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09 July, 2012

An Exercise From a Synchroblog

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The following exercise is from the synchroblog at
Fielding Melish and his wife Felicia have two children, ages 10 and 6. They live in a very remote part of Maine, USA. They are surrounded by extended family, none of whom are Christians. The nearest churches are one hour away, and by all evangelical standards, none of them are good. These churches are either highly legalistic, highly libertine, or just flat-out flaky.
One of Fielding’s cousins is a practicing Christian. They see each other once a year. Fielding’s cousin has shared Christ with Fielding many times over the years. Whenever they’ve talked about spiritual things, Fielding shows interest.
Felicia grew up in a Christian home. She’s received Christ, but she isn’t evangelistic and is overwhelmed with working long hours and raising two small children. She would love to find a church nearby for the spiritual support and instruction, but none exist.
Fielding has no college education. While he is capable of reading, he is not a reader. He doesn’t use the Web either. He’s a man who works with his hands, both for his career and for recreation. He’s an “outdoorsman.” He hunts, he builds, he does manual labor, etc. In his spare time, he helps his elderly parents with various building projects.
Fielding is not an atheist. Neither is he an agnostic. He believes in God. He believes Jesus is the Savior of the world who died for our sins and rose again from the dead. He hasn’t fully surrendered his life to Christ, but he is not sure what that looks like exactly. His children know a little about the Lord, mostly because of what their mother has taught them.
Recently Fielding asked this question:
When I’m with my cousin once a year, I want to learn more about God. But when I come back home, and I’m around everyone else, my mind is off of God, and I am back to working, raising my kids, and helping my parents. Someone needs to come up with a solution for people like me . . . people who are in the middle. (By “in the middle,” Fielding means someone who believes in Jesus, but who isn’t fully absorbed in the faith yet either. They simply don’t know enough nor do they have any spiritual support system around them.)
Relocating is not an option for Fielding and his wife. Even if they wanted to relocate, they don’t see a way they could do it financially.
Remember: Fielding and his wife don’t personally know any Christians. None of their extended family or coworkers are believers either. And the nearest churches (which are an hour away) aren’t recommended.
Question: If you were Fielding’s cousin, how would you instruct him and his wife the next time you saw them?
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There are some things that stick out to me in this; 
First: He believes in God, that Jesus died for our sins, and yet has not made that decision for Christ.
Second: It seems as though this has gone on for some years, his not accepting yet wanting to know more.
 Third: He is hungry to know so much more, yet will not commit. It seems as though he were waiting for something to happen, an answer, a "happening" to occur, before he will make any commitment.

First, I think of Paul. When and how he came to Christ was extremely important. It happened in such a way and a time that, when  he did make that commitment, he did so with such zeal and fervor that we now have a Mission Field. The time he spent not knowing Christ and, indeed, fighting against Him, defined the commitment he did make! 
Second, it seems as though God could be using this time in much the same way He did with Paul. To develop a great, deep desire to fulfill a call that only he can. One that will be better understood with time. Paul did not come to Christ while He was still here, not while he sat in instruction. He came when his time, according to God's timetable, was ready! When Paul's mind and heart were ready for that decision and for a call to Ministry.  The hunger he feels, may be along that same line. Fielding wants to know, but isn't ready in understanding. Is it possible that God is holding back on something until that time has come? 
For what? Is it possible that God would have Fielding to start a Church there?  Fielding will have a great understanding of why a Church needs to be there, from his own time before conversion. He will also have this huge need to do more than just sit back and do nothing! His wife wants to do more than that! He is hungry and he knows what he is hungry for. Many people I know, are going to hell, and they know it! It isn't because they want to, not because they like the idea, they just don't know where else to go! Fielding may very well be that answer for that area. 

Instructions for Fielding and his wife? "You already know the answers to any question I could ask. You already know  who Jesus is and what He is. You also already know what you need to do. I give you my word: I will support you when you do!  If it's prayer you need, I will do it! I will do that anyway, but , so you will hear the words...Regardless of what it takes...I will support you and Felicia, no matter what. 

12 June, 2012

Beliefs; Do You Bother?

 When we decide we believe in something, what  runs through our heads? Do we actually go through a process of determining what that belief entails? Do we really think what it is going to mean to us, or what it will require of us?

Take for instance, the idea of Salvation. Many people will tell you they are in need of it because of the sin in their lives. They will go so far as to tell you that everyone has the same problem, and that only God can forgive that sin. Many people will also tell you that God will save someone because of their sin, not because they saw sin in their lives and needed a way out.

So, where is the problem?  In my mind, the problem is when we try to make our beliefs fit our thoughts. We have the  notion that God can, and will, cover all sins. He doesn't want any of us to perish, to go to Hell. Which is true, Jesus came as the atoning sacrifice for us. He made a sacrifice so great, that it paid the price so that we might come before God and have that relationship with Him (Col. 1: 15- 22). The problem is that God does not storm the gates and conquer the city! I John 2: 1-6 teaches  that very concept. We must choose to follow His commands. Just as we chose to sin ( rebel against God) so must we choose to follow Him. Look at God's Grace. According to Scripture, it is the very thing that makes salvation possible (Acts 15: 11; Eph. 2: 3-8; Titus 3: 3-7, etc...).  Grace, by definition, is a free gift. Something we did not earn. Simple. Basic. The difficulty comes when faced with trying to come to terms with God's grace and our humanity. We have a huge desire to mess things up! We have a strange ability to do so knowing it is wrong! We see this choice in front of us, we know that it is wrong and do it anyway; this is sin. We make a choice and it is done! God's grace, on the other hand, is capable of covering so many of these things (II Cor. 5: 18-20).  With the expressed purpose of allowing us to have a relationship with God. The term "relationship" is the key. No relationship is one-sided, it must have more than one working on the same thing for it to work and grow. In short, both parties must choose, purposely decide, to make a personal investment into this relationship to make it happen.

I do have a question: Why do people say that we need to be saved because of the sin in our lives, yet not acknowledge that salvation and sin are both choices?  Is it just because someone told us that man is too sinful to be able to do anything? Was God consulted either in prayer or through Bible reading? Where did the thought come from? Do we try to make sure that God is kept "up there" too good for us, and we are kept "down here" where we are too bad for Him? We acknowledge God's grace, yet not that we have to accept it. Why?

I have a challenge for you; Do you know what you believe? If you do, can you tell WHY you believe it? A babbling brook is so very relaxing. It has such a nice, soothing sound. If your beliefs are like a babbling brook, that means you will take anything that falls into it, and pass it right along! No foundation. The next thing that comes along that sounds like it is something you like or is against something you don't like, you will take it, and pass it along as well. No reason as to why you took it, no critea to go by for a basis in the belief, just take it much like a bass would a spoon!
It is not What you believe that counts! It's the Truth BEHIND your beliefs.

Consider it.