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Culture and Religion

The Truth: An unpopular message

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Sometimes you just need to take a break from carnage that is modern politics.  Over the summer, my church conducted a weekly Bible study series entitled “Faith over Fear”.  Several of our Sunday School and Bible teachers taught on a particular “fear” topic.  As one of those teachers, I covered “Fear of Delivering and Unpopular Message”, focusing on Jeremiah 1.

Delivering an unpopular message has become a daily occurrence for many of us.  If you find yourself speaking against binary choice politics, Donald Trump, or the two major parties, you have probably found yourself at odds with untold numbers.  However, in these times it is important to remember the big picture.  The Gospel of Jesus Christ.  There is no greater call than to deliver His message.

Stand and Deliver

When teaching this lesson, I asked my group if anyone had been in a job for 45 years.  One hand went up.  Then, how about being in a job where no one likes you and no one wants to hear what you have to say?  That was Jeremiah.  Jeremiah was called by God to speak to his people, in approximately 626 BC.  He spent the next 45 years calling out his people and proclaiming the wages of sin.  This was not a message the people wanted or appreciated.  In the end, Jeremiah would die, having been kidnapped, as a captive in a foreign land.  Despite the personal toll, Jeremiah remained faithful to his call.  Through the rejection, despair, and hostility, Jeremiah carried out his mission.  What can we Christians learn for his example?

Modern Day Prophets

We are living in a world of moral relativism.  God’s message of love, through Jesus Christ, is now considered hate speech.  Even today, we remain a people with an unpopular message that is attempting to be silenced.  How do we respond?  What can we learn from Jeremiah’s calling?

In the course of Jeremiah 1, God makes four promises: 1) Being reluctant to speak the name of the Lord in the face of skeptics leads to more fear and marginalization; 2) Opposition will be real; 3) Those who are faithful will prevail; and 4) If you are faithful, you will know the presence of the Lord, and He will rescue you.

I am of the firm belief that as the church has attempted to conform to culture, the more culture has declined.  By almost any metric, the number of self-identified Christians is falling.  The number of unaffiliated and atheist continue to rise.  The speed at which these numbers are changing seems to be directly correlated to disengagement and conformity by the church.

Cowboy Up

Christians live in fear of being labeled racists, sexists, bigots, homophobes, etc.  The reluctance to speak the truth of the Word has led to fear and marginalization.  Christians face real opposition to His message.  However, in the face of the opposition, God commands us to be strong.  Jeremiah 1:17-19:

“Now get ready.  Stand up and tell them everything that I command you.  Do not be intimidated by them or I will cause you to cower before them.  Today, I am the one who has made you a fortified city, an iron pillar, and bronze walls against the whole land-against the kings of Judah, its officials, its priests, and the population.  They will fight against you but never prevail over you, since I am with you to rescue you.”

I like to think of these verses as God’s “Cowboy Up” speech.  With God’s help, His message of hope and love will prevail.

Of Hope and Love

The message we are called to deliver today is the hope and love of Jesus Christ.  Is it, at times, an unpopular message?  Yes.  Is salvation through Jesus Christ an exclusionary message?  Yes.  Will this message be offensive to some?  Yes.  Just because the answers are yes, does not mean we should refrain from sharing The Truth.  And, what is The Truth?

“I am the way, the truth, and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me.  If you know me, you will also know my Father.  From now on you do know him and have seen him.”  John 14:6-7

Therefore, proclaim it loudly and without fear.  Proclaim it with love.  We are called to share the Good News with the world.  God has fortified us and we will prevail if we allow Him to strengthen us.  Some things are more important than Donald Trump’s tweets, the republican and democrat lies, and celebrity gossip.  Salvation hangs in the balance.  This is the greatest calling of all.

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Culture and Religion

The strange tale of the Turpin family

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The strange tale of the Turpin family

Abuse of children is one of the most horrible things anyone can do. Rarely do I even read stories about abuse. I know it exists. I’m against it. I don’t want reminders of how evil some people really are. The story of the Turpin family drew me in and made me weep for a world that allows such things to happen.

Here’s the story, followed by my brief thoughts:

California family: Parents charged after children found shackled

http://www.cnn.com/2018/01/16/us/california-turpin-13-siblings-held-captive/index.htmlDavid, 57, and Louise, 49, are accused of holding their children captive in their Perris, California, home in filthy conditions, some of them shackled to beds with chains and padlocks. The 13 siblings range in age from 2 to 29.

The parents are charged with torture and child endangerment, and scheduled for a court hearing Thursday. Bail was set at $9 million each. It was not immediately clear if the suspects had attorneys or whether they had entered a plea.

On Sunday, one of their daughters, a 17-year-old, managed to escape from their home by climbing out a window and called 911 from a deactivated cell phone she found in the house, police said. She told officers her parents were holding her 12 siblings captive inside the home, the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department said.

My Take

There’s a danger here. We have to be mindful of children who are being abused. Unfortunately, that also means there will be times when the state must intervene. Any time that happens, I get worried. I want as little intervention as possible and only when absolutely necessary. The story of the Turpin family is an example of it being necessary.

The problem is that this evil was allowed to continue for decades. How can that happen? How do we respect the rights of parents and embrace a non-interfering government when there are people like the Turpins in the world? It’s a slippery slope and I have no answers.

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Culture and Religion

Is the Republican Party racist?

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Is the Republican Party racist

Racism isn’t broken down by party lines. There are racists in every political party in America. Some are more public than others, but generally speaking it’s clear there are racists everywhere. Thankfully, there are fewer of them today than in the past. A good part of the reason for this is cultural, but politically it’s been the Republican Party, not the Democratic Party, that has championed the cause of equal rights.

Unfortunately, there are two things that are changing the way history is perceived by many Americans. The first is a false narrative created by both mainstream media and liberal activists who paint the GOP as racists. The second is the reality of conservative values. While the fight for smaller government and more freedom is a righteous one, it’s also a fight that is more appealing to racists than the liberal ideologies of more government and less freedom.

Historically, the evidence is clearly on the side of the GOP, as this PragerU video demonstrates.

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Culture and Religion

Kevin Swanson: Christian persecution is a good thing

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Kevin Swanson Christian persecution is a good thing

On the January 5, 2018, Generations podcast, Kevin Swanson points to the recent Oregon Court of Appeals ruling in favor of a lesbian couple who were emotionally distraught that Sweet Cakes By Melissa would not honor their same-sex wedding by making them a wedding cake. As a means of business transaction, the state of Oregon basically told its citizens that they must enter a private contract with certain parties just because they happen to be gay and want them to honor their marriage or anything LGBTQ related because they have “rights.” If someone wants to honor God’s Law and God’s Holy Word, you should not have the power to force them to sin against God which the state wants many Christians to do. The LGBTQ jihad have successfully destroyed a family-run business in Oregon.

As we all know, Christian persecution is nothing new but especially in America. It just seems to be magnified thanks to the LGBTQ/Rainbow Jhaid being the progressives ‘imperial stormtroopers.’ Swanson points out the times in which Samuel Worcester (who sided with the Cherokee Indians who did not want to abandon their lands thanks to President Andrew Jackson who wanted the lands to mine for gold and helped usher in “The Trail of Tears.” Lest we forget that Jackson used blacks as slaves and as his own prostitutes), Everett Siliven (a Nebraska Baptist pastor who had to shut down his church-run private school for children because it was not “licensed” by the state), and Randy Alcorn (a pastor sued by Planned Parenthood for “transpassing on their property” because they wanted to encourage women not to murder their unborn babies) lived in the persecution they had to deal with.

They may be footnotes in history, but they really should not be. It is the testimony of how the State wants to take God’s place in this world, and do whatever it wants regardless of who it harms for their respected personal gains. Compared to what? Jackson and company getting rich at the expense of displacing Native Americans? Giving up Christian education because you’re not licensed by the state and sending children to the government-run monopoly to become the next useful idiots for the pagans that rule the world? Or being able to murder pre-born babies so you need not worry about the procreation part of sexual relations?

Christians can’t be cowards in any day and age. If we don’t stand for God, then the pagans would have then and now scored victories against God and his Holy Law, in their attempts to break free of God himself and earn salvation on their own. Many people have died for the faith and they have been allowed by the Grace of God to be remembered. Other people have come to Jesus because of the people that gave their lives and freedoms for the Lord. In that sense, persecution is a good thing.

Reference

Inevitable Persecution for U.S. Christians

https://www.generations.org/programs/836The family bakery in Oregon lost their appeal, and now they are forced to surrender $135,000 to a lesbian couple for not supporting their wedding. Christians who believe even the most rudimentary Christian truths have fallen into the very slim minority, and are persecuted as such.  We go through the history of Christian persecution in the United States from Samuel Worcester in the 1830s to Everett Siliven, Randy Alcorn, and other familiar names of those who have suffered for the faith.

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