Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Dressing-Down God

I made the comment on my Facebook that in our effort to dress-down the church , we have dressed down God. That means that in our attempt to make God more approachable, we have in some ways brought him down to our own level. The old adage, "God created man in His own image and man returned the favor" can hold true here. I believe we as a church forget sometimes who He is and who we are not. Just as an example, most of us would dress better to stand in front of President Obama than we would in front of God. By the way, it wasn't that long ago that America was shocked that a women's lacrosse team would feel so comfortable as to walk into the White House to meet then President Bush adorning flip flops.

Unfortunately, this carries over into every part of our Christian experience. I saw a young man a while back with a T-Shirt that said, "Jesus is my Homeboy." I see that as very disrespectful and I don't think on the day of judgment that he or anyone for that matter will feel comfortable referring to God as their "homeboy".

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Great book on the subject of Calvinism.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Given to Change, Part 3

I don't want to start an argument over Bible translations. I have my convictions and they are quite strong. However, at the moment, I'm just trying to make a point. It seems like we change Bible translations about as often as we change our socks. Why? - So that we can keep up with our ever deteriorating English language? The sad truth today is that most people can't speak proper English anymore; let alone read it. So we come up with a new translation every couple of years to respond to that felt need. Again I say, "Where is the fruit?" Are people reading their Bibles more today than they were yesterday now that their Bibles are "easier to read"? No, they’re not. Do the people know their Bibles better today than they did yesterday because of their "easier to read" versions? Again, the answer is an emphatic no they don't.

As a matter of fact, with the introduction of Power Point, people don't need to carry Bibles at all anymore. After all, someone is going to spoon-feed it to them anyway. There is nothing more discouraging than to stand up in front of a congregation of people who don't have Bibles in their hands. I'm not so sure we are doing them any favors by not expecting and waiting for them to turn in their Bibles to a portion of Scripture and read it along with us. In the end, that slick Power Point presentation isn’t going to be there when the dark clouds roll in and life becomes too much to bear alone? They need to know their Bibles.
Of course, I realize that the proliferation of modern translations has in many respects made Power Point a better option because at least the preacher can get the entire congregation reading the same words. I don’t know about you, but I find it discouraging to stand up in front of a congregation to read from a portion of Scripture knowing full well that "their Bible” doesn't say it that way. The newer translations are supposed to bring clarity, but all I see them creating is confusion and doubt. Sadly, in the end, congregational reading is really no longer possible unless it is with a Power Point and Scripture memory is a thing of the past because every time they hear the verse, it’s a different version. I can tell you from experience that most of my Scripture memory was not deliberate, but just came as the result of hearing the same verses over and over again throughout childhood. Sadly, that simply does not happen anymore.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Given to Change, Part 2

I've been a worship leader for many years and I absolutely love music. Second only to the teaching ministry in the local church, is music. God loves music. The largest book in His Word is a songbook. He has created beings around him night and day that do nothing but sing praises to Him. Someday, the church will do the same. God loves music and so do I. I love all kinds for that matter. I can go from Southern Gospel to Bluegrass to contemporary praise with no problem. It drives my family crazy! However, the music, in and of itself, is not the primary focus in this conversation. The focus is, “Where have all of these changes in music taken us?”

My concern is that I believe something has been lost in the transition. For example, we took the old hymns, many of which were written in the blood of men who lost their lives for the cause of Christ and just virtually tossed them out over night in favor of "Countdown Magazine's Top 20". What’s been the fruit of that? We now have a collection of music in our churches that is for the most part doctrinally shallow and self-absorbed. Many of them are little more than mantras.

Not that the old hymns were perfect in all aspects as that some of them did contain doctrinal errors. However, many of the newer contemporary songs contain nothing of lasting value that's going to get anyone through the storms of life and many of them actually do contain doctrinal error. As a matter of fact, I'm amazed to see Bible-believing churches singing songs that were written in churches that they would never dare to step foot in, let alone fellowship with. What makes any of us think that a group of people who are teaching heresy can write music that is glorifying to God.

In the end, I make a plea for balance in our churches. One need not throw the proverbial baby out with the bath water. We just need to be a little more selective in what we sing. After all, it was Paul who said in Colossians 3:16, Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.

U.S. Abortion Statics

Approximately 1,370,000 abortions occur annually in the U.S.

88% of those abortions occur during the first 6 to 12 weeks of pregnancy.

60% of abortions are performed on women who already have one or more children.

47% of abortions are performed on women who have already had one or more abortions.

63% of abortion patients are white, however, black women are more than 3 times as likely to have an abortion, and Hispanic women are 2.5 times as likely.

Religion - 43% of women getting an abortion claimed they were Protestant, while 27% claimed they were Catholic.


Here are a few rules before sharing something with someone else. The acronym is T.H.I.N.K.

T--Is it true?

H--Is it helpful?

I--Is it inspiring?

N--Is it necessary?

K--Is it kind?

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Getting Used to the Dark

Here are the words to a song by the McKameys. It says, "Sin is all around, but we don’t think this world is as bad as it seems. We just close our eyes to what is going on. Christian lives are wrecked by sin and we blame it on the world we’re in. We say there is nothing we can do. Instead of being a shining light, we’re just doing right in our own eyes. As Christians, we’re not doing our part. We’re just getting used to the dark. We’re not praying to change any hearts, we’re just getting used to the dark." As a matter of fact, I believe that we've become so comfortable with the dark that we can't even worship God with the lights on anymore.

Given to Change, Part 1

I was working my way through the tiny book of Titus when I came upon this verse in Titus 1:9 which says, Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers. I began meditating on the phase holding fast the faithful word as he has been taught and it got me to thinking about change. Proverbs 24:21 says, My son, fear thou the LORD and the king: and meddle not with them that are given to change: As a matter of fact, the Bible speaks profusely about change and how that it is not always good.

The Bible also warns us against being so quick to withdraw ourselves from our past. II Thessalonians 2:15 says, Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle. Jeremiah 6:16 says, Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein. Unfortunately, as I reflect upon my nineteen years of ministry, we are a people who insist upon change.

I've come to the conclusion that we are too quick to want change today. Don't get me wrong. I certainly do not advocate that we return to the dark ages. I do enjoy being able to write these thoughts on a computer, in a climate controlled environment under the warm glow of incandescent lighting! No, I'm not talking about that kind of change. I'm talking about change when it comes to the things of God and the house of God. Now maybe I'm getting a little older and I've already been there, bought the T-Shirt and back again, but I've learned and observed a few things over the years that concern me.

As I reflect upon many of these changes, I simply do not see the fruit of them. The end result today is that the average church member is lost. George Barna concludes that six out of ten in the evangelical church in America is lost today. Dr. R. Albert Mohler is his studies of Southern Baptist life concludes that fifty percent of his denomination is not saved. I’m afraid that we have lost something in our rush to change things.