For it is by grace you have been saved...

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Happy National Coffee Day!

(Another lazy repost from last year, but hey, it's still Coffee Day, so celebrate)

Such a spree of holidays in September.  Constitution Day.  Talk Like A Pirate Day.  Now, the high point of the September holiday calendar:  National Coffee Day.  How did I not know this thing existed for so long?

Ironically, a friend just posted an article for me on the issue of whether or not coffee comes as the result of natural selection or by divine creation.  Duh?  That’s a no brainer.  Only an intelligent benevolent Creator could come up with something so blessed!

Also recently, I had a friend compose a song parody for me singing the praises of the elixir of life.  I’m sure he wouldn’t mind me sharing it with you. 


by Gregg Metcalf

(To the tune of “Cocaine” by Eric Clapton)

If you wanna wake up you’ve gotta grab a cup.
If you wanna get through the day don’t act like a pup

She is so sweet, she is so sweet, she is so sweet


When you get those Monday blues she is always good news
When you need a clear mind and don’t have much time


If your head is in a spin pour another cup again
Don’t forget this fact or you’ll fall off the track

[Chorus 2x]

She is so sweet, she is so sweet, she is so sweet

Thanks, Gregg. 

I considered celebrating by taking a tour of the best shops in the area, but alas, an empty wallet and a broken down truck have prevented that.  However, for the rest of you, I’ve also heard that some big name chain restaurants are offering free brew to celebrate the day.  Not bad.

So read the articles, enjoy the song, and celebrate the blessed bean.  And though I’ve shared it before, here’s another little favorite ode to coffee.  

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Why the Pope is Dangerous

That headline ought to get me on some watch list somewhere! But all I'm trying to point out is the danger of a “popular” pope to an American church that is already so wishy washy that it doesn't know what it stands for, if anything.

Obviously, I'm writing this because Pope Francis is visiting these United States.  It's a big deal for a lot of folks.  It has huge political ramifications.  But I'm not smart enough to address all that.  So I'll simply stick with the theological ramifications.

Folks, the pope is not a biblically orthodox Christian.  He denies salvation by grace, opting for the centuries old works salvation the Roman Catholic Church teaches.  He's an idolater:  While he hasn't been as brazen about Mary worship as his predecessor, he still holds to the same doctrines which elevate a godly servant, Mary, to the level of deity/co-redeemer with Christ.  He doesn't believe in the sufficiency of God's Holy Word, resting instead on centuries of tradition, and so on. 

You know the arguments.  They are the same ones Protestants and Catholics have divided over for a hundreds of years.  And that's the very reason why all this hoopla over the pope and his visit to the US is so dangerous.

By all accounts, Francis is a genuinely nice guy.  He helps the poor.  He seems concerned with injustice.  All admirable things.  Things that tempt some tepid Christians to forget all those theologically significant differences I just mentioned, along with a host of others.  And that's dangerous.

Dangerous, because when we stop relying on salvation by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, according to Scripture alone, then we have just left the realm of biblical truth and started following the whims of men once again.  And when we do that, we are on dangerous ground indeed. Eternally dangerous. 

But, alas, this is the same American church that follows after false teachers like Joel Osteen and Joyce Meyer.  This is the same American church where survey after survey shows a serious lack of biblical knowledge.  So why shouldn't they flock to listen to one more false teacher?  Because, truth is still truth.  Scripture is still Scripture.  And God is the One who sets the standard, not men.

Of course, we're not the first to let down our guard and accept watered down papal teachings.  Charles Spurgeon cried out in his day:  "I am astonished, and yet more astonished when I come to turn it over, at the want of earnestness that there is in the Protestantism of the present age... The Protestants; and the Protestantism of England is the pay-master of the Pope. I am ashamed that sons of the Reformers...should bow themselves before the beast, and give so much as a single farthing to the shrine of the devil’s firstborn son. Take heed to yourselves, ye Protestants, lest ye be partakers of her plagues; touch her not, lest ye be defiled. Give a drachm to her, or a grain of incense to her censors, ye shall be partakers of her adulteries and partakers of her plagues."

And you thought I was being a little rough!  Take heed indeed, brothers.  Please, appreciate a guy who helps the poor and cries against injustice.  But, also, please don't be taken in by the false gospel he proclaims.  Remember the blood of martyrs shed to stand against that false gospel. The pope's Christ is not the Christ of Scripture.  And there is “no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved,” but the true Christ. 

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Happy Constitution Day!

(This has become an annual repost, but why reinvent the wheel, right?)

September 17, 1787.  A pretty good day in US history.  It was on this date that the U. S. Constitution was completed and signed.  55 men were involved altogether, including the writing and signing. (It's worth noting that nearly all were active members of Christian denominations, for those who say Christians have had nothing to offer...)   That makes today the 228th anniversary of that wonderful day.  So Happy Constitution Day.

You can celebrate in any number of ways.  You can find some of the online resources that give some basic information, fun facts, etc. about our Constitution.  (here or here for example)

You can read the Constitution.  It's one of the suggested ideas in the links above, and would be a good idea for every American.  It would be especially good for those serving in any branch of government, since so many seem to have never seen it before. 

Speaking of which, one way we could celebrate is to look back over the last few years and enumerate the various ways the Federal Government has violated the Constitution.  That would be a fun and educational experience, I'm sure. 

You could also celebrate Constitution Day by going right now and joining the Constitution Party. That way, you're already set for this next election cycle to try and restore our nation to its founding documents (a pipe dream, I know).  

Or you can simply do what the framers and signers of this grand, historical document did on a regular basis.  Get down on your knees and thank God for His generous blessings to this nation and seek His guidance for its future.  While it may be a radical concept to many today, it was common practice (and common sense) to our founding fathers. 

But however you celebrate, you should celebrate.  This document, if you are an American, is why you have the freedoms you have, including the reading of this post right now.  So remind yourself of this important part of our heritage.  Happy Constitution Day!

Monday, September 14, 2015

Homeschooler Moment: Graduate Edition

So, for those who don't know, years ago I started posting fun little things that happened in our little homeschool family, and called them Homeschooler Moments.  (you can search in the "bar" to the right if you'd like to find some of them).  I numbered these for awhile, then fell away, then forgot the numbering, etc.  

Now, the oldest three have all graduated and we only have the 11-year-old left.  Not that he isn't the inspiration for many, many fun little moments.  Case in point.  This weekend we took a little family getaway, and the youngest was a bit cranky on Saturday morning.  His sister asked if he slept well. He said, "I slept well. I just didn't wake up good." And then when I said I would post this on facebook, he says, "please refer to me with cryptic initials." Ahh, what a kid.  But I digress.  

With the others having graduated, I thought my chance for these posts would be over.  But I had a conversation with my eldest that made me consider creating a "Graduate Edition."  So here it is. 

I was discussing with my daughter some of the struggles I have in dealing with benevolent requests at church.  I want to help those in need.  I just get frustrated with those who act like we "owe" them help. 

Like the lady who called in wanting me to pay her electric bill right away because they shut it off and she needed electric for her kids.  I shared with her our benevolent ministry process and told her it would be a day or two before we could arrange everything.  And she wasn't very happy, and acted like coming down to the church and filling out our application was such an inconvenience. I wanted to remind her that with our electric company policies, she had to have known at least two weeks ago, minimum, that this would happen.  Why didn't she call me then?  Anyway...

I was venting frustration to my daughter, ranting about how people have no time for God or the church, but when they need a bill paid, they come running and demanding we pay it for them.  And I said that I think folks really misunderstand this whole "cup of water" thing that Jesus called us to.

To which she said:  "You know, Jesus never said it had to be in the cup when you gave it to them.  You could just throw it in their face."  This is why my daughter should be president of this group. 

(She also went into a little schtick making fun of some of the extreme charismatic wackos saying something about "spraying them with a Holy Ghost water gun" or something)
Well, I guess you have to blame the girl's parents, don't you?  But I have to admit, I did laugh rather robustly when she said it, so....

Friday, September 4, 2015

I Woke Up In Bizarro World Today

As I've watched the news over the last few weeks and months, I've become more and more confused.  Things seem so out of whack. 

White cops kill black criminals, and the cops are the bad guys.  But black criminals kill white cops, and...the cops are still the bad guys. 

We make nuclear deals with terrorist nations that gain us...absolutely nothing.  We don't even recover hostages from said nation.  And the government calls it a good deal.

A report shows that over a quarter million US veterans have died while waiting for our government to sort out their health care...while that same government readily gives health care to people who are in the country illegal. 

Athletes who are gay and trans gendered are applauded for being “brave”....while athletes who claim to be Christian are told to keep their “private lives” to themselves. 

And then this little bomb from right near where I grew up.  In Hillsboro, MO, the school board has allowed a young man who “identifies” as female to use the girls locker room, where teen girls are showering, because they don't want to offend him or violate his rights....while offending and violating the rights of hundreds of other students and even putting them in a potentially dangerous situation. 

I started thinking of an old Steve Taylor/Chagall Guevera song called Escher's World, based on the ideas of that offbeat artist.  The lyrics say things like: 

I woke up in Escher's World today
My mother said it was okay

Up's down, down is out, out is in
Stairways circle back to where you've been
Time falls, water crawls, are you listening?
We're walking in Escher's World again
Rise up you nimble-minded men

Birds roar, lions soar, sheep are cruel
Snails pace, papers chase, midgets rule
Stuffed shirts, status hurts, we ain't fooling

We're living in Escher's world it seems
We're wide awake within our dreams

Ah, living in Escher's world

Yep, up is down, in is out.  That about explains it.  But I think the song has more to do with the  “chasing your own tail” kind of thing, so I don't think we're actually in Escher's World.  And then it hit me.  I woke up in Bizarro World today!

For those who don't know about it, Bizarro World is the creation of DC Comics, a Superman associated reality which is the opposite of Earth. In fact, it's a cube shaped world which is actually called "htraE" (that's "Earth" spelled backwards in case you couldn't figure it out.).  In this world, everyone operates by the Bizarro Code which says "Us do opposite of all Earthly things! Us hate beauty! Us love ugliness! Is big crime to make anything perfect on Bizarro World!"
That's it!  That's what's happened. Some universal shift has happened and we've all been transported to Bizarro World.  Now I understand why a land which used to be based on “majority rules,” now operates by “minority rules.”  Why we've gone from freedom “of” religion, to freedom “from” religion.  Why we are ruled by laws made by men who don't have to live under those laws.  Why a land founded on “of the people, by the people and for the people” has now become “ignore the people, unless you happen to be part of the liberal cause d'jour.”  Why a government runs itself trillions of dollars in debt, but wants to give out freebies to those who refuse to work and support said government's financial base.

It all makes sense now.  Escher's World, Bizarro World.  Up is down; in is out; smart is stupid and stupid is smart; evil is good and good is evil; “War Is Peace, Freedom Is Slavery, Ignorance Is Strength.”  Oh wait, that last bit is from something else, isn't it?  Hmmm, maybe Mr. Orwell foresaw this cosmic displacement coming. 

Well, I guess there's nothing to do but try to fit in here in Bizarro World, so... “Hello, time for me to leave work.”

Thursday, September 3, 2015

The Strange Life of a Pastor

I recently saw a couple fun things about pastors that are both based on old jokes, but both were pretty good.  One was passed along by my wife's cousin, a cartoon from Family Circus:

The other was a meme about how ministry can "age" you:

I love these.  I love laughing at myself, and it's a good thing, since there is so much to laugh about.  But seriously, folks... Pastoral ministry is a unique calling in many ways. Lots of positives and negatives together.  But as an old college professor used to say: "If God has called you into ministry, don't lower yourself to be president of the United States."

I wish I could summarize all the ups and downs, the ins and outs of this calling.  But someone else already has, and much better than I ever could.  This is a post from a pastor named Julian Freeman from several years back. I've had it in my files for a long time now, and seeing those funnies, and thinking about the whole thing, made me think of this. 

I hope he doesn't mind me reposting it here.  If you'd like, you can read his original post here.  This is a wonderful summary of this strange thing called Pastoral Ministry:

Being a pastor is a strange thing.

We proclaim a message with the power of God to change people, but we can’t even change ourselves. We call others to perfection, as Jesus did, but our lives are full of imperfection. We must shepherd like the Shepherd though we’re just one of the sheep.

We seek to make Christ increase (though he’s invisible to human eyes) as we seek to decrease (though we stand in plain view week-by-week). We say numbers don’t matter, but long for many to be saved. We labour to grow the church, even though we realize each soul increases our accountability before God.

We try to express the Infinite and Eternal in 45 minutes or less; obviously we fail, so we try again next week.

We spend our lives studying a book that we’ll never fully grasp and we labour to explain it to a people who can’t understand apart from the work of a third party. The more we study, the more certain we become of the wisdom of God and our own foolishness; and yet we must preach on.

We are told that not many should be teachers and that there will be stricter judgement for those who are, and yet, we cannot fight off the compulsion to preach. We call people to something they can’t do, with an authority that is not our own, and then at the end of our lives we give an account to God for the souls we pastored.

We are called to toil in the word of God and in prayer; yet there is nothing our enemy opposes more actively. We work to build a community where people are connected, while occupying an office filled with temptations to isolation.

We preach a gospel of joy, but preachers are hard pressed with temptations to depression.

We must preach with passion but pastor with patience. We must be gentle with the sheep and fierce with the wolves. And we must somehow discern the difference.

We must plead with people to repent and believe all the while knowing that it is God who must save. We plead with God in prayer until our wills align with his. We must earnestly seek the presence of the Spirit, knowing full well that he moves where he pleases.

We must labour with all of our strength but never, ever trust it. We are paid to satisfactorily do a job that never ends: When have I studied enough? When have I prayed enough? When have I mentored enough? When have I counselled enough? We who are never finished are called to lead others to rest in the finished work of Jesus.

Ultimately we labour and long for results that we can never achieve. Being a pastor is a lifelong journey to a place of utter dependence.

This is strange work, being a pastor. But I wouldn’t trade it for the world. 

Monday, August 31, 2015

Shocked by Sin - Saved by Jesus

I have told our children over and over to not be surprised by the world.  I tell them that you can't expect an unregenerate person to act in any other way except as an unregenerate person; so don't be shocked.  And I convince myself that I can't be shocked by sin.

For the most part, I'm not.  Horrified and saddened, yes.  Surprised, no.  When we see the ongoing atrocities committed by jihadists, I'm angered and grieved, but not really shocked.  Regular stories of violence, whether it's a white man killing black people in their church; or a gay, black man killing his white former co-workers; these are deeply troubling, but not shocking given the depraved hearts of men.  And when liberals want to scream about white racism with that first story, but blame guns for the second, well, that's a whole other post.  But I'm not shocked by that sin. 

But then a story comes along that hits me in the head and it can't stop shaking.  It's not that it's all that heinous, when compared to terrorists or abortionists (though I'm not sure those are separate terms).  Some folks may not even be shocked by it.  But I'm dumbfounded. 

I recently came across an article from a ministry operating in my own backyard that I was not even aware of.  GO 61 is a ministry based on Isaiah 61 bringing good news to the poor and setting captives free.  Namely, they are focused on rescuing folks from the sex trade.  Not that the sex trade is shocking, since it is after all the "world's oldest profession."  And it's not that I somehow thought it didn't exist here, because it exists everywhere. 

But this article, published almost a year ago, was describing the story of one former prostitute and her experiences.  And as heartbreaking as the whole thing is, the part that shocked me had to do with the response of others to what she did.  She says that most folks were unaware of how she made a "living", with her online solicitation.  But after a fight with a best friend in which the best friend's daughter found out her profession, things got....disturbing. 

She was close to this friend and her daughter, the daughter called her "aunt."  She was devestated to think that this teen now knew what her "aunt" did for a living.  But the shock came when the girl told her friends at school, and the former prostitute started receiving messages from other teenage girls.  They were asking her how to go about setting up an online account so they could make a little extra money as prostitutes!  One girl's parents took her iPhone away, and she wanted to make some quick cash to get a new one.  And she was willing to prostitute herself to get it!

Some may not be shocked by that at all.  And as I said, it may be nothing compared with the real atrocities being committed out there.  But we hear all the time about girls in the sex trade being forced there by homelessness, or drugs, or domestic abuse.  To think that young girls would willingly enter that trade just to get some cash for a new iPhone?  I admit it, my head is still shaking as I type this. 

That our world is so mired in it's sin; that we've raised a generation of young people with such a lose understanding of intimacy; that we are so materialistic that a girl would value her iPhone more than her own body and soul.  Oh, God, save us!

And He can, by the way.  I don't know much about GO 61 but I plan to learn more.  If it's all on the up and up, it's a wonderful ministry, seeking to rescue folks from this kind of thing and share with them the Gospel of Christ.  He can, and does, give men and women new hearts all the time.  I know He's not shocked by these things.  He knows the depths of our depravity more than we ever will.

I think John Newton had a grasp on it though.  That former slave ship captain, converted miraculously into a hymn writing pastor and proclaimer of the Gospel.  He wrote this hymn which shows an understanding of man's willing decent into depravity, and reminds us of the only hope for rescuing us out of it.  I offer this hymn to remind us of our own hearts as well, and to those who may even now be caught in the web of sin.  There is hope in Jesus.  Oh, God, save us. 

No words can declare, No fancy can paint,
What rage and despair, What hopeless complaint,
Fill Satan’s dark dwelling, The prison beneath;
What weeping and yelling, And gnashing of teeth!

Yet sinners will choose This dreadful abode,
Each madly persues The dangerous road;
Though God give them warning They onward will go,
They answer with scorning, And onward do go.

How sad to behold The rich and the poor,
The young and the old, All blindly secure!
All posting to ruin, Refusing to stop;
Ah! think what you’re doing, While yet there is hope!

How weak is your hand To fight with the LORD!
How can you withstand The edge of his sword?
What hope of escaping For those who oppose,
When hell is wide gaping To swallow his foes?

How oft have you dared The Lord to his face!
Yet still you are spared To hear of his grace;
O pray for repentance And life–giving faith,
Before the just sentence Consign you to death.

It is not too late To JESUS to flee,
His mercy is great, His pardon is free;
His blood has such virtue For all that believe,
That nothing can hurt you, If him you receive.

"No Words Can Declare" by John Newton, Olney Hymns, 1779

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

"Just Like Me Church" -A New Church Plant Idea (revisited)

I just read an article about a "Rock and Roll Church" here in Missouri, and it reminded me of this little tirade I posted about 3 years ago.  When will we learn to just "be the church" instead of having to coddle the culture?  I haven't changed my mind, because I don't think the Scriptural principles have changed, so let me just repeat that old post here:

So here’s the idea. I’m going to start a church for NASCAR fan turkey hunters who like loud Christian rock music and collect antique hymnals. I’m sure it’s a subculture in America that isn’t being reached yet, so I’m going to “become all things to all men that I might win some.”

Now, before you pooh-pooh the idea, let me tell you what I was recently told. You need to be more open minded. You need to learn to think bigger and realize that there are “cultures” out there that won’t be reached by the traditional church. So what’s wrong with my idea?

Well, here’s what’s wrong with it. It seeks to find people who are just like me. I want to hang with people who look like, talk like, think like, dress like, and view life just like me. And those are the people I want to reach out to. That’s what’s wrong with it.

Of course, I guess I’m the only one who sees it as wrong. The discussion started when I told someone that I thought things like Cowboy Churches and Biker Churches and so on were unhealthy for the Body of Christ. Scripture tells us “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:28, ESV) The early church sought to “tear down the dividing wall” between Jew and Greek, various cultures, etc. The modern church is trying to build them back up.

Look, I don’t care if you like acting like a cowboy. I don’t care if you like putting on leathers and riding a motorcycle. That’s great. More power to ya. But being a part of the Body of Christ means bringing your “likes” and your personal preferences into the Church, into the Body of Christ, adding to our diversity, and then yielding those likes and preferences to Christ. You don’t have to do away with them, you just have to begin to view them as less important than Christ; less important than the Body.

Our problem is that we’ve elevated our “culture” (in reality our personal preferences) above the Body. My “culture” is more important. Instead of seeking unity in the midst of diversity, we’ve focused on homogenous groups that are just like me. I can’t help but think of the old, old Emo Phillips joke that was at one time considered among the best religious jokes ever. It goes like this:

Once I saw this guy on a bridge about to jump. I said, "Don't do it!" He said, "Nobody loves me." I said, "God loves you. Do you believe in God?"

He said, "Yes." I said, "Are you a Christian or a Jew?" He said, "A Christian." I said, "Me, too! Protestant or Catholic?" He said, "Protestant." I said, "Me, too! What franchise?" He said, "Baptist." I said, "Me, too! Northern Baptist or Southern Baptist?" He said, "Northern Baptist." I said, "Me, too! Northern Conservative Baptist or Northern Liberal Baptist?"

He said, "Northern Conservative Baptist." I said, "Me, too! Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region, or Northern Conservative Baptist Eastern Region?" He said, "Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region." I said, "Me, too!"

“Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1879, or Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1912?" He said, "Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1912." I said, "Die, heretic!" And I pushed him over.

Just like me. That’s the way I like my church. Now don’t misunderstand. I’m not talking about “universalism” of belief. I’m not talking about watering down doctrinal standards. The Truth is the truth, and Scripture is our standard.

But as this person told me: “The message is the same, but the methodology can be changed.” And while there is some truth to that, the methodology that seeks only to make people comfortable with others just like them isn’t really healthy for the Body of Christ.

Think about all the “one anothers” in Scripture. Bearing with one another and forgiving one another, etc. Much of that is harder to do when we’re with a bunch of folks who are different from us. It’s a greater challenge to put others first when those others are different than me. Likewise, the challenge is lessened when everyone already acts, thinks, looks like me anyway. And I think that’s the point. We like to take the easy way out. We don’t like to have to work at being the Body of Christ. Our maturity in Christ needs the challenges.

But, since I’m the only one that sees it this way; since I’m the nut case who needs to be more open-minded, I’ll play along. So any of you NASCAR fan turkey hunters who like loud Christian rock music and collect antique hymnals, drop me a note and we’ll arrange for time to start our club…I mean church. And everyone else can go find their own.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Geek Moment #?

It's been so long since I've done a "Homeschooler Moment" or the rarer "Geek Moment," that I'm not even sure what number to title it.  But anyway...

My oldest daughter comes to the church with me to do some online stuff before I take her to work at the library.  I have a small 5 cup coffee maker in my office, which I use to brew my coffee one mug at a time after freshly grinding the beans.  But I digress. 

I started a cup of coffee and went to the other end of the building.  When I come back, my daughter is a bit freaked out.  She tells me, "I knew you were in the building, but you didn't answer your phone when it rang, and I didn't know if someone else was in the building, and all I heard was Darth Vader's breathing coming from your office!"  

Because, yeah, evil Sith lords stop by for a visit on a regular basis....

Actually, I just think it's great that this is the first thought in her head.  We must have done something right in raising her!

Side Note:  After spending a year in Germany, she tells me that no one there was surprised by the epic Vader reveal of "I am your father, Luke."  Because in German the word for "father" is "vater" and so they all just assumed Darth Vader was the "dark father."  Hmmm...

Side Note 2:  If you're looking for a nice Christmas gift to go along with this whole discussion...

Friday, August 7, 2015

National Lighthouse Day and A Call to the Church

I know you've heard the story before, in one form or another.  Here is the version posted on a sermon illustration site:

In U.S. Navel Institute Proceedings, the magazine of the Naval Institute, Frank Koch illustrates the importance of obeying the Laws of the Lighthouse. Two battleships assigned to the training squadron had been at sea on maneuvers in heavy weather for several days. I was serving on the lead battleship and was on watch on the bridge as night fell. The visibility was poor with patchy fog, so the captain remained on the bridge keeping an eye on all activities.
Shortly after dark, the lookout on the wing reported, "Light, bearing on the starboard bow."
"Is it steady or moving astern?" the captain called out.
The lookout replied, "Steady, Captain," which meant we were on a dangerous collision course with that ship.
The captain then called to the signalman, "Signal that ship: 'We are on a collision course, advise you change course twenty degrees.'"
Back came the signal, "Advisable for you to change course twenty degrees."
The captain said, "Send: "I'm a captain, change course twenty degrees.'"
"I'm a seaman second-class," came the reply. "You had better change course twenty degrees."
By that time the captain was furious. He spat out, "Send: 'I'm a battleship. Change course twenty degrees.'"
Back came the flashing light, "I'm a lighthouse."
We changed course.

I love that story because it speaks of authority, and our need to bend to it.  I also like it because it's about a lighthouse.  I love lighthouses.  My office is filled with them.  Paintings, figurines, various lamps and models, even a giant puzzle I put together and framed.  I love lighthouses.

Today is National Lighthouse day.  According to one site: "On this date in 1789, through an Act of Congress, the Federal Government took over responsibility for building and operating our nation's lighthouses. They recognized the importance to ships at sea to find safe harbor during fog and storms. Over the years, these lighthouses have saved many ships, and an untold number of lives."

I love lighthouses because of the symbolism as well.  A beacon of light bringing direction, comfort and even warning to travelers in dangerous waters.  It's a perfect symbol for the role of the church, and for those of us in ministry.  Songs have even been written.

I think we need lighthouses more now than ever.  Our nation is in such dangerous waters.  The moral decline has morphed into a moral landslide.  Terror threats increase regularly.  We need a solid authority to give us warning, to give us direction, and to bring hope and comfort to those lost at sea.

God is that authority, and we, the church, are His lighthouses.  We need to shine the light of the gospel into the darkness of the world around us, giving warning, showing direction, offering hope.  And we need to stand firm on His truth. 

The world will try to throw its weight around, try to cause us to back down, change course.  But we know the truth.  The world is the one who needs to change course because they are headed for the rocks of destruction.  God's truth is the solid ground, the only true way to safety. 

So stand firm on the truth of God's Word.  Our world is headed for disaster, and they are desperately need of the truth whether they realize it or not.  And we are here to show the way to safe harbor, in hopes of saving lives, and maybe a nation in the process.  Be the lighthouse.