Tuesday, December 22, 2015

The reality of the "force"

All over the media is the latest Star Wars movie "The Force Awakens" which had a massive opening weekend. Personally, I enjoy the movie series, perhaps a little too much given the time I spent on it in my younger years. The idea of the "force" is intriguing- something that moves throughout all things in the universe that you can control. The reason why it is so intriguing is what it represents. And no I am not talking about the weird mitichlorian explanation. It is the desire of man to be his own god. Think of the aspects- the force is everywhere, allows you to sense things anywhere or any time, and you can control it for life or death. If you follow the movies and books, it is even rumored to allow a resurrection of sorts. All of these things are attributes of God, and not of man. They are the powers sinful man covets, which is why it is so enticing. The mysticism included in the jedi ("good") and sith ("evil") sides of the force (think yin and yang) provides enough of a structure that there are literally "jedi churches" and I suspect also "sith" variety as well. There are people worshiping a religion based on a fictional book for powers they cannot attain. Unfortunately, without Salvation through Faith, they will discover all too late that it was the work of the devil and the flesh that led them down the "dark path" to hell.

The Star Wars series is an enjoyable movie to me, but I also know what the false religion is that hides behind it. I strongly urge you to talk to your kids about it so they can learn about it. I also suggest waiting until your kids are old enough to have a clearer understanding of the fictional world and the real world. That distinction is quite important when dealing with matters that leech into critical understanding like Faith and sin. This might be a great opportunity to teach and enjoy a movie, so long as it is kept a movie and not a way of life.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Excellent blog post

"Sellers of Purple" has an excellent post about the difference between legalistic, man centered social churches and churches with the life-giving Word preached. While she mentions the LCMS, there are other church bodies with the same focus that are just as pertinent.

Sunday, November 01, 2015

Vocation of Citizen

Lutherans teach a concept called "vocation" in which God utilizes us in this world to do His work. Luther wrote extensively on it, and I suggest reading his words and explanation as they are much clearer than can ever be posted on a blog. Some examples posted by the LC-MS are here, and there are books that can be ordered with further developments that I won't list here due to length. In the United States, Nov. 3 is an election day. Not all states have elections as each state has its own cycle. Virginia votes on local elections this year, and I believe at least a few others do as well. In any case, if there is an election for you, it is part of your vocation as a citizen to vote. Many people don't "get into" anything that isn't a major election, like governor or President. The truth is your vocation obligates you to weigh the candidates and vote accordingly regardless of the level of the election.

Please fulfill your vocation and vote if you have the opportunity.  If you don't, you can still fulfill your obligation as a citizen to encourage those who can vote to do so, and to be current on the issues important to your local, state, and national level government. Each level has different concerns and responsibilities, and those need to be weighed with thoughtful Christian consideration for what is the wisest course of action.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Sadness and Prayer

This morning's killings of two reporters on air by a deranged killer shocked and saddened most everyone. The media will turn to various experts decrying this issue, that injustice, this systematic failing or some other issue. While these things might have some sort of impact, the root cause is sin. As shocking and brutal yesterday's killings were, there is no difference in God's Law with any other sin. The tortured deaths of Christians and others in ISIS controlled lands is just as evil as the on-air killings or those committing adultery with the Ashley Madison site. The claim that hinduism and Christianity are just shades of the same is as sinful as coveting your neighbor's possessions or simply stealing gum. A Just God requires the same from all. Thank God that He is also merciful and has provided a means of Grace. All of the sins we daily commit, intentionally or not, are covered by the sacrifice of Christ. To have that gift in spite of our flesh's daily rebellion is joy unbound.

Prayers for the families of the slain and the unfortunate killer. May God use this to the betterment of the Kingdom in His own way.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Sherpherds, Hirelings, and Wolves

This is a very short excerpt from "Sermons of Martin Luther" edited by Lenker, Vol 3-4 from the sermon for the Second Sunday after Easter focused on John 10:11-16.
There are three kinds of shepherds: good or true shepherds, hirelings, and wolves. Good shepherds are like the good Shepherd Christ, who tends the sheep, goes before them, cares for those that are sick, scabby, or have the snuffles; who does not flee when the wolves come, but "who giveth his life for the sheep," as Christ here in this Gospel describes. It is not enough that we preach correctly, which the hireling can also do; but we must watch over the sheep, that the wolves, false teachers, may not break in, and we must contend for the sheep against the wolves, with the Word of God, even to the sacrifice of our lives. Such are good shepherds, of whom few are found. ... This the hirelings do not; they care not for the sheep, they receive temporal wages, riches and honor, and feed themselves; yet they are good to a certain extent and Christ also preaches through them; but they are not true to the sheep.... This is clearly seen, when trouble comes, when the wolves break in there is no one who remains faithful to the sheep."
This is what I see in the LCMS and other church bodies. They are staffed by hirelings and not shepherds. True, shepherds are more rare. But the encouragement of hirelings over shepherds dooms a church body to eventual heresy and falling away. The Church is always under assault by wolves, and the hirelings do little to counter the wolves, running away from the "controversy." The reason doesn't matter, whether it is riches, pensions, or even not wanting to be inconvenienced. Ultimately it scatters the flock and subverts their office as specified by Christ. Take heed, then, that your shepherd is a true shepherd, and not a hireling just earning a paycheck.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Planned Parenthood as organ dealer

It's on the news with two horrible videos where Planned Parenthood employees are discussing the sale of fetal organs. Ironically this undercuts their whole premise to scared new mothers that it "isn't a baby but a fetus." If it wasn't human, why are you selling the organs? Planned Parenthood really just are butchers of the unwary and unprotected. I pray the nightmare of legal abortions is snuffed out soon. God have mercy on these unfortunate souls.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Rich Man and Lazarus

Many of us covered the Rich Man and Lazarus recently in church services talking about faith of the individuals in the parable. We nod our heads and inwardly scoff at the rich man for being so callous. We then head home, pop lunch in the microwave, peruse Facebook and maybe turn on the big screen television for a sports show. Not once do we consider the problem with the Rich Man while doing many of the things he would never dream possible or affordable. This isn't an article, though, on how riches are evil but the danger of cares of this world. His goods and riches didn't force him away. But they did distract and dissuade him from faith and a life devoted to God. Immediately following the parable, Luke 17:1 has the following: "Jesus said to his disciples: “Things that cause people to stumble are bound to come, but woe to anyone through whom they come." The parable and this verse brings the parable of the sower to mind recorded in Luke 8:
13 Those on the rocky ground are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away. 14 The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature.
Why the Rich Man was faithless is irrelevant. Lack of faith is eternally fatal without regard as to why. I wanted to caution you to be careful lest the world carefully snatch your faith, smother it under the cares and entertainment of this world, and replace it with the useless gods of this age. Guard yourselves carefully as the devil and the world have been deceiving since the Fall. Which is more important- Pintrest or Bible study? We might know the answer in our heads, but our daily routines would likely argue against our soul.