Lifestyle Issues

Thoughts
We come now to the last of our topics related to people walking away from the faith:  "Lifestyle and perspective, including homosexuality, feminism, secularism, and pluralism."  Confusion and doubts about these issues often contribute to drawing young people away from the faith. The downward path might develop through questions like these.  First, how do I maintain a Christian lifestyle among the temptations that accompany leaving home, making new friends, and entering a new work or college environment.  Second, these thoughts may lead to a deeper consideration; why exactly is the Christian lifestyle worth following?  Faced with the rising crush of the world's opinion, is the Christian lifestyle that I have been taught too narrow?  That seems to be the opinion of a lot of smart people I am getting to know. …
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One Year In

Thoughts
Happy Tuesday.  I would like to say a big thank you to our community of believers here in Northwest Houston.  Your friendship is a great source of encouragement to Rhonda and I.  We've finished one year on our blog and want to thank you for your participation with us in this ministry.  Our ministry goal is a balance between investigating the theology behind our New Covenant experience and searching the Scripture to find what this experience looks like in practice.  I believe a great need in today's church is to understand the incredible resources and provisions that are ours through the New Covenant; the new arrangement between God and man brought by Jesus Christ. Just this past week, a speaker referred to Jeremiah 17:10, "I, the Lord, search the heart, I…
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Love: One Strategy, One Message

Apologetics, Love is ..., Thoughts
I personally believe that one area where Satan has really muddied the waters in the American church is on the topic of love.  I believe Satan is quite content to see our message proclaimed basically without interference here in the States while he busies himself sowing seeds of discontent and strife among the body.  As we learned last time, this disharmony takes the power right out of our message and our witness.  I can think of at least two ways Satan delights in this current situation. First, we have taken the life out of our message because we have reduced Christianity to an adherence to a moral code (see yesterday's excellent post on this very thought by Mark Galli at Christianity Today online).  We have failed to emphasize the finished…
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Love: The Final Witness

Apologetics, Love is ..., Thoughts
"A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.  By this all people will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another" (Jn 13:34-35).  The world has a God-given right to judge our affiliation with Christ on the basis of our love for each other. Jesus extends the connection between our love and His mission as One sent by the Father in John, chapter 17.  Listen to Jesus' prayer for His disciples and His followers who will come after them.  "I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word, that they may all be one, just as You, Father,…
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Love Is…

Love is ..., Thoughts
The New Testament verses about love are nearly inexhaustible and we could probably spend a year just on this topic.  But we will try to take this train of thought to the station in the next few posts.  Here are a few more pictures of what love looks like in a healthy community of believers.  It behooves us to ask ourselves if this is a description of our contribution to our church community. Love is authentic - "Let love be without hypocrisy.  Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good.  Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor" (Rom 12:9-10). Love communicates and cares - "For out of much affliction and anguish of heart I wrote to you with many tears; not that…
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Love and the Message of First Corinthians

Church Life, Love is ..., Thoughts
The apostle Paul often commended churches for the strength their faith and love.  The church in Corinth, however, was not worthy of such a compliment.  In fact, following Paul's introduction in his first letter to them, he starts through a laundry list of problems the church faced, offering specific instruction in church discipline (chapter 5), lawsuits (chapter 6a), immorality (chapter 6b), marriage (chapter 7), gray areas (chapters 8-10), roles in the church (chapter 11a), the Lord's Supper (chapter 11b), and the exercise of spiritual gifts (chapter 12). Then we come to I Corinthians chapter 13.  It is as if Paul is writing along saying, "Do this, don't do that, act this way" in very specific instructions.  Then he puts his pen down, closes his eyes, and says to himself, "You…
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