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Archive for the ‘Church’ Category

Donald Miller in “Blue Like Jazz” points out that “sinners” outside the church are often more loving than the “saints” inside. Correctly, I believe, he says people will never hear our message if they think we don’t love them; that God loves sinners and so should we by not using our acceptance as currency to purchase desired behavior.

This is a true message, but only half the story written by someone with no children, spouse, or responsibility for anyone but himself. A parent or pastor would most likely have an additional perspective.

The world accepts the quirky because the world is quirky — even religious views are considered by most of the world as just one more quirk. All have quirks bundled in various combinations and God does accept us and love us, quirks and all. But the other half of the story (outside Donald’s book) is that some quirks like profanity, inebriation, immorality, and such, are actually harmful.

Those with responsibility to protect flock or family can’t allow harmful quirks to be unchecked.

Determining which quirks are benign and which are not is where families and churches get their distinctions — and are not always bad.

The role of family and church is not evangelism but protection and nourishment. It is the responsibility of each member to evangelize with the love of Christ for all.

— fritz

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DeadChurch

The best that can be said for it is that the testing process will bring truth into the open and confirm it. – 1 Corinthians 11:19 (The Message)

Why does God let vibrant exciting Holy Spirit led local churches dwindle, die, and/or become hollowed out shells?

There is a tendency to look at the local church, any local church, as THE CHURCH; easy to pour our efforts into a group or building thinking we are doing God’s work; easy to think our group is different than their group.

It becomes easy to forget our connection to God is a faith and choice connection to Christ Jesus alone; easy to turn the encouragement of like-minded people into a dependence on like-minded people.

I think if God did NOT let churches die we would put our fellowship gatherings above him.

Just a thought.

Fritz.

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ChurchPeople

  1. “The church is Christ’s body, in which he speaks and acts, by which he fills everything with his presence. – Ephesians 1:22-23
  2. “I am the Vine, you are the branches. When you’re joined with me and I with you, the relation intimate and organic, the harvest is sure to be abundant.” – Jesus (John 15:5)
  3. “…Whoever loves a father loves his child also.” – 1 John 5:1

What we call church, one on every street corner, is a gathering of fellow believers in Christ for strength and encouragement; nothing more or less. What the Bible calls Church is the living Christ, Jesus, acting through men and women who are connected to him like a branch to a vine, not a pyramid.

When we fall in love with God we will want to be with his children and church is a good place to do so. But which one? Probably the one that gives the most comfort and encouragement to one’s personal walk with Christ.

— fritz

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Called Out From What?

“I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” — Jesus (Matthew 16:18b)

The word used to describe what Jesus said he was going to build is actually a combination of two Greek words, “EK” (or “Ex”), meaning “out of” and “Klesia”, meaning to “to call”. It quite literally means those who have been “Called Out”.

But if our lives are the same as everyone else’s what is it, then, are we called out from?

If we still seek this world’s approval, evaluate things from this world’s perspective, do only what comes naturally, how is that a “calling out”?

Jesus said,

And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? for sinners also do even the same. — Luke 6:33

Prayer:Lord, Jesus, let me be and remain called out. Amen.
— fritz

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Earlier I wrote … to the church, but Diotrephes, who loves being in charge, denigrates my counsel … he not only refuses hospitality … but tries to stop others … Worse yet … he throws them out. Friend, don’t go along with evil. Model the good. The person who does good does God’s work. — 3 John 1:9-12

John, the most loving apostle of all, had some difficulty with a church member. Some people, having little to no influence anywhere else, see the church as the place they can throw their weight around.

Real life examples:

  • A wealthy parishioner tells a young pastor to quit preaching on one topic or another (See Jim Martin’s post, “Called or Just Employed”)
  • Years ago a parishioner pulled me aside to brag how he gave the sound system to the church and if I ever wanted to adjust anything let him know because he had the key
  • Two years ago the leader of a major denomination calls personal salvation a heresy and takes church property away from congregations who won’t submit to her authority (See article here)

But God and his people, the Church, move on and still meet — sometimes in homes, sometimes in rented buildings, sometimes even on church property where others dispute.

Jesus is committed to individual members of His Church wherever they are. He is still changing lives.

— fritz@langgang.com
Also see: Trouble In Church – October 4, 2011

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The apostle Paul has a disturbing word to those who think that Church should be perfect!

For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it. For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you. — 1st Corinthians 11:18-19

Some stay away from church because of all the hypocrites and cliques– but they don’t let hypocrites and cliques keep them from ball games, work, or the various clubs and groups they like.

Sure there are factions and hypocrites in church, the Bible says it must be that way to help us more easily pick out genuine believers — the ones who act like Jesus!

— fritz@langgang.com

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And this work of the candlestick was of beaten gold, unto the shaft thereof, unto the flowers thereof, was beaten work: according unto the pattern which the LORD had shewed Moses, so he made the candlestick — Numbers 8:3-5

One symbol for Israel is the Menorah — seven lamps, or candlesticks, for a perpetual light in the Old Testament Tabernacle’s holy place.

But the Bible says it was made from a pattern, or model, shown to Moses when he met God on Mount Sinai — A model represents something bigger, like the model cars I made when I was a child. So what’s the real thing?

We see candlesticks before God’s throne in another place

I saw a gold menorah
with seven branches,
And in the center, the Son of Man,
in a robe and gold breastplate,
hair a blizzard of white,
Eyes pouring fire-blaze,
both feet furnace-fired bronze,
— Revelation 1:12-13 (Message Bible)

Jesus, wanting us to know what this really represents, told John,:

“Now write down everything you see: things that are, things about to be. [T]he seven-branched gold menorah—do you want to know what’s behind them? … the menorah’s seven branches are the seven churches.” – Revelation 1:20 (Message Bible)

Seven represents completeness. Long ago in that Old Testament Tabernacle those seven lamps were standing in for the Church in this world, shining light in a dark sanctuary, letting people see to sacrifice their offerings and burn their incense.

We, the holy Church of God, corporately and individually have a holy calling and a wonderful purpose.

fritz@langgang.com

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