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Thursday, June 18, 2009

How Firm a Foundation?

Loyalty to a church or denomination is fading as an increasing number of churchgoers flit from church to church without regard for doctrinal distinctives. And the unwillingness of some churches to reveal its denominational affiliation contributes to the phenomenon. Consequently, many churchgoers don’t know what they believe. All they need to know is what a church offers. Does it offer fun programs for all ages? Lively music? A hip, handsome, charming senior pastor?

Several years ago, a leaflet from a church showed up at our door. The name of the church was generic. The leaflet advertised fun programs, lively music, thrilling drama, and no long, boring sermons. I told my wife I would call the pastor and ask if he preached any short, boring sermons. She didn’t think that was a good idea.

But I did call and ask the pastor about his beliefs. He said he didn’t take a position on the matters I posed. It was another case of a pastor who wanted to be all things to all people in order to achieve maximum numeric growth.

Someone was asked, “What do you believe?”

He replied, ”I believe what my church believes.”

“And what does your church believe?”

“It believes what I believe.”

“And what do you and your church believe?”

“We both believe the same thing.”

Instead of being shaky about what we believe, we need to be shaken by what we believe. What beliefs keep you steady in an unsteady world?

Monday, June 15, 2009

Contrasting Sauls

Have you noticed the contrasts between Saul of the Old Testament and Saul (Paul) of the New Testament?
• Saul of the Old Testament was Israel’s first king. Saul of the New Testament was the Gentiles’ first apostle.
• Saul of the Old Testament started out little in his own eyes but became big in his own eyes. Saul of Tarsus, the Saul of the New Testament, started out big in his own eyes but became little in his own eyes. God became all-important to Saul of Tarsus after the risen Son of God confronted him on the road to Damascus.
• Saul of the Old Testament died in defeat (1 Sam. 31:2–4), Saul of the New Testament died as a victor (2 Tim. 4:6, 7).
• Saul of the Old Testament rejected God’s will and lost his crown (1 Sam. 15:26–28; 2 Sam. 1:10). Saul of the New Testament (the apostle Paul) embraced and fulfilled God’s will and anticipated a crown (Acts 26:26:19; 2 Tim. 4:8).

We make choices every day. Some are wise; a few are unwise. Let’s choose today to obey God’s will, fight the good fight, finish the race, keep the faith, and anticipate “the crown of righteousness.”