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Odds & Ends

May 31, 2023

Leadership Notes


ODDS & ENDS {REVISITED}


As we wrap up our series on James, I, for one, am going to miss studying this wonderful letter. Before we jump in to our next series on Jude and 2 Peter, I’ll be working on several one-and-done messages. I cannot say enough about how much I have appreciated your feedback on these messages from James. Sometimes he hits hard, and in order to stay true to the text, controversy raised its head. As we all mature in this great faith together, the feedback loop coming out of this series is one I’ll appreciate, respect, and learn from moving forward. Thank you for modeling the old adage, “Agreeing to disagree agreeably.” In ways, big and small, it makes for healthy relationships.


Next, a little background. The Five Solas are core beliefs of the Reformation:

1. Sola Scriptura: “Scripture alone.” 2. Sola Fide: “faith alone.” 3. Sola Gratia: “grace alone.” 4. Solo Christo: “Christ alone.” 5. Soli Deo Gloria: “to the glory of God alone.”


These Five Solas of the Protestant Reformation offered a strong corrective to the faulty practices and beliefs of the time, and they remain relevant today. We are called to focus on Scripture, accept salvation by grace through faith, magnify Christ, and live for God’s glory.


Mindful of these truths, I found the following quote thought-provoking:


“In the Evangelical Church…’niceness’ is taking over. We’re now

viewing manners as being salvific. The tone equals truth. Nice-ism

now has almost become the sixth Sola.”

- Darrell Harrison


While we are rooted in the Fruit of the Spirit {love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control}, I wonder where and when “niceness” fits in. What place does nice-ism play in authentic Christian lives?


One of the books I’ve been using in my study of James is by Craig L. Blomberg and Mariam J. Kamell. It is part of the Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament by Zondervan Publishing. In their discussion of the brutal fifth chapter, Blomberg and Kamell write:


“The rich would have had the access and power in the courts, with

the ability to carry their own desires in legal form.”


This explains perfectly how those with power, prestige, and influence cheat and take advantage of those “beneath” them {verse 4}. Which leads me to say, I am reminded of {I think it’s a syllogism?} this:


“Government is necessary because people left unchecked will do

evil”

“The government is composed of people left unchecked.”


I’m calling this the place where John Calvin meets Ludwig von Mises.


As we looked at perseverance last week, an appropriate passage popped into my wee little brain on Monday:


“Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking

the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.

Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on

earth.”

- Colossians 3:1-2


With the beautiful days of summer almost upon us, two insect potentialities flitted across my sometimes short attention span:


* If all the spiders in the world could coordinate and work together, within one year they could eat every living person on earth.

* Likewise, there are enough ants on earth that if they could all divide up and attack en masse, they would crush every living person on earth to death.


That could never happen, right? I am in constant awe of God’s creation. {As I write, “This is My Father’s World” is playing on my Pandora station!}


Finally, I know I don’t say it enough…thank you for your interested reading of these almost weekly communications, and your gracious reception of these thoughts of mine…and others.


And now, your Moment of Spurgeon:


“IF YOU MEET WITH A SYSTEM OF THEOLOGY THAT MAGNIFIES

MAN, FLEE FROM IT AS FAST AS YOU CAN.”


With Much Love and Affection,


Richard

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