This last Friday and Saturday was the Ruth Rally at Mt. Comfort church of Christ (that’s an area-wide thing for teen girls). Eastgate was represented by four of our young ladies and two sponsors.
As most of you know, Jamie attends school at Arkansas Arts Academy in Rogers. The school day ends for her at 4:20 PM...for our Siloam students, her day starts at roughly the same time yours does, but she gets to attend an extra “Fine Arts” class.
Monica and I were glad Jamie wanted to attend the Ruth Rally and, since it started at 6:00, we figured we would pick Jamie (and, naturally, Gabriel) up at school, get a snack, then drop her off at Mt. Comfort.
Once we dropped her off, the rest of the night and all of Saturday was ours! So Monica and I went to dinner at Applebees...can’t beat their 2 for $20 deal!
While we were there a group of high school students arrived. From the shirts the males were wearing, we could tell they were a part of a cross country team in Fayetteville for a meet the next day.
But what struck me was not the t-shirts the males were wearing, but the, uh, “clothing” the females were “wearing.” One in particular had on a button up shirt that wasn’t buttoned up (at all). When they sat down, she took the outer shirt off to reveal a top that revealed way too much!
With all the stuff going on in the news today concerning women and how they are treated, this young woman seemed to be begging for attention in all the wrong ways. (This is only my perspective, since I know nothing else about this young woman.)
I looked at Monica and simply said, “Thank you God that Rachel and Jamie don’t dress like that!”
Ladies (and gentlemen), we are a child of The King of kings and Lord of lords. Our actions should reflect this. This involves everything about us: the words we use, the places we go, the people we befriend and hang out with, the things we do, and, yes, even the clothes we wear.
So what do your actions reveal about your Father? How do your actions reflect your Father?
I haven’t mentioned (in word or writing) our family dogs in a good while...so I think I will now.
Rachel’s dog “Shadow” is a black lab with something of a weight issue. So he has been on a “light dog food” diet for a while. About a month ago, we switched him to a “healthy weight dog food” diet.
He still needs to lose a few pounds, but the diet food was expensive. The healthy weight food will allow him to continue to shed some extra weight and doesn’t cost nearly as much.
The healthy weight food, apparently, also taste a lot better than the diet food. Don’t misunderstand, he would eat the diet food...but with the healthy weight food, he is actually excited again about meal time!
When he hears me getting his food, he starts to jump around and salivate. He runs to his bowl, with his tail and feet going bonkers! When he is finished, he even “does his dishes” (he licks his bowl clean). Then he looks at us like we’re supposed to give him seconds!
When we gather for services (whether it is on Sunday or Wednesday, for Bible class or worship or a special event), we are “feeding” on the Word of God.
So, is this “meal time” something you only find tolerable? Is it something you approach with the “I’ll eat it, but don’t expect me to really enjoy it” attitude?
Or are our gatherings for spiritual nourishment something you anticipate? Do you get excited at the prospect of coming together? Does your soul begin to salivate? Do you wish you could have another “bowl”?
Let’s start to show a little enthusiasm at the idea that we get to come together. Let us not give up meeting together, but encouraged one another and all the more as The Day approaches (Heb 10:25).
You may have noticed as you entered the building (or when you enter the building next time) that the main entrance has a new door.
You may be wondering what was wrong with the other door. The answer: nothing.
So you may want to know why we have a new door if nothing was wrong with the old door. The answer: security.
We are getting better locks put on the doors to the building. Why do we need better locks? Mostly because we do not know who all has a key to the church building.
So why didn’t we just change the lock? The answer: security.
The new locks will be controlled by access cards, which will allow you to enter the fellowship room, kitchen, or main entrance, and a key pad at the main entrance. We will also be able to unlock/lock the doors via a computer program...it’s a pretty cool deal!
But back to why we needed a new door. There were two kinds of locks we could have purchased. One is controlled by a magnet. With this type of lock, if the electricity ever went off for a couple of hours, the lock would disengage...leaving the door unlocked.
The other kind of lock does not have this problem. But, because of the style of door, the main door we had would not work with this better lock (it’s pretty technical).
So we had to go to the expense and trouble of changing the door as well...so that we could be sure that even if the electricity went off, the building would be not be unlocked.
Oddly enough, there is a spiritual application to this whole door story. When we want to improve our spiritual life (i.e. our relationship to God), sometimes there is more involved than just external changes.
Sometimes, if we truly want the change to have the desired effect and to be a lasting improvement, we have to start by changing our heart.
Only then will we truly be more secure in our relationship to God.
Last week I placed an order at an online company for some supplies for the office. I ordered just barely enough to qualify for a “free gift with purchase.” I entered the appropriate code at checkout and didn’t think anything more about it.
When the order was delivered, though, the “free gift” that I was supposed to get was not included. Apparently they were “out of stock,” so they had substituted a different gift of “equal or greater value.”
And you know, it wasn’t that big of deal. It wasn’t like I ordered unneeded stuff just to get the free gift or that the free gift I was expecting was something I felt I had to have and the substitute was very similar to what I was expecting.
Unfortunately sometimes we take this approach with God. We know that worship is about what God wants us to give Him. And we know what God has asked us to give Him (He tells us in the Bible).
But then we think, “Surely God wouldn’t be unhappy if I substituted something I like...I mean, it’s the ‘same’ thing, just a little different. Besides it is of ‘equal or greater value’...to me anyway. So I’ll just send it instead and He’ll accept it with no problem.”
I believe that to God, it is a VERY big deal. He is very deliberate in letting us know what He wants from us in our worship. When we start making substitutions, even if we like the substitute better, God does NOT find it acceptable.
The first recorded attempt at worship (Genesis 4) resulted in failure for 1/2 of the participants. Apparently God had given instructions and Cain had not followed them.
In Leviticus 10, we’re told of the death of Nadab and Abihu, sons of Aaron. I’m sure they thought fire was fire, but when God told them what fire to use and they presented “unauthorized fire before the Lord,” He was not pleased.
In Revelation 2 & 3, six of the seven churches of Asia receive criticism. In no uncertain terms, Jesus makes it clear that if they did not repent, He would not be pleased with them.
Other examples could be given. The point is that when God tells us what He wants, we need to give it and only it to Him.
Samuel told King Saul as he returned from the defeat of Amalekites in 1 Samuel 15, “...to obey is better than sacrifice…” (1 Samuel 15:22).
What God wants most from us is our obedience. Are you giving yours to Him?