Abortion Vote

June 20, 2013  CultureHerald NewsNewsNo comments

Virginia FoxxYesterday a vote in Washington to ban late term abortions passed in the House of Representatives. I am pro-life and want everyone including the baby in the womb to have the right to life liberty and the pursuit of happiness

Some might use the term Dangerous. Cruel. Extreme. Unconstitutional.  In fact in response to this bill, this is how our President described the vote in congress “Last night's House vote wasn't a bad dream. It's actually terrifying that 228 members of Congress voted to stand between a woman and her doctor when it comes to her health care decisions, but here we are the next day, and that's what happened”.  Terrifying??????  You mean that people would actually stand up for the “rights” of the unborn. What has our country come to that we should no longer care for those who have no ability to defend themselves.

Pro-life advocates might use any of the former words to describe the practice of abortion, but on Tuesday it was Democrats using those terms to express disdain for a Republican-backed bill that would ban abortion in the United States after 20 weeks of pregnancy.

Despite the cries of Democrats, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act Tuesday evening in a vote that advocates dubbed “historic” for the pro-life movement.

The reality is that many more in congress are seeing what truly happens when a late term abortion takes place and the terrifying act is not that one would vote, but that one would suction life out of a body.

There are Christians who are democrat and who are republican.  What should bring us together is our high view of the sacredness of life wherever it exists whether inside or out of the womb..

Marjorie Dannenfelser declared “children capable of experiencing unimaginable pain from abortion must be protected across the country,” She is the president of the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List. She goes on to say “This pro-woman, pro-science, constitutional bill deserves an immediate vote in the U.S. Senate.”

Unfortunately the Democrat-controlled Senate is unlikely to take up the bill, and President Barack Obama declared that he would veto the bill if the legislation reached his desk. My prayer for our President is that God moves on his heart to see abortion not as a right, but as a harmful act. Statistics prove this.

My prayer is is that more republicans and democrats would get educated in late term abortion procedures.  One can't watch the procedure without being broken in heart over the violent actions of those who perfom this gruesome task.

What I have seen take place in recent history is that science has helped us see how terrible abortion truly is. As a result a Gallup poll released earlier this year statistically revealed that 80 percent of Americans think abortion should be illegal in the third trimester of pregnancy.

Another 64 percent want abortion banned in the second trimester. H. R. 1797  would make abortion illegal after 20 weeks gestation, which equates to 22 weeks in another commonly used method of measuring pregnancy. Is this asking too much of the American public to finally support?  The statistics speak contrary to our President and his worldview

In response, Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y. stated “Why are we here wasting the time and the money of the American people on a futile and extreme legislative joy ride?” Jeffries asked. “This is conservatism gone wild.” Is it really “going Mad” to want to follow Jesus teachings which command us to care for those who can't care for themselves  Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction,  (Jam 1:27)

In fact Washington D.C. has terms that allow abortion all the way to conception. Fortunately Rep. Trent Franks, R-Ariz., who initially filed a bill in April as a measure that would have only applied to the District of Columbia, where abortion is currently legal until the moment a baby is delivered, later amended the legislation to apply to the rest of the country.

There is an old argument that since males don't conceive they have no right to vote for the cessation of these types of cruelties and yet God has called BOTH males and females to stand for life  Those in favor of this bill sent 10 women to the microphone in support of the bill, including Reps. Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Diane Black (R-Tenn.), Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), Martha Roby (R-Ala.), Ann Wagner (R-Mo.), Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo.), Kristi Noem (R-N.D.), Renee Ellmers (R-N.C.), and Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.).

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., who last week referred to late-term abortions “sacred ground,” urged her colleagues on Tuesday to “vote ‘no' against this dangerous bill.” And yet has anyone come up with the list of dangers that are involved in protecting the life of the unborn?

The response of  Marsha Blackburn was  “Let me tell you what's dangerous,” going on to list disgraced Philadelphia abortionist Kermit Gosnell, Texas abortionist Douglas Karen, and accusations of unsafe abortion practices found in Deleware.

Kermit Gosnell was sentenced last month to three life terms in prison for first-degree murder and a litany of other charges for crimes committed at his Philadelphia abortion center. Republicans cited Gosnell frequently during debate Tuesday, but Democrats said Gosnell's practices are already illegal, making additional legislation unnecessary.

The reality that comes from late term abortions is that women seeking abortions at 21 weeks or later are 91 times more likely die from the procedure than they are in the first trimester. This type of information must be given out during the first trimester.

Will our president again show his concern for the baby in the womb negatively?   We as Christians must pray that our governmental leaders would defend those who cannot defend themselves and promote life and look upon it as sacred in all its forms.



Coffee House Saturday night!!

 

Hope you can come out and join us this Saturday night for our Coffee House get together. Free music, coffee, snacks and door prizes starting at 7:00 p.m. 'til 9:00 p.m.



Friday, June 14th, 2013

Movie Night



Greatness, Secretariat, Jesus

June 10, 2013  CommentaryCultureHerald NewsNo comments

I couldn't help it but tears welled up in my eyes. I watched the tape of Secretariats triple crown victory at the Belmont Stakes 40 years ago this week over and over. And to think Muhammad Ali claimed to be the greatest “in the world”. Unfortunately his record was filled with blemishes. He was not and never will be the greatest.

I'm not one to cry and my children often remind me that tears are really not a part of who I am. In Pastoral ministry this can be a positive and negative trait. The bible calls us to “weep with those who weep”-Romans 12:15. The scriptures also tell us there is a balance to life. In Ecclesiastes there is also a time to laugh (  a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; (Ecc 3:4) .  If I were to weep at every broken scenario, it would leave no room for joy, and ultimately it is the joy of the Lord that is my strength. I fight for joy in this broken world.

I wish I could debunk my children's theory more, but it is true.You will rarely see tears flow and yet when I watched Secretariat, I saw something in him that was far removed from myself.  I saw greatness. I saw a horse pull off a feat that has never been duplicated in horse racing in the past 40 years and may never happen again.

I've seen the video above multiple times , but I'm still dumbstruck  by Secretariat's amazing feat. The large chestnut colt they called “Big Red” didn't just destroy the field in 1973 by 31 lengths (1/16th of a mile), he so completely demolished the track record–a record that still stands–that he would have beaten the previous record holder Gallant Man by 13 lengths.  The announcer Chic Anderson got it right in his famous call: Secretariat was moving “like a tremendous machine”. The music in the background just grabbed my heart as I observed royalty in action.

Just as Secretariat was one of a kind horse, Jesus was a one of a kind God.  He came and indwelt a human body  (John 1:14) so that we could some day put on a heavenly one. I started reflecting on who I am and who Jesus was and is, and for a moment I saw in Secretariat what we never recognize in mankind. The perfect man, who was God. The God man, the victor, the Savior and Lord of all.

That day Secretariat ran as perfect as a horse could run.  We saw in his race the perfection that was required of mankind, God says be perfect (Matthew 5:48). Yet today tomorrow and until Jesus Christ returns, I'm unable to run as Secretariat ran. Not even one day. Every day I fall short of glory and need the victory that was one for us in the life of Jesus Christ (1 Cor 15:57). Our victory ONLY comes through the perfect life and sacrificial/substitutionary death of Jesus Christ

Can I say it again, my goodness (righteousness) is never good enough and every week as I ask people if they are ready to meet God they tell me they are “good enough on their own”. The bible says Jesus was the only one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. (Heb 4:15). He ran a perfect race EVERY DAY so that we could have his favor for all eternity.

We are like Secretariats opponent Sham. He tried so hard to stay with the greatest but fell away. He looked good for a stretch but could not stand with the greatest. We are like Sham, we are unable to measure up to the standard that God requires of us.  We fall short and as Sham ran out of gas and finished last. Would you see yourself apart from Jesus as a big loser? We can't run with Jesus and we desperately need his righteousness, his perfection.

I'm humbled today at the work of Jesus once again for a vile sinner like myself.  I'm so unworthy on my own yet someone ran a perfect race for me. Would you consider Jesus life death, and resurrection. Would you ponder on why he HAD to die.

My tears were not so much for the perfection in Secretariat, but as I saw the beauty and breathtaking perfection in his run I again was reminded of my  perfect Savior Jesus who loved me and died for me.  Have a great Monday!!!



Community Day 2013-June 29th

June 8, 2013  announcementsEventsNo comments

community-day

Community Day, June 29 in Griffin Park

  • Click here for flyer | Click here for map
  • Free Concert – Featuring: 33 Lights, Jovan Mackenzy, Gee Wizz, Diligent, and Disciple
  • Free Food – Hot dogs, hamburgers for everyone
  • BMX stunts – Featuring Craig Wright
  • Family Fun – Bouncy houses, face painting, and more
  • 3-on-3 Ball – $15 per team. Cash prizes: $300 for first; $150 for second; $75 to the winner of three-point shooting contest. Sign-up at the event.

We look forward to seeing you there! Email Call Tom Cabral for more info (919) 761-3671. [clear /]



Whats Your Mission this Summer?

June 3, 2013  CommentaryHerald NewsmissiologyNo comments

I just opened the most recent edition of my Seminary's quarterly magazine called Southeastern. It's title “Every Christian a Missionary”.

The discussion dealt around international missonary work focusing on a people group in Southeastern Asia.  I got to thinking being a North American missionary how much of a blessing it is to be considered a missionary to my own culture.

Missio dei is described by Christopher Wright as the radical encounter with the living God and the unavoidable outcome of “witnessing mission” .  Missions then is to be seen in light of God's purpose for the entire creation, his election of Israel, and their holy role, the centrality of Jesus Christ, and God's calling of the church to be redemptive agents to the end of the earth.

We just finished our latest book study at Redemption Fellowship on the disobedient prophet Jonah.  His mission was not only to speak a message to the wicked Assyrians, his neighboring adversaries, but he was to go to them. Most prophets in the time of Jonah would speak but would not go on mission.

Jonah repulsed at the thought ran in the other direction and God had to graciously send a fish to rescue him from the waters he begged to die in. Later on, he also chose to walk out of the city of Nineveh after all its occupants turned in repenting faith to God.  God again graced him not only with a plant but a worm and a wicked eastern wind, simply because Jonah again preferred to die rather than be on mission.

My greatest desire as a Pastor is to see every person who actively comes to our church to be on mission.  Missionary work is not only for the person who gets an advanced biblical degree, but for all those who claim to be followers of Jesus Christ.

Our church in Fall River is known as an evangelical church. Evangelicals commit to spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ to all people.  There is no ethnocentrism in the church of Jesus Christ (at least there shouldn't be). We recognize the ultimate authority of God and his word in our life and the privilege of being a great commission church.

I think I get this emphasis from the seminary I graduated from. Not only is Southeastern Seminary a Baptist Seminary, but it is a missionary seminary. Recently during its accrediting process, those who observed the campus walked away expressing that each faculty member had the mission statement for the seminary nailed down. They claim to be a Great Commission Seminary.  They do not hide this. Nor should we as Christians.

We don't put the gospel under a bush but declare and live it out solely for the glory of God and the salvation of mankind.  We are commencing our next two months of activity at our church by having a pizza Wednesday up in Griffin Park on May 5th, followed by a movie night at our church on the 14th of June, a coffee house on the 22nd and our largest summer event our community day on June 29th from 9 AM to 4 PM.

We want to share the good news of Jesus Christ everywhere and with everyone. If you're looking for church that is on mission and you'd like to be involved come join us soon.  Our website is www.redemptionfallriver.com and we would love to get to know you.

I'd like to leave you with two quotes I shared at the end of our service today.  Amanda Berry Smith lived from 1837-1915. A woman born into the barbarism of slavery, she met the Savior and served him faithfully. Following the death of her husband and 18 youngest child, she became a missionary and ministered in the neediest parts of America, England, Ireland, Scotland, Africa and India. Reflecting on the souls of lost men and women she said, “How few there are that are willing to make any sacrifice to secure the freedom ofSouls that Jesus so freely offers…Lord help me, and I will go for Thee. Tell me what Thou dost want me to do.”

Methodist evangelist Sam Jones (1847-1906) well said, “If I had a thousand tongues, theyshould all talk of Christ; a thousand hands, they should all work for Christ; a thousand feet,I'd put them all in the way of heaven.”

God bless your week and I pray you commit to being on mission this summer!!



Rescue and Redemption

June 1, 2013  CommentaryHerald NewsmissiologyTheologyNo comments

You can't miss it. From tornadoes to terrorism to the trials of everyday life, all are evidence of a completely, and obviously, broken world. It begs the question: Why so much destruction, sickness, confusion and disharmony? The answer is sin.

I grew up in Somerset in the 1960s and 1970s, and life seemed so much different then. Indeed, today I see a world that is becoming increasingly broken. And I believe it is because we have turned further and further from the peace: The redemption found in the God of the Bible through His Son Jesus Christ.

It comes as no surprise that Old Testament story begins with sin, and a great need for redemption. What might be surprising, though, is how God promises that redemption right from the beginning.

Let me explain.

In the first chapter of the first book of the Bible, God speaks into existence a  “very good” world (Genesis 1:31). It was perfect harmony between creature (man), creation (earth) and the creator (God). Humanity was the high point of God's created order (Genesis 1:26), the Earthly image of God Himself.

God blessed Adam and Eve, the first man and woman. Privileged yet responsible, they were given a special mandate to multiply, to fill the earth, and to have dominion over it. They were given everything they needed to reign as vice-regents, and prohibited only from one thing; eating the fruit of one specific tree in the garden, the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.

That's when everything changed.

In Genesis, Chapter 3, we see the most catastrophic event in human history, a choice that has caused the suffering of all creation. Satan, the one called Deceiver, needed only suggest that God may have been hiding something, that He need not be trusted, and Adam, with Eve at his side, succumbed like a kid to cotton candy.

On its face, sin looks very appealing to us all.

Michael Horton describes it as a “royal stewardship twisted into tyranny. Every sign of human oppression, violence, idolatry, and immorality in the world can be seen as the perversion of an original good…. in order to secure a consummation without God.”

As a result, all are guilty before God. All have now a corrupt nature. Where is hope to be found?

Well, immediately after sin entered the world, God acted in three ways. First, He pursued Adam, and Eve. He provided them animal skins as clothes to cover their not previously-known shame. And in this, God foreshadowed the reconciliation available only through the shedding of blood; only as death covers sin, and in essence purchases life.

Second, God admonished the Deceiver, attesting the fact that Satan's tyranny would not stand against those who would trust in the coming Redeemer. “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring (ref. Jesus at the cross); he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel,” (Genesis 3:14-15).

Here, and finally, God promised that sinners would have a way back. It is the blood of Jesus that removes condemnation from everyone who trusts in Him as Lord. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow,” (Isaiah 1:18). In the midst of sin, it is Jesus' perfect life and sacrificial death that purify us before God, a grant us life eternal in a world without sin.

Because that Kingdom is not yet fully here, many like me looked around at our world and eventually reached that point where the gavel fell. “Guilty,” Satan said, both figuratively and literally. And yet in Christ, a loving, wrathful and righteous God says “not guilty.” He said it to Adam, and He says it to me.

If you know you are guilty, reflect on the truth that God's promised Messiah of the Old Testament is the same Jesus Christ who sets you free. And someday, because of His gospel, sin and brokenness will be completely and forever eradicated.

Just flip to the end of the story, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away,” (Revelation 21:3-4).

In the Bible we find peace in the first two chapters of Genesis and in last two chapters of Revelation. Peace in the beginning, peace in the end. And everywhere in between, chaos.

Do you want the kind of community described in Revelation 21? Would you turn from your chaos and trust alone in Jesus Christ as Lord?



Memorial Day 2013

May 27, 2013  CommentaryCultureHerald NewsTheologyNo comments

After five days of overcast and rainy skies, I'm looking forward to spending Memorial Day with family and friends. We plan to go to the Memorial Day Parade in down town Fall River and watch our young friend Cedric Ferreira march in the parade.

It's a time when we remember not only veterans but specifically veterans who have died in the line of duty. Every time I think of death, my mind wanders to the greatest death that ever took place 2000+ years ago. I can't help it.  I'm not worthy of dying for, yet someone chose to die in my stead.

Yesterday in Griffin Park, there was a honoring of James T. Griffin who died in 1943. He was the first resident of Fall River to die in World War II. He was only 25 years old.  I've lived almost twice as long as James did. I have never suffered as he did. I am thankful for his courageous life and the many others who have gone before me to protect my freedoms. His actions and deeds should never be forgotten.

To lay down one's life for others is not only commendable but worth talking about over and over again. Memorial Day should never be annulled and we must continue to maintain an attitude of thanksgiving for all those who protect our freedoms. Yet there is an old saying, “those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it”. . I ponder it often. George Santayana a Spanish American author in the early 20th century penned these words

When I think of this quote, it reminds me that there are many in our culture that love freedom but when it comes to spiritual freedom, trivialize it. They  don't truly understand it. They love “freedom from the demands of those in power, but don't recognize that freedom without Christ results in spiritual death. The bible tells us  freedom to know God truly is only found through the work of Jesus Christ. You can know about God BUT can't know him personally without first trusting in what Jesus has already done (John:19:31). You may feel free, but spiritually, the bible declares those without Jesus Christ spiritually dead (Eph 2:1).

The word of God is still acceptable to many in our culture but has many different meanings. God has become  whoever you choose him to be. We have subjectively inverted the biblical theme of redemption which has to do with rescue and freedom and retold it like many of the ancient myths. We have twisted it into an act by which one someone redeems THEMSELVES. How sad!  In weekly conversations about the Christ I hear  over and over again the message, “I'm okay”, “God forgives everyone”, “I'm not THAT bad” (The Jonah syndrome), and ‘God loves everyone”…… i.e.  everyone who dies will get in to heaven.

If that were true, Jesus would not have had to come to earth. He would have stayed in heaven in perfect harmony with the Father and The Spirit. I heard community in heaven is heavenly.  I can't wait for the day Jesus brings heaven to earth. But until then, we must be willing to share the true story of redemption.

I love the words from Casting Crowns song Glorious Day.  “Living, He loved me, Dying, He saved me buried, Buried He carried my sins far away Rising, He justified freely forever one day He's coming Oh glorious day, oh glorious day”. Some day he is coming back.  Are you ready?

I'd like to leave you with three verses to ponder. All of these were fulfilled by Jesus Christ 2000 years ago. Jesus came, lived perfectly (because we could not- Mt 5:48) and died not only as our substitute but as a sacrifice SO THAT we might have eternal life.

The first book of Corinthians carries the famous reminder of the eradication of deaths power over those who have Jesus as Lord and Savior–, 55 ”O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” 56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law 57 but thanks are to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 58 Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain. (1Co 15:55-58).

The other two describe the heart of the great servant Jesus who came specifically for those who are dead IN sin. He came conquered, rose from the grave and promises to come back some day. Would you think on him today?  Would you thank him dying AND rising from the grave?  Would you see redemption in his work not you own?

2-Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends”–John15:13

3- But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, 27 and whoever would be first among you must be your slave 28 even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mat 20:26-28)

Don't forget on Memorial Day as we celebrate all those who died for our freedom, remember Jesus not only died but he lived an abundant life that is available to those who trust in Him (John 10:10). God bless your day!!!



I am a New Creation….. Are you?

 

You may think I'm old (I'll be 50 this year), BUT God say's I'm new. That's right. I'm a new creation in Jesus Christ

What does the bible say about God and man

One of the basic truths in the bible is that God is the Creator of heaven and earth, who sustains and controls everything (e.g., Gn 1; Pss 33:6–11; 104; Mt 6:25–32) and that we are not God!!  The most basic consideration about man is that he is a creature, made in God's image in order to serve him (Gn 1:27).

The bible also reveals that man has fallen into sin and is depraved, unable to know God and live righteously before God.  Therefore it is impossible to know  the Bible's message of salvation apart from what it teaches about God as Creator. The true nature and perversity of man's sin stem from the fact that he “worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator” (Rom 1:25 ).

God is Redeemer because he is Creator. By the same token, the objects of God's saving activity are his rebellious creatures who, along with the entire created order, are cursed with futility and decay (Gn 3:17, 18; Rom 8:20, 21).

What has God done to change my status

While man is born sinful (Ps 51) and goes astray from the womb (Ps 58), living sinfully, God chose to do something about our nature and status so that we might begin anew, and to become new creations; to begin harmonic living with him. Sin destroys us.

Sin keeps us separated from God and only Jesus can bridge us back to God. The Kingdom as we now see it is a now/not yet reality.  For those who are IN Christ/new creations are living in the seminal stages of a future kingdom, where Jesus reigns in the world and the hearts of those who are new creations.

The culmination of all the Old Testament promises of a coming rescuer finds it's fulfillment in one man; the God-man Jesus Christ. He comes and fulfills every promise of his redeeming work that was foretold hundreds of years in advance.  You say that's impossible. Yes with man BUT not with God “What is impossible with man is possible with God.“ (Luk 18:27).

Call it what you may, but only God can do the impossible and Jesus is the God man who  finishes the job he started in taking broken worthless dirt filled creatures and gives them spiritual life, when once they were dead (Ephesians 2:5).

How Do I benefit

God know longer sees me as guilty because of my sin, because IT has been cast on Jesus.  He has taken my sin and procurs salvation for those who repent and trust alone in the work of Jesus. I am not new physically but I am now spiritually alive to the things of God, therefore I am new. Upon believing in what Jesus has done for me, God sees me in a whole new light.

I am now his adopted child.  I don't get into the family of God upon choosing him, but he chooses me (John 15:16), much like adopted parents pick out the child they choose to take into their family. As a result of this new status, I no longer have to live in guilt and remorse because God chooses no longer to bring my sins back into remembrance  ”For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; 12 as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us”. (Psa 103:11-12).

God never forgets my former sins, but he chooses to not discuss them  with me any longer. Thank God I know he cared enough to do something about them. Jesus performs the greatest exchange in world history so that I might have a right standing with God “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God“-2 Corinthians 5:21.

And not only is spiritual life imparted, new desires and abilities enable this new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17, Galatians 6:15). When the bible speaks of being new it speaks of being new spiritually.  This is why the bible says we must be born again (John 3:3).

Charles Spurgeon the famous Baptist Preacher in England once said “If you have been truly born again you have a new and holy nature, and you are no longer moved towards sinful objects as you were before. The things that you once loved you now hate, and therefore you will not run after them. You can hardly understand it but so it is, that your thoughts and tastes are radically changed. You long for that very holiness which once it was irksome to hear of; and you loathe those vain pursuits which were once your delights. The man who puts his trust in the Lord sees the pleasures of sin in a new light.  For he sees the evil which follows them by noting the agonies which they brought upon our Lord when He bore our sins in His own body on the tree. Without faith a man says to himself, “This sin is a very pleasant thing, why should I not enjoy it? Surely I may eat this fruit, which looks so charming and is so much to be desired.” The flesh sees honey in the drink, but faith at once perceives that there is poison in the cup. Faith spies the snake in the grass and gives warning of it. Faith remembers death, judgment, the great reward, the just punishment and that dread word, eternity”

Is this you?  What do you gravitate towards.  Do you love God, his word, his people? Do you look at the church as a place where you can worship and serve, rather than a place where you are only getting. The new creation loves God, starts to hate sin, in fact detest it, and sees sin for what it truly is.

Being new also does not mean being perfected.  We still sin, we still fail one another but when we do we want to reconcile and stay friends. Being new assumes that you are not yet perfected BUT there is that eschatological hope.  The hope that when I die things will be much better.

What does my future Hold

I will either come back with Jesus and reign with him forever or meet him in the sky upon his return in my lifetime “ For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord”(1Th 4:16-17).

Then and only then will all creation be in perfect harmony with it's creator. The book of Isaiah speaks of a future time when harmony will be evident. In Isaiah 11:6-9 it says “  The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat, and the calf and the lion and the fattened calf together; and a little child shall lead them.7 The cow and the bear shall graze; their young shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. 8 The nursing child shall play over the hole of the cobra, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the adder's den. 9 They shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain; for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea.

What do I do now that I am a New Creation

In the interim I and all the new creations of God are called to call others to God, his Kingship and the Lordship of Jesus Christ. In 2 Corinthians 5:20  it says “We are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God“.  An ambassador speaks the message of a King.  Our King is Jesus who has chosen us to go into society and cry out this message of reconciliation.  To be reconciled assumes that many are not in right standing with God currently.

We are to now take all of our lives and live it for his glory. The book of 2 Corinthians reminds us that  ”14 For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; 15 and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised. 16 From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer” (2Co 5:14-16 ). We are to live for HIM not for OURSELVES!!

If you don't sense God, his presence and these characteristics in your life, it might be that you need to be born again. You may need to repent of your selfish life apart from God.  Jesus said come.  Today may be the day when you cry out to God acknowledge your depravity, your unworthiness, and ask Jesus to save you from yourself and the coming judgment.

If you genuinely turn from your sin and trust alone in Jesus life and sacrificial death, the bible tells us you will recognize that you have a new status; your  a new creation, and your life will never be the same.  He won't reject those who humbly recognize this need “ Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.“ (Mat 11:28-30). Will you come to Jesus? Will you live for him?

If nothing has changed in your life or you have reverted back to your old ways and there is no greiving and suffering, are you new?



Suffering Evil and the Oklahoma Tornado

May 21, 2013  CommentaryCultureHerald NewsNewsTheologyNo comments

As we wake today and read of the carnage in Moore Oklahoma, many will question why a good loving God would allow all the suffering  that has taken place. Unless we truly know this God, the God of the Bible, who is described in magnificent detail throughout the scriptures as always working good (Romans 8:28), we will not stay settled in our thoughts and hearts.

When tragedy hits us close to home we look up and ask “why”? A disease, death, or sudden type of suffering causes us to question why God would allow this type of tragedy.  Even  the young have been tragically impacted in the Oklahoma tornado.

If you have an atheistic bent then to life, then life itself is only  a cosmic misfortune, meaning becomes senseless because there is no righteous judge who can meter out perfect judgment in the end. Morality is determined by the powerfully elite who determine what's right and wrong . In this worldview this only lasts as as long as someone has a voice. Do we really want to live in a world where there are no moral absolutes?

Oxford University's Professor Richard Dawkins defines life as “a way for selfish genes to multiply and reproduce”.  In other words there is no purpose or grandeur to each person's existence. Creation is just an allusion and our last breath is our last hope. In his world view this is the byproduct of chance.  Is that all we are???

Some Christians explain suffering away to sinful actions that arouse the anger of a holy righteous cosmic God. There is a term in theology called theodicy. It deals with why God allows evil and suffering in our world. In theodicy there are two types of suffering, natural and moral. In John 9, a man is blind from birth, and Jesus tells the Twelve that this blindness cannot be traced back to this man's sin, or that of his parents. Therefore we must be careful of making a blanket statement that declares all suffering is a result of moral choices contrary to the will of God. In natural evil there is no one to blame. In moral evil the blame is cast on someone.

Why does God allow babies to die,  women to be raped,  “good” people to lose their homes and jobs, for terrorism to continue and for the ruthless to escape justice over and over when he has the power to change anything and everything?

The God of the bible has what are called incommunicable attributes.  Those he does not share with us.  The bible declares God both omniscient (all knowing) and omnipotent (all powerful). Everything in his universe happens under his rule and reign.  He knows the number of hairs on our heads, the days until we die, and the places you will live and whom you'll live with.

Some claim that God has a multitude of plans and if one doesn't work out he goes to plan B.  That's not what the scriptures declare. They declare that even the most powerful man's existence is under the control of an all-powerful God “The king's heart is a stream of water in the hand of the LORD; he turns it wherever he will” (Pro 21:1). Either he is fully sovereign or he is NOT sovereign at all. We cannot put God in a box. The first thing we cannot do is say God cannot stop evil.

The second thing we must NOT attribute to God is all the evil that comes forth in time.  His attributes we appreciate and declare  the good side of God are that he is love, he is good, kind, and just, What we  do find in the scriptures that God is working everything for good.  This is hard to see on a day when multitudes die and suffering is immense. What we have to remember is that God does not define good as we do!

How then do we reconcile God's goodness with evil? What we must trust in times like this is that God is sovereign and that by allowing evil into the world and having Jesus as his rescue plan for mankind and creation we will come to appreciate in time that God's glory is more perfectly demonstrated through the victory of Christ over sin. Why does God would allow sickness, disease, injustice and suffering? We must not become the voice of God and answer but we do know that evil has its origin in sin and it is displaced all throughout our universe. We are reaping its impact in our everyday lives.

Our hope is that someday in the future upon the return of Jesus, he will make all things right, he will renew the earth (10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed. 11 Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, 12 waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn! 13 But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. 14 Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these, be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace– 2Peter 3:10-14)

In eternity our cosmos will never fail us again. We will have been made perfect with no blemishes and those who have claimed Jesus as Lord and Savior (Romans 10:9) will have perfect minds and bodies and live in perfect harmony with God, each other and the universe.  No more tsunamis, no more hurricanes, tornados, or any cataclysmic suffering will exist. Trusting in Christ has eternal benefits that far superseded those we claim and live for on earth in our current state.

We should not propose to know why God has allowed this tragic moment to take place, nor should we be quiet, BUT teach the hope found in Christ in spite of the evil that persists. Evil has always been amongst us, but there is a day when it will no longer reign. The book of Isaiah declares life will some day look like this (7 The cow and the bear shall graze; their young shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. 8 The nursing child shall play over the hole of the cobra, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the adder's den. 9 They shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain; for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea. (Isa 11:7-9).

In the interim we must be careful of  speaking out of bounds. Sam Storms a Pastor in Oklahoma listed these six things we remember in tragedy.  They are well worth noting:

1-      It will not accomplish anything good to deny what Scripture so clearly asserts, that God is absolutely sovereign over all of nature- God can send tragedy or permit it from happening.  We must speak as the Apostle Paul states in Romans 11- “Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!

2-       God is sovereign, not Satan- We may never know what hand the devil had in this but what we must say is that God will only allow the devil so much rope, that the devil can do nothing apart from  God's sovereign permission

3-       Great natural disasters such as this tell us nothing about the comparative sinfulness of those who are its victims- The people of Moore Oklahoma were NOT more sinful and all of us exist via the mercy and compassion of God today. Life is on loan and God owes us nothing

4-       Events such as this should remind us that no place on earth is safe and that we will all one day die- We will all likewise die. We are not immortal. The only ultimately and eternally safe place to be is in the arms of our heavenly Father from which no tornado or earthquake or tsunami or cancer or car wreck can ever snatch us or wrench us free.

5-      We should not look upon such events and conclude that the Second Coming of Christ and the end of history are at hand, but neither should we conclude that the Second Coming of Christ and the end of history are not at hand- We must stay humble and prepare for his return whether it is in this lifetime or not.

6-       We must learn to weep with those who weep- Today is a time of mourning, weeping, praying, and helping when possible.  Today is not a time to blame but help those in distress. There should be no enemies in Moore today, only those willing to help the despondent.

7-       Pray that God will use such an event to open the hearts and eyes of a city and a state immersed in unbelief and idolatry (and I have in mind not merely Oklahoma, but also America as a whole), to see the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ and turn in faith to him, lest something infinitely worse than a tornado befall them: Eternal condemnation. Eternal suffering- We are all working to a day when we will stand before a righteous judge and until then the gospel must go forth. No one who shares the gospel will ever, even for one moment in eternity, regret this message.