What Happens When You Get Offended?
It happens to any human that lives to be the age of ten. Sooner or later someone is going to hurt your feelings. Maybe they make fun of something you are wearing. Or a group of friends goes out to eat together and you are left out. Or maybe the attacks are much worse. Maybe someone attacks your character or says something about you that is not true. How do we deal with this? What is our normal course of action?
The honest truth is that Christians do not handle conflict very well. Too often we either do nothing at all, trying to avoid any form of conflict, or our emotions propel us to overreacting. Isn’t it interesting that the church is made up of individuals—many of whom have trouble getting along—and yet our pulpits often remain silent about what to do when you get your feelings hurt? I think many of the “problems” we have in the church today could be fixed or avoided if we would just spend some time discussing hurt feelings.
Here’s what I intend to teach my children regarding getting their feelings hurt:
You will get your feelings hurt. In fact, I’ve probably already been one of the ones to hurt your feelings. Congratulations—welcome to the human race. This is one of those things that you will deal with the rest of your life, because people are not perfect.
The first thing I want you to do the next time you get your feelings hurt is to stop and ask yourself if you are really all that important. Part of the reason our feelings are hurt is because someone offended us—which means we probably have a pretty high view of ourselves. “How dare them do that to me?!” Or, “How dare them say that about me?!” Before you ask questions like that, check yourself—and remind yourself that you are not God or His sinless Son. In fact, what you are is a sinner in need of a spotless sacrifice. Don’t forget that.
Second, do your best to treat the offending person the way you would want to be treated. In Matthew 7:12, Jesus commanded, “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.” This is a tough one, because if you feel hurt your normal tendency may be to lash out or punish the offender. Treat them how you would want to be treated. Because the reality is you may not know the entire situation. How many times are people wrestling with things (e.g., sickness, death of a loved one, stress at work, etc.) and you have little to no knowledge of it. Yes, they may have hurt your feelings—but you just be the recipient of something that is even more troubling in their life. It doesn’t excuse their behavior, but hopefully you might be able to better understand and be more compassionate.
Third, follow Biblical principles. The Bible has advice to both those who are offended and those who offend. In Matthew 18:15 Jesus admonishes, “Moreover if thy brother shall sin against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thou brother.” So have the courage to talk to them. Likewise, in Matthew 5:23-24 we read, “Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; leave thy gift there before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.” Sadly, when someone hurts us we expect them to do what Scripture says and come to us, but rarely do we go to them as Jesus recorded in Matthew 18. Both parties have a responsibility. Part of the reason I wanted you to first ask yourself if you were that important is to check your pride. Pride has stopped more relationships from healing than probably any other issue. Swallow your pride and talk to the person. You might be surprised at how quickly something can be cleared up when you just sit down and talk.
Lastly, remember these are just your feelings. The Bible records in Jeremiah 17:9, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” Some people want to “speak their mind” when their feelings get hurt. However, what you should be doing is speaking the mind of Christ. At the end of the day God is what matters. Do not allow your hurt feelings to slow you down from your ultimate purpose. Satan would love for Christians to be caught up in petty feuds over hurt feelings. This one is a tough one—and you will have to constantly be working on it. Just remember when you lay your head on your pillow that even if all your friends make fun of you, there is still a God in heaven who loves you!
What’s so Important
About the Local Church?
At a time when there’s more Bible teaching than you could ever consume available through radio, television, & the Internet, why should it matter where & how you’re taking in God’s truth? What’s wrong with virtual, web-based congregations for the digital-age church? Why can’t your iPod be your worship leader, your tablet be your preacher, & your friends your fellowship & accountability? The Answer is Simple: That’s Not the Way God Designed it!
The N.T. repeatedly emphasizes the importance of the local assembly. In fact, it was the pattern that Paul’s used to establish local congregations in the cities where he preached the gospel. Hebrews 10:24-25 commands every believer to be a part of such a local body [church] & reveals why this is necessary. “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” Hebrews 10:24-25. It is only in the local church to which one is committed that there can be the level of intimacy that is required for carefully stimulating fellow believers “to love & good works” & it is only in this setting that we can encourage one another faithfully & Biblically.
The New Testament also teaches that every believer is to be under the protection & nurture of the eldership of the local church. These men can shepherd the believer by encouraging, admonishing, & teaching. Hebrews 13:7 & 17 help us to understand that God has graciously granted accountability to us through godly leadership.
Furthermore, when Paul gave Timothy instructions about public meetings, he said, “Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching.” (1 Timothy 4:13). A part of the emphasis in public worship includes: hearing the Word, being called to obedience and action through exhortation, and teaching. It is only in the context of the local assembly that these things can effectively take place.
Acts 2:42 shows us what the early church did when they met together: “And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.” They learned God’s Word and the implications of it in their lives, they joined together to carry out acts of love and service to one another, they commemorated the Lord’s death and resurrection through the Lord’s Supper [breaking of bread], & they prayed. We cannot do these things individually, but God has called us into His Body [the church] which is the local representation of that worldwide Body—& we should gladly minister & be ministered to among God’s people.
Active involvement in the local church is imperative to living a life without compromise. It is only through the ministry of the local church that a believer can receive the kind of teaching, accountability, & encouragement that is necessary for him to stand firm in his convictions. God has ordained that the church provide the kind of environment where an uncompromising life can thrive & His people can grow spiritually.
As a preacher, probably the most discouraging thing is poor attendance by some members of the church. Often, I have spent hours studying & preparing a sermon for my Lay Lake family. As Sunday approaches, I am excited about the opportunity to apply this truth in the lives of the congregation. Often, I can think of several in the church who are struggling in their Christian lives, and I cannot wait to preach the Word of God and provide answers; principles that will help them from the Word.
Sad to say, the Devil also knows what is happening in the lives of the church. He has greater access to them & influence with them, than the preacher or the elders. On many occasions (Sunday & Wednesday, devotionals, Gospel Meetings, etc.), when I have prepared a message for them from the word of God & they never got to hear it, because they let a hobby, beautiful day or even a rainy one keep them from the house of the Lord. I can tell you, it deeply hurts when this happens, & it happens far too often.
How many parents are teaching their children to also be unfaithful to the Lord. Often I grieve for the wasted lives of children, whose parents regularly kept them from Bible class & worship to spend the day pursuing some hobby, sports or recreational activity the parents wanted to enjoy. I often wonder how much grief rebellious children have caused their parents, that could have been avoided if they had just kept them faithful in worship & Bible class? At times, the unfortunate outcome is that the children of these professing Christian parents have little or no interest in spiritual things and they end up unsaved or unfaithful. In my years of preaching, I have never personally known of children of unfaithful Christian parents growing up & being faithful themselves. So often I think of the children I have been privileged to teach who showed great promise of being a faithful Christian, but as they grew older, they began to see the unfaithfulness in their parent’s lives. They began to follow their disobedient parents, & soon they too, fell by the wayside.
A couple of weeks ago at our April Men’s Devotional, the question was asked, “What Can We Do To Reach People With the Gospel?” We had a great discussion and a number of ideas and suggestions were brought up. Here is a little of what was discussed.
1) Invite people to Bible study and worship. Don’t be afraid. Make the effort. Carry some of our ‘business cards’ with the Lay Lake’s information on them (these are on the table in the foyer). Write your name and phone number on them. Carry several issues of ‘House to House’ in your car or ladies, in your purse and give them to people when you invite them.
2) Use the book, “Muscle and a Shovel” as a means of introducing the truth. Carry a few copies in your car and give them to people. Ask for a commitment, “Will you read this and return it to me in two weeks?” It won’t work until we use it. The elders are ordering a case of these books to give away.
3) Keep a few different titles of sermons on C.D. with you and give them to people and ask them to listen to them. You can do the same with Bible tracts. We have a large selection of tracts in the foyer and even more in the back. Follow up and ask if they have any questions or if they would be interested in studying the Bible.
4) Study the Bible diligently so that we can have intelligent, scriptural conversations. Study denominational views and compare them with the New Testament. We will only feel confident when we are adequately prepared.
5) Learn to be a good listener! Show people that we care by listening and learning about what is happening in their lives. It might be health issues, child rearing, elderly parents, job problems, marriage issues, etc. Listen in order to find ‘common ground’ in which we can initiate a Bible discussion. Listen to find what people believe and then kindly and gently ask why they believe that. Listen, listen, listen.
6) Follow up! Don’t just listen to people’s problems, difficulties. Look for opportunities to encourage and help with problems where possible. Don’t let the door of opportunity close. Let our elders know if there are special needs that Lay Lake can help with.
7) Begin this process with Prayer! Pray for wisdom, pray for courage and especially pray for the person that you are trying to help. Pray that “hearers” will be receptive to the gospel and have a good and honest heart.
8) Ask someone to help you if you are unsure. Set up the study (talk with someone, set the time and place) and some of us will be glad to take the lead and conduct it with you.
Thanks to all of our men for the input. Let’s give serious thought to these things and put them into practice so that we will reach the lost! This is necessary if Lay Lake is to grow and if we are going to be pleasing to God.
In Ephesians 4:32 the Bible says, “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” Kindness is a natural result of love! We need to look for opportunities each day to show kindness in our families, to our neighbors, school mates; co-workers, strangers and our Christian brethren. We must make this a way of life in order to please God!
Things Money Cannot Buy
by: Brandon Baggett
The Wall Street Journal once quoted an anonymous comic who defined “money” as “an article which may be used as a universal passport to anywhere except heaven, and as a universal provider for everything except happiness.” Oh, the truth found within this witty little statement! Cars, boats, houses, land, vacations, clothing, and toys can all be bought with money, but a debit card, a handful of cash, nor a large check can secure a person’s eternal salvation. Peter reminded his recipients, “ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot” (1 Peter 1:18-19). It is possible for a person to be a prince in material wealth and be a pauper in spiritual blessing. Money can buy a lot of things in this life, but there are simply some things money cannot buy.
Money Cannot Buy Happiness! Solomon learned this lesson the hard way. He chronicled his search for meaning, purpose, and happiness in the inspired book of Ecclesiastes. On this journey toward the destination of happiness, Solomon ventured down the road called “material wealth.” He thought money, possession, and physical prosperity would be the solution to his problems. He said, “I gathered me also silver and gold, and the peculiar treasure of kings and of the provinces” (Ecclesiastes 2:8). However, Solomon soon learned true happiness is not tied to money. He went on to say, “He that loveth silver shall not be satisfied with silver; nor he that loveth abundance with increase: this is also vanity” (Ecclesiastes 5:10). Money cannot fulfill man’s longing for happiness. The real answer for man’s yearning to have genuine inner satisfaction is submission to the voice of God (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14).
Money Cannot Buy True Friendship! The lives of rich men often abound with friends, but how many of them are true friends? The inspired penman said, “wealth maketh many friends” (Proverbs 19:4), “and every man is a friend to him that giveth gifts” (Proverbs 19:6). The wealthy depicted here have many friends because of the selfishness of mankind. Those associated with these rich men are only there for the financial benefits they can extract from their companions. If ever a time came when these rich men lost their possessions, they would also lose their friends. Notice the contrast: “but the poor is separated from his neighbour” (Proverbs 19:4). Lacking possessions separates this man from friends, because maintaining such a relationship might require giving to help such a person instead of receiving from them. Such is not true friendship, because “a friend [a true and genuine friend] loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity” (Proverbs 17:17).
Money Cannot Buy Eternal Life! Jesus once spoke of “a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day” (Luke 16:19). This man lived among the rich, flamboyant, and extravagant. He lived in a palace which was surrounded by a large fence. He wore expensive clothing made from the most excessive imported fabric. His table overflowed with the finest meals and the most delightful foods. However, the Scriptures say “the rich man also died, and was buried” (Luke 16:22). The wealth of the rich cannot spare them from the grave (Psalm 49:6-9). Death is where the rich and poor meet on level ground (Proverbs 22:2). This man likely had an expensive funeral and was laid to rest in extravagant graveclothes. However, his soul was delivered into the unseen realm of the dead, and he remains in a state of torment. His riches could not secure his salvation, save his soul, spare him from death, nor supply comfort in the hadean realm. The rich man trusted in his riches and did not trust in the Lord, but his riches failed to purchase what he needed the most.
Money is a Good Servant, But it Makes a Terrible Master. If we view money, possessions, and the physical things of life improperly, we will create a web of problems in our life and condemn our soul to Hell. Money is neither good nor bad, but the love of money is still the “root of all kinds of evil” (1 Timothy 6:10 NKJV), and it has helped fill our world with a myriad number of problems. Money can be used as a great tool in our hands for the glory of God, but God’s people must realize the limitations of wealth. There are some things more valuable, precious, and needed than money. There are some things money simply cannot buy! Let us, therefore, heed the words of Jesus and pursue the true riches of Heaven (Matthew 6:19-21)!
How to Live For Christ
Robert H. Martin
* Do good to all people no matter what they do to you (Galatians 6:10). Christ is our example of doing good (Acts 10:38). We must follow in His steps (1 Peter 2:21).
* Bless and love your enemies (Matthew 5:44). Christ was hated, mocked, spat upon, beaten ... yet He prayed, “Father, forgive them” (Luke 23:34). When we do this, we have the mind of Christ (Philippians 2:5).
* Feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit the sick (Matthew 25:34-36). Christ went about helping the downhearted (Matthew 9:35). By us doing this (especially to the brethren), it is the same as us doing it to Christ (Matthew 25:40).
* Count others better than yourself (Philippians 2:3). This is truly being Christ-like. When we do this, we are serving as Christ did selflessly (John 13:4-5).
* Put the kingdom (church) first in all things (Matthew 6:33). Jesus died for the church (Acts 20:28); we need to live for it. Put Christ's body above all earthy things.
This is Christianity. Do these things with all your might (Ecclesiastes 9:10). Be steadfast, always abounding in the work of the Lord (1 Corinthians 15:58).
God’s Policy for Christian Behavior
Gary L. Hutchens
The Apostle Paul, guided by the Holy Spirit, laid out a great treatise for Christian living in Philippians 2:1-4. The first verse establishes the basic principle that a Christian ought to live and act as a Christian should. The next three verses lay out specific application according to this immediate context of scripture.
VERSE TWO uses four different expressions to emphasize the responsibility of the individual Christian to promote unity among Christians, or unity within the church. First, Paul admonishes Christians to be “like-minded.” Christians should basically be of the same mind in belief, practice and purpose.
Next, he instructs us to have the “same love.” Naturally, this is the love instructed by Jesus in Jn. 13:34-35. As Christians, we ought to love one another as we would want to be loved by our brothers and sisters in Christ. We should not expect something that we are not giving, as far as love is concerned.
Third, Paul states that Christians ought to be of “one accord.” There should be a natural conformity between Christians, within the church, as to who we are, what we are about and how we should live. Paul comes back to the basic mind-set of a Christian by instructing to be of “one mind.” Christians should be united in their walk with God and in their opposition to the devil.
VERSE THREE addresses attitude. Christians must possess and exhibit the proper attitude toward God and toward others in order to be able to maintain such a high ideal of unity within the church. Christianity is not primarily about personal ambition, or even personal desires. The Christian demeanor should not be one of conceit. It should exhibit humility. It should elevate others, even put others before self. A Christian life is a life of service, service to God and to others.
VERSE FOUR continues to emphasize proper attitude about self and others. A Christian should not be concerned only with his own personal interests. He should consider the interests of others. He should be aware of the needs of others and be ready to help where possible and proper.
Such a standard of unity would naturally sets the church apart from the world. The world needs to learn these principles. They are the opposite of the selfishness that prevails so much in our society today. The world should be able to see a distinct difference for good in the church. But the world will see that difference only if the church really is different. We need to be a leavening influence for good on the world around us. But in order to be able to leaven the world in a good way, we need to have things straight between ourselves in the church. Living by these principles laid out by Paul will enable us to be what we need to be for each other, and toward the world. A good way to think of this text is, “God’s policy for Christian behavior.”
Columbiana, AL 35051
News Flash: C.D.’s are now available for every Sunday sermon!