Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Where Are You Looking?

The other day, I re-Tweeted a post from the pastor of a large area church, who was sharing his excitement and burden to share the message that the Holy Spirit had given him for Sunday morning. I have heard him preach several times, know several members of his church and see him to be a very godly and energetic preacher of the Word.

About an hour later, I saw a notification in my Interactions feed that he was now following me!

Let's be honest for a moment. On Twitter, everyone WANTS followers. Some pay for them, some follow others just to be followed back, and some just take whomever decides to follow. But seeing "@ChrchCurmudgeon and 6 others followed you" will put a smile on your face! Especially when it's someone like the pastor I mentioned.

However, that still, small voice whispered into my heart "Are you more excited about him following you, or are you more excited about you following ME?" #OUCH

Jesus didn't tell Peter and Andrew "Come, follow each other, and you will become fishers of men." He said "follow ME, and I will make you fishers of men."

Now, I'm not cancelling my Twitter account, or suggesting that anyone else should. My point is simply this: Our greatest passion and excitement should and must come from the fact that the Creator of the universe has invited us to personally follow HIM.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Do You Treat The Bible Like Twitter?

I have a decent presence on Twitter, and receive interaction notifications almost every day. They typically say something like "@FairICBaptist followed you" or "@BackRowBaptist favorited one of your Tweets".

In case you are not on Twitter, when you see a Tweet that you like, you can "favorite" it so that you can find it again easily. It could be compared to bookmarking a verse in your Bible, so that you can read it again in the future. Psalm 119:11 tells us "Your word I have treasured in my heart, that I may not sin against You."

However, there is another option when you find a great Tweet. You can Re-Tweet it to YOUR followers. That is, you have a different circle of influence than the person who originally made the statement. The only way someone may hear that wisdom (or joke) is if you share it with them. Reading the Bible is the exact same. You may be the only way that your co-workers, neighbors or friends ever get biblical wisdom poured into their lives.

There are multiple verses that state this, but one of my favorites is my life-verse, Ezra 7:10 "For Ezra had set his heart to study the law of the LORD and to practice it, and to teach His statutes and ordinances in Israel." In Psalm 51:13, David tells us "Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, and sinners will be converted to You."

So, are you being selfish with God's word, or are you sharing it? Remember, you may be the messenger God desires to use to speak Truth into someone's life.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Do you recognize His voice?

I have played bass guitar on and off since I was about 16. My step-father plays and got me hooked on the instrument. When I was single and in college, music was a major part of my life. I ran around with a local band, went to many, many concerts, and bought a new cassette or CD weekly.

My personal practice time was a large part of my daily routine. I had one of the old-style weighted metronomes like you see piano teachers use on TV or the movies. I would set the timing at 60 beats per minute and play scales. I would start at the top of the neck, play the scale forward, then play it in reverse until I came back to the root note. If I muted or missed a note, I would replay that scale until I got it right. Then, I'd move my hand down one fret and play the scale again. I repeated this process until I reached the bottom of the neck. At that point, I began moving back up the neck until I reached the top.

I then moved the metronome speed up one click to 64 BPM and repeated the entire process.

I then moved the metronome speed up one click to 72 BPM and repeated the entire process.

I then moved the metronome speed up one click to 76 BPM and repeated the entire process.

I continued this process until I reached the point at which I could not consistently play the notes properly and accurately.

This training exercise benefited me in three major ways. First, it forced me to work on my technique, so that I played the easy, slow notes with the same precision and skill as the harder, faster notes in a song. Second, the hours and hours of practice put callouses on my fingers that actually helped me play better.

The greatest benefit, however, was that I learned to identify individual notes by simply hearing them. Pick any note on the musical scale, and there are eight different ways to play them on a four string bass, if the neck is fretted to two octaves. An open E string, an E played on the 7th fret of the A string, an E played on the 2nd fret of the D string and an E played on the 9th fret of the G string all have a different feel. They are all the same note, but like shades of a primary color, they are clearly different to someone who spends time interacting with them.

While I don't read music, I could listen to a song on the radio and instantly pick up my bass and play along. I knew the sound of the bass guitar, and could also discern when a certain Canadian bassist was using foot pedals instead of playing his bass so that he could play keyboards with his hands. They sound close, but they are not the same.

Jesus talked about this too. In John 10:27, He says "MY sheep hear MY voice, and I know them, and they follow ME."

A Christian must spend time in prayer and in the Bible developing callouses. Learning to perfect our technique of relying on Christ and His Word as we interact with the world. And above all, learning to know HIS voice. False teachers, ear-ticklers and feel-good profits are everywhere, claiming to speak the Gospel.

We must know the difference, not only for our own benefit, but you cannot accurately point someone else to Jesus, if you are listening to an imitation.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Appropriate dress for a Christian woman

First of all, if you are not a Christian, you probably don't want to read this post. You won't understand the foundation from whence it proceeds. Additionally, hateful rants from non-Christians will be deleted. Respectful discussion from all is welcomed. Before you read this post, you might want to read my post to men The Christian Man's Guide To Viewing Pornography.

Imagine going with your alcoholic brother to an AA meeting...and you take a six pack of beer. Your logic? Well, HE has the drinking problem, not me. Likewise, imagine going to a Gamblers Anonymous with your sister...and betting on and following the track results on your smart phone. Both ideas are ludicrous, right? Why then, do Christian women dress in a revealing manner, firstly in public, but more importantly, at worship services?

Could it be that women do not understand the nature, depth and power of men's struggle with sexual sin? Or might it simply be a casual indifference to the struggle of others based upon their own sense of importance and personal rights?

Ladies, let me be plainspoken about men and sexual sin. Every man is tempted by sexual sin. Not a few, not some, not most. EVERY man is tempted. But not every man wrestles with sexual sin. A lot of men not only give in, they relish in sexual sin. Additionally, men who aren't Christians don't even VIEW sexual sin as sexual sin. But what does the Bible say about sexual sin? "But sexual immorality and any impurity or greed should not even be heard of among you, as is proper for saints" Ephesians 5:3 Okay, that's what Paul told the Ephesians, but what did Jesus say? In Matthew 5:28, He said "But I tell you, everyone who looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart."

Possibly, you have heard it said that men are visually stimulated? It's the absolute truth. We are not only visually stimulated, we are virtual recorders. Lean forward in front of a man so that your blouse fall open. CLICK! He just took a mental photograph of you. Wear a skirt with a high hem line or one with a slit all the way up the leg. Walk by a man. CLICK! He just took a mental photograph of you. Wear a pair of pants so tight that someone can tell if the quarter in your back pocket is heads or tails. CLICK! Ladies, I'm sure you'd be shocked at how many times you are "captured" throughout your day.

I am sure there are some reading this who are thinking "Well, that's HIS problem. That's HIS sin. I have the right to dress however I feel like dressing. I have the right to feel good about myself, and dressing like this makes me feel good!" Parallel to earlier, what did Paul say? He told the Corinthians "Or do you know know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body" What did Jesus say about causing others to stumble? "Whoever causes on of these little ones who believe to stumble, it would be better for him if, with a heavy millstone hung around his neck, he had been cast into the sea" Mark 9:42

Scripture is clear: it is a man's fault and responsibility if he commits lusts after a woman.

Scripture is clear: if a woman dresses in a way that leads her brother in Christ to sin, it is her fault and responsibility. Her sin has been ADDED to his, it does not negate or excuse his sin.

My sisters, PLEASE become aware of how your choice of dress affects your brothers. I'm not advocating burkas! But, your wardrobe choices should begin with the question "Does this honor and glorify God" and end with the question "Will this cause my brother to stumble?"

One of the Christian women that has dealt with this issue is Nancy Leigh DeMoss. Her interview with Leslie Basham in June of 2005 is a great read.