AUGUST - SEPTEMBER 2022
A blessed summer day to all,
While it may seem that the term “scorched day” is more appropriate, that we wake up to another day is a blessed gift from God, whether we are perspiring more than we care to.
A pattern that we see in history is a pendulum swing in society’s conduct, morals promoted, values championed, and misunderstandings leading to regrettable behavior. This pendulum swing is seen throughout world history and on a national level. The transitions between pendulum extremes are sometimes smooth, almost unperceivable, and sometimes the equivalent of riding down a road plastered with potholes. In addition, the transition will often influence the direction or strategies of local congregations. Such transitions may even be viewed differently by different churches. For instance, when President Trump won the election in 2016, I heard from many Christians that his victory was an answer to prayer and that the nation was finally back on the proper path. This is, of course, a general statement because not all Christians were enthusiastic about his win. I then walked by the fellowship hall and heard a prayer meeting by the Spanish speaking congregation we have partnered with for many years, and who have blessed our congregation with their generosity. I heard cries to the Lord asking for His protection from the new administration about to take office. Their cries were not of celebration but of fear. We can likely debate the whys of their fear till the cows come home but I would like us to consider the question that if such a victory was a God thing, shouldn’t all of God’s people rejoice?
Getting back to the pendulum swing. Many of us have over the course of the last decade been extremely concerned (gross understatement) of the moral direction of our country. Many lifestyle choices that the Bible does not endorse were promoted as the new norm and in some cases, we read of churches who, in the name of inclusiveness and tolerance, adjusted their theology to align with contemporary society’s moral choices. Within the last year or so, a strong push has begun to get the pendulum to swing in the opposite direction. Many of us receive this shift with, “It’s about time”. Like anyone who identifies as politically and theologically conservative (not in that order), I too am glad to see churches standing their ground and saying “enough”. I am also glad that such a stand is being supported by people in government that had either chosen to remain quiet in the past or whose voice had been muffled by the cries of the liberal crowds.
That being said, there are terms that are cropping up that indicate the pendulum swing is not a smooth one. One term in particular felt like a sliver under my fingernails. It was the term “Christian Taliban”. The Taliban are a group of Islamic fundamentalists who fight to implement religious law through society. While it may be may be viewed as striving to obey God’s commandments (as they understand them), there is no question that human rights have been grossly violated and horrible acts committed in the name of following God’s will. Thus, it would seem that the person who coined the term, “Christian Taliban” is conveying the idea some Christians are doing the same thing. Whether that is an accurate assessment is not an issue as much as the sad fact such an idea exists. It is especially troubling if such a view is held by someone who does not know the Good News of Jesus.
That leaves us with the added challenge of proclaiming Jesus’ gospel in a manner that those who do not know Him hear His message as one of love, forgiveness, and grace. We read in Psalm 19:7-10,
"The Law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. The precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; the judgments of the Lord are true; they are righteous altogether. They are more desirable than gold, yes than much pure gold; sweeter also then honey and dripping of the honeycomb."
Let us strive to present His word as sweeter than honey and more desirable than gold.
Have a blessed August and September,
FROM THE CORNER
by Joe Hagala
1 Cor. 9:19-23- "Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings."
Well as I write this I am in the middle of loading up the Motorhome because we are heading out of town to go camping!! YAY!! It’s been Tooooooo long since we have gone. Both John and Hannah have been bugging us to go camping. Like AnnMarie, they were raised going camping .....a lot!!! So with all the distractions of the last two years putting a hurt on our camping time...... we are finally doing it!! It’s put a hurt on a lot of activities....but none with the impact of meeting with all types of people in all types of places and all types of situations. Like the scripture verse talks about, meeting people where they are to show them the Good news. Yes I said that right. Show them the Good News. Not just talk then walk, but meet them in their walk. Which, yes, does include people that are camping . Or shopping or eating or hiking while camping. The thing is in order to be all things to all people you have to put yourself out there. Is it embarrassing to do this??? Maybe...... but think of the goal as Paul stated it......23
"I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings!"
So go ahead and be embarrassed,..... be yourself, .......be bold, ...........and be blessed!!
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