Posted 12/11/13 at 11:50 AM | Christian Post Guest Voices
By David Murray
Most people think that sinning is the best way to happiness. Otherwise, why would so many spend their days figuring out how to sin bigger and better?
However, sin is the greatest enemy to our happiness, as the Puritan Ralph Venning convincingly demonstrated many years ago. His teaching is summarized below, but his aim in it all was to show that sin is directly “against man’s good, both present and future, here in time and hereafter to eternity, in this life and world which now is and in that to come. It is against all and every good of man, and against the good of all and every man.”
1. It is against God and therefore against ourselves. Sin is our enemy because it is against God, and separates us from God, who is our greatest good and joy. FULL POST
Posted 12/10/13 at 5:34 PM | Christian Post Guest Voices
By Joe McKeever
I sat in the congregation listening to the Christmas sermon. Something was missing and I couldn’t quite put my finger on it.
The minister selected one aspect of the Christmas story and read the text, then brought his sermon from it. His points were properly related to the text and no doubt most people in the worship center felt satisfied that they had been spiritually fed. It was only later that something occurred to me, what was the missing ingredient in that morning’s service.
The worship leader and musicians and the pastor all drew our attention back to that night in Bethlehem over 2,000 years ago, and they did a fair job of opening the text, explaining its message, and praising the Lord. But they omitted one major element as far as I could tell. FULL POST
Posted 12/10/13 at 4:55 PM | Christian Post Guest Voices
By David Murray
Many moons ago I used to enjoy Crimewatch, a TV program that specialized in using Identikit software to produce composite pictures of criminals based on various eyewitness accounts. It was fascinating to watch the picture put together on screen; first the hair, then the eyes, the nose, the mouth, the ears, and so on. With the reach and leverage of a TV program, the criminals were often rapidly identified and the following week the real picture was placed beside the composite, usually revealing remarkable similarity.
So, what if we put together a composite of the perfect pastor; what would he look like? Here’s a composite of the best bits of the best pastors I’ve known.
Mind: He is educated in the Scriptures, the historic Confessions, and contemporary issues. He’s not only educated, though, he’s also wise and remains teachable; quite a rare combination. FULL POST
Posted 12/9/13 at 12:12 PM | Christian Post Guest Voices
By Joe McKeever
“On the first day of the week, let every one of you….” (I Corinthians 16:2)
A heavy snowfall had paralyzed the city. By church time only the janitor and the preacher had shown up. As they stood there, trying to decide what to do, the pastor said, “People today just aren’t as dedicated as they should be.” The janitor said, “No sir, and we wouldn’t be here either if they didn’t pay us!”
Today, the second Sunday of December, I’m at the halfway point of five banquets in a six-day period.
Thursday night, it was the “President’s Christmas Dinner” at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.” I wasn’t the speaker or anything, but they set me up a table and I sketched a lot of people. Then, the next night, after driving nearly 400 miles, I did the annual “pastors and wives Christmas banquet” for two associations around Minden, Louisiana where my buddy Randy Hales is the director of missions. I sketched nonstop for a couple of hours and did my stories for 30 minutes and drew some more, then drove over two hours back to Vicksburg, Mississippi where I’d reserved a room. Came home Saturday. Then, that night, I did the “Christmas family dinner” a few blocks from my house for Grace Community Bible Church, drawing everyone and sharing my stories. FULL POST
Posted 12/6/13 at 6:01 PM | Christian Post Guest Voices
By David Murray
Psychologist Daniel Goleman describes our seemingly hedonistic age as “The age of melancholy” and blames the pervasive sadness on technology. He is quoted in this New Scientist article by Amichai-Hamburger (seriously!) which shares Goleman’s view of technological oppression and and proposes the solution of self-determination theory(SDT). SDT "identifies three vital elements of healthy personal development and functioning which can be used to calibrate our relationship with technology."
The first is autonomy – the feeling that our activities are self-chosen and self-endorsed. When we feel in control, we are able to organise our priorities and place effective boundaries around them. FULL POST
Posted 12/6/13 at 4:01 PM | Christian Post Guest Voices
By Phillip Jensen
‘Outsourcing’ is an ‘in’ word. It used to be only a business word but now is spreading into life itself. Today people are outsourcing their life.
For some time the business world has used the term to talk of buying goods and services from outside suppliers. Rather than using in-house employees to undertake all the tasks of the business, the company will turn to external suppliers and ’outsource’ the work. This enables the business to concentrate on the core activities and allow experts to provide assistance in areas that are marginal to the business. The classic outsourcing is Information Technology. Many businesses do not have the expertise to set up and maintain their own Information Technology, so they subcontract this work out to experts.
While it is fashionable to speak of outsourcing, there's nothing new in it - nor is it an evil that must be resisted. The whole of society is built upon outsourcing. Without outsourcing, people have to live in a subsistence economy, where each citizen grows their own food, builds their own house, makes their own clothes and provides everything for himself or herself. As soon as we move to any division of labour we have started the process of outsourcing. From the division of domestic duties, to the selling of goods with neighbours, to the trade between businesses, society is built on outsourcing. FULL POST
Posted 12/6/13 at 1:33 PM | Christian Post Guest Voices
By Joe McKeever
“That is one of the reasons I believe in Christianity. It is a religion you could not have guessed.”– C. S. Lewis in “Mere Christianity”
Nothing about the Christian faith is as we might have expected. Get into the business of a virgin birth, a sinless life, a vicarious death, and a resurrection, and have it happen to a Jew in First Century Roman-dominated Judea and all bets are off.
Consider just the unexpectedness of the Christmas event itself, the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ.
1) Matthew 1
–The lineage of Jesus contains an interesting lineup of characters, including several women of questionable character: Tamar who seduced her father-in-law, Rahab the prostitute of Jericho, Ruth who was the subject of gossip in Bethlehem, Bathsheba who was the “other woman” of David’s fall from grace, and of course, Mary herself, the target of malicious gossips throughout Nazareth. FULL POST
Posted 12/5/13 at 1:56 PM | Christian Post Guest Voices
By Richard M. Ebeling
The doctrine of natural law that inspired the 18th century declarations of the rights of man did not imply the obviously fallacious proposition that all men are biologically equal. It proclaimed that all men are born equal in rights and that this equality cannot be abrogated by any man-made law, that it is inalienable or, more precisely, imprescriptible. Only the deadly foes of individual liberty and self-determination, the champions of totalitarianism, interpreted the principle of equality before the law as derived from an alleged psychical and physiological equality of all men.
The French declaration of the rights of the man and the citizen of November 3, 1789, had pronounced that all men are born and remain equal in rights. But, on the eve of the inauguration of the regime of terror, the new declaration that preceded the Constitution of June 24, 1793, proclaimed that all men are equal "par la nature." From then on this thesis, although manifestly contradicting biological experience, remained one of the dogmas of "leftism." Thus we read in the Encyclopaedia of the Social Sciences that "at birth human infants, regardless of their heredity, are as equal as Fords." FULL POST
Posted 12/5/13 at 11:26 AM | Christian Post Guest Voices
By Stephen Altrogge
It’s so easy to hit “send” or “post” or “tweet” or “publish”. One click. One tap of the screen. One “yes” to Siri. I don’t even have to think about it. I bang out my message and fire it off, like a cowboy shooting from the hip. Maybe I post something funny. Maybe I post something critical of someone else. Maybe I post a link to a scathing article written about a prominent pastor. Maybe I make fun of the President.
The Internet makes it so easy to be an arsonist. To set the world on fire. To be a walking napalm. To go through the day spraying virtual gasoline on everything and everyone.
In James 3:5-6 it says:
How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. FULL POST
Posted 12/5/13 at 10:27 AM | Christian Post Guest Voices |
By Joe McKeever
Pretend you’ve never done a Christmas sermon before. Pretend you don’t know where to start or how to proceed.
What to do first. Read Matthew 1-2 and Luke 1-2 over and over until their message is as familiar to you as your name. Listen for the Holy Spirit to draw your attention to something. You will know by how you are intrigued by a verse or blessed by some insight or puzzled by another.When the Spirit wants you to focus on a text, He often pulls it out and plasters it across your eyes. Your mind keeps coming back to it.
Stay with Him now. This could be good.
Do not be in a rush. If you give the Holy Spirit a quarter hour to get through to you–before kickoff or worse, during commercials–He will refuse to play that little game and will leave you to your own devices. FULL POST