It bores me to tears…

Law preaching.

It just bores me to tears if it’s done with the intention of m aking me a better person, or a better Christian, or a better shoe salesman or…whatever. Not that I couldn’t be a better shoe salesman (if I were in that line of work).

They say that the best way to get an Irishman not to do something is to tell him that he has to do it. That’s me. (I am half Irish you know)

I think it is that way with the law when it is used as a prod to get us to move. Oh we might move alright…but our hearts won’t be in it.   St. Paul tells us that when the law came in, sin increased!    Maybe he was talking about the other guy.   “Oh, he was just talking about the Jews…not us Christians who are now on a path to greater and greater glory. Greater obedience… and sinning less and less all the time.”  ” Get out of my way… I am climbing up to heaven and working the principles!”

Some people say to me, “well…I need the law to know what I ought to be doing.”

I don’t buy it.  The law is written upon our hearts. I know what to do, I just refuse to do it. And the plain truth of the matter is that you just refuse to do it too. (Now that’s the kind of law preaching that is NOT boring!)

I ran into a couple of Mormon missionaries this afternoon, and it was the same old, tired, boring drill about the need for us to be obedient. To be quite fair about it, I often get the same manure flung at me from Christian Evangelicals and Roman Catholics (even the occasional Lutheran – Brother Martin cover your ears!).

Always the same baloney “Yeah but” etc. etc. ”  “What about James…yada, yada, yada.” “But you just can’t, wah wah wah wah waaaah.”

So these young Mormon kids set out to school me on Christianity and I said….zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Someone wake me when the law fest is over, pleazzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz …

“Now take your book of Mormon and your Bible, that you don’t understand, and try your act on somebody a little more gullible and less free. And I’ll be praying the whole time that you are unsuccessful in leading that person to hell.

What if you can’t?

The New Year is a time for resolutions.

Resolutions of all kinds. Things to do. Things to stop doingNew Year's Resolutions  .

But what if you can’t stop doing something that has been harmful to you, and or others?

What if there is a sinful habit, a bad habit, an unhealthy habit or quirk (sin) that you’ve tried to stop doing over and over, and over again…but have failed? What then?

Or maybe you’ve tried to put down a specific sin and were successful only to find that another bad habit had replaced it.

Does this mean that you are somehow less of a Christian? Does this mean that you are still a Christian, but just a little bit lower on the obedience chart?

For the Christian, what are the implications of not being able to conquer sin? And what about not being able (or not wanting) to do all those things that God wants you to do?

A Christmas Tree Message…

TO

KNOW

                                                      HIM

as

                                                      He is

today, not

as a manger –

babe, but as the

One who lived and

died and lives

again, enthroned and

reigning in our hearts.

To sense the need of those

who only know the tinsel

and the rushing of the crowds,

who celebrate a day and nothing more – –

because to them, He slumbers yet at

Bethlehem!

To love Him , God’s Living Word, above all else, and

loving, wish to tell others everywhere

the Good News of redemption!

. . . this to us

   IS CHRISTMAS!

  Christmas tree message from Pastor Mark Anderson  Lutheran Church of the Master, Corona del Mar, CA

Maybe it’s something in the water…?

I don’t know what it is, but whatever it is it must be acting up again.

The ‘doers’ are out… again(as if they’ve ever left…ha!)… coming on strong.

“Well, it says right here in 2nd Macedonians 12, that Jesus tells us that we are to keep His commandments if we really love Him.”

OK……….then maybe that ought to be your first clue.

Maybe you don’t really love Him? Maybe you’ve got better things to ‘do’? Maybe all of your ‘doing’ is out of guilt, or fear, or legalism, or some other self- centered motive and really has nothing to do with loving your Lord and Savior, or your neighbor?

Maybe you are not really all that concerned (ultimately) with your own ‘doing’, but rather are fixated on the ‘doings’ of others?  You want to see them ‘do the right thing’ so that they can be a “real Christian”, after all.

Maybe you have no idea what the law demands from you? (perfect obedience-at all times) Not your best effort. That won’t cut it. The law demands  perfection in your ‘doings’.

Maybe you think that this whole ‘God project’ that you are on, really is about you? There is no free lunch after all.

Maybe you have never really heard the gospel? I mean ‘really heard’  it?

If any or some of those maybe’s applies to you…then maybe you’d better get busy? You seem to be falling a little behind in the ‘doing’ department. There are prisoners to visit in jails, old folks that need visiting in nursing homes, homeless to feed, poor that could use a little more of your cash, and enemies to invite over to dinner…etc., etc., etc.  All things Jesus said we ought be doing. I am certain that no believer worth his or her salt would ever spend too much time watching television, or engaging in other less than “Christian activity” while there is the work of the Kingdom to be done.

You wouldn’t want Jesus to think that maybe you really don’t love Him…would you?

In the odd chance that this little ‘law bomb’  hit the inteded target and went off right between your eyes (and hopefully killed you…dead)…there is some good news.

All of your sin is forgiven for Jesus’ sake. He died for slackers just like you…and me.

There is nothing left for you to ‘do’. It has all been accomplished…for you…that you might live again with Him, in total righteousness, forever and ever.

He knows who and what you really are. “While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans, somewhere)

“It is finished” He (our Lord) said that too, you know. (while He was dying for your ‘doing’)

So, as my pastor likes to say, “Now that you don’t have to do anything…what will you do?”

That’s the gospel.

It’s Worse than We Thought

‘ The Problem’ turns out to be a lot worse than we thought.

There is actually not one wit of hope. With all of our reason, with all of our know- how, with all of our striving, with all of our good will… there is no overcoming it.

“But we are making advances!” “But we now have one that is a little bit smarter than the rest!” But we are now a little more caring!”  “But we…”

But we…will all die, anyway.

There is no way out other than the grave. There is no outsmarting it. There is no outlasting it. Death will have us in the end, as it always does. We will die. I will die. You will die.

End of story… right?

Wrong.

That is not the end of the story. For there is Someone that absolutely loves to pull people out of the grave and breathe life back into them! Not just any ol’ life…but His Life…a life without end! A life that death can never conquer! A life that is guarnteed to be far better than anything we could ever imagine and it will never, never ever end!

Christ Jesus will wipe away all our tears. Christ Jesus is not content to have you get sick and die and stay dead. Christ Jesus is the One who will put an end to your suffering. He has conquered your sin. He has conquered the devil. And He has conquered your death. There will be no grave deep enough, or strong enough to hold us.

After all the pain, after all the suffering, after all the unrealized dreams and broken promises…this is our future…life in the One who will give us His very life!

All of this, every bit of it, He gave to you in your baptism.

It’s better than you thought!

The 3 H Club

We’ve all heard of 4H, the clubs that help kids learn good citizenship and life skills with an agriculturally based program…well, how about a 3H Club?

 Health, Happiness, and Holiness…the three H’s.  This seems to bsummit1.grchicken.JPG by Farm and Dairye the focus of many churches in America.

Is there anything wrong with those things? Is it the chruch’s job to get them for you, or teach you how to get them?

Well then, exactly WHO is the gospel meant for?

This post is an answer to someone on another blog who thinks that I am an intolerant, self-righteous, bigoted Christian with no love for my fellow man.

Because I say (the Bible really says) that Jesus Christ is God’s revealed Word of righteousness to a sinful, broken world.

There has been a lot of talk about Muslims here of late . Why pick on the Muslims? Maybe because they are blowing people up all the time. Maybe because 95% of the terrorism and carnage in the world are due to their warped vision of God, and that  they are the number one enemy of the cross on the face of this planet. And that people had better wake up and knock of this stupid idea of getting along with a religious system that does not want to get along. That’s why.

 

OK then. So if the gospel is not meant for Muslims then who is it meant for?

What!  I never said that.  One of the problems with many folks these days is that they do not know how to read. They do not know how to listen. They insert their own preconceived notions and bigotries into other people’s mouths.

The gospel (the forgiveness of our sins , the whole world’s sins, for Jesus sake) is meant for those who really hear it. It is meant for those whose skin color is white…black… red… yellow… or brown. It is meant for ‘left wingers’ and ‘right wingers’ and people who just couldn’t care less.  It is meant for anyone, whether they be Moslem, Jew, Gentile, Buddhist, Hindu, Atheist, who has ever hurt someone with something they’ve said. It is meant for anyone who has ever hurt someone with something they’ve done. It is meant for anyone who has ever been selfish and less caring for the poor and needy and homeless. It is meant for all those who have ever taken something that didn’t belong to them, even if it was a long time ago. It is meant for all those who are self-righteous and judgemental of others. It is meant for all those that do not honor their parents. It is meant for all those who are drunks, or drug addicts who hurt themselves and others with their uncontrolable addictions. It is meant for the good church going elder who follows the rules uncompromisingly so much so that there is not an ounce of grace or forgiveness in his heart for others. It is meant for the brokenhearted of this world. It is meant for the lonely. It is meant for those with sickness and disease.  It is meant for those who are penniless and destitute. It is meant for those with sexual perversions. It is meant for those with secret sexual desires. It is meant for adulterers.  It is meant for the mentally insane and criminally insane. It is meant for liars, thieves, murderers, and rapists.    In short, it is meant for you.   You fit in there, somewhere, I’m sure of it.   I fit in there in too many places. If you don’t fit in there anywhere, then don’t worry about it…you do not need the gospel.

Well, that was pretty bigoted of me, wouldn’t you say? I left out a lot of people there didn’t I? I tried to keep the club membership to just my select group, didn’t I?

 Why then, does it have to be Jesus only? Why can’t you say that God will save everybody, whether they believe in Jesus or Mohammed, Moses or Buddha?

The Bible does not say that ‘if you don’t believe in Jesus that you are going to hell’. If anyone can show me that exact line in scripture, I will eat my entire Bible, page by page.

What the Bible says, is that Jesus will be the One to decide who will go to the Father…or not. That’s all. He and He alone.  Not Buddha, not Mohammed, not Krishna, not Al Gore, George Bush, nor Barrack Obama.

If you believe that, then you are a Christian. If you don’t believe that, then you might be something else.

All that said, if you still believe that I am a  bigot who is trying to keep some people out of Heaven, then you are a bigger moron than I thought and incapable of understanding the writtten word.