2017 Archives

Another New Year

As a child I remember Christmas as the highlight of the year.  In my youth, months seemed to pass so slowly from January through November, like a train approaching from a great distance, its forward motion barely detectable, time almost seemed to stand still.  But as Christmas drew near, the clock appeared to speed up and about the time I really started to enjoy the season, it sped by like the passing locomotive.  I can still feel the sadness of Christmas passed.  And then there was the New Year.  I always wondered what was wrong with the old one, but at least it was the official beginning of the countdown to next Christmas, …just 358 days to go.

Isn’t it just like a child to live only for the highlights of the year?  And yet how easy it is, even for us adults, to focus on the mountain peak experiences of life and develop a dread of all else.  Life becomes rather mundane if we allow ourselves to fall into this trap.

Some have accepted the inherent drabness of the uneventful days of life.  To add meaning and purpose, they focus on family, fitness and fortune.  All of these are noble causes and certainly those who pursue them are better off than those who drift through life and apply themselves to nothing.

BUT, as with every human thought pertaining to life, God, the giver and sustainer of life, has something to say.  He has prescribed a plan by which we can have a fruitful and joyous life.  Jesus said, “…I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. (John 10:10).”  Interestingly, the abundant life that He offers is also called “eternal life.”  It is defined in John 17:3, “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.”  The point to ponder is that God never intended for your life to be a bore.  He invites you to a life of peace, joy, and purpose, through Christ.

The Shepherds

  Of all the splendor surrounding the first Christmas long ago, perhaps no part was more dazzling than that host of angels who appeared before the shepherds by night, just outside of Bethlehem.

  Luke 2 reveals that the angels were enveloped in the glory (brightness) of the Lord.  It was so spectacular that the shepherds were “sore afraid.”  And lest you think of shepherds as the softer sort, let me remind you that these men braved the elements, wild animals, and thieves and robbers on a regular basis, and yet, none were more visibly moved than these burly shepherds.  And why not?  They were stirred by a supernatural appearance and miraculous message; the long awaited Savior of the world had been born that night and even now lay in a lowly manger in that very town.

  Luke describes how “they came with haste,” to meet their Creator God in a cattle stall.  As they left that holy ground on which the King of kings humbly lay, they could not contain themselves, but “made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.”  And, “all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.”

  The shepherds were moved to action by the events of that night, and yet what they saw does not compare to what we can see, through the window of Scripture, concerning this Babe.  We can travel with Him over the hills of Judea, through Samaria and around the Sea of Galilee.  We can watch as He healed the lame, raised the dead and caused the blind to see.  We can follow Him to Calvary where He bled and died to pay the price for our forgiveness.  We can visit the empty tomb, and watch with His disciples as He ascended back to heaven.

  Dear friend, if the first chapter could stir the shepherds to go and tell what they had seen, how much more should we be moved to share the whole story of how “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son.”

Who Cares?

  Wow, the pace of life is getting faster!  People don’t seem to have time for one other any more.  While everything is going our way, the pace is not so threatening; but when we fall into one of the pitfalls of life, it’s like sitting in the middle of a crowded highway in a stalled car.  No one seems willing to busy themselves with the rescue of the distressed.  A “Who cares?” attitude prevails.

  But God Cares!  Though the world has drastically changed, He is …the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. (James 1:17b).  He sees you in the hopelessness of the most serious predicament of life, and comes to your rescue.

  What predicament?  For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; (Romans 3:23).  As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: (Romans 3:10).  You and I are lost in sin.  The Bible tells us that our sinfulness has earned us eternal death and separation from our loving Heavenly Father.  For the wages of sin is death… (Romans 6:23a).

  But listen to this: God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8).  Yes, God loves sinners!  He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to purchase our forgiveness through His death on the cross.  He rose from the dead and has ascended back to Heaven to intercede for you as Savior and Lord.

  How can you obtain this wonderful deliverance?  But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: (John. 1:12).  It’s that simple,  Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved (Acts 16:31).

  No, this won’t supernaturally take all the bumps out of the road of life, but as a child of God you can always be assured that He is with you, that He has time to help, that HE CARES.

You Are What You Have Been Becoming

  A while back, I read a blog about the atrocities committed by the pirates of Somalia.  The blogger stressed that because piracy is an unfortunate reality in our day, we should not glamorize pirates in books, movies, etc.  It was her contention that no parents should allow their tots to idolize terrorists.  These men torture their victims and hold them for multi-million dollar ransoms.  They are in fact common criminals, immoral thugs, drunkards and drug addicts, who use piracy to support their lifestyles.

  Interestingly, every response was critical of the blogger’s assertions:  One wrote, “Perhaps when they’re of appropriate age, we should teach our children the difference between the old-fashioned pirates of fiction and the modern day pirates of reality.”  Another said, “Fantasy is what it is, we all find out the truth soon enough why rain on anyone’s parade? It’s not as though misunderstanding the truth about pirates is likely to affect the real lives of many 8 year olds in America.”  A third answered, “I think there ought to be some room for pretending to be bad guys without forgetting the fact that real bad guys are actually really bad!”

  Unfortunately, many who view themselves as “good” parents continue to raise common criminals, immoral thugs, drunkards and drug addicts.  What are they missing?  According to the Word of God, it does indeed matter what is allowed through the gates of our minds.  “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things… and the God of peace shall be with you. (Philippians 4:8-9).”  “And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children… (Deuteronomy 6:6-7a).”  Fantasies of today will become the fabric of our character tomorrow.  You are what you have been becoming.


The days of the Apostles were marked by sound doctrine, and growth by multiplication.  Later, the successive stages of “church development” were plagued by doctrinal drifting.  After the Reformation, denominations formed and were quickly divided over everything from Bible doctrine to the shape of the steeple.  Diversity made it hard for many to know what to believe.

Today the pendulum is swinging in the opposite direction.  There is a cry for all “people of faith” to celebrate the things they have in common, and ignore their age old differences.  The problem? …what they have in common is not always truth.  Churches are laying aside their doctrinal distinctives for the sake of unity.  There is increasing pressure to be more tolerant of others, more accepting of beliefs that are contrary to our own, or the Bible.

In the beginning, an increasing number of people were hearing the gospel year after year, but now that number is decreasing.  In the beginning the church was the redeemed bride of Christ, but in the end, the Bible tells us that the church will fall away from everything that Christ taught.  We are certainly moving in that direction.

Some will disregard my remarks as being alarmist, outdated or just ignorant.  Others may accuse me of being “one of those legalist pastors who believes everybody should come to his church.”  But my goal is not to have the largest church, and I hate legalism – No one will ever enter heaven because they have faithfully “kept the rules.”  Salvation is by faith in Christ, plus nothing. 

Still there are those who argue, “But the more ‘progressive’ churches have more people than your church.”  That is certainly true, but again, it is not about church or numbers, it is about God and truth.  Where do you stand with relation to God and truth?   Remember, there were more people outside the ark than within.