Uncomfortable problems the church needs to talk about (1)

Number 604 • January 15, 2021


In the next several issues of my personal essays I intend to touch upon a few untouchables and mention a few unmentionables, maybe even one or two “please don’t talk about that” issues — difficult and uncomfortable matters that will not be solved and will not go away by being ignored. There are in fact many uncomfortable problems the church generally ignores, matters that cause great pain and perhaps some embarrassment and uneasiness but seldom get mentioned, either from the pulpit or in classrooms, or in printed materials produced by the church — perhaps not even in private conversation, matters we just don’t really want to talk about. There may be some people too who are “untouchables” – not to Jesus but to His hypercritical people. Continue reading

#geraldcowan, #problems

What’s our problem?

Is time our problem? God gives us all the time in the world to do his will.

Is money our problem? God provides us all we need, when we seek his kingdom first.

Is will our problem? God even gives us the desire.

Is tiredness our problem? God gives us rest in Christ.

Continue reading

#god, #problems, #solution

The World’s Problem with Jesus

If Jesus just told everybody how to be a nice person no one would have a problem with that.

If Jesus just told everybody to eat and drink and be merry no one would have a problem with that.

But that’s not what Jesus told everybody. He didn’t come to impress the world. He came to save it, and that’s what the world has a problem with! The world doesn’t want a Savior no matter how bad it needs one.

No matter how much one talks about the grace of God the topic of grace coupled with God will agitate the world because the message reminds the world why they are in need of what they don’t want. The little ole’ word sin. You can’t have grace without it. And we all need grace because of it.

Jesus once told his unbelieving brothers, “The world cannot hate you, but it hates Me because I testify of it that its works are evil.” (John 7:7) This hasn’t changed because Jesus hasn’t changed. His grace in and of itself testifies of hearts gone wrong, words gone wrong, works gone wrong and entire lives gone wrong.

Jesus came because the world has a problem, but the world has a problem with Jesus because he came. What a dichotomy! So now we must all decide whether or not we’re going to let Jesus take care of our problem which will include the world having a problem with us, or whether we’re going to blame the problem on him in which case we’ll find our self in a whole other world of problems. Because in case you haven’t checked lately, the world still has a problem with Jesus because the world still has a problem that we won’t let him deal with.

Do not be surprised, my brothers, if the world has no love for you.” (1 John 3:13 – BBE)

#jesus, #love, #problems, #world

The Difference Between Feel Good Politics And Medicine

As our nation continues to abandon the spiritual roots that are too evident to ignore we will increasingly, as a whole, look to the government not only as our sole provider but even our soul provider thus ignoring the true source of a nation’s vitality (think Acts 12:20-22 for a moment).

Many politicians love to take advantage of the dependency mindset. They present feel good politics as the answer. An answer that serves the few in hopes of the few becoming the majority that is dependent upon the answer provided. In other words, to give a real world comparison, many politicians (and I’m speaking worldwide here) actually encourage people to become a lifetime child. By that I mean they wish for some people to become completely dependent upon his or her parent whose role is played by the government for the rest of his or her life, thus resulting in a people who have secured the politician’s seat of power.

For example, the latest government dependency program to hit every coast of America, plus some, that goes by the name of A.C.A. (also affectionately known as Obama-care). This government program is based upon feel good politics and not real solutions. It’s a government answer to a problem that has created as many problems that it solved! It took a problem, a real problem, that approximately 15% of this nation was dealing with and made it a problem that 100% of the people have to worry with whether people realize it or not.

Don’t think that I’m just a “big government hater” who doesn’t believe in taking care of the poor. If you’re going to think something based off of these words then think of me as someone who likes to think with common sense instead of thinking with votes in mind since I’m not a politician.

The problem with insurance was that it cost too much in many situations. I myself pay more than ten percent out of my gross yearly wages (not net wages) for my health insurance at my secular job. That’s a lot; and that’s only paying for the service to be there, not what I would have to pay if something were to happen to me or my family. The cost was and is the problem for many middle-class and poor working Americans. And the A.C.A. didn’t fix the cost!!! It took the cost and supplemented it with tax-dollars!!! That’s not a solution. That’s duct-tape on a gunshot wound. On top of that the A.C.A has already inflicted itself with a gunshot wound to the foot by allowing the very people it needs (the healthy 18 to 28 year olds who don’t use insurance very much at all) to keep its book’s balanced with the older generations who use the insurance quite often for obvious reasons. How did it do that? Because it almost allows that entire group of “young people” to stay on their parent’s insurance to begin with! A group that’s not leaving home, not getting married, not starting families and, unfortunately, not working in any meaningful job. Continue reading

#common-sense, #government, #insurance, #life, #morality, #opinion, #politics, #problems

We Need to Study the Bible Because it’s Relevant to the Problems of Today’s World

Yes, the Bible is old, but it isn’t too old for our modern world! While living upon the earth, mankind will never outgrow our need for the guidance that is only found in God’s word: “O Lord, I know the way of man is not in himself; it is not in man who walks to direct his own steps.” (Jeremiah 10:23) We will never escape the circumstances of life that link us back to all the previous generations who have lived before us. It was Job who said so long ago that, “Man who is born of woman is of few days and full of trouble.” (Job 14:1) Can this not still be said of us today? That’s why I say that a modern world full of trouble can still use the wisdom of the book that’s full of answers – the Bible!

The big picture of life hasn’t changed since the day Adam and Eve left the garden. We’re born – we live – we die – we meet our Creator. Again, that’s why God’s word is still relevant! Sure, we have greater luxuries today than any other generation who has ever lived. We have our modern medicine, we have our big screen TVs, we have our high-speed internet, we have our refrigerators, we have our go-carts, golf carts, electric cars, four-wheel drives and eighteen-wheelers, but they don’t provide the real answers to real life, because we still have the same old problems that lead to the same old questions that every other generation before us has asked! We still have problems with hate, problems with murder, problems from war, problems from adultery and divorce, problems with theft, problems from the abuse of power, problems of rape, problems from wickedness, problems with riots, problems of slander, problems from oppression, problems from spiritual ignorance, problems from anger, problems of cold-heartedness, problems with family, problems at work, problems with money and problems with any other old-fashioned sin that we can think of!

Do any of those circumstances sound familiar? They should! Because this is the stuff that not only makes us up today’s headlines – it’s the stuff that we read about from the book of Genesis to the book of Revelation! So who says the Bible isn’t relevant to today’s problems? How can it not be if the problems haven’t changed?

No other book than the Bible answers the greatest questions of life. Where did I come from? (Genesis 1:27) Why am I here? (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14) Where I am going? (Matthew 7:13-14) No other book than the Bible provides the solutions to life’s problems. Love God and love our neighbor (Luke 10:27). Treat others the way we want to be treated (Matthew 7:12). Be merciful (Matthew 6:15). Be willing to come to Jesus for the answers, correction, support and encouragement we need (Matthew 11:28-30). Live a life that’s dead to sin but alive in, alive to and alive with Christ (Romans 6:1-12, Colossians 3).

Mankind has lived upon the face of the earth for thousands of years, and with the exception of the Lord’s return we will continue to live here with the same old problems, with the same needs and with the same book that contains the solution and answers to them both sitting within in our grasp – the word of God. And that’s why we need to study the Bible…because it truly is relevant to the not-so-new problems of today’s world.

#bible, #bible-study, #characteristics-of-the-bible, #problems, #relevancy-of-the-bible, #relevant, #religion, #sin, #spiritual-answers, #we-need-to-study-the-bible-because, #word-of-god

A Necessary Evil

I cannot stand drama, especially in God’s church. It’s a pet peeve that I desire to see starved. Unfortunately some people thrive off of feeding it!  Anger, jealousies, backbiting, slothfulness and irresponsibility can plague a congregation to death and when concerned Christians see these things happen it can be troubling to say the least. I have wondered to myself several times, “Why does it have to happen?” When things seem to be going good then the bad gets going. But then I remember that troubles in the church are nothing new.

In the midst of the church at Corinth troubled waters were being stirred. Religious divisions were being started (1 Corinthians 1:10-12), brothers and sisters were abusing and being abused by one another (1 Corinthians 6:7,6; 11:20,21), some were living in open sin (1 Corinthians 5:1, 9-11), their gatherings had become chaotic and unruly (1 Corinthians 14:26, 33-35), some were even denying the resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:12) plus much more (1 Corinthians 3:1-3; 4:18; 8:7). Talk about trouble!!!

This craziness was no doubt causing some of the Christians there to wonder why it was all happening. So what was the answer? Paul basically gives it in 1 Corinthians 11:19 – “For there must also be factions [heresies, divisions] among you, that those who are approved may be recognized among you.”

The negative is that the church had to deal with some real problems. None of these things were enjoyable but Paul said that they must happen to prove a point.

Burton Coffman had this to say in his commentary about Paul’s statement:

A glimpse of the divine mind is in this. Christians who become upset and discouraged because of schisms, factions and other disorders in the church make a tragic mistake. As God used Satan in the Paradise of Eden to test the progenitors of the human race, he still tests the faith of all Christians. Church difficulties provide an opportunity for Christians to demonstrate that they are genuine followers of the Lord. God never intended that any man should move through life in a constant environment of encouragement and spiritual delight. There is a place in the experience of every Christian where “the rubber meets the road”; and his response to unfavorable, or even tragic, situations will determine whether or not he is “approved” of God. It should always be remembered that “many are called, but few are chosen.” – James Burton Coffman, Vol. VII, First and Second Corinthians, ACU Press, P.178 

Problems will come and go but whoever stays through them will shine. Problems in the church can separate the spiritually dedicated from the spiritually dead. Paul said the problems would show who was approved of God.

The word approved comes from the Greek word “dokimos” and it has some interesting roots. On a computer program I have, a great insight concerning this word is given:

In the ancient world there was no banking system as we know it today, and no paper money. All money was made from metal, heated until liquid, poured into moulds and allowed to cool. When the coins were cooled, it was necessary to smooth off the uneven edges. The coins were comparatively soft and of course many people shaved them closely. In one century, more than eighty laws were passed in Athens, to stop the practice of shaving down the coins then in circulation. But some moneychangers were men of integrity, who would accept no counterfeit money. They were men of honor who put only genuine full weighted money into circulation. Such men were called “dokimos” or “approved”.” – Donald Barnhouse, The Bible Collection Deluxe, ValuSoft

The evils that face the church from time to time definitely contain some negatives but spiritually they are necessary because approval is something that comes from being tried, and being tried only comes by trails.

Think about it, and don’t be so quick to give up when problems start to get you down. EA

My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.” (James 1:2-3, NKJV)

#church, #corinth, #divisions, #problems, #tests, #trials, #trouble, #unity

Prayer, Pride and Purgatory

These three items in the title are on my mind this morning. Let me explain:

  • We all have problems and pains in this world. They are a part of the human condition. As a Christian, we hear that we should give our problems to the  Lord. But what does that mean in a practical sense? How do we accomplish that? Read my discussion and comment, please.
  • I am so proud of the new Forthright Magazine page! It is gorgeous and I pray much good is done in the Lord’s kingdom, as a result. Remember, if you  were a subscriber before, nothing has changed. We hope even more people will subscribe and that our readership will increase. Please pray about this work and frequent the page. And of course, please promote us on your website and add a link, if that would be appropriate.
  • In mid-August, I am to speak on the doctrine of Purgatory for a lectureship. I am reading Dante’s Divine Comedy, where much of the doctrine originates. Your input and information on the false doctrine of Purgatory would be appreciated.  By the way, if you have a major doctrine in your denomination and it isn’t even discussed in the International  Standard Bible Encyclopedia, that is a bad sign. 🙂

#forthright, #joy, #prayer, #pride, #problems, #purgatory

Problems They're a dime a dozen We're all…

Problems? They’re a dime a dozen. We’re all got them. They range from mild to tragic and no one is immune. Normally, we don’t have to look very far to see someone with problems much bigger than our own. In the end, however, it’s not the size or number of our temporary earthly problems, but what comes after.

While on the phone last evening with a brother he made the following observation. “For the unbeliever, this life is as good as it gets. For the believer, it’s the worst we will ever experience.” How exciting for the believer! How sad for those who don’t!

No wonder pessimism and cynicism abound. What’s it like to live without any real hope past this life? I don’t want to know.

So how will we respond to the lost? Let them wallow in their hopelessness or press them to examine an alternative?

Jesus said:
“The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into his harvest.” Luke 10:2 (Net Bible)

How will we respond to him? Say it’s not my job? Wait for the feeling that we ought to do something to subside? Let someone else do it who has more time, ability, money—fill in the blank. Just don’t fill it in with faith or a sense of responsibility. Those would make us feel uncomfortable.

If our goals and objectives are not driven by the needs of the Kingdom of God then we are just filling space and wasting time.

Let’s share our hope of eternal life. Let’s share the good news!

Listen to the song, Ain’-a That Good News!

#ain-a-that-good-news, #good-news, #hope, #pessimism, #problems, #responsibility

American Schools Are As Weak As Water

Ramnath Subramanian, a sixth-grade science teacher at Eastwood Knolls School in El Paso, writes about the ongoing problems found in today’s educational system – http://www.elpasotimes.com/opinion/ci_16140145.

He points out that American schools are “weak as water” on the discipline front, largely due to a lack of parental involvement in properly disciplining their children.

Until we get back to making application of biblical principles regarding the disciplining of our children (see Proverbs), the educational system in America will not improve, but will only become more inept.

#discipline, #education, #improve, #inept, #involve, #parent, #problems, #water, #weak