Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Sitting in the Kitchen - Faith vs. Reason

Well, this is the final installment of the "Sitting in the Kitchen" sermon series. This has been an amazing experience just preparing these messages. Honestly, it has also been a mentally draining experience as well. I am kind of glad that I don't have to write a sermon for this Sunday - give my brain a chance to rest. I am starting to get excited about the next series of sermons that will be coming this summer focusing in on the fruits of the Spirit. More details coming later.
Anyway, here is the outline of some of the key points from this past Sunday's sermon on the conflict between faith and science and reason. You can listen to the whole sermon online at www.fbc-elon.org/podcast.

1. The debate of "How can you believe that ...?" Faith asks how you can believe in evolution and Big Bang; reason asks how you can believe in intelligent design and creation. Faith asks how you can believe in theories; reason asks how you can believe in miracles.

2. Matthew 22:37 - "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind."

3. We are called not just to love God in our mind, but with our mind. Our mind is to be actively engaged in our devotion to God.

4. We engage the mind in devotion to God by searching to understand - Proverbs 30:1-2, 24-28. Wisdom is gained by observing even the tiniest creatures and learning from their behavior. Isn't that what science and education are all about, observing life and understanding what we observe?

5. There is a limit to what we can understand - Job 42:3, 1 Corinthians 13 ("now we see through the mirror dimly"), Isaiah 55:8-9 - the presence of mystery.

6. Hebrews 11:1 - faith is born when we encounter the things that we cannot fully explain or prove but know to be true.

7. Reason is not the enemy of faith, but can be a tool for enhancing and building faith. Reason cannot replace faith because faith is what guides me through the things I cannot understand or explain.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Sitting in the Kitchen: Homosexuality

This week's topic is an especially sensitive topic for a lot of different reasons. I would echo again that my approach has been to deal with all of these issues from a biblical perspective and that I am not trying to convince everyone to agree with me. Instead, I am trying to generate a biblically-based conversation on these issues. If you would like to listen to this sermon, you can go to www.fbc-elon.org/podcast. It will be available online by Monday afternoon. Anyway, here is an outline of some of the points of my sermon.

  1. Romans 1:18-2:3
  2. I understand Scripture to teach that homosexual behavior is a sin. Romans 1:18-2:3; 1 Timothy 1:10-11; 1 Corinthians 6:9; Jude 7
  3. Romans 1 identifies homosexual behavior as sin because it is an act of living by one's passion and lust rather than the revealed will of God.
  4. Jesus' silence on the issue of homosexuality can be interpreted as acceptance of already biblically established standard of homosexual behavior as sin. Leviticus 18:19-30; Leviticus 20:13
  5. Romans 1 identifies plenty of other sins that are a result of living by one's passion and lust: envy, murder, disobedience of parents, gossip, etc. While it is biblical to say homosexual behavior is a sin, it must also be considered that it is not "the great sin" or the only sin.
  6. John 8
  7. Is it judgmental to say that homosexual behavior is a sin?
  8. Jesus' response to the woman caught in adultery: he states clearly that she has sinned, he acts in a way to open the door for repentance and new life, he speaks from a position of humbleness.
  9. We should not respond to homosexual behavior as if the homosexual is the only sinner. "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone." We must deal with the sin in our own life before addressing the sin in someone else's life.
  10. We should not destroy the sinner with the sin. We should minister to any sinner, including ourselves, in a way that holds open the door of repentance and new life.
  11. "Amazing grace how sweet the sound that saves a wretch like me." Why does the church often feel it must choose between a message of God's grace or a message of the reality of sin. We need to reunite these two messages.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Featured Blogger for CBF

I have been invited to be a "featured blogger" on the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship's blog, "The Fellowship Portal". I will be submitting at least 2 posts a month along with several other bloggers from around the country. Check it out at www.thefellowship.info/blog.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Sitting in the Kitchen - Separation of Church & State

Week 2 of the "Sitting in the Kitchen" series deals with the issue of separation of church & state. If you would like to listen last week's sermon, go to www.fbc-elon.org/podcast. After listening, I invite you to post a comment on the topic of illegal immigration in my last blog post.

This week's sermon will be online by Tuesday. In the meantime, here is an outline of some of the key points from this week's sermon.

1. People can be uncomfortable talking about religion or politics; they can be very uncomfortable talking about the intersection of religion and politics.

2. Senator Chuck Grassley's probe into "prosperity gospel" ministers. For more on this story, go to http://news.muckety.com/2008/04/01/grassley-in-showdown-with-tv-ministers/1702.

3. Separation of church and state was originally, in America at least, not an issue of government or law but an issue of faith - Roger Williams' "wall of separation between the Garden of the church and the wilderness of the world."

4. "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof"

5. 4 Biblical Pillars of Separation of Church & State
  • Our primary citizenship is in the kingdom of God - Philippians 3:18-4:1
  • As citizens of God's kingdom, it is Christ that makes us free - John 8:34-36; Romans 8:1-5
  • Our freedom in Christ does not isolate us from society - Galatians 5:13-14; 1 Peter 2:16
  • The government is unable to legislate matters of faith - Acts 4:19-20; Acts 5:29; 1 Peter 4:15-16

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Sitting in the Kitchen: Illegal Immigration

Each week during the "Sitting in the Kitchen" sermon series, I will be posting on my blog some of the key points from my sermon as well as various Scripture passages related to that week's topic. I invite comments and discussion regarding these ideas and the sermon. You can listen to the entire sermon at www.fbc-elon.org/podcast.

Now, on to this week's sermon introducing the concept of the series and discussing the issue of illegal immigration.


1. Scripture is still a relevant and powerful tool for understanding and addressing modern day issues. 2 Timothy 3:16-17.

Illegal Immigration

2. The issue of immigration, even illegal immigration (from a worldly perspective, at least) is an issue which Scripture is very familiar with. Genesis 12; Numbers 21:21-25.

3. The issue of illegal immigration spawns questions regarding border security, immigration laws, economic forces, educational systems, medical care, and welfare. It is difficult in a sermon to deal with all of these questions, but perhaps a "broad brush" approach to the issue can provide some helpful thoughts.

4. Christians are called to obey the laws of the land; and governments have a God-given responsibility to be a servant for their citizens' good and punish wrongdoers. 1 Peter 2:13-17; Romans 13:3-4.

4. The issue of illegal immigration is fundamentally about people, many of whom are seeking to escape very difficult circumstances and find a better life. Christians have an obligation to not mistreat the alien and to serve their needs, not turn their back on them. Exodus 22:21-23; Matthew 25:31-46.

5. Micah 6:8 - "He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?" In seeking to pull together the first two ideas, we should begin with the third.

To walk humbly with our God is to seek His justice, which does not distinguish by prejudice like our justice can do. Galatians 3:28.

To walk humbly with our God is to realize that we are not only givers of mercy but needy recipients as well.

To walk humbly with our God is to see beyond the illegal immigrants living in our country and see the need and desperation that drove them to come here and say, "Here am I, Lord, send me." Isaiah 6:6-8.

To walk humbly with our God is to recognize that we were once aliens to God's kingdom, and only through Christ's grace and sacrificial love have we been made citizens of His kingdom. Ephesians 2:17-22.