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Category Archives: Christian living

Oh be careful little ears ….

The post heading is from a children’s song we used to sing in Sunday School. If you are not familiar with it you can wearing-headphoneslearn about it here. The song teaches children basic Christian discernment while also teaching them anatomy by pointing to the parts of their body they need to be careful with, such as ears, eyes, and mind. As I was thinking about the words to the song, it occurred to me just how deep they really go. We are to be careful with what we hear, see, think about and so forth. But do we carry it too far, or not far enough?

I was prompted theologically to write this post based on some past comments presented on this blog. I have also petitioned some of my fellow bloggers and church elders concerning this subject matter. Since I write about music as much as anything else culturally on this blog, I will focus on that medium in this post. In past discussions I have participated in with other Christians concerning the secular medium of connecting culturally, the basis of  discernment has surrounded Philippians 4:8.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.(ESV)

But are we using this verse correctly? We have a tendency as Christians to want to create a list of dos and don’ts. Much like filling in the gray area not covered by the Ten Commandments. Like a fellow believing blogger, I would say the scope of this verse and context is much broader. Is Paul instructing us to only consume the medium labeled “Christian” as many folks have thought? Should we not watch sporting events like football of hockey then? Should we only listen to hymns and Contemporary Christian music? Should we only read Christian publications? I don’t think Paul is instructing us this way. I believe, as do many others I petitioned, that Phil. 4:8 is more of a list of exhortations rather than a list of things to avoid. But there are other passages in scripture that do deal with what we consume.

1 Corinthians 6:12 tells us:

All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be enslaved by anything.(ESV)

Read the rest of this entry »

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What should Christians do with Halloween?

Halloween is almost here. This day has become a very popular one in our national culture. Our family has taken a stand of sorts over the years when it comes to celebrating the popular day recognized as Halloween. We basically recognize the day as Fall Harvest day and shy away of the pagan depiction of the day. We have handed out candy at times and have included some juvenile themed tracks as well during trick or treat. I found a Q&A link from the Bible Bulletin Board which is affiliated with Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California and it’s pastor John MacArthur that addresses this issue. What is your response? Please comment and check out my related new poll in the side bar.

 
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Posted by on October 20, 2008 in Christian living, Fall, Family, Halloween, Theology

 

Christmas trees and Supernatural

With much anticipation, the Schneider household watched the new Supernatural Christmas episode last night. Evil Christmas Tree Supernatural is a very entertaining TV show on the CW. I first blogged about it here. The show is very scary and contains some graphic violence. But it’s mostly done tongue-in-cheek. (Note my self-rationalization?) The show is about two brothers (Sam and Dean Winchester) who travel around the country fighting evil forces and demons. Last night the story line focused on a fictional character simply labeled “the anti-Claus” or “evil Santa”. Supposedly Santa Claus’ rogue brother is a creature who goes around destroying those who have been wicked or naughty. During the the events leading up to the discovery of this creature, Sam informs his brother that most of the symbols we use in the celebration of Christmas were derived from the Pagans. The favored and traditional Christmas tree being one of these symbols. My wife and I, and some of our Christian friends have had many discussions concerning the use of these symbols in our own homes. Now before you think I am going off the deep end here, understand that we do have a Christmas tree in our home, and a wreath, and many of the traditional Christmas decorations. These have only been discussions, and discussion is definitely a good thing.

Now today, while I was going through my usual blog sites I encountered a well written article in Pulpit Magazine.com by Dr. John MacArthur. The article is called “Christians and Christmas Trees“. Dr. MacArthur makes some very good points. If you have had similar discussions in your life, or you have wondered about all the symbolism used in the Christmas celebration, then please check the article out.

Regardless of where you are on this issue, the bottom line is this: The baby whose birth we celebrate on Christmas is Jesus the Christ. Believing in Him is the only way to way to eternal life. This may seem to you very narrow minded in thinking, but Jesus is also narrow minded. He is truly the Prince of Peace.

Below is a clip from the Supernatural episode mentioned above.

 

If I have not love…….

abandoned plow

Today as I got out my pocket New Testament at work to read the next chapter of 1 Corinthians, I noticed it was chapter 13, the love chapter. (did hear my Barry White impersonation?) The verses found in this chapter have been used in more weddings than the Drive-In Chapel in Las Vegas. I read through it once and thought, alright I kind of just breezed through that half-heartedly. I am convinced that the Apostle Paul considered love to be of the utmost importance as you will notice in the first three verses. In those verses he states that you can basically have everything together as a religious person, but if you don’t have love, like the abandoned plow above, you are of no use. Then an idea hit me. I remember a pastor or a friend, or maybe both, suggesting that when you read through this chapter read it in the real first person narrative formatting the love statements into personal questions.So consider the following verses personally as I did and see if doesn’t convict the religious snot right out of you. Do it as such for verses 4 thru 7 : (I use the ESV)

Is BarryDean patient and kind? Does BarryDean envy or boast? Is BarryDean arrogant or rude? Does BarryDean insist on his own way? Is BarryDean irritable or resentful? Does BarryDean rejoice at wrong doing or rejoice at the truth? Does BarryDean bear all things, believe all things, hope all things, endure all things?

After reading it this way I realize that I have a long journey ahead in my sanctification. Thanks be to God that it isn’t all up to me, I have a Helper in this process. The same Holy Spirit that convicts also intercedes for us and is sanctifying us.

Photo credit

 

A day of reflection on dependency

Today I took the day off from work to repair my car. You see my wife used it to take ourAudi repair daughter and her friend to the pool yesterday and when she returned home noticed that motor oil was liberally running out from under the car. She suspected that she may have done something to the car when she encountered a pot hole in the pool parking lot and the car bottomed out. Yep, the pot hole had punched a hole in the oil pan. It took no time for the oil to completely drain onto our driveway. I spread some dry-all compound on the spill in the driveway and then proceeded to search for an oil pan on the Internet.

The Lord has graciously provided two cars for us so I was able to drive down to the local U-Pull-It junk yards today to see if I could get my hands on an oil pan. I quickly found out that an oil pan for my Audi is a commodity in Omaha. After much searching I finally determined that I would not find one to install today and I would have to resort to ordering one over the Internet and wait the few days for it to arrive. As I was trying to figure out some way of working our schedules around one vehicle for the next few days it began to dawn on me how dependent we had become on the two cars we have. We would actually be considered very wealthy having two cars in any third world country and even in our own country depending on where you live. I also began to question how dependent I was on God. One of my favorite passages in the Old Testament came to mind. Isaiah 53:6 is such a wonderful reminder of God as our Good Shepherd:

All of us like sheep have gone astray. Each of us has turned to his own way: But the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him.

You see we are like sheep and we are dependent on God our shepherd to provide our hope. As our shepherd He gathered us to Himself with the redeeming blood of His Son Jesus Christ. Most of us as believers in His Son’s work on the cross will acknowledge our dependence on Him for salvation. But do we also depend on Him for this grace in all things? Grace is what it is. Or like the puncture of my oil pan and the realization of my dependence on having both of our cars running, do we also only realize our dependence on God’s grace when we encounter a puncture or trial in our life?

This is what I was thinking as I drove to Lincoln to pick up the oil pan that God had provided from a junkyard there. Yes, God does provide grace and I am so dependent on His grace even if I do not consider it as I go to and fro in life. My hope is that my attitude will turn from taking Him for granted, to trusting in Him completely. Trusting in Him for future grace.

ht: John Piper

 

Relating to the weaker brother or sister

I continue to read through the book of Romans and today I sumo vs boyam in chapter 14. In this chapter Paul (through the inspiration of the Holy spirit) addresses how believers should relate to one another especially in cases where one is weak or a newly converted believer and the other is a stronger believer.

1 As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions. 2 One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables. 3 Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him.

First I want to try and define each of these believers. What do I (or Paul) mean by a weaker believer? It almost goes without saying that anyone who is a new convert to faith in Christ would be a weaker believer. This would also pertain to anyone who might bring extra baggage from another religion such as the abstinence of eating meat and only eating vegetables. In the New Testament Christ does not hold up one type of food over over another. As a matter of fact in Acts 10 Peter is told by the Lord that we are not to honor one food over another such as was called clean and unclean but to honor the Lord for He has made it clean. So if someone remains in the conviction that they should not eat “unclean” food then I would contend they are weaker in the faith. Paul tells the believers in Rome that if one is of the opinion that some food is unclean and another eats the same food, the one who eats should not despise the one who does not. The stronger believer would be the one who is able to eat and drink without falling into guilt from an issue of conscience.

In order to love one another as Christ commanded we must not condemn one another on these matters of opinion. They are not sin. If we notice a brother or sister refraining from drinking wine because of personal conviction we should not push them to consume because God has not forbidden us to drink it. We may want to show them in scripture where wine is a blessing from God and thus can be consumed by believers. The same would hold that if a weaker believer saw another believer consuming wine they should not despise them. Because abstaining from wine is based on their own personal convictions.

For my two cents…..I remember this very thing being a topic of some debate when my wife and I first began attending Omaha Bible Church. There were some who regarded the abstinence of wine as a higher calling. Since there exists such an evangelical stigma with alcohol consumption some folks have made the consumption of it a sin, and binding what the Lord has not bound. I think we should be very careful not to despise those who have made this a “personal conviction”. Definitely steer them away from regarding it as a sin. And those who do abstain should be very careful not to despise those who do not have this “personal conviction”. Jesus gave us the command to love one another so that the world will know that we are His disciples. The weaker should love the stronger and vise versa.

 
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Posted by on June 22, 2007 in Christian living, relating, Romans