Long Life

There is an old Chinese religion, called Taoism, which places a great deal of emphasis on having as long a life as possible. Great lengths are gone to accomplish this goal, but Taoists, like all the rest of us, pass on. Life here is not designed to last forever. Christians know this. When Jesus said "I go to prepare a place for you" (John 14:1-6), it was because we would be coming along, sooner or later (Hebrews 9:27).

On Baptism

As far as I can tell, there is no rational explanation for the confusion and controversy over the role of baptism in the history of the Christian religion. The teaching about baptism is presented as a matter of fact in the New Testament. From Jesus to Paul and Peter the doctrine is put forth as settled and unquestionable. Yet today baptism continues to be misunderstood by many if not most people who consider themselves Christian in at least some sense.

Religious Violence

The news media today have a pattern they follow when commenting on the violence that is such a part of the conflict between the western world and radical Islam. It may be summarized: "Yes, some Muslims are very violent, but Christians have been violent, too. Indeed, violence in the world cease to be a problem if people were not so religious." People of this bent cite the crusades and the violence in Ireland as well as the continuing problems between Israel and her neighbors. Many in the media leave the impression that today's violence is actually the fault of the "Christianized west."

Will You Be Thrown Back?

Imagine that at the end of our lives we are caught in a great fishing net and pulled up on the dark sand of a spectral shore. As we are all flopping around men pick us up one by one, inspect each of us closely, keep a few and throw the rest back into the sea, which by this time is on fire.
This strange picture is from Matthew 13:47-50: Again the kingdom of heaven is like a dragnet that was cast into the sea and gathered some of every kind, which when it was full, they drew to shore: and they sat down and gathered the good into vessels, but threw the bad away. So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come forth, separate the wicked from among the just, and cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth."
Jesus asked his hearers if they understood what He was saying (verse 51). They said they did. I suppose we might say the same thing. There is, as is always the case, more to this parable than first meets the eye. It is a summation of the dilemma of modern religion.
The ideas in the parable of the dragnet are in stark contrast to modern perspectives in religion. Religion in our world, even here in the South, has become relativistic. Religion is whatever one wants it to be. There is no right. There is no wrong. There are no saints because there are no sinners. Sin has been abolished.

Can We Know That God Is?

Where Will You Be?

Have you thought about the possibility that Jesus could return in your lifetime? Where will you be when Jesus returns? What will you be doing? What will your spiritual condition be at that time? These are good questions for which there are plain and good answers.

God In A Chair

In our most recent School of Bible Emphasis class, David Sain told us of a very effective rhetorical device he had used in a sermon on worship. He asked those in attendance to imagine a chair beside him on the raised pulpit area. Then he asked them to imagine that God Himself was sitting in that chair, facing the worshippers. David told us that the assembly grew very quiet.

A Good Trip To Guyana

Larry Thornton, Tom Irby and I returned Wednesday night form a one-week trip to visit our friends in the South American country of Guyana. Our trip began on the 27th of December when we departed Huntsville for Atlanta, Miami, and then Georgetown. Our connections were rather close but we made it fine into the Cheddi Jagan International Airport. We were met there by our good friend, Sunil Joseph, who took us the twenty-five miles into Georgetown and our hotel for the first night.

What Will We Do?

I believe in setting goals and staying focused. I might not meet my goals and on occasion I lose my focus, but I don't think any of us get too far in life without knowing what we want to do and diligently pressing forward to accomplish our desires. This is just a practical application of Paul's statement in Philippians 3:14: "I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus."

Good Years