Watching the Body at Work

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As we entered the hospital room, we were greeted with the sin-curse of death.  Another child of God was soon to “drop this robe of flesh” and rise to meet the Lord.

With hearts touched by the reality in front of us, we surrounded the bed and read Scripture.  Then we broke into song.  “In the Sweet By and By,” “It is Well With My Soul,” “When We All Get to Heaven,”  “Blessed Assurance”  and a few more.

As we sang, one would be overcome by emotion for a bit and their voice would fade or quiver.  It was at that point that someone else would carry the lead.

After a song or two, some other folks dropped by and joined the bedside choir.

Standing there, I was reminded that this is how the Body of Christ operates.

First of all, we are to sing to one another. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him (Colossians 3:16-17).

Second, when a brother or sister is faltering, overcome by emotion, or in various situations of need, we do not criticize them, we just “take the lead” and help them bear their burden.  Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ (Galatians 6:2).

Third, what a  blessing it is when others refuse to just stand back and intentionally join the choir! Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord (Romans 12:11).

May I also add that the lady in the room next to us heard our singing which opened a later door for her to hear the gospel the next day.

To be a member of the Body of Christ and serve with others in His Body is the greatest privilege on earth!!

Who Will You See Sunday?

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My family and I are fans of the Andy Griffith Show.  To this day, we watch an episode or two practically every week.  Those shows are full of good down-home humor with many connections to life even today.

In one scene of the episode, “The Sermon For Today,” Aunt Bea and Clara Johnson are found in deep discussion on the phone about what they were going to wear for church that morning. This was of great concern to these two dear ladies because a visiting preacher, Dr. Breen from New York City, would be delivering the sermon.  They wanted to make a good impression upon the special “sermoner” from the big city!

Who are you preparing to see this Sunday?

As was noted in Wednesday’s blog, Christ is the Church. He is the Head, the Architect, the Chief Shepherd, the Master Builder, the Owner, and the Transformer of Lives in His Body, the Church.

Christ also is The Face of the Church, not the pastor, the deacons, the denomination head, or anyone else.

So, when you prepare for the worship gathering this Sunday, make it all about Christ.

  • Christ goes with you because He dwells in you (Colossians 1:27), and He is your life (Colossians 3:3-4).
  • Christ is the reason the Church exists (Ephesians 1:22-23; 2:14-22; 3:10-11)
  • Christ is One Who is read in print (Bible) and electronically (Bible app) and is preached about from the pulpit (John 1:1, 14; 2 Timothy 4:2).
  • Christ is the Savior of all who gather, those who have received His free gift of salvation as well as those who have yet to do so (John 1:12; 3:16; Romans 3:10-25; 10:9-13; Ephesians 2:8-9)
  • Christ is the Truth, the main topic of conversation, as you share with others in life-on-life discipleship (Ephesians 4:15).
  • Christ is the only One Who is worthy of all the attention on Sunday (Colossians 1:18-19).
  • Christ is the One you are looking to show-up with great fanfare at any minute (1 Thessalonians 4:13-17).

Church is not about what the ladies (Bea & Clara) are wearing, or where the preacher is from, or how long the sermon lasts, or any other peripheral issue.

The Church is the body of Christ of which you, as a born again believer, are a member (1 Corinthians 12:12-13).  So as you prepare to gather on Sunday, be looking for Christ in every facet of ministry.  If the church you attend is a solid Bible-believing, preaching church, Christ will be there.  Look for Him (Hebrews 12:1-2).  He is the One you really want to see, to fellowship with, and to hear from in Church!!

To the angel of the church of Ephesus write, these things says He Who holds the seven stars in His right hand, Who walks in the midst of the seven golden lampstands (Revelation 2:1).

That Church . . .

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  • Just doesn’t feel right; is not the right fit.
  • Hurt my family years ago, and I will never forgive them!
  • Is so unfriendly.
  • Is too big.
  • Is too small.
  • Doesn’t meet my (our) needs.
  • Is too contemporary.
  • Is too conservative.
  • Doesn’t have a kid’s ministry.
  • Is full of hypocrites.
  • Comes across as being full of perfect people.
  • Will judge what I wear.
  • Sings music that’s too loud and too worldly!
  • Sings only the old songs.
  • Just wants your money.

And I have just covered a few of the gazillion statements I have heard over the years in reference to church.

My dad pastored ten churches over the course of his fifty year ministry.  I personally trusted Christ as my Lord and Savior at the age of five in Marietta, Ohio.  Church has been my life for fifty-nine years.

Oh the stories I could tell about church, good and bad! Perhaps as I continue to write about this subject, I’ll share some of them.

Today, my heart is simply to say this, our perspective on church is totally skewed if we look at the church through the lens of finite, temporal man alone.  Furthermore, the only correct view for all of life, including the church, must come from absolute Truth, the Word of God.

Consider the following:

The Church is God’s idea, not man’s.

I am writing these things to you, hoping to come to you before long; but in case I am delayed, I write so that you will know how one ought to conduct himself in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and support of the truth. (1 Timothy 3:14-15).

Jesus Christ is the “Master Builder” of His Church, not man.

Jesus said He would build His church and that no power of hell could destroy it.  Jesus Christ’s definitive statement recorded in Matthew 16:18 says, I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

The Church belongs to Jesus Christ alone, not man.

I will build my church (Matthew 16:18).

Jesus Christ is the head of the Church, not man.

And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent (Colossians 1:18).

The Church is Christ’s body, not man’s.

And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all (Ephesians 1:22-23).

The Church is to be built upon Christ, not man.

Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together grows unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are built together for an habitation of God through the Spirit (Ephesians 2:19-22).

Therefore, in EVERY discussion, attitude, action, response, and thought about church, you must begin with Christ, not man. To come to the right conclusion, you must end with Christ in mind, not man; His Word and not man’s perspective.

Tomorrow, I will continue these thoughts.  In the meantime, look back at the list statements mentioned at the beginning of this blog.  Where is the consideration, counsel, and wisdom of Christ seen in any of them?

Principle:  You cannot have a high view of Christ and a low view of His church at the same time.

Marmaduke Size Worship

One of my all-time favorite single cartoons has Billy Winslow standing at the drug store soda fountain watching the waitress load up his ice cream cone.  Just as she begins the process, Billy seizes the opportunity of perhaps frightening the server into put more on the cone than usual.  So he turns to his Great Dane pet and says, “Bark now, Marmaduke! Bark now!”  Billy didn’t want just a child-size portion, he wanted an overflow portion!  He wanted that ice cream to fill the cone and run over!

Question:  When you attended church yesterday, was your worship child-size portion or did you worship out of the overflow?  What I mean is, did you come to church expecting to meet with God?  Were you excited about joining with other believers in corporate praise?  Did you sing to Lord with all your heart, give to the Lord with all your heart, serve the Lord with all you heart? Did you hunger to hear the Word, and then respond to what God said to you?  Did you leave the service saying, “I have seen the Lord!  I met with Him today!  Here is what He said to me.”

Could much of Psalm 96 been written to describe your worship from yesterday?

O sing unto the Lord a new song: sing unto the Lord, all the earth.

Sing unto the Lord, bless his name; shew forth his salvation from day to day.

Declare his glory among the heathen, his wonders among all people.

For the Lord is great, and greatly to be praised: he is to be feared above all gods.

For all the gods of the nations are idols: but the Lord made the heavens.

Honour and majesty are before him: strength and beauty are in his sanctuary.

Give unto the Lord, O ye kindreds of the people, give unto the Lord glory and strength.

Give unto the Lord the glory due unto his name: bring an offering, and come into his courts.

O worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness: fear before him, all the earth.

10 Say among the heathen that the Lord reigneth: the world also shall be established that it shall not be moved: he shall judge the people righteously.

11 Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad; let the sea roar, and the fulness thereof.

12 Let the field be joyful, and all that is therein: then shall all the trees of the wood rejoice

13 Before the Lord: for he cometh, for he cometh to judge the earth: he shall judge the world with righteousness, and the people with his truth.

My challenge to you today is to so spend time in the Word this week sitting at Jesus’ feet letting the Holy Spirit teach you (Matthew 11:28-30; John 16:13-15), listening to worship music though out the week, talking to others about your God and your Savior, meeting with Him on your knees, mediating and memorizing the Word so much that when you come to worship next Sunday, you don’t need Marmaduke to bark.  You are more than ready to worship out of the overflow.  You don’t need someone or some group to lead you into worship.  You have lived a life of worship all week that is so rich and God-glorifying that Christ will be magnified by your overflowing worship!!

See you next Sunday!  I’ll be ready to shout to the Lord, give Him praise, listen to His voice through the preached Word, and join you in preparation for that eternal day of worship and praise!  Let’s come with an “ice cream cone that is running over!”

Sunday Twitter Tweets

Personally, I enjoy Twitter much more than Facebook. Nobody’s inviting me to play Farmville for the 2,878,734th time. J Yesterday, there were several tweets that caught my attention, and I want to share them with you. Each one reflects a piece of why Sundays are so important, so awesome!

Nick Reed: Amazing morning with @bryansamms! Packed out church house! 6 baptized & 8 adults walked an aisle aornnd accepted Christ! 2 kids saved also!

Tony Evans: God wants full custody of His children, not just weekend visits.

Paul David Tripp: Corporate worship is meant to fill your eyes with the beauty of your Redeemer and fill your heart with the wonder of His grace.

John Goetsch: You can’t hide from God by missing church.

Paul Chappell: “Go ye into all the world & preach the gospel” (Mark 16:15). “All the world” surely includes our neighborhoods & communities! #soulwinning

John Guy: Sweet time of #worship in song this morning. “If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus ‘tis now.”

A Great Way to Start Your Week!

There is no better way to start a week than to attend church and have the joy of worship with other believers and especially your own family! Recently while purchasing a cup of coffee, the girl behind the counter made a negative comment about the fact that it was a Monday! For the believer, our week begins with the celebration of our risen Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, through local church worship! What a way to start a week!

Yesterday was an extra special day as Boones Creek Bible Church celebrated 58 years of ministry. Here’s some of the highlights:

  • Baptism of a new convert who trusted Christ as his Savior and Lord on Tuesday morning visitation. To see his joy when he came up out of the water was priceless. Then to look out and see his wife’s reaction added to the blessed joy of the moment!
  • The study of God’s Word in Sunday School using the Answers in Genesis material for children through adults. Sure enjoyed the questions, discussion and joy of this class I teach. They are hungry students to learn!
  • The work of our children’s SS teachers. Their heart for the kids to grow in Christ is so evident. Their decorated rooms are so inviting! Thank you for giving of yourself to the Lord and these children! Thanks, too, to all the nursery, Children’s Church and Tiny Tots workers!!
  • The teen ministry as we watch them mature in Christ under Andrew and Alli’s leadership! Loved seeing them seated on the front row yesterday morning, listening, worshipping, and learning!
  • The hospitality tents this morning that welcomed everyone to the services. Great job, David! Also, all the greeters who were ready and willing to serve at the Welcome Center!
  • The anticipation of everyone coming to see what God was going to do in the services!
  • Hard to beat the singing and music at BCBC! Love to watch and listen to the congregation as they lift their voices to the Lord! The choir and the Larson family “knocked it out of the park”!!
  • How marvelous to see visitors that our people had worked so hard to invite attend the service.
  • There is such joy in preaching the Word of God, verse-by-verse, as we work our way through Philippians! The Word works!! How blessed to pastor a congregation that wants to grow and change!
  • What a special moment it was to recognize the Carter’s who gave the land to the church and have been faithful members for 58 years. They have served so many!! Also, we recognized the charter members, including the Carter’s, and especially Emma Sue Glass who is the oldest living member at 95 years old and still cuts her grass!!
  • Further recognition was given to all who had trusted Christ as Savior in the last year as well as all who had started attending BCBC since last October. Now, that was a great moment right there!!
  • The meal in the gym was fabulous! Thanks to Renee and Karen for their leadership in getting the gym in harvest mode!!
  • A special thank you to all who worked behind the scenes to make the day what it was!
  • An extra heartfelt thank you to the congregation for their kind and gracious gifts for Pastor Appreciation! You all are the best!! Denise and I are truly honored to serve the Lord here with you all! As we continue on for Him, let’s keep our sole focus on the Gospel which will produce past, present and future rejoicing!
  • And so much more!

So, has your week started with a “Monday”? No, the week has in truth begun on Sunday, a day of joy and celebration! The same God who met with us yesterday at church is there to meet with you all day today so you can enjoy fellowship with Him. His invitation is continually, “Come unto me” (Matthew 11:28). Have an awesome Monday!! Your week started yesterday!!

Contaminated!

 

Wal-Mart is not. Ball practice is not. Homework is not. Family gatherings are not. Working at McDonald’s is not. But . . . church sure is! Or at least that’s what it appears to be. When I hear the excuses parents make for not faithfully attending church, youth activities, Sunday School, ministry opportunities, regular services, I begin to wonder, “Is church contaminated with something?”

Look at the following written by Mary Louise Kitsen, “Generations of Excuses,” found in the Good News Broadcaster.

  • our baby Timmy’s birth
  • Timmy’s just a baby
  • Timmy always catches a cold in the nursery
  • Timmy’s too noisy and too active
  • Timmy can’t get along with the other children
  • the birth of Timmy’s baby sister, Sally
  • Sally’s just a baby
  • Sally always catches a cold in the nursery
  • Sally’s too noisy and too active
  • Sally can’t get along with the other children
  • we’re all so busy that Sunday is our only day as a family
  • my husband’s boss wants to golf with him on Sundays
  • I work during the week and Sunday is my only day to relax
  • Timmy’s soccer games are on Sundays
  • Timmy thinks going to youth group is dumb
  • Timmy’s married now, and you know how it is with newlyweds!
  • Timmy’s baby’s birth
  • Timmy’s baby is too noisy, too active, might catch a cold in the nursery . . .

Many parents don’t mind exposing their children to the germs at the grocery store, because after all you must eat. Or exposing their children to the other children at school, because after all they must get an education. Or exposing their children to the “clean world” of McDonald’s, because after all they must get a job. No excuses are uttered here for these temporal endeavors. BUT, exposure to eternal, life-changing truths, people who preach and teach the Truth, activities that help children hear the Gospel and eventually understand salvation, summer camp that enriches the lives of children spiritually, the local church which is the body of Christ, now we had better be careful! There must be something about those eternal things, so we make excuses to protect them! (By the way, my favorite line at the door on Sunday morning as folks are leaving is, “We probably won’t be back tonight for church.” Oh really????)

What excuses are you using to keep your children from being impacted by Truth? What excuses are you using that your children are learning and will use someday as well?

Luke 14:25-26    Now great multitudes went with Him. And He turned and said to them, “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple.

Psalm 19:7-11 The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul; The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes; The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, Yea, than much fine gold; Sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Moreover by them Your servant is warned, And in keeping them there is great reward.

Hebrews 10:24-25 And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.

Friday’s Findings

Today, I share some blog posts and other sites that I think you will find helpful, encouraging, thought-provoking, humorous, or convicting.

Abortion and Human Depravity  – America and Rome in the same vein.

10 Reasons To Be More Involved In Local Church MinistryThe local church is the primary means that God is using today to accomplish His redemptive purposes.

Why I love an evening serviceA good read about the importance of Sunday night services.

The GrammysWhat about the Grammy’s and our current culture?

Nature Are You SeriousFor all you photo buffs and/or outdoor enthusiasts, you will marvel at these pictures!