Archive for August, 2012

Consider The Slaves

Slavery is dark stain on the history of our nation.  It is an incredible evil that involved the kidnapping and oppression of millions.  It was a despicable practice that involved forced labor and often came with physical, sexual and extreme emotional abuse.  Human beings were forcibly removed from friends and family so somebody else could make money.  Those who were forced into or born into slavery were viewed as people that were not even human.  They had less value or worse: had no value.  For many property owners, they were just another farm implement that was used to harvest crops.  When they outlived their use, they could easily be disposed of.  It truly was a disgusting practice that our country allowed for years.   

Consider The Jews

Most people know Adolf Hitler as the most evil man to ever live.  He did things that are so grotesque that words will never be able to shed light on how evil he truly was.  From 1941 until 1945 Hilter and his followers are responsible for murdering 6,000,000 people.  The purpose of these murders: Hitler did not like Jews.  He was driven by a hatred that is beyond comprehension.  The fact that one person can call for the persecution of an entire people group because of their own personal whim is astounding.  This time period in the 1940’s does not just mark a lapse in judgment by Germany and their leader but shows the shortfall of humanity as a whole.  After all, how does one man and one nation get away with murdering 6,000,000 people before they are stopped?  Shouldn’t someone have stepped in and stopped the murders sooner?

The stories of abused and mistreated of people are abundant.  Nelson Mandela, ethnic cleansing, the civil rights era and hundreds of other examples prove to us that we live in a world that is dominated by evil.  Yet within stories of oppression and social injustice another story often rises to the surface.  It is the story of hope.

Nelson Mandela spent 27 years in prison in a country that proudly practiced the public oppression of blacks.  He also is the man who helped destroy the racial divide and led the country that once had imprisoned him into a place of unity.  What kept him going?  Why would he not give up?  How could ever think that he, a black prisoner in a country that hated blacks, could ever bring forth change much less become the president of that nation?  One word: Hope.

Within the historical accounts of slavery and the homicidal reign of Hitler come stories of beauty.  We find men and women who make the decision to run and escape to freedom.  Yet once they are free they became seized by the vision to help others experience freedom as well.  It is not enough they have freedom, they wished others to experience it as well.  Why?  They have a hope that the world will become a better place.  They had a hope that they could be the agents of change.  They had a hope that they could be the change in the world that they desired so intensely to see.

Hope is a powerful tool.  One that does not allow people to give up even while they are in the most dire of circumstances.  Hope allows people to live with integrity because they know that giving in is not an option.  Hope gives them a mission because not only will life get better but they will help it get better for others.

Here is a definition of hope:  the feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best.

Hope is the reason we can rejoice on the vilest of days!  Hope is why we can get up in the morning when yesterday was extremely painful!  Hope is why we can find joy in every situation!  Hope is why can answer the question “Is this really as good as it gets?” with a resounding no!  Why, because we can believe that it will get better!

For those who have placed their trust in Christ as their Savior hope is an amazing thing.  Two days ago my grandmother passed away.  Yet I know she loved Jesus.  I know she is heaven.  I know she is free from pain.  I know I will see her again.  Hope is my comfort and my promise. 

Consider the following verses:

1 Thessalonians 4.13-18

13 But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus. 15 For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive [d]and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore comfort one another with these words.

Titus 3.7

So that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

If you are living a life that is devoid of hope please stop!  Recognize that hope can be had and can be experienced.

If you wish to know more about this hope that I have found in Christ Jesus please message me so we can discuss further the hope that comes in knowing Jesus. 

I would challenge you not to become overcome with the evil of this world when you have opportunity to become overcome with the Hope of Christ Jesus!  Make a choice…Make the right choice.

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Quite often in Christian circles I hear a statement, “just focus on the essentials”.  However, the longer I study God’s Word the more confused I become about what this statement means.  Perhaps I need to start asking those who would make this statement to give me a clear definition of what the essentials are. 

Some would say that that which is essential is just the Gospel.  The more I study God’s Word, the more convicted I become that just focusing on the Gospel is never enough.

If every Word of God is inspired and every Word of God is profitable then wouldn’t that make all of Scripture essential?  If every Word of God is inspired and every Word of God is profitable (2 Timothy 3.16) then is it not supremely arrogant on my part to pick and choose which of God’s truths are the most important ones.  After all when I consider all of the truths God chose to preserve for us in His Word, aren’t they all the most important ones?  Perhaps in the Old Testament God made for the Israelites a list called the Ten Commandments (oh yeah He did) and then told them the four commandments that were the essential commandments (oh yeah, He didn’t)(Exodus 20).  The very idea of this is ridiculous.  Yet, it is done every day to preserve harmony.  I do not believe rejection of truth can ever result in biblical unity.  If rejection of truth is what causes an apparent unity, then it is better classified as apostasy and not unity.  Lowered standards do not exalt our  Lord.

Why is that many pastor’s never mention money…Jesus did!  Why is it if I speak on divorce people become offended…Jesus talked about it!  Why is that a well known evangelical pastor claims to have never used the word sin from the pulpit…After all Jesus did.

Our obligation is not to decide what is essential and what is non-essential but rather to focus on correctly handling all of God’s Word so as we have no need to be ashamed (2 Timothy 2.15).

The moral of the story is this, rejection of some truths to keep peace is not acceptable. 

As a minister of God’s Word, my obligation before God is to confidently preach the whole counsel of God Word not just the parts that will make others appreciate me.  After all, is my desire to please man or is my desire to please God (Galatians 1.10)?  At the end of my life my prayer is that it will be said that I ministered out of integrity not out of a desire to be a celebrity.

Syncretism’s New View…

Posted: August 22, 2012 in Uncategorized
Tags: ,

Syncretism is the attempted reconciliation or union of different or opposing principles, practices, or parties, as in philosophy or religion.

In the Old Testament we find the Israelites attempting to blend their worship of Jehovah with practices that involved worship and sacrifices to idols.  To make a long story short…it ticked God off.  He burned with righteous anger toward He people.  He held them accountable for their actions and punished them.

In the New Testament we find people that have been referred to as Judaizers trying to promote law and Christ at the same time.  They would say on one hand that Christ was sufficient yet on the other hand that you must be circumcised and fulfill Jewish dietary laws.  In essence, they were declaring to a watching world that Christ is not sufficient.

In modern day American churches we find a different type of syncretism.  Baal worship is not prevalent and neither is dietary laws.  What is prevalent is the worship of me.  I am not talking about people worshiping Jon Goodwin but I am talking about people being so focused on themselves that they will go to any means necessary to please themselves and all the while gladly proclaim “I am a Christian.”

The selfish nature of the modern day church is what I believe has contributed to shrinking congregations all across America.  If my focus becomes me, then is sure isn’t on reaching a lost and dying world for Christ.  If my focus becomes me, my family will take a back burner.  If my focus becomes me, then church becomes optional.  If my focus becomes me, then Christ is not my focus.

I am curious what your thoughts are on this subject.  Share your thoughts.  What are specific examples in the modern church where you belief syncretism exists?

Syncretism is the attempted reconciliation or union of different or opposing principles, practices, or parties, as in philosophy or religion.

In the Old Testament we find the Israelites attempting to blend their worship of Jehovah with practices that involved worship and sacrifices to idols.  To make a long story short…it ticked God off.  He burned with righteous anger toward He people.  He held them accountable for their actions and punished them.

In the New Testament we find people that have been referred to as Judaizers trying to promote law and Christ at the same time.  They would say on one hand that Christ was sufficient yet on the other hand that you must be circumcised and fulfill Jewish dietary laws.  In essence, they were declaring to a watching world that Christ is not sufficient.

In modern day American churches we find a different type of syncretism.  Baal worship is not prevalent and neither is dietary laws.  What is prevalent is the worship of me.  I am not talking about people worshiping Jon Goodwin but I am talking about people being so focused on themselves that they will go to any means necessary to please themselves and all the while gladly proclaim “I am a Christian.”

The selfish nature of the modern day church is what I believe has contributed to shrinking congregations all across America.  If my focus becomes me, then is sure isn’t on reaching a lost and dying world for Christ.  If my focus becomes me, my family will take a back burner.  If my focus becomes me, then church becomes optional.  If my focus becomes me, then Christ is not my focus.

I am curious what your thoughts are on this subject.  Share your thoughts.  What are specific examples in the modern church where you belief syncretism exists?