Common Sense Christian

The Thinking Christian’s Site

Daily Devotional – September 7

 

A FEW GOOD MEN

(Subtitled: A Manly Challenge to Pastors)

There are many young people who sign up for elite fighting units like the Green Beret, the Navy Seals, or Marine Recon. Often less than 5-10% of accepted applicants make it through basic training,  even less actually join the ranks of the elite.

There are literally hundreds of sites talking about “pastor burnout.” Some quote the percentages as high as 60%, many list various and sundry reasons “Lack Of Support/Encouragement For Pastors” to “Church Conflict” and hundreds of excuses in between. There is one site that cautions pastors not to preach but a couple times a month because of the “demands” message preparation puts on them and their families.

The true reason for pastor burnout is that many who choose this discipline were not CHOSEN to begin with.

To “endure hardness as a good soldier” (2 Tim 2:3) the job requires

  • discipline–the complete assumption of the role of a servant who accepts and follows orders without question,
  • a willingness to sacrifice everything for the cause of Christ,
  • and the desire to work to the point of exhaustion and beyond to win His battle.

Once initiated, the real man of God has little to worry about, his strength and tools to do the job come from above.  If you you can’t stand the pressure, get out and do yourself and God a favor–your pulpit desperately needs God’s man!

Service is tough, and God just needs a few good MEN.


The following is a paid advertisement by God’s Universal Army.

Enjoy creature comforts? Don’t join us–its about serving, not being served, or the accumulation of a comfortable lifestyle or pension.

God’s man is a lean fighting machine.

Want to be an elite? It takes work– HARD, SELF-SACRIFICING WORK.

God’s man knows hardness and thrives on it.

Fear burnout? Consider a easier branch of service, you may not have what it takes.  

God’s man is no pencil pushing desk jockey.

2Timothy 2:3 Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.

1Timothy 1:18 This charge I commit unto thee, son Timothy, according to the prophecies which went before on thee, that thou by them mightest war a good warfare;

BOOYA!

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September 7, 2007 Posted by | Challenge, Spiritual Growth | 6 Comments

Daily Devotional – August 22


WHEN I HAVE TIME

Every Sunday, for quite some time,  the pastor would say “keep Gloria Beck in your prayers.”  She was an older member of the church that was suffering from cancer.  I got sort of accustomed to hearing about her, and didn’t think about it.

One Sunday I was sitting by a friend in church, and she told me that she had seen Gloria in the hospital that week.  Gloria wasn’t doing well at all and had simply asked my friend just to hold her hand.  I thought about Gloria all that day, and prayed for her that night.  I decided I would go see her, and rehearsed in my mind what I would say.   Gloria had been my teacher in grade school and I clearly remember her calm voice and gentle hands.

But then the week started and I got busy with life.  The next Sunday rolled around, and instead of the accustomed “keep Gloria in your prayers” the pastor sorrowfully said that Gloria Beck had died the day before.

My heart sank.

Colossians 4:5 (b) redeeming the time...

Is there something you need to do?

August 22, 2007 Posted by | Challenge | 2 Comments

Daily Devotional – August 21

August 21, 2007 Posted by | Challenge | Leave a comment

Daily Devotional – August 9

 

HEAD IN THE SAND

It is said that an ostrich will stick its head in the sand at the first site of danger–assuming that if it doesn’t see the danger, its not really there.


First -A little over a week ago, I was talking to my sister about grace and God’s ultimate love. I quoted I Corinthians 10:23:”All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not.”(Illustrating that no matter how bad I behave, I’m still God’s kid)
and

Galatians 5:1:

Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.

and

Romans 8:2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.

(Illustrating how the law is a yoke that we are free from–meaning our relationship to God is based in love and not obligation)

It was a wonderful conversation, but during it, she told me that what I was talking about “scared” people–that it even frightened her. The finality of our conversation was that it is human nature to trust only in ones’ self and putting that faith and trust ultimately in the hands of God was difficult.


Second -Last night I spoke to a young man who told me that he was a faithful reader of Common Sense Christian for a long time, but had discontinued reading it for sometime because much of what he encountered “scared” him. He confessed that reading some of our content “forced him to think.”Paul tells Timothy: 2Timothy 1:7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.A sound mind–the common sense one God equipped us with along with our capacity to love God and others overcomes the fear we often encounter when faced with the challenging truths and realities in this universe.


Do you handle your fear like the ostrich?

August 9, 2007 Posted by | Attitude, Challenge | 9 Comments

Daily Devotional – August 8

 

Time to Grow Up

Part 6 – Final

What Its All About

(This post is the conclusion of a series started July 24.)

Each one of us files out into the cold night air. I place my hand on our youngest members’ shoulder and squeeze it, trying to convey warmth and comfort.

His dear sister and brother in marriage were part of the evening “games” a day previous–He, being torn limb from limb by four Arabian stallions; she, along with several other women, an old man and two children, rent by the stadium beasts.

He looks at me, his eyes sad but clear.

He had accepted our Jesus, joining with a following in Venetia. His whole family had made their way south to the city in search of us by word of a fervent brother who had devoted his life to seeking out and exhorting the followers of the way

THE WAY.  The way is not a religion.  It is not volumes of canonical rules and regulations.  Its not a secret or exclusive club.  Its not formal trappings, traditions or superstitious ceremonial performances, gestures and invocations.  It is not a “have to”, it is a “want to”.  It is about one’s personal relationship with the man who died in our place.

Tonight, this man reaffirmed to all of us his commitment–to his God, his Jesus, and to us.  He stood before us, his head lifted toward heaven and praised our Lord for the honor of suffering.  He knows what it is all about.  

“If not for love, then what’s the point?” He told us.

His eyes shone, but we could hardly see them through our tears.

Why do we come? What does it mean to truly be a Christian?


1John 4:9 In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.

August 8, 2007 Posted by | Challenge, Time to Grow Up | 7 Comments

Daily Devotional – August 7

 

Time to Grow Up

Part 5

Games Children Play

Games.  Children love games.  Of course the child in all of us still like to play games.  Games are usually played to win–something that gives the winner great satisfaction, and what keeps a child playing.  Face it, games are much more fun when one is winning.

When you play a game you exert every bit of skill and cunning you can to outsmart your opponent.  You also realize that your opponent is doing the same thing.  I remember playing the game “Risk” wth friends many years back.  I would manipulate a friend by offering to ally myself with him against another opponent.  The whole time I was “benevolently” giving ground, I was positioning myself to gain an advantage over both opponents.  These kinds of negotiations are frequent on the playground, but as one matures it seems we should have the judgement to understand life is much more than that.

Unfortunately, many adult Christians think that something as serious as Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross or his unconditional love is part of some grand game.   

  • What did Jesus have up his sleeve when they nailed him to the tree? 
  • Was he doing it so that he could get something out of us? 
  • Did he expect something in return for his sacrifice?   
  • Surely there must have been some other motivation than just…love. 

It seems like the simplest concept in the world should be the unconditional nature of true love and yet we have complicated it beyond belief and changed it into an aberation of itself.  Could it be that we have never matured beyond that playground mentality to understand what true love really is?

1John 4:10 Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son [to be] the propitiation for our sins.

August 7, 2007 Posted by | Challenge, Time to Grow Up | 5 Comments

Daily Devotional – August 6

 

Time to Grow Up

Part 4 

RESTRICT

To find out how one goes from the simplicity of a father’s (God’s) love for his child, and the sacrificial unconditional gift of eternal life to his children to the hodgepodge of confusion that is Christianity today we need to play a little game: 

Let’s play word association.

Read the following four descriptions and think of the first word that comes to mind:

  • Dogmatic system of complicated rules and regulation.
  • Eternal damnation unless possibly hundreds of conditions are met.
  • Rigid control over adherents and non-adherents alike.
  • Extorts money and resourses and creates dependence based on fear.

Did you think of the word “religion“?

The word “religion” comes from the word religare, which means to bind or restrict. 

As mentioned before on Common Sense Christian, religion is the primary tool of Satan to deceive and blind the mind.

Here are some signs you may be following religion rather than God (this can apply to “hip and happening” churches as well as stodgy “fundamentalist” ones.):

  • Your church is interested in rules and regulations, and relies on guilt and obligation to motivate its membership.  (Rules can also be “un-rules” if you know what I mean)
  • The primary righteousness manifest in your church is self-righteousness.  (We’re better than them)
  • Salvation is by not by Christ alone, but Christ plus works, sacrifice, etc. (Isn’t this just about all mainstream denominational teaching?)
  • Its all about numbers, not people.  (We are all about the organization not its organs)
  • They concentrate on modifying behavior instead of growing the spirit.
  • Its leadership and direction is man-centered.

Christian, if you find yourself in with this crowd you have the pity of the thief on the cross.

GALATIANS 5:1 Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.

August 6, 2007 Posted by | Challenge, Time to Grow Up | 7 Comments

Daily Devotional – July 31

 

Time to Grow Up

Part 3

To go forward from here, we must go back.  Not long, but long enough to get a simple perspective.

Lets go back to that night on a storm tossed hill. 

Its 33 A.D.

A thief hanging on a cross, condemned by a harsh and unforgiving system, turned his pained gaze toward the tattered remains of a man nailed next to him.

“Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.” He said.

And it is written, “And Jesus said unto him, ‘Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.’”

With such fierce simplicity, Christ paid the ultimate price for the sin of the thief, averting his eternal separation from God and ushering him into eternal life.  A mere thief, without merit, without works, without honor—an undeserving recipient of God’s wonderful and unconditional love.

July 31, 2007 Posted by | Challenge, Time to Grow Up | 1 Comment