Monday, June 25, 2012

Good Article on Living a Gospel Centered Life

This is reposted from Defending

Christians Are We Ready?

Maybe I am overstating the obvious here, but the Christian church has lost a lot of ground with regards to homosexuality. I’m not talking about on the legislative or protest front, I’m talking about in our preaching and teaching of the gospel. We are losing and the culture is looking at us as old, fuddy-duddies who simply haven’t got a clue.

In truth, I have to admit, when it came to discussing homosexuality, this was an area I just stayed out of. I simply believed I was going to get steam rolled if I ever tried to talk about it, so it just didn’t seem worth it. And it’s not like there isn’t evidence to support this. How many videos have we seen of Christians being escorted by police away from homosexual events or neighborhoods. The animosity from the homosexual community toward Christians is pretty well documented. So honestly, I felt justified in staying away from the matter.

But I realize now that I have done a disservice to the gospel. In fact, I would wager that I have sinned by unilaterally deciding to never deal with the issue. I say this because I never bothered to dig into scripture and learn how to defend what God teaches on this matter. I never learned how to explain how homosexuality was still wrong while eating shrimp was fine. I never learned how to preach the gospel compassionately and lovingly to a person who was struggling to understand how their attractions could be an affront to the God who created him. I simply just didn’t want to do it.

Now, all one has to do is peruse social media and blogging sites to see the prevailing attitude among our culture. Young people have no clue what the Bible says about homosexuality. And what little they think they know is grossly wrenched out of context. But the sad truth is that many Christians know less about this issue, biblically speaking, than those whose voices are being the agent of change in our culture. We simply don’t know how to defend the faith, and we look like fools when we try. So the culture throws the out of context verses at us, along with emotionally charged rhetoric, and we either respond with half thought answers, or we fold under the pressure. The result is that immorality grows unabated and the church loses more influence everyday.

So how do we address this? Well, it certainly isn’t going to be through protests, legislation and lawsuits. Just watch the evening news to see how well that battle is going. What’s worse, because there is no gospel centeredness in such efforts, all we appear to be are hate mongering jerks who want everyone to do things our way.

I believe that we as a church must first start by educating ourselves in the scriptures. And this means doing a lot of hermeneutical homework. We have to understand the passages of scripture, and their contexts, with regard to homosexuality. We also have to understand the passages the world loves to use to point out the so called hypocrisy in what we obey (such as the prohibitions to the Jews to wearing blended fabrics or eating shellfish). We have to understand for ourselves the differences between moral and civil laws and know what it is Christ really said about marriage. If we don’t take the time to do this individually, we will be ill prepared for any conversation that comes up.

Incidentally, a good resource on this, which has prompted me to reconsider my involvement, is Dr. James White’s response to Matthew Vines (a young homosexual who spoke at a church regarding homosexuality not being sinful). Dr. White spent five hours on his webcast dissecting Mr. Vines’ speech and addressing the very issues we see being brought up today. He has made this response available as a download. You can find it on the main page at Please consider downloading and listening to this resource.

Once we have spent the time learning what the Bible really says, we need to start taking this out into the world to share. And I don’t mean go on some holy crusade to lash out at people on websites or get into arguments with people at protest rallies. I simply mean that as we talk with people, as we share the gospel, be prepared to answer this matter biblically. When the subject comes up with friends, relatives and co-workers (trust me, it will), give loving and compassionate answers straight from God’s word. Also, let us discuss this matter within our own homes. Face it, our husbands, wives and children are being exposed to this everyday. All you have to do is turn on the evening news and it’s right there. We have to raise them up in the scriptures so that they too will have a firm foundation to stand on.

Finally, let us be about our Father’s business of preaching the gospel at every single opportunity we have. Let us do so with great love and compassion, knowing that we too are sinners, but have been saved by the grace of Christ alone. While it is very easy to look at the agenda of the homosexual lobby and become angry, let us never forget that those lobbies contain hundreds and thousands of lost souls desperately in need of the gospel.

We have lost so much ground because, as a church, we have not invested the time to learn the right answers. We have lashed out angrily, we have given weak answers that toppled with a mere shove, or we have cowered into our philosophical corners and let the issue march right by. Yet, we serve a great and powerful God! His gospel is the power of salvation to all mankind! Let us not retreat in fear, let us not strike out in anger, but let us proclaim the truth to all mankind in love so that sinners might be saved. In doing, we might just change the attitude of our culture because people will be getting saved and led by the Spirit. Let us engage the culture and let us stand on God’s word alone.

Friday, June 15, 2012

What Can Be Known About God Is Plain To Unbelievers

Romans 1:16-25

16For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.
17For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.” 
18For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.
19For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.
21For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.
22Claiming to be wise, they became fools,
23and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.
24Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves,
25because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.

Crossway Bibles (2011-02-09). The Holy Bible, English Standard Version (with Cross-References) (Kindle Locations 37565-37572). Good News Publishers/Crossway Books. Kindle Edition.

The point I want to bring to you with this text is in verses 19 and 20.  The Bible says that everyone knows that there is a God, the Christian God.  When witnessing, we don't ever have to prove the existence of God to anyone.  Everyone already knows within themselves that there is the Christian God, they just chose to dishonor Him as God or give thanks to Him.  The foolishness of their heart turned to darkness.  In reading further in this text, one can see what lifestyle choices and gender confusions are made by the foolish dark hearted ones that make the choice to dishonor and not believe.

For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Life Lessons for my children and grandchildren

This was originally written by Regina Brett, 90 years old, of the Plain Dealer, Cleveland, Ohio. I've added to a commented on her lessons.

"To celebrate growing older, I once wrote the 45 lessons life taught me. It is the most requested column I've ever written.

My odometer rolled over to 90 in August, so here is the column once more:

1. Life isn't fair, but it's still good.

2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.

3. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.

4. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends and parents will. Stay in touch.

5. Pay off your credit cards every month. (or better yet, don't have any!)

6. You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree. (or agree to not argue about it any longer)

7. Cry with someone. It's more healing than crying alone.

8. It's OK to get angry with God. He can take it.
(I don't agree with this one personally. It is OK to fear God and love God. Remember time is needed to see the BIG picture that God sees in your life.)

9. Save for retirement starting with your first paycheck.
(And all the rest of them too.)

10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile. 
(Chocolate is a vegetable, eat up.) (Amen)
11. Make peace with your past so it won't screw up the present. 
(Be open and honest with your spouse and/or parents, it'll be better in the long run)

12. It's OK to let your children see you cry.
(Unless it is when you are watching a chick flic, then it is just sissy.)

13. Don't compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey
is all about
.  (AMEN!  Remember that plank in your own eye before dealing with the spec in your brother's eye.)

14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn't be in it
. (AMEN!  Don't ruin your marriage thinking you can get away with a secret relationship. 1 it is a sin, 2 it is stupid, 3 grass is green on both sides of the fence, 4 our prayer is for no divorce in our family for 200 years.  That should encompass you and your children and their children.)  (We've even unfriended old "flames" on facebook & joined accounts ~ accountablility is key in a relationship ~ don't blow it!)
15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye. But don't worry; God
never blinks.
(We have all lived this.  Remember it.)

16. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.
(And slows you down to think.)

17. Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful, or joyful.

18. Whatever doesn't kill you really does make you stronger.

19. It's never too late to have a happy childhood. But the second one is
up to you and no one else.
(You've all had a happy childhood, now onto adulthood.)

20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don't take no for
an answer. 
(Again, not fully committed to this.  I will agree that this is good if we are talking about your career or artistic creation.)

21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don't
save it for a special occasion. Today is special.
(This one is cool.  I plan to use the special soap in every guest bath I use from now on.)

22. Over prepare, then go with the flow.
(This could be a moto for a mission trip. It goes with "BE FLEXIBLE".)

23. Be eccentric now. Don't wait for old age to wear purple.

24. The most important sex organ is the brain.
(Love your spouse!)

25. No one is in charge of your happiness but you.
(But you need to share it with your parents.)

26. Frame every so-called disaster with these words 'In five years, will this matter?

27. Always choose life.
(AMEN! Preach it!) (Its not a choice ~ its a baby!)
28. Forgive everyone everything.
(This is so hard to do, but so necessary. See #3 and #8)

29. What other people think of you is none of your business.
(How I wish I could be free of this in my life!)

30. Time heals almost everything. Give time time.
(Been there, done that!)

31. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.

32. Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.

33. Believe in miracles.
(You will know this when you see your children born.  I did.)

34. God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn't do. 
(This will be covered in another blog on Calvinism.)

35. Don't audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.
(No one is promised a tomorrow.)

36. Growing old beats the alternative -- dying young.
(Too close to home.)

37. Your children get only one childhood. 
(Let your children be children ~ don't sign up for every activity, every sport, or have every minute scheduled ~ make playdoh cookies, read books, watch the clouds blow by ~ visit their grandparents often!)

38. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.
(Faith, Hope, and Love; the greatest of these is Love.)

39. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere. 
(all of creation screams the Miracles of God)

40. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else's, we'd grab ours back.

41. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.

42. The best is yet to come...

43. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up, and show up. 
(so true!)

44. Yield.
(See #16)

45. Life isn't tied with a bow, but it's still a gift.

(I am adding to the list.)

46. Get up and go to church. Your best friend is there.

47. Read your Bible every time you can.  This is how God has chosen to speak to you.

48. Talk to your parents at least every week.  One of these days you won't be able to any longer.

49. Visit your grandparents.  Make them a part of your life now.  Imagine your children knowing and talking about your great-grandparents.

50. I you plan to spend more than $300, ALWAYS sleep on it.  ALWAYS get your spouse on board with your plan.  You don't want any financial fiascoes because you did not communicate.  It doesn't hurt to say a prayer about it either before you pull the trigger.  (That advise came from Wallace and has helped me alot.)

51. Do the right thing even if it is going to take 3 memos to get it approved afterwards.

52. Facebook is not a substitute for reality.

53. Old love interests don't need to be a part of your facebook friends after you are married.  No good comes from it.

54. Dating is not a good thing for your sons and daughters.  Courtship works.

55. Coffee is good.  Cigarettes are bad.  Alcohol should always be consumed in moderation.

56. Life is tough.  It is tougher if you are stupid.  Ask God for wisdom and knowledge.

57. Always keep a roll of ducttape and electrical tape handy.

58. Know where your hammer and screwdrivers are.  This is more important as your sons age.

59. A leaky faucet costs you money. Fix your problems without procrastination.

60. Spell check is needed when you communicate in writing.

61. Always wear gloves when you cut hot peppers.

62. When you have questions about your own salvation, read 1 John.  There are several tests in the text that will let you know.

63. Do your best, and caulk the rest.