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Showing posts from August, 2016

Baptism

As a Baptist minister, I have lots of conversations with people about baptism.  Besides confessing Christ as Lord, believers baptism is the only other requirement for becoming a member of a Baptist church.  Other denominations have classes that must be attended for a number of weeks before baptism.  Baptism is a highly regarded sacrament for a Baptist church and, indeed, how you view baptism does matter. I’ve served at a church that practices infant baptism.  It is essential for that church that no one have two baptisms.  They refer to the creed where it says there is one baptism, so as long as you have been baptized you can take communion and move towards membership.  In their view of baptism, parents dedicate their children to be raised as Christians so they baptize them right away, believing that the child will make a decision to accept Christ at their confirmation (between the ages of 12-14).  Every time baptism is done in their church all who have been baptized participate by re…

What is Holiness?

There are many difficult passages in the Bible.  One that has puzzled me for decades is found in 1 Peter 1:15-16: But as the One who called you is holy, you also are to be holy in all your conduct; for it is written, Be holy, because I am holy. (quoted from Leviticus 11:44-45; 19:2; 20:7)               First of all, how can anyone be holy living in these dirty, uncivilized conditions we live in here on earth?  Seriously, try to remove yourself from the scum of sin!  There is no place you can go.  Even monasteries are affected by the stink of sin.  I discovered this spiritual truth cleaning my house and doing the laundry.  You can never have all the laundry completed because the clothes you are wearing while you do the laundry are becoming soiled as you work.  Moms of young children know the futility of believing they can have a clean house; the very moment they are cleaning the bathroom, the bedrooms are coming unglued!  In my opinion this command to be holy is just as impossible.  …

God's Simple Answers to a Culture in Chaos

I do not easily cry. As I sat in church listening to a well-known Southern Baptist preacher, I did not expect to shed a tear.  It wasn’t that he preached an emotional sermon.  His antidotes were not tear-jerkers.  The reason I cried in church last week is because OS Hawkins clearly and unashamedly spoke God’s truth about our culture and trough one simple verse, showed us God’s answer to our culture in chaos.  It wasn’t a perfect sermon.  I don’t think he made it clear enough that Baby Boomers are part of the crowd that wants something for nothing. The facts are: sinners are sinners no matter what decade you are born.  Another point I recognized as unhelpful was his jibe at transgender folks by his offhanded comment: When you wake up in the morning and after you shave or put your make-up on, or in this culture maybe both.  I laughed at the time but can’t recommend his sermon without acknowledging that it didn’t need to be said.I have a friend who does wake up in the morning and shaves …

Weakness is Strength

Recently I have been astounded by thoughts from Psalm 8. Do you know this Psalm?  It is the one about how magnificent the Lord is.  David’s words move us from considering the moon and the stars which God’s hands have put in place to the thought of pondering how such a magnificent Being could be so personally in touch with man.  I too am amazed by this reality.  I’m grateful to hear the choir sing these words in an anthem and consider this again and again, but I will never have an answer to the reason this reality is so.  These thoughts, do however, take my heart to a deeper trust in our magnificent God! All of that I have thought before, but my latest adventure into Psalm 8 has me stunned at verse 2.  Because of Your adversaries,You have established a strongholdfrom the mouths of children and nursing infantsto silence the enemy and the avenger.  What?  Before I move on to the more astounding words in this Psalm, I must stop and ponder the What, Who, Why of this solid fa…

JOY, JOY< JOY

This will be my last devotion about my pilgrimage though I could go on and on.  God packed so many spiritual lessons that perhaps I’ll need to write a book.  I want to end on the subject that confirmed my call to this pilgrimage and overwhelmed any hurts, hardships, or heaviness—that subject is JOY!                Our last day of walking the Camino started differently than the others.  We hiked to the church at the Mount of Joy to have our service (every other day we had services in historical churches where we stayed for the night).  The Mount of Joy is so named because that is what the pilgrims who have traveled more than 500 miles felt when they reached this place.  They were on the precipice of arriving at the Cathedral for which they were destined.  It is a bitter-sweet experience because it meant that you would soon walk back to your ordinary life and leave the journey of the Camino behind. Yet you have joy for having opened your soul to the gifts of God along th…