Articles

Why Don’t You Take Time to Read God’s Word?

It’s Lent—the season of directing our attention to the passion of Christ. In doing so, Christians throughout the ages have made an effort for increased devotion in the season of Lent. In line with this focus, it’s good for us to consider our devotional life at home. So I’d like to ask the question, why don’t you take the time to read God’s Word? There are three points to consider:

  1. Because you don’t believe God’s Word is beneficial to your soul.
  2. Because you don’t know how to start and it seems overwhelming.
  3. Because developing the habit is difficult.

 

The first one is difficult to hear—it’s difficult to say to you. However, we have to confess that the root problem is sin, not matters of practicality. The real reason we don’t pour over God’s Word at every waking moment (when we’re not already serving our neighbor) is because by nature we are despisers of God’s Word. Perhaps you find it boring. I agree with you. Let’s repent. If we don’t find beauty and value in God’s word—the problem isn’t with God’s Word, the problem is with us. If it wasn’t for our sinful flesh, we wouldn’t delight in anything more than God’s Word. If we don’t find our joy in the Word of God, confess that—Christ forgives you.

Secondly, many people don’t the time to read God’s Word because it’s a big book, it’s difficult to understand, and it’s easy to get lost in everything that’s going on. All too often, people set out to read the Bible and maybe make it through Genesis, or Exodus but lose steam in the middle of Numbers or Deuteronomy. Most of the time, the problem is that we start out over ambitious resolving to tackle too much—so that it doesn’t have the staying power to become a habit. If you’re just starting out, I recommend reading something like the Gospel of John first. Then maybe the other Gospels and then the other books of the New Testament, but save Revelation until you’ve read everything else. This will help you build understanding before reading more difficult books. Also, set small goals. Read a chapter or for 5 minutes every day. Pick up a devotional like Portals of Prayer, which only takes a few minutes to read.

Making something a habit starts with something that isn’t a chore to do. If you bite off too much, you won’t continue to do it for long. It is also helpful to attach your devotional reading to something you are already in the habit of doing every day. Maybe at the dinner table, before you clean the dishes you take the time to read the Scriptures at the dinner table. Perhaps a good time for you might be before bed or when you wake up—or some other time that works well for you. Attaching your devotions to something you’re already in the habit of doing makes it less likely to forget while you’re forming the habit. Also, try listening to the Bible rather than reading it silently. Take turns reading the Bible aloud by members of the house. Or listen to an audio version of the Bible on tape or online. As you listen to the Scriptures, focus on the words spoken as being God’s true Word spoken for you as it points you to Jesus.

This is no exercise in gaining spiritual points or meriting anything before God—but His Word is the conduit through which He bestows His blessings. Through His Word He is imparting to you what was won on the cross—the forgiveness of sins. It’s through God’s Word that he strengthens your faith and imparts to you life and salvation. God has placed His blessings among us in His word, because He is a gracious and merciful God to us sinners.

 

Does Life Matter?

In 2013 there was a controversial case involving George Zimmerman who shot and killed Trayvon Martin. Zimmerman, a volunteer neighborhood watchman in a neighborhood recently victimized by a string of burglaries. Martin was returning home through the neighbor after purchasing some items from a convenience store when he was confronted by Zimmerman. A physical altercation ensued in which Zimmerman resorted to lethal use of his weapon. When Zimmerman was tried, he was acquitted by a jury in July of 2013 under Florida’s “stand your ground” law. People took to social media to comment on their opinions on the matter using the hashtag “Black Lives Matter,” claiming that Zimmerman or society as a whole had less concern for the lives of blacks than other races, because Trayvon Martin was black. That social media hashtag became a moniker for an entire national movement that campaigns against violence and systematic racism toward black people. Black Lives Matters regularly organizes protests around the deaths of black people in killings by law enforcement officers, and broader issues of racial profiling, police brutality, and racial inequality in the United States criminal justice system.

As soon as the phrase “Black Lives Matter” became popularized, the phrase “All Lives Matter,” became emerged, with some notoriety by the likes of Senator Tim Scott and Seattle Seahawks star Richard Sherman who said, “I stand by what I said that All Lives Matter and that we are human beings.”[1]

In response President Barack Obama said, “I think that the reason that the organizers used the phrase Black Lives Matter was not because they were suggesting that no one else’s lives matter … rather what they were suggesting was there is a specific problem that is happening in the African American community that’s not happening in other communities”[2] Furthermore HBO’s Real Time host Bill Maher argued that the phrase shouldn’t be “All Lives Matters” because, “That implies that all lives are equally at risk, and they’re not. Black Lives Matter is the right [phrase].”[3]

The nation is divided. Does the statement “All Lives Matter” defend the rights of each person and uphold the sanctity of all lives? Or does the phrase attempt to drown the concerns of prejudice by sweeping it under the rug? Does the line “Black Live Matter” trying to assert that black lives matter more the other lives?

When it comes to matters of life, race should not be considered into the equation. When asking the question, who has life that is intrinsically valuable and should be defended, the matter of race or skin color bears no significance at all. Here, we’d want to remember that we have diversity of skin color and physical appearances because of the diverse geographies people lives following the days of the flood. But on Noah’s Ark there was one family, through which we are all descendants.

Therefore, where someone is mistreated by law enforcement, it doesn’t matter who they are, there should be repercussions is an officer acts outside the bounds of the authority given. And where a citizen acts outside the law, he should be brought to justice and pay the debt to the society for the crime. To claim we should defend life on the basis of one’s race is just as bad to say one should not defend life on the basis of one’s race.

We know this is true in the cross. When Jesus atoned for sins, He atoned for the sins of all people. He told His disciples to go out to all the world, to baptized all nations. The love and mercy and compassion of God is for all people. Thanks be to God of this truth!

[1] Samuel, Ebenezer. “Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman explains why he stands by that All Lives Matter”. New York Daily News. Retrieved 6 August 2016.

[2] Tucker, Bryan. “Tactics of Black Lives Matter”. KCTS9.

[3] Aug 15, 2016 broadcast of HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher.

A Love to Love and A Love because of Love

Picture yourself standing before the altar, gazing into eyes of the person you pledged yourself to love until death. If you used the traditional wedding vows, you vowed something similar to “[I vow] to have and to hold [you] from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death us do part, according to God’s Holy will and I pledge to you my faithfulness.” At nearly every wedding, the couple eagerly declares such a vow with little or no hesitation.

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What About Ferguson?

This last week, many of us watched the coverage of rioting and protesting in Ferguson, MO after a grand jury determined it would not indictment a Ferguson police officer after he shot and killed 18 year old Michael Brown. America watched as protesters walked around Ferguson, burning business, cars and public property. All this while police stood by helplessly outnumbered by the masses. Read more →

Time to be Faithful

And he said to him, ‘Well done, good servant! Because you have been faithful in a very little, you shall have authority over ten cities.’ Luke 17:19

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Does the Bible Record Historical Facts?

The answer to this question is what everything rests upon. If the answer is no, then I don’t want you to come to church. If the answer is no, I don’t want to be a pastor, because we don’t gather together to talk about myths or stories. We gather together to hear the Good News that our sins are forgiven. That all rests upon those facts actually being grounded in history. Read more →

Being Thankful

You can’t contrive thankfulness. Have you ever tried that? What happens if someone just scolds you and says, “Be thankful.” That imperative can’t make one thankful. All it really does is reveal that one is not thankful. But it does not foster thankfulness which one lacks. So if commanding someone to be thankful doesn’t make one thankful, how does one impart thankfulness? There are really only two ways to become thankful for those who are not.      First, to receive gifts. Second, to not receive gifts. Let me explain.

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What in the World?

Dear Saints of God,

Having written last month about the divine office of motherhood for Mother’s Day, I had planned on writing about the office of fatherhood for Father’s Day. For fatherhood is an equally important office that is all too often overlooked. However, in the wake of some disastrous events, I find it more pressing to address something else.

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The Divine Office of Motherhood

It is a blessing to serve as your pastor. Faith is a fantastic congregation that certainly show’s great appreciation to the pastoral office and that is a blessing to me as your pastor. Serving as pastor is an honor (not a right) because it is an office established by God to do holy things. The pastoral office has been instituted to deliver the Lord’s gifts. Because this office is established by God, it is a divine office.

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How to make a good pro-life argument

For the 40th Anniversary of the Roe v Wade decision, the guys over at Issues Etc resurrected some interviews that had done previously with Scott Klusendorf, director of Life Training Institute and author of A Case for Life. It is a 5 part series entitled “Bad Ways to Argue for Abortion.” I would highly recommend it to anyone who would like to learn how to navigate a conversation in a convincing way for the protection of the unborn. The links so these interviews are in the links below:

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