Monday, February 22, 2010

Elementary Truths

Facebook is a great way to keep in touch with people who live far away or with whom you rarely see. Recently, however, Facebook has been a source of heartache for me. Three people with whom I was in Bible study and who went to a solid, Bible teaching church have wandered into sin and have chosen worldly passions over a relationship with Christ. I am reminded of their bad decisions with every Facebook picture or update they post.

I am not shocked when non-Christian friends use profanity or talk excessively about drinking, anger, greed or bitterness. They are of the world. Why should I be surprised? However, it makes my heart sink when people who claimed to be Christ's followers "abandon" their faith. Two of the individuals are proclaiming to still be "spiritual", but they are relying on self entirely and not open to admonishment or humility. The third individual makes me the most sad, for he was someone I have known since elementary school. I always admired his boldness, his athletic talent, his intelligence, and, I thought, his faith in God. He has not just fallen away, he is a false teacher and is spreading a false message.

I recently discovered, he has a website/blog he posts on Facebook which is on the EXTREME side of emergent beliefs. Every discussion is seen in light of a social gospel, and he goes so far as to call Christians who share the true gospel as small minded, brainwashed individuals who don't get what Christ wanted us to do--love others and help those in oppression, according to him. He recently went to seminary and has emerged with a desire for intellectual "discussions" on what the Bible means to you, how we can help overthrow established systems of power, and, mainly, ways to create comfort for people here on earth. He fights for social, gender, racial and economic equality. He fights AGAINST conservative Christianity. He considers us morons.

My heart aches because he is lost. He fights for the wrong cause. This temporal life is not Christ's focus. It never was. Though he might think I'm a small-minded person, it does all boil down to the gospel message. We are sinners in need of repentance and faith in Christ. We are enemies of God. Christ reconciles us, and our response to this is an eternal decision. We will be separated from God FOREVER in Hell or we will dwell with Him in His goodness and light FOREVER in Heaven.

Truly, this story illustrates the truths of II Timothy 4:3, "For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear." It also is a good reminder that many people who claim to know Christ do not. We can never assume people are Christians just because they say they are so. All will be brought to light before God someday, and many will hear, "Depart from me. I never knew you."

This heartache also brings me to a place of thanksgiving to God. It reminds me that I grew up in the same churches, hearing the same messages, and meeting similar people. We went to the same Christian schools and both sat under my current pastor. However, the difference, is God. God called me to Him and softened my heart to know the truth. Without God choosing me, I would also be just a "spiritual" person with a heart for humanity and a heart that stood in opposition to the gospel and the humility it requires. I owe everything to God, and I pray He still calls these people to Him in repentance and faith.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Rebellious Decisions

Rebellious Decisions by Pastor Mike Fabarez

Awhile back the Supreme Court summarized another decision to move our country and its laws further from biblical principles by stating that their ruling epitomized “the progress of a maturing society.” As we often see throughout biblical history in general, and the book of Judges in particular, when society sees itself “casting off the fetters” of God’s moral precepts and his just dictates, they do nothing more than set themselves up for bondage, oppression and God’s passivity. Like the rebellion of a teenage son, when nations seek to establish their “maturity” by freeing themselves from parental ethics and mores, they always do so to their own hurt. It will eventually be clear that “righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people” (Pr.14:34) – “sin” defined not by the lowest common denominator of those who might be “offended”, but “sin” as defined by the Father of mankind. Unfortunately, it often takes a series of painful consequences for truly maturing teens to realize the wisdom of their parents’ forsaken rules. May that realization come quickly for us. While the church is not established for the purpose of corporately engaging in politics, it is our duty to continue to earnestly pray for “kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness” (1Tim.2:2).

Friday, February 5, 2010

The journey of Heart Training

Have you ever had one of THOSE days with heart training your little one? I know you are all thinking, "Oh, Yeah!" We've all been there. I feel like most of my days are spent reminding, training, chastising, correcting, admonishing and guiding. Three years was an especially rough road. We didn't have the terrible twos. In fact, two was low key compared to this last year.

We are currently rounding a corner, though. Everyone told me that four was a good year. It seems to be holding true as we approach the big fourth birthday.

We actually can have decent conversations with Carter about God, the Bible, behavior, character, sin, and choices. As many of you know, last year any question of "What did you learn in church today, Carter?" was met with two answers: "God" or "Jesus". We did go through a short phase of him answering "the Israelites" when they were studying Exodus. That was the extent of it.

I actually see Carter applying some lessons to his decision making and thoughts. That makes every frustrating day of heart training worth while. God is so gracious to let us see little glimpses of fruit in their lives as we work with them.

I know it is all God's work on Carter's heart, but I have to give huge praise to my hubby for his obedience as a godly father. He has been so consistent in prayer, Bible memorization, and Sunday school topic review nightly with Carter. What a great leader he is to our family!

We certainly have a long road ahead of us. Most of the day is still filled with LOTS of heart training, especially in the area of self control. Now that Micah is almost a year, we are in the beginning stages of teaching Micah about disobedience and consequences. The more forbidden an object, the more he wants it and tries to get to it. Oh, what stubborn little hearts my boys have! Where in the world did they get that characteristic? (Notice the sarcasm) Truly, it just reminds me of where my fleshly nature would take me without God's work in my life.

It sure is a journey--full of valleys and a few gracious mountaintops. Whatever journey God has planned, my prayer is that it all leads to their surrender to God in repentance and faith.