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Thursday, October 16, 2014

"Agents of the apocalypse"

I have always enjoyed the study of end times and trying to understand the many different events and the order in which they will occur. I have several authors that I enjoy reading to challenge me and teach me and Dr. David Jeremiah's new book, Agents of the Apocalypse is now part of that elite group. Dr. Jeremiah does a fantastic job combining the fiction and factual in this unique style of writing. Each chapter starts out with a fictional account of what things might look like and how events might unfold in our current days. After all we live in a time that the things we read about in Revelation could occur at any point. The characters and situation are to illustrate the reality of how things could unfold and how things might come about. The second part of each chapter brings scripture into focus. No fiction here, the Word of God is revealed and Dr. Jeremiah teaches us on the events of the end.
I especially appreciate how Dr. Jeremiah doesn't avoid the controversial issues in studying out end times. The witnesses, the rapture and the 144,000 are all topics that this book addresses. As you pour through the pages of this classic you will be have a richer understanding of what must take place and when. Although there is much discussion regarding the order of events Dr. Jeremiah explains what many think and what he thinks and gives the reasoning why. Even if you would hold to a different timeline, you can certainly appreciate his stance based on scripture and will challenge you to dig even deeper to be able to support your stance.
This is a good book that I will certainly look back to from time to time and appreciate the clear way it is written. It is a high quality book and has a visually appealing cover.
I received a complimentary copy from Tyndale House Publishers for my review.
So pick yourself up a copy and don't be left behind.... pun intended.

Monday, August 11, 2014

The Trail

I have always enjoyed parables, specifically the ones recorded in scripture, but there are a few authors that take a topic and make a parable of it and it is a joy to read. Ed Underwood did just that with his latest book "The Trail, A Tale about Discovering God's Will".
Ed uses a character by the name of Sam to teach 8 principles to a couple, Matt and Brenda, while leading them through the beautiful Sierras. Matt and Brenda are trying to discover God's will regarding a job change but God uses Sam to help this couple discover a whole lot more, things that will effect their marriage in the days ahead. The author does a delightful job at describing the surroundings to the point you can almost hear the birds as they make their way through the forest to the clearings. Everything changes when a lightning strike ignites the dry terrain and leaves the threesome scrambling for their very lives.
A very practical book, and an easy read. It started off a bit slow as you meet the characters and get to know them but after the first couple of chapters I couldn't put the book down. It was well worth the time and the principles are very practical in everyday life. One of my favorite new lines is :"Gods will is a flashlight not a crystal ball, walk to the edge of the darkness and wait".
I received my copy of The Trail for free from Tyndale House Publishers for an honest review.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Soda Jerk?

Now that's a term from the past. In fact I would be willing to guess that most of todays younger generation would have no clue what I am referring to.
Thanks to my good friends at Blogging for Books I now have a better understanding of that term as well as a bunch of recipes to make the syrups and drinks that they used to enjoy. I am referring of course to the new book, the SODA FOUNTAIN by Gia Giasullo and Peter Freeman.
This book is awesome and has original recipes from the fountains in the old drugstores to make floats, sundaes, egg creams, and more. This book also gives you the recipes for making the syrups and sundae toppings among other things, so that when you go to create your masterpiece you can do it like the pros. This book is packed full of pictures, history and to be quite frank with you, tasty fun.
My family and I spent the evening trying out some of these recipes and let me tell you, what a blast it was. The only thing missing was the jukebox. It was a raging success and everyone enjoyed their treat. The one drawback is I neglected to check out the ingredients and so when you pick up your copy of this book be sure to pick up some seltzer water. Pick up a copy of this book and plan a family night, its sure to bring you closer in a fun way. I received this book for free from Blogging for books for my review.
Till next time enjoy your treat.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Change of Heart?!

Have you ever been told to have a change of heart or even heard someone wish you had a change of heart. I have heard this phrase many times and it recently surfaced again when I heard the phrase, "give ____ a new heart". That really caught my attention and caused me to seriously do some searching. Search my heart God,the psalmist writes, create in me a clean heart, oh God, and many other things are written about the heart but give someone a new heart? I first considered the motives of the person making the comment. Is this in fun or serious, selfishly directed or out of real concern?
Regardless of the motive, one must consider what it means. Now as a Christian I understand putting on the new self, being Spirit filled and confident in my position as an heir to the throne, but what part does my heart play in this. I know I am incompetent to create within me any source of purity, wisdom, or to experience true love and true peace without God.
Romans 10 says that with the heart man believes resulting in righteousness, and with his mouth he confesses resulting in salvation.
To believe in Christ with the heart results in righteousness. Not the head, not the eyes, ears, nose or feet, but the heart. If a person so believes, then any attempt by another to ask for a new heart, or to pray for a change of heart is not realistic in expectation. Maybe a change or modification of behavior, maybe a new zeal to serve, grow or go but certainly not a new heart for a person who already has a new heart. A heart for the Lord and His people. So how about you? Do you tell people you wish they had a new or better heart? If so you had better check your motivation if you are talking to a Christian.
Till next time leaving the judging to God.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Inspector bullies.

So camp is full swing and kids and youth are having the time of their life. So many camps, each specialized for a specific interest or age group. Blobs, mudslides, camp fires, s'mores, mini golf, swimming and chapel. But as camp continues on their is something more sinister at work. That's right, inspectors. Fire inspectors, health inspectors, insurance inspectors and dozens other. After all with all the hazards of camp we have to keep everyone safe. I appreciate the thoughtfulness but seriously as Brad Stine jests, "put a helmet on".
Let me back up and just say I have had enough interaction with these authority hogs and self righteous inspectors to last me a lifetime. You see it in the news and you hear about it from those who get the ,uh hum, privilege of working with these people. Now I am not one to make a blanket statement and I am sure there are at least a couple of them out there that really care about those they are serving and trying to protect and keep it real. But this week I heard a story of an inspection at a camp that just drove me nuts. Kind of like a set of fingernails on a chalkboard. Today's youth missed out on that treat. Here is the way it goes, an inspector walks in rips the place apart and tells you how long you have to comply or they will come back and shut you down. This particular inspector came into camp, and has been there year after year for years, and began his inspection. During this inspection he noticed the kitchen staff wiping down the counters. He inquires what they are using to which the reply was antibacterial wipes with bleach. Oh good heavens the inspector exclaimed, you are killing to many bacteria. It is unhealthy to kill so many and so you need to just use soap and water.
Now I'm not at his pay grade but what kind of idiotic rule is that? Did he recognize that the camp was full of little bacteria vessels called campers. There is no shortage of germs I assure you. And by the way that's why these counter cleaners were made, to kill germs. Couldn't he find enough to gripe about without making stuff up? These guys are typical government bureaucratic bobcats. Make it up as they go and seemingly no conscience. I preached on self-control today and so I must be cautious what I say but let me say this. If people don't wake up and start pushing back your going to wake up with no rights, and wondering what hit you. It starts with you and with me so be bold, make them work for their pay check and show you laws they are trying to make you abide by. My guess is enough people don't want to cause waves in case there are consequences, but if you don't push back you'll never know if your truly in compliance or being set up for future failure. Why not send me a note on your experiences with inspections?
till next time

Sunday, July 6, 2014

motivating and challenging

I recently read a book by Pete Hise entitled, "What Life Are You Waiting For? push play for the adventure God has for you." I received a free copy from Tyndale House publishers for my review.
This book is well written and a joy to read. The basic premises struck a chord with me as I desire to see people not just follow Christ but to say yes to what God has in store. Pete does a great job of using personal examples and illustrations to convince us of the importance to say yes to God.
One of the things that I really appreciated is the format of the book. Each chapter covers removing the obstacles of life and making tough choices on following God. Following each chapter is a "getting traction" section that takes what was discussed and put handles on it for our everyday life. This is a valuable asset to our growth process. you'll have to pick up a copy and give it a go.
You'll be glad you picked up a copy And don't forget to have your Bible handy as each section takes you to a scripture. For more information visit Tyndale House Publishers.

another great book.

It took me a while but I just finished the book, The Holy Land Key by Ray Bentley with Genevieve Gillespie. I will tell you there are a lot of books out there that discuss the end times but this book hits a home run in my estimation. What a wonderful and refreshing way to look at the future by looking back, specifically at the prophecies and people of Israel. Understanding the signs and times in relation to God's people and the progression of the climax that we refer to as Armageddon.
From blood moons to the challenge of understanding Daniels 70 weeks it is all addressed in this book. If you are a student of the Bible you will appreciate this resource. It is in depth, yet simple enough for the average reader. You are sure to be challenged, and encouraged. Jesus will be returning, do you know what to be watching for?
Pick up a copy today and keep your Bible close, to look up the references.
This book was provided free of charge by "blogging for books" for this review.

To find out more about this title you can click here.
Till next time.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Fruit, fruit and more fruit.

I suppose that my favorite fruit would either be the raspberry, blueberry or mango's. It is hard for me to pick just one as they all have their seasons when they are more flavorful than others and seasons they have little to no taste or they are pulpy.
The same could most likely be argued for spiritual fruit. I read through Galatians 5, just past the works of the flesh section and come to verse 22-26. I believe I do better with some than others and depending on the season of life that may change as often as, oh say, by the hour.
Like many pastors I thought this would be a great summer series, called summer shorts, to preach on. Families will be in and out and visitors here and there but they won't be coming in on part 4 of a 12 part series. Each fruit is to be a focus all of its own and so whoever is there for the week can work on this one specific fruit.
I believe that is where the idea went wrong. How could anyone take a fruit and not desire the whole fruit salad. (that was a metaphor, of course) Love without patience or faithfulness that doesn't bring about joy, would be crazy. Now I do believe the logical thing to do is take bite size pieces, or maybe I should call them grapes. We can pop grapes all day. We throw it in the air, catch it in our mouths and "pop", instant refreshment. Our spiritual fruit will have the same effect only it will last much longer than the juice of a plump, ripe, grape.
This week my sermon will be on patience and as most of you can expect I am not praying for patience but for an effective understanding of patience and the impact it has upon our life and relationships. If I were to pray for a new truck that could take years to be answered, but one mention of patience in my prayers and before I ever finish my prayer the phone rings. "Don't answer that" is my first response, and to be honest usually wins only postponing the lesson. When I finally get around to it, my thought never goes to a juicy grape bursting forth its hidden delight onto my tongue and over my gums splashing the walls of my mouth, like a kayak on the rapids. Patience never seems to be that refreshing to me, at least short term. I am reminded of the way that some Bibles define the word patience, long suffering. The idea is that we will endure in a humble and gentle way to all the irritants we face. It doesn't matter if its your family, work, church, bank, other drivers, Facebook, or twitter posts, patience is humble and gentle.
So next time your eating your fruit salad, remember slow and steady wins the race. Don't get hung up on your failures. Patience gives you the ability to practice again. After all patience is needed when you face someone who desires their advancement, comfort or recognition over yours, as much as you do over them. Something to think about this week.
Till next time.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Is it time to take a stand?

I must say that as a pastor there are times that you really don't fully apply or appreciate the message your giving until your in the middle of it and, "wham", it hits you that there are some things you may have over looked.
Let me explain. We have been going through the calling of Saul to be Israels first king. They are transitioning from a theocracy to a monarchy and Saul is called. I explained the process of God's calling and that there seems to be a pattern of private leading and instructing followed by a time of public calling. We see it in Saul, Mary and Joseph, David, Saul of Tarsus, Moses, and Jesus to mention a few.
So there I am preaching the word out of 1st Samuel and I ask the congregation what their calling is, when bam it hits me that most people don't have any idea. Callings are for pastors and worship directors, elders and children's ministry directors, but not for me. That seems to be the source of the confusion. Do all people have a calling? In short, yes. I can't swallow the idea that someone was created for idleness, or self pleasure. Every person created has a purpose and if you think about it, that purpose is their calling. Now some might argue the semantics of this, but it is logical to follow it through. Everyone of us has an area that is a source of passion where we get so excited talking about something, or angry about something, that we can hardly keep it in. People we talk with about these things can sense your strong opinion in your voice and behaviors.
Unfortunately that is where it stops for 85% of us. I would be willing to go out on a limb and say that Christians do a far worse job of this than the secularist. But that is only my opinion. Why is it that we can have so much passion and then drop it like a hot potato? We will sit on the sidelines, crabbing, complaining, moaning and griping and walk away only to repeat this again and again. What a crock!
Your calling would be, if you so decide to follow it through, to get involved in some way to make a positive difference. We always think someone else will do it, or I don't have the time or patience. Guess what? I have excuses just like everyone, but isn't it time to get involved? Imagine if you would stand up for a strong marriage, excellent schooling, ethical politics, (can't believe I put those two words together, ha ha) or freedom with our faith?
Maybe this is your wake up call. I had mine on Sunday, what's it going to take for you to get involved?
Till next time
p.s. I can't wait to share the reviews on two books I am currently reading. keep watching for my reviews to be posted.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

How God Makes Men, review.

Well-known author Patrick Morley has another book out entitled, "How God Makes Men".
There are 10 principles that are illustrated by 10 men of the Bible that are easily relatable. As you read this book it is as if you are reading about a co-worker, family friend, or someone you know. The principles are given to give men hope and encouragement but I found a couple of them challenging as well. My favorite principle was the principle of a greater good. I found this one extremely relatable and convincing. Joseph was the illustration that was used. Joseph, who was imprisoned on a trumped up attempted rape charge, only after being betrayed by his own brothers, found himself with a lot of time on his hands and yet scripture says that God was with him. Just because we have trials and see the immediate results and trials, God is faithful and has a larger plan in place. Thankfully we get to see the outcome in the life of Joseph who is placed 2nd in command only after pharaoh and is reunited with his father and brothers. Oh yeah, and his faithfulness saved a ton of people from certain starvation. This is one small example of the principles and how they apply to our everyday lives even now. Each chapter ends with discussion questions that can be used personally and for small group study. In the back you will find a discussion leaders guide to help you get started with developing and leading a small group study on these principles. You can take a preview of the book by clicking here  if you would like. I received my copy for free from blogging for books for my review. I'm glad I did.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Courageous Grace

As a pastor I am always walking a fine line between grace and truth and naturally lean to the truth side. I believe that is what intrigued me about the book by Gayle Haggard titled, "Courageous Grace following the ways of Christ"
Gayle was the wife of a high profile pastor in a large church who failed morally. The book at times almost feels like a defense for her husband, but in the light of scripture forgiveness is from God.
I have always believed that certain people are placed on pedestals giving them a longer distance to fall. Just as if you dropped a bowling ball from 1 inch and one from 10 feet. The resulting impact is going to be much more pronounced. Gayle does a great job of putting things in perspective and asking the tough questions. One of which is why do we persecute and remove those who fail when the idea is to restore them? This is the amazing thing for a watching world, that we would treat each other nicely until someone fails and then we feed them to the wolves. That is not what the Christian faith wants to portray, but our pious, holier than though behaviors are flat out wrong. Grace is offering to someone what they don't deserve, just as Jesus did for you. Gayle shares some of the things they went through during this dark hour of their marriage and life, including the comments made from supposed friends. This book will challenge even the most grace filled people to a new level. I am truly glad I read this book and will be taking a good look at how I react in situations from now on to see if more grace is warranted. I received a free copy of this book from Tyndale House Publishers for my review. Happy reading.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

How quickly we forget.

I gotta share a thought with you. Does anyone remember before the election when Obama and Putin were meeting and Barak told Putin to wait until he was reelected? I must say that in light of all the friction with Russia right now it amazes me that when Obama says Russia will pay, that I don't believe him. That could be because he has lied to the American people from the beginning and appears to be picking up steam. What happened to all the impeachable offenses that are tied up in litigation, should we add traitor to that as well? What was it that Putin had said that caused Obama to respond the way he did? Let me ask you this way, do you feel safe in your own home? Do you ever worry that your conversations are being eavesdropped on for "national security reasons". Do you think its ok for a drone to fly around your house and record what you are doing or who is coming and going from your house? Do you believe you should be able to read any book you desire anywhere INCLUDING the Bible, and do you think you can? Before long Christians will have to have a concealed carry for the Holy Word of God. All I am saying is that things have gone from bad to worse. We have a president that has literally driven this country to its knees, driven us into unfathomable debt, cut spending on defense, reduced our ability to defend ourselves and wants to have hand selected individuals in all the media offices to control what you hear and see. I for one will be turning to our constitution that clearly gives the right to take a stance legally and rightfully. Its time to reclaim our country and it starts one person at a time. You might think you don't have an impact as one person, but I tell you, you not only can but you do! If a pregnant woman came up and asked for 50 bucks to go get an abortion what would you say? I would pray you would encourage her to keep the child and give it up for adoption or try to reason with her, but under no circumstances would you give her the money to kill a baby. So why is it when our president and his Obama care require you to pay for these services you will idly stand by? Is it because its not as personal? What about your right to carry a fire arm and then you go in and are fingerprinted, back ground ck, fbi profile and a dozen other things. Seems to me it isn't a right its a privilege, however that isn't what the constitution says is it!? Our kids are growing up not understanding the freedoms we have had and therefore don't miss them or feel challenged regarding them. Every generation we grow a little more passive regarding our freedoms and if we don't stop the train it will derail, guaranteed. Give that some thought today and ck the facts.
Till next time, come quickly Lord Jesus.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

unique church

I spent some time in a funeral service yesterday and within moments was........"intrigued" by the sermon stations located on the platform. This guy must have lost 4lbs just moving from station to station. Let me give you a glimpse. Center stage front was empty but in back was a large cross hanging from the ceiling and prominent looking. To each side of the center were pulpits with large coverings both equipped with microphones. Center rear was a long "bar like" desk that held papers and hymn book etc. things used during the service. As we went from prayer to sermon to scripture reading to invocation, benediction and constitution, he moved from place to place, sometimes almost running. The one thing that grabbed my attention more than anything else, sorry it wasn't his message, was during the service there were a couple of times where he kept his back toward us and faced the large cross. I have thought about worship teams leading from the back and know of churches that do that so as to not be distracted as if they are at a rock concert, but the thought of preaching that's original. My wife's comment was that it was as if he went from leading us to joining us. Now there are many different kinds of churches and pastors out there but I can see the value in the congregation seeing their pastor and elders worship with them and not be some sort of focus to see if they are doing it right. Come on, admit it, we watch to see if our pastor and their family take communion don't we? I think that's why people get upset when we sit in the back so they can't watch us. I believe that there can be a fine line between leading and showing off. participating and spectating. I can't say I'm advocating a pastor giving a sermon standing backwards because his roll is to instruct and the congregation is the recipient of that, but I can say there are times our congregation needs to see us joining in with them to praise God. I'd be interesting in hearing of unique things that happen in your church, send me a comment when you get a chance.
See you in the pews

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Devotionals aren't created equal.

I must admit that I don't typically use a devotional. I have tried and have just never really felt it effective. I must also admit I have never read Sun Stand Still by Steven Furtick published by Multnomah publishers, or any of Stevens writings for that matter.
That being said I was somewhat skeptical with that mix trying another devotional. I received a complementary copy for my review from blogging for books.
My first impression was the quality of this hardbound book with a colorful cover. I remind you that at this point I was still skeptical. Upon opening and over viewing it quickly caught my eye that each day of the 40 days had a theme but more importantly a scripture. Not just some afterthought but at the top of the page for each day is the scripture. as I began to read the first days devotions, I was pleasantly surprised, in fact I really appreciated the personal testimony of how each days vision touched  Stevens life. Steven gives a short teaching and application and at the end of each page a prayer focus. If you are ready for a 40 day challenge and willing to give it the attention you would your TV show or favorite coffee delight, you will be a different person at the end. As is true with any book if you commit to going through this and personalize it this devotional is worth its weight. Besides it is only 40 days and takes less than 10 minutes, no one should be so busy they can't spend 10 minutes on personal growth, especially closer to the lord.
see you at the shelf
By the way if you'd like to read a chapter just click.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Creation vs popular perspective.

Let me just start out by saying, "Atta boy Ken Ham"!! I am proud of my Christian faith and the grace God has shown me, but tonight watching the debate I was so proud of Ken Ham.
Let me back up. I mentioned several blogs ago that tonight would be a great debate between Bill Nye the science guy and Ken Ham the creation museum guy. The question of, is creation a viable scientific say to approach science. I messed up the question but you get the idea, it really boils down to creation verses evolution.
I was amazed at Ken Hams positive demeanor of dealing with Bill Nye. I almost feel guilty for letting my kids watch Bill's science show when they were little. The cool thing is all three of my kids, 2 here and 1 in MN with her husband were able to watch and see how a real scientist will follow the facts. If you weren't sure it was Ken Ham I am referring to. Bill Nye was trying to pick a fight, I presume to take the focus off the questions, but Ken kept strong and used the Bible as his strength.
Ken Ham also clearly shared the gospel multiple times!! I hope Rick Warren was watching so he can be encouraged to do the same next time he gets the opportunity. Creation is the logical choice.
If you missed the debate here is the link to see it as it will be on for a few more days.
Nye Ham debate.

Why not drop me a comment and share what you thought about it?

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Four C's

I've been going through the book of 1st Samuel and have really appreciated the contrasts we see.
Hannah, Samuel's mother is full of faith and so thankful for God's provision in her life, specifically a son. While Eli seems to forget he even has sons. Samuel begins at a young age ministering before the Lord as Eli's sons devour the sacrifices and threaten force on anyone who would oppose their demands.
Through all of this we see four principles quickly emerge and will continue to be present throughout the remainder of the book.
Character, Conduct, Context and Consistency are all vital elements in our lives but I will sum it up for you in one sentence. Your actions speak louder than your words. Regardless of what your mouth says your actions tell people what you stand for or don't stand for.
Let me give you an example. Let's say that you live in a country that has certain unalienable rights, and that government begins to overflow like a backed up sour and starts mandating and controlling private enterprises. Sure they will give you some sort of fluffy, "it's for your own good" excuse but you know better. Next thing you know is this government has shut down factories for "save the earth" type of reasons which make no sense other than a padded wallet and controlling more industry.
If such a government were to exist, ah hem, then would it be reasonable to say that we wouldn't trust a word from the "gas bags"? I think so! You can see the importance of consistency in behaviors, character and conduct as you place things within the proper context.
Thank fully we live in the United States where we can speak freely until they shut your website down, carry guns without ammo, run a business as long as it is the way they want you to run it, and raise your children as long as they are on loan to you from big brother.
Just a warning my friend these are the signs of the times. If it smells like a skunk, looks like a skunk ....
anyone care to argue that character, conduct and consistency have to be a priority. The context and filter by which we process must be through the eyes of truth. That is one thing you will not find in Washington but you will in the Word of God. Pick up a copy and start reading today before it is taken from you. Think I'm being extreme, look around the world and check your history!
Don't give up, you cannot quite, to much is at stake. Follow Christ!
Till next time

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

The vow, part two.

As I mentioned in my last article, when we make a vow it is imperative that we fulfill our agreement. In the case of Hannah making the vow of the Nazarene for Samuel, he really wasn't given the option. Thankfully Samuel understood and was respectful of his parents and at least it appears went continued on. Samuel served in the priestly duties reserved for Levites. Thanks to 1st Chronicles we can see that Elkanah, Samuel's father, was a Levite and resided in the area allotted to the Ephraimites, one of the 12 tribes of Israel.
The Nazarite vow is recorded in Numbers chapter 6 and clearly lays out the requirements.
The first thing to observe is the vow is a dedication to the Lord. Have you ever gotten something for your birthday or Christmas that you know someone else got you so they could use it or in reality have it because it is something you completely wouldn't ever use? Well I have and I can remember talking about things I may enjoy or things I could use and every time the conversation would go back to, but you could really use one of these things. Needless to say when I received it I felt like, "this really isn't even mine or for me". This is magnified in the vow of the Nazarite. If you dedicate something to God, it had better be of first rate quality. Fortunately God deals with works in progress.
Verses 6:2-4 talks about the abstaining from alcohol or anything used in the process including grapes and vinegar. The last thing the lord would want is an intoxicated you. Many times in scripture you will see the effects of alcohol on people and their lack of good decision making ability. the more alcohol the worse the decisions. Now don't get me wrong, scripture does not forbid the use of alcohol, however it does have guidelines. Not only are there guidelines but you must consider the risks of alcoholism, stumbling, and what scripture does say about the use of it. Ignorance will not be a legitimate excuse to God. I usually tell people that decide to use alcohol there are four qualifiers.
1. you must be of legal age and of sound mind. Illegal use of alcohol, regardless of how old people were in the Bible is not a valid argument. Scripture says to honor the authorities and governments unless their is a conflict with the teachings of the Bible, my paraphrase.
2. If you cannot drink with a clear conscience you should not be drinking. If someone comes to your house and opens the fridge would they see alcohol? If so would you be ok with that? What if you were out to eat and ordered a drink and someone you knew from church or where ever came in, would you try to hide what your drinking? These are things to consider and honestly some of you answered, "it depends who it is that comes in". My question to that is, "should it matter?"
3.You must always be in control of it, not it of you. Scripture condemns drunkenness and the drunkard. Drinking has potential health risks anyway, as well as a few benefits but the benefits are only in moderation. I have never visited with anyone who says their marriage is so wonderful thanks to alcohol, or I can drive so much better when I'm drinking. Ok I have had people claim to drive better but the owi says otherwise.
4. and this may be the most important. A mature Christ follower will surrender his/her freedom to have an alcoholic drink if it is a point of causing a brother/sister to stumble. You need to decide before you reach for that drink if it is more important than your friends faith. Their are mature Christians that view this is the one area, they feel, you have no freedom and will try to force you to see things their way. This is an opportunity for folks to look to the word of God and grow but usually they have had a long history of associating bars, sex, rock and roll, drugs and all the things we "shan't" not do. Kind of like going to the movies or a dance. Amazing how all these things have gotten dumped into the category of Satan's trickery to get us in. I see David danced mightily before the Lord, and the movie the Passion was rated r but filled with people.
Bottom line is drop the legalism, look to scripture and live for Christ the best we can this side of paradise.
Till next time study that Bible!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Making the vow

In a world full of promises and pledges, it appears that our words have become resounding gongs and clanging symbols. It is pretty easy to make a promise but sometimes fulfilling it is the difficult part. Take the example of Hannah, found in 1st Samuel 1. She is the wife, one of two, of the Levite Elkanah, who resides among the Ephraimites. She was a woman who was unable to have children. Her rival, Peninnah torments Hannah because she has sons and daughters. In those days and in our day most guys would like to know that their family line will continue on when they pass. A son affirms this at least to some degree. Year after year Peninnah torments Hannah, to the point that one specific year, Hannah goes to worship God and is intently praying. We see that prayer in chapter one of 1st Samuel, where she makes a vow to the Lord. The vow specifically is a Nazarene vow. This is explained in Numbers chapter 6.
Num 6:1 Again the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,
Num 6:2 "Speak to the sons of Israel and say to them, 'When a man or woman makes a special vow, the vow of a Nazirite, to dedicate himself to the LORD,
Num 6:3 he shall abstain from wine and strong drink; he shall drink no vinegar, whether made from wine or strong drink, nor shall he drink any grape juice nor eat fresh or dried grapes.
Num 6:4 'All the days of his separation he shall not eat anything that is produced by the grape vine, from the seeds even to the skin.
Num 6:5 'All the days of his vow of separation no razor shall pass over his head. He shall be holy until the days are fulfilled for which he separated himself to the LORD; he shall let the locks of hair on his head grow long.
Num 6:6 'All the days of his separation to the LORD he shall not go near to a dead person.
Num 6:7 'He shall not make himself unclean for his father or for his mother, for his brother or for his sister, when they die, because his separation to God is on his head.
Num 6:8 'All the days of his separation he is holy to the LORD.
Num 6:9 'But if a man dies very suddenly beside him and he defiles his dedicated head of hair, then he shall shave his head on the day when he becomes clean; he shall shave it on the seventh day.
Num 6:10 'Then on the eighth day he shall bring two turtledoves or two young pigeons to the priest, to the doorway of the tent of meeting.
Num 6:11 'The priest shall offer one for a sin offering and the other for a burnt offering, and make atonement for him concerning his sin because of the dead person. And that same day he shall consecrate his head,
Num 6:12 and shall dedicate to the LORD his days as a Nazirite, and shall bring a male lamb a year old for a guilt offering; but the former days will be void because his separation was defiled.
Num 6:13 'Now this is the law of the Nazirite when the days of his separation are fulfilled, he shall bring the offering to the doorway of the tent of meeting.
Num 6:14 'He shall present his offering to the LORD: one male lamb a year old without defect for a burnt offering and one ewe-lamb a year old without defect for a sin offering and one ram without defect for a peace offering,
Num 6:15 and a basket of unleavened cakes of fine flour mixed with oil and unleavened wafers spread with oil, along with their grain offering and their drink offering.
Num 6:16 'Then the priest shall present them before the LORD and shall offer his sin offering and his burnt offering.
Num 6:17 'He shall also offer the ram for a sacrifice of peace offerings to the LORD, together with the basket of unleavened cakes; the priest shall likewise offer its grain offering and its drink offering.
Num 6:18 'The Nazirite shall then shave his dedicated head of hair at the doorway of the tent of meeting, and take the dedicated hair of his head and put it on the fire which is under the sacrifice of peace offerings.
Num 6:19 'The priest shall take the ram's shoulder when it has been boiled, and one unleavened cake out of the basket and one unleavened wafer, and shall put them on the hands of the Nazirite after he has shaved his dedicated hair.
Num 6:20 'Then the priest shall wave them for a wave offering before the LORD. It is holy for the priest, together with the breast offered by waving and the thigh offered by lifting up; and afterward the Nazirite may drink wine.'
Num 6:21 "This is the law of the Nazirite who vows his offering to the LORD according to his separation, in addition to what else he can afford; according to his vow which he takes, so he shall do according to the law of his separation."
This was not only a very serious vow, it was a vow of dedication to the Lord. Sanctification or cleanliness is of the utmost importance and when we make a vow to God we better make good on it.
I will be spending the next few weeks expanding on this vow. So today was just to get your feet wet.
Till next time
scripture was taken from the NASB Bible, Lockman Foundation.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Look at whats inside

Driving through the beautiful countryside today and nearly creaming a deer, I was struck with the reality of churches today behaving as a museum for saints. Come and look at how good we are! We want to be more "visible" within the community. What ever happened to being "available" for the community? I recall sitting in my office in Virginia reading an article regarding a certain main line denomination that had two articles that made the front page of the newspaper. Now understand this was a wealthy area and money talked or people walked. Anyway the main story was on the multimillion dollar addition a church had put on and paid for. The article spared no information as to the conveniences this church had incorporated into their new facility. State of the art electronics, the most plush and comfy of seating, etc. You get the idea. But as the article rambled on it said to see a following page for the remainder of the story, but among the fold of the paper was another article about the same main line denomination, probably the same church. Almost as a box ad the small bold font begging for attention proclaimed, "qpvkrndi raise 5000 dollars for missions in Africa".
I remember thinking, "oh that's nice isn't it? People mean everything to the church, especially the ones with money and within our own walls." Shameful is what it is. It was about this time the crystal cathedral announced they would be claiming bankruptcy, and another church was putting in a huge aquarium I their entryway hiring two employees to feed and care for the tank. I admit the tank was impressive and with the verse that says I will make you fishers of men, who could be upset?
I for one was sick with shame to even be associated with these people who have lost their way. I don't recall Jesus being "hung up on" a fish aquarium, or ornate glass or plush seats to sit our pious, better than you, sinner boy, hineys.
I will leave you with my summation. I don't want the church to be a museum for saints anymore, but a hospital for sinners.
Keep it real.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Creation vs Evolution

Well its been set for the big show down. In one corner, you have apologist author and Christian good guy, Ken Ham, in the other corner, science funny man, Bill Nye the science guy.
I remember watching Bill as my kids grew as well as Beakmans world. Bill Nye did do a good job at getting kids excited to learn about science. The problem..... not being politically correct...... I don't want some guy who doesn't adhere to the laws of science and discovery to be teaching my kid or any other kid in America. Science is supposed to be the observation, study and fact finding for the sake of learning truth. It gripes me when you present logical evidence and someone can completely disregard it. I'm not even a scientist and I get the flaws with carbon dating. Why don't the real facts get discusses such as lack of fossil record, lack of "stages of evolution, and how in the world does a chipmunk become a giraffe? Oh that's right it evolves over millions of years, after all we couldn't possibly live on a planet that is only 1000's of years old. I mean, really maybe these crazy folks who call them selves scientists should go to ivy league schools like the liberal, atheistic scientist's do? Oh wait, they do. What a surprise that when everything is laid out on the table, the evidence is obvious and the crazy science begins. I suppose its a bit like the journalists that used to report the NEWS, and not make up their own stuff to sway their readers. I think of the people I know who bash Rush Limbaugh and the like but get offended if you talk poorly of any liberal off CNN. Lets look at the facts and face up to them.
In reality I just want to say that the stakes are very high here. Ken Ham has the knowledge, skills and expertise to wipe the floor with Bill but Ken will be gracious and try to reason with Bill. We all know that the liberal paper will report otherwise but I pray that Bill sees the reasoning in what Ken will say. Bill would have the opportunity to make a significant impact if he would just admit the truth and not become defensive and argumentative. Remember when science used to be discussion? That is what I pray for. Won't you join me in praying for this encounter? Mark your calendars and pray daily but especially on the 4th of Feb at 7 pm. which is when the encounter will take place.
As one final note, I find it disturbing that if you Google the event you will find Bill Nye's name repeatedly but very seldom find Ken Hams. Another observation is the degrading comments made by self professing atheists regarding Ken Ham. My friend your obviously lower on the evolutionary progression than most to call names, slander and to claim we should spend the money wasted on these debates on nature. ........Who do you think is responsible for nature you moron? Creation demands a creator, the same as your mouth demands consequences.
Anxiously awaiting the debate and opportunity.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Invest in your marriage.

I've been a big fan of Greg and Erin Smalley for a long time. We hosted a marriage conference in North Dakota and asked them to be our speakers. They are great folks and very down to earth and relational. When I saw they had a new resource out I new I needed to ck it out. Thanks to Tyndale House Publishers, who provided me with a complimentary copy of this for my review I got my wish. I was instantly impressed with the quality of the book. The book is easy to use and has an index to give you a specific idea or you could go through it with a date suggestion for every week of the year.
My guess is at the end of the year, your marriage will look much different. By the way if your not married this would make a great preparation tool or gift for a couple you would like to bless.
Each "great date" has a tool, relevant story, an activity and questions to get you talking. Greg and Erin use their experience, humor and knowledge to lead couples to a more fulfilling marriage. Imagine doing things together again like when you first started dating. Pick up a copy today and let me know how it has affected your relationship.

First,, you should honor thy God!

The forecast is for difficult days, difficult finances and difficult weather. Thankfully they leave us a little optimism by not forecasting impossible days, finances and weather. As if things aren't hectic enough we have a zillion, self professing experts giving you advice on everything from shoe laces to rocket ships.
Thankfully, I don't get my encouragement from things that are temporal and shallow. I don't need to let my anxiety build to the point I feel like I will explode, and go running to the latest news stories to see how I should prepare.
While the government forces industries to shut down, such as lead bullets, light bulb factories, etc., while they buy shipment after shipment of bullets including hollow points, while they force you to become reliant on their health care, while they push their agenda and take your freedoms away, I don't have to be anxious, worried, or scared.
My God is bigger than all these things, and although I might get a bit irritated, I call it righteous anger, my wife disagrees, I not only have the satisfaction of serving Him I have the confidence that in the end all things will be sorted out and those who are working their wickedness are of this world and will inherit an eternity of torment. Putting it that way I feel almost guilty that for the small time of suffering they cause us they will have forever to have their suffering. I said almost!
In all seriousness, when I keep my eyes on Jesus my days are encouraging, rewarding and I look forward to each morning. Not so long ago I began to lose track of that and became discouraged and depressed with the way everything seemed to be going.  I lost my focus and hated it.
If you know Jesus you know peace, if you have no Jesus, you have no peace, its as simple as that.
My encouragement this year to you and yours is to not be disheartened or distracted. God hasn't abandoned you, or left you to wallow in your self pity, but He uses these times to bring clarity to your life. He will work these things out and give you purpose and passion if you let Him. This year start off right and seek ye first the kingdom of God, and all His treasures shall be yours. Happy New Year and may this be the year of our Lord Jesus.
See ya in the clouds

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Cloak of the Light

Spiritual warfare is a difficult thing for us to comprehend because we can't see it. Author Chuck Black does a great job in his new book, Cloak of the Light. With in a few pages I was drawn in and tied to the characters as if I knew them personally. Not only was this book hard to put down, I found my self at the edge of my seat multiple times. Drew Carter is a teen tossed into the thick of spiritual warfare after a scientist disappears. He is in a new school and sticks up for the computer geek who turns out to be a vital part to his future. Given "special abilities" after the lasok device goes up in flames, he learns to observe another dimension. Sydney, the Christian crush that Drew has, prays for Drew but Drew is convinced that the earth is being invaded, until he notices the light invaders who appear to be good guys.
You will not be disappointed so be sure to pick up a copy of this book, which by the way is a trilogy. I can't wait to read the next two!!
Why not visit the authors website by clicking here? You could also read a chapter and preview it by going to wars of the realm.
I was given a free copy of this book by blogging for books for my review.