Do Patterns Really Matter?

In the fellowship I am a part of, we hear much discussion about the importance of patterns in our service to God. At times certain patterns are important. A case in point would be our acceptance of God’s promises in regard to salvation. The Lord has said salvation could not come through any name other than Jesus. If we want the promises God has made in regard to salvation, the pattern of acceptance of those promises would always be a pattern that came through Jesus. In this sense a pattern would be reasonable and necessary.

How far should we take the idea of a pattern when it comes to serving God? Obviously as we serve God we should be able to find a pattern to that service if we search for such a pattern……right? I wish to pose a few questions to consider in regard to patterns. First, is there only one pattern acceptable and pleasing in our service to God? Did Jesus death simply establish a better pattern? Is God concerned about getting the motions right or does He value the condition of the heart? Second, if an established and unique pattern of service is necessary to please God would it be reasonable to conclude that God would make that pattern plainly visible to all who are searching? After all is my salvation really based in my ability to find the pattern? If the pattern is so important, is it unreasonable to conclude that if God allowed an event so important as the death of Jesus to take place, He would also make the pattern so visible we couldn’t possibly miss it? Third, if I miss that pattern should I still be counted as faithful to the Lord? Is faithfulness tied to a pattern of works I perform to earn my salvation? Is God really so concerned about the order of my works or is He concerned about the depth of my faith which motivates me to serve and praise Him. Finally, is my understanding of and obedience to the correct pattern the primary factor in the judgement of my salvation? Does my adherence to the rules declare me righteous? Is this the element of my life that God views as the reason for Him to declare me righteous? The Pharisees treasured strict rituals (or patterns) in their service to God because they could evaluate one’s adherence to these rules. Is God concerned about our ability to evaluate another’s obedience to the rules or a pattern? Or is God concerned with the condition of my heart, which often can’t be evaluated by mortal man.
Please consider this. There is no problem with seeing 1 or 1000 patterns in Scripture. The problem occurs when we use a chosen pattern to determine the faithfulness of others. This has been one of the unwritten laws in our fellowship for many years. Most of us understand the damage it has done. Never was this the intent of our Lord. As men we tend to gravitate toward rules and patterns because our adherence to these can be measured. We wouldn’t often admit it but we like lists because we can mark things as we get them done. When we have obeyed every facet of a pattern we can then say to the Lord the same words the Pharisee used when he said, “I thank God I’m not as other men”. It allows us to put our trust in our abilities which we can see rather than faith In the promises of God which are not seen
Did Jesus really die to establish a better pattern or a better set of rules? Of course not! Jesus died so we might live. He is our sin payment. My salvation is based on my faith in the promises of God. If I trust those promises I will do all I can to please and obey Him. Will there be a pattern I will likely follow in regard to my service to God? Most certainly there will be. What we must guard against is placing our trust in obedience to a pattern rather not than placing our faith in a proper relationship with God. Be careful that you build your relationship with God rather than on trust in rules and patterns. When all is said and done, we are righteous because God declares us righteous. We aren’t righteous based on our perfect adherence to rules or to a pattern we must search diligently to cobble together.

God bless!

Does Obedience To A Pattern Matter?

In the fellowship I am a part of, we hear much discussion about the importance of patterns in our service to God. At times certain patterns are important. A case in point would be our acceptance of God’s promises in regard to salvation. The Lord has said salvation could not come through any name other than Jesus. If we want the promises God has made in regard to salvation, the pattern of acceptance of those promises would always be a pattern that came through Jesus. In this sense a pattern would be reasonable and necessary.

How far should we take the idea of a pattern when it comes to serving God? Obviously as we serve God we should be able to find a pattern to that service if we search for such a pattern……right? I wish to pose a few questions to consider in regard to patterns. First, is there only one pattern acceptable and pleasing in our service to God? Did Jesus death simply establish a better pattern? Is God concerned about getting the motions right or does He value the condition of the heart? Second, if an established and unique pattern of service is necessary to please God would it be reasonable to conclude that God would make that pattern plainly visible to all who are searching? After all is my salvation really based in my ability to find the pattern? If the pattern is so important, is it unreasonable to conclude that if God allowed an event so important as the death of Jesus to take place, He would also make the pattern so visible we couldn’t possibly miss it? Third, if I miss that pattern should I still be counted as faithful to the Lord? Is faithfulness tied to a pattern of works I perform to earn my salvation? Is God really so concerned about the order of my works or is He concerned about the depth of my faith which motivates me to serve and praise Him. Finally, is my understanding of and obedience to the correct pattern the primary factor in the judgement of my salvation? Does my adherence to the rules declare me righteous? Is this the element of my life that God views as the reason for Him to declare me righteous? The Pharisees treasured strict rituals (or patterns) in their service to God because they could evaluate one’s adherence to these rules. Is God concerned about our ability to evaluate another’s obedience to the rules or a pattern? Or is God concerned with the condition of my heart, which often can’t be evaluated by mortal man.
Please consider this. There is no problem with seeing 1 or 1000 patterns in Scripture. The problem occurs when we use a chosen pattern to determine the faithfulness of others. This has been one of the unwritten laws in our fellowship for many years. Most of us understand the damage it has done. Never was this the intent of our Lord. As men we tend to gravitate toward rules and patterns because our adherence to these can be measured. We wouldn’t often admit it but we like lists because we can mark things as we get them done. When we have obeyed every facet of a pattern we can then say to the Lord the same words the Pharisee used when he said, “I thank God I’m not as other men”. It allows us to put our trust in our abilities which we can see rather than faith In the promises of God which are not seen
Did Jesus really die to establish a better pattern or a better set of rules? Of course not! Jesus died so we might live. He is our sin payment. My salvation is based on my faith in the promises of God. If I trust those promises I will do all I can to please and obey Him. Will there be a pattern I will likely follow in regard to my service to God? Most certainly there will be. What we must guard against is placing our trust in obedience to a pattern rather not than placing our faith in a proper relationship with God. Be careful that you build your relationship with God rather than on trust in rules and patterns. When all is said and done, we are righteous because God declares us righteous. We aren’t righteous based on our perfect adherence to rules or to a pattern we must search diligently to cobble together.

God bless!

Why Did Jesus Die?

We know well the story of Jesus. For those of us who are followers, His death and subsequent resurrection is the most important event in our lives. The lord’s death is the payment for our sins. Our sin problem was a problem we couldn’t solve on our own. Ephesians 2:8-10 tell us, “by grace are you saved through faith and not of yourselves it is the gift of God.” Romans 5:6-8 says,”for when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man would dare to die, yet for a good man some would dare to die. God showed His love to us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for the ungodly.” Jesus died because we could not pay the sin payment. Christ had to die that we might live. As a result of grace given freely to us God paid the debt we could not pay. We could never do enough to earn our salvation. This is a gift given by the Lord to those who put their trust in His promises. Jesus died that we might be saved.

Thirty Four Years Ago

It was a rainy day in Kentucky, 34 years ago today, when God blessed my life with a child. That day will always stand out in my mind, October 24, 1980. I had waited patiently as this child was three weeks past its due date. Back in the day one could only guess whether the child would be a boy or girl. The child God brought into my life that day was a boy. His name would be Kevin. God would bless that little family with a daughter two and a half years later. She would be called Karla. These children filled my heart with pride and continually brought smiles to my face. I prayed for them every day. I asked God to bless them in two ways. I asked first that God would use them to serve Him. I asked second that God would bless them with a mate who would make them happy and their families complete. God answered both prayers.

The memories these children left keeps my heart swelled with happiness and pride. The only wishes I have are that I could be part of shaping their childhood all over again. Unfortunately this isn’t in the realm of possibility. The days are gone, even the photos are gone. Yet one of the blessings God gives are the precious memories that live on in our minds.

To both of my children I say thank you for everything. I want to thank you especially for the five beautiful grandchildren you have given to me. I can say with total confidence the seven of you, my children and grandchildren, are indeed special blessings From God. I couldn’t be prouder of any of you. To all of you I say thanks for everything.

To Kevin I say happy birthday! Your a great son. To both my children, and to my grandchildren you are everything a father and grandfather could want.

Dad (paw paw)

Old Testament Denominations

Originally posted on Who Told You That:

The American College Encyclopedia Dictionary defines the word denomination as “a religious sect”.  There were many groups who fit this definition during the time Jesus lived on the earth as man.  The prominent two were the Pharisees and the Sadducees.  There were many others besides these two.  One must conclude that denominationalism is not exclusively a modern day event. 

These denominations thought their beliefs were correct.  Each claimed to be following the Word of God while holding to varying and distinct views.  One would suppose that when the Christ came He would have set them straight on the evils of denominationalism.  If one had held this idea he would have been mistaken.  When Jesus came to earth He went about His Father’s business.  As he did His Father’s business he made life better for those who sought Him.  He healed the sick, raised the dead, and fed those who were…

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Thirty four Years Ago

It was a rainy day in Kentucky, 34 years ago today, when God blessed my life with a child. That day will always stand out in my mind, October 24, 1980. I had waited patiently as this child was three weeks past its due date. Back in the day one could only guess whether the child would be a boy or girl. The child God brought into my life that day was a boy. His name would be Kevin. God would bless that little family with a daughter two and a half years later. She would be called Karla. These children filled my heart with pride and continually brought smiles to my face. I prayed for them every day. I asked God to bless them in two ways. I asked first that God would use them to serve Him. I asked second that God would bless them with a mate who would make them happy and their families complete. God answered both prayers.

The memories these children left keeps my heart swelled with happiness and pride. The only wishes I have are that I could be part of shaping their childhood all over again. Unfortunately this isn’t in the realm of possibility. The days are gone, even the photos are gone. Yet one of the blessings God gives are the precious memories that live on in our minds.

To both of my children I say thank you for everything. I want to thank you especially for the five beautiful grandchildren you have given to me. I can say with total confidence the seven of you, my children and grandchildren, are indeed special blessings From God. I couldn’t be prouder of any of you. To all of you I say thanks for everything.

To Kevin I say happy birthday! Your a great son. To both my children, and to my grandchildren you are everything a father and grandfather could want.

Dad (paw paw)

Could It Be?

Does the Bible contain a “pattern” for how the church of the Bible should look? Is the primary duty of Christians to reproduce or restore the church of the first century? We look at these two questions and one might ask, “What do these question have to do with Christianity? The honest answer is very little.
Sometimes we miss the point of how Disciples were to be known. Men tend to emphasize the things we can see. We can piece together a verse here and a verse there and construct in our minds eye a pattern man can use to determine faithfulness. If you fit the pattern we have pieced together we will accept you as faithful Christians. If you miss some part of our pattern you won’t be known as faithful. Maybe you won’t even be recognized as Christian.  We further allow ourselves to have a say in who is faithful by making  a law that one must hold to the “restoration principle” to fit into the faithful category.
The Lord said his disciples would be known by their love. How did we manage to move from the point the Lord said would allow us to be recognized as His disciples to where we are today?
Love is hard to measure. It is hard to see inside a heart. Could it be that we invented laws so we could say, “See I am faithful I hold to the pattern!” It wouldn’t be the first time man has thanked God he wasn’t as other men.

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