The Chris Creech

Some (mostly) coherent ramblings

Tag: christ (page 1 of 2)

Syria, Arkansas, and Death: How Should Christians Respond?

There will be no politics in this post. If you were looking for me to bash or support our sitting president or any other politicians, you’ve come to the wrong place. I will, however, be talking about God, Christ, and how to live out our faith in a broken world. If you’ve come for that, keep on reading. Continue reading

Election Years and Parenting

I’m not sure if you’ve noticed, but it seems like the 2016 election year has gotten a little heated. In fact, saying it’s gotten “a little heated” is like saying that the Civil War was just a “minor misunderstanding.” If you haven’t seen the name-calling, the mud-slinging, and the overall horrifying lack of humanity that candidates are bringing to the table this year, I wish I knew how you missed it. By the way, I’m not endorsing any candidates here. If you want to know who I’m voting for, find me and ask. Or kick me an e-mail, text, or phone call. If you want advice on how to vote, I’m glad to give it, but that’s not the point of this post. Either way, I am sure I am not the only kids’ pastor to overhear the kids’ opinions on the subjects. It’s something that’s in desperate need of addressing. First, remember that your kids hear you…and repeat you. I definitely know where some parents stand…and why! Remember, your kids are sponges. They absorb all that information and all those life lessons that you give them, but then they also are full of whatever you put in them. You can’t put toilet water into a sponge and expect drinking water to come out. So, remember that when you’re talking with your kids, and also remember that there are a few opportunities you’re going to get when discussing politics.

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Grace and Church Attendance

Yesterday, I ran across an article on Facebook entitled “If You Don’t Go to Church, Can You Still Go to Heaven.” My initial thought was “duh, grace covered that and all sins on the cross,” but I figured I’d take a look and see what the guy had to say. Well, that was a bad idea. I read it yesterday, and I’m still upset this morning. I’m not mad at the pastor that wrote it, and I’m not mad at the many people that shared it. I’m mad at the cheapening of what Paul said in Ephesians 2:9. When we reduce Christ’s amazing sacrifice…the very idea of God becoming a man, living a perfect life, dying a horrible death on the cross, and miraculously raising again?All this for the sole purpose of recovering a relationship with humankind who, according to Romans 5:8, were still sinners. To say that we need something in addition to that grace of Christ, something that we can achieve on our own, is to cheapen, devalue, and spit all over the sacrifice of Christ. I apologize if this article sounds confrontational, angry, or mean-spirited. I don’t mean to be that way. However, I do believe that we should pick certain battles. I fight as rarely as possible (which is a big change from the me of 10 years ago), but I argue when I need to. And I believe that when a spiritual leader attacks the grace of God, that’s a fight worth having.

First, let me make a very important point. If you’re a Christian, YOU SHOULD BE IN CHURCH.  I’ll be the first person to say that being an active part of the body of Christ and the bride of Christ (the local church) is Biblical. The Bible tells us to do it. The local church has always been God’s “plan A” for reaching out to the lost people in our communities. I would even make the point that to be the strongest Christian possible, you need to be active in a local church. A healthy local church is a phenomenal opportunity for discipleship, correction, and fellowship. I’ve heard many people say in my life that they “don’t need the church to be a Christian.” Well, the whole point of my article is to point out that statement as true. However, those people either don’t grow as quickly in Christ as those in church, or they just get their “fire insurance” and move on. Neither of these are healthy. The church is an amazing institution, endorsed by God, blessed by Christ, and helped by the Holy Spirit. Many of my friends sacrificed a great deal to plant Genesis Church because we believe in the local church, and we believe in God using the local church to accomplish His mission.  That doesn’t mean that attendance is a requirement for salvation. Again, it’s impossible to put something that we can achieve ourselves on the same level as the grace that God gives, according to the Bible, “as a gift” (Ephesians 2:8). 

So, if we take the author’s points, where does it end? Is there a certain percentage of the time we must be in church? What if I’m there 89% of the time and God’s requirement is 90%? What if it’s 100%?  What other requirements can we put on salvation? Memorizing the whole Bible? Not picking anything up on a “day of rest?” There was a group of people in the Bible that thought the same thing that this author did. They were called the Pharisees, and they believed in the power of the law over the power of the blood of Christ.

Now, before I wrote this, I checked this church’s beliefs. I would be much less likely to write this if the church that this pastor serves believed in salvation through some other work. However, this is what their post under “salvation” says:

“The Bible teaches that we are saved by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8-9). Salvation does not come as the result of something we have done but rather because of what God has done. It is a free gift that cannot be earned or deserved (Romans 6:23). We receive that “gift” by faith in the Lord JESUS CHRIST.”

Sounds like the church’s beliefs nailed the point I’m trying to make.

Finally, the author ends the article with this quote:

“Because, if you’re not going to church and you’re not an active, viable, faithful, participating, contributing, integral part of the church, you need to remember: the devil wants to keep you out of church…so he can keep you out of Heaven.”

This one perturbed me too. Again, he’s making the same point (that you can’t go to heaven without going to church), but he’s making it in a different way. To say that Satan has the power to keep me out of heaven is a ridiculous point. I’m a Christian. Are you really saying throughout this article that I may be able to lose my salvation because of a church attendance roster? And, in your final point, are you contending that Satan has the ability to pluck me from God’s saving hand? I don’t even know what to say about that…except that I do. Romans 8:39 says that NOTHING…no power in all of creation can separate us from the love of Christ. 

Greater Than Christ

What is greater than Christ for you? Remember in math, when they used to give you those problems? “X>Y when Y=…” Remember? Let’s solve for a different equation. X>Christ. Solve for X. You may say nothing. You may claim that nothing in your life is greater than Christ. You may be right, but you may also, even unknowingly, be wrong. Here are some ways to tell what is greater than Christ in your life. Continue reading

Crazy Questions Kids Ask: Part 2

Sometimes, I get some interesting questions from kids. They tend to sound completely off-the-wall. They sound like something we all should know. However, adults sometimes behave in such a way that it seems like they’re asking that question too.

One night’s question was a big one asked by my 2nd and 3rd graders. “Is the Bible really true? All of it? All of it can’t be true.”

So, obviously we want to immediately say that we believe that the whole Bible is true. But what happens when we act like we don’t? Continue reading

Things You Should Always Be Praying

Some of the most God-seeking Christians I know have dynamic prayer lives. Even Jesus showed us the true value of prayer. We often struggle with finding time to pray, how to pray, and making it meaningful, but I’d like to address something different. Continue reading

Living Among Sinners

The world is full of sinners. The church (and this church) is full of sinners. This office is full of sinners, and I’m the only one in it! The Bible is full of sinners. It’s important that we realize that there is sin everywhere. This seems obvious, but Continue reading

Creating a Strong Family

At FBC, we have a core value for creating strong families that states:

“We value strong Christian families by equipping husbands and wives to love and respect each other, parents to nurture their children, children to respect and obey their parents, and where the single, divorced, and widowed find love and joy in the family of Christ.”

So how do we go about creating strong families? Obviously, there are far too many to list, but I’m going to pick on a few that I think are exceptionally important. Continue reading

Deceptive Markers of Spiritual Growth

I was reading about a guy in a church the other day. He was considered one of the most spiritually mature people around. He memorized whole chunks of Scripture, championed causes for the church, was put in incredibly important leadership roles, was a regular attender, and carried out “missions” for the church. He had been in church his entire life, was outspoken against sinners, and well-respected. Sounds like a pretty outstanding guy, right? Nope. Continue reading

Courageous Outreach

When we talk about Courageous Outreach, what are we really talking about? What are some things that courageous outreach really entails? How easy is it? What does it take?

Courageous outreach takes…well….courage

A lot of people think that outreach is simply leaving a flyer on someone’s door. While this can be helpful Continue reading

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