March Article

“For I also am a man placed under authority…”  Luke 7:8a

A centurion understood the mantle of authority. We can learn from a Roman officer, growing together as the body of Christ.

Authorities are everywhere! We know civil authorities. These are to function without prejudice, performing their weighty duties, whether officers who enforce laws,  or judges who preside over legal issues. Political authorities have competing ideologies for their jurisdictions. General authorities surface for everything else.

Whom can you trust? Our difficulty becomes that of discernment; the  qualifications, opinions and veracity of “authorities” are uneven.

Back to the centurion: it’s a good step to recognize one with real authority. The bigger step is to place oneself—willingly—under that authority. The temptation is to follow one who suits your views and prejudices, though that path is fraught with dangers.

For the body—believers in the Son of God, Jesus—the issue should be settled. We confess Him now, not just at the last when at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2:10-11

We must choose obedience, for “Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?” (Luke 6:46)

What He declares, we are to be. What He confirms, we dare not alter. What He encourages, we emulate. What He demonstrates, we make our pattern for living.

Is He one among many authorities you consider, or is He The Authority you submit to? Your answer makes all the difference, now and eternally.

Then a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is My Son, My Chosen One; listen to Him!” Luke 9:35

February Article

…Him who is the head, even Christ… Ephesians 4:15b

I saw her. Immense, seeming to float on her warship now poised over the landing of the Louvre’s Daru staircase. The pinnacle of Hellenistic sculpture; a classic replicated in museums and public spaces all over the globe.

Did Paul see her in her original home, on his Acts 16:11 stop? Had he contemplated the Sanctuary of the Great Gods where she stood? Had he spoken to those worshiping idols of stone, guarded by this angel of stone?

In seeing her, you’ll not forget one detail: The Winged Victory of Samothrace is missing her head.

In our unity as the Body, we are to function as the Lord directs. Cornerstone has our identity in Christ alone. It is imperative—call it nonnegotiable—that we follow no other. We seek Him in prayer, the Word, and the leading of His Spirit. We do so corporately—one Body with one Head.

The church in every age experiences pressure to leave off Christ’s headship. Other “heads” beckon with their body agenda: pursue “acceptable” alliances, adopt more “reasonable” ideas, accept syncretic practices, embrace trendy priorities, worship market-driven methods and formulas.

Among Christians adrift, Christ is relegated to the headless relic of the church’s past. The body falls in step with a dominant head now directing. Things get done. Man is celebrated. Christ is denigrated. When the head changes, a new route is chosen; the body falls in step again.

Those abandoning Christ do so to terrible judgment one day. We will all stand before Him who is

…head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything. Colossians 1:18

For Cornerstone, our Head remains. We remain resolved to follow only Him.

January Article

…being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling…  Ephesians 4:3-4

Ferried up from downstairs, I heard the “whoosh” of rushing air as I broke the pint’s seal.

Peach preserves. Incredibly sweet, an aroma recounting fall days and our activity in “putting up” our canning for the winter. In the quiet mornings of our Christmas days, we enjoyed that pint immensely on toast and English muffins.

To enjoy the peach preserves last week, we had put care and planning into their safekeeping months ago. Peaches quickly ruin if ignored or treated roughly. When viewed as valuable and worthwhile, they receive careful preservation. It doesn’t just happen—you need to be plugged in, and appreciate the gift God gives in the harvest.

For this year in this column, I’ll look at us—the church—to help us grow in appreciation to the Lord for the gift He has given us in being a part of the Body.  Our call is to preserve unity of the Spirit in us, a living body. Look with me into the Word of God, and be challenged as to how each of us is called to fulfill our role in the Body—watching, protecting, guarding and keeping the gift God has allowed us to participate in.  The call is of the Lord, the Spirit is of the Lord; the equipping is His as well.

So preserve what God has given. It takes care, and diligence, and even some hard work on everyone’s behalf. The reward is incredible—for your growth, the growth of the Body, and even that which is yet to come. Welcome to life in the Church!