What will be said about you at your funeral?

Last night my wife and I had the privilege of attending the funeral of a dear lady we had known for nearly 20 years.  We had not seen her in several years though.  I must admit that I don’t like funerals.  I go because it is the proper thing to do but I just like to.  I am sure I am not alone in that way.  Having said that, last nights funeral was different.  My wife and I agreed afterwards that it was probably the best funeral we had ever attended.  We spoke to others who shared our opinion on the matter.  So, what was different about this funeral?  Good question.   Nothing about the service itself stood out as noteworthy.  The funeral home did a fine job directing the event but there was nothing out of the ordinary.  The music was good but it also was nothing that isn’t usually heard at funerals.  The pastor preached a very nice sermon.  The content was biblical based and he spoke from the heart but it was not his ability to speak or the content of his message that stood out.  In the end, what really made this service different was life of the person we were there to pay our final respects to.  She lived a life in which God was glorified.  She was not a great missionary to some foreign country or someone others would consider important to the community (in a leadership capacity).  She was a woman who lived out what the bible teaches us and people recognized that about her.  The pastor shared with us how she showed her love to others in prayer and concern for them and how she was an example of a persistent woman like the woman wanting justice from the corrupt judge.  In effect, she preached her own funeral by the way she lived her life.  What a testimony she has left for those who knew her.

In pondering all of this last night a question occurred to me.  What will be said about me at my funeral?  Have you considered what will be said about you at your funeral?  Most of us, me included, don’t like to consider such things because we don’t really want to think about the fact that we will all die one day.  But think about it for a moment.  What will others say about you?  What testimony will we leave behind?  Now, I am not suggesting that our motive for living a certain way should be so that nice things are said about us when we are gone.  No, I am saying that we should live out what we believe God has taught us in his word so that when we die our loved ones will have the peace of mind of knowing that we are in Heaven and that God was glorified through the life we lived.  Think on this question today.  Are there changes we need to make to our lives?  If so, today is the day to start.  Eternity will be here before we know it and it will be too late then.  Glorify God and he will take of the rest.  He has promised us that he would.  Now, believe it and live each day accordingly.

Review of Why Church Matters, Discovering Your Place in the Family of God by Joshua Harris

ImageChurch membership is not optional for Christians but too many are not committed to the church they attend.  They don’t consider church to be relevant to their daily lives.  It is just something that they do out of habit or guilt or to please someone else.  This must be remedied.

In this book Harris discusses why this has become an increasing problem in the church.  He explains how Jesus sees the Church, the necessity of the church, ways to choose a good church, and how we need to prepare and participate for the worship services we attend.  It is a small book that is easy to read and follow.  He gives real world examples that help to illustrate his points.  He leads the reader to a point that will require them to make a decision in their personal lives.

I can highly recommend this book to anyone.  I might even go so far as to suggest that it be required reading (in some form) to the youth attending churches today and parents might want to get their kids to read it.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Multnomah Publishers as part of their Blogging for Books review program. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission�s 16 CFR, Part 255: �Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Need Suggestions For A Good Study Of The Book Of Revelation

I am looking for suggestions for a good study of the Book of Revelation for my adult Sunday School class.   Any format (book, audio, or video) will be considered.  Please leave the name of anything you might recommend in a comment.  A brief explanation as to why you like it would also be helpful.

Thanks for your help

Christians And Government

Government is not an accident. Government is not an evil and terrible thing, despite what many will tell you today. God has instituted the family, the church, and the state. We spend much of our time thinking about the church and the family, and rightly so. From time to time we need to stop and ponder our relationship to the third institution that God has ordained, government. [Pulpit Magazine, Christians And Government (Part 1) by Nathan Williams, Sept. 4, 2008]

Have you ever wondered how a Christian should view government?  Here is an article which will answer that question for you.

ESV Study Bible Video Promo

Is Sunday School Still Important?

No matter what you call it or when they actually meet, do you think Sunday School is worth the time and effort?  This article seems to indicate that it is.  As someone who teaches Sunday School, I can attest that it does..especially if make the effort to have a relationship with the members of your class outside the class settings.

The statistics in the article speak for themselves.  Small group interaction is vital to a person feeling connected to the church.  Once a person is part of a small group they are much less likely to drop out of church.

Do you attend Sunday School?  If not, why not?  If you don’t, you are depriving yourself and others of the benefits of the group.

I Am Looking For Tips On How To Pray Well In Public

I get the opportunity to pray in public often.  In my Sunday School class I usually do the opening and closing prayer.  In the Sunday morning worship service I get to do the offertory prayer every couple weeks and I sometimes get to do the closing prayer.  In my junior youth discipleship class I do the majority of the public prayers (although I always ask the young people to do this I seldom have any volunteers).

My concern is that I am not very good at praying in public.  Don’t get me wrong, I am not afraid to do it and would not consider turning down the opportunity to do so (unless there was some extreme extenuating circumstance).  I would like to get better at praying in public.  I hear some people who are so great at it that it makes me self-conscience about my inabilities.  I know that praying does not have to eloquent but in a corporate setting the ability to pray well can lift the congregation and help set the appropriate mood (for lack of a better word) for worship.

So, I am asking for any tips you might have.  What do you do?  Do you prepare prayers ahead of time?  Do you attempt to follow some type of outline (like ACTS) in your public prayers?  Do you practice?  Lets here what you do and maybe we can learn from each other.

What Is The Meaning Of Life?

My wife and I teach the junior youth (5th, 6th, & 7th grade) at our church on Sunday & Wednesday nights.  We have taught them since September of 2007.  One of the things we started when we took over was questions night.  Periodically, instead of a formal lesson I would allow them to ask any question about the Bible and its application that they wanted.  The purpose of this was threefold.  First, it gave us an opportunity to interact in a non-formal type setting.  Second, it gave me an opportunity to evaluate where the were spiritually.  Thirdly, it gave me an opportunity to see what issues they had on their minds and may be struggling with.  It has actually worked very well.

Now, I am no Bible expert.  Most of the questions I get a basic and I can easily answer but there are times when I get some very good questions.  These are the ones that are really exciting because it shows that the kids are really thinking about important things.  I will occasionally get a question that I don’t know the answer to.  During one of these question nights, one of the kids decided to try to stump me.  He asked the question “What is the meaning of life?” and smugly set back in his chair thinking he had succeeded and at first I thought he had.

As I took a few seconds to consider the question I thought about how I was completely unprepared for it.  But as I thought, it occured to me that there are many variations to this question.  Some other ways that it is asked is “What is our purpose?” and “Why are we here?”.  You may be able to give some other examples of how it is asked.  I was able to answer these questions.  As I explained to him that our purpose, that the meaning of life, was to glorify God he was a bit stunned.  I must admit that I had a moment of pride also.  I shouldn’t have but I did.

Have you ever been asked this question?  If so, how did you answer it?  Was my answer adequate of did I make an error somewhere that I need to correct.

Participating In Church Discipline For The First Time

Matthew 18:15-17 (15) “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. (16) But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. (17) If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.

For the first time, I find myself in a situation which requires church discipline.  A member of my Sunday School class has gone astray.  As we have prayed about and discussed this situation we have decided that we need to reach out to this member.  I am torn.  I feel the necessity to make the effort to bring the member back into the flock but I am not sure that it will do any good.

At this point, we are going to try if he will agree to meet with us.  The pastor has expressed a willingness to go with us.  I don’t want to put this off on the pastor but I am a bit relieved that he is willing to go with us.  I am not sure how to express that we care about this member and still be completely clear that he is in sin and in need of repentance.

Have you been involved in situations that required church discipline before?  If so, do you have any tips on how to do it effectively?

Should We Baptize Children And What Age Is Appropriate?

I have just read this article by David Rogers over at SBCImpact.  He addresses the issue of baptizing children and at what age it is appropriate to baptize them.  This is an issue that my wife and I are discussing right now.  Our 8 year old daughter has expressed an interest in being baptized but in our discussions with her she has admitted that her main reason for wanting to be baptized is that my wife and I and her older sister have been baptized.  She feels left out.  We have examined her extensively and have come to the decision that she is not ready yet.  She knows the basics about our faith but she does not yet understand her sinful nature, the penalty for her sins necessitate she spend eternity in Hell, and thus, her need for salvation.

The article refers to baptizing children under the age of 12 as “semi-infant” baptism.  Read the article and you will see that he makes a good case for this.  Iam not sure that I agree completely with some of his reasons but some of them are quite compelling.  I am also torn because my oldest daughter (she will be 12 in a couple months) was saved and baptized at 7.  My wife and I examined her and were confident in her decision at that time so we allowed her to be baptized.  She had a maturity that was far beyond her age (still does, most of the time).  With her, we could easily have waited and her decision would not have changed.  I think, unfortunately, that many feel that if a child makes a profession that we need to baptize them before they change their mind.  I know that is not true of everyone but it seems to be true for many.

After you read the article, what do you think?  Should we delay the baptism of kids until the reach a certain age?  The article suggests 12.  Or should we baptize any who come forward?  Also, how many parents actually take time to question and fully examine their children to see if they are truly ready and able to make such a committment?  I hope most do, but I really am a bit skeptical.

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