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Honoring Our Parents

4/24/2015Posted by Melissa


One of the first verses I had my children memorize was Ephesians 6:1: Children obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.  I liked having a verse that specifically applied to children, and if they obeyed the verse, it helped me out!  However, the mandate to honor and obey parents is not limited to people under 18.  In the lists of sinful activities in Romans 1 and 2 Timothy 3 have "disobedient to parents" among such sins as murder and malicious gossip. Serious stuff.  How can we as adult children make sure that we are not falling into sin as regards the people who raised us? Once again, we must turn to the example of Jesus.  As an adult, he showed us how to respect our parents by the way he treated his own mother.
The first miracle Jesus did was not his idea.

After Acts: A Book Review

4/22/2015Posted by Melissa


All of the apostles except John were martyred.  Peter was crucified upside down because he refused to be killed in the same way Christ was.  Paul went to Spain, and Matthew evangelized cannibals.  I've heard these statements all my life, and although I knew they weren't recorded in the Bible, I assumed that the stories were based on reliable historical fact.  When I read After Acts: Exploring the Lives and Legends of the Apostles, by Bryan Litfin, I was surprised to find out that "early church tradition" isn't as reliable (or as early!) as I had thought. 
Mr. Litfin establishes early in the book that the stories and traditions he believes are most accurate are those that are based on "early attestation from multiple reliable sources."  In other words, medieval stories from the 6th century that cannot be traced back any farther are probably not true because at that time, many tales were being made up without reference to fact.

Letters of Encouragement

4/20/2015Posted by Melissa


On today's Make a Difference Monday, I'd like to share with you something our congregation does to fulfill the command to encourage one another (1 Thessalonians 5:11,14; Hebrews 3:13, 10:25).  We have a long list of people who could use encouragement on a long term basis.  About half are prisoners in our prison ministry, and the other half are the chronically sick, missionaries, college students, soldiers, and anyone else who needs to be built up on a regular basis.  Our congregation is divided into four "teams." Each week, one team leader writes a letter of encouragement and makes enough copies for each person on our encouragement list.  Then the members of the team sign the letters, hopefully leaving a short personal note as well. 
At first, I thought this was a little odd.

The Sins of Un-

4/17/2015Posted by Helene


We often think of sin as "the bad things we do" or even the "the bad things we think."  More rarely someone understands that even the bad things we feel, for example hatred or covetousness are wrong and should have been submitted to Christ.   This is a "positive" view of sin.  In other words, this way of thinking understands sin as "The things we do, think, or feel that we should not."
However, this does not account for at least half of the Bible's definition.  God's perspective on sin includes "The good we fail to do". For example, James' famous line, "Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin" (James 4:17). This is one of those lines that in is apt to be read radically.  I can't save the world, feed all the hungry, house all the homeless, or take in all the orphans.