16 Apr, 2018
    If you have read anything about the three kinds of gifts God gives (Motivational Gifts, Ascension Gifts, Gifts of the Spirit), you will know the Gifts of the Spirit has produced the most dissension within the Body of Christ.   These gifts seem to be foolishness to the natural mind, but to those who are spiritual, they are an imperative part of the witness and ministry of the Body of Christ.  They should not just be tolerated, but desired.  We would be presumptuous to believe that we could
    09 Apr, 2018
    Many Christians become perplexed when they begin to study gifts in the New Testament.When we look at the lists of gifts in various passages, we find that these lists differ.Confusion arises when we assume that we are only talking about one kind or category of gift.After a careful look at the Word, we find that this assumption is not correct.Paul helps us sort this out as we read a portion from his letter to the Corinthians: Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be
    04 Apr, 2018
    The final aspect of the fruit of the Spirit is self-control or as the King James Version translates it “temperance.”  Temperance can be a misleading term because today we associate it with sobriety.  The Temperance Movement which began in the 19th century almost exclusively dealt with banning alcohol. But the word translated “self-control” in most of our bibles is the Greek word enkrateia which means “possessing power, being strong and having mastery or possession of.”  It is a compound word en
    26 Mar, 2018
    One of the most beloved paintings of all time is DaVinci’s “Last Supper.”  It is the painter’s impression of what Jesus’ final Passover meal with his disciples looked like.  DaVinci is a Renaissance painter and portrayed Jesus and the disciples sitting around a table as was used in his day.  However, we must be reminded that paintings are not photographs and this portrayal his far from accurate. In Jesus’ day, they did not sit on chairs around a table like we do, but reclined on couches which
    19 Mar, 2018
    The eighth characteristic of the fruit of the Spirit is often translated “gentleness.”  The Greek word is praotes which means “meekness” or “forbearance.”  This is why the King James Version translates this aspect of the fruit of the Spirit as “meekness.”  Meekness or gentleness is often confused with weakness. However, the Greeks described meekness as a strong-willed horse restrained by its rider.  It is power under control. Gentleness is the ability to accept God’s dealings in our lives by
    12 Mar, 2018
    The last three aspects of the fruit of the Spirit are inward fruit which enrich ourselves in our relationship with God.  It has been translated “faith” but is more accurately “faithfulness.  Both terms come from the same Greek root.  It is the Greek word pistis.  Faithfulness is a confidence which produces fidelity.  It generates not only reliability, but sincerity.  It is reflected when we remain steadfast to our own values in every circumstance of life as well as in our relationship with God.
    05 Mar, 2018
    We use the term “good” all the time.  Something tastes good.  We have a good friend.  He does a good job. That was a good sermon. I read a good book.  The definition changes, depending on the context.  So goodness can have different connotations.  It can mean something that meets your expectation.  It can reflect morality as defined by God.  Or it can mean that I derive some benefit from whatever is good.  Goodness is the sixth facet of the fruit of the Spirit.  It is closely related to the
    26 Feb, 2018
    The fifth characteristic of the fruit of the Spirit is the Greek word chrestotes.  It is translated as “gentleness” in the King James Version and as “kindness” in many newer translations. This can create confusion as to what this word actually refers to.  The literal meaning of this Greek word is “useful” or “profitable.”   Kindness in the original language doesn’t refer to a weak person, but to someone who has a  “a forgiving disposition.”  This is the focus of chrestotes. The Apostle Paul
    19 Feb, 2018
    We have been exploring the facets of the fruit of the Spirit. The first three – love, joy and peace – are God-directed.   As we continue, we want to be reminded that the next three of these graces are man-directed.  So we must consider their meaning and function as it relates to our relationships with others. The first fruit listed in this second group of three is “patience.”  We often misunderstand this word in this context. But the word rendered “patience” in Galatians 5 is the Greek word
  10. Perfect Peace
    12 Feb, 2018
    Perfect Peace
    All you have to do is turn on the TV to find that peace is lacking all over the world.  Generally speaking, most people think of peace as a lack of hostility, harmony and tranquility among men.  But as we have already established, the first three fruit of the Spirit are “God-toward” rather than directed toward man.  If this is the case, we need to explore further what the peace fruit really is. In Greek, the word for peace is eirene which has many meanings including:” tranquility, health,
  11. The Fruit of Joy
    05 Feb, 2018
    The Fruit of Joy
    As we have already established in last week’s post, the fruit of the Spirit is the different facets of God’s character which is demonstrated in the life of a believer who is controlled by the Holy Spirit.  We know that the primary evidence of the fruit of the Spirit is love. The second dimension is closely related to it – that is joy (cf. Galatians 5:22). Joy is something that most everyone desires, but few experience.  We often substitute true joy for happiness. Happiness is dependent on
  12. Fruit of Love
    29 Jan, 2018
    Fruit of Love
    Love is the first aspect of the fruit of the Spirit listed in Galatians 5. Some scholars believe that the eight “fruit” that follow are just other expressions of love, so that the fruit of the Spirit is entirely love.  Others believe that it is listed first because it is simply the most important of all the aspects of the fruit of the Spirit.  Regardless if you believe that every facet of the fruit is love or that it is simply the first manifestation of the fruit of the Spirit, the fact that it
  13. Fruitful Living
    22 Jan, 2018
    Fruitful Living
    There are Christians who solely focus on the gifts of the Spirit.  Others want nothing to do with them because they find them controversial.  Instead, they focus on the fruit of the Spirit.  However, there is a reason why both the gifts and fruit are found in Scripture.  We cannot properly operate in the gifts without the fruit and we cannot fully demonstrate the fruit without the gifts.  Wholeness and holiness can only be found when these characteristics are evident in our body, soul and
  14. Music and Worship
    15 Jan, 2018
    Music and Worship
    Music has been an integral part of worship almost from the very beginning.  Today we find much controversy over what kinds of music should be played in worship and what expressions and forms should be used. It seems as though everyone has an opinion, relegating worship music to a matter of personal preference.  But let’s look at what the bible says about the matter. In the Old Testament The Old Testament is full of expressions of worship.  In fact, the largest book in our bibles is Psalms which
  15. Old or New?
    08 Jan, 2018
    Old or New?
    How often have you heard the adage, “out with the old and in with the new?”This is how many of us think today.You get a new pair of shoes and you throw out the old.You begin to like a new artist’s music and you cast off your old favorite.We constantly try to keep up with current fashion trends rather than look like we are wearing last year’s style. Others love to hold on to things forever.They cherish the things of the past.Their attics are filled with antiques from a prior era.They read
  16. No Stable?
    17 Dec, 2017
    No Stable?
    The events of the Christmas story have been ingrained in our minds and hearts.However, much of what we know of this story doesn’t come from our study of Scripture and the culture of the day, but from tradition.Many of the details are misrepresentations of the actual events and are based on a fictional work by an anonymous Christian written two hundred years after the birth of Christ.This work is entitled The Protoevangelism of James and has nothing to do with James!This author was a non-Jew who
  17. A Celebration of Light
    11 Dec, 2017
    A Celebration of Light
    December is such a dark time of the year.  It is when the time of daylight is the shortest.  That is why all the lights we see this time of year are such a comfort.  We see all kinds of lights – icicle lights, colored lights large and small and even candles in the windows.  Some of you may even have Jewish neighbors who place a nine-branched menorah (candelabra) in their windows instead of decorating their homes with traditional Christmas lights and Christmas trees. They do this in celebration
  18. Recycled Anger
    04 Dec, 2017
    Recycled Anger
    One of the most muted characters in the Christmas story is Joseph. Scripture tells us little about this important man in Jesus’ life.However, we do have a glimpse of who he was in the description of him we find in Matthew 1:18-20 (ESV): Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit.And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame,
  19. Democracy or Kingdom?
    26 Nov, 2017
    Democracy or Kingdom?
    Democracy has been long called “the great experiment.”  It is a form of government by which the people or those elected by the people rule.  Of all man’s ideas about government it is viewed as the greatest of ideas because it promotes freedom.  Our founding fathers envisioned a republic by which people from all over the world could enjoy freedom as they understood its principles.  Today many believe that this form of government is in jeopardy because of the influence of other man-made