Fighting Fishermen

There’s an old saying that I find to be true… “When fishermen don’t fish, they fight!”  Unfortunately, that is not only true in the natural world–it is also true in the Church.  A recent article reveals that 95% of the churches in America experience conflict (See http://www.ctlibrary.com/le/2004/fall/6.25.html).  The good news is that 94% indicate that the conflict ended with positive results. 

Obviously, not all conflict is bad.  There is actually some conflict that results in healthier churches experiencing God’s blessing.  Just read Acts 15:36-41.  Acts 15:39 says that Paul and Barnabas “had such a sharp disagreement that they parted company.”  And if you’ll read on, you will see that both went on to have strong, anointed ministries.  

So, why is there so much conflict in the Church of Jesus Christ today?  Without unduly oversimplifying the problem, it is my firm conviction that the primary reason is that those who have been called to be “fishers of men” (Matthew 4:19) have become distracted from their first obligation to the Lord Jesus Christ… to be soul-winners for the Kingdom!  If we were busy with the main business of winning people to Jesus, we would be too busy to fuss and fight amongst ourselves!  Trust me, I know… I come from a family of avid fishermen.  The only time they’re not fighting is when the’re fishing.

So, the challenge before us is to get busy with the Father’s business and go find the best fishing holes this Summer!  Let’s be “fishers of men” who are so consumed with the Great Commission that we literally find ourselves too busy to grumble and complain about lesser issues.

Oh yeah, and if you do find yourself entangled in conflict, whether in your church, in your family, or where you work, check out Jesus’ conflict resolution plan in Matthew 18:15-20. It really does work!  

Happy Fishing!

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Going to Church is Good for Your Health!

Hebrews 10:25 says, “Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”

You know, I was just thinking the other day of how much I love the Church.  With all of its imperfections, problems, and yes, even dysfunctional moments… I still love the Church.  I love the universal, blood bought, body of Christ that assembles together every Lord’s Day to worship, learn, and encourage one another.  When it’s functioning properly, it has the potential to radically change lives and even alter history!  Church is vital to your spiritual health as a Christ follower.

It has also proven to be beneficial to your physical health.  A recent study suggests that…

“Going to church might actually help them [people in general] breathe easier. Researchers measured the breathing of 1,189 people aged 70 to 79. Those who attend church regularly scored better on a test that measures pulmonary flow rate. The findings could not be explained by differences in smoking or physical activity, the scientists said.”

Temple University’s Joanna Maselko said, “Religious activity is emerging as a potential health promoting factor, especially among the elderly.”  A study earlier this year found that churchgoers live longer, too.  There are more good reasons for going to church. It helps spiritually and physically.  

Friend of mine, stay in church.  Don’t give up meeting together, as some are in the habit  of doing!  It really does improve your overall health… physically, emotionally, & spiritually!

I hope that you will make every effort to be in church this week!

Can You Judge A Book By It’s Cover?

We’ve all heard the phrase “You can’t judge a book by its cover!”  We all understand what the idea behind this statement suggests-that one may have “the goods” on the inside, yet not show any evidence of those goods on the outside.  While this may be true in most cases, I believe that there is an area where it does not ring true… in the life of the Spirit-filled believer. 

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 says, “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body” (NIV).

While the apostle Paul is directly dealing with the issue of sexual sin in these verses, may I suggest that he is also dealing indirectly with the manner in which believers, who have the Holy Spirit living on the inside of them, live their every day lives.  What he is saying is that those who are full of the Holy Spirit should literally show evidence of His presence in their daily lives (beyond the initial evidence of tongues!) by “honoring God” with their bodies.  This is called the enduring evidence of the Spirit-filled life.  What does this mean to you and I?  This simply means that:

  • We no longer have the right to say “no” when God asks us to make ourselves available to Him.
  • We should demonstrate our love for God, not only on Sunday, but every day of the week by offering Him praise.
  • We are called to serve others, meeting their felt needs, all out of a heart surrendered to Christ.
  • We are to fulfill our obligation and responsibility to the Lord by obeying His command to “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation” (Mark 16:15, NIV). 

What this means is that you and I simply live out the principles of Scripture in Worship to God; Ministry to one another; and Sharing our faith with unbelievers… It means that we actually “live the Christian life.”  That’s what honoring God with our bodies is all about.  And remember, in the Christian life, you really can “judge a book by its cover!”