I continue to receive letters from readers. Here is a small collection of them commenting on my articles or videos on living worthy of the gospel, on warnings from the earliest Christians, and on Joel Osteen’s sermon that changed Oprah’s life. I hope you enjoy them!
Letters on Are You Living Worthy of the Gospel?
In our times, I think a more important question is ‘How are we to live a life worthy of the gospel?’ I think a lot of Christians may possibly read this article and realize that they fall way short and then either become overly introspective (and then discouraged and depressed) or else attempt to pull themselves up by their bootstraps and make another attempt at ‘doing better’.
Instead we need to be regularly hearing that we need to learn to live out of who we already are in Christ—the only one who could live worthy of the Gospel and who did so for us, because we could never do so—both prior to being a Christian and after becoming a Christian. We only are able to do so out of our union with Christ and receiving from His life, His Spirit indwelling us, the fruit of His Spirit.
The church needs a healthy understanding of Gal 2:20, a fuller and richer Gospel that truly glorifies Christ and His work for us and in us. I think in these current times we need to shift the our thinking and living towards His life in us.
Thanks for all that you do to serve the Christian community!
—Rick H, Denver, CO
Letters on A Sober Warning from the Earliest Christians
This is a lightning-rod issue if there ever was one. Tolerance is a double-edged sword. The only views that need the protection of tolerance are those that people find intolerable. I disagree vehemently with Nazis, but I will fight to the death for their right to be wrong. A society that doesn’t tolerate opposing views is not one I wish to live in.
That said, the tolerance that’s being pushed in this country isn’t “live and let live.” It’s a “you must accept our ways or we will ruin your life” approach. It says that if you don’t agree with me, I cannot have you in my life. At times, it gets violent. The Bible is much more than our guidebook for life. It’s God’s word. It’s sacred. Yet, I can see the day when it will be illegal to sell a Bible unless certain passages have been eliminated. Is that something we should do in order to foster societal unity? As a pastor, if you were asked (demanded) by society to perform a same-sex marriage in order to show unity, would you do it? Would I have added the little homage to the Emperor had I lived in ancient Rome? I might have out of fear, but I don’t think I would have out of an obligation to unity.
We are called to be different, which I strongly believe has a lot to do with the love we show our fellow humans. But there’s more to it than that. We follow a different set of rules. These things are slippery slopes. It’s compromise. Good says, “Come stand with me.” Evil says, “Take a little step this way. Not so bad, eh? How about another step?” To offend or not to offend? To unify or not to unify? At some point, we have to draw a line and say, “Here I stand; I can do no other. God help me.”
—Keith K, Buford, GA
Dear Tim. Your article about the preaching by Joel Osteen is done in good taste and looks for understanding in his type of messaging to the public. We are to prosper, but not by the world’s standard. The bottom line of preaching is that it is to lead a person to the Word so that he or she will gain understanding about what they are questioning—to seek His face and get a deep relationship with the Lord. Anything else is just idle babble and invites the enemy in to sow seeds of doubt, which in turn leads to confusion and chaos. Thank you again for your time.
—Kevin M. Salton City ,CA
Tim, thanks for the reminder of what a bad sermon looks and sounds like. It sharpened my thoughts for the sermon I’ll be preaching this Sunday. The focus will be Christ. Blessings.
Randall D, Lenoir City, TN
Letters on Porn’s Ever-Evolving Verbs
Thanks for continuing to write and talk with grace and truth. I have read your blog for a while now, and take great encouragement from it, both when I’m rebuked and when I’m filled with joy. I found your article about the changing nature of porn helpful. Having been a heavy user in my teenage years, I know the power of sin over my life. By God’s grace I seek to be faithful every day in ridding myself of sinful habits. Keep aiming to share the truth in love, and I will likewise seek to do the same in my life.
—Pete C, Perth, Western Australia