Thursday, August 15, 2002

Being Seduced by a False Gospel

This month's Next-Wave contains a super article by Tom Ponchak that deals with Christian legalism. How do we balance our lives once we become a Christian. Our justification (salvation) is assured because as soon as we accept Christ as our Lord and Savior we are deemed worthy and our sins are cast away never to be seen by God as it says in Psalm 103:12. All God the Father sees is Jesus' blood when he looks at us. But how does that play out with our sanctification. Paul says in Philippians 2:12 that we are called to live a sanctified (or set apart) life. Our life as a Christian exists on that fine line between the freedom that Christ brings us through out salvation and living the sanctified life that God demands of us. This article by Tom Ponchak does a good job of highlighting the major issues as we live our Christian life.

Tuesday, August 13, 2002

Doing the Right Thing
Next-Wave has a pretty good article on Doing the Right Thing. Sometimes we get trapped into thinking that if we just do the right thing God will always reward us by making good things happen in our lives. What about learning the lessons God wants to teach us through character building events in our lives? If following God's will for our lives and doing the right thing always results in God's rewards, then how do you explain God letting Peter be thrown in jail and James being martyred in Acts 12:1-19?
Drinking and Smoking: Biblical or Cultural Sins?
I am an avid anti-smoker. Part of the reason is health related, my mother died from Lung Cancer 12 years ago, and I hate the health problems the use of tobacco has caused in our society. The other reason is relationship related, although smoking is a socially oriented activity, my nose can't tolerate the smell of cigarette smoke or the bad breath and smelly clothes it gives users. As much as I dislike both smoking and drinking I have never personally considered them Biblical sins, and I haven't found any Biblical evidence that these are sins. So, I have wondered how the taboo on smoking and drinking come about in the Christian Church. Christianity Today has an interesting and thoughtful article on the history of smoking and drinking within the Christian Church. It makes for good reading and brings up some issues on why smoking and drinking are looked down on in today's Christian circles. So, how exactly are we as a church supposed to integrate our cultural heritage into our personal relationship with God? And how do we relate our personal relationship with Christ without tying our cultural heritage onto it. I'm interested in your thoughts.

Tuesday, August 06, 2002

Christian Webpage Usability Study
There are some great things happening online in the Christian Community. I have spent quite a bit of time reading the daily weblogs of Andrew Careaga, Tim Bednar of, Jordon Cooper, and blogs4god. These are some of my favorite webpages and I highly recommend them to anyone interested in learning what types of ministry are effective online. is currently soliciting people to review Christian websites and Tim is also asking for people to nominate Christian websites for the study. I believe this is an important study. Most churches are overly concerned with their webpage looking nice and the result is that they are not very functional or informational. They may have large quantities of information on them, but it may not be timely or accurate any longer. We should all strive to have our webpages current and functional, not just as a place to put information, but a place for sharing and building community.

The St Louis Weather
Praise God last night between 3-4am thunderstorms rolled through the area and brought us some much needed rain (about 2-3 inches) and some cooler weather. It has been about 20 straight days above 90 degrees. Today it will only be in the mid 80s and a little less humid. We sure needed the weather to change. I was worried about the hot weather affecting the FBC O'Fallon Kids Kamp this Wednesday through Saturday. But, now the weather looks like it will be cooler and much more enjoyable for the kids.

Thursday, August 01, 2002

Another Warm Day
I sure hate the hot hot weather during July and August in St Louis. Today it is supposed to be 99 degrees with about 75% humidity. It sure makes for an uncomfortable time outdoors. But, inside my office it is 75 degrees and about 50% humidity. Much nicer than the hot, humid, hazy (the triple H) weather outside. I'm not much of an inside person, but for about a month per year I do everything I can to stay indoors.

Kids Kamp
I'm looking forward to serving as a Kounselor at FBCO 'Fallon's Kids Kamp next week at Lake Williamson in Carlinville, IL. I will have 9 Elementery School age Kampers, another adult bunkmate (who has been doing this for the last 5 years), and a Junior High School age helper (the bunkmate's son). It should be a lot of fun. I guess my wife, kids, and myself will probably start doing this each year as a good way to take a family vacation with a purpose. On a secondary note, I will check out Lake Williamson for a possible College and Career retreat later in the year. I have heard some wonderful things about the camp.
I have been reading Tim Bednar's weblog each day at Tim is a postmodern internet pastor and has been redesigning his ministry's concept and webpage over the last couple of months. He has some great ideas that cause my baby boomer brain to think out of the box. I am not a very creative person by birth and Tim is very talented. Anyhow, he wrote an article on his weblog that dealt with living in the world and how we should be in the world, but not of the world. Parts of the article sounded a little like he was exploring new thoughts while writing and as a result didn't have the most compelling arguments. Happens to me each and every day as I put together this weblog. But, bsically Tim did nothing wrong and was only writing his own personal beliefs about where he could best serve the Lord. He could have made some of his arguments a little more substantial, but that is fine with me. The problem came though when another pastor commented on his article with a personal attack on Tim. He basically put down Tim and his thoughts saying that he had no guts and no substance. The comments were well thought out, but not delivered in the spirit of Christian brotherhood. Which brings me to my point. When do we to let our brothers and sisters in the Lord flounder a little and learn a good lesson in the process, and when do we jump in and offer our help in a brotherly or sisterly way? I don't exactly know the answer. I am a firm believer in learning by doing, and in this case I think it does good for someone to put their thoughts out there in print and then to mull them over and see shere they can grow. The pastor that attacked Tim stopped that entire process. The whole crux of postmodernism is that my experience is not the same as your experience, so my truth may not necessarily be the same truth that you are experiencing. I say that in the context of brotherly Christian postmodernism the pastor is way out of line in criticizing Tim for his thoughts. Just because the pastor has fire in his belly and doesn't mind torquing everyone off that hears him doesn't mean that Tim should be the brunt of his misplaced anger. Boy, would I not like to be in his church's community of believers!

Daily Bible Reading
Ezra 1 & 2
Proverbs 1
1 Timothy 1
Luke 13

Bible Verse of the Day
1 Timothy 1:5-- But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith (Directly applicable to what happened in the webpage)