Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Learning in the Dark

Last week, while we were having power outages, I actually learned a valuable lesson from God. When our power goes off, it may be off for minutes, hours or even days. When the power is out, the fans go off (remember, we are in the tropics, it gets pretty warm, read: HOT!) the water pumps quit working, which means the water stops flowing and you just wait, in the dark if it's at night. If you are lucky enough to have lanterns for the night, you can read, but sleeping on a hot, still night can be miserable, if you sleep at all. Water must be taken from outside spigots and hauled upstairs in buckets, for baths, washing dishes, and flushing toilets.

In the midst of these outages last week, I got to thinking about our life and ministry here in Honduras (read: I was having a pity party!). My wife and I have the ability to live and work in any of three different, affluent countries. We have good educations and finding great jobs would not be a problem. As you lay sweating at night and while you pour water over your head to bath and when you don't flush your toilets until you have to, you can think about, "Why am I here, I could be anywhere else if I wanted to?" Then it dawned on me, God knows that I could be anywhere else also and He knows that I choose to be here, following His will for my life.

In reality, I only have the ability and opportunity to be somewhere else if I wanted and now, to be here doing what we do, because of God's blessing in my life. I could very well have been born in Honduras and be struggling just like the people we serve.

So, the next time the lights go out, the water quits running and fans stop, I will strive to only praise God that these are passing inconveniences and that this could have been my whole life instead of just a part of it! And also to remember, that God is well aware of my situation and no doubt, He will have a continuous flow of water and plenty of lights (and AC!) in my new home with Him!


Friday, May 23, 2008

Three Pictures of Christ in Genesis - Part 3

Our third picture is seen in a two-fold fashion by using the story of Abraham and Isaac. First, we see Isaac portrayed as, “the one and only son”, to be sacrificed. We also find a correlation in the three-day journey of Abraham and his son Isaac, as three days in the tomb. We must here understand that Isaac was “dead” in the eyes of his father from the moment God asked Abraham to sacrifice him. Therefore, the three day trip would symbolize the three days in the tomb and God sparing him from Abraham’s knife is equivalent to the resurrection of Christ in that Isaac was “resurrected” from the sacrifice his father had made earlier by obeying God. We find something else note-worthy in Genesis 22:3, “And Abraham rose up early in the morning…” (KJV) Here, we find no hesitation in Abraham in sacrificing his son, just as we find no hesitation in God to sacrifice His Son. God went ahead and created the earth and man, knowing from the beginning that the sacrifice of His son would have to be made. Adam Clarke points out two more parallels in that, “Isaac carried the wood for the burnt-offering, (Gen 22:6), so Christ carried the tree whereon he died, (John 19:17); the binding of Isaac, (Gen 22:9), was also typical, so Christ was bound, (Matt 27:2).”[1]

As I said that this was two-fold in this story, the second picture we find from Abraham and Isaac is in the ram. Abraham tells Isaac in Genesis 22:8, “God himself will provide the lamb…” (NIV) We see that indeed, God did provide the sacrifice that day and years later, we believe on that same mountain, in the form of His “One and Only Son”. Matthew Henry says, “Christ was sacrificed in our stead, as this ram instead of Isaac, and his death was our discharge. "Here am I (said he,) let these go their way."”[2] Although Isaac gives us a picture of Christ, we know that there was no way that Isaac could have atoned for our sins and therefore, we had to have the real and perfect sacrificial lamb, Jesus, our Savior.


[1] Adam Clarke's Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1996 by Biblesoft. (Genesis 22:4)
[2] Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible: New Modern Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1991 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc. (Gen 22:11-14)

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Three Pictures of Christ in Genesis - Part 2

To look for a picture of Jesus as “The Christ”, we can go to Genesis 3:15 or Genesis 3:21. I will skip 3;15 and use 3:21 as a picture. Genesis 3:21, “The LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them.” (NIV) Although there is no direct statement of where the “skins” came from, it is only logical to assume that the death of an animal had to have occurred. Again from Adam Clarke we read, “It is very likely that the skins out of which their clothing was made were taken off animals whose blood had been poured out as a sin-offering to God…”[1] In hindsight, we see this very clearly as a picture of Jesus as “The Christ”. Another commentary tells us, “The Hebrew [kaatªnowt (OT:3801) `owr (OT:5785)], coverings of skin, because the latter word is singular, not plural: one skin was sufficient for both.”[2] This would make sense as with Christ, one died for all; here one animal would have been sacrificed to cover the “sin” that Adam and Eve had committed. Another way we correlate this as a picture of Christ, is that we see in Genesis 3:14, that the animals have now become cursed, “Cursed are you above all the livestock and all the wild animals!” (NIV) Although the animals had done nothing wrong, they became cursed because of the sin of man. We find the same with Christ as He became the curse because of our sin. The Apostle Paul tells us in Galatians 3:13, “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: "Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree."” (NIV)


[1] Adam Clarke's Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1996 by Biblesoft (Genesis 3:21)
[2] Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft. (Genesis 3:21)

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Three Pictures of Christ in Genesis - Part 1

The next three posts are from a discusion board question in my Old Testament Survey class at Liberty University. The discusion is: Find three ways that Jesus Christ is pictured in the book of Genesis and discuss how each one relates to Jesus either in His person (deity) or in His work. Be specific.

From the very beginning of the book of Genesis, we can see Jesus, because as we read anything of God, one can never picture God without picturing Jesus and the Holy Spirit there. The Trinity is made of three persons, but of one essence. Therefore anything involving one, in effect involves all three. As God spoke the world into being in Genesis 1, we correlate that with John 1:2-3, “He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.” (NIV) We cannot look at the very beginning words of Genesis without seeing the deity and person of Jesus. Adam Clarke’s Commentary puts it this way,

…GOD is said to have created all things: in this verse, Christ is said to have created all things: the same unerring Spirit spoke in Moses and in the evangelists: therefore Christ and the Father are ONE. To say that Christ made all things by a delegated power from God is absurd; because the thing is impossible.[1]

Clarke goes on to explain,

God cannot delegate his omnipotence to another: were this possible, he to whom this omnipotence was delegated would, in consequence, become God; and he from whom it was delegated would cease to be such: for it is impossible that there should be two omnipotent beings.[2]


[1] Adam Clarke's Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1996 by Biblesoft, (John 1:3)
[2] Ibid

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Is There Anything They Won't Try Now Days?

There seems to be no end to what people try to get away with these days. I swear I don't know what is going through these people's minds when they come up with things like this. It is apparent as a believer, that what the Apostle Paul said is VERY true, "our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms." (Eph 6:12-13 NIV)

"Middle School Draws Controversy Over 'Most Likely to Get Pregnant' Survey"
"a teacher reportedly forced her 6th grade class to vote who among their classmates were the most likely to get pregnant, contract HIV, go to jail, or die by the age of 19."

One of the greatest comments ever made was by Jeff Goldblum's character in the movie "Jurassic Park" when he stated, "You were so busy worrying about if you could, you never stopped to think about if you should!" Is that the lot of the people of the world today? "Let's see how far we can push it and how much we can get away with".

Lord I fear you wait too long in your return, but I trust that you alone know what you are doing!


Thursday, May 15, 2008

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

There is a song by "The Clash" called "Should I Stay or Should I Go". It is probably a question most of us have asked for one reason or another at one point in our life. As I was reading my Bible the other day, it took on a whole new meaning for me as I pondered my namesake, the Apostle Paul's, words in:

Philippians 1:21-24 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. (NIV)

Paul's entire existence after his Damascus road conversion was Christ and this passage summed it up for him. Basically he says that everything about his life is Christ. Christ means everything to him and and his entire purpose for existing now was to preach the Gospel of Christ and disciple the believers.

The key to how Paul feels comes in the next verse as he ponders his life. How great it is to be here, alive and in his body, because he gets to do the work of his Savior. But, on the other hand, wouldn't it be great to go ahead and die, because then he would get to be in the PRESENCE of his Savior! Paul is actually "torn" in this choice. The Greek word here means that it is like he is caught between two things and squeezed or compressed. He does say that to go ahead and die "is better by far". In the end, he knows that it is more important to stay and assist the churches that he was discipling.

The main reason that Paul could make these statements is because he was SURE in his salvation. He knew the truth of salvation and eternal life in Christ and that gave him the assurance that if and when he died, he would be with his Savior forever. He also KNEW what awaited him in the glory of heaven and the presence of God, but that story is for another time!

Should we stay or should we go? I feel that those of us who reach heaven, will no doubt wonder why we dallied so long here on earth, but until that time, we should continue as Paul did, with "fruitful labor" for our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.


If you want to hear the song, here is a link to it.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Christian Character - 3

III. What motivation should we have to develop our character?
I skipped over the part about our motivation in Col 3:6 "Because of these, the wrath of God is coming." (NIV) This is talking about those worldly attributes. We want to skip that whole “Wrath of God” thing that is coming down. Our desire to develop Christian characteristics should be because they prove the change and repentance in our lives. Remember what the Apostle Paul told King Agrippa, Acts 26:20 "I preached that they should repent and turn to God and prove their repentance by their deeds." (NIV) These deeds are our actions (remember our definition of character from the other day, "our character determines our actions and reactions"), therefore, our actions and reactions prove our character. Paul said that these deeds prove our repentance, therefore, our character PROVES (or disproves) our repentance!


Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Christian Character - 2

II. What are some of the specific flaws that Christians sometimes have in their character?
Christians are like everyone else. We STILL have flaws. Find me a perfect Christian, and I will show you Jesus, because He is the only one. Even the Apostle Paul struggled with his flaws. In Romans 7, he says, “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do…(21)When I want to do good, evil is right there with me.” (NIV) Christians still struggle with anger, envy, lust, impatience and all the other worldly characteristics. Just because we become Christians, doesn’t mean that it’s what we call “easy street”. Back to my favorite verses, Col 3:1-11 Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above…Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry…You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. 8 But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. 9 Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. (NIV) Wouldn’t it be nice if the junk in our lives just disappeared when we believed! It doesn't, it takes effort on our part of drawing close to God and having Him draw close to us.

This passage tells us that after we believe, after we are baptized, we STILL struggle with the world and we must "put to death" that which is of the world. Being a Christian and having Christian character is about daily choices of how we are are going to live. Every choice we make reveals what our character is.


Sunday, May 4, 2008

Christian Character

2 Peter 1:5-7 ...make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love (NIV).

I. Why is the character of a Christian important?
Our character always defines us. As a Christian, our character should define us as Christians. They should prove who we are. How can we preach change to others if we haven’t changed ourselves? How can we preach love to others when we have none ourselves? Basically, how can the Spirit of God be in us if we have no characteristics of the Spirit? Jesus said it best in Luke 3:8, "Produce fruit in keeping with repentance." (NIV)

If you say you changed an apple into an orange, but it still looks like an apple, smells like an apple, tastes like an apple and has apple seeds in it, guess what? You didn't change it into an orange! It's still an apple. Same with a Christian, if you say you've changed and you still act like a sinner, talk like a sinner, hang out with sinners and still like to sin, guess what? You didn't change!

Why do people shy away from Christianity? Because too many people "talk the talk", but don't "walk the walk".

The proof is in the fruit!


Thursday, May 1, 2008

Shame on Billy Ray!

Celebrity news doesn't ever really do much for me. I fail to see what all the hub-bub is about these people. I don't understand why they ever get a platform to speak to the American public (and the world, thanks to CNN) on issues when the rest of us aren't afforded that same opportunity. More importantly, I REALLY fail to see why anyone with a hint of intelligence would listen to them.

This week, I did see on HNN a story that caught my attention. The story of Miley Cyrus and her photo shoot for Vanity Fair. I guess it caught my eye, because even being a 53 year old man, I have watched quite a few episodes of "Hannah Montana". Could be because they talk a lot like me, or because I used to cut a rug to "Achy Breaky Heart" or maybe it's because it is usually a show that is cute, funny and decent amid all the sewage that generally floods the cablewaves.

This last week, Miley sat for a photo shoot for Vanity Fair. What a 15 year old has to offer Vanity Fair is beyond me and most of the rest of the decent American public, but they did it. Dad (Billy Ray) and mom (Trish), were both right there. And what a great thing, they had the world acclaimed Annie Leibovitz as the photographer! That makes all OK! She only shoots art! I'm going to make this short here. I'll post the picture and just say this, "What reason could possibly make this OK?"

Mom and Dad Cyrus, what were you thinking? What is the need to take a photo of a 15 year old girl posing like this, to be put in a grown-up magazine? Then, top it off by saying that you are now upset because the photos are a little racy? What did you think they would be? You put a little girl, topless, wrapped in a satin sheet, with a bunch of make-up on her, some bright red lipstick, tussled-up hair, giving a pouty look and figured everyone would think, " That's just the way ALL 15 year olds look when they wake up"!

You people need a reality check. This should never be alright. At what age will it stop? 14, 13, 12? We allow this and wonder why we have teen pregnancies and high abortion rates.

You know, there is nothing wrong with a little bit of decency in the world.


Saturday, April 26, 2008

Discipline Your Doubts - 1

Some people nurture negative thoughts and doubts. This causes discouragement and failure. If we are led by the head, we are doomed to fail. Why? Because the head says, “It can’t be done”. Everything about God is about faith and everything about us as humans is about knowledge. It’s about what we can see, hear, taste, smell and feel. If it doesn’t fit into those five senses, we have a problem with it. Our knowledge is defeatist to start with. Most people will look at the negative of everything that they see. That stops us from trying and finishing. How many things have we never tried simply because we thought we would fail?

We doubt and therefore we don’t.


Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Finally back on!

Well, we returned from Roatan last Saturday, but have been running non-stop ever since. There are always things that need catching up on. Most of which was (and still is) school work. As I come to the end of another semester, research papers, discussion boards, exams, etc. are all coming due. Intensive semesters (8 weeks instead of 16) are great if you have a short attention span like me, but they take their toll as everything moves at a much more rapid pace. Two and a half weeks left and it seems as though we just got started.

Anyway, one research paper down, one to go, four panel discussions down, one left and a few tests and as they say in Cayman, "Bob's your uncle!" I may explain that to you one day.


Sunday, April 13, 2008

On The Road Again

For all you avid readers out there (yes, both of you!) I will be on the road this week. Actually in the air, since we don't have cars. We are traveling to the island of Roatan. I will be preaching at a church there and Martita will be at a women's conference.

If we get to an internet connection I will try to post something.

Have fun this week!


Thursday, April 10, 2008

Tearing up the Streets - Pt. 2

I promised I would tell you why brought up the story yesterday, so here it is. The city we live in is a small place that was built out on a reef in the water. The town is pretty much houses and sidewalks. No cars, no roads, just sidewalks. These are not overly wide sidewalks either. So, in the process of putting in the new sewer/septic system for the island, where are they laying the pipe? Under the sidewalk. This makes it extremely difficult to get around.

Right now, they are working right in front of our outreach center. When I say right in front, I mean right in front! You have to step across three foot trenches and over frayed electrical wires and go through the muck to get in our gates. So, why is this so relevant right now? We picked this week to start our new outreach to the teens of the island, giving them a place to come study in the mornings before school. They have all been very excited about it so the poor turn out so far is in direct relation to the difficulty of getting into the building. The first day, they even had the street totally blocked off and we had to wind through someone elses yard to get to our place.

Well, we hope it gets better next week, but most importantly, we hope that when the project is complete, the toilets all flush and everything goes where it is supposed to. It reminds me of the old joke, "There's only two things you need to know to be a plumber, water runs downhill and payday's on Friday!" It is actually said with a little more color than that, but you get the point. (BTW, I know there is more to it, so please don't sic the plumber's union on me!) When you need a plumber, nobody else will quite do!

I'll try to post a picture tomorrow of the mess.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Tearing up the Streets

It's good and it's bad, depends on what day it is. The municipal here on the island started a project last year to put in a sewer system. For those of you who don't know, that means we don't have one now. Well, actually we do. It's called the sea. Everything drains right out into the sea. If you are fortunate enough to have a house over the water, plumbing is simple. Hole in the floor, toilet on top, BAM, done! We shudder to think of this in this age, but it's been that way for centuries, even onger

As a young boy, I had the opportunity once to go shrimping off the coast of Mississippi where I was born. My uncle took me and my brothers and we went with Dominick Gospadonavich (I'm sure that is spelled wrong!). It was a small bay style shrimp boat and it had a flat rear deck with about a six-inch lip all around.

We started out pretty early in the morning, before sunrise, and I just thought it was the neatest thing. I don't remember exactly how old I was, but would have to guess that I was probably around 10-12. We put the nets out and we were just dragging them along, enjoying the day. I remember that my uncle had bought some donuts and I got one from the wheelhouse and I walked out and headed to the back of the boat. As I got to the back deck, there to my shock and surprise was Mr. Gospadonavich, britches down around his ankles, hanging his backside off the rear of the boat. He looked at me, grinned and said something that would be in my mind forever, "The sea's the biggest toilet in the world. I been usin' her all my life and I don't fill her up yet!" (Naturally as an old seaman, his language was just a bit more colorful than mine!)

That was it, imprinted forever in my mind. This one's going to the grave with me!

Tomorrow I will actually tell you why I even brought any of this up, I promise.


Monday, April 7, 2008

Xerox Image?

Given the complexity of God, I think that to try to come up with a single idea of what is meant by, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness” (Gen 1:26 NIV) is impossible. So first, what is an image? An image is a semblance or likeness of something else. It brings thoughts of Xerox machines. With a copier, we can have an image of an original. The trouble with copies is that they are never as sharp or perfect as the original. I’m reminded of the movie “Multiplicity”, with Michael Keaton. He gets cloned and the clone is not as good as the original, and the clone of the clone (or copy of the copy) got even worse!

I know there is a lot of discussion as to whether man is a triune being or a biune being (yes, it is a word, you will find it in the obscure words dictionary). If we believe that God is a triune God, a Trinity, and we are made in a likeness of Him, why would we not believe foremost in ourselves as triune beings also? Man being made up of a body, mind and spirit (we’ll use these terms, but I know that some may argue for; Body, Soul and Spirit). Maybe we have God the Father as the mind (or soul), God the Son as the body and God the Spirit as the spirit or life force of it all. Just as our mind and our spirit would guide us, Jesus while here on earth said that He did what the Father told Him and the Spirit led him, our bodies really do not function on their own without the mind controlling the functions and the spirit being the life.

So, looking from that perspective, what form would God the “Body” have? I would assume that He has always looked like we do, since in reality, we look like Him if we are in His image. Remember, Jesus was around from the beginning of time. In Gen 3:8, we read that Adam and Eve, “heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day” (NIV). This gives us the impression that God was in a physical form as He showed up there. If God had been in the Garden in a spiritual form, first, they probably would not have heard anything and second they probably would not have thought they could hide from Him.

Another “image” that we should look at is one of authority. As God is ruler and has authority over everything, God also gave us authority over the earth. This authority surely is part of the image process as it is stated right afterwards. “in our likeness and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground." (Gen 1:26 NIV) God gave no other creature this kind of authority, not even the angels. The only authority that Satan has is what was given over to him by us.

Last, and I believe most important is that “in His image”, contained righteousness in the beginning. Adam and Eve were formed without sin and so had a righteousness such as a copy of that righteousness that God is. When they sinned and fell, that righteousness was gone and therefore, the greatest part of our being created in God’s image. When that righteousness left, so did the authority and maybe all we have been left with is a vague physical, triune resemblance of our creator. The reason that I feel this way is pointed out to me in Colossians 3:1-10 “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ (born again)….(9) since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.” (NIV) We are new creatures in Christ Jesus and are being renewed (to be changed into a new kind of life as opposed to the former corrupt state[1]) in knowledge (to become thoroughly acquainted with, to know thoroughly[2]) in the image of our Creator. In other words, our new self in Christ is starting to know what the original creation was like as man was created with righteousness in the image of the righteous God and our righteousness is gained through the righteousness of Christ.


(This post is a discussion board response of mine in Theology class at Liberty University, Copyright:Me)
[1] Thayer and Smith. "Greek Lexicon entry for Anakainoo". "The New Testament Greek Lexicon". .
[2] Thayer and Smith. "Greek Lexicon entry for Epiginosko". "The New Testament Greek Lexicon". .

A Story of Conviction

In Friday’s blog, I touched on the fact that people do not want God in the picture of their life because that makes them accountable for their actions. It brings about conviction for the way that we live. As I read in Acts, I came upon a great illustration of this. In Acts 24, the Apostle Paul was taken to Caesarea to stand trial before Governor Felix on baseless charges brought by the Sanhedrin. Felix listened to Paul as he spoke about faith in Jesus Christ. This is when we see what the truth does in our lives.

Acts 24:25 “As Paul discoursed on righteousness, self-control and the judgment to come,” (NIV). I’m sure Paul’s “discourse” included some bits about our unrighteousness, our lack of self-control and the fact that we will all stand before God in judgment for these things. Whatever he said, it must have been quite an impressive and detailed “discourse” as we see the result in the next bit, “Felix was afraid and said, "That's enough for now! You may leave. When I find it convenient, I will send for you."” (NIV) When confronted with the reality of judgment for our unrighteousness, Felix, the Governor of Samaria, a man who controlled an army, a man who had the power to imprison, punish and even put people to death, was afraid! The Greek word used comes from the word “phobos”, which is where we get the word “phobia”.

Oh, to preach like the Apostle Paul and be able to bring that kind of conviction upon a soul! But alas, Paul preached to Felix for 2 years and we never hear of him accepting the truth that would save him from the very judgment that he so feared.

Salvation is available to everyone; it was even available to Felix. God supplied the salvation, but we still each have to accept it!


Friday, April 4, 2008

The Idols of Evolution and Atheism

Something struck me differently the other night as I was reading Romans 1. Paul is talking in his letter about the wrath of God and what man has done to bring it upon himself. I talk online a lot to evolutionists and atheists about God, creation, etc. One thing I always notice is that they fail to ever see any awe and wonder in the universe. They look at it with such scientific eyes, that they fail to see the things of a God that is capable of creating such a magnificent place.

Paul addresses this in Romans starting in verse 20 and continuing to verse 23. “For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities-his eternal power and divine nature-have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.” (vs. 20 NIV). The problem is that man was not satisfied with this. They were not satisfied with having a God in the picture and so, they started to devise ways of explaining everything.

Why would they do that? It is simple I suppose; with God in the picture, man is accountable for what he does, but without God around, we are only accountable to each other and that really does not bother a lot of people. Paul continues, “Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools” (vs. 22 NIV). Any body see where this is going? In all the discussions and debates I have with these people, first and foremost, they attack the intelligence of the Christian. Any disagreement with them will bring onslaughts of verbal pounding and abuse about the ignorance of people who believe in God and creation. They also have a lot to say about the intelligence that they think that they have. The big one is, that science is what it is all about and if your degree is not in Biology or Earth Science, well, you must be brainless. Evidently, you just cannot beat some facts and a theory.

The next verse is what struck me different as I read it, “and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles. (vs. 23 NIV) Now, I know that Paul is talking about carved idols that the people where worshipping, but when I read this, all I saw was the “Idols of Evolution”. This sang out to me that it is the same thing! These people worship the images (bones and fossils) that they find. What do they look for? They search high and low for “Ape-men” (anthroópou), birds (peteinoón), four-footed animals (tetrapódoon) and reptiles (herpetoón). I put the Greek words Paul used in parenthesis, just because they sound like names the paleontologists would use. These are the creatures of evolution and have become the idols of the “religions of Evolution and Atheism”.

Paul sums it up in verse 25, “They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and [they] worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator-who is forever praised. Amen.” (NIV) King Solomon said it best in Ecclesiastes 1:9, “there is nothing new under the sun.” (NIV). Man is still worshipping idols, some carved from stone and wood and some just dug up from the ground. Man will do anything rather than face the one true God while here on earth. The sad part is, everyone will face God one day and account for who or what they worshipped.


Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Internet Problems Continue!

Sorry, our Internet problems are continuing. Just when we think they are fixed, it goes down again. Sometimes it can take up to 5 minutes to load a page. To top it all off, I find out today that many of my e-mails I have been sending out never reached their intended victims, I meant recipients. I was starting to think some people were ignoring me, but that was only a few, the rest just didn't get the mail!

We hope that it is fixed completely soon. Meanwhile, it does make going to school online interesting!

Monday, March 31, 2008

Internet Problems

Well, you would think when you have two different Internet services, you would have (hopefully) at least one working at all times. Such is NOT the case. We had a power outage down here that evidently fried something at the phone company, that in turn took out both Internet providers! I guess it still beats putting messages in a bottle and chucking them into the sea! We did manage to get back up and running earlier today, so it has been catch up time for school work.

The Internet outage came just as I was posting my quiz answers the other night. Thankfully the understanding professor reset everything and I was able to take the test again today.

On another note, there has been significant headway on the funding for the wind power project. I wish I could say that I had something to do with it, but I didn't. There is (supposedly) grant money from the government and a third world economic development bank that is interested in funding it. So, we press on with the particulars of the equipment, etc.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Are We All Guilty of Thinking This Way?

I was reading in Acts tonight when I came upon a passage that I have read many times, but something in it never hit me until tonight. I always thought, "What caring friends Paul (the Apostle) had!

The Apostle Paul is concluding his third missionary journey and in Acts 20:22, Paul tells his companions (one of whom was Luke, the author) "And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there...." (NIV) When they had reached Caesarea, they went to the house of Philip the evangelist. While they are there, a prophet prophesies over Paul in Acts 21:10-11 After we had been there a number of days, a prophet named Agabus came down from Judea. 11 Coming over to us, he took Paul's belt, tied his own hands and feet with it and said, "The Holy Spirit says, 'In this way the Jews of Jerusalem will bind the owner of this belt and will hand him over to the Gentiles.'" (NIV)

This basically bums everybody out and here is where we pick up our key text in this discussion.
This is Luke, the author talking. (Acts 21:12-14) 12 When we heard this, we and the people there pleaded with Paul not to go up to Jerusalem. 13 Then Paul answered, "Why are you weeping and breaking my heart? I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus." Nobody wants their companion, their buddy, their mentor and their teacher to go and get in trouble. Here is the part that struck me as we finish up in verse 14 "When he would not be dissuaded, we gave up and said, "The Lord's will be done." (NIV)

They heard a well known prophet, give a prophecy from the Holy Spirit and what do they do? They try to talk Paul out of going! Then we have that kicker line, "When he would not be dissuaded, we gave up and said, "The Lord's will be done." (NIV) When they couldn't talk Paul out of going, they finally gave in and said "OK, fine go ahead and do what the Lord wants then!"

Are we all guilty of thinking this way sometime? Do we try to talk others out of doing what the Lord wants them to do? Do we try to talk ourselves out of doing what the Lord wants us to do? Do we finally give in only in frustration and say OK, fine?

Many have tried to dodge what it is that God has for them to do, but believe me, if God wants you to do it or go through it, you eventually will! (Jonah comes to mind as an example!) The Apostle Paul should be our example of a disciple of Christ. In Acts 20:23 Paul says, "I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me." (NIV) He knew that bad things would await him at every turn in his ministry, yet he never shirked his duty. Paul always knew that whatever the cost, serving his Lord and God was worth it all! Shouldn't we do the same? Remember, God never promised us following Him would be easy.

Pablo (the other one)

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

How Frustrating

I sit on this island with an almost constant 10-15mph breeze blowing and wonder why I am having so much trouble getting anyone in the "real world" interested in helping us get a wind generator system installed here. Everybody thinks it's a great idea, they just don't want any part of helping with it or financing it. What's $2 million between friends?

The benefits would be tremendous! Besides the savings that would be given back to the people who can barely afford the electricity anyway, there is the fact of saving the burning of some where around 200-250 thousand gallons of diesel fuel every year! Think how long that will run a Hummer! That in itself should be worth something! And the worst part is, it's not like any one is asking for a hand out, the company can pay the money back! They just don't have the money to lay out for it now. And don't even consider the banks down here. Their interest rates make credit card companies look like saints! So where are the people who need to step up to the plate?

I'm here, and waiting.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The Population of the Millenium

In follow-up to the post from yesterday that had to do with the rapture, there has come up an interesting question. I have always held to a Post-Trib belief. I have studied it a lot and I just can't get around 2 Thessalonians 2:1, "Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him....for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction." (NIV) To me, this verse speaks of two events, but only one day. Now, I have read and I know all the arguments that Pre-Trib has about this verse, but until we disappear or go through the Trib period, it's an educated guess on every ones part.

Anyway, the question that has come up that I never heard before is this (all you post-trib Th.D's out there can help), If the rapture happens at the end of the Tribulation at at the same time as the Return of Christ, who is going to populate the Millennial Kingdom here on earth? Non-believers? Instantaneous converts that missed the rapture? I don't know right now, but will be trying to figure it out. This question came up as I was reading Charles C. Ryrie's "Basic Theology" book.

ONE LAST THING: While the last days are good to study and to discuss, they are not worth getting our undies in a knot over. God has His plan and it will be fulfilled to perfection. We all need to be ready and need to be carrying out our commission until He returns, we leave or we pass away!

God Bless!

Monday, March 24, 2008

An Interesting Comment

So, I get an interesting comment today from an old friend who has visited my blog.
He tells me I should have a fifth choice in my rapture question. Which do you believe about the rapture? Pre-Trib, Mid-Trib, Post-Trib or Don't Know. His addition is Pre-Wrath! What is pre-wrath? Well, the short, short that doesn't do the position a bit of good, but gives an idea of when it is in the scheme of things is, after mid-trib, yet before post-trib.

The concept is that we would go through the first 3 1/2 years of the Tribulation, the relatively peaceful part and even after the mid-trib sufferings start, we would still be here. The church would remain until God gets ready to pour out His wrath on the earth. That comes between the breaking of the sixth and seventh seal. Anyway, I'm still getting in to studying this so I'll just stop here before I destroy any of it's credibility. You can pursue more info on this at . We should always be open to ideas that may be a little different than our own.

My final thoughts on the rapture/second coming of the Lord are these. No matter what you believe, you should be ready at anytime in case the Lord returns and at the same time, we should never get so complacent in our beliefs that we ignore that we may have to endure some or all of the Tribulation and therefore we should be aware of what is going on around us in the world. One thing I know beyond a shadow of a doubt is this: Every day we are closer to whatever event is going to take place! We are closer to the return of the Lord or to the Tribulation (actually no matter what, we are closer to both!). Our hearts and minds should be ready.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Easter

He is risen.

He is risen indeed!

May you have a great Easter day as we celebrate the resurrection of our Lord and Savior!


Friday, March 21, 2008

The Day the Angels Screamed

“Who is like Him, the Lion and the Lamb?”[1]

Have you ever stopped to think what the angels think of us humans? They probably have a hard time figuring us out. They see and know the awesomeness of God in everything. They surround Him and praise Him, and they knew exactly who Jesus was here on earth. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning….The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.” (John 1:1-2,14 NIV) Yet they see man, created in the image of God, seldom giving their creator the praise that He is due.

The angels and the creatures (of Rev. 5) fully understand the Lion (the power and authority). They also understand the total agape love it was for the Lion, the God of the Universe, to lower Himself and come and save what to the angels must seem like a bunch of ungrateful creations. They know fully the price that was paid. The angels and creatures watched as God created the earth. They saw Him create Adam and Eve and they watched in disbelief as they disobeyed Him. They continued to see the unfolding of the past thousands of years.

Then they saw their Creator lower Himself and come to earth as a man and they watched in total horror when God, as man, was accused, spat upon, humiliated, beaten and then hung on a cross. Can you imagine the anguish they went through, screaming out with every lash asking God to be released to go and stop this. The mighty warriors of God, their swords at the ready; held back. Always there, awaiting their instructions from God and now when it seemed as though they were needed the most, He said, “No”. They scream and they shout, begging the Father to set them free to go to His rescue, not fully understanding then that the sacrifice of the Lamb WAS the rescue. The rescue of God's prized possession, us.

Who is worthy to be praised? The Lion and the Lamb!

(This article is taken in large part from my response in a panel discussion in Theology I at Liberty University)
[1] From “Praise Adonai” ©1999 Integrity's Hosanna! MusicWords and Music by Paul Baloche

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Is Holy Week holy?

We have been talking to some people about a new building for our ministry over the last few days. It's closer to the "action" in town (not sure if that's good or bad!). By action, I'm talking about the mean streets, the club scene. The good part is the building comes with an optional house (a real house!) above it. Anyway, they have just been clearing it out over the last few days. I went by today to show Martha the building and lo and behold, there are about 15-20 people decorating it with palm branches, balloons, tables and chairs. I asked what was going on and they said they were going to have a fiesta this weekend for Easter. Then I turned, looked and saw it; "The Great Wall of Cerveza!" And, they are still bringing it in! It's Semana Santa, or Holy Week, from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday.

Now, it's not surprising to me to see this and it's not even surprising to me that it would be in the very building that we are hoping to rent to have church and ministry in. It didn't even surprise me when I looked and saw one of the guys we have been ministering to in our alcohol/drug addiction ministry working there nailing up palm branches on the wall. He has had serious drug problems in the past and we have tried to help him. He comes to church occasionally but professes to be a Muslim. He motioned me over and when I got to him, that is when I got my surprise. He said, "Pastor Paul, I'm not quite sure, but what does drinking beer and dancing have to do with the death of Christ and His resurrection ?" I was stunned that he got it and so few of the "Christians" didn't!

I told him, "I've never figured out what they see as being holy about Holy Week".

That's a sad commentary on the actions of "Christians" in the eyes of others when people of other faiths see the hypocrisy of the message some of us send.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Looking out for Opportunities

As a volunteer community warden for the US Embassy in Honduras, I recently had to deal with the health related death of an American citizen. In doing so, I had to give a statement to the Policia Nacional, the Federal Police here. A very nice young officer who is the station commander came by my house with two other officers and we had a pretty good time as we stumbled through my Spanish and their English trying to complete the statement. We did manage to get it done.

When we were through, I mentioned that I was a police officer years ago in Texas so that increased the bond that was forming. I told him what our work consisted of here and then something inside made me ask him, "What is it that you guys might need?" I expected it to be something personal or some luxury item, so I was shocked when he said, "Beds". These officers are assigned here for six months to a year and they live at the station under whatever conditions are there. I went days later to the station to see what they had and sure enough, they need beds! And a kitchen and a bathroom door without a giant hole in it and running water and lights and.... I told them that I would see what I could for them.

But that is not the story. Since meeting them, I have visited the station numerous times and they have come by our outreach center. They have also met Isidro, a local man that works in our ministry. In our talks, the new Jefe (boss man) has now asked Isidro if he will come by the station every week and hold a Bible study! What a great opportunity to teach these guys (only one is a Christian) and then have them leave in six months to a year and take that learning to another station!

(BTW, I am contacting my old police friends in Texas to see if they might start a drive to raise some money to help fix up the station.)

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

To be in union with Christ

My discussion board response today in Theology about what it means to be in union with Christ.

When we look at union, we need to start by breaking that word down. Union is going to be the state of having unity, so what is unity? According to the American Heritage Dictionary, “Unity: 1. The state or quality of being one; singleness. 2. The state or quality of being in accord; harmony. 3a. The combination or arrangement of parts into a whole; unification. b. A combination or union thus formed. 4. Singleness or constancy of purpose or action; continuity.” When I think of being in union with Christ, that definition hits the nail right on the head! Singleness, harmony, unification and continuity; that is part of the sum of being in union with Christ. To be molded together to form one entity, with one purpose.

Others have touched on the fact of being in union with Christ through the relationship when we accept Him as our Lord, but is that where it stops? In John chapter 17, we have the three prayers of Jesus and it is the prayer for those who believe the message they hear that we can see another key to being in union with Christ. "My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me.” (John 17:20-23a NIV) The first thing that we note is the unity of Christ and the Father. “To be one…as you are in me and I am in you”. Then Jesus talks about the unity of the believers, “that they be one as we are one”. Christ prays that the believers would have the same unity amongst themselves as He has with the Father. Then comes the decisive factor, “I in them and you in me”. It is here that we find the ultimate in what it means to be in union with Christ. When we are in union with the Body of Christ, we will be in union with Christ and if we are in union with Christ, we will also be in union with the Father and this will be accomplished through God’s Spirit within us. What is the purpose of all of this? We find it in second part of verse 23, “May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” The purpose of this unity is to show the world that God loves them and sent His Son because of that love.

Let me close with this as the Apostle Paul urges us to; “Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit-just as you were called to one hope when you were called-one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” (Eph 4:3-6 NIV) There is no union with Christ alone, it must be with the body, God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

It's been a busy day!

What a busy day today. I opened a facebook account, I wrote my sermon for tomorrow, I read from the book of Acts (first to myself and then to my wife), I took a nice long nap and now I have started a blog. I'm tired.

The book of Acts, what a great book in the Bible. This passage to me is the perfect church: Acts 2:42-47 They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. (NIV)