Category Archives: Church Unity

Few but Mighty

On April 17, 1952, President Harry Truman signed a bill proclaiming the National Day of Prayer into law in the United States. President Reagan amended the law in 1988, designating the first Thursday of May each year as the National Day of Prayer, and so we gathered today in front of our local government offices to pray for our nation.

As I stood there on the courthouse steps and listened to each Pastor take his turn in prayer for our military, law enforcement, EMS and Fire Departments, Schools, Students and Staff, Leaders all over the land and our community as a whole, my heart was humbled and broken. Those in attendance were few in number, but faithful. I’ve seen most of them each year I’ve attended. There were a few that showed up for the lunch cooked by the Hospital Chaplin Association and others that were there in support of the event, but what I observed summed up the state of our Nation.

The Pastors

They were doing their best to serve the community but it was a struggle. The struggle was actually with the hot dog grill that wasn’t cooperating. Try as they might, they couldn’t get it to catch fire. Pastors all across America have the same problem with their churches. People want canned regulated sermons that are controlled with a temperature gauge, not too hot and not too cold.

Revelation 3:15-16

I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.

The People

They were few in number, but faithful. Much like the churches on Sunday morning, while Sunday night and Wednesday night services have all but gone by the way side in most churches. People who wonder why our country is in such a state of disrepair need not look at the Whitehouse, but rather to the church house. People have no concern for the wellbeing of the security of the souls of their family, yet they expect the nation’s leaders to be concerned for the wellbeing of their security of people they don’t even know. People who don’t bother to vote, or if they do they don’t vote with a conscience of God, but expect the leaders to have that conscience. That’s not how it works…

Luke 10:2

Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest.

The Purpose

The Lord was scantly represented today, but there’s still a few of us left. And I feel honored to have been among them, I believe wholeheartedly that it is why God has had mercy on our Nation as long as He has. But that mercy will end one day.

Of just the few people that was there I also seen a representation of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

  • He is the Healer (two cured of cancer, one of a heart condition, that I knew of, there were likely others)
  • He is Comforter (a widow who lives alone and often struggles, but continues to find comfort in her Savior.
  • He is Father (several prodigals that returned home in attendance)
  • He is Provider (Nobody there was starving, even without the hotdogs at times)
  • He is Spirit (On the steps of a Government that welcomes Him not, His Spirit can be felt)
  • He is Faithful (The world may not show up for Him, but He shows up for us in so many ways)

2 Chronicles 7:14

If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

Continue on faithful servants, men and women of God! May our circles be Unbroken…


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This blog is in it’s 8th year. Hosted on godaddy.com for the past five. Expenses incurred for the operation of this site are without complaint and with gratitude for the opportunity. If the Lord would impress you to give to help cover some recent technology issues, I’d be grateful. I’ve not been in the world’s workforce for 3 years and for that I glorify God. It’s given me the opportunity to not only write and work on music, but minister to nursing home patients, volunteer in the Christian School teaching art and help other ministries with marketing. All of which require technology, communication, time and gasoline. Again it’s without complainT… but just in case you have a desire to help, or have “extra money” 🙂 Know that I would be eternally grateful.

Here’s the Link

Just Keep Going

I have a tendency to be a little over the top. And if you know me you likely just rolled your eyes and said “A little?” To that I say “Shush.” I’m not likely to change. There’s a reason I’m over the top. I have had enough dead religion to last me a lifetime. If you’re not a shouter… I’m okay with that. If you don’t like to lift your hands, I’m okay with that too. I just happen to be both, and I love being with likeminded people. And to that God has always been so faithful to place them in my midst. But occasionally I meet a Hoover. I try to stay clear of them-, but deed, sometimes it’s impossible. That illustration came from a sermon I heard David Gibbs preach last week. I haven’t been able to shake it, and it makes me giggle! And then it makes me nauseous. I just have to tell myself “Just keep going, Shari.”

Ephesians 4:29 reminds us not to be a Hoover –  Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.

And it’s on days like that that I turn to the Word. I’m not above being wrong. I want to back up what I believe with the Word of God.       So should you! Don’t take man’s word for anything. Humanity leaves room for error.

We Have Assurance

Ephesians 3: 9-12 – And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord: In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him.

We should be bold with confidence, not dead with insecurity or religion. Religion says “Don’t make waves.” Confidence says “Stir up the water!” We have the wisdom that man has searched for from the beginning of time. We have the power from Heavenly places that the world tries to imitate. What we have is the real deal. Why would we not be excited!

We Have Approval

1 John 2:28 – And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming.

I highly doubt that when Jesus splits open the skies and calls His church home, we’ll be indifferent. Glory to God! We have confidence that He’s returning but do we have His approval on how we’re waiting? If He would walk into your church on Sunday morning, would He even feel welcome? If He sat behind you in the pew would He find you paying attention to the message or surfing your messages on your phone? If the Spirit started moving in your heart would you raise your hand or would you raise an eyebrow at those who do? If someone shouted would it be you, or would you jump out of your skin because you weren’t prepared for anyone to get excited. If Heaven forbid someone choo choo’d around the church would you call it fake or would you fall in behind? If I have to explain choo choo, you may not get any of this paragraph.

I am confident that God’s okay with excited Christianity.

We Have Answers

Because the world would love to make me think I’m crazy for being so excited about Jesus, and because there are days I feel crazy. I am elated that I have a solid foundation in the Word of God to turn to.

1 John 5:14 – And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us:

And so I ask. Again and again I ask. Every time some Hoover Christian leads me to believe I’m wrong.

Psalm 98:4 – Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all the earth: make a loud noise and rejoice, and sing praise.

Psalm 47:1 – O clap your hands, all ye people; shout unto God with the voice of triumph.

Luke 17:15And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God,

Psalm 134:2Lift up your hands in the sanctuary, and bless the Lord.

Need I go on? The world is so stinkin’ loud. How can they possibly hear the whispers of a child of God. When we listen to God, we should be still. When we feel God move, it should move us.

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This blog is in it’s 8th year. Hosted on godaddy.com for the past five. Expenses incurred for the operation of this site are without complaint and with gratitude for the opportunity. If the Lord would impress you to give to help cover some recent technology issues, I’d be grateful. I’ve not been in the world’s workforce for 3 years and for that I glorify God. It’s given me the opportunity to not only write and work on music, but minister to nursing home patients, volunteer in the Christian School teaching art and help other ministries with marketing. All of which require technology, communication, time and gasoline. Again it’s without complainT… but just in case you have a desire to help, or have “extra money” 🙂 Know that I would be eternally grateful.

Here’s the Link

Ten Things that won’t be said in Heaven

  1. What did the doctor say?
  2. Want to hear some good gossip?
  3. Is there a deacon’s meeting this week?
  4. Did you read the obituaries?
  5. Why are you sad?
  6. What’s the latest trend on twitter?
  7. Is that bread fresh?
  8. What church do you go to?
  9. A lost person’s name L
  10. Are you saved?

I’m sure there’s a million others that we could come up with, but those were at the top of my list this morning as I pondered that question. I find myself thinking a lot about Heaven, especially the more wicked this old world gets, and the more Christians are viewed as the enemy.

Monday’s are my Long Term Care Facility visiting day.  I spend about an hour with the residents singing songs, sharing the gospel and listening to their testimonies. Yesterday, every time I’d sing an old hymn, they’d talk about their childhood and remembrance of hearing it sung in an old country church. We are still blessed with many “Old Country Churches” in our part of the world. Unfortunately many have closed their doors because somewhere along the line the congregations drifted and no longer filled the pews. That’s a reality check for us all on Sunday mornings as we look around at the empty seats in our own church. At least it was for me.

It also brought me to those 10 questions…

  1. What did the doctor say?
    1. There won’t be any doctor appointments in Heaven, Glory to God!!!!
  2. Want to hear some good gossip?
    1. There won’t be any.
  3. Is there a deacon’s meeting this week?
    1. No board, business or bantering in Heaven. God’s got it all under control. He does here too… we just fail to listen.
  4. Did you read the obituaries?
    1. We’ll be living with the Good News. There will be no death.
  5. Why are you sad?
    1. What would we be sad about in a perfect land?
  6. What’s the latest trend on twitter?
    1. Twitter?
  7. Is that bread fresh?
    1. Oh yes!!!!!That brings joy to this bread lover’s heart. I love biscuits and hot rolls, but I love the Bread of Life so much more. It’s all good.
  8. What church do you go to?
    1. Glory to God the same one!!!! Why can’t we understand that now and play better together for those of us who believe in the blood bought path to Heaven through Jesus Christ.
  9. Are you saved?
    1. Of course, else we wouldn’t have made it there.
  10. A lost person’s name.
    1. The saddest of all. There will not be second chances when Jesus returns and yet we treat life as if we all have a thousand years before He returns to take the church home. Who of us doesn’t have a lost loved one that we can’t imagine life without? It will be the case if we don’t get busy…

The Church Bones

A Facebook friend posted a question last night for speakers asking “If you had to speak for 45 minutes without preparation what would you speak on?” My response was “Church Bones.” Although the title is somewhat cryptic, it’s a subject that I feel I’m somewhat an expert on after 21 years of studying people. I’m somewhere between a friend and a non-creepy stalker with ministry people. I love watching to see what works and what doesn’t in a ministry. What floats my boat and draws me to Christ and what’s just “oooo that’s shiny” moments. I also like watching the congregation. Especially that in my own church because I’ve been there when many of them began their path in our church. It’s exciting stuff when you see God working in peoples lives.

What I don’t do is look around the church at those who “don’t do.” What could I possibly gain besides an ulcer?

The body of Christ is the bones of the church. And there’s a lot of bones that I won’t mention that are crucial joints in the church. But the ones in my illustration are the movers and shakers of the group. They’re what makes it work… or not. Depending upon the church. I could actually put names beside every bone in my illustration. God has been good to our people. So I’ll tell you in brevity about a just a few.

The Attitude Bones

Glory to God, that’s one of the most important ones! A smile seems so small, but when someone new has just walked in a church a smile goes a long way. When someone old walks in a church a smile goes a long way! We need to let people know that we’re glad they’ve arrived. I can tell you of way too many times I’ve walked in a church (to which I was invited to sing) only to be greeted (if you want to call it that) by people who look more like I’ve walked in on them in the bathroom. True story! Check your attitude when you get to church and make sure you’re a welcoming sight!

Shoulder the Load Bones

The spiritual load of the church is a heavy load for those who work in the ministry, especially the Pastor. We often times do not see the heaviness that someone carries because they’ve got the attitude bones in check. Their load would break the back of a normal person. But because God’s given them an added strength, they carry on. That doesn’t mean that we as the congregation of the Lord and friends shouldn’t try to shoulder any of the load we can to help out. We can make calls, we can bring supper for a busy family, we can tuck a dollar or two in the hand of someone for encouragement. The list is long of ways to shoulder the load.

Leadership Bones

The direction of church is turned on the leadership bones. I heard it once said that the church rises and falls on leadership. It also goes right or wrong. Leadership isn’t for the faint of heart and those in leadership will answer to a greater degree when they stand before the Lord.

Discipleship Bones

Countless people put their arm around me and steered me through the beginning of my walk with Jesus. It’s probably the greatest neglect of the church today. We see a soul saved and we’re so excited but we leave them in the deep water to drown. Sound dramatic? I usually am, but it’s the truth none the less. You wouldn’t leave a newborn beside the ocean unattended and you certainly shouldn’t leave a new convert to be attacked by every shark in the sea of Satan. It’s why they don’t stay and why they go astray in life. They need to be discipled just as the early church did.

Funny Bones

Oh my stars! A sense of humor is a necessity in a child of God! For the reason of stupid people (those who don’t have a filter and can cut you to the core) and to lighten the load that many of us carry in the door. I know Jesus laughed. I’m pretty sure I’m responsible for His laughter much of the time now when He sees me trying to make it on my own.

Back Bones

If you’ve been in church any length of time at all you know them by name. They are those who will stand flat footed and tell you like it is without wavering biblically. They’ve been there a while and have stayed standing through every storm.

Hug Bones

So, so very important. And also it’s important to know who’s a touch me not. But I’m a hugger because I’ve known many days when I just needed to know someone cared. Being cautious about folks who hurt and those who don’t like touched is important though because you can just as well run them off or physically hurt them. We often don’t know our strength and for someone with arthritis or fibromyalgia the lightest squeeze can send shock waves. So hug, but maybe with just your smile sometimes.

Work Bones

Most churches do not have an abundance of work bones. Another quote I heard was that 20% of the people do 80% of the work. I fear that a more realistic number would be 5/95. If you just show up at church on Sunday morning, get your message and go, you’re clueless on the background of your church. Hours and hours of preparation goes into a good service. Floors don’t clean themselves, dinners don’t get planned and materials don’t just show up un-ordered. We need more work bones!

Praise Bones

God desires it. You need to experience it and the folks behind you need the encouragement to join in! Raise them hands to the Lord all ye people!

Prayer Bones

Another neglected anatomy part. The altars of America are not well attended. Prayer is a formality at a few tables and an act of desperation when times are tough, but seldom relied upon for survival of everyday living.

Visitation Bones

What’s visitation? Exactly. It’s a lost art and it’s why churches are not growing.

Tail Bones

Every church has them. They’re pew sitters. And it’s not a bad thing unless that’s the only thing you do and you leave no better than when you came. But the very fact that people come to church is wonderful and shows that they have a heart for the things of God. Celebrate every single one, even if you sometimes have to check pulses.

That’s just a few of the many, many parts of a church. As my Facebook friend said last night, there’s some squishy parts too. They’re the kind hearted souls who come, worship and encourage us just by their presence. I love the body of Christ. Every one. Even the tails bones.

1 Corinthians 12:20

But now are they many members, yet but one body.

In Regards to Tadpoles and Quarters

There have been times in an introductory conversation with people in and outside of faith, that I’ve been embarrassed to say that I am an “Independent Fundamental Baptist.”  Before the Independent Fundamental Baptist get offended, I need to explain a little further. I’m not ashamed of the doctrinal foundation for which I’m a member, I’m ashamed of what is acceptable and expected behavior of certain sects of the denomination, as well as any other denomination who in the name of Jesus Christ, behave in a manner that Christ Himself would have no part of.

I attended a revival meeting at Brooksville Baptist Church in the greater Big Bend, WV area, and what a wonderful revival it was. Dwight Goff, Pastor of Camden Flats Baptist Church in Glenville, WV preached and hit the nail on the head on the subject of Christians selecting from a menu of what they want at “their” church. I guess you could call it “Burger King Christianity”, they want it their way, not God’s way.

Every denomination believes they have it right. And many of them do… on paper. It’s when the practice of faith goes from doctrinal statement to practical participation that there’s a problem. Pastor Francis Chan, who no longer Pastors, left his church of thousands because he realized, they in no way shape or form looked like the New Testament church described in the Bible. I don’t think that’s the answer either by the way, but I understand his theory.

Take a hard look at your church: Does it line up with scripture? Are your people taking care of one  another in the spiritual and physical sense? Do they even know who needs taken care of? Are your people sitting in the pews at every opportunity to hear the Word of God and then practicing the Word of God outside of the church in a manner that draws people to them with the question, “Why do you care?” Is there even any evidence that they do care? Do they categorize who should be saved? Do they make fun of those who they deem un-savable? Oh yes… I went there. How on earth do ever think that a person in sin will be saved if you’ve just belittled and made fun of them in the name of Jesus. Yes, the lifestyle of homosexuality, transvestite, transgender, etc. etc.  is sin. So is turning people away from Christ. Christ said He would draw men unto Himself, and He still does. But I have to wonder if the reason we don’t see more people saved isn’t because once Christ draws them in, we paint another picture of Christianity. Our version.

My Pastor closed his sermon on Sunday with the story of a young boy who was sent to the store to buy eggs for his momma. On the way out he tripped on the curb and broke all the eggs. He was so upset. The crowd gathered to console him and one elderly gentlemen took a quarter from his pocket and gave to the young boy (today it would be a couple bucks) but he ask the crowd, “I care 25 cents worth, how much do you care?”

Dwight Goff closed his sermon last night with the story of a wading pool full of tadpoles that he didn’t want to see perish by pouring them out in the yard, at which point God ask him, “Do you care as much about men as you do those tadpoles who don’t even have a soul?” Quarters and Tadpoles; how much do you care.

We are categorizing saints. Our Denomination. Our church. Our style. Our people. Our way. Our money. Our stuff… we want it neat and tidy without confrontation or concern. Yes! We want people saved. But only the pretty people. Not the ones that make us feel icky.

I had a come to Jesus moment the other day when I happened to be around an odiferous person and wished that I wasn’t. God quickly reminded me that that is how I smell to Him in all my worldly, sinful ways, but He hangs out with me. Suck it up butter cup and love on them.

So the questions of the day for you and I both are this.

  • In regards to tadpoles and quarters, how much do you care?
  • Are you more concerned with things that will burn up in eternity than you are the souls you are coming into contact with today?
  • Do you know who needs a quarter in your congregation?
  • Why are you in that congregation, to serve… or to sit?
  • Are you drawing people to Christ, or standing between them and Him with your “opinions?”

Jesus said this in Matthew 18:1-7

At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven? And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.  Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me.  But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea. Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!

One of the sweetest things about a child is there are no categories (unless adults train them that way). But naturally speaking they just want to enjoy the people they’re with. They love learning something new. They may think you’re weird, but that’s okay too. They want to please those in authority, and they think those in authority rank superhero status. They love to serve. And if a superhero takes the time to come down on their level and understand their weirdness, then that superhero is someone to follow.

Those should be added to the doctrinal statements in every house of Jesus.

Pancake Christianty

No automatic alt text available.Pancake Christianity. That was the title that came to my mind this morning as I read Galatians 5. My first thought was… that’s just goofy. My second thought was, “No, that’s just gospel.” Apostle Paul, for whom I read a lot, was speaking to a group of God’s children as to why they weren’t what they should be. Why had their service to the Lord been squelched? And I ask myself that question just about every day. And today I received an answer to one such piece of that puzzle.

Paul mentions three characters who play a role in the dilemma of the church of Galatia. The Judgers, the Judged and the Judge.

The Judgers

In verse 7 Paul asks the question “Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth?” You can almost feel the frustration in Paul’s question. “You were doing great! Exciting church services, praising God, seeing souls saved, who stopped the glory spout!?” That who certainly implies that somebody had stopped the spout where the glory came out. Somebody had squelched the Spirit of God in the lives of the Galatians. But who? Paul made mention of it in the preceding verses when he spoke of the bondage of religion.

Why is it, that religion, is such a harsh word in my mouth? Because in the 21 years of my salvation, it’s what’s made my stomach turn. I came out of religion. The dead works of sitting in a pew and putting in time and calling it faith. When I came out of it, it was because there was a zeal, an excitement in salvation that created an uncomfortable buzz in the air of religion. Religion hates electricity. It would rather sit with the lights out than let someone see emotion and vulnerability to the Spirit of God, and so they judge all who create the buzz. It can be spoken, or unspoken; but when it hits the air of a church, that you have to be concerned about what someone thinks of your reaction to the Holy Spirit, the service is flatter than a pancake.

The Judged

Paul tells the judged that “This persuasion cometh not of him that calleth you. A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.” (Galatians 5:8-9) To country quote it. “God ain’t in that, and it’s gonna make the whole church sick.” It won’t take long for that feeling of judgment to spread and the Spirit no longer feels welcome to move freely among the people of God, it’s bound up by the law that says all of God’s people must look and act like this. Whatever the “this” is in any particular body of believers that is a matter of human opinion.

The end result for the “judged” is that they no longer feel the freedom to obey the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit is what should be leading the church. Paul said in verse 4  Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.” Their service would fall flat. You can’t follow the laws of religion and teach the gift of grace.

The Judge

The final authority on this matter is not me, or anyone else in the church. God is the only One that has the right to cast judgement on the matter of the church.

Galatians 5:10

I have confidence in you through the Lord, that ye will be none otherwise minded: but he that troubleth you shall bear his judgment, whosoever he be.

Paul had confidence that the church would take heed to his words, because Paul had come out of religion. He knew every in and out of every word spoken by Jewish leadership. But the Lord had saved Paul, and brought him out of that dead religion and because of that he could preach that salvation was by faith, not of works. And there was but one Judge. And it wasn’t man. The man that stood in judgment of God’s people would bear God’s own judgment one day. But for now, our job as children of God is to obey the Spirit’s leading and beware of the rising of the flesh.

The Jury

There is no jury when it comes to the Word of God. God’s Word belongs to Him and the Holy Spirit will make known the wisdom of God to anyone who desires it. I had to pray my way through this blog today because it is a matter heavy on my heart; and under those circumstances the flesh can rise in a heartbeat. Paul warned in verse 13 of Galatians 5 “For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.

The feeling of being judged is one of the worst feelings in the world. It makes it very easy to retaliate with your own form of judgement against those for whom you felt judged by and oftentimes that is other fellow servants in Christ. It’s not our job to be the jury of those who judge either. It’s our job to love and serve one another. That’s what the world needs to see. Not more contention and strife in the church. Amen.

I Have an Issue with the Church

I’ve had it for quite some time. I just didn’t know how to verbalize it. But this morning I got somewhat of a grasp on my issue. It’s the same issue I have with my life right now. It’s what happens between the coming out and going in. The a.m. to the p.m. of my day. What am I doing for the cause of Christ? The early church didn’t have that problem, they were too busy trying to keep their heads off the chopping block. They knew what their purpose in life was, TELL THE WORLD ABOUT JESUS. But somehow between the cross and the crazy we call life in modern times we lost the purpose as a church. The church has now become this resting place for children of God. And while Christ did indeed stress the importance of rest, the rest was meant to prepare for the next leg of the journey.

When Apostle Paul got saved he made some people very uncomfortable. After all, he had been the one calling for the Christians to be killed, and now he professed to be one of them. It was no wonder they had an issue with Paul. But that didn’t stop Paul from pursuing the purpose that he now understood to be his, TELL PEOPLE ABOUT JESUS.

Chapter 9 begins Paul’s life post conversion.

He Joined the Church

26 And when Saul was come to Jerusalem, he assayed to join himself to the disciples: but they were all afraid of him, and believed not that he was a disciple. 27 But Barnabas took him, and brought him to the apostles, and declared unto them how he had seen the Lord in the way, and that he had spoken to him, and how he had preached boldly at Damascus in the name of Jesus.

Paul knew that in order to grow in the grace of Christ and understand his new found faith, he needed to be with God’s people. So he joined the local church. That is step one following salvation. Find a local body of believers for whom you can serve with. That means, they too need to be serving, not just sitting.

He Joined the Movement

28 And he was with them coming in and going out at Jerusalem. 29 And he spake boldly in the name of the Lord Jesus, and disputed against the Grecians: but they went about to slay him. 30 Which when the brethren knew, they brought him down to Caesarea, and sent him forth to Tarsus.

Paul didn’t know all there was to know about Christianity, but through the Holy Spirit he was able to speak boldly in the name of Christ and face people who desired him dead because of it. Paul was more than a church member, he was a part of the movement.

I personally don’t see much movement in the church today. I see people going in and out of the buildings but outside of the church, the movement stops. Few are telling others about Christ and the discipling of young saints has all but stopped. If there are any young saints. When Paul began his journey, Barnabas took him under his wing and introduced him to the church and defended him. Barnabas helped to fuel the fire that he had witnessed burning inside of Paul. That is a missing piece in the church, there’s no fuel in the tank. How are we ever going to see a movement if people are not getting fired up?!

He Joined the Multitude

31 Then had the churches rest throughout all Judaea and Galilee and Samaria, and were edified; and walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost, were multiplied.

Because of the work of the church, the church had rest. That seems kind of oxymoron-ish doesn’t it. To work for rest? We wonder why this world is so crazy and full of strife? It’s because the church (as a whole) has all but stopped working. Our work is to show people where to find rest, and that rest comes in Jesus Christ. Once the churches of Judaea, Galilee and Samaria heard the preaching of Paul and the others, they obviously didn’t just rest in the pew waiting for next Sunday, it says they began walking and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost were multiplied.

The churches are drying up across America. It seems that at every bend in the road there sits an empty church house with overgrown grass and broken windows and it breaks my heart. The church is no longer a saving station but rather a rest stop. The church has lost touch with its purpose.

So what’s the answer? Give up on the church? Heaven’s NO! The answer is to follow Paul’s example. If you’re not part of a body of believers, you need to be. Once you’re there you need to serve, not sit. And never lose sight of the Mission… Muliply.

The Rules Haven’t Changed Since the Cross

1 Corinthians 12:20 – Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular

Members in Particular

For 21 years I’ve been a card carrying member of the body of Christ. And although the rules haven’t changed since Jesus was on the cross, there are days that I feel that there have been some man made addendums to the rule book. Rules such as “Thou must look like this, talk like this, participate like this.” And yet, I’m not so sure that all those “this’s” are particularly addressed in the bible as they are written in man’s book of church ideology.

When I say I’m a card carrying member, I really don’t have a card, because (at least at our church) there are no cards. But what I mean by that is I am proud to be a member of the body of Christ at Victory Baptist Church in Grantsville, WV. I am there because I agree with the doctrines and bylaws of the church. There’s not one that I disagree with. So that is not the rule book to which I refer to. I refer to the rule books on the inside of man’s head. Or women’s heads, as the case may be. Maybe members of my own church or of another. But all members of those whom I consider fellow Christians and fellow laborers in Christ. I gave two fellows, because not all fellows labor for Christ… some just sit. So in my own mind I put them in another category, because they scare me. They tell me they’re saved, but they give me no evidence. So I’ll not say they’re lying… but if not serving Christ got you kicked out of the club… they’d be gone. However, it does not.

I’m usually referring to a “fellow laborer” as those who stipulate what a servant of God should look and act like outside the parameters of the bible and outside their particular church. Because pew sitters usually don’t say anything for fear someone will call them out. But those who are active in churches often wear me out with regards to the rules of worship. Worship is very personal.  Which is why I believe that you should worship with people of a like mind, else there is contention and confusion and we all know who loves to stir that. But, can we not come together outside of the sanctuary of our own church and worship and agree that we serve Jesus without having to agree on what color our hair is, if the music is too bouncy, or whether or not pants are an appropriate attire for women of God.

I once spoke at a church (in a larger city) for which their biggest claim to fame in the community was, they were known as the “church on the hill, where women don’t wear pants.” Hellllloooooo. That’s not what a church should be known for. How about the “church that loves people.” So when I read “members in particular this morning, I thought perhaps we’ve taken Paul’s word too far.

“Members in particular” means that you have a particular job in the church not that you are someone in particular in the church. Now… back to those people sitting on the pew and those who serve and feel that they’ve got a right to complain because they do.

I’m relatively sure that there is no “member in particular” that Christ assigned the position of fashionista judge or worship police or even, pew warmer.

If Christ’s people spent more time doing their particular job, that Christ has called them to do, rather than policing the jobs of others, perhaps more people would feel the “freedom” to attend our churches.

The Rules really haven’t changed since the cross… Jesus said go. An invitation to our church would be an awesome place to start! Forget what anyone looks like or acts like, just go…

What to do when they don’t understand

meet shari

At the onset of salvation God had me in a place where the word of God took preeminence in the decisions of the church, our conversations, basically life in general. We talked about the Word of God over breakfast, lunch or dinner and when sermons were preached the message was very, very personal to me. Sometimes too personal. It was as if someone had whispered in that preacher’s ear the very words I needed to hear. Over time I learned that it was spiritual discernment and that God had not actually told the preacher my sins in detail but that God would lay a message upon his heart that was needful in my life for that place in time. There were occasions that I also allowed the flesh to read more into it than necessary. God’s pretty basic with His conversations. Now, He could be far more intellectual than the brightest of men, after all He created conversation. But usually God speaks to the souls of men in a manner befitting a kindergartner. You cannot say that you do not understand what He meant. He broke it down. You can ignore it, but you can’t un-hear it.

God still works like that with me. The word of God takes preeminence in my life be it in the spoken, written or sung word. There’s a message for my soul specifically. I look for it and I long for it because I need to feel the presence of God in my life.  When I miss it, it frustrates me. So this morning I set out to determine a circumstance in my life that has me more than a little frustrated. And as always, God is faithful.

At this time in my life, I’m feeling very misunderstood. And for a person who wears her heart on her sleeve and communicates through the spoken and written word, being misunderstood hurts my heart. Because I feel that I am an oracle of God. (1 Peter 4:11)

If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

So I determined in myself this morning to get to the bottom of this with God, and so I awoke and began to search scripture for what God’s message to me would be concerning the matter at hand. By that search I ended up in the book of Ecclesiastes, written by Solomon, the wisest of all men, and who certainly had his share of life illustrations.

Because I’m of a passionate nature when it comes to personal and spiritual matters, frustration can run a close second to anger. I can get in the flesh and allow Satan to fill my mind full of notions that have no bearing in truth, but they sound good. Notions in respect to opinions. So I want to get anger out of the way first and foremost and so I landed on Ecclesiastes 7:9

Be Not Hasty

Be not hasty in thy spirit to be angry: for anger resteth in the bosom of fools.

And so I stopped there. Obviously that was it. I just need to stop jumping to conclusions. Perhaps I was reading more into the situation than was there. And as I was about to shut the book on it, I heard God say… “I’m not through, keep reading.” I think God likes a three point sermon too. And so I continued on.

Be not High-minded

I don’t know what would ever give me the idea that I’ve arrived when it comes to understanding God’s ways, but for some reason I always think that I should. I’m just silly enough to think that God and I are so tight that He’ll let me in on what He’s doing in life, mine and everyone else’s. I know… that’s ridiculous. But in reality I’m clueless. And its why I turn to His word, looking for the “in” that lets me be in the “know” with God. So I continued to read.

10 Say not thou, What is the cause that the former days were better than these? for thou dost not enquire wisely concerning this.

11 Wisdom is good with an inheritance: and by it there is profit to them that see the sun.

God’s so funny. I had been focusing a lot recently on what I considered to be better days. And God reminded me it’s not good to rest on my laurels. Yes, those were amazing times, but wouldn’t it be sad if that was it. God still has so much more to do, and though wisdom from the past is a great inheritance to have, there’s profit in looking to the future. That’s a good word for anyone!

And so I thought I’d better continue to see what else God had to say to me this morning concerning the hurt in my heart.

Be Not Heavy Hearted

21 Also take no heed unto all words that are spoken; lest thou hear thy servant curse thee:

22 For oftentimes also thine own heart knoweth that thou thyself likewise hast cursed others.

23 All this have I proved by wisdom: I said, I will be wise; but it was far from me.

And there it was. My conclusion to God’s three point sermon to me this morning. It only matters what God thinks. All the words that are spoken about me or to me are of naught, if God’s blessing isn’t on them. People hurt people. That’s life. Mine and everyone else’s.

So Praise God! I will continue being the “me” God created me to be. If King Solomon the wisest of all couldn’t figure out men, I’d be pretty foolish to think that I could. And though I’m no one in the eyes of the world, in God’s world I was appreciated enough to die for. That’s a reason to shout, and to praise and think outside the box that the world loves to put God in. Amen? I think so. Amen!

The Backslider’s Gospel

backsliderAs I read the opening of Apostle Paul’s letter to the Galatians this morning, I felt as if I should start this blog:

Shari, a servant of Christ (not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead:) and all the brethren (and sisters) who are with me, unto the churches of Calhoun County. Grace be to you and peace from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ.

What a regal introduction. We take, or should I say “I take, my calling of God for granted.” Paul was writing to the churches of Galatia because they were believing a polluted form of the gospel.  Paul marveled that they were “so soon removed from him that called you unto the grace of Christ unto another gospel.”  (Galatians 1:6b) And as I read across those verses I thought back about the people that I have seen give their lives to Christ at an altar of grace and tsmhen were so soon removed. Those who I had watched walk and serve Christ. Not as those do who get saved and vanish. Which is often the issue with a soul will who comes searching for a temporary fix to a permanent problem rather than a permanent fix to a temporary problem. Whew! That a good word right there! But the folks I think on are those who I served with for years sometimes; and then one day they were just gone. Believing another gospel? They’d likely say no. Because they’re not serving in another church. They’re absent without leave, and believing a gospel for which they aren’t even aware.

The Backslider’s Gospel

A backslider’s gospel is perhaps what I would call it. For some reason or another they found their time could be better spent outside of the church. They occasionally come on Christmas and Easter. A funeral attendance will heap conviction upon their shoulders for a good thirty minutes after the service. But then they determine that Sunday is like any other day. And they can love God on Monday just as well. They have nothing to prove by being in church.

Just as I need to be reminded Who it is and why it is that I serve Christ, a backslidden Christian too needs a reminder. Paul said in verses 15-16 “But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace. To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood: Neither went I up to Jerusalem to which were apostles before me ; but I went to Arabia, and retruned again unto Damascus.”

While Paul didn’t go to where the other Apostles were, he was still in the ministry. He was preaching and teaching the gospel as the Holy Spirit revealed it to Him. He wasn’t called to follow the church, or the leaders, he was called to follow God. So be it when someone leaves our church and moves on to serve in another, I’m not concerned for their soul. I miss them, I’m like a mother hen I want all my peeps in one place, but I’m spiritually mature enough to know that’s not always the way God sees it.

But when someone leaves church for the house… no… that’s not God’s plan. That’s a backslider’s gospel. That is the one that allows you to believe that you can be “be just as good at the house as you can in church.” No you can’t. You’ll tell yourself that you’ll read your bible and listen to the word of God. For a while maybe, then you won’t. You’ll tell yourself that you don’t need Christian fellowship. Yes you do. All these things serve a purpose in your life that you don’t want to live without. You can survive. But not nearly as well.

The gospel not only convicts the soul of sin, but it soothes the heart.

Sin may not be continuously on your door step after you leave the church, but Satan will be. He’ll place things in your life to assure you stay away from God’s house, because even Satan knows you’re better off in church.

The fellowship of believers may cause a disagreement now and then, but there is no truer friend than that of the body of Christ if you’re in the right church.

The Backslider’s gospel is the most deceiving of all. Because it tells you “You’re okay.” And you’ll be okay until you’re not and then you’ll be away from everything and everyone that can help you make it through the rough patches of life. And then Satan will convince you that nobody cares. What a liar!

If you’re away from God. Get your heart and mind set for Sunday morning. Be in your seat. If you’ve not yet left, but you’re contemplating it, hang on to the back of that pew with every ounce of strength you have and then hit the altar and ask God to help you through. Don’t go to church for the sake of other people. Go to church for you.