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Pastor Chris' Blog

Heaven is for real because the Bible ALREADY Told Me So!

Chris Woodard

For my blog post this week, I had several thoughts as to what I wanted to write about. Although I had several ideas, my proposed topic was to write my thoughts about that latest biblical thriller that just hit theaters entitled: Heaven is for Real. For those who know me best, you already know that I have never had any confidence that Hollywood could generate biblically-based films that resemble anything accurate to the Word; and an even worse job at producing a movie with a biblical theme that comes from a book that is exceptionally non-biblical.

   So rather than giving you another opinion about the concerns I have over this movie and book of the same title, I thought I would refer you to a helpful link to a book review written when the book, Heaven is for Real first came out: http://www.challies.com/book-reviews/heaven-is-for-real The point to be made for this blog post is that as Christians, we are to be careful discerners of anything that is related to our spiritual well-being and especially that which is supposedly a reflection of biblical truth.

  Consider these verses: “Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.” (Acts 17:11, ESV) “But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good; abstain from every form of evil.” (1 Thessalonians 5:21-22, ESV) and “Do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” (1 John 4:1, ESV)

   The most important principle for a Christian to understand about discernment is that it is directly proportional to the knowledge you have of the Word of God. The less you know, the more you will believe, even if it is dangerous. As you finish reading my thoughts and the article to which I referred to earlier, ask yourself, “do I adequately know enough of the Word of God to be a discerning Christian?” If you answered yes, yet love Heaven Is for Real, by all means, please rethink your answer. Oh, and that also applies to the “Blood Moon” prophecy garbage that is out there as well. 

The Heart of a Secretariat

Chris Woodard

   His name was Secretariat. He was an incredible horse. He prevailed in many races, including the coveted Triple Crown. He won the1973 Belmont Stakes by an unprecedented 31 lengths, setting an unbeatable record in the process (see photo).

  When I lived in Nashville, Tennessee back in the 90's, I once worked at a horse ranch called Far Side Farms, a ranch that raised and trained Thoroughbreds for steeplechase racing. When I was hired, the farm owners taught me many things relative the care and preparation of horses before, during, and after a race. One of the things they shared is that normal Thoroughbreds typically slow down after running a quarter-mile. Secretariat, however, was not your normal Thoroughbred. Secretariat actually ran faster with each succeeding fraction after the first quarter-mile.

   Trainers were bewildered. How could a horse run so fast? The answer came only after the death of Secretariat. When he was autopsied, Secretariat’s heart was found to be larger than the average horse’s. Not just slightly larger, but massively larger. The average Thoroughbred’s heart weighs 8.5 pounds. Secretariat’s weighed 22.

   In 1999, Secretariat was honored as the 35th greatest athlete of the Twentieth Century by ESPN’s SportsCentury, a program profiling the top athletes of the last century. Secretariat was the only animal to make the list. What made him so special? His heart.

   As a follower of Christ, so much of our obedience is directly tied to the attitude of our hearts. Jesus commanded us to love Him with all of our hearts. (Matthew 22:37). Everything that our heart ponders upon must honor God. (Psalm 19:14) Our hearts are always in the same location as our treasures, (Matthew 6:21) and it is from our hearts that we speak every single word we say. (Matthew 12:34).

   No wonder then, when Paul told us that as disciples of Christ, he dwells within our hearts (Ephesians 3:17) that we ought also to guard our hearts as well. (Philippians 4:7). Your heart drives your love for God and your work for Him. So, where is your heart? What does your heart ponder? What kinds of words does your heart send to your mouth to speak?  Perhaps this simple prayer can help:

   O Lord Jesus, so fill me with the knowledge of Thee that my small heart becomes Thy big heart, so that when my life’s history is written, whoever reads it will not think of me as a self-made man, but as the handiwork of God, in whom His grace and love are magnified.[i]

 

Pastor Chris

 

[i] Credit to Dr. David Alan Black, Dr. M.O. Owens, Jr. Chair of New Testament Studies and professor of New Testament and Greek at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary for portions of this blog entry.

Arizona Bill 1062

Chris Woodard

            I have been very delighted to see our recent updates to our online presence. Our website looks fantastic and our ability to use social media platforms to reach the world for Christ is truly a blessing. In addition to what we already have in place, I would like to add to our online presence by offering my thoughts about life and ministry through my new blog hosted here at our website, fbcboulougne.org. I freely admit that I have never blogged before, so please bear with me as I adjust to writing out my thoughts. Although my goal is to write about a variety of issues, my heart is burdened to write about a recent matter that has been in the news: Arizona Bill 1062.

            The bill, as presented before the Arizona House of Legislature, would basically give individual citizens the right to refuse service on the grounds of religious beliefs.[1]  However, the news media outlets seemed to focus only on the homosexual agenda as the exclusive target of this particular bill. Since I was not a part of any creation of this bill (and I doubt that you were as well), I can only comment on the submitted bill. I have read both the introduced version as well as the Senate Engrossed version. Not once did I come across the words “gay” or “homosexual” as the primary targets of this proposed legislation. As a matter of fact, those words are not mentioned once in either version of the once proposed bills.

            While I am not writing a response to the bill itself, I would rather focus on what I believe to be a greater theological issue at stake: the great ease at which the homosexual agenda is the first example of immorality without any mentioning of other sins. For many homosexuality is an issue...the only issue. For me, however, it is not. Why do you ask? Because the Bible is quite clear about what sin is. While the scriptures describe homosexuality as a sin (Romans 1:26-27),[2] other scriptures seem to widen the net. Consider these texts:

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? 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. (1 Corinthians 6:9-10, ESV) and, 

Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. (Galatians 5:19-21, ESV) and,

For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. (Ephesians 5:5, ESV)

            I see a trend emerging; don’t you? There is a lot of stuff that God will not tolerate and will never permit into the Kingdom of God. The “stuff” is not just the sin, but the one who sins; and the scriptures tell us that there is a lot that qualifies as “sin.” In other words, while the arenas of politics and pulpits banter about the homosexual agenda, I wonder how many of us have ever considered our struggles with greed, drunkenness, deception, jealousy, anger and all of the other issues mentioned in the above texts? Have we not considered the fact that God will not allow any sin or sinner into Heaven without first having been regenerated by the blood of Christ?

          The issue at stake, so far as I believe the scriptures are concerned, is that we should be more concerned about all sin and the fact that God will not allow any of it into His eternal Kingdom. When we get selective about the sins we attack, we can easily slip into a mindset that if a person is not committing the “really bad” sins, then they will be ok. This, of course, is a total lie. May our prayer Luke 18:13: “But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’” And He will.

 

[1] This link will take you to the actual version introduced to legislation: http://www.azleg.gov//Format Document.asp?inDoc=/legtext/51leg/2r/bills/sb1062p.htm&Session_ID=112

[2] I chose to include only one biblical reference because of my conviction that no sin must have to meet a minimum number of references to be considered sinful. Once is enough for me.