The Gospel

The Gospel

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Family Conflict and Christmas

In most holiday films, jokes about the dysfunction of family relationships is common. But for many of us it is not too far removed from the dysfunction in our own extended families. I for one have experienced this kind behavior in my own extended family: uncles and aunts that hide things from others, cousins that simply ignore you, , siblings that fight and do not forgive, grandparents that hold grudges and parents that reject their own children. None of this is biblical and none of it is god-honoring. In fact, I might suggest that this kind of behavior is more reflective of Satan himself (God doesn't give his children stones if they ask for bread).

What is most sad about this description? These family members are believers in Jesus Christ.

What do we do about families in conflict? Dr. Russell Moore has this article that hopefully will encourage some of you this Christmas and maybe see some of this conflict slip into the past with all the wrapping paper and tinsel. Article.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Train Up A Daughter In The Way She Should Go

Raising children is not easy. Raising daughters seems at times almost scary. I have three daughters. My daughters are not as scary as the things that try and oppose everything I do. There are so many forces around our children that are pulling them in different directions. Some times we shoot ourselves in the foot by inviting those negative influences right into our homes and into the hearts and minds of our children. I am amazed at how many Christian parents let their children see things that are so blatantly opposed to the gospel.

The movie, New Moon, is on such series. While you try and raise your daughter or son to fear the Lord, you submarine them by not just allowing them to be influenced by such a thing but paying for the "terrorism" your self.

Here is an interesting article regarding some of the things that our daughters can negatively learn from the Twilight series. Here:

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Oh Be Careful Little Eyes What You See?

One of the most popular movies right now is "New Moon". It may surprise you that it is also a popular series among Christian teen girls and adult women. Some might think that it is simply entertainment but do the movies and books teach and portray things that are not only dangerous to our spiritual life but also contrary to the gospel. Most of us wouldn't invite a false teacher into our homes to influence our families but we are very willing to allow movies to teach and preach a message that is against what we believe about humans, God, Jesus and salvation.

Attached is a recent Touchstone article about this very film. I would encourage you, if you are a Christian, whether you are a teenage girl, a single woman in college or a parent to consider what the author has to say and ask whether or not Christians should find entertainment in such a film.

Article Here

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Humility and Grace

Thank you Lord for examples of Godly humility and grace.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Full of Hot Air?

Michael Jordan is known as perhaps the greatest basketball player ever. Watching him growing up there was never a time that Jordan looked foolish on the court. Even his ill-conceived return to the Wizards didn't look embarrassing. He still had it going on the court.

However, this past weekend during his hall induction speech, I was embarrassed for M.J.
He began with tears and a brief but poignant recognition of Scottie Pippen. He briefly introduces us to his brothers and sisters. But as I sat for the rest of it I cringed. M.J. probably isn't the greatest public speaker, but he also sounded more full of himself than I even imagined as he takes shots at everyone who ever doubted him.

Leroy Smith - most of us don't know him but Jordan figured out a way to insult him and his coach. I was mortified for Leroy.
Buzz Peterson - former player of the year in Asheville, NC. He wasn't better than "me" Jordan said. He stuck it to him.
Coach Smith - didn't play him as a freshman. Coach was wrong - He stuck to Smith
Jerry Krause - didn't invite him to the ceremony...stuck it to him.
His Kids - you have a huge shadow to live in..."I wouldn't want to be you"...
Pat Riley, Byron Russell, Media, Naysayers - stuck it to them.

Did we know that Jordan was great. Absolutely. It probably isn't debatable. What did we learn about Jordan that night...He wants glory. His own glory.

The sad thing is that his glory will fade. His trophies and legacy will be forgotten. Glory and fame is a great aspiration IF our pursuit of glory is found in the glory of Jesus Christ. I pray that M.J. will discover that joy. He has a relationship with basketball. He (and we) need a relationship with Jesus.

Rather than having M.J. talk the other night, why couldn't he just play one more game for old times sake.

If you want to hear an inspiring speech by an athlete, check out this one by Art Monk (video and text).

Monday, August 31, 2009

Is Health Care A Moral Responsibility?

“For a Catholic, that’s part of the comfort of it,” said the Rev. Matthew Allman, former parochial vicar of the Basilica of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, the Mission Hill church Kennedy chose for his funeral because he prayed there when his daughter had cancer. “He has amazing relationships around the world. But the focus of the Mass is his connection to Christ.”

I didn't find the focus of the Kennedy funeral to be on Christ. I watched most of the funeral on Saturday morning and was greatly saddened by the exaltation of such a flawed man. I was waiting to see if saint hood would immediately follow. Then there was the focus on health care and partisan politics. Who knew that Jesus cared so much about health care. I thought he was concerned about soul care.

"Senator Edward Kennedy pushed for equality among the underprivileged and desired reform for America’s mental health system. He was a gift from God — it was as if God had reached down from heaven through Sen. Kennedy to influence the very pinnacle of change..." and more

"These works of the kingdom were daily concerns of Teddy Kennedy. The fabric of his heart and life and a society more complex than...our hope is that the fruit of his work has well prepared him for God's kingdom."

God did reach down to this world for change but it certainly wasn't in the form of a man from Massachusetts but rather in a man that looked remarkably Jewish two thousand years ago.

But the concerns of the Kingdom are more about the eternal destinies of people. The salvation of the lost. Jesus, the King of this aformentioned Kingdom, came to seek and save the lost.

Then to top it all off...our dear friend Al Gore, the inventor the Internet and now the Savior of the Planet had this too add Saturday night: Al gore was quoted Playing off the focus of the Kennedy funeral on the Gospel of Matthew’s parable of Jesus taking care of “the least of us,” Gore thundered that the country has “a moral duty to pass health care reform. This year.”

It sounds as if the anti-religious establishment is now trying to use religion to convince the religious that we need universal health care. I am just not certain that this was Jesus', nor the gospel writers intention. But never mind doesn't sound like it matters. The concern is politics.

But the concern of the Bible is that looks less like a democracy and more like a monarchy. A monarchy that is ushered in not in the policies of Washington but in the return of a King and the defeat of his enemies. A kingdom that is comprised of citizens who do not cling to their accomplishments at the day of judgment but who cling to the work of Christ.

It is too bad the catholic church that the funeral was held at doesn't have this view of life...that would be something to herald.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Wear Your Stripes Brian

There used to be a time when it was easy to tell who the good guys were and who the bad guys were. This has changed in many areas of society. In the wild west, the villain wore black. In the world wars, apart from a few spies, each army war uniforms and they were easily distinguishable. In college football they still use the wold civil war colors of blue and gray. But in the era of terrorism, bombers no longer wear uniforms with pins or flags. They no longer stand out. They blend in. Which is what makes them more dangerous. Evaluating, monitoring and even fighting the enemy you can see is one thing. Imagine trying to do that if your enemy is invisible.

This is also a problem in the church. The Bible calls it "wolves" who look like sheep. Much like the old cartoon, the church is full of people, men and women, who are seeking to devour the saints and oppose the work of Christ. Usually they are very hard to spot because they are working hard at blending in. But what is the church to do when the wolves aren't trying to blend in any more, when their start to show their fangs and they are still welcome in the fold. The Bible is actually clear about what we are to do with the wolves but in recent years the Bible doesn't seem to have much authority in many churches and so the wolves are often celebrated and praised rather than shunned.

Denny Burk exposes a would-be wolf here, sound the alarm. Brian McLaren sounds like he is trying to further erode the gospel . Full Article.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Who are the real Vick-tims?

Michael Vick is everywhere these days. Sportscenter, 60 Minutes, Philadelphia...

No doubt, most of us (if we are human) are probably still bothered by what Vick and his friends were doing for fun during the offseason. But before you put this issue to rest completely, I would encourage you to read this thought provoking article from Denny Burk. You can find it here.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Green is the new Black

It is socially acceptable to be green. Not in the mold of Kermit and that popular 80's television show, "You Can't Do That on Television" (I am still scared of green slime). Environmentalism is in full swing. It is the modern hippie movement. It is the dispensation of the new millennium. Of course there are differing views about what all this means. Al Gore is still claiming that the world is hotter today than it was fifty years ago. While he makes that speech it is snowing outside. Today the weather forecast in western Missouri was low 70's for the high and 50's overnight. IN JULY! I am not seeing the whole Global warming thing.

But this concern has impacted the church too. So much so that there is a Bible called the "Green Bible" which helpfully highlights all the environmental passages for us in green, all while printed on recycled paper, with a few comments from theologians and heretics alike on matters of faith and the environment.

I don't believe in green letter bibles. But to be fair I also don't use a red letter Bible. This is not because I don't like the environment or that I don't love the words of Jesus. I do. But all scripture is God-breathed; they are all Jesus' words. And while I have no hatred for environmentalism, scripture makes it quite clear that the earth is in revolt of its current human rulers and will continue to groan with and against us until this same Jesus returns to claim his people and his land for himself.

If you want to be a good Christian environmentalist, then love the Gospel. If you hate the fact that trees are being torn down for another convenient store, pray for the return of Christ. Are there things we can do in the mean time to be good stewards of the earth...absolutely. Recycle, drive a hybrid, care for pets...

Will a green Bible help in this endeavor? I think it will merely distract us. The point of the Bible is not the ozone...the point is Jesus. His concern is not just carbon foot prints, it is a sin nature that each of us is cursed with. Being earth friendly is more than just loving the is about loving the maker and creator of the earth and the one who will one day inherit all that we see and so much more...King Jesus.

There is a helpful article by someone far wiser than I that I recommend to you here.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

John Minus Kate

While the episode promised a bombshell, it was not surprising that John and Kate announced verbally (and later in print) that their marriage would be ending. John said...

"This afternoon, Kate filed for divorce. Our kids are still my number one priority. I love them and want to make sure they stay happy, healthy and safe. My job is being the best, most supportive and loving father that I can be to my kids, and not being married to Kate doesn't change that," he said in the statement.

Being married does not change that? Who is he kidding. In the episode he goes on to add that he has been a dad, now it is time to be himself. Wow.

Just as the movie "Kramer vs. Kramer" changed the view of divorce in American culture, this saga will no doubt leave a lasting impression. They became celebrities for of all things...having children. They decided to turn their home into a circus. They walked away from their church. The money became so attractive that they could not stop. And now, before our very eyes, John and Kate plus their eight children are a family in crisis.

Where is the out cry? Where is their pastor? Where are their friends? Probably they are all where the rest of the country is. Waiting for the next episode to be entertained.

As a pastor, it breaks my heart when people get divorced. Not just because of the harm done to the children, although it is great. Not just because of the harm to the couple, although it is tragic. More importantly, it is because of the harm to the Gospel. God never divorces his people, Jesus is a faithful husband, even when we are an unfaithful bride.

If you are a fan of the show (which I am not) or if you have never seen it, let us not glory in the fall of this family. We should not mock them. We should not laugh. We should cry. We should mourn the break up of another family. We should pray that God would miraculously save this marriage, this couple, this family; that their relationship would be restored; and that God would get all the glory.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Immigration, Aliens and Christians

Justin Taylor interviews James Hoffmeier to introduce his new book on Immigration and Christians title The Immigration Crisis. The interview is enlightening and I hope to read the book soon. In the interview, the author addresses some of the misunderstandings or manipulations of scripture by many who oppose any kind of immigration standards. You can read the interview here.

This particular question and answer was particularly interesting:

Does the OT operate with similar distinctions that we have today between documented aliens and illegal immigrants?

What I learned in my study is that there are three relevant terms used in Hebrew (ger, zar, nekhar). Different English translations render the words differently. The TNIV and NLT render them all as “foreigner.” That is misleading and incorrect.

Zar and nekhar indeed refer to foreigners or visitors, people passing through a foreign land.

Ger or the verb gwr, which together occur more than 160 times in the OT, refer to foreign residents who live in another land with the permission of a host. A good example of this is found in Genesis when Joseph asks permission of pharaoh for his family to move to Egypt (Gen. 45:16-18). When they arrived, the brothers asked pharaoh if they could sojourn in the land (Gen. 47:1-4), and Pharaoh allotted them a section of the land of Goshen or Rameses (Gen. 47:5-7).

The law is clear that ger is not to be oppressed, but to receive equal justice, and have access to the social support system of ancient Israel. And there was a provision for religious inclusion, but they were also obligated to live in accordance with the laws just like the Israelites.

The Law does not, however, extend to the zar and nekhar such benefits and services. From this I conclude that ger was viewed as a legal alien.

The mistake of some well-meaning Christians is to apply the biblical laws for the ger to illegal aliens in American even though they do not fit the biblical legal and social definition.

Friday, June 5, 2009

The Theology of Adoption

One of my favorite authors and preachers is Dr. Russell D. Moore. He is the dean of the School of Theology at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, where I also attended. When I first met Dr. Moore he was the Sunday school teacher for our class at DeHaven Memorial Baptist Church (along with Dr. Tom Nettles).

Dr. Moore has recently written a book, Adopted For Life: The Priority of Adoption for Christian Families and Churches. The book, in the same mold as his preaching, is rich with theology and practical application no matter where you may be in life. It chronicles the difficulties that his wife and him had as they desired to have children and the things that God taught both of them about family, their own hearts, the gospel, and their (and our) own adoption as sons of God through Jesus Christ.

We are all adopted. He says, "The New Testament continually points to our adoption in Christ in order to show us that we're really, really wanted here in the Father's house" (Eph 1:3,5). Who better to understand, practice and support the adoption of children than those who are adopted already.

The wonderful thing about this book is that it is not only for those who are already looking to adopt. There are practical implications for the church as a whole, grandparents, those who can support others and more. My church has had a high view of adoption long before I arrived. I hope that this book will encourage them to know that they are obediently following Jesus Christ. I hope that it will encourage them to continue supporting adoption and those who adopt.

I hope the book will do the same for you.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The Tragedy of John and Kate

John and Kate celebrate their 100th episode next week. There seems to be more concern and excitement in the Gosselin house about this milestone than about the crumbling marriage.

For years now, the country has been engaged with the life of this everyday, normal family. Christianity Today says that "evangelicals" especially have flocked to the TLC channel to catch a glimpse of this family {Entire Article Can Be Found Here}. We have praised them for their love of life, we have praised them for their love of family and yet all the while we have ignored the bigger issues of greed, fame, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life.

It is only now that their marriage appears to be falling apart that we have even taken notice of other serious spiritual matters. In some sense we are appalled by what has happened to this family and yet we probably should not be. Christianity Today goes on to say this: Somehow most of us missed the long trajectory that was, day by day, moving them farther from a life of Christian virtue. Sexual immorality—whether actual or merely suspected—caught our attention, but the materialism, narcissism, and exploitation of children that preceded it was largely overlooked.

In a sense, the family has invited this kind of temptation, if not the sin and end result. Where was wisdom and counsel from other family? Where was a warning or rebuke from their church? Why does it appear that no one cared that this family was being destroyed right under our noses on weekly television?

We are all prone to this kind of temptation and sin. None of us are immune to it. We must constantly guard ourselves against hubris, pride and lust. We must not be captivated by the things of this world, but focus our selves on the things of heaven, namely Jesus Christ. We should certainly pray for John and Kate. Pray that their marriage survives. Pray that they walk away from the apparent security of wealth and return to the security of scripture.

But we must also pray for ourselves and each other. Pray that we do not fall into this same trap. There is a lion prowling around, seeking to destroy us and to tear us apart limb by limb. Some of us might already be in the Lion's mouth and his grasp is already around us. We have convinced ourselves that everything is OK. Don't be fooled. Run to the Shepherd.

Monday, June 1, 2009

The Sanctity of Life

Yesterday I was shocked to turn on the news and see scrolling across our local Kansas City news affiliate a story about the Sunday morning shooting of the infamous Kansas abortion doctor. I was deeply bothered by this act of premeditated murder. As someone who opposes abortion on both philosophical and theological grounds it saddened me that a doctor who has sworn an oath to protect life would so recklessly take it. However, how could this gunman act just as heinous in murdering this doctor.

As Christians, we should stand adamantly opposed to the senseless murder of innocent babies through the practice of abortion. We should use our right to vote, protest and other avenues to see the courts and laws changed in our country. But resulting to the same kind of violence is not the answer. It is not up to use to take the law in to our own hands. Life is precious from infancy to adulthood and beyond.

I have to admit there was a little bit of frustration during the candlelight vigils last night for this doctor, especially when so many unborn babies have had their lives "snuffed" out with out much of a second thought. But in this day, let us pray for the salvation of those who hurt unborn babies, abuse children in homes or take advantage of young girls on the streets of Las Vegas. Let us pray that God will open their eyes to their sin and need for Jesus. Let us not take action into our own hands by returning evil for evil, but let us remember that "vengeance is mine says the Lord" and he will obtain justice both for the millions of children cast away as medical waste but also for others who have had their lives taken...

Thursday, May 28, 2009

To Watch or Not To Watch - Do You Ask Questions?

Last night I was standing at the Red Box and watching a 8 year old boy, with credit card in hand, browse through the various titles available to finally settle on a violent rated R film. It caused me to wonder where were the parents in that process? Did they know? Did they approve? Did they willy-nilly say yes to a title not knowing anything about the content?

Too often parents allow their children (or themselves) to view films (or Television shows) without ever doing any homework. Perhaps many parents don't know what kind of things to look for or avoid. It does take time but protecting the purity and holiness of our children (and ourselves) is worth the cost.

John Frame has written a short article called "Questions to Ask Films". You can access this article here as well as find other articles that he has written. While these questions are not exhaustive it is a great place to start in using wisdom in making decisions about entertainment and movies. You can also scroll through some of his reviews of various films in addition to asking the question "Should Christians Go To Movies At All".

These articles are interesting and helpful. Happy reading.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Sanctity of Marriage

Today, the California Supreme Court upheld a ban on same-sex marriages in the state. While they did not overturn any of the marriages that occurred during the time it was legal, the court did act appropriately. They determined that the state had the right to establish such a ban. As a Christian, I was pleased with the result and hope that other states would similarly pass bans protecting the sanctity of marriage. (Article Here)

However, as part of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ, I am further concerned that the church has been overtly inconsistent. How you might ask? Because while the church rightly argues against same sex marriage, we have allowed a culture of divorce, infidelity and promiscuity to run rampant among the members of local churches. As a Christian, we should have a higher view of marriage than this. It is not enough to stand opposed to homosexuality. We must not stop there. We must also oppose, as the Bible clearly does, the Sunday school teacher that lives with her boyfriend, the deacon who commits an affair on his wife, and the church member who ends her marriage with her husband for "irreconcilable differences".

This is both a matter of scriptural authority and spiritual warfare. The matter of divorce is equally as important as same-sex marriage issues. Divorice is just as un-godly, just as un-biblical, and just as Satanic. Marriage is to be a picture of the church and divorce undermines that picture. As we stand with Jesus on other matters of great importance, let us also begin to change the culture of divorce in the church and begin to represent the unity of the trinity, the covenantal love of God and the Gospel of Jesus Christ in marriages that are permanent.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Church and the State

Many people have debated whether or not the United States is a Christian nation. Some seem to think that the United States of American is the people that God is calling to "pray and call on His name" in the Old Testament (You have probably heard that verse quoted a lot recently). Recently Newsweek printed a story suggesting that Christian America has declined. The report is misleading. America has never been a Christian nation. True, many through the history of the U.S. have been devout followers of Jesus Christ and no structure has influenced this nation as much as the church. Many of our founding fathers were believers in Jesus Christ and our earliest governmental documents were greatly influenced by the Bible. But the decline in "christian America" is not because the church is declining but rather that those who are not truly followers of Jesus Christ are no longer calling themselves Christians. Pastor Mark Driscoll writes an op-ed article for Fox News addressing the original Newsweek article here.

Biblical Parenting and Discpiline

In case you missed being with us last week during Sunday School, we watched a video from Dr. Russell Moore called the "Purpose Driven Paddle". It was challenging sermon on discipline in the home.

The Purpose-Driven Paddle from Russell Moore on Vimeo.

Counsel and Christians

In Exodus 19, Moses writes of an interaction with his beloved father in-law. For most of us, we would probably not welcome such a conversation, much less heed the advice. It can be easy for us to dismiss the wisdom of those who "aren't technically" are family. If you come from a Christian world view though, the response of Moses should be a convicting and challenging model.

First, Jethro was truly his family. He was the father of Moses wife. He deserved respect and honor simply because of his position not because he had earned it. The same is true for our inlaws. They are to be respected and listened to because of their standing as parents. Certainly we do not need do everything they might say, but they deserve honor and respect. Besides, they are "technically" are family. Only a world view that sees family as only related to blood would think of in-laws as technically family. For Christians, who know that the family bonds go beyond blood, through the adoption of God, should have a much more appropriate outlook. Second, Jethro was part of Moses spiritual family, adopted into the Covenant Community much like we are in the New Testament. Jethro had come to believe and worship YHWH. Not all of our inlaws fit into this category, although it should be our prayer that they would.

Third, Jethro gives Moses godly wisdom on how to manage and judge the people of Israel. His advice was a gift of the spirit, practical to the life of the community and should be well received. Certainly, many of us don't receive counsel and wisdom well from in-laws. But you probably also don't receive counsel well from anyone. We tend to act like this. We are full of pride, thinking we have it all together. We tend to enjoy the idea that there is no one wiser than us. Of course we all know that this isn't true, but like Adam and Eve before us we have become convinced of a lie. A lie that we don't need others. A lie that we are all knowing. We receive advice with frustration, anger, contempt and worse. But the life of a Christian should be such that we here the counsel of others with humility. We should recognize that we can be self deceptive and need the reflection of others to illuminate our short fallings.

After all, if we can't receive counsel from those around us, what makes us think that we will respond any differently when the word of God challenges us on our behavior, thoughts and words. We might very well treat God as a "father in-law", dismissing his words as critical and carrying on as usual, not realizing the the pride of our hearts and the danger we find ourselves in.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

I Want It?

Michael S. Horton writes an engaging writing on the problems with the health and wealth gospel. He observes that the rhetoric has changed and the over the top antics have disappeared but the message is the same. His treatment of Joel Osteen is fair and kind. More importantly, Horton gets to the heart of the gospel and the fact that in the "name it claim it" groups, as well as in many Baptist, Evangelical churches we do not get the gospel right: Article Here

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

It is heart breaking to see what parkinsons disease does to people. Michael J. Fox has brought much needed attention to the illness. He has also been a pioneer in promoting embryonic stem cell research. Many people feel that ESCR will be the cure for all diseases and are ignoring ethical concerns of many in the pro-life movement.

On Oprah, Dr. Oz makes a startling observation about stem cell research...

The Beautiful Creation of God - Earth

On Friday, my children were out of school, and I decided to take my three daughters on a date with their father. We ordered lunch, had popcorn (lots of it) and watched the new Disney movie "Earth".

I have to admit, I was rather skeptical of what it would be like. I was prepared for evolution being the focus and the animals being just the eye candy. But I was pleasantly surprised. Not one time did I hear, Darth Vader...I mean James Earl Jones, say the words billions of years or evolved or Darwin. At one point he commented on how the whales had devised a system to catch fish using their air bubbles over generations...but that was it...

My youngest daughter screamed several times as one of the animals was getting attacked by a lion or cheetah. There was no blood, just the thrill of the chase. Watching in slow motion as the cheetah caught up with his prey was interesting. But seeing the beauty of the creation from space and seeing the seasons change in seconds from above was breath taking.

I would highly recommend the film to parents and children alike. And when James Earl Jones finishes in a crescendo...remind your children that all that is visible was created through the power of the word of God, for His glory...

Monday, April 20, 2009

Is It Wrong to Have Convictions?

One would think in a land of tolerance and freedom of speech that people would be free to speak about issues that are important to them. At the Miss USA pageant, a contestant did so and has been completely vilified by both the corporation that sponsored the event and the rest of the media. Keith Lewis, who runs the Miss California competition, tells that he was "saddened" by Prejean's statement. He goes on:

"As co-director of the Miss California USA, I am personally saddened and hurt that Miss California believes marriage rights belong only to a man and a woman," said Lewis in a statement. "I believe all religions should be able to ordain what unions they see fit. I do not believe our government should be able to discriminate against anyone and religious beliefs have no politics in the Miss California family."

Co-director Shanna Moakler said that she fully supported Lewis' statement.

What is being forgotten in this debate is that Miss California did not offer her response un-provoked. You see, someone asked a question. Was she supposed to lie? Was she supposed to say what was politically correct simply to win the competition? The judge who asked the question certainly had to know the risk that the answer might not reflect his own view. Is that so bad? I am sorry but the only one who brought politics into the Miss USA pageant was the judge himself. So much for freedom of speech I guess. I mean if you can't even be honest in a direct question, when do you have freedom?

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

"Model" Proverbs 31 Woman?

Most of us recognize her face, but very few of us probably know about the faith of Kathy Ireland. Very interesting.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Colbert Reports

Steven Colbert hosts a famed author who believes he has found multiple discrepancies in the Bible. I certainly disagree with the author this is a funny dialogue...Laugh a little.

Sunday Is Coming

Saw this thought provoking video this weekend. May we not lose the excitement and joy of Resurrection Sunday.

A Little California Two Step

It is a little difficult to understand what Pastor Warren's concerns or views are about this issue, but it seems like he is doing more harm than good in this un-needed apology.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Huggable Urns

I don't think about death often. But it is interesting that there is such a debate about how one should be buried when they die. Maybe I am just naive, but I just assumed that as a Christian cremation was not an appropriate sign of my faith - I believe that one day I will be raised from my rest to glory with Christ as opposed to being burnt in judgment. Russell Moore offers his view about such an issue here.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

When the Going Gets Tough...

Life is Hard.

Anyone who would suggest otherwise...might want to check their pulse.

Life with bad theology can be unbearable.

But for those who know Christ, those who believe and trust his word, there is hope.

For years, many Bible teachers have espoused the idea that a good God would not allow his people to suffer. Try telling that to the nation of Israel. As they were preparing for their journey out of Egypt, they heard and believed the gospel, they were excited about the promised land and then...Pharaoh started to abuse went from bad to worse...

And the bad theology led the Jewish to blame Moses, blame God, blame the gospel. But the problem was not with any of those things...the problem was with them. God never promised them an easy journey; he never promised them a life free from pain. What he did promise them was a future.

God has given us the same promise. Those that are found in Christ have a future. A steady dose of good theology, of the rich Gospel of Jesus Christ, will encourage us when life is hard and will give us hope when things around us are a mess.

Life may be hard...but when the going gets tough...don't get mad, don't blame God, don't lose hope...hold firm to the Gospel....and wait....there is much still to be done.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

What Are We Doing?

Christians have long stood for the support of the family in public and private life. But the family has gone through a crisis, even in the church, in recent years. How now will this current economic crisis further affect the family and the church at large.

Dr. Russell D. Moore, Vice President of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, looks into this issue in an article to Touchstone Magazine. You can find that article here.

I would be interested to know what you think. Leave your thoughts.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Getting Your Tongues Tied

Sometimes, pastors make mistakes in what they say. I do it...probably more than I even realize...This pastor seems to be struggling greatly with his sermon.

Not only are the slips interesting but the theology reveals Arminianism at its finest...

I am so glad that the Bible is clear where pastors are foggy = "nothing can snatch me out of my father's hands..." I think the nothing includes even me...

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

A Wonderful Airball

This is a remarkable story of sportsmanship.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Can Cell Phones Preach Another Gospel?

Russell Moore looks at whether or not kids should have cellphones.

Perhaps we should look more closely at why we let our children do what they do

or why parents do what we do.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Real Alternatives

Six Degrees of Separation - Nancy Pelosi and China

There was once an excitement about having a female speaker of the house.

I think that is now over.

Pelosi, making comments to ABC's "This Week", was asked how adding money to expand family services would help the economy. She responded by saying, "They reduce cost. The states are in terrible fiscal budget crises now and part of what we do for children's health, education and some of those elements are to help the states meet their financial needs. One of those - one of the initiatives you mentioned, the contraception, will reduce costs to the states and to the federal government"

Pelosi, a mother and grandmother, thinks that children are a unnecessary weight to the economy. How long will it be before our governments position is similar to that of China? How long until we are limited to only two children per home and no baby girls? How long I Lord...please come quickly.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Who Is Your Prayer Partner?

Russell Moore, one my favorite authors and speakers, wrote a commentary several years ago on who his prayer partner was. (here)

Scripture commands us to pray for our leaders and authorities. “First of all, then, I urge that petitions, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for everyone, for kings and for all those who are in authority” (1 Tim 2:1-2a HCSB)

I certainly do not agree with all of Obama's policies and views. But as Christians we are called first to honor and submit to him and others in power as unto the Lord. But we also need to pray for them.

You can pray in several ways.
1. That he will lead in a way that honors the God who put him there.
2. That he will change his views on the killing of the unborn.
3. That he will protect the innocent
4. That he will judge rightly the guilty.
5. That he will protect our rights to meet freely to worship
6. That he will have integrity and honesty in all his dealings
7. That he will be faithful to his wife.
8. That he will love and care for his children.
9. That he will come to know Jesus Christ as His King and Savior.

Attention getting bumper stickers, crude jokes and inappropriate comments about his character do not honor Christ.

Praying for the president does. Will you pray for Obama?

Obama is like Joshua?

President Obama seems like a nice man. I would imagine that he is a kind husband and a good father to his children. But some of the accolades and praise that came yesterday caught my attention.

The famed boxing promoter Don King said, "Barack Obama is similar to the Biblical character of Joshua...going across to the promised land."

Singer Smokey Robinson said, “There are so many Biblical figures who had the same task...”

Denzel Washington: “The apostle Paul, Moses, John the Baptist – any one of them. Seriously, he is like one of those apostles for our day. He came to lead us to the original design of what we are supposed to do on this earth.”

Oprah, Jay-Z and others - "Obama has changed my life, he makes me want to be a better person." By the sound of it, Jesus really should have taken a some pointers from the acclaimed politician.

The reason these comments make so much sense to those saying them is that they don't understand the point of the Bible, the prophets, and the apostles at all. Jesus Christ is the promised Messiah whom Joshua was a picture, and Moses, David, Zerubbabel, and countless others. But there is also great confusion as to the purpose of God's plan in Jesus as well. Many believe Jesus didn't come to deal with sin and separation and death and our status as being enemies of God, to die on the cross, be raised from the dead and exalted as the King of Kings. For many Jesus is a picture of oppression, an example of sacrifice, a guy to follow, a revolutionary politician who wants life to be easy for us.

As Christians, we need to return our source of Godly wisdom and insight to the scriptures, not to celebrities. We need to remember that there was a Man who was a lot like Joshua, who actually had the same Hebrew name. He has already come, he has already made it to the promised land, he has already conquered sin, oppression, hatred, evil, death and Satan himself and one day he will lead those who know Him to the promised land as well. What is more, he is returning...and trust one will confuse Obama or anyone else with the exalted Yeshua when he makes his appearance. I hope He will change the lives of people in this country through the power of the Holy Spirit. And I just hope that Oprah and Denzel will recognize Him.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Inauguration of a new...Church?

Is It Unpatriotic To Be Disappointed Today?

It began on Friday...and continues today. The inauguration celebration for Mr. Obama is in full force today. Would you consider me unpatriotic if I am not one of the millions who are celebrating?

Don't get me wrong, I understand the historical moment of an African American becoming president. Certainly it is an achievement that none thought possible. But I see schools having parties, people singing songs, men and women saying that they now have hope. Is Obama becoming president or is he the Messiah?

You see I am not pleased today because this man who apparently brings hope for the living brings fear to the babies in wombs by being in favor of abortion on demand and likely repealing the partial birth abortion ban.

I am not pleased as an American because I read yesterday how schools, newspapers, and work places are stifling the constitution by excluding criticism of the new president {I hope the ACLU has seen these atrocities}. I am unhappy because Obama would rather stand in opposition to protecting the Defense of Marriage Act than on the Biblical authority. I am concerned because his brand of Christianity is decidedly different from the Biblical witness and he will become the representative of Christianity and religious pluralism coming together.

I am alarmed as I watch men and women of the church throw praise and glory on a man that is reserved only for the God/Man Jesus Christ.

But I am also Joyful. Joyful because my future does not lie in the hands of President Obama but in the hands of King Jesus. Joyful because my hope is not in the triumphal entry of President Obama but in the triumphal re-entry of King Jesus. Joyful because the thing that will change the world is not Obama and a singing children's choir but rather King Jesus and a choir of multitudes of Angels declaring His arrival.

So today call me me un-American. You may not be that far off. You see I am a citizen of a more glorious Kingdom. I am a follower of a more glorious leader. I pledge allegiance to a more beautiful flag. No, I am not unpatriotic, I just don't believe that this kind of praise is worthy of this particular man.

"Worthy is the Lamb, seated on the throne
We crown you now with many crowns, you reign victorious.
You are high and lifted up, Jesus Son of God
The darling of Heaven Crucified...Worthy is the Lamb."

Monday, January 19, 2009

Let's Stand Together

The Apostle Paul exhorts the church in Philippians chapter 4 to help two women over come discord and disunity for the sake of the church.

A splintered church is a weak church. Paul calls out the people involved, identifies the problem and encourages assistance in reconciling. Why does such an issue take such a prominent role in this letter. After all, it is not uncommon for people to fight and argue.

Reconciliation, repentance, and forgiveness is at the heart of the gospel. We are reconciled to God through the substitutionary death of Christ, we repent and turn from our sin and look to Christ, God forgives us and we are part of his family. As Christians we should be practicing this pattern in all of our relationships, but especially in the church. We must be showing and living out the gospel in our lives. To have anger, bitterness, and an unforgiving spirit is not only spiritually immature, it is also opposed to Christ. We are told in scripture that if we will not forgive, God will not forgive us.

Are there people in your life that you need to reconcile with?
Do you need to ask for forgiveness or grant it to someone who has wronged you?
Let's stand together and show the world what the Gospel is all about by forgiving one another and restoring them to relationship as individuals, as families and as a church.

Hail King Obama

I have been observing the headlines preparing us for the presidential inauguration.

Here are some of them: "OBAMATHON: THE CONCERTS, THE SPEECHES, THE PARTIES, THE HOPE..."; "He can save us!"; "Barack Obama has only four years to save the world.... ".

As a Christian this kind of rhetoric concerns me greatly. The Media, the Left, and now many in the church are giving Obama the kind of attention and status that was once only reserved for King Jesus. Don't get me wrong, I hope Obama succeeds in being a great president. I hope he leads our country well. I also hope that he changes his views on abortion, life, homosexuality and more.

But Obama can not save us. Obama can not save the world. Obama can not even save himself. After watching the film Valkyrie this weekend, I have a sense of concern over making one man so great, so big, so messianic. The only place he can go is down...He hasn't taken office yet, he hasn't signed one bill, he hasn't made one policy change...and he is already the great American Hope.

God help us to only put our hope in Jesus: For our future, for our life, for salvation, for our world. Hail King Jesus.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Do What I Do and What I Say

They say that imitation is the greatest form of flattery. In the church imitation is vital to a vibrant walk with Christ. In Paul's letter to the Philippian church he encouraged the church to follow the example of Jesus Christ - His humility, self-sacrifice, selfless love, and self-giving attitude.

But at the conclusion of chapter 3, Paul again urges the church to imitate - to imitate Paul and those who follow in the likeness of Christ. Paul is not encouraging the exaltation of people or trying to put himself on a pedestal. But he is emphasizing the vital importance of the example of godly people and how we should be encouraged to imitate their zeal, commitment and love for Jesus Christ.

Who are you seeing and imitating in your Christian walk? Who is influencing you? This is a very important question for those who want to become more like Christ.

But also ask yourself who are you influencing? Are you living a life that is a testimony to others of the grace of God in your life and the amazing transformation of the power of the Holy Spirit. Or are you actually leading people away from the Gospel, away form the Church, away from Christ.

What Does "Christianity" mean anymore?

Christianity has always had its detractors and opponents. It used to be mainly from other religions, outsiders or simply atheists. But more and more the greatest opponents of Christianity are actually..."Christians" or at least those who would call them that.

There is no greater example than that of Gene Robinson, a gay Episcopal priest. He has been selected to offer the invocation at one of the inaugural celebrations for Barrack Obama. You can read about his view right here.

Let's pray for Gene Robinson, that he would find forgiveness at the Cross of Christ. Let's pray for our country that people would trust in Christ alone as Savior. Let us also pray for our churches that we would be free from this kind of false teaching, compromise, heretics and enemies of the cross that are disguised as angles of light and workers of righteousness.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Resolutions, Renewals and Resolve

Each new year we often sit down and reflect on the twelve months prior and look to make changes to our life and patterns. Most often we make this analysis on our own and list our top 3 areas of change.

The Bible tells us that we are deceptively wicked and given the chance we won't accurately look at our lives and hearts. In Philippians 3, Paul reminds us that we are tempted to think more highly of ourselves than we ought. We may conclude that we have arrived, that we are perfect, that there is no more work left to be done. Paul left to his own abilities might have come to this conclusion as well. But the Holy Spirit had convicted and convinced Paul that there was still something left to be done.

This year I would encourage you to make resolutions a different way. First, Rather than making them yourself, ask a close friend or fellow follower of Christ what areas they think you need to grow in. Give them permission to be honest and open so that you are not deceived. Second, read through passages of scripture (Fruits of the Spirit, Proverbs 31, etc.) and see what areas Scripture illuminates for you that you could grow in. Third, resolve this year to pursue Christ more diligently and feverishly. That may mean casting aside habits and patterns that get in the way. It may mean cancelling your cable or cancelling your season tickets. Fourth, look for ways to renew your enthusiasm for the advancement of the Gospel in love for the lost and the love for the church. Paul said, let us press on for the prize. Are you running...are you crawling....have you stopped....Press on...

Now is the time for a fresh start...a new exciting Journey.

The Outpost - Bible Preaching (Brooke Taylor)