Wednesday, March 22, 2006

I'm Stymied?!?

Hey! We now have the Willow Community Church website completed! You can click on just about anything and it will be linked to another page or website. Join me in thanking Scott Ferguson from Faith Church for doing all the ground work! Oh, and don't forget to check out Dave K's new blog.

I'm stymied.

I know I'm not supposed to lean on my own understanding, so I'm asking God to show me what I'm missing.

I was at a conference with several other pastors and the subject of habitual sin came up and someone posed the question of how to have victory over that kind of stuff. The person asking the question asked me for my opinion. I mentioned that all sin must be confessed, and the process of renewal must begin by transformation of the mind. Before I could get another word out I was blasted by this; "That just sounds like a Sunday school answer!" Needless to say, I stopped talking. Then, a few days later someone stated that they couldn't put two certain people together on the same team for an outreach event because they don't like each other. I asked if these two people were Christians and was told yes. After I forced my wide open jaw shut, I said that there is absolutely no room in the Kingdom of God for two Saints to be at odds with each other, especially when they are preparing to do outreach ministry together. Again, I was blasted. I was told, "that may be all well and fine in theory, but..."

OK, so here's what I'm struggling with: Christians should live by the teaching of Jesus; the teachings of Jesus are found in the Bible; if the Bible is the teaching of Jesus, then shouldn't Christians live by the Bible?

If so, when did Christians start thinking that the Sunday school lessons they have heard were not meant to help them understand what the Bible says about problems in life? Wasn't that the whole point of Sunday school? When did Christians begin to consider the Bible only theory? Was it only theory that saved us from the penalty of sin?

I love the Bible and everything it says. I use it for everyday life and sustenance. It's a huge part of who I am and who I am becoming. If you spend any time with me at all, you will know that I talk about the Bible like it is something I use and read every day. It's not to show what I know, it's a part of me. I have seen it's power in my life and I want everybody to know that they too can have the same victory and hope and peace that I have. I'm still trying to figure out a lot of stuff, but there is one thing I do know, the Bible has the answer's in any person's life. How do I know? The Bible says so!

Saturday, March 11, 2006

What's Up With That? (part 2)

A very good friend of mine sent me a response to the blog I wrote on March 8th. I thought she asked a good question. This is my response:

My first thought for writing the blog you responded to was to get people thinking about politics and the Christian culture. I like Gov. Granholm, but I think she was playing to a group of people for their votes. The second thought for writing that blog was to see if anybody had a problem with the lack of integrity politicians have when it comes to standing for anything. It seems to me that most politicians don't go around displaying their personal beliefs because of obvious backlash from the media. In the case of Jennifer Granholm, nobody seemed to think it was out of line for an abortion rights Governor to be identifying herself with an openly pro-life religion. Although it wasn't what I had in mind, I like the question you asked! I'm not sure I can give you a pat answer to it, though. Yes, there are way too many Christians who believe that there is more than one path to God and that means there is a huge amount of them that buy into the whole "relativism" philosophy. You are absolutely correct in not holding the unsaved population to the standards of the Bible (God will deal with them as He sees fit), but holding Christians to those standards is our duty and responsibility. How we go about that is not so clear. I love what Jesus said in John 1:30, “I and my Father are one.” That means that they are the same being, the same spirit. So when Jesus says in John 14:6, “… I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”, we know that there is only one way to God. When a person gave in to the love and conviction of Jesus Christ for salvation from their sin and transgression they did so only through the blood that washed away that sin and transgression . If, therefore, they are born again, they should know with out a doubt that they were brought into the Kingdom of Heaven as a result of the absolute truth that Jesus is God and is the only way to God. Any other thought should make a Christian pause and consider if they truly believe that not only is Jesus their own personal Savior, but is Jesus the Savior of the world? The one thing that we have to remember is that not every Christian is mature enough or isn’t under enough good teaching to grasp what truly happened when they became a Christian. Paul said that we need to be very careful not to look down on our weaker brothers and sisters, but to teach them the way of truth. Peter says kind of the same thing in 1 Peter 3:15, “… always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the joy that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect…” So, to make a long answer even longer(!!), yes, it is very frustrating to me that so many Christians don’t get the absolute truth of salvation coming only through Jesus, but I must also remember that Jesus is still working things out in their lives and I must be very aware of the truth so that I can be used by God to help those people “get it”. I hope this helped to answer your question.

Talk to you l8ter!

Bill

Wednesday, March 8, 2006

What's Up With That?

Hey every body! I know it's been a while since my last blog. Hope I still have some readers out there.

Last week I saw a news report on a local TV station about Michigan's Governor Jennifer Granholm. That may not seem like a big deal to some of you, because she is on TV a lot. But this particular story took place on Ash Wednesday. Again, so what? Well, Governor Granholm had a black mark right in the middle of her forehead. I know that many, many Catholics and many Protestants place ashes on their foreheads to symbolize their own remorse for sin and transgression they have committed against Jesus and the church. I also know that the persons having the ashes apply do so to show their devotion to their religion and consider it a duty to identify with Jesus and His suffering during the season of Lent. I did a little research and found that Jennifer Granholm claims to be a devout Catholic. Again, who cares? I'm not sure that anybody does. It just seemed very odd to me to see a political figure identify with a religion, let alone one they are in blatant disagreement with. You see, Governor Granholm is "pro choice" in matters of women's reproductive rights. I will admit that I have a very conservative view in all things politics, but I'm not making a political statement, I'm making a logical observation. I will also admit that I do not know or understand much of the Catholic point of view on reproductive rights, but I do know that the Catholic church has a very strong stand against abortion and considers it an evil act. It doesn't seem to add up to me: Jennifer Granholm states very clearly that she is pro choice and that she is a member of the Catholic church. How does the Catholic church feel about our state's top leader misrepresenting their religion? How do you feel about our top leader contradicting the leaders of her church? Do you see any integrity issues in this case? I would love to see some feed back about what you think. To read a letter and interview on the pro choice platform from Gov. Granholm herself, click here.