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

Happy 1st of July

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HAPPY 1st of July!

I know I’m a little early, but let me be the first to wish our Canadian friends Happy … Dominion … Fête du Canada … Canada Day! I’ve been the typical provincial U.S. citizen who didn’t know what was happening in the world much beyond his own country. I lived all this time without realizing that Canada celebrated it’s founding every July and they do it with Fireworks! I thought the U.S. invented celebrating with fireworks … or was that the Chinese? Oh well … I knew I liked our northern neighbor!

Our two countries’ histories are interconnected, similar and different. The U.S. constitutionalized, “Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, while Canada talks about “Peace, order and good government.” U.S. independence came earlier (1776) and through a decisive revolution. Canada became a Dominion within the British Realm in 1867 and gained increasing autonomy from England. The last vestiges of British governmental influence slipped into history with the signing of the Constitution Act in 1982.

When I first learned about Canada’s gradual progress toward independence, I thought of the progressive nature of our walk of faith. Salvation is revolution and freedom gained by measures. Unlike the amicable relationship both the U.S and Canada maintain with Great Britain, sin is an enemy whose rule the Christian wants totally destroyed. That happened at the cross … that is happening because of the cross.
 
Romans 6 states that when Christ died and rose from the dead, he decisively defeated sin, so that we should no longer be slave to it (vs. 6). But in the same chapter, Paul makes it clear that we must daily choose to live in the freedom of that victory (vv. 11-13). Oh how I long for my Spiritual 1982. Either Christ will call me home or appear to take me home and then … all vestiges of sin’s rule will fall away.


Pray for the Persecuted Church

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The illustration below is hard to wrap your mind around. I’ve read the statistics. I’ve seen pictures of those wounded and slaughtered simply for believing in Jesus. I’ve read the heart-wrenching testimonies of unimaginable suffering. I’ve preached about the persecuted church worldwide. But I’ve noticed something about myself; that which is hard to fathom … is easy to forget.
 
I don’t think it’s callousness on my part … at least I hope not. A number of factors combined keep the plight of the persecuted church at edges of my mind. Maybe you can identify.
  • A compassionate heart makes it difficult to witness (even at a distance) their suffering.
  • I am frustrated by the disparity between two realities; my desire and my inability to help.
  • Their suffering reminds me that I could be called on to suffer for my faith in Christ.
  • It is largely ignored in the scheme of world news.

So even though my brothers and sisters in the faith suffer daily and by the thousands … I remember it seldom and reflect deeply on it even less. As I prepared to preach on prayer, one phrase brought them to mind; “always keep on praying for all the saints.” Ephesians 6:18. It reminded me of the prayer requests I’ve heard from those who are being persecuted.

> “Pray for us!”
> “Pray that we don’t deny Jesus.”
> “Pray for our courage.”
> “Pray for the salvation of our persecutors.”
 
The one thing I can do … I should purpose to do. I should fight the forces that would drive their suffering from my mind. I should remember and I should pray. That’s what the author of Hebrews said, Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering. Hebrews 13:3
 

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Here are some resources to help:

www.persecution.com/pray

www.cru.org/train-and-grow/spiritual-growth/prayer/pray-for-persecuted-church

www.opendoorsusa.org/take-action/pray

 



Buyer’s Remorse

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Buyer’s Remorse: I did my research; Stumbling through page after page of online reviews. Trying to balance between reviewers who sounded like they were on the payroll and those who would find something sour to say if they were allowed to review technology from the 28th Century. I compared models and manufacturers. I waded through unfamiliar jargon. I confidently settled on a smart phone that was the best build, brains and battery for my buck (actually for a lot of my bucks). Then I bought two.

That’s my face on the phone. Well … not really, but that’s how I felt when I realized my mistake. I felt taken. I felt grumpy. I felt a little … little. I had done my best to get exactly what we needed without breaking the bank. I just missed one thing; a nine instead of a zero at the end of the model number. It meant I got everything I wanted in the phone, except the one thing I absolutely needed.

It’s not entirely my fault. This particular model number only sells in Pakistan, the Philippines, Saudi Arabia and … PANAMA! It doesn’t even show up in online searches unless you’re really digging. Still, I went from heady high of technological titillation, to the dejected doldrums of buyer’s remorse. It’s happened before, it will assuredly happen again. Except in one area of my life.

I will not be disappointed with God! I have been disappointed with God, but the fault was with my sin-distorted expectations, not with him. When I say, “I will not be disappointed,” I mean ultimately. By faith in Jesus I will one day stand in God’s presence and know him as he truly is. If any disappointment is possible on such a day, it will only be the frustration of having not arrived sooner.

For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.”  Romans 10:11

 



Breaking Free

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The documentary featured people who were radically changing their appearances. One man was in the process of having his entire body tattooed with reptilian scales. He gazed at the camera through contacts that made his eyes dark reflective slits. His tongue was forked due to “cosmetic” surgery. A dentist had filed his teeth into fangs. A woman on the show had implants beneath her upper lip giving her a cat-like maw. A plastic surgeon was adding nylon whiskers to her self-deception. Chameleon and cat both called the process “evolution.”

Before and after pictures were heartbreaking. Some father’s beautiful little girl, turned sideshow lioness. A handsome young man, now a hideous lisping reptile. I felt a deep sense of sadness and sympathy for the subjects of the documentary. I remember wondering, “How much to do you have to hate yourself to so eradicate your identity?”

This is society untethered from its creator and his good purposes. No Reasoning Source for our universe means no ultimate purpose or direction. Man separated from his creator; man void of an owner’s manual may be reinterpreted according to any whim. Who dare define me? Why two sexes? Why not eight?

Near the end of the Nineteenth Century The poet William Henley penned these famous lines, 

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

The poem is a rejection of all but natural realities. These verses spurn the Biblical teachings of Salvation and Punishment. But Henley’s mastery and self-determination go out the philosophical window if he is wrong about one question … “Is there a God?” The same holds true for the autonomy of our age. If God exists, our first life pursuit should be to know him and embrace his design for our lives.  Jeremiah 9:23-24; Psalm 2:1-6

 



You’re Still Invited

supperSometimes we correct one another based on our experience and culture rather than on solid data. For instance, I might ask you to go out to Sunday Dinner. I mean … “Church is over, let’s go eat.” I grew up referring to the mid-day meal (especially on Sunday) as dinner. Others insist, that dinner
should only be used to refer the evening meal. “You know, ‘Breakfast, lunch and dinner.’” What about supper? “Oh that’s just another word for dinner.” How sure of yourself are you on this one?

Supper does refer to the evening meal; no debate. It comes from the old French souper which literally means “evening meal.” Linguistically, it has ties back to the evening meal that Jesus shared with his disciples the night he was betrayed.

Dinner (now hold onto your seats) comes from the Latin disj?j?n?re meaning “to break one’s fast.” What!? Dinner means breakfast? No … it was never used that way. It has traditionally referred to the largest meal of the day, either lunch or supper. How you use the word dinner may reveal something about your ancestral roots. People with rural agricultural ties are much more likely to refer to the mid-day meal as dinner. Because, that’s when they had their largest meal. In the late 1800s, Noah Webster wrote, “The dinner of fashionable people would be the supper of rustics.” I’m a rustic … but I’m a linguistically vindicated rustic. If I ask you to Sunday Dinner at Noon and you correct me … that’s okay, you’re still invited.

Sometimes we judge sin based on our experience and culture rather than on the solid foundation of God’s Word. Growing up, I heard that it was a sin for a man to pluck his eyebrows. This caused me great consternation since I had witnessed a couple of generations of untamed brows. Funny thing is, that’s nowhere in the Bible. It is in the Quran, but not the Bible.

The Bible really does identify certain actions as sin (Exodus 20; Colossians 3:5-6). The Bible also says that we’re to confront in order to restore when we see a brother or sister sinning (Luke 17:3; Galatians 6:1; Hebrews 3:12). Just remember … God’s Word must be the deciding rule by which we identify sinful actions, not culture or tradition.