Happy Memorial Day

memorial day

I’m going to post this today and then Happy Monday as usual tomorrow. This is an update from an archive post dated 5/18/2009. 

Memorial Day is traditionally the first long weekend of summer, so maybe for you it’s just another excuse to break out the grill and water toys.  If you have to work that day, maybe it’s an inconvenience that that the Post Office and banks will be closed.  Some people will simply sleep in that day and not care why.  The American dream lives on. Continue reading

The Bible on History

Bible, on HistoryI said the same prayer for the History Channel’s presentation of the Bible that I did for GSN’s Great American Bible Challenge last summer: please Lord, don’t let it be stupid. For the sake of Christian’s everywhere, I hoped it would not be something I had to apologize for to non-Christians/ unbelievers.

The Bible premiered tonight on History. For the most part, I would have to say that I liked it. Getting the story of all scripture into ten hours is an ambitious undertaking. Some things must be left out, and other parts of the story condensed. But if that’s the case, then why add anything that is not included in scripture? For all the drama the Bible contains, why add anything for dramatic effect? The producers must have known that some of us would be watching that know the Bible well. For our sake, why not remain as true to the original as possible? Continue reading

To Whom Are We Giving Thanks?

I was reading a blog post debunking several historical myths about Thanksgiving (original link no longer available).  At one point he has this to say about George Washington:

“George Washington, as the first American president, declared November 26, 1789 as a national day of thanksgiving and prayer, and a few months after his inauguration issued his famous ‘Proclamation Number One’ stating that it was a ‘duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God.’”

But the last “myth” he identifies is Thanksgiving is a religious holiday, and he reasons this way:

“While some would like to believe that the Thanksgiving holiday is religious, and George Washington did issue a proclamation bringing God into the picture, this is not only an invented holiday, but its correlation with football and rescheduling to enable better economic performance for merchants makes it clear that Thanksgiving is a secular holiday.”

Then who are you giving thanks to?

It has become a tradition at this time of year to list things we are thankful for, but we sort of read off the list without directing our thankfulness in any particular direction.  Perhaps families go around the table and each member takes a turn, which forces children to think about the things they have and teaches a lesson about being thankful.  It is no doubt safer in our politically correct culture for elected officials, public school teachers and others to say “we should be thankful” than to make a religious statement.  But seriously, who are we thanking when we list the things we are thankful for?

George Washington didn’t bring God into the picture.  It is God’s picture, and we should be thankful he included us.

Not to us, O LORD, not to us, but to your name give glory,
for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness!
(Psalm 115:1 ESV)

Patriot Day

Patriot Day, September 11 each year, is a day of prayer and remembrance for all the victims and their families of the 9/11 terror attacks in 2001.  This is a reprint of  What Makes Us Stronger: Perspective on 9/11, written last year for the 10th anniversary.

The goal of terrorism is to disrupt the normal activities of a group by paralyzing its members with fear.  A decade later we can look back on the terror attacks of 9/11 with both historic and Christian perspective. Continue reading

Lord of History

When God speaks to Moses from the burning bush, he knows that Pharaoh will not let the Hebrews go “unless compelled by a mighty hand.”  God has a series of signs and wonders in store for Egypt.  There comes a point when Pharaoh would have been willing to let them go and we’re told that God hardened his heart, because he was not done demonstrating his power.  It was all part of God’s plan.

I did not intend to preach a sermon featuring 9/11 on the 10th anniversary.  I decided to use text from Genesis 15, when God met with Abram (not yet Abraham) and renewed his covenant to make of him a great nation.  God explains that it will not happen right away; as a matter of fact it will not happen for another 400 years.

Then the Lord said to Abram, “Know for certain that your offspring will be sojourners in a land that is not theirs and will be servants there, and they will be afflicted for four hundred years.  But I will bring judgment on the nation that they serve, and afterward they shall come out with great possessions.  Gen. 15:13-14

Continue reading

(No) Peace in the Middle East

This short film offers a simple answer to a complex question: Why has there not been/ will there not be peace in the Middle East?  Simple answers often require a lot of qualifiers, but this actually does a pretty good job.

We could of course turn this into a discussion of Bible prophecy.  There has never been peace in this region, and the Jews have been, are and will be despised by all nations.  When Pilate said he did not want this man’s blood (Jesus) on his hands, the Jewish mob cried out “Let his blood be on our hands, and on our children.”  It’s hard to not make the correlation between that event and the destruction of the Temple in A.D. 70.  The first century diaspora is why there were 10 million European Jews in 1936.  The Holocaust resulted in 100,000 Jews immigrating to the United States, and more importantly the creation of the Jewish state described in the video.  I find it hard to miss that hand of God in all this.

Many students of prophecy also believe there will be a miraculous peace brought to the Middle East by the Anti-Christ.  Now we are really stirring the pot.  Like I said, good video.

Halloween and…

Today is Halloween and… Halloween and… Reformation Day.

On the Eve of All Saints Day (which is November 1st) Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the door of the church at Wittenberg in 1517.  Protestants celebrate October 31st as Reformation Day.

Internet Monk shared the following today.  I approve this message :-)

For God and Country

The 4th of July falls on Sunday this year.  The comparisons between our liberty and freedom as Americans and the freedom found in Christ are easy to make, but we need to be careful.  I wish to present a sermon that is both patriotic and scriptural, but also fair and truthful.  The Declaration of Independence was written in 1776 – the Bible was not. Continue reading

Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, and the Kingdom of God

Lincoln, King and the Kingdom: what’s the relationship?  I’ve always wondered who in the government decided to put Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) together.  Although my students will tell you that sometimes I get a little preachy when I teach history, I’ve always tried to not lecture history from the pulpit.  This time, I’m going to ask that you indulge me just a little bit.

It’s always around this time of year that my American History class studies the Civil War.  It just so happens that right in the middle of that, my wife and I visited D.C. over the Christmas break.  I stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, and looked across the reflection pool toward the Washington Monument.  The words of the Gettysburg Address are carved into Lincoln’s memorial in 12″ letters.  It’s hard not to come back and say something about it. Continue reading

The Pagan Roots of Halloween; and Easter and Christmas

trick-or-treatJust like the Internet Monk rants here, I was raised in a fundamentalist Baptist home.  We read the King James Bible, went to Sunday School, prayer meeting, revival, and every other time the church door was open.  We didn’t wear shorts at my childhood home, nor go swimming in mixed company.  My dad went to the public school and had me excused from the two weeks of swimming our P.E. class had in August.  Dad was a street preacher, standing on the corner of a downtown city block shouting the Gospel at passing traffic.  (He still does that once a week, but I no longer hand out tracts to pedestrian passersby.) 

But you know what my parents did let us do?  Go trick-or-treating.  Continue reading