In Genesis chapter 12 we meet a man named Abram, later called Abraham. He is named in a genealogy in the previous chapter, but the first few verses of 12 kind of make you think that we should have known this guy a little more than we do at this point in the Bible. God starts talking to this guy and making him promises as if they have known each other for a while; well they had, but we haven’t.
God tells Abram to go to a place that he will be shown later. The motivation behind it almost seems to be the promise of being a great nation, but this guy was old and didn’t have any kids. I have to be honest with you. If God were to tell me to go somewhere, right now, at my age, and promise to give me lots of kids, I would have to seriously consider becoming a Buddhist monk instead. Promising me kids as motivation would be like promising a kid broccoli as motivation.
The sudden introduction of Abram and the assumption that he knew God a lot longer than it took for us to read that much of the Bible, lets us use our imaginations and assume more than we probably should. What I want to share with you is that the safest assumption is that God and Abram had a relationship that was very close. It had to be for this man to leave his land and relatives with no idea of where he was going. And, I know from reading the rest of the Bible and a personal testimony, that God desires relationships with His people and not religion.
God does not make sense. He reminds me of my parents when I was 6. They made no sense to me when they said not to build a ramp for my bicycle in order to jump over my little brother who was laying in front of the ramp. I had been riding for 2 years and can’t remember ever seeing them on a bike. What did they know about daredevil stunts? I had been watching Evil Knievel jump motorcycles over buses and cars and his parents weren’t around telling him to stop it.
You see, God is, or wants to be our Father. He wants to be intimately involved in our lives. He knows when we are in danger and knows how to do what is best for us. We tend to think that God is only there to be at our beck and call when it should be the other way around. God is our maker and our God. He wants us to love him and trust Him and we can, if we will just quit acting like know-it-all 6 year olds.
I think back through my childhood days and remember all the times that I did just trust my dad. He told me to cast my fishing line in that direction and I did, and I caught a fish. He told me to stand up to that bully and don’t act scared and the bully went away. He told me to go over there and wait and the snipes would come running out of the woods…No wait…there was no such thing as snipes and I waited in the dark for quite a while before I figured out it was a joke. But for the most part, I trusted my dad and did things he told me when I did not know the outcome. I did it because I knew he loved me and was going to take care of me.
Now I can see how Abram took off on his journey to a place that God would show him. Abram is the father of the Jews and the Christians and the Muslims. God held up His end of the bargain. He always does and always will. We just need to know Him. We need to walk by faith.
In Genesis chapter 12 we meet a man named Abram, later called Abraham. He is named in a genealogy in the previous chapter, but the first few verses of 12 kind of make you think that we should have known this guy a little more than we do at this point in the Bible. God starts talking to this guy and making him promises as if they have known each other for a while; well they had, but we haven’t.
Chapter 6 of Genesis is the beginning of the most popular story in the Bible, next to Christmas and Easter. It is the story of Noah and the ark that saved his family from the great flood. It has taken on the status of great fairy tale rather than historical literature. We live in a day where science feels it must disprove the Bible and comes up with some things that are as difficult to believe as the miraculous stories that fascinated us as children. We are told of past catastrophes that wiped out most life on the planet, and are told of future events that will do it again and we are to tremble in awe of the stories. Yet, we are told of a God that judges the world with catastrophic events and we are told that we are fools for believing them. Again I will rely on facts and common sense, as well as my belief that the Bible is accurate to argue my point.
I scuba dive as a hobby. We often dive in what is known as black water in rivers that host alligators and bull sharks in search of fossils. The Megalodon shark is an extinct giant shark that used to rule the oceans. We find their 4-7 inch teeth in the bottom of the river right next to civil war relics. Many say that they are there due to erosion, and the fact that the oceans used to cover so much more of the earth. I think these massive sharks came inland during the flood in search of easy meals of drowned dinosaurs and other large animals. That would explain how the sharks quickly died when the waters receded like the Bible describes, stranding them so far from the oceans that would normally support them. It would also explain the mastodon tusk and teeth and bones that we find, many with gashes from what looks like sharp teeth. These same teeth have been found in the deserts as far inland as Utah and some even in mountainous regions.
Dinosaurs are not hard to explain. I was told by a scientist that reptiles continue to grow as long as they are alive. Lizards come in many different shapes and sizes, most well under a foot long. But there are a few, like alligators and crocs, who grow to be nearly 20 feet long. Those extremely large reptiles are close to 100 years old. Geckos, they rarely live longer than 10 years and don’t grow to be more than a foot long. So if humans in that day lived 900 years, what would happen if dinosaurs lived that long?
Fossils are interesting scientific anomalies. Something organic is transformed into something similar to a rock. This requires something to quickly cover and encase the object. If we are to believe that an asteroid hit and killed off everything, we must account for something the size of a Brontosaurus being covered very quickly and its bone preserved. That would mean that nearly 40 feet or so of sediment all over the earth falling in a constant pattern.
A massive flood would definitely have that effect. Years ago we had a flood that put 2 feet of water in our downstairs and there was at least a half-inch of mud on the flood when the water went away. A flood the scope of the one described in Noah’s day would easily cover the largest of animal or its bones with mud. I know that some will argue that over millions of years things get buried very deep, but in less that a year, it is hard to find anything left of an animal that dies in the woods. Bacteria and worms do a great job of cleaning things up.
I know that this is not pure science and that there is some opinion in here, but it is a blog, not a scientific dissertation. All I want to say is that for people who believe the Bible and those who don’t, there are other logical explanations for fossils and Noah’s flood is a good one.
One last thing. Next time you are flying over the earth in a plane, especially over land, look out the window and notice the way the earth shows signs of a great flood. It is the same patterns that scientists claim to give evidence of water on Mars at on time. This Earth shows lots of evidence of flood damage.
Happy New Year to all in the blogosphere. 2013 is going to be a great year if you have the right attitude and motivation. My motivation is driven by what I find in God’s Word, the Bible. I know some who read these things are not big Bible believers and some are skeptics, and some are on the fence about what you believe. But I happen to believe it and think that it is quite a motivational book when understood and taken in context.
This year I thought that I would try to share more of that with you. This does not mean that you will always agree with me, although you should, but I hope that it will challenge you to think about a few things, especially things like eternity and whether or not we need to be concerned about it. I invite feedback and criticism, after all, nothing sparks a good debate better than the Bible. All I ask is that you keep it clean and keep it open for thought and discussion.
Each year I try to read the Bible from beginning to end. I have been doing this for about 20 years now and most years have been successful. Every time I read it I find something awesome and refreshing and I learn something new. I have had to change my mind on some stuff because I better understood the whole thing and have had to eat some crow because I did not understand things as well as I thought. But one thing has always been true; I have never found a contradiction that could not be explained or could lead me to believe the Bible is wrong. There are still plenty of things that I can’t explain, but nothing that I can’t accept.
So this year as I read through it again, I am going to share some of my findings and ask some questions and who knows, maybe I will give some answers. I am going to be blunt and give evidence or at least attempt to give some logic and every now and then I may even have to say that I just don’t know the answer. The reason is, I think I have more and better answers from the Bible than most are getting from elsewhere, especially when it comes to trying to prove that God does not exist and that the Bible is not scientific. I think you may be surprised by what I might share over the next year.
God has always been a source of controversy. No one was around when He created it all, so skeptics says it was an accident. Most who disagreed with Him have already died and although they know the truth now, can’t argue anymore. Those who are still alive can’t prove He doesn’t exist any more than I can prove He does. And, God does not need to proven to be God. I will leave you with this to close out this blog. Not believing in God will not stop you from meeting Him. If I am wrong, it really doesn’t matter. But if you are wrong, eternity is riding on it.
Thanks for an awesome 2012 and thanks for following me into 2013. It is going to be a great year! The year of the blog!
College football season started in my house last night. I am a huge SC Gamecock fan and have been all of my life. Last night they barely won a game that should have been a blow out according to the experts. I really hate it when the experts say stuff like that and I buy into it. In football, anything can happen and usually does especially when you are talking about college ball.
I listen to a lot of experts predict things and I can’t tell you how often they are wrong. For instance, the weather forecaster on TV. They are considered experts in weather and yet they probably only get it right half. I was watching the forecasts for hurricane Isaac and a week before it came close to Florida, they were saying that it would hit Tampa. It made landfall in New Orleans. Just this morning I heard the forecast for my area was to be mostly cloudy and I am sitting in bright sunshine without a cloud in the sky.
Experts in the financial world are not much better. Every time we get a jobs report it is worse than the experts predicted. Stocks go up and down every day despite what they say and those same experts who blame speculators for oil prices going sky-high, never mention the speculators when it drops to record lows. Three years ago many of the experts said that we would be well recovered from the recession we are not still in, and yet unemployment went up in over 30 states just last month.
Experts predicted that in the year 2000 AD on New Years day all computers would freak out and it didn’t happen. Experts said that cars were not going to catch on and flying would never happen. They said that everyone would be flying around instead of driving by now and that a new ice age was coming, but now its global warming. They said salt would kill you, now it won’t, saccharine would kill you, but not really now, red meat was good but now its bad, and that if you would just take this pill or that one you would never get fat.
So far the experts have messed up a lot of predictions. There is one source of predictions that I have found to be really accurate; the Bible. The Old Testament is full of predictions that Jesus would come to earth and die, and He did. In fact almost 1000 years before it happened, great details of the crucifixion were written in Psalm 22. The Bible predicted that the temple in Jerusalem would be totally destroyed and it happened. It predicted that several super powers would fall and gave a time frame to when it would happen, and it did. Very few historians disagree with the historical accuracy of the Bible. It is used as a historical document far more than most would ever guess. What is disputed is the claim to be the word of God and that the God of the Bible is who it claims Him to be. But with all of the weird and far out predictions the Bible has already gotten right, it does make you wonder if it could be right about God too.
In the New Testament there are some really far out claims that when made could never be imagined and today are not far away from being a reality. It says that there will be a time when money will be useless and that no one will be able to buy or sell without a certain mark. When that was written 2000 years ago it was absurd to think about that possibility and even as little as 20 years ago it seemed far-fetched. Yet here we are today with fewer and fewer people using cash and the need to carry cash is almost obsolete. It tells us that Jesus will return to earth one day and when that happens, everyone will see it. Today that is as close to a possibility as ever before with the video phone capability that everyone has.
With so many experts being so wrong so often and the Bible being right so often, why do people doubt the simple things that the Bible claims? Like all humans are sinners. No one has to be taught to lie, it comes natural. It says that all sinners will be judged by God and that we either stand on our own merits or we can stand on the merits of Christ. His death on the cross, also not disputed by historians, is an acceptable sacrifice for our sins and all we have to do is ask for forgiveness. What is disputed is that Christ rose from the grave. It says that God loves us enough to allow His Son to die for us and that if we will live for Him, He will give us eternal life.
Eternal life is something many experts agree that humans have or will have. What form it takes and how we achieve it is what is in question. Some say that we earn it, the Bible says it is a gift. Some say it is a never-ending cycle of coming back as other creatures. Some say that everyone goes to heaven and the Bible says that only those who trust in Christ go. Some say that eternal life will be achieved through modern medicine and this causes those who are rich to spend millions to preserve their corpses in hopes that they can be revived when that time comes. The Bible says that we all die and after that there is judgement. Judged on our own works or on what Christ did for us.
So given the accuracy of the expertise of man and the expertise of God, I will choose to go with God. After all, if last nights game was any indication of the expert’s ability to get it right, I don’t want to risk my soul to that.
I asked my church last Sunday night what they would like to study in the next few weeks. We are finishing up a study on anger and I like to see if they have any ideas that I can turn into a good couple of weeks of teaching. One of the suggestions was the men of the Bible. My wife teaches a women’s group on Wednesdays and they recently studied the women of the Bible. I am sure it was a great study, but I don’t do those kind of studies very well. It would be a great study, but I think I will leave it to my wife and her Wednesday night crowd to handle that. I am not sure what I will teach next.
Maybe I will start a basket weaving class. That way we keep our hands occupied and can take something home with us after we are finished. Everyone likes baskets and few folks nowadays know how to make one from scratch. If we get enough participation we can fill them with Easter eggs next year and sell them to the Easter Bunny.
Whatever I teach next I want it to be something that we can walk away from with an idea of how to do what we were studying. So many Bible studies just give us head knowledge. We walk out knowing something in our minds but have no idea how to put into our lives in a way that others see a difference. I really think that Jesus wants people to see how much we know by the way we act instead of how much we talk. Talking is the easy part.
I wonder what kind of Bible study it would be if we studied how Jesus and His teaching changed the way we act? Would it be a quick, one night study where we all agreed that we are doing fine? Would it be a boring night that is so boring no one will come back? Will it be weeks of talk about how messed up he or she is? Would it be a continual story of all the great things we think that we have done?
The Apostle Paul was an amazing fellow. He often had to talk about his self. When he did it was usually a defense of his calling into the ministry, because he was a very bad dude before he met Jesus or a reminder of the fact that before he met Jesus that he was a very bad dude. Paul said of himself that he was the worst of all sinners. He told people that he was nothing without Jesus and rarely talked about how good he was and never compared himself to others. He never bragged about his church or his group that he hung out with, but rather he bragged about God’s mercy and grace and calling in his life to preach the gospel.
The reason Paul talked like this is not because he spent time studying the deep secrets of the Bible. He knew them and for the longest time, before he met Jesus, went around quoting the Bible to people. He was a very religious man. Once he met Jesus, he got away from religion and started having a relationship with Jesus through the Holy Spirit. He began to recognize that the less he talked about Paul, the more people would see Jesus. He showed people through his actions what he knew from the word of God. He lived each day as if it were his last and did not focus only on Sunday gatherings. One of his greatest teachings was to the church in Corinth when he taught about love. He said that even if he could do all things spiritual but did not have love, then it was all worthless. Love is the overwhelming factor that changes someone from a religious person to a person in a relationship with God. It changed Paul’s life.
Sounds like I may have found a good next topic for my Sunday evening Bible study.
I just finished reading the Bible through again for at least the 20th time. No, I am not bragging, it is just a fact. I started out several years ago trying to read the Bible from beginning to end at least once every year. For the most part I have been successful and sometimes I get through it twice and other times I fall a bit short. But I have noticed that every time I read it through I learn something different or strengthen what I thought I believed and every now and then I have to change my mind on something. Either way I am never disappointed. Another reason I do this is because I tell my church all the time that they need to read the whole bible for themselves and I don’t want to be a hypocrite.
I believe that at least 75% of Bible conversations contain some sort of misinformation. Not intentional, but out of ignorance. The Bible is an incredible group of writings that span thousands of years and many cultures. That can make proper interpretation difficult, but certainly not impossible. The reason for this misinformation is that people who say that they are Christians do not read the Bible with the intent of learning what God says, but they read it to pick out what they want to believe He says. Throw in the fact that translation any language to another can be difficult to insure the purity of the thought is intact and you can have some really wild stuff come out in conversation. But that is not the purpose of this blog.
Here are three things I learned this time.
1. God is not a liar. Now I knew this and didn’t doubt it, but I kept being reminded every day that if God says it He means it. He said that sin would cause death and it does. He said that He forgives and He does. He said that Israel would never cease to exist and despite all odds, they have not. There are prophesies that were written hundreds of years before they came true and the accuracy in which they came true are incredible. History has some amazing records of what the Bible says coming to be true. Sure there are still things that I don’t understand and have not come true, but the more I read it the more I believe it.
2. What I thought were inconsistencies are not. This is very close to repeating what I said in the first thing, but I want to elaborate. There are things in the Bible that seem to contradict itself. Yet the same Bible says that there are no contradictions and that the Bible is God’s infallible word. This is the source of friction between denominations and churches and believers and non believers. As of right now there are things that I don’t have an answer for when it comes to this subject. But every time I read the Bible, I find that the inconsistency is not in the Bible but in my interpretation of it. That is why I said that there are times when I change my mind on something that I thought before. Some call this flip-flopping or manipulating, but I just know that the God I believe in says that He is perfect and I am not. So if anything needs to change it must be me. No human will ever fully understand God until we get to heaven and He reveals to us His truth perfectly, without our sin nature getting in the way. Meanwhile, I will keep searching and adjusting to my faith to agree with God and His word.
3. God really loves me. The Bible says that God is holy and we are not. Sin keeps us from God and God hates that. So He made a way for us to be close to Him through the sacrifice of His son Jesus. Let me take a moment to clarify. I didn’t just learn that God really loves me. I just keep learning how much more He really loves me. The Bible is not a book full of perfect people who do perfect things to please God. It is just the opposite. It is full of messed up people doing stupid things that ruin our relationship with God and He has to fix it. He allows us to make a choice to trust Him or not. He never forces Himself on people but always tries to draw us close to Him. He is patient with us and waits for us to give Him a chance to show His love for us. There are hundreds of stories of people who tried and failed and still God kept wanting to mend the relationship and always accepted the repentance of those who asked for forgiveness.
Because the first two points I made are ever on my mind, I know that God has every right to kill me. I sin. But because He loves me unconditionally and I have accepted Jesus as my Savior, God has made me one of His children and fathers don’t disown their children, not loving fathers ant certainly not the perfect Father, God. Every time I mess up, God convicts me. It may take a while for me to see it His way, but when I do, He always forgives me and His love never changes. I tell you this because I mess up more than most think a pastor should. I tell you that because I want you to know that He will forgive you no matter who you are and what you have done. God really loves us!
There are several other things that I learned this time through, but I wanted to express these three because they are consistently being strengthened in my heart and mind every time I read the Bible. I challenge you to try reading it all, and then do it again. Don’t look for the gotcha moments, but look for the consistent truth that runs deep about a God that has every right to judge us, but does everything possible to redeem us.
Every time I get the chance, I tell my church and the people in the Bible studies that I lead, to read their Bibles from the beginning to the end and to do it often. I remember the first time I did it and it was life changing. I have never had such a great feeling of accomplishment than when I finish it the first time and then again and again. I never get tired of seeing new things that He reveals to me. I will admit that I do get nervous with some of the things I am confronted with. Often it is my failures and my insecurities and my lack of faith. But with each reading I gain the trust and faith in God to step a little closer to what He has in store for me and a little bolder to speak with faith the love of God for humanity.
I am not an avid reader. Other than the Bible, I have to make myself read books. A few years back I committed to reading at least 6 new books each year. That does not sound like much to some, but there was a time just before this commitment that I could count on one hand the number of books I had read completely.
The other day I was given a book to read by someone who works with me in the ministry. I had heard about it and had thought that one day I would get around to reading it. But now it was in my hands and so I started. RATS! DARN! FIDDLESTICKS! and other words of frustration.
I tell people who reading is great and beneficial and I encourage it. I caution people who when it comes to Christian books, especially those who claim to explain the Bible that they should be careful. I tell them that they should never let a book interpret the Bible, but to let the Bible interpret the book. Of course this is not possible if you have never read the Bible from beginning to end. So, seeing how I have read the Bible from beginning to end, I can allow this to happen, and this book is very biblically sound.
It is challenging Christians, and I are one, to take to heart the command to “go into all the world” like Jesus commanded. Not just to go, but to do and to equip those who do. It suggests that the American church is not doing much that requires God to help. It suggests that what most churches are doing are done through man’s desire and not really God’s desire.
Never the less, this book does not challenge churches, it challenges individuals, just like the Bible. I have been challenged, and I am going to try to take up this challenge. I am not going to give details right now, because it is a bit overwhelming for me. I am going to start looking at doing what we can’t do unless God is involved more than what we can do and it would be nice if God would join in with us.
I ask for your prayers. It is crazy to know that you are a Christian who serves a God who created the universe and know that most of what you are doing doesn’t require God to be part of it. As I read the Bible, I read accounts of miracles. Not stuff that can’t be explained, but stuff that can’t happen unless God does it. Sadly I don’t see that in much of my ministry. I do see God working through our church and we are reaching people with the Gospel. To that I am thrilled! I just want to know more of God’s will and less of my own.
Don’t read this book! Don’t read the Bible! Don’t do either if you are just doing it because you feel obligated, as if God were some dude that you owed the favor. You don’t owe God a favor, you owe Him your life. It is His. He promises that if we will do what He asks, that we will see Him do what He says. He said, and this is a paraphrase, don’t read the book, do the deed. (James 1:22)
By now you must be wondering where in the world do some of these ideas for my blogs come from. It is simple; I have some weird people who go to my church. This morning I get a Facebook tag about omens saying that I should blog about it. I am not sure why, but I thought okay, this could be a sign…get it? Sign? Omen?
As usual, I will start with the definition of the word omen. (noun. anything perceived or happening that is believed to portend a good or evil event or circumstance in the future; portent)
Let me be the first to say that I thought the movie was stupid. Also, I think the word is a weird word. I don’t even like the way it is spelled. Just by changing one letter it could be AMEN! Maybe that is a good direction to go with this blog.
The common fear of an omen is that it points towards the rest of a bad day staying that way or getting worse. We rarely hear of people talking about good omens. It certainly would not have sold a lot of tickets at the box office. People think that if you burn your toast that it is a sign that you will get fired, wreck your car, or be called to jury duty. I don’t believe that is true. Maybe its is a sign of something good. Let me elaborate.
You get up the morning of an important day and because you have been taught that breakfast is an important meal, you began to fix your toast, which by the way, hardly qualifies as a real breakfast. As you are fixing your coffee, which is an important part of a nutritional breakfast, you smell something burning and turn to see smoke rising from your toaster. The toast is burnt! An omen of a disastrous day to come or could this be the start of something really good?
Because the toast is burnt, you spend a little more time thinking about what makes this day so important. Perhaps it is your day to fix cupcakes for your child’s class party, or you have an interview for a job, or you are going to take your pastor a surprise gift, like money, or a free round of golf. You remember that verse from the Bible that you just read, either because you have been reading the Bible or you have been reading this blog. It says, (Acts 20:35) that it is more blessed to give than to receive, so you not only bake the cupcakes, but you grab some more money to give to your pastor, and head off to have a blessed day. If you had not burned the toast, you may have spent the money that you were going to give your pastor on store-bought cupcakes, and felt even worse than before, thus allowing the burnt toast to become an omen of bad things to come.
Romans 8:28We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God—those whom he has called according to his plan. God does not have bad omens for His people. He has only your best interest at heart. Even in the toughest things, God is preparing us for a blessing. Job who lost everything he had, was being prepared to receive double everything that he lost. Peter and the other fishermen were taken out in a terrible storm so that they could see Jesus speak and calm the storm. Onesimus, the runaway slave, was caught and thrown in jail, only to meet the Apostle Paul and find eternal life. Jesus was falsely accused, sentenced to die, and killed for the sins of others, only to rise from the grave and offer eternal life to all who ask.
So…Next time you think that you are getting a negative omen, be creative and change one letter and make it AMEN. With God, all things are possible.
Every time I open my messages on Facebook and see one from “my friend” I cringe. Here is her latest subject. What about homosexual relationships? What does the Bible say about them? Are people born that way or do they choose? What do you think about gay marriage and gays raising children? Thanks my dear friend. No one will be able to get upset about this one.
Some of you are probably wondering why I even accepted the challenge to blog about this. I could have just ignored the question or answered it privately. But I chose to blog about it because there is no reason for Christians to not be able to express how they feel or be able to say what God says about anything. So tighten your seat belts and let’s do this.
My first task I think, is to answer the marriage thing. Merriam-Webster’s defines it as this: a (1) : the state of being united to a person of the opposite sex as husband or wife in a consensual and contractual relationship recognized by law. Now if you continue to look there are other definitions that have been added through the years to include same-sex marriage, but this definition has been the one that has been accepted for hundreds of years. It also meets the biblical definition of marriage and as far as what is legally acceptable as marriage, this fits too.
So I do not believe that gay marriage is right. For as long as humans have been around, marriage has been defined as a man and a woman. Why all of a sudden do we have to change the meaning just because a certain group of people wants to? It would be like deciding to call 2+2=5 because someone decides that they wanted it that way. Call a gay couple something else, but not a marriage. There is no place in the Bible that tells two members of the same-sex to live together as a couple in holy matrimony. The Bible is not old-fashioned because God has decided what marriage is to be and He has not changed His mind. So, gays living as a married couple is not biblical. And by the way, neither is a man and a woman who are not married, and that will be addressed later.
As far as gays raising children, I don’t believe that it is the best situation. It would be best for the birth mother and father to raise the child. But I do know that children need love and that anyone can love a child. Some good friends of mine, who are gay, are raising children, and in both cases, these children are well-behaved, loved, and certainly much better off than if they were in an orphanage somewhere or with a couple who did not love them. No biblical problems here.
Now to the big issue, are people born this way? I can’t give a definitive yes or no, but, let me explain. All humans are born in sin. No one has to teach a child to lie and lying is a sin. Sin is the driving force in the human flesh. It is selfish, pleasure centered, and totally against God. Without the power of the Holy Spirit, humans are unable to defeat sin at any level. We have all sinned and come short of the glory of God. Because we are all born with a sin nature, that sin will manifest itself in our lives somehow, someway, somewhere.
The Bible is very clear that sex outside of marriage is a sin. That includes adulterous sex, pre-marital sex, promiscuous sex, homosexual sex, sex with animals and any other sex you can name. Sex is not love. Sex is God’s way of humans reproducing and for married couples to express intimacy. Keep in mind that I am writing from the premise that God is the one who made and defines marriage and the limits of sexual morality, not man. He is the one who is holy and He is the judge of mankind. What we humans think is right has nothing to do with what God says. Our feelings are not the moral judge, God is.
I condemn those who treat gays with hate and malice. Jesus loves them. He died for the sins of humanity, not for the pretty church people. The sin of one person is no greater in the eyes of God than the sin of another. The blood of Jesus was shed so that sinners like me could be forgiven, learn of the love of God and grow in love and understanding of who He is. Because of this, Christians are to love others in the same way and not put a sin above another.
Putting the sex issue aside, heterosexual or homosexual, if sex of any kind were taken out of the picture as the sin issue, we are all still sinners of some sort. Born that way, but not bound to stay that way. I am now a sinner, saved by grace, who has a Father in heaven that loves me. Not because of what I did, but because of what God did when Jesus died on the cross for my sins and your.
As I came to the office this morning, my plan was to begin looking ahead at 2012 and trying to plan my preaching and teach subjects. As I am not the most organized person in the world, I have to try really hard to do these things and I get easily distracted by things like, looking for next year’s calendar online that has holidays listed. I did not know that you could find so many websites that are dedicated to calendars. I usually get my desk calendar at the office supply store about December 29th. I wish that I had one now, because now I am writing my plans on a sticky note and hoping that I can keep track of it until late December.
Last year, well actually it was this year, but I am in the “thinking about next year mode”, I went to a conference where I was convicted to plan out my year of preaching to allow for more prayer, and believe it or not, to look at how much time I don’t take off from being a pastor. It shocked me how little time I wanted to take off, and according to the guy who spoke at the conference, you need to schedule some away time. I usually schedule my away time in between Sundays and prepare my sermons while I am away which means I don’t use the away time for down time which he said we needed. But I did manage to work on this and I can see his point, so I am trying to plan ahead and I don’t have a calendar.
This all sounds fascinating, I know, and by now you are wondering if this is not my attempt to put off what I need to do, and it isn’t. Like I said, I wrote stuff down on a sticky note. As I was trying to find a calendar and plan my year, I was reminded that planning ahead this year might not be needed. When you type in calendar for a web search, eventually you will have to read about the Mayan calendar, which basically says that we don’t need anymore calendars now. The world is ending soon. I am excited about this possibility, but better not count on this whole not needing a calendar thing.
So I did finally get a teaching point out of this planning without a calendar ordeal. Preaching is often dictated by holidays. I try to preach an Easter sermon an Easter Sunday. I try to preach something patriotic on the 4th of July. I try to preach stuff that is relevant to the regularly scheduled holidays. I also like to plan vacations and conferences and thus have a guest speaker scheduled for those Sundays that I a gone. It is just about impossible to that if you don’t have that year’s calendar. So I got my sticky notes out and did what I could for January 2012 and decided to blog.
Do you see how easy it is to get distracted when you don’t have the right information in available? Not knowing certain facts can cause you to get sidetracked from the important stuff you are doing and get you looking for alternate sources to complete your task. This often leads to mistakes and confusion. Can you imagine me not preaching the Easter sermon on Easter? What if I scheduled a guest speaker and gave him the wrong date? What if I lose that stick note? What if the Mayans are right? What if I just decided not to preach anymore because I got distracted and started looking for facts in a place filled with lies?
These things happen to Christians all the time. The Bible tells us things that we need to do daily and we act as if they aren’t on our calendars. It tells us how to live our lives so that we are pleasing to God but we get distracted and read Cosmo and listen to Oprah. Then on New Year’s Eve we make resolutions based on last year’s failures only to plan them on a sticky note that is lost in a few days with all the other unimportant stuff we allow to clutter our lives. Sadly, we have the Bible available most of the time and still make these mistakes. It doesn’t change like the numbers on a calendar and it is always accurate for the time we need it. You just can’t make a good plan for life without right tool, a Bible.
With all this said, I guess it is time to go buy a 2012 desk calendar before I lose my sticky note.