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Reach OutThe independent spirit we celebrate so vigorously in this country has isolated us from each other – with devastating consequences. Our culture has lost the power of community. This attack on our civilization touches all areas of life.

The power of economics has driven owners and management teams to employ various methods for correcting the problem (e.g., team building workshops, peer review, open workspaces). Still, there is something missing. In the workplace, teamwork is lauded and promoted, but true community is rarely achieved.

After work, we drive into our gated communities, pull into our garages… and shut the door. Our neighbor is someone we don’t know that lives next door.

In our families, immediate generations often live geographically distant from one another. Family reunions have become an oddity. In the home, parents and children live in private rooms, and in their electronics (even at the same table). The enemy is using the divide- and-conquer strategy quite well.

How do we fight back? Read the rest of this entry »

Bible with Cross ShadowAs we come to the end of Matthew’s account of the Sermon on the Mount, we find ourselves back to the place where this series began – with a few challenging questions: If you don’t know the sayings of Jesus, how can you hear them? If you cannot hear them, how can you do them? If you do not do them, what will be the state of your house?

The desire of my heart is to give you a reference point for the hearing. I think I have done that. The rest is up to you, and the Lord. I hope you will receive the grace and faith He offers; that your house might stand in the storms of this life.

Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall. Matthew 7:24-27

I have already shared my perspective on this passage in a previous article. So let me address a couple of related topics. First, while the subject of this saying is the “wise man”, we would be foolish to attempt to do it as individuals. There are no lone rangers in the body of Christ. Perhaps it would help to think of our houses as brownstones – tightly pressed together, helping each other to stand.

My second point is related to the first. This passage is not much different than the portion of Jesus’ commission that commands us to teach them to observe (or obey) all that He has commanded us – to do what He has said. Therefore, we understand that the Sermon on the Mount is critical to our making disciples.

Furthermore, the Greek for observe/obey means to “attend to carefully, take care of”. We are called to be faithful stewards of the sayings of Jesus. We are called to search out their mystery, and to share that mystery with others. In doing so, we strengthen our house and those houses around us; both now and forever more. The Sermon on the Mount is an inheritance we are to leave for our spiritual children.

The importance of these two points – our unity and our making disciples – cannot be overstated.  Our failure in these two critical areas is the failure of the Bride to make herself ready.  How could we neglect so great a salvation?

Humbly yours and forever His,

Rob

Multi-ethnic pile of handsThere was a time in my life when I would pass over sections of Scripture because they were beyond my understanding. At the time, I didn’t understand how serious God was about our being faithful stewards of the mysteries of His kingdom. I didn’t realize that there were things hidden for me to search out. I also wasn’t aware that He had a “way” of searching that would open up the mysteries of His word. I call this way: The “and” of searching in community.

I discovered this way through a contrast of meetings that providentially happened within a week of each other. In the first meeting, I saw – even felt – the tension rise in the room when the teacher introduced the topic of baptism. At least half the participants moved to the edge of their chairs waiting, it seemed, to hear the teacher say something that they did not agree with. I am convinced that their ears were closed to hearing, and the Spirit was grieved.

The second meeting was a blessed contrast. As with the first, there were people from various denominations. I am sure that each had a different understanding of the topic: Communion. But their hearts were softer towards God word, and each other. They were not looking to be right. They just wanted to know the truth; and knew they didn’t know it all. Read the rest of this entry »

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