Monday, July 25, 2011

Moral Implications of Calling Jesus "Lord"

"The evidence is clearly in favor of Jesus as Lord. Some people, however, reject the clear evidence because of the moral implications involved. They don't want to face up to the responsibility or implication of calling him Lord"(Josh McDowell, "More Than a Carpenter", p. 34).

The above quote by Mr. McDowell illustrates a really good point, and one that I have thought for a number of years. There is no secret that there as been quite a number of new-found “atheists” and “agnostics” among my generation. I suppose there could be any number of reasons given for this, and I don’t propose to know all of them, or to ascribe motives to any person regarding their reason for so-called “unbelief.” I obviously cannot speak to any one person’s choice, and I don’t propose to. However, in general I think that McDowell hit the nail on the head. I am convinced that from general observation most people simply do not want the moral responsibility of being a Christian.

Making the choice to honestly and truly call Jesus “Lord” would mean too many changes, too much responsibility, and too much accountability.

It would mean that they would have to account for their fornication.

It would mean that they would have to account for their adultery.

It would mean that they would have to account for their drug and alcohol use and abuse.

It would mean that they would have to account for their support of the murder of the unborn in abortion.

 Their multiple divorces and remarriages, their dishonesty, their support of perversion, their use of ungodly and profane language, etc., would have to be accounted for, and there is no desire to be accountable for these actions.

Now don’t misunderstand me, because I’m quite sure that with each and everything noted here, you can find a person who claims to be a “Christian” who has practiced these things. That’s not the point, but more on that shortly. For some folks believing there is no God gives them the justification to continue in wickedness. If they believe they are not accountable, then they don’t have the conscience problem that accompanies sin. This is McDowell’s point.

Now regarding  “Christians” who practice, or have practiced these things, first note that there is a difference between one who is practicing these things, and one who once practiced them but now has repented (cf. 1 Corinthians 6:9-11). God will not hold  to their charge  those who have repented of sin, and submitted to his divine will. Yet many supposed “Christians” practice these things and seek to feel justified in them as well. Thus they have invented doctrines (not unlike the atheists and agnostics) that allow them to continue in sin and not feel accountable. You hear phrases  like “once saved, always saved” or “perseverance of the saints.” You hear people talk about “feeling the Holy Spirt” or saying “God knows my heart”, etc. These doctrines are common among evangelical churches, and they produce the same result in a person that does atheism. That is, they do not have to feel accountable to God for their wickedness.

The fact is, none of these ideas truly  changes our accountability before God. Each of us, regardless of belief or lack thereof , will one day stand before the judgment seat of Christ and give an account for ourselves (2 Cor. 5:10; Romans 14:11-12). All of our conscience-salving will not change the fact that “The soul that sins, it shall die” (Ezekiel 18:20).

The answer then for us is to realize that creation itself cries out the existence of an Almighty God (Romans 1:17-20), and that each of us is accountable to God for the life that we lead on this earth (Ecc. 12:13-14).

Friday, July 22, 2011

“Pride Goes Before Destruction”

There was once a Naval Captain who, in the course of his duties off of the coast of eastern Canada, received a radio transmission which said:
“Turn your vessel 10 degrees north.”

To which he replied, “I am Capt. Mitchell of the U.S. Navy, you turn your vessel!”

The reply said “I am chief Petty Officer Smith; turn your vessel ten degrees north.”

The captain replied “I will not turn; you turn your vessel, petty officer!” .

To which the reply was returned “Sir, turn your vessel ten degrees north, this is a light house!”

Photobucket (

So often we think more highly of ourselves than we ought to think (cf. Rom 12:3). We may get the idea that we have nothing else to learn, or that others have nothing to teach us. The Bible gives us a different picture. Solomon wrote “A wise man will hear and increase learning, and a man of understanding will attain wise counsel” (Proverbs 1:5 NKJV). Those who are “wise” seek understanding and wise counsel from wherever it may come, and they apply it.

Had the captain let his pride rule the day, the result would have been devastating. Let us never let such pride keep us from attaining wisdom. “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall” (Proverbs 16:18 NKJV).

This post was written for the Devotional Page of "The Courier," Conroe's local Newspaper.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Friends Forever?

It has been said that people only have one or two “good friends.” You know ,the kind of friends that you can talk to about matters of great importance including those that may need some discretion as well. They are the kind of friends with whom you share joy and sorrow . These are the friends that are dear to you, that you trust and that you have fun with, that you cry with. They are the type of friends that are there through good times and bad. I believe it to be true that really at any given time people are only capable of having a very few really good friends. Yet looking back over my own life, I’ve seen because of changes in circumstances, those “good” friends are exchanged from time to time.

Clara Odelia Ciutara penned these words

Friend gives you smile
But true friend gives you happiness

Friend will lie about you
But true friend won’t tell your weakness

Friend knives your back
But true friend will slog your face

Thousands friends come when you’re happy
But only one true friend comes when you cry

Friend comes when he needs you
But true friend comes when you need him

Friend leaves when everybody does
But true friend comes when everybody leaves

Friend comes and leaves
But true friend is yours forever (

For instance during my elementary school days, Jeremy was my best friend. We played on the playground, spent the night at each other's  house, made prank calls, etc. We liked the same things and spent quite a lot of time together.  Yet as we grew and by the time we made it to middle school things had changed. Our classes were different, and we didn’t see each other much at school. Jeremy later moved to Oklahoma and I haven’t heard from him since. Thus ipso facto, a new “best friend” was found to take his place.

During my junior high days, Doc was my closest friend. Like Jeremy we spent a lot of time together, liked the same things, and enjoyed one another’s company. Middle school was the time when we first started noticing girls. Of course, I was as dorky as they come and “notice” was about all I did. Doc had a girlfriend or two during that time, and I remember we’d have our parents drop us off at the movies, or the skating rink and we’d spend our free time on the weekends trying to pretend we were “cool.” I failed miserably at that one. Of course as way leads on to way, by the time we reached high school things changed yet again.

Thus, Doc was replaced.

Brandon was a good friend in high school (and even thereafter). He remained quite constant in my life for a long time. Brandon and I became friends for a number of reasons. We went to church together. We met in the seventh grade when his family moved to town, and his parents and mine became good friends rather quickly. Thus, we spent a lot of time together. We would stay up late on the weekends and rent videos, or watch the “B” movies that they played on the USA channel’s “Up All Night” Program. We had a lot of great times and helped one another through our awkward teen years. We remained friends even after our high school days and helped each other with some difficult times. He is a true friend and I am glad that he was one of my closest friends at such a crucial time in my life. Unlike the others, Brandon and I did not just “drift” because of circumstances. With Brandon it was my own foolish decision that drove a wedge between us. We remain friends even now, but this are not like they were during the proverbial “back then.”
Another really good friend during those High School days was Carlos (though he also answered to “Josh” or “Joe.” But that’s a long story best saved for another time). Josh lived a block away from me my whole life, yet we didn’t really become good friends until we were in High School. We were Law Enforcement Explorers together, and we spent our weekends riding with the officers of the Pampa Police Department (like I noted earlier, I was a huge nerd). My senior year and his junior we each had vocational welding classes at the same time. I had mine in the ag shop, his was in the welding shop. Under the guise of “working on a major project,” we would each tell our respective teachers that we were going to work on this project in the classroom of the other, t which time we met at my truck and cut class. I could tell a litany of stories of all the ridiculous things that we did in High school, but I probably should wait until the statute of limitations runs out. In all actuality though, I need to devote one of these blogs to some of those stories. Josh and I spent a lot of time making big plans for the future. Little did we know that our future would be nothing at all like the plans we made. We took different paths. We are still friends as well, but again the closeness that characterized our younger days has dissipated. We keep in touch from time to time, and he remains on my list of folks that I would drop what I was doing to pull him out of the ditch.

After high school, I remained close friend with Brandon and Josh for a number of years. And though I do still consider them both friends now, the closeness that once was there is gone because of miles and circumstances of life.

As life continues to  realign, new opportunities present themselves.

Who will be the new best friends in years to come?

What circumstances will it be that bring us together and cause us to develop this bond?

How long will it last?

Who will follow?

The answers to these questions are yet to be answered, but life, circumstances, and issues are all fraught with possibility. Thus I am thankful for the contribution that each of these has made to my life, and I know that I would not be who I am without their mark. The time we spent as best friends gave me perspective that helped to make me the man that I am today. The experiences that we had helped to forge those friendships. Each of these guys will always be a friend to me, and they each will still hold some variable level of “closeness,” but time, chance, and circumstance present new opportunities for new close friends. I will embrace those chances for possibility and growth.

Friday, January 7, 2011

A Few Things That Get On My Nerves

Recently I read an article about the top phrases that should be dropped in 2011. The list contained things like the term “viral” to reference a Youtube video that has a great many hits, and the trite and over-used term “epic.”

You can find the article here

While I agree completely with almost every word on the list, I have decided to put together a list of a few words and phrases, in addition to people and institutions that I find caustic, trite, and excessively annoying. Consider the following in no particular order.

“Hubby” to refer to a woman’s husband. I don’t know why, but that sounds so stupid to me.

The phrase “Lifting a person/ thing/situation up in prayer.” I find this phrase so annoying because it reeks of pseudo-pious nonsense. It’s not a real Bible phrase, but rather is brought to us from the annals of evangelical twaddle. It should be returned to the drivel heap with other inane phrases like “Preach the Man, not the Plan” and “The Holy Spirit laid it on my heart.”

“BFF,” and actually most other “texting” abbreviations. I don’t mind all the texting abbreviations that much, as long as they are found actually in texts. However, when you use them in your facebook status or in an email makes you look ignorant.

“Lady Gaga.” Everything about her is ridiculous, and I have no idea why she’s famous! Incidentally, I feel exactly the same way about the Kardashians. Since when do people become famous for simply acting like monumentally colossal morons?

Sarah Palin’s accent. I love the woman’s politics. I read her first book and really enjoyed it. Yet, her accent and all those references to “mama grizzlies” walks all over my last nerve! I might vote for her for president, but I wish if she won someone else could give her speeches.

Comedians that are famous, but not funny at all. These would include such gems as Jimmy Fallon, Kathy Griffin, and Dane Cook. I have no idea why these people have any presence on television and in movies.

The Nationwide Insurance commercials with the goofy guy saying things like “Nationpam is on your…” Whatever, I always change the channel.

The term “Preggo” in reference to a pregnant person. They’re having a baby, not turning into spaghetti sauce!

People who wait till the last second to merge when a lane ends. This was never a huge issue to me until I moved to Houston (there’s not a lot of traffic in the panhandle of Texas). You’ve seen these inconsiderate derelicts that saw the “lane ends in 1000 feet” sign, but rather than merging, they choose to bypass those who followed the sign and then force their way into the moving lane. Listen, you ignoramus, you are the reason the traffic is backed up! If you would merge when the sign says “merge” the world would be a better place for everyone!

I really could go on as I’m generally a cynical complainer. However,I’ll allow you to chew on these for a little while.