Monday, September 30, 2013

Atheist Megachurches?

Most of the time when I post something, I try to make at least some salient comment about it.

Not this time. The headline above says "Atheist Megachurches." I'm not making it up. Give this a read.

Most of you who read this blog will no doubt join me in shaking your head in sad wonder. Why not rather just admit what they know deep down inside—that there is a God, and that they need to repent?

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Contempt for the People

By now, it's getting routine. The American people make it abundantly clear that they don't want something that the Administration of Barack Obama is pushing. Loudly clear. But the Administration ignores the people and does what it wants.

The latest is the recent action by Secretary of State John Kerry to sign a UN Treaty on Small Arms. He signed it despite very clear polls that the American people want our Constitutional right to keep and bear arms left alone, and that we also want the United Nations to butt out. Kerry signed it (at Obama's direction) despite a clear, bi-partisan word from the United States Senate that the treaty was dead on arrival.

This is sheer arrogance and reveals a dictatorial heart. The health care fiasco was a great example - the way that got rammed through despite the electorate's wishes. They refuse to repeal it despite the clear wishes of the electorate. And now this.

I think that "We the People" had best wake up to what's going on around us. Clean house in 2014's mid-terms, including replacing some RINO Republicans who usually back the Democrats when it counts. Then put the White House back in the hands of someone who respects and values our history as a Republic, and our Constitution.

Whoever it is, they will have a horrible time repairing the damage done by Obama's eight years in office. If the damage is even repairable.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Religious Freedom in the Workplace?

Craig James' Firing by Fox Sports—Beyond Chilling.

I am afraid I saw this kind of thing coming along ago. But it's wrong, and against everything we hold dear in what is supposed to be the home of the free—the United States of America.

I am talking about the recent dismissal of Craig James by the Fox Sports Network. His sin? Exercising his free speech and religious rights as an American citizen—on his own time and not company time. As a Christian, James takes the biblical view that homosexuality is sin, plus other traditional stances that are not popular with the politically correct crowd.

I hope he sues and wins. Because this is just plain wrong.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Popes Change, but God Does Not!

The world is abuzz today with Pope Francis' recent interview where he in essence says the Catholic Church needs to re-assess how it handles homosexuality and other issues. Needless to say, political and theological liberals are ebullient, while those of us who are biblical (and political) conservatives are not.

It all depends on precisely what Francis means. As a non-Catholic evangelical Protestant, of course I do not recognize his spiritual authority. But conservative Catholics and conservative Protestants are in agreement on many moral issues, and I would join those conservative Catholics in alarm if this signals a liberalizing of theology. Because in the end, it all boils down to the authority of God and His revealed, written Word—the Bible. And as we know, the authority of the Bible in relation to the authority of the church has always been a bone of contention since the Reformation.

God's Word says what means and means what it says. What the Bible calls sin and evil is—and remains—sin and evil. God does not change and His Word does not change, even though human spiritual leaders do change over time. Human spiritual leaders have no right whatsoever to alter the Word of God. Whoever does so will pay a very severe price in eternity.

If Francis means only that the truth must be communicated in love, and not in legalistic, heartless coldness, I would agree with him. After all, we are all sinners saved by grace—assuming we really ARE saved. But Jesus said, "If you love Me, keep my commandments." Our obedience to His Word and moral behavior is a sign that we truly are His children, and confirms such to the world. We are Christ's ambassadors. If we try to justify sinful behavior and say that it doesn't matter, we have only become antinomian and are ultimately deniers of the Lord, because we make Him a liar. The same Jesus who forgave the woman in adultery also told her very clearly, "Go, and sin no more." The Lord did not excuse her sin, and commanded her to repent of it.

The Gospel holds out hope of salvation and deliverance from the power of sin. Note the Apostle Paul's words on that subject . . . Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolators, nor adulterers, nor effiminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, not the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. Such were some of you, but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.

Paul, in the authority of the Lord Himself and under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, laid out quite a laundry list of sins, and then said, "such WERE some of you." Christ came to free us from the power of sin. Romans 6:2 - will we who died to sin still live in it? God forbid!

I hope Francis believes the above, and will uphold it. But if he means to sweep these sins under the rug and water down the truth of the Gospel, that cannot go unchallenged. And it won't. Time will tell.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Sooey! Whoo Pig!

Yes, Virginia. There Really Are Wild Razorback Hogs in Arkansas!

I just had to post this article from the Encyclopedia of Arkansas. I love it.

Most people know that the Razorbacks are a collegiate sports team in Arkansas, but some mistakenly think that dangerous wild boars running around in the woods, mountains and swamps of the state are a myth.

They're not. Mind you, in the days of photoshop, you are liable to see pigs of gargantuan size supposedly hunted that would dwarf a Mack Truck. They don't get that big. But a 400-pound, cornered, angry wild boar is nothing to tangle with unless you have an accurate .308 handy. And some extra shots.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Remembering Job

Dr. David Jeremiah is preaching this morning on the subject of disasters, and God's sovereignty. Some of his text was taken from the example of Job in Scripture. And that got me thinking about what I wanted to post this morning before church.

Job is believed to be the oldest book in the Bible, and is a gripping, moving account of how a godly man responded to heartbreaking, severe trial. And more than that, it's a wonderful picture of God's faithfulness, and how Satan is headed to eventual, final defeat (he already is defeated, actually).

I note with interest and some head-shaking that many—rather than taking note of the main POINT and LESSON of the book of Job—instead want to spend their time arguing over whether Job was a real person or if the book is just supposed to be an object lesson. And how often does that end up going down a predictable path? "Job wasn't a real person. Neither were Adam and Eve. God's Word isn't really God's Word, just a bunch of old writings written by men," Yada yada yada.

They can't see the forest for the trees. And ultimately, they really don't want to believe at the outset. "There is none righteous, no, not one. There is NONE who seeks after God." The fallen human condition.

But there is an answer in God's mercy. He provided the answer through His Son, His final Word. He died on the cross for our sins, and rose again from the dead for our justification. Believe and repent now, while there is still time. Because time is running out.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Thankful Harvest

I am always thankful to the Lord for His gracious provision, but I know it's never thankful enough. He provides for His own in so many ways.

Those gorgeously red mason jars are filled with apple butter I made yesterday. I would say we've been canning pretty much non-stop since August. Green beans, peaches, pears, grape jelly, peach marmalade, pear preserves, tomatoes, etc. Mom has helped as much as she is able, although at 90 and not in the best of health, it's hard for her to stand for long periods of time. So I've handled the bulk of it this year. Every joint in my body is screaming this morning after yesterday's apple and grape canning, but when I hear the "ping" of that mason jar lid sealing, it's worth it.

Amazingly, sometimes I get chided for all the canning we do. "Why don't you quit bothering with that stuff and just get it at the store." Seriously?

Other folks I know turn their noses up at home-canned produce. If it's done properly and according to established food safety procedures (which we do), it's a rewarding thing to have on hand. And guess what, it is delicious. Far better for you than the processed, chemically preserved stuff you get at the store. So I don't get the attitude.

I get it from my Southern heritage, and having parents who grew up in the Depression. They, as were my grandparents, were poor farmers in Arkansas. It was a hard life. And when you have to do without, you're thankful for whatever food you can raise and preserve.

My father, stepfather, and grandparents have passed on. But I still have Mom and her God-given wisdom. Hard times may be coming. And when they do, I know there will be two people who will be very, very thankful for what is in those mason jars.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

A Rare Radio Opportunity

I recently became aware of a very rare broadcasting opportunity coming this October from the Federal Communications Commission—an opportunity that needs to be snapped up quickly by churches that have schools connected with them. Here is the information about it.

To be specific, I would love for some solid, conservative, Reformed theology-type churches with church schools or Bible schools to take advantage of this. Most of the large Christian broadcast networks are pretty much controlled by charismatic interests, and while there is some good programming on these networks, there is also an awful lot of horrible theology that gets aired on them.

These are low power FM licenses that are being made available, so the signal reach of each new station would be fairly limited. However, through the internet and networking, the reach could be multiplied.

For every solid church out there that might want an opportunity to have a radio ministry, there are probably tens if not thousands of cults and crackpots out there to compete. Prayerfully seek the Lord about this, and if He so leads, by all means, apply!! Sound biblical theology is needed now more than ever!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

A Hollywood Director Who Cared

Since I was on a movie theme yesterday, I figured I'd continue with it today, especially after finding this Christian Post article about the late director Cecil B. DeMille.

DeMille, of course, is best known probably for the 1956 film "The Ten Commandments," which starred Charlton Heston and a host of other Hollywood greats. It was one of the last great "epic" productions out of Tinseltown, and in my view, one of the most powerful films ever done. True, it did not follow Scripture in every jot or tittle, but the subject matter was handled with reverence and respect. Cecil would be very unhappy to see how matters of faith are handled these days in the entertainment industry.

Anyway, read the article, and think. The days when a Hollywood director would work tirelessly to erect monuments to the 10 Commandments are long gone. These days, as the article points out, people are working tirelessly to tear them down as fast as they can.

It won't work. The originals are in Good Hands and aren't going anywhere. Like it or not.

Monday, September 09, 2013

A Controversial "R" Rating

Through the years, I know that many have scratched their heads over the MPAA's rating system for movies. Ratings have always been a source of controversy, and we've heard most of the arguments. PG movies typically do better at the box office than R movies, yet Hollywood loves to push the envelope, so we seem to see quite a few R-rated flicks. It's artistic, you know (sarcasm).

PG (Parental Guidance suggested) used to be fairly tame, but they had to come up with PG-13 later because some material was thought too over-the-top for anyone under 13 (and quite frankly, there are some PG movies I wouldn't take a 13-year-old to see). Remember the kerfuffle over ditching the infamous X-rating in favor of what is now NC-17? Anything rated X had the pornography stigma, and in my view, such a rating was perfectly appropriate. There are quite a few R movies that would receive an X rating if I was the one handing them out.

All of that introductory musing to introduce this column by Todd Starnes. Todd is discussing a new movie called "My Son," which was produced by Retta Baptist Church in Texas. The movie got slapped with an R rating, which obviously has the church outraged because that may hurt the box office, and keep the intended audience out of the theatre - the intended audience being churchgoers or church-friendly.

According to the church, there is some violence in the film connected with a hostage situation depicted in the film, plus some drug use, but neither being gratuitous or gory. Was the film given an R rating because Hollywood doesn't like the Christian content of the film? The church thinks so.

And it may well be. There are far, far worse, more violent films that get a PG-13. We'll see how creative they get with their explanations over time.

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Missing Arkansas

I'll never forget taking this picture of the famous Whitaker Point in the Arkansas Ozarks. Perhaps you might know it by its more common name, "Hawksbill Crag," called so for obvious reasons. It's probably the most photographed scene in the Ozarks. I've stood on it, and trust me, stay away from the edge. It's a long way down, and as well-known photographer and trail guide Tim Ernst says, "if you slip and fall, you'll probably die." There are lots of places like that in the Ozarks. No matter, it's still gorgeous.

The day this picture was taken, it was in July, and the temperature hovered around 100F. What kind of dummies would be hiking trails in the summer. . . and above all, in the South? Dummies like me, and I enjoyed every minute of it. I liked a plunge into the nice, crystal clear, cool Buffalo River even more.

I haven't been able to get back to my favorite stomping grounds for work and family reasons, but I miss it more every day. You can't cross a river or stream here in northern Illinois and view the muddy brown sludge and enjoy it much after you've seen the aquamarine clarity of an Ozark stream. The fishing is great, people show you the famous Southern hospitality, the food is great - especially if you can find an old Mom and Pop cafe or barbecue in a small town. Don't mess with the chain restaurants. Get out where the real comfort food is!

I'd better shut up. I'm making myself homesick, and hungry. Oh, well. Someday . . .