Yesterday at the Awana Quizzing, I heard the lady up front tell us that, “It’s too bad we don’t have trophies for you all, you were all winners. You know, in God’s eyes you’re all winners.”

Now, I know, I have a bad attitude, but still, give me a break here. First of all, we’re not all winners, if we were we would have all won. Instead, there is only one first place, which means, by definition, that no one else won.

Not to mention that this is a complete insult to the teams that actually studied and put forth the necessary effort to win. The winning team learns by this that all that extra effort to win was a waste because even those who didn’t try were winners in God’s eyes. How rude.

Second of all, who is she to tell me what God thinks? Why would God think I was a winner if I just came in last place? Granted, He sees me as a winner in Christ, we have the victory, we are overcomers, etc. But when it comes to this little contest here, I don’t think God considers us all to be winners. Perhaps there were some kids there who didn’t even care or study, does He think they are winners?

The lack of competition in Christian circles has always bothered me. I think winning and losing teach us so much that to minimize the lessons of losing by saying we’re winners is a travesty. I have learned more by losing and being made fun of than all my winning combined. I say, mock the loser, maybe next time they’ll try harder! How about a little Christian booing every once in awhile?!

If we can’t learn to win in a stupid little contest, how will we learn to win the good fight of faith?

I was out riding my bike and I was coming up to a huge snowbank and a kid was playing on it. There was something about my split second impression of him that made me think “get ready for a snowball.” Sure enough, when I got past him I heard the familiar buzz of a snowball over my head which exploded on the road.

Another split second of thought–should I stop, should I Go pound him, should I just keep going? I slowed up, turned around and said, “You think that’s funny?” He, being the dork he is, said “Yah.” I said, “You want me to come back there?” No answer. So I shouted back, “You better watch it child.”

There’s something in the air out there my friends. Something out there which is making everyone an idiot. I used to be harassed on my bike once or twice a year, but it’s getting downright dangerous out there. Why is it that people who are just living, minding their own business, are picked on? Why are we so powerless to do anything about it?

It’s bugging me why it’s always the people who are acting normal who are the bad guys. If I had gone back there and shoved the kid, thrown a snowball back, or whatever, I’d be in court tomorrow. The jury would explain to me “he’s just a little kid. You can’t go getting mad at him. Surely you did dumb things when you were a kid.” Yeah, I did and a fair number of people confronted me on it and caused me to eliminate many of the disrespectful, dorky things kids get away with today. Someone’s got to tell them and I’m determined to make that someone be me.

This whole homosexual marriage thing is getting a bit out of hand if you ask me, and even if you don’t, that’s still what I think. Bush has proposed a constitutional amendment to enforce marriage.

Question–why do we have to pass a constitutional amendment to enforce what the law already is? Shouldn’t those who want to change the law and the very definition of marriage have to get a constitutional amendment? Why do those who already follow the law have to make an amendment to continue to do so?

One of the warnings that the end is approaching given by Paul to Timothy is that “they will forbid to marry.” What will probably happen is that the amendment deal will pass and homosexual marriage will be out. So then they will make some sort of other arrangement which will seem equal or better to marriage. Marriage will be one more headache to live without. Many couples are living together now anyway and all of this will continue. I tell ya, it’s all very disturbing. At the same time, the end is near and that’s got to excite you!

Yesterday in Chicago they blew up the infamous ball which Steve Bartman knocked away from Moises Alou in the playoffs last year, 5 outs form the world series. That’s good, better the ball than poor Bartman. Forget those things which are behind and press on–a new year of pain begins soon. I can hardly wait.

I got a phone call from my sister down in Il this morning. Some people we know are Cub fans who have connections and they wanted to know if we wanted to buy any tickets. Boy oh boy. We’re so close now, only 40 more days until opening day!

So I got some nice seats all picked out for a few games in September. I did a statistical analysis of the Central Divsion and saw that they will clinch their division then. Riiiiight.

So anyway, I have hope, I have something to look forward to now for the stupid Cubs. Knowing me, by the time my games in September come the Cubs will either be 20 games up in first or 20 games back of first. Either way, my plan will no doubt backfire. My plans always do.

Aint that life though? Heaven will be so cool because we’ll be able to make plans and they’ll always happen. Ah yes, milk and honey, milk and honey.

Here’s the deal, I don’t want to discourage anyone by not liking The Passion movie. If you want to like the movie, that’s fine. But I think we need to be careful when these things come up. We are so anxious to jump on the bandwagon and our whole faith will be tied to this movie–if the movie doesn’t go over well, which who will say it did even if it did, so goes our faith in the world’s eyes. Mel Gibson is a man, yet he is now my spokesman and yours to the world, that bugs me a bit.

I don’t mean to discourage and be the party pooper, but caution is always necessary in our crazy world. I don’t mean to dump on Gibson, he put up his own money and he did what he thought he had to do. I think he did fine, it’s the best I could have expected from anyone other than me! We need to be careful though, that’s all.

I don’t mean to be a party pooper but I will not align myself with other churches who are coming together because Mel Gibson made a movie. There was an opportunity made available to me to put our church with all the other churches in Rhinelander and come together and do all this stuff because of the movie.

I will not align RBC with other churches just because everyone else is, nor will I not align because everyone else is. I won’t do it because I don’t think it’s right for a church to stake it’s reputation on any man or man made thing. RBC will be aligned with the Bible and Jesus Christ.

Here’s my take on The Passion of the Christ: It was a fine piece of movie, well done, probably the best movie on a Christian topic I’ve ever seen production wise. The story begins in the Garden with Jesus praying. Then we get into Gibson’s mind a bit as he shows his personification of evil who tempts Christ and tries to get him to back out. A snake then comes out of the evil guy and goes over to Christ and crawls around on him. Christ continues to pray, then stands up and crushes the head of the snake with his foot. All very nice, except for, of course, that’s not exactly in the Bible. I know what he means, but still.

When Judas betrays Christ a demon head comes swiping through at him. As Christ is being whipped the evil personified guy comes again and this time he’s carying a very strange, smiling baby. I have no idea what that was.

Besides the mysticism aspect, there was also some Catholic treatment of Jesus’ Mother. It wasn’t strong, but it was there. All the disciples called her “Mother.” Which, fine, but even Jesus said she wasn’t his mother so I’m willing to bet they didn’t call her that.

There were also some flashbacks to Jesus’ growing days with his mom, his dad was never present, which are also not to be found in the Bible.

The other aspect is that it doesn’t really portray the Gospel as we, or at least I, know it. It was all about love according to Gibson’s take on it. The only mention of dying for sin was at the beginning where the verse from Isaiah 53 is on the screen–“he was wounded for our transgressions.” Everything else was about love. I do not wish to downplay the aspect of love, but I do also wish to emphasize the aspect of sin, which the movie does not.

For all the trouble to go through to make this movie and then not clearly show why Jesus did what he did seems a failure.

However, in saying all this, I wasn’t going to like the movie to begin with. I do not like the trend of making God’s Word into another form of entertainment. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God–faith does not come by a movie.

However, this movie will do more good than the last 25 years of Holloywood film making put together. Is it the answer to all the world’s problems? No and in fact will probably just muddy the waters. If you are truly excited about the message of Christ’s suffering save $8 and go tell a friend about Jesus.

This morning I am going to see The Passion of the Christ by Mel Gibson as part of a special showing for area church leaders. My thoughts going in to it:

I never like going into anything who’s sole purpose is to emotionally manipulate me, unless it’s a sporting event where you don’t know the outcome. From what I’ve heard this movie gets you. I’m sure it will, when I read the story it gets me. Not to mention that Forest Gump “got me.”

The hubbub by the Christian community bugs me a bit. I’m not sure why we get so excited about things like this. I’m sure the movie will help some people but a bit of calmness, an attitude like we’re victorious rather than ravenously desperate for a break would be nice I think.

What also bugs me is how Christians are supposed to like this movie when a majority of Christians, including me, have not seen it. Why should I like it just because it’s about Jesus? What if I don’t agree with the recent trend to turn biblical stories into popular stories presented like any other fiction story? Why do we enjoy judging each other’s spirituality based on things that aren’t necessarily spiritual?

Anyway, these are my thoughts going in to it, we’ll see what they are going out of it.

This morning I was working on the monthly church newsletter which brings me to the monthly battle with my stupid computer. I don’t know what it is, but when I try to get this thing to print envelopes it just goes weird on me. That’s why usually I’ll just hand write them. When i press the icon that says it will print my envelope, silly me, I expect it to print the envelope.

It really bugs me when things say they’re going to do something and then they don’t. It bugs me when people do that too. Christianity Today has a test you can take to see if you are a person of your word or if you just say things and forget. Something I think Christians should particularly be mindful of seeing as how we represent Jesus–The Way, the Truth and the Life. I think many in the world mistrust God because they can’t trust any of His followers.

Psalm 18 is a fun little Psalm. It’s all about revenge and nailing your enemies. David, in the translation I read, says “hand over my enemies so I can pound them.” Oh yeah! That’s the stuff!

What’s funny about David is that he is very emotional in his outbursts to God–both posiitive and negative. But when you look at his life he doesn’t seem to be that emotional, he seems like a military guy out doing his job. There are exceptions of course, when he came dancing home and his wife ripped on him.

But I think the thing that kept David emotionally sound was that he would pour himself out to God and not to the whole world. Reading the Psalms is like getting a glimpse into David’s head, seeing things going on between him and his God. Intriguing stuff and a great example for us.

When God shows up and talks to Job He lays into him pretty good. He uses rhetorical questions which Job can’t answer, so Job doesn’t, which was a good move. Job repents instead of discussing further and God is good with that. Job’s friends, however, have another thing coming.

I have often wondered about God’s comments to Job, why was He so mad at Job? Didn’t Job do well? But God’s response seems a bit harsh.

I think one of the problems is that Job’s friends are saying that Job must have messed up. Job maintains his righteousness. Perhaps Job was a bit too righteous sounding for his own good. Maybe he relied on his own righteousness, not admitting that God sees all men as unrighteous and we all deserve bad stuff.

Seems as if God’s point is that all the creatures of creation do there thing and they don’t wonder why it happens, they just keep going. They do their thing and do exactly what God made them to do. They don’t worry about getting harpoons in their head or not being able to fly, they just deal with it.

Seems like the message of Job is–Oh would you all just shut up and deal with it!

As the people of Israel were leaving Egypt they were supposed to keep their eyes on the cloud which was God’s presence. Instead, their eyes wandered and they got to looking at the horrible land they were going through and then they saw the Egyptians coming and they got skeered. Their faith was determined by their experience.

Job knew he was a righteous man but he couldn’t make sense of what was happening to him. His faith and his experience were not lining up.

Noah was a righteous man and God asked him to do some crazy things–make a boat with no water because it was going to rain, which had never happened before. Noah’s faith did not have experience to back it up, but Noah went ahead anyway.

Faith is believing the opposite of your experience. Which is ironic in this day when we love books about experiencing God and encourage people to have experiences. I fear for many believers that their faith is no faith at all. What is your faith in–God’s Word or your experience?

You were wondering where the good news was in relation to the flu striking birds? Well, here it is–cat’s are getting it! However, I suppose dogs will get it next because the dogs will eat the cats and then coyotes will get it next because they eat dogs and then bears will get it and then people will get it and then it will all be over. But, hey, it got some cats.

You know who I think gets a bum rap in the Bible? Job’s friends.

First of all, they sit with Job for seven days just being there for their pal. When was the last time you went to be with a friend for seven days when they were in pain and loss?

Second of all, the stuff they were saying to Job, although maybe not the most encouraging stuff, was fairly accurate in regards to what they knew about God. They were going by experience and experience showed that God nails people who disobey. I think we forget that they didn’t have a Bible when they said this stuff. All they could go on was what they knew and what they said was what they knew.

Third of all, when God finally shows up to talk He has just as much trouble with what Job said as He does with what the friends say. Seems to me the lesson is–don’t be so sure of yourself when you’re defending God! God doesn’t need any defense anyway!

A bit of news that makes you wonder what exactly is wrong with Christianity these days. We walk by faith not by sight yet most want something to look at anyway.

Ever since Christianity started, Christians have been bugged by their culture. This has produced what people call “the social gospel.” The social gospel is more about changing the world or creating the Kingdom on earth. The basic tactic of the social gospel is to make the world a happy place so people will accept the gospel.

One of the passages of Scripture used to defend the social gospel is the parable of the sower who sows and the various kinds of ground. Interpreters say that the sower is in charge of preparing the ground so the seed is received better.

Do you agree?

One problem I see with it is that the sower in the parable is never told to do anything about the ground, in fact, the sower sows on the bad as well as the good. If he was in charge of the ground, seems he woulnd’t have bothered to sow the seed on the bad ground, but he did.

I think the message is–expect there to be bad ground, but sow there anyway. Our job is not to make the ground good, make our morals, our ideas, our values the values of the world, because it won’t happen. Our job is to present the gospel to everyone everywhere regardles of whether we like what they do.

After they receive the message–that’s when change occurs. To say otherwise is to say you can fix people better than God. I’m not going to go there.

It’s nice to know we’re not the only country with weird voting problems. It reminds one of the old Chicago voting policy–vote early and vote often. Perhaps Mrs. O’Leary’s cow had a role in that too.

(For those of you who are not up on your Chicago history, Mrs. O’Leary’s cow was the legendary cow who took the blame for the Great Chicago fire.)

Continuing to read “God’s Name in Vain” which is continuing to make good points. His basic point is that the function of religion is to resist. We resist the powers of the world, the flow of sin, corruption and yuck that continues to grow in our world. If we sell out our convictions for worldly power, we also sell out our ability to resist.

“If religion lives by resisting, then it dies by conforming.” Is the way he puts it.

All of this fits into a discussion on the separation of Church and State. That separation is there to protect the Church, not the state. The Church is the garden and the garden wall keeps the wilderness out. The wilderness did not build the wall to keep the garden out. Religion can go over the wall to make the wilderness a garden, but there would be no reason to turn the garden into a wilderness.

Religion is there to check worldly powers; worldly powers are not there to check religion. If religion becomes a worldly power it loses all ability to check anything, which is why the State should be kept out of the Church! By keeping the Church separate from State influences, it keeps our religions doing their job of resisting and keeps our State accountable.

I picked up a book at the library today called “God’s Name in Vain” by Stephen L. Carter. It’s about religion and politics and the debate over the separation of church and state.

His basic point is that religion is good for politics because religion keeps morality in the discussion and not just doing whatever the leader or the people want. At the same time, when religion gets interested in political power, it often means disaster for religion and will ultimately lead to disaster for the government.

religious people need to remain involved, know what’s going on and yet also remain removed from the process to an extent so as not to compromise their beliefs for power. He sums up the basic point like this, “One is a prophet, calling the world to account, or one is helping to run the world, and therefore resisting the call of the prophets.” Yup.

If our religion is staked to a political party our religious vitality and credence is staked to the success of the party. This puts us in weird spots. I think this book is must reading for every believer and I’m only on page 40. If we sell out our beliefs to make peace with government we will lose our beliefs and lose all authority or ability to make a call to repentance, see the following entry for an example.

Mr. John F. Kerry has been making waves over a potential affair. Not long ago Mr. Clinton was accused of the same thing. in fact, many of the fine gentleman in our nation’s history have had various flings. When these things happen, Christians are supposed to be “outraged” and lementing the horrible state of our government’s morality.

Allow me to shift your paradigm.

2 Samueal 11,12 shows David having a fling with Bathsheba, having her husband killed and then marrying her. God sends His prophet Nathan to address ole Davey boy. What was Nathan’s message? “David sinned and he should feel really bad about it and was gonna pay” was the basic message.

Notice how God’s spokesman did not ask David to leave office. Notice he was not asked to resign or be impeached. Notice He didn’t even say to give the woman back! David had to reap some consequences for his folly and pay fourfold for the sin he committed. But when it came to leadership, he was apparently still qualified! Not only that, our man David was “a man after God’s own heart.”

So, before we think and act like the majority of Christians, perhaps it’s a good reminder to make sure that thinking and acting like Christians is actually a Biblical thought or action! Hmm, something to ponder.

Spring is just about here as pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training today for the Cubs. The Cubs just signed Greg Maddux who used to be one of the best pitchers in baseball. He also used to be on the Cubs until they let him go because he “wanted to be on a winner.” The Cubs have a way of signing “used to be” good players. Needless to say, I’m not totally thrilled about the move but, whatever, he’s better than the loser they’re replacing him for.

Baseball is based on a Law mentality, there’s no grace involved when it comes to winning competition. I think the Cubs are getting stuck in showing grace at a time when they should be showing Law–get rid of Sosa now, don’t sign old guys and get young talent and go win.

But the Cubs always get stuck in tradition and loyalty and it always comes back to bite them. It’s funny how the right thing to do becomes harder when you involve emotions and tradition. An important thing to do for the Church is to examine what they are doing and ask why are we doing this? Is this tradition or does this work? Is it good to be loyal to this or is it hurting us? If you aren’t able to make the tough calls to do the right thing, bad things happen.

This morning I thought I would be nice and go vacuum the floor for my wifey. While vacuuming I began to notice this smell and it wasn’t the usual smell of vacuuming. It was that smell that says “something aint right here and if you keep me running I will explode.”

So I stopped the vacuum and began to check it for any problems. Back in the day I used to be quite good at vacuum repair. Oh yeah, it’s a little known fact. I used to be the guy that would go around to the buildings of Northwestern College and fix all the vacuums for my fellow janitors.

However, that was back in the day when vacuums were vacuums and not modern day marvels. We bought an Oreck 8-pound upright a few years back with the following reasoning–if you buy a vacuum from Sears for $100 you’ll have to replace it every five years. If my life expectancy is 80 that means I have 50 more years to go which means I will be approximately buying 10 vacuums from Sears for a total of $1,000 adjusted for inflation totals approximately $1,123.57 for vacuums. Clearly the smart thing to do is shell out $400 for the Oreck which will last for 30 years so I’ll only have to buy one more for a grand total savings of $137.46 after adjusting for inflation.

So anyway, the new Orecks, although a bargain, are hard to fix because everything is internal these days. After the first hour I figured out how to find the English part of the instruction manual and then proceeded on to find where they hid the belt. After getting the belt off, I then had to stretch my fingers for the proper contortion necessary to put a new belt back in. Then I unscrewed 17 screws to get the bottom panel off to check the brush, gears and flow tube. A mere hour later I figured out how to unscrew the tube from the bag to check the tube for blockage.

Now, after all that I vacuumed the floor. It took me about 2 and a half hours to vacuum the floor. If heaven is just like life on earth minus a few things–repairs on anything mechanical, haircuts, sleep and having to go to the bathroom, I’ll be quite satisfied. Everything else will be icing on the cake.

I watched the interview with Mel Gibson about his new movie, “The Passion of the Christ” last night. It was interesting. There were many disturbing things in the interview. Some of what GIbson said was disturbing–people of all faiths will be in heaven, he supports a very strict Catholic denomination, and other such things which were heard through the editor’s choice.

It was also disturbing to see how they portrayed Christians–either as Catholic or as handraising fruitcakes.

But there were two substantially disturbing things I heard–the first was a statistc that said that 82% of Americans say they are Christian. Whoa Nellie! You could take a group of any people and no 82% would be Christians, let alone 82% of Americans. You’re lucky if your church is 82% Christian. yet, people think they are good to go. “Many will say to me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord’ and I will say to them, ‘Go away from me, I never knew you.'” Scary stuff.

The second distrubing thing was the following quote which I think was attributed to Franklin Graham, but not sure, it was said by a prominent Christian, “This movie is the best evangelistic tool in the last two thousand years.”

Several things about this are disturbing. 1. Was not the Bible created in the last 2,000 years? 2. What have we been waiting for? 3. The reason most Christians like evangelizing with this movie is because it does all the work for you. Most Christians don’t like evangelism because you have to strike up the conversation and make it get where you want it to get. This movie gets people there, you just sit and wait for them to come to you. 4. The best evangelistic tool is supposed to be your life, not Mel Gibson’s movie.

Alex Rodriguez, one of the best players and the highest paid player in baseball, has just been traded to, who else, the New York Yankees.

The Yankees have made a habit of buying all the best talent. I’m not sure why Steinbrenner doesn’t just buy the World Series Trophy and save a couple million a year. What’s interesting is that in the past 20 years the Yankees have only won the World Series four times. Now, I’m not taking anything away from them, that’s a lot. But still, by buying all the best players and only winning one championship every five years?

Then there’s the LA Lakers who have bought all the best basketball players and they stink this year now that they’ve assembled their group of no-fail winners.

There’s a little thing out there called a team. You can have the best guys but if they don’t form a team, they won’t win. The Church is the same way–we’re not about one guy or a group of super succesful guys who carry the rest. It’s each person doing their thing the best they can. Having lots of talented people doesn’t guarantee anything. When the Church is unified not even the gates of hell could withstand it.

Some geneologists did some digging into the pasts of George W. Bush and John Kerry. They came to a startling conclusion–they are cousins, more accurately, 16th cousins three times removed, whatever that means.

I always knew they were all the same.

I finished Grace Walk and was disappointed by where he went. He started so well and then concluded like most other books on grace.

In my readings on grace people come to one of two conclusions, 1) grace is replaced by a system of legalism that is presented in such a way that it seems like grace but is really legalism or 2) grace means “let go and let God” or “stop doing and start being.”

The first conclusion, which more or less denies the existence of grace, is too focused on doing and misses the point. The second conclusion is too focused on being. Neither explains grace.

In all my years of hearing about grace I have rarely heard anyone present it in a consistent way, they ignore one half of Paul’s words to make their point. My thinking is why does it have to be either/or? Can’t grace be both being and doing? How can you “be” something if you aren’t doing anything? If you are being a basketball player but you don’t do basketball, you won’t stay a basketball player for too long!

Seems to me Paul presents both being and doing. We are in Christ, that is our spiritual being. We are being imitators of Christ by doing things consistent with our position. Thus, grace means we are free from bondage to sin and death because we are in Christ and since we are in Christ and all has been given to us to equip us for good works, do them! Makes sense to me. I don’t know why people have such trouble with that.

Recently there have been several issues where people have gotten upset because Ten Commandment monuments or plaques have been removed from public places. Supposedly, as a Christian, I’m supposed to care, but I have to tell you, I don’t.

What was the point of the Law? To point out sin and show how iandequate people are to save themselves. Law was to lead you to Christ. The Law was not given to save anyone or any nation, and certainly wasn’t given to save ours. The Law never improved anyone’s morality or conduct, it did just the opposite, it hit peole with guilt so much they scrapped the whole thing.

When people see “Don’t touch the wet paint” people touch the wet paint. When they see, “Don’t walk on the grass.” They walk on the grass. If we have the Ten Commandments all over, it’s just going to inspire more rebellion!

“Oh but come now, surely you would rather have people see the Ten Commandments than other junk that’s out there.” Sure, why not. But only spiritual people can discern spiritual things. An unsaved person, according to Scripture, cannot do what is right–live up to God’s standard–follow the Ten Commandments.

The only thing that will save our country is if everyone was able to follow the Law, I’ll admit to that. But I also must say that isn’t going to happen. The only way you can “follow the Law” is to be in Christ, the one who fulfilled the Law. Instead of getting worked up over whether we can display the Ten Commandments, let’s get worked up about spreading the Gospel. I think Satan rejoices that we are concerned about the physical placement of a physical monument. Anytime our focus is on things of this earth, physical things, our focus is off spiritual things and Satan wins.

Last night on ESPN they had a discussion hosted by Ahmad Rashad with Warren Sapp, Roy Brown Jr., Derek Jeter, Sarena Williams and Michael Jordan about what it takes to be succesful. Thoughts turned to domination, stepping on others in order to get ahead, hatred of losing, fierce determination, etc.

The six people in that room are the pinnacle of human achievement according to our culture. They have it all and they’ve gotten it by hard work. They have fame, people want their autographs, they inspire othes to achieve similar results.

After watching this I turned the ole tube off and began reading a book called Grace Walk about what grace means in the Christian walk. I read the following quote from page 43, “Before you trusted Christ you had no spiritual identity. That is why unsaved people struggle so hard to make a mark in the world.”

Now, I’m not making any judgments about the spiritual lives of these people, I don’t know, but I do know that their focus has been on earthly achievement. There is certainly something in them that makes them want to be noticed and win, prehaps it’s a spiritual yearning misdirected.

Earlier in the book there is this quote (p. 15,16), “We live in a culture that commends effort. From childhood we have been told, ‘Don’t give up. Don’t be a quitter. Keep trying until you achieve your goals.’ In the natural world, trying harder is commendable and often effective. But God’s ways aren’t our ways. In the spiritual world, trying harder is detrimental.” What a contrast in what I took in last night. I saw both sides of this in a matter of minutes.

There are two extremes that human thought goes to in most things–I’m too good I don’t need help or I’m so bad no one can help me. A healthy attitude is, amazingly enough, that which the Apostle Paul holds–I’m a miserable loser who can win by getting help! We’re both at the same time–nothing on our own; everything in Christ.

Christianity is like me playing basketball–horrible things happen–but who always has Michael Jordan on his team–always wins baby! Christ is the ultimate PTP’er baby! (Dick Vitale’s description of a great athlete–Prime Time Player baby!)

One problem you will run into by claiming that signs, wonders or miracles are proof of your faith is that all religions can say this. Most religions have healing people, speaking in tongues or other such “signs” that they point to to prove their faith.

Back in the Reformation days when people were beginning to get tired of the monopolistic Catholic religion, the Catholic Church used signs as proof that they were right! Not only that, they pointed to their own signs and then asked Luther and the boys where their signs were! The Catholic Church pointed to icons that cried, healings that took place and also how their icons duplicated themselves–apparently why there are now 5.6 billion pieces of the cross floating around, see because the wood from the cross reduplicated itself and for a minor cost you can have your own!

The Reformers, God bless them, had a great answer. Do you know how they answered where the powerful proof was for their beliefs? The Bible. They quoted Romans 1:16, “For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone who believes.” Amen!

Be careful not to exchange the true miracle of salvation for false miracles that may impact you for a day or two but then leave you yearning for more. Rest in the eternal peace of Christ rather than the roller-coaster of finding more and more and more proof in outward form.

A few weeks ago I did a sermon on signs and wonders in relation to the plagues on Egypt. Signs, wonders or miracles–all the same thing when you look at the definition of the Greek words–were used to 1) reveal something from God or 2) to cause or bring judgment. If God is not revealing anything or judging anything, there will be no signs. If there is a sign, God is revealing or judging something.

In this age of grace, God is no longer revealing anything–the Bible is complete–and is not judging anything. Therefore, the logical conclusion is–there are no signs currently taking place.

The problem people have with this is that they have experiences that don’t seem to back this up. I have even had experiences that made me wonder. But hey, what are we to trust? We walk by faith not by sight.

I am reading Seven Convincing Miracles (on sale for 99 cents!) by Erwin Lutzer. He is talking about the seven signs John describes in his gospel and how they were written to show that Jesus is the Son of God–revealing something. However, Ole Erwy has struggles because of experience, he doesn’t want to put God in a box, so he always leaves open room that signs will occur.

Here’s the deal though, is he putting God in a box, or did God voluntarily choose to put Himself in a box by saying He wasn’t going to do something? In the past God also said He would never again destroy the world by a flood, are we putting God in a box if we believe that or is that just what God said?

Believing what the Bible says is not putting God in a box, it’s finding the parameters of the box God put Himself in as He moves through His eternal plan.

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