Category Archives: Contemporary

Acts, Chapter 2.

Verse 1

When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.”  Acts 2:1

There’s several things that jump out at me about this verse:  1)  The “Day of Pentecost”, 2) the words “fully come”, and 3) that they were all with “one accord”.

What was the “Day of Pentecost”?  From what I have read, it took place 50 days after the Feast of the Firsfruits.  According to J. Vernon McGee, the Feast of the Firstfruits speaks of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.   “But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.  For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead.  For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive.  But each one is his own order:  Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ’s at His coming.  Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power.  For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet.  The last enemy that will be destroyed is death.”  1 Corinthians 20-26 

The Passover speaks of the death of Jesus Christ:  “…For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us.  Therefore, let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.”  1Corinthians 5:7-8

The words “fully come”, again according to Dr. McGee, could be translated to mean “fulfilled”.  The Passover was fulfilled in the death of Jesus Christ.  The Feast of Firstfruits was fulfilled in the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  Now, the Day of Pentecost, being “fully come” (aka fulfilled) means that it represented the fulfillment of something — the birth of the church, the day the church came into existence.

So, in order to understand the timeline…..

  1. Jesus was crucified.
  2. 3 days later, He was resurrected.
  3. For 40 days, He walked upon the earth, resurrected.  (Acts 1:3)
  4. He then ascended into heaven. (Acts. 1:9)
  5. 10 more days passed.
  6. On the 50th day (Pentecost) the church was born and the Holy Spirit arrived.

  Continue reading

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Singing.

I have had this song on my mind, and in my head for two days now.  Try as I might, I can’t quit singing it!  — Have you ever had that happen?

It’s a wonderful song, though, and as I stopped to consider it today, God impressed upon me the need to share it with you.  I don’t know why.  I don’t know what He’ll use it for today.  It is simple words on a blog that few may ever see. 

However, I pray that you, too, will be blessed through its’ words and the message it brings. 

(As sung by Matt Redman )

NOTHING BUT THE BLOOD

Your blood speaks a better word

Than all the empty claims I’ve heard upon this earth

Speaks righteousness for me

and stands in my defense

Jesus it’s your blood

 

Your cross testifies in grace

Tells of the Father’s heart to make a way for us

Now boldly we approach

Not by earthly confidence

It’s only by Your blood

 

What can wash away our sins?

What can make us whole again?

Nothing but the blood

Nothing but the blood of Jesus

 

What can wash us pure as snow?

Welcomed as the friends of God?

Nothing but your blood

Nothing but your blood King Jesus

 

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Holy and Wholly.

I wonder, how many of us know the difference between the two?  When I first saw the word “wholly”, I have to admit that I thought maybe it was just another way to spell “holy”.  Still…I was curious about the difference.  It seemed like there must be a reason for the “w”. 

I saw “wholly” in a song that our praise team sings at church.  The song speaks of wanting to be “wholly”.  Then, in my bible reading, I began to see “wholly” again.  Many times over the last two weeks, I have read the word “wholly”.  With my curiosity at an all-time high, I began to search out the difference between the two.

“Holy” as defined by the dictionary is:  “Belonging to, derived from, or associated with a divine power; sacred; set apart for a religious purpose; regarded or deserving special respect or reverence.

Some biblical examples of “holy” are:

  • 1 Peter 1:15-16            “but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy“.”

  • Revelation 15:4            “Who shall not fear you, O Lord, and glorify Your name?  For You alone are holy.”

“Wholly” is defined as:  “Exclusively; to the fullest extent; without exception; in its entirety; completely; purely.”

Some biblical examples of “wholly” are:

  • Numbers 32:11 & 12          “…because they have not wholly followed Me, except Caleb the son of Jephunneh, the Kenizzite, and Joshua the son of Nun, for they have wholly followed the Lord.” 
  • Deuteronomy 1:36             “except Caleb the son of Jephunneh; he shall see it, and to him and his children I am giving the land on which he walked, because he wholly followed the Lord.”

So, what I have learned, and what I would like to share with you today is that God is BOTH “Holy” and “Wholly”….exclusively and entirely deserving special respect and reverence.  He wants us to consider Him as our complete, without exception, one and only God, sacred, set apart, and exclusive. 

Consider these praise song lyrics: 

“Holy is the Lord, God Almighty,

The earth is full of His Glory.

Holy is the Lord, God Almighty,

The earth is full of His Glory.

The earth is full of His Glory.”

Holy means sacred.  God is sacred, and worthy of reverence.  He, in Himself, is the definition of the word “holy” and no action of ours can or will change that.

Now…sing the same song, and add a “w” changing the word “holy” to “wholly” would make it mean something like this:

“(Exclusive) is the Lord, God Almighty,

The earth is full of His Glory.

(Exclusive) is the Lord, God Almighty,

The earth is full of His Glory.

The earth is full of His Glory.”

As we consider the state of our hearts, how many of us can sing this with conviction?  Although God is exclusive in His own being, we often fail to recognize Him as the exclusive God in our lives.  The word “wholly” requires action for us.  If we do consider God “wholly”, then we will put aside our other “gods” and follow Him.  Money, fame, fortune, popularity, habits, hobbies, family, friends, time, pride, selfishness, and many other things become our “god” so easily. 

We must remember that our God is complete — pure and exclusive, and far more valuable than any other.   

 

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Old-Fashioned.

OLD-FASHIONED…That’s Me

It’s really no secret….I’m a “old-fashioned” girl.  I love “Little House on the Prairie”, the thought of quiet, country living, and as long as I could take penicillin and air conditioning, I would probably be willing to live back in time as Laura Ingalls Wilder did.  I also like my share of city lights, chain restaurants, malls, and latte’s, but when it really comes down to it, I much prefer the simpler life.  Thanks to my Dad, I learned to appreciate the great outdoors, old times, and the loooonnnnngggg Texas drawl he exhibited so well.

I guess because of my roots, I have come to appreciate the old-fashioned way, but to many in today’s world, being old-fashioned is a bad thing. 

Even in our churches, we are seeing movements where it seems that every traditional  aspect of our church heritage is being questioned, and in many cases condemned.  We sit too much, we are too complacent, we are too organized in our services, we dress too formally, we have too many services, we use music in place of the message, we “perform” instead of practice our faith, etc., etc., etc.  It seems to me that “modern” movements within the Christian realm are forgetting about the foundations that our church forefathers worked so diligently to put in place.

I agree that in many, many cases the church “sits, soaks, and sours”, and is out of the will of God because there is no evidence of real commitment to our Christian faith and duties.  Yet, it still seems beyond me to visualize all of our traditions and old-fashioned ways gone. 

Christian “buzz” words like “modern”, “contemporary”, “emergent”, and “missional” are not new to the Christian faith.  If you really look at it, they are just a new expression of what we all should be doing anyway.  Why is it that we have to re-label the values that are traditional, and then call the old-fashioned ways bad? 

Isn’t it good to meet together, pray for one another, encourage one another, respect one another, reverence God in our clothing, sing and worship to our Lord, and exhibit an organized environment focused on reaching others for Christ?  These traditions in our churches are what is being called “out-dated”, “unfruitful”, “boring”, and “outside of God’s will”.  It’s like there’s an attack, a revolution among our Christian brothers and sisters who, I believe, have good intentions, but instead are helping to create an atmosphere of controversy and condemnation with our church family.

It is sad to me to see our churches being portrayed as buildings where worldly people just attend a good “show”.  It’s no wonder why the unsaved people don’t want to hear the message!  We can’t even agree among ourselves. 

New ideas, and new movements toward furthering the gospel of Christ can be good, but only when the focus is on Christ, and not in the condemnation of others who are responding to God in another way.  God gave each of us a particular gift and purpose.  We are all different, yet part of one body.  When one part starts tearing down the other part, it only causes harm. 

I am noticing brother against brother, sister against sister, and even minister against minister and, honestly, I am embarrassed and ashamed.  Our focus needs to return to Christ, who administered the ways of “old”, and who is never changing, and who we should all be “fashioned” like.

Is there a way that we can all work together toward this effort?  I believe so.  I ask you to examine your heart and mind before you respond,

“…laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking…” 1 Peter 2:1

“…He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct..”  1 Peter 1:15

“For this is commendable, if because of conscience toward God one endures grief, suffering wrongfully…when you do good and suffer, if you take it patiently, this is commendable before God.  For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps, “Who commited no sin, Nor was deceit found in His mouth”” 1 Peter 2:19-22

“Be hospitable to one another without grumbling.  As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.  If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God.  If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability, which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified…  1 Peter 4:9-11

As we look for new ways, new ideas, new directions, let us not forget the benefits of “old”.  There is wisdom we can gain from respecting our early churches and the traditions that come over time. 

Let’s encourage each other to respond to God’s direction, in ALL His different ways. 

The problem is NOT the traditions OR the new ideas, it’s the ATTITUDE of the people who don’t practice the Christian faith as they should.  From generation to generation I expect this will always be a problem.  Until we learn to be “…doers of the word, and not hearers only..” James 1:22, the church will experience seasons of drought. 

Let us respect the ways of old, acknowledge the fruit they have brought over time, and the wisdom we, today, can benefit from them.  On the same token, let us praise those who aren’t afraid to initiate new ideas, those who respond to the modern world and all its’ benefits in order to bring more people to Christ.  Both ways can be useful.  Both ways can be effective.  Both ways can be honorable. 

My clothes dryer is a new, advanced, modern way of doing laundry.  It can dry clothes at an unbelievable rate.  It takes static out, and leaves my clothes wrinkle free.  Yet I have to respect the aged clothesline.  Clothes that are dried outside smell so good!  You can literally smell the warmth of the sun and the natural, God-breathed air.   

Both ways achieve the same result….dry clothes.  Right now, I exclusively use the clothes dryer.  However, I think I will ask my husband to set up an outdoor line as well. 

Why?  Because I have found that it is when we take the time to reverence the things of “old” that we learn to appreciate the advancement of time and all its’ improvements

So…if, in this new age of technology, where dryers are ultra-sized, energy efficient, time saving mechanisms, you drive past my house and see “bloomers” on a line, I hope you will laugh with me, not at me.  

The Lord calls each one of us in a different way, and when we respect our differences, the whole body is complete.   Let us, as believers, remember to “…speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among (us), but that (we) be perfectly joined together in the same mind…”1 Corinthians 1:10 

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