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Friday, March 5, 2010

Nobska Lighthouse on Cape Cod
Nobska Lighthouse on Cape Cod
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"Fad Surfing"

"Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into Him who is the Head, that is, Christ" (Ephesians 4:14,15).

College dressI resist fads. Even in High School I was probably considered a bit of a "square" for this, although I departed from this way of thinking when I was preparing my wardrobe for college. Knit plaid bell bottoms for young men was on the cutting edge at the time so I decided to purchase a pair so that I'd be "with it" on the new college campus.   Brooksyne would let me know later that I really didn't have it altogether as I often wore striped shirts with my plaid pants. There's little doubt that this skinny 6'2' new freshman  on campus stood out among the rest of the student body. (And I no longer wear "high rise" ties as seen in my photo on the left.)

I've probably missed out on some good things just because of my resistance to fads. However I feel that I've also avoided some teaching or trends which might have been of little value or even detrimental to my spiritual growth. If it's good it will last and I can use it when it's been tried and I clearly see the results.

Early in my service for Christ I noticed the marketing of fads by various ministries and Christian bookstores. One of my earlier memories in this regard was a rather expensive video teaching series on the Lord's Prayer back in the mid-eighties. Although there may have been some valuable points I was annoyed by the attitude prevalent at the time, "You HAVE to watch this and show it to your congregation". It was inferred that I would otherwise be withholding a blessing and appear to be "not with it".  Besides the fact that we were in a church plant with very limited funds, I was troubled that a very familiar passage from Scripture was being marketed in such a way that if we didn't present it as "packaged" by this particular television evangelist believers would lack in their understanding of Scripture.

SurfingIn a recent blog post, long-time pastor and teacher John MacArthur refers to evangelical fad surfing. "They follow whatever is the latest popular trend. They buy whatever is the current best seller. They line up to see any celebrity who speaks spiritual-sounding language. They watch eagerly for the next Hollywood movie with any “spiritual” theme or religious imagery that they can latch on to. And evangelicals discuss these fads and fashions endlessly, as if every cultural icon that captures their attention had profound and serious spiritual significance.  Evangelical churchgoers desperately want their churches to stay on the leading edge of whatever is currently in vogue in the evangelical community."

Tossed by wavesThe daily text describes the volatility of those who fail to grow and mature in Christ. They become unstable like "infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming."

The writer of Hebrews warned, "Do not be carried about with various and strange doctrines" (13:9).  Today we see a departure from the course of faith and Biblical teaching that our forefathers could hardly have imagined. Even in my own lifetime who would have predicted that something as foundational as the basic constitution of holy marriage between a man and a woman would be a serious issue of departure? Some of our readers have been forced by biblical conviction to leave their church due to leadership that has deviated from God's Holy Word.  Tragically, some pastors are basing their teaching more on the popularity of opinion polls than the unwavering truth as taught by our Creator.

What can the righteous do? 

1) I call on my pastor peers to "preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction" (2 Timothy 4:2) and to faithfully "teach what is in accord with sound doctrine" (Titus 2:1). Pastors, resist the trite fads that flood the church though it may go counter to the plethora of church growth advice.

2) I call on all dedicated followers of Christ to implement the God-ordained means to stability and health in your spiritual lives.  Through our unwavering commitment to read God's Word and through the practice of other spiritual disciplines the character of Christ is developed in us as we are rooted and grounded in Him who is the Head, which results in long-term spiritual stability.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Father, Your warnings regarding the deluge of deceitful tactics from the enemy is evidenced all around us – through the media, books, false prophets and even well-meaning but confused individuals.  Your Word is the stabilizing and authoritative doctrinal manual for all that I need for life and godliness.  You promise to bring maturity into my Christian walk as I apply Your teaching so that I attain to the fullness of Your Son, Jesus Christ, the chief cornerstone. Help me to be wise, studied, and vigilant so that I correctly discern good from bad, truth from error. In Your holy name I pray, Amen.

Brooksyne's Note: Various writers and aids may assist us or stimulate us to deeper thinking as they give further insight to our Scripture reading.  The important thing is that the writer or aid does not become our focus, otherwise we may lose interest in the text of God's Word in preference to the teaching from God's messenger.  I majored in Religious Education in Bible College and am very grateful for the instructor who taught us that any teacher's materials that we might need for assistance should be tucked in our Bible.  The children should always see the Bible in our hands, not our manuals.  I've practiced that ever since.  I believe it's true with our own personal devotions as well.  Any aids or commentaries should be secondary to the Bible text, They should not become a substitute for the pure reading of God's Holy Word.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
Click on the link to open and play.
(In some cases you may also need to click again to start the song.)

"All For Jesus"  Video  

"Jesus, All For Jesus"  Video  Robin Mark

"How Firm A Foundation"  Video  

I strongly encourage thoughtful readers, especially my pastor friends, to read the article
by John MacArthur I referred to in today's message  titled "How Did We Make Such An Evangelical Mess?"  This article really resonates with me.

Here's a perspective I wrote on Spiritual Stability.

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.

Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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