Monthly Archives: April 2014

Wisdom For Your Wednesday

Who has ascended to heaven and come down?
    Who has gathered the wind in his fists?
Who has wrapped up the waters in a garment?
    Who has established all the ends of the earth?
What is his name, and what is his son’s name?
    Surely you know!

Every word of God proves true;
    he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.
Do not add to his words,
    lest he rebuke you and you be found a liar.

Proverbs 30:4-6

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Be careful, please.

Be careful when you read books about people who have gone to heaven and come back to tell about it.

Be careful when you rely on an understanding of heaven or hell more than, or in addition to, what has already been revealed in God’s Word.

Be careful not to place too much emphasis on extra biblical material to help you understand what the Bible says.

Wisdom says to be careful.

There is One who has ascended into heaven and come down.

The Word of God is sufficient enough to tell us all we need to know about the afterlife.

Adding to the Word of God merits God’s rebuke. In fact, He calls people that do these things liars.

Be careful, please.

Timothy Tuesday!

9 likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, 10 but with what is proper for women who profess godliness-with good works.

1 Timothy 2:9-10

Okay ladies – you heard the man – No braided hair. No gold. No pearls. No clothes that are expensive.

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That’s what Paul says.

Take it at face value – if you braid your hair, wear anything with gold or pearls, or wear clothes that cost more than $20, you’re going to hell.

That’s what Paul says (okay, so maybe I am exaggerating a tiny bit).

But what exactly does Paul mean?

Certainly, the culture and context of the first century world was different from ours. No doubt.

But a reason women dressed nice then and a reason women dress nice today are – in many ways – similar: Women can be guilty of seeking their identity in their appearance, not in who they are in Christ.

This is what Paul is getting at here.

images-1The purpose is NOT for us to get all legalistic and focus on what women should and shouldn’t wear. No, no. The purpose of these verses is to urge women not to seek approval from men and/or women by wearing nice and expensive and immodest clothing. These verses are to help us focus on and evaluate why we wear what we wear.

Are we trying to draw attention to ourselves, our bodies, our status? Or are we trying to draw attention to Jesus and what He is doing in and around us? Christian women are to clothe themselves so that others are attracted to the Christ in them, the One driving their good works.

Men, before we get on our “Pharisaical High Horse” – let’s recall what Paul said in verse 8 of chapter 2 (just before these verses): “I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling.” Lifting up holy hands without anger or quarreling means living Christlike lives. Doing it without anger or quarreling means we don’t get in a wad when we don’t get our way. Translation: our lives and our reactions are to point others to the greatness of Jesus.

One way women do it is by identifying with Jesus in their good works.

One way men do it is by identifying with Jesus in their praying and reactions to circumstances.

So, what clothes are you wearing? Why do you wear them? Do people know you by your clothing or by your good works?

What about you, men? How have you reacted to circumstances and people recently?

Does your life point to your status and/or your “rights”? Or to the Jesus who is your status and the one who owns all of your rights?

Now THAT’s a Good Question!

What does it mean to blaspheme the Holy Spirit?

This question came to me recently from someone who had recently read Matthew 12:22-32. The question was asked based on what Jesus said in verses 31 – 32: “Therefore I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven people, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. And whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.”

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The one asking the question was fearful of having done this very thing.

I quickly assured this person they weren’t alone. Many people get anxious having read this verse. For some, it even plagues them.

So, what does it mean?

It always helps to look at the context. Context is everything. Knowing what is going on in the passage makes all the difference in the world and will keep you from making a lot of interpretation errors.

A careful reading of the passage reveals Jesus casting demons out of a demon-possessed man. Onlookers are amazed and think Jesus may be the Christ. The religious leaders, however, have none of it. They quickly tell the people that obviously Jesus is of the devil because only by the power of the devil that anyone can cast out demons. Jesus then quickly talks of how ridiculous that is – to say the devil cast demons out of people – why in the world would he do that? Jesus continues to say that only someone stronger than the devil himself could cast out one with demonic power and possession.

In other words, after Jesus heals the demon-possessed man, he makes the case that only God could have done that; and, since Jesus did do it, the kingdom of God was among them.

The point? The only thing that makes sense of the miracle is that Jesus is God and the promised Messiah who has come into the world.

If you deny the fact that Jesus is the Messiah and the Son of God – you will not have forgiveness or eternal life.

If you embrace the fact that Jesus is the Messiah and the Son of God – you will be forgiven and live forever.

Now back up a bit and read what Matthew recorded about Jesus in Matthew 12:15-21. Did you notice what God said he would do to His Servant (Jesus) in verse 18 (a quote from Isaiah 42:1-3)? He said He would put His Spirit on Jesus.

Translation: The works Jesus did would verify – by the power of the Spirit – that He was indeed the Christ.

So – get this now – if you see Jesus do a miraculous work (i.e., cast demons out of a man) and attribute it to Him being the Messiah – you are glorifying the Spirit’s work in Jesus. However, if you deny or reject Jesus’ work being the work of God, you are speaking against (blaspheming) the Spirit.

So, when Jesus says whoever blasphemes or speaks against the Spirit will not be forgiven and will not have eternal life – he means (based on the context here) those who deny Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. The sin that will not be forgiven, in other words, is the sin of rejecting or denying Jesus as the Christ. The Spirit of God testifies that Jesus is indeed God’s Son. If we reject Jesus as this, we are speaking against the Holy Spirit.

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The sin of “blaspheming the Holy Spirit” has nothing to do with saying a curse word in front of the Holy Spirit’s name or title (though I wouldn’t advise it!). In the context of this passage – it is clear that Jesus is telling the religious leaders (and us) that rejecting Jesus as God’s Son is blaspheming the Spirit. Doing this, then, cannot be forgiven.

If you believe Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God – God’s means of salvation for the world – YOU ARE AND WILL BE FORGIVEN FOREVER!!!!!!!! The Spirit of God revealed this to you and you are not “speaking against” Him. In fact, proclaiming and believing in the reality of who Jesus is is a means of glorifying the Holy Spirit!!!!

Stop letting Satan beat you up over this and rob you of your joy that was purchased by the Jesus you believe in so strongly!!

Five @ Free Flow Friday!

Can I get a Halle – LUUUU – jah?????

It’s Friday! Unknown

Oh my, how I heart me some Fridays.

As I mentioned yesterday, I am beginning a new series on the family this Sunday. To give you a runnin’ head start, here are some interesting and helpful articles on various family-related issues.

Happy Friday!

Enjoy.

#1. Ten Ways to Pray for Your Teen from iMom 

Even if you’ve never been the type to pray consistently, being the mom of a teenager will take you there! The challenges and risks surrounding your children at this age are great, and the help of a loving Heavenly Father can calm anxious parents and guide adolescents. We also have a more detailed version of these, with scripture references to guide you. If you don’t have teenagers yet, here is our 10 Ways to Pray for Your Child printable instead!

 

#2. Seven Tips for a Happy Christian Marriage by Brian G. Najapfour

If God blesses your home with children, train them according to His way. The rearing of your children is a joy, but also a responsibility. Take time to read and explain God’s will for your children. Take your children to church with you. Teach your children the songs of the church, songs they will continue to carry with them throughout life. When possible, do all in your power to provide your children with a Christian education. To do so may require your family to change its lifestyle, but in the end God will bless your family.”

 

#3. What’s Missing in Our Conversations about Marriage Decline by Joel J. Miller

None of that is false, so far as it goes. But when you take that understanding of marriage and place it within the context of a self-indulgent culture like ours what you create are marriages between two people looking to get the most out of the relationship for themselves.”

 

#4. God, the Gospel, and the Gay Challenge – A Response to Matthew Vines by Al Mohler

Evangelical Christians in the United States now face an inevitable moment of decision. While Christians in other movements and in other nations face similar questions, the question of homosexuality now presents evangelicals in the United States with a decision that cannot be avoided. Within a very short time, we will know where everyone stands on this question. There will be no place to hide, and there will be no way to remain silent. To be silent will answer the question.

The question is whether evangelicals will remain true to the teachings of Scripture and the unbroken teaching of the Christian church for over two thousand years on the morality of same-sex acts and the institution of marriage.”

Download a free Ebook related to this very issue here.

 

#5. Trying Not to be Late on Easter Sunday by Jon Acuff

But on Easter Sunday, my “gotta get to church on time” internal sensor goes to terror level red. And yesterday my somewhat silent anxiety about arriving on time was even higher than usual because we just moved. Yesterday was the first time we’ve ever driven to church from our new house. We don’t know the roads or the shortcuts or the most efficient routes. We didn’t even pre-game the drive or do a dry run the night before.

Although you might not share this same sense of anxiety I have, I promise there are at least 6 things that tend to conspire against us when it comes to getting to church on time on Easter:”

Throw It Out There Thursday!

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Have you done it yet?

Oh, don’t act like you don’t know.

If you aren’t a member of FBC El Dorado, you get a pass. But if you ARE a member, hopefully you know exactly what I am asking. So, have you done it?

Have you contacted the person(s) you met over Easter weekend?

Have you called Gail or Holly and gotten their contact information? Did you follow up?

If you already had it, have you made contact and invited them back this Sunday?

It’s simple. . . call, run by their house (with a tray of brownies perhaps), text, email, Facebook, Tweet, etc. Here’s a run down of how a conversation might go:

You: “Hey, I just wanted to let you know how glad I was to have you as our guest Sunday. It was great meeting/seeing you and your family.”

Them: “Thanks for calling. We had a great time and enjoyed the donut holes and coffee. The sermon needed some work. But the food was AWESOME.”

You: “Pastor Matt is starting a new sermon series this week on the Family. Why don’t you come back this Sunday and see what God says about how to “do” family life?”

images-1Them: “Well, Pastor Matt is a bit weird; and your music guy looks like a cross between the Dos Equis dude and Jimmy Buffet, but . . . okay.”Unknown

You: “Great! You want me to meet you somewhere before the service?”

That’s it! It’s really THAT simple!

So, have you done it yet?

The WIN for Easter Sunday was never to see how many people we could get to our property. The WIN is seeing those needing/looking for a church home to come back the following week. 

I’m gonna “Throw It Out There” again: Have you done it yet???

And, as for the new service starting this Sunday – let me “Throw This Out There” . . .

The series is called “Help! My Family is Messed Up!”

Here’s the plan:

April 27th – “Why Families Get Messed Up”Help Series Logo

May 4th – “Why Families Need Seniors”

May 11th – “God’s Intention for Moms”

May 18th – “Senior Sunday” (Brady Canright)

May 25th – “How Will My Family Remember Me?”

June 1st – “Male and Female: The Only Way?” 

June 8th – “Can Marriage Actually Work?”

June 15th – “God’s Intention for Dads”

June 22nd – “I’m Just a Kid – What Do I Do?”

June 29th – “What Your Kids Need Most”

 

Let me “Throw It Out There” again: Have you done it yet? Are YOU coming? Who are you bringing with you?

 

Wisdom for Your Wednesday

12 Apply your heart to instruction
    and your ear to words of knowledge.
13 Do not withhold discipline from a child;
    if you strike him with a rod, he will not die.
14 If you strike him with the rod,
    you will save his soul from Sheol.
15 My son, if your heart is wise,
    my heart too will be glad.
16 My inmost being will exult
    when your lips speak what is right.

19 Hear, my son, and be wise,
    and direct your heart in the way.

23 Buy truth, and do not sell it;
    buy wisdom, instruction, and understanding.
24 The father of the righteous will greatly rejoice;
    he who fathers a wise son will be glad in him.
25 Let your father and mother be glad;
    let her who bore you rejoice.

26 My son, give me your heart,
    and let your eyes observe my ways.

Proverbs 23:12-16, 19, 23-26

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The Bible cannot be any more clear: Children are to get their understanding of the Person and Ways and Character of God from mom and dad. Likewise, children are to get how God wants them to live in this world from mom and dad. This isn’t something to be pawned off. This isn’t something we are to let “trained professionals” do for us. This is something God has called us – as parents – to intentionally do.

The father described here in this Proverb – the one writing the verses – took it upon himself to lead his family in the way of the Lord. This is wisdom’s way of saying to us, “God ordained it to be this way! Make it your ambition to be like this daddy!”

Dad, what would happen to your children if they gave you their heart? What would happen if their eyes observed your ways? If they gave themselves to what you taught them and to how you lived, would they grow up to be lovers of God?

Would you join me – pause right now where you are – and beg God to give you this burden? Would you plead with the heavenly Father to, by the power of His Spirit, lead you in how to best lead your family? He wants to answer this prayer. He wants to help you. He wants your heart to burn like the daddy’s heart in this Proverb.

Read the verses again. Pray them back to God on behalf of your heart for your kids. Then go in His power and lead as He leads you.

Side Note: I am starting a new sermon series THIS Sunday (April 27th) entitled, “Help! My Family is Messed Up!” I want us to spend several weeks talking about how we can get better at this very thing. Join us this Sunday at 10:30 am in the FBC sanctuary.

Timothy Tuesday!

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“I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling.”

1 Timothy 2:8

Okay, now Paul has crossed the line. I’ve had enough.

First he called the entire church to pray – FIRST & FOREMOST – above all other church activities.

And now, if that wasn’t enough, he is calling all the men in the church to give themselves to prayer.

The nerve?!?!

Doesn’t he know we have more important things to give ourselves to than living holy lives and praying to God all the time? It’s one thing to call the church to this – but now he is going to highlight JUST the men?

My goodness – there are lessons to be taught, sermons to be preached, chairs to be stacked, tables to be set up, money to be counted, motions to be seconded, music to be rehearsed, evangelism techniques to be learned, marriages needing counsel, coffee to be drunk, lightbulbs to be changed, budgets to balance, meetings to attend, tires to be aired, and rolls to be buttered. . . just to name a few!

Doesn’t Paul know this???

It’s as if he calls the whole church to give itself to prayer, and THEN  spotlights the men by calling us out to pray with pure hearts to God. Doesn’t he know we men are DOERS??? Put us to work, not prayer!

Praying is such . . .

Hard. Work.

As a matter of fact, prayer IS the work.

Paul isn’t telling us men not to do the other, more “practical” things. But it is a call for the men of the church to walk in holiness before the Lord and to make prayer THE most important and central activity we do.

In other words, PRAYER MUST BE THE PRIORITY FOR CHRISTIAN MEN.

Stop and think for a second: how much more of God would we all experience in our meetings and lessons and services and budgets and marriages and evangelism and fellowships if we actually did give ourselves to prayer like Paul admonishes us to?

How is your personal prayer life going?

Are you able to lift up “holy” hands to God in prayer?

Do you ever meet with some men in the church and pray together on behalf of the church, your family, the lost?

Why not?