Monday, July 28, 2008

The ultimate in baby protection.

I'm thinking about getting this gear for my baby. Anyone have any opinions.

Check it out here.

Have a great day in the Lord.

(HT:The Wizard of Odds)

Monday, July 21, 2008

Justification - Monday's word of the week.

Justification. As a former police officer and someone that has spent some time in the courtroom I have a pretty good understanding of this word. Most People that commit crimes try to "Justify" their behavior. Spousal abuse is "Justified" because she wouldn't listen to me. She was out with another man, and she deserved it. Theft is "Justified" because I was in financial need, or I can't feed myself. Murder is "Justified" because I was in danger of losing my own life. Etc..

My greatest reward as a police officer occurred when people would just say they screwed up and they didn't try to justify their behavior. They would let the chips land where they landed and took their medicine. However, when dealing with eternity we will have to Justify our behavior. We will have to explain to the Holy One why we lived our life's like we have. Like my last posting on relationships we all are in a relationship with Christ, will it be one of Wrath or one of covered sins one where we will be "Justified" to our father.

The Dictionary explains justification this way.
1. a reason, fact, circumstance, or explanation that justifies or defends: His insulting you was ample justification for you to leave the party.
2. an act of justifying: The painter's justification of his failure to finish on time didn't impress me.
3. the state of being justified.
4. Also called justification by faith. Theology. the act of God whereby humankind is made or accounted just, or free from guilt or penalty of sin.


It is a reason for doing something. Why did we react this way. Why did I leave my wife. Why did I quit my job. We are explaining why we did this or did that. As you can see in item 4 above, it also pertains to theology. You see we have to have our Sin accounted for. This is why we will have one of two relationships with God. Which one will it be. Will we be free from guilt, or burdened by guilt.

Another item I want to look at is how does Blue Letter Bible explain Justification. The Greek word for Justification is Dikaiosis and it means "the act of declaring men free from all guilt and acceptable to Him", and it means "abjuring to the righteous, justification". Abjur means to renounce, repudiate, or retract. So if we are abjured by someone, that person will renounce, repudiate, or retract our errors.

So if we are determined to be justified for killing someone, say in self-defense; then at the end of a trial in court the Judge or Jury will renounce, or retract the killing from our record. We thus will be justified in the eyes of the court. Now lets take this on a spiritual path.

In Romans 4:23-24 Paul writes " Now it was not written for his sake alone that it was imputed to him, but also for us. It shall be imputed to us who believe in Him who raised up Jesus our lord from the dead, who was delivered up because of our offenses, and was raised because of our justification." The first question that should be asked is: What are we being imputed with? Righteousness of course. Just follow the scripture back up to verse 22, "and therefore it was accounted to him for righteousness." This is what we are imputed with to make us "justified" in the eyes of the lord. Jesus is taking the Lord's wrath on the cross, instead of the Lord giving it to us when we die. Now of course we must be believers in Him (see my last post on relationships), to receive this Justification.

Another good example of Justification is is in 1 Corinthians 6:9-11. "Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God." What elegant words. Paul tells us what we were. Each one of us could probably pick one, two, or more from above to describe our old self. Maybe we are one of the above still today. But Paul tells us we were washed, sanctified, and Justified by the Lord. We are exonerated, found not guilty by Jesus. He takes the wrath for believers leaving us spotless in front of God on judgment day. We confront God as if we never, no never, not once sinned. Remember, one sin and we deserve death. But not now, we are renounced in front of God. Made not guilty by the highest Judge of all. Oh, how refreshing and marvelous for us.

In Matthew 5:48 Jesus tells us "Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your father in heaven is perfect." You see with his personal work on the cross for us, we will be perfect in front of God. I, like Christ encourage you to live your life perfect, without spot or Blemish, forsaking the old self and turning toward the Lord for all things, to include but not limited to your JUSTIFICATION.

From this word we have many more to look at such as Sanctification, Imputation, Righteousness. Look for these words in the next few weeks.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

What is your relationship with the Father.

We must understand that all of us, to include believers and unbelievers all have a relationship with God. The question for you the reader is, what is your relationship like?

Is your relationship one that you have a mediator(Christ). Do you have someone you can trust in and have faith that His (Christ)personal work of death on the cross for the sins of you and me will be substituted for your unrighteousness. Will He (Christ)be the propitiation for God for you? Will He say, Alex I'm covering for you, or Bob, I've got your back. Will he say to His Father, this one is Mine. Will He say, God, don't show your wrath on him, I'm his substitute. This is a relationship, this is a bond, this is a promise. Without this kind of relationship you will be delegated to another kind of relationship.

This other relationship is one of Wrath. One where God is not happy with your performance. One where he will judge you for all the sin you have committed in your life. One which will begin in the lake of fire, and continue for eternity.

You see, death would be an easy way out, however, it's not so easy. Your relationship of wrath will start at the lake of fire (Rev 20:15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.) , and it will not end. It is a relationship that will continue for eternity. There is no evidence in the Bible saying you will die here, and that life will end for you. My fellow brothers and sisters, please wake-up to this reality. This is a place of terrible torment forever. Look at what Jesus says in Matthew 8:12. "But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth." Brothers and sisters, this isn't afternoon tea time, this is real punishment. This makes Brushy Mountain Prison, look like a stroll in the park.

What is your relationship like today. If you are a believer, what joy, what relief, what a Godsend. However, if you are an unbeliever, oh...my fear for you. My fear of what is in store for you. If you are reading this, it is not to late. Some of you may have been told that all you need to do is to invite Jesus into your heart,,,,,oh please don't believe this, there is no Bible for this, it is not scripturally correct and it is not in the Bible. What is in the Bible is this, you need to change your relationship with God, you need to Repent and Believe. Repent means change your way, change who you are, turn from your sins, turn towards Jesus and his teachings, forgo your oldself, change your mind, who you are, and who you want to be. Believe is easier to understand because its a word we use frequently. Just believe that Jesus did die for your sins and that he will cover your sinfulness at the time of your death. That his personal work on the cross will cover you. Jesus early in his ministry in Matthew 4:17 states "From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." In John 3:16, Jesus says, "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."

Believe and repent. Have the correct relationship with God. Think about this in terms of your wife or your children, how much better for you and your family when your relationship is good, it is loving, caring, and nurturing. Now look at your relationship with God, is it the same. Please, before it is to late change your relationship for your safety.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Oil and Money - OPEC death grip

I've been really concerned about the high oil prices. I believe that if they continue in the direction they are going it could possibly put our economy in a collapse. My heart already goes out to man or woman working above minimum wage trying to get to and from work. Most likely they have an older vehicle which is killing them on gas mileage. But, they not only have to put up with the high gas prices and low mileage, they have to deal with the cost increases on all their staples, such as groceries and clothing due to high gas prices.

Well the reason for this post is not to simply gripe about the gas issues, but to explain to you how important (or should I say unimportant) this issue is with our great (yeah, right!) friend and ally Saudi Arabia. I just recently spoke with an oil and gas consultant on a airplane from Cleveland to Nashville and we were speaking about this issue. It was his belief and mine that if Saudi and OPEC opened the wells a little more and flooded the market with oil it would drop to an equilibrium that OPEC thought was fair, like $70.00. This would literally break the back of any speculators who are sitting on $145.00 futures, sending prices completely south where they should be. Well I just happened to send an email illustrating my thoughts to the Saudi's, well let me just paste the emails here for your review.


To Whom It May Concern:

I am greatly concerned with the article I just recently read on Fox news (http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,374602,00.html). King Abdullah is quoted as telling us that we have to learn to live with high prices. I am slightly shocked at that statement.

I believe that the King can make a huge impact on world supplies. I have a degree in Economics and Finance and I understand supply and demand. If the King wanted prices to drop OPEC (and Saudi Arabia) could momentarily gush the market with supplies, in essence breaking the supposed grip on the market by speculators. This is not the reason given by the IEA. Also OPEC could bring prices down by increasing supplies. To say anything else is a joke. It is supply and demand. Bring supplies up, and demand and supply will find a new equilibrium.

Its shameful that we the United States would sacrifice so much for Saudi and the Middle east in general, and get so little in return. My opinion of Saudi Arabia and OPEC has greatly diminished as prices continue to increase. The danger of bringing the world into a great depression increases everyday we see these outrageous price with oil, which closed at over $140.00 today.

I will write and urge every member of the Congress and Senate that represents me in TN to discourage any help to you for anything. Again, I’m highly disappointed in your countries views.


Alex Bash



Now I know my thoughts are scattered and I don't seem to make much sense, but I was hopping mad when I wrote this. But here is their response from an unnamed source at the embassy, who just happens to be saying it the U.S. 's fault for not having more refineries. Hmmmm our fault. Here it is.

Thank you for your e-mail Mr. Bash. The high price of gasoline is not because of a lack of oil. It is because of a lack of refining capacity. There has not been a new oil refinery built in the U.S. in over 30 years, and some of the existing ones along the Gulf coast were damaged during Hurricane Katrina. There are a lot more cars on the road today than there were 30 years ago, but refining capacity has actually gone down since then. Even if more oil were sent to the U.S. it would just sit in storage until it can be refined. Hopefully more refineries will be built soon. Best regards.

Here is my response back to them.

I have to disagree with you. The price of crude has jumped from $68.00 to $140.00 in one year.

In 1999 oil barrels were at $12.00 and gas was at just less than $1.00 a gallon, lets extrapolate that data to $140.00 oil barrels. That’s a 10+ fold increase, which would put gas prices at nearly $12.00 - $14.00 a gallon. That’s basic economics, and would seem to extrapolate to the refining costs, if it was a refinery issue.

The issue isn’t a refinery issue, that supply is being met. It’s the price of crude that you guys and OPEC are selling. Drop the price to $70.00 a barrel and I bet the price drops to $2.00 – $2.50 a gallon. If not drop the price, flood the market until the price drops to the target of $70.00, and I bet the refinery issue won’t be a problem, and the gas prices will drop with it.

Your data is not correct, and your blame is misplaced.

However, I do appreciate your return email.

On a side note, I spent 15 months stationed at the US Consulate in Dhahran and found Saudi’s to friendly and fun to speak to. However, the Saudi’s are losing any goodwill they have built up in the US and with me over the last 10 years, due to this problem. Many citizens understand economies, but unfortunately most are idiots concerning supply and demand, and will fall for the cover story you gave me. I urge you to please forward my concerns to your superiors.

Thanks,

Alex Bash


And finally their response back to me again.

Thank you for your e-mail Mr. Bash. Saudi Arabia is a member of OPEC, and it cannot take any unilateral action to increase or decrease the supply or price of oil. This has to be done in concert with all the other OPEC countries.

Oil was not $12 a barrel in 1999. Oil was about $27 a barrel in 1999. Oil was not even $12 a barrel in 1980. If we look at the price increase in the short term, it may seem like a lot, but if we look at it in aggregate, the price of oil has actually risen at a slower rate than many other commodities. How much were you paying for rent in 1980? How much were you paying for movie tickets, groceries, hair cuts or cable television?

There are many other factors which have driven up the price of oil. Speculators panicking have driven the price up dramatically. The Middle East being a volatile political area has also been a major factor – the war in Iraq specifically has been a major factor, and that is one of the reasons Saudi Arabia was against having a military conflict there.

Hopefully things will settle down in the region. In the meantime, we must all bite the bullet. Best regards.


First of all, the first statement is not true. I remember paying less than a $1.00 for a gallon of gas in 1999, and I remember OPEC clamoring to cut production because oil was too cheap at $12.00 a barrel. Well I went fact checking and I provide this link for you to review yourself. Go here.

So anyways, the fact of the matter is, our Ally Saudi Arabia could fix our dilema, but they are refusing to act, saying they must do it in a unilateral agreement with OPEC. However, Saudi is on record with OPEC saying no increase in production is merited. If you remember a month ago, President Bush was in Saudi, and they pretty much told him to pound sand when asking about oil production increases. See, here is the reason we won't see any price cuts on oil. Would you the reader prefer to sell your oil at $70.00 a barrel or $140.00 a barrel. Knowing at whatever price you put it at, people will buy it, and they will buy a lot of it. It is simple economics. I'm not a dummy, and neither are you. Oil and Money. Opec has a death grip on us, whether we want to believe it or not.

So there you have it, another reason to reach out and pray for our Arab bothers, who definetely don't have our interests at heart. Also, with their banks being flooded with U.S. money, they are able to push their false religion of hope; islam across the globe. Pray to the Lord for these people, pray that the false religion of peace be terminated and that our Lord's kingdom will come. Also as a brother and sister in Christ to each other, reach out and help a less fortunate brother somehow, someway today. As John Piper says, we should be unselfish people, giving to others in their needs. I couldn't agree more.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

We are Family!

All my brothers, sisters, and me. We are Family. Just like the 1979 hit by Sister Sledge, we to are “Family”.

Though the old song is catchy, what does it mean in terms of us and how we relate too our brothers and sisters not only in our own church, but church wide? A recent article by John N. Day titled “Church is family”, from Modern Reformation gave a very interesting perspective on family and Church.

The point of the article describes what post-modern church goers need, and it is a true sense of family. I would agree with this statement along with one that goes like this. What every believer needs is a true sense of family. Without family, we will make many bad decisions not only in life, but also in the church. We may make decisions based on business models, with worldly concerns, especially if we don’t take into account our family, our church family. I may take Joe’s side over Earl’s because; well because Earl is more aligned with the Associate Pastor than I am. You can input any reason or name above, because the point is, we don’t see fellow believers as true bothers and sisters, and sad but true, we often don’t even look at our own congregates as our brothers and sisters. This sets up bad decision making, and bad fellowship.

A good piece of text that John Day laments on is Matthew 12:46-50. While he was still talking to the multitudes, behold, His mother and brothers stood outside, seeking to speak with Him. Then one said to Him, “Look, Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside, seeking to speak with You.” But He answered and said to the one who told him “Who is My mother and who are My brothers?” And he stretched out his hand toward His disciples and said, “Here are My mother and My brothers! For whoever does the will of My Father in heaven is My brother and sister and mother.”

In a quick review of the scripture above one could conclude that Jesus is taking away from family, by emphasizing his relationship with the disciples. This is not the case. We see in scripture that we are pointed to respect and honor our parents; look no further than the 10 commandments. Paul in 1 Timothy 5:8 says “But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” It is apparent from Paul’s writings that family is super important, and we know that without family structure we become awfully close to being the animals that atheists want us to be. It is important to understand the point Jesus is making in scripture for us to understand just how important our Brothers and Sister in the church are. We share a bond with him, if we are doing the will of Our father in heaven; we are brothers and sisters to him and to each other. He is not taking away from family values or family structure, but he is showing us that our brothers and sisters at church share a common, highly valued similarity. How valued? As valuable as your mother, as your sister, and as your brother are to you, so should those in the church be. For us to just be doing His will we are bonded, like family. Do we believe that?

Can you imagine the environment in Church if all of us thought of each other as truly brothers and sisters in Christ? I know, I know, we say this all the time, we say my brother and sister at church….yeah I know, but you the reader of this blog (all 3 of you) and I know that we don’t really see each other as brothers and sisters that we love unconditionally, such as family members. Towards the end of John Day’s article he so eloquently puts it this way. “Too often instead you find things cold and uncaring, plastic-faced or two-faced; and too quickly to quarrel and divide. Oh, that our churches again would recapture this affection-not in pretence, but in truth!” How can I add to that statement from Day? Our members need to find safety at church, no matter how chaotic the environment outside of the Church is; they need family. They need members to love them in spite of the sin that still eats at all us (they are not alone). We all fall, it’s just the manner or degree to which we fall, but all of us despite our fragility and our propensity to sin, we need a mother, father, brother or sister, to love us, and to love us unconditionally like only family members can. I’ve seen people sin, and be repentant to that sin, but discarded like garbage, because they lost that squeaky clean image, and therefore didn’t fit the cover girl fa├žade of the church anymore. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying church without discipline, I’m just saying church with the love of my brothers and sisters, and that their love should be unconditional.

Will you commit to love your brothers and sisters in church? The second greatest commandment is to love your brother as yourself. However, in the church we argue, quarrel, fight amongst ourselves, backstab, and many other heinous sins without so much as blinking an eye. Oh I know most of us wouldn’t do that. (Laugh, Laugh, like some inside joke.) Would we? Could we? Are we?

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Monday's word of the week - Late

Expository is our word this week.

I picked this word because it seems to be the rave that most people talk about anymore when it comes to preaching. I've been told that there are really only three types of preaching styles in use. You can preach biographical - preaching about Moses and his life, or specifically about certain Bible characters. You can preach topical. This would mean that you might preach on Sin, or alcohol, or maybe marriage. Pick anyone of your favorite subject areas. Finally, you can preach Expositional. Preaching from the text and attempting to expound on that same text. Now you may find other ways to preach; for instance some have said that there is a Evangelistic way, or a Gospel way. For my general purposes, I just outlined the three, and will only expound on the one, or should I say Exposit the one.

Now of course I want it to be known that you can have variations of the the three types of preaching. You can preach a topical message and at the same time expose the text for its meaning. You can also teach about moses (Biographical), at the same time you may preach in an expositional fashion.

So what is my desire today? It is to help you understand expository/expostional as a word. What it means to you, and where and under what circumstances you will find the word.

First lets look at the straight forward dictionary definition lifted right off the pages of Dictionary.com.

Expository means:

of the nature of exposition; serving to expound, set forth, or explain: an expository essay; expository writing.

Exposition means:

1. A setting forth of meaning or intent.
2. a. A statement or rhetorical discourse intended to give information about or an explanation of difficult material. b. The art or technique of composing such discourses. c. The first part of a composition in sonata form that introduces the themes. d. The opening section of a fugue.
3. Music a. The first part of a composition in sonata form that introduces the themes. b. The opening section of a fugue.
4. The part of a play that provides the background information needed to understand the characters and the action.
5. An act or example of exposing.
6. A public exhibition or show, as of artistic or industrial developments.

As for any biblical text concerning the word expository, expositional, or exposition, you won't find anyone of them. They are non-existent in the Bible. Again, the reason I'm including this word as a Monday word of the week is that it is kinda of the hot button word of our time.

However, when it comes to Expository preaching, and why we should preach this way, I decided to use the best source that I can think of. Look at what John MacArthur tells us about why we should preach Expositional from an article titled "Expository Preaching in a Postmodern World"

Well first, because it is a biblical mandate. It doesn’t fluctuate with culture, with expectations, with times or seasons. Expository preaching is the best way to preach the Bible. If every word of God is pure, if every word of God is true, then every word needs to be dealt with. And expository preaching is only way you actually come to grips with every word in the Scriptures.

Secondly, expository preaching familiarizes people with the Scripture itself instead of simply giving them a speech, as true and as reflective of biblical teaching as that speech may be. With expository preaching, people become familiar with the Scripture. They can go back to the passages that have been addressed, and they can be reminded by the text itself of what it means. So you give people the Word of God in a way that has long-term impact, because it makes them familiar with Scripture.

Thirdly, it makes the authority unequivocal, and that authority is the Scripture. That’s very clear no matter how powerful or gifted the preacher might be. In consistent, expository preaching, the people always know what the authority is. It’s not about homiletics. It’s not about personal viewpoints and insights. It’s about relentlessly affirming the true authority of Scripture, which is the most critical thing that anybody can ever learn. It isn’t about, “Wasn’t that a great sermon?” It isn’t about, “Wasn’t that a great outline? Wasn’t that clever?” It’s always about, “What did the Word of God say?” And that makes it truly authoritative, because the Word is from God. No other preaching paradigm does this.

Now how can we argue with John on this. If you want to hear some great Expositional Preaching go to Grace To You a ministry of John MacArthur. You have a large selection of sermons to hear and you can do it when you have time. Check it out.

I do hope you understand this word much better than you have in the past. I am a strong advocate of this type preaching. It gives our congregations something to hold on to. It gives us "meat". Once the text is exposed for them to truly understand, they will go back too it time after time after time. Like someone looking for dinner, it will always be there for them.

May God bless you and your family with a man of God that will truthfully and faithful expose the text so that you will understand it and find the real meaning of it. Please remember there is only one meaning to any specific piece of text in the Bible, and that is God's meaning.

Monday, April 28, 2008

The Beauty of Children


There is not one day, no not one that I don't wake up thanking God for what he has given me. Especially when I look at my growing children.

I was witnessing to a middle aged female not to long ago and she stated to me that she believes we are living in hell. She also didn't believe in the same God I believed in, stating to me emphatically that if that is how God is "I don't want any part of him."

Going back to my first couple of sentences I would be more inclined to believe we are in Heaven versus hell. However, I guess it depends on where your point of view comes from. If you believe that you are nothing, and that you deserve God's wrath; its safe to say that you have a high view of God, and great dose of thankfulness for your beating heart he allows to beat. If on the other hand, you don't see God as all controlling and all knowing, that there is no plan and we are "accidents", I can see why you would feel that we live in Hell.

I don't see how anyone could imagine life as hell. I see too many wonderful things for this to be hell. My heart goes out to this lady I spoke with, she appears to have many good things going for her, but she is missing a reason for living. A reason to be who she is, and a reason to just be thankful. I think we all need to be thankful this morning for what we have. Look at the beautiful people around you. Each one in God's own image, yet each one so different. Look at the natural landscapes available as you travel to and from work today, and thank God for his beauty and existence he displays so freely. Encourage someone today, better yet, encourage someone you don't know, and make a difference for that one person today.

Let me leave you with a little piece of God's beautiful creation today. The picture is of my almost 1 year old daughter named Chloe. I can clearly see God's beauty being displayed through her. Oh, I know I have it so easy, and my prayer is that at age 16 I will still "calmly", see God's beauty in her as she goes through those teenage years.

Oh, by the way, I don't believe we are living in Heaven or hell, but we are living on the planet earth. One day, God will redeem his people and take us to that Celestial City, just like in Pilgrim's Progress. What a glorious day that will be.