Community

Walking in Faith, Hope, and Love

This post is a follow-up to my last post, “Firm in the Faith.”

We live in a world where wickedness confronts us often and unexpectedly. We all have learned that media, in general, and entertainment, specifically, is in lockstep in its effort to normalize wickedness and demonize objective truth – objective truth is the opposite of opinion. 

If we read a new novel, watch a new show, listen to an interview with an athlete or hear a new song, we are sure to find some new subjective morality that we would never voluntarily allow to enter our ears or eyes. 

However, I am not writing this to vent or moan about our conditions. Paul wrote that we can’t hold the unsaved to the moral standard of Christians. (1 Corinthians 5:12)

What has me concerned is this worldly agenda being embraced by people convinced they are saved and doing God’s work. Paul gave the church at Corinth a stern warning about this kind of sin (1 Corinthians 5:6–12). This concern brings me to an unexpected verse in the Bible.

Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.

1 Corinthians 13:13

Notice the word “forever.” This word is why we can trust in the objective truth of faith, hope, and love. If something is an objective truth, it always has been true, and it always will be true. 

If we had said that the landline telephone was the best communication method, we would now be wrong. That wasn’t an objective truth. But if we say that theft is a sin, that is an objective truth that always has been true and always will be.

No matter what happens, faith, hope, and love will continue; they will never be taken from God’s children. Sure, we have to continually “clean our feet1,” but what is happening to many American and European Christians is the same as what happened to the church at Corinth; the creation of local beliefs, based on human wisdom, that supersedes and displaces the Gospel.

18 Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you thinks that he is wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise. 19 For the wisdom of this world is folly with God. For it is written, “He catches the wise in their craftiness,” 20 and again, “The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are futile.” 21 So let no one boast in men. 

1 Corinthians 3:18–20a

This problem of wickedness within the Church has been a problem since Ananias and Sapphira lied to the Holy Spirit2. The world has been carnal since Adam and Eve and will continue to be carnal until God’s final judgment. 

Our need is the same as the early church. We should pray that the Holy Spirit will direct all of us to reform our local churches so that they embrace being a Christian community that continually encourages, teaches, and assists each other, healing the wounds their members suffer as they go into the world and share the Gospel of Jesus. The Bible should be our standard, with nothing added and nothing removed. There are some churches that do this, but many more have wandered into worldly wisdom.

We “must suffer many hardships to enter the Kingdom of God 3.” We must go out even though unsaved people hate us4. We must go out because this is a command Jesus gave us5. If we love Jesus, we must obey His commands6. We can’t go out unless the body of Christ receives us back and heals us. 

Our local churches are the people that possess faith, hope, and love. We must not try to make it on our own. It won’t work because it violates God’s command: “And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.” (Hebrews 10:25)

I pray that each of us walks daily in faith, hope, and love.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay


You may like: Speak Faith


1: John 13:5–11 
2: Acts 5:1–11 
3: Acts 14:21–23 
4: John 15:18 
5: Mark 16:15 
6: John 14:15

Bread Baking Fresh Home Made Food Bakery Healthy

Did I Tell You, You Have a Great Body?

I hope the title got your attention. I mean every word of it! To understand why I think you have a great body let’s take a look at God’s Word.

17 And though we are many, we all eat from one loaf of bread, showing that we are one body. 18 Think about the people of Israel. Weren’t they united by eating the sacrifices at the altar? 

1 Corinthians 10:14–17 NLT

When we come together in our local church and participate in Communion – Lord’s Supper – Eucharist, we are not just connecting as a local Christian community; we are sharing in the Communion that all Christians share. We are one body. (1 Corinthians 12:12–27)

These verses about the Lord’s Supper show the spiritual aspect of participating in this distinctively religious ceremony. When we understand what we’re doing, then the Apostle Paul’s warning makes sense:

29 For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself. 30 That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died. 31 But if we judged ourselves truly, we would not be judged.

1 Corinthians 11:29–31

We join with other Christians in Holy Communion; its spiritual requirements are similar to those God, through Moses, gave to the Israelites concerning the laws about the ark of the covenant. 

9 But the Lord killed seventy men from Beth-shemesh because they looked into the Ark of the Lord. And the people mourned greatly because of what the Lord had done. 

1 Samuel 6:19

Often, modern Christians take no thought about God’s requirements, let alone anything spiritual. However, our views and opinions do not negate God’s will. So, when we take Communion, we need to be in right standing with God. To be in right standing, we need to confess, repent, and receive God’s forgiveness and cleansing for our sins so that we take the cup and the bread as pure children of God, living in obedience to Jesus our Lord and in right standing with all the saints of God.

Hey, you are part of the same loaf of bread I am. We are one body, and it looks good!

Image by fancycrave1 from Pixabay


You may like: Body of the Book

People Faces Man Women Eyes Head

Do You Need Anybody?

When I read Romans 12:4–5 today, an old Beatles song popped into my head.

Do you need anybody?
I just need somebody to love?
Could it be anybody?
I want somebody to love.

I don’t recommend “With a Little Help from My Friends,” but God’s Word has much to tell us about relationships and love.

Relationships and Love

Jesus has assigned us the calling to worship, love, help, and tell. We worship the One True God, are to be known by our love, see every person as our neighbor, and use every opportunity God gives us to tell the Good News of Jesus Christ. That’s what Romans 12:4–5 is all about.

4 For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function,
5 so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.

Romans 12:4–5

You may ask, where is worship, love, help, and tell in this passage of Scripture? Well, there’s more in today’s text than may first be evident.

We Are One

For as in one body” speaks about the Church. Every faithful Christian is a member of the Church, the Body of Christ Jesus. And what do we do in His Church? We corporately love, worship, and praise God.

Fellowship and Function

And “we have many members” speaks of our fellowship and love with other believers. We are to be known by our love. In His Church, we behave as His Family.

Now we are told, “the members do not all have the same function.” This is a core characteristic of a family. Some family members go out into the world to work, minister, and bless. Some members go out into the world to engage the lost through sports, social activities, or educational institutions. We also have members that work within the Church to provide for the needs of the members of the Church. Every member is commanded to see every person as our neighbor, to use their gifts to help their neighbors, and to use every opportunity to tell their neighbors about Jesus.

Perfect Diversity

The opening statement in verse five is astounding – “so we, though many, are one body in Christ.” Here we have a clear call for the body to be diverse. The Church is ethnically, culturally, behaviourally, and dogmatically diverse. Jesus loves all of us and includes all believers in His Church.

Finally, we read, “and individually members one of another.” Every believer belongs to every other member. We weep with those that weep and rejoice with those who rejoice. We are all in this together.

We’re All In

In this present world, we have placed our way of life in the hands of Jesus. And we have placed our eternity in the resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. We have no “plan B.” We have just one spiritual passport. We are citizens of the kingdom of God and no other.

Good News

The Holy Spirit put a lot in these two verses from Romans, chapter twelve. There is much for us to meditate on in this passage of Scripture; we need to allow this Truth to renew our minds.

“Do you need anybody?” Yes, you need everybody in the Body of Christ. “Could it be anybody?” Yes, everyone is your neighbor. “I want somebody to love.” Christ Jesus, your Savior, has given you Almighty God and every person in this world to love. Now, let’s all go do that!


Image by 22612 from Pixabay

You may like: Our citizenship is in heaven

check list

Jesus’ Check List

[✔︎] Descend from heaven. John 3:13
[✔︎] Be born of a virgin. Luke 1:26–38
[✔︎] Go to people of my natural nationality. John 1:11
[✔︎] Do these miracles: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor. Luke 7:22
[✔︎] Tell people how vital it is for them to put their faith in Me. John 12:44
[✔︎] Help people understand that My Father, I, and the Holy Spirit are One God. 1 Timothy 2:5, Matthew 28:19, Matthew 3:16–17
[✔︎] Communicate that the first step towards forgiveness is repentance. Matthew 4:17
[✔︎] Preach the kingdom of God. Matthew 4:17
[✔︎] Build a team that will become a community and grows to be My Bride. Matthew 4:18–22Acts 2:1–4Revelation 19:7
[✔︎] Teach people that love is never optional. Luke 10:25–37
[✔︎] Let people know that I often give second chances. John 21:15–25
[✔︎] Make it clear that my actions are fulfilling all of the prophecies about Me. Luke 13:32
[✔︎] Tell people that there is a heaven to gain and a hell to shun. Matthew 7:13–14Matthew 10:28
[✔︎] Reveal to people that believers have a home waiting for them in heaven. John 14:2
[✔︎] Teach people that this life is full of troubles. John 16:33
[✔︎] Help people know the value of differed gratification – Luke 14:33
[✔︎] Ask My Father to send the Holy Spirit so my believers will not be left as orphans. John 14:16, John 14:26, John 14:18
[✔︎] Be humiliated, cursed, spit upon, nailed to a cross, receive the wrath of My Father, be separated from My Father for the first time in all eternity, become sin so My Father cannot even look upon Me, and die as a sacrifice to provide the way for sinners to be forgiven and reconciled to God. Matthew 27:32–56
[✔︎] Rise up from death to become the resurrection for my followers. Luke 24
[✔︎] Ascend back to heaven. Acts 1:9
[ ] Return a second time to gather my people. John 14:3


Image by Tumisu, please consider ☕ Thank you! 🤗 from Pixabay

You may like: Peaceful Flux

drawing of a church building

Changes in Local Churches

Let me just say, right up front, that you may strongly disagree with my perspective. That’s healthy. I just want to get this topic out in the open. There is a specific change to our local churches that I’ve observed during the past twenty years. This change concerns me because some church leaders have added sophistry to their churches because they think their church will grow if it looks like a megachurch.

Theater Churches

Most local church buildings can be categorized into two distinct styles of buildings: theaters and modern-traditional.

Let me start by stating that I am not condemning “theater” churches; I just have a concern about them. These modern church sanctuaries are built to be theaters. The walls and ceiling are painted black. Windows have been painted over. There is a sophisticated lighting system that helps to create a theater atmosphere. All eyes are on the stage. The things that the church considers valuable occur on the stage, under the stage lights, and performed by people on stage.

By building a black sanctuary with bright lights shining on the stage, the local church seems to imply that the people on stage are more important than their congregation. To increase this sophistry, the local church has a “house band” that hosts the best musical talent in the church.

This idea of member-spectators most certainly isn’t the local church’s intent, and I’m sure the local church is not purposefully implying that the people on stage are the “important” ones. Still, it is hard to deny that these modern theater churches easily accommodate spectators.

Modern-traditional

The other common type of church is modern-traditional. The church has padded pews, a good sound system, and well-engineered temperature controls. However, this modern-traditional church is painted in colors that help emphasize a well-lit sanctuary while avoiding harsh light.

Usually, there are plenty of windows in these buildings so people outside can see the congregation; when and where (i.e., in Sunday school rooms) people meet. The local church’s building is as transparent as possible, demonstrating that all are welcome, and nothing weird is going on. There are plenty of modern-traditional churches that use stained glass to fill the sanctuary with myriad colors.

In the sanctuary, there often is a lot of wood. Wood points us to the cross of Christ. Finally, the parking lot is often in front of the church building so passersby can see that the local church is alive and learn when the congregation meets. Typically, the sanctuary is full of light because the local church is everyone. Certain people serve Biblical offices in the church, but as Jesus said:

And he sat down and called the twelve. And he said to them, “If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.

Mark 9:35

The Advantage

Please endure my opinion. Regarding the life of a congregation, I’ve observed a distinct advantage that modern-traditional churches have over theater churches. It is much easier for members to identify people who visit or attend their church. My wife and I attended a theater-style church for five years and regularly had someone ask us if that was our first time for us visiting the church. In modern-traditional churches, because the lights are on, everyone can more easily see needs in the congregation during the service. It’s easy to spot mothers that need some relief, couples that need some help, and fathers that are hurting.

When we see these needs in the congregation, the ministry for them comes from the congregation. The congregation is a family.

It Seems Wise

There can be a highly effective congregational ministry in theater churches, but this usually comes from ancillary church activities – small groups, soup kitchens, and so forth. But, to know the congregation, a member would have to participate in all of the ancillary church ministries to know the people.

I am not saying that it’s a sin if your local church is a theater church; however, with all of the recent shootings, I do think it may be safer for the congregation to keep their lights on. And I do believe there are some downsides to theater churches that are difficult to overcome. I am reminded that believers “are all children of light, children of the day…” (1 Thessalonians 5:5). Light is a central theme of God’s Word. So is it wise for followers of Jesus to hold their congregational gatherings in darkness when we have the freedom in this country to hold them in the light?

Image by OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay


You may like: Don’t you understand even yet?

Road Sign Walking Sign Crosswalk Sign Crosswalk

Willing to Yield to Others

My wife and I play a card game with some friends about once each month. The game is called “Hand and Foot.” It’s an exciting game, in part, because it is not directly competitive, unlike so many card games. You don’t directly play against the other team. Instead, you and your partner play to earn the most points that you can. The game ends when a team has played all of their cards. Then each team counts their points, and the team with the most points wins.

I see in this game the nature of the Christian community. No believer should try to advance by pushing others down in the Church. Instead, we lift up our brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus. We seek to help, give, and sacrifice, not out of some competition but to emulate Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.

Many card games are based on taking others’ cards or blocking a player’s progress. This approach has no place in the body of believers. We are to rejoice when good comes to a fellow believer, and we are to morn when sorrow comes to fellow believers. There is no seeking to find advantages. Jesus watches us, and we must give an account to Him of what we did with the life He gave us.

May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Romans 15:5-6

Not to get too odd, but we know that quantum physics is the antithesis of the standard physics model. Likewise, the Christian life is baffling to non-believers; the way we live just doesn’t fit the rules of this world. Our life in Jesus compels us to see people differently and to respond to people differently. We are not competing against anyone. Instead, we are willing to yield to others when it’s for their good, even if yielding is costly to us.

17 But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and the fruit of good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere. 18 And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of righteousness.

James 3:17-18 NLT

I pray that every believer seeks to be a peacemaker, for peacemakers are not peacekeepers. A peacekeeper is a person that works to soothe and weaken people that are at war with each other. But, a peacemaker acts in faith to expose poisonous lies and covert destructive actions. We all see its true nature by bringing wickedness into the light. We know what Jesus said about lightness and darkness:

…that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’

Acts 26:18

So, let’s be that person that seems odd. The person who loves the unlovely, helps those who have been sidelined by life, and yields to that @#$% driver in front of us that’s being a real #$%@! Sorry, let me try that last part again. Let us yield to that morally vacuous driver in front of us that’s being an absolute archetype of human evil. There, that’s better. 😉

Image by Roy Harryman from Pixabay

Velcro Czepy Burdock Ball Flower Dried Cling

Clingy

Recently, I bought a guitar cable for my electric guitar. The cable came with two strips of Velcro® to help keep the cable in a tidy loop when stored. I took one of the strips off to use it on the power cable to my amp. That’s when I noticed how clingy it was. I felt like I was in a comedy skit. It stuck to my shirt, my cleaning cloth, everything!

I finally wrestled it onto the power cable, but whew, it was a battle! God reminded me of that battle this morning. Every command God gives us for good, the enemy twists it for evil. Consider:

Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.

Romans 12:9 NIV

Transcendent Good

As Jesus told the rich young man, “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone. (Mark 10:18) Everything that is genuinely good* has God in it. These are the things we should keep an eye out for, and when we find them, we should ponder (deeply think) about them to uncover God’s transcendent[1] truth contained in them.

God’s will is for us to cling to what is good. But the enemy has a different plan. He wants the things of the world to stick to us. Sometimes, those “things” are people. Clingy people may be the most challenging prickly thing we must deal with.

If you’ve ever walked through woods or an open field, you’ve likely had cockleburs cling to your sneakers, socks, pants, maybe even your hair! And as you know, it is tedious work to remove them.

Cockleburs are so prickly that our every attempt at pulling one loose carry the potential to draw blood. This is how the clingy things of the world behave. The slightest brush with ungodly things may try to cling to you. To use you as the carrier to spread their seeds in a new patch of God’s children. Gossip is perhaps chief among these worldly cockleburs.

Good News

But we have good news! We learn about the time in John 13:1–17 Jesus washed the feet of His apostles. Being an “all in” personality, Peter first tells Jesus not to wash his feet and then asks Jesus to wash all of him (I love the Apostle Peter). Jesus then tells Peter:

Jesus answered, “Those who have had a bath need only to wash their feet; their whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you.”

John 13:10

Herein is a promise from our Lord: The dust of the world only clings to our feet. For a Christian, we have been baptized, we have been cleansed so thoroughly that the dust of the world (man is but dust) no longer clings to us. But we must walk through this world, and just as cockleburs cling to our socks when we walk through a field, the dust of this world clings to our feet (metaphorically speaking).

Worldliness clings to the part of us that comes in the closest contact with the world. Therefore, we need all of God and the body of believers (Romans 12:4–5) to remove from us the clingy things of the world. Jesus, our Lord, provides this for us, keeping us clean as we remain obedient to Him.


You may like: Letting Go

Image by Henryk Niestrój from Pixabay

Velcro® is the registered trademark of Velcro Companies.


  1. transcendent = “_existing apart from and not subject to the limitations of the material universe._”  ↩
Table Dinner Dining Formal Elegant Luxury Setting

Finding Our Assigned Seats – Part 1

I often think about Jesus’ parable about the king that gave a great wedding feast (Matthew 22:1–14). He had sent invitations to people he thought were his friends, but they all begged off; none even showed imagination in their excuses! In anger, the king had the false friends executed. Then the king had his servant go to roads and highways to flag down and invite everyone he saw, and they came!

Everyone that came knew it was a wedding feast, and they knew the “pedigree” of the people for whom the banquet had been prepared. So, these people dressed appropriately; that is, all except one. This one fellow showed up in his “street” clothes, and he ignored where he was at and who the other attendees might be. He simply strolled in, saw an open spot close to the front, and sat down there.

When the king saw this fellow, he knew the guy was disrespecting him, so the king had the guy bound head and foot and thrown out. Then Jesus taught this lesson to the people (I’m going to paraphrase this extensively).

Minding Our Appearance

Jesus told us to come to God clothed in righteousness, not in the street clothes of worldliness. And when we come, we must not appear before God and think more highly of ourselves than we should. We must allow our Lord to place us where He desires. And when we come before God, remember that the order and schedule are God’s, not ours. And when we come, we should “take notes” – listen for the Holy Spirit to speak to our hearts and remember what we “heard.” The Spirit doesn’t speak of Himself, but He speaks for Jesus. And we should do all of these things at all times and in all places because we should be continually praying. Now consider this statement from Jesus:

 “But when you are invited, go and sit in the lowest place, so that when your host comes he may say to you, ‘Friend, move up higher.’ Then you will be honored in the presence of all who sit at table with you.

Luke 14:10

We often see how God promotes when a young man begins teaching 5th and 6th grade Sunday School. Then, over time, he is asked to teach the college class and then the adult Sunday School class. During this time, he is taking online Christian college classes. Soon, he goes to seminary to learn theology and missions ministry. Then God calls him to be a full-time missionary to Moldova. His church has prayed, provided, and praised God’s promotions of this man. This is what Jesus taught in Luke 14:10.

Jesus, our Rock, is always mindful of us. We are never “uncovered.” God’s hand upon us and over us is always with us. He never doses off or gets distracted. Our God is reliable.


You may like: You’ve Gotta Serve Somebody

Travel Airport Boarding Pass Boarding Luggage

Fellow Sojourners

Sojourner means, “one who stays in a place as a stranger or visitor.” The word sojourner elicits our emotions. Perhaps, for you, it brings to mind adventure, exploring, and discovery. Traveling to new places and living there for a while to be immersed in another culture. Or, you may feel just the opposite. This word may stir a sense of instability, danger, and poverty. Either way, this word speaks to each of us in a way that stirs our emotions.

Jesus was a sojourner during His earthly ministry. When a man asked if he could join Jesus’ disciples, Jesus said, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” (Matthew 8:20) He was a stranger to the very people He created! “He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him.” (John 1:10)

Strangers

There are many places in God’s Word that tell us that as children of God we are strangers in this world. We can go back to Abraham, “For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God.” (Hebrews 11:10) So, we know that it is the will of God for us to be uncomfortable in this world, to have a longing for heaven, to know that our home is in heaven; it cannot be found here.

Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul.

1 Peter 2:11

Liberty

There is liberty when we understand that this world is not our home. First, we focus on work that has eternal value. Who would deposit their paycheck someplace where they don’t bank? Secondly, we are free from comparing or coveting houses, cars, or vacations with anyone else. None of those are part of our inheritance and all will be left behind when we get home. And, thirdly, we have camaraderie with fellow sojourners. We are all on the same road, looking forward to the same destination, eager to “throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles.” (Hebrews 12:1)

Therefore, fellow sojourners, let’s live with joy and anticipation, as we look forward to “the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God.


You may like: The Patina of the World

happy new year 2022

Happy Next Year!


As much as it pains me, we must say goodbye to 2021, let me wish you a happy next year. During this year, we discovered that 2020 was not a fluke; it’s the new normal. We learned that when transitioning to no-mask, “you might feel self-conscious about ’revealing ourselves again to other people at a close distance and without masks’” (ease back to ‘normal’ life)

Tortured Christians in 2021

We learned that in 2021, Christians were tortured and martyred for Jesus in astonishing numbers:

  • Over 340 million Christians living in places where they experience high levels of persecution and discrimination
  • 4,761 Christians were killed for their faith
  • 4,488 churches and other Christian buildings attacked
  • 4,277 believers were detained without trial, arrested, sentenced, or imprisoned
    OpenDoors

Advance of Christian Rights in Iran

We discovered that house churches are legal in Iran – Iran’s House Churches Are Not Illegal, Says Supreme Court Justice. And we learned that there are 2.54 billion Christians in the world (Christian Percentage o`f Global Population to Increase) while Christianity is not a religion but a community of believers where each person has a personal relationship with Jesus.

Most Google Searches for Christianity by State

  1. Oklahoma
  2. Tennesse
  3. Kentucky
  4. Mississippi
  5. Alabama

Interest in Christianity in USA Declined in 2021

Whose Law is Law

We found that various states in the United States can nullify federal laws with apparent impunity – states have legalized the recreational use of marijuana and declared federal gun laws to be illegal.

Let’s pause for my head to stop spinning…okay.

It’s About Redemption

We discovered that the planet Mars keeps getting closer to colonization Forget Sci-Fi—This NREL Biotechnology Could Actually Help Colonize Mars. And we found that science keeps getting it wrong. It’s not if there is life on other planets; it’s whether the sons and daughters of Adam, here on Earth, will receive God’s gift of salvation and live with Jesus after they die.

Happy Next Year

These are but a trifle of what was discovered this year. My prayer is that the big news of 2022 is revival swept our nation, and whole households were saved daily.


You may like: You Can Be Holy

You may like: You Can Be Holy

Scroll to Top
%d bloggers like this: