Monday, June 24, 2013

A Little Honey




The book of Proverbs mentions honey several times, and it does so in a positive light. Here are a few proverbs on honey:

“My son, eat honey, for it is good (24:13).”

“Have you found honey? Eat only as much of it as you need, lest you be filled with it and vomit (25:16).”

“It is not good to eat much honey; so to seek one’s own glory is not glory (25:27).”

These verses speak of eating honey in moderation, but they acknowledge that honey is good to eat. The reason I point this out is I have heard critics of the Bible say that the positive references to honey show that the Bible is wrong.

After all, they say, isn’t honey high in sugar? The Bible is an old book written before people knew science; now we know that it is wrong. If it is wrong about honey, what else is it wrong about?

Honey truly is high in sugar, 82% fructose, to be exact. But let’s not dismiss honey as something to be avoided just yet. Consider these redeeming elements of honey:

*Honey lowers Homocysteine, which is associated with diseases.

*Honey lowers C-Reactive Protein, which is associated with inflammation.

*Honey lowers LDL cholesterol and blood triglycerides.

*Honey raises HDL cholesterol (the “good cholesterol”).

*While honey does raise blood sugar, it does so at a lower rate than sucrose and dextrose.

*Honey has led to less oxidative stress in lab rats.

*Honey contains antioxidants that fight allergies, lower risk of disease, and improve overall health.

So yes, it is high in sugar, so it should only be used in moderation. Which is exactly what the Bible says. And it is good for you. Which is exactly what the Bible says.

Once again, the Bible was right about science before science was able to confirm it.

“Scientific study is but the act of thinking God’s thoughts after Him.”
Warren Wiersbe, Be Skillful

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Bucky and Cody Dent



Home run!

It was a swing of the bat that the Dent family will forever remember. Fans of baseball recognize the name Bucky Dent—he played for the Yankees and made a legendary play against the Red Sox 35 years ago this October.

Bucky had a good career in the big leagues, mostly because of his defense, but a rare 3-run homer in the 7th inning in a 1978 playoff game sent his Yankees to the American League East Pennant.

After his days as a shortstop were through Bucky Dent entered the coaching ranks. But in 2007 he walked away from his job with Cincinnati so he could watch more baseball; more specifically, so he could watch his son Cody play for the Florida Gators.

Cody’s twin sister Caitlyn plays for the NC State Wolfpack.

Over the past four years Bucky and Marianne Dent have traveled thousands of miles to watch their children play the sport they love, sometimes watching games in two cities a week depending on schedules. To Florida fans Bucky Dent became a familiar face, often being shown on TV because of his fame.

In the 2011 College World Series game against Texas, Bucky was there when Cody hit a game-winning 2 RBI double. He was also there in the CWS Final when Cody was tagged out sliding into home in the bottom of the 9th—a play that would have given Florida the win in Game 1; instead, South Carolina won the Finals 2 games to none.

Through all the highs and lows Bucky Dent was there cheering for his son. A career .182 hitter, Cody, like his father, was known more for his glove than for his bat. Although he was a walking highlight reel defensively, there was something that both father and son wanted to see: a Cody Dent homerun.

That’s why it was so special. On May 6th, right before Cody’s final home series of his Gator career, he stepped to the plate in the 4th inning with two outs and one on base. He took the first pitch he saw—a fastball—and bounced it off the McKethan Stadium scoreboard. The one and only homerun of his career came against Florida A&M in a 22-1 blowout victory.

And Bucky was there to see it, with tears in his eyes, being high-fived by everyone around him.

As proud as Dad was to see his son hit that homer, that wasn’t the reason he walked away from coaching. Even if the homerun never came, Bucky was going to be there to watch his kids play ball.
"I wanted to be a part of their lives,'' he said. "I missed a lot of it when I was coaching. My wife did a tremendous job with them and counseling them while I wasn't there. I just felt like, 'Hey, I don't want to miss any more time. I want to be there for them and I'm going to be there.'”

In a society where we have so many absent fathers, isn’t it refreshing to see one who will walk away from an MLB coaching career to be there for his kids? I guarantee for Cody and Caitlyn, having their father at their games means more than knowing he is a professional coach. Bucky admits that not every father is able to make the move that he made (he is obviously doing well financially), but he serves as a model for us fathers to be there as much as we can, saying no to what doesn’t matter, and being there for our kids.

And he will have more to watch, and more miles to travel. Cody was just drafted by the Washington Nationals.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Creationist Logic


While this handy little chart seems like it pins Bible believers down, the fact that it is blatantly false renders its pointless.

Christians teach fellow Christians that the Bible proclaims its own validity, but if I were talking to a non believer that is not the approach I would use.

If someone asked, like the graphic does, "How do you know it is infallible?" I would ask them to show me an error in it. Believe me, people have spent 2,000 years trying to find an error in it, and if they could find one they would be talking about that instead of circular logic.

The Bible contains thousands of names, cities, dates, and rulers; none have been found to be inaccurate. When the Bible addresses science, it is accurate. Archaeology only confirms, and never contradicts, the Bible.

For further proof of the validity and infallibility of the Bible, please read Is the Bible True? Proving the Credibility of the Word of God Through Archaeology

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Insourcing




Randy Pope, the founder and pastor of Perimeter Church in Atlanta, has written an eye-opening manual called Insourcing. Based on his 45 years of making disciples, Insourcing presents a case for what the author refers to as the Life-On-Life Discipleship Model (LOLMD).

For too long the church has outsourced discipleship to parachurch organizations, and it is time to begin to insource once again.

While this is not the first book on discipleship I have read, it is the first one that includes a composite of what could take place in a discipleship group setting. With admittedly smooth results and quick answers to prayer, these composite sketches give a glimpse into what the reader can hope for; beyond just reading the how-to, these composites show that each disciple is a real person with real needs.

These stories are broken up and scattered among the other parts of the book, which include Pope’s advice and teaching on discipleship. The author makes the case that discipleship happens best in small groups with a leader using some type of curriculum. He also reminds the reader that this is not a race; if we were looking at the tortoise and the hare, disciple-making looks more like the tortoise.

The author closes with four appendices to give the reader (presumably pastors or church leaders) some tools that can help them get started.

My only concern at all was a remark made by Mr. Pope in support of Alcoholics Anonymous when he referred to their famous refrain, “Once an alcoholic, always an alcoholic.” He went on to say that Christians could adopt a similar slogan because he says, “The truth is, ‘Once a sinner, always a sinner (p.59).’”

That actually isn’t the truth. The Bible refers to the unsaved as sinners and the saved as saints; the Bible never refers to a believer as a sinner. We still sin, but we are not labeled as sinners. Furthermore, 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 makes the case that “drunkards” are no longer drunkards if they have been washed by the blood of Christ.  

That aside, this was a very good book that I read in less than two days. I highlighted many sentences and will be referring back to them for further study in my own personal life. I highly recommend this book to any church leader and encourage them to honestly evaluate their church’s discipleship. I would also encourage any Christian to read the book and ask themselves who they are investing in. 

Monday, June 3, 2013

Once an Alcoholic, Always an Alcoholic




If you know anything about the group Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) you probably know their famous slogan, “Once an alcoholic, always an alcoholic.”

People will stand up in their groups and introduce themselves: My name is _________, and I am an alcoholic. Some of the ones making that introduction have gone years without so much as a sip of beer, and yet they still refer to themselves as alcoholics.

While I do not want to be overly critical of a group that is committed to helping people overcome serious addictions, I do want to scrutinize their label of “alcoholic.”

My issue with that term is that it labels people in the present with a sometimes past diagnosis. Cancer survivors don’t say they have cancer, they say they beat cancer. In the same way, why continue to give credit to alcohol when you have beaten it’s seductive powers?

What do you expect an alcoholic to do? The answer is obvious: drink alcohol.

But what do you expect a former alcoholic to do? Abstain from alcohol.

So why call yourself an alcoholic when you are sober? I preached on this topic several years ago, and a man approached me later and told me I was wrong. He said he would always be an alcoholic, even though he had been sober for six months. I asked him why he would give credit to the devil instead of Jesus; through the power of God he broke the chains of bondage, but he still referred to himself by what he used to do. Today that man has returned to his old ways of daily drunkenness, and I always wonder if the fact that he refused to stop calling himself an alcoholic contributed to him actually becoming one.

The “always an alcoholic” line stands in direct contradiction to the Bible. Notice how Paul addressed those former alcoholics in 1 Corinthians 6:9-11:

“Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such WERE some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”

Paul addressed people who had formerly been drunkards. He did not say they would always be alcoholics because they had been washed, sanctified, and justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ!

If you have been delivered from the sin of alcoholism, or any other sin, then don’t continue to label yourself by your past sin. That gives Satan the bragging rights in your life. Instead, stand up and proudly testify about the Lord Jesus Christ and what He was able to do in your life.

Your story of deliverance can serve as a catalyst to encourage someone else to turn to God for help. But if you keep calling yourself an alcoholic, or any other type of sinner, than you are not offering hope and deliverance to those still in chains of sin.

Are you a former alcoholic? Then join Paul in “forgetting those things which are behind and pressing on towards what lies ahead (Philippians 3:13).”