March, 2018

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EternityAmnesia?

Friday, March 30th, 2018

This Sunday has different meaning to different people.  For some its part of their yearly ritual of C & E attendance. For some it is nothing more than a day filled with chocolate, baskets, chocolate rabbits, colored eggs, and chocolate eggs.  Oh…did I mention chocolate? For some it will be the consummate holiday. Not because of it being a holiday but because of its meaning.

For the follower of Christ, it is the one day of the year which sets every other day aside, but also every other religion of the world. Judaism, while not acknowledging the life and death of Messiah, still has a founder, Abraham, in the ground. Islam’s founder, Mohamed, died at the age of 61 and was buried in a tomb in Medina. He has yet to be seen alive. No disciple of Buddha can say, “I have seen him alive.” Charles Taze Russell, the founder of the JW’s is still in his grave. Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of Christian Scientist, is still in her grave. Ellen G. White, the founder of SDA, is still in her grave. Joseph Smith, Brigham Young (among others), the founders of Mormonism and LDS are still in their graves. Only one person has ever defied hell and the grave: Jesus Christ. Proof of his “aliveness” abounds.

The problem with many of us is we suffer from “eternity amnesia” and therefore we are guilty of forgetting forever. By that I don’t mean forgetting something and never to recall it, but we forget a thing called Forever. But here is a simple truth: without eternity Christianity makes no sense. If all that sin has broken won’t be forever fixed someday, then there is no hope now and no hope in the hereafter. So what Paul says in I Corinthians 15 is radical: without a guaranteed forever, faith in Christ is robbed of its meaning, power, and hope.

This Sunday is celebration Sunday for every Christ-follower. Thanks to the generosity of Bill & Suzie Abram we will be enjoying the use of Abram Farm (as we did on Christmas Eve). I hope you will enjoy your Resurrection Sunday celebration of Jesus being Alive! Meanwhile, would you mind praying for us? Thanks.

Reflection

Wednesday, March 28th, 2018

Once again my thoughts and heart are pulled to the reality of this week. We will soon celebrate what is known as Good Friday, the day traditionally given to remembering the cross and the sacrifice of Jesus. Soon…Sunday is coming!

Tuesday’s New Morning Mercies focused on Galatians 2:20. Living life in my own strength and by my own strength is an effort in futility. Gal.2:20 weaves into itself what I see as a formula: theological truth + practical truth = solid impact. Let me explain:

Theological truth= Jesus died for me, as my representative.

Practical truth= the power which is in me is Jesus.

Impactful (Yeah I know that is not a word) truth= I live with peace, hope and courage.

I’m honestly overwhelmed (and I hope it always stays this way) by the simplicity and power of the cross. How can I explain someone dying for me? Taking my pain and punishment? And then wanting to live within me? I can’t. It is a rare time I am speechless. The cross is a life-changing event. We sang a song this past Sunday with these lyrics: “The cross meant to kill is my victory.” I am going to celebrate the Cross with a grateful heart.

I unpack the above three “truth” statements a little more on my other blog. If you care to read them, you can click here.  Or you can click on the BeTransformed banner to the right and it will take you there.

I do have a prayer request: Tomorrow Jo & I will be taking Braden back to Ohio and then returning home…all in one day. It is supposed to rain a-l-l-l-l-l-l-l-l day. Prayers would be much appreciated. Thanks.

ChristAlone

Sunday, March 25th, 2018

We begin what has been called the final week of Jesus. Traditionally, today was Palm Sunday, the day Jesus made His entry into Jerusalem riding on a donkey. The people welcomed him with “Hosannas” and threw their palm branches on the ground. Told by the religious hypocrites to shut them up, Jesus told the hypocrites that even if he were to do that the rocks and mountains would scream out in praise.

His week was eventful, eventually culminating in his farce of a trial, mockery, torture, and ultimate death on the cross.

This song is a fitting one to begin this week with. I hope it will help focus you, not on the events of the week, but on the perfect plan of God culminating in the death of Jesus on the cross…and His eventual resurrection.

Fools

Friday, March 23rd, 2018

Being called a fool is not a complementary term. It is sort of akin to moron or idiot in our use of the word.  Tragically, we have often played the fool when it comes to spiritual things. We think we know best. We get eternity amnesia. We get big-picture amnesia.

We also get cross-amnesia. Down through the years teaching on the cross has evolved…and that has not always been good.  The cross took a back seat. I will post about the history of that fiasco next week.

This Sunday is Palm Sunday. I was asked Sunday by someone new to church what Palm Sunday was. I explained it to him, but told him I’m glad he asked. In biblical days, the cross was seen as a symbol of cruelty and judgment upon those who deserved it. It was seen as a way to mete out punishment to the worst of the worst. In our day, the cross is seen as a symbol of foolishness. Vicarious redemption is seen as a stupid act and totally unnecessary. There is a word for that (I’ll let you fill that one in).

This Sunday I’ll continue my True North series but also talk about the cross using I Corinthians 1:18-2:5.  I’m going to do that with two thoughts:

  • I reaffirm the necessity of the cross
  • I reaffirm the necessity of God’s wisdom.

Prayers would be appreciated. And thank you ahead of time.

 

 

Saying

Thursday, March 22nd, 2018

As I wrote in my journal about  yesterday’s New Morning Mercies and posted on my other blog, I took a look back at my journal from last year on March 17. Evidently I had been reading and studying about Bill Johnson back then. As I write this now, it suddenly hit me why I was studying him, Bethel Readding and what is called the New Apostolic Reformation.  (See yesterday’s post here for more information on that).  We were losing someone to that method of thinking. Someone(s) I love had become enamored by the teaching of Bethel and were in the process of leaving. In fact, it was real close to this time last year they left to pursue other avenues.

I found the following quote during my study and I had copied, printed, and paper-clipped it in my journal:

A time will come when instead of shepherds feeding the sheep, the church will have clowns entertaining the goats.

The source? Charles Spurgeon. The year? I couldn’t find it but he lived from 1834-1892.

Quite prophetic don’t you think? And challenging. And convicting.

Your thoughts?

Deception

Tuesday, March 20th, 2018

D.L.Moody once said, “No one should every preach about hell without tears in his eyes.” And so I write this post with tears in my eyes. I confess: I am angry. I’m angry at the blatant disregard for God’s Word. I’m angry at the “free translation” taken for the purpose of bilking millions out of seeing and hearing the truth of God’s Word. All for money, prestige, fame, and a following. Please let me explain. And again…I write this with tears in my eyes. AND IT IS MY OPINION and not to be taken as coming from OVCF.

Several weeks ago I could be found reading a book called Defining Deception by Costi Hinn (Benny’s nephew) and Anthony G. Wood. Actually, reading this book is a furthering of my study on what is called the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR).  The NAR is neither new, apostolic or reformed.  Plain and simple it is heresy.  The main proponent of this heresy today is Bill Johnson and Bethel Redding and Jesus Culture.  There are others, of course. Deception always has more than one, but he is the one who is the “figurehead” of the movement. It started again (it has been going on for quite some time in various forms) with C. Peter Wagner who taught that he was an apostle and there were others as well…Johnson being one of them. Todd White,  Heidi Baker, Kris Vallotton, Danny Silk, and others are also part of it. The NAR also hangs its hat with the likes of Benny Hinn, Kenneth Copeland, Joel Osteen, and other Prosperity Doctrine & Health/Wealth false teachers.  Heretical teaching like denying the deity of Jesus Christ; ungodly practices like “grave sucking;” tarot card (called Destiny cards) readings; “guaranteed” healing in the Atonement (using Isaiah 53:5); setting up men today as “Apostles;” women as prophetesses; and other false ideas has me a tad bit upset. My first blog was 2/20/08 and in all the years since can probably count on one hand hitting on someone else or naming names.

A couple of weeks ago I wrote this post called “Lies.” Since then I have finished Defining Deception and highly encourage you to read it. Here’s the deal: you can have one of three responses to reading it:

  1. You can get as mad as “all get out” and never come back to my blog.  i hope that will not be the case. I’ll miss you, but I simply cannot apologize for my stand.
  2. You can purchase the book and read it for yourself (which I hope you will do) and come to your own decision.
  3. You will agree and cement your stand for the truth of God’s Word in an age of cults and wild “God-works-this-way-today” accusations.

Costi and Anthony have done a great service to us by writing this book. Costi, especially, has taken “heat” from his family for his truthfulness. BTW: they finish the book with 5 excellent appendices.

 

Astounded

Sunday, March 18th, 2018

I have moments where I am totally astounded by God. They may come in different ways.

Hearing a song.

Participating in worship.

Listening to someone tell how God intervened in his/her life.

Watching a life being changed only by the grace of God.

Through the laughter and love of little Sophia (Jo & I are mamaw Jo and grandpa Bill) even though not related.

Through the love of a wife who continues to astound me with her grace toward me.

I could go on. But none astound me as much as God. Each day I awaken to new mercies. Each day I awaken to a new sunrise (eventually), new sights, new beginnings, new awareness, new direction, new hope. Again…I could go on.

But I am most astounded by the unconditional love and grace of a God who blesses me with more than I certainly deserve. In about an hour and a half we will enter into our corporate worship. I will sing praises. I will preach His Word. And I will anticipate being astounded by God. It is fitting that this song be the one I choose for this week. I hope it will speak to your heart and set your mind right for the week.  The words are easily understood but if you do have difficulty, they are included in the video description (hit SHOW MORE).

MAY GOD LEAVE YOU ASTOUNDED TODAY. MAY HE LEAVE YOU AMAZED THIS WEEK.

Choices

Friday, March 16th, 2018

Growing up as an athlete i was faced with choices-some tougher than others. I chose not to abuse my body with alcohol and tobacco…only chocolate!  🙂 🙂 I chose to focus so much on basketball that I was not one of the shining lights in academia while in high school. It wasn’t much better in college until my Senior Year when I chose to concentrate on my marriage and my grades. Took me long enough don’t you think?  🙂  Every athlete knows choices are made during games which stand out as possible game changers.

Making choices is not always easy. Rephrase: making the right choice, especially when they are tough ones to make, is not always easy. The story of Moses is a story of choices-from beginning to end. My theme for the year is Uncharted and as we travel into uncharted territory, we are and will continue to be confronted by choices.  I’ll be looking at Moses using Hebrews 11:23-31 as my text.

Our lives are a series of defining moments. Choices which can change our whole future. I’d appreciate your prayers for this weekend. And thanks ahead of time.

Fences

Thursday, March 15th, 2018

My apologies for not being here more often this week. Little did I know how “life was going to happen” and would change the color of my week. Nothing bad. I did drive 3 hours ( 1 1/2 each way) to attend the funeral of someone’s mother) but that was actually a refreshing time by myself. Jo had surgery last week so she was unable to make the trip with me. She gave me permission to turn my music up loud and listen away.  🙂 🙂 So I did! I even played air guitar and sang out loud!! Yeah…I was by myself and windows were up.

I wrote a devotion this morning about fences for my other blog Be Transformed. Writing in my journal every day while reading New Morning Mercies has been a phenomenal exercise in discipline for me.  I tend to be a pretty self-disciplined person but this has taken me to a new awareness of its importance. I read New Morning Mercies each day; journal; send it to my Band of Brothers; and then post it on Be Transformed.  Call this shameless promotion if you want to, but I’d like to invite you to read the post on Fences. I also invite your response.  You can purchase New Morning Mercies by going here.

Now…I’d like to invite you to join me at Be Transformed to read and comment (if you like).

Anthem

Sunday, March 11th, 2018

We are often told we need to set goals.

We are often told that a goal-less person is an aimless person.

In some respects I agree with that. I will be the first to admit I have never had 1-3-5-10 year plan. Even in church life, I can’t say I have planned that far ahead. I know, for example, what my theme is for the year. I then try to focus my sermons around that theme for the year. This year my theme is Uncharted so every series I preach I try to keep that theme in mind. The first two “Transformed” and “True North” fulfill that goal. I have in mind, but not on paper, where I want to go next. I used to have the whole year of sermons planned and seldom deviated from it.

But an anthem is deeper than that. An anthem says, “This is what I believe in and, if necessary, will die for.”  It is more than a code of ethics. It is a foundation. It is a “here I will take my stand” statement. The song I picked to feature today is called “The Anthem.” I have chosen the one with the lyrics.  Hope you enjoy it.

Have a great week.

Oh…by the way? I will take my stand on the truth in this song.