Churchie Feeds

Re-post: An Exchange of Smiles at Walmart

Just Call Me Pastor - Tue, 02/25/2020 - 02:09

It was mid-afternoon and I was pushing my grocery cart toward the exit of Walmart when a middle-aged woman entering the store flashed me a big smile. I suddenly realized that I had been smiling at some pleasant thought and she must have thought I was smiling at her. Or perhaps she was just saying she was happy, too.

My observation is that not much smiling goes on in grocery stores. After all, there’s a lot to think about while shopping, like comparing the costs of two brands of paper towels or two different grades of eggs, or checking the calorie count of whole-grain Cheerios. And while you are doing all this, you have to make sure your grocery cart doesn’t get in the way of other shoppers.

(Someone should do a study about smiles in a grocery store. What percentage of shoppers smile at fellow shoppers in any one afternoon? What is most likely to prompt smiles? Do people who smile spend more or less money on average? Some pollster could figure out how to frame the questions. Anyhow, news reports citing such statistics would be a welcome relief from the poll results for presidential hopefuls we are treated to daily.)

Maybe an additional reason I don’t smile enough when I work my way down a shopping list in the grocery store is that grocery shopping is a relatively new experience for me. I’m still awkward at it. I’ve taken it up only since retiring and I’m not as patient and discriminating about it as Kathleen is. I sometimes bring the wrong thing home (like apple juice instead of apple cider vinegar).

Back when I was an assigned pastor I had a self-imposed rule that I would not run errands like grocery shopping during working hours. Some of my pastor friends thought this was too rigorous but I had a reason. During working hours I was on duty. I knew that the high-school principal couldn’t take time off during the day to slip away to a grocery store for a couple of items she forgot the night before. And the vice-president of the bank couldn’t slip out for half an hour to get a dozen eggs. These people were on duty. Why shouldn’t working pastors consider themselves on duty also?

It is true that a pastor’s work sometimes beckons during hours when others are finished for the day. Even so, it may not appear professional to parishioners that their pastor is pushing a shopping cart at 10 a.m.

The context of my self-imposed regulation during pastoral days was my strong work ethic — not a slavish one, not a compulsive one, but one exercised with a robust joy in making time count and in letting my people know that I took my assignment seriously.

That same thought brings me joy in setting myself a working schedule during retirement years — though one not so rigorous — and that may well be why I was smiling as I headed out of Walmart.

Photo credit: Rupert Taylor-Price (via flickr.com)

Categories: Churchie Feeds

Threshold Jr – Feb 26th – Gargon Pt 2!

Mark Hughes (Church of the Rock) - Mon, 02/24/2020 - 14:31

This week!

Gargon Pt 2
February 26th – Wednesday 7-9 pm
We turn out the lights and try to find the flashlight pieces to destroy the Gargon! We start a new faith based series on Jesus!

The week after that…

Threshold Jr Retreat
Fundraiser at Promise Keepers
March 7th **SATURDAY**
8:00 am-12:30 pm
We will be making sandwiches and selling food at the Promise Keepers event at COTR.
Everyone who comes will get a big discount ($50-80).
sign-up by email mathew@churchoftherock.ca

The week after that…

Tobogganing
March 11th – Friday 7:11pm – 10pm

It’s not too hot and not too cold, perfect time to sled! We’ll have hot chocolate and sleds! But feel free to bring your own!
WAIVERS HERE

MONTHLY CALENDAR

  Click here for this month’s calendar

The post Threshold Jr – Feb 26th – Gargon Pt 2! appeared first on Church of The Rock.

Categories: Churchie Feeds

High School Ministry – Feb 28th – Game Show Night!

Mark Hughes (Church of the Rock) - Mon, 02/24/2020 - 14:31


This week!


Game Show Night
February 28th- Friday 7:11-10:pm
We love to play game shows for prizes! This is your chance to win big! Join us!

The week after that…

Camp Fundraiser at P.K 
March 6th & 7th Friday & Saturday
Volunteering at the fundraiser will grant the student $50-80 off their cost!
The following shifts are needed.
1. Fri (5:30 pm -10:00 pm- 15 people)
2. Sat(8:00 am-12:30 pm-most help)
3. Sat(12:00 pm-4:30 pm-15 people)
EMAIL MATHEW at mathew@churchoftherock.ca

The week after that…

Tobogganing
March 13th – Friday 7:11-10:pm
If its not too hot and not too cold, perfect time to sled! We’ll have hot chocolate and sleds! But feel free to bring your own!
Waivers HERE

MONTHLY CALENDAR
Click here for this month’s calendar

The post High School Ministry – Feb 28th – Game Show Night! appeared first on Church of The Rock.

Categories: Churchie Feeds

Elevate Worship Night

Mark Hughes (Church of the Rock) - Tue, 02/18/2020 - 17:59

Join us as we worship together!

Elevate Worship Night
Sunday, January 26
Youth Room
7:00 PM

We’re finishing off our “Take Me Higher” series from Isaiah 40:31. Hear from one of our young adult leaders as they share their experience with walking without growing faint. And join us in praising our Lord.

The post Elevate Worship Night appeared first on Church of The Rock.

Categories: Churchie Feeds

High School Ministry – Feb 21st – Gargon Pt 2!

Mark Hughes (Church of the Rock) - Mon, 02/17/2020 - 17:34


This week!


Gargon Pt 2
February 21st – Friday 7:11-10 PM

We turn out the lights and try to find the flashlight pieces to destroy the Gargon! We start a new faith-based series on Jesus!

The week after that…

Game Show Night
February 28th- Friday 7:11-10:pm
We love to play game shows for prizes! This is your chance to win big! Join us!

The week after that…

Camp Fundraiser at P.K 
March 6th & 7th Friday & Saturday
Volunteering at the fundraiser will grant the student $50-80 off their cost!
The following shifts are needed.
1. Fri (5:30 pm -10:00 pm-10 people)
2. Sat(8:00 am-12:30 pm-most help)
3. Sat(12:00 pm-4:30 pm-10 people)
EMAIL MATHEW at mathew@churchpftherock.ca

The week after that…

Tobogganing
March 13th – Friday 7:11-10:pm
If its not too hot and not too cold, perfect time to sled! We’ll have hot chocolate and sleds! But feel free to bring your own!

MONTHLY CALENDAR

 
Click here for this month’s calendar

 

The post High School Ministry – Feb 21st – Gargon Pt 2! appeared first on Church of The Rock.

Categories: Churchie Feeds

Threshold Jr – Feb 19th – U-Puttz Amusement Park!

Mark Hughes (Church of the Rock) - Mon, 02/17/2020 - 16:48

This week!


U-Puttz Amusement Park
February 19th – Wednesday **6:45-9 pm**
COST: $19

Laser Tag, Bumper Cars, Mini-Golf – Oh my! Yes, we’re going to U-Puttz to have an amazing time together! Drop-off and pick-up at church!
WAIVER FORMS NEEDED.

The week after that…

Gargon Pt 2
February 26th – Wednesday 7-9 pm
We turn out the lights and try to find the flashlight pieces to destroy the Gargon! We start a new faith based series on Jesus!

The week after that…

Threshold Jr Retreat
Fundraiser at Promise Keepers
March 7th **SATURDAY**
8:00 am-12:30 pm
We will be making sandwiches and selling food at the Promise Keepers event at COTR.
Everyone who comes will get a big discount ($50-80).

MONTHLY CALENDAR

  Click here for this month’s calendar

 

The post Threshold Jr – Feb 19th – U-Puttz Amusement Park! appeared first on Church of The Rock.

Categories: Churchie Feeds

Re-post: Everybody Talkin’ ‘Bout Heaven Ain’t Goin’ There

Just Call Me Pastor - Mon, 02/17/2020 - 11:00

Sermon on the Mount by Carl Heinrich Bloch

In the flow of daily life we take seriously many behavioral restrictions: stop signs, red lights, legal notices, restricted crosswalks. It’s in our interest to do so. But do we pay attention to words of warning such as the ones Jesus spoke near the end of the Sermon on the Mount? He says:

Not everyone who says to me, “Lord, Lord,” will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?” Then I will tell them plainly, “I never knew you. Away from me, you evil-doers.’’ (Matthew 7:21-23)

Attention to that warning is more important to us than stopping at a million stop signs, for we neglect Jesus’ words to our eternal peril. When Jesus speaks of “that day” in the passage quoted above he means the day of final judgment. In the New Testament this is also called “the day of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 1:8; see also Philippians 1:6, 10).

In his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus, the young prophet and proclaimer of eternal truths, tells us that at the end of history and at the time of this final judgment he will know the hearts of all men and will have power to forever banish some from the heavenly kingdom, saying to them: I never knew you. Away from me, you evil-doers (Matthew 7:23).

Jesus proclaims here that there will be some who will be rejected even though they claim to have done great, even miraculous, ministries in his name. They will say in surprise, and maybe with reproach: Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles? (7:22)

Instead of accepting all, including this group of false religious achievers, Jesus makes clear there will be only one category of believers who will be received into the kingdom of heaven. It will be those who have paused to pay careful attention to the will of my Father who is in heaven (7:21b).

Heart obedience, it seems, is the key. That is, the heart’s obedience to the Father’s will, rather than general and especially self-directed service or accomplishment. That heart obedience will be the fundamental criterion for anyone’s acceptance into heaven.

To explain why that first group with apparent claims to heaven will be rejected, Jesus makes clear that in “that day,” even dramatic religious performance like the casting out of demons in the Lord’s name will not be enough.

This issue of heart obedience is addressed repeatedly in Scripture. Isaiah said of a very religious generation: The Lord says: “These people come near me with their mouth / and honor me with their lips, / but their hearts are far from me” (Isaiah 29:13a). And in the closing hours of his earthly life, Jesus said to his closest followers: Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching (John 14:23a).

One needs to stop and ponder. In both Testaments, the obedience of the heart is the big issue. Even attempting wonders in Christ’s name will not count if the heart has not been open in submission and obedience to the Father.

There’s a line in a well-known spiritual that likely was inspired by these words of Jesus about the judgment: “Everybody talkin’ ’bout heaven that ain’t goin’ there — O my Lord.” This should awaken us to examine ourselves for both inward and outward obedience to the Father. Only those who do the will of my Father in Heaven, Jesus says, will enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

Categories: Churchie Feeds

Threshold Jr – Feb 12th – Gross Out Night Pt 2!

Mark Hughes (Church of the Rock) - Mon, 02/10/2020 - 14:44

This week!


Gross Out Night Pt 2.
February 12th – Wednesday 7-9 pm

We had so much fun getting grossed out, we’re going to do it all again! We’ll continue our series on Jesus!

The week after that…

U-Puttz Amusement Park
February 19th – Wednesday **6:45-9 pm**
COST: $19

Laser Tag, Bumper Cars, Mini-Golf – Oh my! Yes, we’re going to U-Puttz to have an amazing time together! Drop-off and pick-up at church!
WAIVER FORMS NEEDED.

The week after that…

Gargon Pt 2
February 26th – Wednesday 7-9 pm
We turn out the lights and try to find the flashlight pieces to destroy the Gargon! We start a new faith based series on Jesus!

 

MONTHLY CALENDAR

  Click here for this month’s calendar

 

The post Threshold Jr – Feb 12th – Gross Out Night Pt 2! appeared first on Church of The Rock.

Categories: Churchie Feeds

High School Ministry – Feb 14th – Game Show!

Mark Hughes (Church of the Rock) - Mon, 02/10/2020 - 14:44


This week!

Game Show
February 14th – Friday 7:11-10 PM

Valentine’s Gameshow and finishing our series called ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’.

The week after that…

Gargon Pt 2
February 21st – Friday 7:11-10 PM

We turn out the lights and try to find the flashlight pieces to destroy the Gargon! We start a new faith-based series on Jesus!

The week after that…

Game Show Night
February 28th- Friday 7:11-10:pm
We love to play game shows for prizes! This is your chance to win big! Join us!

MONTHLY CALENDAR

 
Click here for this month’s calendar

 

The post High School Ministry – Feb 14th – Game Show! appeared first on Church of The Rock.

Categories: Churchie Feeds

How the Apostle John Guided the Church in Truth

Just Call Me Pastor - Mon, 02/10/2020 - 11:00

By the time the New Testament church had grown partly from a likely influx of second-generation believers, the integrity of the gospel had begun to fade in some quarters, and heretical elements were seeping into the ranks

The early Apostles were deeply concerned. They had governing authority over the church as given by Jesus.

When the beloved Apostle John wrote his first of three letters he exercised that authority. He was keenly aware of deviations from the truth of the gospel and he adroitly addressed them and called for repentance.

His first epistle reflects these facts. He opens his letter with a beautiful tribute to the wonder of the incarnated Lord.

I regard this manner of his address as a key element in his style of governance. The first paragraph is often called a prologue but I refer to it here as an anchor point. It was a call to first look beyond the present troubling issues that clouded the church’s faith and begin with a time of reflection to worship the incarnate Lord.

Thus, John’s anchor point: The Lord is from the beginning. He is forever. He enters fully into humanity. It was a miraculous manner of entering. Though he is eternal, the Apostles actually saw him. They even touched him. Both his deity and his humanity were celebrated.

As you will see, the Apostle proclaimed the Incarnation at the outset of his address. This proclamation was for one purpose, he says: to identify the sin in their midst leading to repentance and in so doing to renew the joys that come with genuine faith — this was his first leadership step (1 John 1:1-4).

As a second aspect of his leadership John addresses his readers with warm terms of endearment: My dear children (2:1), dear friends (2:7), dear brothers (3:13), and so forth. He was not coming to them as the sheriff. He addressed them with deep affection. Fifteen times in his first letter he identifies believers affirmatively in this fashion.

One might think that such gentleness of address to a group of faltering believers would show the Apostle as soft, shallow, easy to resist.

Not so. In fact, the third aspect of his leadership was his clarity with the truth and his directness in stating issues of life and death. In fact, in this third aspect, John continues his communication with a candor that is solemn:

Whoever says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person. But if anyone obeys his word, love for God is truly made complete in them. (John 2:4-6)

He reveals his commitment to eternal truth as of issue above all else. In spite of his good will toward those who heard or read him, he was not there to bargain on truth itself.

What could he state more clearly than the following:

This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth (1 John 1:5-6).

This must be called loving candor.

This gem of a letter is filled with such measured but penetrating words. But there is one more element in the Apostle’s directness that must be factored into his address in large measure. This measure was likely effective in facing the perilous disorder in the church.

The Apostle repeatedly reminds them of their status in faith: they are “born again.” That is, they are regenerated; they have received the gift of the Spirit; they have inner experience enabled by new life. All of this is implicit in the term born again. By this reality they are bound to the Lord and to one another. This puts them under obligation. Seven times he refers to their new birth (2:29; 3:10; 3:19; 4:8: 5:1; 5:14; 5:18). That emphasis cannot be without purpose.

He writes, for example: … for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith (1 John 5:4). Because of their “regeneration,” their flirting with the manners and inducements of the fallen world had to be repented of and had to cease. He identifies those inducements one after another in his letter and reminds them they are born again. 

The church in every age is tempted to drift from purity of heart and life. Heresy so readily reveals its deviant ways. This epistle is given to Christ’s church in all generations to identify and to correct its wanderings.

Photo credit: Paul VanDerWerf (via flickr.com)

Categories: Churchie Feeds

Rock Talks: Key Relationships in Your 20’s

Mark Hughes (Church of the Rock) - Mon, 02/10/2020 - 02:17

Whether it’s friendships or family, we can all agree that relationships take work!

Key Relationships in Your 20’s
Thursday, February 20
Youth Room
7:30 PM

Join us for a panel discussion with Mathew Povey and Tammy Junghans as they share their experiences in building and maintaining healthy relationships in your 20’s.

Consider these topics:

–  creating your inner circle,
–  types of relationships, and
–  becoming the friend you need

The post Rock Talks: Key Relationships in Your 20’s appeared first on Church of The Rock.

Categories: Churchie Feeds

High School Ministry – Feb 7th – Missionfest!

Mark Hughes (Church of the Rock) - Mon, 02/03/2020 - 18:25


This week!

Mission Fest
February 7th – Friday 7:00 – 10 PM

We will be meeting at My Church Winnipeg to experience an epic concert by BOLD AS LIONS! YAS!

The week after that…

Game Show
February 14th – Friday 7:11-10 PM

Valentine’s Gameshow and finishing our series called ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’.

The week after that…

Gargon Pt 2
February 21st – Friday 7:11-10 PM

We turn out the lights and try to find the flashlight pieces to destroy the Gargon! We start a new faith-based series on Jesus!

MONTHLY CALENDAR

 
Click here for this month’s calendar

 

The post High School Ministry – Feb 7th – Missionfest! appeared first on Church of The Rock.

Categories: Churchie Feeds

Threshold Jr – Feb 5th – Blindfold Game Night!

Mark Hughes (Church of the Rock) - Mon, 02/03/2020 - 17:57

This week!

Blindfold Night
February 5th – Wednesday 7-9 pm
How well can you rely on your other senses? Play these crazy games for prizes! We will be starting a new series on Jesus!

The week after that…

Gross Out Night Pt 2.
February 12th – Wednesday 7-9 pm

We had so much fun getting grossed out, we’re going to do it all again! We’ll continue our series on Jesus!

The week after that…

U-Puttz Amusement Park
February 19th – Wednesday **6:45-9 pm**
COST: $19

Laser Tag, Bumper Cars, Mini-Golf – Oh my! Yes, we’re going to U-Puttz to have an amazing time together! Drop-off and pick-up at church!
WAIVER FORMS NEEDED.

MONTHLY CALENDAR

  Click here for this month’s calendar

 

The post Threshold Jr – Feb 5th – Blindfold Game Night! appeared first on Church of The Rock.

Categories: Churchie Feeds

Repost: Resisting the Peril of Narcissism

Just Call Me Pastor - Mon, 02/03/2020 - 11:00

Narcissus by Caravaggio

Narcissus was a mythological figure known for his beauty, who, it is said, looked into a pool and fell in love with his own reflection.

Drawn from this story, narcissism is the term used to describe people who are excessively self-absorbed and preoccupied with their own imagined superiority. They may come across as strong and self-assured, but when their self-satisfaction and high self-regard are not honored as they expect, they are likely to react in a surge of punishing anger, insults, or even violence. The so-called big ego turns out to be amazingly fragile. (For those interested, there is a quieter covert, or vulnerable, form of narcissism, too.)

Narcissism has been on the rise in recent years. It often is manifested by a strong sense of entitlement. “I’m special and I deserve special treatment.” “I’ll not take just any job.”

So why is this in the news in growing measure these days?

Brad Bushman of Ohio State University and others have conducted various studies to understand the cause of narcissism. My takeaway understanding is that narcissism doesn’t come, as previously thought, from lack of parental warmth but instead can be traced to parents who “overvalue” their children during the developmental stage of their lives. Children between six and eight are especially sensitive to this kind of unwise parental influence.

If during those years children are continually told they are superior, are more special than others, do things better than others and in these ways are put on a pedestal, they may internalize an unrealistic view of themselves. Other people begin not to matter.

One might assume from the findings of such studies that the condition is planted by parents who have a need to reach some personal achievement of their own vicariously through their children. They believe their child can do no wrong; their child is unusual in every respect; their child deserves special attention from kindergarten on.

The need to foster healthy self-esteem in children is an entirely different matter. Self-esteem develops when children are helped to internalize the sense that they are valuable individuals but not that they can do no wrong. As they grow up, such children will get the appropriate amount of teaching, nurture, and encouragement but equally importantly, correction, discipline, and such otherwise character-shaping treatment as needed, all within the context of warm adult parental love. It is “overvaluing” that does the damage.

Christian parents are in danger of unwittingly fostering narcissism in their children by absorbing the culture around them. Thankfully, however, they can instead take their teaching from the Scriptures and Judeo-Christian understandings of fallen human nature.

Such parents know from Scripture that children are not a possession; they are a trust from God and must be raised with that in mind. Valuable as we are to God and one another we are all flawed and that fact should be kept in sight as we raise children.

Christian parents will not therefore be surprised when they catch a child in the first lie, or see the first tantrum. Dealing with these both with love and firmness is very important.

Christian parents will affirm their children’s achievements to a degree appropriate to their ages and commensurate with the actual achievement. When a four-year-old makes his bed or a seven-year-old sets the table he or she is thanked, but not raved over as if that was the most amazing thing anyone had ever done. And when they do wrong, the call to account should be real.

Christian parents pray daily with their children, and in this setting the Christian view of human nature may be shared at an age-appropriate level. Children can be helped to face and accept their failures as well as their successes. The early teaching of a developing child to worship God who is majestic and holy and far above them, and to say I’m sorry when appropriate, is a first line against the development of narcissism.

Categories: Churchie Feeds

Praying for Our Daily Bread… Abandoning Tomorrow’s Worries

The Idol Babbler - Fri, 07/27/2018 - 20:31

“How great the value which this truth teaches us to attach to each single day! We are so easily led to look at life as a great whole, and to neglect the little to-day, to forget that the single days do indeed make up the whole, and that the value of each single day depends on its influence on the whole. One day lost is a link broken in the chain, which it often takes more than another day to mend. One day lost influences the next, and makes its keeping more difficult. Yea, one day lost may be the loss of what months or years of careful labour had secured. The experience of many a believer could confirm this.”Andrew Murray

A good friend of mine posted this quote on social media. I can relate, because there are days where my goal is to just get through it… rather than slowing down to take in the moments that God has given me.

Praying for Our Daily Bread

This goes along with something which has impacted my prayer life recently… realizing that my prayers (as taught by Christ Himself) ought to focus on today, and not necessarily tomorrow or the next day, but today. Not that it is wrong for me to pray about tomorrow, but maybe it is more proper for me to pray for TODAY, how I am to deal with what I might see on the horizon. The thing is, the horizon may or may not ever come. Therefore, I ought to instead focus on asking the Lord to be with me this day. After all, Jesus did not teach His disciples to pray for tomorrow’s bread, but today’s…

Matthew 6:11 (HCSB)
Give us today our daily bread.

A few verses later, Jesus made this point about putting too much emphasis upon tomorrow, rather than today…

Matthew 6:33-34 (HCSB)
But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you. Therefore don’t worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

The half-brother of Jesus would later also touch upon this concept when he wrote to the 12 tribes in the dispersion regarding their materialistic mindset…

James 4:13-15 (HCSB)
Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will travel to such and such a city and spend a year there and do business and make a profit.” You don’t even know what tomorrow will bring — what your life will be! For you are like smoke that appears for a little while, then vanishes.
Instead, you should say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.”

Abandoning Tomorrow’s Worries

It is so tempting to get caught up in what tomorrow might bring.

As James wrote, we must realize that our lives are “like smoke that appears for a little while, then vanishes.” It is why Jesus encouraged that our prayers be rooted in today, instead of tomorrow.

May we (Christians) learn to pray about the moment we are in, abandoning the worry we create when we lose sight of the peace that Christ has provided us….

Philippians 4:4-7 (HCSB)
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your graciousness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses every thought, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

Godspeed, to the brethren!

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Categories: Churchie Feeds

Loving His Manner

The Idol Babbler - Mon, 07/02/2018 - 23:46

This blog article can now be found here.

theidolbabbler is now a proud blog contributor to the Bible Thumping Wingnut Network.

Categories: Churchie Feeds

A Simple Way to Explain to an Unbeliever Why We Are Guilty Before God

The Idol Babbler - Sun, 06/24/2018 - 23:17

This blog article can now be found here.

theidolbabbler is now a proud blog contributor to the Bible Thumping Wingnut Network.

Categories: Churchie Feeds

That Helpful Tension

The Idol Babbler - Wed, 06/13/2018 - 19:46

Matthew 22:34-40 (HCSB)
When the Pharisees heard that He had silenced the Sadducees, they came together. And one of them, an expert in the law, asked a question to test Him: “Teacher, which command in the law is the greatest?” He said to him, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and most important command. The second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets depend on these two commands.”

Jesus said that “all the Law and the Prophets” depend on love. They do not depend on anything else. If we take away love, we take away the foundation.

What happens if we take away love, what would all the Law and the Prophets then stand upon?

…Nothing.

When Paul wrote to the Corinthians, he talked about this same theme, mentioning some other things which become meaningless when love is removed from the equation…

1 Corinthians 13:1-3 (HCSB)
If I speak human or angelic languages
but do not have love,
I am a sounding gong or a clanging cymbal.
If I have the gift of prophecy
and understand all mysteries
and all knowledge,
and if I have all faith
so that I can move mountains
but do not have love, I am nothing.
And if I donate all my goods to feed the poor,
and if I give my body in order to boast
but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Possessing a great acumen for oration, having an incredible wealth of knowledge, or even consistently displaying a sincere religious fervor, none of these things matter if they are not backed by love. Not even an impressive resume of charitable giving carries any weight when love is not in the picture. Take away love, you take away everything. When it comes to God and love, we must remember: when John described who God is, he said that He is love…

1 John 4:8 (HCSB)
The one who does not love does not know God, because God is love.

If love is what the Law and the Prophets depend upon (as Jesus taught), and if God is love (as John tells us in his epistle), then His commands to us are actually an expression of who He is. They describe His character, His essence. Violate His commands, you then not only violate love, but you also violate who God is.

Does that possibility give you pause?

It should, because we all know that we do not always love. John even warns against ignoring the fact that we fail to love. Look at what he writes…

1 John 1:8 (HCSB)
If we say, “We have no sin,” we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us.

That Helpful Tension

John goes on though, giving us hope. Yet, he does not release that helpful tension, holding it all together, which keeps us sober in our walk…

1 John 1:9 – 2:11 (HCSB)
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say, “We don’t have any sin,” we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us. My little children, I am writing you these things so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father — Jesus Christ the Righteous One. He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not only for ours, but also for those of the whole world. This is how we are sure that we have come to know Him: by keeping His commands. The one who says, “I have come to know Him,” yet doesn’t keep His commands, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps His word, truly in him the love of God is perfected. This is how we know we are in Him: The one who says he remains in Him should walk just as He walked. Dear friends, I am not writing you a new command but an old command that you have had from the beginning. The old command is the message you have heard. Yet I am writing you a new command, which is true in Him and in you, because the darkness is passing away and the true light is already shining. The one who says he is in the light but hates his brother is in the darkness until now. The one who loves his brother remains in the light, and there is no cause for stumbling in him. But the one who hates his brother is in the darkness, walks in the darkness, and doesn’t know where he’s going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.

Godspeed, to the brethren!

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God is Jealous?

The Idol Babbler - Sat, 06/09/2018 - 01:34

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4:17… An Address With Many Answers

The Idol Babbler - Sat, 06/02/2018 - 11:28


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