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A Preacher’s Position - 5. page

The Wrong Passion – A Preacher’s Position on the Pledge of Allegience & 10 Commandments

Recently a New Jersey  judge ruled that the phrase “under God” in the Pledge of Alligence does not violate the rights of athiests or other groups.  This follows a similar rulling last year in Massachusetts. I have heard folks sing the praises of these judges, standing up for the “traditional Christian values” of America.  Then, in my home state, the public display of 10 Commandments are under fire.  They are coming down across the state.  Earlier this year, an elemetary school in Valdosta removed its 10 Commandment display.

It is safe to say that the fight to keep “under God” and allow the public display of the 10 commandments in America has captured the American Christian churches attention.  There are petitions, websites, news hours, speaches, and endless debate on the topic throughout television and the internet.  I have heard numerous good hearted Chrsitians working tirelessly on these issues.  Christians have focused a tremendous amount of time, energy, and effort to keep the pledge, schools, and court houses Christian.  As I see all of this effort, fight, struggle, resources, and money, used by Christians to fight for the Pledge and the 10 Commandments, I am left with one over riding thought…

What if we cared as much about our neighbor being “under God” as we do the Pledge of Allegiance?

What if we cared as much about our co-worker’s life displaying the 10 commandments as our local court house?

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An Old Hope – A Preacher’s Position on Josh Duggar and Hope

After my piece on Caitlyn Jenner, I was asked to give a response to Josh Duggar who has admitted to, as a young teen, to the sexual mistreatment of several girls some who are his sisters. My heart breaks for all involved in this story. First and foremost, my thoughts are for his victims. No girls deserve that treatment. I don’t care how they are dressed. My thoughts also go out to Josh’s parents who had to deal with a son who was involved in a dark sexual sin, daughters who were victimized, and knowing that Josh hurt others too. I can’t fathom being in their shoes. Lastly my heart does indeed go out too, to Josh Duggar.

Obviously, the protection of the victims and future potential victims should take precedence in this case. It saddens me to learn that people investigated and revealed several of his victims. I wish the victims identity were kept private, if that is the victim’s choice, so these girls would not have to relive this again. I, think we should pray for these girls, and I hope Josh Duggar is a strong enough Christian to put into place safeguards into his life to protect himself from this dark temptation.

Billy Graham kept a roommate with him in his travels, preaching, when his wife Mrs. Ruth couldn’t attend. This was to protect himself from temptation. If Billy Graham places safeguard to protect himself from temptation, I think we all should, especially myself as I will get to in a moment.

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Pot and Kettle – A Preacher’s Position on a Faithful Response to Caitlyn Jenner

The Internet, water cooler, social media, and dinner table are full of conversation and debate and argument surrounding the revealing of Caitlyn Jenner in Vanity Fair magazine. I want to take a moment and speak directly to my church, Sunnyside Baptist, and to any other Christian willing to listen to my thoughts on how I want my church to respond to Bruce Jenner introducing the world to Caitlyn and other similar situations.

First, do not attack. Do not hate. Do not persecute. Do not mock. Do not make jokes. Do not put down. Do not scowl.

Let me inform you Christian of some truth. When you were born, you were alienated from God, God’s will, and God’s desire for your life. Psalms 51:5, Colossians 1:21, Romans 3:23, Ephesians 2:2-3, Proverbs 22:15, Genesis 8:21…do I need to go on? Do not think for one second that the issue of alienation or sin in another’s life, including the LGBT community, is in any way, shape, or form, worse than the alienation and sin from which you suffered before Jesus entered your life.

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Shepherd’s Fight Sheep Wander – A Preacher’s Position on Andy Stanley’s Preaching Interview

Recently Pastor Andy Stanley was interviewed by Ed Stetzer.  They discussed preaching and Pastor Stanley’s views on preaching.  I was quite interested.  I enjoy listening to or reading good preachers talking about how they preach because, to the delight and possible surprise of my congregation, I am trying to become a better preacher.  You can find his interview and comments here.  Then, pastor Stanley says something that made me fall out of my chair.

“Guys that preach verse-by-verse through books of the Bible– that is just cheating. It’s cheating because that would be easy, first of all. That isn’t how you grow people. No one in the Scripture modeled that. There’s not one example of that.
All Scripture is equally inspired, but not all Scripture is equally applicable or relevant to every stage of life. My challenge is to read culture and to read an audience and ask: What is the felt need? Or perhaps what is more important, what is an unfelt need they need to feel that I can address? Because if they don’t feel it, then they won’t address it.”  Pastor Andy Stanley

I want to take a minute and address this comment, but before I do, let me state that I have respect for pastor Stanely. I think he is an excellent communicator, which is why I was excited to hear him discuss preaching. I hope that you do not take my comments on this one interview as my opinion of pastor Stanley’s ministry because even though I disagree strongly with the above statement, I respect pastor Stanley and his ministry. I do, however, preach verse by verse in my sermon series, and I take offense to these comments.

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Both And – False Church Sayings 1 – A Preacher’s Position on Quality Over Quantity

Quality over quantity has been a mantra of churches for decades.  Smaller churches use this phrase often.  It is about quality not quantity.  This saying wants to stress the impact a ministry can have on an individual rather than how many individuals are in the room.  That, on the outside, looks laudable.  It seems appropriate to care more about the value of how you are sharing or teaching the gospel over how many people hear it because we want the gospel to have impact.

Yes, in my many years in youth ministry, I have seen a lack of quality ministry lead to tremendous numbers.  Once upon a time as a youth pastor, my first week at my new church was spent removing the beach chairs, bean bags, recliners, and couches out of the youth room replacing them with regular folding chairs.  When the teens came in and saw what I had done, they were upset asking where the comfortable seats went.  I told them its hard to learn and worship in a bean bag chair and if you think I am going to let teenagers on a couch in my ministry you are nuts.  Shortly after that, I had a group of teens that did not want quality ministry, move to a church with more video game consoles.  Those that stayed realized there was meat to the ministry, the youth ministry team and I were bringing.  Yes, we can up our quantity by lessoning quality.  That would be bad and sinful.

But you know what, we also can up our quantity without sacrificing quality.

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Share and Ask – A Preacher’s Position on a Cancelled/Moved Funeral

In Denver Colorado, Vanessa Collier’s funeral gained national attention that sparked controversy and protest.  New Hope Ministry church,  Pastor Rey Chavez and Collier’s friends and family are at the center of this ordeal.  There is a wide debate over what actually took place.  We know that the funeral was moved from the church to a funeral home.  People differ widely on the church’s treatment of the Collier family and friends.

Some reports say the church made a request. The family wouldn’t comply with request, and the family chose to move the funeral.  Other reports say the church was much harsher in the ejection of this funeral.

It can be difficult to piece together the situation. Here are links to three articles on this situation: CNN, Denver Post, and Christian Post, but there is enough details to draw a conclusion.

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Ignoring The Mess – Stuff Your Pastor Should Tell You 1 – A Preacher’s Position on the New Testament Church

“Preacher, if we could just be a New Testament church, we would be better off.”  “Let’s try to be a New Testament church.”  “The church in the New Testament knew how church was suppose to be done.”  These have been battle cries in the Baptist church for decades if not longer.  I still hear this often in my ministry just how awesome the New Testament church was and how that should be our goal.

So many place the New Testament church on such an unbelievably high pedestal without ever really examining just what the New Testament church looked like.  When you examine the New Testament, you will learn that the New Testament church was just as messy as the churches and denominations today filled with debate and squabbles.  I do not write this to cause you to lose your admiration for the New Testament church or the early church.  I write this to raise your admiration for the church today.  We are not as far off from the New Testament church as many believe.

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A Proper Spotlight – A Preacher’s Position on Police Scrutiny

Stop me if you have heard this before, a police department is under investigation for a death of a suspect in custody.  Freddie Gray died in Baltimore in police custody April the 12th.  This adds to the growing list of names such as Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Eric Harris, Jason Harrison, Tamir Rice and, Walter Scott.  The news coverage of these stories has been constant, and local and federal investigations have followed these and other similar cases.

Let me begin by saying this opinion piece is not passing judgment on any police officer or suspect in any of these cases.  The cases above and many like them are so complex, this pastor realizes that he does not posses the information or the ability, needed to pass judgment for or against anyone.

I have great admiration for the men and women of law enforcement. I also have great respect for the civil rights of all individuals just as all good police officers do.  Again, this piece is not meant to pass judgment, but it is meant to encourage the discovery of the truth and to encourage dialogue on difficult questions.

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Persuasion not Petulance – A Preacher’s Position on Scheduling Conflicts with Church

“Preacher, isn’t it sad that the grocery store is open on Easter, forcing all those cashiers and bag boys to miss church?”  “Preacher, can you believe the recreation department has scheduled games during Prayer Meeting on Wednesday?”  “Preacher, I remember when I was younger, everything was closed during church.”  I hear these comments all the time.  People lamenting the fact that everything doesn’t shut down for churches and worship anymore.  Some share these words with sadness.  Some share these words with anger.  Most share them with some level of disbelief in the fact that the United States no longer has “respect” for the church.

These conversations happen in churches all across the country, and inevitably, they end on the United States and disappointment with the country allowing this disrespect to happen. First, the United States in this sense is not a single entity. One person or one group of people did not make a single decision to begin scheduling on top of worship services. This began to occur on a much more grass roots level.

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Freedom for What? – A Preacher’s Position on the Religious Freedom Restoration Act in Indiana

Indiana has been all over the news lately with the passing and revision of the Indiana State Bill 101 better known as the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.  The aim of this bill was to protect Business Owners that practice a religion to be able to say “no” to request that would force them to do work against their faith and/or belief system.

Let me say, that I apllaud the idea.  A tee shirt company in Kentucky was ordered to print a pro-homosexual tee shirt.  The tee shirt owner stated, “We’ll work with anybody, but if there’s a specific message that conflicts with my convictions, then I can’t promote that.”  He stated that he would provide service for any person regardless of sex, race, orientation, but he could not print a message that went against his faith.  How can a court order a person to go against his or her faith, whether you agree with that faith or not?  Whether or not you agree with homosexuality, I find this order worrisome.  A man was ordered to do something against his religion!  That is scarey and not just for Christians, but for all peoples of faith, and LGBT community.  It would be just as wrong to order a business owner from the LGBT community  to perform a task against the LGBT community.

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