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#Explosion#Cancer

Friday, July 8th, 2022

So far in this series I am calling “7 Cancers,” we have talked about pride and envy. This week’s cancer is on Anger.

We have all sorts of ditties about anger. Such as:

“When angry, count ten before you speak; If very angry, a hundred.” Thomas Jefferson

“When angry, count four. When very angry, swear.” Mark Twain

“It’s wise to remember that anger is just one letter short of danger.” Sam Ewing

“Anger helps straighten out a problem like a fan helps straighten out papers.” Susan Marcotte

“Secular” thoughts to a spiritual problem. “Now everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger.” James 1:19.  Now that’s more like it!

Anger seems to be all the rage (pun intended) these days. If people aren’t screaming and yelling or protesting or ranting and raving about something we tend to think there is something wrong with them. (I, on the other hand, think there is something most definitely wrong with those who do).  Our society is becoming angrier and angrier and it is finding ways to carry it out which boggles the mind. Who can forget the riots of 2020? Who can forget the mass shootings we have witnessed?

Christ-followers are not immune to those same kinds of feelings. BUT THAT DOESN’T MAKE THEM RIGHT.  I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that of all people Christ-follower ought to be setting the example of how to react to unfavorable situations or decisions.

Anger is one of the cancers which plague us all. What should be our response to situations which “try men’s souls”? How can I win over this cancer? My sermon this week on The Explosive Cancer will attempt to answer those questions and more. Please join me in person or via live stream at 9 and 10:45. If you can’t, would you mind praying for me? Thanks.

#Cancer#Envy

Friday, July 1st, 2022

I read of a movie called The Prestige. I have not seen it so I will rely on someone who has. It is the story of rival stage magicians in late 19th century London. Both men were brilliant and ambitious. Both want the best. The film follows the obsessive drive they each have and underneath their drive to be the best is a fierce competition which leads to murder and self-destruction. Their rivalry, fueled by envy and jealousy, wreaks havoc in their personal and professional lives.

Proverbs 14:30 says, “A tranquil heart gives life to the flesh, but envy makes the bones rot.”

Socrates called it “the ulcer of the soul.” Envy is a sickness of the soul, a consuming, wasting spiritual disease (cancer) that devours its host from the inside out. Like cancer, it eats away at us from the inside out. So many people are being eaten alive by envy (and its evil twin jealousy) they don’t even know it…or recognize it.

My series on 7 Cancers continues this week with my sermon on envy I’ve entitled “The Green-Eyed Cancer.”  Think “green with envy” and you get the picture.  I hope you will join me in person or via live stream. We meet at 9:00 and 10:45.

#DeadlyCancer#Pride

Friday, June 24th, 2022

Gregory the Great, who became pope in 590 A.D., once said pride was the “queen of sins.” And even though the papacy is not Scriptural, I have to say I agree with him. C.S. Lewis called pride “the great sin.” He went on to say, “The essential vice, the utmost evil, is Pride.”

When you think about it, all sin seems to find its roots in pride. Proverbs 8:13 and Proverbs 16:18 seem to say that as well.  Funny side note: do you remember the song by Carly Simon called “You’re So Vain”? It was reported to have been about Warren Beatty because he thought he was God’s gift to women.  Remember part of the lyrics: “You’re so vain you probably think this song is about you.” I just thought she was saying, “If you are arrogant enough to think I’m singing about you in what I have said, then vanity is an issue.” 🙂

Anyway, when pride takes over everyone suffers.  Two weeks ago I began a series I am calling “7 Cancers” with a sermon on Whatever Became of Sin.  This Sunday starts that series in earnest. As you can tell, pride will be the focus of the sermon I’m calling “The Queen Cancer.”   I hope you will join me either in person or online. We have two services-one at 9 and one at 10:45.

Let me close with a quote from J. Oswald Sanders:

Nothing is more distasteful to God than self-conceit.

#Father’sDay#SpecialEvent

Friday, June 17th, 2022

As I recover from my back surgery God’s impeccable timing becomes even more apparent. I’m not really sure I would have been up for a normal Sunday morning sermon. Without knowing anything about surgery or a date, I decided to do something different for Father’s Day. 

First, the backdrop. On Mother’s Day, I asked several women to share in sort of a roundtable discussion what woman or women in the Bible was one they looked up to. I used the word “hero” when I asked. Seven women participated, two via video. It was well-accepted and much appreciated. They didn’t preach. They didn’t even stand in the pulpit. I set chairs up for them to sit and share their thoughts with the audience and each other.

Now Father’s Day. I decided to do something similar for Father’s Day. I asked 15 men the same question: what man in the Bible would you consider a hero…other than Jesus.  All of them got back to me with their thoughts. When I asked if they would be willing to share that with others, 9 of them said, “Yes.” I have to tell you how excited I was about that! Many consider the women the more open of those who will speak.

This Sunday, 9 men will be sharing their example, the one they look up to as one to follow. Due to space and time it will not be a roundtable. They will present their thoughts from the pulpit. I’m so excited to hear their thoughts. I have to admit men I never thought would feel comfortable standing in front of folks will be doing so. What a phenomenal sight it will be to see men lead. Another man is giving the Communion thought.

I invited you to join me at 10:00 this Sunday. One service only this week! You can join us in person or online. Meanwhile, please continue to pray for my recovery. Thanks.

 

 

 

 

#BadConduct#GoodConduct

Friday, June 3rd, 2022

As the war against Hitler went to a fever pitch, Winston Churchill, in his first statement as prime minister said, “I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears, and sweat.” That statement was put to the test when British troops rescued more than 300,000 Allied troops who were cut off from land retreat by the Germans at Dunkirk. 30,000 French and British troops were killed or taken prisoner, but still Churchill stood his ground. On June 4, 1940, he made the follower speech to the House of Commons:

We shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end. We shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender.

His words ring true with the resolve of a man contending earnestly for the preservation of his country. In Jude, verse 3, we are told to “contend earnestly for the faith.” There will always be false teachers. Sometimes they will be overt and sometimes like wolves in sheep’s clothing. 

In this final sermon in my series called Snapshots,  Jude warns us about those who will bring bad conduct to a whole new level. But, more importantly, he also lays out a battle plan for us to mature into healthy followers of Jesus.  I would love to have you join us in person or via live stream at 9 and 10:45 as I close out this series.

Next week I start a series I’m calling 7 Cancers. I look forward to having you join me.

#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.

#PPA

Sunday, April 10th, 2022

Ever heard of PPA? You should have by now if you listen to any news feed. One of the most iconic actors of the past couple of decades was recently diagnosed with it. PPA stands for Primary Progressive Aphasia.

Bruce Willis has been diagnosed with it.

How ironic it was, then, that just a few weeks ago I listened to an Alisa Childers podcast where she interviewed a Christian philosopher and writer named Doug Groothius (pronounce grew-ties with the “s” sounding like a soft “s”). When I listened to the podcast I never caught the illness Doug’s wife suffered from and which was the inspiration for his book, Walking Through Twilight.  I was so intrigued by the interview I ordered his book and began reading it this past weekend.  Doug’s wife, a member of MENSA and a brilliant editor and writer of all his books, was diagnosed with PPA.

Here is a short “walk through” of PPA:

  • Often misdiagnosed as Alzheimer’s or “strict” dementia, it is different. Alzheimer’s starts at the back of the brain and moves forward; PPA is a frontal lobe disease. It is a rare form of dementia.
  • They all act alike in many ways. Forgetfulness. Lostness. Blank stares. Inability to recognize people or remember things. PPA also carries with it the inability to put words or thoughts together. My non-clinical way of saying it would be it is like having dyslexia of the mind.
  • There is no cure. It gets progressively worse.  At the time of the writing of his book (2017), Becky had suffered from it for 15 years.  (She went to be with Jesus in 2018).  It is an emotional wrangle for all involved-spouse, family, caregivers, even pets.

His book? You have to buy it. That is all I can say. I am about 1/2 way through it and have found myself drawn into his story and his struggle-with life, with God, with the way things are. Even though Doug is a philosopher, he doesn’t write like one who is “over my head.” Trust me, though, when I say you will enter into his story. You will ride the waves with him as he struggles emotionally and spiritually.

Walking Through Twilight: A Wife's Illness―A Philosopher's Lament

My father had dementia (he died at 90). My mother-in-law had it. My sister-in-law has it (mild form so far). I can guarantee this book has given me a new perspective on the “world” of the one walking through this twilight with someone they love.

BUY IT!! READ IT!! WEEP WITH IT!! REJOICE WITH IT (she knew Jesus)!!

And say a prayer for Bruce Willis and his family. I’m guessing they don’t know Jesus. They will need Him and the strength and comfort He offers.

#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.