Posts Tagged ‘questions’

Evaluation Questions from Judges 2:10

At our North Hills men’s breakfast this past Saturday (normally on the first Saturday of every month) we talked about the failure of the second generation to follow and know the Lord from Judges 2:10

And all that generation also were gathered to their fathers. And there arose another generation after them who did not know the Lord or the work that he had done for Israel.

Gary Inrig’s book Hearts of Iron, Feet of Clay provides three  causes for their failure to know the Lord and from those I asked the men three corresponding questions.

  1. Am I happy with the status quo?  Am I satisfied with what I have and where I am that I do not need the Lord?  Have I become spiritually complacent.
  2. Have I taken the Lord for granted?  Have I failed to acknowledge his work in my life?  (We looked at the following verses to go along with these questions:  Deuteronomy 6:10-12 & 8:11-18, Hebrews 2:1, I Thessalonians 5:18).
  3. Have I neglected God’s Word?  Inrig makes the point that we see almost no reference to the study of Scripture in the book of Judges.

Read Judges 2:11-15 to see the results of this failure to know the Lord and his work.  It’s not a pretty picture.

Website Q#2: How can I be sure God will forgive me?

Here is the second of two questions that I am working on for the new Calvary website – these will be located on the frontpage.  Any feedback on the content is appreciated:

How can I be sure God will forgive me?
To know we are wrong can be a scary thing – we may feel a mountain load of guilt upon our shoulders or we may carry deeply rooted shame in our hearts for things we have done, thought, or said in the past.   While some people ignore the reality of their failures or simply try to cover them up, others of us are well acquainted with the grief of failure.  Though it may not feel like it right now, this is actually a very good place to be!

When we question God’s forgiveness, we are allowing our sin and our judgment to be greater than God himself and what he has declared.  This is why we must turn again to the Bible, God’s Word, to be reminded of the overwhelming grace of God that declares that the sacrifice of Christ was sufficient to cover all of our sin.  For example, 1 John 1:7-9:  But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.  If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

There is danger in making too little of our sin but there is an equal danger of making too little of work of Christ.  The blood of the eternal Son of God has infinite worth to those who receive Christ by faith.  We can be certain of God’s forgiveness because of the value of the sacrifice and God’s promise to receive as payment for our sin – no matter how bad we our sin is or how we feel about ourselves.  And yes, God’s love and grace are that amazing!

A Debtor To Mercy Alone (stanza 3) by Augustus Toplady
My name from the palms of His hands eternity will not erase;
Impressed on His heart it remains, in marks of indelible grace.
Yes, I to the end shall endure, as sure as the earnest is giv’n;
More happy, but not more secure, the glorified spirits in Heav’n.

Website Question 1: How can I have a relationship with God?

I am working on the content/answers for a couple of questions to go on our new website at Calvary.   Here is the first question and answer.   I would love some feedback on this first draft, especially content:

How can I have a relationship with God?
This is a bold question!  Especially, when we consider our place in the larger universe.  And yet, the Bible invites us to ask this question because it presents God in relational terms (e.g. “Father”).  We also know form our personal experiences that we need healthy relationships in order to be successful and at peace in this world.  Why should our relationship with God be excluded from this equation?

So, let’s start with a question:  Is it possible to have a relationship with God?  Not only does the Bible speak in relational terms, it presents a relationship with God as a part of our original design and a necessity for our present lives.  This leads to a follow-up question:  is there something keeping us from a relationship with God?  Again, the Bible tells us that we are the problem and have a problem.  Our sin (going against the instruction of God or failing to do the things He requires) impedes a relationship with God.  Furthermore, we cannot fix this problem ourselves because we are never able to meet God’s standard of perfection.  One final question then:  Does God provide a solution that we cannot?  Yes! Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is that answer.  He lived a perfect life, died on the Cross to satisfy the penalty of our sin, and was resurrected to new life.  We need only receive the work of Christ on our behalf to begin a new relationship with God.

The Christian faith is more than ceremony & ritual, more than principles & laws, and even more than mere head knowledge.  Martin Luther, a church Reformer, said “the Christian faith exists in personal pronouns.”  As Paul writes in Galatians (a letter found in the New Testament) of Jesus Christ, “who loved me and gave himself for me.”   Are you ready for a relationship with God?  Visit us for a worship service or contact us and we would be delighted to walk with you further in journey towards a relationship with God.

Does God Care about Sports?

Why does an athlete’s praise of God or desire to give thanksgiving and honor to God, automatically equate to the notion that God cares about the outcome of games:

I refuse to believe that God — anyone’s God — has a rooting interest in the outcome of something as secular and perverse as a BCS game.”

This is from Mark Kriegel’s article on Kurt Warner (primarily) and other athlete’s with strong religious views.  Kriegel does not belittle Warner’s faith which has been well-documented – he actually commends it in a way.  However, he seems to set up a straw-man to argue with.

Does God care about sports?  Yes and no.  I believe that God cares about sports in the way that he cares about all things that happen in the universe.  At the same time, I have never heard a Christian athlete say their team won a game because God was “on their side” or something along those lines.  So, God does not care about sports in the manner that some have imagined:  as an emotionally entwined, nervous, and uncertain of the outcome kind of fan simply sitting on the sidelines or even ordering the outcome as a fan might?  I don’t think so.   I do commend those athletes who genuinely wish to recognize God’s sovereignty over all matters, including the games (or jobs they hold) they play.

How would you respond to the question, does God care about sports?

Movies as Sermon Illustrations?

Okay, since we’re on a roll here at helpmyunbelief on sermons and the last couple of posts on some sermon hijinks, I wanted to bring to throw out a question based on Ed’s comments from the previous post (“Sermon Mischief”).

To use movies as sermon illustrations or not?

If you are a pastor/preacha, why or why not?

If you are a parishioner, how do you respond when a pastor uses a movie illustration?

Personally, I can think of one time when I used a movie illustration in a sermon, though there may be others…the sermon theme was on hope and I used a discussion between Andy Dufrane & Red from Shawshank Redemption.  I believe the illustration was effective, but it did require a disclaimer given that it is a rated “R” (shocking, I know).  Movie illustration also often assume that everyone has seen the movie.

Ed is tired of the Lord of the Rings illustrations…personally, I’m tired of the Chariots of Fire illustration.

Where art thou hooligan?

How Soccer Explains the World

I am about midway through reading Franklin Foer’s book How Soccer Explains the World: An (Unlikely) Explanation of Globalization and it has raised an unrelated question in my mind. Since so much of the story of soccer (or football to be more precise) around the world is the story of hooliganism, this topic has been the subject or at least backdrop of most of the chapters (at least thus far). So, here is the question: Why are hooligans and hooliganism largely absent in American sports?

There certainly have been any number of events befitting a hooligan at various sporting events and stadiums through the years. And I’m sure there is despicable behavior/language on internet bulletin boards. And there have been incidents on the court or the field between players. And there have been any number of isolated episodes that disturb us and capture our attention. But that’s the point – these events largely stand on their own. While we have organized fandom and ways to support our favorite teams, there is no institutional support for hooliganism (as there has been in some instances with soccer). Personally, I grew up attending University of Tennessee football games with my family and I am a huge fan of my alma mater (University of Georgia) and I certainly have seen passion for a team. At the same time, I have never feared for life or limb in attending a game, a truth that I am took for granted but am thankful for now.

So, what is the difference? I do not think we are necessarily better people, but there must be cultural distinctions. Are we not as rabid sports fans as we sometimes think we are? Is it the rule of law? Again, I am thankful that we fully partake and participate in sport without the fear that we could be beat down simply by wearing the wrong jersey in the wrong part of town. Any thoughts?

As an aside, I am enjoying this book in a couple of ways. Given the interest in soccer of some good friends, I have become a little more engaged in this worldwide sport and so have been enjoyed reading about the sport. The book also is a good bit history and I like that as well. Finally, there any number of words that are new to me or fun (e.g. superannuated, canards, philo-Semite, jingoistic, zeitgeist); every few pages there is a word I don’t know or one that I find fun. My criticism of the book is with the central premise of the book – that soccer can help explain globalization. I don’t think (at least thus far) Foer has done a great job of connecting the dots for his readers in this regard. This detracts from the book, especially if you were looking for a more explicit explanation of what is happening around the world. However, I am still enjoying my reading of this book.

Question

My 5 year old son wanted to go to sleep tonight listening to an old sermon tape of mine.  Is he soothed by the sound of my voice or lulled to sleep by my preaching?

Don’t think I don’t notice if you fall asleep during one of my sermons!