Churchgoing Is Beautiful

https://blogs.thegospelcoalition.org/trevinwax/2017/09/07/churchgoing-is-beautiful/

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Agree to Disagree

 

This saying is faithful, and concerning these things I desire that you affirm confidently, so that those who have believed God may be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable to men; but shun foolish questionings, genealogies, strife, and disputes about the law; for they are unprofitable and vain. Titus 3:8 WEB

 


Years ago, I thought that everyone needed to believe the same thing that I did, and I could make a convincing argument as to why. In Bible College, we often had vigorous discussions about some petty point of doctrine. Yet not once that I remember, did I actually convince anyone of anything except to avoid me when they saw me coming.

Jesus told us to Love God, and to love each other. Yet by large we search out reasons to disagree. It is great to witness, but when you reach a point of disagreement, and it is clear that neither party is going to change their mind, move on to the next topic. It is perfectly fine to disagree. We are all wrong about something, and no one needs our approval to go to heaven. So be nice, and be loving in your conversation.

One Big Family

 

For you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus. And all who have been united with Christ in baptism have put on Christ, like putting on new clothes. There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus. And now that you belong to Christ, you are the true children of Abraham. You are his heirs, and God’s promise to Abraham belongs to you. (Galatians 3:26-29)

Relate: Sometimes it seems like the disparate pieces don’t quite fit together. My church here in Southeast Turkey is in many ways three different churches that all meet under one roof. There is an English speaking, a Turkish speaking, and an Arabic speaking service every Sunday. Even in the English service there are between 12 to 20 different nationalities and cultures represented any given Sunday. Many of these are African and sometimes the worship can get a bit… rowdy. Others in the congregation are from Central or Eastern European countries and are coming from a very high church background where you would never imagine such exuberance in the sanctuary.

For many English is actually a second or third language and so it is difficult to structure and shape a message that can be both challenging and clearly understood. I have to admit, sometimes things don’t always fit together. Egos get in the way. Sensibilities are upset. Cultures clash. But these are moments to grow and stretch. We are a family and I don’t know about you but growing up in my home sometimes siblings…  well, they taught their parents the necessity of patience. Honestly, I would be very worried if someone said there was always perfect agreement and serenity in their home. Either someone is very dishonest or something very weird is going on in that house. I’d put my money on an alien mind control device. Is there any way I could buy it off you or at least borrow it for a couple of my classes?

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Is Your Church Messy Enough?

I love my church. I love the people I gather with week-by-week. They are fun and safe and easy to be with. But who said church should be safe and easy? What if one of the marks of a good church, a blessed church, is that it’s a messy church?

I’m sure you know of the parable of The Lost Sheep in Luke 15. We call it “The Parable of The Lost Sheep” but it is actually “The Parable of the Kind and Loving Shepherd.” The sheep aren’t the point of the story. Like so many of Jesus’ parables, this parable was told in the presence of two groups of people—people who were convinced of their own badness and people who were convinced of their own goodness. And in this case Jesus was speaking primarily to those good and religious people.

The parable is simple: A sheep has wandered off from the flock and become lost. The shepherd will not rest until he has found it and restored it to himself. He goes, he searches, he finds, he restores, he rejoices. Just think about that silly, helpless sheeping, wandering lost and alone in the wilderness. Think about that tired shepherd who had to go wandering far and wide to find him. Think of the ways he could have responded when he finally tracked it down.

The shepherd finds his sheep and rebukes it: “You stupid, ignorant sheep. How dare you wander off from me?” No. He doesn’t rebuke it.

The shepherd finds his sheep and punishes it: “You dumb, disobedient sheep. I’ll teach you to wander off!” No, he doesn’t punish it.

Read more: https://www.challies.com/articles/is-your-church-messy-enough/

Empathy

Charley. Frances. Ivan. And Jeanne. These are names we remember well. No, they’re not our grandchildren’s names. Or the names of family members. They were the 4 hurricanes that crisscrossed Florida in 2004 in what is known as “the year of the hurricane.”

We lived in Temple Terrace, a suburb of Tampa, at the time. So, we know the feelings our friends and family have been experiencing the past several days as hurricane Irma approached. The preparation. Stocking up on bottled water. Watching the news. The anticipation. Being without electricity. Staying home on Sunday since church services were canceled. Seeing the palm trees bend parallel to the ground. Watching the water flow down the street like a river. Hearing the wind howl. And praying.

Read more: https://thepreachersword.com/2017/09/11/word-of-the-week-empathy/

7 Smart Yet Simple Ways to Handle Difficult People

7 Smart Yet Simple Ways to Handle Difficult People