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Posts Tagged ‘Faith in practice’

Fourth Sunday of Eastertide-May 8

04 May

Fourth Sunday of Eastertide-Explore- One of the most important ways to find what our gifts are is to experiment in different areas of the church to find what we enjoy doing and do well. This is one of the most neglected areas of the church today. Most churches are run by a small group of people who have always filled the same positions. While they complain that no one wants to work, they give very little opportunity for new people to become involved. The church must provide opportunities for members to become involved in various areas of the church so they can find their interests and talents. One way is through a requirement that limits everyone to two three-year terms and requires everyone to take a sabbatical every seventh year. This helps prevent workers from becoming burned out and enables new people to become involved. It also gives members on their Sabbatical time to shop around to see if there are other areas that might interest them. Some churches have a Sunday where each church work group has a booth in the fellowship hall and members can wander from booth to booth talking with people who belong to that work group. Some churches even invite Christian community service groups to have a booth for those called to serve beyond the local church. There are also interest surveys available. I have written a booklet, “The Important I” which helps with determining what would be a good career (part-A), but also outlines areas in the church and community that offer opportunities for volunteer work (part-B). It includes an interest survey and can be obtained by E-mailing me at robert.barr34@yahoo.com, requesting the booklets, “The Important I” and put “booklet” in the subject line.

 

Third Sunday of Eastertide-May 1

27 Apr

(Luke 24:49) Wait and Seek-Jesus rose from the dead and He revealed Himself to the disciples. I am sure they wanted to rush right out and tell everyone, but Jesus told them to wait until they received the power from the Holy Spirit. Just as Lent is a time where we purify ourselves to receive Christ. Eastertide is a time when we should begin to seek God’s purpose for our life and begin preparing to serve Christ. Lent involves seeking to remove anything from our life that would hinder our service and Eastertide involves finding where Christ would have us to serve. As a result, during Eastertide, the church should seek to help its members discover their gifts. As the church begins to see what gifts are available, it can begin planning how to use those gifts to further God’s kingdom.

 

Second Sunday of Eastertide-April 24

21 Apr

Our mission– Jesus appeared to His disciples in Galilee-Matt. 28: 16-20 After Jesus rose from the dead and showed Himself to His disciples, He gathered His disciples and told them to go and make disciples of all nations. The church should be clear on it’s mission. A disciple is a student who is training to follow his master. We are to seek the lost and lead them to the Lord. Once they receive Christ, we are to baptize them, symbolically illustrating their death and resurrection in Christ. Then we are to teach them to do all that Christ has commanded us. That involves active training, not the passive attendance which is common in many churches today. Every church board should open every meeting with the questions “What can we do to win souls?” and “What can we do to train our members to be better disciples?” Now is a good time to finalize plans for a summer campaign to reach those who do not know Christ.

 

Fifth Sunday of Easter-April 3

31 Mar

Doers, not just hearers-Matt 7:24-27  Jesus said those who hear his Word but do not do them are like a man who builds his house on sand and when storms come, the house will fall. But he who hears God’s Word and does it is like a man who builds his house on solid rock. Since God created us, He knows what is best for us. If we follow His instructions, we will prosper. If we hear His instructions, but do not follow them, we build on a very shaky foundation and when trials come, our house will collapse because it isn’t built on God’s Word. If we hear His Word and follow it, we will be on a firm foundation and won’t be shaken when we experience trials. Men today think they know better than God but the world they built will collapse when trouble comes, as it must. We need to return to the way God told us.  In the same way, preaching alone does not change people. Jesus spent 3 years teaching the masses but they did not automatically become disciples because His preaching told them what to do but did not show them how. Jesus chose twelve disciples and they followed Him. They watched Him as He lived out what it means to love God and those around them and they learned how to live a life pleasing to God as they watched Him. They then went out and selected seventy others who they trained as disciples. Too many churches are filled with spiritual babies because the church relies on preaching alone.

 

Fourth Sunday of Lent-Mar 27

28 Mar

Don’t do to be seen by men-Matt 6:1-8. Jesus tells us that we should not parade our piety before men but do it in secret before God.  Some people like to give alms and pray in front of everyone so everyone will be impressed with how pious we are. When we do that, it is to find favor with men and we will be rewarded by men, but God will not be impressed. The Pharisees used to stand on the street corners and pray so people would be impressed and look up to them as pious people and Jesus often chastised them for it because they loved the praise of men more than they loved God. He wants us to do it to please Him, not to please men. If we do it in secret, God will reward us openly.

 

Third Sunday of Lent-Mar 20

17 Mar

Temptation-Matt.4:1-11. Once we become Christians, we often feel like we are in a spiritual wilderness and are tempted to give in to peer pressure or choose the easy way out. Jesus hadn’t eaten for forty days so that He might spend the time in prayer, seeking direction for His ministry. He could easily have made bread from the stones, but He did not. He knew that finding direction for His work was more important than satisfying His appetite. We should be just as deliberate in seeking His will for our lives. It is often helpful to find a spiritual adviser, someone who is mature in the faith to guide you, however these days it is difficult because there are few who seek the Lord. The ones looked up to in the church are those with financial and business abilities.

 

First Sunday of Lent-Mar 6

02 Mar

Liberals have failed to create the great society they expected because they fail to understand man. They feel that man is good by nature and society corrupts him. All man needs is to be freed from the restraints of society and he will develop best. They feel that if laws prevent him from doing what he feels best, he should ignore the law. However we know from watching a child that they are selfish by nature and want to do what they should not do. We have to establish rules to prevent them from harming themselves and others. As they grow up, they should learn to control themselves and as they do, laws are not needed as much, but we still have to have laws because the desire remains and some don’t learn to restrain themselves. If a child does not learn to control themselves, they become a threat to themselves and others. We, as a society are reaping the results of not training children to restrain themselves. Jesus said “You must be born again” He is not talking about a mere makeover but a new life, a fresh start. We can’t continue to live in the way of the flesh and expect to have fellowship with God. We must die to self and be born again through the Spirit of God. Paul says in Ephesians 4: 22-24. “We must lay aside the old self which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.” During Lent, let us seek to put off the old man of flesh and be born again through the Spirit of God.

 

 

 

Fourth Sunday of Epiphany-Jan 30

27 Jan

The Single Parent The sad fact is that there are more adults who are single in America today than those who are married. Many of those are single parents with young children. While being a single parent is widely accepted in our society today, it is not easy because it lacks the basic necessities for bringing up children. With a married couple, the man can work and the wife can take care of the kids. Our society has been infused with greed so many wives now work to provide the luxuries of life. As a result, our society now has adjusted to the new-found wealth when both parents to work, so two incomes has become a necessity, not just a luxury. That often forces women to work, even when they don’t want to. With single mothers, if the father remains nearby, the parents often fight over and often in the presence of the children. In addition, the majority of the children of single mothers lack a stable father and if the woman has a boyfriend, he often provides a very poor example of being a father and often doesn’t stay very long. Many of the problems of our society today stem directly from the lack of stable marriages in many homes. If these children are to grow up and establish stable families, they need Christian couples to work with them so both boys and girls, as well as their parent, can see a stable marriage relationship and how men and women should relate to each other.

 

Eleventh Sunday of Kingdomtide-Nov 14

24 Nov

Love of others- Knowing God changes the way you see others. Without God, we focus on our self, our needs, and what benefits us. We view others in terms of how they affect us. Knowing God, we begin to see them through God’s eyes. They become people who have worth, regardless of what they can do for us, simply because they are created by God for a purpose. It may be a baby, conceived by accident or even by rape and feel that it is unwanted and will only be a burden, but God created it for a purpose. We may not know what that purpose is or may even feel that they can’t possibly have any purpose, but we trust that God knows and will fulfill it. We may feel that they are too old, too sick, or injured too badly to have a purpose left but trust that God will fulfill that purpose in time.

 

Tenth Sunday of Kingdomtide-Nov 7

24 Nov

Business dealings. As Christians, we believe in dealing fairly with others, being honest and above board in all we do. While those who do not know God will often seek to cut corners or shade deals to gain an advantage, the Christian knows that God is watching and will not try to take advantage of others. If he slips or makes a mistake, he will try to make it right. He also knows that others are watching and will judge God and His church by what they see in us. When we say that God cares about others, they will watch to see if we really live that way. When we say that God says not to steal or bear false witness, they will watch to see if we live that out and if we don’t, they may turn away from seeking God. On the other hand, if they see we are always honest and try to deal fairly, they may want to know why, and it could open a door for us to tell them about God and how He can change people.