Archive for January, 2009

28
Jan
09

Let’s Be Links in the Great Chain

And what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.  (2 Timothy 2:2)supply-chain

Paul says, “Take what you’ve learned and entrust it to faithful men who can then teach others also.”  For Christianity to survive this “passing along” has to happen.  We have to continue building the chain. We are actually links in a chain that stretches all the way back to Christ.

I read a great example of this from Kent Hughes commentary on 1 and 2 Timothy.  He writes about how in the early 17th century Dr. Richard Sibbes wrote a little book about Christ called The Bruised Reed.  A copy of that book somehow ended up in the hands of a tin peddler, who then gave it to a boy named Richard Baxter.  Richard Baxter read that and was so influenced by it.  He later became one of the greatest Puritan pastors in all of church history.  Baxter then wrote, A Call to the Unconverted.

Philip Doddridge read that in the early 18th century, and then he wrote, The Rise and Progress of Religion in the Soul.  William Wilberforce read that book, and it so changed his life that he wanted to lead the fight for the abolition of slavery.  And that’s what happened, Just three days before his death, Wilberforce had such an impact on British culture that slavery was outlawed.  Today, Chuck Colson, the founder of Prison Fellowship, looks at Wilberforce as one of his greatest heroes and sources of inspiration. 

Do you see the chain?  For Christianity to survive this chain has to be maintained and added to.  We have it to pass it on to others.  God works through generations.  I want to encourage you today to be faithful.  You may never preach a sermon or write a book, but your life, your words, your actions are sending a message.  You can be a part of this great chain, passing the Christian faith on to future generations.   

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22
Jan
09

Friends – Do you have any?

paulWhen the apostle Paul was in prison in Rome, during his final imprisonment before being put to death, many of his close companions deserted him.  They were afraid of being associated with him now that he was in jail, and many believed that his suffering was proof that he was not a true man of faith and power.

There in prison, with many on the run, one man was different.  His name was Onesiphorus.  Instead of running he traveled to Rome, to the hometown of Nero the great hater of Christianity, and began to search for Paul.  Being from Ephesus, he was unfamiliar with Rome, and had to stop and ask for help constantly.  But after much diligent searching and prayer he found his friend in need.  What a tremendous encouragement that was to Paul.

Paul writes about this in 2 Timothy 1:15-18 – 15 You are aware that all who are in Asia turned away from me, among whom are Phygelus and Hermogenes. 16 May the Lord grant mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, for he often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chains, 17 but when he arrived in Rome he searched for me earnestly and found me— 18 may the Lord grant him to find mercy from the Lord on that Day!—and you well know all the service he rendered at Ephesus.

What a great thing to have some real, Christian friendships.  Do you have any today?  People who will suffer inconvenience to help you in your time of need?  How do you know who your friends really are?  Just go through a rough spot.  Go through an embarrassing moment, a trial, a season of suffering and see who comes to help you.  You don’t need a ton of friends like that, but you do need two or three.  As we’re just starting out in 2009, what a great goal to try and cultivate two or three meaningful Christian friendships. 

Proverbs 17:17 – A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.

08
Jan
09

Should We Just Forget About Abortion?

infant-wear3Exodus 1:15-17 – Then the king of Egypt said to the Hebrew midwives, one of whom was named Shiphrah and the other Puah,  16 “When you serve as midwife to the Hebrew women and see them on the birthstool, if it is a son, you shall kill him, but if it is a daughter, she shall live.”  17 But the midwives feared God and did not do as the king of Egypt commanded them, but let the male children live.

The Pharaoh calls in these two Hebrew midwives.  Today we would call them head nurses.  Pharaoh calls them in and orders them to be on the look out for new baby boys to kill them as soon as they’re born.  No more fathers, no threat of a young army.  Israel would grow weak and assimilate into their culture.

These were two pretty amazing women.  Remember, Pharaoh was believed to be a god.  What pressure!  Their lives were in danger, but they said, “No.”  They willfully chose to disobey the Pharaoh’s orders.  How could they have such courage?  The Bible tells us they feared the Lord.  Pharaoh was scary, but they feared and honored the Lord more.  They knew that the safest course of action for them was to obey God.

There’s something I see in these two women.  They were pro-life.  They stood up for the unborn.  They would not impose themselves and take another child’s life.  They knew that life came from God.  They dare not usurp God’s right to give and take away life. 

I think about abortion in our country today.  In America alone every year there are 1.37 million abortions, and everyday there are 3,700.  Why are women having abortions? 
1% of all abortions occur because of rape or incest; 6% of abortions occur because of potential health problems, and 93% of all abortions occur for social reasons (i.e. the child is unwanted or inconvenient). http://www.abortionno.org/Resources/fastfacts.html

The voice of reason in our day would have us be quiet about abortion. “Don’t cause a stir.  Keep quiet.  Don’t be divisive.  Focus on other social issues that we can agree on like poverty and human rights.”  Human rights?  I’m not here to throw stones at anyone who’s had an abortion.  God is rich in forgiving love.  As followers of Jesus, this is something we should not cave in on.  God forgive our nation!  Let’s pray that Roe vs. Wade would be overturned so that no more innocent lives would be lost.  Every life comes from God.  Let’s not take the place of God.