Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Holy Heretical Resurrection Day Happycrap

File this one under RESURRECTION HERESY.

Easter Sunday has been deemed the "Superbowl of Sundays." It is the one Sunday of the year when millions of heathens go to church in hopes that God will be pleased with their "sacrifices."

Did you attend a sunrise service or go to church on Easter morning?  If so, I trust you heard a great gospel message about how the Lord Jesus Christ, was crucified for our sins, buried, sealed in a tomb, and then rose triumphantly from the dead according to the Scriptures.

I hope that is the message you heard because so many people need to hear it.  I hope the minister handled the Word of God responsibly.  I hope he told you the truth; “He is not here.  He is risen, just as He said.  Hallelujah!”

Well, there is, at least, one poor sapsucker who was severely cheated and misguided.  He was a guest on a local radio talk show here in Riverside County.  Here is a brief paraphrase of his synopsis of the sermon he heard at Mass on Easter Sunday: 
The message of death and resurrection was very encouraging and uplifting.  We are all dying; in fact, we all die a little bit at a time every day.  The message of the resurrection is that, in spite of how badly things are going and how low we feel, we can, and we all need to rise up.  That’s what I got from the sermon.

Other than “holy happycrap," I’m not sure what other adjectives I might use to describe that sermon and the heretic who delivered it, without using potty mouth expletives.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

What's In Your Easter Basket?

"Among the people from Eastern Europe, the Easter basket had nothing to do with candy and rabbits. 

Baskets were filled with symbolic things and taken to church to be blessed. 

There was bread in the basket to recall how Israel relied on God in the wilderness and to symbolize life. 

Horseradish was there to suggest the bitterness of Egyptian bondage and the bitterness of Jesus death. 

Salt was there as a symbol of our common humanity. 

Ham was there as a reminder that we are not under the old law, which forbade so much, but under the new. 

Eggs were in the basket, too. They stood for hope and resurrection and life! 

Whatever our customs, whatever our symbols, Easter always stands for new life, for resurrection, for hope!"

West Greeley Baptist Church
March 31st 2002
“Does the resurrection of Jesus really matter?”
1st Corinthians 15:16-20
Pastor Mark Hensley

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Ten Truisms of Calvinism

Ten Calvinism Truisms (according to me).

1.              John Calvin didn’t invent Calvinism.
2.              John Calvin didn’t invent the TULIP acronym.
3.              The five points of Calvinism as stated in the TULIP acronym are stupid, confusing, divisive, and overly simplified summaries of the biblical doctrine of God’s election.  A better summation would be The Doctrines of Grace.
4.              Calvinism is not a religion or a denomination.
5.              Calvinism is not a complete theological system.
6.              Calvinism is NOT synonymous with “reformed.”
7.              All protestant churches are reformed churches but not all reformed churches are protestant churches.
8.              John Calvin was not theologically sound or doctrinally correct on everything.
9.              All TRUE Christians are Calvinists (many of them just don’t know it yet).

10.          I am a Calvinistic Baptist so, by definition, I am not a protestant.    I am reformed in the sense that I believe the biblical doctrines of the sufficiency of scripture, salvation of the elect by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone and all to the Glory of God alone.   

Monday, March 21, 2016

On Profanity

"Profanity is the use of strong words by weak people."  source unknown

Sam was a construction worker with a filthy mouth.  He knew I was a Christian and sometimes he deliberately intensified his profanity just to see if he could shock me.  But I had been in construction work for years and had become accustomed to hearing it so I just ignored him.

One day a pastor friend of mine stopped by the job to talk with me for a few minutes.  Sam knew who he was but he made no effort to control his vile, filthy tongue.  Later, after my friend ad gone, I asked Sam to try to be a little more respectful in his speech.  His excuse was that he just couldn't help it. Profanity had become so much a part of his vocabulary that it unconsciously flowed out of his mouth.

Swearing is a lazy man's way of trying to be emphatic.  I asked him,  "Do you talk like that around your mother?"

"No way!" he said, "Are you kidding?"

"Well, then, you CAN control it,"  I said, "So please show some respect for other around you."

Sometimes I think people purposefully use profanity just to test my reactions.  Then they always make some sort of insincere apologetic gestures.  The quickly cover their mouths and say, "Oops," or "sorry," as if they think they have offended me.  But I am not easily offended or shocked by their lack of sufficient vocabulary.  

Hugh Prather gives us these sobering thoughts on the subject; "Profanity fixes the other person's attention on my words rather than my thoughts.  When (a person) swears,  (he is) BEING something rather than SAYING something."  

And most of us know what he is being.

"May the words of my mouth and the thoughts of my heart be pleasing to you, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer."  Psalm 19:14

Is Your Faith Real?

The definition of a hypocrite is "one who puts on a mask and pretends to be what he is not."

Years ago, in Germany, there was a devout Jewish family.  Faith was important in their family life; they carefully observed everything their faith required.  The father was zealous in his attendance to worship and he faithfully ensured that his son was properly instructed.  The son loved his father and had an unusual devotion to him.

When the boy was a teenager, the family moved to another town in Germany where there was no synagogue.  Most of the community leaders were members of the Lutheran Church.   One day the father unexpectedly announced to the family that they were all going to abandon their Jewish traditions and join the Lutheran Church.  He explained that it was a necessary change to help him succeed in business.

The youngster was confused and disappointed.  His bewilderment soon gave way to anger and eventually, an intense bitterness began that plagued him throughout his life.

He left Germany to study in England where he started to formulate his own ideas.  He wrote a book in which he developed a whole life and world-view that gave birth to a movement that was designed to change the world.  In the book, he described religion as an "opiate for the masses" that could be explained totally in terms of economics.

Today, billions of people live under the religious system invented by this one embittered man.  His name was Karl Marx.  The influence of his father's hypocrisy is still being keenly felt around the world.

"When you fast, don't (do) as the hypocrites do, who try to look pale and disheveled so people will admire them.  I assure you, that is the only reward they will ever get.  Matt. 6:16

Friday, March 18, 2016

Introduction to My New Blog; Hymns That Preach

I am the song leader in my church. I am not very proficient as a musician or a choral director. One of these days, I pray God will send someone more capable, to take this ministry from me. But for the time being it is my responsibility to select the music and lead the congregation in the singing every week.

I take that responsibility seriously. The hymns and songs that I select must be doctrinally sound, they must be appropriate for worship with a God-centered worldview, and I try to select music that will reinforce and, support the text and subject of my pastor’s messages.

Some of us have been singing these great hymns for years; the words roll off our lips but the messages often don't engage our minds or penetrate our hearts. With the apostle Paul, I want the congregation to "sing with understanding."

So for the past couple years, it has been my practice to select one hymn each week, research it, and then highlight it with a short introductory commentary so that the congregation will be more informed regarding its origin, the author's testimony, or the doctrinal significance of the hymns we sing.

Today I have launched a new Blog, "Hymns that Preach."  At the top of this blog, is a page tab that will link directly to the new blog.  It is my intention, there, to archive these commentaries and make them freely available to other church song leaders.  I know that some of the comments contain a little of my edgy style, but please feel free to adapt them or use them any way you can for the edification of your congregation and to the glory of God.