Monday, April 01 2013
This past week has seen a tremendous uproar in Christian circles regarding the Supreme Court and the issue of homosexual marriage. Obviously, as Christians we believe that homosexuality is specifically mentioned in the Bible as being an abomination before God. It would be difficult, to say the least, to paint an abomination in a positive light. The courts are trying to balance, wrongly in my opinion, the law with popular culture and what is considered "acceptable" in society. They have even tried to just make it a matter of states making their own decisions. This issue of states rights came to the forefront during the debates of slavery which led up to the Civil War. The southern states said they had a right to conduct their economy without interference or regulation at the Federal level. Therefore they could not be told that they couldn't have slaves. It is true that our constitution was puposely set up to have strong State level government with very limited Federal government. It is also true that slavery was both culturally, and societally acceptable at the time. It is also true that slavery was absolutely wrong! It didn't matter that the states had rights. They had no right to redefine what was right and wrong based on their own culture, or societal acceptability. Right is right. Wrong is wrong.
There are many Christians today who advocate the doctrine of Individual Soul Liberty as a "right" to live however they want to live. The truth about Individual Soul Liberty is this: Each person must have an individual relationship with Jesus Christ. The Bible says that upon salvation we are "sealed" with the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirity has His work of convicting us of sin and of righteousness, and of judgement. In other words it is up to the Holy Spirit to "define" for us whether or not something is sin. The pop-culture or the latest ruling of the Supreme Court will have no say in whether or not homosexuality is a sin. Likewise, the Believer has no say in whether or not the things in his/her life are sins. If the Holy Spirit says it is sin, then it is sin. The individual has liberty to either obey or reject the Holy Spirit's determination. If we obey there are rewards, and if we reject then there are consequences. What we never have is liberty to live as we want without God's Holy Spirit weighing in with conviction of sin and of righteousness.
Monday, March 25 2013
If you have followed this blog for long you may know that I usually set the post to publish at 8:00 A.M. Today I set it to publish at 10:00 A.M. Why? Because exactly 24 years ago today at 10:00 A.M Pamela VanNatta became my wife. She was a Baptist Bride. I am sure that some who read the title went into a fit of rage thinking I was declaring myself to be a "Baptist Brider." HA HA. The joke is on them.
I will devote another post on another day to discussing Ecclesiology and what it means to be a Doctrinal Baptist. Today I just want to thank my wife of 24 years for sticking by me through it all. When we were dating she used to say to me that she didn't want to marry a Pastor. I told her no problem, because I had no intention of being a Pastor. I remember the day I surrendered to God's will for my life and wondering if she would stick with me. She did. I have known other Pastors whose wives have driven them out of the ministry through complaining, or through having a bad spirit, or even through greed for money, and I see the failure of those ministries and I thank God for my Baptist Bride. I have known some Pastor's wives to spend as much time tearing their husbands down as the Pastor spends trying to build the church. I thank God for my Baptist Bride. I remember when I was preparing to enter the ministry and my wife, looking ahead with fear and trembling to being a Pastor's wife, crying and saying she didn't think she could do it, but she did it anyway. I thank God for my Baptist Bride.
When my mom passed away in 2009 I said at her funeral that I was privileged to have known two of the finest Pastor's wives ever. My mom, and my wife. My wife will tell you how much she learned from my mom about being a Pastor's wife. The reason she learned was because she understood the important part that a Pastor's wife has in her husbands ministry. I thank God for my Baptist Bride.
I love you sweetheart. Thank you for marrying me and for helping me and for loving me. Thank you for being my Baptist Bride!!
Saturday, March 23 2013
I read in the paper this week that some people are having difficulties in their jobs because of things which they had shared on social networking websites. I'm sure most people could tell of someone they know who had a marriage broken or some other relationship severely damaged, and they blamed social media or the internet.
First of all, let's be clear. The internet is an inanimate object. It can have no motivations of it's own. It cannot be evil or good it can only be used for evil or good. For people to blame an inanimate object for things which happen in their lives is to shirk responsibility for their own actions. It is similar to the gun control argument being made today by people that guns kill people. Guns don't kill people. People kill people. The internet doesn't ruin people's lives. People ruin people's lives.
Secondly, I think it is important to note a word of caution which is deceptive in it's premise. People are being cautioned regarding what they put on Facebook or Twitter in case the content should be compromising. The true caution would be to avoid an situation wherein you ARE compromised!! Just because nobody posted pictures of you on the internet doesn't mean that God doesn't know what you are doing. The motivation for the believer should be to avoid all appearance of evil. Not to avoid having their wickedness posted for all to see.
Finally I would like to encourage people to remember the Sunday School song "Oh Be Careful..." Whether it is your eyes being careful what they hear, or your feet being careful where they go, or even your fingers being careful what they type, we need to be careful in all things to make sure we glorify the Lord Jesus Christ.
Tuesday, March 19 2013
I freely admit that I am a politi-nerd. I LOVE elections, campaigns, political talk shows, and I even watch C-SPAN some times. I like to read about past political campaigns and the intrigue which invariably attaches to those intellectual battles. The battle of ideas is what politics is really about.
A few years ago someone coined the phrase "Big Tent Politics." In other words, they wanted to expand their political party to include differing opinions. I scratch my head in wonder at the idea that someone thinks they can win an argument by accepting the other sides opinions. This would be like going to a football game and counting all the people wearing the other teams colors as being on my side. It doesn't work. In politics if you have to adopt the policies of the opposing party to win then you haven't won. The other side has one.
There are many Christians today who have adopted Big Tent policies of their own. They want to be known as Evangelicals instead of Fundamentalists because they will have more friends. They want to adopt worldly philosophies and practices because it will appeal to a broader base of people. They haven't won. The other side has.
We have a fantastic heritage as Christians with the faith and practice which Jesus taught the Apostles and which is recorded in the Word of God for us to follow. If we decide to do away with those beliefs, to let in people who don't agree, we are doomed to failure in the Christian life. So, stand firm on the Fundamentals of the Faith!! Don't compromise, don't waver, and don't quit!
Monday, February 25 2013
Some things are worth taking the time to do. My family enjoys microwave popcorn, but I like popcorn made the old fashioned way. I know my way takes longer, but to me the taste makes it worth it. it seems like no matter how quickly something is done people still complain that they don't have time to wait.
It is unfortunate that this mentality has become prominent in Christians. People don't want to wait for the Lord to do something in their lives. I have counseled people who have said that an absence of an immediate act on the part of God they took to mean that it was ok to go ahead and do things their way.
In the book of Ephesians it tells us that we are to be "Redeeming the time, because the days are evil." The word Redeem means to purchase back something of value that was sold. Have you given thought to the fact that when Jesus paid for your sins He purchased you unto Himself? Since He purchased you and me that means He also owns our time. To redeem time which belongs to the Lord it must be purchased back with something of value. Give thought this week to the things which occupy your time and ask yourself if they are worth God's price. While you are at it quite staring at the microwave and wishing it would cook your popcorn faster.
Monday, February 04 2013
BRRRRRRRR!!!!!!!!!!! It has been very cold lately. I must be getting older, because the cold never used to bother me. As I write this the LP heater in my office is blazing away and I am trying to figure out how to crawl inside the heater and still reach my keyboard. I might have to call 911 before this is over.
We hear alot today about global warming, climate change, etc. As men try to convince us that God's creation has a man-made limit. They are wrong. Along with those who fear destruction by asteroid, or epidemic, or nuclear war, or any other cataclysmic event those who say "we", as in humans, are destroying the planet are way off. The truth of the matter is found in the Bible in Genesis 1-6. God's creation was partially destroyed by the Great Flood in Genesis, but this was not done by man. This was done by God, and it was done in God's timing. This judgement was followed by God's promise that He would never again destroy creation until the time came to Finally pour out His judgement on men.
So here is the thing about global warming. First, we are commanded in God's Word to be stewards of His creation. This doesn't mean that we are to worship nature or even necessarily to "hug trees." However, we also shouldn't be trying to see how bad we can make the air quality in our cities. Stewardship means to take care of for use. Second, There will come a time when God's judgement is poured out on men. This will be far worse than any cataclysmic event predicted by hollywood, the Myans, or your weird neighbor that wears a tin foil hat. The Book of Revelation contains the account of the wrath of God being poured out on those who have rejected His Son Jesus as their Saviour. Third, the only way to avoid God's judgement is to receive Christ.
Friend, if you are not certain that you will spend eternity in Heaven won't you please read these verses:
John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
John 3:17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
John 3:18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
John 3:19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
Romans 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God
Ro 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Romans 10:9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
Romans 10:10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
Ephesians 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
Ephesians 2:9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.
Today will you make certain of your eternal life? Don't worry about what man can do. Make certain to avoid God's judgement today!!
Monday, January 28 2013
This next Saturday is Groundhog Day. Are you excited? One can already hear the Groundhog Carols in the air, and I'm sure we are all planning our traditional Groundhog Day feasts. Maybe not. Anyways, Groundhog Day is supposed to be the day where we find out if we have an early spring or six more weeks of winter. I'm not sure who began this furry tail (get it?) about the prognostication powers of a small woodland creature, but I do know that no matter what happens on February 2nd we can be assured of one thing. There is nothing we can do about the future!
The fact is that many people try to figure out what is going to happen in the future. Through psychics, fortune tellers, and even groundhogs people want to know what to expect. It's silly really because even if we knew the future the very fact of a "knowledge" would preclude any possibility of it being changed. If I know the future and the future tells me that tomorrow I will die in a car accident then I just won't get into a car. Problem. If I know the future then I would know that I wasn't going to get into the car and then I would know that I wasn't going to die in a car accident and so it would be okay for me to then get in a car. My head hurts.
Here's the thing...There is only one way to affect the future. We must live in the present. The decisions I make today will affect the future. The most important decision anyone can make is whether or not to accept Christ. The Bible says if a person confesses their need for a Saviour because of their sin, and believes that Jesus is the Son of God and that He died and rose again to pay for our sins then they are saved. Please make the decision today that will affect eternity. That's alot of future!!
P.S. I appreciate everyone who reads these blog posts. I hope they are a blessing to you and I hope that you get a chuckle out of some of my humor. (Or at least a moment of worry for my sanity.) Either way, thank you and could you do me a small favor? Please share these blog posts on Facebook, Twitter, and any place else you can think of to share these. We are trying to increase our church's Social Media presence as well as our web traffic. Thanks and God bless...
Monday, January 14 2013
1,000 pieces. Different sizes. Some with tabs and slots while others have one side smooth to go on the outside. Each piece having only one small, irregular part of a picture. Some people love puzzles. I hate them. they frustrate me and leave me with a sense of being inadequate to the task of bringing order and with it a picture with meaning.
Our lives are like puzzles. We know from the Scripture that our lives should represent Jesus. As we face each event on each day we are left with seemingly irregular shaped pieces. As we struggle to make the pieces fit into the picture we think our lives should be, there is a temptation to try and manipulate the pieces. Can you imagine taking the pieces of a real puzzle and trimming off tabs or widening spaces so the pieces fit together like you think they should? This would never work! So it is with our lives. Instead of trying to make the pieces fit why not allow the Creator of those pieces to show where they fit into His plans? Then you will have a life that is the picture Jesus wants it to be.
Saturday, January 05 2013
Well it's the New Year. A time for introspection as well as evaluation of past performance. This can be a scary time. What resolutions did I make last year? What resolutions did I tell other people about last year? What resolutions don't seem like they would be to hard to do this year? So many questions. I hope that each will take an opportunity to make some New Years Resolutions this year. Hear are a few suggestions.
First: Read through the Bible. Each year we challenge the people in our church to read through the Bible in a year. Each year someone comes to me and tells me what a blessing they receive from reading through the Bible.
Second: Memorize Scripture. This year we are challenging our people to memorize the book of James. By memorizing just 2-3 verses per week you can commit the entire Book of James to memory.
Thirdly: Be more faithful. This is a broad and generic resolution, but it will affect your entire life. Be more faithful in devotions, in church, in giving, in loving, in family, in work, in every part of your life resolve to be more faithful.
I trust that each of you will have a blessed and happy New Year!
Wednesday, April 04 2012
Have you ever seen a dirty ring around a bathtub? It is very disgusting! I have also noticed that if you go to the DMV and look at the wall behind the rows of chairs you see a darkened, greasy looking spot where countless people have rested the back of their heads. Yuck. I tend to be a little germ conscience and thinking about stuff like this is enough to make me want to live inside a plastic bubble.
How is your life Christian? Is there a ring of sin around you? Have you left behind, in the view of the lost world, a greasy spot where you once rested? It is important that you and I keep a clean slate before God. When the Holy Spirit convicts us it is for the purpose of us getting clean. Let me encourage you to clean up after yourself so there is no stain of sin where you are.