Posts

Showing posts from 2018

Is the Anti-Christ here yet?

Image
I grew up hearing various interpretations of “anti-Christ.”  These definitions ranged from a special person, a specific denomination or church—someone or some organization that would rise up and deceive the religious world—after the true church had vanished.  While there may or may not be some credence in some or all of that, John in his epistles is the only biblical writer who actually uses the term anti-Christ.
John’s definition. ἀντίχριστος,—Literally means, an opponent of the true Christ—John uses it: 1John 2:18, 22; 4:3; 2John 7

This is the spirit of Anti-Christ.
1.  People who say that Jesus was not truly human—that is, Jesus didn’t have a human body.  His body was an illusion.  (This is the ancient heresy of Docetism)
2.  People who say and preach that Jesus was not truly divine. (This is the ancient heresy of Arianism)
The other day I heard a radio talk show host state the following.  “I believe in Jesus—but I don’t believe he was divine.”  That is anti-Christ.   There are organizat…

I’m the boss—aren’t I?

Image
How have we missed this in such a large way?



This whole thing about leadership and serving.  At the passover meal—the last one which Jesus ever participated in—Jesus just explained that one of the twelve would betray him.  The response of the disciples was two fold. First, they tried pointing fingers.  They wanted to know who the dirty cop was. Second, they deteriorated into an argument about who is the greatest.
What the second argument had to do with the first I’m not sure.  But here is Jesus’ response: “But among you, those who are the greatest should take the lowest rank, and the leader should be like a servant. Normally the master sits at the table and is served by his servants. But not here! For I am your servant.” (Luke 22:26, 27 NLT)
Jesus sets the great example for the disciples and for us.  Leaders, masters, those in charge serve the servants at meal time.  
Two examples come to mind.  Two ‘famous’ evangelists—two ‘important’ people.   First one is being ushered around a ci…

On Being blessed and a blessing

Image
The book of Hebrews is a written thesis with this theme:  the superiority of Christ over Levitical Old Covenant priest/system 






Hebrews 7:7 “7 And without question, the person who has the power to bless is always greater than the person who is blessed.” (NLT)

This is how I read this:
1.  I need to look for someone better, older, wiser, more powerful—to bless me.
2.  I need to be prepared to bless those under me—releasing blessing into them.

It is a family illustration:   the grandfather-father-son scenario— or a grandmother-mother-daughter scenario. Everyone of us is one of the above —at the least—or perhaps two.
This requires us to think in terms of being a family and not a lone eagle. We need to purposefully and intentionally develop two kinds of relationships. One is primarily (though not exclusively) a receiving relationship.  The other is primarily (though not exclusively) a giving relationship.
We should be going through life with this mindset.  To whom am I releasing blessing?  …

Ouch that hurts

Image
I’d be the first to say—I don’t like pain.  My mother prided herself in saying she had a high pain tolerance—not me!  If I’m in pain, I need CTV news contacted—to get Canada praying for my hang-nail.  Pain to me, is not helpful—it serves no particular purpose—even if I am told differently.
Imagine my distaste and unbelief at this statement:
Hebrews 2:10 “10 And it was only right that God--who made everything and for whom everything was made--should bring his many children into glory. Through the suffering of Jesus, God made him a perfect leader, one fit to bring them into their salvation.” (NLT)

Hebrews 2:10 “10 For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.” (NKJV)
Yikes! Note the correlation between pain and leadership.  Jesus was made “perfect through suffering.”  More specifically he was made the captain of salvation (the perfect leader) through suffer…

You going to heaven?

If hell is—as I noted on a previous blog—-the absence of God and anything related to God—what is heaven? Well heaven is a manifestation of all, or every thing, that is God or God-like.
There is a term that theologians use called ‘common grace.’  Simply put, common grace is the grace released by God to everyone, all the time.  ‘Special grace’ is the grace that is revealed through God in His incarnate act of birth, life, death, resurrection, and ascension.  So, back to ‘common grace.’  
This is the God-ness (goodness) that is revealed in all creation, all acts and actions of humanity.  Baxter Kruger in his book The Great Dance explains it in the following illustration. Kruger was watching a documentary about the rescue of a stranded whale.  He noted the passion and earnestness of the people involved—“the depth of their burden and commitment, their determination.”  As he watched and listened, he saw God.  Who cares the most about creation?  God!  Who knows the stars by name, sees the sparr…

The Fatal Error

Image
The vast majority of people who are asked something about eternity, heaven, God—(higher power) have the following kind of response/reasoning. “I’m a good person—and that goodness—gives me favour with ‘god.’”  This goodness is based on comparison. The idea is to look around and find someone more evil.  That other person’s evilness is the base of your personal goodness.  This personal goodness then gives you credibility in the sight of ‘god’ and will give you a free ticket to heaven/eternity.
Here is the fatal error in that thinking:
1.  What if goodness is not based on ‘law keeping’?  What I mean is this:  what if being good isn’t so much what you do, but in actuality is what you intrinsically are?
2.  What good are ‘rules’ if being good isn’t about actions?  The Bible tells us the following:  Romans 3:19, 20 “19 Obviously, the law applies to those to whom it was given, for its purpose is to keep people from having excuses and to bring the entire world into judgment before God. 20 For …

Is there a hell?

Is there a ‘hell’?
The Bible and preachers use various terminologies in reference to ‘hell.’
It is a Christ-less eternity.It is an eternal separation—eternal punishment.It is a lake of eternal fire.It is a place of weeping and gnashing of teeth.It is highly populated.It is a blazing furnace.
Hell becomes—in the final analysis of things—a ‘God-less’ place. Hell is the place where God is not.  Hell becomes—for some people—the place they’ve always wanted.
It is a place where there is no ‘God.’ It is a place where there is no mention of Jesus Christ as the living, resurrected, saving Lord. Millions of people have not believed in God. Millions of people wish God would just go away and mind His own business. Millions of people have wanted to live their life—‘…my way.” That is hell.
Hell has no presence of God.  Hell has no sense of God. Which means the following: Hell is dark—because only God is light.Hell is hatred—become love comes only from God.Hell is loneliness—because sociality comes from God.Hell…

Self Identification

Image
We are witnessing mass confusion of identities.  Children, youth—all the way up to seniors are struggling with who they are.  Questions abound—perplexity is everywhere. Am I a male? Am I a female? Am I gay? Am I straight? Questions regarding roles: Can a woman ask for a man’s hand in marriage? Should a woman’s father be asked first? Who pays the bills? Who cuts the grass? Who cooks supper?
Turmoil abounds—we no longer know who we are—what makes us who we are.  It’s mass bewilderment out there!  People are disorientated sexually, morally, and ethically.  Can Air Canada employees smoke pot after their shift?  
When I was a child one of my favourite card games was ‘Who Am I.’  It was a ‘Christian’ card game (whatever THAT means), so all the characters were from the Bible.  There would be clues given and you had to guess who the person was.  Funny—but sad—that question could be asked in grade 1 in our school system or in fourth year university—‘Who are you?’—and you might get a blank stare or a simpl…

On Secular Religion

On Secular Religion
Before you read the following, I need to state my case clearly up front.  This is to avoid any misunderstanding in reading this blog:
Thesis:  Canada is no longer a ‘Christian’ country.  Canadian culture worships at the throne of secular religion.  Canada as a ‘Christian’ country is dead, gone—and without revival will never rise again.  So I am writing this blog with that clear understanding.  I am not bemoaning the fact that  Canada is no longer a ‘Christian’ country, and am not playing that card.  I want to move on in the culture in which I am planted as salt and light. 

I am going to make an attempt to delve into a vast subject with my limited ability.  An article by Mary Ann Waldron is to blame.  (See: https://www.cardus.ca/comment/article/sacred-and-secular-belief-can-we-have-peace/?_cldee=bmFuY3kud2Fyd2lja0BvdXRsb29rLmNvbQ%3d%3d&recipientid=contact-51a2a36dc0c8e71180ec3863bb35dde0-2725698e37084fabaeca472c3193f283&esid=781062b6-6bb7-e811-8121-3863bb2e83e8…

Please sir... I want some more

Image
I was reminded the other evening—as my family was gathered home for a meal—of a time in my childhood when we were ‘poor.’  My dad was a union man who worked for Generous Motors (as General Motors became known by my Dad, after his retirement).  I cannot recall how long he was on strike, nor how long it lasted. I do recall that money was scarce as the mortgage had to be paid. This resulted in eating what was called in our home ‘spud and onions.’  This was a British way of announcing the supper menu: Mashed potatoes, with a touch of onion—-and bread. This menu fit the strike budget. It also found a great degree of repetition, in that we ate this night after night.  Occasionally your pallet called out—‘is that all there is?’  I really want more... of something!!!
I have recently been reminded of the spiritual truth in this statement—‘is that all there is?’
1.  The early pentecostals (early 1900’s) had a central theme—the soon return of Jesus. This had tremendous impact on every aspect of chu…

I want to be comfortably, uncomfortable

This is a phrase I am using to define my spiritual walk.  It’s easily noticed that these words are the antithesis of one another.
1.  I want to be comfortable:
The longer one serves Christ—and all that means by way of formation (Christ within!) —the more comfortable one becomes.   Here is a comfortable kind of verse:
John 21:20 (NIV) Peter turned and saw that the disciple whom Jesus loved was following them. (This was the one who had leaned back against Jesus at the supper and had said, “Lord, who is going to betray you?”)
So, there has to be some sense of abiding in the vine—some sense of “He’s as close as the mention of His name.”  I want to be comfortable with Jesus.  I want to walk with the Spirit.  I have to have intimacy with the Father.  I am comfortable around God.  I’m not nervous.  I’m not worried.  I’m not thinking He is waiting to clobber me. 
I live with Him, in Him, because of Him. A very crude illustration—it’s the old pair of slippers you can’t throw out—because they …

Dealing with Sexual Appetites

First blog:  A ‘source’ must be found for your morals.  Mine is the Bible. Second blog: How to live and teach morality in an a-moral culture. Third blog:  Bible Morals and Marriage.

So, what happens when a person has
an appetite for fornication?an appetite for adultery?an appetite for pornography?an appetite for ‘same sex attraction’?

Is that appetite wrong? Simply put—no.  Having an appetite for misdirected ‘wants’ or ‘desires’ in and of itself is not wrong.  It is not sin.
Adam and Eve could have looked at the ‘forbidden fruit’ for a decade—thinking about eating it—and not sin.  Now standing there,or even pining after the fruit would have hurt their intimacy with the Father—but they still wouldn’t have sinned.  In the same way, having an appetite for mis-directed sexual expressions is not wrong.
When does the ‘wrong’ begin? It is wrong when that is acted upon.  Once Adam and Eve ate the fruit—they sinned—and not before. Expressing the misdirected sexual appetite is sin…and wrong.
Now, if you …

Biblical Morals and Marriage

Biblical Morals and Marriage
First blog:  It's a Question of Morals!   A ‘source’ must be found for your morals.  Mine is the Bible. Second blog: How to live and teach morality in an immoral/amoral culture.
But, what exactly does the Bible teach about morals and marriage?

First, we must define marriage.   Marriage is defined not so much by definition, but by example.  The most well known ‘marriage’ passage is found in Genesis 2:24, 25 “This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one. Now, although Adam and his wife were both naked, neither of them felt any shame.”  By illustration here, and throughout scripture, marriage is defined as the ‘union’ between one man and one woman.  Marriage creates a spiritual, mystical, and physical bond between one man and one woman.  A man is emotionally, physically, spiritually, and mentally designed to join with a woman to create a holy union.  This works because a man and a woman ar…

How to preach morality in an immoral/amoral culture

How to preach morality in an immoral/amoral culture
Premise: Christians, followers of Jesus Christ, march to a different beat—than non-Christians.  There are three things that are noted about this: 1.  The ‘different beat’ is all too often unrecognized. 2.  The ‘different beat’ is used as a bat or stick to beat up non-marchers. 3.   The ‘different beat’ needs to be permeated with the soothing sounds of grace and mercy. 

1.  The ‘different beat’ is all too often unrecognized. What I mean by this is simple.  If Christians see the Bible as the source of morality (see last blog)—that lifestyle should be easily recognized in our culture.  Our culture is basically ignorant of the Bible—at best—or at worst—anti-biblical.  If you choose to be Biblical in your morality you are juxtaposed to our culture.  The problem that exists is simple—that’s not true in too many situations! Persons, reportedly ‘Christians’ are not following Biblical morality—that’s a problem!
2.  The ‘different beat’ is used as a…

It's a question of morals

When Jesus was being ‘tried’ by Pilate, Pilate asked Jesus an interesting question: “What is truth?” (John 18:38)
In the moral landscape that is present in our culture—truth and morals are becoming an increasingly difficult concept to process.  As a Biblical person, I believe there is a less complicated process of understanding this quagmire of opinions.
There are simply three questions that need to be asked:
1.  Is there such as thing as morals? I am looking for a definite yes here.  But, perhaps you might find a more amoral culture. Let’s define these terms (https://en.oxforddictionaries.com)  # 1 Morals:  Concerned with the principles of right and wrong behaviour. # 2. Amoral:  Lacking a moral sense;  unconcerned with the rightness or wrongness of something # 3.  Immoral:  Not conforming to accepted standards of morality, 'unseemly and immoral behaviour.'
Most people—I am suggesting—will side with the first definition: they are concerned with principles of right and wrong.
Some dimen…