Lectura: Juan 15:17-27
Lectura: Juan 15:1-16
El mundo habla mucho acerca de empoderar a la mujer, de la mujer independiente, fuerte de voluntad y capaz de salir adelante sin la ayuda de un hombre. Promueve la fuerza de voluntad y elogia la hermosura física en la mujer.
La mujer cristiana se fortalece en el Señor y en el poder de su fuerza; Reconoce que es débil en sí misma y por lo tanto depende de la gracia de Dios en su debilidad.
Una es fuerte en sí misma, la otra es fortalecida espiritualmente. Las llamaremos la mujer “fuerte” vs. la mujer “fortalecida”
La mujer fuerte no le teme a nada, ni a nadie, La mujer fortalecida teme a Dios y cobra valor en Sus promesas
La mujer fuerte hace ejercicio corporal para mantener su físico en forma, La mujer fortalecida se ejercita para la piedad para mantener su espíritu en forma
La mujer fuerte a nadie permite que se aproveche de ella, La mujer fortalecida siempre da lo mejor de sí misma a otros
La mujer fuerte comete pocos errores y los evita en el futuro, La mujer fortalecida sabe que “a los que aman a Dios, todas las cosas les ayudan a bien”
La mujer fuerte camina confiada con pasos seguros y firmes, La mujer fortalecida encomienda sus pasos al Señor y confía en que Él la levantará cuando caiga
La mujer fuerte muestra en su rostro una expresión de insolencia y confía en sí misma, La mujer fortalecida muestra una expresión de humildad y confía en su Dios
La mujer fuerte tiene fe en que tendrá fuerzas suficientes para la jornada, La mujer fortalecida tiene fe en que Dios usará la jornada para hacerla cada día más fuerte
La mujer fuerte quiere a un compañero fuerte para incrementar su fuerza, La mujer fortalecida procura ser la ayuda idónea del compañero que Dios le dé (o le ha dado)
La mujer fuerte enseña a sus hijos a buscar el éxito en la vida, La mujer fortalecida enseña a sus hijos a buscar la perfecta y agradable voluntad de Dios
Lectura: Juan 14:15-31
Lectura: Juan 14:1-14
(I found this old article in a baptist publication I used to receive by mail many years ago dated December 1994. Except for one or two things mentioned, I found myself agreeing with most of it, and I believe it is a subject that it is so relevant and very much needed in our Independent Baptist movement today. I will post it first in English, then translate and post it in Spanish for those who follow me. I will also add my own comments and opinion at the end).
There is no relationship one earth as great as the relationship between the members in a local church. It is not like membership in a club or social organization. The local church is a spiritual organism, and the Lord adds believers to the church of His choice. “And the Lord added to the church such as should be saved” (Acts 2:47b).
Church membership is a spiritual relationship which should not be terminated or changed except through the definite leading of the Holy Spirit. I believe the Lord will lead His people out of a church that departs doctrinally or from biblical convictions or separation.
I also believe He will lead good people out of a church that departs from its divine mission of evangelism. However, most people who transfer to other independent Baptist churches in the same geographic area do so for unscriptural reasons. Many leave because they are out of harmony with the church’s position or its leadership, and gradually drift to a more liberal one.
A major catalyst for changing convictions is the presence of teenagers in the home. It is easier to surrender to teenage worldlings than it is to change. Rather than admit failure, parents often adjust their convictions and adapt to a new situation. Some leave churches because of conflict with leadership or others in the church. They leave rather than deal with the problem scripturally.
These people usually discover that they meet with the same problem in their next church. Some will leave their church to seek membership in another because they have been or will be disciplined by the church.
Independent Baptist churches tend to be aggressive and constantly emphasize faithfulness and service. These kinds of pressures will unveil those whose hearts are not truly yielded. They will run away to retire from teaching, visiting, working with the bus ministry, singing in the choir, etc. They want a church relationship and fellowship, but otherwise “want to get lost in the crowd”.
They like the glory, but not the expectations. Numerous times I have heard Christians say: “I don’t intend to become as involved as I have been.” During visitation we have met many independent Baptists from other areas, but many of them have dropped out of church altogether.
Some go looking for the church with the most to offer. They see the flashy advertisements and hear about the great things taking place at “the world’s most wonderful church”.
They may owe their conversion to the soul-winning efforts of their former church, but the urge to join the perfect church pulls them away. They look for the church with the best facilities, the best preaching, the best music, and the best programs. The Lord does not lead people to change churches for such reasons. If so, logic would indicate that churches with less to offer ought to close so that its members could join the “perfect church”.
It is to be expected that folks who move to other areas will join other churches. This assumes, however, that the Lord has led in the move out of the area as well as in the change of churches. Regardless of the reason for the change of churches, it usually grieves the pastor and people when members leave. Many times the pastor is the spiritual father of those who leave. This causes heartbreak to the pastor. I know that I have wept when a beloved member has left. It can be a very heart rending occasion.
Many years ago, I adopted a personal policy concerning situations in which people from other independent Baptist churches indicated interest in joining my church. I believe we must be guided by the principle of love and concern for the well-being of other churches of like precious faith. “Love worketh no ill to his neighbor” (Rom.13:10a).
From time to time, I have read glowing reports about growing churches, and I have heard pastors speak about the Lord’s blessings on their church’s growth. These churches are written about and set before us as models to emulate. This is well and good, and I rejoice with them if the growth represents the fruits of a soul winning ministry.
However, if the growth has been at the expense of a sister church, there is nothing of which to boast. I am saddened when I learn of a struggling church losing its people to the “world’s most exciting church” down the street. Sometimes these struggling churches are scoffingly called dying churches, when in fact they are victims.
I do not want the church I pastor to prosper at the expense of a brother pastor or another church of like faith and practice. Nor do I want our church to reach and disciple people who will later be drawn away by another church in the area. The desire and pressure to grow is so great that some pastors and churches have pursued their goal in a way that is insensitive to the damage done to other churches.
I have a very high view of the sanctity of the local church and am very careful not to hurt any of them. I understand First Corinthians 3:17 to mean that God will judge any man who defiles the local church. This applies to the church I pastor as well as the church down the street.
I do not encourage members of other independent Baptist churches to visit the church I pastor. If we encounter members of other independent Baptist churches while on door-to-door visitation, we excuse ourselves and attempt to speak well of the church and pastor. I refuse to be critical of other pastors and churches when talking to their members.
We have a Christian school as a ministry of our church in which a number of young people from other independent Baptist churches are enrolled. We do not create situations to entice their families to join our church. If conflicts arise in the schedules of the church and our school, we expect them to be loyal to their church.
When members of independent Baptist churches visit our regular services, we send their visitor’s card to their home church. We do not add them to our visitation file or put their name on the church mailing list. If they visit again, we will call their pastor and inform him that his people were in our services. This procedure shows respect for the pastor and church and provides us with needed information. After conferring with the pastor and receiving his approval, we might or might not visit the home of the visitors.
If the home is visited, we will first seek to serve their former church by encouraging them to return and resolve their problem. If it is not possible for them to return to their church, we challenge them to reconcile all differences prior to presenting themselves as candidates for membership in any other church. I will not present anyone to our church who refuses to attempt scriptural resolution of problems with their former church. It may not be possible to resolve their problems if their attempts are rebuffed by their church. After they have honestly and earnestly tried, the responsibility is on the former church to respond.
I will not present anyone for membership in our church who has been officially disciplined by their church. They must resolve the cause of the discipline in whatever way determined by the church. It is not my responsibility to judge the fairness of the discipline. If the church acts irresponsibly or inaccurately, I believe God will settle the issue.
The local church is God’s court for dealing with the spiritual problems of its people. I must respect and accept the verdict of the church. However, if the church has not exercised formal discipline, it has no basis for refusing to grant a letter of transfer.
If persons desiring membership in our church have an attitude of bitterness, unforgiveness, or criticism toward their church or pastor, I would counsel them to deal with it. If they are unwilling to deal with any and all problems, they will be a problem in whatever church they join. As a result, I would not present them for membership in our church.
If the individuals do everything they ought to do regarding former church relationships and have the right spiritual attitude, I will allow them to present themselves for membership. I will, however, charge them to not be critical of their former church or its leadership when talking to any of our people. I will also charge them to refrain from any attempts to discourage members of their former church. They must put the past behind them.
Due to procedures we follow, our church has not become home to a number of interested people over the past years. I have, however, found it much easier to sleep well at night. Others may practice a different policy, and that is their choice. I am comfortable with the path I have chosen.
End of article.
The first thing I thought of when I found and read this article was: “Wow, this is what I remember pastors used to believe and preach about when I first got saved, especially what they used to drill into us at Bible Institute!”
This coming summer my family and I, by God´s grace will have served the Lord here in Albuquerque 20 years. Thank God for His faithfulness and mercies which are new every morning! What a privilege and honor it is to serve in the Ministry! We thank the Lord for the many souls that have been saved and families who He has given us the privilege to reach, disciple and train over time, especially those who have stuck with us all of these years! Many of course, have moved to other cities, some to serve in ministries elsewhere. Sadly, some have backslidden and others have gone astray from the Lord´s ways.
Over the years families have come and gone, some deciding to attend and later join other churches in town, a good number of them to English speaking churches of like faith and practice. Sadly though, in such cases I´ve rarely gotten a phone call or letter from a pastor asking or inquiring about the reasons behind those families leaving our church to attend their churches, even to inform us that a member from our church was officially seeking membership in theirs.
Some of those families left after having been disciplined or because they wanted to avoid discipline. Some where having serious marital problems, such as cases of infidelity. Others were harboring serious unconfessed sin and in one case even someone who had publicly renounced his faith in Christ and declared himself a Jehova´s Witness, within a couple of months was serving as a bus worker and eventually as a bus captain in another independent Baptist church a few miles away from us! I never received a letter or phone call. He, along with many of those other families were welcomed into the membership of those other churches – no questions asked. As I expected, several of those families eventually left those churches who received them with open arms also.
I know we are supposed to help people and are called to serve in the ministry, but not to “look the other way” just so we can have new families join our church. Where’s our biblical principled stand or even our professional ethic?
What I see has happened over the years is that a lot of pastors (not all) have adopted an attitude of “not wanting to know” the story of Christians’ past memberships who are seeking to join their churches, all for the sake of growth, instead of doing it the old fashion way, the Bible way – door knocking and giving the gospel to unbelievers. As a general rule, I never get excited when a professing Christian, especially if a Baptist brother or sister visits our services. I’ll give them a courtesy visit that week and ask where they’re from and what church they normally attend. If I don’t have it, I will try to get that church’s and pastor’s information to call him and make him aware his members visited our services.
The pastor who wrote the article above hit the nail in the head when he said: “If persons desiring membership in our church have an attitude of bitterness, unforgiveness, or criticism toward their church or pastor, I would counsel them to deal with it. If they are unwilling to deal with any and all problems, they will be a problem in whatever church they join. As a result, I would not present them for membership in our church.”
Several years ago, during one of our midweek services, three whole families from another independent Baptist church in town visited us. I met with them after the service. They told me their pastor had literally told them to “leave his church” and come join ours. Of course I had to know more; I wanted the whole story, so the next morning I called that pastor. I told him his members had visited our service the previous night and what they had said to me. I suggested he visit them to work things out. He refused to do it saying they were “rebels” who he didn’t want attending “his church” anymore and that in fact he had told them to come visit ours. He didn’t want to give me any specific reasons. I asked him if there was anything I should be concerned about with those folks to which he said no. I asked him if it was ok with him if I let them keep coming to our church and try to help them. He said “sure, go ahead”. I later realized he was the one with the problem and bitterness in his heart.
After meeting with those families several times, I counseled them to go fix things with their pastor so as to not have any unresolved issues and harbor resentments (and I made sure they did it). I also asked them not to criticize their former pastor or church to our members; furthermore, I told them I wanted to wait at least six months before presenting them for membership to give them time to get to know our church and for us to get to know them better. They all agreed. All of those folks have since joined our membership and have remained faithful in their attendance, in soul winning, and in their service in different ministries. They have been a great addition and a blessing to our congregation… And I have a clear conscience!
The article’s author concluded: “Due to procedures we follow, our church has not become home to a number of interested people over the past years. I have, however, found it much easier to sleep well at night. Others may practice a different policy, and that is their choice. I am comfortable with the path I have chosen.”
The apostle Paul wrote: “Yea, so have I strived to preach the gospel, not where Christ
was named, lest I should build upon another man’s foundation:” – Rom.15:20
Lectura: Juan 13:18-38