Monday, October 26, 2009


"I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some." 1 Cor. 9: 22b

"Relevant" has become somewhat of a buzzword for many churches today. I know I've heard a fair amount of statements about how the church needs to do this or that in order to be relevant (or perhaps 'more appealing'). While I'm no expert, I think that the verse above (which I've taken out of context on purpose) can serve as a battle cry for wanting a "relevant" church. I do think it's important for the church's teaching to be relevant, but I think that the interpretation of how exactly the church is to become relevant can be the point of danger.

We are the church. We are called by Christ to be different. I fear that too many moves to be "relevant" may result in a loss of identity. And this concern spills over into the individual lives of Christians too (myself included). I fear that in trying to fit in, we may forget that we are not intended to fit in. Evaluating the life experiences of Christ and the apostles with society will show just how much those who follow God stick out sometimes. We are called to righteousness.

Remember your calling. Minister to all people.

" 'Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.' These are the words you are to speak to the Israelites." Exodus 19: 5-6
(If the Old Testament seems irrelevant, this same language is repeated in 1 Peter 2:9-12)

Monday, October 19, 2009

Don't just sit there...

(forgive me for taking last week off... I've been sick and things have been crazy)

"The Lord's hand was with them, and a great number of people believed and turned to the Lord.News of this reached the ears of the church at Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch. When he arrived and saw the evidence of the grace of God, he was glad and encouraged them all to remain true to the Lord with all their hearts." Acts 11: 21-23

Yesterday I had the honor of witnessing the baptism of an infant. The parents of the child brought him up to be baptized, promising to raise him up in faith and love. The pastor finished the questions for the parents and them moved on to the actual act with the water. You could have heard a pin drop it was so quiet. But then, out of nowhere his brother began shouting,
"Come on, you can do it!"
Laughter (probably most of it nervous) broke out in the congregation as everyone noticed the 3-to-4-year-old brother sitting unattended in the pew, away from the action. I guess it seemed comical to most. But to me, it seemed profound.

The whole congregation sat, as all good congregations do at such a time: quiet, smiling, and taking in the moment. But this young boy, unaware of the "social norm" for that time, recognized the importance of the occasion and he cheered his brother on. I was amazed.

This week, try to notice something that may seem commonplace in the life of a fellow believer in Christ. Instead of reacting the way we normally do, try making a big deal of it. Encourage them. You don't have to praise them or physically cheer them on, but maybe give them a compliment, or lift them up in a prayer of thanksgiving and praise.

Notice the small things, and consider them blessings.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Easy to forget

"The word of the LORD came to me: "Go and proclaim in the hearing of Jerusalem:
" 'I remember the devotion of your youth,
how as a bride you loved me
and followed me through the desert,
through a land not sown."
Jeremiah 2: 1-2

Do you "remember the devotion of your youth"? When you were passionate and chased after things without tiring or asking questions? Remember the times before you learned to doubt? Or maybe before you learned what it meant to be discouraged?

The trouble with growing up is in learning to think too muc. The people of Israel experienced this when they trusted in God as they were released from captivity in Egypt, only to complain against Moses and God when things became difficult. It's easy to give up- easier to go back to what was familiar. It's easier...but not better.

How might your week be changed by making an effort to "remember the devotion of your youth"? Maybe you'd be a witness to Christ in the world... Don't let every day events take away your zest for life and devotion to God this week.