Browsing "Faith"
Aug 12, 2015 - Faith, Worship    4 Comments

WHAT’S YOUR SUNDAY’S BEST?

Several months ago I was sitting in a booth at Bruegger’s with my wife, Amy, and our youngest daughter, Ella.  A waitress named Sue Ellen commented on the black Fedora hat that I was wearing.  As Sue Ellen continued wiping down the tables around us, she shared how she remember the times when men wore Fedoras and how she loved that.  These days, people dress any old way they please, she continued.  Sue Ellen went on to share how she saw a lady in church one Easter Sunday wearing an Easter hat. After service she followed this young lady outside.  Sue Ellen told the woman how great she looked and how she so much appreciated seeing people coming to church dressed in their Sunday best.

I knew exactly what she meant by Sunday’s best.  I, too, grew up in an era where when you entered into the House of God you wore your best.  Everyone had at least one set of dress clothes that they wore to church known as “your Sunday’s best.”  Even though it was the same outfit every Sunday, it was the best you had.  It wasn’t a matter of looking better then someone else, you just wanted to honor God with what you had.  Even if it wasn’t much … like hand-me-downs from another family member or friend.

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I guess times have changed and with it comes our new value system in what one believes will bring honor to God.  The truth of the matter is some of us no longer care how we dress or look. There seems to be now a loose dress code that we put under the pretense that we don’t want to make others feel uncomfortable when they come to worship.

I would that we all felt the same way about our sins towards Jesus and how we affect other people when our behavior doesn’t match our faith.  We have great freedom in the Spirit. But, our freedom should never allow us to become so lax, just to make others feel more comfortable by lowering the standard (bar) just for the sake of it.  What cause or occasion would they then have to raise the bar (standard) if we have grown so lax?  Don’t get me wrong, this is not about clothing or a dress code at all, it’s about the condition of our hearts.

APOSTLE PAUL’S USE OF HIS FREEDOM.

I don’t believe that’s what apostle Paul meant when he said, “Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible.  To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law.  To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law.  To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some.  I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.” 1 Corinthians 9:19-23

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Jun 5, 2015 - Faith, Spiritual Growth    2 Comments

PLAYING IT SAFE

Last week I left you with what it takes to become a deep end Christian.  Things like – Determination … Risk … Bravery … Hope … Hard Work … Persistence … Fearlessness … Effort … These are what it will take to venture out into the deep water with God.  This week I want to continue on the topic of Shallow End Christians.  I want to look at why Christians might choose to remain is the shallow end instead of swimming and enjoying the deeper things of the word of God.

NON-SWIMMER REMAIN IN THE SHOLLOW END

Stay where it’s safe is where we all like to be.  The fear of the unknown has held a lot of us captive, myself included.  I believe that so many of us Christians have adapted to playing it safe for so long that we forgotten what’s it like to challenge ourselves.

Only the individuals know why they have no desire to exceed the boundaries of the shallow end. Allow me to share with you what I know based on my own experience.  Most often it not what you know but what you believe about what know that can make all the difference.  Truth is, your belief system can keep you in the shallow end of your faith and relationship with Jesus or it can catapult you into the deeper things of God.  I believe that fear is the main culprit behind being content with remaining in the shallow end of the word of God. Things that builds and strengthen our relatioship with Jesus are ingnored for playing it safe.

PLAYING IT SAFE

I’m sure that most Christians have heard the story of the five talents.  It’s a story about stewardship and the state of readiness (watching).images  But I also see it as an illustration of a servants foolish attempt at playing it safe.  For those of us who don’t know the story, it is the kingdom of God being compared to a man going on a journey.   He called his servants together and entrusted some of his wealth to each of them.  The man expected his servants to manage his wealth in ways that would bring about a profit.  This man not only gave each of them huge sums of monies, he also invested in their lives.  In this parable, the man is none other than Jesus, the returning King Of Kings.

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May 20, 2015 - Faith, Spiritual Growth    4 Comments

SHALLOW END CHRISTIANS

I was talking to a friend the other day and this topic kept resurfacing during our dialogue … Christians who are only willing to go so far into the word of God. Why is it that some Christians become content and don’t desire to go deeper into the word of God?  I thought, perhaps, it is for some of the same reasons that people stay in the shallow end of a swimming pool with no desire to ever learn to swim in the deep end.

I WANT TO SWIM IN THE DEEP END 

When I shared this with my wife, Amy, she reminded me of our younger daughter Ella’s determination to pass the deep end test last summer at our town pool.  At the start of the summer, Ella started begging us to let her take the deep end test.  We didn’t think she was quite ready and we tried to counsel her to wait a bit.  We told her that if you try to take the test before you’re ready and fail the life guard will watch you all the more closely the next time.  And, it will be harder and harder to pass each time you have to take it.

imageWe thought we had persuaded Ella to wait; until one hot afternoon when Amy and I decided to take the girls down to the town pool for a swim.  We thought we would have a relaxing afternoon in the sun fellowshipping while we watched our daughters swim.  Emma Grace, then nine, played a little in the shallow end with her little sister until she befriended some girls more her age who were swimming in the deep end.  Well, it didn’t take long before Ella came out of the pool saying, “I want to take the deep end test!”

How can you say no to such a determined spirit.  When we said, OK, Ella’s face lit up, she couldn’t have been more excited.  Her teeth were chattering and her zero body fat body was shaking as we walked her over to the lifeguard’s chair to take the test.

PUTTING WHAT YOU’VE LEARDED TO THE TEST

Ella was instructed to go into the shallow end of the pool and swim on her stomach to the deep end swimming underneath the pool’s safety floating line.  Then, she needed to swim on her back to the safety line and finally tread water for 60 seconds.   Mom and I walked the length of the pool encouraging her as she swam.  While still in the deep end the lifeguard told Ella to now tread water for sixty seconds.  This was the hardest part for her.  Because she has zero body fat, her little body wants to sink like an anchor.  Well, our little Miss Ella was determined.  It looked like she would rather drown before not passing that deep in test.

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