Friday, July 02, 2010

Creation Care

I am not especially thrilled with political subjects entering the religious arena. However, some issues are important enough to make God's view known.

The Wesleyan Church is the result of God's people taking a stand on a political matter that was more than politics: Slavery. The Wesleyan Methodists believed that slavery was wrong to the point of sin. Therefore, though it was a political issue, it was also a God-issue. Jesus died to save all of mankind, and no one should be considered property - not minorities, not women, not poor people.

I am a firm believer that the time comes when the church must take a stand on behalf of mankind; the protection of people, for which Jesus died.

Recently, however, a movement has arisen among the evangelical church that has me troubled.

There are those who are teaching that Jesus died to redeem all of creation, not just mankind. They seem to believe that when Jesus was on the cross, his mind was not only fixed on saving people, but those sweat drops of blood were also for the trees and the animals. Non-human creation brought Immanuel to us as much as humans.

This is not shown in the great commission, in the sermons recorded in the New Testament, or in Jesus' own statements of why he came. It doesn't seem to have much bearing in Paul's passionate letters to the churches he planted, or Jesus' own prayer recorded in John 17.

There is certainly a need to treat all of creation with respect of its Creator. No one should be abusing animals or poisoning water supplies. There is no good reason to litter or bury toxic chemicals in backyards.

But the church has been called, and spiritually equipped, to reach lost people. We are supposed to baptize them and teach them to obey everything Jesus commanded.

We have been commanded to love the Lordl and love one another. There is no Great Creation Commission.

Respect creation, but love and serve the Creator, and His image on earth: Mankind.

Any thoughts?

Friday, May 21, 2010

CWC Distinctives in Teaching:

These are some things we are focusing on as to how we teach the gospel and Christian Living in our church. For lack of a better term, I am calling them our "Distinctives". What do you think?

Training people to be followers, not just believers – John 10:27

Genuinely loving people, not just making them feel welcome – 1 Cor. 13:1-3

Knowing God/Known by God, not just knowing about God – John 10:14; Gal. 4:9; 1 Cor. 8:3; Matt. 7:23

Giving Jesus our lives, not inviting him into our lives – 1 Cor. 6:20; Acts 20:28; Romans 12:2; Gal. 2:20

Authenticity in Worship, not just singing – John 4:24; Rom. 12:1; Isaiah 1:11-20

Seeking the lost, not just waiting for seekers to come to us – Luke 19:10; Luke 15:4-7, 8-10; Though they may...Rom. 3:11

Devoted to the living word as recorded in the Bible, not just motivational speeches – 2 Tim. 3:16; Heb. 4:12; Eph. 5:6; 1 Cor. 2:13; John 24:35; John 6:68; Matt. 7:24-27

God has prepared good works for you to do – Eph. 2:10; 2 Tim. 2:21; Eph. 4:12; Col. 3:23

Obeying Jesus because we love Him, empowered by the Holy Spirit, not manipulated by guilt to obey – John 14:15, 21, 23, John 15:10, 1 John 3:24; 1 John 5:3; Rev. 12:17; Rev. 14:12

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

When Is It Gossip?

The church always deals with that fine line between "prayer requests" and "bearing each others burdens" vs. "gossip" and "choosing sides". When does a well-intended request for prayer become a gossip item that divides and can ultimately break down trust and loving relationships in the church?

Here are a couple things I have been thinking about:

1. It becomes gossip when it is shared with new or weak Christians.
2. It becomes gossip when pray-ers tell other people, whether they are believers or not.
3. It becomes gossip when it is shared or talked about in public by the pray-ers.
4. It becomes gossip when it is a form of entertainment to talk about it.
5. It becomes gossip when it demands that the hearer choose a side instead of praying objectively.

Those are starters to "prime the pump". I would love to hear how you draw the line for yourself before you spread information you have received from someone else.

Who should you talk to? When should you not ask for prayer for someone else's personal issues? When is it appropriate to choose sides? What do you do when you feel someone else has overstepped their boundaries and entered into a place of gossip? Should you do something? How does gossip effect the church? What does it do to trust, friendship and love for your neighbor? Do you usually check your sources, or just pass information along?

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The "Daniel Fast"

There are two different teachings about what a "Daniel Fast" is.

Jentezen Franklin teaches about a "Daniel Fast" based on Daniel 1:8-12. This picks up where Daniel and his friends were taken into captivity, but selected as strong young men to be trained and educated as leaders in Babylon. Daniel and friends committed not to defile themselves with the food from the king's table, but to only eat vegetables and drink water.

Susan Gregory has written a book called, The Daniel Fast, based on Daniel 10:2-3. Here, Daniel committed himself to "eat no pleasant food," for three weeks. For Daniel, the food to be avoided was meat and wine. Though there are no specific foods listed that should be eaten, Gregory refers to vegetables (including fruit) and water. This seems to hearken back to the Daniel 1 passage.

Question: The passage in Daniel chapter 1 is really not about a "fast", is it? Daniel doesn't want to defile himself by eating the food from the king's table at all. This is a dietary decision Daniel is making for life, not a limited time of fasting. He asks Ashpenaz, the king's official, to test them for ten days and see what difference his dietary choice makes, but his plan is to keep eating like that for life.

Do you think it matters that Daniel 1 isn't referring to a "fast" when someone teaches that, anyway? Have you ever done a "Daniel Fast"? Like the "Trinity" or the "Rapture", the term "Daniel Fast" is never used in scripture. Does that matter?

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Practice of "Fasting"

Why do you think people in the Bible fasted? Do you believe there is still a reason to fast before God, today? What is that reason? Have you ever fasted? What was the result?

I would love to hear your actual answers to these questions. I am not posting them for you to merely ponder, I would like some response to these questions.

God is good all the time. The prayer of a righteous man is still powerful and effective. His ear is turned toward His children. Where, then, does "fasting" come in?