This church loves the "idea" of helping people, but just not "actual" needy people!
As you browse, read and share the many articles, our hope is that you may find this site an encouragement to your faith and Christian life.
We were created to worship. And we are to worship God with every aspect and area of our lives - presenting our bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God.
The bride of Christ can often times be difficult and messy - but it is Christ's beautiful mess - to which He is the head and chief cornerstone.
Our faith comes out from a rich heritage and history. It was during the formative years of our faith that creeds, confessions, traditions, and liturgies were developed. These practices and traditions recaptured will not only anchor us but move us forward in our faith.
There is freedom in the gospel as it proclaims that in Christ we are sons and daughters of the King. The importance is learning to preach those truths to our heart and life everyday.
See the gracious way [Jesus] executes his offices. As a prophet, he came with blessing in his mouth, `Blessed are the poor in spirit’ (Matt. 5:3), and invited those to come to him whose hearts suggested most exceptions against themselves, `Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden’ (Matt. 11:28). How did his heart yearn when he saw the people `as sheep having no shepherd’ (Matt. 9:36)! He never turned any back again that came to him, though some went away of themselves. He came to die as a priest for his enemies. In the days of his flesh he dictated a form of prayer unto his disciples, and put petitions unto God into their mouths, and his Spirit to intercede in their hearts. He shed tears for those that shed his blood, and now he makes intercession in heaven for weak Christians, standing between them and God’s anger. He is a meek king; he will admit mourners into his presence, a king of poor and afflicted persons. As he has beams of majesty, so he has a heart of mercy and compassion. He is the prince of peace (Isa. 9:6). Why was he tempted, but that he might `succor them that are tempted’ (Heb. 2:18)? What mercy may we not expect from so gracious a Mediator (1 Tim. 2:5) who took our nature upon him that he might be gracious? He is a physician good at all diseases, especially at the binding up of a broken heart. He died that he might heal our souls with a plaster of his own blood, and by that death save us, which we were the procurers of ourselves, by our own sins. And has he not the same heart in heaven? ‘Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?’ cried the Head in heaven, when the foot on earth was trodden on (Acts 9:4). His advancement has not made him forget his own flesh. Though it has freed him from passion, yet not from compassion towards us. The lion of the tribe of Judah will only tear in pieces those that “will not have him rule over them” (Luke 19:14). He will not show his strength against those who prostrate themselves before him.- Richard Sibbes, The Bruised Reed (pp. 8, 9)
“God, because in his mercy he willed to forgive sinful men, and being truly merciful, willed to forgive them righteously, that is, without in any way condoning their sin, purposed to direct against his own very Self in the person of his Son the full weight of that righteous wrath which they deserved.”— Charles Cranfield, quoted by John Stott in The Message of Romans
28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11.28-29)
"It is easier to serve God without a vision, easier to work for God without a call, because then you are not bothered by what God requires; common sense is your guide, veneered over with Christian sentiment. You will be more prosperous and successful, more leisure-hearted, if you never realize the call of God. But if once you receive a commission from Jesus Christ, the memory of what God wants will always come like a goad; you will no longer be able to work for Him on the common-sense basis." ~ Oswald Chambers(ht: Various Parables)
“[We are a] small, growing, easy going, no problem church. Seeking a young man (no experience, no education is no problem). Piercings, tattoos, hair, etc. is no problem. We are good at reaching the types of young people who are traditionally not welcome in churches. We can pay very very small amount, apartment in church available. The perfect place for a young dude who wants to step out into this kind of ministry, but thought he couldn’t due to experience, age, education, looks, etc. We are no liberal, we are out of the box workers. all of us here at First Church of Christ are long since tired of churchy church, tradition, discriminating of people due to whatever, etc. If you are in doubt…give us a shout…you just may be surprised.”This is where the real job listing is posted…
...There are four kinds of persons in the world:
#1 Law-obeying, Law-relying: These people are under the law, and are usually very smug, self-righteous and pharisaical. Externally, they are very sure they are right with God, but deep down, they have a lot of insecurity, since no one can truly be assured they are living up to standards. This makes them touchy, sensitive to criticism and devastated when their prayers aren’t answered. [This includes members of other religions but here I am thinking mainly of people who go to church.]
#2 Law-disobeying, Law-relying: These people have a religious conscience of strong works-righteousness, but they are not living consistently with it. As a result, they are more humble and more tolerant of others than the Pharisees above, but they are also much more guilt-ridden, subject to mood swings and sometimes very afraid of religious topics. [Some of these people may go to church but stay on the periphery because of their low spiritual self-esteem.]
#3 Law-disobeying, Not Law-relying: These are the people who have thrown off the concept of the Law of God. They are intellectually secular or rather relativistic, or have a very vague spirituality. They largely choose their own moral standards and insist they are meeting them. But Paul in Romans 1 says that at a sub-conscious level, they know there is a God who they should be obeying. [Such people are usually happier and more tolerant than either of the above groups. But usually there is a strong liberal self-righteousness They are definitely earning their own salvation by feeling superior to others. It is usually a less overt kind of self-righteousness.]
#4 Law-obeying, Not Law-relying: These are Christians who understand the gospel and are living out of the freedom of it. They obey the law of God out of grateful joy that comes from the knowledge of their sonship and out of the freedom from the fear and selfishness that false idols had generated. They are more tolerant than #3, more sympathetic than #2, and more confident than #1. [Most real Christians tend toward the errors of #1, #2, and even #3. But to the degree that they do, they are impoverished spiritually.]
--from Redeemer Presbyterian Church's Leader's Guide for Paul's Letter to the Galatians(ht: Vitamin Z)
Protestantism came to America to make America Protestant. It was assumed that was to be done through faith in the reasonableness of the common man and the establishment of a democratic republic. But in the process the church in America became American - or, as Noll puts it, "because the churches had done so much to make America, they could not escape living with what they had made."
As a result Americans continue to maintain a stubborn belief in a god, but the god they believe in turns out to be the American god. To know or worship that god does not require that a church exist because that god is known through the providential establishment of a free people.
This is a presumption shared by the religious right as well as the religious left in America. Both assume that America is the church.
But now we are beginning to see the loss of confidence by Protestants in their ability to sustain themselves in America just to the extent that the inevitable conflict between the church, republicanism and commonsense morality has worked its way through the system of our national life.
America is the great experiment in Protestant social thought, but the society Protestants created now threatens to make Protestantism unintelligible to itself. Put as directly as I can, I believe we may be living at a time when we are watching Protestantism, at least the kind of Protestantism we have in America, come to an end. It is dying of its own success.
Do we preach the gospel so clearly even when we are seeking to edify that there are always at least a trickle of people within our church who come to see that they never really believed? The purpose of every sermon, according to Dr Lloyd-Jones, is not to give information and general instruction but to preach the gospel and make it real to the heart. -"Lloyd-Jones on Preaching the Gospel, Part 2"...
“The largest part of Jesus’ life was hidden. Jesus lived with his parents in Nazareth, “under their authority” (Luke 2:51), and there “increased in wisdom, in stature, and in favour with God and with people” (Luke 2:52). When we think about Jesus we mostly think about his words and miracles, his passion, death, and resurrection, but we should never forget that before all of that Jesus lived a simple, hidden life in a small town, far away from all the great people, great cities, and great events. Jesus’ hidden life is very important for our own spiritual journeys. If we want to follow Jesus by words and deeds in the service of his Kingdom, we must first of all strive to follow Jesus in his simple, unspectacular, and very ordinary hidden life.”– Henri Nouwen
“If you think God is far away and indifferent, here is the surprising revelation. From the foundation of the world, God knew your sufferings and declared that he himself would take human form and participate in them (which means that we too could share in his). This is not a distant, indifferent God.”— Edward T. Welch, Depression: A Stubborn Darkness p. 48
The son’s turnaround began when he saw the reality of his sin clearly. He realized what a fool he had been, how offensive behavior and attitudes were, and how ratty the pleasures of sin were in comparison to the joys of his father’s home. In Jesus’s words, “He came to himself”—he came to his senses.
—Mike McKinley, Am I Really a Christian? (Crossway, 2011), 70.Since a Christian is dead to sin and alive to Christ, when he does sin, he finds that it doesn’t suit him. He cannot be comfortable living in it. Although sin may provide him with a moment of pleasure and enjoyment, he is later plagued with feelings of regret, disappointment, and shame. If a true follower of Jesus is snared in sin, he will eventually have a moment like the Prodigal son, had in the pigsty where he comes to hate his sin. He does not grow in an ever-increasing love for sin, but as time goes by, he hates it.
“You cannot love God if you are under the continual secret suspicion that he is really your enemy! … You simply cannot love God unless you know and understand how much he loves you. … In the gospel, you can come to know that God truly loves you through Christ. When you have this assurance, you can even love your enemies, because you know that you are reconciled to God. You know that God’s love will make people’s hatred of you work together for your good.”— Walter Marshall, The Gospel Mystery of Sanctification: Growing in Holiness by Living in Union with Christ
'Instead of our being free to love and to plead, to warn and to rebuke, we are hung up with our own inner problems. We are inhibited. We are ourselves guilt-ridden. ('What will she think of me if I say that?') We are not prepared to lay cards on tables or to call spades spades. . . . We beat around the bush, not because we're tactful but because we're cowards.'- John White, Eros Defiled: The Christian and Sexual Sin
Do not imagine that if you meet a really humble man he will be what most people call “humble” nowadays: be will not be a sort of greasy, smarmy person, who is always telling you that, of course, he is nobody.- C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity
Probably all you will think about him is that he seemed a cheerful, intelligent chap who took a real interest in what you said to him. If you do dislike him it will be because you feel a little envious of anyone who seems to enjoy life so easily. He will not be thinking about humility: he will not be thinking about himself at all.
- I know how you feel.
- I understand.
- You’re lucky that ___________.
- It’ll take some time, but you’ll get over it.
- Tell me more details about what happened.
- I can imagine how you feel.
- Don’t worry, it’s going to be all right.
- Try to be strong.
- Out of tragedies, good things happen.
- Time heals all wounds.
- It was God’s will.
- You need to forgive and move on.
- Calm down and try to relax.
- You should get on with your life.
(ht: Route 59)
- I believe you.
- Thank you for telling me.
- How can I help?
- I’m glad you’re talking with me.
- I’m glad you’re safe now.
- It wasn’t your fault.
- Your reaction is not an uncommon response.
- It’s understandable you feel that way.
- You’re not going crazy; these are normal reactions.
- Things may not ever be the same, but they can get better.
- It’s OK to cry.
- I can’t imagine how terrible your experience must have been.
- I’m sorry this happened to you.
Keith Preston, owner of Rapture Ready Consulting in Kenton, Ohio...estimates his company grossed $380,000 in 2009 by selling products like...a smartphone app for $4.99 that tells you if you’re in a flood zone. Although sales plummeted to $200,000 in 2010—the short-lived economic uptick, Rapture-sellers say, cast a pall over the sector—Rapture Ready rebounded this year.Preston isn't the only one making a move on this market. Take a look at the full article for the other examples.
A recent psychological study in Science suggests we may be changing the way we store memory. Instead of remembering facts and information, we have started to remember where we can find the information online.
Researchers in the study say the internet acts as "transactive memory," meaning we recognize it as an external memory source. The idea isn't new, throughout history we have associated certain people with an expertise or a skill set and who have answers to our questions, but in this case, we're doing the same thing with the internet.
One of the experiments in this study provided a set of facts to two groups of participants and asked them to remember them. Half of the group was told these facts would remain in folders on a computer, the other half were told they would be deleted. Participants who knew the files would be erased performed significantly better in a memory test than those who knew they could pull up the information later.
Lead author Dr. Betsy Sparrow notes to the BBC, "This suggests that for the things we can find online, we tend to keep it online as far as memory is concerned." The participants in the study tended to remember the location of information rather than the information itself.This study got me thinking about the affect of the internet on our faith, since a means of spiritual growth depends on memorizing spiritual truth so that they get into our heart and mind. Therefore how does this affect the way we catechize children or memorize Scripture.(ht: LifeHacker)