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#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.

#BloodofJesus

Wednesday, April 13th, 2022

After preaching on The Cross is Still the Cross this past Sunday, and knowing this is “Holy Week” i.e. the last week of Jesus on earth before His crucifixion, I was struck by the words to an old hymn.  Honestly, I am not into many hymns because much of what I sang as a youngster fit more in the Spiritual songs genre. But there are some hymns which are real diamonds…diamonds we ought to mine and never forget. Here is one of them:

“What can wash away by sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus/What can make me whole again? Nothing but the blood of Jesus/

Chorus:

O precious is the flow that makes me white as snow/No other fount I know, Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

For my pardon this I see, Nothing but the blood of Jesus/ For my cleansing, this my plea, Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

Nothing can for sin atone, Nothing but the blood of Jesus/Naught of good that I have done, Nothing but the blood of Jesus/

This is all my hope and peace, Nothing but the blood of Jesus/This is all my righteousness, Nothing but the blood of Jesus/

O precious is the flow that makes me white as snow/No other found I know, Nothing but the blood of Jesus.”

Words and music Robert Lowry

A blast from the past. But what a punch! Remember this truth as you celebrate the death of Jesus this week.

#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.

#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.

#Truth#BattleLines

Friday, March 11th, 2022

Have you ever had vertigo? I’m not sure there is a more awful feeling than having it. Watching the world spin out of control and you haven’t even moved. I went to bed feeling fine one time, but when I woke up in the middle of the night I walked right into the door jam. And then the nausea hit.  A quick trip to the clinic revealed wax on my eardrum.  A quick flush, an anti-nausea pill and I felt like a brand new man. Jo disagreed. She kept me under wraps. (I think it has more to do than just the nausea(.

Vertigo is an ugly thing to have. We seem to be in somewhat of a vertigo situation these days when it comes to truth. It is a fact that truth has always been in question. Check out the story of Adam and Eve. What did the serpent say to Eve? “Did God really say that?

Does truth matter? You betcha! If there is no truth then there is no place to stand. Anything goes-which, of course, our world likes.  Truth still matters. Always has and always will.  As truth decays so do our foundations.  My sermon Sunday is the 2nd in the series Truth Decay,  I’ve titled the sermon a real doozy (so he says out of the corner of his mouth): Truth is Still the Truth.  I’d love to have you join me in person or via live stream.  You can check it out at 9 and 10:45 on the church’s FB page or on YouTube.  Oh…the Scripture is from I Cor. 1:18-2:5.  See you there!

#TruthDecay#TheBible

Friday, March 4th, 2022

Just this week I listened to a podcast by John Cooper, the lead singer of the Christian rock band, Skillet. John was responding to a podcast by Phil Vischer (Veggie Tales fame) where he demeaned John and Alisa Childers because of their stand against “deconstruction.” Phil and his other two hosts (one was Skye someone and the other a female whose name I never caught) admitted they didn’t even know what deconstruction was. My advice: unless you know something about what you are talking about, don’t talk. How’s that for “kinder words” than “Shut up.”

Anyway, deconstruction is a very real thing going on. A group called “exvangelicals” are taking their garbage to the masses. Several artists (Kevin Max formerly of DC Talk, Jon Steingard from Hawk Nelson, and Audrey Assad to name a few), “superstars” like Joshua Harris, and even a former Desiring God writer have taken to the airwaves and print to tell their story.  Kevin Max believes in the “Universal Christ.” What in the world is that supposed to mean?

My new series on Sunday morning will be called Truth Decay and each sermon will deal with some belief that Progressivism (I refuse to call it Progressive Christianity because it isn’t) is seeking to destroy. Historic, orthodox Christianity is under attack by the liberal progressives (and I’m not talking politically). If I can be one voice to help prepare the people for their garbage, i.e. false teaching, then I want my voice heard. The first in the series this Sunday is entitled The Bible is Still the Bible.

I hope you will join me this Sunday with your attendance in person or via live stream. Most of all, though, I covet your prayers.

#OldOldStory#GospelEssentials

Friday, October 8th, 2021

Some of you may remember the old hymn with the following lyrics:

“I love to tell the story/Of unseen things above/Of Jesus and His glory/Of Jesus and His love/I love to tell the story/Because I know ’tis true/It satisfies my longing/As nothing else will do/ Chorus: I love to tell the story!/Twill be my theme in glory/To tell the old, old story/Of Jesus and His love.”

My sermon this morning is a bit out of order. Since next Sunday, the 17th is OVCF’s 17th anniversary, I am switching my sermons for the two weeks. Next week’s is from Mark 14: 1-31 and is entitled Let Me Remind You. This Sunday’s sermon is from Mark 14:43-16:15 and is entitled Tell Me the Old, Old Story.

It is going to be a recounting of the essentials of the Gospel:

Tell Me About the Trial

Tell Me About the Death

Tell Me About the Resurrection

It never hurts to hear the old, old story over again.  I’d love to have you join me in person. If not, then live stream will be where you will get a chance to look at my face. 🙂  Actually, it would be better to say, “Where you can join us in worship.” If not, then I’d appreciate your prayers.

#AvoidPanic#EscapeJudgment#BeReady

Friday, October 1st, 2021

The story is told that Alfred Nobel was a Swedish chemist who made a fortune by inventing dynamite and other powerful explosives used for weapons.  Years later when Nobel’s brother died, a newspaper accidentally printed an obituary for Alfred instead. He was described as a man who became rich by enabling people to kill one another in unprecedented quantities. Shaken by this assessment, Nobel resolved to use his fortune to honor accomplishments that benefited humanity. Thus, he created the Nobel Peace Prize, among others.

I daresay very few of us get a sneak preview into how we will be remembered if we were to die today. But, if the truth be told, we tend not to be so concerned about it. We tend to be more concerned about the future.  The environmentalist is concerned about the state of the planet in the future. The secularist is concerned about the future of humanity. The follower of Christ is also concerned, but in a different way.  He is more concerned about future events, and in the long term, where he will spend eternity.

The idea of Jesus returning is on the minds of most Christ-followers, only in varying degrees. Some are rabid about it; some mildly interested; and some not at all. This week’s sermon, Mark 13, is on this very topic. I’m calling it Words for the Wise and my plan is to encourage us to look to the future but not lose sight of the present.  I look forward to you joining me.

I close with a story I will use Sunday: Waiting to be interviewed for a job as a Morse code operator, a group of applicants paid little attention to the sound of the dots and dashes that began coming over the loud speaker. Suddenly, one of the applicants rushed into the employer’s office. Soon he returned smiling. “I got the job” he exclaimed.

“How did you get ahead of us?” the others asked.

“You might have been considered if you had not been so busy talking that you did not hear the manager’s coded message,” he replied.  The message said, “The man I need must always be on the alert. The first one who interprets this and comes directly to my private office will be hired.”

You can apply it.  Hope to see you Sunday!

#Legalism#Deadliness

Friday, August 13th, 2021

Only someone who has grown up or been a part of legalism can truly understand its draw.

There are three ways of looking at the Bible.

Progressive “Christianity” (PC)– I use that term loosely because I am not convinced it is Christianity at all. PC takes a very open approach to the Bible and the things of God.

Legalism– the other end of the spectrum from PC. Legalism takes a very closed approach-not in the areas of inerrancy and accuracy of the Scriptures-but in the way God’s Word is followed.  Wanting to follow God’s Word is admirable, but in legalism’s case, it is taking it to an extreme and thinking, “Unless you see it my way there is no hope for you.”  It is the old adage: “Us four, no more, shut the door” type of thinking.

My sermon Sunday is going to explore that topic deeper. Using Mark 7:1-23 and Jesus’ confrontation/words with the Pharisees, I intend to show how legalism is dangerous and also life-sucking.  I would love to have you join us in person or live (whichever floats your boat). 🙂  One thing I do need to say if you plan to watch it on the live stream: due to a scheduling conflict of the two who are steady about streaming the second service, WE WILL ONLY BE STREAMING THE 9:00 SERVICE. Sorry for the inconvenience. You can still watch it at 10:45 or any other time.

I hope you will join me one way or the other.

That third way? The Bible is the inerrant, unchanging Word of God. True. Trustworthy. Completely accurate in its original languages. God’s written Word as He “spoke” it to the writers who wrote it down in their words.