Tuesday, February 26, 2008
But the real problem was that their sins were not private; they were public and the Church needed to be straightened out. In the case of incest, the sin was commonly known among them. The real outrage was that they were tolerant of it. They all knew about it including their own leaders and, as is typical today, they did nothing to correct it or judge it. It took an outsider to confront them with it.
Paul’s letter did NOT harm the Body. In his second letter, we read where he commended them for their godly sorrow, which led to repentance, and the result was that the Church was corrected, cleansed and strengthened.
Monday, February 25, 2008
Saturday, February 23, 2008
Pornography has drifted from dirty back-street theatres into millions of homes via prime time television and the internet. What do we do about it? We go to church, the minister preaches non-judgmental sermons and then we go to lunch. That’s what Christians do.
Half the marriages in America end in divorce. Families are broken down or redefined and the children suffer. What do we do? Go to church, the preacher preaches and then we go eat. That’s what Christians do.
Homosexuality is no longer considered a perversion. Now it is openly praised, publicly flaunted and legally protected. What do we do? We go to church, listen to the nice tolerant sermon and eat lunch. That’s what Christians do.
One third of all babies are born to unwed mothers and are supported by taxpayers. There is no shame or embarrassment. What do we do? Go to church, hear the sermon and do lunch. That’s what Christians do.
The state has legalized and encourages gambling even though the activity tears families apart and destroys lives. What do we do? You know – touchy feely sermonette and lunch.
Teachers can’t have Bibles on their desks but students can read Playboy in the classroom. Christmas and Easter holidays have been replaced with winter and spring breaks. Prayer is outlawed in school, quoting scripture is hate speech and foul language is free speech. …church, sermon, lunch.
Remember when Christians were the good guys? Now we are characterized as judgmental, narrow-minded, hypocritical, intolerant, bigoted and mentally deranged. What are we doing about it? We go to church, the minister preaches and then they go to lunch. That’s what Christians do.
Friday, February 22, 2008
I disagreed with him that I had any obligation (scriptural or otherwise) to address this privately but, in fairness, I did go back to review exactly what I wrote to see if he has any legitimate concern.
He does not and I still disagree. My article was a generic rant about the proliferation of vulgar language in church pulpits in general which frankly disgusts me. I did make a brief reference to one specific incident that I heard recently, but the point of that reference was to illustrate the fact that the “shock” of his shameful language actually distracted from his message. I did not name the speaker nor did I name his church (at least I do have enough respect to guard the dignity of his congregation).
So I find it rather peculiar that this well-meaning pastor would redress me for my “sin.” I am not the one who used the vulgar language. I am not the one who publicly disrespected a congregation. I brought no disgrace to the pulpit. I did not humiliate fellow church leaders. I showed no dishonor to God in a sermon.
Monday, February 18, 2008
Are there any seekers out there? The Bible indicates that there are some people who are seeking. But what is it that they seek? A look at the following passages indicates that natural men do seek something; they seek signs and wonders, human wisdom, and favor from men. Natural men who do seek for a god, are not really interested in The God but seek after false gods of their own imaginations.
- For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; I Cor. 1:22-23
- Many seek the ruler’s favour; but every man’s judgment cometh from the LORD. Proverbs 29:26
- And the spirit of Egypt shall fail in the midst thereof; and I will destroy the counsel thereof: and they shall seek to the idols, and to the charmers, and to them that have familiar spirits, and to the wizards. And the Egyptians will I give over into the hand of a cruel lord; and a fierce king shall rule over them, saith the Lord, the LORD of hosts. Isaiah 19:3-4
There are some incidents in Scripture where unregenerate men did seek after Jesus:
- And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him. Matt. 2:3
- Then said some of them of Jerusalem, Is not this he, whom they seek to kill? John 7:25
But here it is plainly evident that their real purpose was not to worship Him but to kill Him.
If there are any seekers out there who are really looking for God, shouldn’t we be friendly or sensitive to them? Shouldn’t we be concerned about them? Well, of course we should. After all, God is concerned about them. In the book of the Psalms are two very similar verses that clearly indicate that God looks for those who seek after Him.
- The LORD looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God. Psalm14:2
- God looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, that did seek God. Psalm 53:2
But guess what?
THEY DON’T EXIST!
Now don’t get mad at me. That’s not my opinion; it’s God’s definitive declaration. Here are the verses that follow the two mentioned above in the Psalms. Here is the rest of the story:
- The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God: God is not in all his thoughts. Psalm 10:4
- They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one. Psalm 14:3
And in case that isn’t sufficient enough proof, here is more of God’s Word on the subject:
- Every one of them is gone back: they are altogether become filthy; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. Psalm 53:3
- An evil man seeketh only rebellion: therefore a cruel messenger shall be sent against him. Proverbs 17:11
- Salvation is far from the wicked: for they seek not thy statutes. Psalm 119:155
For the people turneth not unto him that smiteth them, neither do they seek the LORD of hosts. Isaiah 9:13
- Woe to them that go down to Egypt for help; and stay on horses, and trust in chariots, because they are many; and in horsemen, because they are very strong; but they look not unto the Holy One of Israel, neither seek the LORD! Isaiah 3
And finally, the most definitive, absolute, unarguable and all-inclusive statement of all:
- There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. Romans 3:11
There IS another Seeker mentioned in Scripture and His name is Jehovah. He is the Good Shepherd and He is seeking His flock.
- For thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I, even I, will both search my sheep, and seek them out. As a shepherd seeketh out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep that are scattered; so will I seek out my sheep, and will deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day. And I will bring them out from the people, and gather them from the countries, and will bring them to their own land, and feed them upon the mountains of Israel by the rivers, and in all the inhabited places of the country. I will feed them in a good pasture, and upon the high mountains of Israel shall their fold be: there shall they lie in a good fold, and in a fat pasture shall they feed upon the mountains of Israel. I will feed my flock, and I will cause them to lie down, saith the Lord GOD. I will seek that which was lost, and bring again that which was driven away, and will bind up that which was broken, and will strengthen that which was sick: but I will destroy the fat and the strong; I will feed them with judgment. Ezekiel 34:11-16
The Church is the body of Christ. It is assembled together for “born again” believers to worship and to be instructed in doctrine and righteousness and to be equipped for the work of the ministry. It is NOT a club and there is no legitimate place for unbelievers in it.
Friday, February 15, 2008
Thursday, February 14, 2008
This whole thing started about 25 years ago. A woman walked into my church office with a large calendar photo of a rhinoceros. Because I was the Business Administrator, she thought it was appropriately humorous. On the photo was a caption that said something about being the “Hard Nose” on the finance committee. I was humored by her sarcastic amusement so I tacked it on my office wall. Not long afterward I designed some note pads with a line drawing of a rhino’s head and the caption, “A Note From the Hard Nose.”
Pretty soon, people started giving me all kinds of rhino “stuff” for Christmas, birthdays or whenever they found something. That was the beginning of my large “crash” which has grown to over 600 sculptures, figurines, toys, collectables, photos, posters, framed art, pens, jewelry, books, stuffed animals, clothing and coffee mugs. In addition, I have several hundred graphics that I have downloaded from the internet many of which I post here on this blog.
When I told someone I collected rhinos, she was curious about why I would choose to love something so ugly. Until then, I really hadn't thought much about their ugliness, but over time I have developed an affinity for them and I have learned to see beauty in their strength, uniqueness and special design that many people don’t appreciate.
And when I look at them, I am reminded of God’s love for us. He sees beyond the ugliness of our sin and chooses to love us anyway.