We continue our reading program in the Psalms. This week's reading is Psalm 67-68. Read and take note of how God is with His people! You can download the entire Reading Schedule here.
I'm Feeling More and More Like an Alien by Steve Patton
I am truly beginning to feel like an outsider in my own country. The cultural shift has become a landslide. My “cultural” views are no longer considered the norm by society it appears. I know that my conservative Christian views have always been somewhat right of center, but today I would be considered a bigoted, intolerant hatemonger by much of mainstream culture. My views haven’t changed in the last 40 years – but the world around me has. I truly feel like a “sojourner.” I am an alien in my own country.
I do fear what the future holds for the next generation of Christians. We are rapidly reaching a point where there will be no tolerance for biblically based New Testament Christianity. I suspect we are not that far from practicing another aspect New Testament Christianity - Christians persecuted openly for their beliefs and a government that will demand churches cease teaching against and “discriminating” against what the Bible clearly defines as immorality.
However, ff disciples could live faithfully in the first century then so can we. Practicing New Testament Christianity with love and compassion is all we can do. But we must stay true to our Lord and His Word. That is Peter’s exhortation to us “pilgrims” in his letter (1st Peter 2:11-25 – well worth rereading in context of how we should live in an anti-Christian society.) For some it may cost them everything in this life. But it will be worth it. We must be willing to “be faithful even to death” in order to receive the crown of life (Rev. 2:10). Our strength will lie in the Lord and in one another. I pray we will behave as Christians and be able to withstand the Evil One. We can still courageously shine as lights in real darkness if we try.
The Title Says A Lot by Josh Creel
A new Star Wars movie is coming out this December! And yes, I meant to use the exclamation point because me and my 5-year-old inner child are quite excited. Several months ago the title for the upcoming movie was released, Star Wars: The Force Awakens and ever since fans have tried to guess what the new movie is all about. No one knows what the movie will be about, but the title gives a clue that it involves the reemergence of "the force". Of course, the title also reveals that it's a Star Wars movie which means I'll see it at least a half dozen times in the theatre.
Titles can say a lot, and that is certainly true when we look at the various titles used in the Scripture. We believe and confess that Jesus "is the Christ" (Matt. 16.16), meaning we acknowledge that He is God's chosen / anointed One. We call ourselves Christians (Acts 11.26), meaning we belong to and follow the Christ. Now consider Paul's opening words to the brethren at Philippi, "to all the saints in Philippi, including the overseers and deacons." Three "titles" are used in those few words, each bearing important meanings. God's people are "saints" meaning that He has made them holy in His sight and fit for His use. The leaders of God's people are called "overseers" because He has charged them with overseeing His people. Similarly they are called "shepherds" elsewhere because they shepherd God's flock.
But what about the deacons? Today our elders will speak to us about appointing more deacons and the sermon will explore their work. One thing is for sure, the title "deacon" means a lot...