Hope for Life Blog

Archive for August, 2010

Are you a member?

by on Aug.30, 2010, under Hope

In high school, I was a member of the National Honor Society. We met once to elect officers and once to induct new members. That’s all we did.

I am a member of a warehouse club. This allows me to make purchases at this store. I have no idea who else is a member, except that I can assume that other people who shop there are also members.

One of the credit cards I have calls me a member. They even run ads saying that “membership has its privileges.” If I’m going to be honest, however, I don’t feel any more a part of that card’s business than I do other cards that call me a client.

I’m a member of a group health insurance plan. I know some of the other members, for they work with me at Herald of Truth Ministries. But our ties don’t come from being members of this health plan, but from working in the same office.

I’m a member of the church of Christ. Not just the local group that has a sign out front saying “church of Christ,” but Jesus’ church around the world. The problem is, I have to figure out what that means, whether it’s like an honor society, an insurance plan, or something completely different.

The apostle Paul explains what it means to be a member: “Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.” (Romans 12:4-5) In fact, Paul says that we are members of the same body in several other letters as well. When we say that we are members of the church, we are saying that we are members of the body of Christ.

Like your hand is a member of your body. It’s not optional. It’s not unimportant. It’s an essential part of what the hand is. A severed hand ceases to be a living hand. In the same way, if we are truly members of the church, we are part of it and it becomes the definition of who we are. We are members of the body of Christ or we cease to be alive spiritually.

The many ways we use the word “member” can make us lose sight of the fact that we were called to be an essential part of the body of Christ. We’re not called to join a spiritual club. We’re called to be part of something much bigger, a vital part of a living organism.

I want to invite you to become a member of Jesus. Part of his body. Part of his church. Don’t join a church club. Come form with us the body of Christ.

If you aren’t sure if you are a member of Christ’s body or need help finding a local church, we can help you with that. Leave a comment or click on Contact Us at the top of this page.


Right Destination, Wrong Gate

by on Aug.23, 2010, under Hope

I was standing near the gate waiting to board my flight when a man came running up demanding, “Am I too late?”  When he realized that nobody was boarding, he went to the ticket counter for an explanation.  The attendant explained that the gate assignment for his flight had been changed.  He was now at the wrong gate.  He showed her his boarding pass and continued to insist that this was his flight.  She continued to explain that if he boarded this flight he would not end up where he wanted to go.  Finally, he realized that he was wrong and sprinted off trying to reach the correct gate before the last boarding call.

I understood his confusion, being so sure I was right when I was not.  If he had done what he was sure was right, he would have been wrong.  It would not have mattered what anyone had told him was correct.  It would not have mattered that he was certain he was right.  The only way to his chosen destination was through the correct gate. 

Heaven is like that.  I sometimes hear people talk as if they can decide the correct way to God.  As if it is our decision how to repair our broken relationship with Him.  God is very clear about the correct way to reach heaven – through Jesus.  And the way to Jesus is clear – be born again.  It does not matter what anyone tells you, or even what you are convinced is right.  God is the only one who can fix our relationship with Him.  And He makes it clear how to do that.  The only way to do that.

So why listen to me?  It really doesn’t matter what I say.  And you are right.  Do not assume that I am telling you the correct way to heaven.  See what God said.  If you would like to know more about what God says about the only way back to Him, I’ll be happy to share where He said it.  So you can see it for yourself, know it for yourself, and be certain for yourself.  Not because someone told you, but because God told you. 

Blessings,

steve


It’s A Good Feeling To Be Chosen

by on Aug.16, 2010, under Hope

Without a doubt, my favorite subject in elementary school was recess. I loved all sorts of sports, so I enjoyed every moment that we spent running and playing on the fields around our school.

Well, almost every moment. There were those awful times of torture and humiliation, of anxiety and embarrassment: the moments when we were picking teams.

Even though I loved sports, I lacked basic hand-eye coordination. I was bad at sports. Really bad. I could get away with it in basketball because of my height, but in the other activities, I wouldn’t be chosen until after most of the girls had been picked. Those minutes of waiting and watching were pure anguish.

Then, when I was about 12, a wondrous thing happened. My motor skills caught up with my growth. My years of constantly playing sports began to pay off, and I became one of the desirable picks. Then the times of choosing sides became much more enjoyable. It’s a good feeling to be chosen.

As I go through life, I find that there are still times when I’m waiting to be chosen. Sometimes it’s when I’ve applied for a job that I’m interested in. Sometimes it’s when I’m at a social gathering, looking for someone to engage in conversation. Sometimes it’s when a committee is being formed or a group is gathering to work on a project. Even today, these moments can be nerve-wracking. Will I be chosen?

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight.” (Ephesians 1:3-4)

God chose us before the creation of the world. No need for nervousness. No need for anxious waiting. We’ve been chosen. Chosen by God. The world may give us a thumbs up or a thumbs down. People may select us or they may pass us by. It doesn’t really matter. We’ve been chosen by God.

God chose you. He wants you to be on his team, more than that, He wants to make you a part of His family. It’s a good feeling to be chosen.


Do we believe it?

by on Aug.09, 2010, under Hope

He sat there staring allowing his words to have their impact as if a mortar round had been fired and he was waiting for the impact concussion.

We had been talking about evangelism or rather the seeming lack of it. Churches have shifted their focus to service projects (building classrooms, manning medical clinics, cleaning up yards) but then not telling the recipients about Jesus in whose name the activities were done. So evangelism efforts are relegated to the “professionals”, missionaries, evangelists, staff members of parachurch organizations whose “job” is to talk about Jesus.

His words came quicker, with more intensity as he noted:

“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and the Son and the Holy Spirit.” Matt.28:19
“…And you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” Acts 1:8

Then he looked me in the eyes and said, “There are only two options for our not doing evangelism—either we don’t believe God or we don’t care.” And he sat there staring.

The words were like a grenade, stunning, blinding and disorienting my religiously ordered mind. The haze has slowly cleared in the weeks since that Friday morning in Nashville, Tennessee.

If we don’t tell others about Jesus, if our actions contradict our professed ideals, if we claim concern about people’s souls for eternity, but make no significant effort to share with them our Savior—then we must not believe God or we don’t care.

So do you agree with that premise or disagree?

Do not one’s actions really identify what they think, hold dear, believe?

What do you propose to do about it?

Do you believe God or don’t you care?

Your turn……….


Mountains or Foothills

by on Aug.02, 2010, under Hope

I recently drove across the border from Idaho into Oregon and I was telling my Oregon friends about the incredible beauty I observed driving through the mountains.  They thought I must have gotten lost, but I insisted I drove straight there.  Then they laughed at me.  What I was calling “mountains”, they described as foothills.  Of course, we were describing the same view… just from different perspectives.  Being from West Texas, those foothills seemed to me like mountains.  And my friends often drive thru the Rocky Mountains, so these foothills seem like gentle inclines. 

I wonder if this illustrates the difficulty that Christians have communicating with those who do not believe Jesus really is the Son of God.  As a Christian, my view of this life is different.  I see this life as the shadow of what is to come.  Eternal life with Christ is my reality.  End of life issues are not a time of critical crisis.  Economic crisis is not a matter of panic and despair.  Sickness and natural disaster can be faced secure in the knowledge that God is in charge.  This world is not my home; it is not where I am most comfortable.  I will always be a stranger and a pilgrim here.

But for my non-believing friends, these things are incredibly frightening and disturbing.  For them, this life is their reality.  So sickness, death, economic crisis, natural disasters, and other life situations do become overwhelming and unmanageable.  From their perspective, how could they not be? 

And how strange we Christians must seem:  how out of touch with reality.  Yet, our world view makes perfect sense to us.  It is hard for us to understand how anyone can fail to see how much better our reality is.  Some of us with a Christian perspective remember what it was like when saw things from a different perspective.  We chose to change.

So if you wonder how we Christians can see things the way we do, I’d like to visit with you.  I’d enjoy sharing my perspective with you.  And I would like to hear yours  It is a conversation worth having. 

Blessings,

steve

 

 



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