You Have Been Warned

Downhill trend warning sign

Jeremiah’s Call

Today I would like to jump right into Scripture.

Is that okay with you? 🙂

Let’s turn to the first chapter of Jeremiah…starting with verse 4…and look how that young man was called:

4 Now the word of the LORD came to me, saying,

5  “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,

and before you were born I consecrated you;

I appointed you a prophet to the nations.”

6 Then I said, “Ah, Lord GOD! Behold, I do not know how to speak, for I am only a youth.” 7 But the LORD said to me,

“Do not say, ‘I am only a youth’;

for to all to whom I send you, you shall go,

and whatever I command you, you shall speak.

8  Do not be afraid of them,

for I am with you to deliver you,

declares the LORD” (Jeremiah 1:4-8)

And let’s scan not quite 10 verses down to verse 17…part of a section that starts with “The word of the Lord came to me [Jeremiah] a second time…” (Jeremiah 1:13):

17 But you, dress yourself for work; arise, and say to them everything that I command you. Do not be dismayed by them, lest I dismay you before them (Jeremiah 1:17).

Pretty impressive calling, eh? Known before he was formed in the womb…consecrated…and appointed a prophet!

Our calling is far more ordinary…more bland…right?

Peter can help us with that:

9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

11 Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. 12 Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation (1 Peter 2:9-12).

Wow! Chosen race! Royal priesthood! Holy Nation!

A people for his own possession!

Notice also that we may not have been “appointed a prophet,” but we are to “proclaim [God’s] excellencies.”

So, we don’t have the same exact calling as Jeremiah…but it sure seems equally impressive, doesn’t it?

Requires Commitment

Please notice one more thing. Both callings came with an exhortation to commitment. With Jeremiah he is told not to fear…and “Do not be dismayed by them, lest I dismay you before them.” With us, we are urged “as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh that wage war against your soul.”

These are not commitment-less callings. We represent the Most High!

And…I think we can be confident that just like Jeremiah would be expected “to abstain from the passions of the flesh,” we would be expected to stand up for God and not be dismayed. If you don’t agree with the latter, how about these words from Jesus Himself?:

32 So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, 33 but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven (Matthew 10:32-33).

Seem’s very similar to “do not be dismayed by them, lest I dismay you before them,” does it not?

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LGBT and the Church

Jesus loves you blocksA friend of mine on Facebook linked to this article:

“Homosexuality: We Need A Posture Shift”

You should read the whole thing to ensure you aren’t basing your opinion on my post, but it starts off with:

Jesus’ radical love toward the marginalized and outcast is shocking. Not just that he loved, but how he loved them. Jesus rarely started a relationship with the law, and he never offered his “stance” on political issues. He usually began the relationship with love and always showed acceptance, especially with those rejected by the religious elite. And this has massive Jesus-shaped implications for how Christians have (mis-)treated the unchurched LGBT community.

From there it uses a centurion and a tax collector (Matthew) as examples of how we should treat LGBT people. He wraps up with:

Religious people always got upset whenever Jesus befriended people who they thought were terrible sinners. If you’re a Christian who is trying hard to love LGBT people, and if this ticks off a lot of religious people, perhaps even those really close to you, then take comfort. You’re in good company. Jesus knows exactly how you feel.

After reading his article, what are your thoughts? These were mine (which I added as a comment): [Read more…]

Differences Between the Two Largest Presbyterian Denominations

PCUSA logoYou may have heard that the Presbyterian Church (USA) just moved to divest of three companies doing business connected with Israel (strike 1) and to allow their ministers to bless same-sex marriages (strike 2). However, this comparison of them and the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) shows they, from a Christian and biblical sense, struck out long ago:

“13 Differences Between the PCA and the PCUSA”

The article compares women’s ordination, biblical inerrancy, abortion, homosexuality, divorce, Confession of Faith, Calvinism, evangelism (and exclusivity), the relationship between the local church and the denomination, denominational governance, creation and evolution, political involvement, and worship.

Sounds like a lot, but it’s relatively short. It is written by a PCA minister, but I suspect it is fairly accurate about the PCUSA.

P.S. My views of same-sex marriage are discussed in “Beliefs” and my view of homosexuality is spoken to in “What I Think About Homosexuals and Homosexuality.”

P.P.S. I probably should note that although I agree far more theologically with PCA than with PCUSA, there is a reason I am not a member of either. 🙂

(The PCUSA logo is used within normal “fair use” guidelines.)

Brains Wired for Sin

Brain from 3 anglesThis week, a Yahoo! News article, “Pedophiles’ Brains Wired Differently,” announced:

Pedophiles’ brains are “abnormally tuned” to find young children attractive, according to a new study published this week.

Supposedly it may be a case of where their brains swap nurturing and sexual feelings:

Usually children’s faces elicit feelings of caregiving from both sexes, whereas those of adults provide stimuli in choosing a mate. But among pedophiles, this trend is skewed, with sexual, as opposed to nurturing, emotions burgeoning.

Important note: I am not now about to create a “moral equivalency” between homosexuality and pedophilia. Clearly the object of the desire (and actions) make them significantly different.

However, we would all agree that even if we find a scientific reason for pedophiliac behavior… [Read more…]

“To the Left, it doesn’t matter how Robertson actually treats real people.”

Man being pointed atInstead of writing my own version of the articles, I’ll link to them and let you read both. Two things about the Duck Dynasty family patriarch, Phil Robertson:

  1. He’s a true Christian
  2. He’s a character

#1 means he is going to believe (and repeat) what the Bible teaches.

#2 means he is going to share his views in an eccentric way.

Scripture says homosexuality is a sin, no ifs, ands, or buts about it. Doesn’t matter if a person is genetically predisposed to same sex attraction or not.

But, in modern American society, it is a sin to call this sin a sin. It is "anti-gay":

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“Judge orders baker to serve gay couples despite his religious beliefs”

WhippingOminous words:

"While we all agree that religious freedom is important, no one’s religious beliefs make it acceptable to break the law by discriminating against prospective customers," ACLU staff attorney Amanda Goad said in a statement. "No one is asking Masterpiece’s owners to change his beliefs, but treating gay people differently because of who they are is discrimination plain and simple."

The rest of the article is available here. Basically, if you don’t want to use your artistic skills (translation: free speech) to implicitly endorse something you consider (and the church from day one has considered) sinful…too bad…something that is specifically mentioned in the First Amendment (religious freedom) is trumped by something that is never discussed in all of the Constitution (sexual preference).

This reminds me of a sermon I did called "Steppin’ Stone." In it I shared a similar case with a Christian photographer: [Read more…]

Steppin’ Stone

Stepping stones

Escaping

Is anyone here that also has felt that a perfect life would be a log cabin in the middle of nowhere—a million miles away from the hustle-and-bustle of modern times?

Totally unplugged and just communing with nature and God?

Go ahead and throw in space in your cabin for your loved ones…that is, if you want to. 🙂

Especially when it comes to spiritual growth, doesn’t it just seem that it would be so much easier if you didn’t have the stressors around you? No annoying neighbors? No bills arriving faster than income? No impossible deadlines at work? Nobody treating your Christianity as a disease on society?

Just you, your Bible, and God?

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You’ll Get Your Chance

Pastor Louie Giglio (taken from the Passion City Church blog)[Before you read this article, please read "What I Think about Homosexuals and Homosexuality."]

Earlier today (January 10, 2013), Twitter lit-up because an Atlanta pastor, Louie Giglio, withdrew his acceptance of an invitation to present the benediction for the upcoming presidential inauguration. Considering what Addie Whisenant of the Presidential Inaugural Committee said, it may have been the equivalent of an employee resigning before being fired:

We were not aware of Pastor Giglio's past comments at the time of his selection and they don't reflect our desire to celebrate the strength and diversity of our country at this Inaugural. Pastor Giglio was asked to deliver the benediction in large part for his leadership in combating human trafficking around the world. As we now work to select someone to deliver the benediction, we will ensure their beliefs reflect this administration's vision of inclusion and acceptance for all Americans.1

What were the remarks that set-off gay activists? Quite a few in a 54-minute sermon called "In Search of a Standard – Christian Response to Homosexuality"2 from around two decades ago. Describing it as preaching "rabidly anti-LGBT views," ThinkProgress LGBT appeared especially incensed that he suggested Christians needed to fight efforts that would lead "to the point where the homosexual lifestyle becomes accepted as a norm in our society and is given full standing as any other lifestyle, as it relates to family."; that he clearly and unambiguously stated practicing homosexuality is a sin; that he asserted that it doesn't matter if homosexuality is genetic, it is still a choice; that he dared to reference and discuss on a verse that said practicing gays won't make it into heaven; and that he posited Jesus Christ is powerful enough to heal homosexuals from their sinful behavior.3 [Read more…]

What I Think About Homosexuals and Homosexuality

Since current events once again force me to write about the issue of the pro-homosexual agenda, I wanted to make a clear and concise statement about what I believe about homosexuals (the individuals) versus homosexuality (the behavior).

No one human, homosexual or not, is better than any other. We are all afflicted with the same disease (and it is terminal). Homosexuality is a symptom of that disease, not a (or "the") disease itself. I believe I have found the cure for the disease; a cure that reduces the quantity and severity of the symptoms on this side of eternity (and completely defeats it on the other). I want everyone, gay or not, to take advantage of the cure.

I do not judge the homosexual, I judge the behavior. Rather, I agree with the Bible’s judgment of the practice because Scripture’s ultimate Author is the One who not only established the heavens and the earth—He established right and wrong. Ultimately, I do not think God&#39s moral laws are any different than physical laws. Neither are subjective; they are statements of fact. If you step off the edge of the Empire State Building, the law of gravity correctly posits the sudden stop at the bottom will be bad for your health. If you willingly sin, the moral law similarly factually states it'll have negative effects on you and those around you (not to mention, "the sudden stop" at the end of your life will be equally bad for your eternal health).

To the lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transexual: I do not hate or fear you. I actually do not look at you any differently than I do anyone else, including those closest to me (whether by blood or by Christ). I do not wish you ill or want you to be treated as a second-class citizen (quite the contrary). However, I cannot ever tell you what you are doing is right—it is not mine to say (and I would suggest that those "Christians" who tell you your behavior is fine are doing you a disservice). Additionally, I cannot remain silent when those who purport to be supporting you try to tell my children, my family, my friends, and my neighbors that wrong is right.

And that is not because I am against you (I am not). It is because I love you.

Homosexuality

The sermon I do not want to give…

I stand before you prepared to preach a sermon I do not want to give.  Many in society think that Christians have a fixation (and a negative one at that) on homosexuality and sex in general.  This talk will be seen as further proof that we have it out for people who just want to live and let live.

Why am I hatin’ on gay people?

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