​June 2016 - The Emergence of the Caveman in 2016

    

Anyone who has lived any amount of time on this earth has no doubt become increasingly aware of societies move towards self-centeredness.  One can observe this in a dramatic way through today’s media.  News outlets continually report on a celebrity’s drug addiction, or on their conquest to change their gender identity.  Tabloids constantly gossip on the latest person of fame who “came out of the closet”.  Each of these things reveal one main characteristic about the person who exhibits them.  Their self-centeredness. 

Over the past two years I have become increasingly aware of the effects of self-centeredness, not just in the media and with celebrities, but with everyday people that I come across right here in Western Pennsylvania. 

I was casually strolling through a large shopping center in Greenville and could not help notice the same expression painted on each of my fellow shoppers faces.  The expression was stale.  One that reminded me of a person who hates everything around them.  Could this have simply been their determination to shop as quickly as possible with their focus on the task at hand?  For some I’m sure they did not hate the world around them, but for others their actions gave away their self-centeredness.  Any attempt at interaction, even a smile or a head-nod to acknowledge the person on my part was immediately met with hostility in the form of an evil smirk or more commonly a look of disgust.  How dare I try to be nice. 

Rudeness has invaded this land.  People want everything their way.  People want everything right now, and they want it all for free with as little interaction with another human being as possible. 

My friend, there is only one thing that is free that you can have right now, and it is not sold at the supermart.  It is a gift given by Jesus Christ; it is eternal life through faith and obedience to Him. 

People in our culture have turned to fulfill their own pleasures.  They have neglected the rest of society.  In their self-centeredness people have turned what was once a loving attitude into rudeness.  Kindness and generosity has been replaced by entitlement.  Indeed, we are seeing the emergence of the caveman as people digress into barbaric ways. 

Though I do not hold to evolution, I merely make an illustrative point.  I imagine the cartoonish caveman hitting his comrade on the head with a large wooden club in order to prevent his comrade from taking the berries off the bush that he wants.  This might sound far-fetched today, but I have seen my fellow shoppers race down the aisle because they don’t want another shopper to get what they so desperately want, or they charge the check-out line with high speed, narrowly missing running over a poor kid who stopped to look at the candy by the counter, in order to be the first one in line.  I make this statement.  Cavemen are self-centered.  Are we watching then the emergence of cavemen in our modern society?  Only God is the solution to prevent our digression to barbarism. 

Happenings

​September 22, 2016

    

“Why do I feel this way, and how do I move forward?”

by: Rev. Casey R. Chapman

 

            I was recently asked to give some guidance upon a specific question.  The question had several parts, specifically, “why do I suffer even though I flee from it, and why can I not determine where God is calling me?”  Here is the original question:

           I’m the one who runs from suffering, and still feels [sic] I’m walking in darkness, as I have not the clarity of what I might be called to do, only muddling through w/the [sic] daily work---and

           not doing so well at that!

The person continues to share a quote with me that they heard last year, which I will share with you later on.

            To address this question in an orderly fashion let us first examine the initial question to sum up “Why do I suffer even though I run from such things?”  Without knowing what type of suffering is being addressed my initial though is “Why are you running from suffering?” 

          The Apostle Paul was no stranger to suffering.  Paul was stoned in Lystra (Acts 14:19), he was stripped and beaten with rods in Philippi, and then thrown in jail (Acts :22-23), he was chased out of many cities in Asia Minor and Macedonia only to have his pursuers search him out, and when he stayed with some disciples at Tyre he was warned against traveling to Jerusalem (Acts 21:3-4), and then when Paul arrived at Caesarea he was once again warned against traveling up to Jerusalem by the prophet Agabus who prophesied of Paul’s captivity to come (Acts 21:10-12).  Yet despite the suffering that Paul had already endured, he was willing to endure more and went to Jerusalem (Acts 21:13-14) declaring that he was not only ready to be bound for Christ, but also to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord.  In the remaining chapters of Acts the sufferings that Paul would willingly endure for the Lord are recorded.

          As Christians, we are not promised an easy life.  Furthermore, it is through suffering that our faith is refined.  It is during those times of hardship that we have the privilege of staying faithful to Christ and allowing Him to experience our love of Him.  Christ can experience our love when we suffer for it is one thing to hear someone declare their love, it is another thing to see it lived out. 

          Another thought to the first part of this question is that we should not be picking fights without just cause.  In other words, we should not be suffering for suffering’s sake.  However, if the cause is just and the battle for the Lord then by all means let me be the first to run towards suffering. 

          Pursuing the order of the question the second part, to sum up, is “Why do I not have clarity to God’s calling?”  Again my initial thoughts are these…  Perhaps you cannot hear God’s calling because you are already where He wants you to be.  Instead of praying that God would move you forward pray that God would show you how to serve where you are at and when He is ready, after you have completed your task, He will call you forward. 

          What seems like “muddling through” with daily work may to someone else look like persevering through life during a difficult time.  This may be the example that this person needs to see so that they too can preserver through suffering. 

          Now, as mentioned, the person who asked this question had also mentioned a quote that she received last year.  The quote is this:

          There is no doubt about it: a person who loves pleasure, who seeks comfort, who flies from anything that might spell suffering, who is over-anxious, who complains, who blames, and     

          who becomes impatient at the least little thing which does not go his way — a person like that is a Christian only in name; he is only a dishonor to his religion, for Jesus Christ has said

          so: ‘Anyone who wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross every day of his life, and follow me.’  ‘If we claim that we claim that we have fellowship with Him,

          and yet we walk in darkness, then we are lying and not telling the truth’ (1 Jn 1:6).

            While I agree and understand this quote, I also believe that this quote is poor in wording, and this could result in some confusion.  Loving pleasure, seeking comfort, and avoiding suffering that has no purpose is not wrong, nor is complaining about things that go against the righteousness of Christ.  What is wrong is loving sinful pleasure, seeking contentment in comfort, and complaining about the smallest detail. 

          I, myself, find great pleasure in my work as a pastor.  I find pleasure in serving the Lord.  I find pleasure even in my suffering for I suffer for Christ.  I take comfort in His promise of everlasting life.  I take comfort in knowing that He is my refuge.  After all, one of the names of Christ is the Comforter.  What this quote is warning about, in my opinion, is finding our comfort and pleasure outside of Christ.  It is sinful to find comfort at the bottom of a bottle.  That comfort is fleeting and will leave you empty.  It is sinful to find pleasure in the things of the flesh such as pornography or sexual affairs.  These types of comforts and pleasures should be avoided at all costs.  Though I could expound upon this even more I do not feel that I need to at this time. 

          As to one who falls into these things, I disagree with the quote that this person is an unbeliever, though they could be.  As Christians we have been changed and transformed.  We, however, have not received our heavenly bodies yet and therefore still must endure the temptations of the flesh.  We are still able to sin in every way that we could before we were made new in Christ, but that should be the exception not the norm.  We ought not to be known by our old ways, but by the way of Christ.  A Christian can backslide.  When we find ourselves in that state then we must make every effort to seek forgiveness and repent, and be restored to the fellowship of Christ. 

​December 3, 2015

    

Today people have a desire to be spiritual. People will go to great lengths to achieve spirituality. Some people will pray and worship false idols. Others will surround themselves with incense and other remedies to induce a spiritual state. There are also those who will dwell into drugs and intoxicants in order to achieve a high, a state of nirvana. We should not seek to be more spiritual, but rather we should seek to be more holy. 1 Pt 1:16 "for it is written: “Be holy..., because I am holy.”" We ought to be seeking sanctification. Sanctification is the process of being made holy. One can never be holy while in these mortal bodies. Only God is holy. Yet we will be made sanctified by the blood of Jesus Christ when we receive our resurrected bodies. This will only occur for those who believe in Christ for Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and He is the only way to the Father. John 14:6 "Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."" The people of the world want spirituality, but they do not want righteousness or holiness for righteousness and holiness require moral living and obedience to the commands of God. All of the commands of God. Let me tell you, the moment you accept Jesus Christ as Lord of your life and ask for forgiveness, repenting of your sins you are justified by His blood. Justification is being made right. It is a necessary step before sanctification can begin. You think you can be spiritual in other ways, but those ways will never lead to eternal life. They create and allusion of spiritualness when in reality they return void. Jesus Christ will never return void. - Pastor Chapman