Friday, August 26, 2011

Two Towers and a Cross

Friday Reflection - 8/26

The 10th Anniversary of the September 11 attacks is quickly approaching. This year, it falls on Sunday.

This September 11th at Ground Zero, there will be an elaborate memorial. Thousands will gather; millions will watch. It is an important day in American history. The memorial ensures that the sacrifices of thousands were not in vain.

This September 11th there will be a simple memorial. Millions will observe it. It is the most important day in Christian history. This simple memorial enforces that the one sacrifice of Jesus was not in vain.

This year (if we live), we will again remember our fallen heroes and countrymen. But foremost, we will remember our risen Savior.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Jesus asks, "Why?"

Red-Letter Monday
"Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?" (Matthew 7:3)

Why? Why do we see the speck in our brother's eye, but not the log in our own eye? Here's just a random list, a few possibilities:

1) It's easier to look at others than self.
2) We feel better when speaking of others' misgivings.
3) We'd rather use our hands to point, than to help.
4) It doesn't cost anything to expose faults.
5) We forget who the Master is.

Just some thoughts. What do you think?

Friday, August 12, 2011

Developing Positives From Negatives

Friday Reflection - 8/12

Here are some things I’ve learned during the last 16 months of our congregation’s building project:

Building projects can...
1) Expose weaknesses in leadership.
2) Expose vulnerabilities in the membership.
3) Eat up funds.
4) Decrease attention to other vital components of the church's mission.

Prestonsburg church of Christ assembly/classroom expansion.

Here’s how we turn those negatives into positives:

1) Weaknesses in relationships between leaders is normal, but too often, unspoken. Now that its “out,” address it honestly, prayerfully, and practically. Seek God's word, read good books, consult with others; learn, grow and apply. This should bring shepherds and the flock closer.

2) Same as above. Often, “issues” between brethren are swept under the proverbial rug. Christians are a family. While some personal space is needful, the more open the members of the family are about their priorities, desires, hopes, problems, and pitfalls, the more opportunities there are for growth, connection and solidarity.

3) How can this be a positive? The church is not a bank. It is a work of God for evangelism, edification and benevolence. One thing is certain, the building project puts the onus on Christians to make it work, to use all that facility for good and truth. This budget-buster forces a readjustment, just the thing we rarely choose, but usually need.

4) Can there be anything positive about this? Yes! If the building project highlighted an imbalance, it was likely there long before the project began. Time to evaluate our mission, our goals, our focus. Without the building project, we may never have seen these deficiencies. 

Count it all joy and do better!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Time to Relax?

Red-Letter Monday

Those who diminish God’s standard seek not to justify God, but self. 

A Christian should never seek to relax the standard, minimize the truth, or trivialize God’s commands. There is no unimportant command or principle.

    Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 5:19).

   Those who teach and lead have opted for a higher level of accountability (cf. Jas. 3:1). A true disciple seeks to conform to his Master, making his life an intentional example for others to imitate (see: 1 Cor. 11:1). 

Greatness in the kingdom of the Christ comes not from ability, but obedience.

Friday, August 5, 2011

The Cretan Tendency

Friday Reflection - 8/5

Stereotyping is wrong, right?

Stereotypes have some basis of truth, but usually exaggerate by employing (or implying) the words: always, never, all or none. [All] White men can't jump, for example. Or, When in Rome, do as [all] the Romans do.

Of course, some white men can jump, and not every Roman was profligate (right?).

There's simply no escaping that people of differing regions, ethnicity, language and culture have their own identifying marks and tendencies. Stereotypes exist and we use them; or, we make use of them. Some comedians make a living off of them.

Which brings up one of the dangers of stereotyping: some find it funny, others not so much. The tendency of the Irish to drink excessively may be funny to some. Others may despise it. Impulse says there's only one way to test the theory. Prudence says its not that important.

Yet, isn't stereotyping the mother of profiling? Surely there has been much profiling going on since 9/11. Am I for it in the airport, but not in the workplace? The Army base at Fort Hood, Texas is a workplace.

It seems to me I'd be foolish to ignore the truths implied by some stereotypes.

By the way, stereotyping was in use in Paul's day:

"One of the Cretans, a prophet of their own, said, "Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons." This testimony is true. Therefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith..." (Titus 1:12-13). 

Obviouly, this rebuke is for those to whom it applied. In other words, not every single Cretan was a lazy, gluttonous liar. But shining a light on the Cretan tendency was apparently the necessary - albeit uncomfortable thing to do.

What say you?