Saturday, May 7, 2016
Matthew 20:28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
Driving home today from Good News at Noon I considered the vast array of people a person meets in a short time. I have served as the pastor of this ministry going on four years. While working at this ministry you meet volunteers from all the downtown churches, street people, great citizens of our community that are of all ages, wealthy, poor, Christian, non-Christians, homeless people and the working poor. Good News at Noon is an almost thirty year old ministry that serves as a gospel centered homeless shelter, food kitchen, children’s ministry and a gospel preaching and teaching ministry.
Make no mistake this is a place where many people and myself love to serve. People who visit almost always come back. But there is a problem there like all places – People! People like me can be frustrating to work with. I have to remind myself not to look with reactionary eyes. I need to look through the lens of grace and look to Jesus. Many times I have been wrong in life by wanting a quick read and decision on people. This made me reflect on a football game from almost twenty years ago.
For the 1987 Fiesta Bowl Football game for the national college football championship, the nation saw the Penn State Nittany Lions as good guys versus the Miami Hurricanes the bad guys . The good citizens at Penn State with their legendary republican head coach wore plain uniforms with no flashy decals on their helmets, stripes on their pants or names on the back of their jerseys. Penn State did it the “old school” right way. They were understated and respectfully polite. The Miami Hurricanes came to town wearing military camouflage outfits, walked out on a bowl game dinner for the teams, talked smack and brought WWE type flavor to the game. If the Hurricanes were not hoods they wanted to be seen as such. The “new school” did it wrong in the nation’s media view.
Penn State upset the very talented Miami team 14-10 in a nail biter. The “good guys” won and the “bad guys” lost – so it seemed. But as Paul Harvey used to say, now we know “the rest of the story”.
Penn State has great people but a respected defensive coach was committing crimes of sexual abuse on young boys while leading a charity for youth. This was going on for years and has scared this great university’s history. Miami is known for great and eye popping football. Now we know many of the camo wearing players have done great things for individuals and charities.
So who are the bad people here? EVERYBODY. That is why we need Jesus Christ.
Christ Jesus will not grade on your average of good deeds or on the curve. He came to help the helpless which is us. He grades on his blood which is pure and spotless and was shed to cover your sins. Are your sins covered?
Christ the King is coming back in judgment someday. This is overlooked too much by the church. We will talk about Christmas(Advent), His death and Resurrection (Easter), and his Ascension. His return will happen one day. Then their is a Judgement. We worship the LORD Jesus Christ because of GRACE we instead of our deserved judgement when we believe! Thank you Jesus.
Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Sunday, April 10, 2016
God is Not Dead 2, MY REVIEW: The movie to me was totally believable by the way Protestant Christians are treated in American society. I know fellow ministers from overseas that I met in seminary that lost parental relationships when they became Christians. I work in a great public school system currently. Previously I have served in two different public school systems where I viewed administrators reprimanded teachers for having a Bible on a bookshelf or desk. After the movie credits 20 cases against Christian employees by schools were displayed. Yet I have seen a few reviews from some naval gazing theologians about what was wrong with this movie. The movie is inspiring, believable and I would strongly recommend it.
Sunday, April 3, 2016
The 1977 final 4 was in Atlanta's Omni my senior year. Few remember UGA was the host and you could get tickets. This was before the NCAA learned they could gouge their fans and double dipping after receiving hundreds of millions from the networks. Marquette beat UNC Charlotte on a Duke Kentucky 1992 type full court last play of the game shot. This was not over-hyped as both teams made the mistake of not being in the ACC (so it does not matter). Dean Smith suffered a key injury to Phil Ford against UNLV. Ford was limited against Marquette in the championship fina. It was a different day. Short shorts were on the court. Carolina fans wore ties to the game and politely spit their Redman in a stadium cup and clapped like it twas a tennis match (balancing those cups I guess). UNLV fans dressed in stereotypical fashion like Telly Savalas, had perms (unlike Telly) silk shirts, chest hair and gold chains flying, UNC-Charlotte had Cornbread Maxwell, and that about sums up their basketball history. The fans mixed in as a big community college did not fit the scene. Marquette was a media darling. Coach Al McGuire hyped the crowd as he was who I think a lot of pro wrestler promoters took lessons from. He won his last game and cried on the bench as a national champion. He parlayed that into millions talking about this one game for over 20 years as a TV analyst for CBS college basketball.
See UNC - Charoltte come up short on Youtube
Thursday, March 3, 2016
1 Corinthians 14:8 (NKJV) For if the trumpet makes an uncertain sound, who will prepare for battle?
The term evangelical is clear as mud today. What I once presupposed was that “evangelicals” all believed John 14:6“Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”
During a 1970’s presidential campaign many evangelical preachers thought they had one of their own running for office. A candidate used the term “Born Again” in a Playboy article. This man still teaches Sunday School. This one term President's tribe or affiliate of a Protestant faith definitely refutes in practice any inerrancy or infallibility claims of the Bible. Next the evangelicals supported the man who would defeat that "evangelical" former president. The winning candidate was divorced and rarely attended church when he was president. Next we had a conservative who attended a liturgical and mostly self described liberal affiliate of Protestant Christianity. He was defeated by a member of the largest conservative evangelical denomination in America. Some members of this conservative denomination tried to throw their fellow denominational member and presidential election winner out but their own theology kept them from it (church autonomy). He was followed by a conservative who talked evangelical talk but was a member of a “opened minded” church denomination with which his statements of faith rarely coincided with his denomination’s leaders. The current president has been often questioned if he were even a Christian or of a middle-eastern faith. No, this president declared he was a Christian. The current president said when running that he was grounded in the historic faith at his local church. His pastor was then found by the media to preach messages with theology far from the historic faith that declared Jesus Christ as Lord. Later the president could not recall some explosive and racially charged sermons that were far from the orthodox Christian faith recorded by his pastor. A president would not be the first American to drift off during sermons and miss a preached message, or miss church for a round of golf.
In the previous election the evangelical community as a majority tried to elect a man that was not evangelical. This candidate was not even part of the historic Christian faith. “Close enough” was the message we received from many conservative evangelical leaders. They were willing to twist and compromise theology to get their official guy elected. It did not work out.
Now influential evangelical ministers and theologians are throwing accusations and endorsements all over the place. The leading Democrat is a self-described liberal who credits her mainline denomination with teaching her society changing policies. Her denomination’s heritage used to boast of their genesis that they were “born in revival!” Yet some who will support her claim to be “evangelical”. The muddy lens is thickening.
The conservative “evangelicals” are now swooping to attack a populist front runner. Why? Does this candidate have a record of serial allegations of sexual assaults on women like a recent former president had while married and in office? No. Does this candidate plan to further fund Planned Parenthood and use our taxes to fund the abortions of innocent children like the current president? No. Evangelical conservative big-wigs are coming out and going for his throat. This man cannot be tolerated. What are the accusations? The leading Republican candidate is rude. He has a history of brashness. This cannot be tolerated by any of our “evangelical” church spokespeople.
A Message to Preachers
During the Christmas season this verse is often used and forgotten for the rest of the year. Isaiah 9:6” For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the GOVERNMENT will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.” Do you really believe Christ can deal with the government?
Salvation is by grace and not works. Politics are by works. The people vote for people they can identify with. The church today cannot even identify what an evangelical is. Preacher your task seems pretty simple. Preach the gospel clearly and stop making uncertain sounds with your trumpet of direction for your people. If the church people do not know that an evangeical is one who brings the gospel then we have a big problem. We now have to ask what is the gospel the church is bringing? Confused people will cause confused voters. How do you bring the gospel which is what an "evangel" is? How do you serve the Christian faith? When in doubt preach the only lifesaving faith through the life death, burial resurrection and one day return of Jesus Christ. A good place to start is John 14:6 that says “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”
Preacher, If you want to change the culture then help change your people. In a time of panic in His day the preacher Jesus gave a message. Mark 1:14-15 “Now after John was put in prison, Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, 15 and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.”
Thursday, February 11, 2016
Ash Wednesday meditation- Martin Luther in Reformation era Germany engraved The Commandments (Law) on his beer stein. In Gainesville, GA we put them on our sweet tea and Coca-Cola cups. Galatians 3:19 says the law was given because of our transgressions. But, the Seed (Christ JESUS being THE SEED OF woman in Genisis1) who has come would mediate for or sins. The historic message of Ash Wednesday is "Repent and believe the gospel" #ashwednesday #repentandbelievethegospel Longstreet Cafe
Tuesday, January 19, 2016
Dorsey Wilbanks is an 88 year old devout Christian who helped me and others greatly when he was active as a Gideon. When I was the chaplain at Riverside Military Academy for nine years he was the Gideon who served out school. My conservative estimate is that in almost nine years he served Riverside as a Gideon he supplied us with over 2,000 pocket New Testament Bibles. When called upon he would find us a needed Spanish, Korean or even Chinese version of the New Testament. Some people do not believe in the power of the Word. He does. Dorsey was and is a very humble and optimistic man. He was happy when I told him where one of his testaments ended up.
Nine years ago I was picking up a friend returning from vacation in the atrium of the Atlanta airport. As usual hundreds of people where intersecting at that point. A young soldier walking by in a pack of camo wearing soldiers and he yells out “Hey Chaplain Law.” The soldier was a Riverside graduate from Chicago. I was a civilian chaplain at the school. I knew it was Riverside connection when I was ever called chaplain away from school. The young man had enlisted in the U.S. Army since his graduation. He told me he was catching a plane to eventually get to Afghanistan. My concern for this friend accelerated at the thought of this young person going to war. I became almost frantic. I asked him “are you trusting in Jesus Christ for salvation at this hour?” “Are you praying?” I kept asking more questions concerning salvation. “Do you have a Bible?” He reached in his backpack and showed me a well-travelled green pocket New Testament. It was one of the testaments Dorsey had given me to give to students. The soldier said “Here is the one you gave me.” I read it and he told me he believed the plan of salvation on the back inside cover. I remember thinking “thank you Jesus” and reflecting on Hebrews 4:12For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
Sunday, January 10, 2016
Retired 88 year old Bud Grant was sleeveless in -6 degree weather as an honorary coach at the coin toss for the Minnesota Viking vs.Seattle Seahawk playoff game. From Greg Aiello from CBS Sports on Twitter said
Bud Grant to NFL staffer: "Would you hold my jacket while I go out for the toss & show how we love this weather?" My fantasy is he left at halftime to go to Cincinnati to do for 2 Bengals what their mama's, daddy's, teachers and coaches have failed to give them in life. Warning Minnesota-there is a real man walking around up there.