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Monthly Archives: March 2006

Thinking about mortality


Sunday I was told that a fellow church member had lost their brother during the week. The brother was only 39. The same brothers had also lost their dad at an early age. I also lost my dad when he was a fairly young man. He was only 39 when he passed. The sad news of this brother passing triggered some thinking inside me. I hope that his brother was a believer in Jesus Christ. If he was, and if my fellow church member is a believer then they will see each other again in eternity. If either is not, it is my belief the relationship will remain as it is, separated. These kinds of life encounters probe our human thoughts. Where do we go after we die? What happens to our loved ones? Is there anything for us after death?The Holy Bible addresses this issue of death very clearly. I did a basic bible search for the word death, and how it relates to what’s after death. I found 402 verses in the bible that contain the word death, 449 verses that mention the word heaven, and only 14 verses that mention hell. I think this is because the bible also refers to hell as death, such as “For the wages of sin is death…”, in Romans 6:23.

First of all I think it is important to understand why there is death. In Romans 5:12 Paul the apostle writes “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world (that would be Adam) and death through sin , and so death is spread to all men, because all have sinned.” In John 5:24 Jesus is speaking and he says “Truly, truly, I say to you he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life“. So, according to Jesus there is eternal life for those who hear His words and believe in Him who sent Him, meaning God the Father. Also in Romans 6:23 Paul writes “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” This is a very powerful verse. It tells of man’s condition. We all sin right? The wages of that sin is death. We deserve death. It is our just consequences according to God’s justice.Through God’s son, Jesus Christ, He offers us the free gift of eternal life. You will notice that the above Romans passage says “free gift”, this eternal life is not something that is earned. It is given freely. This free gift is also evident in Ephesians 2:8,9 “For by grace (God’s unmerited gift) you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not of works, so that no one may boast.” Jesus Christ paid the price for our judgment. This is evident in Romans 5:8,9 “But God demonstrates His love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, (the blood of Jesus) we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him (again, Jesus). It is the blood of Christ that saves us from the judgment of God.Once you been saved by God’s undeserved, unearned grace, you can have assurance that it cannot be taken away. Not even by you. Romans 8:38, 39 the apostle Paul writes, “For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height not depth, nor anything in all creation , will be able to separate us from the love of God in Jesus Christ our Lord. Isn’t that reassuring? Totally!Is there life after death? According to God’s holy word, the bible, there is absolutely life after death, eternal life. Have you trusted in the saving gift of God, Jesus Christ, to save you from God’s coming judgment? It is only through Jesus that you can be saved from this judgment. John 3:36 says “He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God will be on him.” So thinking about mortality leads me to think about eternity. Does it do that for you? I have trusted in the blood of Jesus to save me from the wrath of God. Have you? I pray so.

 
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Posted by on March 29, 2006 in heaven, mortality

 

Going to bed mad


This should be avoided if at all possible. Especially married folks. I know this wisdom, but knowing and putting it to pavement is usually not the same. Know what I mean…Vern? Last night I posed a theology question to Robin, my lovely wife, and waited for her response. Now mind you my wife is a very independent thinker. She makes up her mind on things by thinking them through, usually. Only on rare occasions does she react based on emotion. So when she didn’t respond with an answer that was in line with what I had been thinking as the answer. I pressed on with some of the research I had done. Although I believed my research to be exhaustive it could still be considered subjective. After some discussion and some scripture research I still could not persuade her to my way of thinking on the subject. I must have been getting noticeably irritated because she decided the discussion was over. Now I allowed myself to get emotional and drew the “you never think my point on things is credible” martyr card that drives her crazy. Of course this was not a good direction to take the discussion. Do ya think? Well, it wasn’t. I still wanted to pursue the issue but it was falling on deaf ears by this time. In my own twisted way I had good intentions of resolving this before going to bed but Robin would not comply. We ended up going to bed mad at each other. I lay in bed unable to sleep so I went downstairs to watch some TV. It took me a long time to get unwound enough to get to sleep and hence today I am very tired. I had a pretty good day up ’till that point, but it’s a shame that what will probably be remembered is the argument. I need to figure out that a discussion is that, a discussion. I do not need to convince my wife of my view on things in order to change her mind. I have a feeling that what really got Robin upset is that in my attempt to convince her to think along the same lines as me, I may have come across as belittling her opinion. This is the very thing I asked her for to begin with.

So my advice to myself and anyone reading this is to learn how to discuss without making or thinking it personal. Don’t make stupid martyristic (if that’s a word) remarks. If you asked for their opinion, consider it, and don’t demean it by acting like they don’t know what they are talking about. And above all, if you are married, don’t go to bed mad.

 
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Posted by on March 23, 2006 in communication, marriage, relating

 

Happy St. Patrick’s Day


Why do we celebrate a day for St. Patrick? Who is this guy? I borrowed a bit from another web site to provide something about St. Patrick.

St Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland. He was born in the ninth century in Wales. His father was a noble man and a deacon to the church. Patrick was abducted when he was 16 and brought to Ireland where he was sold as a slave. He worked as a shepherd on Slemish Mountain in County Antrim for 6 years until one night an angel came to him in a dream told him that his boat was waiting for him. With that he left and ran 200 miles to a boat.
He traveled to Britain and then to France where he spent 20 years as a monk in Marmoutier Abbey. He then received a celestial visitation in a dream telling him to return to the land that had enslaved him, although now he was to return on a mission, to enslave and to convert. Patrick and 24 of his followers arrived in Ireland. Patrick decided to talk to the High King because if he was the most powerful man in Ireland. Patrick spoke to King Laoghaire. While he was there he plucked a shamrock from the ground and tried to explain the to the druids and the King that the shamrock had three leaves but one plant just like God had three personas – The Father, The Son and the Holy Ghost. This was called the Trinity. King Laoghaire was very impressed and chose to accept Christianity. (I’m thinking God chose him…but anyway) He also gave Patrick the freedom to spread Christianity throughout Ireland. Patrick is thought to have died on the 17th of March sometime between 463 AD and 493 AD.

Very cool stuff huh? Like most folks I had heard about the legend of St. Patrick that he drove the snakes out of Ireland.
Well, that is kind of an allegory. Snakes are the symbol of Paganism. Saint Patrick did, in a sense, rid Ireland of pagans.

Unlike Valentine’s Day I do like this day. If it is truly in celebration of the man described here and not the drunken revelry most folks associate with St. Patrick’s Day.

 

a sad day in Orange County


While in California I attended a Saturday evening church service at Saddleback Church. This is the church pastored by Rick Warren of the Purpose Driven Life fame and fortune. I was there with a few of my fellow traveling companions and from the time I entered the building and received my bulletin and message outline there was a very familiar feel about it. First the outline was identical to the outlines provided now in a church I attended for nine years and have since left. The music was pretty good, but the people seemed a bit detached and passive. The message title told me they were in the middle of a series about your worldview. The message was delivered by the man himself, Rick Warren. He looked to have lost some weight from previous pictures I had seen and he was sporting a gotee. The message was going along fine if not but a bit superficial until he said that God made us because He loved us and so we could love Him. (God created us to His glory) Also in relation to God breathing the universe into existence Warren said that it didn’t matter if you believed it took a week or a million years. (I believe in the literal 6 days of creation) He then used the passage in 2 Peter 3:8 out of context to affirm his vagueness with creation that with God one day is like a thousand years and a thousand years is like one day. Peter is writing this to encourage his readers that God is not slow about His promise. Warren used so many more passages out of context to prove his outline points. The whole underlying theme of the message was you and me centered, it made me sad. It was definitely seeker sensitive and not Christ sensitive. He does not preach about the sovereignty of God by his statements of “God is in the business of turning crucifixions into resurrections”, and that “abortion short circuits God’s plan.” He compared God to Macgyver the TV show because He makes something useful out of odd pieces. The whole experience lef tme feeling like I had been to therapy and not a worship service. How are his members going to learn about the God of Abraham, the God of the New Testament, about Christ and the cost of following Him with this kind of message. While there I kept praying for God to raise up men who would influence the church to a more Christ centered approach, and I will continue to pray for those there.
On a positive note the facilities were very impressive. It was all laid out like a campus with a cafe where you could get coffee (which we did, I don’t think we passed many Starbucks or coffee shop last week) to buildings for training, teaching and a resource for curriculums, and bookstore. It looked like they had much more but I didn’t stray to far. Please pray for Rick Warren and Saddleback Church.

 

In the presence of mighty men


I am repenting because I have been too busy to post anything in three weeks. I will try to be more diligent in the future. I had a wonderful time of encouragement and edification at the Men’s shepherd’s Conference last week. It was like living a dream. I conveyed to my traveling companions my first experience with John MacArthur and I will do it here. My lovely wife had signed us up for his tape library in the early nineties and I remember listening to my first tape while mowing the grass in our home in Florida and thinking, I wonder if I will ever have the opportunity to go to MacArthur’s church someday. First of all he will tell that it is the Lord’s church and not his, but being there, and hearing so many mighty men of God speaking and encouraging us and each other was incredible. I will not forget it. I am already putting together a plan to save for next year’s conference. We were at the conference for over eight hours each day. I have learned so much that I really should put my experiences down in text. We will be receiving the audio from all the sessions on one CD, so I will be able to commit the lessons learned to memory. I think my favorite session was the general session with Steve Lawson on “Bring The Book” about Ezra opening scripture to the remnant of Israel after captivity. It was an encouraging sermon about being diligent to preach the Word of God. To “bring the book” to the people and not be ashamed to teach and preach the truths written in the Word of God. A close second would be MacArthur’s sermon on Luke 15 and the parable of the man with two sons, more popularly known as the prodigal Son. At the ending he got us to consider the elder son as an example of the way the Jews treated their heavenly Father and His Son when he showed love for the sinners and not just the priviledged Jews. John MacArthur imagined an ending to the story and painted a vivid description of the elder son taking a piece of wood (like the cross) and beating the father to death in anger. Similar to what the Jews did to Christ in having him crucified on a cross.

You can click on the picture above to see some pictures I took while in California.

 
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Posted by on March 7, 2006 in Shepherds' Conference