• South Lyon Church

Now, on the surface this could seem to be a rude statement. I could have said “learning from those who went before me”, or “learning from those who have gained wisdom from their years on this earth.” Or maybe I could have said something like “wisdom gained from seniors.”Any of those would be a good way to state the point, if that was the point I was trying to make. But that is not the point I am trying to make, because the old I am referring to is what we call the Old Testament, the scriptures before Jesus was born into this world.

The Old Testament, though confusing at times, is fascinating. No, I am not under any of the old ways or laws. Do I try to keep most of the 10 Commandments? Yes, but not because they are binding on me, but because they are good rules to follow. Plus, most of them, except for the Sabbath command, are stated or at least alluded to in the New Testament.


I find the Old Testament fascinating for two reasons. First, is how so many of the laws and practices set up what we have through Christ. In theological terms it is referred to as the type and anti-type. In my way of thinking, it is more, “Oh, so that’s why that is done that way.” Or, “Oh yea, that makes sense when taking into account the Old Testament.” An example would be Jesus being called the Lamb of God, with reference to the blood shed for our sins. Taking into account the lambs that were slain on the night of Passover that signaled the freedom from the bondage of Egypt, we can see how we are freed from the bondage of sin by Christ’s blood. It makes sense. Another example would be Jesus as the high priest, or us now being called priests. It all makes sense when seen through the writings about high priests and their role in the Old Testament.


The second aspect I find fascinating are the people. These aren’t imaginary people on the pages of a novel, but real people who lived real lives. In the living of those lives we see great triumphs as well as some really stupid actions. We see tremendous acts of faith and we see despair, sometimes from the same person in a short period of time. What I see are real people. People trying to do what is right. People really messing up at times. People who are a lot like me. And through all of it, a God who is there for these people. A God who is serious about commitment to Him, but also one who is gracious. He had to be, or the Israelites would have never crossed the Red Sea.


So if you want to learn how to live your life or discover what God expects from a true follower, open what we call the New Testament and start reading. But if you want to find encouragement as you try to live your best, open up some of the books of History in the Old Testament: Kings, Chronicles, Samuel, maybe check out Exodus. Even the book of Numbers is more than just about counting the people. I learn a lot by observing others as they try to follow God, even if they are not perfect.


And if you want to gain some modern wisdom, sit down with one of our seniors and just visit. They have lived lives following God. Not perfect lives, but forgiven lives, and we can learn a lot from their History, too.



Observing Others,

Randy

  • South Lyon Church


Somewhere along the line, I became the breakfast cook in our family. It may have been because of my love for breakfast, or that I was always the “up and at em” one in my family. Regardless, on my day off each week, I would make a special breakfast for the kids and give Holly a chance to sleep in or just relax. The menu varied from omelets with bacon and home made hash browns to three loaves of French toast, most of which was frozen and then warmed in the toaster for the next couple of weeks. But probably the one the kids looked forward to the most was the Belgian Waffles.


Now, there was a learning curve for getting the waffles just the way we liked them. One aspect of this learning came before the kids were even born. One morning, another Randy and I were making waffles for a men’s prayer breakfast. I noticed that he wasn’t putting oil in his batter as I was. I got to thinking, I spray my waffle iron so they don’t stick, so, why do I need to put oil in them? The next time I made them was a disaster. They didn’t rise, they barely cooked, something was really wrong. After examining his recipe and mine I discovered that the oil was part of the rising agent in mine, while he had a different way of making his. Mixing the two ways wasn’t more efficient—it was a disaster!


We have to take the same precaution when it comes to the body of Christ, the church. God has given us a recipe for growth: individuals sharing with individuals. One person inviting another person to come be a part of our service on Sunday. Asking a friend to come to one of our activities or seeing if someone is interested in knowing more about God and His love for them. One person helping another person grow from where they are to a deeper relationship with God. The recipe God has given us is this: individuals helping individuals, a very personal approach.


Then there is the business recipe or model. It is all about advertising and flash. Get their attention then wow them with the production. And while I am not opposed to doing things the best way we can and having events being well planned and professional, we have to make sure we don’t lose sight of what it is all about. No, it is not about an auditorium full of people, the proof of success in the business model. It is about the individuals committed to Christ who come together to fill that auditorium.


It comes down to purpose and method. Are we looking around to see what is being done, or are we getting on our knees and asking, What can I do Lord? Who can I invite? How can you use me? What do I need to give up for your Kingdom? We don’t want to be vulnerable, we don’t want to step out, we want things done at an arm’s length; yet, God desires us to reach out the length of our arms and put them around people. Yes, God wants the church to grow; but success isn’t found by looking around at others’ tactics, but from bowing down at our Lord’s throne and saying Here I am, send me. If we follow God’s recipe for growth, attendance will rise. . .just the way the recipe says it will.


Avoiding disasters,

Randy

  • South Lyon Church

Ever feel you have one of those fun house mirrors in your home? You walk by the mirror and the reflection you see isn’t what you expect. Obviously it is a trick mirror, I haven’t put on those pounds. Yea, clothes have been fitting a little tighter, but everyone knows that clothes shrink at times in the wash. And the shape of my body, that is not what it looks like. So you check out another mirror and the reflection is the same. OK, who is playing a trick on me and replacing the mirrors in my house with fun house ones?


The mirror where I get my hair cut seems to also give me fits, or maybe the person cutting my hair isn’t that good. After they cut my hair they give me my glasses back and ask me how it looks. I expect to look a little more dashing than the person staring back at me in the mirror. It must be the way they cut my hair, styled it or something. But then again they were working just with what was on top of my head and not what was on the front of it. So, maybe it’s not the mirror?


We all have views about the way we feel we are seen by others. It may be you have a very high opinion of yourself, only to find out that high opinion exists only in your mind--and that of your mom. Other times you might wonder how anyone can love and put up with you--outside of your mom. Most likely, reality is somewhere in between the two. (Although you can usually rely on the opinion of your mom to be pretty positive ). How are we really seen by others?


Should the opinion of others matter? When it comes to judging you, no it shouldn’t. If someone choses to judge you, that is their problem. Now that isn’t to say it won’t have an effect on us, it does. When that does happen, remember Jesus was judged harshly and the judgments were wrong. Jesus understands what it is like to live in this world, because He did.


Should the opinion of others matter? When it comes to judging God, yes it should. If the way I live my life has a negative effect on another’s perception of God, then I need to take a good look at myself and consider making some changes. I guess a good way to determine this is to ask the questions: “Am I reflecting Christ, or am I reflecting self?” “Am I living my life the way I want or changing to be what God desires?”


When you look at your reflection in the mirror this week, maybe you will say, “Yeah, that’s a good looking person!” Or maybe it will be like I am some mornings and “Ahhhh! What has happened?” After you get by those, or whatever reaction you have, take a closer look. Look deep and realize the person in the mirror is so loved by God that His Son died for them. Then use that daily to make sure the reflection others see, isn’t yours, but our Savior who was willing to die for others to know of God’s love. Then, walk away from the mirror confident of being loved and reflecting that love.


Working on my reflection,

Randy



South Lyon
church of christ

248-437-3585

office@southlyonchurch.com

21860 Pontiac Trail

South Lyon, MI  48178

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