Voices Inside My Head. Sin Boldly Episode 147

Angel And Devil On Shoulder Cartoon Stop Listening To The Devil On Your Shoulder – The Power OfThis solo episode looks at two teachings from radically different perspectives on what to do with those voices in your head. You know, the voice of conscience or promptings from God or temptations from the devil. Theological liberal Nadia Bolz-Weber suggests that voices of accusation are from the devil and can mostly be ignored. Joel Osteen says they are prompts from God and should “just” be obeyed. Well, which is it?!

Why the name “Sin Boldly”? Martin Luther wrote to his friend Philip Melanchthon in 1521: “If you are a preacher of mercy, do not preach an imaginary but the true mercy. If the mercy is true, you must therefore bear the true, not an imaginary sin. God does not save those who are only imaginary sinners. Be a sinner, and let your sins be strong [sin boldly], but let your trust in Christ be stronger, and rejoice in Christ who is the victor over sin, death, and the world.” To sin boldly, therefore, is not to seek unholy living, but to follow the course we believe the Bible demands even if the world is against us. And if and when we sin, trust in an even greater savior.

If you want to listen via the podcast feed, that link is here.  That link will take you to iTunes. To subscribe to the Sin Boldly podcast with an Android phone, I recommend the Cast Box app, which easily finds Sin Boldly via search. Your iPhone (or iOS) Podcast app finds it easily on iTunes. If you subscribe to the show, you get the episodes immediately upon release. Otherwise, it may take a few hours from the time of publication until it shows up on the feed. To listen immediately, see below.

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Hospitals, Embassys, Outposts and a Bride: Which Metaphor for the Church is Best? 

church-is-not-a-museum-for-saints-but-a-hospital-9521598It is a very basic reality for the Christian that he or she will want to know his or her place in the world as a Christian. And as the Church is the visible and invisible gathering of said Christians, the question of what the Church’s role or place in this world will come up as well. Various metaphors have been used to answer this question, with some metaphors being more successful than others.

The first, and most successful, metaphor is that the Church is the Bride of Christ. This is the best metaphor because it is the most Biblical! The image of the bride is found in Jesus’ parables, notably the parables of the wedding banquets and the ten maidens, each told in several Gospels. Revelation 19 – 22 also contain a number of explicit references, like this one from Revelation 19: “‘Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready; it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure’— for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints. And the angel said to me, ‘Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.’”

Paul famously picks up on this theme in Ephesians 5 as well: ”Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.” The relationship between Christ and His people, then, is as close as a married couple, and the sacrifice that Jesus made for her Church sets the stage for a life of sacrificial – and yet joyful – giving we will offer to Christ. All of the important virtues of marriage – faithfulness, honor, love, and respect – are also virtues in the relationship of Christ and Christian. So being the Bride of Christ is a good and wholly Biblical metaphor.

Other metaphors have been adopted as well. The hospital metaphor is one I hear quite often. As sick or even dying patients go to a hospital to receive healing, so do sick and dying people come to church to receive spiritual healing. Week after week we bring our wounds from worldly encounters into the Church and expect to find the cure.

There is truth in this metaphor, but it has several limitations. One is that hospital stays are temporary. Usually, we don’t go to them over and over again. Upon being healed, we leave and carry on with our life’s work. Another limitation is that it constantly puts the Church in a position to “make members well,” as though Christians are only ever sick or wounded, and perhaps even powerless or helpless. Yes, the wages of sin are death and sometimes we need to be nursed back to spiritual or even physical health. But we see in apostolic preaching not only comfort, but exhortation and  challenging words as well. If the Church is only a hospital, it can become only about our private needs of healing, and we can lose the communal encouragement that the Church can offer.

Which brings me to our next metaphor: a military outpost. What is a military outpost? Well, within a kingdom or conquered land, forts or outposts would be built to keep watch. If an attack took place, soldiers were dispatched to defend the land. You can see how congregations can be seen in this light: the earth is the Lord’s and everything in it (Ps. 24), and congregations act as outposts in His Kingdom where we, his soldiers in this spiritual battle, are trained, encouraged, and (as outposts would have had a sick bay), healed when needed.

The outpost represents a more offensive point-of-view than a hospital to be sure, so it will likely rub some the wrong way. After all, if we are called to love our neighbor and dine with sinners, should we really see ourselves in a militaristic light? I happen to like this metaphor because it represents more positive, outward engagement. It is about engaging the world and defending the faith, more than nurturing our own souls. And if we understand the way a military medic heals the soldier, there is still room for seeing the outpost as a one-stop-shop for the Christian ready to engage the world.

I also have thought of an embassy as an interesting metaphor for the church. Even though the Earth is truly the Lord’s, we often live as strangers in a strange land, surrounded by those who do not share our values or our commitment to worship and life in the Church. But in the Church, you are home even in a strange land. You have allies in the Church, and you have advocates. You can’t stay in the embassy forever, but whenever you are there, you are safe.

How do you think of the Church? I think these three extra-biblical all have merit. But the metaphor you are most drawn to will say a lot about what you expect to get out of the Church and how you see the Church in the world.

Eunuchs and Macho Men. Sin Boldly Episode 146

Acts_128This solo show looks at a recent Huffington Post article that claims to unlock what religion “really” teachings about the LGBT issue. It focuses particularly on Philip and the Eunuch in Acts 8. We then look at the Satanic origins of MS-13 and one man’s hypocritical rant against hypocrisy.

Why the name “Sin Boldly”? Martin Luther wrote to his friend Philip Melanchthon in 1521: “If you are a preacher of mercy, do not preach an imaginary but the true mercy. If the mercy is true, you must therefore bear the true, not an imaginary sin. God does not save those who are only imaginary sinners. Be a sinner, and let your sins be strong [sin boldly], but let your trust in Christ be stronger, and rejoice in Christ who is the victor over sin, death, and the world.” To sin boldly, therefore, is not to seek unholy living, but to follow the course we believe the Bible demands even if the world is against us. And if and when we sin, trust in an even greater savior.

If you want to listen via the podcast feed, that link is here.  That link will take you to iTunes. To subscribe to the Sin Boldly podcast with an Android phone, I recommend the Cast Box app, which easily finds Sin Boldly via search. Your iPhone (or iOS) Podcast app finds it easily on iTunes. If you subscribe to the show, you get the episodes immediately upon release. Otherwise, it may take a few hours from the time of publication until it shows up on the feed. To listen immediately, see below.

The Pro-Life Movement Before Roe V. Wade. Sin Boldly Episode 144

51M3yPywg+L._SX327_BO1,204,203,200_Many thanks to Dr. Daniel Williams who stopped in to discuss his book “Defenders of the Unborn: the Pro-Life Movement Before Roe V. Wade.” The discussion looked at the scientific advancements that led physicians to conclude life began at conception, and the early grassroots effort to halt abortion legalization in the 1960s. Check out the book!

Why the name “Sin Boldly”? Martin Luther wrote to his friend Philip Melanchthon in 1521: “If you are a preacher of mercy, do not preach an imaginary but the true mercy. If the mercy is true, you must therefore bear the true, not an imaginary sin. God does not save those who are only imaginary sinners. Be a sinner, and let your sins be strong [sin boldly], but let your trust in Christ be stronger, and rejoice in Christ who is the victor over sin, death, and the world.” To sin boldly, therefore, is not to seek unholy living, but to follow the course we believe the Bible demands even if the world is against us. And if and when we sin, trust in an even greater savior.

If you want to listen via the podcast feed, that link is here.  That link will take you to iTunes. To subscribe to the Sin Boldly podcast with an Android phone, I recommend the Cast Box app, which easily finds Sin Boldly via search. Your iPhone (or iOS) Podcast app finds it easily on iTunes. If you subscribe to the show, you get the episodes immediately upon release. Otherwise, it may take a few hours from the time of publication until it shows up on the feed. To listen immediately, see below.

A Biblical Worldview and Social Justice. With AD Robles. Sin Boldly Episode 143

social-justice-777x437I was joined by AD Robles to step back and look at the big questions surrounding a Biblical worldview and social justice. We talked about the most significant social justice issues of our day and offer what we believe the Christian faith has to say about them. You can find AD on Twitter and YouTube.

Why the name “Sin Boldly”? Martin Luther wrote to his friend Philip Melanchthon in 1521: “If you are a preacher of mercy, do not preach an imaginary but the true mercy. If the mercy is true, you must therefore bear the true, not an imaginary sin. God does not save those who are only imaginary sinners. Be a sinner, and let your sins be strong [sin boldly], but let your trust in Christ be stronger, and rejoice in Christ who is the victor over sin, death, and the world.” To sin boldly, therefore, is not to seek unholy living, but to follow the course we believe the Bible demands even if the world is against us. And if and when we sin, trust in an even greater savior.

If you want to listen via the podcast feed, that link is here.  That link will take you to iTunes. To subscribe to the Sin Boldly podcast with an Android phone, I recommend the Cast Box app, which easily finds Sin Boldly via search. Your iPhone (or iOS) Podcast app finds it easily on iTunes. If you subscribe to the show, you get the episodes immediately upon release. Otherwise, it may take a few hours from the time of publication until it shows up on the feed. To listen immediately, see below.

The Reality TV Episode. Sin Boldly Episode 142

phil-robertson_bibleThis solo episode looks at a little NBA Finals for a larger picture they offer, some comments on church membership by Duck Dynasty patriarch Phil Robertson, the Trump/Kardashian joining of forces, and a caller with some questions on worship styles.

Why the name “Sin Boldly”? Martin Luther wrote to his friend Philip Melanchthon in 1521: “If you are a preacher of mercy, do not preach an imaginary but the true mercy. If the mercy is true, you must therefore bear the true, not an imaginary sin. God does not save those who are only imaginary sinners. Be a sinner, and let your sins be strong [sin boldly], but let your trust in Christ be stronger, and rejoice in Christ who is the victor over sin, death, and the world.” To sin boldly, therefore, is not to seek unholy living, but to follow the course we believe the Bible demands even if the world is against us. And if and when we sin, trust in an even greater savior.

If you want to listen via the podcast feed, that link is here.  That link will take you to iTunes. To subscribe to the Sin Boldly podcast with an Android phone, I recommend the Cast Box app, which easily finds Sin Boldly via search. Your iPhone (or iOS) Podcast app finds it easily on iTunes. If you subscribe to the show, you get the episodes immediately upon release. Otherwise, it may take a few hours from the time of publication until it shows up on the feed. To listen immediately, see below.

Surviving Domestic Violence. Sin Boldly Episode 141

imagesI was joined by Renee Jackson, a new friend who has written a book about surviving domestic violence. A victim of domestic violence for almost two decades, Renee bravely shares her story of how she got in and how she finally got out of a very scary situation. Many thanks to Renee for stopping in!

Why the name “Sin Boldly”? Martin Luther wrote to his friend Philip Melanchthon in 1521: “If you are a preacher of mercy, do not preach an imaginary but the true mercy. If the mercy is true, you must therefore bear the true, not an imaginary sin. God does not save those who are only imaginary sinners. Be a sinner, and let your sins be strong [sin boldly], but let your trust in Christ be stronger, and rejoice in Christ who is the victor over sin, death, and the world.” To sin boldly, therefore, is not to seek unholy living, but to follow the course we believe the Bible demands even if the world is against us. And if and when we sin, trust in an even greater savior.

If you want to listen via the podcast feed, that link is here.  That link will take you to iTunes. To subscribe to the Sin Boldly podcast with an Android phone, I recommend the Cast Box app, which easily finds Sin Boldly via search. Your iPhone (or iOS) Podcast app finds it easily on iTunes. If you subscribe to the show, you get the episodes immediately upon release. Otherwise, it may take a few hours from the time of publication until it shows up on the feed. To listen immediately, see below.

A Brief Note on Using “Yahweh” in Worship

s-l300
In June, we are going to employ a small change in our worship. In an effort to both be more faithful to the text of Scripture and to reflect the personal nature of God, we are going to use God’s proper name whenever it appears in the day’s lessons. God’s name, as revealed to Moses in Exodus 3 is Yahweh, or sometimes seen as YHWH. (Hebrew does not have vowels, so the “a” and “e” are later additions.) That word translates roughly to “I am what I am,” and that is usually what is written in Exodus 3. This is the name God gives for Himself when Moses asks for his name as he prepares to go back to Egypt to plead for the Israelite’s freedom.

God’s name is at least a little mysterious. What does “I am what I am” mean? Perhaps God is indicating he is the ground of all creation, the foundation of all that is. From Exodus 3 on (and even in Genesis), Yahweh is the proper name of God. This is not the only name for God; “El” or “Elohim” is a generic Hebrew word that means simply “god” and it is often used. But Yahweh is God’s proper name, if you will. You will know when you come across it in an English translation because Yahweh will be transcribed as LORD that is the word “lord” in all capitals or small capitals. (WordPress does not allow me to create a “small capitals” version of “Lord.”) “El” or “Elohim” is translated as “Lord” with small letters. Perhaps out of an abundance of caution or a willingness to show respect to those who would be offended by using the name Yahweh, the name of God is never written or spoken in most English translations.

There is a growing sense, however, that using Yahweh has benefits, and doing so with respect does not bring us close to the edge of blasphemy. Some newer translations now translate “Lord” as Yahweh directly. The benefit is that using God’s proper name puts us closer to the relationship the Israelites enjoyed with God. That is, their relationship with the revealed God of the Bible was personal and not merely “official” (as in, dealing only with God’s office or title of “Lord”.)

And if you employ God’s name, it opens up the scriptures to a highly personal and even intimate relationship with the revealed God of the Bible. Consider this example from Joshua 24:15: “And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” “Lord” is a perfectly good and respectful word. But replace the two uses of “the Lord”with Yahweh and the effect is more personal and even dramatic. For we do not worship or know a generic god. We know the personal God of the universe, named Yahweh!

As we use “Yahweh” in worship, my hope is that you will grow in your relationship to the personal God we worship. Employing the name He gives Himself will open up His reality in a way that “Lord” alone falls a bit short.

A Revival Review. Sin Boldly Episode 141

07-02-03This solo episode looks at the sermon that began the so-called Brownsville Revival in 1995. Was this a genuine move of the Spirit, or a planned and orchestrated event? Is this preacher uniquely endowed with a divine anointing he can share with others or is he engaging in old-fashioned manipulation techniques and peer pressure? We also look at an update from Willow Creek and a church in Birmingham that actually endorses segregation.

Why the name “Sin Boldly”? Martin Luther wrote to his friend Philip Melanchthon in 1521: “If you are a preacher of mercy, do not preach an imaginary but the true mercy. If the mercy is true, you must therefore bear the true, not an imaginary sin. God does not save those who are only imaginary sinners. Be a sinner, and let your sins be strong [sin boldly], but let your trust in Christ be stronger, and rejoice in Christ who is the victor over sin, death, and the world.” To sin boldly, therefore, is not to seek unholy living, but to follow the course we believe the Bible demands even if the world is against us. And if and when we sin, trust in an even greater savior.

If you want to listen via the podcast feed, that link is here.  That link will take you to iTunes. To subscribe to the Sin Boldly podcast with an Android phone, I recommend the Cast Box app, which easily finds Sin Boldly via search. Your iPhone (or iOS) Podcast app finds it easily on iTunes. If you subscribe to the show, you get the episodes immediately upon release. Otherwise, it may take a few hours from the time of publication until it shows up on the feed. To listen immediately, see below.

When to Fire a Priest. Sin Boldly Episode 139.

2018-04-30_-_Catholic_bigotryThis solo episode looks at the firing of House of Representatives ChaplainFr. Patrick Conroy. What “truth to power” did he speak that got him canned? Then we look at the Beyonce Mass, held also to speak truth to power. (A laugh riot, I know!) Finally, we look at the latest trend in the evangelical church: racial reconciliation due to racial disparity. Is that the work of the Gospel or something closer to Marxism?

Why the name “Sin Boldly”? Martin Luther wrote to his friend Philip Melanchthon in 1521: “If you are a preacher of mercy, do not preach an imaginary but the true mercy. If the mercy is true, you must therefore bear the true, not an imaginary sin. God does not save those who are only imaginary sinners. Be a sinner, and let your sins be strong [sin boldly], but let your trust in Christ be stronger, and rejoice in Christ who is the victor over sin, death, and the world.” To sin boldly, therefore, is not to seek unholy living, but to follow the course we believe the Bible demands even if the world is against us. And if and when we sin, trust in an even greater savior.

If you want to listen via the podcast feed, that link is here.  That link will take you to iTunes. To subscribe to the Sin Boldly podcast with an Android phone, I recommend the Cast Box app, which easily finds Sin Boldly via search. Your iPhone (or iOS) Podcast app finds it easily on iTunes. If you subscribe to the show, you get the episodes immediately upon release. Otherwise, it may take a few hours from the time of publication until it shows up on the feed. To listen immediately, see below.