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Friday, October 31, 2008

Hammer, Nails, and Reformation

“Hier stehe ich!”

“Here I stand,” Martin Luther told those who accused him of heresy. He had studied Paul’s letter to the Romans and had embraced the doctrine of justification by faith. “Man only needs Jesus Christ” became his deep conviction.

Four hundred ninety-one years ago today, Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the door of the castle church in Wittenberg, Germany. Those theses announced what he believed to be the abuses of the established church. His defiant act led to his arrest and trial.

One man’s act of courageous faith sparked the Protestant Reformation and to a revival of the teaching a strand of faithful believers had cherished from Pentecost to the early sixteenth century. Halloween, October 31, therefore, is a good time to recommit ourselves to the task of spreading the truth that God freely justifies all who believe on His Son (Romans 3:21-26).

Is the modern-day Church guilty of abuses? You decide, but one glaring abuse I see is the pushing aside of the gospel message so entertainment can take center stage. As I see it, we need to return to the rallying cries of the Reformation: sola scriptura and sola fide (by Scripture alone, by faith alone). I don’t plan to pick up a hammer and some nails and post a written complaint on a church door, but I do plan to pick up my Bible and hammer away at the all-important, timeless truth that God justifies sinners who believe on His Son as their Savior.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

A Matter of Trust

An employer was interviewing three applicants for a position with his company. They were a mathematician, a statistician, and a politician. He asked each of them the question, “What is two plus two?”

The mathematician responded promptly. “Two plus two is four.”

The statistician thought for a moment and then replied, ”The sum of two plus two lies somewhere between three and five, with a 100 percent probability that the answer will be four.”

Looking inquisitively at the employer, the politician asked, “What do you want it to be?”

In less than a week we will elect one of two presidential candidates to the highest office in the land. Our future demands that we elect the candidate we believe to be truthful and a man of convictions. We do not need a President who won the election simply because he told voters what they wanted to hear.

Have you noticed how much preaching today delivers only what people want to hear? If you listen long enough, you might think God exists to serve us and to make us healthy, happy, and rich. But in His Word, God tells it like it is. He loves us and blesses us daily, but assures us we will encounter trials and persecution as we serve Him.

I hope we elect a President we can trust; but come what may, we can count on the fact that God doesn’t promise one thing and then do something different.

Monday, October 27, 2008

The Lord Leads His Children

Last week the church I have been serving as interim pastor extended a pastoral call to a young man and he accepted. However, I doubt that my “tenure” will end soon. He has to sell his house in the Atlanta area before moving to Colorado, and you know it is hard to sell a house in today’s housing market. Of course, the Lord can find a buyer quickly and speed the process to closing if He chooses to do so.

A long cross-country move can be challenging, so pray that the appointed pastor and his wife will transition smoothly from Georgia to Colorado. Pray, too, that I will have an effective ministry while the church anticipates their arrival.

Gloria enjoyed her birthday celebration yesterday. Our family members arrived in the afternoon with gifts and well wishes in hand.

A birthday is always a good time to reflect on the Lord’s goodness and to commit the future to Him. We are all getting older, and hopefully we are getting wiser. True wisdom consists of trusting the Lord with all our heart and following Him wherever He leads.