The phrase “playing church” is making the rounds in the religious community. The phrase indicates that the Lord’s Church simply isn’t “real” for many so-called “Christians.” What does this really mean? How can we tell when someone is “playing church?” Better yet, why don’t we start with ourselves; how can we tell when we’re “playing church?” Let’s go back to the days of our youth (well, MY youth anyway; you can go back to your youth on your own time) and try to understand some basic elements involved in this idea.
“That fellow cannot see the forest for the trees!” Have you ever heard those or similar sentiments? The meaning? Well, for some reason people at times can get so focused on the things they see, that they fail to realize how the things they see are intended to fit into a bigger picture. It is as if they get lost in the particulars of a certain thing, and miss its place within the greater purpose.
I will not get to go home today.
It is 5:29 PM on Wednesday afternoon, and I am still working at the office; I’m trying to wrap up a few things for tonight’s bible class, and I’m trying to finish a few things that I would typically do on a Thursday (this article, for example). I am doing these things today because tomorrow is going to be a very busy, emotional, and challenging day for our Buford church family.
Tomorrow at 5:00 PM, we will gather here at the church building to honor and remember our dear brother, Nicholas Smith. Nicholas was tragically killed this past Saturday morning in an automobile accident on his way to New York. Nicholas - along with his girlfriend, Abby, and several other friends from Harding University - was on his way to do mission work during his spring break. It was not his first mission trip, and it probably wouldn’t have been his last. After hearing the horrible news about Nicholas’ accident, his family left in the middle of the night to drive to Louisville KY, and spent 3 very difficult days attending to Nicholas’ affairs.
This past Sunday, you may have noticed that several of our pews in the auditorium had been slashed, sliced, cut, or otherwise vandalized; there were nearly a dozen pews affected, and so far, no one knows anything about how it happened. No one has come forward to confess, and no one has any suspicions or theories about who might be responsible.
When it comes to who may have damaged the pews, it is currently a mystery; and it may remain a mystery, indefinitely. We may never know.
American society sure can be fickle! Media’s love for sensationalism seems to cross every line. One minute they are spouting forth freedom to do anything you want to do, be whoever you want to be, and say whatever you want to say. But, when someone says something that is not politically correct, they are all over it like you know what. To them, the USA espouses nearly 320 million versions of truth, as many different versions as there are people. However, if a network’s “trusty” investigation team discovers inconsistencies that are news worthy, watch out!!
Webster’s Dictionary defines the term “involved” as, “committed or engaged”. Whether it is politics, sports, relationships, or any other area of life, we all understand this concept of being involved. In fact, regardless of the specifics of what we might be involved in, there are a few basic ways to measure that involvement:
Here is a trivia question. Who was the first person in the Bible to ask for forgiveness? If Adam and Eve come to mind, think again. It is true that they committed the first sin, but if you go back and read Genesis 3, when they ate of the forbidden fruit, God confronted them about it, and they admitted their actions. However, there is nothing in the record that the first couple said they were sorry for what they had done, or even asked God to forgive them.
In Luke 17:11-19, we read the account of Jesus and the 10 lepers. When they saw Jesus passing by, they said, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.” Jesus then told them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests”, and as they went, they were all cleansed of their leprosy. As they realized that they were clean, 1 of the 10 turned back to express his thanks to Jesus. It seems obvious to me in this story that we have 10 people who were given a great gift from God and that 9 of them were [in any visible, noticeable, meaningful way] unthankful for it. I often wonder why those other 9 didn’t return to thank Jesus. Let’s speculate together for just a moment as to what each man may have thought to himself:
As we continue our study of Romans 14, let’s take a look at one of the questions that has come up:
“Is the ‘stumbling block/hindrance’ in verse 13 a reference to ‘hurting someone’s feelings’, or is this a more serious spiritual offense?”
According to Rom. 14:13, Paul says that a decision should be made by those who are “stronger in faith”. This group of Christians was/is encouraged to make a conscious decision and commitment to “never” put obstacles in the way of their weaker brethren. But what exactly is this group deciding to do, or NOT to do? Are they deciding that they will never do anything that will hurt the feelings or upset the spiritual “comfort” of their weaker brethren? Are they committing themselves to never say/do anything that – in our modern way of thinking – would “offend“ their weaker brethren? If this were the case, wouldn’t we be perpetually “handcuffed” by the preferences and comfort zones of weaker Christians? Would the Church not simply become a “field of eggshells”, where we must constantly cater to the desires and comforts of those who really need to grow up in their faith? Would we not become encouragers and enablers of the weak, instead of challenging them to grow in the understanding of their faith?
How long have you been “counting the days?” No, not the days to the election so much as the days when the “blood letting” will be finally over! Have you heard yourself say, “If I get one more of those phone calls, or see one more of those campaign advertisements, I will ______________. (The blank may need to be lengthened, but keep is sweet!)
I hope you will get out and perform your right as a citizen of the greatest nation on the earth at every given opportunity; there seems to be more of them lately. While I have my personal opinion about whom I think should be elected, the bigger thing to consider at this juncture is the exercise of the right. It is one of the things people should take seriously if they want to continue living under the banner of freedom.