What attracts people to the variety of churches that are in the world today? It seems that churches in the past attracted people with their elegant buildings—at least by the looks of them—and maybe that still applies to some. But now it seems that they more often interest people by their programs, their music performances, or their preaching that doesn’t step on toes. and many will go for the freedom that they can enjoy at a particular church while still being called Christians.
What do plain suits, holy kisses, and no life insurance have in common? What do female preachers, homosexual practice, and killing enemies have in common? What do stubbly faces, country music, and large bellies have in common? Winking.
It is either loyalty to the Lord Jesus Christ or a wink. Winks happen. Winks are effortless. Winks are cheap. But winks communicate. Winks tell whole stories. Winkers recognize each other and they wink. But winkers live in a bubble. Unfortunately they do not know it.
Control is a delicate subject that requires balance. So many things around us seem to be out of control. As parents we must control our children and help them learn self-control. As a church we need some control to keep us on the narrow way to Glory. But in the exercise of control there is potential for abuse! All human hearts have some tendency to err toward wanting more control than God has designed for us to have.
The photograph was poignant. It seemed to illustrate a contrast of world views. In the photograph was a crowd of people at a Fourth of July celebration with their eyes turned upward, watching a fireworks display. Dispersed among the crowd were a few sisters with headship veilings and their less noticeable male counterparts from the “peace churches,” exclaiming at the beauty of the display.
It could be said that value is in the eye of the beholder. Value is described as the importance or worth that we place upon something. We measure worth by the qualities we perceive. While viewpoints and perceptions vary greatly in the world today, most people place family and friends high on the list of what they value.
There are signs upon the earth that God is warming it once more according to His promise of seedtime and harvest, cold and heat. Wild geese flying north and other warm weather birds are responding in like manner. Flowers are pushing the ground away from above them and making their beautiful appearance.
Many years ago, a certain fisherman was caught in a sudden storm. As he desperately made toward shore, the sea grew rougher and wilder. Alas, before he could reach safety, a huge wave capsized his boat, plunging him into the roaring sea. He knew that without help, his life would soon be over.
“That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgment of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ” (Col 2:2).
May 26 is Memorial Day. This day honors the memory of those who lost their lives in battle. These men and women did offer the ultimate sacrifice to a cause. It probably inspires people to want to be brave and loyal like them. Some may even become soldiers; others will probably display Grandpa’s medals and apply his code of ethics to their lives; still others may simply brag about Grandpa and live lives that he would never endorse.
The Christian, for reasons not totally visible to him, is called to walk through the land of an enemy king on his way to the Celestial City. Christ in His high priestly prayer acknowledges the difficulty of this journey and prays not that we can detour, but rather that we can endure. “And now come I to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves. I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.