Loyalty Lost

No one needs to be told that ours has become a “dog eat dog” and “what have you done for me lately” world.  One casualty (or culprit?) of this trend has been the loss of loyalty.  What we may not realize is how this loss of loyalty has affected our physical and spiritual relationships....

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The Two Most Important Questions in Life

There are many important questions in life. “Where will I go to school?” “What will I do for a living?”  “Who will I marry?” “Where will we live?”  “Will we have any children?”  “How many children will we have?”  “How are we going to afford to raise all these children?”  “Which of all of these children will select my nursing home (and pay for it!)?”  Etc. Etc. Etc.  But as important as these questions may be, two are even more vital…

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Circumstantial Faith

Faith is defined as “the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen,” Hebrews 11:1.  This means, at least in part, that those of faith have trustable guarantees regarding their future hope of heaven, and convictions regarding events not personally witnessed from the past.   For instance...

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Burdens of Life

Have you ever been really “burdened” with some heavy load of care, responsibility, debt, etc.?  Most of us have.  How did it feel when, through whatever means, that burden was lifted?  The thrill and freedom of emancipation brings a feeling of relief, joy, and exaltation that only liberty can provide!  The trouble is that most of us feel suffocated by pressures of the wrong burdens.  I don’t mean that the burdens themselves are wrong, or that we shouldn’t be concerned about them, but rather that we’re probably over-emphasizing them and concentrating the bulk of our anxiety on the wrong burden(s).  For instance…

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“Study Long, Study Wrong”?

I remember hearing the admonition, “Study long, study wrong” in a couple of different instances:  friends urging me to answer some question in a school class when I was taking too long for their level of patience; and, buddies egging me on to action while I contemplated some (surely juvenile) dare.  Perhaps the adage is a derivative of “He who hesitates is lost”- who knows?  Regardless of origin, is “study long, study wrong” actually true?

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Why Aren’t People Afraid of God and Hell Anymore?

Fear, or the lack therefore, is very much a part of our pop-culture.  Allow two opposing bumper stickers to illustrate (with apologies in advance), “Fear This” vs. “Ain’t Skeerd!”  Both of these stickers are trading on fear.  It seems our society is obsessed with fear- on one side by promoting it through intimidation, and on the other by claiming immunity from it.

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Once Upon a Time…

In a place not unlike this one, a new minister moved to town, fresh from the seminary.  He soon realized that most of the men, including virtually all of the city’s preachers, regardless of affiliation, gathered early every morning (except Sunday, of course) for coffee at the corner cafe.  Nearly all of them, including the parsons, had lived most of their lives in this little community, and seemed to enjoy the morning ritual.  Wanting to fit in, the “new man in town” decided to join them in an effort to get better acquainted.  And so he went.  Everyone seemed cordial enough, almost welcoming, but it was also obvious to him that he would have to “earn his place” to be really accepted into the group… but how?

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“Traditional” versus “Contemporary”?

In the last decade or so, a struggle has emerged amongst religious folks between “traditionalists” (those favoring the “older” or more “traditional” ways) and “contemporists” (yeah, I made it up, but it means those favoring the “newer” or more “contemporary” ways).   The conflict usually centers on the methods of worship, but extends also to other areas of church function and fellowship. However, since worship seems to be at the center, we’ll concentrate our efforts there for now.

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Why People Change Spiritually….Or Don’t

Change is difficult for most folks, especially major life-altering changes.  This is why repentance is probably the most arduous command given us by God.  Repentance requires a change of mind that results in a change of heart that leads to a change of activity.  But repentance, and the changes it inherently requires, remains a constant challenge for anyone who seeks to grow and mature spiritually because this maturation process demands continual corrections.  Some of these “corrections” are at least marginally easier because they involve only minor adjustments to our attitude or activities, but the degree of difficulty certainly increases when more major alterations are required.  So, what are the most significant factors that allow, or conversely prevent, these spiritual changes in our lives?  While this list is certainly not exhaustive, here are some of the most significant factors…

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Not Speaking Evil of the Dead

We’ve all heard the cautionary rebuke, “Don’t speak evil of the dead.”  Such is probably good advice for a number of reasons:  1) we rarely have sufficient information to issue even a “fair” judgment of their life, cf. 1Samuel 16:7 and 1Corinthians 2:11;  2) we certainly don’t have the prerogative to judge their afterlife (eternal destiny), Romans 14:10-12; and, 3) we really shouldn’t be “speaking evil” of anyone, living or dead, Ephesians 4:29-32.  But…

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