13 April 2018

This 'n' That

The evangelical conference world has certainly given us plenty to talk about this week, hasn't it? (If you don't know what I'm referring to, don't worry about it, and consider yourself fortunate).

I've no desire to engage the social gospel issue currently at hand. I'd just be adding more murmurs to the already maddening noise, and there's simply no point in that. I would simply encourage all of us to engage this topic, and others, biblically, and to test anybody else's engagement of it against scripture. That means testing a man's hot-button issue-based sermon against the Word, and determining whether it divides that Word properly.

It amazes me how Christians so easily forget and fail to keep the main thing the main thing. We mirror the world in this, ready to jump on the latest bandwagon and blow that trumpet until folks are finally tired of hearing about it and we move onto something else. Funny how we voice our frustrations when the world does this, but are totally blind to our own guilt in this matter. Worst of all, the divisions among Christians do not go unnoticed by the world, and when we fail to display the unity that we are to share in Christ, we injure our witness.

That's why we must keep the main thing, or rather, the main Person, front and center: Christ. We must keep the gospel—the true gospel—at the heart of all our speech and behavior. It's astonishing, really, how difficult that can be in this world of constant political, material, and social distractions. May God help us keep our focus.

Speaking of distractions, I have another list of them for you today! So why not take a few minutes this weekend to enjoy your week in review (kind of):

06 April 2018

This 'n' That

Tis the season, around here anyway, for schizophrenic weather. The week began chilly, then temperatures soared to near 80 degrees on Tuesday. Unfortunately, that lovely reprieve from winter was bookended by severe thunderstorms in the morning and evening, as well as a tornado watch. Wednesday found us bundled back up and watching a few flurries float around. Now, we are waiting to see if accumulating snow will actually arrive overnight as currently predicted. It's always at this time of year that I ask, "Remind me again why I ever left Southern California?"

I actually do appreciate the change of seasons, though. They provide a tangible, recurrent illustration of watching something move from death to life...and only God can do that. As unpredictable as the seasons (or at least spring) may seem to man, they are perfectly designed and timed by the Creator Himself. And when it is time for new life to emerge from the ground, it will, just as God commands.

Likewise, when it is time for a man or woman to be born again, to be granted new life in Christ, it will happen, just as God commands. Some may wonder or even lament that they were not saved earlier in life, and the sentiment is understood, but the reality is that they did not come to saving faith in Christ one moment too soon or too late for God's plan. That truth, friends, is mind blowing and praise eliciting.

Thank God for His power over the seasons and, even more, thank God that salvation is wholly His work.

Okay, while I go try and find my scarf, gloves, and boots (guess I put them away too early), why don't you cozy up with a cup of tea (or coffee or hot chocolate or milk or water or whatever) and enjoy your week in review (kind of):

01 April 2018

He Is Not Here


Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came early to the tomb, while it was still dark, and saw the stone already taken away from the tomb. So she ran and came to Simon Peter and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid Him.” So Peter and the other disciple went forth, and they were going to the tomb. The two were running together; and the other disciple ran ahead faster than Peter and came to the tomb first; and stooping and looking in, he saw the linen wrappings lying there; but he did not go in. And so Simon Peter also came, following him, and entered the tomb; and he saw the linen wrappings lying there, and the face-cloth which had been on His head, not lying with the linen wrappings, but rolled up in a place by itself. So the other disciple who had first come to the tomb then also entered, and he saw and believed. For as yet they did not understand the Scripture, that He must rise again from the dead. So the disciples went away again to their own homes.

But Mary was standing outside the tomb weeping; and so, as she wept, she stooped and looked into the tomb; and she saw two angels in white sitting, one at the head and one at the feet, where the body of Jesus had been lying. And they said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him.” When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, and did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” Supposing Him to be the gardener, she said to Him, “Sir, if you have carried Him away, tell me where you have laid Him, and I will take Him away.” Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to Him in Hebrew, “Rabboni!” (which means, Teacher). Jesus said to her, “Stop clinging to Me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, ‘I ascend to My Father and your Father, and My God and your God.’” Mary Magdalene came, announcing to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord,” and that He had said these things to her.

(John 20:1-18)

Alleluia, He is risen!

Resurrection Sunday Morning Praise

Christ the Lord Is Risen Today

31 March 2018

The Original Plan


Saturday. The day between Christ’s death and, for all the disciples knew, merely the next day.

Still not understanding all that Jesus had prophesied about His resurrection, His earliest followers no doubt felt a measure of great despair on that Saturday. We can conclude this from the actions of the women, who hurried to the tomb early the next morning to properly prepare Christ’s body:
When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, bought spices, so that they might come and anoint Him. Very early on the first day of the week, they came to the tomb when the sun had risen. They were saying to one another, "Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb?" 
(Mark 16:1-3)
But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they came to the tomb bringing the spices which they had prepared. (Luke 24:1)

30 March 2018

This 'n' That

Oh yeah, this is totally what I do when it rains.
Well, "spring" arrived last week. Yes, the daffodils are blooming, the birds are singing...and in many places in the midwest it's 45 degrees and raining. The pitter-patter of the rain on the roof is enough to lull you to sleep for days, and the overwhelming amount of rain has caused those lovely daffodils to bend low, as if they've given up on life.

Oh well, such is life on this earth! The changing seasons, the rain, clouds, and sun, all remind that there is a Creator who is sovereign over all these things.
Praise the LORD!
Praise the LORD from the heavens;
Praise Him in the heights!

Praise Him, all His angels;
Praise Him, all His hosts!

Praise Him, sun and moon;
Praise Him, all stars of light!

Praise Him, highest heavens,
And the waters that are above the heavens!

Let them praise the name of the LORD,
For He commanded and they were created.

He has also established them forever and ever;
He has made a decree which will not pass away. (Psalm 148:1-6)
This same Creator was sovereign over the events of Christ's death and resurrection, upon which we reflect this weekend. Let us take comfort in knowing that this is our God—One who has ordained all things that come to pass, One who is surprised by nothing, and One who is working all things for His ultimate glory.

If your weather report is like mine, then you likely won't be venturing far today, so why not use the opportunity to enjoy your week in review (kind of):

26 March 2018

Whose Church?


There is a disturbing tendency rampant in Christianity. While it may not always be deliberate, it is nevertheless worrisome and, if one is boldly honest, potentially even damaging.
I attend [insert pastor’s name here]’s church.
What?
Yes, he attended such-and-such seminary and/or was/is affiliated with thus-and-so ministry.
Hopefully the reader sees the problem with the above scenario. Further, hopefully the reader is not blind—whether willfully or ignorantly—to the truthful reality that such conversations actually do occur.

It is acceptable to like, appreciate, encourage, and even praise our pastors. They have been called to preach the Word, to proclaim the gospel of Christ, and to teach the whole truth of Scripture without compromise. That is not a simple job. It does not come without spiritual warfare, fatigue, and times of doubt. If our pastor is faithful to Christ and to His Word, we ought to joyfully share that with those who are inquiring about the body of believers with whom we worship and serve.