Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Standing with Others



Today, I wanted to pass along something from my own devotions this morning.  This is from Experiencing God Day-by-Day, by Henry and Richard Blackaby.  There is a link at the end where you can pick up a copy for yourself...


Two is better than one, because they have a good reward for
their labor.  For if they fall, one will lift up his companion,
but woe to him who is alone when he falls,
for he has no one to help him up.
- Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

From the beginning of time, God made it clear that it is not good for His people to be alone (Gen. 2:18).  God designed us to cooperate.  Throughout the Scriptures He speaks of His people as a community that accomplishes more together than separately.  God did not create us as isolated individuals, each seeking to achieve our own goals.  Rather, the success of our endeavors depends upon our interdependence.  This is why He established the Church and released His Holy Spirit to empower the community of believers to spread the gospel.  We are to be a kingdom of priests (1 Peter 2:9).
During difficult times it is critical that we are walking in fellowship with other Christians.  When a crisis hits, it is overwhelming to face it alone.  But if we have cultivated supportive friendships, we will find strength in the comfort and encouragement of those who care about us.  Interdependence is also a safeguard for us when we are lured by temptation.  The consistent testimony of those who have fallen to temptation is that they isolated themselves from other believers and were not held accountable by Christian friends.
If you are not part of a caring community of believers, you are missing out on what God designed for you.  You are also in danger of falling into sin.  You must link your life with others who are seeking God’s will.  Seek to be a person who willingly joins others in carrying out God’s assignments.  Strive to be the source of support and encouragement that those around you need.

By Henry and Richard Blackaby
©1998 by Henry Blackaby and Richard Blackaby

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Are We Really Worshiping?

After church, a member came up to me to talk about our organ and some of the repairs that need to be made. 

At the beginning of this year, we made some changes to our order of worship.  One of the changes was that we discontinued our organ prelude and began playing some contemporary song videos, using the actual music videos from the original artists, and adding the words to the screen.  We play these very quietly, so as not to interfere with those who want to visit, but hopefully loud enough for those who want to follow along.

One of the comments in my after church discussion was that only about five people really watch these videos.  His point was that when we had the organ prelude, everybody listened.  But truthfully, only about five people really paid attention.  The rest chatted and visited, just as they do now.

The basic truth of the matter is that it really doesn't matter what we do during that time before service.  A few are going to take advantage of whatever is available to quiet their hearts and prepare themselves for worship.  Most are just going to visit with each other, catching up with all the activities of the week, talking about thing except the presence of the living God, which they will soon be experiencing - if their heart is right.

I wonder if that what Jesus meant when he said (in Matthew 7:13-14), "Enter through the narrow gate.  For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.  But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it."

Harsh, perhaps.  But we need to make sure our worship is meaningful and that we are connecting with the Jesus who can save us!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Weekly Newsletter is out!

Each week Almond Union publishes a weekly newsletter of events going on around the church.  This is an email subscription only newsletter.

The big event this week isn't at our church, it's at the Alfred Almond Bible Church.  Dr. Jimmy DeYoung will be there from July 15-18 for a Prophecy Conference.  On Sunday the 15th, he will give a Question and Answer period, where you can ask any questions on prophecy you may have.  On Monday - Wednesday (16-18) , he will be giving a series on the prophecies found in Ezekiel and Danial.

For more information on this conference, see the Alfred Almond Bible Churches website.

If you want to keep up with what's going on at Almond Union, and you don't currently subscribe, email me at the church email account with a request to join the weekly newsletter list.

Sermons from FBC: Clean Break: A look at relationships from Philemon

This week we it's part 2 of our two week series from the book of Philemon.  It's a short book, but Paul has some good stuff concerni...