Category Archives: Following Jesus

A hesitant post

I hesitate to post this but my heart is a bit heavy with weariness and perhaps even a small amount of depression.

As I have been sitting here this morning having coffee, a verse from Galatians came to me. I began praying about it and felt a nudge from the Spirit of God to share what’s been going on.

The verse, Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ. (Galatians 6:2 KJV), causes me to wonder how do we do this? I compared other translations as well.
You obey the law of Christ when you offer each other a helping hand. (Galatians 6:2 CEV) Help each other with your troubles. When you do this, you are obeying the law of Christ. (Galatians 6:2 ERV) Practice carrying each other’s burdens. In this way you will fulfill the law of the Messiah. (Galatians 6:2 ISV)

Too many times we as brothers and sisters in Christ fail to realize the enormity and depth of this verse. Too often we don’t tell anyone our troubles except perhaps close family. However, as I read scripture, we who have accepted Christ are family. And because of Him we should be close family.

So, in contemplating this verse and in light of what I just wrote, I felt compelled to share a bit more of the current burden in our lives.

On April 7th I shared a prayer request and have not been back to post anything else.

I’ve been busy trying to take care of my wife.  She had been dealing with dehydration and low electrolytes since the 9th of March also lack of appetite, sleeplessness, and weight loss.  The doctors at the ER treated her on March 11th and sent her home. She was at an Urgent Care on the 21st then to the ER again on the 23rd. They kept her in the hospital that time for four days and got the electrolytes back up and she did okay for awhile. During her stay there, a small solid mass on a kidney was found and we were seeing urology doctors about that after she was released. She went back to the ER on April 13th and they found her electrolytes off again and kept her there at the hospital.

As of this writing my wife is still in the hospital. Her electrolytes kept fluctuating and being lower than should be so they did not want to release her. We talked to the doctors over a week ago and it could be the kidney tumor is the culprit. So, this past Thursday the 24th, she had surgery to remove the tumor but because of its location the surgeon ended up removing the entire kidney. We don’t know yet if the tumor was malignant or not, or if it was the cause of all the low electrolytes etc,  but the oncology, urology, and medical doctors all agreed this was a wise choice to alleviate any chances of cancer spreading.

We are praying for speedy recovery and that her health will now improve.

As I said in my previous post, I’ve been off work since the 6th of Dec. due to health issues. We covet your prayers concerning all of this and if God impresses you to help financially, my youngest daughter setup this page for anyone to donate and to know more of what is going on. Or you can follow more here on Facebook.

Thank you so much and may our God richly bless each of you!

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The results are in – people prefer short sermons followed by discussion.

To me this is ideal! What do you think?

Posted on January 18, 2014 at Church in a Circle

This week, I conducted some research on Twitter. I asked which people would prefer; short sermons with the opportunity for discussion, or long sermons without. The results of my poll were resoundingly conclusive – 100% of respondents would like to have short sermons or even long ones followed by the chance to respond and explore the topic together.

Now, I’m not going to pretend these are statistically significant results. This was a small sample group, and a very biased one. But I still think this is a simple and easy-to-implement strategy most pastors and churches can take on board, with the potential to equip and empower God’s people.

Next time you are preparing a sermon, think about stripping it back to the essential points, then letting people break into groups of 4 or so to discuss what they have learned. They could answer questions such as;

What stands out to you?

What did you learn about God?

About people?

Any life-lessons to apply?

How do you plan to apply them?

How can we pray for one another?

The advantages to this approach are huge. You are training God’s people to have spiritual conversations. You can give them the tools they need to think for themselves, and to communicate their knowledge to others. You are sending the message that the church is an equal laity under the headship of Christ, not artificially divided into “professionals” and “consumers”. You are giving them a chance to respond to God’s Word and message, and to teach one another.

However – please take note – this suggestion comes with the following warnings;

WARNING 1: Once people get used to participating and having a voice, they’re not going back. They will find it difficult to sit passively through lengthy monologues, once they realise they can be actively involved.

WARNING 2: Some people won’t like this. They think the current format for church is the way it has always been. They don’t realise the early church meetings were interactive, multi-voiced and participatory.

WARNING 3: Dialogue is an open floor, not a pop-quiz. People are allowed to give any answer at all. Pastors may have to go through a period of “unlearning” – instead of having all the answers, they have to learn to shut up and listen. Get used to a whole new way of thinking as you move away from performance towards facilitation and empowerment.

Don’t rely on the results of my not-very-reliable research – conduct a poll of your own. Ask your congregation whether they would prefer a 40 minute lecture next Sunday, or a 10-15 minute presentation followed by a chance to explore and discuss it together. Your ego may take a bruising if they tell you to shorten your sermons – but it could be the start of a new journey for you and your church community.

Read more great articles via Church in a Circle.

the heresy of orthodoxy

This is from Josh over at the blog ‘In Search of the City’. I found it quite intriguing as well as challenging, perhaps you will too.

Strictly speaking, a “heretic” is someone who causes division. That is what the word actually means.

In the first century the term was applied to certain people whose teaching stood at odds with the testimony of the apostles concerning Christ. Their “false gospels” brought division to the church as they chose their own opinion over the eye-witness testimony of those who had been with Jesus.

Interestingly enough, the first visible threats of division in early Christian history were not over any kind of teaching whatsoever. The first threat, in Jerusalem, was over the alleged favoritism shown by Jewish brothers to their own kin in the food distribution line see Acts 6. The second threat, in Antioch, was over Peter’s hypocrisy in bowing to the pressure of James’ friends and refusing to eat with Gentiles Galatians 2:11-13. It wasn’t until the Judaizers arrived in Galatia and tried to undermine the disciples’ faith that any issue of “false teaching” came into play.

Much has changed over the ensuing centuries and much has remained the same. Christians still deal with the issue of false teaching, there is no doubt about that, but something even more insidious has crept in to try the hearts of the faithful. Something I like to call the heresy of orthodoxy.

WHAT HAPPENED

In the second and third centuries the churches began to institutionalize, a trend that swept south from Rome and north from Jerusalem. Apostolic leadership gave place to the consolidation of power in the office of the bishop, and as a result the assemblies lost both their local character and organic nature. The decline was gradual. A bit of mixture here, a little compromise there. Over time the ways of the church began to look more and more like the ways of the world.

In the first century it had been the religious man–the Judaizer–who threatened the life of the assemblies. That battle was fought and won by men the likes of Paul, men in whose hearts the daystar had risen, who knew the full meaning of Christ crucified and who warred not in the flesh but with mighty spiritual weapons.

Centuries two and three brought an onslaught of a different kind with the influx of Greek philosophy into the Christian fellowship. Little did the….read the entire article via John MacArthur, Strange Fire, & the heresy of orthodoxy | In Search of the City.

Where’s the Body?

I was apprised of this great article through the Internet Evangelism Day Facebook post. It said it is free to use in any medium so I double checked before posting here on the blog. Yes indeed it is true. Here is a link to the Assist News Service article which also gives us a bit of history about the great post below.

Who’s Got the Body?

This article is also available in Spanish.
Written by Rusty Wright and Linda Raney Wright

Who cares? What difference does it make if Jesus rose from the dead? It makes all the difference in the world. If Christ did not rise, then thousands of Christians have lived and died for a hoax.

If, however, He did rise, then He is still alive and can act now to straighten out our chaotic world. Facts always speak louder than opinions. Let’s take a look at some of the historical evidence for the resurrection and see where the facts lead.

One preliminary consideration: countless scholars–among them, the apostle Paul, St. Augustine, Sir Isaac Newton and C. S. Lewis–believed in the resurrection. We need not fear committing intellectual suicide by accepting it also.

Paul wrote that “Christ died for our sins, He was buried, He was raised on the third day. He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. After that, He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom remain until now. {1}

Consider also these four pieces of evidence:

1. The Explosive Growth of the Christian Church

Within a few weeks after the crucifixion a movement arose which, by the later admission of its enemies, “upset the world.” {2} Something happened to ignite this movement a…….read the entire article

Human Relationships

I imported this from our previous web site. Looking forward to comments.

Posted on February 11, 2012 by skhshewolf

Human relationships are a baffling thing.

The way people and lives become intertwined and emotions seem to hinge on one another’s.

The caring and depth of feeling can overwhelm at times yet how often do people maintain a relationship for a lifetime? Friends, spouses, parent/child, other family, etc.

Each and every human encounter in some way builds us and causes us to grow. Or at least it should. How many times does the opposite happen?

Demoralization, degradation, emotional abuse/trauma. These can cause a person to be broken down, warp, break. Every little word, every little action, every little non-action can in some way have an impact on another soul.

Do any of us ever question, “Crap, how did I just make that person feel?”.

We should be asking, “How should I make this person feel?”.

Do unto others. Even in the midst of anger, depression, humiliation, listlessness. Do what should be done. Do what Jesus wants us to do.