Sunday, March 27, 2011
And to the man he said, “Since you listened to your wife and ate from the tree whose fruit I commanded you not to eat, the ground is cursed because of you. All your life you will struggle to scratch a living from it. It will grow thorns and thistles for you, though you will eat of its grains. By the sweat of your brow will you have food to eat until you return to the ground from which you were made. For you were made from dust, and to dust you will return.” Gen 3:17-19 (NLT)
Did you see it? Look at the words “the ground is cursed because of you.” We over look it. I never gave it that much thought. Yet, it is the key to the problems of the world.
Pastor Comfort goes on in the lesson noting that we are constantly subject to hurricanes, earth quakes, tsunamis, tornadoes and other what we call natural disasters. According to scripture there is nothing natural about them. Sin entered the world and we and all the earth was cursed. Am I reading it wrong? I do not think so. It makes sense.
Weeds are a curse. Disasters are a curse. Diseases are a curse. Again Brother Ray points out sin and suffering cannot be separated. The Bible tells us that God cursed the Earth because of Adam's transgression. What is Sin?
….for sin is the transgression of the law 1 John 3:4 (KJV)
Therefore we should be reaching out to God instead of pointing the finger at Him accusing Him of wrong doing. Scripture tells us who the real accuser is in Job 1:6, 2:1 and in Zec 3:1 in the New Living Translation of the Bible. Check it out for yourself.
Next time you see a weed in your garden, in your lawn or growing out of the crack of a sidewalk it is a reminder of what is wrong in the world. Sin and suffering cannot be separated.
Saturday, March 12, 2011
This week on page 3 in the March 10, 2011 issue of the Alabama Baptist newspaper was an article entitled: “God's Plan for Sharing 2012 preparation under way, to focus on attractional events.”
Jerry Pipes, president of Jerry Pipes Productions states,”The way to reach across the state (Alabama) is through attractional events.” Not once in the entire article does it mention reaching out to the lost. Not once. So who is Mr. Pipes telling us to reach? Are we planning some media blitz to make God a mainstream fade? Mr. Pipes also states from a study that 92% of the most effective churches hold attractional evangelistic harvest events. What constitutes “most effective?” Number of members within a congregation? Number of baptisms? Number of newsletters and cards mailed out? Here in America we think bigger is better. If that is so then why did Jesus pick twelve apostles and not 1,200 or 12,000? Jesus, who's he?
There is one disturbing quote that really makes me wonder what is going on here within the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions. Jerry Pipes and Director Sammy Gilbreath state, “...want to see what God can do in the state with GPS.” Does anyone care to think that God might be waiting to see what we will do with the Great Commission, Mark 16:15? Are we not commanded too?
Jerry Pipes does make one outstanding quote within the article. “Ninety-five percent (95%) of Southern Baptist churches won't lead one person to Christ.” There is the problem. The one problem and only problem we should be focusing on in my opinion.
Witnessing! We do not preach it. We do not teach it and we certainly do not lead in it. That includes me. I too am guilty and it burdens my heart. Why is Islam growing? Because they are out promoting it. Why is Mormonism growing? Because they are going door-to-door witnessing for it. Here we are, Christians, expecting “that if we build it they will come.” Let's plan a concert. Let's build a new slippery slide for Jesus. Something cool so others will be attracted to come on by. Why include the name “Baptist” in our church name? Entertainment Center would be much more marketable.
Mr. Pipes is quoted, “ … the plan is for churches and associations to partner in media buys in their particular markets in March and April of 2012.” I guess I missed that part in Mark 16:15. Does it say thou shall go out to your particular market?
The article ends with Director Gilbreath saying, “Let's saturate this state with the gospel.” I am all for it. I disagree with their methods. In my opinion, we as Christians need to get out of the four walls of the church and seek and save the lost. Not bright lights and waiting for those to come inside. The fact is if they did just “come on in” they might not like what they find inside.
Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone. Mark 16:15 (NLT)
Thursday, March 3, 2011
It is a wonderful adventure if you like roller coaster rides. The author does not hold back. He is not Mr. Nice Guy. Growing up with literary nothing but determination and attitude. The shear odds of him making anything of himself were all stacked against him. I found myself nearly shouting, “Go Ricky, you can do it!”
Chef Tramonto gives us a look inside the world of fine dinning only a few ever see. At age 22 I worked as a bartender for large French owned restaurant in the San Francisco Bay Area. It was chaos behind those swinging doors. Multiply that a 1,000 times and we just scratch the surface of Rick's life.
What inspired me the most was how he had to start all over time and time again. Nature of the business? Perhaps. In the book you are right there with him. Taking the hits and struggling to get back up. Whether you are a Christian or not you need to read this book. I found myself after reading it going back to the pictures in the middle to get to know the faces that went with the names.
Here in the South some might say Rick takes the long way around the barn to tell a story. True, but well worth it. You really get a chance to live his life through his words and his story.
Where is God in all this? That is one of the best parts. I am not going to spoil it for you. Rick faces his demons just like the rest of us. With what he had to go through I am surprised God put up with him for so long. Just goes to show you God's grace, mercy and love.
If you want to shock someone then give them this book. Do not be surprised later to hear back from them thanking you for it. The best part about it is the story of Chef Rick Tramonto is not finished. Looking forward to his followup book.