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The Open Door

 

I was rummaging through some papers I had in my office at the house and came across some old brochures that I collected from the home where I grew up when we sold that home and my mother moved to an independent living facility.

One was a brochure produced by the State of Florida when Farris Bryant was governor. It has some old and very refreshing photographs from those earlier years. The reader was encouraged to take a vacation to Florida to enjoy, along with the entire family, the beautiful beaches and all of the historic sites of the Sunshine State. The pictures took me back to an earlier and less complicated day.

Another brochure was produced by Barberís Milk. It was referred to as ďA Two Minute Tour Through Barberís.Ē It pictured the process of producing a quality milk product from the cow to your table. Along with it was a card titled, ďIíd like to be your milkman.Ē Do you remember when the milkman actually came to your door and delivered fresh milk on a regular weekly schedule?

On the flip side of the card was the price list for the milk products. One-half gallon of milk was $.55. A quart of chocolate milk could be purchased for 30Ĺ cents. Iím not sure how they handled the Ĺ cent. Ice milk could be purchased at $.69 for one-half gallon. I remember ice milk. It was like ice cream only with less butterfat.

Our world seems to be so much more complicated today. The political world is in a constant uproar. The parties are engaged in such division that itís next to impossible to get work done in Congress. We have an over-abundance of war and violence beyond anything we could have ever imagined. We are puzzled by leaders who make decisions that just donít seem to make any sense.

Our faith as Christians is challenged daily and our religious freedom is being encroached upon with regularity. That which is wrong is declared as being right. That which is right is declared as being wrong. Religious persecution is rampant in the world and we are seeing evidences of it in our beloved country as though Americans are forgetting that our nation was founded upon the cherished treasure of religious freedom.

We have to be careful in this crazy mixed-up world that we donít mess up our witness by being more like everyone else than we are like Jesus.

In the midst of a world in flux we find the local church. The church, of course, is made up of baptized believers who love the Lord Jesus Christ, and hopefully love each other. We have to be careful not to assume the attitude of the world, elbowing our way through life, running over people who do not agree with us or are just simply in the way.

I experienced an example of this reality just this evening as Janice and I were driving home when we got cut off and narrowly missed being hit by a lady driving a minivan. The lady was definitely driving with an attitude. When she cut sharply in front of us, nearly clipping my right front bumper, we couldnít help noticing the image of the Nativity that she had on her tailgate along with a sticker advertising her home church. Honestly, if it werenít so sad, it would be laughable.

We have to be careful in this crazy mixed-up world that we donít mess up our witness by being more like everyone else than we are like Jesus.

While the world has changed drastically, I think it would be refreshing if the church would not change. Now, Iím not talking about changes in style. I am speaking of substance. The substance of the church should not change.

In a world on the edge, we need to stay consistent in preaching the Gospel of Christ. We need to remain consistent in loving one another as we love Jesus. We need to be consistent in being effective and positive representatives of Christ in our daily walk. In other words, it is refreshing when the church does not look like the world.

The Apostle Paul put it this way, ďAnd be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.Ē