Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Does Jesus Offend You?
Mark 11:15-18  -  John 6:60-67
     Did you hear about the Ohio man who got fired as the voice of Smokey Bear?  The 65 year old man who volunteered as the voice of Smokey Bear at the Ohio State Fair made a joke about grey hair to a US Senator, and before the day was over – was called into the office and fired.  Fired because he offended someone.

     This is just one example of how sensitive of a society we live in.  Can any of you remember a time when it took so little to offend so many?  We have got to be on our toes everywhere we go, lest we offend someone. 

     Those of you in the medical field, you know how careful you must be when speaking with patients, and with family members.  And those of you who are teachers, or in the education field.  Dealing with so many different students, and parents, and others in your field.  How many of you have been through ‘sensitivity training’, or some course designed to teach you how not to offend others?

     Even the church has to be very careful about offending people.  Many a policy and practice has been put in place, and training sessions conducted in order to help keep pastors and leaders from offending people.  Great pains are taken to avoid hurting someone’s feelings, or causing someone to feel uncomfortable, or causing displeasure or anger. 

     But this morning, in our Scripture readings, we see where Jesus obviously didn’t get the memo or attend those sensitivity classes.  In Mark, He is driving the moneychangers and merchandisers out of the temple.  In the John Chapter 2 it says, “He had made a whip of cords, and drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen, and poured out the changers' money and overturned the tables. And He said to those who sold doves, "Take these things away! Do not make My Father's house a house of merchandise!”

     In our reading from John 6, we read that what Jesus said offended many of His disciples, and they left Him, to follow Him no more.  “Then He said to the twelve, Do you also want to go away?”

     Throughout the Gospels, how many times did Jesus say or do something which offended the Jews, the Pharisees, the Sadducees, or the Romans?  How many times did they want to destroy or kill Him?  How many times did He say something which offended, or caused distress in someone else, like the disciples?

     The fact is, Jesus offended a lot of people.  And He still does today.  Jesus offends so many people because He came to call us to repentance from our sins and to follow Him. 

     This offends us because we do not want to admit we are sinners, that we are in need of repentance, that we don’t need to ask for forgiveness, and that we are quite able to follow our own ways. 

     To be called a sinner offends us.  It makes us feel uncomfortable.  It hurts our pride.  We don’t like being told we are sinners.  It bothers us to hear Jesus say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”  It makes us nervous and queasy, and offends us to hear Him say stuff like, “unless we repent we will likewise perish.”

     Does it offend you to hear the Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 6, remind us, “that those who do wrong will have no share in the Kingdom of God?  Don't fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, who are idol worshipers, adulterers, male prostitutes, homosexuals, thieves, greedy people, drunkards, abusers, and swindlers-none of these will have a share in the Kingdom of God.”

     How many of you watched the movie Passion of the Christ?  How did you feel during the flogging scenes when Christ was being beaten, and whipped with a cat of nine tails?  How did you feel while watching Him being nailed to the cross?  Was it a little repulsive?  Did it offend you to see that level of graphic violence?

     It did me.  I found it very hard to watch.  To see a man treated so brutally.  Especially a man who came with one purpose in mind.  To save us from ourselves and sin.  A man who came to us, to you and me, out of the purest purpose of all, love.  Because God loves us so much He sent His only Son, “that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

     God sent Jesus Christ into the world, to you and me with a message of love.  But because of our own pride, our own ego’s, we become offended when we hear the truth of who we are and where we are going – without Christ as our Lord and Savior. 

     Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through Me.”  A message of love and grace and mercy.  A message that says no matter who we are, no matter what we have done, no matter what our circumstances may be, God loves us and wants an intimate and meaningful relationship with us. 

     He wants nothing more than to see us return to Him.  To set aside the ways of this world, to set our pride aside, and to humble ourselves before Him and accept Christ as our Savior.

     It is not my intention to offend you this morning, but I am admonished to carry the message of Christ to you.  Paul reminds us in Romans 3:23 that, “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”.  And in Chapter 6 he says, “the wages of sin is death.”   But the good news is, as Paul continues, “the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

     It is my hope and prayer that you are not offended, or hurt or angered by Jesus’ wonderful message of love, and hope, and grace.  Some of you may however, be feeling a little uncomfortable, or uneasy.  You may be wrestling with the whole sin, self, Son, salvation thing.  It’s OK.  It’s a tough concept for some to grasp.  But one, when understood and accepted, changes the offensiveness - to glory, and peace, and joy.

     As Paul reminds us in Romans 5:1, “Having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”   Although Jesus may offend some, His message is about love and peace. 

     Instead of being offended, let us rejoice in the love and peace Jesus came to give us.  Hear His words in John, Chapter 14, “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”  “I am going away and coming back to you.”

     The words may, at times, be harsh, but the love is unconditional and the grace unending.  “May the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”  Amen.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

LORD, This Is The Day.....
     In 1981, country artist Don Williams released the song 'Lord, I hope This Day Is Good. It begins, 'Lord, I hope this day is good, I'm feeling empty and misunderstood, I should be thankful Lord I know I should, But Lord I hope this day is good.'
     Ever have one of those days when you feel empty and misunderstood? Ever had one of those days when nothing you do seems to go right? It begins when the alarm doesn't go off when it should. When you jump out of bed you land on a toy or other hard and sharp object causing you to do some weird version of the Chicken Dance around the bedroom until – your toe meets the corner of the dresser. After a moment of silence... (well, maybe not), you head for the bathroom only to find there is no hot water! And where is my toothbrush? (Is that the one used on the dog last night?)
     After a quick, cold shower and only two minor shaving nicks, you finally get to the kitchen for that long awaited cup of fresh coffee. As you begin pouring your coffee into the cup, you hear an awful crack, and the cup seems to explode on the counter. Can it get any worse? After you clean up the coffee and glass, you realize you're running late for work and head for the garage. Off you go down the road, only to find your gas gauge reads EMPTY! So you stop at the first Gas-N-Go you see to filler up – with only two cars ahead of you. Off you go again, well for a few blocks where you are stopped at a railroad crossing. And why isn't that stupid train moving? And there you sit, shaking your head, singing, 'Lord, I hope this day is good.....'
     About 2500 years ago a young fellow wrote a similar song about having a good day. You may recognize some of the lyrics which include, 'Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; The Lord is with me, he is my helper; The Lord is my strength and my song; The Lord is God, and he has made his light shine upon us.' Another verse you may recall goes like this, 'This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.'
     The author of this song was King David and the title of the song is Psalm 118. David wrote this song to give praise and thanks to God for being his strength and guide. In this song we see how David put his confidence in the Lord. Even through the toughest of times, David placed his faith and trust in God.
     We've all had bad days. We've had days which were far worse than what I described above. Days which begin with us feeling pretty good, a spring in our step and a song in our heart, but somewhere along the way, the day turns south. There's an accident. A bad diagnosis. A layoff. A broken relation- ship. A horrible storm or a flood. The day that began so great soon turns into a nightmare.
     How easy is it to 'rejoice' when our day has just crashed. When our world has just
been turned upside down? When every- thing we have worked so hard for is gone? I'm not sure but I think instead of singing 'Lord, I hope this day is good', or 'Let us rejoice and be glad in it', most of us would be crying out to God – Why. Rejoicing would be the last thing on our minds.
     David was not so much different. There were plenty of times when his life was in the tank and he cried out to God in despair. While being chased around the countryside by Saul, David suffered innumerable bad days, including the massacre of the entire priestly family at Nob.
     Yet, through all his difficulties, trials and times of turmoil, David trusted the Lord. He talked with God. He was honest with God. Even when he didn't feel like rejoicing, he prayed to God – he told Him how he felt. He cried out in anguish. No matter how low David felt, he talked to God and as he prayed, his prayers ended in praise.
     Christian author Max Lucado reminds us that it is those awful days when we need God the most, yet it is also when God seems the furthest away. Lucado asks
is it God who is away, or is it that we are furthest away from God?
     The Apostle Paul reminds us in Romans 8 that 'neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.'
     The Apostle tells us that nothing can separate us from the love, strength and comfort of the Lord. The Lord Jesus Christ is always with us. In Philippians 4 we are told Christ is with us in every task, as it is written, 'I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.'
     The Lord is with us in every trial and in times of weakness. In 2 Corinthians we are told, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.'
     I believe that it is when we are at our weakest point, at our most vulnerable moment, Jesus fills us with His Spirit and gives us exactly what we need to get through the moment. All we need to do is ask and trust.
     I know people who have felt the hand of God on their life. Who have felt the strength of the Lord when they were at their lowest point. To know how difficult it was to rejoice when their world came down around their shoulders.
     These are the times, when our faith is tested, we can be thankful and rejoice that we took the advice of the Psalmist who said, 'it is good for me to draw near to God; I have put my trust in the Lord God, That I may declare all Your works.'
     For us to rejoice, at any time in our lives, the good, the bad or the ugly, we must first have drawn near to God. We must first have a personal relationship with the author and finisher of our faith and strength – Jesus Christ.
     For it is in Him we can truly rejoice. In the world we will have trials and tribulations – in Christ we have peace. Peace that surpasses all understanding (Eph. 4:7). Through our peace in Christ, we can rejoice.
     Knowing that Christ is with us always, we can sing the ending of King David's song, 'You are my God, and I will praise You; You are my God, I will exalt You. Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.'
     Lord, I hope your day is good...... Pastor Eldon

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Reckless Sower

     Behold.  A farmer went out to plant some seed.  As he went along, he spread some seed on the road.  And some he spread along the rocky slopes.  And some of the seeds were spread amongst the weeds and thistles.  But there was some seed that fell on the plowed and fertile soil.

     This farmer, according to today’s methods of farm management would probably be considered pretty inefficient.  In verse 8, it says, ‘But some fell on good soil…..’  Not all of the seed, but some.  This would imply that a good portion of the seed was cast onto less than perfect conditions.  Can you just see this farmer going along just tossing out seed, willy-nilly, wherever he goes?

     Anyone who has ever tried to plant anything with the intention of producing something, grain, flowers, or hay knows there are a few rules you need to follow in order to get a good crop.  The ground has to be prepared.  You need to loosen it up a little.  Put some fertilizer down.  Control the weeds, and make sure there is enough water to keep the plants healthy.

     But this guy doesn’t seem to care about all of that.  He’s just casting his seed wherever he goes, seemingly without a care in the world.  And that’s the guy Jesus is giving kudos to.  This is the guy Jesus is bringing to the forefront of our hearts and minds…  Some careless, reckless farmer.

     Even though there is some redeeming merit for this farmer, who does get some seed on good ground, the primary focus is on the seed that fell on less than perfect ground.  And though this seed grew and yielded a crop, Jesus spends most of the parable on the other places where the seed was sown.  Places that seemed very incompatible to the growth and possibility of the seed to produce a good crop.

     We are all very well aware what happens when farmers plant their crops in good ground.  It’s pretty predictable.  The seeds sprout, and begin to grow.  With a little water, fertilizer and sunshine, the plants continue to grow, flower, pollinate and produce the desired crops.  Crops are harvested and taken to market.  A wonderful yield.  A yield, as the text tells us, of thirty fold, sixty, and even a hundred fold, if not more!

     But Jesus is not focused on the good ground and the great harvest.  He is telling us about the seed on the road, the seed in the rocky, thorny, inhospitable places where it just isn’t fit to grow.  Places where it seems like an absolute waste to even think about sowing seeds.

     He is not even telling us about being a farmer.  For the seed He is talking about, isn’t wheat, or corn, or barley, or even sunflowers.  The seed Jesus is speaking of is the Word of God.  The Word of God, that encompasses how we treat people, how we encourage them, how we comfort them, how we reach out to them with the love, and grace, and goodness of the Lord.

     The seed Jesus is speaking of, is the very seed someone sowed into our hearts not so very long ago.  Maybe it was a word.  Maybe they came by to see us during a difficult time.  Maybe they helped us out of an impossible situation.  Perhaps it was someone who was just there, listening, and caring.  Maybe it was sharing a passage of Scripture which touched our hearts at a very opportune time.  The seed is the Word of God in word and deed, or action. 
     And this sower Jesus is speaking of, the one who is so recklessly sowing seed on a road, in the rocks, and in the weeds, and in the thorns, well, that person could be any one of us here today.  For the meaning of the sower in this passage is ‘one who sows seed, or plants, or according to Vines Bible Dictionary, one who ministers.  And, Vines also tells us that to minister, is to serve.

     What are the two greatest commandments?  To love the Lord and to love your neighbor.  And how do we express love for our neighbors and one another?  Through our actions, through service to one another.  By sharing the word and love of God with each other freely and unselfishly.  For it is written in Matthew 10:8, ‘Freely you have received, freely give.’

     We are called to freely give.  To freely sow.  To freely sow the Word of God wherever we are.  Jesus talks about sowing seed on the road, on the rocks, in the weeds and thistles.  To sow seed in what looks like very unproductive areas, where nothing will ever grow or produce.

     If that was the case, then we would not have had such great Christian people as Mother Teresa, D.L. Moody, or Billy Graham.  If someone would have said they were not going to plant the seed of God in some prison cell, we would not have Charles Colson.  Let me ask this, where would you be today, if someone would have sown the seed of God into your hearts, wherever you were at the time?

     I have a pretty good idea where I would be, if someone would have said they were not going to waste their good seed on some bum like me.  But, they recklessly cast and sowed the seed of God to an alcoholic on his way to God only knows where.  I am thankful, humble and blessed that someone dared to recklessly sow God’s seed into my heart.

     I call on you here today, to be as reckless as the farmer in this parable.  To freely cast the seed of God wherever you are.  To show the love and grace and goodness of God to people of every walk of life, even to those who look like a walking thistle patch.  I call on you – to recklessly sow the Word of God in places and with people whom you may never expect to grow or produce.  Even in places which seem to be barren and dead.  Sow!

     The parable of the sower is a parable of the people of God.  We are to sow the seeds of love, freedom, justice, peace, healing, and comfort and support as freely as we have received them.  We are not responsible for the results.  That is between the receiver and the Holy Spirit.  What we are called to do – is sow.  To recklessly sow, the Word of God.

     Who knows what the harvest may be.  Who knows what may become of someone whom you sowed the Word of God into.

     In Jesus Name I pray we all be reckless sowers’ of the Word. Amen

Friday, June 10, 2011

Somewhat Confused.....

Somewhat Confused.....     
     Of the many sordid, morally bankrupt and counter Biblical resolutions and petitions presented and voted upon at the Nebraska Annual Conference of United Methodist Church, there was one resolution which did actually have some Christian merit.

     Resolution #8 was presented in an effort to "restore the name of Jesus Christ to the Mission Statement of the United Methodist Church." This was submitted because the original mission statement which reads, "The mission of the church is to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world" has been shorted by conferences to only read, "The mission of the church is to make disciples for the transformation of the world," thus removing the name of Jesus Christ.

     However, in the final paragraph of the resolution, it is resolved to amend the mission statement by removing the words 'for the transformation of the world', so that the primary focus remains "making disciples of Jesus Christ."

     I am somewhat confused because I don’t remember as to whether that last line was removed or the resolution was amended to retain it, along with restoring the name of Jesus Christ to the mission statement under an amendment.

     Unlike the many other resolutions and petitions which passed or failed by very slim margins, this resolution passed almost unanimously. To restore the line 'to make disciples of Jesus Christ (for the transformation of the world)' seemed extremely popular and welcomed.

     That being said, I must admit that I am confused. I am confused at the fact that the conference would, on one hand, vote to restore the name of Jesus Christ to their mission statement, while on the other hand, vote to diminish, distort or disavow the very Word He embodied. I am confused as to how you can say your 'foundational focus is on Christian discipleship as understood in Matthew 28', while denying the very Word of God as it pertains to certain sins and practices.

     Even though the many resolutions and petitions to amend the Book of Discipline and clergy procedures to allow GLBT pastors and the marrying of same sex couples were voted down, they were so by very slim margins. Thus, indicating that almost half of the voting members of the Annual Conference (both laity and clergy) condone or support practices which are clearly spoken against in God's Holy Word.

     When someone spoke on the floor against these resolutions/petitions and gave the Scriptural references, they were accused of 'picking and choosing certain passages to support their personal agendas'. It was also stated by those in support of these resolutions/petitions that the current liberal, progressive theology is one of 'inclusiveness, tolerance, of being nonjudgmental, and non discriminatory.' We were told 'that the Bible doesn’t really condemn these actions and that calling them a sin or abomination is a gross misinterpretation of the Word.'

     I had one pastor e-mail me and state that "Jesus never spoke directly about homosexuality. That I had a bigger problem with it than Jesus did." He went on to say that if Jesus didn’t speak directly about it, then it must be OK. Interesting logic! So if we follow this line of thought, would that mean because Jesus never spoke directly about pedophilia, drunk driving, euthanasia, pornography, or bestiality - then these must be OK too? Sorry, I don’t buy this shallow, ill-informed line of useless secular logic cloaked as theology. 

     I am confused. Confused as to how we can claim the name of Jesus Christ, but yet deny God's Word (or certain parts of it). If we are to make disciples of Jesus Christ, yet leave out or change parts of the Word He became (John 1), then which parts of Christ do we leave out or discard? In effect what we are doing by carving up and tossing out parts of the Bible as irrelevant, is to hold down Christ while we amputate a hand, or a foot, or an arm or a leg, or pluck out an eye or cut off an ear - until we have removed that which we disagree with or that which offends us.

     I am confused as to the term 'for the transformation of the world'. It seems to me that this line should be dropped all together. It should be dropped because the church, under the current liberal, progressive theology and pressure from certain groups within society is actually being transformed to the world.

     The values and principles the church has stood for, proclaimed and tried to pass on are continually under attack. And the church, by in large, has been able to fend off these attacks and hold onto the holy ground which has been its foundation since its inception. There have been changes in doctrine and methodology throughout the years, but the church has remained on solid spiritual footing for centuries.

     Today, however we see a frightening trend which is far worse than ever before. The lies, deception, and coercion of the evil one have been tuned up and turned on like never before. We see the church slowly but surely succumbing to and embracing the wiles and whims of the world at an alarming rate. The lines between right and wrong, good and bad, righteous and evil are becoming more and more blurred every day. 

     The church, in an effort not to offend anyone, to be inclusive and tolerant, and nondiscriminatory has played directly into the serpent's plan. The Word of God has become twisted, distorted, degraded and disposed of in favor of appeasing the very people it should be speaking to. 

     Today, we must accept every social group's way of living, lest we be labeled as intolerant, close-minded bigots by our peers. Instead of God's Word being the standard for society and human behavior, society and the world seem to have the prevailing ideals and criterion for the way we should live. And sadly, the church is buying into it at an alarming rate.

     I am confused. We are to make disciples of Jesus Christ, but only use certain parts. Or, at least change those we don’t like or those which may be too offensive or not fit our agendas. We are to transform the world . . . While the world steadily encroaches and infiltrates our churches and leadership until God’s Word and ways are replaced by man’s means and ways.

     I am confused. Confused as to where the church is. Where are those men and women who believe in the Bible, who believe it to be the inspired, infallible Word of God and who are willing to stand up for the truth? Where are those disciples and ministers of Jesus Christ who have what it takes to honor God rather than merely appease man?

     Yes, I’m somewhat confused because I thought we were to place God first in our lives, to seek first the Kingdom of God, to be called to a higher standard, and not be given to the world and the capricious, depraved desires of man.

     I am confused because it would seem that the church wants it both ways. We need to appease man to boost attendance, gain members, and increase revenue, while holding on to a modified version of Christianity which is 'inoffensive and more user friendly', in hopes of pleasing God. Yep, I’m confused . . .   And perhaps, God is too!

 Eldon Fablinger

Friday, May 27, 2011

A Real Call To Action

Dear Fellow Christian,

     As you may be aware, in a few days (June 3) the Nebraska Conference of the United Methodist Church will be voting on resolutions and petitions to allow the ordination, certification and appointment of GLBT (gay, lesbian, bisexual, & transvestite) pastors, and to allow the other clergy to marry same sex couples.  They will also be voting to change the current Book of Disciple to support their position.

     They are also voting on a resolution to ‘encourage churches to study the UMC’s stance on abortion relative to the position of the pro-abortion group, Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice group’ (RCRC).  I thought the UMC already had a position on abortion outlined in the Book of Discipline, which followed the teachings of the Bible.  Are we now to look toward a so called religious group who supports abortion and contradicts the very foundation of what has faithfully guided us – instead of what we know to be true?

     I personally find these resolutions and petitions to be offensive and a violation of the sound Biblical teachings of John Wesley and by which the United Methodist Church has stood for since its inception.  They are in direct violation of God’s Holy Word!  I do not care how they are justified by twisting, turning and molesting Scripture to fit the agendas of those who reject the solid principles of the Holy Bible.

     These petitions and resolutions, along with other ‘inclusive’ elements of the church such as Inclusive Language, reflect a serious and devastating problem facing the church today.  This is the societal encroachment into the church and the progressive deterioration of the authority and truth of God’s Word, and the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  As other denominations fall to the wiles and demands of society, we need to ask ourselves if we want to be the next denomination which succumbs to and embraces the lies and deceit of the evil one.

     I urge you to let the leadership of the Nebraska Conference know how you feel about these pending issues.  Though we may not be able to vote at Annual Conference, we must let them know how we, the grass root, giving members of the local churches feel.

     To send your thoughts and concerns to the Nebraska Conference of the United Methodist Church, please use the below addresses.  The use of e-mail will ensure your voice is heard before the vote.
Nebraska United Methodist Conference
3333 Landmark Circle
Lincoln, NE 68504

     Blessings to you in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  May the truth of God’s word guide and strengthen you.
     Thank you for being a God fearing, Bible believing, Jesus loving, Spirit led Christian. Amen.

Friday, May 13, 2011

A Time of Change???

Dear All in Christ,

     I just received my Nebraska Annual Conference Resource Book for our upcoming Annual Conference, June 1 – 4 in Lincoln, NE.

     As I read through the booklet, I stopped at page 43 and began taking a close look at the Resolutions and Petitions to be voted on in Lincoln.

     On one hand, I was very surprised.  On the other, this came as no surprise given the ‘progressive theology’ we are fed at St. Paul School of Theology.  I was surprised because I actually though the Nebraska Conference of the United Methodist Church held to solid Biblical truths and beliefs.  Not surprised because of the secular influence society has had on the church in general.

     Because of the vocal minority and the push of many sub-culture groups, the church has obviously taken the position to pacify these secular entities by changing the language used to specify or identify God, and to alter the meaning of Scripture so as to not ‘offend’ anyone.

     Under the ‘Inclusive Language’ banner, we can no longer address God as Father, Heavenly Father, Lord of Lords, or King of Kings.  We can no longer refer to the Bible as ‘His Word’, or say ‘He said’, or use any other masculine identifier to indicate God – even though that’s the way it is written in the Holy Bible.  This offends too many people.  Who cares if it offends God?

      To further indicate how society has encroached and distorted the church, we are voting on a Resolution which in part reads, ‘Therefore be it resolved that each church be encouraged to study the United Methodist Church’s stand on abortion relative to the position of RCRC (Religious Coalition for Reproduction).

     The RCRC is in fact a pro-abortion organization.  Their Mission Statement reads (in part), RCRC was founded in 1973 to safeguard the newly won constitutional right to abortion.'

     We are being ‘encouraged’ to study the issue of abortion ‘relative to their position’, as opposed to the traditional Methodist or Christian view, or from a Biblical perspective.  Like the RCRC has now become the leading authority on the abortion issue.  Basically, we are being asked to follow their leading on abortion, instead of following what God has to say about it.

     The other issue up for voting at Annual Conference is covered in Resolution #1 and Petitions 1 through 4, and is summarized in the third and second to last paragraph of Resolution #1 which read,  
    ‘Be it further resolved, we call upon the United Methodist Church to acknowledge that the most important foundation of any relationship, including marriage, is love, fidelity and commitment shared mutually between two consenting adults, regardless of their race, gender or sexuality. 
     Be it further resolved, we call upon the United Methodist Church to allow the ordination of gay and lesbian clergy and allow clergy to perform the Rite of Christian Marriage for homosexual couples.’

      So now we have gone from supporting wholesome, Biblical marriages between male and female as outlined in Genesis (and other Scripture), to supporting love, fidelity and commitment shared mutually between two consenting adults, regardless of their race, gender or sexuality, including marriage.  As I read this, it not only supports homosexual unions/marriages, but it also supports folks just living together (love, fidelity and commitment shared mutually between two consenting adults).

     Along with this abhorrent attempt to destroy the sanctity of marriage, we are to vote on allowing homosexual clergy and to right for clergy to perform homosexual marriages.  I must not understand Leviticus 18:22, 20:13, or Deuteronomy 23:18, 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 or Romans 1:26-27. 

     But wait, our instructor at St. Paul School of Theology, Dr. James Darby, said this is not what homosexuality was about.  According to Dr. Darby, ‘the homosexuality mentioned in the Bible was NOT the same as we know it today.’  Another classic case of convoluted interpretation and theology designed to pacify society.

     I guess I must not understand 1 Tim 3:1-15 either.  This is a guideline for service in the church.  In its context here we can be quite certain that the phrase means that the Christian leader must be a loyal husband, preserving marriage in all its purity and sanctity.  Like husband and wife!  Perhaps I missed that part.

     It would seem to me that if this were to pass, and we were to follow the logic which is being used to push this through, then it would only stand to reason that even a cross-dresser or transgender, or a ‘self-avowed practicing’ pedophile could be a pastor in the United Methodist Church.

    Time and time and time again we see how the church is allowing society to dictate how we interpret the Bible and how we present the Gospel and how we are to conduct the business of the church.  Seems the Bible nor the church have the right to set any standards, morality or ethics – everything is now dictated by society and every little sub-group who is offended or who doesn’t like what the Bible or God says.

     Remember Exodus 32:1-6?  That's exactly where we (the UMC) are now.  While Jesus is away, the people (society) have come to the church for/with their little gods.  And they have offered the church their tokens of golden earrings...and the church has gladly received their offerings and filled their requests for new gods.

    Also reminds me of the church in Pergamos, Revelation 2:12-14!   From my International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - 'Balaam is the type of a teacher of the church who attempts to advance the cause of God by advocating an unholy alliance with the ungodly and worldly, and so conforming the life of the church to the spirit of the flesh.'

     The next time I hear one of our so called leaders complain that attendance and membership is dropping off, I'm going to tell them exactly why.  Because the church is not following sound Biblical teaching, but rather following the current winds of society.  I will tell them we are now the Church of Balaam and God fearing, Bible believing Christians do not appreciate this detestable shift from solid teaching and theology.  It offends those of us who love and honor the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  It offends those of us who believe in His word and try to live it and share it.  It offends us who worship our Heavenly Father and base our faith on His word, and the life, death and resurrection of Christ Jesus, and not the whims and ways of the world.

    It offends us that the United Methodist Church has decided to cater and coddle to the direction and demands of a corrupt society, while espousing the lies and deceit of the evil one.  It offends us that the United Methodist Church has sold out, has sold it’s soul, to appease and pacify the spirit of the flesh.

    Is this how you were brought up?  Is this how you want your children brought up?  Are you OK with society dictating how the church does its job?  Are you OK with society forcing these types, and other changes to your core belief system?  Is this how we as God fearing, Bible believing, Spirit led children of the Most High wish to see the direction of the church go?

    It’s up to YOU!  We cannot just sit passively by and watch the church self destruct.  If we do, it’s our own fault for not becoming involved or letting our voices be heard.  You only have two choices – to sit idly by, ignore the situation, hope it goes away or see the church and the faith destroyed; or you can take a stand for God and for good, and let your voices be heard.

    In Matthew 12:30, Jesus reminds us of this eternal truth – ‘He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters abroad.’

     I'll close with these final words from Joshua 24:14-16, 'Now therefore, fear the Lord, serve Him in sincerity and in truth, and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the River and in Egypt. Serve the Lord!  "And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.''   So the people answered and said: "Far be it from us that we should forsake the Lord to serve other gods.....'

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

HOLY BIBLE or Holey Bible

            How would you feel if I came to your house and took your favorite Bible and thumbed through it, found a passage I didn’t like or it offended me – and simply tore that page our of your Bible?  I continue thumbing through your Bible and find another passage I don’t like, and, again rip it out and toss it into the trash.
          How about if I came to your church and thumbed through the nice, beautiful Bible in the sanctuary or on the Altar, found a passage that offended me and I proceeded to tear it our of that Bible?  Oh look, here’s another passage I don’t like, so I’m tearing it out and tossing it into the trash can too!  I continue this until that wonderful Bible of yours is all but ripped to shreds!  The pages of God’s Holy Word laying in a heap on the floor or in the trash can.  How would you feel?
          Odds are, you would probably not be very happy.  After the first couple of pages being viciously ripped out and callously tossed onto the floor, you’d most likely be getting quite concerned, if not a little hostile.  I have a strong suspicion that you would be getting a little hot under the collar and ready to tell me just what you thought about me tearing your Bible to shreds.
          You may question my actions with ‘Hey, what do think you’re doing’?  ‘Get away from my Bible!’  You may even say ‘What kind of kook are you, get out of my house!’  If it was in your church, how would you respond?  Personally, if it were me, I’d demand an explanation, and then toss the creep out on his ear.   I’d even consider filing criminal charges against him for destruction of private property.  Oh yea, I’d have to hold myself back from giving this character a severe attitude adjustment!
          Well guess what my friends, that’s exactly what’s happening in America today!  There are people thumbing through the Bible to find things they don’t like, or don’t agree with and having them removed or altered in order to suit their wants and whims.  There are people who claim to be ‘offended’ by the Word of God and are on a major campaign to have the Holy Bible changed to conform to their agendas and way of thinking and acting.
          We are seeing more and more groups within the society attacking the Bible and doing everything they can to rip every page out of it they don’t agree with.  The whole premise is to make the Bible conform to a society which is self-centered and wants nothing more than their way.
          Take the so called ‘Inclusive Language’ for example.  Under the inclusive language guidelines which are now being supported and pushed by many mainstream churches, including the United Methodist Church, we are not supposed to address God as Father, Heavenly Father, or use any form of male gender (as in He, Him, His, etc.) when referring to God.  To do so is to offend people and not be inclusive.  To do so is to be called close-minded, intolerant bigots.
          Even one popular Methodist seminary in Kansas City, MO has threatened to lower the grades of students who do not use inclusive language in their presentations or papers.  When a student protested this absurd rule, the instructor stated in class that he was ‘so sorry the pastor and the congregation were so close-minded and intolerant!’
          The theology coming from this and other seminaries is what has been called ‘Progressive Theology’.  A theology that alleviates personal responsibility and accountability while softening the commands of the Lord and definition of sin.  A theology which reduces the judgment of God to nothing more than ‘discernment of how you used your gifts on earth’.  A theology which allows itself to be altered and molded to fit the prevailing society or subculture instead of being the primary guide for society and the proper conduct of such.
          The fundamental Christian values and standards we grew up with are now being called archaic and obsolete.  They claim the language used in the ‘original texts’ does not mean what we have been taught it means.
          For example, the term homosexuality and to refer to homosexuality as an abomination is disputed and they claim the meaning isn’t the same now as it was ‘in the original texts’.  According to our instructor at the seminary, ‘the homosexual act the Apostle Paul referred to was not that at all.  It was when a rich Roman had a young boy under his domain who would do ‘special favors’ for him.’  ‘What Paul was actually against was the slavery of the young boy by his master.’  That was the definition of homosexuality and what Paul was against the instructor gave us.  He absolutely denied that the Bible or God spoke against homosexuality.
          I’m not trying to bash any group or sub-culture here.  I am stating what was said by our instructor.  This is a typical abstraction of the truth and solid morals and values taught in the Holy Bible promoted by this seminary, and others.  This is but one example of how they twist and turn the Holy Scriptures to accommodate and conform to their ways and agendas.  This is society telling us how to interpret the Bible and dictating to us how we present God’s Word and the Gospel of Christ.
          And if you openly disagree with them, try to discuss a different view or, heaven forbid, take a firm stand against this type of nonsense, they will do what ever they need to ensure their agenda and theology is prominent and promoted.  They will intimidate you, threaten you, try do discredit you, or use what ever ‘leverage’ they have to silence you.  To include reducing your grades at school, badgering you in meetings, shunning you, giving you lesser appointments, and even subtly threatening to pull your credentials. 
          In my humble opinion, this is the same as someone coming to your house or your church and tearing the pages out of your Bible they don’t like or don’t agree with or that ‘offend’ them.  This is nothing more that forcing their theology and values upon us who have a more traditional theology and belief system.
          How does it feel to have someone come into your house and desecrate your Holy Bible?  How does it feel to have someone come into the church you have attended since you were a child, and tear the Altar Bible to shreds right before your eyes, and tell you what you believe isn’t right?  To tell you because how you believe, you are close-minded, intolerant, and don’t know the truth?  How do you feel when someone tells you it’s your fault there is so much violence and poverty in third world countries?  It’s your fault there are so many people crossing our southern borders?  It’s all YOUR fault!
          That’s exactly what’s happening.  That is what is being taught, preached and promoted by the certain mainstream churches.  They are taking the Holy Bible and making it nothing more that a Holey Bible – stripped of God’s authority, position, and sovereignty.   Stripped of values, morals, and codes of conduct.  Pages savagely ripped out and tossed aside like so much trash.
        Is this what you want as a God fearing, Jesus loving, Spirit filled Christian?  Do you honestly think our Heavenly Father, in all His glory and wisdom appreciates these subculture groups raping His Word for their our purposes?  Changing His Word to suit their selfish desires?
            Which do you want  - - -
a HOLY BIBLE, or a Holey Bible?