Friday, May 29, 2020

Maybe, Possibly.

A Lenovo Chromebook Duet in productivity mode with its keyboard attached, displays a vivid abstract image.
I think... 

I'm not sure, but I think that someone should buy this for me.

Ok... I don't actually think that someone should buy this for me. I don't feel privileged or entitled to such a degree to think that I deserve this in any way. I'm obviously just joking. At the same time... If a rich person sees this and feels generous, I wouldn't say no.

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

John MacArthur on whether or not we should continue to hold services if the government instructs us not to...

I originally found this on Facebook on a post from a guy named Joe DiVietro. I wanted to share this entire quote, so I was looking for the source... Thankfully, a friendly neighborhood Facebook stranger helped me out and pointed me to the original source material, which you can find on the Grace To You website
QUESTION: “Do you believe it’s biblical when some pastors in America are continuing to hold services even though the government instructs them not to?” From Rich.

Yeah, let me make very clear this question because it keeps coming up. If the government told us not to meet because Christianity was against the law, if the government told us not to meet because we would be punished, fined for our religion and our religious convictions, we would have no option but to meet anyway. And that takes you to the fifth chapter of Acts where the leaders of Israel said to the apostles, “Stop preaching.” And Peter’s response was very simple. He said, “You judge whether we obey God or men,” then he went right out and preached.

If the government tells us to stop worshiping, stop preaching, stop communicating the gospel, we don’t stop. We obey God rather than men. We don’t start a revolution about that; the apostles didn’t do that. If they put us in jail, we go to jail and we have a jail ministry. Like the apostle Paul said, “My being in jail has fallen out to the furtherance of the gospel.” So we don’t rebel, we don’t protest. You don’t ever see Christians doing that in the book of Acts. If they were persecuted, they were faithful to proclaim the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ even if it took them to jail; and that’s been the pattern of true Christianity through all the centuries.

But this is not that. Might become that in the future. Might be overtones of that with some politicians. But this is the government saying, “Please do this for the protection of this society.” This is for greater societal good, that’s their objective. This is not the persecution of Christianity. This is saying, “Behave this way so that people don’t become ill and die.”

Now you may not think that you’re going to have that impact on somebody, you’re not going to be the one that becomes a carrier and causes something to be passed on to somebody else down the road and somebody dies. You may think that’s going to be you. But you cannot defy the government. And I don’t think pastors should do this. You cannot defy the government and say, “We’re going to meet anyway because God has commanded us to meet, no matter what damage we do to people’s lives.”

I mean, what should mark Christians is mercy, compassion, love, kindness, sacrifice. How are you doing that if you flaunt the fact that you’re going to meet; and essentially you’re saying, “We disregard the public safety issue.” You don’t really want to say that. That does not help the gospel cause.

What helps the gospel cause is to say, “Of course, we don’t want to be the cause of anyone’s sadness, anyone’s sorrow, anyone’s sickness, and certainly anyone’s death. So we will gladly comply. This is consistent with what Scripture says, that we are to live quiet and peaceable lives in the society in which we live. We don’t rebel, we don’t do protests, we don’t fight the government, we don’t harass and harangue, we don’t march, we don’t get in parades, we don’t stop traffic; we lead quiet and peaceable lives, and we pray for those in authority over us, and we submit ourselves to them.

In Romans chapter 13, Paul says, “You submit yourself to the government, the powers that be.” But Peter adds to that, “You submit yourself to the governor and the king,” whoever that personal authority is. I’ve heard people say, “Well, this isn’t constitutional.” That’s irrelevant. That is completely irrelevant. When you’re told by an authority to do something and it’s for the greater good of the society physically, that’s what you do because that’s what Christians would do. We are not rebels and we’re not defiant, and we don’t flaunt our freedom at the expense of someone else’s health.

How do we back out of that to communicate the love of Christ? Look, Jesus came and basically banished disease from Israel. He was a healer. The last thing the church of Jesus Christ would want to be is a group of people that lived in defiance and made somebody sick, caused somebody’s death. So you restrain yourself from that.

Again, the issue is so clear that even going back to Richard Baxter back in 1600s, Richard Baxter has a great section in one of his books where he says, “If the magistrate,” as he calls it, “asks you to refrain from meeting because of a pestilence, you do not meet. On the other hand, if the magistrate tries to force you not to meet because of persecution of Christianity, you meet anyway.” I think that’s the dividing line.
I love that last little quote from Richard Baxter... It reminds me that what we are going through isn't new. 

Saturday, May 9, 2020

Two Degrees of Separation

What happened Saturday morning.

It started with me… wrestling with the scriptures this week. (Actually, the last several weeks.) This Socially Distant preaching has been difficult, but now I have an opportunity to preach to people directly, and it feels just as difficult, mostly because I’ve been away! (Out of practice.)

Saturday Morning... I had already studied, read the commentaries, wrestled some more… but Saturday morning, I still felt unsettled in my choice of what to preach on. I had gotten up and while I was sitting in my chair, sipping my coffee, I prayed and started this way, “Lord, I wish you would just tell me what to say. Cause I would say it. Seriously. If you just told me what to say, I would say it.”

A little secret insight on me: Sometimes I will pray and instead of asking for something, I will say, "I wish."  I do this when there is something that I would like, but I don't believe I necessarily ought to be asking for it... but I still want to ask for it. I still sorta hope I could ask for it. That is what I was doing this morning. But then I sat there for a moment, and I adjusted my prayer… “ No… Not ‘I wish’ that isn’t what I mean. I usually say, ‘I wish’ when I’m not really asking for it, I just want it. This time I mean it, I am asking for that. Just tell me what to say, that is what I ask. I’ll say it!”

I finished my coffee and sat there for a couple more minutes.

Truth must be told, my next action was to head to the restroom. I grabbed my kindle on the way... sorry for the graphic mental image I am painting for you… but it must be told how this happened. I sat down. (Again, sorry.) I turned on my Kindle, and it loaded the book that I had been reading most recently: “When the Man Comes Around” a commentary on Revelation by Douglas Wilson. I picked it up and read this:
So this is how it works: Jesus speaks, and then He tells John to write what He has spoken. The implication is that the angel of the church is to speak what he has read. So Jesus speaks, John writes, the angel reads, and the angel speaks.
Alright… Just so you know the context… I had just read in this book previously:
So we know that the seven lampstands are the seven churches and that the Lord Jesus was walking around in the midst of His churches. The seven stars that He held in His right hand are the seven “messengers,” or pastors of these churches. The sword in His mouth is His Word, which He gives to the successive pastors in the upcoming passages.
That is the paragraph right before that little paragraph that I read. This means that the “angel” that John refers to in this portion of Revelation is the pastor of a church. Douglas Wilson writes in another portion of the book (explaining in more detail): 
The word angel need not refer to what we would call an angelic or celestial being. John the Baptist was called an angel (Mark 1:2). Human beings are called angels in the Old Testament also (Job 1:14; Is. 42:19; Mal. 2:7; 3:1). And the word is used by Luke to refer to ordinary messengers. Jesus “sent messengers (angels) before his face: and they went, and entered into a village of the Samaritans, to make ready for him” (Luke 9:52; cf. 7:24). Now of course it is possible that the angels of the first chapters of Revelation are celestial beings, but in my view this creates many more problems than it solves.
I knew this about Revelation, so I understood that idea when I read my little paragraph. I read "angel" but thought "pastor" when I was reading that... that little paragraph that I am beginning to believe God had queued up just for me. I think you should read it again, but this time, take into consideration a couple of things. One: I had just been praying, “God, please just tell me what to say… Give me the words to speak.” That thought was still rolling around in my mind as I read that paragraph. And two: I was hearing "pastor" when I read "angel"... Here it is again:
So this is how it works: Jesus speaks, and then He tells John to write what He has spoken. The implication is that the angel [pastor] of the church is to speak what he has read. So Jesus speaks, John writes, the angel [pastor] reads, and the angel [pastor] speaks.
I’ve been reading all week… not knowing what to speak. I don’t want to oversimplify the process or underplay the importance of study and the ongoing development of improving my communication skills… but in a real way: Jesus speaks, the writers of scripture write, the pastor reads the scriptures, and then the pastor speaks.

Friday, May 8, 2020

David and Goliath - Children's Church Lesson

Here is another Children's Church Lesson for anyone who would like to see it and/or use it. This time it is the story of David and Goliath from 1 Samuel 17. This video is made for the littles to watch... I also have some coloring book pages for them. 

Here are the Coloring book pages. David and Goliath on Edgewood's Site.

Images are all drawn by me and the script and narration is by my wife! Feel free to enjoy and share this with as many as you would like. 

Thursday, May 7, 2020

The Feeding of the Five Thousand

Mostly for fun, I decided to try to make a lesson for the littles that attend our church. I chose the Feeding of the Five Thousand from John 6:1-15. Here is the video:

Granted, this is my first attempt creating something like this. I really enjoyed making it, and I will definitely be improving on the next one that will be made. I feel like I need more animations and a few more slides to view. I also think that I need to "trim down" my talking. I used too many words for the littles. 

You can also find some printable coloring pages here

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Five Points by John Piper (Book Review)

I just finished reading Five Points: Toward a Deeper Experience of God's Grace by John Piper.  

This was a great little book. I highly recommend it for those who are interested in the "Five Points of Calvinism" but aren't sure where to start. This book lays out those five points in a way that is understandable.  Piper also uses a good logical flow to his presentation, not to shove these five points down anyone's throat, but ultimately because it is what he believes brings the greatest display to the glories of God's immeasurable grace. 

And that is what this is really about. Most that I've met that know a little bit about Calvinism, assume that a Calvinist is an arrogant know-it-all... and granted, there are some who have given us that reputation. But I can truly say, in my experience that the Calvinists that I've met and read have been the most humble of Bible Scholars, with each of them, in my opinion, approaching to the truths of God's Word, not with a desire to explain everything, but just to understand what has been written. I've seen them present scriptures with the greatest efforts to simply say what the scriptures say. This book is no different. 

I recommend this book, without hesitation, and encourage you to grab a copy from Amazon... or you can get a free digital copy from the Desiring God website

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Podcast Episode Eleven!

I know it's been a while... but here is episode 11:

Day 50 of Social Distancing

Today is day number 50 of my personal time of Social Distancing. I have found that staying on track and keeping busy on one task is one of my biggest challenges. One of the ways I handle this is to create a To-Do List... but I don't just make a list, that is too boring for these unprecedented times. 

My To-Do List for the Week

By the way... I hope I don't hear anyone else say, " these unprecedented times"!

I also don't want to hear one more company, simply add that statement to the beginning of their normal logo... 

"In these unprecedented times, we've got the meats!"

"In these unprecedented times, I'm loving it!"

"In these unprecedented times, you're still in good hands with Allstate."