Archive for August, 2013

Whatever happened to “courtesy?”

August 27, 2013

One of the definitions for “courteous” that is found in the 11th edition of Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary is this: “marked by respect for and consideration of others.”

We’re living in a world today that no longer recognizes this definition.

If you don’t believe me, go to the local Wal-Mart (or any major store for that matter) on a busy day and just watch.

I was in such a setting recently, waiting near the check out for my wife to finish her shopping.

Though I was out of the way (I thought) kids and (their parents) still managed to step on my feet and bump me with their shopping carts. Not once did I get “I’m sorry” or “I didn’t see you” or “Please excuse me.” Actually, by that time I would have settled for “Hey old man, get out of the way.” It was as if I were invisible.

Then, Joyce nears the checkout line for shoppers with 20 items or less. Usually there is always someone in line with 21 items or more, but not on this day.

However, just as she was getting in line an older boy and someone in his late teens or early 20s almost knocked her out of the way, rushing to get in front of her. As we soon discovered, they were with the woman in front of Joyce and had been sent to get another item. Yet, there was no “excuse me” or “I need to take this to my mother.”

It was just a blatant example of rudeness. We are living in a culture today where people do not respect other people. Countless folks apparently have never heard of the “Golden Rule.”

It’s hard to blame rude kids because in most cases they have not been taught the art of being “courteous” by their parents. We’re living in a sad day. If my grandfather had witnessed me being rude to anyone, especially a woman, he would “have snatched me baldheaded.”

It made me even more conscious of the fact that I need to be constantly on guard to make sure I am courteous and respectful of other people. Everyone should be courteous. But, as a Christian, it really is not an option. It should be a daily part of our life.

Just plain disgusting

August 14, 2013

If there was every any doubt, California governor Jerry Brown removed it when he signed a bill on Aug. 12 allowing transgendered students in the state’s public schools to pick which restroom or locker rooms they want.

The Baptist Press story about the event quoted a California politician as saying the new law “puts California at the forefront of leadership on transgender rights.”

In my opinion, the new law moves California into a tie with Sodom and Gomorrah for total disregard and disrespect of God.

The idea of of a boy or girl (transgendered or not) going into a restroom of which is the opposite of who they are physically is appalling and just plain disgusting. It defies all rules of common sense and logic.

Our nation has become so focused on the “rights” of a few that we totally disregard the rights of the majority.

We have become a nation of “anything goes” to the point that we totally ignore God.

All we can do is pray that He will continue to show us His mercy. Christians need to rally and start turning this nation back to God before it’s too late. We have had our heads in the sand far too long.

Not made for TV

August 9, 2013

The Tennessean ran an article earlier this week about a new reality show which will feature two snake-handling Pentecostal preachers. The name of the show is “Snake Salvation.”

I’m not sure putting a show about snake handling preachers on TV is the best of ideas. Though they claim a passage (Mark 16:16-18) in the Bible as a rationale for doing it, I have never read in the Bible where Jesus or the disciples whom we know the most about picked up serpents in order to share the gospel.

But my concern is more who may watch this show. If non-believers watch it, will they see a true depiction of what salvation is and who Jesus really is? I abhor the name of the show “Snake Salvation.” Only Jesus saves!

And what about children. Children are very impressionable. What happens if a child sees this and is playing outside one day (there are still some children who actually still play outdoors believe it or not) and they pick up a poisonous snake? An extreme case? Probably but it could happen, especially if the children live in a rural setting.

And, finally, one of the pastors says something in the article that is very troubling to me. Pastor Jamie Coots has said that he welcomes the attention the show will bring and says it will provide an opportunity to reach a larger audience than just his small congregation. He says, “We say we are in this to save souls. But people don’t see us if they don’t come into the four walls of the church.”

Bingo! He just hit the nail on the head of what is wrong with many churches today. We expect people to “come” to church to hear the gospel instead of taking the gospel to an unbelieving world and being the gospel to those we encounter. More on this in later comments.

The first episode is set for Sept. 10 at 8 p.m. on the National Geographic Channel.

I may have to watch it at least once to confirm that this subject is best not made for TV.

The Wrath of God

August 1, 2013

In the July 31 issue of the Baptist and Reflector I wrote a brief column entitled “Sin.”

My premise was that in some churches today sermons on sin are not popular among members.

The day the issue hit mail boxes across the state Baptist Press ran a story about the Presbyerian Church (USA) not using a song (“In Christ Alone”) in its latest hymnal because it mentioned the “wrath of God.”

The BP story noted that a request to change the line from “The wrath of God was satisfied” to “The love of God was magnified’ was denied by the song’s writers. Good for them.

Just like sin, we cannot hide or ignore God’s wrath. Both are real and Christians need to understand that fact. We can’t talk about God’s grace and love and not talk about sin and His wrath. They are all intertwined.

As I was researching my column on sin I came across this quote from Christian theologian J.I. Packer. It has relevance for both topics.

“If we do not preach about sin and God’s judgment on it, we cannot present Christ as Savior from sin and the wrath of God.”

Amen!

The Presbyterian Church (USA) is doing a disservice to its members by not including “In Christ Alone” in its latest hymnal.

It’s a song worthy to be sung by Christians of all denominations.