weekly Blog

Our preacher, Mark Stinnett, publishes articles for the church bulletin each week. These articles are designed to teach, encourage and challenge the members of our congregation. His latest articles can be found below with the most recent at the beginning of the list. Mark has archived all of his articles on his personal blog 'MicroMarks' which can be accessed at: micromarks.blogspot.com.

  • What is the Opposite of Drunkenness?

    She came for our drink order. We could have water, soft drinks, tea, coffee, milk, juice, beer, or wine—some with or without lemon; many different flavors and different prices.

    Those who drink soft drinks usually have their favorite blend and brand. There is an entire sub-culture of people who drink coffee, and some of us just don’t understand. Perhaps elsewhere, but certainly in Great Britain, tea has rules. (And yes, there are books to guide you.) Yet, with all these peculiarities and strong opinions about drink, none bleed over into the area of morality until alcohol is introduced.

    Numerous Scriptures provide instruction about the consumption of alcoholic drinks. Many folks who enter into the discussion see things from a legal point of view. Biblical examples involving alcoholic beverages become case law. Conclusions drawn dictate the consumption of drinks with alcohol, their use in cooking, and even the consumption of alcohol for medicinal purposes.

    In my lifetime I have known a few teetotalers, a nickname given to those who abstain completely from alcoholic beverages. Some will even refuse to use cooking wine even though the alcohol dissipates during the cooking process. Their arguments for total abstinence are strong and passionate, and most often misguided.

    I have known others who were just as passionate about their liberty to drink alcoholic beverages. With only a biblical prohibition of drunkenness, they become adamant about their liberty and quite agitated with anyone who would threaten it. Their passion and reasoning are also most often misguided.

    Still others, drink as they wish, avoiding arguments and extreme position, yet also avoiding understanding.

    I don’t think the biblical instruction on drunkenness is there as a mere legal restriction. Neither Noah’s drunkenness nor Lot’s drunkenness should be used as case law to argue that a man can become drunken and still be righteous. We must, with clarity of mind, think! God meant for us to understand something.

    And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit.

    —Ephesians 5:18

    Do we see that the opposite of drunkenness is being filled with the Spirit of God?

    The Apostle Paul wrote that our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19). The Spirit of God dwells in each of us (Romans 8:9). In whatever way you may interpret these statements there is an intimate relationship between the Christian and the Holy Spirit.

    Paul also wrote that the spirit of a man knows the thoughts of a man, just like the Spirit of God who knows the thoughts of God. He went on to say that we have received the Spirit of God (1 Corinthians 2:11-16). It is of greatest importance to recognize that the mind and the spirit are intimately connected.

    Applying these things, the reason we must guard ourselves from drunkenness is because intoxication effectively pushes the Holy Spirit away. There is a vital and necessary link between my mind and my God through the Holy Spirit. This is more than a moral issue or a legal point, it is about my relationship with my God.

    There are multiple dimensions regarding the question of alcohol. Yet, each person must step away from the swinging pendulum of legalism and soberly consider the importance of his relationship with God.

    Mark Stinnett

    December 4, 2022

  • "If you drink one drink..."

    “If you drink one drink, then you’re one drink drunk.” That was what the preacher said, and as a naïve teen, I accepted it at face value.

    The preacher was warning us kids about drinking alcoholic beverages and his reasoning seemed to make sense. After all, if you drop just one drop of swamp-water into a glass of pure water, the water is no longer pure. It seemed to make sense (and it was clever)...until college.

    In my college freshman biology class I learned that the liver filters out impurities, such as alcohol, so that they do not reach the blood stream. Yet, the liver has limitations. After a point, the liver is overwhelmed and alcohol gets into the blood stream and begins to affect the brain.

    I looked back on the logic applied by the preacher and I changed my view. His logic did not take into account the marvelous structure of the human body. It made logical sense, but it was not accurately applied.

    My church friends who had had a similar learning experience were quick to comment that “We know that drunkenness is wrong, but you cannot prove from the Bible that drinking is wrong as long as you avoid drunkenness.”

    They made a good legal point, and that is what this is all about, thinking about the Bible only in terms of law. It is called legalism, and a person could be very strict in their legal thinking or very liberal.  The conservative preacher and my liberal-thinking fiends were legalists because they all treated the Bible as a law code and interpreted it in terms of legal commands of legal restrictions and legal liberties.

    That was one of the problems with the Pharisees. When they saw the disciples of Jesus walking through a wheat field and taking some grain to eat, they accused them of violating the Sabbath. The disciples were not out in the field working. Yet, on a technical point, it could be argued that by taking grain from a standing wheat stalk they had harvested. Therefore, they were judged to be guilty! Legalism.

    Jesus did not argue with the Pharisees on a legal point but responded, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.” (Mark 2:27)The Sabbath was never meant to be a point of legal contention, but a day that God assigned for man to rest from his work. Yet, some had taken the Sabbath command and made it into an elaborate legal system full of restrictions.

    Peter did the same thing when he posed a question to Jesus about forgiveness. He asked if he should forgive his brother seven times. (The general teaching of the Jews set a limit at three.) Peter probably thought he was being quite generous. However, though liberal in his thinking, he was still placing a restriction on forgiveness, a (generous) legal restriction. Jesus responded by telling Peter that there is no restriction on forgiveness.

    God’s word is not a legal document, but rather, a revelation of His divine character. If you want to understand the prohibition of drunkenness, consider the character of God and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 5:18). If you want to know what the Sabbath is all about and how to apply that in your own life, ponder the activity of God during creation week (Genesis 1 & 2). If you want to fully understand Jesus’ teaching about forgiveness, open your eyes to the nature of God (Exodus 34:6-7; Matthew 23:37; Luke 23:33-49).

    It ought to awaken our minds when we realize that the Law of Christ, the Law of Liberty, and the Royal Law are all in reference to “love your neighbor as yourself.” God created us in His own image, and the way we respond to his instruction reflects our relationship with Him.

    Are you a conservative legalist? A liberal legalist? A mainline legalist?

    Or, stepping away from the legalism pendulum, are you being transformed into the image of Christ?

    Mark Stinnett

    November 27, 2022

  • Why Is It So Hard To Choose?

    One of the most brutal realities of life is that of choices.

    Yes, we make all kinds of choices every day. Many are natural: I’m thirsty, so I choose to drink a cup of coffee, a soft drink, a glass of water. I’m getting a bit drowsy at my desk, so I take a brisk five-minute walk, or I take 20 minutes for a power nap. I choose to bring my lunch, or instead grab a quick indigestible fast food snack, or eat with a friend, or just have another glass of water.

    Those are all easy choices. They each have consequences, but not especially harmful. So, we generally don’t consider the consequences for these things. We choose. We go on with life.

    Some choices are much more serious and require forethought or careful research. Examples might include making a major purchase such as a refrigerator or oven, a car or a house. With sufficient research we feel confident that our choice has minimized the risk of future disappointment and needless costs.

    Still, other choices are quite daunting. It’s just not possible to be a doctor and a fireman and a baseball pitcher all at the same time. There has to be a career choice. While many people change careers, they choose one at a time. And each potential career comes with risks. At the very start there is the uncertainty of making it onto a chosen career path. The required intelligence or skill or creativity might exceed what a person possesses or can reasonably develop.

    Making a career choice also comes with the risk of failure. We all know that failure in one’s career is far more serious than ordering the wrong meal at the drive-thru. A failed career will most likely have long-lasting consequences, not to mention the emotional stress of failure.

    A choice to go down one path means that other paths are not chosen. Our mind tells us that we will miss out on some things because of the paths we did not choose. “Would I have been a better dentist than a fireman?!”

    The same fears enter into choosing a mate. A young adult thinks, “What if I choose the wrong person to marry?” Remember this: God rules, not destiny and He allows you to choose. Do you know why your choice for a mate will work?  You choose faithfulness! Then, you apply genuine love with all the choices in marriage.

    Every time we stand at a ‘Y’ in the road to make a choice, we decided to go down one path and not all the others. In doing so we accept one set of unknowns over others.

    I find it completely mystifying that some do not choose Jesus?  Yet, for those who are in Christ Jesus there are promises from our Creator.

    • Provisions in this life (Matthew 6:33)
    • A new start (Romans 6:4; John 3:3)
    • Adoption as sons of God (Romans 8:16)
    • God’s Spirit to intercede for us and help us (Acts 2:38; Romans 8:26; John 14:16)
    • A direct line to God (Jeremiah 33:3)
    • Purification from sin (2 Peter 1:9)
    • Partaking in the divine nature (2 Peter 1:4)
    • Protection from Satan (1 Corinthians 10:13)
    • Forgiveness if there is sin (1 John 1:9)
    • Resurrection from the dead (Romans 6:5; 1 Corinthians 15)
    • Eternal life (John 3:36; 11:35)

    Faith in self comes without promise, but only uncertainties. Self-love gives me comfort only in knowing that I am in the majority. Yet, for the few who choose Jesus, there is great confidence in God’s promises. And there is life...eternal!

    Mark Stinnett

    November 20, 2022