Encouragement From The Word

Irregardless…

In case you weren’t sure the world is a different place these days, I learned this week that Merriam-Webster, an American dictionary, is now including the word “irregardless” as a legitimate word.  Even as I type this, my word processor has underlined that term in red as an error.

As one friend pointed out, lexicographers simply accommodate terms in regular use; they don’t see themselves as “Grammar Nazis”.  That’s a pity, because the word simply makes no sense as it tends to be used.  People will say, “I’m going to drive at 120 km/h irregardless of the fact that the speed limit is 100 km/h.”  But the “ir-“ and the “-less” actually cancel each other out!  So what they’re literally saying is, “I’m going to drive at 120 km/h regarding the fact that the speed limit is 100 km/h,” which makes no sense whatsoever.  What they mean is, “I’m going to drive at 120 km/h regardless of the fact that the speed limit is 100 km/h.”

This is just one sign of the generally accepted principle that there are no objective standards anymore.

Here’s another:  on a flight last year with WestJet, I was saddened to see that a curtain had been added to the aircraft, separating the “plus” seats from the ordinary seats.  One of the policies that attracted me to WestJet when it first started was that everybody flew in the same class.  That started to slip some years ago when the first few rows were given special menus and drink preferences – for a price.  Then, it slipped further when the middle seat in the first few rows became an armrest and drink holder for the occupants in the aisle and window seats.  Now, at least on some flights, it has slipped even further to the point that a curtain is drawn, and the front washroom is reserved for those in the first few rows, making it little different from its main competitor.

I lamented this fact to a flight attendant, whose reply was, “The company is simply doing what the customers want.”

With businesses, I get that “the customer is always right.”  Yet WestJet seems to have fallen from its guiding principles, set out at its founding as a company, that everyone should be treated the same way.

These seem like fairly harmless phenomena, for most of us.  A lot of people can overlook the use of the term “irregardless”, and the majority of people don’t fly enough to care whether they have to traipse all the way to the back of the aircraft to use the washroom.  But when applied universally, these things are symptomatic of a more troubling trend, and we see it happening in the church.

Let’s just give people what they want.

If people want to use “irregardless”, regardless of the fact that it is not a sensible word, let’s legitimate it by putting it in the dictionary.

If people want to separate extra service and private washrooms from the masses in steerage, let’s make it happen.

If people want to do something the Bible says is wrong, let’s overlook it.

Not such a big leap, is it?

While there are some advantages to our emergence from Christendom, one of the things society has lost is the value of objective truth, and now, in some cases, it’s even being lost in the church.

If you’re in church leadership, don’t ignore the objective truth of God’s Word.

If you’re not in church leadership, hold your leaders to account, and pray for them to uphold the objective truth of God’s Word.

To keep the world from chaos, we need objective truth.

For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.  Nothing in all creation is hidden from God. Everything is naked and exposed before his eyes, and he is the one to whom we are accountable” (Hebrews 4.12-13, NLT).

Biblical Messages

Truth or Consequences

The latter part of Romans 1 is a challenging passage of Scripture.  In today’s online gathering, I tackled Romans 1.18-32 in fear and trembling, but with a desire to share God’s truth as clearly as possible.  You can watch the whole gathering below.

If you prefer to watch the message only, you can do so here:

Biblical Messages

The Way

In John 14.1-14, Jesus seeks to encourage his disciples about his impending departure.  He tells them that they know where he is going, but they claim not to know the way.  Jesus tells them that he is the way!  He also tells them that they are capable of undertaking miraculous signs just like he did.  So what can we learn from this?  The message begins at 28:18.

 

Biblical Messages

Raising the Bar

Sometimes, as a pastor, I prepare with a particular goal in mind and when I’ve finished preaching my message, I have found it does not come out quite as I had hoped.  Today was one of those days.  It was not a bad message at all; but I’m not sure it said all that I hoped it would say.  I may tackle the same passage next Sunday and see where that goes. But for now, here is the worship gathering from June 23, 2019 with a message, “Raising the Bar”, from John 13.31-38.  The message itself starts at 32:28.

Biblical Messages

What Is Truth?

That’s the question Pilate asked Jesus when Jesus started talking about truth in his trial.  It’s a question a lot of people ask today, too.  Take a look at this message, based on John 18.28-40.  (As you will notice, I remark on the fact that my digital audio recorder’s batteries died part-way through the message, which is why we only have the Facebook Live feed today; you can watch it with or without a Facebook account.  Just click the link.)

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Biblical Messages

Two Christmas Gifts

Jesus is the gift, as we say at Christmas, but he brought with him two gifts that are also xmas as a childfor us.  We learn about them in John 1.6-14.  Have a listen, or watch the Facebook Live feed below (no account needed).  And yes, that’s me at a young age pictured.

 

 

 

 

 

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Biblical Messages

LOVE ONE ANOTHER: 3. Remain Faithful

1 John 2.18-27 gives the impression that John is a bit exasperated with the Gnostics who have infiltrated his community of faith.  His call to the church (then and now) is to remain faithful in spite of what they are facing.  A healthy church is fixed on truth.  Listen here:

Biblical Messages

What Love Means

The tiny letter of 2 John reminds us that love means walking in obedience to truth:  truth found in Scripture, truth found in the person of Jesus Christ. GOD Is 'LOVE' - 1 John 4 verses 7-8 With so many people adopting moral relativism, it is hard to talk about truth, yet God’s truth is absolute!  You can listen to this message, “What Love Means”, here:  

Biblical Messages

FLYING SOLA: Solo Christo

Holding a position that says Jesus is the only way to God is not a popular view in our world today, but it is the view that is held by Scripture.  That flying sola headermeans Christians are expected to grapple with it seriously.  It also was a hallmark doctrine of the Reformation, that Jesus is the only mediator between God and humanity.  We see this illustrated in many places in the New Testament, not least of which is John 14.1-7.  You can listen to the message by clicking here.  I apologize if I sound in a hurry; I preached this message at the beginning of the service, so that I could travel to Fraser Church, Tottenham, to baptize the infant daughter of my colleague there.  A busy day, but a blessed day indeed.