FRL 7-29-16 : 5 Things Christians Should Stop Saying on Facebook

Despite the flaws of social media, it can be a powerful force to share God’s amazing love over the long run. Our witness can be deeply powerful when our unbelieving friends see our continued faithfulness year after year and our hope of glory in the midst of pain (Colossians 1:27).

But that doesn’t mean everything we share on Facebook contributes to this witness. In fact, there are some types of updates we Christians share that, for the most part, do more damage than good.

Here are five status update traps to avoid:

1. Pastor So-and-So is a Big Ol’ Heretic

Imagine, if you will, your unbelieving friends tap into their Facebook app, and the first update they see is you complaining (again) about that pastor you love to complain about. You know the one. You mention, for the third time this week, another thing he taught that is heretical, and you make sure everyone knows it.

First of all, we absolutely must call out false teaching. Jesus laid the groundwork for this when He rebuked the Pharisees and scribes for their hypocrisy (Matthew 23). Paul and John weren’t afraid to point out many false teachers in their letters. So, that’s not the issue.

The issue is that your unbelieving friends don’t know all this. What they see, instead, is one Christian attacking another Christian for what seems like a minor matter. Such updates make it look like we spend most of our time beating each other up instead of doing that “love thing” we claim to do. (Think about how Pilate and other Roman officials responded to the complaints the Jews brought against Jesus and Paul. They didn’t see the difference; they just saw what looked like petty jealousy and bickering to them.)

Calling out false teaching is much better done in personal settings with other believers or in a private way with someone who isn’t a believer—and usually when you have time to really explain. The context is very important here. Slapping it all over Facebook makes the church seem hypocritical and hyper-judgmental. (more…)

FRL NOW 7-21-16 : How Do You Define Waiting

How do you define waiting? Do you think of it as simply as an inconvenience to be endured—or a period of anticipation and perhaps even blessing?

The Psalms are full of references to waiting for God to save, to act, to do something.

“Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord” (Psalm 27:14).
“We wait in hope for the Lord; he is our help and our shield” (Psalm 33:20).
“Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes” (Psalm 37:7).

From a Biblical perspective, waiting is not just something we have to do until we get what we want. Waiting is part of the process of becoming what God wants us to be.

Part of the lesson is that we learn the difference between our demands and God’s desires. And we learn what God means when He says, “My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways” (Isaiah 55:8). (more…)

FRL NOW 7-15-16 : Adam & Eve

In the beginning of the biblical story, God gave the first couple the task of looking after His amazing creation, starting with the Garden of Eden.  

Because Adam and Eve rebelled against their Creator, we sometimes forget that God’s original mandate for humans is still there for us today.  But God didn’t scrap the human stewardship program after the first couple rebelled, nor did he tell them to get a divorce and ditch the institution of marriage.  Biblical stewardship is still in play today, and it doesn’t just happen in gardens and farmlands.  It certainly includes agriculture and taking care of the physical world, but it encompasses all domains of life  (Psalm 115:16).

Stewardship can happen when we are in a boardroom negotiated a business merger that saves hundreds of jobs.  It can happen in a classroom, as we teach chemistry with dedication and compassion that helps students grow and succeed.  And it can happen while we are sitting at a piano, writing music that moves the soul to worship the Creator of all things (Psalm 115:15).  

As theologian Micheal Goheen writes, may we be “busy with the creation, developing its hidden potentials in agriculture, art, music, commerce, politics, scholarship, family life, church, leisure, and so on, in ways honor God.” 

Friday Night Dinner Ride 7/15/16
Meet at Kohl’s at 6:00 pm.  At 6:30, Road Captain Randy Powell will lead on a great ride to great food, fun and fellowship.  

FRL Fall Trip 2016 10/13 - 10/16
Mark your calendars and get ready to make your reservation for a fantastic ride.  Information to be released this week.  

Be blessed,
Tony

FRL NOW 7-8-16 : Let’s Be Reasonable

Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand (Philippians 4:5, ESV).

“Let’s be reasonable, shall we?” We don’t usually say (or hear) those words till we’re in a conflict that has escalated well beyond reasoning.

Paul says we should be known for being reasonable. It starts with rejecting unreasonableness and embracing reason. A reasonable mind has peace and joy. In fact, a good, working synonym for “reasonableness” is gentleness, as used in the NKJV. For many of us, gentleness isn’t natural; it’s the pure product of Christ’s sanctification in us. And it’s a very good thing.

Gentleness is not unnecessarily rigorous. With veins pounding in his forehead, the unnecessarily rigorous person demands, “You short-changed me four cents! Why are you robbing me of my change?” To which the reasonable person calmly replies, “First of all, yes, let me give you the right change back, and second, you seem more than four-cents’ upset.” That’s unnecessarily rigorous—more severe than the situation rightly demands. (more…)

FRL NOW 7-1-16 : Growing Stronger

The homeowner called Hildebrandt Tree Tech to remove a honey locust tree from his front yard. He was sad to see the tree go but it had become unstable and dangerous as it was planted very close to his house. The remaining stump told the story. Root rot. While the tree looked fairly healthy on the outside, the foundational root system had become very unhealthy.

Root rot has two basic sources. Fungus, like ganoderma or armillaria attack trees that are otherwise stressed by drought conditions or pest infestations, yet will attack healthy trees as well. Ganoderma attacks the sapwood, which is the outer structure and strength of the tree. Armillaria is a white, rotting fungus that attaches itself to the root system of trees and can spread through the soil to uninfected roots of other trees. If you see mushrooms growing under the canopy of your tree, it may be a sign a fungus is present.

A more common cause of root rot is over watering. Think of it this way; when we go swimming we get wet for a while then we get out and dry off. If we never got out of the swimming pool, our skin couldn’t be healthy because it would never have a chance to dry. In the same way, healthy root systems need a routine of “drying out” after being watered. Roots that are constantly wet become soft and mushy. They begin to rot, leaving the tree susceptible to pests, disease and vulnerable to being blown over by strong winds.

We need water. It’s essential to life. We appreciate water most after a dry season.

Last year God delivered Texas from a 5-year drought. He did it in a big way. Over 35 trillion gallons of rain fell in the month of May alone. That’s enough to cover the entire state of Texas with 8″ of water. The dry brown gave way to lush green. It caused all of us to reflect on the dry season and how happy we were it was over. (more…)