Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Attractiveness of Genuine Christians

"Live wisely among those who are not believers, and make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone" (Colossians 4:5-6, NLT).

In many cases, people are attracted to Christ first by his followers. When they see Christians who care about others, who exhibit thankful and kind attitudes, who enjoy life, and who live honorably, they begin to wonder about what makes the difference in their lives. Eventually, many discover Jesus as the one who makes the difference.

However, these kinds of Christians also have a positive influence on their fellow disciples who are looking for a little encouragement and direction in their lives. When I lived in Oklahoma City as a college student, I attended a small church full of such Christians. They were among the best people I had ever known. Since nearly all of them used the New King James Version of the Bible, I bought a copy of the NKJV and used it almost exclusively for the next ten years. Subconsciously, I must have associated the attractiveness of their lives with the translation of the Bible that most of them read.

When Christians live good and kind lives, they influence the people around them in ways that they may never know and in ways that their friends may not take the time to recognize; the influence is still there and it can be very powerful.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Our Move to a New Church

Back in November, I mentioned on this blog that my family and I were moving to Cedar Ridge Christian Church. On February 5, we made the move official by joining the church.

Today, my sister asked how we were fitting in.

We are fitting in very well. Christopher loves the children's programming. He has been learning quite a bit about God and the Bible. The church has a great scripture memorizing program for the children. In addition to learning several scriptures, he has learned the books of the Bible. He is able to recite every book of both the Old and New Testaments.

Janet and I have enjoyed our Bible classes, too. We go to a class together on Sundays; then, on Wednesdays, Janet attends a women's Bible class while I attend a men's leadership Bible class (which is one of the best Bible classes I've ever been in). We have not volunteered to teach classes yet, but we probably will soon. The worship assemblies have been good, too. We are slowly getting to know more and more members (which is a little challenging in a congregation of 1000).

My sister also wondered about how we were fitting in theologically, and about the church's practices in areas such as Communion. We are very comfortable with the theology of Cedar Ridge Christian Church. It is conservative. In other words, the congregation affirms the doctrine of the Trinity, the inerrancy of the Bible, the need for faith in Jesus Christ, the virgin birth of Jesus, the sacrifice of Christ in our place in order to save us, the resurrection of Jesus, and similar basic Christian doctrines.

Concerning practices, the church is very similar to many other churches. People who come to believe in Christ and repent of their sins are encouraged to be baptized (immersed) as soon as possible. Communion is observed every week. Members are encouraged to serve their communities and to share the message of Christ. Lately, members have been encouraged to go on mission trips to northern Africa, Mexico, and South Africa. We have been encouraged to live lives of moral purity and to care for people in need (particularly children in foster care who need to be adopted).

We are fitting in very well with our new congregation, and hope to become even more involved as time progresses.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Lessons that Crawford Loritts Learned From His Father

This is the video of Crawford Loritts' sermon from the recent Conference for Pastors at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis. I appreciated his insights on the topic of fatherhood.