Eight Woes 8: Dishonoring the Prophets

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, February 14, 2020 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! Because you build the tombs of the prophets and adorn the monuments of the righteous, and say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets.’” ~Matthew 23:29-30

It is a sad reality that a prophet is only recognized after he has died. During his lifetime, a prophet is typically hated and despised because his job and calling is to call out sin and confront the culture and the comfortable. My pastor made a comment a few months back about the prospect of bringing Voddie Baucham to our church because he was so touched by Baucham’s sermon on brokenness. I said that would be awesome, but here was my pastor’s response: “He would not come as a celebrity but come to break us.” There’s a lot of truth to that. Same with Paul Washer. Leonard Ravenhill and David Wilkerson were among the prophets of the 20th century as well. Many hated them because of their strong stance for truth and unflinching fire to call out sin.

Washer practically laughed at the notion that our generation today cannot handle the true Gospel so we have to water it down so they might receive it. The excuse is that the people today are not as hardy or as “spiritual” as they were in the days of John Wesley, George Whitefield, Jonathan Edwards, etc. Washer’s response to that was, “No one has ever withstood the Gospel, preached correctly. It can only have one of two results: they will hate it even more or they will be converted.” When Edwards preached “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God,” he simply read the sermon in a complete boring monotone, yet the power of God so fell that people were falling from their pews clutching to anything because they felt they were being dragged to Hell that very moment. Wesley would preach for 3-5 hours, and in some cases, it is reported that numerous people were lying on the ground totally unconscious because of how dreadful the weight of their sin was that had been put upon them.

Such prophets are not appreciated today. They really weren’t appreciated back then either when they were active. It is far quicker to count a prophet’s allies than enemies. Their enemies are even from within their congregation, because of how few people appreciate a man of God willing to stand up and defend a soul from Hell. So many of us say we would love to hear from Wesley, Luther, Peter, Ravenhill, Spurgeon, or any of the big-name missionaries or preachers that are known today. But would we hear the message they preached then? There is an easy way to tell. How are you handling those who preach the same message today? Or do we prefer to find pastors who preach a message that helps us cope with our problems, not deal with the sinful roots? Do we call those who preach the truth and call out false teachings as being judgmental? Or do we check them out against Scripture and if they check out, support them?

Jesus lashed out at the Pharisees and Scribes again for hypocrisy and play-acting. All their honoring of the prophets of old was just for show. It wasn’t real. They declared they would not have joined in with their fathers and literally slaughtered the prophets. Jesus said they declared their own guilt by associating with those who committed the deeds. But it is worse than that. These very people who said they never would have slaughtered the prophets as their fathers did are the same people who demanded He be crucified and then later assisted in the persecution and slaughter of the early Christians including the stoning of Stephen and the imprisonment of Peter and John. They sent Saul out to persecute Christians as far as Damascus. When Saul met Christ and became Paul, they later sought to put him to death but for Paul’s appeal to Caesar. The apple didn’t fall very far from the tree.

How do we handle those who preach the true message? I love listening to them, but I have to constantly remind myself of Paul Washer’s warning against idolizing celebrity preachers. Truth only listened to is worthless without being obeyed. In fact, truth left unobeyed can condemn you. I’m cringing as I’m writing this. The United States has had more light of the truth shed upon it than any other nation in the history of mankind. We have so many preachers we can listen do due to the internet and technology, so many sermons preserved in books and notes and audio recordings, and conferences and books galore. Yet it is not inappropriate to say that the U.S. is perhaps the most immoral country in the world. With our nation’s lust for sexual pleasure and deviancy, our lust for drugs, our lust for money and power, and our lust for blood, exactly how could anyone think that the “good” this nation does is going to counter that? This nation currently despises any voice who speaks the truth and we are fast approaching the day where the persecution will cease being censorship but instead a vicious physical persecution. Our nation is doing exactly what those who despised God’s prophets did then.

As a nation, we are not listening to these preachers, because we aren’t obeying them. There is only so much God can do to restrain His judgment before enough is enough. I would suggest that most of us are not ready for that day. We can see it coming, but are we ready? I’m not convinced I am, but I got one step closer by paying off my student loans. It is a terrible thing for your world to be turned upside down when you still have debts to pay. I am currently debt free and I have no plans to get into debt again no matter what. I’d rather pay for it all up front. That is part of my action of obedience to the urgent warnings of not being tied to this world. If we are, when the day comes, we’ll go down with them.

Do we love those who bring the Truth, even if it’s not popular? Will we obey the message God sends through these preachers, or are we just going to esteem it and sit back doing nothing? I am not innocent of the latter. But there has been truth spoken to my heart that I have obeyed. So, while I am far from perfect, I can say I have taken steps of obedience. I need to do more so I cannot be “comfortable” in what I have done so far. But I can take solace in the fact that I have not been dismissive of the truth I have been given. God rewards and is pleased with and honors those who obey Him.

Let us end our hypocrisy and our empty claims. Let it be that when God removes the veil that what we proclaim will be what we practice and what we live out, regardless of who is watching. If any of these woes spoke to you, repent and let God do His miraculous work of salvation. It’s not too late, but time is running short and fast.

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Being Good, Without God?

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Wednesday, February 12, 2020 0 comments

by Jason DeZurik

As I get started on this series about foundational beliefs and their importance to our lives as individuals in the United States and in society, I would like you to consider a very important word from George Washington:
"Let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle."

In light of atheists telling me for years that you don’t need God to be good or that people can be good without God, it looks like even George Washington would disagree with those ideas. I would encourage you to ask yourself the following questions. If there is no Creator God who set natural law into order, who makes up the rules for living? If it is a person, how do they know what “good” really is without a set foundation already instituted?

Unfortunately, too many people today seem to be trying to come up with new, good, and right morals based on what they think is good and right. Many times, these people think they are “flying” with this new idea, when in reality they are doing nothing more than “standing on the shoulders” and ideals of God Almighty in order to come up with something that sounds good, right, and true. For instance, a person can say that stealing is wrong and in the same breath say there is no god and try to link those two ideas together, when in reality one was instituted by Almighty God and the other is just an idea of man.

I find it incredible that we see the evidence of design and intelligence all around us in nature, yet people deny the existence of a Creator, especially if it is in regard to Almighty God of the Bible as the Creator. We see this happening all over social media today where people who claim to be atheists will stand up for false teachings in other religions besides Christianity, but when it come to the God of the Bible or Christianity, in their minds this just cannot be accepted. It is just one of the reasons why, in some people’s minds, the foundational beliefs of our nation need to be replaced with something else, when all the while what really needs to happen is a return back to what we were founded upon.

As I conclude this week’s writing, please once again consider Ecclesiastes 1:9: “What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.”

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Ecclesiastes 2:17-26

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, February 10, 2020 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

Thomas Edison once said, “There is no substitute for hard work.” But that doesn’t mean we like doing hard work; in fact, many of us go to great lengths to avoid it! That’s how “get rich quick” schemes get so popular; everyone wants to take the shortcut and have all the benefits without doing the work.

But what does Ecclesiastes tell us about work? That’s the topic that the Teacher is looking at in today’s passage of Ecclesiastes 2:17-26. (For more on what the Bible as a whole says about work, check out this post.)

Anyone who is unhappy with their employment, or has a bad day on the job, can probably relate to verse 17: “So I hated life, because the work that is done under the sun was grievous to me. All of it is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.” Have you ever had one of those days where you hate life because your work did not go well? The Teacher is looking at work from a bigger perspective than one day, however, and he sees daily labor as meaningless to him. Scholars believe that the Teacher is likely King Solomon who had massive riches, but he does not consider work to be meaningless simply because he already had everything he ever wanted.

The Teacher’s real reason for considering work to be meaningless can be found in verses 18-21. Whatever he accumulates in this life through hard work will be left to another person upon his death. That person may be wise with it or foolish with that wealth; he doesn’t know and can’t predict this. He writes in verse 21 that, “a person may labor with wisdom, knowledge, and skill, and then they must leave all they own to another who has not toiled for it.” All of the wealth we gain from our work may be great for this life, but what about when we’re gone? All our striving appears to be meaningless then.

Verses 22-23 give us a warning of being prideful of what we build up in this lifetime: “What do people get for all the toil and anxious striving with which they labor under the sun? All their days their work is grief and pain; even at night their minds do not rest. This too is meaningless.” We work so hard and cause ourselves so much grief over how much money we make (or don’t make), that we can’t even rest well in this life. If our life is so burdened by anxiety and seeking pride for our accomplishments, are we really enjoying it to the extent we should? This is why the Teacher considers hard work to be meaningless.

Enjoying life instead of worrying about work is the theme of verses 24-25: “A person can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in their own toil. This too, I see, is from the hand of God, for without him, who can eat or find enjoyment?” You can work and work and work and not find true satisfaction in this life if your satisfaction is tied to the material things of this world. We need to be satisfied with our work, but primarily because it is from God, not because of our own skill or our own accomplishments in that work.

Based on verse 26, we know that God will give wisdom to the one who pleases Him, and if we don’t please Him, then anything we gain will be given to the one who does. But again, the Teacher concludes that all this is meaningless.

So what is this section saying? Should we work, or should we not work and simply seek pleasure all the time? We know that God created work as a good thing, as Adam worked in the Garden of Eden even before the fall into sin (Genesis 2:15). So, work itself is not inherently sinful or evil, and it is what God created us to do, though we also know that work will be difficult (Genesis 3:17-19).

The goal is to find work that also brings pleasure, both to you and to God. If our work is only meaningful for this world and we’re only working to get a paycheck to buy ourselves pleasures and nice things, then it is ultimately meaningless. With this selfish mindset, anything we earn will likely draw us farther away from God. But if are working for God’s eternal purposes and doing the work that He has called us to do, that is the only way our work is truly meaningful. That doesn’t mean that we should give up our worldly jobs and all become pastors or missionaries, but that does mean we should prayerfully consider what God wants us to do for work in this life.

Maybe you’re flipping burgers at a restaurant for your job; you can share God’s love with your fellow employees, and be a responsible worker so they see God’s influence shining through your life. Maybe you’re a lawyer and have the opportunity to be a Godly example in the courtroom and to your clients. Maybe you’re a stay at home parent and your work is taking care of your family and raising your children to live Godly lives.

Whatever it is that you do for work, is it what God is calling you to do? How are you using your work to share God’s love with the world around you? Without that eternal mindset, work is meaningless and just chasing after the fleeting things of this world. If we only seek selfish pleasures rather than to do our work well, no one else will benefit except us, and we’ll ultimately consider our work to be meaningless. But when we consider what God is calling us to and how He wants to use us in that situation, our perspective should change, and we should find true meaning in our work because of His influence on our lives.

This forum is meant to foster discussion and allow for differing viewpoints to be explored with equal and respectful consideration.  All comments are moderated and any foul language or threatening/abusive comments will not be approved.  Users who engage in threatening or abusive comments which are physically harmful in nature will be reported to the authorities.


Eight Woes 6 and 7: Appearances

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, February 7, 2020 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you cleanse the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of extortion and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee, first cleanse the inside of the cup and dish, that the outside of them may be clean also.
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.” ~Matthew 23:25-28

“Your eyes can deceive you. Don’t trust them.” ~Obi-Wan Kenobi, Star Wars: Episode IV

I put these two woes together because they address the same issue: outward appearances of beauty but inward realities of death and decay. This is a repeated theme throughout these woes against the religious leaders of Jesus’ day. Please note that Jesus was and is not against religion. He was and is against FALSE religion, specifically play-actors and hypocrites who do not practice what they preach. The Pharisees and scribes were supposed to lead the people in the worship of God and to prepare the way for the Messiah, and yet all they did was use such positions for monetary and political gain. It was all about what they could gain out of it and for the praise from men here and now.

Not all is as it appears to be. Not all who claim to be Christian are indeed Christian. I have watched people declare themselves to be Christian, say all the right things in front of certain people, then turn around and not knowing I am in hearing range say the vilest things about those they claim are their “brothers and sisters in Christ.” It’s hypocrisy. Their “niceness” is nothing more than a façade to hide what they really are. False believers and spies act that way. They will use our language and our words, but they clearly have different dictionaries. They may claim to believe in the inspiration of Scripture or the infallibility of Scripture, but if you listen to what they do with certain parts of Scripture, it’s clear they really don’t believe that. They use equivocation, word salad, and big vocabulary terms that most of their audience does not understand to try to sound smart; yet when the façade is pulled away, so is any pretense of them being who they say they are.

A true believer can act that way too, however, it’s not their character. It’s simply a moment of weakness where the flesh won out in that particular moment. As this series has been about self-reflection, let us face the facts: every single one of us deals with this issue of wanting to look good when in reality, you aren’t what you pretend to be. At the root of all this is the fear of man, the fear of rejection, and the desire to be the best in the eyes of men. Jesus nailed it when He repeatedly pointed out the Pharisees’ desires for the praise of man in how they prayed, how they fasted, and how they looked in public. Yet inside, Jesus could sense their hearts were anything but genuine. I personally wonder if they ever would have cared for attempting to carry out the law if they didn’t have people watching them. The reason they were so threatened by Jesus was simply because He was taking away from them how they gave themselves the greatest value: the praise of man. Jesus was telling the people to not listen to them nor follow them, and they did because they knew He was telling them the truth.

What about us? Jesus pointed out the hypocrisy in the Pharisees on big issues, but He cares about the little cases too. Eric Ludy has a sermon on “When a Pastor Leads a Double-Life.” In it, he describes how when he was younger, he’d tell little white lies for the sake of pleasing people. He’d add a goal he’d score in a game to his actual totals, he’d shave off a few tenths of a second in his running times, or add a few pounds to his bench press, and for what? To please his audience due to feeling inadequate in their eyes. When he confessed it, those he’d lied to completely embraced him and wept in prayer over him. God was working in him to remove hypocrisy in his life, removing the outward clean appearance and inward ‘no-so-clean’ reality.

One of the reasons so many people refuse to confess their sins is because they are scared to death about what would happen if the public found out. We know what our propensities are. We know what we are capable of doing if the sinful flesh were given opportunity to unleash itself. I may not know what yours is, but I know what mine are and I know that regardless of what form it takes, if God were to turn it loose, our names would make Hitler look like Mother Theresa. I have areas in my life that I know full well that if God were to withhold His merciful hand from restraining that sinful part of me that hasn’t been cleansed yet, it would not be pretty to see what happens.

How does your outward life compare to your inward life? Is there a difference? As Christians, there shouldn’t be. It’s an easy thing to say, but not so easy to do. Some of us don’t deal with a weakness because we don’t know how to fight it. We’ve fought it for years and constantly lose. But there is hope. That hope can only be found in Christ Jesus. He did beat that temptation and that sin. He too was tempted to live publicly one way and privately another. He beat it. Jesus did not tolerate hypocrisy in His own life, so as He lives His life in us, He will work in us to remove any hint of hypocrisy in us. But we have to be willing to let it go.

No matter how much we may try to hide it, God is going to expose it. We can expose it to Him and He will deal with it, or we can continue to hide it and God will expose it publicly. And if God has to expose it publicly, it will include great levels of humiliation Worse yet, it will give others reason to blaspheme the name of Christ. We must deal with that inner sin before it deals with us. Let us not be white-washed tombs, pretty on the outside but with a leprous disease on the verge of escaping and showing its true colors from the inside.

This forum is meant to foster discussion and allow for differing viewpoints to be explored with equal and respectful consideration.  All comments are moderated and any foul language or threatening/abusive comments will not be approved.  Users who engage in threatening or abusive comments which are physically harmful in nature will be reported to the authorities.


Surrender, Part 2

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Thursday, February 6, 2020 2 comments

by Steve Risner

Last week, I began writing on surrendering to the Lord. We looked at the importance of surrendering to Him and how we often may fail at doing so fully. This week, we'll focus on why God is worthy of our surrender and what it may be that we're not giving Him in this process. I hope you find it edifying and challenging.

God not only wants us to totally surrender to Him, but He's worthy of us doing so. And why does God deserve such surrender? Aside from the reasons outlined last week—His great love for us that drove Him to leave heaven's glory and be born humbly in a stable, live a perfect life, and die a gruesome and hideous death for our wrongdoings only to rise again under His own power and ascend to the Father so that we can have life both here on earth and in eternity with Him—there are many other reasons why we should have no problems surrendering to the Lord.

God is the Creator. He made the heavens and the earth and everything that is in them. Everything is the product of His mind. His power in creating the universe from nothing but His thoughts, and giving life to us, is unmatched and truly inconceivable. He's beyond description. He made us.

He loves us in a way that is far beyond any form of human ability to love. He is all-knowing and His will is perfect. He has great things planned for each one of us and they're far better than any plans we would ever have for ourselves. In Jeremiah 29:11, God tells us, “’For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’” Now, many of us may feel we have pretty great plans for ourselves. But with our limited vision, our limited knowledge, and our limited ability to be truly good (we're humans, which means our plans are likely self-serving), our plans are stinking piles of filthy, rotting rags compared to the amazing plans God has for each of us. His plans are for our good but also for the good of the Kingdom, and for the good of many others quite often. Ultimately, His plans are to usher us into His presence both here and for all eternity, and there is nothing better than that.

I encourage you, reader and friend, to seek the Lord with all your heart. Ask Him what it is in your heart that is keeping Him from saturating your heart and life. Often times, what we're holding back are things we may not even realize are hindering us. A short list comes to mind, but this list is likely not extensive.

We may be sheltering a love for something that is not from God in our hearts. For some, that could be a boyfriend or girlfriend who is not a follower of Christ. It could be a friend who is a bad influence or is dragging us away from God rather than helping us grow towards Him. It could be a job, money, or position. It might be an activity that perhaps is not a sin in and of itself but is keeping us preoccupied and harming our relationship with God. It could be sinful behavior, that “pet sin” we don't want to give up because we enjoy it too much or feel we're in bondage to it and can't give it up.

Something we may be holding back is our future. It's possible we don't trust God's plan for our lives, or we don't want what He's called us to do or be, so we push it to the side and pursue our own ambitions. We want a great job that we love and can make a lot of money doing. We want power and position and notoriety. But maybe God has called us to do something we don't esteem so highly. Maybe it's a career that doesn't make as much money or have as much prestige. Maybe it's more difficult or in a location we hadn't counted on. Whatever it is, we can trust God that. As His Word tells us, His plans are better than our plans and they're for our good.

For some, the things we're holding onto that are hurting our relationship with the Lord are past hurts. We're not forgiving someone who hurt us, or in some cases we're angry with God because of something “He allowed to happen” or something like that. I don't mean to minimize or trivialize your life experience, but if this is you—if you are blaming God for something that happened in your past—please hear me here. God may or may not have had something to do with whatever it was than happened. Perhaps He called home a loved one before you were ready—a child, a parent, a grandparent, a close friend, or spouse. Realize that if the person you lost was a believer, your loss is their gain. They are in the presence of Jesus Christ right now celebrating and happier than they ever could have been on this earth. They're free to see Him face to face and they will never suffer again. You'll miss them, but if you stay faithful, you will see them again and celebrate with them in heaven's glory. Perhaps God has taken something from you, or in some cases NOT taken something from you that you desperately want Him to remove from your life—a relationship, a hurt, an illness or sickness/ailment. Whatever it is, perhaps, as Paul realized, this thing is there for your benefit in eternity. Perhaps the reason is He wants you to realize His grace is sufficient and He wants you to rest in Him.

However, in many (if not most) cases, the thing we're holding against the Lord was not really His doing. It's either the result of our own actions and we are reaping the consequences of those actions, or it's the result of someone else's actions—whether those actions were intended for good or evil. God isn't to blame for what others do. If you've been hurt by someone, you need to forgive them and set them free. Setting them free is actually setting you free. If that person is no longer living, you can still set yourself free from the hurt by releasing them. Rather than blaming God for what we or someone else did, perhaps we should lean on Him and trust Him to make us what He wants us to be through the incident or through the pain. Christ provides healing and restoration and to give us life—real life.

John reports that his close friend Jesus said, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life and have it to the full.” I considered just quoting the second half of this saying of Jesus, but I realized the first half exposes the problem while the second half tells us of the solution. The thief—Satan—wants to use your experience to keep you from God and keep you from abundant life. His goals are to destroy you and anything you care about. Most importantly, he wants to put something between you and your Savior, redirecting you to hell rather than into the presence of the Almighty. Do not allow him to do this! Jesus came that we might have full, abundant life and, truly, the only life worth living is one immersed in Christ Jesus. It's the only form of true living and is the gift of God and the result of Christ's sacrifice.

As believers, we often sing songs of worship that focus on our surrender. “Here I am / down on my knees again / surrendering all / … I surrender / I surrender / I want to know You more.” “I surrender all / I surrender all / all to Thee my precious Savior / I surrender all.” “I'm giving you my heart and all that is within / I lay it all down again / to hear You say that I'm Your friend.” “All to You, I surrender / everything, every part of me / all to You, I surrender / all of my dreams, all of me / I surrender.” There are so many other lyrics of surrender—total surrender—but do we mean it when we sing it? Are we singing with our lips or our hearts? He is worthy. There's none more worthy. You can find these songs and others here.

Please consider praying about whatever it is and allowing God to show you what He wants you to surrender to Him so He can more fully pour Himself into you and use you to do awesome things in His name. It may be something obvious that you're aware you're holding back, but perhaps not. It could be something more subtle. Allow God to reveal it to you and (very importantly) respond. Thanks for reading and be blessed.

This forum is meant to foster discussion and allow for differing viewpoints to be explored with equal and respectful consideration.  All comments are moderated and any foul language or threatening/abusive comments will not be approved.  Users who engage in threatening or abusive comments which are physically harmful in nature will be reported to the authorities.


The Foundation Matters

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Wednesday, February 5, 2020 0 comments

by Jason DeZurik

Many years ago, we heard the phrase: “A fundamental transformation of the United States of America.” I think it is safe to say that many, if not most of us, really didn’t know what this phrase really meant at the time. Some people were willing to call it out for what they saw as a direct attack on our foundational beliefs laid near the beginning of our nation’s founding. They were ridiculed for being “close minded” or even accused as being “hateful” or “racist” to those wanting this fundamental, transformational change. Now we see the result of this attempted “fundamental transformation” of our nation and even of the Christian faith.

Many who claim to be followers of Jesus Christ and His teachings have taken to supporting things which are blatantly against a clear reading of Scripture in order for this fundamental transformation to take place, which is nothing more than a guise of “love.” Like it or not, this is not really love but instead a way to please fleshly desires. We are not only seeing this fundamental transformation in the public square now, but we see it in our churches across the nation too. I think it is finally time for all of us just to be honest with one another and let the chips fall where they may.

When Worldview Warriors started as a ministry, social media was still a very new thing, and the majority of society was still figuring out how it all worked. People’s thoughts were now becoming public not only to their friends but for all the world to see, including strangers that may have had a very different foundation for their beliefs in life. At the time, most of us were unaware of this though. In fact, I think it is very safe to say that many are still unaware of this fact, even though they experience this on a daily basis. This is why I am starting this year long series called The Foundation Matters.

It seems that many people want change for change’s sake these days. But something a lot of people who think like that don’t seem to realize is that if you get rid of something, something else is going to take its place, even if you don’t like it.

So, be careful what you wish for. Unfortunately, we see people wanting to come up with “new and fresh” ideas that really aren’t that new and fresh at all. Many times, they’re just recycled thought put into a different, more “palatable,” package in order make us think it is something new. But it is not, because there is nothing new under the sun. Ecclesiastes 1:9 warns us of this: “What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.” (For more on that, check out Katie Erickson’s blog post here.)

Isn’t it high time to admit that this “fundamental transformation of the United States” is really about getting rid of the Biblically-based foundation and principles set forth by the founding fathers of this nation? I hope you will join me this year as we take a look at things many of the founders shared or wrote about in both public documents and private writings, what they spoke regarding the founding of our nation, and many of their personal beliefs. You will see that our state and federal governments have written things in public documents, too, that are really eye opening. You may be quite shocked though as to how Biblically based much of our founding documents and principles are based on, as well as seeing how many of our founders’ own private communications are Biblical too.

Here is something to begin considering, from the First Chief Justice of the Supreme Court:
"Providence has been given to our people the choice of their rulers, and it is the duty, as well as the privilege and interest of our Christian nation, to select and prefer Christians for their rulers." - first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, John Jay

I have been challenged by some well-meaning Christians as to the purpose of this exercise. Many have told me personally that if the end of the world is coming anyway, why waste time sharing this with others? Well, I think the answer to that question is a very easy one. Jesus’ disciples were waiting for Him to return in their lifetime. And let’s not forget in the 1930s, many people believed that World War II and the time before it was the end times. They believed Jesus was coming back very, very shortly and we needed to prepare for Christ’s return. As we all know, Jesus has not had His second coming yet and only the Father knows when Jesus is returning. We see in Mark 13:32: “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” Did you see it? Only the Father knows. Not even the angels know, and even Christ doesn’t know. Not you nor I know.

With that said, perhaps it is the end times right now, or perhaps it is not. I believe that we are to live in this world as if Christ’s second coming is far off but to be prepared as if He is returning today, this very moment. I think Scripture is quite clear on this matter. In 1 John 5:1-5 we see how we are to live in this world. It states, “Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the father loves his child as well. This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands. In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.”

One last thing to get us started in the series is a quote from Alexis de Tocqueville: "The Americans combine the notions of Christianity and of liberty so intimately in their minds, that it is impossible to make them conceive the one without the other."

I look forward to you joining me on this journey this year.

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White Church, Black Church, and Me

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Tuesday, February 4, 2020 7 comments

by Chad Koons

So here it is: I’ve been guilty for continuing racism, and I’m taking responsibility for it. Don’t look so holy; you are responsible for it, too.

Some say that racism is worse now than it has been in recent decades. We’ve carried it into the church. I see just as much racism inside the church as I do outside of it. We continue to recognize the problem of racism, yet we remain largely unmotivated to change it. Who is to blame for this?

It’s not Donald Trump. Racism existed within the church long before Trump, and it will probably be around long after he is gone. This isn’t about Trump. This is about us.

Who is to blame? We are - the Christians, the “light of the world.” No one made us accept racism, and nobody else is responsible for our apathy, attitudes, and actions but us. Anyone telling us differently is selling us something. If there is a villain in all of this, it’s the one staring back at us in the mirror. If racism lives or dies, it only does so through us. This is our house, church of God, and I need to do my part in cleaning it up.

The Learned Behavior
“Give me a child until he’s seven and I’ll show you the man.” -St. Francis Xavier

I am a product of early examples in my life. In turn, my children are going to emulate what I model. To be blunt, my kids will call it what I call it. Here are some heart-hitting questions to consider:

  • Do I harbor suspicion or defensiveness when a person of another race approaches me?
  • When I speak with a person of another race, am I initially awkward, unsure, and therefore unnatural in how I interact with them, simply because of their race?
  • Do I make little derogatory comments about other races?
  • Do I model racial distrust by who I will and will not associate with, who I do business with, or by the things that I have chosen to fill my life with?

Our children will recognize these behaviors and learn from them. With small children of my own, I recognize that the racism cycle is up to me. I need to recognize these behaviors and correct them within myself before I curse my children with them. My children will live as I train them to live!

Segregation Assembly
"It is appalling that the most segregated hour of Christian America is 11 o'clock on Sunday morning." -Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Imagine your ideal church for a moment, a place where you feel absolutely at home and motivated. Imagine the people within that church. What do they look like? Here’s an uncomfortable realization: are the people within your ideal church the same race as you are? I would wager that most of us see our own race in that picture. We harbor this unholy expectation, perhaps innocently, that our ideal church is to be comprised of people from the same race as we are.

Black church. Hispanic Church. White church. Asian church. Do we really think that God separates us like that? Dear God, what are we doing? Isn’t there only ONE Church? EVERY tribe, language, people, and nation are redeemed and made into ONE CHURCH! Can I find identity and honest community within a mixed group of people? I believe that our churches should reflect the demographic in which we live, whatever that happens to be. If change needs to happen, then we need to help facilitate that change. When will we begin seeing one another as individuals instead of as different races or cultures?

Racial Identity
“It’s no longer Black, White, Asian, and Latino. There is a new ethnicity in the earth… called ‘Spirit Led.’” -Pastor Philip Thornton (my pastor)

At the risk of offending someone, this last point needs addressing. Our racial definitions have failed us, and they are actually causing further divide amongst us. Do we really need to see how White you are, how Black you are, how Latino you are, how Asian you are, or how Native you are, Child of God? We see you! You don’t need to force your race or nationality to become your identity. If we live by racial identity, we will be limited by racial identity. How about we show the world who we are in Christ? Make that who we are; this is what the world really needs to see. Let’s put all eyes on Jesus instead of on us.

Now What?
Christians, I’m not asking us to do something against racism. I’m asking us to BE something against racism. There’s so much to say about this and I am not about to tell you how to change, that’s between you and the Lord. We are all created in the image of God, so can we intentionally realize this and begin there? Racism lives or dies through us. What will you do? Right now, I’ve got my hands full just studying myself. I’m figuring out what I’m doing and how I may be the example for my own family and corner of the world. I beg you to do the same.

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Ecclesiastes 2:12-16

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, February 3, 2020 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

Wise versus foolish is a prominent topic throughout much of the Bible, as it’s so very important in our daily lives. Just start reading pretty much any chapter in Proverbs and you’ll find sayings about the wise and foolish - how they act, what their character is like, etc. One of the main literary tools used in Proverbs is antithetical parallelism, which is really a fancy phrase meaning opposites. For example, Proverbs 14:16 says, “One who is wise is cautious and turns away from evil, but a fool is reckless and careless.” You can easily see the contrast between the wise person and the foolish one; the verse says basically the same thing but from opposite points of view.

This idea of wisdom versus foolishness is also in the New Testament. Jesus told parables to illustrate this, such as the Parable of the Ten Virgins and the Parable of the Wise and Foolish Builders. The chapter of James 3 also talks about wisdom and the lack thereof.

You may be wondering why I’m writing about Proverbs and other parts of the Bible in a post on Ecclesiastes. Well, today’s section of Ecclesiastes 2:12-16 deals with wisdom and folly, along with so much of the whole of Scripture.

The Teacher (likely King Solomon) has already considered nature, other aspects of wisdom, and pleasure previously and has found them to be ultimately meaningless. Now, he turns to wisdom and folly. In verse 12, he says, “What more can the king’s successor do than what has already been done?” This could be referencing Solomon’s son Rehoboam who will be king after him and realizing no one will match Solomon’s wisdom, or it could be Solomon looking back at his father King David and feeling like he can’t match up to his great legacy.

If we take to heart what he says in verse 13, that basically sums up everything we need to know: “I saw that wisdom is better than folly, just as light is better than darkness.” If we know what is wisdom and we know what is folly and we do those things, then we’ll be all set in life, right?

Not quite. Verse 14 goes on to say, “The wise have eyes in their heads, while the fool walks in the darkness; but I came to realize that the same fate overtakes them both.” Walking in light and being able to see with our eyes (i.e. having wisdom) is great for this life, but the wise one and the fool will both end up with the same fate - death. The Teacher realizes in verse 15 that this simple fact makes even seeking wisdom instead of foolishness to be meaningless. What’s the point if we’re all going to die anyway?

This point is further emphasized in verse 16: “For the wise, like the fool, will not be long remembered; the days have already come when both have been forgotten. Like the fool, the wise too must die!” There is some irony in the Teacher saying that both the wise and the fool will not be remembered long, as we are still reading his words today, a few thousand years later! But his point is that whether you live a wise life or a foolish one, you’ll still die and be forgotten eventually. As with most of this book, that sounds pretty depressing at first glance.

So what is our takeaway from this section? No matter how you live your life, whether you make wise choices or foolish ones, ultimately you will die. That may be depressing for some people, but for those of us who follow Jesus Christ and have faith in Him, we have hope even in this dismal statement! We may make many foolish mistakes in our lives here on this earth, but through Jesus Christ, there is always forgiveness. We may make many wise choices in our lives here on this earth, but they will not get us to eternal life - only Jesus Christ can do that.

The choices we make on a daily basis and the way we live our lives are important for being good witnesses and living out our faith (see James 2:14-26 for more on that). But ultimately, we will all die a physical death, and the choices we’ve made in this life are meaningless compared to the one important choice in the history of mankind: the choice that Jesus made to leave heaven, come down to earth as a human, die a terrible death, and be raised again so that we may have eternal life through our faith in His work. Jesus never made a foolish choice, and His wisdom is infinite. He is all that truly matters. While the things we do are important for the cause of Jesus Christ, even everything that we do, whether wise or foolish, is meaningless compared to the great sacrifice and work of Jesus.

This forum is meant to foster discussion and allow for differing viewpoints to be explored with equal and respectful consideration.  All comments are moderated and any foul language or threatening/abusive comments will not be approved.  Users who engage in threatening or abusive comments which are physically harmful in nature will be reported to the authorities.