It is hard to believe that we are at another Thanksgiving Day. 2019 has flown by. On this day we stop as a nation to give thanks for all that has been given to us. We are thankful for health, friends, family, jobs, homes, food, and many other things.
But what I find interesting is that we often take these things for granted the rest of the year. We do not live with the spirit of thanksgiving all year round. Why is that?
Why do we become so complacent with what we have that we forget that it could all be taken away in a second? We are guaranteed nothing in this world. We are not even guaranteed that we will be walking on this earth another day.
So as we go through the rest of 2019 and into 2020, let us remember to give thanks every day.
I will give thanks to the LORD with my whole heart; I will recount all of your wonderful deeds. I will be glad and exult in you; I will sing praise to your name, O Most High.Psalm 9:1-2 English Standard Version
In today’s politically correct culture we are often told that we should make sure we do not offend people when we are speaking the truth of the Gospel. We are also told that we need to make sure we are speaking the truth in love. But what does that mean? Does that mean to not offend? Does that mean we should do everything to make sure that feelings are not hurt? Are we really supposed to go about our preaching and teaching in such a way that nobody can take offense? The answer is NO!
The idea that we are not to offend people does not come from Scripture. This is the construct of a culture that is obsessed with being politically correct. A culture that believes there are no absolutes and that everyone can believe what they want to believe and that is true for them, except Christianity. The truth is this, the Bible is an offensive book to those who do not follow it. The truth is offensive to those who wish to reject it. And, could it be, that when feelings are hurt by hearing the truth it isn’t really their feelings but their conscience tugging at their soul because they know they are in the wrong?
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I was heartbroken today to read an article at Pulpit and Pen about a man who yelled at little 4-year-old Quinn Ross that she should have been aborted before she was born. Quinn is in a wheel-chair with a disease called Perthes Disease.
What is troubling is the fact that this man thought it was not only ok, but necessary, to attack a little girl who is obviously suffering in this world enough. What has the culture become?
The abortion culture of death in the United States is appalling. It is disgusting and the fact that millions of children have been murdered in the womb is a stain on our nation. It is even worse that some Christians believe this to be compatible with the Scriptures.
A poll done by Pew Research in 2014 showed that an average of 36.4% of Evangelicals believe that abortion should be legal in all/most cases. That number is staggering. The people who should be the most ardent defenders of life have 1/3 of their people saying there is nothing wrong with abortion.
It is no wonder that this man thought it was okay to tell little Quinn that she should never have been born. If the church will not lead the charge for life, why do we act surprised when the culture turns to death?
So what does the Bible have to say about this?
First and foremost, we know that Scripture says we are not to murder (Exodus 20:13). It does not get any more clear than this. Murder is wrong. Period. But the Government says that a child in the womb is not a human and therefore it is not murder. But why do we allow the Government to dictate our theology?
There are many examples in Scripture that God knew us before we were even born. That he fashioned us together in the womb of our mother. Psalm 139:13 is a great example of this, but it is not the only example. However, this clearly shows that God thinks that we are humans, persons, in the image of God, before we are born. It doesn’t matter what the Government says, abortion is murder in the eyes of God plain and simple.
To little Quinn Ross and her family, I am so sorry that you had to endure this obscene and despicable act by this individual and it is my hope that justice is served in this case.
I have a deep love for the Southern Baptist Convention. My grandmother was a Southern Baptist and though I did not attend a Southern Baptist Church as a kid, I did go to SBC vacation Bible schools and activities. I was raised on the Baptist Hymnal in my Grandmother’s kitchen.
At the beginning of my adult ministry, I was a youth pastor at a Southern Baptist Church. I went to a school that is in alignment with Southern Baptists. And even though I attend a United Methodist Church due to location, I am Baptist through and through.
I was disheartened when I saw J.D. Greear elected to be the president of the SBC. I understand the choice and why he ascended to the role. However, I have real reservations about some comments he has made and positions that he has taken in the past.
This year, however, I was encouraged to see that Dr. Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, has said that he will accept a nomination to be the new president of the SBC.
Mohler is a conservative. Make no mistake about this. He is a champion for theological fidelity to Scripture. He is no stranger to controversy in making hard shifts to the conservative right when liberal theology is creeping in. If you doubt this, just look at what happened at Southern in the early 90’s.
This is the type of leader that the Southern Baptist Convention needs. They need a leader who will stand up to the current trends of liberalism that are creeping into the church. They need a man of God who will stand up for Scripture. I firmly believe that Mohler is that man.
What I am writing about today isn’t so much about theology but it is something I believe is important. That subject is the discipline of writing letters. Unfortunately, in the age of technology, letter writing is something that has been lost. We go to our mailboxes and all we see are bills, political ads, and credit card offers. We get plenty of junk in our postal mail just like in our email. But what do you feel if you get an actual handwritten letter? Or even a typed letter from someone you know? It’s exciting!
I have been trying this year to be disciplined in writing regular letters. Emails are great, but they are not the same thing as receiving a letter. We also know that the written word is powerful. It can build up, or it can tear down. So here is some of the types of letters I have written this year.
- Letters to the sick
- Letters to the discouraged
- Letters to political leaders
- Letters to churches
- Letters to church leaders
- Letters of encouragement
- Letters of question
- Letters of rebuke
What I have found in all of these is that people are appreciative of the written word. Ok, maybe not so much from the letters of rebuke, though I have received written responses for those as well. Emails are cheap and can be very impersonal. But a letter shows that someone cared enough to spend time, effort, and money to send them something personal.
I don’t think this is a coincidence. After all, the majority of the New Testament was delivered to us as letters. Letters are powerful. My encouragement to you today is to think of someone you have something to say to and sit and write a letter. It will be a great experience. Rediscover the lost art (and joy) of letter writing.
On Reformation Day I sent a letter of rebuke to the Council of Bishops of the United Methodist Church. It is time that the Bishops either enforce church policies and uphold Scripture, or the Council needs to be done away with. They must be disciplined. But over the weekend, instead of moving back towards the Scriptures and enforcing the policies of the church, five Bishops have said their conferences will be a safe haven for LGBTQ.
It is no surprise that this comes out of the Western Conferences of the United Methodist Church. After all, in the Mountain Sky Conference they have Karen Oliveto, the first openly homosexual Bishop of the church.
As I said in my letter on October 31st, every day that Oliveto remains on the Council of Bishops makes a mockery of the church and defies Scripture. She must be removed immediately. The church must immediately hold trials and enact church discipline against Oliveto and other Bishops that are “championing” this cause.
The Bishops seem to act as if they are surprised that the UMC is barreling forward towards a denominational split in May. Why should this be a surprise? They are defying the Scriptures. If anything, they should expect this.
What is worse, Kenneth Carter, the current President of the Council of Bishops, has suggested that there be an immediate moratorium on trials against LGBTQ issues and that there should be a future conversation on the relaxation of the trust clause.
The real tragedy in all of this is that it is obvious this could all be about money. Let’s face it, the Bishops want to force churches to stay. If they lose churches, the denomination loses income. If the denomination loses income, who will fill the purses of the Bishops? By the way, Bishops make over $100k a year!
They ignore Scripture. You cannot legitimately claim that Romans 1 is discussing a cultural issue. Paul clearly states that homosexuality is against God and the laws of nature. Yet, here we are with a major church pushing to accept sin as normal. This must stop!