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Showing posts from September, 2009

The Ant and the Grasshopper

A new version...a little different from Aesop's

OLD VERSION: The ant works hard in the withering heat all summer long, building his house and laying up supplies for the winter.

The grasshopper thinks the ant is a fool and laughs and dances and plays the summer away.

Come winter, the ant is warm and well fed.

The grasshopper has no food or shelter, so he dies out in the cold.

MORAL OF THE STORY: Be responsible for yourself

MODERN VERSION: The ant works hard in the withering heat all summer long, building his house and laying up supplies for the winter.

The grasshopper thinks the ant is a fool and laughs and dances and plays the summer away.

Come winter, the shivering grasshopper calls a press conference and demands to know why the ant should be allowed to be warm and well fed while others are cold and starving.

CBS, NBC, PBS, CNN, and ABC show up to provide pictures of the shivering grasshopper next to a video of the ant in his comfortable home with a table filled with food. Amer…

Recent Survey Indicates Downward Trend Among Churches

The ARIS 2008 survey was carried out during February-November 2008 and collected answers from 54,461 respondents who were questioned in English or Spanish.

The American population self-identifies as predominantly Christian but Americans are slowly becoming less Christian.

• 86% of American adults identified as Christians in 1990 and 76% in 2008.

• The historic Mainline churches and denominations have experienced the steepest declines while the non-denominational Christian identity has been trending upward particularly since 2001.

• The challenge to Christianity in the U.S. does not come from other religions but rather from a rejection of all forms of organized religion.

34% of American adults considered themselves “Born Again or Evangelical Christians” in 2008.
The U. S. population continues to show signs of becoming less religious, with one out of every five Americans failing to indicate a religious identity in 2008.

• The “Nones” (no stated religious preference, atheist, or agnostic) conti…

Are You Sharing Your Faith?

“What is the most important thing that has ever happened to you?” “What is therefore the most important thing you can do for someone else?” Living for what is important is what the Great Commission is all about.

The first and last thing Jesus said to a disciple was to share their faith.

Matt. 4:1 says "And He said to them, 'Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.'" And Matt. 28:18-20 records, “And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, 'All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.'"

These words apply to all Christians. Nonetheless, statistics reveal that only 2 percent of believers actively share their faith. There is clearly a discrepancy between our public pronouncements regarding the priority …

Relationship of Genesis 1:28 and 2:25 to Culture

How does the contemporary church derive its responsibility to develop all levels of cuture to the glory of God from an ancient command to rule over the animals? There are three ways.

I. Historical development. Man’s stewardship would eventually lead him from his humble agrarian beginnings to develop all the earth’s resources as a means to advance worldwide civilizations. For example, a man needs to harvest his wheat. But to do so he needs a plow. To make a plow he needs other tools that he makes from the earth’s resources. To help him make his tools he needs workers. To care for his workers he must pay them. His ability to pay them is based largely on economic conditions, which leads him to theorize on the relationship of economics with politics, social ethics, and religion. This leads him to form cultural and educational institutions that seek a synthesis of such ideas.

II. Grammatical relationship. In Gen. 2:15 the Hebrew word translated “cultivate” is ‘awbad’, which means “to work or…

Gun Rights

Had a brief email correspondence today with a very old and dear Christian friend who for many years has fought for American's 2nd Amendment rights. The chat jogged my memory of another Christian man who, years ago, quipped to me, "You can't defend gun rights from the Bible. Where is the word 'gun' in the Bible?"

I responded, "Oh it's there. It's called 'liberty.'"

Different Views on Culture Between Paganism and Christianity

Escape from our responsibility to society is not new. 1st and 2nd century paganism held that the material world is bad, but the spiritual world is good. Therefore, many ancients believed that true spirituality was achieved by separation from the material world through knowledge and passage to the new.

Wherever pagan dualism touched people it created shallow indifference to government, marriage, procreation, and and work. Parts of Ephesians, Colossians, and 1 Corinthians were written to combat this vile threat.

For Paul, and for the rest of the biblical writers, the difference between first century Christianity and the pagans of their day was not that Christianity affirmed the existence of a spiritual world, but that it affirmed the material world as good and as a viable forum for life and ministry.

Obama Healthcare

In listening to President Obama's speech on Healthcare last evening, this thought came to mind.

"He who controls your healthcare, controls your body, and he who controls your body, controls you?"

An overstatement? Perhaps a bit. But maybe it can provide a little more food for fodder.

Creation/Redemption

I. There is no escaping the fact that the work of the Son finds its principle expression in the great dual motif of creation/redemption.

A. Creation. While the Father and the Spirit perform important jobs in the creation of the heavens and the earth, John ultimately recognizes the pre-existent Word, the second person of the Triune God, as the Creator.

1. John 1:1-3, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being, that has not come into being” Colossians 1:16, “For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on the earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities –all things have been created through Him and for Him”

B. Redemption. Colossians 1:16, 12-22, “For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forg…

Are Christians to Submit to Government...Always?

"Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you. For he is God's servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God's servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer" (Romans 13:1-4).

Paul’s teaching in Romans 13:1-4 regarding Christian submission to government must be seen in light of the whole of the Bible’s teaching. The Bible says that believers are to be in submission to civil government, but also those who govern are to be in subm…

What is Culture?

Leon G. Wencelius remarked, “Culture is the fulfillment of purposive molding of nature in execution of the creative will of God.”

T. S. Eliot observed, “the manifestations that we have in society, the way we relate to each other, the way we do business, the way we transact our regular rituals in community, are necessarily drawn from cult or from faith.”

G. K. Chesterton said, “A culture is the accumulation of ritual, traditions, symbols, and habits. Those things which grow out of a people’s perception of what matters most. In other words, a culture is a legacy of faith."

And then there is Ken Meyer’s all-inclusive answer in which culture sounds like everything. "Culture is a dynamic pattern and ever-changing matrix of objects, artifacts, sounds, institutions, philosophies, fashions, enthusiasms, myths, prejudices, relationships, attitudes, tastes, rituals, habits, colors, and loves, all embodied in individual people, in groups and collectives and associations of people (many of…