Thursday, December 20, 2007

Oh Christmas Tree

Having been raised in a christian family that did not place much emphasis on Christmas or its observance I would like to ask a question to those of you who do.

Why on earth do you place a tree in your living room each winter? What possible purpose does it serve in "celebrating" the birth of Christ? I am really perplexed about this.

Is there a scriptural mandate I am missing, or is this simply a cultural thing?

Monday, December 17, 2007

Answer This Question

Supposed you are asked to explain the following question; "Are Mormons Christians?". For the sake of this question let's say that all brands of "faith" are included in the scope of this topic.

How would you answer? What would you say is the defining point that makes one a Christian. You have one sentence of reasonable length and 30 seconds to respond to the person asking this question, which will be seen by millions of television viewers.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The End is Near

Always at the forefront of every tragedy is the question, why? Why did this happen? Why did God allow it? etc...

Just a cursory glance at the media coming out of Hollywood and the entertainment industry today will give you the impression that we love death and violence as a culture. However what I have noticed more often now are the apocalyptic style movies, the ones that portray the destruction of America by some rogue alien or entity.

This really is a sign of the ultimate stage of reprobation; that of self destruction. Just as most rampage shooters end their own lives, so too, our society is being presented with cataclysmic scenarios of mass anarchy and chaos.

It struck me that this is really the end of all selfish pursuits; the ultimate selfish act is to commit suicide. Now the progression to this stage is littered with the things we would call accomplishments and goals, that being the accumulation of riches and prestige. While these are not bad in and of themselves, they should never be the real goal and focus of our work.

So how does this apply to the church today? We have a society imploding around us because they have given themselves wholeheartedly to the pursuit of pleasure, money, and fame. What are we telling them with the modern gospel? Come to Christ and He will give you all you want; happiness, fame, fortune, and lots of wonderful riches. Instead they get the promised persecution, mockery, and trials.

Let's stop spreading half truths and instead begin to give them the truth that will set them free. This begins with sharing some very important facts, that being the righteous judgement of God against all sin. Until a person trembles before the holiness of God, they will never flee to Christ for mercy.

What is Grace?

Daniel over at Doulogos has written an excellent post on the working definition and practical aspects of grace. I would encourage all my Free Grace friends to give it a read. I see no reason why you could not give it your wholehearted endorsement and approval.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

A Most Inconvenient Truth

Daniel over at Doulogos asked the question, "Do you ever wonder why people who don't believe in God still manage to hate Him?"

It does sound rather humorous doesn't it. Kind of like adults saying we don't believe in Santa Claus (sorry Frank) but still spewing nasty words that imply we still think he visits millions of homes every winter.

Haven't you ever heard someone emphatically state, "Oh I don't believe there is a God" and then turn around and say, "If God really loves us why does He allow so much suffering?" There is a big disconnect in their understanding of God's nature, hence they irrationally state their unbelief in His existence. However their persistent abuse of His name and vitriolic speech betray their doubts about athiesm. Romans 1 tells us that man is without excuse because the creation reveals the attributes of God. Incredible! Even His eternal power and Godhead. That is a sobering reality.

Well just as we love to joke about athiest's (there are no athiest's in foxholes, etc) we also have our areas of resistance to God's word. Perhaps it's in the strict interpretation of scirpture, "Well it couldn't possibly mean that, that is impossible to do" or "What God really meant was this". You see we are trying to make the christian life pseuodo-attainable while not utterly denying the need for the Holy Spirit and His power. We deceive ourselves into thinking that God is looking for a set of obligations (pull out your checklist) which if we fulfill will make Him happy. But God is only satisfied with Christ, nothing less and nothing else. If we are not in Christ we are not acceptable to the Father. But this is not only a positional statement, this is also a practical statement.

To walk by the Spirit requires the denial of self and it's lustful desires. We read that the flesh lusts against the Spirit and the Spirit against the flesh. They are contrary as contrary gets towards one another. You cannot have a 50/50 relationship. It must be all of Christ and none of self.

Well this seems to be where the Christian chooses to forget a very unconvenient truth. Paul tells us that we (the believers) must all stand before the judgement seat (Bema) of Christ to give an account of our lives. Everything we have done will be tested by fire. If anything remains we will receive a reward, but if not we will suffer loss.

I know of no judgement seat where there is not the possibility of punitive damages being awarded the losing party.

How will you fare at the judgement? If every thought, word, and deed was placed on a big screen for all to see; every motive, intention of your heart, act of Christian service you did. Would it all be out of a love for Christ and by the power of His Spirit or would there be fleshly efforts? God cannot reward our own works of the flesh, no matter how "good" they appear. Only what is accomplished in and through the anointing of the Spirit of Christ will have lasting value and eternal rewards.