May 30, 2008

My Swan Song...

Well this is it--my Swan Song! After five years--that's over 700 commentaries--dealing with "everything pertaining to life and godliness" to use Peter's words, I am hanging it up.

Life as pastor of a church that is much larger than our staff can handle, means something has to give way and these commentaries were one of the only things I can really afford to eliminate. I have enjoyed writing them as I am certain that as Christians we need to be informed and we need to be able to converse with the culture in which we live. Too few Christians are able to do that.

My commentaries were designed to inform people of current events that demonstrate the level of decline of the culture at large (that's no surprise) but also the level of apostasy (that is, the waywardness) of those who wear the name of Christ. It was and is my belief that our culture has declined to the point where it is, in part, due to those wearing the name of Christ either being apathetic toward the condition of their own community, or being unable to converse with their community due to a lack of A. common sense and B. knowledge of the Scriptures and
. biblical wisdom (which in my book means Scriptures applied).

My commentaries were not particularly intended to be an "evangel" each and every time I wrote but in many instances were to be pre-evangelistic in the sense that it is difficult to accept a plan of salvation when you don't even realize you have a need. I know from many testimonies from people, that my method of dealing with the real world in which we live opened a door to their hearts that had never been opened. They had no place in their head for "religion" but as one man told me recently, "I made so much stinking sense, that [he] had to listen." Praise the Lord--it is His Spirit that draws people.

But fact remains, the very purpose of the Law and the whole sacrificial system was to underscore the hopelessness of man to make himself right with God. It was to drive people to a point of despair seeing the impossibility of pleasing a holy God thus compelling them to be open to a "better way" the way of Grace--when the Messiah appeared.

Then of course there were those who wished I had somehow entered into the great controversies of election, sovereignty, and free will (or lack thereof) all in the span of my allotted 120 seconds. It just became exceedingly wearing.

The cure for mankind, for our culture, for the planet is nothing more and nothing less than Jesus. But even that message has been so perverted, warped, and twisted, you cannot even be sure what people are understanding of words that used to have common understanding. Talking about salvation, sin, heaven and hell and even the person of Jesus takes explanation and qualification in our culture of designer religion and biblical ignorance.

So if some have been challenged to at least pause and think rationally for a moment, and if some have been spurred on to do something within their own sphere of influence and ultimately if some have come to Christ or a better understanding of the profound love of God and the lengths He has gone to get our attention, then it was well worth the time spent. Only eternity will reveal the answer to that.

This is pastor Bill Cripe signing off still and always looking up for a heavenly perspective!


Blogger Empress Barb said...

Beautifully said...

5:18 PM  
Blogger PB said...

As are you...

7:37 AM  
Blogger Mike Hein said...

"So if some have been challenged to at least pause and think rationally for a moment, and if some have been spurred on to do something within their own sphere of influence..."

Guilty as charged on both counts, Pastor Bill. Thank you for these commentaries.

3:59 PM  
Blogger PB said...

Thanks Mike; You're an encouragement and an inspiration.

6:49 PM  
Blogger Jim said...

Pastor Bill...I have enjoyed reading your commentaries from afar. You are the only form of "organized religion" I have had since my divorce. Believe me when I tell you that is quite a compliment. Attending your church was a highlight of my learning years. Let there be no reflection upon you from the course my life has taken in the last 12 years. I am solely responsible for that course. Anyway Pastor Bill, I wish you and your family the very best. You will always hold a very special place in my heart.

Jim Currier
Cincinnati, Ohio

10:40 PM  
Blogger PB said...

Wow--thank you! Great to hear from you. Remember it is never too late and you can never be too far from Him! Again--thanks Jim.

6:32 PM  
Blogger PB said...

Jim--didn't know if you knew that our sermons are audio streamed at our website too.
you can listen on line or down load them to a CD or MP3!

7:07 PM  
Blogger Servant said...

For everything there is a season...
Best wishes!
I leave you with this, may God use it to challenge you!:

God's sovereignty

(Charles Spurgeon)

There is no attribute more comforting to His children, than that of God's sovereignty. Under the most adverse circumstances, in the most severe trials--they believe that sovereignty has ordained their afflictions, that sovereignty overrules them, and that sovereignty will sanctify them all. There is nothing for which the children of God ought more earnestly to contend, than the doctrine of their Master over all creation--the kingship of God over all the works of His own hands--the throne of God and His right to sit upon that throne.

On the other hand, there is no doctrine more hated by worldlings, no truth of which they have made such a football--as the great, stupendous, but yet most certain doctrine, of the sovereignty of the infinite Jehovah. Men will allow God to be everywhere, except on His throne. They will allow Him to be in His workshop to fashion worlds and make stars. They will allow Him to be in His almonry to dispense His alms and bestow His bounties. They will allow Him to sustain the earth and bear up the pillars thereof, or light the lamps of heaven, or rule the waves of the ever-moving ocean; but when God ascends His throne--then His creatures gnash their teeth!

We proclaim an enthroned God, and His right to do as He wills with His own, to dispose of His creatures as He thinks well, without consulting them in the matter. Then it is, that we are hissed and execrated; and then it is, that men turn a deaf ear to us--for God on His throne--is not the God they love. But it is God upon the throne that we love to preach. It is God upon His throne, whom we trust!

8:07 AM  
Blogger PB said...

Thanks--I needed that!

8:52 AM  

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