DayBreaks for 6/09/15 – Alive or Dead

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DayBreaks for 6/09/15: Alive or Dead

Worldview…how utterly critical it is!  The things we believe, the things we have experience, our education, culture – all those things go together to shape our worldviews.  A worldview is exactly what it says it is: it is the way we see, or view, the world.  As a result, we interpret events and things we see and hear differently than someone else.  It’s not a question of truth or untruth – truth is truth no matter whether we believe it to be true or not – but worldview is so strong and so persistent within us that it can lead us to truth or untruth.

What is the basic difference between Christians and non-Christians?  There are those who would say it is that Christians are lunatics and delusion while the rest of the world is sane and scientific.  Others might say it is what we believe or what we practice.  Some would say it is determined by our relationship with Jesus.  And there’s truth is some of those things. 

On Sunday, the preacher put it into different words that struck me with their utter simplicity but profound truth.  Here’s what he said (my paraphrase):

“The world says we live and then we die.  Christianity says we die and then we live.”

What does he mean?  I don’t believe he’s talking about eternal life per se, but rather this passage: Ephesians 2:1 (ESV) –  And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ— by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus

Are you living like you are dead, or alive?

PRAYER: I am so appreciative of Your patience with me. Help us not to despise the basic lessons we must learn, but to welcome them gladly and to persevere through the testing as You sanctify us in Your way!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

© 2015, Galen C. Dalrymple.

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DayBreaks for 09/09/13 – A Living Church?

DayBreaks for 09/09/13 – A Living Church

NOTE: Galen is on vacation this week.  DayBreaks this week are from the archives, September 2003:

What makes a church a living church?  If you were moving into a new town and were searching for a new church, what would you look for?  Would you look for the best worship experience? The best preaching? The nicest facilities (which would tend to indicate a thriving church)?  The best youth programs?  What would you look for?

Long ago, John Calvin mused about the same question, and he held that there were three signs that indicated whether or not a church was alive:

FIRST: the Word was being preached and taught.

SECOND: the sacraments were being practiced.

THIRD: the church has turned its community upside down.

The first two might be items you had anticipated.  But had you thought about the third?  I think Calvin had an excellent point.  What good is a church that has no impact on its community?  Why should anyone think that a church that has no impact on its community is a living church?

In Acts 17:6, these words are recorded about the visit of Paul and Silas to Thessalonica: “These men who have caused trouble all over the world have now come here…”.  As far as the Thessalonians were concerned, Paul and Silas were trouble makers, having made trouble “all over the world”.  They were having an impact wherever they went.

Here’s the catch: the church isn’t a set of buildings and rooms.  The church is people.  The church cannot have an impact on a community unless its individual members are having an impact on the community, because the church IS the people.  How much of an impact are YOU having on the community in which you live?  You are the church!

PRAYER: Lord, we need courage to make the kind of impact you want us to have!  Help us to understand that the world will never change unless we are the change agents!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2013 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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DayBreaks for 01/23/12 – Where’s the Difference?

DayBreaks for 01/23/12 – Where’s the Difference?

“Are you the Messiah we’ve been expecting, or should we keep looking for someone else?” 4 Jesus told them, “Go back to John and tell him what you have heard and seen— 5 the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised to life, and the Good News is being preached to the poor. 6 And tell him, ‘God blesses those who do not turn away because of me.’”-  Matthew 11:3-6

This is one of the most perplexing passages in Scripture.  Jesus will go on just a bit later in the discussion to say that no man ever born of woman was greater than John, yet here is John in prison, sending his disciples to Jesus to ask him if he’s really the Messiah.  This is the same John who had seen the dove descend on Jesus at his baptism and heard the voice of God proclaim Jesus was His Son.  This is the same John who said of Jesus, “He must increase, I must decrease” and “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the world’s sin!”  It is comforting to know that even the greatest man born of woman had questions and doubts at times.  But that’s not the point I want to consider today.

Jesus didn’t directly answer the question, but pointed the questioners to what they’d seen: the miracle, the blind who could now see, the lame who could now walk, lepers healed, hearing restored – and even the dead raised to life.  Had those present seen the dead who Jesus had raised?  I don’t know.  Jesus seems to imply that they had.  But then I got to thinking, perhaps Jesus was referring not to the physically raised, perhaps he was referring to the people who had been spiritually dead who had found new life – such as the immoral woman who washed Jesus feet, even those who were part of the crowd who had been dead, but found in Jesus new life.

I started to ponder my life.  As Christians, we have been born again.  Our old man is dead, the new life has come.  But if questioners were to look at me, would they see someone who is truly alive, vibrantly alive?  Is not the Christian experience supposed to be life from the dead?  “We were dead in our trespasses and sins” Paul wrote.  But we’re now alive in Christ Jesus!

Has anybody noticed it in you?

PRAYER: Let your life be brilliantly visible in me, may I give witness to the new life I have in Your Son, and may people wonder at how the dead can live again!!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2012 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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DayBreaks for 07/20/11 – Still Kickin’

DayBreaks for 07/20/11 – Still Kickin’

The LORD is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him. – Psalm 28:7

Still kickin'...as long as you're alive, there's REAL hope!

Many of our American slang sayings are very interesting when you stop to think about them.  I don’t know where all of their origins spring from, but I have a pretty good idea where the saying, “Still kickin’” comes from.  It’s like the chicken who has its head chopped off in the barnyard – they can run about and even fly for a little while…they’re still moving (sans head).  To say that someone is still kicking means that they’re not all the way dead yet – their legs are still twitching.  It’s a rather morbid saying when you get right down to it.

Living the Christian life isn’t easy.  It is, in fact, doggone tough.  Christianity isn’t for wimps.  It is so tough that many finally shrug their shoulders and give up because they just can’t seem to ever live a more holy life (which, by the way, shouldn’t surprise us too much since the author of Romans says that there is NO ONE who does what is good).  So, those folks just lie down somewhere along life’s pathway waiting to die because of their colossal, stupendous failings.

One of the most wonderful things about the gospel story is this truth: If you’re not dead, you’re not done.  You’re still kickin’.  God still has a purpose for you being here…and that gives your life and existence tremendous purpose.

If I had a nickel for every time someone told me, in the context of Christianity and their need to change, “I can’t change,” I would own vaster holdings than the British royal family.  I have, from time to time, even said it myself (I’m sad to say.)  But let’s think about that for a minute: when I say “I can’t change” or “I’ll never change” or “I’ll never amount to anything”, what are we really doing?  Aren’t we just making excuses for our actions because we don’t want to put in the effort to let the Spirit change us (and maybe we really don’t want to change and stop that sin that gives us so much delight)?  Craig Groeschel put it this way: “If you keep making excuses, you’re insulting God’s power.” (The Christian Atheist, pg. 137)

As long as you’re “kickin’”, you can change.  God can change you.  The question is never with His ability – it is always about our willingness.

PRAYER: Prevent us from falling prey to fatal discouragements and deadly excuses, Lord!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2011 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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