Of Coarse

Woman covering mouth

He Allegedly Did It Again

I want everyone to know that I actually decided on the subject of this sermon before President Donald Trump allegedly decided to use an obscene word to describe some countries. I find it interesting that so many in society that warranted this talk are now acting so aghast at his language.

And it is more than ironic that their response is often more foul than his cuss word was.

Is It Wrong to Swear?

Wait.

I should step back for a moment and see if we have consensus.

Is it wrong to swear?

Notice I didn’t ask, “Is it wrong for Christians to swear?” Although levels of accountability are tied to knowledge, moral laws are universal. We Christians just have less excuse when we break them.

Is it wrong to swear?

[Read more…]

Resolutions and Goals

Rudyard Kipling quote

Beware of overconcern for money, or position, or glory. Someday you will meet a man who cares for none of these things. Then you will know how poor you are.

The new year is here.

Neil deGrass Tyson may be right and it “is a cosmically arbitrary event, carrying no Astronomical significance at all,” but there is something to be said about starting fresh…and making some resolutions.

Or, rather, making resolutions and establishing goals.

Mine for this year:

  • To better know the “man who cares for none of” “money, or position, or glory.”
  • To pray more often and more fervently.
  • To get back down to 205 pounds.
  • To read more (and not just because starting university coursework on January 8 will increase it).
  • To spend less time on social media.
  • To be kinder on social media.
  • To write at least one letter a week.
  • To love. Truly love. Everyone.

Two late additions:

  • Write more.
  • Start work on a children’s book (tween/teen).

Happy New Year! May 2018 bless you and yours…and if you do not know the Man I speak of, may the Holy Spirit draw you to Him, change your heart, and add you to His fold.

Love to you.

God’s Will (2017 Wraps Up)

Church in snowRight after the 2016-2017 school year started, the Strasburg Church of Christ opened its doors. It has been a blessing, at least to me.

The congregation has remained pretty steady at three to five families (depending on how you count), although not all the same ones from the beginning.

Today, however, was just this minister, his family, along with one of the girls we bring to church each week. That is, the last Sunday of 2017 basically was unattended.

I am not one to read omens, but I do wonder…is the Strasburg Church of Christ something God wanted, or something this guy who likes to preach for the Lord desired? (Not that they are mutually exclusive.)

Please pray for our little church and what its future is meant to be, if anything.

“There Is a Sickness in People That Stops Them from Seeing the Truth”

Chalkboard with "knowledge" written on it“The Secret Scripture”

Back in 2016, based on a novel of the same name from 2008, the movie “The Secret Scripture” was released. I have not seen it and don’t plan to, but I did see its trailer on Vudu. Within that trailer there was a statement that seemed so appropriate for the modern age:

“There is a sickness in people that stops them from seeing the truth.”

Do you agree?

Does there seem to be a devastating epidemic that is blinding the world, stopping them from seeing the truth?

Spiritual truth that is obvious if…if only…if only they would open their eyes and hearts and see it?

“There is a sickness in people that stops them from seeing the truth.” [Read more…]

Two or Three Witnesses

Boss harassing

Eight

Eight.

That is the number of women who have accused senate candidate Roy Moore of wrongdoing. It was actually hard selecting the right word for the accusations since they vary from true crimes to a creepy affinity for dating younger girls.

This sermon is not to tell you what to believe about the allegations, the accusers, or Roy Moore.

Instead, as headlines are filled with accusations of sexual improprieties…I want to see if we can establish some guidelines on how we should deal with them. Since Moore is a professing Christian, his case seems an especially apropos starting point for the conversation.

However…one quick sidetrack…

Coming to Light

One of my favorite people on Twitter is Karen Prior, an author and professor at Liberty University. Back on October 12 she tweeted:

From flags to sex, to politics, to entertainment & power, America’s idols are being revealed–a moment of grace, if only we will receive it.1

[Read more…]

Getting to Know You

Jesus with book

Crowning Someone King

This morning let’s hop right into God’s Word by turning to John 2:23-25:

23 Now when he was in Jerusalem at the Passover Feast, many believed in his name when they saw the signs that he was doing. 24 But Jesus on his part did not entrust himself to them, because he knew all people 25 and needed no one to bear witness about man, for he himself knew what was in man.

Good news: many believed in Jesus.

Bad news: even then, they weren’t trustworthy.

When I read those verses, I am reminded of in incident back in the Old Testament. King David sinned by taking a census, and God gave him three options for punishment:

13 So Gad came to David and told him, and said to him, “Shall three years of famine come to you in your land? Or will you flee three months before your foes while they pursue you? Or shall there be three days’ pestilence in your land? Now consider, and decide what answer I shall return to him who sent me.” 14 Then David said to Gad, “I am in great distress. Let us fall into the hand of the LORD, for his mercy is great; but let me not fall into the hand of man” (2 Samuel 24:13-14).

Like Jesus, David knew what was in man.

Man cannot be trusted.

[Read more…]

WDJD: Prayer (According to Mark)

Jesus prayingCloverton

Although I know some of you couldn’t make it because it was on a school night, the Lord really blessed many (and will bless many more) thanks to the Cloverton concert this past Tuesday to benefit the CARES Food Bank of Strasburg.

Right Deb and Michelle? 🙂

There were three churches involved. We sponsored it with the Strasburg Community Church and Mountain View Fellowship co-sponsoring. I cannot thank their ministers, Steve and Donn respectively, enough for all the help they and their congregations provided. From a place for the band to sleep to food to being insta-roadies…it was an incredible coming together of brothers and sisters in Christ to help feed the hungry.

And some awesome music praising the Lord!

I’d also like to mention a neat thing that happened to Steve, Donn, the Strasburg Community Youth Pastor Steve, and me. Show time was 7:00 PM…and we went down to the green room at quarter of to confirm some logistics around introductions/etc. When we got to the bottom of the stairs and just outside the green room’s door we had to stop.

Do you know why?

So we wouldn’t interrupt the earnest, lengthy prayer of the band.

And that’s when we 100% knew we made the right decision bringing those godly young men to Strasburg!

WDJD

And that prayer convinced me to add another entry to the series I began with when I started preaching in the Church of Christ. Back in Antrim, NH I first spoke once a month…and the first three sermons were based on WDJD, “What did Jesus do?” The very first was February 22, 2009…”WDJD: Scripture.”

[Read more…]

Women and Children First

Man getting into a lifeboatSinking Ships

I am not one to really want to travel on vacations, but one experience I do want to have is to go on a cruise. Anybody else here never done that, but want to?

Now, let’s imagine together that I get my wish and I, and a whole bunch of other people, are over 1,000 miles from the coast and the ship starts sinking. Who should get in the lifeboats first?

Of course!:

Women and children first!

But why? Why do we say, “Women and children first?”

Widows and Orphans

Before we answer that, I’d like to mention that the concept of women and children first is at least tangentially biblical. Not too long the adult Bible study went through James, and we read this in James 1:27:

27 Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.

A short, to the point statement from a “to the point” writer. A pure and undefiled religion before God, in great measure, is to visit orphans and widows. There we have a subset of “women and children first.”

James is not the first Scripture author to identify the importance of remembering widows and orphans. King David praised this as a characteristic of the Most High in Psalm 68:4-5:

4  Sing to God, sing praises to his name;

lift up a song to him who rides through the deserts;

his name is the LORD;

exult before him!

5  Father of the fatherless and protector of widows

is God in his holy habitation.

[Read more…]

Does God Regret or Relent?

Cloud of the word regret

Do You Regret?

Do you ever regret something you said or did? Or something you should have said or did…and didn’t?

I think any human with a conscience regrets over time…hindsight has a way of ensuring that. We are not like Adolf Eichmann, a major player in the Holocaust, who (while on trial in Israel), said:

To sum it all up, I must say I regret nothing.1

Of course, he may have just been pretending…but one would have to have a totally seared conscience to have been heavily involved in Nazi atrocities. Instead, I am like Letitia Elizabeth Landon, who may have only lived 36 years in the early 1800s, but lived long enough to pen this in her poem Despondency:

Were it better to forget

Than but remember and regret?

It is better to forget than regret in my opinion…as someone who, when he looks back, regrets much. You?

Omniscience and Immutability

How about God? Does God regret? Also, does relent?

[Read more…]

Family

People sitting at churchHumor

When you think of family, what comes to mind? Does it cause you to break out in a big smile? A sad face? A grimace? Comedian Richard Lewis said:

We had a depression fair in the backyard. A major game there was Pin the Blame on the Donkey.1

Is that your family? 🙂

Or do you feel like Rodney Dangerfield?:

I looked up my family tree and found out I was the sap.2

Ouch.

Okay, one more…how about this from Brent Cushman:

I go visit my nephews. I get out of the car. They see me and drop what they’re doing and hug my legs. I feel like the most important person on God’s earth. Seven minutes later I would trade their pelts for whiskey. I look down at them. “How could you be so obnoxious?” Then I look at my brother.3

Is that your family?

There are tons of jokes about families or family members because, well, it’s complicated. 🙂

Movie Night

Friday night, about 15 people…many from this church…came over for a barbecue and a backyard movie. Although we were tired by the time everyone said goodbye and headed off into the night, Michelle and I really enjoyed it. The combination of neighbors, Cub Scout folks, and congregation members…all friends…felt like…well…

Family. [Read more…]

Anthony’s Sermon on Why and How Is God…God (Part 3)

Cross out of blocks spelling God LoveCatching Up

Welcome to “Anthony’s Sermon on Why and How Is God…God (Part 3).” Before we wrap up this three part series, we need to review what we learned about God in the previous two installments. Do you recall the multi-syllable words we discussed to describe God?

  • Uncaused cause — God was not created; He has always been and will always be.
  • Incorporeal — God does not have a body and is not made of matter.
  • Omnipresent — God is everywhere at the same time.
  • Omniscient — God knows everything.
  • Omnipotent — God can do anything.
  • Immutable — God does not change.

Ready for the last three divine characteristics? Let’s dive back in with immortal! [Read more…]

Anthony’s Sermon on Why and How Is God…God (Part 2)

Flying doveLast Week

Last week’s sermon was too long for one aimed at children, so I’m going to try to behave this week and limit this one to just three characteristics of God. Before we can do that, however, we need to quickly remind everyone of what we learned about the Most High in part one of this series.

Kids, the first thing we learned last Sunday was God is omnivorous, right?

Not exactly, eh? 🙂

Actually, the first thing we learned was that God is the uncaused cause. Nothing created God, because He was never created. He has always been and always will be. The great I Am just is.

Do you remember the other two things we learned about God? That He is…

  • Incorporeal — God does not have a body and is not made of matter.
  • Omnipresent — God is everywhere at the same time.

Now on to our first divine characteristic of God…

Omniscient

What does “omniscient” mean? Heading back to my Mac’s dictionary:

knowing everything: the story is told by an omniscient narrator.

[Read more…]

Anthony’s Sermon on Why and How Is God…God (Part 1)

Cloud with glowing crossText Messages

I think I may have mentioned before that I am never quite sure if it is Augustine or Elisa who is texting me when a message comes from their family. 🙂 Maybe after church today I’ll write down each of their phone numbers and put them in my iPhones contact list so it’ll keep track of who is texting me…but recently one of them sent a message saying:

Anthony wants me to ask why and how is God…God?

Great question Anthony!

So, today I’ll be preaching “Anthony’s Sermon on Why and How Is God…God (Part 1)” Anthony, it’s a awesome question, but so as not to break the second rule of preaching to children, I cannot fit its answer into one sermon.

And kids, to you remember the three rules for preaching to children?:

  1. Use simple words.
  2. Keep it short.
  3. See #1 and #2.

I’ll break rule #1 a little bit…but promise to explain all the “not so simple” words. However, as I mentioned, this will be a three part sermon so as not to break rule #2!

Why God? [Read more…]

The Gospel Message in the Sermons of Acts

A continuing debate about interfaith dialogues on Twitter often hinges on whether a full gospel declaration was provided. For my undergraduate degree at Liberty University I wrot a paper, “The Gospel Message in the Sermon of Acts,” that first had to define what is in the gospel. If you click on the title, you can read it. 🙂

Is Jesus God?

Jesus woodcut

Last Week

Last week’s sermon, “Your a God,” taught three things:

  • We are not gods
  • Something isn’t Christian just because it sounds like it
  • The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is not Christian

I also mentioned that I wasn’t trying to rag on the Mormon church…however, they are a denomination that actually believes you can become a God, if you are male:

“As man now is, God once was:

“As God now is, man may be.”1

That is about as far from orthodox as you can get…and it shows how just because someone says they believe that Jesus is the Son of God, that He is Lord, and so on…

Well, it shows you something isn’t Christian just because it sounds like it.

Questions

However, we also left last week a few questions:

  1. We know for sure Jesus was a man…but, how do we know from Scripture He is God?
  2. After the time last week telling you humans are not God, is it a contradiction for me to say Jesus is the Son of God…that Jesus is God?
  3. Is Jesus God or just a really special created being?

The first and third questions are really the same…so we’ll touch on #2 to begin with. Is it a contradiction for me to say Jesus is God after telling you humans are not God?

No.

Why not?

[Read more…]