The Treasure of Great Worth

There are those who clutch to resentment like it were a treasure of great worth. This is foolishness. The question to be asked is not how badly we were wronged, but what are we profited by our unforgiveness?

–Richard Paul Evans, “The Locket”

12 Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.

–Colossians 3:12-15

Theology conquers biology

Theology Can Conquer Biology

“The backdrop of all the teaching in Colossians 1-3 is Colossians 3:6, “On account of these the wrath of God is coming.” Hanging over the whole world is the holy, just, unimpeachable anger of God at sin and rebellion. His wrath is coming and the salvation spoken of in Colossians 1-3 is rescue from that. No one wants to meet the wrath of “the Lamb” when it comes (Revelation 6:16). So God, in his mercy makes a way out.

And what is distinctively Christian about the teachings of these chapters is that our rescue was most decisively accomplished for us by another and was done outside of us. In other words, Christ did something in history before we existed that obtained and guaranteed our rescue and the transformation of all who would come to trust in him. The distinctive and crucial thing about Christian salvation is that Christ accomplished it decisively for us and outside of us and without our help. And when we put our faith in him we do not add to the sufficiency of what he accomplished in covering our sins and achieving the righteousness that counts as ours. Continue reading

Why MacArthur loves the church

On Wednesday June 21, 2006 Pastor John MacArthur writes on his church’s blog (Pulpit Live): 

In the 15 July 1998 issue of Christianity Today included an article by Timothy George, dean of Beeson Divinity School at Samford University: “What I’d Like to Tell the Pope About the Church.” The article’s subtitle: “Responding to the main criticism Catholics have against evangelicals: that we have no doctrine of the church.” Dr. George quoted from a sermon by Dietrich Bonhoeffer, in which Bonhoeffer noted that the word churchto Protestants has the sound of something infinitely commonplace, more or less indifferent and superfluous, that does not make their heart beat faster; something with which a sense of boredom is so often associated.”

Let’s be honest: there is too much truth in those criticisms to dismiss them lightly. Evangelicals are far too prone to indifference about the church. Some evangelicals live on the periphery of the church, attending and observing without ever really becoming an integral part of the body. Many who profess faith in Christ remain totally impassive about the church.  …

He’s right. Worse yet, I know of people in full-time Christian service, employed by evangelical parachurch organizations, who have no involvement whatsoever with any local church. This is to the shame of the whole evangelical movement.

Of course, the remedy for evangelical apathy about the church is not a return to the twisted, extrabiblical ecclesiology of the Roman Catholic Church. Evangelical Protestants must approach ecclesiology as they have soteriology—from the perspective of Scripture alone. Unfortunately even among many Protestants, too many of the popular notions about the church are laden with human traditions, superstitions, and other holdovers from the medieval Catholic Church. Scripture alone can give us a sound understanding and appreciation of the true role and nature of the church.

On Friday June 23 MacArthur began explaining why he loves the church: because…

1. It Is Being Built by the Lord Himself

The church is the New Testament counterpart of the Old Testament Temple. I’m not referring to a church building, but the body of all true believers.

It is a spiritual building (1 Pet. 2:5), the dwelling-place of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 3:16-17; 2 Cor. 6:16), the place where God’s glory is most clearly manifest on earth, and the proper nucleus and focal point of spiritual life and worship for the community of the redeemed.

God Himself is the architect and builder of this temple. (See Ephesians 2:19-22) …

Notice also that the church is a work in progress. Christ is still building His church. We are still being joined together (Eph. 2:21). The church is still under construction (v. 22). God is not finished yet. The imperfections and blemishes in the visible church are still being refined by the Master Builder.

And here’s something remarkable: The plan for the finished product is a blueprint that was drawn in eternity past.

On Monday June 26 MacArthur continues:

2. The Church Is the Outworking of an Eternal Plan

In Titus 1:2, the apostle Paul writes of the “eternal life which God, who cannot lie, promised before time began” (NKJV). In this context, the apostle Paul was describing his ministry, a ministry of evangelism and salvation “for the faith of those chosen of God”—the church (v. 1).

And as Paul describes his ministry, he outlines God’s redemptive purpose, from election (“those chosen of God,” v. 1), to salvation (“the knowledge of the truth,” v. 1), to sanctification (“which is according to godliness,” v.1), to final glory (“in the hope of eternal life,” v. 2). All of this is God’s work (cf. Rom. 8:29-30), something He “promised before time began.”

In other words, in eternity past, before anything was created—before time began—God determined to begin and to finish His redemptive plan. People were chosen. Their names were written down that they might be brought to faith, to godliness, and to glory. God “promised” this before time began.

As it’s written in  2 Timothy 1:9 and Titus 1:2, Paul says God’s eternal purpose—this same promise that was made before the beginning of time—”was given to us in Christ Jesus.” The eternal pledge of our salvation, the divine covenant of redemption, involved a promise made by the Father to the Son before time began. …

…the importance of the doctrine of election emerges from all this. The redeemed are chosen and given to the Son by the Father as a gift. If you are a believer, it is not because you are more clever than your unbelieving neighbors. You did not come to faith through your own ingenuity. You were drawn to Christ by God the Father (John 6:44, 65). And every individual who comes to faith is drawn by God and given as a love gift from the Father to the Son, as part of a redeemed people—the church—promised to the Son before time began. …

Now this eternal promise involved a reciprocal promise from the Son to the Father. Redemption was by no means the Father’s work alone. In order to accomplish the divine plan, the Son would have to go into the world as a member of the human race and pay the penalty for sin. And the Son submitted completely to the Father’s will. That is what Jesus meant in John 6:38-39: “I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day.”

(See Hebrews 10:4-9)  So the Son submitted to the Father’s will, demonstrating His love for the Father. And the building of the church is therefore not only the Father’s expression of love to the Son, but also the Son’s expression of love to the Father.

…This is a mind-boggling look at our future. This is God’s plan for the church. We are a people called out for His name, redeemed, conformed to His Son’s image, made to be an immense, incomprehensible, all-surpassing expression of love between the Persons of the Trinity. The church is the gift that is exchanged. This is God’s eternal plan for the church. We ought to be profoundly grateful, and eager, and thrilled to be a part of it.

On Wednesday June 28 MacArthur continues, that he loves the church because

3. The Church Is the Most Precious Reality on Earth

There’s a third biblical reason I love the church: It is the most precious thing on this earth—more precious than silver, or gold, or any other earthly commodity.

How precious is the church? It demanded the highest price ever paid for anything. “You have been bought with a price” (1 Cor. 6:20). What price? “You were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ” (1 Pet, 1:18-19). Acts 20:28 refers to “the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.”

The church is so precious that the Son was willing to suffer the agonies of the cross and die in obedience to the Father so that this eternal love gift could become a reality…

2 Corinthians 8:9: Christ became bleed & died, giving up His own glorious riches so that we might become rich. His dying made us heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ (Rom. 8:17). In other words, in giving up His heavenly riches, Christ made it possible for the church to share in those riches. That makes the church the most precious thing on earth.

And finally on Sunday July 2 MacArthur concludes that we should love the church because

4. The Church Is an Earthly Expression of Heaven

I don’t mean that the church is perfect, or that it offers some kind of utopian escape from the realities of a sinful world. But I mean that the church is the one place where all that occurs in heaven also occurs on earth.

Christ instructed us to pray, “Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Matt. 6:10). In what sphere is that most likely to occur? In the United States Congress? Not likely. In the Supreme Court? Probably not. In the university? No. City Hall? Don’t count on it.

Where is God’s will done on earth as it is in heaven? Only in one place, and that is the church.

What goes on in heaven? If all the activities of heaven were to be brought to earth, what activities would predominate?

First of all, worship. In every biblical description where men of God had visions of heaven, the one thing that stands out most is worship. Praise, adoration, and devotion are constantly being offered to God in heaven (Isaiah 6:1-3; Revelation 4:8-11; 1 Corinthians 14).

A second activity of heaven is the exaltation of Christ. Having finished His earthly work, Christ is now seated at the Father’s right in glory in pure exaltation (Acts 5:31). God Himself has exalted His Son, and given Him a name above every name (Phil. 2:9). Christ is “exalted above the heavens” (Heb. 7:27). And throughout all eternity we will be occupied exalting His name (cf. Rev. 5:11-14). Meanwhile, the church is the one sphere on earth where Christ’s name is truly and genuinely exalted.

A third activity that takes place in heaven is the preservation of purity and holiness. Heaven is a holy place. Revelation 21:8 says “the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars” are excluded from heaven, consigned instead to the lake of fire. Revelation 22:14-15 underscores the perfect purity of heaven’s inhabitants… No one is admitted to heaven who is not holy (Heb. 12:14).

Likewise, the church on earth is charged with preserving purity within her own midst. Matthew 18:15-20 lays out a process of discipline by which the church is to keep herself pure, if necessary through excommunication of members… take note of the promise Christ makes in verse 18: “Truly I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven.”

Another activity of heaven that occurs in the church is the fellowship of the saints. Our fellowship in the church on earth is a foretaste of the perfect communion we will enjoy in heaven.

The church, then, is like an earthly expression of heaven. It is the closest we can get to heaven on earth.

The apostle Paul wrote of “the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and support of the truth” (1 Tim. 3:15). More than any other institution on earth, the church is where the truth of God is upheld. The church is called to lift up the truth and hold it high. Employing the truth as a weapon, we are to smash the ideological fortresses of Satan’s lies (2 Cor. 10:3-5). And it is in the pursuit of that goal that the church will ultimately realize her greatest triumph.

All of that is why I love the church.

Ahh… loving words from a pastor who speaks the truth in love.  We love God whole-heartedly and each other as ourselves–because He first loved us and gave Himself up for us.

How much more are we to love OURSELVES as the gift of love between the Trinity!  Amazing thoughts, mind-blowing notions.  Church–the most precious thing on this earth 🙂

James M. Boice once said, “People tend to overestimate how much they can accomplish in five years, and underestimate how much they can achieve in twenty.” While Mark Dever exhorts, “Teach and pray, love and stay.”  Teach the people; pray faithfully for the people; love the people; and stay with the people.  It is true indeed, that this is the “kind of patience that believes teaching God’s word is effective, that prayer is necessary, and that a loving and long-term relationship between pastors and congregations tends to produce far more fruit, lasting fruit, when men stay in a pastorate rather than flitting between churches every few years.”  (Pastor Thabiti Anyabwile)

Harmartiology, part 1

Adventures in Missing the Mark.

^That’s the subtitle of this post, which is a long time coming, and the reason for jotting this down is the accumulation of all that I have read in the past year or so. Since my latter years of undergrad, I began looking deeper into my faith and talking to my dad about a lot that’s been going through my head and heart in relation to our faith…going “back to the basics” you could say. However, this back to the basics did not include simply examining the basic tenets of my Christian faith, but at the underlying theology that is innate and present in everything that I do in life, at home and away from home.

I began seeking to understand why I am the kind of Christian I am, and why I go to the church I go to (and whether or not I needed to change my ways to become a “new kind of Christian” that has been soo much written and talked about in today’s emergent conversation).  Thus, I started researching about the “Protestant Reformation” and studying reformation theology–the doctrines of grace, “tulip” and all things related to John Calvin and Martin Luther (and also in retrospect, the heretical, Arminian-istic and Emergent/McLaren-istic theologies).  I wanted to know myself better, and to know God better. Thus, I tried tackling the easiest things first: grace, faith, salvation, etc.

Too my surprise–these easy things aren’t so easy or simple, and at its very core, they are so Divine that throughout all that I’ve read, studied, researched and sought to understand…there seems to be so much I cannot understand. Why the God of all creation would save me, let alone anybody, at all?!? Why is God so gracious to us?!? We are such depraved sinners, all of us, that we deserve eternal punishment from God–and yet He has given us His Son Jesus Christ, who lived & fulfilled righteousness when He was alive and died on the Cross for our sins, and rose to life on the 3rd day so that we may live. He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him (2 Cor 5:21).

That’s how it all got started. Which now brings us to today’s post:

Harmartiology.

If you were allowed to chose one, just 1, doctrine within Christian systematic theology to study–what would it be? For most, it would probably be soteriology–the study of salvation. But for me, as one who has seeked to live all of life for God’s name and renown, to worship and bring glory to God in all things… I’m interested in understanding that ONE thing that hinders, trips and holds us back from bringing glory and honour and praise to God: sin.

What is it? Why do we do it? What are the consequences of it? Are there significant distinctions or differences between sins?

Hence, harmartiology: the doctrine/study of sin.

I’ve only just begun thinking about this…all kind of stemming from my Sunday School class on what “godliness” means (1 Timothy 6).

In Psalm 14, David writes about fools, sinners:

they are corrupt, they do abominable deeds, there is none who does good… They have all turned aside; together they have become corrupt;there is none who does good,not even one.

At reading all of this, I find it ironic that in a book of praise there is an entire song talking about sin, harmartiology. And it’s so soo hard to swallow too–we don’t like to hear it, that we are SINNERS. S-I-N-N-E-Rs. In our nature, to every part of our being, we are depraved, without good. Because of original sin from Adam, sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned (Romans 5:12). Sin and death.

“For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am of the flesh, sold under sin. I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. (Romans 7:14-20)

All of us have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). Apart from Christ, we are “weak” and “ungodly” (5:6), “sinners” (5:8), under the coming “wrath of God” (5:9), “enemies” of God in need of “reconciliation” and salvation (5:10), under the “judgment” and reigning “death” that followed Adam’s “one tresspass” (5:16-17), “enslaved to sin” (6:6, 16-17, 20), presenting our “members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness leading to more lawlessness” (6:19), “of the flesh, sold under sin” (7:14), having “nothing good” dwelling in our flesh (7:18), having bodies “of death” in need of deliverance (7:24), “hostile to God” (8:7), the fruit and wages of which are death and condemnation (6:21,23; 8:1).

As it has been understood by Augustine and our reformation fathers, we are totally depraved, and totally unable to save ourselves from sin & its consequences. This depravity is in the extensive sense, and rather than intensive sense. The effect of original sin on all of us is that sin has extended to every part of our personality–our thinking, our intellect, our emotions, our conscience, and our will. Not necessarily that we are intensely sinful, but that sin has extended to our entire being.

Even the Apostle Paul, one of the greatest “Christians” that has ever lived–the forefather of all the fathers of our faith–was a sinner.  He was not perfect, but so very far from it.  That’s the truth.  Use whatever words you want to describe him, put whatever label you want on it–feel free to even call him one, and I doubht he or any of His friends would feel offended.  Christ by His own grace through faith made this truth known to Paul for sure–something we cannot deny.  We were spiritually dead in our sins and tresspasses, gratifying the desires of our sinful nature, following its desires and its thoughts, and by nature we were children of divine wrath.  And when we were in our sinfulness–Christ died for us–and by grace we are saved.  Have a look and see what I mean:

“For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.”
-Romans 14:23

“The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost.  But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life. To the King of ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever.  Amen.
-1 Timothy 1:15-17

But the 2nd half of harmartiology is that we are not JUST sinners saved by the grace of God.  We are so much more worse than that!  We are rebels, enemies of God, aliented from God, hostile towards God, revilers of the LORD God Almighty, whom God has found in our sinfulness to be saints–a holy, redeemed, faithful child of God.  “Grace is seen in this–while we were wretches; while we were sinners, shaking our fists at God, hating God, defying God in thought, word and deed–every single one of us; God did something ridiculous–paying an outlandish and scandalous price to redeem us (the blood of His beloved Son).”  (Pastor J. Samson)

To the Ephesians God set the standard pretty high; He said that here must not even be a hint of immorality or impurity in us.  Not even a hint.  God’s standard is perfection, but we are not and we simply cannot achieve.    But Christ can, Jesus fufilled the requirements of righteousness while alive…and still does. He lives in us–it is He who gives us the hope of glory by living inside of us and giving us the grace we need to endure (Colossians 1:27).  By His Spirit, we have the grace not just to save us–but to sustain us.

For most of us, we might have thought that Jesus Christ’s life, persecution, death and resurrection was enough to save us from our sins, to forgive us, and justify us before a Holy Holy Holy LORD God.  But I think what most of us has forgotten is that this same grace sustains us–day in and day out.  Sanctification, the process of something sinful being made holy, has its source in this same grace–any good that we can ever do, or any obedience that we could ever muster only happens because of God’s grace.  Grace is the source of (good) work.  Our works is the fruit of saving grace–it was exactly what we were saved to do (Ephesians 2:8-10)…and in our working out our salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2) we look forward to the “Future Grace” of God.

It was indeed for our sake & to the Father’s glory that God made Christ who knew no sin to be sin , so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.  Therefore, we are not just a sinner saved by grace.  We are sinners who have been cleanesed, forgiven, transformed, and made righteous and holy in Christ–we are saints!  And as grace is through faith and not by works, so also our identity is not defined by what we do or do not do–namely, sin.  Even though our nature and our sinning would define us by as sinners who are completely depraved in our entire beings, Christ by His covenantal blood declares us as HIS, holy and faithful ones.

In conclusion and in response to the merciful grace of God, I am compelled to make a public apology.  Due to the unedifying and un-God-glorifying remarks I made here about “damaged goods”, and comments made about my remarks found here and here, I must apologize to my readers and seek the forgiveness of God and all persons involvedespecially Kitty Lee, Chris Luk, and Johnny Cheung.  My language and attitude was corrupt and hurtful, and though it was neither intended to be that, nor “slander”.  The aim/focus of that post on ‘Internal Transformation’ was indeed to spur each other on in metanoeo–hence, I am moreover sorry that such words were written, and should thus set the example and be a real witness here to the testimony that was written.  What’s done is done, and I cannot take back what I wrote, or undo the hurt that I have caused; I am sincerely sorry and hope that you would let me be sorry for this.  Words were thrown back and forth which was not Christ-like nor kind or tenderhearted…and for that I am sorry also, and ask for God’s and your forgiveness.  In due time, I hope and pray that you would be able to forgive me, as Christ has first forgiven you and me.

Despite the fact that I am still uncertain if you truly see who you were meant to be yet, or if you even truly know that you are forgiven and free, that you are called to love God and made to worship Him…the LORD’s grace has revealed to me that one day, when you and I do actually embrace surrender–we will indeed see and know all these things.

To all who frequents my little blog here, I hope you can pray for me: that I may grow in speech / written prose that is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.

As always,
SDG

A mere shadow

[Read Colossians 2:16-23]

I really would love to talk about v.18-23 & the whole self-made religion thing, especially in light of the ’emerging’ ways church and christianity is being done…but I’m quite tired & would rather direct you to an article by D.A. Carson on this developing concern(Excuse my rightwing-bias; I’m sure Ling-Ling can help us out with the other side of the story)

About v.16-17…

“Part of what the Colossians were going through was a judgment from people that were insisting they follow the Jewish Law. These Gentile Christians weren’t eating kosher foods, and weren’t following the Jewish calendar of holy days.

In reality, Paul could have simply said, “Look guys. The council at Jerusalem already decided that you Gentile Christians aren’t subject to the Jewish law.  As long as you abstain from meat sacrificed to idols and from blood and from what is strangled and from fornication (Acts 21:25), you’re fine.  But instead, He made a statement that is as deep as any in the entire Bible. He said that these things of Jewish Law…
Col. 2:17 …are a {mere} shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ.

This is fascinating! What does it mean? Jesus told the Jews,
John 5:39 “You search the Scriptures, because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is these that bear witness of Me.”

(Pastor Ron Daniel)

God in Christ is the source of our faith, and thus our justification…we are saved by grace & justified through faith alone….Made righteous, given a right legal standing before God, acquitted of all our wrong doings once and for all.  And this righteousness is of God, and not of ourselves, for in our self-power and self-trying of striving to obey the law, we find ourselves complete miserable failures.  In our natural unregenerate state, we have no ability to approach God…and even as Christians, by our own strength and striving we cannot fulfill the requirements of His law, unable to perfectly obey what God commands of us.

But God already knew before the foundation of the world, that we cannot live out the Christian lives ourselves.  But God’s plan is this, to put the One who can live the Christian life, inside of the one who can’t live the Christian life, so that the One who can live the Christian life …will live the Christian life inside of the one who can’t live the Christian life!!

May it this be our goal: to stop trying & to start dying…to surrender to the power of Christ that is within us.

Complimentarianism

Rules for Christian Households —Colossians 3:18-19, ESV

Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them.

-See also Ephesians 5:22-33

This is long overdue, but still, I think it’d be edifying to share this with you all.

Pastor & theologian on Ligon Duncan said it best once:

“God has created men and women equal in their essential dignity and human personhood but different and complimentary in function, with male headship in the home and believing community, that is the church, being understood as part of God’s created design.”

If ever we need a Scriptural foundation for what Biblical manhood and womanhood is, it is found in these passages we just read.  God requires wives especially to submit to their husbands, and husbands especially to love their wives (and not be harsh to them = be really really nice to them!).

Have you ever wondered why God demands this of us?  Why didn’t Paul write “wives love your husbands” & “husbands submit to your wives” instead?  I’ve wondered about this, and found that God has much reason to do so.  It’s not that wives shouldnt love their husbands, or that husbands should never submit to their wives (of course, we know this to be a must in 21st century relationships)…but I think it is that because of who we are, men / women, God has made us differently & have different weaknessess, different areas of the husband-wife relationship that we are specifically responsible to God for.  Scripture specifically tells us of this.

It’s about Biblical order, and not about what we value.  Pastor Voddie Baucham put it nicely in his series “Love and Marriage” at 722.. The wife must be submissive to the Lord.  In the same way, she is to be subjective to her husband…  Submitting to proper Biblical authority.  Similarily, husbands must love their wives; “as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.”  He must be a loving leader; a leader in love, in the Word, in righteousness, in selflessness, and in intimacy.

May we all grow in loving & forgiving each other, as Christ first loved and forgave us, so that the world will know that we are His disciples.

“Love is an act of the will, accompained by emotion that leads to action on behalf of its object.”

RE: What is really the question?

From :  Yu-Ling Lee <farfromfob@hotmail.com>
Sent :  February 10, 2006 2:28:05 PM
Subject :  RE: [Campus Challenge] Colossians 4:2-9, ESV 
 

hey alex,

thx for the devo. The conversation between McLaren and Driscoll is very
interesting AND especially very practical/realistic in our day.

Personally speaking, I lean more towards McLaren’s views, whereas someone
like my bro favors Driscoll.

Just to keep encouraging/challenging you, I’m glad you like McLaren’s
pastoral basis, I think that is the necessary beginning point. On the other
had, I too would affirm Driscoll’s question re: truth.

But MY question, would be why we are so obsessed with asking these type of
questions? Why are we so focused on STARTING at the issues that divide?

Why not start at the issue that unites? Meaning, starting with the love of
God, his desire to welcome ALL people into a relationship with Him, and then
we’ll move on. And then when issues of pastoral care vs. truth have to be
addressed, we can use greater discernment to see how we should react.

In moving towards CC, I hope we begin to think/pray through the reasons why
we are doing ministry a specific way (ie. small groups, bible studies,
website, admin, etc.).

AND, it will be good to see if we are doing a ministry a certain to prove a
point, to demonstrate that our way/method of ministry is the best. OR are we
rather doing this ministry so that we can best point other people to God.

blessings,
Yu