The Gospel

The Gospel

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...

The Outpost - Bible Preaching (Brooke Taylor)