Yep. Check out TODAY 's Daily Devotion
Usually when I need it, my namesake, Jimmy Josephson, comes up with something that I am in need of considering (either him or Sol Davidson or Paul Hoganmächer). It boils down to gittin' too smart for your britches:10 Out of one mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing: my brethren, these things ought not so to be.
11 Doeth a fountain send forth at one place sweet water and bitter?
12 Can ye fig tree, my brethren, bring forth olives, either a vine figs? so can no fountain make both salt water and sweet.
13 ¶ Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him show by good conversation his works in meekness of wisdom.
14 But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, rejoice not, neither be liars against the truth.
15 This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, and devilish.
16 For where envying and strife is, there is sedition, and all manner of evil works.
17 But the wisdom that is from above, is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without judging, and without hypocrisy.
18 And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace, of them that make peace.
(If that sounds strange, it's because lately I have been using The Geneva Bible. It is the last English translation before the "Authorised" Version, aka King James, bestowed on a crown of glory by so many well-intended individuals. I say if you can't read Hebrew and Aramaic, and Koine Greek, then you really can't read the "original" version, so rely on as many sources as possible. Remember, Martin Luther (the Reverend Doctor Martin Luther) got perturbed with the Latin vulgate translated into high German.
But that's an aside. The main point of the Short Daily Devotion today was based on verse 13, translated in the ESV as Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom. Going to my go-to The Message: Do you want to be counted wise, to build a reputation for wisdom? Here’s what you do: Live well, live wisely, live humbly. It’s the way you live, not the way you talk, that counts. And, my absolute go-to, the NASB: Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him show by his good behavior his deeds in the gentleness of wisdom.
I roll on the megachurches, although I must certainly say that through them I am inferring that many souls have been saved. After salvation, though, I wonder where the flock is led by their shepherds, so I tend to rant about some of the biggies. But, as you know, I really like Charles Stanley. What's the difference?
Dr. Chuck is like my dad: he knows so much about everything that it becomes obvious when he merely shares essence with his flock, and then with the world, not caring to show off how smart he is. God knows how smart everyone is; He doesn't care. He cares about what everyone does with the wisdom He has given us. In that regard I consider First Atlanta to be exceptional. My home congregation, Gloria Dei in Urbandale, is a considered a megachurch though not equivalent to Lutheran Church of Hope in numbers. There is a level of personal lost in this church, and although there are myriad activities and "missions" going on, I don't seem them as ultimately fulfilling and rewarding endeavors to the flock or to the community.
IS THIS JUDGING AND HYPOCRISY?
Maybe in a fine sense it is. That is why I say the fine line between wisdom and scorn. But God also has been certain to emphasize that He wishes us to be able to discern, and that means it is up to each of us individually to make these decisions.
So, when Daily Devotional writes: "
In what ways have you been overly critical of other Christians, churches, or ministries? What does this tell you about the good you should be doing?"
it strikes home. We are each to do good. I have always relied, again, on James: 1:15 If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food,
16 and one of you says to them, "Go in peace, be warmed and be filled," and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that?
and, over all: 1:27 Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.
I should follow my own practice of interpreting scripture with scripture, though, and in particular read 1:26 -- If anyone thinks himself to be religious, and yet does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this man’s religion is worthless. That does NOT leave anything to imagination or misinterpretation.
I guess, then, that instead of speaking out against megachurches I should be speaking in favor of good works, regardless of the branch from which they spring. If I "find fault" with a given congregation, what I should really be thinking is that "here is a congregation that does not choose to interpret the Word as I do" or "here is a congregation whose good works aren't easily fulfilled by what I have found to be my God-given talents and my spiritual gifts". And, more than being critical of a congregation, I should find ways, as so many Christian writers have said, of blooming where I have been planted.