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Contentious Christians

August 4, 2014

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Church divisions hurt the Lord's church

Church divisions hurt the Lord’s church

The thing that weakens the church the most is the people being people.

Paul’s opening comments in 1 Corinthians deal with members grouping up according to who baptized them. The person who immerses us into the water is probably the least important thing about this step toward salvation, but we see that they found a way to make it an issue. (1 Corinthians 1:10-13) Paul taught Christians to unify the church by focusing on the single source of faith. (Ephesians 4:1-7) We often forget to do that.

Paul also gave us a pretty good standard to follow to help us avoid similar situations.

He named names (1 Corinthians 1:11)

Paul told everyone where he heard about the divisions that were forming and showed us the key to avoiding rumors and gossip – Never say anything you wouldn’t want quoted. Paul goes on to deal with their specific problem, but we can use his pattern to solve our own issues.

The only way we will ever come together on divisive situations is to return to God’s word. More and more, we hear language such as “I think,” or “I believe,” or “In my opinion.” In the Dale Carnegie classes about conflict resolution, the participants are taught that these kinds of words never have a place in an argument. The class teaches the students to lead with factual sources.

This is doubly true when it comes to discussing God’s word.

There is only ONE Lord …

The only thing that matters is what HE said.

 

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Who to Trust?

July 2, 2014

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It is painful when trust fails

It is painful when trust fails

Trusting unfaithful people when you are in trouble
is like eating with a broken tooth or walking with a crippled foot. – Proverbs 25:19 NCV

This is a two way street. We can give as good as we get on this one.

  • There are those who make a habit of backing out of commitments
  • There are “friends” that disappear at the first sign of trouble
  • There are those that let anger end relationships

We often leave ourselves open to the kind of pain the Proverbs writer describes when we are dependent on others. We have to be very careful of who we trust.

There isn’t much we can do about how others act though.

What we can do, is see this as a good place to apply the golden rule. (Matthew 7:12) When we demonstrate the proper way to be a friend we compel other to be the same way. Never backing out of a commitment demonstrates its importance. Anger should never drive any decision.

Be faithful. Trustworthy. Dependable. This gives you all the power you need to influence others in life, but more importantly toward God.

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What Jesus Sees in Our Heart

May 5, 2014

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Giacomo Franceschini - Gesù e la Samaritana al pozzo - 17th or 18th century

Giacomo Franceschini – Gesù e la Samaritana al pozzo – 17th or 18th century

Sometimes we know too much for our own good.

It’s just an attitude issue though. We see the disciples with a little attitude when they passed through Samaria. (John 4:1-42) Notice how the Samaritan woman understood who she was with and began spreading the word immediately.

She had no predisposition of entitlement or wisdom. She just knew she was with the Christ (John 4:29)

The disciples were not impressed that Jesus was talking to her. (John 4:27) As their tradition would have it, they were too far above these people socially to even bother with them. Yet here was their teacher having cordial dealings with her.

The contrast is that the disciples were in direct contact with Jesus and his teachings, but they still had doubts throughout his ministry. The Samaritan woman had no doubt.

It is a lot like the Parable Pharisee and the Tax Collector. The way we approach any given situation – our general attitude – has everything to do with what is in our heart.

And Jesus can see right down into your heart.

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How to Make the Bible Easy to Understand

April 15, 2014

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Make a connection with an actual Bible and put its contents to memory!

Make a connection with an actual Bible and put its contents to memory!

In our world of search engines, we have the ability to search the entire Bible in seconds.

In our world of smartphones, we can do it anywhere and any time.

I know it is a little bit “old school” – but give me a chance on this:

Bible memory work is still a very valuable part of our growth and maturity in the faith.

Sometimes it seems a little “old school” to even carry a Bible to church. The Scriptures used during the service are often projected on a screen making it seem unnecessary to open one at any point in the service.

In order to get to know the scriptures – to get to the point where we know where we stand, we need to get better connected with what it says. I cannot think of any way better to get to know what it says than to memorize the Bible.

Here’s a few thoughts on why. Memorization will …

  • Clarify the text – When you memorize, the nuances of the text start to appear. The Bible is FULL of great truths that we miss through skimming and mere devotional reading.
  • Grow our faith – If faith comes from hearing God’s word (Romans 10:17) then committing it to memory can’t help but make stronger Christians
  • Clean our mind – Our mind returns what we plant in it. Fill it with the good stuff (Philippians 4:8)
  • Make us ready – We are to be ready in season and out of season (2 Timothy 4:2) What better way to be make a convincing response than to be able to quote the scriptures?

All of the cool devices in the world would have a hard time providing these benefits. They make great supplemental study tools but …

They don’t connect us to or help us fall in love with God’s word!

Challenge:

  • Take an inventory of Bible scriptures you either know or once knew by heart (There are more than you think!)
  • Try to think of passages that you know where to find if you need them, but don’t really have memorized.
  • Work on memorizing everything on the two lists.
  • By the time you have done this, you will have discovered more passages you want to add to the list. Memorize those too!
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Greater Than Moses

December 4, 2013

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[This is part two of a deeper study of the article 6 Ways Christ was Better than the Law. To get better context and a link to the other parts, you can click there and read it first.]

The Jews held up Moses as the one who brought the Law down from God, so it makes sense that the Hebrews writer would point to him. Moses and Jesus compare and contrast so well, that those who knew the Old Law would have a better understanding of just who Jesus was with a little study of those Scriptures.

Moses and Jesus Compared

  • Both were Israelites, there was a prophesy of the Messiah coming from the countrymen. (Deuteronomy 18:15)
  • Both were rejected (Exodus 2:14)
  • Both left better circumstances to serve: Moses from Pharaoh’s palace and Jesus from heaven
  • Both performed signs and wonders (Their first: water to blood/water to wine)

Moses and Jesus Contrasted

  • Moses a servant, Christ the Son
  • Moses was sinful, Christ is sinless (Deuteronomy 32:51,52; Hebrews 4:15)
  • Moses delivered from physical bondage, Christ from the spiritual bondage of sin
  • Moses’ mission pertained only to Israel, Christ’s, ultimately, to the “whole creation” (Mark 16:15)

Hebrews 3:1-6 appeals to the Jew’s heritage and reasoning to prove that Christ was the one appointed from God and was faithful to God’s house, just like Moses. Since Christ was the Son of God, his faithfulness is better and Christians are a part of God’s house as long as they persevere. (Hebrews 3:6)

Part 3: The Greatest High Priest

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