Friday, December 01, 2006

The Fellowship of the Unashamed…

I don't know exactly where this quote came from but it's one of my favorites...

The Fellowship of the Unashamed…

I am a part of the Fellowship of the Unashamed.
I have Holy Spirit Power. The die has been cast. I have stepped over the line.
The decision has been made. I am a disciple of Jesus Christ.
I won’t look back, let up, slow down, back away, or be still.

My past is redeemed, my present makes sense, and my future is secure. I am finished and done with low living, sight walking, small planning, smooth knees, colorless dreams, tame visions, worldly talking, cheap giving, and dwarfed goals.

I no longer need preeminence, prosperity, position, promotions, plaudits, or popularity. I don't have to be right, first, tops, recognized, praised, regarded, or rewarded. I now live by faith, lean on His presence, love by patience, lift by prayer, and labor by power.

My pace is set, my gait is fast, my goal is the Kingdom, my road is narrow, my way is rough, my companions few, my Guide is reliable, my mission clear. I cannot be bought, compromised, detoured, lured away, turned back, deluded or delayed.

I will not flinch in the face of sacrifice, hesitate in the presence of adversity, negotiate at the table of the enemy, ponder at the pool of popularity, or meander in the maze of mediocrity.
I won’t give up, back up, let up, or shut up until I’ve preached up,
prayed up, paid up, stored up, and spoken up for the cause of Christ.

I am a disciple of Jesus Christ. I must go until He returns, give until I drop, preach until all know, and work until He stops me. And when He comes to get His own, He will have no problem recognizing me. My colors will be clear.

Monday, November 20, 2006

The Forgotten Commandments

The Ten Commandments are alive and well in the earth today. They are not among the long list of dead and forgotten artifacts of the past. They are just as powerful and pertinent today as they were in the days of Moses. The Ten Commandments are not just a prop in some insignificant Sunday school class. They are the unwavering force behind all the triumphs and tragedies of world history. The centerpiece of all civilized and ethically stable cultures throughout history has been the old two tablets of stone.

These tested and tried Commandments are not some set of totalitarian and tyrannical laws that men should struggle to be set free from. Many see the Ten Commandments as the opposite of grace. The Bible makes it clear that they were given out of grace. In fact, the very first thing God said before He gave the first commandment is “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.”[1] In other words, He is contrasting His Law with slavery. He freed them and gave them the great laws of liberty. The Ten Commandments were not given to slaves so as to imprison them but to free men so as to guide them.

About 1,400 years after being given to Moses, the Ten Commandments were summed up in the New Testament when Jesus was confronted by the religious "experts" of the day: “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”[2] Jesus was just revealing that the first four commandments given to the children of Israel are summarized in the statement: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” The last six commandments are summarized in the statement: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

One terrifying yet trendy misconception about the Ten Commandments today is that they were only relevant to and required in the Old Testament age. When we look into the New Testament, though, we easily find the Ten Commandments still full of life and authority. The apostle Paul makes this clear when he warns, “Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.” [3] The Ten Commandments are just as relevant in the New Testament as in the Old.

In fact, if it weren’t for the Law of God, we “New Testament” Christians would have no way of identifying what exactly sin is - “…if it had not been for the law, I would not have known sin. I would not have known what it is to covet if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.”[4] Without the Law we are completely ignorant about sin, for “through the law comes knowledge of sin.”[5] If we are not able to identify sin we will not be able to recognize our need to have our sins forgiven. If we do not recognize our need to have our sins forgiven we will not see our need for a Saviour. The law, indeed, is our “schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.”[6]

In our postmodern world, where nearly all of the population (including Christians) cannot even recite the Ten Commandments from memory, we desperately need to be reminded of what they are. Recent surveys have shown us that in the typical church congregation less than 1% of the people can list on a sheet of paper the Ten Commandments, in any order or form. How can we ever expect our country and its leaders to adhere to a moral code that most Christians have forgotten? This is why we must follow the advice in Deuteronomy 6:7-9 and teach the Law diligently to our children, and talk of them when we sit in our house, and when we walk by the way, and when we lie down, and when we rise up. We need to write them on the doorposts of our house and on our gates.

Displaying the Ten Commandments is not the answer to all our problems but it is a giant first step in the right direction. Many revivals in the Bible were a direct result of God’s people rediscovering God’s Law. We must all do our part in whatever way we can to remind our nation about her ethical history and her moral foundation. It is sad that non-Christians have removed the Ten Commandments from the schools and the courthouses but the real tragedy is that Christians have unknowingly removed them from the walls and from the minds of their own homes and churches. The Ten Commandments are not burdensome and oppressive. They form the launch pad of liberty and the springboard of morality. It is just as true today as it has ever been that “…Happy are the people whose God is the Lord![7]

[1] Exodus 20:2 (ESV)

[2] Matthew 22:36-40 (ESV)

[3]1 Corinthians 6:9-10 (ESV)

[4] Romans 7:7 (ESV)

[5] Romans 3:20 (ESV)

[6]Galatians 3:24 (KJV)

[7] Psalms 144:15 (NKJV)

Check out

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Linear View of Time vs. Cyclical View

Old Covenant Israel and New Covenant Israel (Christians) were unique in the ancient world with respect to their view of time. They both taught that time moves forward in a straight line, from a beginning to an end. This doesn't sound too amazing to us but back then it was totally unique. In fact, it was unheard of outside the nation of Israel. No other religion or race believed it. We have a saying in our day, history repeats itself. But does it? Does it really and truly repeat itself, event for event? What do we mean, history repeats itself?

With the exception of the Israelites that were grounded in the Bible, all ancient religions viewed time as circular. People viewed the course of time in much the same way that they viewed the seasons. Summer follows spring as surely as fall follows summer. The seasons are circular. They repeat themselves and so does time.

The Bible says that time is linear. Time moves in a straight line, from God's creation of the world to God's final judgment of the world. Only someone who believes in the straight-line development of history can believe in a final judgment by God. And for many centuries, only those who believed in the final judgment of God believed in straight-line history.

We have an example of this secular way of looking at time in Scripture:

  • Ecc. 1:1-9 says, The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem. Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher, vanity of vanities! All is vanity. What does man gain by all the toil at which he toils under the sun? A generation goes, and a generation comes, but the earth remains forever. The sun rises, and the sun goes down, and hastens to the place where it rises. The wind blows to the south and goes around to the north; around and around goes the wind, and on its circuits the wind returns. All streams run to the sea, but the sea is not full; to the place where the streams flow, there they flow again. All things are full of weariness; a man cannot utter it; the eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing. What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun.

This is the cyclical view at its best Verse 9 summarizes it perfectly. The despair in this philosophy of time is contrary to the Biblical world view. It gives us the view of the secular skeptic that cannot see beyond the sun. The phrase "vanity of vanities" is the credo of the nihilist who finds no ultimate meaning to human existence. This is the view of the one who lives his life "under the sun" vs. the one lives his life "under heaven."

The Bible teaches a linear view of time because it teaches the unique doctrines of creation, providence, and final judgment. It teaches that the original creation of the universe was by the same personal God who personally sustains the whole universe moment by moment and who will judge mankind and restore His creation at the last day.

My First Post

As I read things and observe life in person and online I will put in my two cents worth... that is if you have a penny for my thoughts. In case you were wondering, that means you will get half-price. I am married to a beautiful Prov. 31 woman and we have 7 great kids.