A History Lesson

May 31, 2012
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Have you ever wondered why the things you hear on news channels, radio stations, and what you read on blogs doesn’t sound anything like what you were taught in elementary and middle school? I have. I do all the time.

I was taught to favor democracy. I was taught America is a democracy. I was taught our constitution is a democracy. I was taught our government is a democracy. I was even taught that my people, blacks not Americans, marched, protested, debated, wrote, and died for democracy. And then I was taught truly what democracy is. Democracy is all about the majority rule. Last time I checked, black people are not now nor have they ever been the majority. So imagine me not shouting HAIL, DEMOCRACY every 2 and 4 years, or for that matter everyday.

Then I stumbled upon a video that I found to be so eye-opening that would not only help explain history, but American history. See, our constitution is republic. Our government is republic. America is a republic. Now before some read this and think this has some political slant towards one party, let me stop you. I honestly don’t side with nor can I stand either of the two main political parties. I offer this video because I simply cannot bear hearing people misspeak on the constitution unto the masses that they have either never read it, don’t care what it says, nor care to brush up on it before they speak. Nor can I bear hearing news outlets get away with misconstruing information that’s easily tracked down and verified. And I cannot bear listening to folks beg for more government in certain areas (public schools), while screaming for them to vacate the premises in other areas (homosexual marriage). This has got to stop.

But because our educational institution has been so poorly constructed, and has therefore produced poorly taught students over the last several decades, it’s almost like ‘well-wishing’ with a bags of pennies hoping that someone will maintain the very thing we as a country celebrate every fourth of July. So I offer to you this video in efforts to encourage you to do your own research and to instruct you at the same time  Enjoy


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Such Were Some of You

May 29, 2012
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Salvation is such a tricky thing….let the masses tell it. Some profess to be saved while professing that nothing has changed. Some profess to be saved while professing that the only thing that has changed is their Sunday morning attendance. Some profess to be saved while professing a total lifestyle change. And my favorite is some professing to be saved while eschewing this jedi-mind trick, I am spiritual but not religious.

Salvation can be described as God, in his sovereignty through the penal substitutionary death of Jesus on the cross by the power of the Spirit, making a spiritually dead person alive in Jesus. This is also known as being born-again, new humanity, and being a new creation. Language like a new creation mandates there being an old creation, right? Right. So how does this common talk about salvation square with being a new creation? I’m glad you asked. In the New Testament, the apostle Paul wrote more about this than any other writer, and he was very clear about this very subject in Romans.

In Romans 1:18-32 and 12:1-2, Paul juxtaposes old humanity and new humanity. Romans 1 tells of every person from the moment of birth; Romans 12 tells of that same person after salvation. It is clear and extremely helpful to help us understand once and for all what salvation means biblically despite what the masses have to say.

The old humanity, according to 1:18-32, 1) is under God’s wrath, 18a; 2) worships the creature, 18b-20; 3) conforms to the ways of the world, 21-23; and 4) lives a (vain) perverted lifestyle The new humanity, according to 12:1-2, 1) is under God’s mercy, 1a; 2) worships God as their sacrificial service, 1c; 3) does not conform to the world but transforms to Christ, 2; and 4) lives a holy lifestyle.

This should change the common speech used, but sadly it does not. There are those who like to find loopholes or present-day explanations to justify why they do and don’t do what they want to do just so they can call themselves by the same biblical term with a totally different description.

They may say things like, hey I let Jesus into my heart and now he’s gonna give me the desires of my heart. I cannot begin to tell you how many times I’ve heard such filth like that. God saves you and identifies you with Jesus so that you can look like Jesus and honor Jesus in every single thing you do through submitting to Jesus. There is no such thing as Jesus giving you some salvation ticket and then allowing you to bottle him up like some genie in order to please you before a watching world, while you give little to no thought of making disciples. ARE YOU MAD?

There is a clear distinction between old humanity and new humanity. One is separate from the other, hence the word, holiness. May the church learn to speak about salvation in ways that are accurate to what the Bible says.

The Aroma and The Audience

May 24, 2012
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From the pulpit to the pews, from the local church to the hidden church, from the public to the private, Christians give off an aroma. In the Old Testament, there were several sacrifices that were offered by the people of Israel unto the Lord Yahweh that produced aromas. In Cain and Abel’s case, there were two aromas resulting from their sacrifices, which serves as a great example for us.

How do Christians give off an aroma? We do it with our lives. Romans 12:1 attest to that.  “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.” Our entire lives serve as an aroma. And this aroma equates our influence. Meaning our influence as Christians is fully dependent upon how we live this Christian life.

But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere. 15 For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, 16 to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life. Who is sufficient for these things? 17 For we are not, like so many, peddlers of God’s word, but as men of sincerity, as commissioned by God, in the sight of God we speak in Christ. (2 Cor 2:14-17)

In both of these passages, we see that the aroma equals our daily living influence. We also see that the audience is God. We offer up a living sacrifice to God and verse 15 says we are the aroma to God. Can you believe that? We are the aroma of Christ… God. We represent Christ. We influence people because we’re in Christ. We make impactful impressions upon people because we belong to Christ to “those who are being saved and…..those who are perishing.”

Our aroma is always, always, al-waaays first unto the audience of one, that being God. To those we meet, we leave them with either pleasant or unpleasant aromas of Christ. Those are who saved, “a fragrance from life to life,” and to those who are perishing, “a fragrance from death to death.” How do we explain this? Christians are holy and therefore separate from the ways of the world. To the holy saints, they are encouraged in Christ before God by our lives. To the perishing sinners, they are discouraged and downright hateful of our lives, practices, beliefs etc so much that they choose to reject Christ and us. Their love of the darkness and hatred of the light is never more clearly seen.

This aroma won’t always leave us with great news and tingily feelings. We won’t always be able to minister to folks and walk away friends. We won’t always be able to share the gospel and depart with them receiving Christ as Lord. We won’t always be able to hang around our friends without leaving them in bad moods. We’re ministers of Christ after all. Look at the boycotting “church” people in Kansas and that smiley preacher in Houston as prime examples. We are called to this and to suffer for it because we’re in Christ. Who’s sufficient to do this? Not us. We, in and of ourselves, are not able to give off any aroma unto God. Only God can do this. He gets the glory when the fragrance of our aroma is life to life and death to death. So as He is our audience, may we seek to please Him with our fragrance.

Discipleship Undone

May 22, 2012
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“We’re trying to get the college kids to disciple others instead of getting all of the knowledge.” This statement keeps ringing in my head while crushing my heart.

This morning I arose extremely early to meet with 3 good brothers for some time in the Word and with the Lord. Today was a bit different only because these brothers are prodding through a book on discipleship. A book I don’t own. So at times I sat there feeling like a kid doing window shopping. Be that as it may, it was explained to me why this endeavor was so important in respect to one guy. We’re trying to get the college kids to disciple others instead of getting all of the knowledge. Or at least that’s what I heard him say.

Inevitably when discussing discipleship, two words become the center of attention: methods and programs. Should the church create a discipleship program so as to encourage those doing it and invite ‘the disobedient ones’ to come alongside? Or should the church disseminate good methods derived from books and from the clear/unclear example often laid out in books about Jesus and his inner circle d-group? But most times when this problem arises, the biggest and most underlying issue is usually not discussed. Why wouldn’t believers disciple when the gospel’s at stake?

Due to all sorts of reasons, churches currently and in times past have set aside the call to disciple for other things they prize, sometimes good things and sometimes idolatrous things. A good case scenario is when a church focuses on seeing people enter the kingdom, and once folks enter in, the ball gets dropped and tossed back to the front of the assembly line. A bad case scenario is when a church focuses on anything that the Bible never calls them to concentrate on, such as posting the biggest attendance numbers. Ironically enough, most churches proclaim, affirm, and support the work of the Great Commission, found in Matthew 28:18-20.

The very reason for and the core of the Great Commission is the gospel. The story of what God has done through Jesus Christ for all those who repent and believe is the catalyst. So as believers go, they tell that story. The Godhead works and disciples are made. Then it’s on believers to teach them all that has been commanded. Let’s take a look at it from a different perspective. In the context of the local church, where most of these problems lie, the gospel story plays the same role basically. “God has arranged the members in the body, each of them, as he chose (1 Cor 12:18)” so that we would be faithful to one another with the gospel “until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood (Eph 4:13)” so that “whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him (Col 3:17)” simply because “each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace (1 Pet 4:10).”

The gospel always comes full circle. It’s for those who have to enter in and for those already in who have to endure. So those college kids like those older saints like those youth like those older but single men are in the same boat. They have yet to understand the elasticity of the gospel. And might I add to this pool of contestants…..the family. If the husband does not disciple his wife, it’s a good chance he won’t disciple his children. And if that’s the case, who cares that he is willing to meet with other men. If he doesn’t desire to “cleanse her by the washing of water with the word” faithfully, that man needs the gospel. If the older saints don’t desire to obey Titus 2:1-8 in regards to the younger saints, then they need to be taught the elasticity of the gospel. This is mainly why discipleship is undone. The gospel isn’t taught enough and believers aren’t taught to think enough of the gospel.

And if these things aren’t put into its proper place, family discipleship, older to younger discipleship, evangelism, missions, and small d-groups, then we as a church are missing the point and our worship is suffering mightily! So teach the elasticity of the gospel to every believer for the sake of the worship of and honor to our God through our Lord Jesus.

A Christian – Muslim Debate

May 22, 2012

If you have paid any attention to the religious things posted on the web, then no doubt you’ve seen and read something about the differences (and similarities) between the Christianity and Muslim faith. Just search on Amazon for all the books that have been written on the subject, and you’ll not be able to afford all of them nor afford the time needed to read them. Even on social media outlets are these topics taken up and discussed, depending on who you’re friends with and if they have the gall to write about it.

So one day I decided to do some investigation of my own due to content both on Facebook and web blogs that stirred my interest and sometimes my anger. And what I stumbled upon was a sigh of relief, a release of that anger and tension I once held, and a genuine desire to point out the truth followed by the gospel.

Typically when discussing this issue with a Muslim, the conversation always leads to the notion that the Bible has been corrupted, and therefore untrustworthy. I liken that “taught” response to the boy in the woods crying wolf simply for the sake of doing it, hoping no one does any investigation to validate their claims. So the Muslim will ‘drop a bomb’ on the Christian book to show how untainted the Qur’an is compared to the Bible. But there’s a problem.

The Qur’an implies that the Old Testament was trustworthy at the time of Mary (Sura 66:12), of John the Baptist (19:12), and of Jesus (3:48-50; 5:113; 61:6). The Qur’an even goes a step further and implies the OT trustworthy at the time of its own composition (5:47, 68). The Qur’an claims that the gospel confirms the truth of the Torah (5:49). It also calls Jews and Christians “people of the scripture” (2:44, 113, 121; 5:43; 6:92; 7:157; 10:95).

A former Muslim, Steven Masood, now a Christian convert, had this to say in his The Bible and the Qur’an on pages 70-71, “The Qur’an testifies that its main purpose is to provide a revelation for Arabic speaking people, who could not understand (or did not have access to) the Scriptures of the Jews and Christians (Surah 46:11-12; 41:2-3; 20:112; 39:29; 12:2). There is no suggestion that this new revelation (the Qur’an) was needed to replace any corrupted Scripture. In fact, the Qur’an claimed to be a verification of the earlier revelations such as in the Torah and the Gospel, that went before it (Surah 10:37; 12:111). ”

Do you see the problem now? The Qur’an itself is implying that the Old and New Testaments hadn’t been corrupted when the Qur’an was completed, and it was completed in the late 6th or early 7th century. So much for that untrustworthy argument they loosely toss around. And no self-respecting Muslim would ever assert that the Torah or the Injil (the Gospel) were corrupted beforehand since that would inevitably lead to them charging the Qur’an with its inability “to be the guardian of previous Scriptures.” So as the Bible existed in the 6th century, the Muslim would have to admit to its veracity.

So with tons of textual evidence, papyri, Dead Sea Scrolls, copies of manuscripts written in Syriac, Coptic, and Latin, and the Septuagint, along with the Samaritan Pentateuch, which by the way all predate the Qur’an, these documents help demonstrate that the Bible existing before Muhammad’s time is the same Bible that exist today. With this overwhelming evidence, it’s clearly shown by simply using the Qur’an as the point of reference that it lacks credibility and helps prove the inerrancy of the Bible.

Most of the time when these debates arise, we are without knowledge of what both books say and how one testifies to the truth of the other while discrediting itself. Now we are able to have an intelligent conversation. So the Christian and Muslim faith are not compatible and do not serve the same God nor basically believe the same thing. They are world’s apart. And now that I’ve shown you textual evidence, you can now say that the Bible is true and has always been true, but you cannot say that for the Qur’an. There is one God, Jesus is the only way, and whomever does not ascribe to those truths will not be saved coram Deo.

Missing The Picture

May 18, 2012
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Since there’s been a lot of talk about homosexuality lately, and what, if any, does the Bible have to say about it, I decided to investigate some of the points both sides have made. I’ve seen some allude to various texts in Leviticus to prove the error and fallibility of the Bible on one side, thereby showing the irrationality of those against gay marriage. I’ve seen others point out texts in Romans to show the consistency between two testaments and the manner in which God will judge those engaged in homosexuality activities, which no doubt take place now and supposedly take place without consequence in a marriage.

I’ve heard the story of Sodom and Gomorrah pop up more than any other instance mentioned. And being that I believe in the Bible with every fiber of my being, I’m unable to see how the smoke clouds ever get started. But then I realized that my understanding was simply due to all of the past teaching I had received on that story. Then I remembered how most sermons on that story would usually end with something moralistic, which usually never faded the non-believer in the chairs because it had nothing to do with Jesus, their sins, nor the saving grace offered. So I decided to give this story a fresh view and I discovered something….we have all been missing the picture and point of the story.

In Genesis 18:1-15, three men visited Abraham and Sarah to promise them the birth of their son. They had been waiting on this birth for some time. Lots of things had happened between the first time God told them about this son and these three men visiting. So Abraham is told about the birth to come in the next year, Sarah laughs, is confronted about laughing, and then the story shifts.

Starting at vers 16, Sodom is mentioned as the next destination for these three men. Genesis 18:16-33 tell us all we need to know about Sodom and Gomorrah. The Lord said, “Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do, seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him? The Lord God was set on going to Sodom to destroy it. For I have chosenhim, that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing righteousness and justice, so that the Lord may bring to Abraham what he has promised him. The phrase “righteousness and justice” are key here to understand what’s going on. Abraham shall become great, nations shall be blessed in him, and generations of Abraham’s family shall do righteousness and justice. However, that’s not what we see in Sodom.

Because the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is great and their sin is very grave, I will go down to see whether they have done altogether according to the outcry that has come to me. And if not, I will know. Sodom is juxtaposed against Abraham. Abraham will bring about righteousness and justice; Sodom has brought about unrighteousness and injustice. What’s the first thing we read of Abraham doing? We see him pleading with the Lord on behalf of people. This may get tricky here. He’s not looking down upon God as if to call him hypocritical or unloving. He’s not even approaching God as if to say but what about everybody having free will and being able to live their own lives the way they see fit. He doesn’t even step to God with the notion that those people in Sodom don’t believe in my God so does it really matter what they do. He doesn’t do any of that. Yet we see Abraham pleading with God to consider the remnant.

Then Abraham drew near and said, “Will you indeed sweep away the righteous with the wicked? Suppose there are fifty righteous within the city. Will you then sweep away the place and not spare it for the fifty righteous who are in it? Abraham is pleading with God to spare the city simply for the sake of the righteous who may be in that city! That should be blowing our minds. Far be it from you to do such a thing, to put the righteous to death with the wicked, so that the righteous fare as the wicked! Far be that from you! Shall not the Judge of all the earth do what is just? Now if more people read these few verses before jumping to chapter 19, I believe we’d have an entirely different fight on our hands, but maybe, just maybe, that fight would be about an entirely different issue altogether. In other words, Abraham is saying to God, just punish the righteous remnant with those wicked people of Sodom….far be it from you to do something like that. Why? Because it’s not just. Also notice that Abraham sort of nicknames God as “the Judge of all the earth” meaning that God can do what he wants with the earth and everything in it including people.

So Abraham is bargaining with God all the way down to verse 32. Then he said, “Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak again but this once. Suppose ten are found there.” He answered, “For the sake of ten I will not destroy it.” And the Lord went his way, when he had finished speaking to Abraham, and Abraham returned to his place. Abraham made his point and the Lord had made his promise. I will not destroy Sodom if there are but only ten righteous remnant people there.

So the big issue going on in Sodom is that God found no righteous people in the city. Yes, there was sin. Yes, there was homosexuality. Yes, the father (Lot) tried to sell off his daughters. Yes, the Lord spared Lot, his wife, and his two daughters. However, he destroyed the cities because the remnant wasn’t there, but unrighteousness and injustice were, and he’s a just Judge.

So the next time this issue arises in a conversation between family, friends, political debates, church members, or wherever else, please be sure to remember the preceding verses before chapter 19 to really understand that the Lord was doing and why. Genesis 19:29 says it all, So it was that, when God destroyed the cities of the valley, God remembered Abraham.

Who Gets to Decide?

May 15, 2012
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Whether you’re a Christian or not, you approach the world and all of its problems through your own created lens. You have a starting point idea of this world, where things went wrong, what will fix it, and how awesome things would be if everybody just thought like you. This is better known as a worldview. Pantheism, Theism, Deism, and Naturalism are a few examples of worldviews.

Worldviews are important because they are the governing, underlying principle for why we think what we think. And what we think dictates how we behave. And if you don’t believe that, then you’d have to ask why there are psychiatrists, psychologists, and theologians. Worldviews matter….because they communicate ideas that have consequences that affect people. There is no such thing as a neutral worldview where every person is neutrally unaffected. Not possible.

So as I engaged that young man from my last post about the topic of marriage, we started from the beginning.

As most do, we discuss either favorable or opposing views on topics with the assumption that we mean the same thing when we use the same words. That just isn’t true. So as this young man began his argument, I asked him to define marriage. He stated, “marriage is between two people who are happy and committed.” He holds that gay couples ought to be allowed to marry, therefore, his working definition of marriage has to allow for that to happen.  Not a problem. So I ask him to define the words “happy” and “committment” to ensure we’re launching from an understood position. He was kind to do so. I defined marriage as a God-ordained union between one man and one woman forever until death. Ironically enough, he never asked me to define my position past that.

Then we argued from his definition to allow him to make his case for homosexual marital rights. If marriage is simply a committment between two people who are happy and willing to be in that civil union, then that pendulum has swung to other side of extreme. Truth has once again been confirmed that it cannot be relative. Either marriage is between one man and one woman, or it’s between two people (gender not an issue). So I asked the young man, does your definition disallow polygamy and polyandry? By his own words, he had to say no! Those are allowable if the definition of marriage is changed to fit for homosexual rights.

Then I took it a step farther, because once the pendulum has swung causing that old traditional door to open so far wide, it’s hard to rope off the entrance and say ‘whoa, that’s too far.’ So I asked him about bisexual marriages being allowed under his definition. He fought long and hard on this one mentally, but he acquiesced. He had no choice. If it’s between two people who want to be married, want to be committed to each other, and are happy, AND polygamy and polyandry are allowed, then bisexual marriage is a logical implication extending from his own argument.

Next I stepped onto dangerous ground, but I wanted him to see just how far the pendulum had swung. I asked him, “can a pedophile and a willing participant get married under his definition?” And before you blow the whistle and cry out ‘fear-mongering,’ please understand that I’m working off his definition. This is not a scared-straight intervention. I’m simply asking him to explain his view as if it were a mathematical equation, if a=_, then b=a and c=a and d=a and so forth. Amazingly enough, he objected to this. Why? Because it didn’t look right aesthetically, was morally wrong, there’s a clear sign of unfaithfulness, and that sort of marriage hurts people.

Can you say pot and kettle? If aesthetics is the criteria, then one must rule out homosexual marriage. If morality is the criteria, then we’re back at the worldview phase to discuss what morals are we talking about, not to mention that he’s basically saying morality must be legislated. If unfaithfulness is the criteria, then all of the CDC (a neutral survey) numbers showing how many partners homosexuals have disqualifies them from marital rights. And if people being hurt is the criteria, then we must rule out not only homosexual marriage, but all marriages especially considering the number of divorces this world has dealt with.

Now too often Christians make their cases against homosexual marriage in a simple “it’s not what I believe to be true” manner, and end up offending all sorts of people. This is done when worldviews aren’t taken into consideration. If we can understand where the other person is starting from, then we’re able to understand where they’re coming from. So the Christian believes in God and uses the Bible as his only source, while the other person (who may claim to be a Christian or Atheist or Mormon or Catholic) say they believe in God or something else and uses the idea of discrimination/feelings as their source. And by the idea of discrimination/feelings, I mean naturalistic humanism.

So who gets to decide this? Well as much as we debate back and forth, the government gets to decide. This has been established and carried out for many years. Congress even passed a law. States have their individual rights to allow or disallow certain types of marriage, which is used by those pro-homosexual marriage advocates who play a fine tune of ‘discrimination’ while they ignore the other discriminated groups. And for the Christian, that should be totally fine. Why? Because Romans 13:1-3 makes claims for this: “Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves. For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good and you will have praise from the same.”

The young man and I eventually wrapped up our conversation with the understanding that either marriage is for one man and one woman, or it’s for everybody no holds barred. Luckily he agreed with me and we parted on good terms. Another thing I was happy about. We discussed this hot topic using logic starting from two drastically different worldviews, and were able to walk away shaking hands.

Granted, I think most of the arguments in favor of homosexual marriage are not credible if logically drawn out to its final conclusion. I subscribe to what the Bible teaches as it’s rightly understood through interpretation. I feel sorry for those who simply pick out Bible verses from its context solely to argue their points non sequitur. That happens far too often on both sides of this debate I’m sure. Ultimately, we can rely on this: truth doesn’t have to be agreed upon by everybody in order to be true. Therefore, just because someone doesn’t believe in the Bible, that doesn’t mean God is no less real or that He won’t judge because He is and He will. And we as a society can continue to live life in a world of relative truth only to see it crumble incident after incident before our very eyes. And then we’ll call on the God of the Bible or some man-made god to fix things precisely because we know we’re not the arbiters of truth.

Deo Volente

It’s Black. It’s White. It’s Gray. Alright?

May 11, 2012
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I was fortunate to have a good conversation with a random guy today. He noticed the book I was reading, The Ever-Loving Truth, and seemed interested in its content. I asked him if truth is true for all people.

We discussed the difference between absolute and relative truth to set a foundation. Then I challenged him with discovering how to discern between the two. Oddly enough, we landed on the issue that is the most currently trending topic, marriage.

I then began to read my book more and think through this pressing issue of truth in our society, namely who’s allowed to define it. For example, in the past it has been said that truth is a black and white issue. When it comes to the court of law, it’s preferred that way. Why? Because it makes things crystal clear and easy to decipher.

Now the truth line has an extra component. It’s black; it’s white; it’s gray. Why? Because as the old adage says, there are 3 sides to every story, yours, mine, and the truth. As long as the ‘it’s not fair’ or ‘I have gay friends who’ or ‘who am I to tell someone how to live’ card is played, truth remains relative as it’s subjectively defined.

Take, for instance, the hate crimes legislation. I just mentioned this a few days ago in another discussion about nonsensical parity and discrimination in our legal system. Arizona is the current spokesperson for this issue regardless if it’s deserved or not. But the problem began way before them. Hate crimes legislation targets minority groups, but not every one. Typically, and possibly legally, only Blacks and Hispanics are protected.

But how is hate defined and who gets to define it? This is where the gray component comes into play. If a black student is killed by a white student, it’s a hate crime. If a Chinese student is killed by a white student, it’s just a crime. As the character Junior from My Wife and Kids would say, “that ain’t logical.” And he’s right. Allow me to give you a real life example.

Back in November 2002, two University of Alabama black students woke up to some outrageous racists comments and a drawing of a lynching posted on their dorm-room doors. As you can imagine, the entire campus was shocked and angry. Civil Rights activists showed up and showed out. School administrators were flooded with calls and a campus investigation was launched. So what became of said investigation? Well, the initial obvious hate crime turned into an incident that was swept under the rug. Why? Because three black students were the culprits to blame. And no one cried out ‘unfair’ or ‘reverse discrimination.’

In our day, we are forced to deal with several different, and opposing, views of truth. In an effort to be accepting of everybody and every thing, except the people and things you dislike, the mantra of tolerance is loudly proclaimed. And truth is compromised. Lecrae said it best: “if what’s true for you and is true for you, and what’s true for me is true for me, what happens when my truth says your truth is a lie. What’s true then?”


Be Encouraged

May 9, 2012
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I can recall being a college student my freshman year and getting that dreaded page. (Yes, I had a pager back in college). I was on the first floor in the commons area watching tv. Once I saw the number, I dashed up the flight of stairs to the sixth floor to my room to call the number back. As soon as the voice on the other end picked up, I knew then that my grandfather was dead. I loved that man dearly. I would have done anything for me. But now he was gone, and the only thing that stood in front of me was the burial.

It is very rare to have a discussion about death that ends up encouraging people. Usually tears follow along with walks down memory lane. Just maybe you’ll hear something akin to, ‘well I know (so and so) is in a better place now looking down on me.’ After hearing that so many times, I began to wonder was there really a hell or was the final destination a matter of perspective. Meaning was my grandfather in heaven solely because I loved him, or was he in hell solely because someone else hated him. I had no answers, just my thoughts and tears to console me.

“Be ye steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord” are lyrics in a song I learned while attending church during my college days. It was a beautiful song sung by a dear sister in the Lord with an awesome voice. The benefit of being in a choir is that tons of lyrics are soaked into your brain. The drawback is that those lyrics were never connected to my daily life. So those lyrics never helped me to see the death of my family members in light of the biblical text it stemmed from.

In 1 Corinthians 15, Paul discusses the veracity of the resurrection of Jesus. Why is that important? Because if Jesus is still in a grave somewhere, then the entire world has zero reason to be encouraged about the future. We are without hope. The Christian community has nothing to hang their joy on because the one whom we worship is argued to be dead. Praise God that Jesus rose! And there are more implications drawn from Paul in this chapter.

Starting at verse 35, Paul begins to detail how the resurrection will occur. How the natural body will return a spiritual body. Remember, all of this is predicated on the raising of Jesus. Since Jesus rose, all men will raise. Since Jesus was seen with a new body, all men will be with a new body. Once Paul is done enumerating this blessed good news about Christians being resurrected, he caps it off with something that has struck me with great encouragement. It’s as if Paul is saying, ‘my dear beloved brothers, be encouraged. Be encouraged that you will resurrect. Be encouraged that your body will be fit for the heavenly kingdom. Be encouraged that sin and death can’t win. Be encouraged that your Lord and Savior came out the grave.’

So with this encouragement, Paul reminds us to “be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.”  Encouragement in the Lord goes a long way as we encounter all sorts of trials and troubles, some no harder than death of loved ones. They will be resurrected again. All men will. Christians will be fit for heaven; the lost fit for hell. But all men will resurrect. So be encouraged that Jesus is our hope, our encouragement, our joy, our everything, our only thing.

Sola Christos

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Solomon’s Godly Advice

May 8, 2012
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Solomon is a man we take lightly. If we’re honest…we don’t pay him any attention. We don’t. Because no one else pays him attention nor points the spotlight upon him. We’re guilty of the moment. Maybe because your pastor doesn’t mention Solomon unless he is discussing the kings of Israel. That’s fair. But we miss out on A TON of truth and godly advice that Solomon left for the children of God and for dads if we turn a blind eye to Proverbs.

“Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your fleshand refreshment to your bones.” – Prov 3:7-8

We think we are too smart to be fooled. We really do. We think the world of ourselves. In contrast, we think so little of the god of this age also known as the prince of the power of the air. I’m talking about Satan. We may fear him but we think so little of him. It may even be true that we don’t even fathom his power. That is the worst place to be. Arrogance will crush you.  So be not wise in your own eyes. Turn from evil.

Who me? Yes you. Solomon is talking to you. Turn from evil. But I’m basically good. Turn from evil. But I give tithes and offerings. That’s nice, turn from evil. But I serve as an usher. Great, turn from evil! Who do you think you are that Solomon’s advice is somehow not applicable to you? Could it be that you don’t at the basic root level of your life fear the Lord your God?

There are chunks of godly advice here in Proverbs that are the size of bass and mounted deer heads put together. Don’t lean on your own understanding. You’re not as intelligent as you make yourself out to be. Don’t be wise in your own eyes. God opposes the proud. This is sticky note-worthy. Fear God; Flee Satan. Some folks seek to know and obey the will of God. Show them this verse. Some parents search for the right approach to assume as they become first time parents or first time God honoring parents. Show them this verse.

Solomon left us a great treasure that we can never pick through on our way to the end of the treasure chest. It’s not possible. So enjoy this small chunk and delve right in.


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