Well we are getting ready to head out to Uganda today, but I wanted to write a few things the Lord was speaking to me about the Church. I do not think any of this is earth shattering but hopefully it will speak to some. In Ephesians Paul talks about the different offices or positions within the church, and then speaks of it's purpose. In reality the church (local) has two functions - inreach and outreach. It does this first by preparing the members for works of service - visiting the sick, helping the poor, taking care of widows and orphans, ect. The second part is through building up of the body.
One of the neat things is to figure out how to prepare people for works of service. I think that there are four steps. The first is that people need to be taught correctly what they are supposed to do - not just a feel good message but a call to simple minded obedience. Secondly they need to have that modelled for them so they can see how it looks in real life. This is an area that we really lack in for the church as a whole. Obviously some do it better than others. Thirdly they need to get out and do the works of service themselves. The church needs to provide the opportunities and to encourage each person to engage. Lastly, for this to really work, those that do it need to then teach others also.
Building up the body involves both numerical growth and spiritual growth of the individual. This is accomplished in a number of ways and should result in believers who work together in unity, who are doctrinely sound, mature, look more and more like Christ, and each person is using his/her giftings for the body as a whole. What the world should see is a body of people who love each other in an amazing way, love them (the world) without cause and love God as ultimate in their lives.
O that we could function like this! I believe we can. Next I will share some thoughts on Christian community and how that can help us accomplish this goal.
Monday, June 23, 2008
Sunday, June 22, 2008
What is more fun than having a grandson? Celebrating his first birthday. We celebrated a little early since we are going to be gone on his actual birthday. Mary Beth and Luana had the place decorated splendidly. We ate Fiesta for lunch and then brought out the birthday cake. The Ogdens brought a huge cake with a smaller 8 inch diameter cake just for him. It did not take long for him to get his hands into it and soon all over his face. After that we brought out the presents and more pictures. He was not too interested in the presents (who would be after cake) but got some good stuff and is already picking up the balls. We cannot tell if he is right or left handed yet. All in all it was a fun time and a real blessing especially when we realize how long it was before he came into being and how much prayer was done on his behalf.
Friday, June 20, 2008
This is an unusual mid week Blog but I just had to put something in about this past Sunday which of course was Father's Day. It normally is not that big of a deal to me, and this one I really wanted to play down as it was also Mary Beth's birthday. But my kids would have nothing to do with that. They all loaded up the car and made the trek down from Dallas to be here for the day. I had previously asked that they not get gifts but to write down what they see me doing 5 years from now. It was so encouraging to have all of them mention teaching in one form or other. I am so blessed with four unbelievable children. All of them love the Lord and are pursuing Him passionately. I feel that I have a great relationship with all of them individually and each in a different way. So it was a great Father's Day and I spent the rest of it thanking my heavenly Father.
Sunday, June 15, 2008
Well Saturday was a unique day for us as we had our first outreach as a lifegroup. Six 50+ers went out to Cameron Park here in Waco and had a picnic. We then split up and went 2x2's around the park sharing the Good News with total strangers. It is pretty intimidating for us old folk but I was real proud of our group. I was teamed up with Terry Anderson and we got to meet a lot of neat people. Actually most everyone we met was a believer but we got to pray for them and I think encourage them. I know we were strengthened and emboldened. It is helpful when you realize that you are not selling anything but offering for free the best news in the world.
Sunday, June 8, 2008
Well we did not do any major activity so I had time to think. I know that can be a dangerous thing but it just seems to come natural. Anyway, there were two things that came to mind this week.
The first relates to gift giving. I was going to visit Jason and got something he needed but had not asked for it. Then I also got some plants for Amy and was excited to do all of this without any prodding. I then thought of the verse in Matt. where Jesus says that if you being evil know how to give good things to your children, how much more does your heavenly father give good gifts to those who love Him. So I realized that God also loved to bless us with gifts even without us asking. As long as we love Him, worship Him and obey Him, then He loves to bless. This is not the prosperity gospel, no guarantee but the heart of God. Also I know that we are encouraged to ask and so I am not exactly sure how it all fits together. That is for another day of thinking.
The other idea came about as I was talking to an elderly patient who was bemoaning all of her ailments. I mentioned that the good think about that is one begins to get an eternal perspective. One sees that death brings a new body and no pain and that starts to look better and better. For a young believer who feels good the thought of heaven, while always something to look forward to, is not acutely appealing. So the more we break down the more we look to eternity and I think that may be one of the outcomes of the fall. Next time you have an ache or pain look heavenward.
Sunday, June 1, 2008
Well this week we had our now annual DFW area hike with the girls. We found a nice little place in Cedar Hill called the Cedar Ridge Preserve which is maintained by the Dallas Audabon Society. It has about 10 miles of hiking trails and 630 acres of heavily wooded and very hilly terrain. It was alittle hot but was otherwise quite nice. WE took Jayden and it was a bit tough pushing him in his strollerup the rocks and hills but it was worth it. Look at the pics.
Then this weekend we got to spend it with Jason and Alex at their apartment. We had a blast but they wore us old folk out, thou8gh we did beat them in tennis!!!!