Poor Pitiful Pelicans

You’ve seen them all over your TV, and on every internet news page – those poor, pitiful, oil-soaked pelicans struggling for life in the Gulf waters.  If you haven’t seen them yet, you must live under a rock.  If you do live under a rock, click here:


Now, don’t get me wrong.  I do not like what is happening with this massive oil spill, and I do not believe Christians should be anything other than good stewards of the creation of the Lord.  But, in the church we’ve lost and ignored what this really means.  God gave humanity a “dominion mandate” in Genesis 1:26, and reiterated it after the flood of Noah in Genesis 9:1-3.  We humans are the crown of God’s creation, bearing the very image of the Creator (though I hasten to note our sin has horribly warped that image).  We are not animals; I don’t care what your Darwinian PhD professor told you.

No responsible Christian I know supports blatant torture of animals.  And I myself have been very concerned over this oil spill primarily for the impact it is having on local economies and local people.  [By the way, does anyone doubt that our Sovereign God can shut down economies whenever He takes a notion?]  I have also been concerned because I love to hunt waterfowl, and I truly enjoy watching waterfowl.  They are magnificent creatures that glorify our Lord in His creative splendor.  So, I want this mess cleaned up just like everyone else. 

My concern, however, is that many Christians are reacting more passionately about the poor, pitiful plight of pelicans than they do the ongoing infanticide of thousands of unborn human babies in Planned Parenthood abortion mills around the nation today.  The warped priorities of our culture become painfully obvious when we note how angrily the news media and even many inside our churches act out when watching those struggling pelicans. 

Yesterday, on one of the news programs, I watched a pelican all but losing the battle with the oil.  Its head was sinking under the water and it was obviously gasping for its final breaths.  It was pitiful and it does not give me joy to watch this disaster.  But I turned to my wife and asked her what she thought the reaction in America would be if a major news network began showing the last few minutes of an unborn baby’s life in the womb, just before the murderous doctor tore the baby limb from limb.  Few would “tolerate” it for long.  Seeing the baby’s struggle to stay alive, to avoid the death instruments being thrust at it, would be far more than most Americans could or would bear.  No doubt the TV network would pay a dear price from pro-death forces, too.  

I guess I’m asking where the outrage is in America, in the church?  Our hell-bent elected officials continue to pour millions and milions into saving the pelicans, while also throwing millions of tax-payer dollars at destroying unborn babies.  This, my friends, is a demonic perversion of the created order of things.  This is Darwinian worldview come full circle.

“O Lord, I have heard thy speech, and was afraid.  O Lord, revive thy work in the midst of these years, in the midst of years make known; in wrath remember mercy” (Habakkuk 3:2).

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Ellen Stone - This brought tears to my eyes! Maybe it would be good if Americans were subjected to the final moments of a child’s life during abortion. Maybe then they would realize it for what it truly is – MURDER!!

Losing Our Children

The 5th grade public school teacher that sat on the couch across from me baffled me with her descriptions of the unruly, chaotic nature of her classroom.  She told me of 5th grade boys who routinely call her the “b” word.  She spoke to me of her constantly having to ask students not to text or use their hand-held devices during her period of instruction.  Worst of all, she relayed to me that when these disciplinary problems are addressed with parents, they often take their kid’s side and act as if the teacher is the problem. 

Add to this the teacher’s obvious frustration with the overwhelming amount of red-tape type work the school system itself requires of her (which means that much less time she gets to spend actually teaching children), and friends you have a system in centrifugal decay

We are losing our children.  But apprently it started at least a generation ago (though historically it goes back several generations).  When parents try to defend a child’s rudeness and crudeness, this can only mean the parent has been lost, which explains why their child is also lost. 

I use the term “lost” here in a somewhat secular, common-sense way.  Basic civility.  Respect for teachers and adults.  Use of dignified language.  The ability to show common courtesy to authority figures and other human beings.  These things are lost in America.  Don’t believe me?  Have a sit down over some coffee with a public school teacher. 

Or, better yet, join me on an evening jog past the day care center.  I typically jog past them around the time when parents are picking them up, which means the children are on the playground outside.  I can only describe the scene I jog past several times a week as utter insanity.  Kids screaming, crying, fighting, talking back to teachers, fussing, and generally being defiant.  All of this readily discerned by a jogger passing by 50 yards away!  And yet, Christian parents continue to funnel their children into these centers of chaos.  If this is socializing children, no thanks!

Another parent recently informed me of a classroom discussion in her daughter’s middle school.  The teacher asked students to tell the class of someone they thought made a significant contribution to the United States.  Almost every single student listed a cultural-pop icon, with names like Lady GaGa and Kobe Bryant making the cut.  The daughter of the parent telling me this story at least had the gumption to say Theodore Roosevelt.  He was a truly significant leader and president, regardless of your political persuasions.  I forgot to ask this parent if Jesus Christ was named by any students.  I think I already know the answer to that question.

Sickening.  We are losing our children.

Worst of all, so many of our children, and their parents, are spiritually lost.  And yes, this is true even of those who fill church pews on Sunday.  Don’t believe me?  Ask Jesus (Matt 7:21-23).  Spiritual lostness lies at the core of all other lostness.    

Our children in our churches can send texts one-handed and blindfolded in a matter of seconds.  They can execute Trigonometry problems by the tender age of 12.  Yet, we Christian parents and pastors and teachers somehow think it is too much to expect our children to know the gospel backwards and forwards?!  

Our children are lost.  Time and time again I survey the knowledge of teens in church, only to find that most of them cannot give a decent presentation of the basic gospel message.  I assume their parents cannot either.  But their names are on our rolls and they have been drenched in our baptismal waters.

We must wake up, Christians!  We must wake up.  If we do not, we will reap as the parents of old did:

“And all that generation also were gathered to their fathers [they died].  And there arose another generation after them who did not know the Lord or the work that He had done for Israel” (Judges 2:10).

If we and our children have all things, but do not know, love and live the gospel, we will perish forever.  So, what is the gospel?  What is it that we must be teaching our children above all things?  To that we turn in future posts.

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“Who can find a virtuous woman?  For her price is far above rubies” (Proverbs 31:10).

Well, praise God, by His grace I found one and we just celebrated fifteen years of sacred marriage!  My heart still beats quickly for my queen, and my eyes are tearing up as I write this and think on her.  Michele, I know you do not read my blog because you hear it all preached ahead of time, but I want everyone reading this to know I love you. 

“Love” is an abused word in our culture if there ever was one.  And sadly in the church far too many have bought into the cultural, Greco/Roman concept of love, which stands in direct contrast to love as God defines it.  I suspect “romantic Greco / Roman” love has been the cause of the vast majority of divorces in the church, though tons of other reasons are formally “listed” on the legal documents.  If you want some great reading on how woefully short the cultural view of love comes when held up to God’s standard, turn to chapter 3 in Voddie Baucham’s book Family Driven Faith.  I cannot say it any better than Brother Baucham.

For a few minutes, though, allow me to muse concerning how God has reformed my own idea of love, romance, marriage, parenting and the like over fifteen years.  Michele and I both agree we did not really love each other when we made our vows fifteen years ago.  We only thought we did, but we were self-deceived.  Here are just a few lessons learned from seeking God in His Word and a few things I would change if given a chance to do it all over again:

  • The foundation of love is God and His gospel.  Anything less is not love (1 John 4:7-11).
  • Love finds its fullest expression in Jesus Christ dying on the cross as our wrath-bearer, and rising again to ever live as our Advocate (Romans 5:8; 1 John 2:1-2).
  • This “kind” of love is completely counter-cultural, as it rests on death to self and the life of Christ being lived in and through us (1 Cor 13).
  • Building a marriage on gospel love from the very beginning would lead one to more easily jettison fears of getting married “too young” as our culture so often warns.  Typically, our culture counsels young men and women (18 or older) to spend many years “finding themselves” or “taking care of themselves” before attempting marriage.  What is really meant is that young people should indulge themselves selfishly for a decade or more prior to marriage.  How does that help prepare people for a relationship that demands selflessness if it is to survive and thrive?  This is anti-gospel psycho-babble
  • Doing marriage God’s way might also lead one to consider having children much earlier than the typical Christian does today.  Personally, if I had this to do over again, I would have still married Michele right after graduating college (which I did), but I would have started our family earlier.  Things go down hill my friends after you hit your mid-thirties.  Oh to have the energy I had when I was twenty-five to give to my wife and children!  Don’t get me wrong, all children are gifts from God (Psalm 127), regardless of how or when they enter this world.  But that said, God’s undeniable design for marriage is that it produce “godly offspring” (Malachi 2:15).  Why not get started earlier?! 
  • A deeper grasp on gospel love has also caused me to truly appreciate the beauty of adoption.  For those of you who have adopted, you mirror the gracious love of our God who has adopted us unworthy sinners into the glorious family of Christ (Gal 4:4-7).  I commend you.  Our culture of death says “no unwanted child should have to be born into this world.”  Our God says no child should ever be unwanted. 

All these lessons and so much more I owe to the grace of God as His Spirit has simply convicted and changed me by His Word.  Friends, the gospel changes everything.  Is forgiveness needed in your marriage?  Then study the forgiveness of God in Christ (Eph 4:32).  Is confession and repentance needed?  Ongoing faith and total trust in the work of Jesus Christ on the cross?  Then beg God on your knees with your wife for these gracious gifts (Eph 2:8-9; 2 Tim 2:24-26; James 5:16).  How is your view of children?  Considering adoption?  Embracing the larger families in your church, rather than making snide comments about birth control behind their backs?  The lessons go on and on, don’t they?

Let me summarize the change God’s gospel has made like this: When I tell Michele I love her now, what I mean is

“I love Christ far more than you; and because of Him, I choose to selflessly serve you today, even at the expense of my life.”         

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Psalm 71

The Spirit really moved me today as I read Psalm 71, especially verses 17-18:

“O God, from my youth you have taught me, and I still proclaim your wondrous deeds. So even to old age and gray hairs, O God, do not forsake me, until I proclaim your might to another generation, your power to all those to come.”

The Lord saved me around March of 1980.  He has “taught me” as His child for over thirty years now.  Any defects in my knowledge and zeal are inherent to me, as my Savior is perfect in all His perfections!   

I love this verse because by God’s good grace it is my own testimony. And, the more I know Him, the more I want Him to be known, by my children, your children, and our children’s children, and children in the jungles of Bolivia.  And, I join the psalmist in praying God will allow me to proclaim His gospel and might and power to multiple generations.

Would you join me in this prayer?  Would you join God in adopting a vision for trans-generational faithfulness at your local church?  May God be pleased to use His people to saturate the next generations with the magnificence of the Holy One of Israel.

If our children gain academic accolades, sports trophies, myriad friends (real and facebook), great scholarships, high degrees, good jobs, nice homes, picket fences and 1.5 children, but have not Christ, what have they gained?

I leave you to answer that question . . .

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Lou E. Wilkie-McWhorter - As Paul stated in Thessalonians 1:6: “…ye became followers of us, and of the Lord.” Ours lives must point to Jesus so by our example our children will want to be like us and learn that He is who makes us what we are. Even though we are not perfect, the light shining through us is! Thanks be to God for our Saviour!

Future Beyonce’s

Apparently a group of seven year old girls are capturing quite a Youtube following.  The early shows on the major networks this morning carried the story about the girls’ “dance troupe.”  Even the morning show hosts cringed as they played short segments of the performance.  And what do you guess caused the cringing?

The girls were dressed like hookers, in sexy little lingerie, and were shaking their stuff in a re-enactment of a popular Beyonce song about single women.  Some of the morning show hosts were arguing that this is dangerously close to pedaphilia and / or child pornography.  Others aptly pointed a finger at the parents of the girls.

Now, by God’s grace, I am no expert on Beyonce.  I do not listen to her nor log on to view her.  I am aware of the video in question simply because it has been splashed across every conceivable media outlet for over a year now.  And, I do recall when Beyonce and her two sisters crashed onto the music and entertainment scene as innocent looking young girls, touting their Christianity, strong morals and talking about how their mother had raised them to dress modestly. 

Well, those days are gone.  Modesty does not sell CDs in the pop culture.  Looking and acting like a prostitute does.

Now, lest anyone think I am simply bashing a certain celebrity and making this blog about personal attacks, let me assure you my concern is not primarily with Beyonce, or Britney, or GaGa, or any other pop icon.  Our sinful depraved culture craves them, and pays for them, and so they and their ilk shall continue. 

My concern is for parents in general, and Christian parents in particular, who allow their children (especially daughters in this instance) access to these performers.  I remember a former pastor of mine about ten years ago taking a beating from his congregation simply because he dared to suggest from the pulpit that parents ought to think twice about letting their children listen to and watch Britney Spears.  I mean, after all, little girls in the church were imitating her in the hallways, so it did seem reasonable for him to address the subject. 

Christian parents often demonstrate a wide ignorance when it comes to how they view their children.  Have we all so quickly forgotten that God says our children were born sinners (Psalm 51:5)?  Do we really grasp that our children’s hearts are “more deceitful than all else and desperately sick” (Jer 17:9)?  The heart of humanity is prone to idolatry (worship of anyone or anything other than the one true God).  Sinners left to their own devices “suppress the truth in unrighteousness” and “worship the creature rather than the Creator” (Rom 1).  Your children and mine are not exempt!   

So, realize your children are prone to make idols.  And, they will make idols out of whatever or whomever is set before their senses on a habitual basis.  They will make idols in response to peer pressure, so you must help them choose friends wisely.  They will naturally gravitate to idolatry – it’s the plight of humanity! 

Those who make them [idols] will become like them (Psalm 115:8).

As a man thinks in his heart, so is he (Prov 23:7).

Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also (Matt 6:21).

Parents, who or what are you allowing your children to idolize?  Who do your children imitate?  Who do they talk about most often?  What do they view most frequently every day?  What are they reading?  Who do they want to look like?  How much “free access” are you giving them to media?  (My wife shocked me the other day by telling me some of our 9 year olds at church are on FB with their own accounts.  That creeps me out and deeply concerns me.)

O God, help us put before our children the Lord Jesus Christ.  Give us grace to hold up the Word made flesh and the Word written down in our homes and in our daily lives.  Lord, you save us to conform us to the image of Your Son (Rom 8:29).  Forgive us when we try or allow our children to seek to conform to the image of the creature.  Give our children new hearts, O Holy Spirit, and help us to direct their hearts to the only One worth treasuring – Jesus the Christ.  May our whole lives teach our children in word and deed that “friendship with the world is enmity with God” (James 4:4).  In the Name of Jesus, amen.  

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