Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Reformation Day!

What Is Reformation Day All About?

from Oct 30, 2013 Category: Articles
Tomorrow, much of the culture will be focused on candy and things that go bump in the night. Protestants, however, have something far more significant to celebrate on October 31. Tomorrow is Reformation day, which commemorates what was perhaps the greatest move of God’s Spirit since the days of the Apostles. But what is the significance of Reformation Day, and how should we consider the events it commemorates?
At the time, few would have suspected that the sound of a hammer striking the castle church door in Wittenberg, Germany, would soon be heard around the world and lead ultimately to the greatest transformation of Western society since the apostles first preached the Gospel throughout the Roman empire. Martin Luther’s nailing of his ninety-five theses to the church door on October 31, 1517, provoked a debate that culminated finally in what we now call the Protestant Reformation.
An heir of Bishop Augustine of Hippo, Martin Luther is one of the most significant figures God has raised up since that time. This law student turned Augustinian monk became the center of a great controversy after his theses were copied and distributed throughout Europe. Initially protesting the pope’s attempt to sell salvation, Luther’s study of Scripture soon led him to oppose the church of Rome on issues including the primacy of the Bible over church tradition and the means by which we are found righteous in the sight of God.
This last issue is probably Luther’s most significant contribution to Christian theology. Though preached clearly in the New Testament and found in the writings of many of the church fathers, the medieval bishops and priests had largely forgotten the truth that our own good works can by no means merit God’s favor. Salvation is by grace alone through faith alone, and good works result from our faith, they are not added to it as the grounds for our right standing in the Lord’s eyes (Eph. 2:8-10). Justification, God’s declaration that we are not guilty, forgiven of sin, and righteous in His sight comes because through our faith alone the Father imputes, or reckons to our account, the perfect righteousness of Christ (2 Cor. 5:21).
Martin Luther’s rediscovery of this truth led to a whole host of other church and societal reforms and much of what we take for granted in the West would have likely been impossible had he never graced the scene. Luther’s translation of the Bible into German put the Word of God in the hands of the people, and today Scripture is available in the vernacular language of many countries, enabling lay people to study it with profit. He reformed the Latin mass by putting the liturgy in the common tongue so that non-scholars could hear and understand the preached word of God and worship the Lord with clarity. Luther lifted the unbiblical ban on marriage for the clergy and by his own teaching and example radically transformed the institution itself. He recaptured the biblical view of the priesthood of all believers, showing all people that their work had purpose and dignity because in it they can serve their Creator.
Today, Luther’s legacy lives on in the creeds and confessions of Protestant bodies worldwide. As we consider his importance this Reformation Day, let us equip ourselves to be knowledgeable proclaimers and defenders of biblical truth. May we be eager to preach the Gospel of God to the world and thereby spark a new reformation of church and culture.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Is Technology Sucking Real Life Away? OMG, IDK!

Life in Utopia.

Imagine: you wake up to sunshine, your home is nice and warm, your pantry is stocked, your servants are busy making sure everything is exactly the way you want it.  You have no need to work because you are abundantly blessed with EVERYTHING you could ever want or need.  Your days go by smoothly because there are no problems in your world, your world is perfect!

Sounds wonderful, doesn't it?  The only problem in it is that it is all focused on self.  Living in a bubble is the only way to avoid problems but that also means avoiding people.  Our lives branch out in so many ways, family, coworkers, neighbors, church members, other shoppers at the grocery, our lives resonate in ways we cannot imagine.  I just made a new friend online from New Zealand, yep, communicating to New Zealand from Kentucky instantaneously, incredible!  My grandparents couldn't of imagined such a thing as the internet and yet it's deeply imbedded into our everyday lives.  The internet has become our 'gathering room' for visiting, communicating, sharing and for some it is truly their whole life.

There is one problem though, as we embed ourselves so deeply in our 'online' world we can forget to focus on the 'real' world, and that's a very bad thing indeed.  

I have to confess here that I am a technology nut, I even studied computers back in the late 70's in Technical School and have been obsessed ever since.  I don't have all the latest technology but I love to learn about it.  Second confession is that being the very, very shy person that I am, communicating through keyboard is wonderful!!  I can say so many things that I would not be able to word correctly through face to face or even over the telephone.  My mother has always said I have a gift with word, in fact I think it is just so much easier for me to say what I need to say through the written word.  So, for me technology is both a help and a hindrance.

I used to keep in contact with my family through visits or telephone, now I find that an email or facebook are quicker and it can be done in my time.  This is great because we don't have to play phone tag and can get an instant answer, but I think instant may not always be the best.  What I'm missing in the email is the tone of their voice, or by not seeing them in person I can't see the look on their face.  Are they having problems, hurting in some way?  I don't know because I'm on to the next email and my thoughts of them are out the door.  

I also suffer from self diagnosed ADD so my thoughts are generally fleeting anyway unless I'm forced to focus and face to face visits make me focus on that moment, without so many distractions.  Even visiting folks these days generally means watching a movie or at least keep the television on while visiting, TV is now our 'white' noise.

My sweet little parents have a computer, email, etc. and they enjoy watching TV in their bedroom for the news, etc.  But they do not have a TV in the living room, when we visit there the only 'white noise' is the traffic outside, it's truly a haven.  I even find that as we're visiting we all talk quieter and slower because we're not competing with the television.  As much as I love technology I do not watch television, we have a TV in the living room and hubby is addicted to it (he'll tell you himself), but the rest of us really don't watch it, except for the Duggars and Ghost Adventures that Katie and I watch on the DVR, and Chris and Katie watch their Manchester United Matches.  At first it was kind of hard but now I love it, we fast forward through commercials so we don't have those temptations, it's just a calmer life.

I think that there must be a balance or we can overuse technology and make it a necessity instead of the tool or occasional entertainment that it should be.  
I don't want to think that I will only communicate with my grandchildren through technology, that would be horrible, so I'm challenging myself to make more phone calls and ease back on the computer and ipod usage, I want to control them, not have them control me.  I want to break out of the bubble that I find way too comforting and reach out to others in their time, not mine.  I'll keep you updated on my progress.