New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - July 28, 2001, New Braunfels, Texas
Page 8A — Herald-Zeitung — Saturday, July 28, 2001Religion
Contact Features Editor Betty Taylor at 625-9144 ext. 222.
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Citizens of Heaven have no rights like on Earth
Christians in New Braunfels may have a problem. It may be difficult to understand and accept the rules of the kingdom of God if we equate them to American rules and to New Braunfels rules in particular.
If you have been following the annexation controversy or if you are directly involved in it, you have observed citizenship in action. We who live in a free country have grown up believing and expecting the right to express ourselves and the right to have a say in decisions that directly affect us. Residents facing annexation have tried to exercise both of these rights.
Unfortunately, our understanding of our rights as citizens may not be accurate. For instance, it was noted that those outside the boundaries of New Braunfels have no rights when it comes to annexations. The city can make this decision, and whether they like it or not, the “victims” have to accept it.
This caveat in our constitutional system is unpopular and generally goes unnoticed. It is the cold, hard and somewhat ugly truth nonetheless.
I have good news, though, for everyone in light of this local controversy. There is a comparable spiritual principle that we can learn now so that later, when the principle is duly applied, we will not be caught in the same ignorance and frustration as our neighbors are on the outside of town.
The spiritual reality is that life in the kingdom of God is no different. When it comes to citizenship in God’s municipality, people have no say in what goes on at all. There are no hearings, no negotiations and no individual rights. In other words, living close to New Braunfels can be compared to living in Heaven.
We who follow Jesus Christ now already understand this. We know that in order to secure citizenship in God’s kingdom, we must relinquish our rights and completely yield our will to the king with no reservations and no qualifications. It is God’s way or the high way.
There is a difference, though, between the annexation controversy and life in the kingdom of God. Once “annexed” into God’s city limits, things still do not change. Unlike New Braunfels, where you do have a say and can vote once your property is inside the city boundaries, being in God’s family still allows you no rights and no say in what God wants to do.
Whether you are comfortable with it or not, the kingdom of God is not a democracy. You can demand your rights all you want, but the prime directive of God’s universe is absolute submission.
The really good news, though, is that God is good and trustworthy and he really does have our best interests in mind.
(Tim Judkins leads the Contemporary service of First Protestant Church.)
Christian singles groups not all about religion
Charter members of the Singles Fun Club met for the first time Tuesday at Landa Park to exchange phone numbers and plan events.
By J.L. MCMICHAEL
Despite stereotyping, the words “Christian singles” and “fun” do go together, said Steve Leavitt, Christian counselor and owner of Expectations Counseling in New Braunfels.
‘You can be a Christian and you can be single and you can have fun,” Leavitt said. “In Christian singles groups you don’t have to be stoic or lethargic. One of the things I want Christian singles to know is you can have fun.”
Several area Christian singles groups are proving that statement to be true.
• The B.A.S.I.C.S.
An acronym for The Baptist Association of Singles in Christ’s Service, The B.A.S.I.C.S. meets the first Saturday of each month to do everything from visiting dinner theaters to going to the zoo.
“This is for any single who wants to come and join us, whether they’ve been divorced, widowed or never married. We don’t close it off to just Baptists; anybody in town or anybody in the area is welcome. We have churches in New Braunfels, Seguin, Lockhart and Wimberley that are involved in it,” said Johnny McDonald, singles director at First Baptist Church and council member of The B.A.S.I.C.S.
For information about The B.A.S.I.C.S., call First Baptist Church at 625-9124.
• College and Career Life Group
Tree of Life Fellowship at 652 Loop 337 has made a point through the years to ensure that the high school graduates and college students don’t “fall through the cracks” after they graduate from the
God’s temple is holy, you are his temple
My father and I will come and make our home with him. Let your door stand open to receive Him, unlock your soul to Him, offer Him a welcome in your mind, and then you will see the riches of simplicity, the treasures of peace, the joy of grace.
Throw wide the gate of your heart, stand before the sun of the everlasting light that shines on every person. This true light shines on all but if anyone closes his window he will deprive himself of eternal light. Though He can enter, He does not want to force His way in rudely or compel us to admit Him against our will.
He came into the world as the light of the whole world in order to shine on all people. His light is received by those who long for the splendor of perpetual light that night can never destroy. The sun of our daily experience is succeeded by the darkness of night, but the sun of holiness never sets, because wisdom cannot give place to evil.
Blessed then is the person at whose door Christ stands and knocks. Our door is faith; if it is strong enough, the whole house is safe. This is the door by which Christ enters. So the Church says in the Song of Songs: The voice of my brother is at the door. Hear his knock, listen to him asking to enter: Open to me, my sister, my betrothed, my dove, my perfect one, for my head is covered with dew, and my hair with the moisture of the night.
When does God the Word most often knock at your
Rev. Msgr. Edward F. BILY
door? When His head is covered with the dew of night. He visits in love those in trouble and temptation, to save them from being overwhelmed by their trials. His head is covered with dew or moisture when those who are His body are in distress. That is the time when you must keep watch. If you were to sleep, if your heart were not wide awake, he would not knock but go away; but if your heart is watchful, he knocks and asks you to open the door to him.
If you open the gates of your faith, the King of glory will enter your house in the triumphal procession in honor of His passion. Holiness, too, has its gates. We read in Scripture what the Lord Jesus said through his prophet: Open for me the gates of holiness.
It is the soul that has its door, its gates. Christ comes to this door and knocks; He knocks at these gates. In the Sacred Word of God it is written: Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come into his house and share his supper, he and I together. Blessed is that servant who is found at work when his master returns. Open to him; he wants to enter, to find you waiting, watching and praying.
youth group, said Associate Pastor Donald Duncan.
“Churches have structured children and youth programs and then if you don’t have a group that focuses on the needs of the next step — college and career — they tend to get lost,” Duncan said. “The big thing is having something designed to specifically meet their needs.”
The College and Career Life Group meets at 7:30 p.m. the first and third Sundays of the month at the facility on Churchill Drive just off the main campus of Tree of Life Fellowship.
The evenings start with a praise and worship session, then members participate in a Bible study or a life skills program, Duncan said. Past programs have included personality profile tests, classes on finances and budgeting, time management and goal setting.
The group also meets for social activities. “We go out to Spurs games or Missions baseball games or barbecues at the lake or cam-pouts — we don’t try to just exclusively get them in a Bible study-type setting, though in everything we do we want to maintain a Christian atmosphere,” Duncan said.
The group also participates in an annual missions trip. Past trips have been to Peru, Mexico and Nicaragua.
Members must be high school graduates, and though most are under 25, there isn’t really an age limit, Duncan said. “We mainly want them to feel comfortable in a place where they can be ministered to and build relationships,” he said.
For information, call Tree of Life at 625-6375.
• First United Methodist Church
About 12 singles at First United Methodist Church are working to organize a group and are interested in new members.
“They wanted to get together in a group but not so much for dating, like in some of the other groups — what this group talked about and was much more interested in is having quality friendships and relationships,” said Julie Bynum, director of Christian education.
The group plans to organize weekly activities. For information, call Carolyn McGuire, associate pastor, at 625-4513.
There are many other groups besides the ones listed below, including the 45-and-over Singles Fun Club, which isn’t affiliated with a denomination or religion to avoid excluding anyone. For information about the Fun Club, call Mary Ann Young at 609-
* “lf you’re wanting to meet a potential future mate, get on a roller track heading towards God and look beside you. lf that person is going along beside you, then consider that person as a potential mate, lf you’re leaving that person behind or if that person is leaving you behind, it’s probably going to be a problem.”
* “It’s very important for Christian singles not to do missionary dating. In other words, don’t date someone hoping they’re going to be the Christian that you want them to be someday. That’s always a problem.”
* “One of the most damaging things that can happen to Christians as they date and try to find that mate is whenever they go too deep, emotionally and physically, too fast.”
* “Remember, you can always move forward. You can’t move back in a relationship. Don’t do something that you’ll regret.”
Leavitt recommends Metro, a non-denomina-tional Christian singles organization that meets at 7:30 p.m. Monday nights at Castle Hills Northwest Church.
Someone interested in joining a singles organization should compare the group to their own personality, Leavitt said. “It’s important to seek groups that are geared towards your personality. Some groups are more worshipful, some groups are more small-group orientated, some groups are more fun-activity based. A good group, hopefully, does all of those things well,” he said. “But if you’re seeking one particular thing, you’ll need to seek out that type of group.”
Deacon pays tribute to Msgr. Bily
Special to the Herald-Zeitung
Over 50 years ago, a young man spent several years studying vines and vineyards. He learned about the different vines and the different grapes that they produced. He learned how to feed the vines and how to prune them to produce more and better grapes. He learned about the different pests that plagued them and how to minimize damage done to them. He learned how to repair damaged vines and just how much water each one needed.
He knew that the son of the vineyard owner had worked, suffered and died for the vines in the vineyards. The young man went to work in the vineyards and learned much more about vines and grapes. He learned that some vines produced very sweet grapes while others produced rather sour ones. Some of the vines produced red grapes, some produced white grapes and some produced black grapes. He learned that immature grapes were tart or sour but that with time they ripened and sweetened.
He worked very hard in that vineyard. Sometimes the vines did not respond to his treatment and he had to try other things to help them become healthy and fruitful. His work was rewarded with success and he was sent to another vineyard that needed loving care. Time after time, as the vines responded to his care, he was sent to a different vineyard to work. Many times, the seed of particularly good grapes was planted and nurtured to produce more good vines.
After more than 50 years of labor, he deserved a rest. So he worked less and rested more and found out that other workers were able to do much of the work that he had done. They could not do it the way he had done or perhaps as well as he had done it, but the vines continued to grow and produce good fruit.
And the Father said, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
And we say, “Thank you, Monsignor Bily.” (Raymond H. Kanfran, retired deacon Sis. Peter & Paul Catholic Church)
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