Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Where in "Hell" is Halloween???

Now that I've gotten your attention, let me rush to say that this was not just some preacher tastelessly taking an opportunity to curse. I am actually having some significant struggles with the idea of Halloween and the debates that surround it. Over the last several years I have been approached and/or challenged by those that question any Christian's acknowledgement of Halloween as an official "holiday." Well I can say that their argument is, at the very least, worth consideration. It has been said that Halloween has Paganistic origins and should not be even remotely entertained by those who call themselves followers of Christ. The implication is that only devil worshippers and satanist observe Halloween.

Well, I am not suggesting that I am a promoter of Halloween and it festivities. I have done considerable research as to the origin of the day itself. However, I believe anyone else who has been on such pursuit may have come to the same confused conclusion that I did. I wanted to glean my OWN resolve as to how I should feel about the day. I mean, I consider myself a faithful follower of Christ. I would like to think that I love the Lord with my whole heart. However, I wanted to know if I was on my way to Hell, so to speak, for allowing my children to go "trick or treating" in years past. The bottom-line is that I couldn't come to such a conclusion. Which causes me to ask the question, "Where in Hell is Halloween?" I mean really??? It began as the Celtic's Samhain (pronounced sow-in), transiting into the Roman's Feralia, then to Catholicism's "All Hallow's Eve." The fact of the matter is that there are so many implications as to how the day started. Yes, that origin does point to some secular dispensation. However, what "holiday" do we celebrate in America that doesn't? Even Christmas and Easter have some Paganistic influences as relates to it's historical progression.

I think my point is this... (Before I lose you totally)

I think that ALL holidays, when treated abrasively, have questionable points and practice. But, when we were children, it WASN'T really that DEEP. When we cut up one of Grandma's old wigs, put holes in some old clothes, adorned ourselves in make-up and went to get candy.... It wasn't about cults and Satan at all. We were just a couple of kids having a good time and getting some free candy. Is it possible to have still been wrong? Of course... But, why are Christians debating about such trivial matters when people are still dying and going to hell for lack of hearing and understanding the gospel message? We are certainly not reaching them by damning and dooming them to hell for wearing costumes and passing out candy. They need to hear about a man named Jesus. "Where the spirit of the Lord is there is liberty." Why then do we make the idea of Christianity so restrictive? Christians would rather judge one another for something as simple as "why would you pass out candy on Halloween?"

I've seen, first hand, the "wiles of the devil." I have witnessed him ravage through the lives of individuals, families, churches, and communities. I know I have A LOT of spiritual maturing to do myself, but I don't think Halloween is our biggest threat. I think the legalism that under-girds argument and debate about it in Christendom is a greater ill.

We are offering our youth and community an "alternative" to the traditional Halloween activities. We are calling it "Hallelujah Night." We will have moonwalks, food, games, candy and the works... I pray that this community outreach effort will be instrumental in bridging the gap between our congregation and those who surround us. I also pray that we (The Ship) will not be ridiculed by the "holly rollers" that have nothing better to do than criticize other Christians for what they are ATTEMPTING to do. Friendship... I applaud your "mind for ministry" and look forward to winning a generation for Christ as we work together.

Monday, October 29, 2007

"Give Me Understanding"

Yesterday we embarked a little further in our exploration through the 119th Psalm. Verses 33 and 34 were the focus for yesterdays Sermonic moment. Wow... I am guilty of not expecting the time to be as fruitful as it proved to be. I must pray that I, as a Pastor and Preacher, get to a better resolve about preaching. I am constantly cognizant of the ability of God to give increase when we avail ourselves to Him. I further realize that He can use "Even Me." I just have to move past being surprised when He sees fit to do so. It totally undermines the supremacy and sovereignty of God when we fail to EXPECT a blessing.

Anyway... That is not the premise of my post. I am struggling with an even greater dilemma. Basically, it's Monday... Pastor's of Parishes Plagued with a more Primal Progression know exactly what I'm talking about. I am LITERALLY now faced with employing the "thesis" of my message from yesterday. I can definitely say that, for my life, God has a sense of humor.

Verses 33 and 34 of Psalm 119 mark another transitory moment in the Psalm itself because it denotes the beginning of another "Stanza." Most of you know that Psalm 119 is the longest "chapter" in the bible. (I know the Psalter is divided in number progression and not Chapters, but humor the thought) It's 176 verses are divided into 22 "stanzas." Each of these 22 stanzas are understood to be arranged in acrostic nature due to the fact that each "stanza" is dedicated to each of the 22 Hebrew alphabet. Aleph... Beth... Gimel... Daleth are sections that had already been covered in our series when arriving at our sermon yesterday. Now, verse 33... "Teach me, O Lord, the ways of your statutes..." v. 34... "Give me understanding..." That was the tag to the text on yesterday; "Give me Understanding."

Now... That Psalmist's petition and prayer in these verses is my sole and solitary submission to the Sovereign on today. "Lord, Give me Understanding." Why is it that we, who try our best to adhere to sound doctrine, seem to struggle the most? Lord, "Give me understanding." Lord, I want more for the people than they want for themselves. Give me understanding. I have given my last dime, forfeited pay, done without benefits, burned midnight oil, remained in school, faithfully proclaimed, passionately labored, earnestly loved, fervently prayed, selflessly sacrificed.... However, the numbers are still few, money still low, prospects still slim, obligations still behind. Lord, Give me Understanding.

That's my pain and prayer. I must rush to say that I am confident that I'm not the only one who has been faithful to doing whatever it is God commands. So much so that you have not required Him to file a "flight plan" or give disclosure as to the next few years "prospectus." We simply remain content with the fact that God, like with Abraham, has us headed towards a place that He "WILL show you." So, I don't really need to understand what He's DOING as much as I need to understand what He's SAID. I guess the "understanding" I must continually seek is that of His "revealed will." His word is where I find the understanding I need. Also, where I find the strength to run on a little longer.

Verse 33 and 34, I told you, denote the beginning of a new "stanza." It is the eight verses headed by the Hebrew "He." What is interesting is that this "He" is used in conjunction with Hebrew verbs to make it "causative." (you ALL know I am not a Hebrew scholar, just stumbled up on that through study) But, that results in this Psalm having a "causal" tone. Lord, Cause me to be taught... Lord cause me to understand... I guess the bottom line is that, in God's time, He will CAUSE me to understand. The bible promises that "He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him."

The Psalmist Utters this prayer... But he also makes a pledge. "I will keep it until the end..." And "I will keep it with my whole heart."

In light of the coming Understanding I will "Keep it..." (It will be Consistent)
"Till the end..." (It will be Continual) "With my whole heart." (It will be Complete)

I am completely resolved to walking "by faith and not by sight." I KNOW that my "due season" is coming. Like the older saints used to sing, "We'll UNDERSTAND it better by and by."

SSSSSHHHOOOOOO!!!!! I guess blogging is a good thing. Didn't quite make sense to you, but I feel better.

Thank you Lord for your excellent greatness and tender mercy. I, like Paul, am content

Thursday, October 25, 2007


I am sure that, at some point, I will have wonderful insights to share. However, This particular post is just a fulfillment of a commitment I made to start posting "something" by today. So, here it is. I figure I will slowly work my way back into the wonderful world of blogging one post at a time. Until then, I am glad I made here to say "something."

God Bless,
Pastor K.P.