United We Stand

Divided We Fall. Lincoln was so committed to the idea  of unity he went to war to keep America one nation under God. Along the way he freed an enslaved race. His ideal came from Jesus,  “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” (Mark 3: 23, 24).

Blind Spots. Are we Christians able to adjust our mirrors to see our glaring blind spot—the absurdity of rejoicing over being one nation, yet happily engaging in our own little ministries, while disregarding the work of our brethren?  From this we have many Continue reading

It Takes A Team

“People can accomplish anything when they realize they are a part of something bigger. A team of people who share that conviction can change the world.”  Nick Fury, Marvel Comics.

I learned a lot from comic books. The artwork was fantastic, but comics were also a plus in my education.  If I wanted to know what Batman was saying in that funny cloud over his head, I had to read, Comics put me on the fast track to become literate.

My favorite superhero was Captain Marvel. In real life he was a mild-mannered newsboy. When a hero was needed, he could say “SHAZAM” and be transformed into a super hero in red and yellow tights. Sure he was a rip-off of Superman, but I didn’t mind. After all Clark Kent was an adult, his only disguise, being a pair of glasses. Come on! And Billy was a just a kid, like me.

The magic of teams. When superheroes followed Nick Fury’s advice, and formed teams, they took on an exciting new look. D.C. Comics came up with Super Friends. Marvel got in line with S.H.I.E.L.D. and X Men. I related to one comic book team who didn’t have super powers.  Blackhawk was a group of fighter pilots, each with different abilities, joining forces to wage war on many evils including Nazism.

Who dreamed up teams?  Give credit to the Apostle Paul who taught Christians functioning alone, accomplish little, but achieve great things when they unite and work together God’s team is called the church—not a building or an organization, but the living body of Christ, made up of many different members, each contributing their own unique talents and gifts to the whole. “… together you are the body of Christ and individually members of him and one another. (1 Cor. 12: 28).

The team that changed the world. Paul got the idea from Jesus. Now, even though he was God’s son and a true super hero, he was still just a single person. So, to launch his mission to change the world, he had to recruit committed men and women through whom he could work. Using an on-the-job training program, he prepared them, filled them with the power of his Spirit and molded them into a team. His strategy was to for them to multiply and fill the earth, reproducing like any healthy organism.

Jesus maximized his effectiveness through them. They were faced with a world much more difficult than ours. It was a world where many worshiped pagan gods, enslaved their fellows, entertained themselves with deadly games and public orgies.  In a few centuries the church had grown so strong, even emperors turned away from paganism, slavery was abolished and so were bloody games of violence and public displays of immorality.

Even Jesus didn’t fly solo and he doesn’t want us to either.  Do we really think we can bring in God’s kingdom by going off on our lonesome, shining our little lights in a very dark world? The challenge for us is to find ways to join our lone lights with others and shine with greater brightness and effectiveness. It takes teams of believers to be this world’s light to begin to extinguish the evils around us.

God in the Kitchen

“Lord, is it fair that my sister sits there [at your feet] while I do all the work? Tell her to come and help.”…The Lord answered, “ Martha, Martha, you are in a dither about many things!  Yet only one thing is needful and Mary has chosen it….” [Luke 9: 40, 41, 42].

Poor Martha! She really takes it on the chin for being so caught up in mundane tasks. Did Jesus expect her to leave her kitchen duties and join Mary at his feet? Maybe not. How then would  their many guests get fed?  Can’t we go about our ordinary tasks and still maintain a loving relationship with Jesus Christ? Continue reading

I Am Not the Light of the World

Jesus said, ”I am the Light of the World. Whoever follows me shall have the light of life.” [John 9:5)   “You together are the Light of the World.” (Mt. 5:14)

When I was a child I sang like a child, “This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine.” But when I became a man, I realized my lone little light can put out very little of this world’s darkness.   

Who Is the Light of the World? It is Jesus of course.  But is that the full story? While on earth Jesus was an individual, limited by time and space. He put out darkness where he was physically present. But Jesus is no longer here. He is in heaven by the Father’s side,  praying for his church. We are his body now, his earthly proxy, scattered throughout the world. So I am not ”the light of the world,” and you are not “the light of the world” But together we are when we are one in his Spirit.   Continue reading

God Whisperers

The Lord was not in the wind, the earthquake or fire, but in the sound of a small whisper. I Kings 19:12

We’ve heard about those special individuals who have unique talents for communicating with dogs, horses and even plants. They have been labeled “whisperers.” I know a gifted mechanic whom some might call a car whisperer.  To achieve this status requires skills in listening, observing and a readiness to take action. Continue reading

Christ’s New Order for a New Order

“Let us do good to all men, but especially to believers, fellow members of God’s family with you.” (Gal 6:10 )

What is our mission?  In the 1970’s, during a controversy over the church’s mission, Dean Heckel, a highly placed layman in a Presbyterian denomination, addressed the issue at a worship service. “Why do we debate the church’s mission?” he asked. “We all know what it is. It’s the love commandment of Jesus Christ, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and your neighbor as yourself.”

Heckel got it right, but also got it wrong. Continue reading

Four Foolproof Ways to Grow a Church

Do we agree the goal of a local church is to win their unbelieving neighbors to Christ? But how to we do this? Following are the tried and true methods Jesus taught his apostles who obeyed and, in turn taught them to their flock, making those first believers the most successful church in history.

Churches grow by attraction and promotion. A church must be a witness (Acts 1:8) before she can effectively proclaim her witness. Continue reading