Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Because We Have Heard

"We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
when we pray for you, since we heard of your faith in Jesus Christ
and of the love that you have for all the saints."
Colossians 1:3-4

Bill Gaither once told a delightful story about his grandfather, Grover Gaither. Bill and Gloria wanted to buy a piece of farm property owned by Mr. Yule, a kind man but one who was known never to sell his property. Bill decided to try anyway. Looking at Bill & Gloria over his bifocals, Mr. Yule said "not selling. I promised it to a farmer for grazing." As Bill was about to leave, Mr. Yule said "Did you say your last name was Gaither? Any relation to Grover Gaither?" Bill replied, "Yes sir. He was my granddad." Mr. Yule put down his paper and removed his glasses. "Interesting. Grover Gaither was the best worker I ever had on my farm. Full day's work for a full day's pay. Very honest man. Tell you what, maybe we can talk a little more about this property you wanted."

Bill & Gloria eventually bought property based upon the reputation of a man who had already died. All of us have a reputation. We can't avoid it. We are known for something. How wonderful would it be to be known like the Colossians were known. They had a reputation for having an unwavering commitment to Jesus and for demonstrating love and generosity to their fellow believers.

How will your neighbors and grandchildren remember you?  Be known for something that counts for all eternity.

Monday, March 26, 2012

They Murmered in Their Tents

"They murmured in their tents, and did not obey the voice of the LORD."
Psalm 106:25

Sitting with dear friends around their dinning room table, I noticed a shift in the conversation had occurred. What started out as a happy conversation about their church began turning sour. Soon my friends were grumbling about their pastor, complaining about some of their fellow congregants, and expressing irritation at the selection of last Sunday's music. It wasn't just mom and dad...soon their teenage children were actively joining with complaints of their own. 

After a while I looked over to the husband and asked him to take a walk with me outside. Once outdoors I said, "I love you and everyone around that table. But brother, that conversation sounded like something from the Devil." I've never been invited back.

Christians have always cherished the home. It is a place of refuge and refreshment, a place where we can 'let our hair down' and be ourselves. But it is also the place where we sin the most. Ancient Israel murmured against God and Moses in the privacy of their homes ("tents"). The Hebrew word for murmur means 'to complain, to whisper, to backbite'. It refers to the subtle expressions of irritation or displeasure in others. Of course, they would never say these things openly, but in their homes they revealed their disobedient hearts. But God hears and sees us even in the privacy of our homes.

Parents, what legacy are you passing onto your children? A legacy of consistent faith? Or a legacy that teaches them to walk in godliness publicly, but privately act like the Devil?

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Theological and moral superiority

When a congregation becomes convinced of its theological and moral superiority it is inevitable that it will neglect the foundational teachings of the Bible. In the guise of orthodoxy, it will cease to tell the truth for in their mind error and sin is defined as something outside of themselves. In the guise of biblical teaching it will impose its own self-will on others. The biblical foundations of forgiveness, charity, submission to one another, protecting reputations, and self-sacrifice will not be abandoned completely, but they will be altered so as to retain the appearance of faithfulness, though lacking its power. While proclaiming the healing of Christ, such a congregation will only destroy and maim. It has become a mockery before the throne of the life-giving God.
Pastor Josh Gelatt