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The One Thing to Avoid When Judging

marriage-gods-way-author-scott-lapierre-judgingIn Matthew 7:1 Jesus said, “Judge not, that you be not judged.” Last post, 3 Truths About Judgingdiscussed what this verse is not saying: judging is wrong. So what is it saying? The primary rule for interpreting Scripture is to look at context. Let the Bible be the commentary on the Bible. Matthew 7:2 says:

For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. 

We will be judged with the same standard we use with others

If you judge someone for doing something, you better make sure you don’t do it. If you judge people for:

  • Lying, you better not lie
  • Losing their tempers, you better not lose your temper
  • Being late late, you better be on time
  • Watching or listening to things they shouldn’t, you better not watch or listen to anything compromising
  • Gossiping, you better not gossip
  • Not serving, you better be a servant

There’s nothing wrong with saying something is sin, but there is something wrong with saying something is sin while committing the same sin yourself. It’s similar to Romans 2:1: Continue reading The One Thing to Avoid When Judging

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Correcting People Is Loving

marriage-gods-way-author-scott-lapierre-correcting peopleLast post discussed the importance of correcting people, something largely ignored by the world. Our culture often says “love” means letting people do whatever they want whether it is detrimental to them or anyone else. Disagreeing with someone’s choices or lifestyle makes you at best unloving, and at worst hateful. This logic demands sitting back silently while people make decisions that are detrimental to them or others.

The Bible, on the other hand, points out the logical reality that love demands correcting people:

Proverbs 9:8 Do not correct a scoffer, lest he hate you;
rebuke a wise man, and he will love you.

He will love you, because he has the wisdom to recognize you have done him a favor.

Correcting People: The Behavior of Friends Versus Enemies

David saw it as an act of love to be rebuked by someone: Continue reading Correcting People Is Loving

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3 Reasons Giving Correction Is Important

3 Reasons Giving Correction Is Important

Giving correction is vitally important to the health and joy of marriages, families, churches, businesses, teams, etc. You name it – any group or organization that involves relationships – requires giving correction.

Why is that? We’re sinners. We sin against others and others sin against us. We have to be able to give correction to others, and we have to allow others to correct us. Here are three reasons this is so important!

1. Giving correction protects against bitterness.

When people sin against us, it can create an offense. We have to talk to the person that upset us. The alternative allows bitterness to develop, and it can have far-reaching consequences:

Hebrews 12:15b Lest any root of bitterness spring up causing trouble, and by this many become defiled.

Nothing ruins relationships faster than having an offense but not going to the person that offended you. The hurt festers creating anger and hostility. Continue reading 3 Reasons Giving Correction Is Important

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6 Reasons to Avoid Divisive People

reasons avoid divisive people

Divisive people should be avoided, because of the problems they cause. Sometime time back I found myself dealing with a divisive person. I went to God’s Word to see how to respond and my studying produced two posts:

Scripture makes it clear the correct way to deal with fools is by not responding. The main reason is that they’re too prideful to receive correction well. The same is true with divisive people. In my studying, I learned six reasons they should be avoided

1. Avoid divisive people, because that’s what God commands.

If this was the only reason it would be enough:

  • Romans 16:17 I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them.
  • Titus 3:10a Reject a divisive man after the first and second admonition.

Divisive people are such a threat they have to be “noted” or watched, and then “avoided” or “rejected.”

2. Avoid divisive people, because they destroy a church’s unity and witness.

When people think of the “worst sins” divisiveness probably doesn’t come to mind, and this is unfortunate. Proverbs 6:16-19 lists six sins God hates, and a seventh that is detestable to Him: “one who sows discord among brethren.” Most other translations say “brothers” (ESV, NASB). These are ways to refer to God’s people.

When Jesus prayed for all believers in His High Priestly prayer in John 17:21-23 He discussed the importance of unity in the church… Continue reading 6 Reasons to Avoid Divisive People

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There’s no blessing for being obnoxious!

There's no blessing for being obnoxious!
There’s no blessing for being obnoxious!

Do we suffer for Christ, or for being obnoxious?

Jesus said, “Blessed are you when men hate you, exclude you, revile you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of Man’s sake” (Luke 6:22).

The last six words make an important point: there’s only a blessing for suffering for Christ.

There are times we’ve all been selfish, unkind, and harsh. We haven’t listened well, and we’ve acted arrogantly. As a result, people have hated, excluded, reviled, or criticized us.

But there’s no reward for this.

It’s unfortunate when we’re disliked or rejected because of our selfishness, but we say:

  • I’m suffering all this persecution, because of the way I live for Christ.
  • Everyone hates me because I’m such a strong Christian.
  • Others don’t have it as bad as me, because they’re not as committed to the Lord as I am.

Sometimes we’re persecuted, but it’s actually because we’ve failed to demonstrate Christ-like character. Yes, there’s rejection for living like Christ, but there’s also rejection for being an insensitive or inconsiderate person. Continue reading There’s no blessing for being obnoxious!

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Much More Than Showing Up Sunday Mornings

Much More Than Showing Up Sunday Mornings

Even if you’ve been trained to think church is only about showing up Sunday morning and leaving when service is over you need to know that’s not what God wants! God’s plan is the opposite of shallow, superficial involvement with our brothers and sisters in Christ. The church is a family where we’re expected to be involved in each other’s lives and have people involved in our lives. The church is described as a body where every part is important:

  • “If the foot should say, ‘Because I am not a hand, I am not of the body,’ is it therefore not of the body? And if the ear should say, ‘Because I am not an eye, I am not of the body,’ is it therefore not of the body?” (1 Cor 12:15-16). Every part is important!
  • “The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I have no need of you’; nor again the head to the feet, ‘I have no need of you.’ Those members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary.” (1 Cor 12:21-22) Each part needs the other parts! Every part has to be involved and working together to have a healthy, efficient body.

An interesting consideration is that although corporate worship on the Lord’s Day is important, if that constitutes your involvement in the church you’ll be unable to obey many commands:

  • Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, leading to edification (Rom 15:2).
  • Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others (Phil 2:4).
  • Comfort each other and edify one another (1 Thes 5:11).
  • Exhort one another daily…and let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good words (Heb 3:13 & 10:24).
  • As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another (1 Pet 4:10).

If you think your responsibility toward the body of Christ ends at showing up Sunday morning and leaving when service is over, you’re going to disobey most of these commands. The level of involvement God wants us to have in each other’s lives is much deeper than what can take place when churches don’t challenge people to love and service.

Woodland Christian Church is growing, which is a good thing, but we want to make sure we maintain a family feel. That happens as people get to know each other and develop relationships. Attend church events and activities, but also invite people over to your home.

Author: Scott LaPierre

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Warnings for the Stingy

Warnings for the stingyWhile the stingy hope to keep more for themselves, God’s Word is clear that the opposite results.

Since Proverbs has thirty-one chapters it works well to read a chapter each morning. This provides wisdom to take with you throughout the day. We often do this for our morning family Bible study, especially on days when I say to myself, “What should we do today?” or “I don’t feel like continuing through…” This was the case yesterday, and I was particularly struck by the consecutive proverbs related to giving. A clear principle developed in Proverbs 11:24-

A stingy heart leads to poverty while generosity secures blessing

Proverbs 11:24 There is one who scatters (or gives freely as it’s translated in some Bibles: NIV, NLT, ESV, HCSB, ISV), yet increases more; And there is one who withholds more than is right, but it leads to poverty.

Someone who’s very generous receives more as a result. It’s reminiscent of Jesus’ words in Luke 6:38 “Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.”

In contrast, the second half of the verse says someone who’s stingy – despite their best efforts to have more – ends up poor.

Proverbs 11:25 The generous soul will be made rich,
And he who waters
(or refreshes in NIV, NLT), will also be watered himself.

Again the generous person is blessed, but with the word waters or refreshes it goes beyond giving financially to giving emotionally and relationally. When people join Woodland Christian Church we tell that we expect them to be giving, but we stress that it goes far beyond putting a check in the offering box. We want people to give of their time, energy, talents, etc.

Those who are stingy with their time and effort lack friends 

Friendly, loving people who are interested in others will often find others friendly, loving, and interested in them. And the opposite is also true: those who are unfriendly, selfish, and uninterested in others often find it difficult to make friends and will find people uninterested in them.

Proverbs 11:26 The people will curse him who withholds grain,
But blessing will be on the head of him who sells it.

Another contrast between the generous and stingy, continuing the same principle: the generous are blessed and the stingy are cursed. This proverb, like the previous one, also goes beyond a discussion of finances to our relationships with people. It’s not financial gain or loss, but social gain or loss. People can’t stand the greedy, but they love the giving. Being generous moves beyond just being blessed financially to being blessed in our relationships with others.

Proverbs 11:28 He who trusts in his riches will fall,
But the righteous will flourish like foliage.

This last verse gives a strong encouragement regarding finances: we shouldn’t put our trust in them. Putting our confidence in our bank accounts will lead to failure. Instead we need to pursue righteousness – which is available by grace through faith in Christ – and that’s what our confidence needs to be in.

Discuss

Have you found these warnings to be true? Do you think of being stingy only with money, or do you see how it relates to our time and energy too? Share any thoughts or questions below!

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A Little Effort Makes a Big Difference

A Little Effort Makes a Big DifferenceLast Sunday I concluded a brief sermon series on being part of a church family and being involved in the lives of our brothers and sisters in Christ. This past week I received an e-mail that showed the importance of reaching out to people, and how powerful it is to receive a simple invitation for fellowship. Here’s part of the message, which I received permission to share…

“In the past I have been one of those people hurt by others, and in spite of trying to make friends no one returned the kindness. I tried several people and still no deal. Everyone had their own friends already or were too busy. So I became too busy as well and worked all the time. I became one of those people you described who didn’t put in the time or effort to make friends. Frankly I was tired of trying. I was done. People at work were my only so-called-friends and only one was a believer, and he did not return the kindness either.

Your sermon challenged me though. Lately I had been wanting to try again – largely because of the church family at WCC – making the sermon’s timing very good. Then something happened: a person at church actually invited me out to get together, and he actually followed through and it had nothing to do with me helping him with anything. Whenever people contacted me in the past it was never simply for fellowship: they wanted something. The last time someone called to just do something was about two years ago when my friend who moved away overseas came to visit. I honestly have some hope now that having friends and fellowship will be possible in our family at WCC. Thank you for the challenge. I will work on making that time.”

It’s wonderful how powerfully God works things together. You have an individual who’s already feeling challenged to be more involved in the church. God confirms the conviction through the preaching of His Word. Then God stirs up someone to send an invitation. How unfortunate would it have been if the person didn’t send the invitation? In last week’s sermon, I said personal involvement is more important than corporate involvement in the church, because while there’s a sign up sheet for the nursery, church cleaning, serving in the kitchen, etc. there’s no sign up sheet for making people feel loved; there’s no sign up sheet for making people feel like part of your church family. If you don’t pursue this sort of involvement in people’s lives, they miss out on those blessings.

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Katie's thoughts on the Ladies' Retreat…

Each week I write a letter to the church on the back of the bulletin. Then I take those letters and make them into a post for my blog. Yesterday my beautiful wife wrote the bulletin letter about her time at the Ladies’ Retreat earlier in the week. Here it is…

I just returned from our annual WCC Ladies’ Beach Retreat and it was such a blessing. I have never had so many sweet sisters in Christ surrounding me in my walk with the Lord before. While we were there the theme was Biblical Conflict Resolution. For the first bible study we discussed different personality types and how the body of Christ consists of different people, but we’re all called to live at peace with one another. Paul said, Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ (1 Cor 12:12). In the second bible study we discussed tips for resolving conflict biblically. Here are four of them:

  1. Think on Christ: He said, “Forgive them for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34). People often don’t know they are offending us, so we should give them grace like Christ gives us grace.
  2. Learn to receive correction: Anyone who loves learning accepts correction, but a person who hates being corrected is stupid (Pro 12:1). Need I say more? 🙂
  3. Overlook offenses: It is his glory to overlook an offense (Pro 19:11). In other words, it’s for our own good to “get over it”. Be more like Teflon and less like Velcro.
  4. Talk to the person, not about the person: This might be one of the hardest to live out, but the bible is VERY clear: If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over (Matt 18:15). If the problem is big enough to talk about the person then it’s big enough to talk to the person.

Then we finished with verses on dealing with difficult people. That was the most enjoyable study for me, being the most practical of the whole retreat in my opinion.

The third study consisted of a series of Christian quotes about conflict. One of my favorites was: “Don’t equate peacemaking with peace-achieving. A peacemaker longs for peace, and works for peace, and sacrifices for peace. But the attainment of peace may not come.” Romans 12:18 is very important at this point: If possible, so far as it depends upon you, live peaceably with all. That is the goal of a peacemaker: “Don’t let the rupture in the relationship be your fault.” Conflict is everywhere; it is inevitable. The question is, will we deal with it from a biblical standpoint or from a worldly one?