Sexual Confusion #4

July 9th, 2013

Thinking clearly, acting gracefully.

G.K. Chesterton has said “There are many ways to fall down; there is only one way to stand up straight.”

The sexual revolution of the past 50 years has turned Judeo/Christian ethical culture and Biblical morality on its head. That which has historically been considered unnatural and unhealthy is now being normalized in today’s radical culture. The sexual preferences of a few are being imposed as normative on our guilt ridden entitlement systems and the propagandized public education of our children. Our demoralizing political systems are reinforced by the media and an ungodly, relativistic, and ‘educratic’ bureaucracy. Our self-absorbed hedonism has born a harvest of destruction.

The opposition to Scriptural instruction has been formed into an anti-intellectual rant of presumed motives and hypocritical impositions. Those who follow Scriptural wisdom are deemed backward and ignorant. The foundations of our great nation and the blessings that flow from those ancient stones and the Godly systems established upon them are now being thrown down in derision. Be aware! Stay awake!

The Apostle Paul wrote the church in Philippi to awaken them to such a threat. In Philippians 3:17-21 he writes; “Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us. For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform four lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.”

Sexual Confusion #3

June 29th, 2013

Thinking clearly, acting gracefully.

The Bible and marriage.

Biblical marriage was introduced and woven into the fabric of the biblical narrative from Genesis to Revelation. In Genesis 1 we see God’s intention and design in the created order of humanity. This design is celebrated as a gift that leads to life in the gifts of children in Genesis 2. Jesus confirmed this design in His response to the religious leaders in Matthew 19. The Apostle Paul, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, revealed a picture of the church with this imagery of the ‘Bride of Christ.’ In the conclusion of the age the illustration of the final scene is that of the “Marriage supper of the Lamb” and the bride representing God’s people.

The church needs to differentiate between the teachings of Scripture and the decisions of the courts. The courts of the world will, at times, support the biblical ethic and at other times oppose it. So, the discussion of the courts that lead to the creation of new definitions for old words is NOT the issue. The purview of the Federal government is not in spiritual matters even though their decisions affect the spiritual environment of the nation. Their domain should be limited to the application of the constitution and the legitimacy of legislation passed.

When judges become legislatures we lose the balance of power. When Christians become dependent on the worlds courts to gain legitimacy and define our ethics, we have lost our way.

Sexual Confusion #2

June 29th, 2013

Thinking clearly, acting gracefully

Why does the definition of marriage matter?

Marriage is at the core of how we understand sexuality, human nature and the ordering of society. This is how we build culture and civilization. So, this is a matter of loving God and loving our neighbor, our civilization. This is us living according to God’s will that reflects His nature.

Supreme Court Judge Roberts stated, “When the institution of marriage developed historically, people didn’t get around and say, “Let’s have this institution, but let’s keep out homosexuals. ” Roberts said, “The institution developed to serve purposes that, by their nature, didn’t include homosexual couples.”

A well stated Christian clarification we need to understand is that “Homo-sexual desire is contrary to the design of God for human sexuality. In that sense, it is rightly thought of as a fallen condition and, in general terms, a consequence of sin and brokenness.” Remember the Apostle Paul’s words in the letter to the Romans 3:23 “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

Sexual Confusion #1

June 29th, 2013

Thinking clearly, acting gracefully.
In the next few weeks I want to address the raucous media blitzes promoting same sex marriage.
I believe that we need to think biblically and respond with great grace into this confusing moral issue.
Pat answers, religious platitudes, and harsh judgments are not helpful.
There are loud and seemingly incessant pronouncements from all forms of media sources, both secular and Christian, stating the inevitability of the current tide for same-sex marriage. Even Christian leaders are stating that the “ship has sailed” and that the biblical design and instruction has been relegated to the dustbins of history. This leads to a discounting bias that “we” are on the wrong side of history, we are considered along the lines of bigots of past generations.
So, the intent of these comments are to confront this issue with clear biblical thinking, and graceful pro-action, not just reactions, or worse, silence. The definition of marriage does matter! Silence and retreat has allowed distortion and exaggeration to dominate the conversation. Our silence, or worse, our unloving and even hateful responses, has allowed same-sex advocates to appear to be ruling the public arena. We are not to ‘take a side of history’ but to make history. Our actions, in love, can and will touch the hearts of the confused and help bring life and clarity.

Fathers Day

June 29th, 2013

Happy Father’s Day
The Apostle Paul sets a high bar for those that serve as elders in the church and this bar is a standard for us all. In Titus 1:6 he writes, “The men you choose must be well thought of for their good lives; they must have only one wife and their children must love the Lord and not have a reputation for being wild or disobedient to their parents.” From this we can see that being a father is a very important responsibility, it is a learned skill and it has great rewards. We are about the task of building our family.
The family is the place to establish identity and security, to teach and transmit values, to make and store lifetime memories. It is here that we develop hidden talents and potentials in our children while we learn how to love and forgive. Our goal is to establish a place to grow in a safe environment, to learn honesty and transparency, to be able to fail without criticism or condemnation. The home must be a safe place to hide during the storms of life. It is here that we experience the kingdom of God in action, translate Scripture into living realities. Yes, even to establish a command center for safety to bring the Kingdom of God to a lost world.
The family is under greater and greater stress but we must fight against the pressures of the world because the family is the foundation of culture. I do not know the source of this statement, “The family is the foundation for Godly seed, the demonstration of Divine agreement, and is sealed by blood covenant!” but it is true. We must build and protect it. The family today is living in a routine panic that threatens our peace and order and keeps us off balance and easily pressed into the world’s mold. Let’s raise the standard and walk the walk. If our Christianity doesn’t work at home – it doesn’t work!

An Absolute Outcome

February 28th, 2012

A poignant thought in today’s malaise is that we are trained to be relativists but are expected to act ethical. Our culture condemns those that assign any moral boundaries or state absolutes while it derides the established boundaries and decries the lack of ethics that results in the chaos in the world.
The Apostle Paul pointed this reality out to the Roman church, “When outsiders who have never heard of God’s law follow it more or less by instinct, they confirm its truth by their obedience. They show that God’s law is not something alien, imposed on us from without, but woven into the very fabric of our creation. There is something deep within them that echoes God’s yes and no, right and wrong.”
The reality is that God made humanity in His image and it is the reflection of that image that expresses the moral nature of God, defining the “Absolutes” of His judgment. The only true relative issue is our relationship to the Living God and our reflection of His moral nature. This will result in an absolute outcome!

Conspiracies of God and Men

February 15th, 2012

We are daily bombarded with fearful reports of the conspiracies of men grasping for power, many of these are true and many more are the results of paranoid imaginations. The fearful victims of this world’s systems exponentially multiply their fears in response. As Christians, we have the revelation and a responsibility to live in faith and obedience to God and His Word as we promote the expansion of His Kingdom through the conspiracy of love. The conspiracy of the Kingdom has been at work since the beginning and was ultimately consummated in the life of Jesus, the Messiah. His words clarify this reality when He said that “all authority in heaven and on earth have been given to me.”
The word ‘conspire’ has developed a negative connotation in its recent use. However, it means to act in harmony, of the same breath, for a common goal. When the conspiracies of men that oppose God are exposed, Christians are to act in harmony with the values, principles and commands of the Kingdom of Heaven. We are to “obey God rather than man.”
The current “secularist socialist” attempts to redefine our constitutional right from the “freedom of religion” to a “freedom of worship” is a good example of the conspiracies of men. Their goal is to exclude the faith of Christians from being expressed in any public arena. Their deception lies in the attempt to redefine this freedom and limit the expression of faith to a private act rather than a faith lived out in public. When our government establishes laws that require us to violate our conscience and oppose our Christian principles and values, we must respond with a civil disobedience, to obey God rather than man!
One thing all Christians in this country should do is to read and sign the Manhattan Declaration as we stand together for orthodox Christian values and principles. This declaration is found at www.manhattandeclaration.org. Read and sign it today if you are of the same breath as the Kingdom conspiracy.

Compared With Whom?

February 8th, 2012

We live in a culture that is just as carnal, just as self absorbed and just as fearful as at any previous time. The ‘Jesus follower’ is challenged to live “in the world” but not be “of the world”, that is, this world system. It is obvious that this world system is built on the values of money, sex, and power. Now, the greatest of these is money, with it men purchase sex and power! Oh, but the value system of the Kingdom of God is faith, hope, and love, the greatest of these is love!
The Apostle Paul reminds us through his letter to the Corinthian church in II Corinthians 10:12:
“For we are not bold to class or compare ourselves with some of those who commend themselves; but when they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are without understanding.”
Paul is responding to the carnal attempts of those who seem to be competing with him for influence. He is not, understand, putting himself in a league with those who boast that they’re his superiors. We wouldn’t dare do that. But in all this comparing and grading and competing, they quite miss the point!
Many in the church are “of the world”, worldly, but not “in the world.” That is, acting like the world while condemning it from a distance. We must be cautious in our ‘holiness,’ our separateness, from exempting ourselves from the ministry God places in our lives while separating from the sin.
The only one we have a reason to compare ourselves with is Jesus. When we do this we will bow humbly before Him with Whom we have to do. So be careful in this worldly process of envy, greed, and selfish ambition. The beginning of wisdom is the fear of the Lord!
The American poet and humorist, Strickland Gillian, hit the nail on the head when he wrote, “Egotism is the opiate that nature administers to deaden the pain of mediocrity.” If we are not careful, our ego will blind us to the purposes of God as we get entangled in the spirit of this world. Let’s live by faith and walk in obedience to the light that we have received.

A Depth of Life

January 21st, 2012

Jesus exposed a spiritual value in His Sermon On The Mount, Matthew 5 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”
In this life, we are not meant to escape the reality of loss, but to process our losses with God’s Grace. We live in a broken world with bodies that are “appointed once to die” and, therefore, endure losses every day. We are not to “waste” the experiences of life but grow by them. This process of mourning is a carving out of our souls. The deepening of our souls that results from the sorrow and pain will result in a “vessel for His honor” to be filled with His Spirit and poured out for many.
A life without true spiritual experience and spiritual truth results in a Christian faith that will collapse under the sheer weight of the spiritual mediocrity it is compelled to carry.
We must escape the shallow life of hedonism, the cheap pleasure seeking existence that is self-absorbed and empty. The theologian and martyr, Dietrich Bonhoffer, called this “cheap grace”.
Cheap Grace is defined as “the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church, discipline, communion without confession, absolution without personal confession. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate.”
The author Dallas Willard calls this a “Consumer Christianity.” He defines this as “One who utilizes the grace of God for forgiveness and the services of the church for special occasions, but does not give his life and innermost thoughts, feelings and intentions over to the Kingdom of the heavens. Such Christians are not inwardly transformed and not committed to it.”
Jesus said in John 16:33 “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”

A Fresh Start!

December 27th, 2011

A fresh start! What a great thought. The longer we live, the more we value this blessing.
At the start of a New Year we have the sense of beginning again. We want to do it right, or at least – better! But, our experience is usually not so. We continue in the same way, doing the same things expecting a different result. This is a form of insanity, a misconception of reality. If you could change yourself, you would have done so already!
The prophet Isaiah reveals a foundational and humble reality;
“But now, O LORD, You are our Father, We are the clay, and You our potter; And all of us are the work of Your hand.”
Only a life yielded to the hand of the potter, to His mind and mold, will be truly changed, really improved. A prayer is noted in the classic devotional, “A Cloud of Unknowing,” that powerfully states our need.
“God, unto Whom all hearts be open . . . and unto Whom no secret thing is hid, I beseech Thee so for to cleanse the intent of mine heart with the unspeakable gift of Thy grace, that I may perfectly love Thee and worthily praise Thee. Amen.”
This is the heart attitude that will allow change to be made in our lives. The Psalmist (139th) also wrote this powerful prayer of yielding,
“Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious thoughts;
And see if there be any hurtful way in me, And lead me in the everlasting way.”
Now here is the fresh start that is needed!