Wednesday’s Column: Third’s Words
How does Jesus feel about us? He created us, became human, and let us kill Him so He could make a new deal with us (Heb. 9.15-17). Most disregard Him, many are outright hostile. How could He love us at all? Because we know how most view God, it’s easy to lump ourselves into the same group as the hostiles.
Ephesians gives some awesome insight into how Jesus feels about his people.
1.3 – He gave us spiritual blessings through His sacrifice.
1.4 – He had us in mind before He even started creating things.
1.5 – He intended to make us part of His family.
1.6 – He gave us grace.
1.7 – He died to give us freedom.
1.7 – He gives us forgiveness.
1.9 – He told us what He wants.
1.11 – He is going to give us an inheritance.
1.11-14 – He knows His own, and He’s looking to get us back home.
He didn’t just do nice things for us, though. Here’s how He feels about it:
1.5 – Love motivated Him.
1.5 – He wanted to do it.
1.7 – He’s generous with His grace.
1.8 – He’s generous with His grace.
1.9 – He wanted to do it.
We don’t deserve Him, but He loves us to death. We let Him down, but He gives us grace. He’d have every right to be exasperated with His imperfect family, but He’s not. People get on our nerves and societies fall apart, but we have the best family on the planet. Remember whose you are when you’re discouraged. No one wants you more than He does!
Tuesday’s Column: Dale Mail
The Gripsholm Castle, in Sweden, is home to the world’s oldest portrait gallery. This might be of interest to some art enthusiasts, but there’s something else in this castle you’d never forget seeing. Inside of a glass box in Gripsholm’s upper armory, there is an 18th century stuffed lion. This lion, nicknamed “Leo,” is a beast that tends to provoke a wide arrange of emotions from it’s viewers. It has a disfigured face and human like teeth with an oversized (fake) tongue hanging out of it’s mouth. The history of the lion is also somewhat of a mystery. However, there’s a particular legend about this taxidermy terror that the writer finds hilarious. In 1731 the king of Sweden was given an incredible gift. He was once the proud owner of a handsome lion and he loved this beast. Unfortunately, it died at a young age and the king’s heart was broken. He sent the lion’s pelt and bones to a taxidermist to have it stuffed so that it’s memory would be kept “alive.” There was only one problem. The taxidermist had no idea what a lion actually looked like because he had never seen one before. This being the days before the internet, he was forced to try his very best. The finished product remains part atrocity and part masterpiece to this day.
In 1 Peter 5.8 we are warned about our adversary, the Devil, and that he is currently stalking the earth looking for his next potential prey. The sad truth is the fact that many in this world aren’t sure what this lion looks like. The Devil can disguise himself in the form of sinful pleasures and promises and as a result he has become the, “King of this world” (John 12.31). The Scriptures and the king of Sweden can both agree that things will get ugly if we aren’t sure what a lion looks like.
My favorite writer’s blog, from one of our three awesome daughter’s-in-law!
By Janelle Pollard
It would not be an exaggeration to say that I love notebooks. I’ve always had a slight obsession with notepads, journals, and anything colorful and pretty to use for note-taking, to-do lists, and doodling. I probably definitely have more notebooks than I will need for the next few years (but this comes in handy when giving gifts!). Not too long ago, I bought a notebook because it had three sections, separated by the prettiest pastel-colored pages. This would be perfect for an all-purpose notebook. I could use one section for sermon & class notes at church, one for grocery/shopping lists, and one for miscellaneous/to-do lists. It was a done deal. There was only one problem. The phrase on the cover said, “Do What Makes You Happy.” While, of course, there is nothing wrong with being happy, it seems like this mentality is all about ME.
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Monday’s Column: Neal At The Cross
I sat next to a man at dinner the other night, a retired Marine officer named Anthony who was now a successful businessman. Though he was in his sixties and had six grandchildren, he could have passed, even with a smattering of gray hair, for an elite athlete. He was incredibly intelligent, articulate, a war hero, wealthy, and, by anyone’s estimation, a true Renaissance man. He was also a brand new Christian.
Despite his apparent success, he confessed to having experienced decades of emptiness inside. He described it as I have often heard people describe it, that there was a hole inside and nothing he tried would fill it. He pictured it as painting a facade. He held out the canvas for others to see what he projected, but the man behind the painting was hollow, depressed, and ever searching.
That changed when his neighbor, a man named David Grimes, took an interest in his life. They began walking together in their neighborhood, discussing life. David would always refer Anthony to the Bible and what God’s Word had to say. At some time later, when Anthony faced a crisis, he found himself reaching out to David for help. Ultimately, through David’s friendship and his efforts to teach him, Anthony obeyed the gospel!
Anthony said, “There are a lot of people like me out there! They seem secure, confident, in control, and without need. But they are searching to fill a void in their lives. I know. I was one of them.” We can convince ourselves in these troubling, ungodly times that nobody is interested in God and His Word. Anthony would encourage you to get involved in the lives of your coworkers, neighbors, classmates, and the people you connect with through your children’s activities. No matter what they are projecting, invest in them. At some point, they will let you in. They will allow you to look behind the canvas and the pretty picture they have painted, and you will see a soul searching for something only God can satisfy! God is counting on us to see past the pretense and help that person He loved enough to give His Son for. The picture of success in the world’s eyes was secretly aching for something deeper and better. He found it in the only place it can be found–in Christ!
Please look behind the canvas!
Thursday’s Column: Captain’s Blog
Tuesday’s Column: Dale Mail
There are just too many voices in the world today muddying the waters when it comes to 21st century Christianity. In fact the term, “Christianity,” doesn’t mean much the average person. In fact, the average person will most likely have several friends who carry this title and they know based on their morals— they’re not really different. Sadly it’s a description that doesn’t describe much, other than an individual that believes in God. That’s really it! This word has been tragically stripped of what we understand to be the most rewarding life you could possibly live. There’s simply no higher calling, there is no greater purpose in life, and you just can’t beat the retirement plan.
Now let’s do something to help the seeking world out.
Let’s make it our priority to understand the church in such a way that we can simplify her mission and her origin.
Here are two terms that will help:
- The term “restoration” may sound similar to “reformation”, but the two terms could not be more contrary to each other. Restoration is an attempt to return the church to the pattern we find in the New Testament, while reformation is a changing of what currently exists. It’s a modification or addition which creates something new entirely. The Old Testament is filled with the pleas of the prophets for the people to restore their relationships with God.
2. The definition of the word “denomination” is evidence that restoration is not only possible, but needed. Denomination, in the religious world, describes a branch off of an original. Any branch coming off of the New Testament church, is simply not it.
Five Facts About The Lord’s Church
- The New Testament church was established by Jesus, not Luther, Henry the 8th, Calvin, Smith, or Wesley
- The New Testament church was established in Jerusalem, not Oxford, London, or Amsterdam
- In New Testament times people were told to believe in Jesus, repent of their sins, be baptized by a total immersion of water, and to live faithfully (Acts 2:38, 16:30-31, 2:16, Mark 16:15-16; Romans 6:1-4; Revelation 2:10)
- Christians in the New Testament met on the first day of the week to partake in the Lord’s Supper (Acts 20:7)
- The New Testament church was a united church, while denominationalism is, by its very nature, divided.
If the church you are a part of can say the same, you can be confident that it is the church that Jesus established. If this is not what the church you are a part of teaches and practices, then perhaps this will be some information that will help you begin a life-changing search to find God’s will for your life.
Monday’s Column: Neal At The Cross
One of the most intriguing people in all the gospels, to me, is the beggar sitting by the road near Jericho. Mark 10:46 tells us that the man’s name is Bartimaeus. Matthew tells us that there is another man sitting with him, and that man’s name is not given (20:30). This man was shameless in a good way, persistent despite the crowd sternly discouraging him (39). I wonder if there is a more pathetic person disclosed to us in the Bible (maybe Lazarus back in Luke 16). He is needy in at least five ways, according to Luke 18:35-43:
- He’s physically impaired (35)–“a blind man”
- He’s economically disadvantaged (35)–“by the road begging”
- He’s socially outcast (39)–He’s not depicted as a respected member of society, but one to be corrected by the others
- He’s emotionally distraught (38-41)–Begging for mercy and longing for sight
- He’s spiritually incomplete (42)–When Jesus heals him, He tells the man, “Your faith has saved you.”
I love how the man is so stripped of his dignity, power, and resources that he boldly pleads for Jesus’ help. It may seem strange, but all of us need to get to that place if we will receive what only He can give. He wanted His mercy. When he received it, look at the response. He “began following Him, glorifying God; and when all the people saw it, they gave praise to God” (43). Don’t you want your submissive, obedient life to be a drawing card for others to see their need of God and to glorify Him? God really shows His power when He takes the lowliest and transforms them by what He does with and through them. That’s why I love this account.