Jesus is Lord of all things.
Especially church.

Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.  1 John 4

Added a Discussion.  

A Psalm of Life by Henry W Longfellow

What The Heart Of The Young Man Said To The Psalmist.

Tell me not, in mournful numbers, Life is but an empty dream! 

For the soul is dead that slumbers, And things are not what they seem. 

Life is real! Life is earnest! And the grave is not its goal; 

Dust thou art, to dust returnest, Was not spoken of the soul. 

Not enjoyment, and not sorrow, Is our destined end or way; 

But to act, that each to-morrow Find us farther than to-day. 

Art is long, and Time is fleeting, And our hearts, though stout and brave, 

Still, like muffled drums, are beating Funeral marches to the grave. 

In the world’s broad field of battle, In the bivouac of Life, 

Be not like dumb, driven cattle! Be a hero in the strife! 

Trust no Future, howe’er pleasant! Let the dead Past bury its dead! 

Act,— act in the living Present! Heart within, and God o’erhead! 

Lives of great men all remind us We can make our lives sublime, 

And, departing, leave behind us Footprints on the sands of time; 

Footprints, that perhaps another, Sailing o’er life’s solemn main, 

A forlorn and shipwrecked brother, Seeing, shall take heart again. 

Let us, then, be up and doing, With a heart for any fate; 

Still achieving, still pursuing, Learn to labor and to wait.

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Everywhere we turn are these forlorn and shipwrecked brothers and sisters. God could personally and miraculously heal and provide for them. Instead, he has commissioned every Christian to be his minister to the least, last, and lost.

Yet, most Christians are slaves to the modern church system... They don't feel called to the "ministry".

The words to Pharaoh still echo down through the centuries: Let my people go - that they may serve me.

  • 239
Added a Discussion.  

Carefully examine this dramatic, tear-filled text from Acts 20 to answer this important but simple question:

I have coveted no man’s silver, or gold, or apparel. Yea, ye yourselves know, that these hands have ministered unto my necessities and to them that were with me. I have showed you all things, how that so labouring YOU ought to SUPPORT the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive. 

Do we really believe that the early churches - small churches meeting in homes - were paying their multiple elders a full-time salary? Pastors today have been taught to expect salaries, as you are aware. But a closer inspection will reveal that their support was to be needs based, just as the widows, the female elders, whom he had just addressed in 1 Timothy. In fact the same word for honor (time) is applied to both genders regarding this matter of support.

In fact, the same word for honor is applied in the same letter to the respect which servants owed to their masters. Do we really believe that these servants were paying their masters a salary?

It cannot be denied that the pastors (elders or seniors) themselves are exhorted to be the ones working in order to support OTHERS.

A complete reversal of the modern arrangement!

  • 545

Probably the most widely accepted concept that underpins every eclesical hierarchy is the root concept of "office". For the sake of full disclosure I should mention that I received the Baptism of the Holy Spirit from Catholic clergy. I love Catholics and don't argue with them about what I disagree with them about. I'm saying this because if you really buy into the concept of "offices" and ecclesiastic hierarchy it's logical conclusion is to become integrated into Catholicism or one of the Orthodox churches . In many ways I really do envy people that have the ability to just accept everything that their denomination teaches but I'm just not designed for that. If you have the privilege of thriving in that type of blissful experience and don't want to challenge any of the ideas that you hold dear you probably really shouldn't read anything I write or expose your self to any of my views. Seriously don't, I don't debate I have absolutely no need to try and change anyone's opinion but if you are interested this is my conviction concerning ecleseastic hierarchy. All ecclesiastic hierarchys are man made artifacts. The concept of an "office" is at the root of all of them. If an office is empty human nature (flesh) becomes insecure and rushes to fill that office. You see this clearly in the first chapter of Acts. Peter decided that the office left vacant by Judas needed to be filled (before the infilling of the Holy Spirit in Acts 2). Functioning with out the Holy Spirit they drawl lots and instal Matthias. Hierarchical churchs believe that the account represents normative practice But a compelling argument can be made that infact this was a mistake or miss step. From a literary analysis it is as if man picked Matthias and God picked Paul. It's as if Luke only mentioned Matthias as a contrast to Paul one selected by man (before the coming of the Holy Spirit) and one selected by God. A careful reading of Acts shows Jesus commanding his disciples to go to Jerusalem and wait for the promised Holy Spirit not to do anything else. Filling the office of Judus can and should be seen as another one of Peter's over enthusiastic miss steps that are so well documented in the scriptures before he received the Holy Spirit.

This brings me to my position offices don't exist in the Kingdom of God but functions do. The concept of teacher/pastor, evangelist, prophet, apostle are actually functions. God does gift specific people to the church to fulfill these functions but if church history has taught us it is that God does this in His unique way not the way humans do.

So let's dispense it with the titles and focus on the actual function. As a missions mobilizer I always find it amusing that some people think there is a absence of apostles. . There are plenty of missionaries walking in the power of the Holy Spirit reaching the remaining unreached people groups. The church for the most part just ignores and neglects to follow them.

  • 1
  • 1023

Building on what you've said about language, I'd add that another thing that really holds Christians back, especially in the West, is our regular thought patterns which are very linear in nature. When we see certain words or phrases, we associate meanings with them without once giving thought to whether those meanings are true and accurate. Consider, for example, the word "worship". I think that many Christians, when asked for Biblical references about worship, might cite the 4th commandment, "Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy". But where, exactly, does God say that this means that we must *worship* on the Sabbath? Here is the Scripture from Ex 20:8-11....

“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. 11 For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

Not only do I not see the word "worship" anywhere in the text, but what we see seems to clearly exclude worship in it's definition of Sabbath day holiness. Verse 8 tells us to keep the Sabbath holy. Verses 9 and 10 appear to define what holiness means in this context. Verse 11 brings us back to creation where it all started. Verse 11 also bookends the "rest" aspect of Sabbath day holiness by saying, "[He] *rested* on the seventh day. *Therefore* the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it *holy*" (emphasis mine).

Now before anyone says that I believe that you can't worship on the Sabbath or that I'm just being too nit-picky, I see nothing wrong with worshipping on the Sabbath. But growing up in a culture where the Sunday was considered to be the Sabbath day of rest (it is not) and Sundays were packed with church activities that offered very little actual rest for the week's activities, I think that we Christians would do well to take a step back to see how we got to the convoluted system that exists today. We should listen to what God is telling us in Scripture and adjust accordingly. What prevents us from even thinking about doing this is the fact that when we think of "worship" we pull in all this extra human-invented crud that can't be defended Scripturally. We follow that which we have been taught, not necessarily that which God has ordained.

  • 1
  • 1413

I am extremely encouraged by the responses to this post. It really seemed to me that rejecting scriptures based on the potential theological changes to personal confirmation bias was some what expectable here and that never should be.

One of the most fascinating aspects of contemporary theology is that all the conflicting polity structures rely on the pastoral Epistles as proof text for polity structures that are completely different. There's certainly no reason to believe that Scriptures that can be interpreted to support all kinds of leadership structures is suspect of corruption or illegitimacy.

My main focus in the church is that of a missions mobilizer. I admit that it is not popular. In that regard I absolutely insist that the first second language any cross cultural worker learns is biblical Greek. I am dyslexic (you may have noticed that I leave obvious incorrect words, I can't really detect typos). It probably took me three times as much time and effort to achieve the competency in Greek that a non nurodivegant person would need. The fact is that you only have two options in regards to the scriptures. You can learn Greek and study them directly or you will only ever be able to study what others have written about the scriptures. Every translation is an interpretation and highly imperfect.

The real problem is that the stated goal of the translation is to sell the most Bibles . It's a popularity contest and the concept of accuracy is completely neglected. Just a few generations ago you had to learn Greek if you went to college. Translators would never even try to take some of the libertys that are taken in the novel translations because tons of people many probably not even Christians would call them out on it.

I'm saying all this to say it is definitely worth the effort to learn to read Greek. I also am an unflinching proponent of studying the Septuagint. It's absolutely the Bible that the early church used and influenced the New testament more than any other writing. I'm not Lutheran I have a problem with Luther's wanting to reject scriptures for his theology (he had problems with James, Hebrews and the Septuagint). I guess that brings me back to where this started. Don't ditch scriptures that challenge your theology.

  • 1
  • 2162

Hi Billy. Your point that "we English speakers are use to a syntax controlled language" is just one reason that the English language can be terrible for understanding the Bible. Take, for example, the translation of John 3:16 from the KJV... "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." Large number of Christians will cite this as a proof text for the free will of people to chose their salvation, despite many passages throughout Scripture that seem to contradict that position, But I get why people would say this, because the translation uses "whosoever believeth" in an active voice. It is therefore "my belief" that saves me. But if you read the Interlinear Bible ("everyone believing in Him") or the Young's Literal Translation ("every one who is believing in him"), you'll find a passive voice which allows for God to be the primary actor in salvation and not the individual. Modern English language translations have many such problems which set up Scripture to contradict itself, leaving the Christian to pick and chose which passages they will keep and which they will discard. I find it sad that in their zeal to make the Bible more "readable", modern translators use devices like word order revisions or dynamic equivalence to help them to achieve their goals. I often use the YLT or Interlinear Bible when reading Scripture so that I can consider what God Himself is saying (to the degree that that is possible) rather than what the translator thought that God has said

  • 2267
Added a Discussion.  

If a guy in a blue shirt motions for you to come toward him, you might dismiss it. But if there is a shiney silver badge on the front of the shirt, you might want to go along.

And? Context is everything. In the early church, unlike our own age, the senior men and women were VIP's. So important was their welfare - if anyone neglected them, they were worse than an infidel and had departed from the faith. When the letters and gospels were read in the early church and the word elder came up, there was already thousands of years of context in play. So, no introduction was needed.

This is why Paul exhorted Timothy to let nobody despise his youth. Timothy was around 40 at the time. But you get the context: Youth meant inexperience and ignorance in the ancient world.

Likewise when we read of elders being ordained in every city, the context is that elders already existed and were to be appointed to the only task they could be appointed to, i.e. oversight among the saints.

Keep your eyes out for a new essay to be republished here in the next few days. It handily refutes the concept of "office of elder". As hundreds of years of church tradition fly out the window... away into the wind.

Every senior Christian man is ordained to be a shepherd or overseer. The only and temporary exception is the recent convert who will eventually and non-professionally fulfill this needed role. If you believe that it is un-needed or if there are already enough caring pastors, then I recommend you get out and walk around your neighborhood or city. Trouble is everywhere!

The elders AMONG YOU, voluntarily be my shepherds, without regard to being paid... LIKEWISE YOU YOUNGER... 1 Peter, chapter 5. The context here regarding pastors is unmistakably AGE RELATED. Only a theologian could miss it.

  • 2641

Hey dear Billy. You can always go back and edit your posts at a later time. Of course, you must be logged in to see the edit option.

Circular reasoning seems to come into play with regard to the authenticity of the letters to Timothy and Titus. Scholars, so called, pretend to have found "official church hierarchy" in these letters thereby making them suspect. This hierarchy however is overblown and even non-existent.

Interestingly, in one version of the English bible, the word OFFICE was inserted 7 times. Such language creates an exaggerated form of the leadership roles in the minds of the modern "scholars".

An even weaker argument against the Pastorals is the alleged vocabulary discrepancy. Of course the word usage is different in a letter to an individual compared to one written to an entire church.

The person, btw, named Timothy writing above no longer participates on this site. And if you will notice from the About page, linked at the bottom, our commitment here to the God-breathed Scriptures is the baseline from which we desire to work from.

Yes, there are many minor "textual variants" but they do not change any basic doctrine. If any NT letters are inauthentic or forged - we are pretty much wasting our time.

  • 3053

Hi dear Ann, good to hear from YOU. Yes, He MUST reign!

1 Cor. 15:25 For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet.

We of course want to see many of his enemies become his friends.

Never forget this scene from long ago... It's a picture of things to come.

Josh. 10:24 And it came to pass, when they brought out those kings unto Joshua, that Joshua called for all the men of Israel, and said unto the captains of the men of war which went with him, Come near, put your feet upon the necks of these kings. And they came near, and put their feet upon the necks of them.

  • 3668

Yes, for sure, these are very uncertain times, but thankfully, we know Who will be victorious!

  • 3956

@Todd Buiten, I am so very sorry to learn about your amputation. I will pray for you and your wife and my heart goes out to you both.

And, what you said about sharing the Gospel in collaboration with ministering to the poor is very true because although we are still in this world, we understand that the spiritual realm is the most important.

  • 3962

Many people send their parents or other family members to nursing homes because the distancing from our families begins at a very early age due to many of us are put into daycare and a school system, therefore because most of our time is spent with strangers, it's the strangers and their systems that mold and shape us instead of the Scriptures. And, of course, it also makes it more difficult to have the accountability and spiritual intimacy that the Scriptures command us to have.

The scriptures will protect us and guide us because He is the Word made flesh. If we put as much time or more time into learning His Word, (Deut. 6:7), than other things, then we'd have a lot less problems, but just like in the Garden, we oftentimes think that we know better than He does, so we need to stay in the Word & prayer, (1 Thes. 5:15-28). Comparing Scripture to Scripture within its context is absolutely key. Life will never be trial-free, but God sure will reveal Himself to us in a deeper way if we eat His body & drink His blood, (John 6:54-58). I interpret this to mean that He should be the constant air that we breath, our life's force, He is our life.... (John 15:5).

  • 3965

Man looks at the outward appearance, but God looks at the heart.

 But the Lord said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart. 1 Samuel 16:7

  • 3977

Sorry hit the wrong button there. As I was saying μαθητής literally means learner English confuses this the verb form of disciple is discipline which is completely different from the verb form of learners which is learn. If the issues in the scriptures were simple we would not need to be disciples in the biblical sense we could be followers or even devotees but the great commission is to make disciples. Are we even doing that?

  • 4007

I have to disagree with the popular assumption that the pastoral Epistles are not authentic. I'm far from being the best Greek scholar but I do study the NT and Septuagint in Greek for a few hours every day and have been doing it for years. I also have a degree in culture anthropology and sociology and have studied comparative linguistics. The emphasis on word order used to support the argument that the pastoral letters are forgeries doesn't work at all in Greek. We English speakers are use to a syntax controlled language. Basically we understand the parts of speech by the order that the words are presented to us and we have our own way of understanding the significance of a position of a word in a list which doesn't corralat at all with NT Greek. I will defer to the opinion of the extremely well studied scholars Keaner and Fee. Both agreed that by the principals used to discredit the authenticity of the pastoral letters much of what they have written would definitely not be expected as authentic. Think about this for a minute. I'm a retired EMT and a Habilitation plan coordinator (I had oversight on a multidisciplinary team and was responsible to document every aspect of clinical care). I have written hundreds of technical documents and EMS run reports non of which resemble this writing. By the standards that are used to disqualify the pastorale letters this can't possibly be me writing this because it doesn't resemble the vast majority of my writing which is extremely technical and specific to the situation I was addressing. The scriptures are what they are and we have to deal with that. Luther (I'm certainly not a Lutheran) wanted to get rid of lots of the scriptures that did not fit his theology and he rearranged his Bible to deliberately discount the importance of scriptures he disagreed with. I believe strongly that that's wrong. The pastoral letters were always assumed to be authentic until a few hundred years ago and as I stated the reasoning to question them is flawed in my opinion. Having said all that there's definitely room to decide what aspects of the very specific instructions to Timothy and Titus are to be interpreted as absolutely normative for the whole church in all times. Part of the problem with understanding any epistle is that it is like listing in on half of a phone call. We only hear the answer and have to guess as to what the original issue was that was being addressed. There were definitely radical issues in play in the specific regions that have profound implications for biblical egalitarianism and church politely. One can certainly question wether the leadership structure and the restriction placed on women were specific to that time and place or were intended to be normative in the church for all times and places (any in-depth study of the NT definitely would cause any impartial student to see that there is a lot of diversity in the types of leadership and the roles of women in the rest of the NT). I'm always amused by the fact that many modern Christians have a need to say that understanding the scriptures is simple. If that we're true we would not have to be disciples ( μαθητής)

  • 4010

I embrace the ancient creeds and the scriptures as a disciple of Jesus. I am probably not as focused on "the simplicity" of discipleship as is popular today. Discipleship was comparable to the modern concept of graduate school. It was the institution at the time of Jesus that dealt with training in the most complex roles in society. Jesus did describe in detail in his teaching important ways that his disciples would be unique but he did not change the nature of the institution. The simplest way to understand the scriptures and creeds is to LOOK AT THE Scriptures and the creeds through the lens of what Jesus taught and from the perspective of being filled (continually and increasingly) with the Holy Spirit. This is what the expectation is for a disciple. When the New Testament was being developed the culture was an oral culture. This means that most of the people that it was intended to reach could not read,thus Paul's emphasis on public reading of his letters and scripture (Septuagint). This doesn't mean that the people were ignorant. Oral cultures are quite remarkable in the abilities that the people develop in passing down stories and teaching accurately. Jesus's style of teaching and use of parables was extremely learnable to these people. The early disciples were completely immersed in the teaching of our Lord Jesus first and foremost. They looked at the rest of the scriptures and creeds through the lens of what Jesus taught. Today in the western church this has been subtilty turned around and most Protestants actually tend to try to understand the teachings of Jesus through the writings of Paul. Think about it we use "the Roman Road" to start off new believers not the teachings of Jesus on counting the cost or hearing his voice as his sheep. This is a difficult time for many to understand this. I came to the Lord as a Jesus Freek we understood that the teachings of Jesus were radical and counterculture. Today there is a strong temptation to take part in the culture war. You can't fight the culture war and embrace the counterculture teachings of Jesus. That is why John teaches us to love not the world or the things in the world.

  • 4181
Added a Discussion.  

We regret to see another once-respected, so-called church leader hurt others and to embarrass himself upon the world's stage. 

Across the internet, we'll be reading many comments in sympathy with him and his victims. And the sad church which he was involved.

There is however another party who is seldom mentioned. That party is the Almighty God. As you can see, He is also quite concerned about his own reputational damage. In fact, one of his names is: Jealous.

2 Sam. 12:14 Howbeit, because by this deed thou hast given great occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme - the child also that is born unto thee shall surely die.

I am posting this photo as a reminder not to judge by appearance. A pretty face can hide a diabolical heart.

  • 4404
Added a Discussion.  

Hello all, just to let you know that this informal, non-profit network of Christians now has 775 members since we changed to the new site format. We don't pay much attention to the numbers but rather getting the truth out.

Wow, most are here to learn from others and never post. So, you with experience or knowledge, please step forward. :)

To view the latest members, just scroll to the bottom of the home page. Of course, there are those who join but have yet to create a profile.

These are uncertain times. Please consider your role in the days ahead. You are a servant (deacon) of the Most High and appointed to serve others in his Name. Pray to the Almighty for wisdom and strength. Amen.

  • 4506

Thank you, dear sister for the exciting report regarding your meeting. And for your analysis concerning several topics. And thank your joining in the ongoing discussions!

Yes, the Western brand of individualism prohibits the outworking of family principles and fellowship with the body of Christ. In fact, it's the opposite of the mutual love we we must show to the saints and to the world beyond the church.

Jesus came not to be served but to serve. And to give his life a ransom for many.

Somehow, we must identify this problem and turn it around for God's glory and for the good of mankind. But how? Only by the Spirit of God. Because this generation is defined by three words: Me, my, and mine.

Btw, I've noticed that most Asian people would never send their parents away to a nursing home, whether here or in the native land.

I recently heard about two Hispanic brothers who donated large sums of money so that their sister could receive higher education. Wow!

  • 5361

Oh this topic is one that's been troubling me because how can we read the scriptures and not understand that we are grafted in and born a 2nd time? So Jesus says fulfil the royal law.If we love God we obey him and do what pleases him.If we love our neighbors we work no harm to them. How does this look in my life? Someone told me that they were really struggling and searching but all churches do is meet certain days and not interact Monday thru Friday .People need family but they're being told to stand alone. We don't know how to have relationships. Noone is taught how to judge a matter or bring reconciliation. We aren't known by our love. Scripture is treated like poetic suggestions rather than commands and way of life.Are hearts changed? I don't want to face God with an evil report. He said only the doers of what he says will be justified. I believe you Lord.Help us and deliver us from all unrighteousness. You can start in me..

  • 5949
Added a Video. 

I took this clip over the weekend in the Atlanta area where we have just moved to. Most of these saints are part of other churches but their home meetings are completely independent.

I was surprised that their attention span greatly exceeds what I was used to. The meetings go on for 3-4 hours. I was also amused by the large quantities of food they enjoyed.

Anyway, I sometimes wonder if fellowship meals such as this better represent the true meaning of what has become the modern "Lord's Supper". This is a real meal where hunger and thirst are truly relieved and the body strengthened.

The Corinthian church had problems in this area but the solution set forth by the apostle was not to reduce their supper to a ceremonial micro-meal.

In the same letter he wrote: Whether therefore you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it with God in mind.

  • 6820

Hi Nina, welcome to the conversation! It's always good to hear from those who, like us, worship Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. Please don't let the fact that you are new prevent your from joining in or starting a new thread. If you have something that you want to say but aren't sure that it's relevant to someone else's post, just click the plus sign ("+") in the upper right corner of the page and click "Discussion" in the dropdown. Give your new discussion thread a topic and select a category, then write what's on your mind. Please keep in mind that the subject matter that you post should be relevant to the Christian faith and for the edification of God's people. We look forward to your comments and questions. Lord willing, we'll find fellowship together as the Body of Christ

As for your comments about the Lord's Supper (Communion), I personally feel like this is perhaps the biggest struggle and failing of the church today. Our inability to take this simple act seriously highlights the depth of our sin. Scripture commands us to be unified (e.g. 1 Corinthians 1:10), but more often the Lord's Supper is used as a weapon against other Christians rather than a uniting moment. My experience is that the vast number of institutional churches (Protestants, Catholic, and Orthodox alike - the church on the corner) place requirements on their fellow believers before they are welcome at Communion. In some churches, this means that you are a card-carrying member of their church or denomination, or perhaps a member of another approved denomination. It's not uncommon for the most conservative of churches to require that you have been catechized by their leaders, or that you at least present yourself to their elders prior to partaking. Rare is the church that welcomes all believers according to the words of 1 Cor 11:28, "Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup". Nowhere in Scripture am I able to find the idea of a "screening committee" to approve of our fellow believer prior to joining the assembly in worship of Christ at the Lord's Table. God's grace demands that we allow any penitent sinner to approach God before His people for restoration. After all, isn't that the whole point of Communion?

My prayer for you is that you find the resources that you are looking for at your home in Florida. There are some resources available to help you look if you need them, though depending on where you live you may have some difficulty finding like-minded believers. I would encourage you to look, however, and return to forums like this where you can be nourished in your relationship with God in Christ. For myself personally, I find a lot more challenge to be found online where my faith comes from person-to-person discussion rather than sitting in a pew listening to a lecture and taking a long Sunday afternoon nap

  • 8489

I'm new so I don't know if I'm posting in the correct place etc but I want to know if anyone meets in Florida and I want to understand why Noone is interested in keeping The Lord's supper among many other commands and ways of Jesus and the early church.?

  • 8581

What a lovely account ! She instructed her children and shared the good news with her neighbors. What does this look like in my life ? It's crucial to have sound doctrine and a Godly walk .At what point are we leaning toward teaching ? I meet people claiming we should be street preachers or walk up to people to witness. This is a subject that presses myself and others I know.

  • 8584
Added a Discussion.  

Can anyone think of a song or hymn ending in "Christ living in me"? A very cool song.

These words are not exact otherwise I could locate it. We sang it growing up. Now it's in my head but I cannot find the words.

  • 9009

This is a great summary and easy to remember. I couldn't agree with this more.

One of the things that I love about meeting with God's assembled people is the sense that "there is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for [we] are all one in Christ Jesus" (Gal 3:28). Whether I'm sitting in a church pew or posting online, when I'm among the body of believers then I'm just plain old Todd. I'm not a manager for my company, or the breadwinner of my family, or an investor in the stock market, or a responsible citizen of my community. All of those things are set aside in deference to worshiping our Lord and Savior. And then these words from Matt 6:31-33 take root...

31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

Although I am still relatively new to the Christian life outside of the institutional church, I find a new freedom in my new environment. But the freedom isn't freedom *FROM* the church, but rather freedom *TO* believe as God reveals Himself in the Bible. I find it interesting that when you reject denominationalism on the grounds that it divides the church, its defenders will most certainly cry out, "how then do we control against heresy from entering the church?" My belief is that the heresy has already entered the church in the form of church control. Scripture can't be more clear about the importance of unity between ALL believers, not just those who belong to a particular church or denomination. There is a great lack of trust that these Christians have in God's ability to preserve His church. I'm not suggesting that teaching and discipleship are not important. They are. What I'm saying is that as soon as you start believing that YOUR ACTIONS are what keeps the church pure then you've missed a key point of the Christian faith. It is God who reveals. It is God who preserves. It is God who guides our hearts. He is active in our faith.

  • 9497
Added a Discussion.  

“In the beginning the church was a fellowship of men and women centering on the living Christ. Then the church moved to Greece, where it became a philosophy. Then it moved to Rome, where it became an institution. Next, it moved to Europe, where it became a culture. And, finally, it moved to America, where it became an enterprise.”

— Richard Halverson, former Chaplain of the United States Senate

Or limiting the summary of Church history to a single sentence, oversimplified of course:

"Christianity, originally a brotherhood of co-equals, became a hierarchy and has yet to fully recover."

  • 10612

Thank you, David, for your concern for my condition. I can't tell you how much it means to me that I have heard from so many good friends like yourself these last few months, all wanting to help out where they can. God has been gracious beyond measure throughout my life, and especially more so now with these new challenges that I face with my family. I am grateful to have a loving wife who makes my meals and takes me to innumerable doctor's appointments. Her care and patience are truly inspiring. And so far as any financial needs are concerned, those have all been covered by insurance through my work, so we have no outstanding expenses. There once was a time quite long ago when this wasn't the case, so I know firsthand how much such kindness can mean in difficult times. If anyone wants to help, I would ask this favor... if you or a loved one has not had a routine physical exam recently then please go see a doctor as soon as you are able. Had I done the same, I would have learned that I have diabetes which could have been corrected prior to my infection getting out of control.

I am so grateful to God for His provision in my life. That includes this community. Despite what happens in this life, we are completely lost without our loving Savior, Jesus Christ. Praise God for that!

  • 11511

Hello dear brother. Thank you for the encouraging words wide and experience - especially amidst your own difficulties. Obviously your faith is strong, as is your reliance upon the Almighty.

Sadly, many become bitter or even angry with God when something like this occurs.

Your new and ongoing situation will require major adjustments. Everyone, please lift up our brother and his loved ones in your daily prayers.

Todd, will you contact me privately on this site? Please provide me with your PayPal or Amazon address. I'll act as a go-between for those desiring to help, rather than share your personal information online.

David Anderson, serving as Administrator.

  • 11632

I find that there's a real balance to be struck that your average Christian does not understand, which is really too bad since Scripture cries out that we seek it. Jesus came first and foremost to heal us spiritually, but in the same way God does not leave us to fend for ourselves physically. Matt 6:25-32 tells us not to be anxious about anything because God loves us more than the birds of the air and lilies of the field, yet ends with with verse 33 which is near and dear to many of us here... "But seek first the reign of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you." Both the spiritual and physical are important to God

While I agree with the author about churches obsessing on the mechanics of church, I would disagree with the statement that, "It was largely about spiritual salvation and growth, praying for people, and religious codes of conduct." As I have lamented previously on this website, what many might call "spiritual salvation and growth" is much more cultural in nature than it is Christian. There is a set of standards and behaviors that Christians are expected to adhere to, which look frighteningly similar to Western cultural values. I've often struggled to find Christians who want to talk about sin and salvation, which is core to our Christian faith. I guess that I've never been one to believe that obsessing over making the worship service perfect was a great use of time

Yet I also have to wonder about churches that take the opposite approach and dedicate themselves to only providing for the physical needs of the community in which they live. Here where I live near Seattle, churches are big into taking care of the homeless, sometimes to the exclusion of all else. It would be difficult from a spiritual perspective to call them churches as they focus on very little in Scripture other than Christ's command to feed the poor

Where I think the lack of balance comes into play in this whole equation is in our collective lack of understanding that our physical infirmities can be directly tied to the Fall of Man in the Garden of Eden. I recently spent 16 days in the hospital in which I had my right foot amputated due to a severe foot infection. Nothing could have made a better statement to me of the effects of sin than those two weeks. It's not as though God was punishing me for specific sins as some might believe. But I couldn't escape the fact that we all live in a fallen world, and that only by the grace of God that any of us has hope for the future. An eternal future full of the grace of our beloved Savior

I guess my point is that there is a middle ground in all of this. To focus solely on the spiritual is to miss the point of God's daily mercies in our everyday existences. Watching a limb rot away before your eyes as I recently did is a sobering reminder of the fragility of our lives here on Earth. We need God to survive. But to say that all of the ills that we face will be somehow cured with a clean pair of socks and a hot meal is to miss the point as well. As the human race, we are where we are today because of sin, and to help someone in need without sharing the hope that God has placed in us for the future is missing the point when it comes to the Christian life

  • 1
  • 12363
Added a Post  

Here is a recent arrangement of the Lord's Prayer set to music. I hope you all enjoy it!

https://livingtruth.com/our-father-in-heaven/

  • 1
  • 13118

Great point!

  • 12978

As for church leaders who become turf-protecting bureaucrats, I would be the first to point this out for immediate adjustment.

But sadly, for every power-grabbing church leader, there are dozens of others who are more than willing to give up their own responsibilities and privileges. There is plenty of blame on both sides.

On the other hand and in the other extreme, there are those who insist that the whole concept of human leadership in the church is of little concern at all. Thus: "A Dramatic lack of Attention..."

Really? Well pray tell me, whey did Paul and Barnabus when they had ordained them elders in EVERY church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they believed.

If this was no big deal, why the PRAYER and FASTING? And why the prominent mention of this ongoing activity in EVERY city and church? See Acts 14:23.

Human leadership is indeed complementary with divine leadership in a home or in a church. 1 Peter 5:4: And when the chief Shepherd (divine) appears, you (human shepherds) will receive the unfading crown of glory. 

  • 12995
Added a Video. 

We do not encourage political topics on this site because that is not our goal. Besides, there are many other sites for such a purpose. Nor is it to suggest that these matters are unimportant. They surely are.

Lately, everywhere we turn - there is a tragic loss of the freedom of speech as well as massive hate mongering toward the people of Israel. We do not want to see this for any ethic group.

On a minor point, it should appear obvious that house churches are the only and beset option for many in the mid East.

What I want us to be reminded of today is how colleges and universities which were founded by Christians eventually lost sight of their stated purposes.

Truly, the Enemy has come to steal and kill and destroy. Whereas the Son of God came to give life and joy unspeakable.

Brothers and sisters, let us bow in prayer...

  • 13698
Added a Discussion.  

It took 25 years to find it, then it vanished, writes blogger Micheal Camp.

More times than not, in my evangelical experience, the average church is all about promoting and providing the following: a statement of faith, worship, church bands or choirs, sermons, communion, Bible studies, teaching on acceptable lifestyles, prayer meetings and ministry, youth groups, Sunday school, pre-marital counseling, evangelistic outreach, baptisms, support for overseas missions, fellowship (potlucks and picnics), and conducting funerals. With some exceptions, these churches rarely had ministries that actually provided practical care for people’s physical, emotional, or mental health. It was largely about spiritual salvation and growth, praying for people, and religious codes of conduct.
In my 25 plus years in evangelicalism, I only went to one church that actually had a ministry to the poor. Granted, there were some individuals who did in a couple churches. And in my overseas mission work we did relief and development projects for the impoverished, but these were exceptions. This one ministry in a church had a great program done once a year called Day of Hope. Church members and even non-members volunteered to extend free services to the poor in the community on this one day (anything from providing goods to dental care). Both recipients and volunteers loved it.
The problem was, after the church did it a few years, they dropped the whole program. They were too busy doing the other things to have time for it. In some evangelical churches, people would occasionally help out at a local soup kitchen for the homeless or visit prisoners, but this was not part of the heart of the church.

https://www.patheos.com/blogs/thespiritualbrewpub/author/mcamp/

  • 15340
Added a comment to Famine 

yes

  • 15137
Added a comment to Famine 

Is this his youtube channel? with these... videos?

https://www.youtube.com/@williamgetumbe/videos

  • 2
  • 15141
Added a File.   

There seem to be more theorists than practitioners in our movement. David is both. He's what we would call a missions strategist. He wakes up every day desiring that more people would somehow meet their Saviour. Then he attempts to execute a good plan.

David earned a bachelors, 2 Masters and a Ph.D. degrees. He's used these academic credentials to write 4 books, edit 4 and contribute more than a hundred articles and papers in various journals and books since 1983.

His latest writings are in community development, Christian theology, Asian cultures and inter-religious relations.

He's presently the President of Asian School of Development and Crosscultural Studies (ASDECS), based in Manila, Philippines, with branches and partners in 12 countries in the world.

By his kind permission we offer this important essay. Other papers can be found at https://asdecs.academia.edu/DavidLim.

As always, members who are logged in can download a copy for their own library. Others can read the entire essay right here.

  • 16089
Added a Discussion.  

Service is essential. Our Lord taught that if we would be great in his Kingdom, we must become servants. It's the same word in the original as deacons, by the way.

Discernment is required. It's easy to think we are serving but we may actually be enabling a destructive course.

Look at all the self-seeking politicians who consider themselves as "public servants", for another example.

Paul wrote of those who could perform great acts - yet had not love.

From the mighty pen of CS Lewis:

An Epitaph

Erected by her sorrowing brothers

In memory of Martha Clay.

Here lies one who lived for others;

Now she has peace. And so have they.

  • 16914