Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Repainting The Fence Posts

We are creatures of habit.

There is no doubt about that.  We like things that are familiar, comfortable, in the same places as always, and in done in the same way we have always done them. In short, we like the Status Quo.  We want to maintain things the way “they have always been”.  But the fact of the matter is if you leave thing alone, you actually leave it to a torrent of change.  Let me give you an example.

In my old neighborhood a house across the street had a white picket fence.  The front gate hung between two large, ornate fence posts with a trellis that arched from post to post.  When the fence was put up, my mother (who never seemed to envy the possessions of others) remarked how beautiful it was and how she would love to have such a pretty fence with those beautiful posts.  The fence was painted vivid white and was a landmark of sorts in our neighborhood.

The lady who lived in that house had been a resident there for many years. The fence and its beautiful entrance brought her place just to the way she had always wanted it to be.  She was very satisfied.

She was getting up in years, now, and was unable to do a lot of maintenance around the place.  Time began to take its toll on her home, and upon the beautiful white fence. It maintained its luster for a while, but eventually, under the rain, wind, snow, freezing winter weather and the torrid days of Summer, the fence and its beautiful posts began to lose their luster.  It didn’t happen overnight, but eventually the white fence posts and trellis, began to turn gray, and darker each succeeding year.

The fact is, if you leave a white post alone, it will eventually become a black post.

Dr. Chuck Kelley once put it like this.  “If you particularly want it to be white, you must always be painting it again. The fact is, if you really love the OLD white post, you must always be preparing a NEW white post.”

Isn’t that the way it is with our church?

We like the Status Quo.  We enjoy the comfort zone. But nothing ever stays the same. Nothing, that is EXCEPT the message of the Gospel.  The methods we use to share that never changing message, however, must always be evaluated, tweaked, and updated or else we become stagnant, and weather, and darken, and eventually will rot.

Westmoreland Baptist Church has a wonderful history dating back over a century. There have been some glorious times, and times of difficulty. Things have changed a lot since this little mission was begun on this corner in 1915. When the church was in its “heyday” in the 50’s, 60’s, 70’s and 80’s it was hard to see it coming, but change was going on all around us.  The community was changing. Jobs were changing. The economy was changing.  Culture was changing.  In the midst of it all there were churches like ours, and ours, itself, that wanted to cling to the status quo. If we’re not careful, traditions sometimes become more important than mission. Opinions and preferences become more important than ministry. And in the midst of the comfort of “sameness” the fence posts go unpainted and we lose our luster for the Lord.

It is time for us to look past personal preferences and likes and dislikes, to get a clear view of the purpose and mission of our church.  I’m not talking about making wholesale changes in how we do things.  I’m not referring to change just for the sake of change. Our history hasn't changed.  Our identity doesn't change. Our Mission doesn't change. And most certainly our message never changes.  However, we must find the most effective ways to share our unchanging message with the changing culture around us, and be willing to keep repainting the fence posts as necessary - until Jesus comes again!

Let us look to the Lord.  Let us look ahead and not behind. Let us evaluate our ministries and programs in light of our threefold mission (Magnify God. Minister To People. Make Disciples) and be willing to repaint the post where needed. If we open our eyes and our hearts, the Lord will help us.

As we seek to serve the Lord in this Post Christian Culture and Age, let us seek new ways to serve Him, and let us not be guilty of repeating the 7 last words of a dying church, “We never did it that way before!”

Friday, May 13, 2016

Have We Crossed The Point of No Return?

The unlawful (IMHO) edict from our president (I will no longer use a capital P in the title as long as he holds the office), in the latest bout of this ridiculous and totally unnecessary transgender restroom war has just gone over the line. This is wrong on so many levels.

First, it shows the folly of how we have allowed our Federal Government to have such a financial choke hold on our own schools. Some bureaucrat, Federal Judge, (or an amoral chief executive) can make monumental decisions regarding the use of our tax money in education of our children, and "We The People" have lost control. Secondly, the president has no authority to make such decrees. While the office can issue lawful Executive Orders, there are still limits to that power. He is not a king and only heads up one of the three co-equal branches of our government. This must be stopped!

I could go on, but this incident is just another layer added to the decadent snowball that is picking up speed and growing as it is rolling downhill to a destination of total depravity in our society. Along with the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that legitimized the American Holocaust, The more recent decision of the supreme court (also not going to use capital letters for them either) to legalize same sex marriage will most likely be looked upon as the threshold America has stepped over to the point of no return.

Our churches will be feeling more and more pressure (threats of losing tax exemptions - to eventual other federal control efforts) but we must stand for Truth. We should not be surprised at this, in fact we must embrace the memory of those early believers who lived under the debauchery of the Roman Empire. We must take on the mindset of them and other martyrs through history who have withstood evil government influence throughout the past 20 centuries - and even today in many ares of our world.

The family is the first institution on Earth and it is a earthly picture of the beautiful union of Christ and His Church. To blur the role of the sexes, even to the point of now making no distinction, is the end of what has come down through 5,000 years of civilization, understanding of natural science, and the God ordained differences between the sexes that were created by God, Himself.

Dr. Russell Moore has written this today:
"The truth is that the male/female sex difference is objectively real. Biological science is built off of this reality. More importantly, the mystery of Christ tells us that the male/female binary points us beyond nature to the gospel itself (Eph. 5). We must tell the truth about this. John the Baptist lost his head for saying that Herod could not have his brother’s wife. Some now will be targeted as culturally unacceptable because they tell Herod he can’t be his brother’s wife. That will take courage and compassion and, above all, it will take Christ."

You can read his entire post, by clicking this link