Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Hollywood Agenda

Last November California voters passed Proposition 8, a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. It was a hotly contested measure but in the end it was approved by a margin of 52-48 percent. One of the most vocal opponent groups came from Hollywood.

For years Hollywood has pushed their homosexual agenda. We've seen it clearly in both motion pictures and television. Nowhere have we seen their bias more clearly than in their opposition to Prop 8. George Lucas (writer and producer of Star Wars) gave $100,000 to Prop 8 opponents. Director, Steven Speilburg gave $50,500. Since the passage of Prop 8 their opposition has only escalated. Tom Hanks said, "There are a lot of people who feel that it is un-American, and I am one of them." Most recently, Sean Penn, accepting an Oscar for his role in "Milk," a movie that tells the story about the first openly homosexual person elected to office, ranted, "I think that it is a good time for those who voted for the ban against gay marriage to sit and reflect and anticipate their great shame and the shame in their great grandchildren's eyes if they continue that way of support."

Who will be ashamed as all men stand before Christ on that Great Day? Will it be those who have stood for holiness in spite of opposition or will it be those who openly despised God and His Word? It is a fearful thing to consider the harm Hollywood has done to our culture. They have done much to shape the steady decline of morality in our nation. Psalm 2 rings loud today: "Why do the heathn rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us. He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the LORD shall have them in derision. Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure."

Who will be ashamed on that Great Day?

Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Pursuit of Excellence

As I watch these athletes I'm absolutely blown away by their skill. In fact, I question if the video is even real or doctored. After all, they are talking about "Fantasy" football. But the point I want to make is the attention athletes give to their sport. How many hours of practice does it take to acquire excellence in their sport? These men (and women) give themselves to excellence in something they are passionate about. It makes me wonder, though. As Christians we claim to have a passion for Christ. How much do we invest ourselves in our pursuit of Christ? How much do we invest ourselves in the pursuit of holiness? How much do we invest ourselves in God's Word that we might be skillful in handling the word of truth?

I believe the Apostle Paul was a sports fan. He often used the games as illustrations. While bodily exercise has its place, Paul stressed the great value of excellence in spiritual pursuits. Read how he places the priority. "But refuse profane and old wives' fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness. For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having the promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come" (1 Tim. 4:7-8). "Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize. Run in such a way that you may win. And everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They do it to obtain a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable" (NAS 1Cor. 9:24-25).

The point is, developing expertise in any discipline demands great energy and effort. The greatest pursuit is the pursuit of Christ. Paul wrote, "Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ" (Philippians 3:8). If we are truly passionate about Christ we must also be passionate in our pursuit of those things that will enhance our relationship with Him. We should be as skilled in self-control as athletes; their mastery over the body in order to have excellence in their sport, ours that we might live in holiness to the honor of Christ. We should be as skilled in handling the Word of God as these athletes are in handling the football. It demands great effort, but effort is joyous in those things you are passionate about.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Irrational Sin

Human beings in their fallen condition have a love relationship with their sin. Jesus said, "Men love darkness rather than light" (John 3:19). People continue their rebellious behavior in spite of the consequences, and there are consequences, both temporal and eternal. Philosophically, all sin is irrational; yet, we blindly continue our pathway to destruction unless God rescues us through the Gospel.

Sometimes, we see the irrational nature of sin displayed vividly. During the 2008 Olympics swimmer Michael Phelps won an incredible eight gold medals. At 23 years of age he had the world in his hand. Sponsors were lining up at his door offering lucrative contracts worth millions if he would endorse their products. It was an opportunity most people could only dream of. Last week a photo was released of Mr. Phelps smoking marijuana at a party. What! I couldn't believe it. What foolishness. I had to remind myself, however, that all sin is just as foolish, just as irrational, and we've all filled our cups full of such irrational behavior. And all sin carries its own consequences.

Already the consequences for Mr. Phelps are coming to light. Cereal manufacturer Kelloggs has dropped its endorsement deal with Phelps stating that his behavior is "inconsistent with the image of Kellogg." Phelps may recover from this scandal in time, but he still has to stand before God. His only hope, the hope of all men, is true repentance and a full resting upon the atonement of Christ.

Sadly, Michael Phelps is demonstrating the attitude most people have concerning their sin. They enjoy the pleasures of their sin and when exposed they make whatever excuses they deem necessary to acquit them. In response to his sin coming to light Phelps issued a statement, "I engaged in behavior which was regrettable and demonstrated bad judgment. I'm 23 years old and despite the successes I've had in the pool, I acted in a youthful and inappropriate way, not in a manner people have come to expect from me. For this, I am sorry. I promise my fans and the public it will not happen again." While it is commendable he did not deny his behavior and offered an apology he did not accept full responsibility. True repentance is to have the heart of David, "I have sinned against the LORD." David did not try to offer excuses to justify his actions. There was nothing that could justify his sinful behavior. Notice carefully the words of Phelps. "I am 23 years old . . . I acted in a youthful and inappropriate way." In other words, he shouldn't really be held accountable because, after all, he is only 23 years old. Because he is young he doesn't feel he should be held to full accountability for his actions; that we should hold a 23 year old to a different standard. This isn't true repentance.

Sin is irrational. A failure to repent is pure lunacy.

Monday, February 2, 2009


Last week a story hit the news of a lady who gave birth to eight, yes eight babies. At the time the mother refused to give any information and the details were sketchy. Most people reacted, “How nice, eight babies.” Now we are getting “the rest of the story.” The mother now has 14 children, all conceived by in vitro fertilization. She is a single mother and received the sperm from a donor, which brings up the whole question of bio-ethics.

On one hand, in vitro fertilization might seem a wonderful medical breakthrough for a married couple where the mother is unable to conceive through the normal process. It allows a childless couple to enjoy the gift of parenthood. On the other hand, in a world of Godless ethics the whole process is wrong. When a couple chooses to go this route the normal procedure is to harvest a number of eggs, fertilize them with the father’s sperm, and freeze the embryos. The problem lies in what to do with the unused embryos – more properly referred to as “children.” To destroy them is abortion – more properly referred to as “murder.” And then, in a world of Godless ethics, what is to prevent a single mother from giving birth to 14 children without a husband or a lesbian couple from bringing a child into their sinful relationship.

These are important issues. In a Godless world many of these medical and biological breakthroughs have no gatekeepers. If you cast away the Bible as God’s rule of moral behavior there is no end to the perversion that the human mind might invent. Without this standard the ethical debate has no basis of truth. “In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes” (Judges 21:25). Oh God, save us from the folly of our own devices.