Jul 28

Would Aliens Prove Atheism?

Did you hear about the discovery of “Earth 2.0?”  NASA announced recently the discovery of an earth-like planet called Kepler 452b.  Scientists argue that there are likely many more planets like this one that exist in a similar dimension to a sun as Earth.  These earth-like planets would possibly be able to sustain life, in that they could have water and an appropriate temperature range.  NASA started the Keplar Mission in 2009, which has cost some $600 million, with its goal of finding and identifying planets capable of sustaining life.

452b_artistconcept_comparisonwithearthb

Image of Kepler-452b, via NASA (artist comparison)

This search, and as some would argue good possibility, for alien life has lead some to argue against the existence of God.  One such argument made by Jeff Schweitzer basically argues that when life is found it will prove religion wrong because the Creation account of Genesis is either factually wrong, or at best, omitted any reference to aliens.  In fact, he says surely if the Bible was the Word of the Creator who created these other lifeforms, then it would tell about them.  He predicts that religion practitioners will “re-write” their believes to accommodate alien lifeforms.¹

Here are my reactions to NASA’s latest discoveries and the discourse going on because of it.

  • This shows the determination and hatred Atheists have for God and people of faith that they will quickly turn a planets discovery which is only somewhat similar to our Earth into a proof of atheism.  When you sort through the news and really read about this planet you are left asking the famous burger ad question, “Where is the beef?”  This is highly speculative and there has been NO proof of life on other plants.  One astronomer truthfully said, “It is quite literally anyones guess as to what these planets are like.”  Some experts have claimed that the fireball Venus has more in common with us than this new “Earth 2.0″.²
  • The Bible in my understanding is silent on the issue of alien lifeforms.  Though there are some clear principles that we should understand.
    • The Bible claims God created all of life and matter in Creation.  He created the animals, the planets, and the stars during the Creation week at the beginning of time (Gen. 1 – 2; Ex. 20:11; Col. 1:16).  Man is God’s highest created life form on earth.  It is upon man that he bequeathed a soul and spirit!
    • The Bible is focused on God’s story with his creation. This story seems focused exclusively upon Earth.  God had a plan before the foundation of the world for the redemption and reconciliation of this world (Titus 1:1-3)
    • The destruction and ultimate fate of the stars and distant planets are tied directly with the salvation story of this world.  When Christ returns and takes his church home in glory this world and the heavens above will be destroyed or dissolved (2 Peter 3:10-12).
  • Based on the above principles, it seems highly doubtful that alien lifeforms will be discovered.  Despite atheists rush to use them against the Bible, they have still not been discovered!  But for sake of discussion, what would it do to my faith if they were in someway discovered?  Though it would certainly involve some head-scratching and shock, it would not ruin my faith.  The Bible is a book focused on the big questions of mankind and our spiritual needs.  It never purports to tell us everything about this world and the galaxies beyond.  It is a focused book.  I truly believe, that just like when I hear and learn about the distant millions of stars and the vast expanses of light years of our space [things which we have only recently discovered, and utterly blow my small mind], I would react with praise, awe, and glory to the Creator of all things!!
    • “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.”  (Psalms 19:1)

———————

¹  Earth 2.0:  Bad News for God

²  Why Earth 2.0 is Actually Nothing Like Earth.  

More Information:

http://www.christiananswers.net/q-eden/edn-c012.html

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2015/07/earth-20-nasa-finds-planet-matches-kepler-space-150723185225777.html

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/formerlyfundie/does-the-discovery-of-earth-2-0-mark-the-end-of-religion/

 

Permanent link to this article: http://www.joshketchum.com/would-aliens-prove-atheism/

Jul 22

What I Wish Everyone Knew about Sin

knew about sin.001“SIN”  – that is a word that has fallen on hard times.  Sin is too religious of a term.  We prefer terms like “mistake” and “wrong” better.  In fact, it may be the case that most of the current culture doesn’t even understand the word “sin.”  It is viewed just as another term for doing something wrong, though in a religious sense.

Sin is the violating of God’s law and will.  Sin can be acts done that are wrong as well as not doing what we should do.  

If I could share a message about sin with everyone, I would want them to know these four truths about sin.  

  1. Sin separates us from God.  What people must understand about sin is that it is far different than just a mistake or a wrong.  It is an offense against our Holy Creator.  Sin has tremendous spiritual consequences.  God can have no fellowship with sin. When we are in sin, we are separated from God (Is. 59:1-2).  All people will sin (Rom. 3:23).  Sin will separate us from God eternity in hell (John 8:24).
  2. Sin’s ugliness and grotesque character is seen at the cross of Christ.  Jesus came to “take away sins” (1 John 3:5).  He bore the iniquity of us all on Calvary’s cross (Isaiah 53; Rom. 3:23-26).  When we think sin is not that bad, we need to look hard at the cross of Christ.  Christ had to endure the horrendous scourging and shameful, brutal death of the cross because of sin!  He became sin for us, that we might become righteous (2 Cor. 5:21).
  3. Sin is a choice.  We are not made to sin by Satan or others.  Our sin is our responsibility.  We cannot blame others for our sin, though we will often try like Adam and Eve did in the garden.  God made each person responsible (James 1:13-15).  We must be willing to say those three very difficult words, “I have sinned!”
  4. Christians must have no part with sin.  Christians are to be sanctified and holy in their behavior.  We have died to sin at our baptism and received a new life (Romans 6).  We are to not live and walk in sin.  Sin is incompatible with the purpose and aim of a child of God.  We must repent of known sin and abhor it being in our life.  John even says that if we keep on sinning, we have not seen or known Jesus (1 John 3:6).

Let’s not let the world re-define sin, let’s remember sin is greater than a mistake, it is an offense against God that will cost us our soul.  Let’s share the truth about sin with the world.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.joshketchum.com/what-i-wish-everyone-knew-about-sin/

Jul 21

Dealing with Drama Like Jesus

Gossip Girls 1 by Lusi at www.freeimages.com

Gossip Girls 1 by Lusi at www.freeimages.com

DRAMA!  Some folks live with perpetual drama in their lives. By drama, I mean turmoil in relationships, crisis situations, and generally making a big deal out of every issue!  Drama  involves gossip, consumed with other people’s business, excessive worry, and conflict with others.

Jesus had lots of drama surrounding his life, yet he dealt with it all in a supreme manner setting an example for us.  Here are 4 ways he dealt with it, which we should apply to our lives.

1.  Jesus set boundaries on relationships.  Most all drama is connected with relationships.  You know the couple that seems to never be at peace and enjoying one another, or the family that always keeps something stirred up between them.  Jesus’ question to his mom is a good one for all of us to consider, “What does this have to do with me?”  Many times we need to focus on our own life and not be consumed with the problems of our neighbor.  Jesus drew boundaries regarding his disciples and family.  We need to seek healthy relationships, while avoiding ones that pull us down and create conflict.  Much of the drama and stress in our lives can be removed if we will draw better boundary lines.  Be careful who you run with and remember you can’t please everyone.

2.  He was careful with his communication.  Most drama involves our speech, thus Jesus taught us to control our tongues (Mat. 12:36-37).  He controlled his words when he was angry (Mark 3:1-6; John 2:13-17), and when falsely accused during his trials.  If you want to reduce the drama in your life, listen more and talk less.  Jesus spoke honestly and was always considering his reputation.  So much drama today is connected with social media, we should consider how a post or picture will look before sharing.  Jesus also knew that there are times, when you have to move on, rather than continue to discuss (Luke 4:29-30; Mat. 10:14).

3.  He refused to focus on self-glory.  It is easy to finger point when it comes to drama.  We blame it on others.  But we need to look at our own life.  Maybe we are the common denominator with all of the drama at work, home, and church.  Drama often has to do with us feeling slighted and overlooked.  One of the amazing aspects of Jesus life is how he continually gave glory to the Father.  It was not about himself, thus he could wash the disciples feet as a slave.  We will reduce our drama and stress if we will start focusing on serving others, and quit coming up with all the ways we are being treated unfairly.

4.  He overcame crisis through trust in God.  Much of drama is over-reacting [i.e. making a mountain out of a molehill].  Drama people go from one crisis to another which isn’t healthy.  But we will have some real crisis moments in life.  Jesus lived a life with truly huge events, yet he went through this life with serenity, peace, and security.  We should not make every challenge into a crisis.  Jesus maintained his purpose and aim despite the outward circumstances.  He turned to God in trust when he faced true tests of faith and crisis.  Jesus rose above all the bickering and conflict of the day-to-day and kept his eyes on the spiritual.  He would rise early for prayer with his Father.

How will you reduce the drama in your life?

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You can listen to a sermon on this subject in the Audio Resources.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.joshketchum.com/dealing-with-drama-like-jesus/

Jul 15

Looking Back at a Crossroads Decision

I didn’t post any last week, as it was a difficult week of tragedy for our family.  My first cousin, Brandon Daniels lost his wife in a tragic car accident on the way to Horizons camp at FHU.  Brandon and I grew up together and went to Freed-Hardeman together back in 1994.  They have two young children ages 10 and 6.  We spent much of our week in the Spring Hill/Columbia, Tennessee area with the family and funeral process.  Please keep them in your prayers.

While we were there we drove by this sign and church building.

Northview

It stirred thoughts and a conversation with my wife Amanda.  You see the sign was surprisingly ironic because it represented two aspects of events that lead us to Mayfield, Kentucky almost 12 years ago. Allow me to reminiscence a bit, if you will.

The year was 2003, the stress level was high and family morale low.  We had been working for several years on the dream of mission work in Asuncion, Paraguay with a team of friends from FHU.  But things changed over the course of our training for this work in Abilene, Texas and Jackson, Tennessee.  We began to doubt our family’s ability to be successful in long-term mission work.  Company that with the worry and stress of my dad having a massive heart attack in June, which he thankfully survived.  We made the decision to not go to Asuncion, which was very difficult because of our commitments to teammates, church supporters, and family.  This also meant we were out of a job.  So in September, we returned to Missouri and lived with my parents helping dad on the farm.  We spent weekends “trying out” for preaching jobs.

We were blessed to have some options with job offers.  Our desire was to find a place in November.  We had two primary churches that made similar offers.  We liked both of these works.  They were the 7th and College Church of Christ in Mayfield and the Northview Church of Christ in Columbia.  We had many friends in the Columbia area, but it was much farther from our families in Missouri.  We considered both works heavily and prayed about our choice.  But in what was only a couple of days we chose to work with the 7th and College Church in Mayfield.

What was also interesting about this sign was who was speaking at their Summer Series event.  Ted Burleson, whom I appreciate and admire for his work and reputation, was also very close to taking the job at 7th and College in Mayfield.  It very nearly worked out for him to come to Mayfield, but choices were made and he ended up not taking the position.

We did and I started preaching in Mayfield on November 16, 2003.

As we passed this sign and thought about what might have been, we can only wonder how life would be different.  We both are thankful we made the decision to come to Mayfield and feel like the Lord has used us in this community and with this good church which became known as the Seven Oaks Church of Christ in 2006.

I am sure the Northview congregation is a great church.  I don’t even know who became their preacher or if he is still there.  Looking back on these events and thinking about crossroads we all come to in life I have a few thoughts I want to share.

  • I believe God doesn’t have one precise path for us to follow.  I agree with Dr. Everett Huffard who taught us one summer that God’s providence works by opening up multiple doors for us to choose from and our responsibility is to “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness” with the choice we make.  We believe that God would have used us in Columbia if we would have kept our priorities straight.  It is fruitless, though somewhat interesting wondering, imagining how things would have been different if we had lived in Columbia these last 12 years.
  • We are thankful we made the choice to come to Mayfield.  We don’t have any regrets about the choice.  We believe God has providentially blessed the choice and used us in Mayfield for HIs glory and honor.  We are thankful that the door opened up.  We came to Mayfield because it was closer to Missouri, had the opportunity to help start a hispanic church plant, and was a church with lots of potential including a new building plan.  Some 12 years later through the blessings of God we have seen many of these things take place.  It has been a blessing, especially with children to be only 2 hours from home.  The hispanic church celebrated their 10 year anniversary this past weekend. They are a vibrant congregation with their own building, a developing leadership group, and lots of children.  The Seven Oaks church has continued to grow over the last five years and now is blessed with having completed two building projects and has a great facility. We have tremendous potential and lots of great people.  Personally, we have developed many close friends and love this area.  Amanda’s sister even moved to the area and we are putting down more roots with our farm and new home.  We are thankful!

Permanent link to this article: http://www.joshketchum.com/looking-back-at-a-crossroads-decision/

Jul 12

New Church Camp Week for Homeschool Students in 2016

church_campWe have been asked to start a new week of church camp at West Kentucky Youth Camp located near Marion, Kentucky.  We have agreed to this new ministry.  I have never directed a youth camp week, but have enjoyed camp and believe it is a great way to build faith in young people.  This camp will be unique in that it will be focused on homeschool youth.  The camp will be open to others if it works out for their schedule, but the camp will be in August after most schools have started.

Here is what you need to know if you have an interest:

  • The camp will be like a a traditional youth camp experience.  It is not a family encampment, but a church camp.   The WKYC was founded by Churches of Christ and is supported by churches across the region.
  • The camp will be focused on youth 8 years through 18.  However, we will likely have some organized activities for younger children if there is a need.
  • The proposed dates for 2016 are either August 11-14 (Thursday – Sunday) or August 8-12 (Sunday – Friday).
  • There will be a cost per youth attending.  We are exploring options for families with multiple children.
  • We need a great team of staff members to make this happen!!  If you would like to help work with the camp please fill out this application online.  We would like to form a steering committee with coordinators for Bible teaching, food, crafts, activities, and counselor director.  I hope to have the committee in place by the first of the year.
  • For the first year, we are looking at doing the camp Thursday night through Sunday.  We will discuss options with the steering committee about doing a traditional Sunday – Friday schedule.  We welcome your input.
  • We need to get the word out about the camp.  We will need to have enough youth participating to justify the cost of the camp.
  • You can learn about WKYC and their current offerings of camps at www.wkyc.org.

What I need to know now!

  • If your family has an interest in either sending your children or helping lead this camp, please send me an email ([email protected]), comment on this post, or contact me in some way.
  • I am putting together an email list to keep people up-to-date and to recruit help.  Please fill out this quick form to give me your name and email address.  If you have any interest sign up below or by clicking this link so you will be kept informed through email.
  • Tell others about this who may be interested.  This camp is open to anyone!  We need to know a general interest level this fall.

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.joshketchum.com/new-church-camp-week-for-homeschool-students-in-2016/

Jul 01

Distinguishing Between Safe and Killer Mushrooms at Home

mushroom 2 by kaeskaI don’t like mushrooms, while my wife loves mushrooms.  To me all mushrooms are bad and avoid my mouth.  But did you know that many mushrooms are poisonous?  A couple of types can even cause certain death.  The death sounded awful and excruciating too!  So not all mushrooms are the same.  If you were to pick your own mushrooms you would have to be careful in distinguishing between the safe and killer ones.  They can look similar, but have subtle differences.

Safe and killer mushrooms remind me of our homes.  We have many parts of our families that are necessary and good when kept in balance.  These “mushrooms” of our home must be constantly discerned in order to be safe, or they will kill our homes!  God says the “mature” have their “powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil” (Heb. 5:14).  Here are six areas in our home we must work to keep in balance.

Mushroom #1 – Ambition (Suitable vs. Selfish)  – Americans are known for their drive and ambition.  We want to be successful and achieve our goals.  Suitable ambition is certainly necessary and applauded by God.  We need to see the value in hard work, family financial support, and appropriate drive.  Yet, selfish ambition has killed many families.  Selfish ambition is about attaining more and more.  It is when ambition stoops to levels of corruption and dishonesty.  It is when a father or mother puts their own career success above what is best for the family.

Mushroom # 2 – Pride (Decent vs. Deadly)  – Pride is the root cause of all sins.  Pride can kill a home because it pits family members in competition against one another.  Pride leads to dissension and divorce.  It separates parents from kids and causes years of discord.  But we need a decent amount of pride.  Pride in a decent and godly manner is good.  We should take pride in our work, ourselves, and our family.  Pride must be balanced!

Mushroom # 3 – Money (Using vs. Loving) – There is a modern epidemic of affluence!  Affluence causes parents to focus on their image rather than their character.  Affluence is about the accumulation of stuff.  Money is a difficult mushroom to detect; whether we are using it safely or is it killing us!  We are to use money and be good stewards of money (Mat.  6:24; 25:14-30), but we must not love money.  The love of money is the root of all kinds of evil (1 Tim. 6:8-10).

Mushroom # 4 – Recreation (Appropriate vs. Radical) – Maybe the greatest challenge families face today is balancing recreation demands of our culture.  Recreation time is important for families to develop and strengthen relationships. But families that are radical in their recreational pursuits filling up their schedules with sporting, leisure, and extra-curriculor activities suffer.  When families are rarely home, dinner tables sit empty, and parents are split carrying kids different ways, the family suffers.  Surprisingly enough recreation, something that is so good for families, can kill the family.

Mushroom # 5 – Entertainment (Edifying vs. Cesspool) – We must always consider what we put into our hearts and minds (Col. 3:1-5).  The battlefield in our homes is the mind.  We must remember that garbage in equals garbage out.  Families must control their entertainment choices or it will destroy their family.  (Consider your mind-food diet.)

Mushroom # 6 – Kids (Prioritized vs. Spoiled) – The attitude of parents towards children has changed dramatically in the last 100 years.  In the past kids were loved, but not adored.  They were seen by parents as necessities for providing labor and came with expectations for their education and labor.  Today, most have kids, not out of necessity, but out of a desire for a relationship with them.  Kids should be prioritized.  Quality time must be spent with them and their training should be intentional.  But they should not be spoiled.  The family should not run upside down!  Kids are not the head of the home.  Not every decision should be made based upon what is best for the kids.

Which mushroom do you think is most difficult to navigate today?

———————————————

I must give credit for much of these ideas and thoughts to Steve Farrar and his book Family Survival.

You can listen to a sermon on this same subject in the Audio Resources.

Some additional verses corresponding to the # of the mushroom.

1 – 1 Tim. 5:8, 1 Thess. 4:11, Luke 12:15

2 – Col. 3:23-24; 1 John 2:16; Prov. 13:10; 16:18

3 – Mat. 6:24; Mat. 25; 1 Tim. 6:8-10; Mat. 19:21-22

4 – Deut. 6:7-9; 24:5

5 – Col. 3:1-5; Rom. 12:9; 2 Cor. 10:5; Ps. 101:3

6 – Eph. 6:4; Prov. 13:24; 22:15

 

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Jun 30

Evangelism: What is at Stake?

Baptism by TheUsher at www.freeimages.com

Baptism by TheUsher at www.freeimages.com

Evangelism is not optional!  We as Christians focus on the reasons people are not responding.  We defeat ourselves before Satan even has to by our negative self-talk.  We come up with the reasons why we cannot evangelize.  But we must realize what is at stake with our choice to evangelize!

1. The Blood of Christ!  Jesus shed his blood for us.  The 4th of July is coming and we focus on how our soldiers have sacrificed their lives for our freedoms.  We must not let their sacrifice be in vain.  As Christians we must not let the sacrifice of Jesus be in vain for our friends and neighbors.  The blood of Christ was shed for them.  They must know of this gift.

2.  The Love of God – Paul says the love of Christ constrains him because he died for him.  God’s love calls us to be His ambassadors pleading on his behalf (2 Cor. 5:11-21).  People are desperately seeking and needing love.  It is up to Christians to let people know their heavenly Father loves them.

3.  A Faith-Filled Life – The life of a Christian is the best life possible.  Jesus came to provide us with a new and abundant life (2 Cor. 5:17, John 10:10).  The gospel of Christ offers us peace, hope. guidance, and love.  In a world that is growing increasingly dark, as we just saw last week with our nation legalizing same-sex marriage, the way to change hearts and lives is through the gospel.  Social and political reform will fall short.   We are called to share the gospel.  The power is in the gospel (Rom. 1:16).  God’s people need to regain this focus for the hope and souls of our nation

4.  The Church’s Future – The church is God’s body on earth.  We are saved to save others!  The church is dependent upon evangelism.  Evangelism should be the life-blood of the church.  The way to perpetuate the church and maintain its existence is evangelism.  Without evangelism the church will die!   We should be concerned about the future of the church!

5.  Eternity!  Most importantly, the eternal destination of the souls of men and women are at stake.  Heaven is a prepared place waiting the righteous who have obeyed Jesus.  Hell is a terrible place of punishment where those who do not know God are cast away from his presence for all eternity.  The Rich man begged Abraham to send someone to his brothers because he didn’t want them to come to the place of torment.  We are the ones that in essence the dead are begging!  Eternity hangs in the balance when it comes to our evangelism.

Evangelism is not optional!  It is our most important work!  Let’s remember our job!

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This post came from a sermon I preached which is available in the Audio Resources.

Scripture References:

1.  Ezekiel 33:1-9; Mat. 27:24-26; Heb. 10:26-31

2.  2 Cor. 5:13-6:2; Phil. 2:9-11

3.  2 Cor. 5:17; John 10:10; 1 Thess. 1:8-10

4.  2 tim. 2:2; 2 Cor. 11:1-4; 28

5.  Mat. 13:24-30; ch. 25; John 14:1-4; 2 Thess. 1:7-10; Luke 16:27-31

Permanent link to this article: http://www.joshketchum.com/evangelism-what-is-at-stake/

Jun 26

Handling Our Historic Failures: Should We Remove History?

Jefferson Davis Bust - Wikimedia commons Photo

Jefferson Davis Bust – Wikimedia commons Photo

Since the terrible tragedy in Charleston, South Carolina where a murderous hate crime was committed against a historically African-American church killing 9 worshippers the Confederate flag has come under attack.  There has been a desire to take it down from the state grounds where it flies over a Confederate memorial in Charleston.

This subject is controversial and has spurred much discussion this week.  In many ways it is sad that our rhetoric and the news programs have focused so much on the young man who committed the murders and now on the Confederate Flag, while not focusing enough on the victims and their tremendous example of love, grace, and forgiveness (see Michael Whitworth’s excellent post on this topic.)

Being that I am a history major and lover of history, I have a few thoughts I wanted to share on this topic.

The Confederate Flag

I stayed in a room in college that had Confederate Flags hanging, though it was not used by us in any kind of a racist way, I am sure looking back it was offensive.  I regret any offense we might have caused. I have never  been a lover of the Rebel flag.  I have always been somewhat uncomfortable with it, and have been opposed to its use for many years.  I do not, nor would I wear or fly the Confederate Flag.  Personally, I feel that most of the racist symbolism tied to the flag has come in the last 80 years or so more than in the Civil War time period.  It was a national flag during the Civil War.  It has become a racist symbol. I strongly oppose all racism on the basis that it is sinful in the eyes of Christ.  Yet, the Confederate Flag still should have a place in historical museums and in Civil War memorials.  It is a key symbol of American history.

Historical Memorials, Busts, and Names

This national discussion has also prompted voices to call for historical busts to be removed from State Capitals.  The Tennessee governor has called for the removal of Nathan Bedford Forrest’s bust.  Political leaders in Kentucky are discussing the bust of Jefferson Davis which currently is in the Capital rotunda with his Civil War rival Abraham Lincoln.  They were both from Kentucky and had ties to the state.  Some have suggested that we should change or remove military bases or forts that are named after Confederate leaders.  Maybe we should changes schools that are named in honor of leaders too?  How far does this go?

My Two Cents!

We need to know and respect our history.  We cannot clean up and santize our historical characters, picking and choosing which ones to honor and remember!  We are a nation filled with a despicable history in many ways!  Yet, we are also a nation filled with a glorious history.  We are a nation with human ancesters who did a lot right and a lot wrong.  But we need to remember the wrong, just like we remember the right!  If a historical symbol becomes current and wrong in meaning, like the Confederate flag, then it should not be used currently.  But it is still a historical symbol that has a place in our history.  

Personally, I don’t think we should remove busts or names of historical leaders of the past.  How far do we go?  Washington was a great man, but had his problems.  Washington and Jefferson both owned slaves.  Alexander Hamilton fought in a duel.  Even Lincoln, one of my favorite historical characters, is not above reproach.

We even face this in the church.  It is sad how many of our forefathers a few generations back at our Christian schools or in our local congregations acted unbecoming of the gospel in racist ways.  I love to visit Old Chapel Hall on Freed-Haldeman’s campus and look around on the walls at all the old photos of great preachers and school administrators.  Some of those men taught and acted in ways that were sinful in my understanding of the gospel.  They promoted segregation and did not treat African American students the same as white students.  Should we remove their photos if we find fault with them?  I certainly think not, we recognize the good they did and learn from their wrongs.    

Consider how God still honored many of his “historical” characters in Scripture though they had checkered past in the genealogy of Jesus and the Hall of Fame of faith in Hebrews 11.  In fact, imagine how many Bible characters would have to be cut out if we only could study the good and not remember the man or woman who had some bad.  David was a great man, but he certainly had lots of faults.  On and on the list could go.  I think we would be left with only Jesus!

We have to realize the place of history in our culture.  It is to help us remember; both the good and the bad.  

By the way, have you ever thought about what folks might be saying about our own leaders and current symbols in 100 years.  We certainly are far from perfect.  Maybe they will try to learn from our mistakes and see some of the good in us.   

Permanent link to this article: http://www.joshketchum.com/handling-our-historic-failures-should-we-remove-history/

Jun 18

Don’t Look Like a Goat if You are a Sheep

photo 2We have Barbados Blackbelly Sheep on the farm.  They are a breed of hair sheep.  They do not have wool like traditional sheep.  They do look very much like goats.  In fact, most everyone thinks they are goats.  Even a vet kept calling them goats.

We just had a new lamb this week.  We named her Beta.  Isn’t she a cutie?

photo 1

It doesn’t bother me that people call my sheep goats.  In fact, I seldom will correct them, if it is just a quick conversation.  But it often does remind me of what Jesus said about sheep and goats.

““When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.”  (Matthew 25:31–34)

The lesson I think about is that I don’t want to be mistaken by Jesus as being a goat!  I want to act, look, and be a sheep.  The Lord knows his sheep (John 10).  Sadly, many Christians look more like goats than sheep!  They reflect the world more than Christ.  

My sheep are a reminder, don’t look like a goat, because people will think you are one!  

Permanent link to this article: http://www.joshketchum.com/dont-look-like-a-goat-if-you-are-a-sheep/

Jun 17

What I Wish Everyone Knew About Satan

everyone Knew about Satan.001We have an adversary, an enemy in Satan.  Paul describes Satan as the “god of this world” while Jesus described his character as being a “murder from the beginning” and “the father of lies”¹  Satan is not deity!  He is not equal with God.  Satan is a created being who prideful rebelled against God.²  Even though Satan is such a powerful force he is largely forgotten by our world.  Here are 3 things I wish everyone knew about Satan.

1.  Satan is real.  A 2009 Barna group survey revealed, “Four out of ten Christians (40%) strongly agreed that Satan ‘is not a living being but is a symbol of evil.’ An additional two out of ten Christians (19%) said they “agree somewhat” with that perspective.”³  Most people do not believe Satan is even real.  This is one of his supreme deceptions, in that he has convinced humanity that he doesn’t even exist.  Jesus saw his purpose and work as coming to “destroy the works of the devil”4.  Satan is real.  The Apostle Peter said he went about like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour5.  In the book of Job, Satan is described as going into the very throne room of God.  He has a conversation with God and reeks havoc on the life of Job.  Job likely didn’t know or understand the existence of Satan, but he certainly was affected by him.  So our world today, largely ignores the existence of Satan, but it is certainly greatly affected by him as the suffering and sin of our age attest.

2.  Satan wants to hurt God by hurting them.  Satan is enraged because he has been defeated at the cross and resurrection of Jesus.  Thus, he is enraged and knows he has a limited time to take as many of God’s children with him to hell as possible6.  We all understand that a good father loves his children more than his own life.  So our heavenly Father has such great love for humanity.  Satan can’t defeat God, but he can attack the ones He holds most dear.  Thus, Satan wants your soul in hell!  He dupes us with lies such as this world being about happiness, prosperity, and pleasure.  Satan seeks to ruin our relationships.  He rejoices at divorce and gains pleasure from discord!  Satan wants to divide congregations, and chiefly, desires to keep people separated from the saving gospel of Jesus Christ and the truth of His word.  For each person he keeps in his fold, he is able to hurt the heart of God!

3.  Satan is defeated.  The world views Satan and his scheme as normal, fun, and the best type of life.  People foolishly see hell as Satan’s playground and scoff at the idea floating around all day on clouds.  They had much rather be with Satan where the party never dies.  What a misconception of hell!  Hell is not Satan’s eternal party, but his eternal punishment!  Satan is defeated and will be punished for all eternity in hell7.  Satan has no more power over humanity because of the cross of Christ.  He can no longer accuse us of sin, when we are forgiven in Christ8. His greatest threat of death, holds us no longer in slavery because of the resurrection of Christ9.  We are freed from his deceptions through he truth of God’s word10.  Satan is defeated through Jesus!

Let’s expose the truth about Satan!  We have an enemy.  He is real.  He wants to harm our lives, our families, and the precious church of Christ.  But his ruin and defeat is certain.  Let us never choose to be on his side!

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1 – 2 Cor. 4:4; John 8:44

2 – Satan is not deity, so he is a created being (angel) – Col. 2:16 – for more information see this article:  http://www.apologeticspress.org/apcontent.aspx?category=11&article=135

3 – https://www.barna.org/barna-update/faith-spirituality/260-most-american-christians-do-not-believe-that-satan-or-the-holy-spirit-exis#.VYGA_GCElTY

4. – 1 John 3:8; Also Acts 10:38; Mark 3:22-27; John 12:31-32

5 – 1 Peter 5:8

6 – Revelation 12

7 – Revelation 20:9-10; Mat. 25:41

8 – Rev. 12:10; Acts 26:18; Rom. 8:1

9 – Heb. 2:14-16; John 11

10 – 2 Peter 1:3; Rev. 12:13-17; 2 Thess. 2:9-10; John 8:31-32; Heb. 4:12

Permanent link to this article: http://www.joshketchum.com/what-i-wish-everyone-knew-about-satan/

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