Friday, August 31, 2007
I don't know why, but the subject of limbo came up while I was at work recently. I was sharing with a co-worker the thoughts I posted on a previous blog when I realized that I was making a very BIG assumption.
I based my thoughts on the assumption that we are not conscience of anything, especially God, His calling, or existence, while we are young or still in the womb and therefore were not capable of responding to God at all. I assumed that possibility did not exist because I personally cannot remember my life in the womb or before I was 5 or 6 years old, nor do I know any one who can.
With this possibility in mind I am unable to say with too much confidence what happens when children die at a young age because I do not know what God is doing in the life of that child, nor do I know how that child is responding to God during the developmental process.
If it is possible to respond to God during this stage in life, then there is no need for a post-death/pre-judgement presentation of the gospel. God would be able to judge justly from the time of conception based upon our response to Him.
Of course, it would also mean that not every child automatically goes to heaven and the theological premise behind an "Age of Accountability" can no longer be supported. Thus, some children would go to Heaven and others would not. I know that makes us very uncomfortable. But if a response to God is possible at every stage in life then no one has an excuse; no matter what length of time they have been in existence.
But hey, cheer-up!! There is always the theology of "Election" to fall back on...if that would help make you feel better.
Again, just some thoughts from a fallible mind trying to understand the inner-workings of an infallible God.
Thursday, August 30, 2007
You may remember in a previous post I had asked you to please pray for the South Korean hostages who were Christians and were in Afghanistan doing relief work. They were captured by the Taliban and were being used as leverage for negotiations.
Well today the last of them have been freed!! I thank God for working out His will in this way. While I do not know what had to be paid or agreed to in order for them to be released they are finally Free At Last!!
What a wonderful picture of redemption. We too were being held for ransom by our adversary the Devil. We were only released once the debt of sin was paid in full. Now because Jesus our Messiah has paid our debt we now have life in Him!!
Thank you God for the release of your people out of the hands of their enemies. May it remind us that we too have been freed from our enemy. May we praise you for it by living a life worthy of the Name by which we are called!!
Monday, August 27, 2007
My heart is aching tonight as I type this blog. I was out of town for a few days and came home to read the news papers from the weekend. In Saturday's paper was a story on the plight of pastors; high profile pastors in particular.
It seems that Juanita Bynum and her estranged husband, Thomas Weeks III, of Global Destiny Church, had an altercation in a hotel parking lot. According to Bynum's account, Weeks allegedly, "knocked her down...and then kicked and stomped her until a hotel employee came to her rescue."
Also, on the same day, pastors Randy and Paula White of Without Walls International Church, have announced to their congregation that they are getting a divorce. It is reported that this divorce is amicable and comes after years of counseling.
I am sensitive to this issue because I am a PK (no not a Promise Keeper, I mean Preachers Kid). My parents divorced when I was in the 5th grade. I also know a good handful of pastors who have meet a similar fate or are struggling to same their marriage as I write this.
Sometimes I get the feeling that those who enter into full-time ministry as an occupation are automatically fitted with a bulls-eye attached to their marriage and family. I think this is especially true if you are "successful" in the ministry God has called you to. I am troubled by this since I am seeking to enter into the pastoral ministry myself and am currently working on my masters degree. I wonder what awaits me and my family as we go forward into the ministry God has called us to. Still it is a huge wake-up call for me to be vigilant in putting my family ahead of my "ministry".
Which, I suppose, leads me to the point of this blog entry. Let me ask you a question. Do you faithfully pray for your pastor? Is his family someone you can lift up to God in intercession for God's favor and protection? If not, will you take a minute to do so. A small investment in prayer for your pastor could save your church a lot of heartache. It could also help it thrive!!
Please, remember your pastor.
Friday, August 17, 2007
Over the course of several years, and more frequently over the last several months, I have been in conversation with someone about God, religion, the bible and the person of Jesus Christ. He is a skeptic but acknowledges the existence of God and absolute truth. He is struggling to find the answers to his questions. Since some of his questions do not have any answers it has been difficult for him to embrace Christianity at this time.
I have been so wonderfully challenged by his questions as they force me to articulate the 'why' behind the 'what' of my beliefs (something I wish I could do more often in life). Still, there is something about his approach that I think is greatly hindering his discovery of truth. I am under the impression that he approaches his search for truth as someone who is not looking for reasons to believe in Jesus, Christianity, the bible, etc. but rather is looking for reasons not to believe. I sense that this approach is a real stumbling block for him. It appears to me that he won't come to belief until he runs out of reasons not to, things to question and objections to make. As long as he has a reason not to believe he won't. As long as there is an answer he can't find he will always question or raise an objection.
This is a concern for me because there will always be a reason to doubt when you are looking for one. There is never an irrefutable, undeniable, 'smoking gun' when it comes to the existence of God, the claims of Christ/ the bible and the like with an approach to truth like this one. There are some things that need to be taken in faith; something that is very difficult to do for a skeptic I admit. However, if you ignore the mountain of evidence calling you to believe and focus only on the pebble of reasons not to, I think you are cheating yourself out of discovering what truth really is.
The neat thing about being a Christ follower is that, once you come to a place of faith in Him, the discovery and understanding of truth is only just beginning of our search, not the end. There is so much more to learn and understand after a decision to believe has been made. So for me, the best approach to embracing truth is to find the reasons to believe in something. Examine the existing evidence and determine from the evidence we have before us if is it believable. Sure there are questions we would like answers to. But for now is the evidence we have enough for us to reasonably put our faith in? If not, then keep looking for more reasons to believe, but do not rob yourself of belief by looking for the reasons not to.
Just something to think about if you are someone who is pursuing truth.
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
There is a outgoing Roman Catholic bishop in Norway who is asking all people (Christians, Jews and Muslims) to call God Allah.
He states, "Allah is a very beautiful word for God. Shouldn't we all say that from now on we will name God Allah? ... What does God care what we call him? It is our problem."
His reasoning is that since Jews, Christians and Muslims all worship the same God we should all call Him Allah.
Well, excuse me for saying this, I mean no disrespect to the Bishop but... if God did not care what we called Him then he would not have given us His Name in the first place!!!!
We do not worship the same God in the least bit. Allah and Yahweh are two different "dieties" all together. Therefore, we can not link them together. One is the true God and the other the "god" of Muslims, but they are not the same. I welcome anyone to prove to me otherwise.
Perhaps in your search you will discover what is in a name.
Thursday, August 2, 2007
I do not know why, but the 21 surviving South Korean hostages have been on my mind lately. it is my understanding that these people are Christians working in the country of Afghanistan to provide medical aid and relief. They have been captured by the Taliban and are being held for ransom.
I was reading an article earlier last week that interviewed the families of these captives. I was challenged by their main concern for their family members. it was that even in their captivity they may reflect the love of Christ to their captors.
May we all have that kind of love for our enemies. May we all remember them in our prayers of intercession...
The Persecuted Church.