Remember What We Are Called To

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The Supreme Court announced their decision regarding state issued bans on same-sex marriage on Friday morning. Social media came alive with reaction; supporters changed their profile image to the rainbow flag and used the hashtag #lovewins, some angry Christians expressed despair in the collapse of America and quoted verses from Leviticus. But what caught my attention were the Christians that calmly reminded us we live in and also apart from the culture we are immersed in.

I pastor a small SBC church in the deep South. Below is my Sunday morning sermon, directed to my own congregation with all Christians everywhere in mind. Whatever your initial reaction was to Friday’s news, please prayerfully consider this position: Continue reading

Do You Have the Right NOT to Wed a Gay Couple?

Legal opinions vary widely on what the U.S. Supreme Court’s mandate of nationwide same-sex marriage will mean for pastors and government officials authorized to perform weddings.

Some legal experts say government officials charged with performing weddings could lose their jobs for refusing to marry gay couples. But others believe both ministers and government officials likely will have freedom not to perform same-sex marriages that violate their religious convictions.

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Silent Wisdom

wise man

The verse of the day from Bible Gateway is Psalm 46:10 – “Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”

The Our Daily Bread devotional for this day is also focused on being still, quiet, and waiting for the Lord to act.

From deep in The Master’s Table archives: Jesus, often known for saying exactly the right thing at the right time, also knew when to keep silent. Click here for more.

Read James 3. Perhaps we would all be wiser to say less.

Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise;
    when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent.
-Proverbs 17:28

From the Archives: Pursuing Wisdom

originally published June 5, 2011

In the first Psalm, David contrasts the ways of the righteous and the wicked. In the first chapter of Proverbs, Solomon does the same thing between the wise and the foolish. He goes on to encourage his sons (and by extension all readers) to pursue wisdom.

David was a poet and a musician. He not only wrote songs and played instruments, but he made trumpets for the temple musicians. In Biblical times the Psalms were sung. Think of this book as their hymnal. Solomon was David’s son, and world renown for his wisdom. The book of Proverbs is a collection of wisdom sayings, some perhaps written by Solomon himself and others collected. In both cases, righteousness and wisdom must be pursued. One must seek after them, like walking down a path. There is more than one path, and we must think about which we are choosing.

David tells us the righteous are like trees planted by rivers of water. The tree roots dig in, firmly holding the tree in place while it is abundantly nourished. The righteous person digs into the Word of God the same way. By being firmly rooted in his Word, by meditating on it, the righteous person is not tossed about from one idea or teacher to another. The wicked are driven as in the wind. One might try a little of this or a little of that, looking for what suits them or provides answers. They might dabble in Christianity, a little Oprah, a little Scientology and so forth. Some arrive at the idea there is no God (Psalm 14:1). The righteous are firmly rooted in the truth, standing on solid ground, and hold fast even when the world falls apart around them. Righteousness and wickedness, and their ends, and compared so that the reader can choose wisely.

Solomon goes on in Proverbs 1 to personify wisdom as a woman standing in the street calling out seeking followers. Wisdom, like righteousness, must be sought after. The righteous meditate in the law of the Lord (Psalm 1:2) meanwhile the foolish despise instruction (Prov 1:7). No matter how “smart” one may naturally be, wisdom doesn’t just fall into anyone’s lap. I’ve heard it said that even when opportunity knocks we must get up and answer the door. Solomon has a lot to say about laziness as well. Fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; it is the first step in the right direction. The way to wisdom is a path one must choose to walk.

We often think of wisdom as coming with age and experience. There is nothing more sad than an old fool – wisdom is not guaranteed. The fool rejects instruction. Some will simply choose not to learn from their mistakes, and refuse to listen to wise counsel. They will grow old lacking wisdom despite the many experiences they had to learn from. Jesus tells his followers that if any lack wisdom to ask of God, who gives to all liberally. If we fear the Lord, meditate in his law and word, and ask him for it, we may become wise. It is a choice and a lifestyle. The path to wisdom and righteousness may be difficult, but we are promised the reward will be great. Laziness may appear to pay off right now, just as the wicked appear in this lifetime to prosper. But David also mentions the judgement. On Judgement Day Jesus will separate those that are his from those that not, like dividing the wheat from tares.

Age of Disinformation

We live in the Information Age. Pretty much the whole of recorded knowledge from all time is available in a few clicks. Most of us use the technology that makes this feat possible to look at funny cat pictures and argue with total strangers. The proliferation of social media and instant publish platforms means that any one of us can have a global audience, but you need a sensational event to document if you want your Facebook post or Instagram pic to go viral. Case in point: How many have seen this image in the last week which supposedly shows Houston under water?

Screenshot 2015-05-30 at 8.11.23 AM

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There’s a Reason He Calls Us Sheep

jesus_shepherdPsalm 23 is one of the best known and most often quoted passages in the scriptures. David plainly says “The LORD is my shepherd.” In John 10, Jesus identifies himself as the Good Shepherd. The sheep know his voice and follow him, and he gives his life for the sheep. Isn’t that adorable? Continue reading