Friday, October 22, 2010

Eternal Security?

Eternal Security?

You've heard the saying from certain christians "once saved, always saved", it's a term many people use who believe in eternal security, which means once I "get saved" there is nothing I can do lose my "saved".

However, there are those on the other side of the spectrum who believe in "conditional security", not sure they have a slogan, but basically this group believe "salvation" is a gift from God and people can choose to fall away, walk away, or lose their salvation if they aren't faithful.

I am not trying to argue either side, though my belief is on the side of conditional security. I believe Christians and churches as a whole spend way too much time arguing, debating, and pushing topics or issues they are passionate about while missing the most imporant issue, which is reaching lost people, and discipling new christians into mature christians who grow and serve in their faith.

Nothing wrong with having convictions and being passionate about certain subjects, but we must be careful to ask ourselves, Is this a salvation issue? Which means, does this have to do with my salvation? (i'm talking about does this make me lose my salvation or not have it) other than that, I believe we have freedom in Christ and His Word.

There are many things people love to debate and even claim it is essential to salvation. Churches split, people become enemies, and many people avoid church or leave the faith because of these things. People argue over bible versions, type of music, the rapture, the book of revelation, denominations, church traditions, change, etc..including eternal security.

Look around why do you think they are so many different types of churches and denominations, people can't get along, that's why we have 30 different types of baptist, 20 different types of methodist, the churches of christ have half a dozen fractions, not to mention other denominations that have splintered off of others.

Now I am just giving my opinion based on my own study and learning, but feel my eternal security is based on my faith in Jesus Christ and the grace He showed me through salvation. He saved me and I was obedient and repented and showed my display through being baptized(my expression to God and the world) of my choosing to live for Christ.

I also feel that anytime I would choose to walk away, give up, or turn away from God I would be lost and wold go to Hell. Just like we quit jobs, quit marriages, and change hobbies, I think many people choose God and then chooose the world. There was a time in my past, I feel I walked away from God for a time and I felt lost and until I repented and recommitted did I sense God's presence again in my life.

If you believe in the eternal security doctrine that is your right and choice , but personally I'm not willing to gamble with my faith and eternity with that belief.. My salvation is from God and God alone through Jesus Christ. The good news for you is it's not up to me whether you are saved or not and the good news for me is it's not up to you whether I am saved or not.

Just like many of the issues we debate and disagree over, many of them are God's place to decide not ours. That doesnt' mean we shouldn't study, learn, and grow in our knowledge and faith in God's word. However, our goal should be to be faithful, remain faithful, and continue being faithful until God calls us home.

I've read lots of articles for and against eternal security and they both make good arguments and use scriptures (though well meaning sometimes out of context). My point today is we need to stop focusing so much on whether we have eternal security or not and realize our eternal security is secure in God as long as we are faithful and accept His free gift of salvation. (if you want scriptures on issue let me know, or better yet research yourself or google articles on the subject). If you are faithful in your walk, you won't have to worry about eternal security.

It's just like someone asked me my views on the end of times recently. I said, I'm not planning on being around to worry about it. I'm not trying to skate around the issue, it just shouldn't be that important to people if they are already saved. That's God's business to determine not ours, and I'm pretty sure He's already got it figured out and doesn't need our imput.

If you want to be secure in your eternity, then remain faithful, grow in your faith, serve the Lord, and don't take advantage of God's grace by using it as a license to sin or live how you want. If you are a christian, don't worry evertyime you fall short or sin, you are saved. If you are living a willful life of disobedience and a lifestyle of sin not honoring God, then you should be concerned about. It's really about our day to day lifestyle choices. There are people who never attend church, read their bible, or serve God who think they are saved, and then there are those who attend church regularly, serve, and study God's word and worry whether they are saved or not, it shouldn't be that way. If you have been saved and are serving be secure, if you aren't, then worry.

Also, don't get caught up on all these religous and spiritual debates and arguments, because then you miss God working around you and through you.

Romans 6:1
" 1What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? 2By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?"

Monday, October 18, 2010



"1 Save me, O God,for the waters have come up to my neck.
2 I sink in the miry depths, where there is no foothold. I have come into the deep waters; the floods engulf me."
Psalm 69:1-2

Life can feel that way can't it? You ever feel in over your head? sinking? overwhelmed? Recently, my wife and I finally got to go on our overdue honeymoon after being married a few months.

We went to TopSail Island, NC and hoped to enjoy a week at the beach. Well we did enjoy our time together, but it rained almost everday we were there, but it just didn't rain, it monsooned. We only had about 2 days of sun, and there was so much rain that there was flooding all over eastern North Carolina. Flash flooding, rivers and creeks over flowing their banks, and then on the island of Top Sail just a lot of standing water on roads and parking lots due to either the lack of drainage systems on the island, or too much rain too fast.

Either way, it was alot of rain, i was told we had 22 inches of rain that week. The kicker was the parking lot flooded where we were staying and we had to drive through standing water to get to and from our condo. The water was about 1 1/2 foot deep and while driving through that, our car stalled, wouldn't start back, and as I write our vehicle is still in NC getting a new engine. Now, that's a honeymoon memory for you.

My point is, life is like that, it comes along sometimes unexpectedly and disables us. Sometimes life can take us by surprise with a tragedy, an accident, illness, unexpected setback, or sometimes our life will be flooded with problems because of our own doing. We refuse to get help, be honest, or deal with issues, and pretty soon we are up to our eyeballs in flooding hotwater.

We need to be like David in the Psalm above and cry out to God. God is the only one who can rescue us from sin, struggles, problems, issues, and the only one who can deliver us from the pain of divorce, death, betrayal, abuse, and other problems we face or will face. Sometimes we can't avoid the flood waters, and sometimes we can and we don't, but either way we need to always strive to seek God, in the sunny days, the rainy days, the storms, and the perfect weather days. No matter the weather or season. We need to seek and rely on God.

If we stay in relationship with God, then we are going to be flooded with His spirit, grace, mercy, and love. No matter how good our relationship with God, we all are going to have periods of mistakes, doubts, sin, struggle, and sometimes we are all going to face floods that are out of our control and either type of flood we can rest in the promises and protection of God.
Seek God this morning. He promised Noah He'd never destroy the earth again with a flood, and He's not going to allow you to be destroyed by a flood. So seek Refuge in Him today.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Can of Worms

Can of Worms

Have you ever opened one of those? It's an expression we used to talk about something we said or did that got us a little more attention than we intended. We can open a can of worms by accident or intentionally, but either way it always takes on a life of it's own and gets away from the original intent.

Try and talk about religion with non-religous people or people who've got a grudge against God or the church. Try and talk about politics with people who don't agree with your politics. Talk about a senstive subject with someone who happens to be the sensitive one?

Sometimes we can open a can of worms and not even mean to. We may say something without realizing it, or we may say or do something and it is taken wrong, misunderstood, or out of context. Especially in the world of texting, facebook, email, twitter, and instant messages, it's very easy to misunderstand or be confused about someones intent because we can't see their facial expression, or voice tone, or look at them and understand correctly what they meant. Sometimes we think they mean one thing and they mean another. Many times we can think they are serious and they could be joking.

How many times have you gotten in a disagreement with a friend or loved one over something they said or something you said and you or they never meant for it to happen, it was simply a misunderstanding? It happens. It happens more than we'd like to admit. Especially when you are a forward, direct, not afraid to speak your mind person like I am, you have to be more careful what you say, and how you say it.

People are passionate about things. People are opinionated about things. People are emotional about things. Each of us are individuals with different feelings, emotions, temperments, personalities, etc...and because of that we are different, view things different, look at things different, and unfortuantely sometimes hear things different. Sometimes we can be quick to respond defensively or in anger to something we thought someone said about us or something we are senstive or passionate about, only to realize we blew it out of proportion or over-reacted. I can be very guilty of this. That's why James in the Bible said we must be "quick to listen and slow to speak."

I learned this lesson this past week. We must be careful what we say, because it's very easy for our words to be misunderstood, taken out of context, or sometimes to take a life of their own.

Now, sometimes a can or worms needs to be open. Nothing wrong with standing up for injustices, our faith, our beliefs, our convictions, within reason, but we must be very cautious that we got our facts straight, we are responding in love, not reacting in anger, and that we don't defeat ourselves by being negative. We must pick and choose our battles and choose wisely.

All of us have been on both sides of the issue. We have said things that stirred the pot and we've been stirred by something someone else has said or we thought they said. I've been there, I'm sure you have. So, we must be careful what we say, we must be careful to listen, ask questions, and make sure we have clarity and we give clarity, and also realize no matter what we say even if it is clear, people aren't always going to like or agree with what we say.

Either way, it's a great lesson for us all, becareful what you say,it could open a can of worms you don't want to open, and be careful how you react/respond because you could be doing so in misunderstanding. No matter what side you are on, I pray we all can honor God with our words, and show grace to others when their words hurt us or when ours hurts them.

My tongue will speak of your righteousness and of your praises all day long.

Psalm 25:28(NIV)

Monday, October 04, 2010

Well isn't that special

"Well Isn't that Special!"

I'm not gonna lie, I love the Church lady from Saturday Night Live. As a matter of fact, I used to do a pretty good impersonation of her (I'm no Dana Carvey though). If you are not familiar with the character, it was a skit on SNL where the "Church Lady" had a talk show and would interview people and would always condemn them and use her famous catch phrases, "Well, isn't that special!" and "Could it be Satan?". Even though these sketches were humorous, what goes on in many churches isn't so funny or humorous.

There are real life "church ladies and church gents" out there who aren't judging and condemning to be funny, they are doing it because they believe in their heart they are doing people a favor and they do this blindly, in ignorance, and though some with good intent, they are really doing more damage than they are good all in the name of God.

Jesus reminds us that He didn't come to condemn(John 3:16-17) but to save. Jesus never backed away from truth or watered down sin, but He confronted and taught in Love and also with wisdom and knowledge. Many people in our worlds, simply teach what they've been raised or taught. Many people teach things out of their own opinions, belief systems, or ways they were raised, not because it's biblical or accurate.

For instance my step-son recently asked me after visiting a church why the preacher yells and hacks and carries on when He preaches? People are taught that style, so they think that is the only way you can preach. I'm not knocking people who preach that way, but it comes across to many as angry, you can't understand what they are saying, or it's distracting. I'm just using this as an example,but my point is people are taught a certain way and many think that is the only way or you're not really preaching if you ain't "yelling, spitting, hollering, or red faced."

But, it goes just beyond preaching styles, it's in certain things we believe, about wearing hats in the church building, or having food/drinks in the church building, or music we sing, or the order of service, or things we do for the children/youth in the church, or really any subject or topic for that matter.

I would just like to see the church and christians get back to the basics of faith. Love God, Love others. Enjoy the love and grace we have through Jesus Christ and share it with others. Do not condemn, judge, criticize. We spend way too much time doing the wrong things the wrong way and the Main thing isn't the main thing. We don't need "church lady" mentality where we spend all our time focusing and judging things we think are wrong because it's not how we believe or were raised.

We need to get back to the simplicity and truth of the Gospel. God loves us unconditionally. He wants to save us, He wants us to grow in our faith, and He wants us to serve Him and share our faith with others. We need to focus on the goodness of God and not the badness of people. We need to express and show the love of God through our actions toward others so they may be attracted to God. I love the words of Paul to the church at Colosse that I will close with reminding them to not be deceived by people's foolish arguments, but be encouraged in the lve of Christ! I think that's truly Special!

"2My purpose is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, 3in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. 4I tell you this so that no one may deceive you by fine-sounding arguments." Colossians 2:2-4(NIV)