Category Archives: Church Unity

Mutual Faith

For I long to see you, that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift, to the end ye may be established; That is, that I may be comforted together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me. ~ Romans 1:11-12

It’s what’s kept me going for 23 years. I believe with all my heart that it is the most undervalued superpower of the church today. It’s why pews are sitting empty and saints of God are living defeated lives. God never intended for us to go through this alone. Even He had 12 friends.

Mutual faith is a beautiful thing. Let me tell you what it looks like in my life.

Mutual Desire

On Sunday morning I’m with the local church. A body of believers that I stand doctrinally in agreement with. We don’t argue. Haven’t for the 23 years I’ve been there, (which for some churches is unfathomable). We’ve not argued because we’ve had strong leadership and a mutual desire to keep Christ as the Head of the church. He’s in charge, then we fall in line accordingly – Pastor – Deacons – Church.

If everyone is doing what they’ve been designed to do, you don’t want to do what someone else has been called to do.

On Saturday my heart begins to desire my Sunday morning time with God’s people. It’s genuine and I know that I’m called to serve in that place in my multiple positions. I don’t want anyone else’s! Believe me, God has placed enough on my plate. That’s what He does when you share His mutual desires.

Mutual Foundation

When Victory Baptist church was established in 1992, it came to be out of heartache. A church split that was never desired, causing division among God’s people, which was never intended. I came on board 4 years later. After the dust had settled.

I came in from a church that had been established for decades. A church that loved each other but had lost their mutual desire. There was no Kingdom purpose. No foundation. (I don’t say that lightly) it makes my stomach turn to think about it. But it is unfortunately what is happening to most churches of today.

The foundation of the church is to edify the body and seek souls to be saved. Victory was built on soul winning, something we too have lost sight of over the years. It’s easy to get complacent and become very comfortable with those we have.

Peter sent thousands out from Pentecost. Can you imagine? These people in Rome were of that lot and they were excited, and Paul was excited to meet them. He loved where he was, but he desired to go where he had not been.

That’s a lesson for us! I so desire to go where I have not been.

Mutual Faith

It doesn’t matter where I go, I find those of mutual faith. Or perhaps God sends them my way. I seldom ever go anywhere that I don’t meet up with God’s children.

My husband David and I went on the hunt of yard sales in the city last weekend and low and behold, one after another I met with God’s people. What a blessing!

I drew strength from them. They perhaps did not even know it. Or maybe they too drew strength from me.

By the same token at those sales I also met people that my soul bore witness that they did not know Christ. I feel like I missed the boat because I didn’t take the time to tell them about Jesus. I have friends who you’ll not be in their presence, but a few minutes and you’ll know that they have come to tell you about Jesus. They do it unashamedly, with bold conviction!

I have bold conviction, and a big mouth. I know that I’m failing to use my spiritual gift to do what God designed me to do. Tell the world about Jesus… better.

I don’t take lightly the web platform, after all, how many people has Paul reached and continues to reach for the cause of Christ through the written word. It too is a superpower. The point is, there is not only safety in numbers there is power in numbers! Together we are an amazing team.

I pray this has encouraged you! Feel free to share it and invite people to your church. Let them know you’re a part of a great team too!

Faith is Not Routine

There is nothing routine about God! We like things neat, tidy and wrapped with a bow… but God’s not on a schedule, and there’s no such thing as time in Heaven.

Text: Ephesians 3:16-19

16 That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; 17 That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; 19 And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.

Four verses, one sentence and a lot of goodness that we need to understand. And by the way, nothing common, ordinary or routine. Because just when we think we have God figured out, He goes and does beyond anything we could ever imagine.

When we think we can’t take anymore, He allows more. Just to prove to us that we’re stronger than we think, and that we need Him more than ever.

Exercise routines are good… I’m lousy at them, but they’re very good. They strengthen the body the same way trials strengthen our spirit when our faith is exercised. It builds faith muscles when we’re pushed outside our comfort zone. Praise God it’s not routine. They don’t happen every day, if they did, we’d likely give up. God never puts things on us to cause us to quit, He wants us to understand how far His love extends and how far He’ll go down this road with us. All the way to the end of this road, when eternity begins.

Paul said that the love of Christ “passeth” our knowledge. We can’t imagine the depth of it. It’s like the bible school song many of us sang, “Deep and wide, deep and wide, there’s a fountain flowing deep and wide.” And remember the second verse, when we’d add the Mmmm… in place of the words. I thought a lot about that today, and how the writer of that song may have been inspired by the fact that the depth and width of God’s fountain of overflowing love is indescribable.

After this weekend, where 30 people were killed by the wicked devices of this world, we need to remember that love. Those people were just living life, not waging war, and yet they were killed. That is a level of evil most of us, praise God, cannot understand either. We can’t imagine the frame of mind of those murderous individuals. But it’s not hard to understand the feeling of hopelessness that many people in this world face because they’ve never experienced the “fullness of God.”

Our church just came out of revival. Our annual tent meeting. A yearly scheduled event we call revival. But that’s not the revival God wants. Paul lived in a state of revival, not because life was roses, but because he was constantly under persecution and threat of death. That will cause you to get your priorities in check, quickly! A look around us should remind us of our need for bold exercised faith.

I kind of figure there was a time the very disciplined Paul lived a routine. But when Jesus blinded him along the road, Paul’s routine life went right out the window. And he became a man who lived in the moment.

In the last two verses of Chapter 3 of Ephesus Paul writes this:

20 Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, 21 Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.

He reminds us all that God can and will do far more than we ask or think, but He just won’t do it and hand it too us on a silver platter; He does it through us and through our church body. And He does it for His glory!

What are you going to do this week for the cause? Are you in revival, or are you a walking corpse waiting for the upper taker. Be alive in Christ Jesus and working for His cause. He is worthy!!

We Need to Take Care of Our Land

The Land of Less

It’s so easy to forget that we need to glorify God when things are going well. But let the well run dry for a while; and then be refilled, and suddenly praising God comes easy! When heartaches come it feels like we’re walking through a desert land. Creating a thirst for what once was and what we hope will be again. The land of less is relative to the life you live; for some it’s the land of nothing. A fact I often forget. What I deem as less would be a life of luxury for some in other parts of the world. True story…

We live in the land of the Blessed

When the Lord thy God shall enlarge thy border, as he hath promised thee, and thou shalt say, I will eat flesh because my soul longeth to eat flesh; thou mayest eat flesh, whatsoever thy soul lustest after. ~ Deuteronomy 12:20

Our great and Almighty God enlarges our territory, he expands not only our physical places but our reach. He makes promises that we can hang onto believing it to already be true. But we have to be in a position and a mindset to receive them.

For me I struggle between frustration and guilt so often that I miss the places I’m already blessed. I fully believe that I’m not further along in my life’s work because I’ve failed to appreciate the place I’m in. God expects more from His people than I give Him. I know I’m chosen. I know I should be living like it, but I don’t always do it.

The Land of the Stressed, Depressed and sometimes Oppressed

Sound like America? It does to me. Are we not a Nation that appears to be one step from needing hospitalization? And I’m not speaking of physically. The behavior of our people is crazy. Even the blessed are stressed and depressed, and the oppressed are likely in better condition than the blessed; because they at least know on Whom they can depend.

Even those of us who are spiritually grounded can relate.

Times of separation from what we desire in our life leaves a thirst that only God can fill.

Satan however uses stress to separate us from peace. God is peace.

Satan uses depression to separate us from joy. God is joy.

Satan uses oppression to separate us from the feeling of belonging. God is ours and we are His. Glorrrraaaay!!!!

Psalm 63 1 ~ O God, thou art my God; early will I see thee: my soul thristeth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is.

That is why

I know the Land of Refreshed

There is a built in desire of the people of God to be in fellowship with likeminded souls.

Psalm 84:2 ~ My soul longeth, yea even fainteth for the courts of the Lord: my heart and my flesh crieth out for the Living God.

It refreshes my soul to be in the right congregation with the right people. That place is for you to decide, but this is a criteria you should consider.

  • First and foremost the Word of God must be your primary focus. A church that fails to stand on the word of God is nothing more than an organization of members. It is not the body of Christ. He has to be center.
  • The people should be encouragers, not discouragers. You should feel loved!
  • The people (especially leadership) should exhort, not distort. The truth of the Word refresh your soul and you should feel filled!
  • There should be affirmation not condemnation from the people.  You should feel as though you are a part of that body in Christ and that they too desire to be with you. You should feel accepted, not judged.

I’ve been in enough congregations to know that this is not always the case. It doesn’t mean they don’t have good people or they’re not doctrinally sound. It means that perhaps they need to examine their church the way we have to examine our lives. If we are not what God desires us to be, we know it and it causes us to thirst for what we need. We need to take care of our land. Personally, Physically. Spiritually.

Mind Your own Business

You can color me guilty. I most always have an opinion. But I thank God for the Holy Spirit that indwells within me and jerks a knot in my knickers when I begin to focus on the life or lifestyle of another person. When I begin to think that I need to do a running commentary. It’s usually just inside my head. It’s sometimes to those close to me. It’s seldom ever, if ever to the person for which I’m forming an opinion. I’m not that brazen, or stupid.

But it’s become quite obvious to me lately that not everyone has the ability to know when to keep their mouth shut. And no, I’m not thinking of anyone in particular. Just many, many, many people in general. It’s an epidemic! And because of social media, the world has a stage.

If you go to “The Jesus Chick” page or my own personal page for “Shari Hardway Johnson”, as well as my twitter feed and Instagram, you’ll note that it’s positive commentary and images. That’s not a holier than thou statement, it’s just truth. I don’t want to be in anyone’s drama, or a discouragement. So my posts are positive. I made that choice, and I’m pretty sure God agrees with me.

Proverbs 5:15

Drink waters out of thine own cistern, and running waters out of thine own well.

I read that this morning and thought, “there it is. What I’d like to tell every nosy, ne’er do well in the world. Mind your own business!”

Who makes these people judge and jury of the lives of someone else and what skeletons would come crawling out of their closet if the door was open?

Although it is far worse in the political arena, or at least it far more outspoken, it’s just as bad in the church. And I speak collectively, not of any in particular.

I think of an incident many, many years ago in my own church where a young woman with several children had the audacity to come to church without a slip under her dress. Oh my stars! And as she exited the ladies room a ne’er do well woman said to me, “can you believe she forgot her slip.” To which I responded, “With all those kids, I just praise God she gets here on Sunday morning.”

Where on earth was this woman’s mind? And why did she think she had the right to tear down a young mother trying to do the right thing?

Now, that may seem trivial. But a comment like that is what will discourage someone, who’s struggling anyway, to decide to leave the church. And that could be devastating to a family and Hell bound someone because of it.

The longer I travel this road with Jesus, the more I realize the focus of the church is so off kilter.

I personally love pretty clothes. And God has gifted me with several. But I don’t love them because I think they’re holy, I just love girly stuff. God made me that way. I also have a personal conviction that when I go into a church I dress in their common attire. If they’re casual, so am I. If they’re fancy, I try to be a fancy Nancy too and I enjoy it. But I don’t look at anyone who’s not in the common attire and think about their heart toward Christ. Clothes do not make the man. The Spirit of God does. And I’ve known people who looked like ragamuffins that I was in awe with the depth of their relationship with God.

I’ll not tell you that I am above judging. It’s human nature. Or that I don’t have other issues in life. But it’s something that makes me so nauseous because I’ve seen the damage it’s done, especially in the circles I travel of the Independent Baptist realm. Trust me, they’re not all the same. That’s why we’re “independent.” I’d probably be kicked out of some.

My faith is not in the denomination. It’s in God. But I agree with the doctrine of my church and so I’m there and I love my people. Mainly because the vast majority are not judgers. They love all people. Even if their knees are showing. Insert smile here. Even if they’re a girl who wears britches. Or a fella that’s a t-shirt, blue jean, work boot kind of guy. We love them.

So does Jesus. And this morning I think I’m delivering His message when I say. Mind your own business.

Insert smile here.

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.