Mike Leake – Sloth Doesn’t Just Mean Sleep

When I think of a sluggard or a slothful person I typically picture a scraggly-bearded dude passed out on the couch in his mustard stained sleeveless with remote in hand. I’m not alone in this either. Do an image search for sluggard and you are going to find a similar image. Even good ol’ Ben Franklin had the sluggard sleeping as well when he said, “Up, sluggard, and waste not life; in the grave will be sleeping enough.”

But the truth is that a sluggard doesn’t have to be a sleeper. While the Bible has sleep as the favorite past-time of the sluggard it also paints a broader picture. The sluggard is really the one who is doing something other than what ought to be done in that moment to the glory of God.

When we think of the sluggard in our day and age we often think of the young man who is nearing his thirties, without a job, without prospect of marriage, but firmly implanted on the Call of Duty leader board. But he’s not a sluggard because he is playing video games. He’s a sluggard because he is playing video games when he should be doing something else at that moment.

To read the rest of Mike Leake’s article, click here.

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Mike Leake – When Did Solomon Write Proverbs 5-7

I am currently preaching through Proverbs 1-9. When I decided to preach a sermon on the unchaste woman so prominent in chapters 5-7, I was struck by the relationship between the author and his words. Solomon likely wrote these words. He was the wisest man in the world and he taught young men with such wisdom that “holding fire to your chest” will get you burned. But 1 Kings 11 has Solomon getting “burned”.

As I studied this passage I was wondering when Solomon would have written these words. The answer to this really doesn’t matter, God’s Word is true no matter the historical setting of the author. But the way we apply the life of Solomon to these words might be different based on when he wrote this. There are two scenarios that I see. Perhaps Solomon wrote this as an old man with scorch marks on his chest. Or Solomon wrote this as a somewhat younger man who didn’t heed his own advice.

To read the rest of Mike Leake’s article, click here

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Mike Leake – How Our Unbiblical Views of Forgiveness Perpetuate Our Social Media Outrage

I’ve read quite a few articles lately about something sociologists are calling FOMO. That’s short for “fear of missing out”. It’s why you keep your phone with you all the time and are almost constantly checking out social media. But I can save you from FOMO…at least a little bit.

Here is what you are going to miss out on this week if you disengage for a little while. I don’t know the details but they don’t matter—or at least won’t matter once the next big story drops.

At some point this week somebody important is going to say something dumb and insensitive. Some people will laugh. Most will be outraged. This person is going to offer an apology. Depending on how much we liked this person in the first place, many will offer forgiveness. But some won’t “forgive” and will call for this person to face the consequences of their actions. Then they will get in trouble for being so unforgiving and not letting it go.

The cycle is predictable. I do something wrong. I say I’m sorry. You forgive me. We bury it in the depths of the sea…only we don’t actually bury in the depths of the sea and our relationship is awkward and strained for a lengthy season…but, hey, FORGIVENESS!!!!

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Mike Leake – Why Denying Future Judgement Undercuts the Call of Lady Wisdom

In college, I had an English Literature professor who posited a hypothetical question to get us thinking. “What would God do if the devil in hell repented?” he asked. That question would then extend a bit further out—surely we cannot doubt God’s ability or desire to forgive repenting souls after life. I heard something similar a few years later in the writings of Rob Bell:

And so space is created in this “who would doubt God’s ability to do that?” perspective for all kinds of people—fifteen-year-old atheists, people from other religions, and people who rejected Jesus because the only Jesus they ever saw was an oppressive figure who did anything but show God’s love. (Bell, Love Wins)

The problem, though, with Bell’s hypothesis and my English professors question is that it misunderstands the reason for folks being in hell in the first place. It creates an imaginary scenario where somebody would have gladly repented on earth if given the proper circumstances. What it inevitably ends up doing is putting the blame at the feet of God.

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Mike Leake – Should I Rejoice When My Enemy Falls, or Not?

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Pharaoh was a bad dude. He took away Israelite freedoms and put them in bitter slavery for years. He remained obstinate to the Lord and enacted policies which were self-serving and soul-crushing to the weak and poor. Pharaoh was filled with lies. Pressed into a corner by the judgments of God, Pharaoh did what he thought was politically expedient—he let the Jews go. But then he had second thoughts — he went back on his word and pursued the Israelites.

Pharaoh and all his precious chariots drowned in the sea. It should have been a certain victory. They had the Israelites pinned down. They probably even uncorked the champagne bottles for their sure and certain victory. Then the sea parted. The Israelites were rescued and the Egyptians destroyed. The enemy had fallen.

So what did Moses do when his enemy fell?

He busted out into worship (Exodus 15). He rejoiced at the activity of God in rescuing them from the wicked Pharaoh.

What are the saints in Revelation 18 called upon to do when Babylon, their great enemy, falls?

They are called to ‘rejoice over her’. The enemy has fallen “for God has given judgment for you against her”.

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Mike Leake – Rules Without Reasons

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If I’d been in the Garden of Eden, it would have been a bit like this:

God: “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”

Me: “Why? Why would I die from that? This seems like a really dumb rule that doesn’t make any sense at all. Explain to me your thought process here and I’ll gladly obey. But I don’t obey dumb rules that don’t make any sense.”

Satan: “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?

Me: “Yes, he did. And then he didn’t explain to me why. He just said don’t do it. Which doesn’t make a bit of sense to me. “

Satan: “That’s because God is holding out on you. He didn’t want to tell you the whole story because he is trying to rip you off. You saw right through it, oh, wise one. You don’t have to follow dumb rules that don’t make any sense. If God really loved you then He would tell you everything.

Me: *chomps down on forbidden fruit*

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Mike Leake – The Ear-Ticklers Carousel

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My daughter could hardly contain the smile on her face. She was getting to do what I’m confident she’d dreamed of doing for most of her life—ride a unicorn. Or maybe it was a rhino. Maybe a lion. I really can’t remember because I was too bored to pay much attention. Don’t get me wrong I was pretending to enjoy the ride, and getting a bit of joy from my daughter’s exuberant joy. But if it hadn’t been for her, I can guarantee that I wouldn’t have been riding that carousel.

My eight-year old son was a bit petulant at the thought of being seen bouncing up and down on a plastic bear. And I’m sure that given three or four more years my daughter will develop that same sour look on her face at the idea of being caught dead on this rotating circle of shame. That’s the law of diminishing return with us humans. What captivated us at 4 no longer captivates us at 14, or even at 8.

This is always why churches and preachers are foolish developing ministries centered upon the tickled ear. The human ear will eventually move on from what once tickled it. This is why Paul told Timothy that those who refuse to put up with sound doctrine will eventually wander into all sorts of endless and silly myths. Such a carousel is the only landing spot for those of the itching ear. A rotating circle of nothingness is the only option for those who reject being grounded by truth.

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Mike Leake – How to Become a Heretic

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Heretics usually fall into the role.

Seldom does a man wake up in the morning, grab a cup of coffee, read the morning newspaper, put on his clothes, and then stare himself in the mirror and say “Today, I shall become a heretic”. Heretics usually start by staring in the mirror and saying, “Today, I shall be a difference maker”.

Consider Sabellius. Sabellius became what is now known as a modalist. He was deeply concerned with maintaining the biblical truth that God is one. He also wanted to maintain the biblical truth that Christ was fully God. These two truths seemed to Sabellius to be neglected. And so he re-emphasized those truths but whilst doing so neglected another important truth; namely, that God is three distinct Persons.

Tertullian responded to the modalists by clearly showing how Scripture presents “one substance consisting in three persons”. But Sabellius was unmoved in his position. He would eventually be condemned as a heretic in 220 AD.

His story is not unique. In fact most who find themselves outside of orthodoxy follow a similar pattern. You can see this same trajectory even in our own day. So if you want to fall into the roll of becoming a heretic here is how it will likely happen:

Step One: Have a desire to be an epic difference maker.

Step Two: Find a truthful doctrine that is being neglected or under emphasized

Step Three: Make your ministry about restoring this precious doctrine.

Step Four: Begin emphasizing this truth to the expense of other equally true doctrines.

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Mike Leake – Tornadoes and Theology

Yesterday a tornado devastated Moore, Oklahoma. Leaving 51 dead, with nearly half of that number being children. Events like this leave those effected with a myriad of questions and a flood of emotions. One article I read described survivors as in a zombie-like state.

What would you say to those grieving in Oklahoma?

Mostly nothing. There is a time and a season for everything. This is not the season to theologize. At present we weep with them. Job’s friends were good counselors until they opened their mouths and tried to give an answer to Job’s questions. In the midst of a sorrowing event, heeding James 1:19 is a necessity. Slow to speak and quick to hear.

Those directly affected by these storms will experience a range of emotions. These emotions will be expressed within a whole range of theological positions. Ranging from this to varying atheistic expressions. In times like this one of the best things that we can do is direct people to use the Psalms to give words to the emotions of their hearts.

And just be there. Give a shoulder to cry on or a shoulder to punch. There might be a time to teach and help with theology…that is probably not today.

But there are also those that are not directly effected by the Oklahoma tragedies. We grieve. We weep with them. We ask questions as well. And at times events like this trigger our own pain. But we are in a much different position in regards to teaching. Our emotions are not as raw. Thinking through events like this will assist us in times when we are the ones with tears streaming down our face, filled with raw emotion.

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