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Archive for November, 2010

It’s Thanksgiving

Here are a few reasons we give thanks…

1.  For Food…In the wilderness, the people of God were chiefly concerned with what they were going to eat.  When God provided bread from heaven they began to exclaim, “manna, manna”!  The Hebrew translation for manna is, “what is it”?  God provided for his people with food and every other need.  When we gather around a table to eat, we are remembering God’s constant faithfulness to is people throughout history, and we are identifying ourselves with believers of all times in recognizing, thanking, and believing in God’s provision for his people.  This is why we should never fast on thanksgiving, we are celebrating who God is and what he has done.  There are times to fast, celebrations and holidays are not those times…they are times to celebrate God, and food reminds us of his faithfulness.

2.  For Family…It’s a time for us to enjoy each other.  Our family’s, both immediate and extended are to be cherished and enjoyed.  For many, this may the only time we get to gather during the year.  It’s a time to be thankful for each member of our family, what they mean to us, how they have impacted us, and how God has specifically chosen us to call each other family.  It is a time to be thankful for our family members, not critical or judgmental of them.  Look for each persons gifts, talents, abilities, and most important their supreme worth as a individual created in the image of God.

3.  For Some Things and All Things…It is often very vague to say, “thank you God for all your blessings on us”  But, we could never thanks God for everything, nor would we remember or even realize all he has done. So, think on a few things perhaps this year you have been/are most thankful for.  I presently am thankful for a trial I am facing that has caused me to draw much nearer to God.  Perhaps, it is even an occasion to thank God for many “blessings in disguise.”  At any level, it is an occasion to thank God for the obvious (friends, family, food), and look to some specifics between you and God.

4.  For Christ…Because Thanksgiving like any other day without Christ , is not really a day worth celebration at all.  We most of all as Christians have a reason to be thankful for a savior who loved us to the point of death, his own.  A Savior who died in our place for our sins.  A Savior who loved us even when we didn’t love him.  A Savior who gives us what we don’t deserve, while keeping us from what we do deserve.  We are to be thankful for Christ every day, but especially on a day dedicated to giving thanks.  Ultimately if there is no Christ, there is no Thanksgiving.  He is the reason for the day, the people, the food, the cosmos, the creation.  So, since Christ is the reason for everything, let us celebrate him even more on Thursday!

Happy Thanksgiving 2010

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I had shoulder surgery today.  My plan is for a new post on Thanksgiving by the end of the week.  Be blesssed friends in Jesus Christ.

Galatians 3:14 (NIV)

14 He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit.

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For Your Day

Teach me to do your will, for you are my God!

Let your good Spirit lead me on level ground!

Psalm 143:10

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Online Church

You can now “attend” church online.  I first heard of this several years ago.  I had heard of people viewing services online, this would of course make sense for soldiers fighting over seas, people on vacation, or those physically unable to attend. But, this was not watching a service online, it was called “church online”.  The idea apparently is to have people watch the service online from their  living rooms couches, Starbucks, or on their front porch.  Chatting or posting during the service is encouraged.  I don’t recall talking during the sermon to be advised, but chatting? Some churches even refer to these online churches as campuses…still cant figure out how something that does not exist can be a campus.  Really, where is your online campus located, Narnia?  Here is the deal, online churches are a bad, bad idea!  Sitting @ your computer in your living room while “logged in” with other people does not constitute as worshiping together.  This is not technology being used for the greater good, it is accommodating an already apathetic culture when it comes to building real family within the local church body.  I asked someone who worked for a church who has “online church” what the point of it was.  His reply to me was it encouraged people to actually come to church.  That the purpose was to reach people who would noy normally come to church and get them to “visit” online first.  So, I said how do you take communion?  Good question he answered, we have not quite got all the details ironed out yet.  To take communion in any setting that is not with your local church together physically, is to individualized the act and misunderstand the meaning completely.  Communion is about the local church body together, celebrating and remembering what Christ accomplished on the cross.  It is passing the cup (or the tray) to your mom, sitting next to you, and on to your dad, and then to the family seated next to yours and on to your best friend and his family at the end of the row.  It is seeing and elderly couple sitting in front of you in contemplative  prayer prior to taking the cup and bread.  The two of them together understanding that this identification and celebration of Christ is not to be entered in to lightly or without consideration of self and himself.  It is seeing every member of the church served the body and blood of Christ together, and as one taking the offering Christ has so freely given to us.  Maybe you can Skype all that, but I doubt it.  What about baptism?  Is not baptism much more than a symbol?  Is baptism not the congregation in unity affirming the faith of the one being immersed?  Is baptism not the solemn promise to hold the baptized accountable to their profession of Christ and identification with him? Can you effectively affirm someone elses faith, or hold them accountable to it, if you will never see them in person?  Can you really say you know someone you never talk to face to face, heart to heart.  I don’t know about you, but I never asked a prom date out over the phone, or asked to be interviewed online by my potential employer.  No,  if you really want to connect with another soul, you need to look that other soul in the eyes and get to know their heart.  Online church is not church at all, it is individuals who don’t understand the Biblical mandate to meet together regularly.  It is an attempt to accommodate an already Biblical illiterate culture.  We are no longer meeting people we they are at, we are making it easy for them to stay there.  Forcing them to become part of a real church body would be the best thing for them all. Then, they could truly decide if that want to follow Christ and be an active part of a local body. But, then again why cause people to be uncomfortable? Why cause others to deal with all the stuff in the lives of others in their Sunday School?  One thing is for sure, changing churches has never been easier thanks to online church.  Being an active member (present in the  flesh) will never be easy.  You have to become involved in people’s lives and deal with all their “stuff”.  You learn to love people you might not otherwise like.  You have to learn that you don’t always get your way when it comes to music, who should teach the Bible study, or what monies should be allocated where.  But, that is one of the best things, because you don’t always get what you want. Instead, you  learn to be self-less, forgive, resolve conflict, and be a part of something far greater than yourself.  You cant “log off” of real church when someone wrongs you, or says something negative about you behind your back.  No, you have to deal with the issue, the person, in person.  Online church sounds nice, but it has no Biblical roots (yes I know the internet was not around then…it didn’t come along until Al Gore decided it should).  Biblical church is about the local body meeting together regularly, face to face, heart to heart, for the edification of the body, for the glory of God.  Online, you can be anyone you want.  In the local church you are forced to be real.  I wish I could “LOL” about online church, but it is not laughing matter.  It is a poor representation and a cheap imitation of the real thing. True corporate worship is not streaming online, it’s live and in person.    

Hebrews 10:24-25

24And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

Acta 2:42-45

 42And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. 43And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. 44And all who believed were together and had all things in common. 45And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need.

Colossians 4:15

15Give my greetings to the brothers at Laodicea, and to Nympha and the church in her house.

James 5:13-15

13Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise. 14Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. 15And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.

Acts 20:7a

7 On the first day of the week, when we were gathered together

Matthew 18:15-18

 15 “If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. 16 But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’17 If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector.

-You can’t accomplish church discipline from your living room.

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