Friday, October 31, 2008

Bible Study: Worried About Tuesday's Election?

Paul Meinsen, our state director in Missouri presented a good Bible Study for those who might be worried about the upcoming election.
From Paul's introduction:

"People are worried about next Tuesday. Regardless of what side of the aisle someone may be on, worries and anxieties over the results of next week’s election can be seen and heard across our country. Political ads, radio & T.V. talk shows, town hall meetings and even family-table discussions are filled with despair and discouragement if, by chance, the other side wins. A number of you reading this have another concern because a loss in the election means you are out of a job and need to look for another. There is always uncertainty about the future, but it seems to be emphasized even more because of the domino effect of next week’s vote.

"Friend, the point of this study today is to inform you that there is no place in the believer’s life for worry over who wins next week. I am, in no way, advocating a “fatalistic determinism;” that is, an “I can’t do anything about it so who cares” attitude of giving up and not doing anything. I am, in no way, throwing out a flippant answer in case things do not go the way I want them to go. What I am teaching from God’s Word is that believers can truly proceed in peace and confidence regardless of what happens because of the nature of the one we call Father.”

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Our Real Problem and Our Real Solution

Dan Bryant reminds us of our real problem and our real solution:

"When the sin-sick soul stops being the central problem, then God's provision of the person and work of Christ stops being the central solution. When the travails of the here-and-now become the central problem, then politics becomes the central means of providing solutions. And any such understanding of the ultimate problem and solution is inconsistent with biblical Christianity. Is it coincidence that in a secularized age the church seems to be more preoccupied with the here-and-now than with the cure of souls; that pulpits across the land are platforms for social and political agendas, self-esteemism, and principles for successful living­ - anything but the truths of a Holy God who hates sin, man's rebellion against God, and the remedy for sin found only in Christ?"

Read the entire article, "Christianity and Politics: How Shall the Twain Meet?" at the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals.

Are We Focusing on Capitol Hill or Calvary's Hill?

Ken Jones in an article at the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals entitled "Can Politics Save?" writes:

"Some seem to be on a crusade to win America back to God through the political process. Time and space will not allow me to expound on how unbiblical such a crusade is, but such confusion of America and of salvation inevitably leads to a misunderstanding of evangelism. If salvation or revival is attempted through the political process or the legislation of morality, then evangelism will center on Capitol Hill, rather than on Calvary's Hill."

On what hill will you be focusing this week?

Read Pastor Jones' article here.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Home To Be With the Lord

My Parents' 50th Anniversary Picture

My Mother, Ellen Pauley, went home to be with the Lord on Saturday after suffering a long illness. Her health has been poor for years, and in recent months she has been under hospice care.

The large crowd who turned out for the visitation last night was a testament to how many lives she touched through church, family, community, and work.

Just some thoughts as we prepare for her funeral this morning:

My earliest memories are of my parents being involved in lay ministry in our church. Their faithfulness in teaching Sunday school classes, teen-agers, and children are largely what the Lord used to lead me into Christian ministry. They never merely taught a class or led a Bible club. My mother poured her life into the teens or children with whom she worked.

My father has been the greatest example of one who “loved his wife as Christ loved the church”. His full-time job over the last several years has been caring for mom and her needs. Only that I might live up to his example as I seek to care for and serve my own family.

Please keep my father, Dan Pauley in your prayers during the coming weeks. Pray for our children, Josh and Rachel, as they will miss their Grandma greatly.

Politics Are Temporary

From S.J. Walker at A Lion Has Roared:

"Politics are as temporary as I am. I place no hope in politics. But that does not mean I have no hope! In fact, it means I have a greater hope than any man can conjure or enforce."

“My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus blood and righteousness!
I dare not trust the sweetest frame
But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.
On Christ the Solid Rock I stand,
All other ground is sinking sand—
All other ground is sinking sand!”

Read post here.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Let Christians Vote as if They Were Not Voting

John Piper at the Desiring God Blog posted a great article which will challenge us as believers to consider our priorities when it comes to politics and elections. He reviewed Paul's words in 1 Corinthians 7:29-31:

The appointed time has grown very short. From now on, let those who have wives live as though they had none, and those who mourn as though they were not mourning, and those who rejoice as though they were not rejoicing, and those who buy as though they had no goods, and those who deal with the world as though they had no dealings with it. For the present form of this world is passing away. (1 Corinthians 7:29-31)

Dr. Piper goes on to share:
...So it is with voting. We should do it. But only as if we were not doing it. Its outcomes do not give us the greatest joy when they go our way, and they do not demoralize us when they don’t. Political life is for making much of Christ whether the world falls apart or holds together.

...So it is with voting. There are losses. We mourn. But not as those who have no hope. We vote and we lose, or we vote and we win. In either case, we win or lose as if we were not winning or losing. Our expectations and frustrations are modest. The best this world can offer is short and small. The worst it can offer has been predicted in the book of Revelation. And no vote will hold it back. In the short run, Christians lose (Revelation 13:7). In the long run, we win (21:4).

These are great words to keep in mind as we approach the coming election.

Read Dr. Piper's complete article

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The Seriousness of Preaching and Teaching

I ran across this quote from Richard Baxter (posted in the Pulpit Magazine blog) that certainly gives me pause to stop and think as I prepare Bible studies, speak in churches, and seek to minister to leaders around the state:

"For myself, as I am ashamed of my dull and careless heart, and of my slow and unprofitable course of life, so, the Lord knows, I am ashamed of every sermon I preach; when I think what I have been speaking of, and who sent me, and that men’s salvation or damnation is so much concerned in it, I am ready to tremble lest God should judge me as a slighter of His truths and the souls of men, and lest in the best sermon I should be guilty of their blood.

"Me thinks we should not speak a word to men in matters of such consequence without tears, or the greatest earnestness that possibly we can; were not we too much guilty of the sin which we reprove, it would be so."

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

How Should Pastors Deal with "Political" Issues?

William Wilberforce (left), the British politician who almost single handedly ended the slave trade in Great Britain, is often held up as the model for political activism. I believe we find in his life and work an example of the importance of preaching, sharing the gospel, and teaching the Word of God in impacting the lives of people and ultimately making a difference in the world around us.

Wilberforce’s coming to Christ was largely influenced by a friend who shared the gospel and through the ministry of John Newton (right). Though Newton, a former slave trader, hated the slave industry, as a pastor he took an approach to the issue that might differ greatly from many pastors and leaders today.

Michael Horton in part two of his roundtable discussion on "Christians and Politics" at The White Horse Inn, had this to say about Newton’s ministry and his approach to the issue of slavery:

“Newton never preached a single sermon on how slavery should be stopped, although he did, when he came to the relevant passages speak against slavery. But he preached the gospel, and people like Wilberforce and countless other leaders in that movement were nourished and fortified to go out into their callings and exercise their vocations.”
You might disagree with some of the conclusions of the panel when it comes to churches, believers, and politics. However, the program will help you consider the biblical role of the church in dealing with the important theological and political issues of our day.

The White Horse Inn: Christians and Politics, Part 2 (Free with registration at OnePlace)

John Piper’s Biography of William Wilberforce