Letters to Churches

Letters to Churches

A man was stranded alone on a desert island. Years passed before he was rescued. During this time he built three buildings. His rescuers asked what they were. Pointing to the first he said, “That’s my home, where I live.” Pointing to the second, “That’s the church where I worship each Sunday. I’m a religious person.” When asked about the third building, he replied, “That’s the church I used to attend.”

Church—for many the word does not evoke feelings of deep commitment or devotion. Like grocery stores and telephone companies, we will switch in a flash for a better deal.

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The Best Clue on What to Expect

The Best Clue on What to Expect

My wife loves surprises. For my 47th birthday, she planned a surprise. The buildup was spectacular; for months she talked about “the day.” In fact, she was so excited she almost let it slip. Suspense kills her. Not me; I can wait. So I waited for “the day” to come. Denise soared with excitement—on the giddy scale, she registered a 9.9. I knew this would be big. But I also knew that her surprise hadn’t broken the bank. No huge dip in the checking account. No IRA or Fidelity retirement withdrawals. No credit card meltdowns.

Finally, “the day” came. She told me to dress casually, and I started getting ready while she took our youngest daughter to school. I waited and wondered. An hour later she returned. I was blindfolded and led out the back door for the grand revelation. What I saw next was an apocalypse . . .

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Critical Thinking

Critical Thinking

To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: These are the words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand, who walks among the seven golden lampstands:

“I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance. I know that you cannot tolerate evildoers; you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them to be false. I also know that you are enduring patiently and bearing up for the sake of my name, and that you have not grown weary. But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. Remember then from what you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent. Yet this is to your credit: you hate the works of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. Let anyone who has an ear listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches. To everyone who conquers, I will give permission to eat from the tree of life that is in the paradise of God.

—Revelation 2:1-7

We often laud critical thinking abilities, but they do have a dark side. When we are convinced that “we’re” right and “they’re” wrong, bad things can happen. People are ridiculed. Relationships have litmus tests. Sidewalks are scattered with eggshells. Ostracism becomes a sport, and words become weapons rather than gifts. And something dangerous happens. In pursuing the art of being right, we lose our love.

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