Friday, January 25, 2013

Five Years at Philippi




Today, January 25th, 2013, marks the fifth anniversary of the day I was hired at Philippi Baptist Church. I wanted to take a quick minute to reflect back over how my life has changed in these few short years.

For starters, I’m obviously older and about 65 pounds heavier than that skinny kid who arrived here on his 23rd birthday. I’ve become more country, buying my first camo, gun, chainsaw, goat, truck, and “building,” and frequently burning our trash in the fire pit.

My family has grown by over 1,000 as the people of Philippi have welcomed us into their large home and hearts. They have fed us (usually too much, with an emphasis on dessert), loved us, prayed for us, and trusted our leadership with their most precious members—their children.

My biological family has also increased. I moved here with Alicia; today it is Alicia and Reagan. That is amazing considering the stark reality that having children was thought to be unlikely.

While here my wife was diagnosed with a degenerative kidney disease, but it was also here that a member of our Philippi family chose to give her one of his kidneys.

I’ve also had the privilege of working for and with the man who I consider to be the best pastor in America, and working with two other pastors who are the best at what they do.

While Alicia and I have both missed being away from our families and where we grew up, Union has become the city we call home. We thank the Lord for where He has brought us, and while we don’t know what all is in store for our future, we are very happy in the present. So thank you to everyone who has been a part of these last 5 years with us, and we hope that the next five years will bring more blessings.

And just for the record, South Carolina has changed me in many ways, but it will always be “great to be a Florida Gator!”     

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

If You Died Tonight




I have been a big Big Daddy Weave fan for several years, and their latest CD only reinforces my opinion of this group. The CD is called Love Come to Life, and there is a wonderful track I want to write about called If You Died Tonight.

While the entire CD is praiseworthy I want to focus on this song for highlighting what is becoming a lost and criticized practice. I remember when the church used to focus on evangelism, when seeing lost souls pulled from the fire was of chief concern.

But not anymore.

Churches like ours that still bring up the reality of hell and invite people to consider their own eternal destiny are laughed off as old fashioned. Churches like ours that stand in the boldness of the book of Acts are made to feel intrusive, in-your-face, and annoying. But Big Daddy Weave calls their listeners to remember that the person you are in a conversation with today could actually die tonight. If they do, did you give them the opportunity to put their faith in Christ? Here is the song:

I don’t have it all together
Sometimes I find myself asking why oh why
But I know we don’t have forever
So I’d be a fool to let this moment pass us by
So at the risk of sounding crazy let me ask you

If you died tonight, where would you be
Where would your soul spend eternity
Jesus gave His life
If you’d just believe it changes everything
If you died tonight

You can call me narrow minded
But I believe that in your heart there lies the proof
And if you look down deep you’ll find it
An empty place that is pointing to the Truth
You can hear His voice inside you
Gently asking

If you died tonight, where would you be
Where would your soul spend eternity
Jesus gave His life
If you’d just believe it changes everything
If you died tonight


Say I need You
I can’t live without You
Come and fill my life with Your glory, God  

That is hard to argue with. I know all the reasons not to do it. I know that someone’s relationship with Christ is personal. I know that people have a bad taste in their mouth when it comes to “religion.” I know that relationships are important and take time to build. But what if they die tonight? (These “reasons” are usually just excuses)

I hear from fellow believers that evangelism is a turn off to the unsaved, but when we engage these people I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard people something like, “I have lived across the street from that church for 10 years and you are the first person to knock on my door.”

What they are really saying is, “If you think I might go to hell, what took you so long?”

What if he died last night?

Believer, if you believe that hell is a real place, then let’s drop the excuses and get busy trying to rescue as many as we can from that place. Let’s beg God to send a Holy Spirit boldness to fall on us and empower us to fulfill the commission He gave us. 

Please buy the CD here

(Read about Big Daddy Weave's song "You Found Me" here)

Friday, January 11, 2013

Family Guy: The Guy Who Destroys the Family




(Originally written 7/22/11)

I recently wrote about the show Secret Life, and now I have decided to write about the show Family Guy. I am frequently asked about the content of this show, so I wanted to share a little bit about what I know.

This show was actually cancelled in 2002 because of its crude, offensive content. Sadly, popular demand brought the show back. High DVD sales and ratings of reruns led to a rebirth of the show, which is ranked #1 among 12-34 year old viewers.

The show follows the life of the family guy, Peter Griffin. Among the other characters are the talking family dog and the incredibly inappropriate baby Stewie. This show routinely mocks God and Jesus, frequently depicting them hanging out in bars to meet girls, even trying to impress them with their deity powers.

One episode charted Meg’s (Peter’s daughter) conversion to Christianity. This episode showed Christians to be ignorant, which was evidenced by the church book burning of the mythical book called First Grade Logic (the joke here would be that simple 1st grade logic refutes Christianity, and therefore Christians must burn these books). Meg then outs her friend for being an atheist so that he can be stoned to death; this friend later talks her back out of the faith by pointing out that if God were real, He would not have made her so ugly.

The language on this show goes beyond being offensive. Part of the draw of the show is the shock value, where characters continue to say things that should not be said on T.V. (or anywhere, for that matter). The show constantly makes references to pornography and graphic sexual terminology, including statutory rape and bestiality. The baby Stewie often plots to murder his own mother.  

The purpose of this note is not to shock people; I have tried to give a glimpse into what takes place on the show without actually typing those crude words they so often use. Instead of continuing to list offenses with this show, I will stop and hope that the point is clear.

I am not trying to engage in a debate on whether or not a Christian should watch garbage like this. The Bible is clear on almost every page that we should put nothing evil before our eyes, not lust, not condone immorality, etc. If anyone does any arguing here, it is the person trying to manipulate the Bible or abuse grace and give themselves the license to sin.

So instead of asking yourself if you can watch the show, why not ask yourself why you would watch the show? Why would you watch a show that found its niche as the show that depicts our crucified Savior as a bar hopping womanizer like He is Charlie Sheen, or that relies on perversion to gain viewership?

There are things that confuse me in Christianity, like how God could love me, or how blood can forgive sin. But more confusing than that is when I get on some Facebook pages and see someone’s info page say religious view: Christian. Shows: Family Guy.

How is it even possible to call yourself a Christian and watch such an unchristian show? That is like calling yourself a vegetarian as you sink your teeth into an all-beef patty.

Parents, I hope that you pay attention to what your children are watching. Equally as important, know that they are paying attention to what you are watching. “Do as I say, not as I do” does not work. The only way that you have the moral authority to prevent your children from watching trash like this is by making sure you aren’t watching it yourself.

This show is another classic case of Hollywood trying to destroy the family. Don’t let your family fall prey to the Family Guy. 

 
Family Guy's many depictions of Jesus

Modern Family




(originally written 1/13/12)

Satan has waged a war against the family, and his artillery of choice has been the media. By making fathers look like buffoons and husbands looking incompetent, the subtle message is made clear: children can talk back and disrespect because they are always right, and the woman has to run the home because her husband can’t possibly make a right decision. Shows like The Simpsons and Everybody Loves Raymond are guilty of this.

Then there are the shows that promote the single life over the married life (I know that being is ok; that is not the point). Shows like How I Met Your Mother show guys who sleep with different women every night (Barney once celebrated the fact that he slept with his 1,000th woman); the reality is people like this are miserable and would have more STD’s then there are names for. The next big theme for TV was the divorced character; the idea here is that everyone gets divorced and we should all just accept it.

But that was not enough for the devil. He had to pull out a new weapon, and he has done it this time with ABC’s Modern Family. This sitcom, now in its third season, follows the lives of three families as if it were a documentary. One of those families has Ed O’Neill as the father (Al Bundy from Married With Children), a man who is divorced and living with his trophy wife who is half his age. Another one of those families is a homosexual couple that has adopted a baby girl.

After the entire first season aired without any affection being shown between the men, the LGBT began to complain. Then a 2nd season episode called “The Kiss” featured just that.

I’m not a conspiracy theorist, but do you see the agenda here? We are now defining the modern family as homosexuals that can adopt. ABC is killing two birds with one stone on this, championing not just the homosexual lifestyle, but also the gay adoption issue. Consider how ABC writes the bio for Lily, the adopted Vietnamese girl:

Her home is with her two loving adoptive dads, Mitchell and Cameron. These two big monkeys fell in love with this little panda the moment they met her…” (http://abc.go.com/shows/modern-family/bio/lily/856842)

Isn’t that sweet? How could anyone have a problem with these two loving monkeys adopting this girl? Despite the fact that the Bible calls it an abomination, you are made to appear cruel and heartless if you disapprove of it.

Homosexuals cannot reproduce so they must recruit (further evidence that God is opposed to homosexuality), and adopting children is good recruiting grounds. Let’s see what kind of job these loving monkeys have done with their daughter.

On an episode set to air next week, Lily, the toddler, will say the F word on TV. Proving once and for all that ABC still has a shred of moral decency, they will bleep the curse word, but the point is still the same. Obviously the real crime is that this child’s real mother is allowing her to say this word, but the point of the episode will make clear that the girls “fathers” are the ones who taught her the word.

If this is what the modern family looks like we are in big trouble. 

Thursday, January 10, 2013

America's Holocaust




We all are familiar with the Nazi’s Holocaust against the Jews during World War II, but do we know about the Holocaust that is going on in our own back yard?

In Ray Comfort’s book Hitler, God, and the Bible[1] he traces the life of Germany’s most notorious Fuhrer, which culminated in his slaughter of 6 million Jews. Hitler convinced the German populace that Jews were not human (thanks to Darwin, Germans believed that they were at the top of evolution and Jews were at the bottom as sub-human), and therefore it was ok to kill them.

The most startling part of the Holocaust was that these concentration camps were right in the back yard of many German citizens. After the Allied powers defeated the Third Reich they forced the German citizens to walk through these gas chambers to see what they permitted through their support of Hitler. Video footage showed people smiling and laughing on their way in, but stone-faced and silent on their way out. Their eyes were opened to the gross murders that were taking place in their own back yards.

America is in the same state today. Many of us need an experience like those liberated Germans; we need to walk through an abortion clinic to see the gross murders that take place in our own back yards.

Listen to how Comfort reports on the topic:

“[D]o you know that millions of innocent unborn babies are being put to death in abortion, but you think that its not a baby in the womb and therefore its ok to remain silent? Perhaps you think that whatever it is that’s growing within the womb is not human and therefore can be eliminated like common waste. It’s ok to get rid of it because its not human. That’s what Hitler said of the Jews.”

“If you and I advocate the taking of human life in the womb as ‘right,’ then how are we any different from those who advocate the taking of the lives of so many Jews? The answer is that we are not.”

Why did Hitler kill so many Jews? What was his motivation? Comfort points out that money had to have been a factor:

“[T]heir blood financed his war-machine…each family he murdered added up to multiple billions of dollars. According to experts, he financed a massive 30 percent of the German war effort by killing Jews and stealing their wealth…from the taking of their homes, their paintings, their savings, the gold in their teeth, to their hair—all of it added up to money in the bank for Hitler.”

Murder is also big business here in America. Speaking of abortion providers, Comfort noted “they will kill your baby for just $765 for up to a 16-week-old-child, but the price increases if the baby is over 19 weeks. You will be shelling out three times the amount, and paying a whopping $2,165. That’s pretty good income for ripping off the arms, the legs, and head of a baby onto a table; checking the body parts to make sure they’re all out, and then putting them in the trash. It’s just 10-15 minutes work for a skilled physician. And it’s all legal, just like the Holocaust.”

If you don’t see the connection between money and abortion, it goes beyond the provider making a big profit. These providers (consider Planned Parenthood) pay big bucks to get their liberal politicians elected, who in turn pass legislation that increases the abortion business. Whether they pass laws to allow minors to have abortions without parental consent, or to allow school counselors to drive them to clinics without telling their parents, or using tax dollars to fund abortions, these laws increase Planned Parenthood’s revenue, which then leads to more money for the politician’s re-election campaign, which leads to another term of helping the abortion business, and the cycle continues.

The more eyes that are opened to America’s Holocaust the sooner we can end the atrocity. If people would have peaked inside those concentration camps and realized what was going on then they might have been able to put a stop to it. Do all that you can to spread the word about what is taking place inside abortion clinics. Google abortions; look at images; read how the procedures work; look at studies of the harmful affects to the mother; trace the timeline of the unborn child’s development; watch ultrasound shots of the “blob of tissue” that remarkably looks and acts like a human.

Will you help take on the fight in America’s Holocaust?  

[1] Comfort, Ray Hitler, God, and the Bible, WND Books, p.167-173