First, a word about society. Our culture at large has pretty low expectations for behavior. Honesty, morality, decency and work ethic are no longer expected from most people. Slipping in a few minutes late, taking home a few office supplies, riding the clock a few minutes here or there is what employers and co-workers expect as normal these days. People will do what they can get away with, at school, at work, at red lights without cameras, filing their income taxes, etc. I’m not talking about embezzling corporate funds, I’m talking about the “little things” that supposedly everybody does, from running errands in the company car to flirting with the waitress.
Hopefully Christians – I said hopefully – attempt to rise above falling expectations. Continue reading →
When I heard the SBC would appoint their first ever African-American president I thought “well that’s neat.” When I learned he mangled a new motorcycle at age 21, later walking down the aisle on crutches… now there’s a guy I can respect. Read more on Fred Luter’s life in ministry here, via Baptist Press.
Here’s another story coming out of the SBC convention this week – in something of an ongoing conflict, SBC messengers passed on a resolution on the “sinner’s prayer.” The headline for the article is worded badly, but the report is excellent. Full text of the resolution is included.
I didn’t even know there was a .church internet domain; meanwhile, LifeChurch.tv wants to own it.
Did the Supreme Court strike down indecency laws regulating t.v. broadcasts? No it did not, although the Associated Press initially reported so. The Court ruled a narrow decision on only the two cases, involving FOX and ABC, that were being considered. The Court did not overturn the existing laws nor consider constitutionality of the existing FCC regulations. Full story here.
I know what you’re thinking: the stress of working in full time ministry with a 14 month old at home has finally caused me to crack. I reached a breaking point if my sermon is on changing diapers. It’s not as bad as all that. Let me explain.
Last week I preached this sermon on Galatians 4. It’s about God adopting us into his family. I had three well-defined points, as a good Baptist preacher should. Today I preached that same sermon for our students in their Sunday a.m. chapel service. I can’t take for granted that 6-12 graders know their Bible stories that way my church congregation does. I cut some of the scripture citations and needed a more colorful analogy or two. The first point in the sermon is that we are naturally the enemies of God. He says “Do this” and instead we do that. Adam and Eve are the first example, and not much has changed since. I talked about how cute Johannah is; all our students know this to be true. But when we’re changing a diaper, sometimes she quits being so cute. If she sits up, rolls over, or otherwise tries to escape then everything takes longer. We have to do things twice; or three times. The students all smiled, nodded and laughed. Then I pointed out that in my history class some of them are the same way. I have to repeat myself and/or do things twice. Sometimes three times. That’s our nature.
It gets worse. God sent his Son. Like the father of the prodigal, God waits and watches down the road for us to come home. The prodigal son (Luke 15) spent a fortune on good food, good wine and loose women. Eventually he hit rock bottom, and desired the same slop that he fed pigs. He had to learn that lesson the hard way. You couldn’t have told him any different, and if the father had come looking for him any sooner, he would have ran as fast as he could in the other direction. We were all wallowing (or are still wallowing) in our own filth. We are slaves to sin, whatever sin you want to fill in the blank with. If my daughter Johannah has filled her diaper, then she is basically sitting there in her own mess. She stinks. Yet when I reach for her she runs away. She ducks and dodges. Her natural impulse is to escape the diaper change. Are we any different? We wallow in our filthy sin, in our own mess, and push God away even as he wants to clean us.
God loved us when we were unlovable. That’s the Gospel. And if you have kids, had kids, or know parents with new kids, fell free to preach the Gospel according to dirty diapers.
I mean that the heir, as long as he is a child, is no different from a slave, though he is the owner of everything, but he is under guardians and managers until the date set by his father. In the same way we also, when we were children, were enslaved to the elementary principles of the world. But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God. – Galatians 4:1-7
We are by nature the enemies of God. Ever since the Garden of Eden, humanity has been prone to do the opposite of whatever it is God wants us to do. Jesus describes us in John 8 as being slaves of sin. It is easily witnessed throughout the history of God’s people in the Old Testament, the struggles of Paul with his own sin nature, and for that mature the course of all history. While in a general sense we are all belong to God, our natural state is like that of the prodigal son. God is watching and waiting for us to come down the road where he will welcome us with open arms. Continue reading →
When Michael Spencer was sick, I posted a couple of times asking my readers to pray. I wrote a lengthy tribute to him while he was still able to read and respond to it, and like 10,000 other bloggers quickly reported his passing. This post is much, much harder to write.
Lewis Bunch was born October 9, 1943. His parents were at times textile workers, and at other times migrant farm workers. His family was in many ways the same types of dysfunctional that all families are to some degree. By his mid-30’s, Lewis Bunch had lived in Atlanta, Chicago, and Fairbanks. James Dean was his idol, and his life seem to mirror his title role Rebel Without a Cause. In 1975, after 14 years of marriage, his first son was born, Clark Joe Bunch. He then began his life as family man. Continue reading →
Last year I read a rant from a woman that refused to listen to one more preacher read Proverbs 31 and tell her how to be a godly woman. Right or wrong, she made a couple of good points. 1) She has a good teaching pastor that opened the Bible each week, delivered a solid scripture-based sermon and shared the Gospel. Mother’s Day each year turns into a one hour Hallmark card. 2) There are those in the church who may have lost a parent, or a child, or perhaps are disappointed they cannot become parents. Honoring mothers can be especially painful for those that have tried and failed. And we personally know what that’s like. So, here is the sermon I preached on Mother’s Day, May 9, 2010.
God is relational. He seeks a relationship with his people, who in a general sense are all his children. Let’s begin with the relationship of marriage. Continue reading →