December Article

“I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.”

Matthew 16:18 

We’ve taken a year to examine us, the church. We are an amazing body of Christ that is called by Him to unity for the commissioned task to take the Gospel into all the world. His Word has been instructive these months, as we’ve seen the body in many facets. These topics have included: obedience, responding to the head, caring for one another, fulfilling our role, abiding in Him, and responding to the Good Shepherd.

Above, in the statement of Jesus from Matthew’s gospel, Peter may be a “small stone,” but he will be numbered among all who compose the church, built on these “bedrock” truths:

First, Christ Himself, who has died and rose again for our deliverance.

Second, the profession of faith Peter utters (16:16) that is a testimony of all who will trust in Jesus.

Third, the directives of the Lord given for His disciples, the very Word of God, for our growth in grace and knowledge of Him.

So we continue now, into a new year with all its joys and valleys. The mission for us does not change with the times or the calendar, so remain steadfast. The challenge for us still is that of unity in Christ, and avoiding compromise with the world that distorts the gospel and disrupts our fellowship with the Master. His heart was for His body to reach this world with the message of salvation (John 17), and Jesus knows that only by our Spirit-filled care for one another will the world truly see and believe in the Christ who has come.

I bid you peace and purpose in the coming year.

November Article

So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith.  Galatians 6:10 (NASB)

In our “full house” years, the Lord was gracious to provide strength and unity we needed to parent. We reminded ourselves—usually her to me—that they would not be home, forever. We pulled together, intent to do life in the Lord, for our family.

Paul uses the “family” analogy to remind the church of our relationship. With similar challenges, we are an extended family. The Spirit-fruit Paul describes in Galatians 5 shapes us to live with one another.

Contemplate this today, where marriage, and family as the first institution under God, have been redefined and perverted under mankind’s smug enlightenment. “Family” is fluid and disposable; abandonment now common for perceived grievances, or the cultural permission for “personal fulfillment” as a chief value. Speak of parental responsibility or marriage roles: elicit scorn.

“Doing good” to all is not the easy thing. It is grace that allows you to keep loving and serving, when days are long and rewards few. When you’re tired. When no one notices, cleans up, or gives you the night off.

What is true in family is true in the family of God: You won’t always have opportunity to live Christ before them.

There are quiet places, without family. No noise, mess, or sticky fingerprints. These rooms could pass for mausoleums, not homes. With unexamined lives, some dying congregations now fit this description.

But family, God’s way, needs Spirit-power. The home and the church call for your greatest efforts, energy, and focus. This is the evidence that God’s ways are right, and good.

After all, if your own family is neglected, your testimony to “neighbors” about Christ is essentially disqualified.

October Article

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her…   Ephesians 5:25

There were many things taken for granted when it came to our marriage. One man and one woman—us—focused upon coming together as husband and wife as the scriptures plainly state. We had great anticipation for the day, the hour, and the celebration it would be. There were preparations involving many people over the weeks and months. It was a once-in-a-lifetime event for us; we wanted it to be thoughtful, smooth, and Christ-honoring.

More to the point, in the lead-up to the day, there was no sense of “What if,” or “Is this the Lord’s plan?” We were confirmed in our hearts: we were designed completely for one another.

For you and me, it’s especially brilliant that the Lord compares our relationship with Him to that of marriage. He, the able bridegroom, providing for his bride to be perfected through an intimate relationship with Him. Us, dutifully following carefully His loving Words for us:

…so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless. (Ephesians 5:26-27)

So, it’s only fair to ask, how goes your preparations for the big day? Are you focused upon the Lord? Are you reading His love letter with the absolute resolve to obey? No dalliances with other wanna-be suitors, right? Your hand is claimed – be sure your heart is steadfast!

“Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready.”    Revelation 19:7