Racism

Standing up even when it is unpopular

I admit it’s one of my pet peeves; I get frustrated when we (members of Churches of Christ) act as if all the spiritual heroes out there are from other fellowships. I am not suggesting that there aren’t admirable people out there, but I think we have a blind spot to our own heroes. David Lipscomb is one such hero. You may already be aware of his great influence as a preacher and Bible scholar, but did you know he took a principled stand against racial hate in his day?

When a black Christian was denied membership in a congregation in McKinney, Texas, Lipscomb roundly condemned the action. “We believe,” he declared, “it sinful to have two congregations in the same community for persons of separate and distinct races …” Why did he believe this? “God saves the negro equally with the white man when he believes in Christ and puts him on by being buried with him in baptism … I would as soon think of the worst blasphemer in the land … as a man or woman who would stand between that individual and his obedience to God. He sets at defiance God’s law, assumes to be greater than God, and is guilty of a presumptuous sin … for which we can hardly believe pardon can be found.” Continue reading Standing up even when it is unpopular

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But the genealogies are so boring!

For whosoever shall do the will of God, the same is my brother, and my sister, and mother” (Mark 3:35).

If you are an American citizen, next time you’re out and about, randomly pick two other people besides yourself. Don’t point at them or anything, just visualize, please. Statistically, one of you three can trace your roots to an immigrant who passed through Ellis Island (nyharborparks.org). Over 100 million Americans trace their roots to this spot, where the “poor, tired, huddled masses” entered the “golden door.” Continue reading But the genealogies are so boring!

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Parents, heal yourself

In Luke 4:23, Jesus cited the Jewish proverb, “Physician, heal yourself,” (NKJV) which means, according to Albert Barnes, “Suppose that a man should attempt to heal another when he was himself diseased in the same manner.”

Christ wants us to be transformed by the gospel (Romans 12:1-2) so we can walk in holiness (Isaiah 35:8; 1 Peter 1:13-15). We can’t possibly hope to win the world unless we’ve adequately prepared ourselves in knowledge and righteousness (Proverbs 11:9).

As parents, we need to consider this carefully not only as Christians, but as parents in general because nothing in parenting comes naturally. We must do the hard work to become better people.  Continue reading Parents, heal yourself

fight-god

‘Don’t fight against the Lord God’

In a recent online discussion, a transgendered person claimed to have his own god that imposed upon him no obligation and only offered pleasure. He asked me if I could choose my god. I replied that we all have a choice, and the issue is to choose the true God, because we must live with the consequences of those choices.

With that, the conversation went no further. Continue reading ‘Don’t fight against the Lord God’

cold metal flowers near peach

It’s cold!

“While the earth remains, Seedtime and harvest, And cold and heat, And summer and winter, And day and night Shall not cease” (Genesis 8:22, NASB).

As much as we would love to have springtime last all year, this is not God’s plan.

Much of the United States has been slammed hard with winter storms, whether snow, ice, sleet, or as the weather anchors euphemistically put it, “a wintry mix.” Continue reading It’s cold!

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Strive to enter

We live in an automatic age.

Some garage doors are automatic. Cars have windows and door locks that open automatically. It is possible to have merchandise automatically purchased and sent. While the microwave has not made cooking obsolete, it has certainly made it almost automatic.

Some people think salvation is just like everything else in our automatic age. Once a person believes in Jesus, they say, salvation is automatic. Continue reading Strive to enter

Brass

Standards

“Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Are all workers of miracles? Do all have gifts of healings? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? But earnestly desire the best gifts” (1 Corinthians 12:29-31 NKJV).

A magazine advertisement for a certain manufacturer stated, “Not all brass meets our standards. But that is okay, people need doorknobs, belt buckles and French horns also.” Continue reading Standards

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Covenants and moving of nations

It’s said, “Amos was written 3000 years ago, and it speaks to issues as current as tomorrow’s newspaper.”

What disgusted the prophets back then are daily occurrences all over the world today. There is no society to which Amos’ words would not apply.

“Hear this, you who are swallowing up the needy, who intend to make the poor of the land fail, and who are saying, ‘When will the New Moon fade so we may sell grain, and the Sabbath conclude so we may market winnowed wheat?’—shortchanging the measure, raising the price, falsifying the scales by treachery, buying the poor for cash, and the needy for a pair of sandals, selling chaff mixed in with the wheat” (Amos 8:4-6 ASV). Continue reading Covenants and moving of nations

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Is it fair?

“For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went early in the morning to hire workers for his vineyard. And after agreeing with the workers for the standard wage, he sent them into his vineyard” (Matthew 20:1-2 NET).

This chapter of Matthew gives us a little insight into work practices in first-century Palestine. One of the first things we learn is that not all people had a regular job – these men who wanted to work would go out in the morning to a designated area, identified in verse 3 as the marketplace, and wait for landowners to come hire the men they needed for the day. The standard wage was a denarius. In Jesus’ story, this landowner went out early in the morning to hire workers for his vineyard. Continue reading Is it fair?

predestination

To choose or not to choose

“Raccoon” John Smith, one of the most colorful characters in the early Restoration Movement (how could anyone nicknamed “Raccoon” not be colorful?) was originally a denominational preacher who was expected to preach the major tenants of Calvinism, a doctrine known as predestination. It is a doctrine that suggests God sovereignly chooses, or does not choose, those who will be saved. Regardless of how a person believes or acts, he is predestined to be saved or lost.

Smith struggled with this partly because he had lost two infant children in a horrific fire. Could God have “sovereignly” chosen to take these children away, he wondered? Continue reading To choose or not to choose