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Sunday
Sep232018

Be a Man

There have been some big changes in my lifetime, and that list would be horrendously long. But several changes that hang at the top of that list would be men. Men have changed. Men have always been the risk takers, the brawlers, the drinkers and the carousers. I am sure there is still many of those stereotypes still around, but what I see in the younger generation of men, especially in the metro areas, are men who are identity deficient.  

They have become feminized by society as a whole, and they have settled for living out safe lives and being dominated by feminine activists who want a man they can mold and control. Now I realize that doesn’t happen in every household, but there are plenty of younger men who are influenced by a more feminine lifestyle. One of the ways I gauge this is by how many women drive men around these days. Girls drive, boys ride. Someone told me once the reason for that is that the girls have jobs and can afford cars, boys are broke and unemployed. Not sure what to believe on that one. 

Anyway, indication that men are becoming femininized is how they dress. Man buns in their hair, earrings, clothing that is more blouse-like, and unisex skinny jeans. Sorry if I sound a little persnickety, but boys look more like girls now.  

Just remember what the Bible talks about how dress for men and women should not be inter-changeable.

Deut. 22:5

"A woman must not put on men's clothing, and a man must not wear women's clothing. Anyone who does this is detestable in the sight of the LORD your God.

There have been times where I have mistaken a man for a woman in the way he was dressed, and he was sporting a man bun on the top of his head. This may be a minor detail on the surface, but I think it goes deeper into why so many men are confused about their gender role, and about their own sexuality. 

My main reason for writing about this has to do with King David and his sinful life. He was called to be a man after God’s own heart, yet David had some huge flaws as a moral man and as a leader of Israel. Yet he faced his sin like a man and took responsibility for his actions. Men today will not admit they are confused and sinful and that they are influenced more by the culture of no gender differences than anything else. 

Based upon David’s Psalm 51, his repentance psalm, I think he demonstrates for us the nature of a real man

  1. A man is self-aware, verse 3:“For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me.” 
  2. A man desires truth in his inner self,verse 6: Behold, You desire truth in the innermost being.”
  3. A man has an attitude of gratefulness, verse 8: Make me hear joy and gladness
  4. A man asks God for change, verse 10: Create in me a clean O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.”
  5. A man has a mission of influence, verse 13 Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, and sinners will be converted to you.”
  6. A man is humble and broken before God, verse 17:  The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and a contrite heart, O God You will not despise.”

This kind of man, who practices and prays in this fashion and pursues God for the fruit mentioned in Psalm 51, will be able to change his world. This kind of man will never be confused about his sexuality, his identity, or his mission in life. This kind of man loves God, and is fully masculine in doing so. This kind of man is a dangerous man to the world around him, because he will not be influenced to sin, to lie, to cheat, to abuse or to be feminized by the culture around him. He is a real man who is self-aware of his sin, his need for truth, his request for God to change him, and to be an influence in the world.

Our society has taken a sharp left turn mainly because most men have abdicated their role in leading and have allowed the many seducing spirits in our world to influence their worldview. These influences have one objective, and that is to destroy the masculine nature of a man.  

 

My challenge to you is to start with a self-awareness plan - how afraid are you to admit to your sin? How much of a priority is it for you to ask God to change your hair? Go down the list again of what a man is based upon Psalm 51.

 

Keeping it honest and truthful…K

Wednesday
Sep192018

The Foolishness of High School

Only fools say in their hearts, "There is no God." They are corrupt, and their actions are evil; not one of them does good!”  -Psalm 14:1

 I just went to my 50th high school reunion and found out just how old I am by looking at my fellow classmates. We lost about 30 of them over the years, and by the looks of some of them there may be more to follow. I don’t want to be cruel or insensitive, but high school was a long time ago for me, and if we were going to judge my entire life by what I did in high school, I had better lay down and die. The insanity that is taking place in Washington over the Brett Kavanaugh allegation is as insane as anything Washington has come up with so far as a disqualifying factor in a confirmation hearing. Seriously, you are going to judge a man by his high school record, true or not, and then simply overlook 36 years of stellar legal work for an allegation that may not even have happened. I am ashamed of our political system that will stoop to such low standards to stop a nomination of a well qualified and thought of person as Brett Kavanaugh.

Everyone knows how bogus this argument is against him, and it is time Americans wake up. The Democratic Party is a seditious organization that will stop at nothing to fundamentally change America. It started with our past president and now they are determined to regain power at any cost. If you have to vilify a person from his high school days, then you might as well indict everyone in Washington. Let’s go through the yearbooks and find out who was at the parties, having sex, and taking drugs. The Bible says all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, so no one is qualified for any office in the land. These proceedings should be based upon the merits of this person’s judicial life, and his impartial voice of justice to the Supreme Court. I am ashamed of such tactics as trying to make up a story of impropriety from the high school years. 

These tactics show how sinful and evil people can become without God. It is what Paul describes in Romans 1:23 about exchanging the glory of God for the idols of government and power. 

"And instead of worshiping the glorious, ever-living God, they worshiped idols made to look like mere people and birds and animals and reptiles."

Not only do these people opposing Brett Kavanaugh not like him - they hate him. Their idea of government does not have any conservative element to it, and it would be fine if all government were devoid of them. 

I was disheartened this week when a Christian leader told me that the liberals have already won the hearts of the people. They implied that there is a slow, methodical process where more and more conservatives will give up the fight to protect our liberties. The sad consequence of the liberal agenda is that there will be no pushback on ideas and policies anymore, the status quo is ‘government knows best’ for how to live in the 21stCentury. Individual benefits and privileges will be sacrificed to the god of the state. No incentives will be encouraged, we get a one-size-fits-all and there will be no other alternative. One of the more proactive movies that I saw in the last few years, is called “The Giver.” This movie has insights into what our world will look like without a dissenting voice. The movie is how everyone lives out a life that is sacrificed for the whole and nothing is more important that the survival of the whole. In short for me it was a depiction of what life would look like if the world became a global society of socialism. The individual is dead; long live the social state of government. 

I am not ready for that kind of world, but we are quickly becoming that world. We will lie and manipulate any system to get our way, and there is nothing you can do to stop us. That is the attitude of those who are fighting the Brett Kavanaugh nomination. We will lie and mislead in order to gain the power we had in the previous administration. 

Jesus told us that the days before His return would be dark and full of deception. They will become so bad that people will want to end their lives in order to escape. 

Matthew 24:21-22 

For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again. For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again. 

“If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened.”“If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened.” 

Americans need to stand up and say “Enough!” to these politicians that spend our tax dollars with foolish and misappropriated concerns. Let’s bring some solutions to our country rather than getting stuck in special counsels and confirmation hearings that are getting more bizarre every day. 

Keeping it honest and truthful…K

 

 

Tuesday
Sep182018

When God Delays

James 5:7-8

Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains. You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near.”

God delays His return for one reason. Peter explains in 2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”

God’s delay in His return is for the purpose of salvation for the many who have not yet come to repentance. His concern is for the lost, He does not want any to perish. That idea of being patient in waiting for His return is a critical point. So many churches will not talk about His return, yet it was a major theme of the early church. 

Hebrews 9:28  

So Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.

Revelation 22:12 

 

“Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay everyone for what he has done.

Mark 13:32-33 

 

“But concerning that day or that hour, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Be on guard, keep awake. For you do not know when the time will come.

Matthew 24:44 

 

Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.

Acts 1:11 

 

And said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”

Titus 2:13  

Waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, 

There is a lot of emphasis on being prepared for this event, and yet we are not encouraging people with the truth that He could return at any moment. I remember as a young believer in the 70s that the church believed very strongly that Christ could come back at any moment. This emphasis kept believers on guard with the anticipation that the trumpet could sound and we would be gone. It also spurred on doing more evangelism getting people saved and ready for His return.  Now there is so much debate about when the timing of His return that we have lost the anticipation all together.

Some of the side benefits of anticipating a soon returning King are:

  1. It gives us a perspective that God will make things right when He returns
  2. It gives us hope that all things will be restored in His Kingdom
  3. It gives us cause to work for the gospel and do evangelism so no one is left behind
  4. It helps us to keep watchful and prayerful as we anticipate His return.

More could be said, but I think I made my case. His return is a major theme in scripture, so why are we not making it a major emphasis in today’s Church? 

Once you answer that question, please let me know, because I would like to know. 

Keeping it honest and truthful…K 

Sunday
Sep162018

The Idol of Theology

This is a tough theme to write about because theology is the basis for our beliefs. Most evangelicals hold to a set of beliefs that guide their lives. Take any statement of faith that is posted on a church’s website and that is the theology of that church. 

Most evangelicals have the theology that salvation is in Christ alone, and that the Word of God is the final authority for belief and practice. I would have no argument with this thinking yet there is a danger of making specific ideas from scripture into a practice that borders on idolatry. 

For example, let’s use the prosperity gospel as one example. It is a foundational belief (theology) that God wants people to prosper and be well off in order to have resources that can be used for the gospel. A positive mindset on claiming the best for yourself and family is a major emphasis in worshiping God. This thinking is so strong in this movement that at times it replaces the real message of the gospel. 

That example is easy to refute, because to me it is so obvious that this message has an agenda. But what about theology that is more widely accepted as normal practice and belief?

For example, let’s take the belief that is widely held today that God chose people by election before the creation of the world. This belief says that God knew beforehand who would accept the gospel and who would not. Here is a brief overview:

Unconditional election (also known as unconditional grace) is a Reformed doctrine relating to Predestination that describes the actions and motives of God in eternity past, before He created the world, where he predestinated some people to receive salvation, the elect, and the rest he left to continue in their sins and receive the just punishment, eternal damnation, for their transgressions of God's law as outlined in the old and new Testaments of the Bible. God made these choices according to his own purposes apart from any conditions or qualities related to those persons.[1]

When it comes to what the Bible calls ‘election,’ the only people who were elected by God were the Jews, the natural descendants of Abraham. They were chosen to receive the law, the covenants of God, and they were the ones through which the Messiah would come. This theology of election is a speculation at best, and has influenced people to think that God has His plan to redeem humankind by His own preferences, at the expense of a person’s free will. This theology is so strong in many churches that it becomes a theological idol. 

There are many of these so-called theological idols, and there is often a fine line between the truthof a belief and the obsessionof a belief, which can replace the emphasis of scripture. 

Again, another example: God chose the Jews to be His covenant people, and it is this people group that has given us the written scriptures (Old and New Testaments), the law, all the covenants including the new covenant of Jesus, and the Jews are the focus of end time prophecy that brings the return of Jesus Christ. The Jews played an important role in the formation of early Christianity, and all Gentiles in Christ are grafted into the Jewish olive tree making Jews and Gentiles one new man. This short synopsis is the story of the Bible. Salvation comes from the Jews, it is supported by their literature (the Bible) and their covenant with God as being His chosen people has not changed from the time it was instituted by God. The Church did not change God’s covenants with Israel; they are a fulfillment of them. 

When theologians develop a theology (belief) that doesn’t support God’s chosen people, they develop a different gospel from what the Bible teaches. Theologians have developed theology that is idolized by the church that ignores the connection to Israel and their chosen status. When I was in Europe recently, I was awestruck by the beauty of their cathedrals. Yet in all the stories portrayed in their stained glass windows or represented in their artifacts throughout the building, there was never a mention of Israel and the Jews. That is true today when you read through our statements of faith, nothing is mentioned about Israel. It is as though we started Christianity from scratch with Jesus and the cross. We idolize theology around this event, yet the story of the cross didn’t start in Bethlehem with the birth of Jesus, it started with God’s covenant with Abraham. 

My concern with the idols of theology shows up in various beliefs today; from the controversy that surrounds the timing of His return, to the fixation of the Church on social justice message. Anything can be made into an idol, and that is my point. Theology was never meant to replace our faith or trust in Jesus. It was never to be Jesus + my theological point of view. It was meant to be Jesus and Him alone. Theology can help us define our goals and our perspective on doing His work here on earth, but it was never meant to compete with Him for our attention. My support for this is found in Revelation chapters 2 and 3. These churches are good examples of how easy it is to add to our faith in Jesus alone, and have our beliefs become the emphasis instead of Him. 

I am not suggesting beliefs are bad. Please don’t misunderstand my thoughts. They become bad when the doctrine of those beliefs become our message rather than the whole counsel of God found in Jesus Christ. 

Keeping it Honest and Truthful…K

Tuesday
Sep112018

Staying Power

I have been thinking about change and how change is inevitable in life. Change has a good side to it, and a bad side to it, and it all depends on what changes. (Sounds profound doesn’t it?)

Change is essential if you want to be a successful person with a successful career. 

Many authors and psychologists have written about the characteristics that it takes to make people successful. Change will need to take place if these characteristics are not present:

  • Optimism
  • Resilience
  • Creativity
  • Emotional Awareness
  • Self Confidence
  • Imagination
  • Focus
  • Passion
  • Intelligence
  • Energy
  • Curiosity
  • Talent
  • Perseverance

One author said that out of all these characteristics that help people succeed, the most important trait is perseverance. It also seems that it is the one characteristic that most great leaders and organizations must exhibit and apply to all the others. 

Perseverance is a character trait that is directly connected to the vision and call God gave you as a person and a Christian leader. If we apply perseverance to our vision we need to know that vision can greatly impact our lives. For example, the scriptures teach that without vision the people perish, so vision is necessary to keeping an organization growing. However, vision is also the most disappointing part of any organization, especially if you are not seeing that vision become reality. For example, recently a ministry leader told me that the ministry he runs has a vision to make an impact in the city for Christ. When I pressed him further to find out what that impact would look like, it was less defined. My concern for anybody with a vision is the reality of two things: 

1. Does the vision make God look great and you small? If so, you might have a chance to succeed. (Many use God as a way to call attention to themselves.)

2. Do the people of the vision have the perseverance to endure the journey of giving birth to the vision and growing it to maturity? 

All visions are subject to the amount of perseverance you have to see it through. 

  • Without perseverance we quit the vision.
  • Without perseverance your vision will be limited.
  • Without perseverance you can lose all vision

This is why so many visions never get from inception to the construction stage, because perseverance has not changed their lives. I realize there are many factors that go into seeing a vision come to fruition, but perseverance is a key ingredient for any vision caster to exercise. 

This idea of quitting my involvement in ministry work is a problem. The turnover in most churches today is quite high so getting training and keeping volunteers is always a challenge. According to Volunteer Match President Greg Baldwin, volunteer rates are falling because we as a nation don’t invest enough resources into the nonprofit sector. Without resources, nonprofits simply don’t have the capacity to effectively engage volunteers. Other causes could be the fact that more people are overworked with less free time to volunteer. Others say people are simply lazier than they used to be, or are more interested in doing their own things during their free time. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in recent years the percentage of Americans volunteering has dwindled and is now at its lowest level in a decade. Last year the volunteer rate was 25.4 percent, or 62.6 million people, compared with 29 percent of the population in 2003. 

I think the bottom line may be that people do not have the perseverance they once had to engage in volunteering, plus the trends in culture are changing.  

The message of the gospel depends on volunteers to make it known through their associations with churches and ministries. If we lose the volunteer base for doing the work of the ministry we will be struggling to make Him known in the world around us. I remember as a young Christian the expectancy of His return was a major incentive to go door-to-door doing Evangelism Explosion. That was a major thrust for many years across the country, and it required great quantities of people to accomplish it. I wonder if we would do the same today?  If we cease talking about the coming of Lord in our churches and ministries, the natural result is a lack of urgency to tell others. Let’s face it, the church has changed, and this could be one of those changes that isn’t a good change. Perhaps that is the biggest change of all - we have lost our sense of urgency for His return. 

I suppose that also fits into an end time scenario, as 2 Peter 3:3-4 states:

Most important, know this: in the last days scoffers will come, jeering, living by their own cravings, and saying, “Where is the promise of his coming? After all, nothing has changed—not since the beginning of creation, nor even since the ancestors died.”

We must retain our perseverance in knowing that He could return at any moment - it could mean the difference between the message being told, or the message replaced by other priorities. 

Keeping it honest and truthful…K 

 

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