Monthly Archives: February 2010

This Is a Broken World

A baby at 8 weeks.

Can you imagine a perfect place? I am thankful for the sustaining hope of a new creation but a place with no more tears, death, mourning, crying or pain seems so foreign to me from the vantage point of this very broken world.

We live in very broken creation that is inhabited by broken people. In today’s Oklahoman (February 20, 2010) there is an article on the front page about a pro-life or anti-abortion law that was ruled unconstitutional. Oklahoma County District Judge Dan Owens struck down a law that “made it illegal for a doctor to do the procedure (destroying a baby person) if the doctor knew the woman’s sole reason was she wanted a baby of a different sex.”

Was this judicial activism? Was it a case where the judge tried to adhere too strictly to the Oklahoma Constitution at the expense of unborn life? I don’t know, but Owens said himself, “It’s pretty disturbing we have to pass a statute to prevent people from doing that. It’s uncivilized.” Exactly! It is uncivilized and so much more. That a woman, with or without the consent of the father, can abort a baby because the baby is not the right sex is unfair to the baby and inconsistent with so much of the pro-choice defense and mostly it is simply disturbing.

It is disturbing because someone saw the need to pass such a law in the first place. People have apparently aborted babies and want to abort babies because they are undesirable in some way, and it just so happens that in this case it is because the child, at no fault of his or her own, has the wrong chromosomes. That is not right!

Not only are children selectively destroyed because of gender in Oklahoma and the United States, but worldwide most abortions done for gender reasons involve female babies. Oddly enough, it is groups who supposedly fight for the rights of women that end up defending the right to destroy little women. In a country that aborts over one million babies a year in the name of reproductive rights to protect the health of women, the United States legally protects the destruction of roughly 500,000 women who apparently have no rights. That is horribly inconsistent.

It is as though we have regressed two thousand years to the time of ancient Rome when children, especially baby girls, were discarded on the trash heap because they weren’t the male heir that was hoped for. (This was just one of the reasons for infanticide in the ancient world, though a common one.) I don’t care if a baby is born and then discarded or never gets the chance to be born because of abortion, either way it is just wrong.

This world is broken and the evidence is everywhere. Lack of civility, unfair treatment, and inconsistent thinking toward the unborn only makes me long for the new creation that I have such a hard time imagining. May both the current brokenness and the promised perfection to come lead us to trust in Jesus  and cause us to press on and say with John in Revelation 22:20, “Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.”

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What a Nintendo DS Might Teach Us About Obedience

My son got one those fancy-shmancy game systems that has all sorts of buttons and capabilities. When I was a boy we had an Atari and the controller had one button and “joy stick” and the thing was attached to the TV. But back to now.  A Nintendo DS, for those of you who may not know, is about the size of my hand, which means you could conceivably take it anywhere, anytime. My son would if he could, but plays it mostly around the house. Once he is in the zone it is hard to come out of the zone, especially when he is fighting the enemy on the Indian Jones Lego Game. I think it is a male defect when it comes to electronics.

This morning he was playing and it was time for school and I asked him to shut it down and put on his socks. He didn’t shut it down and so I got his attention with a slight voice inflection alteration. He looked at me and said, “Dad I was trying to finish fighting the enemy.” To which I responded, “Son, I want you to fight being disobedient and do what I tell you immediately.” He thought that was kind of funny – fighting disobedience I mean.

We are working really hard as parents to teach first-response obedience. We are making progress but it is a constant battle to get our children to be immediate obedient. Our children may be unique in trying to exert their will and delayed obedience, but I doubt it.

But this isn’t just a child problem, it is a human condition and short-coming. Even as a adults we tend to procrastinate and it almost always has some sort of unintentional consequence like stress or mediocre results. But we keep doing it because we can manage it or because the consequences are not detrimental.

But when it comes to answering the call of Jesus it is never acceptable to procrastinate or delay our obedience. Immediate obedience is the only right answer to King Jesus. In Matthew 4:18-22, Jesus calls his first four disciples before beginning his recorded and earthly ministry. In verses 20 and 22 Matthew records that Jesus called them and both times Matthew states that they immediately left what they were doing and followed Jesus. When I see duplication of words in a paragraph I pay special attention. Matthew wants us to know that when King Jesus commands us to do anything, there is only one appropriate response and it is an immediate one.

What I have found with both of my sons is that if I don’t demand immediate obedience then the obedience delay becomes ever increasing until I am dealing with outright and stiff-necked defiance, and as a parent it is my fault that I have conditioned my sons to think that they can procrastinate and inevitably disobey. Further, if I teach them to delay and disobey their earthly father, what then am I teaching them about obedience to their Father Who is in heaven?

Though I am often to blame for my children not obeying immediately, it is not God’s fault when I delay my obedience. When I delay my obedience to my Father in heaven I am learning ultimately to disobey. It is sometimes a slow journey, but the procrastination destination is ultimately disobedience and that is not what Jesus has called us to as Kingdom witnesses.

I wonder what would have happened if Peter and Andrew, and the sons of Zebedee, James and John, would have said, “Hey Jesus, we see that you are important and have all authority to establish Your Kingdom, but could you give us a minute to put our nets in the mini-storage?” It is not for us to know this side of heaven what the consequences might have been. However, it is a question worth pondering the next time Jesus calls us to something and we are tempted to delay and say, “Can I just finish this game on my Nintendo DS?” Don’t play games when it comes to obeying God, because you will never know what you missed by procrastinating or disobeying.

An Unbelieving Oncologist Believes In Heaven But…….

I saw this on the O’Reilly Factor last night. Apparently this Dr. Long has investigated some 1,300 near-death experiences and the overwhelming “evidence” suggests that there is an afterlife.

However, Dr. Long is not a believer but is counting on a benevolent authority that he knows nothing about, to  be benevolent toward him.

Bill O’Reilly on the other hand, who is a “believer”, wonders if  a god of who is all-just would allow “bad people into heaven.

I don’t know that there is a lot to be gleaned from this video except to say that it only affirms what the Bible teaches;  people are innately prone to believe in an afterlife because the true God has placed eternity in their hearts. (Ecclesiastes 3:11)

But the  God who is the supreme creator and keeper of the universe must also be powerful enough to reveal Himself  to His creation in such a way that demands more than nebulous speculation about a flash of  light, warm fuzzies and a “everyone is going to be OK” life philosophy.

And since He has revealed himself through His special written revelation and the Word Become Flesh, who has dwelt among us and died for us, it seems rather fanciful to think that a light is a sufficient hope when every person will have to stand before Him who has eyes like fire. It seems better to trust in “the light”, rather than a flash of light. “The Light” is the life of men, and everyone who believes in Jesus can be better than OK. But I wouldn’t bank on the certainty of heaven as evidence that any person will enjoy heaven for certain. (John 1:1-18)

Tim Tebow’s Pro-Life Commercial Is Violent Toward Women – Really?

From the Boston Globe Article: “Final Score: Tebow Ad  1, detractors 0”

First, the National Organization of Woman and other women’s groups criticized CBS for its decision to air a Super Bowl ad that featured the college football star and his mother making a subtle case against abortion.

Then, after the ad aired, NOW President Terry O’Neill told the Los Angeles Times, “I am blown away by the celebration of violence against women in it. That’s what comes across to me even more strongly than the anti-abortion message . . …I think CBS should be ashamed of itself.’’

You talk about hypocrisy or the pot calling the kettle black. Come on now, “violence against women”? It seems what is really violent against women is the destruction of 500,000 little women every year from their mothers who are women. The article is right, grasping for anything only demeans your message and this is a classic example.

As a matter of fact, all the excessive rhetoric and protest by these radical “woman groups” only made the ad more popular and ended up advancing the cause of the pro-life aim. Case in point, if these woman groups would not have made a big deal out of it, the Boston Globe would not have wrote the article I am quoting, I would not be writing a blog, and very few people would have even given the thirty second commercial another thought, much less thought of it as a violent pro-life piece of propaganda against women. The Boston Globe article  comments,

But some women’s groups foolishly took the bait offered by abortion opponents. When they learned about the ad, they tried to bully CBS into pulling it. That generated a super-sized pre-Super Bowl controversy that helped anti-abortion forces gain even more publicity. Thanks to all the buzz, Focus on the Family happily reported that its website traffic was exploding, subscribers to its magazine were up and a Facebook page for the ad attracted 230,000 fans.

And NOW’s president probably helped them more with her “celebration of violence’’ remark.

As Frances Kissling, former president of Catholics for Choice, told the Los Angeles Times, “It’s absurd to claim that this is an endorsement of violence against women. These people came across as affectionate, loving, funny and happy.”

I agree with the Globe: Tebow ad 1, detractors 0.

James Montgomery Boice on Reading Books

It was asked of Dr. James Montgomery Boice, “If the scripture is sufficient do we really need to read books?”

Boice replied:

When we say the scripture is sufficient, it doesn’t mean we don’t want to benefit from anybody and their assistance for understanding it. God has given the gift of pastors and teachers to the church because the church needs it. The Ethiopian needed the assistance of Philip to understand Isaiah 53. Anything short of that is arrogance.

The Excellent Wife I Praise; Reflections on Proverbs 31

An excellent wife, who can find? For her worth is far above jewels. The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have not lack of gain. Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, But a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised. Proverbs 31:10-11; 30

I really wish that I were a poet, but I am no poet. I do however write and  have been wanting to write about my wife for a while, and by the way, Valentine’s day is not my inspiration or motivation. My wife compels me to praise her worth because I delight in her for so many reasons.

Just as the sun is more visible on some days than others, so it is concerning my wife’s beauty and worth. About two weeks ago I had a moment where it seemed as though the clouds suddenly rolled away and I was reminded anew that she is so much more precious than all things, save Jesus. It is not as though I had forgotten about why I love her so much, even as I don’t forget that the sun is still shining behind the clouds, I just didn’t take the time to look or remember. Nevertheless, I was reminded that she is far more valuable than jewels and I am glad to explain to people why.

  • She is unwavering in her devotion to Jesus. Lacey is perfect positionally in Jesus and practically she is an avid devotee to Jesus as evidenced in her discipline to read the Bible and then striving to do all that Jesus commanded.
  • She supports and affirms her husband. She is my best friend and I can tell her everything and do tell her everything.  She knows things about me that no one else knows or will know, save Jesus. I trust her more than (Proverbs 18:11) anyone in this world, save Jesus. She knew what she was getting into when she married someone who would be in vocational ministry and not once has she ever complained about it. She affirms my leadership as a man and lovingly gives me the respect that every man longs for from his wife – sometimes when I don’t deserve it. She makes me glad that she is the one that God has given me so that I might lay my life down for her, just as Christ loved the Church. (Ephesians 5:25)  For so many other reasons, I love her more than I can express.
  • She is patiently raising and nurturing our boys to be Godly men and our daughter to be a Godly woman and they will praise her for it. Our children love their mommy and it is not hard to see why. She is gentle and patient with them, though firm when need be. She is consistent and kind when she teaches and disciplines them. (Prov. 31:26) She disciplines herself to do what is best for them so that they might hope in Jesus. She is constantly teaching them and modeling for them the things of Jesus. She establishes traditions for them to have as reference points for the gospel. She reminds me when  I need to get on the floor and be a rough-housing dad for boys who crave masculine attention. She lets them be boys but points them toward manhood. Our children are the most important responsibility we have in this world and I am glad that she is my partner in getting them the whole gospel. There is no doubt that she has set a high bar for the wives-to-be of each of my two sons and has modeled for Bella what a woman is and does, and one day they will rise up and bless her. (Proverbs 31:28)
  • She does not hinder or undermine our ministry. I have seen this in the lives of pastors and ministers who were disqualified because of a rogue wife. But Lacey is no such woman. She is one, if not my greatest ministry catalyst. Everything about the way she carries herself makes me more effective and respected for ministry. (Proverbs 31:23) I may be the one who draws the salary as a pastor, but she is my ministry partner and and she makes me better at everything.
  • She tells me the truth and I listen. I don’t always like what she tells me, but she does tell me when I am wrong and she is almost always right. I trust her opinion above all other opinions. She is very discerning about many things and she is great sounding board and her insight and advice often keeps me from being a repeat idiot.
  • She is a compassionate and caring friend. In recent days I have seen her volunteer to watch other peoples children. I have seen her go to the hospital to encourage a friend. I have seen her weep for the orphans of Haiti. I have seen her weep for people in our church. She has taught me how to be merciful and to care for people who are hard to love. She is a wonderful and hospitable host to guests and she is a diligent listener. She is loyal to her family and consistent in keeping in touch with her friends. Her kindness is more than most people deserve, especially grumpy old men who yell at her at Wal-Mart because her 3 year-old son happens to be a little loud. (Proverbs 31:20)
  • She is disciplined. She runs and exercises everyday. She gets our boys ready for school and for the day and she does it without complaining. Not once have I ever heard her complain about the tedious and meticulous tasks of getting little people rounded up and ready. She grocery shops with meticulous detail and regularly has dinner ready when I get home. She keeps me healthy with her cooking. She consistently pokes and prods me to be consistent with morning and nightly Bible and prayer time. She keeps a tidy house; as much as one can with two little toy-boys. She keeps regular contact with her current friends and friends from her youth. She listens with her ears and eyes. She is a detailed planner and finishes what she starts. She is consistent. She dependably does so many things and I am proud of her. (Proverbs 31:13-16)
  • She models biblical femininity for young women. Young women want to meet with her and talk with her and learn from her.
  • She has a compassionate heart for the nations. She loves missions, has been on missions, supports missions and wants to go on missions. She serves in our city with Stillwater Life Service, which is our community crisis pregnancy center. She reads books by K.P. Yohannan (Gospel for Asia) that challenge her to abandon the fleeting pleasures of this world to give her life to a mission that will not fail. I love her sensitive heart for the mission of Jesus, so that all the ends of the earth might fear Him (Ps. 67).

I could go on and perhaps I should, but I believe I have made my point. My intent was to praise her that God might be glorified through Jesus, because she is so much of what a biblical wife ought to be and should want to be. She is not perfect, but she is perfect in Christ and becoming perfect like Christ and her works praise her. (Proverbs 31:31)

I Have My Experimental Reasons………

Someone, whose name I don’t know, objected to the first video of Ryan on Facebook saying it was objectionable content. For that reason I couldn’t post it again. So I had to figure out a way to beat the system. Besides, Ryan is not objectionable. I hope whoever objected, objected because of the “related content videos”.

But why keep posting this video, someone might ask? My reasons shall remain secret. Let’s just leave it at, I’m conducting a Facebook or social networking experiment. So if you get this far, please click on the first video and the second one is just a bonus for your enjoyment.

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CORE Groups; What You May Have Wondered

One of the most difficult challenges of church life is clear and concise communication. I often remind myself, or am reminded, that just because I know the answers and have the info and have even given the info, doesn’t mean people retained the info. There are a lot of reasons this is true. For instance, sometimes people can’t be at church or attend an important meeting. Sometimes people forget. Sometimes people just don’t listen. Whatever the case may be, it is important to communicate repetitively in both written and spoken form.

Here are some things you might be wondering about CORE Groups. Communication is a two-way street so please feel free to ask the elders or staff if you have additional questions.

What is a CORE Group? It is simply an Eagle Heights Bible Study that is using the sermon content for their small group meeting. Whether a group meets on Sunday morning or at a home during the week, they are all CORE Groups. We may have other studies that meet under the umbrella of Eagle Heights, but a CORE Group is a group that is using the content of the text from the previous week’s sermon.

What is the content for CORE Groups? The Bible. At Eagle Heights we preach through the Bible, not around it. We use books or sections and go through them a verse at a time. Our CORE Groups will use the same Bible material the sermon is preached from with an emphasis on application. Application is simply being obedient to God, through the power of the Holy Spirit, in light of what the text means.

What is the purpose of a CORE Group? The purpose is to facilitate Christ-Centered Community. People need biblical, face-to-face community. God has created us to know and love others on a personal level. We want these groups to be biblically saturated, Spirit-led, Loving, Honest and Safe with Connected relationships. We want them to be growing both spiritually and numerically. We want them to be a unifying catalyst in our church. When we say their purpose is to facilitate Christ-Centered Community, we mean we want them to be

  • thoroughly biblical
  • community oriented
  • growing and multiplying spiritually and numerically
  • unifying

How do I Host or Facilitate a CORE Group? If you want to host a group that does not meet at the church building, you need to ask one of the elders or a staff person. Though you don’t have to be a member of Eagle Heights to attend a CORE Group, you do need to be a member to host or facilitate one. Also, if you are a facilitator we ask that you come to a meeting every other month on the fourth Sunday at 4:00 p.m. for encouragement, accountability, feedback and additional training.

How do I join a CORE Group? You can mark your interest on the tear-out in the information guide on Sunday Morning. You can go out to the CORE Group board at the church building and sign up, or you can simply ask a staff member what group might be a good fit for you.

Again, we desire to communicate in such a way that helps people to be unified for the praise of His glory. We will continue to work to that end and we invite you to partner with us.