Two Reasons

October 30, 2013 at 6:18 pm | Posted in Christianity | Leave a comment
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I’ve been thinking today and wonder if I haven’t found two reasons the church in America looks like it does. Both reasons go hand in hand and seem to be becoming the norm across the nation.

The first reason is a disregard for the Word of God. For some, this is apathy period. They don’t read it, they don’t study it, and they don’t care. But they still call themselves Christians. It seems that their church membership/attendance and the menial “outreach” events they participate in are enough. While this may be a large group, I don’t think that it’s the biggest group. That moniker goes to the group made of those who “study” scripture but don’t live by it. They do read it and they do study it (even to the point of looking at Greek and Hebrew!) and yet, their lives don’t reflect that. Some even go so far as to boast and brag about their studies or look for ways to show off their quickly learned “wisdom”, but those verses have done nothing to actually impact them or change them. Scripture says “Do not lie”, but in action or deed many professing Christians do just that. Ananias and Sapphira died because of only ONE LIE. They sit under teaching that is more about social justice or community agenda (we have to knock on doors and have all these different events!) but there is nothing in the teaching to drive those same Christians to the cross or to understand themselves and others the way scripture portrays them. Continue Reading Two Reasons…

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Fear and Anxiety

October 18, 2013 at 8:57 pm | Posted in Christianity | Leave a comment
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With the constant threat of a government shutdown, a default on payments, or any other crisis the U.S. government can manufacture lurking around every corner, it is really easy to be concerned, fearful, or anxious about the future. Even without the manufactured crises, the state of the economy, the lack of jobs, the growing debt, and the rise of crime are just as scary. It seems that there are no end to the number of new (and existing) pills and medications coming out to combat stress. Continue Reading Fear and Anxiety…

Thoughts on 9/11

September 11, 2013 at 6:52 pm | Posted in Christianity | Leave a comment
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12 years ago today, our nation was rocked to it’s foundation by the actions of a few (although more could have been unknowingly thwarted) Muslims who hijacked planes and flew them into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center (WTC). Many of us have heard stories throughout the day remembering that tragic day. Many will watch documentaries and dramas tonight recounting the harrowing tales of those who survived the death and destruction. It is good to do these things. We must remember the tragedies that we’ve suffered else we get too full of ourselves. But, having done some of these things today, I have to ask a question that I think is very important.

What have we learned?

Is today just another quasi-holiday where we go through the motions of mourning and remembering? Is it another day where we hold special events to “honor” those who were killed? Is it a day where we give a reassuring hug to those who survived and then move on with the rest of our day? If that’s all that September 11th has become, then I have to say that I’m both sad and concerned.

I think it may be safe to say that September 11th, 2001 was the largest attack on American soil since Pearl Harbor took place. No one would dare attack Americans on their home turf, right? No country would be stupid enough to bring the fight to us, would they? No group, organization, or faction would actually consider harming us in our own cities and towns, would they? You know the answer: Yes, they would. And they did. The safety of the American shorelines had been broken and Muslims had brought their hatred for the West to the very place they could do the most damage. We were complacent. We believed that we had done all that was needed to remain safe and that bubble of protection couldn’t be breached.

We were wrong.

The attack was quick and deadly, just like Pearl Harbor. But, I have to go back to my question. What have we learned? What about Pearl Harbor or 9/11 have we learned that will allow us to be safer? What have we learned about life? What have we learned about God? What have we learned about ourselves? 12 years later, I would have to say that we’ve learned almost nothing. What makes matters worse is that it seems that we’ve ignored some of the easiest lessons we SHOULD have learned. Nowadays, Islam is a protected religion. If anyone says anything about the Muslim faith or what it means practically, they’re labelled Islamophobes. It doesn’t matter if what they say is true. the Quran makes it clear that there is a war going on between Muslims and non-Muslims and it won’t end until the non-Muslims are converted or killed. But, that’s not tolerant, is it? Instead, our nation has turned a blind eye to the truth of Islam in an effort to appease those who follow it while Christians are having their liberties stripped from them on a daily basis by Muslims, homosexuals, and other anti-Christian groups. I wonder if that’s because they know that Christians won’t kill them because of it?

After the attacks, life was precious to us. The loss of life was seen for what it was and the 2,974 people who lost their lives were respected and honored. Their lives were valuable. But now? They are names on a monument. They are blips on the periphery of our tunnel vision and we hardly hold them in our minds and hearts. We’re too busy googling Miley Cyrus’ new music (porn) video. Just as our fear and humility was raised to a new level immediately after the attacks, so too was our value of life. And a dodecade later (yes, I made that word up), we gasp and weep at the children killed by chemical weapons in Syria while we murder 3,000 children every day in the name of choice. I think our double standard is showing.

Are we safer now? I think the words “Boston Marathon bomber” should be enough of an answer. We had information on the bombers and we did nothing with it. In the last 12 years, we’ve become numb to the pain we all experienced on 9/11. It’s been forgotten and replaced by a shallow, superficial tweaking of our emotions (except for those who were in it). We feel differently as the images dances before us taking us back to that day, but it’s a fleeting wisp of emotion that does nothing to motivate us. How do I know this to be true? Simple. Right after the attacks, large numbers of people flocked to churches across the nation. Politicians “prayed” in public. God’s name was invoked (in vain) as we worked through this tragedy. And within 3 weeks, church attendance had dropped to almost where it had been before the attacks. Are we so fickle and self-centered? Are we so sin-hardened that we think that we can run to God when we face troubles and then go back to our “normal” lives once the danger has passed? Has God become our genie in a bottle that grants us what we wish on our command and who is otherwise kept in his small decorative bottle until we need something from Him again? Are we so arrogant?

I think over the time since the attacks, what we have learned about ourselves is most apparent. We have increased our rebellion against God. We have elevated ourselves to the point that we’re entitled to everything that we think will make us happy without having to lift a finger to earn it. We have put entertainment and sports above all else and have forgone all knowledge and shame. Our lusts and passions have consumed us to the point that common sense and conscience are ignored.

The saddest part of all of this is the fact that it’s really hard to tell the church apart from the rest of the world. We’ve increased our rebellion against God. We’ve rejected His truth and His Word for our own idolatrous images. They may not be wood or stone, but they’re idols nonetheless. We’ve elevated ourselves to the height of arrogance. We think that we’re little gods and that we can command God to act on our behalf. We think that our way of preaching, teaching, singing, or “doing church” is the best way; even though God has laid out in His Word the way things are to be done. We think that we’re entitled to God’s blessing without having to be changed. We can sin against God and others with no repercussions. There’s no honesty or humility anymore. It’s all about image. We’ve replaced expositional preaching and sound Biblical doctrine with business methods, catchy message titles, games, entertainment, sports, and pastors who dress as Batman, Spiderman, Elvis, or a Transformer. We spend much time being busy in the church, but what do we have to show for it? Have our lives glorified God? We think we’re invincible. We’ve come to the “altar”, said the prayer, shed some tears, signed a card, and said “Jesus is Lord”; so we’re good, right? That’s all that’s necessary, isn’t it? There doesn’t have to be any life change. There isn’t any true fellowship necessary. There isn’t any honest look at our words or actions. As long as our facade is without spot and no one knows the truth about us, we’re good.

Is this really how things are supposed to be? Are we supposed to be about cliques, seekers, health, wealth, denomination, church membership, or any of the other myriad things that have become milestones for the modern Christian? Have the words of the Lord just become a soft echo in the back of our mind? Have we learned nothing in the last 12 years? 2,974 people died on 9/11. How many were born again? How many had repented of their sins and put their faith in Christ alone to save them? How many knew without a doubt that, as their life passed out of their grasp that day, they would stand before the glorious Savior who shed His precious blood for their sins and made them whole? How many sad goodbye that day knowing that they would one day be reunited around the throne of God worshipping the Lamb forever? How many entered eternity to stand before the holy, just Judge of the earth? How many heard the thundering voice of many waters condemn them for their sins? How many watched as the eyes of fire searched their soul and saw every hidden sin? How many felt their knees weaken as the weight of the wrath of God weighed them down? How many listened as the Lord of all proclaimed that He never knew them?

Today, our nation is filled with people who seem more concerned with what people say (including themselves), regarless of whether it is true. Many claim to be Christians, and yet they live in sin. They commit fornication, adultery, idolatry, covetousness, and numerous other sins. As we remember the tragedy of the 12 years ago, we must remember that the truth still remains. All will die. No one will be exempt from this truth. As we watch the videos and hear the stories of those who survived, let’s remember the truth of the One who died that sinners might survive the wrath of God. Let’s live our lives so that people will know us as Christians, not only by what we say, but because of our character. Let’s preach the gospel to those we come in contact with. Let’s preach sound doctrine, teach the truth of God unerringly, and hate sin. Let’s remember that the harvest is white, and that many will not have tomorrow. Let’s forgive and be reconciled to those around us. Let us love like Christ in truth, justice, mercy, and humility.

The Bible as Allegory

March 25, 2013 at 6:30 am | Posted in Christianity | Leave a comment
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I’m going to start out by telling my readers (both of you) that this is probably not going to be post you think it is. Before we get started with all of that, it is important that you understand what an allegory is. Merriam-Webster defines an allegory as: “the expression of truths or generalizations about human existence by means of symbolic fictional figures and actions”. Dictionary.com defines an allegory as: “a representation of an abstract or spiritual meaning through concrete or material forms; figurative treatment of one subject under the guise of another.” In regards to the Bible, allegory is not something new. Many of the early church fathers took portions of scripture as allegorical and interpreted them as such. This should not be how we interpret the Bible, unless the scriptures call for that. Unless it’s clear that the scriptures are meant to be allegorical, then we should understand scripture as it’s presented (history, poetry, etc.). Continue Reading The Bible as Allegory…

Storytellers and vision casters

January 21, 2013 at 5:39 pm | Posted in Christianity | Leave a comment
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There seems to be a growing contrast between the preachers/pastors of today and those that came before. The days of the expositional pastor seem to be fading into the bygone days and those men are becoming a dying breed. In their place have arisen men that doing things very differently. This is not to say that there are no pastors who preach expositionally, because there are still a few around. This is also not to say that all of the men of the days of old were sound biblical preachers. They weren’t. There were false teachers and heretics then as there are now, but there seems to be an explosion of men (and women…ugh) who feel that they are no longer bound to certain tenets or standards. Continue Reading Storytellers and vision casters…

Sermon Sunday – Charles Spurgeon – A Call For Revival

January 6, 2013 at 6:08 pm | Posted in Sermon Sunday | Leave a comment
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“Come my beloved, let us go forth into the field, let us lodge in the villages. Let us get up early to the vineyards; let us see if the vine flourish, whether the tender grapes appear, and the pomegranates bud forth: there will I give you my loves. The mandrakes give a smell, and at our gates are all manner of pleasant fruits, new and old, which I have laid up for you, O my beloved.”

Song of Solomon 7:11-13 Continue Reading Sermon Sunday – Charles Spurgeon – A Call For Revival…

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….

Sermon Sunday – George Whitefield – Regeneration

October 7, 2012 at 7:43 am | Posted in Sermon Sunday | Leave a comment
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Regeneration
by
George Whitefield
(1714-1770)

2 Corinthians 5:17, “If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature.”

The doctrine of our regeneration, or new birth in Christ Jesus, though one of the most fundamental doctrines of our holy religion; though so plainly and often pressed on us in sacred writ, “that he who runs may read;” nay though it is the very hinge on which the salvation of each of us turns, and a point too in which all sincere Christians, of every denomination, agree; yet it is so seldom considered, and so little experimentally understood by the generality of professors, that were we to judge of the truth of it, by the experience of most who call themselves Christians, we should be apt to imagine they had “not so much as heard” whether there be any such thing as regeneration or not. It is true, men for the most part are orthodox in the common articles of their creed; they believe “there is but one God, and one Mediator between God and men, even the man Christ Jesus;” and that there is no other name given under heaven, whereby they can be saved, besides his: But then tell them, they must be regenerated, they must be born again, they must be renewed in the very spirit, in the inmost faculties of their minds, ere they can truly call Christ, “Lord, Lord,” or have an evidence that they have any share in the merits of his precious blood; and they are ready to cry out with Nicodemus, “How can these things be?” Or with the Athenians, on another occasion, “What wilt this bumbler say? He seemeth to be a setter-forth of strange doctrines;” because we preach unto them Christ, and the new-birth. Continue Reading Sermon Sunday – George Whitefield – Regeneration…

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: www.persecution.com

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: www.persecution.com

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…

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