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 façade 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.

Friday, April 25, 2008

In "Tamar" I see myself!

You might ask me a question such as "How in the heck do you see yourself in Tamar." On its face, it sure is an odd statement. Especially when we look at Tamar. Tamar the one that had sexual relations with her father-in-law while acting like a prostitute. Yeap, I see myself in her....LOL

In my condensed version of the events in Genesis 38 we find the story of Judah and Tamar. Judah, who is Jacob's son left his brothers and married a Canaanite; a descendant of Ham(Noah's Son) and part of the cursed people. In this marriage to Hirah, Judah would father three sons. They are Er, Onan, and Shelah. Er was given in marriage to Tamar. However, Er was found to be wicked in the eyes of the Lord and the Lord killed him. So Onan had to marry Tamar. However, the indication in scripture is that Onan would not have children with Tamar which displeased the Lord, and the Lord killed him. Then Judah promised Tamar that Shelah would marry her when he was grown. To make a long story short this third marriage never happened. So it is at this moment that Tamar takes things into her own hand and acts like a prostitute on the road to Timnah which Judah would be travelling. Judah finds her on the side of the road(not knowing who she is because she covers her face)and he has sexual relations with her. It is found later that she is pregnant and is to be burned for her crime. However, she kinda has a Ace in the hole, if you know what I mean. Judah left her his Signet, Cord, and Staff, (as a pledge for payment) identifying him as the father of this unborn child. Ooops. Did I leave that their. So needless to say she is not burned, she has twins who are named Perez and Zerah. In a funny sidenote on how God works, it appears Zerah was coming out first, when at the last moment his hand went back into the womb and out popped Perez.

The point that this story makes is that it shows us that God can take in essence a prostitute and figure it into the bloodline of our Glorious Savior. If we go to the 1st chapter of Matthew we see the genealogy of Jesus Christ. In verse 4 we have "Judah begot Perez and Zerah by Tamar, Perez begot Hezron, and Hezron begot Ram,". Now lets go forward a number of years where we come to verse 16 when we have "And Jacob begot Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus who is called Christ. God's plan to perfection. Prostitute to Savior. Is he awesome. I also think he has a sense of humor.

Now back to my point of seeing myself in Tamar. I was born wicked and I did many things that should have sentenced me to death in the Lords eyes. However, he kept me alive and found some bit of favor in me for believing. I know with all my heart that my Savior picked me. Picked me, and I make Tamar look like an innocent angel. Take your Bible out and just read the 38th chapter of Genesis again. This small story inside the story of Joseph gives us a glimpse of God making things happen the way he wants it to happen. Most of us have just casually glossed over this story. But, look at how wonderful our savior is and how he "makes lemonade from lemons." Well, I'm here to tell you that he can make lemonade from you also. No matter how rotten or how bad you were; our God is big enough and strong enough and God enough to redeem you. Not only can he redeem you, but he can use you to the betterment of His Kingdom and to His Glory.

I pray thanking him everyday for redeeming me. He redeemed someone like Alex Bash, someone that would make Tamar look like a saint. I think that if we all look real close, we might find Tamar in us also.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Out of Context Scripture

My old and I mean old...(nah he's not that old) Pastor Reggie Weems (Heritage Baptist Church, Johnson City, TN) got me to thinking (which is hard to do) at one of his services that my wife and I attended. Now because of that service I have a beef with some pastors, lay persons, and casual believers. It is the fact that so many people are taking words and scripture completely out of context. They will take scripture and make it say what they want to say. For instance, Reggie (by the way he didn't misuse this scripture, he was making a minor point, which was part of a larger point of emphasis)used Jesus' message out of John 8:31-32 to make his point. The main point in that scripture which most believers take out of context is in verse 32. It says "you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." Most people when asked about this scripture think it means truth, as in not telling a lie. Most adults to include Christian adults believe this as fact also. (don't believe me, try it with some christian adults you know) We know that Jesus is the truth, and to believe in him will set you free from the sin that he mentions later in the chapter. It has nothing to do with telling a lie. Nothing at all.

Another one is spare the rod and spoil the child. This is another piece of Scripture usually taken completely out of context. Some parents think that we have to beat our children, and some actually use rods and switch's to deliver the discipline and then use scripture to get approval for it. Now I'm not advocating not to use spankings, it's just probably not appropriate to deliver it with a rod, if you know what I mean. But, the rod is metaphoric here; the writer is not advocating using a rod to discipline. He means that discipline is needed, when he talks about the rod of discipline. We are to use discipline wisely and when needed or we will spoil the child.

Another case I saw first hand when a young lady in our youth group was told by her boyfriend that she was to submit to him in all things. I said..REALLLLLY. Hmmmm lets look at scripture to see what it says. Ephesians 5:22 starts off with Wives. LOL...I said, hmmm are you a wife. She said "no." I said well then that doesn't cover you does it. I did go on and explain the context of the scripture, but the point again is that someone was being foolish with scripture and they were trying to manipulate a young lady with it. This to me is ungodly.

We as believers need to make sure that we don't take scripture out of it's context. A general rule that I learned was that we are to to read what is in front of the said piece of scripture, and then read what is after the said piece of scripture. This will allow you to have a better opportunity of understanding the scripture. However, nothing is understandable without the Holy Spirit's help. We can only understand what he allows us to understand. We should also be in prayer constantly as we read the Holy Scriptures. This brings our relationship with God so much closer and as we are closer to the Holy One, we understand him more and more. I've seen this in my own walk where I've looked at certain scriptures and I just didn't get it. I've come back years later and after a much closer walk in prayer and life committed to him; I was able to truly understand the same passages that seemed like literal Greek or Hebrew just a few years ago.

So to all believers; I encourage you to stay in prayer and stay in the scripture so that you may understand what he is saying. God's meaning is only one, not many, so don't believe that each piece of scripture may mean something to you and something different for me. Scripture means the same, we may use it differently in our life, but God only has one meaning for his word.

Stay in Prayer. Stay in Prayer. Stay in Prayer.

UPDATE

See what I'm talking about. Check this article out here. It even permeates our politics.

(HT: Hot Air)

Monday, April 21, 2008

Monday's word of the week.

Soteriology

This one word of 11 letters packs some punch. When one thinks of Soteriology, the basic definition brings us back to the doctrine of salvation.

Looking at the definition for Soteriology we go no further than our friendly online reference dictionary.com. Soteriolgy is the Branch of Christian thelogy that deals with salvation. It is derived from the Greek sōtērion (salvation)(from sōtēr savior, preserver) + English - logy. So again, basically we are dealing with salvation and the nature of how God provides for that salvation.

Lets look at soteriology from a Biblical viewpoint. Now of course you won't find Soteriology in the bible in that specific word form. However we do find two word sources that play right off of Soterion. The first one is Soteria - We see this definition from Blue Letter Bible -

1) deliverance, preservation, safety, salvation
a) deliverance from the molestation of enemies
b) in an ethical sense, that which concludes to the souls safety or salvation
1) of Messianic salvation
2) salvation as the present possession of all true Christians
3) future salvation, the sum of benefits and blessings which the Christians, redeemed from all earthly ills, will enjoy after the visible return of Christ from heaven in the consummated and eternal kingdom of God.

We see it used in the Bible in many places - Specifically taking the place of Salvation, Saved, and Health. In Luke 1:71 "that we should be saved from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us," in Luke 1:77 "To give knowledge of salvation unto his people by the remission of their sins,".

The other word we see taken from Soterion is Soterio. Its specific definition is:

1) saving, bringing salvation
2) he who embodies this salvation, or through whom God is about to achieve it
3) the hope of (future) salvation

Its use in the bible is found in places like Luke 2:30 "For mine eyes have seen thy salvation of God." and Titus 2:11 " For the grace of God that bringeth salvation that appeared to all men,"

The main difference between the two words is that Soterio means "that brings salvation" and Soteria means "the one being saved or delivered, or health". This is a very important point and will determine how the word is used in biblical context.

Soteriology is the doctrine of Salvation. We as believers understand the meaning of salvation, but non-believers may be confused. The Gospel message consists of several facts to include a supernatural birth, sinless life, death on the cross, risen savior, witnessed by many. Salvation comes to us as we believe and have faith that he is indeed our pure lamb that was slaughtered on the cross to appease our God. That he took the sins of man upon himself saving me from the trial of meeting God and being sentenced to a FOREVER death. I thus will be saved, or have salvation from my belief in the savior. Taking him literally as my savior. I am sometimes said to have "saving faith".

I do hope that Soteriology is a little more understandable. I also hope you understand salvation and the Gospel message.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Josh McDowell - TN Visit


I just wanted all of my 2 readers to know that Josh McDowell will be visiting my old church Two Rivers Baptist Church. He will be at Two Rivers on Monday the 21st of April at 7:00 pm in the chapel.

This is a great opportunity to see a message from a pretty good apologetic. His book "Evidence that Demands a Verdict" is a classic, and the more recent release "New Evidence that Demands a Verdict" is even better. However, I must admit to never reading either one, that information is from what I have heard. I have to say the book of his that I recommend (and read a couple of times)most often to non-believers and one that I have given away quite often is "More than a Carpenter". It's great to carry onto an airplane and give away to the person next to you who may ask "what are you reading".

Well if you find yourself in the area, stop by Two Rivers or better yet check out their website from the link above.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Tim Challies


At the T4G conference I was able to meet a person I highly respect as a blogger and writer. Most important however, is the fact that he has inspired me to write, which I am grateful for. I don't know him through any other means than through his blog, but he has been both kind and gracious to me. I also have a proof pic, LOL if you look Allen is to the left, Tim is then in the center and then you find me to the right. You can also find Tim's blog here. Please take a look at it.

Tim Challies has been to a couple of conferences that I have attended to include T4G 08 and Ligonier last year. It was only a few months prior to Ligonier last year that I happened to find his blog online. I don't even remember where or how I was linked up to it. But, I did find it and I have enjoyed his posts. They are always interesting and insightful. I was also able to find many other bloggers that I enjoyed reading from his "King of the week" postings. He also has a enjoyable sidebar column called "A LA CARTE" which also contains interesting posts, and oddball type articles.

Tim has been very gracious to me both times that I met him (T4G 08 and Ligonier)and the many times we have corresponded via email. I wanted him too initially put together a website for me so I could blog, but through much prayer and consultation with my wife I decided to use Blogspot until I was sure I wanted to write and that it wasn't just a phase. Tim again was gracious and encouraging. He said that I was on the right track by starting out with Blogspot, and it would be a good way to ensure I wanted to blog.

So Tim, I want to thank you for your advice and your willingness to help out. But, most importantly for your kindness. It is easy to get "big headed" with the popularity of your blog, but you seem to keep it all in stride. I remember talking to you about writing for myself, and you mentioned that you, like me, write for yourself. Please, keep writing for yourself, I think that is the reason you are being so successful. May God continue to use you for the glory of His kingdom. Thanks again, and I look forward to seeing you at the next conference.

T4G 08 - Together for the Gospel


I just came back yesterday from a wonderful time of Worship, Fellowship, and pure learning.

I was able to listen to some of the Greatest minds who are currently living in regards to sound Biblical teaching. Sometimes this group of men are referred to as what one friend termed as the "Superfriends". The teachers consisted of R.C. Sproul - who by the way is part of Ligonier Ministries. My first reformed type conference was at Ligonier Ministries two years ago when my friend Allen Barnes invited me with a general calling of friends. He put out a blanket email to all of his friends and God used that to start a re-awakening or maybe better wording would be "put my truth in sharper focus to do His great work". I am just a tad off subject...... Other teachers included John MacArthur, whose ministry Grace To You (GTY) has been an inspiration to me because a few years ago I was seeking out strong reformed preaching but couldn't find it locally for a long time. So John and I became fast friends. I should say myself and his website became fast friends. Also teaching was: Ligon Duncan, Al Mohler - President of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, CJ Mahaney - Sovereign Grace Ministries, and finally one of my all time hero's in the faith John Piper from Bethlehem Baptist in the twin cities and the person responsible for Desiring God. He is the man that makes me sit up and listen like a school child as he teaches from scripture. He inspires me to preach and inspires me to act on that desire. Not many men in my life have done that, he is one of the few.

Mind you I love each and everyone of these men who taught this week, but for some reason one or two inspire me much more than the others. God works that differently for all of us. I remember as one of the men finished up preaching one of my friends told me how moved he was by the message...and I thought to myself...hmmm ok. I didn't feel the way he did, but it sure did happen to me with John Piper's message. God is awesome.

T4G will be held again in 2010 and I plan on being a part of it. Next year our conference choice is still up in the air, but I'm leaning towards Ligonier with my friends from Nashville. We will see what God plans for all of us. I can't wait to see his work.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Politics and Religion

Wow, what a controversial subject. Well when the United States elects Sen. Obama the Democrat from Illinois that is what they will get, controversy. Here is a snippet from his church and a decent article on him. It is so sad that a church this large is leading people astray by teaching them to hate America and not love like christ. On top of that the Gospel isn't being preached and Race relations will never be given a fair chance in a church like this. So sad, but so real. I once heard Rev. Wright say that Jesus was black and his plight was like that of the American black population. We whites are the Romans and Jesus is the black man. One larger problem is that there are hundreds of churchs in American that teach this junk.

Pitiful is all I can say. Please give it a watch if you have time.



(HT: Flopping Aces)

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The Truth - Vertigo

I'm sure some of you have seen this, if you have enjoy it again. If you haven't seen it, give it a good look. I love it.




HT(Evangelical Outpost)

Sunday, March 9, 2008

The Hermeneutics Quiz

I'm back and I wouldn't say better than ever. I just had a long period of time that work, family, and my commitments just overwhelmed me. I hope to be permanently back, but we will see.

Go to this Hermeneutics quiz and see where you stand. Are you a conservative or are you a liberal. I would bet that this breaks down denominational. In other words I would expect the Southern Baptists to be score more conservative, and the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America to be score more Liberal. Since most of my friends are SBC members, I would bet they go conservative. Once at the site hit the icon "take assessment".

(HT: Evangelical Outpost)

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Mohammed Cartoon Reprint


This is the cartoon that is causing so much problems. In Muslim countries worldwide Muslims attacked the Danish embassies just because of this picture. As a sign of solidarity with many bloggers and newspapers I show this cartoon. Not to offend my Muslim brothers, but to show that free worlds need the complete freedom of the press. I will always stand in solidarity with that. Michelle Malkin does a great job, please check her site out for the whole story.

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Taxes and Death

Growing up this statement "Pay Taxes and Die", were the only sure things in life. We as silly teenagers would laugh out loud as we would say this statement. In my old age (almost 40) I see a lot of folly in that statement. Though the statement is true, I do see other more sure things in life, such as Jesus Christ and his Death on the Cross giving us life for those that Repent and Believe. However, we all have been allowed to be stupid once in awhile,,,,right. LOL.

Another thing I do see as a sure thing is the manipulation by liberals about our tax system. I keep hearing how the rich don't pay enough in taxes and that the poor pay an unrealistic percentage of income into the tax coffers. More Folly I say.

I was reading one of my favorite blogs (Evangelical Outpost) and came across this interesting article about how much Exxon made and how much Exxon paid into taxes for the last couple of years. Now it is easy to be angry at Exxon when we pay almost $3.00 per gallon of gas, but please remember Exxon isn't the only responsible party that has gotten this cost up to $3.00 per gallon of gas. We have speculators trying to make money off of oil. This is a large reason we see almost $100.00's for a barrel of oil (settling in around $93.00 this morning). We also see OPEC refusing to increase production, because in their eyes, supply meets demand. We also have growing economies all over the world demanding this oil. We also have a country with no clear energy policy; this reason drives my anger the most, however I'm digressing.

Anyway this is all fine and dandy, but the real reason for this post is to show you that rich companies and rich people keep this government and country running. Exxon made $40.6 billion in profits last year after paying its bills and Taxes. They paid into the United States Government $30 billion in Taxes. That's right $30 billion. $30 billion is more money that the bottom half of all individual tax filers paid for the entire year. A better way to say it is that Exxon paid more in taxes than the 65,000,000 (million) bottom half of all tax payers. Folks, this is one company.

Read this article to get a better perspective. I think about the eight years I spent in the Marine Corps and the 6 years I spent as a police officer; I only paid in taxes around $17,000-20,000 total for these 14 years. Think about that. I was a Police Officer making around 25,000 a year, and paying roughly $1200-1600 (6-7%) a year in taxes, and one company is paying $30 billion or 41% of their profits in taxes. I think we citizens need to put things in prospective occasionally, and we also need to realize that life is good, and maybe realize that sometimes life not being fair is good also. That is, unless you like paying 41% of your income into taxes.

(HT: Evangelical Outpost and Instapundit)

Monday, February 11, 2008

Monday's word of the week.

What is Eschatology?

This word has always had a lot interest to me, even though I couldn't pronounce it for a long time. I can probably count on half of one hand the amount of times I have actually heard this word used in Church. When I look at how many times I have heard this word prior to the last three years of my faith, I could probably use one hand. However, since my re-awakening, or should I say since my desire from God to live on the word as my breath of life, i've heard it more times than I can count. Reformation faith is so concerned about what the Bible says, what God is telling us, and what it means, they aren't afraid to use words such as ESCHATOLOGY to describe these things. Not that there isn't non-reformation Churchs that use this word, they just tend not to use it. What a blessing for me. Now let's see if I can help you the reader understand what this word means, not just from a dictionary standpoint, but from a theological standpoint.

The American Heritage Dictionary explains it this way: 1. The branch of theology that is concerned with the end of the world or of humankind. 2. A belief or a doctrine concerning the ultimate or final things, such as death, the destiny of humanity, the Second Coming, or the Last Judgment. The first thing I realize is that this is a religious word of some sort. Final Judgment, second coming, death and destiny of humanity, automatically lead me to a higher being. Look what the Online Etymology Dictionary (OED) says about this word: 1844, from Gk. eskhatos "last, furthest, remote" (from ex "out of") + -logia "a speaking" (in a certain manner). In theology, the study of the four last things: death, judgment, heaven, hell.

The OED even gives us the Greek word for this word; eshatos - last, furthers, remote + logia - a speaking (in a certain manner). But the final sentence is what I find most interesting. The study of the four last things: death, judgment, heaven, hell, intrigues me. This is Bible, this is God, and this is Christ and we as Christians will face the fact that we will be confronted with all four. The fact is we will die, and after our death we will face Judgment, and depending on weather we Repented and Believed in Jesus Christ as our Savior we will face Heaven or Hell.


Blue Letter Bible does not define ESCHATOLOGY itself but does a fair job of defining our Greek root word Eshatos, but we are left with little for logia. Eshatos means: 1) extreme a) last in time or in place b) last in a series of places c) last in a temporal succession 2) the last a) last, referring to time b) of space, the uttermost part, the end, of the earth c) of rank, grade of worth, last i.e. lowest We see this word used in Rev 22:13, "I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last." There is no God after him. God is not only the first God, but the last God. Peter in 2 Peter 3:3 says: "Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts." We see the last word used again to explain the last days. Peter is telling us that towards the end times on earth or better yet, Christs return, we will be faced with mockers or people who will derisively scorn us as believers and the facts surrounding Jesus Christ and our God.

In Essence ESCHATOLOGY is just what the dictionary says it is, its a study of the last days. It is the study of death, judgment, heaven and hell. We should study scripture daily for these four titles. We must seek the truth. I always challenge believers and non-believers to hold the scripture up to complete scrutiny. The bible is full of truths that follow those subjects. The Bible defines and defends all four of these truths and I ensure you, you will find answers on how to ensure the best outcome for you when it comes to those four subjects. I make a promise to my readers that over the next few weeks I will blog about Death, Judgment, Heaven, and Hell to assist you in your truth seeking.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

My first non-faith Post. Michigan's recruit class.

Here are Michigan's players of the future. Michigan has a class that is ranked in the top 10 by all major sites to include Rivals, ESPN, and SI among a few. We stole a Florida commit at the last Minute. We took a CB from Tennessee last week, and we snatched a kid from Rutgers out of NJ at the last moment. Just a side-note to my TN friends. Your class is ranked in the top 30.

Here is our Freshmen class, thanks to MGOBLUE.com.

2008 University of Michigan Football Recruiting Class
(As of 5:30 p.m. EST, Feb. 6, 2008)

Player Pos. Ht. Wt. Hometown (High School) Coach

Ricky Barnum OL 6-2 265 Lakeland, Fla. (Lake Gibson) Keith Demyer
Boubacar Cissoko DB 5-9 175 Detroit, Mich. (Cass Technical) Thomas Wilcher
Mike Cox RB 6-0 206 Dorchester, Conn. (Avon Old Farms) Kevin Driscoll
Kenny Demens LB 6-1 226 Oak Park, Mich. (Detroit Country Day) Dan MacLean
Justin Feagin QB 6-0 190 Deerfield, Fla. (American Heritage) Willie Bueno
J.B. Fitzgerald LB 6-3 230 Princeton Junction, N.J. (West Windsor Plainsboro) Todd Smith
J.T. Floyd DB 6-0 190 Greenville, S.C. (J.L. Mann) Mickey Crocker
Taylor Hill LB 6-2 205 Youngstown, Ohio (Cardinal Mooney) P.J. Fecko
Rocko Khoury OL 6-5 280 Traverse City, Mich. (Traverse City West) Matt Prisk
Kevin Koger TE 6-4 220 Toledo, Ohio (Whitmer) Joe Palka
Mike Martin DL 6-2 285 Redford, Mich. (Catholic Central) Tom Mach
Elliott Mealer OL 6-6 280 Wauseon, Ohio (Wauseon) Mark Emans
Brandon Moore TE 6-6 221 Trotwood, Ohio (Trotwood-Madison) Maurice Douglass
Patrick Omameh OL 6-4 260 Columbus, Ohio (St. Francis DeSales) Ryan Wiggins
Dann O'Neill OL 6-7 295 Grand Haven, Mich. (Grand Haven) Mike Farley
Terrence Robinson ATH 5-9 170 Klein, Texas (Oak) David Smith
Roy Roundtree WR 6-0 154 Trotwood, Ohio (Trotwood-Madison) Maurice Douglass
Michael Shaw ATH 6-0 185 Trotwood, Ohio (Trotwood-Madison) Maurice Douglass
Brandon Smith DB 6-3 210 New Brunswick, N.J. (New Brunswick) John Quinn
Darryl Stonum WR 6-3 185 Stafford, Texas (Dulles) Jim Creech
Kurt Wermers OL 6-5 260 Crown Point, Ind. (Crown Point) Chip Pettit
Marcus Witherspoon LB 6-2 225 Atlantic City, N.J. (Holy Spirit) Bill Walsh

Roster by Position

Athlete: Terrence Robinson, Michael Shaw
Defensive Back: Boubacar Cissoko, J.T. Floyd, Brandon Smith
Defensive Line: Mike Martin
Linebacker: Kenny Demens, J.B. Fitzgerald, Taylor Hill, Marcus Witherspoon
Offensive Line: Ricky Barnum, Rocko Khoury, Elliott Mealer, Patrick Omameh, Dann O'Neill, Kurt Wermers
Quarterback: Justin Feagin
Running Back: Mike Cox
Tight End: Kevin Koger, Brandon Moore
Wide Receiver: Roy Roundtree, Darryl Stonum

Roster by State

Connecticut: Mike Cox
Florida: Ricky Barnum, Justin Feagin
Indiana: Kurt Wermers
Michigan: Boubacar Cissoko, Kenny Demens, Rocko Khoury, Mike Martin, Dan O'Neill
New Jersey: J.B. Fitzgerald, Brandon Smith, Marcus Witherspoon
Ohio: Taylor Hill, Kevin Koger, Elliott Mealer, Brandon Moore, Patrick Omameh, Roy Roundtree, Michael Shaw
South Carolina: J.T. Floyd
Texas: Terrence Robinson, Darryl Stonum

Media Contact: David Ablauf (734) 763-4423

Monday, February 4, 2008

Monday's word of the week.

What is Propitiation?

Wow, is this a bible word. Yes it is, and I'll explain where and how in just a minute. The dictionary definition does this word some justice. 1. the act of propitiating; conciliation: the propitiation of the wrathful gods.
2. something that propitiates.
But, it doesn't complete the true definition. The noun form of this word sends us to the verb form "propitiates". Propitiates means: To conciliate (an offended power); appease: propitiate the gods with a sacrifice. Now we are getting somewhere. I have always known the word as a satisfaction term. Something that satisfied a god.

Let's look at what Blue Letter Bible says about this word. The actual Greek word used here is Hilasterion.

1) relating to an appeasing or expiating, having placating or expiating force, expiatory; a means of appeasing or expiating, a propitiation

a) used of the cover of the ark of the covenant in the Holy of Holies, which was sprinkled with the blood of the expiatory victim on the annual day of atonement (this rite signifying that the life of the people, the loss of which they had merited by their sins, was offered to God in the blood as the life of the victim, and that God by this ceremony was appeased and their sins expiated); hence the lid of expiation, the propitiatory

b) an expiatory sacrifice

c) a expiatory victim


Now, this is a dangerous word for me, because it has the ability to take me into Doctrine and Theology that I haven't been able to study. But to be an expiatory sacrifice means in essence to be able to make atonement or make reparation for wrongs committed. Now if we look at this from an Old Testament thought, we will see our believers trying to make atonement to God by giving blood sacrifices from unblemished animals. Now in this light we can understand the context in how Paul and John use the word, we can hopefully understand the reason for the word, and what it means.

In Roman's 3:25 Paul says "whom God set forth as a propitiation by his blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed,". Prior to this sentence we are in verses 23 and 24 we are talking about Jesus Christ, and so then Jesus Christ is the subject or the Propitiation for our sins. Looking at our Old Testament example of blood from an unblemished animal meeting our needs, He is what satisfies our God and thus meeting our needs for atonement. He is our atonement, and His blood pleases or satisfies God. Look how John portrays it in 1 John 2:2 "And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not ours only but also for the whole world", and 1 John 4:10 "In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins". Do you see this? He is the atoning sacrificial blood for our sin, he covers us. He literally took the wrath / punishment from our God and put it upon Himself on that cross on the day he was crucified. Not only is Jesus our atonement for our sins, but God Himself sent him to do it, and this is proof of his love for us.

When we see this word for what it truly means, we can hopefully understand why Jesus Christ had to die on the cross for us. Something or someone needed to make atonement for our sins. God needed appeasement for wrongs / sins committed against him. In this light you can see the metaphor between the unblemished animal and the sinless Christ. If Christ wasn't sinless, then he would be blemished, much like you and me. In that case he could not and would not be a sacrifice for mankind, he couldn't please God. Using that mindset, we can see that we were in trouble. We can't possible make atonement for our sins ourselves. We needed a sacrifice, and lo and behold, God sent his only begotten (perfect) son to save us. What an honor and Blessing. May we honor him always and always? Now, I hope you have a better understanding of this wonderful word.

Show me the money.

I've included a post from Jerry Mcquire. I am not a big fan of the movie, however, I do enjoy this "show me the money" part. It takes me to where I would like to write about today. Show me the money is what some of our supposed Pastors are saying to the flock.



The fleecing of the flock.

Some of our pastors are taking their people for rides. My pastor had a great message on the fleecing of the flock. He didn't call it this, but he gave his people alot of information on ministries that are apparently wasting the tithe of hard working christians and this message allowed us to see some of these "wolves in sheeps clothing" for who they really are. The Baptist Press has a great article on it. I know this article is old, but I was sitting on the plane on my way to Cleveland today and just felt the desire to blog on this issue.

In today's world so many people seek to make millions, and of course it has hit the pulpit where some ministers are hoping to make it also. I keep hearing of mega-preachers and "word of faith" leaders raking in millions for their ministry, and raking in millions for themselves. Overindulgence with mansions and money is typical of some our supposed religious leaders. Benny Hinn, up to five years ago claimed income in the $500,000 to $1,000,000 dollar range. He has a mansion in Hawaii that he claims is his parsonage and he is building a $3.5 million dollar home off the Pacific coast, this article will make you sick. Benny Hinn is just one of many that are currently being investigated by Congress.

So where does that leave us. Well if you are currently supporting any ministry other than your home Church, you should utilize the ECFA (Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability) This organization has tasked itself with helping Christian ministries earn the publics trust by being financial transparent. Transparent in telling their viewers where each and every penny goes. What the leaders earn and where the money is spent is important to me, especially if you want my money. At my local Church I see where the finances go every month, I know how much my Pastor make, I know what it costs to run our Church; Transparency is what every Christian oranization should inspire to give to their people. If an organization you give too is not on here, then you should question them as to where the finances go, and I would question them why they are not part of the ECFA.

I will leave you with some scripture on what Paul and Peter testify too. Paul tells the Ephesians in Acts 20:33 that "I have coveted no one's silver or gold or apparel". Hmmm does that sound like some of our brothers living high on the hog. Or listen to what Peter says in Acts 3:6 "Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazereth rise up and walk", as he talks to the lame man outside the temple. These two men lived lifes of poverty. Paul and Peter were both Martyred, and had very little in possesions or wealth. I don't think our Pastor's should live lifes of poverty, but they shouldn't live better than 99% of their flock. How can you ask for your poor believers tithe as you live in $1,000,000 mansions. I ask our Pastors to be responsible in the Gospel message they preach, and not to worry about the financial implications of taking on this great and mighty endeavor. Furthermore, I beseech our flocks to take care of our shepards. They should be properly compensated, not living in poverty, but also not in excess of the majority of the flock. Please remember that they have wifes and children to support. They need the faith and support of their people, and in most cases they rely specifically on the faith and giving of their flock.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Monday's Word for the Week.

What is EPISTEMOLOGY?

To many bible believers this word may never come up in any conversations you have. Though, since coming to reformed faith I have heard it frequently. In general it is not a word you would see in your everyday sermon from your pastor. I've heard it spoken at conferences, such as Ligonier and on programs such as the White Horse Inn. Lets see if I can do this word any justice.

The standard dictionary definition of this word states: A branch of Philosophy that investigates the orgin, nature, methods, and limits of human knowledge. In the Greek we find the word episteme, which means knowledge. We see a form of this word (epistemon) used in James 3:13. Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? Let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom. We don't see this actual Greek word used in scripture, and we don't see the term Epistemology used at all. A couple of the most frequent used Greek words for knowledge in the New Testament are "Gnosis", or "Epignosis".

The word EPISTEMOLOGY is used typically in high intellectual settings such as Colleges and Universities. But if we look at the bible it is full of the orgin, nature, methods, and limits of human knowledge. We know that all knowledge comes from God when we have Paul in 1 Corinthians 1:5 say "That in everything ye are enriched by him, in all utterance, and in all knowledge". It starts as early as Genesis with the tree of knowledge in Genesis 2:9. We are told that this tree is the tree of Knowledge of good and evil (Gen 2:9). But we also know that in Genesis, God creates everything. We are told that he speaks everything into existence. We know that God is the giver of our Knowledge, but at the same time he is the limiter of our knowledge. God could have told us everything about him, but he didn't. He could have told us exactly how the world was made, the compounds he used, the purpose for doing it and etc... However, he didn't. God is the great supplier of knowledge, and he is also the great limiter of that knowledge.

The scriptures are full of knowledge. Reading and understanding the knowledge that is in scripture leads us to be wise. Wisdom is what we all should seek, but without the knowledge of who Jesus Christ is in our life's, we will never have that wisdom. I thought that it would be important to understand the origin, nature, methods, and limits of human knowledge before we take on any other words. I hope I did it some justice.

Look for my new word next Monday.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

The White Horse Inn.



I want to give a plug for a great organization called the White Horse Inn. The White Horse Inn is a nationally syndicated radio talk show hosted by Michael Horton, Rod Rosenbladt, Kim Riddlebarger and Ken Jones. On the air since 1990, the show features a regular roundtable discussion of Christian theology and apologetics.

I would suggest each and every visitor of mine go visit this site. They are currently running a great series that will make you re-think how Holy are God truly is. My favorite so far is the one titled "Joel Osteen: A Case Study in American Religion". You may be shocked to find out what you will learn about one of this countries better known preachers.

This isn't just a beat-down on Joel Osteen, it is a program designed to help you "Know what you believe, and why you believe it". Most of us don't even know why we believe something, other than it was told to us years ago. Go to the site and read the "About us" link. The radio broadcasts are the "bomb".

Give it a listen, I promise you won't be disappointed.

Something New.

I'm going to start something new on Monday. Around Lunchtime I will post a new dictionary word to define. To help me and all my friends with our bible terminology I will post each and every week a different word. I will attempt to define the word by Webster's dictionary. I will also define it biblical, and I'll finish up by putting the word in some type of context. i.e. in what it means to us, and why we should understand the definition.

I hope you will all enjoy this new endeavor.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The Religion of Peace Strikes again.

This is what makes me mad about the followers of Islam. Fox News is reporting that a man in Afghanistan downloaded a paper that supposedly condemns the religion of Islam. This man even supposedly admitted his error and asked for forgiveness. However, a panel of three judges found him guilty and he is sentenced to die for his crime.

Now this aggravates me on two fronts. One, isn't this the country where our men and women are dying trying to give them freedom. We just liberated them from the Taliban and this is what they turn too. Second, isn't this the religion of peace, shouldn't any peaceful religion ask their people to hold their faith up to scrutiny. Check and test the faith to ensure it is true. Maybe I'm blinded because I claim Christianity, but that is what we should do in any faith. I challenge you to hold Christ up to scrutiny, test the faith, test his witness, test who he says he is. I have no fear in your findings. Is it that our Muslim brothers are worried about what they might find out. Will Islam not hold up to spiritual or even historical scrutiny. I don't know what the findings will be. I do know I have no fears with Christ and who he is and what you would find.

My Muslim brothers who may read this, can't you see the problem here. Where is your outcry for this person. Where is your compassion for him as a fellow human. Scream from the roofs how wrong this is, especially if you have any compassion for your fellow believers. I don't desire to challenge you on your faith or what you believe, but your brothers and sisters should be able to seek the truth and they should be able to seek it without a death sentence hanging over them.

I'd like to finish by saying that I'm a pretty reasonable person. I understand the culture; I spent 15 months in Saudi Arabia at the U.S. Consulate in Dhahran on Embassy duty, so I can relate to the religion and the people. But, I find this sentence scary, and I find the lack of any outcry on the Moderate Muslims even more scary. You can read the article here.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The Great Commission - What are we forgetting?

Very frequently we hear about the "Great Commission". In many church circles the great commission means a yearly or bi-yearly trip to some place other than where the Church is (Missionary Trip). The trip is a time to gather as many of the flock together for the purpose of saturating an area with Gospel presenters. Sometimes this trip is designed to be taken outside of the United States to some poor area of the world where the Gospel has not been, but in many Church's this trip is taken somewhere in the United States for the same purpose. This can be an effective ministry if there are teams of local people to follow-up with the seeds planted with these missionary teams. I would like to focus on what we should be doing after this Gospel presentation.

The follow-up seems to be what is essentially missing when we evangelise or go on mission trips. If we read the scripture in Matthew 28:18-20 we can understand what Jesus truly means with the great commission. Let us read. And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always , even to the end of the age." Amen.

Jesus tells us to make disciples of all the nations, we are to baptize them, and then we are to teach them to observe all that He commanded us to do. So many times we are in a great rush to make disciples and even a greater rush to baptize. However, what seems to missing most is the follow-up, or the "teaching to observe all things" part. We can't teach someone something if we never see them again. When we meet unbelievers, and we show them they are guilty of violations of the Law (Bad News) and they will surely perish, but that there is a savior that will take their place for the Wrath that is coming to them, and all they have to do is Repent of their sins and Believe (Good News), we set them up for failure; we also have to continue to teach them and strengthen them in the faith. It is our responsibility under the great commission to do this. We can't just give them the Gospel message without any support. It would be like telling someone to drive to Michigan from Tennessee in a car when they don't know how to drive and they have never seen a car. It is setting them up to perish. We are doing the same poor job with our unbeliever when we don't take the time to follow-up with them and bring them into a body of Christ. We are setting them up to perish.

We are taught about the body of Christ and that the Church is like a body with all the different parts functioning together in some form or another. This new Christian must become part of the body of Christ to become a faithful servant. Just like Paul alludes to in Hebrews 5:12-14 concerning the immaturity of believers. New believers must be given the milk to prosper like a little baby into a fully developed adult. Like babies, we need other adults out there teaching us, supporting us, and carrying us, if needed. As they prosper they will then be nourished with solid food. This process cannot be done if we just do blanket gospel presentation and do not follow-up with the teaching. We must be there for these new believers, otherwise they will perish like a baby not being fed.

Shame on us, and shame on the Church. When we evangelize, lets make sure we also teach. This new believer needs to be taught all that Jesus commanded of us. Why? Well so he can be a functional member or functional part of the Church body. Another or most important reason that we are to teach is because Jesus commands it of us.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Quarrel's among us.

I've noticed a trend among my many friends that attend Christian Church's. The trend seems to be that we, to include myself are quarreling in church. We are fighting among ourselves and wasting our energies and resources. Seriously, this is happening not just in small town Oneida, but all over the country and in church house, after church house, after church house. I've not met one, listen to me, NOT ONE pastor that hasn't or isn't currently going through some type of quarrelling at church. I don't simply mean the occasional flare-up over carpeting or paint, I mean quarrelling that divides Church's. Quarreling that leaves men spent and finished or so demoralized they don't want to come to church to do the Lords work. Quarreling that has driven men to anger, and left friendships in disrepair. Quarreling that has made Godly men leave the ministry. So what is it that we quarrel over.

It's simple, the issue is Pride. Oh now you can name a million things it could be, but in 99% of the cases, it comes back to pride. The definition of Pride is a high or inordinate opinion of one's own dignity, importance, merit, or superiority, whether as cherished in the mind or as displayed in bearing, conduct, etc. The universal truth "Pride will come before the fall" fits here. Let us look quickly at Proverbs 16:18 "Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall". We can't teach the proud, they will see destruction. Pride is the issue causing us to quarrel and fight. Pride will be the reason some of us are sent to Hell.

So how do we rectify this situation. Lets go to James 4:1-3 "What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don't they come from your desires that battle within you? You want something but don't get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God. When you ask, and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures".
This is a pretty good comparison to US in the church. You see, with the pride in our life's, we battle for what we want in the Church. We may want a better youth, maybe a new vehicle, a new Pastor, even new better faithful members. All of this is of the Devil. We ask for selfish, prideful reasons. Sometimes we use the saying "oh, things will be better after this and that happen". Wrong, we still will have the same problem once we look in the mirror. The problem of US is still there. We are that person in the mirror, we are those people at church, and we are the problem.

James tells us how to fix this situation later on in verse 7. "Submit yourselves then to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will wash your hands you sinners and purify your hearts you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord and he will lift you up." For us to solve this problem James tells us we need to worship God. Look at verse 9 again. We are to Grieve, mourn and wail, and in verse 7 we are to Submit to God. If we want to get rid of Pride in our life's we need to make some easy fundamental change. 1. Submit to God, 2. Worship God, 3. Resist the Devil. That's why Pastor after Pastor, and Christian after Christian told me to Pray before I do anything. Put my heart in the right frame of mind. As we pray, we aim ourselves in God's direction which should allow us to ask of our Lord with all the right motives.

One last point. In James 4:6 it says "God opposes the proud". We are in for a tough road if we don't get rid of our pride and point our hearts to God our creator. Make the easy changes and enjoy the worship in God's house, not the quarrels.


Geography Test

Here is a nice litte travel / geography IQ test. Lets see how well you can do. I finished level 10, but have struggled to get past 8.


I tried embedding it into my blog, but can't make it happen. Get it here.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

New Church Growth video, I hope our church uses it.

Here is a little tongue and cheek with the Chruch growth movement. My friend Allen sent it to me. I hope you enjoy it. See it here.

Baptist's aren't supposed to mislead baptists, are they?

A article in the Baptist Press is seriously misleading on Reformed faith and evangelism. This article paints reformed faith in the way they want to see it; bad. The growth of Calvinism in our Church's is due to many factors to include lack of serious education in the SBC Church's. People want to know about Theology and Doctrine, but if you go to most SBC Church's you will find a serious lack of Theology and Doctrine being preached from the pulpit or taught in a Sunday School setting. It seems very few Pastor's show a high view of God in the pulpit. Hawaiian shirts and sandals from the pulpit show to me a lack of respect for our high and holy God. If our Pastor is that lax with our God, well I can be also. Evangelism, ha, that's another issue. I've been to many, many Church's and very few if any practice evangelism as a practice for life. Few Church's are doing this and it seems from the article that reformed Church's do more of it. Another issue has to do with the 7 - 11 songs. You know seven verses / eleven times. I believe the old hymns not only worship God to the highest, but they were packed full of theology. We are learning and don't know it. I can go on and on and on.

Hebrews 5: 11-14 comes to mind here. "You ought to be teachers, but you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God's word". This is our SBC Church's. Most of our members are in this very same boat. Many have attended church their entire life but act like religious babies with very little knowledge other than "God loves you". This is true, God does love you, but we need to learn about our savior, we need to soak in everything about him, almost like bathing in his word, living off of it; we need to live like him and live off him. As long as we continue to live like babies in the SBC, the SBC will continue to have the problems they have.

This article appears to be a knock on reformed faith, but at least he realizes there is a problem in the SBC and he attempts to put his finger on it, but is misdirected with the Calvinism point. He has some serious studying to do. Point the finger at reformed faith if you want, but the problem is deeper than the growth of Calvinism. Read it here. Notice also the title of the article "Evangelists lament Calvinism, SBC trends". Lament means to express sorrow or regret. Ughhh. SBC Stop this junk, stop the slander, do something simple like read the Bible and teach it to the flock, and you might be surprised with the results.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

A common word between us and you. Muslim / Christian

Much has been made of a letter that was sent to the Christian church at large from Muslim scholars, clerics, and intellectuals.

The letter speaks to the "common ground" between the two religions. I'm not sure if their is much common ground. Common Ground can be found, but not in the actual religions, perhaps in a vague way as I mention below. However, as a Christian believer we know that Christianity is the only answer. Unless the Muslim faithful come to the saving knowledge of who Jesus Christ truly is, then they in no way can be saved. Putting your trust and faith in who Jesus is the only way to be saved. Repent and believe is what my Bible says. On the topic of common ground which they allude to, I don't see it. They talk about a god. In their letter they vaguely try telling us that their god and our God are one in the same, but I don't see how they are. God sent Jesus Christ to save us, otherwise if the god of Muhammad is God, why would he have wasted the life of Jesus Christ. I don't see God wasting anything, and I don't see God setting up two religions that would compete for souls. What I see in the world news is one peaceful loving religion and one not so peaceful religion based on hatred and killing. Muslims might disagree with that last point, but all one has to do is turn on the news or read the paper to see Muslims killing Muslims, Muslims killing innocent people, and Muslims killing Christians. We don't see the reverse, unless you want to go back to the Crusades or the Reformation. Now this might not be the reality of the situation, but perceptions are powerful.

What I would have liked the letter to say would be something to the effect of... 1. We promise not to persecute Christians in any foreign land to include traditionally Muslim countries. 2. We believe Christians have the right to worship in any country in this world and we support their right to do so. 3. We believe that women have the same rights to the court systems, divorce, marriage, and many, many more topics.... just name them. 4. Religion does not run free countries. 5. We ask that you respect our religion as we respect yours. Knowing we both believe different things, we (us and you) promise to disagree respectfully.

Do you see what I'm getting at. That's cooperation. Cooperation is not us buying off on a ambiguous term of God, which is suppose to talk about our God and your god as the same being. I whole heartily agree that we should respect the rights of any religion but I wholeheartedly disagree when it compromises my faith or who I am in Christ.

The response from our own Christian community is very similar and just as disappointing. We should cooperate and we should let them know that. But our God is not their god and vice versa. I can't and won't apologize for the sins of our fore fathers during the crusades that I'm not even related to. I can't walk away from the trinity and I can't call another religions god, my God. Al Mohler has a great response to this whole mess and I suggest you read it.

Before you get a opinion of any of this, I suggest you read the letter "A common word between us and you", "A Christian response to 'A common word between us and you'", and then Al Mohlers response to the whole topic. I want cooperation, but not religious cooperation. I want peace and I pray to God for peace, but until the hard core fanatics stop spreading hatred in Allah's name with bullets, and until the average Muslim is in the streets telling them to stop spreading Allah's message this way; to me there cannot be cooperation.

Now, I know this may offend some of my Muslim friends. I want you to please not take this as in insult. I do not intend to insult the Muslim faith or your belief's, but just bring clarity to a muddied situation. Lets cooperate, but cooperate in the fact that we will love each other, and respect each others views. My Muslim brother I do love you as God tells me to, but I just disagree with you respectfully.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Where are the Godly men.

I was speaking to a friend last night and he asked me to pray for a family he knew. Apparently the Husband left his wife and two young children. Allegations of a affair and drug or alcohol abuse were made. As we spoke my mind kept drifting to "where are all the men". What is going on in a society that claims Christ, but rips his heart out in their actions. I won't say this is a trend and I won't say I know something different than you, but it sure does seem like this is playing out constantly in our country and tragically in our Churches. I know of at least 5 couples that have gone through this, and I'm in the Church at least 2-3 times a week. How many of our brothers and sisters out of the Church see this. When I say 5 couples, I say 5 church going couples. Couples with children, couples that made a commitment before God, couples that loved God and couples that supposedly loved each other at one time.

Where is the Ephesians chapter 5 in those lives. You know like Eph 5:8 "for you were once in darkness, but now you are light in the Lord, Walk as children of light". Or what about Eph 5:17 " Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is", which is referring back the earlier part of Eph 5. Let us not forget the strongest part of Ephesians, Eph 5:25 "Husbands, love your wifes, just as Christ also loved the church and gave himself for her," and verse 22 "Wifes, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord".

Husbands (you and I), do we love (Agapao) our wives this way. Do we deny ourselves to take up her, or do we continue to love her selfishly the way we married her. You know, she made you happy, you loved being around her, she made you laugh....we love selfishly and married selfishly. Husbands, I challenge you to move to the next level. Love her just because, love her because of what scripture says, love her because of your commitment to God. Live to a higher calling. May God be with us as we try to love like him. The last verse in Matthew chapter 5 says "Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect". Please commit to doing the best for your family, and may we aspire to live perfect like our father in heaven.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Football or Christ?



I found this at a friends blog.

Put the "Care" back in Healthcare.

The issue of healthcare in the United States is playing big in our country especially during this election time. One certain Senator and maybe two feel we need to move to a socialized healthcare system. Socialized healthcare means the "state" (Federal Government) picks up the tab for the health of our entire country. Now this seems fine, but we live in a country that has experimented with Socialized Healthcare, just look at the results with our Medicare, Medicaid, and Veteran's Hospitals. I think the results speak for themselves. I would be fearful for our people if we go in that direction. Socialized medicine is not my point today, and that is a debate which would take more time then I have right now, my point today is the same as Glenn Beck's, "put the care back in healthcare".



I came across an interesting video from Good Morning America (GMA) with Glenn Beck. He went in for some out-patient surgery, but later in the evening his wife had to rush him back to the hospital. His issue is demonstrative of what is wrong in the United States. Where is the Care, where is the compassion, where is the desire to take care of people in need, and most importantly, where is the Love. Here is a famous person going to his local hospital and he is treated with dis-respect and disdain. What does that mean for me and you as we are rushed to the hospital. I'll let him speak to you through video. Here is the link. http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/PainManagement/story?id=4101741&page=1



Let each of us pray that we will show compassion for those in need. We are to be demonstrative of who Christ is. We (you and me) are the Church. Let us not point the finger to the Church for those in need. You and I need to take care of that person's need. If we work in healthcare, let us treat each patient as if we were treating ourselves. If any of us needs a refresher on Love and how it is demonstrative of Christ you must reread 1 John 4: 7-21 and Matt 5:38-48.



God save us!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Little Beauty



I'm sitting here at work and decided to take a fifteen minute break. I'm downstairs in my office trying to work, but all I hear is my young daughter Chloe screaming. It brings me back to the year 2001 when my son Benjamin was born. I was so unprepared for what it took to raise a baby, or even to bring a baby home. They scream a lot. Why didn't someone tell me this? I remember reading an article where an author stated something to the effect that we need drivers licenses to drive, but need nothing to have babies. Wow, I could have used a baby license for Benjamin. But, never the less he prepared me for his sister, so I got all my MISTAKES out on him. I remember asking my wife everyday if something that he was doing was normal. I was clueless. I'm still clueless, but not as bad. I listen to the screaming now and find it rather interesting. I, like my wife, but not quite as good as her can tell what the different cry's mean, or what she is wanting. I can tell from this cry she is wanting attention. I feel vindicated in this because I can still hear my wife walking around, yet Chloe has stopped screaming. I need to make sure that I give Benjamin much more credit for his help. He truly prepared me for bringing a precious little girl home, crying and all. I thank God for these two gems in my life and I thank him daily. My prayer for them is that God will use them to his glory, and I pray that another Christian family somewhere is raising up a boy and a girl right now to pair up with these two someday (in the far future). May God find glory in our family and in these two young lives.