Spiritually Sidetracked?

It is so easy to get sidetracked.  When I was kid our family would drive to Florida from Houston on our yearly family vacation.  My dad and I were in the front and my sister and mom were in the back seat.  We would drive hard for 2 days without even stopping for lunch.  One year when the weather was nasty, my dad got sidetracked by following another car along I-10.  He accidently missed a turn and ended up following that car all the way into the city of New Orleans which added several ours to our trip for that day. I was recently reminded from the above quote from John MacArthur how Satan attempts to sidetrack Christians.  It can becomes easier and easier for us to start heading the wrong way when we are tempted.  Some of the ways that Satan sidetracks us spiritually include the following temptations. First, Satan sidetracks us by making heaven less appealing. He does this by tempting us to pursue the love of money.  The love of money makes us love this present world more and … [Read more...]

Routines Can Increase Your Spiritual Net Worth

“42And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. …” (Acts 2:42–47) Routines are beneficial for being devoted in our walk with Christ.  It seems that being good at anything requires a routine.  Tonight is the 7th game of the World Series, and players will be nervous and will revert to their routines to get ready for the game.  The opportunity to achieve greatness in this game requires a devotion to their craft and their routine is necessary way they prepare to play. Celestine Chua says that “A routine is a set of activities that you repeat every day, week or, month that gives your life a semblance of structure, so you don’t have to wake up every day wondering what to do. In that sense, it simplifies life and gives you stability.” Rather than striving for “sameness”, the objective of a routine is really progress — to help you get the best out of daily life, by virtue of following it. Routines help you not … [Read more...]

Receive, Reject, or Redeem?

Halloween is coming up and there are all sorts of events and even critiques how we should engage the world.  Kids will dress up, adults will give out candy, and all this will be done without any thought or real tie to its pagan history.  American are superstitious and this superstitious is heightened during Halloween.  For example many Chicago Cubs fans foolish believe in “The Curse or the Billy Goat” upon their team.  This belief originated when the “Billy Goat Tavern” owner was kicked out of Wrigley Field because of the smell of of his pet goat at the game.  He then pronounced that the Cubs would not win any more, and until this year they had not been back to the MLB World Series since the year 1945. October 31 is also Reformation Day, when Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the Door at Wittenberg Germany.  He did this to redeem false religious observances that promoted false godliness and exploited people’s fear of judgment and purgatory. First Martin Luther was redeeming a … [Read more...]

What is the Eye of the Needle?

By Cameron Buettel I haven’t always sat under the teaching ministry of John MacArthur. In fact, earlier parts of my Christian walk have been tarnished by over-exposure to some really bad Bible teachers, and attendance in some very man-centered churches. A lot of my expertise in error comes from first-hand experience.It took longer than I care to admit, but eventually, the reckless handling of Scripture became too hard to ignore. One of the most blatant examples was related to Christ’s interaction with the rich young ruler. Luke 18:22-25 explains the sad end to their conversation. When Jesus heard this, He said to him, “One thing you still lack; sell all that you possess and distribute it to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” But when he had heard these things, he became very sad, for he was extremely rich. And Jesus looked at him and said, “How hard it is for those who are wealthy to enter the kingdom of God! For it is easier for a camel to go … [Read more...]

Earthly Life Ends In Death

This last month (September 2016) we saw two deaths that have rocked many sports commentators.  First, the death of Arnold Palmer was sudden and greeted with great sadness because how he has mentored so many in the game of golf (PGA).  The other death involved a young 24 year old Major League Baseball player for the Miami Marlins named Jose Fernandez who died in a boating accident.  The sentiment was this was a tragic event.  There was a moving ceremony honoring him before the game the Marlins played on Tuesday night, when every one of his teammates took the field wearing his number (16). The death of friends and family is always greeted with a feeling of sorrow.  Sometimes the shock of death makes us feel nostalgic and thankful for knowing a person because of his effect in our lives.  Other times the shock of death makes us feel that life is not fair or even God is not fair.  Death in either case make us reassess our lives and sometimes ask, “Why do we die?” Well the reason we … [Read more...]

Fight Spiritual Drifting

When my family and I go to the beach, we always need a site marker for where we lay our stuff down.  Why do we need this marker?  It is because when you go swimming in the ocean you will always drift with the currents.  This summer when we were snorkeling, I realized that I needed to get to shore because I did not feel great, but found myself with my boys quite a distance from where we had set our beach stuff down. Drifting is a common occurrence in everyone’s life.  Companies drift from their founder’s vision, Denominations drift toward to more liberal views, churches drift from the biblical doctrines that they use to believe, and we personally drift from our convictions that we once held.  Spiritually, we tend to stray from making the Gospel central, eventually straying into idolatry (Hebrews 2:1).  Since we are worshipers by nature, our hearts always moving or drifting in society’s currents somewhere – either toward Christ and His Gospel or into the clutch of something or someone … [Read more...]

Anger – A Personal Foul

On Monday night (10/3/2016) Odell Beckham got a Personal foul penalty during the Monday night football game because he could not control his emotions.  NFL writer, Jeremy Bergman, comments, “[Xavier] Rhodes' aggressive coverage and an iffy late hit drove Beckham to commit an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty early in the game and then lower his shoulder on the Vikings cornerback out of bounds on a later play.… But Beckham's reputation as a hot-head diva has also made him a target for strong-willed cornerbacks who know what buttons to push. “ This example shows how important emotions are to our Christians walk with God.  Emotions are what moves us to action or decision about a course of action.  Someone has said that there is “no motion without emotion.”  Therefore, since Jesus is Lord, all things should be done for His glory (including developing emotionally), whether we are eating or drinking or getting angry or sad or feeling afraid or happy.  Paul talks about the reality of the … [Read more...]

The Unchanging God Changes Things

This fall my son, Andrew, is playing travel baseball with 13-15 year olds on a full baseball diamond (90 foot base paths and 60’ 6” pitching mounds).  This last week he played his first game and it was a shock.  The change in field size was drastic for him and will take some time to get use to. Change is a constant, and nothing stays the same except God - “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8).  God has revealed that you need a constant faith in His unchanging character so that we can successfully navigate the changes of life. So let’s look at how knowing God helps you navigate change. Kurt Lewin, back in the 1940s, gave a simple but helpful change model.   He said, “If you have a large cube of ice, but realize that what you want is a cone of ice, what do you do? First you must melt the ice to make it amenable to change (unfreeze). Then you must mold the iced water into the shape you want (change). Finally, you must solidify the new shape … [Read more...]

Don’t Be Misinformed About God’s Justice

As many of you know Colin Kaepernick has created a firestorm of discussion as he sits through the playing of the National Anthem at the start of NFL football games.  He says that he is protesting what he perceives injustice in America. Now I do question his judgement but I can admire his courage.  It disheartens me to see someone being fed misinformation about the condition of America and the violence between police and citizens recently, but I do believe that we all need to take a stand for what is just in our society no matter who we are. While Kaepernick professes to be a Christian whose has a tattoo of Psalm 18:39, it doesn’t mean he understand God’s justice.  Kaepernick explains that this verse is “…saying the Lord is giving me all the tools to be successful”, but I believe he is misinformed or deceived to what God’s standard of justice are. I believe that justice of God is important to understand.  First God’s justice is not individualistic.  In other words, we don’t … [Read more...]

God Is Always With Us

GOD IS ALWAYS WITH US "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever." - Hebrews 13:8 My wife and I always enjoyed seeing the snow-capped mountains in Southern California.  We would drive to church in January and February commenting on how beautiful the area was, but we knew that they would disappear soon.  When spring would come, the mountains would disappear in the cloud cover and smog.  On any given Sunday, on our way to church, we would drive along the 91 and 57 freeways and could only see a thick layer of clouds.  Absolutely no evidence that the mountains were there right in front of us.  The clouds (and smog) had rolled in. But when the clouds lifted during the winter time each year or after a rain, it was obvious the mountains had not moved. Sometimes it’s like that with God. We come to experience Him in an awe-inspiring way, but later the clouds of life roll in, and we experience disappointment, rejection, and suffering.  It’s like God is nowhere to be … [Read more...]