If They Aren’t Against Us…

Today’s Journey Through Scripture Readings:
Numbers 32-34; Mark 9:30-50


38 John said to Jesus, “Teacher, we saw someone throwing demons out in your name, and we tried to stop him because he wasn’t following us.”

39 Jesus replied, “Don’t stop him. No one who does powerful acts in my name can quickly turn around and curse me. 40 Whoever isn’t against us is for us. 41 I assure you that whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because you belong to Christ will certainly be rewarded (Mark 9:38-41, Common English Bible).

“Hey Preacher, did you know…” Those words are enough to bring cold sweats to many of us who are pastors. We get worried because of what might be following those five words. The list could be endless and many of those things are less than pleasant for us.

On one particular day, it wasn’t too bad but I quickly realized there was a teaching moment in front of me. “Hey Preacher, did you know the Baptist Church took our idea of providing backpacks for needy kids? They are going to do that for the kids at XYZ Elementary School like we do for ABC Elementary.”

What was left unsaid was, “You need to call their Preacher and tell them to stop. It was our idea.” My response that day was, “No, I didn’t know they were doing that but I am sure glad to hear it. We can’t afford to support all the kids at the five elementary schools in the area. Because they are stepping up to take care of a school, now we need to find three more and all the kids will have the help they need.”

From the look on the man’s face, it was obvious he didn’t agree. “But those families might join the Baptist Church instead of our church. We need to get more members here.”

I probably should have pulled out today’s lesson but I didn’t. I just said, “Except for on the softball field (there was a church softball league in that community and we both had teams in the league), just because the Baptist Church wins doesn’t mean our church loses.

The man could see I wasn’t going to call the Baptist preacher up and chew on him for stealing our idea and he just walked away. But what I said at the end was true. Just because another church wins, does not mean our church loses. That really is the case because that other church isn’t who really wins. When people come to the faith, when they build a relationship with God, because of what the Body of Christ does in the community and in the world, it is the Kingdom that wins.

I have been fortunate enough during my career to have had good relationships with the other pastors in the communities I have served. We have worked together on many community events, had worship services together, supported each other in some difficult times for one another’s congregations and more.

Today’s lesson has the disciples telling Jesus about someone they found doing ministry in Jesus’ name and they told the person to stop because the person wasn’t someone who got to go around with Jesus on a daily basis. Jesus said, in essence, “Leave them alone. If they aren’t working against us, they are working for the Kingdom.”

I am never going to theologically agree with all my brothers and sisters in other denominations. I know that because I can’t even agree theologically with all my United Methodist brothers and sisters. But, what I do know, is we are all working toward the same end. And, we can each have a list of beliefs as long as our arms and many of the items on our lists will be different. But, Jesus Christ as Lord has to be number one. I think we could all agree on that one.

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

With Joy and Thankfulness,

Copyright 2018, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved

Published by drjkbroyles

I love Mike Ashcraft's book, "My One Word." For the past nine years I have participated and encouraged others to participate to in the "My One Word" Challenge. My first word was discipline was my word the first year. Since then my word has been focus, sight, jungle, peace, concentration, serve, genuine and this year is fit. I seek to be fit for my health, my family, my church, my ministries. I seek to be fit in any are of my life where God might point to me. I also have a nickname, "Dr. B." When I was a public high school teacher, Dr. B. is what most of my students called me, at least in my presence. I am still called that by many people though I no longer teach in public schools. I am the author of "Average Joe: With an Extraordinary Story" (available on Amazon). The book fits into the genre of "Biblical Fiction" or "Christian Fiction" and features some of the Bible's lesser known characters. The name of my blog is, "Fork in the Road." Life is filled with forks in the road. It isn't a matter of if we encounter a fork in the road, but when will we and how many will we experience in a lifetime. I love to strum my guitar. I am not a great guitar player but I enjoy it. I also enjoy writing music. I get excited with I feel a new song emerging. I live with my wife Cindy and our little dog, "Bishop" in Lufkin, Texas. I spent the past 30 years as a United Methodist pastor, serving churches all over east and southeast Texas, from just north of Tyler to south of Houston, from the Gulf Coast to east of Madisonville. I currently serve Perritte Memorial UMC in Nacogdoches. I spent one year in the classroom, teaching High School government, economics, psychology, and sociology. Cindy and I have been married for 43 years. We have two grown sons and six grandchildren, three boys and three girls. I enjoy preaching and all it's aspects from research to writing to the actual preaching event. I also love writing, reading. I have dabble in drawing and "painting" with pastels as well as woodworking and woodcarving. My current projects are two ukuleles. I collect, repair and restore guitars too. I play the guitar (badly, but I still do) I also enjoy working with paracord on various projects, mostly prayer ropes I usually give away. I hold an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business Data Processing, from San Jacinto College in Pasadena, TX, a Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a minor in History from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX, a Master of Divinity from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX and a Doctor of Ministry from Carolina University of Theology. This blog started out as devotional writings. In August of 2020, I made a major change to the blog, switching to a daily theme format. Sunday Sermon-usually my manuscript sermon Miscellaneous Monday-misc. writing, poetry, ministry Tuesday Thoughts-Devotion Wed. with Wesleys-hist. & theol. of early Methodists TED Talk Thursday-Video & appl. in current theology Five for Friday-5 things I've seen & my thoughts Sing-Along Sat. - Usually a new song I have written I write, "Strumming a G-Chord with Dr.B." to get my thoughts onto something permanent. After all, they say, once something is on the internet it never really goes away. Still, I hope you enjoy reading it. Who knows, it might generate a bit of discussion between you and me and anyone else who might make their way here. Seeking the Genuine, Keith Lufkin, Texas August 2020

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