My friends, God Bless you. I call you my friends because you are more than my brothers and sisters in the Lord. It is my deep and continuous prayer that God Blesses each of you with His Truth, Mercy and Love.
I am extremely thankful to an Almighty God that responds so quickly to prayer. I sent out a prayer request on the chain Monday and by late that evening God had answered. We serve a God that wants to be real in our life and that is truly remarkable.
1- Many of the girls at Rancho Maranatha have scarlet fever.
2- Continue to pray for Karen, Bobby, Leslie and the others.
3- Our Fellowship
I have seen something we must discuss. Before I begin, let me say that there are two common reactions to any sermon spoken or written and both have to do with being self-absorbed. On the one hand I may think the message is directed specifically to me and on the other hand I may see only application for someone else. If I am angered by a sermon I have taken personal offense and it is impossible to take personal offense unless I am focused on self. If I find no applicability, it is usually a defense mechanism to protect self. The correct response is to realize the message is for everyone who hears and that there is something in it for everyone as well.
So many of us seem to be somewhat unsatisfied. There is a current of uneasiness and I want us to pray that God changes our perspective so we focus on what's right rather than on what's wrong. I bring it up, not because it's out of hand, but because it can get out of hand.
Satisfaction, like happiness, comes from how we view life not from how life actually unfolds. It is a choice and it is an active, conscious choice. If we dwell on the negative, soon the negative is all we see. We begin to do just what those who rejected Jesus did; we strain out gnats and swallow camels. What do you think the camel is? We attempt to pluck the speck from someone's eye while we have a plank in our own. What do you think the plank is? We get our nose so firmly planted in the sap of a single tree, we can't see the forest. What do you think the forest is?
Everything in Biblical Christianity, whether knowledge of the Truth, required obedience to that Truth or a dozen other concepts, all boils down to one and only one thing.
The whole deal is God, period. It's what God wants not what we want and what God wants more than anything is a right relationship with you. How do I know that? It's because that's why Jesus died.
We can get wrapped up in the minutia of religiosity and focus on our differences and be dissatisfied with God and each other or we can let God's Spirit of divine Love and Unity of Faith let us see past the tree of un-love and see the big picture. We can remove the plank of self-righteousness and see to help our brother. We can comprehend that straining gnats is useless when we dismiss the camel of unity.
I can already here someone say, "Unity at what cost?" The question itself says a lot about the attitude. Nevertheless, you should know that the Bible repeatedly talks about a tension between fellowship in unity, and not fellowshipping with unbelievers. Where you draw the line says volumes about you and how you view the Grace you have received. Most people would agree that, Fundamentalist Christians are pretty orthodox and they set out five requirements for association.
1- The Deity of our Lord Jesus Christ
2- The Virgin Birth
3- The Blood Atonement
4- The Bodily Resurrection
5- The Inerrancy of the Scriptures
Of course the Apostle's Creed is perfectly orthodox as well:
I believe in God the Father, Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth. And in Jesus Christ, His only begotten Son, our Lord; Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the virgin Mary; Suffered under Pontius Pilate; was crucified, dead, and buried; He descended into hell; The third day He rose again from the dead; He ascended into heaven, and sitteth at the right hand of God the Father Almighty; From thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit. I believe a holy catholic Church, the communion of saints; The forgiveness of sins; The resurrection of the body; And the life everlasting. Amen.
Whatever the litmus test we use to determine who we can love in Christ ultimately reveals our own heart. As for me and my house, we will serve God. I have learned a few things in serving God, not the least of which is Jesus was always far more interested in saving souls than in winning arguments. If God gives a person room to be themselves why can't we? Do not entertain an accusation against another person unless it is Biblically brought to the Elders. Do not be threatened when people don't agree with you, but realize the diversity of people is exactly that, which allows us to be a complete body.
I'm very excited about the future and about our Fellowship moving through life in the unity of God's Will. Let us encourage, exhort and never cease praying for one another. God Bless us everyone, doulos Theou, Scott.