Tuesday, May 20, 2014

A Gospel-Centered Response to Sexual Sin

I found this article to be very helpful in forming my perspective of and response to the popularity and dominance of the homosexual agenda. Our state is in the midst of constitutional debate about marriage. Many parts of the country are further along in that debate than Arkansas is.

The popular opinion and the biblical perspective do not agree. As a follower of Jesus Christ, I must believe the Bible and view the culture through a biblical lens. It might be easier to believe the culture and view the Bible through a cultural lens. But we cannot do that and still profess Christianity.

So even though I know and love people who are homosexual (you know them, too), I need a response that is biblical. Too many of us want to raise the Bible high above our heads and raise our voices even higher. That comes across as condemnation...because it is. We are not called to condemn but to share the gospel.

I'm still working through emotions, beliefs, and responses. Maybe this article will help us maintain a Christ-like perspective toward homosexuality and build redemptive relationships with homosexuals.


What's On The News

I'm drinking coffee and waiting for a meeting to start. I have an hour. A TV is on CNN in the corner. Here are the headlines as I've heard them.

  • There are germs on airplanes.
  • An NBA owner is in trouble for something he said.
  • A Swiss bank is in trouble for helping people hide their money.
  • The Moore OK tornado struck one year ago.

If there is anything to learn from watching the news this morning, it's that... I don't know. I really don't know what to think.

First, if you put a couple hundred people together in a confined space for even a short period of time there will be germs. So be careful what you touch. Wash your hands.

Second, people say stupid things and ought to be held accountable for it. And we ought not let what others say hurt our feelings so much. He said some offensive things. I hope people don't spend so much time tearing him down that they forget to live up to their God-given opportunities.

Third, should we be surprised when a covert or shady operation is exposed even when we knew that this was exactly what was going on? Let me guess, next week there will be a bank in the Cayman Islands in the news.

Fourth, life is full of unexpected (and expected, for that matter) events that can knock you down...if you let them. By faith, a person can move forward even after terrible losses.

I'm tired of watching the news. I'm going to take a walk and thank God for his blessings.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Q&A on Twitter

Twitter is about followers. I admit that I'd love to have more of them. But today as I scrolled through the posts of those I follow, I was challenged by Charles Lowery (@DrCharlesLowery).

"Sometimes our biggest burdens become our richest rewards."

I immediately wondered what I'm supposed do in the interim. Patience. Prayer. But shouldn't I DO something?

I kept scrolling and found this from Maichael Catt (@MichaelCatt).

" 'A winner never stops trying' - Tom Landry. A prayer warrior never stops pleading and believing."

There's the answer. Why do we always think we must do something and that prayer is not part of the so,etching? Yes, we must do something and praye is ALWAYS part of the something.

We may have to do other tiings, too. Maybe we have to change jobs or locations. Maybe we have to forgive and seek forgiveness. Maybe we have to move from the status quo and change.

But we always must pray.

I have some deep burdens relating to self, family, and church. To see reward I have to persistently plead and believe.

What are your burdens? Are you trying to DO something to make the situation better? Have you prayed?

Follow me on twitter @BobLoyd

Monday, May 12, 2014

Making Adjustments

If you were to look at my resume you would see that golf is one of my hobbies or activities. If you looked at my calendar you would wonder why. If you looked at my scorecard you would really wonder why.

The truth is I don't play much. My slice makes it hard to hide that truth. The first time I played on a real course was when I was in high school. I met a few friends at Bay Ridge in Dardanelle. When it was my turn to tee-off on #1 I put the ball high and long and way right. It was across the trees and across the road. If you've never played Bay Ridge (now John Daly's Lion's Den) then you should know that this shot was worse than you think. If you have played there you are really wondering why I list golf as a hobby.

My birthday was last week. Last year on my birthday I played. I played in a fund-raising tournament with my Dad in the Fall. I was going to Dardanelle to play with him today. But it was raining early this morning in Dardanelle and the chance of rain is 90% for our tee time. I had been on the road for just a few minutes when he called to let me know. He was willing to play in the rain, he said. I figured we'd better reschedule so we'll try again next week.

My life is full of things I need or want or like to do. I try to keep my iCal up to date - I think if you keep a calendar you ought to keep it current. Your calendar ought to serve as a look forward and also a look back. Anyone who must file expense reports understands.

But sometimes you have to make adjustments. Like today. My text to my wife said, "No golf. It's raining. I'll pick up Riley from school." One adjustment seems to bring others.

How do you handle the unexpected changes that come up? In the construction businesses, changes cost money. The lightning delay in Riley's baseball game last week cost us time. The guy who changes lanes in front of you in the interstate can cost time, money, nerves, and lives.

The construction firm uses changes to increase profits. One of the baseball teams (the other one) used the change in schedule to play in the rain. The guy cut off in traffic has to drive defensively. Some choose to drive more aggressively but that's not a good choice.

An unexpected diagnosis from the oncologist, the email from the boss outlining upcoming layoffs, the surprising result of a pregnancy test, the bill to repair a busted water heater, the news that a loved one has suddenly died...

"Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you" (1 Peter 5:7 NIV84).

"Trust in the Lord with all you heart and lean not on your own understanding (Proverbs 3:5 NIV84).

We can focus on the circumstances or we can focus on the Lord. I choose to look to Jesus.

Friday, May 09, 2014

Responding to the Emily Letts Video

Dr. Al Mohler wrote an article at his website addressing the "positive abortion story" captured on video by the young woman having the abortion. She considered the procedure to be "birth-like." Mohler says:

"So her abortion was 'as birth-like as it could be,' except for the fact that the entire procedure was intended to terminate the life so that the birth would never take place."

Read Dr. Mohler's full article here.

Not everyone who is pro-abortion is comfortable with the way this video portrays abortion. However, cultural acceptance is growing while the biblical standard remains the same.


Admittedly, I've never spent much time in the library. High school and college assignments that drove me to the library were usually more interesting than I first thought but I just didn't put that much effort into research. The card catalogue is very confusing.

Then I started seminary. I built up my own library as each class had required textbooks and other reading. Shelves line the office at church. We have a couple of shelves in the house. My Logos and Kindle apps are heavily loaded. And as I sit at the dining room table typing this post, I can see about thirty books stacked on the table and in the chairs.

These stacks contain books I'm actively using. (Add another thirty or so e-books to the "actively using" list.) A couple are Bible commentaries I'm using for sermon preparation. One is a book on physical health. Most deal with the topic of my recently-abandoned doctoral project: missional living.

I've abandoned the project but not the concept. Mission living is a broad and deep idea that comes from the Bible. It is the true sense of what the church should be based on the missionary nature of God. Jesus said, "As the Father has sent me, I am sending you" (John 20:21). The Father sent the Son on a mission to redeem people from their sins. While Christians cannot die to atone for the sins of others like Jesus did, we still are to be actively pursuing the redemption of the lost by showing them, telling them about, and pointing them to Jesus.

When Jesus was born - an infant to a virgin - God took on human flesh. This is called the Incarnation. What Jesus did to redeem people is missional; how he did it was incarnational - he came to us, he became one of us. So the church is to be people who are engaged in the mission of God through the relationships we have with others.

I'm an introvert so I have few deep relationships and almost all of those are with people who are a lot like me. In order to be missional I have to be intentionally incarnational, too. I have to engage people who are different from me, who I may not naturally be drawn to, but who need a Christian to care enough for them to tell them the Good News. Relationships are the best avenue by which the gospel arrives.

That doesn't me Christians shouldn't express the gospel to total strangers. That doesn't put an end to global mission trips or mission ministry in another part of town. We are to be on mission everywhere to everybody. Where possible, we should leverage relationships and personal encounters for the sake of the mission.

I want to encourage you, if you are a Christian, to accept the call to God's missionary call just as Jesus did and to engage people in personal relationships just as Jesus did for the sake of the mission.