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Monday, October 30, 2006

The Pattern For Evangelism

The following is the introduction from my Sunday Morning message for those of you who may have an interest.

Matthew 28:16-20 - Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them. And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted. And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

We have before us what may be one of the most familiar passages of Scripture to Baptist people. It is commonly referred to as the Great Commission. I suppose this is an appropriate designation. For it is a commission and it is great, therefore it is a Great Commission.

Commission – A formal act of committing some charge or trust to a person.

This is certainly an adequate description of what is taking place here on this appointed mountain. It is a formal meeting between the first church and its head, the Lord Jesus Christ. It is to this church that Christ commits to his church the trust of doing several things. All three of the things with which they are entrusted are with the view of advancing his kingdom.

When Jesus told them at an early stage of his ministry to “seek ye first the kingdom of God” it was ultimately to these three areas of labor that he was to draw their attention. If they would not commit to doing these three things they would not be seeking his kingdom first.

We have God clearly setting forth His pattern for evangelism. It is a simple no frills, straightforward declaration of what we are to be doing. The problem is that the world is not too crazy about being evangelized. If we were to walk up to people and tell them we are going to teach you the word of God with the purpose of making you a disciple, we are then going to baptize you, and then we are going to teach you to observe all things that Jesus taught most people would not be interested in such a proposal.

That is why most people are won in a context of friendship, concern, and compassion. We must win them over to ourselves and then we have a better opportunity of winning them over to the Saviour. Whatever you want to say about New Testament Christianity one thing is for sure. From first to last it is about relationships. It is about a relationship with God through His son Jesus Christ. It is about a relationship between believers. The Paul’s and the Timothy’s of the world. The mature and the babes. The victorious and the struggling. Our whole ability to influence people is directly tied to our relationship to them.

In a day when the books of church growth are multiplying every year it is important to not allow ourselves to get bogged down in the world’s assessment of how we are to do our work.

There are several approaches that we are encouraged to embrace in order to experience church growth.

Business mentality – The church is to see itself as in pursuit of clients and thus implement methods of salesmanship to win the lost.

Fair mentality – The church is to see itself as a civic organization and the challenge is to develop a strategy that will entice the world to attend church. What can we do that is fun is the predominating concern.

Ball Game mentality – The church is to see itself as the arbiter of numerous contest in which people are challenged to bring the most people out so your team can win, even if the team consist only of yourself.

Concert mentality – The church is to see itself as the provider of entertainment. Music is developed and utilized that allows people to experience worship without abandoning worldliness. The emphasis is on music and not on the message.

There are probably others but these are four that come to mind. In fact the four mentioned are mix and match. The important thing is to develop a program that will attract the crowds. If the end is noble then the means does not matter. I could not disagree more. The means as well as the end matters and when it comes to evangelism/church growth the means will have a direct impact on the end. The means will determine what the end looks like.

Sanctification - Growth In Holiness

2 CORINTHIANS 6:14-7:1


The word sanctification invovles the idea of purity, holiness. The Greek words for saint, sanctify, sanctification, holy, holiness all come from the same root word. They are all related words. When we speak of sanctification we are of necessity addressing one's relationship to holiness.

Our sanctification is the will of God according to verse three. God’s will is that we be purified, that we be made increasingly holy. To be holy is to be separate from sin. Sin is, according to the Scripture, a transgression of the law. Thus, God’s will is that we transgress the law less and less. This is the objective of sanctification. In this process we become more like Jesus who never transgressed the law.

In fact it is interesting to note the context in which we are told that our sanctification is the will of God.

Vs: 1 –
It has to do with how we ought to walk
Walk – Live, deport one’s self.
Ought - Necessary (as binding): be meet, must (needs), (be) need(-ful), should.
There is a way we ought to live. If There is a way we ought to live then there is a way we ought not to live. But "boy howdy" start telling some people how they ought to live and watch the fireworks. The flesh is very aggressive in defending the territory it has staked out.

And to please God
Holiness pleases God. Worldliness does not please God. We are to please God in our daily walk. I am thinking that there would not be much disagreement here. Everyone would agree that holiness pleases God and worldliness does not please God. The problem is in how we define holiness and worldliness. One things seems obvious we should all be concerned about having the right percpetion concerning holiness and worldliness because our veiw of these two vital areas will ultimately determine the degree to which we please God.

So ye would abound more and more
Our lives should be more and more characterized by holiness, separation from sin and the world.
Abounding more and more is the essence of sanctification.

Vs: 2 –
The commandments we gave you
Sanctification is in the context of commandments and consequent obedience. Paul gave them commandments. Today no one wants commandments at least not any that do not suit their fancy or that would demand a change in their lifestyle, manner of dress, choices of entertainment, etc…

By the Lord Jesus Christ.
Obviously the New Testament is not adverse to commandments in spite of what many would have us believe. The commandments that Paul gave were by the Lord Jesus Christ.

Vs: 3 –
For this is the will of God
Walking in a way that reveals a pursuit of holiness. Walking to please God. Abounding therein more and more. Acknowledging and obeying the commandments.

Even your sanctification
This is the practical method for allowing the sanctification to be brought about in our lives.
When we are following the aforementioned pattern we are being sanctified.

Vs: 4 –
That everyone one of you should know how to possess his vessel
It is experiencing the sanctification process in our lives that causes us to know how to possess our vessels. What is the vessel? Is it not the body??? Of course it is. So much for the argument that God is only concerned about the heart! This is an insidious doctrine that allows people to embrace hedonism with impunity. It allows people to practice worldliness and believe they are spiritual. God is interested in us knowing how to possess our vessels.

In sanctification and honour
Sanctification – Purification, holiness.
Honour - a value, i.e. money paid, or (concretely and collectively) valuables; by analogy, esteem (especially of the highest degree), or the dignity itself

Vs: 5 –
Not in the lust of concupiscence
Lust – Passion, inordinate affection
Concupiscence - A longing (especially for what is forbidden)

Even as the Gentiles which know not God
The frightful reality is that we can live like the Gentiles that know not God. Are we not doing that very thing when we adopt their styles of dress and hair styles, and choices of entertainment, etc……
It should not be about what we want, but more about what pleases God. Is God pleased with my level of separation? Could I make some changes that would result in him being more pleased? Or will I allow the lust of concupiscence to continue to control my heart and decisions so that I am living even as the Gentiles that know not God.

I want to leave off this aspect of sanctification for a bit and turn our attention to two other aspects of sanctification. Our positional sanctification wherein we are delivered from the penalty of sin, and then turn the corner and examine our permanent sanctification in which we are delivered from the presence of sin. Then at the end of the message we will come full circle and arrive back at the emphasis of our introduction as we deal more extensively with our progressive sanctification by which we are delivered from the power of sin.

Different spiritual family.
Before we are saved.
Eph. 2:3 – Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.
John 8:44 – Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.
Matthew 13:38 - The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one;
Acts 13:10 - And said, O full of all subtilty and all mischief, thou child of the devil, thou enemy of all righteousness, wilt thou not cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord?
1 John 3:12 - Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother’s righteous.
The reality is that before we were saved the wicked one was our Father. We did his bidding and bore his likeness. Satan leaves his imprint upon his children.

After we are saved.
Romans 8:14-17 – For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.
Gal. 4:4-6 – But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.
We are set apart into a different family. Once we are saved we live in the context of a new family where the Holy God of heaven is our Father. We now are to bare his likeness. Something is terribly wrong with some one being a part of God's family and looking and acting like they are part of the Devil's family. Is there no difference between the two families? Does the differences not make themselves known in the children of the respective families?? Should we not want to identify by how we dress, our attitudes, our spirit, our speech, our choices of entertainment that we belong to a family whose head is holy to an infinite degree?

Different kingdom.
Col. 1:13 – Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:
Acts 26:18 – To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.
Ephesians 5:8 - For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light:
1 Peter 2:9 - But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:
When we get saved we are part of a different kingdom. We are no longer a part of the kingdom of darkness but we have been translated into the kingdom of his dear son, a kingdom of light. We are to be a holy nation. We are to be a peculiar people. That's where people really get scared. They do not want to be too peculiar. Neither do I. I simply want to be as different from this world as God himself is. To the degree that I achieve that which is usually not a very high degree I can never be too peculiar. We should not worry about the world thinking we are peculiar.
Different direction.
Eph. 2:1,2,10 – And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
2 Cor. 5:17 – Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
Matt. 7:13,14 – Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.
We are going in a different direction. Instead of heading south we are heading north. Instead of going down, we are going up. Why would we want to reflect the culture of those who are going south. All too often we are like Lot's wife who looked back to Sodom longing for the comfort, gaiety, and prosperity of the city. We want the acceptance of the world instead of the reproach of the Saviour.

Delivered from the battle of sin.
Galatians 5:17 - For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.
Rom. 7:14-23 – For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin. For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good. Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.
Is there any one who does not relate to the battle concerning sin. We all know it is there. The thing about the flesh is that it is never satisified. If you give the flesh a foothold it will transform it in time into a stronghold. The flesh will always demand more gratification. If you feed the flesh it will not have its hunger quenched it will have it aggravated. It will not be satisifed but it will be even more demanding. The problem is that people get comfortable with certain levels of sin in their life and when they do they are ripe for taking the next step into worldliness and away from holiness. You do anything long enough and you will be convinced that there is nothing wrong with it. It is called in biblical terminology "searing" the conscience.

Delivered from the burden of sin.
Rom. 7:24 – O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?
1 John 1:8 - If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
Is this not our daily cry?? One of the genuine manifestations of a person who is perfecting holiness in the fear of God is that they are always mindful of their failings and tend to have a better understanding of how far they have to go.

Delivered to the banishment of sin.
1 John 3:1-3 - Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.
Rev. 21:27 – And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life.
Rom. 8:30 – Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.
What a wonderful day that will be when we do not labor under the burden of the flesh, the world, and the devil. To be in a setting where sin poses no problems. To be freed completely from any desire or temptation to live at odds with God. In that day we will keep the law perfectly and it will not be grevious to us.

People are happy with the reality of positional sanctification, they anticipate the promise of permanent sanctification but they do not care to bother themselves, nor do they want anyone else to bother them with the present reality of progressive sanctification. It is my observation that many people, even sincere people take the position of “I am justified, I will one day be glorified in the meanwhile leave me alone so I can be satisfied.”

The power of realization.
Realise the truth about the world’s system.
1 John 5:19 - And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness.
Galatians 1:4 - Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father:
We must realize that the "world" is wicked. We begin the process of sanctification handicapped if we are unwilling to see the world system for what it is. It lies in wickedness. God's purpose in Christ is to deliver us from this present evil world. When we participate in the world with an open hand and embrace its precepts, and reasonings we diminsh immediately our ability to pursue holiness and piety with vigor.
Col. 2:8 - Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
Some people live and interact with the world and adopt its dress code, entertainment choices, and speech patterns and feel that they are in no danger. How can this be?? The warning is clear! Beware!! We can be spoiled through several things and one of them is the rudiments of this world. That is the way the world looks at things. One of them is the tradition of men. That is the behaviour that has become the cultural norms. One of them is philosophy and vain deceit. That is the reasonings and empty logic of the world. It is so easy to be spoiled (the idea here is that of being plundered) because the flesh desires to move in that direction.
Realize the truth about the world’s ruler.
2 Corinthians 4:4 - In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.
Ephesians 2:2 - Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:
Who is in charge here? The devil is. I fully recognize that he does not have unlimited power, authority, or jurisdiction. But.......he has been permitted to have broad influence in the world in which we live. In may respect his work moves along mostly unhindered for now. As he sense that time is running out he will become more desperate. We must be careful about have too close of an allegiance with a system that is led by the arch-enemy of God. He who is a liar and a murderer.

Realize the truth about the world’s opposition.
John 15:18,19 - If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.
This gives us some sense as to what we can expect from the world. I do not propose that we go about seeing what we can do to get the world to hate us. I think what we should draw from this is that the more we are like Jesus the more the world will hate us. And when we are hated by the world we need to remember that it hated him before it hated us. Why does the world hate us? Because we are not of the world? It is a given here that we would not be of the world and consequently would be hated by the world. Because we live at odds with the world system the world will hate us. While I do not propose to go about making an effort to get the world to hate us neither do I propose living in such a way that the world will not hate us. We should simply live right, live as we ought to live. When we do the world will hate us. Remember what the Scripture says. 2 Timothy 3:12 Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.

Realize the truth about the world’s repugnancy.
1 John 2:15 - Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
James 4:4 - Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.
The world should be repugnant to us. Honesty though would require that we admit our tendency, our propensity is to love the world. To love the things in the world. I know that it is true of me, I suspect that it is true of your. Nevertheless, because it is our tendency does not mean that we have to give over to it. How we tend to be is not normally how we ought to be. It is important to recognize that when we love the world we become a spiritual adulter or adulteress. When we "buddy up" to the world we are placing ourselves at enmity with God. It is an amazing thought to me that the believer can live in such a way that he is in fact opposing God. God open my eyes and help me to see areas of my life where this is true!

The power of reckoning
Rom. 6:6-18 - Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin. Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace. What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid. Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.

Vs: 6 – The old man is crucified, let us reckon it to be so.
That the body of sin might be destroyed.
That henceforth we should not serve sin.
What is sin? Sin is the transgression of the law.

Vs: 7 – The death of the old man = freedom from sin.
Dead men cannot be enticed. They are not subject to temptation. When temptation comes we must reckon ourselves to be dead to sin, because I am dead I will not be enticed. I will not live as though I am in bondage to sin and temptation.

Vs: 8,9 – We now have a spiritual life in Christ.
Gal. 2:20 – I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

Vs: 10 – Christ died unto sin, and lives unto God.

Vs: 11 – We are to reckon some things base upon the foregoing realities.
We are dead to sin. We are alive unto God. All of this is through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Vs: 12 – Therefore.
Let not sin reign in your mortal body. Do not obey it in the lusts thereof.

Vs: 13 – To what will we yield??
This is the question?? This is where the verdict will be rendered concerning our sanctification.

Vs: 14 – Being under grace means that sin shall not have dominion over us.
What is sin? Sin is the transgression of the law! I am sick of hearing people justify breaking the commands of God based upon the premise of grace! Paul said the fact that we are under grace means that sin would not have dominion over us.

Vs: 15 – The answer to the debate.
Shall we sin because we are not under the law but under grace?
What is sin? Sin is the transgression of the law! Shall we transgress the law because we are not under the law but under grace? This is a great question. The answer does not sound an uncertain note. God forbid! The language could not be any stronger. God forbid - Expresses an absolute denial; (adverbially) not. Do we transgress the law because we are under grace. NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, A THOUSAND TIMES NO! Try to preach separation and some people will scream do not put us back under the law! For justification purposes we do not. For sanctification purposes we do. I hear Baptist preachers say things like that and I know they have been reading the thoughts of men more than they have their Bibles. Grace is not license. Many people say this but do not believe it in any practical way.

Vs: 16 – Our sanctification is dependent upon to what we yield ourselves to obey.
Are we going to yield to sin or to righteousness? Upon what basis are we going to attempt to determine what is sin and what is righteous? I trust the Bible. We will deal with this issue more fully in a later message.

Vs: 17 – We are no longer the servants of sin.
We do not have to live in bondage to sin. We can do the right thing. We can live the way we ought to live.

Vs: 18 – Being free from sin we are the servants of righteousness.

The power of purpose.
1 John 3:3 – And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.
1 Thess. 4:7 – For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness.
Matt. 5:6 – Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
Titus 2:11-15 – For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee.
2 Cor. 7:1 – Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.
The bottom line is that God saved us to make us holy. The grace of God teaches us to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts not to justify it. God is seeking to create within us a hunger and thirst for righteousness. If we feed the flesh and accomodate the flesh we will slowly erode the work God is seeking to do. We will be found opposing the work of God in our lives. We will find ourselves to be the enemies of God. Why? Because we love the world and the things in the world.

We rejoice in our positional sanctification. We anticipate our permanent sanctification. Yet we give little effort or attention to our progressive sanctification. We are glad we have been changed. We expect to be changed. But please don’t ask me to do any changing!

May the Lord give us a heart that is willing to be changed. Changed for him and changed for good.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Hire A Pack Of Thieves, Prostitutes, And Drug Addicts

The following is another quote from the book Eternal Impact by Phil Downer. Sorry if you find it offensive but not tooooo sorry. I can't help but agree with him.

"A man can send his kids to the finest schools, attend the most Christ-centered church he can find, wash his car to set an example of cleanliness, mow his lawn so he's a model for the neighborhood, and then go out and hire a pack of theives, prostitutes, and drug addicts to come entertain him and his family in his living room. Not only do most television programming fill our hearts with the smut of the world; we also become unusable vessels as we are shaped by the culture, and we demonstrate to our children what is most important to us. When you are glued to the TV, watching a scantily dressed actress wooing over her male companion, your daughter receives deep and lasting signals about the appropriate attire and conduct to attract and please men. Your son sits there feeling lust welling up in his heart, then looks over at you and assumes either such feeling are good or that your're dead. Your wife passes through, sees the young babes on TV and, having borne children, realizes there is no way she can compete with the 18-year old models enrapturing her husband. . . . .

Who has ever gotten anything posititive from the television? Sure, there is breaking news, though it always comes from man's perspective. And there are sports, though many of us have probably felt the twinge of having totally wasted hours in front of the tube after the game. Occasionally there is even a movie or an educational program the whole family can enjoy together. But if we're really honest with ourselves, most of the things on television are total rot. Time is short and we ought to be redeeming it. As a spiritual man, set an example for your family and your Timothys to follow. Cut the garbage out of your life. Turn off the tube and help them do the same."

Provided for your honest contemplation!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Mistaking Immaturity For Maturity

I am reading a couple of books right now. The Path Between The Seas by David McCullough. It is a book about the construction of the Panama Canal. I am only reading a couple of times a week in this book and it is about 700 pages long if I remember correctly so it will be a while. When I am through I will give you my assessment of it.

I am also reading Eternal Impact: Investing In The Lives Of Men by Phil Downer. I will probably be writing a review of this book some time next week. As I was reading last night I came across a very interesting statement that I believe is very true. Thought I would share it with you.

"A church made up of immature believers soon begins mistaking immaturity for maturity. They substitute carnality for holiness, losing their ability to impact the world for God's purposes."

Now that is thought provoking. Was this not the trouble with the church at Laodecia in Revelation three. "Because thou sayest", "and knowest not". These two statements sum up the problem with the church at Laodecia. What they were saying about themselves was not an accurate picture of their true condition. Could it be that they were mistaking their immaturity for maturity??? Consequently they were lukewarm. The Lord was inclined to spue them out of his mouth.

Food for thought!

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Brazoria County Fair

Brazoria county because the Brazos River terminates in this county into the Gulf of Mexico.

Even though we live in town it is a mostly rural county. Most people live in town but there is lots of farm and ranch land. Lots of rice farming and ranching. I have not been to the fair since I was a child. I think we went once when I was growing up. Admmitedly I was a little afraid to go to the fair not knowing for sure what to expect and not wanting to find myself in an uncomfortable situation. Well, last year I took a couple of groups of students out there during the day for field trips. I realized that it seemed to be safe enough during the day. I decided it would be a great place to take Lydia Rose my youngest daughter since she has a love for animals and there were lots of animals. So..............we have been planning since last year to go.

Yesterday we went. Michele went with us because I like her to go everywhere with me. Kimberly went with us because no one else would be at home. Olivia was working at the Library and Daniel was helping his brother work on the car and the house. So it was the four of us. We had fun!

Watched a large group of kids get some training on how to judge animals.
Went to a petting zoo with goats, lambs, lama, camel, turtle, hedgehog, donkey.
Saw chickens, cows, pigs, rabbits, turkeys, ducks, texas longhorns, goats, lambs.
Because is was the second to the last day of the fair we were able to see the Grand Champion and Reserve Champion in each catagory.
We got to see them judging several animals. It interesting hearing them talk about all of the different elements of a cow that make it good or bad????
We watched about an hour of a horse riding contest.
Lydia rode a pony.
I watched a guy carve very intricate designs out of logs with a chain-saw. It was not only interesting but amazing what he could do with a log and a chain-saw.
We looked in a mobil home and a travel trailer.
We looked at the art work that had been submitted by students from the schools in the county. Some of it was amazingly good, at least I thought so. I was surprised.
Two of us had a hamburger and fires, one of us had a hotdog and fries and one of us had nachos.
We had deep-fried oreos! They were goooooood! Probably wouldn't want to eat them everyday, but we were at the fair.
Lydia had cotton-candy.
We watched part of a cattle auction.

We all had fun although it probably gets a little wilder in the evening. Next year I think I want to see the rodeo.

We spent about 6 hours there and enjoyed it...........Yeeeeeeeeeeeeehawwwwwww

Friday, October 20, 2006

Book Review: John Bell Hood and the War for Southern Independence

I just finished last night a book entitled, John Bell Hood and the War for Southern Independence by Richard M. McMurry. It was an interesting book on a number of accounts for me. Mostly when you hear about the Confederate Armies it seems to be about Lee and the Army of Northern Virginia. I am a big Lee fan but it was interesting to read a book that exposed me to the Army of Tennessee. As a result I have a slightly better understanding of what occasioned the burning of Atlanta and allowed Sherman’s march to the sea.

John Bell Hood was referred to throughout the book as the Texan. It is really kind of interesting that he would become known by that designation. He was actually born and raised in Kentucky. He attended and graduated from West Point, as did many of the generals engaged in the War Between the States. Upon his graduation from West Point he was assigned to Texas and the frontier. When the War Between the States broke out and Kentucky failed to secede Hood decided to enter the confederate service from Texas. Hood ultimately became commander of the 4th Texas Brigade.

Hood was a brave and daring commander and his bravery and leadership was directly attributed to turning the tide of battle at several key junctures. The 4th Texas was attached to the Army of Northern Virginia and won acclaim as a brave and undaunted brigade. This was largely due to Hood’s leadership and working with his men in drills and such.

Hood led his men into battle at Gain’s Mill and second Manassas. He was with Lee at Gettysburg and the retreat back into Virginia. Hood was severely wounded on two occasions. His left arm was rendered useless and he lost his right leg about half way up the thigh. He was fitted with a cork leg. It was even in this handicapped condition that he rose through the ranks becoming the General of the Army of Tennessee. He was promoted to this rank at the age of 33 and thus became the last and the youngest of the eight full General’s of the Confederacy.

He became General of the Army of Tennessee upon the removal of Joseph Johnston. Johnston had throughout the campaign of 1863-64 retreated before the advancing Sherman. He was vastly outnumbered and was constantly pleading for more troops. Having given up all of northern Georgia he was pressed against Atlanta. It was under these conditions that the Texan inherited the Army of Tennessee. He inherited an outnumbered army. Commanders and Generals that were less than adequate and among whom there was much jealousy. An army that had been demoralized by the continual retreat. His staff was less than adequate. It was the waning days of the Confederacy.

Hood though was inadequately prepared for such high command. The higher he rose through the ranks the less effective he was. He apparently was a master at developing a strategy that was sound and would likely be effective he was inadequate at implementing the strategy. His generals would not obey orders. He, attempting to lead like Lee, gave his Generals far too much latitude in the implementation of his strategy. Hood did not have a Jackson and a Longstreet. Consequently Atlanta was abandoned and eventually burned by the Union Army under Sherman’s command. Hood’s advance into Tennessee allowed Sherman to march to the sea and ended up being a disaster. When all was said and done he was driven back into Georgia.

Overall it was a good, informative book. The author seems to be fair in his treatment of Hood. He is defended in respect to things he had no control over and yet at the same time held responsible for his inadequacies. The chapters were longer than I like. The main fault with the book in my opinion is that there were not enough maps and the few they did have were vague. It would have been immensely helpful to have many more maps with the opposing armies positions clearly noted. It would have aided the understanding as to just what was going on.

It provided some glimpse into the political nature of war especially as it related to advancement in the Army. It was for the most part a good moving story. Only in a few places did I find myself thinking it was getting a little slow. I, of course, am a little partial because of the prominent role that Texas played in the life of Hood and addressing the Texas Brigades. The Texans were brave soldiers and courageous in battle. But to be honest they were also known for causing trouble among the citizenry of Virginia. They tended to be a bit rowdy and could on occasion be guilty of taking to plundering. General Lee in addressing this problem with Hood on one occasion said, “Wherever the Texans are the chickens have to roost mighty high.”

The book comes in at only 203 pages. I read it in about a week at night before bed. Admittedly I stayed awake longer than I should have several of those nights. I am not an especially fast reader. The fact that it kept me awake is a testimony to the interest the book generated.

Rating ***

Should Christians Use Intoxicating Beverages? Part Two

I have known for some time that there were disputes about the passage in John 2. What we are being asked to believe is that an intoxicating beverage was served at the wedding. Those present drank all of it and thus had their senses dulled so that they were willing to tolerate an intoxicating beverage that was inferior which Jesus supposedly provided but in this case what he provided was a superior intoxicant. If this is the case then it seems it could be equally argued that Jesus was at worst encouraging drunkeness and at best not discouraging drunkeness. The participants already had there senses dulled to the point that they were willing to accept an inferior intoxicant, Jesus provides a superiour intoxicant so that they can have their senses dulled even more?? This is not a stretch I can make.

Let us also examine some other passages dealing with wine and strong drink.

Deut. 14:26 - And thou shalt bestow that money for whatsoever thy soul lusteth after, for oxen, or for sheep, or for wine, or for strong drink, or for whatsoever thy soul desireth: and thou shalt eat there before the LORD thy God, and thou shalt rejoice, thou, and thine household.
The term wine, as pointed out, does not necessarily indicate intoxicating beverages. The term strong drink is another interesting term because in the modern usage clearly implies an intoxicant. In fact the Hebrew word for “strong drink” indicates a drink that was dervied from a fruit other than grapes. It is also a gerneric word that must be understood in the context in which it is used.

Prov. 31:6 - Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish, and wine unto those that be of heavy hearts.
I think it is important here to look at the complete context.

Proverbs 31:1-7 - The words of king Lemuel, the prophecy that his mother taught him. What, my son? and what, the son of my womb? and what, the son of my vows? Give not thy strength unto women, nor thy ways to that which destroyeth kings. It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine; nor for princes strong drink: Lest they drink, and forget the law, and pervert the judgment of any of the afflicted. Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish, and wine unto those that be of heavy hearts. Let him drink, and forget his poverty, and remember his misery no more.
What do we learn here? The first thing we see is two parties to an infamous trio (wine, women, and song) soundly condemned in relation to a king. There is the warning in 3 concerning giving one’s strength to women. Then there is the warning concerning wine. Kings are not to drink wine or strong drink (vs.4) Sounds like total abstinence! From what kind of wine and strong drink were they to abstain? The kind that causes one to forget the law and pervert judgment (vs.5). Obviously making reference to intoxicating beverages. People in positions of leadership are to refrain from this kind of beverage. Then she proceeds to give her son what amounts to cynical advice (vs6,7). How can this be anything other than sacrasim. To take it literally one would have to contend that it is condoning drunkeness. After all can a person "forget his poverty" and "remember his misery no more" by drinking moderately. And in fact using an intoxicating bevearge (no matter if it is a Budwiser or a bottle of fine wine) to "forget your poverty" and "remember your misery no more" in fact only exacerbates the problem. If you have drunk enough to "forget" and "remember no more" your problems are only going to be compounded which in turn will require you to return to the intoxicant. While this is the lifestyle of many certainly this is not what the passage is encouraging.

Ps. 78:65 - Then the Lord awaked as one out of sleep, and like a mighty man that shouteth by reason of wine.
A simple comparison is being made here attempting to impress upon the mind of the readers the severity of God’s judgment.

Ps. 104:14,15 - He causeth the grass to grow for the cattle, and herb for the service of man: that he may bring forth food out of the earth; And wine that maketh glad the heart of man, and oil to make his face to shine, and bread which strengtheneth man's heart.
There is no reason to believe this is speaking of an intoxicating beverage.

Eccl. 9:7 - Go thy way, eat thy bread with joy, and drink thy wine with a merry heart; for God now accepteth thy works.
There is no reason to believe that this is speaking of an intoxicating beverage.

Isaiah 55:1 - Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.
There is no reason to believe this is speaking of an intoxicating beverage.

My friend Eric, in a comment on the previous post, stated that “the idea that there was unfermented wine in Bible times is completely unsubstantiated”. He calls the position a myth. He no doubt is not alone in this assessment but it may very well be a conclusion that itself is unsubstantiated.

Intoxicating wine is not God’s gift. It is the taking of God’s gift and transforming it into something that the Scripture declares “At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder.”

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Should Christians Use Intoxicating Beverages? Part One

From an earlier post someone had asked about my views on Christians and alcohol. Here is a brief summary of my position along with my fullypersuaded conclusion!

There of course are many Christians who would advocate a no alcohol policy. There are others that would contend that the issue is not the use of intoxicating beverages but drunkenness. This would seem to be an issue wherein the Scripture provides some fairly clear direction.

I think first of all it is important to keep in mind that the word wine in the Bible is a generic word. It is a word that can have reference to every stage of the fruit from the vine to fermentation. What is meant by the word “wine” is determined by the context. It is seldom difficult to discern what is intended.

Consider the following examples where the word wine is used but clearly fermented beverages are not in question:

Genesis 49:11 - Binding his foal unto the vine, and his ass’s colt unto the choice vine; he washed his garments in wine, and his clothes in the blood of grapes:
Wine is likened to the blood of grapes.

2 Chronicles 31:5 - And as soon as the commandment came abroad, the children of Israel brought in abundance the firstfruits of corn, wine, and oil, and honey, and of all the increase of the field; and the tithe of all things brought they in abundantly.
Wine is included among the increase of the field, this is not likely making reference to fermented wine for the field does not bring forth fermented wine. It may spoil on the vine but it does not ferment on the vine.

Isaiah 16:10 - And gladness is taken away, and joy out of the plentiful field; and in the vineyards there shall be no singing, neither shall there be shouting: the treaders shall tread out no wine in their presses; I have made their vintage shouting to cease.
Fermented wine did not come forth from the presses; it was rather the pure juice of the grape (unfermented).

Isaiah 27:2 - In that day sing ye unto her, A vineyard of red wine.
We know that there is no fermented beverage in the vineyard. Here the word wine is making reference to the grapes themselves.

Isaiah 65:8 - Thus saith the LORD, As the new wine is found in the cluster, and one saith, Destroy it not; for a blessing is in it: so will I do for my servants’ sakes, that I may not destroy them all.
What kind of wine is in the cluster? It is not fermented it is unfermented.

Jeremiah 40:10 - As for me, behold, I will dwell at Mizpah to serve the Chaldeans, which will come unto us: but ye, gather ye wine, and summer fruits, and oil, and put them in your vessels, and dwell in your cities that ye have taken.
The wine being gathered is in the context of summer fruits and oil. It is not likely that fermented wine is being referenced here, but unfermented wine.

Jeremiah 48:33 - And joy and gladness is taken from the plentiful field, and from the land of Moab; and I have caused wine to fail from the winepresses: none shall tread with shouting; their shouting shall be no shouting.
What kind of wine comes from the winepresses? Unfermented wine.

There are other places where the word “wine” is used in a context that clearly is not speaking of a fermented beverage. The point is what kind of wine we are speaking of must be determined by the context. Only the context can help us understand if it is speaking of fermented or unfermented wine.

I think it would be helpful to consider the warnings and prohibitions concerning wine. In each of these cases it seems evident that the scripture is not addressing unfermented wine but rather spirituous liquors.

Genesis 9:21 - And he drank of the wine, and was drunken; and he was uncovered within his tent.
Here with the story of Noah we have a warning by example. It is clear that Noah was engaged with intoxicating drink. It led to nakedness and a lack of decency.

Genesis 19:32-35 - Come, let us make our father drink wine, and we will lie with him, that we may preserve seed of our father. And they made their father drink wine that night: and the firstborn went in, and lay with her father; and he perceived not when she lay down, nor when she arose. And it came to pass on the morrow, that the firstborn said unto the younger, Behold, I lay yesternight with my father: let us make him drink wine this night also; and go thou in, and lie with him, that we may preserve seed of our father. And they made their father drink wine that night also: and the younger arose, and lay with him; and he perceived not when she lay down, nor when she arose.
Here is a tragic story of incest and treachery. The means of lowering the inhibitions was intoxicating drink. The warning is again presented to us by way of example.

Proverbs 20:1- Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.
The language could not be clearer. In order to justify the use of intoxicating beverages one must conclude that that which is a mocker and raging, that whereby one may be deceived is a suitable drink for Christians. What we are given here is the characteristics of wine and strong drink. The Bible declares that it is a mocker and raging. It is difficult for me to conceive how one can justify the use of such a beverage even in supposed moderation.

Proverbs 23:29-35 - Who hath woe? who hath sorrow? who hath contentions? who hath babbling? who hath wounds without cause? who hath redness of eyes? They that tarry long at the wine; they that go to seek mixed wine. Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his colour in the cup, when it moveth itself aright. At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder. Thine eyes shall behold strange women, and thine heart shall utter perverse things. Yea, thou shalt be as he that lieth down in the midst of the sea, or as he that lieth upon the top of a mast. They have stricken me, shalt thou say, and I was not sick; they have beaten me, and I felt it not: when shall I awake? I will seek it yet again.
Admittedly this passage is clearly dealing with drunkenness. But what is important to note is the instruction we are provided considering the dangers involved in the use of such beverages. The Scripture declares that we are not to look upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his color in the cup, when it moveth itself aright. What is being described here is the process of fermentation, the transformation of pure juice into spirituous liquors. When it is fermented we are not to look upon it.

Isaiah 5:11 - Woe unto them that rise up early in the morning, that they may follow strong drink; that continue until night, till wine inflame them!
Again, the verse is dealing with drunkenness but again I ask why would a believer consume something that entails such risk.

Isaiah 5:22 - Woe unto them that are mighty to drink wine, and men of strength to mingle strong drink:
Woe is pronounced on them that drink wine and mingle strong drink. Should a believer engage in something on which “woe” has been pronounced?

Isaiah 28:7 - But they also have erred through wine, and through strong drink are out of the way; the priest and the prophet have erred through strong drink, they are swallowed up of wine, they are out of the way through strong drink; they err in vision, they stumble in judgment.
Is it prudent to drink a substance that is known to cause people to err and stumble in judgment? This is the nature of the fermented drink. Wisdom would seem to dictate that moderation is a weak argument for something that has the potential to be such a destructive force.

Hosea 4:11- Whoredom and wine and new wine take away the heart.
Is it prudent to drink that which has the potential to take away the heart? Here the wine is contrasted with the new wine, or rather the fermented wine with the unfermented wine. The unfermented wine being a symbol of wealth and prosperity we are being instructed that prosperity has the ability to take away the heart.

Habakkuk 2:5 - Yea also, because he transgresseth by wine, he is a proud man, neither keepeth at home, who enlargeth his desire as hell, and is as death, and cannot be satisfied, but gathereth unto him all nations, and heapeth unto him all people:
Is it prudent to consume that which increases the opportunity for transgression? Fermented beverages certainly have that propensity.

Habakkuk 2:15 - Woe unto him that giveth his neighbour drink, that puttest thy bottle to him, and makest him drunken also, that thou mayest look on their nakedness!
There is simply nothing positive about this. Where is the spiritual discernment that says here drink this substance that has so much potential to evil and ruin?

Then there are some other passages that are cited to substantiate the moderate use of fermented wine. Let us consider several of those.

Of course the most common justification for the use of wine, beer, whiskey, vodka and practically any other intoxicating drink is the fact that Jesus turned the water into wine. If Jesus turned the water into wine then it must not be that bad we are told. Well let us examine the credibility of that logic.

John 2:1-11 - And the third day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee; and the mother of Jesus was there: And both Jesus was called, and his disciples, to the marriage. And when they wanted wine, the mother of Jesus saith unto him, They have no wine. Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come. His mother saith unto the servants, Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it. And there were set there six waterpots of stone, after the manner of the purifying of the Jews, containing two or three firkins apiece. Jesus saith unto them, Fill the waterpots with water. And they filled them up to the brim. And he saith unto them, Draw out now, and bear unto the governor of the feast. And they bare it. When the ruler of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and knew not whence it was: (but the servants which drew the water knew;) the governor of the feast called the bridegroom, And saith unto him, Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine; and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse: but thou hast kept the good wine until now. This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory; and his disciples believed on him.
If you believe that Jesus turned the water into fermented wine then it seems you must accept several correlating conclusion. 1. That Jesus was at a place where men had already drunk much wine for they had used all that was provided. Thus Jesus was present at a party full of drunks. 2. That Jesus provided more spirituous liquor to those who were already inebriated, thus Jesus promoted drunkenness. 3. That Jesus turned the water into that which the Scriptures say is “mocker” and “raging”. 4. That Jesus turned the water into a substance that the Scripture says we are not to “look upon”. 5. Jesus by turning the water into fermented wine is giving his neighbor drink and putting the bottle to him in direct contradiction to the Scripture. If you can believe all this then so be it. The stretch is too far for me.

Ephesians 5:18 - And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;
It is argued that moderation is OK it is just the excess that is inappropriate. I believe this is a difficult argument to make from this verse. Just because the prohibition in this case is against drunkenness it does not necessarily allow for the moderate consumption of fermented wine. How many drunks claim to have drunk in moderation?? There is excess in the consumption of fermented wine. Where is the wisdom and spiritual discernment in consuming that, which is the subject of continual condemnation in the Scripture and has tendencies to such evil ends? Remember whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise. This is its greatest subtlety, it ability to deceive. I know that the person who abstains completely can never be deceived thereby.

1 Timothy 3:3 - Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous;
The argument goes that the bishop is just not to be given to wine. It is interesting that wine is specifically mentioned. Why? Because of its danger. It perverts judgment. Again we are told it can be used in moderation. The degree that one uses it is the degree to which they are given to it. The Scripture is declaring that the bishop is not to be given to it at all.

1 Timothy 3:8 - Likewise must the deacons be grave, not doubletongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre;
Deacons are not to be given to much wine but they can be given to a little, so the argument goes. That could be, but I doubt it! It is amazing how people can read the prohibition and find license. So if the deacon can be given to a little wine then that means several things. The deacon can be given to a little of that which the Scripture declares is a “mocker” and “raging”. The deacon can be given to a little of that which perverts judgment. The deacon can be given to a little of that which the Scripture instructs us not to look upon. The deacon can be given to a little of that which takes away the heart. The deacon can be given to a little of upon which woe is pronounced. I, for one, cannot believe those things. I am not prepared to argue that a little is OK, simply because God says he is not to be given to much wine. If this was all that was said about the matter I might be able to entertain the thought, but this is not all that is written on the matter.

1 Timothy 5:23 - Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach’s sake and thine often infirmities.
Well, let’s concede that it is talking about fermented wine on this occasion, which is not necessarily the case. If it is fermented wine what are we told? 1. You are permitted to use it for illness sake. 2. Even then you are to only use a little.

My conclusion is that fermented wine is not to be a beverage of choice for the believer. It is a mocker, it is raging, it perverts the judgment, it takes away the heart, it is not to be looked upon, and it involves excess. The greatest danger is that it has the ability to deceive. Those who are deceived thereby the Bible declares that they are not wise. I know that if I never take a drink, I can never be deceived. If you choose to drink “socially” or in “moderation” can you say the same? If you think you can then you are at least partially deceived already.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Post Number One Hundred

One hundred of my favorite things not necessarily in any particular order:

My wife of almost 25 years
My daughter Sara
My son by marriage, John
My son Caleb
My daughter by marriage, Heather
My daughter Olivia
My son Daniel
My daughter Kimberly
My daughter Lydia Rose
My three grandchildren, James, Thomas, Evelyn
My parents
My brothers
My good friends at Faith Baptist Church
My King James Bible
Baptist people
The opportunity to teach and preach God's Word
The opportunity to Pastor one of the Lord's Churches
Driving a school bus
The state of Virginia
The state of Alaska
Visiting the mission field
Air conditioning
Working with my boys
Meditating in my office
Blue Bell ice cream
My beard
David McCullough's books
Studying the Bible
Baptist History
Looking at pictures
Having a part in helping others attain spiritual maturity
Grilled hamburgers
My mom's fried chicken and mashed potatoes
The Lone Star State TEXAS
November through April on the Texas Gulf Coast
The flag of the United States of America
Conservative commentary
People who do not quit
Boomer, our dog
My wife's flower gardens
My wife's eclectic flair
Three daughter's at home that love to wait on their Dad
Crabb's English Synonyms
Webster's Thesaurus
General Robert E. Lee
John Adams
George Washington
The Lincoln Memorial
New York City
Big trucks
Church camping trips at Brazos Bend
The feeling I get after I ride my bike
Beating Daniel at racquetball
Beating anyone at chess
The Alamo
Ronald Reagan
My pastor for eight years, Bro. P.D. Taylor
Cold fronts
High speed internet
Living in the town where I grew up
Having something to stand for
Arlington Cemetery
Falling asleep in my recliner
Taking a nap on Sunday afternoon
Wearing boots
Saltgrass Steak House
Long summer days
Dallas Cowboys
Houston Astros
Being on time
Real butter
Freshly ground pepper
Olivia's cheesecake
Button-up shirts
Neck ties
Home school book fair
Lots of kids in church
Being entrusted with tough decisions
Getting over a disappointment or a setback
Beating my wife or Heather in Scrabble
Texas sunsets
Western/rustic d├ęcor
My three pillows
Blankets in the winter
New tires
Coming home
Used book stores

Monday, October 16, 2006

Books I Have Read

I thought it might be interesting to post a partial list of the book that I have read. I know I like to see what others have read. I often have wished that I had kept a log of all that I have read. More than that I wish I could remember everything I have read. Some people seem to be able to read something and remember it forever, not me?? This list is composed mostly of things I have read just since I have been married. I read some growing up but I was not an avid reader. I now love to read and never feel like I have enough time to read.

I use to read some fiction, but I don’t read fiction much anymore. I came to a place where I asked myself why would I read fiction when non-fiction is just as, if not more, exciting. When I read I want it to be profitable. I am not necessarily against reading for leisure but I am convinced that should be the exception instead of the rule. I have read a good number of westerns (Louis Lamour [that may not be spelled right]).

I am not one who reads my Bible through every year. I have a certain admiration for those who do but it is just not something that I have ever felt compelled to do. I do read my Bible most every day. For many years now I have read a chapter in Proverbs everyday. I read some in the New Testament and in the Old Testament most days. I have no idea how many times I have read the Bible because of the way I go about it. It is safe to say I have read it several times and large portions of it I have read numerous times. I have certainly read it more times than any other book.

The list is a little long but I think you can browse through the list and as a result have a little better understanding of who I am.

Proverbs 13:20 says, “He that walketh with wise men shall be wise . . . .” I have learned that I have the opportunity to walk with wise men through books, as well as in real life.

I hope that some of you may find this a little interesting. I will give the name of the book and the author’s last name.

Speaking Of Books - Kaplan & Rabinowitz
Passion For Books - Rabinowitz & Kaplan
The Survivors Club - Sherwood

Reformers And Their Stepchildren - Verduir
The History of the Ancient Waldenses and Albigenses – Faber
History of the Baptist – Orchard
A History of the Baptist 2 Vols. – Christian
Early Anabaptist Spirituality – Selected writings
Compendium of Baptist History – Shackleford
A Short History of Baptist – Vedder
Baptist History in the South – Lumplin
A Brief History of Baptist – Overby
Isaac Backus – McCloughlin
The Waldenses Were Independent Baptist – Williamson
The Baptist Story – Davis
America in Crimson Red - Beller
Christianity and Paganism in the Fourth to Eight Centuries – McMullen
A History of Christianity – Chadwick
Foxe’s Book Of Martyrs - Foxe – Read this three times
Valiant For Truth – Fuller

Carry A Big Stick – Grant – Biography of Theodore Roosevelt
Forgotten Founding Father – Mansfield – Biography of George Whitefield
Never Give In – Mansfield – Biography of Winston Churchill
The Darkness Fled – Mansfield – Biography of Booker T. Washington
Statesman and Saint – Vaughn – Biography of William Wilberforce
Give Me Liberty – Vaughn – Biography of Patrick Henry – Read this twice
Not a Tame Lion – Glaspey – Biography of C. S. Lewis
For Kirk and Covenant – Wilson – Biography of John Knox
Call of Duty – Wilkins – Biogropahy of Robert E. Lee – Read this twice
Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners – Bunyan
J. Hudson Taylor – Steer
To the Golden Shore – Anderson – Biography of Adonirum Judson
George Whitefield – Dallimore
Remincences of a Long Life – Pendleton
The Life of Abraham – Meyers
The Life of Paul – Meyers
The Life of Moses – Meyers
The Life of David – Meyers
The Life of Joseph – Meyers
Elijah: Prophet of Power - Keller
John Wesley: Servant Of God - Pollock
A Bold, Fresh Piece Of Humanity - O'Reily

Revival of Religion – Finney
Pilgrim’s Progress – Bunyan – Read this twice
The Overcoming Life – Moody
Philpot’s Sermons Vol. 3 – Philpot
Gaining Favor With God and Man – Thayer – Read this twice
A Tale of Three Kings – Edwards
Taming Tension – Keller
I seen him when he done it – Muller & Bennet
Winsome Christianity – Durbanville
Straight From the Horses Mouth – Ashcraft
By Divine Design – Pearl
Great Bible Words – Rogers
The Living God – Dehaan
Law or Grace – Dehaan
Why Does The Devil Desire To Damn You? – Greene
The Holiest of All – Murray
Ordering Your Private World – MacDonald
The Life God Blesses – McDonald
Bible Wines or the Laws of Fermentation – Patton
The Danger Of Self Love - Brownback
Faith Works - MacArthur
Sin And The Unfolding Of Salvation - Gracey
Holiness - Ryle
The Saint's Everlasting Rest - Baxter

Preaching With Purpose – Adams – Read this twice
Being Holy Being Human – Kesler
The Call and Ordaining Men to the Ministry – Humphrey
A Consumer’s Guide to Preaching – Adams
Preaching That Changes Lives – Fabarez
Effective Preaching – Lawrence
The Preacher and his Preaching – Gibbs
Preaching With Freshness – Mawhinny
Lincoln on Leadership – Phillips
Ministerial Ethics – Trull & Carter
The Ministry of God’s Word – Nee
God’s Standards for Pastors – Cloud
The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership – Garlow
Faithfulness of Deacons – Gilmore

The Seven Laws of Teaching – Gregory
The Pupil and the Teacher – Weigle
The Case For Classical Christian Education - Wilson

Fool’s Gold – MacArthur
Right From Wrong – McDowell
The Challenge of Post Modernism – Dockery
The Death of Truth – McCallum
The New Tolerance – McDowell
Man is the Measure – Geisler
Many Infallible Proofs – Morris
Defense of the Faith – Hunt
More Than a Carpenter – McDowell
Resurrection Factor – McDowell
Mere Christianity – Lewis

How to Counsel From the Scripture – Bobgan
Competent to Counsel – Adams
Psychoheresy – Bobgan
Our Sufficiency in Christ – MacArthur
Shepherding God’s Flock – Adams
The Christian Counselors Manuel – Adams

Morning and Evening – Spurgeon
Grace Abounding in a Believer’s Life – Spurgeon
The Holy Spirit in a Believer’s Life – Spurgeon
The Power of the Cross of Christ – Spurgeon
Spiritual Warfare in a Believer’s Life – Spurgeon
The Power of Christ’s Prayer Life – Spurgeon
A Passion For Holiness in a Believer’s Life – Spurgeon
The Power of Prayer in a Believer’s Life – Spurgeon
The Triumph of Faith in a Believer’s Life – Spurgeon
The Power of Christ’s Tears – Spurgeon
The Power of Christ’s Second Coming – Spurgeon
Finding Peace in Life’s Storms – Spurgeon
Lectures to my Students – Spurgeon
All-round Ministry – Spurgeon
12 Sermons on Commitment – Spurgeon
The Shadow of the Broad Brim – Day – Biography of Spurgeon
Spurgeon Heir of the Puritans – Bacon
Spurgeon’s Sermons on Proverbs – Spurgeon
Flowers From a Puritan’s Garden – Spurgeon
Joy in Christ’s Presence – Spurgeon
The Soul Winner – Spurgeon
The Practice of Praise – Spurgeon
All of Grace – Spurgeon
Words of Wisdom – Spurgeon
John Ploughman’s Talks – Spurgeon
Being God’s Friend – Spurgeon
The Gospel – Spurgeon
Quoting Spurgeon - Spurgeon
The Forgotten Spurgeon – Murray
Spurgeon's Sermons Vol. 1
Spurgeon's Sermons Vol. 2
Men and Women of the New Testament - Spurgeon

The Day Music Died – Larson
Living Hymn Stories – Kankel

Things To Come – Pentecost
Planet Earth 2000 A.D. – Lindsey
A Cup of Trembling – Hunt
How Close Are We? – Hunt
A Woman Rides The Beast – Hunt

The World: Playground or Battleground – Tozer
The Knowledge of the Holy – Tozer
The Pursuit of God – Tozer
The Best of A. W. Tozer – Tozer
Renewed Day by Day – Tozer
A Treasury of Tozer – Tozer
I Call It Heresy - Tozer

Power Through Prayer – Bounds – Read this twice
Prayer and Praying Men – Bounds
The Necessity of Prayer – Bounds
The Possibilities of Prayer – Bounds

The Remarkable Record of Job – Morris
Creation Evangelism – Ham
The Answers Book – Ham
One Blood – Ham – Read this twice
Refuting Evolution – Sarfati

Ceasar: The Conquest of Gaul – Handford
A Survey of Israel’s History – Wood
Manners and Customs of Bible Lands – Wight

The Raising of a President – Wead
Truman – McCullough
The Great Bridge - McCullough
Slouching Toward Gommorah – Bork
What Hath God Wrought – Grady
Lincoln’s Greatest Speech – White
The Story of Little Big Horn – Grahm
Second Treatise On Government – Locke
In Honored Glory – Bigler
America’s Christian History – Demar
The Myth of Separation – Barton
The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin
The Law – Bastait – Read this twice
The Ideological Origins Of The American Revolution - Bernard Bailyn
Benjamin Rush – Barton
Faith of our Founding Fathers – LaHaye
Life of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence – Lossing
The American Presidents – Whitney
America: Narrative History – Tindall
America’s God and Country – Federer
The Great Debate – Van Doren
1776 – McCullough
The Story of Liberty – Coffin
Sweet Land of Liberty - Coffin
Persecution – Limbaugh
John Adams – McCullough
Posterity: Letters of Great Americans to their Children – Lawson
The Sinking of the Titanic – Marshall
Animal Farm - Orwell
Our Endangered Values: America's Moral Crisis - Jimmy Carter
The Path Between The Seas - McCullough
Mornings On Horseback - McCullough
John C. Calhoun: An American Portrait - Coit
The Triumph Of Nationalism - Murphy
The Tempting Of America - Bork
The Life of Andrew Jackson - Remini
Passionate Nation: The Epic History Of Texas - Haley
Nothing Like It In The World: The Men Who Built The Transcontinental Railroad - Ambrose
The Five Thousand Year Leap - Skousen
A Patriot's History Of The United States - Schweikart and Allen
The End of Barbary Terror - Leiner
The Battle For New York - Schecter
A County of Vast Designs (James K. Polk) - Merry
Brave Companions - McCullough
Mayflower - Philbrick
Undaunted Courage - Ambrose
Lone Star Nation - Brands
American Creation - Ellis
Founding Brothers - Ellis
Washington: The Indispensable Man - Flexner

John Bell Hood and the War for Southern Independence
Recollections and Letters of Robert E. Lee – Captain Lee – His son
Civil War Curiosities – Garrison
The Humorous Lincoln – Jenison
May I Quote You Stonewall Jackson
May I Quote You General Lee
May I Quote You General Forrest
May I Quote You General Longstreet
Storm Over The Land - Sandburg

Occult Invasion – Hunt
The Seducing of Christianity – Hunt
Beyond Seduction – Hunt
Babylon: Mystery Religion – Woodrow
The Other Side of Rome – Wilder
The Kingdom of the Cults – Martin
Election Made Plain – Ballard
The Bondage of the Will – Luther

Lost Words of Saints and Sinners – Lockyer
The Everlasting Righteousness – Bonar
True Discipleship – MacDonald
The Master Plan of Evangelism – Coleman
The Soul Winners Fire – Rice
How To Win Souls – Rice
With Christ After the Lost – Scarborough
Eternal Impact: Investing in the Lives of Men - Phil Downer
Way Of The Master - Comfort
Twelve Ordinary Men - MacArthur

The Strong-willed Child – Dobson
The Patriarch’s Call – Arnold
Christian Living in the Home – Adams
Fidelity – Wilson
Safely Home – Eldredge
Reforming Marriage – Wilson
Federal Husband – Wilson
Shepherding a Child’s Heart – Tripp
Her Hand in Marriage – Wilson
Future Men – Wilson
My Life For Yours – Wilson
To Train Up A Child – Pearl
No Greater Joy Vol. 2 – Pearl
The Birth Order Book – Leman
Growing Up God’s Way- Stormer

Let’s Weigh the Evidence – Burton
Which Version is the Bible – Jones
The King James Version Defended – Hill
New Age Versions – Riplinger
The Scholarship Only Controversy – Ruckman
God Wrote Only One Bible – Ray
True or False? – Fuller
Which Bible? Fuller
The Bible Doctrine of Inspiration – Manly
Final Authority – Grady
God's Secretaries: The Making of the King James Bible - Nicolson
In The Beginning: The Story of the King James Bible and How it Changed a Nation, a Language, and a Culture - McGrath

Christian Attire – Tottingham
Separation and Nonconformity – Berry & Hortzler
Separation Throughout Church History – McGrath
Christian Modesty and the Public Undressing of America – Pollard
Biblical Separation: Responsibility, Option, or Heresy – Cloud
Dressing For The Lord - Cloud
A Perfect Fit (Clothes, Character and the Promise of America) - Joselit

Principles and Practices of Baptist Churches – Hiscox
Why Be A Baptist – Taylor
The Ballard/Borden Debate
Alien Baptism and the Baptist – Nivens
The Case For Independent Baptist Churches – Moser
Crying in the Wilderness – Phillips
The Church and the Ordinances – Kazee
Biblical Baptist Missions – Dearmore
The Church That Jesus Built – Mason
New Testament Ecclesiology – Rector
The Universal Invisible Church Theory Exploded – Mason
House of God – Godsoe
Purpose Driven Church – Warren
Biblical Missions – Dearmore
What on Earth is the Church – Mainous
Baptist Thorough Reformers – Adams – Read this twice

2 Timothy 4:13 - The cloke that I left at Troas with Carpus, when thou comest, bring with thee, and the books, but especially the parchments.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Book Review - Civil War Curiosities

I just finished last night a book entitled Civil War Curiosities: Stange stories, oddities, events, and coincidences. This book was not really what I expected. I thought it would have more items in it that would make you say, "Wow, that's strange"! I know there are numerous things about the war between the states that make for intriguing reading. The personalities and the scope of the battles are among some of the most written about aspects of American history.

As is nearly always the case the winner gets to write the history and the textbooks. That is not to say that the history is inaccurate it may simply be only part of the picture. I am coming to believe this is largely true about the war between the states, consequently I am doing some more reading in this area. But..........back to the book. It was written by Webb Garrison. Mr. Garrison is apparently the author of more than fifty five books several of them concerning the war between the states. It comes in at 266 pages so it is not very long.

The book is divided into sections in which there are several chapters apiece. The titles of the sections are Memorable Players in the Nation's Greatest Drama, Supporting Members of the Cast, No Two Military Events were Identical, Eye of the Beholder, Beyond the Headlines.

Some of the chapter titles are Famous - Or Soon to Be, Civil War Critters, In The Heat of Battle, Sights and Sounds of Combat, Strange New Weapons, Of Life and Death, No One Called Lincoln Handsome, Atrocities, War Fever, or Journalistic Hype?, Abolition of Slavery Not the Union Goal in 1861.

As you can see from some of the chapter titles there are some interesting things addressed and some controversial. It was generally easy to read, primarily because it was in short, little "bites". It was a good book to read before going to sleep which is what I did because there were numerous good stopping points. Most of the chapters were not that long. I was able, most nights, to read a chapter and some nights two. Many of the items I did not find that interesting, but there was enough to keep me reading. It is certainly not a book I would ever read again, nor would I even necessarily recommend it to others. Of course if you have even a casual interest in the war between the states then you will probably find this book easy and interesting reading. I am not sorry I read it.

Following are a few excerpts:

"Jefferson Davis lost the sight of one eye during the Mexican War and was subject to nerualgia so severe that during bouts of it he was all but blind. His agonizing stomach pains suggest that he had peptic ulcers. As though these handicaps were not enough, during sever attacks of head-splitting pain he sometimes was unable to use his right arm."

"Some present-day medical specialists who have studied his photographs believe that Abraham Lincoln was a victim of Marfan syndrome. This hereditary condition leads to elongation of bones and abnormalities of the eyes and the cardiovascular system."

"Confederate Brig. Gen. Ben Hardin Helm was the only Southerner whose combat death caused conspicuous mourning in Washington. Having married Mary Todd Lincoln's half-sister Emilie, he turned down his brother-in-law's offer of a commission as Union paymaster. When Helm died from wounds received at Chickamauga, the Union commander in chief and his family went into mourning."

"Episcopal priest William N. Pendleton exchanged his robe for a gray uniform and at age fifty-one became a captain in the Rockbridge Artillery. Quickly promoted, he became chief of artillery on the staff of Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston. Inordinately proud of four six-pounder brass smoothbore cannon, he said they "spoke a powerful language." Hence he named them Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John."

Pendleton, the clergyman who become Lee's chief of artillery, "seems to have first surged to prominence at Bull Run in 1861. Men who fought under his direction later swore that when a cannon was aimed to his liking he signaled for it to be fired, bowed his head, and prayed: "Lord, preserve the soul while I destroy the body.""

"Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman devised a special role for captives. No man to treat the enemy lightly, he became furious when a buried torpedo (now known as a land mine) blew off the foot of an officer as Federal forces approached Savannah, Georgia. Sherman immediately brought bands of Confederate prisoners to the head of the column. These hostages were forced to test the ground at points where torpedoes were suspected."

"The Federal government owned approximately 150,000 horses and 100,000 mules. During the first two years of fighting, Union cavalry units - which never had more than 60,000 men in the field - were supplied with about 240,000 horses. Before Lee surrendered, Federal funds had paid for an estimated 840,000 horses and 430,00 mules."

"Most Federal and some Confederate cavalry units rode to battle but dismounted as soon as action was expected. Because the typical horseman fought on foot, one-fourth of the manpower of most cavalry regiments was needed for the essential job of horse-holding."

"When he wasn't lounging around a theater, part-time Washington resident John Wilkes Booth could often be seen going about town - riding a one-eyed horse."

"A mongrel was adopted as their mascot by the men of the Sixth Iowa Regiment. To make sure that the animal would win at least a footnote in accounts of their achievements, they gave it a carefully chosen name: Jeff Davis."

"Lt. Stoddart Robertson of the Ninety-third New York Regiment had fought through the Wilderness, but he was not prepared for the carnage at Spotsylvania. To him the sector famous as "the Horse Shoe" was "a boiling, bubbling and hissing cauldron of death." Musket fire was so intense, said Robertson, that undergrowth seemed to have been leveled by scythes, "and a white-oak tree, twenty-two inches in diameter, was cut down wholly by bullets.""
This may seem hard to believe but when we were at the American History Museum of the Smithsonian there was the trunk of a tree there at least 22 inches in diameter that had been cut down by bullets in one of the battles of the war between the states. Quite frankly I think it must be impossible to imagine the intensity of some of these battles.

"In the battle of Hanover Court House, "Two of the dead, according to the Boston newspapers, were sergeants. One wearing blue and the other dressed in gray, the two bodies were discovered in the woods, closely intertwined, each having his knife "buried in his opponent up to the hilt.""

"Before Abraham Lincoln took over as the nation's chief executive, it was clear that the North was badly split concerning black Americans and slavery. During his debates with Stephen A. Douglas, the man later known as "the rail splitter" made it clear that he did not consider blacks to be biological equals of whites. As president, he led the divided nation into war with one overpowering objective: preservation of the Union."

"In both North and South, Americans fighting Americans refused for many month to endorse the concept of putting blacks into uniform. Had the Confederates not been superbly led, it appears unlikely that Lincoln would have agreed to such a course of action. There is no certainty that he would have penned the Emancipation Proclamation if the end of the war had seemed to be in sight."
This I realize is a controversial issue. As I have done a little more reading on this issue I have begun to lean in the direction that the Emancipation Proclamation was more of a political maneuver in the midst of a vicious war, a propaganda tool rather than a decision that was rooted in the moral certainty of racial equality. Its objective, it seems, was more of an attempt to punish the south for electing to leave the Union rather than a genuine concern for the emancipation of the slaves. In fact the proclamation only freed the slaves in the south, and of course would only be in effect if the North won which they did.

"Giving formal testimony concerning Gettysburg, Pvt. James Wilson remembered, "Every man picked out his man. That lasted a short time, then what was left of them fell back . . . . I saw an officer cut off the head of a Confederate color-bearer and take his banner back.""
One thing I learned from this book was the the color-bearers usually went into battle at the head of the troops and unarmed. There were usually, I think it was 8 to 10 men assigned to protect him and the colors. They were the color-guard a term we still use today. By the end of the war most Confederate color guards were manned by only one or two men plus the color-bearer himself.

"When Robert E. Lee decided to take the war far into enemy territory, fifty-one generals accompanied him across the Pennsylvania state line. Returning to a relatively safe position in Virginia after Gettysburg, the commander of the Army of Northern Virginia had only thirty-four generals with him. In the decisive Pennsylvania battle, seventeen Confederate generals died."

"Without using field glasses, an experience observer could tell from a distance whether or not an attacking unit was moving rapidly. When its flag bobbed up and down jerkily, that was a signal that the color bearer was "on the double-quick.""

"On the first day of Gettysburg, nine color bearers died carrying the regimental flag of the Twenty-fourth Michigan Regiment. During the same period, men of the Twenty-sixth North Carolina Regiment saw one comrade after another assume the crucial role; when darkness fell, their tally showed that fourteen color bearers had been shot."

"Confederate Gen. Joseph E. Johnston died of pneumonia after attending a lengthy funeral service. He was there to mourn the passing of Union Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman, to whom he surrendered his army in 1865."

"Pickett's Charge at Gettysburg saw Confederates "mowed down like ripe grain." Yet Maj. Gen. Martin T. McMahon considered a Federal assault at Cold Harbor, Virginia, to be the most terrible moment of the war. According to him, during a period "not over eight minutes in length," at least seven thousand men were killed or wounded."

"After the Confederate States of America were defeated, Jefferson Davis was stripped of his citizenship. He considered it futile to petition for clemency, so he died as a man without a country. His citizenship was restored by Congress during the administration of a post-war president - Jimmy Carter."
Who by the way was from Georgia!

"Gen. Robert E. Lee somehow managed to keep an elegant dress uniform clean during months in which he took it along on campaigns. As though he had watch over it for use on a very special occasion, he donned it in order to meet Grant at Appomattox."
No doubt he had hoped to make use of it under different circumstances.

"At Wilson Creek, opposing forces clashed before most units had an opportunity to adopt uniforms of any kind. Some members of the Missouri state militia were blue, while others were in gray. Federals of the First Iowa took to the field in gray, while Confederates of the Third Louisiana wore blue."

This is just a sampling of the interesting "tid bits" that can be found in this book. It is a book that would be conducive to just reading a few snippits at a time. It does not so much tell a story as it gives bits and pieces of generally unrelated information.

My book rating **

One last quote not found in the book but somewhere else I was reading a few years back:

Robert E. Lee, preparing to advance, the Wilderness 1864, "Alabama soldiers, all I ask of you is to keep up with the Texans!"

last night I started a biography about John Bell Hood a Confederate General. I am also reading The Path Between The Seas about the construction of the Panama Canal by David McCullough.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

An Honest, Heart-felt Preference Of Better Things

The following is from Jared Waterbury's message entitled, Piety, The Only Foundation of True and Substantial Joy. Preached in May, 1838.

Piety powerfully dissuades its possessors to forsake the indulgence of pleasures, and the gaieties of the world. This relinquishment is not a forced, but a voluntary act. It is not so much the coercion of stern duty, as the sweet constraint of an honest, heart-felt preference of better things. In comparison to true piety, the world's groveling pleasures are empty and unsatisfying.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Divine Guidance

The following is from John Newton's letters.

In general, God guides and directs His people, by affording them, in answer to prayer, the light of His Holy Spirit, whoenables them to understand and to love the Scriptures. The word of God furnishes us with just principles, and right apprehensions, to regulate our judgments and affections, and thereby to influence and direct our conduct.

Those who study the Scriptures, in a humble dependence upon Divine teaching, are taught to make a true estimate of everything around them, and are gradually formed into a spirit of submission to the will of God. They thereby discover the nature and duties of their several situations and relations in life, and the snares and temptations to which they are exposed. The word of God dwelling richly in them, is a preservative from error, a light to their feet, and a spring of strength and consolation. By treasuring up the doctrines, precepts, promises, examples, and exhortations of Scripture, in their minds, and daily comparing themselves with the rule by which they walk, they grow into a habitual frame of spiritual wisdom, and acquire a gracious taste, which enables them to judge of right and wrong with a degree of readiness and certainty, as a musical ear judges of sounds. And they are seldom mistaken, because they are influenced by the love of Christ, which rules in their hearts, and a regard to the glory of God, which is the great object they have in view.

The Lord, whom they serve, does not disappoint their expectations. He leads them by a right way, preserves them from a thousand snares, and satisfies them that He is and will be their guide even unto death.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

I'm Offended

We pulled up to the local convenince store after church this evening. Three of the children were in the store. My wife, my youngest daughter, and myself was sitting in the van with the windows down. A couple of spaces over there was about five young men standing around a Ford F150.

They were simply loitering. They began to use vile, degrading language. I listened to it a couple of time and I told them to watch their language; that I had my wife and daughter in the car. My wife was actually sitting closer to them than I was. They just looked at me. Then they continued to use their vile language. I told them I was calling the police, they said call them. I did.

I am sick and tired of people thinking they can use any language they choose in a public place and degrade everyone around them while they unveil their wicked, depraved hearts. People are offended at the Ten Commandments, public prayer, public display of a Bible, etc, etc.... Well, I am offended at the kind of language some people use. Language that is an offence to all decent people, of which no doubt there are few left. We tolerate it and continue to get more of it.

The police came. The men did not leave. I'm sure they did not want to seem like they were running, they were too tough for that. I stayed waiting for the police to arrive. When they drove up I got out, flagged them down and pointed out the culprits. They asked if I could point out the offenders. I went to the truck and pointed out the three that I know used the word. I was not going to be intimidated by these thugs! I would gladly stand my ground and and allow them to face their accuser eye ball to eye ball. The police officer had me go to the van. A few minutes later he said if we would like to come over to the truck they wanted to apologize. My wife, my daughter and myself went to the truck. They did apologize. I am under no illusion that they were repentant, but they were temporarily humbled, and a couple of them did seem somewhat sincere, when they had to face my daughter. I gave them a brief rebuke about talking like that in public and especially in front of women and children, and accepted their apology. The police officer asked if I wanted to do anything else, like file a complaint which I opted not to do.

I'm sure the young men probably drove off having a good laugh over it all. I hope tonight in their quiet moments before they drift off to sleep they might be given occasion to think back over what happen and maybe just maybe bemoan their vileness.