Ken Ham – Digging Deep

wells

The debate continues to rage over evolution verses creation. A conservative estimate is that over 5 million viewers watched the Bill Nye and Ken Ham debate last Tuesday, including a house full of friends at our home. (If you haven’t seen it yet please go watch it here.)

So much has already been said about the debate. And that, I believe, was the point. People are talking, the subject is making the news, students, teachers, friends, family members, and church leaders are asking questions. “Is creation a viable model of origins in today’s modern scientific era?” But even more significant than this, the gospel was preached to millions.

About the Debate

While watching the debate one passage of scripture came to mind more than any other.

Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished,” 2 Peter 3:3-6.

At one point in the debate Nye asked Ham, “What is it that you can predict? What can you provide us that can tell us something about the future?” I found that interesting. My prediction long before the debate was that 2 Peter 3:3-6 would come to pass that every night. It was clear that Bill Nye, the modern day scoffer, deliberately overlooked the fact of creation and the world wide flood even when presented with truth.

One very pivotal point of the debate was when Ham asked Nye what purpose he had in life if evolution were true. The answer is, of course, nothing – no purpose, no meaning, no joy of discovery. Life is pointless from Nye’s point of view.

So What’s Next?

In 2010 I heard Ken Ham give the commencement address at Tennessee Temple University. His message from Genesis 26 was about the need to dig wells. Go read the passage…

…go ahead, I will wait.

It is an amazing story. You see, the Philistines of our generation have stopped the wells using public education, secular colleges, the media, Hollywood, false preachers, teachers, and pretenders. They have filled the wells with lies. In the process they have attempted to eradicate God’s Word and stop the flow of life giving water. That day Dr. Ham charged the audience to go out into the world and, like Isaac, re-dig the wells that have been stopped.

(Let me encourage you to read my blog post about it here and his mention of it here.)

Now that the public debate is over, what are we to do? What comes next for Christians? Simply put, we need to re-dig. We need to take back ground that was once lost. We need to push back and speak up, because the Christian life is not pointless. It has meaning and purpose. We have a mission to accomplish, a gospel to preach, and the truth to proclaim. One bit of dirt that is used to fill the wells is the teaching of evolution as fact. Thousands of children and young adults are indoctrinated with the lie of evolution in our public schools and secular universities. The agenda is to weaken faith in God and promote humanistic religion. (Read more about that here, or watch what top evolutionary scientists have to say here.) Christians can and should re-dig in this area.

Not only are we to re-dig stopped up wells, but we are to be about building new ones. Jesus said, “whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life,” John 4:14.

The building of new wells can only be accomplished through the gospel – a truth that Ken Ham certainly understood the night of the debate.

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When the Sun Comes Out

sun When we were in South Mississippi we lived in a home that was surrounded by acres and acres of National Forrest. During the summer months, after the children went to bed my husband and I would love to take evening swims. In the darkness of the night we would look into the heavens at the thousands of stars shining so bright. The contrast of the stars against the blanket of darkness was striking. This is how I picture the Christian’s life. We let our light shine before men in an extremely dark world.

It is certainly dark times. Today’s headlines, like all others, include stories of war, scandals, terrorism, and murder. One story that depicts the nature of our world in such a clear fashion is this one. A Chinese baby boy is rescued alive after being flushed away. I am a mother. The thought of a mom giving birth to a child and then being able to take that child and flush it down the toilet as human waste or garbage is inconceivable. I can’t even comprehend the cruel heart that could do such a thing, other than the fact that we are told in Jeremiah that the heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked (Jer 17:9) and that one of the characteristic of the ungodly is being “without natural affection” (Rom 1:31, 2 Tim 3:3).

So these gloriously dark times are grand opportunities to shine.

Look at how Daniel describes the wise. “And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever,” Daniel 12:3.

That right! You are a star!

At least those with heavenly wisdom, who point others to God, shine as stars in the darkness!

But what happens to the stars when the sun comes out?

They fade away.

John the Baptist understood this concept. He said, “He must increase, but I must decrease,” John 3:30.

Our purpose as light in the darkness has never been to point others to ourselves. We don’t shine for our glory. We point others to God, for His glory. Jesus told his disciples, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven,” Matthew 5:16.

We shine in this dark world so that others are pointed to our heavenly Father. But one glorious day, the Son whose “countenance was as the sun,” (Rev 1:16) will return and all darkness will be driven away for all eternity.

Until that day, dear Christian friend, keep shinning!

The Wrong Question

questionDid you know that I love to ask questions? Not only do I learn from asking, but I teach thorough the use of questions as well. This is known as the Socratic Method of teaching. It is a great tool for guiding people on a journey of discovery as well as moves them toward greater understanding. But what happens when we ask the wrong question? Logically, we would have to say that we get the wrong answer.

Should a woman have the right to choose an abortion? That is the wrong question.

The correct question is: Should society allow the murder of innocent babies?

Should Christians be allowed to pray in government ran schools? Again, that is the wrong question. The question we should be asking is: Should we allow an ungodly government to train and educate our Christian children? When we begin to ask the right question, all of a sudden we begin to get the right answers.

Have you ever heard anyone say, “Why do bad things happen to good people?” That is another wrong question. In Luke 18 a rich young ruler came to Jesus saying, “Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus responsed with, “Why callest thou me good? none is good, save one, that is, God,” (Luke 18:19). There is none good but God. So, when we ask, “Why do bad things happen to good people?” we are asking the wrong question. The correct question should be, “Why do bad things happen to bad people,” or “Why do good things happen at all?”

Several years ago in South Mississippi, we attended a revival where our friend Brandon Wilson was preaching. He addressed the same thought of asking the wrong questions. The point he made was that many times Christians ask, “Is this a sin?”

We will question…

Is it a sin to drink?
Is it a sin to watch this movie?
Is it a sin to say this?
Is it a sin to date this person?
Is it a sin to (fill in the blank)?

Again, we are asking the wrong question. Instead of asking if something is a sin, what every Christian should be asking is, “Is this holy?” You can ineffectively debate whether drinking is a sin, but when you ask the correct question of “Is drinking holy?” you get a clearer answer.

What about asking if this movie we are about to watch is holy?
Is what I’m about to say holy?
Is this relationship holy?
Is what I am doing holy?
And so on…

With the correct question, all of a sudden the perspective changes. It is easy to justify certain behavior when we approach it from a, “Is this really a sin?” attitude. However, if we approach our lifestyle, our conduct, our words, and our inner motives from the thought of, “Is this holy and pleasing to God?” it becomes impossible to justify those questionable activities.

I needed this reminder, because sometimes I do ask the wrong question. But as a child of God, I am called to examine my life.

“Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves,”2 Corinthians 13:5.

As a child of God I should ask the Lord to search my heart.

“Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting,” Psalm 139:23-24.

As a child of God I should ask if I am living in obedience.

“As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy,” 1 Peter 1:14-16.

Lord, is my faith real? Lord, is there any wicked thing in me? Lord, am I living a holy life?  These are the correct questions! If we will just ask them, the answers will drive us to our knees and point us to God Almighty.

Why Our Church Doesn’t Celebrate Easter

easterWith the Easter holiday just a few days away there is a lot of talk about the subject. But this Sunday we will not be celebrating “Easter” but rather the Resurrection of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. Below are a few reasons as to why:

  •  Ignorance is NOT bliss. Read I Peter 1:14-21. As a Christian every word, action, and deed should be done for the glory of God. To celebrate is to observe, show happiness, or mark an occasion. At the least, do a study on the origins of “Easter” before deciding to observe it.
  • Words mean things. After a careful study, why would you even want to use the word “Easter”? What purpose does it serve to call your celebration by that word? Isn’t Resurrection Sunday a better, more accurate description of what we are celebrating? Which one points more people to God?
  • The Easter symbols of bunnies and eggs are distracting at best. Really, what does it have to do with Christ’s resurrection? I haven’t figured that out yet. However, these symbols have plenty to do with fertility and pagan ideas.
  • “It’s just for fun” is counterproductive. The world and Satan will always win when it comes to providing fun. The church is to be the “pillar and ground of the truth” not entertainment centers. An attempt to compete with the world in this area cheapens the Bride of Christ.
  • It is confusing to children. When we play around with the world’s ideas our children become unstable and unsure of what to believe in. The same thing happens when we tell children that Christmas is about the birth of Christ while playing the Santa game. Or when they get older we allow them to be indoctrinated with evolutionary teaching and then give them an hour a week in Sunday school to learn about the Genesis account of creation. Our children are confused and no wonder. We allow these things to affect them and then question why 80% leave the church by the end of high school.
  • What you draw people with is what you draw them to. A church can use an egg hunt to draw people in (or any worldly event for that matter), but when we draw them in with activities, promotions, and such we are drawing them to those things. When we use the pure, unadulterated Word of God to draw people in, it is Christ alone that they are drawn to. “Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth,” Colossians 3:2.
  • We are called to be holy. We are to be set apart and peculiar. I’m afraid many have forgotten this. It is hard to be set apart while being the same. “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy. Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul;” 1 Peter 2:9-11.

We do as a church celebrate the resurrection of our Lord and Savior. The resurrection is, in fact, the hinge-pin of all of Christianity. Without it there is no hope. Without it our faith is in vain. Without it our loved ones would be gone for good. Without it we would still be in our sins. “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable,” 1 Corinthians 15:19. But thank God we are not most miserable. Because of the resurrection of our Lord there is hope! The grave has been conquered! Sin not longer reigns! And death has no sting! This Sunday we will celebrate Resurrection Sunday with the living Christ being glorified, and his death and resurrection being preached!

 

*note:   My 16 year old son’s comment to this article was, “Mom, That was great. I agree with everything you said, but I think you will make people mad with your words.” So in reply to “making people mad” let me just say that is certainly not my intent. I hold no judgment over anyone. How you choose to celebrate is between your conscience and God alone.

I write because there are so many misconceptions and fallacies regarding the church. Dear Christian, never forget that the world is watching us. They want to know if what we say we believe is real enough to make a difference in the way we live.

Too many have a form of godliness, but deny the power (2 Timothy 3:5). They are denying the power of the Word of God to work in their life (1 Thessalonians 2:13). They are denying the power of Christ to crucify the old man (Romans 6:6). They are denying the power of God to keep them from practicing a lifestyle of sin (1 John 3:9). They are denying the power of the Holy Ghost to teach them spiritual things (1 Corinthians 2:10-13).

False Teachers, Damnable Heresies, and Doctrines of Devils

false teachersWhat is your response when you hear false teaching? Should a Christian expose lies taught by others? Is it our duty to call out men who preach heresies? When a false gospel is proclaimed should we overlook it?

There seems to be two schools of thought on this. The first is that as Christians we are not to judge someone’s ministry. We should never call out a false teacher. If they claim to be a Christian who teaches the truth, we should take their word for it. After all, as children of God we are to unite under the love of Jesus and purposely steer clear of divisive doctrines that destroy fellowship. Didn’t Jesus want us all united?

The second thought is found in 1 John 4:1, “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.”

The first thought sounds noble, even Christ-like. After all, unity of believers is important. But unity should never come at the expense of truth! When faced with the same thought, Charles Spurgeon replied,

“To remain divided is sinful! Did not our Lord pray, that they may be one, even as we are one?” A chorus of ecumenical voices keep harping the unity tune. What they are saying is, “Christians of all doctrinal shades and beliefs must come together in one visible organization, regardless… Unite, unite!” Such teaching is false, reckless and dangerous. Truth alone must determine our alignments. Truth comes before unity.

Do you enjoy watching TBN, listening to sermons, reading Christian books, doing Bible studies, or following after preachers and teachers? Let me offer a word of caution. Beware! False teachers, damnable heresies, and doctrines of devils abound. Truth is not guaranteed just because someone claims to be a Christian preacher, a book is sold in a Christian book store, or a church is in your same denomination.

False teaching is slowly creeping into local churches all around us. It is subtle. It is hard to spot. Yet, it spreads in a deadly fashion. But, again this is really nothing new. Did you know that throughout the New Testament this is constantly dealt with? Jesus deals with false teachers and how to judge them. Paul addresses it, tells us to mark certain men, and calls those out by name who are in error. In Galatians he says, “If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.” James warns those who would be teachers of the greater condemnation. Peter deals with it, as does every epistles of John. In fact, John warns us to not let false teachers into our home (false teaches can come in via the TV, books, or computer as well), or even wish them “God speed” because in doing so we become a “partaker of his evil deeds,” 2 John 1:11.

In fact, every New Testament book (with the exception of one) deals with recognizing false teachers, guarding against false doctrine, correcting false doctrine that was taught, or warning those who would be teachers. The only exception is the small personal letter Paul wrote to Philemon. Twenty-six out of twenty-seven books of the New Testament address this (listed below). Therefore, it must be important.

Not only should we call out false teachers and their lies, but we are responsible to. The church is the pillar and ground of the truth (1 Timothy 3:15). We cannot even worship God without the truth (John4:24). And Jesus prayed that we would be sanctified through the truth (John 17:17). Christians need to be bold and never back down from all the truth in God’s Word. But, we also need to speak the truth in love and as much as possible,“of some have compassion, making a difference: And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh,” Jude 1:22-23.

  • Matthew – Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. (Mat 7:15)
  • Mark – For false Christs and false prophets shall rise, and shall shew signs and wonders, to seduce, if it were possible, even the elect. (Mar 13:22)
  • Luke – And he said, Take heed that ye be not deceived: for many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and the time draweth near: go ye not therefore after them. (Luk 21:8)
  • John – But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep. The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep. (Joh 10:12-13)
  • Acts – For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. (Act 20:29-30)
  • Romans – Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple. (Rom 16:17-18)
  • 1 Corinthians – I write not these things to shame you, but as my beloved sons I warn you. For though ye have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet have ye not many fathers: for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel. (1Co 4:14-15)
  • 2 Corinthians – For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works. (2Co 11:13-15)
  • Galatians – I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed. (Gal 1:6-9)
  • Ephesians – That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; (Eph 4:14)
  • Philippians – (For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.) (Php 3:18-19)
  • Colossians – And this I say, lest any man should beguile you with enticing words. (Col 2:4) Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. (Col 2:8)
  • 1 Thessalonians – Chapter 4, whole chapter is written to correct false teaching that they received.
  • 2 Thessalonians – Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; (2Th 2:1-3)
  • 1 Timothy – Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; (1Ti 4:1-2)
  • 2 Timothy – But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness. And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus; Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some. (2Ti 2:16-18)
  • Titus – For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision: Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre’s sake. (Tit 1:10-11)
  • Hebrews – Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats, which have not profited them that have been occupied therein. (Heb 13:9)
  • James – My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation. (Jas 3:1) (warning to those who would be teachers)
  • 1 Peter – The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed: Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock. (1Pe 5:1-3)
  • 2 Peter – But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not. (2Pe 2:1-3)
  • 1 John – Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. (1Jn 4:1) They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them. We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error. (1Jn 4:5-6)
  • 2 John – For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist. Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward. Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds. (2Jn 1:7-11)
  • 3 John – I wrote unto the church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not. Wherefore, if I come, I will remember his deeds which he doeth, prating against us with malicious words: and not content therewith, neither doth he himself receive the brethren, and forbiddeth them that would, and casteth them out of the church. Beloved, follow not that which is evil, but that which is good. He that doeth good is of God: but he that doeth evil hath not seen God. (3Jn 1:9-11)
  • Jude – For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ. (Jud 1:4)
  • Revelation – I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars: (Rev 2:2)

The “New” Front Porch

My husband’s first church was in a little town in central Arkansas (population 202).  It was a quaint little town, stuck in the 50’s.  We knew all of our neighbors.  People waved as they drove past.  Those walking down the street would stop and talk to you.  We went to Crime Watch and played softball at the park.  I did aerobics at the community center and my husband was on the volunteer fire department.  Everyone in the town knew you and you knew everyone in the town.  People didn’t need an invitation to stop by for a visit.  My family loved living there and living in a “glass house” didn’t bother us.  We wanted our church to know that we were the same in our home as well as outside in the community.  Everyone had a front porch and we would often find them sitting on it.  In fact, my first Ladies Bible study was held on a front porch.  One mid-morning Tuesday a dozen ladies gathered up for a luncheon, sweet tea, and the Word of God.    Living there was a good experience for us.

Today we live in a far different atmosphere.  I do not know my neighbors.  In fact, since we’ve lived in town, we have had a hard time meeting even our next door neighbors.  People are busy.  Garage doors stay closed.  Blinds stay shut.  No one sits on their front porch because no one has a front porch.  Sometimes we hear our neighbors in their backyard, but even that is seldom.  Several months ago we tried to meet our new neighbors who just moved in.  My husband took over a plate of homemade chocolate chip cookies to welcome them into our neighborhood.  As it turned out, it was the cleaning people.  They enjoyed the cookies, I’m sure.

It is though people do not want to be known.  “I have my own life.  Leave me alone.  Don’t bother me.”

That is until they get online……..

You see, it’s not that people don’t necessarily want to get to know people.  It’s just that they don’t want to get to know them face to face.  They don’t want to sit on their front porch and visit with a neighbor over a cup of coffee.  That takes too much time.  It’s too much of an investment.  There is a risk associated with it.  It involves real people.

But, the “new” front porch is a different story.  This front porch can be anywhere.  It can be in your bedroom, the car, at work, during church service, at the doctor’s office, or on the playground.  In fact, on those rare occasions when we are actually visiting with someone face to face, we can still be sitting on our own “front porch” interacting with someone entirely different.  This new front porch has many names.  You might recognize it at Facebook, Twitter, Skype, texting, or basically any type of social networking and virtual connections.  It really is a strange phenomenon.  There are people who will not take 3 seconds to look another person in the eyes when greeted.  Yet, these same people will tell the whole world all the happenings of their day.  We know what they ate for breakfast, where their spent their last dollar, what games they play online, what TV shows they are watching, the status of their ingrown toenail, and all their personal problems.  There are people who have 4,000 “friends” online, yet could not name 3 “real” friends who would be there if needed.  They will proudly announce to the world their private sins in the form of a status update, yet would never dream of confessing their faults to the church (James 5:16).

Indeed there is a façade associated with the “new” front porch, but is it more ominous than all of that?  My concern is toward the Christian community.  Has all of this online interaction become a surrogate church of sorts?  Let me explain.  Just today I was reading a post by a young mother who was pouring out her heart and begging for encouragement from others in this certain online group.  My heart immediately went out to her, but not necessarily because she was having family troubles.  I was sad for her because it appeared that she did not have anyone (other than an online Christian group) to talk to.  What a sad commentary for the local church.  Tell me, can someone typing ((hugs)) really replace a friends presence?

Like so much of technology there are pro’s and con’s associated it.  I like Facebook.  I love seeing pictures of my family and friends.  I like being able to seed messages and connect with those I know.  I enjoy being able to send a short text to someone.  It simplifies communicating.  Emails are great.  I would much rather type a letter to a friend than take the time to write one out on paper, it’s faster.  And Skype sure comes in handy when my husband and I travel.  We can still see the children, pray with them, and tell them goodnight “face to face.”  Technology should enhance communication; it should not replace it.

As with all of technology there is a fine line.  Do we embrace it or shut it off?  I think I will invited a friend over for a cup of coffee and sit outside on the deck to discuss it.  Some “real people” interaction sounds nice.  On second thought, I’m too busy for that today.  So, I think I’ll throw this up online.  If you want to sit on my “front porch” for a while leave a comment.

Blessings!

It’s Not About the Chicken

Fighting the crowds and waiting in line at the drive through at Chick-fil-A last night had nothing to do with being hungry.  Like many others, it was about support for this company and their biblical beliefs about the family.

“We are very much supportive of the family — the biblical definition of the family unit. We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that,” he (Dan Cathy, CEO) said in the interview. “We know that it might not be popular with everyone, but thank the Lord, we live in a country where we can share our values and operate on biblical principles.”

Later Cathy said, “I think we are inviting God’s judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at Him and say ‘we know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage,’ and I pray God’s mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude to think that we have the audacity to define what marriage is about.”

Today, Chick-fil-A’s all across the country are reporting yesterday’s record sales.  Christian people spoke out and they used their wallets and time to do so.  But they were not the only ones speaking out.

At our local Chick-fil-A we saw a handful of protesters there as well.  They displayed signs, talked and laughed among themselves, and smoked cigarettes.

“Honk for Equality”

“Jesus said, ‘Love Everyone!’”

“Don’t give me Hate Chicken.”

Then you had several signs that were biblical references taken out of context about “judging others”.   One sign was almost comical, had it not been so sad.  It was held up by a young girl that said, “King David had 8 wives.  I only want one.”

I am still not sure what these people were protesting.  Was it Biblical values?  Free Speech?  Christian People?  Or, did they just want to make a scene and show off?  I don’t know.  But when you look at the numbers all across the country it appears that it was the thousands of Chick-fil-A supporters that actually made the huge statements.

Of course, the homosexuals will continue to try and make a statement of their own in an attempt to justify their wicked lifestyle.  Tomorrow they are calling for a “kiss-in” at Chick-fil-A’s across the country.  It will be interesting to see if anyone actually shows up.  But if they do it would be a good opportunity for the Christian community.  Let me repeat that.  This is a good opportunity for the Christian community.  You see, there was one sign held up that I agree with.  It was the one stating, “Jesus said, ‘Love Everyone!’”

There is no place for hating others among Christians.  We are to be people of love.  We are to show God’s love to the world.  We should have compassion on others and strive to be peace makers.  But let me make it very clear.  Confronting sinners is the greatest form of love.  People are dying in their sins.  They are blind and ignorant to the truth of God’s perfect and holy wrath that will come if they do not repent.  It is not about being a homosexual.  It would be foolish to approach them from this stand point.  It is about being a sinner.  You see, the person who has told one lie is in just as much danger of eternal hell as the homosexual.

“But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death,” Revelation 21:8.              

Loving others is having enough compassion on them to be moved to action.  Ignoring sinners and letting them face God on judgment day without warning is equivalent to ignoring the blind man who is about to walk in front of a speeding bus. If we truly loved the blind man we would warn him and do all we could to save him from harm.  The “harm” these sinners face is eternal damnation.  I have to ask myself often, How much do I really love others?  And let me ask you, Christian, How much do you really love the sinner?

So, let’s not look at this Chick-fil-A noise as just political, hypocritical, or pungent sounding brass.  Let’s see it as an opportunity to shine light into this dark world.  Those of us who have been saved have been given a ministry of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:18).   If we truly loved the sinner, we should seek to make peace between them and God.  That is what being a peace maker is about.  You see, it’s not about the chicken.  It’s about love.

Bad things…good people?

When a tragedy happens, like the recent one at a midnight showing of the latest Batman movie, people start asking questions.  How can a 24 year old man walk into a theater, open fire, and brutally kill 12 innocent people and injure 58 more?  What led him to do such a horrendous act?  Where was God when this happened and why did He allow it?

I have no doubt that this was an atrocious, evil attack that was probably influenced by demonic activity.  And our hearts break for the family and friends of the victims.  Like the rest of the country, these things are on our mind.  We question.  We wonder.  We seek an answer for the calamity.  Yesterday after church we were talking about the shooting.  A friend was sharing that when something like this happens, without fail people ask the age old question.  “Why do bad things happen to good people?”  It was then my 9 year old son replies, “Why do good things happen at all?”

Did you catch that?  Why do good things happen at all?  He’s right.  You see, we ask the wrong question.   The question shouldn’t be why does God allow bad things to happen to good people? The truth is that as a whole there are no “good people”.  “There is none that doeth good, no, not one,” Romans 3:12.  We truly have a misconception that mankind is “good” and deserves God’s blessings.  But Jesus clearly set the standard for goodness.  “And a certain ruler asked him, saying, Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? none is good, save one, that is, God,” Luke 18:18-19.

Not only that, but bad things happen because we live in a sinful, wicked, depraved world.  To blame God for the world’s evil condition would be equivalent to blaming a car manufacturer for a wrecked vehicle due to reckless driving.  If we will be honest and look deep into the truth of God’s Word we would ask a different question all together.  Why does any good thing happen to us at all?  And the answer to that question is simply because of God’s great mercy.

“Know therefore that the LORD thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations;” Deuteronomy 7:9. 

“For thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon thee,” Psalm 86:5.

God is merciful and this is why any good thing happens.  Like the Psalmist in Psalm 136, I declare “his mercy endureth for ever.”  Can you say the same thing?  Has God extended His mercy toward you?  He is merciful to those that love Him and keep His commandments.  He is merciful and good and ready to forgive those that call upon His name.

“Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need,” Hebrews 4:16.

Consequences

The title of my husband’s sermon Sunday was “A Nation on the Edge of Heartbreak” taken from 2 Chronicles 7:12-22.  The passage deals with Solomon and the nation of Israel shortly after the completion of the Temple.  The glory of the Lord fills the Temple, Solomon prays, fire comes down from heaven, the nation offers sacrifices, and celebrates the Feasts of Tabernacles for seven days.  Then the Lord appears to Solomon by night with a warning.

“If I shut up heaven that there be no rain, or if I command the locusts to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among my people; If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” (2Ch 7:13-14)

God promises Solomon that if he will walk before Him as his father David did and obey His commands and observe His statutes and judgments that He would, “stablish the throne of thy kingdom, according as I have covenanted with David thy father, saying, There shall not fail thee a man to be ruler in Israel.” (2Ch 7:18)

But, if Solomon turns and forsakes God’s statutes and commandments and goes after other gods…

“Then will I pluck them up by the roots out of my land which I have given them; and this house, which I have sanctified for my name, will I cast out of my sight, and will make it to be a proverb and a byword among all nations. And this house, which is high, shall be an astonishment to every one that passeth by it; so that he shall say, Why hath the LORD done thus unto this land, and unto this house? And it shall be answered, Because they forsook the LORD God of their fathers…”  (2Ch 7:20-22)

Israel was one generation away from heartbreak.  I realize that America is not Israel.  However, I could not help but see a striking correlation between Israel on the edge of heartbreak and our country on the edge of heartbreak.  Consider the news reports, read the papers, follow the state of our country online.  It is clear that we live in a very wicked and evil country, ruled by wicked and evil people.  This is not to say that there are not good, godly people in our country and government.  There is, but when we look at the sin of our land we can’t help but see that God must be grieved.  Yet, His mercy is great.  While we certainly have not deserved God’s blessings, He has given them nonetheless.

But will the blessings last?  I believe we are living on the laurels of the past and sadly the godly heritage and biblical foundation that this country was built upon is cracking.  The Psalmist states, “If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?” (Psa 11:3)  The examples of destroyed foundations are many, with homosexual marriage and abortion being at the top.  Another one that has chipped away at not only our freedom but the very foundation of this country is the latest ruling of the Supreme Court on the unconstitutional health care law.  Justice Roberts surprised the nation with his vote.  But what I found interesting was part of his explanation in which he said, “It is not our job to protect the people from the consequences of their political choices.”  Consequences – that’s not a word we talk about a lot, but if we would read the Bible we would realize that it is filled with consequences.

Do you remember when Israel rejected God by wanting a king like the other nations?  God warned them through the prophet Samuel that a king would:

“…take your sons, and appoint them for himself, for his chariots, and to be his horsemen; and some shall run before his chariots. And he will appoint him captains over thousands, and captains over fifties; and will set them to ear his ground, and to reap his harvest, and to make his instruments of war, and instruments of his chariots. And he will take your daughters to be confectionaries, and to be cooks, and to be bakers. And he will take your fields, and your vineyards, and your oliveyards, even the best of them, and give them to his servants. And he will take the tenth of your seed, and of your vineyards, and give to his officers, and to his servants. And he will take your menservants, and your maidservants, and your goodliest young men, and your asses, and put them to his work. He will take the tenth of your sheep: and ye shall be his servants.”

And ye shall cry out in that day because of your king which ye shall have chosen you; and the LORD will not hear you in that day.” (1Sa 8:11-18)

Consequences…

People ask, “Why hath the Lord done thus unto this land…?”  The answer is, “because they forsook the Lord God…therefore hath He brought all this evil upon them.”

Again we see consequences…

There is no doubt that we are living with the consequences of the previous election.  The people wanted change and that is exactly what we got.  And now we have gotten ourselves into a mess.  “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.” (Rom 13:1)  God has ordained government and He alone determines who rules.  Sometimes, like the children of Israel, God gives us not what is best but what we ask for.  Maybe, just maybe, we will learn.  The cycle of sin always goes like this – abundant blessings, sin/rebellion, God’s judgment, and repentance/forgiveness.  Then the cycle starts over again.  Time and time again we have seen it with the children of Israel.  Time and time again we see it in our own lives.  The people of God need to humble themselves, pray, seek God’s face, and turn from their wicked ways.  Will we be able to bear the consequences if we don’t?

Biblical Discernment in a World of False Teaching – Part Six

Pragmatism

“How is your church doing?”  It is a common question asked among Christians.  I have found that what people usually want to know when asking this is, “How are the churches ABC’s (attendance, buildings, and cash flow)?”  Unfortunately, too often man will use these measures to gauge success.  But is attendance, or numbers, the most important criterion for success?  What about the building?  Does a beautiful multi-purpose church building have anything to do with success?  What about cash flow?  Is wealth really a factor?

Our answers to these questions need to be rooted in the Scriptures and I have yet to find in the Bible success defined by these factors.  For example, in the Pastoral Epistles, Paul does not instruct the young pastors to be concerned with numbers.  While numbers, in the proper perspective, can shed some light into the amount of lives that are being transformed, they do not on their own measure success.  And since the church is a “people and not a place” the building is irrelevant when measuring success.   And being rich is not always a sign of God’s blessing and approval as in Revelation 3:17.  (But, I have found that the purity of a church in doctrine and practice is vitally important to the Lord.)

Yet still, it seems as though this is what the world is looking for in a church – a large, vibrant, relevant church that appeals to the flesh.  Instead of asking whether or not the church preaches and teaches the truth or even where God wants me to worship and serve, the question more often is asked, “What will this church do for me?” or “Is this church big enough, beautiful enough and rich enough to meet all my needs?”   One pastor said, “Mega-churches are cooler, hipper, usually more exciting than other area churches, therefore they are natural gathering points for already-converted people who are looking for ‘something more’ – namely more program options, better worship, more services with fewer demands…”

And because this is such a common attitude we can quickly become pragmatic when we use man’s standards to define success instead of God’s Word.

What Is Pragmatism?

Prag`mat`ic – more concerned with practical results than with theories and principles

Pragmatism is the belief that worth is determined by practical consequences.  In other words, if a technique has a desired effect, it is good.  If it doesn’t work then it must be wrong.  In the pragmatic church the only question that matters is, “What will work to grow and prosper our church?”  John MacArthur often speaks out against the pragmatic movement so prevalent today.  In one sermon he said,

Some church leaders evidently think the four priorities of the early church—the apostles’ teaching, fellowship, the breaking of bread, and prayer (Acts 2:42) make a lame agenda for the church in this day and age. Churches are allowing drama, recreation, entertainment, self-help programs, and similar enterprises to eclipse the importance of traditional Sunday worship and fellowship. In fact, everything seems to be in fashion in the church today except biblical preaching. The new pragmatism sees preaching—particularly expository preaching—as pass‚. Plainly declaring the truth of God’s Word is regarded as offensive and utterly ineffective. We’re now told we can get better results by first amusing people or giving them pop-psychology and thus wooing them into the fold. Once they feel comfortable, they’ll be ready to receive biblical truth in small, diluted doses.

Pastors are turning to books on marketing methods in search of new techniques to help churches grow. Many seminaries have shifted their pastoral training emphasis from Bible curriculum and theology to counseling technique and church-growth theory. All these trends reflect the church’s growing commitment to pragmatism.[i]

So, let’s be committed to God’s Word.  Let’s measure success by His definition.  And let’s cast off pragmatic ideas about church growth and look to the truth found in Scripture.  And truth is certainly not tested by what works and what doesn’t work.

“These things command and teach. Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity. Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.”  (1Timothy 4:11-13)

“Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.” (2 Timothy 4:2-5)