Resurrected Living
"What are you going to do with your new resurrected life? This is the heroic question." Richard Rohr

Jun
13
Summer is a time when many of us experience a change in our routines. Kids and grandkids are out of school. We schedule vacations and look forward to summer activities. The days are longer and we may work longer. There are summer concerts, summer picnics, summer sports, and many other events taking place. Summer is fun and it is a great time to enjoy all the blessings God has given us.

Although our routines may change in various ways during the summer, we should make sure our spiritual routines are not disrupted. We must guard our times of prayer and Bible reading. We must maintain our practice of helping people in need. We must not forsake the assembly of the saints, nor neglect our Bible classes on Sunday and Wednesday. All of these routines and practices are essential to our spiritual formation and maintaining a healthy relationship with God. It may be difficult at times to continue our spiritual routines in the summer, but we must make sure we are prioritizing our devotion to God above everything else.

The greatest command is to love God with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength. We show our love for God in many different ways, but one of the main ways is by our commitment to him. We are faithful to God no matter the time or season. We would not accept it if our spouse chose to only be faithful to us at certain times of the year, and rightly so. Why would we treat God any differently? Our devotion to him should be greater than our devotion to our spouse. We should never neglect our relationship with God because it gets busy. If it were not for God, we would never be able to enjoy all the activities of summer, and so we should take every opportunity to praise and thank him.

Jun
10

Jun
04

May
30

“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Romans 12:2)

One of the greatest challenges of being a Christian is living in a culture with many negative influences and not to succumb to these influences. Because the culture might adopt something like slavery, racism, sexism, abortion, etc. and say it is ok, does not make it ok. Paul’s command in Romans 12:2 is for Christians to have our minds transformed by the word of God so that we will be able to recognize what is not right. Our ability to do this distinguishes us from the rest of the world and allows us to become the holy community God expects us to be.

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus calls us to be a light to the world. He expects us to be leaders, not followers. We are to be examples of how to live. We are not to follow the world in ways that demean, devalue, or even destroy human life. If we fail at this, we have no one to blame but ourselves. The call to live as a unique people who resist evil cultural influences is one that God assigned his people from the very beginning. Israel was expected to be unique among the nations. When they began to act like the nations around them, God held them accountable and they were punished.

Cultural influences can be quite strong and influential, but our love for God and his truth should be stronger. This is serious because many of the evil cultural influences we are tempted by cause harm to others. People are enslaved. People are treated as less than human. People are treated as objects and abused. People are even put to death. God will have none of this! We cannot praise God with our lips and then mistreat people who are created in his image. As God’s people, we must love our neighbors no matter what the culture around us is doing.

May
27

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There is no perfect congregation. To think you are perfect would be to place yourself above the congregations at Corinth, Rome, Thessalonica, Ephesus, etc. These congregations had direct access to inspired apostles. They were much closer to Jesus than we are. They had many advantages that we don’t and yet they still fail short in various ways. We, like these congregations we read about in the New Testament, are flawed in one way or another.

To acknowledge our shortcomings is not to give up on the idea of becoming the congregation God wants us to be. As Christians, we strive daily to become like Jesus knowing we will fall short but we still keep pressing forward. We cannot become more Christlike without owning our faults. To grow in holiness is to recognize our weaknesses so that God can help us to overcome them.

Each generation of Christians will have to make changes to restore/reform the church. The process of restoration/reformation is never complete. It is an ongoing process. This means the church must have the courage to recognize her own shortcomings and make the necessary changes to be a more faithful body. This is not an indictment of the Christians who came before us. As we make changes to more closely follow the teachings of Scripture, we understand that one day the next generation of Christians will have to do the same thing we are doing. No generation has achieved perfection.

If a church holds to the idea they have reached perfection, then they have embraced a stumbling block that will prevent them from maturing in Christ and growing in holiness. This happens more often than one might expect. There is always a temptation to reduce Scripture to an easily manageable set of principles. Once this has been done, there is no need to continue to search for ways to grow in holiness. One can simply embrace the set of principles and claim faithfulness.

We see this in the reduction of worship to five acts. The congregations who embrace this set of principles believe that a faithful congregation is one who adheres to the five acts of worship every Sunday. There are several problems with this belief. The main problem is that Scripture never reduces worship to five acts. This is a man-made reduction that is bound upon others. The other problem is that as Christians have carefully read the Bible over the years, they have identified other acts of worship. One of these acts is the public reading of Scripture (1 Tim. 4:13). When some have tried to rectify this oversight by suggesting responsive readings, longer readings, etc., they have been met with hesitancy. Why? How could any Christian object to the public reading of Scripture? One could if they based faithfulness off of perfectly following a set of principles rather than allowing Scripture to challenge and correct.

Every congregation needs to hold to the truth, but every congregation also needs to be prepared to change in order to better follow God’s ways and grow closer to him. This will happen with each generation and we should not be surprised when it does.

May
20

May
16

May
06

Apr
29

Apr
23