Monday, December 30, 2013


From My Perspective - - -

Approaching a new calendar year allows one an opportunity to review the accomplishments of the past year and the continuing aspirations in the New Year. Goals and plans are commendable IF they are conjoined with motivation, determination, purpose and commitment. The title of this Blog is obviously an oxymoron (a combination of words that have opposite or very different meanings). If or when a person is irresolute, it is because of a hesitancy to press forward with a goal or task. It becomes too easy to second-guess a resolve, direction or proposal. One becomes uncertain in terms of an action or whether to proceed at all. Sir Walter Scott is alleged to have said: “To the timid and hesitating everything is impossible because it seems so.” However, there are times and events when it is advisable to pause and to measure the cost and likelihood of success before proceeding. Golda Meir is alleged to have reflected: “A Leader who doesn’t hesitate before he sends his nation into battle is not fit to be a leader.” A reckless “leader” is a considerable risk to himself and the world.

Almost everyone alive has made some resolution of some sort in terms of a worthy goal or purpose. That which stands between success and failure is commitment and discipline. An uncommitted and/or undisciplined individual will inevitably experience more failures than successes. It may not have anything to do with ones abilities or skills. It is the self-imposed follow-through that will result in achievement. John Maxwell is one of the most outstanding speakers on the subject of Leadership. One of his emphases regarding success is: “Competence goes beyond words. It’s the leader’s ability to say it, plan it, and do it in such a way that others know that you know how – and know that they want to follow you.” Note the emphasis on the word competence. The loftiest ideals and goals can never be fully attained if one lacks the competence to accomplish them. He also offers this sage advice: “A man must be big enough to admit his mistakes, smart enough to profit from them, and strong enough to correct them.”

The Bible contains some great illustrations of resolve. In Joshua 24:14-15, Joshua lays before the people the obvious choice they should make. Regardless of their choice, Joshua states his unequivocal commitment, purpose and resolve: “Now therefore fear the Lord and serve Him in sincerity and in faithfulness…choose this day whom you will serve…But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
In Matthew 6:24, as Jesus is declaring His Sermon on the Mount, He lays before His disciples and followers a necessary choice in terms of faith and practice: “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.” The matter of choice and decision is an absolute stated by Jesus and it demands calls for commitment, purpose and resolve – God or someone/something else.
The Apostle Paul faced the considerations and priorities for his life and stated them in Philippians 3:12-14. He has previously stated his strong desire to know Christ in the greatest way possible. He then adds: “Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me His own…But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” He states his determination and voices the necessary discipline to attain this most worthy goal.
Lastly, The Apostle Paul states criteria for each one who professes to be a follower of Jesus Christ. In I Thessalonians 5:12-24 he lists 15 Goals and Commitments one should be willing to establish for his/her life:"(1) respect those who work hard among you, who are over you in the Lord and who admonish you. Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. (2) Live in peace with each other. (3) Warn those who are idle, (4) encourage the timid, (5) help the weak, (6) be patient with everyone. (7) Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else. (8) Be joyful always; (9) pray continually (without ceasing); (10) give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. (11) Do not put out (quench) the Spirit's fire; (12) do not treat prophecies with contempt. (13) Test everything. (14) Hold on to the good. (15) Avoid every kind of evil." Set this as your goal, ambition, commitment and discipline. May God richly bless you. Consider these things with me.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013


From My Perspective - - -

There are two ways for one to face the world of today: (a) Everything is alright and we’ll be just fine, or (b) The nation and world is on a slippery slope accelerating downward and beginning a death spiral – and – no one knows or cares to apply the brakes to slow this trend and momentum. To suggest there is Instability in the world today would be a major understatement. Regardless of where one looks, there are the marks and evidences of corruption and unconscionable acts and behavior. Yesterday, I submitted on Facebook the following: “In the 70s, Dr. Francis Schaeffer said: "as American society turns away from the concept of absolute moral values, the result will inevitably be rampant abortion, euthanasia, infanticide and increasing homosexuality." Surprise, Surprise?! We have arrived!”

Within the nations and various cultures, a discerning person is able to identify the trends and direction for the world as we have known it and are beginning to learn it. Equally disturbing is the decline and compromises of the “church” so-called. Long ago, a question was posed that has application for the overall “church of today: (I Corinthians 14:8), “And if the bugle gives an indistinct sound, who will get ready for battle?” In the place where stability for life and practice ought to be found, the trumpet is giving an uncertain sound. The ‘church” is sliding down a path where its message has become confusing, and its standards have become suspect. The question must be asked: “If the trumpet call can't be distinguished, will anyone show up for the battle?”

What does the “church” do when it no longer has impact in the changing and shifting culture? When people no longer find “church” meaningful and absent themselves from it and forsake assembling together, who or what should be held accountable? When several of the mega-churches deliver their homilies on hope and feeling good about oneself – and continue to grow – is that what the Bible champions as the success standard for what a local “church” should be and do?  Too often, that’s exactly what occurs. When growth isn’t happening, then someone has to be blamed for it. Who is the most likely “someone” in the local “church”? Regardless of how diligent and faithful one has been, the Pastor is the cause of the decline in attendance and finances. Those who make these kinds of decisions have chosen to ignore some very basic and vital Biblical teaching. In most cases, they need a fresh and large dose of Hebrews 10:22-25. These verses are marked by the use and implication of the Hortatory Subjunctive (in the Greek). The characteristic of the phrases is that they begin with “LET US” and always mean inclusively there is an action that must be taking place among those who profess to follow Jesus Christ. It is not a finger pointing and the verbalization that “HE” hasn’t done… (usually referring to a Pastor) – but rather – “WE” haven’t done all of what God wants us to do.

The directives of Hebrews 10:22-25 are clear. This is what we are COLLECTIVELY to be doing:
(1)    “LET US”  draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith
(2)    “LET US”  hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering…
(3)    “LET US”  consider how to stir up one another to love and good works
(4)    “LET US”  not neglect to meet together...
(5)    “LET US”  encourage one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near…
Hebrews 12:1
(6)    “LET US” lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and 
(7)    “LET US” run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus… 

If we want to secure Stability and reclaim it from the Instability of our culture and
time, we must return to The Stable and seek The One Who was in the manger. We
must endeavor to know Him. Stability for one’s life, world and “church” are found
in that Stable of so long ago. Paul prayed in Philippians 3, “I want to know Him…”
Is that your longing and prayer? Consider these things with me!

Friday, December 20, 2013


From My Perspective - - -

We are living in a day and time of deteriorating cultural values. Things that used to be accepted as a moral value are now brought under scrutiny and being rejected. A nation that was once religion-oriented is becoming less so as it moves toward progressivism and secularism. The ruling of the courts that allowed prayer and Bible Reading to be banned in the schools; abortion to be a legal alternative for women; same-gender marriages to become legal and socially acceptable; and limitations on First Amendment rights are indicators of the slippery slope and path upon which this nation is allowing itself to tread. The Economic Collapse Blog lists 34 Signs that America Is In Decline. This looks at life in America from an economic viewpoint. However, if one adds to that the moral erosion, the list will be considerably longer.

A current issue arose when during a discussion about repentance and God, Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty is asked what he finds sinful. "Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there - Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men. He goes on to paraphrase Corinthians: "Don't be deceived. Neither the adulterers, the idolaters, the male prostitutes, the homosexual offenders, the greedy, the drunkards, the slanderers, the swindlers - they won't inherit the kingdom of God. Don't deceive yourself. It's not right. GLAAD (Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) on Wednesday condemned his remarks as some of the vilest and most extreme statements uttered against LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) people in a mainstream publication and said his quote was littered with outdated stereotypes and blatant misinformation. Phil and his family claim to be Christian, but Phil's lies about an entire community fly in the face of what true Christians believe…He clearly knows nothing about gay people or the majority of Louisianans - and Americans - who support legal recognition for loving and committed gay and lesbian couples. Phil's decision to push vile and extreme stereotypes is a stain on A&E and his sponsors, who now need to re-examine their ties to someone with such public disdain for LGBT people and families."

Inasmuch as Biblical values have been ignored by a secular culture and society, and secularism dictates what is culturally acceptable within the nation, one can see why GLAAD and LGBT have gained credibility with and for their alternative lifestyle choices. A popular cable news program allowed that Phil Robertson erred when he said homosexuals would not inherit the kingdom of God. The basis for that assessment was based on a quote of Luke 6:37, “Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned…” Is that a fair and balanced and accurate application? Genesis 19 is a statement against rampant homosexual behavior occurring in Sodom and Gomorrah and the ensuing judgment of God upon those cities. Jude 1:7 gives this summary as well, “just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire.There are some who have a mushy concept regarding a God of love. They seem to have forgotten that God will not allow His Standards to be violated and such behavior to go unnoticed. Psalm 7:11 (ESV) states, “God is a righteous judge, and a God who feels indignation every day.” The NKJV renders this verse, “God is a just judge, and God is angry with the wicked every day.”

What is the extent of God’s Indignation against an indulgent people and culture? Romans 1:18-32 clearly represents the posture of a Holy God. Verses 24-32 are on point with the GLAAD and LGBT orientation: “God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves… God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due…” The only error that Phil Robertson made in his referencing I Corinthians 6:9-10 is that Verse 11 is part of the context: “And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.There is the possibility of hope and transformation for anyone who subjects himself/herself to the Triune God for deliverance from sin. Consider these things with me. 

Monday, December 16, 2013


From My Perspective - - -

Nothing is a very purposeful concept. The World Dictionary has a very long listing of what “nothing” conveys and means. Among those definitions are these: “no thing; not anything; no part or share; a matter of no importance or significance; the absence of anything perceptible; the absence of meaning, value, worth; zero quantity; naught.” Obviously, nothing is something with which the culture of our day has no identity. Why? The Culture of our day is fixated on possessions and things. One example of this is the Cell Phone craze. One can observe the very young to the older generation with devices of every sort. It has become the means for communication and entertainment. With the advances of technology, there is a generation that would act as though they were the most deprived generation if suddenly their devices were no longer available.

Long lost is the concept of nothing and having to do with less. Between the start of The Great Depression of 1929 and the beginnings of World War II in 1939, George and Ira Gershwin wrote an American folk opera, Porgy and Bess, that premiered in New York in the fall of 1935. One of the feature songs of Porgy and Bess contained these lyrics: “I got plenty of nothing; And nothing is plenty for me. I got no car, Got no mule, Got no misery. Folks with plenty of plenty; They got a lock on the door. Afraid somebody's going to rob them while; They're out making more - What for? I got no lock on the door; That's no way to be. They can steal the rug From the floor; That's OK with me.  Cause the things that I prize Like the stars in the sky - Are all free.” The song was popularized by Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby. The Lyric caught the attention of the nation because it represented that which most of them were experiencing at that time. They all knew what it was to have “plenty of nothing.”

The idea of nothing is especially vital when it comes to reflecting on the origin of the world and mankind. One thought that attaches itself to the preceding is stated in I Timothy 6:6-7 (ESV), “Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world.” In the NLT, the rendering is: “Yet true religion with contentment is great wealth. After all, we didn't bring anything with us when we came into the world, and we certainly cannot carry anything with us when we die.” Another important consideration of “nothing” is in terms of how the world originated. This requires an acceptance of the presentation given in Genesis 1 that begins with: “In the beginning God created,” The World English Dictionary gives the precise definition: “to cause to come into existence.” The term often associated with Creation is the Latin Phrase “ex nihilo” – created out of nothing with no pre-existing matter. The point is that God chose to make Something out of Nothing.

In this Advent Season, it is important to consider this act and work of God along with the Birth of Jesus Christ. When the Angel Gabriel comes to Mary and tells her she will be the Mother of Jesus, Mary asks the obvious question in Luke 1:34 (ASV), “But how can this happen? I am a virgin.” Gabriel explains the process of how this will occur and then declares in Luke 1:37, “For nothing is impossible with God.” The “nothing is impossible" means that Jesus Christ will become man – Philippians 2:5-11; He will take on human flesh – John 1:14, “And The Word became flesh and dwelt among us and we beheld His Glory, Glory as of the only-begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.” He would endure the same snares and temptations common to mankind – Matthew 4:1-11. In Hebrews 4:15, we know: “...we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.” In II Corinthians 5:21 (NKJV), “ (God) made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” Because “nothing is impossible with God”, Ephesians 2:1-5 informs us: And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked…(He) made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),” This enables II Corinthians 5:17 to become one’s reality: “if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” The impossible can become possible; the nothing can become something - by God’s Grace and Power alone. Seek and Receive Jesus Christ and become a “new creation” in Him. Consider these things with me. 

Friday, December 13, 2013


From My Perspective - - -

What is being intended and conveyed when someone uses the term “never-mind”? The Urban Dictionary states that it is: “One of the most annoying words in the English language. It is said when trying to have a conversation with someone and they just decide they don't want to finish the conversation or just don't feel like telling you. Which in turn leaves you hanging, mid-way, wondering how the story or statement was going to end.” The Mirriam-Webster Dictionary indicates that it is an older term meaning: much lesslet alone —used especially in negative contexts to add to one term another denoting something less likely.” In personal matters, it conveys the idea of: “pay him/her no nevermind.” In business matters, it conveys the idea of: “It’s a no nevermind of yours.”

All of us have encountered individuals with the nevermind syndrome. It is expressed in many ways – the shrug of the shoulders; statement of it’ll be alright, or it’ll do. Basically, some people do not want to be engaged in anything that (a) causes one to think through a matter logically and conclusively, or (b) causes one to be committed to a point of view or an action. They live in a don’t rock the boat world. Their motto for life and world-trends is live and let live. It has become a sort of make-believe world in which one lives and attempts to survive. For those who were born and nurtured during World War II, it is understandable to a degree. It was a generation that had to sacrifice and learn to get by with less. It was a time when things that are taken for granted today were rationed during the previous period of history. Cars, tires, gasoline, food and other basics were rationed. Rather than items being discarded, they were recycled. Radio was the major means of information and entertainment. Newspapers would publish “Extras” if there was some newsworthy event that occurred in the War that was taking place. It was a day and time when the never-mind syndrome was non-existent.

We fast forward to current times. What a difference there is in terms of the Culture and Worldview. For those who are focused on word origins and history of usage, a determination is reached that the compound word – never-mind – began to be used in 1954. In the sixty-year concept of “never-mind”, how is that working out for the Culture and Worldview of our day? In a terse response one can conclude: not very well. The Culture is adrift in chaos. The Worldview has allowed for the erosion of moral values and overall decency. In the area of Politics, it is populated by too many who are disingenuous (not truly honest or sincere: giving the false appearance of being honest or sincere). A similar trend is occurring in the area of Religion. The level of commitment seems to be less important whereas career opportunity and material compensation are more in focus. Success in ministry is measured by how many people are in the pews. Programs are more vital than message. The Gospel and Evangelism are words employed but not necessarily the message proclaimed or the ministry in which the church is engaged.

Where should an individual be in terms of values and commitment? In this Advent Season, dare we even broach the subject and theme that it means to be like Jesus and not like the secular world? Is it not a time when Philippians 2:5-11 (ESV) should be read and set as the goal and purpose of one’s life: “Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, Who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, He humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” While some are willing to ignore this fact and relegate it to their nevermind syndrome status, it is a basic tenant for Biblical faith and practice. In the balance – Eternity. Will you spend eternity with The One Who loved you and died for you, or with those who disregard The Gospel - the nevermind syndrome group – II Thessalonians 2:11-12, “Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” You have a choice that needs to be made. Consider these things with me

Monday, December 9, 2013


From My Perspective - - -

When a person becomes frustrated and/or exasperated, an utterance that is sometimes heard is: “I’m losing my mind.” When it is uttered to a spouse or child, the expression is: “You’re going to cause me to lose my mind.” Hopefully, this is just an idle expression rather than a diagnosis of reality. What is the mind and in what ways can it impact one’s thinking and actions? A phrase that would find application in various situations would be narrow-mindedness. This would be descriptive of a person who sees the world through a very small prism and interprets life accordingly.

In December 2001, Ron Howard released a film entitled “A Beautiful Mind.”  It represented the true story of prominent mathematician John Forbes Nash Jr.  Russell Crowe is the actor who portrays the brilliant but arrogant and conceited professor Nash. A review of the film states: “He is visited by an Agent from the Central Intelligence Agency who wants to recruit him for code-breaking activities. But evidence suggests that Nash's perceptions of reality are cloudy at best; he is struggling to maintain his tenuous hold on sanity and his wife Alicia suspects a diagnosis of paranoid schizophrenia. Battling decades of illness with the loyal Alicia by his side, Nash is ultimately able to gain some control over his mental state, and eventually goes on to triumphantly win the Nobel Prize.” Shortly after this film was released, Newsweek Magazine, March 10, 2002 featured an article: “The Schizophrenic Mind” by Sharon Begley. In terms of what causes schizophrenia, she writes: “Neither doctors nor scientists can accurately predict who will become schizophrenic. The cause is largely unknown. Although the disease almost surely arises from neurons that take a wrong turn during fetal development, it strikes people just on the cusp of adulthood. Whatever the cause, it seems not to change in frequency: the incidence of schizophrenia has remained at about 1 percent of the population for all the decades doctors have surveyed it. There is surely a genetic predisposition, but not an omnipotent one: when one identical twin has schizophrenia, his or her twin has the disease in fewer than half the cases. Treatment is improving, but a cure is not even on the horizon.”

The Ad-Age Website entry for March 03, 2011 featured an article based on the slogan: “A Mind Is a Terrible Thing to Waste - An Iconic Campaign Turns 40” by David Sable. “It is the slogan for the United Negro College Fund that originated in 1972 when they teamed up with the US Ad Council to come up with a slogan.” The idea was to challenge young Negro students to be focused on the benefit of education. At the time when the slogan was adapted and emphasized, “The country was in the throes of wrenching social upheaval -- civil rights, the Vietnam War, the feminist awakening -- and views were both partisan and passionate.” Are people wasting their minds today? Are they desirous of stretching themselves in the pursuit of knowledge and wisdom? If these studies were applied to The Church, what is the mindset of churches today? Are they places where both knowledge of and wisdom from God is hallmark and being sought? Someone came up with an interesting study point: “Do we (the professing Christian) have an orientation to the narrow-mind or the narrow-way?

With concern for his mind, knowledge and wisdom, King Solomon stated: Ecclesiastes 7:23-25, “All this I have tested by wisdom. I said, I will be wise, but it was far from me. That which has been is far off, and deep, very deep; who can find it out? I turned my heart to know and to search out and to seek wisdom and the scheme of things, and to know the wickedness of folly and the foolishness that is madness.” His purpose and pursuit was and is correct. A reason why this is vital is in the area of motivation and accountability. In Jeremiah 11:20 is the recognition of a reality, “O Lord of hosts, who judges righteously, who tests the heart and the mind,” In Jeremiah 17:10, there is mention of an understanding of what God observes and what His intent is, “I the Lord search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds.” The safest place for one to guard, keep and develop the mind is shared in Isaiah 26:3-4, “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock.” Consider these things with me.

Friday, December 6, 2013


From My Perspective - - -

There is so much noise, distraction and preoccupation occurring in the world today. A car stops alongside you at a traffic light and the radio decibel level is set at full volume causing one to hear unwanted noise. Young people walk around with earphones and portable devices causing them to be oblivious to any other voice or sound communication. Emergency Equipment has difficulty moving through traffic because of the volume levels of other sounds. If there was a warning signal or a siren being sounded, it is doubtful that such a device could be heard above the din of noise.

This is true in life and history as well. “The Gathering Storm” by Winston Churchill is one of six volumes that share his remembrances and impressions of (a) what led up to World War II and (b) how Great Britain became engaged in that War. The step-by-step decline into war, with Churchill becoming prime minister as "the tocsin was about to sound." A “tocsin” is:   an alarm bell or the ringing of it; a warning signal. The point of the “tocsin” is to sound an alarm regarding impending danger or disaster. An example of a tocsin with which most are familiar is the siren that is sounded when a tornado is approaching a community or land area. The idea is that those who hear the tocsin will make preparation and take appropriate action to be as safe from harm and devastation as possible. In Churchill’s day, how many heeded the tocsin? His immediate predecessor as Prime Minister, Neville Chamberlin, is best known for his appeasement foreign policy that led to his signing of the Munich Agreement in 1938 that conceded the German-populated Sudetenland of Czechoslovakia to Adolph Hitler and Germany. Many will recall his return to Great Britain waving the Munich Agreement as he disembarked his plane and stating that it was peace in their time.

The tocsin is sounding on another front today. The O’Reilly Factor Talking Points on December 04, 2013 focused on the Culture War that is occurring in the United States. The summary of those points is: “There is a war between traditional Americans and secular progressives. Some Secular Progressives are hoping to move religious influence in the United States out of the way to make room for (1) cradle to grave entitlements, (2) income equality, (3) unfettered abortion, (4) gay marriage and (5) legalized drugs. Some secular progressives who believe that America is an unfair place are trying to spin values held by traditional Americans as negative. Traditional values have become demonized.” Is anyone paying any attention to this tocsin? Does anyone care that the traditional values of the United States are under attack and rapidly eroding? Does it matter to someone – anyone – that religious suppression looms on the horizon?

One is reminded of the tocsin sounding from another day and how those who heard it responded. Hebrews 11:7 is a summary of that tocsin sound: “By faith Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, in reverent fear constructed an ark for the saving of his household. By this he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.” Even though Noah had warned his contemporaries of the judgment that was about to come, he was scorned, mocked, derided and ignored. How do you think the society and culture of today would respond to a Noah who spoke about the ills, trends and life choices being made in our day? There is another tocsin stated in Hebrews 2:1-4, “Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it. For since the message declared by angels proved to be reliable, and every transgression or disobedience received a just retribution, how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation?” There is an increased need for one to “pay much closer attention” to God and His Word. He is the only source and means for deliverance from sin. He has made the provision for man’s salvation (John 3:16) so that whoever believes in Him can enter into God’s salvation and deliverance from eternal judgment. There are several different approaches and presentations of “The Gospel.” Tools are of value but they should not be allowed to clutter the simplicity of God’s Plan and Message of salvation. Romans 10:9-10, 13 is as simple and clear as it can get: “if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." Have you received God’s gift of salvation to and for you? The tocsin is sounding – have you responding to it? Consider these things with me. 

Tuesday, November 26, 2013


From My Perspective - - -

The idea of existentialism surfaces from time to time in the philosophical surmising of men who seek to determine a reason for existence and how an individual can find meaning in an otherwise meaningless universe. A simplistic definition is: “It is a modern philosophical movement stressing the importance of personal experience and responsibility and the demands they make on the individual, who is seen as a free agent in a deterministic and seemingly meaningless universe. It is a philosophical attitude…opposed to rationalism and empiricism.” A sad conclusion was stated by one who was acclaimed as a leading theologian of the 20th Century who allowed: Life is lived in a type of vacuum, at the end of which one stands on a threshold of nothingness and leaps out into an abyss of darkness. As one does so, there must be a conscious determination to maintain the courage to be. Existentialism is too technical for coverage in a Blog Post.

The focus is on the non-existential jump, namely, how and why the “Christian community” allows itself the luxury of jumping to a conclusion. When doing so, facts have little bearing on the conclusions drawn and a determination reached. After many years of pastoral ministry, one thing that has often been observed is a definition attached to the existentialists: “…stressing the importance of personal experience and responsibility and the demands they make on the individual…” In nearly all fields of human endeavor, there is the possibility and propensity of the “blame game” being unfairly utilized. In politics, if there is a problem – blame your predecessor or opposition party – but never accept personal responsibility. It is seen in the family structure where Sibling A will respond with an accusation that Sibling B did it, or “she” took it, etc.

Where the “blame game” is painful is when it occurs in the “Christian community” (or the church, so called). The routine has become a type of ritual – 1) a person is unhappy – it must be the Preacher’s fault; 2) church attendance is down – it must be the Preacher’s fault; 3) the giving has slacked off – it must be the Preacher’s fault; 4) People are leaving the church and going elsewhere – well – you guessed it – it must be the Preacher’s fault. The bottom line to all of this is that the Preacher must go. It is based on the inner-thought that a new “Preacher” will attract people back and bring about church growth and enthusiastic participation in programs and support. There are times when this can be an appropriate decision and action especially if a Preacher’s behavior has been misguided and/or inappropriate. Percentage-wise, that is small number of cases.

It is both a frustration and point of interest how rarely those reaching the determination regarding a Pastor’s (Preacher’s) status ever pause to reflect that the above things mentioned (and more) may be due to “US” rather than to “HIM”! Most decision-makers miss an important Biblical use of the Hortatory Subjunctive. This is a statement urging others to join in some action (commanding oneself and one’s associates. It is roughly the same as first person imperative, which does not exist in Greek.) Part of the idea of this is given in Hebrews 10:22-25, “LET US draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith…LET US hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering…LET US consider how to stir up one another to love and good works… (LET US) not neglect to meet together… (LET US be) encouraging one another…” Nowhere does it place emphasis on the “him” (Preacher) but always on the “them” (LET US). It seems as though the guidelines for church success given in the Book of Acts is frequently and conveniently ignored. Obviously, the church experienced both power and growth when it went forward on its knees, namely – Prayer. Prison doors were opened – Acts 4, 12, 16 and Church Growth was occurring Acts 2, 4, 5, 10. The more the Church prayed and the more personal responsibility grasped and acted upon – the more people were being saved and added to The Church. Can the body politic and nation get turned around? Only if and when II Chronicles 7:14 is a reality. What does it require? “If My people will humble themselves and Pray…” I long to see the “Christian community” avoid the non-existential jump and begin to Take A Serious God Seriously and do the work of the kingdom His way rather than our way. Consider these things with me. 

Wednesday, October 2, 2013


From My Perspective - - -

TIME Magazine features a page entitled “10 Questions” that are posed to different people of note, as well as some who influence both society and culture because of the positions they hold and/or enunciate. In the September 30, 2013 issue, there are “Ten Questions with Richard Dawkins – The evolutionary biologist on new words, his education and, of course, God.” The interviewer, Belinda Luscombe, asks about the new words he has and is introducing to the English language. One of the words is “meme”, coined in 1976, meaning: “a cultural item that is transmitted by repetition in a manner analogous to the biological transmission of genes; an idea or element of social behavior passed on through generations in a culture, especially by imitation.” Obviously, his word “meme” is a derivative of or play on the word “mimic”.

His attempt with the word “dundridges”, a word not yet in the dictionary, “…comes from a character in a novel by Tom Sharpe. A ‘dundridge’ is a minor official who has no flexibility, no discretion, and no humanity.” When he was pressed to use his word in a sentence, his example was: “The dundridges of the passport office are refusing to give me a new passport because I misspelled my name.” It I an interesting exercise in terms of vocabulary, however there is no shortage of descriptive words already in use. “…The Second Edition of the 20-Volume Oxford English Dictionary contains full entries for 171,476 words in current use, and 47,156 obsolete words. To this may be added around 9,500 derivative words included as subentries. Over half of these words are nouns, about a quarter adjectives, and about a seventh verbs; the rest is made up of exclamations, conjunctions, prepositions, suffixes, etc…If distinct senses were counted, the total would probably approach three quarters of a million…”

There is an interesting account in II Samuel 16:5-8 that may illustrate that “dundridge” types have been around for a long time. The text indicates: “Now when King David came to Bahurim, there was a man…whose name was Shimei…coming from there…cursing continuously as he came. And he threw stones at David and at all the servants of King David. And all the people and all the mighty men were on his right hand and on his left. Also Shimei said…when he cursed: "Come out! Come out! You bloodthirsty man, you rogue! The Lord has brought upon you all the blood of the house of Saul, in whose place you have reigned; and the Lord has delivered the kingdom into the hand of Absalom your son. So now you are caught in your own evil, because you are a bloodthirsty man!" When David’s mighty men offered to silence Shimei, II Samuel 16:9, “Abishai said to the king: Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king? Let me go over and cut off his head…” David restrained him. Even though the barrage of curses, stones and mud was being inflicted upon him, we read in II Samuel 16:10-14, “So David and his men continued along the road while Shimei was going along the hillside opposite him, cursing as he went and throwing stones at him and showering him with dirt. The king and all the people with him arrived at their destination exhausted. And there he refreshed himself…”

If you were being subjective to one throwing stones and mud/dirt at you, along with invectives, how would you respond or react? David’s approach was that God was aware of what was occurring and he was in God’s hands regardless of that which Shimei was doing. The text doesn’t indicate what Shimei continued to do while David and his entourage sought rest and refreshment. Shimei was doubtlessly relentless and continued his outrageous behavior for as long as he could. We read about Shimei in II Samuel 19:16-23 as King David is returning to Jerusalem. Shimei pleads for forgiveness for what he had done – and – David grants it. David does warn Solomon that Shimei is not one who can be trusted. When Solomon becomes King, he puts Shimei to death. Was he a “dundridge”? He was one man who sought to cause great harm to another. A lesson to be learned is that one should never desire to retaliate for a wrong done. God knows and God is the unerring Judge. We should always remember Romans 12:19, “Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,says the Lord.” The Message Paraphrase states verse 19, “Don't insist on getting even; that's not for you to do. I'll do the judging, says God. I'll take care of it." It’s always better to trust the arm of God than the arm of the flesh. Consider these things with me.

Monday, September 30, 2013


From My Perspective - - -

Leadership gurus and motivational speakers have similar goals when an audience is being addressed. The hope is that individuals will be motivated to maximize their potential by stretch-ing themselves beyond the mundane and routine. The idea is that one should aspire to leave a self-imposed comfort zone and become the person one can be. A popular motivational speaker, John C. Maxwell, challenges his clients and audiences with comments such as: “Learn to say 'no' to the good so you can say 'yes' to the best.” Another comment is: “Life is 10% of what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it.”

One of his John Maxwell’s comments: “We cannot become what we need by remaining what we are.” – is significant in terms of Incubation. The simple definition – incubator/incubation is: “an apparatus in which eggs are hatched artificially; an enclosure in which prematurely born infants are kept in controlled conditions for protection of life and physical care.” A Crosswalk Devotional (Excerpted from Edge-Notes, the bi-monthly newsletter of Living on the Edge; based on the book Holy Transformation. Used with permission. Copyright 2003 by Chip Ingram. All rights reserved) asked this question: Are You Stuck in a Cocoon?” There is this response given: “Ask any butterfly if God has changed its life, and the answer will be a resounding YES! But according to the respected Gallup and Barna research organizations, you wouldn't get the same response from the average American who believes in Christ. Sadly, recent research from both Gallup and Barna indicates that the decision to follow Christ makes surprisingly little difference in how the average American believer lives. It doesn't change where they spend their time or how they arrange their priorities. It doesn't affect their integrity at work, their sexual expression, their commitment to marriage, or their principles of parenting. Why? Most likely it's because these believers got a little bit of the Easter story, but never fully understood the foundational truths of what was accomplished by Christ's death and resurrection. And that's the core, the basis for the metamorphosis of the believer. And without that, there's no real change…”

With the idea of metamorphosis in mind, a beautiful place that one can visit is Callaway Gardens at Pine Mountain, Georgia. It is a tremendous facility with many attractions to see and enjoy. One of them is the Cecil B. Day Butterfly Center at Callaway Gardens “…where 1,000 tropical butterflies, representing more than 50 different species, flutter freely through the air.” In the Center is a laboratory where one can observe people studying the life cycle of a butterfly, as well as working on displays that will enable one to gain a better understanding of a butterfly and its metamorphosis. An excellent time one could choose to go would be between Thanksgiving and Christmas. As well as viewing the Poinsettia displays, there is the opportunity to enjoy the Fantasy In Lights – “8 million lights, 15 dazzling scenes…the South’s most spectacular light and sound show…” Aside from this promotional, metamorphosis is the primary focus.

The metamorphosis of the Butterfly has an important lesson for us. Unless and until the butterfly emerges from its cocoon and begins to spread its wings, one can never see and appreciate the Butterfly and the natural beauty of it. The same is true of a human life. II Corinthians 5:17 states: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” The New Living Translation has a phrase that lends itself to a spiritual metamorphosis, “They (the new believers/Christians) are not the same anymore, for the old life is gone. A new life has begun! “ Question: Do you think you were intended to remain a caterpillar (larvae) or to become a beautiful butterfly?” Incubation serves a useful purpose but it is not intended as the permanent dwelling for anyone or anything. For the believer/Christian, one is supposed to be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ and to display the beauty of the Gospel and its message of light to a world that is lost in the darkness of this age. The words of a song are significant, both as a goal and as a prayer: “Let the beauty of Jesus be seen in me; All His wonderful passion and purity; Oh, Thou Spirit divine, all my nature refine Till the beauty of Jesus be seen in me.” Make these words your goal and prayer. Consider these things with me.