The Problem With Fear

Fear is a universal human experience, and in many ways, it is a useful one.  Fear is what keeps us from jumping off cliffs to see what freefall feels like.  However, when it comes to serving the Lord, the same fear that normally acts to preserve us can lead us into disaster. Continue reading

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Problems with “Chairs”

Sometime in 2010, Rick Atchley, preacher for what was then the Richland Hills Church of Christ and is now The Hills Church, produced a YouTube video called “Chairs”.   In it, he presents his argument for rejecting the traditional Restoration view of Bible authority.  It generated lots of discussion back in the day, and it continues to pop up on Facebook from time to time.

Recently, I was asked what my perspective on “Chairs” was (honestly, I thought I’d already written about it, but apparently not).  Let’s start with the good.  I give Atchley all the credit in the world for being a smooth, plausible, even funny speaker.  Unfortunately, he uses his considerable skills to promote false doctrine.  He distorts the Biblical truth about authority in a way that will cause souls to be lost, and I think he does so knowingly.  The problems with “Chairs” are legion.  Here are the four I think are most significant. Continue reading

The Sin Offering in Leviticus 10

For generations, members of the Lord’s church have found Leviticus 10:1-3 to be a useful, if not a particularly pleasant, text.  The dramatic deaths of Nadab and Abihu illustrate a principle that we hold dear:  we must serve God according to His commandments, or else He will not be pleased with us.

However, Leviticus 10:16-20 offers an apparent counterpoint.  According to 6:24-30, the priests typically were supposed to eat the sin offering.  However, in 10:16, Moses finds that the sin offering, rather than being eaten, has been burned up.  A conversation with Aaron ensues, but by the end, Moses approves of Aaron’s decision to ignore the ordinance of Leviticus 6.

“Aha!” some critics say at this point.  “This is proof that we really don’t have to strictly obey the commandments of God.  Aaron disobeyed, yet Moses approved and God didn’t roast Aaron like He had his sons.”  In other words, they want to use 10:16-20 to nullify 10:1-3. Continue reading

Hospitality and Overscheduling

The practice of hospitality is older than the Bible.  Certainly in Genesis 19 and probably in Genesis 18, we see righteous men offering food and lodging to strangers gratis (I say “probably” because I’m unsure whether Abraham is aware from the beginning that he’s talking to God).  Christians are instructed to be hospitable in multiple New-Testament passages.

However, in our own time, hospitality has largely fallen by the wayside.  Most Christians will no longer invite unfamiliar people into their own homes (and the Greek word for hospitality, xenophilia, literally means “love of strangers”); many Christians won’t even invite their friends.  This is a problem.  It’s good for us to follow the pattern of the first-century church, but we ought to pay equal attention to imitating the example of first-century Christians. Continue reading

The Jealousy of God

Commonly, we think of jealousy as a vice, a sin.  However, even though jealousy can lead to extreme and ungodly behavior (shooting your spouse is still not OK, even if you catch them in flagrante delicto), jealousy itself is not inherently evil.  After all, in Exodus 34:14, God says of Himself, “The Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.”  Jealousy is part of God’s identity. Continue reading

Heaven Bound for Seniors

A couple of weeks back, after my “Heaven Bound for Singles” sermon, I mentioned to Bradley that my next sermon in the series would be directed at older Christians.  “You’d better make it interesting, then,” he replied.  “Otherwise, we’re likely to go to sleep on you.”

All humor aside, the reality is that old age is a very different stage of life.  The boundaries of this time aren’t sharply defined—getting your AARP card in the mail doesn’t automatically age you 20 years—but most Christians sooner or later find themselves in a very different place.  Their physical abilities are different.  Their mental abilities are different.  Their relationships with other Christians are different.  Indeed, the ways they serve God are different.  It can be extremely difficult to reconcile all of these changes with a sense of self that they established when they were 40.

At this point, I’m reasonably certain that some of you are thinking, “Yes, we know all this, but what do you know about it, o preacher who is 40 years younger than I am?”  Admittedly, I haven’t gone through all of these things myself, but I did go through them with my dad.  He and I were very close, particularly during the last years of his life, and I learned a lot from him about the experience of growing old and even dying.

Similarly, while I was writing this sermon, I did research.  I called older Christian friends of mine, went through my outline with them, and asked them what they thought.  My final product this morning reflects those things, so with much humility, and with some trepidation about outrunning my experience, I’d like to talk to you about what it means to be heaven bound for seniors. Continue reading