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Archive for March, 2011

I guess many of you have heard or seen the newest Abercrombie and Fitch ads and latest swimsuit line (bikinis for little girls). The bikinis have padding in the tops. To even type that makes my face red with embarrassment and frustration. I’m ashamed of what our nation is becoming. Here’s the article.

Of course this kind of thing is despicable, but let’s talk about how we have arrived to this point. We, the Church, have no one to blame but ourselves? What? That’s right. I blame myself and other believers for having a brand of morality and Christianity that has accepted and tolerated immodesty for years. And now we are reaping what we’ve planted and watered with our lack of purity.

Think about it. What do you wear at the beach? Ladies, d0 you wear bikinis? Are you getting a tan for the summer season even now so that you can show off your body? Going to the beach for me is one of the most difficult things. One of my favorite passages of Scripture is Ephesians 5:3-12:

3 But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. 4 Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. 5 For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person—such a man is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.[a] 6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient. 7 Therefore do not be partners with them.

 8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light 9 (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) 10 and find out what pleases the Lord. 11 Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. 12 For it is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret.

Here’s the truth, whether we like it or not: we have compromised for long enough. The things that we let pass as “appropriate” have stepped over the line. Dance costumes and cheerleading outfits and bathing suits at the beach or so sexually provocative today that it is easier to say, (even of Christians), there is not even a HINT OF MODESTY among God’s UNHOLY people anymore.

But, we continue to allow many of our daughters to wear things that are inappropriate. Yet, we no longer see them as inappropriate. Why? So, they will fit in? Be liked? Be popular? Everyone else is wearing it? We want our kids to be like everyone else, right? We don’t want them to look different or act different do we? What was that line in Scripture about being in the world, but not OF it?

Think about it, even the clothes that many of our girls wear to school is provocative, to say the least. Many of the shirts and jeans are so tight that it causes me to turn my head. Moms and daughters don’t get this in a lot of instances. But, you ask a Dad or a son what he thinks when he sees tight-fitting clothes and certainly the outfits that college and professional cheerleaders and dancers wear today (even in many of our high schools). They’ll tell you. It’s impossible to think “holy thoughts.” They’ll tell you that there is MUCH more than a “hint” of sexual immorality.

What do we expect when we’ve become so used to seeing our ladies and daugthers dress with almost nothing on. We’re blind to it. We’ve been deceived by Satan that immodesty is accepted and we’ve matured in our thinking. No, we’ve dropped into the gutter and called it progress.

I started to show a picture of a cheerleading squad that I just googled…but, I thought, “Kevin, you are about to do the very thing the Bible speaks about as wrong.” I’ve decided that I can’t show a single picture in this post, because to do so would be to show things that are unholy and immodest. You can use your own mind to conjur up images of what’s out there today. I don’t have to display it for you.

Christian, why do we let our children wear what they wear? Why should we be surprised at A&F and their new line of swimsuits for 8-year olds? We’ve created an appetite for such things in what we’ve allowed to come through our TV screens and through RedBox videos and the like. I am astounded at what “Christian” teenagers watch (and adults). I see this all the time on Facebook from “Christian” teens as their favorites:

Bob Marley, Lady Gaga, South Park, MTV’s 16 and Pregnant, The Hangover, Eminem, WWE Raw, Jersey Shore.

Is this appropriate? Aren’t these shows and singers laced with sexual immorality? Yet, this is what our “Christian” children are feeding themselves. This is a steady diet from the sewer. Why do we allow it, parents?

We get in an uproar about A&F and padded bikinis for 8-year olds and we should. But, what about our own? When will we look in the mirror and ask: “What am I going to allow my daughter or myself to wear to the beach this summer?” We need to be asking what we are allowing our little boys to see and yes, Dads to see. Dads, we need a backbone today. We need to stand for modesty and for truth. We are called to be God’s “holy people,” and as Fathers we should be leading in this effort!

Did Jesus die on the cross to pay for our sins so that we could call what He was slaughtered for”cute?” I think not. Do you know why there are so few companies out there today that sell modest clothing? It’s simple economics. There’s not a demand for it. The Christians buy the same clothes as the non Christians. That’s why the salt has lost its saltiness and is being thrown out and trampled by men. We have faded into the limelight and no longer stand for righteousness.

Paul said we can be saved if we confess with our mouth the Lord Jesus (Romans 10:9-10). But, that confession must lead to something else that happens in the heart. If we confess with our mouth that we are followers/disciples of Jesus, then we will believe “unto righteousness.” That means we will live “right.”

Is Abercrombie and Fitch a filthy retailer? You decide. But, I’m going to be the first to admit it. It’s my fault. God help me to stand for righteousness in the future, even if it offends someone or makes them uncomfortable. I’m tired of being uncomfortable at ball games, dance competitions and even in the hallways of the church. Aren’t you?

Now, please understand. I’m not advocating starting a letter writing campaign against A&F or marching on Washington. I’m talking about living our lives as God’s holy people. Let’s just live like Christians, shall we? Let’s live like Jesus followers. Let’s let our “yes” be “yes” and our “no” be “no.” Jesus said, “If you love me, keep my commands.” John said, that “His commands are not burdensome.” Let’s be salt in our little corner of the world. When an opportunity comes to stand for righteousness, then stand. Expect to be confronted, because you will. The culture will demand it. But, let’s stand for righteousness.

Sir, if you feel uncomfortable about something your daughter is asked to wear, say something about it. Dad, if you see your daughter has on shorts that are so short they make you blush, then say something about it (in love). If her shirt is too tight, then speak up. When we do so in this way, then we will make a difference one family at a time and that will spread to our churches and yes, to the nation. If this happens, then there will no longer be a demand for 8-year old padded bikinis. I promise you that.

What do we expect? What does the Lord expect? Are they different? They shouldn’t be. He said, “Be holy for I am holy.” Let’s start expecting Christians to live righteously and that begins with me.

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I read an article yesterday that astounded me. It shouldn’t. Nothing in our crazy world today should astound me anymore I guess. But, this article did. It wasn’t about someone dismembering a family member, which is in the news now. It’s not about Zahra Baker and her mom, as grizzly as that story is. Nor is it about Britney Spears or Lindsay Lohan or Charlie Sheen. (Apparently all of these people are worthy of the major news networks covering their demented lives.) No, the story I’m talking about is from Henderson, NC and a Methodist pastor.

Chad Holtz served as pastor of the United Methodist church in Henderson.

Methodist pastor Chad Holtz, who voiced support for a new book questioning the view of hell as a place of eternal damnation, said he is "shocked" by his church's decision to fire him (FoxNews.com).

He was relieved from his post as pastor because of what he posted on Facebook. Holtz was dismissed as pastor of Marrow’s Chapel after he wrote a note on his Facebook page supporting a new book by Rob Bell, an up and coming young evangelical pastor and critic of the traditional view of hell as a place of torment for billions of people that never accepted Jesus into their lives. Pastor Holtz said he had hoped his personal journey and revelation that Hell was not meant for people would engage members of his 80-person congregation, but instead his Facebook posted angered his congregants who complained that it did not represent their views. He said, “The people at my church are good, decent people and they’re simply feeling a little threatened by a pastor who is asking questions that they don’t want to ask right now. I hope some seeds are planted and that God will bring some good about it.” The Fox News Article (see here) stated:

A married Navy veteran with five children, Holtz spent years trying to reconcile his belief that Jesus Christ’s death on the cross redeemed the entire world with the idea that millions of people — including millions who had never even heard of Jesus — were suffering forever in hell.

“We do these somersaults to justify the monster god we believe in,” he said. “But confronting my own sinfulness, that’s when things started to topple for me. Am I really going to be saved just because I believe something, when all these good people in the world aren’t?”

Gray Southern, United Methodist district superintendent for the part of North Carolina that includes Henderson, declined to discuss Holtz’s departure in detail, but said there was more to it than the online post about Rob Bell’s book.

“That’s between the church and him,” Southern said.

Wow! Did he say what I thought he said? He said, “Am I really going to be saved just because I believe something, when all these good people in the world aren’t?” Yep, that’s what he said. Here’s a pastor espousing heresy in my opinion. I was shocked! Is this what it has come to? We’re not talking about the pastor of some flakey upstart religion here. We’re talking about a pastor in the Methodist church saying, “Am I really going to be saved because I believe something…” Are you kidding? I was blown away when I read the article. How can this be?

Jesus Christ died on a cross to pay the sin debt that was levied upon man-kind in the Garden of Eden. How can a pastor say that it doesn’t matter what someone believes? That’s exactly what this gentleman is saying in my opinion. Does it really matter what we believe? Sure it does. It is belief in Christ that translates to repentance and ultimately righteous living that gives evidence of our salvation. What you and I believe about Jesus Christ is the critical question of life. What the pastor really believes in is “Universalism,” which is the idea that everyone will be saved.

We know hell was never made for people. Instead, hell was created and reserved for Satan and his angels (demons). However, because of man’s sin, those who refuse to accept Jesus’ payment for their sin will spend eternity there as well. Jesus spent more time talking about hell than he did heaven. The idea that it’s not right for “good people,” as Pastor Holtz calls them, to go to hell and therefore they won’t is indeed heresy in the first order. This thought process connotes the idea that Jesus’ death was unnecessary. If a person can be “good” enough to get to heaven by their own conduct and their own means, then Jesus’ death was a waste and was in vain.

I have a huge fear in the pit of my stomach about a generation of people who believe it doesn’t matter what you believe. I am exceedingly concerned we have young men graduating from seminaries throughout this nation that no longer see the need to hold to the deep truths of the faith as taught in Scripture. Why? Because they are not politically correct or “inclusive.” We don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. So, you believe what you believe and I’ll believe what I believe and we’ll hope it all works out in the end. The problem is that there is only one truth and that is Jesus Christ. Period. He said, “I am the way, the truth and the life and no one comes to the father except through me.” Jesus is THE WAY. Pastor Holtz should have been relieved of his duties because he has been led astray in his understanding of the Gospel. He apparently believes you can I can just be “good” and believe whatever we want and we’ll be good to go. No way!

How can we be made right with God? The Apostle Paul tells us. Read this carefully and notice the words I have italicized:

22 We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are. 23 For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. 24 Yet God, with undeserved kindness, declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. 25 For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood. This sacrifice shows that God was being fair when he held back and did not punish those who sinned in times past, 26 for he was looking ahead and including them in what he would do in this present time. God did this to demonstrate his righteousness, for he himself is fair and just, and he declares sinners to be right in his sight when they believe in Jesus. Romans 3:22-26

Oh, it DOES matter what you and I believe. What we believe about Jesus will determine whether our souls will spend eternity in heaven or in hell. God help us. My prayer is the same as Paul’s desire was for the church at Ephesus (Ephesians 4:13-14):

…we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ. Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth.

Does what we believe really matter? You better believe it does! (Pardon the pun! :))

Oh…speaking of what you believe…do you believe this is a fetus or a baby? I’m going with a baby. That’s what the Bible says…”before you were formed in your mother’s womb…I knew you.” –God 

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If you are a parent, you know how hard it is raising children. It’s the hardest job I have. Being an elder/pastor of a church is easy compared to training and raising children. That’s honestly how I feel. I am overwhelmed at how often I seem to make so many mistakes. Yet, I know the Bible is our guide and must stay immersed in it for help.

Where do we turn in Scripture for help in parenting? Proverbs is a wonderful place. Solomon shared with his sons about many practical, every day things. Do you struggle with arguments in your home? Try out Proverbs 15:1… “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” We’ve posted this verse in our house on the door frames and bathroom mirrors. We’ve also learned Ephesians 4:29, in fact…

What is that on the bar?

Let’s look a little closer…

Ephesians 4:29

Sorry, it’s a little blury…but you get the picture. This is a verse we need to see. You can tell Andrew has gotten to it…He’s underlined all the words. He can’t even read yet…but, he can memorize. Clara already has this verse down! She’s better at memorizing Scripture, by far, than me!!

Why do we post Scriptures like this in our home? Because we can be argumentative. This verse helps us to control our tongues. What do you struggle with in your home? Post Scriptures to combat it. 

So, do you wonder if your “disciplining” is too hard or too light? Me too! Hebrews 12 gives us insight here as well.

 5 And you have forgotten that word of encouragement that addresses you as sons:

   “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline,
   and do not lose heart when he rebukes you,
6 because the Lord disciplines those he loves,
   and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son.”

 7 Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? 8 If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons. 9 Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live! 10 Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. 11 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.

 I like that part about a harvest of righteousness (right living) and peace don’t you? I mean, don’t we all just want “peace” in our homes? Sure we do. How do we get it? There must be discipline. Think about the army. There is peace in the army because the men know to obey the commanding officer. There is respect for authority, right?

Sure there is. Why? Because of discipline. When a soldier is told to do something by the commanding officer, what does he say? “Sir, yes sir!” Do I run my home like a military installation? No. I want my home to be a home of love. Yet, there must be respect and discipline as well. The writer of Hebrews makes this clear:

For what son is not disciplined by his father? 8 If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons. 9 Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it.

I see many homes that have little discipline. Go to WalMart if you don’t believe and stand in the check-out line.

I’ve literally seen children in the floor on all fours acting like that little fella. I bet you have too. Maybe from even your own? Ouch! 🙂

So, how can you tell if are offering the proper kind and amount of discipline in your home? How can you tell if you have a child that’s running your home? Well let’s see. Parents that have a “child-run” home are often heard saying:

  •       I can’t make that for dinner at our house, the kids just won’t eat it.
  •       I prepare meals in two batches—one for my husband and me and one for the kids.
  •       We can’t have that family over to the house, their children are so much younger than ours that ours wouldn’t enjoy them.
  •       We can’t go there, the kids would get bored.
  •       We can’t take our kids into the church service, they’d never last.
  •       We won’t be able to go, our little Princess just doesn’t do well in those situations.
  •       We’ll probably be changing teachers or possibly schools because our little Bobby doesn’t enjoy Mrs. So & So.
  •       Junior refuses to…(you fill in the blank). By the way, how old is Junior? And he REFUSES to do what? (Who’s running the home?)
  •       Susie just won’t put up with…
  •       I don’t want her to hate me so…
  •       I can’t get her to clean her room unless I bribe her with… 

Remember, whatever we allow in moderation our children will take to excess! So, what are we allowing? Do we allow back talking? Do we allow bad attitudes? Temper tantrums? Let’s look at some other things quickly. Think about your child(ren) as you read…

  •       Your child can’t say, “NO” to himself or herself
  •       They seem “self-absorbed” (it’s all about them)
  •       When they sin, they habitually deny responsibility…nothing seems to be their fault
  •       They blame others or you if something doesn’t go right for them
  •       They resent work, chores or responsibility and seem lazy, tending to run from “work” around the house
  •       They roll their eyes, huff, puff and sigh when asked to do things
  •       Taking “initiative” is a foreign concept to them…they have to be asked to do most anything
  •       They act ungrateful for the food, clothes and shelter they’ve been provided or put before them
  •       They complain, whine and moan about things constantly and get visibly angry if they don’t get their way
  •       They’re preoccupied with fun, excitement, entertainment and self-gratification and are frequently bored

Often times we aren’t honest about our own children. We make excuses and say, “That’s just the way they are.” The problem with this statement, is that we, as parents, are responsible for training them. A commander in the army won’t say to the General…”Sorry sir, these boys just aren’t good at crawling under barbed-wire…

…and climbing over walls, so none of them do it.” Isn’t that ridiculous? So, what do we expect? What are our expectations for our children? What do we expect concerning obedience? Let’s see:

  •       How many times should you have to ask for something to be done?
  •       Should you have to count?
  •       When should you expect obedience?
  • –        Immediately (not later or in a few minutes)
  • –        Completely (not partially)
  • –        Dutifully (with a good attitude)

“It is right that children should obey their parents and no further question need be asked, no further reason for obeying need be sought.” J.R. Miller. So, how should we teach obedience to our children?

  •       Do not do for your children what they should do for themselves
  •       If they dirty something, they should clean it
  •       If they’re old enough to “get it out,” they are old enough to “put it up”
  •       If they leave a door open, they should go back and close it
  •       If they turn something on, they should turn it off
  •       Don’t bail them out when they’ve acted irresponsibly
  •       Don’t state for them time after time the established guidelines for chores and standards of behavior…consequences must follow quickly
  •       Don’t wake them daily when they are old enough to set an alarm clock or you will create dependence on you and they will blame you for not getting them up
  •       Don’t do homework assignments for them
  •       Don’t pay for their mistakes…if they “break it,” they pay for it

So, what do we do if we’ve lost control?

  •       We must expect our children to obey our word…no questions asked.  (Explain after the obedience comes…just like with God! Sometimes He tells us to do things without FULL instructions…remember Abraham?)
  •       Speak a command one time, calmly and clearly.  Don’t threaten.  If “bucked,” follow through with discipline.  Be consistent!
  •       Don’t allow the child to argue with you.  You are not trying to “persuade” your child to obey, you are “expecting” your child to obey.
  •       We must take off the “Camp Counselor” badge (trying to be your child’s buddy or pal)…we must be their parent, first and foremost. We are not running a popularity contest.

What do children really want? They want the ABC’s.  They want Acceptance, Belonging and Confidence from their parents.

Acceptance—they want to know that they are not valuable just because of what they do or don’t do.  They are loved because they are your child.  It’s not about performance…it’s about “you are my boy or my girl.”

Belonging—You say, “We’re a family and you are a part of this family and you belong to us.”  If someone asks your 11-year-old to smoke, your child simply answers, “We Brown’s (you fill in your family name) don’t smoke.”  But, most importantly, once they receive Christ, they are taught and understand that they belong to God’s family, they belong to God as His child.  Therefore they are royalty. Teach them this fact.

Confidence—as they are a vital part of the family and feel needed, they will flourish.  Give them chores (age appropriate) and jobs to do.  They will gain confidence in their abilities as they work and become a productive part of the home and this will cause them to develop the ability to take initiative and they’ll take joy in being a “blessing not a burden in the home.”

Solomon gives us 17 wonderful nuggets of wisdom regarding children and our discipline. Take a look…

  1. Proverbs 10:17 He who heeds discipline shows the way to life, but whoever ignores correction leads others astray.
  2. Proverbs 12:1 Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates correction is stupid.
  3. Proverbs 13:1 A wise son heeds his father’s instruction, but a mocker does not listen to rebuke.
  4. Proverbs 13:18 He who ignores discipline comes to poverty and shame, but whoever heeds correction is honored.
  5. Proverbs 13:24 He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him.
  6. Proverbs 15:10 Stern discipline awaits him who leaves the path; he who hates correction will die.
  7. Proverbs 15:32 He who ignores discipline despises himself, but whoever heeds correction gains understanding.
  8. Proverbs 16:20 Whoever gives heed to instruction prospers, and blessed is he who trusts in the LORD.
  9. Proverbs 19:18 Discipline your son, for in that there is hope; do not be a willing party to his death.
  10. Proverbs 20:11 Even a child is known by his actions, by whether his conduct is pure and right.
  11. Proverbs 22:6 Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.
  12. Proverbs 22:15 Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline will drive it far from him.
  13. Proverbs 23:13-14 Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you punish him with the rod, he will not die. Punish him with the rod and save his soul from death.
  14. Proverbs 23:26 My son, giver me your heart and let your eyes keep to my ways.
  15. Proverbs 29:15 The rod of correction imparts wisdom, but a child left to himself disgraces his mother.
  16. Proverbs 29:17 Discipline your son, and he will give you peace; he will bring delight to your soul.
  17. Proverbs 30:17 The eye that mocks a father, that scorns obedience to a mother, will be pecked out by the ravens of the valley, will be eaten by the vultures.

Hebrews has it right…

“No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.”

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Working Hard!

What a day! It’s going to be 80 degrees and everything is in bloom! God is good! Even if it were dark and rainy. But, it’s nice to see spring! This morning the clock went off at 4 am and it was up and at ’em. Boy, I admire folks that have to get up that early every day!

Why up so early? It was chicken cooking time! This summer our church is taking a mission trip to Progresso, Mexico. To help raise money, we had a huge Chicken-Q today! We sold over 800 plates of BBQ chicken! Woohoo! We had 17 men show up at “dark-thirty” this morning to get the chicken cooked. It’s a smokey job! Weston jumped in to the ring of fire with swimming goggles!

Weston, you look great!!

He was the smart one. The rest of us have eyeballs that look like road maps of red! I love the camaraderie of these events. It’s a lot of hard work…but, it’s even more fun! We laugh and pick with one another and have a super time…even at 5 am!

Our chief cook today was Geoff Farmer. Here he is testing the chicken. Testing the chicken? How’s that? Take a look…

Is it done?

Geoff is twisting the leg. If it twists easily with almost no effort to turn the leg, then it’s done. If it’s “tight,” then leave it on a little longer. Notice in the background of the picture is Geoff’s son Grayson. Geoff’s training him! Older teaching younger. That’s a major premise of the book I’ve just written. 

In the kitchen (I neglected to get pictures even though I meant to), the same was happening. We had young and old boxing chicken…working side by side…laughing and enjoying the time together.

How’d we do? I’m glad you asked. We sold over 800 boxes of chicken. At last count we were at 812 boxes!! Can you say, “Wow!” That’s a record!! What a blessing! We have a wonderful church that jumped in and sold, sold, sold! Inside of each box, we placed a card that said: Thank you for helping with our mission work in Mexico. Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church Mission Team.

It’s neat to see the church get behind their mission team. We’ve got 35 strong preparing for our journey June 10-18. After that, we’ll turn our focus to Ethiopia (Nov. 15-30). Mission work is such a joy! Even raising funds is fun!!

Thank you church! Thank you to all who may be reading this and purchased a box of chicken to help us! Thank you to all who worked so hard in cooking, packing, delivering and cleaning up! A special thanks to Ken Bryan and Sharron Huffman for all of your coordination and hard work!

Hmmm…let’s see…I think I’m going to go and take a nap! 🙂

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What Do You Believe?

Do you ever feel like you’ve said too much? Boy, I feel that way a lot! I’m a preacher after all. 🙂 Yet, I know lives are at stake. What do I mean?

Imagine you are driving down the road and you see someone’s car on fire…

As you get closer you realize that someone is hanging out of the driver’s side window, struggling to get out. What would you do? What would I do? I hope I would stop and pull them out. I believe I would. But, would we make excuses? Well, I better not try to help, because if they die, their family might blame me and sue me. Or, I better not help them because I could possibly get burned or even die myself (no need for two deaths) right? Certainly there could be many other excuses offered. But, the fact remains, someone is dying and I’m capable of helping. Oh, I know what we can do…we can call 9-1-1 and hope the fire department makes it on time to save the struggling human…or maybe…eventually, they’ll make it out on their own. That’s the “pc” way. What’s “pc?” Why, being “politically correct,” or course.

We live in an increasingly “politically correct” society. We don’t want to make waves or offend or hurt people’s feelings. Even if someone believes something totally contrary to Scripture, we don’t want to make them mad, so we’ll let them go on believing the lies and move forward. We hope deep down that somebody else may be bold enough to tell them the truth. I guess this is why less than 5% of all Christians have ever led a single person to Christ (and most of that 5% are clergy).

We know Jesus is the only way to heaven, yet we don’t want to offend or come across as smug, so we’ll just hope our friends that are of another “religion” will get it right in the end. Oh…you do believe Jesus is the only way don’t you? All roads don’t lead to heaven. That’s the most “politically correct-religious” statement on the market today. What do you believe? Do you believe all Muslim’s, Jews, Buddhist’s, Hindu’s, Jehovah’s Witnesses’, Mormons, Catholics, Baptists, Methodists, Church of God, etc, etc are going to heaven? Surely we can just call God by a different name and we’ll be good to go. So, let’s just call God, “Allah.” Or let’s call God, the “force within you-the true you.” Let’s call God, the “Great Krishna.” That’s politically correct isn’t it? We’ll just go along to get along and it will all work out.

Yet, Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life.” Jesus said, “I’m it!” He said that nobody gets to the Father (to heaven) except through Him. He said I am THE way. But, wait a minute…that’s so offensive to all the other world religions. We don’t want to be divisive do we? No! We don’t want to be divisive in spirit. We must tell the truth in love. The old song says: “They will know we are Christians by our love, by our love…yes, they’ll know we are Christians by our love.”

Paul said to the church at Colossae: “Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person” (Colossians 4:5-6). Our speech must be gracious when we answer people for why we believe Scripture. So, it’s not a question if we are to speak up or not. It’s not a question if we are supposed to rescue those who are in trouble or not. The Bible says that we ought to answer each person. Peter tells us so in this wonderful passage:

14 But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, 15 but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, 16 having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. 17 For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil. 1 Peter 3:14-17

Isn’t that great advice from Scripture? We should always be ready to make a defense for our faith, but…and this is crucial…we should do so with gentleness and respect. This is huge! If we come across as arrogant, pompous, “know-it-all,” we will never win them. They will turn away. Does this mean that we don’t stand for truth? No, of course not. Paul stood for truth at Mars Hill in Athens with a bunch of pagans, yet he did so respectfully. (See Acts 17). He reasoned with them. Shouldn’t we do the same?

Ok…I know what some of you may thinking… You say, “I got it Kevin, I need to witness more about my faith in Jesus. I need to lead somebody to Christ.” That very well may be true, but should we say anything about what we believe the Bible says about:

Living in adultery (You have a family member or friend living with someone out-of-wedlock and you haven’t said anything…you are letting it go because you don’t want to offend. Yet, the Bible is clear…this is sin!)

Cursing in your presence (You work with someone or go to school with someone who curses in front of you and you say nothing. They’ve done it so much in your presence that you don’t even think about it anymore. Would you consider saying, “Excuse me…could you tone that down please, that’s offensive to me. I appreciate that.” Then smile kindly.)

Child going down the wrong path (You have a friend or family member that has a child going down the wrong road and they can’t see it. You are not being a busy-body. You sincerely know facts about a teenager, for instance, that is promiscuous or involved in drinking alcohol or taking drugs, etc. If you don’t say something respectfully and lovingly to the parent/friend or family member, you could be watching that child’s life go up in smoke.)

I could list many more examples…but, I’ve learned people don’t like reading posts that are much longer that 1000 words and I’m over that now…so, I’ll stop. But, you get the point. We must give a reason for the hope that is in us. We must defend the Scriptures and what they teach. We can stand on the authority of the Word of God unashamed.

We live in a modern-day Athens with every possible form of rebellion and idolatry freely offered and freely accepted/tolerated. The one cry that unifies them all is that there is no absolute truth and there are many ways to God. Dear reader…that’s simply not true and you and I know it. So, the next time the Holy Spirit pricks your heart or jerks your spirit…obey. Defend the Word of God and the principles of Scripture in love.

By the way, I’m glad my preacher told me about hell when I was a ten-year-old boy. It scared me, but he told me in love. He told me about the God-man Jesus and to him, I’m forever grateful. He was indeed my firefighter…

 

what about these things

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What’s the Big Deal?

Recently I was talking with a man who was/is living with his girlfriend (have been living together almost two years) and I told him in a kind way that what he was doing was not Biblical. He said, “Yea, I know but, times are different today. Everybody is doing it, so what’s the big deal?” What’s the big deal? I hear that a lot lately.  What’s the big deal?
 
We live in a culture that now longer values morality. Even if you weren’t “Christian,” in 1950 you didn’t live with someone of the opposite sex unmarried. It just seldom happened. Today we have Lady Gaga saying “I Was Born That Way.” We have all the sitcoms on TV showing everyone living together. We have our young people getting in and out of relationships like someone going through a revolving door. Should we question why few half of all marriages are ending in divorce today?
 
When you have young people moving in and out of 5-8 relationships during their teen years, then why should we expect them to value marriage in their 20’s. They don’t and they won’t. Just check out Facebook. The “relationship” status changes every 6-9 months for most young adults. We think it’s innocent while they are young, but what happens is exactly what we see happening today: few are getting married and those that do choose marriage have the majority end in divorce. 
 
Last Saturday I married a wonderful young couple…
 
They did it right. They purposed to be committed to each other and their relationship was one of dedication to Christian principles.
 
Mom and Dad, let’s assume you have a teenage son that is dating a young lady. What are his intentions? Have you asked him. Ask him: “Son what are your intentions with the young lady you are seeing?” What should a relationship look like Scripturally? We know when you get married, the Bible teaches one man for one woman for life?  If this is the case, then what are we allowing our kids to be involved in prior to marriage? It’s certainly not one for one. It’s more like one for many. Take a look at this picture…
Things aren’t always as they appear…

Strange? It’s something Katy does with her fingers that’s interestingly strange. It looks like she’s pulling her finger apart. But, obviously that’s not the case. This is exactly what’s happening with our culture regarding relationships today. It’s not what it seems. If you think you can have multiple relationships leading up to marriage and program your mind and emotions for such, then you are foolish to think this will change after you put on a wedding ring. 

 
Most parents that have teenagers today that have been involved in having “boyfriends and girlfriends” since 3rd grade are not going to “buck the system.” Yet, I pray there will be some younger parents who may begin having conversations with their young children about saving themselves, their hugs, their kisses, and their emotions for that “one.”
 
If we believe the Lord has hand-selected a spouse for our children (as He did for us) then why won’t we trust Him? Why won’t we help our children and save them from emotional heart attack and potentially much worse (pregnancy and disease) by not getting them caught up in the world of multiple, relationships? When will we stop making excuses and saying strange things like, “Well, my daughter/son is really not in a serious relationship, they just have a sweet heart and it’s innocent.” Really? Is that true? Ask your son or daughter how they feel about that?
 
What are we afraid of? Are we afraid of looking strange? Are we afraid our children might not fit in with the “in crowd.” Do we really want what’s best for them emotionally? I know we want them to go to the best schools. I know we want them to make great grades. I know we want them to be responsible and mature. But, why don’t we want this in their relationships?
 
Since the beginning of time up until the last 50-60 years, men and women went through a process of betrothal leading up to marriage. What is betrothal? Two families would come together and they would help their children understand God’s will for their lives and future marriage. Think about that. It’s only been since the invention of Drive-in’s, Fonzie and Ritchie Cunningham that we’ve had this revolving door of relationships…
 
 
Today we have “Sex in the City,” “Desperate Housewives,” “Twilight,” and “Real Housewives of New Jersey.” Think of that. Our kids come home from school and watch “Real Housewives” in the afternoon and we think nothing of it. We watch “Seinfeld” and “Office” and laugh at all the relationship switching. It must break the heart of Christ to see His people involved in such.
 
What would it be like for your young person to save themselves totally for their future husband or wife? What would it look like if they devoted their teen years to living for Jesus? You know it’s true…if a young person is in a relationship today, they are almost totally immersed in that relationship. This takes away from more noble things. Think of all the Facebook time, texting and instant messaging. Seldom do you meet a young couple who are seeing one another as teens that are solidly locked into the things of Christ.
 
I preached an entire message, entitled “The Wedding,” on the subject a while back. If you are brave…take a listen.
 
 
One last thought. Just how many times can you use a sticky note?
 
 
Maybe 5 or 6 times? You know…you can only stick it to something just so many times before it loses its “sticky.” The same is true for our young people. Eventually, they aren’t going to stick. Can I ask you another quick question? Do you like using used tissues or napkin?
I’m not trying to be crass. I just want us to think about what we are doing.
 
Divorce is rampant in this nation, but even worse…”living together” is the norm. Why? Because we no longer have a high opinion of marriage, chastity, purity or holiness. We no longer believe God is Sovereign and in control of all of life. We think we must help God out by finding our own mate. The truth is…I think the Lord can handle that just fine. God help us to honor Him in all of life and want the best for our children. That’s a big deal in my book.

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Unless your head is in the sand, you are well aware of the 8.9 magnitude earthquake that struck Japan earlier today.

Tsunami warnings and sirens are blaring in Hawaii as they await the waves of unknown size to strike their coast. The same is true for the west coast of the U.S. Sounds like something out of a movie doesn’t it? But it’s not. It’s really happening.

Sometimes we forget that we are living in tumultuous times and in what I believe are the last days. Kind of shakes us out of our lethargy and apathy. What if it all ended today? What if you knew a tsunami was headed your way with the possibility of wiping you out? That’s how the folks in Hawaii are feeling right now. A tsunami is coming to us all. It’s called death. How you and I handle it and prepare for it is the critical question of life. Jesus Christ said, “I am the way, the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6. That pretty much sums it up. Jesus or bust! He’s the choice. Not one of many choices…He’s the only choice. What have you done with Jesus?

If He is some sort of little flu shot or Hell insurance, then I’m afraid for you. Jesus must be Lord. Is He? Is He the boss of your life? Is He running your life? Are you dead to yourself? Am I? Are you taking up your cross (daily) and following Him? Critical questions on a day like today where it seems that all Hades is breaking loose.

March 11: In this image made off Japan's NHK TV video footage, vehicles are washed away by tsunami in coastal area in eastern Japan after Japan was struck by a magnitude 8.9 earthquake off its northeastern coast. (AP/NHK TV)

So, as the stock market falls today…already 228 points…as waves sweep toward the U.S., as unrest in the Middle East rages on, make sure your life is centered in Christ. Make sure your kids and grandkids lives are as well. Do they really have Jesus in their lives? Is there evidence? Are they saved? Are you certain? Make sure! We can’t take any chances. Why? Because a tsunami is coming…

…and it’s not a wave…it’s death. As for me…I’m like Clara and Andrew…

…I’m looking up…Jesus is coming soon…

 

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