Social Media

3,000 year old wisdom from the Book of Proverbs about the use of social media.

“Like apples of gold in settings of silver is a word spoken in right circumstances.”25:11

“The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life,” 10:11

“Anxiety in the heart of a man weighs it down, but a good word makes it glad.”12:25

“There is one who speaks rashly like the thrusts of a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.” 12:18

“When there are many words, transgression is unavoidable, but he who restrains his lips is wise.” 10:19

“He who guards his mouth and his tongue, guards his soul from troubles.”21:23

“The mind of the intelligent seeks knowledge, but the mouth of fools feeds on folly.” 15:14

“Do not answer a fool according to his folly, lest you also be like him.” 26:4

“The heart of the righteous ponders how to answer, but the mouth of the wicked pours out evil things.” 15:28

“He who restrains his words has knowledge, and he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding.” 17:27

“He who covers a transgression seeks love, but he who repeats a matter separates intimate friends.” 17:9

“A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” 15:1

“For lack of wood the fire goes out, and where there is no whisperer, contention quiets down.” 26:20

God Bless, Rick

Maintaining Manhood

“Toxic masculinity” seems to be the new way to describe the behavior of males when they do something unacceptable, and the governor of California even said it was the cause of recent mass shootings.

Upon hearing that, I recalled an article I had read in Touchstone entitled “Manhood Is Not Natural.” Some final thoughts in the article include this: “True masculinity is not and cannot ever be toxic. Masculinity is a personal and social virtue. Those who use the word ‘toxic’ are confusing masculine with macho and male pathology.” The thesis of the article can be summarized by the following quotes.

“Womanhood is a natural phenomenon. A female’s biological make-up usually ensures that she will grow into a healthy woman. Leave her to herself, and she is much more likely than her male peers to move into mature adulthood. It’s why the phrases ‘Woman up,’ ‘Be a woman,’ or ‘Make a woman out of her’ don’t exist.”

“The opposite is true of manhood. Manhood is not natural. It must be socially constructed. Unlike a woman, a man has no civilized role or agenda inscribed in his body. The boy has no onboard GPS directing him toward his future. His manhood does not exist within himself, as womanhood does in a girl.”

“His movement into manhood can only come into being if he has a pilot, a director, to guide him toward that destination. Doing this is the significant, intentional work of older men around him, starting with his father. As a behavior and a status, manhood must be learned, earned, demonstrated, and proven by the growing boy over the years. As an identity, manhood must be bestowed by a boy’s father and the community’s larger fraternity of men. His mother can only affirm it. She cannot bequeath it.”

“Manhood is not a status to be achieved, but a reputation to be maintained, for one can lose it at any time. The captain of the Costa Concordia cruise ship lost his in an instant. Yes, maleness just happens. Manhood does not and cannot. The first is a biological event. The second is a carefully developed character quality.”

May God help us raise up a generation of real men.

God Bless, Rick

Castles and Coveting

I warned you. I told you I had alot of pictures. And three hours sitting in a pew certainly make the occasional sermon that stretches to a half hour seem short.

While I realize that showing pictures of your vacation can seem like flaunting your experience, I trust no one felt that way. I viewed it as simply sharing with family something we enjoyed, and thought some might enjoy as well. And I do think that even those who didn’t endure to the end enjoyed the pictures. Maybe they even learned something, as I did while taking them.

I had a particular aha moment while looking at the castles perched on the hills that line the Rhine. They weren’t built there to attract tourists, they were built to protect the people who lived in the valleys below them.

Our guide pointed out that people who lived elsewhere would decide they wanted what someone had, and would attempt to take it. My first thought was why? Why didn’t they just stay where they were, and farm their own piece of land? Then it hit me; they coveted what their neighbor had.

Obviously I’m well aware that the 10th commandment is “You shall not covet.” I do, however, have to admit that I generally thought of it as the least important of the commandments; almost like an after-thought. Oh, and by the way, don’t even covet. Now I see it not at the bottom of the list, but as foundational to all the rest.

Coveting is a sin of the heart that leads to sinful activity. If you don’t covet your neighbor’s possessions, you won’t lie, steal, or kill to get them. If you don’t covet his wife, you won’t commit adultery. If you don’t covet the silver spoon in someone’s mouth, you will honor your own parents. And if you don’t think you’ve been short-changed by God, you won’t bad-mouth Him, or look for another.

The wars that fashioned Europe into what it is today were caused by coveting, and the horrible things we do to each other are fundamentally caused by it as well. Oh that we, like Paul, could learn the secret of contentment, and simply live in gratitude for all God has done, and has promised to do for us.

God Bless, Rick

The Choice is Yours!

I trust you noticed on the front page that two books are being considered for our Sunday night adult study this year. I really like them both, and feel either one would make for a good study with lots of discussion. In fact, we may eventually study both of them. But for now, it’s up to you to decide which one we will begin on September 15th.

The first one up for consideration is 7 Reasons Why You Can Trust The Bible by Erwin Lutzer, pastor of the Moody Church in Chicago. Dr. Lutzer does an exceptional job of exploring seven foundational arguments for the reliability of Scripture. He explores the Bible’s claims about itself, its historical reliability, prophetic predictions that are fulfilled, what Jesus said about it, the harmony between science and the Bible, and how God has preserved it and lives have been changed by it. In a day of skepticism about everything, we need to make certain we understand why we can base our lives, and our eternal destiny, on a book that’s thousands of years old.

The second book is The Hand of God by Alistair Begg. Alistair is the pastor of Parkside Church in Cleveland, who is from Scotland and still preaches with a brogue. His writing, however, transcends cultures and speaks powerfully to the people of God wherever they are. In this delightful book he reveals things about the life of Joseph, and God’s providential care of him, that I had never considered. If you would like to be reassured about God’s guiding and protecting hand, this study will help you face the trials of life.

Please let me know which study you would prefer within the next two weeks so I can get them ordered. We’ll decide how to best cover the material in them once we start meeting together.

And speaking of Sunday nights, I’ve been talked into showing pictures from our European trip this Sunday at 6:00. But be forewarned, I still have a ton of pictures on my iPhone, and Chris is figuring out how to project them all on the auditorium wall. So if you come, you may want to bring some snacks to stay awake, or just bring a pillow.

God Bless, Rick

Good To Be Home

We’ve seen some of the most famous churches in the world, but as I noted on the front page, our favorite church in the whole world is C.C.C. We’ve been to churches where they say the remains of the Magi, Mark, Peter, Michelangelo, and Galileo have been interred, but Chatham is where we live and worship a living God. It’s good to be home.

After deleting a thousand or so pictures, I still have over a thousand on my iPhone. I may bore my immediate family with them all, but I can’t put my church family through it. I will, however, show you some if you ask, and here are a few highlights of our seventeen days in Europe.

In London we saw the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace, cruised the Thames, and ate fish and chips. The Eurostar then took us to Brussels at 180 miles an hour where we met the rest of our 18 member tour group and boarded our wonderfully uncrowded luxury coach.

In Amsterdam we ate dinner on a glass topped boat while cruising the canals and saw the home of Anne Franke. The next day we visited the amazing Cologne Cathedral that took over 600 years to build and cruised the Rhine past umpteen castles. We then traveled through the Austrian Alps to Salzburg where Mozart was born, and in Vienna had dinner and a classical concert at the Opera House.

In Venice we rode through the inner canals in a gondola while being serenaded and watched Venetian glass blowing. In Rome we tossed coins in the Trevi fountain, toured the Colosseum where martyrs died, and spent twenty minutes in awe at the Sistine Chapel. In Florence we saw where both Michelangelo and Leonardo Di Vinci lived, and then had dinner at the villa in the Tuscan hills where Machiavelli was held in exile.

We cruised through the lake to Lucerne Switzerland where we ate cheese fondue, and went to the top of Mount Pilatus. In Paris we saw the Eiffel Tower, cruised the Seine, and I ate snails.

The history of all the wars and rumors of wars that formed Europe made us realize how blessed we are to be living where we do. And like I said, we’re glad to be home.

God Bless, Rick