Showing posts from August, 2017

God, our 'sanctuary'

In the book of Ezekiel, the prophet is tasked with receiving visions of the destruction of the Israelite people at the allowance of God for their ongoing sin and refusal to repent.  God had given the people ample opportunity to repent and come back to Him before sure judgment and destruction came upon then, but they refused to listen and humble themselves.  Pride has a way of doing that... In the midst of all this, Ezekiel wondered if God was going to honor His promise of sustaining the people, even through the impending judgment via the Babylonian captivity.  God answered in the affirmative, however it would only be a 'remnant' (Webster's: 'a small remaining quantity').  The majority of the unfaithful Israelites would not make it out of this judgment alive. Ezekiel 11:16 is a small but significant verse in this narrative.  God states to Ezekiel, "Although I have cast them far off among the Gentiles, and although I have scattered them among the countries,

Give me CHRIST, or nothing at all!

The letter to the Galatians is an interesting (and highly relevant) one for today.  In chapter 1, Paul shares his customary greeting however, he cuts it shorter than his usual introductory pre-chorus to exclaim his absolute and utter astonishment (complete shock!) that the churches in Galatia that he helped plant on his first missionary journey, Antioch Pisidia Church, Iconium Fellowship Church, The Church at Lystra, and Derbe Community Church (or whatever other modern titles you want to tack on to the original names), were " turning away " from not only the gospel but " from Him " (v.6), Jesus, who called them to begin with. What was going on here?  Literally, the Galatian believers in these churches were deserting Jesus and His Gospel of grace for the heretical/false teaching of the Judaizers; guys who were coming in and preaching that the OT Law must be followed for salvation - not Christ and certainly not through faith alone in Christ alone.  The Galatians app

My response as a pastor to the Charlottesville mess (and ongiong racial tensions everywhere)...

Genesis 1:27 "So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female he created them." "If our country had a biblical worldview, society would realize that there's only one race, the human race, started through Adam and Eve in Genesis. We all have 1 common set of parents " In the beginning ..." From that point on, different skin pigmentation formed through melanin in the skin, but color doesn't mean new "races" formed. We're the human race, created by God in His image."  This was part my Facebook status this morning but I felt the need to expound just a bit more on the issue.  As pastors, we have an obligation (dare I say a calling) to speak to the moral, cultural, and societal issues of our day and respond to those topics from a biblical worldview.  Perhaps the pulpit isn't the best place to broach certain things, but we still must speak to them as we are ministers of the Gospel and o

God's Word

The Old Testament prophet Jeremiah was instructed by God to share all of the coming judgments He had set into place on Israel and all the inhabitants of the land for their continued sin and failure to repent after repeated warnings and opportunities.  God would use the uprising of the Babylonian Empire and King Nebuchadnezzar to exact this pronounced judgment. Before the captivity had completely overtaken Israel, God instructed Jeremiah to record on a scroll all the words He had spoken to Jeremiah so that they could be read in the presence of the people at the temple, at the palace, and finally in the presence of King Jehoiakim.  It happened, that after the scroll was read in the palace, the scroll was confiscated by a group of princes who then took the scroll and read it to the king.  The king's reaction to God's Word is recorded in Jeremiah 36:23 - "And it happened, when Jehudi had read three or four columns, that the king cut it with the scribe's knife and cast i

How to 'get right' with God...

The lost are of course 'not right' with God.  Until we repent and become regenerated by the Spirit through faith and adopted into the family of God, we are seen as His enemies.  Enemy = not right.  But this can apply to believers as well.  Although " nothing can separate us from the love of God " ( Rom.8:38-39 ) and we are eternally secure in our salvation ( Eph.1:13-14 ), even we as believers can get on the wrong side of God.  So, when that happens, how do we 'get right' with Him?  There's a record in the historical narrative of 2 Kings 22 which speaks of a young king in Judah, Josiah, who actually took the throne at age 8 (can you imagine??).  At the age of 26, 18 years into his reign, he had gotten things turned around.  He was a righteous king who brought his people back from the wickedness they had practiced and experienced under the reigns of Manasseh and Amon (idolatry and child sacrifice) and God blessed Josiah and those in Judah for it.  In 2 K

Why is the Culture Hostile to the Good News of the Gospel?

If you're a Christian, whether you've been one for a long time or if you just recently came to know Christ as your Lord and Savior, this thought has probably run through your head once or twice before: Why is the culture so hostile toward the Gospel?  This is the greatest news and the most loving, grace-filled message in human history yet more people seem to hate it and reject it than those who believe it and want it.  What gives? Acts 19:17-34 offers a situation in the beginnings of the early church where the Gospel was preached, lives were changed, and a riotous mob resulted.  Hold on...Gospel + lives changed = angry mob?  Yes indeed.  Paul had preached the Gospel to those in Ephesus and one of the results of his preaching and the miraculous things God was doing through him (healing, exorcism, etc.) brought many to repentance and faith.  Repentance involves changing one's mind about his/her sins and turning away from those things, which is what the people did here.  Man