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Guest authors provide news and commentary.
Posted 5/1/13 at 11:20 PM | Christian Post Guest Voices
By Joe McKeever
“A thorn in the flesh was given me….” (II Corinthians 12:7).
For two thousand years people have speculated on the nature of Paul’s thorn. But their efforts come to nothing. The Lord clearly did not intend for us to know what Paul’s handicap was. For good reason…
“Well, Paul had this same problem too, so if he did you surely can’t expect me to conquer it.” You can just hear some husband justifying his failures (and unwillingness to deal with them) to his wife in those words.
“At least I don’t have Paul’s weaknesses. His were awful and yet God used him.” Just so easily we would excuse our problems and cling to them.
We can be glad we do not have a clue what his problems were. FULL POST
Posted 5/1/13 at 12:20 PM | Christian Post Guest Voices
By Dr. Jerry Rankin
“But like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves in all your behavior; because it is written, ‘You shall be holy, for I am holy.’” 1 Peter 1:15-16
Classical Christian writers often focused on the matter of holiness and the Spirit-filled life, but we seldom dwell on the issues of a sanctified life. We tend to relegate it to the theological realm of our salvation. Knowing that we were saved and cleansed by the blood of Christ, spiritually we are “saints” who are holy or “set apart” in the eyes of God. But that theological reality doesn’t necessarily translate into practical attitudes and behavior.
We tend to think of holiness as an unattainable level of perfection, something to strive for but impossible in this world. In fact, we have gone so far in our perception that it is not really desirable. We think to be holy it is necessary to be cloistered in a monastery isolated from the real world, or it is a weird personality trait of someone who carries around a big Bible and speaks in “thees” and thous.”
Why would the Bible exhort us to be holy if it is something we could not do. If it is just theoretical or automatic for a born-again Christian why would we be admonished with the responsibility to walk in holiness. If it means to be “separated” how do we live in the world but be separated and not of the world. Does it mean we are so God-centered that we can’t even enter into a conversation with our buddies about hunting, fishing, ball scores or the latest television sit-com? FULL POST
Posted 4/30/13 at 3:55 PM | Christian Post Guest Voices |
By Cornell Ngare
WHAT I DID…
The other day I saw a neighbor’s child running across the street, chasing a ball. He was totally unaware of the vehicle speeding towards him. I had to act fast, there was no time to think. I chased after him and yanked him out of harm’s way just as the pick-up truck zoomed past. No, my decision was not a calculated choice. I didn’t do what I did because it was the “Christian” thing to do. There was no time to recall the relevant verses. I simply reacted, and was moved more by adrenaline than by compassion.
But now when I’ve had time to think about it, perhaps I shouldn’t have done that.
WHAT I SHOULD HAVE DONE…
Perhaps I should have just let the boy get hit by the car so that he would learn to never play in the street again. Experience is the best teacher, you know. But I couldn’t do that, I had no way of knowing if he would have survived that hit. Or maybe I should have shouted at him, and told him the dangers of playing in the street and how he deserved what’s coming to him – a 1 tonne pick-up truck moving at 100 KPH. Even better, I should have shouted the Gospel at him and hope that he had enough time to believe and be saved if he wasn’t born again already. FULL POST
Posted 4/25/13 at 9:51 PM | Christian Post Guest Voices |
By Christine Hoover
There are seasons in life, it seems, when the world is closing in and all hope seems lost, times of utter loneliness, almost irrational in nature. What is going well? What am I doing right? Nothing, as far as my emotions can see. We got no food, no jobs, our pets' heads are falling off. That's the kind of language I use to convey my state of mind to my husband, because he can instantly relate to Dumb and Dumber quotes.
I make light of it, but there really is no lightness to times like these. It's all darkness and confusion and heaviness, times when you just need to know that you're on the right track, that your kids will actually learn to love anything other than video games, that you have a friend in the world, and that you matter.
Before my offline friends start beating a path to my door with meals and concerned faces and tissues (because that's how wonderful they are), I'm not in one of those times. But I have been. And I find that in those times, I crave encouragement from other people. I'm not talking the healthy, Christ-community kind of encouragement. I'm talking an almost insatiable desire for approval, for someone to say something to me that proves my worth and value as a person. FULL POST
Posted 4/25/13 at 8:30 PM | Christian Post Guest Voices |
By Stephen Altrogge
Kermit Gosnell is currently on trial for the twenty-plus years of atrocities that took place in his abortion clinic. The details of what actually happened in that clinic are enough to make you vomit, scream, and want to punch a wall. The more I read about the case the more it becomes clear that Kermit Gosnell was an evil man who did tremendously evil things. Horrific, holocaust-like things. Demonic things.
How should we Christians respond to this kind of evil? After all, Jesus commanded us to pray for our enemies and to do good to those who mistreat us. So how do we respond to a man who has killed babies, hurt women, and committed other untold wicked deeds? We respond in two ways.
There is such a thing as godly rage. In Romans 13:3-4 it says:
For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. FULL POST
Posted 4/25/13 at 7:32 PM | Christian Post Guest Voices |
By Joe McKeever
Just because people look at us when we stand to deliver a homily, we must not automatically think we possess knowledge, authority, or anything not available to the least among us. They could be listening for God.
Just because they fill the pews to worship God and in the process, listen to our sermons and say good things afterwards, does not mean they are there to hear us. They could be there for greater reasons.
If they laugh at our jokes and weep at our stories, we are not to think of ourselves as gifted communicators who have mastered our craft. It could be they are people of grace and graciousness.
We are messengers for Jesus Christ.
Anything more is wrong.
And could be dangerous.
In the early days of radio news networking, the Columbia Broadcasting System established a national hookup which allowed newspeople to speak to one another on the air at the same time from different locations across America. What is standard procedure for us was once revolutionary and radically new. Before they went on the air, news director Edward R. Murrow told his colleagues, “Just because our voice now carries from one end of the country to the other does not mean we possess any more wisdom than when it only carried to the end of the bar.” FULL POST
Posted 4/24/13 at 11:47 PM | Christian Post Guest Voices
By Jason C. Dukes
It is the difference between extraction and engagement. Whichever one your kids see you do is the one they will likely do, and whichever one you do for your kids will shape the one they likely choose to do as adults.
Be cautious of only placing kids in “Christian” environments and isolated Bible studies assuming that this will grow them into quality Christian adults. What if it doesn’t?
What if this is just personal discipleship rather than making disciples. One Jesus commanded. The other Jesus never modeled for us. He did, however, model learning the ways of the Kingdom of God together, measuring the fruit of our lives inside of community rather than with a mirror.
If we as parents extract our kids out of the environments in which they can learn Jesus inside of pockets of family-like relationships both with followers of Jesus as well as with those who don’t, then we may get something we thought we wanted but actually probably don’t – a thinker who struggled to critically grapple with anything outside of Christian dogma, an isolationist who fears cultural engagement prohibiting themselves from loving as Jesus has loved, a religious spiritualist who follows moralism rather than Messiah. FULL POST
Posted 4/24/13 at 11:30 PM | Christian Post Guest Voices |
By Stephen Altrogge
You spend hours and hours with a friend, helping them work through the same issues again and again, helping them carry their enormous amount of baggage. You tell your son not to punch his brother for the bajillionth (1 followed by, like, inifinity zeros) time. You desperately pray for the salvation of your parents for five years, ten years, even twenty years. You bust your butt (or “bottom” as we say in my child friendly house) to serve a difficult person in the church.
And yet, in spite of all your efforts, you don’t see any fruit. It appears that your friend is still carrying the same baggage. You son is still throwing blistering haymakers and jabs at his brother. Your parents seem to be even less receptive to the gospel than in previous years. And that difficult person in the church is still being…let’s see, how do we say this?…difficult. You’re doing the work, you’re not a slacker! (see What About Bob?). But you’re not seeing any results.
What is the point of it all? Why should you keep investing yourself in a person when you are seeing zero fruit? Why should you keep working on a relationship that just doesn’t seem to be working? FULL POST
Posted 4/24/13 at 7:29 PM | Christian Post Guest Voices |
By Wade Burleson
In the few days Paul Young was here in Enid we had some very interesting conversations. I have complimented Paul before, saying I have learned more about interaction with people through observing him than any other person I know. Paul believes everything in his life--every experience, every heart-ache, every blessing, every moment--have collectively led him to the moment in time he speaks with the one who is in front of him. He is not looking over the shoulder to the next person in line, he is not worried about being late for supper or his next appointment. Paul Young takes time to interact with people and connect with them on a level deeper than the superficial.
Paul Young and I share a very high view of the power of the atonement. We both believe the grace of God saves through the Person and work of Jesus the Anointed One. We are repelled by the notion that a loving God tries to save the world through His Son. We believe God actually delivers sinners from themselves through Christ. We also share a common view of hell. It is not a torture chamber dreamed up in the mind of the midieval poet Dante, but rather a solemn, holy place of judgment where a loving God sentences rebels to a just imprisonment for their crimes. FULL POST
Posted 4/24/13 at 6:18 PM | Christian Post Guest Voices
By Ron Edmondson
I have a heart for leaders. Especially church leaders. I’d love to help others learn from my mistakes. In fact, that’s a huge motivation for this blog.
With that in mind…
Fight fewer battles where the win doesn’t matter as much – Okay, honestly, this is hard, because usually people are bringing the battle to you. The petty complaints. The constant grumbling. But, it’s nothing new. Read the Old Testament. The key is to remember the over all vision. What’s the end goal. Go for that and don’t be distracted by the things that won’t matter in eternity.
Don’t try to duplicate as much as you emulate – The connotation of duplicate is to be just like. With emulate, you’re trying to match the level of success, in your individual context, but not necessarily achieve it in the same way. You’ll stress less about your progress this way. Trust me. FULL POST