Saturday, March 16, 2013

True American Heroes

 A lot of people today feel very cynical & critical about the people in their lives. We have very little faith in our leaders, especially politicians. We have been so disappointed in the lies and corruption and personal failures of men from Bill Clinton, Barak Obama to Tiger Woods and who knows who else, but it could be that we're looking at the wrong people. Since when were politicians, athletes and celebrities supposed to be role models anyways? I'm not sure where or why we adopted that idea. Unlike the media, I do not worship and obsess over the lives of celebrities. And the reason we feel so cynical and critical may just be that we're looking to the wrong place for inspiration and leadership. Keep on looking to these moral degenerates in the public arena and you will continue to be disappointed. 

But the real casualty in this is not our disappointment in these poor leaders but the way we have neglected to recognize actual virtue and heroism in our culture...

While millions of people hang on every word of Kim Kardashian, Barak Obama or the chicks on the View, Anne Marie Murphy gave her life defending and saving the lives of first graders under attack in Newtown Connecticut and her name is barely remembered. She was a TRUE American hero! A young lady, of this generation who was willing to lay down her life, selflessly to save these kids lives! She is a hero. 

Victoria Soto used her body as a human shield to protect her students from the gunman as well. This is a teacher who was selfless, dedicated, and virtuous and I would rather hear about her than what Obama said later in the day in some stupid pretentious speech.

How about the man who said "Let's roll" before storming the cockpit of an airplane occupied by terrorists to stop another target from being hit on September 11th, 2001? How about the SOLDIERS who killed Osama Bin Laden? 

How about missionaries risking their lives in the middleast to tell Muslims the truth about Christ. How about Pastors in jail in Iran who REFUSE to recant their faith in Christ? 

You see, there ARE heroes, worthy of our admiration and who are worthy examples for us to follow. we just have to turn off our tv's and open our eyes. 

Above all, we have Christ, the most selfless, holy, perfect, wonderful, dedicated, sacred, loving example we could ever imagine. 

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The Church that Jesus Pastored

What is a Church? Especially in today's day in age, there are a lot of different concepts of what a Church is and what it is supposed to be like and we can look around our Nation and see all kinds of religious phenomenons and examine them but as Bible-believers, it would make sense that the model for what it is 'supposed' to be should come from Scripture. 

The folks in Jerusalem and the surrounding areas in the book of Acts were actively serving God and breaking bread together from house to house. A crystal cathedral or worship center auditorium had not been thought of yet. There were no mega-Churches, there wasn't any mention of small groups or youth groups. There were just Christians working, worshiping & fellowshiping together in Unity. 

That doesn't mean that many of the different ways in which we organize people in Churches today is necessarily wrong but it does mean that those devices we may have contrived are NOT the way to measure success. 

In America, we've begun to look at the Church as a Corporation....

IS Jesus the CEO of a big Corporation? The answer is no way. He is the Head of the BODY of Christ. We are not a Corporation-we are a Body. We are a living organism. What constitutes life? Many things, breath, a heart-beat, emotions, activity---the ability to reproduce (soul-winning). You see, we are looking at the quality and success of Churches through the eyes of corporate business and that is unBiblical. 

If you have a group of people, led by mostly men and some women and some children, who love to spend time together, do good works and study Scripture......well, you have the same thing Jesus had. 12 disciples, Mary, Martha, Peter's Mom, etc. You have PEOPLE. And it doesn't mean you pack out a stadium necessarily, or that you have a big deacon board. or that all the self-help book store Christians feel they're..."Being fed." or that you have a cutting edge youth program, and a state-of-the-art sound system that will blow everyone's mind. Believe it or not, when Jesus and the disciples 'sang an hymn' after the Last Supper-there was no light-show. And Jesus didn't always give the polished sermons that the "Really Good Speakers" give....and He didn't ALWAYS re-assure everyone, frankly, he even freaked out His disciples with a lot of what He had to say, but He was faithful to the message the Father had sent Him with. 

Are we following Jesus? Are we preachers of Christ's Gospel or are Preachers following the model of politicians, or celebrities? They may be able to build a following and lead many people astray but are they Preachers? 

There's a saying "learn from everyone, follow no one" Sure, some of these big wig preachers say some truth and do some good things. But we have to measure them by the Bible. And while there are principles in every Christian book store that can bless many, despite all the pages and pages of best selling books and wonderful seminars, most of the activities and programs and ministries in the USA today don't come close to resembling Jesus' Church. 

A Church is a family. And family sticks together through tough times. Holds on and makes it through. Get your eyes off of entertainment and corporate culture, get your eyes on the Lord Jesus and at like Him. Was Jesus poor? Yep. Was He persecuted? Yep. Did He suffer? Yep. Was He a success? ABSOLUTELY!!!