Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Medicated Behavior

For those who think medication is the best way to change your behavior, check this out. Don't forget to follow the links to other articles on psychotropic medications.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Pot and Salvation

Pastor Mike,

Introducing The Missoula Project, a PCA church planting approach in Missoula, Montana. Have you ever thought about having a beer with Jesus? Shocked? That's nothing. In one of his posts, church planter Ryan Sutherland says, "there is a very real sense where it doesn't matter one whit whether or not you are smoking pot. The only thing that matters is this: Do you have Christ as your big brother?"

Have you heard about this new approach to church planting? And no, I am not against drinking in moderation.


Wondering Bill

Click here: The Missoula Project

Hi Wondering,

We have a church plant in Missoula, but they aren't nearly as hip as these folks. It reminds me of the "relevant" church leaders in the early 70's. When youth pastors grew their hair long and learned to play guitars so they could be “with it” for the young wannabe hippies in their congregations. It is also a lot like the Calvary Chapel movement, only in our generation.

God uses all our silliness to increase his kingdom; and who knows, maybe it will be a great boon to the kingdom in Missoula. I'm for rejoicing over anything that brings honor to God.

I don't think I would do it this way, but I've tried to start a couple of churches and neither one made it. So, I guess I'm not really an expert in how to start a church. I do wonder where these folks would put the antithesis between Christianity and non-Christianity. They are trying so hard to be liked by the non-Christians that it might be hard to stop the slide into acting like the non-Christians.

As for the quote, there were a lot of things in the post that I thought were immature, but much that was very true and insightful. The quote itself was in one of the insightful and helpful sections. There is a sense in which Jesus is our big brother (Heb. 2:11-13) and it is in this same context that Joe pastor was using the term. It sounded pretty irreverent in the blog post, but wasn't the point he was making the same point as the author to the Hebrews? Jesus went through all the same things we've gone through and thus he is able to set us free from the sin that binds us. He is our older brother and he's done it all before us so that we can know that it can be gone through.

With regard to smoking pot, I agree with a lot of what our brother has written. I don't think a Christian should ever smoke pot; in fact, I think it is sin for a Christian to smoke pot. But Joe pastor is correct when he says that smoking pot and not smoking pot have nothing to do with whether God is pleased with us before we come to Christ. If a guy smokes pot out of rebellion he is just as much in sin as the one who castigates smoking pot out of a rebellious self righteous heart. Both are in danger of Hell fire.

On the other hand, and this is something that was not all that clear in the post, after coming to Christ and being freed from the of sin, the Christian will not want to smoke pot because pot is an escape from life, not a celebration of life—not to mention that it is against the law. It kills joy; it doesn't give joy. So a Christian who smokes pot has a problem with being a Christian, but this is a very different thing than being saved.

That's what I think about that. I hope it helps.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Fear God

I mentioned, in the exhortation portion of the service, that fear holds a prominent place in all of our lives. And this is quite true. God condemns fearing the wrong things in this world, but God also commands us to fear—something that is good to fear—himself. We are to fear God.

There is a sense in which fearing God looks just like fearing things. For example when we fear things they te our thoughts and our lives; and when we fear God, He tes our thoughts and our lives. The things we fear control us and cause us to become like them. When we fear God, he controls us and we become like him. When we fear created things our lives change. When we fear God, our lives change.

You see God created us to fear—Him. He must be the center of our world, he must te our lives, he must control and be the one exalted above all else. He is God. We are supposed to fear him.

The difference in the two kinds of fear is that God is full of grace, kind, gentle, merciful, and abounding in love. When we fear God our fear turns to joyful, exuberant, glorious worship. He is our slave master, but he is a benevolent slave master, seeking ways to promote us and make us like his perfect Son Jesus Christ. The fear of ungodly things produces , angst, panic, all sorts of physical problems. But the fear of God produces trust, joy, peace and love—which casts out fear.

This meal we are arranged her to participate in is an act done out of fear for a holy and just God. But it is also a meal joined in out of love for that same merciful, grace filled, glorious God. Fearing God is loving God. It is setting aside our lives so that God will be all in all; wonderful in our estimation.

There is a lot going on in this meal, and one of those things is that we are participating in the family of God, the body of Christ as brothers and sister, members of one another. We are not acting like a family, like a body, we are a family and a body. This is where it starts and we take it out from here—loving and giving to one another in love.

Father, we are very grateful for your wonderful gift of love. We thank you that you allow us to come into your presence every week and worship you, and more, to join you in the meal you have set before us. We are indeed humbled and blessed. In Jesus’ great name we pray, amen.


Fear holds a prominent place in all our lives. In fact fear is so prevalent that we could say that people are, by nature, fearers. We all fear different things. Some of us fear different kinds of people (our father, our boss, people we don’t know), some various events (asking the boss for a raise, asking Susie to marry you) or possible events (What if the snow melts too fast? Or what if so and so is elected president?), or even non-events (What if I never get married? Or what if so and so isn’t elected president?). Some of us fear things we know are coming (that big test on Monday), some fear things we only think might come (Will I die alone or in pain?). Most of us get along just fine—balancing our fears with the duties of day to day life. Others of us, however, can barely function because of the overwhelming flood of fears and panic that sorely afflict us.

There are people in our society who make their living trying to help us deal with and manage our fears. These people have created a whole industry dedicated to categorize and institutionalize the various fears (called phobias) that people have. If you do a short search on the internet you can find lists of the various things people are afraid of. I found a list at one site that when printed out took up 12 pages. The kinds of things people fear range from a fear of spiders (arachnophobia) to heights (acrophobia), from fear of strangers (Xenophobia) to fear of school (Scolionophobia). There are even what we might call funny phobias: fear of air (anemophobia), or fear of the color Yellow (Xanthophobia). These are funny to us, but certainly not to those men and women whose lives are paralyzed by these and myriad other fears.

But God tells his people, and thus us, “not to fear” over 300 times in the Bible. He tells us that the things we fear te our lives and become our gods (Rom. 8:13), controlling and ordering our lives so that we don’t do what we truly ought to do. God says, “whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved” (2 Pet. 2:19). Because we don’t deal with the things we fear in a godly way, we end up worshipping them. And according to God’s word we actually become like them (Psa. 115). We trust the fear more than anything else we know. The fear god is a cruel task master. We are bound by fear to do whatever it takes to keep whatever we are afraid of from happening. And more, we think we can’t just give it up (“do not fear”) because it has become us. We have created a whole life around it; to give it up would mean giving up our whole life—and that’s a very scary thought.