Thursday, April 29, 2010

Why Change?

I've been thinking about a discussion that I had today. It was about homosexuality and if God hates it or not. Of course, I said "YES". The comment was made in reply that homosexuals are just born that way as if that excuses the sin and that should be the end of any debate on the subject. I think that is an assinine answer.

How many of us are willing to accept that our children are just born selfish and we shouldn't work to change their behavior? Not me. In fact, from my point of view they (me too) are way too selfish, and we need to work on it all day every day. Just because someone is born with a predisposition to be overweight, do we let them go on their merry way? Not if we love them. We help them to learn to make wise food choices and exercise. Who among us would accept the excuse from a serial killer that they are just born to take their anger out on people in that way?

Shoot. America lives to change the way people are when they are born. We change hair color, body shape through plastic surgery,and eye color with contacts. There are more self help books on store shelves every day, all aimed at changing a person to make them "better". Why then do we accept the excuse "I was born that way" for this particular sin? God is all powerful, willing and able to help us to overcome any sin that rules our lives. This goes for homosexuality, greed, adultery, or selfishness. Don't cop out. Own up to your sinful life and ask Him to help you out of it.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Are You Comfortable?

It is no surprise to those of you who know me that I was a nerd in highschool. Actually, I was a nerd in first grade. What may surprise many is that a couple of years after graduation, I fell in love with and married... a jock. I guess opposites really do attract after all.

I love my husband and enjoy spending time with him so that meant learning sports. The first couple of years I was totally out of my element. The clothing was different. Did you know there are different kinds of cleats for different sports? I didn't. There was also a whole new language to learn. A slice was no longer how you cut your birthday cake, but how you hit your golf ball. Now, not only does three strikes mean that you are out, it can also mean that you are a turkey and that is a good thing. I was confused, but I gradually learned. Not only did I learn about sports, I came to enjoy and appreciate them. I am comfortable at a football game, bowling tournament, or track meet. (I still find golf to be really boring, but at least I understand what he is talking about).

I was thinking about this because of an argument that I heard about making the church more "user friendly". I heard that we should not dress up for church services because that made Larry Lost feel uncomfortable. We should not use "Christianese" because Sally Sinner doesn't know what we mean. We need to be more like the culture so we can draw them in to the church. They will be comfortable and stay. Then they will be saved. That is a crock. When the lost are feeling comfortable, no one is confronting them with their sin and need of a Savior.

Dress up in your finest when you go to meet with your creator. Doesn't He deserve the best that you have? Go ahead and use words like sanctification, justification, and propitiation. Just be sure that you explain what you mean when you use them. God will call whom He desires to the church. We don't have to change the way we "do church" for Him to save the lost. We just have to be faithful to preach the good news and glorify God.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Answered Prayer

I've been thinking about a song I heard on the Christian radio station last night. It talked about having many unanswered prayers. It really bothers me a lot when Christians talk like this. Do you not know that God ALWAYS answers the prayers of his children? He does not ignore you. Why is it that "no" or "not right now" are perfectly acceptable answers when we talk to our children, but when God answers that way, we decide that He really hasn't answered at all.

Why does he answer that way? It seems that it would be for the same reasons we tell our own children "no". Maybe what you think you want right now is not always the best thing for you. Our God knows everything. Trust Him to do the best for you always. "For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Maybe you are treating God like a cosmic vending machine.

It is possible that His answer is just "not right now". Possibly God is teaching you something as you wait. Who among us has all of the patience and persistance that we need. I know that I have a very long way to go.

Just maybe God is answering "yes" to your prayer, but the answer is coming gradually. I pray often for wisdom. Am I wise? No way, Jose. Am I wiser than I once was? You betcha. Will I be still wiser in the future? I know that I will because God tells us "If any of you lacks wisdom, let Him pray and it will be granted to you".

As a Christian we know that God will always answer our prayers. We must remember the purpose of prayer and that "no" is an acceptable answer, even if we don't like it. He loves us. He has a plan for us and it is GOOD. Trust Him.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Who's Job Is It Anyway?

I've been thinking about Psalm 3:8 which says "Salvation belongs to the Lord." That certainly reminds us that we have nothing to do with "saving the lost". All of our fancy programs, upbeat music, creative skits, and engaging kids activities can't save people. They might get people in the door of the church, but they don't change hearts, and do we really believe that the God of all creation can't move the people He has chosen to a church that doesn't have all of those things?

I've been thinking a lot lately about the direction of the church. We seem to be moving toward a focus on the lost sinner than on the Lord. The underlying motive for all that we do should be the glory of God, not getting the lost into the congregation. The worship service is an invitation from our Heavenly Father to meet with us so that, as a family, we can spend time together with Him, learning, praising, petitioning, and sharing. It is not necessarily the time to be worried about saving the lost. That is not our job. Shocking, isn't it.

I can't find anywhere in my Bible that says I should be about saving the lost. My job is to glorify God, share the good news, be ready to defend my faith, and love others. God takes care of the saving part. I sure am glad of that because that kind of burden would destroy me. Imagine if the salvation of man depended on man. We should stop acting as if it does and start knowing our God better so that we can do our job well.

Thursday, April 22, 2010


"We cannot finally judge the correctness of what we do in evangelism by the immediate response that we see. It is important to understand this truth, because a failure to understand it can distract well-meaning churches into pragmatic, results-oriented endeavors and it can transform pastors into neurotic people-manipulators...As Christians we should know that, even if we are faithful in telling the Gospel, people still may not respond. Their lack of acceptance of the Gospel does not necessarily mean that we have been wrong in how we have presented the Gospel." This is a quote from Mark Dever's book Nine Marks of a Healthy Church. How many of our churches are healthy enough to have this attitude?

The parable of the sower in the gospel does not say that the sower did anything different as he went about planting seed. His methods were not the difference, but rather the soils. It is not up to us as Christians to change the hearts of the hearers of the Word. It is our job to spread the good news. God supplies the soil. He is the one who determines whether or not we are a "fragrant aroma or the stench of death". All of our really cool, culturally relevant efforts at drawing society into the church are for nothing if God has not chosen those people as His own. It is time, money and effort wasted.

Let's put our efforts into knowing who our God is. Spend time with Him and get to know Him. As you begin to know how truly amazing, loving, wonderful, glorious, and holy the Lord is, you will be unable to keep that to yourself. Once you begin to realize who we as depraved sinners really are and what the Creator of the Universe has done in living a perfect life here on Earth, dying on the cross, and rising again, you will not be able to help yourself. Sharing God will be a part of your life.

It is exciting to see churches that focus themselves on the God of the Bible and not on the culture around them. It really doesn't matter if we plant seeds using the latest and greatest in farm equipment or by walking the rows with a burlap bag. It makes no difference what we wear as we plant. What matters is that the seed is being spread on the soil. Let God take care of the rest. At least, that is what I've been thinking.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Just What is The Bible?

"The tie that binds us is that we read (and too often preach) the Bible today as if it were a general collection of common sense and moral wisdom - a variation of Aesop's Fables, complete with a moral to the story. Whether using the Bible or William Bennett's Book of Virtues, the sermon is the same either way, and one may gain the impression that the minister was going to say whatever he came to say quite independently of the text. In this way, Scripture is called upon to substantiate or illustrate worldly wisdom rather than to call it into question and substitute divine truth." Michael Horton, A Better Way

I've been thinking about this quote.Is this the direction your church or pastor is heading? So many seem to be preaching "agenda preaching" these days. The pastor decides the direction he would like the congregation to go and preaches that message. If he can find a Bible text to support his plan, all the better for him. Young Christians who have not built a strong foundation in God's Word are following these men just like the sheep that they are.

Where is the understanding of the inerrancy and infallability of God's Word? Do we no longer believe that God uses His Word to accomplish His purposes? Am I to understand that preachers today feel they know better than God what this world needs and how to go about getting it? Why are we not hearing that we are depraved sinners in need of a righteous savior? I, for one, soak up the teachings of men who are preaching the Word of God. What a blessing to have men who will go to the Bible first and unpack what it says rather than taking scripture out of context to support their own views and ideas. That is what I've been thinking.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Indulge yourself

I've been thinking about a book that I saw at the Christian bookstore this past weekend, "Eat the Cookie, Buy the Shoes". Do we as Christians, especially here in America really need permission to indulge ourselves? It seems to me that we are more than willing to indulge in the extras in life (food, bigger homes, newer cars, technology).

What we seem to need is someone to tell us "study the Word, pray to God". Unfortunately, I include myself in this. I desperately need to be called to a higher purpose than eating and buying. At the end of my life, I don't want to look at my expanded waistline and a closet full of shoes to feel satisfied. I want to be able to recall memorized scripture, promises of God, answered prayers, assurance of eternal life in heaven, and children walking the right path, and the good news shared. Those are the things that will truly satisfy.

I haven't read the book and the author my be full of wisdom and practical advice, but I kind of doubt it. After all, isn't self-control one of the fruits of the spirit. Shouldn't we be applauding the efforts of our fellow Christians as they practice that in any area of life. No one needs a friend telling them that one cookie won't hurt when they are trying to lose that last 10 pounds. We need someone walking beside us, encouraging us in the hard work ahead.

If you want to eat the cookie or buy the shoes, that is up to you. You know the areas of your life that you need to get under control. You know what God is calling you to do. Maybe a cookie or a pair of shoes isn't a problem for you. And of course, even if you shouldn't eat the cookie, but you choose to, God is able to forgive all our sins, but let us strive for holiness even as He is holy.

It is just what I've been thinking.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Getting Started

I wonder if starting a blog is arrogant. Who am I that people would even care to hear what I think about issues and ideas? I'll tell you who I am. Nobody. That's right. I have no authority, special position, power, wisdom or anything else that sets me apart. I am no better or worse than anyone else out there. I am smarter than some, but much more ignorant than others. In spite of that, I decided to blog away. I don't know if anyone will read. It would be nice if they did. I'd really like to hear what other people think, even if they don't agree with me. (As my dad used to say, "You're entitled to your own opinion, even if you are wrong.") I'm sure that some of what I write will be wrong. Feel free to correct my mistakes. I want what I write here to glorify God, but I know myself well enough to realize that some of it, maybe most, will be self serving. I pray that what I write will make you think. I'd love it if you would pray too.