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Archive for May, 2014

Why is it that we Christians can’t seem to accept one another?

My wife and I grew up in the organized church, and we have many friends who are part of the four-wall system. Yet, after many years of feeling uneasy, questioning, thinking there has to be more than just sitting in a pre-planned service every week, we decided to look for fellowship elsewhere. We feel sitting in a service every week, listening to someone else tell us what they think God is saying is really not very biblical.

The Bible talks about the priesthood of ALL believers. 1 Peter 2:5, 9. It talks about when we assemble, each one has something to say. 1 Corinthians 14:26. We say we are going to the Lord’s house, yet the Bible says we are the temple of the Holy Spirit 1 Corinthians 6:19.

Truthfully, how much fellowship do you get sitting in a service, looking at the back of someone’s head? The most fellowship I remember in a situation like that was when the pastor told us to get up and shake somebody’s hand. I don’t call that fellowship.

We are finding more fellowship outside the walls of organized church when we meet with other Christians during the week. We meet in houses, cafes and restaurants. We talk about what God is doing and what grace means to us. We are getting to know one another, we pray for one another and care about each other. Open discussion makes more sense to us rather than just sitting, listening to one person talk.

People say by not going to church, we are disobeying the Bible where it says to not forsake the assembling of yourselves together. We always ask where it says that it has to be in a particular place on a particular day in an organized service. It doesn’t say that, and meeting anytime two or three come together, talking, praying, enjoying each other is a more meaningful assembly to us.

I say all of this to ask this question, why can’t we accept each other at the place we are currently in our walk with God. It doesn’t make a difference if you go to church or not, if you think of Sunday is a holy day or not. It’s OK to think of every day as the Lord’s day and not just Sunday, or to realize church isn’t a building you go to but a people, saved by grace, living their lives for God daily.

If we could realize God is working in each of us in different ways. We are at different stages in our walk with Him. We all aren’t going to be the same. Let’s accept each other and not try to force our way of thinking on everyone else.

God is our focus. Loving Him and loving each other is what we are commanded to do under the New Covenant. Other than that, we should let our way of doing things be just that…our way. We should not expect everyone to agree with us.

None of us have it all figured out. None of us are right on everything. Many interpretations and ideas in the Bible will never be known this side of heaven, yet we get mad at other Christians when they see things differently. Let’s just accept each other in the love of Christ, realizing that He is in control and He will lead us into His truth in His timing. It isn’t our job to force others to see things our way. It is our job to love each other, accept each other and pray for one another. God will do the rest.

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Love is the main theme when we think of God. God is love. Yet many ‘churches’ focus more on the wrath of God and eternal damnation for those who don’t repent and turn to God.

God loves everyone and has made a way for everyone to receive the gift of salvation by His grace. God does not force this gift on anyone. He has given us free will to make our own decisions.

Christians should be known by the love they have for others. Yet it seems many of us are known more by our condemning spirits.

Hell and the thought of eternal torment is a major scare tactic to some. There are also many thoughts and interpretations on an actual hell. Is it real, is it eternal. None of us can prove or disprove whether hell is a real place or not, but why is it we tend to use this to draw people to Christ?

God does not want anyone to spend eternity in a place of torment. He has provided the way to live with Him forever. It is much better to focus on the fact the God loves us all, and wants us to live as one with Him, not just escape the thought of eternal punishment. What father would want his child to love him out of fear of punishment? We want our children to love us out of pure love and because we love them.

When we love someone, we want to do things that please that person and make them happy. Same with God, we want to be pleasing to Him and do things for Him. We don’t do these things out of obligation, or because of rules and regulations. That’s law. We do them out of love and the power of the Spirit within us. That is the same way we should help lead others to Christ, through love.

This article was published on the May 2014 Synchroblog “What The Hell?” Following are the other Synchroblog contributors.

Jeremy Myers – Does Jesus Talk About Hell More Than Heaven?
Wesley Rostoll – Hell, thoughts on annihilationism
K. W. Leslie – Dark Christians
Angie Benjamin – Hell Is For Real
Paul Meier – Hell Is For Real – I’ve Been There and Came Back
Glenn Hager – Abusing Hell
The Virtual Abbess – What The Hell?
Kimbery Klein – Hell, if I know.
Liz Dyer – Hell? No!
Loveday Anyim – Why the hell do you believe in hell?
Linda – If you died today, where would you go?
Edwin Aldrich – What the Hell do we really know.

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Have you ever sat down and asked yourself this question….who am I? Not necessarily the ‘who am I, why am I here’ question, but who is the real me.

A couple friends and I were talking recently and we got on this subject. We were asking each other who truly knows us, the real us.

Most of us really aren’t known by those whom we have a casual relationship, and really, most of us aren’t deeply and truly known by those few people we consider close, intimate friends.

We are good at putting on the proper mask to hide the real us when we are around others. I do it, you do it, pretty much all of us do it. There is something down within us that feels if people knew the real us, they wouldn’t like us or accept us. I’m not sure why that is, other than a natural feeling from way back when Adam and Eve tried to hide from God.

Fortunately, our Father isn’t like that. He truly loves us. Even if we aren’t completely open with Him, He knows more about us than we know ourselves….and He still loves us.

If we could just get to the point to not worry about what everyone else thinks about us and know we are loved by God no matter what, I think our relationships with each other would actually improve. We could be ourselves, open and honest, and not store up all the frustrations, questions, lonely feelings and junk we all think.

If each of us could be more like our Father and love each other no matter what, our fellowship together would be so much better. No more putting on masks, no more covering up things we don’t want others to know.

Now truthfully, if that will ever happen this side of heaven, I don’t know, but it certainly is a goal to shoot for. I am so thankful we have a Father who loves us no matter what. We don’t need to put on a mask and hide our true self from Him. He knows us and loves us just as we are. Now, if we could just be the same with each other.

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Colossians 3:5, 9-11 Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry…Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices, and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him, a renewal in which there is no distinction between Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and freeman, but Christ is all, and in all…

As followers of Christ, our old nature has been killed and buried. We are new creatures in Christ. We no longer have to serve sin because Christ has set us free.

Our old sinful nature was crucified with Christ. It was dead and buried and now a new, holy and righteous creature has risen and is alive in Christ.

We have Christ living in us and we can rely on His power to overcome temptation by His strength. Because of Him we can live a life free from the guilt and punishment of sin. The sinful nature is still in the ground and a new person now lives as one with God. He put His Spirit within us and made us His dwelling place.

When God looks at us, He sees His child that has been changed by the grace of Christ. We are now holy and righteous in His sight. Not because of anything we have done, but because of the work Christ did. We no longer have to work to earn salvation. After accepting the grace of God, we no longer have to strive to keep the law. The law was good in that it was a tutor to lead us to Christ. The law was fulfilled by Christ and now that we are His, we live by faith in the grace He provided.

In Christ, we are all brothers and sisters in Christ. There is no upper level or lower level child of God. The is no Jew or Greek, male or female, clergy or laity. Each one of us make up an equally important and functioning part of the body. We are all saved by grace and living under the headship of Christ. Christ is our all in all.

May we continue to grow in Grace and let Him have the preeminence.

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