The Local Church, Membership, and Being All In!

 The Local Church, Membership, and Being All In!

It was truly one of our most enjoyable C4101 classes to date. This past Sunday, we held another information and membership class at my home church, with about ten people in attendance. They came from different theological backgrounds but found unity in Jesus and other essential Christian doctrines. That’s the beauty of the original church and our growing local church family on the N.W. side of Houston. Seeing the central focus on Christ and freedom in non-essential doctrines was beautiful. Witnessing people leaving selfishness behind and stepping up to the plate to serve in a local body of Christ was encouraging. It was heartwarming to experience a true community forming in Christ. It was a good afternoon.

However, this is not the norm for others in early 21st-century America and the West. While many like visiting churches at their convenience, committing is another story. Some will claim that church membership is not a Biblical principle, and if you look for the phrase “Church Membership” in the Bible, you won’t find it. What you will find, though, is commitment. (more…)

The Comfort and Challenge of Christmas!

The Comfort and Challenge of Christmas!

Well, I suppose starting December with a blog post on Christmas is not a bad idea. After all, even non-believers tend to get excited about Santa Claus, children and presents at this time of year. (Eggnog and Fruit Cake are still up for debate, though) But using an almost unheard of Old Testament Minor Prophet, Zechariah, for the subject might need more explanation. “Where’s the relevance,” you might wonder. We have been working our way through those hidden gems of the Minor Prophets in our church family, and I believe the message of Zechariah is particularly encouraging for us as we move into the Christmas season. Track with me and see for yourself. (more…)

Strength Through Silence and Solitude.

Strength Through Silence and Solitude.

It happened every six weeks. Checks on my first-grade report card for unnecessary talking. While my teacher, Mrs. Garret, and parents found no pleasure in my boisterous bent, this was probably normal for an adventurous boy. Yes, young children talk a lot, but we can see its purity even if it sometimes gets annoying. Their young minds are simply exploring the world around them, verbalizing their findings, and announcing their questions with no other motive than sharing the fun with everyone around them. It’s simple. It’s plain. There are no hidden agendas.

On the other hand, when we get older, we tend to wonder about someone constantly wanting to be the center of conversational attention. (more…)

Hope out of the Storm!

Hope out of the Storm!

They call it a Perfect Storm. Perfect, not because it is good, but because all the necessary components are in place for an inevitable disaster. It refers to the potential of a complete ocean disaster in nautical terms. The perfect storm for sailors would consist of profound wind, rain, and waves, all driving at the same time and place. It’s just bad, and you truly don’t know if you will survive.

They call it a perfect storm. Those times in our lives when multiple pains and problems appear simultaneously at our doorstep. I suppose it was like that for the women in Matthew 28 that morning. Everything had fallen apart, and no hope was on the horizon. Jesus, the one they had hoped in, was dead. The leading Jews set themselves against Christ’s followers. Rome still ruled like an iron fist, and perhaps worst of all, it seemed God had forsaken them. But as with all else, things are not always as they seem with God. (more…)