From the Faith Baptist Church Blog

Typical Christians

What is a typical Christian? Depends on who you ask. I was going through the stations on my car radio yesterday when I heard the host of a show describing a person as arrogant, uncaring, uninformed and close-minded. He then said, “Typical Christian.” Although I have heard that expression before, it caught me off guard hearing it on a music station.

Last week, I spoke at the Florida Bioethics Network Conference in Miami. The syllabus included a brief bio of my education and experience. After I spoke, a young doctor came to speak with me. We had a great conversation, but it started out with the disclaimer, “When I saw your bio -- a Baptist pastor who went to Liberty University, I thought, this is not going to be any good. But you’re not typical. I actually learned something from you.”

Somehow, we’ve gone from being seen as dangerously committed people of The Way (Acts 9) and scripturally sound Christ-like-ones (Acts 11) to outright insensitive idiots. And we’ve done so in such great numbers that it has become our typical state. At least to the world, the ones we are trying to reach. We should ask ourselves, Are uncaring, uninformed, proud and condemning believers outliers or the norm? I think they are outliers, but to the world, they are typical.

Jesus warned us that the world would hate us because it hates Him. So, the more we are like Him, the more of an irritant and aggravation we are to those who will not hear the message of life, hope and peace in Jesus Christ. The world’s derision is to be expected if we are reflecting Christ, but I don’t think that describes the current dynamic. I think much of the world hates us because so many of us are hateful -- or appear that we because we are uncaring, unloving, prideful, unkind and eager to point a finger at their sin.

Jesus told us to let our light so shine before men that they may see our good works and glorify our Father which is in Heaven. That’s a great tool for good, but because the world is watching, there is also potential for harm. If the world can see our good works, they can see our bad ones too. We may clean up our deeds, but they can still see our bad attitudes and hear our bad words.

If you ask the Barna Research Institute, “What’s a typical Christian?” the answer is not flattering. Its research shows that most of us don’t attend church weekly, don’t pray, don’t read our Bible, don’t witness, don’t tithe don’t refrain from sex outside marriage. That is a lot like saying “I’m a football player, but I don’t practice, don’t put on pads, don’t study the playbook, don’t ever get out on the field and I’m busy playing another game altogether.” Might be time to check and see if you are on the team.

If you ask the Lord “What’s a typical Christian?” His answer is both convicting and inspiring. Jesus said a Christian is someone who has denied himself, taken up his cross and is following Christ. That’s what typical is to Jesus. Can you imagine what America’s concept of Christianity would be if that were the way you and I lived?

May the day come when the world sees believers loving one another, living by God’s Word, ministering to those in need and faithfully sharing the gospel. When that happens, they will say “Typical Christians” as they are being drawn to glorify God and trust in Christ.

Let’s raise the bar of what’s typical,
Pastor Dave

Wednesday, April 16, 2014 | by Dr. David Anderson

What Are the Odds?

Last week a married couple in Virginia won the lottery for third time in three weeks, bringing their total winnings to over $2,000,000. Statistical experts say the likelihood of such a winning streak is 1 in 5 million, but it’s happened before. Last year, a couple in Arkansas won more than a million dollars by winning the lottery twice in one day. In 2002, a couple in California won two times in two hours! Their winnings totaled $17,000,000. The odds of that were 1 in 24 trillion.

First of all, let me point out that all three stories involve married couples. Proof once again that getting married is worth the risk. Secondly, I do not endorse buying a lottery ticket, nor have I ever purchased one, but that does not keep me from feeling really happy for those people who win. Thirdly, to anyone reading this email who also happens to win the lottery someday, it would not bother me at all if you chose to send the tithe on your winnings to Faith Baptist …. just sayin’.

What really caught my eye about these lottery stories were the odds of winning. Especially staggering were the odds for the couple from California – 1 in 24 trillion! Imagine winning such a vast treasure against such seemingly impossible odds. You’d be pinching yourself for years, maybe even laughing about it or grinning like a Cheshire cat from time to time. It would be hard to believe your good fortune.

Forty four years ago something even greater happened to me. I found the pearl of great price and it changed my life and eternal destiny. I became a joint heir with Christ with access to the riches of God’s grace. I didn’t spend money, buy a ticket or do anything to acquire it. It was given to me. I was a thirteen year old boy that was 1/4 Choctaw, fully indoctrinated into Christian Science and with no awareness of my sin or need of God. I had no believing friends to witness to me either. I was lost beyond any logical hope. What were the odds that I’d come to know Christ? Statistically, not very high.

Jesus said about they way of Truth and Salvation, “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.” Out of the 8 billion people currently living on earth, relatively few hear, believe and receive the truth about Jesus. If you are a believer in Jesus Christ, you beat the odds. Well, you didn’t, the Lord beat them for you.

Do you ever pinch yourself? Do you ever marvel that you have been so blessed? Have you ever asked yourself, “When I consider, the stars, the sun and the moon that God has ordained, what am I that He is mindful of me?” Even on our most difficult days, we are blessed beyond anything we can fully fathom. Just pause for a moment to try to imagine what is waiting for us in the Father’s House. Whatever you come up with will fall far short of what it will really be like.

Paul said, I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared to the glory that shall be revealed in us. He later echoed Isaiah, Eye has not seen, ear has not heard, nor has entered into the heart of man the things God has prepared for those who love Him. Whatever Heaven is going to be like, I’m going to be one of its citizens. Incredible! Me … knowing Him …

What are the odds?
Pastor Dave

Wednesday, April 02, 2014 | by Dr. David Anderson

Barking Up the Wrong Tree

Barking up the wrong tree is common with dogs (who do it literally), people (who do it metaphorically), and Texas Longhorns (who do it every October when they play the Sooners). Early last Sunday morning, when it was still a bit dark outside, I discovered another member of the wrong tree club. I was sitting at my desk when I was startled by a loud and rapid rat-a-tat-tat sound. It lasted about 3 seconds. As I pondered the possibilities, it happened again. It was so loud, sudden and close by that it made me jump. Not out of fear, but in an instinctive shift to an ancestral Choctaw fighting pose.

The sound came from right outside my window, so I rushed over to see the source. And there it was, a redheaded Woodpecker – with a headache. He had been pecking on the aluminum awning. Since He wasn’t making any progress, he flew over to nearby tree and started pecking on it.

Watching him reminded me of an interesting behavioral trait that I’ve observed among Woodpeckers. They are either pecking at something or flying towards something to peck. Woodpeckers don’t perch on a branch and look around to just enjoy the view. They start pecking as soon as they land. Like a baby who finds something on the floor and automatically puts it in his/her mouth. They can’t help it. Woodpeckers can fly high, they can soar, they can land atop high trees and buildings and to survey the land … but they’d rather peck.

Socially conscious and politically aware Christians can be a lot like Woodpeckers. We love to peck at things. We land on a branch of our culture and start pecking away. Sometimes we even peck ineffectively or at things we shouldn’t. We are usually a few steps behind the world’s agenda anyway – pecking at things they have already left to get to the next issue. We react to them rather than show them the way. We often peck with no lasting impact. We get so busy pecking at what the world has constructed that we forget to build an alternative.

But pecking sure feels good. It feels like we are doing something. We’re making a difference, making some noise and getting some attention. But if we are pecking on aluminum, all we are going to do is dull our beaks, dent the aluminum and get a headache.

Even though we are told to mount up with wings as eagles and fly above life’s trouble, or soar in worship, or rest in the Lord, we’d rather peck. We are too busy flying from tree to tree pecking at the flaws in our culture to soar in our faith. Don’t get me wrong, some pecking is necessary. Jesus told us that we are salt and light to a rotting and darkening world. We are to have an impact on our society. Pecking is one way, but not the only way.

That cute and confused Woodpecker I saw last Sunday had the common sense to stop pecking on the aluminum as soon as he figured out it was a waste of time. He flew on to a tree that would prove more fruitful and I’m sure he soon got the result he wanted.

We are more than Woodpeckers,
Pastor Dave

Thursday, March 27, 2014 | by Dr. David Anderson

Hand Me Downs

When I was growing up I use to wear Farrah jeans. All my friends did too. We didn’t choose Farrah out of a sense of style, but out of necessity. Most of us couldn’t afford Levi’s and the Farrahs were handed down to us from our older brothers. We always got them when they grew out of them, not when we grew into them. That is why we rolled the legs of our jeans into cuffs – they were always too long. The same thing was true of shirts, so we rolled up the sleeves and tucked in the tails. Necessity formed our style.

Don’t get me wrong … we still looked sharp. Even today, I like the look of a clean shirt, cuffed jeans, white socks and penny loafers (I know, I’m hopeless). My brother always looked cool and I couldn’t wait to get his hand me downs. For three years I had my eyes on his yellow HIS jacket. When I finally had the chance to wear it, it wasn’t in style anymore – everything had turned psychedelic.

Hand me downs were also a means of identification. They told people that you were growing up and to whose family you belonged. All your friends would recognize the clothes from seeing them on your older brother. The day I REALLY felt grown up was the day I could fit into my Dad’s military shirt with Anderson printed on the name strip. That was a great day. It even had a 45th Infantry Division patch on the sleeve – a very cool looking Indian Chief.

The hand me downs in my life marked me as an Anderson. I liked new clothes, but I didn’t mind wearing what was handed down. It let people know who I was. It reminded ME of who I was. I was Dad’s son and Hampton’s brother. Today, we are a throw away, individualistic society. Hand me downs are no longer in fashion unless you pick it out yourself at a vintage store – that’s not the same thing.

Whether we realize it or not, we are handing our faith down to the next generation of believers. What we leave them should tell the world who they are and to what family they belong. I don’t think we are doing a good job of passing along the proper garments. Nor do I think the next generation is doing a good job of accepting what we hand down when we do it right. Everything must be new!

New music. New practices. New lifestyles. New language. New beliefs. I’m not opposed to new things, but at some point in time you can cross a line at which the old is lost forever. Where did the practice of sexual abstinence go? When did modesty disappear? What happened to the Bibles? When did alcohol get so universally embraced? Why doesn’t anyone talk about sin, confession, repentance and Hell anymore? When did the church become proponents of universalism and gay marriage? How did so many Christians think The Shack was a good book?!

I find it disconcerting that so much of what we do today is entertainment based and designed to appeal to the world. I’m afraid we are appealing to the world without actually reaching the world. The world is reaching us. It looks as if the next generation of believers will be hip, cool, relevant and welcomed by the world because they will be wearing the world’s hand me downs. That’s our fault.

Take a moment to ask yourself, What am I handing down to the next generation?

Let’s hand down what God wants them to have,
Pastor Dave

Thursday, March 20, 2014 | by Dr. David Anderson

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