We wouldn't think so if all we did was watch and read the news. These are sad times, challenging times for sure. But are these times worse than any other time in history? Depends on our perspective. I do know that evil has always existed, at least, from the days of Adam and Eve. People choose to do ungodly things. And we hear about them so much. I read were some wonder if our minds are made to handle all the bad stuff that goes on around us. One young lady told me she watched the news all day long and was SO depressed. But is it all that bad? As sad as the recent shooting is that took place in Antioch where some Christians meet for worship, there were hundreds of churches that met on that same day where no shootings took place. But we only hear about the bad. So are we allowing the media to influence our thinking and more importantly our attitudes?
The gospel of Jesus is still good news in any time and any place. It is a message of hope and salvation. And the message helps us adjust our attitudes. Evil times can cause our love to grow cold. (see Matt. 24:12) Let's choose rather to love and to share the good news of Jesus and to let our lights shine in such a dark time as this.
Much has been said about leadership in recent years, both in the secular and religious world. The need for good leadership is obvious and never more so than in local churches.
Churches need shepherds, bishops, overseers, elders, leaders, guides, and helpers for the Lord ordained that men should be willing to serve as such.
Leaders lead by example. They are doers. No one has to be standing behind them prodding them to get the work done. (This does not mean that some encouragement cannot be helpful.)
But even if there is little if any encouragement from the flock, they will be serving and working for the Lord. They know they will be rewarded by Him.
They provide some direction for the rest of the members. They are respected, even when decisions are made that not all may agree with.
They care for and love people. As shepherds, they know the sheep and the sheep know their voice.
Without good leadership, churches just wander in the wilderness of business meetings where the immature and carnal minded lead by word.
And preaching is not nearly as affective as it could be with good leadership that is supportive of sound and strong preaching.
Should we pray for leadership? Do we hope that some will move in and provide it where it doesn't exist?
Or should we be talking about it more and encouraging men to value the role of elders?
The older, who are not qualified and never will be, should be encouraging the younger to desire the work and then be willing to appoint and support those who are qualified.
Leadership. It is absolutely necessary if a local church is going to be all that it can be.
I know a lot of folks are concerned about where they think America is headed. The greatest concern seems to be with moral issues, especially homosexuality. Are we, Americans in general, becoming more and more immoral? Judging by what we see in the media (entertainment industry) and hear on the news, you would think that we are.
Perhaps the time is coming when our society will mimic more and more the Roman/Greek world into which our Lord came and the apostles preached and the first disciples were made. Maybe the time is coming that those on the Lord's side will stand out more than ever in contrast to the world around us.
I don't find that the Lord, Paul or any others ever blamed our 1st century brothers and sisters for the way the folks around them were living. They were never told that if they would become more active in some way, they would stem the tide so to speak and the Roman world would turn itself around.
I don't know that our greatest concern should be with where America is headed but rather with where I personally am headed as well as the local church of which I am a member. Are we being influenced to become immoral ourselves or are we putting on the whole armor of God and standing up to fight the good fight of faith?
We really don't know for sure where America is headed. Based on what has happened to previous nations, I would admit that it doesn't look good. (I remember hearing a lesson when I was a teenager on why Rome fell and the reasons given were all things that America was having problems with even then.) Nations, cultures, societies rise and fall. But Christians are a part of a greater nation, a holy and royal nation with Jesus as our King. It is a nation that will never be destroyed, meaning that each of us, living holy in the Lord, will live forever with him in eternity.
So let us be "blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom (we) shine as lights in the world." (Phil. 2:15)
I enjoy fall for a variety of reasons - the cooler weather, the blue skies, the changing of the leaves and a trip to Western North Carolina for a few days to enjoy it all, especially the leaves.
Several years ago, a young boy asked his mom, "why are the leaves on the trees the prettiest right before they die?" What a question, huh?! Well, that got me to thinking about our lives in Christ. Shouldn't we be the prettiest right before we die?
I think we should as we grow in our character to become more like Jesus. Everything we do should be done with the goal of letting the beauty of Jesus be seen in us.
Yes, and then we shall die. But what beauty we shall see when we meet our Lord and Savior face to face!