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Monday, November 23, 2009

Cold Heart, Cold Church

I don’t think a big church with a small heart is acceptable to God. I think He prefers a small church with a big heart, although there is nothing wrong with numeric growth. The infant church in Jerusalem grew mightily in response to Spirit-empowered preaching, but heartfelt fellowship characterized that church.

When church visitors receive a friendly greeting and a firm handshake, they are more likely to return and call that church “home” than if they are made to feel unwelcome. A pastor’s friendliness can’t compensate fully for a congregation’s coolness, but it can certainly set a good example for the congregation. As a former pastor, I have visited more than a few churches where the pastor snubbed me (no, I am not imagining this). Apparently, he felt threatened and didn’t want a former pastor in “his” church.

I admit I evaluate a sermon’s worth by its biblical, theological content, and I flinch emotionally when a pastor uses bad grammar; but when a pastor snubs me, he pushes me over the edge. I tell myself enough is enough and decide not to return to that church.  

I wonder how many other former pastors have encountered similar unfriendliness? I wonder, too, how many people from all walks of life have visited a church with a small heart.



Sunday, November 22, 2009

The "Value" of a Glove

How much would you be willing to pay for a pair of gloves? Five dollars? Ten dollars? Twenty-five dollars? How much would you pay for one glove? Nothing? Nichts? Nada? Rien? A single glove isn’t worth anything in any language, is it? But the other day, a man paid $350,000 for Michael Jackson’s premier “Moonwalk” glove. Amazing!

I suppose some people would be willing to pay even more than $350,000 for any item Jesus left behind. But you won’t find even a piece of His robe at an auction. But He did leave something behind that is readily attainable at a modest cost—the New Testament Scriptures. 

Before dying and rising from the dead, Jesus told His disciples that the Holy Spirit, whom He would send to them, would “teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I have said to you” (John 14:26). The Spirit guided and empowered the apostles to write inspired Scripture (2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:21). 

Your copy of the Scriptures—and mine—may not have cost us much, but it is far more valuable than Michael Jackson’s glove. It is a priceless treasure. A big question is, what value do we place of the Bible? Enough to read it, study it, and obey it?