Ministerial Meanderings

God centered theology in a man centered world.

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Location: Springfield, Missouri, United States

I was born in Washington D.C. and raised in Laurel, Maryland. I served in the United States Air Force for 20 years then retired. Then God led me to become a pastor. I was converted to Christ in the summer of 1966. I enjoy the company of my wife, children and grandchildren. I live with my three cats Taz.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Reformation Day

Tomorrow, October 31st, marks Reformation Day. It was that day in 1517 when Martin Luther nailed his 95 Thesis to the church door in the city of Wittenburg. In this act, Luther challenged the Roman Catholic Church, challenged their system of salvation and called for the Church to return to being under the authority of scripture. This single act changed history forever.

Luther's challenge split the Church. But it was the Reformers who moved forward putting every doctrine and every practice to the test of scripture. This is a challenge the Church needs to hear again today. It seems like every source of authority is heard today except scripture.

The Church once again needs to hear the words of Martin Luther and put every doctrine and every practice under the authority of scripture. Sola Scriptura ... by scripture alone ... nothing is binding on the Christian which cannot be proven by scripture.

Why? Because scripture is the word of the Living God. God speaks and it comes to us, His children, through the pages that were penned by the inspired writers. As He speaks, they write and so we receive His blessed word as the true and pure words of God. As confidence in the scripture fades the Church fades. In every place where mighty works of God are known and reported, there is a high view of the Bible. It is preached, believed, and acted on.

The Reformation was about bringing the Church under the authority of scripture. The Reformers had a motto ... "Ecclesia reformada et semper reformanda" ... which means "The Church reformed and always reforming." If we are going to see the Church continue it's reformation, we need to hear Luther's voice again. We need to see the Bible lifted up to it's rightful place in church life again. We need another "Reformation Day."

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Doing Unto Others ... Again ...

I did a post similar to this one at some point in the past. But the lesson mentioned here is of such a vital importance to obeying the wishes of Christ, that I felt it was important enough to mention again.

The so called "Golden Rule" tells us that we should "do unto others as you would have them do unto you." Most of the time this is taken to say that we should treat other people the same way we want to be treated ourselves. It is simple on it's surface but in practical terms, obedience requires a little more thinking.

This is brought out in Matthew Henry's great commentary. In his comments, he makes this point, which I think hits the nail right on the head.

According to Henry, to do unto others, we need to first put ourselves in their shoes, and then treat then as we would want to be treated if we were them. In other words, when we meet a homeless single mother, we need to put ourselves in her shoes, then treat her as we would want to be treated if WE were a homeless single mother. If we meet a homosexual man, we should imagine ourselves to be a homosexual man and treat him as we would want to be treated if we were him. And so it goes. The list of possibilities is as endless as the number of people you could meet. When we learn to treat people this way, then we will have learned to do unto others as we would have them do unto us.

If Christians could see the world and the people around them like this, there would be many more true expressions of Christianity than we commonly see. Then we might see Christians approach the ideal of loving our neighbors as we love ourselves. Then our light would shine a bit more brightly in the world.

We live in a world filled with trouble and hate. Sin is everywhere. We Christians tell people Jesus is what is needed and that living under the kingship of Jesus makes life better. If we want people to see the difference Christ makes in a believer's life, few things can do it as well as how people see us treating others. If Christ truly lives in us (Gal. 2:20), then let's let him have full reign to work his will through us. It begins as simply as how you treat the person you meet. Be the presence of Jesus to them ... and let your light shine.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The Power of God Unto Salvation ...

People are hungry for a touch from God. No one seeks after the One True and Living God. He is high and holy and mankind's depraved hearts will not naturally seek after Him. But they know instinctively that there is something beyond this mortal life, and so we, humans, obsess over spiritual things. Look at the alternatives to seeking after God the devil has given to us. There are world religions like Islam and Hinduism (just to name two). There are alternative Christian cults (like the Jehovah's Witnesses or Mormonism). There is the New Age movement (which encompasses almost everything in one way or another). There is Unitarianism. There is witchcraft and a host of earth religions. If religion is not your thing, there is environmentalism or Gaia (the living earth movement) worship. All this for people who are hungry to touch the transcendant.

But we Christians are little better. Consider the topic of revival. Whenever people find out that God is blessing some area, people flock to that spot. Roman Catholics have their apparitions of Mary. But we Protestants have our "special blessings." Think of the furor among Pentecostals a few years back in Toronto, Pensacola, and Kansas City. Every time someone claimed a special blessing from God, thousands of people would flock to that site hoping to feel a special touch from God. It seems, very few are immune to this kind of "felt need" ... the need to touch God in a tangible way.

But we find sound advice from none other than the great Reformer, Martin Luther. As he fought against the practice of relics and indulgences, he reminded us of the great truth that where the scriptures are faithfully preached, that in that place is the power of God. We do not need to run here and there looking for a sign from God or a demonstration of God's power. God's word and the Holy Spirit combined together to do the work of God and where they are working, there is the power of God.

Beloved friends, the Reformers rightly saw that in the proclamation of the word, what they called the "preached moment," that was THE moment of worship because in that moment, the Christian meets God tangibly, as God speaks to the Christian's soul through the word and Spirit. And this can happen anywhere the word of God, the Holy Scriptures are faithfully preached. Every place a bible believing Christian opens his Bible and hears with simple obedient faith and is changed to be conformed to the word, that is where the power of God is at work.

Our faith out not to be in preachers and personalities. It is not to be in places and things. It is not to be in relics and indulgences. It is not to be in subjective feelings. Our faith is in Christ, who is known to us through scripture and made alive in us by the Holy Spirit. Our faith, in short, is in God alone. We need to look no other place for a demonstration of the blessing and the power of God. Faith alone in Christ alone ... would that more of us had it...

Friday, October 19, 2007

Just Do It ...

Let me go back and reprise a post I made when this blog first started.

One of the great hindrances to Christians living out their Christian faith is their inability to just go out and do it! Let me put it another way ...

If we are going to be made Christlike we have to go to the Scriptures. Why? Because the scriptures show us what we are supposed to be like by telling what to do and what not to do. As we grow in obedience to the scriptures, we are more and more conformed to the image of Christ.

So we spend our time going to Sunday School, and bible studies, and devotions, and watching DVDs and listening to sermons and discussing and reading and watching and learning ... ad nauseum. We will talk about an issue, read about it, discuss it, debate it, learn it, know it, we will work it until we know as much as we can about it .... but too often, we don't do it!

Friends, do you want to be a more loving Christian? Then do it. Do you want to exercise more patience? Then do it. Do you want to pray more? Then do it. The list could go on and on.

We can find thousands of ways to make excuses and rationalize away our need for being obedient to the things of God. What is a lot harder is to simply get off our duffs and do the things that we know we ought to be doing.

Remember the words of our beloved brother James who said "Be ye doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves." Good words ... eh?

Thursday, October 11, 2007

From Glory to Glory ...

2 Corinthians 3:18 says that the Spirit of God is at work changing us from glory to glory. That picture goes back to the old Testament where Moses would go into the presence of God. When he would return to the people, his face would shine with the glory of God ... God was reflected in Moses' face. But the longer Moses went without being in the presence of God, the glory would fade. So Moses would wear a veil over his face so that the people would not see the glory fading.

But that is not the story of New Testament saints. The glory of God in us shines brighter and brighter as we go. That means God is at work in us making into the image of Christ, growing more and more like him as we go. In short, we keep on moving upward.

Since we are supposed to be moving upward, we move towards God. You see my friends, Christianity is supposed to bring out the best in us. It causes us to look up and aspire to high and lofty ideals. Being in Christ is supposed to make us the best of what we are supposed to be.

Where Christians are at, money should be safe. So should people. The victims find an advocate. The attacked find defenders. Employers ought to find honest employees, and customers ought to know they are being dealt with honestly. When a Christian is around, people should know that there is someone there who will do the right thing.

Above all, we ought to be known for our love to our Christian brothers and sisters. This is the defining mark of the Christian, his or her love for the people of God.

Why do I bring this up? Because more often than not, we are not known for our high and lofty ideals and behavior. We are much more like the reprobate than the saints. We should be better.

As much as I hate bumper sticker theology, you know ... those slogans that people can quote that seems to be the depth of all their Christian knowledge ... I remember the one that says the only hope for the world is Jesus. Why is Jesus the only hope for the world? Because where Jesus is at, there is truth, justice, honesty, peace, and all the goodness that is the very best of humanity. We need to remember that, and to remember that a place ought to be a better place because there are Christians there. Make the place you are a better place. Be the presence of Christ where you are at. Remember, press on from glory to glory.

If we ARE the light of the world and the presence of Christ .. then we need to BE it ... more and more.