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Showing posts from August, 2012

Is Jesus Really God? Witnessing to Jews and Mormons

One of the fundamental tenants of Christianity is the belief that Jesus Christ was God in the flesh. This central issue is one that separates Christian theology from that of the Jews and the Mormons. This is not intended to pick on these other groups, but to lovingly show them what the Bible has to say on the matter (and to help Christians do the same). The Jews believe in the Old Testament, and they rightly understand that God promised to send a Deliverer to His people. Unfortunately, they have rejected Jesus as that Messiah, and therefore, they have also rejected the New Testament. ( Messianic Jews do believe that Jesus is the Messiah) The Mormons believe that Jesus was the Son of God. When they come to your door they will be sure to tell you as much, but they are not as forthcoming with what else they believe. They believe Jesus was just one son of one god. They believe that Lucifer is the brother of Jesus, and that God is one of many gods (and that they will o

Tough Guys and Drama Queens

           I was excited to read Tough Guys and Drama Queens by Mark Gregston because, as a pastor of students, I always like to have a good book to recommend to parents. Gregston has spent decades working with teens and he even runs a live-in program where 60 troubled teenagers live for a year while he mentors them.      This book is divided into 3 parts, and Part 1, if it were it’s own book, would be one of the best parenting books I have ever read. Part 1, “What’s so different about today’s culture?” accurately identifies the root causes for many of today’s problems. What many parents think is simply rebellion is the symptom; Gregston identifies what lies beneath the surface, which includes a false sense of reality from the 80 billion videos on YouTube, the 250 million pictures uploaded to Facebook each day, and the lack of leadership evidenced by the 69% of heads of household who play video or computer games regularly.      Teens, Gregston points out, are told that

Esther or Delilah? Tales of Beauty and Seduction

      Every now and then I pick up a book to give it a quick look through, and before I realize it I have read most or all of it. That happened to me last week when I picked up Esther or Delilah. My intention was to read the book’s introduction, which was so captivating that I ended up reading 5 additional chapters. I had to force myself to put the book down and get back to the tasks I had at hand.      I was introduced to the book’s author, Angela De Souza, through an online writing community hosted by Harper Collins. She is primarily a women’s writer and conference speaker, but this book also contains good stuff for guys too. Throughout the book the reader will see the M2M box, which means “Message to Men,” with advice just for the guys. Among the advice, when talking about Samson, is, “You are not designed to be a wimp, you are not designed to be weak, and you are not designed to be passive. You are a warrior, so start acting like one (p.34).”      The main focus of t

Learning from the Old Testament Part 3

     In light of all we have seen here, to what extent are we to obey the Old Testament? Do we have to obey its commands about not eating anything with a cloven hoof? What about the command not to wear a garment with mixed fabric? What about the Ten Commandments?      What we need to realize is that “the law” (as it is called) contains ceremonial law and moral law. The law served different purposes. One major part was that God wanted Israel to be a witness among the pagan nations around them, and much of the dietary laws and dress code were tied up in that. The moral law had to do with conduct, or how they lived their lives. And much of the ceremonial law governed their religious duties, which was a way of appeasing God’s wrath (propitiation) because no sin could be forgiven until Jesus’ shed His innocent blood.      (Since no sin could be forgiven, people could not go to heaven. They went to Paradise, or Abraham’s Bosom, as a sort of waiting room. After Jesus died He wen

Chick-fil-A's Hate Groups

During this recent Chick-fil-A mania I keep hearing about the supposed “hate groups” that Chick-fil-A donates to. Who exactly are these groups of hate that benefit from CFA? Well, I guess I am one of them. CFA on several occasions had donated food for our youth ministry and even college Christmas parties. The teenagers hear a message about how the two most important commands of Jesus are to love God with all your heart and love your neighbor as yourself, and then they eat chicken. CFA has been contributing to other such hateful events all over the country. CFA also sponsors the hateful bigots at Victory Junction Gang Camp, ( ) which is a charity that puts on camps for terminally ill children. The media is leading the public to believe that the Cathys are the first business owners to donate to anyone. Remarks about how corporations should not be giving away money from their customers are filling up social media. So just to see the othe

Learning from the Old Testament Part 2

      In Part 1 we saw that David and Solomon led the nation to build a temple. Although some comparisons are fair, it is not really accurate to say that the temple was like “church.” This temple existed as a way for mankind to appease God’s wrath.      The temple, which was built according to God’s specifications, had an outer courtyard where each person was allowed to come for a sacrifice. But inside the temple, in the Holy Place, only the priests were allowed to go. At the back of that room was a large veil—a 60 foot high, 4 inch thick veil—that led into the Most Holy Place (or Holy of Holies). Only the high priest could enter that room, and only once a year on the Day of Atonement.      On the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur), the high priest would offer a sacrifice on behalf of the entire nation. This did not forgive sins (“For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins.” Hebrews 10:4), but simply appeased God’s wrath (an idea known as “pr

Why I Ate at Chick-fil-A

As the whole world knows by now, yesterday was Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day. We don’t have a CFA here in Union, SC, so my wife and I drove 45 miles to the Westgate Mall in Spartanburg for a chicken filled lunch. And yes, like millions of others, we posted pictures of our meal on Facebook and Twitter . But why? Why all the hysteria around this restaurant chain? I’m not going to get into the comments made by Mr. Cathy, because they have nothing to do with this story, and because everyone is familiar with them. What happened at these fast food stores all over the country yesterday was a grassroots effort to simply say that we respect and support this business. The Cathy family was potentially going to have their business boycotted, and when politicians began to illegally block their admission into cities, Americans ( not anti-gay, religious bigots) realized that our precious freedoms were under attack. If the State can block a business purely on ideological terms, who will