Discerning the better from the best

The Apostle Paul encouraged the Philippians to practice discerning love, and last Sunday we explored how that could be done on a personal level. Discerning love, however, must also be practiced by the church. As a body of believers we must not only discern the bad from the good, but the better from the best.

There are a lot of good things that can be done to make life better for others, and we should obviously seek to do good. There is a danger, however, in getting so involved in doing good, that we forget the church’s primary mission.

A recent article in American Thinker entitled “Surrendering to the Spirit of the Age” addressed the danger of allowing corporal needs to overshadow spiritual needs. “Jesus understood the physical/corporal needs of the people, he fed them, clothed them, healed their illnesses. But was that his mission? No; Jesus did not come to heal bodies of people who would die in this world and be forever out in the cold in the next.”

A similar theme is found in the chapter on the temptations of Christ that we will be looking at this Sunday night in Life of Christ. “The first temptation of Our Blessed Lord was to become a kind of social reformer, and to give bread to the multitudes. There are deeper needs in man than crushed wheat; and there are greater joys than the full stomach. You want Me to be a baker, instead of a Savior; to be a social reformer, instead of a Redeemer. You are tempting Me away from My Cross, suggesting that I be a cheap leader of people, filling their bellies instead of their souls.”

As a church we have long supported the Food Pantry, but it may surprise you to discover that we are hesitant to get involved in an upcoming community effort to fill student backpacks with food for the weekend. We don’t deny that some children would benefit from such a program, but we don’t want to do anything that might encourage parental irresponsibility. We are prayerfully striving to discern the better from the best.

God Bless, Rick

I don’t like playing games

I don’t like playing games. And I’m not speaking metaphorically. I really don’t like to play literal games.

I played games with my kids when they were little; games like Sorry, Chutes and Ladders, and Hungry Hippo. And I know I played Old Maid and Go Fish, but I’m not sure I even remember how to play those card games, let alone card games with suits and hands and whatever. And, sad to say, other than the 3D tic tac toe I play with the grandkids, they’ve pretty much advanced beyond the games I’m willing to attempt.

Whenever Matt and Salena come for a visit, Paul and Nikki break out the Carcassonne, or Settlers of Catan, or Splendor, or some other new foreign box board game that has pages and pages of instructions and detailed rules that must be followed. And they play into the wee hours of the morning. I obviously want to visit with the kids when they’re all together, but it doesn’t take long for me to get tired of watching them play, and head for bed.

And don’t get me started on video games. I can drive a race car around a track if I have some idea where it’s going, and I do open Free Flow on my phone when I’m in a waiting room, but that’s about it. I think you get the idea. I really don’t like playing games.

However, I don’t want to be accused of not practicing what I preach. And in last Sunday’s sermon I did point out that we need to spend time together socially. And knowing a Game Night had been planned for Friday, I included playing games together in my list of things we could do together. By Sunday afternoon I had come under conviction.

So, I guess I’ll see you Friday evening. Please bring a game or two that’s easy to play, and I’ll join you at a table. But don’t be surprised if I head for home before you’ve had your fill of fun. I fill up pretty quickly.

God Bless, Rick