Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Obama Koolaid Drinkers?

The recent election was not so much a product of a vast left-wing conspiracy, or even Republican ineptitude. It wasn't even a victory of leftist, Socialist, or Marxist ideas. It was a Personality cult run amok, fueled by White guilt, and promises to the masses.
And yes Virginia, there are some Obama Koolaid Drinkers.

Not everyone who voted for Obama is a Koolaid Drinker. There are those who genuinely support a liberal politic. The are in favor of wealth redistribution because, after all, the wealthy are making their millions on the backs of the working class, and by taking advantage of the underclass. They believe that the government's role is to provide for the "poor" and produce social programs that insure not only food and shelter, but health care, education (to any level desired), retirement, a car, a vacation, a large screen TV....but I digress.
These people voted for Obama out of principle and I applaud them for their thought-out convictions and participation in the peaceable transfer of power.

Then there are those who bought into the cult of Barack Hussein Obama. The Koolaid drinkers greedily drank in His personality, the way he delivers his lines, his winning smile, his beautiful family, and maybe most important of all he is the Anti-Bush.
He would have kept us out of Iraq, even though we have been defeating terrorism there, and there were in fact WMD's. (Sarin Gas and Yellow-cake plutonium to name a couple). He will provide for the poor. (How, doesn't matter, it just needs to happen). He wants us all to come together as one in one Brave New World. Isn't that wonderful? As Peggy the Moocher said on national TV, she won't ever have to worry about food or a car payment again. Hallelujah!

When the "crisis" hit McCain lost his lead and never got it back. The undecided's, who I just don't think are very bright about this kind of stuff anyway, swang to the New messiah. (Pardon me if I use a little "m" for that title.) IF they were voting political convictions they wouldn't be undecided that close to an election.
Surely each party had a few folks that didn't want to support their party's candidate, but they would most likely stay home if they were truly voting convictions.

What convictions you ask?
Well there are the liberal convictions listed above. Some people really believe that Karl Marx was smarter than our founding fathers.
Then there are the Conservative Convictions; (notice I didn't say Republican) that the economy is run by the marketplace not government. The definition of Capitalism is not a constructed economic policy or way of doing things, its Economic FREEDOM!
There is the conviction that the federal government should defend this country against all hostility at home or abroad.
There is the conviction that Government has no right to overturn the only definition of marriage this world has ever know.
There is the conviction that Life is sacred, as even our constitution recognizes, and that the unborn need protection from murder.
There is the conviction that tax money is the property of the people who are loaning it to the government to use wisely and in upholding the constitution. It is to make all our lives better through national defense, sound courts, a representative government, and defending human rights, no matter of race, creed, or gender.
Everything else is optional! Public schools? Nice idea but optional. Highways-great! But Optional. Care for the poorest and disabled? Wonderful-but optional!

Remember every tax dollar given is done at the end of a gun. Why? Just stop paying taxes and find out! Therefore, since the state uses coercion to raise its funds, it ought to at least stick to the constitution.

Should the wealthiest country in the world abide people dying of hunger or lack of basic health care? Of course not. That's a travesty. Will we rise to the occasion to take care of those poor and disadvantaged? Yes! We have and we will.

But the Koolaid drinkers didn't think about all this. They just decided it was time for a Black Man to get elected.
And personally I think that's wonderful! I'm happy to see a person of color with the middle name Hussein in the white House.

Now, if we can just keep him from screwing up The USA!
Or freedoms will be lost, our borders will be less safe, and babies will die!


(These are my personal opinions and do not represent the opinions of my fellow church members or denomination.)

Monday, November 10, 2008

Standing With Jesus Post Election Day

Standing with Jesus After the Election

Joh 2:13 And the passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 14 And he found in the temple those that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting:15 and he made a scourge of cords, and cast all out of the temple, both the sheep and the oxen; and he poured out the changers' money, and overthrew their tables; 16 and to them that sold the doves he said, Take these things hence; make not my Father's house a house of merchandise. 17 His disciples remembered that it was written, Zeal for thy house shall eat me up.

A man is driving thru the Texas Hill Country and he comes on a young cowboy watching his herd and pulls over to the side of the road. He's driving a black Lexus, wearing an Armani suit, $500 sunglasses, Yves St. Laurent silk tie, and Gucci shoes. He says to the boy if I can tell you how many cows you got there, can I have a calf? The boy thinks a second, looks out over the valley in front of him and says, "Sure Mr."
So he pulls out his i-phone, gets his GPS coordinates for his exact location. Gets on the internet, goes to a Nasa website where he gets a real-time picture of his location from a satellite. Then he sends that picture to a photo processing lab in Boston that enhances its definition. Then he sends it to another lab that has item recognition and has it analyzed. Then he opens his email and there is an email to him with a description of the area within a half mile radius. It tell his there are so many trees and what their types are. It tells him there’s a stream and a dry creek bed. It tells him there’s a black Lexus, Himself, a teenaged boy name Bobby, and 732 other unidentified animals. So he says to the boy, You have 732 cows here. The boy says WOW, That’s amazing! So do i get my calf? Yes mister, its only fair. So he spreads the barbed wire for the man who comes thru the fence in his Armani suit, picks up the smallest calf he sees, carries him to the car, pops his trunk puts it in there and starts to get in his car.
The boy says hold on. Aren't you gonna give me a chance to win him back? The man says Ok that’s fair, how. Well if I can tell you what line of work you're in I get him back. The man, "Sure, OK." The boy says, you work for some politician up in Washington D.C. The man says, WOW, you're right, how'd you guess that? The boy says, it wasn't a guess. You come here uninvited. You wanted to get paid for information I already had and didn't need. Did a lot of useless work to answer a question nobody ever asked. Tried to show me how much smarter you are than me and yet you don't know anything about Cattle! The man: Why do you say that? Cause these here are sheep!
Now give me back my Collie!

All you have to do is look at the poll numbers of our president and congress to know that by and large the public doesn't have much respect for them-As A Group. Individually most of them have folks that like them enough to vote for them, but politicians in general have a very bad reputation.
But I want to give you some straight talk. I want to give you some hope! Some change we can believe in! The voting is all past for a while, but that doesn't mean we stop being involved.
Throughout the Bible God's prophets spoke truth to power. They told Kings and Princes what they needed to hear not what they wanted to hear. John the Baptist spoke truth to Herod and ended up having his head surgically removed. Jesus drove the money changers from the temple. And you can be sure those people were there at the permission of the High Priest, and probably paid the high priest a commission to be there. He spoke about paying our taxes to Caesar. He spoke about abysmal the leadership of Israel behaved calling the Pharisees "whitewashed tombs full of dead men's bones."
Even though the voting is over, Jesus is still the King of Kings, He is Lord of Lords, He is our master and we, brothers and sisters are his agents of Hope and change and straight talk to the world.
1. Many preachers talk about what we as believers should stand for, but there are things we should Stand against!
Jesus did! Right here in the temple courts he stood against these money changers. Were they providing a service? Yes. Did people come from far away with the wrong currency, or not having the animals needed for sacrifice? Yes. They provided a much needed service. But listen, Jesus won't tolerate us giving a loaf of bread or a cup of water to someone if there is the poison of sin in it. Whether it’s in business or in charity, you can't give out good meat with the hook of evil inside it.
Now listen, the Bible never condemns someone making a profit. Profit is good. Profit is right. But it does condemn using a false scale, and cheating people, or taking advantage of them when they are at a disadvantage.
Years ago I knew a popular radio DJ in Houston who became a Christian. This is back in the 70's. Rusty was excited to be saved. He was a changed man. Other folks at work started to notice this. Pretty soon he was witnessing to them. Then came Bible studies and prayer meetings. people were getting saved. Then one day the boss called him into his office and says, Rusty, I understand you've been stealing from me. I'm gonna have to let you go. Rusty was shocked. he denied it and said he would never cheat or steal from him. The manager said, after you get off the air i see you reading your bible instead of preparing for tomorrow's show. I know about those half hour meetings in your office with other employees, keeping them from doing their jobs. You are stealing the time that I pay these people for. Rusty hung his head. It was true. He apologized, admitted his guilt, and asked the manager for another chance and told him it would never happen again. He got that chance and told all the employees what he was guilty of and said from now on the bible studies and prayer meetings are for after work.
Think about this. Is it a sin when the government starts a lottery that they know will take more money from the poorest of the poor than anyone else, playing on their false hopes? Is it a sin when the government decides to tax one segment of society far heavier than another segment? Is it a sin when government promises much to the poor that they cannot possible deliver without confiscatory taxes? My answer to all these is yes. Remember, Jesus won't tolerate a free gift that’s poisoned by sin.
Recently a woman got a phone call at home that was a political poll. It claimed to be unbiased and asked her some general political and demographic questions. Then they asked this question. Do you believe in a woman’s right to make her own reproductive choices or do you believe in government intervention in a woman's health? In other words: abortion.
Listen no matter how you voted; Christians need to stand for the life of the unborn. The world calls it choice, God calls it murder.
What if a politician said I believe in a person's right to own another person? The world used to call that "choice" but God calls it taking advantage of the underprivileged and a horrible, horrible treatment of our fellow man!

2. Secondly we have to Stand FOR the things Jesus stands for.
Jesus always stood for the things of God. Luke 2:49, Jn 4:34, 9:4.
In this passage in John 2 Jesus was passionate about the things of God. He was passionate about the Temple. He was passionate about God's plan for meeting with mankind.
We know the things we should stand for. We should stand for what’s right;for the gospel.; for freedom and life. There ARE things worth dying for!
Remember the name Nathan Hale? He not only stood for what was right, he had the thing that we so often lack. Pure, Raw, unadulterated courage! He was a young man when he distinguished himself as a soldier. At 21 he was given a special assignment to go behind enemy lines. When he was captured and threatened with death did he surrender, Did he give up? Did he give out secret information? No. He made the now famous statement. I regret that I have but one life to give for my country! Now that is love of country!
I sometimes wonder if I have that kind of courage. I seriously doubt it. But let me ask you, Is Jesus worth dying for? Are you ready to pay the full price of discipleship?
Are the Values of Jesus worth dying for? Are the people that Jesus died for worth dying for? Do you have the raw courage to stand like Jesus stood? Are you willing to stand for the sanctity of marriage? Are you willing to stand for the sanctity of abstinence outside of marriage? Are you willing to stand for the lives of the unborn? Are you willing to stand for the freedom of voluntary prayer in schools and Workplaces? Are you willing to stand for the freedom to proclaim the gospel where ever you go and on TV and radio? You never know when the enemy might attack that!

3. Start with letting the world know that you stand with Jesus! And don't be afraid to admit it, or tell folks about Him!
When I was in school, I thought Kirk Douglas was the coolest guy alive. Kirk was a famous actor back in those days, he had sort of rugged good looks. He was a swashbuckler and a rogue. And I wanted to be like him. So I would sit in class holding my chin like this so I could have the same dimple in my chin that Kirk Douglas had. Then girls would flock to me and say Oh Clark, you're so cool!
Didn't work! That was pretty dumb. But today, I really want to be like Jesus. I really do. I don't always want it bad enough, but I do want it. Do you? Somewhere down deep inside, do you wish you were more like Jesus? Many of you are more like Jesus than I am I'll tell you that!
But Jesus took up his cross for us. Will we deny ourselves and take up our cross for Him? Jesus had the very mind of God, will we let his mind be is us as it says in Phil 2? In the greatest invitation in scripture Jesus invites us to come and take on His yoke! Do you know what that means?
First, a student of someone else took on their master's yoke. So, it means being a student of Jesus! Second, it referred to this contraption that you put two oxen in. One ox was always stronger and more experienced than the other, but the younger ox would learn to pull his share of the load. Jesus said His yoke would be easy and His burden would be light. Why, cause He is doing all the hard work!
But there's one more thing about the yoke i want you to think about.
You can only wear one yoke at a time! You can’t wear the yoke of Jesus and the yoke of the world. You can’t wear the yoke of Jesus and the yoke of sin. Jesus won't accept your good effort if it’s poisoned with sin. You gotta get rid of it.
Go back to John 2. Look at verse 24-25.
Joh 2:24 But Jesus did not trust himself unto them, for that he knew all men,25 and because he needed not that any one should bear witness concerning man; for he himself knew what was in man.
Are you wearing the yoke of Christ? You can fool me but you can't fool Jesus. Do you trust in Jesus as your only Lord and savior? You can fool me but you can't fool Jesus. Are you standing with Jesus and are you letting the world know who you represent? You can fool me pretty easily, but you can't fool Jesus.
Put on the yoke of Jesus! Stand against sin, stand for what is right, and let people know who your Lord is.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Christians and National Elections

1Ti 2:1 I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; 2 For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. 3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; 4 Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.

In 1883 in Allentown, New Jersey, a wooden Indian -- the kind that stands in front of cigar stores -- was placed on the ballot for Justice of the Peace. The candidate was registered under the name Abner Robbins. When the ballots were counted, Abner won over the incumbent by 7 votes. In 1938. The name Boston Curtis appeared on the ballot for Republican Committeeman from Wilton, Washington. Actually, Boston Curtis was a mule. The town's mayor sponsored the animal to demonstrate that people know very little about the candidates. He proved his point. The mule won![1] That may have been the first time that both a donkey and an elephant were on the same bumper sticker.

Our national election day is just 9 days away. I hope you are registered and planning to vote. More importantly I hope you are going to vote your convictions according to the scriptures. In other words I hope you know why you’re voting as well as who you’re voting for, at least by the time you step into the box.

As much as we complain about our presidents and representatives, and we DO complain, we are in a unique situation in human history. Until just a couple hundred years ago people had no real say in who their political leaders were. Can you imagine anybody with a bumper sticker that said “Impeach Julius Caesar.” Or how about, “King George lied and people died”? It wasn’t done very often because those folks who made those kinds of statements didn’t last very long as a general rule.

But here, in the USA, we don’t select a King we select a man to ‘preside’ over our republic. And it’s only a temp job, (as Kevin Kline said in the movie Dave.) S, we have more power than the president, we put them there, we can take them out. Christians should take that kind of power seriously and prayerfully consider what they should do.

Texas isn’t considered one of those “battleground states” this year and I don’t imagine that anything I say here will influence the election. But I don’t really care to influence the election at all. I’m called of God to shepherd this flock and they are the only folks I want to influence. And then, I just want to influence you to be more like Jesus!

Someday we will all stand before God and give an account. God just might ask me if I taught His people to be good stewards of their political responsibilities and I want to answer yes. Someday God may ask you what you did with your political responsibilities and I hope you have a good answer for Him. Cause remember, God NEVER asks a question that he doesn’t already know the answer to!

So let me tell you four things, BRIEFLY, about being a Christian in today’s political world.

1. First, we are to pray for our leaders. What does that look like? I have prayed for Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton, and another Bush. Can’t remember if I prayed for Nixon and Kennedy. I prayed that each one would seek to do God’s will, and that God would guide them. Did I like them all? Not really, but then I didn’t really KNOW any of them did I? But notice one thing that Paul told Timothy. Along with prayers and intercessions we are to offer Thanksgivings for those in authority.

Sometimes it’s hard to thank God for your Pastor, much less a president that you don’t respect. But even though presidents may do things we don’t like, they are our God given leaders. And we are to pray for them and give thanks for them.

I know you’ve heard before how important every vote is but let me impress it on your minds as well. In the last presidentioal election over 121 million people voted. If one person in every 75 had changed his vote, we would have had a different outcome. One in 75!

In 2000 we know that bush got fewer total votes than Gore but more electoral votes and we all remember it coming down to Florida. 5.9 m illion people voted in Florida. If one person in every 21,481 voted for Gore instead, the outcome would have been different. One in 21000 is an awesome responsibility we should take seriously and prayerfully.

2. Second, Jesus has called us to be Salt and light in our world.

Mat 5:13-14 Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savor, wherewith shall it be salted? It is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and trodden under foot of men. Ye are the light of the world. A city set on an hill cannot be hid.

God wants us to preserve what is good in society, to be a light in the darkness, to bring the truth of God to bear on society. We can do that in many ways, but one of those ways is by voting. It may not be the most influential way to affect society. But it is a powerful statement.

We need to take biblical concepts into all walks of life. You don’t have to shove the Bible down people’s throats in order to stand up for what is right and give people intelligent answers for why you believe the way you do. We need to delve into the why of things. Why does God say that if a person doesn’t work neither shall they eat? Or, a man that does not care for his own family is worse than an infidel.[2]

Why does God say not to commit murder? Why does God say not to steal? We need to be influencing people wherever we are. Voting is important but it won’t change a heart like the love of God and truth of God can.

3. Third we are to be a champion for those that cannot stand up for themselves. Not just for the poor but specifically for those who are held in poverty by the rich and powerful. Many people are poor because they aren’t trying very hard. Others try and are oppressed. We should stand against that like Jesus did.

Mal 3:5 I will come near to you to judgment; I will be a swift witness against sorcerers, adulterers, false swearers, and those that oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow, and the fatherless, and that turn aside the stranger… and fear not me, saith the LORD of hosts.

We should be a champion for those who suffer injustice.

We should be a champion for the unborn who are slaughtered in the one place that should be the most secure place in all the world, right in their mother’s wombs. And so many young women are lied to and told its not a big deal then they live forever with the guilt of what they’ve done. And nobody seems to notice or care that for years most of those aborted babies were the children of minorities.

We should stand for life and justice and equality just like Jesus would today!

4. Forth, we need to render unto Caesar whatever belongs to Caesar. (Luke 20:19)

We owe taxes and we should pay them. But what else do we owe? We owe our prayers as we said earlier. What else? Do we owe loyalty? Fidelity? Respect to the Flag? Respect to the offices of the president and other elected officials? I would say yes to all of those. God put us in this country. God has ordained the government of this country. The Greatest Country on earth I believe. Sure there are good people all over the world. There are people with a greater work ethic. There are nations with excellent social structures. There are other democracies, too. But nobody has a constitution as good as ours. And nobody has exported more humanitarian aid around the world and may I also add more Christian missionaries than any other country. Yes we’ve exported some wars too. But we also ended some wars that we didn’t start.

We should render unto Caesar a well informed – prayerfully considered- vote on election day.

Well informed, prayerfully considered.

And when the counting is done, we need to thank God for another peaceful transfer of power, and thank God for the elected officials that we have, EVEN IF WE DIDN’T VOTE FOR THEM.

How can we possible do that? Because if you have trusted Christ as your Lord and Savior, you belong To Christ! He is already Lord whether people want Him as their Lord or not. Jesus is not on the Ballot! We are citizens of His perfect Country.

Are you unsure of your standing with Jesus? You can take a stand with Christ today! Give Him your failures and sins. Beg His forgiveness. Call on His name to save you from eternal Hell. Whoever calls on Him Shall be saved!

[1] Our Daily Bread, November 3, 1992.

[2] 2Th 3:10, 1 Tim 5:8

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Family, Politics, and Elections

So Sarah Palin's daughter is pregnant out of wedlock. Bummer. Thats a sin. Its going to affect her the rest of her life. That makes her family like so many other families in the USA. In fact it proves she "just like" every other family in the USA and in the world. We're all made up of sinners.
Barack Hussein Obama has taken the high road it seems and I for one appreciate his class in this area. He seems to have a wonderful family life and I praise him for that. Of course his little ones aren't old enough to have done any "major bad stuff," still, he knows that all families have problems.
But Mr. Obama points out accurately that this election is about the issues not our families. That is different from saying character doesn't count as some said when Mr. Clinton was running for office. His character did in fact count. Unfortunately not enough because he still got elected. But family does not necessarily equal character. Sometimes the best of parents have children who do things that disappoint us. One of my daughters died her hair red, another blue. I was disappointed. But I still loved my daughters and I think they would say I'm at least adequate as a father. (Well. my oldest may say I'm a good father with a little tiny mean streak.)
So lets follow BHO's advice here and not base our election decision on the one time decision of a 17 y.o. girl and her teen boyfriend.
Let's instead look at our own families, and our own mistakes, try to love one another, be the best parent we can be and vote responsibly. Because we are blessed to be US citizens and we should fulfill our duties to protect our freedoms and liberties.
May God Bless America.

Friday, August 1, 2008

From Mexico to California

People are the same and people are different. I recently spent 5 days across the border with Mexico and 7 days in L.A. So, I'm somewhat of an authority on this.
The people in the villages that line the Rio Grande, just across from Texas, have families they love, jobs to go to (sometimes), rent to pay, homework to do, and needs to feel loved, secure, significant, and empowered. So do the people in upscale L.A. Or in low-rent L.A. for that matter.
People in L.A. are also lazy...and industrious, loud and reserved, light and dark, happy and sad...you get the idea. So are the people in Mexico, they are almost identical in their differences. Neither think they need anything eternal. They live to work and work to live. They mark life's passages by days and hours not by eons and epochs. Sometimes they mark life by its passings and passages; deaths, graduations, sweet sixteens and Quincenaras.
They don't know they are hurtling towards eternity. They don't know they were put here for a reason much bigger than themselves. They don't know that eternal salvation is real. They don't know what they are doing. Jesus said that. Remember? "Father forgive them for they know not what they do."
People in Fort Worth are just the same different.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Why the "BREAD" of Life?

Got some ideas here why Jesus referred to Himself as the BREAD of LIFE, from A W Pink:

Why “BREAD” of Life?

  1. Its Necessary- First in the pyramid. Grains affect our hearts, digestive track, blood pressure, weight, diabetes and cancer. (USDA says so). Jesus is necessary to eternal life!
  2. Its universal-every society eats some sort of bread. Tortillas, white bread, corn bread, rice cakes, pita, even crepes! Jesus is the universal source of life in God.
  3. Daily-bread needs to be eaten daily for top benefits. Jesus should be partaken of daily for spiritual beneficence.
  4. Satisfying-Bread fills you. Three ounces (rda) begins the sense of food in the stomach and the reduction of hunger. Jesus alone is satisfying. Once the person knows Christ he will never thirst or hunger for Him again. He will hunger and thirst for Christ’s righteousness however.
  5. It’s the result of threshing-the grains: corn, rice, wheat, etc. are separated from their source, the stem and root. They are beaten, ground, and cooked to make bread. Jesus was threshed on the cross. Separated from His source, he was beaten, worn down, and endured the wrath of God to become our bread of life!

Wait on God...and stay busy

Years ago, as I was laying on my couch (actually it was a bedroll on the floor of the living room that we called a couch it the early days of my marriage while still in Bible College) and bemoaning the darkness in my soul and the dryness of my spirit. I was about to chuck it all, drop out of school move home to beloved Texas and get a regular job. When God spoke to me for the first time in months. ( Or the first time I heard Him in months.) And said, "Don't doubt in the darkness what I showed you in the light." In other words, keep the faith, you know the goal I called you to, -just do it. (I used the phrase before NIKE.)
Fast forward to 2002. Three years in a pastoral position, my second, and I felt burned out and bone dry. I went to my mentor, Dr. Stephen Washburn, and told him and was ready to find out what I was doing wrong.
He said...in effect..."wow, it took you three years to get here? I get there every 12 to 18 months." Then he said what happens to him is he scrapes the bottom of the barrel for a while before he realizes the barrel is empty.
He said, extra prayer doesn't help...though it doesn't hurt either. Extra Bible reading, extra WHATEVER. You just have to wait on God. Scale back a little where you need to. Do the things that feed you. (Which according to Jesus was doing the will of the father) and wait on God. Don't do anything drastic during this time, be on your guard against temptation, and wait.

I hated that!
I was glad he knew how I felt.
But I hate to wait. I'll drive 5 miles out of the way to avoid a traffic jam.
But God, you know the one...the one who is rich in mercy for His great love wherewith He loved us, even when we were dead...He really wants us to wait. Oh, and do His will.
But I don't know about you....

Saturday, June 14, 2008

The Bible and Economics

Biblical Economics: In the constant struggle between competing economic policies, namely capitalism and socialism and their various relatives, one wonders how did God lead the Israelites? It appears that capitalism, rather than being a form of economics, is simply freedom. While that may seem simplistic to some, in essence what does one have where people can own things and share what they want without coercion or violence? One has at least a form of capitalism. People are free to raise their own resources, save them, spend them, fritter them away, or give them away. They are free to pay the wages of others to motivate them to help them be successful in their own business ventures. Workers are free to say no to a wage, or to agree.

Of course economics is much more involved than this but at its essence isn't freedom what God wanted His people to have and isn't that what this country was founded on?

Freedom from coercion and oppression

A. The exchange of goods should be free of oppression, coercion, or violence. - Free enterprise.

Lev 25:14 And if you sell anything to your neighbor, or buy from your neighbor's hand, you shall not oppress one another.

B. Poor should not be favored or oppressed in justice.

Exo 23:3 And you should not favor a poor man in his cause.

Exo 23:6 You shall not pervert the judgment of your poor

C. Poor should be provided for but they should work if possible.

Lev 19:10 you shall not gather the leavings of your vineyard. You shall leave them for the poor …. I am Jehovah your God.

Ignoring the poor is a sin.

Amo 5:12 For I know your many transgressions and your many sins. They afflict the just, they take a bribe, and they turn aside the poor in the gate.

D. Justice should be blind to economics; Mercy should recognize need.

Lev 19:15 You shall not be partial to the poor, nor honor the person of the mighty.

Pro 19:17 He who has pity on the poor lends to Jehovah (Pro 14:31)

E. Sometimes the poor are poor because of their own sins.

Pro 14:23 In all labor there is gain, but the talk of the lips tends only to poverty.

Pro 21:17 He who loves pleasure shall be poor; he who loves wine and oil shall not be rich.

F. Some people champion the poor out of their own greed.

Joh 12:5 Why was this ointment not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor? 6 He said this, not that he cared for the poor, but because he was a thief and held the moneybag …

G. Work is good; it is how God expects you to provide for yourself. People should enjoy the fruits of their own labor.

Ecc 3:13every man should eat and drink, and enjoy the good of all his labor, it is the gift of God. (Ecc 2:24)

Eph 4:28 Let him who stole steal no more, but rather let him labor, working with his hands the thing which is good, so that he may have something to give to him who needs.

1Th 4:11 and that you try earnestly … do your own business, and work with your own hands, …, 12 so that you may walk becomingly toward those outside, and that you may lack nothing.

2 Th 3:10 when we were with you, we commanded you this, that if anyone would not work, neither should he eat.

H. Both wealth and poverty has its problems.

Pro 30:8 … give me neither poverty nor riches; tear for me my portion of bread, 9. lest I be full and deceive, and say, Who is Jehovah? Or lest I be poor, and steal, and violate the name of my God.

New Testament:

A. Early Church shared without coercion, motivated by love.

Act 4:32 And the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and one soul. And not one said that any of the things which he possessed was his own. But they had all things common. 33 And the apostles gave witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus with great power. And great grace was on them all. 34 For neither was anyone needy among them, for as many as were owners of lands or houses sold them and brought the prices of the things that were sold, 3 and they laid them down at the apostles' feet. And distribution was made to every man according as he had need. 36 And Joses, who was surnamed Barnabas by the apostles which is, being translated, The son of consolation), a Levite, a Cypriot by race, 37 a field being his, selling it, he bore the proceeds and placed them at the apostles' feet.

The death of Annanias ans Sapphira was not related to holding back but to lying about it.

Act 5:1 And a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession. 2 And he kept back part of the price, his wife also knowing, and brought a certain part and laid it at the apostles' feet. 3 But Peter said, Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart for you to lie to the Holy Spirit, and to keep back part of the price of the land? 4 While it remained, was it not your own? And after it was sold, was it not in your own authority? Why have you conceived this thing in your heart? You have not lied to men, but to God.

B. Believers are free to use money as they see fit.

Rom 15:26 For it has pleased those of Macedonia and Achaia to make a certain contribution for the poor saints in Jerusalem.

Jas 1:27 Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, to visit orphans and widows in their afflictions, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.

C. Believers are expected take care of their own families. It is not up to the church (a social structure) to provide when family members could do so.

1Ti 5:16 If any believing man or believing woman has widows, let them relieve them, and do not let the church be charged, so that it may relieve those who are widows indeed.

D. The employer has complete charge over his own money.
E. Employers and employees are free to contract with each other for wages.
F. What the worker deems as fair for himself is all that should concern him. The Employee is free to handle his money however he chooses.

Mat 20:1 For the kingdom of Heaven is like a man, a housemaster, who went out early in the morning to hire laborers into his vineyard. 2 And when he had agreed with the laborers for a denarius a day, he sent them into his vineyard. 3 And he went out about the third hour and saw others standing idle in the marketplace. 4 And he said to them, You also go into the vineyard, and whatever is right I will give you. And they went. 5 And he went out about the sixth and ninth hour and did likewise. 6 And about the eleventh hour he went out and found others standing idle, and said to them, Why do you stand here all day idle?
7 They said to him, Because no one has hired us. He said to them, You also go into the vineyard, and you shall receive whatever is right.
8 So when evening had come, the lord of the vineyard said to his steward, Call the laborers and pay them their wage, beginning from the last to the first. 9 And when they who were hired about the eleventh hour came, they each one received a denarius. 10 But when the first came, they supposed that they would received more; and they also each one received a denarius. 11 And receiving it they murmured against the master of the house, 12 saying, These last have worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden and heat of the day. 13 But he answered one of them and said, Friend, I do you no wrong. Did you not agree with me for a denarius? 14 Take yours, and go; I will give to this last one the same as to you. 15 Is it not lawful for me to do what I want with my own? Is your eye evil because I am good? 16 So the last shall be first, and the first last, for many are called, but few are chosen.

Simply because all of the laborers decided to acquire more of the vineyard owners wealth by force of their numbers does not make it right. It is stealing even if it is done by popular vote.


Friday, June 13, 2008

New York Revival

What a Revival in New York! From the moment Pastor Proctor picked me up at the airport, and also a picked a soldier who need a ride to Fort Drum, I knew it would be a great week. I was honored to share a back seat with one of America's finest for an hour and a half during which time he was invited to church by the pastor and his wife, and I was able to share my own testimony with him. On Sunday Morning the Lord began doing a work in people's hearts including repentance and recognizing a need for greater unity and love in the church. The turnouts were good each meeting with what seemed to be a "record" attendance Wednesday night of over 70 folks. They were a gracious group whose potluck dinners were "pert near" as good as Southern Potluck!
On Monday a church member and I made a visit to a lady's home where she was obviously thinking about her eternal state and she prayed to receive Jesus as her Lord and Savior. Hallelujah!

Whats In A Name?

Most Outrageous Name Changes
Author(s): Stephanie Paul

There are numerous reasons why one might change their name; a recent marriage, a business need for a more eloquent-sounding name, or just because one needs a change. But, what goes into a name change? Why did Sean "Puffy" Combs go from Sean, to Puff Daddy, to Puffy, to P. Diddy, and to possibly now just "Diddy?" And, what is the process that one goes through for this new identity?

What's In A Name?

Changing a name involves legal proceedings that include working with an attorney in order to file name change forms with the courts, publishing name change announcements in the local newspapers, and paying any filing fees. While this may sound labor-intensive to some, many people have taken the appropriate steps to change their name to something that fits their personality. In no particular order below are ten men and women who have changed their names to everything from their favorite cartoon character to their favorite web site, and everything in between:

1. Jason Burrows = Megatron

Seattle man Jason Michael Burrows changed his name last year to a character of the famous cartoon-turned move, Transformers. Mr. Burrows is now known as "Jason Megatron Burrows," named after the popular machine hero that's "more than meets the eye." Why did Mr. Megatron decide on the name change? Read ahead to our second name changer to see why.

2. From National Guardsman to Optimus Prime

A few years before Megatron Burrows, a member of Ohio's 5694th National Guard Unit in Mansfield legally changed his name from Scott Nall to the Transformers other famous character, the leader of the Autobots, Optimus Prime. Mr. Prime legally changed his name to his childhood hero on his 30th birthday and has since then been known to all as the Transformers' character.

3. Dan Miller Becomes "The Dan Miller Experience"

A 24-year-old performer with the birth name of Dan Michael Miller II changed his name to "The" Dan Miller Experience.

4. Karin Robertson, Vegan, Honors Web site

Karin Robertson, a 23-year-old vegan from Norfolk, Virginia, took her love of vegetarianism to the courts when she petitioned to change her name to "Goveg.com." Although she has since had some trouble with airport security, Goveg.com enjoys being named after the "number one web site for vegetarian information" and has said, "what could be better?"

5. Keeping it Simple � Andrew Is Now "They"

Andrew Wilson simplified his life a few years back when he changed his name to "They." Wanting to take legal responsibility for the pronoun, They decided to legally change his name in 2004 and has no intention of changing back to Andrew, even if the terms "They did this" or "They did that" now consistently refer to him.

6. Football Fanatic? Bears Fan Changes Name to Colts Quarterback

After losing a bet during last year's Super Bowl, die-hard Chicago Bears fan Scott Wiese had to do the unthinkable; he legally adopted the name of the Bears Super Bowl rival's quarterback, Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning. A result of "Peyton's" bet that the Bears would beat the Colts in last year's Super Bowl, Mr. Wiese kept his promise and, with a little help from the Macon County Courts Facility, became the legal identity of the Indianapolis quarterback. The final score that "Peyton" will probably never forget will be Colts 29, Bears 17.

7. U.S. Trucker Now "Bubba"

With no ties to his original name, trucker Justin Brady decided to legally change his name to Ynot Bubba. Stating that he no longer had a relationship with his adoptive family, Mr. Bubba petitioned a judge for the official name change. If the judge would've denied his claim, Ynot's second choice would've been "More Chek."

8. Jose Luis Becomes Known Around the World

New York native Jose Luis Espinal changed his name to probably one of the most well-known names in the world � Jesus Christ. Mr. Christ received permission from Manhattan judge Diane Lebedeff and is now known as Jesus. When making her decision, Judge Lebedeff cited a 2001 case in Utah when a man legally changed his name to "Santa Claus." But, Mr. Christ hasn't mentioned if he will be celebrating his birthday on December 25th.

9. Changing a Name in the Other Direction

Although everyone on this list has changed their name to something a bit out of the ordinary, a Vietnam teen received the right to legally change his name from Mai Phat Sau Nghin Ruoi, which translates to "Fined Six Thousand and Five Hundred." Named after the fine his father had to pay for having a fifth child, Fined Six Thousand and Five Hundred's dad finally agreed to help him change his name to something more traditional after his son continued to be teased in school. Fined Six Thousand and Five Hundred's new name is Mai Hoang Long, which translates to Golden Dragon.

10. The One That Wouldn't Be

Although this name change was not to be, it was still outrageous enough to be the tenth on this list. Wisconsin woman Caren Ann Burke had requested last year that a judge allow her to change her last name to the infamous "bin Laden." Ms. Burke failed to show up for the name change hearing, making Caren Ann bin Laden only a memory.

Have An Idea For A Name Change?

Changing a name takes a few legal steps, but there are some stipulations. You cannot change your name if you intend to commit a crime; if it can be proven that you are changing your name to avoid getting sued or to get out of bankruptcy, for example, your claim will be denied. You also cannot choose a name that interferes with the rights of others � that is, you cannot change your name to a celebrity in order to take advantage of their name. Finally, names with numerals or symbols are illegal, so don't even try it!

Great Crown ya Got There

1Co 15:58 So that, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.
Heb 6:10
For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name...
1Pe 5:4 And when the Chief Shepherd shall appear, you shall receive a never-fading crown of glory.

Aren't those great promises? God sees and knows all the things we do for Him. He will bless our efforts so that they are not in vain. He will not forget what we have done but reward our efforts with a crown. So when we get to glory we will have this crown to show everyone else how wonderful we are. Or better yet, and much more modest, we'll be able to point out our children and grandchildren and say, "Now Thats some kinda crown ain't it? Thats my boy!" Or what if we get lots of crowns for all the great things we have done, surely the Lord will provide folks who only have one crown to help us carry them all. Right?
As I was talking with folks this week, one asked if there wasn't something we were going to do with these crowns, like lay them at the Lord's feet. Well, thats definitely the example that the 24 Elders are giving us.
Rev 4:9 says, "And whenever the living creatures gave glory and honor and thanks to Him who sat on the throne, who lives forever and ever, 10 the twenty-four elders fell down before the One sitting on the throne. And they worshiped Him who lives for ever and ever, and threw their crowns before the throne..."
I'm not sure what we will do with ours. But I suspect that since they belong to Jesus, we'll give them back to Him. After all, what do they represent but the good work that He has done in us? Is there anything I can do in the Kingdom that wasn't given to me first? The ability to serve the Lord is a great thing, but its a gift from God. When we look around at the church family that we have, they, too, are a gift from God. Each and every one of them. Even the one you've been avoiding lately. Ha! Caught ya didn't I! Hey I've been there. I know what its like, to turn the other way when you see old "So-n-so" coming out of a class room. And then that same old "So-n-so" comes to see you in the hospital, and prays for you, and suddenly they aren't so hard to deal with.
Hey, I got an idea! Next time somebody says something to you that hurts your feelings, or acts indifferently, or even is a bit rude, close your eyes and imagine them standing over your bedside at the hospital praying for you. Or bringing you a casserole when you're home recuperating. Or sending you a card to let you know you're on their prayer list. Because there is a real good possibility that that's exactly what they would do. How do I know that? This church is filled with them. You're probably one of them if you're reading this.
Eph 4:32 Be ye kind, one to another. Tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God, for Christ's Sake has forgiven you!
There are over 40 different New Testament verses where we are told how to treat "one another." Look them up! And then lets get on with the business of "One anothering."
Bro. Clark

Always Give an Answer

1Pe 3:15 "...but sanctify in your hearts Christ as Lord: being ready always to give answer, to every man that asks you, a reason for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and respect."
This is an interesting verse. It usually is applied to the idea of witnessing for one's faith: giving an answer for the hope that lies within. But I think its application is wider than that. Yes, it's a challenge to witness. But it also challenges us to have an answer. When someone asks you something, replying "I don't know" is an answer, but its not an answer that necessarily helps. fF somebody says, "How can I get to heaven?" or, "why do you believe in Jesus?" We really ought to have an answer better than "I don't know." That's where discipleship comes in. Are you pursuing God through knowing His word? That's what a disciple does. Peter also wrote, "As newborn babes [desire milk, you should] desire the the milk of the word, that you might grow..."
So what if they ask, "Don't good works count for anything?" or, "Why do you guys dunk people?" or, "Are you anti-homosexual?" What are you going to say?
Do you have a biblical answer for those questions? Do you want to have one? And then there's another equally important question. Can you answer these folks with gentleness, meekness, respect for them, and in the fear of God?
Recently I read an article by a pastor (Brian McLaren) who said how he hated to answer questions about homosexuality. He said we should have a moratorium on making decisive statements on that subject for 5 years while we talk and listen to each other. This person was showing great meekness and respect for others. But, what about respecting God? What about having an answer for anyone that asks. God has already spoken on this subject and thousands of others. Acting like we have to get our answers from humanity when God has already spoken, is not sensitive to the Holy Spirit.
I once preached a pro-life sermon in which I spelled out pretty clearly that abortion was a sin. Later that day a young lady in the church told me that she had had an abortion years ago. This was a wonderful young woman. A great wife, and mother of two darling little girls. She was funny, sweet, supportive of me as her pastor, but there was also a deep scar in her life. I did not regret my sermon or my stance. I did comfort her from the "hope that lies within me," that Jesus can forgive anything we have done, He loves us with an everlasting love, and He already paid the price for her decision 2000 years ago on the cross.
Are you ready to give an answer, to anyone who asks, out of the hope within you, with gentleness, respect and the fear of God? Remember what Paul told Timothy, "Study, to show yourselves approved unto God."

Top ten Lies

Leonard Sweet, in his Soul Cafe newsletter, included this list of "Top 10 Liars' Lies":
  1. We'll stay only five minutes.
  2. This will be a short meeting.
  3. I'll be in and out of Wal-Mart in a jiffy.
  4. The check is in the mail.
  5. I'm from the government, and I'm here to help you.
  6. This hurts me more than it hurts you.
  7. Your money will be cheerfully refunded.
  8. We service what we sell.
  9. Your table will be ready in just a minute.
  10. And the number 1 lie people tell: I'll start exercising (tithing, dieting, forgiving, praying, reading the bible … ) TOMORROW!
Leadership, Vol. 16, no. 4.

To my church family

To my church family,
You make my calling an even greater joy, as I see people serving without arm-twisting, people giving without a guilt trip, and people helping with out asking anything in return. And on top of all that you are so gracious to Marney and I. Your generous gifts to us both in October during pastor appreciation month, and here at Christmas are just amazing. We are abundantly blessed. There is no way I can know everything that is going on around here, but I know God is doing some great things in people's lives. I see it in the concerned voices, the offers of help, and the questions about what God is expecting of us. Those are signs of maturity. The mature person asks what can I do for my Lord, not what can He do for me.
I'm spending a lot of time with my grandchildren this week. I'm writing this from Glorieta, New Mexico, where its about 25 degrees, the lake is frozen over, there's ice and snow everywhere, and my five year old grandson, James, is loving it! The two little ones, Peter and Silas, can't understand why its so cold outside, but we're all having a good time together. We're here in large part due to your generosity. Thank you, thank you, thank you! From the bottom of our hearts. And its our prayer that these holidays have been a blessing to you as well! God Bless and Happy New Year, Bro. Clark

Wacky Tobacky and other laws

And now for something completely different...

The Wackiest Laws Still on the Books Part II
Author(s): Sherry Ciurczak
If you're planning to visit Alabama any time soon, make sure you don't challenge a bear to a wrestling match. It could land you in jail since bear wrestling is a Class B felony in the Yellowhammer State. And if you're thinking of dressing as a nun to go trick-or-treating in Mobile, think again. Impersonating a nun or other member of the clergy is punishable by up to a year in jail and a fine of $500.

These are just two examples of the many wacky statutes on the books, not just in Alabama but in states across the nation. Here are a few more that might make you wonder what lawmakers were thinking:

  • It's illegal to collect rags or paper in Indianapolis on Sundays. Don't go rag or paper collecting on legal holidays either, or you could be subject to a fine. However, it's generally okay to collect rags and paper after 7:30 a.m. and before 5:30.
  • Don't skip your Saturday night bath in Barre, Vermont. There is a law on the books requiring all residents to bathe every Saturday night. Washing on other days of the week is apparently optional and left to the discretion of the residents.
  • When attacked by a bird, you can throw a rock at it in Indianapolis. However, it is illegal to throw stones at birds if you're not acting in self-defense.
  • Michigan will pay you to throw rocks at birds. But only if you kill them, and only if they're starlings or crows. The state pays three cents for each starling killed and ten cents per crow.
  • Florida forbids the tethering of pregnant pigs. It is also illegal to confine an expecting sow to a cage, crate or other enclosure that prevents the pig from turning around freely.
  • You can't sell your eyes in Texas. "The Eyes of Texas" is the official song of the University of Texas, and they are apparently not for sale. Nor are any other bodily organs, under penalty of law.
  • Pinball is not for children in South Carolina. For some reason, you have to be at least 18 to play pinball in the Palmetto State.
  • In Belvedere, California, dogs must not appear in public without their masters on a leash. The city council probably intended to make sure the canines rather than the humans were leashed.
  • If you have political ambitions in Tennessee, don't participate in a duel. The state prohibits people who have been in a duel from holding public office.
  • Only genuine smack-downs are permitted in Louisiana. State law prohibits the exhibition of fake wrestling matches.

This is only a sampling of the many crazy laws still on the books in states across the US. In addition to avoiding breaking obvious laws like posted speed limits in your town, you should also take care to avoid whaling in Oklahoma or selling blue ducklings in Kentucky. Remember, ignorance of the law is no excuse!


Fork in the road

Dr. Seamands tells of a Muslim who became a Christian in Africa. "Some of his friends asked him, 'Why have you become a Christian?' He answered, 'Well, its like this. Suppose you were going down the road and suddenly the road forked in two directions, and you didn't know which way to go, and there at the fork in the road were two men, one dead and one alive--which one would you ask which way to go?'"

Isn’t that the BIG difference between Christianity and every other religion? Their key figure is dead, ours lives forever. They emphasize works, all we can depend on is grace. Their god is a demanding tyrant, Ours is a loving Father, Son, and Spirit.

As special as Christmas is in demonstrating the Love of God in the sending of His Son, The Resurrection season shows both His love and His victory. He has already won the war over sin, death, and Hell so that He can offer us Life, Grace, and Eternity in His presence. So when you come to a fork in the road and one man is dead and the other alive, who are you going to ask for directions?

Charles Francis Adams, the 19th century diplomat, kept a diary. One day he entered: "Went fishing with my son today--a day wasted." His son, Brook Adams, also kept a diary. On that same day, Brook wrote: "Went fishing with my father--the most wonderful day of my life!" The father thought he was wasting his time while fishing with his son, but his son saw it as an investment of time. The only way to tell the difference between wasting and investing is to know you’re investing for.

My own Father-in-law was in a conversation with a man who was going on and on about his financial investments. Finally he let up and asked Papa what he invested in. His answer was short and sweet. “I invest in my kids.”

This is a month to remember and honor our fathers, but it’s also a good time to remind fathers what they are there for; not just to put food on the table and gas in the car. We’re here to Model, Mix, and Magnify. Model what a godly man looks like. Mix with our wife and children, spend time with them. And magnify their successes; praise them when they accomplish something and downplay their failures. Help our kids learn from mistakes and then move on.

And remember, your father didn’t get a book on how to parent when you were born either. He was a clueless as you were. So cut him some slack and give him some honor this month on Father’s Day. Bro. Clark

fathers day

Charles Francis Adams, the 19th century diplomat, kept a diary. One day he entered: "Went fishing with my son today--a day wasted." His son, Brook Adams, also kept a diary. On that same day, Brook wrote: "Went fishing with my father--the most wonderful day of my life!" The father thought he was wasting his time while fishing with his son, but his son saw it as an investment of time. The only way to tell the difference between wasting and investing is to know you’re investing for.

My own Father-in-law was in a conversation with a man who was going on and on about his financial investments. Finally he let up and asked Papa what he invested in. His answer was short and sweet. “I invest in my kids.”

This is a month to remember and honor our fathers, but it’s also a good time to remind fathers what they are there for; not just to put food on the table and gas in the car. We’re here to Model, Mix, and Magnify. Model what a godly man looks like. Mix with our wife and children, spend time with them. And magnify their successes; praise them when they accomplish something and downplay their failures. Help our kids learn from mistakes and then move on.

And remember, your father didn’t get a book on how to parent when you were born either. He was a clueless as you were. So cut him some slack and give him some honor this month on Father’s Day. Bro. Clark