Christ Has Died, Christ is Risen, Christ Will Come Again

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God is Good, His Love Endures Forever!

According to Pew research, less than 15% of Western Christians utilize the Bible as a moral compass.  Perhaps it’s the way the questions were asked, but the answers provided to these Gallop pollsters are concerning.  None of the responses indicate a motivation for going to church as having anything to do with worshiping God, glorifying Christ, or being convicted/encouraged by the Holy Spirit.  Instead, the answers are basically, “I go to church to increase my knowledge, improve my life, train my kids, have my interest piqued, meet my friends, and enjoy my kind of music.”  At least there was some attention to serving others.


Down Syndrome Genocide Continues

God forgive us.  Articles like this one about the genocide of Down syndrome infants are troubling, but not for the reason most would think.  The message here is, “Don’t abort your Down-diagnosed baby because he/she might be the world’s next Nobel Prize winner.”  But what if he/she isn’t?  Most won’t be, and those highlighted in the article aren’t as severely affected by the extra chromosome as are many others.  We must learn to value all human beings simply because they’re human beings made in the image of God, and not because of their potential “contribution to society.”  Credit to the author that this fact is mentioned, but the whole approach is problematic.


Hypocritical Pastor Guilty of Child Molestation

Lack of a biblical worldview among the pastorate is nothing new.  I’m reminded of this story from about half-a-decade ago.  If we want to be super generous, maybe when he said, “I don’t see none of them as victims”, he truly intended the double negative.  In other words, “I do see all of them as victims.”  Sadly, it doesn’t appear he’s quite so clever.


Parody or No?

Do you remember a time when this from The Babylon Bee was satire?  I used to think, “Hopefully there aren’t any real ‘Vernons’ out there.”  But sadly, I believe I’ve met some myself over the years.  Especially if “Vernon” sees someone not wearing a face-covering.  Wonder if good old ‘Vernon’ has even heard the gospel during all those years of sitting in his pew?  Doesn’t sound like it.  Maybe he sleeps during the sermon, daydreams during the prayers, and ignores the words of the songs.  Or, maybe, he sits under the teaching of those who too often pass for a “pastors” in recent years.


Pagans, Easter, and Ostara

I wish Christians would simply refer to the day Jesus rose from the dead as “Resurrection Sunday”.  It’d eliminate so much confusion.

A friend sent me this reminder:

He is Risen!  The greatest love story ever told.  He bore all of our diseases, all of our illnesses, all of our sins and our iniquities.  He conquered sin, and death now has no sting.  At the cross He freed His bride from the curse of sin and made us righteous.  The Lamb of God has redeemed His people.  What a gift!  All we do is receive… and then obey.  Thank you, beautiful Lord Jesus.  Take time to remember what the meaning of Easter is – Christ has Risen.  Hallelujah it’s finished!  Hallelujah it’s done!  Amen.”

A different friend sent me this:

“You don’t need less sin; you need more Jesus.  That’s a paradigm shift.”

I told him, “Well, how about having both?  Of course, as you have more of Jesus you’ll have less of sin.”

Someone asks:  Did I just spend almost $200 on Easter?  Yes.  Yes, I did.  But that includes dinner and dessert, and “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” on Blu-ray.

Someone answers:  Dinner.  Desert.  DVD.  The three D’s that illustrate the true meaning of Resurrection Sunday.  (Plus, there’s this:  HE has RISEN… this is the promise of eternal life).

Someone asks:  Happy Easter everyone?  Why do people wish a “Happy Easter” to everyone including non-Christians?  Why would they celebrate Easter; they’re not Christians?  They’d celebrate Ostera, the original holiday.

Someone replies:  Ostara (or Eostra, if you prefer) and Resurrection Sunday aren’t one and the same.  He is risen!


Does God Fly Coach?

The headline misleads the reader by identifying these men as “Christian preachers”.  And the article misleads the reader by referring to these men as “Evangelical ministers”.  In reaction to stories like this we should be careful not to throw the baby out with the bathwater.  There are certainly many false prophets, but there are also many true servants of Christ.  If we’re to honor God, then we must honor the true representatives He sends in His Name, while calling out the ones who do not.


Vice Versa – Versa Vice

On the one hand, this strikes many as somewhat obvious.  But it’s something to reflect upon, and this is an excellent article describing why it is so.  A good read from Rod Dreher.

On the other hand, might Statism be considered a religion?  If so, then most of those who identify as liberal aren’t leaving religion, but are exchanging one religion for another.

This said, far too many conservatives have confused theological conservatism with political conservatism.  Some people are fiscally conservative and socially liberal (or vice versa).  Some are political conservatives and theological liberals (or vice versa).  As to the article’s thesis, there’ve always been both conservatives and liberals in politics and religion.  So, I don’t think any of the groups are going away any time soon.


Teaching Time

If you say the First Amendment was written to limit a state’s ability to regulate religious expression – you’d be wrong.  That wasn’t who the First Amendment was written to restrict.

If you say the First Amendment was written to limit the Federal Government’s ability to regulate religious expression, you’d be RIGHT!  That IS whom the First Amendment is written to “handcuff.”

So, why do the Nine Oracles on the Supreme Court even hear cases addressing the first (incorrect) point above?  (Such as the case in Missouri about a church playground several years ago).  It wasn’t a federal regulator blocking the issuing of the grant for playground repaving.  Nope, it was the Missouri Constitution blocking the playground from being repaved.  So, as usual, when someone doesn’t like what their state does, rather than solve it in the state, what do they do?  They run to their nanny federal government and ask them to force their state to change – without the consent of the people of the particular state (Missouri in the case used as an example above).

Lessons Learned:

If you agree with the sort of actions the Missouri church was taking by going to the US Supreme Court over their state’s lack of funding for their playground, then stop wondering why the federal government is all powerful over you, your business, or your church.  You’re actually asking for it!

Look out fifty states!  Your properly ratified state constitution can apparently be struck down by the Nine Oracles on a whim.

The above was an excellent rant by a friend.  To his political thoughts I’d add these theological thoughts:  Constitutional questions aside – it’s discouraging that a local congregation (claiming to follow King Jesus, Almighty Creator of the world) would fight to be on the public dole – to improve a PLAYGROUND no less!  If Christian believers are going to go out of their way to make their Lord look small, at least it’s for something really important like slides, swings, and sandboxes.  (Insert sarcasm font for the last line, of course).


Evidence That Christ Lived and Died

Social media truly should have a “sarcasm font” for comments such as this:

There are two sides to every story?  What is this crazy talk?!  You must be a very strange man, indeed.  In the world I see around me there are only “hot takes”, “snarky comments”, and “rushes to judgment”.  Don’t you dare try to confuse me with “reasoned consideration”, “empathetic outlooks”, or “cold hard facts”!


Graveside Comfort for Family of the Lost?

A fellow pastor shared these thoughts below.

As a pastor, here’s a circumstance I struggle with:  How do we comfort those who lose loved ones who don’t profess any faith in Christ whatsoever?  1 Thessalonians 4:13 gives great hope for believers who fall asleep in Christ.  How shall believers grieve at the grave of those who don’t believe in the resurrection?  I think I have a theological answer, but I don’t know that I have a pastoral one.

I responded to him with these thoughts:

This question hits home, as I have dear friends currently struggling with exactly this issue.  The closest I’ve been able to come to a pastoral answer has been, “We don’t know who God has chosen to be His elect.  We think we do sometimes, but we can never be sure.  There are people whom we fully expect to see again, but we will not.  There are people whom we fully expect will meet eternal condemnation, but they will not.  We can discern a false prophet by his fruit, but this is a slightly different thing than discerning who is ultimately saved and who is not.  So, the truth is, we cannot know for sure.  Only God knows for sure.  So, we are left to trust in God’s perfect goodness and hope that we were wrong in our assessment of a now deceased person having been among those who are lost.”  In my experience with my friends, this answer seems to have taken the edge off for them a bit, but they are still struggling.  I eagerly listen to the thoughts of others on this very challenging subject so as to become an increasingly better pastor.


We Can Keep Opening Those Doors!

This is one of the better uses of social media I’ve seen.  A pastor friend posted: “We advertised our worship services on social media, as well as by mail.  Had a few visitors, one from Brazil, new to the neighborhood.  Welcome, to one who I hope will be a new friend.  And also, it has opened the door to an online debate with a skeptic, and an invite to continue over a beer.  Pray for this man.  I know I won’t win any hearts in an online debate, but Lord willing we will meet and he will hear the gracious words of the risen Christ:  ‘Peace be with you!’”

Thought starter:  When a person dies, some people like to say that they “returned to the arms of the Lord.”  Christians would argue that they are already in the arms of the Lord before physically dying.

As you wake up in the morning, as you go to bed tired, be reminded:  “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”  (Matthew 11:28)


Many blessings to you,

Pastor Troy Skinner