Monday, April 21, 2014
Tuesday, April 15, 2014
Tuesday, March 18, 2014
Friday, March 7, 2014
Friday, February 28, 2014
This is the day the Lord has made.
Let us rejoice and be happy today!
Let us rejoice and be happy today!
Psalm 118:24 ERV
Today is the day that the Lord has made. Yesterday is gone, tomorrow isn't here. God gave us this day. This is the day we have at our disposal. What will we do with it? Will we rejoice and be happy or will we mope about and wait for tomorrow to rejoice and be happy?
What if you don't wake up tomorrow? What if the one's you love have to go on without you tomorrow? How do you want to be remembered? As someone who rejoiced in every day the Lord gave them or as one that always thought tomorrow would be a better day to rejoice?
Today is the present, let's treat it as a gift and rejoice as it opens before our eyes. Every circumstance we find ourselves in is where God wants us to be today. Let's live in the moment! We that have Christ ought to be the happiest people on the planet. Let's share our joy with someone else today.
Let's let our light shine as Jesus said: “In the same way, you should be a light for other people. Live so that they will see the good things you do and praise your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:16 ERV
Today is the day we have to serve our Lord, let's show our rejoicing in that by do something good for someone else so that God will be praised.
© 2014 Leo J. Woodman
Starting 3/17/14 I will cease to publish on this blog. You can continue to following me at: www.leowoodman.com
Wednesday, February 26, 2014
“For you are a people holy to the LORD your God. The LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for his treasured possession, out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth. Deuteronomy 7:6 ESV
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 1 Peter 2:9 ESV
In both the Old and New Covenants God gives his people an identity. They are his chosen people. God’s people are his possession, they belong to him. He has delivered them for his purposes. He has taken them out of a world of insignificance and given them significance. He has given them a sense of purpose and belonging.
Everyone in the world wants to feel the same way that God’s people do, but they don’t necessarily want to submit to God in order to feel that way. When people are given a sense of identity and purpose they can achieve incredible things. Unfortunately not all of those incredible things are good things.
Another term we can consider is fellowship. To fellowship with someone is to share things in common and to identify with one another. Fellowship comes in as many forms as there are people. Some fellowships are called Fraternities, Sororities, Clubs, organizations, churches and even gangs. When one joins one of these fellowships they obtain an identity. They are no longer alone, without a sense of belonging they have found a place of comfort and security. Identity is something we all crave.
Today there are many social and cultural groups in the world that are growing exponentially because as a group they are gaining prominence in the public eye. Some of these groups go to the extreme of ostracizing other groups because they disagree with their ideals. In a time of tolerance it is truly amazing how intolerant some can be. Tolerance is taught today so that every group or individual can find their identity and take pride in that identity.
While identity is healthy, it can be taken to the extreme. I will look at identity in greater detail in future posts. Meanwhile, let’s consider our identity as Christians. Do we identify with Christ in a healthy way or in the extreme?
© 2014 Leo J. Woodman
Monday, February 24, 2014
Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her,
Ephesians 5:25 ESV
Paul teaches men to give themselves up for their wives. He use Jesus as the example of how much a man should love his wife. He should be willing to die for her both literally and figuratively. He must be willing to do what is necessary to enter into the covenant relationship of marriage and hold up his end of the agreement.
Jesus showed his love for his bride, the church by dying for her. He left all that he had known with his father, came to earth to do what was necessary to join himself to his bride.
Many men believe if they are providing financially for their wife, they are doing everything they need to, to be pleasing in God’s sight. But there is far more to it than that. God want us to give ourselves to the relationship. He wants us to be fully invested intellectually, physically, emotionally and spiritually in the marriage covenant. If we look at Jesus sacrifice for his bride, the church we will see that he was , is and always will be fully invested in his covenant with his bride.
Jesus knew intellectually that he had to die for his bride. He physically had to give himself up to be crucified for her. He was emotionally invested when he prayed to his Father in the garden. He was spiritually committed when he accepted the cup of wrath due us, when he suffered for our sins. He followed through on all that he had to do to bless His bride with everlasting love, safety and care.
So husbands, today let’s look to Jesus for the example of what it means to establish the covenant of marriage and to maintain it. Let’s give ourselves up for our wives as Jesus gave himself up for his bride. Then we will be pleasing in God’s sight.
© 2014 leo J. Woodman
Friday, February 14, 2014
Romans 6:4 (ESV) 4 We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.
I was thinking about my new brother and sister in Christ that were baptized into Christ in the past month or so. It really struck me that they now walk in newness of life. Their past is forgiven and forgotten by our Heavenly Father. They literally have new lives.
What is newness of life? The old life is gone and new one has begun. It's no longer walking in the world, but walking in the light. It is a spiritual resurrection from the deadness of sin. It is being set free from the old life and embracing the new.
Whether we were baptized into Christ yesterday or however many years ago let us always remember that the life we have now is new. We are no longer subject to the old ways, we can and must walk in newness of life. We as adopted children must now obey our Heavenly Father , not the father of lies.
So today, lets remember whose we are and live for him.
Wednesday, February 12, 2014
Remember also your Creator in the days of your youth, before the evil days come and the years draw near of which you will say, "I have no pleasure in them"; Ecclesiastes 12:1 ESV
This verse is a reminder to turn to The Lord when you are young, before life slips away from you.
We are all under the delusion that we have a tomorrow and that we will turn to The Lord then. As James said; our life is but a mist. We are not here long and before we know it our time is up.
We are not guaranteed a tomorrow, all we have is today. So today is the day to remember our creator and turn to him. Whether we have obeyed the gospel or we haven't yet, today is the day to repent of the disobedience in our lives and follow his ways.
So today, lets remember our creator before time goes by and all is lost.
2/12/14 Leo J. Woodman
Monday, February 10, 2014
Joshua 1:9 (ESV) 9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go."
What great comfort in this verse. When we server our God, wherever we are he is right there with us. There are many times in life that he calls us to places we just don't want to go. We tend to be content with where we are and not interested in change. Yet, to be faithful to him we must go.
Today he may call us to go somewhere we have great trepidation about. But, we don't need to fear, when we get there he will be there. Not only will he be there, his people will be there too. Think about what Jesus told Paul; Acts 18:9,10 (ESV) 9 And the Lord said to Paul one night in a vision, "Do not be afraid, but go on speaking and do not be silent, 10 for I am with you, and no one will attack you to harm you, for I have many in this city who are my people."
Whether The Lord calls us to a new city or a new situation in our lives we will not be alone. If he calls us somewhere that's where we need to go because he has work for us to do.
So today, lets go where he calls and do as he asks.
2/10/14 Leo J. Woodman
Sunday, February 2, 2014
Wednesday, January 29, 2014
The purpose of these articles is self-examination. Self-examination is a painful process, but a necessary one. The Apostle Paul recommended self examination. Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test! 2 Corinthians 13:5 ESV An important part of being in the faith is making disciples.
It seems to me when Jesus gave the command to go and make disciple, Matthew 28:18-20 and Mark 16:15,16 he meant that as a matter of first importance. First and foremost it was the job of the Apostles to make disciples. To seek out the lost and lead them to salvation in Jesus. That is job one for us today. But, sometimes our energies are focused so much on policing one another that we forget to go and make disciples. I think many of our young people wonder where things went wrong.
Church doctrine and discipline are acutely important and should never be ignored. But sometimes I wonder if we over step our bounds and make it our business to police the brotherhood. There are those in the church that appear to work full-time at this. Sometimes we get so inwardly focused we forget that there are still those that are lost out there in the world. I think many of our young people wonder, what happened to our call to make disciples for Christ?
Is it perhaps time we got busy on soul seeking missions, rather than fault finding missions? Congregations of the Lord's church have ceased to exist because of arguing and the lack of evangelism. When we think on such things it becomes obvious that something needs to change.
Imagine what its like to be new to the church or to grow up in the church and see constant criticism of members of the Lord's body. This one is wrong, or that one is wrong while teaching new converts and those that grow up in the church that they are experiencing the true church. What must they think?
Is it possible that we as older disciples are displaying “behaviors” that drive our young people away?
© 2014 Leo J. Woodman
Saturday, January 25, 2014
Jesus modeled in the church
I think people are searching for the real church, the one they read about in the Bible. They want to see the sincere love and faithfulness that they find in the scriptures. They want to have true fellowship with God and his children. They want to see examples of true discipleship. They want to see true unity in the body. They want to be involved in the cause of Christ. They want to be on mission for God. They want to see Jesus modeled in the church.
We are called to be disciples of Jesus, not Peter or Paul, not Stone or Campbell but disciples of the Son of God. We must learn from Jesus. We must emulate him in our lives. Young people coming up in the body of Christ want and need to see Jesus in his body. If they see hypocrisy and in-fighting they see something other than Jesus. Jesus didn't practice such things. If he had, he would not have qualified as our savior. The only people Jesus pointed a finger at was the Pharisees and that was for their hypocrisy. The Pharisees were very devout religious leaders, yet were totally wrong in their approach to teaching and modeling righteousness. They were self-righteous. Jesus is the good teacher, let's adopt his teaching methods. We as members of Christ body are only righteous because he has made us righteous.
Imagine if we as the church, began to teach just what Jesus and his Apostles taught without attacking other groups and pointing out their mistakes. If we would just teach the truth of the scriptures and not point to the errors of other congregations. What good does it do when we have our noses in others business?
We may have great biblical knowledge and yet we may not be using it wisely. Having knowledge alone is not sufficient. As the Apostle Paul said; This “knowledge” puffs up, but love builds up. If anyone imagines that he knows something, he does not yet know as he ought to know. But if anyone loves God, he is known by God. (1 Cor. 8:1b-3 ESV) Does our method of teaching show our love for God, or our love of knowledge and being right? What motivates us to teach and how we teach?
Self examination is crucial to healthy relationships. When we see so many young people leaving, we cannot just blame it on them. It certainly is not the Lord's fault. We as the older generation and leaders must look carefully at ourselves and ask some hard questions.
© 2014 Leo J. Woodman
Wednesday, January 22, 2014
The I'm-perfect church
We must consider seriously how we come across to the young people growing up in the church. What do they think we feel toward or about them? Also, how are we perceived by them? There is obviously a disconnect. We believe we are teaching and modeling everything they need to know about being a Christian, yet as many of them get older they leave behind everything they know.
They have heard many sermons on the fact that none of us is perfect and that we all need a savior. Yet, so often we come across as hypocritical when we speak about having our doctrine correct and all others are incorrect in their teachings. That attitude sends the message that while we talk about being imperfect followers of Christ, we come across as followers of the I'm-perfect church.
Romans 12:16 says this; “Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight.” (ESV) I think this verse applies to the subject at hand. So often we do appear to be haughty and wise in our own sight in how we speak about other God-fearing people. Our attitude toward others in the church and other God-fearing people isn't always as it should be. We can be very harsh and arrogant in our defense of the Word. In so doing we give the idea to our young people that we are so full of ourselves and our rightness that it turns them away.
When we do come to a knowledge of the truth we must learn to share it and defend it in love. If we don't we are failing to be Christ like. We fail as disciples. We must never forget we do not have the authority that Jesus did, nor as much as the Apostles did. We are called to be disciples and disciple makers. We have no authority to police other congregations of believers or to judge them. We are not their masters. Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand.
Is it possible for us to teach what Jesus taught without judging others and pointing out their short comings? I think so.
Let's learn to teach by example and let's let our example be a Christ like one. Just as people were attracted to Jesus, they will be attracted to his church and its teachings.
© 2014 Leo J. Woodman
Thursday, January 16, 2014
So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober.
1 Thessalonians 5:6 ESV
Dysfunction in the body. Whether it be our physical body or the body of Christ, when every part isn’t functioning as it should there is dysfunction. The human body and the church are made up of a system of systems. When the individual systems within the system begin to fail, total system failure will occur.
When it comes to our physical bodies we must be cognizant of what’s happening to our bodies. When we ignore symptoms, our bodies become sicker and sicker. So it is within the body of Christ. We must be cognizant of what is happening within the body of Christ, we must be awake and sober minded and be aware of the symptoms of dysfunction before they cause irreparable damage.
Just like the brain is charged with health of the physical body, the leadership of the body of Christ is charged with its health. The leadership of every congregation must be aware of what is happening within the body. One serious issue within the body today is that fact that it is losing members. Think of that in the context of our bodies. If we started losing parts of our bodies we would try desperately to repair whatever disease or affliction that was causing theses parts to fall off or fail. When disease and affliction strike we seek a diagnosis and cure as quick as possible. We want to know what can be done to prevent further damage or possibly death.
When young people leave the church there is a reason. The problem must be diagnosed before irreparable damage is done to the individual member and the body. There is a reason for the exodus of young people from the church. We can sit back and say that it is the influences of the world that they are chasing after and leave it that, or we can take a closer look at the situation and act on it rather than reacting after the loss is already felt.
In 1st Corinthians 9:22b Paul said “I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some.” We tend to look at this statement simply as Paul doing this as an evangelism tool. I think perhaps it’s time apply this philosophy within the church as well.
Paul strove to be all things to all people so he could understand where they were coming from and find common ground to begin a conversation that would lead to their salvation. We must strive to do the same for those in our number that are feeling that they can’t relate to us and we can’t relate to them. Relationships only grow and flourish when the parties involved in the relationship work to understand and meet the needs of the other. This is at the core of the Jesus teachings and the teachings of his Apostles.
So let’s wake up to the problem and address it. Let’s begin with listening to what the young people of the church are saying. When we listen we will learn what it is that is affecting them in such a way that they want to leave. Let’s become all things to all people, that by all means we might save some.”
© 2014 Leo J. Woodman
Monday, January 13, 2014
Dysfunction, would be my answer to the question of “Why do young people leave the church?”. In so many respects the local body of Christ is dysfunctional. Young people want to get away from something they see as dysfunctional. Think about it, many young people distance themselves from their families to distance themselves from the dysfunction. They go elsewhere to seek a new way of looking at life and to start fresh.
It is not the Lord’s plan for the body to be dysfunctional, to the contrary the body is to be unified and solid. The body of Christ is to be a place of nurturance. That is how the body of Christ (the church) is set up. The problem we run in to is that the body is filled with imperfect people that sometimes come across as “im-perfect” people. At least that is the perception of many young people. They see the body as exclusionary. “Unless you’re just like me, you’re wrong”.
I think many are searching for the real church, the church based on being a disciple of Christ. They don’t want to be a part of just another institutionalized group based on man’s interpretation of God’s intentions. I think they want to see Jesus modeled in the leadership and their teachings, like the first century church saw in the Apostles.
And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matt. 28:18-20 ESV Jesus sent out his Apostles to make disciples for him, those that would be baptized and follow in Jesus teachings as they had been passed down by the Apostles. They weren’t to make disciples of a church, but disciples of Jesus the Christ.
They were to be a called out body of believers (the church), a people that were to be Christlike. They were to be called out of sin, religious and worldly influence and come under the influence of Jesus and all that he taught. We must ask ourselves as a body of believers if we are truly following the teaching of Jesus and his apostles. Or are we spending more time arguing and fault finding?
If we want the young people to stay we must look to Jesus as our example of what it means to be in good relationships with both God and people and pursue that. When the body functions as it should it is healthy and viable. Jesus and his approach to his Father and to others attracted people. “So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.” Romans 14:19 ESV
© 2014 Leo J. Woodman
Tuesday, January 7, 2014
Train up a child in the way he should go;
even when he is old he will not depart from it.
Proverbs 22:6 ESV
This verse has been on my mind alot lately. It is so important as parents, to take this verse seriously. Our children will go in the way we train them to go. Whatever priorities we have as our children grow up will affect what their priorities will be as adults. If teaching them that God, his word and the importance of worship is our priority , it will be more likely to be their priority as they mature. Conversely if we teach them that God, his word and worship are optional or a low priority they will be more likely to think that way as they mature.
We must realize the way we live our lives as parents will certainly affect the way our children will live their lives as adults. Granted they will have many other influences in their lives as they mature, but we must take responsibility for the influence we are in their growing up years.
If we choose to teach our children that sports, education and other activities are more important than their relationship with God and his church that is what will keep them away from the most important influences in their lives.
So today, let’s get our priorities straight. Let’s live in the way our children should go. Let’s train up the next generation in the way they should go, so they will not depart from what is truly important for a good and long life. Let’s make God, his word and worship of him first in our hearts, minds and actions. Give them something to follow.
© 2013 Leo J. Woodman