August 30, 2019

Toto, We Are Not In Kansas Anymore
I was watching an old Dick Van Dyke show a few nights ago. For some of you the mention of that show brings memories of other shows like Leave it to Beaver, My Three Sons, I Love Lucy and Father Knows Best. If these mean nothing to you then you are very young. But these shows remind us and represent to us a world that seems to have almost vanished. They rekindle in us the memory of a society and a culture that has almost disappeared from our consciousness. It was by no means a perfect world and it was certainly not a Christian culture, but it was a culture that was dominated by civility and a Christian sense of virtue that was woven into the fabric of our society.
That is not exactly how I would describe the world today.
No matter how different, divergent, or dangerous the world is today the good news is that Jesus relates in all time zones. He is not a detached analyst of our problems. He understands the dilemma of mankind and He is here to provide the answer for man's deepest longings and biggest need. The incarnation - Christmas - was the greatest evidence of God's desire to communicate with man. And we are to incarnate the Love of Jesus, providing the music of the gospel as we seek to share the message of the gospel.
Our assignment is to exegete the culture, translate the message and communicate Christ to a lost and dying world. Our mission is to Make Disciples!
If you want to be relevant then speak things that are eternal and you will be eternally relevant. The person of Jesus is eternal. The work of Jesus is essential. The gift of Jesus is available. Who will you tell this week?
Serving Him with you
Until He comes for us,

August 23, 2019

"I will begin to speak when I am not going to say
what is better off unsaid."
-Cato the younger-
The words and wisdom above do not seem to influence many politicians or pastors. In today's culture the great preponderance of the verbiage we generate is destined for the slag heaps of history and deservedly so. (C.M. Swain)  But a few words rightly placed may last forever.
In the morass and muddle of what is called the communication age, truth has become a casualty. For some like George Will, being a self-described low watt atheist, there is no truth. For others, truth is whatever you think and say it is. Today in our postmodern culture Pilate's quintessential question still begs to be answered: "What is truth?"
There are not only a few words but many words that teach and tell us about truth in God's word, the Bible.  (2 Timothy 3:16)
Hear the words of sacred scripture -- the very words of Jesus concerning Himself and the Truth.
Thy word is truth. John 17:17
I am the way, the truth and the life. John 14:6
I have come into the world to bear witness to the truth. John 18:37
The essential questions are simply:
           Do you know the truth of the word of God and do you apply it to your life daily?
           Do you spend time reading, meditating and memorizing the truth of God's word?
           As you sift through the Word do you selectively and specifically allow it to guide
           your thoughts, feelings and decisions not to mention your destiny?
"Thy word I have treasured in my heart that I might not sin against Thee." Psalm 119:12

Serving Him with you
Until He comes for us,

August 16, 2019

Living in a Society Saturated with Spiritual Entropy
Today we the church are living in a culture in which we must battle both heretics that corrupt from inside and infidels that challenge from the outside. We are not living in an inviting environment. 
Make no mistake; Many infidels from the outside believe in "spirituality" and many others believe in "a god" but they do not believe in Jesus for eternal life nor what the Bible says about eternal death. Of course, there are millions who believe nothing --- at least that is what they say. But they still do not want you to be able to believe in Jesus lest they feel judged.
Unfortunately, the church has always been plagued by divisions from the inside. The technical term is "heresy"- divisions and divisiveness. The Corinthian church had divisions - heresies that caused problems with believers. Paul realized that at times; "it is good that there are divisions among you that those who are approved might be manifested." But this assumes that the people were able to understand correct teaching, which is the word for "doctrine." 
Today, to those outside the church we need to be apologists. We are to do as Peter instructed the church of his day; "Be ready to make a defense of the hope within you." (I Peter 3:15)
Today, to those inside the church we need to be theologians so we can speak forth truth based on a correct interpretation of the inspired and infallible word of God. (2 Tim. 3:16-17)
I can almost hear someone saying; "Are you kidding?  That is what the pastor does. He went to seminary. I could never be an apologist or a theologian."  I hope you hear me saying to you --- we are all called to be disciples and we are called to give testimony to the truth of Christ both to outsiders and insiders. If you need some help, then by all means contact your pastor and ask him to help guide you so that you can be fully equipped and become all that the Lord desires you to be. That is the pastor's job. (Eph. 4:12)
For you who find yourselves feeling a bit of fear as you engage the culture, remember the spiritual law of thermo dynamics: The greater the heat the greater the expansion!  Remember the spiritual explosion in the Biblical Book of ACTS?  It could happen again...

Serving Him with you
Until He comes for us,

August 9, 2019

You say the times are evil.  Live nobly and you will change the times.
~ St Augustine ~
I must confess I am watching a soap opera. Not the day-time type such as General HospitalAs the World Turns, or All My Children, but the night-time type, re-runs of Downton Abbey. The characters are exquisitely carved and eloquently crafted and provide the essential division of good and evil, vice and virtue, moral capacity or immoral corruption.
The physical setting and staging are staggering, but the spiritual situation is stained with sin. Complete with the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, each episode entails the human struggle and encapsulates the inevitable moral failure of man.
Today we are living out our lives on a stage, a set that can be both beautiful and at the same time dangerous. As Christians, we live as aliens in a strange land waiting to go home. We live among people who are spiritually blinded by the god of this world. We live in the midst of a world that is spinning out of control. The words of Friedrich Nietzsche have been extremely prescient:  "When the world discovers god is dead there will be universal madness."
In the midst of the madness of man in rebellion against God, we find hope in Jesus
who reminds us:
"I will build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail."
"Let not your heart be troubled..."
"And lo I am with you always, even to the end of the age."

Serving Him with you
Until He comes for us,

August 2, 2019

Faith is being convinced that something is true without definitive proof,
but sufficient evidence to be convinced.
-Ken Wilson -

Ken Wilson, my friend and colleague, has expressed the tension within faith. Faith is being persuaded something is true but not being able to prove it is true. It is the difference between validating something is true with evidence and verifying with proof that something is true. One is proof and the other is evidence that seems most likely.

This is why we can find ourselves identifying with the father whose son was suffering from demonic convulsions. Jesus said to him, "All things are possible to him who believes." The desperate father said to Jesus, with his voice choking on every syllable,  "I do believe; help my unbelief."
Mark 9:24

I think I know what he was saying and what he was feeling. Some days it is easier to believe than others. Some days life makes sense. Some days life does not make sense at all.

It is true that we live life looking forward, but it also seems to be true that we understand life looking backward. Some days, faith means believing in advance that which only makes sense in reverse. Faith needs to grow strong, but it can become weak. Faith needs to not become shipwrecked or overturned or become dead.  And that is why:
         "Faith Is Like A Toothbrush... Everyone Should Have One,  
Use It Often And Do Not Use Anyone Else's."

Serving Him with you
Until He comes for us,