Tag Archives: church

Jonah and the Modern Christian

But to Jonah this seemed very wrong, and he became angry. He prayed to the Lord, “Isn’t this what I said, Lord, when I was still at home? That is what I tried to forestall by fleeing to Tarshish. I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity. Now, Lord, take away my life, for it is better for me to die than to live.”

But the Lord replied, “Is it right for you to be angry?”

Jonah had gone out and sat down at a place east of the city. There he made himself a shelter, sat in its shade and waited to see what would happen to the city. Then the Lord God provided a leafy plant and made it grow up over Jonah to give shade for his head to ease his discomfort, and Jonah was very happy about the plant. But at dawn the next day God provided a worm, which chewed the plant so that it withered. When the sun rose, God provided a scorching east wind, and the sun blazed on Jonah’s head so that he grew faint. He wanted to die, and said, “It would be better for me to die than to live.”

But God said to Jonah, “Is it right for you to be angry about the plant?”

It is,” he said. “And I’m so angry I wish I were dead.”

But the Lord said, “You have been concerned about this plant, though you did not tend it or make it grow. It sprang up overnight and died overnight. And should I not have concern for the great city of Nineveh, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left—and also many animals?” Jonah 4:1-12(NIV)

This is an illustration of the modern Christian. God tells Christians “to go into the world and make disciples.” Man says “It would be better if the people would just come to us, then we can make them disciples.”

  • Man builds a shelter (church) so they can watch people come to know the Lord.
  • God provides a vine to protect the church.
  • The church grows the church into a big plant.
  • God sends a worm to destroy the plant. (The finance company forecloses because the church cannot meet the mortgage payment)
  • Man becomes angry with God because He closed their church.

Do we have the right to be angry when church does not go our way? Or when the music is not to our liking? Or the preacher talks about sin in the sermon? Are we like Jonah?

We have become so concerned ourselves and our church operation that we tend to ignore the thousands of people who do not know the love of God; people who feel so hopeless; or people living in fear of the future. That was Jonah’s problem. He was so concerned about himself and his personal comfort that he did not want God to spare the city of Nineveh. Jonah did not want to share God’s love.

What are your concerns? Are you more concerned about your own desires that you are about those lost in sin and despair? Are you more concerned about your church or your country than you are about the spiritual condition of the people living around you? Show someone today that God loves them.

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20(NIV)

NOTE: All scripture used in this blog was downloaded from www.biblegateway.com

 

Is Same Sex Marriages the Real Problem in our Churches?

Same sex marriages are only a symptom of the real problem. When you read Romans 1:18-32, you will see the real problem. In verse 21 it states the real problem:

For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.

As a church, we have become deficient in glorifying God and in giving Him thanks. We often come to church and leave our spiritual armor at home. In our minds we say: “Why would you have to worry about the enemy in church?”

Where is the best place to attack an enemy? Is it not in the headquarters or the place where soldiers are encourage and supported? We have allowed Satan to enter the church and to lead us away from God. We are encouraged to glorify ourselves more that to glorify God. We fail to give God thanks for the things that he has provided. We are caught up in programs and facilities and have missed the real purpose for the programs and facilities.

Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles. Romans 1:22-23(NIV)

We have allowed state-of-the-art buildings, state-of-the-art sound and video equipment, and state-of-the-art programs to replace God. We no longer go to church to worship God but to worship our man-made monuments that have consumed our church budgets and our dependency on God. The same-sex marriage has become the center point of many denominations agenda. We are caught up in catering to the sin rather than delivering people from the slavery of sin. Being politically correct has replaced our witness for God. Rather than a hospital for sinners, we have become a cemetery for sinners.

They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them. Romans 1:28-32(NIV)

In Jesus time, the Pharisees were so caught up in their translation of the Law that they were missing the whole point of the Law. The church today is falling into that same trap as we dispute and argue about the church membership that includes people who have committed certain types of sin but welcome other who are caught up in other types of sinful behavior.

How does God show his wrath against all sinful humanity?

Romans 1:18-32 tells how God shows his wrath. God turns people who do not glorify God or thank him over to their sinful desires and shameful lusts. He gives them over to their depraved minds and lets them do whatever they want to do.

18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.

24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25 They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.

26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. 27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.

28 Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. 29 They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31 they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. 32 Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them. Romans 1:18-32(NIV)

In Revelation 3:14-22, John writes this about the Church of Laodicea.

 “To the angel of the church in Laodicea write:

These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation. 15 I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! 16 So, because you are lukewarm —neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. 17 You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. 18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.

19 Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent. 20 Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.

21 To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne. 22 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”

To church members and leaders I ask: “What are we going to do about sin?” Are we going to continue to be lukewarm and cave in to sin, or are we going to get back to preaching the truth and giving God the glory? Time is running out. God is about to “spit us out of (his) mouth.”

NOTE: Scripture used in this blog were downloaded from www.biblegateway.com

Religion versus Politics

In recent weeks, the people in the Unites States have been bombarded with political statements. We have watched grown men ridicule each other about insignificant issues unrelated to running a country. Many people have hung their heads in disbelief as the debate monitors have allowed personal attacks against their fellow statesman.

The public really wants to know how each candidate will deal with the crises of our economy, our morality and the invasion of our country with terrorist. We want to know how they are going to change the country to make it a better place to live.

Have you ever wondered why the politicians behave the way they do?

If you are a follower of God, listen closely! Is it possible that politicians learned that behavior in church?

For years churches have been arguing about what the church should be doing and how we should be living. Here are some things they argue about.

  • You should attend this or that church.
  • You should be baptized this way or that way.
  • You only need to be baptized once v. every time you change churches
  • You should say, or not say, “The Lord’s Prayer”, the Apostle’s Creed, if you are going to worship the way God wants you to.
  • You should only use the …version of the Bible because it is the only one that is inspired.
  • You should always use traditional music not contemporary music (or only use contemporary music not traditional music) in worship.
  • If you are a Christian, you cannot….and still go to heaven.
  • We should not use guitars in worship or we should not use the organ in worship.
  • The thermostat needs to be turned up, or turned down so I can worship.
  • We should have a Wednesday night service if we are going to worship the way God wants us to.
  • (And the list goes on)

The world has been watching the church argue for year while never addressing what we should be doing to tell of God’s love to the people without hope. If your hope is built on the church you attend, perhaps you have been serving the wrong God. God has never told us to have large church congregation. What He told us to do was to “make disciples”.

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20(NIV)

It is not a certain denomination that was told to make disciples; it was each and every person that has accepted God’s gift of salvation. Make disciples, and then bring them to church. Do not bring them to church and hope they will become disciples. Jesus called his disciple individually; he did not have a large meeting and pick them from those that attended. Jesus wants a personal relationship with you not a gang relationship.

Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. Acts 2:46-47(NIV)

The numbers of people committing suicide is drastically increasing because people do not have any hope for the future. Many of them have been told they were losers. The use of illegal drugs has increased because people are unable to deal with their situation. But God says:

 I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. John 10:9-10(NIV)

God is the only hope available to people. Are you telling them about it? or Is it possible that the politicians learned their behavior in your church?

If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets. Matthew 7:11-12(NIV)

NOTE: All scripture used in this blog were downloaded from www.Biblegateway.com

A Prescription for ‘Dying Church Syndrome’

Many of the mainline denominations are faced with churches that have only a few elderly people whose children left the church. Now they are experiencing the “dying church syndrome.”

Years ago churches were started when a few families in the neighborhood got together to share a mutual interest in spiritual matters or social gatherings. Churches were frequently used a schools during the week. Families were quite large because the family was needed to help raise the crops and livestock necessary to support the family. As the children matured, the young people chose their spouse from a family within the community. They got married and had children.  Churches grew because children were born to the congregation. However, many of the children followed Christ because that is what the family taught. It is what they were expected to do.

Over the years, families became smaller and more mobile. The young people sought jobs outside of the family business, and discovered spouses in other communities. They moved away from the community and frequently away from church. As the families grew and moved away, the churches began to decrease in size.

People began to lose interest in spiritual things. The Bible which was once the main text book in school was removed from the schools. Prayers were no longer welcome in school and at school events. The family structure began to break down. Churches were not receptive to having divorced people in their congregations, so families began leaving the church.

God intended the church to grow externally.

When Jesus gave the Great commission to his disciples in Matthew 28, He said: “Go and make disciples”. He did not say we should entice them to come so we can make them disciples.

Earlier in Jesus ministry, he illustrated to his disciples how they should make disciples. Matthew 9 is one of those illustration of how Jesus attracted church members (workers). Matthew 9:35-38(NIV) says:

Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. 36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 3Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. 38 Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”  Matthew 9:35-38(NIV)

While Jesus was going through towns and villages, he saw people that had no hope. They were behaving like sheep that had no shepherd. When he saw the crowds of people, Jesus had compassion on them. Jesus saw people who were sinning and he loved them in spite of their sin. He loved them because they were in need of what Jesus had to offer. Today, people outside of the church are needing what Christians have to offer.

The first steps in prevention of the ‘dying church syndrome’ is go to sinners, and love them regardless of their behavior and location.

The second step in prevention of the ‘dying church syndrome’ is to pray.

Pray for people to send

In Matthew 9:38, Jesus told his disciples to ‘ask the Lord of the harvest to send workers’.  Who are the workers in a church? Where do workers come from?

In this passage, workers are followers of Jesus. They are people who have denied themselves so that God would be glorified. In fact, Jesus frequently called them “fishers of men

People cannot make workers. Programs will not make workers. While the church can provide training and encouragement to the workers, only God can make workers. God is in charge of the harvest. He is the one who provides workers. God is calling us to become workers.

Conclusion

Churches and locker rooms have one thing in common. They are places where people are dressed and prepared to face the opponent. How many games have been won by the team staying in the locker room? None, the only way you can defeat the opponent is to confront them on the playing field. In the same way, Christians need to get out of church and face the opponent on the playing field.

Is God calling you to be a worker or is he calling you to be unconcerned about the harvest? Is God expecting you to leave the locker room and confront our opponent, or is He expecting you to get comfortable in His locker room, the church?

NOTE: Scripture used in this blog were downloaded from: Biblegateway.com.

Subtle Differences

When you read the scriptures, what do you look for? Are we looking for evidence that proves we are right? Are we looking for contrasts between right and wrong? Good or bad?

We tend to look for those things that separate Christians from Non-Christians. We look at things like ‘Right vs. Wrong’ and ‘Good vs. bad’; we are looking for those things that are extreme contrasts.

As we walk down life’s pathways, we want to know how we should act and what we should do.

When the non-Christian confronts the Christian, they are usually looking at those actions that seem to be opposite of what the Non-believer thinks those actions should be.

However, the real threat to Christianity today is not the extreme contrasts but the subtle contrasts that exist. We need the Holy Spirit to help us determine the subtle differences!

In 1 Peter 5:8-9 we read:

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings. 1 Peter 5:8-9 (NIV)

Christians need to be looking for prowling lions. If the lion is roaring, he has already caught his prey; His prowling has ‘paid off’!

In the Gospel of Matthew there are recorded several parables that Jesus used to teach the people about heaven and the future.

In the Matthew 25:1-13, Jesus is telling about heaven and is comparing it to a situation where ten virgins went to meet the Bride Groom.

“At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five were wise. The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. The wise ones, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep.

“At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’

“Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’

“‘No,’ they replied, ‘there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’

10 “But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut.

11 “Later the others also came. ‘Lord, Lord,’ they said, ‘open the door for us!’

12 “But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I don’t know you.’

13 “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour. Matthew 25:1-13(NIV)

In this parable, Jesus is contrasting two types of virgins: five wise virgins and five foolish virgins.

At first, we may think the wise virgins are believers and the foolish virgins are the non-believers. But when we look closely we find that all ten virgins were looking for the Bride Groom; They were all wanting to go to heaven; and They were all professing Christians.

I believe this parable is addressing the modern day church congregations, those people who want to go to heaven when they die.

All of the virgins had lamps; they all fell asleep waiting; they all heard the announcement of the Bride Groom coming; they all trimmed their lamps; but only the wise virgins had jars of oil to replenish their lamps.

In our churches today, we have professing Christians singing in the choir; serving on the worship team, serve as deacons or elders, teaching Sunday School Classes, VBS lessons, children’s services ; serving on pastor search committees; they may all volunteer for working in charitable organizations, or donate large sums of money to charity, etc. but we cannot determine from their work whether or not they are true Christians. Only God has access to the Lambs Book of Life. We do not know if people have a genuine relationship with God merely by their assignment, church membership, or appearance. We must rely on leading of the Holy Spirit.

In the same way, we cannot know which virgins are foolish and which are wise merely by their actions. However, there is one subtle difference between the foolish virgins and the wise virgins; the wise virgins had jars of oil. In other words, they had the Holy Spirit dwelling in them and depended on the Holy Spirit to light their path.

Most Bible scholars tend to agree that term ‘oil’ used in the Bible, frequently represents the Holy Spirit. Every living person has a spirit, but only those who have accepted the gift of salvation are given the Holy Spirit. In other words, wise virgins in the parable are those who have the Holy Spirit living in their lives; foolish virgins are those that are trying to get to heaven in their own strength, doing it the way that they, not God, want to do it.

When God separates the ‘sheep from the goats’, those people who are trying to get to heaven their own way, will run out of oil. Those who are trying to go to heaven God’s way, will have oil that lasts for eternity.

Do you have a jar of oil?

Inoculating Against Christianity

According to the Merriam-webster.com dictionary: To inoculate someone is ”to give that person or animal a weakened form of a disease in order to prevent infection by the disease.”

So to inoculate someone from becoming a Christian, be sure to give them a weakened form of Christianity. Here are some ways we can do that

In our churches today, we usually get a watered down message or one that is sure not to offend anyone in the congregation. We put our Christian light under a cover so as not to offend unbelievers. However in reality, we are inoculating people so they will not become a Christian. We are keeping them from seeing the full effects of a Christian life on earth.

As pastors, we are responsible to God for what we preach. If we preach only what people want to hear and not what they need to hear, we are giving them a weakened form of Christianity. 2 Timothy 4:2-4 (NIV) says it this way:

Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.

If we preach only what people want to hear, we are not following the Spirit, but rather we are following the flesh.  Even Christ when he was in the garden praying indicated that his flesh was weak. If Christ’s flesh was weak, then how can we believe that our flesh is strong enough to guide us through this lifetime?

If we are to live a strong life on earth, we must follow the Spirit.

Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God. Romans 8:5-8 (NIV)

 

Paul in his letter to the Ephesians says it this way

15 Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. 18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, 20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Ephesians 5:15-20 (NIV)

The Bible talks about weakened forms of Christianity. In the Book of Revelation, the writer tells about the seven churches. He speaks specifically about the deeds of the church in Laodicea. (Revelation 3:14-21)  In verse 15 and 16, he says:

 I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. (Revelation 3:15-16 (NIV)

Do you see yourself doing any of the following?

Twelve ways Christians inoculate people against Christianity

1. Attend church on Sundays only. Then live the rest of the week as though you don’t know who God is.

2. Attend church only at Christmas and Easter so people will know you believe in God. (This can also works as a booster shot.)

3. Read only phrases from the Bible and not the whole passage.

4. Never read through the bible more than once.

5. Attend a church where the pastor only speaks about things that make you happy, where the room temperature is always just right, and the music is always your style of music.

6. Live your life just like the non-Christian so you don’t offend the non-Christian.

7. Worry and complain about everything.

8. Complain about the government rather than pray for the leaders.

9. Welcome only the rich people to church because they help pay the bills.

10. ‘Party’ with the world so they can see you have fun too.

11. Never confront or offend anyone.

12. Make a lists of things you should  or should not do if you are a Christian and be sure to enforce it on everyone else.

Be careful, however, that the exercise of your rights does not become a stumbling block to the weak. 10 For if someone with a weak conscience sees you, with all your knowledge, eating in an idol’s temple, won’t that person be emboldened to eat what is sacrificed to idols? 11 So this weak brother or sister, for whom Christ died, is destroyed by your knowledge. 12 When you sin against them in this way and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ. 13 Therefore, if what I eat causes my brother or sister to fall into sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause them to fall. 1 Corinthians 8:9-13 (NIV)

How are you living your life? Are you following your fleshly desires and giving people just enough of Christ to inoculate them from ever becoming a Christian?

Rather than inoculate people from becoming Christians, why not let your light shine? Let them see the full picture of Christianity.

 “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:14-16 (NKJV)

 

Note: All scripture used in this blog were downloaded from www.biblegateway.com June,  2014.

Mother’s Day: and the Churches Responsibility to Mothers

To my fellow pastors concerning mother’s day.

Do any of you have women in your congregation that have had an abortion? Do you have anyone in your congregation that has recently lost a mother? Do you have any people in your congregation whose parents are divorced? Do you have any one in your congregation who has tried to have children but couldn’t? Do you have anyone in your congregation that has had an abusive mother? Or maybe they grew up being passed from one foster home to another? Do you have any mothers who gave birth out of wedlock?… And the list goes on.

Please think about what your church does to women on mother’s day. The church does not have the right to abuse women just because it is mother’s day.  The mother-child relationship of your congregation is a private issue between a child and a mother. It is not a public issue! God is in control and some mothers are struggling with what God has given them. They may not be ready to tell the whole church about their relationship with their mother. Some women have finally come to grips with their mother-child relationship and we dig it up again. Perhaps the church is placing a big stumbling block in the way of women, and preventing them from becoming the woman who God called them to be?

Does your sermon make reference to Proverbs 31?  If it does, please put the scripture in context. This writing is not about the modern day, American woman. So don’t try putting the guilt trip on women who do not live in the culture or time that the passage was written.

Why not talk to women about the plan that God has for them?  How about telling them about what the Holy Spirit wants to do in their lives? Being a Christian mother is more about spiritual living rather than it is about gaining possessions or becoming a workaholic.  How about giving them words of encouragement ?

See to it, brothers and sisters, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. 13 But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. 14 We have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original conviction firmly to the very end. Hebrews 3:12-14(NIV)

For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. 10 He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him. 11 Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. 1 Thessalonians 5:9-11(NIV)

Or perhaps you could talk about why God created woman?

But for Adam, no suitable helper was found. 21 So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and then closed up the place with flesh. 22 Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.

23 The man said,

“This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh;  she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man.”

24 That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh. Genesis 2:20b-25(NIV)

If you believe that the church has a place in the lives of mothers, then maybe mother’s day would be a good day to talk about James 1.

Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless. 27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. James 1:26-27(NIV)

Or about 1 Timothy 5

 If any woman who is a believer has widows in her care, she should continue to help them and not let the church be burdened with them, so that the church can help those widows who are really in need. 1 Timothy 5:16(NIV)

So, on mother’s day, let us give up the traditions of abusing women. Instead, let us encourage them to keep faith and to become the person that God intended them to be.

Learning New Songs

When was the last time your church sang a new song? Over the past several years, there has been some great discussion about the music sung in church. Some people enjoy new music and others despise learning a new song.

I will admit that some of the new songs are hard to sing. The trend in music is written in a higher key, making it more difficult for people with low voices to sing. Frequently, the music isn’t written in a four part harmony like the old hymns, so everyone has to sing the melody or not sing at all.

Then too, the new music is usually sung or played louder than the old songs, making it more difficult to understand the lyrics. The drum seems to be louder than the singing. They even put the drum behind screens, either to block the sound, or keep broken drum stick from flying into the congregation. I am not sure which.

The Psalmist frequently refer a new song. Psalm 33:3, Psalm 40:3, Psalm 96:1, Psalm 98:1, Psalm 144:9 and Psalm 149:1. When the Psalmist talks about a new song, he indicates that the songs are sung to God, not necessarily to other people. Songs are not written to impress people but rather to sing praise to God.

Sing joyfully to the Lord, you righteous;
it is fitting for the upright to praise him.
Praise the Lord with the harp;
make music to him on the ten-stringed lyre.
Sing to him a new song;
play skillfully, and shout for joy.
Psalm 33:1-3(NIV)

Some of us Christians are good at ‘harping’. Every time things don’t go our way in church we ‘harp’. Every time we experience pain we ‘harp’. When the government doesn’t do what we think it should do we ‘harp’. This ‘harping’ is not a new song but is the same type of ‘harping’ that the Israelites did many years ago when they were in the wilderness. This harping is usually not done to God but rather is done to others or to the unbeliever. Seldom does it bring people to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.

But for true believers in Christ, the ones with the Father’s name written on their forehead; if we don’t like new songs, we will be miserable when we get to heaven.

This is what John said in the book of Revelation.

Then I looked, and there before me was the Lamb, standing on Mount Zion, and with him 144,000 who had his name and his Father’s name written on their foreheads. And I heard a sound from heaven like the roar of rushing waters and like a loud peal of thunder. The sound I heard was like that of harpists playing their harps. And they sang a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and the elders. No one could learn the song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth. These are those who did not defile themselves with women, for they remained virgins. They follow the Lamb wherever he goes. They were purchased from among mankind and offered as firstfruits to God and the Lamb. No lie was found in their mouths; they are blameless. Revelation 14:2-5(NIV)

So, what about your church music? When you sing, are you proclaiming what God is doing or are you just reliving the past, singing the same old songs?

The Bible tells about a new heaven and a new earth.

Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” Revelation 21:1-5(NIV)

Are you prepared to sing a new song?

 

NOTE: All scriptures quoted in the blog were taken from http://www.biblegateway.com November 18, 2013.