Saturday, January 17, 2009


"And they continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers."
Acts 2:42

Acts 2:42 gives us an interesting glimpse into early church life. Here we find four things emphasized.

They continued steadfastly in:

The apostles' doctrine (teaching, receiving and doing)
Breaking of bread (eating together)

What we really have here is a picture of community at work. People who were together a lot! Acts 2:46 indicates they were together daily. It is easy to compartmentalize our lives: church, work, home life, friends, etc and all too often that's where things stay and we miss much that God has for us.

One of the greatest joys of the Christian life for me is relationships. We eat together a lot at our church. Some of the eating is done at church while some is done in other places. This last Thursday we were part of group that got together at Cracker Barrel. Those times are precious. It is in those times that we really get to know one another. It is our involvement in each others lives that really begins to bring meaning and purpose to what we do at church.

We've never been called to walk this journey alone. God calls us sheep. Part of the reason for that is that we have a need for community. We have a need for other people. We need one another in the body of Christ.

In Philippians 1:3-5 Paul wrote, "I thank my God upon every remembrance of you,always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy, for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now." Fellowship is the Greek word koinonia and it means so much more than just getting together for the occasional church supper. It's the same word we get communion from. It is a word that really points to the enmeshment of our lives together in the body of Christ. Paul had a special bond with the church at Philippi.

And maybe that's the point. We need people in our lives who we can share our hurts and struggles, as well as our joys and victories, with. We need friends who will laugh with us and cry with us and give us real help when we need it.

Ultimately, so much of life comes down to relationships. Relationships seed the opportunity to bless when we have the ability to do so and receive when we need help.

God loves you so much! Ask the Lord to get you hooked into folks who live the love of God!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

New Wineskins

And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; or else the new wine bursts the wineskins, the wine is spilled, and the wineskins are ruined. But new wine must be put into new wineskins." (Mark 9:22)

In Biblical times wineskins were made from whole tanned goat skins with the head, legs and tails removed. New wineskins were used because the skin was still flexible. Wine put in an old stiff wineskin would cause it to burst as carbon dioxide was given off in the fermentation process. Think of a balloon. If you keep blowing on a balloon eventually it will burst. New wineskins were flexible enough to expand and strong enough not to burst.

The example Jesus gives us here is a poignant one concerning our need for humility and a teachable heart. One of the worst places we can be is when we think we already know everything --when we judge the sermon we just heard or the Bible verse we just read through our own lens. If the pastor agrees with me it was a good sermon. If he doesn’t it was obviously a bad sermon. If the Bible verse doesn't line up with my theology there must be a way to explain it away.

That’s one of the things I love about the Word of God. The Word of God will keep you humble if you let it. Years ago I made up my mind that I was not going to argue against God’s Word or try to make it line up with what I believe. That was one of the best decisions of my life.

Receiving the Word with joy will help you to be a new wineskin. Some people look at passages that Jesus said about prayer, or the Holy Spirit, or the power of God and then go into tortured logic to try to explain why they’re not for today. I want to read those verses and be challenged. I want to be inspired in my personal walk with the Lord. If Jesus said we would do greater works than He did then I want to embrace that – not fight against it.

When you read Bible passages that challenge your belief system does your heart leap with joy and expectation or do you quickly run to try to find a way around it?

Maintain a humble and teachable heart. Living the Christian life with wonder and excitement makes it a precious and rewarding journey. Don't try to submit the Word of God to your beliefs and circumstances. Submit your beliefs and circumstances to the Word of God. You'll be glad you did.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Laughter Does the Heart Good

I got these from a friend of mine by email. They're supposedly taken from real court transcriptions. Enjoy. They'll make you laugh!

Q: What is your date of birth?

A: July fifteenth.

Q: What year?

A: Every year.

Q: What gear were you in at the moment of the accident?

A: Gucci sweatshirt and Reeboks.

Q: So the date of conception (of the baby) was August 8th?

A: Yes.

Q: And what were you doing at that time?

Q: She had three children, right?

A: Yes.

Q: How many were boys?

A: None.

Q: Were there any girls?

Q: How was your first marriage terminated?

A: By death.

Q: By whose death was it terminated?

Q: Can you describe the individual?

A: He was about medium height and had a beard.

Q: Was this a male, or a female?

Q: Doctor, how many autopsies have you performed on dead people?

A: All my autopsies are performed on dead people.

Q: All your responses must be oral, OK? What school did you go to?

A: Oral.

Q: Do you recall the time that you examined the body?

A: The autopsy started around 8:30 p.m.

Q: And Mr. Dennington was dead at the time?

A: No, he was sitting on the table wondering why I was doing an autopsy on him.

Q: What was the first thing your husband said to you when he woke up that morning?

A: He said, "Where am I, Cathy?"

Q: And why did that upset you?

A: My name is Susan.

Q: Doctor, before you performed the autopsy, did you check for a pulse?

A: No.

Q: Did you check for blood pressure?

A: No.

Q: Did you check for breathing?

A: No.

Q: So, then it is possible that the patient was alive when you began the autopsy?

A: No.

Q: How can you be so sure, Doctor?

A: Because his brain was sitting on my desk in a jar.

Q: But could the patient have still been alive, nevertheless?

A: Yes, it is possible that he could have been alive and practicing law somewhere