Thursday, June 10, 2010

Shine Like Stars

Below is the daily Bible reading I am doing for the West Side Church. Please feel free to follow along.

In today’s reading (Philippians 2) Paul shares the heart and attitude we should all have. Paul writes … “Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.” Now this is something that most of us have been taught our entire lives. Today however, we live in the middle of the “me generation,” in a world that seeks to satisfy our desires and not worry about other people. Now I do not understand people like that, basically because I am a people pleaser, but I see it around me all the time.

But why do you think Paul encouraged us to look out for the interest of others? Could it be because we are supposed to be concerned over the salvation of others? I think it very well might be. Paul also wrote in this passage …

“Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life”

Did you hear that? Do everything without complaining or arguing, to become blameless and pure, in a depraved generation so that we may shine like stars as we hold out the word of life. The word of life is the gospel of Christ, the message of the cross that brings eternal life in the prescience of God himself. So how do you do at looking out for others? Are you concerned about the salvation of those around? According to what Scripture teaches we should be.

Ministry Partnerships

Below is the daily Bible reading I am doing for the West Side Church. Please feel free to follow along.

Today’ we begin the book of Philippians. Paul is writing to the church he helped to start in the Roman Colony of Philippi. Philippi in many regards is a retirement Colony. Men who served in the Roman military would often get property in or near the town. They are very up on how the Roman world functions. When Paul writes to them he is on house where he access to the Imperial Guard (Caesar’s version of the CIA). While the verdict is still out, this is more than likely the house arrest he served waiting trial before Caesar.

Paul begins the letter in today’s reading (Philippians 1) by sharing with them how much he longs to be with them. He sees the church at Philippi as his partners in ministry of the gospel. The idea of a partnership in ministry was new to me until I entered ministry.

In the church I grew up in we did not do much with other churches. When I was young our church was smaller, and we would from time to time go and worship with East Forty. But as we grew, our connections with other churches began to decrees. It was not until college, and until I started working in ministry that I truly saw what Paul cherished.

What I saw in NC was the churches worshiping together. What I saw in NC was the churches joining forces to minister to their congregations. But you know, what I still did not see in NC was the churches joining together to partner in ministry. They met together to fellowship and worship, but not much advancement of the gospel was taking place. When I moved to Virginia basically the same thing took place. The churches got together to worship together, fellowship together, but there was no coalition to advance the gospel.

Now I know our churches do work together in many ways. We support many of the same missionaries; we come together for fellowship and from time to time join forces on a single project. But what if we were to practice what Paul cherished? What would our world look like if the churches in our area, Southwest Ohio, came together on a regular basis to advance the gospel? What would that partnership of ministry look like?

I think this is something I am going to bring up at our next Ministers Breakfast. I want to look at ways we can partner together to advance the gospel. While fellowship and worship with our sister churches is great, what are we doing to advance the partnership of ministry? What can we do to bring to the gospel to the world in a more powerful way than each of us can by ourselves?

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

What have we done!!!

Below is the daily Bible reading I am doing for the West Side Church. Please feel free to follow along.

My heart broke as I read today’s passage (Ephesians 5). Today Paul is talking about relationship and how we are to relate within the church. Paul shares these thoughts…

“Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love”

“Live as Children of light”

“Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the father for everything”

“Submit to one another out of reverence”

In the church we are to live in harmony. We are not to get into quarrels with each other. We are not to get in quarrels with the world. We are to be light, we are to be love, and we are to be peaceful, praising God in one accord. We are to submit to one another.

Then Paul begins a discussion of how wives and husbands are to treat each other. In the middle of that discussion Paul uses the church as an example. This is where my heart broke. Read carefully the word of Paul …

“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.”

What have we done my heart cried out! Does the church we know today, does the church we see in history resemble the church that Paul described Christ giving to us? I do not think so. Over the course of time our human hearts, minds, and hands have really blemished the church. Over time we have sent men on Crusades who have done some wicked things. Over time the church has persecuted people to death for witchery. Over time the church has spilt into many different groups because of arguments over doctrine and understanding. Over time man has thrown into the mud something pure, beautiful, and holy. My heart breaks for what man has done.

So how can we restore the church back to the purity that Christ presented her with? We can begin by applying the passages listed above; be imitators of God, Live as Children of light, praise God together in one accord, and submit to one another.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Grace to Give

Below is the daily Bible reading I am doing for the West Side Church. Please feel free to follow along.

Paul says something powerful in his writing in today’s passage (Ephesians 3). Paul says that it is “by the gift of God’s grace given me through the working of his power”“This grace was given me: to preach to the gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to make plainly to everyone the administration of this mystery.” Basically Paul was saying, I have been given grace so that I can preach the gospel of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, so that the love of Christ will not be held up, but be made plain to everyone.

Do you ever look at the grace you have been given in the same light? Do you see your salivation, your freedom in Christ, your removal of sin, your promise of eternal life in the prescience of God as a gift of grace you must share? I believe that is an attitude we are supposed to have. God did send Christ to save just one man he sent Christ to save all mankind. You having that gift of grace should want to share it in fact be compelled to share it. So how do you do at that task?

Getting Away

Congragulations Todd

I spent last weekend at my brothers High School graduation in Zanesville. While my parents do have Internet, the computer was blocked almost all weekend with a card table set up with all the food for the party. Because of that I did not get online but one time. I did not Tweet on Twitter, I did not post on Facebook, and I did not post my daily updates on the blog. For those of you following, I am sorry for that. While I have read my Bible, I haven't commented on it. I am going to do so today.

But let me tell you ... it felt so good to unplug for a few day. The unplugging I have done has even carried through over the last two days. If you read me much you know that I follow several blogs. I like to read what people are thinking and feeling. What are the things many church leaders, business leader, and relationship guru's are thinking. I read there thoughts. Jason Bedell who is the lead minister with the Forefront Church in Virginia Beach is a guy I follow. Jason normally blogs several times a week. Then one day his blog dried up. I would check in each day to see if he put anything new up, but for over a month nothing. Then today there were three new post on the blog. One of those post described what I had been feeling. Check it out, read it, and you will see in his words why I go through spells.

Do you need to unplug? Is there something that you tie into too much that you really need a break. The forced unplugging I went through this past weekend worked wonders for me. I wore myself out physically, but I think it may go a long way in helping me keep so balance. At least for now.