A story is told about a church that hosted a birthday celebration for one of its members who had reached the age of 100. One of the newer members of the church approached the guest of honor and said, “You must have seen a lot of changes in the church over the course of your lifetime.”
“Yes”, the old man replied, “And I was against every one of them!”
It has been said that negative people have a problem for every solution. Let’s be sure that we are not among those who oppose every plan that our church leaders try to implement. Let’s take a positive approach toward the changes that our leaders deem necessary in order for the church to prosper and to win more people to Jesus.
“Do everything without grumbling or arguing.”—Philippians 2:14
For years, my friend Paul Snoddy wanted to be a medical doctor. However, when he grew up Paul became a preacher, and he has had quite a successful career.
Weighing in on this career choice, Paul’s son said, “Dad, just think of all the people you would have killed!”
The Bible says that God gives us different gifts, and that we are to use proper discernment in deciding how he has enabled us to serve in his kingdom.
And, hopefully, we won’t kill anybody in the process!
“We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us…”—Romans 12:6
American troops celebrate the end of WWI
Sunday, November 11, 2018 marks the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I. This conflict was one of the most devastating wars in the history of the human race, and it was with great joy that this armistice was celebrated.
Dignitaries from the nations involved plan to meet to commemorate the anniversary of the war’s end and to celebrate the peace that was welcomed so enthusiastically at that time.
When Jesus died on the cross to pay for the sins of the world, it ushered in a new era of peace. We who believe in Jesus are no longer at war with the Creator of the universe. God, through Jesus, has made it possible for us to live peacefully with him.
Every time we gather together to take communion, we celebrate the peace that we have with God, and we remember what it took to gain that peace—the sacrifice of God’s Son Jesus!
“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God.”—Romans 5:1-2
Today I attended a Veterans Day celebration at Lewis County High School in Vanceburg, Kentucky. It was the 20th year that the school has sponsored this event. It is always a great program, and this year was one of the best.
The early part of the program consisted of a slide show of local veterans. Pictures of men and women who had served, or are currently serving in the military, appeared on the screen as music played in the background. Included with each picture was the name of the veteran and the years that they served. It was quite moving to remember those who sacrificed for their country. I was thankful for their service. It was especially rewarding to remember some who I know personally—family, friends and church members.
Every Sunday, people gather to remember the sacrifice of Jesus by taking communion together. It is a time when we can give thanks for his sacrifice, a sacrifice that was necessary in order for us to be forgiven of our sins, adopted as God’s children and given the assurance of eternal life in heaven. Remembering the sacrifice of our Lord and Savior is a deeply meaningful time of worship and thanksgiving for those of us who know Jesus.
“…Do this in remembrance of me.”—Luke 22:19.
Leonardo da Vinci
Leonardo da Vinci had started painting on a large canvas in his studio. Then he suddenly stopped working, the painting still unfinished, and summoned one of his students to come forward and complete the work. The student protested that he was both unworthy and unable to complete the great painting which his mentor had begun. But da Vinci silenced him with these words—“Will not what I have done inspire you to do your best?”
Jesus died on the cross to pay for the sins of the whole world. The work of our Master inspires us to do our best, and his power enables us to join him in finishing the work of world evangelism.
“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.”—Romans 12:1
We need a new doormat for our front porch. The one we have now is so old that it is frayed and falling apart. I guess you could say that we’ve worn out our “WELCOME”.
Proverbs 25:17 says, “Seldom set foot in your neighbor’s house—too much of you, and they will hate you.”
I suppose there is a danger of being around someone too much. The Bible encourages us to be a good neighbor by being involved in their lives. But there is a possibility of being there too much. Let’s try to be discerning as we consider how much of a presence we need to be in the lives of those around us.
Talking about political leadership, William Bennett recently said, “Sometimes you need Mother Teresa and sometimes you need Dirty Harry.” He was trying to get across the point that some situations call for soft, tender leadership, but at other times you might need to get tough.
It’s the same with leadership in the church. At times people need a soft touch. They need a leader who is sympathetic to their predicament and gentle with their words. However, there are times when a leader has to get tough. Wolves need to be chased away from the flock. Erring members need to be rebuked.
Sometimes a church leader needs to be Mother Teresa and Dirty Harry, all in the same day!
So which will you be? Soft or tough? It depends on the circumstances. Wise leaders will carefully exercise discernment before they choose their approach.
“It is possible to possess an unspoken thought.”—Anonymous
An unspoken thought—what a novel idea! In an age where social media invites us to express ourselves freely, verbal restraint is a rare commodity.
Yet the Bible consistently encourages us to be cautious about what we say and how we say it. Wise people understand that they don’t have to verbalize everything that comes to their mind.
The book of Proverbs contains a wealth of teaching concerning the proper use of the tongue. Here is just a small sampling:
“Even fools are thought wise if they keep silent, and discerning if they hold their tongues.” (17:28)
“Fools find no pleasure in understanding but delight in airing their own opinions.” (18:2)
“The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” (18:21)
Perhaps many of us would benefit from talking less and listening more.
A sea captain and his chief engineer were arguing over who was most important to the ship. To prove their point to each other, they decided to swap places. The chief engineer ascended to the bridge, and the captain went to the engine room.
Several hours later, the captain suddenly appeared on deck covered with oil and dirt. “Chief!” he yelled, waving aloft a monkey wrench. “You have to get down there. I can’t make her go!”
“Of course you can’t,” replied the chief. “She’s aground!”
Any team must depend on each of its members to do their specific jobs. We depend on each other.
“The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up one whole body. So it is with the body of Christ.”—1 Corinthians 12:12.
“We can be the light of the world without leaving our high beams on and annoying everybody.”—Bob Goff.
Regardless of what you may have heard, I am still able to drive after dark. However, I must admit that I occasionally forget to dim my lights for oncoming drivers. Sometimes they will flash their bright lights at me to remind me to dim mine.
I think Bob Goff has a point. Sometimes we Christians can be abrasive in expressing our opinions about God. This can turn some people off and hamper our efforts to spread the gospel.
Don’t get me wrong. I am not saying that our ultimate goal is to avoid annoying people. Jesus annoyed some people. You don’t get nailed to a cross because you got along with everybody!
However, we must always try to speak the truth with love. It only takes a little light to lead someone out of the darkness. Let us always strive to shine our light in the most effective way possible.
“…Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”—Matthew 5:16.