Monday, October 25, 2010

Vanity, Vanity but it hurts so good

This morning I had a great workout and I am realizing that Sartell is an athletic community. There were tons of young people working out like mad men and women who had bigger biceps than me (not saying much). After the workout, my body hurts, but it is a good kind of pain. The pain that tells you that you are doing what is right for your body and you actually feel better for inflicting it on yourself.

During my workout, the words of Ecclesiastes struck a cord in my heart, "Vanity, Vanity, everything is vanity." Working out can tend to be a big dark hole. I have been there, throughout college and into Seminary, I worked out all the time and not once did someone say to me, "Wow, those are huge biceps, a nice six pack, or that is a lot of weight you lift." The reality is that God has given me a body that will never be a David statue and most people believe they do. On top of that, we think that if we had the perfect body, then we will be happy. However, how many actors, athletes, and others have perfect bodies, BUT are depressed.

It has once again proven to me that our goal as Christians is to find our comfort and hope first and foremost in the cross. Nothing else will give full peace because we will never get there. And secondly, get to work, get to the gym, go for a run/walk/bike, eat a few salads, not so much soda (whoops), and get to bed early. Use the redeemed body accordingly and to His glory.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The new compact Lutheran Study Bible...check it out

The new compact study Bible will help me feel like I can read it all quicker now... Check it out

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

What happens when babies die before baptism?

I recently visited a family who lost twins at 20 weeks after conception. It was probably the hardest visit I have ever done. What made it even harder was that it was family. The positive part of the experience was that the babies were baptized during their 40 minutes alive and their tiny foreheads had the mark of Christ.

Yet, what happens when babies are stillborn, miscarried, or even worse, aborted? These are tough situations and ones that we do not have a direct answer from Matthew 29 :-(. Here are the basics that we know from Scripture:

1) All of us are born and conceived sinful (Psalm 51:5) and have no hope unless God intervenes.
2) God intervenes by the power of the Holy Spirit to change our hearts and gives us faith (I Corinthians 12:3)
3) God uses baptism as a physical tool to give faith for regeneration and the work of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38, I Peter 3:21)

What this means is that our hope is always on God and His work. When a child is baptized after birth, we have the physical reminder that God has worked through it. So get the children baptized ASAP. Yet, when a child dies before baptism, we depend on God being with children in the womb (Luke 1:41) and loving all people through the blood of Christ. That is all we know and can trust in at that point.

May we remember our baptisms and trust in God's grace to the situations that are not quite so clear. Lord have mercy.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Can a Christian watch Ellen or Oprah?

I can see the argument already, since I have been in them, "You shouldn't watch Ellen or Oprah"one person remarks and then the avid watcher says, "It isn' that bad, heck I watch it every day and I'm fine." The ironic statement is that we all assume we are fine when we all have many flaws.

This is a good question, "Can a Christian watch Ellen or Oprah and be unaffected by their ideology?" First of all, one has to rephrase the question to "Should." We all can do things and we are free in the Gospel, but the true question is should we. Let's first of all go down the list of concerns when people watch either show religiously:

1) Both women are avid promoters of deism (There is a god or gods out there). Many people mix them up as Christian due to references they occasionally use. This is more of an Oprah issue than Ellen.

2) Both women do not promote family, if anything they promote everything but family. Oprah has been an advocate to not get married because of monetary and feminist ideals. Unfortunately, many could be led to think that marriage does not bring joy. Ellen, well, two women is enough said when it comes to marriage.

3) Both women are very nice. That might seem weird to say, but since they are nice, funny, and dynamic. This can create a problem in that often we assume that nice people must be right because if they were wrong they would be evil and mean. In the post-modern world, how you say something is more important than what you say. One must discern what they say first, especially when they are so darn nice.

Now back to the question, "Should a Christian watch these shows?" Unfortunately, there is no real answer. If you are one that understands what we believe as Christians about God, morality, marriage, sexuality, and the like, then yes. Go ahead and watch these shows to understand what is going on in culture and think of the Christian worldview. I watch it from time to time to see what is going on, and I have to watch my tendency to like what my itching ears want to hear. However, if you are one that questions these things, struggle with a biblical worldview, and feel yourself leaning away from Christian ideas, then these shows are the LAST place to go. Go to the Bible, talk to your pastor or trusted Christian friends, and dig deeper.