Is it a sin? Is it evil? First let’s get a definition from our old electronic friend, Mr. Wiki Pedia.
“Jealousy typically refers to the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that occur when a person believes a valued relationship is being threatened by a rival. This rival may or may not know that he or she is perceived as a threat” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jealousy).
We tend to get jealousy mixed up with envy. But they are not really related in the English language. When I envy you, I want what you have. Perhaps I want your stuff. Maybe I want your fame or reputation. Maybe I want your ability or talent. Maybe (not me, I swear!) I want your wife. Oh the shame! Continue reading
Today is a kind of milestone for me. This is the day that my gardening blog: In the Charamon Garden surpassed this blog in readership. I never would have expected it! When I started, I would get two or three readers a day if I was fortunate. Now readership has soared to new heights. Of course I am pleased with this new success. Both blogs have always been more popular than my ministry blog because you really have to be interested in missions and evangelism to read Mission South Pacific.
Let me just say to the thousands of readers of this blog (OK, maybe scores) that I thank you for stopping by and occasionally commenting. I look forward to a lot more writing and reading what you have to say.
Trey Morgan, a great blogger (you need to subscribe), has an excellent post on how men need to have deep, spiritual friendships with other men. It calls to mind a time when I was a “rank and file” member of the North Davis church in Arlington and part of a men’s group that met weekly to discuss their lives and pray for one another. It was one of the highlights of my Christian walk. We discussed the ups and downs of our lives and ended with prayer. It was extremely comforting, encouraging and empowering.
I have a lot of acquaintances, but true men friends are hard to find. In my case, they must be willing to try to be as open and honest as as I do…no pretense, no facades, everything on the table. Everything that’s said needs to be held in confidence.
Men (especially West Texas men) are taught to be independent, tough and invulnerable. And when they are not, to appear as though they are. It can be a lonely existence. I am fortunate to have such a friend right here in my town.
A lot of people are turned off by “church.” My premise for this article is that people are repulsed not by the church, but by something else that bears that name but is not the genuine article. Let’s start off with a few basics.
First of all, the word “church” is a wimpy translation of another Greek word, “ekklesia.” Trust me…a better translation would be “assembly” in some contexts, “community” in others. If you don’t trust me, check it out for yourself and you’ll see I’m shooting straight with you. In the New Testament we learn some solid facts about the word we translate “church.”
- It never refers to a building.
- It always refers to people.
- It sometimes refers to a gathered assembly.
- It sometimes refers to groups or communities in regions.
- It sometimes refers to all believers in the world.
- It sometimes refers to the un-gathered community of the saved.
- There is only one ekklesia or flock belonging to God and all the saved are in it (Acts 2:47).
- It never refers to a particular denomination (As in, “Which church do you attend?”).
- It is always a noun and never modifies another noun (As in, church building, church treasury, church property, church members, etc.).
- Jesus built it (Matthew 16:18).
- It is God’s household (I Timothy 3:16)
- Christ is the only head of it, eliminating any other head…(Ephesians 1:22, Colossians 1:18 et al.).
- Christ sustains a loving, nurturing relationship to the church (read Ephesians 5).
- It is His body (Colossians 1:24).
- He purchased it with His blood (Acts 20:28).
The monstrosity we so often see today is a corrupted, human-manipulated, man-dominated, misguided version of the church (ekklesia) revealed in God’s word. In many cases institutions called “churches” are merely clubs. They do not resemble the “church” of the New Testament in description or function. But make no mistake, if you are a penitent, immersed believer, God has added you to his community, flock, assembly whether you like it or not.
The ekklesia Christ built is a perfect concept. We ought to appreciate it for what it is. It is, however, made up of flawed humans (you and me) and will never be perfect in expression. We ought to struggle for what it can be.