Odds & Ends: October 2018
For several years I have read the Bible through twice in 12 months. It is a great and powerful tree, each word of which is a mighty branch. Each of these branches have I well shaken, so desirous was I to know what each one bore and what it would give me. And the shaking of them has never disappointed me.
Minister to your ministers
In honor of Pastor Appreciation Month, use these alphabetical reminders of how to treat your pastors:
Accept them as people.
Build them up. Say “thank you.”
Communicate with them.
Defend them when someone tries to run them down.
Entertain them. They like to have fun, too!
Family. Allow them to have a family life.
Genuine. Be honest with them. Be yourself around them.
Honor them. Don’t put them on a pedestal, but respect them.
Income. Pay them enough so money isn’t a concern.
Judge not! Avoid being critical.
Kind. Treat pastors as you want to be treated.
Love. See 1 Corinthians 13.
Maintain. Their families have the same needs as other families.
Nurture. Help them grow in grace.
Offer to help. The list of things you can do is endless.
Pray for them. Lift up their names to God daily.
Quelch not. Encourage instead!
Rejoice in and with them.
Surprise them — in little and big ways.
Trust them. Believe in them.
Understand them. Put yourself in their place.
Vacation. They need time away.
Welcome them into your home. Don’t wait for an invitation.
eXpend yourself, not them.
Yoke. Help them bear their burdens with grace and dignity.
Zap all gossip!
Faithful Christian, seek the truth, hear the truth, learn the truth, love the truth, speak the truth, adhere to the truth, defend the truth to death; for truth will make you free from sin, the devil, the death of the soul and finally from eternal death. —John Hus (1369-1415)
Pillars of the faith
Because Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses, or thoughts, to a church door in Wittenberg, Germany, on October 31, 1517, many Christians remember that day and the major changes, or Reformation, that resulted.
Luther's theses contained three main pillars, which have stood for almost 500 years:
1. Sola Scriptura (Scripture Alone) - The Bible is the sole authority in matters of faith, life and conduct. "All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness" (2 Timothy 3:16, NRSV).
2. Sola Fide (Faith Alone) - Christians are justified, or declared righteous, only through believing in Jesus Christ as Savior. Although morality and good works are important, they alone cannot lead to salvation. "A person is justified not by the works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ" (Galatians 2:16, NRSV).
3. Sola Gratia (Grace Alone) - Grace is God's unmerited, or undeserved, favor. Salvation is a free gift from our gracious God. "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God - not the result of works, so that no one may boast" (Ephesians 2:8-9, NRSV).
Three kinds of faith
There are three kinds of faith in Christ:
1. Struggling faith, like a man in deep water desperately swimming.
2. Clinging faith, like a man hanging to the side of a boat.
3. Resting faith, like a man safely within the boat (and able to reach out with a hand to help someone else get in).
• “I cannot imagine how the clockwork of the universe can exist without a clockmaker.”
• “Next to the Word of God, the noble art of music is the greatest treasure in the world.”