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Love or Hate?

ducks

(This is my take on the Phil Robertson ordeal. I know I am a bit late, but one of the members where I preach asked for a way to share my article from last week’s bulletin. So, here it is.)

Phil Robertson spoke the words, but the idea was around long before Phil. You have probably heard by now that the Duck Commander himself, Phil Robertson was recently kicked off his own show by Arts and Entertainment Networks (A&E). The occasion was spurred by an interview that Robertson had with GQ Magazine. In Robertson’s interview he listed homosexuality in a class with a list of other sins such as bestiality. The reaction has been that “Phil Robertson” called homosexuals sinners. The point being ignored is that many years ago Paul left us a similar list in 1 Corinthians 6. Paul inspired by the Holy Spirit stated the following, “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, not homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God (1 Cor. 6:9-10).”

I want to make two observations before getting into the nuts and bolts of this fiasco. First, the Duck Dynasty crew being in partnership with such a liberal group as A&E was probably a mistake in the first place. The second mistake is being involved with Gentleman’s Quarterly. Aside from these things it is curious that comments such as Robertson’s are labeled as hate speech. Consider this, if a person loves his children will he discipline them or allow them to run wild? The answer of course is discipline. Children must be taught right from wrong in order to develop into something descent. It works the same way with Bible teaching. If you love a person, then you are not going to want that person to go to hell. Therefore, if you remain silent you allow the person to continue on untaught in sin. In contrast, if you teach the person the gospel then that person has opportunity to make it to heaven. The late Johnny Ramsey said that he sometimes believed that we want our neighbors to go to hell in a good humor. If we condemn sin we will eventually step on someone’s toes (cf. Rom. 3:23).

Unfortunately, Robertson was a little too brash with his language (you will have to investigate for yourself). Brash language throws open the door for the “hate speech” label. Toe stepping is okay, but there is no sense in stomping. There is no doubt that homosexuality is a sin, but there is a way of going about making that point. We must condemn sin, but let people know we love them just as God does (Rom. 5:8). We must let them know that if they are willing to change, God is willing to forgive (Acts 2:38). Hopefully this fiasco will cause someone to evaluate their lifestyle, and recognize that they are living in violation of the Holy Scriptures. Let us always take Paul’s advice and speak the truth in love (Eph. 4:15).

 
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Posted by on December 30, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Jump In!

Jump In with Both Feet Take the Plunge

I am not generally a person who would bore you with a story about myself, but I am hoping that this small piece of my life will be of some benefit to you. The story began a few years ago at a small congregation just outside Glasgow, KY. The congregation had two preachers who filled the pulpit on alternating Sundays. If there were a fifth Sunday in the month, someone else would fill in. This is where my story began to change.

It was around this time that I was given the opportunity to preach on one of the open Sundays. I believe that the men of that congregation had a desire to make a preacher out of me. They started asking me to take all of the open Sundays as well as when one of the other preachers was sick or out of town.

I was studying as much as I felt I could, but I felt that I needed to get more education. I expressed my concerns to Steve Higginbotham. He pointed me to www.thebible.net. This is a great site, but I still felt that I needed more. Steve was preparing to move to the Karns congregation and encouraged me to come to the school (SEIBS/ETSPM). I was reluctant because of the money it would take for me to quit my job and move to Knoxville. After much encouragement from Steve, we decided to give it a shot. Steve and Kim gave us a great deal of help and support. We found lots of other generous people in local congregations.

I was surprised how easy it was for us to find the support we needed. Almost two years have past now. We will graduate in June. I hope that someone will read this post and consider going to preaching school, or someone will consider supporting someone else to go to preaching school. I will not tell you that the school is easy, but you will be glad you did it. Whether you are thinking about school or supporting someone, jump in with both feet!

 
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Posted by on March 15, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

Serve the Lord!

The recent lectureship at Southeast (SEIBS/ETSPM) was based on the theme of being a servant. The cover of the lectureship book bears the image of one of Southeast’s students washing the feet of an instructor. The lectureship was a great success, and enjoyable for all that were involved. The lectureship was personally uplifting for me, and I was challenged by the wonderful speakers. I was challenged to consider my role as a Christian servant, and in my preaching on the role of a servant.

As I mentioned earlier the cover of our Lectureship book bears the image of foot washing. Keith Parker pointed out in his lecture that we need to be foot washers. That is we need to humble ourselves to the obedience of a lowly servant. Washing feet would be considered a low class job in any culture, but that should not be so among God’s people. There is no room for arrogance or pride in serving God (1 Pet. 5:5). Jesus washed the feet of the disciples in order to leave this very example (John 13:1-17).

I am afraid that the significance of being a servant is often overlooked when we search the scriptures for the means of our salvation. I am also afraid that the importance that our Lord has placed on being a servant and ministering to others has been neglected in our sermons. If we read carefully the words of our Lord in the latter part of Matthew 25 we will see that he puts serving others in the category of a necessity for salvation. In fact he says that those who did not serve will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life (Matt. 25:45-46). When you evaluate your life, and your preaching, don’t forget to be a servant!

 
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Posted by on March 8, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

Cause To Cringe!

While searching the top stories this evening on Zite, I noticed at least three that caused me to cringe. These stories were dealing with hate crimes and racism. I grew up in a small town in South Central Kentucky, and this type of thing is not new to me. I guess it is just something that I have tried to push out of my mind in hopes that it was gone.

The story that really caught my attention was related to a recent cover of Businessweek Magazine. “The cover features a cast of black and Hispanic caricatures with exaggerated features reminiscent of early 20th century race cartoons,” writes Ryan Chittum. It is amazing that such a cover could have made it through the editing process. It is a reminder to me that racism is alive and kicking in the 21st century.

These stories reminded me of a question was raised in open forum at the recent Southeast (SEIBS) lectures concerning the segregation of congregations. One speaker pointed out that some people are just not comfortable worshiping in certain environments. I believe he was correct, but I also believe that is unfortunate. I believe we should be questioning why people are not comfortable in certain congregations. I am afraid the answer is obvious. There are people there who make them feel uncomfortable. This is an area in which we need work. I am not saying that we need to pick out a particular group of people and try to be nice to them. I am saying that we need to be like Christ, and those issues will take care of themselves.

Jesus crossed cultural and racial barriers without hesitation (John 4:1-26). James warned us about giving preference to those who enter our congregations (Jas. 2:1-13). There is a valuable soul, created in the likeness of God (Gen. 1:27), carried in each body that comes through our doors.

 
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Posted by on March 1, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Noodles?

LimpNoodle

Tim Tebow has been known for kneeling in prayer (Tebowing) on the football field, and wearing eye black with Bible verses. He had previously pulled in fans from many different evangelical circles with his religious statements. Today people are falling off the Tebow bandwagon quicker than Dagon fell before the Ark of the Covenant (1 Sam. 5:3)!

This morning, via a string of tweets, the backup QB for the New York Jets cancelled an upcoming appearance at the First Baptist Church in Dallas. Tebow’s cancellation is apparently connected to reports that First Baptist pastor Robert Jeffress attacked gay marriage, Islam, and Mormonism in several recorded sermons. Jeffress feels that Tebow’s cancellation was an affront to his church’s values. Jeffress holds that a sexual relationship should be between a man and a woman in the marriage relationship. He is amazed that some consider this hate speech.

I must admit even though I disagree with Tebow’s particular choice of religion, I had a certain respect for him that I have now lost. I respected him, because I know that it can be difficult to stand in front of millions of people with your religion on your sleeve. Unfortunately, all those things have been discredited. I can’t help but wonder if Tebow was using religion to try to build a persona to gain publicity, or if he has just succumbed to the media bandwagon that pushes immorality in this country.

Views such as the ones Jeffress holds on marriage will get you the label “religious fanatic,” or you may be accused of “hate speech.” It is a small price to pay to stand up for truth. Daniel faced a den of lions for his religion (Dan. 6:10ff.). Surely we can stand a little name-calling. The late Johnny Ramsey joked that those lions did not eat Daniel because he was all backbone. It is time that people get some “backbone” and stand up for what they believe!

 
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Posted by on February 22, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Put God Back In….

god in school

Put God back in schools! That is a statement that I hear all the time. I am certain we are all familiar with the fact that schools have stopped prayers, removed the Ten Commandments, and various other principles relating to God. In one case, a student at a local elementary school got in trouble for reading his Bible during a break. If it is not schools, then it is some other public place or government facility where God is being removed.

Frankly, I am tired of hearing about all of these things. I am not saying that I am glad that God is gone from those places. The fact is, our country is in a sad state. The thing that burns me about all of this is the fact that most of the people, who are complaining, have no intention of doing anything about it. I doubt many of them are much more than lukewarm in matters of religion.

I believe people are concerned about the wrong institution. People should be much more concerned that God has been put out of the home. After all, parents have been placed charge of training children in religious matters since the beginning (Deut. 4:9-10). The Israelites were told to diligently teach the words of God to their children when that sat in their house, when they walked by the way, when they lay down, and when they rose up (Deut. 6:6-8). They were to be teaching those words all the time! Are we doing those things? How many people have a Bible study in their homes with their kids? God has not just disappeared from schools he has disappeared from our homes.

Recent elections have shown that the majority of people in this country have very little concern for religious matters. I believe we can turn this around. The best way to do it is start with our homes. We need to teach our children about God, and encourage them to go out and teach others. We need to put God back in our homes!

 
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Posted by on February 15, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Who Is Your Shield?

Nine years ago today Carla and I became parents to our first child. John Logan Tooley was born at 3:06 a.m. at T.J. Samson Community Hospital. Two years later, on April 28, 2006, we were blessed with our second child, Aubrey Faith Tooley.

We have certainly been blessed. We have had our ups and downs along the way, but looking back, there is nothing but small blips on the radar. We have faced things that have seemed like trials, but in comparison to what some have faced, we have been blessed. Over the past year I have kept up with several families on Facebook who have struggled with illness, and even losing children. I always wonder how I would hold up in the same situation.

It is easy for us to read the advice that the Bible gives on dealing with trials, and to imagine what we will do when we face them, but it is hard to know for sure until they arrive. The apostles had witnessed many great things that Jesus had done, but when they were in a storm tossed boat their faith was weak (Matt. 8:23-27).

It is obvious that dealing with tough issues comes down to faith. I am convinced that many times we doubt the promises that the Bible sets forth. Do we not believe those precious promises? We try to “fix” things on our own. It is during these times that we should lean on God and his promises the hardest. God is not to blame for our problems, but he can help us to overcome them. In the words of David, “The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted him, and I am helped (Ps. 28:7).”

 
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Posted by on February 1, 2013 in Uncategorized

 
 
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