A buried treasure

November 13, 2010 at 2:27 pm | Posted in Christianity | Leave a comment
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Think of something precious to you. Not someone, some thing. Maybe this is a ring that has been handed down in your family for generations. Maybe this is a tool your grandfather gave you. It may be something from a loved one who is no longer here. Whatever it is, think about it. Could you describe it to me? What color is it? How big is it? What is it made of? Does it have any distinguishing features? Do you remember the day that you got it? Where you were? What was going on when you got it?

For most of us this exercise comes pretty easily. As humans, we hold on to those things that we hold dear. The things that are most important to use have a prominent place in our hearts. Now, think back on that object that is precious to you. See yourself holding it (if possible). Now imagine that you took the item outside; somewhere in your backyard. And you dug a hole, dropped that precious object into it, covered it back up with dirt, and tamped it down. Continue Reading A buried treasure…

Influence

May 24, 2010 at 5:26 am | Posted in Christianity | Leave a comment
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Whether we realize it or not, we are influenced by many things. We see an advertisement for the newest car, the latest way to lose weight, or the fastest way to make money and we have the opportunity to be influenced. The more we see the ad, the more likely we are to be influenced to purchase the product. It happens for cars, houses, grocery items, toys (think about all the ads you see at Christmas), and movies.  We see people happy with the new product or service and we can’t help but think that it may be the same way for us. We see the newest TV shows with the hottest stars and our interest is piqued. We see the latest summer blockbuster with the most amazing special effects and we have to see it. The chart topping hits play on our favorite radio station, we can’t get the song out of our head, and the next thing we know, we’re buying the CD or iTunes download.

The influence of music, movies, advertising, and other media forms has become so pervasive that we hardly even notice it anymore. We have become desensitized to it. We hardly realize that we are not making the choices anymore. Add to this the “herd mentality” where friends and family are acting on this influence and it becomes even stronger. We seem to be in full control of our decisions, and fail to recognize the influence that the environment around us – the things we see, hear, smell, taste and feel – has such a profound influence on what we say and do. Continue Reading Influence…

Just Stop!

December 29, 2008 at 5:12 pm | Posted in Christianity | 5 Comments
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As 2009 begins, I wanted to write a plea to Christians, to other faiths, to Americans, and to the world. My plea is this:

 

Just Stop!

 

To Americans: STOP blaming everything but our sins for the problems that we are now facing! Do you realize that God promised all the problems that we have at this moment to the nation who turns its back on Him? From diseases, to plagues, to enemy attacks, to financial instability, these things are because of our sins. It doesn’t matter who we put into office or what kind of legislation or efforts we make, unless our nation turns back to God, things will only get worse. Not only that, but why not take the time to learn some of our nation’s 200 year history? So many people talk about how having Christianity in the political process, the government, and in schools is unconstitutional because of the “separation of church and state”. Do you realize how ludicrous you look when doing this because you don’t know your own country’s history? The phrase “separation of church and state” is not in the Constitution. It comes from a letter by Thomas Jefferson to the Danbury Baptists. But the idea of “separation of church and state” is not in there either. The founding fathers of this nation feared God and depended on Him to guide their nation. The only thing found in the constitution is the idea that the nation cannot declare a state religion. The U.S. has never declared a state religion although, until recently, it has been recognized by most as a Christian nation. How much has to happen to us before we cast aside our pride and admit that IT IS OUR FAULT?!?!

 

Also, to those who lead our nation, what are you thinking? STOP thinking only of yourselves and nothing of the nation or the future. You don’t seem to care what happens as long as you get yours. You are supposed to be serving the people and yet you’ve done nothing to help our nation get back on track. You vote yourselves a raise every year, even though you don’t do your job, no matter what the economy is like. In the meantime, thousands of people are being laid off and put in positions where they can’t even afford to feed their families, while you make six figure salaries. Why? STOP relying on everything but God and leading our nation away from the One who can actually save us. You rub shoulders with those who pay you the most money while ignoring the people you’re supposed to be representing. You seem to have forgotten the history of our nation and the giants whose shoulders you’re standing on. Just STOP! STOP blasting America and her leaders while you sleep with the enemy and cater to them and their desires (thank you Mr. Carter…). And, all of this is going on while our soldiers are fighting these people overseas! STOP allowing the leaders of foreign countries to speak at American universities like dignitaries when they’ve made it clear that they hate America. Just in case there are a few in Congress who actually strive to do what God desires, then I encourage you to be bolder in your faith. Either you are being overshadowed by the wickedness and deception of the majority or you’re not speaking loud enough to be heard.

 

To those who preach tolerance: First, learn the definition of the word. It is not being accepting of everything and everyone by compromising your faith. Being tolerant is putting up with something even though you disagree with it. STOP saying that you are tolerant and open to all beliefs when you rail against Christianity and those who follow Christ. That doesn’t seem very tolerant (by either definition), if you ask me. You whine and complain saying Christians are intolerant, but you practice the very same thing in regard to Christians. If you really want to be tolerant, then treat Christians and Christianity like you treat everyone else. If you don’t want to do that, then treat everyone else just like you treat Christians. The truth is Christianity, while exclusive, is the most tolerant belief system there is! If you look around the world, you don’t see much about Muslims being killed (unless it’s by other Muslims), but you hear about the Christians in Iraq who are living naked in the woods because the Muslims there have threatened their lives. You don’t hear much about Hindus being killed, but you hear about the Christians in Orissa being killed by Hindu radicals for the death of a high-level Hindu cleric, even though it’s been proven that the Christians had nothing to do with it! How many atheists are being persecuted and killed for their lack of faith? If you’re going to preach tolerance, then live it out as well. Otherwise, STOP!

 

To Muslims:  STOP trying to compare your beliefs to Christianity. They aren’t even close. Allah is not the same as the God of the Bible. Islam is not the religion of peace that many Muslims try to convince Westerners it is (read Surahs 9:29, 5:33). We don’t worship the same God. We differ on the fact that Jesus is God. In Islam, you have to work for your salvation. You must do a list of things to be saved. Even then, you’re not guaranteed that you’ll be saved when judgment comes. In Christianity, you can do nothing to help with your salvation. It is by grace that we are saved and nothing else (Ephesians 2:8-9). In Islam, an “angel” (Gabriel) came and gave the “revelation” of Islam to Muhammed. Oddly enough, much of the “revelation” is based on 2nd century Jewish fables and self-serving “decrees” given to Muhammed by “Allah”. In Christianity, God Himself spoke to prophets and patriarchs in the Old Testament, and through His Son in the New Testament (Hebrews 1:2). To those in the U.S. who call themselves Muslims: read the Quran and the Hadith. If you’re not following this, then can you really be called a Muslim? You claim that the Bible is corrupted and untrustworthy even though the Quran has a myriad of problems and contradictions that you seem to ignore and that cannot be reconciled. You don’t have anything in common with Christianity except where the Quran has correctly lifted verses from scripture…

 

To atheists/evolutionists: Whether or not you believe that God exists is your choice, but at least be intellectually honest about what you believe. STOP saying your belief is based on “cold, hard facts”. Your belief that God does not exist is a metaphysical one. Many of you have been trying to deny, rewrite, or erase the history of our country that shows that those who founded our nation were men and women who not only believed God, they feared Him and it’s apparent in their writings and quotes. Also, STOP trying lump the God of the Bible together with false gods like Allah, Buddha, Wotam, Odin, Zeus, and the “flying spaghetti monster”. I also have to wonder if you really believe what you say. According to what you believe, God doesn’t exist. If that’s true, then there is no basis for morality. I may be missing something, but if that’s true, shouldn’t there be a lot more bloodshed and anarchy? If you really believe in “survival of the fittest” and “man makes the rules”, then why don’t we see more atheists and evolutionists attacking others or using violence to get what they want? Isn’t that how nature works according to what you believe? Not only that, but why do leading atheists (including Richard Dawkins) admit that the atheistic/evolutionary worldview is savage and try to promote a Christian morality without Christ? If you don’t believe that God exists, why does He bother you so much? Why not just be honest and say that you don’t believe He exists because you don’t like the moral laws that come with His existence? Why not just be honest and say that you hate Him and be done with it?

 

To homosexuals: STOP hiding behind excuses. You claim that you are victims because you can’t have the same rights as heterosexual people. In actuality, you do have the same rights as heterosexuals. You just choose not to take part in some of them because they contradict the lifestyle that you choose to live in. Also, STOP trying to compare homosexuality to skin color. The color of someone’s skin is not a choice they make. They are born with it. To compare the “trouble” that homosexuals are going through to the race issues of the 60’s is ridiculous and an insult to those who suffered through those times and even lost their lives in the troubles. Homosexuality is not genetic. The Bible says that when God created man, He made a man and woman. He then instituted marriage between the two in Genesis 2. That’s what marriage is. That is the definition of marriage and to be married, you need to ascribe to it as God created it. If you choose not to, then you are not married. STOP pretending to be Christians when you are living a sinful lifestyle. The Bible clearly says that homosexuality is an abomination to God. This is not just an Old Testament idea (Leviticus 18:22). Paul spends a lot of time in the New Testament saying the same thing (1 Cor. 6:9, Gal. 5:16-19, Rom. 1). If you choose to reject what the scripture says and go ahead to live a sinful lifestyle, then you cannot be a Christian. You are choosing to rebel against God and His Word even though many of you have been told very clearly what the Bible says. That is not the lifestyle of a Christian and it will prevent you from being saved. To those who support “homosexual Christians”, STOP! You are doing nothing but perpetuating a false view of what scripture says and deceiving others into believing they are saved when they aren’t! If you’re going to attack Christians (like that weak Prop 8 musical) at least get some idea of what Biblical Christians really believe (see the next section).

 

To those who hate Christ/Christianity: If you are going to attack Christianity/Christ, please STOP using the same weak arguments. Please STOP setting up straw men that are easily knocked down and ridiculed. I know that it makes you look good and that it helps to persuade people to agree with you, but it is poor form. Not only that but if you’re going to argue, please STOP with the potty mouth. It doesn’t do anything to further your argument and makes you look like a juvenile delinquent (no offense to juvenile delinquents intended…).  If you’re going to attack Christianity, at least make an argument based on Biblical Christianity. Take the time to do some research on what scripture actually says. Do the work to understand what true Christians actually believe and what the Bible really says and then make your argument. If your not willing to do that (whether it’s because you’re too lazy, you think that Christians are beneath you and not worth the time, etc…), then STOP whining and arguing! Many of the arguments used nowadays are the same regurgitated arguments that have been refuted for years (some for centuries). Also, please understand that many (if not the majority) of the “pastors” and “evangelists” that you see on television do not represent Biblical Christianity.

 

To those religions who claim to have ties to Christianity: God the Father is eternal. He is not a man who has been elevated to “god” status, nor does He have any wives. Jesus is eternal as well. He is not a “spirit child” of the “Father” and one of “His” wives. Jesus is God and not just a man or prophet. He is NOT the spirit brother of Lucifer. You cannot do anything to help yourself to enter heaven. STOP trying to force people to believe unnecessary things (dogmas, etc…) as part of their salvation. STOP adding to or taking away from Biblical Christianity to suit yourself. STOP redefining what Christianity is instead of seeing it the way God defines it. STOP trying to read modern ideas and thoughts into the scriptures. Instead, read the Bible the way that it was meant to be read. STOP trying to weave Eastern mysticism (yoga, “centering” prayer, etc…) into the gospel (Rob Bell, Brian McClaren, Doug Pagitt)! STOP claiming that everyone will be saved (universalism), even if they don’t know Jesus. This is a horrible heresy that has no grounds in scripture. You are propagating a false doctrine that will lead numerous people to hell. STOP! If you are not going to follow Biblical Christianity, then please STOP calling yourself a Christian.

 

To pastors: STOP preaching a false gospel and making false converts. You are supposed to be teaching, protecting, and leading people to Christ. If you’re not preaching the truth of scripture, then STOP calling yourself a pastor, STOP calling what you speak a sermon, and STOP calling your group of people a church. If you’re going to spend your time tickling ears and entertaining people instead of warning people about hell and motivating those who believe to go out with you to preach the gospel, then you’re not a pastor, you’re a motivational speaker or a cheap entertainer. STOP preaching prosperity as the reason Christ came and telling others they should be “blessed” and if they’re not, they are missing out (Kenneth Copeland, Jesse Duplantis, Jerry Savelle, Bill Winston, Creflo Dollar). STOP talking about the blessing of Abraham as dealing with material things and actually read the whole text of Galatians 3 in context. STOP saying that we should be “blessed” so that we can turn around and bless others. I can go out and preach the gospel and not have to spend anything, and I will, if it I really want to bless people. STOP encouraging the greed of others to seek material “blessings”. STOP teaching others that they can somehow create the things that they want by “speaking in faith”. STOP telling people that they shouldn’t be sick or they might not be saved. STOP telling people that they should be speaking to the weather, or their circumstances, or any number of other things like they have control. STOP blurring the line between God and man. You bring God down to the level of man and raise man up to the level of God. STOP replacing the true gospel with one that focuses on social ills (Rick Warren). STOP trying to tell believers (or those who call themselves believers) that they need to be spending their time and money helping fight poverty, illiteracy, and hunger. While these are things that we do need to help fight, they are not as important as the eternal destiny of the souls of humanity. STOP saying that the focus of Christianity is “joy, peace, love, and hope”. IT’S NOT! The focus of Christianity is the glory of God through the salvation of man by God’s grace brought about through the death of Christ and His resurrection. The Bible gives no guarantee that the Christian life will be sunshine and roses. As a matter of fact, Jesus gives the promise of persecution to His followers a number of times. STOP teaching people they should feel good about themselves (Joel Osteen, Robert Schuller) when the Bible says that they are wretched sinners. STOP telling people that they just need to “be positive” and “think good thoughts”. STOP trying to be relevant and mimic the world. If you are riding motorcycles on the stage or using secular songs as the basis for your “sermons” STOP! You are not only making a fool of yourself, you are giving haters of Christ an easy time mocking the Lord. STOP courting sinners and tickling their ears with what they want to hear instead of preaching the truth. STOP talking to the unsaved to determine how you’re going to run your church (Bill Hybels). STOP trying to make programs to bring people in the church in the hopes that they might get saved by osmosis while listening to one of your weak, unscriptural messages. STOP shrinking back from speaking Biblical truth because it might offend someone or cause the numbers in the church to go down. STOP compromising the gospel.

 

To those who support unbiblical ideas: STOP calling abortion the removal of “blobs of tissue” when it’s murder and an abomination to God. STOP saying that abortion is about a woman’s choice, when it is about whether you are going to follow God or man. STOP saying that everyone will be saved. I know I said this above, but it bears repeating. Not all religions lead to heaven and God. Only one does. Jesus said that He is “the way, the truth, and the life” and “that no man comes to the Father but through Him” (John 14:6). This means that if you haven’t repented of your sins and put your trust in Christ, then you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. STOP telling people that hell is not a real place or avoiding the topic at all. Jesus makes it clear that hell is real and that those who are found with their sins unpaid for on the Day of Judgment will be sent there.

 

To Christians in general: If you’re one of the dying breed that obey Biblical Christianity and what the Bible says, keep fighting. Don’t compromise the truth in the name of “love” or “tolerance”. Don’t grow weary because you think that you are the only one who is trying to follow Biblical Christianity the way that Jesus laid it down in the gospels. Remember that if you are truly following the scriptures and doing what God has called all Christians to do, people will hate you. When you speak the truth of the Bible and tell wretched sinners that they will go to hell because they are in rebellion against God, they will not like you. Unfortunately, in America, you will be in the minority. There will be numerous legions of “believers” who will tell you that you need to focus on the love of God. They will shake their head as you preach the truth because they don’t understand it. You will find yourself in hardship and may find yourself alone at times. Nonetheless, it is a worthy thing that you do regardless of whether or not the majority of “believers” agree with you. I encourage you to look for those of like mind and heart. Find those who are more concerned about the truth being preached and the lost hearing how they can be soundly saved. Be bold in the preaching of the truth. Stand in the open square and shout to be heard. Don’t let emotion keep you from telling others the reality of hell and the future of those who die in their sins. Make sure that your motive is the same as Christ’s. Grieve over those who walk away from you at the end of the message without repenting, but trust that God is well able to move on their hearts and confirm the seed of truth that you preached.

 

If you’re one of the many people who claim to be Christian but you do not follow the Biblical view of what a Christian is/should be, then I would have to wonder. If you hold to a worldview that doesn’t agree with what scripture says, then I would have to wonder. If you openly live your life in opposition to what the Bible says, then I don’t have to wonder, you’re not a Christian. It’s really that simple. If Christianity is just a way for you to be “blessed”, or a way for you to feel good about yourself, or a way for you to live the life you want to live; then I don’t just wonder; I’m concerned for you. Christianity is about the sinfulness of man. It’s about how man is a wretch and is unable to save himself. It is about how he rebels against God on a daily (if not minute by minute) basis and is at enmity with Him. It is about how man deserves hell because of the sins he’s committed against a holy and just God. And, it’s about the fact that despite how decrepit and wicked man is, God came to earth and died for us. It’s about how God paid the fine that we couldn’t pay so that He could dismiss the legal case against us. Because of God’s Law, we are all guilty. The punishment for the crime against a perfect, eternal God is eternal damnation in hell. Because God paid our fine, if we are willing to do things on His terms, we can have our case dismissed and be free to go. For this to happen, we don’t “ask Jesus into our heart”. We must repent (turn form our sins) and put our trust in Jesus (like we would trust a parachute). If we will do this, then God will forgive our sins and grant us eternal life. If that’s not your version of Christianity, then I would urge you to examine your motives, your understanding, and your heart. Please make sure of your salvation and know that your eternity and the eternity of those around you may be at stake!


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