Monday, September 15, 2008


Most congregations realize that in order for churches to grow spiritually and in number there must be a high percentage of involvement among the membership. In some larger churches, there are "Involvement Ministers." These ministers are actually on salary and spend the majority of their time organizing and helping different age groups. We have the young people, the young adults, the middle aged, and the golden age, and they all have different needs. It is good for the church to do what it can to try to help the membership maintain good relationships with God and with the brethren.

This being said, I sometimes wonder what we are accomplishing. We need to be very careful about turning the church into the country club, the YMCA, or the community center. While we should do everything that we can to encourage fellowship and help one another, we need to realize that the church is something to which we should be wholly submitted, rather than an institution that is geared to placate and babysit the membership .

The church is the kingdom of God on earth. Jesus is the only King and Ruler of the church (1 Tim. 6:15). This makes each member of the body of Christ a servant in the kingdom of God. Involvement is not about "What can the church do for me?" It should be about the individual realization that I need to be a servant to Christ. This being the case, each one of us needs to involve ourselves in the work of the church. We plan retreats, we have fellowship meals, we have fun trips to ball games, devotionals, singings, and more - these facilitate the building of relationships, but this is not what defines the church of God.

Involvement should be inherently connected to obedience to the gospel. Many people are ready to be baptized, but they are not ready to serve. There is nothing more disturbing to a preacher than dealing with seemingly mature members who have to have their arm twisted when you ask them to do anything. Our attitude should be one of optimism and hope. We should be excited and honored that we have been asked to do something to glorify the name of Christ and build up the church.

I fear that we have been spoiled for so long with our freedom and blessings that many of us are unwilling to make life-changing sacrifices. Brethren, we need to examine ourselves as to whether we are in the faith (2 Cor. 13:5).

I may not be popular for saying these things, but I have to answer to the Lord first. God wants us to give our lives to Him in full sacrifice. Part of this sacrifice includes service in the kingdom of God. Faith is more than what we say we believe, it is what we practice.

"But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead?" ~ James 2:20
"Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?" ~ Luke 18:8

Tuesday, September 9, 2008


We get everything we want the way that we want it so quickly anymore. This leads even Christian people to be impatient. We speed. We tap our desk while the next internet page is loading. We get aggravated in line. We hang up if we have to wait for the computerized options for a business we are trying to contact.

Perhaps our impatience in everyday matters leads to our impatience in spiritual ones. But there is a big difference in being too long in a drive-thru and asking God to take away our pain. One is trivial, and the other dwells at the very center of our lives. We may feel like the psalmist, who lamented, "I am weary with my crying; My throat is dry; My eyes fail while I wait for my God" (Psalm 69:3)

Many of us are in a position of waiting. We are waiting to hear from the doctor about recent tests. We are waiting for our teenagers to obey the gospel. We are waiting for someone we have hurt to forgive us. We are waiting for God to help us overcome heartache and loss. We are waiting for direction. We are waiting for death to usher our feeble bodies home. We are waiting for the return of our Savior.

We are waiting...

So let us consider what God has said about waiting:

Psalm 25:5 - "Lead me in Your truth and teach me, for You are the God of my salvation; On You I wait all the day."

Psalm 27:14 - "Wait on the LORD; Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the LORD!

Psalm 52:9 - "I will praise You forever, because You have done it; And in the presence of Your saints I will wait on Your name, for it is good."

Psalm 130:5 - "I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, And in His word I do hope."

Isaiah 40:31 - "But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint."

Micah 7:7 - "Therefore I will look to the LORD; I will wait for the God of my salvation;My God will hear me."

Romans 8:25 - "But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance."

Galatians 5:5 - "For we through the Spirit eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness by faith."

The golden thread that passes through every circumstance of our waiting is hope. Our consolation is in a God who will do things in the perfect way and in the perfect time, according to His own will. Waiting develops faith and character. It allows us to hope against hope. It draws us nearer to God, until in time we will perfectly trust Him to bring it to pass. Waiting is a blessing. God knows that in our waiting we shall be proven, and that in being proven we shall be free.

" The LORD is good to those who wait for Him, To the soul who seeks Him. It is good that one should hope and wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD." ~ Lamentations 3:25-26

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

While We Can

James wrote "For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away." (James 4:14). As we age we realize the truth of this statement. It reminds us there are certain things we must do while we can...

1. We must love our parents while we can. The lyrics to a song with this sentiment say it best:
They tied our shoes, took us to school, patched our worn-out jeans
They soothed our tears and calmed our fears, and listened to our dreams
Somewhere along their golden years, their hair has lost its sheen
The notes to hymn one hundred ten crackle when they sing
And now they are alone, no children's voices fill their empty homes
We must love them while we can, we must love them while we can
For time just seems to hurry by, and the days slip into years
And the moments that we have will disappear
So love them while we can
Those who care for aging parents deal with frustration, challenges and loss that no one but them can understand. It often leaves them feeling that they just can't take anymore. But the time will soon come when their parents will be gone and they will miss them. They deserve love today. We will regret not showing them the love they have shown for us. We must love them while we can.

2. We must teach our children about God while we can. Other lyrics to the song go as follows:

The folks that taught us our first words, still have much to say
The silver secrets of the world, lie beneath those crowns of gray
As they approach the end, we change our role from children to best friend

As parents we realize that the relationship we have with our children constantly changes. One minute they take first steps and the next minute those steps are leading them right out the door. Ball games and school projects, sleepovers and birthday parties, family vacations and back-to-school nights...they all fill this precious time we have with our children. But the most important thing we have to do for our kids is to help them to know the Lord and His word.

Proverbs 22:6 - "Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it." It is not in the leaving so much as in the lack of training wherein we lose our children to the world. We must teach our children about God while we can.

3. We must obey the gospel while we can. 2 Thessalonians 1:7-8 describes the coming of Christ and His judgment on the lost - "...when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ." What does it mean to obey the gospel? The gospel is the death burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 15:1-3). Paul wrote, "Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?" (Rom. 6:3). The Bible teaches that we contact the blood of Christ through immersion in water, because of our repentant faith and confession that Jesus is the Son of God.

We can shuffle our feet all we want to. We can debate about the lack of our perfection, doubt our commitment, or argue about the plan. But if we do not obey the gospel, we will lose our eternal souls. Death will come in a moment, and it is unlikely that we will know the hour of its arrival. We must obey the gospel while we can.

"For man also does not know his time..." ~ Ecclesiastes 9:12