Thursday, March 27, 2014

How Can We Inherit Eternal Life?

1. The Problemo: We must understand that a holy God made us in His image (Genesis 1:26), but that we are wretched sinners (Romans 3:23) who deserve to be eternally separated in Hell from God's love (Romans 6:23).

2. The Solution: We must believe Jesus, God's perfect Son, died on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins (1 Peter 2:24) and that He resurrected (rose from the dead) three days later. Jesus is the only way to the Father, and He is the only way to satisfy God's wrath (extreme anger).

3. Our Response: If we receive God's gift of salvation in faith (Ephesians 2:8-9), we will be:
    A. regenerated (We are made spiritually new),
    B. converted (We repent of our sins and trust in Jesus for salvation),
    C. justified (We are forgiven of our sins and declared righteous),
    D. adopted into God's family (We are reconciled with God and become His child),
    E. and through the Holy Spirit, sanctified (We become more like Jesus as we live our lives for
         God's glory - 1 Corinthians 10:31).

4. The Future: When we die or when Jesus returns, we will go to Heaven with resurrected bodies (glorification) to worship God forever (Revelation 21-22:5). All creation will be restored, and it will be da' bomb diggity!

Do you believe this? Do you believe For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16)? Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved (Romans 10:9-10). This is the way to a life of purpose. To deepen that life, you will want to:

1. Rely on the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:16).
2. Read, study, memorize, meditate on, and share God's Word (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
3. Constantly pray (1 Thessalonians 5:17).
4. Learn from Godly people and worship with them (Hebrews 10:25).
5. Serve others joyfully in Christ (1 Peter 4:10).

to the only wise God be glory forevermore through Jesus Christ! Amen (Romans 16:27).

Friday, March 21, 2014

The Power of the Resurrection

But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death. For God has put all things in subjection under his feet." But when it says, "all things are put in subjection," it is plain that he is excepted who put all things in subjection under him. When all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to him who put all things in subjection under him, that God may be all in all. 1 Corinthians 15:20-28

Eating Dogs and Talking Dogs

Last weekend we discovered a nice-looking restaurant near our apartment complex that serves man's best friend. I wouldn't have known that it was a dog restaurant, but I have a smart wife who can read Chinese hieroglyphics. I used to have a reputation of chomping down on some interesting things such as entire fish, the reproductive organs of different animals, and various raw meats (including dog), but I do have my limits. Although it's certainly permissible to eat meat (e.g., Matthew 3:4, Matthew 14:17-20, Romans 14:1-3), I take serious issue with eating endangered animals or animals that are still alive. That's pretty twisted. I do believe there will be a day when I'll be eating meat substitutes with enhanced taste buds (e.g., Mark 14:25, Revelation 22:1-2), and my meals will be far greater than any beef jerky, bacon wrapped shrimp, and Buffalo wings I have consumed. Perhaps I'll even enjoy these meals with talking dogs. Chew on that one.

So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31

What Mistakes Did I Make As A Middle School Principal?

As I finish my fourth and final year as a middle school principal (at least for the near future), I've been pondering how God has used me and what I could have done better. If I had a do-over, these are three things I would do differently:

1. Not Respond To Emails So Quickly - If you wait to answer emails, you can often provide better answers or an answer may not even be needed because the matter gets resolved.

2. Not Accept So Many Unscheduled Meetings - Telling a person that you don't have a minute and scheduling a meeting with that person can enable you to have a better meeting and be more productive.

3. Not Place Work Responsibilities Ahead of Family Time - Who is more important: your colleagues or your family? Too often we bring our work to home when in many cases it needs to stay at work. Don't blur the lines.

I made a ton more mistakes than what I mentioned above, and I certainly continue to mess up, but I'm extremely thankful to work in a great community of believers and to have such a patient and gracious family. More importantly, I'm thankful for the merciful Father who never gives up on me, the Spirit who works in me, and for the Son who said, "It is finished."

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Is War Ever Justifiable?

John Adams, the second president of the United States, said, "I must study politics and war that my sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy." Do you believe war is ever justifiable? Explain. This was a question we challenged our 115 middle school students with recently, and three groups said war is always unjustifiable, one group said war can be justifiable, and one group gave the pros and cons to both sides. I can understand why the majority of young people would think war could never be justified.

I'm a certified U.S. history teacher who has visited the Independence Hall of Koreathe Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museumthe Nanjing Massacre Memorial Museum, and the War Remnants Museum (Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam) so you could say I've educated myself a little about the atrocities of war. To say war can be ugly and horrible is quite the understatement. We are an absolutely sick bunch, but unfortunately, there are times when wars should take place.

I am all for being peacemakers (Matthew 5:9) and loving our enemies (Matthew 5:44); however, I'm not going to simply pray for someone who breaks into my home. I'm definitely going to pray, but I'm also going to make war because I have a duty to protect my family. Wickamania will be unleashed, and it ain't gonna be pretty. We have a duty to forcefully protect human life against those who forcefully attempt to harm human life. To take a pacifist route would most likely result in more violence and harm being done. If pacifism was biblical, we should not only get rid of the military but police officers. Can we say absolute chaos?

The bottom line is the world is filled with sinful people, and sometimes the only way to stop sinful people from killing others is to go to war (e.g., American slave owners, Hitler). God is clearly not against every war. There are numerous Bible verses showing that the sovereign LORD of hosts (armies) is not a pacifist (e.g., Deuteronomy 20:16-17, 1 Samuel 15:18, Ecclesiastes 3:8). When Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace, returns, he will make war (Revelation 19:11-21). We should be constantly praying for wisdom and peace, but we must understand that there will always be conflict until we see the New Heavens and New Earth. Come, Lord Jesus. Come.

God is Not Dead