Some good stuff here!
Some good stuff here!
One of the most unhelpful ways to approach your life is by dividing it into two parts: your secular life and your sacred life. When we do this, we define our secular life with things like eating, drinking, watching sports, TV or movies, exercise, going to the park, etc.
Then, we define our sacred life with things like attending church, serving our family, reading our Bible, prayer, going on missions’ trips, etc.
Thus, everything in our life ends up in one of two categories. Instead of a unified life, we end up with a divided life. Our lives get compartmentalized, and we end up teaching ourselves there is a time to be serious about God and there are times to “take a break” from Him – almost like hypocrisy where we behave worldly at times and godly at others.
A.W Tozer, in his book The Pursuit of God, explains the needless dilemma of living with these two compartments, “Most Christians are caught in its trap. They cannot get a satisfactory adjustment between the claims of the two worlds. They try to walk the tightrope between two kingdoms and they find no peace in either. Their strength is reduced, their outlook confused and their joy taken from them. I believe this state of affairs to be unwholly necessary. We have gotten ourselves on the horns of a dilemma, true enough, but the dilemma is not real. It is a creature of misunderstanding. The sacred-secular antithesis has no foundation in the New Testament (The Pursuit of God, pg. 170).”
There is no scared and secular. It is all sacred, because even eating and drinking is an act of worship (I Corinthians 10:31). This doesn’t mean that everything you do has equal value. Eating a hot dog and proclaiming the Gospel does not carry the same spiritual value.
I can remember being asked as a teenager to come up with a list of priorities and then committing myself to them in order of importance. So, my list looked something like this
A priority list like this one is not helpful and can’t be reconciled with the concept of God being th object of worship in all things. When you have a priority list like this one with God at the top, you suggest to yourself that #2-#5 can be fulfilled without God’s guidance.
Instead of priority listing, why not a pie-chart where God is in the middle? It should be that God is 1st in my church and God is 1st in my family and God is 1st in my school and God is 1st in my friendships. That is I Corinthians 10:31. Paul is saying worshipping God should be in every activity in life.
The most “mundane” activities as we see them – eating and drinking – are redeemable activities for worship. A person is in a constant state of either honoring or dishonoring God. You cannot be living another way; your life either pleases Him or displeases Him (Colossians 3:17). How does one glorify God? Well, that question has 1,000 answers! We can glorify God by loving Him supremely above all others; we can glorify God by trusting Him when things are rosy or dark; we can glorify God by always expressing thanks to Him for the grace in our life; we can glorify God by obeying His Word with passion and pleasure.
John Hannah uses the illustration of a forest to answer this question. He says that when we are unsaved, our lives are like a forest with dense vegetation, vines and weeds. If you were to get a bird’s eye view of what you see, there would be no clearing or no end in sight. The vines and weeds represent the sin(s) that so easily entangle us. When Christ comes into our lives and gives us the ability to become holy, we are able to finally defeat sin. Holiness kills off sin. So now, if you got a bird’s eye view of our lives, you would see clearings.
You want to know how to bring God glory? Clear the weeds and vines out of the jungle.
The Wichita Public Library issued a challenge in 2018 with the hashtag #ReadICT. The challenge is to read 12 books in 12 months and in 12 categories in 2018. Reading 12 books in a year is not much of a challenge for me, but reading them in 12 categories will be.
I say “will be”, because I decided to accept the challenge. In fact, a handful of friends here in Kansas have joined me and we formed our own Facebook page to track our progress, educate one another on what we are reading, do mini-book reviews, etc.
This will be a challenge for me because I am usually a one-genre reader. I mostly read non-fiction religion and some history here and there. The 12 categories that are a part of this challenge are as follows:
If you want in this challenge and want to join our Facebook page, let me know!
“A man who bears false witness against his neighbor is like a war club, or a sword, or a sharp arrow” (Proverbs 25:18).
In our Sunday night small group, we have been studying the Book of Genesis. Last night, we looked at Genesis 39, which is the narrative that records Joseph fleeing Potiphar’s wife after she repeatedly tried to seduce him. This is a common chapter to consider for equipping people for dealing with sexual temptation, and rightfully so. Joseph’s actions of fleeing Potiphar’s wife signify the appropriate action when sin is crouching at your door – get out as quick as you can! It is what David failed to do when he saw Bathsheba bathing on her roof (II Samuel 12).
Towards the end of our study, I asked the group to share lessons they have learned from the chapter that directly apply to their life.
One of our young moms had an insight about the passage that I had never noticed before in all the years of reading that chapter. In effect, she said it is a helpful lesson about the dangerous power of the tongue.
You see, Joseph’s integrity had been well-established before this incident with Potiphar’s wife. He was well-trusted. Potiphar had put him Joseph in charge of the entire estate, which shows the level of confidence Joseph had earned.
Following Joseph’s fleeing of Potiphar’s wife’s seduction attempt, and out of frustration, she went to other men in the house and turned the whole scenario inside out. She claimed Joseph tried to seduce her and she was able to escape him. She lied. Instead of taking personal responsibility for her failed attempt at getting Joseph to join her in bed, she said Joseph was the seducer and she was the innocent.
Thus, she slandered Joseph.
The result? Joseph was thrown into prison for actions he never committed. The very opposite of what he was accused for was what really happened.
The tongue is a dangerous tool. James said we can speak life or destruction with it (James 2). It takes steadfast patience to build a reputation, but it can be wiped away in an instant by an evil tongue seeking to harm or maim.
Perhaps this is why James says to be slow to speak (James 1:19). Measure your words before you speak them; they could mean someone’s hurt. Replace hurtful words for edifying words. Edifying words are words that give grace to those who hear.
How have you been using your tongue lately? To destroy or build up?
“We should not think of our fellowship with other Christians as a spiritual luxury, an optional addition to the exercises of private devotion. Fellowship is one of the great words of the New Testament: it denotes something that is vital to a Christian’s spiritual health, and central to the Church’s true life. The church will flourish and Christians will be strong only when there is fellowship. We should recognize rather that such fellowship is a spiritual necessity; for God has made us in such a way that our fellowship with himself is fed by our fellowship with fellow-Christians, and requires to be so fed constantly for its own deepening and enrichment.” (J.I. Packer, God’s Words)
After Jesus washed the feet of the disciples in the Upper Room (John 13:1-14), he then turned to all of them and said, “For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you” (vs. 15).
Some actually elevate it to the level of the institution of the Lord’s Supper or baptism (e.g., Moravians – an early Protestant denomination in the 15th century or some Catholics, Anglicans, Lutherans, Mennonites, Latter-Day Saints, etc.). Throughout history there have been times when the Pope would wash the feet of his cardinals or even the poor.
Are Christians obligated to wash one another’s feet (literally) on a regular basis. No, and here’s why.
So what is Jesus referring to? It certainly means we ought to serve one another. Galatians 5:13 says, “For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.”
Service is active not passive. Jesus got up (that’s an action), took off His outer clothing (that’s an action), wrapped a towel around His waist (that’s an action), poured water into a basin (that’s an action), and washed their feet (that’s an action). All of the Christian life is active; just because we have a sovereign God who already planned events in life; that never takes away human responsibility and opportunity to serve Him and others.
If you have a question you would like to submit to our blog to be answered in the future, please email it to firstname.lastname@example.org or post your question in the comments section.
Ever since I read Do Hard Things by Alex and Brett Harris, I have been encouraged by some of the modern writing calling teenagers to set higher standards for the themselves and for the church to hold them to those standards and always be expecting more.
The youth are not the future of the church; the youth in our churches are the church now.
I encourage you to read this article – “Why Our Expectations for Teens in the Church Are Way Too Low” (by Cameron Cole) – and watch the video as well. Be exhorted and encouraged.