Thursday, March 31, 2011

A Return to Suffering…

OK, so I must admit that this is probably not the best way to title a blog post. But, I’m going to attempt to redeem myself.

Life is not without its struggles. Which, is very apparent by just turning on the television and watching any one of the 24 hour news channels.

Everyday we are bombarded with terror, tragedy, heart break, and pain. Now, there are those who assume that somehow being a Christian automatically makes you immune to such issues. Well, let me be the first to tell you that it doesn’t. Honestly, to think such things is pretty naive of anyone.

So what is the point of all this Christianity anyway? I mean, if I’m not going to avoid suffering then why should I trust someone I can’t see with my pain?

I’m glad you asked. The long and short of it is this. Christ (God) came to Earth so He could walk in our shoes. Why? So that when we are afflicted with any type of suffering  we can always go to someone (God) who has already been through it. Christ did not merely come to Earth to teach us about peace and love (which He also did) but to take on the ultimate form of suffering (atonement) for us.

Christ never promised a life without suffering. Spurgeon wrote, “Let the thought of Jesus strengthen you as you follow in his steps. Find a sweet support in his sympathy; and remember that, to suffer is an honorable thing-to suffer for Christ is glory.”

Yeah, it sounds weird, but know that you have someone who has already been through it all. Suffering beyond all suffering, suffering even to the cross for your sake.


Remain spiritually tenacious


Tuesday, March 29, 2011

A Return to Prayer

Matthew 26:39

“And He went a little farther, and fell on His face and prayed.”

How do we pray?

Is it with outstretched hands in the city square much like the Pharisees for all to see? Or our are prayers brought to God in great humbleness when no one can see us?

We must strive to turn our communal worship into a oneon one experience with our creator. While it is importance to enjoy the fruits of community we need not forget the great importance of being alone with out savior.

Spurgeon wrote, “He withdrew even from his three favored disciples. Believer, be much in solitary prayer, especially in times of trial. Family prayer, social prayer, prayer in the Church, will not suffice, these are very precious, but the best beaten spice will smoke in your censer in your private devotions, where no ear hears but God’s”

Remain spiritually tenacious


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

A Return to Community (Part 2)…

In my last post...long ago, Ricky posted about the importance of community, or at least got the ball rolling in that direction.

I wanted to continue this post by reaffirming its importance.

On Friday(March 11th) Sendai, Japan was rocked by one of the largest earth quakes in centuries. Followed by a devastatingly massive tsunami. As the days following this tragedy nuclear fears as well as the fear of finding lost loved ones continue.

Japan will be recovering from this devastation for years. Yet within all this horror there is no rioting, mass panic, or from what I can see blaming of the government for not reacting quickly enough.

Is it somehow possible that the victims of this tragedy are somehow reacting better than the residents of say...New Orleans?

Yes, it is very clear that the Japanese have got it right. Their sense of community is out weighting their need to just merely survive. There are no riots, no looting, and no shooting at rescue helicopters...

This tragedy should be a wakeup call to all of us who think we can live life on our own with no sense of community. Community is the glue which holds a society together...once we decide that glue isn’t important we have no need for caring for others.

If you would like to donate to relief organizations helping out the people of Japan you can do so here. World Vision

Thursday, March 3, 2011

A Return to Community (Part 1)…

By Ricky McCarl

Why is community so important?

I think we fundamentally misunderstand the purpose of community and that leads to people thinking it is something it isn’t or worse that they don’t need it at all because they have Jesus. The problem is that we are taught that our faith is between us and God and that when we get faith in God, He empowers us to do mighty things through the spirit. The sad truth is that people are down right misinformed.

I am reading a book currently called “The Amish Way” which is about Amish beliefs and practices. For those of you who do not know me, the Amish lifestyle intrigues me. The Amish intrigue me because despite their theological issue one thing they do right is biblical community. That is something that I hunger for.
Let me ask you something… If you were to be sick or dying would your church come to your aid? Would you want them too? I remember having a conversation with one of the men in my “flock” who had a son in the hospital for a while. I asked him if he needed anything and his response was no because they were a close knit family. The problem with that was that he was allowing his son’s unbelieving wife and children help him through this and he kept the community of God at arms length.

How about this… Would you want the community of God to discipline you? Some might say that they would but when the time comes what happens is we just hide the sin. The reason for this is because in our churches today we foster an attitude of judgment instead of forgiveness. Wouldn’t it be great if when we were in sin we could go before the church on bended knee, confess our sin and be given absolution? Of course it would!

We desperately need authentic biblical community and the sad truth is that in most churches today we don’t have it. That doesn’t mean we can’t have it though. I think what we need to do is forget about being an individual for once and think about being a part of something bigger. We also need to learn that each and every one of us is totally depraved and no we are not better than the other guy because he sinned and I didn’t, because the truth is that if we are honest we will be just as guilty (we will talk about that another day). If we can do these things then I think we can have biblical community in our churches.