Dec 11, 2015
Dec 2, 2015
[This is a book review on ABORTING ARISTOTLE written by Dave Sterrett (of Disruptive Truth).]
Nov 11, 2015
Nov 5, 2015
Sermon Link: https://archive.org/details/01TheBeautyOfGodAndTheBeautyOfBeingInChrist
THE BEAUTY OF GOD AND THE BEAUTY OF BEING IN CHRIST (Sun., Sept. 13, 2015 – 6pm)
The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple;
8 The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart;
The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes;
9 The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever;
The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.
10 More to be desired are they than gold,
Yea, than much fine gold;
Sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.
11 Moreover by them Your servant is warned,
And in keeping them there is great reward.
Oct 26, 2015
At the beginning, one brother (I believe to be called "Seantana") brings up the fact that some people believe that they are Christian in a sense by birth or culture or relation to a grandparent. This is truly a problem because it shows that somewhere in their education, whether by family or Sunday School or the pulpit, they were not shown that being a Christian is not just showing up for church on Sundays, but accepting Christ as Lord and expressing his Lordship over your life in every aspect of your life. The Christ once said that He is the Life (John 14:6), so one should not take that to mean that Jesus is only for a certain time of the week and can easily be put up on the shelf somewhere until next week. Of course, this makes me feel that Christianity in America today is becoming a lot more like what Judaism had become years before. I have heard many times that some celebrities and other less-known folk will refer to themselves as "secular Jews," since they accept their historical heritage and some of the rituals, but decline any belief in the Deity of Judaism. It seems that more young people are desiring to do that today with Christianity in some sense. They may like Jesus because He seems nice and loving and all that jazz about treating people nice, but to say that He is Lord over their life and to live completely for Him, and be faithful to worship Him among fellow believers is not right up their alley. Unfortunately, the understanding that being a Christian means a life in Christ and living against the ways of the world and popular culture is falling on deaf ears and being lost in translation.
At another time the podcast points out how so many of our young people (I mean Caucasians, Hispanics, Asians, African-Americans, etc.) do not take the faith of earlier generations seriously because of the lack of Christ-like living at home and the emotionalism that runs rampant in the "Black church." This is no surprise to me since I remember thinking similarly when I was a teenager. I was amazed at how many people could shout and stomp and dance on Sunday, but you never heard of them or saw them crack open a Bible during the week. As a matter of fact, during my college years, there was a time when I knew I was living in outright rebellion against God, and I never claimed to be a Christian to others that I hung around. I thought to myself many times that it would be hard to tell folks of my love of the Lord when I was showing them that I loved marijuana, alcohol, and chasing women far more than anything else. I mean I knew enough Scripture to know that there was no need in me vocalizing about my faith, if my faith was not shown in my walk. If I am to take the Grace of God seriously, then I should surely know that I cannot live continuously in sin thinking that I am covered by the Blood of Jesus, so I can do what I want, as long as I pray and "repent" later on. This would go completely against what Paul wrote in Romans 6:12, "What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?" We (true Christians) should show ourselves to be true to what God has called us to be, which is many things (and one is the Royal Priesthood which I preached on not too long ago - https://archive.org/details/01TheRoyalPriesthoodAndTheJoyOfBeingChosen). We must remember that we are to be examples to the world of righteous and holy living. Some folks will hate us because we do not back the direction that the culture is going, especially issues surrounding our LGBTQ brothers and sisters and the women's rights to choose to have an abortion. But I do not want people not coming to Christ because I am not giving faithful imitation of Him.
The last thing that I wanted to touch on is the way Christianity is portrayed in entertainment. It is my opinion that when what you do during worship becomes useful for the routine of a comedian or a hilarious scene in a movie or television show, it is time to rethink your worship. When I first saw the movie, The Blue Brothers, as a child, I fell in love with it because it was funny and it had great music. But then I took another look at it when I became a young adult and had a deeper faith in the Lord and had my worldview shaped a bit more by other thinkers. One scene in particular got my attention and had James Brown in it as a singing pastor. The music got to going with the organ and drum beat and the massive choir got to singing and then they start bringing out all of these dancers to move to the music as if they were "in the spirit." That's when it hit me: too many people look at this as Christianity. Feel good soul music that captivates you for about five minutes, but is completely void of substance that is real and lasting. Jesus captivating one's life is not some momentary thing that needs to be sparked by a good note from an organ, but His captivating the Christian's life is an eternal thing that is "jumpstarted" and continuously sustained by the power of the Holy Spirit. We misrepresent what it is to worship the Lord and revere Him when we let ourselves become entertainment to the culture. Television shows, like "Black Jesus," (which I have not seen, but I have heard and read about it and do not feel the need to see it) will never take our Lord seriously if we ourselves play with God's Name and do not care enough to imitate Christ with a Bible-based life that is rich and robust.
Can you really be Christian and think of Christ as only worth your time on Sundays? Can you really be Christian and think that it not important to represent Christ daily and to every young person that you meet?
Can you be Christian and African-American? Really?! Of course you can! But only when your skin color or culture or family ties are not defining your faith, and you know what it is to have a relationship with the One who gave you your skin color, culture, and family. Jesus is past the foolishness! Are you?
Oct 13, 2015
Once I sat in a meeting and quietly listened as one leader encouraged the group to think about how it may invite more folks into fellowship and worship. One older person rather abruptly (in my opinion) asked for a "strategy" from the leader. The person felt strongly about their point that the group needed some kind of plan for getting more people to come into our walls. I, for one, did not appreciate the way they stated their point (they later apologized by the grace of God), but I also felt the need to make an argument for why there is no top "strategy" to get folks into the church, and to urge Christians to be careful not to forget about what should come after we are able to encourage others to worship with us. The decline in numbers of people in churches has been happening everywhere in western society, but it is a nuanced issue that has to be carefully studied. No one should think that there will be a one-size-fits-all type of plan that will get your church booming just because it worked for a well-known pastor in some big city or suburb somewhere. I have read before that in many cases that many people fall away from the Church due to some relational issues in which they were hurt in some way. Then, in my opinion, there are too many "churches" in one community, so people may not know where to go, or they go where they are most comfortable culturally or socially, and forget to do a spiritual (and biblical) check when they visit different places. I live in the Bible Belt, a place where people will have "churches" side by side each other, right across the street, and where there can be up to 4 or 5 "churches" in a square mile of each other. Huh?! I do not believe that this is biblical at all, but I may argue this point at another time. Also, people argue over insane things today, like should we sing contemporary Christian songs or straight out of the hymnal. Then, churches may split off from one another because of the foolishness of the so-called "Pastor", who may be a wolf in sheep's clothing, but the "flock" would not know if you told them because they do not believe in the importance of knowing God's Word for themselves. Yes, I could go on and on and on. My point is that to want a strategy to gain numbers of people back in the pews is a bit dangerous to me, if that is the only goal in mind.
Jul 28, 2015
May 15, 2015
Mar 8, 2015
[This Presupposes that You're a Christian.]
Where did you first get the idea that being "gay" was okay? Where did you first find the idea that a person might be "born gay?" Where did you initially read or study God's Word and think to yourself (as you struggled with thoughts of same-sex attraction): "This works with the attractions that I have been having lately!" These questions are not necessarily what you should have been thinking before, but I am just using these questions to point to a deeper issue that worries me in the Christian community. Therefore, it will NOT focus on building arguments for or against the belief that Christians can be lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender, and/or can or cannot be married. No, brothers and sisters, this will delve into an issue that definitely needs some discussion, prayer, and honest self-reflection. The question is: is being a Christian that claims to be gay, an honest issue from a deeper desire to be more Christ-like from inside the Church to outside, or is it a push from outside the Church to conform a supposedly Christ-like image to a more culture-accepted reflection?
Now, this question can and should actually be asked of any thing that comes from our surrounding secular society and is trying to find its way into the hearts of the saints and the Church. What I mean is: there seems to be in many cases that Christians find things that they like on the outside of the Church, then they find in some way or another, it conflicts with some aspects of their faith and from there they find it best to re-read the Bible and re-think what they believe to see if this new thing will fit into their worldview. As far as I know, I have not heard of a bunch of Christians in any century that got together, and studying God’s Word found that homosexuality might just work in some contexts. Where has it been written that a major Christian group (before these postmodern times) had spoken of and written of same-sex attraction as being another way of life for a person claiming to be in Christ? This is an honest question and not coming from a place of sarcasm. I might end up learning something new if my question can be given an honest answer.
But at present age, we as Christians are continuing on a trajectory that I believe will continue to do more damage than good to what we say to others we believe in. This writing will not be one that wants to condemn others, but encourages thoughts about the implications of rewriting and "reworking" certain truths to mold them to what is going on outside the Body of Christ. I do not believe this is just a "Christian gay" phenomena and we all must be careful of doing this, no matter if it deals with sexual orientation or the hobbies you like. Let's say, for example, you like the idea of getting a tattoo. Is this desire one that comes from a deep desire to be conformed to the image of Christ, which is Scriptural, or did you think the bodily artwork of a person that you knew was worth you going out to get your body "inked"? Oh sure, many will take their "ink" and "give glory" to God with Scripture on their arm, and I must admit it does look interesting, but it was not something that was initially started by Christians, and the world did not pick up on some new "Christian artform." What disappoints me is that Christians will see what is going on in the world, then try to flip it and put a little spiritual stamp on it. But the world knows better, and they know where it came from first. Again, this is not to condemn or demean anyone, only to encourage us to really evaluate our motivations for doing the things that we like or even struggle with when it comes to aligning our very lives with the Word of God. When doing a deep analysis of one's own desires, all the while asking God to shape you in a way that He sees fit, that glorifies Him and gives you a striking resemblance to the Savior, you (and I) might just find that we had not wanted to be as conformed to the image of Christ found in the Bible (from Genesis to Revelations) as we thought we had.
Do you enjoy something that is prevalent in society, but not typically in the Body of Christ? Do you desire to participate in that very thing? Ask yourself: What is my real motivation?
"Romans 12:2 NIV
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will."
Jan 31, 2015
Dr. Ordway's love for fencing plays quite an important role in the book, from her participation in the sport (and her connection with her coach, who got her thinking about Christian theism) to her using some aspects of it as analogy of sorts to shed light on her steps toward, and ultimate conversion, to Christianity. It is very interesting that a person who had a love for the same sport that Ordway deeply loved is the one who helps her, as a sort of 'guide', to gradually changing her ideas on God and what she had for so long considered the truth. This part of book shows how atheists and theists actually can connect with each other in other adventures in life. In too many narratives and discussions, one may get the feeling that there is an ever-widening gulf between theists and atheists. But here in the words of Ordway, we see how believers and nonbelievers can have a respectful and loving dialogue with one another on the "big questions" of life, such as the existence of God and the logic in following Jesus the Christ. This is not what she is necessarily going for, but it something that did catch my attention.
This book is a good read for anyone that desires a simple and honest narration of a person who shows that being an intellectual does not have some "anti-religion" prerequisite to it. Dr. Ordway's casual walk from lacking a belief in God to proclaiming the truth of Jesus Christ is worth the time of any Protestant (like myself) or Catholic. For some Christian Protestants, there might be a problem in reading a book by a Christian Catholic, where she expresses her conversion to Catholicism, but if one can mentally leave their denomination at the door, they might just take something away from reading this semi-autobiography. The book is presenting the possibilities for how people may come to Christ are endless. It is beautiful that we (the Body of Christ) are such a rich tapestry of believers and our testimonies and stories and thinking should and does reflect this.