The Church and the Family of God

The Church and the Family of God

Monday through Friday I deal with different subjects in this blog. I also post my blog to my Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld. Wednesday’s I try to focus on the Church. This week I am taking a look at The Church and the Family of God.
Is the Church and the Family of God the same?
There are some differences depending on your view of the church. The Family of God consists only of born-again Christians, whereas the church is an assembly of like-minded worshippers.
The Spiritual Church
The Spiritual Church refers to all believers down through the ages. It definitely is the same as the Family of God. When you receive Christ as your Savior, you immediately become a part of the family of God and are part of the church of God.
The Local Church
This is an organized church made up of professing Christians. Only God knows if they are all saved. It is possible that some are not saved and therefore not a part of the family of God.
What’s the Bride of Christ?
Actually this is another name for the Church and for the Family of God. The Bible speaks of us (all born-again believers) as the Bride of Christ.
What about the Body of Christ?
That’s another descriptive phrase pertaining to the Church.
Look at it this way, All born-again believers, despite denomination, are members of the Family of God which is called the Bride of Christ and the Body of Christ. The Local Church is the visible manifestation of the Church, but it often has both the tares (unbelievers) and the wheat (believers) within it which won’t necessarily be revealed until the Rapture.
ARE YOU A BOOK REVIEWER? I am always looking for book reviews. Whether it is Perished The World That Was (Book One), World of Noah and the Ark (Book Two), World of Shem (Book Three), World of Abraham (Book Four) or Death Ship (Book One), Pauline A New Home (Book Two), or Task Force Hunter (Book Three), I value your reviews.
If you would like to review any of these books contact me at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com with the subject line indicating that desire. An example of an appropriate subject line would be: ‘Seek to review [book Title].’ In the email make sure to indicate your email address, your name, and the choice of copy (PDF or ePub).

– – – – – – –

R Frederick Riddle is the author of several books and is best known for Christian Historical Fiction. For more information on him or his books visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured. To reply to any blog you have the option of commenting on a blog and/or sending an email to marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. You may also be interested in his Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld.

Why Does the Church Want My Money?

Why Does the Church Want My Money?

Monday through Friday I deal with different subjects in this blog. I also post my blog to my Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld. Wednesday’s I try to focus on the Church. This week I am taking a look at Why Does the Church want my money?
Our Money Isn’t Ours
People who take the attitude that the church just wants their money are missing a fundamental truth: It isn’t their money. It’s God’s money!
So when a pastor stands before the congregation and tells about a financial need for the church or an individual, he is actually appealing to you as stewards of God’s Money. God, being generous allows us to earn ‘xxx’ amount of dollars perhaps as a wage, royalty, or some other manner. We didn’t really earn it. God gave us the ability and opportunity to earn that money; it is part of His care for us.
On top of that He only commands us to give back 10% or, to state it another way, He allows us to keep 90%!
The Church is a Storehouse to be Used for God’s Purposes
“Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.”
The primary purpose of the Church is to promulgate the gospel. This may touch on several different fronts:

  • A church building to worship within
  • An evangelistic outreach program
  • Church planting
  • Missions
  • Care of the Needy

Every one of these requires money. To object to a church seeking funds from its members to take care of its needs and commitments is outright foolish. Usually the ones who complain aren’t even Christians, which is both tragic and funny. Most pastors are careful to address the church’s needs to the congregation, but even so a visitor will quite readily get upset and say, “I knew it. All they want is our money!”
The problem with that is that the church doesn’t really want your money. They want you to be reached with the gospel and get saved. Then as a steward of God’s money respond as He leads you.
Does God Really Care?
Yes. God wants us to grow, to become mature Christians in all areas of our lives. He wants us to have a discerning spirit whereby we see and are burdened for a need, pray seeking His guidance, and respond to His tender leading.
It is through His people that God answers prayer. Sure, He may use non-Christians in the furtherance of His work, but primarily he uses Christians.
God Delights in Giving Us the Ability to Give Back
Isn’t that amazing! God owns all the resources of the world no matter what humans believe. He owns it and can do anything He wants with it. But the truth is He takes pleasure in using those resources to bless us! He then delights in using us in such a way that we help others! And when you explore it out you discover that the money you gave is multiplied many times over so that the church as well as others have their needs met.
We’ve all heard testimonies of people having a dire need and God providing the solution. It touches our hearts and makes us want to give more.
ARE YOU A BOOK REVIEWER? I am always looking for book reviews. Whether it is Perished The World That Was (Book One), World of Noah and the Ark (Book Two), World of Shem (Book Three), World of Abraham (Book Four) or Death Ship (Book One), Pauline A New Home (Book Two), or Task Force Hunter (Book Three), I value your reviews.
If you would like to review any of these books contact me at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com with the subject line indicating that desire. An example of an appropriate subject line would be: ‘Seek to review [book Title].’ In the email make sure to indicate your email address, your name, and the choice of copy (PDF or ePub).

– – – – – – –

R Frederick Riddle is the author of several books and is best known for Christian Historical Fiction. For more information on him or his books visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured. To reply to any blog you have the option of commenting on a blog and/or sending an email to marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. You may also be interested in his Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld.

Teaching in the Church

Teaching in the Church

Monday through Friday I deal with different subjects in this blog. I also post my blog to my Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld. Wednesday’s I try to focus on the Church. This week I am taking a look at Teaching in the Church.
I have served as Assistant Sunday School Teacher, Sunday School Teacher, and Assistant Junior Church. I have known good teachers, not so good teachers, and others. So I think I can speak with a little authority.
Is Teaching Sunday School a Calling?
Short answer: Yes.
Long answer: When you consider that you are teaching God’s Word to the future of your church, state, and nation then it is a calling. When you consider that God gave us the Inspired Word to be taught then it is a calling? When you consider that adults today are ignorant of the Bible because they either had no teacher or poor teachers then it is a calling.
I could go on, but you get the picture.
Does God’s Word really tell us to teach our children the Bible?
Consider this: “Therefore shall ye lay up these my words in your heart and in your soul, and bind them for a sign upon your hand, that they may be as frontlets between your eyes. And ye shall teach them your children, speaking of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.” Dt. 11:18-19.
This is what the Bible says! You be the judge.
Calling People Ignorant isn’t Nice?
Read what I said again. I said, “When you consider that adults today are ignorant of the Bible” and I say it again and again. Being ignorant and being ignorant of the Bible are two different things. Today people are not taught the Bible often enough or well enough.
I love the Bus Ministry but the Bus Ministry exists in large part because parents aren’t taking their kids to church. Both parents and children need to learn the Word of God. It is true that Sunday School isn’t mentioned in the Bible, but the command to teach your children is commanded. Furthermore, when a parent sends a child to Sunday School and stays home himself or herself the message is: Sunday School is for kids. No it is for adults also.
We Christians have lost a great many liberties since the 1950’s. Why? Well the Bible was removed from the schools, parents stayed home instead of going to church, and children were taught that the Word of God is nonsense.
People are in desperate need to learn the Bible; most of them just don’t know that. God calls men and women to teach His Word because Biblical Knowledge is needed in our land. It is an important calling.
Does Teaching the Bible Require Being Taught to Teach?
Again I would answer yes. I don’t mean formal college or even Bible School. I learned through two different methods.

  • I took a study course by mail
  • I sat as an assistant watching and learning from a Teacher

Then I made myself available to be used. I didn’t insist, beg, or bargain. I simply let the Minister of Education know in one church and the pastor know in another church that I was able. Then I left it in the Lord’s hand.
What are the Four Greatest Truths You Learned as a Teacher?

  • Read and know the Bible not just the lesson
  • Tolerate children moving a little (it’s amazing what they hear when you think they’re not listening)
  • Teach the Bible (I like having the Bible visibly in my hand)
  • Pray for your class.

What About Connecting With the Children?
Unfortunately kids are being taught that Sunday School is a time of play rather than a time to learn God’s Word. I try to encourage new teachers to emphasize teaching more. Why? Because you only get those kids for one hour and possibly another in Junior Church. That’s two hours a week and the world gets them the rest of the time!
It’s not about class outings. There is nothing wrong with class outings but they shouldn’t be the motivating factor to the point that if the teacher doesn’t have a class outing the child thinks he/she doesn’t care.
I’m old school. When I taught Sunday School, I sent cards to the boys (their name and address). I think that still works because everyone wants to get mail addressed to them (other than bills, etc.). Add to that a personal visit to their home. Their teacher came to their home to see them! That makes a positive impression on their minds and their parents minds.
What About Class Discipline?
I’m for it. However I don’t insist on the children not looking around, not speaking, and not being fidgety. My rule is that their eyes should be on me and they should not be keeping someone else from learning. In other words, I’m flexible. But I will call the student down if he or she is disturbing the class.
What About Treats? Is That Bribery?
I have read and heard people say that offering treats  so Children will come or when they come listen is Christian Bribery. Bribery involves getting someone to do something wrong. So it is not Christian Bribery.
Treats are excellent tools to help children be motivated to do right; namely to come to Sunday School and pay attention in class. It’s a teaching tool.
One of the best I ever saw was when the teacher had a treasure chest full of candy. He then locked the chest. For a student to be able to get candy out of the chest, they had to participate and answer correctly questions. This qualified them to reach into a jar and grab some keys. Because of the narrow opening they could only get a few keys at a time. Most of the keys were fake, but a few would actually unlock the treasure chest.
It worked!
Then Teaching is a Calling?
Definitely! And like any calling you want to apply yourself and be the best teacher you can be. That involves:

  • Dressing in a way you honor God and Church
  • Studying your Bible faithfully
  • Practicing your lesson
  • Loving your kids
  • Being tolerant of the fact they are kids
  • Teaching consistently
  • Repeating a truth probably three or more times (repetition is a great teacher)

One last point, your church is probably looking for people right now willing to teach. A willing heart is necessary. And don’t go into teaching saying I’ll teach here but not there. My first teaching assignment was teaching 6th Grade Boys. I had no experience but they desperately needed a teacher. The job was given to me and I loved it!
ARE YOU A BOOK REVIEWER? I am always looking for book reviews. Whether it is Perished The World That Was (Book One), World of Noah and the Ark (Book Two), World of Shem (Book Three), World of Abraham (Book Four) or Death Ship (Book One), or Pauline A New Home (Book Two) I value your reviews.
If you would like to review any of these books contact me at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com with the subject line indicating that desire. An example of an appropriate subject line would be: ‘Seek to review [book Title].’ In the email make sure to indicate your email address, your name, and the choice of copy (PDF or ePub).

– – – – – – –

R Frederick Riddle is the author of several books and is best known for Christian Historical Fiction. For more information on him or his books visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured. To reply to any blog you have the option of commenting on a blog and/or sending an email to marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. You may also be interested in his Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld.

Christian Service in the Church

Christian Service in the Church

Monday through Friday I deal with different subjects in this blog. I also post my blog to my Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld. Today I am writing about the Christian Service in the Church.
“Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ; Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men:” Eph. 6:5-7
“And, ye masters, do the same things unto them, forbearing threatening: knowing that your Master also is in heaven; neither is there respect of persons with him.” Eph. 6:9
Last week I wrote about the Christian in the Workplace and used the Scriptures above. They are just as applicable in the local church as in the workplace.
Let’s take a look at the first passage, Ephesians 6:5-7.
Work as Unto The Lord.
If you are working in the local church can you image doing your work any other way? You are literally working for the Lord for it is His church! With that in mind it is the same as last week, everything follows from working unto the Lord.
When working in the local church your pastor is your boss. You are commanded to love him both as a fellow Christian and as the Under Shepherd. If you can’t love him then you can’t really serve him. And there is something wrong either with him (doctrine or his disobedience) or you. Chances are it’s you.
Be Obedient
I’ll use the same story as last week: When I was called by God to become a financial secretary at my church I started attending school where I learned the basics of church finances. When my pastor told me he wanted me to start I hadn’t become an expert yet, but I did know the basics of the job. So I dropped out of school and started work as the Financial Secretary.
I said last week that it is your job to do it the way the boss wants it done. This is even more important in the church. Have there been times my way was the right way and the pastor was wrong?
Yes.
But I did it his way. I am thinking of one such event right now. I reported a problem, identified it, and told the pastor what needed to be done. He didn’t agree and wanted to bring in a professional. We did, the professional messed things up and we ended up doing things the way I’d originally planned.
Did You Let Him Know He’d Made a Mistake?
No, I did not. I, at his behest, made a report on the whole matter and eventually turned it in to him and the deacons. But aside from reporting the facts I made no other mention to him. You see the pastor is the Lord’s servant. It was his call. My job was to obey.
So You Never Complained?
Not to him. But I took my complaints to the Lord. Last week I discussed skip level meetings. I had a skip level meeting with the Lord and the pastor wasn’t invited. And the Lord took care of the matter!
But yes, I complained to the Lord about it. And I have used the skip level meeting idea throughout my work in the ministry as a Financial Secretary. Did God always work things out in the way I wanted? Of course not.
What is the Best Attitude to Have in Church Service?
Sometimes, believe it or not, the pastor is in the right. In fact, the safest attitude to take when working for a pastor is to assume that the pastor is right and I am wrong. Saves a lot of heartbreak.
A lesson I learned decades ago involved something my wife and I wanted to do in relationship to our getting married. Our pastor knew exactly why we wanted to do it and even understood it. Ordinarily he would have approved, but he knew something that we didn’t and said no but didn’t tell us why at the time. Did I complain to the Lord? In all honesty I don’t remember. But I do remember that years later both my wife and I fully understood the pastor’s decision and it was the right decision.
The fact is the very nature of a pastor’s job puts him in possession of information the rest of us simply don’t have. So it is a wise thing to trust your pastor.
ARE YOU A BOOK REVIEWER? I am always looking for book reviews. Whether it is Perished The World That Was (Book One), World of Noah and the Ark (Book Two), World of Shem (Book Three), World of Abraham (Book Four) or Death Ship (Book One), or Pauline A New Home (Book Two) I value your reviews.
If you would like to review any of these books contact me at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com with the subject line indicating that desire. An example of an appropriate subject line would be: ‘Seek to review [book Title].’ In the email make sure to indicate your email address, your name, and the choice of copy (PDF or ePub).

– – – – – – –

R Frederick Riddle is the author of several books and is best known for Christian Historical Fiction. For more information on him or his books visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured. To reply to any blog you have the option of commenting on a blog and/or sending an email to marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. You may also be interested in his Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld.

State Motto, In God We Trust

State Motto, In God We Trust

Monday through Friday I deal with different subjects in this blog. I also post my blog to my Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld. Monday’s I try to focus on issues. This week I am taking a look at State Motto, In God We Trust.
Part of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act (Florida) reads thus, “Each district school board shall adopt rules to require, in all the schools of the district and in each building used by the district school board, the display of the state motto, ‘In God We Trust,’ the designated under s. 15.0301, in a conspicuous place.”
According to the Sunday newspaper “the national and state motto, already featured on American currency, the state flag and even some Florida license plates, is now required by law to be displayed in all Florida schools.”
This article went on to tell about the history of the law and how schools are implementing it. But, aside from a Florida law, how are we to implement the truth it represents in ourselves?
Are We Trusting God?
It is one thing to say In God I Trust but it is altogether different to actually practice it. The truth is we often fail to trust God. It is a failure not just in big things, but in the little things as well. We want to trust Him but we don’t. We know it isn’t His fault that we lack trust although we often point the finger at Him. There’s a lot involved in trusting God.
In What Do We Trust God?
There is a public affirmation and a private affirmation. The state law deals with the public affirmation. It is a good law that needed to be done. And it is just about all the state can do, but what about us?
The problem is that in our private lives we don’t always measure up. Some people will declare the motto publicly, but without any personal (private) commitment or follow through. Trusting God can’t be legislated and this law has wisely refrained from that. It requires the public display of the state motto and nothing more. But we as a people need to take it much further and make it a part of our personal makeup. True revival only comes when we place our whole trust in God.
Trusting God is belief in God and in what He’s said. In some languages there is no word for believe. The closest we can come in conveying belief in that language is to say something like, “put your whole weight upon Jesus.” That is what trust is about, placing our full weight upon Him.
How Do We Trust God?
There is no formal routine to follow or formula to apply. Trusting God is different from one person to another. Let’s pretend there are 10 billion people in the world. I would say then that there are 10 billion ways of trusting. Each person is unique. And not only because of the number of people, but you can also through in the number of issues upon which we need to trust him. Now you’re talking about billions, maybe trillions of ways.
For example, I may be trusting God to provide for my next meal, but someone else may be trusting God to use them to bless others. If He so chooses He can use the one to respond to the trusting need of the former. In the end, trusting God is both personal and constant. Simply starting your day by saying I trust in God is a good start, but we need to reaffirm that throughout the day. We all have needs and wants, but we need to trust God’s daily provision that He knows what is best for us!
The Result of Trusting God
There are two places where the results of trusting God are manifested. The first is in our earthly lives, whether daily, weekly, monthly, or yearly. We’ll see the fruit of trusting God or not trusting God right here in our lives as they are lived out on Earth. That is very important. And the truth is that God wants to bless us.
But the more important place is in heaven. Someday in heaven all the saved throughout time and throughout the world will stand before the Lord. And He will reward us according to our works, including how we lived our lives. He will reward us with Crowns and blessings.
What crowns will I receive? I don’t know. While the crowns I’ll receive are all important the most important thing is what I’ll do with them. Read what the Bible says in Revelation 4:10: “The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne.”
If you believe as I do that these elders represent us then we’ll cast our thrones before Jesus!
ARE YOU A BOOK REVIEWER? I am always looking for book reviews. Whether it is Perished The World That Was (Book One), World of Noah and the Ark (Book Two), World of Shem (Book Three), World of Abraham (Book Four) or Death Ship (Book One), or Pauline A New Home (Book Two) I value your reviews.
If you would like to review any of these books contact me at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com with the subject line indicating that desire. An example of an appropriate subject line would be: ‘Seek to review [book Title].’ In the email make sure to indicate your email address, your name, and the choice of copy (PDF or ePub).

– – – – – – –

R Frederick Riddle is the author of several books and is best known for Christian Historical Fiction. For more information on him or his books visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured. To reply to any blog you have the option of commenting on a blog and/or sending an email to marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. You may also be interested in his Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld.

Agape Love

Agape Love

Monday through Friday I deal with different subjects in this blog. I also post my blog to my Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld. Today I am writing about Agape Love.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16
Before taking a closer look at Agape, let’s look at the four different words in the Bible for love:

  1. Eros: erotic love. This is not found in either the Old Testament or New Testament.
  2. Storge: empathy. This is in the Bible and has to deal with having empathy for someone.
  3. Philia or Phileo: friendship, having tender affection for someone or something. While this can include sexual it is usually in relationship to brotherly love. We get philanthropia, love of people, from it; also philanthropy, love of humanity.
  4. Agape: sacrificial love. Best example is God loves us no matter what!

The problem we have in today’s society is that while love is on the minds of people, even to the point of emphasizing God is love, it usually is speaking of Eros or, at best, Phileo. Simply put the unbelieving world doesn’t know the difference between the different types of love, so they bring God’s love down to what they understand thereby polluting it.
Agape love actually doesn’t have a definitive meaning. Sacrificial love probably comes the closest, but it still doesn’t catch the whole meaning. That is why when describing it we often need examples. The example above (John 3:16) shows sacrificial love and a whole lot more. How do you describe the kind of love it took for God the Son to suffer separation from God the Father for even a second? And He did it for us! Yes, it is Agape love at its best but it is impossible to define it with any more meaning in man’s tongue.
Yet we are commanded to have Agape love. In John 13:34 we are told to love one another, “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.” That is not talking about sexual love or even friendly love, but rather a sacrificial love for one another. We Christians are to be known by that kind of love with the added “especially of the household of faith.”
What doesn’t Agape love mean?”
As stated above it doesn’t mean sexual love. Nor does it mean brotherly love. Sometimes the world wants us to be more loving toward those who are gross sinners. They use Scripture that contains the Agape love as their basis. That is pure ignorance of the Word of God. God loves everyone but not their sins. And that is what we as Christians need to be: love the sinner but hate the sin. That’s hard to do because many people in the bondage of sin want you to “tolerate” their sin which the Bible condemns.
The fact of the matter is everyone was born a sinner. Each one of us is born with a natural bent toward sin of any type. God understands this, which is why it was necessary for Him to send His Son to pay the penalty for sin. But Christ’s sacrifice of His life and His Divine oneness with the Father isn’t a Get Out of Jail card enabling us to sin and then use the card when necessary. It is a Gift Card paid for by Jesus Christ. It has eternal value but cannot be used as an excuse for illicit activities.
So God wants us to show a sacrificial love toward everyone. We are to judge sin as He judges it, but we are to love the sinner with open arms restoring them as much as is possible. This is particularly true of our love for the brethren (other born again people).
ARE YOU A BOOK REVIEWER? I am always looking for book reviews. Whether it is Perished The World That Was (Book One), World of Noah and the Ark (Book Two), World of Shem (Book Three), World of Abraham (Book Four) or Death Ship to the Stars Book One) and now Pauline A New Home (Book Two), I value your reviews.
If you would like to review any of these books contact me at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com with the subject line indicating that desire. An example of an appropriate subject line would be: ‘Seek to review [book Title].’ In the email make sure to indicate your email address, your name, and the choice of copy (PDF or ePub).

– – – – – – –

R Frederick Riddle is the author of several books and is best known for Christian Historical Fiction. For more information on him or his books visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured. To reply to any blog you have the option of commenting on a blog and/or sending an email to marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. You may also be interested in his Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld.

Upon This Rock

Upon This Rock

Monday through Friday I deal with different subjects in this blog. I also post my blog to my Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld. Today I am writing about Upon This Rock.
And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. Matthew 16:16-18 (emphasis added)
This passage generates a lot of comments, even disagreements. Part of the reason is because we humans have a way of zooming in on only one verse or may one or two words in that verse. For example, if you only look at verse 18 you might get the impression that Peter, which means stone, is the foundation or Rock of the church. Religious doctrine has been built on that erroneous belief.
The Bible teaches us to use all of Scripture to understand Scripture. Part of this is reading, studying, and applying verses in context. Now admittedly I could have actually added a few more verses and covered 16:13-19. The first few verses has Jesus asking the disciples who they thought He was, while verse 19 deals with the keys of heaven which He gave Peter and were used in the Book of Acts. But the passage beginning in verse 16 and ending with verse 18 gives us the necessary context to understand what is happening.
Jesus was doing a play on words. Peter had just expressed his, and the other disciples, belief that Jesus “art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus then uses Peter’s name (Petros or stone, little rock)  to underline the importance of what Peter had just confessed.
You could paraphrase Jesus’ words thus, Thou art a (Petros) little rock or pebble and upon this (Petra) huge rock I will build my church. In other words, Peter had the distinct honor to declare the gospel upon which the church would be built. No other man had up to that time made that declaration. His Messianic connection had been hinted at by Anna (Luke 2:36-38) and John the Baptist (John 1:29,36), but nothing about the church.
So why is that important?
Unfortunately a false doctrine rose up teaching that Peter is the foundation of the church. Aside from the fact that any man being the foundation makes for a rather weak foundation, it also is contrary to the teaching of Christ and the Apostles that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is the Foundation of the church.
Because it is the Gospel of Jesus Christ, namely His death, burial, and resurrection that the believer’s eternal life rests upon. Jesus Christ shed His blood that we might have life! Later on in Scripture Christ is the Groom and the church is the Bride. It is an eternal connection. Moreover the gospel is the foundation of our salvation. Jesus said, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” John 14:6.
Notice He said “but by me.” We come to the Father by the blood of Jesus Christ and none other!
Nowhere are we told to worship mere man. Peter was a great man used of God, but he always was a man, while Jesus is the God/Man!
Is there anything else we can learn?
The last part of Jesus’ statement reads, “the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” We Christians all too often are defensive in our war with Satan. But Christ teaches that the gates of Hell shall not prevail against the church. That’s an offensive, not defensive, statement. The Church Triumphant will eventually win the war, but right now it is pounding on the gates of Hell. Every time the gospel is heard by an unsaved person Hell trembles. Why? Because if that person turns to Christ for salvation, Hell has gotten a little less crowded. When the church is assailing the gates of Hell with the gospel it is doing its job, which is to win souls to Christ!
ARE YOU A BOOK REVIEWER? I am always looking for book reviews. Whether it is Perished The World That Was (Book One), World of Noah and the Ark (Book Two), World of Shem (Book Three), World of Abraham (Book Four) or Death Ship to the Stars I value your reviews.
If you would like to review any of these books contact me at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com with the subject line indicating that desire. An example of an appropriate subject line would be: ‘Seek to review [book Title].’ In the email make sure to indicate your email address, your name, and the choice of copy (PDF or ePub).

– – – – – – –

R Frederick Riddle is the author of several books and is best known for Christian Historical Fiction. For more information on him or his books visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured. To reply to any blog you have the option of commenting on a blog and/or sending an email to marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. You may also be interested in his Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld.

Finding a Church

Finding a Church

Today I am writing about Finding a Church.
Before I begin let me provide this snippet: Finding a good church involves a great many things but I am including only those I’m interested in.

  • Perhaps you just moved into a new area and need a church.
  • Perhaps you plan on moving into a new area and need a church.
  • Perhaps you just received Christ as your Savior (born again) and need a good church.
  • Perhaps you’re leaving your current church and need a good church.

There are myriads of reasons for leaving a church, but I am only looking at a few.
How Should I Look for a New Church?
Let’s look at the last item: leaving your church. There are a number of reasons for leaving a church, but the Biblical reason would be doctrine. And that requires soul searching. Why did you leave? What doctrinal issue was involved? If not a doctrinal issue then maybe you should reevaluate.
For the purposes of this blog I am making some assumptions. Namely, that you are a born again believer, that you either are or want to be a fundamentalist, that you want to grow.
What is a Fundamentalist?
A fundamentalist is a person who believes in the fundamentals or basics of Scripture. The following list covers most, if not all, of the fundamentals.
With those in mind here are some ideas: The Church should:

  • Believe the Bible to be the revealed Word of God, fully and verbally inspired of God.
  • Believe the Scriptures to be the inerrant, infallible Word of God, as found within the 66 books from Genesis to Revelation.
  • Believe God not only inspired every word, but also preserved them through the ages.
  • Believe the King James Version is the preserved Word of God for the English speaking people (Psalm 12:6-7; 2 Timothy 3:15-17; 1 Peter 1:23-25; 2 Peter 1:19-21).
  • Believe in one God, who is eternal, self-existent, infinite, and immutable.
  • Believe He has one nature, one essence, and one substance, yet manifests Himself to man in three persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit (Deuteronomy 6:4; 1 Timothy 1:17; James 1:17; 1 John 4:4).
  • Believe Jesus Christ, the Son of God, to be the one and only Saviour of mankind.
  • Believe Jesus Christ to be eternally God and to possess all the attributes of Deity.
  • Believe that the Lord Jesus Christ was virgin born, that He was God incarnate, and that the purposes of the incarnation were to reveal God, to redeem men, and to rule over God’s Kingdom.
  • Believe He lived a perfect, sinless life, at the end of which He was offered for all mankind as a substitutionary sacrifice for man’s sin. This sacrifice was a just payment to God for the forgiveness of sin. It was activated by His death through the shedding of His blood on the cross and was accepted by God upon His resurrection.
  • Believe He ascended into Heaven after His resurrection to be seated at the right hand of the Father, waiting for the time of receiving His church at the Rapture, and returning seven years later to earth to rule and reign as King for 1,000 years (Psalm 2:7-9; Isaiah 7:14, 9:6, 43:11; Micah 5:2; Matthew 1:25; Luke 1:26-35; John 1:1, 1:3, 14, 18, 29; Romans 3:19-25, 5:6-15; Philippians 2:5-11; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; 1 Timothy 2:5, 3:16; Titus 2:10-15; Hebrews 7:26, 9:24-28; 1 Peter 1:19, 2:2; 1 John 1:3; Revelation 20:1-6).Believe the Holy Spirit of God is a person who has personality and all the attributes of Deity.
  • Believe all men were born with an inherited sin nature received from our common ancestor, Adam.
  • Believe that because of this nature, man is a sinner by choice, and he is totally incapable of reforming himself or ceasing from his sin by his own power.
  • Believe the only hope of deliverance for man is turning to Jesus Christ as the only Saviour.
  • Believe that only through the substitutionary sacrifice of Christ on the cross can a man be delivered from his sin.
  • Believe that all those who reject Jesus Christ as their Saviour are already condemned to an eternity in the Lake of Fire (Genesis 5:1-5; Acts 4:19, 16:31; Romans 3:10-23, 5:6-12, 6:23, 10:9-10; Ephesians 2:8-9; Titus 3:5-6; Revelation 20:11-14).
  • Believe the local church is composed of members who have been saved and baptized according to the command of Christ, and have voluntarily united together for the purpose of worship, fellowship, service, and the Lord’s Table.
  • Believe all true believers will be taken up at the Rapture, just prior to the Tribulation (Matthew 16:16-18; Acts 1:15, 2:41-43, 11:15, 20:28; 1 Corinthians 15:51-58; Ephesians 1:12-14, 5:25-30; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; 1 Timothy 3:4-15).
  • Believe in the literal interpretation of the Scriptures in their grammatical and historical context.
  • Believe in the pre-tribulation Rapture of the church saints, followed by the seven-year Tribulation.
  • Believe in the pre-millennial return of Christ to the earth and His literal rule for one thousand years. Following this one thousand years is a Great White Throne judgment and then the New Heaven and new earth (1 Corinthians 15:51-58; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, 5:1-9; Revelation 19-22).

This is by no means considered to be an exhaustive list, but it does cover the fundamentals. You may disagree with some of these, which is your right. I have included Scripture references to support the items.
You mention the KJV Bible. Why?
Contrary to a lot of intellectual nonsense the King James Version is the only Bible today that is based on the Texus Receptus. The argument against the KJV is that there are “older” versions that are better. Since there are no originals in existence anymore it is impossible to tell which is older. That said, the King James Version is based on copies that can be traced right back to New Testament times. This is not true of many modern versions which can only be traced back to when they were found (at least one in a trash can).
How do I find out what a church believes?
Here are some ideas for that:

  • Church website – many, if not most, churches have a website where you can see their Statement of Faith
  • Tract Rack – When I visit a church I look at their tract rack, it is very revealing
  • Mission Board – another revealing source I check on when visiting a church
  • Friends – if your friends have visited the church they might be able to help
  • Sunday School teaching – you’ll learn a lot about the church’s beliefs and practices
  • Sermons – the preaching of God’s Word will always be revealing.

How often should I attend a church before making a decision?

  • I recommend at least three times. Sometimes it may take weeks to get a true picture.
  • A safe answer would be to attend as long as necessary to form a correct opinion.

What about Music?
Music can make or break a church. There are different views on the subject. One rule I would follow would be to stay away from churches which try to please everyone. These usually have Traditional and Contemporary music or services. A good question to ask is does the music honor God and lift up the name of Jesus. Does the music prepare the heart for the preaching?
ARE YOU A BOOK REVIEWER? I am always looking for book reviews. Whether it is Perished The World That Was (Book One), World of Noah and the Ark (Book Two), World of Shem (Book Three), World of Abraham (Book Four) or Death Ship to the Stars I value your reviews.
If you would like to review any of these books contact me at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com with the subject line indicating that desire. An example of an appropriate subject line would be: ‘Seek to review [book Title].’ In the email make sure to indicate your email address, your name, and the choice of copy (PDF or ePub).

– – – – – – –

R Frederick Riddle is the author of several books and is best known for Christian Historical Fiction. For more information on him or his books visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured. To reply to any blog you have the option of commenting on a blog and/or sending an email to marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. You may also be interested in his Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld.

Ushering in the Church

Ushering in the Church

Today I am writing about Ushering in the church.
“For a day in thy courts is better than a thousand. I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness.” Psalm 84:10
This verse doesn’t make a doorkeeper (usher) sound very important. But it has been said that for some visitors to church the usher is the first person they meet and the last person they meet. What that means is that some people purposely come late, are met at the door and escorted to a seat. Then at the end of the service, perhaps during prayer, they are the first to leave. Again they see the usher.
Being an usher is actually a very important position. If you serve as an usher you are likely the first person a visitor sees. And that visitor forms an opinion about the church you represent. As an usher you may hand out greeting cards or take up the offering.
In other words you represent the church!
You don’t want people to have a bad impression of your church. So your appearance, speech, and actions need to be your very best. It may not be fair but that’s the way it is. Not only that, but how you treat them. Do you smile? Do you welcome them to the church? Do you offer to shake their hands?
These trivial words and actions aren’t so trivial when you consider you are being evaluated by the visitor. And if you mess up in any single item it has the potential of being blown out of proportion and causing the visitor to never return. Worse yet, it might prevent the visitor from listening to the preacher!
Unfortunately most Christians don’t appreciate ushering. If they were to rate jobs within the church on a 1 (lowest) to 10 (highest), being an usher would rank near or at the bottom. Singing in the choir or performing in the music department is usually rated much higher. Yet neither of them have the potential impact upon a visitor like an usher. Now before you get irate I do acknowledge that those ministries are important as they can set the mood for the service to follow. But an usher meets people personally and they either make a positive or negative impact.
How should an Usher dress?
Really depends upon the pastor and deacons, but I would recommend suit, shirt, tie, polished shoes, and a smile. Down here in the south many churchgoers prefer the casual look. That is their prerogative, but it disqualifies them from ushering. Why?
It’s not all that complicated. Because they personally meet visitors and represent the church it is necessary to put forth their very best. It’s an old argument, “if God the Father gave His very best, Jesus Christ, then we should wear our very best,” but it is also true.
Should an Usher talk to visitors?
Obviously the answer is a yes. But I would add “not for very long.” A good usher tries to make the visitor feel welcome without taking up much time. For one thing the visitor could get insulted if you overdid the friendly bit. It’s a fine line, but you should keep your conversation brief.
What about joking with people, both members and visitors?
Be careful what you say. You could be talking to a friend that likes to joke around, but it is possible that a visitor might be offended by such joking.
When should the Ushering begin?
One of the hardest things to get ushers to realize is that ushering begins 10 – 15 minutes before the service starts. By then an usher should be at his station greeting people as they arrive. On Sunday morning I come over from Sunday School, where I’m a teacher’s assistant, and immediately begin my ushering duties. Because I’m the head usher those duties include making sure that all scheduled ushers are reminded of their duty or a substitute is selected.
Part of my ushering involves going about greeting people already there. And not just greeting visitors, but members as well. It is all part of making people feel welcome and a part of the service.
Are you looking for a place to serve in your church? Check out becoming an usher.
ARE YOU A BOOK REVIEWER? I am always looking for book reviews. Whether it is Perished The World That Was (Book One), World of Noah and the Ark (Book Two), World of Shem (Book Three), World of Abraham (Book Four) or Death Ship to the Stars I value your reviews.
If you would like to review any of these books contact me at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com with the subject line indicating that desire. An example of an appropriate subject line would be: ‘Seek to review [book Title].’ In the email make sure to indicate your email address, your name, and the choice of copy (PDF or ePub).

– – – – – – –

R Frederick Riddle is the author of several books and is best known for Christian Historical Fiction. For more information on him or his books visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured. To reply to any blog you have the option of commenting on a blog and/or sending an email to marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. You may also be interested in his Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld.

Insight: Death Ship to the Stars

Insight: Death Ship to the Stars

Insights: Persecution
In Death Ship to the Stars you have persecution to a high degree. Is such persecution possible?
Our history is full of terrible persecutions!
Study your Bible and your history book and you will find that both Jew and Christian have endured more persecution than any other religious faith. The Jewish people have known persecution from the beginning. Sometimes it has been so terrible that the nation seemed on the brink of disappearing.
But God has delivered them time and again. In fact, it was God who allowed them to go through persecutions. Sometimes to discipline and sometimes to be a testimony. But God always delivered them. That includes WW2 where the Nazis slaughtered 6 million Jews, but God delivered them.
The Christian has also suffered persecution from the time of Christ forward. The church was baptized in its own blood. Thrown to wild animals, burned as torches, the person who believed in Christ was a constant target. In today’s world Christians have been specific targets abroad and increasingly in the United States.
Persecution is real!
Jews and Christians worship the same God yet they have been guilty of persecuting one another. The Jews persecute Christians because the Jew doesn’t believe that Jesus is the Son of God. Christians persecute Jews because the crucifixion took place at the behest of certain Jews, yet Christ forgave them. Both are wrong!
Persecution is growing.
Hate groups and nations come and go. They persecute both Christian and Jew. Why? Because both the Jew and the Christian worship the One True God. That is an affront to the unbelieving people. So they persecute that which they do not understand or believe. ISIS came and attacked Christians, beheading them before all the world. But God has delivered Christians from this persecution and ISIS is being relegated to a smaller role as we speak.
But a cursory look around the world and you can readily see the rising of anti Semitism and Christianity. Sometimes together, more often separately. It doesn’t take much imagination to realize that a world wide persecution of both groups is coming.
For us Christians we need to pray for revival. As we turn back to God perhaps He will deliver us from yet another persecution. Here in America we have been largely free of violent persecution. Here we are blacklisted, ridiculed, and marginalized. However in the last decade we have seen more violence than we thought possible.
As I said, we need to pray for revival. A revival that begins with us and stretches forth. We also need to pray for the Jewish people who remain the apple of His eye.
ARE YOU A BOOK REVIEWER? I am always looking for book reviews. Whether it is Perished The World That Was (Book One), World of Noah and the Ark (Book Two), World of Shem (Book Three), World of Abraham (Book Four) or Death Ship to the Stars I value your reviews.
If you would like to review any of these books contact me at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com with the subject line indicating that desire. An example of an appropriate subject line would be: ‘Seek to review [book Title].’ In the email make sure to indicate your email address, your name, and the choice of copy (PDF or ePub).

– – – – – – –

R Frederick Riddle is the author of several books and is best known for Christian Historical Fiction. For more information on him or his books visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured. To reply to any blog you have the option of commenting on a blog and/or sending an email to marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. You may also be interested in his Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld.