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A Reminder to the Youth

“Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever.”-I John 2:15-17

When speaking a year ago to a youth conference regarding guarding against the world’s influence, numerous questions arose about how to know whether you should or should not watch a movie, buy a CD, or visit certain internet sites. Christians cannot simply apply stickers to certain movies or music that claim they are “God-approved.” However, certain Biblical principles such as the ten that follow can guide us into applying wisdom in making these decisions.

1. If it cannot bring glory to God, it will not bring joy to you. “Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” (I Corinthians 10:31)2. If you cannot honor your parents by participating in it, it is […]

Media by Us

Almost every newspaper or news magazine likes to tout that they are unbias and objective in their reporting. Yet all of us, when retelling events we have witnessed or researched (which is at the heart of news reporting), shape the account for our readers or listeners by the way we report it. We cannot help doing so, for our hearts and minds, indeed our very being, are involved in the process of writing. We will always have “media bias” because media is done by us. One reason I appreciate World magazine is they honestly admit right up front the perspective they use in reporting the news.

I thought of this recently as I found myself being quoted in a local paper regarding our church’s struggle with the library board and what transpired at their last meeting (you can read the article here). In large measure, I appreciate the Kokomo Perspective for bringing this issue to the public’s attention as the library’s decision will affect not only our congregation but the entire community. I sense the columnist may be somewhat sympathetic to our plight. Where he quotes me, he is using the words I uttered.

However, the columnist’s own perspective cannot help but […]

Now You Know Why

Last post (see below) I explained how I suffer from Celiaism. I know how annoying people can be who insist on telling you about every ache and pain of their condition, but bear with me as I offer an anecdote from yesterday that will help you sympathize with me better.

Yesterday in our church service I had the privilege of baptizing a big bear of a man named Greg. As he testified to before the congregation, Greg was formerly a bouncer who loved to fight and was afraid of nothing, until God brought the fear of the Lord upon him and led him to where he heard the gospel. As I was about to apply the water to this man who must weigh 300 pounds or more, my wife said to Celia, “Look, Daddy is about to baptize Greg.” Celia, obviously thinking of the many babies she had seen baptized, looked up at her mom and asked, “How is Daddy going to hold him?”

I’ll try to refrain from now on saying anything more about my condition, but then again remember I can’t help it. It’s my Celiaism kicking in.

Celiaism

I thought I would use this blog site to announce that recently I have been diagnosed with a condition known as “Celiaism.” Perhaps I should have called each of you personally to break the news more gently, but then again if you have observed me lately you already knew. Celiaism is a disorder that takes an otherwise sane, healthy man in his early 40’s and renders him googly-eyed, weak-kneed and unable to say “no” without severe stuttering. They tell me it’s a genetic issue caused by being the father of an adorable, precocious, attention-grabbing three year-old girl who (ironically come to think of it) is named Celia. They also tell me remission can occur over time but usually only lasts until grandchildren arrive, where “Celiaism Relapse” is probable.

Anyway, as hard as I have tried to overcome my Celiaism, I struggle and fail. I pledged that I would treat all of my six children the same as I raised them, and I know they were all just as cute at this age. Yet there’s something about being over 40 and living in the same house with this chattering doll with curls that just makes it impossible to fight. So please don’t […]

The Axe Handle Applied

My last blog (see below) told the story of the missionary Boniface. He cut down the Oak of Thor in the Middle Ages to remove the superstitious idol from among the Germanic people to whom he was ministering. The theme of wood was used to tell the story, most obviously by the towering oak being reduced to a Christian chapel.

Yet the story was given the title “The Axe Handle” because it was also made of wood. This handle was what gave Boniface the leverage he needed to accomplish the task at hand. As the prophets showed (see Isaiah 44:9-20) wood can be used to fashion idols or to glorify the God who gave it to us to use. Boniface, like Elijah who built laid wood on a stone altar to challenge the false prophets of Baal on Mt. Carmel, or like Gideon who had to cut down the wooden idol Asherah in front of his father’s house before he could face the Midianites, had to challenge his generation’s veneration of an idol. By using a wooden-handled axe, he employed the very substance the people worshipped to bring down their idol and glorify the Lord.

Some thirteen hundred years since Boniface, perhaps […]

The Axe Handle

(At a college dinner the other night, I read the following story with the title above.)

With his boots crunching the fallen leaves beneath him, and the early morning mist beginning to fade as the sun rose, the missionary walked determinedly toward the crowd that had gathered in the opening of the woods. The people, having been summoned from the surrounding villages the day before, stepped aside into huddled groups, some hiding behind the forest trees. They grew silent as they looked in horror at the missionary, who with clenched jaw and furrowed brow did not meet their stares. Instead, like a soldier marching into war he peered straight ahead to the object of his concern, his right hand tightening around the thin wooden handle of the axe he carried. Before him like a tower stood the great Oak of Thor, the tree of the god of Thunder, which had been worshipped for decades by the ancestors of the people now standing beneath its huge outstretched branches. As the missionary reached the base of the tree, he kicked aside the offerings of food and the crude, handmade artifacts made by this generation’s worshippers. He turned to face the crowd, the axe […]

The Fast Lane

“Whenever you fast, do not put on a gloomy face as the hypocrites do, for they neglect their appearance so that they will be noticed by men when they are fasting. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face so that your fasting will not be noticed by men, but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.” -Matthew 6:16-18

Though fasting is not widely practiced in affluent American churches, it is a spiritual discipline in which the Christian should regularly be engaged. A quick survey of Scripture will show that such things as times of trouble, urgent desires, and missionary expansion are all perfect opportunities to meet with prayer and fasting. The practice of deliberately withholding from your body normal foods, drinks and pleasures, known as fasting, done correctly, opens up an avenue to the Father’s heart.

I emphasize “done correctly.” I speak not so much of how often or how long or what type of fast, but the audience you seek. Jesus’ words above tells us that if the attitude of our heart […]

Silent Night I Understand, but Silent Morning?

Some Megachurches Close for Christmas – How do you like that for a title? I’m not making it up. Look for yourself at the link. How can it be that some of the super-sized churches in the land are closing their doors on the biggest Christian holiday?

To try and understand a confusing turn of events, I’ve tried to outline the logic for you below:

1) Megachurches have church services for the unchurched. This comes straight from the horse’s mouth, as Cally Parkinson, spokeswoman for the megachurch pace-setting congregation of Willow Creek Community Church, said, “If our target and our mission is to reach the unchurched, basically the people who don’t go to church, how likely is it that they’ll be going to church on Christmas morning?” she said. Did you get that? In case her tongue-twister passed you by, what she is saying is that church services are for the unchurched. If that is still confusing, I’m sorry, but it only gets worse (By the way, notice she is a spokeswoman. Is this a cabinet level position with the Pastor?).

2) The unchurched would not turn out significantly enough on Christmas Sunday to make market resources worth expending. Ms. Parkinson (Blogger’s note: […]

Come As You Are, But Don’t Leave That Way

On Sunday evening, November 20th, our family was heading home after a wonderful Thanksgiving Psalm Sing in Lafayette, our hearts full of the grace and wonder of God. As we drove east on SR 26, I noticed ahead a car off the right side of the road with headlights pointed at us. As we passed by at 45 mph (slowing to try and see in the dark what was going on), we realized this car was down in a ditch about five feet below the road. We stopped, turned around and drove back. Jamey and I hopped out of the van into the cold, dark night to investigate, while Miriam took the wheel to try and position our vehicle more safely on this two-lane road.

We came upon a Chevy Malibu with its tail end wrapped around a telephone pole. In the dark it was at first difficult to see if anyone was in the car, but as we dropped down into the ditch and started yelling the passenger door opened and out stumbled a man about thirty years of age, the door closing behind him. He was dressed in boots, blue jeans and a leather jacket, with five ear rings […]

The Law of Naboth’s Vineyard

The encroachment of government on personal rights and responsibilities is the result of our increasingly godless society. As man trusts the Lord less, he puts his trust in other men, particularly rulers, more. How a few recent examples have made me painfully aware of that lately!

The problem of increasing costs of local government coupled with an accounting error to the tune of $10 million in our city’s budget in a previous year left local leaders with a great shortfall in income. The solution? Our property taxes were increased by 40%.

Our church building sits kiddy corner to the public library in downtown Kokomo. For over a year now the library board has been considering different plans for expansion and renovation. One of the plans we recently discovered on their website, in the area labelled “demolition,” involves the “removal of the Presbyterian church.” That’s us! To this date, no one from the library or city has yet to contact us.

I’ve had to oversee my mom’s healthcare, and she is turning 65 in a few months. So I’ve been trying to figure out Medicare. Despite the claims of the Medicare literature (complete with colorful drawings and tables) that they are making it easy […]