Doctrine

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Accident?

Wednesday, October 17th, 2018

Okay so I didn’t quite tell the truth. I said in this post that I would post once more this week. But I wasn’t counting on reading something that “rang a bell” in my head. I wanted to blog about it before it left my thoughts (which happens a lot when you get older! 🙂 ).

I’m reading Therefore I Have Hope by Cameron Cole. His 3 year old son died unexpectedly one evening while sleeping. He is writing about his journey and what he has learned. One of the things people and pastors say is “God had nothing to do with your son/daughter/mother/father’s death.”  One woman was told that and said to the chaplain: “Don’t tell me that! You take away my only hope.”

Mr. Cole is of the opinion that, even though it is hard to see, God was involved in his son’s death. Why? God is sovereign and all-knowing. To say He wasn’t is to deny those two Biblical truths. He finished his chapter on Providence with these words:

My trial is not a random accident. Nothing comes into my life but through God’s perfect discretion. God remains in control of all circumstances. He has a hand in my painful circumstances, which means that his hand can extend to redeem my life. God is good. The evil in this world and the suffering in my circumstances do not represent his character. The perfectly kind and loving person, Jesus Christ, is the very image of the character of God. The cross reassures me of his love and sovereignty. I can trust him, knowing that he is fully good and fully in control.  (p.100)

As hard as it is to accept the truth that God is involved, it is hard to argue with what Mr. Cole has written. I can’t. I have decided I will never again say God is not aware or involved in what has happened. He does not cause evil  (James 1:13) but He is there. What are your thoughts?

TheRock

Friday, October 12th, 2018

No…this sermon is not about the “actor”  or any of his movies. It is about the One who is The Rock.  Do you remember ever reading or hearing this from many moons ago?

All the armies that ever marched, all the navies that ever sailed, all the parliaments that ever sat, all the kings that ever reigned, put together, have not affected the life of man on earth as much as that One Solitary Life.

That is just part of the poem/story told about Jesus. It is amazing how much Jesus is mentioned in our culture, but not necessarily out of respect. He’s in the world of fashion. (Who could forget the infamous “Jesus is my Homeboy” t-shirts many celebrities wore?) He shows up in movies. He shows up in music, both good and bad. He shows up at award shows (again both good and bad).  He shows up in the world of sports.  He shows up in the religions of the world (Don’t get me started on that!).

I recently finished reading Superheroes Can’t Save You by Todd Miles ( a great book where he took different superheroes and related it to how Jesus is perceived by many).  Todd wrote this after talking about his stagnant spiritual life which came to life while a student at Oregon State University:

Jesus Christ is the most compelling, interesting, and remarkable person who ever lived.  He is exactly who he claimed to be, precisely who the Bible teaches that he is-God in the flesh, the King of kings and Lord of lords.” (p.3)

Who Jesus is, according to the Bible, is a non-negotiable. That is where I choose to Stake My Claim this Sunday. If you live around here, please join us. If not, you can listen via podcast. In any case, please pray for me and for the folks this coming Sunday.  Thanks.

BigGod

Friday, October 5th, 2018

If there was ever a question asked that has yet to find a complete and correct answer it would be the “Why?” question. I seriously doubt there a person on this planet who has not asked that question sometime in their life.  As I was studying for this first sermon in my new series Staking Your Claim I ran across this quote:

A god small enough to be understood is not big enough to be worshiped.  Evelyn Underhill

That statement blew me away. I began to think, “Who am I to question God?” Another question: “Who am I to think God owes me an explanation for His dealings?”

Years ago I read a small little book with a big message: Your God is Too Small by J.B.Philipps. I have come to the conclusion that we in the American church have sort of “dumbed down” God. We may have not done it intentionally. I don’t think we purposely said, “I think I’m going to put God in a box and He will not operate outside of it.” I have not done what Thomas Jefferson did, i.e. cut out of my Bible parts I don’t agree with or believe in. I have never called God my “buddy” or “my homeboy.”

But if we diminish God in any way, such a God cannot sustain faith. You see…what we think about God determines everything else in our lives: what we value, what we pursue, and how passionately we pursue it.

That is why I have entitled my sermon The Bigness of God. Grasping that God is a being of unfathomable magnitude, wisdom, and goodness is one of the non-negotiables of having a living, vital faith.  Your prayers would be appreciated.

GRACE

Sunday, July 22nd, 2018

I recently shared this on my other blog, Be Transformed, and decided it needed to be “heard” by more. It had so much power, so much oomph, that I could not pass it by. I wrote it in my journal so I would have it, then used it in my post on Be Transformed.

My worst days are never so bad that I am beyond the reach of His grace. And my best days are never so good that I am beyond the need of God’s grace. Every day should be a day of relating to God on the basis of His grace alone. Jerry Bridges

WOW! Is that good or what?

I’m ashamed to admit this but there are times I take grace for granted. Not the “I can sin because I know God will forgive me” taking for granted. I just forget it is there for me. Days are tough and I forget because I am preoccupied. Days are good and I forget because I’m not hurting.

So…let’s make a vow together to live each day in grace. Up or down…Grace.

My song this week is from a man who knows grace…big time.  It is very upbeat and is a great way to start and then continue your week. Here’s your song for the week.

Think

Sunday, July 8th, 2018

Paul says in Philippians 4:8- “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think on these things.”

Over the past week or so I have been reading God of Tomorrow, Caleb Kaltenbach’s new book.  A normal review will give the pros and cons , good points and bad points, and whether it is worth your while to read it.  I’m going to take a different approach in this post. I want to highlight several of his included quotes and thoughts. Then let you decide at the end if it is a book you want to invest your time in.

God of Tomorrow: How to Overcome the Fears of Today and Renew Your Hope for the Future

First, an explanation. Caleb’s book’s premise is focused around hope for tomorrow being the solution to the fears of today. He analyzes the culture pretty well and what should be the Christ-follower’s approach to the people who are the culture. Change is inevitable. It is how we react to that change which gives us our approach to people.  (My comments appear after)

“Combativeness without compassion is always going to be counterproductive.”  We need to have our beliefs but we don’t have to cram them down someone’s throat nor do we need to be militant.

“Our differences with people should drive us to them, not from them.” This is sure opposite of our “hunker down” attitude.

“Our fear is no match for the unlimited power and uncontested reign of God.  When will we learn this? Instead of fearing change, let’s hold to our beliefs but not shy away in fear.

“Hope reminds us that our best days are ahead, not behind us.”  And I might add not right now either. No apologies to Joel for that.

“Out-of-place people always have a place with God.”  I seem to remember someone telling a story about going to the highways and bi-ways to bring people into a meal. Hmmmm.  Maybe this would change our approach toward “unlovely” and “unacceptable, despicable” people we often have.

There are plenty more and I plan to use them during the next week as I post some thoughts. But the coup de grace for me was this one:

When people look at your (my) life, it should be so easy for them to see Jesus in how you (I) treat them, love them, and share truth with them. (p.201)

What do you think of those quotes? Think you might get this book?

 

PonderThis

Tuesday, June 26th, 2018

The Lord hurled a great wind upon the sea.  Jonah 1:4

The lot fell on Jonah.  Jonah 1:7

The Lord appointed a great fish.  Jonah 1:17

The word of the Lord came to Jonah the second time.  Jonah 3:1

The Lord God appointed a plant.  Jonah 4:6

God appointed a worm.  Jonah 4:7

God appointed a scorching east wind.  Jonah 4:8

The Lord has more ways of confronting us than we have ways of evading him.

Courtesy of Ray Ortlund as part of The Gospel Coalition.  June 25, 2018

FaithfulGod

Sunday, June 24th, 2018

Sunday’s sermon is history. I wish I could say it was monumental, but I’m not always delusional. 🙂 I talked about promises from Joshua 10:1-12:24. I took the liberty of combining those verses and what I found into 3 important promises we can find.

PROMISE #1: “You will keep your word”

Joshua had made a covenant agreement with the Gibeonites to protect them. It wasn’t too much later that promise was “called out” by the Gibeonites. Joshua came to their rescue with a daring under-the-cover-of-darkness trek from Gilgal to Gibeon (25 miles over very rough and rugged terrain). When he got there he heard the words, “Do not be afraid, I have given them into your hands” from God.

PROMISE #2: “You will battle daily”

It is easy to feel overwhelmed by life, circumstances, and events. We will be and are in a daily battle with the enemy of our souls. There are days of “We got this. You and me, God.” Then it might be the very next day when we feel totally dogged by the enemy. Two Scriptures come into play here: Ephesians 6:10-18 and Romans 7:7-17.

PROMISE #3: “You will complete the task”

God told the Israelites the Promised Land (land of Canaan) was theirs. An important reminder: Winning a victory is not determined by whether God is on our side or not. Abraham Lincoln had an interesting thought on this. While both sides claimed God was on their side in the war, he was heard to say, “The key issue is not whether God is on my side but whether I am on God’s side.” Wise words.

We do serve a promise-keeping God who wants His children to keep their word as well.  Your song for the week is an old one but still powerful. Listen here.

WORD

Thursday, June 14th, 2018

How important is the Word? I’d like to ask you to check out my other blog here to see what today’s New Morning Mercies is all about and how important the Word is.

Gone…for a little while longer

Wednesday, June 6th, 2018

Today is Wednesday. Today is also the day, Lord willing, we will be heading back home. To our house. To my bed. Aaaahhhh home sweet home. 🙂 To a yard which I figure needs cut baled.  🙁

If you have been keeping up you know we were in Ohio since last Friday.

I told you about my possible 2019 experiment experience here. I hope you have taken the time to read the Scripture I left with you each day.  Another possible Scripture is this one here. It may be one of the most well-known of all the Psalms.  I hope you will take the time to read it today.

What was most meaningful to you in your reading? How can you apply it?

By the way,  I will check in to approve any comments.

Going…Going…Gone (Still)

Tuesday, June 5th, 2018

Jo and I are still away in Ohio for a few days. Read the previous three posts to find out about it.

My possible 2019 experience is explained here.

Your Scripture reading for today is here.

It is a tough one, but it can’t be skipped.

What part of this passage was most meaningful to you? How can you apply this to your life?

By the way, I’ll check in to approve any comments.