Sunday, September 18, 2011


The Greek word ekklēsía means "called out." In Scripture it is translated church, assembly or congregation.

God is calling us out of the world. Not just the ultimate of when we go to heaven but in our everyday lives.

So why is there such a movement to look, sound and act like the world? Do we show how "relevant" we are in this way?

Will the world flock to our church if the pastor is hip and the music sounds like what they are currently listening to?

Will the right facial hair and pair of glasses show we are cool? Do we need that certain pair of pants, shirt and "the look" to attract people to Jesus?

And what about things like TV, movies and music? Are we consuming the same things people of the world do, things that influence us in an ungodly way?

God is calling and he is calling us out. Seek to be like Jesus; imitate him and not some pagan celebrity, sports figure or rock star. Find out what it means to be an individual created in the image of God. When you succeed, know that you will be very unfashionable. The world may even hate you. But that's okay; Jesus has gone before us and many other godly witnesses too.

A sick and desperate world isn't looking for more of the same. The world will try to squeeze you into its mold but the people of the world are looking for Christians secure enough to live truth even when it's unpopular and costs a lot. They are looking for leaders and not lemmings.


Saturday, September 17, 2011

Pat Robertson and the Popularity of Divorce

Pat Robertson has brought evangelical thought on divorce to the forefront. If you are not aware of his latest dumb thoughts you can find the story here.

He basically said that it would be okay to divorce a spouse with Alzheimer's because they are essentially dead. I agree that Pat was way off on this one; nothing new for him.

Here is my thought on this. You would have a hard time finding an evangelical church anymore that hasn't flaked out on divorce. Some people would even contend that the divorce rate in the church is higher than outside.

In the church, people are divorcing like it's a change of clothes. Of course they act all serious like they have some grave situation but it gets down to being tired of living with a sinner and forgetting they are one too.

Jesus was so strict about divorce that the disciples, in astonishment said that maybe it is better not to get married. Adultery was the only allowable reason.

Today in our churches, people parade around as saints after divorcing a spouse, receiving much affirmation from their so-called friends. They can't point to adultery as the reason but have a litany of other "justifiable" reasons for their action. Many are the same lame reasons Jesus had in mind when he raised the bar that had fallen low.

The Bible is very clear on allowable divorce - shockingly so. It's also clear that if someone remarries after an "unbiblical" divorce they are committing adultery.

I think one big problem with the whole thing is that many Christian people are ignorant of basic biblical teaching and let the world shape their thoughts. Many pastors also wimp out on teaching the hard truths about divorce and remarriage because they fear the wrath of certain people. This combination leads to the landslide of divorce we now see.

So if we are going to shake our head about Pat Robertson then we may need to look a little closer at ourselves. We are not far behind him.


Monday, September 5, 2011

Why I Write

As a child I had the need to put words on paper. I remember the small printing press in the toy catalog. I wanted it so bad. It never became mine.

I remember taking a stack of small notebooks my dad brought home from work and filling them with words and pictures. I then put them in our neighbor's mailboxes.

One time I bought set of alphabet rubber stamps. It was tedious but I could put my words on paper in what seemed like professional output.

I loved using my mom's manual typewriter. Erasable bond paper made it possible to fix the mistakes which were many and what a miracle the invention of correction paper was.

Years later, in my early twenties, a ministry I was involved with bought an offset printing press. I became the operator and was able to print whatever I wanted. It was the adult version of the toy printing press I desired but never had.

It's not just words that I put on paper but it’s my thoughts. Things are coming out of my brain that won't come out of my mouth but find their way through my fingers.

I write because I can't not write.

But there is a big problem: I squandered my education. I wasted the years when I had the opportunity to learn the art of writing. I am always wondering if people are put off by my writing by the way I write it. Are they correcting my grammar and punctuation in their mind as they read and wonder why I even try? And many times I accept the fact that few are reading at all. But it doesn't matter; I will still write.

So why would I want to go to a writer's conference? I should have my head examined to even think I could spend a few days with real writers. I hardly like to be with people in social settings anyway. Wouldn't this be even worse; the poser amongst the professionals?

I will allow myself a small dream. Maybe I could win a free trip. Maybe if I won and people knew how I got there, I could get by with it. Maybe they would take pity. Maybe they would understand. Maybe I could learn and as time goes by my writing would be worth reading.

And maybe what I say could help someone out. Maybe someone else could be inspired to walk closer with Jesus. Maybe they would be warned of dangerous things and ideas. Maybe the world would be a little better because I put words on paper.

Here is the writer's conference I am talking about:
Laity Lodge Writer’s Retreat


Do you know Absalom?

Now it came about after this that Absalom provided for himself a chariot and horses and fifty men as runners before him. Absalom used to rise early and stand beside the way to the gate; and when any man had a suit to come to the king for judgment, Absalom would call to him and say, From what city are you? And he would say, Your servant is from one of the tribes of Israel. Then Absalom would say to him, See, your claims are good and right, but no man listens to you on the part of the king. Moreover, Absalom would say, Oh that one would appoint me judge in the land, then every man who has any suit or cause could come to me and I would give him justice.
2 Samuel 15:1-4

Absalom was King David's son. As I read this today I was intrigued by the slickness of Absalom. He has issues with his dad and with God's authority. He was unhappy with the way things were and he was going to make things happen his way. He had improvements in mind.

I think we all know an Absalom and at times many of us have played his game. Maybe it's at work or at church or maybe it was on the playground as a child.

We have a plan; we have a vision for a better job or world or ministry or game. The only thing separating us from world dominion is that someone else is in charge.

Of course there are proper ways and channels to work for change but many times we look for the shortcut. We wouldn't say it out loud but we believe God is moving too slow.

So we take matters into our own hands. We look for the disgruntled. We start to highlight the flaws and shortcomings of those in charge. We make it look like we are on the side of those who haven't gotten all they wanted from whoever is charge be they a boss, church leader, etc. The truth is, it's all about us. We couldn't really care less for the welfare of those we are using to accomplish our objectives. And little do they know how neglected they will be once we are in charge.

Watch out for Absalom. He promises great things and he has great plans but it may not be God's plan or way or time. Watch out when someone flatters you and then asks you to join in their new venture. Watch out for the subtle way that authority is undermined. Don't be jumping on the latest bandwagon all the time. Watch out when the new thing will hurt the old thing. 

Remember that all leaders are flawed. Yes, some of them are bad and need to be replaced but most are working hard to accomplish what they are supposed to do. Look for ways to support them. It's easy to tear things down but harder to build and maintain and usually less exciting.

Watch out for Absalom and you watch out for yourself.


Thursday, September 1, 2011

My Story

Last Sunday I was given the opportunity to tell my story in our Sunday school class. It's far from over and I have a long way to travel. I am glad I'm not where I was.

Philip Faustin's Testimony from Bear Valley Church on Vimeo.

God is good! He makes beautiful thing from dust and out of us.