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Monthly Archives: May 2011

Disney World is Not My Home

We just spent a week away from home on a fantastic adventure. A friend kindly gave my family the gift of a time share in Orlando, Florida. The home of you know where and that Mickey Mouse who started it all. A gracious present by any standard. Let me state in unambiguous terms that God has not, in the main, given me the best of easy providence in the arena of vacations. Traditionally, select members of the church I serve wonder what exactly will go wrong while I am away.

Besides the detour of the departing flight the trip went well. Walt Disney was, by any estimation, a creative genius. To borrow a quote from Don King–urban philosopher extraordinaire–only in America could a place as fantastic (in the technical sense of the term) as Disney be conceived much less achieved. The place is a marvelous adventure and grand fun. We had an absolute blast; an amazing, fun and memory packed week. A trip that none of us will ever forget.

Now, as a pastor my cultural and theological antennae are forever in operation. So were my son’s. Early in the week he refused the family entry to the Haunted Mansion because he deemed it “disturbing”. We weren’t going anywhere near the place–but I wasn’t going to burst his bubble and curtail his emerging semiotic sensibilities. Hey, I’ve got a lil’ Johnny Calvin on my hands!

The final day we watched a gala celebration wherein favorite characters put on a drama. The theme of the play was basically this: if we all get together and think really hard and dream really big then not only will everything turn out for the best, but ALL our dreams shall come true.

My son intuitively knew these sentiments were askew. He grabbed my arm and pulled me downward for a private conference. Bear in mind, we’d been at The Magic Kingdom for nearly ten hours and it was hazy, hot and humid. He said: “Dad, that’s a lie. Only God can make dreams come true and He doesn’t promise us everything will be okay until the New Heavens and the New Earth.”

Suddenly, I felt like screaming at the top of my lungs for joy. I cannot describe the elation I felt that my 11 year old boy was acting like a Blue Chipper. He knows that while Disney is a great vacation destination it is not his home.

 
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Posted by on May 31, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

A Memorial

It is Memorial Day in the United States. A solemn day when we pay homage to the memories of those valiant men and women who gave their lives in service to the country. Much in tune with the tenor of the times in which we live, the day has somewhat degenerated into a carnival atmosphere, replete with clowns and grown men playing the buffoon as they swill beer after beer after beer. Such antics dishonor the dead.

As Americans have, in many ways, forgotten what Memorial Day signifies, American Christians have been content to allow the martyrs to remain anonymous. I am not advocating that we cultivate an inability to receive and enjoy the blessings God has given to us. Only a fool thinks himself wiser than God and refuses to accept the beneficence of the Almighty. But today some forgotten girl will lose her family; the same event happened yesterday; the identical episode will occur tomorrow. Should we not feel that pain? Or has the prosperity that God has graciously bestowed caused us to indurate ourselves to the deprivation and sufferings of our Christian family in other parts of the globe?

I grew up in a Naval household for some years of my youth, 1966-1972. Memorial Day was not a time for parties during those years. At least not in my father’s house. Those were war torn years. Friend, if you’re a Christian I beg you to realize that while we may experience religious peace and freedom in the USA, it’s war-time for many believers. Please. Do not forget those who have fallen. Or those who will fall tomorrow.

 
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Posted by on May 30, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

Let’s Define a Blue Chip Christian

I chose the moniker Blue Chip Christian for a score of reasons. First, I think it’s catchy and I would prefer more readers and followers than fewer! Second, the primary point of the Parable of the Sower/Soils (Mark 4) is that each Christian will bear a crop of fruit; the measure of our personal crop varies. My desire is that everyone who reads this blog, or listens to my sermons will feel the burning ache of the Spirit within them; the ache of knowing they can and should be bearing more fruit to the glory of God. I want you to grow. Third, I am increasingly convinced that the Church needs a new wave of shock troops. The American church is particularly at fault in this regard. No matter the denomination, or lack thereof, too many Christians are merely going through the motions. Too many of us are playing at church rather than actively fulfilling the Great Commission (Matt. 28). In case you haven’t noticed, the enemy–the Satan–isn’t on vacation.

I feel that many American Christians, if not most, are serious underachievers. We sell ourselves short, and in so doing we lead lives fraught with disappointment, pain and regret.  Each of us can access God’s grace and power with greater frequency and intensity. In turn, our lives flourish.

Have you ever read 1 Peter? If not, I encourage you to get into it soon. Listen to these precious words from Chapter 2:

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. 

A Blue Chip Christian is a man, woman or child who is striving with every fiber of their being to glorify God and to live as befits the description that Peter gives to the Church.  A Blue Chip Christian evaluates their progressive sanctification, decides on a course of action and enforces that plan with the power of God’s Spirit.

Let’s define a few theological terms for clarity. Justification is an act of God’s free grace; in justification God pardons us, transfers our unrighteousness to Christ and transfers (imputes) Christ righteousness to us.  It is a forensic, legal action and occurs once. Sanctification, on the other hand, begins at the moment of salvation and continues until the believer goes home to be with the Lord. By nature it is progressive. God infuses, by His Spirit, the enabling power we need to live a life of holiness.

In short, a Blue Chip Christian is a believer who takes his or her progressive sanctification very seriously. They understand that God gives them one life on this orb and that each day that passes is forever gone.

 
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Posted by on May 27, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

What is Blue Chip Christian All About?

First, let me say that anyone is welcome to read and comment on this blog. Of course, I reserve the right to delete spam, rebuff inflammatory remarks and block any agents of provocation! This is my initial foray into the blogosphere and I must admit I’m a tad leery of the enterprise. The Net is a notoriously loopy environment inhabited by sincere folk as well as the occasional chap with a grudge, and I’ve no desire to become a piece of wood for some anonymous ax wielder with too much time to waste. I do not especially care for anonymous comments of the negative type. The opportunity to veil one’s identity online is a species of forbidden fruit in my book. The first bite indeed may prove sweet, but the aftertaste is decidedly tart. Indulge at your own peril.

I intend to keep the blog private for a time, more in the vein of an online diary I suppose. My plan is to compose as I feel led, review after approximately two months and discern whether I’ve written anything worth public consumption. I also think it odd to announce a blog with a mere entry. When and if I go public there will be at least a few dozen blogs in the corpus.

Some preliminary remarks about myself are in order. I am a husband and father. I am also an ordained minister of The Presbyterian Church in America (PCA), which is an evangelical, Bible adhering and Confessional denomination that holds to all of the historic tenets found in the Nicene Creed. The PCA is a Reformed-Calvinistic branch of God’s Church, and although it differs from other branches in emphasis and focus, the PCA makes no claim to having exclusive status as either the sole possessor or arbiter of truth in this world. Well, I think that’s sufficient personal information for now.

One of my intellectual and pastoral heroes is the late Francis Schaeffer. Reading his books as a young man, new to the Reformed expression of the Christian faith, brought with it an excitement that is difficult to describe. Schaeffer taught me that God wanted me to think, and that the Almighty wasn’t afraid of my questions. I invite your questions–in fact I cherish the interaction. I do ask that any comments be given in a spirit of love and concern. If you disagree with what I write, then please explain your reasons for disputation. One of the hallmarks of our decadent age is that opinions pass muster as fact. Anyone can make a blind assertion; a Blue Chip Christian knows how to make an argument–he or she understands how to make a case. Ask parents if toddlers have opinions. “I don’t like broccoli!” This blog is about Christian maturity and the desire for Christians to exceed their current limitations be they mental, emotional, physical, social or spiritual.

I call upon you to ask God the ultimate questions in life. Why? Because God not only possesses the answers… He is the answer.

This blog exists to help you accomplish God’s will for your life. When we discuss God’s will the details and minutia often cloud our judgment and soon we’re mired in intellectual quicksand. Does God want you to change jobs? I have no idea. Does God want you to go to college or trade school? I hold no gems of insight. But I do know this. God desires your growth in Christ-likeness. He wants you to reflect His glory with ever increasing incandescence wherever He places you. He wants you to exude class and dignity.

God doesn’t want Christians to live ho-hum lives, because He is no ordinary being. As we are His adopted children that means we are extraordinary. Jesus of Nazareth may have been down to earth, but he was exceptional and, humanly speaking, that’s what got him nailed to the tree. He stood out from the crowd. Go and do the same.

 
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Posted by on May 26, 2011 in Uncategorized