Disturbing Dream Because of Disturbing Religious Trends

I had a vivid dream the other night. I don’t often remember dreams and when I do, I rarely remember details. Until now, there are only two dreams I have had that I remember and one a recurring dream.

In my dream I was walking with a man I knew from the town I ministered at a few years ago, Theo Goodding. Theo was one of the patriarchs of the town at the time. He attended a different church than I ministered too, but I respected him and am pleased to have counted him as one of my friends.

In the dream, Theo and were walking down a country dirt road and talking about the land. He would point out this piece of land and that one and who they had belonged too. A lot of the land had belonged to him. Walking and talking with him I began to emphasis with his distress and pain. He was troubled because he and the others sold the land we were viewing because the generations following them were not interested in the land that they wished to pass on to their heirs.

Two disclaimers here. First, I am not trying imply that Theo Goodding’s heirs rejected to accept what he had to pass on them. I know several of his family and they are believers and I believe faithful followers of Jesus Christ. Second, I don’t put a lot of stock in the idea that every dream has a meaning. That would be inconsistent with the randomness of thought and honestly, we wouldn’t be able to keep up with all our dreams and their meanings. Yet, I do believe some dreams have meaning and I do believe that God uses dreams to help us understand some things and/or gets our attention by means of some dreams.

Here is what I have come to understand. I have read two books, the analysis of 20 years of polling and surveying about religious belief and the washout of a standard of belief and faith in God, Christ, the Bible and the Church, and an editorial about how today’s teens have no moral intuition to  base anything value on.

Book 1: The Vertical Self by Mark Sayers, http://www.amazon.com/Vertical-Self-Biblical-Discover-Obsession/dp/0849920000.  Sayers explains that modern culture directs people to want to be famous (thus, American Idol, that I sarcastically and maliciously call American Idiot, and similar shows, like American’s Top Model and so forth. I really don’t like these type of shows, they disturb my Biblical sense of morality and fairness) and how that is a problem from a Biblical and Christian perspective.

Book 2: Uncompromised Faith by S. Michael Craven, http://www.navpress.com/store/product.aspx?id=9781600063626. This book really disturbed me. Craven documents the how our society and culture has had its moral, religious and values foundation has disappeared and the future of America because of this.

The polls and Surveys were Barna Groups’ research for the past 20 years called the State of the Church Series (6 in all), http://www.barna.org/faith-spirituality/504-barna-examines-trends-in-14-religious-factors-over-20-years-1991-to-2011, in which Barna examines the trends of 14 religious factors for the years 1991-2011. The two biggest elements that hit me is that among the whole American population Church involvement and Bible reading and Bible study is significantly down in almost every category and that each generation is moving away from the beliefs and values that Theo’s generation possessed.

And finally, I read an editorial in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch this morning (9/14/11) that is not religious or spiritual in nature but highlighted how today’s teens have no ability to determine what is moral and what is not. It has disintegrated, http://www.stltoday.com/news/opinion/.

The editorial prompted this post. It is apparent that the values, beliefs, and hopes that people like Theo Goodding, my parents, myself, and so many others is not being received by the next generations. And that will have a negative effect in the church, for faith overall, and will affect the whole world and already is

That dream was emphasizing to me the problem and the need to search for a solution to our culture failing to accept what God wants each person to have and as it is passed on from one generation to the next. In fact, this factor was an issue in Israel’s history. When a generation of Israel had been faithful to God, after a revival of sorts, such as documented a number of times in the book of Judges, that same faith and trust in God eroded more and more with each succeeding generation until there was virtually no one who trusted in God anymore.

That very factor has been growing in our society and it is now evident. I don’t have the practical solution to this issue except to say, I will continue to pray, and to preach Jesus, and be genuine in my faith and witness to Jesus in my life.

I must really leave the other answers up to people with more wisdom and ability and will watch and listen to learn from them in this matter.

May God and his ways return to our culture before it is too late for America and the rest of the world.

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Misusing Scripture

The Bible. Gotta love it. It’s God’s full and revealed message to us. Some even call it God’s love letter. The history of creation, the history of God’s plan and work, the hope of the nations and each individual is presented in the Bible.

The Christian church has been the guardian and protector (by God’s will) and promoter of God’s Word. The Bible is loved and feared. It is read and studied and even ignored.

The most influential book, the largest selling book, the book with the most important and essential message in the history and the lives of humanity is still the most misused and misunderstood writing in the history of mankind. And Christians, followers of Christ who love and adhere to the Bible can misuse Scripture.

I am not trying to be condemning, but we are to “rightly divide the scriptures” (2 Timothy 2:15). It is important to understand the difference and divide between the Old Testament and the New Testament. There are different dispensations of time and many misinterpret scripture because they don’t know or don’t recognized the division (like the situation with the thief on the cross, to be discussed later). They don’t understand context. We were always taught in Bible college “context is king.” It is important to understand Scripture in its context, even the cultural and social contexts of the time when it was written. Understanding the AIM, the Author’s Intended Meaning is critical. What did Paul have in mind when he wrote the book of Romans, or when he wrote 1 Corinthians 5, or John when he described the spiritual battle of the church with the Roman Empire, or Peter, or Isaiah, or Moses and the rest?

Many times we will interpret things in light of our own understandings of things. Why are woman to be silent in the assembly? Why are men the only ones that God says must lead the church as elders and ministers? Why should women submit to their husbands? These things may be cultural or they may be comprehensive to every age and time and culture.

Our understanding of God and truth, of Christ and religion, of relationships with God and with people are critical. Our understanding of eternity and life is crucial. Misunderstanding and misinterpreting God’s word, the Bible can get us into trouble so we had better be careful. Prayer, study, rational thinking, humility, hope, and even guidance by godly people will help us move into the realm of true understanding of Scripture.

Here is one resource from College Press Publishing (http://www.collegepress.com/storefront/node/134) which can help. It’s called  “A Newcomer’s Guide to the Bible.” It can be a starting point for people to begin to understand how the Bible is set up and what it is about. There is also the “Old Testament Books Made Simple” and  “the New Testament Books Made Simple,” and “Bible History Made Simple,” by College Press which take things a step further.

In our discussion in Romans on grace, we are coming to one of those misapplied texts (8:31). Before we continue with Romans we will look at the misuse and hopefully the correct understanding or Romans 8:31 then we will move into other misunderstood and misapplied Scriptures so that we can accurately handle the Word of God.

We love God’s word and we want to be accurate and correct and faithful to God. So care is applied and passion is supplied and understanding is gained and we live by truth and faith.

bloggingthechurch

It’s Been a Couple of Weeks

Man, summer is busy.  Holidays, special events, camps, mowing, mowing, and more mowing and then we lost the use of the internet at home for a while.  I love summer!

Below is a link to an article in Relevant Magazine.  If you are a Christian, you should act on what the article’s writer Lorae French writes.

http://www.relevantmagazine.com/loss-of-innocents/blogs/22167-living-pure-religion

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