Things of this world

1 Corinthians 7:31

[paraphrasing] This age will pass away but use the things of this world “lightly”, do not put your trust in them but trust God.

Advertising is meant to grab and hold the human attention; and usually works very well. Which is why advertisers continue, endlessly with their ads.

Buy this. Do that. You can’t live without this!  Be happy, spend money.

Amongst many of the ‘worldly pulls,’ Christians are to live ‘apart’ from worldly things — Ideas, religions, philosophies, societal rituals. . .  Holiday traditions, family traditions, and the notion, “When in Rome do as Romans do”. . .  Cars, airplanes, other physical items too numerous to mention.

 

The things of this world help us in our daily living

And teach us realities of Heaven

Of God, and Christ and the Holy Spirit

But they are not Heaven

They are symbols, and are transient

-Jeff

Pray: Covid 19

Search fields are wonderful.  For the fun of it I typed in “Covid 19” and “toilet paper” came up as the top search query add-on.

Anyway, to state the obvious, pray — you probably already are — about the pandemic spreading around the world today.  I will refrain listing suggestions so you pray in the way God wants you to, not according to my thoughts.

-Jeff

Submit to Each Other (Become One)

The Jesus – God relationship is what our relationship (you and me) is to reflect.

Ephesians 5:21

Also Philippians 2:3
John 17, verses 11 and 22
Romans 14:5,

Submission: one of the more difficult areas of Faith.  Submit to a group, organization, individual person, God alone.  What is God’s will?  How is it qualified, quantified?  Confusion and competition when so many people and organizations want our attention, obedience.

We need to focus on Christ.

I foster the personal side of our relationship with God; where God communicates with us (substitute the word “me” for “us”) directly, unencumbered, open, raw — a relationship available for believers and non-believers, on an individual level.  (Admittedly, it would be hard for an unbeliever to have this personal thing going on while not believing).

I consider this relationship:

higher – it lives in Heaven above Earthly standards
more important – directly influencing
deeper – the most meaningful
our story – what we were meant for
further – wears better, like some old tattered jeans
more encompassing – a relationship without bounds
beyond – not held by Earthly bonds

Example:  As a Christian Musician, an ability not mentioned very much in this blog, I run across songs and instrumentals, or let’s say, ‘some melodies with words attached’ and ‘melodies without words’.  I am inspired by both! and I know both would be inspiring to Christians in the context of worship.  Yet when meeting with church musicians and pastors, I usually discover a much different view of which piece of music is “inspiring”, with the vast majority are “melodies with words attached”.  It causes me to wonder if we are losing the art of instrumental music in our worship services?

Do I listen to what I deem an “urging”, the call of the “Spirit within”, or not?

Continue reading “Submit to Each Other (Become One)”

Purifying and the Yardstick

James: 4:8  “purify your hearts” (ease your double mindedness)
Mark 4:24  be careful how you measure — what you use in measuring

What is the criteria you use when measuring yourself?

When you take stock in who you are, or “judge” yourself, be mindful of the standard you are using and choose the Standard God would have for you.

Christ in you — the hope

Colossians 1:27

With what I know about the Apostle Paul, He would sum up Christmas in the 1st Chapter of Colossians.  Building the argument about what the Faith is truly about; from verse 1 and culminating at 27, verse by verse, idea to idea, one attribute and again that “Christ in you,” is the “Hope of Glory”.

God has constructed a bridge, or as Isaiah spoke, “a highway for our God,” for us, mere humans, to travel an open road between ourselves and God.

With this honor and gift also goes responsibilities and commitment.

Before the Holiday Season is ended, spend some time praying through the beginning of Colossians; let it speak to you.

-Jeff

Put Others First

But can you truly, always put others ahead of yourself?

Philippians 2:3

This passage reveals a mindset we are to nurture: place other people higher than yourself.

An intriguing principle, and a virtue residing in the arena of a “matured” Faith, carrying a high degree of difficulty because to achieve God’s standard, you attach reigns to yourself.

But can you truly, always rank others ahead of yourself?

 

something more than cleansing rituals

Consider Hebrews 5:11 through 6:3.

The mature Christian Faith is defined as “beyond the cleaning rituals” used in preparing for a worship service.  And for that matter, this Faith surpasses ‘judgement for eternity’, ‘laying on hands’, and ‘defining what eternity will be like’.  So, true Faith, the way I envision it, is not the ceremonial aspects or traditions; but is rather the motivations behind our actions.  Why we do something, sometimes, might be of greater importance compared to what we do.  (I invite your comments about this).

But as is said a few verses later,

“We should have a life in the Spirit.”  

(There are several verses on this Spiritual Life sewn throughout the New Testament).  This “life within God’s Spirit” is the life Jesus “let out of the bag” to us.

The Spirit takes our hand leading us to a deeper relationship with God and, thus, a renewed relationship to humanity around us: seats us in relationship with God.  I emphasize “with God” specifically because, for example, we can talk to a person and not be talking with that person.  Talking with a person is a 2-way connection.  We talk to God and God talks to us.

After elaborating upon the above these passages, Hebrews 6:10 reassures us in that God is aware of our (your) deeds and amid the dreams, trials and accomplishments of this life, rewards you (and me).

Loving, Thanking, & Assuming

These 3 aspects of the Christian faith have been on my mind recently.  So I will help us to be mindful about all 3.

We need to check ourselves every now and then to make sure what we are saying and doing have perception as loving acts.  Sometimes in the way we treat other people we say things or do things and the other people don’t see, may not perceive this as a caring act.  We can mean well but they may not take it that way.

To be thankful for everything is an overwhelming aspect of the Christian Faith.  It’s difficult to be thankful when things are not going, or at least you perceive they’re not going well.  In this world we suffer losses and setbacks, heart aches and failures, but move your attitude to a place where thankfulness arises.

And the third item, this morning: assuming, can catch us off guard.  We know that other people think differently than I / we think: have different terminology, define words differently.  But it is fairly easy for me to go through my daily life thinking that other people, since they’re doing the same things — get out of bed, eat breakfast, go to work, buy groceries, meet with friends or family, go to church, watch a movie, read a book — are gathering the same ideas that I am gathering.  And as such, are forming the same opinions and attitudes as myself.  But there is a good chance they are shaped differently by these same experiences.

Be mindful.

-Jeff

Train New Leaders – Let Them Lead

Illation on Leaders 7, May 2019

Let someone else lead / train new leaders

Ephesians 4: 12  Leadership within the church:

  • shape and deepen theological understandings so leaders can act with Wisdom
  • listens to the voice of God within: the Holy Spirit
  • trains and encourages growth that will produce fruit
  • empowers individuals by creating leaders so they can accomplish “works of service”; either within or outside the church

In the modern North American church we ask leaders to make decisions and give us direction — that is our “marching orders” — defining what positions there will be (and how many) within the church, each of their descriptions, hours, and pay (if any).  Yet leading, within the context of Jesus’ teaching and Paul’s expressed views, means leaders are servants (Jesus to His disciples in Luke 22: 24-27 ) given the job of building up the Saints (Paul in Ephesians 4: 11-15).  Not seeking power or administrating through corporate structure as everyone’s boss.

∴∴∴∴∴∴∴∴∴∴∴∴

 Think of the Marriage Relationship as God’s example for inter-personal communication skills.  Plans are made but not always by one individual all the time.  Also, a marriage does not function well without God in a leadership role.  A triangular relationship.  Marriage is enriched by the influence of a knowledge of God’s ways, an attentiveness to prayer, in short the overview God gives to our position in life: He has created each of us uniquely to reflect and serve each other.

Train people to lead.  Let them do their God-given thing.