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Ray Rooney, Jr

  • 16
    JULY

    Ray Rooney, Jr.: Palatable

    Is it the Church’s job to make God palatable to the world?  One wonders if that is not exactly the adopted mission of modern day Christianity.  The world doesn’t think it is in need of saving.  So a God who sends His Son to die on a cross “that the world might be saved through him” (John 3:17) is unsavory.  A more palatable message is that Christ came into the world to proclaim universal acceptance before God.  Granted, you have to ignore troublesome passages like Colossians 1:20 that speaks of “peace by the blood of his cross” but ignore it many in the Church do.
  • 9
    JULY

    Ray Rooney, Jr.: “Act Like Men”

    Does love conform to all ideas and ideologies?  The obvious answer is “Of course not!”  Love cannot conform to any kind of ideology that includes the subjugation of others (Nazism, Communism, racism, etc.).  It’s easy to identify things, systems, people, and ideologies that oppress and subjugate others in objective and tangible ways.  Take away one’s God-given “unalienable Rights” (Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness…see the Declaration of Independence) and you know quickly that love will not conform to whatever or whoever is doing the taking.  Love cannot conform to those who make it known that for whatever reason they imagine they are somehow superior to others.  Those things are obvious and I don’t know of anyone, who wants to be taken seriously, who advocates that love should accept and conform to processes that are so clearly harmful to others.
  • 1
    JULY

    Ray Rooney, Jr.: Our Sacred Honor?

    We are ruined as a nation barring Divine intervention.  As we have seen with virtually any government entitlement program (welfare, social security, food stamps, etc.) once people get used to getting handouts you can forget about them ever (willingly) going back to hard work.  It ain’t happening and there is no going back.  It’s gotten so bad that now even foreigners think they have a right to enter this country whenever they please, as they please, to do as they please.  And here is the kicker…I should not only agree to it but actually foot the bill for their lodging, food, medicine, insurance, education and anything else they think they have a right to.  As if on cue Nancy Pelosi goes to the southern border declaring to all the illegals “We are all Americans.”
  • 24
    JUNE

    Ray Rooney, Jr.: Staying Power

    It is hard to overstate just how important it is to believe and embrace the old adage that the Church is not the building but the people.  Organized religion seems to be anything but organized today.  Pluralism and narcissism have flooded into almost every neighborhood church.  Religious leaders and academicians assure good Christian folks that they need not worry about the cataclysmic cultural shifts taking place today.  “God is driving the change,” they say.  “We know the Bible seems to provide clarity about today’s social issues but it really doesn’t.  There’s an awful lot of gray area around abortion, and sexual immorality, and marriage.  The Spirit is blowing the winds of change and God’s Church must get on board!”
  • 18
    JUNE

    Ray Rooney, Jr.: Take the Garbage Out Church

    There is no group better trained or equipped to derail the Enemy of God more than the Church. Yet no group looks more disconcerted and mystified by evil today.  The Church has that deer in the headlights look.  “What?!...Am I supposed to move, or what?  Maybe that bright thing barreling down on me will just go away.”  Guess what Church?  Sin isn’t going away anytime soon.  So neither is evil: the stench of sin.  Are you ever going to stand up for your God and Savior?They legalized infanticide and changed its name to something more palatable (abortion) and we’ve learned to live with the stench of it for more than forty years.  Even when Kermit Gosnell’s infamous house of human dismemberment was made public there was no unified statement of condemnation from the Christian Church.  The smell had always been there and so we weren’t surprised when someone opened the lid to the garbage can and took pictures and we saw what we saw.  We just hurriedly closed the lid, sprayed some air freshener around, and went back to the business of planning VBS and our latest plans for building expansions.  Rock on.
  • 12
    JUNE

    Ray Rooney, Jr.: A World In Need of a Church

    Wow.  Things seem to be spiraling out of control.  News reports of mass killings seem to be coming in on an almost regular basis.  It’s getting to the point where a daily news report withouta multiple homicide from somewhere in the country is becoming rare.  We keep hearing about abducted children being imprisoned by their abductors for years while being molested and abused.  Terrorism continues to be an issue 13 years after 9/11 (first Ft. Hood attack and the Boston Marathon bombing are examples).  Then we have the governmental assault on religious freedom in general and Christian faith and practice in particular.  Traditional views on marriage and sexuality (such as marriage is only between one man and one woman and sex is appropriate only within that marriage) have been deemed out of touch and lumped in with all sorts of far right radical religious extremism.  Up is down.  In is out.  Bad is good.  Evil is holy.
  • 2
    JUNE

    Ray Rooney, Jr.: Don’t Be Afraid of Persecution

    There is one issue the Church had better start dealing with.  It’s a word that many think has little relevance in this day and time.  Persecution.  It is, of course, a key theme in the book of Acts.  Beginning with Peter and John in chapter 4 with the admonition to refrain from speaking about Jesus and crystallizing around the martyrdom of Stephen in chapter 7 the issue never goes away.  Nor has it ever gone away in the centuries since then.
  • 21
    MAY

    Ray Rooney, Jr.: Rethinking My Role in the Culture War

    Much is changing in the world and culture.  Government leaders scoff at American exceptionalism.  Marriage is being redefined against the will of the people by activist judges.  Sexuality has left the realm of decency and privacy and now parades unabashedly in public and before our children led by the homosexual activists.  School teachers and administrators threaten and humiliate children who would dare speak the name of Jesus or bring a Bible to class.  Hollywood runs anyone who proclaims their Christian faith out of town while the military pays for operations to make men become women.  Professional football players are sent to get “reeducated” if they publicly say that a televised kiss between two men is “horrible.”  The “American Dream” of success based on opportunity and hard work has been replaced by the American Entitlement where millions of people think they are owed something for doing nothing.  All the while the Church seems unsure what its role is supposed to be in this monumental shift of values and mores.
  • 15
    MAY

    Ray Rooney, Jr.: The Bible Word Everyone Fears

    There is a lot the Church can do.  It can lead the way in feeding the hungry.  It can assist and minister to the broken hearted.  It can inspire the downtrodden.  It can provide hope to those living in despair.  It can encourage.  It can teach and theologize.  It can practice forgiveness.  It can proclaim the love of God, advance Kingdom principles, and introduce people to Jesus Christ.  It can motivate and uplift.  It can multiply. But there is one thing the Church cannot do.  It cannot save anyone who doesn’t know they are lost.  And you cannot reveal lostness without talking about sin.  In order to “Prepare the way of the Lord,” John the Baptist preached a very short and simple message: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 3:2).  If you take away all the theological parlance from the hyper-religious explanation of what repentance is you are left with something very simple.  Repentance is apologizing to God for your sin and pledging not to repeat it.  That is how you prepare the way of the Lord into a person’s heart.  Acknowledge sin.  Turn from it.  Embrace what’s coming (Jesus). 
  • 6
    MAY

    Ray Rooney, Jr.: Contend Within

    “Contend for the faith” is a phrase found in Jude verse 3.  It is a clarion call to stand forthrightly and unashamedly for the cause of truth and righteousness.  While most of Jude’s 25 verses describe the kind of beliefs and people the faithful are to stand against, many seem not to realize that “the faith” Jude is most concerned about is the faith inside the believer.  Look carefully at the reason Jude gives for writing his letter:Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. (v.3). 
  • 2
    MAY

    Ray Rooney, Jr.: The Good Fight

    Twenty eight years behind the pulpit and there is so very little to show for it.  I’ve made both friends and enemies preaching and pastoring but when it comes to making a difference in this world…so little to show for it.  I have found that church people want to be saved but they don’t want to be bothered.  They want sermons to be interesting but not convicting.  They want grace without repentance.  They want to go on mission trips to foreign countries but they don’t want to talk to their neighbors about Jesus.  Most of all they want their churches and pastors to stay out of politics and away from cultural hot button issues.
  • 21
    APRIL

    Ray Rooney, Jr.: A Different Thought On Easter

    Even when it comes to something as righteous and holy as serving God we just can’t help ourselves.  We’re humans and it’s in our nature.  We serve to gain.  There’s got to be some kind of reward or payoff or we’re not interested.  How do I know we all serve to gain?  How many of us are willing to serve God anonymously or behind the scenes?  It seems to me we can’t help but tell people when, how, where, and why we serve God.  Somebody ought to know how dedicated, faithful, and sacrificial we are, right?
  • 17
    APRIL

    Ray Rooney, Jr.: Don’t Forget “Forsaken”

    Several years ago Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ raised awareness of the brutality of Good Friday.  The scourging scenes earned the film an R rating.  Veteran movie goers who had been conditioned by decades of violence and gore in the movies nonetheless winced, shuddered, and sometimes looked away due to the realism that everyone knew was based on the truth.  No one had ever come close to reenacting the viciousness of the attacks on Christ like that film.  Yet there was something missing.  An intangible the Gospels identified that couldn’t really be fleshed out and delved into for the big screen.  I’m talking about the absolute sense of abandonment that Jesus felt that day.  It began in the Garden of Gethsemane when He was being arrested.
  • 15
    APRIL

    Ray Rooney, Jr.: Jesus Wept (ἐδάκρυσεν ὁ Ἰησοῦς)

    There are two instances the Gospels tell us that “Jesus wept.”  One is John 11:35 as He stands in the midst of a wake for His friend Lazarus.  The other takes place as He approaches the city of Jerusalem on Palm Sunday (Luke 19:41).  In both instances, Jesus seems to be moved to tears because of the self-infliction of unnecessary pain by those for whom He cares greatly.
  • 9
    APRIL

    Ray Rooney, Jr.: Where Is Caleb?

    Most Christians subscribe to the doctrine of substitutionary atonement.  Christ “stood in” for sinners throughout His passion and crucifixion.  He took our place.  He got what we deserved.  Isaiah says, “he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities…” (53:5).  He also writes that Messiah would be “like a lamb that is led to the slaughter…he opened not his mouth” (53:7).  Substitutionary atonement means that Jesus took upon Himself the sins of the world and received the just punishment for those sins so that when a person believes (in the person and mission of Christ) God sees and applies the finished work of Christ in that person.  As Paul wrote to the church in Corinth “For our sake he [God] made him [Jesus] to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21).  In other words, Jesus allowed the brutality of scourging and crucifixion so that through faith in Him all might be saved from the consequence of their sins.
  • 2
    APRIL

    Ray Rooney, Jr.: Van Helsing, I Presume

    As much of a fan of horror and science fiction as I am, I am not one of the looney tunes who believe vampires really exist.  At least in Bram Stoker/ Bela Lugosi way.  However, the book of Leviticus does ban the consumption of blood with this rationale: “the life of the flesh is in the blood” (Leviticus 17:11).  If then, by vampirism, one means those who drain the life of others away…I’m absolutely a believer.
  • 26
    MARCH

    Ray Rooney, Jr.: “Hold Still…This Won’t Hurt a Bit”

    You know, I don’t mind being reminded by leaders within and without the Church when it comes to critical moral and social issues in our society and culture about some of the things Jesus said.  For instance, to “turn the other cheek” (Matthew 5:39); to “love thy neighbor” (Matthew 19:19); to observe the golden rule (Matthew 7:12); to be willing to demonstrate hospitality even when it seems you are being taken advantage of (Matthew 5:40); to pray for those who are wrongly giving you a hard time (Matthew 5:44); to forgive people who intentionally hurt us (Matthew 6:14).  And of course, the ever useful and oft trotted out “Judge not that you be not judged” (Matthew 7:1).  Those are indeed the words of Jesus Christ and I stand by them and ask for God’s grace to faithfully execute and live them out in this fallen world.
  • 19
    MARCH

    Ray Rooney, Jr.: I Love Being “Right”

    The quickest way to get a country boy’s dander up is to in any way assault his/her family.  Say what you want about me but be very careful what you say about my wife or kids in my hearing.  Where I come from an attack on any member of the family is not only considered an attack on the entire family it is also considered a slander against the family’s integrity.  It will not be tolerated.
  • 14
    MARCH

    Ray Rooney, Jr.: Where Is Ezekiel?

    In the Old Testament book of Ezekiel, the prophet was told to eat a scroll that contained the word of God.  As soon as he did, God told him “go to the house of Israel and speak with my words to them.”  The metaphor is clear: the word of God in; the word of God out.  And the word of God was not a happy one to the Hebrews.  Repeatedly the prophet is told by God that the people were rebellious and hard-headed  and would not listen to him.  However, despite the fact that God foretells the Israelites would not take Ezekiel’s words to heart “they will know that a prophet has been among them” (Ezekiel 2:5).
  • 6
    MARCH

    Ray Rooney, Jr.: What’s the End Game?

    It’s funny the way people want to advertise their affiliations and persuasions.  Bumper stickers, wind socks, shirts and hats, emblems and magnets stuck to cars, coffee cups, refrigerator magnets, vanity license plates, buttons, et al are proudly displayed to let everyone around a person know everything from how smart their child is to which college or university they support to what their political persuasion is to what they believe theologically.  It really is nonsensical because I never heard of anyone changing brands of lawn mowers because they saw someone wearing a John Deere cap.  Has anyone ever chosen their college or university based on seeing a university wind sock attached to a car window?  Do you think anyone has forsaken their Christian faith because they pulled up behind a car with an ichthus with legs and the word “Darwin” in it?
  • 26
    FEBRUARY

    Ray Rooney, Jr.: He Went Away

    Have you ever stopped to consider who made the first attempt on Jesus’ life as a grown man?  Luke tells the story in the fourth chapter of his Gospel.  It was His hometown synagogue!  The people who knew Him better than anyone else (outside of His family).  That’s right.  It wasn’t the Romans or the high priest or the Pharisees.  It was the people who had come to worship in the local synagogue in Nazareth where Jesus grew up.  Isn’t that something?  They went to worship God and dismissed so they could kill Him.
  • 17
    FEBRUARY

    Ray Rooney, Jr.: A Plea to Pastors

    I never would have believed America could be “transformed” so quickly.  Nor would I have ever believed the politically conservative and religiously evangelical majority of Americans would have capitulated so easily and quietly.  Laws have been broken at the highest levels.  The government is turning against the people.  A department head of the IRS pleads the 5th Amendment to keep from incriminating herself and the President tells America there is not a “smidgen of corruption” in the agency.  An American ambassador is murdered by terrorists and who pays the price?  A guy who made a film critical of Islam.
  • 3
    FEBRUARY

    Ray Rooney, Jr.: Why It Needs To Be Said

    There is so much evil, sin, and unrighteousness in the world today that one often does not know where to begin to address it.  The prevalence and vitriol of ungodliness even begs the question of whether or not any individual or small group should even speak out.  Doing so would only seem to alert the enemy to your presence and put you in the crosshairs of ridicule and persecution.  Look at what happens today when anyone dares speak out on behalf of traditional Christian marriage.  Does Chick-fil-A and Phil Robertson ring any memory bells?  
  • 27
    JANUARY

    Ray Rooney, Jr.: How the Church Can Regain Relevance

    “Everything is nothing, with a twist.”  Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five Can you imagine how ridiculous the Church must look to someone unfamiliar with its history and self-identified reason and purpose for being?  We are all over the map.  Voices from the Church are heard to shout “pro-life!”  From the same group of religious folks can also be heard “pro-choice!”  Some in the Church believe the do’s and don’ts of human sexuality are very clearly outlined in the Bible.  Marriage between one man and one woman is the focal point of sexuality with sex anywhere outside that relationship considered sin.  Others in the Church are very vocal in their support of marriage between lesbian women and gay men.  Some people in the Church say God isn’t offended by anything people say, do, or believe.  Others say God is angry with everyone about anything. 
  • 3
    JANUARY

    Ray Rooney, Jr.: Ten New Year’s Revelations

    Each New Year most of us trot out a “to do” list called “resolutions.”  I like being different so I would like to offer for your pleasure, stimulation, or angst the following New Year’s Revelations.  These are for the Christian who seeks to make better use of his/her time and gifts in the New Year.  Following are ten things you will not succeed at in 2014.  Don’t waste your time.  Intrigued?  Great, let’s get started.
  • 30
    DECEMBER

    Ray Rooney, Jr.: The Only Path to Peace

    Most people know how the story goes.  Joseph and Mary get engaged.  Mary is found to be pregnant before they actually wed.  Joseph, knowing full well he did not get Mary pregnant, has resolved to part ways with her quietly so as not to bring attention to her infidelity.  How could he have so misjudged her character?  It takes an angelic visitation in a dream to convince Joseph that his bride-to-be has indeed been faithful to him.
  • 26
    DECEMBER

    Ray Rooney, Jr.: Listen To the Angels

    “And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!’” (Luke 2:13-14)Face it.  People don’t like what the Bible says today.  They don’t like what it says about sin in general and they sure don’t like anything Scripture says about any particular behavior or activity being sinful (i.e. 1 Corinthians 6:9).  What it boils down to is that most people are fine with the Bible as long as it’s not taken seriously.  Don’t think I’m just talking about unbelievers either.  It is my firm belief that a whole lot of people who attend church only do so as an imaginary payment for an eternal life insurance policy, if you will.
  • 10
    DECEMBER

    Ray Rooney, Jr.: No, We Can’t All Just Get Along

    As a Christian the question is not “can I learn to live with it” but “am I compelled by God to accept it?”  One thing life has taught me is that humanity can learn to live with almost anything.  As a species we’ve found that we can live with all kinds of disaster, man’s inhumanity to man, and even our own guilty consciences.  God made the human race pretty tough.  We have learned to live with the harshest environments in nature (blizzards, floods, hurricanes and tornadoes, pandemics such as the bubonic plague, flu, and AIDS).  We’ve learned to live with cruelty on massive scales (slavery, genocide, political tyranny).
  • 19
    NOVEMBER

    Ray Rooney, Jr.: Principled Liberals & Accommodating Conservatives

    The similarity between the plight of the Republican Party and evangelical Christians is striking.  Their lack of conviction and their fear of standing on principle is severely curtailing the impact both wish to have on culture and society.  The grassroots of both groups is overwhelmingly conservative in philosophy.  Yet both seem afraid to own their conservatism.  What an upside down world we have become!  Liberals stand on principle while conservatives yield in the name of cooperation.
  • 4
    NOVEMBER

    Ray Rooney, Jr.: “Love the Sinner, Hate the Sin”?

    As I see it, the problem with the Church today is that it wants everyone to like it.  Look in our churches.  Of the few who are willing to take a stand against sin even fewer are willing to say “That’s not right and neither are you” to the one(s) committing it.  “Love the sinner, hate the sin” is the mantra of many Christians today.  Convenient.  When you only come out against the sin you get to remain safely cocooned within your love bubble.  You don’t have to say anything directly to anybody.  You get to just stand to the side and yell “Sin is wrong!” without ever looking anyone in the eye while you do it.
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