We are so happy to announce the arrival of our sweet second son. He was born at 4:26 am this morning, weighing 8 lbs and 11 ounces and measuring 21 3/4 inches long. Mom and baby are both doing well. We are so thankful to God for this precious new gift of life and are excited to be a family of four! Thanks to everyone for your prayers and well wishes! 

What is the deepest problem in America? What needs to be done to bring peace to a globe riddled with strife, poverty and violence? These are some of the massive life-defining questions to which Christianity has answers. But Christianity is not alone in claiming insight into the struggles humanity faces and the solutions we desperately need. A host of other religions and worldviews compete for our attention and acceptance.
In this post, I want to focus on one sector that presents a vehicle for ideas, insights and solutions to the issues we face: the news media. By this broad title I am referring to talk radio, internet, television networks and hosts who report news and especially those who present opinions on current events. 
Why am I focusing here? Because I watch Christians allow the media to shape the way they look at what is going on in America and the world. Many Christians spend hours each week listening to radio hosts break down a political policy and why they think it is good or bad, or talk television hosts, as they explain how a particular political candidate will get our nation back on track. Sounds good right?
Here is my word of caution. Beware of any worldview that presents anything other than human sinfulness as the ultimate problem and Jesus Christ’s life, death and resurrection as the ultimate solution. When was the last time you saw the Christian worldview on the most popular TV and radio networks or internet news platforms? The last time I saw it was when pro football player Benjamin Watson was mysteriously dropped mid-sentence when presenting Jesus as the solution to the underlying sin and pride as the cause of racism.
If you take the side of those in the mainstream news media, you will believe that what is ultimately wrong with America is the Democrats or the Republicans. Their ultimate solution to America’s problems is to get the right individuals elected and enact the appropriate policies. On a global scale, they may propose that we fight for more democratic forms of government.
As a Christian, we must recognize that it’s no different than a false religion when we place our trust in anything other than Christ as our solution. It’s an unbiblical, anti-Christian worldview. To say that only a particular group of people are the problem is to shift the blame for sin whichall of us, as humans, share (Rom. 3:23). To present anything other than Christ as the ultimate solution is, in essence, idolatry. It is to say that humanity itself can solve the greatest problems it faces.
Let me clarify something before I finish. I am not saying that political action, good candidates, and policies are not important or helpful. What I am saying is that there is a far deeper issue that humanity faces, beyond an opposing political party. Unless we solve this problem, which can only happen through Jesus Christ, all the sincerest efforts of humanity will be as futile as getting a camel to go through the eye of a needle.
Romans 12:2 says, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”
God’s Word is clear here. The Christian does not automatically view things through the right lenses. Each of us needs to be continually transformed by the renewing of our minds. Why? So that we will be able to discern God’s will and see things the way He sees them—with clarity. This will not happen if we spend more time watching the news and listening to talk radio than we spend in our Bibles and in prayer, carefully studying and applying God’s Word to our lives and pleading with God to give us wisdom.
So instead of letting your opinions be shaped by your favorite TV or talk radio show host, ask yourself, “What does the Bible say about this? How would Jesus have me to think and respond to this situation or event?” Search the Scriptures. Pray for your leaders. Immerse your mind continually in God’s Word. Allow it to shape your thinking.  Compare the perspective you are gaining from the Bible with the perspectives coming from the news media. The more we do this in God’s strength, the more we will be able to accurately represent Jesus to our world that so urgently needs Him.

Inheriting The Earth

January 17, 2017

Consider these New Testament passages:

"Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.”   - Matthew 5:5

“So let no one boast in men. For all things are yours, whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future- all are yours, and you are Christ's, and Christ is God's.”    - 1 Corinthians 3:21-23

How are the righteous to inherit the earth? All things belong to those who are righteous—because of our union with Christ! Because we are connected with the King who rules over everything, we inherit all things!

How can these verses encourage us today? What if we are struggling financially and our car gets repossessed? What if we are forced to move to a smaller house because we can no longer pay rent? People all over the world spend their lives collecting treasures here below, but are blind to the greatest treasure--Christ Himself! Therefore do not be jealous of others, including the rich and those deemed “successful” in this world. Let us rather pity them, and pray that God would cause them to see their true poverty correctly! The wealthiest of men is indeed actually poor if he is without Christ and the poorest of men, who is in Christ, is indeed wealthy!

Jesus tells us in Matthew 6:

"Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
   - Matthew 6:19-21

And further down...

"Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?

Therefore do not be anxious, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”    

- Matthew 6:25-34

Jesus calls us to have faith in Him. We can trust our Father will take care of us, as along as we are about our Father’s will. (And yes, part of this means working hard to provide for our families! -1 Timothy 5:8

 

How does knowing we will inherit all things and that God will provide for us change our lives?


1) Because we can live without being anxious.
Our Father owns all things and He knows exactly what we need, when we need it, and will deliver it to us in His perfect timing.

2) It allows us to see and praise God for His over-abundant kindness.
He has given us eternal life, salvation from wrath, and a restored fellowship and communion with Himself. Christ is our greatest treasure. All other blessings are secondary to him. As we recognize these little things that our gracious Father has delighted to grant us, let us not utterly disregard them, but let every gift He gives us move us to greater love and gratitude.

3) We can be content in all circumstances
Let us walk in joy--even when we are in poverty, knowing that one day we will inherit the earth, and we are rich beyond comparison in Christ. Our contentment does not come from external circumstances but from being in Christ.

4) We have compassion and pity for those whose only treasure is in this life.
Whether they are rich or poor, everyone without Christ is poor, miserable, blind, and naked, having no hope of anything beyond this life. Do not be jealous of those that have earthly riches, because we have the greatest treasure the world is missing. We must share the treasure of Christ with everyone who needs it, rich or poor.

5) We can happily work hard.
Let us not labor to be rich with earthly wealth, but as Jesus said, to store up treasure in heaven. For many of us, this may look like working a tough, grueling, 9-5 job to provide for our families. Many of us may struggle just to break even. But let our hope and prayer be that we can find ways to live on less and make more so that we can GIVE more to the cause of the gospel and to feed and clothe those poorer than us. God is glorified by such desires, even if He doesn't give us the ability to do what others can. Let us still be faithful with the time and resources He has given us and use the gifts and abilities we have to advance the gospel and help others physically and spiritually.

   

This subject has abundantly blessed me the more I have considered it. God has brought a tremendous amount of peace to my life through the knowledge of this truth, and hope you are as well. 

Martin Luther King Jr. Day

January 16, 2017

Racism is an attitude that is diametrically opposed to Christianity. Racism views others with prejudice based on outward appearance. Christianity views others with love and compassion based on the fact that all humans are sinners in need of a Savior. This Savior, Jesus Christ, has made a new people redeemed by His blood from every tribe, tongue, and nation. The Christian is one who has been redeemed by shear mercy of God--not for anything in us--so any boasting in self and in the flesh is utterly hateful to God. To emphasize the truth that no race is superior to another before God, He assembles His church with people of every tribe, tongue, and nation under heaven. Speaking of Jesus, the people of God in Heaven are quoted in Revelation 5:9, "You were slain, and have redeemed us to God by Your blood out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation."

 

 

 

 

 

 
Christmas is a wonderful time for friends and family members to gather together, and celebrate the true meaning of Christmas.
And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Phil 2:8"
Christmas means that God humbled Himself and took the form of His creation. As a human, he endured all of the temptations and frustrations of this life to rescue us and defeat death! Christmas is a celebration of our Lord’s grace and mercy towards us. 
We are all born sinners; however, when we humble ourselves and accept him as our Lord and Savior, we are born again into his glorious kingdom. 
We pray that you and your family have a Merry Christmas and rejoice in the true reason for the season.