This Sunday we will be launching a new series simply entitled parents. During this 4-week series we will be giving practical and biblical helps to enable you to not only feel more confident and capable as a parent, but also more successful! Far too often, because we feel like failures or we feel overwhelmed we give in, we ‘go along to get along’ as it were, and that only leads to greater feelings of failure and defeat.
Here are the 4 parts of this series:
- It’s Never Too Late, 6/28: Every parent at one time or another has felt like they’ve completely failed as a parent and their best opportunities to help their child, even as an adult, has passed them by. Well it doesn’t matter if your child is 6, 16, or 60 it’s never too late, and as long as you don’t quit there’s always hope!
- The 1 Thing, 7/5: If I told you that there was 1 thing that if your child learned it would guarantee he would have an easier more successful life, would you want to know what that 1 thing is? Yeah, I thought so! Every parent wants what’s best for their children, wants them to live a long life, and wants them to be successful, if you’ll do this 1 thing you’ll be setting them up for long-term success!
- Start At The End, 7/12: What kind of Man/Woman do you want your child to become? Have you ever stopped and thought that through or are you just parenting for the moment? Until we take a long look at where and who we want them to be we won’t really know what to do as a parent to help them to get there.
- Doing It Solo or Blended, 7/19: It’s an unfortunate reality today that many people are trying to do parenting under even more than normal, difficult conditions. How do you parent well when there is supposed to be two of you, but you are on your own? How do you work together with your child’s other parent when they don’t even live in the same house anymore? When we realize that we are not alone and God loves our kids even more than we do, it’ll give us a whole different perspective!
I really hope that you’ll join us for all four weeks of this series, even if your not a parent yet or your kids have kids of their own, this will be a great learning and encouraging time for all of us!
See you Sunday,
I am well aware of this being a hot potato, but the truth of the Word of God should be able to bear some significant light, and hopefully change into the hearts of those who are willing to listen.
What is ‘Racism’?
Prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed directed against someone of a different race* based upon the belief that ones own race is superior.
The belief that all members of each race* possess characteristics or abilities specific to that race, especially so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race* or races*. (*emphasis added) Oxford Dictionary
I think it’s important to note that you don’t have to be a bigot to be a racist. For example if you have ever said to yourself or to others, ‘all asians are good at math’, ‘all hispanics are hard workers’, ‘all african-americans are good athletes’, ‘all caucasians live in the suburbs’; you are, by definition, being racist. Essentially, if you group people based upon their ethnic background, cultural context, or color of their skin, instead of their individual talents, abilities, gifts, and personality you are thereby ‘being racist’ because you are categorizing by race.
So, let’s first challenge this idea that their are such things as ‘Races’. According to the dictionary Race is; a group of persons related by common descent or heredity. Hmmmmm, now that IS interesting isn’t it? If you have read your Bible, and you believe what it teaches then we are all descended from not only one, but two common ancestors. According to Genesis 1-3, God created a male and a female, Adam and Eve, and all mankind originated in the two of them. As the centuries waned on man abandoned God and his laws, so God sent a prophet/preacher in the man Noah to warn them of a global flood which would wipe out all of those who did not turn back to God. Unfortunately, no one but Noah and his family believed God’s message and God did in fact wipe out all of creation and start over with Noah and his family. So, all of humanity is related to Adam and Eve through Noah and his wife. Therefore, there is only one race, the Human Race.
The entire idea of designation of races actually comes from a well known scientist named…Charles Darwin. Yes, that is correct the author of Origin of Species was the individual that popularized and propagated the idea of one race being inferior or superior to another. In fact, Darwin himself taught that the Australian Aborigine was actually THE missing link to apes. That the Africans or negroids were less evolved than Asians or mongoloids, and that Europeans or caucasoids were at the top of the evolutionary scale. The secondary title of his book is actually incredibly telling, ‘The Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle of Life’. Betcha didn’t learn that one in science class did ya!
When we read our Bible correctly we see that God created humanity in His own image! It doesn’t matter what your skin color is, what your ethnic background, or which continent your ancestors originally hailed from, YOU, as with all humanity, are made in the image of God! There is only one race, the human race. Your background neither makes you superior or inferior to another, God made you special, created you for purpose, and if you believe in Jesus Christ has destined you to reign with him in all eternity!
I think that it is high time that those who claim to know the Bible and love Jesus Christ take this bull by the horns and show the world how God intended it to be!
For further reading and scientific background check out this incredibly insightful article: Where Did The Races Come From?
I’ll leave you with the words of Jesus Christ as encouragement:
A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. – John 13:34-35 NIV
This coming Sunday, March 8th, 2015, I’ll begin teaching a series that has been 20+ years in the making. I have had the privilege of being a pastor for just over 20 years and during that time I’ve counseled hundreds, if not thousands of people. If there is one common thread among them all, it’s that they all, in fact, we all are looking for satisfaction, fulfillment, and peace in this life. For most of humanity this search seems endless, we look for it in every person we meet, in every job we take, in every day that we live, and the majority of us walk away, unfulfilled.
It wasn’t always this way; in the beginning things were perfect, and then sin came in and destroyed it all. But, what if there was a way to experience that fullness, that peace, that joy once again? What if, say our Creator, actually had a plan in place to connect us to those things that would fill our hearts with peace, our lives with meaning, and our relationships with joy? Jesus, in fact, promises as much when he says in John 10:10:
The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.
The process isn’t some 10 step program, or a list of rules or regulations. No, it’s something far more profound, you see our souls are out of alignment with the purposes and plan of God for our life. And, because of this, just like when a car is out of alignment, there is all sorts of vibration, chaos, and unsettledness in our soul. It doesn’t matter how much we have, how many relationships we engage in, or how much accomplishment we can find, there will always be something that’s “off” and we feel it. But, when our souls become aligned with Him, the world around us can be spinning out of control and we will be in absolute peace.
If you want to discover how you can get your soul back in line with God’s, I’d like to invite you to come to Friendship Church this weekend, or listen online at experiencefriendship.com.
I’ll see you then!
Having been a ‘victim’ of exaggeration and outright lies about things I’ve said, preached, or written I always try to err on the side of grace, and when I feel it’s necessary to speak to a subject, make sure I’ve done my research.
Several years ago Rob Bell wrote a book entitled Love Wins, a book which ended up costing him his pastorate. It felt like every evangelical/orthodox pastor with a social media account was bashing him even before the book had been released! Knowing the world we live in and Satan’s great desire to divide those of us who claim the name of Christ I actually went out and read the book, go figure! The book wasn’t as evil as everyone said, but Mr. Bell’s conclusions were simply made because of his emotions about the subject rather than his research of the truth on the subject from Scripture. The biggest problem that developed from his book was not the discussion on Heaven and Hell, that was good, instead it was the increasingly embraced idea that maybe, just maybe, placing your faith in Jesus Christ in this life isn’t the only way for salvation. Now, for fairness sake, Mr. Bell doesn’t come right out and say this verbatim, but he leads you right to the doorstep, knocks on the door, looks at you with a smile and says, ‘So, whatcha think?’.
Again, Mr. Bell and now along with his wife, have come out with a new book on marriage called The Zimzum of Love. Now, I will readily confess that I have not read the book, nor do I plan to, but Mr. Bell and his wife gave an interview with Oprah, which I watched in it’s entirety. It is this interview and the words that he and his wife chose that I now have to address. I could address the fact that they include homosexuality as a viable option for humanity, but I’ve done that before. Suffice to say that I believe like all sins, homosexuality is a cheap imitation of God’s relational design, that will leave all those who participate in it more broken, more wounded, and less fulfilled. Satan is the ultimate deceiver and he’s garnering more and more of professed believers into accepting the lie that God is keeping something from you, when in reality it’s that God is wanting to protect you, because He’s got something better for you!
Here are my previous posts on the subject:
- Extreme “Christian” Views on Homosexuality
- A Biblical Response to Homosexuality
- What about Gay Marriage?
However, that is not why I write this post. I write this because of a statement that Mr. Bell makes while trying to defend his position on homosexuality. Here is the quote verbatim:
“I think culture is already there and the church will continue to be even more irrelevant when it quotes letters from 2,000 years ago as their best defense, when you have in front of you flesh-and-blood people who are your brothers and sisters, and aunts and uncles, and co-workers and neighbors, and they love each other and just want to go through life.”
And here is the salient clip, just in case you think I might be taking it out of context:
For clarity sake, what Mr. Bell has just said is that the church will continue to be even more irrelevant when it makes it’s best defense the Bible. Allow that to sink in for a moment… He has just said that ‘flesh-and-blood people’ not a holy, sovereign God should determine what is right for them. He has just implicated that the Bible is in fact, irrelevant in our world today, it cannot be relied upon, it cannot be trusted as truth. He has finally hypothesized that if the church keeps as it’s focus the truth found in the Word of God, they will cease to be an influence on the world around them.
I am most certain that Mr. Bell will not read my small, inconsequential blog, but hopefully people who listen to him will. Hopefully, my friends who have read some of his previous writings, which for the most part were solid, will veer away from this new iteration of his faith. My friends, I beg of you to consider the implications if indeed the Bible is irrelevant:
- The mission of the church is founded in those 2,000 year old letters. I have often stated that I believe that the local church, as the messenger of Jesus Christ, is the hope of the world. If the Bible is irrelevant, our world is without hope.
- The message of the gospel is found in those 2,000 year old letters. Jesus says, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man can come to the Father except through me.” If this truth cannot change culture, than culture cannot be changed!
- The key to genuine fulfillment is found in those 2,000 year old letters. Jesus says that He came to give us life in all of it’s fullness! If His words are irrelevant than we as a human race are living empty lives, void of fulfillment, and without the possibility of real enjoyment.
My friends, those 2,000 year old letters are precious to me, not because I am some stuck in the mud, fundamental, traditionalist who still believes that a fat adulterous King was the only one who could authenticate Scripture (King James if you’re wondering), but because I have tried them, tested them, and applied them to my life year after year, and they have proven faithful! Those 2,000 year old letters change lives, saves marriages, and alters eternal destinies, they are far from irrelevant, they are essential!
Think about it,
How long, you simpletons, will you insist on being simpleminded? How long will you mockers relish your mocking? How long will you fools hate knowledge? – Proverbs 1:22
Our small group (shout out to all my groupies!) is currently doing an ancient study (circa 2001) of Andy Stanley’s called The Best Question Ever. The study is mainly about how to make wise decisions; not good or bad, but wise. Wise decisions are basically defined in this way, applying all the truth and information that you have at hand, while also bringing into bear your past experiences, your present circumstances, and your future hopes and dreams. Once you have all of that you can then make a ‘wise decision’. It’s a great study and if you haven’t done it you may want to share this post with your small group leader and encourage him/her to do the study in the near future…hint, hint, hint!
But, I want to focus on one particular lesson in which Andy talks about the three categories of people within the book of Proverbs, the naive, the fool, and the mocker. Andy takes great care in defining each and then gives some poignant illustrations as to how they would respond. Here is a snippet of those definitions:
- Naive: also called simple or simpleton, is someone who simply doesn’t know what they don’t know. They just don’t have enough experience to be able to clearly discern. The danger here is that this person will often wrongly believe that they do know, or they know enough. This trap can be overcome by #1 gaining experience and #2 listening to older/wiser counsel. (Proverbs 14:5)
- Fool: also called foolish, is someone who knows, but doesn’t care. They know that if they stick their tongue in the light socket that it will shock them, but they want to do it anyways, it was fun the first time, so let’s do that again. A fool wrongly believes that just because it happened last time, it doesn’t mean that it’ll happen this time too, and/or they believe that unlike everyone else, they’ll get away with it. The fool can only stop being a fool by accepting the truth and changing his ways. Unfortunately for the fool this only happens after multiple times of things blowing up in his face and having to bear the consequences. (Proverbs 10:23)
- Mocker: also called the scoffer, is someone who knows, doesn’t care, and will ridicule you for caring or trying to correct him. They will continue down the same path, making the same mistakes, knowing that destruction is coming all the while humming their happy little tune. They will make fun of you, slander you, attack you as often as they can, and there is absolutely nothing that you can do to help them. In fact, the only solution is to cast them out of your circle of friends and hope that God grabs a hold of their heart. (Proverbs 9:7-8)
I’m sure as you read through the definitions you probably had pictures of multiple people flash through your mind for each of them. It may have even inspired a verbal reaction of “that’s right!”…but pause in your indignation for just a moment, how often have you been naive, played to fool, or scoffed at others counsel? Self evaluation is never easy and often painful, but always necessary if we are going to consistently make wise decisions instead of naive, foolish, or mocking ones!
Here’s to being wise my friends,
I put the word never in quotes because I believe God changes minds and hearts, but at this stage in my life and ministry, I don’t see me ever using the pulpit of good news to push the politics of the populace (man that was good, someone should tweet that!). Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not bashing men like Jerry Falwell and other like him who felt called to be politically active and vocal, but I don’t feel similarly called. Here’s why:
- Politics, by their very nature, are incredibly divisive, and when people talk politics it often leads to arguments and hurt feelings. Accepting the message of Jesus Christ is hard enough, why put another potential obstacle in someone’s way?
- Rarely do politicians and politics veer into that which is Biblical and holy, therefore, rarely do I comment. However, when it/they do, it is my duty to comment and bring Scripture to bear.
- I never want to abuse my position as a pastor to manipulate or attempt to convince someone to vote “my way”.
- I have known many wonderful Christians who are Democrats, Republicans, Conservatives, and yes, even some Liberals. Bottom line, your party affiliation and governmental beliefs won’t get you in or keep you out of heaven.
- No politician, political party, or political agenda will ever change someones eternal destiny. Why would I waste the 40 minutes I have each week to communicate the life changing message of Jesus Christ talking about something that will not matter in eternity?
I’ve given 5 reasons why I’ll ‘never’ talk politics from the pulpit and actually rarely talk politics in public. However, notice reason number 2. Over the last two weeks the two prevailing parties have put forth their “platform” or “agenda” if they get elected, many of the issues raised go beyond the political arena and address values, morals, or culture. These things are expressly and precisely talked about in the Bible. God’s position on these issues are clearly laid out in his Word, and it is my duty as your pastor to share those with you, and your duty as followers of Christ to bend your will to His.
- My challenge: Read each of the posts carefully, then study the Scriptures on your own. Then, use your vote to support the candidate that most closely resembles your values and you believe will do the best job for your country.
- My promise Everything I write will come from a foundation of Scripture and not my own personal political beliefs, who knows, I might change my own mind! I will not go on any hearsay or rumor, but only talk about what has been expressly written down in each party’s platform
- My hope: That this will give you God’s view of things and remove much of the emotional arguments for or against.
Have a great one folks and here are the topics/values I’ll be covering, if you’ve got another one you think fits, shoot me an e-mail and I’ll take a look at it!
What’s Governments Role According To God?
Does it Matter What We Do In the Middle East?
What About Welfare?
‘Christian’ or ‘Mormon’, does it matter?
Is There Such A Thing As ‘Gay Marriage’?
Is God a ‘Capitalist’, ‘Socialist’, or something else?