The Pastor’s Corner is written by the pastor of Coronado Bible Church.

‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ … with Faulty Theology

Clarence the simple-minded angel second-class is a wonderful work of fiction. Just be sure you know the difference between fiction and fact.
 
Here’s one thing the movie got right: Angels are sent by God to help us. Scripture teaches that angels are ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation (Hebrews 1:14). These angels are aware of us, have constant access to God, the Father (Matthew 18:10) and sometimes function as guardians (Psalm 91:11).
 
The movie got this mostly right: Angels do, at times, appear in common human form. Clarence and George are getting eyed suspiciously by Nick the bartender because they are talking about angels. Clarence asks, “What’s wrong? They believe in angels, don’t they? Then why should they be surprised to see one?” Hebrews 13:2 says, “Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it.” If you ever see an angel, you probably won’t know you’re seeing an angel. So … you might want to rethink being rude to strangers.
 
Here’s one thing the movie got totally wrong: Angels are not deceased humans. Clarence is referred to as a clock-maker and wears a dressing gown given to him by his wife before he passed away … 293 years ago. The implication is that humans die and become guardian angels. Some people find this fiction comforting, but it’s not Biblical. The Bible teaches that we will be “like” angels in only two ways; 1) we will not be able to die (Luke 20:36) and 2) we will not be married (Matthew 22:30). We will be “like” angels, but we will not become angels. The truth is far more glorious and comforting! If your loved one was a believer in Jesus Christ, they are currently in His presence (2 Corinthians 5:8) and will one day share more in common with Him than the angels. Our resurrections bodies will be like His (Philippians 3:20-21) and Jesus is far superior to the angels (Hebrews 1:4-6). Now that will be a wonderful life!
 
 


What’s Your Standard

I only brought a small portion of the tools I used to own to Panama … but I brought the best. I made sure to include a good quality tape measure; the wide, stiff kind that makes it easy to take measurements on your own. When I needed to the size of our windows, I was very pleased that I had brought such a tool. After meticulously noting all the dimensions of my project, I confidently headed off to the hardware store.
 
I was chagrined to discover that all my measurements were in inches and all the window shades were marked in centimeters. It wasn’t that I forgot to look at the metric side of the tape … my tape doesn’t have a metric side. It was marketed to a minority nation with a lot of people. In all the world, only Myanmar, Liberia and the U.S. have not adopted the metric system. The U.K. uses the metric system for all important international matters, but allows its citizenry to cling to the Imperial past. It’s not easy being Standard in a Metric World. Standard isn’t the standard anymore.
 
I will grudgingly admit that I’m getting used to metric measurements. I never really was too fond of 32nds and 64ths. I also like the fact that I get to drive at 100 … it’s a constant adrenalin rush for my brain that still thinks in MPH. Despite the fact that we’d spend billions just retooling our gas pumps and changing out our road signs, the U.S. should probably get with the program. We’d seem less pugnacious if we’d stop brandishing our yardsticks. We should go the way of the world.
 
Still, there are times to hold out no matter how odd you look or how the odds are stacked against you. Right and wrong cannot be determined by consensus. God does not poll his people to determine morality. We must conform to His standard … not the other way around.
 
Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Romans 12:9 and 21
 
 
 


Thankful for:

GOD …

  • Who loved me when I was His enemy.
  • Who sacrificed His only Son for my pardon.
  • Who daily shows me new depths of mercy and grace.
  • Who has saved my life and physically healed me multiple times.
  • Who created me in a beautiful world and gave me the capacity to enjoy it.
  • Who has always taken care of our needs and blessed us with more than we deserve.
  • Who has taken everything bad and hard in my life and worked it out for my good and his glory.
  • Who gave me the immense and undeserved privilege of serving Him with my life.
  • Who not only saved me but secured for me an everlasting hope and future.

 

SUE …

  • who has shared and never ridiculed me for my faith. Not every man has that … not even every pastor.
  • who has walked shoulder to shoulder with me through 28 years of marriage and 24 years of ministry.
  • who has helped me understand my gifts and potential and inspired me to be a better man.
  • who has constantly surprised me with her generosity toward others and her willingness to sacrifice for the ministry.
  • who has never given me the slightest reason to question her love and faithfulness.
  • who promised to never use the word divorce in our relationship … and has kept that promise.
  • who makes me laugh every day and still laughs at my corny sense of humor.

 

YOU …

  • who have shown a great desire to hear and understand God’s Word.
  • who have welcomed and loved Sue and me with all our imperfections.
  • who have interacted with me as a friend and not just a preacher.
  • who have fought the good fight for unity and mutual love within the Body.
  • who have bettered the reputation of CBC in the wider community.
  • who have given generously to support the ongoing work of God in Coronado.
  • who have encouraged and challenged me to be a better pastor.

 

Wishing you all a Blessed and Happy Thanksgiving
… every day of the year!
 
 


Sing Baby Sing!

People redeemed by Jesus have countless reasons to sing, but here are a few more. Singing is like chocolate without the calories. It releases the same endorphins as you might get from a hefty dose of dark chocolate. According to researchers, that’s not the only benefit.
 
Singing is a workout for the muscles that physiologists call the “Core.” Done correctly it strengthens the back and improves overall posture. People who sing regularly are less likely to snore because their throat and pallet muscles are in better condition. Heart and lung function increases during singing, oxygenating the blood, improving mental acuity and reducing the levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
 
Researchers have discovered that singing stimulates the sacculus in our inner ear in a way that produces feelings of pleasure. It doesn’t even matter what the singing sounds like … so there’s hope for us all. The University of Frankfurt tested choristers after an hour of rigorous singing and discovered that they had significantly elevated levels of proteins which are vital to a healthy immune system. They tested the same group after simply listening to music and the effect was not produced. The lesson here is that you must participate to enjoy the benefits. It’s as if we were created to sing and benefit from singing.
 
I thought of how often the psalmists said, “I will sing.” Over thirty times, the Psalms command the people of God to sing.
 
Sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth. Sing to the Lord, praise his name; proclaim his salvation day after day. Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous deeds among all peoples. Psalm 96:1
 
It would be interesting to do a survey of the entire Bible, but two New Testament passages instantly come to mind, Ephesians 5:9 and Colossians 3:16. Both teach that singing is supposed to be a regular part of a believer’s life and community experience.
 
It’s not surprising to me that our gracious Creator would command us to do something we were engineered to benefit from and enjoy. It makes me feel like singing!
 
 
 


Addicted to Light

A flashlight was one of my favorite childhood toys. I would make rocket sounds and slowly lift the flashlight off my bed, pretending the spreading ring of light was the flame of its engines. The fascination hasn’t entirely ended. I still like to peruse the flashlight isle in hardware stores. I have enough flashlights … but it wouldn’t be hard to sell me another one. Especially if you told me it was brighter than any of my current selection.
 
A regular old torch isn’t good enough. Now-a-days, you must have a “tactical flashlight.” Some in this new breed produce beams so intense they can ignite paper. One model boasted a brightness of 90,000 lumens. I considered purchasing one, but I don’t have anyone I need to signal on Mars? Our society is addicted to devices that dispel darkness.
 
 “I don’t like being left in the dark.” Now we understand that common phrase is not talking about literal darkness. The person who says such things means, “I don’t like not knowing what’s going on.” This is the darkness we fear most. We try to dispel the “darkness” of our own ignorance in all sorts of ways. We try desperately to manage our unmanageable future. Our myriad methods for anesthetizing ourselves against the uncertainty of future range from benign to blasphemous; portfolio planning, media binging, obsessive scheduling, astrology … pay-per-view prophets. We very much want to be in the know.
 
When it comes to the future, it’s okay to be in the dark. Read carefully Isaiah’s wisdom.
 
Who among you fears the Lord and obeys the word of his servant? Let him who walks in the dark, who has no light, trust in the name of the Lord and rely on his God. But now, all you who light fires and provide yourselves with flaming torches, go, walk in the light of your fires and of the torches you have set ablaze. This is what you shall receive from my hand: You will lie down in torment. Isaiah 50:10-11
 
You were not created to know everything. You certainly don’t have to have your future neatly tied up in a bow. In fact, you can’t, because you’re not in charge. Better to walk in the dark holding God’s hand and trusting His Word than to try manufacture your own light.