Chaplain Rick's Thoughts

Proverbs 4:1  Hear, ye children, the instruction of a father, and attend to know understanding.

On Father’s Day we look at the path of a young man and to recognize that at times the greatest wisdom comes from the unlikeliest places.

My dad volunteered for wartime service before he graduated high school. Yet without a diploma he proved he know how to learn. Within a short time he worked himself to the level of crew chief flying all over the world, responsible for million dollar aircraft. He was recruited into the CIA because he looked, average; but there was little average about him. A combat vet, special operations commando, specialist in gorilla warfare, flight mechanic, engineer, (blackhawk) CIA and Secret Service, spoke 5 languages… but of all these thing I mostly knew him as dad.

During his 40 year military career he had taken courses to finish his high school, got a degree in engineering from the Air Force Community College, took over 600 additional training courses; spent his vacations outside of Army training centers so he could take continuing courses while allowing his family to have some time away.  He literally challenged himself to be the best he could be all the days of his life. Even while he was consulting for the CIA he worked in the automotive industry as a consultant, earning Mercedes and Volkswagen‘s highest honors.

He would continually say things like:

  • Judge not a man by his actions, but by his reactions.
  • Why is it there never seems to be enough time to do a job right, but there always seems to be time to do it over.
  • A job is not complete until it has been done completely.
  • Henry Ford: If you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right
  • You should rather be an hour early than a minute late
  • Excellence is a habit, not an act. Practice perfection.
  • The greatest teacher, is failure.
  • Perform forensics on failure so you can be found guilty of greatness
  • Good enough isn’t good enough if it can be better, and better isn’t good enough if it can be best.
  • When you hit rock bottom, you will find the solid foundation in which to build.
  • The only day I will ever be disappointed in you is the day you stop trying.
  • On the day you succeed me will be my greatest day. I will not have a thought of jealousy but rather victory, because in that day my trials will have become trails; having created a path my children can follow.

The Flag and the knife

A nice young man came walkin’ by
He asked, “Why do you fly that flag so high?
Those stars and stripes are tattered and worn
and a new flag would be better adorned…”

I answered back with a smile in place
gleaming through the scars deep on my face.
Why that flag was Grandpa’s, I begun,
He raised and lowered it with the daily sun.

Till he got the call to go to war,
to serve his country on a foreign shore.
You see Grandma refused to let it down
waiting for the day he was safe and sound.

So through the sun, rain and wind it blew,
She said cause that’s what Pappy’s going through.
No one was taking him in each night
as he braved the elements in his long fight.

Till on a sunny day the corner he round,
Grandpa was home safe and sound.
The next day the flag in the sky did soar
then he brought it in at night as he did once before.

For just a few years the flag waved proud
as Grandpa told his stories to the stirring crowd.
No one was more proud than Grandma, no not one
Till the next foreign war called their son.

You see now why this flag is tattered and worn
Grand Fathers, Fathers and Sons now have born,
the responsibility of keeping you free
which is why you see these scars on me.

It didn’t matter what type of harshness it was;
a beach, a jungle, a desert because
this flag has flown while we were gone
and our wives this tradition have carried on.

For three generations this flag has flown
through the rain and snow, wind and sun
Across the world for this country we roamed
This flag meant welcome home son, welcome home.

Proverbs 22:28  Remove not the ancient landmark, which thy fathers have set.

Psalms 119:9 Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word.

Philippians 4:8 Finally, brethren,

  • whatsoever things are true,

3 John 1:12  Demetrius hath good report of all men, and of the truth itself: yea, and we also bear record; and ye know that our record is true.

  • whatsoever things are honest,

Luke 8:15  But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience.

  • whatsoever things are just,

Proverbs 20:7  The just man walketh in his integrity: his children are blessed after him.

  • whatsoever things are pure,

Psalms 119:140  Thy word is very pure: therefore thy servant loveth it.

  • whatsoever things are lovely,

Song of Solomon 5:16  His mouth is most sweet: yea, he is altogether lovely. This is my beloved, and this is my friend, O daughters of Jerusalem.

  • whatsoever things are of good report;

3 John 1:12  Demetrius hath good report of all men, and of the truth itself: yea, and we also bear record; and ye know that our record is true.

  • if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

9 Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.

 

1 Timothy 5:8  But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.

 

There is a movement that has been taking place since the 80’s that has been allowed to propagate by Christians. This movement of “passiveness” has become a major doctrinal departure from the scriptures, yet is supported and promoted by the majority of Modern Christianity.

This progressive interpretation uses multiple methods to dilute the Bible, twist core doctrines and dissolve the scriptural barriers that were established to protect and promote our system of beliefs. This is done by:

  • Changing the word of God to fit this passive progressive mindset
  • Shame those who would hold to core beliefs and practices.
  • Bringing this passive progressive mentality into the mainstream of TV, radio, music, literature and more to make this movement front and center with the focused purpose to replace the truth with a waterdowned version.

Romans 1:25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.

1 John 1:5 This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.

6 If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:

Doctrine of Separation

A large part of this movement is to break down the barriers that God established to keep Spiritual things separated from Worldly things.

The doctrine of separation was established through Abraham of the old testament where God set a people unto himself and SEPARATED them from the rest of the world. This separation is to not just keep God’s people away from sin… but to keep a ready sample of purity for people to see.

Even in the new testament the doctrine of separation holds true however, modern Christianity has thrown open the doors and brought the world into the holy of holies; BYPASSED the alter, BYPASSED the laver and brought the filth of the world into the presence of God.

2 Corinthians 6:17  Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,

John 12:32  And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.

Doctrine of Judgement

Have you ever heard: “Judge not lest thou be judged”. Isn’t it amazing how quick people are to use verses in the Bible to justify their own sin. This fallacy can be propagated because people, who claim to be Christians; don’t know the word of God.

1 Corinthians 6:2 Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters?

3 Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life?

1 Corinthians 11:31 For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.

32 But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world.

1 Peter 4:17  For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?

Praise and Worship

Ephesians 5:19  Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;

Colossians 3:16  Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.

Hebrews 2:12  Saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee.

Psalms 138:2  I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name.

Matthew 6:7  But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.

Doctrine of Hell

Part of this progressive mindset is to soften or eliminate the word of God to fundamental truths. Many religions teach hell is non existent or just separation from God. This is to make people “feel” comfortable or to prey off their ignorance however; God’s word hasn’t changed. Rewriting the Bible to fit your desires or teaching false doctrines does not change God’s word!

Luke 16:23 And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.

24 And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.

25 But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented.

26 And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.

Love vs. Hate

One of the largest areas of contention/ willful ignorance that is propogated is that there is nothing that God hates, that He is only love.

The verses they cling to are:

1 John 4:8 He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.

9 In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.

10 Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.

And

1 John 4:16  And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.

However they are willfully ignorant of:

Proverbs 6:16 These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him:

17 A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood,

18 An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief,

19 A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.

Deuteronomy 16:22  Neither shalt thou set thee up any image; which the LORD thy God hateth.

Noah Webster: Abhor – To hate extremely, or with contempt; to lothe, detest or abominate

Psalms 78:59  When God heard this, he was wroth, and greatly abhorred Israel:

Leviticus 26:9 For I will have respect unto you, and make you fruitful, and multiply you, and establish my covenant with you.

10 And ye shall eat old store, and bring forth the old because of the new.

11 And I will set my tabernacle among you: and my soul shall not abhor you.

12 And I will walk among you, and will be your God, and ye shall be my people.

13 I am the LORD your God, which brought you forth out of the land of Egypt, that ye should not be their bondmen; and I have broken the bands of your yoke, and made you go upright.

14 But if ye will not hearken unto me, and will not do all these commandments;

15 And if ye shall despise my statutes, or if your soul abhor my judgments, so that ye will not do all my commandments, but that ye break my covenant:

16 I also will do this unto you; I will even appoint over you terror, consumption, and the burning ague, that shall consume the eyes, and cause sorrow of heart: and ye shall sow your seed in vain, for your enemies shall eat it.

17 And I will set my face against you, and ye shall be slain before your enemies: they that hate you shall reign over you; and ye shall flee when none pursueth you.

18 And if ye will not yet for all this hearken unto me, then I will punish you seven times more for your sins.

 

In the ‘60’s, a TV show set out to provide a mindset of exploration and adventure being pitched as “the wagon train to the stars”. Gene Roddenberry sought to provide a glimpse of society from the viewscreen of a starship. In this show called Star Trek, he identified issues of the day and attempted to provide a solution that a utopian mindset might solve.

If you’ve ever watched the original series you will see that while the option was presented, it was never really the solution. It always seemed to stop short of a being the best option, leaving a question of whether there was a better solution.

Years after the show was cancelled, fan popularity brought back a Motion Picture in 1979 that revisited the slogan: “To seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where noone has gone before.”

The interesting comparison and perhaps the opening that gave Star Trek it’s extraordinary longevity is the fact that during those same years, Christians we’re beginning to be shamed for having the answer that society was so much searching for.

If fact, when Christians began to be silent, society began to go boldly looking for the answer.

In the 60’s the Bible and Prayer were removed from schools, the Apollo 8 Astronauts were sued for reading Genesis aloud on their flight to the moon, homosexuality became a protected legal status in 1967; all the while Christians continue to become more passive and increasingly silent.

On this 40th anniversary of Star Trek the Motion Picture, I think it is appropriate to look at those in the Bible who have boldly gone on before us, having the very answer humanity needs and refusing to be silent. Their lives and precious words can empower us to boldly do the same.

Consider these great heroes of our faith:

  • Moses Boldly went into Egypt to say let my people go.
  • Abraham boldly went into new civilization when God said to go.
  • King David boldly went before his enemies with the power of God
  • Elijah boldly stood before the 450 prophets of Baal and the people saying: “How long halt ye between two opinions? if the LORD be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him.”
  • Jesus, Paul, Phillip, Barnabus, Apollos, Pricilla, Aquila, Timothy and John ALL had a testimony of preaching the Gospel and BOLDLY taking the gospel… where it had never gone before.

You don’t have to have a Bible degree to be bold.

Acts 4:13  Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.

People can tell when you have spent time with Jesus.

Boldly speak the truth

Ephesians 3:12  In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him

With boldness comes knowledge of where our power comes from.

1 Corinthians 1:18  For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.

Ephesians 6:19  And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel,

To keep Christians silent society has shamed the truth, diluted the Bible, populated false teachers, and called evil good and good evil.

Boldness from the Pulpit to the People

2 Corinthians 7:4  Great is my boldness of speech toward you, great is my glorying of you: I am filled with comfort, I am exceeding joyful in all our tribulation.

Boldness of the People to the World

Colossians 1:23  If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister;

Conclusion

The final frontier is not the exploration of space or the exploration of our minds; the final frontier is souls. It takes boldness for a Pastor to speak truth and boldness of the people to take the Gospel message to a lost and dying world. Outside these doors lies the greatest adventure you could ever know, Christians have been taught to fear it, hide from it and not speak against it.

But we are told to Boldly Go by our headquarters; to set our coordinates on souls, and perhaps take the Gospel where it has never gone before. Because Christians have been silent for so long… that may be across the street, rather than across the world.

 

As homes and apartments continue to be built for our ever-growing population, the challenge of space management seems to take center stage. These homes and apartments get smaller and smaller leaving people with the question “Where do I put all my stuff?”

You might ask even, “Why is these tips on a biblical training site?” … Simply testimony. As a Pastor and Chaplain my family was/is constantly pulled in 20 different directions, making it a challenge to keep a clean home. Nothing is more embarrassing than to have a drop-in visitor to find my home to be a mess, it makes for a poor testimony.

So in this article I will look at additional tips and tricks to help keep your busy home a good testimony for the Lord (and help keep your sanity).

Replace and Remove

If you’re like so many of us, we hate to throw things away. I mean, surely we’ll have a use for that one day; right? And so, begins the clutter. A good rule of thumb to help keep your home clutter free is to have the mindset of “replace and remove”. This practice simply helps you make a habit to replace those things that you are upgrading, such as a small appliance; then remove the old one. You might even consider having a yard sale or donating those old items to help keep the clutter down.

A Place for Everything and Everything in its Place

We’ve all heard this adage, but now it’s time to put it in the practice. By only keeping and utilizing those things that you need, it helps to cut down on clutter, simple; right? Often this is easier said than done. Especially when moving from a larger home to a smaller home or apartment, you’ve accumulated stuff that simply doesn’t have a place in your new home. To help overcome this challenge it will be noteworthy to categorize the different rooms within your home and what you actually need on a day-to-day basis. Then looking for appropriate storage for those things that you don’t use on a day-to-day basis.

The Three-month Rule

Part of having a place for everything and everything in its place is to have, as previously mentioned, appropriate storage for things that you don’t use on a day-to-day basis. Once you put something into storage (closet or cabinet) comes in the three-month rule. If you don’t need it or use it over a three-month period of time, you might not need it at all!

Clean As You Go

One of the things that we teach our kids when talk about home organization, cleaning or clutter removal is to adopt the mindset of “clean as you go”. This practice goes a long way to help keep your home clean and clutter free. If you clean up when you get done… You don’t to clean it up later. Which brings us to the next point:

Store your items where you use them

With our busy lives here it’s easy to identify a task and simply say “I’ll do it later”. If your storage is in a different room or on the other side of the apartment, it’s easy to just leave it for later; only later comes later everyday. Before you know it, you’re dealing with a cluttered mess that you will need more time to clean and organize than if you would have planned to keep the storage and the location closer together.

By organizing your home to store your items in the same room or area that you are using them: such as office supplies stored in the desk or CDs and DVDs in the entertainment center; it’ll help you be able to quickly put away those cluttered items before it becomes a bigger problem.

Take Time to Plan

When setting up a new house or apartment you should take time to think carefully about what’s going where and how it’s going to be used. In doing so you can set up or purchase additional storage, for those little things that can cause clutter, so you can keep and maintain a well organized room.

The Skeleton in the Closet

Have a place where all of that extra little clutter can go, call it a junk drawer or a box that is in the bottom of the closet. Wherever you can put those things that don’t have a place to go, but you can’t really get rid of them. Hopefully, over a period of time you can decrease that box of clutter using the three-month rule. But until then at least it won’t be causing clutter on your counters and tables.

 

 

The more I visit homes to work with parents and children; the more I realize that the art of cleaning seems to have skipped a generation (or 2). I speak to many well intentioned people that never really learned how to clean or organize their home. Regardless of the reasons, I know there are a number of things that can get in the way of keeping your home in showroom fashion. However, the largest one, is often the easiest one; time.

In this article we are going to point out a few time savers that can help keep your home clean on a daily basis.

Clean As You Go

Procrastination is such an easy thing to do; but it also has the largest ramifications. Often times putting off until tomorrow becomes the next day and the next day. By taking a few quick moments to clean as you go, you frankly; won’t need to “clean house” as often. Momma always said: “You make the mess, you clean it up”. Well, momma has the right idea. If you clean something in each room as you use it; it makes “house work” a simpler chore.

Use Cleaning Wipes

Convenience is something that can be worth the price. Cleaning wipes are a convenient and easy way to clean your home as you go; without the extra prep time. By having cleaning wipes, for example the Clorox brand wipes; in each room you can quickly wipe the counters, toilet, mirrors, table and sinks. This saves the time of finding a sponge, getting the water and detergent, wiping and drying and putting it all way. A cleaning wipe allows you to wipe and walk and get back to the things you want to do.

The No Shoe Rule

As with most homes, keeping the floors clean is a daily chore. Dirt, mud, snow and more gets tracked through the house making a big mess to deal with. Having a “no shoe rule” means having everyone to remove their footwear before entering the home. You can even get a shoe rack or box to place the shoes in outside the doors.

Clutter Chaos

If there is something that can make a clean house look dirty; clutter is it. Mail, clothes, shoes, dishes, magazines, blankets and toys are all things that make a clean house look dirty. It’s amazing how any of these things left out can get the instant reaction and impression that the house is dirty. (although it might be). By just taking a few minutes to deal with the daily mail, put away the toys after you’re done, putting the shoes away, straightening up the magazines; you get the picture, it can really make a big difference on how clean a house really feels.

 

Nothing like finishing up a hard days’ work to come home to the kids rooms all a mess. However, with every situation is a teaching opportunity. It’s amazing how many thinks that just because they are the “Pastor’s Kids” that they are going to keep their room better than any other child. In this article we will look at some useful tips to help keep your kids room organized and clean. (or at least try)

Is the problem too many toys?

As a parent I have to say that when my kids were young, I bought them toys all the time. Happy meal toys, dollar toys, birthday toys, Christmas… really, I spoiled them; I admit it. What that led to though, is a room with more stuff than storage; and more items than interest.

In making the mindset of organization and cleaning I really needed to ask myself: “Is the problem that they have too much?” If I was going to set them up with a good pattern to follow, I needed to condense the conundrum and get rid of the toys they didn’t play with anymore.

Everything has a Place and Everything in its Place

After you have gone through the chore of condensing, there is a time of training that needs to take place. The younger you start the better; but training is part of getting the child to understand the need of keeping the room clean. Naturally setting the ensample is important, showing them how and making it a consistent chore will lead to good habits. Reinforce that with keeping your stuff clean and organized as well.

Storage, Storage, Storage

Its hard to put everything in its place if there is no place to put it. Evaluating the storage needs and equipping the room with appropriate storage; will help keep everything looking tidy and proper.

Labeling will help school age children keep things organized and teach a proper path to putting things where they belong; rather than just throwing things in cubbies just to “make it look clean”. Parental guidance will be needed to consistently check to make sure the kids are putting things where they properly go.

Clean As You Go

If you read many of my articles you will know that I advocate the “clean as you go” mindset. This mindset will help the child understand that if they clean as they finish, there is nothing left to clean later. This mindset, coupled with storage and training, can go a long way to helping the child keep their room clean.

The Building Blocks of Success

If we look at each task or chore we have our children do as a building blocks to a responsible work ethic; it takes some of the aggravation of constantly repeating ourselves out. Each opportunity teaches the child to have responsibility, exercise self-control, organizational skills, time management; are all things that can be learned from consistent training and chores.

Naturally you can make cleaning fun for the younger children by making it a game; however, school aged children should learn that responsibilities are as much a part of life and the rewards they bring.

It’s no secret in this day and time that young people today lack many of the “work hard” traits that we reflect on as a core principle. Finding a young person that exhibits a work ethic is literally a diamond in the rough. As a business owner and parent; I would like to take this article to reflect on some core values and more specifically: the importance of chores.

Setting the Ensample

Do as I say, not as I do. For years I have heard this expression and disliked it. It might sound good when you’re talking to a six-year-old child; but, in reality it avoids our personal responsibility to teach our children based upon our words AND our actions. Often times a young person’s solid work ethic comes from watching the work ethic of their parents. By showing them what hard work looks like our children will see hard work as “normal” rather than the exception.

The biblical term that best describes this is called the ensample. The difference between an example and ensample is this:

  • An example is telling them how to do something
  • An ensample is showing them how to do something

By setting the ensample for our children we can help produce in them a strong work ethic that will lay the foundation of success for many years to come.

Everybody Hates Chores (but everybody need chores)

Household chores are simply a way to help children become acclimated with work. However, if used properly; chores can also teach children responsibility and accountability. Simply doing chores to get them done, without accountability, is just a way to get free labor; we should rather use chores as a teaching tool. Just as an employer would challenge their employees to complete the task as stated, chores should be handled with the same responsibility and accountability.

As stated: Completing a task the way that you or told or shown how to do. Not how you think or perceive the task should be completed.

Example:

If the chore is to take out the trash, was it done exactly as stated? Was it taken out on time? Did the trashcan get cleaned? Did a new trash bag get placed in the trashcan? By following through and making sure that the chore was completed as stated you identified to the child your expectation. By holding the child accountable for the proper completion of the chore you help teach them the same accountability that they should have when working for an employer or later on… for their customer!

Holding the child accountable for the completion of the task to be done exactly as stated requires as much work for the parent as it does for the child. The child should know that our most important goal is that they learn how to complete a task as stated. (Not how they think it should be done). If we, as parents, do not check that the task was completed as stated (to our complete satisfaction) we show them that they can get away with slacking on the task; thus identifying our work ethic towards their learning. Remember we should never consider chores as free labor, it should always be utilized as an opportunity to teach a solid work ethic.

A Real World Example

A few years ago, I listened to the frustration of one of my customers who owned a Sonic drive-thru. He expressed his frustration that it seems like, to him; that he had to teach young people how to work as much as he had to teach the responsibilities of the job. He had to teach young people that had graduated high school how to properly wash their hands, how to count back change, how to speak to others with respect and how to properly perform a task, completely, as stated. Basically, he was frustrated because he had to become their parent rather than their employer. Those young people that were taught a solid work ethic generally found themselves in a management position inside of three months.

A Final Thought

This article was not meant to point out the problems with anyone’s parenting abilities. Nor was it meant to identify that somehow my capabilities to parent were better than anyone else’s. However, I think we all can agree that there has been a decline of a strong work ethic in our young people. As a business owner and as a parent, I am always evaluating my role and willingness to share the lessons that I have learned. If there’s ever room to improve, I want my children to seek those improvements; to go further, be better and achieve higher levels of success. I also know that in order for them to go beyond my means they will need a foundation that is as strong as that will to achieve.

 

 

While not a name commonly used in fundamental circles, occasionally the topic of church membership comes into play, and the term Alien Baptism is used to determine a position on the matter.

What is it?

Alien Baptism simply refers to the acceptance of someone of another denomination into the church membership. More specifically though when looking at their baptism and what denomination their baptism was under.

The Argument

Following will be comprehensive points on both sides and then this author’s biblical opinion on the subject:

Baptism is one of those terms, I believe, that can be misused to place undue burden on the church. Baptism has been incorrectly applied to salvation, Church membership, open repentance and more. Some churches have people re-baptized annually in a form of reformation spirit; which is perhaps why is it so misunderstood.

Baptism is: An outward identification of an inward change. As it is also an ordinance of the New Testament Church it should be used as an identifier of status, only where it pertains to an outward identification of that inward change.

Baptism is not: Baptism doesn’t save you, it doesn’t place you “in the body”, It doesn’t cleanse you (although I think my pastor slipped a bar of soap in my water) It is not part of repentance or levels of reformation.

The Issue

When you accept someone into the church membership there are 2 main things that traditional Baptist churches want to know: You are saved and that you have been baptized in a church of like faith and practice. The issue of Alien Baptism comes in as this: what is a church of like faith and practice?

The easy answer is to say that they were saved and baptized in an independent, fundamental, bible thumping, foot washing, God fearin’, Baptist church. However, not everyone has that privilege.

I mean, let’s go to the fundamentals: did they accept Christ as their personal Saviour, plus or minus nothing? Were they immersed in water to publicly identify that inward change to the world? Sounds like “like faith and practice” to me.

The Counter Thought

As a former pastor I took this issue with a mindset that the new member’s beliefs needed to line up in order to join the church. Afterall, church membership is not as forgiving than that of salvation. You must consider: if the new church member received Christ (saved) by faith, but believes you can lose it; is that “like faith and practice?”. I would argue it is not. Would I want that person teaching a Sunday school class or out on soul winning as a representative of the church? If the person asking to become a member, in the matter of salvation; does NOT believe as the church does… they can not be accepted in to the local body. This does not mean that they can’t be discipled and then request membership in the future.

Also consider:

Hebrews 13:17 Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.

A pastor must choose these members carefully in the manner that, at least in the terms of salvation; they are going to be held accountable for the beliefs of the people that are in his charge.

Doctrinal note: Most all denominations that teach you can lose your salvation leave out the “losing your salvation” part till after a profession is made, so that teaching becomes a church doctrine and not an understanding for salvation. In my opinion it is possible for someone to receive the gospel and then be taught man’s doctrine… and yet still be saved. I have seen accounts where someone left a false teaching and learned that they truly were saved because they believed the true gospel; then later learned the fallacy of the church teaching. There was no need in my mind for them to be “re-saved” and the matter of baptism was there for them to make; but certainly not forced as some membership requirement. Remember, in the matter of salvation; baptism only publicly demonstrates the choice… not the doctrine.

Finally, my opinion.

Pastoral authority has been a bedrock foundation from the days of Moses through Timothy and Titus. If a pastor, in hearing and understanding that the perspective member has demonstrated that, they have received the Gospel and has been baptized in an outward demonstration of that belief; and that person “at the time of membership request” believes the same as the church they wish to join (in the matter of salvation) that the membership should accept the Pastors request. He alone is the one who will give an account and he alone will suffer the consequences of a decision wrongfully made.

 

When it comes to chores, I think that no chore is more despised by kids than that of washing dishes. I know even myself growing up there was always that sigh after dinner; to know that while everyone else was doing the things that they wanted to do, I was going to get the pleasure of washing the dishes.

This was made more real to me as I have raised 3 kids to adulthood (and one still to get there) seeing their frustration, whining, complaining and in some cases; outright disobedience over washing the dishes.

However, of all the chores that a child might do, perhaps washing dishes is the one that teaches us to most about life, goals and accomplishment.

Detail Oriented

My father was a stickler for the details. Maybe it was the military, but in everything there just needed a touch of perfection to be approved. You haven’t lived until you have been thoroughly chewed out in proper military fashion for spots on dishes. But the thing that this revealed to me is the need to be detail oriented in all the things we do. We see this mindset from God in the very example of the Tabernacle. Every detail from the size, the curtains, the materials used, yes even down to the dishes used; we note how He is a God of details when it comes to the way that He wanted things to be.

Clean Inside and Out

I recall one time I observed my brother washing dishes. He was in a hurry and was only washing the outside of the glasses. Sure the soapy water was at least going into the glasses, but that wasn’t “washing them”. It didn’t take very long before the error of his ways to be revealed. It just took a coffee cup that just rinsing wasn’t going to get clean to get the flag raised on what was done. However, this time it wasn’t my father… it was Mom.

Can I get an AMEN from those who would say angering your father was bad, but getting Mom upset; was like the end of the world kinda bad?

Mom told us (Yes, I got the lecture too) that if the cup wasn’t clean inside and out, it’s not clean! Taking a shower doesn’t clean what is inside, she said. To be truly clean you need to clean the inside and out.

Jesus said something like this when He was making an example of the Pharisees:

Matthew 23:25 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess.
26 Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also.

It’s Not Done Until It’s Done Right

My parents had more sayings than a politician has excuses. Maybe it was a Kentucky thing because Grandma Adler had quite a few too. The one my father liked the most I think was: “How come there is never enough time to do it right, but there always seems to be enough time to do it over?”

While he said it a lot to our shame, the saying was sound. Whether doing dishes, taking out the trash, school work or, well, whatever we do; we should take the time to do it right.

This mindset lead to my life verse:

Ecclesiastes 9:10 Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.

Maybe my family’s sayings we’re just out of the Bible… the Brewer Family Version.

Not My will, but thine

Another important lesson learned from washing dishes is that the standard I needed to achieve was not my own. Meaning simply I didn’t decide when the job was done, or done right; but rather the one I was performing the task for. Naturally this life lesson leads to the attitude for employer/ employee relations, parenthood and even ministry. We see this reflected here:

Colossians 3:22 Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God:

23 And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;

The Parable of the Dirty Dishes

Perhaps the moment that sticks out most in my mind is when I was washing the dishes as a youth. As I was standing there at the sink alone with only the light above the sink on; I was having a little pity party. Slamming the plates, clanging the pots; I just didn’t feel it was fair that I always had to do the dishes.

My Mom came in and listened for a moment and then ask: “What is on that plate you are washing?” Dirt Mom, I rasped back. “More specific?” She ask in a soft tone that only a Mother knows how to give. “Dinner?” I queried. “Yes, dinner. Many tonight didn’t have dinner, didn’t have a home to have dinner in or a family to have dinner with. The fact that you get to wash dishes tonight means that you had dinner, in a home with parents; that worked very hard to provide for you and your brother.”

I have never washed a dish in the last 40+ years without remembering that soft tone, the care in her voice; or the parable of the dirty dishes.

Chaplain Rick Brewer

Deuteronomy 29:29  The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law.

We have all heard the first part of Deuteronomy 29:29 quoted when someone doesn’t have an answer to a question or a verse or passage doesn’t seem to make sense…  I recall in Bible college in North Carolina one of my professors quoting this at least once a class because he didn’t want to deal with a difficult question… While it might be easy to say or use this verse as a scapegoat we should look at what is really a secret verses revealed truth.

A world of information

We have the finished work of God in our King James Bible, there is no more revelation to give; meaning simply all that God has revealed to us all we need (or wants us) to know. Understanding this fact we see in these following verses that more has happened in history than has been documented or recorded:

John 21:24  This is the disciple which testifieth of these things, and wrote these things: and we know that his testimony is true.

25 And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen.

God has revealed through the word of God all we need (or should) to know to have a victorious life.  

The Secret Revealed

Amos 3:7  Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.

To learn what God’s secrets are you have to first be one of God’s people.

1 Corinthians 2:14  But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

This spiritual discernment is a supernatural process that gives a Christian understanding of the scriptures; understanding that the unsaved can not know. A natural (unsaved) person can only understand the Bible historically; he can even follow the teaching of Christ, having a cleaner life; however much of the understanding of the scriptures are reserved for God’s people. This discernment is progressional, (1 Peter 2:2) as we grow in faith and in knowledge; as we learn what God has provided through His word, He reveals more.

These verses below show God revealing knowledge to His people:

Psalms 25:14  The secret of the LORD is with them that fear him; and he will shew them his covenant.

Proverbs 3:32  For the froward is abomination to the LORD: but his secret is with the righteous.

This following verse God tells us that He has not spoken to others in secret… simply meaning He has never spoken things that are not attainable. Remember God is a rewarder of those who would diligently seek Him (Hebrews 11:6)

Isaiah 45:18  For thus saith the LORD that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I am the LORD; and there is none else.

19 I have not spoken in secret, in a dark place of the earth: I said not unto the seed of Jacob, Seek ye me in vain: I the LORD speak righteousness, I declare things that are right.

Mark 4:11  And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables:

12 That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them.

The New Testament reveals secrets and mysteries in God’s timing. 

Matthew 13:34  All these things spake Jesus unto the multitude in parables; and without a parable spake he not unto them:

35 That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, I will open my mouth in parables; I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world.

Romans 16:25  Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began,

In the many predestined events of the Bible God hid His truth until the proper time. As part of God’s plan and purpose there were things that had to take place in order for God’s plan to be fulfilled. We couldn’t have a faith based church without Christ, we could not have eternal security until Christ was resurrected and the Holy Spirit come in. We cannot have a tribulation until the rapture… and so on. In many cases in the old testament these things were kept hid because they simply did not need to know, but as God’s plan came into order… God began to reveal more until “it is finished” and God had revealed all He wanted us to know.   

1 Corinthians 15:51  Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,

Romans 16:25  Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began,

26 But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith:

Ephesians 3:3  How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words,

4 Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ)

Ephesians 3:8  Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ;

9 And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:

Ephesians 6:19  And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel,

Colossians 1:26  Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints:

27 To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:

Jesus continues to identify this revelation in due time

Mark 4:21  And he said unto them, Is a candle brought to be put under a bushel, or under a bed? and not to be set on a candlestick?

22 For there is nothing hid, which shall not be manifested; neither was any thing kept secret, but that it should come abroad.

23 If any man have ears to hear, let him hear.

Conclusion:

Deuteronomy 29:29  The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law.

There are things that God has not revealed and are secret. In fact these things have not been shared with anyone at anytime (Isaiah 45:18, Mark 4:21), however; as the second part of the verse says… those things that have been revealed belong to us. The concern or the argument is in our understanding.

If there is information in the word of God and we do not understand it… it’s NOT a Deuteronomy 29:29 situation, but rather a lack of discernment or understanding. If the information is clearly absent from the scriptures then THAT is the secret of God and can not be revealed.

Understanding this distinction will save many sleepless nights. God has revealed all we need to know to have a victorious life… and what He has revealed He wants us to know; sometimes this means we need to study, but isn’t that the idea…

2 Timothy 2:15  Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

Hebrews 11:6  But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.