6-String Salvo, November 28, 2014

bigstock-Guitar-950679For this Black Friday edition of the Salvo, I’ve mainly focused on posts concerning Ferguson.  All of the issues surrounding Ferguson remind me that the hope of the gospel is that in Christ, “There is no Jew or Greek, slave or free, male or female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28).

1. Thabiti Anyabwile shares why he believes the grand jury got its decision wrong and injustice triumphed.

2. Voddie Baucham gives a somewhat different perspective, as a black man and as an outsider, of the Ferguson situation.

3. And Benjamin Watson, a black professional football player, gives his thoughts on Ferguson that were originally posted on his Facebook page.

4. Al Mohler sees the Ferguson moment as a moral test for our nation.

5. Russell Moore offers how the church can be used by God to bring peace to all people of all backgrounds to the glory of God.

6. And finally, on a much lighter note, the end of the year brings a list of the best books of 2014.  Here’s Tony Reinke’s 14 best books 2014 and the 14 runners-up (which really makes the top 28 books).

And here is Billy Gibbons from ZZ Top on Daryl Hall’s Live From Daryl’s House singing ZZ Top’s I Thank You

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

Hope that today you are giving thanks for the blessings, and even the trials, of life.  Here’s one of my favorite songs celebrating thanks…

Who are You Thankful For?

Tomorrow we will celebrate Thanksgiving.  I know for many in our church, tomorrow will be a sad day because they will have their first Thanksgiving without a loved one.  For others, even though their loved one(s) may have been gone for a while, the day will still feel sad as they look at an empty chair.

Remember that stuff is only stuff.  I hope that tomorrow one of the things we’ll all be thankful for is the people who have been, and are, a part of our lives.  There are supposed to be two great loves in our lives, the Lord, and our neighbor.  While the Bible clearly speaks about stuff and how we’re to view stuff, the Bible speaks a lot about relationships.

That’s part of the frustration so many pastors have with church members who see church attendance as unimportant.  The church is a community of believers gathering for worship, the preaching of the Word, the ordinances, for encouragement and for correction.  The Bible knows no such person as a Christian who is alone.  Christians are meant for relationships.

If you don’t regularly attend a local body of believers, and you are physically able, may I encourage you to find a church and start attending?  If you don’t know of a good church in your area, please comment on this post, tell me what city and state you’re in, and I’ll do my best to give you some suggestions about good churches in your area.

If you regularly attend a local church, give thanks to the Lord for your church.  No church is perfect, but our perfect Lord has ordained that believers gather together in local churches.  If you love the Lord, you’ll love His bride!

So tomorrow, don’t just give thanks for life and health and stuff, give thanks for people.  After all, how can you say you love the Lord whom you haven’t seen and hate your brother whom you have seen (1 John 4:20)?

Serving Others Isn’t Just Once a Year

There are many families who over Thanksgiving and Christmas will do some type of family project to help those who are less fortunate.  From shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child to serving a Thanksgiving meal at a rescue mission, parents want to teach their children that there are hurting people in this world, that their family is very blessed, and that their children shouldn’t take God’s blessings for granted.  And I’m in full agreement with teaching these important lessons.

But I also want to remind parents that while teaching your children how blessed they are and of their responsibility to care for the poor, this mindset should be a year-round attitude, not just at Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Here’s my concern: that parents who are living the American dream, and who are raising children in the American dream culture, to salve their guilt and to hold back a creeping materialism in their children, do these acts of kindness hoping that seeds will be planted that will grow and slow down a “me-me-me” worldview in their children.

This kind of mindset is like pediatrician who tells the parents that their child has a protein deficiency and the parents respond, “How can that be?  We feed him protein once a month.  Isn’t that enough?”

Feeding our children a steady diet of iPhones, PS4s, and other gizmos along with living a lifestyle above the means of the family so that the kids will fit in with a materialistic culture, and then one Thursday a year feeding the poor isn’t a remedy for materialism.  In fact, doing this only encourages a works-righteousness view of salvation.

Parents, make sure that from an early age you teach your children that only Jesus is the treasure worth giving our lives for.  Teach them to think of the poor and those who are less fortunate more than just 2 or 3 days a year.  Remind them of their responsibility to steward the good gifts of the Lord every day they live.  Point them to a lifestyle that emphasizes putting treasure in heaven, not on earth.  And teach these things every day, not just by your words but also by your actions.



Separation Doesn’t Fix Contamination…The Notes

Yesterday I preached from James 3:13-2:12.  The question I wanted to answer was should we Christians separate from our culture, and if we do, how will the culture be saved?  One of the thoughts I wanted to get across is that just because we separate from the culture doesn’t mean we are separated from sin or its effects.

You can listen to the sermon and/or read the manuscript here.

1. Separation doesn’t fix contamination because saved or not, we all face the world, the flesh, and the devil.  The idea here is that we will fight the world, the flesh, and the devil until the day we go to be with the Lord.  So separation from the world won’t keep us from battling these 3 enemies.

2. Separation doesn’t fix contamination because only Jesus does.  The only hope to be free from the contamination of these three enemies isn’t running from culture but running to the finished work of Jesus.

3. If we separate, how will our world come to know that Jesus saves sinners?  Instead of judging the world, we need to see the world transformed through the proclamation of the gospel.  We’ve been given a commission to take the gospel to our city and to the ends of the earth.

Separation Doesn’t Fix Contamination

Today’s sermon is from James 3:13-4:12.  I’ll initially read from James 4:1-6…

James 4:1-6 (HCSB)
1 What is the source of wars and fights among you? Don’t they come from the cravings that are at war within you? 2 You desire and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. You do not have because you do not ask. 3 You ask and don’t receive because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your evil desires. 4 Adulteresses! Don’t you know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? So whoever wants to be the world’s friend becomes God’s enemy. 5 Or do you think it’s without reason the Scripture says that the Spirit who lives in us yearns jealously? 6 But He gives greater grace. Therefore He says: God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.

Saturday Stuff

*Hear from Chadwick Boseman on becoming Marvel’s Black Panther and what it’s like to work with Marvel.

*Check out Marvel Studio’s official timeline for Phase 3.

*I’m really enjoying the CW’s The Flash.  I’ve always like their Arrow.  So I’m excited about their 2 episode crossover!  Check out the promo images from the crossover episode debut and from the crossover second episode.

*The cinematic adventures of middle earth are coming to an end.  Watch the music video of Billy Boyd’s end credits song for The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies


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