Friday, January 20, 2006

Rolling the Dice


Paul states that all things, unless specifically forbidden by God, are lawful for me as a Christian BUT not all things are beneficial for me as a Christian.


Gambling is not expressly forbidden by scripture. Many Christians tend to ask questions on controversial subjects like this as "Can I do it?" Though the theological answer is "Yes" the impact on your testimony needs to be considered. The better question here is, "Should I do this?"

Here are some simple guidelines....

APPEARANCE

I Thess 5:22 warns us to avoid the appearance of evil. Gambling has long been associated with vice and corruption. Few people would dispute that. Places of gambling and their patrons are usually unsaved individuals where their flesh is driven by greed, lust, and pride. Now, that does not mean everyone who participates in the activity is a greed driven lust monger but is the appearance of a Christian in that enviroment going to be a stumbling block to someone? Is that beneficial?

ASSOCIATION

Eph 5:11 warns us not to have fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness. Las Vegas advertises itself as "Sin City" where you can engage in open vice but need not worry because what happens in Vegas... stays in Vegas. The Mafia played a large role in establishing Las Vegas and Atlantic City as places of gambling and adult entertainment. Corporate America attempted to clean up Las Vegas with family friendly resorts and activities for kids while mom and dad gamble their college savings away but have since discovered the high rollers and those who want the vice have been staying away. Now the trend is going back to those images of the late 50's, 60's and 70's where Joe Average can go and rub shoulders with gangster bad guys and be "naughty" away from home. Is that beneficial?

ACCEPTANCE

Is 5:20 warns us to be careful when good is portrayed as bad and bad as good. There is a very open acceptance of gambling today. Most states feature Indian Casinos and lotteries. Gone are the images of smoke filled dark rooms with cheap women. Now casinos look like hotels with shopping malls inside them. You stop and get a manacure and a Chappachino on the way to the roulette table. Wal-Mart sells gambling kits that have small roulette wheels, poker chips, and other assorted gambling games. Poker with the kids has replaced Clue or Monopoly. Is that beneficial?

AUTHORIZATION

James 4:17 tells us that when we know to do right and don't we have sinned. When we accept and participate a practice like gambling what is the message we are sending to our children? Even if we set a limit and do not exceed it when betting and have not lost our savings or become drunken, depraved, and homeless from the vice of Vegas... we are telling our kids it's okay. Is that beneficial?

The whole concept of gambling from betting on a ball game to playing poker has roots and a history that is tainted at best and corrupt at worst. Is this something we as Christians should condone and associate ourselves with? What positive fruit has gambling brought or produced? Is this beneficial?


Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Never Settle for Cheap Immitations


I love model trains. I love Coca-Cola. Put the two together and you've got somethin' gooood!
This past Christmas season I looked at a Coca-Cola logo train set at Wal-Mart several times. I even picked it up once or twice and tried to justify in my own mind why I should buy it as a Christmas present to myself. Since it was not a budgeted priority I put it back and prayed one quick, simple prayer... "Lord, this is a desire of my heart and I would love to have it. I'm not going to ask for it or hint for it. Place it on someone's heart to give me." That was that.


Christmas came and went and NO Coke Train. My birthday came and went this past weekend and still NO Coke Train. Tonight, I preached to the TNT Youth Department of the Fords Bush Bible Church. Super Youth Dude, aka Bro. Kevin Keever, introduced me. He then stated to the teens how my birthday was on Sunday and so they sang to me and then presented me with a present... THE Coca-Cola logo HO scale model train set! Can somebody say, "Amen!"?


First, I want to thank Bro Keever and the TNT Youth Staff and teens for their thoughtfulness. You have no idea how much the LORD used you. Second, I thank the Lord for giving me a want of my heart and not just a need. Today was a difficult day after receiving a "not so nice" letter from a former member. GOD knew I would need a little extra encouragment and HE knew when I would need it. His time is always the RIGHT time.


Now, I could have rationalized buying that train two months ago at Wal-Mart. What a blessing I would have missed. How many little desires and special wants do we rob ourselves from receiving from the LORD because we decide to bless ourselves instead? The blessing of GOD is an original that can never be duplicated, copied, or immitated. It's the REAL Thing!

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Brokeback Morals



Last night Hollywood again pushed their agenda and where they desire to see the country... full acceptance of the homosexual lifestyle. At the Golden Globe awards Brokeback Mountain was given the highest honors for a dramatic movie. Starring Heath Ledger (The Patriot) and Jake Gyllenhaal (October Sky - Day After Tomorrow) as Jack Twist and Ennis Del Mar as two cowboys who begin a plantic friendship that turns physical and sexual.

When the job ends they go their separate ways- one becomes a father of two and the other a successful business man. Years later they are reunited and their feelings for one another are rekindled. Ang Lee directed what has been called "the first truly homosexual western."

It doesn't seem to matter to Hollywood that mainstream America is offended by this and stayed away. Box office receipts are do to a big push in the homosexual community and liberal left to see this movie. Curious people after reading the controversy also attended but these numbers do not mean that America, as a whole, is ready to embrace same sex marriage and relationships as normal. Once again Hollywood proves it is at war against mainstream America and Chritianity.

Movies used to entertain. Now, they feel they need to preach. Their message is simple: The Gospel of Secular Humanism. "Embrace diversity" is their montra. Homosexual characters are always portrayed as intelligent, honest, and charismatic. Christians are usually portrayed as ignorant, deceitful, and caustic. Is this by accident? No.

Maybe it's time for Christians to let Hollywood know we really feel. Most fundamental-evangelical people are not going to go see Brokeback Mountain but they do go see the family friendly movies which usually produce the BIGGEST box office receipts which gives the studios the profits they need to make the movies that tear down our core beliefs. Maybe it's time to boycott the family movies. Let's not give Hollywood the resources to keep attacking our values. How many times are we going to give the enemy the very weapon he needs to hurt us... money. In the end... Hollywood may love to preach a politically correct gospel of liberalism and acceptance of the perverse but even they need money in the collection plate to make that happen. No more tithes to Hollywood until it gets our message!

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Happy Birthday to Me


Thirty eight years ago today my mother gave me a gift that I can never repay her for... life! I want to thank every mother who chooses life. Abortion is not a choice.
Thirty eight years ago today I made my arrival known during a sleet and freezing rain storm. My brother and sister will contend that I was favored and spoiled because I was the youngest. No. No. I was favored because I was the cutest and the smartest! All kidding aside... I want to thank my parents for their sacrifice to raise me in a good home. They taught me two lessons that I have never forgotten. First, learn to think for yourself. Second, always stand up for what you believe.
I love you both and I thank you.