God Never Dials The Wrong Number

Can anything feel more hopeless than being rejected by God. John Bunyan, the author of Pilgrim’s ProGod-never-dials-the-wrong-numbergress, felt this way. He desperately wanted to come to Jesus, but he did not feel that God wanted him. He knew that he was a great sinner. He knew he deserved hell. And he knew the gospel. But he felt that God would not accept him. He felt that he had not been called. Oh the horror of wanting God and yet not being able to get to him. You could almost hear John saying, “Curse those stink’n Calvinist and their doctrines of God’s sovereignty.”

Perhaps some of you can relate. Perhaps some of you have kids in this spot. They claim that they want to repent but do not feel that they can. They feel hopeless. So what do we do? We remind them of God’s character.

It is true that only those called by God can and will repent. But it is also true that everyone who truly wants to repent is called. Notice what happens in Mark 3:13 “And he went up on the mountain and called to him those whom he desired, and they came to him.” Everyone whom Jesus calls comes to him.

IPilgrimsProgress_038729f someone is under conviction, if they desperately want to repent, if they are eager to embrace and to follow God, all they have to do is come. The Holy Spirit never convicts someone only to leave them languishing in hopelessness. God never dials the wrong number. When He calls someone, he will save them. There is not one person in the Bible who desired to be right with God and was rejected. Everyone from Adam on who wanted to believe in God did. As Jesus said in John 6:40 “For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”

All who feel God’s call will be saved. If your kids truly feel God calling them to faith, simply tell them to repent. Encourage them to embrace the cross. Salvation can be attained because Christ has died for them. Regardless of how great their sins are, Christ has paid for them all.  As II Corinthians 5:21 boldly declares:

For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

Ultimately the truth that God saves all whom he calls, comforted John Bunyan’s soul. He saw that Christ could and would accept him. Christ has already died to pay for Bunyan’s sin. And he has already died for our sins and the sins of our kids. If you or your kids feel God’s call, go to Jesus. What are you waiting for?

Trump, Chicken Little, & A Quick Reality Check

During their recent walk through the Republican primary forest, the happy little chicks of evangelicalism were wChick littleacked on the head by the Trump nut. And now they are scurrying in every direction, calling for all to flee the coming Trumpmania doom. The sky is falling! The Sky is falling!

And though I have am not eager to see Trump become the next president, I think evangelicals need to back away from all the predictions of doom. The sky is not falling. God still reigns. Yes, America could take a turn for the worse under President Trump. We may see Religious, social, and personal freedoms all venture into the fox’s den never to be seen again. But God still rules (Is. 46:8-11). God appoints and tears down nations for his purpose. The even better news is that the worst, most despicable rulers can and are used by God to advance His purposes. No matter how successful Trump becomes, he can never dethrone God.  We need to place our trust in Christ.

What does this look like?

1.       Express Opinions With Grace.

As American’s, we have the freedom to speak into our political system. We should exercise such freedom, advocating for Christian liberties, fighting for justice, and voting for the candidates that best represent us. But such political engagement must be tempered by Christian speech.  Paul’s command to “Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place,” extends to our political discourse (Eph. 5:4).  At the end of the day, we need to only offend people with the good news of the gospel and not our political philosophy. When this election cycle is over, we are going to have to work with Trump supporters and a whole host of people with a host of political backgrounds. Let’s not limit our future ability to reach the nations by planting seeds of discord on Facebook and Twitter. One day soon, we will need to work together with the duck, the hen, and maybe even a fox or two to advance the gospel. Will we be able to?

2.       Hope In God.

If we get worked up into a sinful frenzy over any political candidate, party, or issue, we have a worship donald trumpproblem. When we are expecting this candidate, that party, or those issues to save us through restoring the economy, expanding freedom, or defending decency, we are seeking after an earthly rescuer. And though I am for all these things, we shouldn’t believe any of these things will really save us. No amounts of cash, free press, or marital laws will fulfill us. Longing for these things above all will not lead us to peace. Rather, they land us in turmoil deep within the fox’s den.

Hence, Christ tells us to layup treasures in heaven instead of earth (Matt. 6:19-20. Our ultimate hope is not a better economy; our hope is the perfect savior and the new heavens. As long as Jesus reigns and is working all things together for our good, we can be joyful people. Let’s stop looking hopefully at little politicians who promise what they cannot deliver. And let’s turn our eyes heavenward toward the God who has already delivered what he promised.  What are you hoping in?   

3.       Don’t Fear Evil.

I fully understand that a Trump Presidency is a scary prospect. In large part, we don’t know what we are getting. But regardless of what “Make America Great Again” actually translates into, we don’t have to be afraid. Even if Trump is Hitler (I don’t think he is; see point 1.) God’s church will be fine. Think about Abraham, Joseph, Daniel, Paul, Jo4-republican-elephant-mascot-usa-flag-aloysius-patrimoniohn Huss, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the Chinese underground church and the many others who have thrived under unjust empires. They all were and are being used by God in the midst of pagan kingdoms to advance His glory. If anything, the destruction of America may actual grow God’s church exponentially.

I hope our future is not dark. I do not long for our country’s collapse. I don’t want the duck and hen to waddle down into the fox’s den. I want my kids, grand kids, and neighbors to enjoy the wealthiest, freest, and most just society ever. But if God has other plans, we will be ok. After all, even the worst dictator can only kill the body. He can never separate us from the love of God (Rom 8:38-39). At some point in the not too distant future, God will descend from the sky and set the world aright. What should we really be afraid of?

The political landscape may not look very cheery today. But, the sky is not falling. Christ is still reigning brightly above! Do evangelical really need to keep scurrying around.

 

You’re The Key To Great Parenting

blog keysMost everyday my son loves to grab my keys, stretch as far he little toes will allow him, and touch a door knob. And I think he’s attempt at being a night watchman can be traced back to yours truly. For the past year or so, my son has regularly walked the halls of FBCE with me locking and unlocking doors. And now he wants a turn.

I mention the story because it illustrates just how much influence we parents have on our kids. Whether we realize or not, we are shaping our kids.

Now there are great coaches, inspiriting teachers, and godly pastors, but none of them can compete with a parent’s influence over their kid. Teachers and the like get our kids for a few hours. We have our kids for a lifetime.We are hold the key to our kids success.

God designed us as parents to lead our families. We read in the Deuteronomy 6 that we are supposed to teach our kids about God from the time they time we flip on junior’s bedroom light till the time we flip it off. And we are commanded to teach our kids about God because God knows that we are always teaching. We are either teaching our kids to trust in the power of the flesh and to love the world or we are encouraging them to obey God. Class is always in. And God wants us to make it about him.

To succeed as Parents, we must love the Lord our God with all our heart, mind, and strength. We must be growing in our faith, changing our attitudes, actions, and loves to align with scripture. To be good parents, we must have hearts ruled by God’s word.

Admittedly, becoming more like Jesus is a serious and at times arduous endeavor. We daily fight against selfish impulses, pride, arrogance, and laziness. We top spiritual mountains full of joy and we fall into valley of death filled with sorrow. We need help at times. And even if we are doing well, we can always benefit from godly encouragement and teaching. We can never be so blessed that we don’t need God’s word. Thankfully, God’s gives parents an awesome resource that does all these things. It’s called the church.

The church exists to encourage and to help everyone (adults included) grow in their understanding of God. Through the preaching of the word, the fellowship of other believers, and the admonishment of friends, we can have hearts ruled by God’s word.

Parening Conference FacebookThis weekend (August 29 and 30) FBCE will be hosting its bi-annual Biblical Parenting Conference. We realize as a church staff that the best way to reach your kids is to encourage and build up parents. If you are able, we greatly encourage you to be a part of the conference. And if you can’t be a part of it or other conferences, make your spiritual growth a priority. Study the word, commit to a local church, and study a book or two on parenting (see the must reads page for some great suggestions).

Just by watching me, my son came to love keys and door knobs. What else are our kids picking up?