Saturday, February 12, 2011

Goodness and Mercy

The twenty-third Psalm says that goodness and mercy shall follow us. I know that sometimes it seems cruel the way grief and trouble find us no matter how good of a life we live. Both good and bad things happen to us through out our lives and we have to work through them. So how could David say “Goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life?”

When I look at the life of Jesus and how some people despised him even though he was good. He was perfect but they were evil and tried to trick him and hurt him. He was even betrayed by one who followed him. In all that Goodness and Mercy did follow him because he showed goodness and mercy even on the cross.

Perhaps we have read it wrong. It is not that good things and merciful things will come to us but that we will be good and merciful under all conditions. The Christian life is not all about getting it is all about giving and sharing what God in Christ has given us.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Church at Best or Worst

The church at its best is a resource for spiritual development. The life of personal faith in Jesus the Christ is watered, encourages and nurtured by the church. Through the church the bible and Christian traditions have been passed down from generation to generation. The church at its best is a place to develop our spirits as Disciples of Jesus the Christ. This happens when the church is more committed to the Jesus of the Gospel than to the rules of the organization and when the disciple is also focused on Jesus.

The other side of that coin is when a congregation of off track and become focused on other things and not Jesus. This can be the personality of the preacher, fighting between groups in the church who want to be in control, or an on going sin by people in leadership. There are many reasons for a church to get off track but the strife that this causes always breads discouragement and bitterness. This can drive people away from Jesus and the church.

We always need to focus on Jesus first.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Emerging Church

The American religious experience is dynamic so keeping up with ever changing nomenclature takes constant effort. One of the new terms being used is “The Emerging Church and it can be confusing. What does it mean to be an emerging church?

On a basic level anything that is emerging hasn’t yet fully emerged. Every new congregation is an emerging church with traditions still in flux. I can remember starting new congregations and discovering that anytime we did something the same thing three times in a row it became an unchangeable tradition for that congregation.

I do know some very old congregations that started calling themselves an “Emerging Church” because it is the “in” terminology. So I question is there something different emerging in that well established congregation?  In a sense the church always needs to be in a process of emerging in a world that is always changing.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

One "True" Church ?????

I have visited many churches that considered themselves the One True Church.”  They can not all be right and my opinion is that none of them are correct. My opinion does not stop them form having those erroneous thoughts. There are whole denominations that believe that about themselves as well as independent congregations.

We all want to believe that our church is a “true” church but it is high arrogance to state that we are the “only’ true church. The church, and I include all denominations, is a human institution that is imperfect. We are called to a holy purpose but we are full of sinners and that includes the clergy. We must as Christian’s center on Jesus the Christ as our way and not the church we attend.

I love my church but I know it is not perfect and never will be. As a pastor for over forty years I know that where three Christians are gathered there are four opinions. There are three individual opinions and the group opinion. So I never expect perfection at church but I do expect a place to share in worship of the one true God.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Golden Anniversary Aftermath :-)

A couple celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary with family and friends. Their children had arranged the party so the couple endured the normal fawning that goes with such events.

After they were alone the wife sat silently for awhile and commented, “We have fought almost all of our fifty years together. I am really tired of living this way.  I prayed about it and asked God to take one of us  home soon so the other can have some peace and quiet.  When he does I am going to live with my sister in Chicago.”

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Talking About God

What really tells us about your awareness of God?
1.     How well you sing a hymn in church?
2.     How you treat other people who are different?

What tells us about your understanding of Grace?
1.     Your theological definition?
2.     The way you help the poor?

What tells us about your love for Jesus?
1.     Your Politics?
2.     Your willingness to help children?