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Category Archives: Christianity

Casting your lots

While scanning some of my daily news sources I came across a headline that caught my eye and proceeded to read the article. The article began by talking about the new comedy film titled “Lottery Ticket” featuring the rapper known as Bow Wow. I have seen the trailer for this movie and it does  look pretty cute and entertaining. I can tell by the trailer the movie pokes fun at the silly and ridiculous scenarios folks who win millions in the lottery get themselves into. But when those same scenarios occur in real life it is quite sad. I’m sure we’ve all read some stories about folks who win millions and five years later have to file for bankruptcy or worse end up homeless or dead. The age old wisdom says that what is in the heart remains in the heart. Money does not change it. The same article points to this heart flaw by reporting some statistics of past lottery winners. These winners / losers have the same heart flaw as the sinful servant in the parable of the talents (Matt. 25:14-30), only worse because they tend to lose it all. There is a difference though. The talents in the parable were given to the servants by their Lord to invest. The lottery winners are given the money based on the purchase of a ticket with the same numbers as the lot that is cast or the modern-day randomly selected batch of numbers. I liked how the author of the article concludes the article with a quote from an economics professor that reads:

If you’re one of those people who fantasizes that winning the lottery will fix your financial woes, it’s time to stop dreaming and get a real handle on your money.

This quote got me to thinking again about financial stewardship and what the scriptures have to say about lotteries and gambling. Now the bible does not explicitly say “Do not gamble”, and I’m sure some folks will question this by referring to the disciples casting lots to choose the replacement of Judas. God spoke to the apostles through that method to determine His will in the matter. The only means of financial gain the bible encourages is through hard work, inheritance, or by wise investment. Grace To You resources presents five reasons gambling is wrong.

  1. Because it denies the reality of God’s sovereignty (by affirming the existence of luck or chance)
  2. Because it is built on irresponsible stewardship (tempting people to throw away their money)
  3. Because it erodes a biblical work ethic (by demeaning and displacing hard work as the proper means for one’s livelihood)
  4. Because it is driven by the sin of covetousness (tempting people to give in to their greed)
  5. Because it is built on the exploitation of others (often taking advantage of poor people who think they can gain instant wealth)

My bride and I have been attending a series of seminars on how to properly use our resources for financial gain. This article and the thoughts it invokes, bring the principles we’re learning, and the principles taught in scripture about stewardship to the forefront of my praying. I pray that anyone reading this post will consider that God owns it all and ask yourself, as I will, would He approve of the way your are using those resources He has entrusted you with. I am by no means a great example, but by God’s grace and wisdom I am learning. Stewardship Rawks!!

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Posted by on September 3, 2010 in Christianity, gambling, lottery, Prayer

 

Am I a Calvinist? You tell me.

First of all I need to take care of a hat tip (ht) to my buddy Seth at Contending Earnestly. This posting is being created 42-18021428out of my thoughts triggered by this fellow blogger’s posting and comments. The posting is about being labeled a Calvinist, and the label or term being used as a dirty word.

I really didn’t know what I was until I started reading books on theology.  Speaking of theology; The word is much like the word doctrine, and Calvinism.  Theology has also been reduced to a dirty word. At least a drastically minimized word in terms of evangelical importance.

Theology – the study of God. Come on, what’s more important?

I didn’t think theology was important until I ran into some blatantly bad theology. For years I had been indoctrinated in meeting peoples needs above doctrine. Now, I believe, if you don’t have sound biblical doctrine and theology, how can you truly meet the peoples ultimate need? Their need is to hear the true gospel of Jesus Christ. What do I mean by the true gospel? Funny I should ask, because it brings up the point of this post.

When I heard about the Five Points of Calvinism I will admit I had heard the term or label Calvinism and immediately thought “one of them”,  and “I heard they don’t believe we have a free will.” But after reading these five points I basically recognized and interpreted it as the gospel. The gospel spoken of in scripture. These five points are also known as TULIP. This is an acronym which is defined below.

T otal Depravity – We suck. (a verb meaning we are sinners and do not seek God) (Ref. Romans 6:20, Romans 3:10-12)

U nconditional Election – God does the choosing. No matter who you are and what you’ve done. (Ref. Eph. 1:4-8)

L imited Atonement – Christ died and His blood covers those who the Father chose. (Ref. Eph. 5:25-27)

I rresistable Grace – God’s elect hear the gospel and the Holy Spirit works in the hearts and minds of the those elect and they willing come to God. (Ref. Romans 9:16, Phil. 2:12-13)

P erseverance of the Saints – The elect of God cannot lose their salvation. For heaven’s sake the elect didn’t do anything to earn salvation. God did the choosing. They are eternally secure. (Ref. Romans 8:26-39)

I think that pretty much sums up the gospel as it is told in scripture.

So, am I a Calvinsit? If you prefer a label or a badge, I will gladly wear it. I have one on my sidebar as a matter of fact. It looks like this:

Calvinist Cadet

Calvinist Cadet

A few months ago I found an article from a blogger that did a real good job of describing why he was a Calvinist. I give a high hat tip to Kevin DeYoung and his article.

 

Could Jesus be more popular?

Nearly forty-two years ago to the day, July 29th, 1966, the teeny bop magazine DATEbook published the excerpt of an earlier John Lennon interview where he stated that the Beatles were “more popular than Jesus.” Although the remarks were really on the subject of Christianity and taken somewhat out of context, the outcry and response from the United States was loud and clear. “How dare you say something as bold as that.” It was as though Lennon made those statements of our country instead of Jesus. People flooded to the streets in protest by piling Beatles records up and burning them. Television stations broadcast public smashing of Beatles records. To this day it remains as one of the biggest pop music scandals in history.

Reading about this event in history prompted me to consider the question. Should Jesus be popular? In the context of the whole world I would not affirm this. There are passages in the bible that state otherwise concerning the popularity of Jesus. In Isaiah 53:2,3 of the Old Testament we read of Christ:

2 For He grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground; He had no form or majesty that we should look at Him, and no beauty that we should desire Him. 3 He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces He was despised, and we esteemed Him not.

In 1 Corinthians of the New Testament Paul wrote that the “cross of Christ is foolishness to those who are perishing” and “a stumbling block to the Jews and folly to the Gentiles.” He also writes later in verse 28:

God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are,

In the American church today we are trying our best to make Christianity popular. We are are watering down the gospel of Christ to make it more palatable and attractive. In doing so the true gospel is not being preached. For if it were, it would not be attractive and popular in the world’s eyes.

So in one sense an enthusiastic YES, Jesus Christ should be the most popular thing in the life of the believer. We should be living and breathing the gospel of Christ. Our whole being should point the lost to Jesus Christ. In another sense, it is a fool’s road you travel if your intention in ministry is to make Jesus popular in the eyes of the world.

For further reading please check out the reading links below.

A huge Hat Tip goes to Jason J. Stellman and his article “Where Is Grace Found” in Modern Reformation. I especially like the section entitled “What Hath Saddleback To Do with Geneva?

 

We will miss you Tony Snow

As I got online for the first time this morning I read a headline from Yahoo News that made my heart sink. Long time Foxnews anchor, White House press secretary, and Rush Limbaugh Show fill-in host Tony Snow had died early this morning. I almost immediately went to my fellow blogger, and brother in Christ, Leo’s blog to see if he had picked up on the news, and sure enough he had. I would recommend that you go read his posting because he references some nice articles by John MacArthur on “True Belief”, and John Piper called “Don’t Waste Your Cancer”. One of the things Leo brings forward is Tony Snow’s faith in Christ. Like most conservative, bible believing, Christ uplifting, born again Christians, I would like to believe that Tony was a believer. Since I did not know him personally, I set about to find something to support this notion. I found an interesting article written by columnist Cal Thomas that gives us a nice look inside Tony Snow and his relationship with Christ. As believers we are not the ones to judge a person’s heart concerning Christ, for only God knows the heart. But we can be fruit inspectors, and it looks as though Tony had some fruit in his life. My hope is that he is a true believer because my mother adored Tony Snow and now she can finally meet him.

Before I close this posting I’d like to leave you with a video of Tony Snow. It is a very appropriate video here @  BarryDean4Christ. Tony Snow plays “Stormy Monday” with Leslie West of Mountain at the Rock ‘n Roll Fantasy Camp.

Rock on Tony!!

 

Before Abraham was, I am

 

I am currently reading through the book of John in the bible. Today as I completed chapter eight I came across this verse close to the end, verse 58 to be exact, where Jesus undeniably states that he is God. This takes place right after Jesus had truthfully defended the woman who had been caught in adultry and brought to Him. Throughout this chapter He has been more or less debating with the Jews about who He is. The Jewish leaders seem to believe their “ace in the hole” is the proclamation that their father is Abraham. It is then that Jesus turns up the heat on their pride and sin and proclaims:

Before Abraham was, I am

Now this proclamation not only offended the Jewish leaders but it also flys in the face of a couple of American religions of today. The Mormons claim that Jesus was a man who obtained deity. They believe that He is a created being and the brother of Adam and Lucifer. The Jehovah’s Witness believe much the same way. They also believe that Jesus is a created being and not God. They claim to be declaring the witness of God. But essetially what both of these religions are doing is denying the very witness that God reveals in the New Testament. That Jesus is who He claims to be. In John 10:30 Jesus again states:

I and the Father are one

And again the Jews were incredibly offended as the Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses would be today if you were to point that out to them. The New Testament declares throughout:

He is the brightness of the Father. He is the express image of God. He is literally the replica, the duplicate of the invisible God.

So as I read the scripture this morning, I couldn’t help but marvel at this truth revealed to us. The mystery of the invisible God revealed in Jesus Christ. He is who he claims to be. He is God. 

For further reading about the Incarnation of Jesus Christ I would recommend the text from a sermon by Dr. John MacArthur called “The Inside Story of the Incarnation“. 

Soli Deo Gloria