Saving What We Love

That’s how we’re gonna win. Not fighting what we hate. Saving what we love. -Rose Tico

Have you ever heard the old saying about how anything could become a sermon illustration? The quote above is from the 2017 film Star Wars: The Last Jedi. I’m sure if there had been internet and social media in 1977 everyone would have hated the original film too. But stay with me on Rose’s line. Continue reading

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Thoughts on Keeping Christ in Christmas

Screenshot 2018-12-18 at 8.59.08 AMThere is no command in the New Testament to celebrate Christmas. Jesus is not disappointed over losing “his day” to Santa Claus or commercialism or anything else. He never asked for a day but rather we assigned him one. What Jesus wants is a place in your heart not a date on your calendar. He wants to bring each of us into a personal relationship with a loving God. He tells us to abide in him as he abides in the Father.

Suing the local government over the right to put up a nativity scene doesn’t “keep Christ in Christmas.” The secular society never had Christ to begin with so there’s no keeping him there. We as believers must keep Christ in our hearts, in our homes and in our church. And we must do so year round not just when Santa is at the mall. That’s not to say we can’t celebrate Christmas. We put up a tree in our home (after Thanksgiving), hang stockings, watch Rudolph on tv and put out milk and cookies for Santa. We also light the candles on the wreath as we keep the weeks of Advent. I can’t do anything Hallmark Channel showing Christmas movies in October but I have a great deal of control over what verses we read, hymns we sing and prayers said during our family devotions.

Don’t be surprised or offended that the world is not interested in Jesus. The manger reminds us that he came into the world. The cross reminds us that, for the most part, the world rejected him. Do good deeds, share good news. Badgering unbelievers with Christian images isn’t going to do anything for them. Show them Christ. Be salt and light. And like I said, that continues into January and beyond. If your Christianity can be stored in a box in the attic, maybe it’s time to revisit the Gospel.

Remember What We Are Called To

1 Pet 3 15

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

This is What Happens When You Fight the Culture War

Way back when in 2008 I posted Should Christians Fight the Culture War? Perhaps that’s a good place to start. This is an example of what happens when we do try to wrestle with flesh and blood rather than powers and principalities.

Video via CNN, no explicit language or images

In Warsaw, Ohio a strip club owner staged a protest outside of a local church during service on Sunday morning, complete with topless protesters carrying signs. Apparently New Beginnings Ministries has been protesting outside of the local strip club for years, taking pictures of customers license plates and calling the girls that work there things like tramps and whores. Church Pastor Bill Dunfee says it is the responsibility of the church to spread the Gospel, uplift the name of Jesus and confront evil. The confrontation of evil has resulted in a small crowd of strippers, employees and friends of the Foxhole Club to assembling a protest of their own. Be careful when you fight the culture war, the culture may just fight back. Continue reading

The Read and Share File

Image is unrelated, but is something I read this week.

Culture war, church culture, shallow Christianity, need for the Gospel – they’re all featured in this post on Internet Monk.

Praying in Jesus’ Name – John Piper offers four “filters” for how to do it right.  Here is a 3 minute clip; you can watch, listen to, or download the full sermon at this link.

This article at 9Marks is interesting, but will perhaps apply to only a very few readers.  Marcus Glover writes a list of ways aspiring pastors can serve their wives now.  Huh?  Once you become a church pastor, there are some things you will miss.  Make sure to engage in those now.

Obama has come out in support of gay marriage.  He supported gay marriage as a state senator, but changed his position to run for U.S. Senate.  So he is now changing back to his original position, in support of gay marriage.  So: why does Obama evolve but Romney flip-flops?  Both men, like many politicians, have changed their views over their political careers.

I recently added Steve Brown etc. to the blogroll, and am anxious to link something.  Here is the latest post, an update to what’s known as the watchmaker argument.  Dr. Rana, author of the post, has a PhD in biochemistry and is the vice president of research and apologetics at Reason to Believe.  The post includes links to that site, as well as Dr. Rana’s recent appearance on Steve Brown’s radio show.

Tall Skinny Kiwi recently insisted he and his family are not living in a commune.  Watch this local news report about Justin Duckworth (not your ordinary bishop) and decide for yourself.

Faith by Hearing is an aggregator of audio resources, including audio books, podcasts and sermons.  Kind of like a blog, but also featuring an extensive and growing collection of audio material.  The archives are divided by topic, speaker, faith tradition and other classifications.  Faith by Hearing is a treasure trove that simply must be explored to fully appreciate.

JC Penny, Ellen DeGeneres and One Million Moms

One Million Moms (40,000 members strong) is putting pressure on JC Penny to drop Ellen DeGeneres as their spokesperson.  They claim customers with “traditional values” will be turned away.  DeGeneres responded by saying “Here are the values I stand for. I stand for honesty, equality, kindness, compassion, treating people the way you’d want to be treated and helping those in need. To me, those are traditional values.” Continue reading

Should Christians fight the culture war?

This is what the ancient ruins of Corinth look like today. Special thanks to Joe for the image, who had the chance to visit this site last year.

The Apostle Paul spent most of his ministry in places like Greece and Rome, far away from the church at Jerusalem and God’s chosen people, the Hebrews. The Grecco-Roman world was populated by a pantheon of pagan gods and goddesses, whose stories of jelousy and betrayal make our soap operas look like children’s stories. It is probably safe to say most Greek adult men were bisexual (I was actually taught they all were.) A skilled craftsmen, for instance, would have had a wife and children at home, but also have been having sex with a younger apprentice who was studying the master’s trade. This was typical in the culture. The public bath houses were “meeting places” for leaders of the city and merchants to meet daily. The original Olympic games were held nude; and only men were allowed.

Paul would have been surrounded by it. There’s no way he missed the decadent and sinful way of life going on all around him. But we don’t see Paul marching through the streets of Corinth or Ephesus wearing a sandwich board sign declaring that “God hates fags,” Fred Phelps style. Continue reading