Thursday, December 19, 2013

Phil Robertson and Duck Dynasty:

I decided to write a blog on the hot topic of the day - Phil Robertson.  For those of you that do not know, Phil Robertson is a television star on the show Duck Dynasty.  He was suspended indefinitely by A & E for recent comments that he made in an interview with GQ magazine.  The comments under discussion have to do with his beliefs about homosexuality.  I am not going to go into direct quotes here, however, what I will say is that Robertson is a Bible-believing Christian.  He indirectly quotes 1st Corinthians 6:9-10 in his comments and believes what the Bible teaches concerning sin - which is this - sin separates us from God.  If we live in unrepentant sin we will be condemned.  Homosexuality is sinful according to the Scripture - intrinsically so.  Now, Robertson expressed his opinion colorfully, to say the least.  However, what he said was not outside the realm of reason.  Homosexuals [specifically within his comments male homosexuals], must use body parts for reasons other than for their created use.  He makes it clear that Homosexuality is opposite the natural order of things.

To me, this is downright plain.  However, to the secular world in which we live, this is terribly offensive.  Therefore, A & E dismissed Robertson indefinitely.

Now, before I go further, I would like to highlight one error that people are making.  I do not believe this to be a 1st Amendment problem.  Here is the text of the 1st Amenmdnet - "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."  Please notice the first word in the Amendment - Congress.  Congress is the federal legislative branch of government.  The 1st amendment prohibits the activity of Congress.  Congress, nor any branch of the Federal Government, has taken any action against Phil Robertson to this point; an independently free enterprise agency - the television station A & E, has taken action.  According to the Constitution they can suspend whomever they wish.  Phil expressed his views - and A&E has expressed theirs.  No governmental problem here. [Though of course I believe A&E has made a poor business, moral, and financial decision - but it is theirs to make]

The real issue is that we as Christians have got to understand something - our country is becoming militantly secular in education, governance, and pop-culture.  Anything that offends the sensibilities of this powerfully secular elite will be dealt with harshly.  We must understand this.  As Christians this is the 1st step - understand that we are, "aliens and strangers" in this world.  This is not our home - heaven is; and this place will react violently to Christian viewpoint.  If Satan is the, "prince and power of the air" than he will attempt to intimidate, thwart, and stop any truth from being spoken.  Jesus Himself makes this clear when He says in Matthew 5:11-12, "Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you."  Remember something - Our Savior was killed, 10 of the 11 Apostles following the suicide of Judas were martyred, John was exiled, and the Apostle Paul was martyred.  History is filled with accounts of a hostile world persecuting Christians.  Jesus said this would happen.  Sadly, we are seeing but the beginnings of this in our country; and make no mistake - I believe this is only the beginning. 

Our country enjoyed many years of prosperity based upon a foundation in a Biblical worldview.  This is simply no longer the case.  We must gird our loins for this is simply the beginning of birth pangs.  The question now is, "how do we respond?"  I believe we ought to make our voice heard.  Yes, write A&E.  Yes, voice your opinion.  However, more than this, tell other people about Jesus Christ.  I cannot stress this enough.  Getting in big fights about homosexuality saves no one.  This is not to say that we should hide our view - but remember the issue is not really homosexuality.  The issue is Christianity.  Christianity teaches us to repent of our sin [and yes, to be clear, homosexuality is intrinsically sinful] and embrace the forgiveness given by God in Christ.  If you really want to have an impact on how our culture views Christians and the Christian viewpoint, then you must introduce them to Jesus.  Will some of the culture react cruelly?  Yes.  Will some try and silence you?  Yes.  Should that stop you?  No.  Speak the truth in love.  Do not be ashamed of the Gospel, for it is the power of God.  

I personally know people who have lived the homosexual lifestyle, repent and believe the good news of God, and now embrace heterosexuality.  I know others who recognize their desires to be sinful and are battling them through God's power.  I pray for them as I pray for others who struggle with any form of lust. [including heterosexual lust].  The key here though is to make Jesus the tip of our sword - for it is Jesus who will change lives - and this culture.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013


#36 Fatherhood

This is a post that if I am not careful may sound self-serving.  Please know that my intent is not in that vein.  This post is intended to speak to the state of fatherhood in our community - and is intended to wake us dads up to our God-given responsibility, and joy, in being a father.

Tonight my beloved wife was given a birthday gift by her brother.  Both she and her brother went to a Washington Nationals baseball game.  At the time of this writing they are still enjoying the game [Go Nats!].  However, this break for my wife gave me an opportunity to be with my children and spend precious daddy-daughter time together.  I took my youngest two children to PetSmart [I needed to pick up fish tank equipment and it gave me an opportunity to show them the other fish, hamsters, birds, and guinea pigs] and then out to dinner at the local Mexican restaurant.  It was a good night together with two of my children. [Though I did miss my oldest Olivia] 

Now, something happened tonight that has occurred on other occasions, but tonight it simply hit me in a different way and I felt compelled to write.  I was eating with the twins and we finished having dinner.  We occupied one booth and three lovely ladies occupied the booth behind the one we were using.  Faith sat with me and Hope sat opposite me [for those who do not know Faith and Hope are the names of my 2 year old twin daughters.]  As is the custom my girls ate, spilled some rice, and bounced around.  Nothing bad - just silly-hearted two year old stuff.

Right before we were to leave the booth Faith stood up and began talking to the ladies behind me.  She was just saying things like, "you eating....I eating like your rice?  I eat my rice too..."  and things akin to this.  I did not know whether this was annoying to the lady behind me so I asked Faith to stop.  The woman assured me that this was cute and was not a bother.  We then got ready to leave.  The three ladies in the booth then commented along these lines, "we were just talking about how good of a dad you are to take your daughters out to's so nice!"  I received similar comments as I took the kids to Petsmart from ladies at the store there.

Now, I want to be clear - this is NOT a post about how I am some kind of, "good" dad.  This IS a post about the state of our culture whereby simply having a father take his kids to the store and out to eat is somehow evidence that I am a good dad.  The question arises in my mind, "how bad has our culture gotten whereby simple acts - shopping alone with children, feeding them, and watching them - somehow now solicits comments from women about how good I am.  I doubt highly [I could be wrong] that mothers who take their kids out to eat get similar comments.  Maybe they do and I am simply way off base.  I've been known to be wrong before.....:)

This does however make me think something.  Fathers, in many cases, have completely abdicated responsibility for their children.  Have you ever noticed that when a dad watches his children he is, "babysitting"?  How did we get there?  Do not fathers have the same level of responsibility over their children as mothers?  Of course they do. They were there at their conception.  They were there in the making.  They too share the responsibility.  It is just that simple. 

Now, I want to make something clear.  I am not picking on these particular comments at all; on the contrary, to have strangers tell me my children are cute and give compliments is very nice - and I enjoy them.  I too think my children are cute :)  However, this has happened on many occasions - and it often happens when I am alone with my three children at a grocery store, a restaurant, just so happens that tonight I only had two of my three kids with me.  But this was not an isolated event.  It happens often when I am alone with my children in public. 

Now to the point.  Dads - we have responsibility for our kids.  Take it.  We need to spend time with them - and yes, we need to spend some time with them alone.  We need to teach our sons how to be men - and we need to teach our daughters what a godly man looks like and how he ought to act.  We need to change diapers, discipline, play games, and rough house.  We offer something to our children that a mother cannot - because she is a mother.  Men, you have tremendous value in the sight of God.  My goodness, have we missed the fact that we are given the title that God has given us to call Him - the title of FATHER.  This is a tremendous responsibility - and joy.

My children want mommy with them all the time.  They absolutely adore mommy.  She is a good mommy.  However, my children do not cry when mommy leaves for a night.  Why?  Because they are comfortable and used to daddy.  They know that daddy will care for them.  I too can put the twins to sleep.  I too can pray with my children and talk to my oldest at night and tuck her in.  I too can sing to them.

I have a beautiful wife who is a wonderful mother.  I do not want her job.  It is tough.  And I rejoice that she is able to spend some much needed time with her family.  This does not freak me out.  Dads - there is a special joy when your children sit on your lap, put their head against your chest and say, "daddy...hold me."  It gives me but a small taste of how God must feel when I wrap myself in His Word and pray to Him - I too often say to Him, "daddy....hold me."

Dads - take the time.  Play with your kids.  Be involved.  It is worth it.  I promise you - it is worth it.  I often joke about my kids - but in reality I would not change anything for the world.  I really would not.  Drop the video game controller.  Drop the TV controller.  Drop the internet for some time.  Spend the time with your kids.  Play hide and seek.  Listen to them laugh.  It is good medicine.

This is just a post about changing our culture.  Dads, be dads.  Be involved.  Our heavenly Father is involved in our life.  He did not simply create us and then leave us.  He is always there, listening, disciplining, forgiving, and leading.  Let us take a cue from Him and be the fathers He calls us to be.  yes, you will screw up.  I do too.  We all do.  But He forgives us.  He picks us up and tells us to go again.

I am happy to be a dad.

God bless,

Pastor Chris

Monday, March 11, 2013


As of this writing I am sitting in a hotel room in India.  It is 1pm and we are about to go out at 2pm to meet a woman in a village who was duped into selling her land to a fraudulent crook that took advantage of her because she could not read.  She lost everything.  However, she did begin to take literacy classes through Mission India, and through those classes was introduced to Jesus Christ and received eternal salvation.  Praise God!

Earlier in the trip we met a pastor who is working in a very hostile location.  He was a day laborer working for less than a dollar a day; and for a hobby he would create and sell village liquor.  However, God intervened in a dramatic way and this man was brought to saving faith in Jesus Christ.  He began a church in a hostile location.  I met seventy converts of the church - all people that had to travel to a remote location to be baptized because if it was found out that they were converted they would face serious persecution.  

These are not strange or unique stories in India; they are common stories of persecution and suffering that is found in this place.  And what this gets me to in this blog is this - I need to be more thankful.  A lot more thankful.  

You see, I grew up in a home with a mother and father that loved me.  I grew up in a home where my mother took me to church regularly, taught me the Bible and the importance of Jesus Christ, and I never doubted His love.  I went to school early, was taught basic skills, lived in an environment where education was possible, and took advantage of those educational opportunities.  I went to college, went to graduate school, and have become a pastor.  I am a pastor in a country where we can freely gather together and worship Jesus Christ according to the dictates of our conscience.  And while I definitely agree that a time will come in our own country where worshipping Jesus becomes much more secularly hostile, we are not truly there yet.  

Just as a side note about the blessings most of us have, I was talking with the producer of the video project that we are shooting here and he gave me a scenario.  When you and I experience trouble in our country, we call the police and we are thankful when the police come.  When someone is ill we call the ambulance and the ambulance comes.  We are taken to a hospital and people treat us - regardless of our race or religion or gender.  Say what you want about our police force - but when push comes to shove [literally] I am very thankful when I see a police officer. 

Imagine growing up in an area where the police are so corrupt that if you are physically harmed you don't even think to call them; and if they come they side with your abuser?  Imagine a place where true medical care is simply not available.  Imagine living in a place where your simple devotion to Jesus can cause physical harm.  I do not think we can.  When I see it, it is still difficult to believe.  

Which again leads me to be thankful.  I do not think we realize the tremendous blessing we have to gather together once or twice a week, hear the Gospel, receive the Sacraments, recite the Creed, and have a true knowledge of the nature of God.  We are preparing for eternity in those moments.  Many people cannot even think far enough ahead to prepare for retirement - let alone prepare for eternity.  And yet, if you are attending a Bible believing church where the Law and Gospel are clearly presented - you are preparing for eternity.  And we are able to do it freely without fear.  Amazing.  

This blog is simply written to remind us in America - myself especially - how thankful we should be.  Thank God for His Word.  Thank God for His church.  Thank God that we live in an orderly country where we have protections.  I truly thank God.  

This is not written to say that everything in America is grand.  It is not.  However, when you visit a place that is not America and does not have the protections afforded Americans, you see at once the glaring difference - and you take a moment to thank God for where you are.  

Now, one last thought.  What did I do to deserve to grow up in a loving home, with loving parents, with a Biblical church background, with educational opportunities, in a country with afforded protections, etc....?  Absolutely nothing.  Which also reminds me that to whom much is given - much is required.  That terrifies me.  I can do more.  I can give more.  I can be more.  Lord, help me to be that which you call me to be.  Amen.