Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Do I Have a Wii Religion?

I’ve been thinking a lot about our worship to God lately and one idea of that has been on my mind. It’s the “discussion” of have to go to church and get to go to church. I know that the mentality of have to go is that of being forced, there are no other options. But I also think that when we have the mentality of get to go to church can be misleading as well. It sounds to me when we say this it’s like we have an option of whether we go or not and either is ok. I want to challenge you to adopt a new idea about going to worship, or at least new to me. Why don’t we say we WANT to go to church? Is it such a stretch of the imagination that we want to go worship God? We want to go join our voices with our brothers and sisters in praise to our almighty God?
I think part of why we say this is because we fall into having a Wii religion. What I mean by Wii religion is if I go play a game of bowling on the Wii, have I actually bowled? Or did I just go through the motions of bowling? We can do this in our religion where we come and go through the motions but they don’t mean anything. We’ve not worshipped God if we do that. Let me ask you a few questions that I’ve had to ask myself about my religion:

Where was your mind truly at when you took the Lord’s Supper last Sunday?
1 Cor 11:24-26

When you sang did you enjoy the tune of the song or did you think about the words you were singing as teaching your fellow worshippers? Eph 5:19

During the Bible reading and sermon did you think about what you were going to do that afternoon or for lunch? Or was you thinking about how what God wants you to get out of that Scripture?

When did your spiritual thinking stop? At the last Amen? Did it ever start? Did you let it flow into your life in your daily routine?

I want you to stop and think are we living the life God wants us to live? Or are we treating our religion as a Wii, where we go through the motions but don’t commit ourselves to God. I want you to think about one verse in closing. When Jesus was asked what is the greatest command in all the Law. Did you know his answer was about our worship? The offering of praise that God desires most is that of a life that lives for him. Notice the account between Jesus and the Questioner in Mark 12:28-34. (NIV)

One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, "Of all the commandments, which is the most important?"

"The most important one” answered Jesus, "is this: 'Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.' The second is this: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no commandment greater than these."

"Well said, teacher," the man replied. "You are right in saying that God is one and
there is no other but him. love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices."

When Jesus saw that he had answered wisely, he said to him, "You are not far from the kingdom of God." And from then on no one dared ask him any more questions.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Conflicting Thoughts

I was thinking about the ideas of Darwinism and Evolution and the world here lately, February 12, 2009 is the 200th anniversary of Darwin’s birth. As I was thinking about this it occurred to me that there are a few modern ideas that are popular in the world today that go against Darwinism. It seems funny to me how people say they believe one thing then do something that violates the very thoughts of it. I would some additional thoughts and comments if you can help me figure these ideas out better.
First, I notice like many people that in today’s world there seem to be more people fighting for the rights of animals than the rights of humans. I can understand this to an extent, I don’t believe people should abuse animals but giving them as many rights as humans a bit of a stretch to me. This got me thinking, how can someone who believes in Evolution support efforts that save animals from extinction or reduced numbers? Isn’t this a clear violation of Darwin’s law about survival of the fittest? How can you claim to follow Darwin but yet think his idea and nature need changing?
Lastly, with the homosexual agenda being pushed so much, shouldn’t Darwinism followers be just against homosexuals as us Christians are? I mean think about it. Isn’t this “lifestyle” again a clear violation of survival of the fittest? How can a species survive if it gives up the natural use of male/female relations (Rom 1:26-27)?
These were just some interesting thoughts I had and wondered if anyone had any ideas about their support by Evolutionists. It seems to me that these especially the latter group believes in Evolution just for the benefit of not having to answer to anyone about their lifestyle patterns.

Monday, February 2, 2009

The Presence of God. Ps 23:1 & 4

I am writing this because some friends asked me to blog about what’s happening at the lectures. The first lecture I got to today was the one at chapel. I forgot that when you stay in a college dorm it’s hard to get in bed before 1, mostly because of all the noise. That lecture was about the presence of God in our lives from Psalm 23:1 &4. It was done by a faculty member Jesse Robertson. He brought out many good points and thoughts about God being with his people. He basically began a study through Genesis about God promising to be with Abraham. Gen 12. That God told Abraham that he would show him a land and that to show him a land God had to be with Abraham. Then later in Genesis 15:1 God promises Abraham that he would be his shield.
Then he went on down to Isaac and in Genesis 26:24, God told Isaac that he was with him when Isaac was surrounded by men in that area that wanted him to leave. Then in Gen. 26:18, when Jacob had the dream about the latter ascending to heaven as he was fleeing Esau, God told him that he was with him.
Then in Exodus, God told Moses he was with Him. In Ex. 3:12 when Moses gives the excuse who am I, God told him He was with him. A great point was made that when we realize that God is with us we can do anything because it is not something special in us, it’s the power and support of God that helps us. Then in Ex. 33, when the people make the golden calf and Aaron says this is the god that delivered you. God wants to leave the people and allow an angel to guide them the rest of the way, but Moses calls to Him to remember the promise to Abraham and says that if God will not go with them then do not lead us up from here (14). Moses realized the importance of God’s presence with His people.
Also in the book of Deuteronomy, Moses says in the time of war the priests are to go up and remind the people that God is fighting with them and will give them the victory (20:3,4).
Next in the book of Joshua, Joshua is reminded by God himself that He is present with Joshua. He calls Joshua to be strong and courageous with that fact. Josh 1:5,9
Then in the book of Judges, God comes to Gideon when he is hiding in a wine press and calls him a great warrior. Gideon questions the message saying that if God si with us then why has He allowed this to happen to us? Then God tells Gideon that He is with him and that Gideon will be able to strike down the Midianites as one man. Judges 6:12-16
In 1 Samuel 17:37, as David is preparing to face Goliath, he states that God was with him when he faced lion and bear and God will deliver him also from the paw of this Philistine.
In 2 Kings 6, Elisha and his servant are surrounded by the armies of the king of Syria, and Elisha’s servant comes to Elisha wondering what they could do with such a great force ready to descend upon them. Elisha tells him not to worry because God is with them. Then Elisha prays that the servant’s eyes might be opened so that he can see God’s deliverance. Then the servant looks out and he sees the chariots of fire and the horses and the Servant realizes God’s presence there.
Then one last example was King Ahaz. When the neighboring Kings were against him he doubted the presence of God. Then God comes to him and tells him to make a request for God to prove himself. Ahaz refuses then God says he will give the sign of a virgin giving birth to a child and his name shall be Immanuel or “God with us.” Then we know in Matthew 1:23 that when Jesus was born he is called Immanuel. He is truly God with us. Then quickly looking at John 1:1-2, 14, how Jesus was the word and was with God and was God and he came to this earth and put on flesh. Then Matthew 28:20 after his death he gives the promise that he will always be with us. In John 14:18-23, he promises the spirit will come and be with the disciples and that he won’t leave them alone. In 1 Corinthians 6;19 we are told that our bodies are the temple of the spirit. Romans 8:15-16, when we cry “Father, Father” then the Spirit bears witness with our spirit that we are God’s children. Then finally, in 1 John 3:24, we are told that if we keep His commandments we abide in Him and we know that he abides in us by the Spirit that he gave us.
What a wonderful thought to know that God cared about us so much that He has promised He would always be there and that He would always take care of us. Thus giving significant trust and faith into Ps 23:4 – Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

I hope you enjoyed this first installment. I will try to get some more up here soon, if I can find the time. Also if you have iTunes you can find the lectureships on their under the podcasts at Freed Hardeman University, Bible lectureships, and 2009. I encourage you to listen to the afore mentioned lecture it was Monday at 10:30. May God bless you all

Monday, September 8, 2008

Standing Up for Our Faith

Sunday Morning as I was preparing for church I sat down while to watch a little television. The program that was on was Meet the Press. And Tom Brokaw was interviewing Joseph Biden, the Democratic Vice-Presidential candidate. Now I’m usually not much for one on politics but I decided to stop and listen just to see what he had to say because I haven’t heard much from him. As I watched Tom Brokaw brought up the issue of abortion. As the discussion continued, Brokaw asked Biden where he stood on the issue. Brokaw quoted another democrat who had stated that the Catholic Church, which both this democrat and Biden are members, had not decided on the issue and had been debating it for the past 50 years, thus insinuating that the politicians couldn’t state one way or another. However church officials put out statements that the Catholic Church was against abortion. Then Biden gave his opinion which I completely agreed with. He then stated that he, like the Catholic Church, believed that life began with conception. At this point I was shocked, I had just heard a politician say that abortion was wrong and it was murder. But then what little hope I had was crushed. Biden then turned around and said that he couldn’t force his views on others though. That he couldn’t vote or push for abortion to be illegal because not everyone believed like he did. Basically he was saying that he would rather compromise his morals to get votes than to stand up for what is right. After hearing his speech about this I was totally put out with Biden.
It made me think that how many times do we do like Biden, not on such a major stage as the vice presidency, but when we know the truth but we decide not to stand up for it and let someone do or say something that violates our conscience. The scripture that comes to my mind here is the statement made by Jesus in Matthew 10:32. “So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven.” We must realize that to acknowledge Christ is not an easy thing. If it were then the whole world would be made up of Christians. Jesus tells us that if we truly follow him then the world will hate us. John 15:18 “If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you.”
I wonder do we truly acknowledge Jesus in all that we do? Do we acknowledge him with all that we say? Lastly do we truly want someone who is willing to allow things that violate his beliefs to be done or at least not try to stop them from being done in such a high position in our country?

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Serving Evacuees

I had a very interesting experience today that I have not had before. There were people who had fled New Orleans staying at a local college while they were waiting the storms out. They had been there since this weekend. Like most of people, I have always heard and seen on television the devastation that hurricanes bring, but I have never really seen it firsthand. Today, though I caught a brief glimpse of some of that devastation, not the physical damage but the emotional damage that is caused. A few of the local churches got together today and went and fed the evacuees from Gustav. I knew that it was going to be an interesting experience but I didn’t know just how much of an experience it was going to be.
One thing I noticed was the congestion of it all. There were 150 or so people all living in the area about the size of a high school basketball court. There were rows and rows of cots right beside each other with only about a three foot aisle separating them from their neighbor. These were people who, from what we were told by the Red Cross volunteers, were told to get your family and your bags and get on a bus. No real choice of where to go or who to go with. On top of this they were taken to an area where they were placed in one large room where they would live for the next few days. There also was a large variety of age groups as well. I saw little babies up to probably 80 or 90 year olds. Who had no idea what shape their house was in. They didn’t know if they had a job when they got back. They didn’t know how most of their families were, save for those who were with them. And after I stopped and thought about it I realized you know the least thing we could have done was to provide them with a meal.
Then I think about the great Judgment scene in Matthew 25:31-46. And I wonder are we doing all we can to fulfill the statements that are made there in those verses. And it has caused me to do a real internal thinking about am I doing all I can to help those in need around me?
The other part wonder about is am I doing it so that they can see Christ or doing it so that I can feel better? What I mean by this is that we were told that there was only one other church besides our three that worked that showed up to not just bring food but to stay and serve it. We were told that one church brought food to the center’s parking lot but would not go into the center with the people. They made the Red Cross Volunteers and the National Guard workers come out and carry the food in. That struck me as very un-Christ like. I will be honest one of the things I enjoyed most about today was seeing the smiles on people’s faces as they came by and got their food and drinks as we served them. And again I think about Christ when he walked this earth how he never told someone to do his work for him, but he was the one who went to the “untouchables” and reached out and touched them when no one else would.
One last thought, you may be wondering what good did you all do there for Christ? One we fed them when they needed it. But secondly we gave out brochures telling the people about who we were and what we believed. After it was over about 6-8 people came up to one of the other preachers and said they were going to look the Church of Christ up when they got back home. Also one of the volunteers from the local areas came up and ASKED for literature about our Church because NO OTHER church else came to meet a need. We may never know how many people we might have reached today for Christ, but one thing I do know, above and beyond it all, is that the Church of Our Lord and Savior got all the Glory, and that is most important to me.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

I got someone you need to meet...

As a single man that is a phrase that has not unusual for me to hear when I speak at a new place or visit somewhere. It is usually the older ladies that tell you "I got someone you need to meet." This is in reference to either a family member or a close younger friend from church. However, so far those people I need to meet hasn't worked out for me. I want us to think though of our spiritual aspect of this.

I wonder if we feel the same way about our spiritual relationship. Do we spread the word about our spiritual fiance? Christ is the husband of the church. Ephesians 5:22-33 Paul references husbands treating wives with respect and love as Christ treats the church. It is by this reference and the implications in this passage that show that the church is the bride of Christ. Then in Revelation 19 there is the wedding feast. A reference to the coming time when Christ will take his church, wife, home to that wonderful place of heaven.

As Christians, we should live our life in a way that we are anxious and wanting to show the world our loved one or fiance. As we go through life are we telling people about our husband? If not then why not? We must go out and tell the world about our spouse. So I just wanted to give some words to think about and lets make sure we go out and tell those around us about our great spouse.

P.S. If you know any females that I need to meet be sure to send the my way. :-)

God Bless in All Things

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

God's Providence

This is a lesson I presented a few weeks ago at a youth rally.

Text: Philemon 14-16


Onesimus was a run away slave from Philemon. During his time of fleeing he came across Paul and was converted. Now Paul is sending him back to his master. In the verses in question it appears that Paul alludes to the fact that Onesimus was allowed to escape so that a much better event might occur. This is referred to as God’s providence. Defined as the foreseeing care and guidance of God or nature over the creatures of the earth, or God, esp. when conceived as omnisciently directing the universe and the affairs of humankind with wise benevolence, or a manifestation of divine care or direction.

Paul said he was separated for a season or time for this reason. This was a slave that had run away, but Paul says he was separated. This leads to the idea or thought that this was perhaps not the reason he had left. The length of the separation is noted also. Literally “for an hour” or limited, short time, when compared to the result of gaining him for eternity as a brother. From the aspect of the returning Philemon would be able to receive him for a better way. It was not a forced return. There seems to be a mutual decision of this return, in order to show the new life of Onesimus. He has to correct the problem of still being a servant who is in subjection to his master.

What about for us today. What is God’s Providence? Is it still working? Even today God’s providence still is working. Without it there is no reason for prayer. If God doesn’t act in our lives then prayers do nothing. Rom 8:28. There are some examples of providence in the Scriptures.
1. Gen 45:5 – Joseph says that it was for God’s purpose that they selling him occurred.
2. Esther 4:14 – Mordecai says she came at such a time as for this.
3. Acts 8:1-4 – Persecution of Jerusalem of Church causes it to spread and grow.

But how can we see or know God’s Providence? The answer we don’t. We are never told it is one of God’s mysteries in the world. We sometimes sing a song 'I know the Lord will find a way for me", but the other day I saw an older version of that song that had one word different but it makes a world of difference. The older version says "I know the Lord will MAKE a way for me." This song shows the idea that God will take care of us and lead us where we need to go. However it is one of those ideas and thoughts that show that we cannot really know what God's plan or purpose is but we can take this idea and use it in our own lives.

The easiest way to apply this teaching of providence is to recognize that Providence does exist and is happening and the best way for us to handle it is to look at the good side of things. For example on a farm if a vulture is flying near by it is looking for something dead and rotting, the bad. But a hummingbird on the same farm is looking for flower or vines, the good. Its the same farm and same area but they have different perspectives. By nature we are sometimes negative and looking down. We know or are the person that can go in and suck the joy from a whole room. When we get out of touch with God we buy into the world’s view that all around is negative and all news is bad news. There could be a paper published that would be double the size of the typical papers put out in telling about all the good things that have happened to God’s people.
When we are faced with troubles we have one of two attitudes that occur. One reaction that can occur is that we become synical and bitter. Another reaction we can have is that we become better people. It is after our trials and troubles that we come out the other side as people who have compassion and forgiveness.
Why do we have mountains in our paths? They are there to help us mature and realize the choices we need to make. 1 Cor 10:13 They are also there to humble us. Jer 10:23

In closing how’s your outlook. Are you looking for God’s blessing or do you look at the negative side?