Engaging Your World

Friday, August 31, 2007

WHO WAS IN CONTROL WHEN THIS HAPPENED?


Dr. Roger Olson from Baylor University lived in the Twin Cities in Minnesota for some fifteen years, so when the bridge collapsed recently there was a personal connection for him. Many have spoken about the tragedy on the bridge that day and Dr. Olson has taken exception to some of the comments. Particularly those who would hold a biblical view that God is Sovereign and nothing happens that God has not permitted. Olson calls that " the God of Calvinism", and he says the following from the wires;

"The God of Calvinism scares me; I'm not sure how to distinguish him from the devil. If you've come under the influence of Calvinism, think about its ramifications for the character of God. God is great but also good. In light of all the evil and innocent suffering in the world, he must have limited himself."

Olson struggles where many do, with the issue of evil and all of the bad that happens in the world. He does not want to come to the conclusion that any evil could be within Gods parameters of allowance. The problem with his perspective first of all is that it is unbiblical. Passage after passage shows clearly that God controls all from the rising of the Sun, to the rulers of nations, to the feeding of the animals in the middle of the night where no one else could ever reach. Olson's god ends up being a Deity that is powerless over evil. A God who reacts, one who hopes for the best and has no control over the evil one, or over evil in general. Olson makes the fundamental error of equating the bad things that happen in the world to meaning that God does not control all.

It is the difference between a man centered view of God and a God centered view. The Word of God tells us that God does what He does for His glory, not ours. Those who are Christ's happen to be glad recipients of that display in Christ at Calvary. When you understand that God is out for His glory then you can rest with the reality that He has an eternal view and this life is not the end. We exist for His glory and are on this planet to display that, whether we eat or drink, or whatever we might do. The tragedies that hit our shores from time to time are a reminder of the truth that there are thousands upon thousands dying each day in a variety of ways, entering into Eternity.

What is always interesting is the lack of outrage over the most tragic death of all, the Lord Jesus Christ. An innocent man who never sinned was murdered in brutal fashion. That is the greatest display of horror,and most unfair event of all, seemingly. Yet God was behind that as well. What appeared to all of the world to be an awful tragedy, was shown to be the most wonderful thing that has ever happened in the history of man. So as Olson and others would seek to criticize "the God of Calvin", be sure that you worship the God of the Bible, as uncomfortable as that might seem at times. Remember He is God and we are not!

blog you later,
pastor tom
www.engagingyourworld.com

Thursday, August 30, 2007

NO MORE TAG? WHAT IS NEXT, NO MORE RECESS?


As the school year begins afresh for millions of teachers and students, there is always an air of anticipation and excitement. Students, at least most of them, are determined to buckle down, study hard and achieve good graded. Teachers, at least most of them, are determined to do their very best to enable their students to truly learn. And then there the administrations of these schools and to be honest, at times you have to wonder what in the world they are actually thinking. An elementary school in the Falcon School District in Colorado has enforced a new rule. A rule that comes so that their will be less conflict according to Cindy Fesgen, assistant principal of the Discovery Canyon Campus school.

What is the new policy being enforced? Believe it or not Mr.Ripley, it is that there will no longer be any games of TAG allowed! That is correct, TAG no longer is allowed. While teachers and students are preparing for a new year, there are actually people who are sitting around and discussing the removal of TAG as an actual good move for the schools. And to top it off, the taxpayers are the ones paying the salaries of those who find TAG an important topic.

The ideology behind such thinking is that there ought never to be a winner or loser in any competition. There should never be any children who skin their knees or need band-aids. Children should never be disappointed or put out, and most of all let us not see children have any fun. TAG is a great game, and FREEZE TAG is even better. Lets hope that administrators throughout the country will see the need to not try and be God this year. Lets hope that they will see the folly of such rules and appreciate how it is that God truly creates children. I realize that is a lot to hope for, but lets hope anyway.
TAG, YOUR IT!

blog you later,
pastor tom
www.engagingyourworld.com

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

HE'S NO JOHN F. KENNEDY!


Presidential candidate John Edwards in speaking to a Labor group, called on Americans to sacrifice. Certainly a noble thing to suggest, as President Kennedy famously remarked, "ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country". President Kennedy, although I am no fan of his Presidency, had the credibility to call on his country to sacrifice. He had served and even performed heroically in battle during WWII. He sacrificed his body and even lost more than one loved one in that war. So when he called on his nation to sacrifice, to give, he was a credible spokesman that had earned the right to make that call.

Edwards on the other hand has no such credibility, or right. This man, who has no chance, thankfully, to be President, is calling for sacrifice. In his appearance before a Labor group he actually called for people to stop driving SUV's. I kid you not, and give you the following from the wires;

"I think Americans are actually willing to sacrifice," Edwards said Tuesday during a forum held by the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers. "One of the things they should be asked to do is drive more fuel efficient vehicles."
The former North Carolina senator was asked specifically if he would tell them to give up their SUVs, he said, "Yes."

This is a man who lives in a 28,000 square foot home! I have blogged about this before, but does anyone see the slight problem here? Edwards calling for this type of sacrifice is akin to Michael Vick calling for people to treat their animals better. The hypocrisy is laughable, yet Edwards somehow believes he is to be taken serious. It is simply an example of how delusional these candidates can become when all they are surrounded by are their kool-aid drinking supporters. What will Edwards call for us to sacrifice next, hair cuts?

blog you later,
pastor tom
www.engagingyourworld.com

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

FREEDOM, BUT AT WHAT PRICE?


Today there are many people rejoicing in South Korea as the Taliban has agreed to let the remaining 19 hostages go free. While that is good news for the 19 and their family and friends, the question is, at what cost does their freedom come? To obtain their release the South Korean government has agreed to the following, from the wires;

"GHAZNI, Afghanistan (AP) – Taliban militants agreed today to release 19 South Korean church volunteers held hostage for six weeks after Seoul reaffirmed a pledge to withdraw its troops by year's end and prevent Christian missionaries from working in Afghanistan."

The reality is that the Taliban has demonstrated that the taking of hostages works. To believe that this will not encourage more terror from them is to be naive, at best. The Taliban can claim victory in their being able to dictate to a country that they leave and commit to not allow any Christian missionaries in Afghanistan. Mustafa Alani, director of security and terrorism studies at the Dubai-based Gulf Research Center had this to say, "The fact that the Koreans negotiated with them directly and more or less in their territory ... is in itself an achievement....they achieved a lot in terms of political credibility."

While the families celebrate and rightly so, let us not forget that two of the hostages were murdered by the Taliban. Let us also not forget that now that the South Korean government has opened the door, you can be sure that many other terror groups will go to school on this. The Taliban has shown that terror works, hostage taking is effective. They have also demonstrated that they do not care at all for their country, as the demand that Christian missionaries not be allowed back to their country is evidence of that. Christian missionaries are the ones caring for the sick and feeding the poor. Things the Taliban and their terrorist brothers could care less about. Yes 19 will go free, but at what price?

blog you later,
pastor tom
www.engagingyourworld.com

Monday, August 27, 2007

ROBBED!


Our church has fallen victim to the rash of break-ins that have hit our area. We were robbed last night of a significant amount of money, as well as having our offices ransacked. As I sit here putting my office back together, some of the graces of the Lord come to my mind;

1. No one was in the offices when it happened. Things can be replaced, people cannot.

2. The burglars were not malicious in their break -in. Those that broke in were clearly looking for money. While they definitely made a mess of things and there are some things that need to be repaired or replaced, they did not gratuitously smash and break things for no reason.

3. The sovereignty of God. Last night before leaving the office with my wife at 12:30 am I watched a sermon by John Piper on the topic of evil and God. In this powerful sermon Piper's scriptural examples make the case that God controls all, even Satan and nothing can be done at anytime without the permission of God. As the reporter was interviewing me today about the break-in he mentioned that I seemed to be taking this well. I had the opportunity to share with him that when your faith is in Christ you know that He is in control of all, even robberies.

4. Perspective. I have just spent a week at a mission board talking about and working on the plight of all the untrained pastors around the world. When you hear the stories and meet the people I did last week, this seems very small in comparison.

5. Depravity. How bad off must you be to rob churches on a Sunday night? I pray for the souls of those involved that they would receive Christ and use this as a part of a life long testimony that gives glory to God!

It is good to know the Lord gives and the Lord takes away, blessed be the name of the Lord, particularly for His amazing grace!

blog you later,
pastor tom
www.engagingyourworld.

Friday, August 24, 2007

HE UNDERSTOOD AND HAD THE COURAGE TO SPEAK!



As we consider our world and the ideological struggle that fuels the many wars around the world, consider the following quote;


"The civilization of Europe, America, and Australia exists today at all only because of the victories of civilized man over the enemies of civilization... [including] those of Charles Martel in the 8th century [over Arab jihadists] and those of John Sobieski in the 17th century [over Ottoman Turkish jihadists]. During the thousand years that included the careers of the Frankish soldier [Martel] and the Polish king [Sobieski], the Christians of Asia and Africa proved unable to wage successful war with the Moslem conquerors; and in consequence Christianity practically vanished from the two continents; and today nobody can find in them any 'social values' whatever, in the sense in which we use the words, so far as the sphere of Mohammedan influence [is]... concerned."

A relevant quote that seems as if it could have been said yesterday, although there would have to have been someone with the courage to say that yesterday, and thus we see that the quote is from 1916 and the author is Theodore Roosevelt! If you do any study at all you will realize the struggle today around the world with Islam is the same struggle that has been there for centuries. And the reality is that the future will contain this very same struggle until the Lord Jesus Christ returns.

With the truth of that ringing in our ears, let us look for politicians with the courage to speak the truth and conduct their offices based on the truth. And by the same token let those of us who know Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior seek to be the salt and light we are called to be, particularly to the Muslim world!

blog you later,
pastor tom
www.engagingyourworld.com

Thursday, August 23, 2007

PULL THOSE PANTS UP!!!


Atlanta city councilman C.T. Martin is attempting to add things such as baggy pants and exposed bra straps to its indecency laws. The goal is to punish those who would wear such things or expose such things with a fine. Martin says baggy pants are an "epidemic" in the nation and something needs to be done. While I certainly believe that there ought to be propriety and consideration for others when it comes to appearance, the reality is that this is an example of trying to stop the hemorrhage with a band-aid.

I do not want to make a blanket statement that all who wear baggy pants are ungodly, or in need of Christ, but the reality is that the concern the councilman has, while genuine, is misplaced. It is a great example of how man looks at things and what man does to try to rectify a supposed problem he sees. Gods Word tells us that man looks on the outside, while God looks at the heart. Man sees baggy pants and bra straps and God sees a heart that is either stone and in need of Christ, or regenerate and a daughter or son.

So while city councilmen and others seek to address the issues of public appearance, let us who know the Lord Jesus Christ seek to see people the way that God does!

blog you later,
pastor tom
www,engagingyourworld.com

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

BOYS WILL BE BOYS? NOT IN THIS SCHOOL DISTRICT!


This is sensitivity gone mad, it is political correctness in turbo mode and it is absurd! A 13 year old boy has been suspended from an Arizona public school for three days due to his drawing something that resembled a gun. Actually it does not even really look like a gun, but that is beside the point. Guess what? Thirteen year old boys do draw things like guns and cars and other things that boys are created by God to be interested in. But we have become so sensitized and programmed and de-gendered (if that is even a word) that we are literally suspending kids from school for acting like the boys that they are created to be.

This child was not a problem child. From all accounts he was and is a good kid who was simply doodling, but even if he was drawing a gun, so what? His mom said her son was just idly drawing pictures, and ended up with a fake laser, from the wires;

"He was just basically doodling and not thinking a lot about it," she said. "We're not advocates for guns. We don't have guns in our home. We don't promote the use of guns. My son was just basically doodling on a piece of paper."

School officials who initially banned the student for five days lowered the penalty to three days after discussing the situation with the boy's father.

"I just can't believe that there wasn't another way to resolve this," Mosteller told the Associated Press. "He's so upset. The school made him feel like he committed a crime. They are doing more damage than good."

There are theological implications to all of this. We have lost sight of the beauty and glory that is Gods design. Boys and girls are created different by Him. And instead of seeking to create a robotic society of cookie cutter politically correct kids, we should be celebrating His design in all of its glory!

blog you later,
pastor tom
www.engagingyourworld.com

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

THE INVASION CONTINUES!


I have from time to time reminded you all of the impending invasion of the Muslim world to our shores. It is more pervasive and more effective than the 9/11 attacks. It is happening state by state and today we see more evidence. In Brooklyn NY there is a planned school with an Arabic theme to it. It is the first Arabic themed public school of its kind in the area and is fueling much debate. The reality is that the fundamental teaching of this ideology is not hard to find or figure out, it is conquer by force, with the primary targets being Israel, the "little satan" and America, the "great satan". Here is one quote from a dissenting voice from the wires;

"New York Assemblyman Dov Hikind (D-Brooklyn) said the school's children could be "indoctrinated" and warned in a statement that "establishment of an Arab school is a misguided and dangerous idea." He wrote a letter to Schools Chancellor Joel Klein to protest the school's opening.

He released the following statement:

"[Almontaser] said that 'intifada' means to 'shake off.' We know that 'intifada' means the killing of innocent men, women and children. And now, the sponsors and organizational endorsers of the school advance a boycott of Israel and divestment. Is this what we want taught in our public schools? Is this how we want New York children to be indoctrinated?

"Instead of enriching our students' grasp of diverse cultures, will this school become a morass of polarization and justification of terror tactics? Establishment of an Arab school is a misguided and dangerous idea. I am calling on you, as Chancellor, to abolish this school before it becomes firmly entrenched. At first I embraced the idea (of a school which teaches the Arabic language) albeit, somewhat less than enthusiastically, but nevertheless, I felt the country needed skilled students steeped in Arab language and culture.

"All signs point to this concept as being a precarious mistake, especially with its radical endorsements. Do we want a school to teach its students that Hamas militants are freedom fighters, and that Israel is an apartheid state? This school is ill-advised. It will not, as suggested, be a hope for peace; it is a blueprint for anti-Israel and anti-U.S. extremism. As per their website mideastjustice.org, Adalah-NY 'supports boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel.' The school should not be opened for the September term."

Look no further, the ideology is now being promoted to the children, not of the Middle East, but rather those of our country!

blog you later,
pastor tom
www.engagingyourworld.com

Monday, August 20, 2007

SURPRISING RESULTS!

MTV and the Associated Press conducted a survey of 1280 young people between the ages of 13-24 with one simple question, "what makes you happy?" You can imagine the answers, particularly if MTV is involved. We would expect partying and sex to be high on the list, if not number one. But the results are stunning, revealing and encouraging, from the wires;

"Spending time with family was the top answer to that open-ended question, according to an extensive survey - more than 100 questions asked of 1,280 people ages 13-24 - conducted by The Associated Press and MTV on the nature of happiness among America's young people."

Spending time with family? I thought that was old fashioned and out of style, not cool. I thought it did not matter if both parents were out of the house the majority of the time. Well it looks like young people have a better understanding of what it is that God designed when He designed a family, than the parents do! God made us relational. The family unit was His plan. We are created to desire to be in loving and caring relationships, particularly with those that He has sovereignly decided to put us with as families. The next time you look at your teenagers, or college age children, do not think for a moment that they would rather be with anyone else than you. While that might be true at certain times, you can be sure that overall they would rather be spending time with their family than anyone else. Go ahead and give family time a try again, bring it out of retirement, you might be surprised at the response from those whom you would least expect it from.

If God designed the family and He did, than it is for our joy and His glory. And best of all, the young people of our nation understand that better than we do!

blog you later,
pastor tom
www,engagingyourworld.com

Friday, August 17, 2007

NO GREATER SACRIFICE THAN THIS.....


From time to time we get glimpses of Christlike behavior from people. We all are aware, or should be of the miners who have been trapped in the mine in Utah. Much of the country has been riveted on this story, waiting, watching, praying that this would be an outcome of joy for the families involved. As the days go by, the hope diminishes as each moment is precious. The amazing thing about all of this is the men who have gone in to try to rescue their brothers. Knowing the peril, they have gone into the deep recesses trying to get to them before all hope is lost.

The unthinkable happened yesterday as the men who went down to rescue have themselves become victims. In the midst of their working down into the mine, there was another cave in that tragically killed three and injured six more. These rescuers were very aware of the danger and even had commented on the tenuous situation of this particular mine. In spite of that, they showed up and without hesitation went into the mouth of the lion, willing to give their lives for the lives of others.

This is a great picture of the Lord Jesus Christ who went to the cross for others. Who gave his life in a horrific brutal death by crucifixion for all of those who would receive Him as their Lord and Savior. While you pray for the families of those who have lost loved ones in this tragedy and marvel at the heroic sacrifice, take some time to also marvel at the greatest sacrifice in the history of man. Jesus Christ, crucified, buried, risen, all according to the Scriptures!

blog you later,
pastor tom
www.engagingyourworld.com

Thursday, August 16, 2007

DON'T WASTE YOUR LIFE!


Thirty years! It was thirty years ago that Elvis Presley succumbed to a life of drug addiction on the floor of his bathroom. It is noteworthy that a man who had lived the American Dream, from rags to riches, ended up dead on his bathroom floor face down in his own vomit, alone. There is much you could draw from that tragedy. But overshadowing that for me today is this stark reminder of how fast time goes by. Does it seem like thirty years ago?

The Word of God describes life with words such as "vapor, morning mist, evening shadow". These are words that God uses in His Word to remind us that we are not on this earth for very long. Whether you live to nine or ninety, it is not a long time in the economy of the history of man. The point of this, is that God calls us on this earth, with the lives He has given us, whether we eat or drink, or whatever we do, to do for the glory of God. He is to be the focus of our lives. That being true, how do we then know what it is that glorifies God?

It is Gods Word that instructs in the life that brings Him glory. We must be a people of the Word. In a day and age where people everywhere are happy to cut and paste the Word of God to make it fit the subjective god of their own making that they worship, we can take comfort in the truth that His Word still stands! We can know how it is that are to live with the short time we have on this earth. We can learn to live a life that will have eternal value on this side of eternity.

Yes, our time is short, and it seems like only yesterday that we heard the news that Elvis had died. Many headlines were posted that said, "The King is Dead!" Thirty years later the King of Kings still calls to us from His Word to redeem the short time we have on this earth for His Glory! What will you do with the rest of your life?

blog you later,
pastor tom
www.engagingyourworld.com

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

IT ONLY TAKES A MOMENT!


Jose Offerman, a former major league baseball All-Star was arrested yesterday. No, it was not drugs, nor was it drunken driving or abusing his spouse. Offerman was arrested for his actions during a minor league independent league game! After homering in his first at bat, Offerman was hit in the calf by the pitcher on his next plate appearance. At that point Offerman charged the mound and went after the pitcher with his bat. The catcher tried to stop him and received a concussion for his efforts, while the pitcher broke a finger on his right hand. Offerman, according to reports, actually went for the pitchers head with his bat.

While he is facing serious charges that could mean jail time, his actions display how easy it is for someone to lose it in the competitive arena. I am sure that there must be some extenuating circumstances in his personal life that contributed to this outburst and I am also sure that it only takes one moment to ruin someones testimony for the Lord. I am not referring to Offerman as a believer in Christ, but rather connecting the danger for believers.

Athletics can be a severe test for those who know the Lord and are trying to live for Him. Many a competitor has done things in the "heat of the battle" that they have regretted immediately, I will be the first to admit to that. But it is not only competitors that need to be on guard. Spectators of sports can have just as hard of a time. It can be at the event where someone who walks with the Lord day in and day out, blows his or her testimony to the world with a momentary outburst. So as we look at Jose Offerman in disbelief, let us also look in the mirror and remember that the next time we are on the field, or simply at the field watching, we need to guard our testimonies, as it takes only a moment to taint a lifetimes walk with the Lord!

blog you later,
pastor tom
www.engagingyourworld.com

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

DO YOU "SEE GOD?"


It is becoming more and more of a common occurrence where people are "seeing God" in things such as walls of buildings, windows,trees and of course food. The latest "appearance" is in the eggplant you see pictured here. The owners have seen God spelled out and now of course are considering Ebay as an option, which also seems to be the common course of events for people in this situation. While the obvious humor and lack of common sense is apparent in these situations, there is something revealed that is worth mentioning.

What these things tap into is the desire that people inherently have to see God, have more of God, know that there is a God. While the heart is wicked and no one seeks after God on their own, there is something in people that wants to believe that these are messages from God that display Him to be real. The absurdity of it all is that we have that revelation in the Word of God, but people would rather look at eggplant. Gods Word is where we truly see God revealed and truly see His appearance to us. He has made himself very real through His Word, yet people would look everywhere else and even give credibility to utter nonsense rather than simply read and submit to His Word.

Cheese sandwiches and eggplant might be appealing to the palate, but if you want ot truly "see God" then you will find him in His Word.!

Monday, August 13, 2007

BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU CHEER FOR!


There was great celebration by some in the St. Johns Lutheran Church in Atlanta Georgia yesterday. Their minister Rev. Bradley Schmeling was pleased as well, considering the national assembly of his denomination voted the day before to not defrock gay and lesbian ministers who violate the celibacy policy. From the wires;

"Schmeling called the assembly's vote a "crack in the dam" and told the more than 100 people gathered in the St. John's sanctuary that the congregation had "given its gift" to the ELCA.
"The hard work, the struggle, has really finally made a difference for years to come," he said."

It is correct that a difference is being made, but the discussion becomes about the type of difference and the effect on churches. It is also interesting to note the progression in this discussion, as we have gone beyond the ordaining and allowing of homosexual ministers, and are not discussing if they are celibate or not. While the Word of God is clear that homosexuality is a sin and a perversion of Gods design for His people, the culture of our day accepts and normalizes such behavior at the expense of God, His Word and His Glory.

But this is not simply an issue of homosexuality, it is an issue of people who have exchanged the glory of God for the glory of man. It is indicative of the times in which we live to see people worshipping the creation rather than the Creator, as Romans would tell us. Homosexuality is God turning man over to his darkest depravity as a consequence of worshipping things and people other than Him. So as we watch the homosexual movement spread from the classroom to the pulpits, as we hear of people in churches cheering for the acceptance of this lifestyle, let us remember what is really happening. Let us with reverence and a holy fear seek to live for His glory and not our own, as soon the cheering will stop and every knee will bow and confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. For some it will be a joyful confession, for others it will be a fearful confession as they realize that their enemy is Lord. For them there will be nothing to cheer about!

Friday, August 10, 2007

IS YOUR THUMB iPHONE READY?

How far will we go in this world of ever advancing technology? When is it enough? When are the computers fast enough, the gadgets small enough, the internet accessible enough? Now I ask these questions as I write on a mac book, and am wearing a blackberry phone, so I am a fan and subscriber to technology. But the reason for the questions today is due to what Thomas Martel of Colorado has done. He had his thumbs surgically altered in a revolutionary new surgical technique known as "whittling." Here is his take on all of this, from the wires;

"From my old Treo, to my Blackberry, to this new iPhone, I had a hard time hitting the right buttons, and I always lost those little styluses," explains Martel. "Sure, the procedure was expensive, but when I think of all the time I save by being able to use modern handhelds so much faster, I really think the surgery will pay for itself in ten to fifteen years. And what it's saving me in frustration - that's priceless. "

While on the one hand (pun intended) we can admire the dedication of someone who is willing to go to such lengths to acheive a goal, it is a sad commentary on how imprisoned we can become to our worldly desires. We have now moved from plastic surgery for cosmetic reasons to plastic surgery to enhance our use of iPhones. It seems as if we can go to a doctor to have anything fixed or made better. What the doctors cannot fix or make any better is an unregenerate heart. That still and always will need the redeeming power of the Lord Jesus Christ. So while the world chases after its idols, let us be sure to take these opporunities to speak of those things that only He can make right!

blog you later,
pastor tom
www.engagingyourworld.com

Thursday, August 09, 2007

BUT I STILL HAVE CEREBRAL PALSY!

Justin Peters was born in 1973 with cerebral palsy. Today he has a thriving ministry in which he travels around speaking of the dangers of the health and wealth heresy, or what is commonly known as the word faith movement. Justins perspective is different from most of the other critics of this movement as he has had the experience of going to one of these events seeking to be healed. At the age of 16 a well intentioned friend convinced him to go to his first and after that he went to others, always with the same result. He would leave the meetings still with cerebral palsy and feeling like he was less than the others there who seemed to be healed. In his own words;

"I was told that physical healing is always God's will and that I would receive that healing if I had enough faith," Peters said. "I not only doubted my faith but for a season I doubted my very salvation."

Here lies the sad consequence of this heretical movement. People are taught, very much in error, that if they have the faith they will be healed. Inevitably they are not healed and leave feeling as if they might not even be believers. How many people have had their faith shipwrecked due to the healing that did not happen, or the riches that never came in? This is why Gods Word matters. People wil listen to a television preacher and send him or her their money, believing, and hoping beyond hope that health and wealth will come their way. They will not bother to fact check, or put the Scriptures that are quoted in context to see what Gods Word really has to say. It is simply hear the person on television or radio and send in the money. Justin Peters, with his two Masters Degrees is doing the church a true service in seeking to educate on the dangers of this popular heresy. He knows firsthand the pain and suffering that is brought by these teachings, and seeks to share with as many as will listen. More of that is needed as we can be sure that Gods Word does not endorse such teachings. In fact health and wealth churches would not want to let the Apostle Paul or Jesus Christ in their membership, as they would not qualify given their teachings on such matters!

blog you later,
pastor tom
www.engagingyourworld.com

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

CONTENT?

Now that Barry Bonds has broken Hank Aaron's home run record the debate gets hotter. Should there be an asterisk on the record due to the steroid use that everyone believes Bonds has been involved in? Commentators run the gamut of opinion as to how many more home runs Bonds hit due to steroid use. Some say upwards of one hundred home runs extra, which still leaves him with a very impressive number. The question is why would someone who has so much talent feel the need to take illegal drugs to enhance his performance? The answer is the Biblical truth that there is no contentment outside of the Lord Jesus
Christ.

The apostle Paul speaks to this when he says that he has learned the secret of contentment. Whether rich or poor, sick or healthy, he has learned that his contentment was in Christ. Apart from the Lord there is no contentment that will last for any significant amount of time. It does not matter if you have all the money you ever dreamed of, or all of the God given talent you could ever want. This is the lesson we learn from the example of Barry Bonds. It is not a question of steroids, but rather one of contentment!

blog you later,
pastor tom
www.engagingyourworld.com

Monday, August 06, 2007

TRUTH OR CONSEQUENCES!

Congressman Tom Tancredo has made news with these words from the wires;

"If it is up to me, we are going to explain that an attack on this homeland of that nature would be followed by an attack on the holy sites in Mecca and Medina."

Tancredo was referring to a nuclear attack on our country. He was committing himself to defending our country in the face of real terror from real nuclear threats, which is not too hard to imagine given the situation in Iran. His point is simple, if you attack our country and he is President, he will retaliate with overwhelming force and there will be no sites that are safe. This is an interesting and refreshing thing to hear from a candidate. It is the continued strategy of the enemy to hide caches of weapons and enemy combatants in their so called "holy sites". And the unwritten rule has been that we cannot attack such places, while they can. If you notice, in the sectarian violence that happens regularly in the Middle East, all parties concerned have no such problem attacking these very same sites.

So for once a candidate speaks the truth and gives message that would be understood, respected and even feared by the enemy,and here is the response, sadly from our State Deartment;


"The State Department on Friday reacted angrily to Tancredo's initial comments.
"Let me just say that it is absolutely outrageous and reprehensible for anyone to suggest attacks on holy sites -- whether they are Muslim, Christian, Jewish or those of any other religion," departmental spokesman Tom Casey said."

Comments and ideology such as these are the steps to the end of our country as we know it. While Congressman Tancredo is a severe long shot for the Presidency, this quote from him should be heeded by all who would aspire to the most important office in the land;

"My task as president of the United States is primarily to do one thing -- by the way, not to make sure everybody has health care or everybody's child is educated -- my task is to do one thing: to protect and defend this country. And that means to deter -- and I want to underline "deter" -- any kind of aggression, especially the type we are threatened with by Al-Qaeda, which is nuclear attack. I'm telling you right now that anybody that would suggest that we should take anything like this off the table in order to deter that kind of event in the United States isn't fit to be president of the United States."

Well said Congressman!

blog you later,
pastor tom

Friday, August 03, 2007

TREASURE THEM AS GIFTS!


More tragedy from the times in which we live, from the wires;

"A 5-month-old baby died after his mother forgot to drop him off at day care and left him in her hot car all day while she worked.
Lynn Brol, 32, of Franklinville arrived at her job around 8 a.m. Thursday and did not realize she had left her son, Brayden, in the car until she left work at 5 p.m., police in the rural Wyoming County village of Arcade said."

I cannot begin to imagine the agony this mom is going through and would encourage all readers of this blog to pray for her and the rest of the family. But I also cannot help but to stop and take note of the days in which we live. It is the norm for mom and dad to work. It is the norm for everyone to be running around like crazy, having put too much activity into too little time. People today, while in the car driving, are eating, making phone calls, and even receiving and sending text messages. It is life in turbo.

It seems to me that this is a significant contributing factor to tragedies like the one we read of today. Around 340 children have died similar deaths in the last 10 years. While I do not ever want to question the Sovereignty of God, I do believe that there is something to be learned here beyond the need to pay attention. I believe that there is the need for all of us to slow down. To adjust our schedules, not only to have the family meal time I wrote of yesterday, but also to keep the family intact. In the days when mom did not have to work, homes were much more stable and families much safer.

There was not the latch key phenomenon, nor were there parents who were so busy with life that they were forgetting about babies in their cars. I pray for this woman, but I also pray that every parent reading this would count their children a blessed gift. Make those changes that avail you to be a part of , with and attentive to your kids!

blog you later,
pastor tom
www.engagingyourworld.com

Thursday, August 02, 2007

BET YOU CANT EAT JUST ONE!



Kate Dunlop, 26, of Edinurgh was eating her pre-packaged salad when she got a mouthful of more than she paid for. In eating the salad she got a nice big bite of a dead frog that had made its way into the pre-packaged salad. To say she was sick would be an understatement, in fact it would be more correct to say she almost "croaked".(pun intended) In her own words;

"I spat it out on to my plate and saw the frog in what had come out of my mouth. I was absolutely horrified and so traumatized."
She added: "It really scared me that it could have made me ill. I was saying to my husband all night that my tongue felt tingly, but I think it was probably just me imagining it."

While she will survive, I am sure she will be hesitant to eat any more pre-packaged salads. The fact that things like pre-packaged salads, fast food restaurants and eating out in general has become so popular says much about our lives. For most people the family meal time is something more likely to be shown at the Smithsonian Institution rather than experienced. We are moving fast every day and most people do not believe they have the time to stop for a family meal. But consider what we have lost.

The joy of family getting together around a meal and discussing every ones day. The opportunity to talk current events, politics, sports and yes religion. Family meal time has been used by many a parent to impart values and traditions that stay with their children long after mom and dad are gone. Sadly it is much different today for most. Parents have allowed their children to be involved in every activity under the sun, mom and dad have spent so unwisely and lived so far beyond their level of income that both must work, and there is the simple truth of how expensive everything continues to be.

Factor that all together and most families do not have many, if any meals together. And what you end up with is a mouthful of frog from the pre-packaged salad. While Kate Dunlop fortunately did not "croak", I am afraid the family meal time has, to the detriment of us all!

blog you later,
pastor tom
www.engagingyourworld.com

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

ARE THE EYES THE REAL PROBLEM?


This is why I will never have it done. What you ask? Laser eye surgery. From the wires;

"A children's author was left with blurred vision after an eye surgeon tore her left cornea, a hearing was told.
Jan Fearnley, 41, one of the most successful author-illustrators of her generation, had hoped that Dr Haralabos Eleftheriadis could correct her sight so she could swim and cycle without contact lenses.
But shortly after the Lasik surgery began Dr Eleftheriadis, 43, removed the equipment from her eye and apologised. He later told Mrs Fearnley that her eye had "reacted" to the blade during the laser surgery at the Ultralase clinic in Guildford, Surrey, in April 2005.
Mrs Fearnley, who is short-listed for a Blue Peter Award and the Children's Book Award for her Mr Wolf's Pancakes, wept as she told the General Medical Council on Monday: "My vision is my livelihood."

While there are many people who have had the surgery with great results, in my mind it is not worth the risk. Which begs the question, at what point do we draw the line on elective surgery? The reason for the surgery for Fearnley was so that she could swim and cycle without contact lenses. At the time to her that seemed like a worthy goal but now I am quite sure she would gladly swim and bike with contact lenses. We live in a day and age where elective surgery is a wildly popular industry. People reportedly are becoming addicted to plastic surgery at an alarming rate.

I believe there is a fundamental underpinning to these surgeries, and that is to put off death. People believe they can put off the inevitable. If they make themselves look younger, see without glasses, become skinny overnight, they have gained time. While they may not say as much, they are fighting the grave. The goal is not a bad one, it is simply the weapons they choose that are faulty. The grave can be beaten, but not by the surgeons tool. The grave is defeated by Jesus Christ. If you want to live forever with a glorified body and never look old, be sick, get tired, or wear out again, then repent of your sins, and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.

All of the things that people seek surgeons to remedy are the consequences of sin. We grow old, wear out and die because we are sinners. The problem is sin, not a worn out decaying body, that is the symptom. To have surgery to fix it, is akin to putting a band aid over a busted artery. The answer is to correct the problem, which is sin. Jesus Christ hung on a cross, died, was buried and rose again to forgive all of those who would receive Him as their Lord and Savior. In doing that He also defeated the grave. So before you schedule that next elective surgery, ask yourself, is this the right remedy for the right problem?

blog you later,
pastor tom
www.engagingyourworld.com