Tuesday, April 16, 2013


I realize in writing this blog that this subject will be limited to those who have some understanding of what it means to restrict your thoughts and remarks to certain boundaries.  A context sets limits as to how you can use the contains.  The contains must stay with the context.

Of course, I am speaking of the Bible in this blog and the context I am referring to is the context/limits of the Bible itself.  What I may have to say about the Bible must agree to the context or it is on its own. I may have a lot to say about a subject that the Bible discusses but if I began to form my own context and leave the Bible's context behind I have entered the realm of philosophy.  Philosophy being understood here as to what I think in my own mind about a subject.  This is philosophy and no longer within the bounds of the Bible's context.

Why is this so important?  Our Christian faith has its roots in the Bible.  We believe what we believe because of what the Bible has to say to us.  The moment I depart from the Bible and began to teach or preach something other than what the Bible says I am on my own and my personal philosophy will allow me to form my own beliefs.

This departure from the context of the Bible as the sole authority of the Christian faith has brought great confusion into the "Christian" world.  Strange and contradictory teachings are being heard within the ranks of the Christian faith.  For example, the context of the Bible clearly states that there is only one way to heaven.  And yet we hear within the Christian faith those who say there are many ways to heaven.  You can not have it both ways.  These two teachings contradict each other.

It is obvious that someone has departed from the context of the Bible.  Either the context tells us that there are many ways or there is only one way.  This one teaching brings to the fore front the important of the context.  What does the context tell us about this one teaching?  If we can not depend on the context to give us an answer we are in trouble.  The trouble being that all teachings of the Christian faith can be brought into question. The context is our security.  It is our only authority.  Otherwise, it is everyman for himself and his own philosophy.

Here is a basic rule that can not be departed from:  All interpretation of scripture must agree perfectly with the context of the Bible as a whole and not in part.  If the interpretation we expound does not agree with the context of the Bible then it is wrong and has to be wrong.  The creditability of the Bible as the word of God will have come into question.  There is ONE context and only one.  The Bible has a God given context and a departure from it becomes non-christian.

Increasingly this departure from the context of the Bible is causing great confusion within the Christian faith.  Some examples are the one I have already referred to and that is that Jesus is the only way to the Father.  Many within the Christian faith are saying there are many ways.  This is contradictory.   Others will say that Jesus was not born of the virgin Mary.  The Bible says He was.  Something is wrong here.  Both positions can not be true.  Some will say we do not need a Savior at all but the Bible's context tells us every man needs a Savior.

I could go on and on with these contradictory teachings we are hearing today.  They are totally out of the context of the Bible's message and yet still want to be known as Christian.  This is causing great confusion amount the followers of Christ.  Many are becoming so confused by these teachers that they are leaving the Christian faith altogether.

A strong warning that appears repeatedly in the Bible is that there would be false prophets within the ranks of the Christian faith that would cause great confusion.  To quote one of Jesus' warnings, "False Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect."  (Matthew 24:24)  Be careful what you hear.  Does the sweet sounding teachings that please our ears have a Bible context or is it merely beautifully sounding philosophy that makes us feel good.

The context is the key to the truth of the Bible.  Teachings must remind within that context or it becomes misleading to the point of a person losing their way.  It is happening in pulpits within the Christian faith.  It is more than just alarming it is endangering the destiny of the souls of men.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Depression: The Enemy of Many

The sad news of Rick Warren's son's suicide has prompted me to write.  I have always admired those who never seem to be troubled with depression.  Of course, it could be that they are just good at hiding it.  But for many it is a constant issue.  It comes and goes.  At times it stays way to long and that is scary.

I would like to say that we who claim to be Christian and maybe spirit filled are never depressed.  I would like to say we live on an ever present high.  Life is just great everyday.  However, that is not true.  I have had too many years of dealings with people as a pastor to know this is not the way it is.

Yes, God is always there.  There is no doubt about that fact.   However, it just seems that at times He is just too far away to influence us.  Distance has developed for various reasons.  We pray.  We really do pray.  We look for special passages in the Bible that may have something to say to us.  We talk to friends or professionals.  However, it just doesn't go away for very long.

The battle is real for us though others can't see it.  We seem to fight ourselves.  We struggle with doubt about our relationship with the Lord.  We know Satan's goal is to keep us in this worthless state of mind. We blame others.  Our spouse doesn't understand us.  Children?  Well, they are just children.

Rick Warren's son knew he was going to a better place and ask his father what was wrong with his just going on.  He wanted to end the depression.  The daily struggles were so wearisome.  Finally, he could take no more.

What saddens my soul in all of this is the fact that we are talking about someone who was a genuine Christian.  He loved the Lord.  He served the Lord.  He helped others.  He did all things that we could expect a Christian to do.  And yet, deep inside him, to deep for anyone to reach, he was hurting.  Everyday it was there.

I wish in writing this I had some great answer to offer to bring this kind of suffering to an end.  However, I do not have it.  You might ask, "Do you as a pastor suffer from this kind of thing?"  Yes, I have to be honest.  I find myself playing the game of being happy all the time and having all the answers but that is just not true.

My faith in God is not weaken by these bouts of depression.  My desire to help others is always there.  I pray without doubting what God can do.  I do all of these things.  But, the struggle still comes.  Depression is real.  Believe me.  It is real.  I just have to tell you it is real.  

Thursday, March 28, 2013


Never was a more important prayer prayed in all of history.  It was prayed in great agony by the One who prayed in the dark morning hours before dawn.  After a last meal with His apostles He went to this His favorite place of prayer and He prayed.  "Deeply distressed and troubled" He prayed.  "My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death."

It would be His last prayer before going to His death.  It contained three parts:  1.  Abba, Father, everything is possible for You.  2.  Take this cup from Me.  3.  Yet not what I will, but what you will.  (Mark 14:36)

A beautiful pattern of pray for us all.  1.  An acknowledge that all things are possible when it comes to God.  2.  A personal prayer for deliverance from something He was facing.  3.  A very Personal surrender to God's will no matter what the outcome.

What do you suppose was in that cup that He beg for deliverance from?  What did He see in the cup?  Why was it so important for Him to drink it?  A cup is often referred to in the Bible in special ways.  (Isaiah 51:17; Jeremiah 25:15; Revelation 14:10)  In these passages it is called the cup of God's wrath.

Is this the cup that Jesus was being ask to drink?  And what does it mean?  I think it is obvious that the cup contained all of God's angry against sin and what it had done to His creation.  God was angry.  Satan used sin and its curse to bring destruction upon God's special creation and God was angry with Satan, with Sin's cruse, with the destruction that it had caused.

The cup had to dealt with.  The wrath of God against sin had to be turned away.  Someone would have to take the cup into His own hands and willingly drink the cup's contains to its dregs.  Someone qualified.  Someone who was exempted from the wrath that was in the cup.  Who qualified for such a task?

There was a man.  A man born without sin and subsequently not under the curse of the cup's wrath. Someone whose love for others would be so great that He would drink their cup for them.

The agony of the prayer of Jesus lets us know that He knew the consequences of drinking the cup.  He knew the intense suffering that it would cause Him.  He knew that at some point, the Father would turn away from the one drinking the cup, even if it were His on Son.  "My God, My God why have you forsaken Me?"

This is Good Friday.  Do not forget how important this day is.  If it had not been for Good Friday there would have been no resurrection Sunday.  It is Friday.  But Sunday is come.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013


Yes, I am on Facebook.  I find it very intriguing and it seems many others do.  I eased in to it at first wondering just what I was getting in to.  But my easing began to carry me faster than I anticipated.  I found lost friends.  Caught up on wonderful newsy things.  I am a pastor so I saw a use to communicate my various thoughts very quickly.

My friends list grew very fast.  It was amazing.  I found myself accepting "friends" I did not even know.  So my circle of friends became very strange.  I don't why I called some of them friends.  But, still it was fun.

I soon found myself saying very personal things without much thought.  Sometimes it was just an answer to a question.  Other times it was just an involuntary act.  This personal information was growing faster than I gave thought too what I was doing.  It really seemed innocent enough.

My friends list eventually reached into thousands.  I really don't know how that happened so quickly except that I am a pastor and I do know a lot of people and they seem to know me.

A few weeks ago I began to read of organizations throughout the world that were gathering information about people from "social networks."  This caught my attention and I read more.  I researched the various organizations to try and discover just why they would want to do this.

When you talk about social networks, of course, you are talking about a number of internet groups formed for various reasons.  Most where not originally organized to gain information on people.  It seems that this part of their work developed as they realized there was something that could be very useful in knowing as much about people as they could possible gather.

These organizations began the process of gathering information from every "social network" that was open to them.  Facebook seems to be the most popular and is full of personal information.  The companies then began to put together personal profiles of individuals.  Their likes and dislikes.  The friends lists was easy to get.  Food they liked and places they would frequent often.  Their religion, their politics, their views on sensitive issues such as abortion, birth control, gay rights, and on and on it would go.  There seem to be no end to what these organizations knew about people.

They then became to realize how valuable this information was.  It could be sold.  People would pay large amounts of money for this kind of personal information.  Advertisers, political parties, products to be sold, proselytizing religions, and of course governments.  Companies started making millions selling this "free" information.

The information gathering process is growing.  The speed is amazing.  It grows because more and more people are joining the networks.  And the members who have been there are adding almost daily.  While we add our information vast computer systems of these organizations are collecting, co-ordinating and making more useful the information.

Where can this be taking us as a society?  I am afraid that the end maybe be terribly frighting.  As I read more and more on the goals of these organizations I realize something may be going on that we can not control and certainly is not going to be good.  By using systems that we could never understand they are forming personality profiles on individuals that enable these groups to predict our life style.
They can predict our buying habits; our weaknesses; our decisions before we make them.

Some companies are even predicting that in time they will be able to read our minds by using the information that we have willing given them.  This could be done without our even knowing it is happening.

Should we be concern?  The Bible talks about a last day world we will live in where an identifying mark will be used to control our everyday lives.  A mark offered at first,  but finally demanded that will already have all the information it needs to control us. To carry on our everyday business the mark will be required.  A government required mark in order for it to control a world that has last its way and has become dangerous. A mark needed so they will know where the terrorist are located and what they have in mind.  A mark needed because crime will have reached a stage that knowing each person will be a must.  Illegal people moving from county to country will have to be controlled.  On and on the reason will go for the need of this mark.

The Bible is not a book to put placed on a shelf somewhere as being outdated and of no use.  It is relevant and speaks of our day as if it were written only yesterday.  It warns.  Are we listening?

Sunday, March 17, 2013


The fact is I am on the inside.  But I just can't help but wonder, what do outsiders see if they look into our church world.  I know what we hope they would see.  We would like for them to see people loving each other with an unusual love.  We would expect them to see joy that they have heard exists there.  They would look for a caring community that quickly rushes to those hurting within the church.  Peace, calmness, purpose, an unhurried and sureness of life would be expected.  At least that is probably what they have heard about us.

We that live daily in the church world get a little nervous when we are looked at to closely.  We fear that the unconditional love will not be seen because it does not exist.  The care and selfless sharing is usually missing.  Those hurting may be found pushed aside because of important programs that need attention.  We have talked so much about joy but the outsider may have a hard time finding it.

If they listen to our sermons they conclude that what is more important to us is the world we plan on going to rather than this present life.  They then may wonder just why we gather around us more material things than we possible can use.  This seems more important than treasures in another world.

They hear us pray, "Give us this daily bread," but what they find is our homes filled with more food that we could use in a month while around us people are in deed praying for their daily food.  They may see us walk by the person in need without a thought of compassion.

Let me be quick to make sure we understand that this is not to be the real church of Jesus Christ.  Our mandate is to be a compassionate caring church.  We are to give food to the hungry.  We are to bind up the wounded.  We are to follow the example of our Master Jesus Christ and the life style He lived.

The secular world of news tells us that the gulf between the rich and poor grows daily.  The hungry go to sleep at night with no hope for a better to morning.  They have come to understand there is not going to be anyone who cares.  Not even the church.

I cannot help but wonder just what our Lord thinks of us as His church when He watches us in action.  He will see us gather for our times of worship but somehow we are able to separate that from our daily lives outside the church.  Giving a couple of hours in worship.  Putting a few pesos into the offering plates.  That seems to appease God.  What more could God possibly ask from us?

"God bless you," seems to be our way of dealing with our responsibilities as followers of Christ.  When we see someone in need we merely say, "God bless you."  Do we expect God to do what He expects us to do for one another.  A "God bless you," is to be accompanied with what the person needs.  That is a true "God bless you" and is fully understands to be just that - God blessing them.

Caring, compassion, a hand of mercy, giving, touching and helping is the church in action.  If we do this the people of the world will not have to look into the church to see what it is all about, they will see it in us.  We lend a hand in need and we do not need to say much of anything else.  They will understand.  That's the church.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

A New Earth? Yes! It is coming.

The environmentalists should like this concept.  Their stated goals usually refer to protecting our earth.  In their efforts to protect our "mother" earth they sometimes go to extremes.  All good causes have a tendency to do that.  Protecting our water supplies from pollutants is good for everyone.  Stopping deforesting is a must.  Keeping our air clean?  Please, let's do it.  However, the efforts are being nullified by the hugeness of the task.  We have an uncontrollable population bomb exploding in our world.  It is happening in some of the most over populated and polluted countries of the world.  Countries that have almost no laws to protect our environment.

I think for real hope,  we are going to need to look for solutions more promising.  Something that is a sure thing.  Although many will not believe it or accept it.  It is true. There is a sure hope.  And it will be the ultimate answer to this perplexing problem.  I am afraid that in spite of man's very best efforts and intentions he is going to fail.  The world is being destroyed faster than technologies can be developed.

I find my ultimate hope in two statements found in the Bible by two writers.  One is Peter and the other is John.  You will find Peter's statement in his second letter he wrote to his friends.  In the 3rd chapter and verse 13 he tells us that we are to look forward to a new earth.  He adds that this has been promised by God our Father.  The second writer is one of Jesus Apostles named John.  He wrote the last book in the bible called Revelation.  John says in chapter 21 and verse1 of that book that he saw a vision from God of a new earth.

Wow!  How could such a thing ever be possible?  This old and polluted earth being made new is mind boggling.  How could our waters ever be made pure again?  How could our forest be restored?  Our air?  Becoming pure as it was at one time?  Is that possible?  These two men of the highest level of respected truth say it is going to happen.  They also add in their prophecies that it will not be through man's efforts but God's.

As Christians we believe that we are where we are today because of a curse that is upon all that God created.  This curse is bringing destruction faster than man can cope with it.  It is a destructive curse that has been set into motion by the arch enemy of God.  The goal of this enemy is to destroy everything God has created.  This goal is stated clearly in John 10:10  The enemy is rightly called a thief because he is attempting to steal all God created.  The goal of this enemy, who is called Satan or the devil,  is to "steal, kill and destroy" all that God has created.  He tries to steal from us everything good God has given us.  He would like to kill the life God has given us.  And he seeks to destroy God's creation completely.

Satan's goal seems to be working very well.  Sickness and death are never very far from any of us.  We are helping by destroying the earth ourselves even though it was made for us.  There are those fighting this battle against Satan's goals.  Our medical people are wonderfully healing and developing cures for our many diseases.  The environmentalists are doing a good job of bringing things to our attention and some of it is helping.  However, the "progress" of our developing world has a way of ignoring these issues and proceed to destroy our beautiful natural world.  It is a battle we are losing.

If you ever wonder just what God plans on doing to stop this destruction and to bring an end to the curse, these two writers give us a hint.  A new earth is being planned.  But we must keep in mind that man will have little to do with bringing this plan into fulfillment.  It will be God, whose powers are what will be needed, who will do this.

We do not know what this new earth will be like.  We do have a few passages in the Bible that give a little insight.  However, I think we will need to go back to the beginning of our earth to see what it was like then to understand what it may be like when God makes a new earth.  In the beginning our earth was a garden.  Everything was pure.  It was in perfect balance.  There was no curse so that meant there was no death and all that led up to it.  It was a perfect world for man to enjoy.

If you can understand the concept of salvation as related in the Bible it will help you in trying to understand what will happen.  The concept of salvation is basically a concept of restoration.  God intends to restore all that has been destroyed over the long period of man's existence here.  God built no buildings.  There were no factories.  There was nothing to pollute the air and water.  Man and animals lived in perfect peace with one another.  There was nothing to fear.  Man was not busy building weapons.  There was no hunger and no war.  It was a paradise.

God's purposes are to restore this world.  Nothing will be left behind.  Everything will be included in this restoration.  Here is what Peter said early in his work in Acts 3:11.  He was speaking of the end of time and Jesus return.  "He (Jesus) must remain in heaven UNTIL the time comes for God to restore everything, as He promised."

This is our hope.  Man will continue to do his best and he should,  but it will take a power stronger than man to do the restoration.  At the proper time God will step into our confused and troubled world and restore what we have lost.  That is the only possible way for our earth to come back to us in its pure form. It will come my friend.  It will come!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Who should I marry?

Over the pass several months the nations of our world have gone horribly astray on the question of who should marry who.   Confusion has taken hold.  Tolerance rules.  Common sense has been lost.  Wrong and right have blended into one.  Governments have lost their will.  Judges have lost their integrity.  Politicians giving in to pressures in order to stay in office.

What is it that has caused all of this?  It is the question of who should I marry.  However, it is not just the question of a young lady deciding which young man she would like to spend her life with.  Or the young man looking for the right girl.  It is much more complicating than that.  The corrupted question has become which sex should I marry.  Men are actually wanting to marry other men and women other women.

It is time to address this very serious question.  Here are some facts to consider:

1.  After God had created A MAN He saw that he needed a suitable life time companion so He
created A WOMAN for him.

2.  Together they brought children into God's world.

3.  A man who marries another man can never have a child.  He can adopt one, buy one, kidnap one and in some way have a child given to him but he can not produce a child with another man.

4.  A man can not be a mother and a woman can not be a dad.  A mother's God given gifts of motherhood can not be duplicated by a man.  A man can not  perform a mother's role.

5.  The physical sexual relationship that a man must have with a women to have a child can not be preformed with another man.  They can have a perversion form of a  sexual act but not one they were created physically to have.

6.  The morality of a same sex relationship can not be set aside as if it has no bearing upon human relationships.  There are psychological and emotional effects that will always effect anyone involved in such a relationship.  They may be suppressed for a period of time but will always surface.

7.  Just because the governments may give the go ahead does not mean it is right.  You can not legislate moral and ethic issues.

8.  Religions who give their approval to same sex marriages have lost their legitimacy.  They have surrendered to pressures that cause them to lose their right to speak for God or their gods.

9.  Physical attractions can not be the bases of entering into serious relationships.  Attractions are common and must always be under a moral standard of what is right and wrong.

10.  The Christian faith is a dominant religion in the world and its authority comes from the Word of God.  If the Bible condemns an act it must be condemned by the Christian faith.  It is a contradiction to practice what the Bible condemns.

Those who promote gay marriages are many.  The liberal media, personal rights groups, politicians looking for votes, the movie makers, certain groups given over to perversions.  However, there is no
rightness to a moral issue simply because it is OK'd by the majority.  The majority can be wrong and
they are on this issue.  It is wrong no matter who or how many say it is right.