Bro James’ Family Minute

March 8, 2016
Theology Matters!
              I love this Charlie Brown cartoon about theology.  It illustrates well how even a right theological understanding about Noah’s flood can affect our lives today.  Truthfully, Theology affects everything you do in life.  Some people might say, “I’m not a theologian,” or “Doctrine doesn’t matter,” or any number of other statements about theology.  However, the truth is, everyone is a theologian and someone’s theology directly affects the way they live.  Theology Matters. (A Lot!)
              “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”
                                                                                                     2 Timothy 3:16-17

           When I was in school I learned that the “ology” at the end of words means “the study of,” and the prefix is the “what” we are studying.  “Theo” means God, so Theology is the study of God.  If Theology is the study of God, then by its own definition we can all easily agree that theology does matter because God matters, and knowing God makes a huge difference in our lives and how we live.  Therefore, Theology is very practical and applies to our lives every day.

            Let’s say someone says that they are an atheist.  Well, even an atheist is a theologian because the atheist theology is that there is no God and this theology informs how they choose to live.  Would you agree that an atheist might live life differently than a Christian?  Certainly!  Sometimes that might not be the case, sadly, not because of the atheist but because of the Christian.
             Maybe you’ve heard someone say something like this before:  “I don’t really get into ‘theology’ or ‘doctrine.’ I mean, I love Jesus. That’s really all that matters.”  That statement is in fact a theological statement.  Their theology, that loving Jesus is all that matters, has informed the way they choose to live and spend their time, choosing not to learn more about God (because theology is the study of God).
           Let’s just test that theology for a moment and let me ask, “Is loving Jesus really all that matters?”  How do you even know if the Jesus you love is the Jesus that saves?  Islam believes that Jesus is just a prophet, not the Son of God.  That Jesus won’t save anyone.  Mormons believe that Jesus is the brother of Satan.  Well, that’s not the same Jesus I know!  Is it possible for a Christian to say, “I love Jesus, but I don’t want to know him better”?  Theology is the study of God and Jesus is God.  If I say I love my wife, but the amount I know about her is the same as the day I married her, we would say there is something wrong there, wouldn’t we?  That would certainly frustrate my wife a lot and make it pretty hard on our marriage!  She might say something like, “He never learns that I hate roses and love Gerbera Daisies!” or “He always leaves his shoes by the door when over and over I tell him they need to be put away!” and so on…so then I might say to her, “I love you, isn’t that all that matters?”  How do you think that would go over?  Theology matters.
   For His glory,
Bro James
February 17, 2016
God is My Rock!  Is He Yours?
God is good.  God is good.  God is good.  I need to say thank you again to a very encouraging church who continues to bless our family over and over again.  There are so many things over the last month or two that many of you have done for us very generously, in a variety of ways, above and beyond any possible expectation.  We are very encouraged and want to say thank you again.  We can’t say thank you enough!
“[18:1] I love you, O LORD, my strength.  [2] The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.  [3] I call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies.” Psalm 18:1-3
Psalm 18 is written by David for corporate worship, but it comes from David looking back on his life.  The Kingdom of Israel has been firmly established under David’s rule, and David is getting older and nearing the end of his life.  As he looks back at where he has come from and all of the experiences that brought him to this point in his life, where he is now, he praises God and says, “God is my Rock.”  Or, in a sense, “God has been my Rock through it all.”  David gives some examples of some ways God has been his Rock.  At times, He has been my fortress, or my deliverer, my refuge, even my shield, my stronghold, my horn of salvation, and He has saved me from my enemies.
I was asking myself the question, would I look back on my own life and be able to say the same thing David says, “God is my Rock,” or “God has been my Rock” through it all.  David did not have an easy life.  God was with David, but that didn’t mean it was always smooth sailing.  David had to defend sheep from lions and bears, he stood up to a giant with a sling and some small stones, he spent years running for his life from a king who wanted him dead, he went into battle after battle against enemies of Israel, and more.  And David said after all that, God is my Rock.  Would you have said that?  Or would you have said, “Why me, God?”  or “Don’t you love me, God?” or “Why does God keep making bad things happen to good people?”  Or, would you have said, “Despite all of these hard times and challenges and difficulties and struggles, God was faithful, God was good, God was with me, God was brought me through, God was my Rock!”?  Is God your Rock?
David could have easily looked back on everything in his life and gave himself the credit instead of God.  After all, David was the one who fought the bears and lions.  David was the one who picked up the smooth stones and flung them at Goliath.  David was the one was crafty enough to outsmart Saul and escape with his life.  David was the one who trained his army for battle and strategically positioned and moved them for victory in battle.  Wasn’t he?  David could have said, “I am awesome.  I am my Rock.  Look at what I have done and how I have established this great kingdom.”  But David didn’t do that.  Rather David says, in all those times, God was my strength, my shield, my fortress, my salvation, and he saved me from my enemies.  David always gives God all the glory.  Would you have done that?  Do you do that now?
For His Glory,
  Bro James