A Mideast Bond, Stitched of Pain and Healing (NY Times)

Friendship often starts with proximity, but Orel and Marya, both 8, have been thrust together in a way few elsewhere have. Their playground is a hospital corridor. He is an Israeli Jew severely wounded by a Hamas rocket. She is a Palestinian Muslim from Gaza paralyzed by an Israeli missile. Someone forgot to tell them that they are enemies.
Read the rest on the New York Times.


Avatar Movie Review

So, I really, really liked Avatar. It was an awesome movie with incredible visuals that I will probably watch again. It was also a movie that was chucked full of ideology, both good and bad.

Avatar spoke out against racism, much like District 9 did, but with much more emotion. It criticized the War in Iraq heavily, even using the phrase "shock and awe."

But the film did have one message that can be absolutely deadly. One of the central themes is the doctrine of pantheism. Pantheism holds that all creatures are connected in to one central being. That god is part of everyone and everyone is part of god. On the moon Pandora, the setting for Avatar, all creatures live in harmony with each other and their god, Erya. Erya is in all creatures, and all creatures are in Erya. Classic pantheism.

As with any kind of false theology, there is a false hell and false heaven. The false heaven is nature in harmony with itself. When there is balance there is peace, and all creatures can live happily in unity with Erya.

The false hell taught is, of course, the opposite. Humans come to Pandora and bring heavy machinery to mine, and guns to make the natives submit. The functional hell the movie creates is a life out of unity with nature. The savior that bridges the gap are the characters in the movie.
All they have to do is go back to nature to gain heaven.

Ok, that's really simplified but if you look its in the movie.

That's not in the Bible.

The Bible teaches that heaven is real, a place where one lives in eternal fellowship with God. Hell is the place of eternal separation from God. Sin is what separates heaven from hell. The only thing that can take us from hell to heaven is Jesus. That's the gospel.

I'm not saying Avatar is a bad movie. It's thoroughly enjoyable and I will watch it again. But it is dangerous. Christians have to be aware of and spot false theology, and not let it ruin a good movie.

Sweet Caroline

This Is Pretty Sad...

Check this out. Some guy actually named his kid after Barack Obama. I am scared.

The Bible on the Morality of Music

Is there anything that God created that is inherently evil? I've been told that there are. I've been told there are things that exist that are sinful. Sitting there, by themselves. They're just wrong. Things like marijuana, immodest clothes, and music with a back-beat.

Are they though? Didn't God say that all he created was good? I Timothy 4 says that there would come a day when men would teach that people need to abstain from stuff that God clearly meant to be good.

"Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared, who forbid marriage and require abstinence from foods that God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving." 1 Timothy 4:1-4
The fact is that nothing God created is sinful. Worshiping the creature more than the creator is. Marijuna isn't sin, loving getting high more than God is. God created everything in this world with a purpose, and everything in this world should be used for God's glory.

Its been claimed by many that certain kinds of music are inherently sinful, that they naturally cause sinful desires. I have even heard that rap music can make one feel a sinful emotion.

All this is claimed without support from the Bible. Nowhere does the Bible say that any kind of music even can be sinful. The Bible is simply silent on that. What the Bible does say is that God created everything for his glory, and that nothing is to be rejected if recieved with thanksgiving.


~the gospel changes everything~

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Doctrine In Children's Church

This morning I got the opportunity to speak in my church's children's church. I talked about Genesis 3 and the first sin. I tried, and probably failed, to link Adam and Eves first sin through Romans 5:12 to our sin. Because one man (Adam) sinned, we all are sinners and so must face death.

So often we use stories like the story of Adam and Eve to teach moralism. The things we do are emphasized, not to show the need for a savior, but to show the need to act better. For example, because Eve disobeyed God bad things happened, so we need to obey God so good things happen to us. That's not the point of the story at all. It's never about us. It's always about Jesus and the gospel.

The reason Genesis 3 is in the Bible is to show us our need for a savior. We all inherit Adams sin, so we all need something or someone to get rid of our sin for us. Only Jesus can.


Oh the Deep, Deep Love

Oh the deep, deep love of Jesus
Vast, unmeasured, boundless, free
Rolling as a mighty ocean
In its fullness over me
Underneath me, all around me
Is the current of Your love
Leading onward, leading homeward
To Your glorious rest above

Oh the deep, deep love
All I need and trust
Is the deep, deep love of Jesus

Oh the deep, deep love of Jesus
Spread His praise from shore to shore
How He came to pay our ransom
Through the saving cross He bore
How He watches o’er His loved ones
Those He died to make His own
How for them He’s interceding
Pleading now before the throne

Oh the deep, deep love of Jesus
Far surpassing all the rest
It’s an ocean full of blessing
In the midst of every test
Oh the deep, deep love of Jesus
Mighty Savior, precious Friend
You will bring us home to glory
Where Your love will never end


Coming Home

Yeah, so I haven't posted anything here in a while. College does that to you. You get busy and soon it's exam week and you've lost and forgotten about so much.

Check out this article on ESPN. It was a really good read. http://ping.fm/akOjG


~the gospel changes everything~

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Moralism Sends People to Hell

I was recently working in a children's church that had a lot of kids from the projects.  They were "bad kids."  There was one girl who sat quietly the whole time.  She was a "good kid."  The teacher brought a list of rules in to try to get the bad kids to act like good kids.

That's deadly.

If we teach kids that they need to do good things without teaching them the gospel, all we will get is good kids who don't know anything about a personal relationship with Jesus.  Acting good on the outside will help the children's worker's sanity, but not anyone's heart. 


An Amillennial Point of View

Ok, I know that I just posted a link to Kevin DeYoung's blog, but I really need to do it again.  All my life I've grown up only being taught pre-millennialism. I just never was explained an amillenial point of view, even critically.  So, today I found this post by Kevin DeYoung on his blog.  While I almost totally disagree with it, I love how he explains why he believes what he believes.  Read it and learn something.


What Is The Kingdom of God?

Kevin DeYoung:

Last week I preached on Mark 1:14-15 where Jesus delivers his first sermon: "The kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel." In this one sentence we find four of the most important words in the New Testament: kingdom, gospel, repent, and believe. Although we are familiar with these four terms, many Christians would struggle to articulate an accurate definition of each.

This is especially true of "kingdom." Clearly the kingdom is central to the story of the gospels (basileia occurs 162 times in the New Testament). But what does the word mean? Let me suggest three complementary ways to look at the kingdom. I realize this is not an exegetical study. But perhaps the theological overview will be helpful.

Click through to read the rest of "Thinking About The Kingdom."  It's something Christians seldom talk about, but it's one of the central themes of the Bible.


Re-planting Churches

Here is a pretty good blog post by Philipe Assis on replanting churches.  I'm really not sold on the idea, but it was still a good article.

Really not a good morning. I woke up sick, am tired even though I got 8 hours, and am probably going back to my room to sleep.

Posted via SMS from Andrew's posterous


To Buy

I need to buy...

Jars of Clay - Church Music
Above The Golden State - Above The Golden State

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üthe old me dead and gone awayü

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Fwd: Live Free by Lecrae

Check out "Live Free" by Lecrae.  Lecrae is they guy who proves that modern Christian music actually has lyrical and musical quality.  He describes sin so well.

"Sin so bad it's a liar,
It says we on the throne, tells God to retire.
It says He ain't enough, and it says we want more.
It says He ain't just, and it says He ain't Lord.
Sin is the laugh at his power, rape of His mercy,
Mock of His patience; it says he ain't worthy.


Jesus Saves From The American Dream

Monday night at Bible Study, a man spoke about his recent missions trip to Mongolia. Mongolia is a really interesting country. It's huge, about the size of Alaska, but only 3 million people live there, and a third of them live in the capital. The rest of the people are scattered hundreds of miles across wasteland. Dirt roads connect villages made up of just a few tents.

The people aren't rich at all by our standards. Most of what they have can be fit into their one room tent. This man went over to teach courses for college credit to members of a church in the Mongolian boondocks. They crammed into a building for nine hours a day for weeks, simply learning about the Bible.

The church is young. Most are first generation believers under the age of 25. They really don't have much, but from the pictures we were shown, they live a whole lot like the end of Acts 2. They do life together. They don't care about stuff; they care about each other. They are a true chuch, growing closer to God together.

It's such a contrast to the American church.

We treat church like a social club. Yeah, the gospel may be preached, but church can still be just a social club. We show up on Sundays caring more about how our external looks than our internal. We talk about things that get us status: our jobs, our sports teams, our girlfriends. We tell other believers about how we prayed and God provided us with a raise, a BMW, or a huge house.

What happened to Acts 2? What happened to sacrificially providing for other believers? What happened to encouraging others, building them up in their walk with Christ? Where is that in the church today?

It's easy to give God credit for giving you wealth. It's not easy to give God glory by giving it away. It's easy to show up on Sunday to keep up appearances. It's not easy to repent of all the crap you did the week before. It's easy to talk about football. It's not easy to ask for help with your addiction to it.

Where'd the church go?


Our Citizenship Is In Heaven

I've been through a rough week. I'm taking 18 credits this semester, which should be 20 because I'm taking Greek I and Spanish III, both of which meet 4 days a week but are 3 credits. I'm in the middle of a stretch that has me taking a test in all 7 of my classes in 5 class days. It's rough.

That's why I read Philippians. It was good. Paul wrote the book from prison. Anyone would look at his life and feel sorry for him.

Paul didn't care. He says he doesn't count his life dear to himself. He says him main goal is knowing Christ. He says that living is Christ and dying is gaining even more. He says that our citizenship is in heaven.

This world isn't a big deal. Like Mandissa sings - "It's Only The World." That's it. We live in a world that will pass away. Our purpose here is to live for eternity, like Paul. Paul didn't care about being in prison because that wasn't the point of his life. The point of his life was Jesus.

The point of my life has to be Jesus.

I can use all of my time to study for tests, but will it be worth it? Will it be worth giving up Bible reading or prayer (or my sanity) to try to get all A's? Not really. I'll study, but I won't obsess. I'll work for this life, but not at the expense of the next one.

It's only this life. It's not that big a deal.


Filthy Roman Sponge

Wow, that's all I can say.

Rainy Days

Today is one of those days, you know? I just got done with a really busy week and only have the promise of a slightly less busy one starting Monday. I was looking forward to our game against Z tonight, but it got canceled cause it's one of those rainy, drizzly days. Not very fun.

I'm off campus now, so I get to check Facebook and all that good stuff. The place where I'm at is showing some taped Italian league soccer game. Life is boring and normal. I don't like rainy days.

Anyways, I found this on The Gospel-Driven Church:
Philip Melancthon once said to his friend Martin Luther, "Today, Martin, you and I will discuss God's governance of the universe," to which Luther replied, "No, Philip. Today you and I are going fishing, and we'll leave the governance of the universe to God."
Read the rest of the post by Jared Wilson here.


Cal Thomas at Bob Jones

Tonight, we had a convocation at Bob Jones University. The speaker was Cal Thomas, a Christian columnist and political commentator.

I was fully expecting to write a condemning post about his speech tonight. I'm too used to conservative Christians thinking that voting Republican and being capitalist pleases God. But his speech wasn't like that.

His speech was in two halves: a problem facing our world and the solution for that problem. He said that a major problem facing the west was Muslim immigration. He spent a major chunk of his time giving statistics of how the white population in Western Europe was declining and England, France, and many other countries would be mostly Muslim within this century.

His problem wasn't the main problem.

Yes, Muslim immigration is a slight threat to the peace of the United States. Muslim's have in the past, and will in the future, attacked this country for religious reasons. But the problem isn't Islam. It's mankind's inherent sin. And this problem doesn't just come with the Muslim's migrating to the west. Sin is a problem that is inside everyone, and threatens all of humanity.

Thomas' conclusion was spot on. It was great. He said that our hope wasn't in any political system or human being. Our only hope is in Jesus. He quoted "The Solid Rock."

"My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus' name.
On Christ the solid rock I stand,
All other ground is sinking sand,
All other ground is sinking sand."

I know this overlaps a little with my last post, but it needed to be written. The only hope for this nation, or any nation, is Jesus. This nation must turn to God, or it will die.

I'm definitely going to have to start reading Cal Thomas. He's a politically conservative commentator who's citizenship and treasure is in heaven.


Why Capitalism (and a whole bunch of other stuff) Won't Work

Barack Obama has been under a lot of scrutiny lately. Most of it has to do with his health care plan that has conservatives in town-halls getting very, very angry. Obama is all about making sure everyone gets health care and that it doesn't cost too much. The conservatives are all about private health care and having the ability to choose.

One side thinks socialism will work. The other side thinks capitalism will work.

Both sides are wrong.

Why? Because we all have a genetic defect passed down from our earliest ancestor, Adam. Adam is the fellow responsible for bringing sin into the world. Sin is the thing responsible for screwing everything up.

Sin kills things, especially relationships. Why is there no such thing as a perfect marriage? Because there has never been a marriage that hasn't involved sinners. Why has there never been a church that hasn't ended up folding? Because all churches are made up of sinners.

And why has no government lasted for more than a few hundred years? Because those governing and those being governed are all sinners. Sin screws things up.

For millenia men have been promising to have the answer for men's problems, but no one has come up with it. Obama has his national health plan. That's gonna fail. The conservatives have capitalism. That's gonna fail. They both involve sinners.

So what would happen if someone perfect showed up? Could he change the world? Could he show us how to live like no one ever has? Could he, maybe, take away the thing that screws everything up?

Well that guy did show up. They called him Jesus. And he did have a way to fix everything. A way to take sin away. He called it the gospel.

The thing we gotta realize is the gospel changes everything. What's the solution to where I go when I die? The gospel. What's the solution for relationships involving sinners? The gospel. What's the solution for our economy? The gospel.

We can't look to the government to solve our problems. We can't look to the church as a political force.

We have to have the gospel change people. It's the only way this world will get any better.


Permission and Control

So, this is attempt number three to post this. I tried to text it to this blog, but I don't think that worked. (I can't check my blog, it's gay.) And I posted it on a Bob Jones forum, but that got deleted today. So, here we go.

I heard a missionary give an illustration I will never forget. I don't remember his name, where he lived, or what the rest of the message was about. He studied horticulture in college, and gave two illustrations about planting trees.

The first was about using rope to support a transplanted tree. You can use two ropes tied to stakes to make the tree stand straight up, but once those ropes are removed, the tree just falls over.

The second involved making what he called a "fifty dollar hole." You can buy topsoil that is full of nutrients to put in a hole and plant a tree there, but once the roots go beyond the rich soil into clay, the tree will slowly stop growing. If you just plant the tree in clay, it will grow slowly at first, but it will grow steadily.

It's the same way with rules and restrictions.

Here at Bob Jones, we are given a set of rules, an internet filter, and an pass system to make us "a more effective and well-polished follower of Christ." And yes, the rules do a pretty good job of keeping students from outward sin.

But sin isn't outward. It's a heart thing. Jesus told us that the person who wishes he could commit adultery with a woman is just as guilty as the guy who did. The same goes with hate and murder. Inward desire is just as bad as outward sin.

So, as far as being an "effective follower of Jesus Christ" (which is a good thing), how guilty is the couple who can't go off campus and have sex because of the rules?

What about the person who grew up their entire lives under restriction, and will soon go out into the real world. What will keep them from doing wrong?

I argue that while some restrictions are a good thing (key word "some"), most of the rules at Bob Jones are extra that don't help our walk with God at all. In fact, some of them probably hinder our walks with God.

I want to do right because I choose to, not because I have a university telling me I have to. I want to be able to set my own standards with my girlfriend, instead of just wanting to break BJU's. I don't want to be like a tree that is pampered or overprotected. I want to love God for myself, not cause I have to.


Living In The Bubble

Being in the bubble here at BJ means so many things. One of the main things is that I can no longer get on my blog on campus. Earlier this week I tried to update via text message, but I don't think that worked. For now, I've found a way that might work. We'll just have to test it out.


Why A Loving God Must Hate

     If there is one idea that this society has created about God, it's that he is a God who loves everyone and judges no one.  In fact, one of the trending topics on Twitter earlier today was #Godhateshate, which I found very ironic.  The fact is that in order for God to be a God of love, he must hate also.

     The Bible says that "God is love."  Love cannot be described outside of God.  Hollywood has tried, and come up with its own imitation.  Romantic comedies, Disney channel teen shows, and popular music have all tried to come up with their own definitions, but they all fail when compared to the true standard of love, God.

     God's example of love can't be topped.  God the Son gave up all the glory entitled to him (which we can't even imagine) to come down to die as a common criminal, and be separated from God the Father. 

     Why?  For what reason would anyone exchange infinite glory with infinite suffering?  Love.  Not sappy love, not first kiss love, but love that warrants giving up more than any human being can comprehend just to reconcile a relationship with a people that hate you.

     That is God's goal, relationship with us.  He died to get rid of the barrier of relationship, sin. 

     So, if God loves relationship with us, won't he hate anything that gets in the way of it? Like sin?  So how do we get mad at God for judging sin if He is just expressing his love?  And it's not like we don't have a choice.  He freely offers us relationship with Himself, at the expense of our sin.  So when we pass up relationship with an almighty God just so we can keep doing the things he hates, how can we expect anything less than his divine anger?


Me At College

Right now, I'm sitting in Bishop International Airport about to fly to Greenville, SC to start classes at Bob Jones University. This is not gonna mean good things for this blog. On campus, all the good internet (Facebook, Blogger, YouTube, and probably Twitter) is blocked, which means that it will be really hard to write new posts.

But, I can email and text new posts. They won't look as pretty, but it's what I have to get by on for this semester. If you're really gonna miss me that much, follow me on Twitter.


What Is Sanctification?

What is your sanctification based on? Is it based on works? Is it based on grace through faith? The best explanation of sanctification I have heard was in the message "Sex and Sanctification" from Epiphany Fellowship. Check it out on their online sermons.

Maybe We're Not Christians

Jared Wilson at The Gospel Driven Church brought up a very convicting article. Check out his full post; it's written way better than I could write it.


Needtobreathe - "The Outsiders"

Three steps to having a better day.

1. Stop what you're doing.

2. Click this link.

3. Download "The Outsiders."

"Mission, Changing the World, and Not Being Able To Do It All" - Kevin DeYoung

Pastors often preach on our need to pray more, give more, or just do more for God. Kevin DeYoung on his blog "DeYoung, Restless, and Reformed" wrote about why the "more" philosophy isn't right.

"We end up getting the story of Pilgrim’s Progress exactly backwards. “Come to the cross, Pilgrim, see the sacrifice for your sins. Isn’t that wonderful? Now bend over and let me load this burden on your back. There’s a lot of work we have to do, me and you.” A cross, yes. Jesus said we would have to carry one of those. But a cross that kills our sins, smashes our idols, and teaches us the folly of self-reliance. Not a burden to do the impossible. Not a burden to always do more for Jesus. Not a burden of bad news that never lets up and obedience that is always out reach."

"I promise you, some of the best people in your churches are getting tired. They don’t need another rah-rah pep talk. They don’t need to hear more statistics and more stories Sunday after Sunday about how bad everything is in the world. They need to hear about Christ’s death and resurrection. They need to hear how we are justified by faith apart from works of the law. They need to hear the old, old story once more. Because the secret of the gospel is that we actually do more when we hear less about all we need to do for God and hear more about all that God has already done for us."
Read the rest of his post here.


Lecrae - "Don't Waste Your Life"

The best thing about Lecrae is his lyrics. The words are full of Biblical truth and good theology. The songs aren't wimpy. They express a love toward a great God. Check out "Don't Waste Your Life."


Two Good Podcasts

If you want to learn some solid theology in your spare time, podcasts are the way to go. I enjoy listening to Mark Driscoll of Mars Hill Church in Seattle and Matt Chandler of The Village Church in Dallas. You can subscribe to these pocasts by clicking on these links for Mars Hill and The Village. The easiest way download podcasts is using iTunes.


Driscoll on The Hour of Power

This weekend, Mark Driscoll is being shown on the Hour of Power at the Crystal Cathedral. Check it out on the Crystal Cathedral website.


Why You Should Thank God For Barak Obama

Late in the evening of a November Tuesday last year, conservative Christians all over the United States began to panic. The Democrats won. This was going to have serious consequences. Gay people would get married, health care would become universal, and God's plan to save the world would have to be put on hold for a few years.


Where does Barack Obama fit into God's plan? Right in the middle of it.

"Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For . . . those that exist have been instituted by God."

Instituted. Tricky word. Tricky to type.

God voted for Barack Obama. God put him exactly where He would be most glorified.

But Christians have a hard time getting this. We think that just because the Republicans come down right on some issues (abortion, gay marriage) they come down right on all issues. When Bush was in office, anything questionable he did was defended by the religious right. They claim Bush started a war for completely altruistic reasons. They claim Obama wants to institute national healthcare to try to destroy our country.

We have two standards based on political preference. God doesn't have political preference.

God isn't concerned about the economy in the United States. He wasn't surprised last November.

His purposes aren't our purposes. His goals aren't our goals. They should be.

Would the religious right be cool with God if his plan was the destruction of America? Or maybe he wants to bring prosperity through a liberal government. I don't know. All I know is that "the kings heart is in the hand of the Lord" and we shouldn't worry that much about how things turn out. Because God will be glorified, no matter who is in office.


Some Good Checkable Music

I don't care if you like Kanye West, Coldplay, or Soundforth; this is an amazing piece of music.


God, Homosexuality, and The Bible

This post is a response to a post on Two Friars and a Fool on homosexual marriage. I commented on the post but am going to put a more detailed argument on here.

First and foremost, the difference between this blog and Two Friars and a Fool is one of how we treat the Bible. I believe that the Bible is complete, without error, and breathed by God. The good folks at TFF (cause Two Friars and a Fool is way too hard to keep typing) take the view that the Bible can be bent, as long as the main point is kept. The author, Aric Clark, responded to my comment on the article and said, that "Paul wasn't right about everything." This post isn't going to be about why the Bible is inerrant, just be reminded that hermeneutics is at the core of the debate.

On to homosexuality and marriage.

Marriage. Clark states, "The New Testament, especially, is very ambiguous about marriage." This really isn't true. Read Matthew 19, I Corinthians 6-7, and Ephesians 5 just to start. The Bible has a lot to say about marriage.

Homosexuality. Paul says in Romans 1:18-32

The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.

For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.

Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.

Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.

Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Although they know God's righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.
Read all the verses, in context. Paul is clear. Homosexuality is against nature. It is "indecent" and "perversion."

You can argue that Paul was wrong, that doctrine is flexible, and that the only point of the Bible is to help us experience God.

Great. Argue that.

But it goes back to what you believe about the Bible. You can say that Paul was wrong on some stuff.

Great. Believe that. Say that.

But know that the book God breathed says you are wrong. (1 Timothy 3:16)

Unless, of course, Paul was wrong on that too.


Mark Driscoll Preaches "Covenant, God Pursues"

The past week or so, I've been listening to the Doctrine sermon series from Mark Driscoll at Mars Hill Church in Seattle. The message on the Old Testament covenants might be the best message I have ever listened to.

Driscoll goes through the covenants God made with Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, and David. The point of the message is that Jesus is the fulfillment of all the Old Testament covenants. The point of the Old Testament wasn't God's relationship with Israel or any patriarch; it's Jesus.

Watch this message. The covenants are the backbone of the Old Testament, and they all point to Jesus.

Update: Accidentally posted the audio earlier, here's the video.


Salvation Shouldn't Be The Best Day Of Your Life

Somewhere along the line, some Christians got the idea that the focal point of the Christian life was the moment of salvation. We sing songs about it, write the date and time we prayed the prayer in the flyleaf of our Bibles, and make that the main topic of our preaching and teaching.

We live our lives for God because of what he did for us at some point in the past, as if that point is the greatest moment of the Christian life.

It's not.

Salvation isn't a moment, it's a work that Christ began in us in the past and will complete someday in the future. (Philippians 1:6)

We shouldn't live our lives in light of one thing that happened to us in the past. We should live because of a relationship that will continue 'til the day of Jesus Christ.

Because, that's what Christianity is, a relationship. It's not a contract that we signed in order to get heaven in return for a life of "doing right." It's a relationship that God started with us.

The best day of a marriage shouldn't be the wedding. It's a big deal, and a day to remember, but it shouldn't be the best day of the marriage.

It's the same with our relationship with God. We should remember the first day, but the first day shouldn't be the best day.


I Thought This Was Cool...

Do you remember that video that got posted to your Facebook profile ten times last week? Well, it now has over 12 million views and has seriously been some good publicity for Chris Brown (he needs it). Google's blog has a really interesting article on how the video has impacted music charts and the internet as a whole.

Practial Ideas to Live Missionally

Steve McCoy has five really practical ideas on how to reach a community for Christ.


A Communion Hymn

A shocking thing, this, that we should forget
The Savior who gave up his life –
To turn from the cross, indifferent, and let
Our minds veer toward self-love and strife.
The table, this rite, is habit – and yet
Christ’s words pierce our shame like a knife:

While breaking the bread, the Lord Jesus said,
“Do this in remembrance of me.”

Enamored with power, surrounded with praise,
We set out our ecclesial plans.
Efficiency hums, and we spend our days
Defending, promoting our stands.
Techniques multiply, our structures amaze –
The gospel slips out of our hands.

While breaking the bread, the Lord Jesus said,
“Do this in remembrance of me.
O remember, remember the cross.
From my side issued water and blood,
This was no accident,
I bore the wrath of my God.”

“Remember my bed, the dank cattle shed,
Though glory was all my domain.
Remember the years of service and tears
That climaxed in lashings of pain.
By God’s own decree, your guilt fell on me,
And all of my loss is your gain.”

While breaking the bread, the Lord Jesus said,
“Do this in remembrance of me.”

“Remember my tears, Gethsemene’s fears;
Recall that my followers fled,
That I was betrayed, disowned and arraigned –
The Prince of Life crucified, dead.
Remember your shame, your sin and your blame;
Remember the blood that I shed.”

While lifting the cup, the Savior spoke up,
“Do this in remembrance of me.”

So now when we eat this feast simply spread
I blush I forget to recall.
For this quiet rite means once more I have fed
On bread that gave life once for all;
Memorial feast—just wine, broken bread—
And time to reflect on Christ’s call:

While breaking the bread, the Lord Jesus said,
“Do this in remembrance of me.”

- D.A. Carson

Found on "Take Your Vitamin Z"


The Law vs. The Gospel

Check out this post about the law against the gospel or legalism against mercy.

You can recognize law preaching because it’s always full of references to the Bible being a “handbook for life,” full of principles for a successful life. If your Bible is just a handbook for life, throw it away.

The Bible is the story that delivers us the Gospel. It’s point is to get you to Jesus, the one mediator between God and man. It’s a big book to get you to a short message. You buy the whole field, but the treasure is the Gospel, not the book of Judges or financial principles from Proverbs. Once you have the Gospel right and you know what preaching is all about, then you can read and preach Leviticus or Malachi or whatever you want, as long as Jesus is in his proper place and the message is the Gospel, not the law, or the old covenant, or this week’s good advice.

Jesus Wants The Rose - Matt Chandler

What are we doing as Christians? Do we place so much emphasis on "doing right" that we somehow think that Jesus doesn't love those who don't?


Jack Hyles FAIL

Awesome video of Jack Hyles "preaching." He has a bible on stage, but he doesn't use it.


Why Evolution Isn't Ridiculous

I'm already cringing at all the angry comments that are gonna happen on this post. Feel free to comment, but hear me out.

I've heard the theory of evolution ridiculed in pulpits and classrooms as completely ridiculous. Evolution is made into a straw man that is easily (and frequently) torn down. But the fact is evolution actually makes sense. Yeah, it does. IF and only IF there is no God, then evolution makes perfect sense.

Any good scientist, creationist or evolutionist, will tell you that the chance of evolution occurring naturally is statistically impossible, but not completely impossible. Even the chance as thin as the thinnest of slivers is still a chance.

Let's say, to make things simple, that the chance of primordial soup evolving into a human being is one in one billion (in actuality the chance is far, far slimmer than that). If this universe existed for an infinite amount of time, and expanded and contracted an infinite amount of times, and life was given a chance an infinite amount of times, it would take about a billion times for evolution to occur successfully.

In reality, evolution is far more unlikely, but given an infinite amount of chances, would statistically probably happen. And (if God cannot exist) we know that it did happen because we are here today. Evolution must have occurred because it is the only theory that would explain our existence.

If God does exist (and I believe very strongly He does), the theory of creation makes much more sense. Creationism and Evolution rely on the same evidence. Scientists just look at that evidence and come to different conclusions based on what they believe about God.

Evolution's problem is not a scientific or a logical one. Its a moral one. Romans 1 tells us that mankind knows God, but doesn't glorify him as God, so their foolish hearts are darkened. Evolution doesn't need to be disproved. Mankind just needs Jesus.


God and Art

I've never really liked art. Art in the classical sense of the word, paintings and statues and Renaissance stuff. Art museums have never held interest for me. I just don't get why someone would go see some stupid painting.

Its probably the way that I think. I've always been the type think concretely. I like numbers and facts. Its just how God wired my brain.

There is one type of art that I love. Music. I love melody, rhythm, and harmony blended together into music that stirs the soul. Music that brings praise to God. Music that is written well and performed well.

But what does God think about art? The Bible has very little to say about art. But we do know that God is by nature an artist, a creator. He brought the world into existence, a world full of beauty.

We are created in God's image. And because we are created in his image, we will bring glory to God by rejoicing in his creation. He made creation for our pleasure (before the fall all pleasure was sinnless) and he is glorified when we enjoy his creation as he meant us to enjoy it.

We should enjoy music. We should enjoy art. We should enjoy God's creation like he meant us to enjoy it. 1 Chronicles 29:22 says that Israel ate and drank before the Lord with gladness. We were created to enjoy food without gluttony, sex inside marriage, and nature while bringing glory to God for creating it.


Dress Preppy Like Jesus

2 Blasphemies 2:15-19

And he said, "If any man be in Christ, he shall dress appropriately. If his life has verily been changed, then so shalt his appearance. He shall no more wear baggy or torn jeans, but a collar and a tie shalt adorn him. He shall no more wear the styles of the world, including ghetto, emo, goth, punk, skater, and grunge; but not preppy. For being preppy like a white guy pleaseth the Lord, for Jesus was white."


Paul's Ministry

Acts 20:19-24
In Acts 20 Paul gave a farewell address to the pastors in Ephesus, summarizing his ministry and the things that he planned to do.

1. Paul served (v. 19)
A. With all humility
The ministry wasn’t about Paul, it was about Jesus. Paul could have used his fame and platform to get anything, but he didn’t. His life was defined by the gospel. His life WAS preaching the gospel.
B. With tears and trials
Despite terrible persecution, Paul made his ministry about others. Paul went through more than any Christian today will go through. He had many reasons to quit, but he kept going.
2. Paul declared (v. 20-21)
A. Everything that was profitable.
He didn’t keep back anything that would cause the Ephesians to grow. He didn’t just try to convert them. His goal was their spiritual growth.
B. In public and in private
He preached everywhere. His life wasn’t about show, it mattered in public and private. Paul preached to the crowds, and he preached to families in their small houses. His ministry wasn’t about popularity. It was about the gospel.
C. That the gospel was for everyone
Paul declared that the Jew and the Gentiles could be saved. He realized that Christ died so that all nations could come. Everyone, despite idol worship, past sin, or even sexual orientation could come and be changed by Jesus.
3. Paul went (v. 22-24)
A. He went despite the fact that affliction waited for him. Paul knew that he would arrested and tortured, but he went anyway.
B. Paul’s life wasn’t dear to himself, and the spreading of the gospel was. Paul sacrificed marriage, any earthly pleasure, and eventually his life so that he could spend his earthly days preaching the gospel.

Paul’s life was all about others. It was about Jesus, it was about declaring the gospel to everyone. It was about serving when no one else was around. The last thing that his life was about was himself.


Tim Hortons Would Be Great To Work At If I Didn't Have To Serve Customers.....

The following really bug me about having to serve customers at Tim Hortons:

The myth that the elderly are nice and young people are rude.
The 11:00 rush involving several septuagenarians who have no idea what they want and take their sweet time deciding.
The customer who asks for several little things at the window as the timer counts into its second minute.
The customer who decides they want something else for free and claim you forgot to put it in the register.
The customer who leaves their napkins and butter containers stuffed into their half-empty coffee mugs on the table.
The customer who hands their drink back because they want it “filled to the brim” despite the fact that they will probably burn themselves.
The senior who assumes that he should get his senior discount and gruffly “asks” if I mean $1.39 instead of $1.50.
The customer who doesn’t even think about digging 94 cents worth of change out of the bottom of her purse until she is at the window.
The lady who kept responding “a glass mug” when asked what size she wanted.
The customer who keeps adding one donut at a time to their order, forcing me to guess what size container to put them in.
The customer that storms off angrily and assumes that they will personally offend me.



Okay, I've always made fun of Twitter. I think its pointless. One day a few months ago I created an account, just to see what it looked like. Today, I actually got into Twitter to see what all I could do with it.

It looks like I can automatically publish my blog using Twitter as well as Facebook. It still really doesn't have a point, but the nerd in me likes it, which is kinda sad when I think about it.

Follow me on twitter @chesterlives.


Stuff Fundies Like

Check out Stuff Fundies Like and get a good laugh.


Jesus, Jr.

Ray Ortlund, Jr. of the Acts 29 Network authored this post. It might seem like it begins sacrilegious, but it's really not.

Our local deity is not Jesus. He goes by the name Jesus. But in reality, our local deity is Jesus Jr.
Our little Jesus is popular because he is useful. He makes us feel better while conveniently fitting into the margins of our busy lives.

Why Doing Right Doesn't Please God, Pt. 2

Mark Driscoll said something that puts our efforts to stay away from sin in a new light. Sin is not sin because it is on a list of things we aren't supposed to do. It is sin because it takes away from our love for God.
"Let's say that you're an alcoholic. You don't have an alcohol problem; you have a worship problem. Your problem is, you worship alcohol instead of Jesus. You go to alcohol for comfort, rather than Jesus. You go to alcohol to sleep better, rather than Jesus. You go to alcohol to deal with the pain in your life, rather than Jesus. Alcoholism is an idolatry issue. And the reason that people continue to drink is that the bottle lies to them. It says, "you will be free, you will be happy, you will be relaxed, you will forget your problems." It promises freedom and it delivers slavery.

The same happens with food. If you're a glutton, the problem is not that you eat too much, the problem is that you have idolized food. You deify food. Food is in the place of Jesus. When you do well you reward yourself with food. When you don't do well, you reward or punish yourself with food. Your identity is around what you do and do not eat. Your constant mediation is on food and weight and subsequently appearance, and not Jesus.


Why Doing Right Doesn't Please God

Let me define myself. When I say in the title "doing right," I'm referring to both positive acts of righteousness and the absence of sinlessness. There is a difference between those two. By pleasing God I'm talking about what he demands of us, or what our spiritual lives should consist of after being born again.

Many preachers will tell you that the responsibility of Christians is to "do right." It becomes how they live their Christian lives. To them, the way to please God is to live by a moral code. Not "looking like the world," and going to church dressed nice carrying a Bible brings pleasure to God.

But they're wrong, for two reasons.

If you look at the Bible as a whole, and not just random verses scattered throughout it, you'll find out that the theme of the book is the reconciliation of man to God. In the third chapter, man (by sinning) loses fellowship (friendly relationship) with God. The rest of the Bible is about man coming back into fellowship with God and ends with the bride of Christ living forever with him. The entire thing is about relationship, and that's what God wants.

When asked by the Pharisees what the most important command was, Jesus said, "love the Lord your God with all your heart." That's what Christianity is, a relationship. The entire point of God's involvement in human history is so he could bring us back to him. The first thing he demands is for us to love him.

The second reason deals with God's sacrifice. We deserve God's wrath, not just because we sin, but because we have no righteousness of ourselves. Isaiah says that our righteousness is like filthy rags, worth absolutely nothing. But, II Corinthians 5:21 says, "he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that we might become the righteousness of God." Because of Christ's death, not only did he take our sin, but he gave us his righteousness. He gave us his good works to be our own.

If we try to live by a moral code, we will ultimately fail because we are sinners. But we don't have to be righteous, because we have Jesus' righteousness. We are free to live in a relationship and worship him. God has given us a gift that is beyond all human comprehension. Mike Donehey from Tenth Avenue North said, "We shouldn't live for God, we should live because of God."


My Response To Irfan's Note

Earlier today I posted a link to one of my friend's notes. I just wanted to take my comment and expand and expound on it.

What is Fundamentalism? By definition, Fundamentalism is believing in the fundamentals of the faith (virgin birth, deity of Christ, salvation by grace through faith) and standing on those. Fundamentalism involves separating from those who do not believe these fundamentals. By this definition, I am a fundamentalist. I am not going to compromise by endorsing false teachers.

In practice, from what I've seen (and I would say that I've seen and heard a fair sample) of so called fundamentalist churches is that there is a different set of fundamentals. They take secondary doctrines and preferences (using the KJV, not using CCM, the complete free will of man) and making those primary. Those who do not believe the same in these secondary issues are denounced from pulpits. I have heard some label an evangelist "liberal" because he used the ESV at a church that uses the ESV.

Am I a fundamentalist? (It gets really hard to type that word over and over.) By the first definition, I am. By the first definition most evangelical churches that aren't considered fundamental are, in fact, fundamental. By the practical definition, I am not a fundamentalist. I am not going to separate from someone who disagrees with me on a minor preference. And I am not going to separate from those who love Jesus and want to see people saved.

Another Post About Fundamentalism

Check out these two notes by a friend.

Ten Reasons Not To Attend A Fundamentalist Church

and a response to one of the comments on that note.

I don't agree with all of this, but I do agree with all the major points.


Life Is Good Today

Its not normal for me to get a kick out of little kids. They usually annoy me (makes me a bad person, I know) but I saw the awesomest five year old tonight at the fireworks. He was sitting on his dad's lap and was obsessed with the fireworks.

"Look at all the green!" "That's a circle!"

I laughed. It was funny. This little kid was noticing and loving the things about the fireworks that I didn't care about, but I knew I used to. I knew that 14 years ago I was that little kid. I was the annoying little guy that everyone looked at and smiled at. That kid gave me a smile I needed.

On the other side of him came another voice just as enthused about the fireworks. My 22 year old sister hasn't outgrown her fascination with bright lights. Give it a few years, it'll come.

All in all it was a good day. I had to work a full shift at Tim Hortons this morning, but business was slow and steady. I went home, watched three episodes of "Chuck," and took a nap.

"I got my toes in the water,
Sittin' in the sand,
Not a worry in the world,
A cold drink in my hand.
Life is good today,
Life is good today.
-Toes by Zac Brown Band



What Is True Salvation?

I've grown up in a solidly Christian home, so I've been to my share of church camps and revival meetings. And it seems that every time there is a week than an evangelist speaks, there is a sermon that greatly trivializes salvation. The message will unfold something like this: "You do bad things, people who do bad things go to hell, pray to Jesus so you don't go to hell and go to heaven." Salvation is presented like a Get Out of Jail Free Card that we just walk up to Jesus and ask for and then walk away. This watered down salvation isn't life-changing, just a way to have a more pleasant afterlife.

The fact is that our main problem isn't hell, it's our missing fellowship (friendly relationship) with God. Our (lack of) fellowship with God is the main theme of the Bible. We read about Adam and Eve who walked with God in the cool of the day, but then sinned by eating the fruit. At that moment they lost fellowship with God because they became sinners. The main story throughout the Bible is God's restoration of fellowship with his fallen creation. Because we are descendants of Adam, sin has passed to us, and we are born sinners (Romans 5:12). The fact that we are sinners will send us to hell because the payment for sin is separation from God for eternity, not just in this life (Romans 6:23).

So, how do we as naturally sinful human beings gain fellowship with God? Four books in the New Testament, the Gospels, are filled with the story of how a perfect God became the only sinless descendant of Adam ever born, Jesus. Jesus did something that only sinners were supposed to do, die and be separated from God. As he was being crucified, he screamed, "My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?". Because He died as a sinner, his righteousness can be legally substituted for ours (2 Corinthians 5:21).

So how do we gain his righteousness? Ephesians 2:8-9 says that it is not based on anything that we do, the best we have to offer God is worth as much as dirty rags. The only way we can gain fellowship is by God's grace, if he chooses to give it to us. Ephesians 2:8 says that salvation is by grace through faith. If we cry out to God by faith (the absence of any of our own works) he promises to save us (Romans 10:13).

If and when God chooses to save us, two things happen. The first thing is that we are given a new nature (2 Cor. 5:17). While we are still naturally sinners while living in these bodies, we have a new nature that wants to please God. The second thing that happens is that we are adopted by God (John 1:12, Galatians 4:5). Not only do we re-gain fellowship, we are given full rights as his children. When the Bible says we gain eternal life, we gain eternal fellowship with God starting when he adopts us.

Salvation is far more than missing hell. It is a new relationship with an Almighty God. It is not a gift that we play with for a few days and then forget about it. It is a gift that changes our life now, not just after we die. Salvation is not something we did once. It is something that continues to change us.


The Bride of Christ

Do we really understand what salvation is? Do we really get what being the bride of Christ really entails? Check out this post by Mike Donehey on Tenth Avenue North's blog.


The Problem With Church Camp

The house should be less crabby this week. My brother left this morning for church camp, a week of hanging out, high school flirting, and sports. I always went to church camp growing up. Once, twice, or three times a summer I left home for a long bus ride to a week that always featured an evangelist that preached a couple times a day. I, along with most of the other kids, always came back from camp all excited about the fun and preaching.

For those who do not know, church camp is intended to get the campers to make a "decision." A decision is when a camper decides to do something, i.e. respect one's parents more or read one's Bible faithfully. Kids are persuaded to make a decision by the evangelist. The evangelist usually will use sermons that don't use too much Bible, and will clinch this sermon by an emotional story that persuades the listeners to make said decision.

Anyway, I always came back on an emotional high, and this batch of kids is not likely to be any different. I'm sure there will be a testimony service at my church where everyone can share what decisions they made with the church. The problem makes itself known a couple weeks after camp when practically no kids are keeping said decisions and have resumed the lifestyle of the week before camp.


Why do camp revivals never last? Why do the results of revival meetings never last for more than a couple weeks?

Answer. Because most camps and revival meetings are built on emotion.

I don't want to say that camp and revival meetings have no spiritual benefit. They can, and do. But, for the most part camp preaching is fluff. I have heard messages that resulted in "revival." Almost everyone made a "decision." The next week I realized that what had "convicted" me wasn't the Bible at all. It was simply a story about the speaker's childhood. The only "conviction" I had felt was an emotional build-up because I was listening to a good public speaker. When the emotion wore off, so did my desire to do what I had decided to do.

The fact is that if we truly read our Bibles, we will realize that it doesn't say anything about decisions. True Christianity really isn't built on things we do, but a relationship with God. Whenever we try to manufacture a religion that uses emotion to get people do a bunch of external works without building it on a relationship with Christ, all we get is a religion that fails when the emotion wears off.

What is True Worship?

What's the point of worship? Read this post from The Village Church's Worship Blog.


This Is Your Life

This is not the warm-up round;
This is not a trial heat.
It can't be repeated when your time has gone.
This is not an infinite resource
Or the prelude to a starter course;
You don't send it back if it gets done wrong.

This is your life.

Every living soul completes
A finite number of heartbeats.
This is not the sum of what you're here for.
Every breath you take will be exhaled;
Every rising sun will fall.
The measure of it all is what you live for.

This is your life.


What Is The Word of God?

I just read a chapter again of A.W. Tozer's The Pursuit of God again. Its an amazing book, I need to read the rest of it again. I reread chapter 6, which talks about the nature of the word (or voice) of God. I think that what Tozer says puts the entire KJV version debate in perspective. I can't put the entire chapter in one post, so I just posted a few paragraphs. The full text can be found at inspirationalmedia.com/Pursuit_of_God.pdf. Chapter 6 starts on page 29.

"An intelligent plain man, untaught in the truths of Christianity, coming upon this text, would likely conclude that John meant to teach that it is the nature of God to speak, to communicate His thoughts to others. And he would be right. A word is a medium by which thoughts are expressed, and the application of the term to the Eternal Son leads us to believe that self-expression is inherent in the Godhead, that God is forever seeking to speak Himself out to His creation. The whole Bible supports the idea. God is speaking. Not God spoke, but God is speaking. He is by His nature continuously articulate. He fills the world with His speaking Voice.
One of the great realities with which we have to deal is the Voice of God in His world. The briefest and only satisfying cosmogony is this: “He spake and it was done.” The why of natural law is the living Voice of God immanent in His creation. And this word of God which brought all worlds into being cannot be understood to mean the Bible, for it is not a written or printed word at all, but the expression of the will of God spoken into the structure of all things. This word of God is the breath of God filling the world with living potentiality. The Voice of God is the most powerful force in nature, indeed the only force in nature, for all energy is here only because the power-filled Word is being spoken.
The Bible is the written word of God, and because it is written it is confined and limited by the necessities of ink and paper and leather. The Voice of God, however, is alive and free as the sovereign God is free. “The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” The life is in the speaking words. God’s word in the Bible can have power only because it corresponds to God’s word in the universe. It is the present Voice which makes the written Word all-powerful. Otherwise it would lie locked in slumber within the covers of a book."
"I believe that much of our religious unbelief is due to a wrong conception of and a wrong feeling for the Scriptures of Truth. A silent God suddenly began to speak in a book and when the book was finished lapsed back into silence again forever. Now we read the book as the record of what God said when He was for a brief time in a speaking mood. With notions like that in our heads how can we believe? The facts are that God is not silent, has never been silent. It is the nature of God to speak. The second Person of the Holy Trinity is called the Word. The Bible is the inevitable
outcome of God’s continuous speech. It is the infallible declaration of His mind for us put into our familiar human words."
The essence of the Word of God isn't found in one version today; it isn't what was written by the apostles. It is what God spoke and is speaking.


Don't Go To Your Church If.....

I found this on Tenth Avenue North's website.

"Don’t go to your church if one of these three things are present:"

Old Hymn, Ageless Words

This is a lot more than an old hymn. The words are amazing.

Man of Sorrows! What a name
For the Son of God, who came
Ruined sinners to reclaim.
Hallelujah! What a Savior!

Bearing shame and scoffing rude,
In my place condemned He stood;
Sealed my pardon with His blood.
Hallelujah! What a Savior!

Guilty, vile, and helpless we;
Spotless Lamb of God was He;
"Full atonement!" can it be?
Hallelujah! What a Savior!

Lifted up was He to die;
"It is finished!" was His cry;
Now in Heaven exalted high.
Hallelujah! What a Savior!

When He comes, our glorious King,
All His ransomed home to bring,
Then anew His song we'll sing:
Hallelujah! What a Savior!


Patriotism In Church

With Memorial Day just behind us and Independence Day in a couple weeks, now is a very good time to write about the role of patriotism's place in corporate worship. I honestly don't know when it started, but Fundamentalist churches around the nation have started reserving a Sunday service to celebrate America. This can be done in different ways, from having prayer for America to singing songs and giving testimonies about America and patriotic people.

The logic behind these special Sundays ranges from ludicrous fact embellishing to some solid reasons. I've heard songs sung in church that claimed the American Revolution was a struggle of good versus evil; that the colonies were fighting for religious freedom. This is not true. The Pilgrims and many others may have come to the New World to find religious freedom, but the colonies rebelled 150 years later purely for economic and political reasons. Nothing to do with religious freedom. Read the Declaration of Independence. Nothing about religious freedom in there.

Many people claim that we should celebrate America in churches because the nation was founded by Christians on Christian principles. This has some credence to it. Many of the founding fathers were deeply religious men, but the fact that they used flowery religious language does not mean that they were truly born again. It was standard back then to be religious. Everyone was. It was the culture of the day. Of course they talked about God, it just came with living in the deeply religious time right after the Great Awakening.

The fact is that there is nothing in the Bible about celebrating one's nation in church. Read the book of Acts; then read the rest of the New Testament. Nothing about the nation in corporate worship. The only responsibilities of the Christian to his nation are to pray for its leaders, obey the laws, and pay the taxes (please note that the founding fathers failed on the last two). Jesus said, "Give to Caesar what is Caesar's, and to God what is God's." The government has its own realm that it governs, and the church has its realm. Those two should stay separate.

There is one way to have a patriotic Sunday and stay within the principles the Bible lays out for worship. The goal of our existence and the goal of our worship is to glorify God. If at any time worship glorifies a man or country above God, it has become idol worship. We can thank God for we he has given us in our nation, as long as the focus stays on him.

I'm not against patriotism. I consider myself patriotic. I just don't think that someone has to be patriotic to be godly.


Random, Mindless Utterings

I don't know why, but God decided to give us the blog to allow our strange thoughts in the wee hours of the morning to seep into public. I'm too caffeinated to go to sleep (trips to McDonalds at one in the morning will do this), so I'm listening to music/trying to organize my iTunes.
Interesting things going on in my life, well not really, but who cares. I had an interview at Stanley Steamer on Wednesday. I don't know if I get the job or not, but if I do I'll be able to pull in $30,000 a year and work full time. This seriously tempts me to sit out of college for a semester or two, or possibly just stay at this job for a few years and take classes by correspondence from Bob Jones.
I really would like to be a pastor somewhere, to have a semi-big church, and a happy life. The thing is, I think all I really want is a successful career doing something, and that something could be making money at a Stanley Steamer in Saginaw, Michigan. But I really doubt that's what God wants for me to do. Sigh, I pray for wisdom.



Assurance of Salvation from I John

When God changed us at salvation, we were changed from sinners to children of God. He changed not just what we do, he changed who we are. A truly converted Christian will have fundamentally different behavior than an unconverted sinner. From the book of I John, there are four different proofs of a Christian's salvation.

2 Corinthians 5:17; James 2:17-20; Matthew 7:16-18

A true Christian will have the Holy Spirit. At salvation, the Christian becomes indwelled by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit will bring the fruit found in Galatians 5:22-23. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, and faith will all be the fruit that a Spirit filled Christian has in his life.

I John 4:13

Galatians 5:22-23

A true Christian will not follow after false doctrine. Most Christians do not struggle with right doctrine. Some, however, will get caught up in books like The Shack and Velvet Elvis: books that look good, and sound good but are filled with things that aren't true. Beware of anyone who doesn't believe that Christ was God or that Mary was a virgin when she was pregnant with Christ.

I John 2:18-24

Ephesians 4:14

A true Christian will love other Christians. He will enjoy having fellowship with other people who believe the same thing as he does. Someone who is converted will go to church when he can. Someone who avoids church should check out his salvation. Someone who is converted will not hate a brother in Christ.

I John 2:9-11

I John 3:11-15

A true Christian will not love the sin that is in the world and make a practice of sinning. Preachers often use I John 2:15-17 about how Christians should not love the world. John is saying that Christians should not love sin, not necessarily things that aren't sinful but are part of the world.

When we are converted, we will will not continue to sin without conviction. Lot lived for years in one of the most wicked cities in the world, and II Peter 2:7 says Lot was greatly distressed with the sin around him. If you sin consistently, without conviction or regret, you according to the Bible, are probably not saved.

I John 2:3-5; I John 2:15-17; I John 3:4-10; I John 5:18