I’m told, that there are no more spaces left in in the Dixie Cemetery. Unless there is a land donation, there will be no more expansions. Given that, the cemetery is full. But it’s a nice cemetery to look at as far as cemeteries go. I know, most people don’t like them, but I do.
Over the past several months, I’ve watched this boat slowly disintegrate. It was a complete boat the first time I saw it, but I think the owner has the idea of breaking it up into smaller parts to cart it off. I thought it made good photography.
Every Veterans’ Day, Memorial Day, and Independence Day, churches all across the country bring out the flag and patriotic tunes in a show of solidarity for God and country. But should they?
To many, it seems harmless to sing such tunes and wave the flag. After all, what could be wrong with showing pride in our country and in recognition of all those who have died in the preservation of this great nation? But when we worship, we enter into the presence of a holy God who is a consuming fire (Hebrews 12:29). This requires that we enter with reverence and awe, and with holy fear.
Wine? Are you kidding me?
Beer? Just the smell of one is too many carbs.
Toast? Are you not listening?
A cookie? Now you’re being hardheaded.
Yes, my wife and I are on what I call the Death-To-Self Diet, meaning that you have to die to the idea of eating anything you crave, want, think of, for at least three weeks. It’s a serious diet and is not for those who just toy with diets. You know how some people are, they change diets like they change churches, trying one here, then another there, but never really getting serious about it.
William Gurnall writes:
If the provisions were left in our own hands, we would soon be bankrupt merchants. God knows we are weak, like cracked pitchers–if filled to the brim and set aside, the contents would soon leak out. He puts us under a flowing fountain of His strength and constantly refills us. This was the provision He made for Israel in the wilderness: He split the rock, and not only was their thirst quenched at that moment, but the water ran in a stream after them, so that you hear no more complaints for water. This rock was Christ. Every believer has Christ at his back, following him as he goes, with strength for every condition and trial.
The truth is that out Father often brings us to a sense of need before He provides. He wants us to feel the want of not having, so we can see that He is the One who supplies our need. He wants us to ask Him to meet our need and trust in Him to do so. He may not answer our prayer immediately, but may use the need to keep us coming back to Him. He would much rather have His children returning to Him for their daily needs instead of blessing them with riches, and have them fall away.
Character is character because it is unique. The moment you mass produce it, it loses its character. I’m sure the original TGIF’s restaurant was an unique experience. Same with the Olive Garden, Applebees, even McDonalds. But once those restaurants became mass produced they lost any claim to having character.
On Facebook, a fellow pastor pointed out the what celebrity pastor Andy Stanley was teaching about the Old Testament was “really wrong.” Of course, this brought out all kinds of comments from the enemies of truth implying how unloving, mean, and wicked the pastor was for doing so. Given Andy Stanley’s track record, of winking approval at homosexual couples in his congregation, and declaring that we need to un-hitch ourselves from the part of the Bible that Jesus, Peter, and Paul all preached from, every orthodox pastor in America should be warning their flocks against Andy Stanley.
This is, the pastor’s job to do so.
The lie that continues to be repeated from Genesis 3 that still plagues us today is the words spoken to the woman by the serpent: “Indeed, has God said…?” At the heart of his question is doubt. The serpent convinced the woman to doubt God’s goodness, His word, and His provision. In doing so, she then led Adam in eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and for the first time in human history, mankind knew what evil was from an experiential level. Before the fall, they knew only goodness. But after the fall, they knew evil in a real way and because of their transgression, we know evil as well.
What makes it difficult for us is that we have trouble knowing true goodness. It is only when we come to God’s word, and know God Himself, that we know and experience true goodness. This is why the serpent, known as Satan, is still using the same lie “Indeed, has God said…?” in our day. He doesn’t use those exact words, but we have all heard them used over and over again. The question is the same, only phrased differently.
Heidi and I finally had an opportunity to visit Ed and Susan, members of our church. Their home is quite unusual, in that it is roughly under 400 square feet in size. You may have heard of people living in tiny houses, but Susan and Ed are the real deal. But, truth must be told. Their current home is actually bigger than their first home on the property, which was a genuine Burlington Northern caboose. It is only about 300 square feet. So they are currently living high on the hog. I really admire them for being able to happily live in such small spaces.
Except pastors retain this end in view, it can by no means be that they will in good earnest proceed in the course of their calling, but will, on the contrary, become often faint; for there are innumerable hindrances which are sufficient to discourage the most prudent. They have often to do with ungrateful men, from whom they receive an unworthy reward; long and great labors are often in vain; Satan sometimes prevails in his wicked devices. Lest then, the faithful servant of Christ should be broken down, there is for him one and only one remedy,–to turn his eyes to the coming of Christ.
From John Calvin’s commentary on 1 Peter 5, specifically verse 4: and when the Chief Shepherd appears.
From Andrew Dionne and Andy Halsey:
“Redeeming culture” is the Reformed code phrase for “I want to watch sex and violence at the theater and act like an art snob and you have to respect me for it.” Redeeming culture is how we wind up with The Gospel Coalition telling us how a skin flick points us to Christ. Neither the love of God nor the love of our neighbor grows out of imbibing cultural artifacts documenting man’s rebellion against God.
This quote comes from their article about a PCA church outside St. Louis that is trying desperately to justify homosexuals as being “gay-Christians.” It has been pointed out before (and by many) that you cannot hyphenate Christianity. You are either a Christian, born again and made a new creation, or a slave to sin. Those seeking to continue as slaves to sin and yet calling themselves Christians don’t realize that they are still slaves and have not tasted true spiritual freedom.
You can read Dionne and Halsey here.