Gastonia Church of Christ

June 4, 2017


Seeking Perfection is the Wrong Pursuit 

Growing up I wanted to break all of Jack Nicklaus’ records in golf. He was the standard, the greatest golfer who ever lived. Therefore, I took practice seriously and held myself to a higher standard than most my age. If someone were to ask me what was the number one priority I had/have with my golf game it is undoubtedly my putting. Even now, when I step over every single putt I expect to make it, every….single….time. When I don’t I grit my teeth and when I take more than two putts to get the ball in the hole, I get hot under the collar. 

Recently, I had to stop and ask myself, “Why?” Why was I chasing after a standard that I knew I couldn’t reach or maintain? Why was I trying to be a perfect putter of the golf ball, when Jack Nicklaus, the greatest of all time, never made every putt he stepped over. I realized that my standard was full of misconceptions. It was a misconception for me to think that I could be perfect when the standard bearer himself wasn’t perfect. It was a misconception to think that any one golfer could be perfect at any one aspect of the game of golf. It was a misconception to think that the standard I set could actually be attained. 

The same can be true of our faith. Sometimes, we hold ourselves to a standard that is unattainable or a mischaracterization. For example, how many times do we not evangelize because “well I won’t convert everyone,” knowing that Jesus didn’t even do that. Or we might say something like, “I’ll never be perfect.” Correct, no one is and God knows this, which is why we have His Son to thank! 

The single standard that we should focus on in our lives stems from 1 John 1:7 “walk in the light as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from sin.” Seeking perfection is the wrong pursuit, God knows we aren’t perfect but that we can find ourselves in His Son! 

DJM

Dean's Dialogue​

(from the weekly Church Bulletin)

May 7, 2017


Rescue and Refuge 

Have you ever been rescued? I cannot count how many times my brother has saved me from hurting myself physically. Furthermore, I cannot count how many times my Marines literally saved my life. At some point, we’ve all experienced those “life saver” moments when people have taken the time to insert themselves in our lives to lessen a burden, comfort us, bail us out financially, give us life altering advice, cover a shift at work, etc. 

I was recently reading a blog in which a young lady stated that she desired to belong to something greater than herself. She wanted to be something other than self-indulgent. The words on her page screamed out HELP. In other words, she needed to be rescued, she needed Christ in her life so she would know what true love, peace, friendship, happiness, and joy looked like. As people who have been rescued by Christ, these are the attributes which we should exhibit at all times, no matter the circumstance or situation. It is a marker of New Testament Christianity. It shows people that there is something different about Christians than the average person in the world. 

Secondly, this young lady blogged because she needed an outlet a refuge. Isn’t interesting that she had nowhere to go physically? What if she did belong to the Church? Would she be as open with her brothers and sisters as she was on the blog? In an ever increasing “everything is alright with me don’t bother” culture, WE must make sure the Gastonia church of Christ is a place of refuge; this MUST be a place where WE can come open, exposed, wounded, without fear of rejection or unbiblical judgement. 

If the Gastonia church of Christ is to grow, if God is to be glorified, if WE are molding ourselves into disciples who imitate Jesus, WE will be a place of rescue and refuge. 

DJM

May 14, 2017


​God is Faithful 

During times of calamity and strife we are tempted to betray God. We are persuaded by the winds of the world to give up our relationship with the one who saved us. Satan desires for God’s people to give up their faith and life in Christ and will go to any length to see that it happens. 

However, In 2 Timothy 2:11-13 Paul states, “It is a trustworthy statement: For if we died with Him, we will also live with Him; If we endure, we will also reign with Him; If we deny Him, He also will deny us; If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself.” Notice the promises of God, 1)If we die with him we will live with Him. If we submit ourselves to the gospel call (Rm. 6:3,4) we are no longer enemies of God but he becomes our ally for all eternity. 2) If we endure we will reign with Him. With all the pain, agony and suffering we experience in this life, God has promised that if we endure and stay faithful we will reign with Him forever. Note what Paul said in 2 Tim. 2:10 “For this reason I endure all things for the sake of those who are chosen, so that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus and with it eternal glory.” How much are we willing to endure for cause of Christ? Furthermore, what could be better than living face to face with God forever? 3) If we deny Him, He will deny us. It is a trustworthy statement, that those who seek to live in such a way as to deny God can be certain that on the day of judgement He will deny them. How can we expect Jesus to intercede for us on the day of judgement if we don’t stand up and proclaim Him now?  4) But if we are faithless, God remains faithful. There are those who give up and abandon God, but notice His promise here, that even though we (or someone else) maybe faithless God’s truth is still truth. In other words the promises we read about in the Bible are just as true then, now, and forever. What a great realization that God doesn’t shift or bend His truth despite the faithlessness of some. 

All of these promises us the word “if” which is a conditional statement. It is up to us whether or not we are going to die to ourselves, endure tribulations, and proclaim Christ through word and deed. In light of the promises and faithfulness of God how could we abandon Him?