What Happened to Stetson Man?

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Several years ago we had a running joke in our company.  It all began with a cowboy looking guy air freshener (Not John Wayne but hey he’s a man’s man).  The freshener would show up in unusual places, and if you got stuck with “Stetson,” the joke was on you.

Years ago Stetson disappeared, and the fun was all over and done.  We had a good time with Stetson, and it still makes us laugh.

It seems manliness has gone out of style today with the whole “toxic” masculinity thing you know…

As a Christian I can tell you, it’s still okay to be a man.  To celebrate what God has done.  He did create us male and female after all.  No in between, no fluidity, no confusion.  It’s straight up fact.  XX or XY.

If you are a man, celebrate being a man.  Stand up and act like a man.  If you are a woman, celebrate being a woman and don’t be afraid to be feminine.

God’s design is pure and straightforward.

Men, be men by taking care of your family.  Protect your wife from harm, nurture and raise your children.  Teach your children about God from the Bible.  You are commanded to do so.  Cry when you must, fight when you need to.

Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.  Let all that you do be done in love.  1 Corinthians 16:13-14

 

Kevin

Sit back, relax…and ENJOY the flight

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Maybe you’ve heard this phrase as many times as I have.  I’ve flown half a million miles in the last ten years, which is no fantastic feat by those that REALLY fly a lot, but it’s still significant enough.

This just dawned on me the other day flying back from a trip what a ridiculous statement this really is.  What is the alternative?  Sit up, freak out and hate the flight?  No disrespect to those that have issues and fear of flying, I don’t know what of any other choices?

It’s similar to living on this earth.  We are humans with frail and sensitive systems.  We don’t do well in the heat, and we don’t do well in the cold.  We get sick easily, and we can die quickly.  We really have very little control over us and others.

We have a perceived ability to control things when we don’t.  The earth we live on is spinning on its axis as it circles the sun and each day comes and goes like the one before it and somehow–at times–we believe we are significant and that we actually have control over circumstances.

I have belief in God that transcends even my own thoughts about myself and the circumstances of life.  While the world around me seems chaotic, He is in control.  When all seems to be spinning out of control I have the opportunity to sit back, relax and enjoy the flight.  In the chaos, I can have peace.
Why should the nations say,
“Where is their God?”
Our God is in the heavens;
he does all that he pleases. (Ps 115:2-3)

Do you know him?

Kevin

 

Unplanned the Movie Review

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In no way am I reviewer of movies, but I’m offering my thoughts on this movie from a Christian perspective and the importance of maintaining or even developing our worldview as Christians.

I had heard a few things about the movie.  Some positive, some negative.  I have friends with strong opinions about the lack of gospel clarity and choose not to support the film.  I have no problem with that.  It is a conscience issue that should be respected.

I’ll say at the outset that I believe abortion should be outlawed and completely abolished but yet that may not happen in my lifetime and if it doesn’t would fewer abortions be better?  I say yes, and so sometimes incrementalism is a reality of life and where I find value in the movie if this can help sway the minds of a generation to the evils that are clearly shown in this film.

Abby Johnson worked for Planned Parenthood, and she defected from the organization, and this movie is the story of her time with Planned Parenthood, primarily focusing on her realization that the babies being murdered in the womb were actual human lives.  There is a powerful element as her convictions grew through markers along the way.  There are portrayals of abortions that will have you squirming in your seat.  In one scene Abby says to her husband “abortion is not pretty.”  It is a baby being evacuated from the mother’s womb.  It’s gritty and powerful and disturbing.

There is a lot of Christian cliche’s and what I call the “cheesy-ness” of the religious themed movies.  You know, how everything turns out good in the end and even though there are some problems along the way, all ends well.  For Abby Johnson, she came to see that the end of her time at Planned Parenthood also meant that she was complicit in the death of over 20,000 unborn children.  This is real, and it’s a powerful scene that could have led to a perfect opportunity for a gospel presentation.  While Abby is coming to the realization of her sins against God her husband says, “you need to apologize.”  He goes on to say that God forgives and God loves her.  While it is true God forgives, God’s love is not to love without conditions.  It’s more than telling God, “I’m sorry.”  While Abby appears to grieve does she grieve unto repentance and faith?

I also found myself troubled by the behavior of Abby’s husband, Doug.  He is unapologetically pro-life in the movie, but from a Christian perspective, he really does nothing other than disagree with Abby about her work at Planned Parenthood.  Here we see this weird toggling between opinions about Christian religion, as the Johnson’s are shown in one scene attending a church service.  True Christianity draws clear lines of distinction between tolerating willful sin and sinful behaviors.  While Doug clearly shows love for Abby, is he really loving her by not confronting her with the reality that she is against what God has clearly declared sin?

I found another, somewhat cheesy, a portrayal of those that stand on the front lines against abortion.  The movie shows two types of groups at first but focuses it’s energies on the 40 Days of Life group that is there to offer support, prayer, resources and actually try to engage those going into getting abortions in a kind and loving way.  The other group is portrayed as, let’s say, “wacko.”

Having worked on the front lines of abortion ministry, it’s a hard balance to strike.  Some women go in with hard hearts, as one woman is shown bringing her young daughter with her as her mother pleads for her not to go through with it.  Then others are crushed under their guilt and the decision they face.

Gentleness, love, and respect should always be the demeanor of Christians on the front line of abortion ministry, and my thinking has changed over the years as to the best approaches.  In the end, I side with pleading for the life of the child along with offering other choices, care, and compassion for those that are about to end the life of their children through the act of abortion.

My biggest disappointment with the movie was the blown opportunities.  I mentioned it above where Abby has come to see her sin, and her husband gives her an unbiblical response to how she should deal with her realization of sin.

Clearly, Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners (1 Timothy 1:15).  We’ve all sinned, and fallen short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23)  A simple acknowledgement of this reality is not a gospel message nor does it indicate saving faith.

Going to God is not an act of apologizing for our wrong doings, Abby’s husband tells her that she should beg God for mercy.  Seeking mercy from God is a biblical response to the horror of our sin, but in Abby’s case, the message of the cross was never presented.  She was not told that yes, your sins are heinous in the eyes of a Holy God and the murder of 20,000 children is especially grievous to God, but we don’t just say, “hey, sorry about that God, pleeeeeeese, forgive me…”

God can, and does forgive all that come to Him with a desire to turn from their sins, and I believe that is availalbe for Abby Johnson or the most heinous of all Planned Parenthood employees, directors, doctors, and patients.  We all need Christ’s forgiveness.  We are all invited to freely drink from the water of life, but there is a biblical way to define coming to Christ that we are humbled under the reality of our sin, understanding we have no hope in and of ourselves and looking to the cross as the solution to pay the penalty and the guilt of our sins.

I have great hope that the horror of abortion and the lying and manipulative techniques of Planned Parenthood can be exposed through this movie through under cover videos and any other vehicle that can be used.  But unless someone comes to the gospel of Christ, their sin will never be paid for.  No matter how much good they’ve done on this earth, only the blood of Jesus can wash away your sin.  It is in that missed opportunity that I grieve over this film.  There are some good Christian elements in the movie but leaves off presenting a clear explanation of the gopsel of Jesus Christ.

By all means, see this movie if you are so inclined.  Cry over the loss of innocent lives, and be humbled at the reality of God that still saves sinners.  Use this as an opportunity to have discussions with friends or your children about the sinful behavior that leads to abortion.  In this respect, there is value in Unplanned.

 

Kevin

 

 

 

The Church Universal

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Not to be confused with Universalism, the concept where everyone is saved in the end an understanding of the universal church is often relegated to the dark corners of theology in Orthodox circles because of the focus on the local church.

Don’t misunderstand, this is not to reduce or deflect from the local church. It is the pillar and ground of the truth locally and universally. People must attend a local church, and I agree almost entirely they should be members of a local church. I think there is a time and place when that is not always possible for some time.

What I love about the 2nd London Baptist Confession of Faith is the clarity it applies to the church. It heavily focuses on the local church but does not fail to address the universal or “catholic” church.

Chapter 26: paragraph 1: The catholic or universal church, which (with respect to the internal work of the Spirit and truth of grace) may be called invisible, consists of the whole number of the elect, that have been, are, or shall be gathered into one, under Christ, the head thereof; and is the spouse, the body, the fulness of him that fills all in all.1

Heb. 12:23; Col. 1:18; Eph. 1:10,22–23, 5:23,27,32

These writers used tremendous wisdom in how they articulated the truth about the church. Yes, it is visible, yes it is local, yes it consists of certain assemblies and gatherings of people, but the church consists of the “whole” number of the elect.

“That has been,” that means they are no longer with us, they have passed into eternity. “Are.” This group is currently alive. They are with us today but may not be in the same church as you or me. This is important and the crux of my argument. Lastly, “they shall be,” in short they haven’t been saved just yet. But they will be someday.

Why am I concerned about a universal church that exists around the globe (yes, I’m a round-earther) and meets in different buildings? I’ve encountered groups that don’t believe you can ever leave a church once you are a member or committed to it. It is here we need to be careful. I think this can be abused. There are church-hoppers, and zero commitment Christians out there. That is probably a more significant problem but pinning people to a church where they can only get out if they die is not healthy either.

There are legitimate reasons for leaving that are not sinful, there are other churches that are capable of preaching a gospel message that saves. There are controlling churches that believe they are the center of this universe but they are not and in effect it causes them to be isolationists. They exist only inside their bubble.

Whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire; he breaks out against all sound judgment. Proverbs 18:1

“This man seeks selfish gratification and accepts advice from no one.” – John MacArthur

While most will apply this passage to individuals, it also applies corporately. Insert the church or the leaders into this verse and do you see the problem? A church that isolates itself seeks its own desire. It breaks out against all sound judgment.

When churches believe they are the only game in town and nobody does it the way they do it they create an attitude of spiritual elitism. They won’t allow people to leave which is a product of control-oriented leadership and then leadership becomes everyone else’s conscience. They determine what is best for an individual. Not the individual. They reject the personal element of faith, and it produces a group-think attitude.

These churches are dangerous indeed because they dismiss the individual priest-hood of the believer. They reject the church universal and assume families and fathers are incapable of making sound decisions for themselves and for their loved ones. They reject the teaching of conscience as a viable source of the Holy Spirit working individually in the life of a Christian.

The way to best love this church is to leave. Tell them the truth in love and trust the Spirit of God to deal with them in time, rather than trying to be like them, reject their thinking and believe that the counsel of many will eventually break through.

Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed. Proverbs 15:22

Kevin

Why?

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Why do they not believe?

It seems so logical to believe, but for most that don’t believe it seems logical to “not” believe and so it only seemed logical for me to explore “belief”.  What is the Christian belief?

We all believe certain things.  Sometimes we believe falsely.  How do we know what is true and what is false?  Is it always and only by our own senses?  Because those can’t always be trusted.

Do we have assurance the sun will rise tomorrow?  Do I know my wife will love me tomorrow the same way she loves me today?  This creates madness in the human mind.  Think of the complexity of the human mind and where did it all come from?  But I digress…

I can’t make you believe anything and you probably can’t make me believe in anything.  We all come to conclusions based on presuppositions mostly.  In a Christian World-view, I presuppose the Bible is true.  In a Secular or Natural World-view, those believe the Bible is not true but whose to say who is right, especially in their view?

Is all truth relative?  What’s true for you is true for you but not for me?  Can truth be relative?  Well, that’s an easy answer for me but is it so easy for you?

There is a distinct clash of views at this point in the argument.

For there to be “truth” there must be a source of absolute truth.  That is the Christian argument.  That true truth is God Himself.  The Beginning and the End.  The One True Constant.  The Law-Giver.  Without this element then there can be no standard by which to live, except what you invent.  Your standard becomes your standard but not mine.

But… If there is a constant, then there is a standard by which all must function and exist.  That standard is the same for you and it is the same for me.

Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.  For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished.  Matthew 5:17-18

That sure does complicate things, doesn’t it?

Jesus believes the Law and Prophets were given by God that a standard which is to be for all must fully be accomplished.  And this is where it gets tricky for those that don’t believe.  They are accountable to the Law.

And they can’t keep the Law.  Only Christ kept the Law.

Here is where I might upset somebody.

It’s not about believing or un-believing, it’s about rejecting the Law.  Paul said in Romans 1 that truth is suppressed or held down in an attempt to justify unrighteousness.  If I say “there is no god…” then who are you to say I’m wrong?  If there is no god, there is no law, there is no accountability, there is no judgment and there is no eternal reward or eternal punishment.

It’s actually quite convenient.  I get to live like I want and who are you to say I’m wrong?

Is it okay if I steal your wallet?

Philosopher Richard Taylor said:

To say that something is wrong because… it is forbidden by God is… perfectly understandable to anyone who believes in a law-giving God.  But to say that something is wrong… even though no God exists to forbid it, is not understandable… the concept of moral obligation [is] unintelligible apart from the idea of God.  The words remain but their meaning is gone.

For by the works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.  Romans 3:20

Here is the truth.  Today, truth can be received and believed or rejected and denied.  But you don’t get to have it both ways.  You may be a “good” person by the world’s standards, and you are probably a better person than me but Christ was the only one that was perfect and that is the standard by which we will be judged.

Believe on him.  He will never fail you.

Kevin