Saturday, July 28, 2007

Pastor Has Church Member Arrested

Please read the full story.

As a pastor, I have struggled with the question of what to do with a member who stands against the vision God has given you for the church. Normally, I start by listening to the criticism and see if I missed something or if there is a way to do something better. I pray for the person who does the criticizing and try to protect my fellowship with them. I realize that if agreement can't be made between the preacher and the critic then the church will be hurt.

According to the information given, I believe the pastor went too far in having the member arrested for showing up to the church. There are cases where calling for the police is the right thing to do as in the situation that you feel the member is a physical danger to themselves or someone else. Otherwise, leave the police out of your squabble with church members.

Monday, July 23, 2007

What's New For OKpreacher

Here is an update on the struggles and victories in my life. The victory has been a new ministry. On Sunday Mornings, I have been helping a friend do a truck stop service. I never realized how spiritually hungry truckers are for God. Last week was interesting in seeing a transsexual trucker. My prayer as I witnessed was, “God, let me see this person through Your eyes.” This coming week is my week to preach so please pray that I can share the gospel in a way that the amazing truth of Christ becomes a reality in the heart of every trucker there.

As far as my struggles with my Baptist Identity, I have found peace. I’m thankful for my Baptist training. God used Southern Baptists to shape the minister that I am and I learned from them the most important principle is the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Living out the Lordship of Christ is a scary but adventurous life. The call of Christ is to abandon everything and follow Him. I’m not concerned about what label I wear anymore, I’m concerned about being faithful to the call of Christ. My prayer is that I can be apart of a movement of God that transforms the lost into followers of Jesus that change the world.

I have shared a victory and a struggle, now in closing I want to share something I have learned. There really are only three areas of concern for every believer trusting in Christ. These three are faith, hope, and love. These aren’t theological ideas that have no practical application, but these are the roots that Christ waters to grow us into His likeness. So ask yourself three questions, where is your faith, where is your hope, and where is your love? This is where the rubber meets the road. Join me in making Christ the focus and making our faith, hope, and love the measure of our success.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

The Gospel According To Harry Potter?

Please read "Use Harry Potter to spread the Christian Message."

There is an old saying, "If you can't beat them, join them." Clearly Harry Potter is a world wide success. Is there anyone who doesn't know who Harry Potter is and wants to know how the final book ends? The church of England, who was against Harry Potter in the beginning, is ready to use Harry Potter as a means of communicating the gospel. Do you think this is right? Read the story and post a comment. Is this what evangelism has come to?

Thumbs Down for John Reaney

Please Read "Gay man wins Church discrimination case."

I wonder how long it will be until we read similar headlines here in the United States. Clearly this wasn't about discrimination because homosexuality is a choice, but about a political agenda against a Biblical belief. Once again there is hope and help for anyone dealing with the sin of homosexuality and it is found in surrendering to the Lordship of Jesus Christ.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Is There A Christian Lifestyle?

I heard a sermon today that got me to thinking about the nature of what it means to be a Christian and how to live out this new life in Christ. The statement was, “If America is going to experience God’s blessing then people need to start living a Christian life-style.” I wondered what he meant by “Christian Life-style?” I was told growing up, “don’t swear, don’t chew, and don’t go with girls that do.” Surely the preacher meant more than that in his concept of a Christian life-style. So what is it? Is it being meek and mild and never doing anything wild? Is it attending church on Sunday mornings, Sunday nights, and Wednesday nights? Is a Christian Life-style one that has an early quiet time and prays five times a day in the direction of Nashville? All of these things fall short of what it means to be a Christian and live for Him. Matter of fact, I don’t think anyone can define concretely what actions make up a Christian’s life-style. What can be defined is the motivation or foundation of that life. The foundation for a Christian is a complete trust in Christ as the Lord of every area of your life. Without this foundation all good actions that could be defined as a Christian life-style are done in vain.

The problem with talking of a Christian Life-style is we focus people on rules that can be accomplished if they only try hard enough. Our life in Christ isn’t focused on keeping rules; it’s focused on deepening a Lordship relationship with Jesus Christ. So the question is, “How do we develop a life that is just like Jesus?” The answer is awesome and we see it in Gal. 2:20. The answer to how to live like Christ is to have Christ living in you. Paul writes that he has been crucified with Christ and he no longer lives, but Christ now lives in him.

God doesn’t want you trying to do good things for Him. God wants to do His work through you. The goodnews is when we came to Christ and surrendered to His Lordship, He came into our lives. Now through the Holy Spirit we have Christ present in our lives. The purpose of the Holy Spirit in your life is to make real the power, presence, and purpose of Christ. Therefore a believer who is surrendered to the Lordship of the Holy Spirit will experience Christ living through them.

So how do we know that are lives are becoming more like Christ? When Christ is living through you, your values change like your values on worship, time, ministry, family, and love. When Christ is living through you, your views change like your views on God, yourself, other people, family, church, job, and the world. When Christ is living through you, you will experience some amazing things like God’s love, His grace, people coming to Christ, a bond with other believers, and a desire for people to experience God’s mercy. Therefore I challenge you to surrender to the control of God so that Christ can live through you. This Christian life isn’t about a life-style, but about Christ living through you

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Money Or God

Many are sounding the warning signal for Southern Baptists to wake up and realize that the convention is dying. Baptism numbers are at a thirty year low and the fighting over the direction of the convention has already turned ugly. In the midst of the storm something unusual is happening. The Southern Baptist Convention has more money than ever before. Each year record amounts are being given to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering. So the question that has to be asked is, “How does a denomination in decline increase it’s funding?”

Some will answer this question by saying there is a new emphasis on the Cooperative Program. Every church, local association and state convention is encouraged to give as much as they can to the Cooperative Program. I agree that this new emphasis is part of the reason for the increase in giving.

Some will look at the increase in giving and say the reason is God’s blessing. Many still feel that God is satisfied with Southern Baptists and that is the reason He is blessing them with so much money. My question is if God was truly blessing Southern Baptists wouldn’t the baptism numbers increase as well?

I believe the reason for the increase in giving is the average Southern Baptist has more money to give. The average age of a Southern Baptist is going up. When the average age of a Southern Baptist was in the twenties, the convention didn’t have as much money. Now that the average age of a Southern Baptist is in their forties and fifties, there is a lot more money. I believe the reason for the increase in money is that the Southern Baptist Convention has aged. Therefore in ten to fifteen years we will see a sharp drop in giving if things don’t change.

The danger is reading our health by how much money we have instead of how many people we are reaching. Money is no substitute for God. More money doesn’t equate to more God. Money isn’t bad; it’s just not the goal of our mission. The goal of our mission is more people coming into the Kingdom of God and this is the failure of the Southern Baptist Convention.

Text Of The Day: Jesus and His Glory

John 11: 1-16

11:1 Now a certain man was ill, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. 2 It was Mary who anointed the Lord with ointment and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was ill. 3 So the sisters sent to him, saying, “Lord, he whom you love is ill.” 4 But when Jesus heard it he said, “This illness does not lead to death. It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.”

5 Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. 6 So, when he heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was. 7 Then after this he said to the disciples, “Let us go to Judea again.” 8 The disciples said to him, “Rabbi, the Jews were just now seeking to stone you, and are you going there again?” 9 Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours in the day? If anyone walks in the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world. 10 But if anyone walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him.” 11 After saying these things, he said to them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I go to awaken him.” 12 The disciples said to him, “Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will recover.” 13 Now Jesus had spoken of his death, but they thought that he meant taking rest in sleep. 14 Then Jesus told them plainly, “Lazarus has died, 15 and for your sake I am glad that I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.” 16 So Thomas, called the Twin, said to his fellow disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.” ESV

(The reason Jesus waited to respond to Mary and Martha's plea for help was for His glory to be revealed in a greater way. Jesus knew that His glory would be revealed by rising a dead Lazarus from the tomb. Jesus also knew he could increase the faith of His followers and bring others into His Kingdom by allowing Lazarus to die and then raise Him from the dead. As a follower of Jesus I must understand His purpose in my life. His purpose is to glorify Himself through me. This may mean life or it could mean death, either way we trust that His glory means my good. Will you trust Christ and seek His Glory?)

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

A New Direction for OKpreacher

Over the last six months I have been in a crisis of calling, identity, and faith. I and Mrs. OKpreacher left our church in Texas to move back to Oklahoma to plant a non-traditional Baptist church six months ago. I felt that being a Baptist was important because of our message and our commitment to missions and therefore this church had to be Baptist in it’s identity. I thought I had everything figured out for the support and partners we needed to begin this church, I wasn’t even close. As we experienced four months of consistent family sickness and long hours of work to just get by, frustration sat in. “Where is God?” and “How did we get here?” where the questions running through my mind. We were alone.

Since I have been a long time blogger, I stayed up on reading what was going on in our convention and my heart was broken. To hear statements knocking a desire to work with other Christians around the world for the gospel of Christ because they weren’t Southern Baptist made me sick. There were other issues that caused me to oppose leaders of our seminaries. I disagreed with them on the issues of closed communion, a ban on private prayer language, a ban on teaching moderation concerning alcohol, and that women can’t teach theology at a seminary. Because I hold these views it is clear that I’m an outsider in the eyes of our seminary presidents and this lead to my crisis of religious identity.

I need to mention the Biblical truths I stood upon as I went through this crisis. First, God is God and He is still in control. I held to the fact that God has no labels and my identity isn’t founded in being Baptist, but my identity is founded in Christ Jesus. I stuck to the fact that God is at work building His Kingdom for His glory. I can’t be concerned about what Baptists are doing, but what God is doing. Lastly, I held to the fact that, just like Abraham, God’s got the next step planned out.

Here are things as I see them. I can’t plant a church that would be supported by the Southern Baptist Convention. I have realized that if I’m going to be effective in ministry I need some supporters and teammates. I’m not a “Lone Ranger” minister. I see two options for me. Option one is I can pastor a Southern Baptist church that is in-line with my beliefs and passions. Option two is I can pastor or serve a church that is in-line with my beliefs and passions, but isn’t a Southern Baptist church.

God has me at the point of were I can let go of my Baptist Identity, so that I can do more for His Kingdom. If God wants me to stay Southern Baptist so be it, but my new direction is to stay focused on His Kingdom and His Righteousness. My call, identity, and faith are all in Christ Jesus as Lord.

Monday, July 09, 2007

“Who Holds The Power?”

Who holds the power in the Southern Baptist Convention? Is the power in the hands of laymen, pastors, or denominational leaders? Many talk as if power is in the pew, but nothing could be further from the truth. The average Southern Baptist layman has no voice in directing where the Southern Baptist Convention goes. When denominational leaders talk about representing Baptist beliefs they aren’t talking about the people in the pews, but the people behind the pulpit. There are two sources of power in the Southern Baptist Convention. The first source of power is found in those behind the pulpit.

Why do you think the Conservative Resurgence was mainly a battle for the seminary? The seminary trains the pastors and the pastors control the church. At this point, someone may disagree and say that the power lies with the messengers who meet yearly to cast their votes. You are right, but ask yourself this question, “How many messengers will the church elect to attend the Convention meeting who disagree with their pastor’s point of view about Southern Baptist life?” Pastors don’t bring messengers who can vote their own conscience, pastors bring their mob. Everyone knows that the question isn’t, “what do the messengers believe,” but “what do the pastors believe.” Therefore the first source of power in the SBC is found in the pulpit.

The second source of power is the main source of power because it controls the first. The second source of power is the position of seminary president. I’m saying the most power position in the Southern Baptist Convention is the seminary president. We heard this in the messages from Al Mohler and Paige Patterson at the convention this year. They made the statement that their job was to train pastors. Therefore their plan is to hire professors who will train pastors who will stay faithful to their separatist agenda. Sadly the Baptist Faith and Message has been used for control instead of unity. Now even the BF&M isn’t enough to keep the troops in line and now there is a call for more. Why? Are the laymen in our churches calling for stricter rules? No, the call comes from the second source of power, the seminary presidents.

I’m writing this article to reveal the truth that as long as there is a hierarchy of power, change will be difficult and involvement will be low. Why should people feel passion for a convention that doesn’t care about their voice? Seminary control that leads to church control isn’t going to work anymore.

I believe the average church member is calling for a return to the Lordship of Christ. I believe the average church member is calling for faith that can be seen in the home, church, and around the world. They want real worship, real fellowship, real discipleship, real missions, real ministry, and real evangelism. The average member isn’t controlled by rules, but engaged by vision. I hope we can listen to them before we lose them. Laymen may not hold the power, but they hold the passion and potential for completing our mission.

Random City

This is a totally random thought:

I was typing and sending an email this morning with Groupwise, which is the program my church uses. In the text of the email I used the word:


Groupwise's spellcheck feature did not recognize the word and offered the following word as its replacement:


Something about that made me laugh and I thought I would share it.

Text Of The Day: Jesus Forgives Sin

Mark 2:1-12,

2:1 And when he returned to Capernaum after some days, it was reported that he was at home. 2 And many were gathered together, so that there was no more room, not even at the door. And he was preaching the word to them. 3 And they came, bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men. 4 And when they could not get near him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him, and when they had made an opening, they let down the bed on which the paralytic lay. 5 And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” 6 Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts, 7 “Why does this man speak like that? He is blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?” 8 And immediately Jesus, perceiving in his spirit that they thus questioned within themselves, said to them, “Why do you question these things in your hearts? 9 Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise, take up your bed and walk’? 10 But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he said to the paralytic— 11 “I say to you, rise, pick up your bed, and go home.” 12 And he rose and immediately picked up his bed and went out before them all, so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, “We never saw anything like this!”

(Jesus shows His power and authority as God by doing three things in this event. First, He forgave the man his sins. Second, Jesus read the thoughts of the Scribes. Finally, Jesus healed the man so he could walk. All of these acts of Christ prove who He is, He is the Lord. I want to encourage you to come to Christ and ask Him for His grace to forgive you and heal you.)

Sunday, July 08, 2007

You Supply The Caption

"Supply the caption" isn't orginal with me, but I hope you enjoy these two pictures and come up with some funny captions.

Picture 1:

Picture 2:

Text Of The Day: Jesus Is Lord

Luke 19:1-10

19:1 He entered Jericho and was passing through. 2 And there was a man named Zacchaeus. He was a chief tax collector and was rich. 3 And he was seeking to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was small of stature. 4 So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him, for he was about to pass that way. 5 And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today.” 6 So he hurried and came down and received him joyfully. 7 And when they saw it, they all grumbled, “He has gone in to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.” 8 And Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor. And if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold.” 9 And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”

(The fact that always strikes me about this event is that Zacchaeus thought he was seeking Christ and the truth was that Christ was seeking him. The same is true for us. When we seek and receive Christ into our lives we realize that Christ had been seeking us long before we realized it. Zacchaeus responded quickly by calling Christ, Lord. The Lordship of Christ is the foundation of the Christian life. The proof of Zacchaeus' salvation is that he is ready to make things right with the people he wronged. If Zacchaeus can be changed by Christ then so can you. Seek Christ and receive Him into your life.)

Update on Redding

-Okpreacher's first article on Rev Ann Holmes Redding
-The Update on

The story of Rev. Ann Holmes Redding's search for faith is a sad story. The Episcopal Church has suspended her for a year so that she can think through the principals of the Christian faith. This isn't a bad idea, but I hope someone shares with her these truths. The reason someone can't be a Christian and a Muslim is their basic beliefs about Jesus Christ oppose one another.

The most basic Christian belief is in the Divinity and Lordship of Jesus Christ. This means that a person can't call themselves a Christian unless he or she believes that Jesus is both God and Lord.

One of the most basic Muslim beliefs is that Jesus isn't God or Lord, but only a prophet. This is a rejection of the foundation of the Christian faith and of fact. Either one believes that Jesus Christ is Lord of all or one believes that Jesus isn’t Lord at all.

Rev Ann Holmes illustration that she can be Christian and Muslim at the same time because she is both African American and a woman doesn't apply. There are no opposing issues in being an African American and being a woman, but there are opposing issues in thinking your a Christian and being a Muslim.

I do ask everyone to pray for Redding that she will realize the truth about Christ and become a real Christian.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

"Pat On The Back": Henry Blackaby

Please read Henry Blackaby

Since I first read "Experiencing God", I realize that Henry Blackaby was special. I have always been thankful for his faithful service to Southern Baptists. God used him to remind us that God is building His Kingdom. As followers of God, we are to seek where He is working and join Him.

Too many times we think that since we go to a Baptist church then we should only do Baptist work. This view is sadly lacking. God wears no denominational labels, God isn't interested in denominational work, and God isn't interested in denominational politics. God is interested in building His Kingdom by using repentant, humble, and faithful believers to accomplish His plan. Examine your heart for revival begins with you.

Thanks to Henry Blackaby for all that he has done. I give you a big "pat on the back."

Text Of The Day: Jesus Is The Word Of God.

John 1: 1-18,

1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4 In him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7 He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. 8 He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light.

9 The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. 11 He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. 12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. 15 (John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.’”) 16 And from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. 17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father's side, he has made him known. (ESV)

(Here Jesus is shown to be eternal and co-equal with God the Father. Jesus is the light, full of grace and truth. He is the Word of God who became flesh and He is the revealer of God the Father. No one knows the True God outside of knowing Jesus Christ.)

Thursday, July 05, 2007

National Evangelism & Discipleship Conference - Glorieta

National Evangelism & Discipleship Conference

Glorieta Conference Center, New Mexico

July 16 - 20

Last year I decided to attend the Lifeway National Discipleship Conference in hopes of gleaning some great information on discipleship methods and strategy while developing some key relationships with peers in my field (okay one of my fields). The event taught me a great deal about some of the things we are facing as a convention (denomination) in the future. I took time out to speak with the director of the conference, a man named Jay Johnston. I enjoyed meeting him and, in fact, took time to share a rather frank impression of the conference. (The low point was when a professor from NOBTS, in a class about biblical models of discipleship, wasted the entire time talking about how he won't allow students to come to his class in sandals and unshaven. I guess Jesus would be s.o.l. for that particular professor.)

In my conversation with Jay I noted that very few people my age were in attendance. He agreed readily. In the course of the discussion I suggested doing a series of classes designed to help people deal with and minister within the parameters of postmodern culture. He accepted the idea and actually asked me to teach the elective classes. That is what I get for suggesting. I do the same thing to members of my congregation who think the church needs to start this ministry or that ministry. My first response is: "When can you begin?" That typically weeds them out pretty quick. Well, I agreed to teach, and put together two classes: Ministering in a Postmodern Culture and Engaging the Postmodern in Evangelism.

To be honest, I sincerely hope that this goes well and that the people who attend will at least listen to the attempt to cast a true picture of postmodernism and not the many accusations that abound. We would be in a much different place as a convention (denomination) if we would remind ourselves of the generational differences that continue to hinder us.

I invite you all to at least consider coming to the conference. For one, Glorieta is a beautiful place. For two, I am thankful for the willingness of Lifeway staff to dare to try something new and deeply desire to support them in their efforts. For three, I really want somebody to show up to the class. Some come on and have a good time.

Book Review: Holy Discontent

What is the one aspect of this broken world that, when you see it, touch it, get near it, you just can't stand? Very likely, that firestorm of frustration reflects your holy discontent, a reality so troubling that you are thrust off the couch and into the game. It's during these defining times when your eyes open to the needs surrounding you and your heart hungers to respond that you hear God say, "I feel the same way about this problem. Now, let's go solve it together!"

Bill Hybels invites you to consider the dramatic impact your life will have when you allow your holy discontent to fuel instead of frustrate you. Using examples from the Bible, his own life, and the experiences of others, Hybels shows how you can find and feed your personal area of holy discontent, fight for it when things get risky, and follow it when it takes a mid-course turn. As you live from the energy of your holy discontent, you'll fulfill your role in setting what is wrong in this world right!

I found this book to not be entirely dramatic, meaty, or all together thought-provoking. What it did do was to challenge me to name and live that which God has created me for. I breezed through the reading of it as it is filled often with the stories of people who have found their discontent and sought to let it fuel them. There are the stories of ordinary individuals and celebrities such as Bono who are making an impact in the world because of their discontent. One thing is for sure about this book. It is a stated reminder that the church ought not to be concerned about producing like-minded programs and institutional procedures, but be about empowering and equipping believers to discover their "discontent", their passion, their God-given mission and do something about it.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Text Of The Day: Jesus Gives True Freedom

John 8: 31-36,

"31 So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” 33 They answered him, “We are offspring of Abraham and have never been enslaved to anyone. How is it that you say, ‘You will become free’?”

34 Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin. 35 The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever. 36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed." (ESV)

(True freedom is found in Christ. So have a great 4th of July, but remember true freedom comes throught the death and resurrection of Christ. Believe in Him and you will be free.)

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Text Of The Day: Jesus Takes Sin Away

John 1:19-34

19 And this is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?” 20 He confessed, and did not deny, but confessed, “I am not the Christ.” 21 And they asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” And he answered, “No.” 22 So they said to him, “Who are you? We need to give an answer to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?” 23 He said, “I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’ as the prophet Isaiah said.”

24 (Now they had been sent from the Pharisees.) 25 They asked him, “Then why are you baptizing, if you are neither the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?” 26 John answered them, “I baptize with water, but among you stands one you do not know, 27 even he who comes after me, the strap of whose sandal I am not worthy to untie.” 28 These things took place in Bethany across the Jordan, where John was baptizing.

29 The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! 30 This is he of whom I said, ‘After me comes a man who ranks before me, because he was before me.’ 31 I myself did not know him, but for this purpose I came baptizing with water, that he might be revealed to Israel.” 32 And John bore witness: “I saw the Spirit descend from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him. 33 I myself did not know him, but he who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ 34 And I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God.”

(Everyone of us has to come to the point of realizing that Jesus Christ is Lord and I'm not him. There is only one who has paid the price for our sin. There is only one who lived a perfect life of sacrifice. There is only one savior. It is Jesus Christ, Son of God, Lord Almighty.)

Monday, July 02, 2007

Is the Bible Literally True?

I came across this little tidbit while reading the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram. I looked up the poll on Gallup's site. You can click the title of this post to go to the full story on Gallup's website. The difficulty with this poll in interpreting all that its results reveal is that I don't know how the questions were worded. Let me point out a few key points of the poll.

1) This survey is an average of an identical poll done in May every year. The total number of participants equals 3010.
To provide a larger and more stable sample for purposes of analyzing the distribution of beliefs regarding the Bible in the American population, we aggregated data from the last three surveys in which this Bible question was asked -- in May of 2005, 2006, and 2007 -- for a sample size of 3,010 interviews.
Now, somehow, 3010 people more than speak for well over 300 million people in the United States. However, 405 Southern Baptist pastors can't speak for Southern Baptists according to someone at an SBC entity which has publicly claimed it will not be a part of the "criticism of a sister agency." I don't know how that works exactly.

2) From the Gallup Organization:
Only about one-third of Americans today believe the Bible is absolutely accurate and that it should be taken literally word for word. The rest either feel that the Bible is the inspired word of God, but not literally so, or that it is a book of ancient fables, legends, and history as recorded by man.
31% held to the belief that the Bible is "absolutely accurate" and "should be taken literally word for word." I am really curious here if the wording of the questions played a part of the answers. Yet, we ought to take this at least at face value. Okay, actually the really fun question is which of the first two would represent inerrancy?

3) Again, an interesting point:
It is interesting to note, however, that 10% of those with no religious identification still believe the Bible is literally the word of God, and another 26% say it is inspired.
Does it fascinate you that 36% of those with "no religious identification" held to either a literal or inspired view of the Bible?

4) Another interesting portion:
The analysis of these data shows one demographic variable that is highly related to views of the Bible -- education. The higher the level of education, the less likely the individual is to believe that the Bible is the actual, literal word of God.
I don't really have any idea of what to make of this one. I would dare to theorize that those with more education would see some of the fallacies of adopting a very high literal view of Scripture. What I mean by this is that there are obvious hyperbole in the Bible. I don't know of a lot of literal ineerantists who are missing their right eye and hand. Again, this is an assumption on my part. I really don't know how the questions were worded.

5) I am really surprised at the consistency of the results over the various age groups:

There is not a highly significant relationship between age and belief in a literal Bible.

Perhaps, what this is saying, is that all those young postmodern whippersnappers, who are decried regularly as being "moral relativists", really do hold to truth. The truth they hold to is not the modernist radically logical reductionist truth. Regardless of age, the Bible is held in high esteem. Apparently the root of the arguments and accusations is found in one's application and interpretation of what that truth means.

Text Of The Day: Jesus Is Lord

John 20: 24-29

24 Now Thomas, one of the Twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.”
26 Eight days later, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.” 28 Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

(This encounter with Thomas that Jesus had is very important to understand Jesus' Identity. First, Jesus has just risen from the dead. Second, Thomas realizes who Jesus is, "Lord and God". I hope that you have come to the place in your life where you can say about Jesus, "My Lord and My God.")

Thumbs Down For US Senate

Please read this story about the US Senate to open with Hindu prayers.

I found this story to be ironic. Everything Christian or that proclaims Jesus Christ as Lord is frowned down upon. So the US Senate decides that during a month where we celebrate our creation as a nation, they are going to open with Hindu prayers. This earn them a big thumbs down from OKpreacher.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Text Of The Day: Jesus Is The Way

John 14:1-7,

14:1 “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. 2 In my Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. 4 And you know the way to where I am going.” 5 Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” 6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7 If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.”

( The gospel is goodnews in that hope is revealed. There is a way to God. This way isn't a principle, but a person. The way to God is by faith in Jesus Christ as the Master of your life. There is no plan "B" way to God, only plan "A". I encourage everyone to examine his or her life and determine if you're on God's plan "A". Have you trusted Christ with your life?)