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Showing posts from 2010

Waiting on God

One of the hardest aspects of the Christian life can be waiting on the Lord. We live in a culture that gets everything it wants immediately. We even complain if our fast food doesn’t come quickly enough, and we want the Lord to answer our prayers just as quickly. But if we go back a few thousand years—long before instant grits and minute rice—we still see people who were impatient with God. Many times the men were guilty of taking matters into their own hands, while four women in particular stand out as being patient prayers. They were not perfect, but when it came down to it, they kept their trust in the Lord. They are Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel, and Hannah. All four of these women had the same plight: bareness. In their culture it was humiliating for a woman to not be able to provide a child for her husband, and in any culture it is at the very least saddening. And so these women each continued to pray that God would send them a child, and the Lord eventually blessed them with childr

Christmas Music

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, and that means that it is time for Christmas music. Most people love Christmas music. For many of us, we have heard the same songs over and over for years, and many of those songs, like the ones from Bing Crosby, have been around for generations. Some songs have been redone while others are timeless classics. I’ve never eaten a chestnut that roasted on an open fire, attended a Christmas party hop, or enjoyed a figgy pudding, but that has never stopped me from enjoying those songs. There is something about Christmas music that can put a smile on anyone’s face, even if it only comes from remembering the glories of Christmases long, long ago. As much as I enjoy songs about the most wonderful time of the year, especially during a white Christmas, I still prefer songs about the first noel, the ones that sing about the birth of Christ. I wanted to share some of my favorite lesser known lyrics about the first Christmas and the birth of Jesus.

What is a Curse Word?

I know. Stupid question, right? But lately I have heard Christians begin to debate what actually makes a word a curse word. Since the Bible never says, “Thou shalt not say the ‘s’ word,” how do we know that a word is bad? Because of this I have heard Christians justify cursing. The Bible gives a broad command for Christians to adhere to: let no corrupt word come out of your mouth (Ephesians 4:29). The word corrupt means rotten; therefore, we should never say a rotten word, whether it is on the list of curse words or not. First, we have to realize that there are curse words. On the night of Jesus’ arrest Peter was found guilty of using one himself. Matthew 26:74 tells us that when Peter denied knowing Jesus that he began “to curse and to swear.” This verse shows that there are curse words, and that they are wrong to use. I’m sure whatever words Peter said were not the same curse words that we have in our culture today. Here is the point: a curse word (or rotten word) is any w

A Change of Heart

Have you ever met a woman named Bitter? Neither have I, but I have read about one. In the book of Ruth we see a lady named Naomi, which means “my delight,” but some hard times leave her anything but delightful. Following the death of her husband and two sons, Naomi blames her problems on God and tells people to call her Bitter instead of Delight. But then she has a change of heart. After hearing that a godly man named Boaz was providing for the needs of her daughter-in-law Ruth, Naomi again realizes that God is good. Three things ultimately help Naomi have a change of heart. First, Ruth was loyal. In the 16th verse of the book of Ruth, Ruth makes the most beautiful pledge to her mother-in-law. Instead of staying where she was comfortable in her homeland, Ruth decides to move with Naomi, even though she had no obligation to do so following the death of her husband. Listen to this promise Ruth makes: “Where you go, I will go, and where you lodge, I will lodge. Your people shall be

A Better Day

This week has been one of those weeks. Sometimes we have “one of those days” where everything that can go wrong does, but this has been one of those weeks. We have made visits to hospitals, hospice, and homes. We have had death and disease. We have seen sentencing and suffering. We have given counsel and received criticism. And those are just unique circumstances. There are still the daily things that bring people down, like war, poverty, and a list of prayer requests a mile long. I’m sure that all who are touched by these hard times want just one thing: a better day. If you lose a loved one today, tomorrow has to be a better day. If you are diagnosed today, tomorrow has to be a better day. But these better days still do little to help when we have one of those days. Or weeks. Ultimately, you and I are just pilgrims passing through this life on earth (I Peter 2:11). As long as we live here we can expect hard times to come our way. Hey, even Jesus Himself said that i

Dogmatic Christians

The word dogmatic means to “arrogantly assert opinions,” and I know that many times Christians are called out by fellow Christians for being too dogmatic. I’ll be the first to admit that there are many arrogant things done in the name of Christianity—whether it is hosting a Koran burning, bombing abortion clinics, or protesting at funerals, these things are all wrong. And what I’ve tried to get people to see over and over is that 99 times out of 100, the people doing those things aren’t real Christians anyway. Should there ever be dogma among Christians? Are we allowed to give our “two cents” or are we supposed to tolerate and accept all other views? Always remember one thing: these other views send people to hell. The real question should be, “Why would I ever not assert my opinion?” We don’t need to be arrogant, but neither should we be tolerant of this live and let live mindset that has crippled our evangelism. Consider how Paul handled himself in Acts 17:16-18 . While P

Judgmental Christians

This one is going to make some people angry. That is not the reason why I am writing it, though. Lately I have seen so many people getting bent out of shape and yelling that Christians can’t judge them. “Only God can judge me!” By the way, if you are having to constantly make yourself feel better by saying that, you are probably doing something wrong. Is this idea true? Can only God judge? Well, if you want to be technical, Jesus said that God has passed all judgment on to Him. But are Christians forbid from judging? Every time someone’s Facebook status is “Only God can judge me,” they usually follow it up with Matthew 7:1, “Judge not, that ye be not judged.” Standing alone, that verse certainly seems like a universal command to not judge anybody. But the passage goes on to say that we will be judged back by others when we judge (I thought only God judges us!). The whole “get the log out your own eye before you judge the speck in mine” argument is really foolish. Jesus finis

Closed-Minded Christians

One of the most common insults hurled at Christians these days is that they are closed-minded. Critics of Christianity label Christians as already having their minds made up, and therefore they will not consider the “facts.” By facts they are usually referring to pseudo-science or fraudulent inventions to promote evolution. “If only these Christians were more open-minded,” they lament, “then they would learn the truth.” Despite the fact that there is a mountain of evidence which supports Creation, and the fact that there is not one verifiable fact that proves Darwinism, these atheists remain closed-minded to the possibility of Intelligent Design. But we expect to get criticized by the lost world; Jesus said that would happen. The thing that bothers me is when liberal Christians call other Christians closed-minded. This new brand of “anything-goes” Christianity features no absolute truth. Each person is free to interpret the words of Jesus however he sees fit, and this open-minde

Real Liberalism

Many times in my blogs and other writings I have referred to liberals or liberalism, and I feel that those terms need to be defined. When I have made comments like saying that militant recycling is a liberal idea, I have been criticized for trying to make something spiritual into a political debate (which is not true—liberal politicians beat me to it). But what I think most people do not realize is that being liberal is not necessarily a political label. The word liberal just means to be “tolerant” and “not strict.” The opposite of being liberal is being conservative, which means “traditional” and “cautious.” Each person is either liberal, conservative, or somewhere in the middle, and politics is only one area in which this happens. In the realm of politics, when a person looks at the Constitution, he must decide for himself if he will interpret the document cautiously or with more tolerance. For example, when it comes to abortion, the Constitution guarantees everyone the right to li

Is the Bible True? Proving the credibility of the Word of God through archeology

I firmly believe that the Bible is the eternal, infallible, inspired word of God. I don’t believe that there is a single error contained on any of its pages, and as a Christian, this is a matter of faith. The Bible claims to be the very words of God (II Timothy 3:16), so I believe that it is. But to say that I believe the Bible is true because the Bible says it is may sound like circular logic. This might seem like a politician saying that we can trust him because he has never lied to the people; it is ultimately still a matter of faith. And that is a good thing. Hebrews 11:6 tells us that it is impossible to please God if we don’t have faith, and Jesus Himself said to Thomas, “You believe in the Resurrection because you have seen me, but blessed are the ones that have not seen me and still believe (paraphrase of John 20:29).” So faith certainly plays a big role in our spiritual walk, but our faith only goes so far with an agnostic or a spiritual skeptic. What do we do when t

Can We Be Americans And Christians? (Tony Campolo Exposed)

This past weekend our nation celebrated the anniversary of her independence. The 4th of July is always a day with with fireworks, cooking out, and patriotism with the red, white, and blue. But this year on Independence Day I came across some writings that troubled me. I was doing some research for a future blog (which I decided to put off until next time) when I came across some things written by Tony Campolo. If you are not familiar with Campolo, he claims to be a Christian, and yet he is in favor of keeping abortion legal, gay rights, and he does not believe in the Genesis creation account. In his book Red Letter Christians he blasts the “moral majority” for trying to influence Christians to vote based on their morality, and in turn, he urges Christians to vote based on his warped version of Christianity. In his book Partly Right he goes on a diatribe about how all people are divine from birth, but aside from teaching Christians to vote based on unchristian principles and teaching

Why Satan Recycles

Recently I have taken some heat by suggesting that perhaps the sole power to destroy this planet does not rest in our hands (or our aerosol cans). I was even called arrogant for saying that, which is funny, because I believe that real arrogance is believing that I can destroy the planet. So when I celebrated Earth Day by finally getting to that pesky burn pile in the back yard, I viewed it as a sign of my humility. Nevertheless, I felt like this would be a good chance for me to clarify my position. Obvious point #1: Jesus will destroy this planet, not us. Read Revelation. People try to rebut this by saying that we should still preserve it. That is arrogance! Who are we to think that we can in any way affect God’s sovereign timetable? Obvious point #2: God created this planet with a protective water canopy that covered the earth and filtered out the harmful UV rays. This caused people to live longer and be healthier, and it also made the planet ideal for plant and animal life. H

Who is God? part 2

God is wise. That sounds like an obvious statement, and it really is, but God’s wisdom must be looked at. Many people are wise, but our wisdom either comes because we have been taught, or it comes through trial and error. God’s wisdom did not come about by either of these means, which is why God’s wisdom is unique. In God’s sovereignty He possesses total knowledge, and wisdom is simply the application of that knowledge. Therefore, we can conclude that God is totally wise. God acts in wisdom for His glory and for our good. I Corinthians 1:25 teaches that no one will ever compare to the glory of God, which brings Him glory, and He puts that wisdom into place for our good. Jeremiah 29:11 shows that God is so much wiser than us that we cannot even figure Him out sometimes. God also gives His wisdom to us, and James 1:5 says that if we lack wisdom we simply need to ask God for more. To see what this godly wisdom looks like, read James 3:17. God is eternal and immutable. God’s eternali

Who is God?

For several weeks in our youth services we have gone through a series I called Who is God? This was designed to not only teach our students more of who God is, but to help equip them to tell their friends who God is. In a world where there are so many gods for people to choose from, what makes our God so special? First of all, God is sovereign . Sovereign means “supreme in rank or authority” so God is absolutely in control of this universe at any given second. We don’t always know why God does the things that He does, but we must trust that God is working. At the end of the word sovereign is the word reign, and that is exactly what God does. Consider Isaiah 45:5-7: I am the LORD, and there is none else, there is no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me: That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside me. I am the LORD, and there is none else. I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the

Let's Go To Church

A recent trend that I have observed in some churches has been over the issue of going to church. There is a movement that has stopped going to church. Now, right away I realize that we do not GO to church because we ARE the church (church means “called out ones,” not a building with a steeple), but that is not what I am referring to. This new movement set its sights on the New Testament church, which did not own a building yet met together daily, and had all things common by selling what they owned and pooling their recourses. Some have wondered if we as American Christians are missing the mark by not doing church this way. But there are several things that we must consider here before we put a for sale up sign in the foyer. First, it is important to remember that there are some things that the Bible contains, and there are other things that the Bible commands. For example, the Bible contains the story of David’s adultery with Bathsheba and the murder of her husband Uriah, but i

True Love Waits

For those of you who were unable to attend our True Love Waits Rally, here is a recap of what you missed. By the way, this is normally a Valentine’s message, but our county-wide rally was postponed due to last February’s snow. I have seen too many people waste time trying to beg teens to stay sexually pure until marriage by using statistics about pregnancy or scary images of STDs. These methods don’t work, and they shouldn’t have to. For teens who believe in Jesus Christ and live their lives for Him, they don’t have to worry about pregnancy or disease. Here is an easy 4-step method that every person must realize. First, there had to be a Creator. The Bible tells us there is one in Genesis 1 and John 1, but even if a person does not believe in the Bible, common sense also tells us there is a Creator. Every building has a builder and every painting has a painter, so creation must have a Creator. Look around at the complexity of this universe, then try to accept the liberal teaching

Jesus Did Not Condemn the World

According to John 3:17, God did not send His Son Jesus into the world to condemn the world. This verse has led many people to develop a theology that says that Jesus is not a condemning God, and this belief is used to help build their case that Jesus is all love and no judgment. The problem with this theology is that the reason Jesus was not sent to condemn the world is that world ALREADY was condemned. John 3:18 continues and says, “He that believeth on Him is not condemned, but he that believeth not is condemned already.” Ever since the first sin in the Garden of Eden mankind has been condemned because of our sin nature. We are all condemned from birth, so Jesus did not come to condemn mankind, but to redeem us! Jesus’ own mission statement says that He came to “seek and to save that which was lost (Luke 19:10).” He did not come to condemn, but to save us from our own condemnation. This is great news. This means that all of us who claim to follow Jesus should be picking up

A Balancing Act

A tightrope walker only has one necessary skill: balance. Move an inch to the left, or overcompensate two inches to the right, and he is finished for sure. Recently it has occurred to me just how much of a balancing act Christians need as well. I am not talking about walking right down the middle. Absolutely not. We need to stand up for what we believe in, no matter how politically incorrect we might be. The last thing we need to worry about is being people pleasers. The balance that we need as Christian is to avoid going to extremes on most issues. Now, if something is black and white in Scripture, than do no make it gray. But other things require good balance. For example, take prayer. The Bible is full of verses that tell us that we will receive what we ask for if we do it with enough faith, or in the name of Jesus. But there are also verses that say to ask for God’s will to be done instead of our own. This has caused some Christian groups to believe that God will answer “

Witnessing Tips from a Thief

In honor of the Easter season I thought it would be a good idea to look at the thief on the cross next to Jesus at the Crucifixion. Jesus gave His disciples, and us today, the charge to tell people about Him (which we call “witnessing”), and I believe we can learn a thing or two from this thief. First, we see that Jesus had two converts while He was dying . One of the Roman solders who was working the executions that day was forced to conclude that “truly this man was the Son of God (Mark 15:39).” And then there is the thief who was crucified next to Jesus. We see his prayer of salvation: “Lord, remember me when you come into your kingdom (Luke 23:43).” While Jesus was dying he had more converts to Christianity than most Christians will have in their lives. This is a great reminder to us as Christians that we should always be mindful of the unsaved people around us, and their eternal destination if we do not tell them about Jesus. Another thing we can learn is the importance of

GOSPEL

Checklist Ministries, which was created by our 18 year-old friend Will Scott before he passed away from cancer last May, hosted a rally called Invasion last Saturday. I had the honor and privilege of presenting the Gospel at the rally. We did this in such a way as to enable teens to share their faith in Jesus. We wanted to give them the opportunity to stop what they were doing and text at least one person with the message of the gospel, which means “good news.” I believe the three most common reasons people don’t share their faith are they are hypocrites, they get nervous face to face, and they don’t know what to say. If you live one way at church and another way at school, you know you can’t witness because your life doesn’t back up the message. If that is you, remove that sin from your life and become a witness for God. And the other two excuses are easy to overcome. By texting, emailing, or using Facebook, you can tell someone about Christ without being face to face, and they

All Things To All Men

One of our favorite verses to use in our evangelism methods is where Paul said that he “becomes all things to all men” so that he might “by all means save some (I Corinthians 9:22).” This is certainly a good idea if we keep it in its proper context and application. For example, I remember a time in high school where I knew a kid that loved skateboarding. Being the chicken that I am, I was never a skateboarder. All he would talk about was skating, and I knew none of his lingo. But to help develop a relationship with him (he was new to our church and didn’t know many people), I brushed up on my skating lingo so I could ask if he had done any sick ollies lately (impressed?). This would be like Paul saying “to the skateboarder, I became a skateboarder.” This is effective and necessary. But then there are the people that use this verse to justify doing sinful things in the name of evangelism. The first one that comes to mind is about drinking. Some people will go into the bars to eva