Monday, October 10, 2011
Monday, September 12, 2011
When do I graduate?
Ever since we were kids, there has been a method to our madness. We started with preschool. A prep time. A time to get us ready for the real learning. We learned how to be socialable with other kids and how to eat healthy and take a nap. We abandoned all of these concepts as soon as we reached High School but that is not my point of this writing.
We then reach first Grade. We start our building blocks on which the rest of our education rested. We continued through elementary school and then to High School. When we reach the tender age of 18, we find ourselves in the position of graduating. Oh, to graduate. Our school tells us that we now have the foundation we need to continue on and do whatever we can dream of. We now have our High school diploma and we don't have to go back!
Each of us then have the choice to continue their education through college and so on. However, eventually we graduate. You might be asking what I am trying to get too. Ok, here it is.
As believers in Christ, we understand that there is no limit to what we can learn about God. We understand that our relationship with Him is an ever growing, ever deepening relationship and will continue to be thus through eternity. With that understood, however, there seems to be a graduating point in the scripture for individuals from the basics (milk) to the not so basic (meat). The growing up knowledge from when we first become believers (infant) to a person who lives and acts knowing their responsibility to Jesus and are working in the very gifting that they were blessed with (adult).
Hebrews 5:11-14 says this:
11 There is much more we would like to say about this, but it is difficult to explain, especially since you are spiritually dull and don’t seem to listen. 12 You have been believers so long now that you ought to be teaching others. Instead, you need someone to teach you again the basic things about God’s word.[c] You are like babies who need milk and cannot eat solid food. 13 For someone who lives on milk is still an infant and doesn’t know how to do what is right. 14 Solid food is for those who are mature, who through training have the skill to recognize the difference between right and wrong.
There then seems to a maturity level that all of us who claim to be christians must come to. When is this spot? How is it graded? Who is the one that decides if we are there or not?
One thing that is quite evident in this passage concerning these questions is the ability of the person to decide what is right and wrong. In fact it seems to be the deciding statement as to who is mature and who is not. Those who are still needing milk or those who have gone on to eat the meat. In the beginning Paul also refers to the fact that we should only be taking milk for so long. That we shouldn't continue to be on the milk but there is an age of a believer that they should be teaching others. He says of those he is writing to in this passage that the reason why they can't understand the more difficult things is because they are spiritually dull and don't seem to listen.
What does it mean to be spiritually dull?
I think that the answer is something we can find ourselves. I believe we all at one point of time have felt that we are spiritually dull. It goes something like this. A restlessness that won't leave. A feeling of inadequecy. A feeling in our hearts that we are not doing enough. A desire to want to learn more or dig into scripture more. Being sick of the status quo. Wanting to do more for him.
We continue to go to church on wed. and sunday nights. We continue to listen to the same teachers and same sermons. We have it told us that we need this. We need to be reminded of the basics over and over again, but when is the point that we graduate and began to teach others? When do we graduate? Isn't our job to go from the milk to the meat? Are we not suppose to go from being infants to adults? Do we need to continue to here the same messages over and over again because we are spiritually dull and hard of listening? Are we keeping ourselves in the spot or are those who claim to be our overlookers? When do we start to teach? Not because we want fame and fortune but because it says we are suppose to in scripture.
I believe that the current structure of things depends on us not graduating.
In science we learn that the body is a flowing fountain of cells. The old ones move out why the new ones are created. Isn't this the way that the body of Christ should be. The old ones moving out to teach and newer ones taking their spot. But we have the idea that big is good. We continue to hold on to the old ones for number purposes and not releasing them. I am not talking about new preachers taking older for the old ones. I am talking about each and every Christian growing to a maturity level that they are able to distinguish what is good and what is bad. We are all suppose to become teachers with our lives. Be good, patient and kind. Show people how powerful truth is by being honest with your life and others.
When do I graduate? Good question to ask for any christian.
Saturday, September 10, 2011
Tuesday, August 16, 2011
When I was interning at my first church, I remember very vividly how my down days would go. The pastor's wife there, whatever good intention she had, would see that I was down and tell me I had to not let my emotions rule me but I was to rule my emotions. She would then advise me to put on church music and worship my way out of it. She had a very caring spirit but here is where I believe this scripture comes into play and where she was wrong.
What is it saying when we say we need to worship our way out of sadness? Logic would tells us then that sadness is bad. Is sadness bad? NO. It is an emotion that God gave us. In fact, in this specific scripture, God tells us to be sad with those who are sad. We are not to force our way out, OR TELL OTHERS TO DO IT, but we are to get down with them. I am reminded while I type about scenes in the old testament where someone's family member has died. They would rip their beard and tear their robe and fall down to the dust. They would literally pour the dirt over their heads in anguish. Think about the symbolism here. To them they believed the creation story, where we came from dust. Obviously rolling around in it would remind us that that is where we came and that is where we will go. To help us understand that death happens, doesn't totally cure our mourning but it does take the sting out a little. Also, the beard was a sign of pride, the longer the beard, the better the man. To actually pluck out your beard, I can't imagine, is to say you are nothing. God gives and God takes away. It is a sign of saying that you are not in control.
I seem to be ranting. What I mean is this. When you see a person falling to their knees and ripping out their beard and throwing dirt on their face. Don't pull them up and slap them and tell them to get it together. Get down on the ground, rip out your beard and start throwing dust on your own head. Show them that you understand or that you want to understand, that is a true friend.
Monday, August 15, 2011
Thursday, July 28, 2011
Tuesday, July 19, 2011
Sunday, July 17, 2011
Saturday, July 16, 2011
Tuesday, July 12, 2011
Tuesday, July 5, 2011
Saturday, July 2, 2011
We teach in a spirit of profound common sense so that we can bring each person to maturity. To be mature is to be basic. Christ! No more, no less.
There are thousands of pastors and priests. Evangelists and missionaries. Monks and nuns. Professors and teachers. All of them to some degree having had some schooling. They attended some college or internship to learn how to do their positions. They might even have had to pay thousands of dollars to get their degree. The question I am proposing is “For What”?
The gospel is simple. To simple for some. There are those who struggle and might even not accept it because it sounds to simple. This is why scripture says that it is a stumbling block to the well learned. The gospel was so simple that Jesus entrusted it with fisherman and tax collectors and prostitutes. No pharisee was part of the 12. No king or priest. Just the unlearned. Those who had been rejected. Those who were not considered as the wise.
It is quit certain if you look throughout history that it doesn't take 4 years of college to be one who understands the mystery of God. That mystery being Christ! It is no kept secret. God makes it available to those who are closest to His heart. The poor!
Diplomas are for walls. Education is for respect. College is for profession. Profession is for stability. The idea of college for those who would like to be in ministry is to bring validity to them being paid for what they do. Why would you pay thousands of dollars to go to a college where you learn to minister to people for free and never be able to pay it back? Is Christianity a profession? Here, I believe, we have gone awfully wrong. Hurting people, the poor, the stranger, the widow, and the orphan don't need educated answers. They need LOVE! No matter what kind of answer you give me, you could never convince me that you could learn Love at a college. No matter what kind of college it is. Shall I quote 1 Corinthians 13 here or refrain? It is time that we start dealing with this issue as the church. It is time that we stop paying people to do the work for us. That is what we are doing, aren't we?
We will go on living our lives the way we want to and feel good about it, as long as we pay our tithe, which in turn pays the pastor so he can go and visit the sick in the hospital and prepare a message for Sunday and read and pray for the rest of us because we just don't have the time. What a great arrangement. We pay money so that we don't have to be spiritual all the time! Shall we flip the coin over? The pastor continues to preach every sunday messages that challenge the congregation to become more spiritual. To read their bible more and to pray more. He sees that they are not doing it as much as they should so he continues to validate in his mind the importance of them paying him. They need someone to watch over them. They are children and he the nanny. This silent agreement happens twice a week all across America. They are satisfied with the status quo. The people expecting the minister to be spiritual because they pay him and the minister expecting the people to be ignorant because they pay him. This, I don't believe is right and it is time for God's people, His body, to grow up.
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
Saturday, June 25, 2011
Sunday, June 19, 2011
Thursday, June 16, 2011
There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
Monday, June 13, 2011
Wednesday, June 8, 2011
Saturday, June 4, 2011
Saturday, May 28, 2011
Monday, May 23, 2011
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
Tuesday, May 17, 2011
5. Get involved in local organizations fighting the sex trade. While money is a great help for non-profit organizations, hands and feet are better. Get together with your family and friends and work out a time budget. How much time are you willing and able to donate to your local organization. Unless you have worked with a non-profit before you might not understand how hard it is to fill a position with another volunteer if you were to cancel. Be realistic in the time frames you commit too and your local organization will be grateful. (see Mission 21's website for a comprehensive list of organizations)
The time thing is big! It can cause alot of stress for those who are putting together things to have someone commit and then back out. Really pray about how much time you can give and always be honest with those heading the project up, they will appreciate that much more then false promises.
Saturday, May 14, 2011
4. Support new or better state and local anti-trafficking laws. Many states already have anti-trafficking laws, but some don't. Check to see if there are anti-trafficking laws in your state. Help strengthen state and local laws in your area by contacting your Governor, Senator or Representative. As a voter (or soon-to-be voter), you have the power to demand your representatives follow an abolitionist agenda. And remember, many voices asking for the same changes are powerful- consider a letter-writing campaign.
Wednesday, May 11, 2011
3. Oppose the commercial sex industry, including prostitution, escort services, strip clubs, pornography and the "pimp n ho" culture. Sex trafficking victims can be found in all areas of the commercial sex industry, and demand for commercial sex makes the business lucrative for traffickers and motivates them to enslave more victims. Have bachelor and bachelorette parties at non-traditional (commercial sex-free) venues. Refuse to watch pornography and encourage friends to do the same. When fewer people buy commercial sex, traffickers have less incentive to force women and children to meet the demand.
Tuesday, May 10, 2011
2. Host a fundraiser for a local anti-trafficking nonprofit. While donating individually to the causes you support is great, there are many ways to take a small amount of money and turn it into a much larger amount for bigger impact. Instead of making a direct donation, try buying supplies for a bake sale or car wash and donate the proceeds, or recruit your friends to match your donation amount. Don't be afraid to think outside the box.
This is no. 2 of 10. I want to stress to not be afraid to think outside of the Box. Sex Trafficking is only second to drugs as an organized crime. This is something that is not talked about and should be. Having fundraisers gets the word out and makes people talk. That's what we want!
Monday, May 9, 2011
1. Throw a Viewing Party. Educate yourself others about human trafficking by inviting your family and friends to watch a film on human trafficking and discuss the issue. A film, either a documentary or fictional story, is a great way to introduce people to the issue because it helps them connect visually and emotionally to the victims. A film will also provide some topics for discussion.