Sunday, June 15, 2014

SBC Pastor’s Conference Day #1


SBC Pastor’s Conference Day #1

We heard two amazing messages tonight. The 2nd one from Russ Moore was spot on; as usual. He always amazes me at how he starts with a seemingly innocuous story that grabs your attention, then jumps to a passage and expounds on it, then comes full circle to bring home the point from his story. Which, it turns out, wasn’t so innocuous after all. While the message had more to do with just this one point, it is so timely and on target that I must share. In respect to the changing culture, Moore said (possibly slightly paraphrased) “God is not as concerned about America getting into step with the church, as He is with the church getting out of step with America.” I completely agree. It is high time the church stop lamenting the America that was, and deal with the America we have. It is time to stop thinking more patriotism is the answer to the problem of lagging church attendance, and realize the gospel is the solution to lagging American ethics.

The 1st sermon was on target as well. One of the take-a-ways was the idea of helping plant churches north of the Mason-Dixon Line. Patty had an interesting comment after we left. Why can’t churches have the same passion about saving churches down South? Her idea would be, for our particular context, having a larger church in Charlotte recruit “missionaries” from among their younger married adults. These missionaries would attend Lakewood to fill pews with younger faces, put some children in our kids programs so visiting children could have a better experience, and provide younger voices to help implement contemporary worship, and all around spend volunteer hours with community outreach. There would be no need to take an expensive trip to Columbus, or Oregon, or overseas to do mission work. There is plenty of need right here in Dixie. Volunteers would just commit to give the next 6 months worth of Sundays and two or three Saturdays to a drive to Kannapolis. This is not to throw cold water on those who have the resources and desire to travel; however, it does give the larger churches another avenue to provide resources to existing brick and mortars that still desire to have a gospel impact.

Just a few thoughts from Day one. More to come. 

Monday, June 2, 2014

More New Creatures In Christ

We serve a big God, loving and compassionate. Come see us a Beaverdam some Sunday and discover what these new creatures found out about this glorious God.

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new." 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NKJV)


 I love those eyes and that smile!


Father and Son

Brandon with Chris looking on
 Love that smile. Worth a thousand words, right there! (Brandon's smile is pretty cute, too!)


What The Apostle Paul Would Say About Common Core


In this day of anti-Obamacare, anti-Common Core, and anti-political party posts galore, I am glad that I really can stay above the fray. Oh, I have my political views, and I still love the country that I served, and still make an occasional political post or share a funny picture caricaturizing the other side’s views. I still care that our country represents the ideals of freedom and justice. But I have no qualm with the way of the world either. I have a dual citizenship, and I care more about the heavenly kingdom and its King, than I do the USA and her presidents, past, current, or future. I will most likely vote for the Republican candidate, whomever that ends up being, because they usually line up with my views on social justice and conservatism. But here is what I will not do:

I will not deny the political process its due. For over two-hundred years approximately half of the country has been disappointed on the second Wednesday in November. Unless Barack Obama calls out the Marines to keep from being ejected from the White House, I will peaceably claim the next victor as my president, whichever party wins the office.

I will not call an educational system “evil.” For goodness sake, people, it’s a curriculum. It is not Satan incarnate as educational programing, nor is the Devil possessing teachers because common core is implemented.  As a system, I see many things wrong. But mostly I see examples of the extreme fringe posted, not what the system represents as a whole. Like everything else man invents, it has good and bad points. But to call Common Core "evil" is to make a mockery of true evil. True evil like women forced into a slave trade; children being abused; or the use of chemical agents by a goverment on its citizenry. True evil like satanic oppression of missionaries, evil like the abuses in the Word of Faith movement that tells people dying of cancer that they don't have enough faith, or God would cure them. It's called perspective. Look it up!

I will not allow a devoted Mormon to tell me what is or is not godly. All you devotees of Glenn Beck should wake up and see that the Satan rests, not in common core, but in cultic practices and pseudo-religionists like Beck. He’s a comedian…and he is funny. But his alarmist tactics and quasi-religiosity are all a ruse, designed by the Devil to make this cult look “normal.” Be like Joseph and FLEE, from that nut-case. (Genesis 39)

I will not be straddled with anyone’s political agenda. My ONLY agenda is the proliferation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  “But Steve,” you ask, “wouldn’t the proliferation of the Gospel be easier in a free, democratic, Christian society?” Nope. Never has, never will. Two things: #1 The Gospel thrives in persecution. The church grows stronger and deeper in conviction the more oppression she faces. The church grows in false doctrine and/or complacency in the ease of contentment and safety.  #2 The USA may be a free, democratic society. But she is certainly not Christian. Hello?! If we were a Christian nation, we would not have homosexual marriage, high abortion rates, and high crime rates.

When Paul wrote “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same." (Romans 13:1-3 KJV. I put this in the King Jimmy just for you KJV Only folks) he was writing about the most oppressive, anti-Christian, ruthless government that had ever existed, the Roman Empire. 
Listen to this in the NCV: “All of you must yield to the government rulers. No one rules unless God has given him the power to rule, and no one rules now without that power from God. 2 So those who are against the government are really against what God has commanded. And they will bring punishment on themselves. 3 Those who do right do not have to fear the rulers; only those who do wrong fear them. Do you want to be unafraid of the rulers? Then do what is right, and they will praise you.” 

Paul said all of this, to all of us who claim the name of Jesus, about a tyrannical government that had him arrested for his faith, and sentenced many of his companions to death for the name of Christ. Paul wrote that statement while sitting in a Roman dungeon. and so I am content with where I am. I’m not happy about homosexual marriage, high abortion rates, and a different medical system than I’m used to. But I know one thing and know it well, Jesus is my King, and He has the final say over everything that happens…to me…to you…to Obama…and He never makes a mistake. 

Even so, come Lord Jesus!