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Family Mission Statement

“Just do it.” “Don’t leave home without it.” “Think Different.” “Reach out and touch someone.” “Friends don’t let friends drive drunk.”

Can you guess which companies developed those taglines? Some taglines are merely advertising ploys but others are actually tiny snippets of what a company believes about itself. In other words, tag lines are a type of memorable vision/mission statement that can be clearly articulated.

For instance, when the United States Department of Transportation came up with “Friends don’t let friends drive drunk” they appealed to the moral conscious of the consumer. Perhaps one night when a few guys have had too much to drink that slogan will pop in one’s head and they’ll remember that if they are truly a friend then they will not let their friend drive home drunk. Sometimes it can help to have a vision memorized.

The vision of SBC Witness is to encourage Southern Baptist cooperation and faithfulness. Therefore, whenever we post or engage in conversation we have a tag line reminder that the point of this blog is to encourage and cooperate faithfulness to the convention. This vision helps the writers of this blog stay focused. Focus is good because without focus, things become blurry.

Companies for years have understood the importance of vision and focus. Recently, churches have noticed the importance and have followed suit. However, perhaps the most important group of society has largely failed to adopt this practice and that group is the family.

If I were to ask you what your family vision statement is what would you say? Take a few minutes and think about that…it’s kind of hard isn’t it? What your answer will be will determine what you think is the most important aspect of your family’s life. Should your family vision statement be, “To glorify God”? How about, “To live our lives for Jesus.”? What about, “To be ambassadors for Christ.”? Or maybe you came up with, “Love God and love others.”

I’m sure that our family vision statements will differ. Every family is different and is composed of many different personalities. However, if we expect our families to be successful in life then we have to be intentional about doing just that. By giving them a simple and clear vision statement that can be articulated we can help our families maintain focus. But before we can establish what type of vision statement can help make our families successful, we must ask ourselves what our definition of success as a family is.

I am in interested in your responses as well as your family vision statements.

Back to the Bible at Willow Creek?

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Came across this article about Willow Creek Church in Illinois. Willow Creek, which has spearheaded and made famous the modern “seeker-sensitive” movement has sense “rethunk” their strategy and is going more Biblical….wow. Thanks Craig, for the link.

Check it out

I’d be curious as to what percentage of churches in the SBC have been affected by the Willow Creek movement…

Oprah: What to do with her?

If you have even a tiny part of your ear turned toward secular media then you have heard of Oprah Winfrey’s latest belief system, which, essentially is merely a culmination of her spiritual journey over the years. Because of this there has been a lot of talk about boycotting Oprah among Christian circles. I’m not sure that boycotting is the route that we should take. I think pastors and Christian leaders, among others, need to keep a keen eye on who and what Oprah endorses because of her tremendous influence and power. We need to educate our people as to why who and what she endorses are wrong. Believe it or not, there are many housewives and stay-at-home moms that watch her daily. Take a few minutes to watch this video. The beginning and ending is a little corny but the middle part is well done. After watching it, finish reading this post below the link.

This is what Tim Keller calls our ‘self-salvation project.” (The Reason for God, p.234) The bottom line in this belief system is that people do not want to believe that they are sinful. Additionally, they would like to believe that they can earn their salvation through themselves. This belief shouldn’t surprise us since we live in a culture of “earning.” Most everything that we have “earned” is ours, our society believes. This is especially true to the unbiblical, hard-working, self-sacrificing American person. This belief, and way of life, is completely antithetical to what the Gospel teaches. The Gospel teaches that man is sinful and that we cannot earn our salvation through ourselves – not that man is good and we can save ourselves.

Oprah is essentially teaching what every human being deep down desires – to “put God in our debt” as Keller states, and to earn our way to Him. That way He is in our debt and deserves to give us the sinful desires of our hearts. Oprah’s heresy is not just something that we should casually pass over. It is something that we need to interact with, pick apart, and educate to our people because the core of her belief system slaps God in the face and spits at Jesus while he lays stretched out on the cross.

Here is the question to debate: How should we go about educating our people about Oprah?

Halloween

Halloween: What a strange time for Christians…especially since the 31st falls on a Wednesday this year. I know that some churches have actually cancelled church for today in light of the event. I also know that some parents will not take their children trick-or-treating. Some parents see no harm in it. Some parents use the night for evangelistic opportunities. I’m curious as to what you do on Halloween. Thoughts?

Also, check out the poll below.

What should we do with Halloween?

Grudem Endorses Romney

On a related note, Dr. Wayne Grudem has gone on record as endorsing Mitt Romney for president in 2008. He has written a cogent and concise argument of why he believes that Romney is the best choice for Christians.

Press Here

Obama and Romney: A Peculiar Decision

Over the past few weeks several Evangelical leaders, as well as some prominent Southern Baptist Convention pastors, have publicly endorsed former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney for president in the 2008 election. Mitt Romney is Mormon. Mormons tend to have many of the same ‘values’ as Southern Baptists in that they are strong on family values, anti-homosexual marriage, prolife, etc, and is aligned with the Republican party, which so many Evangelicals and Southern Baptists are aligned with.

However, there is something about our leaders publicly endorsing a non-Christian that leaves me feeling queasy. I understand that we are electing a president and not a pastor but I do not feel comfortable publicly endorsing a candidate who, despite what he says, cannot have my morals because he does not have the true Christ…but he is Republican, which if one does not realize, is not the official political party of Christianity. 

Now let me turn for a minute to the other side of the coin. Last month at my church, the First Baptist Church of Columbia, SC, Illinois Senator Barack Obama dropped by for a worship service. Our pastor publicly acknowledged him and he received an ovation. All the pastors on staff thought it was rather strange that he would ask to come to the service since we are a traditional, conservative, BFM 2000 Southern Baptist Church. Nevertheless, he was welcome in our church…but Obama is a Democrat. 

However, Obama claims to be have a salvation experience. You can find the article here. (Oops, I lost the link….trust me, it exists) He was asked if he was an Evangelical. By asking this question, he was being asked also, if he were somewhat of a Republican, because all Republicans are Evangelicals and all Evangelicals are Republicans, right? Here was his answer:

“Gosh, I'm not sure if labels are helpful here because the definition of an evangelical is so loose and subject to so many different interpretations. I came to Christianity through the black church tradition where the line between evangelical and non-evangelical is completely blurred. Nobody knows exactly what it means. "Does it mean that you feel you've got a personal relationship with Christ the savior? Then that's directly part of the black church experience. Does it mean you're born-again in a classic sense, with all the accoutrements that go along with that, as it's understood by some other tradition? I'm not sure."  

Now, I will admit that is a confusing answer. Has he accepted Christ via the “black church experience?” He seems to be very postmodern in his answer. He continues,

 “My faith is complicated by the fact that I didn't grow up in a particular religious tradition. And so what that means is when you come at it as an adult, your brain mediates a lot, and you ask a lot of questions. "There are aspects of Christian tradition that I'm comfortable with and aspects that I'm not. There are passages of the Bible that make perfect sense to me and others that I go, 'Ya know, I'm not sure about that,'" he said, shrugging and stammering slightly.”

There is Obama in a nutshell. A man who grew up with a pluralist background but a man who claims to have found Jesus. If Obama is indeed regenerate, which only he and God knows, then it would make sense that he would be struggling with moral and biblical issues being that some of his stances are against God’s plan. However, it seems he is a work in progress, which all Christians are.

What am I saying? If somehow Obama and Romney both won their primaries would it be wise/smart/sstupid to vote for a nunbelieving Republican over a Democrat believer who seems more honest and candid and less dogmatic then Jimmy Carter, a Southern Baptist? 

Should we vote for a person who has our morals but not our faith? Is it possible to truly have Christian morals if one is unregenerate? (Romney) 

Should we vote for a person who is more liberal on moral issues yet seems to have a clear born-again experience and is someone who admittedly struggles with knowing right from wrong? (Obama)

Should pastors publicly endorse anyone? Isn't that illegal?

I don’t know the answer to these questions but maybe you all can shed some light on it for me.

Legacy

 “Then he called for Solomon his son and charged him to build a house for the LORD, the God of Israel. David said to Solomon, ‘My son, I had it in my heart to build a house to the name of the LORD my God.” 1 Chron. 22:6-7

King David set his heart on building a temple for God. However, because David had shed so much blood while preserving the peace of the nation of Israel, God would not allow David’s bloody hands to build His temple. Instead, God demanded that the temple must be built by David’s son, Solomon. David knew this and did what was necessary to pave the way for Solomon. How horrible it would have been for the nation of Israel if Solomon had not been adequately prepared.

Solomon was the beneficiary of David’s hard work. 1 Chronicles 22 and 23 describes how David assembled all of the necessary materials that his son would need to build the temple. David even went as far to put the right people into the right positions so that when Solomon took over everything that He needed would be ready for him to use and people would be ready to be used for the glory of God.

David, even the great King that he was, knew that Solomon would have a brighter future. Therefore, David did all he could to prepare the way for Solomon to take the throne.

As fathers, one of our biggest obligations is to prepare the way for our sons and daughters. Those with sons are obligated to make straight the crooked paths for them and model biblical manhood in every aspect for them. Those with daughters are also obligated to help them grow up to be beautiful God-fearing women who will marry God-fearing men.

We may not be leaving our children kingdoms but we will be leaving them the necessary tools to build a successful family and a successful relationship with their Lord. We should do all we can to leave them with the proper tools and people so that they will be prepared for the pitfalls of life.

What are you doing today to prepare your children for their calling in life?

Mother Teresa: Atheist or Simply Agonized?

I've often heard people joke about how we can't be sure if anyone is saved…except, of course, Mother Teresa of Calcutta, the Nobel Peace Prize award winner for her work among the poor, downtrodden and orphaned children of the world.

However, there has been some doubt cast as to her beliefs over the past couple of days as some of her letters have surfaced in the public sphere. Among some of the words that she wrote about God and Jesus and her life in general:

""Where is my faith?"

"Even deep down … there is nothing but emptiness and darkness. … If there be God — please forgive me."

"Such deep longing for God… repulsed, empty, no faith, no love, no zeal."

"What do I labor for?"

"If there be no God, there can be no soul. If there be no soul then, Jesus, You also are not true."

When one reads some of the writings of the Bible there are examples of men of the faith casting dobut upon God, but does doubt imply un-belief?

Also, to what extent does Mother Teresa's Catholic belief influence her ideas about God, justification, and even santification? 

Landmarkism Revisited

 Speaking of Landmarkism, if you haven't heard, last Tuesday, Pope Benedict XVI (a.k.a. Joseph Ratzinger pictured here doing his Dr. Evil impersonation) has "reasserted the universal primacy of the Roman Catholic Church, approving a document released Tuesday that says Orthodox churches were defective and that other Christian denominations were not true churches." Click here for article.

This is a return to form for the Catholic Church which has again denied the "modern" reforms made at the Second Vatican Council which took place in the 1960's, commonly known as Vatican II.

“Christ ‘established here on earth’ only one church,” the document said. The other communities “cannot be called ‘churches’ in the proper sense” because they do not have apostolic succession — the ability to trace their bishops back to Christ’s original apostles.

In other words, if you're not Catholic, you're headed to Hell.

This is interesting given the fact that former Evangelical Theological Society president, Francis Beckwith, recently switched from Evangelicalism back to his roots of Roman Catholicism.

One wonders if this move by the Pope is one of simply solidifying the church's stance, scaring Christians back into a "right relationship" with the Lord, or both.

Either way, it always fascinates me to see how some Christians of all stripes, be it traditional Roman Catholics or Landmark Southern Baptists, believe in no distinction between the local and universal church when it comes to one's salvation.