Thursday, November 20, 2014

Lying (is not a ) Game

By the age of four, 90% of children have grasped the concept of lying; and it gets worse from there. 60% of adults can’t have a 10 minute conversation without lying at least once. (The average was 3 lies in 10 minutes!)

Here is how America breaks down the whole concept of lying. 86% have lied to parents; 75% to siblings; 69% to their spouse; 40% on resumes; 90% lie about their profile on an internet dating site.

What does the Bible say about lying and telling the truth? Let me give you some food for thought. There are three reasons why we lie. We lie to make ourselves look better (read Acts 5:1-11). We lie for personal gain (read 2 Kings 5:1-27). And we lie to avoid negative consequences (read Exodus 32:19-24).

There are at least three Biblical reasons why we shouldn’t lie even if we live in a culture that thinks its ok. First, God hates it (Proverbs 6:16-19 and 12:17-22). Second, it’s an indicator of who we are following (John 8:31-47 and Ephesians 4:25). I used to tell my children we are closest to being like Satan when we lie. Third, we become slaves to it and it robs us of our freedom (Proverbs 19:5, James 3:3-12 and John 8:32).

Here’s the bottom line: you really can’t put a price on your integrity and obedience. Honesty at home, work, church, and play is always godly. No one can afford the costs and consequences of being labeled a liar. Let’s strive to be honest, truthful, and to think before we speak.

P.S. What is the test of one’s character? Have you ever been manipulated by someone for their benefit? Would you prefer to do the easy thing or the right thing if it was extremely costly? Don’t miss our Sunday series “Bittersweet” as we delve into these questions. 

Thursday, November 13, 2014

What is your attitude toward your job?

What is your attitude toward your job? Boring? A drag? A necessary evil? A delight? A privilege? I read a book some time ago by an Evangelical Free Church pastor entitled “Work Matters.”

In this excellent book, Tom Nelson, the author, reminds you that work is really an extension of our worship of God. In other words, the experience between Sunday and Monday should not be that big of a difference. After all, God ordained us to work. Adam and Eve worked in the Garden of Eden.

Colossians 3:17 says “Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.” The “whatever” includes your work.

There are a couple of principles to always remember relating to your work. First, you don’t have a job, you have a ministry assignment. Just a little adjustment like this in perspective toward work enriches your life. God wants to use you to influence others for Him where you have been assigned to work.

Second, the path to greatness is found in the path of service. (cf. Mark 10:42-45) View your job as a way to serve others, help others, encourage others and contribute to others.

Right now you may not like your job. Maybe it’s a dead end job or is unfulfilling. Maybe your boss is a real jerk or the company you work for is corrupt. You’re asking yourself “What am I supposed to do with this?”

Here are some verses to consider:

- There is no such thing as a perfect job. Every job has its ups and downs, good and bad. (Genesis 3:17-19)
- If you can’t find a better job, this must be the best job. That was the perspective of Daniel when he found himself in a place that was less than ideal but could not be changed.

- If you can’t respect your boss, respect the position. (Titus 3:1-2)

- God is in control of who’s in control. (Romans 13:1-2)

- If you want to have influence where you work, become an invaluable worker. (Colossians 3:22-24)

Do you need a change in perspective about work? Your job? Remember, God will use you there (at work) if you allow Him to. Enjoy work!

P.S. What do we do when something is hard? Life, relationships, a job, calculus, reconciliation, being single, conflict resolution, communication? – and the list goes on and on. This week we will discover the answers to this question. See you this Sunday at 9:00am or 10:30am. 


Thursday, November 6, 2014

The Top Ten Ways Churches Drive Away First-Time Guests

When I come across an article of interest I want to pass it on to you. I just read an article from Thom Rainer who serves as president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources. The article is entitle “The Top Ten Ways Churches Drive Away First-Time Guests.” He admits that he did a twitter poll to ask first-time guests why they chose not to return to a particular church. While not a scientific poll, what he discovered was fascinating.

I am listing his ten reasons to remind us as regular attenders that every once in while it’s good to evaluate things we do in the church through an outsider’s vantage point. Thanks to Thom Rainer for helping us see things through the eyes of guests by providing the following list. My personal comments are in brackets.

1. Having a stand up and greet one another time in the worship service. This was the most frequent response.

2. Unfriendly church members. [Hopefully, this is not true of us]

3. Unsafe and unclean children’s area. [How do you think we are doing here?]

4. No place to get information. [Have you noticed the “Just Ask” signs? Thanks Julie for overseeing places to get information]

5. Bad church website.

6. Poor signage. We may forget about signs because we know where rooms, bathrooms etc… are. Guests do not.

7. Insider church language. Thom’s favorite example: “The WMU will meet in the CLC in the room where the GA’s usually meet.”

8. Boring or bad service. Thom Rainer was surprised that this was not ranked higher.

9. Members telling guests that they were in their seats. [Please assure me that no one at First Free has ever done this.]

10. Dirty facilities. Comments were: “No trash cans.” “Restrooms were worse than a bad truck stop.” “Pews had more stains than a Tide commercial.”

If you have any additions or insights, let me know.

P.S. You come to a fork in the road, do you go to the left or right? One road is expedient! The other road is costly. Which one should you take? Sunday’s message at the 9:00 and 10:30 worship services will provide guidance to these questions in our Bittersweet: The Story of Ruth series.