Thursday, July 30, 2009

Pilgrim's Map of the Day

Sometimes you see something that you just want to share with others...



Wednesday, July 29, 2009

What Curses Us?

I love listening to Walter Martin speak. He was a great speaker and defender of the gospel. Please take ten minutes to enjoy this excerpt in which he aims to point out how liberal theology is infesting American Christianity. Good stuff.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

My Thoughts on Michael Vick

I write the following being fully aware of the fact that no one cares what I think. I am not an expert on football, especially the NFL but I do like to think that I have better than a novice understanding of the game. That being said, allow me to weigh in on not only Michael Vick's reinstatement but also where I think he should end up playing.

I am personally glad to see Michael Vick back able to play in the NFL. What he did and was convicted of was at best reprehinsible and I think that his punishment from the legal system was very much appropriate. He served his time, has lost quite literally millions of dollars (some estimate $100 million) and has ruined his name and reputation. Regarding his reputation, as I did a Google image search on my iPhone for pictures of Vick, while the first page of images was full of him in football action, pages two through four was a huge collection of bloody and fighting dogs with a few of Vick during his court proceedings. I quit looking after that point and was very disheartened.

Quite possibly the saddest consequence to me is the loss of the relationship between Vick and Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank. While Blank has been the epitome of class and compassion during this ongoing scandal, he has verbalized much pain about what Vick's actions did to him personally and how Vick has hurt his business and the Falcons franchise. Blank is on record of having no desire of Vick wearing his team's uniform again.

Despite the pending six game suspension and the stigma that Vick must somehow outgrow, I am glad he has been given a second chance. Honestly, where would any of us be without second, third, and fourth chances? I failed to understand the debate surrounding if Vick deserved to play again when there are players who have committed far worse crimes against humans not only playing, but receiving fan fare. I personally look forward to the opportunity that Vick being on the field will provide. In that event, a door will be opened for me to discuss with my two oldest sons about how wrong cruelty to animals is, how there are consequneces for our actions, the effect that a good, God-fearing man (Tony Dungy) can have on young men, forgivness, and how to react when given a second chance. I just hope he doesn't mess it up.

The debate now centers around which team will take a chance on Michael Vick. While I do not have a crystal ball to say with certainty, I do have an opinion about where he would best fit. That team is the Cincinnati Bengals. What team in recent NFL history has been more maligned with controversy and legal problems? What team has more forgiving fans? Could Vick not learn from sitting behind a classy quarterback like Carson Palmer? Could Vick not learn how to have fun from Chad Johnson (or whatever his name is now)? What could happen with not only Tony Dungy's influence on Vick but Marvin Lewis' as well. Further, could the players on the Bengals not learn some much needed lessons from Vick? Sure, there is no guarantee that Vick will ever be near the same quarterback he once was, but what if he is, or better? Sure, Carson Palmer's contract goes through 2014 but why can't Vick be used in a role other than full-time quarterback. Just imagine the possibilities....

Besides, imagine the fun when the Bengals play their in state rival Cleveland Browns. The Brown's mascot, a big, brown dog.

-- Post From My iPhone

Monday, July 27, 2009

Pilgrim's Map of the Day

Are the weekend's getting shorter or is it just me? Regardless, here is a pilgrim's map for this sure to be loooong Monday.

* I had a link to this in my e-mail this morning. This was a nice way to start the day as well as pretty fascinating. Enjoy this excellent group:

* Man, I really want to believe Obama's words about his faith are the truth. Let us all continue to pray for him and that his agenda's which step outside of God's alingment will be changed or dropped. Some have called this a "puff piece."


* Have you seen Jill & Kevin's wedding video yet? This is quite possibly the best wedding entrance in the history of all mankind:

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Happy Now?

Will someone please point me to the scripture that gives us liberty to repay sin with sin? There seems to be a trend of such about me and I am really struggling to overcome it at this time. Is there no forgivness in this world anymore? Do I ever present myself as above reproach?

As I grow older I find myself more and more asking forgivness of people that I feel I have wronged in the past. Rather it be from poor decisions or a failed ability to control emotions, I do feel led to request the forgivness of many. By doing so I often feel a tremendous burden lifted from me and sense of sincere peace. After this point, I have met my requirement to be set free from such burdens. At this point it is no longer up to me to convince you to forgive me. The burden now lies with you and until you decide to forgive me, I am still tied to that burden.

Let's say that I intentionally break into your home and steal your jewelry (which, just for clarification, I have never done to anyone). You subsequently call the police and I am apprehended and arrested. You are told you must come to the jail and visit me to get your jewelry back and by doing so you and I have a face-to-face encounter. At this time, I explain to you that I was obviously not thinking clearly and I ask for your forgiveness. The police tell you that with your forgiveness I may be set free from jail. You now have a decision to make: forgive me and set me free or hold on to your bitterness, anger, or confusion and keep me locked away due to that crime.

Of course we are given instruction from Christ about how often to forgive others when he effectively told his Disciples to give out an infinite amount of forgiveness (70 X 7 times are you to forgive). Even to those who may never forgive me for wrongs I may have committed, although it pains me to know such, I have been given peace Christ. My sins as well as all who read this did something worse to Christ than steal jewelry, lose control, say hurtful things, or even be less than a Christian example. Our sins cost Him a brutal and horrifying death in the most inhumane form possible. Left to hang there bloody and naked, this Savior had the strength to look down on those who drove nails through His hands & feet and plead to God for their forgiveness. How petty we truly are that we can't forgive one another for minor infractions that occur during our short and selfish lives?

Nowhere do we have permission to repay sin with sin. Being unforgiving is a sin and a sign of a true lack of faith. I have struggled with it but I try to realize that what ever pain I may suffer on this Earth, it will never compare to that of my Savior. How can we hold grudges as Christians? We can't. Do I want to forgive people for wrongs that befall me? Not always. Then I remember what John wrote about why we should be forgiving in 1 John 2:12: "I am writing to you, little children, because your sins are forgiven for his name’s sake." My sins have not been forgiven for me, they have been forgiven to bring glory to God and His only Son Jesus Christ. What small portion of glory can I help bring to this loving God by forgiving those who harm me? When wronged personally I now aim to forgive individuals even before I allow anger or hurt grab hold of me. Regarding the small amount of discernment that I attempt to share on this blog, that is not a personal harm to me and if I write something on here about a teaching or false doctrine, I will gladly remove it once those thoughts or teachings are retracted. However, it is not for me to forgive you after that point, that is between you and your Maker. May God help us all to love one another, as flawed as we are, and to forgive one another "for His name's sake."

Pilgrim's Map of the Day

Been a while: Here's some links for ya -

*Jeremiah Tatum beautifully expresses the need to personally own the gospel in this post.

* Video of quite possibly the best marriage proposal ever...

* Here is a very eye-opening article about the direction the Southern Baptist Convention is taking. Thanks for Apprising Ministries for this article and research.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

One Freedom

So, here is it, the 4th of July 2009. This is a day that Americans celebrate their Independence from a repressive and hurtful monarchy. This is a day that Americans can take a moment to enjoy and appreciate their freedoms that so many citizens on this vast planet Earth do not have. As I attempt to do that, I have never felt more enslaved as a citizen. I cannot even celebrate by shooting fireworks without fearing that I will be disobeying some ordinance. Yes, that is a minor thing but if I were truly "FREE," I would be allowed to show my appreciation in any way I felt necessary and share my joy in any form of my choosing. Wake up Americans!!!! You are not free at all. You are all bound by jobs, taxes, laws, and, even worse, a virtual plethora of self-made bonds. In our "pursuit of happiness," we have tied ourselves so tightly to the constraints of this world that there is likely no escape (outside of death itself, and then you get taxed for dying).

I still believe that as of this date, the United States of America is the greatest nation on Earth and I am grateful for the civil liberties that I am afforded. However, I give credit to God for these liberties and opportunities that I so often take for granted, not a current president, not a senator, and not the "founding fathers." God alone deserves the credit and someday His reasoning for choosing this nation, these people, myself and family to enjoy these liberties will be revealed. Until then, all credit goes to Him. It is Christ who is my Independence and in my study of scripture (man I wish I could put "daily" ahead of "study of scripture") I am reminded that since Christ has died for me, everyday of my life is my Independence day. I am free of past sins, free of man's judgment, free of legalism, and free of any dependence on man to learn the will of God. Everyday in my life should be a celebration and recognition of the day in which all mankind was given the unalienable right to receive Independence. Christ set us all free through His willingness to die on the cross.

Sadly, as I sit and evaluate the Christian landscape in America, I see many people proclaiming Christianity who don't seem to be living in the same freedom which I do. These are the people who are tied to a set of ideas that they are no longer living independently. These people have chosen to bind themselves to the thoughts of men and movements that remove all Christian liberty from their lives and who now are afraid to step in their own directions toward Christ without first checking with those who are part of the same ideology. They may no longer feel bound by sin but rather they are bound by ideologies. Conservative or liberal, republican or democrat, nationalist or fascist, the list is long . Of course, these are large ideologies but off hand you can probably think of several small or grass-root ideologies that are around you currently.

It is not my place to say which ideologies are right and which are wrong. They all seem to have one common denominator: In order to be a part of that movement you will have to abandon something you held to be true or, and even worse in my opinion, someone who does not agree with your new thinking. That is fine in all aspects but one. If you are forced to abandon true and sound Biblical teaching in order to fully consider yourself a "devout" member of that ideology, then you are headed for trouble. If you find yourself having to internally argue with yourself over whether scripture really supports those thoughts or beliefs, you are abandoning the Independence given you by Christ. If you catch yourself checking scripture with a man's teaching rather than the opposite, you have tied yourself to an ideology outside of Jesus. If you, as a man of a house, are allowing others to tell you how to run that house, then guess what, you aren't the head of your house, some other man and his ideology is. If you find yourself supporting race over grace, I am praying for you. If you find yourself insulting or hurting the innocent or hear your "leaders" doing likewise, then what you espouse steps out of Christianity and you can deem yourself an ideologue. If you find the only way to support your beliefs lies solely in the life and laws of Moses and not in the life and grace of Christ, turn toward Christ's freedom. Sadly, and most importantly, if you catch yourself wondering if you have done enough for Christ (regardless of who has told you that you might haven't), then you have now swallowed exactly what Satan wants you to and you. Freedom gone.

Paul, once an ideologue who believed that what He was doing would be deemed worthy by God, had staunch words for those who allow themselves to be tied to legalism. He wrote in 2 Corinthians 3: 12Since we have such a hope,"we are very bold, 13not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face so that the Israelites might not gaze at the outcome of what was being brought to an end. 14But their minds were hardened. For to this day, when they read the old covenant, that same veil remains unlifted, because only through Christ is it taken away. 15Yes, to this day whenever Moses is read a veil lies over their hearts. 16But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. 17Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, THERE IS FREEDOM (emphasis added). 18And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.

I thank God that the veil of ideology and Mosaic law has been lifted from my face and that I am so invited to dwell in Christ's gift of freedom that He has bestowed upon me. I thank God that there is no ideology in scripture, only freedom that comes from trusting in God's atoning sacrifice of His son and that I can boldly live my life by the truth that has been placed inside of me by God through His scripture. I need no man to interpret it for me. I need no man to tell me what I have read is right. I am free. Happy Independence day to me and to all my fellow Christians who are trusting not in man and self but in Christ's blood.