I Was an Enemy Too

refugeesWhy is a proper understanding of the gospel so important to properly applying it to all of life?

While I’m not an expert on all the refugee stuff, I can at least apply the gospel to my thinking about this subject…

I was an enemy of God.  I rebelled against Him and His rule over me.  Thus, by both my thoughts, actions, and nature, I deserved His full wrath.  I was without hope and without God in this world.

But God demonstrated His love towards me while I was still a sinner through the death of God the Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, for sinners.  Because of repentance for my sins and by grace through faith in His finished work, the righteousness of Jesus has been credited to me so that I’m now an adopted son and no longer a rebel.

One of the important thoughts here is that this salvation was neither earned by me or deserved by me.  Jesus sought me when a stranger.  He saved me when a rebel.  He died for me not while I was a good person, but while I was a sinner.

So how does this help me with the refugee question?  As a Christian being conformed to the image of Jesus, and armed with the truth of the gospel, I see all things in life through those lenses.  Yes, there are legitimate political and security issues when dealing with these questions.  But primarily I see the responsibility, and the privilege, to show care and concern through the gospel lens.

Therefore, at the very least, I should seek to show Christ-like compassion, even to those who are my enemies, because Jesus taught me to love my enemies and to pray for them, as He did.  I should seek to share the gospel with them knowing that while I was a sinner and enemy of the Lord, the gospel was shared with me.  I should pray for and support missionaries who are “boots on the ground” where the refugees currently live as they build bridges to share Christ.  I should seek to help meet their basic humanitarian needs as I am able.

To be very clear, what I should do doesn’t change depending on which side of the border these refugees reside.  Whether here in the States, or in other parts of the world, the gospel still compels me to act.

Because Christ has shown me mercy and grace, I should show that with others for His glory as I let my light shine.  The gospel compels me to do nothing less and much more.

Wisdom: Which Way Will We Choose…The Notes

11.22.15_BOP_Social_MediaYesterday I concluded our sermon series through the book of Proverbs as I preached from Proverbs 3:1-12; 4:20-27.  You can listen to the sermon here.  The notes for the sermon are below…

To choose the right path of living in godly wisdom…

  1. We remember regularly the wisdom of God (3:1-4).
  1. We trust that living in God’s wisdom is the right path (3:5-12).
  1. We fight the danger of drifting away from God’s wisdom (4:20-27).
  1. Because we’ll never be perfectly wise or obedient, we look to Jesus who is our wisdom and our righteousness (1 Corinthians 1:30-31).

1 Corinthians 1:30-31 (HCSB) 30  But ⌊it is⌋ from Him that you are in Christ Jesus, who became God-given wisdom for us—⌊our⌋ righteousness, sanctification, and redemption, 31  in order that, as it is written: The one who boasts must boast in the Lord.

Wisdom: Which Way Will We Choose?

11.22.15_BOP_Social_MediaI conclude our Proverbs series today.  I’m using Proverbs 3:1-12 and 4:20-27 as my texts…

Proverbs 3:1-12 (HCSB)
1  My son, don’t forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commands;
2  for they will bring you many days, a full life, and well-being.
3  Never let loyalty and faithfulness leave you. Tie them around your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart.
4  Then you will find favor and high regard in the sight of God and man.
5  Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding;
6  think about Him in all your ways, and He will guide you on the right paths.
7  Don’t consider yourself to be wise; fear the LORD and turn away from evil.
8  This will be healing for your body and strengthening for your bones.
9  Honor the LORD with your possessions and with the first produce of your entire harvest;
10  then your barns will be completely filled, and your vats will overflow with new wine.
11  Do not despise the LORD’s instruction, my son, and do not loathe His discipline;
12  for the LORD disciplines the one He loves, just as a father, the son he delights in.

Proverbs 4:20-27 (HCSB)
20  My son, pay attention to my words; listen closely to my sayings.
21  Don’t lose sight of them; keep them within your heart.
22  For they are life to those who find them, and health to one’s whole body.
23  Guard your heart above all else, for it is the source of life.
24  Don’t let your mouth speak dishonestly, and don’t let your lips talk deviously.
25  Let your eyes look forward; fix your gaze straight ahead.
26  Carefully consider the path for your feet, and all your ways will be established.
27  Don’t turn to the right or to the left; keep your feet away from evil.

Saturday Stuff, November 21, 2015

SaturdayStuff_socialmedia*DC’s Legends of Tomorrow TV show on the CW will premiere on Thursday, January 21, 2016.

*Who will direct Justice League Dark?

*George Lucas describes his “break up” with the Star Wars franchise.

*Marvel’s Iron Fist TV show on Netflix is still in the works.

*Check out this extended trailer for CW’s The Flash and Arrow crossover event coming December 1.

6-String Salvo, November 20, 2015

bigstock-Guitar-9506791. David Crabb offers some ways that Christians can think as Christians about the refugee crisis.

2. Carey Nieuwhof shares 7 ways to recover as a leader after you’ve messed up.

3. Here’s some good cultural commentary from Doug Wilson on the fall of Western snivelization.

4. Killing sin is never easy, but here are 13 practical steps to kill sin from John Piper.

5. With all the evil we see in our world, Mark Altrogge gives some biblical help for those who wonder why God allows the wicked to commit evil.

6. Here are 5 ways to deal with your past from Ron Edmondson, four not so helpful and one useful.

Here’s Marc Martel’s cover of Seal’s 1996 hit Kiss From a Rose

ISIS & Refugees

eiffeltowerI thought I’d share some of the posts from bloggers I follow concerning ISIS which some then take into the issue of accepting refugees.  If anything, this should show that no one has the perfect answer and that even among Christians, we should disagree charitably.

9 Things You Should Know About the Islamic State

Why Evangelicals Are Torn About Admitting Refugees

We Are All Parisians Now

ISIS Is Near, No One Is Safe, And Why We Should Think About It

Should We Pray For ISIS To Be Defeated Or Converted

Reflections After The Paris Attacks

Immigration Policy Must Be Based On More Than An Appeal To Compassion


Some Reminders from Birthdays

birthdaycakeLast night we celebrated the birthday of a very special lady that is very dear to our family.  We gathered with her family and friends to give thanks for her life and the blessing she is to us.

There are some who believe that celebrating birthdays is prideful and useless.  However, I believe that birthdays are great opportunities to remember some things…

  1. Birthdays remind us that life is a gift. While birthdays are annual events, they remind us that we are created beings who have been granted life by the Creator. None of us gave us our own lives, we are dependent upon the Lord.
  1. Birthdays remind us of God’s blessings in all the days past. Each birthday reminds us of the privilege we have to reflect back on all the Lord has done and is doing in our lives.
  1. Birthdays remind us not to take people for granted. We all have loved ones who have died and birthdays remind us of how much we miss them. People are here for a moment, like a mist/vapor, and they are gone.  We must love people today!
  1. Birthdays remind us it’s okay to show honor people. We weep with those who weep and rejoice with those who rejoice! God is good to allow us to share joy with people in community.
  1. Birthdays remind us that one day they’ll come to an end. While we will live forever after death, birthdays on this earth will come to an end. God gives life, and He takes away life.  Blessed be the Name of the Lord!

Let birthdays, whether yours or someone you love, remind you of how good God is to give us life, eternal life, and how good He is to allow us to live these lives in community.