Review by Susan Verstraete
Righteous Sinners: The Believer’s Struggle with Faith, Grace and Works
Ron Julian, Navpress, 1998
Ron Julian freely admits that, like Martin Luther, he was driven to understand the Bible out of knowledge of his own sinfulness and moral weakness. As a young believer, his teachers encouraged that if he “let go and let God” he could have complete victory over sins like selfishness and lust. But though Julian had faith in God, believed the truth of the Gospel and wanted nothing more than to be free from sin, it didn’t work. He still struggled with sin, just as you and I do. The teachers questioned his salvation, and Julian began to question their teaching. He spent the next 25 years searching the Bible for the answer to his dilemma. How can God call sinful human beings—those of us who fail over and over— “righteous”? Righteous Sinners is the result.
It’s easy to fall into an unbiblical ditch either on one side or another of this issue. On the one hand, we might be tempted to constantly doubt our salvation because of remaining sin in our lives. On the other hand, we might believe that because God declares us righteous by grace and apart from works, intense struggle with habitual sin is unnecessary. Julian navigates safely between these two ditches, and gives us a balanced, biblical understanding of the role of trials, works, grace and the sovereignty of God in the lives of believers.
Ron Julian is a teacher at the McKenzie Study Center in Eugene, Oregon. Incidentally, he has a direct tie to FCC, since he’s the father-in-law to Matt Greco’s son, Gil. His book is available through Amazon.com.
Susan Verstraete is a member of FCC and serves as church secretary.Book Review
Words: Karolina W. Sandell-Berg, Andeliga daggdroppar, 1858 (Tryggare kan ingen vara); translated from Swedish to English by Ernst W. Olson in The Hymnal, 1925.
Children of the heav’nly Father
Safely in His bosom gather;
Nestling bird nor star in Heaven
Such a refuge e’er was given.
God His own doth tend and nourish;
In His holy courts they flourish;
From all evil things He spares them;
In His mighty arms He bears them.
Neither life nor death shall ever
From the Lord His children sever;
Unto them His grace He showeth,
And their sorrows all He knoweth.
Though He giveth or He taketh,
God His children ne’er forsaketh;
His the loving purpose solely
To preserve them pure and holy.
Lo, their very hairs He numbers,
And no daily care encumbers
Them that share His ev’ry blessing
And His help in woes distressing.
Praise the Lord in joyful numbers:
Your Protector never slumbers.
At the will of your Defender
Ev’ry foeman must surrender.
Recently, a “code of conduct” was established for those attending services and other activities at FCC. We believe this code is a commonsense and logical approach to assist in ensuring quiet and respectful behavior associated with Christian worship. The code is as follows:
Faith Community Church (hereinafter FCC) welcomes all members to its facilities for worship and other functions. Guests of members and other visitors or attendees are expected to behave in an appropriate manner and respect and observe the rights of other members, guests and visitors.
Behavior in the Facility
FCC’s facilities are intended to be used for Christian worship, quiet meditation, reading, studying, attending programs, attending meetings and other reverent (quiet and respectful) activities associated with Christian worship. Attendees are expected to conduct themselves in a reverent manner that makes these activities possible. Attendees will respect the rights of others to benefit from their attendance with the least amount of interference or disruption.
The following types of disruptive behavior are NOT allowed in or on FCC property:
- Behavior that endangers the safety of another person.
- Vandalism or deliberate destruction of FCC property.
- Theft of FCC materials or the personal property of others.
- Violation of any local, state, or federal law.
- Possession, consuming, or under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- Running, yelling or screaming or disruptive behavior.
- Selling goods or services or soliciting money without approval of FCC leadership.
- Smoking in the facility.
- Physical abuse or other unwanted touching of any other person.
- Threats of physical harm.
- Abusive, profane, vulgar or obscene actions, language or gestures.
- Acts of protest or demonstration.
- Any other disruptive or outrageous behavior that offends the spirit of reverent Christian fellowship or behavior.
To further the security level here at FCC, we plan to invite the Homeland Security Section of the KCPD to conduct a Critical Infrastructure and Key Resources inventory. This will involve taking pictures of our facility, obtaining floor plans, hours of operation, critical contact persons etc. Once gathered, this information is then downloaded into a computer database that is shared with KCPD police officers, and KCFD firemen. Then, if they are ever called to our facility, the officers and/or firemen can bring this information up on their computer laptops before arriving on the scene.
1 Peter 5:8 – Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.
“See that you do not look down on one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven.” Mt 18:10
Child abductions can happen anywhere at any time. Each day 2100 missing child reports are filed in the United States. The majority of kids reported missing have run away from home or there was a miscommunication between child and parent about where they were supposed to be. The majority of abducted children are abducted by a family member or acquaintance, and approximately 25% by strangers. Nearly two thirds of all children abducted are girls and almost all abductors are men.
It is important to equip our children with the tools they need to stay safe without instilling them with high anxiety. You should consider the following kidnapping prevention strategies:
- Teach your children not to accept candy or gifts from strangers and never to get in a stranger’s car.
- Teach your children to never go anywhere with someone they don’t know and/or with someone who tries to lure them away such as, “Can you help me look for my lost dog?” or, “Do you want to see the cute kittens I have in my car?”
- Tell him/her to run and scream if a stranger tries to take them somewhere.
- Tell your children it is okay to say no to a stranger who wants to do something that makes him/her uncomfortable or that they know is wrong.
- Ensure your children know their name, address, phone number, an emergency contact number, and 911.
- Teach them to tell you about places or people that make them feel unsafe.
- Teach them that if a stranger grabs them to shout, “I don’t know you” and to fight back and make as much noise as they can so someone will know they are in trouble.
- Teach them never to tell a stranger their name or address.
- Avoid dressing your child in clothes with their name on it as children are more likely to trust adults who know their name.
Hopefully, these give you some ideas and reminders about how to keep our children safe.
“And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me. But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.” Mt. 18:5-6
Originally appeared in the April 2010 newsletter.
Train a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not turn from it. (Proverbs 22:6)
Safety and security is everyone’s responsibility. The safety and security of our children is one area of utmost importance. While our children are truly a blessing from the Lord, it can pose challenges to protect them. The following are a few examples and reminders of what we as adults and parents should keep in mind:
- A child running in the hall. This can be hazardous to the child as well as adults who may be tripped or fall in trying to avoid them. If you’ve ever heard an usher sternly warning kids not to run, this is the reason. Typically, ushers do not speak to a parent of the child but this may be necessary if a warning is not enough.
- Kids playing on the playground during the service will be asked to return inside and attend the service. Playing on the playground during or after the service without adult supervision can be dangerous as well, with smaller and older children swinging, sliding, etc., and due to darkness during the winter season that can hide someone lurking in the shadows. Actually, whether winter or any other season, this remains a viable threat. If you have children playing outside, we ask that you please ensure they are supervised.
- Small children leaving service alone and going to the bathroom, getting a drink etc. While ushers try to keep an eye on such situations, there are times when their attention may be needed elsewhere. If you have small children who have a need to leave during the service, please ensure they are supervised.
- Children playing on stacked chairs. Children have been observed climbing on and up stacked chairs (which they undoubtedly consider to be a convenient mountain climbing experience). While exercising these skills is not a bad thing, they need to be accomplished in a much more controlled and safe environment. If you see kids doing this, please ask them to stop. If they are your kids, please provide them the necessary guidance.
Please note that this article is not intended as undue criticism of any parenting skills. We know kids will be kids and that it is nearly impossible to watch them every second of the day. We do hope that such reminders will help all of us protect the young lives entrusted to us. After all, children are our legacy, our footprint on the world, and pleasing to our heavenly Father. Sons are a heritage from the Lord, children a reward from him. (Psalm 127:3)
One final thought, a quote from Robert Fulghum, “Don’t worry that children never listen to you; worry that they are always watching you.”
Originally posted in the March 2010 Newsletter