Sunday, May 29, 2016

Mr. Baldwin

I got the news Wednesday that Mr. Richard Baldwin went to be with the Lord (due to some recent serious health issues). His daughter, Margaret,and son, Bill, have posted about what a good and godly man he was, by God's grace. His other son, Jim, was my best friend in high school and roommate at Cedarville. The Lord alone knows how helpful, generous, hospitable and encouraging Mr. and Mrs. Baldwin were to me when I first became a Christian in high school, and in helping me grow in my faith in my college years. Mr. Baldwin was a joyful, devoted, servant-hearted believer who loved his dear wife and children (and then grandchildren and great-grandchildren) because he loved his Lord and Savior first. He will be missed by many, many friends who I'm sure are thankful, like I am, for how God touched our lives through him and through Mrs. Baldwin too. So I'm praying God's comfort for the whole family, in our shared hope of resurrection and reunion. 1 Thess. 4:13-18

Friday, May 20, 2016

Do You Welcome Correction and Rebuke?

"'All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness....' (2 Tim. 3:16). From what Paul writes here (and in many other places) we are reminded that a key aspect of healthy spiritual development is the willingness to be rebuked and corrected. Challenging as that is, the Bible makes clear that such correction is something the truly devoted Christ-follower will welcome (just like a kid who really wants to get good at a sport is glad to have a coach who is 'tough'). The last thing we should do is resent or retaliate when authentically Bible-based correction or reproof comes our way. It is a sad mark of immaturity to turn that into an occasion for fishing around for other 'spiritual leaders' in our lives." -- Jon G. Baldwin

Thursday, May 19, 2016

What Does It Mean to Truly Believe?

“We don't believe something by merely saying we believe it, or even when we believe that we believe it. We believe something when we act as if it were true.”

― Dallas Willard, Renovation of the Heart

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Mothers Day and the Fifth Commandment

“Honor your father and your mother….” My pastoral mentor, James Grier, used to remind us that at the heart of the meaning of the Fifth Commandment was the crucial concern of passing on faith and devotion towards God from one generation to another. For the old covenant people of Israel, the father and mother, as signficant 'societal leaders' were to be truly devoted to God themselves, living by His Word and will. And so, for that same religious commitment to be handed down, and indeed, enriched, from one generation to another, it was critical that parents were regarded and responded to with profound respect, as those embodying the ‘fear of the Lord’ themselves (along with the rest of the 'elders' in the community).

Now, in the new covenant situation, the family is still crucial, but there is, in the New Testament, the realization that devotion to God in Christ transcends even devotion to parents and family members (e.g., Matt. 10:34-37). And so we read the account of what must have seemed like a fairly shocking reply from Jesus in that time and culture: “While Jesus was still talking to the crowd, his mother and brothers stood outside, wanting to speak to him. Someone told him, “Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to speak to you.” He replied to him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” Pointing to his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.” (Matt. 12:45-50)

And so on a day like today we remember that what matters most of all is love and devotion towards God -- and that parents and pastors, children and church members, all work together to embrace and enrich the heritage of faith and faithfulness passed down from one generation to the next, understanding that the family ties that matter the most are the ones that bind us together in our love and devotion to Christ.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

How Trump vs. Clinton Helps to Prove There Is a God

I don’t offer that caption lightly, and here’s why:  in my opinion, the fact that a free society of independent persons, privileged with the opportunity to choose, make the choice that Donald  Trump and Hillary Clinton (and the policies they espouse, and the people that they are) are the best options available to lead that society, then surely something supernatural is at work – specifically something supernaturally bad.  For folly (in the sense of that word found in the Book of Proverbs) that is that deep and that perverse must surely be diabolical.  (Reflect on Ephesians 4:17-19).  And the only world-view that takes seriously the reality of the Devil is the world-view and way of thinking that believes that there is a God – the true and living God, the Judge of men and nations, who will certainly have the last word.  (Romans 1:18-32;  Acts 17:30-31).