is meant to  grow. All of us are at  different  places  in our  spiritual pilgrimage.  Paul in 1 &  2nd Timothy  is attempting to  encourage Timothy and get  him to build upon his  faith in Jesus. In the  2nd  Epistle, Paul who is in prison  in Rome  awaiting  execution knows that this is   last  chance  to write to Timothy. He   wants Timothy to come to  Rome; we  do not know  if he  made it.

In  2 Timothy  1:3-5 we have Paul reminding Timothy of the  heritage  he has in Christ. He  first  tells him that he  is  praying for him.  Secondly, he reminds Timothy of his spiritual heritage.  Timothy was  blessed to have  a  faithful grandmother and mother.

Paul tells  Timothy  that  he  is confident of the  faith of Lois and Eunice and that  he  believe that  kind of  faith is  present in  Timothy also.  Paul calls it a “sincere” faith (ESV). The  NKJV uses the  word “genuine,” while  the  ASV uses  “unfeigned.”

Denny Petrillo, President of Bear Valley Bible  Institute of Denver, in a  series of  expository  lessons  on  2 Timothy given at the 2012 “Re Charge Me Conference” in Monterey, CA explained “sincere faith” in the  following  manner.   “It is a  faith that is  present, even in the dark. It is a  24/7 faith. His faith is the   ‘real deal.’”

It seems, according  to 2 Timothy 1:6-7 that Timothy’s  faith  may have  been weakening. Paul admonishes  him to “fan into flame” (ESV) or “kindle afresh” (NASB1977).  We  must always  be growing  in Jesus, using what  He  has   given to  equip us  for  service. We must take  advantage of all the Lord has  for us.

If we have the “sincere faith” Paul  mentions  here, we will be  able  to live an  abundant life in the Lord  Jesus and  help others  to the  same, thus living out our faith as the Lord Jesus  told us in  Matthew 5:16“In the  same way, let your light shine before  others, so that they may see your good works and give glory  to your Father who is in Heaven.”

Having a  “sincere or genuine faith” means  putting Jesus first and living out our faith.

 

How’s Your Conduct?

practical-christian-living-mastheadThe Apostle Paul  tells the Ephesian  Christians that their conduct or behavior should always be worthy of the gospel (Eph. 1:27).  It is very important that we understand what he meant.

When we were children our parents told us to always be on our best behavior because we were representing our family name and they did want us to bring reproach; how much more we should be concerned with the name “Christian.”

We are representing the Lord Jesus Christ!  We are ambassadors for Him.  When people see us they should be seeing the Lord. We are admonished to “be conformed to the image of the Son of God” and to “grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.”

How are we doing in that capacity?  The Lord Jesus, in the Sermon on the Mount, told us to “let our light so shine that others will see our good works and (glorify our Heaven Father.”.Are we doing that?   The hymn writer wrote, “Let the beauty of Jesus be seen in me.”

Paul wrote  in Philippians 3:20 that “our citizenship is in Heaven…” We now serve Jesus and seek to obey His Word.  We seek to  learn more about Him every day so we can help others come to a saving knowledge of  Jesus and help strengthen the saved.  Are you involved in that ministry?

We must always be seeking the things of God. As  Paul told the Colossian church in Col. 3:1-3 , we must set our hearts and minds on the “the things that are above…” We must not be conformed to this world.

If we have the right kind  of conduct or behavior and seek to be more Christ like, the world will notice.  A song we sing says “they will know we are Christians by our love.” That love will be translated into good works for the Master!  Let’s be a people zealous for good works. Now that we are “in Christ,” we  are privileged to  work for the Lord Jesus!

Hater or Hated?

JeffAdamsI fear what would happen if the world shared your narrow-minded views. You are a very sad specimen of humanity and even less so that of a Christian. Keep preaching to the saved and condemning the sinner and see what flock you gather”.

That’s the message I received the other day from the fiancé’ of a Christian young lady I know. I was engaged in a running debate on Facebook several days ago with her about “gay marriage”. Her assertion was that she loved all her LGBT friends and who was I to tell someone who they should and shouldn’t love. Beyond that, she said she was in favor of equal rights for all people. I took the view that homosexuality is an abomination before God and that, while all sins separate us from the love of God, homosexuals claim God made them that way, which makes no more sense than saying God made someone a liar, thief, or murderer.

I don’t want this blog to be about homosexuals or “gay marriage”. I want to focus on the way Christians are viewed by much of the world. In all my comments back and forth with the young lady, and a few others who chimed in on Facebook, not once did I condemn homosexuals nor did I claim I was any less deserving of God’s wrath due to my own sins. Over and again I maintained both my love and, more importantly, God’s love for all who are caught up in sin. Yet, I was accused of being a “hater” because I dared to disagree on Scriptural grounds to “gay marriage”.

I truly don’t believe I exhibited any hate for anyone. Yet, all my comments were seen by non-Christians and even OTHER CHRISTIANS to be hatred of homosexuals. Now, it must be noted that these other Christians were all young people. I was told time and again by them that Jesus is all love and only love. I was told that I was not supposed to judge or condemn anyone for who they are. After all, they said, Jesus NEVER condemned anyone.

In my dialogue with the young Christians I used Scripture to point out both the perfect love of God for ALL mankind and His perfect justice which demands that the “soul that sins shall die”. After all, it was that combination that resulted in Christ Jesus’ sacrificial death for all sins. Yet, the young Christians continually labeled me a “hater”.

When I attended Southeastern Christian College, a friend of mine had a unique way of challenging those around him. He would amble up to you and say, “How’s the world treating you?” Most people would reply with, “OK.” or, “Not bad.” or, “Pretty good.” Joe would just look at you and say, “Brother, Jesus says the world will HATE you because you are His.”

Back to the young man. By his own admission he is an agnostic, though I suspect he’s actually an atheist. I don’t expect him to hold to the same view I do. After all, his heart is in this world only. Why did he respond to me the way he did (including a foul name which I didn’t include)? I believe it’s because I dared to call sin, sin. The unsaved world has no use for those who deal in moral absolutes. After all, if there is absolute truth then there must be a God who absolutely will hold us responsible for our sins.

Here is my private message to him that elicited his response,

I’m sending this to you privately because I do not wish to discredit (his fiancé’s name) in public. Have you ever read II Cor. 6:15? It says, “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?” My prayer for you is that before you marry (his fiancé’s name), you would cast off your enmity for God and embrace Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior. My prayer for (his fiancé’s name) is that should you not embrace Him as your personal Lord and Savior that she would call off the wedding. That sounds harsh, but I say it and pray it out of love fer her and fear of what her life would be with a non-believer.”

This was my final message to the Christian young lady.

“Just a personal note to let you know I love you. It truly worries me that Christians believe it is OK to live the homosexual lifestyle. Nobody’s sin is any greater than any other sin. However, a person in a homosexual lifestyle means they have deserted how God made them. They are saying that God is a liar when He says homosexuality is wrong. A practicing homosexual says we must accept and love them no matter what they do and no matter how much what they do goes against God’s standard. Must we love them? ABSOLUTELY! We must love them enough to tell them the truth that they are in sin and must repent of that sin, just was WE must daily repent of our sins. It that means they hate us for telling them the truth, so be it. If we do NOT tell them the truth, then their blood is on our hands and we will be held accountable by God for allowing them to continue in their sin. Ezekiel 33 says, “As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign Lord, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live. Turn! Turn from your evil ways! Why will you die…”

So, what do you think? How do we, as Christians, address non-believers and Christians on subjects such as this? Would you view what I said as hatred, or was I the hated?

-Jeff Adams lives in New Albany and  worships with the Cherry Street Church of Christ.

Let’s be HOLY!

be_holyIf someone were to say to you, “are you a holy person; are you a saint? How would you answer them?  Would you say, “no, I am neither.” Or would you say, “I sure  am!” Would one of the answers right? Or would both be wrong or would the right answer be a combination of the two?

The answer we give depends on how much we understand how the Bible uses these terms.  If we take the definitions of the world we are holy or a saint. But if we. Use scriptural definitions then we qualify on both counts. But we must note that neither description is true if we try to fulfill their requirements on our own merit.

The Word of God says, “be holy for I am Holy.” The only away that Christians can be holy is that Christ imputed His righteousness to us. We can be “holy” if we seek to be “conformed to the image of the Son of God.” We can be “holy” if we live for him and obey and keep His Word and show forth the love of the Lord in our lives and help others find their way out of  the “kingdom of darkness” and help them find the marvelous light of the Gospel (1 Peter 2:9).

The question was “are you a saint?”. We are not in the way many in the world and many in some realms of Christendom view that  word.  According to the Bible “saints” are living Christians, in fact, all Christians are “saints” in the scriptural application of the word.

The word simply means ones who are sanctified, ones that are called out. Christians have been called out of serving Satan and now are “in Christ.”.

Paul refers to Christians as saints both in Eph 1:1 and in Phil 1:1.  So, all Christians are saints. Now if we live up to the word that is another question.  We must put our faith into action. Jesus said, “if you love Me you will keep my commandments.” Are you doing that, my fellow believer?  Are you living daily for  Him who died for you?  If so, praise the Lord!  Continue to build yourselves up in the most holy faith, living your life for Jesus, knowing that you can impact a lost world with the Gospel and help strengthen the saved by your ministry and work for our Lord.

If you are not seeking daily to “grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus,” then you need to repent of your sin of not following Jesus completely.  Our Lord has prom is His people if they will look to Him for guidance He will give it. He will equip you for service.

He will give you the resources you need to live holy lives.  We are saints, let’s live up to what that word means biblically and “let our light shine for Him” so that we may bring“glory to our Heavenly Father.” (Matthew 5:14-16)

-Larry Miles,

 

Do We Resent The Grace of God?

but-for-the-grace-of-godSteve Higginbotham, in an audio sermon, tells of preaching on the Grace of God at South Green in Glasgow, KY . An individual in congregation had not been living for the Lord at all; was not a Christian. This man, in his 50′s I think received word that He had inoperable cancer and only a short time to live. He then decided to obey the Gospel. He was very faithful but lived only 2 months and died.

Steve tells of being in a Bible class soon after and a lady was complaining about this man and saying that because of his past life he did not deserve to go to Heaven and wanted Steve’s thoughts on this. Steve said, yes, you are right he did not deserve to go to Heaven; but in fact neither do you or I do. It seems that this sister was resenting the grace of God.

Steve talked about the Parable of master hiring the workers at different times of the day and paying them the same wage. The ones hired earlier resented the master’s generosity. (grace) Do we “resent “the grace of God?”

March Madness or Eternal Gladness?

 JeffAdamsThis is the time of year when nearly all of Kentuckiana talks little else than college basketball. As selection Sunday is now upon us there are teams that have already won automatic bids, those who are no doubt in, those left out, and a large number of bubble teams. For those teams on the bubble, the NCAA Tournament Committee looks at their season’s results and determines their worthiness for inclusion in March Madness. Sports channels, even the local news, report what bubble teams coaches have to say about their teams’ chances of making it in the “big dance”. Here’s what one coach said after a possibly season-ending loss, “My thing right now is, the good news is everyone seems to be losing and I just hope we’re the best of the bad right now. That’s what I’m hoping.”

You might wonder why I’m talking about basketball on a Christian blog. Our guest speaker at Cherry Street last Sunday, Paul Kitzmiller, said many people are looking for the minimum requirements for salvation. He further said that we should be striving to more fully serve and obey God rather than doing the least we can. When we stand before God, it won’t help to tell Him we “deserve” to get in because we weren’t all THAT bad, or we were at least better than others. Of course, we are not saved by works but by faith. However, James, by inspiration of the Holy Spirit said, “What good it is…if someone claims to have faith but had no deeds? Can such faith save them….faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead…Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by by my deeds.”

 It doesn’t matter how good that coach thinks his team is, but what they have proven this season on the court. It doesn’t matter how deserving we think we are of heaven. It is our relationship with Jesus Christ that assures us of eternal salvation. It is that relationship that spurs us to do our utmost for Him. The Apostle Paul said, “Do not be deceived; God is not mocked, for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption; but he who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. And let us not grow weary in well-doing, for in due season we shall reap, if we do not lose heart. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all men, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.” Let’s not lose heart. As His kingdom is fast approaching we should be more and more about our Lord’s business. There is no excuse for being “on the bubble” of heaven’s gate.

Little Children

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe privilege of being a parent is one-of-a-kind.  It’s a job that is common, but also incredibly special and important.  Somebody once said that a baby is a deceptive bundle of joy.  Children are born into this world a very helpless creature, and yet, for all their fragility they can nevertheless project a wail that will surely reach the neighbor’s house.  They cannot dress themselves when they are young, but they have the unmistakable ‘talent’ of voicing their opinions on many different matters. There is NOTHING like the smiles and giggles of a baby, and hugs from your toddler.  There is also nothing like the consternation when that sweet baby of yours suddenly decides that his or her way is better.

I can see a parallel of this relationship in the Bible between God and the people of Israel.  At times they are very needy, and are crying out to him.  Other times, they are defiant and rebellious.  All the while he tries to tell them that he knows what’s best for him.  Where are God’s people today in this regard?  I don’t at all disregard people’s physical needs, but how often does our heart break for someone’s spiritual need?  How often do we get distracted by everyday living, and things of the world when perhaps God has a role for us to play that affects the spiritual realm?  I want to be a better ‘child’ to my King of Kings, and to know how to interpret his plans for me.

Jesus said if anyone causes a child to stumble, it would be better if a millstone were hung around his neck and he be thrown into the sea.  He also said the kingdom of Heaven belongs to people with the spirit and trust of a child (my interpretation), and he desired their company.  Think of the characteristics of children: wide-eyed innocence, trust, a zest for living, and the ability to be inspired by the awesome…how can we as adults regain some of these characteristics?

I love my children a lot and I do think that they are one of my greatest blessings.  Here are some of my journal entries of funny things they have said or done.  Enjoy!

Yesterday I was explaining to the kids that they could not have everything they wanted.  I said, “I want a real elephant, but do you think we could have a real elephant here?”  Jackson’s eyes got big and he said soberly, “You would need a BIG shovel!”  I laughed and he got mad.

Today my 4yr old said ‘Mommy, you don’t look like anything with your ponytail.’ I paused and asked ‘Is that a good thing or a bad thing?’ She paused and said uncertainly ‘I don’t know.’

My 2yr old doesn’t get the concept of staying in bed.  Night after night, she comes out to the living room, looking cute and whispering to us about being scared of the dark, or just whatever.  Two nights ago, she came out with a Tinkerbell hat on her head, a backpack on, and carrying a baby and her sippy cup with water.  Looked like she was going on a hike.  Last night, she appeared with stickers on her face.  It’s impossible not to laugh at her, but I think I’ll lose my mind.

A Rose Or Christian By Any Other Name

The article/outline  below goes with the  sermon Larry Smith gave on March 10, 2013 at Cherry Street Church of Christ in New Albany.

A ROSE (A CHRISTIAN) BY ANY OTHER NAME

LarrySmith01Shakespeare’s Juliet pondered the question: “What’s in a name?  That which we call a rose, by any other name would smell as sweet…”

It’s true . . . no matter what we called a rose, it would still be beautiful.

However, to call a cactus a ROSE, would not make it one!

The SAME is true of a Christian.  A majority of Americans call themselves Christians . . . but to call one’s self a Christian, doesn’t necessarily make it so.

The Gospel began to spread beyond the Jews – to the Greeks – the Gentiles — and Barnabas went to Tarsus looking for Saul:

“ . . . and when he found him, he brought him to Antioch. So for a whole year Barnabas and Saul met with the church and taught great numbers of people. The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch.    ACTS 11:25-26

The Lord’s disciples are those who follow after him and obey his teachings.

James said (1:22)  Be ye doers of the word and not hearers only. . .”

Jesus taught there would be counterfeit Christians among those who call on, and act in His name.

Matthew 7:21-23

21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’

We must make certain, then, to be true Christians, indeed, and not counterfeits:

2nd Peter 1:10

Wherefore brethren, give the more diligence to make your calling and election sure, for if ye do these things, ye shall never stumble. . . “

 2nd Peter 1:5-8

5 For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6 and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7 and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. 8 For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

HAVE YOU EVER DONE AN INVENTORY?

Businessmen/women take inventory to see where they stand.

CHRISTIANS SHOULD ALSO TAKE A SPIRITUAL INVENTORY TO SEE WHERE WE STAND IN LIGHT OF GOD’S WORD.

2nd Corinthians 13:5

Paul wrote the church at Corinth:

“Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test?”

Paul wanted the Corinthians to examine their own spiritual inventory.

AND IN THE AMERICAN STANDARD TRANSLATION THE SAME PASSAGE  READS:

“Try your own selves, whether ye are in the faith; prove your own selves. Or know ye not as to your own selves, that Jesus Christ is in you? unless indeed ye be reprobate.”

Bible scholar Joseph Henry Thayer defines “reprobate” as one “not standing the test, not approved.”

He makes the point in his writing that you either have Christ in you or you’re a reprobate (YOU DON’T).  You can’t have it both ways.

Paul exhorts each of us to make this SELF-EXAMINATION, to determine our true condition. 

THE STANDARD BY WHICH WE CONDUCT OUR INVENTORY:

Matthew 25:31- 40

Jesus was with the disciples on the Mt. of Olives and he told them:

31 But when the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the angels with him, then shall he sit on the throne of his glory:  32 and before him shall be gathered all the nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; 33 and he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. 34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:  35 for I was hungry, and ye gave me to eat; I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink; I was a stranger, and ye took me in; 36 naked, and ye clothed me; I was sick, and ye visited me; I was in prison, and ye came unto me.  37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee hungry, and fed thee? or athirst, and gave thee drink?  38 And when saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? 39 And when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee 40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it unto one of these my brethren, even these least, ye did it unto me. 

 Romans 12  (NIV) PAUL WRITES:

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. 3 For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. 4 For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5 so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. 6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; 7 if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; 8 if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully. 9 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13 Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality 14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. 17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 On the contrary:  (And he quotes Proverbs 25:21-22)

“If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head  and the Lord will reward you.21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

LET’S TAKE A SPIRITUAL INVENTORY:

  1. Are you personally committed to serving Jesus Christ as Lord?
  2. Have you been baptized by immersion?
  3. Do you boldly share your testimony with others?
  4. Have you ever brought or won someone to Christ?
  5. If each member attended as many services as I do, how often would the  building be closed?
  6. If each member reached the services the same time as I do, how many would  be  late for worship?
  7. If each one attended Bible study as I do, how many would be there?
  8. If each one studied the Bible as I do, how much study would there be?
  9. If each one prayed as I do, how much praying would there be?
  10. If each member gave as I do, how much would the contribution be?
  11. If each member sacrificed just like I do, how much sacrificing would there be?
  12. If each person visited the sick as I do, how many of the sick would be visited?
  13. If each one ministered to orphans as I do, how many orphans would be cared  for?
  14. If each member invited others to the services like I do, how many guests would attend?
  15. If each person stayed at home with company like I do, how many would attend  the worship?
  16. If each member tried to lead lost souls to Christ as hard as I do, how many would be reached?
  17. If each member complained as much as I do, how much complaining would there be?
  18. If each person worked as I do, how much work would be done?
  19. If each person gave as many excuses as I do, who would do the Lord’s work?
  20. If each member put the Kingdom of God first just as I do, what would be the condition of the church?
  21. If each person loved unity as I do, how much division would there be?

How did you score? 

Can you honestly say you are putting the Kingdom of God First?

We are commanded in Matthew 6:33:  “But seek you first his Kingdom, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”

WHAT ARE “THESE THINGS?” In Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount he spelled it out

Matthew 6:25-34 (NIV)

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? 28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

WOULD THE CHURCH BE STRONGER, OR WEAKER IF EACH MEMBER ACTED JUST LIKE YOU OR ME? The World Is Watching!

Wise Words

KevinHParrI’ve always wondered how Jesus knew the perfect thing to say.  Maybe it’s because he was so in tune with his Father.  Or maybe it’s because he wasn’t concerned what his peers thought about him, but without fail, he seemed to say the most amazing and wise things.  There were times when he was silent.  Times when religious leaders tried to trap him and ended up caught in their own snare.  He sent away the woman caught in adultery, telling her to go and sin no more, and almost daring anyone else to cast a stone at her.  He even offered the woman at the well living water.  Who says things like that, ‘living water’, what an awesome thought?  He spoke in parables that craftily made their point to those who would hear it.  But he was also capable of such phrases as ‘get behind me Satan’ and you ‘brood of vipers’, and how about turning over the tables of the money changers calling them a ‘den of robbers’?

Sometimes I feel like I say the opposite of the right thing.  Or looking back on a conversation in hindsight, I see how I could have applied the teachings of Jesus in a much more eloquent or effective way.  Thankfully, Jesus is forgiving!  But I also need to seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit much more.  What if I were in tune with the Father the way Jesus was?  Romans 8 tells us the Spirit helps us in our weakness.  When we don’t know what to pray, the Spirit intercedes for us.  Luke 12 recalls Jesus telling the disciples that when they stand before the rulers and authorities, not to worry about what they will say because “the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say”.  The Spirit seems to play a key role in our ability to speak to both God and man.  I pray this week the Spirit would make our words sweet and fruitful.

– Kevin