Who Can Stop the Lord Almighty?

Isaiah 14:27, "Who can stop the Lord Almighty" | Wonderful ...

Who can stop the Lord Almighty? That is the repeating question we asked in song this last Sunday. Most likely, you are familiar with the song if you attend an Evangelical church. It’s fairly popular and has been for several years. Our God is the lion, The Lion of Judah. He’s roaring with power. And fighting our battles. And every knee will bow before Him. Our God is the lamb. The lamb that was slain. For the sins of the world. His blood breaks the chains. And every knee will bow before the lion and the lamb. Every knee will bow before Him.

As I repeated that question (I view it as more of a hypothetical question then as a statement) my mind went to the book that I’ve been reading. That book being “Paradise Restored” by David Chilton. This book is available in paperback on Amazon, but is less expensive in hardcover at American Vision, so do yourself a favor and pick this one up there. It will stretch your assumptions and get you thinking in ways that may surprise you. If that wasn’t true, I wouldn’t be writing this post right now.

One assumption that is being tested is that of WHEN these things will take place. Not necessarily a date, but more of an order of things. Is God fighting our battles now or will he fight one day? I can’t imagine a Christian who would say that they are left to their own devices today. Every knee will bow before the lion and the lamb. When? Before or after the second coming of Christ? Until pretty recently I thought that the only Christian response was that victory on a scale larger than a remnant could only make sense at the second coming. But what if we are truly to be salt and light in this time? Here? Now? What if we are to preserve and improve things for others and not just try to woo people into life rafts for a ship that is destined to only sink?

And don’t forget that Jesus identifies with and AS his people.

Acts 9:3-5 ESV
Now as he went on his way, he approached Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven shone around him. And falling to the ground, he heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” And he said, “Who are you, Lord?” And he said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.

This “both directions” identification isn’t absolute. The church did not atone for sin. The head of the church, Jesus, did. And it is the body, us, who spreads the good news of this victory over sin and death to those whom we come into contact with. All authority on Heaven and Earth have been given to Jesus, and in direct causality we are instructed to go and make these disciples and to baptize and teach. To refuse to go and also to go in such a way that disregards the fact that Jesus holds all authority in His hand are both equally sinful.

Who can stop the Lord Almighty? That’s a good question. I also ask this. Who can stop the bride of the Lord Almighty? She has been given a task. She has been empowered to fulfill her role. Her bridegroom has been given all authority. Not most. All. As we go through the good works set before us (Ephesians 2:10) let’s keep this in mind. We are part of an unstoppable kingdom. To approach the tasks that our Lord has ordained for us as tasks that are doomed to fail is to have the mind of one who doesn’t believe He holds all authority or that we have not been empowered to fulfill them. How can such an approach be anything but sinful?

Still reading. Still learning. Still stretching.

God wins. The controversial part is that we get to be a part of it.

Returning to Worship: Progress Report

One Another Christianity - Ottawa Church of Christ

Today was our church’s first “normal” service in a year. We had been meeting with every other row blocked off and having spacing in the remaining rows between family groups. Today, that was all removed. The only abnormal thing was that we were given a card to put at either end of our group to signify a space between you and others. Historically, setting down your coat or Bible served this function just as well, so I see the card as redundant.

There were people sitting in front of and behind me. There were people not far away to my right. I could hear other people as we sang.

That sounds kinda trite, but hear me out. There are what I like to call “one anothers” found primarily in the epistles. These are expectations that God has for those who call upon His name when they gather together. Most of those expectations have been adjusted to comply with governmental requirements and to assuage the fear of death that some of the attendees might have. Sorry, I couldn’t not include that one.

Being in attendance and participating in the service doesn’t complete the instructions given in these “one anothers” but it goes far further than you may think. Societies have been paused now for a good year. Even those like myself who try to live as normal a life as I can in the midst of this plandemic are feeling the fatigue of life. We are more isolated from real human contact than before and the divisiveness just gets exhausting. Being able to actually hear someone near me singing about Christ and Him crucified right along with me and my family is a step toward removing that isolation.

We were created to be in community with our creator and others worshiping that same creator. The church should never again allow the state to dictate what that looks like. The church is the gathering of God’s people, not a commercial for unbelievers to see how cool we are. We need each other. We have always needed each other.

So as you attend services, looks for opportunities to “one another” someone. Shake a hand. Sing it out. Be there. It matters now more than ever before.

Christians Engage

Zoom church is a desert with someone on the screen who won’t give you a sandwich. Socially distanced church is better, but not by as much as you might think.

Christianity is a tactile religion. Christianity is an embracing religion. Christianity was never meant to be done in a vacuum.

Christian, engage with others who are willing. Even if instructed not to do so. If they try to discipline you, you have scripture backing you up. What will they counter with? What?

Engage. Or go to where the food is.

Erasing Distinctions and the Church’s Culpability

Powerful: Military To Allow Troops To Replace Camo With Colors Of Their Gender Identity Flag

While this picture is part of a satirical news story, it actually got me thinking about something quite serious. The LGBTQxyz flag is a six colored rainbow with sharply contrasting colors. This newly unveiled trans flag has colors that don’t contrast nearly as much.

The trans movement is all about un-identifying gender, and make no mistake. This is an attack on the word of God as the definer of… everything. On a foundational level. I wouldn’t be surprised if the goal flag of whatever is next is just a single color. No distinction whatsoever. That is already hinted at in assertions that dating a trans person is not a homosexual act, or that if you refuse to date a trans person you are transphobic. And that is asserted NO MATTER WHAT GENDER IS PRESENTED ON THE OUTSIDE. Nevermind the natural desire to procreate. If you refuse to enter into a romantic person of unknown gender, you will be made to care.

Matthew 19:4-6 He answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? 6 So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”

God has placed distinctions in creation. Every animal was created by the twos and so were us humans. We were created to be men and we were created to be women, with man as the head of his wife even as Christ is head of the church. This is what normal looks like from the vantage of our creator. This is what is under attack. We are expected to accept all kinds of perversity if we are to love our neighbor. It will be demanded that we participate, or at least give our approval to their actions and if loving our neighbor isn’t enough incentive for us to live out Romans 1, then they will see if our undiscerning allegiance to our misrepresentation of Romans 13 is enough to force our celebration.

And our attackers, rather those attacking God our creator, are not just those saluting these flags of perversity. Our attackers are known for their inclusion in certain groups WITHIN THE CHURCH. You have heard of them. The Gospel Coalition. The ERLC of the Southern Baptist Convention. Cru. NAE. There are more, and I’m certain that there are some that have not been revealed as the wolves among the sheep that they are. These wolves will do whatever they can to persuade Christians to install political leaders who have said openly that they will be champions of perversity.

These attackers would mostly object to being listed as those attacking the foundations upon which God ordered healthy human society. I’m sure they have. I’m aware of an article on The Gospel Coalition website where they try to deflect the “woke” descriptor away from themselves. But by their fruit you shall know them. And these not only show their fruit. They serve as those who apply fertilizer. The kind of fertilizer that only serves to feed the filth that opposes the God of the Universe.

So I am saddened when I see people caught up in this sin, but not necessarily angered at them. I am, however, furious at those who would celebrate this from within the church and who would demand that others join with them. They will answer for this on the last day.

1 Corinthians 5:12-13

Can I get an outlaw?

Luke Combs is about as big of a country music artist as there is right now. He sang a song a few years back called “Can I Get An Outlaw” where he feigned angst about all these country music artists who are just out to sing pretty songs and be accepted by mainstream groups. This was contrasted to the history of country music, which has always been represented by the outlaws. That is, the artists who, frankly, don’t give a crap about what other people think. They were singing to their core audience, and if you didn’t like them, that was your loss.

Waylan Jennings. Willie Nelson. Johnny Cash. Hank Williams Jr. These are all legends, largely because they sang songs based on their experiences, regardless of what the powers that be might want to hear. They were from the other side of the tracks and didn’t care what the music charts said. If they could find an audience for what they had to say, that was enough.

Country music has changed. I remember back in 2001, when the Dixie Chicks said unpopular things about George Bush for invading Iraq. That was an example of a country act speaking against a popular action by a sitting president. A lot of people had to come to grips that country music is not some Republican mouthpiece and either love or hate them. Fast forward to 2020 where the Dixie Chicks dropped the word “Dixie” from the name of their act in order to not offend anyone.

What happened? Is speaking truth to power no longer the issue here? Are country artists ashamed of where most of them came from? Do they think that being cowardly about their upbringing will make others respect them more? I’m not saying that we should judge others by the color of their skin just because our ancestors did. I am saying that you cannot call yourself a country music outlaw and at the same time be afraid of what anyone else thinks about you.

It doesn’t work that way. Either you are an outlaw, a sellout, a mainstream performer or a coward. Luke Combs may think of himself as an outlaw but I think he shifts among the other three categories.

This culture is long overdue for an artist to speak out against it. And it seems like outlaw country is dead. The most likely candidate now is from the world of rap with Tom MacDonald. Perhaps Eminem will join him now that he has witnessed the scorched earth policies of the Woke Cult.

A blog post about blog posts is about as informative as a social media post about social media.

I’m almost never on Facebook any longer, preferring Gab, where I can speak freely. Gab is where I share shorter thoughts, this blog is where I flesh out the details on longer thoughts. I’ve said before that this blog is the hub of my online presence, and that concept has been consistent all along. Facebook is as valuable to me as a malignant tumor. If you want to find me on a site that truly endorses free speech without the fear of cancellation because you spoke too much truth, here is the link: https://gab.com/CoffeeSwirls

If you’d like to receive updates when I post to this blog, there is a sign up thingy off to the right. I haven’t had any email subscribers since the initial inception of this blog, when it all started as a “read with me through the Bible” project some 18 years ago. It was requested though, so I added it. I’ve always preferred RSS feeds, even though most people have no idea what those are.

So here’s the social media heirarchy in my personal opinion:

  1. Gab is the bees knees. You may have heard bad things, but 2020 has taught us few lessons more important than the one to verify everything you hear. Gab is so great, I have actually paid money to support the service. The benefits of being a paid supporter are not worth the cost. But the Christian values behind Gab are.
  2. The blogosphere is awesome, IF you use an RSS reader. My preferred reader is Inoreader but Feedly is much more user friendly for someone unaccustomed to RSS readers.
  3. Email is pretty good for what it is. I have taken a liking to Protonmail over Gmail, but I check both still.
  4. Facebook needs to be cut out of your life and biopsied.
  5. Twitter is the devil.
  6. Is MySpace still around?
  7. MeWe is a joke.
  8. Parler is a honeypot and does NOT support free speech, no matter their claims.
  9. If you have two tin cans and some string you can talk from treehouse to treehouse.

As we resume the human act of breathing, let us remember to resume the human act of feasting!

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. 

Is it too early to discuss Ravi Zacharias?

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.

Churches, it is (past) time to begin or expand your support of homeschooling

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.”

Voddie T. Baucham Jr., Family Driven Faith: Doing What It Takes to Raise Sons and Daughters Who Walk With God

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.

Toby Sumpter

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.