Thursday, June 18, 2009


A friend of mine from India sent this to me the other day. I have seen it- before and perhaps you have, but it is a timely reminder:

A basketball in my hands is worth about $19.
A basketball in Michael Jordan's hands is worth about $33 million.
It depends whose hands it's in.

A baseball in my hands is worth about $6.
A baseball in Roger Clemens' hands is worth $475 million.
It depends on whose hands it's in.

A tennis racket is useless in my hands.
A tennis racket in Andre Agassi's hands is worth millions.
It depends whose hands it's in.

A rod in my hands will keep away an angry dog.
A rod in Moses' hands will part the mighty sea.
It depends whose hands it's in.

A slingshot in my hands is a kid's toy.
A slingshot in David's hand is a mighty weapon.
It depends whose hands it's in.

Two fish and 5 loaves of bread in my hands is a couple of fish sandwiches.
Two fish and 5 loaves of bread in Jesus' hands will feed thousands.
It depends whose hands it's in.

Nails in my hands might produce a birdhouse.
Nails in Jesus Christ's hands will
Produce salvation for the entire world.
It depends whose hands it's in.

As you see now, it depends whose hands it's in.
So put your concerns, your worries, your fears, your hopes, your dreams, your families and your relationships in God's hands because...
It depends whose hands it's in.

Looking at the circumstances that America finds itself in, on this month of celebrating our nation’s birth, and considering the challenges facing our church and evangelical Christianity as a whole, could lead us to throw up our hands and give up! In one sense, that would be a good thing!

If we give up on trying to be God and fix things beyond our control and lift our hands in praise and faith to an Almighty God we beseech in prayer, then that is a great thing! That isn’t to say that God might not see fit to use us as extensions of His hands, but that is the key after all. Too often we try to use God as our servant to accomplish our will, when He wants to use us as His servants to accomplish His will. But that can only be done as we relinquish control—letting go and letting God. This isn’t passivity, but it is Divine activity. Jesus gave the formula in John15:5-8:

5 “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. 7 If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. 8 By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.

It would be good to recall the simple truth many of us learned as children: “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands!” That’s you and me, brothers and sisters.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


Al Mohler had this excellent post on his blog:

The issue of homosexuality presents all morally serious persons with an unavoidable question: What is the moral status of homosexual acts and relationships? One way or the other, some judgment on this matter will be made.

Are homosexual acts inherently wrong, dishonorable, and sinful? Or, is homosexuality morally neutral, with specific sexual acts and relationships determined to be either right or wrong by context and intention? Are homosexual acts morally good and honorable? These assertions of moral judgment represent something of the range of possibilities and cover most of the main alternatives.

Most Americans come to moral judgments by a complex and often confused process that combines moral intuition with emotivism and some (often quite minimal) knowledge of the history of moral judgment. Add to this the fact that most Americans are highly influenced by popular culture and mass opinion. In the end, as many observers have argued, most Americans are probably moral pragmatists at heart.

On an issue as controversial as homosexuality, moral confusion abounds. Americans respond to questions related to homosexuality with a range of often inconsistent and contradictory moral judgments. Ask a question about same-sex marriage one way and you get one answer. Change the question slightly, and you might get a very different response from the very same person.

President Barack Obama recently signed a
proclamation designating the month of June as "Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month, 2009." The President declared:

Forty years ago, patrons and supporters of the Stonewall Inn in New York City resisted police harassment that had become all too common for members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community. Out of this resistance, the LGBT rights movement in America was born. During LGBT Pride Month, we commemorate the events of June 1969 and commit to achieving equal justice under law for LGBT Americans.
President Obama is not the first American president to make such a declaration. In 2000, President Bill Clinton signed a similar
executive order declaring June of that year as "Gay and Lesbian Pride Month." At that time, President Clinton stated:

This June, recognizing the joys and sorrows that the gay and lesbian movement has witnessed and the work that remains to be done, we observe Gay and Lesbian Pride Month and celebrate the progress we have made in creating a society more inclusive and accepting of gays and lesbians. I hope that in this new millennium we will continue to break down the walls of fear and prejudice and work to build a bridge to understanding and tolerance, until gays and lesbians are afforded the same rights and responsibilities as all Americans.

President Obama's proclamation goes far beyond the statement signed by President Clinton. After meeting massive opposition to his proposal to allow openly-homosexual citizens to serve in the Armed Forces, President Clinton crafted the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy. In his declaration, President Obama pledges to end that policy. President Clinton signed the
Defense of Marriage Act in 1996. President Obama has called for a repeal of that legislation.

In issuing his order, President Obama applauded the successes of the gay rights movement to date, but affirmed his judgment that "there is more work to be done." He called for enhanced federal hate crimes laws, adoption rights for homosexuals, and for "civil unions and Federal rights for LGBT couples," among other goals.

Nevertheless, the most morally significant dimension of President Obama's proclamation is the use of the word "pride." With the stroke of a pen, a vast moral judgment was communicated.

Given the background noise of cultural conversation, most Americans probably gave little thought to that word. Yet, by means of this proclamation President Obama called for all Americans to find pride in the fact that some of our fellow citizens are homosexual, bisexual, or transgendered.

This poses a big problem for citizens who believe that homosexuality is inherently sinful. Can we find pride in what we know to be sin? That question contains its own answer. There is no way that biblical Christians can join in the chorus of gay pride. The Bible is straightforward in its consistent identification of homosexual acts as inherently sinful. Homosexual acts are not singled out as the only form of sexual sin. The Bible condemns any number of heterosexual sins, ranging from fornication and adultery to a catalogue of forbidden acts and relationships.

Beyond sexual sins, the Bible condemns sins as various and deadly as anger, envy, covetousness, disobedience, gluttony, greed, and dishonesty. The Bible declares all of us to be sinners and makes clear that no one of us can even understand the full sinfulness of our own sin. Sin is deceptive and addictive. Sin leads to death, judgment, and eternal destruction.

The Bible allows no room for finding pride in sin. Indeed, such pride amounts to further evidence that sin is deceptive and subversive. Perhaps one of the most horrifying aspects of sin is just this -- we will find a way to be proud of our sin and the sins of others.

In signing this proclamation, President Obama put the issue right before us all. During the 1980s the gay rights movement began using the "pride" language in an effort to defy negative moral judgments about homosexuality. Calls for gay liberation became calls for gay pride. The new theme brought political, strategic, and psychological advantages. The assertion of homosexual pride is the ultimate rejection of normative heterosexuality.

Those citizens who believe that morality is mere social construction can go along with this. Those who believe that homosexuality is morally positive will champion the call for gay pride. Most Americans will probably give passing attention to the President's call. But Christians committed to the authority of the Bible as the Word of God cannot find pride in sin. To do so is not only to confuse sin, but to undermine the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Morally serious persons must take the President's proclamation as a morally serious act. As such, it demands a response. Evangelical Christians dare not respond with a claim of moral superiority as if we are not ourselves sinners. But we must be clear that we cannot find pride in sin, whether these are our own sins or those of others. The Gospel of Christ simply does not allow us to see sin -- any sin -- as a matter of pride.

© 2009, All rights reserved,

Monday, June 08, 2009


Yes, you heard me correctly—but, doesn’t it sound strange? We hear so much about what’s wrong with the church—and believe me, there are plenty of flaws to point out—that to even ask the question, “What’s right with the church?” is arresting to our ears. Are we fearful that we can find no answer?

Don’t worry—there is a lot that is right and good about the church. Even, more specifically, there is much to be thrilled about at Pole Creek. Let me list a few things:

God’s glory is the focus of our worship. Do we always hit the target? Not a bull’s eye every time, but it is always our goal. That is a good thing.

Someone could be saved at any service at Pole Creek. We unashamedly proclaim that Jesus saves—and that He is the only way to heaven. The cross is still central in our sanctuary and if a lost person attends, they will not be able to accuse us on the Day of Judgment of failing to share the Gospel.

The Holy Spirit still works. Would we pray for a mightier move of God’s Spirit? Sure—but He is moving. There will be those who are stirred, convicted, challenged and empowered by the ministries of the Body of Christ at Pole Creek.

The Bible is believed, taught and preached as the inspired Word of God. We have not deviated from sound doctrine. That can’t be said of every church in our area. You wouldn’t have to travel far to find apostasy just down the road—but the Scripture is foundational in what we do.

The Blessed Hope is still anticipated. We warn of hell, but we sing of heaven. Though there are members who likely give scant thought to the eternal state, so wrapped up in this present world are they. Yet, the core of this congregation is looking up and longing for the return of Christ.

Family is celebrated. Single adults are valued. We care for those with broken hearts and broken homes. When a marriage breaks, we grieve and seek to help people pick up the pieces. If someone is struggling with sexual sin, homosexual or otherwise, they will find Pole Creek speaking the truth in love. What you won’t find here is acceptance of abominable practices and unholy unions.

Children and teens are targeted for ministry. Pole Creek recognizes that the heritage of faith can’t die out with an older generation. Our commitment is to transmit the truth to those who will mature into young champions for Christ. Do we need more involvement and commitment to help in these ministries? Absolutely—but don’t miss the reality that a lot of good is being done.

Good music that is Bible-based, emotionally stirring and presented with excellence is featured. We may not hit a home run every time, but the musical score is more often than not a winner!

Sacrificial service is a hallmark. It would be wonderful if every member would be a minister. That’s ideal. However, if you began to add up the number of hours invested, the giftedness and energy utilized, and were to attempt to pay these workers it would be a staggering amount requiring millions of dollars. Do a few serve Christ for applause? Do some want a position without really performing? Grudgingly, we would say, “Yes”—but not a lot! Most serve only for the glory of God and the good of the church—motivated by love for Christ and His church alone!

Missions is still supported. Pole Creek is literally having an impact around the world. Through our prayers, our giving, and our going souls are being brought into the kingdom in places with names we can’t even pronounce. We could and should do more, but that doesn’t negate the fact that we do a lot—an incredible amount at home and abroad. We have young people answering the call to full-time Christian service. We have adult professionals that are giving of themselves to travel abroad and take the redeeming story of Jesus. There are senior adults that will work long hours for the Lord, though they are retired from secular jobs. Hallelujah!

Prayer is still offered. You will not get an argument from me, that we need a lot more participation in our prayer meetings. Yet, I would underscore that we do have a loyal band of intercessors—some praying in the morning at 6, others praying in the evening at 7, and all hours in between—some in group gatherings and more in private quiet places. God still answers the prayers of Pole Creek people.

Generosity is evident. Is there a need? People move to meet it. Over and again we have seen this church give and give to support the Lord’s work and to aid the Lord’s people. The economy has turned down, yet giving is actually up! That can’t be said everywhere. It costs more to do the work of the kingdom than ever while we struggle with family budgets where it costs more to make ends meet. A few may have cut back in their giving, but others have stepped up. In this we rejoice!

Fellowship is enjoyed. We like to get together. Some hang back. A few drop out. A handful may be harboring grudges. Let me tell you—I miss my church family when I can’t be with them and can’t wait till we get together again! Almost all of us feel the same way and that is something that brings joy to our Lord.

We have a committed and gifted staff. Don’t put us on a pedestal. We aren’t that good—but we ain’t too shabby either. I know these folks in the church office. I work with them. I see their lives and hear their prayers. Their heart for God and Pole Creek is indisputable. We are flawed flesh and blood—just like everyone reading this. Yet, God uses us by His grace.
Get the picture! There is a lot right with the church! I have only scratched the surface.

Now, you will hear a few critics from time to time. Frankly, ours isn’t the only good church around and if it were me and I weren’t happy, I’d find one where I would be. Trouble is, we usually take ourselves wherever we go and if we are unhappy people, it won’t be long until we’re unhappy somewhere else.

When two people marry, they suddenly realize that all is not as rosy as they thought. In courtship we choose to focus on the good stuff and in marriage to underscore the bad stuff. Both are there. Continue to look for the bad in your spouse and you’ll find it and before long divorce may seem the only way out—so you can remarry and make somebody else miserable! Wouldn’t it be better to extol the virtues of your mate—to love them warts and all? Maybe they will return the same courtesy to you!

That’s the way we ought to view Pole Creek. Not a perfect place—but we do have a lot of things going for us. Those who enjoy it have chosen to focus on the strengths. There is a lot that is right with the church!