In recent days, Texas, Mississippi and Connecticut have removed their mask mandates and opened their states to operate “business as usual.” This is great, but before you celebrate the governors for such a great success, remember that it was these same governors who crushed your God given freedoms in the first place. All they rescued you from was their own mandates.
Having said that, Here are a few things for us to remember:
1. We need to be ready. Leftists are threatening any Texas businesses that do not continue to enforce non-existent mask mandates. We need to double down on supporting free businesses and let them know why we support them. AND soon we need to be willing to boycott any business that forces masks. Even if it is to our own disadvantage. Especially if it is to our own disadvantage. After all, how do you describe someone when their morality is for sale?
2. We need to regain the HUMAN idea of what it means to feast. We are not just angry protestors of unlawful dictates or of the Leftist desire to erase the Imago Dei by placing face diapers in front of healthy people. We are those who joyfully fight, laugh and feast. Please watch this video to remind yourself of the joy you used to experience at large gatherings where food and drink and humanity were celebrated.
For years, I have been wary of Ravi Zacharias. It’s not that I didn’t enjoy listening to him from time to time, but more that it always felt like he wouldn’t, or perhaps couldn’t, get to the point. He could go on and on about some historical figure who couldn’t find reason within his own worldview, but Ravi just didn’t close the deal effectively, if at all.
I don’t share this post to toot my own horn, for I am just as deserving of wrath as Ravi (Luke 13), but his approach was one that got him invited to speak before cults and pagan world leaders. He defended praying with them because that was his “in” to share the gospel with them. What gospel though? Ravi should be famous for never closing the sale, preferring flowery arguments.
But we preach Christ crucified.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, you are not your own. You were bought with a price. And your master has a message for you to deliver with others. It is not your message to spruce up so the pagan will be more likely to want it. It is a message containing the words of life to those who are regenerated through it. The sheep of Jesus will know his voice and follow him. The goats in the pasture are not the ones we are to cater to. It is the sheep. And while I don’t have an intrinsic sheep detector, I do have an external one. It is the gospel and the response to it.
As an elder, I spoke with church members about all sorts of topics, including apologetics. I always suggested the simplicity of knowing your Bible, believing it as true, and using it as the foundation of your argument. Unfortunately I had more people interested in defending the faith more like Ravi than like James White.
May God use the public napalm bomb of Ravi’s legacy to His eternal glory. Genesis closes with “what you meant for evil God meant for good” and we know that god does work all things together for the greatest good. We also know that the greatest good is the glorification of God. It sucks from this angle. But I trust that this has not usurped God’s will for us all.
In every church I’ve ever been a part of, there is a ceremony where a young child is presented before the Lord. Some churches baptize babies, some have dedications. I’m not here to debate that one. Either way, the children are presented, the parents vow to raise the children in such a way as to lead the children toward Jesus, the church agrees to support this raising in any way possible.
OK then. Sounds good. However, church in America, I have this against you. I have never been a part of a church that had any initiatives that were specifically designed to assist the families with home schooling, and of the churches I have researched in my area, support for home schooling is seldom discovered. I find this to be a big miss in a vast majority of churches. Especially ones that sit mostly empty during the weekdays, with WiFi humming along but nobody on it except the pastor who is preparing a sermon or answering emails.
“We cannot continue to send our children to Caesar for their education and be surprised when they come home as Romans.”
There are churches that offer private schooling, and I think that’s great. But there are many more churches who neglect this key period of time in the lives of their youngest responsibilities. And this isn’t a big ask. It can begin with a general offer to provide a place where homeschool families can network and combine resources in a Co-Op fashion. This can later evolve within the church as other considerations are discovered.
A while back, I was an elder in a small church that would have 130-150 attendees on an average Sunday. I mentioned this very idea in an elder’s meeting and it went nowhere. We didn’t have any expertise in the area and had enough going on at the time. Meanwhile, at least two of our families were actively homeschooling their children. We had another family who had recently enrolled their kids into government schools because they were advancing into grades the parent wasn’t comfortable teaching.
If religion is primarily about making disciples, government schools are the established religion of America.
Let me rephrase. They handed their kids to be discipled by the government because the homeschool parent felt overwhelmed and the church did nothing to assist. That same church that loves to make vows to assist in the discipling of the child toward salvation in Christ.
For additional reasons, I am no longer even attending this particular church. But I grow more and more convinced that churches need to allow for the facilitation of homeschooling if they are to fulfil their mandate to make disciples and to let the world see that we belong to Jesus by how much we love one another. I have written before about the theological malpractice of using “loving your neighbor” as a pry bar to coerce Christians to do things that are a matter of conscience. This doesn’t fall into that category. Vows were made. And then discarded just as soon as we saw that it was time to start rolling up our sleeves.
I was at a men’s conference last weekend. There were some strong points to the event as well as some points that should have been amended, or even dropped. The conference brought in some musicians from another church in the state, which is fine, but these musicians played mostly songs from their church’s favorite list. They were all into it, the men standing around me were largely quiet, watching the performance.
And that’s what it was. A performance. This was not them leading this gathering of around 500 men in worship. It was them performing their greatest hits for us.
In contrast, the best conference I have been to has been the Shepherd’s Conference at John MacArthur’s church. And that is the best conference that I have attended in every regard, not just the music. But music is the point of this post.
The music at the Shepherd’s Conference is primarily hymns. Hymns were written specifically to be sung by a wide variety of people with a wide variety of vocal ranges, together. So the tunes tend toward simplicity and the words are front and center. There are hymns out there with atrocious theology, yes, but those are not the ones chosen for any conference, or for any church that is worth attending.
It has been probably 15 years since I attended a Shepherd’s Conference and I still fondly recall the few moments when I stopped singing and just listened to all the voices around me, drowning out the accompanying music. It was glorious!
And on to the final days of a person’s life. I recently stepped down as an elder in a local church. I dear old woman was in hospice care and I met with her family and her life group leader in her room. I had to call several churches to find a hymnal that we could borrow, and we gathered together and sang some of her favorites. Some were songs I didn’t know, but I quickly caught up and joined in. That is the power of a simple worship song.
Related: I recently bought this hymnal for my personal use. I suggest any Christian find a hymnal wherever they can. Second hand book stores might have them. Older churches may have some that they could part with. And also look for examples of the Psalter. If you can sing along with your Bible as your Hymnal, so much the better!
Like many of you, I have just learned of the death of Larry Flynt, founder of Hustler magazine. My first thought was that whatever he thought about God in life is probably very different than his thoughts now. I mentioned this to my wife and she wondered aloud if Mr. Flynt ever became a Christian.
I don’t know of any repentance of his sins. I don’t know if he believed in Christ alone for his salvation. I just don’t know.
This isn’t a post warning you against the products or living the lifestyle of a pornographer though. It’s a post warning you against a different temptation we all share. You see, I can compare myself to Larry Flynt or Hugh Heffner all day long and feel really good about myself.
But these men aren’t the standard. They never were the standard. The standard has always been perfect righteousness. God is thrice holy and will not, can not, must not accept any less.
You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect. Matthew 5:48 ESV
All of a sudden I’m not thinking about how great I am when I compare myself to Larry Flynt. There is an unbridgeable gap between me and the standard that I continue to fail on a constant basis. My only hope is to have that perfection given to me. I have fallen short and desperately need to be justified.
I am not the standard. Jesus is. I require His perfect righteousness and nothing less. So do you.
For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Corinthians 5:21 ESV
This blog is the hub of my online presence. It has been for 18 years, even the years where it took an obvious backseat to other publishing sites like Facebook and Google+. And because of the prominence of this blog as my outward facing avatar, I thought it might not be too bad of an idea to update my readers here on where to find me elsewhere, and I will list them in the order of my preference. So without further ado…
I have really taken a liking to Gab. I joined in response to the censorship by other websites for religious or political reasons, but I repeat myself. Gab has already been crushed by the internet gatekeepers once and returned, stronger and better, purchasing their own servers and acquiring their own tools that were denied to them. Before long, I plan on financially supporting Gab, which isn’t as easy as other sites are since the banks have disallowed them access to credit card transactions. So writing a check like it’s 1985 or using Bitcoin are the best methods. Gab has received some unfair press that may dissuade others from seeing for themselves if it’s a good website. Those who believe everything they hear from the totalitarian leftist media wouldn’t know what to do with the freedom on Gab anyway. The CEO is an outspoken Christian and many of my Christian online friends have also taken to Gab. The way its growing, and the way online freedoms to speak from a biblical mindset are shrinking, you might as well give it a try. And if you do, look me up! Username: CoffeeSwirls.
MeWe is another platform I have tried out and like. It resembles Facebook. For some reason, I can’t find the same traction on this one. I do have a few friends there and am in a few groups. Honestly, I post things there when I remember to. I’ll maintain a presence but there are a few things that annoy me about it. The notifications from group chats and posts are combined, making you think that you have all sorts of interaction when you really don’t. Some conversation in a group chat between a few people that I am not even following can create dozens of notifications for me and I don’t know how to turn that off. Also, the website hasn’t been tested. They say that they are all for free speech, including the assertion that there are only two genders. But what will they do if they get big enough to be noticed and threatened? I can be found here!
Parler got Parlered. That’s a new word that means that they got cancelled on a large scale. I saw potential where I was on there, but almost all of the people on there talked about nothing but politics. I know this was an election year, but enough already! Can it rise from the ashes? I think so. Frankly, I hope they modernize the format and add some functionality to it. Parler wasn’t created to be a conservative leaning website. It was created to be a platform while Twitter is a publisher. It was to be a place of free speech with only the exceptions of illegality and pornography, two things that are rampant on Twitter. If Parler can improve and then return, it may have a future. But during this downtime, many of their users have been going to other websites and will need a good reason to return with the zeal of before. And in a non-election year as well. My username was CoffeeSwirls there as well. Perhaps it will be again.
Twitter is another place I can be found, but I only care about it during the football season. I enjoy getting instant reaction to games and to the NFL draft. And I don’t see Twitter being replaced because most sports writers are totalitarians who see nothing wrong with Twitter’s abuse of anyone to the right of Stalin.
That’s it for now. Gab doesn’t have the algorithms that are on Facebook or Twitter, and it’s the algorithms that put a thumb on the scales. It’s algorithms that are used to control your emotions and even your actions. If you haven’t cancelled Netflix yet, I suggest you watch The Social Dilemma to see why anyone would be opposed to content manipulations for financial or agenda gain. Online platforms are the public squares in our present day. And I can think of no public square I would rather communicate in than Gab.
I am the lamb with seven eyes and seven horns. The lion who roars, calling forth the seven thunders. I know your zeal, the way you have opened your doors to all peoples and ideas, gathering the curious with programs and with emotional messages. You have a history of spreading your message both within your borders and across the world and have not grown weary of sending others to share in my suffering.
But I have this against you. You have decided to resemble the world more than me, and have done this so that your Christian witness might not be hindered! You have withered at infection from without, causing infection from within to set in all the more, disregarding my instruction regarding infectious disease. You have allowed outward appearances to supercede the internal truths spoken from the God who sees the heart.
With all you have been given, shouldn’t much more be required? Have I not made one people from the nations? Haven’t I spoken in a way that you are able to understand? Do you serve me or your local authorities, who also must answer to me? Behold! The master is returning soon, and all of the debts will be reconciled! Your talents will be weighed and measured.
All of this degradation has been championed by those who once measured their growth by love, joy and peace if not by humility and self control. Those who were granted a platform that my people could consume more fulfilling meals but who never used that platform to soften their own hearts or to harden their own feet. There are reasons other than lukewarmness to spit out a drink. These were your champions? May they return to Gath!
Repent of your misdeeds! Repent of your adoption into the world and return to me, if you ever were of me! To the one who overcomes, I will return you to health. I will multiply your joy until it wells up within you and overflows to the nations. Though you must suffer for a little while, your reward will be great.
Editor’s Note: This post is not to be confused with Holy Scripture, nor is it intended to serve as an authoritative instruction to all churches at all times. The letters to the seven churches in Revelation are complete and sufficient. I was only trying to write within the genre in my completely insufficient way.
Acts 17:26-27 ESV And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us.
There’s your Christian Nationalism. Groups like The Gospel Coalition are not arguing with people of today, but with Apostles under the inspiration of God. Will there one day be one people made up of every tongue, tribe and NATION? Yes. The consummation is not here. Until then, we call people of other nations our brothers and sisters in Christ, co-heirs of a Kingdom, but not yet of the same Earthly nation.