• South Lyon Church

Ah, the romance, the commercialism of February 14th! The second part of that seems to creep into every holiday or special occasion we have on our calendar; but, I guess that should be expected living in a capitalistic society. But romance and commercialism are far from what is behind the establishment of this religious holiday.


That’s right-- Valentine’s Day (or originally titled Saint Valentine’s Day) was a day set aside by the Vatican. Pope Gelasius I established the date for the Feast of Saint Valentine in AD 496. To me a feast would mean an abundance of wonderful food being available, though that wasn’t its meaning in this case. It was, however, a significant event to be celebrated. Gelasius I established this date to celebrate not one, but two Christian martyrs.



There were two different individuals named Valentine. Both of these men were martyred in the third century. Valentine of Terni in AD 273, four years after Valentine of Rome in AD 269. Two different martyrs just four years apart who had nothing to do with the romantic love we associate with the day that carries their name. The romantic aspect of this holiday didn’t come around until over a millennium later in the fourteenth century. And that romance it seems was associated with the spring practice of attracting a mate. . .in birds. St. Valentine’s Day sure has evolved a long way from a day to honor two individuals who were killed for their faith.


Evolution happens a lot in our society. It is amazing to me how Halloween evolved from a day for kids to parade around the neighborhood getting way too much candy to a day that seems to be as much about drinking as eating candy. Labor Day has evolved from a day to celebrate the establishment of an eight hour work day to the last day off before we settle into our fall schedule. This evolution has taken place not only on our calendar but also in our phones, our television viewing, and our cars that can drive themselves. Yes, our society on many levels, has evolved and is continuing to evolve.


Every now and then it’s good to step back and look at the origins. No, I’m not saying we need to honor these two men named Valentine, but maybe think about what was noteworthy about their lives. They stood up for what they believed and it cost them their lives. As our Christianity has evolved with our society, the idea of dying for Christ seems unheard of in our corner of the world. We spend more time fighting for our rights as citizens of this country than we do working to help others become citizens of eternity. We seem to think more about what we can collect on this earth than the treasures we are to store up in Heaven. We talk more about the problems we see in others rather than share the love of God and His word with them. Maybe we need to step back this Valentine’s Day not to the origins of the holiday, but of the love that can be found in I John 4:19--We love because He first loved us.


Stepping Back,

Randy


  • South Lyon Church

Not planning to retire anytime soon, maybe when I’m around 70, so I have a few years left. In those few years, I will work toward my physical retirement. I’ll try to put some money away, strive to get to that 70 year threshold to get the most out of Social Security. Work toward the point where I don’t have to have that full time job to survive anymore. So even though it is a few years down the road, it is on my mind a little more lately.


Now there is another aspect of retirement that has to be taken into account. Let’s say I am fortunate enough that the congregation keeps me until that point, who will take my place? The traditional way to go about it is to put an advertisement out by whichever means is best at that time. We get some individuals to respond, invite some in and then do our best to get the best fit for the body here. Then after a weekend of spending time with them, we make the best choice and invite them to come be a part of God’s work in the kingdom here.


This has worked for congregations for years, even decades, well. . . usually. I know of some congregations where things didn’t work out, and I am sure you do also. One weekend really isn’t enough time to know where a person is. If only there was another way to go about this. One that is less traditional, one where you don’t have to rely on both sides putting their best foot forward for a couple of days. One that maybe is better than what has been done in the past.


What if we knew this person longer, like for years. What if this person submitted their life to Christ at this very congregation? What if the person was one of our own? I believe we all would like that scenario. Someone who we knew and who knew us. Someone who had the same focus, the same priorities, and the same goals as the congregation. Someone, who grew up here.



We need to be challenging our kids in a different way. We encourage them to be apart of sports, to excel academically, even artistically with what we see as their talents. These are all good aspects of our kids growing. But do we challenge them and put them into an environment to be ministers, missionaries, those willing to step forward and serve the local or international body of Christ?


Eight years from now I hope to retire, or at least step back some. Who is going to pick up what will need to be done here? What country will be blessed because a group of kids from this congregation decided they were headed to foreign soil to bring God’s love through serving and sharing the word? None. It won’t happen, unless we as members, as grandparents, as parents step up right now and set the example. The example of showing what is truly important in this world. I challenge you to pray for every child in our church directory to be the people who will make a spiritual difference in our world.



We say we want to see God do great things! Are we willing to give Him our time, money, energy--and yes, even our kids-- to make it happen? If we are, it’s time to start working. Being the example of putting the kingdom first above anything else in our lives. Inviting people to know Jesus, making decisions based on eternity, and sacrificing our own ways to grow the Kingdom of God. Tomorrow, our kids will become exactly what we show them today.


Wondering what country will be blessed,

Randy

  • South Lyon Church


Except for the times it is associated with first, one gets a bad rap. And even being associated with first isn’t always great. I would much rather have the winning run on third base instead of on first base late in the game. When it comes to the NCAA basketball tournament, the first four may sound good; but really they are the last teams to make it into the tournament and must play the first four games, or “play in” games as they are also called. Being in the final four is much more desirable. So even being associated with first, doesn’t make one always great.


When it comes to songs, one is not that great either. Countless country western songs lament about being all alone, because you have been dumped or cheated on. Alone is just another way of saying being just one. The kid’s song, “The Farmer in the Dell” has the farmer taking a wife, who then takes a child, who then takes a nurse, continuing on until the cheese stands alone. (This cheese is crying in the Youtube video I came across when looking for these lyrics.) Three Dog Night has a song titled “One” which tells us that one is the loneliest number that there ever was. Most songs aren’t singing the praises of the lonely number one.


To an extent, the Bible concurs with these songs. Right off the bat we are told that it isn’t good for man to be alone. Genesis 2:18 tells us this and a suitable helper is brought into Adam’s life. Ecclesiastes 4:9 informs us that two are better than one. On two different occasions (John 8:16 and 13:31) Jesus lets us know that He is not alone, but the Father is with Him. And we know that Jesus, when sending out the twelve, send them in pairs, as we read in Mark 6:7. So most sources point to the fact that one is not the best.


I would like to, however, defend one. Think about what it would be like as we enter 2022 if you have helped one person get closer to God. Maybe it is someone who has drifted away from that relationship. It could be one person who is going through difficulties and struggling with their relationship with our Heavenly Father. Then there are those, like I was, who were trying to follow God, but didn’t have a good understanding of what God’s word really said. Maybe it is someone that has not seen the love of God and just needs someone to show them. Helping that one is a good thing.


Tell One More is our theme for 2021, and it starts with one. That one is you! Start praying for God to use you. Pray for an individual who you want to help know God better. Pray that God will put you in that one person’s life. Pray that you will be committed enough to talk to that one person when God gives you the opportunity. Pray that a year from now you will be encouraging that one person to in turn, pray for, love, serve, and yes. . . tell one more.


One at a time,

Randy

South Lyon
church of christ

248-437-3585

office@southlyonchurch.com

21860 Pontiac Trail

South Lyon, MI  48178

  • Instagram - White Circle
  • YouTube - White Circle
  • White Facebook Icon

2017 created by South Lyon Church of Christ