Christ and Culture

Culture of Government vs. Culture of Christ

30 Jun , 2014  

Gratia Christi, quod Sum, quod Vivo, quoque Laboro facit.

The grace of Christ makes what I am, what I live, what I do

 Culture of Government vs. Culture of Christ

Ruth read a recent Facebook post about a SWAT Team raid on the Garden of Eden. Neighborhood complaints of code enforcement and allegations of growing cannabis brought on the City of Arlington, Texas Swat Team raid. Note: no violence was reported. There was no indication that of child abuse, and no threat of the residents fleeing or disposing of evidence. The raid was surreptitious and without provocation. Helmeted, goggled, bullet-proof vested, combat booted and automatic weapon toting troopers descended and handcuffed everyone except a two week-old baby.

They found no marijuana, so there was no criminal offense. Yet they destroyed a sweet potato patch and confiscated okra, tomatillo, native grass and sunflower plants in their 10-hour terrorizing of the residents.



Christ and Culture

Marriage in the Culture vs. Marriage in Christ

23 Jun , 2014  

Gratia Christi, quod Sum, quod Vivo, quoque Laboro facit. 

“The grace of Christ makes what I am, what I live, what I do”

Love in the 60’s

Ruth and I began dating and because we liked one another, we became “steadies”. We fell in love in 1960, and began looking toward marriage as the consummation of our relationship. In those days, the vast majority of couples who dated seriously married. Couples just did not move in together! It meant social ostracism to do so. Pre-marital sex was rare. It was done furtively and kept a secret. We have come a long way, baby!

Love Generation

In the ‘70’s, couples began to question marriage. “It’s just a bit of paper. We love each other! We don’t need a piece of paper.” The arguments for marriage sounded pretty thin to the lusty youth of the after ‘60’s “Love Generation”, and the “Question Authority” crowd. The incidence of marriage has declined over the decades, while “living together” has skyrocketed.

It is certainly a lot easier to move out then to get a divorce. This of course has the consequence of at precipitous drop in commitment. Attendant is the increase of childless couples.

Family formation has taken a back seat to romance. As long as they both shall love, they stay together. Birth control (actually birth prevention techniques) has led to a significant reduction in the nation’s indigenous population. The self-centeredness and irresponsibility of the general population has increased. With no commitment to a marital partner and no responsibility to raise children life is pretty sweet. Right? Actually, the lack of permanent relationships creates a lonely population and some pretty depressing elder years.

Lack of Commitment

Not to forget marriage, the same lack of commitment and irresponsibility has infected marital couples and families. That lack of commitment has increased the divorce rate over the last half century from about 20% to over 50% today. Some think they are clever to change the wedding vows from “so long as we both shall live” (a lifetime commitment) to “so long as we both shall ‘LOVE’ ” (admitting that each is planning to bail out when things get tough).

Since the “honeymoon” may last a half dozen years, the family including children has likely grown from two to four or five. Divorce not only breaks the relationship between the man and the woman, but it also damages the children. They lose the important values stemming from integrity in family relationships. The breaking of the relationship erodes trust. How can one trust the faithfulness of others when someone intimately related in marriage breaks his or her vows and walks out? How can I trust myself in a relationship if I have not been able to stick it out in a previous relationship? The answer to both questions is that trust is the victim on both sides of a broken commitment.

Marriage Back in the News

Recently marriage has re-surged in popularity only because homosexuals want to cover their nakedness with the sham of marriage. They think if they codify in law the acknowledgement of their relationship, that will make them more acceptable to society. Probably that is less true than they expect. The people who accept their relationship will do so regardless of governmental sanction. The people who do not accept their relationship will not accept it regardless of governmental sanction.

This brief treatise perhaps gives an idea of the confusion and brokenness that cultural view of marriage brings. Now we turn to Christ’s view of marriage.

God’s Plan for Marriage

In the beginning God created man and woman. He did not create man and a variation of man. Throughout the animal world, the Almighty created two sexes. Both are necessary for procreation of life. That is only natural. He created the two sexes very similar, but also very different. Among mankind (which is what concerns us here), men and women are complementary. It was His plan from the beginning to bring man and woman into an exclusive life-long relationship.

“Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” (Genesis 2:24)

This “one flesh” concept means that they become joined in a mutual, committed, interrelationship that is life-long. Only those who have lived in marriage under Christ for many decades can truly understand the “one flesh” concept. It is in fact the most healthy, blessed relationship among humans.

Healthy Families

Life-long commitment is the foundation of healthy families. As children are raised they begin to understand the differences and the needs of men and women by constantly living with mom and dad. They see them together working out hard times and enjoying bountiful times. The children grow up in security. They know that when mom or dad leaves she or he will always come back. The trust between the woman and man allows the failures of each to be met with understanding and forgiveness. Children see that breaches do not mean destruction of the relationship. Growing this environment, allows the children to develop a strong commitment to loyalty and honor (both sadly lacking in today’s culture).

When two people who love Jesus marry, they participate in a ceremony involving three persons. The couple makes vows in the name of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. They vow to love, honor and obey; to be faithful to one another; and to support one another in plenty and adversity. Since their vows are sanctioned by God, breaking them is an affront to God’s majesty. So when times get tough their vows before God lead each spouse to appeal to Him for the strength to honor them. When they pass through troubled waters they are stronger and even more blended into one flesh than before.

While statistics show the extremely positive results of a Christ-blessed marriage and children raised under it, they cannot come close to measuring the real bounty in the lives of each member of those families.

Christ in Marriage

If you are living together unmarried, ask Jesus into your relationship and commit to a marriage under His blessing.

If you are married but have not entered into it under Jesus’ blessing, find a believing Pastor and consecrate your selves and your marriage to Jesus and receive His blessings.

If you are married and have consecrated your selves and your marriage to Jesus, but are experiencing troubled waters, reach out for the hand of Christ and trust Him to lead you through.

If you are homosexuals and seeking acknowledgment of your relationship under the banner of marriage, recognize that God will not sanction your relationship. Turn away from your “identity” and turn to Jesus. He will transform your life and give you fulfillment in the sex He created you.

In all these cases, please pray with me this prayer:

Lord Jesus, I acknowledge you as the Lord of my life. You created me with unique characteristics. You gave me the capability to love. Let my first and foremost love be to You. Give me the will to be fully obedient to your will. Grant me the grace to fully submit to You.

As a result of my surrender to You, Give me a holy relationship with the opposite sex. Lead me into a life-long commitment to my spouse. Build into our relationship the mutual respect for the differences between man and woman. Give us hearts to submit to one another as unto the Lord. Give us love for one another that will overcome the hard times, weather the disappointments, and forgive the failures. Give us the openness to confess quickly our offenses against one another. And then as you give us stewardship over children, give is the wisdom to raise them up in the faith, nurture and strengths of Almighty God.

In Jesus’ name,  Amen.

Maranatha!                                     tb



Father’s Day Prayer

19 Jun , 2014  

Almighty Father

June 15, 2014

Almighty Father, we bow before You to worship and adore You. You have demonstrated all the traits of a wonderful father. You have been our progenitor. Without Your conceiving us we would not exist. You have been our nurturer. Without your care we could not live. You have taught us to love by loving us. You have not allowed us to get away with sin and you have disciplined us. You have rebuked us sternly, but you have never abandoned us. You have never allowed us to stray far from your love.

Oh Merciful Father, when we sin, You let us feel the separation from Your closeness. You call us to repent and upon our repentance You extend Your mercy and grant us full and free forgiveness. Despite our failure to measure up to Your standard, Your Son Jesus Christ our Savior, You never withdraw Your love from us.

Oh, Wonderful Father, You sent Your Only Begotten Son to be our Savior. You loved us with such deep and abiding love that You sacrificed Your majestic Son the Second Person of the Trinity. You sent Him to become the God/man and to die in our place, to suffer the rejection You hold for sin as He became sin for us. Then you sent the Holy Spirit to us to quicken our spirits so that we could say, “Yes!” to Jesus.

Oh Marvelous Father, immediately upon our confession of faith, regardless of our moral condition, You adopted us as Your sons and daughters. You embraced us, drawing into your family. You not only gave us brothers and sisters in Christ, but You made us brothers and sisters to our Savior the magnificent God/Man, Jesus. All of that would have been more than enough, but You also made us joint heirs with Your Only Begotten Son. You have granted us all the power and authority in Christ. You have granted this stupendous legacy in the name of Christ.

Oh Gracious Father, out of Your generosity you have given us the blessed gifts of Your love and forgiveness of our sin and eternal life in Your loving Presence. Further, You have given us Your Holy Spirit to dwell in us. You have given Him to us with the promise that He will never leave us. He will guide us through this fallen world and He will give us wisdom and discernment.

Oh Bountiful Father, all this and more, much, much more is ours because of Your love. We are truly and deeply grateful. We long for that wonderful Day when we will stand before you fully cleansed of sin, completely whole and magnify Your righteousness, Your holiness, and Your love, lifting our voices to shout Hallelujah!

Please spend a few minutes praising God for His Fatherhood!

Gracious God, our earthly fathers differed; sometimes they were good and other times they were not so good. Each of us has a different experience with the man who You chose to be our earthly father. Nevertheless we affirm Your perfect will in our lives and acknowledge that the man that sired us was Your choice. You commanded us to honor him. We do so now before You.

Please pray for your father, speaking his name out loud.

Please pray and name those in our families who are in need of the Father’s care.

Please pray and name those in our congregation who are in need of the Father’s care.

Please pray for our nation and our leaders who are in need of the Father’s care.

To Your glory we offer the Prayer that Jesus taught us, saying:

The Lord’s Prayer

Our Father, which art in heaven, hallowed be thy Name.
Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.

And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive them that trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, for ever and ever.



Christ and Culture

National Cultural vs. Culture of Christ

9 Jun , 2014  

Gratia Christi, quod Sum, quod Vivo, quoque Laboro facit.

“The grace of Christ makes what I am, what I live, what I do”

National Cultural vs. Culture of Christ


Posthumous portrait of Christopher Columbus by Sebastiano del Piombo, 1519. There are no known authentic portraits of Columbus

America, as I am fond of saying, is a nation founded in Christ. Columbus, upon discovering the Western Hemisphere, planted a cross and claimed this new-found Continent for Christ. Jamestown was the first English colony in 1607. While the documents founding the colony cite that it is founded in the name of Jesus, in fact it was founded for commercial purposes only. The colonists thought there would be easy pickings. Instead it was hard work and they were not up to the challenge. All but 300 of the first 1,000 colonists died of starvation and disease.

In contrast, the Pilgrims were chartered as a commercial colony, but they actually came to establish a place to worship Jesus Christ in freedom. They too had a hard time and of the 102 colonists who landed half of them died in the first year. But they worked hard and established a Christian commonwealth. Their heritage to us has been a Christian nation.


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Glad Tidings

GT—Volume 11 Issue 6

7 Jun , 2014  

Image 1


A two year-old child begins to differentiate himself or herself as an independent being.  She learns the power of “No!”  He begins to exercise his and her will (or won’t) power.  Father says, “How would you like to go to the store with me?”  That is what his daughter loves to do, because Daddy always buys her something.  Still, she must be independent, so she says, “No!”  Mother says they are going to get an ice cream cone.  Despite the fact it is exactly what he wants, he feels compelled to say, “No!”  Two year-olds find that they are individuals and grow out of that phase.

Four year-olds have a different phase.  They are discovering the world filled with things they do not know. They learn that they can acquire information by asking questions.  The simple one word question, “Why?” is a powerful elicitor of information. Realizing that the world is complex the four year-old strings together “whys” to expand his or her knowledge.

Driving by a country field a four-year old asks, “Why are the cows in that field?”

“Because the farmer lets them eat grass there.”


Because when they eat grass they produce milk.”


Realizing that an endless stream of “whys” is coming, Daddy tries to cut them off with the ultimate answer, “Because God made them that way.”