Don’t Believe Everything You See

I’m seeing quite a bit of Christian friendly video in the theaters and on the television set. I should probably put that term in quotes. I’ 

I’m somewhat skeptical to how “Christian friendly” the network TV shows are as well as the films being released. The History Channel series “The Bible” was deemed a success and it has spawned an NBC series, “A.D. … The Bible Continues”. Mainstream films are meeting with success. “The Passion of the Christ”, while meting with controversy was still a huge success. “Noah” was very controversial, but was well attended. Both of these films were based on The Bible and tradition. Protestants may have had issues with “The Passion”, Catholics did not. “Noah” was a different story. Christians were concerned that the film was not true to scripture and many boycotted the film. The producers stated a disclaimer to the effect that they took artistic license. Since most religions originating in the Middle East had a world wide flood and these writer borrowed from many of them, I realized it was simply another take on the story of the Flood and took it at face value. 

These films, along with classics like “The Ten Commandments” and “The Greatest Story Ever Told” are film recreations of wonderful narratives. But they are retellings, paraphrases, a writer’s interpretation. They are NOT Scripture and we must not allow them to be perceived as so. I know many films and TV shows are true to the chronology and events of scripture, but there is a certain amount of artistic license in the writing.  That, I believe, is the danger of Some of these films. While they are Biblically based, they are not Scripture. They are interpretations of scripture. When we get down to it, our translations we read are actually interpretations of the original texts. But then, that is another essay.

The danger is that ther are folks who will think it happened exactly like they saw it in the video. While “The Passion” was the most physically realistic portrayal of the trial and crucifixion of Jesus, I still believe it had a way to go to show us how horrible it actually was. I believe the gospel writers did the best they could to describe the indescribable. “Noah” had a disclaimer, but I have to agree with some of the architects of ObamaCare… Never overestimate the intelligence of the general public. In other words, many people paid no attention to that disclaimer and came away thinking that’s how it happened. That may be stretching things, but I am sure folks think that way about other films.

They are good for discussion starters and an overview, but they should be viewed in light of scripture, not instead of scripture. Remember… The book is better. 

Read your Bible, it makes Hoss Sense.

Advertisements

What? Me retire?i

When I retired in 2002, I thought I was finished with the classroom. To be honest, I felt The LORD was moving me into full time ministry. I told myself that I would never go back to the classroom. … Never say “never”.

Well, I got a call from a principal in August of 2002. I was offered a job in Muhlenberg County. John Prine wrote that paradise had been hauled away by Mr. Peabody’s coal train, but the school was a beautiful building. There I was, back in the classroom. Since the school and students were new to me, I had no reputation to precede me. I remembered how difficult it was to gain are putative in the classroom, but how I loved it!

It’s funny, that God would allow me to retire and then lead me back into the same profession He let me leave. While I did accept a part time pastorate in 2003, I have been in the classroom in some form each school year since I “retired.” God has also provided opportunities to proclaim His WORD and prophesy (tell forth, not foretell). But I’ve learned that the classroom is my passion and my gift. Even when, I’m preaching, I’m teaching. I’ve noticed that my sermons are more instructional than evangelical. There is a reason for that. Let’s face the truth… “Truth” … That’s a novel idea. People who attend regular services today believe they are Christians, whether they practice the faith all seven days of the week or not.
Now it seems that the Sunday morning (and evening) preacher is talking to “Christians”. These “Christians” are a diverse group. Some are completely sold out to the LORD. They are what one dear friend calls “True Christians”” Some don’t quite have a handle on what Christianity is all about, buy they try. Even when there are picking and choosing what parts of the Bible they want to believe, they try. Others will do what they need to do to look the part… They will even do that on Saturday night (depending on who is watching).  Then there are the folks who think church membership and making their semiannual pilgrimage (Easter & Christmas) is enough. What am isaying… Some don’t even make the pilgrimages. Pseudo membership is enough.  There is a problem here. When you speak to a “Christian”, no matter what type, that person believes himself to be “safe from the fires of hell”.
That is why I’m not an evangelical teacher/preacher. You cannot evangelize a person who believes he does not need evangelizing. But one can teach what a Christian should look like and how a Christian should behave. Besides, the closer we get to God, the closer we get to each other. In teaching personal growth and trying to Disciple “Christians” one is actually evangelizing those who THINK they are saved and at the same time teaching Those who KNOW they are saved how the should be focused on God. Plus, it helps those who are sold out to Jesus affirm their faith.

You see, when a “Christian” finally realizes the reason he is not getting closer to God is that he doesn’t KNOW God, he has come to the realization that he isn’t what he thought he was. Most of the time the Holy Spirit will take over. Others need a nudge from a friend. That’s why I like James so much. He makes no bones about it. “You say you believe in God? Great! So do the demons and then tremble in fear!” You know… Man is the only Beijing ignernt enough to actually defy God. Even the demons submit to his commands. Old Ugly can’t touch you unless God says its OK. He must submit.

There is so much to teach and so many to teach it to, I reckon I’ll keep teaching. I am Realizing that God has provided me with a gift as well as several venues and teaching tools. A person would be a fool not to utilize that which God has provided for him/her.

Besides who would you rather be closer to… Your Creator… Or Old Ugly?

What have I gotten myself into???

Most of you have heard of Camp Joy Baptist Assembly in Brownsville, Ky. For many seasons between 1990 & 2010, I spent time on that campground. I was Camp pastor, dorm dad, camp clown (makeup included) or whatever else Director Stan Tillman and his wife, Karen, needed from me. Stan and Karen retired in December 2014 and that left the camp without a director. Camp Joy is owned by 8 Baptist Associations in South Central Kentucky and is governed by a board of directors from these associations.  These directors have the task of finding a new Camo Manager/Director. In the meantime, they realized they needed an interim/camp season director. I was approached. To be honest, I was flattered, but I live in Hopkinsville, 100 miles away. No way was I making that drive each day. After prayer and a discussion with my wife, I accepted the position. I will spend the week in Brownsville and drive home on the weekend. Or so I thought…. I forgot about Kiddie Camp, the overnighter for primary aged little ones and their parents. I also forgot about other church groups utilizing the camp on weekends. Then I realized that when I did go home, I was leaving the camp in the hands of college students. Granted, these are Christian and mature students but in one sense, they are still kids. I thank the LORD that there is an assistant director. HE does provide a way. I will still spend the week in Brownsville, but I will go home sometime between Thursday night and Saturday afternoon, only to return each Sunday after church. What have I let my friends talk me in to? I do look forward to this ministry opportunity. I do covet your prayers. I feel God. Has made me responsible for my assistant, Ten young camp staffers and the campers we will Be serving. Pray for us. Pray for the campers and the men who will be serving as camp pastor. Pray for my wife. But all in all, I do believe God is going to work a mighty work in all our lives. I will be posting about camp on this blog.

We are ALL ministers

For some reason, we get the idea that the ministry of the church is the pastor’s or the deacon’s job. If you are a Christian, the job of ministry belongs to you. Yes, pastors and church leaders do lead in certain aspects of ministry, but so many of us are under the notion that visiting and. Caring for the sick of the church is the Pastor’s responsibility. I wonder who the job falls on when the Pastor is indisposed or the church is without one…. The Deacons? Aren’t they busy with running the church? Oh, the can. Pitch I and take up the slack left by the absence of the Pastor while. The congregation sits on their Blessed Assurances, critiquing their leaders for not doing enough. I remember one trustee, I’ll call him Tom, telling me that “someone” should be doing this or that. One day, I asked him if he was “someone” or a “nobody.” He took the hint and soon, as he saw a need inthechurch, he was either recruiting someone to help fill the need or he was doing it himself.
That is what ministry is… Seeing what needs to be done and then working to fill that need.
The pastor’s job is to lead and preach God’s message to the people. It is his place to encourage the congregation and teach them what, and how to do ministry. Granted, one of the best ways to lead is to lead by example, but some of use tend to think that we could never rise to the example put before us. I’ve said many times that when God puts a task before us, He also gives us the skillsets we will need to complete that task. The LORD has never wanted our ability. He wants our availability.
Last night’s bible study was from Acts 6. It seemed that there was some problem about certain folks being left out of the receiving end of the food ministry. The eleven knew their main focus was prayer and teaching the Word. So they told the congregation to choose seven to oversee this matter. These became known as the first Deacons.
Ministry leaders come in all shapes and sizes. Some are chosen by the people, but all are most definitely chosen by God. You are chosen. I may not be sure as to what area of ministry God has equipped you, but I do know He has chosen you. Find your niche and slip in. Don’t wait for someone to ask you, just do it!

The Devil Made Me Do It

I know. I haven’t made a post since April. I could blame a number of things, but I also know that any victory Old Ugly has over me is because I let him have it.
“The Devil made me do it,” is not much of an excuse. God has given each of us a free will. We decide what we will do and to whom we will listen. To be honest, I’ve been lazy and made excuses the past five months. I’d tell myself, ” Steve, you need to put a post up on HossSense.” Then I would procrastinate, wait till tomorrow, but tomorrow has been slow getting here. I’ve not had my heart right with My fellow man and therefore I haven’t been right with God.
The saying goes, “I may not control the wind, but I can adjust the sail.” Yep, God has granted Old Ugly permission to blow some counterproductive winds in my direction. There is nothing I can do about that, but I could have made adjustments and resisted. Or I could still trim the sails ( my attitude) and steer my lifeship in the proper direction. I did neither. I let the “storm” (it was really barely anything worth noticing) determine my outlook and actions. Once I submitted to God and resisted Old Ugly, I started finding peace and my place in the church and my life again.
That’s the problem with most of us. We let the evil one win when we give in to his temptations. Remember, “ALL things work together for good for them who love the LORD and are called according to His purpose.”
Whatever happens, no matter how the wind blows, God is there. He will help you trim the sail and weather the storm, but you must look to Him and trust Him.
The Devil can’t make us do anything. He wins, because we let him.

WHOMP! There it is!

bigbang

 

WHOMP! There it is!

March 17, 2014

I saw this story on Fox News. I thought it interesting that they found “Proof” of the big bang. I’ve been scratching my head over this concept since I first read of it way back in the early 1970s. OK, so there was a big bang. So what? Someone had to light the fuse. I’ve had no problem with that theory of the origin of the universe. In fact, there can be only one explanation … Intelligent Design. So science has done what it is designed to do: make observations, draw conclusions and provide explanations and proof of how things work.

 

Check out what the article said… Astronomers have discovered what they believe is the first direct evidence of the astonishing expansion of the universe in the instant following the Big Bang (In the beginning) — the scientific explanation for the birth of the universe some 13.8 billion years ago. (God created the heavens and the earth)

 

Scientists believe that the universe exploded from a tiny speck and hurled itself out in all directions in the fraction of a second that followed, roughly one trillionth of a trillionth of a trillionth of a second, after the universe’s birth. Matter ultimately coalesced hundreds of millions of years later into planets, stars, and ultimately us. (And the earth was without form and void. And darkness was upon the surface of the deep. And the Spirit of God hovered above the waters)

 

And like ripples from a ball kicked into a pond, that Big Bang-fueled expansion caused ripples in the ancient light from that event, light which remains imprinted in the skies in a leftover glow called the cosmic microwave background. (And God said, “Let there be light!” And there was light.)

 

Scientists still don’t know who kicked the ball. (But we do. In fact we are on a first name basis with Him.) You can read the entire article at the following page: http://www.foxnews.com/science/2014/03/17/major-discovery-smoking-gun-for-big-bang-expansion-found/

 

I don’t see the problem here, There may be some debate about the time factor, but since we are dealing with an Infinite Creator, what’s 6000 or even 13.8 billion years when compared to eternity?

 

Think about it… The universe is created, nothing has any form and suddenly we have light. This all took place in a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of a second. May have been quick but it still happened in that order… Creation, formless, light. Sound familiar? Have a quick look at the scripture again … “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters.   Then God said, ‘Let there be light’; and there was light.” (Genesis 1:1-3 NASB)

 

I do not understand how an intelligent person can look into the heavens and say it was all by accident. Now we may disagree with the nature of the designer, but there was a designer.

 

 

 

All things are possible through Christ Jesus

 

GLORY!

 

Steve (Hoss)

 

Forward… March!

March 13, 2014

 

“If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

The Christian lifestyle is one of constant growth. We are constantly moving forward in God’s word. We are constantly moving forward in our prayer life, our knowledge, our wisdom, our faith, our works…

So many people have the belief that once we are baptized, we have done what we need to do to be a Christian. While that may be true, but if a person has no desire to grow and get closer to God, it causes one to wonder if their heart was really in the decision to be saved.

Jowl Hemphill penned what has become a neat children’s song, but All of us would do well to remember its words…

 

CHORUS:  He’s still working on me to make me what I ought to be.


It took Him just a week to make the moon and stars,

The sun and the earth and Jupiter and Mars.

How loving and patient He must be,

He’s still working on me.

There really ought to be a sign upon the heart,

Don’t judge her yet, there’s an unfinished part.

But I’ll be perfect just according to His plan

Fashioned by the Master’s loving hands.

CHORUS:

In the mirror of His Word reflections that I see

Make me wonder why He never gave up on me.

He loves me as I am and helps me when I pray

Remember He’s the Potter, I’m the clay.

CHORUS:

 

We are in a constant pattern of growth. We will never be complete in this life. It is when we see Him face to face that we will be made complete and then we will know all there is to know.

“OK, so I will not know it all in this lifetime, so why even try?”

Wow! What a cop-out, but that’s what a vast majority of Christians think, even if they don’t verbalize it. I’m not passing judgment here but if a person lacks a desire to grow and move forward in the LORD, it does cause one to question that person’s faith. If you are not involved in a Bible study group, get involved with one, if all you can do is find a Sunday School class, so be it. At least you will be moving in the right direction. The more you do for our LORD, the more blessed you will be.

You may end up being tired, but you will come closer to finding that peace that passes all understanding. I do find something interesting… When I am working for Jesus, I don’t tire as easy and there are times I feel refreshed. When we are doing God’s work, He gives us what we need. One thing for sure, I don’t think any of us want to end up like the Church at Laodicea, lukewarm. The LORD told that Church, “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot.  So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth.” (Rev 3:15-16)

That is a sad commentary on a church. God wants nothing to do with those people. A lukewarm “Christian” is not moving in any direction. Such a person has lost all desire to grow. That is a sad state to be in. Many people in such a state have no idea of the danger to their immortal souls. Let me pose a question… If a professing Christian has no desire to grow in Christ, is that person a Christian?

Saying, “I need to get closer to God and study more.” is not doing it. That is like a person having a Heart attack saying, “I need to go to the E. R.” but staying in bed. That person is going to have some serious problems very soon. Recognizing a need is a good thing, but if no action is taken, for all the good it’s doing, a person may as well never recognized that need.

We grow in grace at different rates, depending on our efforts. These efforts are measured in our study of the Word and prayer. None of us are perfect and we all have room for growth.

In His Love

Steve (Hoss)

 

 

Make a Joyful Noise

Make a Joyful Noise

Feb 27, 2014

Most of you know that I’m a retar … retired educator. Now, after 37 years in the classroom, I’m a substitute teacher. Maybe I didn’t make an error in that first sentence. Anyway, I’m teaching a music class today, choral music. My wife and daughter got a real kick out of that. There is a reason I’m not in the church choir. My singing sounds like a sick water buffalo. But I argue, “The Psalmist said to make a Joyful noise before the LORD”

The standard reply … “Hoss, trust us, your singing is definitely sorrowful.” I think the dogs howl and cats screech before I open my mouth to sing. I sometimes get upset because of my inability to make music for others, but I’ve learned to deal with and I do find solace in the fact that someday I will be able to sing with a beautiful and harmonious bass voice. Even if it isn’t that good, no one will care.

When we get to Heaven, we will be singing God’s praises. We will all be in the choir and it will sound great!

Actually, when we sing praise to God here on earth, it matters not how we sound to our fellow man, because we aren’t singing to each other. We are singing to God Almighty. Granted, we want to give a good performance, but when we give our best, we are giving a good performance. When we sing for our LORD, He always applauds. He gives a standing ovation for us. WOW! A standing ovation from the Holy Trinity!

That is the main reason I will not applaud any performance in a worship service. The performance was for our LORD, not for me. I may get to enjoy it and I will try to tell that person how I enjoyed his/her work and dedication, but I don’t want to rob them of any recognition they may receive from Him. That may sound cold, but that’s just me. Besides, not receiving accolades keeps me humble and makes me strive to do better.

While we all need an occasional pat on the back from others, lets us remember that what we do, we don’t do for that pat on the back, we do it for God. It’s called “Laying up treasures in Heaven.” That is including our worship activities and our attitudes. When each individual is worshiping God in his/her own way (A way that does not take away from others), it is a wonderful sight. After all, that’s what we will be doing in Heaven.

Remember, when our focus is on the LORD, what anyone else is doing is irrelevant.

IHS

Steve (Hoss)

Thanksgiving… Prelude to Advent

Be Thankful and Look Ahead…

11-23-13

“We ought to give thanks for all fortune: if it is good, because it is good; if bad, because it works in us patience, humility, contempt of this world and the hope of our eternal country.” ~ C. S. Lewis

It’s the time of the year to be thankful. Isn’t it great that we manage to compartmentalize our emotions and feeling into certain times of the year? I’m amazed that someone actually realized the need to be thankful for the blessings we receive in life and set aside a day just for that purpose. Our lives are so filled with other concerns (Jobs, family, church, etc.) that we just don’t have the time to feel thankful for what we do have (or don’t have).

And we have such preparations to prepare to be thankful. If we are hosting the day, someone will have to plan the menu, go to the grocery and prepare a meal. Then if we are hosting relatives and friends who are coming from a far distance, we need to prepare guest accommodations. Should we be traveling, there is packing and making arrangements for our homes to be secure and make travel plans. Wow! So much to do, so little time.

And think about it. As soon as we finish being thankful, we will start preparing for Advent. You know, the celebration of the coming of the Savior. Lessee, there’s the four Sundays of Advent and then Christmas day. More cooking, guest accommodations, travel, oh and the gifts, we need a head start on them. But we are so grateful to the retailers there. They are giving up their time to be thankful so they can be open on Thanksgiving day to help the shoppers get a day ahead on the shopping rush.

We are so fortunate to have our lives so organized in this way. No pressures, we have time to do what we need to do and we can be happy and feel good about our fellow man, be thankful, Peace on earth, good will toward all men, and all that sweet talk and thoughts. Yes, Life is grand.

You know I find it hard to believe that people actually think this way. We should live every day, as it was a day of Thanksgiving. Every day we should be grateful that God sent His Son. On every day we should rejoice that He is risen! Every day should be a new beginning!

Have we lost our senses? Don’t answer that because we would be lying to ourselves and to God. While holidays are a time for family and reflection, shouldn’t every day be that time? When we come to the meeting house to worship, there should be that joy of seeing a loved friend or family member we haven’t seen since the last time we were here together.

I have been truly blessed to see my friends and hear their voices after being home so long recovering from knee surgery. I am thankful for what God has done in my life and in the lives of my friends. Just seeing a smile and shaking a hand and hearing a kind word is something to treasure.

C. H. Spurgeon once remarked, “It is not how much we have, but how much we enjoy, that makes happiness.” I had forgotten how good it felt to stand and walk without pain. I don’t think I will ever take that for granted again.

Lets be thankful and look to God, our maker and Savior. Lets do that daily, not just on certain days of the year. The true gift of God is Love. It is meant to be shared.

I thank God for my church and the opportunity to serve in whatever way He lets me. It may not be in the same manner I’ve served elsewhere, but then I realize, I’m not serving man, I’m serving God. Much of that service involves loving my fellow man. May I let His love shine as we greet one another. May we all let His love shine.

In His Service

Steve (Hoss)

 

I Pledge…

A past look into the past…

11-20-13

“I pledge allegiance to the Bible, God’s Holy Word. I will make it lamp unto my feet, a light unto my path, and I will hide its words in my heart that I might not sin against God.”

I have recited that pledge, along with Pledges to the American and Christian flags, each year at Vacation Bible School.  As I reflect on these words, I pause to wonder… How serious do we take this pledge? Do we really believe the Bible is God’s Holy Word? If so, then we also must believe it’s inspired… God breathed.

There are Bible scholars that will tell us that the first eleven chapters of Genesis is a myth, a “fairy tale”. One dear friend once told me that he believed it was simply a story, but there were certain truths God wanted us to know. As I spoke with him I realized that he was still telling me that the scripture was inspired and that he and I were experiencing a difference of interpretation.

There is a similar difference between “Day-Age” creationists and “Young Earth” creationists. The “Day-Agers” say that a day in Genesis 1 is an indeterminate amount of time and the earth is billions of years old. The “Young Earthers” maintain that a day refers to 24 hours and that the Earth is only six thousand years old. Then there are ideas located somewhere between these two extremes. I have my ideas, but to tell the truth, I wont be surprised either way at what God or His angels tell me when I reach eternity.

You see I know one thing for certain… Every word in that book is truth. Now I may not fully understand that truth to its fullest, but someday I will and that’s good enough for me. Look at what Paul wrote the church at Corinth. I Cor 13: 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part; 10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away. … 12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known. At the moment, we don’t know everything. God lets us know what we need to know and what we need to know is the way to salvation and eternal life. The day will come when we know fully. That will be when The Creator says we are ready, and not before then. It is enough to know that God don’t lie.

I have discovered two amazing truths… The less I read the Bible, the less I want to read… but the more I read, the hungrier I get for His Word and the more I read, the more I remember.

These words have life, and life abundantly. I really do not understand how a person can read any portion of this book and not be changed. Yes, I know the “Begats” can be a challenge, but there is some interesting information contained in those genealogies.

Check this out… Methuselah died before his father. The flood occurred the same year that Methuselah and His son, Lamech, died. Interesting…

I have found that every time I read a scripture, I gain a new understanding of God. It matters now how many times I’ve read it before. You cannot read the Bible enough. Just when you think you know it all, God shows you some hidden gem in an obscure passage. Reading the Bible goes hand in hand with prayer. When we read, God talks to us. When we pray, we talk to God. Conversation is good and reading with a prayerful mindset, puts in tune with the Creator.

He died for me; I’ll live for Him

Steve (Hoss)