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Faith & Worship

  • Earley: Do you hate sin?

    I think one of the best definitions of sin is anything we do that separates us from God. When we talk about sin we find that humans make very little of sin and God makes so much of it. People joke about it, even brag about their sins. Much of our entertainment glorifies sinful life choices.

    God hates sin (Proverbs 6:16ff.). God says that the “wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). God says that sin is a very serious matter.

    A fellow named Willie was deep in debt and was thinking of committing suicide.

  • Earley: Salvation by works or faith?

    Elmer Towns tells about a motorcycle gang member who was dramatically converted to faith in Jesus Christ. The next Sunday he did the only thing he knew he should do and went to church. Nobody in the church knew him and he walked down to the second aisle and sat in the pew. The people stared because he looked the part: big and burly, bearded, long hair, black jacket and lots of tattoos.

  • Have you been born again?

    One day, when Vice President Calvin Coolidge was presiding over the Senate, one senator angrily told another to go “straight to hell.” The offended senator complained to Coolidge as presiding officer and Coolidge looked up from the book he had been leafing through while listening to the debate and wittily replied. “I’ve looked through the rule book,” he said, “You don’t have to go.”

  • Christianity and the Old Testament

    Christians like the Old Testament stories that have mercy and inspiration in them, but some Christians find the stories of wrath and destruction to be offensive.For example, Samuel instructs King Saul to completely destroy the Amalekites.

    “Now go and smite Amalek and utterly destroy all that they have; do not spare them, but kill both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass” (I Samuel 15:3). Usually what Christians try to do is forget such texts are in the Old Testament, focus on the New Testament and pretend everything is alright.

  • Theodicy - trusting in the goodness of God

    Over the last three weeks we have looked at the problem of evil. We have seen how the Bible explains evil as rising out of the personified presence of evil that we call Satan, that our world is fallen due to the original sin of Adam and Eve and how the justice of God allows Him to solve the injustice of evil over eternity. Today I look at the most difficult challenge for us: Trusting in the goodness of God no matter what the circumstances in life that we face.

  • Theodicy - justice and eternity

    Over the last two weeks I have looked at why there is evil in God’s world that is created good. This week I ask the question, “How long does God have to work out justice?” Rabbi Shraga Simmons says, “The question of ‘why do bad things happen to good people’ has a lot to do with how we look at existence. The way we usually perceive things is like this: A ‘good life’ means that I make a comfortable living, I enjoy good health and then I die peacefully at age 80. That’s a good life. Anything else is ‘bad.’ ”

  • Theodicy - evil and human free will

    The pastor goes to visit a new parishioner. The man has cancer of the liver. He openly expresses his anger at God for letting this happen to him. “Why me?” he wants to know. He never mentions that before the pastor met him he had been a heavy drinker for over 30 years. It never dawned on him that his actions could be the obvious answer to the question of his cancer.

  • Theodicy - the question of why there is evil

    If God is good why is there so much evil? This is the question of theodicy that can never be fully answered. This is one of the most difficult questions in all of theology. God is eternal, infinite, omniscient, omnipresent and omnipotent and the creator of the universe. So why is there so much pain, death, struggle and evil in the world? Over the next four weeks I want to look at different facets of the problem of evil: 1) demonic evil, 2) human evil, 3) evil from the perspective of eternity and 4) trusting in the goodness of God.

  • Does God still bring judgment through natural disasters?

    Does God still use natural disasters to punish people for disobedience and evil? Pat Robertson of the 700 Club apparently believes God does. Just following the earthquake in Haiti he said, “Something happened a long time ago in Haiti and people might not want to talk about it. They were under the heel of the French. They got together and swore a pact to the devil…But ever since, they have been cursed by one thing after the other.”

  • Rejecting the Holy Spirit is the unforgiveable sin

    A vacuum salesman was making his first call in rural Tennessee. He had his vacuum cleaner and excitedly knocked on the first door. A kind-looking lady answered the door and he said, “I’ve got the most exciting vacuum cleaner you have ever seen. It will clean your house from top to bottom. You only have to pay so much down.”

    The lady acted interested so he said, “You see that big pile of dirt right there on the floor with all those fur balls and bugs and things. This vacuum cleaner will pick it all up or I’ll eat it.”