Friday, February 28, 2014

February's Fab Five


This year has been slow on the blog. Plenty has happened personally, but not much has translated to the web. I have picked things up a bit in the past week, but nothing major. Enjoy the popular articles for the month!

Posts During February

Jun 17, 2013, 2 comments
Feb 5, 2014, 2 comments

All-Time Posts

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Conversion and Literature

"Lewis fits into a broader pattern at (his) time—the conversion of literary scholars and writers through and because of their literary interests. Lewis' love of literature is not a backdrop to his conversion; it is integral to his discovery of the rational and imaginative appeal of Christianity."

—Alister McGrath, C. S. Lewis: A Life, Page 132

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

He Goes

Meanwhile, the priests who were carrying the Ark of the Lord’s Covenant stood on dry ground in the middle of the riverbed as the people passed by. They waited there until the whole nation of Israel had crossed the Jordan on dry ground.

—Joshua 3:17, NLT
Joshua 3 recounts the entry of the Children of Israel into The Promised Land. While the people still had to claim the land through war, it was already promised to them by (as verse 11 states) the Lord of the Whole Earth. As such, the miraculous entry into the land sets a great precedent for God's dealings with His people.

He Goes Before Us

...the priests who were carrying the Ark of the Covenant went ahead of them.
—Joshua 3:14b
Would the Lord put us in a situation that He would never go into Himself? No. He leads from the front lines. If the Lord expects you to get your feet wet, you know His feet are already wet. If He expects you to speak out, He has already given you the words. If He has asked for your blood, sweat and tears, know that He has already shed His own.

The Lord Jesus is our Great High Priest who has paved the way for us already. This does not mean the road is easy, it only means He understands what we are going through because He has been there already. You are no greater than your master.

He Goes Through With Us

Meanwhile, the priests who were carrying the Ark of the Lord’s Covenant stood on dry ground in the middle of the riverbed as the people passed by...
—Joshua 3:17a
Everyone knows the poem about the footprints in the sand. (If you don't know the poem, do yourself a favor and Google it) It makes the point that we see here in the first part of Joshua 3:17: God's going to be with you in the midst of the storm. And when we look back on the times in our life that we felt alone, we will realize that The Lord was ever present with us.

Sometimes it helps to just have someone there with us while we endure hardship. We don't always need a hero to take us out of a situation. God puts us through ordeals in order to refine our character and He always remains by our side. That's what it means when we say that God sees things through to completion—He is actively invested in shaping the outcome.

He Got Your Back

...They waited there until the whole nation of Israel had crossed the Jordan on dry ground.
—Joshua 3:17b

Not only does God lead the charge and stay with us in the middle of trouble, but He also brings about closure to our ordeals. As I have insisted this entire blog post, He is there for us from beginning to the end. He leads the charge, He gives strength to endure and finally brings about victory. That is a major theme of scripture. It is also evident in our lives.

The rear guard also implies protection from the rear. While events in life (trips to the ER, financial struggles, bouts with depression, automobile failure) take us by surprise, nothing catches the Almighty off-guard. Tragedy may sneak up on us, but God is ready for anything and has your protection in mind.


I know this post has a significantly different feel from what I have tried to create here on WToHT. Looking back on it, I see that there is a lot of faith and not much reason, teaching or explaining. I'm OK with that. The Bible is a book of faith.

I pray that this post reaches someone who needs to know that God is there for them. And if God is for you, who could possibly stand against you? Nobody, that's who can stand against you; particularly knowing that He goes before you, He stands with you and He's got your back. He did all this to show the Children of Israel His commitment to bring them into the Promised Land.

Believer, realize that the Lord has made several promises to you. He intends to see them through with the same determination that he afforded to the Israelites in Joshua 3.

Have you experienced the Lord's faithfulness? Let me know in the comments!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Ecumenism Works

You mad, bro?

U MAD, BRO? (Photo credit: Fábio Gianesi)
I like to think of myself as a very patient man who is slow to anger and quick to listen. Last year was a difficult one for me. I found myself becoming upset to the point of not sitting in my seat for an entire meeting because I disagreed so vehemently with the speaker that I would not give him the courtesy of hearing his conclusion. Granted, I waited until he was supposed to deliver said conclusion. So unless he was going to use that conclusion to completely undermine his premise, (that should never happen) then my walk out was warranted.

There is not much that will upset me to that point. Most Theological points are so fine that I realize there is no point to getting mad. Mostly, an agree to disagree position suffices. The only reasons I have to get upset is when the core of Christianity is confused or misrepresented in a message or when my brethren are ignorantly maligned.

Run for the hills!

The last grievance is usually the culprit. A stereotypical statement is made about people I consider my brethren with no evidence presented whatsoever. The congregation is supposed to agree with these buzz-words and shun the teachings of anyone other than our own denominational preachers.

Jack T. Chick
Jack T. Chick (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
It is in this vein that Brother X came through, bashing the Roman Catholics (as normal) with the tired, old issues that plagued the denomination in the Middle-Ages. Just perform a Google search for "Chick-Tract" and you'll see the old arguments. He spouted those off. This type of thing is sadly commonplace, and while I was irritated at the direction the meeting was going, I decided to wait it out.

Then he turned his attention to Rick Warren. He accused Pastor Warren of being a leader in the Emergent Church (He's not in the article). Now, if you perform a Google search for "Rick Warren" + "Emergent Church" you will get a lot of hits. But after reading those articles, I say a disturbing trend. I saw a lot of claims that Rick Warren is in cahoots with the Emergent Church, but nothing substantial from his writings or sermons were produced to substantiate the claims. If Brother X had produced something substantial, I would have been fine with it. But he failed to do so, and was therefore condemning his fellow man with evidence that amounts to hearsay.

But I suffered through his presentation.

Next, he turned his attention to the Baptists. Oh, you thought the Baptists were going to get away scot-free? Not with Brother X. He attacked their ecclesiastical structure and the frequency of their Lord's Supper. There seems to be no escape from the critical eye of a man bent on spreading the gospel of denominationalism.

But while I twisted and turned in my seat, I still would not leave. Remember my whole "patience" spiel? I gave this guy plenty of chances.

Time to go

Did I mention this guy is a missionary? He goes to foreign lands and preaches the good news of Christ's work on the cross. Finally, after bashing all these denominations that read the same scriptures that we read and believe on the same Christ we believe on, Brother X got to his actual work in the country he is commended to.

English: Ecumenism symbol from St.-Anna-Kirche...
English: Ecumenism symbol from St.-Anna-Kirche Augsburg. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
He works in a small country in an oppressive government. He said something that was actually very interesting about the conditions within the communities and their affect on Christendom. Since there is so much government opposition, the denominational walls are not as hard over there and Christians from different traditions work together for the promotion of the gospel!

So the Catholics, Baptists, etc. all come together with his group and promote the gospel. And, according to Brother X, the gospel is flourishing in the country. Well, what do you know? Ecumenism works! If we would only take the energy we use to bash each other and just hold each other's hand in unison under the banner of Christ's gospel, God only knows what we can accomplish for His Glory.

Sadly, this was not his conclusion and he did not even attempt to undo his previous work during the message. I told my wife that we did not need to listen to any more of Brother X bashing our brethren and we left.

Why write this?

I know this is not an uplifting article. I understand that I open myself up to the accusation of bashing others. However, I place this as my defense: I am only sharing his own statements. I have made nothing up and only presume that Brother X really meant what he said and would own up to them. If he has a change of heart, I would gladly forgive him (though he did not directly malign my Theology/Ecclesiology) and put this incident behind us.

I write this article for two reasons:
  1. I do not tolerate a bully pulpit. I feel that Brother X used the pulpit to spout his own ideas that were unsubstantiated by facts. He also diminished the actual tangible results of ecumenism while grudgingly bringing them up. It is out of a sense of justice that I shine a light on this situation and pray that others who may read this will be sensitive to it in their own meetings.
  2. This issue has been weighing on my heart since that fateful evening. I wrote an entire, scathing blog post and decided that it would be best to simply record facts and write the narrative several months after the fact. I feel that while I have been brutally honest, I have not misrepresented Brother X's arguments in the heat of emotion. However, I still feel strongly about this and that is an indicator of something I must write. I have an obligation to be honest with this blog, and I will not compromise on that goal.

Even on a personal post like this one, I value your opinion. What do you think? Leave me a comment below!

Enhanced by Zemanta
Christopher M. Jimenez. Powered by Blogger.

Mailing List