Sometimes the Bible just smacks me over the head…case in point: Proverbs 9:8
Do not rebuke a mocker or he will hate you; Rebuke a wise man and he will love you.
The point isn’t “Who should I rebuke?” The point is “Who am I?” A mocker or a wise man? I’ll know by how I deal with rebukes.
A parent’s job is to work themselves out of a job. The process seems tedious most of the time, and progress is hard to measure. Sometimes it’s easy to get discouraged and wish they’d just hurry and grow up.
But Erma Bombeck wrote,
Think about it. No more Christmas presents out of toothpicks and paste. No more sloppy oatmeal kisses. No more tooth fairy. No giggles in the dark. No knees to heal. No responsibility. Only a voice crying, “Why don’t you grow up?” and the silence echoing, “I did.”
Most church meetings start with a prayer. Most of the times they are the “be with us and help us make decisions” kind of prayers that don’t have a lot of meaning or even sincerity to them. And I’m guilty of that A LOT. But last week I was at a meeting where someone else opened with prayer. And I couldn’t tell you everything they said. I wasn’t listening THAT closely. But one statement made me immediately reflect.
She prayed, “Thank You for the lives You’ve given us…” [Big Pause...or at least it seemed like it because right after she said that I immediately thought about the boy who had been molested, the girl abandoned, the mother betrayed, the father watching his family starve. 4 people who never seemed to get a break in life. 4 people who have not really enjoyed life, not because of their actions, but because of the circumstances they find themself in. Surely, they weren't thankful for the lives they were given. They had terrible lives right now. That was my micro-second thought]… until I heard her finish the sentence, “IN CHRIST JESUS.”
Thank You for the lives You’ve given us IN CHRIST JESUS.
What an amazing phrase, “In Christ Jesus!” My gratitude is born out of my re-birth as a child of God, In Christ Jesus. I’m thankful for the CHANGE that being “In Christ Jesus” brings. I’m grateful that I’m not on my own (or any of the 4 mentioned above). We belong to a royal priesthood. We are the Body of Christ. We belong in the Family of God. Yes, life circumstances can often be reprehensible at worst, most often discouraging, and at least irritating. But not In Christ Jesus. See, I’ve been changed.
Thank you Magic and Bird…
Today’s culture tells us that all we need is love. But in the end, love wasn’t even enough to keep the Beatles together. It’s ironic that a band that sang such great love songs ultimately had no love for each other. That’s because love is more than just a song, a dream, or feeling.
The commitments we make are like magnets: they pull toward each other. In friendship, commitment means being there for someone even when it’s not convenient. In family relationships it’s being by someone’s side even after years of dealing with a disappointing father or brother stuck in addiction. In marriage, commitment means that divorce isn’t an option.
Here’s today’s set list at FCC. This will be linked to The Worship Community.com blog where other worship bloggers post their setlists.
Here’s what we did:
Mighty to Save
My Hope is in You
Shout for Joy
Message: Sixth message in a series on the 7 Last Words of Jesus. Today: Victory (as we looked at the implications of Jesus’ shout, “It is finished!”)
In Jesus’ Name (during communion)
Greater is He
I’ve written on this in the past but after reading Michael Fletcher’s “Overcoming Barriers to Church Growth” I discovered one more area in which our church hasn’t changed. And according to Fletcher, if we’re going to break through the 200 ceiling, we’ll need to change our church culture’s understanding on this important issue.
Here’s how he puts it:
Small churches, without realizing it, intuitively resist growth at some point since continued growth threatens the closeness they so enjoy. After a certain number of relationships, a person just doesn’t have room for more. Folks cannot remember everyone’s name but somehow feel they should. Not knowing everyone, and the underlying guilt that says we should, produces an awkwardness that actually pushes others away. Small churches fear that growing might destroy the family they have become (55).
For a church to break through the 100/200 barrier…The people must accept the fact that they will not be able to know everyone in the church. This does not mean they must give up a sense of family, but it does mean that they will have to learn to experience it in other ways. Properly done, this barrier can be broken without destroying the great fellowship members have been enjoying. New circles of fellowship must be developed, and even multiplied, to prompt continued growth (57).
What do you think? Is Fletcher right or wrong? Why is it important for a local church to strive for continued growth?
Love the old Steven Curtis Chapman song “Burn the Ships” which was about Cortez getting to the new world with his men. When disaster struck the men wanted to return. So Cortez ordered the ships burned. After that there was no thought of returning to their old life. What ships do I (you) need to burn in our lives in order to follow Christ and not return to the “old” way of life?
This can actually be found in the Old Testament story of Elisha. Elisha burned his plow and slaughtered his oxen to follow Elijah and never return.