Saturday, February 23, 2008

I Am A Friend of God

The above title of this post is the title of a song -- a contemporary worship song -- that is sung (I guess) in many "evangelical" churches. I guess they take the words from Jesus to His disciples. But whenever I have heard the song, it just seems too jolly for my taste. Perhaps I would fit better with a song (or psalm) that spoke of me being in awe of God. It seems that too many people look at Jesus as their "bud."
By the way, when I last heard this little ditty I was seeing it sung at Lake-something church in Houston, TX where Joel Osteen is the "pastor." Of course everyone had a smile :)

Sometime in the wee hours of the morning (I couldn't sleep) I came across a documentary with the exact same title as that song -- "Friends of God." It was appearing on HBO. Now before you go and start thinking -- 'what's he doing watching HBO?' -- I do not subscribe to HBO, and never will. I recently switched to Dish Network and they threw HBO in for three months free. As I was looking at the guide, I saw this title as being on. I thought, "this ought to be slanted." So I flipped it on.

The first scene was to Osteen's "church." All smiles and happy times. I don't think I have heard of him mentioning the blood of Jesus and repentance of sin and justification by faith alone in Christ alone.

Then they went to Colorado Springs and spent time with Ted haggard and his church. This was before the shipwreck. And I literally got nauseated watching Haggard -- listening to him and then thinking that just a few days after this recorded he was defrocked for moral degradation. I had to turn it. I was sad and sick.

Then after a little bit, I said I'll go back and see what's happening now. They were in Texas somewhere at an event conducted by the Christian Wrestling Federation. These were fat guys in costumes mimicking the WWE -- all in the hopes of winning just one for Jesus. I wonder why Paul didn't think of this in Rome? At this point I turned it off for good. I had seen enough.

I don't know . . . I guess what makes me sad, mad, scared, discouraged . . . is that I have been reading The Reason for God by Tim Keller, and his logic and apologia is so sound. I read it and I hope and pray that non-Christians will read this book, that God would use the message of this faithful, Bible-believing pastor and they will seek the face of Jesus. Then I watch shows like this documentary and I'm thinking, "Why would a sophisticated, thinking, person even consider the claims of the Christian church?"

Some thing's gotta change. Let it begin in me.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Day of Prayer & Fasting

Yesterday, 19 Feb, was a day of prayer and fasting, a day to call upon God to rend the heavens and come down (Is. 64:1), and send revival to His people here at FBC. In the 10 weeks running up to revival services, I have asked the congregation to take one day a week to fast and pray for revival.
I learned many valuable things yesterday:
* that the flesh is demanding. No wonder that we are told to walk in the Spirit and deny the flesh, not to feed its lusts -- becasue it never gets enough. However, I found that when my flesh was screaming to be fed, I was driven to the Savior. I was reminded of Jesus in the wilderness, when tempted by the Devil to turn the stones into bread, and Jesus responded with the truth that man shall not live by bread alone but by the word of God. Apart from God, we can do NOTHING. I realized afresh that if revival is to come to His people, we must be completely dependent upon Him, surrendered, and looking to Him to send the showers of blessings.
* that God is able to sustain. We don't "need" all that we say we "need." I could make it on a lot less -- less food, less stuff that quickly fades away, and less of ME and what is needed is more, more , more of HIM.

The Lord is working in my heart. I just want to be still and submissive, and see what He is doing and what He wants to do and will do. To Him be the glory!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Pray for Dr Mohler

Just read at Baptist Press that Dr. Albert Mohler, president of Southern Seminary, will have to have surgery soon to remove a pre-cancerous tumor from his colon. Because of this, he has has asked that his name not be put forward as a candidate for SBC president in 2008.
Dr. Mohler is a tireless defender of the faith, a gifted Christian thinker, and a genuine leader, a devoted husband and father. My we all join in praying for this servant of our Lord.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Where Are We Headed?

Recently, I began to go back and re-read and study the Philadelphia Baptist Confession of Faith. This confession was first printed (by Ben Franklin BTW) by the first Baptist association in the United States in the early 1700s.
I read this to reconsider the ground from which we spring. These men are so clear in what is the truth. In this day and age of relativism and post-modernism (which to me is basically old-fashioned "darkness") it so refreshing to read this crystal-clear statement.
One wonders, where will the churches that are popping up all around us, where will they stand 250 years from now? I wonder if they will still be around? I doubt it. Why? Because on what do they stand?
It appears that many of these churches or fellowships or "porches" or whatever the hip word of the moment might be, are crowd gatherers. Goats are entertained with rock music, Hollywood film clips, arresting stage scenery, and funny-story telling "pastors" with untucked shirttails and soul-patches. Surveys are studied with more eagerness than God's word in "staff" meetings. The method is more important than the Message (which is also the name of the "translation" used).
What happened to "feed My sheep"? As CHS asks, are we feeding sheep or merely entertaining goats?
What will happen when the entertainment gets old? Will the envelope have to be pushed more and more? When the children of the yuppies we're trying to reach get tired of the "Chuck-e-Jesus" playground that we've built for them? Is it all based on entertaining, so we can get the crowd, so we can get more and more cool stuff for our IT minister on staff, so our church can be the hippest in town?
Like the stock market in the 1920s this is bound to all come crashing down. I read recently in the New York Times in an article by one of their columinists about evangelicals that liberals should like. In this article one very prominent pastor is quoted as saying that he didn't care one bit about politics, (good for him I might add) but that ALL he cared about was helping AIDS victims in Africa. Well, that is good and noble, and I pray that he can help them. But my first thought was, what about the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ? Don't those suffering in Africa need to hear about the cross, just as those in our cul-de-saced neighborhoods?
Maybe once the entertainment gets a little stale, we will guide our crowds into a social gospel so they will feel less guilt.
Where are we headed?
Call me crazy, a reactionary, pathetic -- I don't really care -- but I think I'll go back to Philadelphia, circa 1740, and look for some guidance.