Monday, August 30, 2010

Mormons, Beck and Politics

In reading what many have written regarding the Beck rally and even more, Becks Mormon religion, I thought I would make an observation or two. In the height of duplicity, we see bloggers living true to form. A guy says he is a Mormon and so we bash. We proceed to bash others that associate with him and we bash those who dare to say otherwise. We attack patriotism or at the least seem to impose that many view it as a religion of some sort. I will deal with more on this point later.

On Mormonism - I do not under any reason think that one who is simply a practicing Mormon knows what it means to be a Christian from experience. I do think they can know the Theology. On the other hand, I do think that someone who has been a Mormon and yet ministered to by Evangelicals who have shared the Gospel with them, can accept Christ and yet be slow to leave the Mormon church.

On Patriotism - I find it odd that several in Theological circles fail to see the value of turning America back to the roots. I fully realize that Americanism will not save a single person from hell. I fully understand that we cannot legislate morality. But it is in the return to basic American principles that we find our protection for Freedom of Religion and more. I am not a patriot for material reasons. I am a patriot for Spiritual reasons. Now living in America more than any other time in our history are indeed the peoples of the world. At a time when the Gospel is needed, I wonder why so many are so quick to forget that defending our rights and freedoms as Americans is more important to the spreading of the Gospel than we act like we know.

On Beck - I watched a show Friday where Beck sat with some well known Evangelical Leaders, Pastors of churches. These guys were not as famous as Falwell Jr or Franklin Graham, but they were and are extremely loyal to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I have been watching Beck and listening very closely. Whether it is in a forum with the men above, or even just on his Fox News show, I have noticed a change in his language and view of Christianity. Is Beck revealing what may have or may be working in his own life? I can only go with what I see and hear. This I do know, he gives a better presentation of the Gospel than many that sit in a pew on Sunday in most Evangelical churches.

Summary - I think we ought to stop bashing Beck and those around him and start praying that indeed there is fruit to their work in Becks life and in the life of America. We are closer than ever to losing the very freedoms we have been blessed with to share Jesus here in America. With the world in our front and back yards, what a shame it would be to lose the freedom to share with the masses.

As a patriot, I am excited to see an awakening of the sleeping giant. I sense a true movement in America that may pave the way for more roads to the sharing of the Gospel than ever before. We would be foolish to throw this all away. It just might be God's plan! And I would hate to see the day when theological arrogance actually cost us the very freedoms that would allow millions to hear the Gospel like has never before been available.

You may not like Beck at all. But I think we need to get off our prideful horses and stop to think that just maybe we do not know all that God may be up to. A saved Mormon that takes awhile to leave the Mormon church needs to know Christians love and do care about him and his eternity. And if God can use a Cup bearer to lead out and rebuild His city, who is to say that He would not use Beck to do something similar in America. I know this - most pulpits are silent today. That is a real shame!

And I did not even mention Sarah Palin until now...!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Lake Baptism Lessons



Today we were honored to baptize at a lake. The first picture is easy to see what was taking place. The second picture is actually misleading. It is a picture of people gathering for the event and yet it does not show the reason for this post.

Our people were pumped. I like doing things like this for many reasons. But I learned something unique that I think will stick with me for a long time. The above pictures are just a few of this event. What you cannot see was the one thing that really caught my attention.

As our people began to walk to the area of the lake for this event, people in the lake from all sides stopped what they were doing and began to gather with us. I did not notice this at first. My Associate made the comment about what was taking place as I was speaking to a few people waiting for all of our people to join us.

It dawned on me why this was unique. We get so caught up in telling people why other people aren't interested in church and yet an outdoor Baptism caught their attention and led them to stop what they were doing and join us. People are interested in the work of God and still respect the carrying out of Baptism - even at a State Park.

I wonder why we focus so much on church y stuff and don't realize that people will care when we live out true Gospel change and down to earth Christianity. It sure caught my attention. The respect and even applause came from more than our people.

Just a thought!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Which group are you in?

The idea of grouping people is just as natural as rain and sunshine. Each one of us possess certain qualities and approaches to life. There will be others in this life who are similar to us and thus a group for identity sake etc. is easy to form.

In Nehemiah chapter 3 we see a listing of many who put their bodies to work. The state of Jerusalem was horrible. As Nehemiah had been called by God to lead out in the rebuilding of this city (and more) we are given a specific list of those who worked and what that work was. Also mentioned in this chapter is a group of people who WOULD NOT WORK.

No one could deny the state of the city. No one could deny that something had to be done. But how could a group of people with a background such as "nobles" sit and watch while others jumped in and went to work? Is there a lesson here?

Sure!

There will always be those who do nothing. The nobles could have done long before Nehemiah. They could have prevented the much of the decay. They could have used their influence to rally the people long before Nehemiah chapter 3. But instead they did nothing and continued doing nothing.

You and I are in groups naturally. The key for our growing life with Christ is to make sure that we are NOT in the do nothing group! I would rather be a stepping stone than stumbling block! I would rather be part of the solution than to be a mere critic on the sidelines doing nothing and helping no one.

Which group are you in?

Sunday, August 15, 2010

A Mosque and a tale

It appears that the issue over building the Mosque close to ground zero in New York is not going away soon. Even our President has jumped into the discussion and debate. This story is really a tale of just how far America has fallen. Allow me to explain.

The Mosque is NOT the issue!
Anyone who claims the great American heritage of this country should know that in America there is and should be freedom OF religion. Thus building the Mosque is NOT the issue. Islam should be granted the same rights as any other religion to practice freely in our society. To say otherwise is to trample on the very freedom that we say we are defending.

Sensitivity IS the issue!
With freedom comes a great principle - we must be sensitive to and towards others. Our freedoms end where another persons begins. This is a principle that is being lost today. We are told as Christians to be sensitive towards others. What about others being sensitive towards us? What about the lives of those lost on 9-11? What about their families? Sensitivity should tell each of us that the building of such facility close to the zero point is NOT best nor right. But this sensitivity can only come from a grasping of the Word of God.

Yes, in America today sensitivity only appears to work one way. Not to mention the very man who is leading the charge to build. His antics and CRAZY statements about America only heat up the whole scenario. And then to realize that this is quickly becoming a political tool - it ain't pretty! But what really is taking place?

As Christians I think it highlights our need to know and understand what we stand for and how that plays out in the world. I think we need to be protectors of the very freedoms we deserve and demand. Even if this means protection of the right to build a Mosque. But I also think we need to be keen to the reality that the world is not fair. Our apathy in voting Biblical values is coming home in a loud roar. Our willingness to trade the pursuit of God for the pursuit of money is costing us big time. People do not do what is right much of the time. And though we can claim sensitivity, I wonder where in the world do we expect those without it to get it?

I pray common sense will prevail somehow in this situation. But I also pray that we American Christians will realize quickly that we need to get serious about reaching people with the Gospel of Jesus Christ and living the reality of His Work and Holiness in our daily lives. We cannot expect anything but more of the same when we continue to take for granted the freedoms we have and fail to live our lives passionately serving Him in that freedom.

To whom much is given, much is expected. Ours is a tale of what we ignored while others of more passion continue to seek what we have! They are willing to fight for it and they live it. We do anything but live it!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Elect Babies and the Reformed Thoughts

Reading over many thoughts pertaining to the ideas of "elect" and how one would relate those ideas and theological thoughts/doctrines pertaining to babies as led me to some interesting questions to ask of those of the Reformed movement. Beyond the questions are some clear contradictions that highlight how the Reformed/Calvinist doctrines are limited, as they should be being formed by a man and not the Word of God.

Babies are ELECT
If one holds to the idea that all babies are born elect and thus if die young do indeed inherit heaven, then one needs to ask how does one lose the status of being elect and what stage, age, or ??? would should occur? This is a logical thought process that must be addressed. Much confusion is found when reading the aged works of those Reformed thinkers. I think anyone who would, as a Calvinist, hold to this idea would also have a tough time explaining this idea.

Why?

If all are born elect, then all should be saved - according to this teaching.

Babies are born some elect and others destined for hell
If you hold to this idea, you must say that there are indeed children who die young that go to hell. In saying this, one would also be forced to admit that there is NO human way to know which it is for a specific child and family.

The above two areas are being ignored greatly in the discussion pertaining to the reformed movement. It is a sad thought when one realizes that a whole system of doctrine cannot explain the simple of the above scenario and actually is proven as incomplete and lacking.

How would you answer the above two positions? Can you back them up with scripture alone?

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

This will change the world and us!

I was reading today the latest post from Perry Noble regarding sermon series for churches. I was curious when I saw the title. Someone is always developing the latest and greatest sermon series. it is the culture in many pulpits and just might be one of the most dangerous methods being used today.

I was elated to read the following words from Noble..."get alone with God, open your Bible, read it until he sets your heart on fire…and then go unleash that fire through preaching to the people He has called you to preach to! In other words…get “a word” from “The Word!”

That advise is GREAT advice!

But then I thought for a moment. That is GREAT advice for any Christian! If we would just GET ALONE with GOD and allow Him to set our hearts on fire!

If only! All too often we find ourselves getting caught up in going through studies and doing this and that... the latest and greatest new THING. What ever happened to the simple act of getting alone with God and allowing Him to transform us and ignite us? Why have we abandoned this in our daily lives?

So here is my challenge to you this week - get alone with God, open your Bible, read it until He sets your heart on fire…and then go unleash that fire through your life in all that you do!"

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Debate or Divisiveness?

I was blessed with being raised in a family that loved debate. We would debate everything from Theology to Politics on daily basis. Strangers may have wondered if we really loved one another or not. These debates were always strong times of the exchange of ideas and concepts. They were not divisive. They were part of growing and learning.

When my soon to be wife first discovered this trait in my family it scared her. Her family could not debate without feelings being hurt. It took her a long time to adjust to this debate prone guy and his family. We debated everything. We debated often. The key was that these debates where only for the purpose of sharpening our thoughts and convictions and increasing our ability to defend what we believe.

Today there is a new form of debating being practiced in some Christian circles. The purpose of this type of debating is not to reinforce but rather divide. One will discover that people are willing to even judge on one's salvation without even knowing the person much less trying to know them.

The Bible does not condone the type of debate that is taking place these days. In fact, some of the strongest language in the Bible is used in describing this type of dividing:

Proverbs 16:19

19 Better to be of a humble spirit with the lowly, Than to divide the spoil with the proud.
NKJV

Proverbs 6:16
...Yes, seven are an abomination to Him:
NKJV

Proverbs 6:19
...And one who sows discord among brethren.
NKJV


If people desire to build up - great! But to take personal the idea of debating and move to the practice of name calling and judging one's salvation is to fit the above verses to a T. This is not God's plan. His desire is for us to live in love and edification with one another.

We must examine our activity with language and communication. Those who divide are agents of destruction. They are aggressive and they are dangerous. Stay away from them and join the army that builds up and edifies.

I am certain someone will want to debate this!