Friday, August 9, 2013
Thursday, June 27, 2013
This week I spent a long time reading over the police and fire bulletins for East Baton Rouge Parish. I've learned that you can not read crime reports for a long time without feeling an overwhelming despair. In fact, there really are only two ways to read through the stories of crime and loss without falling into depression. (Really, there are three, but the third is exclusively for the evil man.)*
One way is to become desensitized. That is, to just not feel it anymore. To not care. To be apathetic. To just gloss over it and move on. The human heart is meant to feel, and this is a defense mechanism. We love to avoid pain. Most people will simply choose not to care. If they can not do that, they will chose not to know, and skip the reading altogether.
The better way is to become prayerful. As you read the news, read it with God. Comment to him, plead his mercy, confess sin, ask for justice, claim his promises, and seek his command for you to be a helper in times of despair. This is much harder to do. I find that I have to force myself sometimes.
A good example is the liveaction.org undercover video series about the abortion industry. I have had to psyche myself up before I could watch the videos. They drain me emotionally. If I do not turn to God in prayer, I am sent into a dark place emotionally. I am overwhelmed and feel defeated. My desire is just to not watch, to not know. Out of sight, out of mind.
But somebody has to stand in the gap. Jesus stood in the gap on our behalf, and now calls us to continue his work or proclaiming repentance of sins, forgiveness, justice and reconciliation. For this, we must watch and pray. This is hard work, but noble and right.
The only way to face the future with bold assurance is to seek the face of the one who lives.
In a few days, I will post about a ministry we are working on at Stevendale Baptist Church that takes this concept and applies it in a practical ministry. That post will be on beyondoutreach.com
*(The third way to read crime reports and not fall into a despair is that of the evil man. He takes pleasure in the evil that others do and the sufferings that others experience. He wants to see the violence and death, because he likes it. This is the way of the Evil One, and is full proof of a reprobate and lost heart.)
Tuesday, June 11, 2013
Wednesday, May 22, 2013
Today, as I searched for information about those killed in Oklahoma, I saw page after page on the internet with comments from people about how to react. There were some that said "Let's remember the victims in prayer." There were a great many more that said "Prayer is useless."
"Prayer is useless" is the new trending sentiment in our country. It breaks my heart. The basic argument is that God never answers prayers, and the ones that seem to be answered are just coincidence. “Prayer is useless," is the declaration of the unbeliever, and he will not be convinced that he isn't right. We've seen this kind of person before:
And those who passed by derided him, wagging their heads and saying, "Aha! You who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save yourself, and come down from the cross!" So also the chief priests with the scribes mocked him to one another, saying, "He saved others; he cannot save himself. Let the Christ, the King of Israel, come down now from the cross that we may see and believe." Those who were crucified with him also reviled him. Mark 15:29-32
They did not want to believe. Remember, though, Jesus had already admonished his disciples: Don't you think that I could call on my Father to send more than twelve legions of angels to help me now? How, then, are the Scriptures to be fulfilled that say this must happen?" Matthew 26:53-54
There will always be mockers. There will always be adversaries to the Cross. Some will open their eyes, when they see God's love on display. One centurion did. And when the centurion, who stood facing him, saw that in this way he breathed his last, he said, "Truly this man was the Son of God!" Mark 15:39
Yes, God hears our prayers and answers. It is not a wasted exercise, even if there are those around us who have eyes and do not see.
Tuesday, May 21, 2013
Friday, May 17, 2013
In John’s vision (Revelation 7:9) people of all nations, tribes, languages, and races will be standing before his throne and worshipping him… together.
Many of the congregations that are "multiracial" are actually in transition from one group to another and will not remain mixed.
Multiracial congregations in the U.S. are rare. Mixed race churches represent only 8 percent of American congregations.
A multiracial congregation is a church where no one racial group is more than 80% of the people. Our church is not multiracial yet.
Wednesday, March 13, 2013
- Am I giving to the Lord first? Proverbs 3:9-10
- Am I following a spending plan?
- Am I becoming a disciplined spender?
- Am I spending less than I earn?
- Am I saving?
- Am I being generous?