Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Robin Williams and Other Lost Talent

By: Adam McClendon

Adam is the Lead Pastor at Springhill Church and the Director of New Line Ministries.

Robin Williams’ death was truly a tragic loss.  His talent and personality proved to lift spirits and brighten lives all over the world.  He was truly unique, and yet, in the wake of his death, I’m concerned about a greater loss of talent that happens every day through abortion.

It is estimated that there are 1.2 million abortions in America each year.
This figure represents the loss of untold potential talent to include actors, comedians, scientist, athletes, etc.  And, while Robin Williams chose to take his own life, these lives are taken without their consent.

Those who feel that a “fetus” does not equate to human life simply because it is dependent upon its mother tread down a path with concerning implications (yes I understand there are other arguments as well, I’m just dealing with this one) ignoring the fact that many of these “fetuses” would survive if brought outside the womb.

For example, if being dependent upon another person for life necessitates the mere definition of life, then what about a baby after he or she is born.  Babies can’t feed themselves.  What about someone who is on blood pressure medicine?  “Wait!”  You may say, “That’s totally different.”  Why?  They are dependent upon someone else’s ability to produce a product in order for them to live.  Without that medicine, many of these people could not survive.

But, one may ask, “What’s the difference between us taking someone off of life support after an accident?”  Well, a couple of differences exist.  Consent is often provided in a living will or there is reasonable assurance that the wounded person may not get better or there will be a significant decrease in their quality of life.  For the abortions performed in this country, that qualification does not generally seem to be met.

So, it is appropriate for us to grieve the death of Robin Williams.  It is tragic, but let us not forget a greater tragedy carried out daily in this country where our future talent is silenced before they’ve had an opportunity to perform.

They too will be missed.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The Cross, the Gospel, & Christ

By: Pastor Brian G. Najapfour

As a technical term, the word cross has a deeper meaning. It represents the gospel of Christ, particularly His atoning death. In fact, sometimes the word cross and the word Christ are used indistinguishably. For example, Paul says in Galatians 6:14, “But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Now you might say to Paul, “Remember it is not about the cross but about Him on the cross. Don’t boast in the cross but in Christ.” What do you think Paul would say to you? He might say, “I know that. But you seem to have missed my point. I am using the word cross here metonymically.” It is helpful to understand that in Paul’s mind to glory in the cross and to glory in the Lord Jesus Christ are equivalent in meaning. Why? Well, because Paul also writes in 1 Corinthians 1:31, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”     

Observe also that for Paul the preaching of the cross and the preaching of the gospel are one. In 1 Corinthians 1:18 we read, “For the word [or the preaching] of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” According to this verse, the cross is “the power of God,” and according to Romans 1:16, the gospel is “the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes.”  Hence, here the cross and the gospel are the same in this context.  

What is the gospel? Interestingly, in Mark 1:15 Jesus speaks, “[R]epent and believe in the gospel” and you will be saved. Then when the Philippian Jailer asked Paul and Silas, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved…” (Acts 16:30-31). Notice that Paul and Silas did not say, “Believe in the gospel,” but instead “Believe in the Lord Jesus.” Note also that Jesus says, “[B]elieve in the gospel,” and not “believe in me.” Here then we see that the gospel and Jesus Christ are essentially synonymous. The gospel is Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is the gospel.   

Here’s the key: in the Bible the terms cross, gospel, and Christ are sometimes used interchangeably.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Psalm 48:9

By: Adam McClendon

The following is a poem written out of a meditation on Psalm 48:9.  Enjoy.

Psalm 48:9
"Within your temple, O God,
we meditate on your unfailing love."

Acknowledging Your Presence, I enter in

Despite myself, my life, my sin

Humbly with my face bent down

You place on me Your royal crown

For as Your son, You let me in

To meet with You as son and friend

I sit and think while in this state

To listen in silence to meditate

Upon your love which will not fail

Despite my efforts which seems so frail

Your love lasts, it outlasts time

It covers and floods this soul of mine

Your care, Your touch carry it

To my life which seems unfit

Despite my state You act in love

To set my eyes on You above

It’s for Your glory and my best

You pull me close upon your chest

Discipline and mercy are loving grace

To set my feet firm in their place

So You in me and I in You

Until this world I bid adieu

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Gates of Glory

By: Adam McClendon

Psalm 23:6: Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

David is not rushing to get home, but by the way he ends this Psalm, it also becomes apparent that he realizes the ultimate experience lies beyond this world.  God’s ultimate provision, God’s ultimate satisfaction will not be experienced until David dwells securely in the presence of the almighty in heaven.

In other words, he proclaims that the glories of this earth cannot compare with the gates of glory.  Despite all his confidence in God’s providential care in this life, David’s ultimate desire is to dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

As we work on this perspective, two important thoughts need to be highlighted:

1. The world is insufficient: Something better awaits.  The best this world offers is incomplete.

This world was does not satisfy.  The world is not sufficient.  Something better is needed and something better awaits.

Much of the pain and misery, much of the disappointment and emptiness we experience seems to come from the looking to gain from this world, what can only be gain in the world to come.

We want eternal comfort now, but we are not yet home. 

2.   God has a place for all his sheep.

David is picking up on the idea that there is an eternal home in which David, along with all of God’s sheep, will enjoy peacefully dwelling in the presence of the Most High forever.

Notice here that we will not experience the fullness of God refreshment until heaven.  It is there that God’s path of righteousness ultimately leads.  That’s why the Psalmist ends with a declaration concerning the house of the Lord, which is his dwelling place in heaven.

Just think.  For the believer in Christ, (gospel) for you who have trusted in Christ’s death and resurrection as the payment for your sin penalty, you have an eternal home where you can dwell securely in the presence of God forever.
* No more sneezing, because no allergies there
* No more debt
* No more speeding tickets
* No more indigestion
* No more back pain
* No more dialysis
* No more chemotherapy
* No more anxiety
* No more temptation
* No more cooking burns
* No more orphans
* No more AIDS
* No more hunger
* No more kidnappings or murder
* No more road rage
* No more oil spills
* No more lonely nights
* No more hectic mornings
* No more regret the morning after
* No more guilt
* No more relationship conflict (broken engagements, angry in-laws, upset spouse)

David then ends his beautiful song reminding us that: the glories of this world cannot compare with the gates of glory.  I hope to see you there.