Michael B Linton

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Summerlake is moving forward!!!

There is new post below this one so don't miss it. But I wanted to get this out, too.

We are moving forward with Summerlake Church. You can check out our website at http://www.summerlake.cc/. We have a partner church and some individual sponsors. We need your prayer support. Please add us to your prayer list. Also, if you would like to help fund this church plant, email me with the details at michael@summerlake.cc. If you would like to give monthly or make a one-time gift, let me know. I will respond and tell you where to send the check. Our partner church is receiving and distributing the funds, so anything you give is tax deductible. Thank you for your help as we seek to follow God's will in this mission.

Let me rephrase...

Another blogger, and a good friend of mine, has misconstrued the heading that is under my blog title, though I believe he knew what I meant. I now officially change it from "A Bible with errors leads to a Christianity with errors" to "A Bible with errors leads to a Gospel with errors".

My friend took issue with the use of the word "Christianity". (He also does not hold to the inerrancy of Scripture.) His issue was that Christianity, as we know it, is fraught with errors. We have an entire history of errors. However, that is not the fault of the Bible, it is the fault of redeemed and unredeemed sinners. Ultimately, it is the fault of sin. True Christians strive for true Christianity every day. The fact is, however, that our sin-affected, human minds cannot grasp Christianity as it should be. We see in a glass darkly. I am fairly certain that some of my interpretations of Scripture are wrong. I'm not disavowing them, but they are still probably wrong. Whose fault is that? Scriptures? No. It's mine.

Here's my main point. If we can't trust parts of the Bible, we can trust none of it. It's a fraud and a fake and not worthy of our time. We know God through the Bible. We know Jesus through the Bible. We understand how to be saved through the Bible. We would not trust an instruction manual if it told the wrong steps. We would not trust a history book if it got many of the facts wrong. Then how can we trust the Book that reveals God's plan of salvation developed through the ages if it's wrong about the people, places, and events it claims to record? We can't. So, if you find that the Bible has errors, throw it out! It's no good to you. Quit attempting to meld your distrust with faith.

The very nature of salvation is faith and trust. You can't trust and not trust. If our knowledge of salvation is from the Bible, based on faith and trust, how can we not have faith and trust in the Bible? And before you accuse me, I'm not speaking of Bible-worship. My faith and trust is in the Author of the Bible, the One who breathed it, the Word that became flesh. I cannot and will not believe that a God who created everything from nothing cannot protect His Word from alteration.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Okay, it's time.

It's time for me to forgive. I pray this isn't just lip-service to the idea, but truly forgiveness. I forgive the men who fired me. I let it go.

This isn't easy. I still have to drive by the church and see the new construction that my salary, in part, is paying for. It still hurts. But I have to let it go. I have to let it go for me.

Tonight, our pastor continued a series he's been preaching on the Lord's prayer. The phrase we are on is "forgive our debts as we have forgiven our debtors". He pointed out that the word for 'debts' is translated 'sin' in Luke. I cannot forgive the sin that was done to me - only God can forgive the sin. I can, however, forgive the hurt that it caused me. In so doing, I in turn can be forgiven the sins that I have comitted in this whole process. Allow me to expound.

Obviously, losing the only source of income you have immediately presents a financial bind. Duh. However, a portion of our current financial struggle is our own doing. We banked on the future we anticipated, and failed to properly handle our finances in the midst of financial blessing. So now, we are in worse shape than we might have been. That is our fault. That was our sin. We fully admit that and I have personally confessed that and asked for forgiveness.

Here's the issue: I had not forgiven the men who fired me. Therefore, I don't believe I have experienced the full forgiveness for financial sins we made. Did I lose my salvation? No. Was there ultimate forgiveness at the cross? Yes. Did this sin nullify the forgiveness purchased at the cross? No. What it did do was create a wall between me and God. I could not experience the fullness of that forgiveness until I forgave. Now I can.

Two warnings come with this, however. First, there is always the assumption, by some, that this is only apparent forgiveness. I'm doing it to fool you, the reader, or God. Well, God isn't fooled. Turns out, He knows me pretty well. You, the reader, can believe what you will. I can't prove it to you. But know that this blog does not exist for me to put on spiritual airs and attempt to impress you with my holiness. That is not the type of pastor that I am. I'm real. I struggle. I fail. I fall. I don't have it all figured out. To quote an author I'm currently reading, I'm a person in need of change helping people in need of change. My prayer is that when I learn, you learn.

The second warning is that forgiveness for my sin does not necessarily mean I get a get-out-of-jail-free card. I do not anticipate a check in the mail tomorrow clearing us of all our financial problems. I don't believe it works that way. What it does is clear my relationship with God. I am now able to hear Him again. I am able to accurately respond to His leadership through both church planting and the financial maze we have created. Do I still hope for a miracle? Absolutely. Do I hope my forgiveness leads to it? Certainly. Do I think I deserve it? No. Do I deserve anything? No, unless it's condemnation. But Romans says I don't get that either. I'm forgiven.

So I'm moving on. There will still be some hurt, some anger, a good bit of mistrust, but this will dissipate. Especially as I pray for the ones that wounded me. So here's the proof, you doubting Thomases: if the ones who hurt me read this, or hear of this, call me. You know my number. Allow me to tell you I forgive you and that God meant this for good. That would be a far cry from what I planned to tell you if I ever saw you again.