Satan’s Word Switching – July 29, 2022

I was born in the middle of the 20th Century.  During most of my life, “sex” was a dirty word, and “gender” was the word we used in place of “sex of a human being.”   I know that words morph and develop, I know that English is a hodgepodge language and our words come from all over.  But sometimes we have to take a stand and say, with Inigo Montoyo, “I don’t think that word means what you think it means!”  I, for one, insist that God only made two genders!



P.S. Below is a condensed etymology of the word “Gender.”

c. 1300, “kind, sort, class, a class or kind of persons or things sharing certain traits,” from Old French gendre, genre “kind, species; character; gender” (12c., Modern French genre), from stem of Latin genus (genitive generis) “race, stock, family; kind, rank, order; species,” also “(male or female) sex,” from root *gene- “give birth, beget,” with derivatives referring to procreation and familial and tribal groups.

The “male-or-female sex” sense is attested in English from early 15c. As sex (n.) took on erotic qualities in 20c., gender came to be the usual English word for “sex of a human being,” in which use it was at first regarded as colloquial or humorous. Later often in feminist writing with reference to social attributes as much as biological qualities; this sense first attested 1963. Gender-bender is from 1977, popularized from 1980, with reference to pop star David Bowie.

gender (n.) Online Dictionary of Etymology

Since you read this far, I will confess that this article was written because of another word quibble I have.  Sunday we sang an ancient hymn, “Be Thou My Vision.”   Afterwards I couldn’t help but remember how the word “vision” is also misused within the church.   Tim Challies makes my point pretty well.
Strong’s Concordance:  VISION from chazah; a sight (mentally), i.e. A dream, revelation, or oracle — vision.

Accountable for every word – July 22, 2022

“Don’t we have to account for every careless word?”  I was asked, by an individual, in a moment of self-appraisal.   “Yes”, I said, but I was bothered that it didn’t seem to fit into my theology in general.  Thought it might be worthy of further study.  

Let’s start with the Biblical context.  Turns out the phrase only appears once, in Mathew 12.  Jesus says in verse 36, “But I tell you that every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment.”   On its face, that gives me pause.  I try to speak the truth in love. I try to make sure my conversation is full of grace, seasoned with salt.  Yet, I carelessly joke, tease, grump, and complain with the best of them.  Does that mean I’m in big trouble at the Judgment Seat?

As you look a little deeper you see that Matthew 12 records a debate between Jesus and the Pharisees.  As the chapter opens the Pharisees are taking Jesus to task because his disciples were gleaning handfuls of grain as they walked the fields on the Sabbath.  Jesus states that He is the LORD of the Sabbath and then asks them if they wouldn’t rescue a sheep from a pit on the Sabbath?  Matthew 12 then records them accusing Jesus, after He cast out demons, of being in league with the Devil.  Jesus’ response is to point out that if Satan’s house is that divided, it wouldn’t be standing, after which He pronounces judgment in this way:

He who is not with Me is against Me; and he who does not gather with Me scatters.

“Therefore I say to you, any sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven people, but blasphemy against the Spirit shall not be forgiven.  Whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come.

“Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for the tree is known by its fruit.  You brood of vipers, how can you, being evil, speak what is good? For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart. The good man brings out of his good treasure what is good; and the evil man brings out of his evil treasure what is evil.   But I tell you that every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment.  For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”  

Matthew 12:30-37 – emphasis added

The warning against careless, or idle, words is given in the context of denial or affirmation of Christ’s deity.  It doesn’t seem like Jesus has in mind a comment about the color of house you drive past or a quip during a canasta game with friends. He is cautioning us to speak carefully about His and the Spirit’s work.  I’m not implying that it’s “anything goes” in terms of our speech; Ephesians 4:25ff, makes it clear that our speech matters, but the words by which the unrepentant will be condemned and the redeemed will be justified are the words of blasphemy of, or faith in, Jesus! 

I, for one, need to trust more and worry less,

Pastor Scott

All we like sheep – Jul 15, 2022

On Sunday I shared a stat that had come across my screen about the impact of frequent Bible reading.   It had to do with Bible reading frequency and having a biblical worldview.  I couldn’t verify that specific stat this morning, but I am guessing it was derived from studies like this one:

In that study frequency of Bible Reading and frequency of church attendance (participation) are also linked; which brought this particular old story to mind!  Be edified!

A member of a certain church, who previously had been attending services regularly, stopped going. After a few weeks, the pastor decided to visit him. It was a chilly evening. The pastor found the man at home alone, sitting before a blazing fire.

Guessing the reason for his pastor’s visit, the man welcomed him, led him to a big chair near the fireplace and waited. The pastor made himself comfortable but said nothing. In the grave silence, he contemplated the play of the flames around the burning logs.

After some minutes, the pastor took the fire tongs, carefully picked up a brightly burning ember and placed it to one side of the hearth all alone. Then he sat back in his chair, still silent. The host watched all this in quiet fascination.

As the one lone ember’s flame diminished, there was a momentary glow and then its fire was no more. Soon it was cold and “dead as a doornail.”

Not a word had been spoken since the initial greeting.

Just before the pastor was ready to leave, he picked up the cold, dead ember and placed it back in the middle of the fire. Immediately it began to glow once more with the light and warmth of the burning coals around it.

As the pastor reached the door to leave, his host said, “Thank you so much for your visit and especially for the fiery sermon. I shall be back in church next Sunday.”

Yours, because I’m His,

Pastor Scott

Spring Cleaning – Jul 8, 2022

Our house is pretty “picked up.”  We aren’t neat freaks in the neurotic sense, but we aren’t slobs either.  The house is cleaned regularly and we typically put things back where they belong.  That said, every once in a while we have to search out a bad smell in the refrigerator or move a couch only to discover hidden messes: an old piece of lettuce turning brown in the bottom of vegetable crisper or toys, a piece of pop-corn, and a family of dust-bunnies living under the couch.   Sometimes no matter how careful you are in day-to-day life, things still get forgotten in a bottom drawer.

In John 13 we have a beautiful picture of how day-to-day living accumulates filth, as we see the Master kneeling down to wash the feet of His disciples.  Peter, after first arguing with Jesus, asks for a full body-wash.  Jesus said to him, “He who is bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean; and you are clean…”  Like Peter we have been justified, once for all, but sometimes we pick up filth that is less apparent than dust covered feet!

A Jewish tradition, in preparation for Passover, was to deep clean the whole house to insure that no leaven was present.  Paul uses that as a word picture for rooting out stubborn sin in the church (1 Cor 5:6-8), but it’s also a fitting illustration for cleaning out those hidden messes in our lives. In Psalm 139 David prays that God would search him and expose any hidden wickedness.

Praise God that “Justification” means God sees Christ’s righteousness, rather than our own sinfulness.  Still in more than one letter to believers we are instructed to confess (agree with God about) our sin.  Confession is part of the Lord’s model prayer and should be a routine in our devotional life.  But I wonder if, just like dust bunnies under the couch, there is sometimes sin in our habits or thought-life that we overlook.  

This issue came up this past Sunday in my class as we discussed communion.  What does it mean to “eat and drink in an unworthy manner?” (1 Cor 11:29)  Contextually it looks like it had to do with profaning the table itself by selfish conduct during the meal, so I can’t suggest that Paul meant we should sweep the leaven-cobwebs out before we partake.   That said, unacknowledged sin (blind spots) will certainly impede our fellowship with the Father and our effectiveness in service.  

I will be so bold as to ask if not prior to communion, then when?   We all need to have a time of deep contemplation/confession as part of the warp and weave of our lives.  Not to earn or secure our salvation, but to secure  productive service to our Savior.  Remember a boat doesn’t sink because it’s in the water; a boat sinks if the water gets  into the boat!  Checking for leaks needs to be routine in our lives! 

Yours in His Service,

Pastor Scott

The Gospel – July 1, 2022

If I feed the hungry and do not share the Gospel; I could leave a person satiated yet hell-bound

If I heal the sick (Christians did start the hospital systems) and do not share the gospel; I could leave a healthy person hell-bound.

If I solve poverty and do not share the gospel; I could leave people well-off yet hell bound.

And if I convince 1000’s of pregnant moms to keep their babies and do not share the gospel; I could leave generations of living children hell-bound.

The GOSPEL, not the issue, MUST be the focus – feed, heal, rescue but remember life is eternal; the Gospel makes our eternal future bright rather than TERRIFYING!


Pastor Scott