Sunday, June 27, 2010

How to Avoid Fretting Over Your Legacy

"Those who fret over their legacy have revealed themselves to be shallow, superficial people. When we do what is right, love kindness, and stay close to God, the natural product will be a lingering legacy by which anybody would want to be remembered. Live well now and you will continue to live well in the memories of the people you value" (Charles Swindoll, A Life Well Lived, pages 100-101).

"He has told you, O man, what is good;
and what does the LORD require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
and to walk humbly with your God?" (Micah 6:8)

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

A Challenging Pro-Life Message

This is an excerpt from today's broadcast of Nancy Leigh DeMoss' radio program Revive Our Hearts ( It may be the most challenging pro-life message I've ever read...

"Proverbs 24:11 gives us this mandate, this challenge. “Rescue those who are being taken away to death; hold back those who are stumbling to the slaughter.” We cannot just stay in our little ivory towers, our little sanctified fortresses and watch the world participating in this culture of death and not care, and not get involved.

"The Scripture says we are to be actively involved in rescuing those who are being taken away to death, holding back those who are stumbling to the slaughter. Now, there are people who are stumbling to the slaughter in a lot of different ways—some in physical ways, physical death, millions and millions in spiritual death, in emotional death, believing lies that are causing them to go to the slaughter. So there are a lot of different ways we can live out that verse. But it calls us to care about those who are dying.

"There are many ways to be engaged in the battle for life. At the very least, certainly, we need to be concerned about laws that devalue life. We need to know where our elected officials stand on the issue of life. It’s really not just the issue; it’s the issues related to life. We need to vote, and we need to vote knowledgably and responsibly.

"I’m aghast when I hear how many people, Christians, well-meaning people (I know they love the Lord) vote for certain candidates, have voted for certain candidates who devalue life. And they say, “They have these other good points.” That’s not voting responsibly. That’s not rescuing those who are being taken away to death, holding back those who are stumbling to the slaughter.

"A number of the staff in our ministry are involved in our local pregnancy care center here in Niles. That’s a way to be engaged in the battle for life. There are those in this room who are providing foster care, who are adopting unwanted children. Those are ways to be engaged in the battle for life. But those are the ways you think of most often. I want to take just a few moments in this session to probe a little more personally and a little more deeply into what it means to be pro-life.

"Most of our listeners I think if a poll were taken would identify themselves as pro-life—not all, but certainly most. I would say that undoubtedly that most in this room today would consider ourselves to be pro-life. But then the question comes, “Do we really treat all human life as precious? If we’re so pro-life, what are we doing to honor our Creator’s view of life? Do we value and protect life around us? So let me just in a stream of consciousness here give you a few things to think about along this line.

"First a question: Are you or perhaps your children being entertained by movies, shows, or video games that sensationalize or trivialize murder or that promote a cheapened view of life? Think about the shows that you go to see, the movies that you rent in your home, the TV programs you watch, the video programs your kids are playing. Are they showing a cheapened view of life? If so maybe you’re not as pro-life, truly pro-life, as what you claim.

"You see, the value we place on life, the value we really place on life, is not so much seen in what we call ourselves, what label we put on ourselves as it’s seen in how we view and treat other people including children. When I hear somebody say, “I can’t stand children,” I’m thinking this is not a pro-life person. They may call themselves pro-life, but if you’re pro-life, you will love children. Now children can be nuisances. Children can get in the way. Children can create issues. I’m not doubting that. But God loves the little children! And you can’t be pro-life and not love children.

"God loves the poor. None of us would say, “I don’t like poor people.” But how many of us go out of our way to avoid having to engage with someone whose needs are such that it’s going to call upon a response and we just don’t want to go there? Whether we’re really pro-life is seen in how we view the poor, how we treat them. How we view and treat those with disabilities, the elderly, those who can no longer care for themselves. How we view and treat our parents, in-laws, difficult people, those of other faiths, those who are immoral, people with whom we disagree politically, theologically, ideologically.

"These people, and everybody else I could name, are precious to God and they need to be precious to us. The way we talk to and about others says something about whether we are really pro-life, how we view life. When words come out of our mouth that are harsh when we’re talking about others, that are slanderous, when we destroy the reputations of others, when we say things about others behind their backs that we wouldn’t say to their faces, can we call ourselves pro-life? Can we say we view those people as precious to us, to be valued and protected?

"Let me just tell you one place where this really gets violated and it’s become a great heartache to me is on the Internet, in the blogosphere. What gives us the license? I’m talking about Christians here who disagree with someone theologically or ideologically and they slam them in the blogosphere, and they’re consigning them to the pit of hell for taking a different theological position.

"I saw some this week (and maybe it’s why it’s so heavy on my heart) that came into another ministry talking about another Christian leader. Now, you may not agree with everything this person stands for. You may not like their personality. You may not like their style. But what gives us license to ridicule them, to be harsh and mean-spirited? To be cruel and demeaning?
When we talk that way, when we write that way, we are demeaning the image of God. An attack on another human being, even if they are the most evil human being ever created, an attack on that person is an attack on God Himself. Now some of those people need to be dealt with. I’m not saying that there isn’t an appropriate way through legal means, through means that God has instituted to deal with evil people. But for us just to mouth off, spout off about people we disagree with . . .

"You see this is not just an issue out there. This is an opportunity for us as God’s people to model what it really means to view life as being precious. When the world sees us able to disagree even with pagans in a way that is civil and courteous and kind and gracious . . . Now I realize some of these are huge. How do you deal kindly and courteously with some of the heinous things people believe and do? It’s not easy. But when they see us speaking the truth in love it says that we’re of a different kingdom. "

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Humble Orthodoxy

"The solution to arrogant orthodoxy is not less orthodoxy; it's more. If we truly know and embrace orthodoxy, it should humble us. When we know the truth about God--his power, his greatness, his holiness, his mercy--it doesn't leave us boasting; it leaves us amazed. It doesn't lead to a preoccupation with being right but to an amazement that we have been rescued.

"Genuine orthodoxy--the heart of which is the death of God's Son for undeserving sinners--is the most humbling, human-pride-smashing message in the world. And if we truly know the gospel of grace, it will create in us a heart of humility and grace toward others. Francis Schaeffer, a Christian writer and thinker from the twentieth century, modeled this kind of profound compassion. He genuinely loved people. And even as he analyzed and critiqued the culture, he did so 'with a tear in his eye.'

"That is humble orthodoxy. It's standing for truth with a tear in our eye. It's telling a friend living in sexual sin that we love her even as we tell her that her sexual activity is disobedient to God. It's remembering that angry, unkind opponents of the gospel are human beings created in the image of God who need the same mercy he has shown us. It's remembering that when we're arrogant and self-righteous in the way we represent orthodoxy, we're actually contradicting with our lives what we claim to believe.

"But while we shouldn't be mean and spiteful in representing biblical truth, neither should we apologize for believing that God has been clear in his Word. The humility we need in our theology is first and foremost a humility before God. As pastor Mark Dever puts it, 'Humble theology (is) theology which submits itself to the truth of God's Word.' This is a good reminder for me. Because I think it's possible for me, or anyone for that matter, to overreact to arrogant orthodoxy with a brand of squishy theology that believes others are arrogant if they think the Bible teaches anything clearly.

"But truth can be known. And what the Bible teaches should be obeyed. Just because we can't know God exhaustively doesn't mean we can't know him truly (Psalm 19:7-10; John 17:17). Just because there is mystery in God's Word doesn't mean we can pretend God hasn't spoken clearly in the Bible.

"'Christian humility,' Dever writes, 'is to simply accept whatever God has revealed in His Word. Humility is following God's Word wherever it goes, as far as it goes, not either going beyond it or stopping short of it...The humility we want in our churches is to read the Bible and believe it...It is not humble to be hesitant where God has been clear and plain'" (Joshua Harris, Dug Down Deep, pages 225-226).

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

A Day in the Life of the Contact Church

The church is gathering to worship God (above).

The Contact kids are on the stage before going upstairs (above).

Sasha gives Janet a hug (above).

Bob gives Rose a hug (above).

Christopher is going to his Bible class (above).

The first grade Sunday school class meets (above).

Poppy arrives at his Bible class (above).

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Have I Wasted My Life?

Seminary professor Haddon Robinson has spoken about the dreams that he entertained as a young Christian. As I remember the story, at one time, he thought that he would become a missionary. By the time he was 30, he would convert Asia to Christ. Then, he would move on to Africa where he would die as a martyr. At the place of his death, people would build a statue honoring the memory of Saint Haddon.

Of course, Dr. Robinson tells the story with his tongue firmly implanted in his cheek, but I understand the sentiment behind the story. I'm inspired by the great heroes of the faith. I want to be like them. I want to make a difference for Christ in this world, too.

But at the end of my life, what if my impact on the world is minimal? What if I have been only a faithful husband and father? What if I have been only a good friend? What if I have lived to see relatively few people come to Jesus because I have shared the message with them or have encouraged them to follow him? What if my acts of kindness and faithfulness go largely unnoticed? Have I wasted my life?

No. I am responsible for investing my life in bringing glory to God as I live by faith in Christ. I am responsible for taking risks to further the kingdom of God. My impact on the world may be more or less than others who follow Jesus; but by making the investment and taking the risks, I can still hear, "Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master" (Matthew 25:23).

Friday, June 11, 2010

John Wooden's Legacy

Coach John Wooden died a week ago today. Click on the link below to read an article by Dennis Rainey about John Wooden and the impact that his father had on his life.

John Wooden's Legacy -

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

The Hungry

"Is not this the fast that I choose:

...Is it not to share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house;

when you see the naked, to cover him,

and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?" (Isaiah 58:6-7).

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Truth in Blogging

If you have read my blog for very long, you will not be surprised by anything that I am about to share. But I thought it might be a good idea to write a few words about myself and my perspectives so that any reader would know where I'm coming from theologically and socially.

My Theology

I am a member of the Church of Christ. My theology can be best described as conservative evangelical. I don't try to be innovative in doctrine. I try to be accurate and biblically orthodox. For example,

I believe in the doctrine of the trinity. I believe that the Father, the Son (Jesus Christ), and the Holy Spirit are (or is) God. (I'm not sure how to write that sentence in a grammatically correct way.) I believe that God is all-powerful, all-knowing, always present in his creation, and completely holy in his character.

I believe that God created the universe as it is revealed in Genesis. I believe that he prepared the earth for people in six days. I believe that he made Adam and Eve in his image from the dust of the ground on the sixth day.

I believe that Satan tempted Eve. I believe that the sin of Adam led to the corruption of a good universe and to the alienation between God and man.

I believe in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. I believe that he needed to die in my place in order to turn away God's just wrath against me and sinners like me. His resurrection gives me confidence that his Father accepted his sacrifice on my behalf.

I believe that I am saved by God's grace (as seen in Christ's death, burial, and resurrection) through faith (in Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior) apart from any work on my part that could cause anyone to think that I deserved to be saved.

I believe that the Holy Spirit lives in God's church today. I believe that he is active in making believers more like Jesus.

I believe that the Holy Spirit inspired the words of the Bible. I believe that the Bible was given to humanity as God's completely accurate message to us...without error because God is completely honest and completely competent.

I believe that repentant believers in Christ need to be baptized, because we need to identify with the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. We need to be able to mark the end of our lives without Christ and the beginning of our lives with Christ.

I believe that Christ's church consists all repentant baptized believers who are committed to following Jesus Christ and glorifying God.

I believe that Jesus Christ will return and usher in new heavens and a new earth that will be the home of righteousness. The Day of Judgment will come. Heaven and hell are equally real and equally eternal.

My Social Concerns

This will be much shorter.

I am concerned about loving people. According to Jesus, it's the second greatest commandment (behind loving God).

I concentrate on loving the people around me first. I want to be a good husband, father, son, brother, employee, neighbor, citizen, and church member.

Then, I focus on broader social concerns that affect people. Many of my posts will reveal that I think a lot about abortion, adoption, caring for God's creation, poverty, racial harmony, and strengthening marriages and families.

If anyone was confused about where I'm coming from, I hope this helps. I try to be honest and open.