Posts Tagged ‘ Discipline ’

What is the Church? Where 2 or 3 Gather …

Welcome back, people of the interwebz!

Today we are looking at what it means to be the Church in terms of two or three gathering together.

First, a look at Hebrews 10:23-25 (ESV):

 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. 

Two things to discuss:

1.       We should encourage each other;
2.       We should not neglect meeting together.

Last week at church, we had to “deal with” two men who had issue with each other. They had an awkwardness between them. Their wives had an awkwardness. Being a small house church, we dealt with feeling that awkwardness.

These two men probably did it right. They had tried talking it out, but there was still awkwardness between them. So, the pastor called them out, and told them to go talk it out. After the music started, he joined them. Eventually, they were able to come back in, and it was resolved.

This leads us back to Matthew.

In Matthew 18:15-20 (ESV), Jesus said:

 15 “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother.” 

They did this, they were able to talk about it, but there was still an awkward tension.

16 But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. 

I knew what was going on, as well as the pastor, so there are at least two more people.

17 If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. 

(Treat them as sinner: SHOW LOVE AND GRACE! It may mean kicking someone out of church, but be willing to welcome them back while continually showing love and grace! Thankfully, this was not necessary in this instance.)

18 Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. 19 Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. 20 For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.” 

(We could definitely dive into “whatever bind … loose” and “where two or three are gathered” in more detail, but that is not the focus of today!)

Many people take this passage, verse twenty in particular, to mean that we have church wherever two or three people gather. While this is true, that is not the context of this passage.

It is about church discipline.

This is about handling disputes between Christian brothers and sisters, how to get along.

And it is nice to be a part of a church that lives this out.

This passage is telling us that we should lift each other up in Christ. In this instance, we see Hebrews 10 in action: encouraging each other and not avoiding each other.

Perhaps you are dealing with problems with brothers and/or sisters in Christ: maybe a literal brother or sister, or a parent, or another relative or just a friend.

Regardless, “do not neglect meeting together” means work it out with them in the Name of Christ!

These two guys worked it out in only about five minutes.

Iron sharpens iron,
    and one man sharpens another. ~Proverbs 27:17
  (Proverbs 27:14 mentions how a man who loudly greets his neighbor in the morning is an annoyance … coincidence? DEFINITELY! ;P)

In short, it takes work! Just like in marriage or other relationships, it takes work. If you have problems, you deal with it … in Christ.

Therefore, go out and be excellent to each other!

daniel

Weekend Words & Sunday Stanzas – 08/17/2014

Help wisdom remain strong in you and go to Proverbial Thought!

For too long there has been a common theme in all of Christendom. I liken to World War II in this way:

Winning converts to Christ without discipleship is like the Allies taking Normandy Beach and declaring the war won.

What we have effectively done is convince thousands, millions, or even billions over the decades and centuries that they are saved from their sins only to let them continue living in their sin and ignorance.

Have we given these people false hope?

Do you have false hope?

“When the unclean spirit has gone out of a person, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, and finding none it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when it comes, it finds the house swept and put in order. Then it goes and brings seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they enter and dwell there. And the last state of that person is worse than the first.”
Luke 11:24-26, ESV

Church, let us not only win over but raise up new Christians in the power and knowledge of Christ!

Christian, commit your whole life, every little part, every big thing, your sins and your joys to Christ!

 

letting them back in

we cast out our demons
and invite Christ in
our lives become clean
and He reigns supreme

but why do we do it
why bring back the spirits
why give up on Christ
and re ruin our lives

why do we let them in
to fall back into sin
we can see through the lies
yet they multiply

letting them back in
undoing what Christ began
why do we let them in
Christ

my Lord

start again

Weekend Words & Sunday Stanzas – 05/25/2014

Get reconnected with wisdom at Proverbial Thought.

You may have noticed that I missed a few posts in the last two weeks (since Mother’s Day). I had scheduled posts to finish out the semester a while ago, only updating the Mother’s Day video after it had been released. When the end of the semester came, I had so much going on with finals, preparing for some friends’ wedding, having another Graduate-level course from another school, and figuring out whether/how to accept an amazing job offer, that I chose to focus on all of those rather than updating. I can happily say that it is the first time in almost three and a half years that I have not posted anything! I think I can be forgiven for that!

Something else that is amazing is the poem that is for today. My education and the job offer (that truly go hand in hand) fits with this poem, for they are part of the same path that is making me a better teacher and better man of God.

I trust you will be blessed by this poem.

path of construction

 

many people take the wide road
a path that seems easy and fun
but what most fail to realize
is that it is the path to destruction

there is a better way to go
though it seems not for everyone
it is the straight and narrow path
which is a path of construction

this path may be harder
but it leads right to the Son
this path will tear down then build up
through many tribulations

our old lives are removed
to be replaced with new ones
that we might join the angels
in praise and jubilation

Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things …

As the book of Proverbs is finally “all commentaried out”, go catch some of the final wise words this week at Proverbial Thought!

Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things; and give me life in your ways.
Psalm 119:37, ESV

I made a covenant with my eyes . . .
Job 31:1, NIV

A couple of weeks ago, I announced through Facebook that my wife and I were cancelling our Netflix and Hulu accounts.

This decision had very little to do with what we watch. We try to be rather discerning in what we watch because we do not want to let too many immoral and/or blasphemous things in our minds if we can help it.

Rather, the decision came after a comment made by one of seminary professors.

While working through the book of Acts, we were discussing whether Christianity was a threat to the Roman Empire. My reply was “Technically. I mean, look at when Paul got upset with the girl with the Serpent spirit and cast it out of her in the name of Jesus. The people who were making money off of her fortune-telling were suddenly out of a means of income.”

The conversation then focused on how Christianity messed with the economy of the Empire. This is because makers of idols, workers in pagan temples, and even tour guides around cities with temples would lose business throwing off the entire economy of entire cities if not the entire Empire.

Then the professor made this comment: “Imagine if Christians still gave up all of their idolatrous and ungodly pursuits. How many Christians pay for pornography in our society?

My initial thought was “I’m glad that is not us!” (Caitlin and me)

Then some conviction set in.

How much have Netflix and Hulu used their profit to produce shows or movies that glorify sex and nudity?

How much have Netflix and Hulu used their profit to produce shows or movies that mock or blaspheme Christians and God?

At first I tried to justify having these accounts:

How many Christian-based things do they show?

It is not like I watch those things!

Netflix especially comes in handy working in a school, for both my wife and me!

I found myself getting angry that I should have to give up something.

Why was I angry and finding such a need to justify my actions if I was doing nothing wrong?

More than anything, I needed to listen to the leading of the Holy Spirit.

So, instead, I turned to my classmate and said “I am not very happy with the professor right now.” We then laughed about my silliness.

Most people I talked with about it went through the same justifications. A couple of them even said I was being too legalistic.

To combat that, a) I am not saying everyone needs to cancel Netflix and Hulu. This is a personal conviction. I certainly will argue for others to let go, because how much do we really need Netflix, Hulu, and television in general? This is especially true when we consider how useless most television is, how ungodly most television is, and how much God and Christians are blasphemed and mocked. b) We still occasionally watch TV. We enjoy being entertained as much as anyone, and not everything on TV is bad for us. c) We will still go to some movies (Speaking of which, The Lego Movie is rather fantastic in a purely entertaining vain!), for through this we might still be able to show Hollywood what kind of content we prefer while supporting some local businesses (or at least our friends who work at local businesses.

More importantly, though, is that we want to not only obey God in our lives but push others toward Christ by refusing to be a part in causing others to stumble:

“If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them if a large millstone were hung around their neck and they were thrown into the sea. If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life maimed than with two hands to go into hell, where the fire never goes out. And if your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than to have two feet and be thrown into hell. And if your eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell, where

“‘the worms that eat them do not die, and the fire is not quenched.’

Everyone will be salted with fire.

“Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can you make it salty again? Have salt among yourselves, and be at peace with each other.”
Mark 9:42-50, NIV

We both felt that our continued subscription to these businesses supported content that could cause others to stumble or even be led astray. We would rather not have these forms of entertainment and be closer to Christ than have to have our conscience troubled if what we are doing is moral and godly. Christ and other people are more important than our temporary enjoyment.

How many things in our lives do we devote too much of our time and money to instead of focusing on loving God and people?

In our culture of instant gratification, pleasure, and stuff, how often do we unplug, sacrifice, and get quiet?

Out for a Walk … And a Run

Hurry over to Proverbial Thought for some wisdom from Proverbs!

Once again, I bring a story of our wonderful puppy! (You may remember the entries found here, here, and here.)

When we go out for a walk, we frequently find things of interest.

At least, he finds things of interest, things I usually find less interesting.

These things range from fast food wrappers, bones, other pieces of trash, spills on the walkway/blacktop, larger dogs, and cats.

He may not always be aware of the danger posed by such things, such as germs/bacteria, parasites, or fights with other animals. I am aware of these dangers, and I am quick to say “Not good for us. Come on!”

Here is what usually happens: he tugs on the leash toward the desired item until I give a quick tug right back, then he runs full speed away!

Perhaps you see where I might be going with this:

Now Joseph was well-built and handsome,and after a while his master’s wife took notice of Joseph and said, “Come to bed with me!”

But he refused. “With me in charge,” he told her, “my master does not concern himself with anything in the house; everything he owns he has entrusted to my care. No one is greater in this house than I am. My master has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?” 10 And though she spoke to Joseph day after day, he refused to go to bed with her or even be with her.

11 One day he went into the house to attend to his duties, and none of the household servants was inside. 12 She caught him by his cloak and said, “Come to bed with me!” But he left his cloak in her hand and ran out of the house.
Genesis 39:6-12, NIV

Sin is rather glamorous to us. We should face the facts: it can be fun and enjoyable to sin. If it was not enjoyable, there would be little or no problem with sin in our world!

It may look attractive, fun, or sweet, but, like with my puppy, it is garbage and dangerous.

We may strive to get close to it, to push our boundaries of what might be safe. It is just like Joseph with Potiphar’s wife. Odds are Potiphar knew his wife was “easy,” and Joseph could have alerted him to the situation. Instead, he only tried to ignore it instead of deal with it. (To be fair, he was only a servant, but work with me here!)

Eventually, he knew the cost of disobeying God was too great, and he literally ran. Because he toed the line too long, even though his master probably knew the truth, it cost him.

Notice my puppy still finds things and has to run away.

How many times do we fail to run away?

What thing or person do you refuse to run away from to protect yourself and honor God?

Online pornography? An attractive co-worker? Too much time on Facebook/P!nterest/news sites? Weekly lottery tickets? Gossip? Taking the excess [anything] from work? Driving too fast? Cutting corners to save time/money?

Stop pulling at the leash. Stop ignoring situations and God’s commands.

RUN!

Sometimes it means putting away the computer, or even giving it up completely (I would miss you, but I understand). Sometimes it means avoiding the store or certain people. Sometimes it means asking for a transfer or even quitting your job. Sometimes it means giving up the keys.

RUN!

Sin is never worth the cost.

Besides, I like cuddling with and getting kissed by my puppy.

God likes being close and indwelling us.

If my puppy gets into the garbage or a fight, I am wary of even touching him or letting him touch me.

Our sin is pushing God out.

RUN FROM THE TEMPTATION AND THE SIN!

RUN TO THE OPEN ARMS OF GOD!

What I Call “A Seminarian Prayer” from Thomas Aquinas

Find wisdom in the commentary at Proverbial Thought!

I pray that your partnership with us in the faith may be effective in deepening your understanding of every good thing we share for the sake of Christ.
Philemon 1:6, NIV

Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel . . .
Ephesians 6:19, NIV

For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light.
Colossians 1:9-12, NIV

Yesterday, I began my educational journey at Phoenix Seminary!

Therefore, I think it is appropriate to start this journey off correctly: with prayer!

I first read this prayer on the blog Walking Christian, posted by the founder Gil Sanders as “A Student’s Prayer by Thomas Aquinas” on October 13, 2012.

I post it today in hopes that any who read this will join me in praying for my education and for your own edification and growth in Christ!

Creator of all things,
true source of light and wisdom,
origin of all being,
graciously let a ray of your light penetrate
the darkness of my understanding.

Take from me the double darkness
in which I have been born,
an obscurity of sin and ignorance.

Give me a keen understanding,
a retentive memory,
and the ability to grasp things
correctly and fundamentally.

Grant me the talent
of being exact in my explanations
and the ability to express myself
with thoroughness and charm.

Point out the beginning,
direct the progress,
and help in the completion.

I ask this through Christ our Lord.
Amen.

Weekend Words & Sunday Stanzas – 07/28/2013

Find a quiet place and read from Proverbial Thought.

But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.
Luke 5:16

25 When Jesus saw that a crowd was running to the scene, he rebuked the impure spirit. “You deaf and mute spirit,” he said, “I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.”

26 The spirit shrieked, convulsed him violently and came out. The boy looked so much like a corpse that many said, “He’s dead.” 27 But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him to his feet, and he stood up.

28 After Jesus had gone indoors, his disciples asked him privately, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?”

29 He replied, “This kind can come out only by prayer.[a]” [“by prayer and fasting”]
Mark 9:25-29

But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
Matthew 6:6

lonely places

 

we often ask for more
we seek the power of Christ
but are we seeking from the floor
do we find lonely places

we want our God to be proud
we want to serve our King
but are we always somewhere loud
do we go to the lonely places

the disciples could not cast out
demons did not move at the name of Jesus
they asked what that was about
they did not often find lonely places

Jesus was close to the Father
He often went somewhere to pray
why did He always have the power
He often would go to lonely places

how can we have the power of Christ
and move in His Holy Spirit
we need to have a lot of prayer time
and go off to lonely places