Thinking on Independence Day

July 4, 2013 at 10:23 pm | Posted in Christianity | Leave a comment
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There are a lot of other countries I could be in, but not one that I would rather be in. I love my country and it grieves me to see the direction we seem to be headed in.

The parallels (coincidence?) between the state and the church are intriguing to say the least. We have the most decadent country in the world where even the poorest have iPhones. The church is no different. We have the hottest sound systems, big projections systems, speakers and stages with lighting and everything a 80’s arena rock band would need. And yet….

There is a severe lack of education in our country. The majority of Americans don’t know the first thing about the history of their country and, sadly, many don’t seem to care. If you’ve seen any of the old “Jaywalking” episodes, this is obvious. Part of this is due to human nature, but a lot of it is just not taught in schools or in families anymore. What history is taught has been rewritten by liberal revisionists who want to removed God, capitalism, and anything else that goes against their socialist agenda from public view.

Again, the church doesn’t seem to be any different. The church is filled with many people who have what amounts to nothing more than a third grade education. They know the story of David and Goliath, they could tell you about Daniel and the lion’s den; but they can’t tell you about justification, propitiation, or explain why the believe what they believe. They can’t recognize false doctrine or aberrant  theology, but since it’s not a big deal, it’s not seen. The church, like the country, is driven more by emotion than truth. It’s all about how someone feels and not what is true.

In our country it’s become all about image. It reminds me of the Sprite bit “Image is Everything”. Everything we have is designer/’name-brand’. It’s all designed to draw attention to us and who we are and what we have. It allows us to build/create an image of us as we want others to see us. We fear anything and everything that will destroy that image because it would prove us to be hypocrites or show that we aren’t everything we’ve built us up to be.

It’s the same in the church. It’s become all about image in many places…We want people to see us the way we want them to and anything else is unacceptable. It’s about designer Christianity. Who you know and what they can do for you is more important than knowing the truth. The size of our church, the number of people in Sunday School, the amount of money brought in (often through less than scriptural means) are all indicators used to determine if a church is growing. These are the goals and hallmarks of many an American church. They are not the goals and hallmarks found in scripture.

I know. I said at the beginning that I love my country, and I do. It’s precisely because I love my country that I write my concern. Our countries history is filled with men and women who feared God. These men and women are what we call patriots and statesmen. They put the country above personal interests. They didn’t see politics as a career but as a privilege. They saw it as an opportunity to serve the country and their fellow Americans. They made laws based on the absolute morals found in Judeo-Christian beliefs. They made an honest effort to do what was right for the country and the system they put in place made sure that it was as fair as possible. And they knew when to step aside and let someone else try their hand at serving.

It is the same for the church. The history of the church is filled with men and women who feared God. They served one another out of respect for God and each other. They didn’t see Christianity as a career but as a faith to be believed and lived out. There are men like the apostles and women like Lydia and Priscilla. There are Timothy, Silvanus, Luke, John Mark, Barnabas, and numerous unnamed servants of God. There are those that gave their lives as martyrs and those who spent their lives in exile because of their faith. Men like Augustine, Chrysostom, Irenaeus, and Polycarp carried on the fatih when they were gone. If we move closer to our own time, there are men like Hus, Wycliffe, Luther, Calvin, Farrell, Knox, Latimer, Ridley, and so many other who thundered the truth of the gospel without fear of men and with concern for the path that so many trod so lightly.

Today is almost over now but there is still time to take a moment to remember that this is more than just a holiday. It’s a day to remember the sacrifices that have been made for our country to have freedoms that no other country has and that numerous people from other countries have given everything to move here to enjoy. It’s a day to remember what our country has been founded on (whether you like it or not). It’s a day to stop and think about what we might do if in the situations they were put in. A day to teach our children the meaning of independence. And a day to recognize that, without a gracious Savior, none of it would be possible. Independence from tyranny is always good, but unless the people fight to gain and keep it, it will soon fade. Independence from sin is more than good, and we have a Savior who has both gained and will keep that independence for us.

Happy Independence Day!

Truth and discernment vs. Emotion and “tolerance”

January 4, 2013 at 6:51 pm | Posted in Christianity | Leave a comment
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The modern evangelical church has replaced truth and discernment for emotion and “tolerance”. Doing the hard work of studying and rightly dividing the word of truth is no longer in vogue. It takes too much time and forces the disciple to compare their current theological stance with what scripture actually says. Added to this is the fear of speaking the truth of scripture in defense of the gospel. It is a serious sacrilege to tell someone they’re wrong or to call someone a false teacher or even (gasp!) a heretic.

All of this has been replaced by the squishy, Kum-by-ya style “community of believers”. No study is necessary because we’re all already convinced of what we believe. We can even believe contradictory things because there is no systematic approach to the Christian faith. Instead, we pigeonhole each belief in its own special place and only pull it out (and only all by itself) when others are talking about the same belief (and only if it matches our belief perfectly!). Once that uncomfortable five minutes is over, we put it back in its pigeonhole to forget about it until needed. The rest of our time is spent socializing over Starbucks and Krispy Kremes.

Because of this, there would NEVER be any thought of questioning the beliefs of others. This would not only mean that the accuser was convinced of their own beliefs, but that they took the time to understand and verify with scripture the beliefs of the other person. That’s twice the work and all you get is the chance of losing a friend or group of friends. Who wants that? What’s sound doctrine with you can have a larger group of friends? No, no, no…it’s much easier be an evanjellyfish. Let’s use emotion and anecdotes to drive people to the altar in hordes like Charles Finney. Maybe I’ll go dust off the anxious seat….

Persecution Friday – Laos: Young Khmu Persecuted

September 7, 2012 at 6:30 am | Posted in VOM Fridays | Leave a comment
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For more news on what’s really happening to Christians around the world go to the Voice of the Martyrs website:

A young Khmu woman is being persecuted by her family for converting to Christianity. The family of 17-year-old Phum has burned her Bible and hymnbook, forbade her to attend church and even threatened her life in attempts to persuade her to recant her faith.

Phum became a Christian after attending church with a friend in Oudomxay province. Impassioned to learn more about Christ, Phum studied her Bible and attended church every week. Knowing that her family would disapprove — especially her older brother, who works for the Lao Patriotic party — she tried to hide where she went each Sunday. Continue Reading Persecution Friday – Laos: Young Khmu Persecuted…

Persecution Friday – Israel: Christian Church Evicted

August 31, 2012 at 6:30 am | Posted in VOM Fridays | Leave a comment
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For more news on what’s really happening to Christians around the world go to the Voice of the Martyrs website:

Pastor Steven Khoury from Holy Land Missions in Jerusalem has received a 30-day notice of eviction from the owner of the building where his church currently worships.

“The pressure from the Muslim community is so strong that the landlord is given no other choice but to do this,” Khoury wrote in a letter to The Voice of the Martyrs. “With just 30 days left to move a church community, another Band-Aid solution of renting a place is not a viable solution. Our church community needs permanent roots.” Continue Reading Persecution Friday – Israel: Christian Church Evicted…

Persecution Friday – Nigeria: University Attacked

August 24, 2012 at 6:30 am | Posted in VOM Fridays | Leave a comment
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For more news on what’s really happening to Christians around the world go to the Voice of the Martyrs website:

Extremists killed 19 Christians, including two professors, as they worshiped on the grounds of Bayero University in Kano, Nigeria, on Sunday, April 22. An additional 22 people were injured.

Christians from two churches, the Chapel of Victory and the St. Stephen Catholic Church, were meeting at the university when unidentified gunmen attacked them at about 9 a.m. The attackers hurled small, homemade explosives into the crowd of worshipers and fired on those trying to escape. They then fled on motorbikes and in a car, according to eyewitnesses. Continue Reading Persecution Friday – Nigeria: University Attacked…

Persecution Friday – Bounchan: Imprisoned for Christ

August 17, 2012 at 6:30 am | Posted in VOM Fridays | Leave a comment
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For more news on what’s really happening to Christians around the world go to the Voice of the Martyrs website:

Khmu Christian Bounchan Kanthavong spent 13 years and eight months in prison in Laos for his faith. He was released earlier this year. Before he came to faith in Christ, Bounchan was an assistant district governor for the communists.

In 1965, Bounchan had been a soldier in Laos. He eventually became the assistant of an important official. He first encountered Christians when he was sent to study politics in Tha Gnong in 1975. At the time, he didn’t pay much attention, but later as assistant district governor, he visited villages where there were Christians. He was intrigued by their worship, but these Christians were afraid of him because of his government position. Continue Reading Persecution Friday – Bounchan: Imprisoned for Christ…

Persecution Friday – Pakistan: Yousaf Acquitted

August 10, 2012 at 6:30 am | Posted in VOM Fridays | Leave a comment
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For more news on what’s really happening to Christians around the world go to the Voice of the Martyrs website:

Dildar Yousaf, the Pakistani Christian arrested and charged with blasphemy for saving his 8-year-old nephew from Muslim attackers, was acquitted March 26 after prosecutors failed to produce any evidence against him.

“I was produced in court three times during the case proceedings, but not one accuser ever turned up at the hearings,” Yousaf told Compass Direct News. “You cannot imagine my joy when the prison officials told me that I had been acquitted by the court.” Continue Reading Persecution Friday – Pakistan: Yousaf Acquitted…

Persecution Friday – Pakistan: VOM Helps Family

August 3, 2012 at 6:30 am | Posted in VOM Fridays | Leave a comment
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For more news on what’s really happening to Christians around the world go to the Voice of the Martyrs website:

The Voice of the Martyrs recently helped a Christian couple in Pakistan facing financial difficulty and threats from their Muslim family. “Aasim” and his wife, “Saba,” have had a hard life. In 2009, Aasim broke both legs and his right arm in an accident, leaving him unable to work. His wife worked to support their family.

They have had to move three times to avoid Saba’s Muslim family, who have been looking for them with the intent to kill them. Even so, the couple trusted that God would provide for them. A VOM worker eventually came into contact with Aasim and Saba and helped them move to a shelter near Lahore. Continue Reading Persecution Friday – Pakistan: VOM Helps Family…

Persecution Friday – Turkey: Five Years Later

July 27, 2012 at 6:30 am | Posted in VOM Fridays | Leave a comment
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For more news on what’s really happening to Christians around the world go to the Voice of the Martyrs website:

Today is the five-year anniversary of the martyrdom of three very special men. On April 18, 2007, Necati Aydin, Ugur Yuksel and Tilmann Geske were brutally murdered at a Christian publishing house in Malatya, a city in southeastern Turkey. Five young Islamists bound and tortured the two Turkish Christians and one German Christian before killing them at the Zirve Publishing House.

Five suspects, Emre Gunaydin, Salih Guler, Cuma Ozdemir, Hamit Ceker and Abuzer Yildirim, were arrested while trying to leave the crime scene. Their trial, which began on Nov. 22, 2007, has yet to be completed. Prosecutors have tried to show that the murders were related to a sweeping plot to destabilize the Turkish government. Continue Reading Persecution Friday – Turkey: Five Years Later…

Persecution Friday – Laos / Vietnam: Standing Firm

July 20, 2012 at 6:30 am | Posted in VOM Fridays | Leave a comment
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For more news on what’s really happening to Christians around the world go to the Voice of the Martyrs website:

Hmong believers in Laos and Vietnam face opposition from village authorities because of their faith in Christ. Within the past month, authorities in several villages have expelled at least six families that converted to Christianity. The believers are struggling to farm and earn a living.

Three families were expelled from their village in Cao Bang province, in northern Vietnam, because of their recent adoption of Christianity. Each family came to faith after a Hmong Christian worker prayed for an ill family member and the family member recovered from illness. The families, which include a total of 13 people, must find a new place to live because officials will not allow Christians in their village. Continue Reading Persecution Friday – Laos / Vietnam: Standing Firm…

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