Showing posts from July, 2010

Interpreting Prophecy

When you put on dark glasses, things will get dark.  Rose ones make the world rosy.  The same is true in the realm of ideas.  The presuppositions we bring to the table can hinder clear interpretation.  When it comes to Bible prophecy there are a few presuppositions we may bring to the table that cloud interpretation. 1.        I have no presuppositions.  Being that the very idea that you have no presuppositions is a presupposition, it is even more imperative that we concede that we have them and be willing to deal with them.  In the very least, one’s culture and historical context will influence one’s interpretation of Biblical prophecy.  For instance, people interpreted prophetic passages of Scripture in the Middle Ages differently than the generation just prior to WWII.  In the realm of modern interpretation, WWII changed everything.  This does not mean that because we have contextual and cultural presuppositions that we should not study Scripture and believe things strongly.  Rathe

Claiming Life

Commandment six is brief and to the point.   In its most familiar form for those reading this blog, the English rendering, “You shall not kill”, appears somewhat vague and begs for clarification.   I shouldn’t kill what?   Does this commandment forbid only the killing of humans or does it extend also to killing animals?   I killed a roach last night.   Was that a sin?   My wife has never sinned by killing a roach simply because she refuses to get close enough to kill one.   I am husband, father, pastor, roach killer.   Not only does the brevity of the commandment engender questions, but it seems to be a glaring contradiction in the context of Scripture.   If God says not to kill in Exodus 20:13 then how can He justify His command for the Joshua genocides and the constant call for enforcement of capital punishment throughout the Old Testament (Gen. 9:6, Ex. 21:12).   God calls for capital punishment in cases of adultery (Lev. 20:10) and rape (Deut 22:23-27).   The list of capital offen

Dad Life

Thank you Ken McKibben! Dad Life from Church on the Move on Vimeo .

On "The Case Against Summer Vacation"

In my limited experience with writing I know that an article is like a three year old in a crowded mall, it can get away from you in a hurry. What you intended the article to be, turns into something else completely. In the case of David Von Drehle’s article in this week’s TIME Magazine, “The Case Against Summer Vacation”, at the outset appears to be another entry from over zealous math teachers everywhere in their conspiracy against summer vacation, but in the end becomes something else entirely. Either the article got away from him or he brilliantly sucked in over zealous anti-summer math teachers to read a well written apologetic for education reform. The subtitle caught my eye as it called summer vacation, “An outdated legacy of the farm economy” and goes on to loathe the tradition by saying, “Adults still romanticize it (I am guilty here). But those months out of school do the most damage to kids who can least afford it.” The gut reaction of a guy who grew up camping, playi

Illegitimate Lords (sermon audio: Sunday a.m.)

As Christians, we think we’ve got it all figured out. We’ve said our prayer, paid our tithe and Jesus is our Lord; or is He? In Mark 12, Jesus shows that He is over every facet of daily life, as well as eternal life. However, continuous rebellion and disobedience prove that we have, in fact, made ourselves the lord of our life and reject the impact of the gospel. Listen to Audio

Be Heavy on Family

The first commandment, “You shall have no other gods before me”, serves as the spine for the next three (it holds it all together).  If God is your god your house will be clean of idols, you will take His name seriously, and you will do what He did by taking a Sabbath.  Most scholars refer to these first four commandments as book or tablet 1.  Book, or tablet 2, begins with the family.  “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the LORD your God is giving you.”  Like commandment 1, commandment 5 serves as a spine for what is to follow.  Rightly relating to God requires uncontested allegiance.  Rightly relating to other people begins at home. The word translated “honor” is a word commonly translated “heavy.”  If we want stability in our society we must be heavy on the family.  To honor one's father and mother is to value or glorify their place in society above all else.  In the fifth commandment, community is connected to family, “that your day

On "The Good and Bad Economy"

Michael Crowley’s entry into this week’s TIME magazine, “The Good and Bad Economy” outlines the difficult agenda of economic recovery facing the Obama administration as it deals with not only conflicting economic data but also with an electorate sharply divided philosophically on how to end the current recession.  There is a looming fear of the “double dip,” that after some signs of growth our nation’s economy will shrink once again.  Although the nation’s economy has “double dipped” a few times since, the dreaded “double dip” is most often associated with 1937 “when a U.S. economy fighting its way out of the Great Depression crashed a second time, requiring the massive industrial effort of World War II to rejuvenate it.”  In any historical period the “double dip” signals a long excruciating recovery from recession. Even after an $862 billion stimulus package, soon to run out, the economy remains in peril.  The Obama administration, left minded economists, and Democrats believe that w

Corrupted (sermon audio: Sunday a.m.)

So often we measure our spiritual health on the level of religious sincerity, activity, or service. However, God is not interested in our show; He is concerned with our sin. He uses the fig tree to illustrate what can happen when we allow sin to corrupt our lives, families, and churches. We believe we have the approval and favor of God, when actually, we are fruitless and unprepared. We are corrupted. Listen to Audio

Will Divorce Make You Happy?

I referenced this article in the sermon on Sunday.  In place of writing on this topic I think it would be more helpful to simply refer you to the findings of this study.  Does Divorce Make People Happy?  Findings From a Study of Unhappy Marriages .  Here is an excerpt: Why doesn't divorce typically make adults happier? The authors of the study suggest that while eliminating some stresses and sources of potential harm, divorce may create others as well. The decision to divorce sets in motion a large number of processes and events over which an individual has little control that are likely to deeply affect his or her emotional well-being. These include the response of one's spouse to divorce; the reactions of children; potential disappointments and aggravation in custody, child support, and visitation orders; new financial or health stresses for one or both parents; and new relationships or marriages. In short the study concludes that divorce do

Divorced, Now What?

The simple Biblical principle when it comes to divorce is that it is not God’s will for couples to divorce, but like every other strain of hurt, injustice, and sin, divorce happens.  The Bible speaks to married couples in teaching marital oneness and forbidding divorce, but the Bible also speaks to the divorced by protecting the innocent, granting a sense of closure, and creating a safe place to heal.  More specifically, what does the Bible say about life after divorce? 1.        Know your Biblical rights.  Without restating what I said in the previous post “ Divorce, The What If’s ”, the Bible gives someone who has been divorced the right to be done with the marriage and move on.  Granted, as a pastor, if there is any opportunity for a divorced couple to reconcile and remarry, I seek that end.  Yet, in many cases post divorce life becomes a battleground of emotional and mental manipulation.  Even though the marriage has ended, one party or the other, or both may engage in deviant ways

Divorce, The What If's

In the previous post of this series I discussed the need for the church to be uncompromising in its proclamation against divorce, but caring toward those who have experienced divorce.   Our message needs to be direct, yet personal.   The personal, caring side of our proclamation comes in the “what if’s?”   Married couples shouldn’t divorce.   But what if there is abuse?   What if there is adultery?   What if there is addiction that could lead a family into financial ruin?   What if both parties agree that they are not happy together and they agree to an amicable divorce?   What if a person doesn’t want to divorce but their spouse leaves them anyway?   Are the people of the “what if’s” forever condemned?   Does the Bible have anything to say to the “what if’s?” The Bible does have some “what if” clauses:   Matthew 5:31-32, 19:9 and 1 Corinthians 7:10-16.   In Matthew 5:31-22 and 19:9 Jesus adds an “except” to what is recorded in Mark 10.   The exception here is sexual immorality.   In 1

Growing Out of Faith (sermon audio: Sunday a.m.)

Children are full of faith. They find it easy to believe in almost anything unless someone gives them a reason not to. As we grow up we find plenty of reasons not to believe. We slowly grow out of faith. The difficulties of marriage, the effects of divorce, financial concerns, pride, fear, relationships, and attachments can all give us good reasons to grow out of faith. The pressures of surviving adulthood reprioritize our lives and can slowly erode what little faith we had left in our souls. In Mark 10, Jesus warns His followers, that to enter the Kingdom of Heaven they needed to return to childlike faith. They needed to detach from every reason they have ever been given “not to believe” and simply follow – like a child. If your soul is feeling the crush of the “big boy and big girl” concerns of life, if you feel like you are losing faith and are in desperate need of hope, join us for the sermon “Growing Out of Faith.” Listen to Audio

Uncompromisingly Caring About Divorce

As previously stated this series of posts stems from questions that I anticipated to arise and statements that have arisen as a result of talking about divorce from Mark 10.   Mark 10 is a clear, uncompromising statement that there is no occasion or circumstance in which God blesses divorce.   Jesus goes on to say that those who divorce and marry others commit adultery.   We could not only consider this statement uncompromising as we acknowledge that it is tight and allows for no wiggle room in interpretation, but we could also say that it is abrupt and seemingly harsh.   If Jesus is uncompromising is He also uncaring?   They key is context.   Because Jesus said it “like this” we have warrant to adopt a direct and uncompromising tone, which may at times seem harsh, when communicating the Scriptural position on divorce. The current culture, as well as the church culture, is much too flippant (much like the Pharisees of Mark 10) when it comes to divorce.   We have adopted a cavalier atti

Why Talk About Divorce?

On Sunday (July 11, 2010) I preached a sermon from Mark 10.   A portion of that passage addresses the issue of divorce.   Although preachers are often accused of being “longwinded”, there is often not enough time for the wind to fully inflate the sails!   Such is the case when trying to cover the topic of divorce.   Divorce is a “hot potato” in the church for two reasons.   1)   It is regarded as sin and 2) it is very common.   Preachers preach on sin all the time, but divorce is different.   There is no record at the courthouse for my last lie.   There have been times in my life in which I did not obey my parents, but it did not result in an album of professional photographs documenting a failure with “my other set of parents.”   Divorce is very public.   It involves a lot of people.   It is never forgotten and carries with it hurt feelings and guilt that can last a lifetime.   Because divorce is such a personal issue it is usually a topic that is immediately met with a defensive post

Exorcising Faithless (sermon audio: Sunday a.m.)

Sometimes God has something to say to us through our failures. In Mark 9, Jesus addresses his disciples and the issue of ineffectiveness. There are things that can creep into our lives that render us powerless in our ministry, but also our discipleship. If left unchecked, it is very difficult to recover. In the disciples attempt to exorcise the demon possessed child, they are confronted with the need for exorcising their own lack of faith. We, too, must eliminate the attitudes that hinder the work of God in our own lives. Listen Audio