Tuesday, March 30, 2010

It's Not About the Rabbit

Of Course, the card opens to remind us that it is about JESUS!

"They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator-who is forever praised." Romans 1:25

The Easter message is that we can turn "to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead--Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath." 1 Thessalonians 1:9-10

Friday, March 19, 2010

Basketball was invented by a Christian

Those of you enjoying March Madness might find the following Wall Street Journal article by John A. Murray interesting.

"Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever." 1 Corinthians 9:24-25

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


I posted this video last year on St. Patrick's Day and am doing it again today because it is such a beautiful picture of Ireland.

"I will praise you, O Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonders." Psalm 9:1

"...the hills are clothed with gladness. The meadows are covered with flocks and the valleys are mantled with grain; they shout for joy and sing." Psalm 65:12-13

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Gotta Stand for Something

A great article appearing on Christianity Today's website brilliantly examines the issue of doctrine. Titled "We're All Theologians," the article looks at data provided by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life. The data supports what was found in the National Study on Youth and Religion, which was analyzed by sociologists Christian Smith and Patricia Snell. They found that:

"Instead of appreciating differences, emphasizing diversity tends to devalue distinctive beliefs."

It's about time the religion of diversity as it is practiced by its most vociferous proponents is seen for what it is: something that shoots down any absolute that differs from their absolute and something that celebrates anything but True Christianity (the "tolerant" and "all-inclusive" camp is just as legalistic and exclusive as any other religion). I once asked a friend who attends a Unitarian church if I, a born-again Christian, would be welcome in his church. He answered, "No." How's that for "all-inclusiveness?" I've yet to see a born-again Christian's belief system "celebrated" amongst those who wear "diversity" on their sleeve.

Getting back to the article, it goes on to explain that the current obsession with "experiential, relevant" worship is, in fact, turning church-goers into milk-toast.

The article summarizes the observances of Smith and Snell, authors of the book "Souls in Transition:"

"...young adults hold their religious beliefs in abstract, 'mentally checked off and filed away.' Doctrine does not determine their lives. Religion is about being good and living a good life, not believing the right things. But this approach draws a false dichotomy between belief and behavior. In fact, the idea that religion boils down to good works is itself doctrinal, if erroneous from an orthodox Christian perspective. It makes a doctrinal distinction by privileging Jesus' ethical teachings over his work on the Cross and in the Resurrection. It rejects Jesus' interpretation of his sacrifice as a ransom for many (Mark 10:45). Young adults who buy into this view follow a well-worn path trod by liberal theologians in the last two centuries."

Liberal theologians who would not welcome, respect or embrace a born-again Christian.

Read the article here:


Doctrine is not a dirty word. John Mellencamp sings a song in which he says "You've got to stand for something, or you'll fall for anything." Standing for something, my friends, is doctrine!! Paul, in Luke 4:16 implores us to "Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers."

Yet many evangelical church leaders today aren't giving their flocks so much as a doctrinal hook to hang their hat on. Worship is filled with navel gazing, mystery and "conversations" that esteem it best to never reach any kind of conclusion. In short, once Biblically-sound congregations are now being led to be ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. But Jesus is very clear when He says, "If anyone is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels" (Luke 9:26).

"What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his Father's glory with the holy angels." Mark 36-38

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

A True Friend

During the recent Olympics, US Ski Team member Lyndsey Vonn waited at the bottom of the ski hill for her friend and fellow competitor Maria Riesch of Germany, who was racing down the mountain for Gold. When Riesch got to the bottom, she skied over to her good friend and began explaining a mistake she’d made on the run. Vonn, in response, lifted her ski pole and playfully tapped Riesch and said, “Don’t do that!”

I immediately understood that the friendship between Vonn and Riesch was indeed genuine and true. Why? Because Vonn, instead of saying something like “No no, you did great,” or “think positive,” or “don’t be so hard on yourself,” said to her friend, “Don’t do that!” In those words, Vonn accepted and heard what her friend was saying, and did not coddle or try to feed Riesch’s self-esteem. She did not deny Riesch’s own admission of a mistake, but instead agreed with Riesch that a mistake had been made.

How different than what I, and many others, experienced throughout life, where we were coddled by the self-esteem movement. My parents and teachers never called me on bad behavior, and my liberal church was more concerned with pushing a women’s liberation agenda (we sang “I Am Woman” in Sunday school) than it was with giving us true liberation through the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I was given high grades in high school I didn’t deserve, and in college I read books by love gurus and Taoists who told me to just love myself, regardless of what I was doing to sabotage my life and relationships. Friends sympathized with me in my victim mentality instead of leveling with me in how I’d brought about my own problems.

And then I met a Christian woman who took me under her wing. For the first time in my life I was held accountable: My statements and behaviors were questioned and I was asked for support for the opinions I spouted. This Christian mentor especially called me on the things I was saying about the Bible (which I had never really read). And instead of saying I was wrong (although clearly it was implied by her on several occasions) she challenged me to go to Scripture and come back to her with proof for my false claims. Had this woman cajoled, cradled, “loved on” me (meaning no judgment calls on me whatsoever), I would not have become a born again Christian when I did, if ever.

This woman showed true love by holding me accountable and speaking honestly. Nobody had ever done that before! Did I like it? No. The first time she corrected me was in front of the entire Bible study we were both in. I had said something (which I can’t remember now) and she responded, very matter of fact and without emotion, “Maybe that’s because you’re always late for Bible study.” I felt stung as if by a hundred bees. I remained fairly quiet rest of the hour, and as I drove home that day I vowed that this Bible study was over. Done. Never again.

As the week progressed, and as I continued in my newfound exercise of reading my Bible, God convicted me that she was right. Not only was she right, but being late had been a debilitating sin in my life; a realization I was just coming to. As much as my flesh wanted to never speak to this woman again, the Holy Spirit in me convinced me to swallow my pride and return to the Bible study, which I did. And I was never late again (that carried over to the rest of my life, to where at least it began to bother me to be late. I can say that today, I err on the side of being early). Our mentorship continued and I am a Christian today in large part because of the way God worked, and admonished, through my mentor.

Robert Rayburn, senior minister of Faith Presbyterian Church in Tacoma, Washington, said in an article he wrote on pride,

“We think so well of ourselves; it is very hard to think that God should not as well.”

That’s what I grew up with and took with me until I was born again at 39 years of age: the idea that God was okay with whatever. But the self-love and self-esteem that everyone, including myself, was promoting contrasted sharply with my inner misery, depression and addiction. The more I tried to love myself, the harder it became to even get up in the morning.

Yet I persisted in the belief that I was in charge of me and no “loving” God would ever judge me or ask me to do things differently. In that regard, God was not God; He was reduced to being the great enabler. I thank God every day that He led me to someone who was not ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, who shared its power to save, and who gave as much weight to obeying God’s command to admonish as she did to the other commands to teach, serve and pray.

It is because of my Christian mentor’s obedience in loving me the Biblical way (not in the easy and worldly way) that I have been healed of so much and now know what it means to be born again in Christ. Her willingness to risk offending me with Gospel Truth is an example of being other-centered; of really laying one’s life down for a friend. I’m so glad she did.

“Love must be sincere.” Romans 12:9

“Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.” Romans 13:10

“Blessed is the man who does not condemn himself by what he approves.” Romans 14:22

“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom…” Colossians 3:16

“For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. Therefore, he who rejects this instruction does not reject man but God, who gives you his Holy Spirit.”
1 Thessalonians 4:7-8

“Now we ask you, brothers, to respect those who work hard among you, who are over you in the Lord and who admonish you. Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work.” 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13