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Everything Changes

The more messed up this world gets, the more God makes sense.

Real Christian Behavior

Saturday, January 30, 2010
Romans 12: 9-21
J. B. Phillips New Testament

12:9 - Let us have no imitation Christian love. Let us have a genuine break with evil and a real devotion to good.

12:10 - Let us have real warm affection for one another as between brothers, and a willingness to let the other man have the credit.

12:11 - Let us not allow slackness to spoil our work and let us keep the fires of the spirit burning, as we do our work for God.

12:12 - Base your happiness on your hope in Christ. When trials come endure them patiently, steadfastly maintain the habit of prayer.

12:13 - Give freely to fellow-Christians in want, never grudging a meal or a bed to those who need them.

12:14 - ... as for those who try to make your life a misery, bless them. Don't curse, bless.

12:15 - Share the happiness of those who are happy, the sorrow of those who are sad.

12:16 - Live in harmony with each other. Don't become snobbish but take a real interest in ordinary people. Don't become set in your own opinions.

12:17 - Don't pay back a bad turn by a bad turn, to anyone. Don't say "it doesn't matter what people think", but see that your public behaviour is above criticism.

12:18 - As far as your responsibility goes, live at peace with everyone.

12:19 - Never take vengeance into your own hands, my dear friends: stand back and let God punish if he will. For it is written: 'Vengeance is mine. I will repay'.

12:20-21 - ... these are God's words: 'Therefore if your enemy hungers, feed him; if he thirsts, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head'. Don't allow yourself to be overpowered with evil. Take the offensive - overpower evil by good!

The Life & Times Of The Church

Saturday, January 23, 2010
I have only been to church four times in the last six months. That is so unlike me. I am one of those people who usually goes above and beyond when it comes to being loyal to something, especially church.

I was raised in church. I never knew anything differently. Church is what my family did - at least 4 or 5 times a week. I grew up wearing the right clothes, making sure I didn't swear, dance or go to movies, singing hymns, memorizing scripture and, of course, hiding sin in my life. After all, that's what people do (or don't do) that attend church.

Many post-modern churches have eliminated the dress codes and moral plumb lines connected to vulgar language, alcohol and dancing, but in the end they, too, appear bound by forms of godliness that deny the reality of who God is - and why God sent Jesus to love this world.

Church is not a building. And it is not people that meet in a building to sing songs that they don't mean. Jesus came to destroy the temple and religious people have resurrected it. Church is me. And you, if God dwells in you.

Don't get me wrong, I am still a little conflicted over all of this. Partly because I have been loyal to church attendance for 40+ years. And partly because I have experienced six months of non-church life, which is something new for me.

One thing is certain - I have not missed church at all.

When I was a kid I remember our church singing a song that said signs of the times are everywhere. Back then we were observing the decline of our culture while anticipating the Lord's return. Although sin seemed to be increasing all around us we continued to hold on to the hope that Christ would come and redeem us from the ungodly generation.

Today the signs are in the church, and it doesn't look good.
A friend on Facebook posted an article about a church that recently lost its charitable status. The article was posted on a pro-church, pro-Christian website that could potentially be biased. So I decided to research the news via the Internet only to discover a similar article in the National Post. The original article was verifiable but it left out additional facts about the situation.

The church lost its charitable status for several reasons, including a lack of clarity on how it spends it money and for participating in activities outside its stated purpose.

To me this situation is a sign. Churches are not keeping their end of the deal (legally) and they have lost sight of the purposes of God.

Churches say they are impacting cities. They say they desire unity with other churches. And they tell you that you will be blessed if you are generous with your tithes and offerings.

Yet people are not getting saved. Churches are not growing. And church finances are being spent on salaries and building projects.

Please don't misunderstand me - I believe that Christians should be in fellowship with each other on a regular (if not daily) basis. I believe that God raises up people to teach the truth of His word. And I believe that God desires that we are generous on all occasions.

I also believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. I believe He died and rose again and that someday He will return for His people. But I don't think I have to go to a church building 3 times a week to believe these things, be who God created me to be or fulfill the purposes of God.
"The Most High does not live in houses made by men."
[ Acts 7:48 ]

I
am the Temple of the Holy Spirit - I am the Church. God lives in me. And He wants me to be the kind of Church that brings glory to His name.