Genesis 13:13-18

July 18, 2011 at 5:27 pm | Posted in Bible Study | Leave a comment
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Now the men of Sodom were wicked exceedingly and sinners against the LORD. The LORD said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him, “Now lift up your eyes and look from the place where you are, northward and southward and eastward and westward; for all the land which you see, I will give it to you and to your descendants forever. “I will make your descendants as the dust of the earth, so that if anyone can number the dust of the earth, then your descendants can also be numbered. “Arise, walk about the land through its length and breadth; for I will give it to you.” Then Abram moved his tent and came and dwelt by the oaks of Mamre, which are in Hebron, and there he built an altar to the LORD.

This week, we will be taking a look at a smaller passage of scripture in the life of Abram. Before we do though, let’s recap. Continue Reading Genesis 13:13-18…

Genesis 6:9-22

February 7, 2011 at 11:40 am | Posted in Bible Study | Leave a comment
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These are the records of the generations of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his time; Noah walked with God. Noah became the father of three sons: Shem, Ham, and Japheth. Now the earth was corrupt in the sight of God, and the earth was filled with violence. God looked on the earth, and behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted their way upon the earth. Then God said to Noah, “The end of all flesh has come before Me; for the earth is filled with violence because of them; and behold, I am about to destroy them with the earth. “Make for yourself an ark of gopher wood; you shall make the ark with rooms, and shall cover it inside and out with pitch. “This is how you shall make it: the length of the ark three hundred cubits, its breadth fifty cubits, and its height thirty cubits. “You shall make a window for the ark, and finish it to a cubit from the top; and set the door of the ark in the side of it; you shall make it with lower, second, and third decks. “Behold, I, even I am bringing the flood of water upon the earth, to destroy all flesh in which is the breath of life, from under heaven; everything that is on the earth shall perish. “But I will establish My covenant with you; and you shall enter the ark–you and your sons and your wife, and your sons’ wives with you. “And of every living thing of all flesh, you shall bring two of every kind into the ark, to keep them alive with you; they shall be male and female. “Of the birds after their kind, and of the animals after their kind, of every creeping thing of the ground after its kind, two of every kind will come to you to keep them alive. “As for you, take for yourself some of all food which is edible, and gather it to yourself; and it shall be for food for you and for them.” Thus Noah did; according to all that God had commanded him, so he did. Continue Reading Genesis 6:9-22…

Ecumenism

October 6, 2010 at 6:30 am | Posted in Christianity | 5 Comments
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Everyone has a cause or number of causes that they are passionate about. We seek out others of like mind to band together and make our voices heard. Depending on the cause, we may or may not agree with everything said and we weigh the causes based on this. Recently, Glenn Beck held a rally on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial that drew 300,000 – 400,000 people. The rally was labeled as a religious one and not a political one. Among those gathered were Muslims, Mormons, Evangelicals, Catholics, and other faiths. Throughout the day, the group was encouraged to turn to God and to rule themselves. This brings me to a question that I think that the church needs to consider very carefully. Continue Reading Ecumenism…

Newslinks 09/26/10

September 26, 2010 at 4:55 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Sunday’s Newslinks brought to you by At Ease Tees

Values Voters Pick Mike Pence Over Huckabee for President
Social conservatives at the Values Voter Summit have crowned a new top contender for president, though the winner of this year’s straw poll only edged out last year’s by two points.

Anti-Poverty Groups Sound Off Ahead of High-Level MDG Summit

Pope Expresses ‘Sorrow and Shame’ Over Child Abuse

ELCA Receives 3 Lesbian Ministers

Few Americans Think Glenn Beck Is Fit to Head Religious Mov’t

Wheaton College Installs New President Continue Reading Newslinks 09/26/10…

Two Kingdoms

July 26, 2010 at 8:16 pm | Posted in Christianity | Leave a comment
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Growing up, I always loved the stories of knights and dragons and damsels. It was a great thing to imagine being a warrior defending the kingdom from evil; whether that evil was an ogre, a greedy courtesan, or a marauding band of mercenaries. To go out and save a princess was always a promising quest. As I’ve grown up, I’ve realized that there aren’t any dragons (anymore), that ogres don’t exist (at least not the fairy tale ones), and that most “princesses” today are in the “towers” they’re in because they want to be there and really don’t want to be rescued. There is however a wisp of my childhood imaginations that still lingers. I am a citizen of a kingdom and so are you. As a matter of fact, there are only two kingdoms in existence and you are part of one or the other. Continue Reading Two Kingdoms…

How did we get here?

July 12, 2010 at 8:31 pm | Posted in Christianity | Leave a comment
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Have you ever had a moment to stop and look at your life? Have you ever stopped, examined your life and where you are, and wondered: How did I get here? I’ve done that a few times and it’s always been eye-opening. I never seem to have been where I thought I was. Sometimes I was further along than I thought and other times I wasn’t as far along as I expected. As I looked back on the path that I trod to get where I was, when I began studying where I walked, I could easily see the things that had gotten me off track. Things like disobedience, willful blindness, and sin led me off of the narrow path and out into the weeds. Because of my lack of diligence or awareness I had to work harder to get back on the path. I had to push through painful thorns and cut through the vines of worldliness that were trying to hold me down and choke me out. Through God’s grace alone, I am here. I’m cut up, bruised, and worn out, but I’m here. As I was pondering these things, I couldn’t help but wonder if the body of Christ has ever done this. I can think of one time when I would say this happened, but other than that, I don’t think that something like this has ever taken place. I wonder why? Does the church not see where it is? Do they not care where they are going? Or are they afraid of what they’ll find? Regardless of the reason, I think that the church would benefit from taking a little time to look at where it is in the face of the state of the world. Continue Reading How did we get here?…

What makes something Christian?

May 17, 2010 at 6:30 am | Posted in Christianity | Leave a comment
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I have been in a few discussions lately that have completely boggled my mind. While I will readily admit that this isn’t hard to do, it didn’t happen because the depth of the discussion went over my head or because the words being used were too big. This happened basically because of some of the things that self-proclaimed “Christians” said during the discussion. The discussions took place on a page set up for a Christian radio station. If you’ve read my blog on Contemporary Christian Music, then you already know that this discussion didn’t start out good. The main topic of discussion revolved around the recent return to music of Jennifer Knapp.  For those of you that may not know, Jennifer Knapp, a Christian artist who decided to take a 7-year hiatus from music, has made her return to the music scene. Unfortunately, she isn’t the same person she once was. Ms. Knapp has made it known to the entire world that she is a lesbian and has been in a homosexual relationship for a few years now.

This announcement sparked a bit of a dialogue on the radio station’s page. There were questions as to whether or not the station should or would play her music anymore. This is where my adventure began. To me, this is a no brainer. Ms. Knapp, while possibly singing about God before, is no longer living a lifestyle that glorifies God. Because of this, the radio station should no longer play her music. If they did, it would look like the radio station was supporting her lifestyle and could confuse new Christians or mislead people into thinking that homosexuality is supported by the church. Then the discussions began.

A few people started posting how much they loved Ms. Knapp and her music and how “uplifting” it was. They talked about how Christian music isn’t about how many times a song mentions God or Jesus, instead it’s about “the deep emotions, the struggle, the quest to find God, live in God’s word, worship God, and be at peace”. Many of the participants overlooked her sin (because we’ve all sinned) and instead focused on the gift that God has given her and how she should be able to use it for His glory. People were upset that some would “judge” her or her lifestyle because we’re not supposed to do that. Others equated anything said against her as “hate”. They said that we need to “build her up” instead of “tearing her down”.  Others said that pastors, teachers, singers, and preachers should not be held to a higher standard than the rest of us because they face the same temptations that we do (even though it says that they are held to a higher standard by God…). The only time scripture was used in the discussion was when people wanted to remind others that we shouldn’t judge or “throw stones”.  There were even comments about how “one religion is no better than another “and how “all opinions should be respected”…on a CHRISTIAN music station’s page!

All of this got me mad, and then it got me thinking about some things. First, it made me sad that so few Christians seem to have an understanding of even the most basic of Christian doctrines. What exactly is being taught today in the church? Second, it made me think about what makes something Christian? What is it that determines whether or not something is Christian? Today, in churches, on Christian discussion boards, and all over the place, there are people talking about things being Christian; but what makes it Christian. Is it Christian because we decide that it is? What happens if we decide five years from now that it’s no longer Christian, does that mean that it’s not? Should we go by our feelings to determine if something is Christian? What if our feelings change? Is it not Christian anymore? Is the Christian faith built upon such a wishy-washy, flimsy foundation as whims or feelings? NO!

What makes something Christian has nothing to do with how we feel about it, or whether we like it, or even agree with it or not. Something is Christian because God said it is. Please stop and read that again. If something is Christian, it is because God said it is. Here’s what I mean. God Himself has determined what Christianity looks like. Jesus is the complete and perfect embodiment of Christianity. If something claims to be Christian and doesn’t match that embodiment, then it’s not Christian; no matter how strongly we desire it to be otherwise. This goes for people, doctrines, teaching, and everything else. Man has somehow gotten it into his head (I think this first happened in the garden) that he can come to God however he desires and God will be ok with it. He can live his life the way that he wants and give God lip service and things will be just fine. It has become so bad that some “churches” believe that a person can follow the doctrines of Buddhism, Hinduism, Mormonism, or even atheism and still be able to enter the kingdom of heaven. As long as they follow the tenets of their chosen religious system, they are good to go.

Man has been trying this ever since the beginning and it has never worked. God has ordained specific ways that He wants things done and they are to be done that way or they are wrong. In the book of Genesis, God told Adam and Eve that they could eat of any tree in the garden but one. God even told them what would happen to them if they disobeyed. In chapter 3 we see Eve and Adam both thinking that they could disobey God without consequence. They ate the fruit, and they ushered death into the world.  In Leviticus 10, Nadab and Abihu were killed on the spot for offering strange fire. God had laid out for them a specific way that they were to offer incense to Him and when they didn’t do it the way He prescribed, God killed them. In Numbers 20, the people were grumbling about not having water to drink. Moses went to God to seek guidance for what he should do. God told Moses to speak to the rock at Horeb and it would bring forth water. Moses gathered Israel together and then took the rod and struck the rock twice. Because they disobeyed God, both Moses and Aaron were unable to enter the Promised Land. Numerous times in the Old Testament Israel followed after other gods instead of remaining true to the one true God. Because of their disobedience, God punished them with famine, plague, invasion from other countries, and even captivity.

As I said above, God is the one who defines Christianity (not man) and He has chosen to do so through His Son Jesus. God has determined that for someone to be born again, they need to repent of their sins and put their faith in Christ alone for salvation. He has determined that Christians are not to condone sin, immorality, or impurity. They are not to look or act like the world but should be more and more like Christ. They are to be making disciples and preaching the true gospel. They are to be teaching others to observe exactly what Jesus commanded us. Unfortunately, the church tries to imitate the world in a horrible effort to try and lure non-Christians in to church. They seem to think that those people will enjoy the worldliness of the “church” and will stay long enough to hear about Jesus (if they even hear about Him at all). When the non-Christians leave the church (and they will), it will be for one of two reasons. Either the church’s efforts to mimic the world are so bad that they can’t stand to sit there and watch; or, they have been deceived into “making a decision for Christ”, “accepting Jesus into their heart”, or “trying Jesus” and were let down when the promised better life didn’t come. Not only have they not been saved from sin and hell, they are now inoculated against the truth because of their experience.

The entire focus of the Bible revolves around one person…and it’s not you. Or me. It is Jesus. We are to pattern our lives after the scriptures that have been written down for us. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 says that ALL scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work. The scriptures show us exactly how we are to live and not live. It shows us how we are to treat God, others, and even ourselves. It warns us of temptation, sin, pride, wrath, and hell. It encourages us to live lives that are worthy of the gospel. This and more come from scripture and scripture alone. And the church pushes that to the side in order to chase after hollow, “relevant”, worldly endeavors that will mean nothing in the grand scheme of things.

Until the church gets back to the biblical definition of Christianity, it will be filled with squishy, shallow, “feel-good” Christians who build idols of Christianity that suit them and their egos while offering no lasting hope or firm foundation.

A New You?

January 26, 2009 at 6:30 am | Posted in Christianity | Leave a comment
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It’s a new year again and that means two things:

 

A large number of people will resolve to lose weight

 

A large number of people will break the 9th commandment by the end of February.

 

This is the time of year when advertisers focus on looks, weight loss, and self esteem. They try to convince people that they need to use their products, weight machines, and other materials to lose weight, feel better, and get ready for the spring/summer season. We are made to feel bad about how we look when we don’t measure up to the ideal presented to us by Hollywood and the media.

 

Looks are a major concern for a growing number of people. Many are being conditioned from a young age to think that they have to look a certain way to be “acceptable”. They have become a major factor in a number of decisions from jobs to material things to presidential elections. Shows like “American Idol” promote this, especially when those who have more talent are passed up for others who may have a “better” look.

 

Obesity is becoming a growing problem (pun intended) in our nation. More and more children and adults are less active and not eating healthy. We are so “busy” that we don’t take the time to do the things that we need to do. Obesity has been linked to a number of health conditions and problems, and even though we know this, we continue to eat our way into an early grave.

 

Self-esteem is the most crippling of all. Our society has been told that it’s all about how you feel. If the lifestyle you live feels good to you, then that’s all that matters. If someone says something or does something and you don’t “feel” that you need to do or say it, then you don’t. As human beings, we love to feel good about ourselves and think that we are doing good. We love to see ourselves as good people who are trying to live our best life and impacting those around us for the better.

 

All of this really amazes me. We will raise our self-esteem by deceiving ourselves and telling ourselves that we’re doing really good. We will look at the junk coming from Hollywood and try to measure up to it in order to feel better. And when we don’t measure up to the standard that they set for us, we feel horrible and strive to change. Why will we do this for Hollywood, which is basically man at his worst, and not for God? I’m talking to Christians too! Why will we let ourselves watch and listen to things that God would be angry at, spend our time and money to get the right shape, and boost our self-esteem by ignoring what’s wrong with us? What about God? Why won’t we do this for Him?

 

God has a standard as well. But when we don’t measure up to it, we don’t feel bad we just blow it off. We don’t feel burdened because our lives have been in direct opposition to God or that it is our sin that nailed Jesus to the cross. We just go on about our daily lives and continue to chase the Hollywood ideal. There is a major problem with this attitude that will affect our lives in ways that we can’t even fathom. See, if we don’t measure up to the Hollywood ideal, then we may not be the most attractive person in the world. But, that is something that many of us could live with if we looked at things from outside the vanity. If we don’t measure up to God’s standard, we are in much deeper and lasting trouble. God is the judge of the universe and if we fail to meet His standard, we will spend eternity in hell. Amazingly, this doesn’t seem to bother many people. They are more concerned about the fact that their butt looks too big (or not big enough), their lips aren’t full enough, or their paycheck isn’t big enough.

 

This is because we have failed as a church to tell people the truth. Today, there are churches and “Christians” (Brian McLaren, Rob Bell, Tony Jones) who say that everyone will get to heaven whether or not they believe in Christ and repent of their sins. We have told them the things that they wanted to hear so that they fill our churches and give us money. Meanwhile, we are insulating them to the fires of hell and helping them get there more comfortably. If we told people the truth, they would understand that they don’t measure up to God’s standard and that without payment for their sins, they will go to hell. If we were to do this, we would help people separate the truth from the lie.

 

So, I’ve come up with a proposal for a lasting “new you”. I am not a doctor or physician, so take this advice knowing this. If you want to change your looks, start by abstaining from the appearance of evil (1 Thess. 5:22). Then, start living out the fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance – Gal. 5:22-3). While doing this, be an imitator of God like a little child (Eph. 5:1-13) and walk worthy of your calling (Eph. 4:1-3). Finally, let your light shine before all men instead of hiding it under a basket (Matt. 5:16). If you would like to lose weight, remove the encumbrance of your sin (Heb. 12:1-2), remove the yoke from your midst (Is. 58:6-11), and don’t let sin reign in your mortal body (Romans 6:12-14). Finally, if you want to work on your self-esteem then start with the fact that we are all sinners (Romans 3:23) and that there is no one who is good (Romans 3:10/Ps. 14:1-3). You may be wondering how this will help your self-esteem. Well, it won’t. If you understand the Bible, you know that you shouldn’t be esteeming yourself. You should be giving all the glory to God. If you ignore that you’re evil, it won’t help you. But, if you understand it and realize that you’re a sinner, it will help you immensely in a few ways. First, if you’ve been trying to work your way to heaven, you will realize that you cannot do it and it will remove a heavy burden from your life. It will also help you to recognize your position in relation to God. It will help you recognize the judgment you deserve based on that position, and it will help you to receive the gift of salvation, a clean conscience, and a new position. All things will become new (2 Cor. 5:17), you will no longer be destined for hell, you will be one of God’s children and He will love you, you will be given great and precious promises, and you can tell others about Christ and help them become new too.

 

If you do this, you will have a lasting new you. You may not be the best looking. You may still have health problems. You will not have any self-esteem, but instead will trust God with your life. You will be able to weather every storm because you will know where your salvation comes from and no matter what you go through, you will be able to hold onto the truth that you will find yourself in heaven because your are a horrible sinner whose been forgiven by a gloriously wonderful God. That is truly a new you…

The next generation

September 17, 2007 at 7:44 pm | Posted in Christianity | Leave a comment
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I saw something the other day that got me to thinking. It was a headline that said, “The giants are passing, who will take their place?” It’s a very important question for believers. With many of those we look to as giants of the faith passing away, is there anyone who can take their place? Notice I didn’t say will. I am sure that there are plenty that will try to take their place. But is there anyone that can?

 It seems that, today, Christians are not raised the same as they used to be. You might say, “that’s because times are different”. That’s true, times are different, but the Bible says that there is nothing new under the sun. One of the things that makes the Bible so amazing is the fact that throughout the hundreds of years that the Word has been going forth it has always been fresh and dynamic. It doesn’t matter how different the times are, the Word still applies. And that’s what has me concerned.

 I look at the church today, especially the youth, and wonder “what happened?” The kids dress just like the world, they talk like the world, they think like the world, and many of the leaders and parents just condone it. We convice ourselves that it’s ok for them to do all of that because we don’t want them to stand out or be persecuted. So we let them dress in clothes that reveal things that only their future spouses should see. We let them backtalk us and others with such disrespect and venom you’d think they were getting ready to join the Navy. We let them act like little kids and rant and rave when they don’t get their way. We let them completely forsake everything their supposed to believe, but at least we let them keep the name “Christian”. Continue Reading The next generation…


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