Aside

There are large numbers of people who would like to be saved and, so to speak, want to be on good terms with God. Therefore they diligently attend church, hardly ever miss a sermon or a prayer meeting, in short, they outwardly fulfill all duties of a sincere Christian with great care.

But they believe that they already do a great service to God and are real Christians by their mere attending of church services, sitting alongside others in the pews, joining thoughtlessly in the singing of hymns, and hearing the words of the sermon as they would hear the babble of a brook by the wayside. It is only now and then that they really hear a word of the sermon. Most of the time their soul is fast asleep so that the sermon often must serve them as a lullaby to croon their bodies to sleep, too.

They are pitiful, unfortunate, miserable listeners. The word of God is lost to them. None of it reaches their hearts, but Satan takes all of it away, lest they believe and be saved. They sit down at God’s table and merely look at the bread of life without partaking of it, remaining in their spiritual death and finally die, forever unsaved.

Changes in my rights? (as a U.S. citizen) or just New ‘drone’ policy?

Topic: Drone strikes / Justice Department white paper recently leaked / government’s ability to kill citizens w/o due process 

 Impetus for thought:  Reading recently about how the status of ‘Roman citizen’ (back in the heyday of the Roman Empire) was significant, impacting the rights of its citizenry whether near Rome or afar.  Apparently a Roman’s rights were recognized and upheld where ever the authority of rule of Rome existed. 

 Current concern:  Attorney General Eric Holder’s comment “The Constitution’s guarantee of due process is ironclad, and it is essential (but) …due process and judicial process are not one and the same.”    I’m not versed in legal definitions, but this raises an eyebrow.  The use of the term ‘imminent threat’ is frequently used when justifying such drone strikes.

 My angst:  From someone who has not had a real problem with riflemen taking out enemy targets in the past, understanding that covert activities have value despite the questions they may rise, and acknowledging that there is always a certain ‘need to know’ basis… I find myself troubled at the boldness of the defense of the recent use of drone strikes, and even more at the  apparent loopholes that it creates.

 The use of the ‘smart bombs’ began a certain uncomfortability in the Gulf war as I watched their  ‘precision’ on national tv.  But the recent activity, inquiries and hearings have increased the concern.  And the recent comment given by U.S. District Judge McMahon “…some Americans question the power of the executive to make a unilateral and un-review-ableImage decision to kill an American citizen who is not actively engaged in armed combat operations against this country.” — heightens my unease, especially as Brennan (up for confirmation as CIA head) conspicuously avoided the question about the ability of a president to order kills on U.S. soil during recent hearings.   

So perhaps the rights of a U.S. citizen are no longer what they were when traveling abroad, or perhaps even when traveling to the grocery store.

Or perhaps they never were, but I was comfortable in my ignorance.

Maybe that is what Paul of Tarsus also thought…

” o u g h t “

” o u g h t “

The basis for so much conflict.

Image

Whether you’re one of those ‘rule followers’ or a free spirit, it seems to pervade everyone’s existence.

 What others think you ‘ought’…

            What you think you ‘ought’… and possibly (depending on your moral persuasion)

                        What you truly ‘ought’!

Three potentially different perspectives on how you should live your life, what that should look like, and even how you should think!

“What”Image is right?

Celebration and Cherished Memories – You and Your church

I asked a group of men regarding their church involvement:

                    “What do we celebrate?  What are our cherished memories?”

 Do ANY of them involve successes in bringing people to a saving faith in Christ?

The following came out of the ensuing discussion.  (This is a practical answer/response to the following questions, not at theological treatise.)

I’m sharing this as some of you might find value in considering your own situations.  If you do, I’m interested in the points which either resonate with you, or those which you would disagree.  Moving forward is the objective here!

__________________________________________________________________

WHAT I’M LOOKING FOR IN A NEW CHURCH?

A.

Where people want to bring others to Christ, not just to church.

Where people feel compelled to ‘save’ others, and their decisions with their focus, time, energy and resources follow suit.

B.

The church facilitates the individual in doing A.

It equips the individuals to do this work, encourages them individually, provides tools and education (support) to do so, reinforces us collectively in a culture true to the New Testament church’s expectations of go/tell/share/bring.

(Includes things like training, opportunities, group worship, and a focus on personal spiritual development.)

WHAT IT WOULD TAKE TO REVITALIZING AN EXISTING CHURCH?

Remove all that inhibits the criteria for finding a new church (see above)

All is on the table for removal, except biblical tenets.

Note: Some customs, traditions, expectations will likely be jettisoned for the sake of the Gospel; including some (or many) people.

Consequences of NOT doing this?

                         ‘Cherish the memories, as they will be all that we have left…’

[the Reid boys] circa 1994ish

For those heading “back to school”…

For those who are biblically minded (and perhaps for a few who are not this still has great applicability; just the purpose might vary)

A new year; new classes, new people, (for some, and entirely new school and/or town!).

A new chance, opportunity, ability to ‘re-create’ yourself, a new start.

How will you look at those ‘new’ people around you (or even those old acquaintances you have not seen for months) ?

Will you maintain your aura of silence and wait for them to engage you, and then decide if you will grace them with your attention?  Will you focus on keeping that ‘arms length’ between you and ‘strangers’; whether to maintain your ‘rep’, keep from awkwardness of ‘newness’, or just out of fear of the unknown?

These people have been put around you, in your new environment for a reason.  (For those of you who are not apt to adhere to the biblical notion of God’s sovereignty, you could look at them solely as people who could potentially help you in your life.)

Your challenge is to find that reason!

Remember, that your ability to serve God through serving other people is impacted by those people’s ability to get to know you!  You could be as wise as Solomon, but if someone does not get the opportunity to know you, to see you as a person of character and wisdom, your ability to influence and help them is limited.  Remember, people ‘…buy the messenger before the message!’.

So I encourage you, with the strongest of urgings, to ‘lean into’ these new budding relationships!

One of these new ‘strangers’ that you meet might be your newest lifelong friend!

One of these may be the man/woman who you will spend the rest of your life with, and help with your grandchildren!

One of these might be lost in this world, and you (with your unique combination of behavioral traits) may be the only person to help them find their way!

One of these people might be struggle with a life challenge which may have them asking if they want to continue to live…and you may be there to show them the only love that they might feel,

You might be the one to make a difference in their life…and who knows, they might make a difference in yours!

The point is, don’t let this year’s ‘new’ opportunity just go by without your reconsidering how you can make a difference, in someone’s life, in your own.  Who knows, you might have come to this point in time for …. (well, you get the gist..)!

Ester 4

14 For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?”