October 2016


I worked my part of my way through college and seminary as a sales associate at Kmart. I started with the company as an after-school worker in as a high school junior. One of the things I learned on that job were that the successful stores had one of two kinds of managers: those who you knew because of the impression they gave knew what they were doing and you were willing to do whatever they asked you to do, and those who, when they asked you to do something, got down on the floor and did it with you. At one point, a local store manager said that the in-store snack bar/café needed a thorough cleaning. When he asked me to use a couple of hours after closing to get on my hands and knees to scrub the floors by hand, he handed me one of two scrub brushes and proceeded to use the other himself.

Living the Christian life is like that. People need to know that we either have already gone through what we are asking them to go through, or that, although we’ve been there before, we are willing to get our hands and knees dirty while we serve with them.

The Christian life is not lived in isolation, but in community, and sometimes community gets messy. When it gets messy, we roll up our sleeves and serve. As Chuck Swindoll once observed, we need to “improve our serve.”

  “So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.”  –Jesus  (John 13:14)

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The Internet is a wonderful tool. We have grown accustomed to using it for work and play. We can do our research on-line. We can purchase almost anything we use around the office or home on-line. If we are unfamiliar with some idea, news item, or person, we can just “Google” it on-line and become better informed. A growing number of people have jumped on the bandwagon of social media to stay in touch with long lost friends, and even develop new friendships with like-minded people. We like to be connected via the Internet.

One thing that making these connections—business or casual, old or new—requires is our connection. One might say that our connections rely on our connection. If our connection to the information super-highway is slow or (worse) broken, then we miss some of the connections that we want to make with our friends.

The same is true for good discipleship. In order to grow we have to be connected. Certainly, if we want to grow spiritually we must have constant connection with God through Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. But this is only half of the necessary connection for growth. To be truly connected to God, we must also establish and keep connection with God’s people. This is usually done best through small groups in the local church. Get connected today, and stay connected for the future.

  “If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.” – (1 Corinthians 12:26)

Often when we think of the title “disciple” our minds go directly to the Twelve Chosen to be called Apostles. Truth be told we hardly ever think of ourselves as disciples. We like the label Christian, even with the modern baggage that has been attached to the word, because it identifies us as part of the group who believes in Jesus. For that matter, some people are more comfortable with the label “believer” because it focuses on the belief and not the following.

Then there are those of our number who have latched onto the label “Christ-follower” to emphasize the difference between what we believe and what believers in other faiths believe. I’m still partial to the name Christian because – regardless of the stigma (or maybe because of it) that has latched onto that name – it still means “one who is like Christ” or “Little Christ.”

In any case, we are still called by the One we follow to be and make disciples. So what does that look like? To begin with, a disciple is a person who initially comes to Christ for life. And he continues to come—daily, weekly, constantly—to Christ for his existence. Won’t you come to Jesus today?

  “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” –Jesus (Matthew 11:28)

What is the purpose of the church? That’s an appropriate question in any age, but especially for us today. Many people have an ingrained opinion about why we have church. Some people think that the church is a place for people to gather with their own kind and shut out others. It may be a place where we can stack up rules so neatly that they build a wall that no one can get over, under, or around.

I think perhaps, as we consider what the purpose of the church is, it might be better to find out how the Scripture directs the church. If we are to be the people described in the Bible we would be the Bride of Christ (presented to Him for eternity as one loved); the Pearl of Great price (a thing of beauty to be cherished and honored), and the Body of Christ (working together under the direction of the head who is Christ Jesus our Lord).

When we follow His direction we work together, we worship together, we welcome together, we worry together, and we witness together. We do this because we are directed by Christ, following His lead and direction, and obeying His command. We find our purpose and the plan for church in Christ’s Great Commission for the church.

 “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19-20)

Evie Tornquist Karlsson recorded a song some years ago that goes in part like this:

Many years have come and gone

Since He walked upon our ground

They say lives don’t last so long

So why’s His story hanging around . . .

Anybody here want-a live forever, say I do,

Anybody here want-a walk on golden streets, say I do,

Anybody here sick and tired of living like you do,

Anybody here want-a live forever, say I do.

It seems to be the wish of a host of people—immortality. The key to this dream of eternal existence boils down to one thing—what will we do with Jesus?

History records the words and deeds of a number of people, but they don’t live beyond their words or deeds unless they have believed on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is the same for us today. We can do every earthly thing in our power to leave a legacy, but if we desire to live forever, we must say, “I do” to the saving power of Jesus’ blood shed on the Cross some 2000 years ago. So, does anybody here want to live forever?

 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)