Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Well... its taken a while to post again, but all my dedicated readers :-) will just have to overlook that point.
I was at the office today and was doing some reading concerning the background of 2 Corinthians (I'm about to start preaching straight through 2 Corinthians on Sunday nights). As I was doing that, I ran across a statement by an individual that was quoted as basically saying, "When I read 2 Corinthians, I feel like I've walked into a room and picked up a persons personal daily diary. I read it and just couldn't put it down, and when I finished I just had to read it again."
This is exactly what I did today. I copied the text from the ESV from my Bible program into the a word document (without any chapter or paragraph divisions--just one big block of text for 7 pages) and printed it off. I then read it out loud (all of it) and attempted to read it with the emotion that I believe is found in the text. It was a very moving experience. I have studied through the book before, but have never read it like that. If you haven't, I highly recommend doing so--it is the most intimately personal book in the New Testament and it is shame that it is not studied/read more.
One passage that I found interesting is in 1:6 - "If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer." Paul is talking about the "God of comfort" and is saying that it is not until we suffer that we experience the true comfort of God. Oh what a difference there is in the Bible between comfort and comfortable!!!
Monday, April 20, 2009
Here at Sheffield Drive we are about to begin a Tuesday evening class on "Understanding Worldviews." The principle source of material we will be using was written by Francis A. Schaeffer, a "christian" Calvinist philosopher, and James Sire (another denominationalist). We used this material in a class at Tri-Cities School of Preaching and Christian Development (i.e. TCSOP-for further posts) in a class entitled "Understanding Non-Biblical Worldviews." I am endevouring to change the focus a little bit in the class to extend first into the idea of "discovering" our own worldview (as Christians) first. In this regard, Schaeffer and Sire will be used only in the idea of "defining" a worldview and then allowing the Bible to define the Christian worldview. The information that these men put forth in books like How Should We Then Live, The God who is There, The Universe Next Door, etc. is good information if you can "eat the meat" and spit out the "Calvinist-bones."
I said all of that to say this. :-) At Books-A-Million, we have a memoir by Francis Schaeffer's son (Frank) wherein he shows his path away from "conservatism," "fundamentalism," and "Christianity" into non-belief. [this is where the morality part comes into this post] He chronicles his growing up years in the first 25 chapters, but mentions often his days growing up in Switzerland (and Italy on vacations). In the midst of all of this, he speaks in a somewhat bemoaning manner (maybe derision, or maybe just ammusement) at the fact that his parents did not allow smoking, drinking alcohol, premarital sex, or dancing in their L'Abri missionary home. All things which he obviously at this point (30-40+ years later) finds rediculous (esp. dancing).
But yet, in their stance on these things, I find it astounding (and yet profoundly applicable to so many Christians today) that during his growing up years in Switzerland, they never gave a second thought to sending him down to the beach (and often with a young-adult female escort--one of the young women studying or working at L'Abri--to watch over him) to spend his days swimming. He makes is plain repeatedly in this section how much time his very young boy's mind spent on those young women in their bathing suits. Not to mention, their family vacations (during the warmer months) were always spent in Italy on the beach--where he fondly remembers the girls in their bikinis.
My point is this, they see the sin involved in smoking, drinking, permarital sex, and dancing, and yet were utterly oblivious to the concept of modesty as taught in Scripture. I see so many Christians today who are attempting to live the same double-life of separating these things and making some of the "bad" and some of them "okay" as if the Bible has nothing to say about the ones the deem "okay"---or that's just 'your interpretation'!
I know I'm probably rambling on at this point, but here's what I'd like you to get from this post. First, the Bible does speak plainly concerning modesty for those who are willing to honestly investigate (and by implication, immodest mixed swimming, et al). Second, common sense and almost any male ought to be able to look at their growing up years and their adult years and their "view" of women through that time and find the exact same conclusion. Third, the matter of modesty is a matter of personal holiness, and the results of immodesty are as well.
As always, if you have any comments or questions, feel free to post them.
Monday, April 13, 2009
I wanted to just vent a frustration that I know is really kind of pointless, but its annoying me anyway so here goes. I am utterly tired of newscaster, show hosts, etc, etc, etc, ad-nauseam continually parading their drinking habits, and outright drunkenness, before literally thousands of people like it is hilarious. I know that this is part of the world that we live in, but I very much miss the days of my childhood when you could watch the news without having to deal with their personal lives of sin being involved.
I have also become very annoyed at the fact that I cannot sit down and watch/listen to a news/talk show without having to deal with their foul language. It was bad enough when it was simply euphamisisms, but as our society has "progressed" (actually regressed) it has become much more publically acceptable to curse at thousands of people with no shame (remind anyone of Jer. 6:15?) .
It amazes me that people who sit before thousands of people every day feel licensed to do these things when it is even against company policy at all Walmart/Sam's Club chains in the country to curse in front of a customer. But, I believe I know why. If a customer gets perturbed with Walmart, they'll go shop somewhere else. When they get perturbed with the news anchors, but they happen to be the news anchors who deliver the "viewpoints" that they like to hear, then they have a "vested interest." Because of that vested interest, people (even Christians) will permit themselves to "endure" the filth for the sake of the news.
It bothers me that so many of us are willing to do this, but we seem to be less and less separate from the world, even as the world goes further and further from a moral stance. Well... I've rambled on long enough. If any of you have thoughts, or maybe some solutions, I'd love to hear them. God bless!
Saturday, April 11, 2009
I am happy to say that my loving partner has returned home--and to stay for a while too. She has had some very exciting trips, but is also very glad to have returned home. This "reunion" of a sort reminds me of the fact that often we take for granted those whom we love until they are not present. I feel deeply for those spouses whose loved one is in the military and gone from home for months on end. I cannot imagine what it would be like, or to have lived in times when travel was not like it is today and a trip to Alabama from North Carolina and back would've taken months. Needless to say, it really is the little things that we forget to be grateful for at times.
For tonight, I am just grateful to have my lovely wife home safely. I hope all of you who read this will thank God for your loved ones tonight, and appreciate them for what they add to your life--and what it would be like without them.
Friday, April 10, 2009
Hey all! Thanks to everyone who is following this! This post comes from a conversation I had with a good friend who wanted my thoughts on a list of attributes needed in order to make a friendship grow and remain strong. This is what my fairly simplistic brain achieved in vomiting forth. :-) Enjoy! Sorry about this being kinda long.
What attributes must exist to strengthen and grow a friendship. [note: this is not an exhaustive list].
1. There has to be a common concern.
Many people are in "one-sided" friendships--which really aren't friendships at all. If there is no common concern for each other, then there cannot be a friendship.
2. There has to be a common appreciation.
If both people don't appreciate (have high regard for) one another, then it is very hard to have a friendship Now, that regard may be higher or lower at times based upon circumstances, but it should still be there.
3. There has to be common interests.
Two people who have nothing in common rarely have good, close friendships. Some people will have more in common than others, but some people just have to dig deeper to find something in common with each other.
4. There has to be common goals.
This is especially true in the view of making a friendship last and strengthen. It is like strands of a rope. As long as they are pulled in unison and in the same direction, they remain together. But if you begin to pull them separately and in different directions, then they unravel and once unraveled, are very hard to make "one" again.
5. There has to be reality.
What I mean by reality is this. Strong friendships exist in a real world. They are not things that exist in a utopia. In a real world friendship, there are going to be problems. To be naive and think that you can have a friendship (even a strong one) that won't have ups and downs is to try and have a friendship outside of reality--it doesn't work, and will not last. In a realistic friendship (esp. of 2 Christians), there are allowances and expectations of failure, mistakes, and sin. A friendship of one person almost "worshipping" the other person will always eventually be destroyed because that person who is worshiped will eventually make a mistake "too big" for the other person to handle.
6. There must be a common desire to build and strengthen the relationship.
A friendship can last for a decent amount of time in "stasis", but not indefinitely. At the same time, a friendship cannot be improved by one person alone without participation/desire by the other side to improve it. Now, one person can take the lead and be an example and turn the other person from not caring about improving the relationship into desiring and working to improve it based upon the improvement they perceive in the other person. (let me know if that doesn't make sense). While at the same time, a person who has flatly decided to not "work on" the friendship and just lets it go--and is unwilling to change from that course--will destroy the friendship. This sadly is what happens to many marriages where the two people are married but no longer friends (or at least not good, strong friends). One or both parties has decided to take the friendship for granted instead of striving to continually improve it. Until there comes a time when both parties will work on the friendship, there can be no true improvement in the relationship--only in the individuals.
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
If you notice, at least as of right now, my profile picture is an opened book with blank pages. I chose that for a very special reason. I believe every day of our lives we begin with a blank page in our book called "Life." Every day we choose what gets written upon those pages by the actions we do, the thoughts that we think, and the choices we pursue before God. Therefore, in this blog, I will be sharing with you a portion of that which I "write" every single day in my own book called "Life."
I hope this blog will be God-centered, profitable, entertaining, and especially thought provoking. Please feel free to make comments and I will attempt to keep up to date with everything as much as possible.