Friday, November 25, 2022

One in Christ Jesus

During a recent "Conversations That Matter" podcast (listen to it here), the host played a tape of a panel discussion during an "Acts 29" event in which several black people, ostensibly Christians, discussed racism and their experiences growing up. There were a number of things said that, depending on your experience, where you grew up, and how you were raised, you may nod in understanding that they happened and sometimes, unfortunately still happen.

Saturday, October 15, 2022

The Novelization Of Our Society

It is certain that all of us have heard quite a good deal about George Orwell's eerily prescient novel "1984" and its uncanny predictions about the world which at the time of his writing was decades in the future. I have recently finished listening to the book and in truth some of the things it has to say about society and how it would devolve into a mesh of contradictions are amazingly accurate. One may be tempted to think that Orwell was some sort of prophet, but it doesn't take a prophet to understand where the world is headed.

Friday, June 10, 2022

Stand Up...The Right Way!

In the most recent Wednesday Thought, I mentioned that five Tampa Bay Rays (a Major League Baseball team) players refused to wear a hat and patch with logos that celebrate "Gay Pride" month. I also mentioned that the players have been ostracized and called bigots for their action. Such behavior, unfortunately, is all too common when it comes to our current state of affairs. As long as you're on the "right" side of the ideological divide, everything is okay and tolerance will be showered on you for whatever sins you may commit. Once you cross that line, however, you will be lucky to keep your physical safety, even for the minutest of infractions.

Tuesday, May 3, 2022

Depravity Goes Primetime

Recently, Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, was moved to tears when discussing the so-called Florida Parental Rights bill. The bill prohibits school teachers in Florida from discussing issues related to sexuality with children in grades K to 3rd. In other words, children in the age group of around 5 to 8 will not be subjected to listening to their teachers indoctrinate them about sexuality (which is usually done by homosexual advocates). 

Sunday, March 20, 2022

Who am I? Why am I here?

Thus famously, or infamously, said Admiral James Stockdale during a vice presidential debate in 1992. Stockdale had been chosen by Ross Perot, the independent presidential candidate, to run against George Bush the first and Dan Quayle during that year's presidential campaign. Many analysts at the time, blamed Perot for taking enough conservative votes away from Bush and giving Bill Clinton the victory in that year's elections. Whether that was in fact correct or not, we'll never know, but undeniably Clinton ended up winning the presidency not with a majority but with a simple plurality. 

Saturday, January 8, 2022

Shut Up And Sing

I have often pointed out that there are two languages in the world: the language of the world and the language of the church. The language of the church is gratitude. The language of the world, however, is complaining. Time and time again the Bible, especially the New Testament, exhorts believers to be grateful for all that God has done and continues to do for His people. And time and time again, we are shown how the world is constantly complaining about one thing or another. It is easy to see the continual drip drip of complaining that the unbeliever engages in.

That being said, however, there is a real problem within the church of Christ. And that is that the language of the world, that constant complaining attitude, has filtered into the church to such an extent that it is hard to distinguish where one ends and the other one begins. All too often we hear Christians complain about their health, about their finances, about this or that perceived slight, and on it goes. Rather than taking to heart the repeated exhortations of the New Testament to not be anxious, but rather to pray, we forget prayer and instead complain about what we find ourselves incapable of influencing.

I'm sure you've heard, and may have said it yourself, the parent that tells his crying child that if he continues to carry on, he will give him something to cry about. Well, it may be that in the not too distant future God will give us something to truly complain about (although, of course, complaining even then will be sinful). It is obvious that the world, which is always hostile to the church, is becoming more and more emboldened in their hostility and disdain for the church. Not only are the governments of the world and people at large becoming more hostile to all things Christian, but even so called "Christian churches" are increasingly becoming like the world in their mad rush to "win" them over. 

Compare all this to the apostle Paul. Of course, Paul is what you would call the poster child of the suffering Christian. In 2 Corinthians 11, he catalogs a litany of persecutions and problems that he encountered in his work for Christ. The event that gives the name to this column was one of those persecutions. During his missionary trip to Philippi, he was arrested and imprisoned for casting a demon out of a girl. While in the prison, having his feet in stocks, he and his companion, Silas, begin to sing praises to God. And earthquake subsequently comes about that changes the whole trajectory of the event, as Paul and Silas are released the following morning. But the point of the whole event, though was the fact that even in such a situation, Paul and Silas were found to be singing praises to the God whom they knew had ordained the very troubles they were experiencing.  

In conclusion, what we as believers should learn from this event is the fact that we truly need to "shut up and sing." Rather than continue to complain and carry on because our TV (one of five or six) doesn't quite have the pristine and clear picture that "we deserve," or any number of other such silly issues, we should rejoice in our salvation. We should rejoice and be grateful that God has seated us in the heavenly realms with Christ. And we should rejoice that our lives and everything that takes place in them is working to bring glory to God and to help us become more like Christ. Rejoice, for your redemption draws near!