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.
Is the Bible full of encoded messages? Some people think so; and it’s true that there are difficult passages. But you don’t have to be a master at deciphering myth and history like Hollywood’s Indiana Jones or Ben Gates (National Treasure). Yet, there are some really wild interpretations out there. So, what do we need?
We need to be diligent in our study.
We need to be careful in how we interpret.
Let me show you one simple example of what I’m talking about. But first, let me show you why this verse has been misinterpreted.
A couple hundred years ago in Europe there were folks who were very dissatisfied with the church. For most people the church was either the Roman Catholic Church or the Church of England. Both had a kind of stranglehold on the interpretation of Scripture and were in cahoots with the government. This bond between government and church meant strong control over the general population.
Some dissatisfied folks, instead of turning to the Bible for answers, simply turned away from religion. At the same time science was making great strides and was accepted at face value.
It was in this climate that some people began to throw off the power of religion because they wanted to engage in activities of their choosing without the severe judgment of the church. However, they needed credible justification.
The theory of evolution had been around for a while but had gained no popularity, not until Darwin suggested that the changes in species had evolved over long periods of time. He claimed to have found evidence for an old earth that was millions of years old. Though without proof, that was all that was needed for others to market the theory to the public as science.
Many clergymen were unable to stand against the sacred cow of science. So, to embrace science without throwing the Bible out, theistic evolution was born.*
Theistic evolution suggests that God created things but set evolution in motion and let it develop naturally. In other words, the creation account in Genesis had to be reinterpreted or thrown out completely.
But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day. —2 Peter 3:8
Science said, “Aha!” and religion, “Hallelujah!”
This was like a decoder ring that allowed the word day in Genesis be reinterpreted as a thousand years (365,000 days). So, a day in the creation sequence could have been millions of years (though that kind of reasoning makes sense nowhere else). Yet, looking back to the verse of Scripture, notice that Peter wrote, “with the Lord” one day “is like” a thousand years. It was a statement describing the timelessness of God...and that’s all. The point was that it might seem that God was taking a long time to do something, but that was only man’s view. God is not restricted by time. Not only that, God is not ignorant of the meanings of words. He communicated accurately about His work. So, this verse should never be used to suggest that a day is anything other than a day.
The Law of Moses was given to common people.
The prophets were sent to common people.
The New Testament was written to common people.
God wants and expects common people to understand His word.
We need diligence, not a mysterious decoder ring of subjectivity.
September 17, 2023
*Among other sources, these things have been documented by Milt Marcy in his book, “The Emperors Who Had No Clothes.”
The title question, “Are you ready?” is often asked in reference to time. Of course, it could also be a question about one’s preparation, and that’s what I want you to think about.
The question, “Are you ready?” is to ask, “Are you fully equipped?” Even then, ambiguity remains, “Fully equipped for what?”
We go to school (or are home schooled) and that is supposed to prepare us...for something. Some high school grads go to trade school, while others go to college. Those are also supposed to prepare us...for something. The work place, from blue collar to white collar, is filled with many kinds of training opportunities.
All of that tells us that we put quite a lot of time and energy and money into training. But for what purpose?
We might think of resumes, job interviews and work references as part of the process for finding out how well equipped a person is for a job.
Parents provide training that spans areas such as language and communication, good manners, personal hygiene, moral behavior, getting along with others, how to thrive in one’s surroundings (home, neighborhood, town, world). Additional training might include personal organization and planning, finances, yard/car/house maintenance, long-term planning, gardening, animal/pet care, and the list goes on. That training partly equips us for life on earth.
Have you ever thought about God’s training?
2 Timothy 3:16–17 (NASB95)
All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.
Scripture is beneficial in getting you ready!
Specifically, it is beneficially in fully equipping you “for every good work.”
High school is inadequate; college is inadequate; trade school is inadequate. Even the best parents are inadequate. All of the training designed and carried out by people is inadequate to fully equip a person “for every good work.”
It is not that educational institutions or parents or anyone else has failed. Rather, it is God’s intention to prepare people for something different than our usual focus. Our training programs focus on what we (humans) think is important. God has focused on what He knows is important because He designed us. In fact…
We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.
—Ephesians 2:10 (NASB95)
God did not create us for building cars, entertainment, forestry, accounting, selling furniture, cooking, managing a business, archaeology, or a world full of other areas of work. He created us for good works. His revealed word, Scripture, is capable of making us “adequate, equipped for every good work.”
God is not a big fan of separation of church and state. He expects us to take our Christianity into our homes, into our places of work, into our schools, into stores and entertainment venues. His expectation is that we walk in good works every day in every place.
We often misunderstand God’s will because our focus is on ourselves, our jobs, our ideas of what is important. So, let’s realign our focus and embrace God’s training. And then, let’s get out there and walk in good works.
September 10, 2023
In the past two centuries man has managed to reform Christianity into something quite foreign to that of the Bible.
- Religion, salvation and even Jesus have been personalized by many, making Christianity more about 'me.'
- Jesus’ parables have become stories.
- The witness of the Apostles has been traded for personal testimonies that all too often draw attention away from God and His word to human experiences.
- God’s will has been personalized to the point of turning our attention from the “kingdom of God and His righteousness” to my personal bucket list for God. In other words, people decide what they want to do for God instead of offering themselves, “What does God want of me.”
What kind of God do you want?
- Do you want a God who will give you warm snuggles at night?
- How about a God who loves story?
- How about a God who loves everyone and accepts everyone...just as I am?
- Would you like a God who promises health, and wealth and power?
- How about a genie-in-a-bottle God?
- Would you like a God who puts up with all kinds of sin, except for the really bad sins?
- How about a God who has changed His mind on His own standard of morality, saying, “That was once sinful, but no longer”?
“Living Under Water” is a book about Christian baptism. The author reported that as a part of his year-long study on the doctrine of baptism, he had baptized folks from infants to elderly; by sprinkling, pouring and immersion; in baptisteries, natural bodies of water, and a farm watering trough; as a part of formal ceremonies and informal occasions; in public and in private; and for whatever reason the one being baptized wanted to be baptized: confirmation, membership, salvation, declaration of dedication, etc. For the author, Christian baptism had become all things to all people.
Translation: Baptism lacked meaning.
The Bible tells about the Creator who is the God who declared, “I Am Who I Am,” a God who is changeless and timeless, the same yesterday, today and forever.
The God of the Bible is not like our high school yearbook buddy who wrote, “Stay the way you are.” He says, “Come as you are, but I will transform you into something better.” Indeed, God has reached down into the pit of mankind, but not to become like us and fit our definition of the kind of god we want. He came and lived among us in order to pull us up out of our pit of sin and death so that we could enjoy life!
Each person must decide whether he wants the God of the Bible or a god of his own design. If you wish to know your Creator, and not a god made in the mind of man, then you must open your mind and heart to God’s revelation of Himself, the Bible.
For behold, He who forms mountains and creates the wind and declares to man what are his thoughts, He who makes dawn into darkness and treads on the high places of the earth, The Lord God of hosts is His name. —Amos 4:13
The God of the Bible has revealed Himself. He is not a meaningless all things to all people kind of god.
What is your God/god like.?
Does your god bow to you??
Or, do you bow before the changeless Creator of mankind, the great I AM?!
September 3, 2023