Yesterday morning my Pastor touched on two of my favorite issues, that of men and their aversion to church and the difference between universal and particular sin. He announced yesterday to the chagrin of many in attendance, I am sure, that this year our men’s ministry is going to be stepping outside of the box in an effort to attract some men who do not already have a relationship with the Lord. He understands that, as a whole the Church, (all denominations and creeds) has been taken over by women. There are many speculations as to why this is but suffice to say it is easier to find a fundamentalist having fun that is it to find a church with a surplus of manly men under 50.
So, on February 10th we will be having our first Texas Hold ‘em tourney. However this is not meant to be simply a fundraiser, it is truly the heart of my Pastor to bring people, who normally would drive a different way to avoid church, into our community, and then into a relationship with Jesus. I guess that makes it three of my favorite topics, because he follows the St. Patrick model of evangelism people tend to belong before they believe, which is why churches that turn in upon themselves and react to the outside world like a vampire to garlic do God a disservice. We want men to realize that the church is more than a good ol’ boys club where you are told to come in, sit down, shut up, and be a good boy, but at the same time we are not attempting to be less of a church in order to reach them, or we could just pass out pot as service, that would attract a lot of people.
He preached from John 2:
1 On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, 2 and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. 3 When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no more wine.”
4 “Dear woman, why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My time has not yet come.”
5 His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”
6 Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons.
7 Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water”; so they filled them to the brim.
8 Then he told them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.”
They did so, 9 and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside 10 and said, “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.”
11 This, the first of his miraculous signs, Jesus performed at Cana in Galilee. He thus revealed his glory, and his disciples put their faith in him.
Now if you study out things said here you will discover a few things. First teetotalers will go to any length to convince themselves that this wasn’t wine, people have told me it was grape juice, or at least not alcohol like we know today, and maybe that last part is true we have worked for centuries to perfect the fermenting process. Regardless Jesus was accused of being a glutton, drunkard and a friend of sinners. I don’t think this accusation would have been made if there were no grounds for it.
The issue wasn’t that Jesus was breaking God’s law we know that never happened, but he was breaking the traditions of men. And here is the difference, there are sins that are universal; murder is a sin no matter the person, and there are particular sins, those particular to the person. I spoke to someone after the service and he said he would not be comfortable playing cards in church but would have no problem playing at someone’s home and I don’t begrudge him that, I commend him for being cognoscente of his limitations. I do not feel right watching movies with high sexual content and people who have trouble with alcohol shouldn’t go to bars, those are particular sins because although it is not wrong to have a drink or play cards or watch certain types of movies if your conscience convicts you; then listen to it.
This is tough but if we are to ever have and impact on our world it is something we must understand, if not we simply become another Pharisaical demanding things of people that are not specifically enumerated in the Bible, and I respect God’s word to much to try to change it.