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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The No Spin Zone?

Today I am coming out: I am part of the great unwashed that watches Fox News.  And I sometimes enjoy watching The O'Reilly Factor.  OK, so Bill is often rude, and always brash, but he makes good points, and doesn't let his guests get away with much.

While watching the show last night, I was completely bumfuzzled by a comment he made about same-sex marriage.  “The compelling argument is on the side of homosexuals,” O’Reilly said on Fox on Tuesday. “That’s where the compelling argument is. ‘We’re Americans. We just want to be treated like everybody else.’ That’s a compelling argument, and to deny that, you have got to have a very strong argument on the other side. The argument on the other side hasn’t been able to do anything but thump the Bible.”

O'Reilly is simply wrong about this.  The compelling argument is squarely on the side of those who don't want to ban traditional marriage (thanks to Dr. James White for this phrase).  And second, a strong case - compelling, even - can be made for marriage without thumping the Bible even once.

Here are a few resources:

For starters, get your hands on a pamphlet from The Ruth Institute called "77 Non-Religious Reasons to Support Man/Woman Marriage", by clicking here.

For a scholarly defense of the proposition that marriage is by it's very nature the union of a man and woman, click here.

And finally, a very good written debate can be found here.

Let the learning begin.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Little By Little One Travels Far

What can you do with $10?  

If your first thought was "not much", then I'd have to agree.  Perhaps 2 trips to Starbucks? One movie ticket?  A weekday lunch?

But for that same paltry $10 you can make a real difference in the life of a child.  Benjamin Loera in Chiapas, Mexico is looking for monthly sponsors for the kids in his children's home. He figures that if a lot of people give a little, then the work will get done.

I'm no communist, but I do think that those of us with more should share with those who have less.  Thank God that I grew up in a loving, stable Christian home, and always had my material needs met.  That's not true of everyone, and it's certainly not true of the kids that Benjamin serves.  I've stayed at his children's home, have met Benjamin's family, and can tell you that they are offering hope and Christian love to a group of kids who have no experience with either.

The First Baptist Church of Rio Rancho, NM is handling the details.  Mail your check payable to FBCRR, and mail to 

First Baptist Church of Rio Rancho
3906 19th Av SE, 
Rio Rancho, NM 87124

Mark on your check “Chiapas-sponsor a child”.  100% of monies given go to the children's home.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Yes, But Where Is It Going?

So Rob Bell has come out in favor of gay marriage:

"I am for marriage. I am for fidelity. I am for love, whether it’s a man and woman, a woman and a woman, a man and a man. I think the ship has sailed and I think the church needs — I think this is the world we are living in and we need to affirm people wherever they are."

Thursday, March 14, 2013

A Rose Among The Thorns

Just after the time of Christ the Roman poet Juvenal observed that his countrymen really only cared about two things: bread and circuses.  This wonderful little phrase, still in use today, was his way of describing man's preference for the trivial over the good.

Alas, there is nothing new under the sun.  America is a rich country, and with wealth comes the wherewithal to pursue diversions of all sorts.  And that we do, with abandon.  

Take TV, for example.  Hollywood is running out of ways to push the envelope, but they are trying their darndest.  The result is either how-low-can-they-go depravity, or lots of fools willing to embarrass themselves for a few moments in the sun.

But occasionally one is pleasantly surprised.  I was when I watched "The Bible", a mini-series airing on The History Channel.  It is well done, and you won't lose any brain cells while watching it.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Members Class

One of the most dispiriting things about modern Christianity is the shallowness of our commitment to a local church.  Intentionally or not, we have created a generation of consumers who will forsake their church at the drop of a hat if something isn't to their liking.

To be honest, I really don't know what to do about it.  This attitude is systemic and entrenched, and won't be changed easily.  But we at FBC intend to chip away at it. Starting Sunday we'll be offering a 6-week New Members Class, during which we'll be talking about church membership, church policies, spiritual gifts and the like.

If you'd like to join us, you are welcome.  We will meet in Grace 4 at 9:15 a.m.

Monday, March 4, 2013

The 7 Sons Of Sceva

We had another good FOCUS group meeting Saturday.  As part of the meeting we had a couple of presentations from group members about the relationship between missions and culture.  The plain truth is that we can do a lot of harm, both to the cause of Christ AND to the people we are seeking to reach, if we don't know what we're doing.  Using the image of a powerboat and a sailboat, we learned how ministry is different in various parts of the world, and what is "right" in one may not be best in the other.

To wrap up the weekend I preached Sunday morning in the pastor's absence.  We looked at the rather bizarre story of the sons of Sceva in the book of Acts.  Like many today, they wanted Paul's spiritual power, but not his holy life, so they were no real threat to the kingdom of darkness.