The Carnival of the Macabre

Just down the highway from my home a gunman murdered a reporter and a cameraman on live TV yesterday. Not only did he murder them live on air, he filmed himself doing it and posted it to social media. This murderer took his moment of infamy to complain he wasn’t treated well at work while running from the police. 15 minutes from my house the police identified his car and while pursuing him, the murderous coward committed suicide.

In the pain strewn wake of these events, while the bodies of the slain were not yet cold, politicians took to the airwaves to use the event to further their political talking points. “We need more gun control.” “We need more mental health services.” “We need more…” In every case the solutions offered do not address the core issue of what happened. Every time these heinous events occur, politicians whiff at addressing the real issue involved. Controlling behavior doesn’t fix a person.

The nation will argue and debate today and in the coming weeks over why this happened. Newspapers are putting still images of from the murder on their front page to attract viewers to their carnival of the macabre. They’re showing they have no objectivity but instead desire more readers to sell advertising. Talking heads will argue the same partisan talking points. They’ll show outrage and fear, and maybe they’ll actually feel it.

The nation will not mourn its present state. We shrug at death and move on to the next thing to medicate us with happiness. Sure, conversations about why things are falling apart occur, yet I have as many conversations with people who don’t feel that way and give a shrug at current events as they mentally move on.

The problem with us is that we’re evil.

The problem with our nation is that we’re evil.

The murderer yesterday did what he did because he’s evil.

Unless and until we come face to face with these facts, we will continue to pour water on a grease fire. Our nation, our people, our friends and coworkers, the average person on the street, needs the Gospel. Behavior modification and conformity only works for so long before the nature of mankind rebels and does what it desires to do. We cannot change hearts and minds. Jesus can. Jesus does.

This is not an either/or proposition of the Gospel or the common graces of law, medical care, and mental health. This is calling sin what it is, evil, and restating there is only one remedy for sin, Jesus Christ.

Do you want to see everything change? Do you want to see a tangible difference in your community? Share the gospel. With people. Use words. God will regenerate hearts and bring people out of darkness into his marvelous light. God will bring the only renewal and revival that lasts. God will take our broken vessels and mend them for his glory.

Do you believe it? Do you really believe he can do that?

Friends, let’s start living like it. You have the only hope of the world. You have eternal joy in Jesus Christ. You have it. It’s time to share it.

Today in Blogworld 08.27.15

3 Things to Remember Before You Criticize Someone’s Theology

With a little help from others, Justin Taylor gives us three exhortations to consider concerning criticism.

Ashley Madison and Who You Are Online

I haven’t followed this Ashley Madison thing too much…but I do know that what Tim says here has always been true. Who you are online ought to match who you are in real time.

Stop and Enjoy the Ordinary

You know the rule, kids. Tom Schreiner writes something. We read it. This is no exception.

How To Avoid Getting Caught in Adultery

There is one sure fire way to never get caught…the answer might surprise you.

I didn’t watch the actual Republican Debate, but it sounded pretty enjoyable:

Twelve Helps For a Hardened Heart

I’ve never really wished for a hard heart. But there are seasons when my heart begins to get a bit crusty. Perhaps there are things so deep and dark and painful that I don’t feel equipped to handle them. Which translated means—perhaps there are things which seem so powerful that I don’t trust the Lord to be big enough to handle them. Or maybe a choice sin has wrapped its tentacles so tightly around me that I’m deadening my own heart so as not to feel deep conviction.

Regardless the cause of the hardened heart it is a dangerous thing. To be “unmoved, unaffected, and disobedient” is not where one wants his heart to be. The Puritan, Richard Baxter, summarizes the hard heart quite well:

And that is the hard-hearted sinner, that will not be wrought to a love of holiness, nor let go his sin, when God commandeth him; but after all exhortations, and mercies, and perhaps afflictions, is still the same as if he had never been admonished, or took no notice what God hath been saying or doing to reclaim him.

That’s a terrible spot to be in. To prevent this and perhaps to shake believers out of the doldrums of a hard heart, Richard Baxter offers twelve helps for dealing with hardness of heart. I’ve modernized and summarized these, but I believe I’m being faithful to the original.

  1. Remember the majesty of the One you are hardening yourself against. You dare not respond to a king with such indifference—how much more the Living God?
  2. Consider the seriousness and nature of eternity.
  3. Ponder your deathbed and the judgment of Christ. “No man will stand before the Lord in the day of judgment, with a sleepy or a senseless heart.”
  4. Think often of the love of God in Christ.
  5. Look upon the end of your hardened heart; namely, the death of the soul.
  6. Take notice of the sad effects in the world which comes from a hard heart.
  7. Sit under passionate preaching and get around passionate Christians.
  8. Let tender-hearted Christians instruct you, and not be a witness against you.
  9. Avoid company which tends to harden your heart.
  10. Take heed of willfully sinning against knowledge.
  11. Be cautious of a dull familiarity with the powerful means of grace.
  12. Go to a graveyard or to a deathbed.

You really need to read the whole thing and not just my summary. Baxter is a helpful physician of the soul and the way he walks you through hardness of heart will likely enliven your heart to Christ. Here you can read it for free.

If you’d like to read a thousand more of these types of directions consider purchasing Baxter’s A Christian Directory. (It’s one of the most helpful books in my library).

Photo source: here

Today in Blogworld 08.25.15

8 Reasons Why We Should Want Change

I love David’s first sentence here.

God Does Help Those Who Help Themselves

Interesting.

Guardian Angels?

This is a solid treatment of the question: Does each believer have an individual guardian angel?

Don’t Hate the Phone Call, Hate the Phone

I don’t know if this fits my reason for loathing the phone, but nonetheless.

You’ll likely see yourself in one of these driving stereotypes: