Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Seven Things That Are Detrimental to the Church

This list is by no means exclusive. I am sure we can add many more things for days to come. For example, the lack of church discipline today church-wide is a major problem. However, I would let this item fall under, "the shift from a God-centered vision to a man-centered vision." I do so because when God is no longer our orientation and the comfort, welfare, and ease of man is our orientation, then discipline will cease in the local churches. 

So, having said that, let me share with you what I think are at least seven (7) items that have had a detrimental affect on the local church. By the way these items are in no order of importance or significance.

  • The chasing of the American dream
  • The dumbing down of the gospel
  • The shift from a God-centered vision/focus to a man-centered vision/focus
  • The casualness/nonchalance in the pulpit
  • The removal of the pulpit
  • The loss of expository preaching
  • The influx of Neo-evangelicalism
For a bonus:

The emergence and rise of the rock-star pastor

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Free Will: Is It a Biblical Concept?

I stumbled across a statement one day in a book I was reading. I can't remember the book any more because it actually was a few years back. I have always made it a habit to write down various statements, quotes,  quips, or pithy sayings in order to at some point find the time to reflect on them. Many times I forget who made the statement which prevents me many times from giving credit/shame on you to the source. And yes, sometimes it is years before I come across my notes and muse on them.

I came across this statement once and because at the time I thought it was provocative I wrote it down meaning to come back to it. Well, Saturday I stumbled on it again and here goes:

"The will does not command the heart; the heart commands the will."

That sounds like such a loaded statement, doesn't it? It just doesn't sound right. If the heart is used as "the seat of emotions" then it sounds like our emotions control our will. One would think that it should be the other way around, the will or volition should control the heart or the seat of emotions.

But look at Matthew 12:33-35

"Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad, for the tree is known by its fruit. You brood of vipers! How can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil."

Matthew seems to imply that the heart is equal to or can be equated with the human nature. So, if this is the case, what does it imply?

  • Words and actions are fruit of the human nature; they reveal our nature
  • It implies that the will is in bondage (not free) to the heart. Men are not free to do what they should do.
  • It implies that the nature (heart/sin nature) controls the will
  • The will is only free to do what the nature/heart commands because that is all the nature knows. It operates within the confines of itself.
  • Even in bondage to the heart (nature) we are still responsible before God (Romans 7:18-23)
  • All men are born slaves or in bondage; either to sin (old nature) or to God (new nature). 
  • God liberates us from the bondage of sin making us a slave to righteousness. With this new nature we freely follow Christ.
To be continued...

Monday, September 15, 2014

And if the Lord is willing...

Beginning tomorrow, and because I don't know what will happen tomorrow and because my life is like a vapor that has appeared for a little time and then will vanish away, I add, if the Lord wills, I shall begin musing on some hot-bed theological topics.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

The Test of Stewardship (Part 1)

SERMON                  GM14-032

SERIES:              Christian Living in a World of Chaos & Contradiction

SETTING:          North Kelso Baptist Church

SERVICE:          Sunday AM

SUBTITLE:        The Test of Stewardship        (Part 1)

SCRIPTURE:     1 John 4:7-12

SUBJ:                  The Stewardship of Love

SUMMARY:       The truth I propose then for your consideration is this: That genuine believers as recipients of fellowship and Sonship are charged with a stewardship that when faithfully discharged demonstrates a true relationship with God.

SCHEME:           that Christians discharge their stewardship

Our theme is:  Genuine Christians love one another

This is a good reminder for us all that the great and blessed privileges that we enjoy as recipients of fellowship and Sonship with God results in a stewardship.

 Proposition:  The truth I propose then for your consideration is this: That genuine believers as recipients of fellowship and Sonship are charged with a stewardship that when faithfully discharged demonstrates a true relationship with God.

Interrogatory Sentence:  How do genuine Christians faithfully discharge their stewardship duties?

Transitional Sentence: This passage supplies us with three (3) principles to be good stewards.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Ode To 9/11

Ode to 9/11
Written 9/10/2010
Gregg Metcalf

Nine Eleven is forever etched into our mind
Those events will never fade with time
Never thinking for a moment of such danger
Looming overhead inside a wicked stranger

Plots and plans for months were hatching hate
Had come together on that infamous date
Death and terror rained down from the skies
Drawing eastward all of America’s eyes

A nation sleeping caught completely unaware
Drew together as one person in a single dare
Destroy the fiends of such dastardly deeds
The memory of loved ones will serve as seeds

To war and victory soon came the gallant call
Many raced into action hoping to see the fall
Of an enemy beyond the borders of our land
We sent our soldiers to hot and searing sand

Ten years or so with 4,000 killed in this war
Brings us no closer to what we are fighting for
Terrorists still roam this globe breathing out death
Yet there’s no time to stop and catch our breath

So now we leave Iraq to continue in Afghanistan
To fight the terror that remains to plague our land
The enemy is not one to quit or loose or to fold
since they have been fighting for centuries untold

We are not fighting to promote American liberty
we wage not a war in the name of democracy
when will America come to really understand
this war is all about that precious desert sand

To Isaac and not Ismael was all this geography
Given by promise from the God of all eternity
Cast out the bondwoman who is Mt Sinai, alas
Give this ground to Abraham’s sons to possess

This war is religious and will never come to an end
Until the King of Kings comes to reign as friend
Who will defeat the enemies of His chosen people
Who then will come to Him in faith ever so feeble 

Today we will remember nine-elven 2001
For what took place can never be undone
We dare not forget those cowardly atrocities
Who robbed loved ones from so many families

The hearts of many will be with all those who lost
And without any choice paid such a heavy cost
We will mark this day across our dear land
And thank those who yet fight in that desert sand

As I close I would like to say to those yet in pain
I am sorry for your loss and that 9/11 ever came
stealing from you the ones you loved so very dear
May God reveal His amazing grace, it’s always near