It’s not all about me? (April 29, 2018)

Deborah Tannen does not write as a Christian, but rather as a professional rhetorician. In her book, The Argument Culture, she recognizes the difficulty for Americans to appreciate societal benefits against a backdrop of individual rights and privileges:

“Perhaps the most fundamental [difference between American and Asian cultures] is the Western assumption that the individual self is in ongoing opposition to society. You can hear this in everyday conversations, as people talk about learning to be true to themselves by resisting society’s expectations. Donal Carbaugh listened to hours of talk on the Phil Donahue show and found that a conflict between society and the individual self was a pervasive theme running through the comments of guests and audience members. For example, one guest expressed the hope that women would learn to “make a decision all by themselves without regard to what society or somebody else says.” Society is seen as the individual’s enemy, imposing demands that conflict with actualizing your own self.”


This same spirit of individualism has crept into the Church. While God is concerned about our redemption individually, He has crafted us into a body, each uniquely possessing only a few spiritual gifts. These gifts, when joined together in ecclesiastical community, comprise the full set of abilities able to accomplish all of God’s commands. When believers view themselves only as individual entities in relationship to God, they fracture the body, handicap themselves in service, and distort the picture that Christ has painted of Himself. The Church is not about the individual person, it is about the individual Christ who saved us and has assembled us together in Him.

“For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit” (1 Corinthians 12:13).

This article was posted by Shawn Nichols on a Sermon Illustrations sharing site; I don’t know if it’s original with him – but I thought it was worth re-posting.  I don’t think there is one if us who doesn’t struggle with this!  Pastor Scott


We can’t just coast! April 20, 2018

This little reminder about vigilance is special to me because I’m a big Steve Green fan and, because, my best friend from High School is a concert rigger.  This a powerful a easily remembered reminder of the Water-Walker’s words!  Steve Green tells the story of getting to know the crews who fearlessly hung speakers and lights, in event venues, from ceilings 100+ feet in the air:

Green says, “What they didn’t like, they said, were jobs in buildings that had false ceilings–acoustical tile slung just a couple of feet below the rafters. They were still high in the air, and if they slipped, their weight would smash right through the flimsy tile. But their minds seemed to play tricks on them, lulling them into carelessness.”

It’s a reminder to me that Satan’s business is not so much in scaring us to death as persuading us that the danger of a spiritual fall is minimal. No wonder Peter advised us to “resist him, standing firm in the faith” (I Peter 5:9). ~Pastor Scott

Control your tongue; stay married! April 13, 2018

Jesus famously said, “It is not what enters into the mouth that defiles the man, but what proceeds out of the mouth, this defiles the man.”  – Matthew 15:11

As I’ve been preaching on marriage and family these past few week it occurs to me that one’s self isn’t all that is defiled – whole families are brought to ruin by the tongue alone.  The “world” is even starting to notice…check out the Newsweek article:

In order to uncover the processes that destroy unions, marital researchers study couples over the course of years, and even decades, and retrace the star-crossed steps of those who have split up back to their wedding day. What they are discovering is unsettling. None of the factors one would guess might predict a couple’s durability actually does: not how in love a newlywed couple say they are; how much affection they exchange; how much they fight or what they fight about. In fact, couples who will endure and those who won’t look remarkably similar in the early days.

Yet when psychologists Cliff Notarius of Catholic University and Howard Markman of the University of Denver studied newlyweds over the first decade of marriage, they found a very subtle but telling difference at the beginning of the relationships. Among couples who would ultimately stay together, 5 out of every 100 comments made about each other were putdowns. Among couples who would later split, 10 of every 100 comments were insults. That gap magnified over the following decade, until couples heading downhill were flinging five times as many cruel and invalidating comments at each other as happy couples. “Hostile putdowns act as cancerous cells that, if unchecked, erode the relationship over time,” says Notarius, who with Markman co-authored the new book We Can Work It Out. “In the end, relentless unremitting negativity takes control and the couple can’t get through a week without major blowups.”

U.S. News & World Report, February 21, 1994, p. 67.

Thank you Lord!! April 6, 2018

Do you remember the rather silly children’s song “Arky, Arky?”  I honestly don’t remember if it’s from my childhood or from my children’s era – but since Thursday, April 5th, when we received our Permanent Certificate of Occupancy, that silly song has been running through my head!  We (BRBC/WOGF) have been in selling, packing, moving, and unpacking mode for longer than Noah and his family were on that Ark.  Yes, we weren’t suffering or witnessing what they were, but as far as I’m concerned God has caused “the sun to come out and dry up the landy, landy!”

So fellow Word of Gracers – what are waiting for?  🙂

Oh rise and shout and give God the glory, glory.
Oh rise and shout and give God the glory, glory.
Oh rise and shout and give God the glory, glory.
Children of the lord.