I Love My Church Family

It’s the 24th day of my June Blogging Challenge. So what am going to write about today? My mind keeps drifting to my flock at West Green Baptist Church. I am privileged to pastor these people. They’re not perfect. They are broken people, but I have jagged edges too. Nevertheless, we are traveling this road of faith together.

We are learning to be gracious to each another as we continue to conform to the image of Christ. I love them for their honesty. I love the fact they allow me to be honest with them. Of course, we still wear some fig leaves, but we’re learning and growing in our intimacy.

I know some deny the importance of church family, but I cannot imagine my life without my church. I am their undershepherd who cherishes having the smell of sheep on my clothes. If you’re a pastor, you understand. It is the most demanding occupation at times. However, it is one of the most rewarding challenges in my life.

My church family inspires me to be my best. Keeps me accountable. Encourages me. Challenges me. They do life together with me. I am grateful. West Green Baptist, if you’re reading this, I love walking this journey called life with you.

What about you? Where do you fellowship? I would like to hear from you. If you’re reading this and do not have a church home, would you consider West Green Baptist? We not perfect, but we’re growing together in Christ.

 

Stop Looking for Perfection

If you have spent any time around this blog, you know that I love to read. Yesterday, I came across a quote in C. Fred Smith’s Developing a Biblical Worldview that smacked me between the eyes. Smith’s words made me stop and examine myself. He writes,

We should stop looking for perfection in others. We pay lip service to the biblical teaching regarding sin, but then we expect perfection from other people. If we incorporate the reality of our common falleness into our worldview, it will be easier to accept the faults of others. It will be easier to love people, even when they disappoint us. 1

I am not saying I go around measuring people’s spirituality with my religious ruler, but do I keep my failings in mind when dealing with others? Christ taught us to be merciful  (see Matthew 5:7).  Am I reciprocating the mercy and grace I received? Do I forgive others the way I was forgiven?

We know that all sin (see Romans 3:23), but we tend to hold others to a higher standard. That attitude is the epitome of hypocrisy.  And let’s face it we are all hypocritical at times.  As Christians, we are called to hold each other accountable, but after reading this Smith’s statement, I think I will pay closer attention to being merciful. Considering my own faults when I approach others. What about you? I would love to hear from you.

 

  1. C. Fred Smith, Developing a Biblical Worldview, Nashville, TN: B&H Academic, 2015. 27.

3 Truths Learned from Peter’s Denial

Read Matthew 26:57-75

Peter swore, “A curse on me if I’m lying—I don’t know the man!” And immediately the rooster crowed. Matthew 26:74 (NLT)

The air was crisp. Peter shivered. Was the tremble from the biting wind or the ice revealed in Judas’s silver-lined veins? Was it a physical or spiritual chill on the night Jesus of Nazareth faced fate? Indeed, the whisp of frolicking demon’s wings could be felt. The Shepherd was to be struck down. His sheep fled. Even those that declared allegiance would falter that night.

Peter nestled to the warmth of the fire, wrestling with the idea of his Lord being betrayed by that…that… Zealot. Peter watched from a distance. Was he looking for an opening, an opportunity for an escape? It’s possible. But more than likely the range was to disassociate himself from the Wonderworker from Nazareth.

Peter was the outspoken disciple, but fear gripped his tongue. He cared for Jesus but was his affection enough? A few hours before, he had declared his unwavering loyalty. However, a mere servant girl’s question paralyzed this rugged fisherman that once dared to step on to a raging sea to follow Jesus.

What would cause Peter’s loyalty to wane? Some may say it was meant to be this way. And in a sense, they’re correct. Nevertheless, if we look closely, we can find at least three truths that we can relate to as followers of Christ. For Peter’s story, often is very much our own story.

  1. Peter was following Christ from a distance.

Matthew writes,  “Meanwhile, Peter followed him at a distance and came to the high priest’s courtyard. He went in and sat with the guards and waited to see how it would all end.” Matthew 26:58 (NLT) Although Peter was bodily close to the heat of a fire, his soul’s temperature declined because he was away from the one that fans the flames of men’s hearts. If we neglect to draw close to Christ through prayer, Scripture, and corporate worship, we will go the way of Peter. We might not verbally admit our backsliding, but our actions will tell the tale. We must always draw near to Christ and depend on him to keep our hearts ablaze. 

2. From this distance, Peter slipped into greater denial.

Peter’s denial was gradual. In his first encounter, Peter merely shrugged off the servant girl’s comments by saying, “I don’t know what you’re talking about” (26:70). Peter was trying to get the heat off of him by changing the topic. Next, Peter denied knowing Jesus (26:72)! Finally, Peter began to bring a curse on himself declaring …” a curse on me if I’m lying—I don’t know the man…” (26:74). Do you see the progression? People never wake up and say I plan to deny Christ today. It’s a slow fade brought on by a smoldering heart.

3. Peter repented.

In the end, Peter repented at the crowing of the rooster. God can use anything to arrest our attention and draw us back to Himself. In Peter’s case, He used poultry. King David’s heart was broken by the boney finger of a pointing Prophet. God has used family, friends, enemies, and even livestock at times to get his point across. You may have heard crowing in the distance as you’ve read this post. (It would not be the first time God spoke through an animal!)  Follow Peter’s footsteps and repent. Turn back to Jesus.

Peter’s story is our story. Often, we proclaim our allegiance to Christ, but we fail Him. It’s inevitable. We are all flawed human beings. We may not deny Him verbally, but we reject Him in action. However, Jesus’s grace is sufficient.  If we draw near to him in repentance, he will ignite our hearts again. Ask Peter. He went from cowering a the question of a servant girl to preaching on the Day of Pentecost. Ultimately, tradition tells us that Peter was crucified upsidedown because he refused to deny Christ. Will you draw closer?

 

img_0062

 

 

 



PS-

If you have found this post to be encouraging, please like, comment, and share it. Also, consider subscribing to the blog to have inspiring content delivered directly to your inbox. If nothing else, take few seconds to say, Hello! I like it when people say, Hello.