A balanced look at “Rightly Dividing”

Two extremes of Bible Study, random reading and rightly dividing Random Reading Randomly fan the pages of an open Bible and stick a pin in a random verse on a random page and sing this little ditty as you try to apply that verse for you today… This can’t be correct because the Bible contains the true and accurate accounts of many historical situations. The Bible contains quotations from God, angels, godly men and women, ungodly men and women, Satan, Continue reading A balanced look at “Rightly Dividing”

Who is a cult?

Who is a cult?

The word “cult” has many connotations and many definitions, from harmless fan clubs, to dangerous systems of religious beliefs and rituals. But, I think the best definition of a dangerous religious “cult” that should be avoided by Christians is… Exclusive. They may say, “We’re the only ones with the truth; everyone else is wrong; and if you leave our group your salvation is in danger.” Secretive. Certain teachings are not available to outsiders or they’re presented only to certain members, Continue reading Who is a cult?

Speak the truth in love

I recently received this direct message about dealing with truth in response to a posting calling an action sin… Not judging anyone, I want to encourage people to love and good works. If someone is fat it may be the truth to call them fat but it won’t help them lose weight. In LOVE you must encourage them to eat right and exercise agreed? A time to be silent (Ecclesiastes 3) No, that is not right. If you don’t have Continue reading Speak the truth in love

Final exhortations to a fledgling church (1 Thessalonians 5:12-22)

Final exhortation to a fledgling church

The Apostle Paul closes his first letter to a fledgling church with these final exhortations. This letter was written after Timothy returned with mostly good news about their spiritual growth in the Lord. It is full of thanksgiving to God for the faith, love, and hope of the new church. It also contains things he didn’t have time to teach them. It answers their questions about the future resurrection and rapture. And, it contains strong rebukes against sexual immorality and Continue reading Final exhortations to a fledgling church (1 Thessalonians 5:12-22)

Walking worthily — lead a life worthy of God

Walking Worthy of the gospel, the calling, the Lord, being saints, love of God

Throughout history and in every other religion on Earth, mankind strives to be worthy of God. Every man-made religion teaches how to become good enough to merit God’s approval. That is the opposite of Christianity. Jesus Christ did all the work. It is because of Him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God: our righteousness, holiness, and redemption (1 Corinthians 1:30). He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised Continue reading Walking worthily — lead a life worthy of God

Abstain from all appearance of evil (1 Thessalonians 5:22)

Abstain from all appearance of evil (the final slam of the door at the end of a contentious argument)

The 400 year war about “appearance of evil” The King James translation of this verse using “appearance” has probably been responsible for more fighting among Christians during the last 400 years than any other verse in the Bible. When it is quoted in an argument about some activity, it is used to enforce one Christian’s belief, conscience, and opinion on another Christian. It is supposed to be the final slam of the door at the end of a contentious argument. Continue reading Abstain from all appearance of evil (1 Thessalonians 5:22)

The teaching and example of the Hebrew Scriptures — live in complete harmony with one another

The Hebrew Scriptures teach endurance to live in complete harmony with each other

The Hebrew Scriptures teach endurance to live in complete harmony with each other Jesus Christ puts a strong emphasis on the importance of harmony in the church. Read A Modern-Day Parable of Romans 14 (How to avoid conflicts in the church) For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. (Romans 15:4 NIV) According to Merriam-Webster, endurance is defined to be the ability to withstand hardship Continue reading The teaching and example of the Hebrew Scriptures — live in complete harmony with one another

A Modern-Day Parable of Romans 14 (How to avoid conflicts in the church)

Group of men who were helped by wisdom of older man to resolve conflicts

Once a week George, Tony, Wallace and their families would gather for a potluck at one of their homes for a Bible study.  They all came from different backgrounds and traditions and it soon became evident that there were conflicts among them. They all loved and appreciated each other but they were afraid their conflicts would tear them apart. They realized they needed help to find a resolution to the conflicts so they all agreed to go visit an older Continue reading A Modern-Day Parable of Romans 14 (How to avoid conflicts in the church)

Becoming a trusted counselor

To be a trusted counselor, you have to do more than come alongside a counselee and spout vague generalizations and empty platitudes. You must meet them where they are — like the LORD God walking with Adam and Eve in the cool of the day — like Jesus manifest in the flesh to break the power of sin and death — because they cannot come to where you are. First, you must understand their pain, their fear, and their darkness. Continue reading Becoming a trusted counselor

Imagine a place where fellowship grows

Imagine a place where fellowship grows by the grace of God

I was sitting out on the porch with my wife not long ago watching the rain and enjoying the natural beauty of nature, much of which she had added by her gardening knowledge and special touch. Many times, we’ve enjoyed our mornings together this way, drinking coffee and sharing thoughts. Twelve years ago hundreds of our trees were majorly damaged by a downdraft tornado, completely destroying the beauty that God and my wife had given to our little backyard getaway. But over time, with Continue reading Imagine a place where fellowship grows