Plug in / Connect

A man whom I greatly respect frequently used these words: “plug in” … “connect”

JP: It’s Friday afternoon and I am at my office downtown. My office is in shambles (perhaps an exaggeration!) but I am packing up my stuff in preparation to my move to 255 2Nd Ave S. I need to pack at least 5 boxes today.

I’ve been thinking about the 4th Baptist Young Adults and where we are and where we are going.

One of Pastor McLachlan’s sayings was that we were (as a church) endeavoring to be a 1st century church in the 21st century. Just exactly what does that mean and is it achievable?

What does it mean? We would need to look at the Acts and the Epistles to find what the early church was like. From Acts 2:24-27, “And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers. Then fear came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles. Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need. So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.” Frankly there are some things recorded here that we do not do or experience. Most in our circles believe that the sign gifts have ceased with the completion of the New Testament canon. In our day and age, we don’t sell all of our goods and divide the proceeds among all. But certainly there are some things that we can endeavor to do: we can follow the apostles’ doctrine. We can fellowship. We can be “of one accord”. And we can be blessed by God. From the epistles we see the “one another” commands. Each of these commands incorporate the phrase “one another”. I blogged on this earlier here. These commands are very key. Look at these: “love one another”, “receive one another”, “greet one another”, “serve one another”. I challenge us to excel in the practice of these!

Is “being a 1st century church in the 21st century” achievable? Well there are some things about the first century (whatever that was like) that I’m sure I’m not interested in. When I was a child our family used to camp at Spring Mill State Park . Spring Mill features a 19th century restored pioneer village with a grist mill, blacksmith shop, tavern, distillery, gardens, and a dozen houses or so. Spring Mill is kind of Indiana’s answer to Colonial Williamsburg! There are many things that I would greatly miss if I had to live even 50 years ago, much less 200 or 2000 years ago! I’m sure when Pastor McLachlan spoke of being “a 1st century church in the 21st century”, that he was referring to the kind of and quality of church that the early church was. That early church was surely committed to truth! And they suffered for it. They really took the great commission seriously. They loved each other and valued fellowship.

Kathee and I were blessed to be under Pastor McLachlan’s ministry! He had a couple of other words and phrases he used. For example: “if we can help you connect call us” or “perhaps you need to plug in“. Plug in and connect are not Biblical words but they express Biblical concepts of fellowship and commitment to the ministry and to each other.

The Fourth Baptist Young Adults are here to help young adults connect with other believers of like age and faith. We (is it ok to call myself one of you? As old as I am!) are here to help you plug in to a life of commitment and service to our blessed Savior.

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How to Live a Miserable Christian Life

JP: 4 part series by “the Irish Calvinist”

His 10 points with brief excerpts follow, but be sure to read the articles (further down this page). They are very worthwhile!

  1. Try to Repay Jesus for the Cross

    The sure-fire way to short circuit joy in Christ is to undervalue him and overvalue yourself. It is really a subtle shift into idolatry. Instead of living your life in complete dependence upon and appreciation to Jesus for everything you have, you find yourself depending upon yourself to repay the glorious gift of salvation and life. What could be more frustrating than this?

  2. Neglect the Bible
  3. The whole point of revelation is to confront and conform us to God, even to agree with him, thinking his thoughts after him. Our avoidance of revelation serves to avoid confrontation and leave us stagnant. The believer is blessed in obedience to the divine commands (Jn. 13.27; Lk. 11.28; Jam. 1.25). The joy in heart comes from submission to the will of God.

    If you and I neglect the Bible we neglect the means by which God sanctifies his children (Jn.17.17) and so therefore a dusty Bible will make a miserable Christian

  4. Neglect Prayer
  5. In prayerless seasons you find the greatest times of self-dependence and self-worship. For why pray when you can handle it? Why pray when you do not need help? Why pray when your heart is not saturated with the glories of the Cross? There is no need to pray when you are declaring self-sovereignty and self-supremacy.

  6. Be Selfish
  7. This is really the seed for everything. I have heard a good friend describe sin as the deification of man and the ‘mannification’ of God. It is to flip the roles. For the Christian to be selfish or self consumed is really counter intuitive. It just doesn’t make sense.

  8. Go to a church that does not preach expositionally
  9. Expositional preaching is simply to explain the authorial intent of a given passage and make appropriate application. It is to give the meaning of the text, for if the Holy Spirit’s intention is not communicated then the text is not communicated.

  10. Resist Biblical Correction
  11. It is interesting the way God has done things. He has saved sinners and then commanded them to work out their salvation (Phil. 2.12). We are to be progressively growing into the likeness of our Master. This obviously implies a current state of practical imperfection.

    God has been pleased to give his saints the word of God to be learned and applied, specifically within the context of the church of God. We are to practicing the “one-anothers” that are commanded (love, serve, encourage, admonish, etc..). This practice serves to chip away fleshy barnacles and mold Christ likeness in accordance with his word.

    in the context of a fulfilled Christian life believers are constantly admonishing and encouraging/exhorting (same Greek word) one another. In fact this action is the result of having a heavenly perspective (Col. 3.1-4) and being filled with the Word of God (Col. 3.16).

  12. Neglect Service in the body of Christ
  13. Serving in the body has a supernatural effect. There is something about the sermon of humility that is preached to your heart when you serve in the Spirit according to the Son’s death to the Father’s pleasure. When you serve biblically you grow in love and appreciation for the Savior. When you neglect service you grow in self-focus, self-dependence, and ultimately self-worship. This will truly make you miserable.

  14. Neglect Evangelism
  15. As Christians we talk so much about faithful evangelism whether this be our struggles with boldness and clarity or just basic obedience. But the bottom line is that Jesus commands us to do evangelism (Matt. 28.19-21). He also says that he is going to be there with us in this context. As D.A. Carson has said, “The blessing and incentive of evangelism is the presence of Jesus.”

    So when we neglect evangelism we neglect this joy. We neglect the spiritual exercise of reminding ourselves of what sin is, who God is, who Jesus is and the reality of hell. It is imperative to preach the gospel to yourself everyday to remember what a sinner you are and what a Savior Jesus is. Evangelism is just another opportunity for you to hear this, to remind your own heart of this great salvation.

    But not only this…people actually get saved when Christians evangelize!! God has ordained that eternal life come through the preaching of the gospel (Rom. 1.15; 10.17). God is only saving people through the gospel. Therefore if you tell people it they may get saved!! This is considerable!!

  16. Deny the Sovereignty of God
  17. Not many Christians will deny that God is sovereign…cofessionally anyway. There are of course those who believe that God does not know the future or cannot control the future (open theists). I am not talking about this group here. Instead I am referring to those who affirm that God is in control (Ps.115.3) but then deny this theological truth with their life.

    A common way that we do this is by worrying. Rarely do we find ourselves worrying about what has happened in the past (unless it is the present or future consequence of the action). Instead we worry about what will happen in the present and in the future.

  18. Think that every Christian must look and act like you
  19. However, Jesus does not give everyone a uniform and a lunchbox and tell us all to walk, talk, and look like a certain guy or girl. Instead we are told to hate sin and love Jesus. We are all to be looking more and more like Jesus everyday as we look less and less like Adam.

    But something funny happened on the way to glory…some folks get pretty upset when church people do not look, talk, and play like them. Sometimes people get heated and eventually judgmental when people don’t wear certain clothes to church (suit & tie, or other dress up stuff…) or they don’t talk a certain way, or they have tattoos, or they listen to certain types of music, or they don’t home school (or do home school)…the list is endless.

    The problem comes when we want people to primarily conform to our image rather than to Jesus’.

How to live a miserable Christian life (part i)
How to live a miserable Christian life (part ii)
How to live a miserable Christian life (part iii)
How to live a miserable Christian life (part iv)

Here’s another article with the same theme: Avoiding the State of Terminal Crankiness

Excerpt:

Sadly, too many times one can find that churches can look like the official residence for the terminally cranky. After years of sitting on their blessed assurance or because live has thrown them a few curve balls or because they grew up physically, but never spiritually, these bastions of negativity now have the spiritual gift of crankiness. This condition is revealed in the countenance, conversation and conduct. They frown, they criticize and they sulk.