Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Thinking Out Loud About Abortion

If science is supposed to be our religion, then why don't religiously abide by the findings of science?  No topic is more controversial than abortion.  But why?  Because the science is clear, the life in the womb is a person.  DNA now shows us that the baby (and I am purposely referring to it as a baby) is a distinct person.  Just as important, it is distinct from the mother.  When does this happen?  It happens when the egg is fertilized; it happens at conception.  We know this.  This is science, which is our religion. 

Humans reproduce humans.  They do not produce animals, fish, or birds.  This is significant.  There is a person, the highest order of creation, in the womb of the mother.  And that person is created in the image of God. 

The baby feels the physical pain of abortion; it is referred to as the silent scream.  At some point in the future, mankind will look back on abortion and realize what a barbaric practice it is.  The count is fifty million; but who is counting?  We are so proud of our abortions that there is now a movement that encourages women who have had abortions to shout about it.

Jacob and Esau, John the Baptist, and Jesus all had their destinies revealed while they were still in the womb.  The Bible is clear.  God has destiny of every one of us, and he is involved in the creation process.   

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Thinking Out Loud About The Tribulation

I was raised in a Pentecostal Church; growing up, I often heard about the return of Jesus.  I remember, as a child, playing in the pew, and my ears perked up when the evangelist said that Jesus could come right through the ceiling of the church.  That was terrifying thought to a five year old; I hadn't lived yet!  
Pentecostal churches, for the most part, teach that Jesus will return before the seven year Great Tribulation.  That is what I was taught, so that was what I believed.  When I went to Bible ollege, I was taught that there were three main views about the return of Jesus.  Jesus could return before the Tribulation, in the middle of the Tribulation, or at the end of the Tribulation.  For a while, I believed that Jesus would return in the middle of the Tribulation.  But when I preached a series on the book of Daniel, I changed my mind...again.  

I wasn't even investigating the Tribulation, but when I began to search church history, I became convinced that Jesus will return after the Tribulation.  The idea of a Rapture was never mentioned in church history until the mid-1800's, when a man named John Darby came up with the idea.  He taught from a Dispensational framework.  Dispensationalism is the belief that God has given different dispensations of grace throughout history.  It is not my purpose to discuss Dispensationalism; I am simply giving the basic foundation for the belief in the Rapture.  

Let me give some basics.  The Bible never specifically mentions a Rapture.  The early Church Fathers did not mention a Rapture.  There seems to be little substantive evidence for the Rapture; most of it is circumstantial.  

Do I relish the idea of going through the Great Tribulation?  Of course not.  But Jesus told us that there would come a time of trouble unlike anything the world has ever seen.  He also said that he would preserve us through it all.  His presence is with us always, and we have nothing to fear.  

Thinking Out Loud Podcast The Tribulation

Thinking Out Loud About Gnosticism

Gnosticism?  What in the world is Gnosticism?  It is the belief that we can possess "secret knowledge," and it has become the basis of the moral system of the West.  It began around 300 years before Jesus as a philosophy.  Plato taught that truth is within us; all we have to do is search ourselves.  But Jesus taught that he was the Truth; we have to look outside ourselves. 

Gnosticism is nothing more than the deception satan used in the Garden of Eden.  Adam and Eve were not to eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.  Satan proceeds to tell them that their eyes will be opened, and they will be like God.  They will possess a new kind of knowledge.  In fact, the early Church Fathers were convinced that Gnosticism was the same deception satan used in Genesis 3

Although it is not mentioned by name, Gnosticism shows up in quite a few times in the New Testament.  1 John 2:27, "But the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you.  But as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie—just as it has taught you, abide in him."  The Apostle John is addressing false doctrine, and he is telling believers that they have already received the full Gospel message.  They do not need new teachers, who are most likely teaching Gnosticism.  

Postmodernism has led us to trust our feelings and our experiences more than objective truth.  We possess the truth; we trust our moral compass.  What are the results?  In the age of tolerance, we are on a slow descent into anarchy.  The last time we were this intolerant, we were on the verge of a civil war.  Pandora's Box is open, and I doubt we will ever return to our values.  Stay tuned.  

Thinking Out Loud Podcast Gnosticism

Monday, November 5, 2018

Thinking Out Loud About Abortion

It is awfully hard to accept the science on global warming, when most of those same folks will not accept the science on abortion.  Many of the arguments for the pro-choice movement are similar to the arguments of the pro-slavery movement.  The baby is not fully human.  It does not possess the same rights as others.  
Genetics tells us, very clearly, that the coming together of the egg and the sperm forms a new human being, distinct from the mother and father, with its own DNA.  There is a heart beat, circulatory system, and organs at twenty-two days.  Science has also proven that babies feel pain, which is what makes abortion so evil. 

Here's my real problem with abortion.  It is rooted in racism.  African-Americans comprise 13% of the US population but account for 36% of all abortions.  Over 11,000 African-American babies are aborted every day.  This is more than all other races combined.  

In our culture, we have to come to believe that experience provides a necessary path to truth.  In the case of abortion, a man has no right to speak on the issue, because he is incapable of having the same experience as a woman.  But experiences can distort our perspective.  They can cause trauma, distortion, bitterness, etc..,   All the more reason to look to God's Word, the Bible, for objective truth.  The Bible is not only pro-life, it is anti-abortion.  God knew us when we were in our mother's womb.  It is there that He knit us together.  John the Baptist leaped while still in his mother's womb.  

Time for us to stop playing God and deciding who lives and dies.  Abortion is the civil rights issue of our time.  A baby has every right to live.  God says so.  

Thinking Out Loud Podcast Abortion

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Thinking Out Loud About Immigration

There is no more divisive issue in America than the issue of immigration.  But the real problem is our politicians; our politicians use issues like immigration to divide us, because politicians have one goal: to get re-elected.  So, they never offer solutions, just finger pointing.  Every single president in my lifetime has promised to do something about our immigration system, but the system has only gotten worse.  America allows a million legal immigrants to enter the country every year, far more than any other nation.  So, I push back on the idea that America is not compassionate. 
Here is my solution; I believe it is an is easy solution.  First, every illegal immigrant is allowed to stay.  No one, except those with a criminal background, needs to be deported.  Second, every illegal immigrant should pay a fine, which is the case with almost every law that is broken.  Third, no first generation illegal immigrants should be given citizenship, but they should be given some kind of worker status, so they can be identified.  Fourth, second generation illegal immigrants should be put on a path to citizenship.  This is similar to DACA, which I support. 

Finally, the borders need to be strictly enforced and visa overstays dealt with.  I refuse to believe we do not possess the technology to track those who are in our country.  I know other immigrants who came to the country illegally, came to faith in Jesus, and felt convicted about being in the United States illegally.  Some of those returned to their home country for that reason.  I also know immigrants who were praying that they would win the immigration lottery.  That doesn't seem just to me to send them back and allow others to remain. 

As a Christian, my first loyalty is to another kingdom.  I am a citizen of the Kingdom of God.  My goal is to bring the Kingdom of God to earth.  When my first loyalty is to a politician instead of the Kingdom of God, I am violating my role as an ambassador for the Kingdom of God.  The Church needs to break away from being beholding to corrupt politicians and proclaim our loyalty to our King, Jesus Christ. 

Thinking Out Loud Podcast Immigration

Thinking Out Loud About Discernment

Biblical discernment is being able to tell what is of God and what is not of God.  The Word gives us the truth we need to be able to discern what is and is not of God.  The opposite of truth is lies.  Satan is the father of lies.  He cannot do anything but lie.  He lies, because he cannot create anything.  He can only counterfeit.  So, he takes what God has created and distorts it. 

Almost all of the New Testament writers warned that there would be a time of great deception would come upon the Church.  If it was mentioned that often, why doesn't the Church stay on guard?  Because we love the provocative.  Because we love to hear pleasing messages.  We want to be wealthy, safe, and happy.  But the Bible never promises those things.  Instead, Jesus offered a splintery cross. 

The Church in America is almost entirely without discernment, because there is a drought of the Word of God.  A Church without discernment is vulnerable to the lies of our enemy.  People are herded in and out of Church as fast as possible.  There is no time to adequately break down a passage from the Bible.  There is the belief that people will feel uncomfortable if they don't know where to find a book or verse.  Messages are short and peppered with movie clips and humorous stories, because it would be horrific if people were bored.  

But I say, the Bible is the most exciting book ever written.  The only reason a person might be bored is because they have no true interest in the things of God, or the pastor is lazy.  It is the greatest story ever told.  It is a miraculous story.  It is a supernatural story.  Every verse is dripping with truth, truth that will lead us to freedom.  The Church needs an explosion of biblical truth to get us back on track, the track of discernment.  

Thinking Out Loud Podcast Discernment

Thinking Out Loud About Homosexuality

I remember, about twenty years ago, former pro-wrestler Jesse Ventura turned talk radio host, yelling at a caller that homosexuality was genetic.  Any one with a brain knows that homosexuality is genetic.  Here we are, some twenty years later, and we know for certain that homosexuality is not genetic.  Now, the word is "orientation."  It's basically a surrender of the genetic theory.  Further more, if homosexuality was genetic, then it would be bread out of the human race, because it has always been in the minority.  

According to the Center for Disease Control, 2.3% percent of the US population identifies as homosexual.  That is far less than the 10% that is often touted.  I once met with a faith-based group of ex-homosexuals called Outpost.  All of them had left the lifestyle, and most had gotten married to people of the opposite sex.  They explained that homosexuality was caused by an inability to identify with one's own sex.  In other words, a homosexual man does not feel comfortable with other men; a lesbian woman does not feel comfortable with another woman.  There can be a litany of causes: abuse, neglect, lack of a father or mother.  But not every man who is abused or neglected becomes homosexual; all the more reason to believe that homosexuality is not genetic.  Humans are different, and they react to life differently.  Some people go through extremely traumatic events and seem to be hardly affected at all.  Others go through the same types of events and are affected in a much more significant way.  

Siding with culture in believing that homosexuals cannot change is an affront to the power of the Gospel.  The Gospel is transforming.  Alcoholics can change.  Those with anger issues can change.  Habits, strong holds, and addictions can be overcome.  That is the Gospel.  Jesus said, "Unless a man be born again, he cannot enter the Kingdom of God."  Being born again is not symbolic; Jesus was referring to a literal rebirth.  Of course, the Church has failed in demonstrating compassion to the homosexual community.  That is not Christ-like.  But true compassion is demonstrated by delivering the real message of Gospel...Anyone can change!  

Thinking Out Loud Podcast Homosexuality