I remember an incident from high school many years ago. We had an assignment due on Monday and on Saturday night it snowed... and snowed and snowed some more! Needless to say, there was no school on Monday. Actually, there was no school that whole next week.
We returned to school the following Monday and only 3 students out of 28 turned in their assignments. The rest of us begged and pleaded for more time and, sighting the heavy snow and subsequent power outages, our teacher extended the deadline one more day. The next day, 12 kids handed in their assignments. The other 13 students gave numerous lame excuses and, to our amazement, the deadline was extended yet again. The next day 4 more students handed in their assignments and I couldn't believe the 9 others could be so bold as to ask for another extension! To make a long story short, the last student handed in their assignment the following Monday... two whole weeks late!
When our assignments were graded and handed back to us, our grades were horrible! The teacher didn't take off points for the papers being late, but he went through each of them with a fine tooth comb! He marked off for every little minor mistake. He marked things that he normally let go. Naturally, we cried foul. Why was he being so mean? Why was he being so picky? Why was he trying to fail us all? Why? Why? Why?
Finally, someone made the fatal mistake of saying that we didn't deserve such poor grades. The teacher asked if we all felt the same way and we all did. He asked us to hand the papers back and he would re-grade them and this time, he would give us the grades we deserved. He then proceeded to do just that.... we got zeros! All but the 3 students who turned their work in on time got zeros! And we deserved them. We took advantage of our teacher's mercy and then complained when he graded our papers very strictly.
God has let time go on for better than 2000 years now, his mercy giving all of us time to repent and turn to him. We seem to think that, because he has let us go so long, either he doesn't care how we act or maybe he doesn't even exist! My guess is that there will be a lot of whining and complaining on judgment day when we stand before him to give account for our lives. I bet the complaints of "this is unfair" and "you're unjust" get used a lot. I bet a bunch of folks will say "we don't deserve this!" when they're sent to eternal punishment.
We have abused God's mercy and grace and used his patience as an excuse to sin against him. But not much longer.


Two Pastors

I believe there are two types of Pastors. One I call the  "Good Shepherd" Pastor and the other I call the "Little Bo Peep" Pastor.
The "Good Shepherd" Pastor is like the leader Jesus talks about in the Bible. When one of his flock wanders away he immediately leaves the 99 and goes after the one. He finds that one and returns with him to the safety of the flock. This Pastor knows that He is responsible for the souls he has been put in charge of. When one of his church members leaves the church, he goes after that member and finds out what the problem was and comes back to the church with the member in company. Most of the time, just knowing that the Pastor notices and cares about their leaving wins back that member.
The "Little Bo Peep" Pastor is like the one mentioned in the nursery rhyme who says "Leave them alone and they'll come home, wagging their tails behind them". This Pastor says things like "I won't beg anybody to go to my church" and "I guess they never were real members anyway, else they wouldn't have left us".  This Pastor never checks to see what the problem was, or if indeed there was a problem, or if maybe that church member just lost his way. The Pastor stays home, safe with the 99 and the one is on his own.
 We have too many "Little Bo Peep" Pastors these days. They are content to stay home with the 99 or 98 or even 97 rather than bother with chasing after the errant one or two or three. Everyone wants to be wanted  and appreciated and, especially with our "mega-churches" these days, confused and/or hurt people are falling through the cracks and being forgotten. Just a call to say "We miss you" or "Is something wrong?" may solve the problem.
Pastor..... you are responsible for all your sheep, the easy ones and the hard ones. You may have one that leaves and you can't get him to come home, but it is your duty to try.


Liberal Christian

Liberal Christian is like jumbo shrimp and government intelligence; Some words just aren't meant to be used together. I hear people talk about being "liberal Christians", but upon closer examination, I can't seem to find the Christian among the liberal opinions.
Either the Bible is the word of God and is infallible and should be devoutly honored and obeyed, or it is garbage, full of lies and fairy tales and should be burned and forever gotten rid of. There is no middle ground. The statements the Bible makes about God, about Jesus, about us, about how people should act and talk, leave no room for middle ground. Either it is the truth or it is all lies and deception.
I hear "liberal Christians" say that, yes, the Bible is the word of God, but.... Well, if there is a but, then the Bible is not the word of God! If the Bible is true, then it is true all the time, in every situation, for all people, all the time, everywhere! Straddling the fence is not real Christianity. Pick a side already. I admire people who stand up for what they believe in and follow their true convictions even if I disagree with them. But those who water down Christianity with worldly concepts in the name of tolerance and political correctness really aggravate me. It's like trying to mix oil and water; All you do is mess up the oil and the water!
Jesus is either God or a liar. The Bible is either God's word or garbage. This is not a mix-and-match sale. You can't take a little of this and mix in a little of that and end up with anything that really matters. God doesn't give us that option. If you're going to be something, be something real... not some hybrid, fake, pinch-of-this pinch-of-that, unrecognizable counterfeit!