Imitation is More Than Flattery

Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own…Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us. (Philippians 3:12, 17 ESV)

In today’s self-centered, narcissistic society, this statement would be viewed as incredibly arrogant. Who are you to say that we should follow your example?!!?

The prevailing philosophy is that I am the center of my own universe. I control my own universe. I am the best for my universe.

Simply because someone has had an experience from which I might benefit, is no indication that I should consider their results.

There was a series of jokes going around when I was in high school that always ended with, “Mother, please! I’d rather do it myself.”

It is no longer a joke. Rather, it is the reality.

Sadly, this worldly way of thinking has infiltrated the Church.

However, I am not as concerned about it being in the pew as much as I am about it being in the pulpit.

There are few godly men and women who are willing to say, “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.” (1 Corinthians 11:1).

That is a scary place to be. It is a scary place to put oneself–especially with all the dire warnings against being placed on a pedestal. Why would anyone place themselves high enough to be emulated?

We’ve all seen many toppled from a high and lofty place in ministry. Now we avoid it.

In this age of calling many by the term “hero” who are not, could it be that the world is actually bereft of any real heroes to imitate?

Rather than shrink from the calling, stand up, go forward, and allow yourself to be a standard to which others will want to look. And do not be reluctant to say so.

And find someone to whom you can look for imitation.

NOTE: This is the third in a weekly posting on the Epistle to the Philippians. I am not the only one who is writing on this book. There are others who will be posting something on their blog each day of the week. We are each bringing something that the Lord gives us from chapter three of the epistle. You will be greatly blessed and encouraged, and your heart will be filled if you will take the time to read each day’s posting from one of the other saints involved in this collective effort. Put the following link in your “favorites” or on your link bar at the top of your browser: http://www.philter48.com/bbs/ and make it a point to visit everyday.

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Fun Friday Acronyms

Let’s resurrect a game we haven’t played in a few months. Darla is the one who turned us onto this. Maybe she’ll play, too.

Rules are simple.

When you arrive, scroll down to the last comment that was made. At the bottom of that comment, the person should have left a word in the format of A.B.C.D.E.F.

You are to supply the meaning for the acronym, and then leave a new acronym.

Like this:
All
Boys
Come
Daily
Expecting
Fun

G.H.I.J.K.

You can leave as many letters as you want, and you can visit as often as you like.

The more the merrier and the more times the merrier it gets.

Sometimes you will see someone beat you to the posting while you are trying to write your meaning. That gets fun and frustrating.

Keep it clean, please.

I’ll leave the first word.

H.O.L.L.O.W.

The Death of The Church

Phil 2:19-21 (ESV) – I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon, so that I too may be cheered by news of you. For I have no one like him, who will be genuinely concerned for your welfare. They all seek their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ.

This passage always causes me grief–almost in the same way I grieve when I consider the necessity of the cross on my behalf.

Here Paul is making a statement–it seems almost as if in passing–about the condition of the ministry around him.

I have found this to often be true in today’s ministry.

Years ago, I sat in the office of a well-known pastor of a large denominational church. In answer to a question about his practices, he said, “No question about it, Dale. I am out to build me a kingdom.” Sadly, he was dead less than two years later.

But, his sentiment, though not as plainly stated by most, is still manifest today.

I’ve had other ministers tell me that they do not agree with some fundamental aspect of their particular denomination, but, “We go along to get along.” Where is their interest?

What does Paul mean when he says, “…not those [interests] of Jesus Christ”?

What are the interests of Jesus Christ?

Should we not try to make those our focal point?

He says this after qualifying it with ministry who only seek their own interests, and this is set in juxtaposition with Timothy being concerned for the Philippians’ welfare.

Those of us in the ministry should make the welfare of the church our priority–even down to the wandering little sheep. That is our charge.

Isa 57:1 ESV – The righteous man perishes, and no one lays it to heart; devout men are taken away, while no one understands. For the righteous man is taken away from calamity;

 I know this verse speaks to the death of the righteous in order to remove them from the coming calamity, but it also speaks to the back-door revivals that many churches experience–some even now. People leave one-by-one, and in groups all at once, and no one lays it to heart as to what is happening or why.

1 John 2:19 is often quoted in defense: They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would [no doubt] have continued with us: but [they went out], that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.

Sometimes, however, (probably more often than we like to think) people leave because they can smell the odor of death beginning to creep in. They see the calamity coming, and they make a quiet exit.

“Leaders Leave” is an oft-quoted reality that we would do well to consider whenever we see influential people exiting our churches.

Why does this occur? Most often it is because, though they are not in the forefront of ministry, they can see that the leaders are taking the people down a dangerous path of no return. That is the only direction possible when “they seek their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ.”

NOTE: This is the second in a weekly posting on the Epistle to the Philippians. I am not the only one who is writing on this book. There are others who will be posting something on their blog each day of the week. We are each bringing something that the Lord gives us from chapter two of the epistle. You will be greatly blessed and encouraged, and your heart will be filled if you will take the time to read each day’s posting from one of the other saints involved in this collective effort. Put the following link in your “favorites” or on your link bar at the top of your browser: http://www.philter48.com/bbs/ and make it a point to visit everyday.

Forgiveness is a Gift You Give to Yourself

Colossians 3:13- bearing with one another and forgiving one another, if someone happens to have a complaint against anyone else. Just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also forgive others.

Too often we think of forgiveness in the larger areas of someone doing something ‘really nasty’ to us. We also include hurt feelings in this when someone does something that offends.

But I love how this translation puts it: “…happens to have a complaint.”

Wow!

Do I have a complaint?

Oh, yeah.

The way they complain; they way they look; the way they dress; the way they talk; the way they don’t talk; the way they look at me; the way they eat; the way they worship; the way they drive; the way they treat me; the way they treat others; and the list goes on and on, ad infinitum ad nauseum.

It is amazing the number of different complaints we hear from people everyday, especially if you have any kind of counselling ministry.

Here we are told, however, to forgive them.

Forgive the complainers. Then (and only then) can I teach them how to forgive those about whom they complain.

Unforgiveness is like fixing a glass of poison for your enemy and then drinking it yourself. Susan St. James
Forgiveness is a gift you give yourself. Suzanne Sommers

The verse ends with a comparison that I too often fail to take to heart: just as the Lord has forgiven me, so I should forgive others.

If  He could forgive that which sent Him to the cross, why can I not easily forgive that which only makes me cross?