Saturday, September 5, 2009

Healthcare Letter: a letter written by Christi Tillis to Glenn Beck

I have a BRCA1 genetic mutation. Approximately 1 out of 500 women carry this mutation, drastically increasing their chances for cancer. At 31, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Thanks to a compassionate, cooperative team of doctors at Moffitt Cancer Center, I was able to choose how I wanted to battle the disease. Because of my increased risk, I was aggressive with my early, Stage 1 cancer, opting for a bilateral mastectomy, chemotherapy, reconstruction, hysterectomy, preventative drug therapy, and routine follow up care. Other oncologists have told me that much of my treatment was unnecessary, but I wanted to be certain that, if my cancer ever comes back, I will be able to say that I did everything I could. If it returns, it won’t be because of inaction on my part.
I have a daughter that is 8 years old and she has a 50/50 chance of inheriting my genetic mutation. She can test for that genetic mutation as early as 16. If she tests positive, she can choose to surgically remove her breast tissue and ovaries preventatively, reducing her chance of developing cancer dramatically. She could also choose to try preventative drug therapy or increased surveillance with frequent mammograms and testing. These are all options that she would have at her disposal in today’s world of cancer treatment.
I am terrified that the healthcare system is about to take one giant step backward and these options will not be available for my daughter. Instead, Anna will have to undertake a treatment plan designed for her by a board of doctors, insurance representatives and possibly even government bureaucrats and their decision will undoubtedly be based primarily upon cost.
Today, I heard a report that says that in Great Britain, the drug I take to reduce my chance of developing a recurrence, Arimidex, is not widely prescribed to breast cancer survivors because it is expensive. I searched online for verification, but I couldn’t find it… but I did find this quote:
“In the U.S., women have a 63 percent of living at least five years after diagnosis, and men have a 66 percent chance—the highest survival rates in the world. These figures reflect the care available to all Americans, not just those with private health coverage. In Great Britain, which has had a government-run universal health-care system for half a century, the figures were 53 percent for women and 45 percent for men, near the bottom of the 23 countries surveyed.” Quoted from Would Universal Healthcare Wreck Cancer Treatment?

People in their twenties or thirties like me, never stop to consider that they will get old and they will become one of these statistics. They only look at the cost of coverage. Although my coverage is expensive, I always felt like my insurance company had my best interest at heart. I would continue to find a way to pay for my insurance no matter how much my premiums go up because I know the value of private medical insurance when you need it.

I wanted to tell you that I appreciate your stand and your voice against Obamacare. Please don’t give up the fight… my daughter is counting on people like you.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Average American

I was reading Glenn Beck’s “Common Sense” when I came across a statement that caused much reflection. He stated in regards to the corruption of Washington leaders, “By lowering our standards for them, we’ve lowered the standards for ourselves.” I believe this is inaccurate. In today’s political atmosphere, there’s a push towards a Neo-Marxist transformation of our Democratic Republic. Radicals have replaced Statesmen, Community Organizers have replaced Community Leaders and Czars rule the land where once Senators legislated. I do not dispute the dangerous Marxist agenda that is being thrust down the throat of the country. Yet it is the ignorance of history that assumes our generation is the only generation to face attacks from ideologues such as these. Our nation’s history reflects the constant presence and persistence of radicals that have sought the destruction of the American way of life.
Our country is in great trouble today but not merely due to the new found power and influence of Marxist radicals; rather, it is due to an ongoing spiritual deterioration of our people: the average American. Beck’s statement should be written: “By lowering the standards for ourselves, we have lowered the standards for them.” The primary place where blame is to be identified is not Washington, Wall Street, Hollywood or even Academia: it is in the “Average American.” Those who are protesting, fighting and scared for our country are exactly the ones who must step to the front line and hear with humility the declaration of our guilt and complicity in our nation’s demise. Our leaders are corrupt, but they are only reflections of a society that has become corrupt.
Note for exampe, DEBT – how can the government lead us into national debt beyond our wildest dreams? How can they justify spending money that they do not have for things that they do not need? When did it become acceptable governmental business practice to destroy our future, the Dollar and the economic fabric of our society? These are legitimate questions. This September 12, thousands will gather at Washington to revolt against a government in debt, spending money they don’t have and exercising no fiscal discipline whatsoever. HOWEVER, many of those same people will return to their homes, themselves in needless materialistic debt themselves! Not legitimate debt such as a car or home, but debt accrued through the unbridled American frenzy for all things new. The average American household is in debt for such "vital" things as: Wii’s, Blackberries, big screen T.V.s, new furniture (as opposed to the ancient 3 year old furniture) and an endless list of other-things. Are we not reaping in government what we have sown in our personal lives? We as a people have spent years accumulating life crushing debt. After decades of self-absorbed spending, is it any wonder that the day has come that the government insanity of debt has finally come to reflect the personal insanity of debt?
Consider HYPOCRISY – the self serving attitude of our government leaders oozes from the television screen every night. Their principles are based upon expediency; their standards grounded upon convenience. They hypocrasy is a revolting stench. But are we any better? Is it not the height of hypocrisy that it is money that has called us to protest? Many “Christian Conservatives” have gathered at recent town hall meetings protesting against higher taxes. But where were the marches on Washington when God was removed from the school system? Where were the marches of the people when Roe v. Wade was being enacted? Where has our righteous indignation been as moral filth has flooded our homes, schools, neighborhoods and lives? Where? — We were making and enjoying money! We were intoxicated with materialism. Now, the true opiate of the people is being threatened; and only now do we wake to call Washington hypocrites for disturbing our own hypocrisy.
Dreaded MARXISM – is threatening our nation today. At the core of Marxism/Communism is Godlessness. But the Marxists in our nation are only taking the next logical step that our own Godlessness has led them to. They are only putting into action the idea that has been in the minds average Americans. Today Marxism rejects God’s reality in our lives because yesterday we have rejected God’s authority in our lives. We are fearful that the new movements in this nation are going to oust God from our nation. They are, in fact, only ousting the “memory” of God, for God has been long ago been forgotten.
The national catastrophe at our door step is the result of people – average Americans . It is the result of the “American Way of Life” without God. It is easier for our conscience to blame “them”; but they are nothing less than our own reflections. Washington, Hollywood and Wall Street are what they are because deep in our hearts we are what we are - Sinners. If we are going to see any hope for our nation, it begins in repentance. Let each individial and each home enter into private repentance before God – this is our only hope.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

"The Beautiful and Damned"

Gloria and Anthony are sad characters from a sad story written by a sad man: "The Beautiful and Damned" by F. Scott Fitzgerald. The story, no doubt, is intensely, autobiographical regarding Fitzgerald’s own marriage and decent into debauchery. The two main characters, Gloria and Anthony, have everything in the world going for them – humanly speaking. Yet, their tale is one of drunkenness, emotional torture and unhappiness. It is a tale told in a thousand different ways in a thousand different lives around us every day.
There is in this story is a brief dialogue between Gloria and Anthony. Gloria is discovered by Anthony to be following a trendy new religion based upon reincarnation. He is flabbergasted and thinks that she is being silly and foolish.
Anthony: “….if you must have faith to soften things, take up one that appeals to the reason of someone beside a lot of hysterical women. A person like you oughtn’t to accept anything unless it’s decently demonstrable.”
Gloria: “I don’t care about truth. I want some happiness.”
When I read that statement I felt as if I was reading into the soul of the writer, into the soul of a million lives, into the soul of a neighbor. As sad as it may seem the character Gloria was honest – happiness was the goal not truth.
In reading this there was several thoughts that came to mind.
One – This is the heart of all those that are without Christ. Too often we speak of the lost as if they are searching for God and only need to be shown the way. Sentimental this may be it, but it is incorrect when viewed next to the bible’s description of the sinner: “there is none that seeketh after God.” The reality is that what the world is seeking is happiness not truth. Yes, the sinner may find out by experience that the pleasures of life do not lead to true happiness. But this does not mean that when they come to Church they are “seeking God.” They are seeking God only in relation to how much happiness God can bring to their lives. The sinner sees himself at the center of the universe: a god. He sees only his need of happiness as the end of all. This desire is often covered over with religious verbiage, moral platitudes and emotional upheaval – but in the end the search is not for reconciliation to God but happiness for self. I believe this, in part, explains why there is so much need for the “extras” to attract people into Church. There has been plenty of blame for low Church attendance lain at the foot of the Church herself. The may be true in part, but it must be balanced with the fact that the sinner is not interested in anything except “self” happiness. Because of this the Church unfortunately many times caters and cowers to the desires of sinners: happiness. Don’t tell me about God’s glory; fix my marriage so I can be happy. Don’t bother me about Heaven and Hell; teach me how to get out of debt. Don’t waste my time in listening to strong doctrinal preaching; wash me away in melody so that I can forget my problems. Happiness is what the sinner wants. It is wise for us to be aware of this reality. Interest in Church, bible studies, Church activities and other such things does not necessarily mean that one is interested in God. It is not until they are touched by the truth that their desire changes. Church often can merely be another in a long line of attempts to be happy.
Second – The Church does not peddle happiness it proclaims truth. I do not say that there is no happiness in the Christian life; I say that happiness is a secondary benefit to seeing, knowing and experiencing the truth as it is in Christ Jesus. The sinner is looking for happiness; the Church offers Christ. The sinner is consumed with a desire for immediate and earthly comfort; the Church declares eternal and spiritual blessings. The sinner wants freedom from guilt as a consequence; the Church preaches forgiveness and regeneration through the blood of Christ. Everything the Church has to offer is diametrically opposed to what the sinner wants – but is desperately what the sinner needs. As a Church we must never forget that though the truth we offer may be distasteful to some it is nevertheless what is needed for all. The Church is not called to be another means of happiness; we are called to be the pillar and ground of the truth. Christ is the way, the truth and the life. The danger for many of our Churches is that we are so desirous to reach the sinners with the gospel that we are emphasizing happiness over truth. We Christ in terms that emphasize how He can make their marriage better, finances better, parenting better, work experiences better, emotional baggage better – and yet – we fail to emphasize that all these things are secondary to the truth. The truth: mankind’s sin, God’s wrath, Christ’s death as the only way of forgiveness and a life lived in following Christ – this is what must be emphasized. Does it not appear to be bait and switch in some cases? We tell the sinner that Christ will make your life happy; yet, upon trying this new form of happiness the sinner is faced with anything but happiness. Instead of happiness there is discipline, self-denial, trials, sacrifice, testing, mortification and suffering. “This is the happiness I was promised,” the sinner thinks. When we appeal to the sinner to come to Christ for happiness have we not in essence lowered Christ down to every other means of happiness they have tried?
Christ Jesus is not offered for happiness first. Christ Jesus is offered for eternal life, for redemption for deliverance from the judgment of God.
Third – Real happiness necessitates truth. The line between delusion and happiness is truth. I recently had to visit someone in a mental ward. In walking down the hall to their room I passed many who were clinically insane. I was surprised to see how many of these people appeared to be genuinely happy. Their faces were aglow, their lives seemed worry free and they were enjoying the world in which they lived. The problem was that the world in which they lived was not real. I see, as a Pastor, so many people in counseling or in one on one conversation that are, simply put, delusional. They have so craved happiness that they have sacrificed truth. They are not interested in the truth of God’s word, rather, they are interested in what gives them happiness now. The way to real and lasting happiness is not in a pursuit of happiness as an end, but in a pursuit of God.
“…in the presence is fullness of joy’ at thy right hand are pleasures for evermore.” Psalms 16.11

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Funeral Service June 9th 2009.

James 4.14 “…For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.”

The Bible asks us a very serious question – “what is your life” – and answers it in an equally serious way – “it is even a vapor that appeareth for a little time and then vanisheth away.”
One may be rich or poor, good or villainous, popular or unknown, successful or failed, live a long life or never live beyond the warmth of the cradle, but regardless of the stature of any life – it will soon vanish and pass away. The richest and longest life, when compared to the scope and weight of eternity, is only a vapor. The Bible in no uncertain terms teaches us that our lives are fleeting and the most important thing is to be prepared to face God. When we leave this life and enter into the realm of eternity – the most pressing question will be, “are you prepared to face and be judged by God.” The vastness of eternity will dwarf the fullest life; and you can fill this life with all of the pleasures and pursuits that a person could, yet, in the end, this life will fade away and eternity will stare each of us in the face.
Knowing the brevity of life as we do so keenly today I want to share with you the most important truth in all of this life and the next to come.
In the beginning of time God created Adam and Eve and placed them in the beautiful paradise of God here on this earth. Every good thing was provided for their pleasure and fellowship with God. God commanded only one thing: “don’t eat of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” All of God’s love and blessings were at hand and God only commanded one rule to be kept. To break this rule meant death. Yet, despite the goodness and severity of God, Adam & Eve sinned against God and ate of the fruit of the forbidden tree. That very moment something happened to mankind: man became sinful. Because of Adam’s sin every man and woman since Adam has been born into this world stained and corrupted in their souls by sin. Mankind sins in actions, attitude and aptitude. Mankind is corrupted and desperately wicked. And let us be careful not to be ambiguous when we say – mankind. You and I here today are sinners before a holy God. We are unable to keep God’s law and we are unable to measure up to God’s demands. Therefore we are separated from God and condemned to the judgment of God in the Lake of Fire. You may be here this morning and be religious, good, kind, charitable and an all around good person – but in the sight of God – our best is as filthy and corrupted rags. We are sinners; and the penalty for sin is death. It is death physically and death spiritually. Lost and undone mankind finds he is groping through life, rebellious and an enemy to the one that loves him.
But in the midst of this condemnation and curse of sin God gave a promise of redemption to Adam & Eve – and consequently humanity. God hung two coats of animal skins on Adam and Eve signifying that only through a blood sacrifice could sinful man have fellowship and forgiveness with Holy God. Throughout all the Old Testament countless thousands of animal sacrifices were given, all pointing to the day when the one perfect sacrifice would come to take away the sin of the world. That perfect sacrifice is Jesus Christ of Nazareth. Christ came to seek and to save the lost. Many of you here are familiar with the story how that Jesus was arrested, accused and wrongly sentenced to death. Christ was whipped without mercy, beaten, stripped naked and nailed to the cross. The physical suffering was unimaginable, yet that paled in comparison to the spiritual suffering Christ endured. There on Calvary Jesus Christ bore in his body the wrath of God against sin. All of the crushing weight, all of the terror of an angry God and the entire just penalty for sin due unto us – Jesus took into his soul: “…thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin.” There on Calvary Christ paid for the sins of the people and yielded his life as the only and complete sacrifice for sin. If our story ended there I would have nothing to preach and nothing to believe, but the story does not end there. Three days later Jesus Christ arose from the dead a living loving Savior able to save any that come to him. Christ ascended back into Heaven and for 2000 years the gospel has been proclaimed to all: “….come and take of the water of life freely.” Forgiveness of sins, escape from the wrath of God, peace and hope and fellowship with the Lord is through faith in the blood and sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
That is the Gospel! But please hear me very closely. Knowing the Gospel is not the same as being Saved. One may know the Gospel completely and entirely and yet die and be lost in hell forever. Allow me to illustrate what I mean. Suppose with me that I am in the Gulf of Mexico drowning. I could know a great deal about life vests. I could know how they are made, what they are made of, what their purpose it – in fact I could strongly support the cause of life vests and even have given my allegiance to life vests, go to meetings about life vests and even sing songs about life vests. None of that, however, is going to save me. Only having the life vest on will save me.
My dear friends gathered here today in such sorrowful times. Because of our sins we are drowning and lost on the sea. It is having Christ as your Savior alone that will save you from the overwhelming waves and billows of God’s wrath. Do you have Christ: “he that hath the Son hath life; he that hath not the Son hath not life.” Is Christ your Savior, your Lord and your all? Without a saving experience in Jesus Christ you are forever lost regardless of how much you know about Jesus. If God were to unfurl the realm of eternity before our eyes we would hear one constant plea: “believe in the Lord Jesus Christ.” From the sinister depths of hell to the glorious heights of heaven, men and angels alike would echo in our ears pleading with us to flee to Christ, to repent and to trust in Jesus Christ and his blood alone for forgiveness. Today, if Mr. - - could speak he would likewise tell you eternity is real, heaven and hell are real, life is a vapor quickly passing away. Seek Christ as your Savior and cross the great divide with peace and joy.
I stand today as a messenger of God. Christ Jesus loves you; Christ Jesus has died for you and has made a way of hope and forgiveness. Flee to the one who loves you enough to die for you. Flee to him in your heart and plead to Christ: “….be merciful to me a sinner.” I can assure you on the very Word of God that there is a loving Savior who will come to you, heal your sins, forgive you and give you peace with God. For Mr. - - his choices have been made and his soul’s destiny has been sealed. He stands now in the hands of God. Yours, however, has not. Today is the day of salvation; today is the day of Christ’s love made open for you. Let us pray.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

National day of Prayer Message May 7th, 2009

Message Delivered on the National Day of Prayer in Palmetto Historical District
Isaiah 1:10-18

I have been asked to bring the homily today for our community’s observance of the National Day of Prayer. I count it an honor to do so. When the Mayor’s office asked me to bring the homily I jokingly replied that, “I was not sure what a homily was but that I would be glad to preach.” They agreed; and that is what I intend to do: to preach in the allotted time God’s eternal truths for our day and need.
Truly we are living in times when answers to prayers are desperately needed. I suppose that throughout the generations people have felt that their times and their troubles were the worst and signaled the end. I cannot answer for their part, but for our part I can say without caution or qualification that we are desperate times: times that our nation has never seen before. We are, today, in need of the intervention and power of a holy God. Abortion has stained the hands of our nation with the blood of innocents that can never be washed away nationally; Sexual sins (homosexuality, fornication & adultery) are rampant and there are few if any to blush at the foul and vulgar images laid bare for all to see; Violence like an acrimonious stench is permeating the air that we breathe; Materialism has made us financial vagabonds and slaves while our homes have become storage vaults for “stuff” rather than havens of love. Our once great Nation is being led, for the greater part, by men who are moral jackals roaming the halls of our once great government. Religion is making little difference as a whole on our nation; the sanctuaries are larger, the programs are more relevant, the use of technology is more accessible – yet – for all these things are land is void of prophets who stand without fear or favor and declare the goodness and severity of God in august passion. We need God to rend the heavens and come down among if ever we are to see more glorious and righteous days. We need God to answer Prayer
Yet just because we gather to pray is no guarantee that God will answer. God is not an automated being forced into action by the mystic energy of prayer; nor is God inconsistent with Himself so that His love and mercy trumps and lays aside His holiness and justice. Prayer is only answered when God’s Conditions are met. One may pray a thousand prayers, gather in all the prayer days one can hold in a year, weep and lament- yet never hear from God or see the hand of God move. Prayer is never answered unless the conditions for God to answer prayer are met. What are those conditions? What and how are we to adjust to God and relate to God so that we can with assurance and trust and know that God both hears and acts upon the prayers that we offer Him this day?
First, God only hears our prayers when we come to Him on the grounds of Jesus Christ the Son of God. It is the cross of Calvary that grants one access to the Throne of God. You can be religious, ethical, moral, charitable and sincere yet none of these things will grant you access to the ear and heart of God. Mankind is sinful: sinful by nature and sinful by the standard of God’s law. Sinful man cannot have access or fellowship with a Holy God. God’s word states that God will not “look on sin” and we are separated by our own sin and His holiness. The only mediation, the only way sinful man can have access to a holy God is through the sacrificial death of His Son, Jesus Christ. Christ died for sins; Christ died to appease the ire of God; Christ died to satisfy the demands of the law. It is only when you have a saving encounter with Christ that you have right and access to God. Today, regardless of your religious affiliation, regardless of your own assessment of your righteousness – if you do not have Jesus Christ as your personal Savior and Lord – you are eternally lost and God will not hear your prayers however noble and sincere they may be. Today – the one great prayer that should be uttered from a broken and repentant heart is: “God be merciful to me a sinner.” Mercy is available through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Second, God only hears the prayers of those repentant of sins. The Bible says: “if I regard iniquity in my heart the Lord will not hear.” Far too many Christians are far too quick to ask God to do something without acknowledging our sins and failure before Him. I have two children whom I love dearly. I love to see them happy, blessed and fulfilled. But though they are my children and though I do indeed want to bless them they are required to be obedient in order to have full access to those blessings and joys a father has prepared. So it is with us as Christians. As Christians today we have embraced convenience, relevance, worldliness, selfness and indifference- rather than embracing a life lived and dedicated to God. We all fail as Christians. But we are not to ignore or shrug our failures off as if they were pesky annoyances. We are to come to God and ask for his forgiveness; we are to be humbled and sorrowful for our sins; we are to recognize that God is not be trifled and that holiness is a key and vital component to relationship and blessings from God.
Third, God only hears prayers when the lips praying match the heart. Matthew’s gospel states: “this people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoreth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.” Another passage states: “Why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things I say.” Yet again Christ states: “If ye love me keep my commandments.” It is not one day of prayer but a life of prayer that captures the ear of God; it is not one worship service Sunday morning but a life of worship that moves the heart of God; it is not words gloriously spoken that stirs God to move on our behalf. It is our heart – passionately in love and willingly obedient – that rouses the jealously of God for His people’s behalf. We say a great deal and say it well, but do we live great and live it as well? The question before us today is what will our heart and motives and lives be like after this ceremony is over? Have we no shame? Are we not embarrassed by our own hypocrisy? We pray and feel religious, but ignore the one thing God demands: “thou shalt have no other gods before.” From Mt. Sinai’s thunderous peaks, across the expanse of time, down through the valleys of the Grand Canyon and across the tree gilded edges of the Blue Ridge – God’s warning echoes to us from sea to shining sea: “thou shalt have no other gods before me.”
Do we not realize that man may look upon these proceedings today as religious and noble, but God looks upon the heart? Obedience is better than sacrifice; prayer without the corresponding action is a futile enterprise. I declare unto you as a preacher of the Gospel of Jesus Christ that if we are to secure the ear of God this day we can only do so on the conditions God has set: sinners finding salvation in Christ alone, Christian’s repenting and dealing with sin and God’s people living what they claim they believe. Please allow me to close in prayer.

Friday, April 17, 2009

"Waiting for it to Change"

I was recently reading the book, Atlas Shrugged, when I came across an interesting scene that caught my attention. Dagny Taggart is riding a train that comes to an unscheduled stop in the middle of nowhere. The reason for the train stopping was due to a broken red signal light that was stuck in the on position. Dagny Taggart is impatient and ready to get the train moving again. Her discussion with the conductor, who stopped the train for an hour, is an interesting one:

Conductor: “I don’t think the signal is going to change. I think it’s busted.”
Dagny Taggart: “Then what are you doing?” (She asks this with frustrated impatience.)
Conductor: “Waiting for it to change.”

The signal light was broken and it was not going to change. But the conductor was so paralyzed that he was willing to wait for it to change even though he knew it wouldn’t.
The conductor’s absurdity seems to be common. There are some signal lights that are broken, yet, we look on in vegetative inaction waiting for a change. Marriages, parenting, spiritual lives and relationships are stuck in the on position but not working. The strange thing is not the failure of the signal lights, but rather, those who stand there complacently staring: the minutes and moments of life passing them by.
Waiting for the signal light to work is not reasonable. How can one define the madness of our social and personal apathy? Watching a red light that you know is broken –“waiting for it to change”.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Judges 17 Question

The real reason I decided to drop you a line is that I am not making any sense out of Judges 17 thru the end of the book of Judges. I keep asking why this story is in the Bible. I understand what it's saying, but can't understand what it ties into. Can you tell me?
As far as Judges 17 – is concerned there are several reasons and principles that I think can be drawn from the passages:
First – it shows the ugliness and sin that Israel was engaged in. Very often “sin” is abstract and theoretical in our thinking but in these stories we see sin in its real nature and gore. Sin affects lives. And I feel when I read those passages that we see sin in it effects and consequences.
And that is important to remember. Sin is not just a religious idea that only has bearing upon the conscience prone to religion. Sin has real results in the world and in the lives of humanity.
Second – it shows the decay of a people who took God for granted. Israel had every reason to live right, yet, they chose to go down the path of hedonism and heathenism. As Christians we are always in danger of having all the outward trappings of faith and yet not experiencing the inward transformation and reality of that faith. There is a danger of living on the symbols and the past rather than living on the strength of a current and vital relationship with Christ.
Third – what is most interesting is the phrase “every man did that which was right in his own eyes.” I feel like that is a perfect statement and illustration of where “relativism” leads to. They were not intending to do wrong per say, they were doing right – what “they” thought was right. So the Bible says: “there is a way which seemeth right unto man but the end thereof are the ways of death.” Right is only truly right when it is according to God’s commands and principles. In this current day and atmosphere everyone assumes they are doing right; however, that is a false assumption. Man is not bent naturally towards right; man is bent naturally towards sin. That is why it is so vital to make sure that our opinions, feelings, actions and attitudes, no matter how religious we may think they are, are in fact in line with scripture.
Fourth - these passages show us that God's grace and justice deals with man on the stage of human experience. By that I mean that these people in the Bible were not "characters" without feeling, without context, without psychological baggage and without the struggles of human existence. God's work of redemption and man's interaction with God is not played out in a vacuum. In passages like these we see God's grace in that He is dealing with man in all of man's failure and frailty - and how vile that can be the text clearly shows. True Christian experience is a human experience. Christian faith and obedience to God is not just something we "think" about in our private studies and church pews on Sunday morning. The Christian life is lived amidst the collisions of life and death, sin and righteousness, victory and struggle. We must not allow the Bible and its teachings to be separate from our lives, but rather, it must shape our lives and direct our lives as we live.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

In the fury and bluster of troubled times there is, for Christians, a danger of becoming carried away with the moment and losing sight of eternal biblical principles that transcend political principles. This is just such a time. I do not believe that Socialism, nor any of its off shoots, is a viable political approach. The founding political principles of America has been and is the best, although not without problems, political approach to the human experience. But Socialism is not the great danger facing America. The cries of angst against bigger government, bail outs, environmentalism run rampant and political corruption are things that should not be our greatest fears. In short, Socialism will not destroy our nation - Sin will. It is not the political corruption in the halls of our government, but rather, the moral corruption within the the walls of our homes that will bring this nation to its knees. It is not bigger government but bigger "religion" that hides the face of God. Christianity has flourished under an array of political schemes: monarchies, oligarchies, republics, democracies and dictatorships. It is righteousness not rightness of politics that procures the blessings of God. Political change, no matter how noble is not the true and deepest answer to the issues we are facing. The only real issue is not grass roots political change but grass roots spiritual transformation. Christianity transcend politics. True morality and spiritual power is the result of an encounter with God and not the result of legislation. Tomorrow many Christians will attend "Tax Tea Parties" but that will, in the end, have little lasting impact. Far better would it be for Christians to attend prayer meetings, fast and seek God. We are facing times that call for a "rending of the heavens" if ever we are to be saved. We are facing challenges that can no longer be dealt with by newer methods. I believe it is very dangerous for Christians to be swept away in the fight for American Capitalism. The fight is not against flesh and blood. The fight of faith is one of righteousness. We must keep our focus clear and balanced. Socialism may be a symptom; but Sin is the disease. Only Calvary, only truth can truly cure the disease.

What in the world is a, "Soul Trap."

The "soul trap" was a phrase used to describe Whitefield's Tabernacle in the eighteenth century. That was a time when "souls" were brought under conviction & conversion through the power of the truth and the Holy Spirit. They were captured for Christ by His power alone. In these days of political dismay, economical trouble and anxiety at every turn, it is easy to be distracted from the real issues at stake. For all the symptoms we are faced with today, two things are true. First, this is not the first time in history great problems have faced a nation. Second, the real answer and cure has always been and will always be mankind rightly related to God through saving faith in Christ Jesus. This blog may deal with a myriad of issues: some personal, some political, some practical. But the answer to the true problems we are facing must always bring us back to the Gospel. The need now is not simply political reformation, more church programs and methods, lower taxes, health care reform -the need now is for churches to once again become "soul traps" - places where men and women are captured by the weight, reality and love of God displayed through the cross of Christ.