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“Respect the Office, Not the Person”, Kevin Bacon and our Doxological-Gospel Purposes

Living the Good News to the Glory of God and Interacting with Everyday People and Politicians

In the Scriptures, the Holy Spirit instructs us to make the glory of God our highest priority (1 Cor 10:31) even down to our motivations for consuming food!

Elsewhere He also exhorts us to live in such a fashion as to discern wisdom from folly, and good from evil. In matters that regard our political leaders, (more…)

Two Good Articles on Blood Moons…

The blood moons are in the news and on the minds of people within Christendom. So, I thought it might be worth posting some articles that will discuss the matter from a biblical standpoint. The articles will critique the ideas of two men, John Hagee and Mark Blitz. * Here are the articles: Tim Challies and Answers in Genesis.red moon

The people promoting the present importance of the blood moons generally have to do a lot of “proof-texting” in order to make their case. Additionally, they take upon themselves (more…)

Enjoyments That Require Effort…

Posted in run on sentences, Uncategorized by Sam Hendrickson on 15 February , 2014

When I was young, I would see people doing something (skating, skiing, playing music, etc.) and clearly they were enjoying themselves. I would eagerly want to start doing those things–which would mean that my parents had to buy me skates, skis, etc. (more…)

Is Your Faith and Practice Apostolic (and Thus “Christian)?”

Posted in America's spiritual crisis, Communion w/ God, discernment, run on sentences by Sam Hendrickson on 21 January , 2014

“Christianity” is not only a religion (and it is that certainly!) but it is specifically a trust in God through Jesus Christ which works out in the whole being of a person (Faith and Practice). The understanding of what to believe (the object of faith) is found in the New Testament Scriptures, and is based on prophecy, promises and teachings from the Old (Luke 24:27). The way of practicing that faith is largely found in the Acts, and the Epistles (wherein the Apostles give us “the mind of Christ” with commands, principles, guidelines and even the examples of the Apostles).

So, is the life I have that I call “Christianity,” formed by the Scriptures ( properly understood) as an attempt to continue the faith and practice handed down from the Apostles? Or is it phenomenally influenced by or even specifically founded in the thoughts, writings, visions, (or whatever) of someone else?

If one’s belief and practice is founded in the writings, visions, thoughts of someone else since the Apostles, why would I trust that person–those people? Paul was deeply concerned for the church of Corinth in that they are in danger of straying from the Good News (faith and practice) he brought to them. His concern is expressed throughout both Epistles, but is clear in 1 Cor 2:1-5. Are you putting faith in the “power of  God” or in something dreamed up (often quite literally these days) by a non-chosen, non-Apostolic, non-messenger of God?

Thinking of the some of the themes from:

Colossians 2:18-19  18 Let no one keep defrauding you of your prize by delighting in self-abasement and the worship of the angels, taking his stand on visions he has seen, inflated without cause by his fleshly mind,  19 and not holding fast to the head, from whom the entire body, being supplied and held together by the joints and ligaments, grows with a growth which is from God.  NASB95

Also in terms of the force which Apostolic teaching must have:

1 Corinthians 11:1-2  Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ.  2 Now I praise you because you remember me in everything and hold firmly to the traditions, just as I delivered them to you.

1 Corinthians 11:16  16 But if one is inclined to be contentious, we have no other practice, nor have the churches of God.

2 Thessalonians 2:15  15 So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught, whether by word of mouth or by letter from us.

1 Thessalonians 4:1  Finally then, brethren, we request and exhort you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us instruction as to how you ought to walk and please God (just as you actually do walk), that you excel still more.

2 Thessalonians 3:6  6 Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from every brother who leads an unruly life and not according to the tradition which you received from us.

1 Corinthians 11:23 23 For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you,

1 Corinthians 15:3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures

Galatians 1:12 For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ.

Belonging to God’s Household, Christ’s Body, the Church, etc.

Posted in Communion w/ God, Postmodern, run on sentences by Sam Hendrickson on 19 January , 2014

In order for a person to be a member of the body of Christ through the New Covenant, (i.e. to be a Christian) there must bbody-of-christe a Divine, miraculous change in the heart of such a person. That change culminates in faith and repentance; faith in the finished work of Christ while turning from sin–calling on God to bring salvation.

That is a heart-work no human being can do, but only the Spirit of God. In reading John 9 and 10 (Jesus healing the blind man and Jesus’ subsequent discussion of the “sheep fold,” the “flock” and “other sheep” outside “the fold”), we see how sheep from Israel (“fold”) and “other sheep” (outside of Israel, i.e. Gentiles) are combined together into a “flock” who have one true Shepherd. BTW, this will not be obvious in the KJV (there is a mistranslation of some of the original language).

What is the fellowship or commonality these in the “flock” hold? Is it their outward appearance, genetic background, or anything visible? No, it is a spiritual, Divine fellowship–“my sheep hear my voice and follow Me” and “I know My sheep and they know Me.” This is the essence of belonging to the New Covenant people (to bearing the name “Christian”)–an invisible, Divine spiritual work through which His people follow and know to follow their Shepherd. They trust in Him for forgiveness, salvation and life, and through the Spirit’s power and Christian graces, they keep following until He returns.

Any togetherness beyond this divinely-produced, invisible unity, or any claimed connection to the regenerate (born-again) Body of Christ through heritage, genetics, familial ties, etc. is something other than Christian unity, however pleasant, sentimentally-comforting, etc. that “unity” may be.

Tick-tock-tick-tock…

Of course there is some value to seeing themes of redemption, grace and the like in popular media (songs, books, motion pictures and in television programs). The Spirit of God does indeed open our eyes to see our world’s messages differently. But let us never forget that He does so by means of His Word.

Let’s say a Christian reads his Bible 5 min/day, https://i2.wp.com/www.hourplace.com/store/images/catswingtail.gif (more…)

Sin & our Past

With apologies to my friends who are More Educated on Automotive Computer Systems than me–this is not a perfect analogy, so don’t miss the point.https://i1.wp.com/us.123rf.com/400wm/400/400/gudella/gudella1202/gudella120200047/12650881-old-dirty-car-engine.jpg

My brother-in-law says he knew a German mechanic who talked about Mercedes engine problems this way: (more…)

A Man Blind From Birth…

Posted in run on sentences, Uncategorized by Sam Hendrickson on 21 November , 2012

A man blind from birth–his blindness and our Lord’s healing–both for the glory of God (9:3).

Jesus heals the man through a means which prevented him from knowing the face of Jesus (there are other speculations regarding the spittle/mud thing–many of them get rather allegorical). He relates that “Jesus” healed him, both unaware of his looks and of his whereabouts (9:12).

He is brought to the Pharisees on the Sabbath–the same day of his healing. The dilemma–had the man been healed by someone who had broken the Sabbath in order to do the healing? (Jesus has set the stage for a significant change in the man’s life, through an encounter with the legalistic Pharisees on a matter regarding the Mosaic Law–no small thing. See v. 16) The Pharisees question him as to the personage of his Healer–“He is a prophet” is his response. (This will not bode well for him.) His parents are called in and for fear of being “put out of the synagogue”–no minor thing, their entire life would be a shunned life from that point on–they refuse to be involved in any answer which might lend credibility to their son, or to their son’s Healer. (Notice the crisis is ramping up.)

The Pharisees interrogate him again and imply he might be lying, “so now tell the truth” (“give glory to God…”). Their approach is laden with a more obvious threat “we know this man is a sinner.” The threats and tactics essentially do not have the effect for which the Pharisees are hoping–in a real sense he gives as good as he gets in verse 27. They accuse him of being a follower of Christ, which they clearly contrast with being a follower of Moses.
His response indicates the conviction which is gripping him regarding Jesus–he is certain that his Healer is “from God” (v. 33) because of His healing ability.

Because he will not bend to their view of his Healer, and due to their pride, they cast him out of the synagogue (v. 34). He essentially has no standing as an Israelite in Judea or with any other Jewish group in the world. He is to be shunned in family, religious, societal and all other ways–in a very real sense he is disconnected from Israel by their pronouncement.

Jesus comes to him and through their encounter the newly seeing man also sees God in the person of His Messiah–through faith, evidenced by worship and proclamation of belief (vv. 35 – 38). This man has gone from exclusion to inclusion. The Pharisees thought they had cast him out of any connection with God’s things, but in reality, through Christ he is fully and completely in relation with God in ways he had not understood before.

Jesus brings the event to a close by rebuking the Pharisees, showing that His healing was actually an act of judgment upon the Pharisees, and any other Jew who saw himself as righteous in the way they did. I think His spit & mud method included the fact that when the man first sees Jesus, Pharisees will see his first reactions, and his subsequent faith. The spit & mud have a purpose for surprise and revealing the sincerity of the man’s faith and devotion.

Chapter 10
As the conversation continues, Jesus points out how He is seeking to enter into the shepherding of Israel (as a nation, as a people) through legitimate means (10:1 – 2).
He refers to the Pharisees, and their ilk as being illegitimate–with desires for personal gain in their shepherding (“thief and robber.”)

Then He points out that as the door and the shepherd, He calls people from out of national Israel (the fold v. 16) to join His flock (KJV mistakenly translates the Greek here as “fold”–it is a different word than “fold” earlier in the verse).
He points out that there are other sheep (who are “not of this fold”–not of national Israel) who He “must bring them also” and like the fold-sheep, these outside-the-fold-sheep hear His voice and follow–together they are “one flock, one shepherd.” (v. 16).

It is no accident that Jesus uses this parable immediately following the healing of the blind man, his being cast out of Israel, his being made a true follower of Jesus. (Casting someone out of the synagogue was seen as “treating someone as a Gentile”).

This man is extricated from the “fold” of Israel, and through faith in the Anointed Messiah Deliverer is placed into the “flock” of Christ. Others from Israel will certainly come along out of the fold to follow the Shepherd, and Gentiles (sheep-not-of-the-fold) will follow too. Their bond to the Shepherd is seen in vv. 4, 5, 14 – 15; it is a spiritual bond, not a “son of Abraham”, “follower of Moses” type of thing. It requires the regenerating work of God so that they place their faith in the Shepherd.

Israel and the Church have different promises–there are many levels of discontinuity from worship of God before the Cross, and afterward.

God Hates Purposefully Mixed Worship & Sacrifice-Exodus 32

Some more thoughts on modern Christianity’s tendency to intermix worldliness in with the things of Christ.

It’s not some new phenomenon as we will see below.

When this artist to the right is “excited” that his album was used for a World Wide Wrestling Federation (now WWE) 25 year Anniversary service (and no, it was not chosen because it spoke a contrary message of God to those present, but because the music fit right in), you have to wonder if you want the people you love to be warned about the messages of such people. Maybe some will think you out of step “with the current Christian times”, or just a nosy, cranky curmudgeon. (Who among us would deny such are true of me? Heh heh.)

But as I preached last week, if you are doing Good News living and others have a problem with that, their beef is not with you, but they’ve just found their complaint escalated to the highest levels–Christ and the Father. So, I won’t be hurt if you disagree, but, at that point my feelings and my opinion means nada, nil, nuthin’–zilch. Someone else’s opinion does.

This kind of thinking comes from (John 15:19 – 16:3)

Anyway

God’s rightful glory is given to someone else when we intentionally mingle godly things in with pagan things. And God does not stand for having His glory diverted, stolen or reduced.

I contend that “Christian” bands like these and others, often show their desires to find ways to have and hold “the world” while trying to have and hold Christ.

That’s God-glory-robbing kind of stuff–and that is a dangerous place to be, and these can be spiritually dangerous people from which to get your teachings about God.

Consider how things went in the 15th Century BC:

Exodus 32

  • People often lose confidence in the people God has ordained as their spiritual leader (Verse 1)Exodus 32:1  Now when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mountain, the people assembled about Aaron and said to him, “Come, make us a god who will go before us; as for this Moses, the man who brought us up from the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.
  • In doing so, they then reveal what their real desires are–what they truly want to worship (instead of the One True God)(Verse 1)“come make us a god”
  • Other spiritual leaders may well be as spiritually weak as those they lead and cave into their sinful desires (Verse 2) Aaron said to them, “Tear off the gold rings which are in the ears of your wives, your sons, and your daughters, and bring them to me.”
  • Such leaders can end up mixing in “God-talk” and “idol-talk” as a way of gaining the approval of the sinful people, and as a way of making themselves feel better for introducing sin into the things of God–“this is your god” and “tomorrow shall be a feast to the LORD.” (Verse 4) He [Aaron] took this from their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool and made it into a molten calf; and they said, “This is your god, O Israel, who brought you up from the land of Egypt.”
  • When such leaders intermingle pagan, sinful things in with the holy things of God, the people (whose hearts desire sin, self and their own lusts) will go along with it and even do “the godly stuff.”–they “offered burnt offerings and brought peace offerings” (Verse 5)Now when Aaron saw this, he built an altar before it; and Aaron made a proclamation and said, “Tomorrow shall be a feast to the LORD.”
  • And when the “God” stuff is over, the sinful idolatry and self-centered fulfillment merely continues (Verse 6)So the next day they rose early and offered burnt offerings, and brought peace offerings; and the people sat down to eat and to drink, and rose up to play
  • God’s holy righteous anger burns against this kind of spiritual God-talk and idol-worship (Verses 7 – 35)–Go ahead go to the passage and take a look–God’s punishment on Israel was ugly, brutal and indicative of His love for His own glory.

Seriously, ask yourself:

  • Do I want to be listening to people who are willing to look at God this way?
  • Should I be learning my information about God from people who look at God this way?
  • Should I be using the messages of such people to help me individually worship God?

It ought to sober us to think of what God did in the Golden Calf Worship-of-Jehovah-Disaster.

Who is really your God/god?

Lookin’ fer a Faaight…

I was manning the booth our Church had at the Hudsonville Fair last week when I was approached by one of the vendors in the building. This person’s booth had 666 “secrets” banners, other references signs, banners, brochures and books referring to the mark of the beast, and other prophetic issues. The person’s shirt sported a (homemade?) ribbon announcing (more…)