To Let Go -author unknown

Posted on by Thomas Smith

In these tumultuous days, in these days of storms and fires and wars and such, as Jesus himself spoke of, I was reminded that I am not God and that Man as skilled and scientific as He has become still cannot change the track of the hurricane by one foot.Feelings of loss of control panic us. Yet peace can be created in our personal world by "letting go".

I thought this to be helpful in putting things into a perspective that would give us all more peace. Pastor Tom

To " let go": doesn't mean to stop caring, it means I cant do it all for you. It's not cutting myself off,its realizing I don't control another. To let go is to not enable further and to let consequences be the better teacher. Its admitting that I really don't have power, the outcome is not mine to decide.

To let go is to stop blaming and trying to change someone, and instead change myself. To let go is care about but not always provide care for. Its not fixing everything but showing support in other ways.

It is not judging others critically and realizing we are all fallible human beings. To let go means not constantly being the protector but trusting God to help someone through a hard reality. It means not living in constant denial of truth but accepting that truth. It is not being harsh and critical about another's actions while leaving my own not inspected.

It means living in the moment and recognizing that time cannot be saved. It means recognizing that the past is just that, past, and only the present and the next days to come, which also are the present, hold value. To let go means fear less and love more.

 

Christianity Still Strong

Posted on by Thomas Smith

Two thousand years after the resurrection of Jesus Christ, faithful Christians are still standing strong.
In the U.S. in particular, Christianity remains the dominant religion.
"Overall, U.S. adults with college degrees are less religious than others, but this pattern does not hold among Christians," a recent study by Pew Research Center found. "Americans with college degrees are no less likely than others to report attending religious services on a weekly basis."
So regardless of education level, Christian commitment to the faith appears consistent across the spectrum.
"Overall, 70 percent of Christians with college degrees have a high level of religious commitment on a scale incorporating four common measures of religious observance (worship attendance, frequency of prayer, belief in God and the self-described importance of religion in one's life), as do 73 percent of those with some college and 71 percent of those with no college experience," according to Pew, which released its study at the end of April.
The group found that individuals with a college degree are more likely than others to identify as atheist or agnostic.
While roughly 71 percent of Americans consider themselves Christians, some 20 percent of the population , Pew noted.
Back in 2015, the group reported, "An extensive new survey of more than 35,000 U.S. adults finds that the percentages who say they believe in God, pray daily and regularly go to church or other religious services all have declined modestly in recent years ... But the Pew Research Center study also finds a great deal of stability in the U.S. religious landscape. The recent decrease in religious beliefs and behaviors is largely attributable to the 'nones' -- the growing minority of Americans, particularly in the millennial generation, who say they do not belong to any organized faith."
NPR weighed in on this as well: "While church attendance has declined sharply in western Europe, secularization has been less evident in the United States. The number of Americans who list their church affiliation as 'none' has certainly increased, but more than 70 percent still identify generally as Christian."
"Among mainline Protestants, for example, college graduates were actually found to be more likely than non-college graduates to report weekly church attendance," NPR.com noted.
Across the globe, Christianity is still the most popular religion. An estimated 2.2 billion Christians live around the world. Islam, the second largest religion in the world, has an estimated 1.5 billion followers.

Unforgiveness

Posted on by Thomas Smith

Unforgiveness is the number one obstacle to God moving in our nation or in our hearts. It is the greatest obstacle to Churches growing. Almost everyone has hurts that have not been resolved. Grudges tht they are holdin gon to tlike they were some kind of treasure. Some Kind of a Treasure!

We cannot look to others to start to unravel the tangle of emotions and feelings. We have to start vertically looking at our relationship with God. How many times have our actions, thoughts, lives been displeasing and hurtful to god? We offend God but God is not offended. He provides a way forward.

In the Old Hebrew Testament the way forward was by strict adherence to the Law and for priestly sacrifice of various animals on the Altar in the Temple. When man made things too complex to follow, when the Law became cumbersome, God brought Christ into the World, the new covenant so that His blood on the Cross covered all our sin. Forgiveness was in place.

Now it was up to us to accept and apply that forgiveness. Christ even taught us " forgive us our sins( debts, trespasses) as( just like) we forgive others. The question jumps up. If God forgives us like we forgive others then we really can see our problem. We pray it do we mean it?

 

Sin, one sin, they are all the same size in God's eyes separate us from God. They are not weighted. The world likes to think "3 good deeds ought to take care of that nasty thing." The only thing that takes care of that and all the others is accepting forgiveness in Christ and then letting the Holy Spirit help us give forgiveness or ask it.

Without it death is the result. Death of relationships, death of hope, death of a good life. and eventually death and separation from God eternally. The Bible says " If we confess our sins He is faithful to forgive".

If we allow unforgiveness in our personal lives we are inviting death to follow. If we allow it in Church we are telling God we dont really want you here and the Church will inevitably die as the Holy Spirit departs. If we are honest, loving, truthful, responsible for owning our own stuff then relationships heal, Churches grow and yes even our nation is made better.

"Choose to forgive" and see how much better things get!

The More Educated the Less you believe

Posted on by Thomas Smith

The More Educated the less you believe??

Dear Church, This a partial excerpt from Dr.James Kennedy who is citing a Pew research study that says in the general population it is true that there is a correlation between higher education and lower religious belief. But among educated Christians it is the opposite, the more education the deeper the religious conviction.
When you read some of Lee Strobel’s work( The Case for Christ) or Josh McDowell (Evidence that demands a verdict) or CS Lewis ( Mere Christianity) You dive deep into History, Archeology, and Forensic sciences to discover truth vs popular opinion. The Bible becomes well supported if you do and to others who don’t know, it is becomes a casualty of the Culture war we are in. Pastor Tom

Dr Kennedy asks:
“Why, overall, does faith decline as education climbs? Contrary to the belief of some, it is not because there you discover that all religion is bogus. No, it is because there you are told that all religion is bogus.
There’s a difference.
I have long been concerned with the tendency of many professors in secular colleges and universities who take it upon themselves to not simply educate, but indoctrinate according to their own predilections. It’s as if they are on a mission to undermine a freshman’s faith as a matter of duty. ( As in “God is not Dead”-the movie, my note.PT)
To make matters worse, many, many students entering college have never examined their faith intellectually. They have never been exposed to many of the arguments and attacks against their beliefs. Which means they have never been equipped with the responses to such attacks. So when a young study is confronted with challenges to their faith for the first time at the hands of an intellectual predator, the damage to faith can be severe.
Which raises the second question: Why are educated Christians more immune to this pattern? There are several probable reasons. Christians, particularly evangelical Christians, have taken the life of the mind and, more specifically, apologetics* much more seriously than other faiths. One is that it is a clear biblical mandate to know why you believe what you believe (e.g., I Peter 3:15). And while many churches have failed their students who are preparing to leave for college, many have not. They have solid worldviews, have been exposed to the more common cultural attacks on the Christian faith, and are able to engage the secular academic environment as a thinking, informed person of faith. (* defense of the faith)
But there’s an easier answer. Perhaps the reason Christians are outliers when it comes to the effect of education on their faith is because their faith stands up under intellectual scrutiny better than any other faith. When Christianity is examined, it’s not found wanting – it’s found more compelling than ever.
So perhaps the reason so many educated people are still Christians is because when it comes to the Christian faith, you don’t have to check your brains at the door to believe it. If anything, you have to check your brains at the door not to.
And here’s one Ph.D. who will put his name on that list.
James Emery White