Saturday, August 19, 2017

Do you love waterslides? Me too!

Something hit me today while we were at a local waterpark with the kids.  Our four year old daughter Elly was playing in the kiddie area when my wife pointed out how quickly she found a friend.  

It was as simple as "Do you love water slides?  Me too!  Let's be friends!”

And I mean it was literally that simple.  My daughter didn't care that this girl was a different skin tone or that her English was accompanied by a cute little accent a little different than her own (southern girls never lose that accent).  Within a few more minutes the two of them were joined by a diverse group of other girls.  

"Do you love water slides?  Me too!  Let's be friends!"  

They didn't care about anything but playing together in the water.  They didn't look at each other any differently because they found the one thing they immediately had in common and that was all they were concerned for.  

"Do you love water slides?  Me too!  Let's be friends!"

Hatred is a part of our sinful nature (Romans 3:23; Matthew 5:22).  But specific hatred towards others because they are of a different ethnicity, language, culture, socio-econimic group, etc. is something that is taught.  It's either taught by an immediate authority figure or by the environment into which we are raised.  At some point when we embrace that specific sinful teaching we disregard the fact that every human being has been created in the image of God.  We embrace superiority of self and elevate our supremacy above everyone else.

"Do you love water slides?  Me too!  Let's be friends!"

But this group of little girls had not experienced such hateful teaching.  They held hands, danced in circles, and waited for each other at the bottom of the slides.  They laughed and splashed without a second thought of how different each of them looked or spoke.  Could it really be that simple?  With the Gospel...yes...yes it can be.  

Do you love Christ?  Me too!  Let's be friends!

For His glory,

Adam

Saturday, May 27, 2017

When it's time to leave a good church

Many of us agree that it is very hard to find a "good" church.  It's even more difficult for a military family that moves every few years.  Sometimes though, you do find a good church without having to search around for months.  You settle in, participate in the ministries, sit under Christ-centered preaching, and look forward to regular worship with the saints.  But then time passes quickly, military orders are issued to move you and your family, and you find yourself having to leave a good church.

When we moved to Tennessee we initially planned to make this our home by retiring at the end of this tour of duty.  Plans change and God showed us that He providentially had a different direction for our family.  We sold our budding homestead, the chickens, goats, and finally the beehives we spent years building up.  The saddest point wasn't the letting go of that part of our plans but the realization that we would have to leave our current church family.

Cornerstone Community Church in Drummonds embraced us before we even moved to Tennessee.  I came here a second time before we officially moved, without my family, to look for a home and visited the church after finding them online and communicating with the Pastor through email.  Within the first few days of moving here, the church had already setup meals for us.  Mind you, they had never met my family and only spent a few hours with me on a single Sunday.  Not long after getting settled in, they even planned a surprise baby shower for my wife.  They wholeheartedly showed us what the "one another" principles of the New Testament church really looked like. 

But their devotion to being the local church did not stop there.  Pastor Jody was wrapping up a second evangelism training in the small groups of the church and was very receptive to ideas of evangelistic outreach.  We planned the church's first outreach at the local Munford Celebrate festival and continued to do so each year following.  We also planned for a float in the local Christmas parade where we handed out hundred of tracts along the parade route.  

When I wanted to setup an abortion clinic outreach Pastor Jody reviewed the material I used and my ideas.  After carefully considering what I had planned he not only supported and participated (when possible) but he weekly promoted it during the church announcements.  I found myself joined by several church members during these outreaches.

The following year I asked for assistance in setting up a community garden as a part of another church's outreach in Memphis.  Take note, it was another church's outreach and it was over an hour away from our church.  Several members of the church came out to help and were not concerned at all about whether anyone of those we reached would ever darken the doorways of our church gathering.  Their primary concern was that the Gospel was preached and that they were blessed enough to partner with another Christ-centered church to reach out to others.

As a family-integrated church Cornerstone welcomed children into the worship service.  No one batted an eye when a baby cried, kids shuffled in their seats, or when a parent had to take their child out for disciplining.  Some preachers have problems preaching over the sound of children, while others consider it a reminder of Psalm 127 and joyfully accept it as a blessing.

Pastor Jody dedicates himself to the Word.  Every Sunday the message he brought was evidence to to his sincere study and devotion to expository preaching.  He would spend time giving the full context of each passage and the importance of the original biblical languages.  I was blessed to have several conversations with him during afternoon small group studies over his messages.

I have personally known fellow Christians who hop around churches whenever the wind changes and for no biblical reasoning whatsoever.  Someone said something that hurt their feelings, someone didn't say hello to them one morning, the Pastor didn't preach a passage EXACTLY the way they wanted, and the nitpicking list goes on.  Excuses like these are all too common and evidence of a lack of devotion to the local church.

When it's time to leave a good church because you are being transferred out of the area by the military it is never easy.  I thank God that he brought us to Cornerstone Community Church in Drummonds, TN.  We are thankful that God gave us a devoted and loving Pastor like Jody Duncan with a supporting wife like Michelle and a family that models family devotions/worship daily.

If you are ever in the area, just drive past those larger churches and find yourself on a few backroads until you come to little church building on a corner lot.  When you step into its doors you'll know what I mean when I say it's hard to leave a good church.

Thank you Pastor Jody, Michelle, and everyone at Cornerstone for making us a part of your local family.  May God continue to use you for His glory.

Serving the Savior,
Adam

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Semper Gumby

Have you ever planned a long trip, one which you have never undertaken before?  You plan, research the route, and develop a strict itinerary for how you will proceed.  You load up the vehicle with every item you can think of and are ready hit the road right on time.  Everything is going great...and then you actually pull out the the driveway.

"I gotta go to the bathroom."
"She's sitting too close to me."
"When are we stopping for breakfast?"
"How much further do we have to go?"
"Tell him to put his shoes back on...his feet stink."

Soon you find that your strict itinerary has become less of a plan and more of a "let's just try to get their in one piece" prayer.  As a 21 year active duty member of the U.S. Coast Guard, I've lived by our service's motto "Semper Paratus" which means "Always Ready".  We also have a lesser know motto that other armed services serve under:  "Semper Gumby"..."Always Flexible".  This motto is more prevalent to parenting the older our children get.  

So let me pause right here and eliminate any misconceptions that some of you are likely already formulating:  

1) I'm am not questioning the sufficiency of Scripture.
2) I am not insisting that parenting should be a "shoot from the hip" approach.
3) I am not negating consistency in parenting.

With that PSA out of the way, let me get to the point.  You can plan, read all the books, get all the godly advice you seek for (and a lot which you do not), and even be perfectly in sync with you spouse...then when reality sets in you find out just have uniquely designed each of your children really are.

Let that sink in for a second.  Your children are individually and uniquely created by God. There is no one like them anywhere else.  They do have much in common with everyone else (their sinful nature and need for a Savior) but they are not cookie-cutter kids who can easily be shaped into the same mold as others.  This means the nature and specifics of parenting each child may look a little different depending upon the personality, strengths, and weaknesses of that child.  This also means that despite the advice your bestie may give regarding how they have raised their 18 year old to be the most proper addition to society, their exact approach will likely not work for your child.

The principles of Scripture regarding parenting NEVER change.  No style of parenting is to provoke our children to anger (Ephesians 6:4).  No approach to parenting is to ignore the centricity of Christ in the home (Hebrews 3:4).  No book on parenting can ever stand without the Bible as its foundation (Psalm 119:142). 

But perhaps the journey we had planned needs adjusting once we actually hit the road.  Maybe we need a few more stops along the way to stretch our legs and just give everyone a little room.  Maybe we need to be a little more flexible in our personal approach and more biblical in our foundational understanding of the blessing of God's creative uniqueness. 

For King and Kingdom,
Adam

Friday, March 31, 2017

Bogus boycott of B&B

Say the word "boycott" and many of us Christians immediately perk up. There's something about
rallying behind what has been perceived as a sinful abomination against biblical principles that can sometimes bring out the worst in us...ME INCLUDED.

As a fan of the original Beauty and the Beast (B&B) movie I was initially excited for my children to enjoy this timeless classic as I had in its animated form in the early 90s. But my hopes were quickly dashed against the sharp rocks of liberalism as word of an intertwined "gay agenda" surfaced.  The director, Bill Condon, was quoted as intending to promote and recreate the character "LeFou" (French for "the fool") as homosexual.  A myriad of other quotes were posted including the idea that the film was a metaphor for AIDS. The latter turns out to be false and was an idea taken more from the story of the animated version's executive producer and lyricist Howard Ashman who died of AIDS.  This was slander though since Ashman was diagnosed as HIV positive after the B&B production started and died of AIDS well after it was completed.

Still, the idea that the director would add a "gay scene" to this beloved classic sent many of us in a frenzied, blind boycott (blind being the key word).  More time was spent critiquing the intentions of the director and the supposed inserted scenes than actually watching the movie. Despite my initial protests I decided that I would give the movie a chance so we took our entire family for an afternoon out.  I had heard a few reviews beforehand but was still prepared to wash my children clean of the attempted worldly indoctrination. What I witnessed was worse than I feared...I was revealed to be an overreacting fool!

We sat fully engaged in one of the most enthralling films I have seen in a long time. The cinematography was excellent as the backdrop of Belle's character was opened for the audience.  The development of her character as well as Gaston, the Beast, and the rest of the case was truly artistic.  The few liberties the writers took actually filled in a lot of questions the cartoon adaptation left open.  Belle's missing mother was explained, the Beast's missing family and upbringing were revealed, the tie between the servants turned enchanted objects in the castle were revealed, and even the reason why no one in the nearby village remembered the former prince of their realm was beautifully explained.

(SPOILER ALERT...TURN AWAY)
The most intriguing point of the film was the redefining of Belle's father who previously was the inventor of the family. In this production he was a protective father and artist. The reasoning for this was revealed as Belle's history unfolded. She, her father, and mother lived in Paris (where else would a French artist live) when at a very young age her mother contracted the plague. At her mother's plea to save Belle's life her father swept her up and fled to the country to prevent her from becoming ill as well. Belle was raised in a protective home but a nurturing one which instilled creativity and compassion by a loving father.

LaFou's character development should have accompanied a name change as who he was in the conclusion of the film was not the same character of the animated screen. He had instead realized the folly of blindly following Gaston and fought alongside the castle servants at the climax of the film precipitated by a brief admission of guilt to the teakettle Mrs. Potts.

But what of the "gay scene"? Well...it wasn't there.  I know some will say that the scene in which LaFou is seen dancing with another man or the scene where one of the castle assailants readily accepts his redresseing by the enchanted wardrobe as a woman would be the crux of the protest, I would heartily disagree.  The supposed cross-dressing man lasted about 2 seconds and LaFou's dance was less than that.  But what about the director's intention to promote the gay agenda?  If this is true then he failed miserably.  The only thing he may have accomplished was to rally some of us Christians behind a baseless, fruitless boycott which showed just how easily swayed we can be.

I have absolutely no negative artistic critiques against this movie.  It is one of the few that I can fully give 5 stars to without reservation.  There were numerous redemptive qualities revealed in the Beast, Belle, the castle servants, and even LeFou.  No, I'm not going to allegorize the movie into a Bible study so don't even try to do so yourself.

Go see the movie, don't see the movie...whatever you decide please ensure that it is not because of the overinflated boycott against it pushed by misinformed brothers in Christ like me.

In service of the reigning King,
Adam

Saturday, November 5, 2016

BILL MAHER IS RIGHT!

To my brothers and sisters who are voting/endorsing Donald Trump,

I have not been silent on social media regarding my position this election cycle but I did not find a case for needing to blog...until now.

WARNING:  The video below contains BLASPHEMY and FOUL LANGUAGE!  DO NOT watch this with your younger children!!!


As much as I cannot stand listening to Bill Maher, there is no denying that he is absolutely correct regarding the hypocrisy of evangelicals who are overwhelmingly voting for Donal Trump.  Even when a pagan who hates God with every fiber of his being states an obvious fact we must admit when he is right.

Evangelicals, by which he is actually referring to Christians, who are voting for Donald Trump have again brought reproach upon the name of the Savior whom they profess.  I am sorry for my brothers and sisters who take offense but this is an undeniable fact at this point.  As Maher points out, you are voting and endorsing a person who time and time again has broken every facet of God's Law without repentance.  As though this were not enough, he even points out that at least the Mormons are consistent...and that hurts!

Even a one-legged man has at least one leg left to stand on.  In your case, you have not only cut both legs out from under you, you have hoisted them high in the air with "MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN" banners nailed firmly to them all the while waving enthusiastically behind your TRUMP/PENCE yard sign.

You stand with us to proclaim the sanctity of marriage between one man and one woman...but you back an adulterous, perverse man who brushes off his reference to a woman as just "locker room talk" as your POTUS!

You stand with us to proclaim the sanctity of human life...but you exalt a man who says babies in the womb deserve to die in certain situations!

You stand with us on the exclusivity of salvation in Christ...but you give hardy approval to someone who says he's never needed to ask God for forgiveness!

You stand with us in declaring the sovereignty of God...but you vote pragmatically and are angered when shown that there is NO biblical basis for voting for this man!

Now, your stance is noticed by unregenerate men like Maher as hypocritical not because he is a hater of God but because he knows how to see through people who profess one thing and do another.

The world will hate those who are the sheep of the Good Shepherd.  They will hate us for declaring Christ as God, the only way of salvation, and all other religions/cults as false and damnable.  They will hate us because of Christ...but now they mock you because of your hypocrisy.

They don't despise you for your stance on Scripture, they despise you because you only stand on it when it is convenient.

They don't despise you for being involved in the political process, they despise you because your political pragmatism is no better than their own.

They don't despise you because of the sweet Gospel you proclaim, but because of the course and foul-mouthed man you now declare as the last vestige of hope for our country.

There are many cases in our country's history where Christians have not lived consistent with Scripture and the lost world has noticed (slavery, unjust wars, abortion) and this is just one more example.  The only difference is now it's televised and one of the most ardent atheists of our day has called you out!

I am sorry that Bill Maher is right in this regard.  We sometimes sin knowingly and unknowingly.  We sometimes speak and act in ways that are contrary to Christ and His Word.  And this is a shining example of this fact.  We have brought reproach to our testimony.

I have no doubt that the lost world will use this for some time as an example of our inconsistency and will further call us into question every time we attempt to declare the truth.  No matter who becomes the next POTUS, Christians have already lost.

But Christ is still King and He reigns for all eternity.  May this be another step in our sanctification.  May you receive this in spirit of Proverbs 27:6.  May He grant us mercy despite our unbiblical decisions and their lasting consequences!

For King and Kingdom,
Adam

Saturday, April 2, 2016

#ENDABORTIONNOW

Imagine a world where domestic violence was permissible.  The government takes the stance that what a couple does in the confines of their own home is their business.  However, a concerned group decides that this is morally wrong.  They present a bill before their state legislative body as such:

"We have completed extensive research regarding domestic violence and determined that spousal abuse is proportionately higher in regards to husbands physically abusing their wives.  Further inquiry discovered that most husbands engage in this form of abuse between the hours of 6pm and 11pm Tuesday through Saturday.  We therefore are proposing a bill that would make it illegal for a husband to abuse his wife between the hours of 6pm and 9pm."

Hearing of this movement others in another state propose a similar bill:

"After interviewing numerous husbands who have admitted to physically abusing their wives we have determined that the best method to curb this immoral act is to create an opportunity for the husband to hear from his wife her reasons why he should not abuse her.  The husband and wife would visit a abuse mediator who would allow a safe environment for the wife to state her case.  Once the husband has heard her side, the two sign a statement and the husband is then allowed to make an informed decision."

That...is...ridiculous
Sounds a bit ridiculous, doesn't it?  If you have been paying attention you likely know exactly where this is going.  Why regulate something as atrocious as domestic violence?  Why simply limit when a husband could abuse his wife?  Why continue to give him the authority to beat her only after he has afforded her the occasion to give a defense against his violence towards her?  Why not simply make domestic violence illegal, punishable, and an unthinkable act?  Great question...now let's ask the same questions regarding abortion.

Let's face the facts, despite some strides the pro-life movement has been a utter FAILURE.  It has failed to abolish abortion from this country.  It has succeeded in regulating abortion and some might say in saving many babies, but apply those same positives to the scenario above.  Imagine saying "While husbands can still beat their wives, our efforts have helped to limit when they could do so and resulted in some women being spared the physical abuse that others continue to endure".

Who's the victim?
Another problem that is finally coming to a head is the determination of who are the perpetrators and accomplices in abortion and who are the victims.  Many will point to the recent flip-flopping comments of Donald Trump as sparking this discussion, but this debate has been going on for some time now.  The "Babies Are Murdered Here" documentary helped to bring this discussion more to the forefront and cause us to begin biblically thinking what the abolition of abortion would look like.

If abortion is illegal then those who perform, pay, and support them must be held accountable for their actions.  Note though that I mean EVERYONE involved must be punished.  The only individual not punished in such a horrific act is of course the victim....in the case of abortion, the only victim is the baby (or babies) who died at the hands of the abortion "Doctor" solely at the request of the mother and/or father.

The mentality among many in the pro-life movement is that the mother of the child needs to be protected from accountability for her actions.  Remember though, the mother is the one responsible for the immediate care of the baby in her womb.  When she willingly seeks out an abortion, schedules the act with the abortion clinic, and steps into the room where they will end the life of her child, she is not a victim...she is one of the perpetrators.

She is just as guilty as the mother who drowned her twin boys in the bathtub.  She is just as guilty as the teen mother who murdered her newborn baby girl by stabbing her only moments after she was born.  The mother seeking and following through with an abortion is not a victim....HER BABY IS!!!!

TGC failed...the church and babies
The Gospel Coalition's article responding to Trump's statement is by far one of the most recent revealing published statements that show the true underlying problem with the pro-life movement.  It is non-sensical, illogical, and massively unbiblical as it operates solely in a unbiblical worldview and partners primarily with those who are not Christian (i.e. Romans Catholics).  It is highly unnecessary for the believer to argue or contest against abortion by entering into the arena the world has created.  For too long we have allowed the world to establish the rules, set the boundaries, and define the wording used in the abortion issue.  THAT TIME IS AT AN END!

On April 8th, Apologia Radio and Apologia Church are hosting a live streaming event that will prayerfully ignite the local church and equip them to remove the false pro-life thinking and replace it with biblical positioning.  By working through a biblical worldview and with the work of Jesus Christ in His Church, we can see an end to abortion.

Finally, to the mothers and fathers...
In closing, let me speak to the mothers and fathers who have chosen or are considering murdering their pre-born child.  If you choose to murder your baby through any means, you are a MURDERER.  We say this not because we hate you but because we love you enough to speak the truth.  Unlike those in TGC, placating politicians, and the incrementalist pro-lifers, those of us who seek to abolish abortion actually care for you and your child enough to use biblical language to warn you.

There is forgiveness in Christ, but if you continue to play the role of victim and do not take responsibility for the death of your child you cannot truly be repentant.

May God awaken His Church as we seek to glorify Him by preaching His Gospel and working to abolish the atrocity of abortion.

In Christ alone,
Adam

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Apathy or properly informed: Can we vote for the lesser of two evils?

It's a quiet Saturday morning when your doorbell rings.  You open the door to find two men standing before you with a clipboard.  They are dressed in jeans and polo shirts, with one shirt reading "The Vault" and the other "The Den".  They inform you that they are both attempting to purchase commercial property in your neighborhood but were told by the city council that the residents were allowed to decide what type of business to allow.  They don't need every vote but one option must receive the majority.

The first man tells you his business will bring numerous jobs, more than his opponents, to the area.  Many young women will be offered high paying positions as strippers in his establishment.  He promises tight security, increased public interaction, and that his business will support many community activities.

The second man quickly interjects with his proposal.  His business would admittedly not provide as many jobs but have much less liability through its entertainment options.  His adult book/video/novelty store would bring in higher revenue due to their website and online options.

You are handed the clipboard with two columns, one for each business option.  In one of the columns you must write your full name and address, checking the box to cast your vote for the business you would prefer.  Your decision will be made known to the city council as well as your neighbors.  Which do you vote for?

The reasonable answer would be to not vote for either.  You are under no obligation to be a part of allowing either sinful business into your neighborhood.  Of course, your refusal to vote for neither does not mean that one will not set up residence.  In fact, you know your neighbors well enough that you are certain at least some of them will cast a vote.

If the answer to this scenario is so simple, why then do so many well-intentioned believers feel that when they vote anywhere else they MUST vote for the "lesser of two evils".  They insist that voting for one candidate is a right that many have fought for, died, and still defend to this day.  You are almost seen as un-patriotic...and sometimes unChristian...for not casting a vote.  But not casting a vote is a right secured in the same manner as the right to cast a vote.

It's another issue altogether to take an apathetic stance towards voting.  "My vote doesn't matter anyway", "I don't really care", etc. are some of the basic responses of apathetic voters.  But refusing to vote does not always mean one is apathetic.  If they decide not to vote because they have researched and found no candidate that meets the criteria for that office, then their vote is in fact a vote of "No Confidence".  

"But if you don't vote then there is a better chance for the more ungodly candidate to step into office".  

That is true...but not voting for either sends two messages:

1) There were no candidates qualified for the position which in turn tells those who supported the candidates to support and nominate more qualified candidates the next time around.

2) You are more concerned with qualification and following the majority of the group with which you are most closely affiliated.

Shall we simply be as the Israelites in 1 Samuel who cried out for a king to lead them with no regard for God's standard of ruling?  While I agree with others that we are not electing a Pastor or Bible teacher, we are electing someone who must know where justice originates and acknowledges the Highest Authority.  To elect anyone who does not is to elect someone whose basis for morals, ethics, and practice are borrowed from the Christian worldview (as any good presuppositionist knows) but are not rooted in the firm foundation of Scripture.  Such a view can easily be swayed, moved, or altered as the newly elected official's position evolves while in office.

Voting for the lesser of two evils is not only a fallacious position but it simply ignores the third option of giving a vote of no confidence by refusing to support either evil.  Evil does not need our vote, we allow it in power each time we settle on one of its softer supporters.

Thanks for stopping by!

Serving the Sovereign Savior,
Adam