Thursday, December 21, 2017
I have a friend that has a food aversion to eggs. He is not allergic but he still can’t eat them. When he was young, he almost choked to death while eating an egg. Now, when he even smells eggs cooking, his throat closes up and he feels that panic of choking.
I can hardly imagine his fate. I love eggs. I think of them like Forrest Gump’s friend Bubba thought about shrimp. Fry them, boil them, scramble them make a sandwich out of them, I don’t care I will eat them! If I couldn’t eat eggs it would be a tragedy.
I guess that is unless they almost killed me…
Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry.
There are lots of behaviors that the world engages in that could be enjoyed, in a perverse way. For some new (and some not so new) Christians, there is a draw back into those old ways. We crave the sin like I crave a tray of deviled eggs. The only way to stop the desire is to link it to its result, death.
Therefore what benefit were you then deriving from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the outcome of those things is death.
We need to develop a sin aversion. Instead of letting our mind wander into the temporary pleasure of sin, we need to be shocked by the eternal result of it. It might taste good going down but it will strangle us in its wake.
Tuesday, December 19, 2017
Thursday, December 14, 2017
If I use the name Ichabod, what pops into your mind? Chances are it will be the gangly schoolmaster chased by the headless horseman in Washington Irving’s Legend of Sleepy Hollow.
However, the name is actuality Biblical in origin. It is the name of the grandson of the priest Eli. His name comes from the fact when his mother is giving birth to him she finds out about the death of her husband and the capture of the ark by the Philistines (1st Samuel 4:19). The name means ‘The glory has departed from Israel’. The capture of the ark is devastating news. It kills Eli (vs. 18) and signals that the presence of God has gone away from Israel. Not until the time of David would the ark return to Jerusalem.
The ark was a symbol of God presence but that had not meant that God had been with them before Ichabod was born. The sins of the people had moved them away from God. In those days “And word from the LORD was rare in those days, visions were infrequent”(1st Samuel 3:1). God was not talking to his people and they were not listing to him.
Isn’t it funny how we often times don’t realize how far we have moved from God till well after it has happened? It takes a jolt for us to grasp something is missing in our lives. We look up and are shocked to realize God has left our lives. As Marshal Keble put it; “Most people think falling away from the church is like a blowout, but in reality, it is like a leaky tire.”
Are we Ichabod? Has God left our lives without our notice? It isn’t as if God has moved, we have moved away from him! Are we talking to God? Are we listing to him?
Don’t wait till a tragedy makes you realize the absence of God in your life. Make sure you are still living in his glory.
so that you would walk in a manner worthy of the God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory.
1st Thessalonians 2:12
Tuesday, December 12, 2017
Thursday, December 7, 2017
It all came down to a missed phone call.
Hulk Hogan, the famous wrestling star, missed a call from his agent about a possible endorsement deal. Now the story has shifted over the years, but basically, his agent had set up some potential sponsorship on some kitchen items. These companies felt a celebrity name on their product could rocket them to success. Hulk favored a meatball maker but the agent had another product in mind. So he rang up Hogan. But he never answered.
So the agent moved on to his next client to see if he wanted to put his name on a personal grilling machine. That client, ex-boxer George Forman, took the call and the offer. Currently 100 million George Foreman Lean Mean Fat-Reducing Grilling Machines have now been sold worldwide. It is estimated that Forman has made over 500 million dollars from that deal, more than he made in his entire boxing career.
I bet the Hulk wishes he had answered his phone.
We don’t always see an opportunity for what it is. What may change our life might be seen initially as an annoyance or a hassle. We have different ideas about what is best. Yet later we can see how an opportunity slipped away.
Right now you have an opportunity to change your life for the better. You have access to ‘the unfathomable riches of Christ’. He wants to put his name on YOU! The Gospel call is ringing out to all of us.
How are we going to respond? Ignore the call? Choose something else that won’t be as valuable? Or take the offer that grant far more than ever hope to have in this life?
Whatca gonna to do Brother?
Tuesday, December 5, 2017
Thursday, November 30, 2017
You remember in school when they taught you about the states of matter. How water can exist as solid, a liquid or a gas. It’s still water but has very different properties and behaves in very different ways depending on the state it is in. I guess it is a lot like religion in that way.
Some religious are liquid. They are very fluid. They move accordingly when the world tilts right or left. While they have a form of substance, but that substance is shaped by whatever surrounds it. They conform to the world. (Romans 12:1-2; Colossians 2:23)
Some religious are gas like. They are just a lot of air. They can only be felt and contain nothing solid. They drift from here to there, and unless you’re paying close attention, you would never even notice that they are there. On occasion, the air gets really hot but that is something else entirely. (Ephesians 4:14, 5:6)
Then some religion is solid. It stands on its own. It has something to it, an order, and a purpose. That solidity makes it useful and real. It gets noticed and has an effect on the word around it and stands up to conforming influence (2nd Timothy 2:19, James 1:27)
For science, all states are good and necessary, but for religion only one stands true. Do we want our religion to be practically nonexistent? Do we want it to be without any support? A solid religion is made with solid foundation, built on the chief cornerstone of Christ and his teaching (Ephesians 2:20). Religions that melt under pressure , or have no substance won’t hold together very long.
It we want our faith to stand solid in need to be in the right state!
Tuesday, November 28, 2017
Tuesday, November 21, 2017
Thursday, November 16, 2017
You may have heard of Occam’s razor. It’s not the next group to take of the big shaving industry, but a scientific and philosophical rule. Simply put, the simplest answer, all other things being equal, is the best answer. Entities are not to be multiplied without necessity. Less is better. Don’t add things you don’t need. The more assumption you make the more likely you are to be wrong.
It is named after William of Occam a scholar and professor at Oxford in the 1300’s. What you may not know is he didn’t just apply this rule to science but religion as well.
In that day the Catholic Church was the dominant force but William of Occam was a critic. He spoke out even when it was not popular and dangerous to do so. He saw the addition that had been made to the Christian religion as unnecessary. He remarked. “Scripture and not the decisions of councils and popes is alone binding on the Christian”. He insisted that Scripture is “the final seat of authority for the church”
His words applied then and apply today. In the giant mess of religion, we find in the world today, we might need to take Occam’s razor to it. Cut away all the man made doctrines added over the years. Slice away the personal opinions and preferences. Shave away the conventions, creeds, and causes. Instead of religion by committee, let keep it simple and just hold to the Scriptures.
All other additions are unnecessary. We don’t need to multiply divisions. One faith, one body, one hope, one baptism, one Spirit, one Lord (Ephesians 4:4-6). If it is in the Bible, we teach it we believe it and we practice it. If it isn’t, then we don’t
What could be simpler than that?
Tuesday, November 14, 2017
Thursday, November 9, 2017
Sometimes people will ask me about my church. They assume since I am a minister that somehow I have some ownership or say over it. We do that too. We remark ‘at my church’ or ‘come to my church’. It might just be a slip of the tongue but we need to work to correct it.
Because it is not ‘our’ church and that is a very good thing!
The church of me wouldn’t be a good one. Oh, it might be likable enough, it could be entertaining, and it might have the community’s approval. The church of me could be growing and financially stable but it doesn’t have enough.
You see churches come at a cost. In order to have a group of redeemed, you must have a redeemer. A sacrifice to pay the cost. And I don’t have enough in me.
"Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.
A church founded on me cannot save because I can’t save myself, much less anyone else. Jesus was the only one sinless, the only one with the blood pure enough to make that purchase. He said he would build his church (Matthew 16:18) and place the saved into it (Acts 2:47). That is the church you should seek.
Many have tried to steal Jesus' church from him and make it their own. But the minute he isn’t the head of the church, it ceases to be his. If it is my church, it can’t be his. Any other church, no matter how pretty it is on the outside, is lacking the core of what matters, salvation.
I don’t want any part of my church, I only what to be a part of His!
Tuesday, November 7, 2017
Thursday, November 2, 2017
We’ve all probably heard the adage that the majority of communication is nonverbal. This notion is from Dr. AlbertMehrabian, author of the book Silent Messages. In his research, he found that only 7% of any message is conveyed through words, the rest (38% through certain vocal elements and 55% through nonverbal elements) is unspoken.
What we say is more about how we say it and the influence of other factors that make the message. Our smile conveys sincerity. Our dress imparts seriousness (or the lack thereof). A head nod implies conviction. This isn’t just for the person talking, but also for the one listening.
I know when I preach the nonverbals of the crowd affect my message. Are they disinterested? Am I making my point? Am I being confusing? Do they agree? Are they about to throw tomatoes?
The sad thing is I know that often times peoples nonverbals are not at all directed towards the lesson. His scowl isn’t about the sermon, but about the argument he had with his wife before services. That bored look is a person considering his schedule for the next week not over the content being offered. That nod isn’t agreement but a person trying to stay awake!
Still, the message is being sent even if it is unintended.
What other messages might we be sending during worship? Could our apparel be sending a message of worldliness or lack of caring? Could our isolation say we are unloving or aloof? Can our seating arrangement say no one really wants to be a part of this so we cram in the back? Does our decor say no one has put much effort into things for a long time?
Worship is praise to God and encouragement to others (Hebrews 10:25). Let’s make sure in all we say (and all we don’t say), that it is on message!
Tuesday, October 31, 2017
Thursday, October 26, 2017
If you believe the hype, alcohol is the solution to all of life's problems. The ‘factoids’ tell you liquor, wine, and beer will improve your heart, make you more socially acceptable, better the economy, bring business to downtown, give you the good life and make everything taste better.
Here are some other facts to consider:
· The number of Americans killed in the entire thirteen-year war in Vietnam is lower than the number of Americans killed each year by drunk drivers.
· Scripture is replete with stories of men that disobeyed God, humiliated themselves, lost battle and kingdoms, degraded themselves and mocked God all while under the influence of alcohol (Genesis 9:20-25, Genesis 19:30-38, Leviticus 10:1-2;8-10, 1 Kings 16:8-10, 1 Kings 20:16-20, Daniel 5:1-6)
· Alcohol abuse was a factor in forty percent of violent crimes committed in the U.S
· The New Testament contains at least 10 specific admonishments against drinking and drunkenness and being associated with it (Gal. 5:21, Eph. 5:18, 1st Cor. 5:11 & 6:10, Rom. 13:13, 1st Timothy 3:3; 8, Luke 21:34, Titus 1:7 & 2:3, 1st Peter 4:3)
· Forty percent of convicted rape and sexual assault offenders said that they were drinking at the time of their crime.
· The Book of Proverbs warns of the foolishness and danger of drink at least 15 times
· Alcohol plays a part in up to half of water-related fatalities of adolescents and adults each year.
The popular adage is 'think before you drink', in truth it should be if you think you would never drink!
Tuesday, October 24, 2017
Thursday, October 19, 2017
Years ago Martin Luther King Jr. proclaimed his dream to live in a world where people are not judged by the color of our skin but the content of our character.
I’m not sure if we live in that world today, but I’ve noticed one thing about it, we'd rather not be judged by either.
The absurdity and ignorance of judging by something as superficial of one’s skin is something we should strive to eliminate. However, there is a reason to not want to abandon judgment of ourselves altogether.
When Jesus told us not to judge, it was the judgment with impure thought and motive. The hypocritical, unfair, bias, judging that is all too common in our world today. We are to judge rather as he says in John 7:24 "Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment."
Still, folks wish we didn’t have to be judged even by that standard.
We don’t like it when our sin is pointed out. We don’t like to be shown the inconsistency of our statements. We don’t like it noticed that we don’t practice what we preach. We would rather dismiss the flaws in our character as someone else’s bias rather than our own lacking.
However, we can’t escape judgment. The Bible clearly teaches that we will all be judged (Acts 17:31, Romans 14:10,2nd Corinthians 5:10, Revelation 20:13). Would we rather get judged fairly now while we can fix the problem than face the final sentence on judgment day?
No one likes to be judged, but if it is a fair judgment, I shouldn’t balk at the one telling me, but rather try to improve my character.
Tuesday, October 17, 2017
Thursday, October 12, 2017
Enzo Ferrari felt he made a pretty good car. So when a customer had a complaint about a weak clutch in one of his high-end sports cars, he was a bit miffed. What did he know! The customer in question worked on tractors! Ferrari responded to the man, “You may be able to drive a tractor but you will never be able to handle a Ferrari properly."
So that customer, Ferruccio Lamborghini, decided to make an even better car, the perfect car in his mind. He made his first production car in 1964, the 350 GTV. Today that particular car can go for $300,000 at auction.
Maybe the tractor guy did know a thing or two…
It is easy when we have people point out faults to dismiss what they say. They don’t know what I know. They have not been in my shoes. Who do they think they are? While there is a lot of undue criticism, we would be foolish to think that there isn't something we can be doing better.
A scoffer does not love one who reproves him, He will not go to the wise.
Too many times people have the way to make their life better right in front of them but let their pride block progress. When someone tells us something is wrong we need to ask ourselves are they right before we start to figure out what is wrong with them.
Tuesday, October 10, 2017
Thursday, October 5, 2017
Robert E. Lee had his choice of his command in the Civil War. The commanding general of the Union Army, Winfield Scott, told Lincoln he wanted Lee for a top command. With the Civil War looming, both sides wanted this top general to lead their forces.
So why did Lee make the wrong choice?
It wasn’t because he was on board with the Confederacy. Lee was against the idea of succession seeing it as rebellion and betraying the work for the founding fathers. He even recognized the issue for the war, slavery, “as an evil institution’, that was a cancer harming ‘not only to the black population but to the white as well ’ and believe the institution would eventually come to an end.
If he didn’t believe in the act and wasn’t set on the cause why did he betray his country?
In his own words, Lee said "I look upon secession as anarchy. If I owned the four millions of slaves in the South I would sacrifice them all to the Union; but how can I draw my sword upon Virginia, my native state?
He chose his beloved state over his country, his principles, and his own head.
Lee was not the first or the last to give priority to a loyalty over what is right. When it comes down to it, many that are presented with the truth of the Gospel, even though they know the truth of the matter and they want to be pleasing to the Lord, in the end, will refuse to obey because they feel it might betray a heritage.
"If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple.”
The quickest way to a bad decision is to place feelings over fact, loyal to men over loyalty to God, what we want over what is right.
We have a decision as well. Don’t make the wrong one.
Tuesday, October 3, 2017
Thursday, September 28, 2017
There is an old axiom:
Never argue with a fool, people might not know the difference.
It’s true you know. All you have to do to see it is look at how people respond online. People often on the right side of an issue will make themselves wrong because they will engage those that seemly have nothing better to do than agitate. Rather than stand for truth or defend the good, they descend into petty bickering and insults
Do not answer a fool according to his folly, Or you will also be like him.
The world it seems has decided that ridicule and mocking are the way to prove a point. It also seems some Christians are following along. What did Jesus tell us about spotting those in error, that their deeds are more telling than their words? What does it say when our deeds are just like them?
Beloved, do not imitate what is evil, but what is good.
3 John 1:11
Years ago a friend gave me some good advice. Never get into a mudslinging contest with a pig; they love it and you just get dirty. Friends, don’t think that you can beat a buzzard in a puking contest. Let the world insult and dig. We have better things to do.