Monday, April 21, 2014

Nice Work Coach Nash

Imagine if you will the Gettysburg Address written about Easter in our current times.  So it is that we have a wonderfully written piece by one of our own CBC members, Phil Nash.  A junior high teacher and coach, I've been blessed to find in Phil a godly man who loves the Lord, his family and CBC.  Be as blessed by this as I was.

99 score and 1 year ago God, our Father, brought forth on this planet, a new nation, conceived in the covenant of Grace, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are loved equally by their Creator.
Now we are engaged in a great civil debate, testing whether Grace, or any covenant so conceived and so dedicated, can mend the ills of sinful men. Today we pause to reflect on the great battle-field where this war was first waged. We have come to dedicate our hearts as holy ground and residence for our Creator, and our lives in covenant with those who gave themselves as living sacrifices that this message of Grace might be spread to the ends of the Earth. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should choose this day to rededicate our house to the service of the Lord.
But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate - we can not consecrate - we can not make this ground holy. The Son of God, Jesus Christ, who suffered, died, and was raised to life by God has consecrated it, far above the poor power of our self-righteousness. This world may little note, nor long remember what we say today, but it can never forget what God accomplished on the cross and through the empty tomb. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which Jesus sacrificed Himself to advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us - that from the honor of His death and the promise of His resurrection we take increased devotion to that cause for which He gave the last full measure of devotion to the Father - that we here highly resolve that He shall not have died in vain - that this creation shall be transformed by Grace into a Heavenly nation of His people, by the power of His Spirit, which shall not perish, but shall prosper eternally through Jesus Christ, our Lord.
So signed
Phil Nash, 4.19.2014

Monday, April 14, 2014

My Requim for Firefox

Once upon a time, I was introduced to Mozilla Firefox - the little web browser that could.  I've always been drawn to the underdog and to open source software.  I'd been using Netscape for a long time to avoid Explorer.  I think the first Firefox I downloaded was 2.0.  As I write this, I'm using version 27.0.1 (and it's waiting to update itself).  As of today, however, I'm ceasing use of Mozilla (and I invite you to do the same).  I'm sure they'll be impressed and upset.  I've downloaded Google Chrome and am actually going so far as to delete Firefox altogether.  Why?  Because of their decision to force out Brandon Eich, one of their founders and the CEO.  It wasn't because of anything he had done as a professional or as CEO.  That would be understandable.  Under pressure from outside groups demanding "diversity", they forced him out because of a measly $1,000 donation made 6 years ago in defense of the traditional view of marriage.  After all, we can't have radicals like that roaming the streets, can we? (snarky snort). 
Thus, here are my two primary reasons for ditching Firefox, one theological the other patriotic.
(1) Theologically speaking, I agree with Mr. Eich.  If marriage can't be defined by the Bible then it will be defined elsewhere.  If it will be defined elsewhere, it will be defined by the loudest or most ardent voices in the room.  If that happens, marriage can (and will) mean almost anything.  Marry your sister?  Why not?  Marry your dog?  Sure!  Marry your friends - all four of them?  Of course!  Theologically speaking, the Bible is clear.  Marriage is between a man and a woman.  By way of clarity, that doesn't mean we're to abuse those who disagree.  With love, grace and gentleness, we're called to love those who oppose us and to treat them with the same generosity Jesus showed.  But we are not called to surrender our convictions in the name of "getting along."  Once begun, such a slide is tough to stop.
(2) Patriotically, whatever happened to the First Amendment?  Mr. Eich wasn't using company time or money.  It was his money and his time.  Furthermore, in 2008, President Obama agreed with Mr Eich!  If we're going to use a standard, let's use it everywhere!  The President should resign too!  And anyone else who thought that in 2008!  Instead, a double-standard is in place.  One for those inside the club and another for those outside.  Those outside the club must be punished for their "intolerance."  Those who use that term have so thoroughly distorted its meaning as to make the word itself complete nonsense.  (for a great treatment of this, see D A Carson's work "The Intolerance of Tolerance.")
Before you email me and tell me of the evils of Google, let me tell you I already know.  The same for those who will write me about the evils of my beloved Apple computers.  I know.  There are no perfect corporations because they are led by imperfect people.  But a revolution must begin somewhere.  For me, I'm choosing here.  Farewell Firefox - it's been a great journey and I'll miss you.  But not that much.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Sunday Afternoon Reflections

- Welcome to Michael and Beverly Mock!  I accidentally said "Mack" this morning but they graciously forgave my inability to read!  Either way, we're pleased to have you!
- This morning's message was as "out of the box" for me as I think I've ever tried.  It wasn't that I was tackling an edgy subject or approaching it in a ticklish manner.  The "out of the box"-ness was how I longed to communicate the passion of Jesus by walking along side him for the week.
The message was started with the stations of the Cross (for non-catholics, learn more about that here) and a desire to highlight the darkness of Passion week before the brilliance of Easter morning.  I told our staff, our tech guys and anyone else who asked I believe we do ourselves (and the Gospels!) a disservice by rushing past Jesus' passion in our hurry to get to the good news of Easter.  The Gospels each take deliberate time and intensity in describing that last week of Jesus' earthly life.  We would do well to do the same.
- One of my favorite parts of being a pastor is getting to see things others might not see.  Like standing behind the Lord's Supper table as the elements are passed.  When I look out, I get to see my CBC family sitting reverently.  Like a family reunion gathered around the supper table, it's a wonderful reminder of our shared connection through Christ.
- Thanks to Joanna Jordan, Tom Myers and all our volunteers who made our egg hunt happen today!  The weather held off and there were LOTS of happy kids!
- A special word of thanks to all who wished our Joshua a happy birthday.  He has enjoyed an amazing weekend and is blessed far more than any of us could imagine.
- Next Sunday is my favorite one of the year!  We'll be talking about Paul's story and how everything "Changed in a flash."  Like Paul, once we encounter the Living Christ, things can never again be the same.
- Next Sunday morning has two services - one at 8:00 AM and the other at 10:45.  Our 10:45 service will be akin to our regular morning services.  Our 8 AM service, however, will feature a different style of music and styling.  If you've ever wondered what the difference between the two is like, come next Sunday AM and spend the morning with us.  I think you'll see the heart behind both.
- God is up to something special among us.  If you haven't seen it, you're not looking!  Pray with me that it continues and that we stay faithful to the God who called us, redeemed us, purified us and will glorify us!