I have been preaching a short series covering the first three chapters of Revelation. As John documented the words of Jesus to the seven churches name in chapters 2 and 3, I found we can apply them in several ways.
First to ourselves. This is the first place I look when I read and study the scriptures. I must first align me with what God is saying before I can ever hope to help someone else do the same. The battlegrounds I face are laid out in these seven churches. Thankfully, so are the remedies/proper responses to each.
Second is to a given body of believers (a church). In the same way, these lessons can be applied to your local church, to strengthen it and it’s members.
If you’d like to here them, visit the following links:
Lesson three (3) appears to be missing: I will do some checking.
The America the Founding Fathers created is entirely different than the one we live in today. Today we are but an empty shell of our former strength. We still look like we have a form of virtue and morality, but the real virtues and morals of our country have been striped away, one by one, until we are now at the point that we hardly resemble the America of our founding fathers.
I am quite sure that our founding fathers would not recognize today’s America. Think back with me. They threw off the burdensome load of a tyrant king, a culture that was siphoning their children away, and formed a new country. A free people under the authority of one’s self and the Bible. Yes, the Bible. There are a lot of people in America that are ignorant of this fact, and today’s teaching has edited it out of a great many books.
Our constitution explains our common rules and responsibility for the people of America, but they don’t say it all. That is because their is a fundamental set of rules that all the founding fathers assumed everyone understood and agreed with, the ten commandments and the rest of the Bible.
An old friend, Dennis Webber, a preacher of the gospel for many years died last year. It was sudden and when I found out he was in the hospital and it did not look good, from a worldly point of view. From a spiritual view however, Paul calls it “gain” to go and be with the Lord.
Philippians 1:21-23: For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. 22: But if I live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labour: yet what I shall choose I wot not. 23: For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better:
To his wife, children, grand-children and friends it is loss. But to Dennis, it just might be gain. No more pain, suffering, fighting with this world. Just the joy of hearing our Lord say, “Well done Dennis, well done.”
I recently preached on Biblical Sexuality at the Gettysburg church of Christ. I tried to cover the issues relating to living before God in our sexuality.
Sexuality within marriage is like a fire in a fireplace. Sexual activity outside of marriage is outside of God’s plan, its “Exo-marital, like starting a fire in the middle of your family room. One burns in a good way, the other destroys.
To often we paint some pretty gray lines around what we want to do and say “these ones are ok”. God doesn’t approve of that. We have to live our life His way, not ours. We must be obedient to what the Bible teaches, not what people say about what it teaches.
Have a listen and tell me what you think.
Over the past several weeks the videos of Japan and the utter destruction of the tsunami has left me with one recurring thought/question. What do you do when there is no place to run?
The question is do we live life, never thinking there is an end coming for us too?
At the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah (Gen 19) God tells His Lot to “flee”.
Gen 19:27-29 Abraham got up early in the morning and went to the place where he had stood before the LORD. 28 He looked out toward Sodom and Gomorrah and all the land of that region. As he did so, he saw the smoke rising up from the land like smoke from a furnace. 29 So when God destroyed the cities of the region, God honored Abraham’s request. He removed Lot from the midst of the destruction when he destroyed the cities Lot had lived in.
John warned the false teachers of the day to flee, but in this case, flee the false way they lived and do the works that match how a follower of God should be.
Matt3:7 But when he saw many Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, “You offspring of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? (Luke 3:7; Matt 12:34; Matt 23:33) 8 Therefore produce fruit that proves your repentance, (Luke 3:8)
So the question is do we live our life going from day to day without considering our condition before God. The time to consider such a question is before the end comes, not as you see it approaching with only seconds to spare. Think about it NOW. Hebrews 9:27 tells us we will ALL die and then we will ALL face judgement before God and His Christ.
Heb 9:27 And just as people are appointed to die once, and then to face judgment, 28 so also, after Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many, to those who eagerly await him he will appear a second time, not to bear sin but to bring salvation.
Ezek 33:10 “And you, son of man, say to the house of Israel, ‘This is what you have said: “Our rebellious acts and our sins have caught up with us, and we are wasting away because of them. How then can we live?”’
God has always showed his faithful people how to live and what to do. People as in Ezekiel’s day, sometimes figure out that they are not living right before God and ask a similar question. God is the provider of a way to flee.
Psalm 25:12 The LORD shows his faithful followers the way they should live.
Eph 2:4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of his great love with which he loved us, 5 even though we were dead in transgressions, made us alive together with Christ – by grace you are saved 6 and he raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 to demonstrate in the coming ages the surpassing wealth of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you are saved through faith, and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God 9 it is not from works, so that no one can boast. For we are his workmanship, having been created in Christ Jesus for good works that God prepared beforehand so we may do them
So if you are reading this, God has given you time … use it wisely and ask the question of yourself. If you determine that you are not safely within God’s grace, read Act 2:14-41 and think about when these men were pricking in their heart, what did Peter tell them to do … now go and do like wise.
I was recently able to get a series of lessons from a semi-retired preacher I know . I will be putting them up on the site as time permits. I think you will like them.
I recently preached about the relativistic way in which people view life, creation, God and the scriptures.
We find God’s absolutes standing in stark contrast to the world’s relative way to look at things.
Romans 3:4 (KJV)
God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged.
The world’s religions are much the same … it’s a “you’re OK, I’m OK” … let’s not judge each other that troubles me the most. A broad group of psycho-babel folks push this type of thinking and it’s not. And it’s about time we Christians started living life like its the truth.
John 14:15 (KJV)
If ye love me, keep my commandments.
Acts 5:29 (KJV)
Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.
Well, it’s about time that somebody got the message right, at least commercially. Its time for the church to get this message right too. God calls us to have our roles by His design. In Genesis, God made us male and female, let’s return to acting like it.
So here is an easier read for you:
Once upon a time, men wore the pants, and wore them well. Women rarely had to open doors and little old ladies never crossed the street alone. Men took charge because that's what they did. But somewhere along the way, the world decided it no longer needed men. Disco by Disco, Latte by foamy non-fat Latte, men were stripped of their khakis and left stranded on the road between boyhood and androgyny. But today, there are questions our gender-less society has no answers for. The world sits idly by as cities crumble, children misbehave and those little old ladies remain on one side of the street. For the first time since Bad Guys, WE NEED HEROES. WE NEED GROWN-UPs. We need men to put down the plastic fork, step away from the salad bar and untie the world from the tracks of complacency. It's time to get your hands dirty. Its time to answer the call of MANHOOD. IT'S TIME TO WERE THE PANTS.
I for one will be buying Dockers and supporting this “Man-Ifesto”. I invite you to be a man and wear the pants too.
I hope they will be coming out with the complementary Woman’s line of skirts, blouses and dresses. Modest and fashionable should never go out of style.
I just finished emailing them my thanks (Contact Levi’s)
"Wear the Pants", the Dockers Man-Ifesto.
THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!
As a 50+ year old husband and father of three, I praise you for pointing out how our culture has degraded and that its high time for men to start acting like men again. Gentlemen, not just males.
While I believe you (Levi’s) have been part of the problem, I’m very glad to see you recognizing some of the problem(s).
I will now start buying Dockers with joy, limiting my distrust. I have blogged you on my website (www.chbtb.com) and I will be sending the knowledge of your stand to my friends and contacts.
Now I ask you to return some more of the traditional clothing that I grew up with to the racks. I further challenge you to complete the other half of the coin, by coming out with a “Wear the Skirt” or “Dress like a Lady” promo that highlights modest and fashionable dresses, skirts and blouses.
Now how about you do the same and let them know that you appreciate their promotional ad and what it stands for.
I am in my fifties and remember a time when nobody had a computer or a calculator. So yes, I used to use the TRS-80, the Atari 800 (Great Machine, back in the day) and a desktop XT class PC, first with CPM, and then with DOS. Then I used the GEM UI instead of that Windows 2.0 junk. I was forced to move to Windows 3.1 because some of the software we used required it.
Then I got my first “portable” PC, it was 26lbs and only ran when the cord was plugged in, but at least I could take it with me to a customer’s location, because they didn’t have one, or had none to spare. We booted and ran everything off of 5 1/4″ floppy disks, until I got my 20MB hard disk, WOW! so much space, I could never fill that up!
Boy have times changed. Now our portable computers weight less than 5lbs and run for 6 hours on a battery. We can do everything with them and we still complain about Windows. Email, IM, Web browsing and all the standard office apps.
Now our phones can do half of what our notebooks can do. They can do Email, IM, Web browsing and we can even touch our docs and spreadsheets.
We should be amazed, every day!
Wednesday morning I got up early, 4:20am to be exact, and by 9 in the morning, I was standing in Jacksonville FL, a mere 728 miles from my home in Maryland. In less than 5 hours, I had eaten breakfast, driven about 60 miles and flow 700+ miles. AND, I expected to do the same in reverse that evening and sleep in my own bed that same night!
Can you imagine trying to explain that to one of our founding fathers? The 60 miles I drove would have taken 4-10 hours by horse or 2 1/2 days by foot. The 700 miles would have taken several weeks to a month by ship, winds depending. Over land, this would have taken approximately ~450 hours, which is between 57 and 75 days. Just think of how many meals, beds, changes of clothes one would need. The cost was enormous and the supplies need would be tons. I didn’t even take a tooth brush or a change of underwear.
The founding fathers would have had so much more to worry about, from the horse that would get left in Baltimore to transportation in Florida. We just rent a car in minutes and we are off and running. We really are blessed to be living in America in the year 2009. Would that we would marvel at want we can do and that we would be thankful to God.