Church Blog

Church Blog

Christian Attitudes

Displaying 1 - 10 of 222

Page 1 2 3 4 5 6 21 22 23


Do Good Work

Sunday, September 08, 2019

“What do you do for a living?” It’s a standard question when getting to know someone new because our jobs have an important place in our lives. Working a job is not unique to Christians, but believers are called to work in a unique way. God wants us to do everything with excellence.

Paul instructed the Thessalonian Christians “to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you, so that you may walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one.” (1 Thess. 4:11-12)  He told them in a later letter: “you yourselves know how you ought to imitate us, because we were not idle when we were with you, nor did we eat anyone's bread without paying for it, but with toil and labor we worked night and day.” (2 Thess. 3:7-8)

Our work—and the quality of it—matters to God. Whether we are employed to teach children, to prepare and serve food, to provide medical care, to build, to administrate, or to mediate justice… Christians ought to be diligent to do all things well, giving God the glory for our best efforts.

And so while it might just seem like good advice, the reality is that if we live out the good news, we will be reliable employees. We will be there when we are expected. We will not leave jobs unfinished. We will look out for the interests of others in the workplace. We will think about contributions we can make to our organization’s goals. We will be honest with our employers’ accounts (cf. Lk. 16:1-13). We will not be idle. As Christians, we will always do good work.

- Dan Lankford, minister

It's An Older Problem Than We Might Think...

Tuesday, August 06, 2019

True story: Sometime around 1920, two of my grandfather's cousins got into a fight with another man after church on a Sunday morning. The fight quickly got so out of hand that the two Lankford brothers ended up shooting and killing the other man and their own uncle. They each spent 20 years in prison.

This past Saturday, I asked my grandpa about that story. As he retold it and filled in several of the details that I hadn't known before, he got into a melancholy kind of mood and started telling about other occasions of violence that he had known of in the surrounding rural counties from the 1880's into the 1940's. The most striking one was about a man who got on a horse, rode through town, and killed 12 people before taking his own life. And it made for a very sober connection when I got the news on Sunday of the two shootings in Texas and Ohio.

The stories Grandpa told don't lessen the sadness that I feel about what happened in this past weekend's events, but they do help to put it in context. He reminded me that acts of violence—even acts of mass violence perpetrated against innocent people—are not a new problem. In fact, in the history of the Israelites, there is a story of an act of mass murder perpetrated by two brothers (Genesis 34). The problem precedes any kind of weapon or type of communication forum which will be talked about in the news this week. Because the problem is as old as... well, sin.

What does that mean for how we respond to these situations? It means that we must continue to maintain this one belief: that the only comprehensive solution to these problems is salvation and redemption for all people, in Jesus Christ. And so we continue to teach that all people are made in the image of God. And because of that, all life is sacred. God loves every person and wants to see every person reach repentance (2 Pet. 3:9). Murder destroys God's most precious creatures, and so more than anyone else, Christians want to see an end to sin, to violence, and to death itself.

- Dan Lankford, minister

Different Teachers; Same Truth

Sunday, August 04, 2019

One thing that helps God’s kingdom is the blessing of hearing truth spoken by different voices. Some would tout this as a good thing because they believe we should consider all people’s interpretations of Scripture equally valid. I wholeheartedly disagree with that rationale, but I maintain that it’s good for us to hear from various teachers. Here’s why:

No one person is capable of fully plumbing the depths of God’s written word. Therefore, our efforts to dive deeper into Scripture are enhanced when we work together—not to achieve various interpretations, but to achieve a more perfect understanding. I have inevitable blind spots in my search of the Scriptures, meaning that I overlook things—sometimes, important and even obvious ones. This is why I am constantly searching the Scriptures, but it is also why I need others to teach me. The word of God is complete, but my understanding of it will forever be incomplete, and so I need help.

The same is true for all of us. We all need make a regular habit of reading the word, meditating on it, and praying for wisdom from the One who gives to all generously and without reproach (Jas. 1:5). And we need to appreciate the value of hearing what other saints know of God’s will: whether that’s from the pulpit, in conversations over dinner, in Bible class comments, at devotions in our homes, as we talk on the golf course, or wherever. You may be able to teach another, and he or she may be able to teach you. In either case, we are all made better together as we live out the simple, but profound wisdom from Solomon: “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.” (Prov. 27:17)

- Dan Lankford, minister

Good News, Good Advice

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Can I give you some good advice? Don’t get yourself under too much debt… it’ll really cost you in the long run. Carry a pocket knife every day. And when you have the right of way, take it (this one might or might not be a personal pet peeve).

Now, can I give you some good news? There’s a Savior—Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by many signs and wonders—who gave himself to redeem you from sin, who rose from the grave to set you free from death, and who will guide and strengthen you to live a greater life than you ever could have on your own.

That's the gospel. That's the message we want to share with the lost. That's the message that changed the world. That's the way to the Father. Jesus said to Thomas, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." (John 14:6)

- Dan Lankford, minister

The Most Stressful Game

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

What's the most stressful game? Answer: the comparison game.

We all face the temptation to compare ourselves to others, and it never truly works out in our favor. We may compare our rise through the ranks of work to the speed of someone else's advancement. We may envy others' lives that we see on social media and are ungrateful for the good in our own lives. We may think of marriages that look wonderful and compare ours to theirs, leading us to feelings of inadequacy or jealousy. We are even tempted to compare ourselves to someone else's spiritual status, which never leads anywhere good (remember Cain & Abel).

Now, here's why this is the most stressful game: everyone who plays it, loses. Either, we end up sacrificing God-given peace because we're focused how we have achieved less, have been given less, or are worth less than someone else... Or, on the other side of the coin, we end up with feelings of supremacy over others, which is pride. When we look to the Bible, neither of those is okay.

So what's the solution? Stop playing the game.

Instead of comparing yourself to others, compare yourself to God's way. Do you do his will? Do you believe what he says? Do you pursue his kingdom and his righteousness? If you do, then all that you need will be added to you (Matt. 6:33). And that's not some kind of game. It's just a blessed life.

- Dan Lankford, minister

A Place For Doctrine AND Judgment

Sunday, July 07, 2019

The Bible is the authoritative source of all God-given doctrine for true disciples. It contains God’s spoken will, including his promises, his story, and his moral directives for life and religion. Therefore, when God speaks on a subject, we must believe his teaching and respect his will as authoritative and unchangeable.

But in the Bible, God does not always speak in black-and-white morality. In fact, there are times when the Holy Spirit says that a particular thing is a matter of each person’s judgment (Romans 14:1-6). And when that is the case, we must have enough faith in God to believe what he says: that another person’s judgment call is acceptable. As one preacher has said:

“Let doctrine be doctrine, and let judgment 
be judgment. God gave us both.”

What does that mean for us?

Firstly, we need to know the word well enough to tell the difference between matters of doctrine and judgment. That takes a great deal of Christian maturity, which comes from a great deal of prayer and study.

Secondly, it means that our convictions on doctrinal matters must be non-negotiable. This is what we mean when we talk about being “conservative” Christians—that we are people who are firmly committed to what God actually says in the Bible. We believe it.

Thirdly, it means that where God has allowed someone to make a judgment call, we should be willing to do the same. To do anything else denies that God’s word is, itself, fully sufficient to accomplish his will.

- Dan Lankford, minister

The Right Thing For the Best Reasons

Sunday, June 30, 2019

Why do you do the right thing? On the occasions when you go out of your way to help someone, or when you consciously choose to resist temptation do what God commands, or when you give a gift… What’s your reason? Do you seek a reward? Do you want to be repaid? Do you hope for notoriety? Are you trying to increase your influence and hold sway over others for some later purposes?

Or do you ever just do the right thing because it’s the right thing?

For Christians, it’s obvious that this is the best tack for all of us to take. Jesus often condemned those who do spiritual things just for the praise, reward, or payment that it might bring them. He said of some of those people that while they may receive glory from men, that’s the only reward they will get—they won’t be rewarded by God in Heaven (Mt. 6:1). In another place, he reminded us that our attitude should be that of a diligent servant who works hard for his master, expecting no praise in return. “So you also, when you have done all that you were commanded, say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty.’” (Lk. 17:10)

The church throughout history has been made up of plenty of people who have, in fact, done great acts of service for others without expecting to be noticed or praised. We know the names of some, but just by virtue of their thinking and acting this way, there must be thousands more of whom history has no memory. And yet, the world is a better place because of their godliness. Thank God for that kind of heart.

Do the right thing for the sake of the right thing, even if you do it in secret. “And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” (Mt. 6:4, 6:6, 6:18)

- Dan Lankford, minister

Quick To Listen

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Do you ever find yourself in an argument with your spouse, a coworker, or a fellow church member and realize that you’re arguing with a person from long ago instead of the person sitting in front of you? I do this sometimes, and it’s a habit that I’m trying to break. When someone starts to sound like another person that I’ve disagreed with in the past, I reflexively start treating them like the other person—not fully listening, but rather just assuming I know what they’ll say. That inevitably results in us both talking past each other and neither of us talking to each other.

Maybe you’ve experienced something similar. Do you think there is something we could all do to improve our communication skills and overcome these tendencies?

The answer comes in the form of one word, two Bible verses, and one piece of advice that’s become a bit cliche, but still goes a long way if we’re willing to put it to work.

The one word: listen. Listen intently and patiently and selflessly. Listen to the person’s words without judging any underlying motives. Listen with empathy; treat the other person as a person, not just a side to an argument. Listen for a way to reach agreement; not just for a way to “win.”

The first Bible verse: Proverbs 18:2. “A fool takes no pleasure in under-standing, but only in expressing his opinion.”
The second Bible verse: James 1:19. “Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger…”

And the cliche piece of advice that still really goes a long way: “Seek first to understand; then to be understood.”

- Dan Lankford, minister (*personal note: this is an especially good reminder for me as a father who needs to listen more to his kids, which is why it was posted on Father's Day, 2019*)

Forgiveness

Sunday, June 09, 2019

Matthew 18:15, “If your brother sins against you go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone, if he listens you have gained your brother”. When it comes to our Christian walk, we must always be willing to forgive so that when we bring our gifts to the altar they are accepted by God. There is a quote that says, “Forgive others as quickly as you expect God to forgive you”. Matthew 5:21-24 reads, “You have heard that it was said to those of old, “ You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgement; But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgement; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, you fool! Will be liable to the hell of fire. God addresses the one offended and the one doing the offending and the judgement seems to escalate for each offense. For the first offense judgment, the second offense liable to the council and the third offense liable to the fire of hell. Each of these offenses are serious to God and each has its consequences. Sometimes we make unintentional offenses and other times the intent is quite clear. Whatever the reason for an offense the bible tells us in Proverbs 19:11, “Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense”. As believers we should be ready to give others the benefit of the doubt which is a legal term that means if a jury has conflicting evidence that makes the jurors doubtful, they are to give a verdict of “not guilty”. Is benefit of the doubt our first thought when we are offended? If not, try replacing offended with love and see if forgiveness steps up to replace it.  1 Corinthians 13:7 reads, “Love bears all thing, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things”.

- Kristopher Sanders, minister

Integrity & Transparency

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Integrity does not need to fear transparency. It’s true that a righteous person does not need to toot his own horn (cf. Mt. 6:1), but he will also never need to be afraid of people seeing behind the curtain of his life. That fear only comes when we try to foster some sort of secret sin.

We deceive ourselves when we think that sin may be secret or that we will be able to hide it in the long run. Several Bible passages remind us that God sees all things—our thoughts and our actions. In one such passage, Moses said to God, “our secret sins [are] in the light of your presence.” (Psa. 90:8) And it is not just God who will know about sins which we attempt to keep secret: other people will too. Paul told Timothy, “The sins of some people are conspicuous, going before them to judgment, but the sins of others appear later. So also good works are conspicuous, and even those that are not cannot remain hidden.” (1 Tim. 5:24-25)

So what do we do about that? The answer is simple, even if it isn’t always easy: do the right thing all the time. If your life is truly pure and holy, there is no need to fear discovery of anything nefarious. For instance, a financially responsible business manager has no fear of an audit because his books are clean. An honest and diligent student has no fear of being caught plagiarizing. A faithful husband has no fear of being caught with pornography or in an affair. A fair judge has no concern about bribes being discovered, because he hasn’t taken them.

In all these areas and plenty more, the lesson is that if we want to live with peace of mind and without a fear of exposure, then we should simply determine that we will have nothing to hide from God or from man. Integrity does not need to fear transparency.

- Dan Lankford, minister

Displaying 1 - 10 of 222

Page 1 2 3 4 5 6 21 22 23