Friday, January 30, 2015

NeedtoBreathe "Brother" a needed word for today!

Those who truly know me understand that I love music. I love all genres. Yet I am picky about one aspect of music - the message! I engulf my life in music that reinforces quality traits that are Godly and uplifting. I do the same with movies. I want to be challenged to stand strong and stay the course no matter what.

In today's world it is difficult to find this type of reinforcement.  So difficult that if you were to look at my playlists on my phone, or see the movies and shows I DVR, you might think that I am lost in the oldies.  I am actually just that selective. I know the power of influence. I know that anyone of us can get tripped up in life if we are not careful with what we allow to influence our lives.  So whether it is music from the Southern Gospel world, Praise music, real oldies, Country, or Disco from the 70's, you will find my song selection to be such that encourages me to stand and keep moving forward!

The group NeedtoBreathe just released a new song that I immediately downloaded and have been listening to all day while working. It is playing now as I type this.  The song is named "Brother".  The words of the chorus speak to my thoughts today about so many things:

Brother let me be your shelter
I'll never leave you all alone
I can be the one you call
When you're low
Brother let me be your fortress
When the night winds are driving on
Be the one to light the way
Bring you home

The activity of today in all circles of life is attack and attack some more. Whether you are a Christian or not (and I would love to share with you about the love of Jesus if you do not know Him), you know what I mean. We see people hurting and we kick and hurt them more. Have we forgotten that the essence of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is forgiveness. Are we so caught up in our agendas and ruthless narcissism that we are too prideful to admit that we trample on the Gospel when we fail to live it out?

I tell our people every week that as Christians we MUST be the people who embrace the hurting regardless of their failures, faults, weaknesses etc, and nurture them back to health. That is exactly what God called us to be and do. I am the first to admit that very few in my own life have done this. Most people are left to suffer and scrap their way around the ugly of this world by themselves. And some today love the ease of joining the rock throwing. And often, we may join when our intention is something else. We live in a messed up world where the mess grows by the day. But the failures of others should not stop us from our calling!

The guys of NeedtoBreathe have highlighted one of the greatest needs of our day. I could post hundreds of verses where the Bible teaches this clearly. But I will highlight this with the following passage:

1 Pet 4:8-11
8    And above all things have fervent love for one another, for "love will cover a multitude of sins."
9    Be hospitable to one another without grumbling.
10    As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.
11    If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.

And so I will keep praying as I sing:  "Lord, let me be the love of Christ to all I come in contact with, standing for your truth which means I must hate sin but love the sinner. Let me be a true brother in my actions and words. Thank you Lord for showing me the way! May many more "brothers" rise up in this wicked and perverse day!"

And thank you Bo, Bear and the whole NeedtoBreathe gang for writing this song to remind me of this daily! I needed it today!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

All Americans Must Decry Inciting of Police Killings

I set down in my office to do my normal Saturday evening sermon go over and prayer time. Suddenly alerts began popping up on my phone. Two police officers shot and killed execution style in New York. The disgust boiled over immediately. Words left me. My heart sunk for these officers families and for us as a nation.

What I am writing tonight has been on my heart for some time. I have withheld for concern that I might be misunderstood. But tonight it was clear, it is time many of us who know better speak up and stand up loud and clear.

The Al Sharpton's of this world are out to destroy lives while building their own bank accounts and narcissistic egos. They do not care about race. They do not care about innocent lives who have to pay the price for their gain. They are disgusting human beings. And it is time we let them know there day has come and gone.

The current climate in America is more than dangerous. Our President capitulates to a ruthless dictator.  Our Attorney General (chief law enforcement officer) plays the race card over and over. We have Elected officials in all levels of Government challenging law enforcement as if they are all to blame for the actions of thugs and criminals.

The Christian world does not escape blame. Lately the rhetoric flows from many evangelical circles that somehow this is all our fault. The inequalities of people are more than unfortunate. But the Gospel of Jesus Christ doe not in any shape or form dictate that we Christians should or can correct this. It does speak loud and clear for every Christian to live as Christ. We should live right with all men regardless of race or ethnicity. Coddling criminals and thinking we can somehow apologize for the actions of others is useless.  We can live right. And that is where our focus needs to be. We need to love all. And yet we must strongly condemn lawlessness regardless of race.

Every church I have Pastored has been multiracial including my ministry now. Our people are actually sharing a building with two other churches, both multiracial, while we relocate. We have had zero issues. Why, we live right and love all people.  It is not complicated. It does not require a summit or initiative.

The inciting of the race issue in this country is one of the greatest manipulations America has ever seen. And more than tragic is the price our law enforcement officers are paying. The ones who wake up everyday and go out and deal with the ugliest of ugly are being sacrificed for someones social engineering experiment. That is beyond disgusting. I have had enough. Have you?

We do not have to stand by and allow this garbage. I call on every American citizen to do something NOW! Stand with your law enforcement community. Respect them. Stand up to the discord sowers. Call them what they are. They are cowards seeking monetary gain. They do not care for the blacks, yellows, browns, or whites. They care only for themselves. Just like the bully on the playground, it only takes a few and they will turn, run, and hide!

Will you stand! Enough is enough!  Pray for all law enforcement officials. Thank them! Get behind them! Stand with them!

It is time for action - NOW!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Houston Mayor Pastors and Christians!

While serving as a Youth Pastor in the 1990's I remember a fellow Youth Pastor used a drama during a weekend lock-in that got more attention than he first thought it would. During the evening Worship Service for this event he had armed people storm the worship service and take him out in handcuffs. Why? He was showing the teenagers and adults what could easily happen in America if we Christians did not wake up to the trends that were developing. This Youth Pastor was labeled a radical nut and public opinion from his own church and others followed those lines. In fact, I was instructed by our Pastor to NEVER try something like that with our people.

Today, such a skit is ill advised due to the shootings that have taken place in churches. But the message of this Youth Pastor was indeed spot on. Adults in the early 90's did not see coming what now has arrived. The following article describes the first in America shakedown and intimidation of preachers.

What should we do?

1. Every Pastor needs to stand with these men.  We cannot coward from this moment. Nor should these men fight this fight alone.

2. Every Christian in America needs to join in this fight. Your spiritual lives are being threatened.

3.  We need to fight and stand in a Christian manner. This is not a time to go off on tangents. Passion is needed. But controlled passion will show the real nature and character of Christ in this battle. We need people to see Christians stand in a Christian manner thus showing them the message of salvation found in Jesus.

4.  We need not politicize this moment. Certainly the Mayor of Houston is doing just that. But should we join in his methods the real message of the issue at hand will be lost.

5.  Pastors everywhere need to educate their people on what is taking place. This education must be delivered with a passion for heaven sent revival among ourselves. We have trusted in the "American" system and history for far too long. Apathy is present in American Christianity and we need to once again beg people to cry out to God for revival.

6.  Pastors must continue to preach showing no fear. But our preaching must be Biblical, including love for all and desiring all to be saved. Hate speech and emotional rants are not found in the Bible nor should they come from us Pastors.

7.  We must fervently pray! And then fervently pray more!

America has changed and is changing. We may lose more freedoms than we ever dreamed. We may be able to prevent the loss of many freedoms. But more important than that, are the lives entrusted to each of us Pastors to teach, preach, and disciple with the Truths of God's Word.   And it is here that we are being called to faithfulness. Children and adults in other parts of the world are standing for Christ to the point of death!

What will we do?

Thursday, August 7, 2014

An Open letter to Pastors - Stop Ministry Bullying!

I have written this letter in my thoughts hundreds of times in the last few years. I have tried to write this several times in the immediate past few months. And finally this evening while mowing my lawn with my boys assisting me, did I get the freedom within my spirit to actually write it and post it.  The words written flow from a heart that is broken. The theme of this letter finds motivation in part of the calling that God has placed on my life - to help Pastors.

There are two ladies who write at Wartburg Watch who have done an incredible job of connecting some sad dots among a small sampling of men who claim to be ministers that portray a very sad and horrific picture. It is a picture that should never exist among Godly leaders. But it does. And it is time for good men to stand up and say enough is enough! The words of the Irish Philosopher Edmond Burke ring true at such a time as this: "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing."

The Wartburg Watch article above clearly shows that a small group of men have participated in Cyber Stalking for several years. These two ladies may be the first to connect the dots in print highlighting the devastation that has been occurring disguised as standing for truth.  Anyone who has been targeted by this group knows the pain and agony they shovel. And it is this agony that now must be repudiated once and for all by Pastors of churches in every size.

Their Tactics
They bully people using social media and web sites. Ironically, their main approach finds them using anonymous twitter accounts and websites to bring about their desired action, usually "repentance" of their targets.

This small group will even speak against themselves on twitter and social media, using multiple twitter sites etc. while no one else knows its just one person talking to himself. They know how the internet works. They understand how to raise their pages in the search engine rankings. Their methods result in drawing attention to themselves so that if someone googles your name (their target), their material will be front and center. It is intimidation like many have never seen nor heard. They can ruin your online repetition without you their target person realizing it until it is too late. But there is more!

This group will call your office. They will contact your church staff. They will hack into computers and steal emails and files. They will break the law to accomplish their so called righteous activity. I have personally been attacked in such ways. They are evil! Alerts will be sent to their army and the target declared. All of this done in the name of ministry. No one escapes their wrath. If you go against them, you will pay dearly. They will reach out to your friends, co-workers, church members etc. No rock will be left unturned. You are marked and they never let up.

Their Out
This group knows how to score points and then how to hide. Their master teacher, James White, is known for his debates. Everything White does is done to score points and prove his super intelligence while remaining free from blame. The ugly is hidden. They walk away and hide. It is always the sin of their target. They never do wrong. The bogus attacks and anonymous web sites cannot be tracked unless authorities are brought in. They hide via fake IP addresses. They are in America, Canada, and London. They partner with Muslims. They partner with thugs. They care about one thing, the destruction of their target. If you want to know the real truth of James White, ask his sister. She can tell you the tactics used against her, a family member. They are identical to the one's being used today against Caner and others. They will attack anyone who associates with someone they deem evil! There is zero grace in anything they do.

Their Mistake
This group led by White and JD Hall have mounted a barrage of activity that included a failed attempt at making a video to expose their primary target, Ergun Caner. Their narcissism got the best of them when they openly showed video of White and Hall collaborating on the mission with one of Halls thugs.  A second mistake was made when Whites President of his ministry actually participated in the attacks on Braxton Caner with JD Hall. Yes, we have those tweets also. They could now no longer hide. Their cover was blown. Grown men were now caught in their own devious actions like mere children. They tried to hide it. The cleaning of their twitter feeds was not fast enough. And more obvious, the track record was clear for all to see. Ask Pastor Bucky Kennedy about the contacts his High School son received when Caner was about to be hired at Brewton Parker. They allowed their plan to become an obsession.

Obsession will destroy. These men have become obsessed with the destruction of the ministry of Ergun Caner. And their obsession led them down a path so disgusting and vile that it went as far as trying to divide a son and his father twice. They have become so pure in their own eyes in their pursuit that they could even know of a tragedy involving Caner before his family knew. They were stalking young Braxton's friends in an effort to rack up more dirt for points. They have become worse than the Pharisees.

The Tragedy
One son has taken his life. No one knows the effects of the obsession on this young life. No one can claim zero effect while no one can claim total effect. It obviously effected him in some way. It affects everyone they target. No rational person can say otherwise.

The Need
Good men must rise and say enough is enough! James White, JD Hall, and their thugs must be told ENOUGH! Ministry is not about attacking other ministers. Dr. Al Mohler, Dr. John Macarthur, and leaders of the every group of Pastors involved can and should speak with one loud and strong voice and say NO MORE! It is not enough to distance oneself from these workers of evil. They must be repudiated!

The Why
So ugly are the tactics that just one week and two days after the tragedy the tweets and harassment continue. Anyone who writes about the evil that has occurred is immediately the recipient of phone calls and emails. It was bad enough for James White to post a blog within one hour of the tragedy involving Braxton. It is beyond comprehension that this post threatened that more was to come after a period of time if Caner continued in ministry (“I, for one, will not pursue the issues relating to Caner’s past claims until after a meaningful period of time has passed, and they become relevant to his future actions,” White wrote.)  He proudly displays this post even today. His ministry President has bragged on twitter that he is taking notes and that his silence will end soon. Men tied to JD Hall have ramped up twitter accusing Ergun of being responsible for the tragedy. No time to grieve. All done in the name of ministry. And so it continues. Evil upon evil.

The Call
Pastors, it is time for us to speak out in one strong voice against the evil of this day. Ministry is about reaching people with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Ministry is not about destruction and unlawful behavior. Ministry is not about bullying anyone, especially children. If a minister disagrees with another, so be it. God has not delegated His role as Judge to James White, JD Hall, nor any of the the rest of us. We need to stand for what is right and Godly. As Braxton rests from his labors, we good men who are on this earth charged to lead in reaching this world for Christ must speak out and not stop until the bully tactics cease.

It is time for good men to do something! Bully's must not be tolerated!

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Indeed Jesus is Weeping! Thank you Todd Starnes

The following is written by FoxNews writer Todd Starnes taken from his Facebook Page. He presents the disgusting reality that few have dared to share.
(Note: The Caner family asked me to share my commentary with you. I am honored to do so.)

I did not know Braxton Caner. But I knew his father - Ergun - a Muslim convert who became a Christian preacher.

For years Ergun has been hounded by unrelenting critics accusing him of all sorts of ministerial misdeeds. They hunted him like prey -- as if it was some sort of spiritual sport.

In early July - they found a new target -- Ergun's teenage son - Braxton.

The 15-year-old was a son and a brother. He played football, dated a girl and drove a pickup truck. The young man's supposed "crime" was defending his father.

They wrote terrible things about the 15-year-old - beyond the pale. It was theological thuggery.

And last week - Braxton ended his life.

We do not know what led young Braxton to do the unthinkable. We do not know if the postings of these online agitators pushed this young child over the edge. But these are the facts.

A 15 year old boy was bullied. His reputation tarnished at the hands of grown men who professed to be doing God's work. And now Braxton Caner is gone. Bullied in the name of Christ.

Twitter allows us to express our thoughts in 140 characters.

But I only need nine.

Jesus Wept.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Baptism - may be reduced to a sprinkling before too long!

I have been pondering a article published the other day by the Gospel Coalition, written by Bill Kynes entitled WHY I AM A "BAPTIST" (WITH A SMALL B).  I have reread the article more than 10 times. Though obviously presenting a mere glimpse of what may be occurring in some churches today, and written with evangelicalism as a whole in perspective, the article highlights a growing movement for Southern Baptist (I am one) and Biblical theology as whole.

Knowing the depth of change presented within the article, the editor at the Gospel Coalition decided to preface the article with the following disclaimer/explanation statement:

Last year The Gospel Coalition asked pastors and theologians why they changed their mind on baptism. While this argument from Bill Kynes does not defend a changed view, it sheds light on the spectrum of belief and practice related to baptism in evangelical churches. Previously in this series:
Notice in the paragraph that we are told the argument is NOT a defense of a "changed view". But the title of the article makes clear that the information presented by the author, and the author himself is presenting the case for why baptism should be reduced in our priorities of doctrinal insistence within our churches. Honesty demands the editor acknowledge that the article is a defense of accepting infant baptism within churches. This is what the article is about!

A simple reading of the article highlights the authors actual practice within the local church:

"The local church in which I serve as pastor practices the baptism of believers, so we might be considered "Baptists." But we also receive as members believers who have been baptized as infants. For that reason, you might call us "baptists with a small 'b.'" How do we justify such a hybrid position in the spectrum of church practice?"

From the authors own words and practice we now know that he advocates for, and practices a "...hybrid position..." in regards to Baptism.  And the remaining of article is a presentation of his explanation.

In defense of this position we are given three reasons: humility, charity, and theology.

And it is here that I will offer my total rejection of the path presented. An alarm should be sounding across the theological landscape of sincere conservatives. And Southern Baptist need to realize the extent of involvement many of our entity leaders have in this coalition.

The claim of humility:
Presented in this section is a flawed historical observation. The author heralds the error: "that paedobaptism has been the practice of the overwhelming majority of Christians throughout most of church history. This includes the practice of the Protestant Reformers to which I owe a great theological and spiritual debt" is a misrepresentation of many Christians. It further ignores the fact that Baptist did not grow out of the Catholic church - thus making a connection with such group is misleading, though common today.

A declaration that the author could be wrong about his understanding of baptism and thus in practice should accept a form that is contrary to that which the Bible teaches spells disaster when applied to any other doctrine; and this one. Such reasoning is illogical and more so diminishing of basic Bible doctrine of which Baptism is.

The claim of charity:
The author speaks the following:   " Even if the baptist position is correct, I still want to receive my paedobaptist brothers and sisters as fellow believers based upon our common understanding of the gospel. Evangelical paedobaptists recognize the three aspects of the gospel I have outlined, but in their practice of baptism they separate them in time. They baptize the infant children of Christian believers—objectively declaring the gospel to them before they can understand it. They do this with the prayer that their subjective and personal response of faith will come at some point in their life (whether it occurs at a clearly recognized moment in time or not). And then later, at some public act of confirmation, the social aspect of that personal faith is recognized as, upon their profession of faith, that person is received as a communicant member of the church. Our unity in the gospel outweighs our differences in the practice of baptism in relation to the timing of those three aspects of the gospel. Charity in the gospel calls me not make those differences a barrier to church fellowship."

It is here we see the Bible being lowered in place of a desire or fear. I, like the author, desire fellowship with all Christians. I have preached in churches were the practice of baptizing infants was done. But when asked concerning why I did not accept that form of Baptism, I could easily point to scripture and show the stated purpose and timing of the act of obedience that Baptism is. Not once was I considered rude or arrogant.  I question how allowing something that is NOT Biblical can be defined as charity. Is it not the responsibility of Pastors and churches to hold high the Word of God? Would allowing a wrong practice not be equal to failing to disciple. I find the opposite of charity in the position presented. Love is tough! Love speaks truth! Love does not compromise.

The claim of theology:
We see in this section one of the most dangerous statements I have read in years by any group claiming to hold a high view of God and His Word. Read this carefully:  "Baptism presents a visible and objective declaration of the gospel, and its validity as such is not nullified by the absence of the proper subjective response of faith."

If the author truly believes that baptism presents a visible and objective declaration of the Gospel then the timing of such can not be delegated to subjective reasoning. If baptism is as the Bible declares, the declaration of what God has done in a persons life, then any individual "baptized" before the work of God truly was NOT baptized. They simply got wet in a religious ceremony. 

The theological ramifications are huge with the subject of baptism. Either one obeys God and follows the Lord in scriptural baptism or one does not. Disobedience can not be explained away by a statement of compromise disguised as compassionate theology. 

For those of us in the Southern Baptist Convention, if we allow our entity leaders to bring the influence of groups such as the Gospel Coalition to our students, we will soon discover that we exist no more.

Not mentioned in the Gospel Coalition article was a huge Biblical point. Missing was the fact that we are commanded to go and baptize. Dr. Bart Barber has written a short statement fully addressing this most important fact. You can read it at SBC Voices here.

Some reading this will ponder the absence of my use of scripture so far. I am glad you noticed.  Not once in the article covered by this post was even one verse referenced. Since when can doctrine that is contained within the Word of God be understood, presented, and taught absent the very Word of God?

I will close this article with the very Word of God pertaining to Baptism. And I will pray that all people will understand that though not part of the work of salvation, baptism is specified Biblically. And thus my humble request, made in love, is for us to live right with God in practice developed from our theology, rooted in His Word. And in this, not once do we see infants being baptized.

Acts 2:41 - Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added [unto them] about three thousand souls.

Acts 10:47 - Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?

Thursday, June 19, 2014

When votes mean nothing - trouble coming to Christians in America!

Today, the Presbyterian Church USA voted to change their doctrinal wording on marriage and open the door to allow their clergy to marry homosexual couples.  You can read the story from Detroit here.

No doubt some people will say that this is the first of many to follow this path. You can count on other changes being made by mainline denominations. The press will declare that we Christians are finally waking up.  Mark my words, the above comments will come even stronger than I have written.  And I say "ok, no problem!"

Some of you may ask me how in the world I could say that?

It is simple!

Votes by man nor words by people and the press mean anything. Only the Word of God matters! And the Bible is crystal clear that marriage is between one man and one women! Human nature affirms this reality regardless of what people may say.

God has no need of we humans to get enlightened on culture and grow in our interpretation of His Word. The Bible is the same yesterday, today, and forever! It does not and will not change!

I do not hate homosexuals. I do not want them to be miserable in life! I am not homophobic. I simply believe the Bible. I do not place homosexuals as second class citizens. I just read and know that God said in Matt 19:5-6

"4 And He answered and said to them, "Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning 'made them male and female,'
5    "and said, 'For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh'?
6    "So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate."

And then speaking of the natural, the Bible tells us clearly:

Rom 1:20-32
20    For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse,
21    because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.
22    Professing to be wise, they became fools,
23    and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man-- and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.
24    Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves,
25    who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.
26    For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature.
27    Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.
28    And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting;
29    being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers,
30    backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,
31    undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful;
32    who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.
I dare not mess with what God has clearly spoken! And regardless of trends or votes by large groups of people, I and I alone answer to God for following His Word or not. Jesus will not say to God that "poor ol Tim had to deny the Bible because a group of people voted to change what it says - thus let him off for his disobedience."

Every Pastor and every church better settle this now. Either you will follow God or you will be in direct disobedience to Him.

No one knows what the consequences will be for standing with the Word of God in the area of marriage. Frankly, I do not care!

This I know - I will stand with God and His Word and no one will be able to force me to do otherwise. And if I go to jail for it? I will be in great company with the Apostle Paul and others.

Votes by people mean nothing in changing or altering the Word of God!

And it is here that I will loving and courageously stand!  

How about you?