Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The "Real" Tomb of Jesus Found!

Every few years a new archeological dig discovers the tomb of Jesus. I've been asked, "If they discover Jesus' body in a tomb will it destroy Christianity?" Yes. If Christ was not raised from the dead EVERYTHING we believe in faith is false. The Apostle Paul says it best in 1 Corinthians 15:14, 17 
...if Christ has not been raised, then our proclamation is without foundation, and so is your faith. ...For if the dead are not raised, Christ has not been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins.
That is an extremely strong statement. Recently a newly discovered tomb underneath a condo in Jerusalem was found. They clame it is the tomb of Jesus' family, and it may be. Of course the goal is to find the body of Jesus. Archeologist know a discovery like that would rock the world. iPad 3 news would have nothing on finding Jesus' body.

The mechanical arm that first explored the tomb

The Discovery channel has jumped all over it. They'll be releasing a Discovery special on the "Patio Tomb." In this special they'll tell us if they found the body of Jesus Christ. If they're saving the information for a Discovery Special then my guess is they don't even believe they've found the body of Jesus. That of course that is just my wild conjecture.

A grave inside the family tomb

They won't find Jesus' body because it's not there! Christ was raised from the dead and hundreds were witnesses.
He was buried, that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the Twelve. Then He appeared to over 500 brothers at one time; most of them are still alive, but some have fallen asleep. Then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one abnormally born, He also appeared to me. 1 Corinthians 15:4-8
I urge you to not get too worked up over this because as the popular song by The David Crowder Band says, My God is not dead He's surely alive He's living on the inside roaring like a lion. Beyond the recorded evidence of Christ's resurrection from the dead your life change is evidence that Jesus is alive and ruling.

People have been trying to find Jesus' body for almost 2000 years and they haven't been able to. It's nowhere to be found. So if we believe Christ died for our sins and resurrected from the dead let's starting living life like we have the power of the God of the universe inside of us. I hope our newest study into the memoirs of a wine taster named Nehemiah will help us to act on the amazing power of our God. Get in a Change Your World in 52 Days small group and join us on Saturday evenings and Sunday mornings for the 52 Day Momentum Challenge.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Is Birth-Control Sin?

This should be a given but...
This article is my opinion. There are great people who believe different from me. You are free to disagree with me, and I'd like to hear your point of view.

There is a huge debate going on in our country about contraception and abortion. Everyone is missing the point. My biggest issue is that the government can't tell a religious organization to go against their beliefs. In this case it happens to be the Catholic church's rights, but I would do the same for Muslims. But that's not the topic of this blogpost. Is birth-control wrong? I'm going to give my short opinion and then encourage you to watch a very insightful video from the pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church, John Piper.

Contraception is not a sin if it's not destroying life. I believe that life starts at conception. So if the means of contraception is destroying a fertilized egg then I think it's wrong. Birth control can happen many ways, and even the Catholic church has two approved forms of contraception. They are the rhythm method and abstinence.

The real question we need to ask ourselves is why are we not having children? Is it for selfish reasons, or is it for God's reasons? As long as the contraception is not destroying a fertilized egg then I believe it is every couple's personal decision how they are going to determine when they have kids. Some don't even try and I'm fine with that. The world needs couples like that. If you do practice contraception, as per the guidelines above, in my opinion, you are not in sin.

Here is the video:

Here are the scriptures John uses in the video. Please go to the passages and read more on your own.

Don't you see that children are God's best gift? the fruit of the womb his generous legacy? Psalm 127:3

Happy is the man who has filled his quiver with them [sons]. Such men will never be put to shame. Psalm 127:5

Then the Lord God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper as his complement." Genesis 2:18

I say to the unmarried and to widows: It is good for them if they remain as I am. 1 Corinthians 7:6

What do you think? Please give me your opinions in the comments below.

Ps> Do you know what we they call people who practice the Rhythm method of birth control? Parents.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Can It Get Any Worse?

I don't know about you, but when I see headlines like, "Gas prices' earliest-ever rise above $3.50 a bad sign for motorists" I don't get excited... at all. In fact you may say headlines like those pretty much make me want to quit life. I don't know what quitting would do, because I'd still have to buy gas. Sometimes I wonder can it get any worse? This month it's the rent. Next month it's gas, and who knows what after that.

I can imagine Nehemiah felt that way (And I'm willing to wager much worse). The City of God was rubble. It was the city of Nehemiah's people, Jerusalem. This struck Nehemiah hard. His memoirs tell us,
'The exile survivors who are left there in the province are in bad shape. Conditions are appalling. The wall of Jerusalem is still rubble; the city gates are still cinders.'
When I (Nehemiah) heard this, I sat down and wept. I mourned for days, fasting and praying before the God-of-Heaven. Nehemiah 1:3-4 My parenthetical.
Like you and me, Nehemiah wanted things back to normal. He wanted Jerusalem to be the great kingdom of his ancestors David and Solomon. Nehemiah didn't just sit on his hands and cry. He did something about it.

Nehemiah, a favored cup-bearer, approached his Persian king and asked if he could leave and rebuild Jerusalem. The king gave him permission. With God's strength and wisdom and against all the odds Nehemiah rebuilt Jerusalem in 52 days. It took a lot of help, work, and leadership, but Nehemiah trusted in God for the recovery of Jerusalem.

Gas prices go up. Pay goes down. Stuff breaks. The housing market flounders. Rent goes up. Blah, blah, blah... If we think voting for the right guy in the election is going to fix everything we're crazy. The people in Washington aren't going to fix this nation. They've tried and failed. It's time we get off our hands, stop whining, and do something ourselves. It's not about wealth, and it's not about gas prices. The recovery isn't a political issue. It's a spiritual one. The recovery is about bringing our nation back to the Godly one it once was. We are the recovery. We must rebuild the walls torn down.

I'm really looking forward to our new series called, "Change Your World in 52 Days." I think it will be mind-blowing and life changing. You can watch the promo below, and I encourage you to read Nehemiah before we start this series next week. It's a great story.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Is Being Rich Evil?

I Was Broke And Now I'm Not has been different from any other small group study we've ever done at Oceanside. I Was Broke And Now I'm Not is a study on the Biblical management of money. The study talks about getting out of debt, budgeting, and investing our God's money. It has fostered great discussion every week.

This week's discussion was most interesting because we debated if being rich is sinful. That conversation is more relevant than ever as we recently watched the Wall Street protestors demonize the wealthy. So I offer to you my opinion on rich people.

You Are Rich-
Yeah, I bet you don't believe it, but if you live in the U.S. you are a part of the worldwide 1%. Even if you're poor you're wealthy. On average the United State's poor have a car, an air conditioned house, and two Televisions. But that's not all! Most families have an Xbox 360 or a Playstation 3 and even cable/satellite TV. That's not what I think of when I think of poor people. I think of the single father in Afghanistan, whose wife has died, lives in a stone house, and hopes to feed his family once a day. The poor discussion becomes more difficult when we become the same evil we're rebuking.

Being Rich is Difficult-
You may be asking, "If I'm rich what does that make Bill Gates?" I don't know... maybe filthy rich. But let's not get distracted. You may not be filthy rich, but you're still rich. Being rich has it's advantages, but it comes with many spiritual difficulties. Jesus said in Luke 18:25, For it is easier for a camel to go through a needle's eye, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. Immediately that creates a problem for us rich people. Money has a tendency to destroy people spiritually. I believe that money can let us think we have it all under control. It gives us a false sense of security. Because no amount of money can give us eternal security.

Have you ever noticed that when we're financially cruising and the bills are getting payed we don't go to God as much anymore. But when the bills are overdue, the house is about to be taken, and we're not sure how we're going to pay for next week's groceries we start calling the Big Man Upstairs every time we walk to the mailbox. If we let it financial security can lead to a pride that says, "I can do it on my own."

Greed is Wrong-
So is being rich evil? It can be. But the issue isn't an amount of money. The issue is greed. The Bible is very clear that greed is wrong. Jesus warned us in Luke 12:15, Protect [ourselves] against the least bit of greed. Life is not defined by what you have, even when you have a lot. Rich people that a greedy are evil. Poor people that are greedy are evil. The issue isn't how rich or poor someone is. The issue is what we do with the money God has given us.

People with lots of money have the ability to give lots of money. God uses rich people to accomplish great things. Being rich isn't evil. Being rich is an opportunity to make a great difference in the world.

What do you think? Is being rich evil?

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

iPad Is Crushed, But I'm Still Alive

This is my sad face

Sunday I preached about Greed. It was a sermon that had a real impact on my life, and I felt like the Lord wanted me to share it. So... I did. In it I gave the illustration below about my iPad.

It was a Sunday afternoon like any other. I was over at my dad's house (Pastor Trey) getting ready to indulge in an excellent meal prepared by my mother. I was asked by someone if they could use my iPad. At the risk of seeming like I preach one thing and do another, I said, "Sure." Everyone had fun playing around with it, but the time came for me to go home. I collected my children, iPad, and random other items. After much coxing we walked out the front door.

It had been a weird day. Maggie seemed to be a bit emotionally unstable, Quentin was about to fall asleep on my shoulder, and my arms were full of stuff. When putting Quentin into his carseat I must have set my iPad on top of my car. I never realized it. We drove off.

Once home I was going to do my normal iPadding, but I couldn't find it anywhere. PANIC! I realized at that moment that I had left it somewhere, but I didn't know where. I called over to my parents house to see if it was there. They searched to no avail. HORROR! Immediately I bolted downstairs, jumped in my car, and with all vigor sped off Daniel Island. My eyes were searching for any sign of my ten inch ipad.

Finally I saw it. It was laying in the middle of the road where Hungryneck Blvd. and the Isle of Palms Connector cross. To the frustration of all the drivers behind me I stopped in the middle of the road. Flayling my arms with wild gesticulation I stopped traffic hoping to save my iPad. As I picked it up, still standing in the middle of the road, I prayed a fervent, but incomplete prayer, "Oh, dear Lord..." Then I thought, "Maybe, maybe, maybe... Oh no." The screen looked as if a small bomb had exploded inside the iPad. I was devastated.

At that moment I remembered these verses from Matthew 6:19-21 (And I'm not telling a preacher story, I actually thought about these verses. I mean, I hope I would have... I just preached on them that day.) Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Moments after picking it up off the road

iPads are great, but they're just earthly treasures. That was a costly and difficult reminder for me. Don't base your life on any thing. Stuff is going to break... that's what stuff does. In everything we do we must base our lives on the Kingdom of God not our own. When God's done with His iPad he can throw it off a car. I trust Him. I also think it was a test to see how I would react. I sure hope I passed.

Keep this in mind this week. Stop building your kingdom and start building up God's kingdom. You never worry about the stuff you give away, you only worry about the stuff you keep. Let's start a movement to give it all away to God.

Finally, the iPad does turn on. I'm going to see if it can be fixed... I would like to get it back and be able to again use it to God's glory. Seriously.

Do you have any crazy stories of losing a valuable item?

UPDATE 2/2/12: I brought my iPad to L2 technologies here in Mt. Pleasant. They told me the iPad would cost about $500 to repair. So, basically it's totaled. That's a bummer.