Tag Archives: serve

Falling Christians

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Have you ever been around a child who is absolutely sure they know everything? They correct everyone around them, even adults. They look at others with a huff of disgust as they realize the other person doesn’t know something they think is so simple. They are constantly spouting facts to make themselves look intelligent.

When you think of these kinds of people what words come to mind? Arrogant, conceited, proud, condescending, spoiled, self-centered?

Usually these people can’t even see what they are doing and how they are behaving because their need to be right supersedes their ability to consider others. Well meaning young people with no sense of humility.

I’m reminded of what Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived, once said:

Proverbs 16:18
Pride goes before destruction,
a haughty spirit before a fall.

As we examine our own lives we often find that we easily fall into this same attitude as adults. We are called to seek God, and the more we study and spend time with Him the more we realize just how little we know. The more we understand our sin, the more we realize just how benevolent and generous the grace and forgiveness of God really is.

Yet there is still an attitude among some church people today that is full of the kind of arrogance that scripture warns about time and time again. It is the arrogance of thinking we have it all figured out, and we know how to do this just right.

It is important for us to have standards and beliefs upon which we stand, but we also have to have an attitude of humility that is able to see that some don’t understand things the same way we do and that’s OK.

As you study scripture you see that some things are essentials, but many things that church people argue about are not. Salvation is essential, but Sunday morning dress code isn’t. Following Christ is essential, but having the right name on the door to the church is not. Worshipping God is essential, but the bible lists a variety of ways in which we do that with all of our being. Unity of the church is essential, but uniformity is not.

If we sit in judgment over another brother or sister then we have dethroned God and put ourselves in His place. He is the judge. We are called to love. We are called to serve. We are called to be selfless.

Some people think they have the right doctrine, but they can’t see the inconsistencies to which they themselves hold. They are busy pointing out the minute things others are doing wrong while ignoring the fact that Jesus got more angry about the arrogant religious people than the humble sinners. In their self-perceived spiritual maturity they don’t realize that they are being more immature than those they’re judging.

Some people think that just because a church has the “correct” name on the building then they are the true church. That too is arrogance. Again, we judge the hearts and motives of others whom we do not know just because they attend a church with a name different than ours.

Paul says this in Romans 12:3:
“Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.”

We must remember that Christ came and brought division, but only in families where some wanted to follow him and others didn’t. He came to bring unity to the church, and that is what he prayed for fervently in john 17. We cannot set ourselves as judge over another’s intentions, heart or even salvation and still maintain the unity of the body. Our job is to teach the truth. We can’t force people to listen, but we can love them no matter what.

The next time you see someone in church acting a way you think is in error check your attitude. Are you loving or condemning? Then pray for yourself and that other person that unity can prevail in spite of differences. Finally, go spend time serving and loving that person.

The church should be defined by its love and humility – not by its arrogance and judgmental attitudes. May you grow in your ability to love God, love Others, and be like Jesus.

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Any ole excuse will do…

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In Luke 14, Jesus tells an odd little story.  It’s also mentioned in Matthew 22.

In this story, a rich man holds a great banquet, not unlike a party of today, and he invites all his friends and relatives and coworkers and other influential people, but one-by-one they all make excuses as to why they can’t come.  This hurts the master, and frustrates him too, so he orders the servants to go out and drag in all the poor and oppressed people off the streets of his town.  After they do all that, he has them go out into the countryside and get all those people too so that the party would be a full success.

Jesus said this is like the kingdom of heaven, and I believe it.

First of all, the kingdom of heaven and the kingdom of God are terms that are interchangeable for the same concept.  This is the rule or reign of God in our lives here on earth that causes us to be citizens of heaven.  Like the song says, “This world is not my home…”

We then, as Christians, are citizens of heaven, and you know we are citizens when you see the reign of God in our lives.  However, there are many people today who are just like these townsfolk in Luke 14.

These people make excuse after excuse as to why they shouldn’t attend the banquet.  One has some new oxen and needs to try them out.  One just bought a field and needs to go inspect it.  One just got married.

People today make similar excuses when faced with the decision of whether or not to follow God’s guidance in their life.  I see it all the time.  Someone has an opportunity to serve in some capacity to help others, but they are tired or have a party to go to.  Someone has an opportunity to tell someone else about Jesus, but they just aren’t gifted in that way – let someone else do it.  Someone has an opportunity to be at church with the rest of the kingdom of God, but it’s too early or too dull or too whatever.

As Christians, we are called to live as Children of God.  We are expected to be citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven, but this kingdom is not a democracy.  It is a totalitarian dictatorship with God as supreme ruler.  The difference here that makes it attractive, however, is that the citizens get pardon after pardon because of the King’s Son.  The citizens are treated with respect and love.  The citizens were created by the King, and the King knows how each citizen should live to have the best life possible – eternal life.

So what kind of citizen are you?  Do you make excuse after excuse as to why you don’t need to do more than attend church every now and again?  Or are you the kind of citizen who follows God and allows Him to reign in your life?

I think that you’ll find the latter option to be the most fulfilling, rewarding existence possible.  Just today I heard someone say that you’ll never find happiness through self seeking.  It seems that it would work out great to please yourself in order to be happy, but it actually works quite the opposite.

So seek God and His reign in your life, and stop making excuses about it.  Then, get to the banquet – we have one every Sunday (we call it communion).


A Call to Renewal

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Well, it’s official. Phil Robertson has been reinstated to the show “Duck Dynasty”. Vast populations of Americans have been up in arms about the decision to remove him from this show. Phil has been quoted out of context by innumerable sources in order to fuel this flame. People have been vocal in their support for the Robertson family and their ability to live out their life on television.

I find it interesting that so many people were so vocal about such a small thing. Honestly, the Robertsons don’t need people to defend them. They don’t need the show. Phil could care less about camera crews and show seasons. The only season he cares about is duck season. But they have used this show to create a buzz worldwide about the Christian faith.

We live in a world where the old saying is true: the squeaky wheel gets the grease. I was actually told that fact by a city leader the other day in response to some complaints they were getting and their interest in appeasing those complainers. We see this coming true concerning Duck Dynasty.

This is evident also in the moral direction of our country. We are becoming more and more complacent in our belief that sin is real and that there is punishment for such sin. Christians are acting like homosexuality is the only sin and non-Christians are acting like intolerance is the only sin, and the whole country is forgetting that sins have been paid for and love is the way of Christ and Christians.

Why are we forgetting what sin is? Because those of us who know the definition are becoming increasingly silent. We don’t want to create conflict, so we sit by and allow others who do not know Jesus to define the moral code of our society. Vast numbers of Christians don’t vote at all – much less based on biblical morals. Christians all over are silent when it comes to defense of the faith they profess. Our understanding of the reality of the spiritual realm and the battle therein is waning due to our apathy. Satan is winning the war for our nation of souls, and he is not doing it with demon possession or any other direct attack. Satan is winning by sitting by and allowing us to forget the battle that rages on around us.

We are Christians. We are called to love intentionally and unconditionally. We are called to know the will of God and live it. We are called to be unashamedly vocal for our faith.

We are not called to be hateful but loving. We are not called to be harsh but gentle. We are not called to be demanding but servants. We are called to change the world like Jesus did in his day.

May we be a nation who repents. May we remember the calling of The Lord to Solomon:

“if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”
2 Chronicles 7:14

It is past time for the Christians in this world to remember that the God who lives in them gives them the ability to stand up in the face of certain persecution. He has promised to reward those who give all for Him. He makes no such promise for those who remain apathetic in their Christianity.

This is not a call to choose some political side. This is a call to choose the kingdom of God and live there without shame or regret. It is a call to engage in the spiritual battle once again declaring your freedom from the control of the evil one through the blood of Jesus and His Spirit who lives in you. It is a call to live such godly lives in public and private that though they accuse you of all sorts of things they may see your good deeds and glorify the Almighty because of you (1 Peter 2:12). It is a call to live as true Christians (Christ-followers) and not merely use the title for social status.


Hands-on required

This last week, I had the privilege of going to Oklahoma Christian University in Edmond, OK with the youth group from Nichols St. church of Christ for Camp Genesis.  The focus of this camp, as with many church camps, is to help the students experience God in ways they never have before.  The hope is that these experiences with God will change the lives of the teens attending.

Camp Genesis is a little different than most camps I’ve been to, however.  It’s focus is helping the kids get beyond their comfort zone and interact with other people who may be uncomfortable for these teens to be around.  The campers got to split up during the week and travel to many different ministries around Oklahoma City and serve in any way they could.  They went to an inner-city church, the Salvation Army, the City Rescue Mission, Special Care (a home for children with disabilities), the regional Food Bank, the Boys and Girls Club and various other services around the area.

All of the kids attending were very excited to have the opportunity to serve.  In fact, we got rained out on Monday and had to postpone the service projects that day, and the teens were voicing their disappointment because they just couldn’t wait to help serve.  I really enjoy that aspect of teenagers today…they will serve, and they want to serve.

As I worked and taught and laughed and sweated alongside these teens last week, I realized something I would like to share with you today.  It came to me that I really like to sing.  I love singing on Sunday morning.  I sing in my car.  I sing with the teens.  I have even performed from time to time.  I love to sing.

One of my favorite things about being a Christian is that I get to worship with other Christians every Sunday morning and any other time the Christians are meeting together.  This brings me great joy.  I know that many of you reading this feel the same joy as you worship God each week.  This is not a new concept to me, but what comes next is something I haven’t processed before:

It is really easy for us to get so caught up in worshiping with our lips that we forget what true worship is really about.

Romans 12:1-2 says this:  Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. (NIV)

This phrase “spiritual act of worship” is translated in other versions as “reasonable service of worship”.  The idea here is that the only logical, reasonable way to worship is to offer ourselves as living sacrifices…to God.

We all worship something.  What we dedicate our lives to is what we worship – sometimes it may be our job or our hobby or our family or even our addiction.  What consumes us is what we worship.

Even more so…is it worship if we are only doing it on Sunday morning with our lips?  What about the rest of our bodies the rest of the week?  Worship is about so much more than simply singing to God.  It’s easy to sing the right words at the right time.  It’s much harder to get dirty for Jesus as we serve Him by serving others.

This is what these kids were doing all week at camp.  They were giving their lives to God in service to those whom God loves.

So what do you worship?  And how do you do it?  If you are a Sunday only type of Christian, then maybe it is time to re-evaluate what you are worshiping.  Worship should be from everything you are and have every day of the week.  Christian should be who you are…not merely what you do.  Only when we get a firm grasp on this concept will the world be changed for the good in the name of Christ.

Then, you will understand God’s will for you.

I thank God for the work that these teens have done this week!  And I thank God that’s He’s working in your heart as you have read this article.  If there is any way we can serve you or help you get plugged in to serving others, feel free to contact me at jddobbs@verizon.net or on twitter @mrjdobbs.  God bless you, and may He change you daily to be more like Jesus.


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