Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Submission 101: The class of "living with other humans"

From time to time we are brought to a point of conflict with those around us. Realistically, any time we are in contact with others of the human race, we run the risk of conflict. There are very few, if any, times that I deal with others that I do not find myself, on one level or another, in disagreement with them. It is not that they are fundamentally wrong, or that I have a backwards view of the subject. They may simply like salty, and I like sweet. Or blue is preferable over orange. There are many times we see subjects from different perspectives as well. Politics, automobiles, sports teams, even grocery stores all serve as potential points of conflict. In the local church, we find many areas that differences are equally evident. Whatever the matter may be concerning the church, administration, or even dealing with personalities, we must remember what Jesus told us: He reminded us that even the heathen love those that love them in return. But we are called to love our enemies. So it is with that note, we see it is easy to submit to someone when we are in exact agreement with them. Submission only really becomes full orbed when we disagree with those in authority over us. Then what? Well, this is what true submission really is: Someone saying, “I am in authority, I want it this way, now do it.” Then we do what we are asked. Most people never have trouble with Bible submission until they are asked to do something contrary to what they desire. Let us labor to live peaceable with all men, particularly those of the household of faith. While things may not be just as we would like it in our assembly, most likely our homes and our places of employment, and even our country is not being run exactly as we would choose, but we would never want to leave any of them! Labor therefore in love, one with another!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

To go where no man has gone before...

The scary part of this title is that while it is a throw back to an old TV show, it almost describes most believers concerning the work of Evangelistic outreach. One would almost wonder how the lost will hear without believers carrying the gospel. Yet some do. I am thankful for the one who reached out to me and gave a clear understanding of salvation from the Scriptures. When are we going to "go where we have not gone before?" Sadly, many have never gone into the realms of evangelism. What would prevent it? Not enough government funding? Soul-winning program was canceled at your church? Your new testament was left in the other car? So many empty excuses, and so, no one goes! Think about it...are you glad your pastor left the comforts of home and came to your house, or, climbed into the pulpit and proclaimed the message of salvation into your ears? Or was it simply that prayer warrior that kept taking your name before the throne of God? Either way, are not you thankful? I know I am...

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

What is a Shepherd to do? A parable.

Imagine if you will for a moment. The shepherd wakes in the morning, dew has settled on everything about him. He shakes the moisture off the blanket that protected him from the elements during the night. Sleep was brief snatches of rest so as not to loose awareness of where the sheep were, or who or what may have tried to creep up in the night and take one unawares. Constantly on guard, the shepherd also had to watch for those who might wander. Night was really not a time to fear that, they were skittish at night and would not dare stray far when they were frightened. As a matter of fact, they huddled close during those times. He almost wished they were fearful more often, as it would be easier to keep up with them. Day breaking, he knew his work would be busy. You see, the sheep he was herding were of a new breed. Each one had his own goals and ideas about grazing. One would run to the other side of the meadow to graze, while her lamb would be left by the pool of water, alone, unprotected. Others would group together near the wolf’s den to simply watch. Oh they didn’t want to wander in they just wanted to see what was happening there. Oft times though, one would stray to near and find himself in the clutches of the wolf. The others would simply move away, saddened, but quickly would return to watch again. As a shepherd, he wandered over the meadow, continuously monitoring all the movements of the sheep. After all, it was his job to protect them. He was to dwell with them and take the oversight of them. Point them in the right direction. As a matter of fact, the Great Shepherd had left command that he even feed the flock, and protect them from the wolves. The problem was, none of the sheep cared for any of that. Until there was trouble. Then they were looking for the shepherd. One day, many grievous wolves had made their way into the flock. The shepherd heard the cry and rushed forward to protect the sheep, only to find out that some of the sheep had welcomed the wolves in as friends and even made them part of the family. Before long the sheep were even more scattered, and the shepherd exhausted, fell weary and collapsed from the strain and was overcome by a wolf himself. Recovering in the local hospital he said to his dear wife, “ I did all I could. The sheep would not listen. I warned them of the wolves, I warned them to stay close to the shepherd, I warned them about leaving their little ones unattended and being so busy that they would not have time to become good sheep, and hear my voice. I quit. It is all too sad for me. I cannot go on like this.” He resigned as the shepherd and began a new career. Feeling like it was the Great Shepherds will all along to desert the flock and leave them to some other poor unsuspecting shepherd.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Loving your Neighbor says a lot about your view of God's commands!

Matthew Henry said, "Our light burns in love to God, but it shines in love to our neighbor." I tremble when I hear those who name the name of Christ suggest that they are the repository of theological wisdom and yet they despise their neighbor. We are told by James that the Royal Law is to love our neighbor. We are told by Paul that the fulfilment of the entire law is to love our neighbor. We are told that the law is summed up in this one word, "Love thy neighbor as thyself." Yet, we often times concern ourselves with the tithe of mint and cummin more than the weightier matters, as Matthew 23:23 states: Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone. I am found guilty too many times of insuring that certain "things" (all of which are good and have their place, mind you) are lined up just right, only to leave the Royal Law lying in the "dust of apathy." Do we really desire to be lights? Sure, we want to "burn toward God", but do we want to "shine in love" toward our Neighbor?

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

The Fire Scribes' Desk: Reflections Upon Psalm 106

The Fire Scribes' Desk: Reflections Upon Psalm 106
Here you find my friend's comment upon this beautiful Psalm. While you might not agree with him in every aspect, you must certainly see God as supreme, and yourself as a sinner in need of God.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Why The Puritan Dilemma?

My son convinced me to read the book, "The Puritan Dilemma" by Edmund S. Morgan. This book is about the puritan John Winthrop. I took my time in getting around to it. My son has such an appetite for reading in the first place, I could hardly keep up with him. Finally, I took up the pages of this provocative book. I suppose one of the most critical lines is found in the Editor's Preface "The Puritans thus found it necessary, almost at once, to begin to delineate the lines between the freedom of the individual to follow his own dreams and the responsibility of the society for maintaining order." Who then is to decide where those lines fall?Winthrop, one of the most influential movers and shakers of the Puritan development on the shores of New England certainly had no trouble determining when and where those lines were to be drawn. Was Winthrop a dreamer of a Utopia that could never be? Is it possible today to have what Winthrop dreamed of? Is it something that we should even desire?