Monday, August 27, 2012
Pragmatism is alive and well on so-called Christian TV. Unlike solid expository preaching by MacArthur, Piper and Sproul, we have the "others." The preacher is prancing the stage. The audience isn't responding enough. So the Bible waving preacher yells out, "Somebody should get happy in this place, somebody should praise the Lord, somebody should shout!" Give me a break. I can see Paul the apostle now on Mars Hill in Athens trying to explain the resurrected Christ. He waves a scroll and prances back and forth while some converted Jews are keeping in step with the Shofars. Most of this pragmatic stuff is just that: anything that will give the result they are looking for. And....don't forget to pass the offering plate.
Sunday, July 15, 2012
I had posted this a long time ago but felt it needed repeated. I want to preface by saying many don't listen to Ray Boltz anymore because of the direction he headed in his personal life. However, this song was recorded before he fell and I personally believe it can minister to us today. It does to me anyway. More importantly, I hope you read my comments as that is really the essence of what I'm trying to say.
Seasons change, don't they? My concept for today is really nothing new I guess. But have you ever wondered about the changing seasons and the ones in our own lives? I've always compared the four seasons to the seasons in our life. Work with me a minute on this, okay? In spring, we are born. In summer, we are in our adulthood making a living, having a family and we are full of life and stamina. Then autumn comes. This is the third season of our life. We start slowing down a bit and the summer days of our life are over. Then finally, winter sets in, we leave this earthly life. However, I don't want to end this on a downer. When we see Christ, it all starts over and we'll be in the spring of our life again! No, I'm not espousing some new age belief. I just think that's the way it happens.
I've been listening intently to a favorite Ray Boltz song. This CD came out around 1992. It has always been a favorite. I can't help but get a bit misty as I listen to the title track. For you see, I'm not a young man anymore. I've technically entered the fall season of my life. There are those in their seventies that tell me I'm still a kid. From their perspective, maybe so. However, I'm not the twenty or thirty year old idealistic individual that I used to be. There was a day I thought I could conquer the world. To some degree, many of my dreams have been met, some have diminished and some never came to fruition. These days I'm more realistic. However, I still have dreams that I hope come about in the next few years if the Lord allows unless he returns first.
I can't help but think of King David in Psalm 37 where he said, "I have been young, now am old, yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his children begging bread." David had seen much in his life. He was the shepherd boy, the young lad that slew the giant, the mighty soldier going off to war, the servant running from the madman Saul, becoming King, and finally the old man that wrote those wonderful words in Psalms. I know I'll never be a King David. However, as I ponder on things these days, I just want to be where God wants me. I have three desires in my life. If God allows them, I'll be so happy. However, if the Lord never gave me one more thing, he has given me so much in this life I could never thank him enough.
I've had my fun in the summer sun, enjoyed years of fruitful ministry, known love and even lost love, but ultimately I know a God that loves me so. Yes, our seasons change. However, our God does not! He is the same, wonderful, kind, gracious, loving God through Jesus Christ. Seasons change. They are meant to be that way. So it is with our lives. I hope I come to a point that I don't despise the autumn season of my life, but embrace it fully. Ray sings in the song, "the blessings are worth the pain." I wouldn't want to relive some of the hard lessons I've had to learn in life. Especially this last decade. So, friends, remember the seasons come. And...each one has their own special blessings. Be well.
Friday, July 13, 2012
I was thinking of Jesus in the garden. The thought kept going on, "not my will but yours be done."
You see, obedience isn't easy. I have to admit that sometimes my carnal man doesn't like the idea of God having His way and me obeying it. Does that sound bad? Maybe. In ourselves without the Holy Spirit having His way, we want things to go our way. I sometimes believe that even depression happens when we don't get our way. Things don't work out the way we planned, it rained on our parade, someone said something unbecoming to us, we got turned down for the promotion, I didn't get that gift I wanted, ad infinitum.
There were things that happened to me in the past six months that called for my obedience. I wondered how God was going to pull this off. I wondered if being obedient was the right thing to even do. I finally came to the realization that if I obeyed God that I knew I would be in right fellowship with him again. After making the decision to becoming obedient, I then faced some opposition that made my situation seem worse, not better. I moved back to Ohio and knew I had done God's will. But things were falling apart on me. Things were breaking down, my stress was horrible and other factors made me think: "This is what I get for being obedient?"
Here's the rub: Just because we are obedient doesn't automatically make our situation better. Sometimes I wonder if we think that by being obedient that the skies will turn blue, the financial problem goes away, our health returns and all is fine. Sometimes it does, other times it doesn't.
Is God still good? Rhetorical. But he is. I know this much: by being obedient it may not always change things around us, but it will change "us!" And I know that being in God's will is far better than being outside His will. I'd much rather go through things being in His will than going through them outside His will. It's always better to do right and have God be pleased than to think we can do it by ourselves and mess the whole thing up.
Incidentally, many may think that Jesus was trying to get out of going to the Cross. Actually I believe that Jesus was hoping that He didn't die that night for it would thwart what He needed to do and go to the Cross to redeem us. In my life I want to come to a place where I know that even though being obedient may not always bring a quick blessing, it will keep me closer to God and that's where we all need to be.
Thursday, July 12, 2012
Many of us know the story of Jacob wrestling with God. After the match, he was told his name would no longer be called Jacob but Israel. And...Jacob had to walk with a limp afterwards.
The lesson I learn from this is that sometimes we want our own way and in a spiritual sense we "wrestle" with God. And sometimes, our wrestling with God causes us to grow but from that battle we may walk with a limp. I'll make the story even more inviting.
The story is told of a shepherd that will tend his sheep. If one sheep tends to go astray too often, the shepherd will take that one sheep and "break" one of his legs. The leg heals and the sheep walks with a limp but will never leave the fold again.
I think sometimes that is what God has to do with us. There are times we stray, we walk away from God or we desire "our" own way too much. When will we learn that doing it God's way is always better. But, God loves us so much that if we do get "out of line" God will break us for our own good. Sure, we'll walk with a limp, but how much better to never leave the side of God again. I know, I'd much rather walk with a limp and be in God's fold than to go it alone without him.
So, if you're struggling today, and you are wondering what God is doing in your life, maybe God is molding and mending you into His way. It's difficult to praise God in times like that. But if we can see the outcome that we'll stay close to the Father, then it'll all be worth it. Blessings to you all.
Monday, June 11, 2012
It’s been a few years ago when the Eagles released a DVD set called “The Farewell Tour.” Now, I’ve always appreciated Joe Walsh for his musical talent on the guitar. His vocals are okay but not to the standard of Don Henley or Glenn Frey. But, he can still carry his own. During the concert he “set up” a new song called, “One Day At A Time.” He basically said that the alcohol was destroying him and he had to quit. I didn’t know how this song would go over as people in the world don’t want to be preached to. But, he did the song and I thought it was okay. I’m glad Joe beat his drinking.
Back about a week ago Joe released his new solo project called, “Analog Man.” It’s typically Joe Walsh. I’ve listened to it and I admit I love the sound of it and I’ve grown accustomed to his voice after all these years. What kind of got me about the CD were a few things. He did record the studio version of the song mentioned above which I thought was good. Then, he sings a song about “Family.” He talks about his blessings; about, “giving thanks, saying grace and breaking bread.” So it sounds like Joe has come full course in his life. He says he loves living in California and the things that he’s been blessed with. It made me think though, “Did he become a believer?” But, I’m never that easily convinced. He made this statement: “At Otatara Pa in 2004 Walsh said, "This is a special place, and it is very special to me. It was here on a visit many years ago, up on the hills, that I had a moment of clarity. I don't understand it, but I reconnected with my soul, and I remembered who I used to be. I admitted I had problems and I had to do something about it. It was the beginning of my recovery from my addiction to alcohol and drugs, and when I got back to America it gave me the courage to seek help." The lines, “I reconnected with my soul” bother me. For as believers we know we are never “not” connected with our soul unless we die. Unless he just meant it in a figurative sense. And he also said “when he got back to America.” So, was he in a lotus position in India somewhere?
Then, Walsh married Marjorie Bach, sister of Barbara Bach in Los Angeles on December 13, 2008, making him a brother-in-law of Ringo Starr. Now, after doing some reading on Starr, I don’t know how much New Age Ringo actually believes in or if he’s had any effect on Joe. But Joe had enough effect of his own I’m sure. This brings me to my final points. In this day and age it seems we need to be careful what we watch and listen too. Those who know me know that I’m not a legalist. However, as Paul the apostle said, “All things all lawful for me, but all things are not helpful.” I Cor 6:12. It’s not my job to tell anyone what music to listen to. That’s between them and the Lord. I would personally only encourage someone to really seek the Lord on that matter and let the Holy Spirit do His job in our conscience.
With that said, Joe ends his CD with an instrumental track. It’s heavily percussion, drum and guitar oriented. I’d expect nothing less than that from Walsh. Now I have to admit I really like this song. But, when I listen to it, I get just a little bit of a weird vibe for two reasons. And again, I’m not a person who sees a demon behind every bush or a legalist. But the song is called, “India.” And we know largely what religions are held in India. And the actual sound of that song has that very strong “Indian” feel to it. I so much want to like it, but it takes me back a bit. Earlier I spoke of his song where he talks about giving thanks, breaking bread and saying grace. But, he ends with this song. I think you know where I am headed. Did Joe just reunite with his New Age beliefs? After all, he said, “I reconnected with my soul.” It wouldn’t surprise me if he bought into the new age beliefs once again.
I guess that’s between him and the Lord. All we can do is pray and really hope that some are truly saved and didn’t buy into a false bill of goods. Sure, I’ll listen to the CD. There’s some good material on it. I might have to leave the last song alone. But, you may listen to it and go, “Man this thing rocks” and not give it a second thought. With that, here’s the synopsis. When we look at current events in the world, it’s not hard to see which way the world is headed. The Lord warns us about things and the way we should approach our lives. We are to look at our lives and examine what we do, say and think about the matters we have with the Lord. I do hope that Joe is a believer. Again, though, he’s made no profession other than reconnecting with his soul and he quit drinking. Even in the song about the alcohol, he just sings, “I just got down on my knees and said ‘hey’.” Well who was he praying too? So, if you are so inclined, listen to the CD. If not, that’s okay too. For those that I tagged in this note, I’d sure love your comments. Especially my musician friends Joel Griffith, Kevin Johnson and Dwayne Barker. I do trust you guys and your viewpoints. May the peace of Christ be with you always.
Monday, May 7, 2012
With all that is going on in this world, especially our country, it makes one wonder "What in the world is going on?" We are facing an election and really we don't have a good candidate to vote for. We either vote for the socialist and Muslim sympathizer, or we vote for the man who ciphers money to his cult in Salt Lake City. Then we have the Muslims using our freedoms to propagate their cause. It's outrageous that they will use our freedoms to push their intolerant beliefs. For if you don't agree with them, they believe they have a right to get us out of the way. We also have Cheshire cat smiling Joel Osteen back-peddling when he is asked if he believes that Jesus is the only way to heaven. He also squirms when asked about sin. Not even Fred Astaire could do the same dance moves old Smiley does when confronted with theological issues. I'd respect Osteen a lot more if he'd come right out and say "I'm a motivational speaker who happens to believe in God." But, for those of us who really believe in the Lord, we know that we must speak the "whole" truth. Joel can fill auditoriums because he "tickles the ears" of the listeners. If he really preached the truth, maybe the building wouldn't be as full. A long time ago someone told me, "Just because a person can fill up an auditorium doesn't necessarily mean God's blessing is upon them. Preachers and teachers are held to a higher standard.
Then we have good old Vice prez Biden that believes in same sex marriage. Zero is signing executive orders out the wazoo and people just look the other way. Sure, I'm going to be called a "doomsday" person. It's quite okay. But I do know when it's all said and done, I'm on the winning side. Also there are those that go to an Osteen type of church that says we should just talk about all the good, sweet and kind things. There are those that only want the "nice" Jesus. Well, you can't dissect the Lord. You either take all of what He said and done or you take none of it. Yes, I'm glad that the Lord loved us enough to die for us. But, He is holy too. There are some believers that don't even know that he made a whip of cords and drove out the money changers from the temple and said "You won't make my Father's house a den of thieves." This is the same Jesus that also rebuked the Pharisees calling them a "brood of vipers", "snakes", and "shiny white coffins that looked good but were full of dead men's bones."
In these latter days it's no wonder people are looking for ways of escape. They down more alcohol, smoke more doobies and give in to their base desires. They truly want to "escape." I do understand it. But, the only true answer is found in giving your life over to the Lord. We are in dark days. And I can only imagine they are going to get worse. I am not mad at the scoffers. Actually I feel sorry for them. They are rejecting the only thing that can save them from being eternally lost. Paul the apostle wrote, "Today is the day of salvation, now is the accepted time." My take on all of this is simple. If I am to go through some hard times I'd much rather go through it being in God's will than being outside of it. I've been both ways. The chastening hand of the Lord isn't easy but if it draws us closer to him and we clean up our acts, we have a way through all of this. I firmly believe the heat is being turned up. I know with whatever time the Lord gives me now, that I'm about my Father's business. Yes, there's a lot going on in this world. The bottom line will be: What did we do with Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God? Jesus did say that if you weren't for Him, you were against Him. There's no middle ground. Today we have choices we can make that can affect our future. I know when he returns, I want to be found faithful. What about you?
Monday, January 16, 2012
Well, it's over. For me anyway. Football for the year is done. Man, I love Green Bay but if they played every week like they did yesterday, you'd never know they were last year's Super Bowl Champions. Maybe it was that they had a couple of weeks off without playing. But, I don't want to give them an "excuse" for losing. With all due credit to the Giants, they played an incredible game. Green Bay pretty much beat themselves. Of course, technically, the Giants beat Green Bay. But most of you get my drift.
If San Francisco takes it that would be alright. But again, it really doesn't matter to me now. I have to refocus. It's only a game. I know how on edge I got during the World Series and the Rangers went down the way they did. In two games they were one strike away from winning and blew it. I used to laugh at those that got emotionally charged at a game. Then I found myself doing it. Well, now I can relax. Green Bay is out and I really don't mind who wins it now. As the old saying goes, "there are bigger fish to fry."
Sure, sports can be an escape and that's fine. But, when you look at the news, and the state of our nation, there are bigger things to take my attention. Well, it's a Monday. The start of a new week. And...Our God is good!