Showing posts from October, 2018

Don't waste your Halloween

" Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.  Give no offense, either to the Jews or to the Greeks or to the church of God ..."  - 1 Cor. 10:31-32 The debate among Christians over whether one should celebrate or observe Halloween seems to be increasing in regularity.  There are blog posts, videos, even sermons making the rounds about why a Christian should or should not take part in this day; one cites tradition, another cites other historical accounts, still others simply partake of the festivities without giving it a second thought.  The typical argument is one between supposed pagan history versus one of ties to the reformation, remembering past fallen saints in the faith. There are a few avenues a person can explore as Halloween rolls around every year : 1) Observe it with pagan intentions: use it to worship Satan, dress like the dead or demonic, and let loose. 2) Observe it with reformed intentions: use it to remember the f

Laodicea - A Disgusting Church

" I know your works: that you are neither cold nor hot.  Would that you were either cold or hot!  So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth ." - Revelation 3:15-16 Of all the letters written to the churches in Asia Minor in Revelation, this letter to Laodicea Church is the most scathing.  There was no greater indictment against any local church than to be called "lukewarm" because this type of congregation absolutely disgusts Christ. The city of Laodicea was situated at the crossroads of an important trade route connecting commerce between North/South and East/West.  The key mail route of the region found it's stopping point here.  Laodicea was a vibrant, prosperous city boasting feats in medicinal eye salve, an abundance of gold deposits, a hub for regional banking, and the production of luxurious black wool.  As a matter of fact, when the great earthquake of that time occurred, while other cities were forced t

Philadelphia: A Model for All "Small" Churches

"I know your works.  Behold, I have set before you an open door, which no one is able to shut.  I know that you have but little power, and yet you have kept My word and have not denied My name." - Revelation 3:8 Philadelphia in Asia Minor (now Alasehir, Turkey), was situated 30 miles SE of Sardis on a hillside on an important commercial and mailing route.  It was founded to foster Greek culture, with the purpose of ultimately 'converting' the Lydians and Phrygians into Greeks.  In a little over a century, the strategy worked as it has been noted by historians, "the Lydians had even forgotten their own language." Philadelphia got its name, 'the City of Brotherly Love,' after King Attalus II who founded it; he was noted for his "unusual devotion to his brother."  It was widely known as a relatively peaceful and accepting city up until the mid-14th century after the spread and influence of Islam.  In particular, freedom for Christians prac

We need to be careful....

I’m in the middle of reading a highly fascinating book entitled “Preaching in Hitler’s Shadow: Sermons from the Third Reich.” I could already write a myriad of posts sharing what I’ve learned up to this point (and I’m only 1/4 of the way through it), but one thing that stood out to me today, from all the historical background given pertaining to the rise of the Nazi party is this: The Nazi party, as outlandish and insane as its policies were, didn’t get their people to buy in  by physical force or the concentration camps. It all started and was fueled by changing the language. They simply hijacked words and phrases and fed the new meanings to the populace through use of different media. They even got a large portion of the Christian population, named “the new German Christians”, to reinterpret Scripture to insert Germany as the kingdom of God on earth and the German bloodline as God’s true chosen people. Hitler, of course, eventually became the Messiah. It all started with cont

Sardis: A Church on the brink of death

" You have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead.  Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not four your works complete in the sight of my God. "  - Rev. 3:1b-2 Sardis was a city in Asia Minor settled in the oval of cities mentioned in the Revelation church letters.  Just 30 miles SE of Thyatira, it was a city located 1500 ft. in the foothills of a mountain range, surrounded by steep inclines with only one major roadway that led in and out of the city.  It was practically impenetrable.  Sardis also boasted advances in gold and silver minting as well as in the textile industry, specializing in dyeing wool products. As if this wasn't enough to boast about, Sardis was located near a river with large gold deposits, making it one of the richest cities in the ancient world.  Essentially, Sardis had it all: Protection, security, economy, and wealth. Sardis was also very much pagan.  It's primary goddess of worship was Cybele, original

Thyatira: The Danger of Tolerating a Jezebel

"... I have this against you, that you tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess and is teaching and seducing My servants to practice sexual immorality and to eat food sacrificed to idols. " - Revelation 2:20 Thyatira was a city located about 40 miles East of Pergamum, the "crown jewel of Asia."  It was used as a military outpost and, at the time of John's writing to Thyatira Church in Revelation 2, it had been under Roman rule for over 300 years.  Unlike Pergamum and other locations around it, Thyatira was not necessarily a desired location but it was merely a town for passing on the way to Pergamum or somewhere else.  Thyatira was simply known as a town of commerce, being home to trade guilds for dying fabric, wool goods, leather and metal working, and pottery.  It didn't have as much noticeable religious affiliations as did surrounding cities, especially during that time period, but it was known for its fortune telling ring known as