My full and open honesty to Him is often a painful thing. Seeking out, and facing, all my empty 'Christianized' masks and motives, cranked-out words, token prayers, and bargain-basement obedience that I call "my Christian walk". Oh, how predictable it has become. So filled with memorized forms and formulas. So empty of lasting fruit and substance. It even bores me at times. What does it do to Him?
So often so much of what I call my love for Him is little more than casual infatuation. It rarely costs very much.
I seek His priceless blessings and revival with dime-store prayers and cut-rate commitment that costs nothing, changes nothing, and isn't worth a penny more. Seeking a costless revival where repentance is a sinner's duty. Surely not mine, Lord. Surely not mine.
Does God talk to you personally? Would you bet your life on it? Claiming to receive personal messages from God on a regular basis places subjective experience on the same level as Scripture, Greg argues. This is the claim of a prophet, and not even Old Testament prophets did so unless they were willing to die for the claim.
I've made what I think is a telling observation about those who hold to a dual source of special revelation. Whenever an organization says, "We believe the Bible is inspired plus we believe our leadership is inspired," or "We believe the Bible is inspired plus we believe this other book of ours" (like the Book of Mormon, for example) "is inspired," the Bible always ends up taking the back seat instead of being on equal footing with these other sources of special revelation. I think most Christians will be comfortable with that assessment. This, though, raises a question about Evangelical claims to multiple sources of special revelation. For all our talk about sola Scriptura, many also hold that God speaks to them on a regular basis giving true information about Himself and specific directions for their lives. Their claim is, essentially, "I believe the . . .
Adultery. Common word, common occurrence in our society.
Lt. Kelly Flinn narrowly avoided court-martial for adultery and insubordination. Gen. Joseph Ralston left the candidacy for the top military position when a previous affair spawned an uproar. Everyone--from presidents to preachers--is subject to the temptation.
But adultery's stain goes deeper than the individual. More dishonor has come to the name of Jesus Christ by sexual sin than any other sin.
You will be tempted. C.S. Lewis, in Screwtape Letters, said, "No man knows how bad he is until he has tried to be good. There is a silly idea that good people don't know what temptation means."
We must learn from the Lord to enjoy full mastery over sex, His marvelous gift. "For God did not give us the spirit of . . .
What is it we're about as Christians? What is it we're doing?
I want to talk about what I did the last couple of weeks. Some of you were around last year--I'd like to think that I have not lost any listeners, but I have gained a few. Although, I think that a few people who were around last year are not around anymore after the last four or five weeks of our conversation together. But that's okay. Their loss, in one sense, because I think the things we do here are helpful no matter what your perspective. It will help sharpen your tools and help you to think better, even if you disagree.
In any event, if you recall this time last year--I returned from my week and a half fishing adventure in Wisconsin. This recent time was six days in northern Minnesota and then I went over to our place in northern Wisconsin. I spent some time with my mom in a cabin we have on a lake and did some fishing there--When I returned last time, things were pretty dismal for me. I talked about what I called "giving the truth but not the life" and the pace of my own life and the pace of the lives of Americans in general and Christians in particular as they imported much of American cultural values into Christianity and then deified them, made them part of the religious obligation to . . .
Today, in an effort to be sophisticated and contemporary, many Christians have stopped trying to persuade others to follow Christ. There's an underlying feeling in our society that nice people just don't go around persuading other people to do things.
Some folks seem to think that convincing others to follow Christ is the same as ramming the Gospel down their throats. As a result they shy away from witnessing, thinking that living a comfortable Christian life is good enough. Other Christians, who believe that salvation is totally a result of God's intervention, feel no need to persuade others to follow Christ.
However, communicating the message of Jesus Christ--persuading others to repent and believe--is the primary objective of every spiritually renewed Christian. And it is something that always pleases our Heavenly Father.
Paul explains the importance of persuading others: "Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade men.... If we are beside ourselves, it is . . .