The Cemetery and The Shopping Center

The Decablog

I’ve always been fascinated by graveyards. This stems, I think, not from an undue interest in the macabre, but rather with the sense of solemnity and connection to previous generations that a cemetery holds. Today as I walked from home to my office at church I stopped off at something that I only noticed yesterday even though I’ve passed it almost daily for the last two years- a small cemetery delineated by crude and crumbling stack-stone walls.

Here’s the first of several pictures I took:

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As you can see it appears this graveyard is a small family plot dating at least back into the mid 1800s. As such, it is not much of a novelty in a state like South Carolina; yet for a recent transplant like myself who hails from a region of the country where anything older than about a hundred years tends to be Native American and…

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Fearing Sin

Main Things

fear
True sorrow over sin is very practical, for no one can truly hate sin while living in it. Repentance makes us see the evil of sin, not merely in theory but experientially, as a child who has been burned now fears fire. We should be just as afraid of sin as someone who recently has been robbed is afraid of thieves. CHS

Every now and then I will have a conversation with a pastor friend who will ask the question…did you hear about so and so…the tone of the question lets me know that what follows is not going to be pleasant. It normally happens that so and so is out of the ministry, perhaps that he has left his wife and his family, that he has brought some horrible shame upon the church because he failed to watch over his heart.
Whenever I hear such things, and, I have…

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We Are Not Neutral

Chapter 1 of Jeff Johnson’s upcoming book.  Having read several of Jeff’s books (The Fatal Flaw & The Kingdom of God), I’m looking forward to this one when it comes out.

“Let’s buy it, dad!” These were the words that darted out of my mouth as soon as I saw the cool yellow truck with its custom rims and ground effects. Immediately I could proudly see myself driving it to school. Not only was it cool, I couldn’t believe it was in my price range. This could be mine, so I thought.

My father responded with the dreaded but predictable words, “We need to test drive it first.” Though this sounds only reasonable, you must realize that I was young and poor. My parents promised to help me buy my first vehicle by doubling all the money I earned over the summer. I worked hard, but only saved $900.00. And even back in the early nineties, you could not expect much for $1,800.00. The last thing I wanted was some grandma wagon.

So when I saw this customized truck, I was ready to pull the trigger without any investigation. In fact, I didn’t want to test drive it, for deep down I knew it was too good to be true. If we happen to discover its mechanical problems, I knew my father would stand in the way of me being cool. You see, I thought if we bought it before we learned that it needed repairs, though more money would be needed to get the thing running, the most important thing would be accomplished – I would have a respectable looking ride to show off to all my friends. The truth is, I didn’t want to know the truth, for I assumed that the truth would stand in the way of my happiness.

As you can imagine, when we opened the hood, it was missing half of its engine. Yep, too good to be true. I ended up with my dad’s old, brown, farm truck – dependable but no ground effects.

I realize now that I was willing to overlook all the blaring red flags and knowingly do something foolish because of my foolish pride. My emotions, my pride, and my inverted values hindered my judgment. I was not objective or rational because I did not want to be objective or rational.

Foolishness is living in opposition to what we know to be true. I am afraid this irrational condition and manner of thinking is universally prevalent in all of us. We are not merely irrational every now and then. Without God, we live in a state of irrationality.

Only irrational fools would consistently and practically deny that 2 + 2 = 4. Not only is the answer to this equation a part of common sense, it is easily demonstrable and highly useful. If a postmodern thinker practically rejects the absolute and universal principles of mathematics, he may applaud himself for being consistent with his relativistic worldview, but in the process his checkbook will be a total mess. Regardless of what we claim we believe about the laws of math, we cannot live consistently without practically submitting ourselves to them. For this and many other reasons it is intellectually difficult to deny the absolute and universal nature of mathematics.

The same is true concerning the truth of Scripture. Scripture does not merely provide a few isolated, unrelated, and discounted truths; it gives us the only complete and cohesive worldview that provides meaning and rationale to the universe. In other words, without the Bible, nothing makes sense in the grand scheme of things. As the Psalmist says, “In your light we see light” (Ps. 36:9).

Yet, if the Bible provides us with the only cohesive system of thought, why is it so hated and rejected by so many? If it is impossible to disprove the truth claims of the Bible, why is it so despised and ridiculed by some of the brightest and smartest minds? Do you want to know the truth? The truth is that if people loved the truth, they wouldn’t reject the truth. The problem is not that the truth is irrational, but that fallen man is not without his personal biases and foolish pride. As we shall see in this chapter, people are selfish by nature, and their selfishness is the controlling influence in how they feel, think, and behave.

Man is Not Neutral

The Bible describes this as depravity. Depravity is an inner heart condition that prevents us from loving any truth that is in opposition to our internal desire to be independent, free, and self-governing. Because we are born depraved, with a fallen nature, we hate the God of the Bible. We may love a god of our own imagination – a god that we can control. This is because we naturally want to be in control of our own destiny. If we want to go to heaven, then we can work our way there. If we want to go to Hell and hang out with our drinking buddies, then that is what we will do. But to lovingly submit every detail of our lives, thoughts, and beliefs to the absolute, sovereign God is not enticing in the least.

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5 Signs Your Child Is Not Saved

Responsible Father

Most parents, pastors and theologians would agree that there is no easy way to determine if a child is saved. There’s no simple two question test.

But determining if a child is not saved – I think there are some useful indicators of that.

Five signs that your child is not saved:
(Obviously, there are exceptions to all of these.)

1. She can’t spell out the gospel
An eighteen year old will be more able than a four year old to explain the significant ideas in the gospel, but all saved children will be able to lay out the basics of the gospel in plain words.

2. He can’t explain how the gospel applies to him
Any demon can lay out the classic four points, but what does this child believe their situation was before they were saved? What has God done for them? What is God doing…

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Reforming The So-Called “Heart For God”

Polemics Report

There is an expression often used in our modern evangelical Churches,  which is “heart for God“.  It’s usually referenced in the context of someone who has a tender disposition, is spiritually sensitive, is sincerely devout, or worse case scenario- someone who just gets really emotional.

A typical use of the phrase would be “That man loves to worship. He really has a heart for God.” or “That woman volunteers to work the nursery all the time, she has such a heart for God.” In any Church body, anyone who has one of these hearts, especially a man, is a hot commodity and is highly valued. I don’t have a problem with people using that expression or appreciating it, beacuse these are fruits of the spirit that we ought to strive for as we become conformed to the image of Christ, but did you ever notice that while that…

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Apologetics Tactics: The Unger Move

The Domain for Truth

Marines demonstrate Corps tactics, principles

Introduction and an Illustration

Before I develop the point of my post on apologetics’ tactics, let me begin with a physical illustration (pun intended).  Before I was a Pastor I’ve spent some time around men who are incredible warriors and fighters (although I’m not really a physical fighter myself ).  The US Marines have a saying: “One mind, one weapon.”    You will be amazed at how good fighters put quite a bit of thought into their training and actual fighting–and one man I know described it excitedly as a game of chest in light of your opponent’s intelligence and ability.  Serious fighters realize that training someone to be a skillful fighter is more than memorization of a few move–it involves the whole mind, a mind that wisely know which moves to employ at any given situation; and at times, the wisdom of not doing anything.  Although I stress the mind, that is…

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