Does Barack Obama have any idea what is going on in the government that he is supposedly running? Scandals are erupting all around him, and he supposedly was not aware that any wrongdoing had taken place in any of those instances. It is almost as if every major government agency has gone rogue and Obama has no idea what the heck they are doing. According to Obama, he often doesn’t learn what those under his authority are up to until he sits down and turns on the news. Should we believe him when he claims ignorance over and over again, or is Obama just trying to protect himself? Whether you are a Republican, a Democrat or an Independent, the revelations that have come out in recent days about the IRS, the seizure of AP phone records and Benghazi should be very alarming to you. Taken together, these scandals paint a picture of a federal government that has become drunk with power, and no matter where you may fall on the political spectrum that is something that nobody should want. (Read More….)
Here are seven biblical truths we pastors need to keep telling our people in the hope that eventually most will “get it.” (The list is not meant to be exhaustive. You’ll think of other essential truths that need hammering home again and again.)
The problem with a cashless society is that the state can terminate your electronic financial lifeline if anything were to happen within the country, for example any form of protests, economic downturns, a war or if a financial institution such as MasterCard were to go bankrupt. There are many other reasons that the state or its’ corporate backers can decide to turn off the RFID chip. When you a have a powerful financial institution issuing payments electronically with a government that is supported and controlled by Washington, unlimited control of the populace becomes inevitable. 70% of Nigeria’s population is living below the poverty line as of 2010. How can MasterCard and the Nigerian government benefit millions of Nigerians who are living in abject poverty? Is MasterCard going to offer low interest rates on its credit cards in a country that has a more than 70% of the population in poverty with many living with less than a dollar a day?”
According to the Muskegon Chronicle, the exercise was a simulated “attack by a fictitious radical group called Wackos Against Schools and Education who believe everyone should be homeschooled,” Homeschool World reported in September, 2004. The simulated attack was funded by the Department of Homeland Security.
by Mike Ratliff
8 To sum up, all of you be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit; 9 not returning evil for evil or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead; for you were called for the very purpose that you might inherit a blessing. 10 For, “THE ONE WHO DESIRES LIFE, TO LOVE AND SEE GOOD DAYS, MUST KEEP HIS TONGUE FROM EVIL AND HIS LIPS FROM SPEAKING DECEIT. 11 “HE MUST TURN AWAY FROM EVIL AND DO GOOD; HE MUST SEEK PEACE AND PURSUE IT. 12 “FOR THE EYES OF THE LORD ARE TOWARD THE RIGHTEOUS, AND HIS EARS ATTEND TO THEIR PRAYER, BUT THE FACE OF THE LORD IS AGAINST THOSE WHO DO EVIL.” (1 Peter 3:8-12 NASB)
This era of the Church is one of extreme deception due to compromise with the standards and focus of the world. Separation between the Church and the world is not being kept. Instead, the…
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The following are some of the links on Presuppositional apologetics around the internet between May 8th through May 14th 2013. Enjoy! Are there other links you know of?
3.) Walking on water: An objection to an atheist by Steve Hays.
Our next installment will be on May 22nd 2013.
So why is it important for a Christian apologist to read a book on ministering to those who are ill? As a Christian apologist, our end goal is not just to give a defense of the faith but to glorify God. And part of glorifying God is to situate apologetics in the context of evangelism. To see the good news gets shared in an winsome, intelligent and godly fashion. We want to see people hear the gospel, to know it and to know it’s true so that they can experience the realities of eternal life and forgiveness of sin. With that note, I like this book’s quotation of Richard Baxter, that “Even the stoutest sinner will hear us on their death-bed, though they scorned us before” (41). Thus an apologist should not only merely be ready to give the hope that is within him or her…
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How does a believer go about identifying his spiritual giftedness? The New Testament gives at least three lists of spiritual gifts (Rom 12:6-8, 1 Cor 12:7-12, Eph 4:11-13; cf 1 Cor 7:7, 1 Peter 4:10), strongly implying at the very least that every Christian has a kind of spiritual gift, and that not every Christian has every gift. So how do you find out what your gift is?
Dear Pastor Mark —
I know you don’t read any of the little blogs, or people who are trying to make their own tribe, but others do, and I think it’s worth writing a brief open letter to you this week based on your epic video from this weekend:
Be equipped to explain the good news, wherever you are. Apps are the new tracts. Here are 5 smartphone or tablet apps that can help you share the gospel.
Christian News Network reports:
The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has denied asylum to a Christian family that came to America to homeschool their children.
Three senior pastors of megachurches.
And in just a six month period, three moral failures.
Believe it or not, it just happened in Orlando, Florida.
Isaac Hunter, lead pastor of Summit church, resigned in December after admitting to an affair with a staff member. Sam Hinn, pastor of The Gathering Place Worship Center, stepped down in January after admitting to a relationship with a member of the congregation. Then, just a few weeks ago, David Loveless resigned from Discovery Church after admitting to having an affair.
Three megachurch pastors in a single city all resign within a six-month period for extramarital affairs.
Sorry, but “wow.”
The inevitable question? “Why do so many senior leaders give in to sexual temptation?” Because it’s not just these three but many more like them in cities around the country and around the world.
Here are three reasons that come to this fellow pastor’s mind:
1. Emotional Depletion
Many pastors are running on empty emotional tanks. You might have thought I would say “spiritual” tanks, but it’s the emotional fuel gauge that gets us.
A few years ago, my wife Susan and I were part of a mentoring retreat with about a dozen couples, all well-known leaders of large and thriving churches. We started off with an open-ended question: “What are your key issues right now?”
As we went around the room, the recurring answer in each of their lives was “emotional survival.” We shared our stories about the hits and hurts that come our way in ministry as occupational hazards, and how they tear away at our souls, sapping our enthusiasm, our creativity and our missional stamina. We were open about how they leave us creating dreams of finding ourselves on a beach with a parasol in our drink – permanently.
The emotional hits and hurts that come from ministry are legion: failed expectations, hard work, continual output in terms of teaching and leadership, always “on display” as a public figure, the stress of finances – both personally and in the church – the unexpected departure of staff, the pain of letters/emails that criticize your ministry, the pressure of people who want to redefine the vision, mission, or orientation of the church, the relentless torrent of expectations, and the agony of making mistakes.
But the heart of the drain is also our passion: people. We are shepherds, and to push the metaphor, sheep are messy. Unruly. Cantankerous. Smelly. They can be a chore to care for. And they can hurt you more than you could imagine. In particular, through the relational defections of those you trusted, and the crushing crises from those who throw you into crisis mode.
Why does this matter?
When you hurt, if you don’t find something God-honoring to fill your tanks with, you’ll find something that isn’t God-honoring. Or at the very least, you’ll be vulnerable to something that isn’t. I am convinced it’s why pastors struggle with not only pornography, but enter into affairs.
They are emotionally depleted, and therefore, vulnerable.
2. The Lack of Sexual Fences
A second reason why so many give in to temptation is because few leaders build the sexual fences around their life that are necessary for protection.
For example, fences around their thought life in relation to such things as pornography through accountability software or computer placement. Then there are the fences needed in terms of raw interaction with people, such as the need to:
Watch out how and when you are alone with someone of the opposite sex;
…watch how you touch people – being careful with your hugs and lingering touches;
…watch out how you interact with people – not visiting someone alone, at home, of the opposite sex;
…watch out for that long lunch alone together, or staying late and working together on the project.
This is just common sense, but very few build common-sense fences.
And here’s the last 5 percent: even those with fences are tempted to rationalize taking them down when they find themselves attracted to someone. Or their spouse does something (or doesn’t) that they can point to that they feel justifies them looking around at those that might act differently. Suddenly we start looking at fences as for the weak, the immature, the unjustified; we tell ourselves we can handle it, or even deserve it.
It’s often the last moment before the fall.
3. Spiritual Deception
The third reason so many pastors, particularly of large churches, fall prey to affairs is a deep infection of spiritual deception.
Why is our immune system so weak?
Let me tell you something that you may have never heard before: Ministry is spiritually hazardous to your soul. If you haven’t found that out by now, you will.
First, it is because you are constantly doing “spiritual” things, and it is easy to confuse those things with actually being spiritual. For example, you are constantly in the Bible, studying it, in order to prepare a talk. It’s easy to confuse this with reading and studying the Bible devotionally for your own soul.
You are praying – in services, during meetings, at pot lucks – and it is easy to think you are leading a life of personal, private prayer.
You are planning worship, leading worship, attending worship, and it is easy to believe you, yourself, are actually worshipping.
Chances are, you’re not.
When you are in ministry, it is easy to confuse doing things for God with spending time with God; to confuse activity with intimacy; to mistake the trappings of spirituality for being spiritual.
Another reason why ministry is hazardous to your soul is because you are constantly being put on a spiritual pedestal and treated as if you are the fourth member of the Trinity. In truth, they have no idea whether you have spent any time alone with God in reflection and prayer over the last six weeks; they do not know what you are viewing online; they do not know whether you treat your wife with tenderness and dignity.
They just afford you a high level of spirituality.
Here’s where it gets really toxic: you can begin to bask in this spiritual adulation and start to believe your own press reports. Soon the estimation of others about your spiritual life becomes your own.
This is why most train-wrecks in ministry are not as sudden and “out of the blue” as they seem. Most leaders who end up in a moral ditch were veering off of the road for some time. Their empty spiritual life simply became manifest, or caught up with them, or took its toll.
You can only run on empty for so long.
I had a defining moment on this in my life when I was around thirty-years old. A well-known leader fell; one who had been a role model for my life. I was devastated. But more than that, I was scared. If it could happen to him, then I was a pushover.
It didn’t help my anxieties that I was in a spiritual state exactly as I have described: confusing doing things for God and time with God; accepting other’s estimation of my spiritual life in a way that made it easy to bypass a true assessment of where I stood; I was like a cut-flower that looked good on the outside, but would, in time, wilt dreadfully.
I remember so clearly the awareness that I could fall; that no one would ever own my spiritual life but me; and that I needed to realize that the public side of my life was meaningless – only the private side mattered. This was not flowing from a position of strength; it was flowing from a deep awareness of weakness.
So the gun went off.
I began to rise early in the morning for prayer and to read the Bible. I began to take monthly retreats to a bed-and-breakfast in the mountains for a more lengthy immersion in order to read devotional works, pray, experience silence and solitude, and to journal. I entered into a two-year, intense mentoring relationship with a man who had many more years on me in terms of age, marriage and ministry. There was more, but you get the idea: I was going to be a public and private worshiper; I was going to be a student of the Bible for my talks and for my soul; I was going to pray for others to hear, and for an audience of one.
I hope you hear my heart on this. It’s not to boast, it’s to confess. I have to do these to survive.
Maybe you do, too.
Or maybe…you need to start.
James Emery White
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