Be Sanctified

What does it mean to be sanctified?  Sanctification is one of those big words mostly used in Christian circles.  What exactly does it mean?  Is it something we are given? Something we have to do? Do we obtain it when we receive salvation or is it a process?  This is a discussion that I have heard recently with conflicting answers so I thought I would look into it.  In the old testament, it is used to mean “to make holy or set apart.”  It usually was something God decided to do for His people, an individual or His temple.  It was something He declared.  So what does it mean for believers?

I looked up the Greek term using e-sword (www.e-sword.net) to learn what the Greek terms are and what they mean.  From what I gathered, there are a couple different words and different uses (I found a few in particular:  hagaismos,  hagios, and hagiazo).  I am no scholar or anything near to that, but they seem to be derivatives of the same word.  They basically mean “sanctification, consecration, purification.”  To purify, make holy, set apart (for God’s glory  or to do His work).  It is the process of making or becoming holy.  Clear as mud, right?  Let’s look at the New Testament scriptures to see how the word is used. Continue reading “Be Sanctified”

What are the Spiritual Gifts?

God gives each of us gifts of the Holy Spirit.  But, what are they?  Paul lists several of them.  I believe that this probably is not an exhaustive list, but let’s look at this list and what each of these gifts are.  This is what I have gathered from teachings (and, yes, Google).  Any comments would be appreciated.

Continue reading “What are the Spiritual Gifts?”

Christ at Christmas

One thing I have been thinking about lately is how we celebrate Christmas. Many say that Jesus wasn’t born in December, and by what I have read, it was probably in the fall, but that is another subject. But, are we celebrating the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ or is it a time of indulging in our own desires? Not that having desires is bad, but where is our heart? Where is our priorities and how do we treat those who are in need? Jesus says, “where your heart is there your treasure will be with you also” and “seek first the kingdom of heaven.” The world has made Christmas to be about getting presents and eating as much as possible for a couple days, which is fun, but I think we often forget the real reason. Often throughout the season we reflect on this, but when it really comes down to it, how often do we thank God for sending His Son on Christmas? How often do we meditate on His word during Christmas? I know I am guilty of this and not putting my focus on Him enough. It may be some in the morning, but what about the rest of the day? What about while we are opening presents with family? Continue reading “Christ at Christmas”

Great Gifts

God has blessed me throughout my life; a good family, a wonderful wife, great friends, and so may experiences and blessings that give me joy in my heart.  I am sure all of us have something to be grateful for in our lives.  God also gives us special gifts through the Holy Spirit to help others and strengthen the church, giving glory to God.  Using our gifts is a part of worship.  You may not know what your spiritual gift is.  My suggestion is to get involved in your church and serve.  If one thing doesn’t work or doesn’t seem to fit, try another.  God will lead you to the gifts He wants you to use when the time is right.  I believe He may give us different gifts at different times to fulfill a need of a ministry He has for you.  I have seen that in my life.  When I was young, I tried helping with the youth group, then became a youth leader.  That didn’t work out too well.  Later on several other ministries came up and God gave me the gifts needed for my particular ministries.  No matter what your gift is or if you know what it is, get involved with your church and serve. Let’s not be just a  pew sitter but be active for God’s Kingdom. Continue reading “Great Gifts”

What Should the Church look like?

When you hear the word, “church,” what do you think of?  How do you picture it?  We don’t “go to church.”  We are the church.  Why do we often associate the word “church” with a place and time…or a building?  Even though it is symbolized as a building, that is not what the church, “eklesia,” is.  In a study we did this week, we found that eklesia, the word Jesus uses when he talked about building His church, actually means “gathering.”  But it is more than that.  It is the body of Christ.  It is a group of believers gathered together in unity, to worship God, to lift each other up, to pray together, to meet each other’s need, to live life together, to go out and share the love of Christ to others.  One of the churches I was a part of had a simple mission statement:  To love God and to love others, pursue Christ’s character, serve the world.  To follow Christ and invite others to follow Him.  That is what church is all about.

So what should it look like?  What do you look for in a church?

These are my personal desires in a church.  First, small groups (not necessarily in a particular order).  Having a small group Bible study in a home each week is the most important to me.  That is where you get to really know others, where you can dig deep into the scriptures, where you can grow together.  Along with that, and most importantly is Biblical teaching.  Does the church follow the Bible and teach the truth without sugar-coating or avoiding certain scriptural truths?  Does it have sound Biblical teaching?  What is most important to a church, God’s truth or attendance or something else? Christ should be the foundation.  Then, is the church welcoming?  Are the people loving and friendly?  Of course, we must remember that they are human.  Expect flaws and imperfections.  People are people.  We all have issues.  What kind of ministries do they have and how can I get involved and serve?  Church is not just a service to attend.  We all have a part.  Then, it is a matter of personal preference.  music, style of preaching, etc.  I like contemporary Christian music.  I love to see musical talent (of which I have none), I love a good dynamic speaker.  But we shouldn’t get bogged down on some of these things.  We are there to worship God, not be entertained.

What do the scriptures say about what a church should be?  What is God’s desire in a church? Continue reading “What Should the Church look like?”