“The Ride”

For those who know me know that I am an avid mountain bike rider and my home away from home is the trail at Sly Park Reservoir. I have ridden that trail for almost 20 years. The other day I went on a ride and that should have been routine but it was different. My rides tend to average about 60 minutes but this one was longer, when first saw the time I thought it was because I’m a bit out of shape but that wasn’t it. The reason that particular ride took so long was because I took my time to soak in all of God’s glory in that awesome place and it reaffirmed how that trail as become my private place of worship and prayer.

I have turned to this trail (weather permitting) for stress relief, as an antidepressant, to vent my frustration, to celebrate life and as I said before to get some alone time with the Lord. Because I’m so familiar with the trail I can ride it without thinking in a sense. This allows me to speak and pray to God and work out whatever issue I may have or to thank Him for whatever blessing he has bestowed on me or my family. At first this was awkward for me because of my preconceived mentality was that the only place to pray to God was kneeling in a temple with your head bowed. But then I remembered how Jesus came to the earth to liberate us from such binding ways of prayer and clear the way for us to have an intimate relationship with God.

Thinking about the ride also reminded me about this verse: The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters, He refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. (Psalm 23: 1-3). This verse symbolizes that trail and my life. I say this because even though I’ve learned every turn, hill and dip that the trail has and every once in a while I’ll see a new vein that someone has created. I let my curiosity get the best of me and it ends up either becoming a dead end or an awesome new hill that gets my adrenaline pumping. In life I have veered off the main trail of life sometimes finding dead ends or crashing into a tree, but I have also discovered wonderful fulfilling experiences that helped create the God loving man I am today.

Another example of how this verse and trail intertwine is an incident that happened many years ago on the trail. I was being foolish and careless and punctured my tire, I didn’t have a patch or an extra tube and I was at the most desolate point of the trail. After muttering a few expletives I sucked it up and started the long walk to the main entrance. A couple of minutes into my walk a father with his two sons caught up with me and offered to fix my tire I gratefully accepted their offer and after we patched up my flat I was on my way. A few minutes later I came up on a hill and with a little make shift jump at the end of it. My machismo got the best of me again so I flew down it and caught some significant altitude, crashing down into the not so soft dirt. I only had some scrapes and scratches but that same tire was flat again. I again started to push my bike to the entrance but this time I was near the campgrounds. While walking another Good Samaritan came to me and offered now to give me a ride in his truck to the main entrance.

Reminiscing about these experiences showed me that God never abandons us and is always looking out for us. Yes we forget or take advantage of the times he helps out of life jams but he’ll be there with his truck to take us to the promise land.

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“TRUE BELIEVERS”

I don’t think that partisan politics do much to advance the kingdom of God; in fact I know politics are much more likely to be divisive than unifying. It’s for this reason that I make great efforts to keep my political ideologies separate from my witness of faith.

I know that no matter what I consider myself politically, whether Conservative Republican, Liberal Democrat or somewhere in between, I can be assured, Jesus wouldn’t have anything to do with any of it.

I would be blind, however, if I hadn’t noticed that in this modern era there is an intersection between politics and faith. It is not usually positive, in fact it is typically a lightning rod for those seeking an “us and them” wedge issue.

As I watched the news recently (Yes, I am a self avowed news junkie) one of the stories that piqued my interest was of a woman at an event for presidential candidate, Governor Rick Perry. The woman was goading her young son to ask Governor Perry a series of questions about evolution, the age of the earth and global warming.

I was particularly struck by one question the woman fed to her son. She said, “Ask him why he doesn’t believe in science.”

“Why he doesn’t believe in science?” As a person who is very interested in the branch of theology known as apologetics I was profoundly troubled by this question. Well, not so much by the question it’s self, but by the larger implications behind the question. What the woman was implying was that she did “believe” in science.

The woman’s question made me think of a book I read by M.I.T. educated author, Dr. Gerald Schroeder. Dr. Schroeder points out correctly “the trouble with the debate between science and religion is that most people have about an eighth grade education of science and an even lower level of knowledge pertaining to religion”.

See this woman was trying to use science to slam the candidate for his religious views, but she was among the many that Schroeder writes about. The woman doesn’t really know science or religion. This woman, and millions of others like her, armed merely with broad and unspecific science claims they’ve heard regurgitated by others, “believe” in science. For them, it has become a religion; they don’t simply believe science they believe in science…a true position of faith.

I think a deeper understanding of, or at least a clear distinction between, what science is and what it isn’t, will show the folly of this woman’s proclamation of such strong faith in science.

A visit to the University of California, Berkeley’s science web site brings some clarity to this issue. Among the things they state about science is this maxim:

All scientific theories (from evolutionary theory to atomic theory) are works in progress. As new evidence is discovered and new ideas are developed, our understanding of how the world works changes and so too do scientific theories.

The site goes on to say:

It’s important to keep in mind that elaboration, modification, expansion or rejection of scientific theories is a normal part of the process of science.

This is science: ever changing, trial and error. Science can give us insight into the world around us and it can open our eyes to fascinating and marvelous new worlds but, be forewarned, the scientific understanding of those new worlds we find so intriguing today may be vastly different in thirty years. In fact, historically speaking, it would not be uncommon at all for science to say “oops!!! Never mind, it wasn’t really a world after all.

In my next blog (or two) I will take a look at how scientific thought has changed over the years. We will discover that while science should be studied and can certainly provide world changing advances in myriad fields, from medicine to space exploration, it is a process of discovery, adaptation, modification and change. We will also look at why some seek to turn science into a series of tidy little truth statements that pit “us” against “them” for political cause.

~ F. J. Gates. 8-21-2011

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There is No Other Savior!

A couple of years ago, a friend challenged me to make a bucket list. I had a hard time. It felt like a strange concept, like telling God all the things he should do for me, all the dreams he should make come true in my life. In the end, I learned something about myself, though. Maybe you should try it.

In the time of the prophet Hosea, God’s anger burned against Israel because of their idol worship. Hosea 13: 2 says, “Now they continue to sin by making silver idols, images shaped skillfully with human hands. ‘Sacrifice to these,’ they cry, ‘and kiss the calf idols!’” (New Living translation.) It’s hard for us to understand how they would do that, after all the ways God revealed himself to them, because we don’t think we have idols these days.

True, we don’t have statues or other physical objects that the word “idol” seems to describe. We don’t bow down to worship anything or anyone. We don’t offer sacrifices at all. We don’t pray to anything or anyone other than God. But how often do we trust in things other than God, things that we believe will bring us satisfaction and fulfillment in ways that God alone will not? Things like money, possessions, status, fame, sex, relationships, self-actualization, … In a sense, idol worship is any devotion we give to these counterfeit gods, any energy we spend seeking after them.

Hosea admonishes the people of Israel, “You must acknowledge no God but me, for there is no other savior.” I love those last five words. There is no other savior. There is no god but God. There is no true satisfaction except in God. There is no real fulfillment except in God. There is no true joy except in God. There are many substitutes, many false gods that leave us wanting, alone. Our culture is drowning in them.

Hosea says it this way: “Never again will we say to the idols we have made, ‘You are our gods.’ No, in you alone the orphans find mercy.” (Hosea 14: 3b) He’s not just talking about those without earthly mothers and fathers. He’s talking about all of us, because all of us struggle with wandering from the one true God and giving our best energy and devotion elsewhere at times. The counterfeits we devote ourselves to always leave us wanting, orphaned by our devotion to them.

Hosea quotes the Lord, “I am the one who answers your prayers and cares for you. I am like a tree that is always green; all your fruit comes from me.” (Hosea 14: 8b) God is the only one who can hear us when we pray, who is real and has the ability to care about us. He alone is merciful; the source of all our fruit. All that we need and want can only be found in Him. It’s pointless to search anywhere else. It’s not just pointless, it’s wrong. There is no other savior.

Time to be honest with ourselves as men. We are the leaders in our homes; we set the spiritual tone for our families. What are the things we are tempted to seek after to give us satisfaction or fulfillment apart from God? What do we long for most? What do we protect the strongest? If those things are not godly, let’s set our hearts on things above. Let’s replace our counterfeits with true humility and submission to the Lord. There is no other savior!

For further study:

Heb 13: 12-13; Heb 13: 5-6; 2 Ki 17:15; 2 Chr 28: 19-20

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Advance!

Over the years as the men’s ministry leader at CSCC I have had some difficult conversations with men. I thought my job as the leader was to smooth things over and keep the peace but the truth is I was just dealing with my own fear of man issues. Then one day something happened in my heart that changed my own plan for spiritual growth and how I am trying to lead others.

Two years ago a friend of mine told me he was thinking about leaving the church because he was not being fed. He wanted to debate about preaching styles- topical vs expositiona. I finally grew a pair ,looked him in the eye and asked him, “How much do you supplement the weekly sermon with a healthy portion of prayer and personal study?” And he broke eye contact and mumbled “That is between me and God”, which is Greek for JACK SQUAT,ZERO,NADA.

What I learned that day is that so many times as men we remain stuck in our spiritual growth because instead of taking responsibility for it we are looking for a scapegoat.

God does have a plan for our spiritual formation, but it will only be effective within the context of masculine relationships. The problem is we have believed the lie that we are to be a “solitary man” to quote Neal Diamond.

I have grown more in the last two years than all of the previous twenty-one years put together and I realized there were some important things missing from my life that can only happen within the context of a small group that are intentionally designed to manifest them.

1) Consistent encouragement, support through the rough patches of life, and an occasional loving rebuke.

Proverbs 27:17 As iron sharpens iron,so one person sharpens another.
That is a great picture of men who risk living life together The good, bad and ugly. Loving each other enough to speak the truth in love.

2) Spiritual freedom through repentance.
James 5:16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.

When James penned these words he was talking about more than physical healing. He was referring to spiritual healing and continued spiritual health and God’s plan for that is that we would confess our sins habitually not only to Jesus but close trusted friends who will pray for us and hold us accountable for restoration and reconciliation.

When we hold onto unconfessed sin we are giving Satan a foothold which can lead to spiritual bondage. We experience feelings of darkness, despair, and shame and he has us right where he wants us, unprotected and alone.

If we humble ourselves and confess our sins to one another they are brought into the light and the Holy Spirit begins a process of restoration and spiritual health drawing us closer to our intended condition as image bearers of God. Freeing us up to advance with the power and endurance needed to accomplish our mission of making the invisible kingdom visible.

This fall we are starting new groups with this plan in mind. We are calling them “Submerge” groups for those who are serious about spiritual formation. The study is called Discipleship Essentials by Greg Ogdon. For info on the study go to www.gregogden.com. If you are interested let me know. jntnave@att.net

This my friends is how spiritual formation happens. Any takers? It’s decision time. You are either retreating or advancing. Which one is it? Will you join us in advancing this great cause?

Following hard after Him,

Jim Nave

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Exactly What does the Lord Expect of You?

In Micah 6:8 the question above is asked and answered:

” He has showed you’ O man, what is good.
And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your
God.” Micah 6:8

In Israels’ faith experience, the word “justice,” goes with the term “righteousness,” and the phrase “love mercy,” goes with the term “faithfulness.” And all these terms are at the heart of Israels’ life and mission in this world.These terms also reflect on the Old Testament statements of the ” great commandments to love God and to love ones’ neighbor; as they also reflect on Jesus’ affirmation of those same commandments in the New Testament.”Matthew 22:36-40″

To “act justly,” and “love mercy,” is to express love for God and ones’ neighbor. In the New Testament Jesus tells the story of the good Samaritan to exemplify  what it means to do justly and show love for mercy. Jesus’ whole public ministry is also a display of justice and mercy to the oppressed, poor, homeless and hungry. Beyond the physical needs Jesus also acts justly and with steadfast love and mercy to deliver from the bondage of sin and death in the Spiritual realm. Jesus shows Himself as “the man for others,” an example for all His disciples to follow.

“…and to walk” says Micah. Walking in the bible is a metaphor for a journey or a life performance. Walking refers to obedience to the “Law,”or “Torah.” And in the New Testament walking refers to obedient discipleship to Jesus. Christians are known as “followers of the way.” Thus the need to”walk humbly with your God:” “the way of Torah,” “the way of Jesus.” This raises two questions: how are we to walk? and “with whom are we to walk?”

The question of  “how to walk?” is answered simply; “walk humbly,” not in groveling self-abasement. Walk like Jesus walked, in wise and loving kindness with justice for all. He was not condescending or arrogant or full of Himself. He was selfless and obedient as Philippians 2:5-8 presents Him. He was wise and submissive to the Father as the old proverb says:

“When pride comes, then comes disgrace,
But wisdom is to the humble.” Proverbs 11:2

The question,”with whom to walk?” is answered simply as well;” With your God.” For the disciple Jesus is God, as Thomas confessed, “My Lord and my God!” John 21:28 Walking with Jesus is what transforms a persons’ life and relationships with others. It is that which causes us to focus not just on ourselves but on the others around us. In the story of the good Samaritan referred to above each traveler that passed by the victim found something in himself that he valued more highly than their wounded fellow traveler. Jesus teaches those who walk with him to value others as they do themselves. The other travelers were not prepared to serve the needs of the wounded man they were not disposed to act justly or show mercy. Luke 10:25-37  Those that walk with Jesus learn from Him to be fully disposed. Jesus is holding open the invitation to join Him in service; to do justly and love mercy and walk humbly with Him.

“Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

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Balaam’s Talking Donkey

The TV show “Francis the Talking Mule”, starring Donald O’Connor, was aired in the 1950’s.
No adult with normal IQ and sound mental health believed Francis was a mule who actually had the power of speech.

How then are we to take Numbers 22, where Balaam’s donkey vocally berates him for mistreatment? How can we interpret this passage without discrediting the doctrine of inerrancy?

Num 22:22-30 HCSB
22 But God was incensed that Balaam was going, and the Angel of the LORD took His stand on the path to oppose him. Balaam was riding his donkey, and his two servants were with him. 23 When the donkey saw the Angel of the LORD standing on the path with a drawn sword in His hand, she turned off the path and went into the field. So Balaam hit her to return her to the path. 24 Then the Angel of the LORD stood in a narrow passage between the vineyards, with a stone wall on either side. 25 The donkey saw the Angel of the LORD and pressed herself against the wall, squeezing Balaam’s foot against it. So he hit her once again. 26 The Angel of the LORD went ahead and stood in a narrow place where there was no room to turn to the right or the left. 27 When the donkey saw the Angel of the LORD, she crouched down under Balaam. So he became furious and beat the donkey with his stick.

28 Then the LORD opened the donkey’s mouth, and she asked Balaam, “What have I done to you that you have beaten me these three times?”

29 Balaam answered the donkey, “You made me look like a fool. If I had a sword in my hand, I’d kill you now!”

30 But the donkey said, “Am I not the donkey you’ve ridden all your life until today? Have I ever treated you this way before?”

“No,” he replied.
From these verses it is possible to believe that Balaam’s donkey was miraculously given the power of speech for a few moments. However, what gives the story away is when Balaam’s starts a dialogue with the donkey, as if talking animals were a common everyday occurrence. He exhibits no surprise whatever and berates the donkey for making him “look like a fool.” And when the donkey admonishes him for his mistreatment, he meekly replies, “No”.

If our collie Susie started “talking” to me, I would keel over in a dead feint or become catatonic! I most certainly would not reply to her and say “How has your day been so far?” My wife would call the men in white coats from the Funny Farm if I related such a story to her.

Hence, the story does not ring true as fact, and I believe that Moses was inspired by God to make a point about the dubious character of Balaam by depicting him as gullible, cruel to his donkey, and possibly mentally unbalanced as well. He was not a man of God and was killed in the Israelites’ war upon the Midianites. From [1], “No Bible character is more severely excoriated”. Thus these verses parabolically hold Balaam up to scorn and ridicule, which, I believe, is the intent.

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Losing for Christ!

I know some people are reading this title and thinking, “Huh?!?”  Why would you strive to lose for anything?  We live in a society where winning isn’t everything, it is the ONLY thing.  I mean, why bother playing if you aren’t going to try and win.  That’s evident in sports, school, the business world, I even experience it as my kids run to try and be the first ones to brush their teeth at night (figure that one out).
 
Don’t get me wrong.  I like to win.  I’m competitive and I go all out trying to be the best.  The scars on my knees from sliding and diving remind me that competition can hurt, but it is basically good.  I struggle with the win at any cost philosophy. People will do just about anything to win.  They lie, cheat, steal, whatever it takes.  If you aren’t cheating, you aren’t trying.  The idea of sportsmanship seems to be a thing of the past and for the weak.  In professional sports you have players taking performance enhancing drugs.  In high school you have players taking basket weaving with three periods of T.A. just to achieve a 2.0 and make them eligible.  In Little League, you have parents falsifying birth certificates so players can play “younger” and dominate.  Win at any cost.
 
That’s so different from what I experienced when I was little.  I have fond memories of playing wiffle ball in my yard, running the bases after my Dad’s softball games sliding into every base, making sure my uniform got dirty when I played on various teams.  I was excited when we won, a little bummed when we lost, but always looked forward to going out to pizza with the team afterwards.  As I grew up, there was more pressure to perform, excel, and win.  Second place was considered the first loser.
 
That seems to be the acceptable behavior today.  Then there are players who quit their sports for other reasons.  Running back Glen Coffee left the San Francisco 49ers last year.  George Foreman quit at the height of his boxing career.  Both athletes left society to speculate why they left.  I mean, why quit a sport that gives you fame, fortune, winning.  Was the pressure too much?  Were these men too weak?  Both left their respective careers to enter ministry, to spread the good news of Jesus Christ.  Society has been hard on athletes that choose to serve God rather than men.  They say they’re weak, they’re using the Bible as a crutch, that they are wasting their lives, gifts and dreams that millions would give anything for.
 
What they don’t understand is that their lives aren’t a waste.  They have chosen to spread the Gospel, so that the rest of us don’t waste our lives.  We are so caught up in the glitz and glamour of the world that we miss what’s truly important.  I am reminded of
 
Mark 8:35-37 where Jesus says,  “For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it.  What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?  Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?”  What is truly important?  Is the fame and fortune worth eternity?
 
How do we approach activities with our own children?  As I look to enrolling my kids in sports and extracurricular activities, I am reminded that I want them to experience life as God has provided it to them.  I want them to discover their physical and spiritual gifts so they can glorify God in their actions.  Most importantly, I want them to discover what Jesus has done for them.  While following Jesus may require sacrifice and relinquishing worldly things, there will be victory in the end, and I believe pizza may be served after the game.

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Why Guys Need To Get A Check-up!

Guys have the reputation (well deserved, I think) of seeking to avoid Doctor’s offices at all costs.  The “snap” of the latex glove and the “pop” of the Vaseline jar lid and the command to “cough” are enough for most guys to say, “Nah, I’ve got better things to do!”  (Yep, some of you guys are cringing right now, I know it!)  The reality is however, most of us really do like being alive and most of us really like being healthy.  A friend of mine was faithful in going to his annual health check-up.  One year the Doctor noticed a slight change in what he heard through the stethoscope.  Shortly thereafter, my friend was in the hospital getting a new heart valve – saving and prolonging his life.

If we are going to stay alive and stay healthy spiritually, we need to have spiritual health check-ups as well.  Remember, Jesus said that he came to give us life – an overflowing life.  Many of us can struggle with spiritual sickness because we haven’t been having spiritual health check-ups and we find ourselves anything but feeling alive.  Or, we can be checking on the wrong thing, looking at symptoms instead of our vital signs.  “Vital” means “essential”.  So, what are the “essential” signs of life for us?

To be fully alive means being a Christ-follower and being a Christ-follower means to be fully alive.  There are three “vital” or “essential” signs of spiritual life.  If you can’t find one or more of them, you need to seriously look at some spiritual CPR – real quick.

1.   Know God.

Job, when confronted by God said this: “I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you.”  He knew of God before but through his trials and through his direct encounter with God, Job truly saw God for who he is.  He came to know God.

When is the last time you discovered something new about God?  Do you know about God or do you truly know God?

“Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. ” (1 Corinthians 2:12, ESV)

2.   Experience God

Being a Christ-follower requires us to know God but it is not just an intellectual faith.  Being a Christ-follower is a relationship and involves experiencing God.  Do you have personal God encounters?  God meets people in a myriad of ways.  Divine provision, gentle nudgings to do something, answers to prayers, spiritual wrestling matches, peace in the midst of chaos, insight and wisdom, overcoming obstacles…

When is the last time you felt God, you experienced the relationship with God?  Is your faith just a mental exercise or is it alive, full of regular encounters with God?

“[Watch out for spiritual posers] …having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. ” (2 Timothy 3:5, ESV)

 

3.    Do faith

The older I get, the more I see that life is less about what we say and more about what we do.  We live and act out of what is most important to us.  If you want to know what a man’s priorities are don’t listen to him, watch him.  You will see the truth long before you hear the truth about a man’s life.  Doing faith means doing life like Jesus. ““Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. ” (John 14:12, ESV)

What do people see in your life?  Do they see faith in action?  Are you doing good things that require love, sacrifice, integrity, grace?  What you do shows who you are.

Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth. ” (1 John 3:18, ESV)

 

I’m glad my friend had the discipline to go to those check-ups.  I like having him around.  It was that commitment to diligently watch over his life that gave him the chance to make the corrections needed to still be alive.  Following are some questions you can begin to ask to diligently watch over your spiritual life.  I want you to be alive.

 

Check-up Questions:

  1. Which of the three Spiritual Vital Signs is strongest?  Which is weakest?
  2. Is there a Spiritual Vital Sign that is missing?  If so, what does that tell you about the state of your spiritual life?
  3. Which Spiritual Vital Sign is most critical to strengthen right now?  What is one thing you can do right now to begin to strengthen it?
  4. Spiritual life and health take place in community.  Who are you going to tell and how are you going to be accountable to doing something different?

 

David Cooke – August 5, 11

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Miley says that God is ok with gay marriage!

Opening my homepage is the way I read news these days.  It’s getting to that news that’s difficult with all those juicy feature articles with their fancy pictures.  I like to think that the articles are one way to feel the cultural pulse of our world.  Today, that cultural pulse involved Miley Cyrus; yes our very own Hannah Montana.

Dads of teenagers throughout the world and many other countries have had to sit through episodes of teenage hijinks with our preteens and our only consolation was that Miley Cyrus is a , “clean” alternative to many other stars in today’s celebrity saturated world.

Recently, I came across an article regarding Miley Cyrus and her new “equal rights” tattoo.  Not being a big fan of tattoos, sorry guys, I wanted to know why the bubble-gum star who so influenced my girls, and subsequently millions of other girls, was getting tattoos and what they were (http://news.yahoo.com/miley-cyrus-debuts-equal-rights-tattoo-finger-160602444.html).  Upon reading the article I realized it was a tattoo in favor of gay marriage.  Ouch!

Concern arose within me as I remembered Cyrus’s profession of Christianity and her influence on my girls.  As I read on, I realized the meat of the article was in regards to Christian doctrine:

Cyrus quickly defended her views when a dissenting Twitter user questioned the “Party in the U.S.A” singer’s knowledge of the Bible.)

“look up Leviticus, 1 Corinthians. Read both chapters and tell me where God says homosexuality, incest, and polygamy is ok?” the Twitter user wrote.

Cyrus tweeted back, “where does it say in the bible to judge others? Oh right. It doesn’t. GOD is the only judge honey. ‘GOD is love.’”

Miley is correct!  We are not called to judge nonbelievers.  We are called to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with them so that they, too, will be saved.  But, and this is a big but, once saved we are to turn from our sin and sin no more.  Does that mean that we are completely sinless once saved?  Only by the blood of Jesus.  I sin regularly even though I don’t want to and I confess that sin and move on.  Christ redeemed me, and you, on the cross.  The key is that we are to strive, through the power of the Holy Spirit, to run from sin.

So, this sin of homosexuality (i.e. Leviticus, 1 Cor. 6, Romans 1, etc.), is just that, sin.  And when we recognize sin, we are to avoid it.  Our beautiful Lord and Savior says it best in John 8:2-11.  The scribes and Pharisees brought a woman caught in adultery to the temple and sat her in the middle of the court in order to stone her for her sin as was commensurate with the Law of Moses.  Jesus then says, “He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her (NASB).”  This is the part that Miley would agree with.  What is important to remind our children who look up to Miley and other celebrities is what Jesus said to the woman just three lines later, “I do not condemn you, either.  Go.  From now on sin no more (emphasis added).”

Therefore, we are called, not to judge others, as Christ came to save the world not to judge (John 12:47), but we are called to sin no more and by condoning gay marriage Miley is condoning and supporting ongoing sin.

As Dads, what do we take from this?  Be aware of what your kids are into and be willing to discuss, in a biblical context, why celebrity doesn’t equal authority.

By:  Shannon Morgan, Christian Dad

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The Sufferings of Job

In the book of Job, God allows Satan to kill all ten of Job’s children.  I have seven commentaries written by well-known theologians stating that Job is historical fact.  As a layman I was not able to refute these learned assertions in any form.

 

In 1991 we lost a son; three years later we lost a grandson.  After returning from the last funeral, our Sunday School class was studying the 6th chapter of Job.  Curious about this book, I started reading from the beginning and got as far as chapter 2, where Job’s ten children are killed by a tornado brought on by Satan, before I put it down in disgust.  Those who have read the book know he also loses his health, his wealth, livestock, everything except his wife, who encourages him to “Curse God and die.” (Job 2:9)

 

I doubt very much if anyone who has lost children or grandchildren would want to join a church after hearing the story of Job, and being told that it is historical.

 

As given in the attached article, “I need answers” a former evangelical (Charles Templeton) abandoned Christianity after reading Job.  (There may have been other factors in play here, but apparently Job was the last straw for Mr. Templeton.)  At one point I was also ready to throw in the theological towel.  I refused to worship a capricious God who would allow Satan to wipe out a man’s family.
But by the grace of an un-capricious God, I remembered reading another obscure theological source years before that said Job could be a poetic exploration of faith, i.e., a parable.  Struggling with this for many years, I was given the information that Job is being taught as a parable in many seminaries.

 

There are many passages in Job that tax credulity.  One example is the fire-breathing dragon:  “Firebrands stream from his mouth; sparks of fire shoot out.”  (Job 41:19, HCSB).  Commentators advocating a historical Job stretch logic to the breaking point with comments such as “The reference to firebrands streaming from his mouth may designate the expulsion of air and water as the crocodile emerges from the water.”  !!

 

Apparently Mr. Templeton, for reasons I will never be able to fathom, was never given the suggestion that Job could be a parable, and became an apostate because of his anger at God.  To say that this is a tragedy is a gross understatement.

 

Apparently Mr. Templeton, for reasons I will never be able to fathom, was never given the suggestion that Job could be a parable, and became an apostate because of his anger at God.  To say that this is a tragedy is a gross understatement.

Bob B.

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