Tag Archives: service

3 Church Priorities in a New Year

Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen. Matthew 28:19-20

Time goes by so fast!  Hard to believe we are in another brand new year.  Thank the Lord for His mercy in giving you and I another day to live and serve Him!

The above verses are generally known as “The Great Commission” along with Mark 16:15.  Incredibly enough, the all-powerful God has partnered with His followers to deliver the Word of God into this lost world.  So the goal is to see people saved, discipled, and in turn, them making new disciples.  This is paramount.  This goal is #1. And then this cycle is to continue from one generation to the next.

As time goes by, even the most well intentioned Christians, and even whole churches, can lose sight of the main goal.  Our lives get crowded. Our vision of the goal becomes cloudy.  Some merely achieve good things and unintentionally neglect the best things.

As Christians and as a church we must have a heart that is not divided of affection for God, or distracted from the purposes of God for our lives.  With this in mind, my 3 objectives in leading our church this year are as follows:

  1. Salvation and Worship. The first goal is for people to engage in a close relationship with Jesus.  Knowing God truly begins at salvation.  Have you been born again?  Are you saved?  Our Sunday morning services at 11:00 AM will be oriented towards knowing God and learning how to become a Christian.  These will be terrific service to bring friends, relatives, and neighbors so they can hear the Gospel.
  2. Discipleship and Growth is the next area to zero in on.  What kind of follower of Jesus are you?  Will you participate in our Adult Bible Studies?  Small Group Bible study and discussion can cause healthy interaction with the Word with others. The 10:00 AM Adult Bible Studies are a great avenue for spiritual growth and knowing other people along the Christian journey.
  3. Service and Winning.  In what ways will you serve Jesus this year?  How will you serve others?  I am concerned if we only focus on serving the people we know and like.  We need to reach out.  We must show the love of Jesus to the people around us.  If not, how will this world know of their need for Jesus and His eternal life? I believe every saved and growing christian, must use their spiritual gift and find at least one ministry in which to serve in and through the local church.  In addition, no matter what you spiritual gift may be, you are called to be a witness to the lost.  Each of us are capable to telling others about the love of God, the forgiveness of our sin (that He paid for on the Cross), and how to be saved.  We can hand out tracts, help in evangelism outreaches, and invite people to sit with us at our 11:00 AM church services on Sunday.

The terminology and how these goals are articulated are being reviewed and revised as you read this article.  I hope to be able to share very soon a clear path to achieve these 3 goals.  With God’s help, these 3 goals will be restated and repeated time and time again.

Will you help?  Will you worship the Lord?  Will you become a good disciple of Jesus, learning and growing with other believers?  And will you make an eternal difference by finding a way to serve with your church while delivering the Gospel to others?

I believe the Lord will do good things as we keep our eyes on serving God in the entirety “His Great Commission.”

 

 

 

 

 

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A Revival Prayer

A Revival Prayer

O LORD, I have heard thy speech, and was afraid: O LORD, revive thy work in the midst of the years, in the midst of the years make known; in wrath remember mercy.   Habakkuk 3:2

With our annual Revival Meeting nearing, it is good to pause and to pray for the Lord to send revival.  Will you pray for personal revival in your life?

What is revival anyway?  A basic and most thorough definition I have used for years is this: “Revival is falling in love with Jesus all over again.”  Simply stated, and right to the point.

As time goes by and we are further away from our conversion and new birth as Christians, we can become complacent.  Just like many people let their physical bodies get out of shape, or neglect proper eating and exercise, we can do the same thing spiritually. Many Christians have become lethargic in their walk with God.  Their service in church is pale and anemic, their pulse for loving God and other people has slowed down, and their appetite for the Word of God has decreased.  Even just opening the Bible at home causes difficulty in breathing.  If I was describing symptoms in a person’s physical body, you may think the person had a heart problem.

Some Christians have high blood pressure spiritually (in some cases literally) and are complaining and bickering with others then wonder why they do not feel as close to God as they once did.  All of this is symptomatic of a much bigger problem – a spiritual heart problem.  Are you loving Jesus more today than you were loving Him yesterday?

Why or why not?  It could be that loving sin, reveling in pride, or loving the world has diminished you love for Jesus.  Will you pray for personal revival?  Will you pray for family revival?  Will you pray for church revival?

Pray like the old-time prophet Habakkuk, who poured out his heart to God after hearing the Word of God spoken: O LORD, I have heard thy speech, and was afraid: O LORD, revive thy work in the midst of the years, in the midst of the years make known; in wrath remember mercy.   Make his prayer – your revival prayer today.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Funeral Parlors and Fun Parties

Funeral Parlors and Fun Parties

Tears.  Sorrow.  Raw Emotion. Real Life.  Death.  Death is the cause of so much heartache, hurts and pain.

Solomon, the wisest man to ever live wrote Ecclesiastes 7:2 as God directed him, and the emphasis is interesting; There is a priority of attending funeral services and visiting with people who just lost a loved one to the throes of death.  This singular scripture goes as far to say that it is better to go to a funeral parlor than to a fun party.

It is better to go to the house of mourning, than to go to the house of feasting: for that is the end of all men; and the living will lay it to his heart.

It is better to go to a funeral home.  Not fun – but needed for a proper perspective on life.  With life being devalued today, kids killing each other, and the news filled with reporting of one violent event or another – it makes me wonder – Has today’s modern child (an adults) been to enough funerals?

Probably not.  Many people avoid taking their children to the funeral home.  With good intentions of “not scarring the kids” or preventing them from seeing or hearing something disturbing, many well meaning parents, grandparents, and guardians find other places for their kids to be during funerals.  In fact – lots of adults avoid funerals as well.

Think of it this way; If a teenager has only known about death from a movie or video game – death cannot seem like real life.  He has no basis or foundation for understanding the depths of pain, the wrenching of the loss, or the changes in life that death causes for those who remain.  The seriousness of death is not something on his mind.

Since God says that it is better to go to a funeral than to go to a party – it should cause us to consider our priorities, teaching moments, and how to best place an emphasis on the value of life. Because death is in the future of every man God says being present with the corpse and with those grieving – will cause a person to “lay it to heart.”

We do not “lay it (death) to heart” enough because we avoid thinking about death.  Many don’t even talk about it.  But if a person thinks about death in a proper, Biblical way – it will cause him to make better choices in life!  When a person thinks about death – He will live better!

For example, here is a Fox News Headline from April 7, 2018: “Lakeith Smith, 18, of Montgomery, Ala., was sentenced to 65 years by Judge Sibley Reynolds for “felony murder, armed burglary, second-degree theft and third-degree theft,” FOX8 LIVE reported.”

“Smith smiled and laughed while being sentenced at the Elmore County courthouse. He had turned down a plea deal that would have recommended he spend 25 years in prison on the charges.”

‘I don’t think Mr. Smith will be smiling long when he gets to prison,’ C.J. Robinson, chief assistant district attorney, said. ‘We are very pleased with this sentence. Because the sentences are consecutive, it will be a long time before he comes up for even the possibility for parole, at least 20 to 25 years.’”

“Judge Reynolds said Smith seemed to show no remorse for his crimes during the trial and did not apologize. He also overhead the teen say, ‘I don’t have time for this.’”

Laughing.  I don’t have time for this?  What?  Here is an 18-year-old who apparently has never considered the gravity of life and death.  He is an example of the modern teen who believes life is ego centric and the purpose of living is to have a constant party – just have a good time.   Can I suggest that it would be better to take your kids to at least one funeral annually than to throw an ego centric, all out birthday party for them every year?  That is not intended to be a morbid thought.  Funerals in their proper context will help you and your child live better and make better choices.

No one likes tears.  Sharing in grief is not a fun thing or easy thing to do – but it will make you a better person.  When teaching your family about death, consider the age of your kids.  Find an age appropriate time to talk about and attend a funeral service.  Consider things like is it closed casket, a cremation, a memorial, or a graveside service?  Was this person a Christian?  What was our connection to this person?

Besides emotional “closure” and other similar benefits, going to the funerals and being present when a person’s life is summarized in a 30-minute speech will cause several good things in your life.

  1. Funerals cause us to ponder the brevity of life. James 4:14 Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.
  2. Funerals cause us to consider the priorities of life. Ecclesiastes 7:1 A good name is better than precious ointment; and the day of death than the day of one’s birth.
  3. Funerals cause us to examine and “correct course” in future days.  Psalm 27:4 One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to enquire in his temple.

The Apostle Paul, not doubt attended many funerals in his lifetime for Christian’s who were persecuted and killed for their faith. As he “laid to heart” the matter of life and death he said in the last letter he wrote in 2 Timothy 4:7, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith…” The only way to run the course of life and finish well is the make right choices today.  The only way to make right choices is to have Biblical values instilled in our life.  Knowing the brevity and value of life is a major part of this plan.

Help yourself and help your kids; Develop a priceless value on human life – by considering the gravity of death by attending a funeral. 

 

 

 

 

 

The “Value Equation”

The “VALUE EQUATION” 

He that loveth silver shall not be satisfied with silver; nor he that loveth abundance with increase: this is also vanity. Ecclesiastes 5:10

More money and more stuff that money can buy will not satisfy the deepest needs of your heart.  Because we tend to overvalue money and stuff, we can get caught into bad spending habits.  Today, please consider the God given stewardship He has entrusted to you.

How much is money worth to you?  How much are the items you buy worth to you?  What value do you place on the new TV, Phone, Car, etc.???

We can work the math to determine our money and materialistic values.  The “Value Equation” takes into account how much money you make per hour and then divides the total cost of the item you hope to purchase to then tell you how many hours you need to work to buy that item.  For example:

Suppose you make $15 per hour and work 40 hours per week.

Let’s say a new TV will cost $640. You make: $15 an hour.  (Divide cost of item by hourly wage.)

How many hours does it take you to buy the TV?  42.6 hours of work or nearly a full week of work.  That is how you determine value.  Is the TV worth it?  Should you save up a little longer?  Should you wait for the TV to go on sale or consider a different model?  Are discount codes and coupons worth looking for and using this purchase?

Have you ever said “It is only $5?”  That is about 20 minutes of work (at $15/hour).  Looking at money and value this way will help you make better fiscal decisions.

A new iPhone is $800.  800/15 = 53.3.  It will take a person 53.3 hours of work to be able to buy an iPhone.  Factor in all the other real needs you have and the iPhone may not be worth 6 long days of work to.

Remodeling a room in your house? Let’s say a new remodel is $3000.  That is 200 hours of work or 5 weeks of work (at $15/hour and 40 hours per week). Again, the power, gas, and water bill must be paid and you still must eat each day and feed your family.  Consider the insurance bill comes every 6 months and the house payment is a big portion of your budget.  It may be a good idea to save up a little longer to do the remodel.

IF Christians understood the value of money, while learning not to love money, we would become better stewards of the money God has entrusted to us.  “How much is it?” is not the best question to ask.  “How much do I value it?” is better. Greater still, “Is this what God would have me to purchase?” Ask the Lord to help you become better disciplined with His finances.

 

 

 

The Politics Do Not Matter

The Politics Do Not Matter

Kneeling during the Anthem, drinking Gatorade in the locker room during the unfurling of the flag, and protesting on team time is a growing trend among many American athletes today.

When it comes to the interaction of the citizen and the government leaders of a country, respect must be the underlying principle.  As our country becomes increasingly sinful, some have suggested that the Constitution is out of date or is no longer useful.  Quite the contrary; the Constitution is not broken, the people are.  Our nation, like every other nation in history is following a path to destruction because we have, as a whole, denied the truth.  Human nature is full of sin, rebellion, and selfishness.  The main reason things are the way they are is because we are… people.  Whenever a group of people no longer fear God, read the Bible, or have respect for Biblical values, there will be an increase in troubles.

Back to the flag, kneeling, and protesting on team (company) time.  The Bible says that Christians are to respect the government and governmental leaders.  Subjection, while unnatural to a man full of pride, should be the goal of the Christian filled with the Spirit of God.

Notice what the Apostle Paul wrote to the Roman Christians about their relationships towards their government:

Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.  For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.  Romans 13:1-4

It is apparent that the Lord wants to save the lost leaders from their sin just as much as He saved the Christian from his sins.  The Lord can even use the believers response and attitude of respect to challenge, encourage, and convict a leader of his need for Jesus.

Our respecting of leaders is demanded and has nothing to do with policy.  Our submission has nothing to do with policies or political party.  Our attitude towards leaders is not to be impacted by the leader’s personality, brashness, or decisions.

Do you know the cultural and societal insanities that were being projected upon the people when Paul wrote to the Roman Christians?

  • Criminals were many times tortured to death in the coliseum.
  • Christians were fed to the lions.
  • Some Christians were burned alive for their faith.
  • The shedding of blood was a popular sport that people would flock to see in the coliseum.
  • Some Roman Emperors even demanded people to worship them as a deity.

No matter how bad some suggest living in America is – we are still living in the most just, least prejudiced, and most advantageous (to personal success) country in the world.  We still have a very relaxed legal system compared to most other countries today.  It is even harder for an American to enter and try to live in other countries of the world.  Proof of work and a verification that you are not taking jobs away from another countries citizen is a general requirement.  Things are relatively easy in America.

Those who complain about poverty are probably more-wealthy than most people in many places of the world.

Work ethic, respect for others, personal discipline, and a peaceful existence lends itself to a more productive life than protesting, walking around streets late at night, inciting riots, and sitting around complaining on the internet.

I encourage you to pray for our leaders. Respect those the Lord has placed over us.  Participate in government with a good attitude.  Work at loving your neighbor.

The political party nor the particular person does not diminish the Lord’s command to be subject to and show honor to our leaders.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Gift of God (Part 2)

The Gift of God (Part 2)

‘One man in a church was boasting to his friend, “I could give $1,000.00 towards the building and not even feel it.”

His friend replied, “Then give two or three thousand and feel it!”’

Everyone likes gifts.  Receiving gifts is a blessing but it even more blessed to be able and to actually give a gift to others.  Acts 20:35 tells us to: “remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

One anonymous person aptly stated: “What you are is God’s gift to you. What you make of yourself is your gift to God.”  Good thought.  We should give our lives back to the Lord in service.

Let us continue our consideration of the “Gift of God.”  There are 3 more passages with this insightful phrase.  Each of these have more to do with using the gift that God has given to us – to serve and minister to other people.

  • God’s Gifts Cannot Be Bought: Acts 8:20 instructs, “But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money.”

Peter is in Jerusalem when the news from Samaria concerning the preaching of Philip and the empowerment of the Holy Spirit is spoken about.  Phillip is casting out demons, healing people, and preaching the Gospel – all in the power of God.  Peter and John are sent by the Apostles in Jerusalem to confirm the testimony they were told, and together these two men walk to Samaria.

When Peter arrives, a man named Simon is determined to talk with Peter.  Simon formerly had been a sorcerer, but had renounced demonic powers and had turned to Jesus with faith in the Gospel.

By the Way:  There is much temptation for Christian families to be entertained by evil books and TV.  Harry Potter, and many similar books and movies that portray sorcerers and wizards as the hero should be avoid, discarded, and not allowed to influence our kids.  Demonism is real and is growing in popularity today.  It is now mainstream and even popular.  What kid would not like to have supernatural powers?  Satanic activity is real and we must guard our homes in active ways lest our kids be led astray.

Well, this man Simon, had demonic power before, and now that he was a believer in Jesus he realized that the prestige and power he once had was gone.  I do not believe he was regretting turning to Jesus.  He was however coveting what he saw in Peter.

Part of Peters purpose for this journey was to see how the Holy Spirit of God was working in Samaria.  When Peter laid hands on these people who had previously believed in Jesus for salvation – the Holy Spirit came upon them.  This study could diverge into the doctrine of the Pneumatology (Holy Spirit) but we will not now.   These saved people had not yet received the Holy Spirit.

Simon sees this tremendous moving of the Holy Spirit and he wanted the power to give the Holy Spirit to other people too!  He was still thinking in occultist terms.  Peter directly tells him that the Holy Spirit cannot be bought.

The Spirit of God is a gift that God gives to Christians when they are born of the Spirit, or born again.  The Gift of God cannot be bought.  While Simon wanted to serve others by giving them the Spirit, that is not the way it works.  The Holy Spirit of God worked through  Phillip and Peter and He can also work through you.  Our main problem is that we tend to think in humanistic terms.  We tend to try to live the Christian life and conduct the work of the ministry in the flesh or with our intellect.

Thank God for His Holy Spirit who will lead, guide, direct, and empower you to fulfill the will of God.

  • God’s Gift Should Be Cherished: 1 Corinthians 7:7 teaches, “For I would that all men were even as I myself. But every man hath his proper gift of God, one after this manner, and another after that.”

Most of us are not like the man in the following story: “Probably the only man in history who never saw a woman was Mihailo Tolotos, a monk who died in 1938 at the age of 82 in one of the monasteries atop Mount Athos, Greece. As his mother passed away when he was born, Mihailo was taken to Athos the next day and never once, throughout his life, left this monastic colony which has excluded all females, animals as well as humans, for more than 900 years.”  (Signs of the Times)

The context of 1 Corinthians 7 is marriage and family. Paul is teaching the Corinthian believers who lived in a sex-crazed, and immoral society how they should remain celibate if unmarried and how to remain pure through marriage.

While Peter was married, had a family, and a mother in law, Paul was never married.  Paul, the iconic missionary, had tremendous freedom to travel and be away from home for years at a time because he was not married.

As 1 Corinthians 7 develops we find that the gift of God that Paul is speaking of concerning personal marriage relationships differs from person to person.  Consider the following:

If a specific man is supposed to be married and it is God’s will that he has a family – then the wife God gives to him is a special gift from God.  In this case – marriage is a gift of God.

If a particular man is not to be married and it is God’s will that the man remain single – then singleness is a gift of God.

If a man marries and it is not God’s will, or he marries a person that the Lord says not to marry (according to clear Bible teaching) then becoming a husband would become a nightmare instead of a blessing.

By the Way: Living together before marriage is like unwrapping a gift before it has been given to you.  There are many spiritual and psychological reasons this is a harmful practice.  Perhaps that could be a post on another day.  Until you are married – the gifts included in the broader gift of marriage (sex, kids, family, accountability, leadership, and union) are not yours – yet.  Wait until the “I Do.” To unwrap your marriage gift.

Many people are living a nightmare in relationships because they marry outside the will of God, the Word of God, or do not accept the specific gift of God – the gift of marriage or the gift of singleness.  Whichever of these two gifts God gives to you – cherish it.  Both gifts are temporary in nature.  Embrace whichever one God has for you at this moment.

  • God’s Gift Should Be Remembered. 2 Timothy 1:6 encourages, “Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands.”

With each gift we receive of the Lord, we should be deliberate to remember, and be thankful for those gifts. Should we not consistently remind ourselves of all that God has given, we will forget.  Human nature is good at tucking blessings away into forgetfulness, and merely thinking on problems or things we do not have.

May God help us to frame our minds with consistent thinking of God’s gifts as Ephesians 1:3 tells us, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ.”

In 2 Timothy 1, Paul is reminding young pastor Timothy about how the Holy Spirit of God had called, equipped, and empowered Tim for the task of Christian service.  Timothy was a preacher, a pastor.  Does The Holy Spirit do the same in our lives?  The answer is yes.

Even if you are not “paid time” in the ministry, we are all to be “full-time” in the ministry.  Remember the gift of the Holy Spirit in Acts 8?  The Holy Spirit has gifted each believer with a specific “Spiritual Gifts.”  Do you know what your Spiritual Gift is?  There are 6 Spiritual Gifts listed in Romans 12:6-8.  We have a “Spiritual Gifts” test at our church office if you want to stop on sometimes to discover your specific gift.  Utilizing your gift will help you be more effective in Christian service.

When God’s people all prioritize faithful service much good is accomplished.   Our family enjoys flying kits on warm breezy days.  When a kite is flown into the air, the question could be asked: “Who Flew the Kite?”

“‘I did,” said the wind!

“I did,” said the paper!

“I did,” said the string!

“I did,” said the boy! But in reality they ALL flew the kite! If the wind had lulled, if the paper had torn, if the sticks had broken, if the tail had caught in the tree, or the boy had fallen, then the kite would have come down! EACH HAD A PART TO PLAY!

God has placed you in a strategic role! You are important to your church ministry. Just use your gift to the Glory of God and leave the results to Him.”  (Communicating Biblical Truths)

Be stirred up, excited, and focused on the good work that the Holy Spirit of God can do in your life.  There is much to complain about, and many problems that we could be pre-occupied with, but by God’s grace, you can remained stirred up and focused on the specific ministry and service God has for you.

Thank the Lord for each gift He has given.

 

 

 

 

How to Stay in the Same Church for 30 Years

How to Stay in the Same Church for 30 Years

“Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.”

Ephesians 3:21

Dorsey and Barbara.  Loren and Tammy. Doug and Debbie.  Glen and Norene.  Ray and Nancy.  I have been blessed to witness many individuals and couples remain in the same church for 30, 40 and even 50 years.  How can a regular church member remain in the same church for such a meaningful amount of time?  Great question!

If the members of the Ephesus church were church members one day and not the next, or skipped around from church to church, how would they have been included in the “glory in the church” by honoring the Lord?  They couldn’t.  Something about long-term commitment resonates with the Lord.

Charles Colsen described the church with these words: “Biblically the church is an organism not an organization—a movement, not a monument. It is not a part of the community; it is a whole new community. It is not an orderly gathering; it is a new order with new values, often in sharp conflict with the values of the surrounding society.”

Yes, the church is a local body of believers, the bride of Christ, and His building.  It is comprised of sinful human beings who have been “called out” from being like this world.  Unity, working together, and getting along for any amount of time can be challenging!

Attorney Bryan Likins tweeted: “Most people want extraordinary careers, ministries, marriages, & kids. But they’re only willing to put in ordinary effort!”  Very true.

Here are several Bible truths that help in long-term relationships.

Be a Good Forgiver.

Speaking to the church and relating church life to relationships, Colossians 3:13 instructs, “Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.” 

Since Christ forgave us of all our sin, we can forgive others.  The depth of sin, the pain it caused, or the trouble it started can and should be forgiven.  Forgiveness can be granted – even before another person confesses and asks forgiveness.  If the potential of personal harm persists, please get to safety.  Forgiveness does not mean to put yourself in a position to be hurt again, nor does it mean that trust is automatically restored.

Forgiveness is the ability to look at the person and hold no hatred or animosity in your heart over the head of that person.  I like how William Arthur Ward described forgiveness.  He said, “Forgiveness is a funny thing—it warms the heart and cools the sting.”  It certainly does your heart good to not have negative emotions every time you see a fellow church member, family member or neighbor.

Pointing at others and saying “He is why I no longer go to church” is lessened when we choose to be good forgivers.

Fine Tune your Forgetter. 

An old Chinese Proverb speaks truth in saying: “For the sake of one good action a hundred evil ones should be forgotten.”  Speaking of God’s choosing to not remember our sins, Hebrews 8:12 declares, “For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.”  And again, Hebrews 10:17 says, “And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.”

The omniscient, all-knowing God chooses to not remember.  When we allow our minds to dwell on hurts, pain, or possible wrongs, it changes our perception of the people around us.  While we may never forget, we can choose to no longer remember.  Life happens.  People will purposefully and accidentally hurt us.  When we say we “forgive” and then continue to think about it, we have not truly forgiven.  Forgetting is choosing not to constantly dwell on the unfulfilled expectations we place on others.

Sometimes the expectations violated are sins in the life of others and are true wrongs that have occurred.  Other times, we have an expectation that we place on another that has nothing to do with sin, but merely our preference for them.  Anytime our real or perceived expectations of others are violated, we have the potential to remember, dwell on it, and let that thought damage our relationship.

This does not have to happen.   While most of us are trying to memorize Scripture and remember applying the Bible to our situations we are also in need of “fine tuning” our forgetter.  Make a decision to forget.

Get with the Program.

Every church has a statement of faith in doctrine and a declarative purpose for its establishment.  Most churches say something to the effect of “exalting the Lord, edifying believers, and evangelizing the lost.  These are great mission purposes.  These are foundational statements upon which the ministry is built.  How these purposes are pursued in practical ways is where many differences are found between churches.

Some people say they want to see people saved.  If that is true, that means new converts will then be baptized, discipled, and become part of the church.  Any church fulfilling the above ministry purpose will grow in attendance.  Numerical growth is a secondary benefit of fulfilling the churches mission statement.

Have you ever heard someone say “The church is getting too big?”  How about this: “I want a smaller church.”?  When Christians say statements like this, they are not only reflecting a selfish motive to either be comfortable or controlling of others (individual influence is lost when a church grows), but they are also demonstrating that they have left the mission purpose of the church and are now following their own mission purpose.

Get with the program and stay with the program of the local church.  There are various methods of evangelism that work well and are acceptable to God.  There are various ways to get together and see new converts grow in discipleship.  Exalting Christ is evident in seeing people saved and those saved becoming more like Jesus, not merely on outside appearances, but also in attitude and affections of the heart.  Utilizing sports, or spoons (for meals), studies, or social media are all ways that the Word can be imparted to people.  It is a matter of preference and style – then of obedience to the purpose statement to get the job done.

Those who refuse to update with fresh ideas as the church updates should still be driving model T’s and reading paper pages in books by candlelight if that is really how they feel.

Pastors come and go.  Church members come and some move away.  “Church is always in transition” one pastor aptly stated.  Adjust expectations.  Embrace opportunity.  Find an old, new, or similar way to get the same thing accomplished: Exalting Jesus, edifying believers, and evangelism of the lost.

Make the Decision to Love.

Love is a choice.  Not to love is also a choice.  Paul said in Colossians 3:14, “And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.”  The mark of maturity in relationships with others is the ability to continue to love others.  No. Matter. What. Charity towards others is God’s will for your life. Whenever you find yourself keeping a knit-pick list for other people watch out- your love for others is waining.

As Peter summarizes this teaching in 1 Peter 4:8 he says, “And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.”  Overlooking the faults, sins, and expectations on others is the only way to see long-term spiritual and numerical growth.

Assimilation of new believers is such an important factor in the length of time a long-term member will have in the church.  If a person accepts the newer members, encourages, edifies, and helps the new members feel welcome, the long-term member is then fulfilling part of his purpose in being a church member.  If a long-term member reminisces constantly “about the good old days” when he knew everyone by name, his living in the past is preventing him from making a difference in the present.  Determine to know the new folks and accept them as much as a long term member.  Both parties have made the same commitment to God and each other.

Most churches that have had consistent leadership and faithful members who are good at these 4 principals have grown both in spirit and in numbers.  They have stuck together through good and difficult times.  They have been blessed by God.

Could you stay in the same church for 30 years?  I challenge you to give it a try!  You will not be able to do it without implementing these 4 truths into your life.  With God’s help – you can.  You can remain in the same church for a meaningful amount of time.