Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Better than Broken

The popular Christian group Casting Crowns has recently released a song titled Broken Together. I really like the song, but at the same time it leaves me a little disappointed.

I am a big Casting Crowns fan, although they do have a tendency to come across as pretty negative from time to time. Broken Together is a beautiful song, both vocally and musically. The song is written to husbands and wives who entered marriage expecting a fairy tale, only to find out that their partner isn’t as perfect as the one in the chick flick.

The chorus says, “Maybe you and I were never meant to be complete.
Could we just be broken together?
If you could bring your shattered dreams and I’ll bring mine
Could healing still be spoken and save us?
The only way to last forever is broken together.”

I agree with the song’s premise that marriage isn’t always a fairy tale because it unites two imperfect people, so imperfection remains the result. We need to be honest about our own shortcomings and not just focus on our spouse.

I realize that embracing brokenness has become one of the battle cries of the emerging church—“We are all just beautiful broken messes!” But what is really beautiful is marriage itself, the God-ordained joining of two people in holy matrimony, symbolic of the covenant between Yahweh and mankind.

The problem of settling for broken together (the only way to last forever?) and celebrating brokenness in general is just that—it is settling. Jesus didn’t die on the cross so that we could embrace brokenness, but new, abundant life in Him (John 10:10). If anything is broken, it is the chains of sin and the old way of life that died at our conversion.

I will not boast in brokenness, but in being a blood-bought, set apart saint viewed as righteous in the eyes of my Father. This is not bragging in myself, but only in the work of Christ, who exchanged my sin (brokenness) for His righteousness (1 Corinthians 1:30-31).

Paul felt the same way. Writing to the Corinthian Christians who had once practiced the vilest of immorality, the Apostle said:

“Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”

Paul didn’t celebrate their brokenness and say, “God understands that no one is perfect. You are all just broken people, so do your best, be broken together, and you can still go to heaven.”

Paul said they were washed, sanctified, and redeemed. Doesn’t that sound better than broken? I can hear the critics screaming about self-righteousness, but Paul didn’t give them the credit; the change was made by “the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” To Him be the glory!

We serve a God who opened the eyes of the blind, healed the sick, raised the dead, and has the power to forgive sins. Can’t He do better than broken?

The only was to last forever is being together, united with Christ in salvation. That is certainly better than broken.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Answering God's Call: The Mission of Moses

God called Moses at the burning bush, and Moses faithfully answered that call for the rest of his life.

This 15-part study covers the book of Exodus, and each chapter includes discussion questions. Perfect for small groups, Bible studies, or personal edification, Answering God's Call takes the reader from Egypt to Sinai while following the Mission of Moses.

Answering God's Call begins in Egypt with the Hebrews in slavery, then chronicles Moses as a baby, a fugitive, a shepherd, and finally, a deliverer.

You can order it here.

Just like with What Now?, 100% of the book sales go towards Philippi Baptist Church's debt retirement. For more information on book proceeds from Tommy Mann Ministries, read this post.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Think Harder (Google Image Series)

Doesn't the ability to think prove the existence of God?

If you want to think hard, try thinking about thinking. How do you think? The scientific community has no generally accepted idea as to what thinking is and how thoughts are created.

If you believe, then, that this mind-boggling idea called thinking is the result of some random chance luckiness, then you can conclude there is no God.

But if you get the hunch that there just might be some intelligent design involved, then grab a cookie and admit there is a God.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Friday-Sunday: Three Days?

Each year around Easter I hear people ask the same question: How was Jesus dead for three days? After all, Friday night to Sunday morning hardly constitutes three days. This has led to some confusion, causing some to speculate that Jesus either died earlier in the week, or that Scripture got the event wrong.

First of all, we need to stress that the Bible teaches the Resurrection would occur on the third day, not in three days. Who decided that Jesus needed to be in the tomb for a minimum of 72 hours in order for Scripture to be accurate? 

Consider Matthew 16:21, which predicted Jesus would, “be killed and be raised the third day.” Also consider that Matthew 17:23, 20:19, 27:64, Mark 9:31, 10:34, Luke 9:22, 18:33, 24:7, 24:21, 24:46, Acts 10:40, and 1 Corinthians 15:4 all teach the Resurrection on the third day.

This is easy to reconcile. Jesus died and was buried on Friday before sundown, marking the first day—not 24 hours, but the first day. Saturday was the second day, and Sunday morning, although early, was the third day.

Jesus could not have died earlier in the week because Scripture teaches that He died on Passover and rose on First Fruits. These days were marked in Leviticus as being a Saturday and Sunday, and since no work was to be done on the Sabbath, the Passover lamb was killed on Friday before sundown. Jesus, as the Lamb of God, was killed on Friday at the exact time the priest was killing the Passover Lamb, and He rose early Sunday morning at the time the priest would present the First Fruits offering.

The meal that Jesus ate in the Upper Room was the Passover Seder. Had He died earlier in the week He would not have been able to eat this meal. Jesus and the disciples ate “the Last Supper” on Thursday, which was the traditional time to eat the meal. This is why many observe Maundy Thursday prior to Easter.

It is dangerous to over-Westernize our understanding of Scripture. 1st Century Jews were not bound by our Gregorian calendar or our observance of midnight-midnight to mark days. The culture in which Jesus lived observed days as being loosely defined as sundown to sundown. Sundown on Thursday began a new day (Friday), and this is when Jesus ate the Seder (it was very late when He went into the Garden to pray). Through the night and into the morning Jesus was tried, beaten, and condemned; He was crucified on Friday, and gave up the Ghost before sundown. Therefore, Jesus died and was in the tomb on Friday. Sundown Friday to sundown Saturday was the second day, and Saturday night actually began the third day. Therefore, the Resurrection on Sunday morning was well into the third day.

The most important thing to remember is that it is not the number of days Jesus was in the tomb, but the fact that He escaped the tomb, defeating death and hell, to make our salvation possible. Praise God for the empty tomb!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

The High Priest's Garments

Have you ever wondered why the Old Testament contains so many things that seem of little importance today? You know that "all Scripture is important," but why do we need to know the dimensions of the tabernacle and details of the priests' clothes?

Here are a few quick takeaways from specifics of the priestly attire as recorded in the book of Exodus.

Chapter 28 goes into precise detail in laying out the garments for the high priest. An easy takeaway from this is to see that God is a God of order, one who is involved in the details. But there is more to take away than just that.

Verses 5-14 describe the ephod, which was similar to an apron, that contained gold and precious stones. On each shoulder strap of the ephod was to be a gemstone, engraved with the names of six of the tribes of Israel; therefore, the priest would have all twelve tribes “on his shoulders as a memorial.” Since the shoulders are associated with work, the priest would always remember that as he ministered for the Lord, he also worked for the people.

In addition to the ephod, the high priest would also wear the breastplate of judgment. Across this golden plate would be four rows of three gemstones, with each stone bearing a name of the tribes of Israel. This way, the high priest not only carried the tribes on his shoulders, he also had them on his heart. The priest must have love for God’s people, as we should today.

The breastplate had a pocket which contained the Urim and Thummin, which were two stones used for discerning God’s plan. One stone was light and one was dark, representing a “yes” or “no” answer from God. When the priest had to make a judgment (thus, the breastplate of judgment), he reached into his pocket and blindly pulled out one stone to get his answer from God. In God’s sovereignty He guided the high priest’s hand to the correct stone.

We don’t need Urim and Thummin today because we have the Holy Bible and Holy Spirit. An old country preacher once said that when we don’t know what to do, we should grab the Bible and start usin’ and thumbin’ through it, and we will find our answer.

The high priest also wore a turban that bore the inscription HOLINESS TO THE LORD on a golden plate. The priest was set apart (holy) to the work of the Lord, and each time he put on that turban he would be reminded of the manner in which he needed to conduct himself. This reminds believers of the helmet of salvation which covers our minds, and should govern our thoughts and actions. We are set apart to God, so we should live a life of HOLINESS TO THE LORD. 

Family Enrichment Weekend

Below is the Schedule for the Family Enrichment Weekend.
You MUST sign up at the bottom to attend.

Friday April 17 (6:00-9:00)


6:35-8:45—Session 1
                        Brad and Stephanie—Marriage Enrichment
                        Brian and Kerri—Parenting Enrichment
                        Tommy and Alicia—Family Spiritual Enrichment
                        Dale Palmer and Kenny O’Shields—Money Enrichment
            *7:30-7:45 will be a break

Saturday April 18 (9:30-2:30)

9:00-9:25—coffee and refreshments

9:30-11:30—Session 2
Brad and Stephanie—Marriage Enrichment
                        Brian and Kerri—Parenting Enrichment
                        Tommy and Alicia—Family Spiritual Enrichment
                        Dale Palmer and Kenny O’Shields—Money Enrichment
            *10:30-10:45 will be a break


12:20-2:20—Session 3
                        Brad and Stephanie—Marriage Enrichment
                        Brian and Kerri—Parenting Enrichment
                        Tommy and Alicia—Family Spiritual Enrichment
                        Dale Palmer and Kenny O’Shields—Money Enrichment
            *1:20-1:35 will be a break

Childcare will be provided throughout the weekend. More information will be provided soon.

Click here to SIGN UP.

For more information please contact the church office at 427-8726. Return to Philippi's home page.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Wind and Window Flower

One of my favorite poems by Robert Frost is Wind and Window Flower, which goes in part like this:

Lovers, forget your love, and list to the love of these:
She a window flower, and he a winter breeze.

Perchance he half prevailed to win her for the flight,
From the fire-lit looking glass and warm stove-window light.

But the flower leaned aside and thought of naught to say,
And morning found the breeze a hundred miles away.*

Despite being a person who likes to be on stage, I have always struggled in one-on-one conversations. I would rather talk to a thousand people than one person. In high school I often used this poem as motivation to push myself outside of my comfort zone. I never wanted to be like that flower, who, thinking of nothing to say, missed out on what could have been a life-changing relationship.

Today this poem reminds me to share the gospel. If I choose to keep my mouth closed, morning might find that person a hundred miles away.

If the Lord leads you to share your faith with someone—anyone—don’t put it off. We never know if this will be the last opportunity to do so.

*This is 3 of the 7 stanzas