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Silence

Wednesday, February 21st, 2018

I have been reading a new book by Phil Cooke and Jonathan Bock called The Way Back: How Christians Blew our Credibility and HOW WE GET IT BACK. There has been a lot of underlining and highlighting as I’ve read because of how true so much of what they write has been. It has been informative. Convicting. Educational. Challenging.

They quote English crime writer Dorothy Sayers from the 1940s. She warned of a fast-approaching church that would be too comfortable and tolerant to make any waves:

In the world it calls itself tolerance; but in hell it is called despair…It is the sin that believes in nothing, cares for nothing, seeks to know nothing, hates nothing, finds purpose in nothing, lives for nothing, and remains alive only because there is nothing it would die for. (p.101)

Long story short; there comes a point in time when we have to make a stand. The church (as a whole) and many Christ-followers have bought into the “tolerance agenda” of the vocal minority. But one thing is true: the truth doesn’t change. Whether we agree with it or not; whether we can stomach it or not; whether we try to debate it away or not; that fact still remains. The Truth is the truth.

I was quite intrigued by this quote: “I’ve always said that I don’t respect people who don’t proselytize. I don’t respect that at all. If you believe that there’s a heaven and a hell, and people could be going to hell or not getting eternal life, and you think that it’s not really worth telling them this because it would make it socially awkward…how much to you have to hate somebody to not proselytize? How much do you have to hate somebody to believe everlasting life is possible and not tell them that? “  Now…here’s the kicker. That quote is by magician and entertainer (and atheist) Penn Jillette

Maybe…just maybe…our silence is deafening.  Maybe we ought to stop bowing down to the “tolerance police” and start standing for Truth. Those are my thoughts. What are yours?

 

OOPS

Tuesday, February 20th, 2018

What a shame! Maybe I ought to say, “What a shame we make mistakes.” The one good thing is that we all do it. No one stands alone. I’m not talking about sin.  We all do that as well. I mean, mistakes. Forgetting to do something. Failing to do something. It wasn’t blatant. Inadvertent might be a better word.

I did that. Just yesterday. Since the first of the year I have posted a music video which tells a story or a truth every Sunday/Monday. I failed to do that today. I know you are extremely disappointed. I can see it in the tears which roll down your cheeks even as you came here to watch. I’m so sorry I ruined your day. But then again, if watching a video I post is the highlight of your day I think I would be correct in saying, “You need a life.”  🙂  I mean, I’m honored I would have that much influence but…

Anyway, Saturday evening I received an email from Tami (my oldest in case you don’t know) and she said, “I was searching Apple music and saw this song. I thought it would fit.” Now…even as I post this I have to say I am not a fan of Rend Collective. Ryan, our youth pastor, thinks they are fantastic. But what does he know? He’s 1/2 my age (literally) and likes weird music (rap included). I, on the other hand, have the most excellent taste in music. 🙂  Anyway, I thought I would honor Tami in this post by including this song.

Enjoy. And you should be able to figure out why she thought it appropriate.

Legacy

Sunday, February 18th, 2018

In my last post, I talked about a legacy of faith. One of the responses was basically not seeing the sense in worrying about it. We die…that’s it. Since I don’t believe that death is the end…and since I do believe that dead men speak (not audibly)…I searched for something I had read years ago.  I found it! Of course, if you get the right people the answer is easy. 🙂 🙂  Here is why I want to leave a legacy of faith behind:

A great example of this is Jonathan Edwards, the Puritan Preacher from the 1700s.  Jonathan and his wife Sarah left a great godly legacy for his 11 children.

At the turn of the 20th century, American educator and pastor A.E. Winship decided to trace out the descendants of Jonathan Edwards almost 150 years after his death.  His findings are astounding, especially when compared to a man known as Max Jukes.  Jukes’ legacy came to the forefront when the family trees of 42 different men in the New York prison system traced back to him.

Jonathan Edwards’ godly legacy includes: 1 U.S. Vice-President, 3 U.S. Senators, 3 governors, 3 mayors, 13 college presidents, 30 judges, 65 professors, 80 public office holders, 100 lawyers and 100 missionaries.

Max Jukes’ descendants included: 7 murderers, 60 thieves, 50 women of debauchery, 130 other convicts. 310 paupers (with over 2,300 years lived in poorhouses) 400 who were physically wrecked by indulgent living.

It was estimated that Max Juke’s descendants cost the state more than $1,250,000.

One can perhaps question the research. I saw one source cite the VP as Aaron Burr (duelist with Alexander Hamilton). I even saw one source which completely discounted the research on Max Juke’s life. Even if both are true, that doesn’t change the truth of what we leave behind is important.  We either leave life or poison behind.

I choose to leave life.

Faith

Wednesday, February 7th, 2018

During my devotional times each day I read from several different sources. One is Whiter Than Snow by Paul David Tripp, and another is The ESV Reader’s Bible, along with New Morning Mercies.  Today was one of those mornings where what I read really hit a nerve. I’d like to share it with you.

Whiter Than Snow: “The way that seems wise to me isn’t wise, and the way that is wise looks to me to be the way of the fool.” That reminds me of the Scripture which says, “There is a way which seems right to man but in the end is judgment.”

My reading in Mark was the woman with the blood-not-stopping issue and Jairus’ daughter. Both instances required faith: the woman that she could be healed (even if it was a “what have I got to lose?” approach); and Jairus, that Jesus would heal his daughter, then ultimately bring her back to life.

I need that kind of faith. Faith that sees no end but believes. Faith that take Jesus at His Word.  One side thought: I think it is interesting that Jesus did not seek the limelight when healing someone. Exact opposite actually. Says something about today’s hucksters don’t you think?

For more reflections on my reading check out my other blog: http://betransformed.ovcf.org/

 

Father

Sunday, January 28th, 2018

A lot has been written about our earthly father and his influence upon our lives. You know…

“I am who I am today because of my father.” (Positive)

“I am who I am today because of my father.” (Negative)

“My father’s example was one I wanted to emulate.”

“My father’s example was not one I wanted to emulate.”

“I desire to raise my children the same way my father raised me.”

“I desire to raise my children differently than my father raised me.”

I could go on and on. Many people who are much smarter and wiser than me have said, “Your view of God is very often tied to your view of your earthly father.” In my case, I concur. Conditional love and acceptance. AWOL at times. Preoccupied with other things. I could go on but this is not a body slam on my late father.

I know some, many who have come to see me in my office or at a meal, who have screamed for a father who loved them. “What was wrong with me?” “Why couldn’t he just love me the way I was?” “Why did he try to live his life through me?” The litany goes on. Little girls especially need their father to be more than a biological necessity.

During Pastor Appreciation Month (which is also my birthday month) our worship leaders had this wood hanging made for me. I treasure it. I have it displayed on a table in my office. It just might be the first thing people see when they walk by or enter.

The song I’m highlighting today is one of my favorites from which this plague comes. Hope you enjoy it.

 

TrueLove

Friday, January 26th, 2018

This past December Spencer’s own Community Theater did a play called The Velveteen Rabbit. It was written in 1922 by Margery Williams (aka Margery Williams Bianco). The book is subtitled How Toys Become Real. One of the most quoted sections of the book is this:

By the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real, you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.

As you know, love is more than a word. It is more than an emotion. There are two things which stick out in  Romans 12: 9-13.  True love lacks hypocrisy and true love discriminates (that will make for an interesting “discussion” among the people). But to put you at ease think “discernment.”

Love can be expressed in so many different ways. This passage in Romans presents 8 different ways love can be displayed. It should be a fun sermon to preach. 🙂  I’d appreciate your prayers for us this weekend. And if you care to listen to it, the podcast is put on the church’s website.

Shameless

Thursday, January 25th, 2018

It is called Shameless Promotion.

And so it is. I have another post coming out tomorrow morning for the weekend and wanted to fill in today so I thought, “Why not?”

Theology without love is simply bad theology.

To read the rest of this devotion, please head over to my other blog based on New Morning Mercies called Be Transformed.

I’d love to see you over there and hear your thoughts.

Religion

Tuesday, January 23rd, 2018

One of the values of my new blog, Be Transformed,  is the emphasis it places on grace. Actually, since it focuses on the daily devotions found in New Morning Mercies by Paul David Tripp, it is really only fair to say NMM places an emphasis on grace. I do invite you to join me there-not only in the discussion but also in the daily reading.

But this post is not a plug for Be Transformed.  It may appear that way, but it really isn’t. However…  🙂  Back in October I read a devotion by Derwin Gray called A Never-Ending Climb. I thought it was really good so I clipped it for future use. I saw it again today and decided it was a good one to use today:

Religion, or works-based righteousness, paints a picture of a god sitting atop a high peak, waiting for us to scale the mountain through our good behavior or adherence to religious principles. The more “good” we do the closer we come to approaching our god. If we do something bad, however, the god on top of the mountain turns Zeus-like and throws a lightning bolt to strike us and knock us back down the mountain. After the electric shock wears off and our singed hair stops smoking, we dust ourselves off, pull ourselves up by our bootstraps, and start the long trek all over again.

Long story short: the trek of works-based righteousness is a never-ending hill climb. One step up and two back. That to me is what religion is like. To give another picture it is like the hamster in the wheel. “‘Round and ’round it goes, where it stop nobody knows.”

Get off the treadmill. Be done with works-based religion. Get on the GRACE track.

Sea

Sunday, January 21st, 2018

It is easy to feel somewhat insignificant. I believe it is often at the root of much of what ails people, even to the point of taking their own lives. It is sad so many have gotten to the point of not caring. I ache each time I hear of someone who finds their life so overwhelming or so trivial or so uninspiring that they decide it isn’t worth living. Frankly, we haven’t helped that out very much. We idolize people who shouldn’t (like no one should be). We cast aside those who appear to be “less than worthy” of our attention. We lose sight of people being important, no matter who they are. We use people and then wonder why in the world they end up lost and in a world of hurt.

The Christ-follower has the greatest message in the world…the message of a loving God who gave His only Son to give meaning and purpose to life-to lives deemed insignificant. Sometimes I want to shout it from the housetops or take someone by the collar (in love of course… 🙂 ) or look someone straight in the face and say, “You don’t have to do this. You don’t have to feel this way. I know Someone who loves your brokenness and has a way to make you whole.”

For my song this week I want to share an old one from around 2003. I’m on a Kutless kick right now and if I was to choose my favorite song by them it would be the one I’m asking you to listen to. I hope you will take a moment to listen to and read the lyrics. YOU MATTER! YOU ARE IMPORTANT! BUT SO ARE ALL THOSE OTHERS IN THE SEA OF FACES.

Choices

Monday, January 15th, 2018

Life is full of choices. Some are easy. Some are hard.  Take for example these pictures:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Which one would you choose? The one on the left is from our (mine & Jo’s) vacation in October to Daytona Beach; the one on the right is from January 15, 11:00 a.m. looking out the back door of the church building. My truck has been sitting there for close to 5 hours. I have already shoveled once.

Or maybe you prefer the one on the left as to the one on the right?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Same vacation. Same time and place for both.

That is not a tough choice is it? Unless, of course, you love snow and are one of those adrenaline junkies who likes snowboarding, skiing, or the more sedate making of snow angels. I do like the warmer weather because I can do the one hobby I enjoy doing. But I also choose to live in Indiana where the weather does funny things.  Only in Indiana could it be snowing like it has since about 8:00 last night and then by Friday be sunny and 37.  (Least that is what they predict).

Life is a bunch of choices. Again…some are easy; some are not. Choosing to follow Jesus seems the most logical, but there are many who don’t. Choosing to have the promise of heaven and eternal life seems like a fantastic deal, but some don’t think so. I choose life. I choose love. I choose eternity with the Father.  How about you?

I also choose not to be miserable when faced with this kind of weather.  I can’t change it so might as well live with it. Correct?  And for your information: this picture is for Floyd. He made a comment last week about it being 77 where he lives. Talk about rubbing it in!!!  See what you are missing, Floyd, by living in Arizona and not Indiana?  🙂 🙂 🙂