Christian (part six)

Christian (part six)

We have been looking at this idea of “Christian” for weeks now and we could go on for weeks to come. However, i will be wrapping this up next week with part seven. Until then we have part six which you are reading now. Let’s start by looking at today’s passage, which is a look back at the verses just before (Romans 12:9-21) where we have been the last five weeks. Romans 12:3-8.

“For by the grace given to me, I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.” (9 Let love be genuine).

In all the devastation of the fires in California, especially the one that destroyed the town of Paradise there has been some hope. The surrounding towns and cities have jumped to attention and the outpouring of support and help has been unbelievable! The Churches in Chico and Oroville have come together as one body and are meeting the needs as best they can. People are bringing donations of goods and services as well as financial as they show the love and care of Jesus, the head of the Body, the Church. It is a remarkable thing. Each person giving where they are most gifted.

It is sad, in tragedy, when the church doesn’t come together and i have seen that too. Or those of influence not stepping up and leading or partaking in the work as a whole. We need to be about the quest, the task, the journey, of coming together and serving! It is vitally important that the Church not be on the sideline or in the stands as so often many are. The sign of a Christian is that they “get up” and spring into action! Many non-believers or folks that are not of the Way are giving selflessly. The Church should never be outdone! If we can’t meet a need it is important to have other services! Yes, we should be partnering together in crises. Doing all that we can, in the Love and Care, of Jesus!

Get out of the bleachers, get off vacation, get off the sideline, get out of your house and do something based on your gifts. And don’t wait for a crisis, we should always be about the work of the Kingdom, but in crises, we should be all the more attentive. As God has blessed you, so go and bless others, using those abilities, talents, resources, experiences,  gifts, etc.

You are loved,

cj

Christian (part three)

Christian (part three)

The topic of Christianianity is a BIG one. There is no way around it actually in our society, as it is in nearly every facet of life. Today, we will focus on the politics of being a Christian. It is pushed by both major political parties, some would say, “exploited” for political gain, touching on the surface, our need to be compassionate. It’s a double-edged sword if you will because politics are ugly and yet i do believe we have a civic duty to participate in it. But we can not separate the two. i know the constitution makes a distinction of separation between Church and State. However, that separation is intended to protect the Church from the government not the government from the Church.

If you are a politically active Christian you must do so from a perspective of the values found in the passages of Scripture in which we hold so dear. To separate your beliefs in some attempt to appease a group of people is not within the guidelines of being Christian. Nor can we separate it out from our lives in any aspect. To do so would be a denial of our values, our faith, our Christ. So far in our previous two weeks of looking at this topic, we covered Romans 12:9-10 which state:

Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.”

Our next verse, 11, states:

Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord.”

Think of those in past times who basically risked everything in order to remain faithful to God. Namely, in this case, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, these guys put God above politics in everything they did that’s why they were hated by the others and set up. Even to the point of not denying their God for any reason even their very lives. We should be so bold! “Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord!”

So, what are we to do when the climate is so split, compassion over what? When sizing up candidates does one issue rule over another? Where is grace or mercy when it comes to pass indiscretions? How about moral failings? Or the candidates stated belief versus their present actions? There is so much to consider how does one possibly vote at all? i for a very long time was registered, independent. i didn’t want the label of a political party, in fact, i still don’t but when we moved i somehow selected an affiliation and just haven’t gone to fix it. In my heart of hearts, i remain an objective independent voter. Who Votes his beliefs over politics, over issues, over a person. As a Christian, i take into consideration my own grace, mercy, love and the charge to love others, in making my decisions on casting a vote for someone or some issue.

May we take into account such things always and in everything that we do, not just politics, but also, work, friendships, relationships, even when we are alone.

Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.” Romans 12:9-13

You are loved,

cj

Jude (Part 4)

Jude (Part 4)

This is the fifth installment in this series and there will be at least one more after. We find ourselves now in the 17th verse and we will explore to the 23rd. It is a call to remain faithful. It is written to the Church, believers, you and i . . . if you by some chance find yourself here and you are not a believer, this still can apply to you as you ask God to reveal himself to you through the pages of His Love story written to us we call the Bible.

As we have been dealing with judgment we now turn the corner a bit and Jude begins this next section with the word, “But.”But you, my dear friends, must remember . . .” Take note here, Jude is trying to point something out for us, remember this, “what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ predicted, They told you that in the last times (end of days) there would be scoffers whose purpose in life is to satisfy their ungodly desires. These people are the ones who are creating divisions among you. They follow their natural instincts because they do not have God’s Spirit in them.” We live in a time that even in the Church people scoff at the Word of God, “certainly,” they will say, “it doesn’t mean that! God is Love. So let us just simply love everyone.” i think we can love someone and still tell them the truth. Consider for a moment what the writer of Proverbs says in 12:1 “To learn, you must love discipline; it is stupid to hate correction.” Later in the same chapter, they write, “An honest witness tells the truth; a false witness tells lies. Some people make cutting remarks, but the words of the wise bring healing. Truthful words stand the test of time, but lies are soon exposed.” (17-19) A bit further on in verse 26 we read, “The godly give good advice to their friends; the wicked lead them astray.” Chapter 12 concludes with verse 28, “The way of the godly leads to life; that path does not lead to death.

i could very easily continue but you get the idea. Jude then writes, 20-21 “But you,” again, take note, “dear friends, must build each other up in your most holy faith, pray in the power of the Holy Spirit, and await the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will bring you eternal life. In this way, you will keep yourselves safe in God’s love.” Why the emphasis in remaining in? i think Jude is stressing the need to remain faithful, connected, and looking out for each other. Why this conclusion? Well, he continues, 22-23 “And you must show mercy to those whose faith is wavering. Rescue others by snatching them from the flames of judgment. Show mercy to still others, but do so with great caution, hating the sins that contaminate their lives.”

So here we ready the delicate nature of loving someone who is steeped in sin. We do not, we cannot condone one’s behavior of sin. The sin is vile and destructive. The person, however, is loved!  “For God SO LOVED the world . . .” “While WE were YET SINNERS Christ died for us . . .” Our mission is reconciliation, agents of change in a culture that has wandered far from the Creator, but sent by the Creator to draw as many back as possible, “snatching them from the flames of judgment . . .”

Let us remain faithful, honest, and loving.

You are loved,

cj