Friday, October 10, 2014

Ah Hah Moment

I've been long frustrated with younger Christians dancing...or worse...with the issue of homosexuality.

I have wondered, "Why?"

Is it "just" because they now know friends, relatives etc who are "out-of-the-closet"? Is it "just" because the issue is no longer academic, but personal?

That's certainly a contributing factor (and not only for younger Christians; for instance the seminary prof who used to label homosexual behavior a sin, until his son "came out"...and then the professor wrote a book stating he was "wrong" and that such activity was now okay).

But something happened today that gave me pause, and perhaps is an "ah hah!" moment...

In another discussion a 20-something Christian rebutted an article I posted that linked premarital sex with a "loss" of faith by saying out-of-wedlock-sexually-active young people are not abandoning their faith, but don't want to come to church to be "shamed."

Hmmm.

Is it possible that, consciously or not, some Christians who have been involved in premarital sex are dancing with homosexuality because...golly gee, if homosexual behavior is okay than certainly premarital sex is okay? Not "just" in theory, but my premarital sexual activity?

I don't want to paint with a broad brush...but I think I'm on to something here.

And it's not good.

Because, among other reasons, if homosexuality...if premarital sex...is okay, than certainly extramarital sex must be okay also...

As far as "shame" is concerned; it should never be the goal of anyone to merely shame someone; but it is certainly okay to be ashamed...and if the Lord uses His Word to bring me to shame and repentance...thanks be to God.

As I told the young lady, if a preacher refuses to speak truth because it might make someone "ashamed" or "feel bad," he has become a motivational speaker; not a proclaimer of Go'ds truth.

Much of this brings to mind Jeremiah 6.15:

Were they ashamed when they committed abomination?
    No, they were not at all ashamed;
    they did not know how to blush.
Therefore they shall fall among those who fall;
    at the time that I punish them, they shall be overthrown,”
says the Lord


"Did not know how to blush" reads the e.s.v.; some translations read "They have forgotten how to blush..."

If conviction leads to shame alone, mores the pity; but if conviction leads to shame which births repentance...thank You, Holy Spirit...


Thursday, October 9, 2014

The Times They're Not a Changin'

This quote is from 1994....not much has changed in two decades:

"The fundamental problem in the evangelical world today is not inadequate technique, insufficient organization, or antiquated music and those who want to squander the church’s resources bandaging these scratches will do nothing to staunch the flow of blood that is spilling from its wounds. The fundamental problem in the evangelical world today is that God rests too inconsequentially upon the church. His truth is too distant, His grace too ordinary, His judgment too benign, His gospel too easy, and His Christ is too common."
 
David Wells
God in the Wasteland, Eerdmans, 1994, p. 30.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Rosie Cover Up?

Rosie O'Donnell made some pretty ridiculous comments (you should recall that she is one of the flakes who early and often theorized that Bush was involved in the 9/11 attacks) on the program she cohosts, "The View", yesterday. (Read more if you dare by CLICKING HERE.

In the midst of the stupidity she says this:

Here's my point as a mom: I think you can never do anything to kill an innocent child. That's what I think, a child that's alive. Adults do horrible things to each other, but once you drop a bomb and kill a baby, I'm sorry. It's over for me. I know what those people did in those planes were horrific. But I don't think by killing each other we're going to solve the world's problems. 

Did you catch it?

"I think you can never do anything to kill an innocent child."

Then it's like she realizes what she has said, so apparently tries to clean it up by continuing, 

"That's what I think, a child that's alive."

See?

She says nothing should ever kill an innocent child...but then it seems to me she realizes she has just uttered a pro life phrase, so she sanitizes it (in her mind) by saying "a child that's alive."

Whether it's a bomb or a surgeon, the death of an innocent child in the womb is horrific.

If you consider that child to be alive.



Friday, October 3, 2014

Read It Before CHRISTmas...

I rarely read books more than once. (although at my age I may be so doing without knowing it)

Unbroken is an exception.

When I read it was being made into a movie I thought I should read it again...it had been a couple years.

Then when I learned the subject of the book had died, I knew I had to reread it.

Took a while, but I finished it last night.

It is an amazing book (by the author of Seabiscuit) that describes the absolute horribleness of man while also portraying the heroic actions of desperate people.

The book describes the good, the bad, and the ugly about it's "hero."

It reveals God working through a young man named Billy Graham.

It illuminates both a heart consumed with a desire for revenge; and a heart changed into one offering forgiveness.

Have no idea how accurate the movie will be, but here is a trailer that includes the now-deceased hero:



And here is a more, well, dramatic trailer:



I know I won't see it CHRISTmas day...but if there is a late late show I might see it that evening...

As in all my book reviews, if you order it from amazon on the link below, I get a few cents:


Sunday, September 28, 2014

Not "Just" The Bible Gets Cut-and-Pasted

My favorite hymn is the Getty's "In Christ Alone."

Not some of the hymn, not most of the hymn, but the entire hymn...all the words.

But there are many who "cover" the song and cut out, eliminate, remove an entire verse.

And thus they remove propitiation...a vital part of the gospel.

Jesus did not "simply" die on the cross...He who knew no sin became sin...He offered Himself as a substitute, and the cup of God's wrath that should have been poured on me was poured out on the Son...the atoning sacrifice.

God's holy wrath against sin was satisfied.

And so reads the words of Getty's hymn.

But it is cut out by many...heard it done last night.

And here is an example of "I don't like that so I'm dropping it" in action, this one done at Passion 2013, a conference for teens and young adults...okay to add a lot of "oh oh oh oh ohs" but not okay to sing all the composers words?:

Owl City pulls the words also. The Newsboys sing the song in its entirety.

But no one sings it as well as the composers...here they are:


In case you don't have time or inclination to watch any of the videos, here are the words that are left out. I'm sure there will be some who shake their heads and mutter, "Oh, Jack, it's not that big of a deal."

Well, yeah, the atoning sacrifice of Jesus is a huge deal. The full and complete payment of sin is a huge deal.

These words are not merely poetry...they are doctrine, they are correct, they are essential. 

(and I don't know copyright law to know how kosher/legal/ it is to sort-of-cover a song...but it sure isn't ethical.

In Christ alone, who took on flesh
Fullness of God in helpless Babe
This gift of love and righteousness
Scorned by the ones He came to save

Til on that cross as Jesus died
The wrath of God was satisfied
For every sin on Him was laid
Here in the death of Christ I live, I live





Friday, September 26, 2014

Testimony in Death

I did not know this young (13 years old) man.

His Dad serves with "Behind the Walls," Bill Glass's ministry with which I've had the privilege of serving.

Ethan died earlier today of neuroblastoma.

I look forward to meeting him...

A few days ago, he wrote this:

"My biggest fear isn't dying. My biggest fear is that others will blame God for my death and not believe in Him. I don't want people angry at God or even blaming Him. I mean, there is much more than just this life. Just because He didn't heal me on earth doesn't mean He won't heal me in Heaven." 

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Lock Up Your Sacred Cows...

This is a mind-stretching, heart-flexing message.

Selective hearing as opposed to careful listening is dangerous. Careless listening may result in you thinking the speaker is viciously attacking your favorite speaker/author.

I urge you to carefully, focusedly, listen to this entire message (26 minutes or so)...summed in this sentence:

"Before we are called to something or somewhere we are called to Someone."

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

To Those Who "Love Jesus but Hate Church"

I concur with Chan.


And those who claim to "love Jesus" but "hate church" are basically adulterers.

They are having an affair with Jesus.

They want the warm fuzzies, the theological debates, the lets-sit-around-and-bash-the-church events,
the lets-laugh-about-all-the-stuff-we-used-to-believe-but-now-have-abandoned-now-that-we've-seen-the-(relative)-light-fests...and all the rest.

Usually these occasions are laced with blasts at the judgmental, the "legalists," those who try to integrate their faith with their world and national view, and others.

The word "affair" is apt.

They want the "good stuff" but not commitment.

Affair.

And denial of "do not forsake the assembling together of yourselves."

An affair is easy; commitment is tough.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Love Christ? Love Teens? GET THIS BOOK!

Firing Jesus by Greg Stier will take you probably an hour tops to read...

If you love Jesus, the gospel, and teens you will probably reread it almost immediately...

If you have worked with teens as a youth worker - especially in a church setting - you will be nodding in agreement, laughing out loud, and probably weeping as you read.

This is a fictional account of an all too often real event...the virtual crucifixion of a youth worker who is actively trying to disciple rather than entertain teenagers.

The author, who founded and leads Dare2Share, knows of what he writes. The brief book provides glimpses into the lives of adult leaders, teen leaders, messed-up-teens, and, most important, a youth worker who wants to please God and not provide "body counts," "results," or other junk that clouds the issue of discipleship.

I can't recommend this book highly enough..in fact, I'll give it my Hager money back guarantee that I've only offered for a few books - if you buy it and don't think it is worth the money, let me know and I'll reimburse you.

Here's another recommendation:

Derwin Gray, lead pastor of one of America’s fastest growing churches, says: “You read a good book once. A great book a few times.  But a remarkable book becomes an annual pilgrimage that feeds your soul, strengthens your call and clarifies your focus. Greg Stier has written a remarkable little book. Pastors, elders, youth leaders, parents and students should bless themselves by reading Firing Jesus.”

And here is a link to buy it, in either paperbook or e-book: CLICK HERE

Monday, September 1, 2014

Amazing Amazon

I love Amazon. As a confirmed bookaholic it has served me well. I have never had an issue with Amazon.

So when I saw The Everything Store, subtitled "Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon," I grabbed it for my summer travels.

It is an incredibly interesting history of Bezos, Amazon, and the e-commerce industry overall. It reveals cutthroat tactics, an incredibly driven (and driving) Bezos, and scores of employees along for the ride.

As Steven Levy noted, "The Everything Store is a revelatory read for everyone - those selling and those sold to - who wants to understand the dynamics of the new digital economy. If you've ever one-clicked a purchase, you must read this book."

And I love this quote that preceeds the actual book  (from Bezos' commencement speech at Princeton in 2010):


"When you are eighty years old,
and in a quiet moment of reflection
narrating only for yourself the most personal version of your life story,
the telling that will be most compact and meaningful
will be the series of choices you have made.
In the end, we are our choices."