Saturday, August 29, 2009

We've Moved

Ugh-Lee Thoughts has moved to Wordpress!  http://www.ughleethoughts.wordpress.com

We will be transferring some of the more recent discussions from this blog to the new site. 

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

If you want to learn about water, don't ask a fish. An old proverb from China if I am not mistaken. It comes to mind because over the past few years I have become more and more troubled by some things I hear from other Christians and even some ministry leaders. Recently, I have had several people refer to other blogs that are critical of ministries that focus their discipling efforts on the exegetical teaching of God's Word.

Which brings me back to that old proverb. If I want to know how to live the life God would have me live, to whom do I turn? Is there someone better than the Creator to consult with? Apparently there are some folks around who seem to think there is. I would like to explore that thinking by picking up the thread I departed from last Winter.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Taking too long between posts. Anyway......

I believe there are activities that weaken, even threaten the structure of the local church in regards to its purpose as the pillar and support of the truth. But as Steve suggested in the comments, they have more to do with who I am than what I am doing. The Leaders of the local assembly have a great responsibility and risk before them. The context of 1 Timothy 3:15 is qualifications of leaders and it is their conduct that Paul is addressing.

Paul warned the elders at Ephesus about the danger of false teachers (wolves) coming into the flock and doing harm. But he also expressed concern that even some of the elders present would wander from the truth and draw others with them. I am assuming the nature of the risk is false teaching from the outside as that was a common problem in the early church. The risk from inside may have been something else.

The letter Jesus dictates to the apostle John in Revelation may be a clue. It seems Ephesus fell victim to misdirected effort, they left their first love. Whichever the case, it is clear to me that we need to be on our guard as well. There is no reason for us to assume we are in a better place spiritually after 2,000 years. For my part I have a growing concern that the church in our day has lost its confidence in the power of God's Word. The error of the Colossian church of mingling human wisdom with God's (col. 2:8 ff) is again finding traction today.

The resurrection of contemplative theology in our day is drawing a lot of attention from people who should be able to see through it.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Returning to 1 Timothy 3:15 we move from the requirements in John 4:24 for true worship to a statement of purpose. The church is to be the pillar and support of the truth. It seems clear from the passage that Paul is speaking of the local church since that is where Timothy must "conduct" himself in his ministry. The imagery suggests the purpose. The local church is to elevate or hold up the truth. No surprise there, as we find through out the scriptures repeated instructions to proclaim, demonstrate and declare the truth about God and His Son Jesus.

What strikes me here is the singular purpose Paul places on the local church. Paul's use of the difinite article with truth tells us he is not speaking of truth in general, but in the particular. That being the content of v. 16:

He who was revealed in the flesh,
Was vindicated in the Spirit,
Seen by angels,
Proclaimed among the nations,
Believed on in the world,
Taken up in glory.

As individuals our lives are cluttered with other demands. The need to make a living and provide for our daily needs consumes much of our energy. Family responsibilities take up even more of that precious resource we call time. That is the way it is for the individual believer, but when we join together as the local church we are tasked with the one clear purpose of upholding the truth.

When the local church expends its resources in activities that do not contribute to that purpose is the structure weaken?

Monday, December 29, 2008

Worship must be in spirit and truth. That is the imperative we must follow in our churches, but we know that what we consider true varies from church to church (and even from one person to the next). So, we find the need to hold the idea of truth in John 4:24 to within the limits of the immediate context; or, we would have to say no one is actually ever engaged in true worship. I go with the immediate context.

The woman's question focused on the proper place to worship. Jesus is showing her it is who you worship that is important. Note the final phrase of vs. 23 - the Father is seeking those whose worship is true. The time of where is past.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

My last post was the short answer, but we must be careful not to miss the point. It is far too easy for us to define God down to someone we can manage. Something I noticed years ago in reading the Old Testament was the care with which God would identify Himself when addressing mankind. The burning bush incident with Moses is a good example. God wanted Moses to know He was the same God who had appeared to Abraham.

People have a natural tendency to view God as being less than He really is. We are not comfortable with concepts beyond our comprehension and God exceeds our rational abilities at every level. I frequently meet with Christians who instinctively see God as someone with who they can bargain. It is the old joke of - "Lord get me out of this one and I will serve/give/go (you fill in the blank) you for the rest of my life". That is not the way the scriptures show Him.

Jesus did not fit the mold into which first century Israel had cast the Messiah. We all know how that ended. I often wonder why we believe we are not subject to the same errors today.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

OK, it was very busy couple of weeks.

I left the prior post with the Pilate dilema. What is truth? The quick answer would be to look at the immediate context. Verse 22 suggest that Jesus primary point about truth is the truth of who God is. We must not worship a God of our own making, but only the God revealed in scripture. That would by extension include understanding the Trinity, so Jesus would also be stating the need to understand who He is. This fits closely with John 3.

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