Tag Archives: Christian

It’s Saturday…

It’s Saturday.

That’s probably not a shock to most of you, I bet. If you can log on to a computer, check your email, or read a text, then you are most likely capable of knowing what day of the week it is.

It’s Saturday… just Saturday.

But sometime back in the 30’s – the 0030’s – there were some men and women waking up to a Saturday like no other. Their teacher, mentor, leader, Rabbi, and Master had suffered a most horrific death, and now he was in a tomb. This was not a day they expected.

It was Saturday, the Sabbath, and all their hopes and dreams lay cold and lifeless in a sealed grave.

What were they feeling? How does it feel to go from the top of the world with every expectation of glory, to utter despair and the expectation that at any moment the ones who ripped your leader to shreds could soon find you and do the same?

With despair comes shame, anger, blame, and fear. On what was supposed to be a “day of rest,” hearts must have been restless, tumultuous, and breaking, crumbling to dust.

It must have been a long day, that Saturday.

Have you ever lost someone close, like a parent, a spouse, or a child? Have you ever left the hospital or the morgue, gone home in shock, only to be jolted by the piercing pain of reality when you see your loved one’s possessions? The day after my father died my mother and sister experienced a moment like that (I wasn’t there, for I wouldn’t go home that night). My dad’s watch had an alarm set – it was the time he was supposed to get up – there was no getting up this time.

How did Jesus’ disciples feel that Saturday night? Their hopes seemed hopeless…their dreams had become a nightmare…the “Way, the Truth, and the Life” now seemed like nothing more than a dead-end road, a lie, and death.

It was Saturday…

But Sunday was coming.

Leave a comment

Filed under current events, Easter, Faith, Future, God, Theology, worship

Apple Pie and Amazing Grace: Doing Better than I Deserve

The Question

It came from Africa.

No, it wasn’t an animal trying to eat me, or a disease for which no one has a cure (which is more scary). It was a question, one asked by a Facebook friend in Uganda.

Pastor Ndahayo Shine asked: “How are you?”

imageHow am I? How does an American answer that question? I mean, seriously? What do I have to complain about?

Honestly, at the very moment Pastor Shine’s question popped up on Facebook Messenger I was eating a warmed-up piece of apple pie (as American as it gets).

Pie, I tell you!

I’m eating pie, and I get a question regarding how I’m doing from a man in Uganda. Africa! The place where famines kill more people than the NRA is blamed for!

So, I replied with the following answer:

“I am alive, not hungry, and not hurting. I have a roof over my head, a car in the driveway, and children who love me. My wife is faithful, the police are not after me, and the dog hasn’t chewed anything important in a long, long time. I guess you could say I’m doing better than I deserve.”

Am I Blessed?

So many times we answer questions like “How are you doing?” with things like, “I’m fine,” or “I’m blessed.” However, to be honest – which I try to be most of the time – I’d rather admit to being “fine” than “blessed.”

Why is that? 

Saying that I’m blessed has a sneaky way of implying that those in other places – like Africa – are NOT blessed, at least not as much as me. I mean, what does it say about Christianity and the character of God when those who are “abundantly blessed” are the ones who rarely feel the need to trust God for their next meal? What I own or what’s parked in my driveway is not a mark of spirituality, nor should it insinuate I’ve lived a life more worthy of blessing than my brothers and sisters living in poverty.

If I am blessed at all, it’s not because of anything I’ve done or deserve; I am simply the recipient of God’s grace. I have been allowed, according to God’s sovereignty, to live in a country where leftover pie in a functioning refrigerator is commonplace.

Jesus made it pretty clear who the “blessed” really are. They are the poor in spirit, the meek, the merciful, the pure in heart, and the peacemakers (Matthew 5:3-9). And if that’s not enough, “…Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord…” (Revelation 14:13).

What I Don’t Deserve

While saying “fine,” I’d bet the temptation to answer the question “How are you doing?” with complaints is almost overwhelming for most. Oh, admit it – you say you’re “fine” because you don’t think the person asking is really that interested in hearing your list of ailments, worries, and irritations.

You probably answer with “fine” because you don’t want to sound like a cry baby or a hypochondriac, right? Because, admit it, you feel you deserve better than what you have; you don’t really feel “blessed,” do you?

Well, I don’t know about you, but I don’t deserve anything but hell. Yet, for some reason God has allowed me to be the recipient of many good things which I don’t deserve, even if I have worked for a lot of it.

I don’t deserve a faithful wife, loving children, and a devoted dog. I don’t deserve to be a pastor, have a regular income, or be respected in my community.

I don’t deserve electric appliances that make life easier or the home in which I live. I certainly don’t deserve the freedom to come and go as I please without having to rely on public transportation or worry about being stopped by thugs demanding to search my car.

How am I doing? What can I say? I just ate pie…because it was there…and I wasn’t even hungry! If I’m blessed, it’s abundantly above and beyond what I need.

God is good, but His grace is Amazing! 

 

7 Comments

Filed under America, Christian Living, Life Lessons, Thanksgiving

Give Attention to Your Doctrine

Every once in a while I feel the need to do a little teaching. Keep in mind, many who read this blog do not go to a church, never hear a real pastor preach, nor even read a Bible. This might be the only path through which they choose to accept Biblical truth.

I just finished recording the audio for an upcoming radio broadcast. The text from which I preached was primarily the following:

Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. … Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee. – 1Ti 4:13, 16 KJV

One of the greatest challenges for the preacher is to make sure his doctrine is biblical, not based on human desires, such as the desire to only hear what we want to hear. I am reminded of the what Paul told Timothy in his second letter…

For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away [their] ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. – 2Ti 4:3-4 KJV

How many people have literally “heaped to themselves” stacks of books, CD’s, cassette tapes, magazines, study guides, and DVD’s from televangelists, conference speakers, and popular authors who preach what scratches the itching ear? People want to hear what makes them feel good, more encouraged, and can lead to a more prosperous, fulfilled life. Therefore, hearing the Word of God is irrelevant, especially if it doesn’t scratch the itch

The challenge, then, is for the sincere man of God to give priority to what is true doctrine, not the doctrine of men. This takes serious study, a willingness to be led by the Holy Spirit, and an understanding that what is of the Lord might not be popular, or desired.

That’s when it’s important to be “instant in season and out of season.” God knows what we need to be spiritually healthy, so “taking heed” to our doctrine must also include the commitment to serve what what’s needed, not simply what we crave.

 

4 Comments

Filed under Christian Living, God, ministry, Preaching, Theology

Don’t Give Up On Her Yet

Some people want to say that America has seen her best days. Some want to say that God is done with America.  Some want to give up hope that this nation can ever see a revival of morality and a return to its founding principles.  Some Christians say that we should just abandon ship and only focus on the Ship of Zion.  Well, if America is “going to h*** in a hand-basket,” then we need to do what only a people with a will can do…get out of the basket!

To be able to elect who we want to lead our country is an unbelievable privilege.  Just stop and think about it.  How many countries have come and gone which had a form of government which was set up to be “of the people, by the people, and for the people?”  How many billions live in subjection this very moment to a dictator or tyrant, or even a king?  We have been given a sacred treasure in our Constitution, one which was purchased with the lives, fortunes, and sacred honor of our founding forefathers.  Are we to treat such a priceless gift with flippancy and disrespect?  I hope not, but so many do.

Don’t give up on America, guys.  The journey is not over. This nation is not like all of the ones which have come and gone.  We are unique in our founding, our foundations, and our Founders.  The United States is not like any nation before it, and there is none like it today.  We have the rarest of abilities in that WE can decide who will lead us.  WE can decide what laws we will accept.  WE can decide the moral direction of this nation, for WE are the power and the authority to whom our leaders are accountable.  God, through His providence, allowed our founding fathers to create a Constitution which spells out the divinely given rights of the people, not of kings.  WE ratified our Constitution and Bill of Rights.  WE elect those to whom WE give the authority to govern.  WE can decide when enough is ENOUGH.

God-fearing men and women forged an uncharted, untravelled path when they chose to wade through the pain and suffering of building America.  They fought for freedom of speech and freedom of religion.  The took what was NOT and brought it into BEING.  What is NOT right now, can BE AGAIN.  All it will take is the same level of sacrifice that our forefathers were willing to give.  The United States, “one nation under God,” does not have to cease to exist, or continue to decline….WE can decide right now that WE will begin again as WE did before, so help us God.

What is the answer?  Revival.

The reason we need revival can be found in Proverbs 29:2, “When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn.”  Are the righteous in authority?  They could be.  They should be.  Otherwise the people will mourn.

Who are the ones in authority?  Well, in one sense, it is people like our President, or our congressmen, senators, or judges.  The context of this verse of Scripture would definitely imply that.  But, again, America is different.  We the people have no king or dictator.  No princes rule over us.  We are ruled by Law.  We are self-governed.  WE are in authority.  So the question then is this:  Are the people of the United States righteous?  The answer to that has to be an unquestionable “no.”  If the government, then, is of the people, and if the people are wicked, the nation will mourn, not rejoice.

Turn, therefore, oh citizens of this great land.  Turn back to the paths from which you have strayed; to the paths hewn from the wilderness by honorable, moral, God-fearing men and women.  Walk in those paths and follow in the footsteps of those like Washington and Lincoln.  We don’t need to see every man and woman in the country turn to Christ as their Savior.  Not every founding father was aborn-again Christian.  However, the overwhelming majority were men and women who knew that this great nation did not come about by chance, nor simply by the strength of men, but by the Providence of a guiding Hand.  Turn, therefore, back to the God that brought this nation into being, and can just as easily revive it from the dust heap of irrelevance. “WE THE PEOPLE” are in authority, so WE need to get our act together and elect men and women who will do what a righteous people demand.  It can start with just a few.  It can start with YOU.

O, thus be it ever when freemen shall stand,
Between their lov’d homes and the war’s desolation;
Blest with vict’ry and peace, may the heav’n-rescued land
Praise the Pow’r that hath made and preserv’d us a nation!
Then conquer we must, when our cause is just,
And this be our motto: “In God is our trust”
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

(4th verse, National Anthem)

P.S. For all of you who doubt that the founding of this nation was based on the faith of Christianity, please refer to the above verse, and the comments from the Supreme Court in The Church of the Holy Trinity vs. The United States, 1892.  Oh, how far we have come.

5 Comments

Filed under America, Christian Living, voting, World View

It’s Not That Saturday In the ‘30’s!

It’s Saturday.

That’s probably not a shock to most of you, I bet. If you can log on to a computer, check your email, or read a text, then you are most likely capable of knowing what day of the week it is.

It’s Saturday…just Saturday.

But at least it’s not like that Saturday back in the 30’s – the 0030’s, that is! Back then there were some men and women waking up to a Saturday morning like no other. Their teacher, mentor, leader, and Master had suffered a most horrific death, and now he was in a tomb. This was not the kind of day they expected.

It was Saturday, the Sabbath, and all their hopes and dreams lay cold and lifeless in a sealed grave.

What were they feeling?

How does it feel to go from the top of the world with every expectation of glory, to utter despair and the expectation that at any moment the ones who ripped your leader to shreds could soon find you and do the same?

With despair comes shame, anger, blame, and fear. On what was supposed to be a “day of rest,” hearts must have been restless, tumultuous, and breaking, crumbling to dust.

It must have been a long day, that Saturday.

Have you ever lost someone close, like a parent, a spouse, or a child? Have you ever left the hospital or the morgue, gone home in shock, only to be jolted by the piercing pain of reality when you see your loved one’s possessions?

The day after my father died my mother and sister experienced a moment like that (I wasn’t there, for I wouldn’t go home that night). My dad’s watch had an alarm set – it was the time he was supposed to get up – there was no getting up this time.

How did Jesus’ disciples feel that Saturday night? Their hopes seemed hopeless…their dreams had become a nightmare…the “Way, the Truth, and the Life” now seemed like nothing more than a dead-end road, a lie, and death.

It was Saturday…

But Sunday was coming.

It won’t be long before we will be celebrating the Resurrection of Jesus (April 21).

But what if today we’d take a moment to thank God this Saturday doesn’t have to be like that one back in the 30’s?

Sunday is coming! Rejoice! You don’t have to wait till Easter.

5 Comments

Filed under current events, Easter, Faith, Future, God, Theology, worship

Regardless

All I want to say today is that regardless whatever happens in this life, God is good!

All the time!

6 Comments

Filed under Christianity, Faith, God

“What Can I Do to Help Stop [Christophobia]?”

A funny thing happened while I was doing research…

In preparation for an upcoming post, I came across some information on Planned Parenthood’s website. What I found was a list of things one could do to in order to “help stop homophobia.”

That got me to thinking… What if we took out the words homophobia, biphobia, and transphobia and replaced them with other terms, such as Christophobia, Christian, and religious?

What is Christophobia? Well, why don’t we go ahead and practice a little word replacement in Planned Parenthood’s definition of the term homophobia?

“The [Christophobia] definition is the fear, hatred, discomfort with, or mistrust of people who are [Christians]…”

See how that worked? Pretty simple.

Is Christophobia a real thing? I think so, but you can decide. Below are the re-worded suggestions from Planned Parenthood’s website. I think they speak for themselves.


What can I do to help stop [Christophobia]?

No one has the right to discriminate against or bully another person, or to hurt them emotionally or physically. There are several things you can do to help stop [Christophobia]:

  • Don’t ever use negative or offensive language to describe [Christian] people.
  • Be careful of how even casual language — such as saying “that’s so [Christian]”— can hurt others.
  • Don’t believe stereotypes about [Christian] people or make assumptions about them.
  • Be a vocal supporter of the [Christian] community, regardless of your own sexual orientation and identity. This is called being an ally.
  • Let the [Christian] people in your life know that you’re a friend and ally.
  • Educate yourself on [Christian] issues.
  • Respect [Christian] people’s decisions about when and where to come out.
  • Join your school’s [Christian] Alliance, or start one at your school. [Lifeway] can help with that.
  • Remember that being [Christian] is just one part of a person’s complex identity and life.
  • Show as much interest in your [Christian] friends’ or family members’ partners as you would show in [your own] partner.
  • If you feel safe doing so, speak up when other people are being [Christophobic], such as making offensive jokes, using negative language, or bullying or harassing someone because of their [religious] orientation or identity.

Interesting, don’t you think?

4 Comments

Filed under Christianity, current events, General Observations, politics