Category Archives: Christians

Proving You Are a Christian

Tornado Relief Goods (April / May 2011)

Tornado Relief Goods (April / May 2011)

Many years ago I read a story from the 1200’s during the time of the Inquisition.  Misguided religious people joined with other Crusaders believing they were to eliminated all “heretics” not by converting them to Christ, but by putting them to death. If an Inquisitor came to your place of business or home, you had to provide evidence that you were a Christian or face death.

In Toulouse, France, the Inquisitors met a man named Jean Tisseyre. Tisseyre was a laborer who went through town accosting the crowds with these words,

“Listen to me, citizens! I am no heretic: I have a wife . . . and she has borne me sons. I eat meat, I tell lies and swear, and I am a good Christian. So don’t believe it when you hear I am and atheist, not a word of it! They’ll very likely accuse you too, as they have me: these accursed villains want to put down honest folks and take the town from its lawful master.”

These words caught the attention of the Inquisitors. They arrested Tisseyre and condemned him to the stake.  All the while he persisted in declaring himself a good Christian.

I am not convince Tisseyre took the right approach to proving his Christianity. Yet, I wonder, How would you or I prove that we are a Christian?  Could you prove it, if asked too? Would I show a baptism certificate? would I show I can quote certain scriptures?

How do we prove our faith?

James says, “Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.” (Jam 2:18b). Faith works, specifically in compassionate care for the suffering and those in need of God’s Grace.

Jesus says, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (Joh 13:34-35).

Can people tell you are a follower of the Christ?  Is your light shining as you reflect God’s light?

- Scott

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The Others

20111024-082456.jpgNo not the movie, I still have nightmares. I am speaking of the others, as in, those around you.  Think about the other people you contact, connect with, and cross paths with each day. Think especially about your brothers and sisters in Christ.

The more I study God’s Word and reflect on His message, I become more and more convinced that being a Christians means that I am “Other Person Centered.”

There are some negatives associated with this focus.  There are things we are to NOT do to each other. I will share those today and the next blog with look at some of the things awe are supposed to do for the others.

  1. Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother. (Romans 14:13)
  2. But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another. (Galatians 5:15)
  3. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices (Colossians 3:9
  4. Do not speak evil against one another, brothers. The one who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. (James 4:11)
  5. Do not grumble against one another, brothers, so that you may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing at the door. (James 5:9)

These are the negatives, but there are WAY more positives . . . but that is tomorrow.

- Scott

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A Good Soldier

Today is Veterans Day.

As I think about the men who served our country, I also think about those who serve in the Lord’s Army.

Nov 12 AM A Good Soldier

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Knowing the Enemy

As Christians, we need to know our enemy. Your enemy is not others in your congregation that you had a disagreement with. Your enemy is not the church down the road. Our enemy is not the people across the political aisle. The enemy is Satan – the devil.  Starting today and for a few posts that follow I will be sharing things I think we need to know about Satan as our enemy. We begin with what those in Jesus’ day, His apostles and followers, and what Jesus himself said bout Satan:

  1. Mat 6:13 – Satan is the evil one.

    Evil, it's in the eyes!

    Evil, it’s in the eyes!

  2. Mat 12:24 – Satan is the Prince of Demons.
  3. Mat 13:38-39 – He is the enemy that sows the weeds.
  4. Joh 8:44 – Satan is a murderer, liar, father of liars.
  5. Joh 12:31 – Is some ways the devil is the ruler of this world.
  6. 2Co 4:4 – As ruler Satan takes on the role of the god of this world.
  7. Eph 2:2 – Paul refers to him as the prince of power of the air.
  8. 1Th 3:5 – As the tempter, Satan puts our desires of the flesh right out of reach to draw us into his destruction.
  9. 1Pe 5:8 – More than a distant enemy, he is our adversary who is in our face.
  10. Rev 12:9 – Satan is the deceiver of the whole world, convincing the world that God is their enemy.
  11. Rev 12:10 – Jesus came to save the world from sin, Satan however is the accuser - the prosecuting counsel – desiring us to share in his suffering.

But remember, as a child of the King of kings “Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” (1 John 4:4).

- Scott

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Which Church?

#Contagiouschurch

#Contagiouschurch

Churches want to grow. Those that grow are contagious congregations that focus on people over programs.  Growing churches reach their communities with the good news of salvation in Christ and keep people connected because they help people mature in their individual spirituality.  These congregations bring people to Christ and assimilate them into the body of Christ – His Church.  Are we that church? Are you helping the congregation you attend be that church?

Someone once suggested three categories of churches, one of which you are a part of. There are:

  1. Private Hospital Churches: These congregations seek to care for their own.  Everything they do from programs, classes, fellowships, trips, groups, and even worship focuses solely on the needs of members. These churches have an inward focus; helping only those on the inside and those that come to their “hospital.”
  2. Army Churches: The congregations are constantly on the march. They move from one issue to the next. They seem to always have a fight on their hands. They fight doctrinal error in other churches, they fight political battles against society, and they sometimes even fight among themselves. There is always more ground to win and some to win back. They are always in battle, but might be missing the real war.
  3. M.A.S.H. Unit Churches: These congregations resemble an army on the march. However, they know that the enemy is Satan. These congregations carefully ensure that there are no victims of friendly fire. They understand that people are not the enemy, but sin is. They are on the march looking for and caring for the wounded.  While advancing the Kingdom they recruit and train new people. These congregations equip members and send them to the front lines. Those who come for help, receive spiritual healing, training, and any needed rehabilitation so they can return to the front lines to fight against principalities, powers, and the forces of evil in this present age. M.A.S.H. Unit churches care for the souls of people.

May we strive to be a M.A.S.H. Unit Christian and together work to bring people to the healing blood of Christ.

- Scott

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Why do bad things happen to me?

depressionWhy do bad things happen to good people? This may be the most commonly asked question about God. One which some refer to as the “Achilles Heel” of Christianity. Why does a loving, all-powerful God allow suffering in His world?

First this is not the bell toll of death for Christianity that some make it out to be. 

Here are my answers:

  1. We are mortal and live in a diseased and death environment. Mat 5:45b “For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.”
  2. We are foolish and make poor decisions. Jam 4:1, “What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you?”
  3. We are connected to and injured by others. Mat 2:16, “Then Herod, when he saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, became furious, and he sent and killed all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that region who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had ascertained from the wise men.”
  4. We are vulnerable and suffer from man’s inhumanity to man. Gens 4:8b, ” . . . Cain rose up against his brother Abel and killed him.”
  5. We are righteous and darkness hates light. 2Ti 3:12, “Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.”

When God’s children suffer, we can trust that God will always do what is right (Gen 18:25). We can know that God will always work things out for the best, not always immediately, not on our time table, but in His infinite wisdom. Remember to “trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding” (Pro 3:5).

- Scott

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Great Churches

20120416-081603.jpgBuildings, attendance, history, social programs, benevolence programs, outreach efforts, mission events, youth or children’s ministries, and membership involvement opportunities.  These are many of the suggestions I read about from church growth experts on a regular basis. Admittedly, each one of these has merit. Yet, even if a church is doing all these things, they could be like the church in Sardis having “the reputation of being alive, but (being) dead.” (Rev 3:1).

Further, as I look at these ideas, I realize a group does not have to be a church to have or do them. They can be a group called, “The Society of People Making Life Better for Others” the SPMLBO.  There must be something about being Christ’s Church that should make us unique. There must be something that makes us greater. 

What makes for a great church?

  1. A great church has Purpose; a Great Purpose. That purpose is to make known the good news of salvation through the blood of Jesus the Christ. It is this Gospel message that makes us unique (cf. Act 1:8, 2:21-36, 1Co 15:1-4).
  2. A great church has Power; the Great Power of God. The same power that spoke the universe into existence. The same power that destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah. The power that parted the Red Sea, the Jordan, and raised Jesus from the grave is the power of God that He uses for our blessing and benefit so that we can fulfill our purpose. (cf. Eph 2:20-21, Phil 4:13).
  3. A great church as Passion; great passion to work God’s great purpose. God will accomplish His purpose and willingly provides the power we need, if we have the passion to work His will. (cf. Est 4:13-14, Eph 2:8-10). We need passion to seek and save the lost. We need passion to help those in need. Passion is necessary to keep each other strong. A sacrificial lifestyle takes a strong convicting passion. This is who Jesus was and what He calls us too.

- Will you be part of making the Church great?

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