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Showing posts from June, 2015

Living For Christ in Our Culture Today, #1

This next week I embark on a risky endeavor.  I'm going to do a series of messages on what it means to live for Christ in our culture - or what in the world does it mean to be a Christian and live for Christ in the midst of this world? With all sorts of cultural issues to address, I do not pretend to be an expert on any.  I am a Christian first and foremost, and my allegiance is, and hopefully will always be, to be faithful to God, his word, and the work of Jesus Christ in the Kingdom of God. I don't pretend to know what all of those things mean.  With racial strife, questions on same-sex marriage, terrorism worries, privacy concerns, and the technological malaise that exists...I would be naive to say, "Oh, I have an answer for this..." What I do want to do is address some of the issues here - especially as it relates to what I'm teaching on.  I know that not all will agree with me - it has never happened before so I don't believe it will happen again.  Wh

Heaven: He Makes All Things New

Revelation 21:5 5  And the one sitting on the throne said, “Look, I am making everything new!” And then he said to me, “Write this down, for what I tell you is trustworthy and true.” It's almost summer here in Wisconsin - that is on the calendar.  It has felt like Summer for a couple of weeks or more.  I was walking with Linda and remarked how just 8 weeks ago we were longing for warm weather.  The fight between Winter and Summer is called Spring here, but it is just that - a fight.  One day its warm, the next cold.  One day is dry, the next wet.  I had one day where I turned on the furnace in the morning for a couple of minutes just to warm up the house, only to turn on the air conditioner at night just to get rid of the warm humidity.  That's Wisconsin. What if Winter leading to Summer through this thing called Spring was not a natural way for us to see something Jesus was teaching us?  The Winter is long, dark, cold.  Spring comes in to usher in light, hope, warmth...g

Some Thoughts on Cultural Shifts, Same Sex Marriage, and the Church

I don't consider myself an apologist, nor theologian, not even a scholar.  I am a Pastor and have spent the better part of 43 years developing my role as teacher, scholar, theologian, and apologist.  After all, a Pastor is committed to doing all of those things whether one is good at it or not. Like others who serve in ministry today, the cultural shifts that seem like a tidal wave of change concerning same-sex marriage have made a huge impact on the church today.  I have read the articles that are both for and against the church recognizing and welcoming same-sex marriage.  I see the Christians who have changed positions on the subject and give their arguments for why they now support that which they had before been opposed to - or at least did not give approval for. Recently I ran across two articles - both by people much smarter than me and much more credentialed to speak to a larger audience than I might ever speak to.  Both of the articles were provocative, well reasoned,

Overcoming the Fear of Death

I recently wrote on Fears...we all have them.  Perhaps none is more difficult for us to resolve than the fears that come when we think about death. This is what I know with certainty - 100% of us will die.  We know that this life is not going to last.  While we might wish/hope for a life that is lived lucidly and physically well through our 80's, maybe even into our 90's, we don't know how long it will really be, nor do we know how it will someday end. How then should we think about this subject - one that frankly we'd love to pretend does not exist? Let's begin with this question:  Do we really believe that this life is so good, and death so bad? The Apostle Paul makes a statement about life, and from it, a statement about death: 2 Corinthians 5:1-6 1  For we know that when this earthly tent we live in is taken down (that is, when we die and leave this earthly body), we will have a house in heaven, an eternal body made for us by God himself and not by

Dealing With Our Fears

All of us have fears and they change with the changing seasons of our lives.  When I was a father of four small children, I feared something happening to me wherein I would not be able to provide for them.  I feared something happening to them worse than injury or failure.  I feared, probably most of all, something happening to their Mother since I had no idea how I'd take care of four kids! All of us have fears. As I've gotten older my fears have changed.  I now have more thoughts on health concerns than anything else.  Linda and I recently met with some friends who are our age and as we drove away we both commented on how wonderful it was to be with them - AND, not once did we talk about health issues! I have fears about future issues.  I watched my Mother battle Alzheimer's Disease for over 10 years and saw her lose her memory of almost everyone she knew.  I watched my Father battle disease for the last couple of years of his life before he succumbed to it.  As a P

Israel Reflections - Final

This is the final post I'll make on our trip last month to Israel.  The overall time was filled with lots of interesting times to both site see and meet some people from Israel. Israel is a place filled with Tension!  That is an understatement. All over the country young adults fill the ranks of the Israeli Defense Force (IDF).  A picture of six young women carrying automatic rifles is not an odd picture at all in Israel.  Young adults are conscripted into the army for two years when they reach 18.  They serve as a deterrent to acts of violence that flare up from time to time as Palestinians fight against the Israeli rule in the West Bank. The tension is complicated, and don't let anyone tell you that it can be solved simply, if only Israel would do "this or that"; or if only the Palestinians would do "this or that".  Those who write from the states side that they have the solution are not credible - naive at best, foolish in reality. When the Palest