Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Book Club Kit

Here’s something that caught my eye. Sharon Hinck has a special kit for book clubs. For the price of eight books ($119), you can get eight books, a literary guide, a discussion guide, a party planner, leader checklist, a DVD from Sharon Hinck, and graphics for invitations, posters, and evites.

I would have to see the DVD before I would pass judgment on it, but it appears to be something that book clubs might find useful. If they are planning on buying eight copies of the book anyway, then they really don’t have anything to lose.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

The Doctrine of Firefly

A few years ago, there was a science fiction series on television called Firefly. It was highly entertaining, but the network quickly canceled it. It wasn’t perfect, but I won’t go into all of that. I do want to mention one episode, Jaynestown.

The B plot of this episode has the characters River and Shepherd Book back on the ship. Shepherd is a preacher. River is a super smart woman who has been driven to near insanity by the government. She gets a hold of Shepherd’s Bible and decides that she is going to fix it. She starts tearing out pages as she goes because she finds things that she believes are incorrect, things like creation and the ark protecting the animals from the great flood. Shepherd tells her that the Bible doesn’t have to make sense because it is really just about believing in something. Later, she tells him that she is sorry that she tore the pages out of his symbol and she wants to put them back.

Obviously, Shepherd is not a good preacher. Rather than showing River that her understanding of the Bible is flawed, he essentially agrees with her that it doesn’t make sense and tells her that it is about believing in something. From other episodes, we find that his doctrine is simply that everyone should believe in something. He doesn’t care what, but everyone should believe in something. That is a fool’s doctrine that will lead a man straight to hell and yet there are many people who have accepted that doctrine or something very similar.

Many people see Christianity as nothing more than a bunch of symbols and a set of rituals to follow. When a scientific theory appears to discredit what the Bible says, instead of taking the time to figure out what is wrong with the scientific theory or what is wrong with their understanding of what the Bible says, people assume that the scientific theory must be correct and relegate the Bible to being no more than a symbol of our faith. If that is what the Bible is, then what are we putting out faith in? Many people have the idea that it is okay to believe something that isn’t true. They seem to have the idea that the Bible isn’t really true, but we show our faith in God by believing it anyway. It is impossible for us to believe something that we do not believe and yet there are people who have the idea that if we put our faith in something that isn’t true then we will get into heaven. They have the idea that by going through the motions of worship they will somehow be pleasing to God. What God?

If the Bible is nothing more than the words of men, then what good is it? What authority did these men have to tell about God? Would it not be better to declare ourselves as gods? Even if the Bible is the inspired word of God but it is incorrect, what good is God if he can’t even give us an accurate history of the world? We might as well make one up that we like better. What good is a law given by an imperfect God?

Fortunately, the Bible is accurate; it is the inspired word of God. In its pages, we discover Jesus, the person we are to trust to save us from our sins. It isn’t about believing in something or anything, it is about believing in Jesus. We are not to believe because we are told to believe; we are to believe because he has the power to save us.

Sunday, January 13, 2008


I have a question that I would love to know the answer to, if anyone cares to give an opinion:

Why would a woman decide to leave a husband who loves her?

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Micaiah's Vision

We sometimes forget that it is God who determines who will rule a country. In America, we question how this is possible. We got to vote. We cast our vote. Our votes are counted. Both the saints and the heathens vote, but the Bible tells us that it is God who puts men in power. How can this be?

Do you remember Micaiah? He was a prophet, but he was such a minor prophet that he didn’t get a book in the Bible. He is mentioned in two places I Kings 22 and II Chronicles 18, but these passages describe one incident. Israel and Judah were going to war, so the kings called four hundred prophets before them to tell them how they would do in battle. The prophets told them what they wanted to hear, that they would go to battle and be victorious, but Jehoshaphat king of Judah didn’t trust them and asked for a prophet of the Lord to be called. So in comes Micaiah. He tells Jehoshaphat to go and prosper, but he tells Ahab that he will die. Then he tells the vision that he saw. The Lord had the host of heaven gather around him and he asked them who would go and persuade Ahab to go into battle and die. Several made suggestions, but a spirit came before the Lord and said that he would be a lying spirit in the mouth of all Ahab’s prophets. The Lord said that this spirit would succeed. Ahab must have thought Micaiah was telling the truth because he disguised himself when he went into battle. The enemy looked for him, but they didn’t find him, but an arrow just happened to strike him and Ahab died.

Can’t you just imagine that when election time comes around or even now as people begin to make their decision, Satan gathers his angels around him and asked them “How can we get our man (or woman) elected?” Some of them come to him and say, “I’ll go and tell people that they really don’t need to worry about character.” Perhaps God has a reason to allow Satan’s plan to success and he allows the plan to work, but at other times it might be that God calls his host around him and asks, “Who will go and convince them to vote for my servant?” Perhaps an angel who has duties with the weather say, “I will cause it to rain in some areas of the country.” Another will say, “I will show people the evil that the opponent has done.” A spirit may come and say, “I will be a spirit of patriotism among the saints and they will go vote.” Then the Lord will speak and say, “Go and do as you say. You will have success.”

Then when election day comes, we will all go on about our business, oblivious to the spiritual warfare that is going on around us. We may look at the weather and think “I really don’t have to go vote.” We may see a flag flying in the wind and think, “I am so glad that I live in a country where I can take part in the political process.” Perhaps we can see God at work in the choices people make.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

How to Impress God

Have you every wanted to impress God? Have you thought about what you can do that would impress God? Can we impress him with our offerings? Our money already belongs to him. Can we impress him with our service? Perhaps, but it is so easy for us to fail in our service to the Lord. There is an account in the Bible that shows a person that God seems to be impressed with and it is in one of the most unlikely places.

Do you remember reading about King Ahab? If you don’t remember, he was the guy who was married to Jezebel. He was an evil guy. In describing him, the Bible states, “there was none like unto Ahab, who sold himself to work wickedness in the sight of the Lord.” (I Kings 21:25 KJ21) In other words, not only was he a bad guy, he was a very bad guy. There had never been a king as bad as he was.

One of the things that he did was that when Naboth refused to sell his vineyard, he had him killed in a very public and very gruesome fashion. If you read I Kings 21, you will see that it was actually Jezebel who did this, but she did it with Ahab’s knowledge, in his name and used his seal to do it. Ahab may not have gotten his hands dirty, but he was all for it.

The result of all of this was that the Lord sent Elijah to talk to Ahab, while Ahab was still in Naboth’s vineyard, taking possession of it. Through Elijah, the Lord tells Ahab, because you did this the dogs are going to lick your blood in the place where the dogs licked Naboth’s blood. Your sons will be killed and your family will be cut off. Jezebel will be killed and eaten by the dogs. Everyone in your family will either be eaten by dogs or eaten by birds. God didn’t hold any punches on this one. Ahab had gone too far and God told him that it was over.

We later see that what God said would happen is exactly what happened, but in the last part of I Kings 21 we see that Ahab humbled himself before the Lord. He rent his clothes, put on sackcloth and he fasted. Then the word of the Lord came to Elijah and God says, “Seest thou how Ahab humbleth himself before me? Because he humbleth himself before Me, I will not bring the evil in his days; but in his son’s days will I bring the evil upon his house.”

In reading that, doesn’t it seem like God is taping Elijah on the shoulder and saying, “you’ve got to take a look at this. Look what Ahab has done.” It is similar to the statement that God mad about Job. Ahab impressed God. One of the most evil men the world has ever seen impressed God by humbling himself. Because God was impressed, Ahab was allowed to live for a while longer and he didn’t see any of his sons or Jezebel die during that time. All of that happened after Ahab’s death.

To me this says that the surest way to impress God is by humbling ourselves before him. Even an evil man like Ahab was able to impress God by humbling himself. Nothing impresses God more than when we have the proper attitude toward him. That is only possible when we humble ourselves before him. That is why that Satan, with all of his beauty and power, is unable to impress God, but sinful human who is on his knees can.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Advice of Non-experts

Michael Hyatt recently blogged about preparing for a half-marathon. In stating why we should listen to him, a person who has not been running very long, he states:
My lack of experience is precisely what qualifies me to speak on the topic. When I got started, most of the advice I received was from veteran runners. They knew a lot about running—as a veteran runner. But apparently they had forgotten what it was like to be a beginner. I still remember.

Why should we listen? Because he is an expert on being a beginner. I'm not planning on running a marathon or a half-marathon, but I do have a lot to say about a lot of things and I often wonder why people should listen to me when there are so many expert out there who know so much more than I do. They are the ones who have it all figured out, not me. With the exception of a few things, I'm not an expert on things, but I am on this journey, seeking to learn, like everyone else. That is what qualifies us non-experts to speak. We may not always be right, but we may be able to help someone who is not quite as far along the journey as we are better than someone who has already gone the whole way.