Friday, October 9, 2009

"12 Ways to Love your Wayward Child"

1. Point them to Christ.
Your rebellious child's real problem is not drugs or sex or cigarettes or pornography or laziness or crime or cussing or slovenliness or homosexuality or being in a punk rock band. The real problem is that they don't see Jesus clearly. The best thing you can do for them--and the only reason to do any of the following suggestions--is to show them Christ. It is not a simple or immediate process, but the sins in their life that distress you and destroy them will only begin to fade away when they see Jesus more like he actually is.

2. Pray.
Only God can save your son or daughter, so keep on asking that he will display himself to them in a way they can't resist worshiping him for.

3. Acknowledge that something is wrong.
If your daughter rejects Jesus, don't pretend everything is fine.
For every unbelieving child, the details will be different. Each one will require parents to reach out in unique ways. Never acceptable, however, is not reaching out at all. If your child is an unbeliever, don't ignore it. Holidays might be easier, but eternity won't be.

4. Don't expect them to be Christ-like.
If your son is not a Christian, he's not going to act like one.
You know that he has forsaken the faith, so don't expect him to live by the standards you raised him with. For example, you might be tempted to say, "I know you're struggling with believing in Jesus, but can't you at least admit that getting wasted every day is sin?"
If he's struggling to believe in Jesus, then there is very little significance in admitting that drunkenness is wrong. You want to protect him, yes. But his unbelief is the most dangerous problem--not partying. No matter how your child's unbelief exemplifies itself in his behavior, always be sure to focus more on the heart's sickness than its symptoms.

5. Welcome them home.
Because the deepest concern is not your child's actions, but his heart, don't create too many requirements for coming home. If he has any inkling to be with you, it is God giving you a chance to love him back to Jesus. Obviously there are some instances in which parents must give ultimatums: "Don't come to this house if you are..." But these will be rare. Don't lessen the likelihood of an opportunity to be with your child by too many rules.
If your daughter smells like weed or an ashtray, spray her jacket with Febreze and change the sheets when she leaves, but let her come home. If you find out she's pregnant, then buy her folic acid, take her to her twenty-week ultrasound, protect her from Planned Parenthood, and by all means let her come home. If your son is broke because he spent all the money you lent him on loose women and ritzy liquor, then forgive his debt as you've been forgiven, don't give him any more money, and let him come home. If he hasn't been around for a week and a half because he's been staying at his girlfriend's--or boyfriend's--apartment, plead with him not to go back, and let him come home.

6. Plead with them more than you rebuke them.
Be gentle in your disappointment.
What really concerns you is that your child is destroying herself, not that she's breaking rules. Treat her in a way that makes this clear. She probably knows--especially if she was raised as a Christian--that what she's doing is wrong. And she definitely knows you think it is. So she doesn't need this pointed out. She needs to see how you are going to react to her evil. Your gentle forbearance and sorrowful hope will show her that you really do trust Jesus.
Her conscience can condemn her by itself. Parents ought to stand kindly and firmly, always living in the hope that they want their child to return to.

7. Connect them to believers who have better access to them.
There are two kinds of access that you may not have to your child: geographical and relational. If your wayward son lives far away, try to find a solid believer in his area and ask him to contact your son. This may seem nosy or stupid or embarrassing to him, but it's worth it--especially if the believer you find can also relate to your son emotionally in a way you can't.
Relational distance will also be a side effect of your child leaving the faith, so your relationship will be tenuous and should be protected if at all possible. But hard rebuke is still necessary.
This is where another believer who has emotional access to your son may be very helpful. If there is a believer who your son trusts and perhaps even enjoys being around, then that believer has a platform to tell your son--in a way he may actually pay attention to--that he's being an idiot. This may sound harsh, but it's a news flash we all need from time to time, and people we trust are usually the only ones who can package a painful rebuke so that it is a gift to us.
A lot of rebellious kids would do well to hear that they're being fools--and it is rare that this can helpfully be pointed out by their parents--so try to keep other Christians in your kids lives.

8. Respect their friends.
Honor your wayward child in the same way you'd honor any other unbeliever. They may run with crowds you'd never consider talking to or even looking at, but they are your child's friends. Respect that--even if the relationship is founded on sin. They're bad for your son, yes. But he's bad for them, too. Nothing will be solved by making it perfectly evident that you don't like who he's hanging around with.
When your son shows up for a family birthday celebration with another girlfriend--one you've never seen before and probably won't see again--be hospitable. She's also someone's wayward child, and she needs Jesus, too.

9. Email them.
Praise God for technology that lets you stay in your kids' lives so easily!
When you read something in the Bible that encourages you and helps you love Jesus more, write it up in a couple lines and send it to your child. The best exhortation for them is positive examples of Christ's joy in your own life.
Don't stress out when you're composing these as if each one needs to be singularly powerful. Just whip them out one after another, and let the cumulative effect of your satisfaction in God gather up in your child's inbox. God's word is never proclaimed in vain.

10. Take them to lunch.
If possible, don't let your only interaction with your child be electronic. Get together with him face to face if you can. You may think this is stressful and uncomfortable, but trust me that it's far worse to be in the child's shoes--he is experiencing all the same discomfort, but compounded by guilt. So if he is willing to get together with you for lunch, praise God, and use the opportunity.
It will feel almost hypocritical to talk about his daily life, since what you really care about is his eternal life, but try to anyway. He needs to know you care about all of him. Then, before lunch is over, pray that the Lord will give you the gumption to ask about his soul. You don't know how he'll respond. Will he roll his eyes like you're an idiot? Will he get mad and leave? Or has God been working in him since you talked last? You don't know until you risk asking.
(Here's a note to parents of younger children: Set up regular times to go out to eat with your kids. Not only will this be valuable for its own sake, but also, if they ever enter a season of rebellion, the tradition of meeting with them will already be in place and it won't feel weird to ask them out to lunch. If a son has been eating out on Saturdays with his dad since he was a tot, it will be much harder for him later in life to say no to his father's invitation--even as a surly nineteen-year-old.)

11. Take an interest in their pursuits.
Odds are that if your daughter is purposefully rejecting Christ, then the way she spends her time will probably disappoint you. Nevertheless, find the value in her interests, if possible, and encourage her. You went to her school plays and soccer games when she was ten; what can you do now that she's twenty to show that you still really care about her interests?
Jesus spent time with tax collectors and prostitutes, and he wasn't even related to them. Imitate Christ by being the kind of parent who will put some earplugs in your pocket and head downtown to that dank little nightclub where your daughter's CD release show is. Encourage her and never stop praying that she will begin to use her gifts for Jesus' glory instead her own.

12. Point them to Christ.
This can't be over-stressed. It is the whole point. No strategy for reaching your son or daughter will have any lasting effect if the underlying goal isn't to help them know Jesus.
It's not so that they will be good kids again; it's not so that they'll get their hair cut and start taking showers; it's not so that they'll like classical music instead of deathcore; it's not so that you can stop being embarrassed at your weekly Bible study; it's not so that they'll vote conservative again by the next election; it's not even so that you can sleep at night, knowing they're not going to hell.
The only ultimate reason to pray for them, welcome them, plead with them, email them, eat with them, or take an interest in their interests is so that their eyes will be opened to Christ.
And not only is he the only point--he's the only hope. When they see the wonder of Jesus, satisfaction will be redefined. He will replace the pathetic vanity of the money, or the praise of man, or the high, or the orgasm that they are staking their eternities on right now. Only his grace can draw them from their perilous pursuits and bind them safely to himself--captive, but satisfied.
He will do this for many. Be faithful and don't give up.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

What will you tell them?

Like me, my Dad is a Pastor. I can rememeber hearing him say on many occasions that there were many times when the only thing that kept him going in His walk with the Lord (from a human perspective) was the fact of who was watching him. What would he say if one of his children asked him why he was not faithful to the Lord anymore?

That same question has lead me in my adulthood and with the raising of my children. What would I tell my children for the reason of my unfaithfullness to the Lord? Is there ever a good reason? I don't think so. Eph. 6:4 is clear to us, as parents, of our responsibility. The Apostle Paul said in His letter to the Corinthians that it is required that a man be found faithful. Faithfullness is not an option for the believer, it is a requirment for the believer.

What are we called to be faithful too? Well, a number of things and this blog is far to short to speak on all of them, so I will just mention a couple and leave the rest up to the Spirit of God.

We are commanded to pray without ceasing (2 Thess 5:18). A prayless life is a powerless life. As a husband, you will never be able to fully and completely lead your family without a vibrate pray life. Getting alone with the Lord and asking for guidance, strength, courage and power. Begging God for blessing, begging God to be glorified in your life this day, begging God for the salvation of your children, begging God to help you be the best spiritual leader you can be by His grace. This is where you meet with the Lord. Question, if you are not faithful to this and you lack the power to lead in your home, if you have not spoken to God in while (I am not talking about a quick 10 minute prayer, I am talking about getting hold of the heart of God), what are you going to tell your children? Can you tell them how important prayer is? No! Because your life does not reflect that.

As a wife, you will never be the care giver to your children that you should be. You will never be the helpmeet to your husband that you should be; because your prayerless life is a powerless life. What will you tell your children? Can you tell them the importance of prayer? No! Because neither does your life reflect this.

We are commanded in Scripture to be faithful to Church (Heb. 10:25). Some would say, "Well, I fulfill my obligation when I go Sunday Morning, I am not forsaking the assembling". Well, take a look at the passage. The passage says to be faithful to the house of the Lord when it is assembling. It does not give leverage if you just attend part of the services. These are the words of the Scripture. Question, what will you tell your kids if you are not faithful? We must remember that our children, even if they are grown, are watching us. Even if they don't ask why, they are wondering. I would hate to be the one that gives my children a reason for not being faithful to God in all things.

What will you tell them? This is an important question that we all must ask ourselves.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

"Spiritual Acid Reflux"

What a hassle!! I have acid reflux. My doctors diagnosed me with it about two years ago, but probably I had what was later known as acid reflux even in my youth. It is not acting up all the time, but when it does, I feel horrible. Anyone reading this who has it or has had a case of minor heartburn can relate to the pain that acid reflux brings. The burning that comes up through your chest and into your throat, is just at times unbearable. My case is coupled with what feels like "heart attack like" symptoms; pain in the left arm, pain in my jaw. And when it is really bad it is unimaginable pain across my chest. By know, most of you are probably thinking that I need to go to the emergency room. But, I assure you, that is not necessary.

However, there is a spiritual acid reflux. One that can bring just as much pain, but only worse. I call it bitterness or unforgiveness. When Peter asked Jesus how often He should forgive, "seven times", I guess Peter was thinking that was the number of perfection so that should be the limit of his forgiveness. Well, you all know the response of Christ, "seventy times seven". That was, of course, Christ's way of sayng that there is no limit to how much you forgive.

Matthew 5:44 are some pointed words. "Love" is the Greek word "agape" and is the same word used for how we should love our neighbors and our brothers and sisters in Christ. The true love that Christ calls for is a love that does not include resentment, bitterness, and unforgiveness.

The thing about bitterness is that it grows. It never just stays the same. It always gets worse and it is a sin. To harbor unforgiveness for anyone (whether they have asked for it or not), is sinful and you completely lack the power to discern the will of God.

Some say, "Well, you dont know what they did to me" or "you dont understand". Any many times, I dont understand. Praise God I dont understand and by God's grace I will not have to understand by experience. But I do not need to experience it to know that bitterness and unforgiveness are sins against God. Why do we not forgive? Because we feel justified to think and act the way we do. Listen, no one has ever done anything worse to any of us, then we have not already done to Christ, and He forgave us all. So we need to ask the Lord to give us the grace to forgive.

Unforgiveness and bitterenss take on many forms. Most of the time when we are harboring bitterness in our hearts towards someone else, or many person's, we usually blame someone who had nothing to do with it. We have all experienced this. I have been the victim of that. But it was not me, it was the bitterness that person had toward someone else. Then I pray that they get whatever is going on with them right with God.

That is the way that it goes. People leave places, not because of the will of God, but because they harbor some ill-feelings against someone. But what happens is that the ill-feelings are not without effect. They just find a new outlet to blame at the new place and that drags down the innocent. Unforgivessness is a sad thing. Are you harboring bitterenss in your heart toward someone? Then you need to go to that person, by the grace of God, and forgive them. You say, "I cannot do that." You are right, you cannot, but the grace of our God can do it for you. Because in forgivess that is the only way that you will truly be right with God again. Jesus said, "Forgive, as you have been forgiven."

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

"What has God called us to"?

There is a continuing wave in the Church today that is extremely dangerous. This wave is giving up the best thing for something that is good. When a "good" opportunity comes by we convince ourselves that this would be a good thing to partake of, even if it means that we are not faithful to the Lord.

I can remember very clearly, as a young person growing up in a Christian home, that nothing came before our attendance in Church, NOTHING!! This is a heritage for which I am very thankful. One such incident that I remember was during basketball season. It was tournament time and the tournament began on Friday night and went all day Saturday into Saturday night. Well, I went to a Christian School so no problem with Church, usually, with the sports program. However, on this particular tournament we were having revival at my home Church (which was not the Church where I attended school). The coach called me into his office and informed me that he was going to call my dad and speak with him about letting me miss the revival in order to go to the basketball game because, "I know that you need to be dedicated to your Church, but you also need to be dedicated to your team." He called my dad and told him the same thing that he told me. To which my dad replied, "How can I let my son miss Church to let him play a sport and then try and tell him later that faithfulness to Church is vital? I would be speaking out of both sides of my mouth." The coach did not appreciate his zeal for faithfulness, but I know the Lord did. Needless to say, I was not on the bus that Friday night, I was in Church and Church was certainly the best thing for me. Some would say, "What was the big deal in you missing one service?" Well, when God calls us to faithfulness it is not only for those times when nothing else is going on, it is all the time. Besides, we are creatures of habit, one time leads to two, which leads to three, etc. you get the picture.

The mystery is, why do parents allow their children to do the exact same thing that my dad would not let me do and then wonder why their children are not interested in Church. It is because they have told their children, through their actions, that Church is second-class to everything else, or at least everything that we want to do. Hebrews 10:25 is clear that this should not be the attitude of our actions.

If we make it a habit of letting the best thing go for the thing that we think is good, then when that "good" thing is over, there will be anothing "good" thing for us to do instead of being faithful to God.

It all comes down to this: God has not called us to be great ball players (the chances of our children becoming professional atheletes is rare, but we need to train them to be great Christians for the Lord), God has not called us to be counselors for the weary at the cost of our faithfulness, he has not called us to be life-savers; but He has called us to be faithful and to make sure that our children are faithful. He has called us to raise them in the instruction of the Lord (Eph. 6:4).

Don't trade what we think is a "good" thing for the best thing of the faithfulness that God has called us to.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

"Inspiration"- The Effectual Call

We believe in the inerrancy of the Holy Scriptures, that is, that the Holy Scriptures are without error. That the words of the Scripture are wholely perfect and not only are without error, but are incapable of containing error. When you consider the Doctrine of Inspiration, what some believers miss is the fact of the moulded will. What exactly do I mean by that? It means that we believe that God can work in such a way that the human will wills to do what God wills that will to do. We do not believe that God had to force the Apostle Paul to write the letter to the Romans or to the Ephesians. We believe that every word of the Holy Scriptures convey God's perfect message because God formed Paul's will to do what the Father's will, willed to do.

That is the idea of 2 Peter 1:21, where the Apostle Peter says that the Scripture did not come by the will of man, by Holy men were "moved" by the Holy Spirit. "Moved" is a Greek term that literally means "to be moved along". The Holy Spirit, as it were, took the writters of the Scripture and moved them into what to say, yet using their personal characteristic style. They were not robots penning the Holy Scripture, their own style was used (which is how we can identify writters of books that are not plainly stated, based on style), and the Holy Spirit formed their wills to write what the Father willed to be written. In other points of theology, as in inspiration, the Father can and does change the will in order for the Father's will to be done. Inspiration is just one example of this.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Sotomayor bobs and weaves

Supreme Court aspirant Sonya Sotomayor said today when asked about abortion rights that it was "settled law" and there is a constitutional right to privacy. The federal court of appeals judge was asked at her confirmation hearing how she felt about the landmark Roe V. Wade decision of 1973.

"There is a right to privacy", Sotomayor told the Senate Judiciary Commitee. "The court has found it in various places in the Constitution". The right is stated in the fourth Amendment and it protected by the 14th Amendment, she said.

The 4th Amendment is thus stated: "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized".

The 4th Amendment is clearly stating the fact that someone cannot come into my home, or my person or any of my possessions and search or seize them without a warranty given by a court of law and only with probable cause. Judge Sotomayor is proven in this statement that, if confirmed as a justice, will not interpret the law but will judiciate from the bench.

I am having great difficulty figuring out how she can justify the muderous ruling of the supreme court in 1973 by stating the 4th amendment. She never would say what she actually thought about the ruling.

She is doing the typical liberal bob and weave and really giving no answers. The fact of the matter is that life is protected by the same bill of rights she is using to justify abortion. Every life is a creation of God and to take that life, whether in the womb or out, is murder and a violation of the law of God.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Friday, May 29, 2009

"When Sorrow gives way to Joy"

It is 12:37 on a Friday morning here and my Grandmother has just gone home to be with the Lord. My Grandmother was a victim of the cruel diease of ALS for which she fought for about a year, maybe a little longer. My Grandmother was a wonderful lady with lots of spirit that will greatly be missed. At this moment my heart is filled with grief. Not grief for my Grandmother, but grief for us; grief for my precious Dad who has now lost both of his parents. Grief for my children who thought the world of Grandma and she thought the world of them. Even though you know that this is coming (she was so sick this last week), the heart is never truly prepared for the news. I just got off the phone with my Dad with the news.

But while my heart is filled with sorrow, I know that it is a selfish sorrow. But we would never want Grandma back here in the condition that she was in. I have been praying very hard the last couple of days that the Lord would take Grandma on home to be with Him. And He has, once again, been faithful to answer. I am reminded of the words of a song that I heard and have sang in Church, I will just give you the first verse and the chorus:

Our prayers have all been answered, I've finally arrived.
The healing that had been delayed has now been realized.
No ones in a hurry, there's no schedule to keep,
We're all just praising Jesus, sitting at His feet.

If you could see me now, I'm walking streets of gold,
If you could see me now, I'm standing tall and whole.
If you could see me now, you'd know I've seen His face,
If you could see me now, you'd know the pains erased.
You would'nt want to ever leave this perfect place,
If you could only see me now.

In this time the words of the Apostle Paul take on new meaning.

In 2 Corinthians 5:8, "We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord."

For Christians, our sorrow can turn to joy to know that our saved loved one that has departed this life is not lost, is not floating, or is not asleep, but is in the presence of Christ. My Grandma, at this very hour, is in the presence of Christ, reunited with her husband, in great joy. Never again to suffer the pains of ALS or the loss of dignity that sickness can bring, but is with Christ waiting for me some day. The Apostle Paul said in Philippians 1:23 that it is better to depart this life and be with Christ. Grandma now knows the joy of which Paul spoke.

So while we say "good-bye" for now, and we will travel to Charlottle next week I'm sure to lay Grandma's shell next to the shell of her husband, it is not, by the Grace of Almighty God, good-bye forever. It is only for a short while. I told my oldest child just yesterday, that if we live 60 more years here on earth, what is that in light of eternity.

"Father in Heaven, thank you for the life of Grandma. And thank you for extending your Grace to her so that she could face death with victory and not sting and so that we have the hope of her eternal healing and once again sharing her presence. Thank you for Salvation found only in the Lord Jesus Christ, and that Grandma knew you as her Lord and Savior." AMEN

I love you Grandma. Good-bye for now. See you in a little while.

Monday, May 18, 2009

"What are we Teaching our Children"

I believe that the Word is not only interpretational, but I believe that it is also applicational. By that I mean that the Scriptures have a meaning, they have one meaning and as a Pastor it is my job to find out that singular meaning. I do not buy into the notion of what is being taught today as the "Hermenutics of Humility". That basically says that "I am far to humble to think that I could ever really know the truth of God's Word." To the person buying into that; they believe that it is pride and arrogance to say that I know what the Bible says. To get up and say that I have the meaning of the Scripture is the height of arrogance.

But isn't that the job of a Pastor? Anyone who gets up in the pulpit and preaches anything but the truth, is preaching their opinion. And there opinions are like noses; everybody has one. But opinion does not necessarily mean truth. It is the Pastor's responsibility before God and his congregation to study, to find and know the truth.

With that being said, I believe that John 7:5 is a very sad verse. It speaks about the brothers of Jesus "not believing on Him (Jesus)." I spoke on this passage in last nights service at my Church. I spoke on Divine Timetables. Even Christ, in His humanity, humbled Himself to the Divine timetable of the Father. All people, to the most holy to the most diobolical, are under the restraint of the Sovereign timetable of God.

But as I was studying verse 1-13, I came across verse 5; I stopped for a moment and thought. We do not know a lot about the life of Joseph. We know nothing about him after the incident at the temple when Christ was twelve.

Now, understand me please, I am not making any accusations about the way that Joseph raised his children and I am not saying that this is the proper interpretational view of this verse; however, I do believe that looking at this verse, at least for me, brought about a reminder. What could have happened in the home of Jospeh that caused his four sons not to believe on Christ as the Messiah until so late in life. Accoprding to Acts 1, it wasn't until the resurrection that they did believe. In fact, in John 7, they were the four that were trying to push Christ to go, prematurely, to Jerusalem to show His power and they did this with the word "if". As if they were questioning whether or not He was genuine.

Listen, Joseph may have taught his sons about the Messiah and that their half-brother was the anoited one of God and they reacted like Joseph's brothers did in the book of Genesis. However, we do not know that to be the fact. The fact that they did finally believe in Acts 1, may indicate that all that their father taught them finally produced fruit, we just do not know for sure.

But all of this is a reminder to us that it is possible that from the brothers original reaction, Jospeh MAY NOT have done his job in teaching his children. This is a challenge to us to make sure that our children are taught about the Lord and then, and this is just as vital, that we live before them the message that we teach. That we are faithful to God in our personal service, speaks volumes more than what we say. If we are not faithful in our service (Bible study, Church Attendance, etc.), then our message is just hypocrisy to our Children. What are you teaching your Children; both in your words and in your actions. If everything comes before Church attendance in your life, then do not be suprised when it is the same way with your Children. If we allow sports and other activites to come before Church or other services to God, your children's devotion to the holy things will be worse. Your children will always fall below your standards, so set your standards ultra-high to protect their future.

"Truth Wars! Your Best Life Now!"

Dr. John MacArthur examines Joel Osteen's book, "Your Best Life Now".

Friday, May 15, 2009

"The Gospel According to Jesus"

The following is an portion of a sermon that I preached on Lordship Salvation.

We live in a day where the Gospel has been prostituted by would-be ministers of the Gospel, but who are really wolves in sheeps clothing. Your typical Gospel presentation urges the sinner to say a pray or as some preachers put it, "make a decision for Christ".

The Gospel is not about us "making a decision for Christ" it is not about us "receiving Jesus" it is about asking Christ to accept us. It is not about making Christ "Lord", He is Lord. The Gospel is not about health or wealth prosperity. Jesus said in Luke 9 that if "....anyone wishes to come after me let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me." When the people heard Jesus say these things about taking up their cross, they understood one thing, death. The cross had one imagery for those people, death. But that is not the typical gospel that you hear today. Robert Schuller has said that the problem with the Gospel is that it is more God-centered and not man-centered. He said that when a person hears that they are an unworthy sinner, it is doubtful that they will ever be able to receive the grace that is found in Christ.

Now, why some "evangelicals" may would not go that far, the Gospel is diluted. I have even heard the Gospel diluted in fundamental Baptist Churches (how sad). There is such a drive for numbers that the gospel gets cut to pieces.

The Gospel gets reduced to "receiving Jesus as Savior" or "accept Jesus" or "make a decision for Christ". There is rarely a mention about the Lordship of Christ (oops, I am in trouble now). Jesus is either Lord or He is not Savior. Romans 10:13, (In the original Greek) reads, "Whoever accepts Jesus as Lord...".

When I speak to people about the Gospel, the first place I go to is the price. Not the price that Christ paid, but the price that we must pay. That is another phrase I hear alot, "Salvation is absolutely free", not quite. It cost Christ and it costs those that repent as well. You say, "What do you mean?" Well. Jesus spoke in Luke 14 that if any person comes to Him and does not hate father, mother, brothers or sister or even his own life, he is not worthy of Christ. He further says that if you are not willing to forsake all, then you cannot be my disciple. Jesus told the rich young ruler to sell all that he has and give to the poor. In essence what does it cost us, potentially everything. If a person is not willing to loose everything to gain Christ, Jesus said, don't even bother coming to me, you are not serious nor worthy.

"Well", you say,"Who would want to accept that?" Simply, those are truly being drawn by the Holy Spirit would gladly give up everything for the sake of knowing Christ. Listen, this is not a new Gospel, it is the true Gospel. People have a hard time hearing it because they have heard the watered down gospel for so long. May we return to the truth of Lordship Salvation.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

"What Do You Call your Pastors?"

I want to say from the outset that this is not a particulary theological post, but it is something that I think probably needs to be addressed. It has been a busy posting day, but this will probably be my last for the day.

As I look in the NT, I see the Pastors of the different local Churches addressed as "Pastor" or "Elder". When I was first saved, my Pastor was insistent that we call him "Pastor", not "Jeff", but "Pastor". He would tell us, "It is not for prides sake, but it reminds me of my position in your life".

Probably one of the most "gut-wrenching" things I here from a Church member is to call their Pastors by their first names. Listen, They may be Steve or they may be Michael by birth, but that is not who they are in the lives of the members of Emmanuel Baptist Church, they are "Pastor". And, just as my Pastor said, it is not for prides sake, it reminds us of our position in your lives. I have seen new people come into the Church calling the Pastors, "Pastor", but as time goes on they hear other members calling them by their first names, so they begin to do the same thing.

Some Churches are not as blessed to have two Pastors, as other Churches. Both, according to 1 Timothy 5 are worthy of double-honor and I believe that part of that honor is by calling them "Pastor"; again, that is what they are to you that are members. I still call my home Pastor, Pastor. So, if you just have a Senior Pastor, call him "Pastor", that is what he is in your life; but if you have a Senior Pastor and an Associate Pastor, call them "Pastor", for that is what THEY are in your life.

My Favorite Southern Gospel Group

This blog is usually very serious, but I wanted to add a bit of blessing from my favorite Southern Gospel Group, Greater Vision. Enjoy!!!
This is a duplicate copy of the one on my facebook site, but I wanted to post it here as well. Unfortunately, there are those wolves that call themselves shepherds of the flock. Clips like this are why I preach so hard for Lordship Salvation; Lordship Salvation is the only Salvation.

John MacArthur and Charles Spurgeon on Worldly Preaching

Charles Spurgeon spent his life defending the truth; as well does Dr. John F. MacArthur and I am proud to be associated with both of these brothers.

"How Do we Know when to confront and when to quietly forgive and forget"?

That’s a good question because most people seem to err on one side or the other. Some people think it is best to overlook every offense and take pride in their tolerance. However, Paul confronted the Corinthians for tolerating sin in the church and rebuked them for failing to deal with a man living in sin (1 Cor. 5).
On the other side of the issue are people who confront over any slight infraction and make themselves intolerable.

Are there any biblical principles to help us make the right choice? Yes! Here are six guidelines to help you know whether to quietly forgive or to lovingly confront.

1. Whenever possible, especially if the offense is petty or unintentional, it is best to forgive unilaterally. This is the very essence of a gracious spirit. It is the Christlike attitude called for in Ephesians 4:1-3. We are called to maintain a gracious tolerance (”forbearance”) of others’ faults. Believers should have a sort of mutual immunity to petty offenses. Love “is not easily angered” (1 Cor. 13:5). If every fault required formal confrontation, the whole of our church life would be spent confronting and resolving conflicts over petty annoyances. So for the sake of peace, to preserve the unity of the Spirit, we are to show tolerance whenever possible (see 1 Pet. 2:21-25; Mat. 5:39-40).

2. If you are the only injured party, even if the offense was public and flagrant, you may choose to forgive unilaterally. Examples of this abound in Scripture. Joseph (Genesis 37-50), David (2 Sam. 16:5-8), and Stephen (Acts 7:60) each demonstrated the unilateral forgiveness of Christ (Luke 23:34).

3. If you observe a serious offense that is a sin against someone other than you, confront the offender. Justice never permits a Christian to cover a sin against someone else. While we are entitled, and even encouraged, to overlook wrongs committed against us, Scripture everywhere forbids us to overlook wrongs committed against another (see Ex. 23:6; Deut. 16:20; Isa. 1:17; Isa. 59:15-16; Jer. 22:3; Lam. 3:35-36).

4. When ignoring an offense might hurt the offender, confront the guilty party. Sometimes choosing to overlook an offense might actually injure the offender (by allowing him to continue unwarned down a wrong path). In such cases it is our duty to confront in love (Gal. 6:1-2).

5. When a sin is scandalous or otherwise potentially damaging to the body of Christ, the guilty party should be confronted. Some sins have the potential to defile many people, and Scripture gives ample warning of such dangers (see Heb. 12:15; 3:13; 1 Cor. 5:1-5). In fact, Scripture calls for the church to discipline individuals who refuse to repent of open sin in the body, so that the purity of the body might be preserved (Matt. 18:15-20; 1 Cor. 5).

6. Lastly, any time an offense results in a broken relationship, confrontation of the sinner should occur. Any offense that causes a breach in relationships simply cannot be overlooked. Both the offense and the breach must be confronted, and reconciliation must be sought. And both the offended party and the offender have a responsibility to seek reconciliation (Luke 17:3; Matt. 5:23-24). There is never any excuse for a Christian on either side of a broken relationship to refuse to pursue reconciliation.

The only instance where such a conflict should remain unresolved is if all the steps of discipline in Matthew 18 have been exhausted and the guilty party still refuses to repent.

Monday, May 11, 2009

"The Necessity of the Local Church"

The New Testament repeatedly emphasizes the importance of local assemblies. In fact, it was the pattern of Paul’s ministry to establish local congregations in the cities where he preached the gospel. Hebrews 10:24-25 commands every believer to be a part of such a local body and reveals why this is necessary.

It is only in the local body to which one is committed that there can be the level of intimacy that is required for carefully stimulating fellow-believers “to love and good deeds.” And it is only in this setting that we can encourage one another.

The New Testament also teaches that every believer is to be under the protection and nurture of the leadership of the local church. These godly men can shepherd the believer by encouraging, admonishing, and teaching. Hebrews 13:7 and 17 help us to understand that God has graciously granted accountability to us through godly leadership.

Furthermore, when Paul gave Timothy special instructions about the public meetings, he said “Until I come, give attention to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation and teaching” (1 Timothy 4:13). Part of the emphasis in public worship includes these three things: hearing the Word, being called to obedience and action through exhortation, and teaching. It is only in the context of the local assembly that these things can most effectively take place.

Acts 2:42 shows us what the early church did when they met together: “They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” They learned God’s Word and the implications of it in their lives; they joined to carry out acts of love and service to one another; they commemorated the Lord’s death and resurrection through the breaking of bread; and they prayed. Of course, we can do these things individually, but God has called us into His body-the church is the local representation of that worldwide-body-and we should gladly minister and be ministered to among God’s people.

Active local church membership is imperative to living a life without compromise. It is only through the ministry of the local church that a believer can receive the kind of teaching, accountability, and encouragement that is necessary for him to stand firm in his convictions. God has ordained that the church provide the kind of environment where an uncompromising life can thrive.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

White House says no to Jesus, yes to Allah, on the National Day of Prayer"

Breaking tradition with President George W. Bush, the Obama administration declined to host an event celebrating the National Day of Prayer this year. This adds another snub to the pro-faith community, since President Obama continues to push his recent nomination of the anti-Christian, anti-Life Judge David Hamilton, the same judge who issued controversial rulings banning public prayers offered "in Jesus name," and hastening the abortion of unborn children.

If confirmed by the Senate, Hamilton will soon be promoted to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, the same court that overruled his aggressive, activist, liberal decisions for years.Obama's Judge Hamilton ruled in 2005 to ban the practice of opening the Indiana legislature with prayers mentioning Jesus Christ or using terms such as "Savior." He said that amounted to state endorsement of a religion. (But he ruled prayers to "Allah" were perfectly lawful.)


Judge Hamilton wrote: "The injunction orders the Speaker...that the prayers should not use Christ's name or title or any other denominational appeal...If those offering prayers in the Indiana House of Representatives choose to use the Arabic 'Allah'...the court sees little risk that the choice of language would advance a particular religion or disparage others."In other words, Judge Hamilton ruled the words "Jesus" or "Christ" are illegal words, prohibited for public speech, banned by the First Amendment, which somehow forbids freedom of religious expression, and makes Christian prayers ILLEGAL in a public forum. (What crazy version of the First Amendment is he reading?)

While I believe in honoring the ordained power (as indicated by my last post), I also believe in "just the facts Ma'Am". While during his campaign Mr. Obama could not speak loud enough about how he was a Christian, having attented a "Christian" Church for 30+ years, (Although, I would hardly consider Jereimah Wright, his Church or his theology Christian). All this being an attempt to down play the fact the he was raised by two Militant Muslim Fathers, attended Muslim Schools and the fact that His first name "Barrack" is after the donkey that Mohammad rode out of Mecca. As my Grandmother use to say, "the proof is in the pudding". We are, once again, seeing his true self; anti-Christ, anti-life and really anti-American. God's people must pray hard for the salvation of this power.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

"What is at Stake?"

2 Corinthians 3:2, “Ye are our Epistles, written in our Hearts, known and read of all men.”

The Apostle Paul, writing these words to a very fleshly group of Christians, emphasizes the importance of purity and faithfulness to God. Paul considered their lives as very important and what was at stake was how others perceived them. I have had the misfortune for, supposing, people of God to tell me, “I don’t care what people think of me, I only answer to God”; (I usually hear that from very fleshly people). Although it is true that we answer only to God and that public opinion or political correctness should not keep us from doing right, the fact remains, according to our text, we most certainly are responsible to others to live our lives pure and faithful to God, no matter what.

From the text, there are two things at stake that I want to bring out just briefly. First, the text, “…. Ye are OUR epistles, written in OUR hearts….” The pronoun “our” refers to more than one person, by the plural form of the pronoun; but it also refers to Paul, the founding Pastor. Are you a burden or are you a helper to your Pastors. When your Pastors think of you, do they think of you with great joy or do you bring them grief because you have let the Devil get the victory in your life? Paul, no doubt, thought on these believers with great grief because they had allowed Satan to get the victory. And, although, your life may not seem as sinful as Corinth, any victory given to Satan will cause any caring Pastor grief.

Then the text, “….known and read of all men.” The second important area that is a stake is what your life does to the lives of your friends, co-workers, children, etc. The fact is that you are an epistle; the question is what kind. What do they read in you? Do they read an epistle of faithfulness and godliness or do they read an epistle of ground and victories given to Satan?

You must remember that your life is a direct reflection on the Lord Jesus Christ in the eyes of other people; your friends, your co-workers and your children. What is your epistle?

"Living Soli Deo Gloria under Barrack Obama"

As a conservative Baptist Pastor, I am not ashamed in the fact that I did not vote for Barrack Obama. Neither am I ashamed that it had nothing to do with race. I did not vote for Barrack Obama, not because he is black, but because he is anti-Christ, anti-life, and really anti-American. He stands for everything that as a conservative Baptist Pastor I find abhorrent. I entered the voting booth with the Holy Spirit of God being my conscience.

However, he is the President and being as such, I have certain obligations to him. Romans 13:1,

“1Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.

2Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.

Also, as a Pastor that believes in the absolute Sovereignty of God, I do not believe that God stepped aside and watched as Barrack Obama walked away with the Presidency. I believe that God ordained for him to be our President. Paul could not be clearer with his words, “the powers that be are ordained of God….” God put Barrack Obama in office. Why? I do not know the answer to that question, for I do not know the mind of God.

There are a lot of Christians that are openly in opposition to the President. I have even heard Christians speak about a militia. I wonder how many of those people actually pray for the salvation of Mr. Obama. Do they spend most of their time putting him down or praying that God will give him wisdom and that salvation will come to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

Paul could not be clearer; to resist the ordained authority of God is to resist God. You say, “Well, we have a President who is anti-Christian”. Well, wait a minute, Paul wrote this letter to the Romans who, themselves, were under persecution from an anti-Christian ruler. Yet he says, “do not resist that authority, if you do, you are resisting the authority of God."

To think for one minute that we, somehow, have the right to rise up against the President because he is anti-Christian, is unbiblical and wrong. We are to support him, pray for him and honor him, until what time we are faced with the decision to obey God or man; then you obey God.

How do we live for the Glory of God Alone (Soli Deo Gloria) under Barrack Obama? Honor the Lord by honoring His ordained power.

"True Lips Wait?"

This will come as no news to most younger evangelicals, but The Tennessean [Nashville] has just taken notice of the fact that a sizable number of younger evangelical couples are saving their first kiss for their wedding ceremony.

As the paper reports, "In a culture where casual sex is the norm, some Tennesseans have taken the purity pledge to a whole new level, through a practice that some teens refer to as the 'Virgin Lips Movement.'"

Reporter Claudia Pinto began her article with the fact that Katy Kruger, who was married on December 13 of last year, experienced her first kiss at the moment her new husband kissed his bride. "The 22-year-old woman, who was married at Harpeth Hills Church of Christ in Brentwood, admits to being nervous and a bit self-conscious about having her first kiss in front of 200 people," Pinto reported. "I wasn't sure what to do," said the bride, "I thought I would mess up."

The Virgin Lips Movement will sound absolutely nuts to a culture that has openly embraced the sexual revolution. Sexual virginity is controversial enough, with authors like Jessica Valenti arguing that the expectation of virginity until marriage is unfair to girls and young women. In The Purity Myth: How America's Obsession with Virginity Is Hurting Young Women, Valenti presses her case, suggesting that when young women aim for virginity and fail, they suffer a loss of self-esteem. Valenti's argument is all the evidence any sane person should need to see that the world has gone crazy when it comes to sex.

Over the past thirty years Western civilization has undergone a near total transformation in sexual morality. Sex education programs assume that teenagers (and increasingly pre-teens as well) simply will be involved in sexual activity. Sexual purity, abstinence, and sexual denial are written off as unrealistic, unfair, and repressive.

Even so, the Virgin Lips Movement will come as a shock to some older evangelicals. For older Christians, the expectation was, as the Bible makes clear, for sex to wait until marriage. As for kissing, that was considered to be another matter altogether. To some of these older Christians, the Virgin Lips Movement sounds like overkill and over-reaction.
Listen to Katy Kruger, as reported in The Tennessean: "It was so important to me because I felt a kiss was something very intimate, and something I wanted to give only to one man, to my husband," said Kruger. "He thought it was so special, and he was so proud to be able to be the only man I will ever kiss."

While sexual abstinence until monogamous marriage is the biblical standard, these young Christians see virginity as requiring more than reserving sexual intercourse for marriage. They see kissing as an act of physical intimacy -- a gateway drug to greater physical intimacy and involvement.

As any minister who works with youth and young adults knows, the "how far is too far question" is a constant. The Virgin Lips Movement represents a determination to stop that train before it leaves the station, so to speak.
Consider this: In the space of little more than a single generation, we have seen the breaking down of virtually every social and cultural support for sexual abstinence. Arousal and intimacy come with the romantic longing that marks the deepening relationship between a man and a woman. Young couples no longer court on the porch swing with the girl's parents sitting inside and very close at hand. Now, most young couples face the temptation of romantic contexts in which intimacy--and this means sexual intimacy--is a likely outcome.

The Virgin Lips Movement represents a serious effort to push back against this expectation and to create boundaries that will protect virtue and honor marriage.
Alec Cort, Minister to Students at Tulip Grove Baptist Church in Nashville, told the paper that a significant percentage of the young couples in his ministry have taken the "no kiss until marriage" pledge. "I have always encouraged those people," he said. "It sets the ultimate bar."

Well, perhaps not an ultimate bar, but a recognizably significant bar.
There is no explicit biblical ban on premarital kissing, but any honest person knows that there are kisses that can only be considered sexual, naturally leading to the sex act itself. These young
Christians are not afraid of their bodies, they are afraid of sinning against God and losing something precious to themselves as well.

In a world that has made monogamy an embarrassment, these young Christians want to offer their future spouse the gift of monogamous lips. In an age of instant sexual gratification, these young believers believe that true lips wait. This is what a counter-revolution looks like.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Did the BIble Misquote Jesus?

Tom Krattenmaker, an opinion columnist for USA Today, wrote an article entitled “Fightin’ Words”, in which he regards the inconsistency of the Scriptures. He brings in Dr. Bart Erhman from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (and, yes, I cheered for them in the NCAA Tournament). He quotes Erhamn:

If the Bible is the literal word of God how could it be inconsistent on so many details large and small? Let's start with an example appropriate to the just-concluded Easter season marking the Savior's death and resurrection: As Jesus was dying on the cross, was he in agony, questioning why God had forsaken him? Or was he serene, praying for his executioners? It depends, Ehrman points out, on whether you're reading the Gospel of Mark or Luke. Regarding Jesus' birthplace of Bethlehem, had his parents traveled there for a census (Luke's version) or is it where they happened to live (Matthew's version)? Did Jesus speak of himself as God? (Yes, in John; no, in Matthew.)

What always amazes me about anti-Christ people, like Ehrman and Krattenmaker, is that they never allow for the same rules of consistency in their own world that they put on the Scripture. For example, if these two men were involved in a conversation with a large group of people, and then later had to recount the conversation to another party, they would allow for different perspectives; as long as the perspective do not contradict each other. They would allow for some to see the conversation from a different perspective and; therefore, focus on different areas in the re-telling of that conversation.

The same is the case with the Word of God. John’s purpose of writing was to emphasize the deity of Christ; Matthew’s purpose was to emphasize the humanity of Christ. Obviously, they will tell things a little bit different because their focus was on different things. However, they do not contradict each other. Anyone who would take the time to study the history of the Gospel’s would understand this fact. I call Mr. Bart Erhman and Mr. Tom Krattenmaker to allow for the same rules for consistency, not change the rules in an attempt to discredit what you already choose not to believe.

What is Your Authority

We affirm the four main Sola’s, (Latin for “Alone”); Sola Gratia (Grace Alone), Sola Fide (Faith Alone), Sola Deo Gloria (to God Alone be the Glory), and Sola Scriptura (Scripture Alone). That is the emphasis of this article, Sola Scriptura.

Christians separate from Roman Catholics in this area (among other areas). We do not believe that anything else is needed, other than the Word of God, to stand as our final authority in matters of faith and practice. To hold up anything else to the same degree as the Scriptures, is to be guilty of idolatry. Scripture alone is the source of our faith. We do not need the words of a priest as our only understanding of God; we have the Scripture. It was Martin Luther who said, “That a simply laymen armed with Scripture is greater than the mightiest Pope without it”.

One of the classic verses on this is 2 Ti 3:16
16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

“Inspiration” is the Greek word “θεόπνευστος” comes from two Greek words, “Theos” (God) and “pneo” (blow or breathe); literally “prompted by God”. The Scriptures were not some invention of the minds of mortal men, they were prompted by God. You say, “What do you mean, prompted”? 2 Pe 1:21
21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.

I like the word moved. It is the Greek word “φέρω” and it literally means “to bear or to carry”. What does Peter say is clearly happening in the giving of the Scriptures? That these men were carried along. Notice the prepositional phrase that modifies “moved”, “by the Holy Spirit”. The Greek verb “φέρω” is also in the passive voice, which means that the subject is receiving the action. The subject is “aνθρωπος” (men). These holy men received the action of being moved or carried along by the Holy Spirit to write down what He, by divine inspiration, gave them.

B.B. Warfield said, “….every word indited under the analogous influence of inspiration was at one and the same time the consciously self-chosen word of the writer and the divinely-inspired word of the Spirit.

This, then, is what we understand by the church doctrine:—a doctrine which claims that by a special, supernatural, extraordinary influence of the Holy Ghost, the sacred writers have been guided in their writing in such a way, as while their humanity was not superseded, it was yet so dominated that their words became at the same time the words of God, and thus, in every case and all alike, absolutely infallible.

Charles H. Spurgeon said, “This singular personality of the Word to each one of a thousand generations of believers is one of its greatest charms and one of the surest proofs of its divine inspiration. We treat our Bibles not as old almanacs but as books for the present: new, fresh, adapted for the hour. Abiding sweetness dwells in undiminished freshness in the ancient words upon which our fathers fed in their day. Glory be to God, we are feasting on them still. If not, we ought to be. We can only blame ourselves if we do not!”

Christians believe in a verbum Dei (voice of God) in the Scriptures, we need to other source, no other man to speak for God. The Scriptures and the Scriptures alone, speak the word of the Living God to us.