June 2014


1 Peter 3:13-17          Be Ready, Correctly

Somewhere, in all our “political correctness” and “tolerance” we have forgotten that other people think and live differently that we do as Christians.

We think that because we have the “Biblical High Ground” we have the right to force others to believe and live like we say they should.

The reality is that there are no Christians who “Live Up to the Hype” of a fully Biblical Lifestyle.  We have all failed.

And using our Sacred and Holy Bible to beat others up while we hide from our own transgressions is morally and Biblically wrong.

We need to pay WAY MORE ATTENTION to the plank in our own eyes and way less time pointing fingers at others.

Listen again to the fuller text of our VBS Scripture:

1 Peter 3:13-17 “Nowwho is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good? 14  But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed.Have no fear of them,nor be troubled, 15 butin your hearts regard Christ the Lord as holy,always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; 16 yet do it with gentleness andrespect,having a good conscience, so that,when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. 17 Forit is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil.”  ESV

  •  Should we stand firm on the Word of God!  YES!  CORRECTLY
  • Should we life up the Word as pour path to a righteous life?  YES!  Correctly.
  • Can you FORCE someone to believe with protest signs and shouts of hate?  NO!
  1. Be Ready to give a defense for the HOPE that is in you.
    1. Faith, Hope and Love is all we really have
      1. All three are eternal
      2. All three are given by God
      3. Remember the text?
        1. The GREATEST of these is:…LOVE
      4. Be Ready, CORRECTLY
        1. Be Assured – Discover
          1. Not Tearful
          2. Not Troubled
          3. Not worried about suffering
        2. Be on Target – Decide
          1. To honor Christ
          2. To Glorify God
          3. To share HIS GOSPEL
        3. LIVE the HOPE of God that is in you – Defend
          1. With GENTLENESS
          2. With RESPECT
          3. Having a GOOD CONSCIENCE
          4. Good REPUTATION
            1. You cannot lead anyone to LOVE through HATE
            2. You cannot show people Jesus by acting like the devil.
            3. You can never hope to lead someone to Christ if you start by condemning them to hell.
              1. They need to understand their need for God
              2. They need to understand that God’s love is available to them
            4. John 3:16-20 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.  For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.  Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their deeds were evil.”   ESV
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Flawed GunControl Concepts in our World Today

  1. Flawed concept #1: Guns are the problem
    1. Guns are NOT the problem
    2. People are the problem
      1. Anger, mental issues, substance abuse, criminals
    3. Sin is the problem.
      1. The first murder took place long before AR-15s existed (or guns of any sort)
        1. We do not know what weapon, if any, Cain used to kill Abel, but he did kill his brother in anger.
    4. It is a heart problem
    5. When people only had rocks, sticks and their hands; people killed people
    6. When we developed spears and bows; people killed people
    7. When we developed knives, swords, guillotines, garrotes, and then guns; people killed people.
      1. The weapons may change, the evil remains.
  2. Flawed concept #2: We would be safe if all guns were removed from the public
    1. This states that bad things would not happen if guns did not exist.
      1. In 1927 the Bath school disaster was committed with dynamite (Bath Township, Michigan)
      2. England has effective anti-gun laws
        1. Yes, there are fewer incidents of gun violence in England
        2. There is not lower acts of violence; they just use other tools
        3. They are now outlawing knives and have installed boxes on the streets for people to turn in their knives voluntarily; I wonder what is next on the ban list?
          1. Hammers and baseball bats seem to used quite often so maybe they are next.
        4. I have been to England, Germany and Italy – there is violence there. There are areas in these countries that US military members are warned against going into because of the violence.
      3. Removing the guns from the law abiding only makes more victims; not fewer criminals.
        1. Without the fear of an armed citizenry, there will be more criminals active.
      4. Richard Henry Lee (1732–1794), a signer of the Declaration of Independence who helped frame the Second Amendment in the First Congress, wrote, “… to preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of the people always possess arms, and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them…”
    2. Think of what would be necessary to confiscate all of our guns and make sure we remain gun fee
      1. We would have to give up many more rights for this to occur
        1. Search and seizure
        2. Personal property rights
        3. We would basically yield our freedom
  3. Flawed concept #3: Guns are the BIG problem
    1. More lives are lost in other preventable ways than guns
      1. Alcohol claims 88,000 lives in the USA every year (CDC)
      2. Tobacco claims 480,000 lives in the USA every year (American Lung Association)
      3. Vehicles claim 35,200 lives in the USA in 2013 (NSC)
        1. We do not “NEED” alcohol, tobacco or vehicles
      4. AIDS claimed 15,529 people in the USA in 2010 (CDC)
        1. 1.6 Million worldwide (UNAIDS)
        2. I wonder what would happen if we put the energy used on gun control on these three issues and begin to find ways to save over ½ a MILLION lives in our country every year.
      5. In 2011 8,582 people died in events involving guns
    2. Many other “implements” are used to kill or harm people
      1. Evil will find a way to commit evil
        1. Gasoline, hammers, scissors, water, knives, scarves, rope, statues, rocks, chain saws, shovels, etc…whatever is available
        2. We cannot ban everything; and even if we could and we were 6 Billion naked people living in sterile rooms – evil would still find a way to be evil
  4. Flawed concept #4: Gun control/more gun laws will help our cities be safer
    1. Ask Chicago, New York, California, Detroit, etc how that has worked for them
    2. More laws will only force criminals or the violently mentally ill find other methods to commit their crimes
    3. Murder is already a crime
    4. Kidnapping, robbery, terrorism are already crimes
    5. Even in Texas it is illegal to own a gun if you are a criminal, have a history of substance abuse or domestic violence, etc –
    6. By definition criminals are not law abiding citizens
    7. Mexico has very harsh gun control laws
      1. The cartels (criminals) have better weaponry than the military inmost areas.
  5. Flawed Concept # 5: Gun Control groups are Nazis
    1. No. they have a certain belief system about guns, that does not make them Nazis
    2. I have no issue with people/Americans having strong beliefs about guns in our country, either way.
    3. BUT, one of the first priorities of an oppressive regime is to disarm the people to substantially reduce the threat of insurgence/uprising.
  6. Flawed concept #6 : there are more gun murders now than ever before
    1. From 2007 – 2011 gun deaths were down just over 15% (all forms of murder are down over this period)
  7. Flawed concept # 7: AR-15’s, AK-47’s, etc are ASSAULT weapons
    1. No. These are semi automatic rifles little different from your dads 30-06
    2. They are lighter weight
    3. They are more ergonomic
    4. They do have larger capacity magazines ( any mag can be changed in a second or so with practice)
    5. They are built on the design of actual automatic weapons used by military and terrorist organizations around the world
    6. The automatic version of these rifles can be legally obtained with enough background checks, legal work and money
    7. Only a very radical few are proponents of the normal citizen owning rocket launchers, bunker busters or nuclear weapons.
  8. Flawed concept # 8: Anyone can go to a gun show and buy any weapon they want with no background checks
    1. In Texas, any private person can sell a gun to anyone with no background checks or paperwork
      1. These are private sales
      2. This can and does happen at gun shows, but happens far more in homes, parking lots, etc
      3. Most responsible gun owners still require their private sale go through a FFL, have a bill of sale or know the person they sell to personally.
    2. If a gun dealer sells a gun at a gun show it has to be treated just like it was in their store.
      1. Proper forms, background checks, etc.
    3. You will not find automatic weapons for sale at gun shows, there is too much paperwork and the cost is too high.
  9. Flawed Concept # 9: These “black guns” are not used for hunting
    1. False. I remember when I sold a 5.56/223 rifle to a friend, who gave it to his wife, who shot a deer with it the very next morning.
    2. They are used for hunting and are very effective.
  10. Flawed Concept # 10: these “black guns” are far too powerful for private ownership.
    1. A 30-30 or 30-06 is way more powerful (bigger projectile with more powder)
    2. I own a handgun that is more powerful.
  11. Flawed Concept # 11: Nobody needs a AR-15 (or the like)
    1. What about hunters?
    2. What about home defense?
    3. What about sport shooters?
    4. The second amendment does not specify types of weapons.
  12. Flawed Concept # 12: no one needs a silencer
    1. False
    2. Silencers are used often by hunters to not disturb nearby animals or hunters
    3. Silencers are used often on home defense weapons because, if the weapon is needed, there is no time to put on ear protection
    4. Silencers are often used by target and sport shooters
      1. As a form of competition
      2. So ear protection is not needed
      3. So nearby homes/businesses/people are not disturbed or frightened
    5. No, most silencer owners are not spies or assassins
  13. Flawed Concept # 13: Our founders never foresaw todays weapon systems
    1. Probably correct
    2. Yet, they carried the most advanced weapons of their day
    3. I would love to have a cannon. Their cannons were cool.
  14. Flawed Concept # 14: Nobody needs a 30, 50 or 100 round magazine
    1. In sport shooting or practice I can go through 400 rounds of ammo easily
    2. This brings in the idea that what you think should take precedent over what I think
    3. This is one group against another group
    4. The constitution does not set any limits on gun ownership
      1. This does bring up a truth of our Country today that is worth consideration
        1. There are groups that do not like certain things so they believe they should be banned or heavily controlled (More laws)
        2. There are groups that do not like certain things so they simply do not buy them, promote them or consume them.
        3. This is true for guns, soda’s, trans fats, sugars, abortions, gay marriage, LGBT rights, etc……..
        4. I tend to be on the side that says “If I don’t like something I will not use/buy/participate/watch it – whatever it may be.
          1. If you disagree with me – ok. I am good with that.
          2. We do not need to fight.
          3. No matter what our political leaders model for us – America is not a “my way or the highway” country.
        5. This is a political/ideal difference that will never be negotiated
          1. The question becomes how should these issues be addressed
          2. If the US Constitution does not mention them specifically, then by the Constitution the States should decide.
          3. If Texas wants to outlaw abortions but California wants to permit them; then they can and should.
          4. This concept does not apply to religion, speech or GUNS
            1. The right of the people to keep and bear arms SHALL NOT be infringed.
              1. Regardless of your concept of a militia
    5. The weapon I regularly carry holds less that 10 rounds, and I do not usually carry an extra magazine with me. 10 rounds is probably enough to protect myself and others from immediate danger and allow us to control the situation or get to a safe space. If not, then I should have carried more rounds or shot better. I do carry more rounds in my vehicle, if needed and accessible.
  15. Flawed Concept # 15: If the constitution sets no limits them any American should have whatever weapon system they want.
    1. Libertarians make this argument and I agree they have a point
    2. They are wrong, and there is precedent, even if flawed
      1. Felons cannot vote
      2. Minors cannot vote, drink, drive, etc
    3. Those who prove they cannot or will not properly keep and bear arms should lose that right; either permanently or for a period of time
  16. Flawed Concept # 16: there will never be teachers carrying guns in schools
    1. Already occurring with school district approval
    2. There are some teachers that I agree should not have guns in classrooms
    3. There is much to work through before this could ever be a widespread occurrence
      1. Training
      2. Type of weapon
        1. Not only for size of caliber
        2. Volume in a closed room on little ears
        3. Weight and concealability
      3. Type of ammunition (JHP, Frangible, fmj?
      4. How to prepare students for that dreadful day
      5. How to keep a weapon secure yet accessible if needed in a room full of kids who love to get into stuff.
      6. Insurance/liabilities
  17. Flawed Concept # 17: The Bible is against weapons
    1. No.
    2. There is no mention of guns or firearms in the Bible, they did not exist then.
    3. There is much written about weapons, murders, war, battles, defense, training, etc.
    4. While Peace is an overarching theme of the Bible it shows that there must be a clear victory and a surrender for real peace to exist.
      1. This is the truth of our Salvation
        1. On the Cross and in the empty Tomb Jesus claims Victory over sin and the grave
        2. Those who believe in Him and surrender their lives under His Love and Lordship have eternal life.
      2. The Old Testament is full of wars and battles and God calls for complete victories – not even taking any war “trophies”
      3. Listen to what David (A man after God’s own heart) said: “Blessed be the Lord , my Rock, who trains my hands for war, and my fingers for battle;” Psalm 144:1 ESV
      4. In 1 Samuel 25:13 David called “Every man strap on his sword”
      5. 1 Samuel 13 and 14 indicates that the Philistines attempted a form of “weapon control” by not allowing blacksmiths in the land of Israel….this did not work out so well for them since the army of Israel still won the battles.
      6. Exodus 22 speaks of defending your home, even to the point of killing the intruder at night.
      7. In Luke 22:35 – 38, as Jesus knew the time of the cross was nearing, he told His disciples that if they had no sword to sell their cloak and buy one….but that 2 swords were enough.
      8. If we are not careful, guns and gun rights can become false gods that we worship, instead of tools that we use.
      9. Taking innocent life is always wrong, “Thou shall not murder”
      10. Jesus also told them that if you live by the sword you will die by the sword.
        1. If you choose a violent way of life it will consume you.
      11. While the Bible speaks of wars and defense, WE ARE NOT VENGENCE
  18. Flawed Concept # 18: We must open carry in large groups to protest and protect our rights
    1. Our rights are guaranteed by our constitution
    2. There is no “use them or lose them” provision
    3. Open carry groups cause chaos and frighten people
    4. Openly carrying weapons in the general public is not our societies “norm”
    5. You have the right to open carry a long gun in Texas, fine and dandy
    6. You do not need to band together and have 50 people carry rifles into Starbucks. This may be legal but it is unnecessary and obnoxious.
      1. Most reasonable gun owners would never do this, just the extreme few.
  19. Flawed Concept # 19: the government can protect us
    1. They do not have a great track record of this
    2. Our emergency responders are a reactive force
      1. Something bad happens and they respond
      2. There is not enough of them to protect all of us
  20. Flawed Concept # 20 Everything must be regulated
    1. This is a flawed logic
    2. Unfortunately, it is one that a bureaucratic network loves to put out there
      1. Many of our current laws and regulations have little to do with actual need, and more to do with a bureaucracy promulgating laws because they can or because they feel they need to in order to justify their positions/existence. (Source: me and others who have worked in the bureaucracy)
    3. How can you justify regulating something that constitutionally cannot be infringed?
      1. Infringed = violated, transgressed, encroached, trespassed
        1. But the Supreme Court has ruled they can be…and maybe rightfully so in SOME LIMITED cases
        2. In the context of the Constitution, phrases like “shall not be infringed,” “shall make no law,” and “shall not be violated” sound pretty unbendable, but the Supreme Court has ruled that some laws can, in fact, encroach on these phrases. For example, though there is freedom of speech, you cannot slander someone; though you can own a pistol, you cannot own a nuclear weapon.
          1. Some would argue that nuclear weapons are not firearms…but the constitution says “keep and bear arms” so these types of issues need to be addressed.
          2. Whatever the definition, we can be sure the founders did not mean rifles and pistols.
  21. Flawed Concept # 21: Nobody needs to carry a gun
    1. I would rather carry a gun and never, ever need to use it than to need one and not have one available
    2. Legal gun owners – concealed carry license holders have saved lives by being present and taking action to save themselves, their families and/or the general public
    3. Many, if not most, of the high profile shootings have occurred in “gun free” zones
      1. Could this be that the offenders knew they would have no resistance/no chance of a CHL holder being involved?
    4. CHL holders have a better record of being law abiding citizens than the general public
    5. CHL holders have submitted to background checks, had some minimal training and often seek more training than is required and have demonstrated the ability to step up when needed without over acting in situations.
  22. Flawed Concept # 22: the author of this is pro-gun.
    1. True; not flawed
      1. I own many firearms.
      2. I was raise with guns
      3. I like to hunt
      4. I like to target shoot
      5. I like to compete with firearms
      6. I train with my firearms with real life instructors so I know how to safely and judiciously bear and use my firearms.
      7. I am a conservative with a little libertarian mixed in for good measure
        1. I am liberal in love and tolerance
      8. I would like a smaller, and less expensive government.
        1. I believe that we should help those who cannot care for themselves
        2. I do not believe in subsidizing “parasites” or those who are able but chose not to provide for themselves.
          1. “welfare Cadillac’s”

 

Lessons from old Soldiers for today (temp title)

 

2 Timothy 2:1-13 “You then,my child,be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus,andwhat you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful menwho will be able to teach others also. Share in suffering asa good soldier of Christ Jesus.  No soldiergets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him.  An athlete is notcrowned unless he competes according to the rules. It isthe hard-working farmer who ought to have the first share of the crops.  Think over what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything.  Remember Jesus Christ,risen from the dead, theoffspring of David,as preached in my gospel,for which I am suffering,bound with chains as a criminal. Butthe word of God is not bound! ThereforeI endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtainthe salvation that is in Christ Jesus witheternal glory.  The saying istrustworthy, for: If we have died with him, we will alsolive with him; if we endure, we will also reign with him; if we deny him, he also will deny us; if we are faithless,he remains faithful—forhe cannot deny himself.”  ESV

Tomorrow is Memorial Day, a day we remember those who gave their life in service to their country.  These brave men and women died in the service of the United States Armed Forces.

Can we learn some basic scriptural principles from their service?

The Apostle Paul served God as a Christian Soldier.  What can we learn from this old soldier?  Much, but here is just a little:

  1. God first
    1. Be strengthened by the Grace that is in Christ Jesus
  2. No soldier serves alone
    1. We need each other
    2. Share in the suffering as a good soldier
    3. Don’t leave your fellow believers behind
    4. Don’t make your fellow believers pull your load
    5. You gotta have each other’s back!
  3. Do your job!  STAY ON MISSION
    1. Serve God alone
    2. Do not get caught up in what others are doing
    3. You probably do not have a “need to know” what their mission is!

i.     You do what God has called you to do

ii.     Don’t waste time pointing fingers at them

  1. STAY OUT OF THE DRAMA

i.     No soldiergets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him

  1. Be faithful and obedient
    1. Follow the rules
    2. Obey the rules of engagement
    3. You will not win if you follow your own rules or the rules of the world.
    4. One of the biggest offenses in the Military is “Failure to Follow a Direct Order”
  2. Work Hard
    1. Real life is not for wimps
    2. The life of FAITH lived in the WORLD is not for the weak!

i.     Not that YOU are strong

ii.     That you SERVE the ONE who is the STRONGEST

  1. Know that TRUE PEACE only comes with CLEAR VICTORY
    1. Compromise only extends suffering
    2. If you try to compromise with the world YOU WILL be the one who SUFFERS
  2. ENDURANCE is NECESSARY
    1. Give yourself to your Commander in Chief – JESUS
    2. ENDURE and REIGN
    3. DENY Him and LOOSE
  3. Jesus will NEVER FAIL
    1. You might BUT He never will

 

This is God’s House Series, #1      “This is God’s House”   6/1/14

  1. This is God’s House

o   It is not yours

  • Genesis 28:20-22 “Then Jacob made a vow, saying, “If God will be with me and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat and clothing to wear, so that I come again to my father’s house in peace, then the Lord shall be my God, and this stone, which I have set up for a pillar, shall be God’s house. And of all that you give me I will give a full tenth to you.” ESV

o   We lose sight of our mission to serve God

  • Love Him first and Foremost
  • Love our neighbors
  • To GO
  • To SHARE
  • To BAPTISE in HIS NAME
  • To DISCIPLE
  • To SERVE
  • To GIVE
  • To LOVE

o   The church is the only cooperative society in the world that exists for the benefit of its non-members. 

o   Thom S. Rainer – President and CEO of your SBC’s Lifeway Christian Resources said that the largest reason for church decline is an “INWARD focus.

o   In a museum at Greenfield Village, Detroit, Michigan, there is a huge steam locomotive. Beside this complicated piece of machinery is a sign showing boiler pressure, size and number of wheels, horsepower, lengths, weight and more. The bottom line indicates that 96% of the power generated was used to move the locomotive and only 4% was left to pull the load. We must be careful not to become like the locomotive – with most of our energy and resources being spent to move us – and not move the World toward Christ. .

o   Church becomes more about us than about God’s Purpose for the church

o   Always REMEMBER that YOU are HIS Church, Bound together by HIS Love to fulfill HIS purpose!

o   Ours is not a “Look what WE did!” Faith – Christianity is “LOOK WHAT GOD DID!” reality

  1. Everything in it belongs to Him

o   Even you

  • God made ALL, is in ALL and owns ALL

o   I belong to God

  • This last Wednesday we dived into Galatians 4:12 – 20
    • The simple message of all of that is:
    • The pastor is not PRIMARY in the Church:  GOD IS!
    • Worship God
    • Serve GOD
    • Remain Faithful to GOD
    • Remain in GOD’S WORD
    • The Pastor is a PERSON
    • GOD is GOD

o   Even the “Crowns of Glory” we strive for, belong to God!

  • You didn’t build that!  God DID!
  • You WILL NOT EVEN want to keep them once you bow before Him in Glory!  You will throw them before His throne and give thanks
    • Revelation 4:10-11 “They casttheir crowns before the throne, saying,  “Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.”  ESV
  1. Everything here is to BRING HIM GLORY

o   1 Corinthians 10:31-11:1 “So, whether you eat or drink, orwhatever you do, do all to the glory of God.  Give no offense to Jews or to Greeks or tothe church of God,  just asI try to please everyone in everything I do,not seeking my own advantage, but that of many, that they may be saved. Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.”   ESV

  1. Hebrews 3:1-6 “Therefore, holy brothers,you who share ina heavenly calling, consider Jesus,the apostle and high priest of our confession, who was faithful to him who appointed him,just as Moses also was faithful in all God’shouse.  For Jesus has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses—as much more glory as the builder of a house has more honor than the house itself.  (For every house is built by someone, butthe builder of all things is God.) Now Moses was faithful in all God’s houseas a servant,to testify to the things that were to be spoken later,but Christ is faithful over God’s house asa son. Andwe are his house if indeed wehold fast our confidence and our boasting in our hope.”   ESV