Tag Archives: murder

R.E.M. Was Right

“It’s the end of the world a we know it…” But I don’t feel fine.

Our world seems to be crumbling all around us. Media shows us atrocities daily stemming from numerous causes. As we watch these things happen, and experience these horrors either firsthand, or through a loved one, we can’t help but feel somewhat hopeless.

But why are all these things happening?

Some want to blame this, that, and the other. Others want to avoid the question altogether. But few are really speaking into the reason for the tragedies we are witnessing daily.

Our world wants nothing to do with God and the hope He offers.

FORGETTING THE PAST

60 years ago, Christianity was thriving. Churches were growing, but it was the beginning of the era of decline for the church. As people began experimenting with the New Age movement during the Hippy Era, and some traded religion for science, skepticism set into our culture, and the church did nothing.

It was easy for the church to do so. She had been the primary influencer in nearly all of society for ages. This understanding allowed people to believe that culture would convert their friends and family. In the USA, Christianity had been a primary influence even in government.

So, when times changed, instead of renewing the vigor for evangelism, the church simply watched. It wasn’t everyone in the church, but it was the majority, and that was enough to begin the decline.

IGNORING THE PROBLEM

Instead of reaching out to the lost with love and grace, the church fought against one another, striving to declare each sect the “right” sect – forgetting that sectarianism (division) is expressly condemned by the scriptures. The church was busy blaming one another as the masses began to leave. Fed up with the hypocrisy of “I’m right, and you’re wrong”, the world turned against the church. And, in turn, it turned against God.

However, instead of identifying the lack of God and His principles in society, everyone continued to blame one another or blame things. We blame God, Satan, video games, guns, science, illegal immigrants, other denominations, other religions, other races, politicians, and many more. The list goes on and on. But we don’t blame free will. We don’t dare take any of the responsibility, either. That would mean we would have to change – if we were the problem.

In the age of the apathy of the church, she began to atrophy.

No longer is the average Christian evangelistic. This has been the case for a long while. Shortly after the church was established, the church allowed the government to be the great evangelist through a partnership of the church with the state. As time went by, we assumed people inherently believed in God because of the cultural influence of the church, so we waited for the preachers to do the evangelism. All the while, we got fat with teaching from those same preachers.

When you eat and eat and eat, but you never exercise, you become fat through your laziness. This is the nature of the church. She, her members, want the preachers to preach and teach and evangelize; all the while the masses in her ranks can feel comfort and connection with God through education and emotional experiences once a week (three times if you’re “devout”). Where is all the action of the church like we read about in the book of Acts?!

FACING THE FUTURE

If the church (THAT MEANS YOU) doesn’t return to her calling according to Jesus in the scriptures, she will die. Sure, God can keep a remnant, like He has done for thousands of years, but should we really hope for that?

Shouldn’t we rather get out of our doors? Shouldn’t we discover how to use this wealth of knowledge that is imparted to us every week? Shouldn’t we return to the mission of the first church – the Kingdom of God and it’s expansion through love?

How many people have you brought to Christ? I’m not talking about inviting people to church. I’m talking about actually sharing the good news of Jesus with someone.

SEEKING HELP

You know what? If you went to your preacher, or some other evangelistic leader in your church, and asked them how to share the gospel with your friends, I think you would find them more than willing to spend one-on-one time training you in the ways of evangelism. But that’s going to require you to do uncomfortable things and spend valuable time on others. Is that any less than what Jesus has already done for you?

Do you want to change the direction of this world? This change begins with you finding one person who is willing to listen to how love, through Christ, can change their heart.

Immorality is a choice made from free-will. It is sin. It is not the will of God, and it doesn’t have to rule us or our friends. But until someone is given the choice, how can they begin anew?

Romans 10:14-15
How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!”

A Boy’s Favorite Bible Story

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One of my favorite stories in the bible is the story of Ehud the “judge” of Israel. You can find the story in Judges 3.

Israel had turned away from God, so He allowed them to be taken captive by Elgon, king of Moab. The Israelites didn’t like that very much, and they cried out to Jehovah to deliver them from this new oppression. By the way, the book of Judges is all about people getting comfortable and turning away from God. Then God allows them to be oppressed, so they cry out to Him. Then He delivers them, and the cycle starts over again.

God did send a deliverer, Ehud. Ehud was a left-handed man from the tribe of Benjamin, a tribe that was known for its warriors in the bible. Ehud had made a double edged dagger about 18 inches long that he strapped to his right thigh under his clothing.

The Israelites decided to send Ehud to the king with a tribute from the nation. Upon arriving at their destination, they paid tribute to the king, and Ehud sent the men away who carried the tribute for him. Ehud began to walk out and had just gotten past the statues of the Moabite gods when he turned back and said he had a secret message for the king.

The king sent out everyone from the room and Ehud approached the king to deliver his message from God. As Elgon stood to receive the message, Ehud reached in and grabbed his sword.

Now it is necessary to describe Elgon a bit. He was fat. The bible describes him as overly obese. This fact will play into this story in a minute.

Eduh grabbed the dagger and plunged it into the king’s belly. The blade came out his back, and because he was so fat the sword was lost in the king’s belly and Ehud couldn’t remove it.

Ehud then slipped out quietly and locked the door. The guards didn’t go in because they assumed the king was going to the bathroom. When they waited an embarrassingly long time to check on the king they decided to go in and found him dead. Ehud had gotten away scot free.

This event motivated the Israelites to rise up and take back their freedom, and with God’s help they did just that.

I know. This seems like a really strange story to be someone’s favorite, but I read this as a boy and was fascinated that the bible would put so much detail and have so much humor in this story. I was shocked that the bible would talk about the king being fat. I was grossed out by the description of the stabbing. I chuckled at the guards thinking the king was on the other “throne”. Remember, I was just a boy when I read this.

I’m telling you the story now because I want you to see the color that is in the scriptures. So many people treat the bible like its some bland book of rules and regulations, but it is so much more! It is full of stories with excitement and humor. There is much sarcasm and laughter. There is weeping and comfort. Every emotion can be found there in the scriptures.

I read “The Hunger Games” in about a week – all three books. I was enthralled by the story. When was the last time you felt that way about the scriptures? How long has it been since you responded to a story from the bible with that sense of awe and wonder that a child has when hearing the story of Jonah for the first time?

Last week I wrote about the need for all of us to have a secure foundation of the scriptures in our lives. I hope that this week you can see just how vibrant and alive and entertaining and intense that collection of books truly is.

May you fall in love with scriptures once again – or maybe for the first time. Pick them up and read. Put yourself in the stories and watch them come alive. Listen to the messages God is trying to tell you therein. Once you meet God there, you will have a grander vision for meeting God in other places in your life.

These are not mere stories; they are history. They are true, and archaeology proves that a little more and more each year. But even though this is a historical book, it is not dull, and you can find yourself in so many stories as the characters are just like you and me.

Let’s get back to the bible. Let’s be excited once again about the Word of God.

If you’d like to talk more about this feel free to email me at jddobbs@verizon.net or comment on this article on my blog at http://www.mrdobbs.org. You can also call me at the office at 979-245-1611 extension 103. God bless you as His Word fills your heart!


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