Just a few minutes ago, as I scarfed down a turkey sandwich during my lunch break, something spooky happened. I was eating my lunch while enjoying one of my favorite duck hunting shows on the Outdoor Channel. A commercial flashed across the TV screen promoting Ole Smokes Coffee Company. It caught my attention because I have recently come to cherish (yes, that's the right word), fire and wood roasted coffee. My daughter just bought me some from Summer Moon Coffee. So yummy, but I digress. This blog post is not an ad for coffee, I promise!
Of all the books I read last year, the Bible excepted, one has made an indelible impression upon me. I try to read 2-3 books a month, in addition to my normal weekly reading that is focused upon sermons and Bible lessons. And this book reading does not include online reading of blogs and the such. The vast majority (over 90%) of my reading is theological and doctrinal, nonfiction. It's not that I am personally against fiction, I simply don't have time for it.
Several years ago, the movie The Drop Box about a South Korean Pastor brought to the forefront an idea now commonly called "Baby Boxes." The State of Kentucky recently passed a Baby Box law, and the first baby was dropped off in February (https://www.foxnews.com/us/first-infant-anonymously-dropped-off-kentucky-baby-box-surrender-location). The idea is simple enough:
"If you are being counseled by a church to stay and die in a relationship that is mentally, emotionally, spiritually, sexually, financially or physically abusive, trust God and walk away from that deceived ministry. God's plans are to prosper you and not to harm you, and don't let a flying monkey, toxic patriarchal misfit, or abuser friendly ministry persuade you otherwise."
This was the counsel a Christian woman recently received. From another Christian friend who attends a different church. This friend no doubt means well. But she is sorely in error. She is herself deceived. She is a "miserable physician" to quote the old man Job.
Let me explain further. And let me warn my few readers of the insidious danger lurking within such misguided counsel.
When you and I look at the earth's geologic features all around us, we are looking at evidence of God's judgment on mankind's sin.
"Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, 'You shall not eat of it,' cursed is the ground because of you" (Genesis 3:17).
This was the curse God pronounced upon Adam for his sin. The creation, the very ground, is cursed. From that day onward, what we call "natural disasters" or more accurately "acts of God" would become commonplace. What we call "famine" and "drought" and "floods" would become commonplace. Wars would now scar and scorch the earth. And, in the year 2023, chemical spills from train derailments.
The curse leaves its mark everywhere.
News spreads fast these days.
Sometimes that can be an advantage. Like if there's a tornado barreling down on your city, and you see warnings blowing up social media and run to your basement. But sometimes the ridiculous speed of things these days can compel us to throw aside all caution and forget to use discernment. This is especially so in evangelical Christian circles. Far too many Christians and, sadly, even pastors, will splash a virtue signal all over the viral world before examining all the evidence, or without carefully weighing words, or without giving the event any time to actually prove itself one way or another.
At a recent world climate summit of some sort (I lose track of the official titles of these wacko things), we heard the expected headlines from the expected talking heads. Like John Kerry. (Is he still our Climate Czar? And are we Americans really going to keep tolerating government officials being given the title of Czar?) And Al Gore, preacher of Cosmic Climate Catastrophe. (Just how rich has he become from this gig, anyway?)
Missions is on my mind.
Not just because I am a Pastor, although this surely does drive me to pray over and ponder missions more often than I might otherwise. But, primarily, missions stays on my mind because I am a Christian. To be a Christian is to desire to have the very heart of God for this world. And God's heart is a missionary heart, if ever there was one. John 3:16 says so.
"We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints" (Col 1:3-4).
At a recent local pastors' prayer gathering (which I have been blessed to be a part of for over ten years), a fellow pastor challenged us all from Colossians 1:3-4 to be thankful for our flocks.
"America's founders were all deists!"
Earlier this year, I heard a preacher make this very proclamation from the pulpit. It struck me as odd, because I happen to know this particular preacher is not lazy in his preparation. So, I had to assume this preacher had either bought into some historical revisionism, or had simply been negligent to fact-check.