Saturday, December 24, 2005

Church Closed for Christmas

My heart aches as I read articles quoting believers condemning churches who are not having services on Christmas Day.

Romans 4 seems to speak to the issue of differences among believers. The thing that breaks my heart is that Satan is using good church leaders to make our differences a stumbling block for those who could be seeing the body of Christ glorified.

Matthew 18 gives clear instruction on how to approach a fellow believer when one sees a weakness that needs to be addressed. Even in that scripture, I don’t see any room for condemnation. Galatians 6 reminds those “who are spiritual” to restore their brother/sister gently. It also warns to be careful that you don’t fall into sin yourself in the process.

Why do we allow the secular media to make a case between those who are to be united by the One who is greater than all things? Maybe we assume that everyone is a believer.

I read James 4 this morning and realized why I get so upset at my children. My anger and frustrations come from not getting what I want. I read this chapter to my family and prayed that the Holy Spirit would do the instructing.

Throughout the day I have attempted to weave the lessons God spoke to me from James 4 into my children’s day. I ask them why they are arguing. It’s almost always because they don’t get what they want. I remind them to ask God and if they still don’t get it then they most likely are asking with wrong motives.

As for tattle-telling, James 4:11 says “do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against his brother (or sister) or judges him speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it. There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you – who are you to judge your neighbor?”

My kids are brother and sister. I don’t want them to tattle on each other. Not because I want them to get away with inappropriate behavior, not at all. I want them to learn to be united. To encourage each other in doing right. To recognize that they are two individuals with different interests, abilities, desires but together they are family. Bringing me into their arguments, causes division not to mention spoils the opportunity to learn from each other’s different perspective.

Perhaps that is why God gave us family. Family is not just for our pleasure. Our earthly family is God’s school room to teach us how his family should get along.

Remember when you were a kid and your sibling seemed to have a different version of the same story when you got in trouble? Most news stories don’t have enough time or space to get all the information across.

The next time you don’t understand why your brother or sister in Christ (or a mega church) is doing something different than you, call someone you know personally who understands that perspective. You might be amazed at how God can use another group of believers so differently from the direction he has led you.

The church I know that is not having services on Christmas will have outstanding celebration at Friday and Saturday services. Their desire is to reach out and introduce Christ to those who are seeking answers for life. That is not the mission of every church and they do not condemn churches whose primary purpose is to offer a gathering and teaching place for believers.

Five years in the midst of that mindset provided God’s training ground to teach me to worship God in unity with believers and in the midst of non-believers in everyday life so that the world will know God sent Christ. (John 17:23) Isn’t that really what Christmas is about?

Happy Holidays to all regardless of your faith. May you discover how Christ can make every day of your life merry as he has done for me.

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the mission:
PROCLAIM the good news; HEAL the sick and oppressed; BRING JUSTICE
~ Luke 4:16-20

Anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing (John 14:12)
~ Jesus 

Copyright 2005-2010 Lisa Biggs Crum
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