Archive for June, 2015

Jun
26

The Faith of Women in America

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Barna Research Group has released a new study on the relationship between women and Church in America. To view the report, click HERE.

Categories : Barna Group, Church
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Jun
11

On Judging Others:: Part 3

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SERMONN.jpg Pete Cornell

“You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye”
(Matthew 7:5, NIV).

What if we exchanged the practice of judging others for the practice of helping? Our Christian community is not bound by legal relationships, but by relationships of love. How can we be helpful to one another? Galatians 6:1 offers a crash course in helping our brother or sister with the speck in his or her eye.

“Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted” (Galatians 6:1, NIV).

Step 1: Get the facts straight. (…”if someone is caught in a sin”…)

Step 2: Make sure your own house is in order. (…”you who live by the Spirit…”)

Step 3: Be clear about your motivation. (…”should restore”…)

Step 4: Be clear about your tone. (…”gently”…)

Step 5: Maintain humility. (“But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted.”)

The thing that stands out to me most about Paul’s crash course is his emphasis on restoration. We are not spiritual vigilantes, righting every wrong that is unattended in someone’s life. The goal is not punishment, the goal is restoration. Until your goal is restoring someone, you’re not ready to remove the speck.

Categories : Sermon on the Mount
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Jun
10

On Judging Others:: Part 2

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SERMONN.jpg Pete Cornell

“And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own? How can you think of saying to your friend, ‘Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye?” (Matthew 7:3-4, NLT)

Jesus moved from condemning the act of judging others to the hypocrisy of trying to fix other’s problems to the neglect of one’s own problems. Jesus used hyperbole to make his point regarding the foolishness of fixing one’s gaze on something minor is someone else’s life while failing to note the significant error in their own life.

His words speak to the fact that judges have the tendency to maximize the faults of others while minimizing their own. Too often we are tempted to condemn the weaknesses in others that we are not willing to face in ourselves. We self promote when we put someone down simply to elevate ourselves.

The truth is that the best way to help others is from a position of health, where you have first dealt with yourself. John R.W. Stott once wrote that condemnation IS the splinter in our own lives. We would all do well by taking time to look within before we look around.

Tomorrow I’ll post some thoughts on Jesus’ conclusion to this very difficult theme.

Categories : Sermon on the Mount
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Jun
09

On Judging Others

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SERMONN.jpg Pete Cornell

Jesus never anticipated that we, living in community, would be perfect. Which begs the question, “How do we deal with each other’s fallenness?” The seventh chapter of Matthew’s gospel begins with Jesus’ harshest words:

“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you” (Matthew 7:1-2, NIV).

Jesus words here are plain spoken. Literally, they read, “Do not make a practice or habit of judging others.” Before we get into what that means, let’s be clear on what He does not mean. Jesus is not, as Tolstoy suggested, recommending that we eliminate the legal system and abolish formal government justice systems. Neither is he suggesting that we live our lives turning blind eyes and deaf ears to the world around us. His command is not a prohibition against having discernment or discretion (cf. Matthews 7:15-20; 10:11-15; 16:6-12; and 18:17-18).

Jesus’ condemnation is addressed to those who evaluate the motives and character of others, casting a verdict based on your own evaluation of him or her. Judgmental people evaluate others (note the word “measure”) to see if they meet a particular benchmark. These self appointed persons assume responsibility to fix others, and even seem to enjoy the human failings of others.

There are three things that God has not delegated to his children: condemnation, vengeance, and judgment. So if you’re not on the jury, perhaps its time to stop trying to reach a verdict. We are not permitted to judge, not because we fail but because we are fallen. We are disqualified to serve in the role of judge.

Matthew 7:2 has always been one of the hardest words of Jesus for me to hear. He clearly stated that the way we measure others is the way God will measure us. I don’t know about you, but when I stand before God someday I’m going to be seeking mercy and grace, like anyone would. The thought that Jesus would judge me as harshly as I judge others is frightening.

So if you are prone to the practice of judging others, stop it. Just quit. Its not worth it, and its not your responsibility.

Categories : Sermon on the Mount
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