Wednesday, October 28, 2009

"Saved Through Childbearing" - A quote

Consider the following conclusion from Andreas Kostenberger's examination of 1 Timothy 2:15:

What does it mean, then, for a woman to be “kept safe [from Satan]”? It means, among other things, that she will not yield in her mind to false notions of what it means for her to be a woman and in particular a woman of God. It means that she will respect divinely set boundaries in the exercise of her spiritual gifts and ministry calling in trust and obedience to God’s Word. It means that she will find fulfillment in her domestic calling, in her relationship with her husband, in her role as mother and maker of the home, and in proper ministry involvements in God’s “household,” the church (see 1 Tim. 3:15).
The women who overstep these God-given boundaries, on the other hand, will not be “kept safe from being deceived [by Satan].” By pushing and transgressing the limits set by the Creator, those women will actually suffer a degree of loss of their God-given femininity. They will forfeit, at least to some extent, fulfillment in marriage, family, and the home. They will fall prey to error in interpreting Scripture, error very possibly not confined to their understanding of women’s roles in the church. They will disrupt (male-female) harmony in the church, creating division rather than promoting harmony as women and men serve God and others alongside each other in appropriate, God-ordained roles. And there may be other consequences, not the least grieving the One whose commands are ignored.

[Quote from Journal for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood Volume 2 (2:2). Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood.]

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Sermons Make A Difference!

My message on Sunday was "What To Do With Your Boss" from 1 Peter 2:18-25. Basically, we've got to submit to our boss, even if he's mean or not a believer. When we learn to do this, God can do miracles in our workplace. But if we refuse, we quench the Spirit of God from moving.
Sometimes I wonder, though, if my preaching ever makes a difference in anyone's life. A REAL difference: not just that they chuckled at a joke or their spirit was lifted up for five minutes, but are lives actually being changed?
Then I received the following note on Facebook from a faithful church member on Tuesday: "On our team call this morning, I shared with the group what the sermon was about this past Sunday and told them all that as a result, they had all been prayed for every day on my way to work. My boss was quite taken aback and actually stuttered, not knowing how to respond. They (all 5 of them) at least know that they are being prayed for and my boss actually wanted to know more about the sermon--gave me a great chance to 'share'. Thanks for the fuel."
It's good to know that God is moving in the hearts of His people as they move outside the four walls of where we gather.
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Thursday, October 15, 2009

A Church Without Criticism

The magazine "Popular Science" recently gave a brief report on Dennis Hong, the leader of Virginia Tech's Robotics and Mechanisms Laboratory. He talked about one aspect of being raised in Korea: "I grew up in an environment of people being afraid or ashamed to speak up. In my lab there's no criticism, only refinement."

I believe that God has placed within the hearts of His people in every church the ability and knowledge to overcome the issues hindering that church's health and growth. So why won't more people be an active part of the solution? A few possible reasons:
  • Fear of commitment - Some people keep to themselves their ideas to make their church better because they know that they will be asked to take a leadership role in the transformation.
  • Hindered flow of communication - Many leaders of churches fail to provide members with two necessary things: (1) permission and encouragement to make suggestions; and (2) an easy means by which to do so.
  • A critical heart - Unfortunately, some members have allowed an unchecked critical spirit to become entrenched in their hearts. Although they may have good ideas, they choose to complain about the current condition to people who can't do anything about it, which results with that critical spirit being multiplied many times over.
  • Fear of being critical - Many Christians are like Dennis Hong was: fearful of speaking up. The knowledge that the Spirit of God has placed in their hearts becomes buried, and the people of God cannot be edified.
When God's people aren't talking to one another (and perhaps instead talking about one another), Satan gains a victory. Imagine, though, what would happen if we adopted the mindset that says, "In my church there's no criticism, only refinement."
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