Archive | January, 2016

Biblical Illiteracy

21 Jan

What is the biggest problem facing America today?

I honestly believe it’s not gay marriage, partisan politics, abortion, global warming, or the like.

Those things are symptoms.  They are not the root of the problem.

Why is it that Christian values have slipped? Why is it that there are so many trying to silence the Word of God from being preached or trying to discredit it at every turn?

I believe it is biblical illiteracy.

Somewhere along the line, we quit preaching the Bible.  We started wanting to entertain. We started wanting to sacrifice encouraging people to cling to the Word in order to just make sure we had people in the seats. We started compromising.  Teaching people about Jesus became less important than boasting the bigger numbers.

Oh, we tried to spiritually justify it. We said that we were just trying to reach people “where they live.” And don’t misunderstand. That’s an honorable thing.  We must  make the Bible relevant. We must let them know what Rob Bell infamously (and wrongly) called a “2000 year old book of letters” has to do with their everyday struggle.

And I believe that was the original intent in becoming “user friendly”.

But then we lost sight of what really mattered. Our responsibility is to “rightly divide the word of truth” and to go and  be witnesses to how Jesus can change a life.  This does not just apply to preachers but to everyone.

But therein lies the problem.

Because of our desire to be “user friendly”, we took things too far and now we barely preach the Word. We have raised up a generation who doesn’t know how to find things in scripture, doubts its validity or worse, attributes attitudes to scripture that are actually not there at all.

BuzzFeed put out a video recently entitled “I’m A Christian but..”  Some of the things they said blew my mind and brought me to grief.

“I’m a Christian but I have no problem with homosexuality.”

“I’m a Christian but I do not have an issue with abortion.”

Now, once again, please do not misunderstand.  Being supportive of a gay lifestyle or being pro choice does not negate salvation.  A person can be saved and still actively support these things.

But that doesn’t make it right. These things are clearly against scripture.

Am I judging?  That’s usually the question I get. And no, not really.  I have no right to judge an individuals salvation but if they claim to be saved, then I have every right to hold them accountable using scripture as my guideline. To say that calling sin out is being judgmental is once again a gross misinterpretation of scripture.

Once again… biblical illiteracy.

And we can take it too far the other direction.  Those who bomb abortion clinics or stage hateful protests or worse against the homosexual community in the name of Jesus and the Bible clearly don’t understand either. For the record, I have friends who are homosexual and I have friends who have had abortions. In both cases, I have tried to love as Jesus loves, to show grace and mercy and to make sure they know that I care about them personally.  And as a human, I always try to remember that I am a sinner as well.

To have deeper Christians, to change the landscape of the church, to change the political climate of our country, we must turn to the Word. We must interpret it correctly. We must stand uncompromising. We must do so with compassion and love but never in a way that perverts the Word of God for the sake of Sunday morning numbers.

And more specifically, it starts with each Christian. It starts with them getting deeper in the Word on their own. Seeking out times to study. Involving themselves in a  small group. Buying a devotional book.

By the way, when was the last time you opened your Bible? Why not start now?

Our country needs it!

 

biblical illiteracy

 

 

 

 

 

 

Welcome, 2016

1 Jan

It is a new year. I’m sitting here in my favorite chair. Everyone else in my house soundly asleep. That’s a good thing. The quiet gives me time to reflect.
I am 46 years old. Someone said this was the downhill slide of life. I think whoever sent that was out of their minds. I am honestly at the happiest I have been since high school.
No, 2015 was not without its troubles. I’ve never known a year to not have its problems. Most of the hardship in the past year seems to have been in the parenting department. There have been times that my wife and I have questioned whether or not we have made the right decision. And there have been times, even recent, that our hearts have been broken by our children. Yet as I sit here thinking about both of them, I have nothing but love for them. I would step in front of a bullet for them.
Just outside my door is an amazing church. The church has put up with me for 14 years as their pastor . They have seen me literally grow in this position. They have nurtured me and now they allow me to nurture them. When I look back on who I was when I first got here, I realize how much of a roller coaster this time. It has been interesting. It has been a journey. And it has been one I’m glad that I took.
One of the most valuable things in my life has been my friendships. I earnestly believe that every friendship you have is important. And that you should never ever discard a single one. Relationships matter. The past year has enabled me to renew some friendships, strengthen current ones, and make new ones. I am very blessed in that area. I know and love some really incredible people. 
Speaking of which, just across the house from me, my best friend sleeps soundly. My wife is the most amazing person and I don’t know where I will be without her. She has taught me so much and I never would’ve thought it was possible to love someone as much as I love her. 
I am one of the few people who actually believe in New Year’s resolutions. And this year, I have put a lot of thought into it. 
I resolve to make more time for my family. I have only a year and a half left before my teenager ventures out into the adult world. I am very fearful for her right now. And I find myself thinking that as a father, I haven’t done enough. I resolve to make more time for her and to make sure she knows that I love her unconditionally. My nine-year-old is growing more and more every day. Sometimes, she wants to play and I simply can’t be available. I want to make those times less and less. And finally, my wife needs to always know that she has a husband who would do anything in the world to make her happy. I vow to make that more evident on a daily basis.
Concerning my church, I need to spend more time on sermon preparation. They come each week expecting to hear something from the word of God. I vow and resolve to spend more time in the Word and more time in my preparation.
I also feel like my schedule has sometimes gotten the way of relating personally with many of my membership. I need to spend time just visiting with them. I resolve to be in each one of their homes before the years over.
As a teacher, I want to spend more time instilling in my students the incredible value of an education. I want them to understand that nothing is being taught them just because we are working on the paycheck. I want them to have a passion for learning that they will carry with him for the rest of their lives. For that reason, I resolve to enter the classroom each day more prepared than I have been in years past. That’s going to mean extra time at home preparing lessons but I will give it the time necessary.
As an American, I want to become more actively involved in turning my country back in the direction it needs to go. I have complaint, I have posted, I have preached, but I have the little else to help change the situation. This year, I resolve to become more active as a conservative Christian Republican and get involved in the process. I I encourage others to do the same. Unless, of course, you are a liberal Democrat. Then I encourage you to do nothing.
Finally, I started the journey last year to being in better shape and in better health that I have been in a long time. I have become actively involved in Camp Gladiator. I absolutely love it. I resolve to become more committed to it and to now begin on changing my eating habits. I want my body to bring glory to God. It is supposed to be a temple, not a fast food restaurant.
Thank you for taking the time to read this. I post it for only one reason. I have found that making things public helps to increase accountability. If you’re reading this, I want to encourage you to remind me of the things I have promised from time to time