Okay, time for me to address something that has been a recurring theme in discussions on nearly any topic that involves those within the Independent Fundamental Baptist movement. Sometimes is brandished as a rebuttal, sometimes it’s humbly submitted as a concern or fear; but it is used none-the-less. It’s dangerous because it’s a lie. Truth frees while falsehood keeps us bound! Even little lies form strong shackles – sometimes the strongest. This horrible idea that keeps popping up is this – Knowledge is dangerous and to be avoided. Read the rest of this entry »
Monthly Archives: August 2013
DID defeat the enemy….
For God was pleased to have
all His fullness dwell in Him,
and through Him to reconcile
everything to Himself
by making peace
through the blood of His cross—
whether things on earth or things in heaven.
American Church, are you sure you really want to follow Him?
This was the exclamation made by my 8 year old son from the inside of an emptied embroidery machine box. He was having a blast, using his imagination. That box had been everything from a house to a magic chamber and at that moment he couldn’t imagine life to be any better! We have this same mistake recorded for us in Matthew 17, made by Peter upon witnessing the transfiguration of Jesus. After seeing Jesus shine with glory, he offered to build three tabernacles on the mount which would have definitely taken some time (although not an eternity). At that moment, Peter could think of nothing better to do with his life than to build edifices to commemorate the event he had just witnessed. God, however, had a different goal to attain. There was a greater action to be done with Peter’s time than staying up on that mountain building tabernacles, just like there was much more in my sons life than to be spent in a box – although, with all his imagining, he couldn’t imagine that.
We do this as adults, our box is just much bigger and we’re deceived into thinking it’s not a box. We devote our life to what we imagine to be all there is to life. Whether that box is money, sex, drugs, a false concept of God, you name it; we proclaim, “I wanna stay in here forever!” And we do just that. When someone comes into our life and challenges our box-illusion we get angry. The difficult thing is finding what’s a box-illusion and what’s not. This is much more than saying one needs to find “their own truth”; it is asserting that there is a thing called truth regardless of who is viewing it. Truth shows us whether we’re living in an illusion or not. Truth can be hard – hard to grasp and hard to deal with – but that’s no reason to be happy with living in a embroidery machine box forever… not if you really want to live.
I use to spend every working day calling people who have defaulted on their student loans and try to help them get into an affordable arrangement that will aid them in bringing their loans out of default. Some people want help, others would rather run from it. But one thing is noted, each went to school to pursue an education with the hopes of gaining employment in the field they majored in (or at least hoped the diploma would grant them a better job than they would get without one). I would contact beauticians, doctors, attorneys, fast food workers, private business owners, etc. And most of the time, they are not in the field their parents are in. They educated themselves and took a different vocational path. We can do that, especially here in America with the financial aid that is available to almost anyone; but the world in which Jesus lived was drastically different. Most of the time your occupation was chosen for you. You knew what you would be when you grew up because it was whatever your dad did for a vocation. Jesus’ earthly father, Joseph, was a carpenter by trade, so guess what Jesus learned? Yep! Carpentry! Like Father Like Son.
It was in the midst of this cultural reality that Jesus preached His epic sermon; what we now refer to as the “Sermon on the Mount”. It is with this backdrop that He said, “The peacemakers are blessed, for they will be called the sons of God.” (Matthew 5:9) He tells us clearly that God is all about making peace, and if we do the same then we are truly God’s sons as we are following in the vocational footsteps of our Father.
On the surface, we like the way this sounds, but if we are going to follow the steps of The Father, we have to see not only what He was for, but how He was for bringing it about. We name large guns and weapons of mass destruction names like “Peace-keeper”. We have the ingrained mentality that the way to make peace is only done through making war. After all, isn’t that what we (at least here in America) claim is our goal when we go to war? By defeating the bad guys in war we theoretically will obtain a peaceful existence. But that isn’t how our Father made peace. In Colossians 1:19-20 we are given a glimpse of how The Father makes peace:
“For God was pleased to have all His fullness dwell in Him [Jesus],
and through Him to reconcile everything to Himself by making peace through the blood of His cross- whether things on earth or things in heaven.”
Did you see it? Our Father doesn’t bring peace by making the bad guys die, but rather by dying for them. This is quite the antithesis of George S. Patton Jr. who said, “The object of war is not to die for your country but to make the other guy die for his.”
You see, near the end of chapter Jesus’ sermon, He says something that is jolting – “Love your enemy”. He tells His hearers to pray for those who persecute them. This persecution wasn’t merely a forbidding of public prayer in public schools. This persecution was physical abuse, public derision, and even death. This was real persecution like what is faced in other countries today, yet practically completely unknown to American Christianity. Jesus says that praying for our persecutors, loving them, will show us to be children of our Heavenly Father. Jesus also modelled this for us as He suffered His undeserved, excruciating death on the cross at the hands of His enemies as He prayed for their forgiveness.
This is how God makes peace. This is how we are called to make peace. Will you follow your Dad?
Well, here I am. 1:00 am on a Sunday. Set to teach the 3rd and 4th grade boys Sunday School class, as usual; and jobless. Yep, jobless. After all, that’s why I’m still awake. I went to bed, but just laid there, REM-rates are so high from my overwhelmed mind that closing my eyes isn’t really an option. I lost my job on Wednesday of this past week. I’ve been filling out job applications for about a month as I knew hard times were coming for the company I worked for, but I’ve been frantically filling out applications even more-so since July 31st. I’ve got bills. I’ve got a wife and three wonderful boys to take care of – so yeah, I’m up. Read the rest of this entry »