"The key to understanding the Bible is to look for Jesus in the Bible. Jesus is the hero of the Bible. If you read the Bible and don't find Jesus, re-read it! The Bible has one hero, His name is Jesus; one villain, that is Satan; one problem, that is sin; one solution, that is salvation. That is what the Bible is all about." -Dr. Adrian Rogers

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Why I’m Siding with Kim Davis

And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
John 8:32

As I’m sure you all know by now, Rowan county clerk Kim Davis was arrested last week for refusing to issue marriage licenses to homosexual couples in the state of Kentucky. Not only was she arrested, but she was denied bail and sentenced to remain in jail until she agrees to issue licenses to same-sex couples by US District Judge David Bunning who stated that he had “no alternative” because simply fining her would never change her mind. Mrs. Davis, of course, sited her deeply held religious beliefs as grounds for not issuing the licenses. Some, including so-called “conservative” presidential hopefuls Carly Fiorina, Donald Trump, John Kasich, and Lindsey Graham, have made the claim that her personal beliefs do not put her above the law and that she should have simply resigned if she did not wish to participate; however, I believe that there is a much greater issue at hand here. This is not simply about religious freedom, but about an out of control progressive government who’s looking for a way to further their own lawless agenda.

Ordinarily, I would agree that she should have simply resigned, as I have never been a believer in fighting one’s employer in the name of religious freedom. If my employer refuses to work with me, I have no desire to work for them. However, since Kim Davis is an elected official, I believe this case is a little bit different than it would be in the case of an average employee working in, say, a department store. Not only was Mrs. Davis elected by people who no doubt were full aware of her firmly held belief in God’s definition of marriage, but it is also highly likely that the majority of the people affected by her decisions as county clerk share her same belief, as it is common knowledge that most Americans still believe in traditional marriage. And since she is an elected official, she would also have to go through the impeachment process in order to be relieved of her job rather than simply being fired, which is another point entirely in and of itself.

I think it is important to note Judge David Bunning’s statement that simply fining Mrs. Davis would not be enough to change her mind, because it proves that his motive to sentencing her to jail goes far beyond simply making sure that justice has been served. If the goal was just to ensure that homosexual “marriage” licenses were issued in Rowan County, Kentucky, all that would need to be done would be to impeach Mrs. Davis and replace her with someone else who would issue the licenses; however, this judge had something more in mind when he made his decision. He didn’t want just anyone to issue the licenses. No. He wanted Kim Davis herself to issue the licenses. And if he couldn’t make her do it by instating heavy fines, he thought that maybe he could make her sweat it out in jail. Not only would that teach Mrs. Davis a lesson, but it would also send a message to all those who disagree with the progressive left that says, “You may not have to agree with us privately, but we will force you to conform to our beliefs publically.” This is not about Kim Davis’s refusal to issue “marriage” licenses, but it’s all about proving a point that no one goes against the liberal left and gets away with it.

Lastly, in reality, Kim Davis has broken no law because homosexual marriage is still not legal anywhere within the United States of America. You see, the Supreme Court, in spite of what our liberal-minded president would like to believe, does not have the authority to pass a law on anything. That is not what they are there for. The Supreme Court can say whether or not they believe a certain law in question is constitutional, but they have never possessed the power to write or enact any such law. That, in and of itself, is unconstitutional. In order for a certain idea to become a law, it must first go through the president and congress, which the idea of homosexual “marriage” has still yet to do; therefore making any and all homosexual “marriage” licenses issued in any state since the SCOTUS decision absolutely worthless. And no one can break a law that never existed.

Again, this is not about one woman’s religious beliefs, but about a progressive presidential administration that is spinning out of control. Until congresses passes a written law that says that homosexual “marriage” is now legal in all fifty states, I believe it is the duty of county clerks everywhere, regardless of what their religious convictions may be, to refuse to issue “marriage” licenses to homosexual couples because they are still nothing more than a worthless piece of paper. This is about judicial tyranny, folks. It’s about one branch of the government thinking it is superior to all others. If they can get away with homosexual “marriage,” what will they try to get away with next?

You don’t have to be a Christian today to agree with what I’ve said here. However, if you have not yet acknowledged Jesus Christ as the Lord of your life, I’d like to encourage you to come to do so before it is eternally too late for you. If you will turn from all sin and trust Christ alone to save you, He will save you today and keep you saved forever.

Monday, July 13, 2015

What It Really Means to Be Condemning

Do you remember the story of Jonah? I do. I remember learning about Jonah and the really large water-dwelling creature (whether it was a fish or a whale is beside the point) when I was no more than four or five years old in Sunday school. I remember learning about Jonah running from God, being swallowed by the fish, and then later being spat out to go and do what God had originally told him to do. However, I don’t remember being given the in-depth reasoning for why Jonah made the decisions that he made. Perhaps it was because a four-year-old isn’t capable of grasping the concept of being angry at the mercy and forgiveness of God. But whatever the reason, it is a story that is most certainly important for us to discuss today, especially in light of what is being taught in many a modern church in today’s world.

In the culture we live in today, it is becoming more and more difficult to call sin sin without being labeled as “condemning” and “judgmental,” and it has become evident to me that many within the church even have become greatly confused as to what these terms really mean. If we look at Scripture close enough, I think we’ll find that to call others to repentance and faith in Jesus Christ is far from condemning. Therefore let’s look back at the life of Jonah to see what a truly condemning spirit looks like.

We find in the book of Jonah that God called Jonah to go to the city of Nineveh and preach a message of repentance. However, instead of going to Nineveh as God had commanded him to do, Jonah fled to Tarshish because he knew that, if he went to Nineveh and preached repentance, the people there would repent and turn to God and find mercy and forgiveness. The problem was Jonah was angry with the people of Nineveh and didn’t want to see them repent and be forgiven. No. Jonah wanted nothing more than to see the people of Nineveh eradicated from the face of the earth forever. This, my friends, is a spirit of condemnation.

Indeed, many people will say to you, “What right do you have to condemn me”? However, in response, you can say, “I can’t condemn you anymore than you already are.” John 3:18 says, “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” If the person you’re talking to does not know Jesus Christ as the Lord of their life, you don’t have to condemn them because they’re condemned already. All you have to do is convince them of their sinfulness and then lead them to repentance and faith in Jesus. It’s as simple as that.

Perhaps you’re here today, and you’ve never acknowledged Jesus as the Lord of your life. If that’s you, let me invite you to come do so before it is eternally too late for you. If you die in your sin, you will spent eternity in Hell separated from God forever; however, if you will turn from all sin and trust Christ alone to save you, He will save you today and keep you saved forever.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

My Thoughts on the Confederate Flag Issue

Okay. It’s time. I’ve made a few comments on facebook recently about this issue, but I thought I’d go into a little bit more depth here and try to explain my feelings on this issue. First of all, let me start out by asking you a question? Is it possible for one to be against the flag and yet, at the same time, feel that it should not be removed from the State House grounds? My answer is yes, I think it is possible to be both against the flag and against the decision to remove it, all at the same time. Please allow me to explain.

When discussing whether or not to remove the flag, you must understand that the flag is no longer flying on top the State House as it once was years ago. Up until yesterday morning, the flag could be seen flying above the Confederate Memorial on State House grounds, and it is my understanding that, although the flag has been removed, the memorial itself will remain in place. This is just something that, for the life of me, I cannot understand. If the Confederate flag is considered offensive to a multitude of people, wouldn’t you think that the Confederate Memorial that the flag was flying over would be considered just as offensive by the same people? That being said, what good is it going to do to remove one and leave the other? If they are indeed equally offensive, as I believe they should be, remove them both or leave them both. It is pointless to take one without the other.

On the same note, if we are going to remove the Confederate flag from the SC State House grounds due to its “racist” history, we’re going to have to remove a whole lot more than the flag. For example, our US capital is named after George Washington who, at the time of his death, had 316 slaves living at Mount Vernon. Of the fifty-six men who signed the Declaration of Independence, forty-one owned slaves. Are we going to erase all their names from history too, or perhaps boycott the Declaration of Independence itself? Despite how we feel about the Confederate flag, I think the only sensible way to look at it is as a part of American history. If you don’t like the past that it represents, you can still look at it as reminder of the present that exists in spite of that past.

Lastly and most importantly, I believe we need to think long and hard about the message that the removal of the Confederate flag at this particular time is sending to our children and those around us. This flag was not removed as a result of a change of heart among the people of South Carolina. No. It was removed because some crazed lunatic who just happened to post a picture of himself holding the Confederate flag took the lives of nine innocent black Americans in the state of South Carolina. As a result, the suggestion was made to remove the Confederate flag from the State House grounds, and it was done. But did removing the flag bring those nine people back from the dead? No. Will the absence of that flag prevent another black-hearted murderer from committing the same act? The answer again is no. In fact, I personally believe the removal of the Confederate flag from the SC State House grounds will only help to fuel another attack, because anyone thinking of committing such a crime will now see that they will not be the only one blamed for whatever crime they are planning to commit.

If you hear nothing else I say today, hear this. Ronald Reagan once said, “We must reject the idea that every time a law's broken, society is guilty rather than the lawbreaker. It is time to restore the American precept that each individual is accountable for his actions.” I don’t care who you are, how you were raised, or what you have been through in your lifetime. If you commit a crime of any sort, it is no one’s fault but your own. The Confederate flag did not take the lives of nine innocent people who had gathered to worship at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, SC. No. A cold-blooded murderer did that. It is time to start putting the blame where it really belongs and stop exploiting the killing of innocent people to further your political agenda.

If you do not know Jesus Christ as the Lord of your life today, I invite you to come to do so before it is eternally too late for you. If you will turn from all sin and trust Christ alone to save you, He will save you today and keep you saved forever.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

The Greatest Man I Never Knew

First of all, I would like to start this post by wishing all the fathers out there a Happy Father’s Day. If I remember correctly, it has been three years since the last time I wrote anything about my own father. My father and I didn’t have the best relationship growing up. And when he died unexpectedly in 2002, I began trying my best to forget that he ever even existed. All that changed, however, several years ago when I realized that the unforgiveness I was harboring in my heart against him was doing more harm to me than it ever would do to him. A couple years ago, I explained my feelings about my father in a letter to a good friend, and I would like to share part of that with you here today.

Speaking of my father, I spent the first eight years after his death trying to erase all memories of him from my mind. The truth is I hated my father for choosing his selfish, sinful lifestyle over our family. He didn’t actually walk out on us, although he did; my mother kicked him out. I’ve told very few people this, but my father had a drug problem. He took his own life the same way his musical hero, Elvis, took his. He and the rest of the family kept it well hidden, but it was there. I knew he didn’t have a valid driver’s license, but I never really questioned why. It wasn’t until after his death that the truth began to come out. It was then that I started to put two and two together and begin to truly understand the reason behind some of the things that had happened when I was younger, like why he never could keep a steady job, the real reason he didn’t have a driver’s license, etc.

It wasn’t until about two years ago that I realized that what I was doing was very wrong. God commands us to forgive. Matthew 6:14-15 says, “For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” A very wise person once said, “Forgiveness is for the forgiver.” He was dead. Me holding a grudge wasn’t doing one blessed thing to him, but it was eating me alive. So I chose to forgive and bear my grudge no longer. Since then, my thoughts toward him have changed completely. Now, instead of being glad he was no longer a part of my life, I wish he still was. And I often wonder what it could’ve been. You know, if he had gotten help, if they hadn’t got a divorce. Would he still be here? Would I be writing about his successes rather than his failures?

Reba McEntire sings a song called “The Greatest Man I Never Knew.” (No, I am not a Reba fan. I just know the song exists. I much more prefer songs like “My Mother’s Faith.”) Nobody knew my father like my grandmother. She was his biggest fan, even though I know the life he chose for himself broke her heart. To hear her tell it, he hung the moon. And she’s told me on several occasions, “I know you know the bad, but there was a lot of good.” That’s why I like to think that my father was the greatest man I never knew. It’s also why I pray that I will live my life in such a way that my children will get to see the man that God always intended me to be, instead of the other way around.

Although my father professed to know Jesus Christ as Lord, I still lack assurance of his salvation. The fruit simply wasn’t there. If you yourself are a father and you are here reading this today, I beg you not to let your children be able to say the same of you one day. In fact, that is the only reason I have chosen to share my story with you here today. Please, if you have yet to acknowledge Jesus Christ as the Lord of your life, please do so before it is eternally too late for you. If you will simply turn from all sin and trust Christ alone to save you, he will save you today and keep you saved forever.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Where My Future-Wife Can’t Be Found

The unmarried woman cares about the things of the Lord,
that she may be holy both in body and in spirit.
1 Corinthians 7:34

I recently described several reasons why I have chosen not to follow the typical modern-American dating process. However, in giving you that list, I am afraid I left out the most important reason of all. That reason being that the type of lady I wish to marry cannot be found on the dating scene. If she’s looking for me, I’m certainly not looking for her. I have no desire whatsoever to marry a woman who feels that she has to have a man in order for her life to be complete.

A few years ago, I made out a list of things to look for in a future wife. These are all things that I can see from a safe distance without becoming romantically involved, such as whether or not she dresses modestly and how she treats others around her. However, the entire list can be summed up in this: she spends every minute of every day serving God and serving others, seeking every day to know Him better than she did the day before. A woman like that has no time for the dating scene.

You see, the type of woman I’m looking for can’t be found at the singles’ bar or on any of the online dating sites. No. You won’t find her knocking about downtown on a Saturday night, either. Where you will find her is with her family serving up her famous fried chicken and macaroni pie. You’ll find her on the neighbors’ doorstep delivering a freshly baked cake to welcome them to the neighborhood. You’ll find her driving the elderly neighbor lady to the grocery store every Friday morning. You’ll find her weeding her grandmother’s flowerbeds. You’ll find her playing with her nieces and nephews in the backyard. You’ll find her at the church every time the door is open. You’ll find her by her bed on her face before the Lord. That’s where you’ll find the kind of woman I’m looking for.

The Bible tells us that Isaac met Rebecca while she was going about her daily chores watering the camels. The servant that was sent to find her knew that she was the one because she offered to water his camels as well. She had no idea that doing so would land her a husband. Being from the south, I certainly hope that my first encounter with my future-wife will involve some sort of comfort food, but it better not be on the other end of a fish hook. A woman who’s looking won’t find me.

To me, the most attractive thing about any woman is her willingness to serve God and others. When I think of the kind of woman I hope to marry someday, images of Aunt Bea come to mind. You know, that woman who’s always busy but always has room for one more at her dining room table. Truth be told, I don’t date because I don’t have time for a woman who has time to go on a date. I do, however, have time for a woman who’s secretly looking for a battle partner who will join her on her daily mission to reach this world for Christ. Now, that I have time for.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Will You (Not) Go Out With Me?: Five Reasons I Don't Date

Anyone who knows me personally, knows that I have not been on an actual “date” in a very long time. When people question why or try to set me up with someone, as various people will do from time to time, I usually just give them the short, condensed answer of “I just don’t date.” However, after years of cultivating my mindset on the matter and earnestly searching the Scriptures to see what God has to say about it, I have decided that it’s time to let you in on my reasoning for throwing dating out the window. Before I do so, though, I would like to assure you that I do not, in any way, believe that choosing the modern-American dating concept is a sin. I do, however, believe that it can prove to be quite dangerous if not treated with extreme caution.

Training for Marriage

In the soon to be released Christian film Old Fashioned, the main character makes a comment at some point in the movie, saying, “Dating doesn’t train us to be good husbands and wives. It trains us to be skilled in the superficial.” I believe he was right. Dating does not teach us to exemplify the love described in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8. It doesn’t teach us to be patient or kind. It doesn’t teach us not to boast or envy. Dating doesn’t teach us not to be rude or think only of ourselves. It doesn’t teach us to control our anger or freely forgive without end. It doesn’t teach us not to delight in evil, but usually does the exact opposite. Dating doesn’t teach us to protect, to trust, to hope, or to persevere. No. The modern-American dating concept teaches us none of these things. Instead, all dating teaches us is what mistakes not to make when picking up the next date.

All Icing, No Cake

When I think about dating, I picture a man dangling a thick, juicy steak in front of a wild, hungry lion and daring it not to take a bite. It’s the same as putting a cake in front of a two year old and telling him that he can stick his finger in the icing but he has to wait a couple more years before he can eat the whole thing. Dating is all icing and no cake. It gives a taste of sweetness without offering the real thing.

Over the years, I’ve come to refer to dating as “counterfeit marriage.” That is because dating requires us to do all the same things married people do but before we’re actually married. Dating requires you to claim something as yours without significant proof of ownership. You can stake your claim on a piece of land. You can even set up a house on it and call it yours; however, without a title to the property, that claim won’t fly in a court of law. Dating relationships are strictly superficial, and come nowhere near being the real thing.

Premature Emotional Involvement

Perhaps the very first issue I saw with dating years ago was the fact that dating requires two people to become emotionally involved before they ever have the chance to fully evaluate the situation. Romance is blinding. Sometimes it’s hard to see past the moonlight and roses, and the truth often gets overlooked. As a result, people often get married only to realize that they didn’t marry the person they thought they were marrying. Too often, people base their decision to get married on the butterflies in their stomach instead of using their God-given ability to rationally think things through. The modern-American dating concept only makes it that much harder not to think with such a mindset.

Needless Baggage

Dating also requires us to store up years of needless baggage, and then somehow expects us to forget all about it when we finally tie the knot. If you’re like me, however, you find that hard to do. The way I see it, if those relationships aren’t going to mean anything to you once you eventually get married to someone else, why waste your time on them now? I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to marry someone who’s been passed around like a Gatorade bottle in a football huddle. Likewise, I don’t want my future wife to have to marry a used husband, either.

I remember reading a story in the book I Kissed Dating Goodbye about a young lady who had a dream about her wedding day. It was more like a nightmare, really. She and her soon to be husband were standing at the marriage altar when various other women started walking forward, one at a time, and standing by her fiancĂ©’s side. When she asked who these women were, he responded (my paraphrase), “These are all the women I gave a piece of my heart to.” I can imagine her standing there thinking, “What is there left for me”? That is what dating does.

Forming a Divorce Mindset

Lastly, dating sets us up for a divorce mindset. It requires us to enter into each new relationship with an end in sight, thinking, “Well, if it doesn’t work out, there’s always other fish in the sea.” Unfortunately, this mindset often carries over into marriage, as well. Dating doesn’t prepare us to enter into marriage with an attitude of unconditional, sacrificial love. Dating prepares us to stick around only until the other person violates our trust, and then it’s time to move on. But folks, that’s not how God designed marriage to work. God designed marriage to be an ever-present reminder of Christ’s relationship with the church, and He’s certainly in it for the long haul.

No. I’m done with dating and superficiality. I’m perfectly fine with waiting until God says I can enjoy the real thing. What I’ve laid out for you here today is certainly not an exhaustive list, but it should at least give you a good idea as to why I’ve said a quick, polite “no thank you” to dating for going on six years now. I’ve come to believe that romance is meant for marriage alone, and I plan to keep it that way. No, it doesn’t mean I’m lonely because I’m “alone.” It just means I’m waiting for the right one to spend all of my time with. Others have settled and bear the scars. Don’t do the same.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

The Enemy Meant It for Evil, but God Meant It for Good

But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good,
in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive.
Genesis 50:20

Did you watch Megyn Kelly’s interview with Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar last night? It really answered a lot of questions for me and made me realize that, if I admired them before, I admire them ten times more now. There are still things I disagree with them on, but that doesn’t make the way they have chosen to handle this situation any less commendable. They were humble. They were honest. They were even thankful to Megyn Kelly for sharing their story. I saw no anger. I saw no hatefulness. All I saw was two people who are resting in the mercy, grace, and forgiveness of their Savior.

I liked when Jim Bob said (my paraphrase), “No, we didn’t really want this to come out. But now that it has, maybe those who have done something similar can look at what Josh has been through and realize that, if God could forgive him and give him a new life, He can do the same for them too.” I tell you what’s the truth, they’re handling it a lot better than I probably would. They have had so many people say so many horrible things about them in the last few weeks, and they have nothing but grace and forgiveness for those people.

As I was listening to their story, I couldn’t help but think of the verse in Genesis 50 that says, “But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive.” I tell you I think God’s going to do just that as long as they will continue to surrender their lives to Him. The enemy meant to destroy them, but God means to draw them closer to Him. The enemy meant to turn people away from the Duggars and away from God, but God wants to use the Duggars to show His mercy, forgiveness, and grace. God is still in the forgiving business, and I believe He wants to use the Duggar family to declare that to the world.

Maybe you can’t find it in your heart to forgive Josh Duggar for what he did over a decade ago, but do you not know that Jesus said, “I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart”(Matthew 5:28)? We are also told in 1 John 3:15 that “whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him”. The Bible makes it clear that God judges us not only according to our actions but according to the contents of our hearts. So I ask you, how is your heart today?

Josh Duggar confessed his sins to his parents and to God and sought godly counsel and forgiveness. You see, there is not one sin that Jesus didn’t die for. Adrian Rogers used to say, “There is no one so good he need not be saved, and there is no one so bad he cannot be saved.” The Bible tells us in 1 John 1:9 that “if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Do you know that forgiveness firsthand today? If you will simply repent of your sins and trust Christ alone to save you, He will save you today and keep you saved forever.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Miss Stacie

My second year of college, my friend and I carpooled together just about every day. Our classes got out at the same time, so she would ride with me and we would usually meet her father somewhere in town for lunch. One of our favorite places to go back then was Wendy’s. And at the particular Wendy’s we went to, there was one particular cashier that you couldn’t help but love. She was an older black lady with short gray hair. She was short in stature, but had a rather large personality. It didn’t take me long to realize that most people, at least her regular customers, called her by her first name, and she seemed to know most of theirs, as well. My friend always went to Wendy’s because she liked the food, but Miss Stacie quickly became my reason.

We hadn’t been going there long when I began to notice that Miss Stacie had memorized my order. I am a rather boring person who tends to order the same thing every time, so it didn’t take her long to start greeting me with, “You want your nuggets and a potato”? But a year later, I transferred to a different school and I wasn’t able to go to Miss Stacie’s Wendy’s near as often. However, the next time I went in about six months later, I discovered that it didn’t matter how long it had been since the last time I was there. Miss Stacie still remembered anyway. When I walked through that door and up to her counter, she said, “Where you been? You want your nuggets and a potato…and…sweet tea”? And to this day, she still remembers, no matter how long it’s been.

One time, while I was eating my lunch, a customer walked in that Miss Stacie had not seen in years. The second she saw him, she began to scream as though the building were on fire and then proceeded to jump up and down as though she herself were on fire. She then flung open the door, run around the corner, and gave him the kind of hug you might give someone if you knew that that was going to be their last day on planet earth. She then just kept repeating, “I can’t believe it’s you. I can’t believe it’s you. I can’t believe it’s you. I haven’t seen you in years. I can’t believe it’s you.” When is the last time a cashier has greeted you that way?

It’s been nearly a year since I’ve seen Miss Stacie, and I hope to be able to make it back sometime soon. Miss Stacie is the kind of person that makes the world go ‘round. She takes pride in what she does, and it isn’t hard to notice. But most of all she finds joy in putting a smile on customers’ faces. She seems to forget that she’s a cashier in a popular fast-food restaurant chain, and it’s almost like you’re a guest in her own kitchen. If only more people took on her attitude, this world would be a much better place.

Monday, January 12, 2015

The Foolishness of the Message

For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God,
it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.
1 Corinthians 1:21

Last week, Perry Noble issued an apology on his blog for the message that he so tragically botched during his Christmas Eve service a few weeks ago. Sadly, in his apology, he did yet again what he does so well, which is to twist Scripture to no end. In an attempt to justify his errors, he used 1 Corinthians 1:21 to point out that, though his message was flawed, over 200 people still made professions of faith that night. However, in order for that verse to mean what Perry Noble so badly wants it to mean, he would have had to have taken it out of context. Therefore let’s take the time to look at the entire passage to see what Paul really meant by what he wrote in 1 Corinthians 1:21.

18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.
19 For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.
20 Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?
21 For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.
22 For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom:
23 But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness;
24 But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.
25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
26 For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called:
27 But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;
28 And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are:
29 That no flesh should glory in his presence.
30 But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:
31 That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.

Sometimes, the best way to interpret Scripture is with Scripture. If Perry Noble had done that, he would have needed to look no further than a few verses up at 1 Corinthians 1:18 to see that “the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.” This is what Paul was referring to in verse 21. He was by no means implying that, though his own message was flawed, many were still saved as a result. No. He was simply referring to the fact that the message of the cross is oftentimes perceived as foolishness to those who do not know God.

As the song says, God picked such a strange way to save the world. “But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty” (1 Corinthians 1:27). It makes no sense that the King of the universe would become flesh and take on the form of a helpless little baby in a manger. It makes no sense that Almighty God would leave His throne above to live poor as a Job’s turkey on earth. It makes no sense that “while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). It makes no sense that Jesus Christ would exchange His righteousness for my sin. It makes no sense. The Gospel makes no sense, and it wasn’t meant to.

Much of what we read in the Bible does not make sense, folks. However, that being true, “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14). He knew joy, and He knew pain. He knew laughter, and He knew sorrow. He knew what it was to rejoice, and He knew what it was to weep. He was rejected and despised by the very ones He came to save. Yet He endured all of this that we might know Him. This is the true miracle of the Gospel. Jesus performed many wonderful miracles, but the greatest of all is the saving of those who will turn from their sin and trust in Christ alone to save them.

It makes no sense for God to go to such a great length to save those who rejected and despised Him, but that’s exactly what He did. It may be a foolish message, but it is a saving message for those who will believe. If you do not know Jesus Christ as Lord of your life today, it is my prayer that you would come to do so before it is eternally too late for you. If you will turn from all sin and trust Jesus alone to save you, He will save you today and keep you saved forever.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

False Conversion: Learning from the Queen of the West (Repost from 8/2/11)

Unfortunately, I am afraid that most people my age do not even know who Dale Evans was. However, she was one of my childhood heroes, and I still consider her to be one of my heroes today. I did not know much about Dale when I was growing up. However, I was reintroduced to Roy Rogers and Dale Evans about four months ago, and that is when I read Dale’s salvation story for the first time.

I like Dale’s salvation story because it is very similar to my own. Dale accepted Jesus Christ as her Savior when she was only ten years old. However, she would be the first to tell you that she did not make Him Lord of her life. And as she would say, “There is a big fat difference there.”

Shortly after Dale married Roy when she was thirty-five, she attended a church service with her son, Tom. That was when Tom told her that Roy’s children deserved to grow up in a Christian home and she needed to give her life to Christ. It was upon her son’s plea that Dale did indeed give her life completely over to Christ that day. And as she would have said, her life was “radically changed” and “the burden of sin was rolled away.”

Many of you reading this today may think that you will go to Heaven when you die just because you say that you believe in Jesus Christ. But as Adrian Rogers used to say, “If He is not your Lord, He is not your Savior.” Luke 13:5 says, “I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.”

Oftentimes I will ask the readers of this blog to “acknowledge Jesus Christ as Lord.” What do I mean by that? By acknowledging Jesus as Lord of your life, you are giving Him complete control over every aspect of your life. By acknowledging Jesus as Lord, you are saying, “What You say do, I will do. What You say say, I will say. Where You say go, I will go.”

If you have not yet acknowledged Jesus Christ as Lord of your life, I am asking you to please do so today. Turn completely from all sin and acknowledge Jesus Christ as Lord. If you do that, He will save you today and keep you saved forever.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Pass the Salt

Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour,
wherewith shall it be salted? It is thenceforth good for nothing,
but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.
Matthew 5:13

John R. W. Stott once said, “We should not ask, ‘What is wrong with the world,’ for that diagnosis has already been given. Rather, we should ask, ‘What has happened to the salt and light.’” This is a question I have been asking myself for years. The Bible commands us as children of the King to be salt and light to a lost and dying world. But is that what we’re doing? Are we living lives that convict? Are we living lives that preserve? Are we living lives that expose that which has been hidden in darkness? Or has our salt lost its savor and our light lost its brightness?

If you live in upstate SC, you are no doubt aware of the current controversy surrounding local megachurch NewSpring and its pastor, Perry Noble. For years, I have had my reservations about the so-called “church” for one reason. I haven’t heard very many messages preached by Perry Noble, so that couldn’t be it. I have only observed its rock concert-like worship style once, so that really couldn’t be it, either. No. My main concern with NewSpring has always been a lack of evidence of true change in the lives of its members. Jesus said in Matthew 7:16-18, “Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.”

What the Lord was saying in that particular passage of Scripture is that we can make educated observations about someone’s salvation by the way they choose to live their lives. If they are clearly walking in the truth, growing in the Word, loving what He loves and hating what He hates, we can safely say that they most likely are in a right relationship with the Lord. However, if they clearly are not regularly feeding on the Word of God and if they aren’t living their lives according to the plan He has laid out for them in His Word, we have serious reason to doubt their salvation. This is exactly why I have serious doubts about the legitimacy of the thousands of conversions that have supposedly taken place at NewSpring over the past fifteen years.

You may say, “Well, how can you say these things”? When you sit in a restaurant and hear the lady behind you tell her friend that she attends NewSpring because she can be open about the fact that she and her boyfriend are living together before marriage and not have people judge her, you wise up. It doesn’t take too many times of hearing the people in front of you in class who you know attend NewSpring discussing the raunchiest shows on television for you to know that something just isn’t right. And when someone else you know attends NewSpring comes in on Monday and brags about how she got drunk with her friends over the weekend, you tend to question things.

On James Duncan’s blog, Pajama Pages, one commenter wrote, “This is really the crux of the issue with NewSpring. There is a lot of good marketing that gets people there, but there is not a lot [of] sound teaching that gets believers to ‘grow in grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.’ I’ve come across many who have been baptized by NewSpring and regularly [attend]: open lesbian couples, cohabitating couples, and the like. They go there because they know they won’t be ‘judged’ there.” But if Perry Noble is really preaching the life-changing, earth-shattering truth of God’s Word, how can this be?

John 3:19 tells us, “And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.” Darkness dwells with darkness, and light with light. The two simply do not mix. When light enters a room full of darkness, all darkness leaves immediately; however, when darkness enters a room full of darkness, there is simply more darkness. The fact is there are only two possible things that can happen when someone who does not know the Lord listens to the preaching of His Word: either they will be convicted, embrace the conviction and seek to learn more about the Lord Jesus, eventually giving their heart and life to him, or they will be convicted and run from the conviction. Those living in disobedience to the Word of God don’t usually attend Bible believing churches for very long. The fact that NewSpring is filled with members who live in blatant disobedience to God’s Word suggests that the entire truth of the Bible may indeed not be being preached there, for darkness doesn’t dwell with light.

The title of this blog post is “Pass the Salt.” The Bible commands us to be the salt of the earth. Have you ever gotten salt in an open wound? It didn’t feel too good, did it? In fact, it burns something awful. Salt is a good healer, but in fighting the infection it brings serious pain. That is the effect the Word of God ought to have on a person who is living outside of God’s will for their life. People will either embrace the conviction and get right with God, or they will turn and run as fast they can in the opposite direction. Not too many will sit and listen week after week, year after year with no change of heart. If they do, it’s because the salt has lost its power.

May we all live salty lives, encouraging others to get right with the Lord, and may “your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16). This is what Adrian Rogers meant when he used to say, “Witness always, using words when necessary.”

Do you know the Lord today? Have you embraced His calling to surrender your entire life to Him? If not, it is my prayer that you would come to do so before it is eternally too late for you. If you will turn from all sin and trust Christ alone to save you, He will save you today and keep you saved forever.

Monday, January 5, 2015

A Warning to My Generation

Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing,
but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
Matthew 7:15

A couple days ago, Tony Miano shared an article on facebook written by a local college professor about a particular sermon recently delivered by the pastor of a local megachurch. The article is entitled “NobleRescinds the Ten Commandments for 2015.” Perhaps you have already read it yourself or have at least heard of it. If you have not yet read it, I suggest you do so before continuing with the rest of this blog post. After reading this gentlemen’s article, I immediately wanted to write a blog post of my own warning other people of my generation to stay away from such teaching while throwing in my own personal touch. So here goes.

I don’t know if the writer of the aforementioned article has ever personally attended Perry Noble’s so-called “church,” but I unfortunately can tell you that I have. It was exactly one week before I would start my freshman year of college, and since my home church had cancelled services for that night a couple of my friends suggested that I join them at NewSpring. I had always been cautious of this local fast-growing megachurch that was notorious for loud music and casual dress; however, since my church wasn’t having services that particular night, I decided that it wouldn’t hurt to satisfy my curiosity just that one time. Big mistake, or so I felt at the time.

Once I had arrived at the church and parked my car in the already overflowing parking lot, it didn’t take me long to realize that something was terribly wrong. As I was waiting on my friends to arrive, I stood by my car and keenly observed the people passing by on their way into the building, trying not to be too obvious, of course. As I was doing so, I noticed something that was missing. That something was Bibles. I must have seen dozens of people walk through that parking lot before my friends got there, yet I didn’t see one person carrying a Bible. When I questioned my friend about it later, he said something to the effect of, “Oh, it’s okay. We don’t need them. He always puts it up on the screen anyway.” Screen or no screen, I had always been taught that you never attend church without your Bible in tow. In fact, I don’t remember many services growing up in my small Southern Baptist church that the preacher didn’t start his message by saying, “Now turn in your Bibles to…,” and the congregation would then stand as the preacher read the passage aloud. I was taught to treasure the Bible because it is God’s holy, infallible word, and treasuring the Bible meant taking it to church with me. It just didn’t make sense to do otherwise.

As if the missing Bibles wasn’t enough, I noticed something else alarming when I finally made it inside the building. I could hear music playing from what sounded like overhead speakers, but I didn’t recognize the words. After listening carefully for a while, I turned to my friend and said, “Is that a secular song they’re playing”? He nodded that it was, but then added that they only played it before the actual service began, as if that somehow made it alright. At that point, something told me that I should turn around and walk right back out the door from which I had just came; however, I very politely told the little voice to “shut up” and continued to find a place to sit (another huge mistake!).

Upon finally finding three empty seats all together, my friends and I sat down to find what seemed to be some sort of blow-up device placed at each seat. As we explored further, we realized that they were neon orange blow-up sticks, and each person had been given two to bang together during the rock concert-like “worship” service. How such behavior could ever be considered worship, I will probably never know.

I was really too distracted by what I had already witnessed before the so-called pastor started to preach to pay too much attention to what he was saying, but what I can remember is him using three or four curse words along with taking the name of the Lord in vain at least once (no wonder he felt the need to change that commandment around).It seems like he may have also thrown in a story at some point about scaring an office worker with a plastic bag. What I’m sure he didn’t do is preach the Word of God.

At the end of the service, Perry Noble did give an alter call, leading his audience in what is commonly known as “the sinner’s prayer.” However, like my fellow blogger mentioned, he never gave a biblical explanation as to why they needed to be saved or what they were being saved from. He simply asked for a show of hands as to how many had prayed the prayer and asked that all who did come to the front at close of service. Funny, we never read in the Bible where Jesus took for granted that His listeners knew what it meant to be a sinner in need of a Savior. That is why He always was careful to explain it in a way which those He was speaking to could thoroughly understand, just like he did with the rich young ruler.

Coming from a traditional Southern Baptist church, it is oftentimes hard to get people to understand that my problem with NewSpring goes much deeper than it simply not being my style. No. My problem with NewSpring has always been with the fruit produced, or the lack thereof. Matthew 7:16-17 says, “Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.” If the life-changing truth of God’s Word were indeed being preached at NewSpring, would it not make sense for the majority of the congregation to bear good fruit, to be walking in the truth, to love what God loves and hate what God hates? You would think.

I remember a couple years ago I was sitting in a college biology class when I overheard the conversation of a group of people who I had just heard mention a Bible study that they had attended at NewSpring. The conversation to which I am referring, however, was not about the Bible study. Instead, they were talking about the popular vulgar, animated television sitcom Family Guy. I remember sitting there thinking to myself, “Who engages in discussion of God’s Word one minute and watches a show that curses Him the next”? If you are a child of God, the very things that break His heart ought to break yours, as well.

Perhaps the one instance that stands out to me the most is a conversation that I once overheard while sitting alone in a local Japanese restaurant. Sitting in the booth behind me was two ladies who I could not help but hear discussing NewSpring. From what I heard, it sounded like the two may not have known each other for very long. The one was telling the other about the man whom she was currently living with although they were not married. She then proceeded to explain that that was the precise reason they attended NewSpring. She said, “We can tell people without having them judge us.” Of course, I’m not surprised, being that according to Perry Noble, God’s command to “flee fornication” in 1 Corinthians 6:18 is more of a suggestion than anything. I can’t imagine what “promise” Perry Noble could possibly twist out of that, since God already promises us that “every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body” (1 Corinthians 6:18). How much plainer could you get than that?

To tell you the truth, NewSpring scares me because of one verse. That verse is Proverbs 14:12 which says, “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” I fear because Perry Noble teaches that it is possible to follow God without adhering to His teachings. But if that were so, why then did Jesus say in John 14:15, “If ye love me, keep my commandments” (see also Exodus 20:6, Deuteronomy 5:10, 7:9, 11:1, 11:22, 19:9, 30:16, Joshua 22:5, Nehemiah 1:5, Daniel 9:4, John 14:21, 15:10, and 1 John 5:2-3; all seem to show the concept of loving God and keeping His commandments going hand-in-hand—to separate the two is impossible)?

Hebrews 9:27 does indeed say, “It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.” And I am here to tell you today that God is not going to let you into Heaven simply because you said yes to His existence, but He is going to judge you based on whether or not you said yes to His teachings and loved Him enough to take Him at His Word. Jesus said in Matthew 7:22-23, “Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? And in thy name have cast out devils? And in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” Some translations have that word “iniquity” as “lawlessness.” In other words, those who profess to know the Lord yet fail to keep His commandments.

Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not telling you that you can go to Heaven by keeping the Ten Commandments. Well, you could, but you can’t keep them—nobody can. Romans 3:23 says, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God,” and Romans 3:12 says, “There is none that doeth good, no, not one.” The fact that you can’t keep them is proof that you need God’s saving grace. That’s why Jesus had to die on the cross. He knew that we could never be good enough on our own, so He traded His life for ours. Then He rose triumphantly from the grave on the third day, defeating sin and death once for all. First Thessalonians 1:10 calls Him “Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.”

I’ve never been one to ask people to believe in Jesus. No. I simply ask that you believe Him, that you take Him at His word, that you believe with every fiber of your being that every word He says is true. Adrian Rogers once said, “The biggest fool is not the one who says there is no God. The biggest fool is the one who says there is a God and then doesn’t live like it.” That is exactly what Perry Noble wants you to do. He wants you to say that you believe in God, but then to live as if He doesn’t even exist. He’s asking you to be what some may call the “Christian atheist.” However, if you ever meet Him and realize the significance of what Jesus did for you on the cross, to do what Perry Noble is suggesting will be impossible for you; because once you give your life to Him, you’ll never be the same. He’ll give you a new heart with new desires and enable you to do His will for your life which He has laid out so beautifully for you in His Word. And I promise you upon the authority of God’s Word that you will never be sorry that you trusted Him.

Maybe you are here today and you are realizing for the first time that you need Him in your life. If you have never acknowledged Jesus as Lord of your life, it is my prayer that you would come to do so today before it is eternally too late for you. There’s only one way to Heaven, and that’s the blood of Jesus. Claim it today. Turn from all sin and trust Jesus alone to save you. If you do that, He will save you today and keep you saved forever.