May 08

Worst Thing About Being A Preacher Is…

worst (765 x 434)I absolutely love my job! I can’t imagine doing anything differently with my life. If I had a thousand lives to live, to be whatever I wanted to be, I believe I’d spend them all doing the same thing — preaching the gospel (Well, I might waste one of them being the quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers :-)). But my point is that I am in no way disgruntled or complaining.

However, through the years, I’ve had more than a few people ask me what the worst part of being a preacher is.

I’ve given thought to that question and am pretty sure that most people, at least those who aren’t preachers, would never guess the answer correctly. In fact, the answer to this question has probably never even crossed the minds of most people.

For me, the worst thing about being a preacher is not being able to be with your mother or father on Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. These are “big” days for churches, with many visitors and opportunities, so the preacher needs to be present. In fact, I’ve only been able to spend Mother’s Day with my mother once in the past 38 years! I find that to be difficult. While Mother’s/Father’s Day is a time of reunion for most people, for the preacher, it’s generally a time of loneliness and longing to be able to be with family. While we stand before the congregation on these days and look out over the assembly, we see happy families sitting together; proud mothers and fathers and grateful children. When we see this, it’s not jealousy, but rather a wave of wistfulness that overtakes us.

Elders, would you like to give your preacher a gift that won’t cost you anything, and will mean the world to him? Go to him sometime and tell him to go home on Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. Tell him you’ll cover his responsibilities on that Sunday. You’ll never know how much that gift will mean to him.

Well, now that you know what the “worst thing about being a preacher is” (at least to me), was I right? Had the thought ever crossed your mind? Share your perspectives in the comments section.

(One of my concerns in writing this article was that I didn’t want anyone to conclude that my elders at Karns demand that I be present on these “special” Sundays. They don’t. In fact, the one time I got to visit my mother on Mother’s day was done with their encouragement.  They have been more than supportive and understanding with respect to meeting my needs. However, not all elderships are in tune with their preacher’s needs, so my remarks are made in hopes of helping others to better understand).

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Apr 28

Heaven

house-d Occasionally, someone will ask me how I come up with ideas for all the articles I write. Well, it’s not hard when you’re surrounded by people who are spiritually minded. Just this week, a friend and brother, Lance Champion made an observation that has really resonated with me and I hope it will you too.

Lance said, “For those who are Christians, earth will be the closest they’ll ever get to Hell; and for those who are not Christians, earth will be the closest they’ll ever get to Heaven.”

I find that statement to be profound; pregnant with hope as well as sadness.

I have a vivid memory of riding in the car with my dad when I was a boy. We were riding through an area where the houses were dilapidated and children were running around barefoot and barely clothed. I remember sitting at a traffic light, watching the children, and telling my dad how sad I felt for those kids and the conditions in which they lived. I’ll never forget my dad’s response. He said, “Unless someone teaches them about Jesus, this is the best it will ever get for them.”

I hate to think that this world is the very best some will ever experience. It lights a fire under me to be more zealous in sharing the gospel. However, at the same time, I take great comfort in the fact that because I am a child of God, this world, with all its heartaches and hardships will be the worst I’ll ever experience!

Thanks for the reminder, Lance!

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Apr 21

The Irony of Radical Feminism

feminism1Presently, a total of seven states have banned abortions performed for the reason of “sex selection.” As you know, several cultures value male children much more than female children. Consequently, many women are having abortions when they learn the gender of their pre-born child is female.

Talk about sex-discrimination! You’d think that feminists who are all about protecting the rights of women, would join hands and help prevent the killing of unborn babies simply because they are female.

However, radical feminist, along with Planned Parenthood, are doing all they can to stop and overturn legislation preventing abortion on the basis of gender. Ironic, isn’t it? Those who allegedly are opposed to discrimination against females on the basis of their gender are for the murder of pre-born females on the basis of their gender.

Don’t be gullible and think that the reason is because they don’t believe a pre-born baby is a human. In writing for Salon.com, Mary Elizabeth Williams, a noted radical feminist, wrote an article under the subheading of, “So what if abortion ends life?” She wrote, “I believe that life starts at conception, and it’s never stopped me from being pro-choice.” In this article Miss Williams unashamedly affirms that life begins at conception and that it is foolish to pretend otherwise. She argued that to be relieved over an abortion but grieved over a miscarriage is understandable, but to argue that what was growing inside of the mother wasn’t the same is foolish. Life isn’t determined by the intent of the mother. She went so far as to affirm that a fetus is indeed a life, but it is “a life worth sacrificing.”

Friends, don’t be duped. Radical feminism isn’t “for women,” it’s “for the individual advocate.” How else does one explain such inconsistencies as noted above?

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Apr 19

Is Pope Francis Changing Catholic Doctrine?

PopeFrancisIn response to questions that have obvious answers, many have used the rhetorical quip, “Is the Pope Catholic?” as an answer. However, the more we hear from the current Pope, the less this quip has meaning.

Earlier this month, Pope Francis wrote a 264 page paper entitled, “The Joy of Love.” In it, he addressed several “hot button” issues, one of which was how to treat people who have divorced and remarried.

According to Roman Catholic doctrine, a person who divorces and remarries without an annulment granted by the Catholic church, is guilty of living in adultery. (For what the Bible teaches, see Matthew 19:9).

Furthermore, since adultery is a “mortal sin” (a classification of sin within Roman Catholicism that brings about the death of the soul), he is ineligible for the “sacrament of Holy Communion.”

However, Pope Francis’ recent document calls for a far-reaching change in the way the Roman Catholic Church responds to those who are guilty of the mortal sin of adultery.  Concerning those who have been divorced and remarried (without an annulment from the church) Francis wrote:

“the baptized who are divorced and civilly remarried need to be more fully integrated into Christian communities in the variety of ways possible…Their participation can be expressed in different ecclesial services, which necessarily requires discerning which of the various forms of exclusion currently practised in the liturgical, pastoral, educational and institutional framework, can be surmounted” (Amoris Laetitia, p.229).

So in spite of the fact that Roman Catholic doctrine teaches that those who are divorced and remarried (without an annulment) are guilty of the mortal sin of adultery, Pope Francis has affirmed there is a place for their participation in the church, and that the current liturgical and institutional framework that prevents their participation can be surmounted.

But wait, he wasn’t done. The change he was proposing is much broader than just with respect to marriage, divorce, and remarriage.  He also stated:

“No one can be condemned for ever, because that is not the logic of the Gospel! Here I am not speaking only of the divorced and remarried, but of everyone, in whatever situation they find themselves” (Amoris Laetitia, p. 226).

No one can be condemned forever? Consider the words of the one Pope Francis claims to represent, “And these will go away into everlasting punishment…” (Matthew 25:46). I don’t know how else to interpret this statement than to understand Pope Francis as saying that all men will eventually be reconciled to God — Universalism, and that isn’t very “Roman Catholic.”

I am hopeful that as people grow weary of being tossed to and fro by the waves of fallibility, inconsistency, and contraction of human doctrines, they will decide to drop their anchor in God’s unchanging and infallible word!

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Apr 07

Racism Is Learned

PuckettJust last night, a friend of mine told me of an incident that occurred many years earlier with his young daughter. They lived in Minnesota at the time and consequently, were fans of the Minnesota Twins baseball team. One day, this man handed his daughter a baseball card and told her it was a Kirby Puckett card. (Before proceeding any further, I need to explain to some of you who Kirby Puckett was. Kirby Puckett was an African-American who played his entire baseball career for the Minnesota Twins). So back to the story… The card this father handed to his young daughter was a baseball card of a Caucasian baseball player.

Of course, he expected his daughter to immediately say, “Dad, that’s not Kirby Puckett,” which she did. But this was the reason she offered, “This man has glasses and Kirby doesn’t wear glasses.”

Amazing, isn’t it? Children are “color-blind.” The feature that stood out to this young girl was not the color of his skin but the fact that he wore eye-glasses.

May God help us, his grown children, to be so “color-blind.” There is no black and white in the Kingdom of God. There should be no race distinctions made between us because God only created one race of people, and we call that race, the “human race.”

“My brethren, do not hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with partiality…but if you show partiality, you commit sin” (James 2:1,9).

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