It is a rare occurrence. It hasn’t happened in a very long time and will not happen again until 2029. What am I referencing? A solar/lunar eclipse? An incredible meteor shower?
Easter being celebrated on April 1.
We all know that in 325CE the Council of Nicaea established that Easter would be held on the first Sunday after the first full moon occurring on or after the vernal equinox. Thus the date of “Easter” varies from year to year.
We also all know that at some point, probably in the 14th century, when France switched from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar, April 1 became known as April Fool’s Day (although the actual origins for this day of jokes and tricks is debated).
So April Fool’s Day and the resurrection of Jesus being celebrated on the same day. Sounds almost like a coincidence made in heaven...for people who believe that Christians are fools for believing in a God who left heaven and came to earth only to be subjected to the cruelest form of capital punishment ever devised and then, three days later, was resurrected: “How appropriate,” they giggle.
In 1 Corinthians 1:18-31, Paul talks about the “folly” or “foolishness” of the gospel that he preached. Go ahead and read it...I’ll be here when you are done.
He writes that preaching Christ crucified seems like foolishness to those in the world, but the power and wisdom of God to those who believe.
He also writes, “But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise…” (1 Corinthians 1:27).
Elsewhere (in Philippians 2:10-11) Paul tells us that there will come a day when every knee (no matter where that knee is) will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.
And when that day comes, we will then know who was truly a fool.
If we are wrong, we will never know it. But if we are right, we will know it for all eternity! Maranatha!
Sound systems can be funny things...especially when a couple of people who really don’t know much about the sound system are attempting to fix one part of said sound system.
Several had noticed that the speakers in the foyer, nursery, sitting room (formerly the cry room), and the A/V room (formerly the library) had not been working very well, if at all, of late.
These speakers are controlled by a separate, slightly older amplifier (c. 1970) that receives input from our somewhat newer amplifier that controls the auditorium speakers.
Well, the first problem was that the connection between the two amplifiers was broken (not just unplugged, but broken). But even after that was fixed, it still wasn’t working.
To make a long story short (too late!) I and a brother who will remain nameless, though if you think about it you’ll probably know who I’m referring to, spent the better part of 4 hours removing speakers, discarding small rodent skeletons, testing the speaker wires, etc.
Then, this other brother, who is “praised by all the churches for his service to the gospel” (see 2 Corinthians 8:18, NIV), discovered a reset switch on the older amplifier. The Assisted Listening Device transmitter was plugged into an outlet on the amplifier, and we had to unplug it to press the reset button...but we learned that the ALD plug was actually keeping the reset button engaged.
Once we plugged the ALD in elsewhere and allowed the reset button to depress, everything came together (well, except the speaker in the A/V room).
The bottom line is that we spent four hours dissecting the sound system when it could have been solved in four minutes...if we’d known what we were looking for.
Sometimes the problems we face in life are a lot like that. Often times we make them out to be bigger than they really are. We try all sorts of elaborate fixes to no avail.
But then we notice something simple...and when we fix it, everything else comes together.
Sometimes the simplest solution is the best solution. Sometimes the simplest solution is letting go of the hurt/problem and giving it to God. And nothing could be simpler or more effective than that!
Several weeks back on a Sunday morning, the person in charge of preparing communion approached me prior to Bible class and reported that one of the lids to the bread trays was missing (I waited a few weeks to protect their identity).
I looked at the table and, sure enough, it was set up with two stacks of fruit of the vine trays (each with a lid), one stack of collection trays, and two stacks of bread trays (one with a lid, one without).
Prior to class starting, I asked several people (including our elders) if they had seen “the other lid to the bread trays” and they said they had not.
And so began a valiant search that lasted well into the Bible class hour. A few of our members, myself included, looked through the cabinets in the kitchen multiple times in search of the missing lid. We looked every possible place it could be. Alas, it was to no avail...the other lid to the bread trays was nowhere to be found.
So I began to think about how to make it less obvious that the second lid for the bread trays was missing. After a few minutes, I had a thought...why not just have ONE stack of bread trays?
Then I had another thought: we always only have ONE stack of bread trays!
I (and others) had spent 30 minutes looking for the second lid to the bread trays...except we only have ONE lid for the bread trays and it was on the table already! I, to say nothing of those who have been attending Eastgate much longer than I have and helped look for the second bread tray lid, was embarrassed.
Sometimes when we study the Bible, we do this exact same thing. We look for something that is not there. We want it to be there; we believe it to be there; someone else even told us it was there, they just didn’t know where...but, alas, it just isn’t found.
The trouble is that when we realize it is not there (or someone points this out), instead of just getting a little embarrassed and moving on and learning from it, often we get mad: at ourselves for being misled; at the other person for pointing it out; or even at God for, well, what He says or doesn’t say in His word.
When you study the Bible, try to do so without preconceived ideas as to what it is “supposed” to say or not say. Allow yourself to be guided by what it does say.
Otherwise you’ll find yourself getting more and more frustrated as you continue looking for something that is just not there.
Last weekend, my family took a short trip to Tulsa. Once we arrived, I discovered that I had not packed anything to sleep in. So I went to a certain store based in Bentonville to get some shorts.
So I picked up some of the cheapest shorts I could find. Well, I also happened to notice that it was a little cold outside. So when I saw some light jackets on clearance (since I didn’t have a jacket either), I looked at the hangers, grabbed a large and headed for the checkout.
I walked to the car and removed the tags from the jacket and put it on. It was snug, very snug. But I thought, well, maybe I should have bought an extra large, but I don’t have time to go back in and exchange it.
When I got back to our hotel room, I took off the jacket and, for whatever reason, looked at the size...it was a small!
After getting somewhat miffed at the hanger and the size not matching at the store, I was sort of excited because I could fit in a small sized jacket (not very well, but it zipped and everything.
Suffice to say, the jacket fit Jamie perfectly and she now has a new light-weight jacket (which she needed anyway, though not for this past weekend).
Friends, Satan works just like that. He packages things in such a way that they look right, but after you’ve bought into it, you find out that it is not the right size.
One prime example of this is churches. When we look at churches, Satan tells us, “Attend the church of YOUR choice;” and, “If you don’t like something about YOUR church, just find another to go to...it doesn’t matter what is being taught...just as long as YOU are happy.”
Nothing could be further away from what the New Testament teaches. The noble Bereans searched the Scriptures everyday to see if what Paul was telling them was true (see Acts 17:11).
In 1 John 4:1, John says to “...test the spirits...” because “...many false prophets have gone out into the world.”
Then, in 2 John, John warns his readers that if anyone receives a false teacher they take part in his “wicked work” (see 2 John 11). Many other references could be given that stress the importance of doctrine (what is being taught).
I challenge you to do the same. Search the Scriptures to see if what is being taught is what The Word says or if it is something man devised. YOU might like it, but it is still of man’s design, not God’s. Even if it pleases YOU, the real question that must be asked is does it please God? When it comes to worship, if HE didn’t come up with it, then it is not pleasing to HIM.
And if you ever find that I am not teaching what The Word says, please let me know...I am smart enough to know that I don’t know it all and that what I might know might not be right 100% of the time.
I urge you: attend the church of Jesus’ choice!
Several weeks ago, I informed the Eastgate congregation about the medical issues that my Dad is facing and asked you to include him and my Mom in your prayers. Over the past few weeks, several have asked about how he and my Mom are doing.
“How are your parents?” is actually a difficult question to answer. They are in good spirits...as a family, we are confident that God hears and answers our prayers as we struggle through this part of life.
Last Wednesday (February 21, 2018), he put the following on Facebook, which more informatively explains his condition.
Update on Jim Dye and his health conditions.
Some are aware of his declining health and treatment. October 1, 2004 he was diagnosed with Myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS). This is a family of rare disorders in which the bone marrow fails to make enough healthy red blood cells, white blood cells or platelets. Over the last 4 years he has been treated for this condition, but as it advances, the treatments, injections and infusions become less effective. He has been seeing 8 to 10 specialists and has reached a stage of treatment which is not curable. He has opted to move to Palliative Care which is less intense and aggressive.
Palliative care (pronounced pal-lee-uh-tiv) is a specialized medical care for people with a serious illness. This type of care is focused on providing relief from the symptoms and stress of a serious illness. The goal is to improve quality of life for both the patient and the family. Palliative care is provided by a smaller number of specially-trained doctors, nurses and other specialists. Jim is doing well and less stressed and has a better understanding of the options ahead. This is like any major illness; the timing and care is a part of the LORD’s plan for life.
On behalf of my entire family I ask for your continued prayers for Jim and Barbara Dye (a.k.a. Dad & Mom; a.k.a. Doc & Grammie) as they continue to travel this road of life.