Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Another One

It happens way to often...someone has a disagreement with a brother and decides that the issue, if not resolved, must result in separation. Several years ago a church began using an "affirmation" step in their elder selection process. The "affirmation" step apparently is applied in different ways by different brethren. First two brothers began debating the "issue" each of them coming from different points of view. After some discussion (and these brothers were both well trained, honest, capable preachers) the two could not come to consensus on this "affirmation" aspect of elder selection. So what is the solution? Divide. Brothers brought together in the blood of Jesus, immersed in his name, disagree over a facet of process men created and use to select elders. Now the brothers no longer give support, emotional or otherwise, to one another. One even calls his "use to be" brother a false teacher. So now once again a new church begins or established ones cannot have anything to do with one another...all in the name of truth. This is truth about something the bible does not include...the manner or methodology of appointing elders (unless you subscribe to Paul's way told to Timothy). So, God chooses not to explain the procedure of selecting elders and two brothers divide over a manner of doing it some other brother dreams the process the blood of Christ is forgotten, brotherhood is torn, feelings are hurt and on and on it the "issue" becomes more important than Christ...and Christ did not even mention the issue in the first place. So here is ANOTHER ONE, another reason to divide..."affirmation".....when will it end? Foree

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Finding Churches

If one reads the NT carefully you will find that the NT churches are much like churches today. They are filled with people...people who like us... are not complete. The disciples of the NT were unfinished. They were people in progress involved in a dynamic relationship with Jesus as Lord. As you read the Epistles you find churches dealing with the sins of her members, congregations suffering from periods of discontent and churches dealing with doctrinal questions.
Every one of the NT books have one continuing theme - keep your eye on Jesus. The inspired authors of these books, guided by God's Spirit, sought to return the focus of the members back to the Lord. If we stay focused on people, their view points and their weaknesses we will be easily discouraged. People have "all sinned" (Rom. 3:23) and if anyone claims to have no sin they are a liar (1 John 1:8,10). So the writers of the Epistles just kept tuning us back the the Lord, the Father and the Spirit.
Looking for a church without stain is like looking for a person without sin and will finally push a person to church after church bent on a path of ultimate discouragement. Keeping our eyes on the Lord and remembering we are not perfect either is the best course. Obviously we all have to keep trying, communicating...letting iron sharpen that we will grow and become more like Christ. What if Christ gave up on us? Give the church a little grace, after all Christ has given us that......hasn't he? Foree

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


Recently our elders approved and addition to our auditorium. It is a physical addition which anyone who attends our assembly time would see. It is, like most anything, controversial to someone...herein lies the difficulty...I suppose that we all know that a gathering of 3 or more people, or maybe two or more people, brings with it different likes, dislikes, points of view, perspectives, beliefs etc...So what do we do as people of God who have to handle situations where differences exist? How do churches live together when members have really different points of view (just like the Christians in the bible churches by the way)? Well, two things: 1) Ephesians 2:14 says in the context of Jew/Gentile believers "He himself is our peace." That is, both Jew and Gentile alike have come to Christ Jesus. With all eyes on him there is peace. When the focus is on Him - the person of Jesus - there is peace. Paul says in 1 Corinthians that we are one because we eat of one "loaf" (10:17). We are ONE because of Jesus - we are family -co-laborers-co-workers...because of our belief and obedience to Him. 2) Ephesians 4:1-2 call us to humility, gentleness, patience and forbearance in love. Relationship words all. Knowing we are different God has given us two things: 1)Jesus and 2) The Spirit of kindness (watch his fruit Gal. 5:22). If we can all acknowledge Jesus and treat each other with the fruit of the Spirit we should be fine. This reminds me of how HE calls and wants me to be. Foree

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Getting the Picture

Jesus did it to Peter (Mark 8:33). Strong words needed for someone Jesus loved. Were Jesus' words loving, kind, patient, considerate of Peter's feelings??? At this point in time Jesus was letting his followers in on a very important aspect of their "followship" ( I made up that word)...Jesus was teaching them that a time would come when he would be gone. So, when Peter began to "rebuke him" Jesus said what he needed to say. It was the right thing to do. Peter HAD to get the picture and understand what Jesus' work here was really about.
Sometimes it is necessary for strong words to be spoken. These words are not un-Christian or even unkind they are what the need to be. Sometimes we need to know, we need to think, we need to get the picture and we can't do unless someone says what they NEED to say. Being "nice" is not always helpful or even truthful. I am sure Peter was a little hurt and it may have even been awhile before he got over this moment. But it all had to happen. Strong words sometimes are the best policy. Foree

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Have a Read

Take a few minutes and read 2 Samuel 13-19:8 - well, it will take more than a few minutes. As you read the account of Absalom's conspiratorial attempt at taking the God given throne of David away (from his father no less) take mental notes about the human activity. By human activity I mean how those human beings operated...they were politically motivated, self serving, "get ahead at any cost" people. Absalom murdered his brother Amnon because he (Amnon) raped THEIR sister Tamar. Joab, David's "general" was taken out of that post by the King (his position was awarded to Amasa [19:13] and then Joab acted like his "brother" and killed him [20"9-10] in order to get his position back. Shemei (relative to Saul and still mad he was not king) spat, kicked dirt and threw rocks at David and his entorage as they passed through his area THEN after David beat Absolam he comes crawling back for forgiveness [19:18ff]. Ahithophel, David's adviser leaves David for Absalam and the kills himself when Absalam quits taking his advice (David had asked God to thwart his wisdom). On and on it goes. People acting just like people, wanting their way, desiring to be popular or well known - lying, cheating, back biting that their agenda would win out...THROUGH IT ALL God's will is carried out...God's mind does not change...and all the shenanigans in the world fail to foil the will of God. When will we learn to have faith in God and quit trying to manipulate events for the purpose of fulfilling our own personal agendas??? Lesson learned - I hope - foree (Soon a look at David)