Controversy All Stirred Up

This morning we had some controversy in our household. With a two year old, there is always something going on. This morning it was over rainbows.

Ah, ok now ya’ll! This has no tie in to Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, and those who have have a penchant for others of the same sexual orientation. This is not that type of controversy.

Andy loves rainbows. He has yet to see a real one, but he loves them nontheless. One of his favorite books is of Noah’s Ark. It is interesting that a Biblical event dealing with God’s wrath and justice has been turned into a beloved children’s story. Whole nursery themes revolve around it. But, I digress. Andy loves rainbows or “wain bwows.” They’re pretty and we’re trying to explain the whole thunderstorm issue to him so that he’s not terrified. During a strom, we watch the clouds “bump” together and look out for rainbows.

Last Saturday at the Pregnancy Care Center’s Life Walk, Andy could have had a train, a car, a balloon, a dog, etc painted on his face, but he chose a rainbow. It was nice. A reporter for the newspaper took his picture. It didn’t come off for three days and wound up looking like a bruise. Nice for church.

But Andy was absolutly delighted.

The past few days, he’s been wanting another rainbow on his face. A homemade rainbow. Yeah. Fun.

This morning… he succeeded.

While washing off the “wain bwow” Andy asked where it had gone. (Please join me in thanking God for the person who invented washable markers.) I opened up the wash rag and said “Right here.” Then with a smile he replied “Oh. Ok!” and we finished washing the rest of the purple and orange marker from his face.

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Blogging Thrives on Outrage


Yes, it does. What do most people blog about? Those things they find outrageous, whether on the right or the left, or even both on the right, but some just not on the right enough for others. Yes, there are exceptions to the rule. There are those blogs where the author writes pondering and deep questions, wherein, others come in to offer their pondering and deep answers. At which point, some of us become outraged at the silliness of such pondering and deep answers… and sometimes the questions themselves. Remember, just because someone appears to be deep on the surface, doesn’t mean that deep down, they won’t be truly shallow. But that is how most blog sites really get a lot of hits. They write on the things that are controversial. Maybe that’s why I’m tired of blogging. I’m tired of the controversy.

I tried writing about sports but that too, has lost it’s glow. And I’m not about to turn this blog into a place for daily devotionals. You, the Bible and the Holy Spirit can be far better at that than I can. He knows you a lot better than I do.

So… like the picture? Found it as Wikipedia.com and liked it. Shows what can happen if we get off course just a wee bit. You are only seeing one-third of the ship. The rest of it broke off and fell into the sea. In fact, since this picture was taken, the entire ship has finally fallen apart and into the sea. If I wasn’t so claustrophobic, I think it would be neat to go scuba diving for artifacts.

Dream Home and Thoughts on Blogging


Yes, I finally found it. A home over looking the water and the golf courses. Now, if I just come up with a couple of million dollars for the down payment… Hhm… now if I can get the board to buy it as a parsonage.

OK, the real reason for this picture is to say that I’m all blogged out for the time being. I’m really working on a paper about communion for my church, hoping it will show us the need for weekly communion and I don’t have the desire to blog any more. I’m finding more joy in working on the paper. Part of this is due to the fact that I get tired of the blogging squabbles that take place. In blogging squabbles are a given since people don’t blog to learn. They blog to share their opinions. People who are in the habit of sharing their opinions are doing so because they think their opinions are right, otherwise they would not share their opinions or they would change them to the correct position, at which point, the person would then begin sharing his new opinion, which is now right, and you need to come over to his side. Except, that in the blogging world, you are not there to come over to his side, but to share your opinion, which is right. If it were not right, you would change it to the correct position, at which point you would begin to share it with the other guy, who is not going to agree with you because your opinion is different than his opinion, and his opinion is correct. If it were not so…

You get the idea. I’m tired of sharing my opinion, right or wrong, for now. I’m tired of the occassional attacks on my character because I will call out those who are wrong and sinful if I see it, and tired of coming up with things to blog about. But then there was this comment made by a fellow pastor in the PCA: “The truth is when it comes to bloggers, they don’t really have the influence that people first thought they did. The only people that read blogs are other bloggers.”

This is true for the most point. And… given that the only other readers that we have are other bloggers, we really won’t be able to influence other bloggers since most of them have their own opinions… which they feel are right, even though the differ from our own. If they were not right… (see above).

Rainbow!

Hi Sweetie,
Here is the picture that J.M. took at the LifeWalk. You can see that Andy is really tired. He really needed that nap… along with his father. But alas, this IS “never time for a nap.”

Pluto Chases Kid

Worth a look… my question is: was he mad at the kid, or just playing??? I would love to hear him explain this to his boss… “Plutooooo! you got some splanin to do….”

Hope you enjoyed that…

Spurrier to A&M???

On the football forum at TexAg.com, there was a report that A&M may go after Steve Spurrier at the end of the season. That would be fun. Gamecock nation would definitely hate that.

But would that be a move up, or a lateral move? No, it’s not a move down. A&M has a National Championship to its credit and is known nationally. South Carolina doesn’t have quite the clout, but it’s not far behind. I grant that if Spurrier stays there for 10 years, South Carolina will have the clout.

Check out the discussion here.

Tuesday’s Tidbits

El Grande Update
We took Joey to the doctor’s office yesterday for his four-month check up. He’s doing just fine, and growing like a weed. He weighed 19 lbs., 9 oz., at four months. For those of you who don’t have children, let me explain the significance of that. Spurrier was sitting on our door step before we got home. He’s big. Affectionately calling Joey El Grande isn’t a bad thing.

OK, let me put it in perspective. Andy weighed in at 20 lbs. when he was six months old, and his weight pegged him off the charts. The neighbors child across the street, a year-old-girl, weighs about 17 lbs. Joey is just heavy and long. He is also 28 1/2 inches long. That pegged him right out of the carrier that we use to transport him. Which means, we need a new car seat! The other thing that this means is that he will continue to eat a lot of food, and we’ll get to know the Spurrier really well. (I wish someone would send Coach Fran this way).

Funny Comment
I was talking with one of my members over the weekend about my sermon, Christ’s priesthood being superior to the Levitical priesthood, and I said something to the effect of it being a deep topic. To which she replied that she had heard it said of one particular man, “On the surface, he is very deep. But deep down, he is really quite shallow.

That is one comment I don’t ever want to be made about me! But the moment she said it, it made me think of one of my professors back at DTS that was in the habit of trying to sound extremely profound. He was always saying things like, “Just give me my Yancey. I have to have my Yancey,” referring to Philip Yancey, the Christian writer. He would also say things like, “I love the Puritans, but the Puritans have nothing to say to the people of the 20th Century.” Which tells me he has never actually read the Puritans.

I have to admit that the man did burn me for a while because I did think he was profound. The problem was that when I began to think about what he said, I realized how much of it was just blabber. The sad reality is that many still follow the man, and he really has nothing to say to the men and the women of the 21st Century. Not because he’s not intelligent. He is extremely intelligent, but his premise is wrong. He doesn’t start and rest in the gospel. His blabberings start and rest in his own thoughts, and most will probably burn with the rest of the chaff.

The Anniversary — September 11
It’s hard to believe that it has been six years since the attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. So much blather has been offered up by the Left, it’s sickening. I hope we never forget what Islamofascists terrorists did that day.

I found this video at Dee’s place, and it’s perfect.

Dee writes:

I am grieved today and it is not just over the horrible tragedy we suffered 6 years ago. I am also grieved at how callous and hateful many have become and how they seem to have forgotten we were all attacked that day. This growing conspiracy theory about how 9/11 was an inside job is such a slap in the face to all the victims.

Terrorists attacked us that day and they have caused unending horror for so many people. I watched some videos of 911 calls that day of people who were scared because they were afraid they were going to die. How many 911 operators have post traumatic stress disorder because of what they experienced that day? It seems to me that anyone who experienced and then survived the events of that day had a hard time picking up the pieces of their life.

September 11th is one of those days that anyone who lived through it will remember what they were doing that day. It is an event seared in people’s minds like Pearl Harbor or the assassination of JFK. The reason it is so important not to forget is so we don’t have to live through a similar event again.

I know it is sad to think about it. But as Dee reminds us, let us never forget what took place on that day. It was a horrible day, one that many of us may want to forget, but never should.

As for the question: where were you? I was in Osceola, AR, where I was the pastor of First Presbyterian Church. I was getting ready for work when Lance called me and asked me if I was watching the news. I turned on Fox News, and began watching. It was shortly after the second plane hit. As we were talking, we watched the second building fall. I felt like it was a bad dream because I wasn’t sure what I was seeing. Lance had to say, “Timothy, that is the building collapsing.” What a sick feeling that was. For the sake of our families and our countries, may the terrorists be driven to either one of two conclusions: repentance in Christ, or eternal damnation.

D. James Kennedy

I just came across the fact that D. James Kennedy died yesterday. Not sure how I missed it, but I did. Kennedy was the pastor of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Fort Lauderdale. But more importantly, he helped spread Evangelism Explosion, a wonderful tool designed to help the laymen share their faith in Christ with others.

Here is part of the WorldNetDaily story:

Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church has announced the funeral service for D. James Kennedy, its senior pastor for 48 years, will be held today at the church in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

The 1 p.m. event will be held in the sanctuary, with the service to be broadcast on TBN at a later time, officials announced.

Kennedy, an author, theologian, biblical scholar and pastor of the 10,000-member church, also founded the highly influential Coral Ridge Ministries. He died early yesterday in his sleep following complications from a heart attack.

Kennedy, 76, is survived by his wife of 51 years, Anne, and his daughter, Jennifer Cassidy.

I never met Kennedy even though we shared the same denomination. But I did know those who did know him. May the Lord bless his family and his church.

Sunday’s Sermon

When it comes to Christ’s compassion, we must readily admit that His compassion goes much further than what most of us can offer in compassion. What I mean by this is that when we offer compassion towards someone, the best we can do is have a fellow feeling of their suffering and try to support them while they are in that suffering.

Compassion is coming along side someone who is suffering, and trying to help them through their plight.

When it comes to the compassion Christ offers, it is much greater than anything we can offer our fellow man because His compassion is such that He invites us into the throne room of grace, in order to find the mercy and grace we need to get through our struggles.

Why do we need mercy and grace? What are mercy and grace? Well, the mercy of God is that kindness shown to someone who is undeserving. It would be like a man that slaps the president, but instead of having him arrested, the president shows him mercy and invites him to dinner.

Grace is very similar. It is unmerited favor with God. When we obtain those two things, we then find that God is no longer our enemy holding judgment and doom over our heads, but He becomes our Father and Friend. He becomes one that is close to us, relationally, through the atoning work of His Son.

This is why the gospel is so rich. Instead of having God as our judge, we get Him as our Father, our Friend, our Comforter. This is why Christ’s compassion towards us is so vital and wonderful.

As our High Priest, Jesus offers us something that no other priest before Him can offer, He offers us entrance into the Father’s presence, through Christ mediatorial work as a priest.

There is no better place to turn in our grief, in our struggles, in our disappointments that to the Father in prayer. This is what Jesus gives us, and it is by far more rich, and real than anything we can offer one another.

His grace is real. His mercy is real. His compassion is abundant, and when you notice this in view of our sin and transgressions against God, we see that it is truly remarkable.

The writer of Hebrews has shown us that Christ’s compassion is the greatest of all, because not only does He identify with us, in that He was tempted as we are, but He offers us a solution to the fact that we are weak and tempted. It’s one thing to offer compassion by way of comfort. It’s quite another to provide a compassion that provides a deliverance from our weaknesses and temptations.

It is in view of this that he writes: Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

In this we see God’s compassion for His children. It is as if the Father says, “Yes, you are a wretched sinner towards Me and My Holy Law, but I’m going to show you grace and mercy, open your heart to my truth and invite you into My Kingdom for all of eternity.”

He accomplishes this through His Son, a most excellent High Priest. He is excellent because He provides a remedy for our sin, and a solution for our temptations: grace and mercy.

Now, the writer of Hebrews has made this point. He now turns to use the example of the Levitical high priests to help support his point. What point is that? The point that a high priest must be able to identify with his subjects, of which, Christ did just that.

For every high priest taken from among men is appointed for men in things pertaining to God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins.

The High Priest are from Men.

Every high priest taken from among men – First we see that the high priests did come from men. God uses fallen men in His plan of redemption. We know from Numbers 16-18, Leviticus 8-10 and Exodus 28-29, that these men were to come from the line of Levi. They were to be Levites. This was one of the qualifications to be a high priest. The high priest was to serve a short time and then another would serve.

We know that the position became corrupt and that there were even those who were not from the Levite family who served, but we must not let this get in the way of the purpose of the position.

God set this position up as one of service. The high priest was to serve the people, recognizing that he was there by God’s hand, not his own. He was appointed by God to serve. Note: this is in the passive. God was the one that lifted him up. Those who lifted themselves up to the position by their own hand were surely to endure the wrath of God, and they who did so, did so foolishly.

But we must not let that get in the way of us knowing that a sinful high priest was appointed to represent a sinful people.

They were chosen from men for the purpose of offering both gifts and sacrifices to God for sins. He was to go before God on behalf of the people and offer sacrifices. Now we know that the sacrifices did not pay the debt of sins, 10:4 For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins. But they were to offer then with the view that God would provide the perfect sacrifice to come, that being Christ.

But the high priest did more than just offer sacrifices. He was also to serve the people as their representative and showing compassion towards them.

He can have compassion on those who are ignorant and going astray, since he himself is also subject to weakness.

He knows his own weaknesses and short comings, and in knowing this reality in his own life, he was to show compassion to the ignorant and those going astray.

This doesn’t mean that the high priest abuses grace in the process. What I mean by this is that he was not like many today who think the meaning of the word grace is to look the other way when sin arises in the household of God.

When it comes to grace, we don’t mean that we gloss over sin. We mean unmerited favor from God, and this unmerited favor is God’s grace to us, that we have been given faith in order to believe in Christ and be saved. Not because of anything found in us, but solely out of His love and decision to choose us before the foundations of the world.

What the high priest is charged with doing is coming along side the ignorant and those going astray, and helping them see their error. He is to rebuke them gently and help them turn away from sin.

Notice, this is for those who sin ignorantly. In other words, unintended sin. He must know the difference between unintended sin and sins “perpetrated to vex God (Psalm 95:7-11).”[1]

Remember the sins that God’s people committed in the wilderness were such that God put an end to His mercy. He closed the door to them, closed the door to the promise and left them in the wilderness to perish. After 40 years, their children did enter God’s promised land. But not the original members of the Exodus.

Unbelief, by man, is considers so heinous that it leads to the door of God’s mercy being closed. His grace does end. His mercy towards men does cease for those who remain in unbelief, who refuse to believe, who refuse to trust in Him. Unbelief is the worst sin for man, and it leads to all the other kinds of sin, for if you truly believed God and His word, you would take every action against sin. When we believe what it says, we see our need to be compelled by the Spirit to turn away from sin. We cling to Him and His word.

But unbelief, we jump headlong into sin. This is what took place in the wilderness. They remained a stiff-necked people and set out to vex God.

The high priest was to deal with these sins as well, but not out of compassion. These intentional sins come out of a rebellious heart, and the high priest is to deal with them as well, cutting those people off from the camp. We call it excommunication…

But the sin of ignorance comes out of weakness, and not rebellion. Here, the high priest acts out of compassion because he knows his own weaknesses.

It is because of this weakness that he found in himself and in the people he represented that he was to offer sacrifices for sins. The high priest was in need of sacrifice just as much as the most lost Israelite. This is the writer’s way of saying: All have sinned and fall short of the glory of the Lord (Romans 3:23).

Even the high priest himself, fell short of God’s glory. The sacrifice he made for himself was God’s reminder to him, that he had a spiritual need as well. He was just as needy when it came to the gospel as the next man.

This was and is still necessary even today. Not the need for sacrifice, but the reminder that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of the Lord (Romans 3:23). We may have different functions in the body of Christ, but there is still a need of sacrifice for us, pastors/teachers, evangelists, elders, deacons, WIC presidents and officers, Sunday school teachers… Sunday school attendees, and even those who skip out on Sunday school for various a sundry reasons. All have fallen short…

Therefore the high priest must make a sacrifice for himself. The entire process should have caused all involved to humble themselves for they would have seen the blood that was shed. They would have seen it.

We see the reminder when we have communion. The red wine represents our Savior’s blood. It represents the sacrifice that He made on our behalf. There had to be a sacrifice made for His children, and for His children, that sacrifice was Christ. He took our place, even though we would have reviled Him given the chance.

Again, a true reminder of grace and mercy. Had we been in the crowd that day that he went through the trial, we would have chanted with the rest of them: “Crucify Him!” Our sin nature is such that left to ourselves, we would have had the same mob mentality.

The beauty is, that even though we would have uttered those words, and some of you probably still are, He lovingly takes us, shows us true compassion as the true High Priest, and makes us partakers of His priestly work.

He says to us: “Yes, you would have nailed me to the tree as well. But my love and compassion for you is far greater than your hatred of Me. Therefore, I will make you mine. I will send my Spirit to convert your heart, so that you can be My loving child, and reside with Me forever. I will be Your God, and you will be MY child.”

The earthly high priests could never offer such grace or mercy. God used them in order to point others back to Him. They were never meant to be seen as THE mediator for Christ. Their work was to direct the believer’s attention to the coming Messiah.

The problem arose when the high priest thought that they were something because they were high priests. The position was always meant to be a position of humility and service, not a position of power and exaltation. The writer confirms this by saying:

And no man takes this honor to himself, but he who is called by God, just as Aaron was.

First we need to see that service in the body of Christ is never to be done so for power. Yes, the position is one of honor. It was a privilege to serve as a priest. It is a privilege to serve as a priest today.

We all have been given a wonderful privilege to serve Christ. This should never be done out of arrogance, but out of humility for when you realize that you were called by God, just as the high priest was, then you realize that it was His decision and nothing to be found in us.

This is why Paul stresses that there is no reason for boasting in Ephesians 2:8-10. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

Our service for Him is rooted in humility. We have nothing to boast about but His goodness and kindness towards us. He showed us grace, worked faith in us, we believe and because of that kindness and gentleness, we serve Him doing the works that He prepared beforehand for us to do.

The same was true for the high priest in the Levitical system. They were given a job to do, and were to do it because of the one that called them, not because of anything in and of themselves.

They were not to take that honor to themselves. Sadly, this is what happens when sinful men fill godly positions. Their sin deludes them into thinking that they are special because of their roll in the body of God’s people. It is true that the roll itself is special, but it is not true that the man himself is special.

It is the one who calls those into ministry that makes us special, not the one that is being called. Remember Balaam’s ass? If God can use a donkey to speak, then we should not be boastful at all that God can use us as well. Yes, we should feel honor and privileged that God would call us. This should not lead us to pride, but to humility. There is no room for a boastful behavior.

Listen again: And no man takes this honor to himself, but he who is called by God, just as Aaron was.

They were called by God to the service of being a high priest. They had nothing to do with the fact that they were born into the line of Levi. They had nothing to do with that placement in the birthright. That was God’s doing. Not only did God place them in the birthright, but sovereignly worked in their lives to put them in the place of becoming a high priest.

God is the one that calls. We do not exalt ourselves. The same is true for the doctrine of election. A lot of people hate this doctrine for various reasons, but all we are saying is that God calls those whom He will save. The election is not because of anything found in us. We are not what makes election special. God didn’t look down and say, “My, My, look at those fine specimens to choose from. I thin I will take that one for he will really help Us in our cause.”

Quite the contrary: Paul shows us in his letter to the Corinthians, that God often calls those whom the world would call foolish for His purposes.

1 Corinthians 1:26-31 For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence. But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption— that, as it is written, “He who glories, let him glory in the LORD.”[a

Where is the boasting in this? He is showing us that there is no true qualities in us that God needed in growing His Kingdom. Yes, we may be gifted in certain areas, but that is not why God chose us. He can and does use our gifts, but He doesn’t have to. Our prayer should be that He does use our gifts for His glory, and when He does, let us glory in the LORD.

The point to all this is that God did call the high priest from men in order to use them for His purposes. He did so from the line of Aaron. Here we see the writer make a transition. He was using the earthly high priestly system to show us that Our High Priest was and is different. He is of another nature all together.

So also Christ did not glorify Himself to become High Priest, but it was He who said to Him: “ You are My Son, Today I have begotten You.” As He also says in another place: “ You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.”

We will get into this more next week. But the point we see here is that our High Priest served perfectly. He did not exalt Himself, but actually lowered Himself in order to serve.


[1] Kistemaker, p. 130.