Pastor Don Wolan

Pastor Donald Wolan
Downriver Christian Community Church
Melvindale, Michigan

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Shopping Cart Theology!

Flooding newspapers and news sites recently has been an avalanche of crazy events occurring daily in our world. What once would have been labeled as unbelievable and off-the-hook shocking has become ordinary and accepted. From beheadings and unspeakable cruelties being perpetrated upon ordinary citizens in far away countries to rioting and looting in the name of "justice" and "fair play" in our own country, we should all stop and consider what is going on. Check out some of the crazy headlines and stories from local news sources from this week:
  • High School Student Suspended For Saying 'Bless You' After Classmate Sneezed
  • Looter in Ferguson: We Deserve This
  • Prayer Service Planned for Atlantic City Casino
  • NAACP May Sue City Over Saggy Pants Law

How is it that absurdity and evil seem to be running a muck with no end in sight? Many Christians believe that this is the fulfillment of Biblical prophecy concerning the Last Days where evil increases with no end in sight. They believe it is a time when men's hearts will grow cold and lawlessness will increase. This fatalistic worldview of what they think the scriptures teach many times emasculates the gospel and renders the church as obsolete and justifies the withdrawal of the church from society and its problems.

On the other hand, I do not believe that this evil we witness is inevitable and determined in scripture. Yes, we find these verses in scripture, but I do not believe they apply to our day and time. Sure there are scriptural principals and commands that when violated bring about God's judgment, but many of these scriptural warnings were directed toward first century Israel and not 20th century America. I do believe, however, that we as Christians and the church have a very hard but glorious job still ahead of us. This job entails the preaching of the Gospel and the disciplining of nations with the good news of Jesus Christ and His word. Prior to that however, we need to learn what the Bible says and learn to walk it out ourselves. We tend to be good at citing a certain few Scriptures or taking them out of the historical and time context they reside in and applying them to our day and circumstances - unfortunately many times with disastrous results.

Over the past 50 years, we have witnessed  the removal of TheTen Commandments and God's Word from the public eye. Whether it was in the public school system or in the public domain, God's commandments and Holy Word have been systematically removed, all in the name of "separation of church and state," "freedom of religion," "tolerance," and "diversity." Once God's commands are jettisoned out of fashion, someone else must make the law to which we all conform. Instead of relying on God's unchangeable and secure law, we piece together a consensus of "law" more in step with the modern mood and temperament. Like drunk Steve in the above video, we loosely string together a group of laws that incite and promote ungodly behavior and then we object when someone with common (Biblical) sense comes along and questions our motives and behavior.

Laws such as homosexual (excuse me - same sex) marriage, abortion, recognition of blaspheme as free speech, euthanasia, socialism, immigration, human rights not derived from God, and a host of other "shopping cart laws" are logically held together by a flimsy cord of feelings, popular opinion, or judicial edicts. Like the beer in Steve's stolen shopping carts, it may bring a supposed time of enjoyment and excitement, but its intoxicating effect will soon wear off. When it does, we will be left with a headache the likes of which we never imagined.

Without the secure foundation of Christ's words in our lives and in our nation, determining right from wrong, good from bad, and truth from falsehood will be impossible. New ideas will emerge to undermine society and form the foundation upon which society and individual lives will be built. These "new laws" will ultimately lead to the collapse of any society built upon that foundation of sand.

Our jobs as Christians is daunting. Changing hearts and minds is a tough job, but with the help of the Holy Spirit and God's Word what is impossible with man is possible with God and the reconstruction of our nation can be accomplished. May God grant us the strength, wisdom, and ability to do the job properly and not with shopper-cart theology so commonly blindly taught and accepted today.

Stay Holy, My Friends!

Pastor Don

Thursday, August 14, 2014

The Tears of a Clown

With the surprising reported suicide of  Robin Williams, I could not help but wonder what could possibly drive a "successful" person to take such a drastic action. To all outward appearances, he supposedly had it all. Fame, fortune, friends, family, health, and a legacy built on a once-in-a-generation talent and a kindness and gentleness that impressed even his harshest critics. According to all who knew him in passing, he was a gentle and funny man who took time to rub elbows with the hoi polloi. But to those who knew him intimately, he was a man struggling with issues of life that ultimately affect and challenge each one of us. As Smokey Robinson and the Miracles sang: "Now if there is a smile on my face, it's only there to fool the public, but when it comes down to fooling you, now honey that's quite a different subject." Indeed it is.

Proverbs 14:13 says that laughter can conceal a heavy heart, but when the laughter ends, the grief remains. It seems that this proverb was true for Robin Williams. It is unfortunate that a man who made the whole world laugh at his sporadic and outlandish comedy routines and silly movies could not find joy and peace in his own heart during the course of his famous lifetime. Awards, applause, and fame never sustain our personal value over time for as they soon vanish, they push us to strive harder to attain or surpass them again or leave us embittered and unfulfilled. With each passing accomplishment or failure, a new sense of urgency or hopelessness may grip us.

What drove Robin Williams to take such a drastic and horrible action may never be known, but his life and death can be used to learn a very important lesson. That lesson is that a man's life and value does not consist in the abundance of things that he accumulates or possesses but rather is measured and valued by his relationship toward God.

In Luke 12:16-21 Jesus says, "And He told them a parable, saying, 'The land of a rich man was very productive.' And he began reasoning to himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no place to store my crops?’ Then he said, ‘This is what I will do: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, 'Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years to come; take your ease, eat, drink and be merry.' But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your soul is required of you; and now who will own what you have prepared?’ So is the man who stores up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God."

I don't know what kind of relationship Robin Williams had with God or even if he had one. I don't know about his relationship with his family, friends, or neighbors. I don't know his habits, good or bad, or what kind of trouble haunted him. But one thing I do know is this - Jesus said, "Do not let your heart be troubled, believe in God and believe also in me!"  Jesus can give us peace when the storms of life hit and can comfort our souls regardless of our outward circumstances. He can heal and restore that which has been destroyed or ruined and he can resurrect that which is dead, buried, and forgotten!

My prayer is that Robin Williams' family, friends, and admirers will learn the lessons that Robin probably did not. Tomorrow is not guaranteed to any one of us. May we see there is more to life than worldly possessions and fame and that these do not make one truly rich. May we understand that a person may be suffering terribly on the inside when outwardly they present a different picture, and may we also be comforted during this difficult and trying time with the grace and peace that only comes through knowing Jesus Christ.

Stay Holy, My Friends!

Pastor Don