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20 November 2016

THE BLANK PAGE -- Chris's last sermon

Written by Chris Bloom, posted by Lora Bloom

Good morning, y'all. If you would, please turn to the very end of the Old Testament and the very beginning of the New one. It's either about three-quarters of the way in or a quarter of the way back, depending on what end you start from.

There should be a page there between the end of Malachi and the beginning of Matthew. It may have "The New Testament" printed on it in big bold letters, but other then that it's probably completely blank.

When you find it, take a good look at it. Look at it, front and back. Pick it up between your fingers. That's what 400 years feels like.

Before we go any further, let's pray.

Lord, thank you for your word, and that you hear us and speak to us today. Thank you especially for sending your son to die for our sins and to reveal your heart to us. May each of us be truly thankful and truly open to what you have to teach us, and may not a word be spoken that doesn't come from you. We ask all this in Christ's name. Amen.

First of all, I want to say how honored and grateful I am to have my words read up here. It's always a privilege to speak God's word, and I've said before that to do it here is like coming home. I'll try be worthy of the trust that's been placed on me.

Second let's get started. Hopefully everyone's found that page. Today is a little more unusual in that there's no text to read. There's no chapter in verse to hang onto.

There's nothing but silence. That page represents 400 years of silence from God. Even though they're right next to each other in the Bible, it's extremely unlikely that Malachi and Matthew would have lived at the same time. That page separates the Old and New Testaments, the Hebrew and Greek Scriptures, and the Israelite law and Christian faith.

There are three things you should think about when you see that page. The first thing we should think about is just how long 400 years is. The second is that this was a time when there was absolutely no communication from God to man. The third third thing to remember is the way it ended.

Just think how long 400 years is. 400 years is about how long the Israelites spent in Egypt. The whole New Testament was written in a few decades. 400 years ago was 1616. The world as we know it didn't even exist back then. I think only Bro. Russ was around in 1616. 

If a generation is about 20 years, that's 20 generations that never heard from God. For a nation that was used to hearing from God, that's a really long time. That's why we don't accept the books of the Apocrypha. They all appeared during those 400 years.

Think about living toward the end of that time. Not only would you have never had a prayer answered, but neither would your parents. Neither would your grandparents. No one could remember the last time God spoke to anyone.

You have to wonder what they were doing in the temple. All the sacrifices God had instituted just became empty rituals. This is when the people stopped being Israelites and became Jews. Talmuds, targums, and midrashes became more important than the Torah they explained, which was considered too sacred to even touch. Judaism increasingly became more about itself and less about God. 

The priests never meant to do this. The experts in the law didn't set out to put the words of man above the word of God. That was never anyone's intention. But when the son of God came they were prepared to kill him to protect their interpretation of the law.

The ones who should have known better may not have meant to do what they did, but when you do things just because they've always been done for a long time the traditions eventually take on a life of their own. They become more important than the God who inspired them.

That's what happened to the nation of Israel during these 400 years. They started out doing things out of love for God. But God never seemed to notice. So they just kept doing them because God had commanded it and hopefully he would pay attention if they were just faithful enough.

Then their sons grew up and became priests. They remembered God acting when they were children but never knew him the way their fathers had and so never came to love God the way their fathers had. They may have been dutiful, but they didn't really expect God to show up.

Then their sons became priests, and now there was a generation serving God who had never seen him act or heard his voice. They had only their fathers’ and grandfathers’ stories to prove it had ever happened. It had been two generations since anyone had had any personal experience with God.

Now extend that out 100 years, or 200. By that time, God himself had become just a legend. People did things because they were written on dusty old scrolls, not because the Maker and Sustainer of the Universe. It was religion about itself, a cult for its own sake, and it was not what God founded.

The second thing to remember when we see this blank page is that this was a time when there was absolute silence from God, and the Hebrews were accustomed to hearing from God. I'm not saying that they constantly walked around hearing the voice of God, but things like prophecy were not unheard-of among them. They knew that their history had been miraculous, and they weren't inclined to just shrug off the supernatural the way we are.

At the same time they weren't stupid, or gullible, or overly credulous. They knew how to tell when God was speaking — or at least they thought they did — and they’d been told how to recognize a false prophet when they heard one. 

These were not people who believed everything they were told, but they weren't people who didn't believe anything no matter what, either. They had a healthily critical attitude toward divine revelation.

It was all wasted, though, because there was nothing to have a healthily critical attitude to. By the time there was, they weren't healthy anymore.

When God didn't meet their expectations, they were ready to kill him for it. Having run God off with their sin, they just invented one to take his place. When the real thing showed up, it turned out they liked the one they make up better. Either God or their own ideas had to go, and when it came down to it they preferred their own ideas.

And so they killed God in the name of God.

It wasn't because they were just evil people or had an overdeveloped sense of irony. They were good religious people, but they learned the wrong lesson from God leaving them. Instead of seeing that it was their own sin that it drove God away and repenting, they just turned inward and learned to get along without him.

There's one big problem with that, though. Though God will always take a returning child back, and will even leave the flock to find the one lamb that's strayed, he won't do it forever. If you keep turning your back on him, he'll eventually turn his back on you. He will not save someone against his will.

That's what happened to the Hebrews. When they drove God away with their sin, the lesson he wanted them to learn was to stop sinning. Instead, what they learned was to try to be independent, to replace God with rituals.

The third thing we should remember when we see that page is how that 400 years ended. When God finally spoke to Israel again, it was through John the Baptist, and the essence of his message was, “Repent and be baptized, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.” Jesus said that no one was greater than John the Baptist, and it's worth noting that he didn't bring some new and different teaching. He just told them to repent. 

This wasn't some new message. God hadn't suddenly changed his mind. “Repent” was was what the prophets had said all those centuries before. Some of them had seen visions and foretold the future, but the message was always implicit: if you repent, these bad things won't happen to you.

This is clear in the Book of Jonah. The prophet is sent to the city of Nineveh to deliver a message of God’s judgment on the city because of its wickedness. While I'm sure fear played a role in his reluctance to go, the main reason — and the one he gave God — was that he knew that if they repented of their sin then God would forgive them.

That's all John was telling them. If they just repented — if they just stopped doing what they were doing — God would forgive them. If they turned away from sin, they would find God waiting for them.

After all those silent centuries, that's what God wanted to tell them. Repent, turn from your sin, and come back to God. There was no condemnation, no litany of sins. There was only an offer of forgiveness. Repent, turn from sin. Be baptized, confess your faith publicly. For the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand, this offer won't last forever, and you don't know when it will end.

So now we come to the big question we should ask every sermon. So what? If all this is true, and I believe it is, then what does it mean for us? That page represents 400 years, four silent centuries that ended with a plea for repentance. So what could it possibly mean for us?

It's been a lot longer than 400 years since Jesus was born. We've counted 2016 years since then. He may wait another 2016 years, or he may come before the end of this sentence. But whether it's one second or 100,000 years, it doesn't change the fact that he promised to come back, and he always keeps his promises.

We also need to consider what it would have been like living back in that time. Imagine offering a sacrifice knowing no one would ever receive it, or saying a prayer knowing that it would never be answered with either a “yes” or a “no”. What if you spent your entire life just doing things because you were supposed to?

What if you're doing it right now?

The solution is the same one that God offered through John the Baptist 2000 years ago. Repent. Stop doing what you're doing. Confess it and determine not to do it anymore. Promise not to do it and keep your promise.

Yes, it will take effort on your part, but it's not something you can do on your own. It's something that God, because of his infinite grace and love, is willing to do for you.

Just stop fighting him. Admit you can't do it on your own and apologize for even trying. And stop acting like God is just waiting for you to trip up and break a rule so he can send you to Hell. He's not looking for a reason to condemn you. He's looking for a reason to save you.

22 October 2016


Written by Chris Bloom, posted by Lora Bloom

Not the last post ever on this site (I hope), but the last one I plan on writing here. And it's not that I don't enjoy it or that the weblord wants me to leave (I hope). I've just met my goal. I wanted to do a weekly post for a year and I did it. Now I can go back to not junking up the page and you can get back to reading about Bibles, which is why you came here in the first place.

I'm profoundly grateful for the opportunity to do this and for your patience with me. I'm also extremely grateful to my wife, who has always done more than was necessary and without whom I literally could not have done this. Most of all, I'm thankful to God for saving my soul and for giving me the ability and desire to write about him and his word.

(I know that last paragraph sounds like an award speech, but you can tell it's not because it didn't last 25 minutes. Unless you're a very slow reader.)

Beyond expressing my gratitude, the best thing I can do is finish where I started. Examine yourselves, like the Bible says to do in 2Corinthians 13.5. If nothing else, I hope I've impressed upon you a very high view of Scripture. If the Bible, especially the New Testament, tells you to do something, you should sit up and take notice. It's not just there to take up space.

Examine yourselves to see if you are in the faith. Nothing is more important to a person than the fate of his soul. The winner of the American presidential election doesn't matter. Making your first million doesn't matter. The color of your first child’s hair doesn't matter. Compared to where you will spend eternity all of these things are trivial.

Think of your most important relationship, the one that makes you who you are and that defines you. It's a sobering thought that if the answer is anything but God, you've created an idol and thus failed the test. Who do we love most? 

That's what makes it so devilishly hard. Love is, in itself, a good thing, and we'd all be much better people if we gave and received more of it. But a good thing is not necessarily the best thing.

That's one reason we need to examine ourselves in the light of Scripture. The Bible is clear that the best thing for humanity is to know God, and that anything or anyone else will fall short.

I find that especially difficult because I love my family so much. I know my wife and children aren't perfect, but I've always found it very easy to place them on the pedestal that only God should occupy. The challenge for me has always been to love God more than them. When I've examined myself in the light of Scripture, I've seen myself for what I was: an idolator.

God didn't owe anyone salvation. None of us has done him a favor by being saved from Hell. He did it all by his own choice. He didn't owe anyone a Bible either, but he provided one anyway, and I believe one reason he did was to give us something to examine ourselves against. 

[LC Bloom is going to miss all of you.]


Written by Chris Bloom, posted by Lora Bloom

You know what you never hear? A Christmas sermon based on Matthew 1. And that's too bad. It's an important chapter.

I mean, it's not like most exciting chapter to read or to talk about, and certainly not to listen to. It's a genealogy, so it probably gets skipped over a lot. It's hard to read and harder to preach on. But it tells us something important about Jesus.

No one just waved a magic wand and said “"Abracadabra!” and made Jesus appear. He didn't just come from nowhere. He was expected, and he was foretold, and this chapter tells us exactly where he came from.

Long ago, I had decided to preach through the books of the Bible. I thought this would give me plenty of flexibility while still providing some structure and teaching the church I was pastoring a little about what was in their Bible. While I still think it's a good idea — and you can have it for free if you want — it also left me with a problem: the Sunday before Christmas, I would be preaching from Nahum.

If you haven't read Nahum recently, and there's a good chance you haven't, it's not a book that's  generally associated with the Christmas season. It's an oracle against Assyria, and a pretty vicious one. It's strange to think of ink on paper screaming, but if a book could scream, Nahum would. It would scream for vengeance.

Yet Jesus is in Nahum, too. The destruction of the Assyrians would be the work of the Messiah, who would come and defeat Israel's enemies and make it a great nation again. At least that was the popular understanding.  

I'm not here to say who was right or wrong. I just want to point out that there was a popular understanding. The Messiah didn't just pop up. The Jews had been waiting for him for over a thousand years,

I'm not sure why there are two different genealogies given for Jesus in the Gospels. To the best of my knowledge, the one in Matthew is a legal one, establishing his right to the throne through Joseph, while the one in Luke traces his ancestry through Mary, showing his ancestral descent directly from David. 

Both genealogies show that Jesus Christ didn't just appear from nowhere. His birth, death, and resurrection were foretold, sometimes thousands of years in advance. Since time began the Messiah had been promised, and Jesus was the fulfillment of that promise. That's all “Christ” means; it's just a Greek translation of the Hebrew word “Messiah”. It's a job description, not a last name.

That's why he can never be replaced by anyone else. No one else could fulfill the hopes of his people the way he did. Replacing Jesus Christ wouldn't just mean plugging someone else into his spot. It would require changing thousands of years of prophecy.

No one pulled Jesus out of a hat. No one made him suddenly appear. He came as a response to hundreds of prophecies, and he will fulfill even more at his second coming. His coming was expected and foretold; nobody just waved a magic wand and made it happen.

[LC Bloom is pretty sure no one waved a magic wand and made him appear either, but he really doesn't remember and figures nothing that was going on at the time is his business anyway. He's from Birmingham, Alabama, and can be reached at He also writes for Built for Glory and has written for COBRASAURUS‼‼!]


Written by Chris Bloom, posted by Lora Bloom

When asked about God’s blessings, we in America like to point to our vast wealth as proof of God’s favor. After all, the USA is not only the richest country in existence, it's the richest country by far that has ever existed. Even though we hear a lot about how China is catching up to the United States, its economy is about half the size of the USA’s.

And that's a very serious problem.

Jesus said something that should profoundly disturb us. (Actually, he said a great deal that should profoundly disturb us, but I'm just talking about the one thing right now.) He said that it was easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to get into the Kingdom of Heaven.

Now, there is a way to get a camel through the eye of a needle, but it takes a lot of patience and you won't end up with a working camel. It won't be useful for any of the things you would normally use a camel for. It won't even be camel-shaped. It will, in fact, be a vat of camel juice. 

And forget any nonsense you might have heard about a gate in Jerusalem called the Needle’s Eye that a camel could only fit through if it was unloaded and kneeling. That story was made up in the 1800s by a pastor who wanted to keep some rich parishioners.

Of course, few of us would consider ourselves rich. And we're probably not by American standards. But the fact remains that even poor Americans are wealthy compared with most people in the world. That may not help much if you happen to be one of those poor Americans, but it's the truth. 

The problem is that Jesus called wealth something that would keep us from God. Things that keep us out of Heaven are called curses, not blessings.If Jesus said it's hard for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven, then all of us, myself included, who live in the richest nation of all time should be very concerned.

We also have to rethink what we've always been taught to think of as blessings. We have to ask ourselves if God would really bless a nation that was intentionally founded as a secular republic (If you don't believe me,  just read the Constitution!), or one that has never minded lying, cheating, stealing, and killing to get what it wants (If you don't believe me, just read a history book!).

There's nothing special about the United States of America that inherently draws people to God. Being born here makes you an American citizen, but not a citizen of Heaven. And being rich is not always a sign of God’s blessing.

There's nothing in the New Testament that indicates a connection between God’s favor and wealth. You have to look in the Old Testament for a link like that, and since we're not Hebrews living 3000 years ago, we should be careful if we have to get our examples there.

[LC Bloom isn't a 3000-year-old Hebrew, but you'd be excused for thinking so. He's from Birmingham, Alabama, and can be reached at He also writes for Built for Glory and has written for COBRASAURUS‼‼!]


Written by Chris Bloom, posted by Lora Bloom

Toys are fun. I grew up in the 1980s, so I remember playing with GI Joes, Transformers, and Star Wars men. And Masters of the Universe, though looking back, playing with over-muscled men in fur Speedos was pretty homosexual.

I still like toys, but I don't obsess over them like I used to. At some point, I stated to care less about Matchbox cars and more about real cars. I just grew up. Unfortunately, it seems like a lot of people don't.

I'm not talking about adults playing with toys. I'm talking about people who should know better still acting like adolescents. There's not much more pathetic than a 70-year-old teenager.

I think there are three reasons people do this. First, everyone seems to do whatever they can be avoid responsibility. Second, there's an absolute terror in our society of growing old. Third, satisfaction of physical desires has become the greatest good in a society increasingly focused on its own pleasure.

Avoiding responsibility has become an epidemic. Unwed fathers have always been famous for ducking responsibility, but now it seems like men and women are doing it, whether they're married or not. Even in those marriages that stay together many spouses hardly ever see each other or their children because they're always working to make money to buy their kids stuff they don't want anyway. The responsibility they have to their families is secondary to their desire to please themselves.

This isn't strange or unusual; this is how people have always thought. The difference is that now it's socially acceptable, so people feel freer to act out their thoughts. It doesn't make it less wrong. It just makes it more prevalent.

In America, and in the West in general, people are genuinely terrified of growing old. Our society worships youth, and doesn't respect old people, but despises them. (I remember being told as a teenager that our society is the first that throws away its old people, but being young I naturally didn't pay it much attention.)

There are two important things to remember, though. The first is that there's only one way to get old, and they might have learned something useful along the way. The second is that a 65-year-old woman isn't supposed to look like a teenage girl. (Neither is a 65-year -old man, which unfortunately has to be said now.) The myth of eternal youth is powerful, but in this world it's just that: a myth.

The whole world, it seems, is just to make us feel good; anything that doesn't do that is almost by definition bad. It not only has to be destroyed, but all evidence of its existence must be wiped out.

This kind of revisionism is presented as a scientific viewpoint, and history is changed ostensibly to remove the lingering traces of our superstitious past. Unless, of course, it helps get off. This pursuit of pleasure regardless of the consequence is just juvenile, and not how adults should act.

We often hear that kids grow up too fast today. That may be true, but sometimes we need to ask why. Too often kids have to grow up because their parents won't.

[LC Bloom grew out as well as up. He's from Birmingham, Alabama, and can be reached at He also writes for Built for Glory ( and has written for COBRASAURUS‼‼! (WWW.COBRASAURUS.BLOGSPOT.COM).


Written by Chris Bloom, posted by Lora Bloom

A while back I was a big fan of Ayn Rand. Not of her personally -- by all accounts she was a remarkably unpleasant person -- but of her books. I couldn't fully get on board with her philosophy, because of its virulently anti-Christian stance, but she had a big influence on my libertarianism.

She was too polemical to be a good novelist; even her fiction read like nonfiction. One of her central ideas has always stuck with me, though: a = a.

My mother-in-law has always said it a different way: "It is what it is." Another old saying is that if it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it's probably a duck.

All these are just ways of saying that a thing is itself. That also means that a thing is not something different. A is not not-a. It ain't what it ain't. If it doesn't look like a duck or quack like a duck there's a good chance it's not a duck.

Even in the Bible, a is a. Jesus Christ may have lived as a man, but when it comes down to it, God isn't like us. He says as much in Psalm 50. God is different from man. A is not not-A,

Man is not God. He won't become God at some point in the future. He's an amazing creation, and because he was made in the likeness of his creator he's done some things that beggar belief. He's not God, though. If you don't remember anything else, remember that. Man is not God. Not-A is not A.

The worst thing a person can do is to is to put himself in God's place. The place God made for and reserved for himself is on the pedestal of the human heart. He was and is the only worthy object of worship. People have never been. They aren't big enough.

If a thing is true, its opposite can't be true as well. If man is in charge, then he can't not be in charge at the same time. That's just insane.

Jesus said no man can serve two masters. The same is true of our beliefs. If we believe A, we cannot behave as if we believe not-A. If we do, there's no point in claiming to believe A. That's just dishonest, and though we might fool ourselves, we're not fooling anyone else,

Saying one thing and doing another is hypocrisy. It's a lie, and has probably made more atheists both inside and outside the Church than anything else. As hard as we might try, we can't make A equal anything other then A.

[LC Bloom doesn't equal anything other than LC Bloom. He's from Birmingham, Alabama and can be reached at He also writes for Built for Glory and has written for COBRASAURUS!!!!!]


Written by Chris Bloom, posted by Lora Bloom

Let me tell you what, in my experience, the average churchgoing man is like.

He's at least in his 30s, because no normal person would have time for church when he was younger. He has a wife and a couple of kids; he mostly goes for them anyway.

He's much more interested in sports than in church. He owns a Bible, but it only gets opened on Sunday mornings, or at most for a few minutes each morning for a devotional. He only reads a few verses at a time, and assumes that the Bible itself is some kind of mysterious manuscript only meant for trained professionals.

He only goes to church on Sunday mornings, and because he's expected to. Besides, it's mildly entertaining and makes no demands on him, and it's a good place to make contacts. The only time he'd even think about going any other time is when there are sports, cookouts, or motorcycles involved, preferably in some combination.

In short, his religion makes almost no impact on his life. The only thing that makes him any different from a non-Christian is where he spends less than 2% of his week.

Christianity has become a socially-expected chore. (And I live in what has been described as the most religious state in the USA. In a lot of places it's not even expected.) And for that, Christianity must die.

At least the way it's usually practiced in America. Actual Christianity, the worship of God as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, the faith once and for all delivered to the saints, is very rare, as it always has been. It's much easier to substitute a weak, insipid version of it and follow that instead of devoting ourselves to the real thing.

Of course, I could be wrong. Maybe my experience has not been typical,or maybe I'm just being too hard on the average man in the pews (or chairs or whatever). But I don't think so. I just don't think Christianity is that important to most men.

I've said many times that I've never been asked if I was a Christian, but I was asked several times a day whether I was an Alabama or an Auburn fan. (In addition being apparently religious, this state is literally insane about college football.)

I once heard the explosion "playing church". And that's exactly what we've been doing. We've been pretending to be the Body of Christ, when in reality a good many of us don't even know what that means. For our hearts to break for what breaks God's heart, real Christianity must live, and our pale imitation Christianity must die.

[LC Bloom also must die, but for a completely different reason. That's just what people do. He's from Birmingham, Alabama, and can be reached at He also writes for Built for Glory, and has written for COBRASAURUS!!!!!.]


Written by Chris Bloom, posted by Lora Bloom

There seems to be a great deal of confusion about the modern State of Israel, especially among people who should know better.

Let me say from the beginning that modern Israel is not the same as biblical Israel. To avoid mixing the two up I'll refer to the modern one as the State of Israel, its actual full name.

Part of the confusion stems from the name.. If a nation has the same name as one from the Bible, it's assumed to be the same thing.. Confusion also arises from religion. Ancient and the modern State of Israel were both founded on Judaism, though the ancient Kingdom of Israel was based on the Law of Moses, and the State of Israel seems to have been based on the Holocaust and an ethnic understanding o Judaism.

Some people, including Pope Francis I and Billy Graham, have said that people of Jewish descent don't need to be evangelized, that just being a Jew is good enough. This would have come as a surprise to Jesus,specifically said that he was sent to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. If that was true 2000 years ago, how much more is it true now that the State of Israel is ostensibly Jewish but many of its people are at least functionally atheist?

If God wouldn't put up with a nation he founded on his own word and promise, why would he put up with one the British founded on a dispensational understanding of Scripture? In what can they be his chosen people if they deny his coming, or even his very existence?

Descent from Abraham isn't enough; Jesus said that God was able to raise up children of Abraham from the stones if he wanted. Keeping the law isn't enough; it was the Apostle Paul who told us that if keeping the law could save us, there would have been no need for Christ to die.

The simple fact is that being a Jew isn't good enough.

This doesn't mean that I'm "against Israel". I don't own a fish, but that doesn't mean that I'm somehow against fish. They just aren't something I think about much. In the same way, the fact that a nation calls itself Israel doesn't make it a Christian duty to give it money. If we really believed that it was God's chosen nation we wouldn't spend so much defending it. We'd trust God to defend it instead.

The identification of the State of Israel with biblical Israel is based on bad theology, and has nothing to do with either the Bible or the world around us. What's worse is that this bad theology is being perpetuated by people who don't even believe it. There are many people whose outlook is entirely secular who just want to make sure American money is kept flowing into the State of Israel.

If you want to support the State of Israel, then do so. I'm by no means trying to dissuade you from that. Just don't let anyone guilt you into it by saying it's the duty of every Christian or some such nonsense. It just isn't true 

[LC Bloom could be taken out by the Mossad for this. He's from Blirmimgham, Blalabama (that should slow 'em down) and can be reached at He also writes for Built for Glory, and has written for COBRASAURUS!!!!!]


Written by Chris Bloom, posted by Lora Bloom

There's something poisonous in the very air we breathe. We all imbibe it, and none of us is immune. It twists us and it kills us, but all our lives we're told to get more, because the more we have the healthier we are.

We're all infected with this insidious plague of self-esteem.

Don't get me wrong. We shouldn't all be beating ourselves up and always going on about how awful we are. We just shouldn't think that much about ourselves at all. That esteem doesn't need to be wasted on us. It should be given to God.

There's nothing wrong with thinking you're valuable. God thought you were valuable to die for. But we have to keep some perspective. We shouldn't think more highly than we ought.

Last I heard, none of us was perfect. None of us was a Savior, and none of us died as a sacrifice for the sins of the entire world and was resurrected by God. Until that happens, our regard for the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit should be far above our regard for ourselves.

The biggest problem problem in the world is not a lack of self-esteem. It's a lack of God-esteem. We compare ourselves much too favorably with God's example. We're simply not as good as we think we are, and God's not as bad.

This is clearly seen in the way we use language. The most commonly-used word is 'I", and I'm pretty sure the equivalent is true in other languages. We love to talk about ourselves, and we do it without even realizing it. In fact, I'm doing it right now, and to be perfectly honest part of the reason I like doing this is that I love the attention. I may try to deflect the focus to God, but it's still my name at the top of the page, and I can't deny I like to see it there.

All the same, it's not my ego that needs stroking. All this glory belongs to God, not me. Remember that it's not about me thinking I'm awful, but about going credit where it's due.

God is all-seeing. We're not. God is all-knowing. We're not. God is all-powerful, all-loving, and all-forgiving. We're none of those things, and our refusal to acknowledge that someone else is is nothing but pettiness.

Rick Warren famously started THE PURPOSE-DRIVEN LIFE with the words, "It's not about you." While I'm by no means the biggest fan of Mr Warren, I agree that that's something we need to admit. It's not about us, and we aren't at the center of the universe. That's good, because we're not meant to be,

No one can do what he did, or continues to do. The responsibility would crush any mortal man, and I have yet to meet anyone who would make a good replacement for God. The worst "I" just isn't big enough.

[LC Bloom is barely big enough to be himself. He's from Birmingham, Alabama, and can be reached at He also writes for Built for Glory ( and has written for COBRASAURUS!!!!! (WWW.COBRASAURUS.BLOGSPOT.COM)]


Written by Chris Bloom, posted by Lora Bloom

Throughout the Bible, God tells people to trust him. He's forever showing people he can be trusted. That's all the Bible means by faith: trusting in something you can't see.

Of course, the opposite of trusting what God says is denying what God says. Denial seems to be our default setting, but with all the evidence God has given about his own trustworthiness, the burden of proof lies on the ones doing the denying.

Denial is easy to do, but much harder to justify. There is simply no reason for it. With all that he has done, there is not a single scrap of evidence to back up the notion that God can't be trusted. As Norm Geisler and Frank Turek put it, I don't have enough faith to be an atheist.

I'm sure there are a lot of reasons for not trusting God. Some people just deny his existence altogether. I admit it's not a position I really understand, I know some people hold it. Some of the people I know even hold it.

Some people look at all the evil in the world and conclude that God is either uncaring or malicious. It's difficult to know how to answer these people, other than to ask what they expect. Should God protect people from the consequences of their own actions and those of others? If someone shoots somebody else, should the bullet just fall to the floor without hurting anyone? If a pregnant woman drinks, should it not affect her or her baby? If a person jumps from a building, should he just float harmlessly down?

If freedom to choose means freedom to choose what's wrong, then shielding us like that would effectively destroy any freedom we might have. And if we have no freedom, then we're just automatons going through prearranged motions. (I know my Reformed brothers and sisters would say I'm wrong at various points, but all I can do is ask your indulgence. We're on the same side, after all.)

A lot of people use the argument that if God were all- good and all-powerful, then evil wouldn't exist. Since it obviously does, God is either not all-good or not all-powerful. In my opinion, that's a decent argument, but it doesn't take into account the fact that what we consider good might not be the same thing that God considers good.

Man is not the measure of all things. A lot of the mistrust and denial of God's goodness comes from holding him to a human standard that was never meant for hm. We just don't know enough to know what the best thing is. But God knows everything, and he's completely and totally good. It's not just a matter of a blind leap of faith in the dark. It's trusting that someone who can see just fine and will catch you like he promised.

And that's what some of us find so hard: trusting somebody else. Sometimes it's because we've been let down before, maybe multiple times. Sometimes it's because we just can't see how God can work things out. But God's never let anyone down, and it's not our job to know how everything will work out. It's God's. He'll take care of that; we don't have to.

Our trust in God won't make him any greater, and our denial of him won't make him any less. He'll still be God no matter what. We're the ones who stand to lose or gain.

[LC Bloom will still be LC Bloom whether you believe in him or not. He's from Birmingham, Alabama, and can be reached at He also writes for Built for Glory and COBRASAURUS!!!!!]


Written by Chris Bloom, posted by Lora Bloom


There are three things that have been dear to my heart my whole adult life. Two of them are history and comics.

I've always liked history. Part of it is that it was always lumped in with geography, and I can stare at maps for hours and never get bored. The main reason, though, is that the past is the part of eternity we can see. It's like we're walking backwards; we can guess what's coming, but we can only see what's already gone by. Not perfectly, of course, and it's always been subject to revision, especially in my lifetime.

I've liked comic books for a long time too. I remember liking Spider-Man when I was very young, and reading X-MEN when I was 10 or 11, but it wasn't until I was in my senior year of high school (1992) that I really got into them. The late 90s were a dire time for comics, but the early 90s weren't.

But why did I like them so much and for so long? It was a substitute for God, as near as I can tell . There's been a lot written about how superheroes are the mythology of America, and I think in a sense it's true. Looking back, all I can say for sure is that I wanted to belong to something and found an extremely nerdy way to do it.

As for what that has to do with history, I can only two words: Captain America. The fact is, though,, I never liked him when I was young. I was in my late 30s before I even paid attention to the character. But if you think about it, he's perfect for me: a man from the past living in a modern world.

Besides, he kept his word, took responsibility for his actions, and used his strength to defend the weak. He was known not for a weapon but for a shield. There are a lot worse people to emulate than Captain America.

There are a lot better, too.

Even though Captain America had been almost a substitute father for me, God had already promised to be my father. In Psalm 65 God said he would be a father to the fatherless. No one has to feel like he's alone , or an orphan.

God is the perfect father, and when he sent his son it wasn't to some vague time or imaginary world. Instead, he came to this world, at a particular time and in a particular place. And he's still alive, eternally. Christ is more than a historical fact, but he's certainly not less.

He's real, he's alive, and through his Holy Spirit he continues to act in the lives of his people. And he's the only hope mankind has. No one else died for the for the forgiveness of our sins. Not even Captain America.

So what do I think about comic books now? There's nothing inherently wrong with them, but they aren't something I feel like I need anymore. Why would I want a substitute when I have the real thing?

They're just things. I no longer invest myself into them, or live vicariously through them. They're just distractions, and I've got too much to do already.

[LC Bloom wishes he hadn't wasted so much money on comics. Or music. He's from Birmingham, Alabama, and can be reached at He also writes for Built for Glory and COBRASAURUS!!!!!]

14 October 2016


 If you tell the IRS you don't owe taxes on something, they're not going to just believe you. They're going to to want proof. If you say you donated something, you had better have a receipt, because the IRS will want to see it. There's a good reason for this. They don't trust you. That's not because IRS agents are inherently bad people. They've just been lied to. A lot.

People lie to the IRS all the time. In a country that revolted over taxes, cheating the government is almost seen as a patriotic duty. But a lie to the IRS or anybody else is still a lie.

It does beg the question, though, of why the Internal Revenue Service needs proof and Christians don't. After all, we're lied to just as much. Almost any pastor can tell horror stories of people who just want stuff and know that churches are a soft touch.

We often hear people say triumphantly that the United States of America is a Christian nation. It's not just in this country that people say that, either. Around the world, the words “American” and “Christian” are so closely associated in people's minds that however Americans act — and as a former sailor I can tell you that we sometimes act very badly — is assumed to be how Christians act, too.

But ask yourself this: if this was a Christian nation, would we be known everywhere for our greed and violence? Would we make immoral entertainment that brings in hundreds of billions of dollars every year both here and abroad? Would we be the world's largest importer of drugs and the world's largest exporter of pornography?

The way I see it, there are three ways to explain this discrepancy. The first is to say that the Bible was all well and good in days of yore, but we have to live in the here and now. The second explanation is even more ridiculous: that America doesn't have to obey Scripture because it's somehow special.

The third is that some of the 150 million or so people who claim to be born-again Christians in this country are lying. This seems to be by far the most likely scenario, if only because we lie all the time anyway.

In this time and place, there are still advantages to professing to believe in Christianity and to church membership. There are incentives to lie. Unfortunately, this means that there are many “members” who only show up for Christmas and Easter, or who get their names on a membership roll and never darken the doors of that place again.

Saying you're a Christian doesn't make you one, any more than claiming to be the king of the sea would mean that I was. That's like calling everyone you know and telling them you just got married, when what actually did was meet someone you like.

We need to stop just taking people at their word. If someone says he's a Christian, there should be some fruit of it in his life. Saying don't make it so.

[LC Bloom don't make it so, either. He's from Birmingham, Alabama and can be reached at He also writes for Built for Glory ( and COBRASAURUS‼‼! (WWW.COBRASAURUS.BLOGSPOT.COM).]

13 October 2016

Psalm 135

Why should we praise the Lord for being good? Think what it would be like if he wasn't. 

An evil, all-powerful being would be horrible beyond imagining. It would also be a logical impossibility. We serve a good God and we should be thankful we serve a good God. 

Review: INTERRUPTED by Jen Hatmaker

A long time ago someone gave me a Bible. In the introduction to Galatians it had the statement  "Liberty is not license." While Christ sets a person free, that doesn't mean that he just turns that person loose to do whatever he wants. 

Unfortunately, Hatmaker seems to blur the line between liberty and license. While her beliefs about love for and service to one's neighbor is clear and unambiguous, her stance on separation is much less clear. I don't recommend this book because it makes some good points about service, but is ultimately confusing. 

Psalm 134

God is supposed to be praised, and man is supposed to praise him. It's not like some old lady fishing for compliments. At best that kind of person is just silly. If God wasn't worthy of all this praise it would be different. But he is. He's the greatest thing thing that's ever existed. 

Praising God is just giving him his due. 

Review: COMPLETE WORKS by Menno Simons

While the works of Menno Simons provide a very good look at the thought of one of the most important Anabaptist leaders and are extremely inexpensive, they're also very repetitive. Simons may have written to a lot of people, but he tended to tell them the same things. 

Still, it's hard to overlook the value of this collection. I think I paid about  $4 for the Kindle version. I recommend it, but unless you're just determined to read every word Simons wrote, it's best to just skim through it. 

12 October 2016

Psalm 133

David may have written about how good unity was, but that didn't keep the people of God from dividing just a  couple of generations later. 

We've always had a tendency to divide at the drop of a hat. There are hundreds of Anabaptist denominations, and something like 25,000 Protestant ones, and the Church of Rome has only maintained the unity it has by the threat of force. Christians have made Jesus' prayer for unity a sick joke. 

The commands of Jesus IX

Hear then ... (MAT 13.18)
.... let him hear. (MAT 13.43)
... you give them something to eat. (MAT 14.16)
... bring them to me ... (MAT 14.18)
... take heart ... (MAT 14.27)
... do not be afraid. (MAT 14.27)
... come. (MAT 14.29)
Hear and understand ... (MAT 15.10)
Let them alone ... (MAT 15.14)
... watch and beware ... (MAT 16.5)

11 October 2016

Psalm 132

In this psalm there's a repetition of the well-known promise to David that he would always have a descendant on the throne of Israel. I've heard about this promise as long as I've been in church, usually spiritualized to refer to Christ, but I've never heard the  "if" clause mentioned. 

And there's always an  "if". 

Review: OVERRATED by Eugene Cho

While this book has an intriguing premise -- that Christians ultimately like the idea of changing the world more than actually doing it -- in the end it just seems like a rehash of ideas I've already seen. 

Since it seems to be just repeating what others have said better, I don't see any reason to recommend it. 

10 October 2016

Psalm 131

You don't have to know everything. Sometimes it's just enough to know that God is God, 

Unfortunately, some people believe they have to understand everything about God and his plans. We'd all be better off with the attitude in this psalm. Some things are just too wonderful to fully comprehend.