Wednesday, April 06, 2016

Protecting Freedom of Conscience

Well, here we go again! Mississippi has made the news! The link I am sending you to compiles many news sources (at first glance, all from the leftist, liberal perspective) for you to choose from. Why, even our most prominent local television station has gotten into the leftist camp. The news reported said that residents reacted to the new law protecting freedom of conscience. Then the report they showed was an interview with one--that's UNO. EIN. E (for you Chinese speaking folks)--person of the clergy. And that one person of the clergy? You guessed it! She is a Lesbian "Pastor." Fair and balanced you are not, WDAM!

Now, I'm less interested in the content of the bill at this point, as I am in the motive behind it. The title of the bill indicates that motive, which is to protect freedom of conscience. We seemed to have lost that in this nation. It seems that we are not allowed to have an opposing opinion from that of the most current popular trend. Whether it is the former Occupy Wall Street movement, or the LGBTQ Campaign for Human Rights (Doesn't that title sound so noble?), or Black Lives Matter (which is, in fact, organized by the LGBTQ movement); or even the Stop Trump Movement, if you disagree with the tenets of the faith of those groups and others, you are a bigot, out of touch with reality, and a pariah in the world, worthy of extermination. 

For me, it is a sad time in our journey. We have reached that place where activist groups now demand that we submit to their perceived truth. Even a group of "Dummycrat" Attorneys Generals have stated they will punish anyone who publishes statements against the theory of climate change. May I ask the obvious? WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO FREEDOM OF CONSCIENCE???

The extremism of the left has pushed those of us who believe that the Bill of Rights are there for a reason to the point we have to protect ourselves from their legal punishment.  To be sure, these angry men and women won't be content to accept the laws. They will punish Mississippi. They will call for boycotts. They will beg Hollywood, the casinos, and big business to pull out and leave us to wallow in our poverty.

Well, there is a price to be paid for protecting our freedoms. Ask the fathers of the American Revolution. Read some history. Learn that some sacrifices are necessary for the sake of the human conscience. If we must suffer an economic downturn for a time, then so be it. As for me, I salute the bravery of Governor Phil Bryant, and the men and women of the Mississippi Congress.

To any LGBTQ who may read this: I respect your right to your opinion. I don't agree with you and your chosen lifestyle. But I respect your rights. I don't want to jail you. I don't want to punish you by refusing to shop where you shop. I only ask you respect my rights. If you did, then laws like HB 1523 in Mississippi would not be necessary.

And that's my line for the day.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

What a Difference a Day Makes!

On the Saturday before Resurrection Sunday, men hid in fear. Ladies wept in deep grief. Religious leaders laid down that evening with a feeling of relief. I imagine Peter walked as far as Sabbath law permitted, beating himself up for having denied Christ. Thomas was angry; even bitter. Disbelief and denial that Jesus was really dead ransacked the minds of Jesus' disciples. That was Saturday.

Then came Sunday. Then came the crack of dawn. A contingent of brave ladies found an empty tomb. The Savior found Mary Magdalene. Mary found the disciples. The disciples found resurrection life in Jesus Christ. That was Resurrection Day. What a difference a day makes!

When was your Resurrection Day? When did that one day make a difference for you? If you claim to know Christ, you should have an idea about that. The Bible teaches in Romans 6:4 that we had a resurrection day. Before that day, you walked in slavery to your sin nature. You walked in the devil's chains. You walked in death, powerless to do anything but follow the ways of this world. But then comes Resurrection Day, the day you meet Jesus. And now you walk in life. You walk in the Spirit. You walk in freedom.

If you can't point to a resurrection day in your life, let me help you. Write me at info@38thavenuebaptist.org and I will share with you the greatest news I can share!

Jesus is most certainly the Risen Lord!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Have You Found Your Way, Yet?

In 1989, while we were still in transition in Lima, the mission board gave us a Nissan, double-cab pickup for our family, and pointed us south to the city of Arequipa. They gave us general directions to the Pan American Highway and said, “Follow the signs.” Lima was in chaos in those days. Thanks to terrorism, most lights were out at the major intersections. You had to drive with two sets of eyes. As hard as that was, that was the easy part. We knew at the other end of that long, two-day drive, we had a home. Figuring out how to get to that home is another story. Our truck was loaded to the top of the camper shell on our new truck. And off we drove, headed to our new place of ministry.


On the second day we made it to Arequipa. We had visited the city. We had visited the house that would be our home. But we rode in taxis and we had only been from downtown to the street we lived on. We were acquainted with the city and the general way to our house; but we did not know it. It was only general information for us. There was no such thing as a Garmin. No such thing as access to GPS. No such thing as a cell phone. You just drove, stopped, and asked. People pointed in a general direction and you drove, only to have to stop and ask again. We got there finally. But someone had to show us the way.

Sometimes, in our rush to live life, we assume we will find our way. It's human nature for many of us, after all, to be independent and figure things out for ourselves. But there are some things you simply can't figure out for yourself. You need someone to show you the way. When it comes to eternal life, God has taken care of that.

First, God expects those who understand the way to tell others about the way. And why wouldn't we want to do that? Think about it. You know the way to the greatest place and the greatest person; why wouldn't you want to show others that way?

Second, God sent the Holy Spirit to show you (us) the way. It's not enough that I tell you. The Holy Spirit is the one who does the convincing and teaching about the way. He is even the one who makes you want to find the way. He is the one who illuminates your heart so that you can see the way. He is the "GPS" we didn't have when we went to Arequipa. 

Third, if you want to be in that place of eternal rest and joy, and in the presence of the King of kings and Lord of lords, then God expects you to take the one way he has provided. The Lord may point out the way, but you have to choose to travel down that way. 

By the way, if you are looking for eternal life, Jesus is the way. There is no other way. 
Jesus is the Truth. He has answers some of you are looking for. Jesus is the life. You want to be satisfied? You will find the most satisfying life in Christ Jesus.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

The Virginia Murders: A Perspective

If you saw or read yesterday's reports about the cold-blooded killing of two Virginia television reporters (the reporter and her cameraman), you may have been stunned, sickened, and likely angry. There is quite a bit about it that still sickens me. I think it is sick that the media concentrated their reporting time on this, largely ignoring the rest of the nation and world. How many of you were aware that yet another Louisiana patrolman was murdered yesterday? A largely unreported story about Boko Haram crossed some news wires 3 days ago; how many of you heard about that one? What's my point? My point is that when it was a journalist who died, it was suddenly "breaking news."

Here's a news flash: all lives matter! The nearly 60 million aborted lives matter. The black on black, white on white--whatever the racial background or combination thereof--murders should alarm us. But it seems to me that they don't matter until the media tell us they matter. It's almost as though they get to do the thinking for us.

The fact that too many want to escalate this issue and create unrest through it also matters. Prejudice is a multi-lane highway, folks. It runs several different ways. And it is repugnant in its many forms.

At the same time, under-reporting and misreporting the facts behind the heinous crime that took place matters. Did political correctness drive some of the declarations and stories? Without a doubt! After all, the media get to do our thinking for us...; and the agenda of many of them is not kind to conservatives. So when I linked a story from a largely conservative site that revealed the background story of the murderer, I took a little heat from it. Oh, well; that's the price for thinking for myself, I guess.

Now that I have ranted about the junk surrounding this despicable act of violence, one that broke my heart to hear and see on video reports, let me get to the bottom line. The bottom line is this: we witnessed the tragedy of a life darkened by sin. The sun set on this man's thinking. He was given over to a mind filled with all kinds of horrid and unspeakable thoughts. When a nation forgets God, this is what happens. Unless we Christ-followers repent and unless God Almighty sends revival to the church, I fear we will see even more of the same. After all, we are the salt and light of the world. Unsavory salt is worthless. Stained and dirty lamp shades don't let out much light. And the nation won't seek God until the church leads the way.

That's my perspective, for what it's worth.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Lessons from Ashley

There are a lot of newsworthy stories out there, so much so that writing about something like this seems to be very unnecessary and insignificant. In some ways, that would be true. I want to help us focus, however, on the truth that we can learn from the dreadful (to many) Ashley Madison Scandal. If you live in a vacuum, or are just coming back from a coma, or maybe lived in the jungles of a remote part of the world, follow the link above; they will summarize what happened for you.

Millions of men and women are cowering in a corner right now. They tremble with fear that they will be found out by their significant other. Or maybe they are single and looking for a man or woman out for a "cheat" thrill; but now they tremble as well.

Who is on the list? In short, people from virtually every walk of life. I can't find it now, but one Imam (a Muslim leader) insisted he never put his name out there. I'm not saying he did; I am only demonstrating they are from every walk of life.

What can we learn from this, as we read and hear about this person and that person being outed? What can we learn when place by place, country, state, and city, names are splashed all over the internet for others to see? One place will tell you not to look at the list; let it be. Another tells you to go ahead and take a look; you may find that special loved one's fidelity is in words only. What to do with all that conflicting counsel?

Here is the lesson I draw from Ashley:

As men and women, married and single cringe in fear that their secret is out of the bag, their greater fear is yet to come--unless they repent and believe the gospel. Rev. 20:11, 12 reveal a day when all the earth will try to hide from the Lord God, who will judge all men.  Verse 15 in the same book promises that those whose names are not found in the book of life will be cast into the lake of fire; eternally separated from God. Eternally punished for their sins, both public and secret.

Second, I am reminded of what Jesus said in Luke 13:1-5. Instead of a direct quote, let me paraphrase it for you. There were millions whose identities were divulged from a website designed for adulterers, and whose lives were ruined by their foolish choice. Do you think you are more righteous than they? I tell you, no; unless you also repent you will perish, too. 

Finally, I am reminded that forgiveness is available to all who will turn to Jesus Christ. I am so grateful that Jesus paid for my sin; not just mine, but the sins of the whole world. Anyone who will come to Jesus will find him ready to pardon and cleanse from the pollution, stench, and stain of sin. I suspect a lot of men and women are scrambling to find a good lawyer. Let me recommend the best lawyer of all. His name is Jesus. Come to him and let him plead your case before the Father in heaven.

And that is what I can take away from Ashley Madison.

Friday, June 26, 2015

SCOTUS, Thy Name is Treason and a Millstone Awaits Thee

Our hearts were crushed today. We had held out hope against hope that some modicum of wisdom still prevailed in the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS). They ably demonstrated, however, that their minds and hearts have been darkened by the god of this world, the prince of the power of the air. No man or woman with common sense can possibly look at any body of thought and conclude that marriage must be redefined. But one who follows the twisted, dark, ungodly logic of the prince of the power of the air will most certainly swim in the cesspool of perversion of thought that 5 justices chose to swim in.

At great risk and personal peril, in a time when 1st Amendment rights have been sorely erode and expunged from society, I say that at least 5 of our SCOTUS justices will face the fierce, unrelenting wrath of God, unless they repent and confess Jesus Christ as Lord. I do not say this with vitriol. I speak it with a broken heart. The Holy Spirit who lives within me is grieved. As a consequence, I am grieved, albeit not to the extent He is.

That being said, I issue a warning straight from Jesus' mouth: 1He said to His disciples, "It is inevitable that stumbling blocks come, but woe to him through whom they come! 2"It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea, than that he would cause one of these little ones to stumble.

Dishonorable Justices, you have caused many to stumble today. I admonish you to repent. Repent or perish.