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.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

A Faith Of My Own

Some years ago I read a book by a former professor at Dallas Theological Seminary. He recalled a time when he was on a panel interviewing folks who had applied to enter a doctoral program at the school. He recalled the questions that were asked of these candidates. They were questions that don't seem to me to be all that difficult to answer. As an example, one was "Defend from scripture the deity of Christ." He said all the men held master's degrees. Some taught in seminaries and others were pastors. Yet, very very few could answer the questions they were asked adequately. From this he concluded that many of them believed in a second hand faith.

By second hand faith I mean this, they are believing things that other people had told them were true, but they never researched these things out for themselves. Therefore, the things really were not part of their own faith. They were riding the coattails, as it were, of somebody else's faith. And this is a real danger.

We live in a day of popular and famous preachers. John Piper, John MacArthur, Paul Washer, Al Mohler and many, many others could be named. We have access to the writings of some of the greatest Christian teachers of past centuries, more than any generation before us. Thanks to the Internet, all this information is available to us. But it also comes with a real danger attached to it.

We must be, above all things, students of scripture. Recall the words of Martin Luther at Worms "My conscience is captive to the word of God." Oh! That that would be true of all of us. But far too many of us have our pet teachers and we give them our implicit trust and we trust what they tell us. The danger is that we will become lazy and not study out for ourselves the things they teach. Therefore, I cease believing for myself and I start believing because Piper, or Mohler, or someone else told me so. If something is going to be part of us, then it must be something we believe for ourselves. That means we have some work ahead of us.

Every Christian is called to be a theologian. We must all study the scriptures for ourselves. We must know it for ourselves. It can never ever be because someone else said so. Now, lest I be misunderstood, let me be more clear. We are all discipled by someone. It is good and right to have godly teachers to guide us in our Christian growth. It is good and right to read books written by godly men and women of the past and to lean on their wisdom. But those resources must never be an excuse to stop us from studying for ourselves. We must test every lesson, every sermon, every written page, against the word of God. Our consciences are not captive to the word of Piper, or Mohler or Calvin or any other. It is captive to the word of God!

Too many errors are rampant in the Church (universal) today because Christians trust their teachers to always tell the truth. Too many Christians are hoping to ride into heaven on the coattails of their favorite preaching celebrity. It is time to test everything against scripture and make it our own faith. It is time to own the faith for ourselves.

Anything else is not real Christianity. It is living off the table scraps from someone else's table. And that is no way to be when the King of Kings has set out the banquet table for us. Is it?

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Seize the Day!

We are foolish sometimes. I think we are never so foolish as when we begin to think that we are immortal. Face it, we live like we think we will never die. Yet, the truth is that death is all around us.

A friend of mine recently was watching a video on You Tube of a church's revival services in her hometown. There were many people in the video that she knew. Yet, on the very day that she was watching the video, one of the young men in the video had a terrible car accident and was killed.

When I was a police officer in Nebraska, I remember being struck by the complexity ot human life. There were car accidents when the driver ought to have been killed and yet walked away. Other accidents seemed to be hardly worth mentioning yet the driver was killed. I am often struck by how easy it is to kill someone.

When I was a young boy living in Landover, Maryland, I had a next door neighbor who was killed while walking home from school. He was passing a construction site and an improperly supported wall was struck by a gust of wind and fell on him.

Very few people wake up in the morning and think "Today is the day I am going to die." Yet, every day that is a real possibility. Only God knows the time of our death. It could be today.

That being so, we need to live like it. That is to say that we ought to wake up every morning thanking God that He has given us today to live in. We need to be thankful for as much time as God gives us.

We need to imagine that each thing we do may be our last thing. So we need to stop wasting time on trivial things. We need to live each day enjoying the time. Enjoy every kiss, every meal, every sunrise or sunset ... as the scripture says "Whatsover things you do, do it with all your might."

Think that if you are doing the last thing you will ever do, is this the thing you want to be doing? If I am going to see God tonight, do I want Him to see me right after I have done this thing? The late Walter Martin once said "We need to live our lives as though Christ won't be back for a thousand years. But we need to live each day like we are going to see him tonight."

If that is the truth, then live each day to the fullest. Seize the day! Make it count. Today may be all you have.