Friday, April 20, 2018

Is Lax Christianity still Christianity?

I am always worried about the almost lax attitude that some people have about their faith. I remember reading a devotion in Indeed (Walk Thru the Bible), it addressed that very issue. In fact, they addressed it far better than I could, so here is what they had to say…
Casual Christianity is an oxymoron. There is no such thing as a low-commitment version of our faith. It is impossible to say, “I’m a follower of Jesus, but I’m not prepared to lay down my life for the gospel.” Both of these assertions cannot be true. “When Jesus calls a man,” to quote Dietrich Bonhoeffer, “He bids him come and die.” Ours is a faith that demands our entire allegiance; it can be no half-hearted thing…

Few of us are persecuted. Yet all of us can say with assurance that sometimes following our Savior is difficult. He asks us to make sacrifices. He asks us to be obedient, even when obedience is painful. And though He doesn’t ask us to die for Him, He does ask us to live for Him. When we were bought by His blood, we became His possession. Gloriously, joyfully His possession, but His nonetheless.

One of the great weaknesses of today’s American church is our unwillingness to humble ourselves as our Savior did. We are often consumer Christians, shopping around for a faith that suits us well. But when we really encounter Christ, we face a choice: Stand firm in our faith, despite our many tests and troubles, or settle for a luke-warmness that can barely, if at all, be called “Christian.” 

Trials will come, the question is, when they do, will you humble yourself and turn to God, or will you panic and worry and figure it all out on your own? It is how we react in these trials that will tell others of our faith.

Sermons from FBC - God's Sovereignty

This week we look at God's Sovereignty.  What does it mean that God is sovereign?  How should we live in light of God's Sovereignty?   I'll give you something to think about, so grab a cup of coffee and enjoy...   

To hear the message click the link below:


   

Hope you enjoy - love to hear your comments!

Friday, March 30, 2018

Two Articles

In a recent newspaper (not local), I saw two articles that intrigued me. Both in the same column, one on top of the other. The first headline reads, “City Council drops ‘Lord’s Prayer’ from meeting routine.” The story continues, “Under legal threat from a church-state separation group, the City Council (in Akron, Ohio) has dropped it’s long standing practice of opening meetings with the Lord’s Prayer.”

I’m okay with that, the city council decided that litigation wouldn’t benefit anybody, and they decided to allow members to pray privately before meetings. Sounds like a good solution to me. Not a terrible thing…

But the very next article had the following headline, “Lawmaker objects to getting copy of Muslim holy book.” A Tulsa, Oklahoma lawmaker is objecting to the distribution of the Koran to lawmakers by the Governor’s Ethnic American Advisory Council. Every Legislator was given a copy of the Koran.

Wait a minute, am I missing something – Lord’s Prayer bad, Koran good??? Why is the Americans United for Separation of Church and State not having a field day in Oklahoma? Or does the separation of church and state really only mean the separation of the Christian Church and state???

Love to hear comments...

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Beating Anxiety

Years ago I was part of a group of clergy who took a course through the Center for Family Systems Theory of Western New York.  The name is quite a mouthful, but the premise behind Family Systems Theory sounds good.  Sometimes called Bowen Theory, it is  rapidly becoming one of the most popular and effective methods of problem solving. Unlike conventional psychological theory which focuses on the individual, Family Systems Theory encourages people to think of issues in terms of a multigenerational family or a “system.” This approach encourages people to move away from blaming others and towards individual responsibility.

The anxiety we've been feeling in the church, and the conflicts and dissensions that have come up asa . result, I've remembered a little of what I've studied, and I plan on digging it out again and refamiliarizing myself with the theory.  I have been been remember a lot about the role of anxiety in our relationships. We can usually get along with others just fine until anxiety is increased. That’s when things start to boil over, and we start to loose it. But I remember that often just one person in a family or group, remaining calm, can have a calming affect on the entire family or group.

We call that an un-anxious presence. What would it look like in our preset church struggle, if we could be an un-anxious presence in the midst of the anxiety around us? Would that make a difference?  When I think of Jesus, I picture Him as a very un-anxious presence. Pharisees and Temple Priests and other religious leaders were always trying to catch Him at something that might validate there ministries, and prove Him wrong – yet He never became anxious (well, almost never – He did sort of loose it when they turned the temple into a marketplace).

That kind of calm in the midst of anxiety is what is needed today. I'm not seeing much calm in our current struggle.  There are a few people trying to stay above it.  But let's all try. Let's try to focus on the positives, and remain a calm and peaceful presence no matter what.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

The Story of God

Edwin Raphael McManus, in Soul Craving, talks about the story of God in a rather interesting way. He was talking to a group of Muslims in the Middle East. While trying to avoid a question, he was called on by the translator to answer a question that he was evading. Finally, he had to talk specifically about Jesus. Here is how he explained it:
I once met a woman named Kim, and I fell in love. I pursued her with my love and pursued her with my love until I felt my love had captured her heart. So I asked her to be my wife, and she said no.
I was unrelenting and asked her again, pursuing her with my love, and I pursued her with my love until she said yes.
I did not send my brother, nor did I send a friend. For in issues of love, you must go yourself. 
This is the story of God: he pursues you with his love and pursues you with his love, and you have perhaps not said yes. And even if you reject his love, he pursues you ever still. It was not enough to send an angel or a prophet or any other, for in issues of love, you must go yourself. And so God has come.
This is the story of Jesus, that God has walked among us and he pursues us with his love. He is very familiar with rejection, but is undeterred. And he is here even now, still pursuing you with his love.

Whether you have accepted his love or not, his love for you is real. He loves you, and will continue pursuing you. Won’t you give yourself to him today?

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Character Defined...

John G. Miller, author of the book QBQ! The Question behind the Question: Practicing Personal Accountability in Work and in Life, has an email list called Quick Notes. This email comes out about weekly and gives some good thoughts for business professionals. This week’s topic was hiring character over credentials.

As believers, we should be striving to be molded into the image of Christ, which may not be the image that many business professionals strive for, but I do strongly agree with the idea of personal accountability. And if we are living a life of faith, our character should shine for all to see. Here is what John Miller wrote about character:

Character defined: The aggregate of traits that form the individual nature of a person including moral or ethical qualities such as honesty, courage, integrity.

Character is what we need to hire from the outside and promote from within. Let's reward people with these foundational qualities:

1. Coachability. If a person possesses an arrogance that prevents them from taking input, forget it. If they aren't starving to learn, to become excellent, to gain new knowledge and skills, you don't want them. If they aren't going to listen to their manager, pass them by.

2. Work ethic. In this world of entitlement thinking, when we find someone who will work, we've found a diamond in the rough. Look for the "5&5 Rule," meaning if they will habitually arrive 5 minutes early and stay 5 minutes beyond quitting time, you have a foundation on which to build. But if they are more concerned with how much vacation and sick time they'll get, pass them by.

3. A heart of service. Any candidate who enjoys helping others solve their problems and desires to go to the "Nth Degree" demonstrating patience with customers who are not always right (But are always the customer!), is the person we needed on the team yesterday. But if they have a "What's in it for me?" or "Why are customers such a pain?" attitude, pass them by.

4. Accountability. Carefully listen for finger pointing and victim thinking. If they blame their last employer, their family of origin, or the weather for their situation in life, send them packing. One QBQ, Inc. client gives a QBQ! book to every candidate that makes it to Round Two. The assignment is to read and return with a verbal summary of the content and what it means to them. This is an effective way to understand their view of the role of accountability in their work life. If they don't "get it," pass them by.
These were written to assist in the hiring process (for businesspeople), but let's look at them personally. If these are an accurate idea of character, are you a person of character? How are you doing…

Monday, March 26, 2018

Sermons from FBC - Palm Sunday!

This week we celebrate Palm Sunday, the day we remember Jesus' triumphant entry into the city of Jerusalem.   We remember the colt, the psalm branches, the shouts of hosanna. But do we really understand why He went?  I'll give you something to think about, so grab a cup of coffee and enjoy...   

To read (or listen to message) click here:

Hope you enjoy - love to hear your comments!

Is Lax Christianity still Christianity?

I am always worried about the almost lax attitude that some people have about their faith. I remember reading a devotion in  Indeed  (Walk ...