“Even things without life, whether flute or harp, when they make a sound, unless they make a distinction in the sounds, how will it be known what is piped or played? For if the trumpet makes an uncertain sound, who will prepare for battle? So likewise you, unless you utter by the tongue words easy to understand, how will it be known what is spoken? For you will be speaking into the air.” — 1 Corinthians 14:7-8
The men who wrote the word of God were concise, clear, and effective in sharing, teaching, and preaching the word of God. As a result, people were taught faith, grew in faith, and obeying the faith.
Today, we must be just as clear, concise, and consistent when proclaiming the truth and for the same reason! The Lord is depending on us to preach the truth in love so that others will come to know, understand, and obey the truth!
If we decide to be, unclear, confusing, and vague in our teaching and preaching God’s Word, then we have missed the heart of what Paul wrote to the Corinthian church.
This certainly doesn’t conflict with what Peter said about some of Paul’s writings (2 Peter 3:14-16). Peter says that few of Paul’s teachings were difficult to understand. Which is certainly true. I do believe that even though they were difficult to understand they were nonetheless understandable. A little more digging and studying would certainly reveal the truth that God intended and therefore be understood. The meat and potatoes of the Word take a little longer to prepare, serve, and eat. While it might take a little longer to get to eat and digest it is certainly worth it.
However, don’t miss the fact that Peter says there are the rest of the Scriptures. Scriptures that are easy to understand.
Paul was referring to (in 1 Corinthians 14:7-8) to teaching a clear and concise message. Preaching should always be understood and simple in order to produce obedient faith!
As we move forward and grow in Fulshear we are determined that our message will be easy to understand so that we aren’t only speaking into the air.
“So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” — Romans 10:17
A study was done by a researcher in which he attended 18 different churches on successive Sundays to rate their friendliness and warmth factor. He sat near the front of the auditorium each time and walked slowly to the rear then returned to the front using another aisle. On each occasion, he was dressed neatly and with a smile asked at least one person to direct him to the fellowship hour or a Sunday School Class.
He used the following point scale to rate his reception:
10 - for a smile from a worshiper
10 - for a greeting from someone nearby
100 - for an exchange of names
200 - for an invitation to Bible Class or fellowship time 1000 - for an introduction to another worshiper
2000 - for an invitation to meet a church leader
Each of the 18 churches earned less than 100 points. The researcher concluded: "The preaching may be biblical, the singing inspirational and the service uplifting but when a guest finds no one cares whether or not he is there, he is not likely to return.”
Friends remember to be the gracious, hospitable smile of Jesus to everyone you meet when we gather together. Why? Because I know you care and because they will know we are Christians by our love! (written by Gregg Lee)
This past Tuesday Jonathan and Kathy Furlong drove to George Bush Intercontinental Airport to greet our new daughter and welcome her into our Fulshear Family. The Furlongs fought Houston traffic, bad weather, and time just to say “HELLO.” (Sorry for bringing attention to your kindness but this was beautiful!!). It was a moving and certainly a very appreciative response.
They brought flowers, warm smiles, love, and kindness. The extension of love, support, and hugs were a special touch for an apprehensive soul, who wasn’t sure about the journey, the language or people.
Love is a universal language that breaks down barriers. Kindness is a gift that has no parameters. You have heard that it actually takes fewer muscles to smile than to from — Well ...that may not be true. However, you would rather receive a smile than a frown because it’s a welcoming invite into a beautiful place. These are gracious gifts for all people, all times, genders and all places.
We have visitors who come into our presence here among our Fulshear Family who are just as apprehensive, nervous, and unsure about what to expect when they arrive. What these precious souls need is love, kindness, a smile, and a gentle warm embrace. It might very well be the response that helps them to understand this is a beautiful place!
“Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another…” Rom. 12:9-10
The day we finally met the girl we have prayed for and loved for two years (CIELO Milagro). The day she met her parents that she heard of for the first time only 8 weeks before (let that sink in for a moment). One of the traditions of Encuentro Day is the adoptive parents bring a special outfit, hand it over to the child’s caregiver, and then the child can get ready to meet her parents for the first time. This broke my heart the first time I heard about it. It seems so humbling, almost sad, for them to rely on and wait for parents they had never met to bring them something to wear for this special day. I cried about it for a while. Then I realized that this is exactly how I am before our awesome God. Completely at His mercy, relying on Him to clothe me with the blood of His Son, before I can be presented to Him.
Adoption is a beautiful mirror of God’s redemption.
“For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of ADOPTION by whom we cry out, "Abba, Father." Not only that, but we also who have the first Fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the ADOPTION, the redemption of our body.” Romans 8:15,23
“So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have CLOTHED YOURSELVES WITH CHRIST. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” Galatians 3:26-29
The apostle Paul communicates in several passages the important truth that Christ only has ONE BODY (4 times in 1 Corinthians 12:12-13, 2 times in Romans 12:4-5, Ephesians 1:23, 4:4). His message is so radically different than what we see in Christianity today.
It was important for Paul to write this wonderful truth because he received it directly from God. Christ said He would build His church (Matthew 16:18) and that He will be the head of it (Ephesians 1:22-23 according to Paul) because God has given Him all authority (Matthew 28:18-20).
Jesus paid a high price for the Church - His blood (Acts 20:28)! He willingly sacrificed Himself for this precious body. It is His very body and blood runs through it and provide new life through it. It is living and active doing His will. Reaching out in love with HIs hands and walking with His feet. This body has His mind and thinks of others first by living selfless, and giving much.
While there is only ONE BODY there are many members in this body. If you are not a member of this body then you can become a part by - BELIEVING IN HIM (John 8:24), REPENTING OF YOUR SINS (Luke 13:3&5), CONFESSING HIM (Matthew 10:32-33), and being BAPTIZED IN HIM FOR THE FORGIVENESS OF YOUR SINS (Mark 16:16).
Everyone is welcome in the ONE BODY of Christ which is the church.
12 For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ. 13 For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and have all been made to drink into one Spirit. 14 For in fact the body is not one member but many. 22 And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, 23 which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all. -- 1 Corinthians 12:12-13 & Ephesians 1:22-23