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Why Political Speech Is Inappropriate from the Pulpit!

For years now, I have been criticizing the preaching of politics from the pulpit. Why? What's so wrong with talking about issues and can...

Friday, January 31, 2014

The Quiet God

Many people view God as being a very dramatic individual. They look at God as someone that always does things on a grand scale - in a big way. The thought that God might sometimes choose to work quietly, behind the scenes and out of the limelight has never crossed their minds.
The prophet Elijah was a case in point. Elijah was accustomed to working for a dramatic God - one who raised the dead, withheld rain, conquered armies and made fire fall from heaven. Hence, when God chose to confront him on Mount Horeb, he was surprised at the form God took. A great wind smashed into the mountain and wreaked havoc and destruction, but God was not in the wind. Then a mighty earthquake rocked the mountain, but God was not in the earthquake either. Next, a fire swept over the mountain, but God was not in the fire. Finally, a whisper filled the air around the cave where the prophet was standing - God was in the whisper. I Kings 19:9-13
A Syrian general had a similar experience in dealing with Elijah's successor as prophet, Elisha. Naaman was the commander of the King of Syria's army, but he was afflicted with leprosy. Even so, one of his servants told him that the God of Israel had a prophet that He sometimes used to heal people of their diseases. As a consequence, Naaman went to Elisha's house and waited for the prophet to emerge and perform the expected miracle. Instead, Elisha sent a messenger to the general, who instructed him to go and wash himself in the Jordan River seven times. Naaman was incensed - the great general was insulted. He turned to leave, but some wise servants convinced him to follow the prophet's instructions. "If he'd told you to do some great thing to be healed, wouldn't you have been willing to do it?" they asked. So Naaman relented, went down to the Jordan River and received the healing that he had requested. II Kings 5:1-15
The people of Christ's day were always asking him for a sign that he really was the Messiah. They ignored the fact that he had preached the truth everywhere, healed the sick and raised the dead. They wanted God to come down from heaven and point to him in front of the whole assembly. How could the Son of God come to them as a carpenter? How could someone from their own ranks be God's Messiah - the Savior of Israel? Christ only offered them one sign - the sign of the prophet Jonah (that he would be buried in the earth for three days and three nights, just as the prophet had been in the belly of the great fish for that period). Nevertheless, they rejected the only sign that Jesus offered them to prove that he was the Messiah. Matthew 12:39-40
It is sometimes easy to look at these examples and condemn the people involved for their shortsightedness, but don't we often do the same thing? Aren't many of us looking for a dramatic God - one who will suddenly appear in full Majesty and instantly right all wrongs?

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Which God do you worship?

Whether they realize it or not, most Christians have adopted one of three views of God.
Some folks worship a NICE GOD They characterize God as being kind, gracious, merciful, compassionate and loving. Psalms 86:15, 111:4, 112:4, 117, 118:1, 145:8; Nehemiah 9:17; Isaiah 54:10; Joel 2:13; Luke 6:35; I John 4:8,16 These folks see God as someone who wants everyone to be saved II Peter 3:9.
Some folks worship an ANGRY GOD These folks tend to characterize God as being wrathful, jealous, vindictive, stern and hateful. Exodus 20:5,32:10; Numbers 11:33; Deuteronomy 4:24, 6:15, 9:8,22, 11:17, 29:23,28, 32:35; Jeremiah 12:8; Hosea 9:15; Malachi 1:3: Revelation 16:1,19, 19:15 They see God as someone dangling humanity at the end of a thin string over the fires of hell I Peter 4:18.
The third group worships what I like to call a BIPOLAR GOD These folks attempt to combine the traits of the NICE GOD and the ANGRY GOD into one personage. These folks often have trouble explaining their version of God, because the character traits of the other two gods don't tend to mesh very well - It's hard to logically reconcile one with the other.
Which God do you worship?

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

God as creator of the universe

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Genesis 1:1
When I look at the night sky and see the work of your fingers - the moon and stars you set in place - what are mere mortals that you should think about them, human beings that you should care for them? Psalm 8:3-4
The heavens proclaim the glory of God. The skies display his craftsmanship. Day after day they continue to speak; night after night they make him known. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. Psalm 19:1-3
They know the truth about God because he has made it obvious to them. For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities - his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God. Romans 1:19-20
Bible study is NOT the only way to learn about God. There are other ways to learn about God. These scriptures make clear that we can learn about God's glory, power and nature by observing the universe around us.
Consider these facts: There are about 7.2 billion people on this planet - a mind numbing number. You could easily fit all of them (with room to spare) in one geological feature on the surface of the earth: The Grand Canyon. The sun is more than 100 times the circumference of the earth. Our sun is an average sized star - there are stars out there that would make the one at the center of our solar system look puny by comparison. The Milky Way Galaxy contains about 100 BILLION stars. There are HUNDREDS (plural) of BILLIONS of galaxies in the universe (some of them a great deal bigger than the Milky Way).