The Acts of the Disciples


(James Peterson) #21

To help us.

In helping others, we extend ourselves and grow. Like a tree that bears fruit, we multiply when we allow others to pick our fruit freely and cast the seeds near and far. The cliche, “It is better to give than to receive,” is not without merit. When Israel rejected God as their King and asked for a man to lead them like the surrounding nations had, God warned them.

"This will be the behavior of the king who will reign over you:

  1. He will TAKE your sons and appoint them for his own chariots and to be his horsemen, and some will run before his chariots. He will appoint captains over his thousands and captains over his fifties, will set some to plow his ground and reap his harvest, and some to make his weapons of war and equipment for his chariots.
  2. He will TAKE your daughters to be perfumers, cooks, and bakers.
  3. He will TAKE the best of your fields, your vineyards, and your olive groves, and give them to his servants.
  4. He will TAKE a tenth of your grain and your vintage, and give it to his officers and servants.
  5. He will TAKE your male servants, your female servants, your finest young men, and your donkeys, and put them to his work.
  6. He will TAKE a tenth of your sheep. And you will be his servants.

And you will cry out in that day because of your king whom you have chosen for yourselves, and the Lord will not hear you in that day."

– 1 Sam. 8:10-18

Compare that with the character of Jesus Christ. “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” John 15:13. Now ask yourself this: to whom are you drawn? To the one who will take and take and take, or to the one who lays down His life, gives His most precious and priceless possession just for your freedom that you may live?

Rev. 5:8-14

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(Patrick Travis) #22

Now, how does that apply in the same way to a society that now almost primarily practices “division of labor?”
Agreed people now depend entirely to much on central governments but the church is incapable of filling all the gaps in modern society. Especially also with the disintegration of the family unit in society.


(Patrick Travis) #23

My point in addition is, unless one looks at “others” only materialisticly, all are to give something positive in the building up of the family unit, as they have it, and society.


(Patrick Travis) #24

And, that was ONLY a tenth! Lucky people! :slight_smile:


(William Noel) #25

Here’s the root question: does that “safety net” teach people to depend on the state, or on God? The public safety net is part of a larger social concept designed to create dependence on government, to view government as the source of their sustenance, to keep them in poverty and to distract their attention away from God. I speak from multiple years of experience when I was between job or only able to find part-time work. In contrast, God’s plan for charity is designed to bring people into direct contact with the ministry of sustenance through people who will point the attention of the recipients to Him as the source. Unfortunately, in my period of poverty the Biblical concept of charity was nowhere to be found in the church, but I found it among believers whose fellowship was in other denominations. One result of that experience was leading me to study charity in scripture and I determined that, as I was able, I would follow God’s instructions. You would be absolutely amazed by what we have seen God do and how the experiences have brought us closer to Him.

The two systems are radically different. One is part of a system promoting what leads people onto the path to eternal destruction. Do you really want that to happen? Or, would you rather do what draws people to God?


(William Noel) #26

How capable is God? Far more than anything you or I have yet seen and I’ve seen Him do a lot of amazing things. What you see as today’s incapability in the church is just God’s opportunity to create radical renewal of faith and an explosion of Holy Spirit-empowered ministries. The modern government welfare system based on Liberal-Socialist philosophy has done more damage to the family than anything ever seen in history. Discussion of “division of labor” is just another part of that same destructive philosophy because it contrasts so greatly with the teachings of God where we are to love others and not esteem one person above another.


(Patrick Travis) #27

Noel, I agree with much of your assessment. I also understand we do not live, as a society, under the laws of the OT, covenant today. You would enjoy Rushdooney’s Biblical Institutes of Law, if you haven’t read. There is a lot of informative information regarding Israel’s system in the book.
However, we do live in the times of the Gentiles now. God does allow their systems to work until He takes them all away. We don’t have a land based system, the 7 yr release or the 50 yr. Jubilee and return of the land to correct imbalances.
I believe, in the present age, limited government and "free enterprise " is the most just for “the one and the many.” However, in the present realities it isn’t perfect so there are times when public assistance, preferably state and local, along with charity, church are needed.
Agreed some abuse and some become dependent on the state. I do not believe God has put us in a conundrum of having to expect the OT concepts in the NT times today anymore than closing Jerusalem’s gates on sabbaths.
Rafts are needed when boats are sinking. That doesn’t deny faith is needed for “the now and not yet” in both circumstances.
In one sense it is being made known why we need God as King.


(William Noel) #28

Patrick, you raise a good point where there is a lot of confusion about how we should or should not relate to the Levitical laws of the Old Testament. Most people think of them as a unified, all-or-nothing whole that prefigured Christ and thus are no longer binding on us. Yet a deeper study reveals that God was giving them practical instruction in a lot of areas so they could have an orderly society. They even include basic instructions for public sanitation. Should we discard them just because they were detailed in the Levitical laws? I don’t think so. Instead, I believe there is great benefit in studying them so we can discern the principles God was teaching. Those principles are as eternal as He is and we can enjoy the same blessings that He promised on the Israelites if we also obey His instructions.

I’m not as hard-over, all-or-nothing on the topic of charity as it may appear because I am simply drawing attention to the great contrast between God’s principles and the anti-God teachings of popular Liberal-Socialism that is promoted by the Democratic Party and those who believe similarly. I also recognize that the one of the mots important principles detailed in the Constitution is the duty of government to “promote the general welfare” which Liberal-Socialism has distorted into “provide the general welfare.” Government is responsible for promoting the general conditions under which people can prosper and enjoy the fruits of their labors without imposing an oppressive level of taxation on them that steals their prosperity.

I believe a legitimate role of government is providing direct assistance following disasters such as we have recently seen in the California wildfires that killed so many and left tens of thousands homeless. I happen to work for a government agency that is the largest provider of people and technical resources to FEMA. I have already volunteered to be deployed to help with the primary missions of providing temporary housing and debris removal so that home owners can get a quicker start on replacing their homes. The costs of such work is simply too far outside the ability of even the most prosperous church to provide. Basic logistics and operational work is under way and I should have both a mission assignment and travel orders in a few days. We expect to be working 10-12 hours a day, seven days a week for 30-60 days before our replacements arrive and that work will continue until it is no longer needed.

Our work will create a massive amount of opportunities for believers to minister to those who have lost their homes in very meaningful ways that demonstrate God’s love in personal ways. Here are a few thoughts: Driving people to medical appointments because they haven’t been able to replace a car that was destroyed. Taking them car shopping. Making and installing curtains in the mobile homes and campers we will be installing in their driveways. Helping them re-equip their kitchens and re-stocking their pantries. Such actions give us unlimited opportunities to touch others with God’s love and to hear them praising God for how they have been blessed by our good works.


(Patrick Travis) #29

I see no evidence, to both liberals and conservatives, that Christ gave specific instructions for earthly economic systems in the present age. I do see where He said, give unto Caesar the things that are Caesars and to God the things that are Gods. No earthly utopia here. I am obviously conservative economically.
I believe that neither sometimes understands the effects of sin on their socio-economic worldview. Free enterprise, though the best, in my view is imperfect. People need at least temporary help at times. Some, though few in number, for life.
I am a pragmatist that chooses to try help keep the ship afloat while arranging the chairs as the ship goes down. :slight_smile:
Cheers, Pat

As lovely as the thoughts may seem to some…no Imagine here.


(Patrick Travis) #30

PS. You do realize your company is a recipient of government money.
Yes, Federal for national emergencies and Defense.
State for local problems because closer to issues and closer to seeing abuse… You do realize all the charity you describe , as good as it is, is inadequate for the full society especially crowded urban centers, I hope.
.


(William Noel) #31

I work for a federal agency so I am well aware that our funding and my paycheck come from tax revenues.

Disaster recovery assistance and long-term government social programs are very different things. The former helps families and communities recover from natural disasters and regain their self-sufficiency while the latter promotes dependence on government handouts.

The government-funded disaster recovery services I expect to helping with are delivered in a way that is surprisingly similar to how God works with us because we both do for others what they are incapable of doing for themselves and that shorten the timeline to ultimate recovery.

Try imagining for a moment that you are a home owner in Paradise or Malibu where your home and those of your neighbors have been destroyed by one of the recent wildfires. If friends haven’t invited you and your family to live with them for a time, you might be sleeping on a Red Cross cot in a school gymnasium or in a tent somewhere. Or you and your children are packed into a hotel room that costs you $150 or $200 a night so your resources are being exhausted in a hurry.

You need to get your house rebuilt. But where do you start? Task One is getting the rubble cleared. Do you have any idea who to call? Probably not and even if you can find someone, they’ve probably got a huge backlog of work and are charging premium prices because of the high demand. Your home owner’s insurance probably will pay only for what they consider a “normal or regular” cost for the service but not the higher price the contractor wants.

That’s where the government agency I work for helps. We contract for debris clearance services on a large scale and at a fixed cost that is probably less than the “normal” cost you would have paid had you needed the service before the wildfires. Your insurance company will get billed for it but you won’t hear them complaining because our large-scale contract has a per-lot cost that is probably lower than the “normal” cost for clearing your lot alone.

That brings us to the second critical task we perform: temporary housing. That’s where we install a camper or small mobile home in your driveway after the debris has been removed. No, it isn’t luxurious or large, but it is shelter that isn’t costing you $200 a night for a hotel room.

Both programs play significant roles in helping people recover their lives and get on the path to recovering from the devastation that disasters bring and they require a level of resources and technical capabilities that no church possesses. They stand in dramatic contrast to non-disaster government social programs that create dependence on never-ending government handouts. I have visited areas where these services were delivered years before and seeing how individual home owners and the community had recovered was a source of great personal satisfaction.


(William Noel) #32

For more than a dozen years I have been leading a ministry at my church that focuses on helping people with home-related needs so I have seen a large variety of needs large and small and both short-term and enduring. Disasters are events that often cause such economic catastrophe and disruption of local resources that the resources of churches are quickly exceeded and greater help is essential. The challenge is making sure you are giving people a “hand-up” to that puts them on the path to financial self-sufficiency instead of becoming dependent on long-term handouts.


(Patrick Travis) #33

I am not debating the need of either. 330 million people makes for complex problems. Not local church ministries ability to solve. Assist yes, solve no.


(William Noel) #34

I don’t find where God expects us to solve all of society’s problems, just to have the courage to follow His guidance and minister His powerful love to the problems we see in front of us. Our bigger challenge as Christians is having more believers who will do that so that society will see value in following the God who keeps his promises instead of politicians who promise everything and just create problems.


(Patrick Travis) #35

William, My problem is you seem to jump back and forth and intermingle the role of church and state not that much differently than " liberals" on the other side do.claiming their moral
high ground.
We can vote as we please but need to keep the realms different. We can try to be an example but trust me those wanting larger Gov. Aren’t looking.


(William Noel) #36

My decades of experience leads me to disagree with your claim that leaders in larger government aren’t looking at what churches are doing. Yes, the anti-faith rhetoric of the Democratic Party and the advocates of Socialists that you see reported in the media can lead you to think that way, but reality is quite different. For example, President Trump has formed a council of more than 100 pastors from around the country to advise him on how the government can cooperate in delivering positive benefits on the national scale and large elements of the crime legislation now in the House includes a number of specific ideas drawn from the experience of those church leaders who are helping ex-convicts learn to live positive lives so they don’t go back to crime and prison.

My experience includes having led in the establishment of a community anti-drug coalition that brought together the efforts of official public leadership, law enforcement, the county schools, community clubs and churches to deliver a comprehensive K-12 substance abuse prevention program that in our third year was recognized by the President’s Office of Drug Control Policy for excellence. News of our positive impact got noticed on the state level with the governor endorsing an initiative in the legislature to provide us with funds from the state budget to enhance and expand our efforts. More than a decade after I left that work behind I had a chance encounter in an airport with the man who had been our Congressman at the time and he not only recognized me but thanked me for my role in that work.

Our challenge as Adventists is to overcome our great fear of anything even remotely hinting of ecumenism because it prevents us from seizing the opportunities God give us to do good. That has caused us to conveniently overlook the command of Jesus in Matthew 5:16 to “…let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” That’s right. Jesus commanded us to do good works. Romans 13:3 tells us “For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you.”

My latest confirmation of that second verse came just a couple months ago when I was shopping and crossed paths with the chairman of our County Commission. For a dozen years I’ve been leading a ministry team at my church that focuses on helping people with home-related challenges and he’d heard reports about the results of our work. He commended us for what my team was doing and invited me to call him if there was anything the county could do to help us.


(James Peterson) #37

You seem to fancy Eva Cassidy. I saw some youtube videos of her music but never thought much of its jazzy blues. But from the suggestions beside the video of the the link you provided, there was this ABC Nightline episode of her life and music. I WAS IMPRESSED.

It’s a pity she died so very young.

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(Patrick Travis) #38

Thanks,
Autumn Leaves is good also. I love all kinds of good music. Bet you do also. Yes, she died of what would seem to be osteosarcoma.
Sad. Glad you enjoyed.


(Cfowler) #39

I don’t see how this can happen on a corporate (for lack of a better word) level. The doctrines grew out of (and still are) being the remnant and the rest of christian/protestants are babylon (along with all the Sunday law beliefs, etc. I know that there are individual Adventists who have come to believe differently, but the official doctrines/beliefs are set in stone.


(William Noel) #40

The concept is challenging. I think the root question is now if it could happen, but if we are willing to trust the Holy Spirit completely enough that it could be possible.