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#TransparentTruth

Friday, May 20th, 2022

One of the abilities we have these days is called photo-shopping. In many ways, publishers have been doing that for years. They have airbrushed pictures of celebrities (especially female) to take out crow’s feet, pimples, lines, and other “imperfections” to make the model look stunning (or so they think).  Honestly, one can say the word “fake” comes to mind. Well, photo-shopping sort of does that same thing. A recent photo of trans swimmer Lia Thomas was photo shopped to show his face as being soft and feminine when it is anything but. But at the same time, some photo-shopping is pretty funny.  In our community, the local theater showed the movie, Babe, and had a man holding the pig. It was actually one of our local ISP officers photo-shopped for the picture. Photos can be altered and edited to picture what we want.

British preacher, Charles Spurgeon, once said,

“The eagle-eyed world acts as a policeman for the church…It becomes a watchdog over the sheep, barking furiously as soon as one goes astray…Be careful. Remember that it is upon your public life that the verdict of the world will very much depend.” 

WOW! That goes straight to the heart of the matter. Our public conduct is indicative of our private life…AND PEOPLE NOTICE.

The early church had its share of problems. We can’t kid ourselves about that. It wasn’t just false teachers and outside influences that they struggled with. The 3rd letter of John shows us that.  While highlighting Gaius and Demetrius, John also talks about the problem with Diotrephes. I’ll let you read that book to see what the issue was.

Better yet, come see us! If you can’t in person, then you can watch us online at 9:00 and 10:45.  I would love to hear from you.

#Snapshot#Tension

Friday, May 13th, 2022

We tend to think sometimes that the early church knew no friction. Nothing is farther from the truth. Like all earthly entities, the church was and is no different. Church is made up of people and as such will find itself embroiled in tension from time to time. I’m not talking about big “C” church. I’m talking little “c,” like the local body of believers.

There is an old saying we hear and may even use often: they are like oil and water. We hear it used about siblings. We hear it used about parents and children. We hear it used about coworkers and even teammates. We even hear it used about individuals in a church. Sparks fly and at times it may even feel like WW3 is happening.

Blaise Pascal once said:

Truth is so obscure in these times, and falsehood so established, that unless we love the truth, we cannot know it.

He said that of his day. (the 1600s). I think we can say that about ours as well. Seems like there is nothing new under the sun.

2 John is the 2nd book in my short series called Snapshots.  The title is Picture of Tension Revealed. It is about the molding of truth and love. Truth is necessary; truth and love is vital.  We would do well to listen, learn and practice both. Join me please at 9:00 or 10:45 in person or via live stream. We will also be honoring our high school and college graduates this Sunday. All told I think we have 15.  Thanks for being a part of our worship.

#Forgiveness

Wednesday, May 4th, 2022

OOPS! I messed up. I allowed time to get away from me. In my last post, which was a preview of this past Sunday’s sermon, I said I would share some thoughts from Sunday’s sermon on Philemon and the power of forgiveness. As I said, I allowed time to get away from me since I had planned on posting this Monday, the 2nd.  Well…better late than never I guess. 🙂

Here are four observations I made at the end of my message this past Sunday. I know it isn’t much but perhaps it might help with some perspective.

Failure to forgive imprisons  believers in their past. Unforgiveness keeps the sore open and never allows it to heal.  Hurt done to you and not dealt with is like having an open sore that always oozes pus.  You can put a band-aid over it but the sore never heals.  Ditto failing to forgive.

Failure to forgive produces bitterness. The longer you hold onto an offense committed against you, the more bitter you will get. Bitterness distorts your whole outlook on life.

Failure to forgive gives an open door to the enemy. He loves little cracks in the doorway. Ephesians 4 tells us not to give him a foothold.

Failure to forgive hinders fellowship with God. A barrier devel0ps as a result of bitterness.  Having a horizontal barrier is bad; having a vertical one is even worse. A thousand time worse. A person who is not forgiving of others cannot be right with God.

One last thing: I say this over and over to the church. If you fail to forgive someone, they own you. You are their slave. Sad part is this: your failure to forgive does not hurt them. They don’t care. It does, however, hurt you.

In my mind there is only one thing to do.

#Snapshots#Forgiveness

Friday, April 29th, 2022

We all like to receive letters. Long or short. Hearing from someone we love or have at least corresponded with at some time usually makes for a good day.  The NT consists of 27 books, most of which take some time to read and study through.

But it also contains some very short books. Four to be exact. I thought it would be a nice change of pace after the sometimes grueling and grinding subject matter of Truth Decay to pause for a refresher. So for the next 5 weeks (not including Mother’s Day) I plan to cover the short books of the NT: Philemon, 2 John, 3 John and Jude (2 sermons). I’m calling the series Snapshots since they give us short pictures of the early church.

First up is Philemon. if you haven’t read it before I’d suggest you read it. What a wonderful book! And a wonderful series of lessons we can learn. The most important?

LEARNING TO FORGIVE.

I’ll be looking at Paul’s request he makes of Philemon and how it is calling on Philemon to make one of the greatest sacrifices anyone can make: to forgive when someone has wronged you.  I’ll be talking about 4 things which happen to us when we fail to forgive.  I’ll share them in a blog next week.

I’d like to invite you to join us in person or via live stream. And I’d also encourage you to pray and ask God how He wants you to forgive and whom He might want you to forgive.

#EternityBad#EternityGood

Friday, April 22nd, 2022

As you can tell there is a bad side to eternity and a good side. Let’s talk about it.

Bertrand Russell lived from 1872-1970 and was well versed in math, philosophy, logic, and other studies. By all accounts that I could find he was a brilliant man. He was, depending on who he was debating or talking to, either an agnostic (because he said one cannot disprove there is a God) or an atheist. Yeah…he waffled.  But one thing was consistent: he believed religion was superstition. To complicate matters here is a quote he made:

“There is one very serious defect to my mind in Christ’s moral character, and that is that He believed in hell.”

There is so much about heaven and hell we don’t know since none of us have been there.  I do, however, believe they are both real places and the choice we make about Jesus will determine where we will spend eternity.

My sermon this Sunday is the final one in the series I called Truth Decay.  I certainly have not covered all there was to cover, but for the past two months we have been looking at some serious “hot buttons” in today’s culture about what I call non-negotiables when it comes to what we need to believe. None of them had anything to do with cultural issues of morality, social justice, lifestyles, etc. That, as they say, is for another time and another place. This week I will be talking about where we will spend eternity. 

I would love to have you join us in person or via livestream. We will be back to two services this week, with one at 9:00 and the other at 10:45.  Join us won’t you?

#AliveisStillAlive!

Friday, April 15th, 2022

Famous atheist, the late Christopher Hitchens, was once interviewed for Portland Monthly about his opposition to religion, and more specifically, Christianity. The women “minister” questioning him noted the Christianity he opposed was of the more “fundamentalist” variety, while she identified herself as a “liberal Christian.” After explaining that she didn’t take the stories of Scripture literally and rejected the atonement, she asked Hitchens if he saw a difference between fundamentalist faith and more liberal religion. His answer was surprising: “I would say that if you don’t believe that Jesus of Nazareth was the Christ and Messiah, and that he rose again from the dead and by his sacrifice our sins are forgiven, you’re really not in any meaningful sense a Christian.”

I guess there is no other way to say it but that he put her in her place. And that I totally agree with him. If I became convinced that the resurrection of Jesus was not true, or that Jesus was just a good teacher or a wise man to imitate and not the Savior and King, I would disavow being a Christian. I would walk away from the faith.

This Sunday is the apex of our faith: the celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus from the dead. I’m excited about preaching on that! We are meeting at Abram Farm Event Venue in order to be together as one church family.  Our service will start at 10:00 and be live streamed as well (thanks to Pastor Ryan for making that happen).  So I’d like to invite you to join us in person at Abram Farm or via live stream.

#CrossStilltheCross

Friday, April 8th, 2022

On March 24, 1989 the Exxon Valdez ran aground in Alaska’s Prince William Sound, spilling almost a quarter-million gallons of oil into the sea. Cleanup removed all visible traces of the oil spill within a year. But now scientists believe some of the methods used actually harmed the ecology of the area rather than helped it. The plankton and other microbial organisms may take another decade from now to return to normal.

Looking back at that disaster, it seems almost ironic that the whole story makes a fitting illustration of self-reform and the necessity of divine grace for cleansing from sin.  To the progressives, the cross is one of the most offensive elements in historic Christian teaching. They simply cannot and will not accept or believe God would sacrifice His Son for others.

For the orthodox (small “o” not big “O”) follower of Jesus, the cross is absolutely essential.  I will be sharing the teachings (translated: heresy) of the progressives while comparing them to what the Bible says.  Examples used will be William Paul Young (The Shack), Steve Chalke, Rob Bell (yes, that infamous one), Richard Rohr, and Brian McLaren.  I believe you will be shocked what they say about the crucifixion and the cross.

And by the way: do you know what penal substitutionary atonement is? They don’t either.

I look forward to seeing you Sunday in person, or if not, then via live stream.

#SinStillSin

Friday, April 1st, 2022

“Sin is non-existent” so no man ever.  Truth is sin is a reality in our lives and there are few issues that divide progressives from historic Christianity more than the issue of sin.  While we might say sin is an issue, today’s world does not want to call it that. We call it by other names: a mistake, a shortcoming, an error in judgment, a mess-up; anything but sin. We have glossed over that word to make it not sound so imposing and condemning. But no matter what kind of “spin” is put on the word, sin is still sin.

Here’s the reality: unless we are willing to call sin what it is, and unless we stop glossing over it and not making it sound so “offensive,” we will never be free of its grip on us.  Romans 3:23 uses the word: “For all have sinned…” Not “all have made mistakes” or “all have had errors in judgment,” etc.  In fact, for us to experience salvation we have to admit to sin. We are all fallen creatures. While I don’t believe in total depravity, I do believe we are born with a sin nature which soon manifests itself in all of us.

I’m continuing my series on Truth Decay with this sermon entitled Sin is Still Sin.  I hope you will join me in person or via live stream. We have two services at 9 and10:45 but if you are unable to watch it then you can watch it later on YouTube or the church’s FB page.  If you can’t be there, please pray for me, for us.  Thanks.

#Jesus#StillJesus

Friday, March 25th, 2022

In Matthew 16 Jesus asks His disciples who people say He is. Some say He is Elijah. Some say He is Jeremiah. Some say He is John the Baptist.  Others say He is one of the prophets. Then Jesus turns the page and asks them who they think He is. Peter answers for all of them (of course) and says, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.”

That question: “Who do you say I am?” is a really good one to ask. For some it is easy to answer. Ask me and I will tell you what Peter said. Ask a Progressive and he will hedge and hem-haw around.  The doctrine of who Jesus is tends to be up for grabs.  It is always open for reinterpretation.  There are no sacred cows for them and at the top of the list is Jesus. They want to remake Him in their image.  Unless you have studied the Progressive movement (and become a little jaded in the process), who they think Jesus is would floor you. I’ll be covering some of those ideas during Sunday’s message.

More importantly, I will be talking about who Jesus is and how the Bible describes Him.  I like what C.S. Lewis once said, “Either this man was, and is, the Son of God; or else a madman or something else.” There is more to that famous quote, but Jesus is what Lewis stated here: the Son of God.

My sermon this Sunday entitled Jesus is Still Jesus continues my series on Truth Decay. I would love to have you join me on Sunday morning in person or via live stream.  We meet and broadcast at 9 and 10:45. As always, your prayers are appreciated.

#GodisStillGod

Friday, March 18th, 2022

In his book titled God:Coming Face to Face with His Majesty, John MacArthur tells an old fable about six men blind from birth who lived in India. One day they decided to visit a nearby palace. When they arrived, there was an elephant standing in the courtyard. The first blind man touched the side of the elephant and said, “An elephant is like a wall.” The second blind man touched the trunk and said, “An elephant is like a snake.” The third blind man touched the tusk and said, “An elephant is like a spear.” The fourth blind man touched the leg and said, “An elephant is like a tree.” The fifth blind man touched the ear and said, “An elephant is like a fan.” The sixth blind man touched the tail and said, “An elephant is like a rope.” Because each blind man touched only one part of the elephant, none of them could agree on what an elephant is really like.

That analogy can be used to describe how many people have misconceptions about what God is really like. I’m not sure that misconception is not any more apparent than in today’s progressive movement.  Their idea of God is so messed up and off track that it takes some doing to try to reign it in.  That really isn’t anything new when you think about it. Freud once said, “God was an illusion.” Voltaire said, “He is an invention of man.” Some say He is a mean, hateful entity, a child-abuser. Jesse Ventura said, “God and religion are a crutch.” Stephen Hawking said, “There is no heaven or afterlife…that is a fairy tale for people afraid of the dark.” Richard Dawkins called God a “moral monster.”  I believe those and others have already found out or will find out He exists and does not fit their description.

I’m continuing my series on Truth Decay with this week’s message titled “God is Still God.” I would love to have you join us in person or by live stream.  You can see it live at 9 and 10:45 on the church’s YouTube channel or FB page or watch it later on both of those as well.  Either way I would love to have you pray for us.