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Author Archives: Pastor Chas

Like A Glass Hammer

Like A Glass Hammer

They were powerful words that commissioned the climax of the creation account, “Let us make man in our image.” (Gen 1:26) It was at this point, God breathed life into dirt, and the image bearer of God walked through creation. Humanity was meant to uniquely display God’s glory, bearing an image to which the rest of creation only testified.

All was well until the moment of deception when they ate of the fruit. Bearing the image of God was no longer the desire of their heart. As the serpent enticed, the lie became more believable – perhaps they could be like God (Gen 3:5). With straying affections that led to an act of disobedience, sin marred the image of God in man. Guilty of and broken by sin, mankind was removed from the garden.

Bearing an Image

A small glass hammer sits on a shelf in my office. Though it looks a little abstract, it was the best glass hammer I could find. When most people look at it, they can tell it is a hammer, but they also clearly see it is not something one might buy at the local hardware store. There would be consequences in using the glass hammer in the same manner as the one in my toolbox. To remove it from the shelf and strike it against anything would prove destructive – not for the object, but the glass hammer. Made of glass and of little physical use, the object on my shelf merely bears the image of a hammer.

A Reminder

This hammer stays in my office to remind me of Genesis 3. Through the person and work of Jesus Christ, the image of God is restored from one degree of glory to the next (2 Cor 3:18). I am a work in progress that God is faithful to complete (Phil. 1:6). Though this is a great promise, I also struggle with the same desires as Adam and Eve. Sin wells up within as I begin to be dissatisfied as an image bearer and seek to be God.

When we think of someone trying to be like God, we picture a prideful and controlling attitude. They may be domineering, wanting everything done their way. We may even use this idea when thinking of a “know-it-all” or narcissist. In using these mental pictures, we are often comforted because we create a scenario that does not resemble us.

A desire to be God, or act like God, most often takes place in our rebellion against his Word and his working in our lives. When we walk outside of the parameters God designed for us, by default, we try to take his place. We act as if our knowledge is more excellent than his and our desire is purer than his. We may not demand that people do what we say or try to control the lives of others. We dethrone the God of the universe to bow down to our own will.

Consequences

We are not all-powerful, and our vision of life pails to the eternal perspective of God. We take matters into our own hands, following our indecisive hearts and minds. Walking in rebellion of God’s design and desire, we end up a shattered glass hammer. Not only are we broken, but we make a mess of everything around us. Shards of broken pieces and destruction replace the beauty and glory we are designed to bear.

The hammer sits on my shelf to remind me that God’s desire and design is better than my own. In times of doubt and struggle, I can trust what he is doing. He desires to do something more beautiful in me than I want for myself, and no matter what means he uses to accomplish his work, it will be what is best. He protects my soul and guides my path for his namesake. I am to be an image bearer, not a god.

 

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Take a Look – 4/19

If you have a minute or two, check out these posts. My prayer is that your mind will be engaged and your heart encouraged.

Mothers, Embrace the Mess

When the house is clean, I hear a hallelujah chorus in the background. It’s amazing. The sky is bluer, my head is clearer, and I feel like I have the mind space to dream and plan and focus on what I actually care most about in life.
But having kids and keeping the house continually clean is like oil and water.


Proudly Humble

Sometimes pride looks an awful lot like humility. There are times that our pride convinces us to put on a great show of what looks to all the world like humility so that we will be seen and acknowledged by others. We swell with pride when we hear, “He is humble.” It is a tricky thing, the human heart—prone to deceive both ourselves and others.

Has He Forsaken You?

No other place displays the griefs of Christ like this, and no other moment at Calvary is so full of agony as when His cry rends the air—”My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” At this moment physical weakness was united with acute mental torture from the shame and ignominy through which He had to pass; His grief culminated in suffering the spiritual agony beyond all telling that resulted from the departure of His Father’s presence. This was the black midnight of His horror—when He descended the abyss of suffering.

9 Things You Should Know About Notre Dame Cathedral

On Monday more than 400 French firefighters attempted to save Notre-Dame Cathedral from a devastating fire. Here are nine things you should know about one of Europe’s more historic and iconic religious landmarks:

 
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Posted by on April 19, 2019 in Take a Look

 

The Day a Church Burned

By now, the video of mourners has captivated the eyes of many. As they stood around the Notre Dame Cathedral, their voices united singing Ave Maria and the world mourned as flames engulfed the historical monument. There are critical moments in history recorded in the annals of scholars and culture – April 15, 2019, will be one of those moments.

As I watched the video of those singing, I could not help but wonder if the cathedral was an active part of their lives. Yes, the words they were singing contain a prayer of the Catholic Church. Yes, they passed the cathedral daily. It was a sight, though majestic and powerful, they probably took for granted until the light of flames drew their attention to gaze upon it.

From the events in France, my mind moved to our church as I sat in my office. This year marks 140 years of ministry for Oak Ridge Baptist Church. Many have seen the church as a staple in the community, and for most of the residents, it is a consistent landmark they expect to see daily. There would be many that would mourn if the church building was lost – but why?

Active vs. Passive

The Notre Dame Cathedral is no doubt a passive object in the lives of most people. They pass it every day, but there is no essential role the building or the Catholic Church has in their lives. However, there are those for whom the church played an active role; it was a part of their current spiritual lives.

The church you attend would have the same two groups of people come together if something tragic were to occur. There are people in your community that see the church building but have nothing to do with it. Even though they may have precious memories of days gone by, the church building is only a monument to the endeared past – it has a passive role in their lives. They are more attached to the building than they are to the church that meets within its walls. Their regular absence in worship services is a testimony of the church’s passivity in their lives.

However, there are those that would mourn differently. Yes, the building would be gone, and with it, a saddened heart from all the memories that took place would arise. On the other hand, there is also the realization that the build is not the church and the absence of a building does not limit worship or the spiritual health of the members.

Be Active

Of these two groups of people, which one resonates with you? Has church become a passive part of your life, or does it hold an active role in your life?

What role does the church – not the building, but the people – have in your life? God redeemed the church to be an active part of a believer’s life. Are you reminiscent of things that happened at the church or are you actively celebrating the movement of God in the church?

Why would you mourn if the church building burned? I pray you will choose to be active in the church.

 
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Posted by on April 16, 2019 in Just a Thought

 

Take a Look – 4/12

God Watches the Way You Work

One common motivation is simply to work in order to get money to live. On the other hand, Jesus says that the believer should “seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness” in the process of gaining the wherewithal to live. The things necessary for living will be added as well, and here is the point—they are no longer the main motive for doing the work. For the believer, the main motive is to experience God’s kingdom, that is, his rule in our everyday lives. In practical terms that will mean seeking his righteousness. Every job, every kind of work, whether paid or not, whether in a hospital, a factory, or a church, gives rise to moral problems, issues of personal and corporate probity.

Strong Churches Speak the Language of Lament

It became clear that most people didn’t know how to walk with us in our grief. I know every person had good intentions. I don’t blame them or hold resentment. But it was as if they didn’t speak our language. Looking back, I can now see that the missing element in our grief was a familiarity with lament—heartfelt and honest talking to God through the struggles of life.

How Universalism, ‘the Opiate of the Theologians,’ Went Mainstream

Universalism isn’t just a theological mistake. It’s also a symptom of deeper problems. In a culture characterized by moralistic therapeutic deism, universalism fits the age we inhabit. As I argue in the book, universalism is the opiate of the theologians. It’s the way we would want the world to be. Some imagine that a more loving and less judgmental church would be better positioned to win new adherents. Yet perfect love appeared in history—and he was crucified.

Does God Hate Sin but Love the Sinner?

The beauty of the cross is that when Jesus went to Calvary, He did not just pay the price for our lusting, our lying, our cheating, or whatever sin that we do—He stood in our place. He took the holy hatred, holy judgment, and holy wrath of God that was not just due our sin but due us. Jesus stood in our place and He took it upon Himself. So let us be very careful not to lean on comfortable clichés that sound good to us and rob the cross of its power.

 
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Posted by on April 12, 2019 in Take a Look

 

Your Children and the Church

Do you choose a church based on your perceived needs of your children? This question has come to me in various forms over the years. Some are looking for a larger youth group or children’s program. Some families attend churches where their children do not have peers, or in one instance, they did not like the “type of children” that were attending the program. In either case, they begin looking for another church. The parents start investigating the churches in the area and where most of their child’s school friends attend. Then . . . They go.

I have four children. I share this with you so that you will understand that I know the desire for your kids to be in an environment where you think they will flourish. As a parent, you desire the best for your children. If you are a parent and you are struggling with this question, I would like to share a few things with you.

It is your job to lead the home

Your child is a gift from God, and you are stewarded to lead them in a manner that glorifies God. There are times that we as parents tend to relinquish power to our children that they are not ready to handle. It is not your child’s responsibility to choose a church for your family to attend; the weight is on your shoulders as a parent.

It is your job to point to Christ

In the process of evaluating a move, please consider the function of your home in the spiritual life of your child. God designed the household to be the primary place of theological instruction, and he gave us the church to help accomplish the task. Before you move to a different church for the sake of your children, evaluate if your home is taking the primary role of spiritual development.

The responsibility of the parent is more than just transportation to church services and functions. Parents have the responsibility to instruct and instill Scripture into the lives of their children. Please do not consider leaving a church that seems to have little to offer your children if you are not giving your children the foundation they need in the home. If the foundation of the household is faithful, the children will lack nothing.

As a parent, you attend church for your spiritual health, and the byproduct of that pursuit will be a spiritually healthy home and spiritually fed children. Your children will follow in your footsteps, they will worship as your worship, and they will feast on God’s Word as they watch you study God’s Word. You are a far more significant influence than any local church.

Older generations are a gift

We have a ‘s wonderful children’s program at Oak Ridge Baptist Church. The lessons that our children receive are second to none. However, I find that the program is not the foremost blessing for our children – it is the people in the church.

I sat today and watched my 8-year-old sit and have lunch with people much older than him. In fact, one is over 80. He loves these people, and the people love him. I see my 12-year-old sit and work with ladies well beyond her in age, and it is a blessing. They have helped teach her to sew and crochet – she learns from them. They model an ethic, propriety, and love of Christ that is often absent among her peers. My two middle sons love the men in our church. They see how these men treat their wives and how they serve the church body. These blessings are invaluable to my children and me.

Church isn’t about your children

The church is about God and displaying His glory. If we choose a church based on what the church offers our children, we are inadvertently teaching them that church is about them. We instill a consumerist idea about the church that only harms the church and our children. Be careful that you do not teach them that God is just honored in the “bigger and better.” Teach them about contentment and looking for the blessings God has given in the church you currently attend.

I pray these thoughts will help you as you serve your church, or as you look for a church.

 
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Posted by on April 10, 2019 in Church Life, Family Life

 

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