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Category Archives: Culture

November Newsletter Article

The day is almost here.  Tuesday, November 8th is the day we are called upon to go out and vote for our leaders.  The best (but not perfect) Bible verse concerning the importance of voting and the importance of who to vote for may be Deuteronomy 16:18:

You shall appoint judges and officers in all your towns that the LORD your God is giving you, according to your tribes, and they shall judge the people with righteous judgment.  You shall not pervert justice. You shall not show partiality, and you shall not accept a bribe, for a bribe blinds the eyes of the wise and subverts the cause of the righteous.  Justice, and only justice, you shall follow, that you may live and inherit the land that the LORD your God is giving you.

I say that it’s not perfect since there are some interpretive difficulties in taking a verse giving instructions for Israel when they are entering the promised land and applying it to our representative democracy today!  However, there are some other Bible verses that give us clear instruction regarding how we are to live as Christians regardless of the government we have.

  • We pray for our leaders (1 Timothy 2:1-4).
  • We obey our leaders (Romans 13:1-7; 1 Peter 2:13-17).
  • But we always recognize that our greatest allegiance is to God, and He comes first (Acts 5:27-29).

In the midst of it all we believe that God is ultimately in control (Daniel 2:20-21), and that He can do as He wishes (Proverbs 2:11).  The issue becomes the difference between what God decrees and what God allows.  God says that certain things will happen and they do!  But other times He works in the midst of our decisions and our choices, because He can still accomplish His will.  Our responsibility then may go back to Deuteronomy 16:18, remembering that “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people (Proverbs 14:34).”  Please make your decision on November 8th based on prayer, the Word, and a continual reliance upon God’s Spirit.

 
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Posted by on October 29, 2016 in Culture, Issues, Newsletter

 

May newsletter article

I worry about our culture and the Christian response to it.  This issue is an age old one, with many different solutions.  Should we withdraw from culture?  Should we go along with culture?  Do we try to transform culture?  Do we exist in parallel with culture?  My musings were actually brought about by the comments of a football player, whose jersey I regularly wear.  The comments made me wonder if perhaps my allegiance should be elsewhere.  How should I respond?  What should I do, if I do anything at all?

Now some might feel that I’m making a mountain out of a molehill.  After all, just because I wear the jersey doesn’t mean that I support everything that they say or do!  True, but perhaps there are role models out there that I would be better off supporting, even if they don’t play for my team!  I remember when Charles Barkley famously said, “I’m not a role model,” and belittled the idea that professional athletes serve as examples for society.  That begs the issue.  We are a celebrity culture, and we like anyone that is humorous, beautiful, wealthy, powerful, or athletic. We follow them on Twitter, and Facebook.  We buy their products.  We go to their movies.  We watch their games.  We support their campaigns.  We wear their jerseys.  And we say something about ourselves when we do.  We say something about who we like, who we support, and who we are.  And we need to remember that we are role models too! 2 Corinthians 5:20 says, “Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us.” We represent Jesus Christ to the world, and it should impact everything that we do.

The answer to my current dilemma is easy: I wear the colors and the logo, but not the jersey.  I support the team, but I don’t necessarily take a stand on the individual.  No, nobody is perfect.  But my responsibility as a Christian is to be and to point people to good examples and godly lifestyles, not end up in a position where I am defending what someone else does simple because I’m a fan.  I need to be a bigger fan of Jesus, which brings a responsibility of its own!  For you see, Jesus “died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised” (2 Corinthians 5:15).

 
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Posted by on April 28, 2016 in Culture, Inspirational, Issues

 

In answer to the question, it says we are in big trouble…

 
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Posted by on April 19, 2016 in Culture, Issues, Video

 

Powerpoint for Ephesians 6:5-9 (6/14/15)

Being Wise at Work

 
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Posted by on June 15, 2015 in Culture

 

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Pushing the boundaries…

There is so much that one could say about the upcoming “50 Shades” movie, but much of it has been written about already.

Here is an excellent article about the movie/book, and this article provides 7 lessons we can learn from the “50 Shades” phenomena.  Finally, here is an interesting read about the possible emotional effects of romance novels.

My best word on the subject comes from the Bible: “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things” (Philippians 4:8).

 
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Posted by on February 7, 2015 in Culture, Issues

 

December Newsletter Article

Labels can be extremely important.  If you don’t think so, go ask a diabetic!  But many people are uncomfortable when it comes to labels and Christianity.  There is concerted effort to redefine or change the terminology these days.  It used to be enough to say that there was a difference between being religious and being Christian.  Now you can’t even be a Christian anymore, but you need to be a “Christ-follower.” We’re told that this is not only hip and trendy, but necessary to reach a people that don’t like Christianity or the church anymore.  Some even say that they don’t have a problem with Jesus, just the church!  We’re too judgmental.  We’re too hateful.  We’re too opinionated.

What I find is that most people have a caricature of Jesus, Christianity and the church that they are responding to.  Let’s take Jesus for a minute.  Yes, he is loving and kind.  Yes, he died for us.  But he called out sin.  He even called people names.  He made a whip of cords and drove people out of the temple, probably not once but twice!  Do you have a full picture of who Jesus is?  Does society?

Many people look at the Church or the concept of Christianity and feel physically sick.  They see a constant picture of abuse and neglect.  They think about the people that have harmed them in the past.  They can’t get beyond any of that.  But, from my understanding, most Red Cross meals that are served after a natural disaster are served by Christian organizations.  Food banks are provided by churches.  Samaritan’s Purse, a Christian organization, is on the forefront of the fight against Ebola in Africa.  Churches offer counseling.  They house community events.  They reach out.  They help provide a sense of belonging and caring that can be so difficult to find in today’s world.

I believe that one of our basic problems today is that we don’t have a real sense of who God is and how he works in the world.  We don’t really believe that the Holy Spirit convinces, that God calls, or that the Bible convicts.  We think that it’s all up to clever marketing, high pressure sales, and a watered down message.  Blame my rant on my current sermon series.  God is Sovereign!  God is in control!

Does that mean we don’t try?  Does that mean we don’t present the gospel?  Does that mean we don’t reach out to people? Of course not!  “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace.”  We are called to proclaim.  We’re called to be faithful.  We’re called to follow.  But we have to make sure that we understand that God is doing the work, God is doing the calling, God is doing the convincing, and that, try as we might to have an effect through our own power and reasoning, we probably just end up convincing ourselves how clever we are instead of pleasing God.

So, after all is said and done, what am I?  Sure I’m a Christian, but I’m also a protestant, evangelical, Baptist pastor, and I’m not ashamed to say it.  I believe that if we follow God it doesn’t matter what we’re called or what we call ourselves.  I believe that theology is important.  I believe that the gospel is important.  I believe that God is on his throne.  And I think that all of that it important this Christmas.

 
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Posted by on November 30, 2014 in Culture, Issues, Theology

 

The Seven People Americans Now Trust More Than Their Pastor (2013)

Views on clergy honesty and ethics hit record low. However, Gallup still finds clergy rank No. 7 out of 22 professions.

http://www.christianitytoday.com/gleanings/2013/december/seven-people-americans-trust-more-pastor-gallup-honesty.html

Makes you wonder if Hebrews 13:17 matters anymore: “Have confidence in your leaders and submit to their authority, because they keep watch over you as those who must give an account. Do this so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no benefit to you.”
 
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Posted by on December 17, 2013 in Culture, Issues, Ministry