Doers of the Word...

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

 

I read these words from Oswald Chambers this morning as one portion of my devotionals and want to take this opportunity to share them with you.

“I may not understand what Jesus Christ says, but it is dangerous to say that therefore He was mistaken in what He said… Many of us are loyal to our notions of Jesus Christ, but how many of us are loyal to Him? Loyalty to Jesus means I have to step out where I do not see anything (cf. Matt. 14:29); loyalty to my notions means that I clear the ground first by my intelligence. Faith is not intelligent understanding, faith is deliberate commitment to a Person where I see no way.” (My Utmost for His Highest)


There are many things in life that I do not understand.  In fact, there are many passages in the Bible that I do not understand.  Those things, however, do not bother me nearly as much as the words in the Bible that I do understand, but fail to obey.


Starting Sunday, April 8th, our sermon series will be titled “Twelve Keys for Faithful Living,” messages that will take us through the letter from James.  Very few, if any of us, would say that the demons are going to be ‘saved.’  So, what should I think when James writes, “You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder!” (2:19) Don’t you hear people all the time say that all you must do is believe to be saved?  James does say that the demons believe, but he doesn’t say they worship and serve God.


From the time I was a child I heard ‘sin’ defined in terms of lists that were “Thou shalt not…”  Does it also bother you to hear James say, “So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him its sin” (4:17).  There are an awful lot of ‘right things’ that I am failing to do!


Maybe it is time for us, as individuals and as a church, to “be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving [ourselves]” (1:22).


Hope to see you soon so we can fellowship, study God’s Word, worship, or find some avenue to serve Him together.

Straining forward to what lies ahead... 

January 2, 2018

     Returning to the office this morning, for the first time in 2018, I couldn't help but reflect on some of the events of the past seven months.  We have worshipped together 29 times since my first Sunday with you on June 11, 2017.  During that time, we experienced seven baptisms (four adults and three youth) and one transfer of membership by another adult.

     Our focus has been on what it means to be the church and live the Christian life.  The first two months we examined what "Being the Church" means, utilizing Paul's letter to the Christians at Colossae.  Then we spent fifteen weeks in Philippians trying to let Paul help us understand "The Joy of Living in Christ." 

     The year ended with four sermons in December title "The Christmas Story... and Ruth."  We went back to the Old Testament, to the beautiful short story about Ruth and Boaz.  We learned that Ruth is a story about a young girl who, just like Mary, made a radical commitment of faith and traveled to Bethlehem to have a baby.  And Boaz, a righteous man just life Joseph, rescued Ruth be becoming a  redeemer (just like Jesus) and they all appear in Matthew's version of the genealogy of Jesus (Matthew 1:1-17).

     During the seven months, some of us have gone to George Ade Health Center to provide a worship service that included singing, a message, and the sharing of communion.  We will continue this every second Sunday of the month during the coming year.  Additionally, we will be adding a "sing along" time for the residents on the second and fourth Wednesday of each month.

     Each week on Wednesday several come out to help put together a meal for the families, and Jam (K-5) and Blast (6-8) for the youth.  Jessie and I experienced our first ever Indiana Christian Youth Convention (ICYC) in November as we took four of our Junior High and Senior High youth to Anderson, Indiana for an "overnight" of worship and fun.

     In a nutshell, it has been an active seven months... but we need to do more.  As Paul wrote, we too need to be "straining forward to what lies ahead... press[ing] on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 3: 13-14).  We need to work together to find out how we can reach the lost of our community... which means those with no real knowledge of Jesus Christ, as well as those who know a lot about him but don't seem to find the time to worship Him.

     My prayer is that God will bless us abundantly, even if it means going through some significant changes.  What do you think?