We move on to the second of the seven letters in Revelation. This time the letter to the persecuted church in Smyrna. Jesus has good things to say about the church in Smyrna. It’s a bit harder to determine whether there’s any bad news in here – at least the kind of bad news that the church in Ephesus received. There were certainly warnings. But whether things would actually turn out “badly” was dependent on how well the people in that church listened to and carried out what Jesus said.
The Great Commission
Is church essential? Of course it is! Many who say that though are only 50% right. Why? Because the question shouldn’t simply be whether church is essential. First, it should be what is “church? For example, here’s a recent headline: ‘Church Is Essential’ The building they gathered in wasn’t essential.
Surprised? Shocked? Angry? Confused? Let’s take a look at what’s going on.
Why do you live? The economy or God? Really, that question comes down to who’s your “god”? Do you live for the god of money – the economy? Or for the God of the Bible? It’s a question that starts at the top – sort of. With our president – Trump. And now it’s filtering down through our governmental leaders. Which brings in yet another “god” – the god of government.
In spite of the fact that Trump call himself the greatest president ever for Christians, there has to be a question as to who is his real “god”. And now, enter Dan Patrick, Lt. Governor of Texas. A Republican. Let’s look at a news article on msn.com, titled Dan Patrick says he is willing to risk his own life to allow economy to resume.
Is the work really done?
When we sing this song, do we just hear “The work is done” – and then assume the work of Christianity is done? It’s an important question. I recently published something about the Great Commission, in which Jesus gives His followers our orders on how to go forward in life.
The response I got from one person was “The work is done, man”. I was shocked. But then this morning I heard the song with those words – The work is done. Is that where the person who wrote the reply got his thinking? Honestly, I don’t know. But do we take the time and put in the effort to find out what the author of the song meant?
What’s important to you? Do we even take time to think about that question? Or are we just so focused on “now” that we don’t even know what’s important. Maybe I should say, what’s important in your future? You know – beyond the next few minutes? Even better, your distant future? Where do you hope to be at the end of your life? In other words, what’s your life goal? What’s important for you to be able to achieve your life goal?
Since this site’s about Christianity, let me ask you. Is Christianity important to you? No matter your religion, is God important to you?
Don’t dwell on your haters – but do spend time with them
Huh? Spend time with them? Even in the secular world, there a saying that some people go by. Keep your friends close, and your enemies even closer. But that’s to protect yourself from them. As a Christian, there’s a different reason for spending time with our enemies. Remember the kinds of things Jesus did in that regard?
Don’t start the day without a plan. It’s the second in a series of traits for successful people in the secular world that we’re going to look at. However, we’re going to see how these same traits can be applied to becoming a “successful” Christian. Someone who not only has an idea what Christianity is really about, but who also lives it. Finally, who also does the Great Commission and not what Dallas Willard calls the Great Omission.
Greater love has no one … Most of you recognize those words. And know how they end. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. But what do they really mean? Do these words tell us that the greatest love we can show for another person is to die for them? Literally, physically, die?
On it’s face, it seems rather extreme. While not discounting times when literally, physically dying does, in fact, show great love, I can’t help but wonder if that’s the only thing Jesus meant when He said that. Given the context within which Jesus made that one extracted sentence, I feel it means more. Given the overall context of a Christian who truly works at following Jesus’ teachings, I believe it means a whole lot more.
It matters what that line means. We’ll explore why as we go along.
What’s in a worship song? Well, it’s a song. So there’s music, unless it’s “a capella”. And it’s worship, so there must be words. After all, worship is about praising and honoring. Words are kind of important when doing that. More specifically, in a Christian worship song, it’s about praising God. The God we believe created – everything. The songs should reflect that. What else should be in Christian worship songs? Love. And Truth.
These things probably seem line no-brainers. Of course, they should all be there. By, when we sing or listen to them, do we really think about what’s in a worship song that we’re directing to God? Do we just blindly sing the words, whatever they might be? Or do we meditate on them as we’re singing? In essence, are we praying those words?
Here’s a question for Christians. Are you a light on a hill? Or a noisy gong? Or are you just wondering why I’m asking? It is a legitimate question. We’re supposed to be “making disciples”. But how? Are we supposed to beat people over the head until they finally give in? I know that’s been done. Is still being done. But is it what Jesus asked for?
The same can be asked of any “in your face” approach to making people become Christians. The thing about “making disciples” is that Jesus said a whole lot more than just “go do it!”. He taught us how. He was a living example of how to do it. But do we pay attention to that part?