A&E, Phil Robertson and Choices

So a network very few even care about suspended a long bearded man who stands for what he believes because an organization who believes in homosexuality throws a fit…and Christians are surprised why?

Anytime someone stands up for what they believe in there will be many who whine, complain and become immature children. Maybe the proper response is to do just as Jesus would (and said). It is time to pray for those who despise the truth, lovingly write and call them and become active in living the gospel in spite of what the world teaches.

There are been people calling for Christians to stop living in the bubble of religion and become the lights to the world Jesus called us to live. Just remember, reverse hatred is not the answer; just because they hate you does not give you reason to hate them.

The time to speak and the time to stand is upon you. You can express your opinion and truthful stance in a way to let the world know there is a better way, or you can whine on Facebook. The answer is yours – (1) Get up and do something or (2) Facebook and whine.

Just my thoughts,

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Men’s Retreat Lessons

Last weekend I had the priviledge to speak at the Men’s Retreat of the Manassas Church of Christ in Manassas, Va for the second year in a row. The topic of this year’s retreat was “The Four Pillars” – God, Family Work and Service.

The lessons are posted below as a slideshow. You may download and use them.

(I use Slideshare to upload the PowerPoints and sometimes the formatting does not convert well. When you download the PowerPoints, they show look properly formatted.)

 

Friday Night’s Lesson – A lesson on goal setting for the upcoming year to change others by first changing ourselves. Goals provide challenges and marks of achievement. As men, our goals should not only take us higher, but allow us to take others with us…all the way to the top.

Goals in 2014 – Men’s Retreat (Manassas, Va) from Chris Gallagher

Saturday’s Lessons – Each of the three lessons on Saturday discussed the first three pillars of “The Four Pillars” of life – God, Family, Work and Service.

The LORD Provides (Jehovah Jireh) Men’s Retreat from Chris Gallagher

Fatherhood (Men’s Retreat) from Chris Gallagher

Work? (Men’s Retreat) from Chris Gallagher

Sunday’s Lesson – The last pillar, Service, was the topic of discussion for the Sunday morning Bible class. The pillar of service is the pillar which changes the world, because the first three pillars have changed you. Let us serve our fellow man as Christ served us.

Serve! (Men’s Retreat) from Chris Gallagher

Thank you to my Manassas brothers for allowing me the opportunity to challenge and motivate them to reach their goals of being men of God and becoming more like Jesus each day.

Just my thoughts,

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Work – The Beginning (PowerPoint)

This lesson is the first in a series about “Work” – both a physical perspective and a spiritual perspective. This lesson primarily deals with the Bible foundations to work and discusses the question, “How should we view work?”

 

 

Just my thoughts,

The Pope Resigns – My Letter

 

Dear friend,

I pray this letter finds you doing well. I heard the news of the Pope’s resignation this morning as I drove my two youngest children to school and thought of you. The radio announcer, reading the breaking news story, said the Pope was resigning his position as head of the church because he was concerned due to his age. I knew this would be a confusing and saddening time for you so I wanted to write. I will admit that I struggled with what words to write, but be assured, as my friend, they come from my heart during this time for you.

I know the Pope’s resignation will have an effect on you because of your faith, but allow me to offer some words to comfort your soul during your troubled time. Also, allow me to say that I am not steeped in the knowledge of the Catholic Church nor the traditions found therein. For years, I have found myself questioning the religion of men and I tend to find my comfort and peace in the same book that you might as well – the Bible.

The Bible is the book where people turn when life brings them difficult times and unanswered questions. You may turn there today and find its words as powerful comfort, so let me share a few of my own.

One of my favorite places to being is Psalm 23, “The Lord is my shepherd.” Along with hundreds of thousands of people, you already know this Psalm and its meaning, but may I point out the first verse again- “The Lord is my shepherd.” Man will let us down in his actions, choices and thoughts, but the Lord is the Shepherd who leads us and never lets us down. He will bring peace as His followers lay down in the green pastures, He brings them strength as they walk through the valley of the shadow of death and it will be He that feeds them throughout eternal life. I would allow your faith in God to be strengthened because of God and no one else.

Be patient with me as well as I say that I serve a risen Savior who knows about death because He conquered it and now sits at the right hand of the throne of God. (See Acts 2) It is this man called Jesus that I follow in my life. I have found His teachings to be above all others and his wisdom exceeding and transcending the ages…because He is God. From the beginning He formed the earth (John 1.1-3) and when He was born of the virgin Mary (Matthew 2) He would change the world.

While He walked this earth, He kept the will of the Father. (John 4.34; John 17.1-4) His desire to bring truth to a confused religious world was met with angry religious teachers who thought they were the only ones who had the authority to teach men. (Remember the Pharisees and Sadducees?) These angry men, with others, made it their goal to ruin the life of Christ, but little did they know, they were acting within the will of God to crucify Jesus on the cross.

I already know you believe the words of Jesus and the life that He lived, but do you remember the words regarding His plan, the Father’s plan? When discussing theology with his apostles, he said these words, “Upon this rock I will build my church.” (Matthew 16.18) To build His church, Jesus would need to conquer all things as His church would conquer all things – and he did. Daniel prophesied of the church hundreds of years before its existence in Daniel 2.44 when he wrote, “And in the days of those kings that God of heaven will set up a kingdom that shall never be destroyed, nor shall the kingdom be left to another people. It shall break into pieces all these kingdoms and bring them to an end, and it shall stand forever.”

The things that Daniel spoke of, the church that Jesus would established was brought about with much power and authority. This church grew by 3,000 people on one day. You can read about it in Acts 2, but noticed Acts 2.47 when the Lord added to their number those that were being saved. An amazing event occurs when the church finds its foundation on Christ. The great apostle Paul says that, “no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” (1 Corinthians 3.11)

I know that I am giving you a bunch of scriptures, but I know you believe the Bible and find comfort in it as I do. I do not mean to overwhelm you, but allow me another moment.

As the church is built on the foundation of Christ, we also find that church follows the teachings of Christ. To live in those teachings is to live in Christ. (John 15) As the great motivational speaker, John Maxwell said regarding John 15, “Stay connected to the vine and you will be fine.”

Staying connected to that vine, means that we are following Him. Regarding that, consider that Christ was perfect and stayed perfect even though He was tempted in all points like you and I are…and He never sinned. (Hebrews 4.15) It amazes me every day as I am sure it does you. Since Christ is the perfect person, we should be following Him. Jesus will not let us down because He does the Father’s will and both of them care for us deeply.

While Christ’s followers seek to follow Him, he becomes their leader and as a result, their head. Paul writes that God, “put all things under His feet and gave Him as head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.” (Ephesians 1.22-23)

I point this out, because over my years and studying the Bible and the religious thoughts of man, I want a leader who does not yield to earthly desires or succumbs to earthly things. I want to follow the One who conquered all of the things here and now waits on me to join Him. He has not let me down, but instead, He has allowed my faith in Him to grow each day.

I hope these words will find comfort for you in your time of confusion and grief. I also hope they urge you (and me) to study the words of Jesus and what is said about His church more and more. I hope that one day we can sit and talk about these matters, because I believe that man distorts the truth, when the real truth is found in Christ. (John 17.17)

I write with Christ as my head, my leader and my brother that never fails.

Just my thoughts,

Church: There’s no app for that

The age of smartphones has changed personal interaction. It is easier to send a text message to someone than calling them. Email has replaced a discussion group and allowed hundreds of emails to take the place of personal interaction. The past few years have seen a variety of apps (applications) come onto the market and take the place of personal interaction.

As Christians, we must always be reminded that “church” is not an app, it is who we are.

  • There is no app for shaking someone’s hand.
  • There is no app for bearing the burden of a struggling brother of sister in Christ.
  • There is no app for hugging a church member who has not been there in weeks.
  • There is no app for telling a youth group member how proud you are of them.
  • There is no app to encourage the widow who struggles to attend service because of her health.

Church…there is no app for that.

It is a lifestyle, a choice and a hope.

Just my thoughts,


“By What Standard Are You Living” – Guest Writer

By Jamie Davis

Our world is filled with standards by which we operate and conduct ourselves on a daily basis. We have and expect a certain level of quality that is accepted as normal. These standards are often associated with a pattern or form that we have been taught. In our country, we have standards of distance (miles, feet, inches), standards of weight (pounds and ounces), and a standard for keeping measuring temperature (Fahrenheit). Other parts of the world use different standards that typically fall under the metric system. The metric system uses meters and grams in order to measure distance and weight. The Celsius scale is used to measure temperature. Although there are differing standards of measurement, each of these units and patterns can be reconciled usually by a simple formula. Thus, these standards can co-exist.

There is one standard that exists which cannot be reconciled with any other. When it comes to the standard and pattern by which we measure how we are to live and conduct ourselves morally, there is no standard on par with or greater than that of the Word of God (the incarnate word – John 1:1-2, 14) and that which is given by inspiration – II Timothy 3:16-17).

Paul wrote in Romans 6:17-18, “But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you wholeheartedly obeyed the form of teaching to which you were entrusted. You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.

The standards of God cannot be reconciled with the standards of the world. Sadly, there are many Christians who attempt to live by both Godly standards as well as by the worldly standards from which God tells us to flee. Whether it is through indifference or through choice, more and more of our brothers and sisters are following this troubling path.

Christians should be reminded as to why we cannot embrace both God’s principles that have been conveyed to us through His son and worldly standards.

  1. God does not change, whereas the world is constantly evolving, or “devolving”.

    God has said that same-sex relationships are an abomination (Lev 18:22) and unnatural (Romans 1:26-27), while the world has become more accepting of these unions. During our most recent election, the people of a few states voted for the acceptance of same-sex unions and thus made them apart of the law of their states.

    Our popular culture loves to convey images of lascivious behavior, whether it be drinking to the point of intoxication or sexual immorality. Just in the last 60 years, the acceptance of living lives to fulfill only fleshly pleasures has increased to the point that even brothers and sisters in Christ throw caution to the wind.

    Our God is immutable, meaning He does not change. In Malachi 3:6, God affirms, “I, the Lord, do not change.” James wrote in Chapter 1, verse 17, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above and comes down from the Father of Lights, with whom is no variableness nor shadow of turning.” So we must conclude that His word as it stands to our morality and acceptance of things that are an abomination to him.

  2. We will embrace one and despise the other.

    Jesus warned those listening to him during his sermon on the mount (Matthew 6:24) that “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.” Though we often look at the verse as pertaining to earthly wealth and possessions, the application to living between God and the world, morally speaking, applies. Truly we cannot hold on to the precepts of God while entertaining unholy and ungodly behavior that has been condemned by the Lord.

  3. Sin keeps us from the presence of God.

    Isaiah wrote (59:1-2), “Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened that it cannot save, or his ear dull, that it cannot hear, (2) but your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear.

    Ezekiel wrote (39:29) that God hid His face from Israel because they trespassed against Him.

    If we cling to the sinful nature of the world, God will not embrace us.

  4. Only through Jesus Christ can we receive the greatest promise ever given (an eternal Home in heaven).

    John 3:16: For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that whoever believes on him should not perish but have eternal life.

    Nothing of this world can boast of such a greater promise or greater gift. No other religion, man-made creed or person can offer redemption for mankind.

Let us stand firm in our faith in God and His song Jesus Christ. Let us hold to God’s principles and announce boldly to the world as Joshua did (Joshua 24:15).


14 “Now therefore fear the Lord and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness. Put away the gods that your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. 15 And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”


 

Jamie Davis is a graduate of Freed-Hardeman University (c/o 1999). He and his family reside in Chester, VA and worship at the 4th and Cawson Street church of Christ in Hopewell, VA where Jamie serves as a deacon.