The “come as you are” approach to “dressing down” for Sunday service has caused the Sabbath to become sloppy. Today, people saunter into church in baggy shorts, flip-flop sandals, tennis shoes, and at times, grubby t-shirts. Some even slide into the pew carrying coffee cups.
When attending church, it is expected that you dress in a way that reflects the morals and standards of that particular church. While standards for dressing have changed over time, many churches still expect you to wear your best clothing when attending the worship service. Before you make the mistake of offending someone, take the correct steps to make sure that the clothes you wear are appropriate.READ MORE
"If you love me you will keep my commandments." It's really as simple as that. We are only paying lip service to the Lord if we externally declare ourselves to be Christians but don't follow through on a life that confirms it.
In our modern culture, we often think of love as a feeling or a kind of devotion. It is thus all too common to separate love from appropriate action. Perhaps we reassure ourselves that we love Jesus because we believe that he is the Son of God and our personal Savior. But these thoughts--or even any grateful or pleasant feelings that come along with them--are not the fullest manifestation of real love. Rather, as Jesus tells us directly in today's Gospel, "Whoever has my commandments and observes them is the one who loves me."READ MORE
"Whoever believes in me will do the works that I do." What were the works that Jesus did? Miracles, sometimes, but what were the essence of these miracles? Caring for the sick, comforting the sorrowful, feeding the hungry ... much of Jesus' ministry was spent in carrying out what we call the works of mercy. But he did more than that; he also preached and publicly shared the good news, he fostered fellowship and community, and he prayed. All of this makes a kind of plan of action for us as Christians. As Jesus says today, if we truly believe in him, we will follow in his footsteps and do these same things.
What this all suggests is that belief itself--having faith, being Christian--is only part of the picture. Jesus expects us to take this faith and put it into concrete, practical action. Apparently this goes hand in hand with real faith. If actions don't follow, then faith is not being lived to its fullest.
This of course presents a real challenge. Our lives are busy and our plates are full, just with the tasks and demands of daily existence. It can seem like a burden to serve others, to share the Gospel, to be actively involved in a faith community, to find time to pray. But these are meant to be priorities for true disciples of Christ. And as many will testify, when we sincerely ask God to help us get our priorities in order, he has a way of miraculously multiplying our time. Somehow, we find the opportunities right before us to follow God's will and bring our faith to life. That simple prayer of asking for help may be where we need to start. The first step is not so much to fill our calendar as to fill our hearts, or just to pray that God will fill our hearts, with the desire to "do the works" of Jesus.
"Whoever enters through me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture." Jesus uses the image of a gate today to help us understand how we are to relate to him. He is our path to "pasture," in other words, to the peace and prosperity that we long for. He shows us the way to find all that we need right there before us.
Some people, however, may think that it's better to avoid the trouble of finding the gate and thus choose to enter another way instead. But Jesus says, "Whoever does not enter a sheepfold through the gate but climbs over elsewhere is a thief and a robber." Although this is all cast in the gentle terms of an analogy about sheep, the message is actually rather stern. Jesus is telling us that if we don't follow him, we are taking the wrong course of action. He is not suggesting a kind of relativistic principle that says, "Following me is one of many good options." No. He is telling us that in order to "have life and have it more abundantly," we must follow the path that goes by way of Christ.READ MORE