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Archive for the ‘my life’ Category

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Opening the refrigerator accomplishes several things: you find out what’s in it; you get something you need (or more likely, not something you actually need but simply something you want at that moment); and you can be reminded of something because of everything you have attached to the door.

We have at least four postcards from various missionaries attached to the door of our refrigerator. We put them there, instead of stacked on a shelf somewhere, to serve as a reminder to pray for them. We don’t always follow through on that, but that’s the idea.

Pray for missionaries you know and support (whether that support comes in the form of prayer, finances, both, or more) – they need it! In most cases, they’ve sacrificed much to serve the Lord, the work isn’t easy, and the results are often difficult to discern.

So then, how can you pray for your missionaries? Here are a few suggestions. Pray that they would:

  • Love God and others with everything they have and are.
  • Glorify God in every area of their lives.
  • Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
  • Remain faithful to God and His Word.
  • Grow in their trust of God.
  • Be devoted to prayer.
  • Have a strong marriage and family life.
  • Avoid extremes in life and doctrine.
  • Pray for other missionaries and agencies.
  • Not be jealous or envious of other ministries or missionaries.
  • Not be proud.
  • Grow in humility.
  • Work hard and leave the results to God.

There are dozens of other things we could pray, but these are a good start.

One final thing: Make sure to let your missionaries know you’re praying for them and ask them how you can pray more specifically. They’ll appreciate it!

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Some things I’ve been thinking about lately. (The notes above are not mine, but the person who wrote them did a good job!)

“Privilege”

There’s been a lot written and said about the subject of “privilege” lately. We’ve heard about white privilege and even Christian privilege, and the need to recognize it and renounce it. This comes almost entirely from the political and religious Left with a handful of conservatives foolishly joining the chorus.

Here are Doug Wilson’s thoughts about privilege (from his podcast called “The Plodcast”).  Privilege, or the emphasis on it, comes from egalitarianism – the belief that everything and everyone should be equal. Egalitarianism is based on envy – if someone has more than me, there’s something wrong with the universe). Therefore if someone, or a group of people, has more money, intelligence, beauty, or power, they should feel guilty for what they have. Biblically speaking, we should be grateful for what God has given us, which includes money, possessions, a good family, health, or beauty (to name only a few), and not feel guilty. We shouldn’t be jealous or envious of what God has given to others (remember the tenth commandment: “You shall not covet”) because He doesn’t give His gifts equally. Our gratitude for God’s gifts will motivate us to be like Him and give generously to others. Guilt motivates us to give small amounts to assuage our guilt.

Wilson has hit the nail squarely on the head.

Complementarianism

David Prince tweets, “Biblical complementariansm is no more to be blamed for the scandal surrounding Paige Patterson than egalitarianism is to be blamed for the scandal surrounding Bill Hybels. The cultural mood to leverage every sinful crisis to score personal argument points is repulsive.” Amen!

Patterson’s recorded comments from years past were wrong and sinful, but they don’t invalidate the truth or falsehood of complementariansm (men and women are equal in value and dignity, but have different roles in the family and the church). The same is true for Hybels and egalitarianism (men and women are equal and there should be no restrictions upon roles in the family or the church).

I’m firmly in the camp of complementarianism. I’m convinced the Bible teaches it and that we must submit to it, whether the world likes it or not, because the Word of God is our final authority. I’m concerned because I’ve heard some brothers and sisters in Christ from the egalitarian side of things claim that Patterson’s views and the actions of others are “proof” that complementarianism is a misinterpretation of Scripture. No, they aren’t. They’re a misapplication of Scripture. None of us completely live out the truths of Scripture, even though we’re absolutely committed to them.

A New/Used Book

Books are part of a good life as far as I’m concerned. Earlier this week, I picked up a used copy of Undaunted Courage: Meriwether Lewis, Thomas Jefferson, and the Opening of the American West by Stephen E. Ambrose at the Salvation Army thrift store. Ambrose is a first-rate historian and writer. I can’t wait to dive in!

 

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A First For Me

Several days ago, I shared this article from The Federalist in my Facebook page. It explains how Snopes.com isn’t telling the truth about California Assembly Bill 2493.

Snopes used to be a go-to site for me if I needed to know the truth about “urban legends” as they’re called. It was a repository of stories, rumors, and conspiracies with specific designations for each (true, false, or maybe). Did Madalyn Murray O’Hare petition the FCC to remove all Christian programming from all American television and radio? No, she didn’t. That’s just one example.

But Snopes is no longer a site I ever visit. At some point during the Obama administration, they changed direction and became a “fact-check” organization with a strongly leftist political bent. Snipes still has credibility with many because of it’s earlier work and a lack of knowledge of its present political viewpoint.

This morning I checked Facebook and found that my post from The Federalist had been removed. Facebook explained that the post looked like “spam,” and had therefore been removed. I was given the opportunity to learn more, which I did. The explanation said the post was either spam or it “violated community standards” developed by Facebook. I was given the option of saying the post was not spam or that I didn’t post it myself. I did post it and it isn’t spam. After I made that statement, Facebook said they would investigate and decide whether or not to restore the post. Very quickly, the post was restored and can be found on my timeline.

This is the first time anything like this has happened to me with Facebook. I have some questions. Why did this post look like “spam” and thousands of my other posts didn’t or don’t? Did the post’s removal have anything to do with its viewpoint, especially since Facebook uses Snopes to fact-check news stories? What are your “community standards”  and how does The Federalist article violate them? Is this a regular practice? How often does it happen? I’ve seen at least one other person on Facebook today who had the same thing happen with the same article. That’s not a coincidence.

What can you do? Read The Federalist article and share it on Facebook (if you’re on Facebook) and other social media outlets. Let’s see what happens.

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In my daily Bible reading in the last couple of days, I read Ephesians 4. It’s a great chapter, but when I was finished I went back and read verses 25 through 32 again. I thought to myself, “I could work on everything in this passage for the rest of my life and never master it.”

Here it is – try it on for size:

Therefore, laying aside falsehood, speak truth each one of you with his neighbor, for we are members of one another. Be angry, and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not give the devil an opportunity. He who steals must steal no longer; but rather he must labor, performing with his own hands what is good, so that he will have something to share with one who has need. Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.  Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.

I’m convinced there is enough in this passage to keep us busy for a long, long time. By the power of God’s Spirit, let’s get started (or keep going) – for His glory and our good!

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September 3rd, 2017 will be my last day as Pastor of Cross Creek Bible Church. I announced it to the church about a month ago, but thought I’d give it a slightly wider audience here.

I have a strong sense that God is calling me into a ministry that focuses more on teaching and training. We don’t know what God has in store for us or where we’ll be next. We do know, without a doubt, that we can trust God to guide and provide for us.  I’m looking at schools, organizations, or staff positions in churches which would give me the ability and opportunity to teach and train.

It’s been an honor and privilege to serve as pastor at Cross Creek. Karen and I have nothing but love and affection for the congregation and leadership of the church. The Lord has used them to sharpen, encourage, challenge, and strengthen us, for which we’re incredibly grateful. We’re sad and, at the same time, excited about what God has for us in the next chapter of our lives.

If you would, please pray for Cross Creek during the transition to a new pastor. And if you would, please for Karen and me – that God would guide and provide, and that we wouldn’t be anxious or fearful. Thank you!

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Merry Christmas!

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The birth of Jesus Christ – the incarnation of God Himself – is the turning point of history. He’s what Christmas is all about. Karen and I want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

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As I sat in the chair in the examination room of the ophthalmologist’s office, I received a diagnosis that made official what I already knew – “You have a cataract, and it needs to be removed.”

In the past year, it’s become more and more “clear” that there was a fog-like substance, or “glaze,” growing on the lens of my eye. Trying to see out of that eye was like looking through a fogged-up window that I couldn’t wipe off. I couldn’t focus on anything when I looked out of that eye – nothing was clear.

It wasn’t long after that I realized cataracts have a spiritual application, too. After he recounted the “Hall of Faith” in chapter 11, the writer of Hebrews exhorts Christians, “Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Heb. 12:1-2). We can only fix our eyes on Jesus if we have clear vision, and not cloudy vision. If we can’t “see” Jesus, and keep our focus on Him, we won’t be able to “lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us” or “run with endurance the race that is set before us.” 

We can develop spiritual cataracts in quite a few ways, but ultimately they come from the same source – neglect of the spiritual disciplines God has given us that we might grow and mature in Him. When we stop reading and studying God’s Word; when the only time we pray  is to get a good parking spot; when we neglect fellowship and attendance at church; when we don’t truly worship from the heart; when we aren’t good stewards of the gifts God gives us; when we don’t evangelize; when we stop serving and ministering to others; when we see obedience to the Lord as an option and not an obligation; and when we stop learning, we can be sure cataracts will develop that will cloud our vision  of the author and perfecter of faith, Jesus Christ. They may come quickly or slowly, but the cataracts will certainly develop.

Cataracts, at least of the spiritual nature, can be avoided, therefore, by the regular and consistent practice of all of the spiritual disciplines. Only then will we be able to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus with vision that is clear and bright.

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