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Showing posts from 2015

The Hope that Christmas Brings

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Merry Christmas everyone!  It's Christmas Day!

Come with me as I reminisce how Christmas has changed for me (which may be similar to your experience) and what I have found about Christmas to always stay the same.

When I was young, the magic and mystery of Christmas surrounded me.  Time seemed to slow the months, weeks, days and even hours before Christmas.  It was as if time played a trick on me every year and dragged its feet like a rebellious child not wanting to enter the room named Christmas, no matter how hard I tried to convince it to get there earlier. 

I couldn't wait for Christmas Day.  I couldn't wait for the opportunity to actually want to wake up at 6 in the morning.  Presents would appear under the tree that weren't there the night before.  The magic of Christmas infected me.  And though I didn't know it then, I had tapped into something about Christmas, its joy and excitement, ultimately personified in hope that should be in everyone's Christmas.

Pastoring, Parenting and the Answer to the Problem of Evil

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One of the biggest complaints that I receive about belief in God is the problem of evil.  As a pastor, I receive this complaint in two different ways. 

The first way is from atheists who look at all the evil in the world and posit:  If God were all powerful, why is there evil in the world?  Why couldn't God just prevent the evil from happening in the first place?

There are two major of fallacies within the context of this line of questioning. 

First, an atheist has no framework for evaluating good and evil and must therefore borrow that understanding from somewhere outside his/her worldview.  This is the easiest to see and there are scores of resources referencing this by both theists and atheists.  (I personally recommend Frank Turek's book "Stealing from God".) 

Second, the atheist makes a category mistake in confusing the nature of a human being with free will with that of a toaster oven.  If we look at a defective toaster oven, we assume that the fault belongs…

Are you merely infatuated with Jesus?

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Imagine you saw this amazing girl or amazing guy.  Everything about this person blew you out of the water:  their looks, their manners, their caring attitude for others, their intelligence, even the goals they had in life were inspirational to you.  As you compare them to yourself, you wonder how in the world you could ever get the attention of such a person, just to be a friend, much less the outlandish notion that they would be the love of your life.

Yet, hope beyond hope, you find out from a very reliable source that they are interested in you.  It's like all of your dreams are coming true.  You courageously take the first step by approaching this person to hear for yourself whether or not this person is interested in pursuing a relationship with you and discover that all the rumors are true.

Elated, you begin a relationship that starts so well.  You begin to learn about their past and what they hope their future will be.  You also begin to share the things that are important …

But...it doesn't affect you

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Choices matter.  I think that we can all agree with that.

Choices also have a varying degree of impact on our lives.  For example, outside of the embarrassment that it may cause me, the choosing my favorite pair of checkered knee length tube socks to be worn with my running shorts isn't going to have the same impact that the acceptance of a job offer halfway across the country would have on me, my family and my friends.

Choices can be good or bad, beneficial or destructive, personal or corporate in nature.

However, in the current climate in which we live, I believe there has been a confusion over the categories which our choices actually fall under.  Many people have fallen victim to the false assumption that the personal choices that they make are ONLY personal and therefore should not affect how others view them.  Erroneously, they believe that because their choice was a personal one, the only person that it should affect is them and if it affects someone else or someone else…

Do you have a plan for your kids?

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Discipleship...we are all called to do it.  But do any of us really know how?

The following post is for every parent who calls themselves a believer in Christ and sees as their calling the fulfillment of the Great Commission.  But it begins with some penetrating questions, not to discourage, but to open our eyes to reality so that we may be fulfillers of the commission Christ has given us.

I begin with parents because I have worked with youth for 14 years and have strong feelings toward this subject of discipleship.

According to Scripture, parents are the ones that God has entrusted to pass down the faith to their children (see Deut. 6:4-9; 11:13-21; Psalm 78:1-8).  As such, I do not worry too much whether or not any youth come to my youth group.  Now that may seem like a shock to many parents, but if you, as parents, are discipling your children, then you will have many more opportunities to teach them about the Lord than I will in my 2 hour slot on Wednesday night.  Sunday is the ga…

Why Saying You Are A Christian Doesn't Necessarily Make You One

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Are you a Christian? 

Now before you answer, please understand, this is not a trick question.  But it also isn't a question that can be flippantly answered because you have gone to church, been baptized, walked up front at some camp or conference during the altar call or even read the Bible.  If you were about to base your answer on any of those qualifications, you might have a little anxiety right now.

Many people who have done many or all of those things and who would enthusiastically proclaim "yes" to the question posed at the top of the page will find themselves standing before Jesus on judgment day hearing the words they never thought was true...Jesus never knew them(Mat. 7:23).

It speaks to the point of this post:  Claiming that you are a Christian doesn't necessarily make you one.

It is just like me claiming that I am an auto mechanic.  I can give myself the title.  I might even be able to fool those who knew less than me about cars.  I'm not sure …

The Danger of Living in the Land of Plenty

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I admit, I love my electronic gadgets.  I love my smartphone and the music I can play from it.  I love my computer and the ability to write this blog...and play games on occasion.  I love the fact that I can watch Netflix or the current NCAA tourney from my computer or phone.  I love the advances given by man that make it easier to be entertained.  (Have I ever mentioned how much I love Disneyworld?)  I love discovering the "new" thing...whether that new thing is a movie I'm looking forward to, a new electronic gadget that I am sure will revolutionize my life, or a new ride at my favorite amusement park.

While many of my enjoyments revolve around being entertained, I'm sure you could easily fill in the blanks of the above paragraph with the interests you find so easy to enjoy, as well.

Despite many of the grumblings we may have in the current state of affairs in our nation or world, we are living in a land of plenty.  And while there are many ways for which we shoul…

The Myth of the Moral Atheist

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I find it ironic that some of the biggest online arguments with atheists I've been a part of revolve around morality.  As I have mentioned in a previous post, the atheist worldview doesn't ultimately allow for good and evil.  As such, their claim that God is evil (or unjust) falls flat.

Yet, in many of these conversations that I have had, atheists tell me that you don't need God to be a good person.  Often, right after those statements, they will point to themselves as an example of this being true.  They just happen to be led by science and logic.  That doesn't make them a bad person, but it does give them freedom from what they claim is the false god in the sky.

Then they will go on and use examples from the Bible or the actions from those who claim Christ as examples of why religion is evil, unjust or immoral.  They will bring up slavery in the Old Testament as an unjust treatment of people or the Israelites slaughter of the Canaanite peoples in the conquest of the …