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A Reminder in a Tumultuous Election Year

In this tumultuous election year, all Christians need to ponder Isaiah 33:22. “For the LORD is our judge; the LORD is our lawgiver; the LORD is our king; he will save us.”

Note that the LORD is all three branches of government, as defined Continue reading

Are Fractured Churches Necessary?

(18) For, in the first place, when you come together as a church, I hear that there are divisions among you.  (19) And I believe it in part, for there must be factions among you in order that those who are genuine among you may be recognized.

– 1 Corinthians 11:18-19 (ESV)

Is verse 19 facetious? Do we really have to have factions in the church so we can recognize who is genuine and accepted by God?

Or is Continue reading

Where Is Your Allegiance?

….Their mind is on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven…. –Paul, Philippians 3:20b-21a, NIV.

A few months ago, I saw some articles about a movement among some Protestant congregations to put a Christian flag in a place of prominence over the flag of the United States, contrary to the protocol of always displaying the Stars and Stripes in the preeminent place: on a pole, it is the top flag; on a podium, it is to the right of the speaker, etc.

This was largely in response to the decision of the Supreme Court of the United States regarding homosexual marriages. It was those congregation’s way of saying that God’s authority is greater than the authority of any human court. They said, “After all, the pledge of allegiance to flag says, ‘…one nation, under God…, and that’s what we are showing.”

This, of course, is in keeping with the statement of the Apostles when they were ordered by the Supreme Court of Judea, the elders of the Sanhedrin, not to speak or act any more in the name of Jesus. They responded:

We must obey God rather than men…. –Peter, Acts 5:29a, NIV.

This is not to say that Christians are not to respect the laws of the nations in which they live. Even when Nero was the Roman Emperor, Paul wrote to the church in Rome that they should “be subject to the powers that be,” for God had put them in place to maintain order in society (Romans 13:1ff). Paul also took advantage of his Roman citizenship when a Jewish mob threatened to kill him, even appealing to Caesar for judgment.

This does emphasize that our final allegiance is to God, not to any human government. This ultimate submission to God is the basis for the following “Christian Pledge of Allegiance.”

“I pledge allegiance to the Father of the united saints of the kingdom, — and to the Redeemer by Whom we stand — One Body, unified in Spirit, indivisible, with liberty and love for all.”Al Maxey


I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment. – 1 Corinthians 1:10 (ESV)

Whatever is meant by this, it cannot mean “united in the same opinions.” If that were so, then the church would be hostage to the opinions of the most opinionated, stuborn, and self-willed members! In other words, it would require Continue reading

Question: She Got Married to Help Someone Stay in the U.S.A. Is It O.K. Now for Her to Sleep With Any One She Chooses?

I received this question in a comment to an earlier post:

Red Question Mark

I have a step daughter who married a guy so he could stay in the U.S.A. she keeps saying its ok for her to sleep with whom ever she wants because of this. I am worried that she is sinning when saying and doing this. What should i do or say about this. Is she right or wrong. I have researched it but can’t find the answer anywhere. Please help if you can. Thank you.

Marriage is too sacred to be treated so lightly. It is one of God’s greatest gifts to man, a gift that changed God’s verdict on his original creation from “Good” to “Very Good.”

Yet, it is something the human race as a whole has treated casually.

To marry a “guy so he could stay in the U.S.A.” makes someone else’s staying in this country of greater importance than one’s own citizenship in the kingdom of heaven. Then to say, “…it’s o.k. to sleep with whom ever she wants because of this” (I guess the ‘this’ there is the sham of a marriage?) flies in the face of all God has said about how the two sexes are to relate to one another.

God’s plan for marriage is that it be between a man and a woman “until death do us part.” They are to be faithful to each other. They are to honor and respect each other. Indeed, they are to love one another.

As a single person, did she justify sleeping with whomever she chose? Is the fact that her “marriage” is a “sham” her justification now? What makes her believe God has no advice for her on this sort of conduct?

What does her father say about this? What you will be able to say to her will depend much on the sort of relationship you have with her, as well as how her father feels about her actions.

It is tragic that so many have sold themselves so cheaply, so many that the American culture in general thinks there is nothing at all to be concerned with in a promiscuous lifestyle. They believe God just doesn’t want them to have any fun, without stopping to think that as the One who created sex just might have some ideas about how it should be used without abusing it.

In marriage, it is a part of the glue that binds a couple together. It can deepen the love-relationship between the married couple. Outside of marriage, unbridled sex ends up hurting people – often, many people. The biblical word for what your daughter is doing is fornication. This means any immoral or forbidden sexual activity; that is, it is any sex without the commitment of marriage.

Of course, the world in general scoffs at this. That makes about as much sense as scoffing at the auto-maker’s recommendation that the oil level in the crankcase is important to the functioning of the car. You ignore the maker’s recommendations at your own peril, and we ignore God’s teachings at our own peril as well.

You are right to be concerned. I wish I could tell you how to handle the situation, but it sounds as if your step-daughter is headstrong and unlikely to listen to any council from you. Hopefully she will grow up and begin to act like a real adult instead of the plastic adulthood she seems to be living, the kind of sophomoric “adulthood of an “Adult Bookstore.” God is a loving God who still loves her in her rebellion. He loves her so much that Jesus lived and died to save her from herself. To the woman taken in adultery, he said, “Go and sin no more.” (See John 8:1-11.) I believe he would say the same to your step-daughter.

Enter to Win a Set of Seven N. T. Wright Classics from Eerdmans

I’m a fan of N.T. Wright, though sometimes he is heavy going to read. I challenge anyone to read any of his books, though, and come away empty.


He’s a brilliant scholar. A respected church leader. A best-selling author.

N. T. Wright is . . . well, according to Christianity Today’s April cover story (“Surprised by N. T. Wright“):

People who are asked to write about N. T. Wright may find they quickly run out of superlatives. He is the most prolific biblical scholar in a generation. Some say he is the most important apologist for the Christian faith since C. S. Lewis. He has written the most extensive series of popular commentaries on the New Testament since William Barclay. And, in case three careers sound like too few, he is also a church leader, having served as Bishop of Durham, England, before his current teaching post at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland.

But perhaps the most significant praise of all: When Wright speaks, preaches, or writes, folks say they see Jesus, and lives are…

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In my work with Eastern European Mission, I talk with people who (as I do) bemoan the fact that teachers in public schools are not allowed to talk about God, or even have a Bible  lying on their desks. This especially follows a  presentation about our opportunities to put Bibles into the public schools of Ukraine, Russian, and other nations on a smaller scale.

I came across a beautiful article written by a kindergarten teacher in a public school that reminded me that the laws of men cannot block God’s access to the classroom. This teacher reminded me that every Christian teacher should teach by showing the love of Christ to all of his or her students.

You can read that article here. I think you will enjoy it as I did – and maybe it’ll set you thinking, as it did me.

What I came away with from this article is that “THEY” can’t take God out of our public schools – but WE can, if we – Christian teachers and students – fail to take Him with us when we go to school.

Of course, what is true of the schools is true of every workplace and neighborhood. If we fail to LIVE our relationship with God, we fail to take him with us wherever we go. And taking Him with us is the point of Jesus’ statement in Matthew 28:18-20.

And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

I understand that the word “Go” here could easily be translated, “As you are going….” Jesus is not speaking of special trips into all the nations, but of our daily walk of life. If, in our daily walk, we take Him with us in a meaningful way that will show His love to others and help them to understand what being a disciple of Jesus really means, our impact on the world would multiply many times.

But, of course, it is not our impact. It is Jesus in us who not only changes us – but also makes us into beacons of light in a world of darkness!


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