Archive for September, 2011

Don’t Mess With My Bride

Posted: September 30, 2011 in Uncategorized

“Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.” I Corinthians 3:16-17

This passage of scripture is not to be confused with I Cor. 6:19 where Paul writes about a person’s individual body in reference to avoiding sexual sins. In I Cor. 3 the pronouns are plural. This means he is talking about the church itself. The body of Christ. More significantly the “Bride of Christ.”

Basically, Jesus says, “Don’t hurt my bride. I take that very personally.” We need to treat the church with care and with love and compassion.

I am amazed at how many people in churches act like the church is a building and a tradition or heritage that belongs to them personally.
Jesus said, “I will build MY church.” Folks, it is His church. His command is that we do not do anything to damage His church, and the warning carries the promise of discipline if we disobey.

Be careful to respect the bride of Christ.

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“No, Lord, say it ain’t so.” “Have you ever been around folks at church and thought, if that is what it is like to be a Christian, I don’t want anything to do with it?” I certainly have. I have run into folks and thought, “If you got it, I don’t want it.”

One pastor wasn’t called because of the kind of shoes he wore. Another was fired because of the way he combed his hair. No, no, say it ain’t so. Whatever happened to the heart of David that said, “God forbid I should raise my hand against God’s anointed.” I guess God is getting old and needs some help. Not.

Think about the impact on new Christians, or the impact on people considering Jesus when they run into the church’s soured people. Not most. Most are sweet wonderful saints of God. But what about those few that leave a trail of destruction wherever they go. They snarl, and look mad. They complain and criticize.

I remember a song we sang as a kid in Bible school. “Joy is the flag flown high from the castle of my heart, from the castle of my heart. Joy is the flag flown high from the castle of my heart, when the king is in residence there.”

No doubt some have snuck in the church without being saved. No doubt some got saved, but have allowed bitterness to grow in their hearts. Let’s remember today that others are watching and we may be the only witness they see. Is the fruit of the Spirit evidenced in your life?
(Gal. 5:22-23)

As always, the names are left out to protect the guilty.

Love is not always NICE.

Posted: September 27, 2011 in Uncategorized

“Lord, I will follow Thee whithersoever Thou goest.” (Luke 9:57)

Jesus always knew what was in someone’s heart. And to this man Jesus spoke a word that must have been discouraging. It was just not nice.
Do we know for certain that God is love? The Bible declares that clearly. But does the Bible say that God is always nice.

Was it nice to send a flood to the world? No, but it was loving. Was it nice to discourage some from following Him? No, but it was loving. Can we say the prospect of hell is Nice? Absolutely not. But it is God’s just love.

The words of Jesus are often very hard and penetrating. As Oswald Chambers said, ‘Jesus Christ has no tenderness whatever toward anything that is ultimately going to ruin a man in the service of God. ” He said, “The words of the Lord hurt and offend until there is nothing left to hurt or offend.”

Never interfere with the offense of the Gospel. Never interfere with the loving discipline of God in someone’s life. The sentimental trite of “be nice” has paralyzed the church in compromise.

When Joseph’s brothers went to Egypt to find food during a time of famine, it was quite a surprise to discover their younger brother Joseph as prime minister there. They had, after all, sold him into slavery. They were afraid. But Joseph said, “You meant evil against me, but God meant it for good.” (Gen. 50:20)

I received a less than nice email yesterday from someone upset about changes that were being made at church. As a parting jab they said, “Our church will never be the same.” My immediate thought was, “Please God, I hope that is true. Let us never be the same again. Our community needs to hear the Gospel. Give us Your heart. Give us Your desire for this world.”

They intended it as a hurtful comment as they shared their longing for a past “good ol’ days” approach. But God means it for good. Let us never be the same. Let us grow and improve everyday.

One change I long for is that our congregation be “surprised by joy.”
The scripture says that in God’s Presence is the fullness of joy. Seems to me that means those who spend time with God are going to exhibit joy. Those who don’t live with joy in their lives, well, that speaks for itself.

Joy attracts others. Joy is contagious. “O God replace all complaining and criticizing with your joy.In Jesus’ name.”

As it Begins, So it Ends

Posted: September 23, 2011 in Uncategorized

Everything ends as it began. When you choose to follow Jesus, you begin with Him. In the end, Jesus. It is Jesus all along the way. Paul says, ‘One thing I do.” The Psalmist said, “One thing have I desired.”

Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, the three in One. One God. And the Bible says, ‘In the beginning God…” And the message of the Revelation is, “In the end, God, too.”

We begin as dust, and we end as dust in this world. We begin the Christian pilgrimage with Jesus, we will end it with Him as well. So live every moment of every day, consumed with Jesus. I surrender all, how about you?

Not Peace,But a Sword

Posted: September 22, 2011 in Uncategorized

“Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household. Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.” (Matthew 10:34-38)

Did anyone ever write harder words than the Lord Jesus? What could He have meant with these? We can sit in an ivory tower and pretend that we are giving it all, but have you faced this? Has your family been divided over Christ?

Jesus said, ‘You call me Master and Lord, and so I am.” But is He Master in your life today? We call Him Savior, we call Him friend? We call Him so many things, but how often do you call Him Master?

RC Cola and Moon Pie

Posted: September 21, 2011 in Uncategorized

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Growing up I loved to spend time at my “Pop’s” house. There were so many fascinating things. Cows and horses, guns, the ceramic urn in his shop filled with muskedine wine, and nothing more special than the can on his desk of nickels, dimes, and even quarters. (Big money in those days).

Two doors away was Mabry’s gas station. The old fashioned pumps, and a general store with RC Cola and moon pies. After the chores were done, Pop would say, “go get a dime and go get you a RC and moon pie.”

Sitting around the store would be some of the “old timers” from the community. On Mondays they would be enjoying a plate full of “roast preacher.’ Billy might say, ‘Yeah, it was our turn to feed the preacher yesterday. Dad ‘gum, he ate all the white meat.’ “Know what you mean,’ Tom would say. ‘Wad ya think of that sermon on hail, yestidy,” as he leaned up and spit in the old spitoon in the corner?

“Way I figur it is, he got it all wrong,” says Joe. “”cordin to him, Cooter here is gonna fry. He ain’t ever been to church. But dang it, if he ain’t going to heaven, ain’t nobody gonna make it.”

“Dat rite, Coot,” asked Billy. “Whale,” sed Cooter. “I duz take me a snort of the old mountain dew now and then, and I throws around a few cussins, but I ain’t never hurt nobody. Just never saw the point of church after listening to you barbie-Q your preacher each week.”

“But tell you da truth,” sed Cooter. “If heaven ain’t a lot like dat old mill pond down the road, and a little like Spartanburg county, “I don’t ker to go anyway.”

So think about this: Is it, “da way I figur it,” or is it “God said?” And could it be that “the way I figure it” is actually idolatry?