Category Archives: Christianity

Purpose is NOT the Gospel.

Jesus is not a product.  Many try to sell Christianity as something to make you feel better, or give you peace, or in the case of Joel Osteen (or anyone else who touts the prosperity gospel), to make you rich.  Don’t come to Jesus for stuff.  Come to Jesus for Jesus.

Wretched with Todd Friel

Episode 1356

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Will the Real Noah Please Stand Up?

I read The Matt Walsh Blog this afternoon and I think he had an accurate review of the new ‘Noah’ movie.  I’m not trying to rehash what he said regarding the movie.  By the way, I got the impression that he thought it was drek.  I just heard some arguments in favor of viewing of the movie and I thought it needed to be addressed.

I have heard this argument repackaged many times for other movies, pastors, car salesmen, levitation machines, and pig wrestlers.  Essentially, the argument should not be about whether the movie is biblical or not, or even if it completely misrepresents God.  Or not.  The Christian shouldn’t disparage the movie.  As a matter of fact, he should watch the movie so that he will have opportunities to share the Gospel with people who have seen the movie.

Really?  The Gospel is already a stumbling block for people.  People think that they don’t need saving.  People don’t want to repent of their sins.  I cannot see how a misrepresentation of the Bible can bring people to Christ.  Maybe I’m pessimistic, but if one believes he can use the movie, ‘Noah’ as a launching pad to share the Gospel, he should have even more success sharing the Gospel with people who have seen ‘Pulp Fiction.’  Afterall, Samuel L. Jackson quoted scripture.

In interviews, Russell Crowe reveals that he has no idea what the biblical story of Noah is about.  Noah, the taskmaster?  Is that why God chose to save him?  Genesis 6:9 states, “Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his generation.  Noah walked with God.  John MacArthur’s commentary explains, “‘righteous’ is to live by God’s righteous standards;  ‘blameless’ sets him apart by a comparison with those of his day; and that he ‘walked with God’ puts him in a class with Enoch (p. 25).  That is a strong assertion comparing Noah with Enoch.  Remember, Enoch never tasted death.  God brought him straight to heaven.

Some people (usually people outside the faith) think righteous means perfect.  Does righteous and blameless mean Noah was perfect?  Does that mean he was a swell guy?  He certainly wasn’t perfect and some of his sins depicted in the Bible suggest he may not have been a swell guy.  MacArthur explains that “God makes it clear the Noah was a man who believed in God as Creator, Sovereign, and the only Savior from sin.”  That is what makes Noah righteous.

Most importantly, the story is a type, or illustration of Jesus.  Jesus said, “I am the door.  If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture” (John 10:9).  There was only one door in the ark.  That one door represents Jesus.  Did Noah shut that door?  No, God alone saves.  God shut that door (Genesis 7:16).

If you want to lead people to Christ, you use the Bible.  The Bible is truth.  It makes no sense to try to lead people with a counterfeit.  If you want to draw from unbiblical sources, good luck.  At least use something moderately entertaining, like Dr. Who.

Where is the Line?

How can one decide to walk the line if he doesn’t know the line?  Is the line merely of an external nature where one will be nice to others and tell the truth?  Perhaps, but that would be incomplete.

To even know what the line should be, one must know what truth is.  Without truth, our parameters are arbitrary.  Consider the spoon bender in the Matrix.  Fine.  There is no spoon.  We can say there is no ultimate truth.  If there is no ultimate truth, there is no truth at all.  Only the illusion of truth.

History can testify that this relativistic view of “what’s true for you is not necessarily true for me” is alive and well.  One view that can be adopted is the Machiavellian end justifying the means.

This is the fruit of postmodernism.  It should ALWAYS be illegal to murder.  It should ALWAYS be illegal to commit adultery.  It should ALWAYS be illegal to rape.  History’s relativism suggests otherwise.

Perhaps the most discussed question in history is, “What is truth?”  Pilate asked that very question in John 18:38.  I am no theologian, but I am a Christian and I believe that the Bible as a whole, answers that question quite nicely.

Moses brought the Ten Commandments down from Mount Sinai.  These Commandments were a code given by God that we are to live by.  Even today, I would guess that most people agree with some of them.  Murder is bad. So are stealing and adultery.

Regardless of the code we choose to live by, even if your motto is, “To thine one self be true,” you betray yourself.  Are you always true to yourself in all cases?  Are there exceptions?  These exceptions, intentional or not, would betray the above maxim.

God’s law was meant to show our shortcomings.  Our sinful nature. Jesus really put the screws to us when he said he is most concerned with what’s inside.

Jesus said, “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. (Matthew 5:27, 28 ESV)  Our thoughts condemn us in the eyes of God.  We thought we were keeping this commandment by not physically cheating on our spouses.

Jesus also stated, “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’  But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire. (Matthew 5:21, 22 ESV)  Anger is equal to murder? I’m guilty of unrighteous anger.  According to Jesus, I’m guilty of murder perhaps tens of thousands of times in my life.

The law was never intended to measure our good deeds with.  The law crushes the lawbreaker under its weight.  This is why we need the saving grace of Jesus Christ.

So, what is the line?  I submit that it’s the Ten Commandments.  Do I walk the line?  At best, I stumble alongside the line.  Thanks to Jesus, I am not condemned by the line.

 

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/03/30/prompt-walk-the-line/

Feeding the Masses

I am spending my day at Common Ground Community (CGC) today. CGC is a faith-based organization and It’s quiet as I’m the only one here. This evening will resemble a three ring circus with kids running loose and parents being ministered to by our volunteers. I’m in charge of tonight’s meal.

I guess I’ve been volunteering here close to three years. I typically volunteer to create supper one Thursday a month. I think volunteering here and with Mercy Chefs are what helped me become comfortable with catering. It’s only a fledgling business and I’m not looking to make millions, just enough to contribute to our household so we can finally melt that debt snowball.

Most people who come here don’t know who I am or what I do. I like it that way. I hope they came for Jesus, but I’m sure many just come to get some of their basic needs met.

Sometimes it’s difficult for me to volunteer here as my wife and children have told me that on several occasions, they have heard people whine and disparage my food.

They hear this while serving the members of this community. I ignored what they said for a couple of years and kept making things like spaghetti and meatballs, meatloaf, BBQ chicken, and homemade bread. Along with the main courses were various sides and desserts. I usually don’t go all out on the sides, but the main courses and desserts have always been from scratch.

A couple of months ago, we were short handed. After I was done in the kitchen I went to serve meals. We serve cafeteria style to feed everyone quickly. That night I heard many negative remarks and only one positive remark. I’m not here to boost my ego, but I hope all of my effort is well received. I’m wasting everyone’s time if nobody wants to eat it.

After this experience, I looked back on my experiences with Mercy Chefs I served in Kenner, LA after a hurricane, West, TX after a plant explosion. (I think that was a feed plant.) I even spent time in Colorado after last year’s flooding. We have served thousands of meals and I have never heard anything negative on any of these adventures. There was only gratitude. Again, this isn’t about some pity trip I’m on. I’m just making observations.

I believe that the victims of disasters are so grateful because they just lost everything. The people I encounter in this neighborhood are victims of the system.

This system encourages government dependence. This system holds very little value for dads or for families with both a mom and a dad. This system encourages thug life where eight year olds try to act like their favorite hardcore rapper wif diamonds in their teefs.

Granted, there are many who come here and are struggling to raise their children properly. To raise them to have respect for their elders. To raise them to have respect for themselves.

Society as a whole can get locked in a groupthink mentality where they think it is best to throw money at the problem. To give handouts. CGC, a Bible believing organization, now appears to be transitioning from a handout system to one that encourages the individual to help himself. I’m not a fan of clichés but in a sense, to give a ‘hand up.’

Since hearing feedback firsthand for the food I expended so much love to prepare, I’m in a sort of transition. Maybe I should cook something more fundamental. Last month I made Hoppin’ John, a dish consisting of blackeyed peas and rice. Today, I’m making pinto beans and rice. Don’t worry, I’m going to have cornbread, too.

I still expend the same energy shopping, chopping, and cooking. These beans are going to taste out of this world, but for now, I’m offering two basic meals that we enjoy every week at home: beans and rice and rice and beans.

I can feed them today, but I hope they find the Bread of Life where they will never hunger again.

It’s All Relative?

All of the great philosophers have attempted to answer the really important questions. Are people innately good? How do we determine what is moral? Where do those socks go when they are lost in the drier? Perhaps the greatest question of all was posed by Pilate. He asked Jesus, “What is truth?”

The dictionary certainly doesn’t help. It says truth is the quality or state of being true. Sounds kinda circular to me.

If something is true, is it always true? Or is it only true to the individual? Maybe the question should be reframed. How about, “Is truth really namby-pamby”? CARM.org states, “In relativism, all points of view are equally valid and all truth is relative to the individual.” So, from the relativistic postmodern view, truth is namby-pamby.

On the surface, relativism sounds pretty good. We each can hold our own truths and everyone lives happily ever after, right? What happens when these relative truths conflict with each other?

If I say chocolate ice cream is the best and you say vanilla ice cream is the best, how do we determine what is right? (I believe I first heard this analogy from Todd Friel on Wretched). Rock, paper, scissors? We both can hold our individual view as our favorite ice cream flavors are preferences.

What if you say murder is bad and I say murder is good? Are we both right? Are these ‘truths’ preferences? Which opinion overrides the other?

Before you say that murder is harmful to the murderee, how do you know? What is right for you is not necessarily right for me. Maybe the murderee has terminal cancer. Maybe not. It’s irrelevant. I say murder is good. You have no right to force your worldview on me anymore than I have a right to force my worldview on you.

Maybe you think it’s a stupid question. That’s merely your preference. In the world of relativity, serial murder is just as valid saving the whales. Further, the mere fact you think the question is stupid is forming a judgement.

Doesn’t the Bible say, “Don’t judge?” Is that all the Bible says? It goes on to instruct the proper way to judge. To judge with righteous judgment. Wait a second, I thought the Bible said, “Don’t judge.” When considering what the Bible says, think about what Paul Washer says. He says it so eloquently in KJV style. In response to this particular misconstrued scripture, he says, “Twist not scripture, lest ye be like Satan.” That sounds mean. Wait, I take that back because I was being judgmental.

The truth is that there is absolute truth. This truth comes from an eternal God. This is where we derive our morality. Is rape always bad? We already know the answer, but if we play Dueling Worldviews, we cannot say with any authority that rape is bad. We have an opinion.

I’m no expert. See what William Lane Craig has to say on the subject. You cannot have objective moral values based on subjective observations.

I’m no authority. I’ve just heard the argument unfold and people insist there is no God, yet there are subjective-objective moral values.

This argument gives me a headache. Some people want to suppress the truth in God so vehemently, he will accept ridiculous tenets to support his fractured worldview.

I know I must be anti-intellectual because I’m a Christian. We “blindly” hold onto crazy beliefs. Why should I accept the lie when I can plainly see the truth?