Thursday, June 25, 2009

One Step Closer

God has granted me a rare gift for a full-time pastor. It is rare that I get to have an ongoing conversation with someone who is an atheist. But, I have been having a conversation with a man who does not believe in God. He is under no illusion about where I am headed, and I am completely honest with him about my desire for him to believe. He is not new to this. I am not the first Christian to attempt to convince him to believe. At first, he was an atheist. "There is no God," he said confidently. Well, several conversations later, I found out what I suspected. He does believe there is a God, but he is not ready to believe in the one true God. My hope and prayer is that he will. And, until that day, I am thankful for this step. If you pray, pray for me that I will be wise and faithful, and that I will love this man as God loves Him. If you pray, pray for him, that all he will believe in Jesus Christ, the one who died for him.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Why I Am A Creationist

This may seem overly simplified, but here are a few of the reasons I am a creationist.

"My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth." (Ps. 121:2) "Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth." (Ps. 124:8) "Behold, bless the Lord, all you servants of the Lord, who by night stand in the house of the Lord! Lift up your hands in the sanctuary, and bless the Lord, the Lord who made heaven and earth bless you from Zion!" (Ps. 134) "And You, Lord, in the beginning laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands." (Heb. 1:10)

I do not believe that God created the earth as the Bible says just so that I can be right, or legalistic, or conservative. I also believe it because the foundation of my hope is laid in the foundations of the world, that God Himself laid them down and then scattered the heavens with His Word, and I trust that He did that. If I doubt He created the World as He said, then I must be willing to doubt what Jesus said. I do not doubt Jesus, nor do I doubt the Father. While there may be wiggle room for some in believing that the days of Genesis were figurative, believing such does not strengthen my faith. It weakens it. Perhaps my faith is too immature, too uneducated to accurately dissect His Word, but I find more in the Word that commands us to believe than to doubt. And, I have found that believing results in the transformation of my heart and life. Doubting does not.

Friday, June 19, 2009

This Is A Good Thing

Thursday, June 11, 2009

A Larger Life

"How easily we convince ourselves that we are praying to the Lord when in reality we are locked in our own thoughts. We need to ask: If I'm happy, am I really rejoicing in Him, or am I rejoicing in my own self-satisfaction? If I'm worried or afraid, am I truly and humbly asking Him for help, or is my mind busy trying to work out some plan (however spiritual it may seem) for getting myself out of trouble."
(Mike Mason, The Gospel According To Job)

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Deluge . . . Of Grace

I was exhausted when I crossed the jetway to board the plane to Honduras. It had been about six weeks of solid work. The day before, someone asked if I was excited about the trip. I told them I would get excited in Honduras. Bad attitude, maybe, but reality. We weren't sure what would happen in Honduras. Our shipping container with all the supplies for a team of 100 people was locked up in customs; the victim of a computer foul up. When we boarded the bus for the mission home, we got news that God had answered affirmatively and the container was on its way. My heart was still not in Honduras.

You see, I had left my friends Dollie and Gerald at home. Dollie was dying, and Gerald was watching the love of his life die. I had felt like this before, when my father was dying in Texas and I had to go back to Louisiana to preach a funeral. Dollie died the next day. I knew I was where I had to be, but I was not sure I was where I was supposed to be. Little could be done. Then my associate pastor's sister-in-law died suddenly. He would attend to Gerald and then drive to Florida for a tragic funeral while I was in Honduras. Then someone stole my bag with cell phone, glasses, and Bible. Then someone stole my pants. While my associate pastor was at his sister-in-law's funeral, he received word that his nephew back in Louisiana had died. I flashed back in time four years, when Katrina devastated our state while we were on mission in Uganda. While in Honduras, three drowned in the local lake. Then, three young men, were killed in a senseless wreck. The grandparents of one of the boys are some of the faithful ones here at our church. All three funerals were Saturday. Aweful. A friend said, horrific.

Sunday we gathered, and I was tempted to preach about grief, death, fallenness. Instead, I preached about worship, the power of God to lift us out of all this mess, especially once each week when we gather together in His name. Psalm 122 was alive and living. Sunday night we gave testimony to what He had done in Honduras. Then we remembered the price of our redemption at His Supper. Then I lost my voice from some strange Honduran infection.

My wife has not died. My brother in law is still alive as are my nieces and nephews. I have not lost a child. I have merely been the pastor and friend of those who have lost, but my heart has broken with theirs. This is part of the privilege of Christianity; the privilege of partaking in the sufferings of Christ as we suffer with others. And, in the midst of it the deluge of it all, to be deluged with grace greater than our sin and greater than the trials. God is awesome and to be His child is beyond compare.