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April 2013 entries

Southern Baptists a Threat to National Security?

Ok, so I'm prepared to write on the topic, "God never promised to get you out. He only promised to get you through" when I got an email from one of my staff. I was so outraged that I'm putting off for another day my intended topic. The email I got read, "Military Blocks Access to Southern Baptist Website." I know what you're thinking. "This has got to be an unfounded rumor." So I went to Snopes.com. There is no mention of it there. Maybe there hasn't been time for it to be listed. Or maybe it's true. Here is part of the article.

The U.S. Military has blocked access to the Southern Baptist Convention’s website on an unknown number of military bases because it contains “hostile content” — just weeks after an Army briefing labeled Evangelical Christians and Roman Catholics as examples of religious extremism, Fox News has learned.

Sing Oldham, spokesman for the SBC, told Fox News he had been in touch with the Dept. of Defense and had serious concerns. “This is deeply disturbing,” he told Fox News. “While the Deputy Chief of Operation of the US Army has assured us this is a random event with no malicious intent, the Army must run this to the ground to assure that this is the case.”

The Dept. of Defense confirmed to Fox News late Wednesday that the SBC website had been blocked — but not intentionally.

How do you unintentionally block a website? Did they also unintentionally name evangelicals as "religious extremists" in an army briefing? Could it be that the website was blocked until someone noticed or raised enough concern so that a response was warranted?

I will be the first to admit there are some real nut-jobs out there claiming to represent Southern Baptists or Baptists in general. However, the vast majority of evangelical Christians in America are far from religious extremists. Unfortunately, just the opposite, they don't express their convictions often enough. One of the most outspoken Christians in modern times is a plain spoken evangelist from North Carolina. Do you think that the military suspects Billy Graham as the kingpin of this extremist movement? If stating your beliefs and trying to persuade others to adopt them as well are charateristics of religious extremists, count me in. I will gladly take my place alongside other dangerous individuals such as Martin Luther, David Brainerd, Charles Wesley, D.L. Moody, Jonathan Edwards, Billy Sunday, W.A. Criswell, Adrian Rogers and many others.

I hope this error by the Defense Dept. is quickly rectified. It might be a better use of their time to investigate, say, potential threats to our national security. Instead of those who simply want to express their concern for the traditional family and the lives of the unborn.           


Tiny Beetles Point to God and Dragons

After having done hours and hours of study for the series "Why I Believe", I have information that never made it's way into one of my messages. While studying for the biological evidence for the existence of an intelligent Creator, I came across the unusual but fascinating  bombardier beetle. This small beetle would be defenseless if it were not for his dragon-like posterior weapon. The beetle can shoot a stream of two chemicals out his backside that connects a brief distance behind him that causes an explosion.  I began to wonder how could such a creature ever advance with such a meticulous design without blowing himself to "smitherenes" until natural selection made his life possible.

 The tiny bombardier beetle could not possibly have evolved. His defense mechanism is amazingly complicated, and could only have been created with all the parts working together perfectly. From twin ‘exhaust tubes’ at his tail, this beetle fires into the face of his enemies boiling-hot noxious gases with a loud pop.

How can this be? A German chemist wondered the same thing. He carefully examined the beetle's anatomy and discovered some incredible mechanisms. He discovered that the beetle mixes two chemicals, hydrogen peroxide and hydroquinone. This volatile mixture should never exist safely in one creature.  The amazingly designed beetle uses a special ‘inhibitor’ chemical while inside it's body to keep the mixture from reacting. How then can the explosion instantaneously occur when needed?

The chemist discovered that in the beetle’s specially designed combustion tubes are two enzymes called catalase and peroxidase. These chemicals work to inhibit the premature combustion of the two chemicals before they violently react and explode—but not so soon as to blow up the beetle, of course!

Even the strictest evolutionists must have to look away and not see the hand of God in this tiny creature. Someone with only the education of a small child can understand this is no act of randomness. This amazing little insect cannon which can fire four or five ‘bombs’ in succession could not have evolved piece by piece. Explosive chemicals, inhibitor, enzymes, glands, combustion tubes, sensory communication, muscles to direct the combustion tubes and reflex nervous systems—all had to work perfectly the very first time or their would be no second bug. Only an intelligent Creator, God, could have created such a creature as this. 

Just a last thought. If God created a tiny insect to breathe fire from his backside by mixing two chemicals, who's to say that He did not also create dragons that breathed fire. Just saying!

Psalms 148:7-8 (KJV)
7 Praise the LORD from the earth, ye dragons, and all deeps:
8 Fire, and hail; snow, and vapour; stormy wind fulfilling his word:
Isaiah 35:7 (KJV)
7 And the parched ground shall become a pool, and the thirsty land springs of water: in the habitation of dragons, where each lay, shall be grass with reeds and rushes.

 


  Beetle


Between the Temple and the Altar

I have been teaching from the prophet Zechariah for the last two months. His major God given task is to encourage the Jews who have returned from Babylon after 70 years of Exile. He is a sort of cheerleader for the returnees to keep up the hard work of rebuilding the city and the temple.

I'm also studying for the series that begins this Sunday on the Second Coming of Christ from Matthew 24. As usual, to keep the message in context, I read Matthew 23 to see where Christ's head was at when He delivered the Olivet Discourse recorded in 24 and 25. As I was nearing the end of chapter 23 I ran across this verse where Jesus was speaking to the self righteous religious leaders at the temple, "that on you may come all the righteous blood shed on the earth, from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, the son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar." (v35) Zechariah? Why kill a prophet that God had raised up to encourage you? 

Fast forward to last week. Rick Warren's son dies of apparent suicide. The haters explode onto the media condemning Pastor Warren for his narrow minded religious views, as if they somehow intuitively knew that was the cause of his son's angst. Comments by atheists popped up on the web such as "where is your God now?" and "Rick, you'll never see your son again because there is no heaven." Those are ugly comments, because they come from people who are angry at God. I get that and I am compelled to pray for those people. But they were not the only haters to emerge from the Warren family tragedy. Ultra right wing self-proclaimed Christians were just as ugly. Some of them were declaring God's judgement on Rick because of his tolerance for others who were not as fundamental in their beliefs. His love for gays and his willingness to cooperate with other faiths against social ills, according to some, were reason enough for God to send Pastor Warren a sign to repent.

I have heard some contemporaries speak of Rick Warren while he was in seminary. He was one of the greatest soul winners that campus had ever seen. When he graduated, he purposely went to the fastest growing county in the country, Orange County California, by faith believing God would provide a place where the gospel could be proclaimed. God did and Saddleback Community Church was the result. So why hate on Rick? So why hate on anybody that loves Jesus? So why hate on anybody, period? This is where it gets frustrating to me. The world watches while we crucify each other. The lost world is looking for hope and help and we are showing them hate. Come on people. Let's stop killing each other between the temple and the altar and take the fight to real enemy, not each other!