April 30, 2021

Prone to Wander
Having served the Church of Jesus Christ as a pastor and professor for 45 years, I have noticed that Christians sometimes wander from the faith and become unbelieving believers. That is not a contradiction in logic it is simply a reality of life. (John 2:23) Not all Christians finish well. The apostle Paul finished well and writing from prison near the end of his life he reminds us, I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith. (2 Tim. 4)

Today’s headlines are filled with pastors and Christian leaders who are leaving the faith seeking freedom from God because life is uncomfortable, unfulfilling, or unfair. Big mistake! But this can and does happen. It often does not happen all at once. It can be an accumulation of things. No one wakes up in the morning and says, “Today I want to become an alcoholic.” It begins with a small decision followed by many other choices until one day the person realizes what has happened and asks themselves; “How did I end up like this?”

In Luke 15 Jesus told three parables that we often combine into one. But if we read each of them, we realize that the Lost sheep was Lost innocently, the Lost coin was Lost irresponsibly, but the Lost prodigal son left intentionally. Sometimes in our life, our drifting from the Lord begins in a way that appears to be innocent, becomes irresponsible, and ends with our intentional moving away from our heavenly Father. Big mistake!

Sin can accumulate and our conscience can become seared rendering it insensitive to the power of the word of God, the prompting of the Spirit of God, and resulting in broken fellowship with God.

If you think this could never happen to you, remember; “Let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.” (I Cor.10:12)

Serving Him with you
until He comes for us,

 April 23, 2021

It is a Matter of Perspective
I have no reason to believe that President Joseph Biden or Speaker Nancy Pelosi are Christians. By that, I mean a biblical and evangelical definition of a Christian. They're not even good Catholics according to the Pope. I have not heard them ever say they believe that they have sinned, that Jesus Christ died and rose from the dead to pay for their sin, and that they have received eternal life. I do know they endorse and seek to legislate the murder of unborn babies of any age. I do know they endorse and advocate and accept the perversion of homosexuality, lesbianism, and transgenderism. Obviously, I have no evidence that the Senate Majority Leader, Chuck Schumer, is a Christian. And even as a Jew, he does not follow the basics of Judaism and its belief in the “right to life for the unborn.”

The reason this may sound judgmental is that it is judgmental. All moral statements are a matter of morality and hence a moral judgment. All of us make moral judgments about people every day and there is nothing wrong with that. I am simply trying to make a moral statement from observations based on a biblical perspective.

However, we must make another observation from a biblical perspective. Jesus came and died, and arose from the dead to save the lost. He came to save the good, the bad, and the ugly - all of whom are lost!

From His perspective, mankind was and is fallen and finite, no matter who they are and no matter what political stripe, gender, or nationality they have. From the cross, the perspective of Jesus is, “Father forgive them, they know not what they are doing.” “Them” includes all of us!

The Father's desire was to send the Son, not out of curiosity and not out of any personal need. He was sent on an errand of mercy, solely to accomplish our redemption. And that is what He did, and that is what He offers to President Joseph Biden, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. It is what He offered to me as well, and you too.

In light of this biblical moral observation, I suggest that we as citizens of the United States seek those who would lead us who uphold a biblical worldview and stand for biblical truth, justice, and legal positions that are also biblically moral. We must also pray for the leadership we now have, even if they came to office by force or by fraud.

But I also believe it is even more important that we as citizens of Heaven, pray not only for our government and its leaders to lead morally, but that we pray for these individuals who have been placed into leadership, that they would come to believe in Jesus for their eternal salvation.

If you find either of those difficult to do, you might need to check your perspective.

Serving Him with you
until He comes for us,

April 16, 2021

What Now America? What Now Church?
I imagine you like me had to read two provocative books in high school: “Brave New World” by Aldous Huxley written in 1932 and “1984” by George Orwell written in 1948. Both were prescient prognostications of the sociological and spiritual future of America. In 1985 Neil Postman, a liberal Christian communication professor, wrote “Amusing Ourselves to Death.” His insight on these two classics is a classic.

“Contrary to common belief even among the educated, Huxley and Orwell did not prophesy the same thing. Orwell warns that we will be overcome by an externally imposed oppression. But in Huxley’s vision, no Big Brother is required to deprive people of their autonomy, maturity and history. As he saw it, people will come to love their oppression, to adore the technologies that undo their capacities to think.
What Orwell feared were those who would ban books. What Huxley feared was that there would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one who wanted to read one. Orwell feared those who would deprive us of information. Huxley feared those who would give us so much that we would be reduced to passivity and egoism. Orwell feared that the truth would be concealed from us. Huxley feared the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance. Orwell feared we would become a captive culture. Huxley feared we would become a trivial culture. … In 1984, Huxley added, people are controlled by inflicting pain. In Brave New World, they are controlled by inflicting pleasure. In short, Orwell feared that what we hate will ruin us. Huxley feared that what we love will ruin us.”

It seems that there is ample reason to be concerned of both dangers. The devil does have a scheme and we must not be ignorant of it. (Eph. 6:11; 2 Cor. 2:11) We need not fear him, but he is a hideous strength who seeks to frighten and silence the Church in the midst of the culture and cancel the name of Christ.

No matter what type of culture we live in, no matter what type of society we find ourselves inhabiting, we are to walk by, live by and if need be, die by faith. As the author of Hebrews reminds us; Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance, and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith.

Make no mistake about it and mark it well; Satan will seek to attack us by force or fraud. We are to stay focused by faith on our Savior.

Serving Him with you
until He comes for us,

April 9, 2021 - The Story of Easter Goes On

The Story of Easter Goes On

Last Sunday Marsha and I joined millions of Christians to celebrate the story, the history, and the truth of Easter. The morning service we attended was magnificent with singing and preaching, and proclaiming the resurrection of Christ.

But later in the afternoon, I got a call from a young Muslim woman who was directed to me by a mutual friend. This Islamic woman was not belligerent about her religion and was very open about Christianity. In fact, she had been to a church for a few weeks but did not go on Easter due to work issues.

She had many questions about Jesus. They included the issue of the trinity, the deity of Jesus, and the propitiation and atonement for sin. She also had heard that Jesus actually did not die on the cross, but some people took a slave and killed him and put the slave on the cross. Talk about a theological and apologetic opportunity! But primarily it was an evangelistic opportunity. I shared the simple and clear message and gave her an opportunity to receive the free gift of eternal life by placing her faith in Christ.

I found it predictable given her background that she would bring up the issue of works, and doing enough, and being good enough to be saved and acceptable to God. This is a universal response since our default button seems to be, “I must contribute to getting saved, just a little.” The Apostle Paul makes it crystal clear that by works of the law shall no man be justified (Galatians 2:16) and that it is by grace through faith that you are saved, and not by works lest any man should boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9)

The story is not over for my new Muslim friend. I and others are praying for her to be drawn by the Father and believe the Gospel of Jesus, and be born again by the Spirit. (John 6:44)

I do not think I will forget this Easter.

Serving Him with you
until He comes for us,

April 2, 2021

“It’s Friday But Sunday’s Coming”

The old preacher used this phrase to remind us of the greatest irony of all time. On Friday the devil declares victory, the demons rage with glee, evil is unleashed and unrestricted all across the world. Jesus is dead.
But then it’s Sunday. He’s alive, I am forgiven, Heaven's gates are opened wide. Jesus planted the only durable rumor of hope amid widespread despair and doubt in a hopeless world. It was true in the turbulent first century and it is true today in the tumultuous twenty-first century. As Saint Anselm declared; "Jesus did not come out of curiosity or personal need. The Father sent Him on an errand of mercy solely to accomplish our redemption.”
Good Friday is an expression of the love of God. Easter Sunday is an expression of the power of God. “The seed of God stirred, shoved, and sprouted. The ground trembled and the rock of the tomb tumbled. And the flower of Easter blossomed.” (Max Lucado)

Covid may change the way we celebrate the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ, but it will not cancel it. Count on it!

Serving Him with you
until He comes for us,