Category Archives: musings
I find myself in a quandary: I thoroughly believe in gathering together as believers. Scripture seems to describe two different venues for this: “Temple” (Sunday Morning Church would be our equivalent) and “breaking bread from house to house”.
We have lost the second one for the most part. Oh, I know: There are small groups, Wednesday Night gatherings…but gathering just to be with each other doesn’t really happen.
I have tried to have gatherings in my home, but very few people engage…
Sunday Morning Church is largely uninspired and, quite frankly, boring for me.
So, here’s my thought. Below is a survey. I would like to hear about your desires and experiences:
1. What works for you?
a. “Just let me go to Church on Sunday Morning; don’t bother me the rest of the week.”
b. “I would thoroughly enjoy a small gathering where people really get to know me and I get to know them.”
c. “Sunday Morning gathering is richer when I have had contact with believers during the week.”
d. “I would rather meet with people who don’t go to the same Church as I do for my small group.”
e. “I want my small roup or midweek service to be with those who go to the same Church as I.”
2. Church is:
c. An institution.
3. Church should be:
a. run by clergy only.
b. A place where all believers use and strengthen their gifts.
c. Elder run.
d. Forget all that; just gather and have fun.
4. What makes “successful” Church gatherings to you?
a. A good sermon.
b. Beautiful music.
c. Rowdy, upbeat worship.
d. Good coffee and cookies afterward.
e. Good fellowship hour.
5. Do you have questions or comments?
Ambassadors of God’s Kingdom are varied indeed:
Some are conservative while others are progressive;
There are liturgical believers and evangelicals;
Rich, poor and those who live “in between”;
Well educated, professionals, tradesmen, laborers, those who don’t work at all;
People of every race and tradition.
Yet these ambassadors have the most important thing in common:
They belong to Jesus.
They love and serve Him;
They share in the joy and abundant life he gives;
They want to bring others into God’s household
So that the family will grow.
There is a trend in much of the western Church these days: “All or nothing.”
Either I embrace everybody, including all religions, choices and lifestyles as true….
I reject people, based on their beliefs, identification, words and actions.
Me? I say neither of these is biblical.
Jesus definitely met people where they were; yet he didn’t accept their choices out of hand. He told the woman caught in adultery, “Go. Sin no more.” That was after he confronted her accusers and refused to condemn her. He told the rich young ruler, whom he loved, to sell everything he had and “come, follow me.”
He accepted the offering of tears and ointment from a woman known to be “a sinner.” His reply to the teachers of the law indicated that he forgave her for all she had done.
When the woman who had come to the well in Samaria encountered Jesus, her life was changed. He totally read her mail; yet did not condone her lifestyle. He addressed her as a real person – likely an experience she had not had in her whole lifetime.
I can accept anybody as a person, created and loved by God.
I can – and do well to – disagree with all that is not biblical and true.
One road leads to Heaven; not all of them.
One God is true; not whatever or whomever someone decides to glorify.
Sin is sin; idols are idols.
I have heard more than one source say that love means I accept people, behavior and all.
No. Love means I accept the person and speak truth to him or her.
Are you looking for abundant, healthy, eternal life?
Give your heart to Jesus: The Way, The Truth, The Life.
The Gospel of Christ is greater than any tradition or bent we could possibly come up with.
It reaches higher, deepr and farther than conservitivism, progressivism, liberalism, communism, socialism, libertarianism, greenism and all other isms.
The Good News is this:
God loves each of us. It doesn’t matter who, where or what you are; Time in history is of no consequence.
He wants every single person to be saved; He is not willing that any should perish. Yes, that even means progressives, communists, socialists and all of the other ists!
God’s love reaches to every income bracket, from the welthiest, most powerful people in the world to those who have absolutely nothing.
Jesus doesn’t fit in any box; yet he is present in every last one of them, even yours!
He has every resource you willever need.
Now, that’s Good News!!
2 Peter 3:9
How different are we from our main societies;
How different is light from darkness?
“Thus your light will shine before the children of men that they may see your good works, and may glorify your Father who is in Heaven.”
Matthew 5:16 (Aramaic Bible in Plain English)
The people who came to our feast today;
The ones who helped and gave.
The lovely flowers brought to us;
The treats we were pleased to have.
Expressions of warmth and gratitude;
People who showed they care;
Hope, excitement, joy and pleasure;
All we were privileged to share.
Sometimes, I have to dig and search,
Other times, blessings just come.
Either way, I give thanks for them:
God, friends, family, home.
Dear Brothers and Sisters:
I am writing to exhort you today.
We are called to be holy, even as God is holy – to be set apart for Him; different.
That means that we will be the minority.
When the general society encourages sex outside of marriage, abortion and compromise in terms of dress, speech, morality, values or socialization, we will not be able to participate.
When we are called to tolerate or accept things that God has clearly called sin, we will have to decline.
We are called to give, shine, love, encourage, serve and bless.
That means we don’t curse, “see to Number 1 first and foremost…”
What we get in return is our true identity: A holy nation, a royal priesthood, people set apart for and in the Most High God.
We get a different inheritance, filled with wholeness and prosperity.
Most of all, we live with Jesus forever.
Applying all of this can seem difficult – so much “gray!” True enough. That is why we have the Holy Spirit – Helper, counselor, TEacher, Comfort, to live in each of our hearts.
Don’t know how to think or what to do? Ask; you will receive all that you need – the answer and the grace to obey.
Do you feel discouraged, afraid or alone, cry out: The One who sticks closer than a brother is with you always.
Is shame or self doubt nagging at you? Look to Papa, who knows you fully and loves you completely.
As one who belongs to Jesus – a Christian, I wrestle with a quandary: I fully believe in the Lord and follow Him; I don’t embrace a lot of conservative thinking; I am not really a progressive either.
This gets tricky when I seek a Church home.
I’m not alone in this. It seems that lot of believers are in flux…and quandary.
(There are plenty of us who did not vote for Donald Trump. That doesn’t let us off the hook, however.)
Donald Trump and the Transformation of White Evangelicals
Robert P. Jones
Nov. 19, 2016
Robert P. Jones is the CEO of PRRI, a nonpartisan research organization based in Washington, D.C., and the author of The End of White Christian America.
“The Trump era has effectively turned white evangelical political ethics on its head
White evangelical Christians set a new high water mark in their support of Republican candidates by giving Donald Trump 81% of their votes, according to the 2016 exit polls…
How did Trump defeat people with much stronger Christian “credentials”?
But perhaps a more important question—one that will have relevance far beyond the Trump administration—is not why evangelicals supported Trump, but how white evangelicals’ early and steadfast support for Trump has changed them.
Perhaps the most dramatic example of the shift in white evangelical political ethics is the way in which white evangelicals have evaluated the personal character of public officials. In 2011 and again just ahead of the election, PRRI asked Americans whether a political leader who committed an immoral act in his or her private life could nonetheless behave ethically and fulfill their duties in their public life. Back in 2011, consistent with the “values voter” brand’s insistence on the importance of personal character, only 30% of white evangelical Protestants agreed with this statement. But this year, 72% of white evangelicals now say they believe a candidate can build a kind of moral wall between his private and public life. In a shocking reversal, white evangelicals have gone from being the least likely to the most likely group to agree that a candidate’s personal immorality has no bearing on his performance in public office. Today, in fact, they are more likely than Americans who claim no religious affiliation at all to say such a moral bifurcation is possible.
This about face is stunning, especially against the backdrop of white evangelicals’ outrage in response to Bill Clinton’s indiscretions in the 1990s. As Jonathan Merritt documented, Pat Robertson called Bill Clinton a “debauched, debased, and defamed” politician. But this year, Robertson’s Christian Broadcasting Network featured multiple friendly interviews with Trump—the candidate who bragged about sexually assaulting women and appeared on the cover of Playboy. And Robertson had this to say directly to Trump: “You inspire us all.”
Rather than standing on principle and letting the chips fall where they may, white evangelicals have now fully embraced a consequentialist ethics that works backwards from predetermined political ends, refashioning or even discarding principles as needed to achieve a desired outcome.
The key to understanding this reversal is grasping the sense of crisis felt by white evangelical Protestants today…
This is the first presidential election in which white Evangelical Christians find themselves clearly in the demographic minority: 43% today, down from 54% in 2008 and right at the tipping point in 2012. It’s also the first election in which they find themselves in the clear minority on one of their signature issues: opposition to same-sex marriage. In 2008, only 40% of the country supported same-sex marriage, and the country had just crossed into clear majority support in 2012. Today same-sex marriage is legal in all 50 states and roughly six in ten Americans support it. The moral majority they are no longer.
Amid this identity crisis, fears about cultural change and nostalgia for a lost era—bound together with the ties of partisan identity—combined to overwhelm the once-confident logic of moral values. The Southern Baptist Convention’s Russell Moore, an early and consistent critic of Trump, put it starkly. White evangelicals have, he argued, simply adopted “a political agenda in search of a gospel useful enough to accommodate it.”
A closer look at long term white evangelical voting patterns suggests that Trump’s candidacy has laid bare dynamics that have been operating under the surface for decades, dynamics that were put in motion when white evangelicals unevenly yoked themselves to the party of Reagan in reaction to the civil rights movement in the 1980s.
More than a few white evangelical leaders and pastors are wringing their hands and rending their garments over the tribal support white evangelicals have rendered to the Republican nominee for president. But if these leaders expect to make any headway in recovering a political ethic based on moral values—one that is capable of speaking truth to party and president—they will need to begin much farther back than Trump.”
Read the full article at
Donald Trump and the Transformation of White Evangelicals
There once was a lamp
That was very bright;
Made from gold and jewels,
It gave off beautiful light.
The family who owned it
Were filled with fear and doubt;
They hid the lovely lamp
Until it went out.
Another lamp stood
Serenely and tall
In front of a building
Where it lit the way for all.
There were many ideas
Of how the lamp should be
So it was remodeled
Till no one could see.
The Giver of Light
Came to town one day.
He noticed that both lamps
Were failing to light the way.
One was hidden and cold;
The other compromised;
Not able to be used;
Worthless and despised.
He worked with each lamp,
Restoring its flame;
Then he told the people
They must never be the same.
Freed from isolation,
Each lamp stood in its place,
Uncompromised and real,
Shining with God’s grace.
The words of this story
Come with a challenging voice:
Let God’s light within you
Shine brightly every day;
With Him as Source and Goal,
Walk in His true way.
The noise of the world
Calls me to a place
Filled with anger, fear and distress;
But a stronger voice
Of mercy and grace
Draws me close, where I am blessed.
I can make the choice
To be in that space
Where I must endure the test;
Or I can retreat
To seek the Lord’s face
And enter into His rest.
It’s tempting enough
To run in the race
That forces me to impress;
But then there’s the way
With a steady pace
Found in the One I confess.
I’ll forsake the noise
And reject each trace
Of corruption from my breast;
Surrendered to Christ,
In His warm embrace
At home in Him, life is best.