Friday, August 28, 2009

Prayer - John Newton

Indeed, a person who lives in the exercise of faith and love, and who finds by experience that it is good for him to draw near to God, will not need to be told how often he must pray, any more than how often he must converse with an earthly friend. Those whom we love, we love to be much with. Love is the best casuist, and either resolves or prevents a thousand scruples and questions, which may perplex those who only serve God from principles of constraint and fear. A believer will account those his happiest days, when he has most leisure and most liberty of spirit for the exercise of prayer.

John Newton

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Time to Pray!

We're doing the Truth Project at our home on Wednesday nights, and this week it was about the history of America. Part of Abraham Lincoln's proclamation was on there, and so I went searching for it. This is what we need to be hearing from our politicians!

By the President of the United States of America.

A Proclamation.

Whereas, the Senate of the United States, devoutly recognizing the Supreme Authority and just Government of Almighty God, in all the affairs of men and of nations, has, by a resolution, requested the President to designate and set apart a day for National prayer and humiliation.
And whereas it is the duty of nations as well as of men, to own their dependence upon the overruling power of God, to confess their sins and transgressions, in humble sorrow, yet with assured hope that genuine repentance will lead to mercy and pardon; and to recognize the sublime truth, announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by all history, that those nations only are blessed whose God is the Lord.

And, insomuch as we know that, by His divine law, nations like individuals are subjected to punishments and chastisements in this world, may we not justly fear that the awful calamity of civil war, which now desolates the land, may be but a punishment, inflicted upon us, for our presumptuous sins, to the needful end of our national reformation as a whole People? We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of Heaven. We have been preserved, these many years, in peace and prosperity. We have grown in numbers, wealth and power, as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace, and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us; and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us!

It behooves us then, to humble ourselves before the offended Power, to confess our national sins, and to pray for clemency and forgiveness.

Now, therefore, in compliance with the request, and fully concurring in the views of the Senate, I do, by this my proclamation, designate and set apart Thursday, the 30th. day of April, 1863, as a day of national humiliation, fasting and prayer. And I do hereby request all the People to abstain, on that day, from their ordinary secular pursuits, and to unite, at their several places of public worship and their respective homes, in keeping the day holy to the Lord, and devoted to the humble discharge of the religious duties proper to that solemn occasion.

All this being done, in sincerity and truth, let us then rest humbly in the hope authorized by the Divine teachings, that the united cry of the Nation will be heard on high, and answered with blessings, no less than the pardon of our national sins, and the restoration of our now divided and suffering Country, to its former happy condition of unity and peace.

In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the City of Washington, this thirtieth day of March, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the United States the eighty seventh.

By the President: Abraham Lincoln

William H. Seward, Secretary of State

Thursday, July 9, 2009

What's So Great About Christianity

I highly recommend “What’s So Great About Christianity” by Dinesh D’Souza. Writing a book concerning the defense of Christianity is not something necessarily easy to do, unless you ignore all of the serious objections to Christianity. D’Souza manages, though, to address these objections and give reasonable, well thought out answers. I’m sure this won’t satisfy those who refuse to open their eyes to the possibility of truth within Christianity. But to any who are seriously searching, this book provides an excellent tool. It will also help Christians who are struggling with either answering these questions for themselves, or have a hard time formulating the answers to others who are questioning, and need some help. He doesn’t just seek to answer questions, but to lead readers who aren’t Christians to a walk with Christ. It is, as he says, “an invitation to convert.”

The book opens with some extraordinary chapters concerning the rise and spread of religion in general and Christianity in particular. Instead of taking the rather pessimistic view of many Christians in America, he sees Christianity in a global light. Chapter one begins with this; “God has come back to life. The world is witnessing a huge explosion of religious conversion and growth, and Christianity is growing faster than any other religion. Nietzsche’s proclamation “God is dead” is now proven false. Nietzsche is dead. The ranks of the unbelievers are shrinking as a proportion of the world’s population. Secularism has lost its identification with progress and modernity, and consequently it has lost the main source of its appeal. God is very much alive, and His future prospects look to be excellent. This is the biggest comeback story of the twenty-first century.”

He then goes on to show how and why this is happening. A very encouraging start to this book. He goes on to show how the atheist is trying to defeat this rise in Christianity through different avenues, particularly in the area of education. So this is where a lot of the book is heading.

D’Souza defends creation a lot in this book, though the one thing I really didn’t care for in found in this area. While he is defending creation, it is in the realm of theistic evolution. While I agree with what he is trying to do, defend Christianity, and show that it doesn’t contradict science, I have a hard time with how he does it. There was a growing frustration in me as he continued down this line for quite some time, arguing rather vehemently about his ideas of God “creating” the process of evolution, in contradiction to the Biblical story of creation.

However, the book once again turned to areas that I appreciated the authors’ views, as he turned to the philosophical arguments against God, and once again showed them to be erroneous. Again and again through this book he takes what he views as the strongest arguments against God, and demonstrates why they are false, and once again God is shown to be truth. Because I am certainly less knowledgeable in the realm of philosophy, it did me well to read these chapters.

The last few chapters deal with the questions of suffering and the nature of man, which are dealt with well, though he leaves some questions unanswered that I felt could have been answered. He ends with a call to Christ, defending briefly His life, death and resurrection. He shows why one would desire Christianity at all.

All in all, a good book, and again, one I would recommend, with just a couple of reservations, already mentioned. I recommend it to Christians and non-Christians alike; any who are seeking truth. And since I’m recommending this book alongside Ravi Zacharias, I feel like I’m in good company!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Marriage Explained...?

Hopefully this isn't the impression that Carlee gets!

The child was a typical four-year-old girl - cute, inquisitive, bright as a new penny. When she expressed difficulty in grasping the concept of marriage, her father decided to pull out his wedding photo album, thinking visual images would help.

One page after another, he pointed out the bride arriving at the church, the entrance, the wedding ceremony, the recessional, the reception, etc.

"Now do you understand?" he asked.

"I think so," she said, "is that when mommy came to work for us?"

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Our Savior King

"The Lord will not save those He cannot command. He will not divide His offices. You cannot believe on a half-Christ. We take Him for what He is – the anointed Savior and Lord who is King of kings and Lord of lords! He would not be Who He is if He saved us and called us and chose us without the understanding that He can also guide and control our lives." - A.W. Tozer

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Madame Blueberry

My two year old has recently discovered Veggie Tales! This has led to some interesting times around the house, and a lot of humorous times as well. Her favorite at this point is Madame Blueberry, the story of a woman(?) who has all she needs, but is not content. So she goes to the Stuff Mart to attempt to buy happiness, only to discover that with all they have, they cannot sell her a “happy heart.” This all, despite the fact that she was told “Happiness waits at the Stuff Mart.”

The story is, of course, geared at being content with what we have, and not being greedy for more. Happiness comes from inside, not from outside.

As I was watching this with my daughter, I was struck by the fact that here is a lesson every Christian needs to learn, not just about life, but about church. Churches have become so commercialized that the real question when looking for a new church is often “what can they give me,” as opposed to “what can I give.” I know, I know, churches need to fulfill needs, but what is a need? Is it new carpet, more comfortable seats (our church just redid our pews!) or better availability in childcare?

I’m not saying these things aren’t nice, or even necessary in some occasions, but the fact is that we have become far too worried about people finding happiness than we are with people finding God. That is, after all, what church is supposed to be about, right?

I recently read “Fool’s Gold,” which was edited by John MacArthur. There were some good things in the book. One chapter in it was titled “Choking on Choices: Combating Consumerism with a Biblical Mind-Set.” In it Kurt Gebhards said this;

“Instead of shopping for a church that fits our criteria, our desire, as God’s servants, should be to find a ministry that meets His standards. The question should not be, ‘Are my expectations met?” but rather, ‘Are God’s expectations met?” In spite of the market-driven culture around us, we should work hard to root out the self-centered perspective that American materialism breeds. Ultimately we must each as ourselves, ‘As we come to God’s house, what weighs more heavily on our hearts—His expectations for sacrificial service and worship, or our own expectations for personal fulfillment?’”

We in America, and much of the Western world, need to take the time to examine our motivations for life; whether we’re talking about our walk with God, how we view church, our relationships, our jobs, and a bunch of other things. What a blessing it would be if we would all take some simple lessons from a kids cartoon to heart, learning to thank God for what we have, and not look out so much for our own desires, but to please God by loving others and living lives of worship.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

A Generous Orthodoxy - Brian McLaren

I had the opportunity this last week to read “A Generous Orthodoxy” by Brian McClaren. I picked up this book knowing I was going to disagree with the author on things, but felt it was necessary. He has been largely criticized, often times with very harsh words and attitudes, by many, and I felt it was time for me to do a little reading of my own.

Actually, I have read some by him before, thought this was my first chance to read a book by him alone. I first came across his writings in the book “The Church in Emerging Culture,” which was edited by Leonard Sweet, a friend of McClaren as well as a fellow “emergent” type. In that book, Sweet brings together five authors who discuss how we are to “do” church in our culture today, and we get all different answers, from don’t do anything at all, to basically we need to change almost everything. The book is written in a conversational way, and I recommend it to anyone who wants to find out where they fit in, rather than how people tell them they should fit in.

Anyway, McLaren is firmly entrenched in that book in the changing your methods and message, which means we need to change how we do church, as well as what we are talking about. While I agree with both of these to a certain extent (in the sense that we need to bring to the gospel to the world in a relevant and understandable way), I think there are ways of doing this which aren’t so extreme. Anyway…the problem which was the biggest for me when it came to McLaren in that book was the way he was willing to change the message, and I believe he wants to go way too far, conceding and teaching things which are clearly not true, no matter the culture you live in. This is why, for the longest time, I didn’t really want to read too much by him, particularly a book of his on, of all things, orthodoxy. However, I felt it was important for me, as a pastor, to be able to talk about him from actually reading what he says, rather than reading what other people say about him. That being said, here are my thoughts.

First, I disagreed with far less than I thought I would. I admit that I went into the book expecting to agree with very little, and came out disagreeing with about the same amount; certainly not all of what he says, but a lot. One of the things which stood out to me was the heart McLaren has for the lost. His goal throughout is to reach those who don’t know Christ, and to find ways of introducing them to that. For this alone, I think his books need to be taken seriously, though still possibly with a willingness to question and perhaps get a little irritated at him. By the way, he admits in his introduction that he is okay with irritating you if it gets you to think. That I can appreciate.

Secondly, on this same line of thought, I found that people are far too hard on him. Yes, I know there’s some compromise, but still this man deserves a fair trial. Many of those who criticize are Calvinist, and don’t give this man the time of day because of his thoughts on the sovereignty of God. Boy did he stick his neck out on that one! Enough said there…

Thirdly, one thing I really liked about this particular book is that McLaren seems very interested in finding the best in all the different branches of Christianity. While at some times he is very straightforward and certainly steps on toes, at other times he simply wants the best anyone can offer. Certainly there are chapters where he is a little too generous with his orthodoxy, but it doesn’t hurt for us, and definitely for me, to be stretched a little and made to think.

I suppose I could go on and on, but I won’t. Next up: “The Rule of Faith; Scripture, Canon, and Creed in a Critical Age.” This will probably help me come back into proper balance!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

About dispensationalism

I came across this quote while reading "Security - The False and the True" by W. T. Purkiser. Thoughts?

"Dispensationalism is one of the most ingenious systems of biblical interpretation ever devised to escape the clear statements of God's inspired Word. It takes a half-truth, and by artificial and strained application transforms it into a principle of interpretation which permits almost any deduction one might wish to draw from the pages of the Book."

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Making good coffee

I love coffee, and here's a great tip from the Red Green Show on how to make it cheap.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Word Cloud

Here is a word cloud for the text I'm preaching from this week. I thought it might be interesting to compare the text to my sermon.

So here is the text - Hebrews 5:1-10

created at

Now here is my sermon

created at

Quiz - Are you a Calvinist?

Ran across this on a blog, the Wesleyan Arminian, and thought you might enjoy.

Genesis 25:23 The LORD said to [Rebekah], "Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples from within you will be separated; one people will be stronger than the other, and the older will serve the younger."

Q: What was in Rebekah's womb?
A. Two nations and two peoples.
B. One elect person and one reprobate person.
C. Don't even try to refer to the Old Testament for your exegesis of Romans 9. Heretic.

Ezekiel 18:23 Do I take any pleasure in the death of the wicked? declares the Sovereign LORD. Rather, am I not pleased when they turn from their ways and live?

Q: How much pleasure does the Sovereign Lord take in the death of the wicked?

A. No pleasure
B. Much pleasure
C. No revealed pleasure, but lots of secret pleasure.

Mathew 23:37: O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing.

Q: Why didn't Jesus gather up those in Jerusalem, when he longed to?

A. Because they were not willing.
B. This is a mystery.
C. Hello pea brain. Jesus was speaking of general chicks, not effectual chicks.

Luke 10:30-37 [The story of the good Samaritan - the priest and Levite "pass by" the traveler, the Samaritan stops and helps.]

Q: Which of these three do you think showed mercy?

A. The Samaritan. Go and do likewise.
B. The priest and the Levite showed mercy by passing by.
C. Each person showed a different kind of mercy. If all had stopped to help, the act of the Samaritan would have been diluted.

John 3:16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
Q: God loves what?

A. The world
B. The elect.
C. His glory.

Q: Who will not perish?

A. Whoever believes in God's only son.
B. Let me get back to you on that, I need to look up the answer on "Desiring God".
B. Francis Schaeffer won't perish, but his kid Franky is definitely going to burn.

Acts 16:30-31 [The jailer] then brought them out and asked, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?" They replied, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household."

Q: What must I do to be saved?

A. Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved.
B. Win the divine lottery.
C. The jailer was a Pelagian.

Romans 11:32 For God has bound all men over to disobedience so that he may have mercy on them all.

Q: Who does "all" refer to in this verse?
A. All
B. The elect
C. An unbiased reading of the text shows that first all refers to everyone and the second all refers to only the elect.

1 Timothy 1:18-19 Timothy, my son, I give you this instruction in keeping with the prophecies once made about you, so that by following them you may fight the good fight, holding on to faith and a good conscience. Some have rejected these and so have shipwrecked their faith.

Q: Paul says that some people have done what with their faith?

A. Some have shipwrecked their faith.
B. This is a hypothetical analogy with no real world application. It is merely used by God to ensure the perseverance of the elect.
C. Nice try. Obviously the ship was never floating in the first place.

1 Timothy 2:4 [God] wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.

Q: Who does God want to be saved?

A. All men
B. All men, but no women.
C. Tom Wright is a heretic.

1 Peter 1: 1-2 Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To God's elect, strangers in the world, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia, who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and sprinkling by his blood: Grace and peace be yours in abundance.

Q: How are the elect chosen?

A. According to the foreknowledge of God the Father.
B. If you were elect you would already know the answer to this question.
C. Who are you oh man to talk back to Piper?

1 John 2:2 He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.

Q: Jesus is the atoning sacrifice for what and what?

A. Our sins and also for the sins of the whole world.
B. The sins of the elect, and also for the sins of the elect.
C. The correct word is "propitiation". You show your Arminian tendencies by quoting from the NIV. Read the ESV, heretic.


Revelation 3:20 Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.

Q: Which picture best depicts the above verse?




Add up your score:
2 points for every A
1 point for every B
0 points for every C

25+ points - Congrats! You are predestined to be an Arminian
20-24 points - You read a lot of Norm Geisler.
15-19 points - Old school Calvinist
10-14 points - Neo-Reformed
0-9 points - James White is your homie.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Huge dead snake found

Had this video emailed to me, and thought you might enjoy.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Officer Stephen Mayhle

My wife's cousin, Officer Stephen Mayhle, was one of the three police officers killed in the line of duty on Saturday, April 5. Here is a link to one of the better articles I've read.

Processional held for Indiana native killed in line of duty.

Your prayers of support are of course much appreciated at this time.

Friday, April 3, 2009

By their fruits...

"You cannot follow Jesus and remain the same. The journey itself will change you forever-not only your priorities but your passions. It alters not only your direction but your desires. It transforms not only your actions but your values. It makes you just like Christ and unlike anyone else. It is nothing less than leaving the fake for the real. There is great risk in abandoning the artificial in pursuit of the authentic. Yet if we've never known the real thing, it's easy to understand why we are mesmerized with the best versions of the imitations."

Erwin Raphael McManus - Stand Against the Wind

"Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them."

Matthew 7:17-20

Monday, March 23, 2009

Thirsting after righteousness

I've been reading "Wesley's 52 Standard Sermons" and came across this the other day. One of those "wish I would have said this" sort of things.

“And it is as impossible to satisfy such a soul, a soul that is athirst for God, the living God, with what the world accounts religion, as with what they account happiness. The religion of the world implies three things: (1) The doing no harm, the abstaining from outward sin; at least from such as is scandalous, as robbery, theft, common swearing, drunkenness: (2) The doing good, the relieving the poor; the being charitable, as it is called: (3) The using the means of grace; at least the going to church and to the Lord’s Supper. He in whom these three marks are found is termed by the world a religious man. But will this satisfy him who hungers after God? No: It is not food for his soul. He wants a religion of a nobler kind, a religion higher and deeper than this. He can no more feed on this poor, shallow, formal thing, than he can ‘fill his belly with the east wind.’ True, he is careful to abstain from the very appearance of evil; he is zealous of good works; he attends all the ordinances of God: But all this is not what he longs for. This is only the outside of that religion, which he insatiably hungers after. The knowledge of God in Christ Jesus; ‘the life which is hid with Christ in God;’ the being ‘joined unto the Lord in one Spirit;’ the having ‘fellowship with the Father and the Son;’ the ‘walking in the light as God is in the light;’ the being ‘purified even as He is pure;’—this is the religion, the righteousness, he thirsts after: Nor can he rest, till he thus rests in God.”
– John Wesley in Sermon on the Mount, Discourse II

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Steelers to Lose Super Bowl Trophies

The latest from ESPN...

The Super Bowl XLIII Champion Pittsburgh Steelers, the only team to win six titles, will soon be losing half of those trophies. After a meeting between NFL Commissioner Rodger Gadel and President Barack Hussain Obama, Obama decided to redistribute half of their Steeler Super Bowl victories and trophies to less fortunate teams in the league.

“We live everyday in the country that invented the Super Bowl,” said Obama “We are not about to lose this Great American tradition in the wake of these difficult times.” Obama’s plan calls for the Steelers, who are a successful NFL team, to give half of their Super Bowl trophies to teams that are not successful or have not been as successful as the Steelers. “The Detroit Loins are just as much a part of the same fiber of the NFL as the Steelers and they should, no rather will, be entitled to a Super Bowl Trophy as well.” Obama explains in his plan that he has imposed on Godel and the NFL.

The Pittsburgh Steelers, who by virtue of hard work, excellent team play, stellar draft choices, responsible investing of free agents, careful hiring of coaches and excellent community service and commitment to their fans, has prospered greatly during the past 30 years and have won six Super Bowl Trophies. But President Barack Hussain Obama’s plan calls for the Pittsburgh Steelers to carry the larger burden of the NFL’s less successful teams. Obama went on to further proclaim, “In these difficult times we are all in this to work together. We must reclaim the NFL Championship Dream for every team, for every city and for every fan.”

“My plan will not affect 31 of the 32 teams in the league.” Obama assures. That’s over 95 percent of the teams in the NFL will not have to worry about loosing any Super Bowl Trophies. “The worst teams in the NFL and the teams that can’t seem to get a break and win a championship will no longer have to worry about going without a title.” Obama promises. “We are a country and league of hope. We all need to make a change.
It does not matter the color of the teams uniforms, the personal decisions that the teams make or their performance but rather if they are a member of this great American league.”

The Super Bowl XLIII trophy will be redistributed to the 0-16 Detroit Lions. Through no fault of their own incompetence, the Lions could not manage a victory all season and this trophy will help ease the pain of their lack of performance and give them hope once again. The redistribution of Super Bowl XL trophy will go directly to the Steeler’s division rival the Cincinnati Bengals. The Bengals who also have fallen on hard times have never won a Super Bowl. This victory will bring a smile to hundreds of Bengal fans all over the world as they can now celebrate. Finally, one of the Steeler’s two Super Bowl victories over the Dallas Cowboys will go back to the Cowboys since the league needs to provide hope in the face of difficulty and provide hope in the face of uncertainty. This is a heavy burden for the Steelers but together we can all prosper.

All hope is not lost for Pittsburgh fans, Barack Hussain Obama has another plan in place. Obama has meet with MLB and commissioner Bud Selig on a similar plan. The New York Yankees will redistribute two of their world series trophies to the Pittsburgh Pirates as a supplement to their loosing 16 straight seasons and counting. This plan will help stimulate the Pirates and enable them to regain the American Dream. Barack Hussain Obama will be meeting with the NHL and Michael Phelps in the upcoming weeks as this issue is high on his agenda for “Hope and Change.”

Friday, March 13, 2009


"The Bible is the record of the activity of God. God is the center. Everything is of God, comes from God, and returns to God. In other words, we are faced at the very beginning with this category of revelation. It is God who speaks. It is God who acts. It is God who intervenes. It is God who originates, who plans everything everywhere. It is a revelation of what God is, and what God does. It is a record of God revealing and manifesting Himself."
- Dr. Martin Lloyd Jones

“The external words of Christ, just like the words of the prophets, are to prepare us for, and point us to, that inner speaking in the heart by the Holy Spirit, which alone is life and power…How many have sought by study and meditation and acceptance of the words of the Bible to find God, and yet have failed. They knew not that these were but the finger-posts pointing to the living Son,--words coming, indeed from God, most needful and profitable, and yet not sufficient; only yielding us their true blessing when they have brought us to hear God Himself in His Son.”
- Andrew Murray

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Jesus and Moses

“Jesus has been found worthy of greater honor than Moses, just as the builder of a house has greater honor than the house itself. Moses was faithful as a servant in all God’s house, testifying to what would be said in the future. But Christ is faithful as a son over God’s house.” – Hebrews 3:3, 5-6a

This passage of Scripture was part of the text for my sermon last week, and there is a powerful message in this. To get there, it’s important to ask a question. Why did the author of Hebrews find it important to mention the fact that Jesus was greater than Moses? Certainly part of it has to do with the fact that in this book Jesus is elevated to a place above people and angels in an attempt to show His superiority. In the first chapter we have the prophets, which would have included Moses, and the angels, who were superior beings to humans in the Old Testament. So why this?

To discover the message, it’s important to remember who Moses was. Moses was the man who was chosen by God to lead the people out of Egypt. From his hand came many, many miracles, displaying the power and delight of God on his life. When Aaron and Miriam said he should share his leadership, and spoke of him as a selfish leader, God Himself came down and defended Moses, telling them that Moses had been chosen by God, not the other way around. Moses didn’t do what he did because he wanted to, which is evidenced in the burning bush experience. Instead, he followed the will of God, being faithful “in all God’s house.” God had called Moses to be a servant. Moses was faithful in that calling.

In addition to this, it was Moses who gave the law to the Israelites, teaching them to obey God, and what it meant to serve Him. It was Moses who wrote more of the Bible than anyone else, including the Apostle Paul. To the Israelites, Moses was a hero, a leader, and someone with an intimate relationship with God. He communed with God in ways no one else had the opportunity to do.

But why not Abraham, the friend of God? Or what about David, the man after God’s own heart? Why Moses? The answer, I believe, can be answered in what John Maxwell calls “The Law of the Lid.” In his book “The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership” Maxwell states that the Law of the Lid is this; “Leadership Ability Determines a Peron’s Level of Effectiveness.” What this law states is that a leader will only be able to lead others to his own level in any particular category. In other words, I am a pastor, and as such, I can only lead my people to my level of spirituality. I can’t lead them closer to God than I am. They may be able to get there, but not because of my leadership.

If you take this idea to the passage about Moses and Jesus, we see that the distinction the author makes between the two has nothing to do with whether one or the other was called by God. They were both doing as they were supposed to do. Moses was faithful in “God’s house.” Jesus was faithful as an “Apostle.” He was sent by God. It also has nothing to do with whether they were faithful. The author states the faithfulness of both. The difference is that Moses was faithful as a servant, while Jesus was faithful as a Son.

If you apply The Law of the Lid, you see that Moses could only teach the people to be the servants of God. Certainly he did this, faithfully and with great patience and diligence. He gave the law, led by example, and showed true love and compassion. He encouraged the people to follow after God. However, he was still only a servant of God, and that was the highest level he could lead the people. Under his leadership, the people would never be more than servants of God.

Jesus, however, came as a faithful Son over the house of God. When He came, it was with the intention of teaching us to not be servants of God, but to be sons and daughters. Certainly some of the aspects of servant hood still apply. We are called to be obedient, but now it is out of love, not duty. Jesus taught us to call God our Father, and to pray in that sense. His death was for the purpose of making us part of His family.

So the important distinction between the two is in where they can take us. Many of the Hebrews were considering going back to the ways of the Old Testament, and the author of Hebrews is telling them that is only so good. Those who continue to follow the legalistic patterns set forth by the Pharisees of Jesus’ day only prove that those who follow Moses will only ever know God as a master, and never as a Father. Jesus came to lead us to a higher level, and the highest of servants is sill nothing compared to the lowest of children. The law has its place; of that there can be no doubt. But the law can only take us so far; it can only teach us to be servants of God. If we want to learn what it means to be a son or daughter of God, we must follow the pattern of Christ, becoming His disciple, and learning through His example what it means to be part of God’s family.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Global Warming?

My wife was reading me a letter to the editor of one of our local papers today, and a lady wrote in with this to say; "The debate is over; the science is clear: Global warming is happening and we need to do something about it."

So then we're listening to Glenn Beck, and he reads part of an article I thought quite humorous. The "Global warming" debate is supposed to be over, right? Well, what happens if the globe really isn't warming, and may not for the next thirty years. Now, this isn't the news coming from some right wing conspiracy theorist. This is from the Discovery Channel itself, just one of the groups who have been teaching on this for so long. Now, these aren't my words. Feel free to read the whole article here. Let me just give you a piece of it.

"But climate is known to be variable -- a cold winter, or a few strung together doesn't mean the planet is cooling. Still, according to a new study in Geophysical Research Letters, global warming may have hit a speed bump and could go into hiding for decades."

Wait, it hit a "speed bump?" So it's not really global "warming," it's global "climate change" right? Meaning sometimes it gets warmer, and sometimes it gets colder? Hence the "global cooling" scare of the 1970's? Isn't that what many scientists have been saying all along? Meanwhile, there are those trying to put us all on a guilt trip for driving our big cars, trucks and SUV's, using regular light bulbs, and oh, yes, trying to actually stay warm during this particularly cold winter. But then you read the next paragraph...

"Earth's climate continues to confound scientists. Following a 30-year trend of warming, global temperatures have flatlined since 2001 despite rising greenhouse gas concentrations, and a heat surplus that should have cranked up the planetary thermostat."

So while those of us in Western PA are doing all we can to bring on an early spring, we're really not accomplishing anything at all? What a bummer.

Well, I'm no scientist, but maybe those who claim this debate is finished should go back and check the numbers one more time.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Christ - What He did for me

As we begin the season of Lent, it will do us all good to remember the sacrifices Jesus made in order for salvation to be bought for man. Let us not just remember the glory of Easter, but let us walk with Him through His final days of suffering.

"Christ was all anguish that I might be all joy, cast off that I might be brought in, trodden down as an enemy that I might be welcomed as a friend, surrendered to hell's worst that I might attain heaven's best, stripped that I might be clothed, wounded that I might be healed, athirst that I might drink, tormented that I might be comforted, made a shame that I might inherit glory, entered darkness that I might have eternal light. My Savior wept that all tears might be wiped from my eyes, groaned that I might have endless song, endured all pain that I might have unfading health, bore a thorned crown that I might have a glory-diadem, bowed his head that I might uplift mine, experienced reproach that I might receive welcome, closed his eyes in death that I might gaze on unclouded brightness, expired that I might for ever live."
-Author Unknown

"Since then the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil; and might deliver those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives. Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in all things, that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For since He Himself was tempted in that which He has suffered, He is able to come to the aid of those who are tempted."
- Hebrews 2:14-15, 17-18

Friday, January 9, 2009

Proselytizing - What is our duty?

I was recently listening to the radio, and the man was talking about Penn, from Penn and Teller, and mentioned a video on YouTube with Penn talking about a man who gave him a Bible and was witnessing to him. If you don’t know, Penn is a staunch atheist, and many times in these little clips on YouTube he talks in an extremely negative way about religion of any kind, and even has a clip which is titled, “The Bible is b____t”. There is almost nothing I agree with this man on, except two things. One, magic is entertaining, and secondly, proselytizing is the duty of all Christians.

If you get a chance, I would encourage you to watch the video. It’s well worth the time. “How much do you have to hate someone to not proselytize,” is his question, and I think it’s something we all need to ask.

Now, I’ve heard all the excuses. “What if they ask a question I can’t answer,” or “I just don’t know enough about the Bible.” “I’m not good at communicating” tends to go along with those. Of course, Jesus said this; “So don’t worry in advance about how to answer the charges against you, for I will give you the right words and such wisdom that none of your opponents will be able to reply or refute you!” (Luke 21:14-15) The important thing, according to Jesus, is faith. Of course, we all need to do what we can to understand our faith in a logical way so we can explain it (I Peter 3:15), but let’s not wait until we have all the answers. If we do that, we will never take the gospel to the world.

My personal favorite excuse, simply because it sounds so holy and righteous, is “I’m going to live my faith, and let that be my testimony." Interestingly, Jesus never said, “go into all the nations and live the gospel.” Of course, we need to live our faith in a very real, vibrant way, but that is not all. We must speak it. It needs to be told. Yes, we need to be polite. Yes, we need to not shove it down throats. But too often that is an excuse for silence, when it should be an excuse for not being obnoxious.

I’m not suggesting here that I haven’t failed. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. This convicted me like I hope it does for a lot of people. We must be disciples who tell the world. They are dying, and unfortunately, there are many who are going to hell, either because they have never heard, or they haven’t heard the message given in love. That is our duty.

And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen. – Matthew 28:18-20