Tuesday, August 31, 2010

There Comes a Point When

I do not know who Mike Jones is, but he sure makes a good point.

If you don’t like how God has run the world -
If you don’t like how God is running the world -
If you don’t like how God will run the world -
If you don’t like what God has said about you -
If you don’t like what God has said about your friend -
If you don’t like what God has said about the churches -
If you don’t like what God has said about preaching -
If you don’t like what God has said about the necessity of the Gospel -
If you don’t like what God has said about hell -
If you don’t like what God has said about marriage -
If you don’t like what God has said about sin -
If you don’t like what God requires of every single person -
If you don’t like what God has said about those who disobey -
If you don’t like what God likes (like holiness) -
If you don’t like God’s justice -
God’s holiness -
God’s righteousness -
If you don’t like what God has said about Himself -
If you don’t like how serious God is about His glory -
If you don’t like the exclusive revelation of God in Christ Jesus -
And that it requires the absolute allegiance of everyone on this planet -
And if you do like those things of which God disapproves -
There comes a point, when, despite all protests to the contrary, one fact becomes tragically obvious:
You just don’t like God.
And whatever you do like -
Well, whatever that is, it isn’t the true and living God.

[reprinted, with permission, from http://alwaysonenote.blogspot.com/]

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Lesson of the Mosque

I lived under a government controlled by Muslims in West Africa for four years, and have experienced the ‘religious freedom’ of America for over forty years. I have seen both sides, and perhaps that is why I see this matter of the mosque in New York in a different light.

The question that seems to interest most people is, "What does the building of the mosque tell us about America?" Frankly, that question does not interest me. The more interesting question to me is, "What does the building of this mosque tell us about the fundamental difference between Islam and biblical Christianity?"

What would Christians do, more importantly what should Christians do, if the place they had chosen to build a church building turned out to be a location that would offend the locals? The answer is given in Romans 12:18 and Hebrews 12:14. The first says, "If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all." The second reads, "Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord."

Christians should, as much as possible, avoid giving offense. Provided that we were not being refused permission to worship, we should be glad to move to a different location, if doing so would help.

Muslims are making a terrible mistake by building this mosque. They are reinforcing their image as a group of people who run roughshod over the feelings, traditions, and concerns of other people.

Christians should educate people regarding this fundamental difference between these two faiths. Christianity teaches us to avoid unnecessarily offending others. If people find the gospel itself offensive, as they often do, we must, none the less, proclaim it. But Christians are not to needlessly interfere in the lives of those they seek to evangelize. Islam, on the other hand, seems to rejoice in overriding the culture of others.

It was Christianity, not Islam, that recorded and preserved the languages of Africa in the face of European colonialism. Christianity teaches that one may approach God in any language, and that his word ought to be conveyed in every language. Therefore Christian missionaries recorded the languages of each tribe where they worked, so that the Bible could be given to every tribe. Islam insists that only Arabic is a fitting language for approaching God, and that God’s word is given only in Arabic. So they have had little interest in learning the languages of Africa, and have often sought to impose Arabic.

Christians must never stoop to the tactics of cultural imperialism. Rather, they should be involved in reaching across cultural barriers with the gospel.

Friday, August 20, 2010

"I Never Heard That Before"

I get this comment all the time, so I guess it should not have surprised me. I had just finished a sermon in which I presented nothing new, only truths which I am sure I have presented several times before. Then came the comment, "I never heard that before." People often tell me that they never heard truths that have been in the Bible for centuries, and which I know I have presented before.

Normally, I get this comment from someone who does not listen very well, often from people who do not attend regularly. But this time the comment came from someone who is always here and always listens attentively. So how is it that they never heard that which I know had been presented before?

Our minds do not immediately grasp things that are foreign to our thinking. Something compatible with the thinking we have learned from the world may be quickly accepted; but thoughts that run against the flow of modern culture seem to bounce off our minds, at least at the first hearing. It takes time to open the mind to a new idea. Often, it is not until the third statement of the same truth that it begins to break through the prejudice that Satan has set up against it.

That is why we ought to be here every time. That is why we ought to be reading God’s word daily. God has a lot of teach us that runs counter to the ways of the world. But it cannot happen in a lesson or two. Our hearts have been hardened, our minds have been closed by the stifling effects of the God-hating culture in which we live. To open our minds, to soften our hearts, to learn God’s ways in place of human ways takes time. It takes the repeated application of his word before we become able to hear that word.

Deut. 6:6-7 "And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. 7You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise."

Hebrews 10:24-25 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

Philip. 4:8-9 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. 9What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.

Acts 2:42, 46-47 And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. ...................
And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, 47praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Fix Your Own Bible

The trouble with sarcastic blog posts is that many people have no sense of humor. Someone sent me a link to a blog promoting "Fix Your Own Bible." The blog described a mythical 900 number that you could phone and have a Bible prepared with the parts you might not like taken out. If you want an abortion, but are troubled by those condemnations of shedding innocent blood, they will print a Bible without those verses. If you don’t like what the Bible says about homosexuality, they will get rid of Romans 1, and all the other passages on the subject. If you want to sleep around before or during marriage, they will get you a Bible that omits the verses that condemn it.

The post was hilarious, the comments were not. Most people who commented thought this was serious. I guess brain death is more common than I realized.

You cannot really order a special Bible with the parts you do not like taken out. As far as I know, you will have to keep doing what people have been doing for centuries. You will just have to take the Bible as it is and ignore the parts you do not like. I do not recommend that procedure, but, until someone really starts a company that will edit the Bible to suit your preferences, it is the only thing the willfully disobedient can do.

Don’t phone 900-349-872-4253 (900-fixurbible). It is not a real number. There is not a company that will edit the Bible for you, but of course you can do it yourself. People have been doing it for years.

But remember, the practice has serious long-term consequences. Maybe you ought to read Revelation 22:18-19; Deuteronomy 4:2; 12:32; and Proverbs 30:5-6 before you start editing. Also consider the question Jesus asked, "Why do you call me 'Lord, Lord,' and not do what I tell you?" (Luke 6:46)

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Pepsi Generation Priorities

Pepsi is giving away a lot of money, and getting themselves a lot of advertising in the process. Their method of giving away the money is designed to get them as much attention as possible. It is also effectively demonstrating what modern Americans really care about.

Timothy Hill Children’s Ranch is asking for $50,000 to help fund a transitional facility for young men between 18 and 21. Under current law, the government stops supporting most homeless children as soon as they reach 18. Of course, most of them are not really ready for adulthood, so many of them drift into trouble.

Jerry Hill is one of my favorite people in all the world. I cannot say how much I admire this man. When their son, Timothy, was killed in 1972, Jerry and Fern Hill did not wallow in self-pity. They got busy working on a dream that their son had been planning. Although he was only 13 at the time of his death, Timothy Hill had big plans. He wanted to build a ranch where orphaned boys could learn to live productive lives. Jerry and Fern Hill built that ranch. Now they want to add to that concept a transitional center for the older boys that the State of New York refuses to help.

They are seeking a grant from Pepsi to help with this. Pepsi awards the grants based on the popularity of the proposed projects. People can vote once per day, every day in August. As of Wednesday morning, Jerry Hill’s plan to help young men is in 165th place. I have not checked all the standings, but I notice that a project to help stray dogs and cats is in 85th place, and a project to increase the honeybee population is in 63rd place.

Even if I did not know Jerry Hill, those figures would upset me. Our nation is mentally sick. It is morally dark. It is spiritually dead.

Let’s try to do what we can to help Timothy Hill Children’s Ranch get one of these Pepsi grants. More importantly, let’s do what we can to wake up this nation. A nation that puts dogs, cats and honeybees ahead of children, is a nation in serious trouble.

To support Timothy Hill Children’s Ranch in their bid to get a grant from Pepsi, go to http://www.refresheverything.com/timothyhillchildrensranchproject
Between when I wrote the above article (on Wednesday morning) and now, Thursday evening, Timothy Hill has risen from 165th place to 53rd place. If they can finish in 10th place or higher, they will receive the $50,000 grant. Vote early and vote often.