Posted in Call, Christ, Disciple, Faith, God, Passion, Prayer, Seek Christ, Serve, Triune God, worship

Where is Church?

Why this question?

In looking around the blog world the other day, I stumbled on a blog by Michelle Lesley. It is well written and thought out but definitely not in line with how I interpret  the teachings within Timothy’s. No problem, 1 John 4:1 tells us to “not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to determine if they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.”.  I’m not saying Michelle is a false prophet. I am saying that I (we) are to test what we read and hear against God’s word. Not to challenge it or argue against it, but to ensure we are believing, following, sharing, teaching and preaching the right message.

Christ himself gave us an example of how we are to have this conversation in Acts 19:8 when he entered the Lecture Hall of Tyrannus: “Then he entered the synagogue and spoke boldly over a period of three months, engaging in discussion and trying to persuade them about the things of the kingdom of God.”

In a nutshell she was discussing the role of women in the church, which is not what we’ll talk about today. In a brief exchange between us, I asked “If you believe 100% what you have written here, then you believe 100% what you have taught, proselytized, preached (different people will apply different words to what we bloggers do) here. How does your work here not go against what you have said the Bible does? ” Her response took me back, “The instruction is that women are not to preach to, teach Scripture to, or exercise authority over men in the church. A blog is not the church.”

What is Church?

I have written about this before (Where We Gather and Here & Now – Worship) as this question as well as what is worship are ones far too many of us do not understand or experience.

A quick survey of a variety of versions of the Bible show that the word church shows up a little over 100 times in the New Testament. When God talks about the church with us, He is not talking about the man made denominations we’ve created, He’s talking about His people. In the Old Testament, church did equal the Temple and people were expected to gather there for sacrifices and teachings (the men anyway). But in the New Testament, Christ changes this format. The Bible does give references to congregations, but those are congregations of cities or communities, not a physical institution. So, what is church?

For the purist among you, the word church comes from the Greek word ekklesia meaning ‘assembly’ or ‘called out ones’.

First of all, we need to understand that the church is Christ:

“He is also the head of the body, the church;”.   Col 1:24 (HCSB)

Then we need to understand that church is a place of gathering, but it is a place where two or more gather.

For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there among them.” Matt 18:20 (HCSB)

Some would argue that the Holy Spirit being present can be counted as one since He is a participant in prayer; I don’t think this supported biblically but can understand the argument when Christ gives us examples like the Garden of Gethsemane.

Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and He told the disciples, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” Matt 26:36 (HCSB) also Mk 14:32

And when we’re instructed to privately talk with Abba, one-on-one; two are present.

But when you pray, go into your private room, shut your door, and pray to your Father who is in secret.  Matt 6:5-6 (HCSB)

Christ first mentions the work of building a church in Matthew, but He is not talking about the confining walls of a building, but The Church (of Jesus Christ) full of people.

And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the forces of Hades will not overpower it.  Matt 16:18 (HCSB)

To truly understand what the church is, we must go to the Book of Acts and recognize some major shifts in societal and physical behaviors. One of the largest is the clarity of the message that no one is excluded.

The Disciples were baptized by The Holy Spirit and received His power (Acts 1:8).
Women were included in acts and in gifts. (Acts 1:14, 2:17,18)
Pentecost brought the time of speaking in tongues so the Word of God would be heard by so many more. (Acts 2:4)
One expectation was laid out for followers, REPENT.  (Acts 2-38-40)
A picture of church is presented, people who devote themselves to learning, gathering, breaking of bread (eating) with a joyful and humble attitude, and praising. (Acts 2:42,46)

With all of this, we can now go to the question, are we on this blog, a church? Are we discussing, teaching, preaching, sharing, learning and supporting each other in the name of Christ? Are we asking questions to ensure what we learn is true? Does this technology allow us to find God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit? I believe so and I believe I am responsible for each person who reads or shares this.

What I do not believe is that this makes me the head of a church or places me over any man who may be reading this. Just as women were including in the act of praying in the upper room, teaching in homes throughout Acts and receiving calls directly to guide others, they were not the head of their churches; they were answering God’s call to teach, proselytize, praise, whatever their gift was.

After Michelle and I chatted, I searched out many more blogs and websites hosted by women Christians and I was astonished at how many did not accept responsibility, most saying (in various ways), ‘I can not control who reads what I write’ and ‘if a man chooses to read my writings that is on him’. Really? How is ones accountability for what one shares with one gender any different than the other?

I stand in my conclusion that, I am a Disciple and it is my humble prayer that God uses me, through the Holy Spirit, to reach out to anyone who knows or does not know Him who saves us all, and provides either encouragement or hunger for their own walk with the Triune God. I know I am challenged when I sit down and do this blog for fear of false teachings [2 Peter 2:1]. I humbly pray if any of you ever feel I am guilty, you hold a conversation here with me so we all may grow.


FYI: Those of you that have followed me for a while know I use a multitude of versions of the Bible. I do this for two reasons; one, some versions have wording that is easier to understand and two, to help show that although the words may be in a different order, the meaning is the same. Currently I’m using The Apologetics Study Bible (Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)).

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Wise words for today

Any person who says the Bible is out of date or not relevant obviously has not cracked its binder lately. In Timothy, we see Paul instruct Timothy to be an example, to not argue with those that disagree with him as arguing with brick walls (he wasn’t so blunt) goes nowhere. Instead, the teacher instructs him (and us) to life so deeply rooted in Christ the whole world will see.

Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.     1 Timothy 4:7‭-‬8 ESV

Before I knew God intimately, I was In the military learning discipline. Physical and mental. Both took time and patience, they took a willingness to stretch yourself beyond your comfort levels. It was not easy and still today the return of investment is incalculable. When I realized I was a Christian in name and not full understanding, it took discipline to give up time to gain it. I could always read the Bible tomorrow.You know The excuses, you’ve used them yourself, no one wants to give up my time.

We live in chaotic times now. Words are being used to demean and undermine people and positions. Accusations are weakening communities. Chasms are growing because of political correctness feelings. I can go on. It’s heartbreaking. Imagine if the thoughts of giving time to understand how to be more Christlike were put into place today.

If you put these things before the brothers, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, being trained in the words of the faith and of the good doctrine that you have followed.       1 Timothy 4:6 ESV

The teacher (Paul) goes on to instruct people then, and now, to model for the next generation our gratitude for those who have served us by serving (be more Christlike), loving, and caring for them. Love always makes a person stronger and stand a little taller.

Posted in God, Seek Christ, Serve

Trash Can

Trash cans stink. Doesn’t matter what you do to keep them fresh, eventually they smell. Indoor ones aren’t so bad, pretty smelling bags line them, covering up the smell of whatever is put in them for awhile, at least until they’re put outside. Don’t take them out though when you should, eventually the bad smell overtakes the pretty cover up smell and that bad smell settles into the material of the trash can. Wait long enough and you end up throwing that one away because no amount of baking soda refreshes it so the solution is to replace it.

Outside, we don’t worry too much about those cans, and they do get ripe, especially in the summer! Perhaps you’re like me and the first couple of outside cans you own, you rinse with the outside hose, thinking you can keep it good and clean, frustrated when bags rip open and rotting trash transforms that pristine can into a nasty, stinking thing, even when it’s empty. Finally, it gets to the point you try to put it out of sight, so it’s out of mind

Here we are, trying to manipulate trash cans to be what we want them to be rather than allowing them to be what they’re made to be. Kinda like what we try to do with people. Kinda what people do with us; what we allow them to do to us. What we do to ourselves in order to fit in.

1-2 So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.        Romans 12:1-2 (MSG)

This is so like us. Our society is the trash can; as soon as we messed up in the Garden we got thrown out and now have to deal with the stinky stuff. What do we do with it? Continue reading “Trash Can”

Posted in Call, God, Prayer, Serve

Antiques

Last night was a fun, fun night.  Four of my sisters (in-Christ) and I went to what was basically an Antiques Open House.  Several Antiques shops in a small local town opened late, served snacks, drinks and had drawings.  Such a simple evening.  There was a sampler found, a cardinal message from daddy, birdcage whose future is to be a lamp, a candle for a future romantic evening, and the best score of all, corks!   Corks you ask? Yes, but that story is for another day.

In the first store, there were many glorious finds.  Most were well used, well cared for items that reminded us of our childhoods or of a grandparents house.  Some items, like black and white photographs on the wall or the turn of the century wedding dress shimmered with their stories; their story of how the came to be here.  When I got home I flipped on the television and heard that comment about a salt-water fish found in a freshwater body of water, how did it come to be here. Which led me to ask how did I come to be here?

I know, that’s a huge question and it can be answered in any number of ways depending on the meaning behind the question. My question was specifically about this blog.  Peeling the history apart, I believe Romans 1:18-20, God Exists

18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness andCrown of Thorns wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.  (NIV)

I believe Hebrews 13, God prepares, equips & calls each of us

our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, (NIV, verses 20 & 21 selected)

I believe Galatians 5:13, I am here to serve you

[ Life by the Spirit ] You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.

So, how did I come to be here? I came to be here because God prepares, equips and calls me to do so in order that I may be served.  Your turn, why are you where you are? Pray for God to reveal this to you and He will.

Be blessed, today and always

**side note, my apologies that I’m not getting this done daily yet, recovering from surgery so just not on top of it yet**