Don’t Go Down To Egypt!

Isaiah 31:1-3   (ESV)

31:1  Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help and rely on horses, who trust in chariots because they are many and in horsemen because they are very strong, but do not look to the Holy One of Israel or consult the LORD!

2  And yet he is wise and brings disaster; he does not call back his words, but will arise against the house of the evildoers and against the helpers of those who work iniquity.

3  The Egyptians are man, and not God, and their horses are flesh, and not spirit. When the LORD stretches out his hand, the helper will stumble, and he who is helped will fall, and they will all perish together.

Doesn’t this passage sum up our human experience? Why are we so fearful and rushing to these foolish politicians to make our lives safe?

There was a commercial I saw in which William DeVane told me that I could be “safe from the troubles of the world!”

All I had to do was buy gold.

Not to go all “message” on you, but let’s paraphrase Isaiah for a minute:

“Donald Trump is man, not God and his money and influence is thin at best. When the LORD stretches out His hand, The Donald will stumble, and all the politicians will fall, and they will all perish together.”

This same thing goes for people who go down to the Egypt of superstitious activities like crossing themselves, invoking words, laying on hands, hanging crystals or repeating “prayers.”

The same can be said for people who trust in the Egypt of a strong, popular “pastor” and believe that such alliance will be their safety.

Or even those who trust in a large group of friends. Popularity will dry up one day, and then what?

We are not to seek the assurance of the world, but of God.

“Progress Is His Middle Name!”

Last night my wife handed the phone to me and asked, “Do you want to take a political survey?”

Of course, I snatched that baby up and grabbed a chair! Tis the season!

What I loved was how the surveyor asked things like, “Does this make you more or less confident about so-and-so?” and then he read a statement that looked like this:

John Smith is a champion for the middle class, creating jobs and lowering taxes, ensuring the highest standard of education …. blah, blah, blah. 

Or….

Sally Jones believes in the average worker, fighting to ensure bargaining rights and high-paying salaries … yadda, yadda, yadda. 

Of course, there were the negative statements, too….

John Smith used taxpayer dollars to promote his own campaign while children were dying behind his house in a dumpster! 

I’d like to say that is a flagrant use of hyperbole, but it’s not that flagrant.

I ended up asking the gentleman on the phone if he’d ever watched Back To The Future. Yes, he had! I reminded him of the political campaign in 1955 and then in 1985. In one instance, it was an old caucasian driving a truck around with a foghorn on the top, telling people to re-elect Mayor Whatever, Progress is his middle name!

Then, in 1985, the same truck is driving around advertising Mayor Goldie Wilson (the African-American busboy from the diner in 1955) and declaring “Progress is his middle name!”

That’s what we’re seeing folks.

Hillary Clinton touts herself as being the only one with experience to take that 1AM phone call! And she’s going to bring about …. Change!

Of course, Donald Trump claims that he will make America great … again!

Does anyone notice that Hope, Change, bring back the Middle Class, make the wealthy pay their fair share… etc. have been the slogans of EVERY SINGLE POLITICAL CAMPAIGN SINCE THE BEGINNING OF TIME?

So, they asked me if I thought President Barak Obama was doing a good job, a poor job, or the equivalent of government work. I said it looked like a government union job, to be honest.

He asked if I thought Hillary was the answer … we had a good laugh.

He asked if I thought Trump was the answer … this could go on all night!

Here’s the deal, folks. A vote for Hillary is a vote for a wretched, self-absorbed politician who craves power.

A vote for Trump is a vote for a wretched, self-absorbed politician who craves power, too.

Their public lives do not suggest that either of them has an ethical bone in their entire body or fears the Lord in the least.

So, by all means, vote for the “lesser of the two evils,” as if that were possible. But remember, that there is one who is really in charge and who not only demands, but deserves every human’s honor, submission and praise. He lowered himself to our realm about 2,000 years ago and we cast our vote for a vile murderous criminal over Him.

Looks like that trend isn’t about to change in 2016.

5 Vehicles of American Repentance

Hard to pick which one I like the best!

The Untenable Position of a Whale

When Jonah washed up on the shore of Ninevah with his message of repentance preached through gritted teeth, he did so having been gift-wrapped to speak to the culture that he was vomited into. From the belly of a giant fish, God delivered a message of repentance to a people who worshiped a fish god by the name of Dagon.

s1018007It makes you wonder what kind of packaging God would choose for our own culture.


In a move that they hoped would express the power and influence of the party, the 2020 Republican National Convention was scheduled as the first national convention to occupy the massive AT&T Stadium in Arlington Texas. On that day, before an audience reported to have approached100,000 energized conservatives, a man in a well-tailored blue suit accompanied by a red silk tie descended supernaturally from the 11,000 square foot jumbotron at midfield to the stage. With…

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Were The Disciples Criminals? The Hyperbole of New Theology

I just read an article titled “F-Bombs and Bikinis.” And then, “What it really means to be a “Christian.””

Frankly, I’m glad the author had the honesty to put the quotation marks around Christian. It’s written by Preston Sprinkle, a man who taught at Cedarville–a college where many of my friends attended. Back where I come from, you either went to BBC (Baptist Bible College) or Cedarville. I rebelled and attended Calvin College … so I could be the only non-Dutch, short, dark-haired Baptist on campus.

The guy has a Ph.D, but I’m guessing it’s not in logic or history. Rather, it seems to be in hyperbole and shock value.

Evidently, he’s upset that there are those who question washed-up star Shia LaBeouf’s Christian profession of faith … because he used the F-word to profess it!

I don’t have a degree in theology, but … neither did Peter or the other 10 disciples … but I have read and studied the Bible for the past 30-some years. I could look up a number of instances where people are converted and transformed by God’s Grace … and none of them involve an invocation of vile profanity.

So, while I certainly hope Shia has repented of his wretched, sinful state (which is the same state of every human before Salvation), his testimony doesn’t really sound like what I’d expect. To illustrate, if someone you had publicly derided came to your rescue at the moment you realized you had no hope … would you toss off gratitude along with some profanity?

Maybe Shia would. Maybe he needs someone other than Brad Pitt to mentor him.

Which actually was more concerning to me, personally, when I read the testimony. Evidently, Brad Pitt led him to Christ … the same Brad Pitt who finds a God who demands glory to be offensive.

Here’s the problem with Preston’s article: He starts with a premise that there are “Christian subcultures” that all read the same Bible and serve the same Lord.

He takes this idea of ‘subcultures’ and defines it by a cigarette-smoking woman who thinks church leaders should promote modesty vs. a youth leader who thinks women shouldn’t … smoke?

Or, an–get this–Irish beer drinking pastor and his wine-loving wife vs. ALL OF US THAT BELIEVE DRINKING IS EVIL, apparently. Let’s just ignore the stereotyping of the Irish and get back to the subcultures, shall we?

Yes, those subcultures that use cookie-cutters for all Christians and “trample on grace.” He says that it’s “one thing for Christian subcultures to cultive unique values.”

Um-NO, IT’S NOT!

He goes on to say that Christian “subcultures” shouldn’t expect new converts to exhibit holiness. Or, as he puts it, instant holiness.

Let’s back up here. First, let’s remember what Grace is and what it is to trample on grace.

Grace is God’s unmerited favor on those who fall down in repentance for their sinfulness and accept His sacrifice as the whole payment for their sin and offense against God (who does actually deserve all glory). Grace is this fantastic exchange of God’s very son’s death in our place, which effectively crucifies the old flesh of our will to the cross and gives us new life in Jesus’ resurrection from the grave. More than that, we are also ascended to Heaven in Christ Jesus and are in the presence of God by our brother, Christ!

That is Grace. That is unmerited favor. That is something we cannot buy, earn or barter.

So, what is trampling?

I’m so glad you asked. It has nothign to do with Mr. Sprinkles little article. In fact, those who trample on God’s grace are those who profess to be saved, then continue to live as they did before!

Hmmmm. Does that mean that if someone isn’t instantly holy, they’re trampling on Grace?

Let’s not get ahead of ourselves … we’ll discuss holiness in a minute.

In Hebrews the writer talks about those who become believers, taste the things of God and even experience some joy of the Holy Spirit … but then they fall away. The writer says that it is impossible for them to return again to repentance. This doesn’t mean that they can’t truly repent … but that as long as they continue in their duplicitous life, they are not humbled and they are not repentant and they will not be saved. (Hebrews 6:4-6, 10:29).

Paul talks about this, too, in Romans when he poses the question, “Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound?” (Romans 6:1).

The answer is a resounding NO! We’re dead to those calls to sin if we were crucified with Christ and raised in new life of the resurrection.

So, are we to be instantly holy? Paul seems to think so. And this gets to the meaning of holy: separate, consecrated, cleansed for good use. There are other words used for holy, but the one used in 1 Corinthians 6:11, in which Paul points out that the Christians there were living sinful lifestyles, but were called out of them, is hagiazo, purified.

In that passage, Paul was telling the Corinthians that they were purified from the lifestyles of sin.

We need to encourage professing Christians to come out of sinful lifestyles such as wild parties and sensual behavior, come out in obedience to your Lord.

If your “Christian subculture” doesn’t do that, it’s not Christian … it’s just a subculture.

To bolster his unbiblical point, Sprinkle invokes speculative hyperbole on the disciples. He calls them a group of “thugs,” “criminals,” and “prisoners.” He likens the Roman Empire to ISIS and, thus, Matthew to a wild, party-animal terrorist funding reprobate … who evidently had continued his lifestyle after following Jesus. Oh, and Simon Peter is also a terrorist who murdered people because he was called “The Zealot” in the Bible.

And, like the Irish who drink beer, evidently anyone who is a “zealot” in “those times” means they murdered people who disagreed with their views.

The last time I heard such sweeping new information about Biblical people and events was from Rob Bell. And he wasn’t in any better position to postulate on historical matters.

The disciples were NOT thugs. They were fishermen. Now, perhaps where Sprinkle comes from fishermen are thuggish, I don’t know. Maybe he’s acquainted with fishermen who are ex-cons, too. But that hardly means that the same applies to the disciples.

Certainly, nothing in the Bible supports his claims. He just says it, so it’s true.

I’m growing very concerned about Christianity. When people can come along and throw out baseless libel and use it to support their doctrine of permissiveness, yet hold themselves out to be teachers of God’s word … it’s astounding.

So, what’s the point of his article? (which you can read here). That Grace is messy and can’t be put into a blue blazer… etc. We’re works in progress and sin might take decades to uncover …etc.

I agree. We are works in progress. We go from being born again to new life and embark on growing up in the process of sanctification. But being born invovles leaving the womb. Growing up involves some growing pains. Maturing involves being teachable, not obstinate.

We don’t help our children mature by excusing their bad behavior by saying, “they’re just kids …”

Okay, some people do and we call them bad parents.

But that’s exactly what this article is encouraging. So what if people use foul language. So what if they drink to excess. So what if they still party and carouse. They’re works in progress… whose to judge?

I guess Dr. Sprinkle should have been around to set Paul straight and save him those tears and sorrows as he wrote those letters that we call the epistles.

I’m writing this as a member of the underground. It’s the true Ekklesia, the called out ones of Christ. We’re not represented in these popular, trendy churches with cool pastors and smoke machines. We’re not gathering because of programs and music artists. We’re called out of this world and we attest to the truth.

Hegeomai – Let’s do a Word Study!

Some may remember the show The Twilight Zone. One episode involed a man confronting a world with shifting word meanings. Fairly quickly, he couldn’t fathom what others were trying to say … and they were perplexed by his attempts to communicate.

This underscores the importance of knowing a word’s definition. Here’s a link to an excellent blog about a New Testament word … which helps to understand what the Bible is saying:

ἡγέομαι (hēgéomai) – a New Testament word study – http://wp.me/p2whE7-iL