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Showing posts from 2014

The Way We've Always Done It

I think most of us who have been a part of the Church for more than a few weeks have heard someone say, "Well, that's the way we've always done it." In fact, if you're like me you've probably been the one who said those fateful words from time to time. Now, before I go any further, I'm not trying to be ugly here or castigate anyone who says something related to that phrase. Like I said, we've all said it before and if we haven't we've all thought it before. Humans are creatures of habit and we like things to be comfortable and predictable. I get that and for many things in our life that's a fine attitude to have. Unfortunately,  Church isn't one of those areas with the notable exception of doctrine (good doctrine is timeless and indispensable). So let's just take a few moments and consider where we might be if we really did do things the way they've always been done.


Those comfy pew cushions- yeah- you can toss those right out t…

I Don't Care About Middle Ground.

Recently, at least in my little world, there seems to be a firestorm of controversy among believers. I know, I know that's really nothing new. However, it seems to be increasing on my Facebook news feed and in the small part of the blogosphere that I frequent. For anyone living near the Charlotte, North Carolina area there has been a series of news stories about Elevation Church and their pastor, Steven Furtick. I was mildly surprised when an author/speaker/blogger friend of mine from Michigan chimed in on the Elevation debate. Most in the conservative evangelical world are well acquainted with the ongoing debate between John MacArthur and...well...the rest of the Christian world on the subject of false teachers. Then an extraordinarily polite (it really was) debate erupted on a friend's Facebook page over the Jesus Calling devotional book.

In my estimation there are basically two camps in Christendom when it comes down to the issue of, what I will call for simplicity's sa…

Being Mr. Carson

So you too, when you do all the things which were commanded you, say, "We are unworthy slaves; we have done only that which we ought to have done." Luke 17:10.

Last night marked the last installment of Downton Abbey's fourth season and the long wait until season five airs in about ten excruciating months. If you are unfamiliar with the show, which I believe few people are, it chronicles the lives of the residents of...Downton Abbey. Set in early 20th century England it gives the viewers a glimpse into what life may have been like for the nobility and the people that served them. There are stark differences between those who live "upstairs" and those who live "downstairs." Among those who are "in service" there is a range of attitudes towards the nobility. Some, like Mr. Carson, see their role as servants to the nobles as a profession to be proud of and they have deep affection for their masters. Others, like Miss Braithwaite, serve out of ob…

A Little Dab'll Do Ya.

The apostles said the Lord, "Increase our faith!" Luke 17:5

Faith is a topic that most of us are quite familiar with, especially in Christian circles. We talk about having faith, asking in faith, faith like a mustard seed and so on. This word is firmly planted in our religious language and minds. Like the apostles in Luke 17 we are used to the concept of faith but, also like the apostles, we may need Christ to adjust our understanding.

In Luke 17:1-4 Jesus has just told the disciples that if they are going to be a fully functional "body" of believers they must do three things; encourage one another, hold each other accountable, and forgive one another. Looking at this standard the apostles, wisely, understood that there was no possible way for them to do those things in their own strength. I can almost hear them saying, "But Lord, we're inadequate to do this." This is a point that all of us must come to, a realization of our own inadequacy regarding t…

Thy Word

"They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them...If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be persuaded even if someone rises from the dead." Luke 16:30-31.

God's Church is in desperate need of a revival of our commitment to His Word. We are far too focused on things like worship styles, programs, methods and turning the Gospel message into a self-help theory. While I believe that things like worship and programs are worthy discussions to have and are certainly worth our attention the basis of our lives both personally and corporately must be the Word of God. In Luke 16:19-31 Jesus tells the story of the rich man and Lazarus. While there are many, many takeaways from this story the one thing that jumped off the pages to me was Jesus' statement, through the mouth of Abraham, regarding the sufficiency of God's Word. Miracles, signs and wonders are all wonderful confirmations of the one proclaiming God's truth, but the real transforma…

Legal Maneuvers

But it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one stroke of one letter of the Law to fail. Luke 16:17

I was talking to my dad on the phone this past Saturday and he asked me what the message was going to be about on Sunday. I told him that we were going to talk about Jesus' confrontation with the Pharisees in which He addressed their manipulation of the Law of God. I went on to say that that is exactly why people don't like lawyers today, they can use technicalities and loopholes to get guilty people off. My father, who has been a lawyer for most of his life said, "Yeah, that is why people hate lawyers and they don't like them until they need one." That, my dear father, will preach. You see the same thing is true about people and their view of the Law of God. No one likes it or wants to have anything to do with it until they see what its true purpose is.

In Luke 16:14-18 Jesus "lays down the Law" for the Pharisees and other religious leade…

Come on People!

The other day I was scrolling through my newsfeed on Facebook when I ran across a link that a friend of mine had posted to a blog post. The post was clearly dealing with the issue of homosexuality, that much I could see from preview. It also looked like it may be coming from a slightly new angle so I clicked on it to investigate further. One of the primary arguments that the author was making was that many Christians are very literal in their interpretation of the Scriptures on issues such as homosexuality. However, when it comes to other issues like alcohol, gluttony, divorce, etc. we beg for "a little context." Now, let me say this, on that particular point I absolutely agree with the author and applaud her boldness in pointing it out. One of the things that frustrates me the most is that we, as evangelical Christians, like to categorize sins and typically the really bad ones, the ones God abhors, are the ones that someone else is guilty of. I want you to hear me very clea…

Money Matters

And I say to you, make friends for yourselves by means of the wealth of unrighteousness, so that when it fails; they will receive you into the eternal dwellings. Luke 16:9

Unless you're talking about making more of it very few people like to talk about money, especially in a church setting. To be sure, giving is a private matter between a person and God and we will see more of that later. However, the issue of how we view and handle our earthly resources is not only a matter of discipleship it is also something that Jesus addressed frequently during His earthly ministry. Some have estimated that about 1/3 of Jesus' parables dealt with material wealth and possessions in some form or fashion. That should tell us that money matters, and it matters to God. Why? Because how we deal with our earthly resources tells God an awful lot about where our hearts really are and that is one of the most important lessons of the parable of the unrighteous steward of Luke 16.

This parable, found…