Thursday, May 03, 2007


Have you ever heard anybody say, “Things were better in the good old days”? Well, we might argue with them on some points. I mean, after all we have computers, cell phones, satellite communication, and flat screen TVs! We have air conditioning, shampoos and conditioners, antibacterial soap, modern medicine and specialized doctors.

Quite frankly to return to a day when my grandparents lived in Phoenix and had to hang wet strips of cloth in the window to stay cool (don’t think so!) doesn’t sound terribly appealing.

On the other hand, if we were to go back, back, back, to a place and far away and long ago…we could see

The way things used to be…

In the Old Testament book of Nehemiah (you really should read it!), after Nehemiah and the people finished building the wall, they read the Word of God and rediscovered what it was that God desired of them (ch. 8).

They devoted ¼ of their day to reading the Word and ¼ to praying (that’s 12 hours each day!)(ch. 9).

They made a covenant to return to God’s ways and follow Him completely (ch. 10).

They made sure that God’s house was taken care of (ch. 11).

They celebrated the completion of the wall and the Covenant with God with songs of thanksgiving, choirs, instruments, sacrifices and tithing (ch. 12).


  • Cleansed the house of God of all unholy things and activities
  • Separated themselves from those that were not His people
  • Started paying (taking care of) the priests again
  • Returned to the practice of making the Sabbath holy (no work, etc.)
  • Returned to the practice of not marrying outside of God’s people

(ch. 13)

Look at all of those things mentioned above. Where do we that call ourselves “God’s children” stand in each of those areas? Could it be that we, like the people of Nehemiah’s day, need to return to following God completely in some or all of these areas?

Rather than simply leave you with the questions, I want to point out one thing that I read in Christianity Today (or was it Leadership?) regarding the treatment of God’s Word today. In Nehemiah’s day, they returned to reading the Holy Scriptures to the people, in essence, preaching from the Word of God. The article I read was pointing out that in today’s church plagiarism has become rampant. Preachers are going to the internet, downloading sermons and reading them to their congregations. It is this humble writer’s opinion that the reason Calvary Chapels are so successful is that they preach God’s Word, verse by verse, book by book to the people.

And just so we don’t blame everything on preachers (that seems to be a trend) George Barna, the Christian pollster, has reported “Overall, only 30% of twentysomethings have read the Bible in the past week, compared to 37% of those in their 30s; 44% of fortysomethings; 47% of adults in their 50s; and 55% of those age 60 and above.” (Sept. 24, 2003)

Notice that Israel repented and returned corporately, not just individuals, they did it together. We in the church can take a lesson, repent and return.


Wednesday, May 02, 2007


Sometimes structures wear out, walls wobble, ceilings sag and floors fail. If the foundation is good, it is worth rebuilding! It may have been built several years ago; the original builders of the structure may have even passed away. However, as long as that foundation is stable, those that come along afterwards may begin the process of rebuilding.

The institution of the church is a lot like that…the foundation is EXTREMEMLY STABLE because it is JESUS CHRIST. Is it worth rebuilding? Absolutely!

Read this passage from the rebuilding of the wall in Jerusalem. Nehemiah is speaking…

17Then I said to them, “You see the bad situation we are in, that Jerusalem is desolate and its gates burned by fire. Come, let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem so that we will no longer be a reproach.” 18I told them how the hand of my God had been favorable to me and also about the king’s words which he had spoken to me. Then they said, “Let us arise and build.” So they put their hands to the good work. Nehemiah 2:17 - 18 (NASB)

Some of those engaged in the work had seen the wall in its glory days. Others no doubt were younger and had not but they were willing to pitch in and help. The wall didn’t look exactly as it did before…

6So we built the wall and the whole wall was joined together to half its height, for the people had a mind to work. Nehemiah 4:6 (NASB)

Their enemies attacked them during the time of rebuilding…but God triumphed. In all things they gave glory to God and worked together to rebuild the wall.

All of us in the “church”, no matter what denomination, need to rebuild it to its “former glory.” Jesus Christ must be preeminent in all that we do. God must receive all the glory.

When Christians humble themselves and work together, God will bless. Some in the rebuilding will have seen the church in its former glory. Others are younger, but willing to work together.

  • Music changes as we sing a “new song” unto the Lord…but Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.
  • The order of service may change as we remember and “rebuild it” around the foundation that it is ALL ABOUT JESUS and not about us.
  • Our “power” will diminish as we recognize the ONLY POWER that we have is THE HOLY SPIRIT operating in, around and through us.

Together we can rebuild the church to its former glory.


Monday, April 30, 2007


Have you ever caused someone pain? I don’t mean physical pain, but heart-felt emotional pain. I know I have done it unintentionally and it doesn’t feel so good when you realize what has happened.

Sometimes, simply telling people the truth results in their feeling pain. If we tell them for the right reasons, like not wanting them to go down an even worse path than the one they are on, and we use God’s TRUTH found in His Word, they may feel pain, but if that pain causes them to turn their lives around…HOORAY.

No I’m not a sadist; I don’t enjoy seeing people in pain! Read this passage that Paul wrote from 2 Corinthians 7:8 - 10 (NLT) and I think you’ll see what I’m talking about…

I am not sorry that I sent that severe letter to you, though I was sorry at first, for I know it was painful to you for a little while. 9Now I am glad I sent it, not because it hurt you, but because the pain caused you to repent and change your ways. It was the kind of sorrow God wants his people to have, so you were not harmed by us in any way. 10For the kind of sorrow God wants us to experience leads us away from sin and results in salvation. There’s no regret for that kind of sorrow. But worldly sorrow, which lacks repentance, results in spiritual death.

Oh, that I were able to lead more away from sin by sharing God’s Word in a manner that they would understand. It’s important to remember though, that Paul was dealing here with the church at Corinth; people that had already accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior. Until a person accepts that Christ is Lord, they will not accept His Word as applying to their lives. We must keep that in mind when dealing with our non-Christians friends and acquaintances. We must be gentle and lead them to understand WHO Jesus is and what He has done for us, before we can expect them to follow His teachings.

Even Jesus said in John 10:27 (NASB)

“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me;

Let us…encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called “Today,” so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. Hebrews 3:13 (NASB)