Apostles Creed and Nicene Creed Not From Bible

Not long ago, I was part of a … well, I’ll call it a “lively” discussion about religion. See, we stopped attending church a while back when I had been working on Sundays. I’ve since found another church with a pastor who delivers great messages. All sermons are posted on their website for easy access. I’ve attended the church in person and found it very huge, and I felt pretty invisible. They recommend getting involved in a smaller church group. A separate gathering in addition to regular worship time is hard to work into our schedules right now.

To the point, though… our conversation was about why we’ve strayed from the church we used to attend. Part of that is the recitation of the Apostles and Nicene Creeds. I agree with saying The Lord’s Prayer aloud. That’s in the Bible. The creeds are not. Someone in that conversation said that the creeds were taken from the Bible. That’s inaccurate. They were written at least 150 years after the authors all died. See this article for more info.

Matthew 6:5 – right where we are given The Lord’s Prayer – even tells us:

“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words.

I have no other explanation for my hang-up with reciting the same thing every time I gather for worship like that. I don’t think it’s necessary, and it just feels strange to me. The pastor at this other church simply digs into the Bible. Of course, I haven’t made it a habit to attend there either. That’s really two-fold. I find pulling up the sermons online much more convenient and time efficient. Also, without joining a small group, there’s really no fellowship gained by attending such a large church in person.

OK, so there’s sort of a third fold. I’m disillusioned by many who attend church but don’t walk the walk. There’s this great instruction in the New Testament (Matthew 22):

37 Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’[d]38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’[e]40 On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”

Love your neighbor as yourself. Love others as yourself. Love one another. Don’t hate! Don’t be mean to others. Don’t tear others down. Don’t gossip about others. Don’t judge others. Matthew 7:

“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

Under the Old Testament law, we are commanded not to lie. People lie all the time! We are also commanded not to covet. That’s probably the most difficult to avoid, especially in this day and age when everyone wants the latest and greatest technological gadgets. Want, want, want! We don’t turn our backs on our friends for wanting things they can’t afford, so why do some turn their backs on people for their choice in partners? Yes, I just went there. Homosexuality. But remember, love your neighbor as yourself.

I may not be the most outgoing person. I need time alone to recharge. I’m terrible at managing time and planning, so organizing anything to do for others in some spectacular way isn’t something I do. However, I am kind to people I encounter in every day life, no matter what their life choices may be. I’m sure some people have opinions (judgments) about me. That’s fine. I still love my neighbors as myself even if they don’t see it. :)

Christmas 2011 | Still in the Grip of Change

I don’t send Christmas letters in cards. I don’t even send many Christmas cards. I’m sorry. It’s not that I don’t want to. It’s a combination of poor advanced planning and letting time get away from me (due in part to working any and all overtime allowed). In fact, I wrote in three handmade Christmas cards this morning through tears because I won’t see those people on Christmas. There were only three cards because I only had three stamps left. So this is my “Christmas letter”.

That’s me in the photo. I thought it was fitting to use because I know times were tight at that time, and times are tight for us now. I can’t help but feel bad about not being able to give as much as we have in the past; yet, I’m not at all sad about not receiving as much. Look how happy I was with that doll! I’m sure she wasn’t the latest and “greatest” doll in the big name store, and I didn’t care a bit! It was a doll, and it was mine, and I loved it!

Since we’re not able to spend Christmas with extended family, my favorite thing about the day is spending time around the table playing games that make us burst with laughter, grazing on ham throughout the day, and lounging in the family room watching movies together. The few minutes first thing in the morning spent opening a few gifts have become a very minor part of the day. What is it that’s written in a great book about three things … faith, hope, and love? The greatest of these is love. You can’t wrap that in a box and tie it up with ribbon. We can only hope for a brighter future and have faith that it will come to exist!

Here’s where the family newsletter comes in…

For those who missed the major change that happened in our lives about this time last year, you can read about that here. Big adjustments were made, including credit counseling and entering a debt management program to get rid of credit card debt in five years (less than four years to go now!). So even when it seemed that we could give more freely, we really couldn’t – we charged it. Never a good plan. Don’t do it! So we truly are living on cash now. The only card we swipe now is the debit card.

Since then, I did get a raise at the normal annual review time. This is good, considering that many places are foregoing raises in this economy. Then about five months later, I was promoted and received another raise! Don’t get too excited – I still basically do the same thing, just more of it. :) Greg even gets a few more dollars in his weekly paycheck now. It’s funny, though, how movies and television used to make getting a raise seem so huge, but really it’s more about the recognition of a job well done because the extra money (minus taxes) might be just enough to cover a fast food dinner from the value menu for the family each week. :D

Ali had a summer job this year and bought a car with her own money! She’s not currently working through the school year as she’s heavily involved in all things theater (even choir) on top of AP classes. She recently played Scrooge’s little sister, Fan, in A Christmas Carol!

Jason graduated from Redstone College and is now a certified airframe & powerplant mechanic. Then he moved out! Now he’s going to be moving again from just six miles away to six hours away in New Mexico, where he’ll be working as an A&P mechanic for Great Lakes Airlines.

Josh got a full-time maintenance job working nights at Walmart. He’s saving for a car that he’ll most likely have to pay cash for, which means waiting longer to get more than a beater. The whole credit game is odd. You have to work for money to buy a car, but you need transportation to get to work! Fortunately, he gets a ride most nights from a friend who also works there and can use one of our cars at night other times.

Miranda is still too young to work, but she talks about wanting to get a work permit as soon as she can to start working earlier than 16. We’ll see how that works out, but I admire her desire! She’s also involved in theater and choir, including a separate a Capella group that sounds amazing! She is part of a six-girl singing and dancing ensemble in the “Beauty School Dropout” scene in their spring musical, GREASE!

So our wallets may not be full of money, but our hearts are full of love. That is something we can give to all! We wish everyone a Merry Christmas and hope for a more prosperous New Year!