Saturday, April 18, 2015
Friday, April 17, 2015
Or Maybe It's Sin?
Churches do not really believe nonbelievers are lost.In other words, they do not think sin is real.
He also has a bunch where people do not take their teaching for real. I cannot help but wonder why do we take teachings about sin for real. I think it has a lot to do with the fact that we are not willing to face our own sin. In order to tell the world about its sin, we need to look at our own.
Confession is about a lot more than merely our own salvation - it is about our ability to proclaim God's salvation to the world.
confession evangelism sin
Thursday, April 16, 2015
We Need Fear
The overall direction of the church away from the fear of the Lord is a sad reality. It is an indication that we may fear men more than God. Those who avoid teaching the fear of the Lord to soften the message are missing the balance. We are running from the very thing we need: "Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come" (Revelation 14:7). Acts 9:31 says that the early church walked "in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit." Did you catch that: the church was powerful and multiplied because they walked in the fear of God (not man), and in the power of the Holy Spirit. Anointing and fear go hand-in-hand. Paul reminds us in Philippians 2:12 that we should work out (not work for) our own salvation with "fear and trembling."God id not our buddy - He is our Lord. We may approach our Rule and we may know that He is good and gracious, but we may not approach Him with the proper amount of reverence. I am not sure we understand this in America these days. We do not have royalty and we are all wont to approach anyone in the most impertinent of manner lest they think they are better than us. And while the average celebrity is not better than us, God most certainly is.
We must lovingly proclaim the fear of the Lord again in our pulpits if we are to experience genuine change. Fear often motivates a person to repent. The fear of the Lord will cause an adulterer to seek forgiveness. It will motivate the prodigal to return. It will cause pastors to spend extended time in prayer for anointed sermons. When the fear of the Lord is preached the world will repent: "Falling down on his face, he will worship God and report that God is truly among you" (1 Corinthians 14:25). A true fear of the Lord saves man from himself. We should take His commands seriously...not legalistically, but reverently.
God is better than us in ways we cannot even begin to imagine. He is not like us, just morally more sound. He is simply better in every aspect. He made us. He is to us as we are to the crayon art of our youth. Smarter, wiser, sounder, more powerful, all of it. We must respect that.
And yet we fail so often to do so. I wonder if how we do worship services mught not be a good place to start?
fear respect worship
Wednesday, April 15, 2015
The Church and Reproductive Choices
While the contemporary ability to determine one's family size is heralded as a mark of Western progress, that freedom carries with it moral and spiritual responsibility. Some branches of Christendom (most notably, the Catholic Church) have well-documented doctrinal positions about issues of reproductive technology and artificial means of birth control, many in the evangelical world default to silence on the issue of permanent sterilization.Much of Evangelicalism has simply walked away from these questions. That has pretty extensive ramifications apart from just the questions confronting an immediate couple. It is a short step from punting on these questions to punting on questions of sexuality generally and we all know where that leads.
When Hobby Lobby and others made headlines for seeking exemption from the Affordable Care Act on religious grounds, most of the coverage and conversation focused on birth control pills and abortion, though some businesses also opposed the sterilizaton requirements. Vasectomies and tubal ligations were an afterthought, if they were mentioned at all.
As an antidote to evangelicals' silence on the issue, I am not in any way advocating that church leaders direct couples about the number and spacing of their children. Instead, I see the value in coming alongside couples in search of godly wisdom in sharing stories and being willing to explore in prayer what God may be asking of them.
I thin it needs to be more than "moving alongside" and prayer. It needs to be guidance. It is acceptable for the church to have an opinion in the matter and to express it. It does not have to be in the command-and-control style of the Catholic Church, but these questions are not simply questions to be resolved individually. There are right and wrong answers. We may never have 100% assurance that we have it "right," but that does not mean we give up on the effort to achieve it. There are times in our dotage where my wife and I wonder if we made the right decision in this department. It is important to reason about these things.
But most important is the perspective that says, "We are not God." These are very god-like choices and it is vitally important that we understand that in making them, we do not become God. hat is the bootom line on why the church must have a position. We love those that disagree, but having a position is a way of saying that, "This is not your decision. It is God's."
Tuesday, April 14, 2015
What is Pleasing?
How can I know what pleases the Lord? The answer: Pay attention to all goodness, righteousness, and truth. As you think about the possibilities before you, ask yourself and the Lord which one has the potential to produce more good, right, and truthful fruit. Take time to seek the Lord's wisdom about this, consulting with wise brothers and sisters in Christ.Following the cultural trend is a form of following our own desire. In order to please God, we have got to let go of our own desires. We have to look outsides of ourselves.
But (and this is key) make sure your understanding of goodness, righteousness, and truth is shaped by Scripture. It would be easy to fill in the meaning of these words with your own hunches or with whatever is trendy in the culture. Yet, by doing either of these, you would be likely to miss the mark. If you are going to produce fruit that pleases God, then you need to be sure your life is filled with what he considers to be good, right, and true. Moreover, as God's children, we are to reflect his own character in our lives. Thus, our life choices should be shaped by God's own goodness, righteousness, and truthfulness as revealed in Scripture and made flesh in Jesus Christ.
We also have to look beyond ourselves. What is good and right and true often plays out on a much larger scale than our immediately observable horizon can dictate. That's part of what God's view entails. To often people will therefore think that God is cruel because they get less for the sake of something greater. But that is just more of our own desire getting in the way. Nor is it cruel.
Say a screwdriver really wants to be a hammer, I mean really, really wants to be.It goes and has itself altered - it inserts its blade into a wooden handle. It hollows out a hammer head so that its handle will fit in the head. It now looks very much like a hammer. But start hammering with it. The blade may slip out of the hammer. The screwdriver handle will shatter inside the hammer head. It'll hammer fine for a little while under a light load, but you really stress that thing and it will fail. How happy will it be when it fails at being a hammer. It can dance around in its hammer costume and tell you its a hammer, but it cannot do what a hammer does, certainly not anywhere near as well as a hammer. It is, in point of fact, cruel to alow the scredriver to pretend it is a hammer.
It's all in your perspective.
God's will desire perspective
Monday, April 13, 2015
God and Pleasure
As I reflect on this passage from Ephesians, I find myself more and more impressed by something I might easily have taken for granted. Verse 10 says that we are to "find out what pleases the Lord." This verse assumes that we have the capacity to please God. Or, to put it differently, God has the capacity to take pleasure in us.Mark goes on to bust some stereos types about displeasing God, etc. But I want to ask a different question. When are you most pleased with other people? I know for me it is when I laugh with them. Have you ever laughed with God?
Do you realize that you can give God pleasure?
Have you ever found a silly or absurd or downright laughable situation and turned to God with your jocular response? Right when you are feeling a bit down has a pet ever done something really silly and you had to chuckle, lightening your mood? That is God at work, and He is chuckling with you. Sometimes things like how cans are arranged on a shelf can be humorous - you bet God is trying to elect a chortle from you.
Take the time to enjoy it.
God laughter pleasure