Saturday, November 30, 2013

One Church

Jesus prayed that we be ‘one’ but for almost 2,000 years the Christian Church has experienced divisions, splits, dissension and even heresy.

How can we possibly be ‘one Church’ when there is so much division?  Some churches have only male ministers while some allow females.  I’ve been in churches where their services last over two hours; in other churches, you can be out in thirty-five minutes. 

Some churches baptize babies, some only adults.   There are seven sacraments according to some but only two according to others. I actually know of one that counts thirteen!

Raising your hands for worship may be in vogue but in some churches it’s considered rude and inappropriate.   Music is likely one of the biggest differences and churches vary from having no instruments to having worship at 98 decibels.

While I could go on and list pages of differences there is still hope that we can be  “one”.   Deciding that we are One Church is still a choice despite what appears to be stark differences.    The choice is to look at our differences as interesting diversity within “One Church” rather than examples of different churches. 

Since 325 AD, the “One Church” has had a statement of faith, the Nicene Creed, as the litmus test of Christianity.  The thirty-five lines in the Creed are the essential beliefs that define what we can refer to as “orthodoxy”……not as the Greek or eastern branch of Christianity but in the true sense of the Greek word “orthos” meaning “right”  or “true”.

The Nicene Creed doesn’t mention the length of worship services, doesn’t mention the role of men or women.  The Nicene Creed doesn’t mention music at all and only has one word on baptism……not nearly enough to divide us.  The Nicene Creed is primarily about Jesus Christ, the Son of God and His role in the redemption of mankind.  We call this the gospel, the one thing that every Christian Church can agree on.

We can be “One Church” when we embrace the diversity within the church and rely on the “One Gospel” to bring unity.



Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Prayer - the antidote for worry

The Apostle Paul tells us about prayer and how to handle worry in his letter to the Philippians,
"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Being anxious and worried may be common but it is also a common problem.  All worry is nonproductive; too much worry can be disabling and lead to panic attacks and other behavioral issues. Paul's encouragement is a simple antidote for worry.  This verse also tells us three important things we can learn about prayer.  
  1. Prayer is an act of worship…that is why God is jealous of who we pray to.    Prayer connects us with a God who loves us, cares for us and is our present hope in our time of need.
  2. Prayer calls upon the ‘omni’s of god”  They include
    a. God’s omniscience –God is all-knowing
    b. God’s omnipresence - God is all-present/all-seeing
    c. God’s omnipotence - God is all-powerful
    d. God’s omni-benevolence – God is good
  3. Prayer provides peace.....it is the peace that passes understanding; it is the true answer in our time of need.


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Our small Christian non-profit ministry recently requested and received approval from the IRS to be re-classified as a ‘church’.      ...