Monday, December 8, 2008

babies and rocket stoves [two separate topics, i promise]

So Matthew and I visited Greenville Christian Fellowship yesterday, and it happened to be their Children's Christmas Sunday. It was pretty darn cute, and quickly escalated from shy kids running off stage to all of them shouting the Christmas songs with no melody in mind. We were sitting behind one of the youngest girls, who had on her special red velvest dress and her blonde hair up in pigtails just for the presentation, and she couldn't keep still or quiet. She happened to notice us sitting behind her and immediately started to "talk" [like 2 year olds do] to us about a yellow marble in her hand and anything else that came to mind, even though she had no idea who we were. Her mother then started trying to get her to turn around [because every adult knows you don't talk to strangers ; even I know that], which wasn't succesful until it was time for the little girl to go onstage.

And I started thinking...doesn't Jesus say we are to become like little children if we want to enter the kingdom of heaven? Doesn't He mention our need for "childlike faith"?

What if we approached other people like little children do - with no judgement or bias or preconcieved notions of how they'll respond to us? What if we had that chillike faith in other people? I know that ultimately we must have faith in God above all else. But Jesus was willing to put Himself out there, put other people before His own comfort, and reach out to people whether He thought they'd accept Him or not, just to be able to love them. What if we could be as open and welcoming to people we don't know as children are? Sure, some people may not really appreciate your openness, but that's their issue. Kids don't care, they don't get offended and take it personally if someone isn't courteous enough to fake interest in what they're talking about. They just go open up to someone else. They expect all other adults to be like their parents and approach other adults with that same level of trust and respect , and if we take that in reference to looking at God as our Father, we can learn a lot from children. While I was thinking about this, the verse came to mind where Jesus is talking to people when they want to get into Heaven, and He says "I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.' 37"Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?' 40"The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.' [Matthew 25:35-40]

I love that parable, and it always really makes me consider how I treat other people [which I'll be the first to admit, isn't perfect]. I think that's where Christianity has lost the most in the last century or so [maybe before that]. Jesus started all of this with Love, and what made His Love different from any other love on the earth was that everyone was invited. No one got turned away from His Love. They could reject His salvation, but He would not ever stop loving them. And that's how we should be. People can reject us and our beliefs and our message, but that doesn't meaned we're allowed to stop loving them. If Jesus practiced that logic, where would we be?!

I'll stop there, because I don't want to get too rambly. :] I wanted to share this video too, because it made me happy, and I want to make one really badly. Now this would make for fun camping!

Monday, December 1, 2008

just some thoughts and verses to back them up...

I'll preface this by saying only that I love my husband, and that we both love Jesus, and we honestly hold no anger or bitterness against any person. The Bible has saved my life so many times and is so precious to me, I just wanted to put out there what I got from it.

1 Peter 5:2

2Be shepherds of God's flock that is under your care, serving as overseers—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve;

-eager to serve, not demanding to be served.

Hebrews 10:21

21and since we have a great priest over the house of God,

-great priest = Jesus. not any man.

-house of God = the Church. not a specific building.

1 Corinthians 12:25

25so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other.

-CONCERN, not judgement or gossip or slander.

-concern for EACH OTHER, not themselves.

-EQUAL concern, no favoritism.

Romans 12:5

5so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.

-EACH belongs to ALL the others. we are all equal. there is no bowing down before a man or submitting blindly to a man.

Ephesians 4:15

15Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ.

-CHRIST is the head. any man who says he is the head elevates himself to Christ's level, which is idolatry.

Colossians 3:16

16Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.

-"as you teach and admonish ONE ANOTHER". not one person teaching all other people. we are all to teach and admonish each other, and learn from each other. no person is above this.

Matthew 12:6

6I tell you that one greater than the temple is here.

-"one" here refers to Jesus. He was referring to the fact that in the kingdom of God, the building doesn't matter. the body of Christ, the Church, is made up of people - believers. there is no all-holy "house of the Lord" that demands respect simply because it's been titled the house of the Lord. that's worshiping a building. WE are the temple.

1 Timothy 3

1Here is a trustworthy saying: If anyone sets his heart on being an overseer, he desires a noble task. 2Now the overseer must be above reproach, the husband of but one wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, 3not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. 4He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him with proper respect. 5(If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God's church?) 6He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil. 7He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil's trap.

- I highlighted in bold the qualities that tend to be lacking on a lot of "overseers" - they're just people. they're not more important or above other believers, they just have a different job. i'm not trying to be judgmental, because it's not my place to judge - only God can judge people. this is just what i've seen in my experiences. and the bible says these are REQUIREMENTS...not suggestions. it points these out because a lot of harm can be done, intentional or not, by someone in an overseer position who does not meet the biblical requirements.

-the point i wanted to make with this is that the Bible says here that the overseer must be "respectable". it does not say that if a man decides to call himself an overseer, that he is owed respect. he must be a respectable person. the only One to whom we "owe" respect and submission is God. and like i said earlier -anyone who claims you owe them respect or submission is putting himself on God's level and therefore enforcing idolatry.

1 Thessalonians 5:12
12Now we ask you, brothers, to respect those who work hard among you, who are over you in the Lord and who admonish you. 13Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. Live in peace with each other.

-this tells who who to respect. the ones who are over you "in the Lord"[which means they fit the above requirements] who admonish you, who ALSO work hard AMONG you. those who recognize that they are just part of the body, one of many overseers, who are willing to work hard among the body and not place themselves above it and expect o sit back and be respected simply because of their position and not in corollation with the work they do.

-it says to "hold them in the highest regard in love BECAUSE of THEIR WORK". not because of their position or title, but their actions. if their work or lack thereof doesn't deserve respect or high regard, then they don't deserve it. a position or title doesn't entitle someone to respect. THE BIBLE SAYS THEY MUST EARN THE RESPECT, NOT JUST DEMAND IT.

There's so much more scripture about this. In reality there's scripture to answer any problem or question we have because God love us like that. :] There are people out there who will twist things around until we forget that the most important thing is Love. That's why the Church is in the shape it's in now. Read the Bible for yourself. Make what you believe personal. Don't just take someone else's word for it [not even mine] - Jesus died to have a personal relationsip with you. Love Jesus, Love others, read the Bible every chance you get. It's not the easiest way to live- but it's the best way, and the way He designed for us.