The first community of saints reflected the power and design of God in their lives as a family of believers. The early history of the Church simply reflected the Biblical record from the Book of Acts describing the nature and essence of the first community of saints. The observations of those who witnessed the early Church should inspire and guide us. If we were to emulate the earliest energized believers, our churches would transform the culture and inspire a new generation. How can we, as Christians today, become more like the Church that changed the world and transformed the Roman Empire? We must learn the truth, strive for unity, live in awe, serve in love, share with courage and overflow with joy. These six important characteristics were held by the earliest congregations:
If you want to hear the reasons for a church fight, you are likely to encounter one of these five. Let me be clear. I do not think all church members are fighting all of the time. But the sad reality is that it only takes one real issue of conflict once a year to do serious harm to the unity and health of a congregation.
I’ve addressed issues of church conflict in different ways on this blog. This particular post is an update based on issues I’ve heard, or those in which I have been a mediator the past year. They are listed in the order of frequency I’ve heard them.
In today’s post, I would like to briefly consider one of the most well-known and often-quoted verses in the New Testament. In fact, it is one of the most popular verses in American evangelical culture today.
It has been printed on posters and inspirational wall art. A quick internet search reveals that you can buy key chains, rings, buttons, t-shirts, stickers, postcards, bracelets, handbags, and other Christianized trinkets with the words of this verse emblazoned, embroidered, or embossed upon them. This verse even gained some notoriety among college football fans a couple years ago when a championship quarterback sported the verse on the glare-reducing strips he wore under his eyes.
But the irony is that, by taking this verse out of context, many people have actually turned it on its head—making it mean the opposite of what it actually means. They have turned it into a slogan of personal empowerment—a declaration of self-achievement, ambition, and accomplishment. For many, this verse has been trivialized into some sort of motivating motto for material prosperity, career advancement, or athletic success.
But in reality it is nothing of the sort.
By now, you may have guessed that the verse I am describing is Philippians 4:13. There, the Apostle Paul writes, “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.”
I’m about to spill a secret—a big, juicy, secret.
Here goes: I’m a closet cheeseburger eater.
Okay, so maybe that slice of information from my life didn’t shock you like you might’ve expected. Are cheeseburgers really a secret? Allow me to provide some backstory.
To believe that we can maintain a squeaky-clean exterior while indulging secret closet sins is to believe a cunningly-crafted lie.
A WEDNESDAY ROUND-UP
From the Websites we find of interest (for whatever reason).
Links are given as is, without endorsement, sometimes with comment; sometimes not. Independent thought is usually rewarded, though not always.
July 23, 2014
God’s Word contrasts the wisdom of God with the wisdom of the world. Those who embrace worldly wisdom are enamored with signs and wonders, the traditions of men, ethereal esoteric knowledge, and/or amazing philosophical feats of intellectual prowess; all of which can be considered to be the basic principles of the world. They will not set their feet upon the ancient paths, the way of God’s eternal salvation. The gospel of our salvation is the fruit of God’s wisdom. God’s Word tells us that His…
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The last couple of days we’ve been looking at the important, difficult, and oft-avoided duty of confronting or rebuking sin. We looked at the general attitude we should have when approaching someone about their sin and then listed a bank of 30 questions to ask when challenging sin. Today I want to suggest 14 truths to remember throughout this process:
Andre Comte-Sponville, one of France’s preeminent atheist philosophers agrees. In his New York Times bestseller, “The Little Book of Atheist Spirituality,” Sponville observes that even though Western and American civilization has become nonreligious it is nevertheless profoundly rooted in transcendent Biblical morality and traditions. That overt and implied atheism has all but supplanted Biblical beliefs pleases yet simultaneously frightens Sponville as he clearly sees that if Western civilization entirely ceases to be Christian it will fall into something like a refined nihilism.