Friday, May 18, 2012

Todd Friel - What Theology Is This?

Ladies and gentlemen, please do not get your theology from the view. It could be hazardous to your health. The blind leading the blind comes to mind.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

How Do You Know This is True

We had a great day at CBMC on Wednesday morning.  To rewind a bit, on Tuesday we had the TampaBay Leadership Prayer Breakfast.  During the breakfast we heard from Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn whose brief remarks were powerful.  It seemed like Mayor Buckhorn was ready to preach.  I was impressed when he suggested changing the name of the event to the Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast, which was the name that was used from the first event in 1971 and throughout the years.

Next, we heard from the guest speaker Wally Armstrong.  He told some great golf stories.  He noted that before he became a pro-golfer he spent time as a caddie until he was fired for an oversight in leaving overripe bananas in Gary Player’s golf bag – yuck.  He made a few references to his book, the Mulligan, told several other stories and then went into a nice Gospel presentation.  I am not sure of the numbers, but I would say there was between 650-700 attendees at the event.

Since Wally was the speaker for the TB Leadership …..errr, Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast, we have been doing the Mulligan Bible Study.  This morning’s discussion focused on God’s promises contained in Romans 8:31-39.  Those promises include, 1) God is for us; 2) God gives us his Son to die in our place; 3) God graciously gives us all things; 4) God finds us justified; 5) Christ intercedes for us; 6) God makes us more than conquerors; and 7) nothing can separate us from God’s love. 

Now comes the good part.  Besides our usual group of five believers, we also had a visitor.  Earlier in the morning he indicated that he did not attend church.  We also learned that he is suffering from a back injury after falling out of a tree stand while deer hunting.  Because of that injury, he can no longer work.  To date, Social Security has turned him down 18 times.  That is incredible.

As our regular group was discussing the scripture, our visitor, Tim asked to speak up.  He wanted to know how did we know whether any of this was real.  He noted that he recently began reading the Bible, from the Old Testament and it seemed to him that God was mean.  Before I could open my mouth, others in the group started talking to him.  One friend indicated that at one time he was asking the same questions.  Tim then asked does a person who go to church automatically go to Heaven.  Then asked about Hell.  Essentially he asked all the classic apologetic questions. 

After overloading Tim with more information than he probably needed to hear, we pointed one thing out to him.  Read the Gospel of John.  Grab a notebook and make a list of questions.  He really came across more so as an agnostic than an atheist.  We are praying that God will reveal his word to Tim.  Many prayers for him as he goes through the next week and I am looking forward to seeing him next Wednesday to see if he is ready to receive the Gospel.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Tony Evans on CNN Talking About Marriage

Over the last few days, Dr. Tony Evans was invited on a few programs to comment on President Obama's recent announcement on gay marriage.  Tony provided the best response that I have heard anywhere regarding the announcement.  Despite the efforts of the interviewers to make things political or to focus on popular opinion, Tony kept things biblical. Tony did not bash the opposing view.  He clearly communicated the biblical worldview.  Excellent job, Tony.

Check out Tony's appearance here: Tony Evans on CNN

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

He Was Rich, He Was Young, He Was a Ruler

Tuesday’s CBC devotional focused on the story of the “Rich Young Ruler,” in Luke 18:18-27.  I have to thank Pastor Brian Jones at the Sunday Night Remix Church, who preached on this passage this past Sunday. I borrowed heavily from Brian's message to put the story together.

The story of the “Rich Young Ruler” tells us about a man who has everything.  There are three things to know about the Rich Young Ruler.  He was rich.  He was young.  He was a ruler.  That may be an oversimplification, but those are the three things to remember about the Rich Young Ruler.  By modern day standards, he would be a good candidate for “Who Wants to Marry a Millionaire” or “the Bachelor.”  He had cash and he was influential in the religious community.

Yet, the Rich Young Ruler knew that something was missing.  He was familiar with Jesus’ reputation or knew something about Jesus.  So, he turns to Jesus and says “good teacher, what must I do to earn eternal life.”  Despite having all this stuff, he turned to Jesus for answers to why he is here.

Jesus catches him off guard by saying, why do you call me good.  Then, Jesus tells him that he needs to follow the commandments, highlighting five of the ten.  The Rich Young Ruler wanted to justify himself by claiming that he kept those five commandments.  In other words, he lied because no one could even keep one of those commandments, much less all five of them.

At that point, Jesus speaks to one thing that has a hold on the Rich Young Ruler, his wealth.  Jesus tells him to sell everything he has and give it to the poor. He adds after doing this, the Rich Young Ruler can follow him.

The response highlights why this is one of the saddest stories in the Bible.  The Rich Young Ruler, had no further questions for Jesus.  He did not say, I am going to have a yard sale, where can I meet you.  Rather, he went away sad.  He did this because he could not imagine himself parting with all of his wealth.

This was not a failure on Jesus part.  Jesus spoke to the greatest sin in this man’s life and he although Jesus held the key to eternal life, this man was not willing to part with his things.  He allowed his stuff to come between him and Jesus.  His inability to part with this stuff, makes this one of the saddest stories in the Bible.

In a way, we also have stuff in our lives that may prevent us from being totally committed to Jesus. We have stuff that keep us from being “sold out” to the one who died for us.  We really need to let that stuff go and truly commit our lives to following him.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Today is the National Day of Reason

While many believers are celebrating the National Day of Prayer, others are celebrating an event called the National Day of Reason.  The groups advancing this celebrations are atheists, agnostics, secularists, humanists and free thinkers.

Some may be annoyed that this group would dare celebrate the National Day of Reason on the same day as the National Day of Prayer.  As for me, I think it is a great idea.  More power to you humanists, etc., et al.  To those celebrating the National Day of Reason, I would say, “come let us reason together.” 

You see it is good for us to reason together on the National Day of Reason.  I would follow that, with:

For this reason [because again, we are reasoning together] I kneel before the Father, from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge —that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

Today is the National Day of Prayer

Today is the National Day of Prayer.  Throughout the country there will be (or there are) many gatherings where groups will be prayer for their towns, communities, cities, as well as this country.  No doubt attendees will hear citation to 2 Chronicles 7:14.  That verse reads,

[I]f my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

Of course in this verse, the Lord is addressing the children of Israel.  Many, however, are not aware of the context for this verse.  This verse was presented as the writer, inspired by the Holy Spirit (see 2 Tim. 3:16) was describing the events surrounding the dedication of the Temple in Jerusalem.  This popular verse talks about God’s promises for blessings.  What is often missed are the warnings contained a few verses later:

But if you turn away and forsake the decrees and commands I have given you and go off to serve other gods and worship them, then I will uproot Israel from my land, which I have given them, and will reject this temple I have consecrated for my Name. I will make it a byword and an object of ridicule among all peoples.

2 Chronicles 7:19-20. Thus, where there are blessings, there are also warnings.  Both for the children of Israel and for us today, we must avoid the idolatry present in our lives.  This was a huge problem for the children of Israel, resulting in their captivity.  If God is consistent, I wonder what will happen if we fail to deal with the idolatry in our lives today.  May we honor the words of 2 Chron. 7:14 by humbling ourselves, seeking the Lord’s face and turning from our wicked ways.  Perhaps it is not too late for the Lord to hear from heaven, forgive us of our sins, and agree to heal our land.