Saturday, October 31, 2009

Some Good Thoughts Here

excerpts from a post I liked (from Stands to Reason):

Halloween Worries, Doctrine Apathy

I'm surprised each year by the amount of concern and attention given to whether Christians should participate in Halloween, especially when the same amount of concern and attention isn't given to issues at least of equal weight and what I think have more weight. Many Christians delve into the details of the history of Halloween in a sincere effort to try to make a good decision about what's pleasing to God; I just don't see the same time and attention given to studying the details of central Christian beliefs like the Trinity or justification…

I'm not talking about the decision Christians make about what to do about Halloween. That's a matter of conscience each has to make. I'm talking about the inordinate energy, attention, thought, and focus spent on what to do about Halloween and the polar opposite apathy about theology, doctrine, church history… What I'm talking about is the level of energy and attention given to it and the contrasting lack of it given to arguable more central issues of Christianity. Christians can be shocked that another Christian will go trick or treating, but not blink an eye of awareness or concern when another Christian distorts…doctrine.

I'm not sure what this inordinate worry over Halloween and apathy about doctrine says about contemporary Christians, but I think it says something - and it's not good. One friend's theory is the inordinate emphasis in modern Christianity on application and therapeutic teaching to the near exclusion of theology and Bible study (not just Bible reading). That sounds like a pretty good theory to me.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Sunday's Sermon

I'm currently preaching a sermon series from the book of 1 Timothy. This coming Sunday's message will deal with the topics of modesty, gender roles, and elder qualifications. I probably should have planned a sermon for each subject, but they are sequential in the text and I will deal with them as we work through the passage. It is amazing how much material has been written about these topics, particularly gender roles and the eldership. But the plain reading of Scripture seems to leave no doubt about God's point of view. But like my friend John Mitchell says, "Some people need professional help in order to misunderstand the Bible."

Saturday, October 24, 2009


From Seth Godin's Blog:

Lots of things about work are hard. Dealing with trolls is one of them. Trolls are critics who gain perverse pleasure in relentlessly tearing you and your ideas down. Here's the thing(s):

1. trolls will always be trolling
2. critics rarely create
3. they live in a tiny echo chamber, ignored by everyone except the trolled and the other trolls
4. professionals (that's you) get paid to ignore them. It's part of your job.

"Can't please everyone," isn't just an aphorism, it's the secret of being remarkable.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Lifelong Learners

When I was in Bible College, a guest spoke in chapel and remarked, “One can visit the average minister’s study, glance at his library, and know what year his brain died.” Although he intended the line to be humorous, it has stayed with me all these years later. That day I determined to never reach the place where I thought I had “arrived” or reached the pinnacle of biblical knowledge. I wanted to be a lifelong learner.

One of the many traits to admire about the early leaders of the Restoration Movement is that they never stopped searching for a more accurate understanding of the Scriptures. It was this thirst for knowledge and hunger for truth that led them to challenge the traditions of their denominational upbringing. Even after determining to forsake sectarian names and be known as “Christians only” and follow the Bible only, they continued to modify, develop, and deepen their theological convictions as their understanding of God’s Word increased. For example, Alexander Campbell’s views of important issues like baptism, communion, and church polity were developed over a period of several years. Biblical truth did not change, but he did, as he consistently asked the question, “What does the Bible really teach about this particular doctrine?” Others asked the same question in their quest for truth. For 200 years, Restoration churches have been encouraging people to follow their example. When one asks that question, and seeks a truthful answer, a change of mind in sometimes in order.

The fact that lifelong learners sometimes change their convictions should come as no surprise. Biblical faith is more accurately described as a journey rather than a destination. New Testament teaching about discipleship and faith development commands believers with terms like grow and strive and add to your faith. Hebrews 6:1 says, “…let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity…” Some of the epistles were written with the purpose of correcting improper or incomplete beliefs about Christ and His church. Prominent biblical characters are shown that their thinking is not quite right about a given topic (e.g. Peter receiving a vision about God accepting the Gentiles in Acts 10; Apollos being taught more accurately about Christian baptism in Acts 18).

Those that want to go deeper in their walk with the Lord would do well to follow the example of the Berean Christians mentioned in Acts 17:11, “…they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.” We must be willing to do the very thing that we encourage our religious friends and family members to do – look to the Bible for the answers. Lifelong learning is a challenge, but it is also a joy. And it is our responsibility: But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.
(2 Peter 3:18).

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Burglar Busted After Checking Facebook During Crime

FORT LOUDOUN, PA - Add burglars to the list of people that are addicted to the social networking site Facebook.

Pennsylvania police busted 19-year-old Jonathan Parker after he broke into a home last month and accidentally left his facebook page open on the victim's computer.

Investigators said Parker likely squeezed through a bedroom window and while inside swiped two diamond rings worth $3,500.

When the victim came home, she alerted authorities after finding her home ransacked and her computer on with an unfamiliar Facebook account on the screen.

Turns out, the victim and the suspect had a mutual friend, who later confessed to authorities that Parker had asked him to help carry out the crime.

Parker remains in police custody on $10,000 bail. If convicted, he faces up to 10 years behind bars.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Revival Time

I’m in Shoals, Indiana this week preaching at a Revival Meeting with the Shoals Christian Church. My friend Matt Sullivan is the preacher here. I have not been to this part of the state before. It is beautiful. Driving down here this afternoon was a gorgeous sight. Rolling hills, fall foliage, sun shining – it made for a scenic trip. Pray for me, that I might preach messages that will be encouraging and challenging to the people. I’m looking forward to the fellowship with Matthew and his family.