Monthly Archives: November 2008

Thankfulness and Thanksgiving

Just the mention of the word thanksgiving is enough to stir a well of emotions in me.  I am not the kind of person who generally thinks of doing those “little things” like writing notes or sending cards or things like that.  My wife is the one who has a knack for saying the right thing at the right time or doing the little things that make a big impression.  But even I can’t help but stop and reflect on all the good things that God has blessed me with when this day rolls around.  There are so many who have had an impact on my life, whether in just the last year or for many years before, I am truly blessed in friends and family and those who love me for who I am.  I don’t think I can even attempt to name everyone that has impacted my life, but I want to give thanks to God for saving me from myself and my selfish sin nature.  I am not perfect, but He’s still working on me.  He has blessed me with a wife who has taught me more about the meaning of selfless and unconditional love than anyone I know.  She is amazing and still finds ways to surprise me.  I cannot imagine my life without her.  She is a fabulous mother to our three kids and they will surely come to realize how blessed they are to have her as they grow older.  Those three kids are a blessing that no words can really describe.  They are funny and smart and creative and mirrors of our sometime insanity.  Despite the frustrations that all parents I am sure feel at times, we are blessed to have three healthy kids who love life and love us as well.  I try to remember to cherish even the times that they get on our nerves, for I know that none of it will last forever and the day will come when I will wish for just a minute that I could once more say, “could you please play without yelling?” or some variant of that anyway.

On top of that, there are our families that are far away in Arkansas.  We miss them and love them as well.  They have helped to make us who we are and have supported us as we have pursued God’s will for our lives, even when it took us a thousand miles or more away.  In addition to our physical families, there is our spiritual family.  The different bodies of believers we have fellowshipped and worshipped with who loved us and gave us support with their prayers and even money as we embarked on the journey to this place in God’s service.  For all the dearly loved people in those churches, we say thanks again and again.

And we also have family here in the Dakotas.  We have had the privilege to serve three churches now in the Dakotas.  In that time, we have met many wonderful people who have blessed me and our whole family time and again.  There are too many names to mention everyone, but if you have been with us at Westside Baptist or Black Hills Baptist or just around the Black Hills Association, please consider this a thank you from the bottom of our hearts.  We love you all dearly and miss being in the hills with the people and family that God has given us there.

We are also, so very thankful for the family of God that we have right here in Langdon.  The church family that we have come to know and love here in the last year plus is very precious to us.  You have shown us love and caring and patience as a long-time youth pastor tries to learn what it means to pastor and shepherd a church family.  I am thankful to other pastors who have given of their time and energy to support me with advice and prayer and resources.  I am blessed to be doing what God has called me to do in the place that God has prepared us for for such a time as this.  On this day and every day, I say thanks.  Blessings to you all and Shalom.

Categories: Christianity, Giving, personal, Thanksgiving | Leave a comment

Morning Sermon for 11/23/08 – Romans 4-5:11

Morning Sermon for 11/23/08
One of the things we hope to do with this site is provide the audio from the Sunday morning sermons for those who cannot come and worship with us but would like to hear me preach for some reason anyway. Click on the link above to listen.

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Hello world!

I am working to put some content up on the internet to serve as a touchpoint for the ministry of First Baptist Church.  The blog section will contain current happenings and links to sermon content or other things of that nature.  I am just getting started so be patient and check back to see our progress.

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Blog Neglect

For those who come here to keep up with the family, I apologize. Between starting school again and the hectic nature of life, I have not kept up here at all. I will put up a post later with some cute photos of the kids from the blizzard in Mandan earlier this month. In the meantime, for those who might be interested, I have just set up a site/blog for the church so I can post audio files of sermons and have a place for church stuff on the web. If you want to check it out go here.

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Feelings, Nothing More than Feelings!

Today a story caught my eye.  Although I have observed the lurching away from the truth by many “Christian” leaders in the limelight, I was a little amazed at this.  According to WorldNetDaily, an emergent church leader by the name of Tony Jones has declared that the church should definitely support homosexual relationships and yes, even marriage.

“I now believe that GLBTQ can live lives in accord with biblical Christianity (as least as much as any of us can!),” writes author and church leader Tony Jones, “and that their monogamy can and should be sanctioned and blessed by church and state.”

There you have it.  While I agree that anyone can live lives in accord with Biblical Christianity, I would be so bold as to say that they actually have to accept the authority of the Bible to do so.  How in the world can you call Christianity Biblical when it denies something that is plain in Scripture?  Are we to infer that God was a tad-bit shortsighted when He included all of those statements about homosexuality being wrong or sinful or did I miss the sermon of Jesus that said it was OK for John and Peter to “get married”?  When Jesus talked about marriage, he invariably harkened back to the original plan of God as visioned with Adam and Eve.  He even quoted from Genesis about the two becoming “one flesh.

4“Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ 5and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? 6So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.” – Matthew 19:4-6

In fact, if you read this passage in its entirety, you will see that Jesus had a very high view of the sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman and against adultery and divorce and says if that is too hard for you to live with, then don’t even get married.  But perhaps Jesus just didn’t foresee our current climate.  Why else would He forget to say it was OK for homosexuals to continue to do whatever they wanted to do if they just do in monogamously.

What we have here is a failure of some in Christianity to be Biblically sound.  They have adopted instead a “civil religion”.  I have been reading a great book called God in the Wasteland, by David Wells.  In this book, he talks about this same phenomenon.  He says that the problem with civil religion is “it tends to be civil the sense that it is inoffensive.  It has no edges because it is driven not by a passion for God’s truth but by the politics of the day, whatever those politics might be.”

Jones admits in the article that this is essentially what has happened to him:

Despite recounting his earlier days of arguing that “biblical prohibitions to homosexual sex should be taken seriously,” Jones admits his experiences and feelings led him toward a different conclusion.

“And yet,” Jones writes, “all the time I could feel myself drifting toward acceptance that gay persons are fully human persons and should be afforded all of the cultural and ecclesial benefits that I am.”

Did you notice what is guiding the theology here?  It is experiences and feelings.  Apparently, God just isn’t smart enough to get it “right”.  God isn’t sensitive enough to care about those people or these people like Tony Jones is.  I am not worried about a “leftward slide” of the church so much as I am a complete abandonment of God for a God of our own making.

The homosexual movement and agenda pose the biggest conundrum to date for the church because they insist on identifying themselves primarily with their chosen form of rebellion against God.  Homosexuality is a sin.  It is a sin just like lying, theft, murder, adultery, fornication, gossiping, idolatry, greed, and any other form that disobedience to God takes.  Wells writes later in his book that it is important for the church to recognize how sin is made to look normal in the modern world so that we are able to discern it for what it is.  Homosexuality is the touchstone for an entire generation of whether or not sin can be redefined into acceptable practice within Christianity.  For Tony Jones and those like him, apparently it can.

Paul had a different view.  In 1 Corithians 5, Paul lambastes the Corinthian church for its pride in “accepting” a member in the body who was committing adultery with his own father’s wife.  As Christians we are called to love others, but we are not supposed to tell them that whatever they choose to do is right.  God has given us His Word to tell us what is right and what is wrong.  His ideas didn’t go out of date.  They haven’t expired and He isn’t so shortsighted that He never saw the day coming when homosexuality would be considered not only acceptable but honored.  This is just the tip of the iceberg really.  Our modern and postmodern culture would seek to redefine all of God’s truth in light of their own “enlightenment”.  As believers of the real Truth, we must be willing and ready to stand on the Rock.

Categories: Apologetics, Bible Thoughts, Christianity, church, False Teachers, Grace, Heresy, politics, Signs of the Times, theology, Truth | Leave a comment

What is Goodness’ sake without God?

I saw a fascinating story from  Apparently a humanist group is running an ad campaign in Washington D.C. for the Christmas season with the line, “Why believe in a god? Just be good for goodness’ sake”.  This is so contradictory I burst out laughing.  According to the article the group’s spokesman states their purpose in part:

Edwords said the purpose isn’t to argue that God doesn’t exist or change minds about a deity, although “we are trying to plant a seed of rational thought and critical thinking and questioning in people’s minds.”

Let’s try a little rational thought and critical thinking on the campaign slogan.  Did you happen to notice the apostrophe at the end of goodness in the ad?  This implies a personality/possesion of goodness in the statement.  What could that personality possibly be?  In other words, whose goodness’ sake is being talked about here?  I would wager in the context of the original song that God’s goodness is in view since God is commonly considered good.  His goodness could be considered in this manner.  So look at the ad copy again and let’s reword it with that understanding plainly visible.

“Why believe in a god? Just be good for goodness’(God’s) sake”

I am not surprised at the oversight, but I am definitely laughing.  Their definition of humanism is equally funny, “a progressive philosophy of life that, without theism, affirms our responsibility to lead ethical lives of value to self and humanity.”  Since many others have amply demonstrated the parasitical behavior of the atheist/humanist value system, I won’t bother with it here.  The Bible already knows these folks for who they are when it says, “For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.  Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools” (Romans 1:21-22)

Categories: Apologetics, Atheists, Christianity, Humor, Truth | Leave a comment

Can the Wrong Guy Win the Election?

It isn’t a rhetorical question.  I have been listening to the conversation today and hearing people that are scared stiff that Obama will win.  No one seems terrified that McCain might win, apparently because there is “no chance” for him to win according to anyone.  But regardless of that, no matter who wins, can it actually be the wrong guy?

Romans 13:1 says, “Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.”

John 19:8-12 gives an even more interesting statment:

8When Pilate heard this, he was even more afraid, 9and he went back inside the palace. “Where do you come from?” he asked Jesus, but Jesus gave him no answer. 10“Do you refuse to speak to me?” Pilate said. “Don’t you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?”

11Jesus answered, “You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above. Therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin.”

12From then on, Pilate tried to set Jesus free, but the Jews kept shouting, “If you let this man go, you are no friend of Caesar. Anyone who claims to be a king opposes Caesar.”(emphasis mine)

So, I ask again.  Can the wrong guy win the election?  Is God going to be watching the returns tonight saying, “I hope My guy pulls it off”?

5 Find rest, O my soul, in God alone;
my hope comes from him.

6 He alone is my rock and my salvation;
he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.

7 My salvation and my honor depend on God;
he is my mighty rock, my refuge.

8 Trust in him at all times, O people;
pour out your hearts to him,
for God is our refuge.

-Psalm 62:5-8

Categories: Bible Thoughts, Christianity, Kingdom, politics, theology | Leave a comment

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