Wednesday, October 21, 2009

New Song for Harvestfest

I post this mainly for the worship team, but everyone can enjoy our new song for this Sunday.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Tough call or slam dunk?

Alright, what do you think of this.I am not going to respond until I hear your opinion...

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Too Much Time on my Hands

For Amy (nobody else will get this)

Try JibJab Sendables® eCards today!

Our girls are really advancing in their dance class:

Try JibJab Sendables® eCards today!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Absolutely, Mindblowingly Good Stuff

"I want this church to be a work that God truly blesses. I refuse

to be a program manager of the latest Creative Programs that
will attract Carnal Christians. I’m not here to entertain. I want to
shepherd a flock that hungers and thirsts after reality with God. I
want the living Savior to be at work in our midst in unmistakable
ways. I want to remove every hindrance that would block God’s
hand of blessing and I want to add every quality that would bring
His blessing on His church. As Ezra testified to King Artaxerxes
(8:22), “The hand of our God is favorably disposed to all those
who seek Him….” I want us to be a people that seek God."

-Steven J. Cole

I Guess Tax cuts Are in the Bible

From my study for next weeks sermon:

You are also to know that you have no authority to impose taxes, tribute or duty on any of the priests, Levites, singers, gatekeepers, temple servants or other workers at this house of God.
(Ezra 7:24 NIV)

That is King Artexerxes talking to Ezra as he is preparing to leave for Jerusalem. Here is the commentary by David Guzik:

a. It shall not be lawful to impose tax: To promote the work of the temple in Jerusalem, Artaxerxes commanded that priests and other workers at the temple be given tax-exempt status.

p.s. The sermon is not about taxes, I just thought that was interesting. :)

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Well, this is new...

UPDATE: Check out this survey taken of conservative republicans on the simple true/fals statement: "Human beings, as we know them today, evolved from earlier species of animals."

Notice the paragraph before the results:

Nothing too surprising, but Creationist Republican politicians have mass support, so it may be that in coming years that that position will become the Republican elite norm as the pro-life position has become. The only caution, and hope, is that historically Creationists are generally beaten back by anti-Creationist elite Republicans and conservatives when they manage to force their ideas into the classroom on the local level.
(emphasis mine)

28% of protestants said true, and 58% of Catholics answered true. It just reinforces the fact that Christians increasingly don't belong in any political party. This is from a blog called

Conservative. Republican. Atheists. They are on the rise.

Seems like athiest conservatives are all the rage now-a-days.

Even though I try to keep it out of the pulpit, I do follow politics (don't do it, it's a disgusting habit)and there are a few blogs that I follow fairly closely every day. It has been great to see what people call the "New Media" (the internet), do real investigative reporting that the news doesn't seem to want to do anymore. A great example is the exposure of ACORN by two college kids with $1500 of their own money. The videos were posted on a new website called, and in a matter of days, they almost singlehandedly (Is that a word? Spell check doesn't think so)brought down this organization that people have known for years was full of corruption, but couldn't seem to make anything stick to it.

Another of my favorite blogs is It has just the right amount of facts and sarcasm that make me come back every day, usually several times to see what the democrats are up to and usually laugh in the process. The main contributor to the site is a guy that goes by the name Allahpundit. In the last few weeks I've learned something new about him: I guess he's an atheist. Here is a quote from the above link:

"..if I were inclined to get on my knees and wish/hope/pray for intervention from either God or Barack Obama, I’d call out for The One (President Obama) too. After all, there’s at least a chance he might show."

"Nor do I understand the snotty, presumptuous accusation that atheists are “filling the void” with money and careers. Personally, I don’t feel any spiritual void, and even if I did, I’d rather not be lectured about it by a guy who has his own media empire and who’ll make more money this year than my entire extended family has made in the past century. What “void” in Beck’s soul is he filling with his fantastically popular show? See how condescending it is to even ask that?"

A few days ago He had a post entitled, Growing Pains star ready to save America from rational thought, a hit on Kirk Cameron, who is an outspoken Christian and Apologist.

That snarky header took me back a little. If you watch the Kirk Cameron video in the link, I don't think you'll get the feeling that Kirk thinks he is on the Enterprise. Instead, it seems like a very rational challenge to people who believe in evolution to look at both sides and then decide what seems the better explanation of origins. Pretty straightforward debate of ideas. However, according to Allahpundit, it's akin to losing your mind, it's so ridiculous. It's not just disagreement, but outright hostility towards the idea which I don't usually get from his site.

I don't say this to denigrate his character, he is who he is and he thinks what he thinks. I am just a little surprised at the combination of two things that I didn't think mixed: conservatism and atheism. I guess it's because for years the word conservative has always been followed by the word values. I assumed they went hand in hand (not to say that Allahpundit doesn't have any values). We were the party of God, for the most part. It was those wascally liberals who said that God was dead, and demanded that prayers not be said and that crosses come down.

It seems that may be changing. There are a growing number of conservative bloggers who claim to be Atheist or Agnostic. Put in a Google search for conservative atheist blogger and see for yourself. This has got me thinking:

First, We need to hold our political leanings loosely. The argument in Christian circles seems to be liberal vs. conservative, but the reality is that both of those can be godless. Although fiscal conservatism seems a whole lot smarter way to live than tax and spend liberalism, that doesn't make it a Christian principle, and it certainly doesn't mean that God hates all ideas that come from a Democrat.

Issues like abortion and evolution have traditionally separated the two camps (at least to most Christians), but today's conservatism may be more defined by immigration, taxes, military strategy, and small vs. big government - none of which are overtly spiritual or Christian issues. Who knows what God's opinion is on those things?

Our best conservative thinkers may have America's best interest in mind, but not necessarily Jesus' kingdom. Our mission in life as a Christian has very little to do with America and everything to do with Jesus.

Think of it this way: when I was in college I traveled with a singing group every summer and we would visit youth camps to counsel, sing, and plug for the school. Most of the time we had to sleep in cabins or tents with the campers. Usually, there was no air conditioning, protection from bugs, or warm showers. Once in a while we would be treated to staying in special quarters where we would be more comfortable and have it significantly better than the campers. Not only air conditioning and warm showers, but refrigerators filled with snacks and Pepsi (I have since been converted to Diet Coke, which I'm convinced is God's favorite). The mission or purpose of why we were there didn't change, we just got treated a little better along the way.

To me, this is like our situation in America. Our mission as a Christian is no different than a Christian living in China, Latin America or the jungle in Peru - we are just privileged to be staying in the deluxe cabin while we are here. For some reason, God has blessed us to live in America, but we must never forget what our mission is while we are here or be fooled into thinking that America's goals are God's goals.

The second thought that comes to mind about this whole thing is that normally smart, very intelligent people become very close minded and hostile at the idea of a God that created the world and will one day judge everyone in it.

What gets me is that these are the same guys that roast liberals for not debating honestly and for name calling rather than looking at the facts, and yet that is what they are doing with Christians. Allahpundit doesn't give any rebuttal to facts, he just points his finger and makes fun.

Hey, isn't there a Bible verse that talks about that?

"So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts."
(Ephesians 4:17-18 NIV)

This kind of thinking should not surprise or even alarm us. It's not that they are stupid, but they have hardened their hearts to God and so they have lost their understanding of the things of God. It really doesn't make sense to them.

I will agree with Allahpundit on one thing, though. Ironically, one of his points is something that Kirk Cameron and Ray Comfort teach in the "Way of the Master" series to not do when you are witnessing to someone.

He denies that he has any kind of void in his life that God needs to fill. Christians have been taught that there is a "God-shaped hole" in the human heart that only God can fill and that they will never be satisfied until He fills it.

This is an ineffective way to witness, because many people don't sense that void and are enjoying their life just fine.

Whether we feel a void in our lives or not is irrelevant to the existence of God, or our need for Him. We turn to Christ because there is no other name in Heaven by which we can be saved, and without that salvation we are going to experience the wrath of God against our personal sins. No matter how wonderful our life maybe for these 80 years or so, there is a day of reckoning that is coming that will determine what kind of eternity you will have.

It is better to point people to that day, rather than claim that they need Jesus to make their life better.

Well, that's my two cents; hope you have a great week!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Jehovah's Witness in a nutshell

When I lived in San Diego, I lived next to a Mormon elder. Very nice guy, and as it turns out, very handy because all the Mormon missionaries would come to his house and he would fix their bikes (which is why I am not a Mormon elder, because I am not very handy).

Because of that, we always had plenty of visits from Mormon missionaries. I would rarely turn them away without at least talking to them for a few minutes and sometimes would even invite them in and we would debate Christianity over lemonade. I enjoyed it because it challenged me to be able to defend my faith, and learn how to debate without being obnoxious. (I'm still obnoxious, just not when I debate someone).

Well, last Saturday there was a whole carload of Jehovah's witnesses unleashed on our neighborhood. I talked to an older man that owns some hearing aid businesses in New Braunfels for about 40 minutes. Again, very nice man and we had a good conversation. Unfortunately, I was very rusty on my Jehovah's witness theology, but I did manage to ask him some questions that he couldn't answer. So, he is coming back this Saturday, I'm sure with reinforcements.

As I have been reading up on their religion, I came across this video and thought it might be helpful if you want a short synopsis of their history and what they believe...

Friday, September 18, 2009

Great new song!

We are going to learn this song on Sunday, thought I would give you a sneak peek. It rings familiar (slightly ripping off "It is Well") and it resonates with me as I study and prepare to preach on suffering. So much of what happens to us we will never have an answer for, and so the sovereignty of God is important for us to rely on:

It is called All is Well (which is way different than It is Well) by Robin Mark.

I expect all three of you who read this blog to be ready to sing it on Sunday morning.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, Sweetest Name I Know!

Here are a few quotes by Charles Spurgeon that I will be thinking about every time I preach from now on:

"The motto of a true servant of God must be, "We preach Christ; and Him crucified." A sermon without Christ in it is like a loaf of bread without any flour in it. No Christ in your sermon, sir? Then go home, and never preach again until you have something worth preaching."

"Leave Christ out? O my brethren, better leave the pulpit out altogether. If a man can preach one sermon without mentioning Christ's name in it, it ought to be his last, certainly the last that Christian ought to go to hear him preach."

"A sermon without Christ as it's beginning, middle, and end is a mistake in conception and crime in execution. However grand the language, it will be much ado about nothing if Christ be not there. And I mean by Christ not merely His example and the ethical precepts of His teaching, but His atoning blood, his wondrous satisfaction made for human sin, and the grand doctrine of "believe and live".

"Yes, it is Christ, Christ, Christ, whom we have to preach; and if we leave him out, we leave out the very soul of the Gospel. Christless sermons make merriment for Hell. Christless preachers, Christless Sunday school teachers, Christless class leaders, Christless tract distributors - what are all these doing? They are simply setting the mill to grind without putting any grist into the hopper, all their labor is in vain. If you leave Jesus Christ out, you are simply beating the air, or going to war without any weapon with which you can smite the foe."

Monday, August 17, 2009

Friday, August 14, 2009

File Under: Get Ready...It's Coming.

A principal and an athletic director are being put on trial for praying in the teachers lounge:

"The criminal charges, which carry up to a $5,000 fine and a six-month jail term, originated with a Jan. 28 incident in which Mr. Lay, a deacon at a local Baptist church, asked Mr. Freeman to offer mealtime prayers at a lunch for school employees and booster-club members who had helped with a school field-house project.

Mr. Staver said no students were present at the event, which was held on school property but after school hours.

"He wasn't thinking he was violating an order," he said. "Neither did the athletic director. He was asked to pray and so he did."

Can you see the situation...people are about to eat, and someone says hey would you pray for the food? Sure, no big deal, right? Except when it can result in 6 months in jail.

Read the whole article here.

In other related news, California is getting ready to release hundreds of inmates because of budget cuts. At least we know the real criminals will still be doing hard time in Florida.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Pirate Christian Radio

As you may have noticed (but not particularly cared), I added a link on the sidebar to Pirate Christian Radio. It intrigued me, so I thought I would listen for a while.

A few observations so far:

Most (if not all) the teachers are Lutherans
They really really like being Lutherans
I don't agree with everything that the Lutherans teach

But, that aside....

It has some good programs about Apologetics (defense of Christianity from false teaching) and good explanation of the Gospel.

I am still determining if it is something that I would listen to long term, but I thought I would throw it out there for you so that you can decide with me.

p.s. If anyone cares to prepare for Sunday, we will be studying 2 Kings 22 @ 23 and it's corresponding passages in 2 Chronicles, or page 983 - 987 in your Daily Bible.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Show Me the Money!

This is such a great article. Be sure to read the whole thing.

It basically takes a census of the prosperity movement. Who are these people that go to these churches? The study surveyed 35,000 people that are a part of this (largely Pentecostals) and they found that on the average, these people that are told if they will give their money to the church then God will make them wealthy and they will have God's favor, make less per year than other Christian groups!

The results show that Pentecostals have the most high school dropouts, the fewest college graduates, and the fewest post-graduates. But the most interesting thing is that they earn the least annual income of any other Christian tradition polled. This is shocking, considering that a main feature in popular Pentecostalism is the Prosperity Gospel, where church members are promised that God will make them rich beyond their wildest dreams if they tithe generously and believe that they will receive the money.

So do they lack God's favor, or do they lack faith? And what about prosperity proponent Paula White, who, I believe has a church in San Antonio (or at least used to). She and her husband (who she is now divorced from) are millions of dollars in debt. Where is the favor of God?

Answer: There never was favor from God - just manipulation from greedy false teachers! Here is my favorite paragraph in the article:

My point is that while the world howls at the scam artists who fail to deliver on big promises, Christianity has its very own Ponzi scheme that’s alive and well. At least when Bernie Madoff promised big returns he actually delivered (if only for a moment); the prosperity gospel doesn’t even do that much. When Joel Osteen, Ken Copeland, Paula White, or Benny Hinn take your money, you’ll never see it again (unless you happen to glimpse one of their private jets leaving a runway for Bermuda).

I know, I know: Judge not, lest you be judged Pastor Phil! (If I had a dollar for every time that verse is used out of context, I could start a prosperity TV ministry and finally make some SERIOUS money!)

We should be outraged at this in the same way we are outraged at corrupt politicians. Our Senators and Congressmen are supposed to be in Washington for the good of the people, but many times they turn it into what is good for them personally. This is no different, except a lot more is riding on it! Ministers are supposed to be God's voice to the people, rightly interpreting God's Word to deliver God's message and to steer His Church in the right direction. Unfortunately, just like corrupt politicians, they make it into what is good for their bottom line.

C'mon Church! Discern, discern, discern! Don't exchange the Truth of God for a lie.

Monday, July 27, 2009

File Under: "Wake Up American Church!"

This is a headline from not 20 or 30 years ago, but from today:

"According to the Associated Press, a 33-year-old woman and mother of three has been executed in North Korea on charges of distributing Bibles, which are banned in the communist country, and of allegedly spying for foreign nations. A July 24 report from the Investigative Commission on Crimes against Humanity, quoted by the AP, says that Ri Hyon-ok was executed in the northwestern city of Ryongchon bordering China on June 16, and that her husband, children and parents were sent to a political prison the day after her execution."

Let that sink in...after she was executed, her husband, children and parents were sent to prison!!!! You can be sure that the spying charge is just to make it look more reasonable to the rest of the world, but is trumped up bunk. The whole article is here.

Praise God that there are Christians in the world with this kind of devotion to Jesus. I am writing this as I am sitting outside by my pool on my day off, both of which are things that a Chinese Christian knows nothing about. Put in front of the mirror of this kind of sacrifice, I pale in comparison.

There are people that would say that is a useless exercise in guilt, because I can't help where I was born, and they are right. I can't help that I was born in a free country, but that isn't even the point. I don't feel guilty because I am an American, I feel guilty because I am a lazy American.

There are things that I could do that would show my devotion to Christ and to the Gospel and I don't do them, not because I am afraid of death or prison, but because I never get around to it.

Thank you, Ri Hyon-ok, for the sermon of your life that God used to speak to me today. Far from being tragic or wasted, your life will be used to reach others for Christ all over the world.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Can God use you more powerfully if you are a "good" speaker?

"Paul was a scholar and an orator of the highest degree; he was not speaking here out of a deep sense of humility, but was saying that when he preached the gospel, he would veil the power of God if he impressed people with the excellency of his speech. Belief in Jesus is a miracle produced only by the effectiveness of redemption, not by impressive speech, nor by wooing and persuading, but only by the sheer unaided power of God. The creative power of redemption comes through the preaching of the gospel, but never because of the personality of the preacher.

Real and effective fasting by a preacher is not fasting from food, but fasting from eloquence, from impressive diction, and from everything else that might hinder the gospel of God being presented. The preacher is there as the representative of God— ". . . as though God were pleading through us . . ." (2 Corinthians 5:20). He is there to present the gospel of God. If it is only because of my preaching that people desire to be better, they will never get close to Jesus Christ. Anything that flatters me in my preaching of the gospel will result in making me a traitor to Jesus, and I prevent the creative power of His redemption from doing its work."

-Oswald Chambers

This is precisely opposite of what you hear from successful preachers (at least the ones that write books and speak at conferences). Your communication skills need to improve to reach more people. Which do you believe?

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Sanfords, 2.5

Ok, time to beat the dead horse again.

Mark Sanford, for all of his shenanigans, is already old news. Unfortunately, I still have a few things to say about it, so we will be stuck in the past for a little while longer.

I think there are three kinds of married people:

1) Those who will have an affair because they want one.
2) Those who will have an affair because they weren't careful or smart.
3) Those who will never have an affair because they were careful and smart.

I really don't have anything to say to the first group. Of course, hardly anyone will admit they are in this group. They will couch it in excuses, but they aren't that hard to spot. It usually surfaces as soon as any kind of discipline comes into play. They view themselves as mistakers rather than sinners. I have learned to not waste too much breath on them after a certain point, because God needs to deal with them and nothing I say is going to help.

The second group is different, Although, once the affair has begun, they automatically jump to the first category if they don't immediately repent of it and break off all ties. Before that happens, however, I believe there is a measure of naivete that exists that makes us vulnerable to adultery. Maybe they truly weren't looking for it, but found themselves in the middle of it anyway. This is why affairs never need to happen and never should happen in the Church. If we are careful and smart - they never would! (except of course the ones in category 1)

Here is what I have learned over the years to do for me. Consequently, I require it of all my staff:

- Never counsel a woman alone unless a female is in the main office. Anytime someone needs to meet with me after hours, my secretary either comes back to the office, or she finds another female to come sit at her desk. For you, this may mean not huddling off in a corner somewhere with a person of the opposite sex having private conversations.

- Never ride in a car alone with a woman. Rarely, I will make an exception to this one, but it is so rare that nothing could ever come of it. Occasionally, it is unavoidable - but it must never be common. Those of you who work in sales or have jobs that require you to travel with members of the opposite sex, need to work something out. All that travel time is time that you spend talking to another woman instead of your wife, and if your marriage communication is typical, it's probably a lot more time than you spend talking to your wife. Out of boredom you start sharing details about thoughts and opinions, life experiences, etc., and that is just not smart or healthy for your marriage.

Those of you who travel and have to meet with women away from home for business, need to bring a friend or wait until you can meet with them in some kind of official capacity when other people you work with are around. Never, never, never meet in a restaurant where it is just the two of you. Why would you ever need to do that?

The usual response to something bad happening out of that is, "Well I would never!" How do you know? What if the other person flatters you and propositions you while you are alone with them? Are you that strong to turn them away and tell them in no uncertain terms that that is innapropriate? Or would you waver, maybe just for a few moments, because it is kind of nice to be wanted in this way....

If you are still adamant that you would be 100% bullet proof in a situation like this, at the very least consider how you would explain that episode to your wife! "Well, we were alone at this restaurant, you see..." yeah, I don't want to have that conversation either. Most men would probably keep it to themselves which is not a good alternative. It's better to stay away from the possibility.

- Never discuss marital problems with a person of the opposite sex.

Don't complain about your wife to them, don't talk about her weaknesses with them, nothing. And don't let them complain to you either. A manipulative person can exploit that in a NY minute.

- Always tell your spouse when a person is flirting with you or sending you "that" message.

This is my favorite. Usually, Amy spots them before I do, but occasionally I get to share the news with her and it's fun to watch her go to work! It also has the added benefit of communicating to her - I'm all yours.

This has probably only happened 3 or 4 times in all my years of ministry (which is amazing because I'm so obviously handsome) but occasionally I will get a look from a woman that tells me, if I wanted to pursue something with them, I could. Telling Amy about it takes it completely out of the realm of possibility because she will definitely be keeping an eye on that person (welcome to the competition for the understatement of the year!).

Look, you may think I am being ridiculous, but Amy never has to worry about me straying. There is a 0% chance I will ever cheat on her, unless I stop doing these things to protect myself and then she would spot that right away. This is for my protection, for my families protection, and for the protection of Jesus' name and reputation.

Pastors, lest you think you might offend someone by suggesting that they are being inappropriate with another person, you need to nip this as soon as you start to see it happening. I am not shy about addressing this with people who go to my church, especially those who volunteer in a ministry. I have had an affair happen in a ministry. Everyone saw the warning signs and nobody wanted to be the one to act judgmental and two families were destroyed (not to mention all of the fallout on the church level).

Now, i just look at it this way: If they accept my gentle rebuke, then they are wiser and the church is safer for it. If they don't, and they get all offended, I just assume they are in the 1st group. And if they are in the first group, I don't care if they are offended because to let them continue just invites more chaos and disruption to the life of the church.

Not convinced? Well, fine. If we are going to look at these kinds of measures as extreme, can we at least do one thing? Can we stop blaming Satan for all the affairs and divorces? And can we stop asking God why we are losing our families and why we are alone and miserable? At this point it's not God or Satan's fault.

When tempted, no one should say, "God is tempting me." For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death. Don't be deceived, my dear brothers.
(James 1:13-16 NIV)

Friday, July 10, 2009

Sanfords, pt. 2

I know that I said that I would post a follow up to the Sanford post "tomorrow". What I forgot to tell you is that I subscribe to the "Gap" theory of blogging, that 1 day doesn't have to mean a literal 24 hrs. I also said that I would talk about a biblical way to solve their problem, and maybe stay together, but that is going to have to wait too.

Instead, I want to look at his statement again, because it is very instructive for those of you who are unhappy in your marriage, or in other ways, might be prone to an affair. Take a look:

"South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford said Tuesday that he “crossed lines” with a handful of women other than his mistress - but never had sex with them."

He also said that, “This was a whole lot more than a simple affair, this was a love story,” Sanford said. “A forbidden one, a tragic one, but a love story at the end of the day.”

This is why I'm not a good counselor. I don't have the patience to sit and listen to all of these excuses of why people do terrible things. If there is one thing that this was not - it's a love story. (Did I say that right?) All that we need to know is in those two short paragraphs. I could have saved him the trouble of going through the whole sordid tale.

He said he had crossed the line with a handful of women in addition to his mistress. What does that tell you about him? It tells you that he did not simply fall in love with a forbidden women; all of this happened because he was a chronic cheater! He was testing the water, looking for the one that he wanted to actually sleep with! He was seeking out a relationship, he didn't stumble into one. Anybody with knowledge and proximity to him probably saw this coming for a long time.

I have heard journalists blame it on a midlife crisis, and, you know, it's so tough out there for men. He wants you to believe that he is just a decent man that fell in love with the wrong woman. Unfortunately for him, he told us too many details for us to believe that is true. He was a married man who sought out and would not be denied his adultery.

I'm sure *some of you think I am being too hard on him. You might be thinking words like, judgmental and mean, or uncompassionate. You might post comments like, "judge not lest you be judged," or "People who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones." Or maybe even, "The early bird gets the worm." Of course that doesn't have anything to do with anything, so I would soundly rebuke you...but I digress.

Listen, I need you to hear me on this - I am not judging his soul, because I don't know the guy and I can't do that anyway, but I am judging his behavior and calling him on the baloney he's peddling. Our postmodern culture wants to have a qualifier on all truth. "Well, you have to take in to consideration what he was going through and the situation at the time, and if his mother held him too close, or not close enough, blah, blah, blah." In other words, I can't say what he did was wrong, because maybe in his situation it wasn't wrong, or at least it can be explained. People are way more upset that he left the country without handing the reins of power to someone else, than they are about what he did to his wife and family.

You need to understand that doesn't have any basis in Scripture. Jesus (or any of the Bible writers, for that matter) did not deal in relative truth. There is right, and there is wrong, and the Bible gives us enough knowledge to know the difference and the responsibility to do something, or at least say something about it.

The Apostle Paul, in his writings, sometimes came off very abrasive, because he would call out sin and bad behavior when he saw it in the Church...and he would name names!!!! How about that for a church newsletter?

All that to say - it is perfectly alright, and even necessary to point out what this is: a bunch of excuses and rationalizations for sin. That is how the Church stays protected from false teaching, by fiercely defending Truth. It's not judgment, which is God's job - it is discipline, for his sake and for those who would follow his lead.

Okay, so, what do we take away from this and how do we learn from it? Well, I am going to have to finish this "tomorrow" because it is 3 a.m. (don't ask). Suffice it to say, for now, that this situation is completely avoidable and there is no excuse for it. None. Not one.

In the next post, I want to talk about the 3 different kinds of married people and how you can avoid the trap of adultery (in thought or deed!). I know, you are hanging on pins and needles (how do you hang on a pin, anyway?)

*if there are more than two people who read this blog, I can officially use the term, "some".

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Thoughts on the Sanfords

You've heard of Mark Sanford by now, right? He's the Republican governor of South Carolina that admitted to having an affair with a woman in Argentina. He disappeared over Father's Day Weekend (Sorry kids, I can't come to Father's Day dinner...Daddy's busy!). Turns out he was in Argentina with his mistress.

His wife is committed to making the marriage work, but he said this today:

"South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford said Tuesday that he “crossed lines” with a handful of women other than his mistress - but never had sex with them.

The governor said he “never crossed the ultimate line” with anyone but Maria Belen Chapur, the Argentine at the center of a scandal that has derailed his once-promising political career.

“This was a whole lot more than a simple affair, this was a love story,” Sanford said. “A forbidden one, a tragic one, but a love story at the end of the day.”

During an emotional interview at his Statehouse office with The Associated Press on Tuesday, Sanford said Chapur is his soul mate but he’s trying to fall back in love with his wife."

Kids, this is why we don't live life based on feelings. "Gee, I'm going to give it a real college try to love my wife again. Aren't I a swell guy?"

A little tutorial for those of you who have cheated on your spouse... Here is what your wife (or husband) wants to hear: "I'm a schmuck and I am so sorry I traded in real love for a cheap imitation. You are a thousand times the person they are. Please, please, please, forgive me for being an idiot."

How you feel, or the reasons why you did it, are really irrelevant, at least from a Christian standpoint. There is only one right response: It was wrong and I'm sorry and it will never, ever, never, never, ever, never happen again.

Believe it or not, Sanford's is an attitude that I hear a lot when I counsel people who are dealing with similar situations. Often the person who is being cheated on hears this excuse; "Look, I love you (Mark Sanford didn't even do that), but I also love this other person. I didn't mean for it to happen, it just happened and I'm torn about what I should do." (*cough, baloney, *cough)

This is what you get when you base decisions on, not what is right or wrong, but how you feel.

There is a biblical way to handle this, that is not only right, but might well win your spouse back at the same time...and we'll talk about it tomorrow. I know the three of you who read this blog (not at the same time, of course) will not be able to sleep tonight. I apologize.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Michael Jackson

Copied this from Ray Comfort's blog:

"Yesterday 150,000 people died, including one very well-known celebrity. May this remind us that we all have an appointment to keep. May it also help us to forget that which doesn't matter, and get right with God while we still have time."

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Athiest Summer Camp!

This should be fun...

There’ll be no tent for God at Camp Dawkins!

Britain’s most prominent non-believer is backing its first atheist summer camp for children.

The article is here if you want to be tempted to swear.

p.s. How about a caption contest for the picture? I'll start - "Welcome to Camp 'Brainwash me to Hell!'"

Friday, June 26, 2009

Are Science and God incompatible?

From the Wall Street Journal Opinion Page Entitled "God and Science Don't Mix:

“J.B.S. Haldane, an evolutionary biologist and a founder of population genetics, understood that science is by necessity an atheistic discipline. As Haldane so aptly described it, one cannot proceed with the process of scientific discovery if one assumes a ‘god, angel, or devil’ will interfere with one’s experiments. God is, of necessity, irrelevant in science.

The rest of the article is here

Another favorite quote:

"Faced with the remarkable success of science to explain the workings of the physical world, many, indeed probably most, scientists understandably react as Haldane did. Namely, they extrapolate the atheism of science to a more general atheism."

This to me misses the point. I don't think anybody argues that science hasn't led us to discover how things work, but it doesn't answer the more important question of why things are. Science is fascinating and exciting, partly because the more we dig, the more complex we find that things are.(I'll never forget making my first exploding plastic 2 liter coke bottle filled with Drain-O and tinfoil...but I digress) It wasn't that many years ago that nobody knew what DNA was. New discoveries reinforce the knowledge that our world is a complex and intricate place that somehow all fits and works together.

That knowledge should, I would think, drive a scientist to ask - how could all this be just an accident? Is there no "why" behind the "how?" How could something so complex be the result of chance? What scientists can't recreate in a lab under controlled conditions, came together randomly in outer space somewhere?

Now, what this has to do with Science, I have no idea:

"Finally, it is worth pointing out that these issues are not purely academic. The current crisis in Iran has laid bare the striking inconsistency between a world built on reason and a world built on religious dogma. Perhaps the most important contribution an honest assessment of the incompatibility between science and religious doctrine can provide is to make it starkly clear that in human affairs -- as well as in the rest of the physical world -- reason is the better guide."

Ok, besides the obvious response that religious dogma and God don't necessarily have anything in common and it certainly doesn't make him not exist - To me, if a person is obsessed with living their life based on reason, they would look for reason in all things. They would think things out to their conclusions and back to their beginnings. And it seems reasonable (dare I use the word?) that they would consistently have that nagging question in the back of their minds - How could this all be an accident? It's just not rational. It's anti-reason, if you ask me (and nobody did). It's the kind of reason that ignores obvious questions and facts. There is no answer to the question "why?" in atheism, and I would think that would bug a scientist most of all.

p.s. If you want to drive an Atheist crazy, in the middle of his argument get a far off look in your eyes and start singing, "We are the Reason." (Actually, now that I think about it, that would drive ME crazy)

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Good Quote

Found this from John MacArthur while I was researching my sermon:

"By the way, do you know that that (holiness) is the only attribute of God in all of the Scripture that is spoken of in repetition three times? Never does the Bible say God is love, love, love. Never does it say God is light, light, light, truth, truth, truth, mercy, mercy, mercy, wrath, wrath, wrath. But it says He's holy, holy, holy. This is an absolute priority, people. It is impossible to understand the fullness of it and yet you must understand as much as the Scripture gives us. The absence of a clear understanding of God's holiness is the reason for our shallowness, it is the reason for our impotence, it is the reason for our selfishness, it is the reason for our weakness, it is the reason for our disobedience. We don't really understand how holy God is that's why we compromise, that's why we are the worst kind of pragmatists who do only what fulfills our desires." –John Mcarthur

Yowsa...good stuff. As we will learn Sunday from Isaiah, understanding the holiness of God is the beginning of intimacy with Him...and the flipside would also be true: to not understand it, is the reason for our distance from Him. His holiness puts everything else in perspective.

Every time the angels repeated Holy, Holy, Holy during Isaiah's vision, he heard, dirty, dirty, dirty...which is what he knew he was, compared to God. Every reminder of God's holiness reminded him of his filthiness.

That revelation gave him a new perspective and set the stage for God to purify him and empower him for the rest of his ministry

The holiness of God was revealed to Isaiah in a vision; The written Word of God is our revelation, and that is where His holiness will be revealed to us. So, get in the Word, and ask God to reveal Himself to you!

Till Sunday...

Love it, memorize it, swallow it.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Two More Reasons People Think Christianity is a Joke

First, the shameless redefining of holy words that make the Holy Spirit look like a fool:

And then the shameless merchandising of holy practices:

In one sense, these athiests have a straw man argument. Whether it is wrong to package oil and sell it for a profit is irrelevant to the claims of Christianity. It doesn't prove or disprove anything. However, this kind of profiteering is disgusting and way more common than it should be.

As for the guys in the top our search for the touch and moving of the Holy Spirit, we have to be extremely careful what we attribute to God. To throw Biblical words like "anointing" around attached to wierd stuff like this is treating the real touch of God too flippantly.

I get frustrated over the hesitancy of people to say something is not of God just because someone else says it is. There doesn't seem to be too much "testing of the spirits" going on these days. I suspect that there is a spirit involved here, but I don't think it is the Spirit of God. Is this the best God can do? A Pheasant? Please.

To me, this is scary, scary stuff.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Isn't This Inspiring?


Two words: Cra. Zy.

Love This Quote

This is about the best I have ever heard this explained...

"You cannot legislate the poor into freedom by legislating the wealthy out of freedom. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that my dear friend, is about the end of any nation. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it."

-Adrian Rogers

He was a preacher who died a couple years ago. Smart guy.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

What is the Difference?

What do you think is the difference between wisdom and discernment? Our group debated this last week, and since we are going to talk about Solomon tomorrow, I want to know what you think.

Is there a difference or are they interchangeable?

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Well Said...

I came across this quote by Matthew Henry while I was working on my sermon this week:

Man's life is not only wasting of itself, but its period may be anticipated by a thousand accidents. When the flower is in its perfection a blasting wind, unseen, unlooked for, passes over it, and it is gone; it hangs the head, drops the leaves, dwindles into the ground again, and the place thereof, which was proud of it, now knows it no more. Such a thing is man: God considers this, and pities him; let him consider it himself, and be humble, dead to this world and thoughtful of another.

I read somewhere that our bodies actually start decaying at age 17! It's all downhill from there, baby! Add to that a million different bizarre accidents could happen to you and take your life before it actually wears out (like a football practice facility falling on your head!)and you have perspective on how short and fragile our lives are. It gives importance to the verse we read last week in our daily readings:

Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.
(Psalms 90:12 NIV)

Let's remember that our life on the blue planet is relatively short, so it will give us wisdom to plan for the next life. Well said, Matt!

Sunday, March 8, 2009


This is just too great for words:

The Athiests banner:

The response:

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Russian Scholar Says U.S. Will Collapse Next Year

Why does he think that?

"he said the recent economic turmoil in the U.S. and other "social and cultural phenomena" led him to nail down a specific timeframe for "The End" — when the United States will break up into six autonomous regions and Alaska will revert to Russian control.

Panarin argued that Americans are in moral decline, saying their great psychological stress is evident from school shootings, the size of the prison population and the number of gay men."

Isn't it interesting that an athiest can see the values of morals in our society and the outcomes if we abandon them, but our own "Christian" country can't?

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Do Not Do As They Do!

Just when I think my head is going to explode if I read about one more law or one more offering, I come across this!

The LORD said to Moses, "Speak to the Israelites and say to them: 'I am the LORD your God. You must not do as they do in Egypt, where you used to live, and you must not do as they do in the land of Canaan, where I am bringing you. Do not follow their practices. You must obey my laws and be careful to follow my decrees. I am the LORD your God. Keep my decrees and laws, for the man who obeys them will live by them. I am the LORD.
(Leviticus 18:1-5 NIV)

I don't Think I am going to be able to fit this in to my sermon Sunday, but it is a great passage that is begging for a sermon!

How much better off would the church be if we just would just listen to God and take Him at His word!?! We get into trouble in our personal lives because we think we can do just as the world does even though God has warned against it and we get into trouble as a church because we try to think like the world and copy their success instead of seeking out the mind of God!

It is heart breaking to see how carnal and worldly the church is. Is it because we have ignored the simple command of God found in passages like this? This isn't hard to understand - it's not Revelation! It's God saying, "You're going to be in the world, but don't do as they do. Be careful to follow what I have said. Remember - I am the LORD your GOD!" It's as simple as that. Any 3rd grader could exegete those verses.

God tells them to remember that He is the one who will cause them to succeed or fail - not the world, and then He lays this on them:

"Keep my decrees and laws, for the man who obeys them will live by them. I am the LORD."

This means that the man (or church) who obeys the laws will be blessed by them. That's how it works. There isn't a go around on this one. If we do as the world does we will fail. Sure, we have nice buildings now, and sophisticated outreach programs to get people to attend our services, but are we too sophisticated for simple faith and simple obedience? Then, maybe, we are too sophisticated for Jesus.

Friday, February 20, 2009


I don't know any pastor who doesn't use good material where he can find it, but I've always tried to be very careful not to put myself in the story like I was there or it happened to me. This is why! That's embarrassing...I actually feel for him.

Thursday, February 19, 2009


These are the advertisements that an atheist group have purchased to display on the sides of buses somewhere in Europe. Would you like to bank your eternity on the fact that there probably isn't a God?

Idiot #1 - "Hey, some people say that if you point this gun at your head and pull the trigger it will kill you."

Idiot #2 - "Do you think it will kill me?"

Idiot #1 - "Probably not."

Friday, February 13, 2009

Here's a good one...

My apologies for my absence. I'm afraid that Facebook has been my downfall. I will post this for your perusal. Stuff like this always interests me because they actually ask a pretty good question, but the mob mentality against Christianity reminds me of arguments I would have in the 6th grade: "Oh Yeah? So!Well, you're stupid!" You know- stuff like that. How do we answer this without being equally snarky back at them? Let's see if you can figure it out...Have at it!

UPDATE: Here is someones response

Not bad, but not satisfying enough for me either...the question I have is, although some people inexplicably are spared while others inexplicably die, does that really make the argument that God doesn't exist? At the MOST, we could say that we don't understand or like the way he works and we would not want to serve that kind of God. But to deny his existence would mean that we:

1) Are smart enough to understand everything there is to know about spiritual things. And we can explain how over a billion universes came to be and how this one universe has life, and incredibly complex life at that, but it was all by chance. I guess there are just millions of people who have done the theorems and worked out the mathematical odds on their kitchen tablecloth and know for certain, with no wavering or doubt, that there is absolutely no God. Wouldn't an intelligent honest person have to admit that there is no way to know that for sure? Isn't it, at best, a hunch?

2)We would have to believe there isn't a God, but yet believe that nature can think. This random Cosmic belch that we live on, has the amazing ability, without any design whatsoever, to recognize what needs to change about itself in order for it to survive. It's interesting that they don't claim the changes are by accident, just life itself. Yeah, that makes total sense. Isn't that belief attributing god-like qualities to nature? So, you'll believe in a mother nature kind of god, but not a God that could make mother nature?

3)We would have to believe that there is no meaning to life. No purpose. We are born, we disturb the gravel on earth for about 80 years, and then we die. Is there any thought more depressing than that?

Yes, it may seem that we are taking events that are bound to happen sooner or later, and ascribing them to a God that we have never seen. But the alternative for us is untenable: despite a world around us that points to design, and planning, and creativity, and complexity beyond any man's ability to create - we will stubbornly deny that He exists. We cannot do it. There is just too much evidence to the contrary.

As obvious as it seems to them that there isn't a God, it's just as obvious to us that there is.

And so, we choose to give him credit when good things happen (because the Scriptures tell us to), and we pray to Him for help when bad things happen (because the scriptures tell us to do that, too). We don't fully understand Him. We don't have definitive answers to their statements. But just because we don't have an answer doesn't mean that there isn't one - and someday God will let us in on it all.

Until then, we choose to believe, and trust. People like Heather Macdonald may think it is naive and silly, but I feel comfortable in my belief, because Miss Macdonald has a lot more to lose than I do if I'm right, than if she is.


She is responding to all of the uproar over her post. This is part of what she said:

“The bus ads suggest a utilitarian reason for skepticism: you’ll enjoy life more. The only touchstone that I can possibly imagine for deciding whether or not to adopt any particular belief is its truth, in this case: Does the evidence of human experience support the claim that we are attended to by a loving, personal God? Even if the conclusion that we have no ‘Friend’ in the sky leads inevitably to melancholy or dissatisfaction, it is better to live unhappily in truth than happily in delusion, in my view. (As I have written before, however, I am puzzled by the claim that life would be meaningless without God. Schubert wrote some 600 songs, nearly every one of them a gem of lethal beauty and exquisiteness. You want something more?)”
You can read more of her opinions at

Ray Comfort adds:

Comfort added, "I will donate $10,000 to him, or give it to any children's charity he names. All I ask is that he goes into a studio and gives me 20 minutes on why there is no God and why evolution is scientific. Then I will give 20 minutes on how we can know God exists and why evolution is nothing more than an unsubstantiated and unscientific fairy tale for grownups. Then we both will have 10 minutes to respond.

You can read the rest of his article here.

This is interesting too“The truth is, however, that if you go to South America, you will find a huge number of conversions to Protestant Christianity. If you go to Korea, you will find Christian churches with 100,000 members. If you go to China, you will find 100 million Christians. And if you go to Africa, you’ll find that countries whose populations were only five percent Christian 100 years ago are now 50 percent Christian. These trends have not gone unnoticed by historians, who are startled by them and have attempted to explain them away, and they are the empirical basis for my claim that God is doing very well in this world. What’s important to understand is that the New Atheism is not a triumphant cry of success, but rather a bitter reaction to the success of religion.”

You can read the rest of that article here. This guy debates athiests too.