“We then who are strong ought to bear with…the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, leading to edification. For even Christ did not please Himself….” (Romans 15:1-3)
Outside observers are often surprised to learn that in many cities after churches grow to a certain size, they cut off fellowship with all the other congregations in their area.
Pastors of those mega-churches pull away from the ministers of the small congregations in the same city, as though they now live in different worlds. They give the impression that they have been elevated to such a higher plane that the only ones who now speak their language lead churches of similar or greater size.
The truth, I sometimes suspect, is that they feel more comfortable with peers of similar status who also make the big bucks and do not feel guilty that their income is ten times that of the part-time preacher sitting next to them.
It’s utterly foolish, if you ask me. It’s prideful, egotistical, and completely counter-productive to the work of the Kingdom.
(We are posting these ‘small, unforgettable scriptures’ in sections of five each. This is the sixth. The first was posted on February 22, 2015. To find it, go to www.joemckeever.com and scroll back to that date. Scroll forward for subsequent segments. Eventually, we intend to have 20 segments for a total of 100 “scriptural delights.”)
26) No generation gap in our worship. Ezra 3:10-13.
Pastors find such wonderful preaching values (i.e., texts that speak to God’s people) in Ezra and Nehemiah that there is little point in my calling attention to anything. However, here are a couple of small insights that may be overlooked.
The remnant who have returned from exile in Babylon are working to rebuild the Temple which Nebuchadnezzar had destroyed. The work is backbreaking and slow, the resources slim, and the enemies and critics plentiful. So, at the point when they had completed rebuilding the foundation–perhaps nothing more than clearing it off and hosing it down!–they paused for a celebration. This was the holiest ground in the entire nation and now it was available once more for worship.
“If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation” (2 Corinthians 5:17).
I had to rewrite my resume’ today for our blog and for a program where I’ll be speaking soon. That’s when I realized that somewhere the material should state that I was recently widowed.
How exactly does one do this? And what’s the best way? And is it absolutely necessary? And why does it hurt so badly to type in those words?
One of the decisions I find myself making daily is whether or not to tell the person I’m talking with that everything has changed in my life. Does the lady at the dry cleaners need to know? Margaret never came in, so they didn’t know one another.
I told a complete stranger at Walmart today.
(This is the fifth segment of five brief Bible studies, on our way to 20 segments containing one hundred mini-studies. The idea is to select very brief but poignant biblical texts, those we tend to rush past, and pull us back for more spiritual nourishment. To check out the previous segments, go to www.joemckeever.com and scroll back into January, 2015.)
21) There’s something in Exodus 20 we must not miss. And it’s not the Ten Commandments!
“An altar of earth you shall make for me, and you shall sacrifice on it your burnt offerings….. If you make me an altar of stone, you shall not build it of hewn stone; for if you use your tool on it, you have profaned it” (Exodus 20:24-25).
I find this stunning. In the same chapter where God gives Israel the Ten Commandments, He makes provisions for an altar. Altars are places of death, where animals are slaughtered as sin-substitutes. According to this text, the altar could be made of dirt or rock, either one.
So much for the way of salvation being to “just keep the commandments.” (The next time you hear someone say that is their religion, ask them why God included provisions for an altar in the same chapter. They will not have an answer, believe me.)
You poor thing. Life has been boring for you lately, and you have been searching for a way to perk it up, to insert a little anxiety into your days and wakefulness into your nights. We have the answer for you. Eleven answers, in fact.
Here are Joe’s tried-and-proven techniques, all guaranteed to add frustration to your existence….
!. Buy a computer.
That’s all. Just get a computer. From the first, you will be frustrated just looking for the “start” or “on/off” switch. You will gnash your teeth trying to figure out how to get everything out of the box and set it up. You will learn the definition of words someone made up, like “modem” and “yahoo” and “google.” Then, after your 10-year-old puts it all together and makes everything work, you will tear your hair out on an average of at least once a week.
This is not an exaggeration. It’s why a large percentage of computer-users are bald. It’s why almost no old people are on the computer. They would have been, but the stress killed them before they got out of middle age.
The computer is perfect for people with insufficient frustration in their lives.
(For previous segments on this series, go to our blog, www.joemckeever.com, and scroll back.)
16) The leper who broke the law when expressing his great faith. Matthew 8:1-3 and Mark 1:40-45.
It’s so easy to run right past great scriptural blessings. Take this tiny incident….
According to Leviticus 13:45, lepers were to withdraw when healthy people drew near. They were to call out “Unclean! Unclean!” lest the person accidentally brush them and become ceremonially tainted, or worse, catch something contagious. But look at this leper. He spots Jesus and runs toward Him. Falling to his knees in front of the Lord, he calls out, “If you are willing, you can make me clean.”
Interesting way of putting it: “I know you are able; what I don’t know is whether you are willing.”
Both Matthew and Mark tell us Jesus reached out and touched the man. Remember, lepers were called “untouchable” for good reason. But Jesus touched him.
Gotta love Jesus. (I do!)
Swagger: To carry oneself–walking, talking, daily activities–with an attitude of confidence, even boldness.
Here is our Scripture for today, class:
“Be strong and of good courage. Do not fear them. The Lord is with you. Since God is for us, who can be against us? I can do all things through Him who strengthens me!”
There! That’ll put the iron in your backbone, Christian.
Three quick little incidents need relating here….