Monthly Archives: September 2016

Multi-Site Campus

Is it Biblical to have a church where the Pastor isn’t present before the people to speak, preach, teach, guide, and shepherd? Is it Biblical for the church to gather and listen to someone who is somewhere else?

I ask these questions because it’s become sort of the norm for people to attend a church because the pastor.

I won’t call it wrong for people to gather and listen to a man preach from a device or over the internet. But I don’t think I’d call that a worship service. But before I dive into that, lets get into some of the fundamental and presuppositional issues that cause these kinds of questions.

  1. The Apostles and Jesus didn’t deal with the issue of today in regards with technology. Because Jesus didn’t deal with it, and thus didn’t talk about technology, we often think this is in the realm of secondary issues. Since we have electricity and can build bigger, and send information anywhere all around the world, it’s caused all sorts of questions.
  2. The second issue comes from the first, and that is: Just because Jesus didn’t deal with it, doesn’t mean we can interpret things how we desire. As in, just because Jesus didn’t deal with flat screen TV’s, doesn’t mean the use of flat screen TV’s is down to each persons conscious.
  3. The third issue is with our definition of the church, the gathering of the believers, and what ought to go on there.

This third one is probably the most central of them, but I want to deal with the other two first.

Jesus didn’t have an Ipad

Since Jesus didn’t have an iPad it would be wrong to assume no one should have one. Just because Jesus didn’t have the same things and privileges we American’s have doesn’t mean that we ought to feel bad that we have these. It would be weird and wrong to believe that the technology of Jesus’ day is the technology everyone ought to have and use. Our thoughts ought to be to follow Christ in the time and culture we live in, or the context in which we live. Not everyone was born in Rome, and not everyone needs to be born in Rome to be a Christian.

That may sound funny and obvious, but I say it because I once lived and thought under that premise. Just because I had these things it was as though I sinned. Just because I didn’t live in Jesus’ time, I don’t get to live like Jesus. So I say this because it is important to remember this as we discuss this. So we have Flat Screen TV’s, and we can use them because we don’t need to live in Rome to be Christians, and so we don’t need to deny the use of TV’s to be Christians.

So, in this time and age and day, what should we use Flat Screen TV’s for? I believe that is one part of the question. Do we use Flat Screen TV’s to have a man Pastor a flock 3000 miles away? Or do we use Flat Screen TV’s to project things and make things easier to see?

I believe one is a good use of the technology, the other is the wrong thought and use of technology. One amplifies and aides in something. The other use replaces something.

Now Jesus didn’t have to deal with this. But he did have to deal with large crowds and having little amplification of sound. He did have to deal with needing to walk and have his disciples search for him because they couldn’t call him.

Do we take these instances and say no Christian ought to have a phone because Jesus didn’t instantly communicate? I would say no. The reason being is that the Holy Spirit permeates and communicates with us. There is an instant direction by God, and we are merely taking something God can do and put it on a human scale. Communicate quicker.

But, does instant communication mean we ought to stop visiting and being around one another? Do we, because we can communicate instantly, then allow that to replace what Jesus and the disciples did do?

So how do we decide?

How do we decide, since Jesus didn’t deal with it, what we do with it? The tendency is to try to come up with ways that are not based in scripture for the use of these things. “Wouldn’t Jesus want us to communicate sound doctrine quickly? Wouldn’t the Apostles have used the internet to disciple their people? Wouldn’t Christ have used his phone is he had one?”

The answer to all is, probably, yea. But that’s not the question. The question is, how would they use them? We shouldn’t answer that question by taking vague concepts and trying to justify the way we use them, but by figuring out the things they did talk about and do, and then from there form our thoughts on how Churches ought to function, and then ask, how can we use technology for that?

Often, technology is a way to aide in growth. If something grows big, then we start using more technology. But I think growth should have been something we thought about. Not as in, we want to grow, but, how many is too big?

This is why the main issue revolves around defining the church and it’s function.

And that is something I’m trying to define. So I’ll write more about that later.


Pure Hearts

There never has been a time where my heart was pure. Absolute statements can be dangerous, but I feel it is safe to say that I have never done anything out of a pure heart nor do I have a pure heart.

As a Christian, it can seem rather shocking. Jesus did say, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” And if I am saying my heart isn’t pure, then I am saying I will not see God.

I do not go that far, however. The reason being that I believe God has given me the down payment of my inheritance, the Holy Spirit. The reason I have been given the Holy Spirit is because the work of Christ and the plan of God in election which has brought about a great work in me. And so, although my heart is not pure, Christ is the pure one whom I cast all my hope in to advocate for me before the Father in order to appease the wrath that was against me. And even my hope is not pure, but praise be to God that I have a perfect advocate who can save even the most wretched of sinners.

The only hearts that demonstrate the pure work of the Savior are those hearts who look into the face of Christ and see God.

 


Pastors and Elders

[1] The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task. [2] Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, [3] not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. [4] He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, [5] for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church? [6] He must not be a recent convert, or he may become puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil. [7] Moreover, he must be well thought of by outsiders, so that he may not fall into disgrace, into a snare of the devil. (1 Timothy 3:1-7 ESV)

I have had the desire for a while now, ever since my conversion, to become an overseer. It use to be a red hot passion for God and His truth to be rightly proclaimed. It is still red hot, but my passion, my desire has changed. That change has become a deep seated conviction that is ruling and taking over my life. That conviction is found in this passage.

I must be brief, for there is too much to say about the purpose of the letter to Timothy from Paul. But here, in chapter three, we see Paul telling Timothy the kind of person to set over as an overseer. What follows in verses two through seven is the resume of an overseer. And as I reflected on this resume more and more, I realize how long it may be before I become an overseer, and how I wish it probably be longer. The reason I want it to be much later rather than sooner is because the resume is not an easy one. It’s a difficult one. But not only is it a difficult one, it’s something every Christian man ought to aspire to.

As you read the passage you see how what is described as a model man. And any model man ought to be modeled after. We shouldn’t believe nor think that only overseers ought to be those kind of men. No, this ought to be the kind of man every Christian male is. Of course I am not saying marriage is for every Christian man, but that in general even a single man who is given the gift of celibacy ought to be a ruler of himself and his finances and life, and rule it all well.

But more personally, as I have reflected on this passage, my desire has changed. No longer do I merely want to be an overseer. And yes, I say merely. For there are many overseers who are bad overseers, and there are many overseers who do not fit this description. As I have thought about this passage, I have come to the red hot conviction that I ought to be like this man, regardless of becoming an overseer or not.

In the country and time I live today, we need more men who will be above reproach. We need more men who manage their households, and are the husbands of one wife. We need more men who are men. The man described here is a man among men, and that ought to be every Christian man.

I pray God may raise up more men like this, and that some of those men may be given a desire to oversee. For now, I pray for myself that God would make me like this man, and that I not become an overseer unless He has proven me to be this man. I continue to desire that His word and truth be rightly proclaimed, but I pray more that if I am to do so, that I be a man among men.


Being Good

Often when talking with someone about God, heaven and hell, you’ll hear something like, “but I’m a good person. I’m pretty sure I’ll go to heaven.”

This is wrong on pretty much every level. Christians don’t believe people go to heaven by being good. We only obtain eternal salvation because of Christ, and we believe in Christ because the grace of God acting and creating faith within us. So we are saved by grace through faith. Both being a gift of God.

The problem with this is also the “good person” fallacy. There is no such thing as a good person. People are evil. We are wicked. And when people compare themselves to themselves, they make themselves superior because they are defining good how they want to and compare themselves to people who in their eyes are bad. “I’m not as bad as…”

It’s like the saying that “things could be worse,” but applied to the person, “well, I could be worse like..” But Christians don’t compare themselves to one another. We are commanded to compare ourselves to the Son of Man, Jesus Christ, the perfect man. And often something can be missed when doing so, because people will cherry pick verses from the Bible to make a Jesus that conforms to their image. So, they will pull out, “Judge not lest ye be judged.” And they’ll say, “see, I don’t do that.” And often, they don’t mean the same thing Jesus does, and they use this and maybe a few other verses to summarize Jesus’ life, while ignoring what Jesus’ own disciples taught and believed about Christ.

Like Paul, who in Romans 1 tells us how every man suppresses the truth of God, and how we all have chosen to worship the creature rather than the creator. Which gets to the fundamental issue of sin. Sin isn’t an action, it is a nature, a state of being.

When someone says they do good things they generally mean that they don’t kill or steal. Maybe they give some money away or help people here and there. They pay their taxes. They don’t cause trouble in society. That is their definition of being good.

This definition falls way short. Being good is a state of being, not what someone does. A sinner sins. He’s not a sinner because he does sinful things, he does sinful things because he’s a sinner. The perfect man acts perfectly. He’s not perfect because he does perfect things, he does perfect things because he is perfect

Thus, even the “good” a sinner does is sin. A sinner gives to the poor and helps the needy. This is sin. Why? Not because the action itself is a good action, but because the sinner who does the action does it in sin. How so? Well, remember what Paul said in Romans 1, how sinners worship and serve the creature rather than the creator. So even if someone helps the needy out of the “goodness of their heart,” the truth is that goodness in their heart isn’t goodness, but a desire to serve and worship creation over and above God.

So though the action is commended, a sinner cannot do anything else but sin. However, this makes little sense to American’s today. But that’s because they have not sought God’s definitions. It’s easy to feel like a good person when you ignore God.

 


Homosexuality

It was once said somewhere that if as a Christian you don’t address the main issues of the culture, the main loves and virtues protected and adored by a culture, then you won’t be heard on all the other issues. So here I am, writing about the pet of the American culture, which is protected and declared as the greatest thing.

Homosexuality has become one of the key issues in America today. It has changed policies, law, politics, political agendas, and has caused an uproar among many. Many Christian denominations have succumbed to a homoethic, leaving Christendom and no longer bowing to the King of Kings and instead are bowing to the all powerful man who wants tampons in men’s bathrooms. Many evangelical leaders, who are still trying to include everyone in their services are now struggling between keeping silent and following Jesus, which is a dangerous position to be in because it means they aren’t already following Jesus.

We live in a ishy-squishy age where the fight for sanity is being completely lost in America. But that’s okay, since most rebel sinners don’t care for sanity. We get to choose our reality in America. As long as it doesn’t harm anyone else, then let them be insane.

It is the progressive mindset that has pushed for the gay agenda to come about. And now that they have done so, all the other progressive movements and agendas are being destroyed. It’s what happens when you are foolish and your worldview is built upon foolishness.

Woman’s rights has been an issue in our society, pushed and fought for. Within the matter of two years, the word woman has little meaning now. The very progressives who wanted woman’s rights have now destroyed those rights. If a man can become a woman, and a woman a man, or even be genderless, then words and concepts have lost all their meaning. There is no such thing as being a woman or man in America. Woman’s rights is a meaningless phrase, since any man can become a woman, and any woman can become a man.

In one year, the homosexual agenda progressive types slapped women in the face everywhere by calling Bruce Jenner a woman and then giving him the woman of the year award. Here is an example of your mighty heroes of today. Who destroy their own work, and praise themselves for it.

Sadly, most wont feel offended that a man became the woman of the year.

The decay of our society is real. And the church will be progressively persecuted. It has begun already and it will continue. We will have persecution from without and persecution from within. Many church goers will attack other church goers. Splits will happen. And that’s a good thing. We don’t need to be tied to people who care nothing about the Gospel. We don’t need to fellowship with those who disregard the cross of Christ as a nice thought. It is the very life blood of a Christian. And Jesus died to bare the wrath of God against sin. Sins, which God hates. And homosexuality is one of those many sins he hates.

To think that Jesus died for such sins, and then commends people to continue to practice those sins is utterly ridiculous.

Many won’t hear what I am about to write next, but that’s okay, I don’t expect a world that loves insanity to understand plain words. As much as God hates sin, and as much as I hate sin and the celebration of sin, that doesn’t mean I somehow think I am better than anyone else. If anything, I am humbled because it was my sin that Jesus bore.

Though I write against the homosexual agenda. Though I am coming out as someone against the American culture and celebration of homosexuality today, that doesn’t mean I see myself as better. The Gospel is to be preached to all men. All men everywhere are called to repent of their sins and to trust in Jesus Christ, and to sanctify Him as Lord in their hearts and to bow their knees to Him.

But I will be misunderstood. That’s okay. I stand with Jesus Christ and I offer you the Gospel.


God Purposing

As I was reading J.I Packers book, Knowing God, I was given the realization that I try to see the secret things which belong to God.

In chapter 10, Packer discussed God’s Wisdom and our wisdom. He took us through the book of Ecclesiastes, which he said has more to do with how humans view the world when they are trying to figure out how all the events are working themselves together. If we try and take the perspective of God and see how our works, the things we do or happen to us, how they play out in the long run, if they will last, what purpose it has with everything else, then we will ultimately freeze up and not care to do anything. For the world is messy. It’s difficult. And many things that happen seem “unfair.”

Why does the good men suffer while evil men prosper? This is something we cannot answer, but only God. As a Christian, the only thing we can say is that it’s for the purposes of God. And perhaps if we know a little about the circumstances we can figure out maybe what caused something to happen, but that’s not the same as explaining why it happens.

Another way to put it is this: We can watch a train crash. We can discuss how it was going too fast around a turn, or something about the railroad-ties were off, or that there was too much or too little weight, or that the captain or conductor of the train was too tired to notice what he should have. But in doing this we are only explaining what caused it to happen, not why it happened. As in, not purpose it happened. For what purpose did this train derail? Is a different question than, what caused this train to derail?

So, as Christians we can and ought to find out what happened. And we can learn from what happened and some of the things that caused it to happen. But the fact it happened doesn’t tell us the purpose it happened. And we can create purpose, like saying that we learned from it, but that’s not purpose. God gives things meaning and purpose, not man. Why did we need to learn from it? What if God never let it happen ever? Then would we need to learn from it?

In the end, we ought to not ask and seek the secret things of God. We shouldn’t spend our time asking why we stub our toes. God purposes all things and there is a point to it, from the greatest act, to the most insignificant thing, but that doesn’t mean we will know or be told in this life time why everything happened, happened. But, we can answer why everything happens in a general sense, for God’s glory, because everything God does is for His own glory. Everything that happens is for His glory.

Far too often have I tried to figure out my “specific purpose” in life. The truth is, I don’t know it. No clue. But I do know that God has given us commands, and calls us to obey His word, and desires that we live and lead Godly lives. So I will take all that God has said, learn and love it, and then live it out by the power of the Holy Spirit, in every circumstance and situation.

Which means what I do for work is not something I need to divine from God. It is left to me to decide. And I will decide, trusting God not to lead me into temptation nor sin.