Daily Archives: June 3, 2013

Redeemed Through the Blood of Christ

Possessing the Treasure

by Mike Ratliff

13 For if the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling those who have been defiled sanctify for the cleansing of the flesh, 14 how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?  (Hebrews 9:13-14 NASB)

Central to Covenant Theology is understanding that the Old Covenant represented the former age. The Ceremonial Law given to the Israelites by Moses consisted of earthy copies of the “heavenly things,” which made up the Old Covenant (Hebrews 9:23). These were “shadows of the good things to come” (Hebrews 10:1). Our Lord spoke often of the age we are in now as “this age,” with an age still to come. The New Covenant is God’s economy in this age. Instead of our faith revolving around the earthy copies of…

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A Must Have Chart Featuring Critical Thinking Skills

Critical thinking is an essential skill in our life.It is through thinking critically that we get to sideline our biases(cultural, racial,ethnic…etc) and see the clear picture.Critical thinking is a sort of meta-thinking, that is thinking about thinking. It is a key to self-reliance : memorize the solution to a particular problem and you may master the solution to that particular problem, but improve your critical thinking and you ll get yourself the tools to create your own effective solutions to a multitude of unfamiliar problems.

                                                                related :

Critical thinking refers to a diverse range of intellectual skills and activities : analyzing, conceptualizing, defining, questioning, inferring, listening, reasoning, synthesizing…etc When you think critically, you are actually engaged in a process of evaluating information and thoughts in a disciplined way. It is a way to refine your thoughts and think and assess information more comprehensively.
Someone with critical thinking skills is able to do the following :

  • understand the logical connections between ideas
  • identify, construct and evaluate arguments
  • detect inconsistencies and common mistakes in reasoning
  • solve problems systematically
  • identify the relevance and importance of ideas
  • reflect on the justification of one’s own beliefs and values
Here is an awesome chart from Enokson featuring  different thinking skills. Check it out below. Enjoy

Barely 4 in 10 MDivs Plan To Pastor Full-Time

Seminary grads who expect to pursue full-time ministry careers are down 10 percent over the past decade.

Today’s seminary graduates still plan to go into ministry—but fewer than half of them say that means a full-time pastoral role.

According to The Washington Post, “skepticism about religious institutions (in recent years) has led to a broadened concept of what it means to minister.”

As a result, seminary grads are taking their Masters of Divinity (MDiv) degrees elsewhere, outside the church context. The Post reports that only 41 percent of MDiv graduates plan to seek a career in full-time church ministry. That’s “down from 52 percent in 2001 and from 90-something percent a few decades ago, according to the Association of Theological Schools, the country’s largest such group.”

But it’s no secret that seminaries—and their graduates‐are struggling to adapt to the changing economic and religious tides. Nearly 20 years ago, experts told CT that seminaries were facing a credibility crisis, graduating students who were well versed in ancient languages but not necessarily equipped to minister in the current culture. Similarly, Inside Higher Ed reported earlier this year that the economic downtown deeply affected many seminaries, and CT’s sister publication Leadership Journal discussed whether or not the church still needs seminaries.

And full-time pastoral roles may be out of reach even for MDiv graduates who do hope to pursue church ministry careers: Today’s seminary graduates are leaving school with more debt than ever before.

http://blog.christianitytoday.com/ctliveblog/archives/2013/05/seminary-graduates-mdiv-pastor-trends.html

18 Signs That Massive Economic Problems Are Erupting All Over The Planet

This is no time to be complacent. Massive economic problems are erupting all over the globe, but most people seem to believe that everything is going to be just fine. In fact, a whole bunch of recent polls and surveys show that the American people are starting to feel much better about how the U.S. economy is performing. Unfortunately, the false prosperity that we are currently enjoying is not going to last much longer. Just look at what is happening in Europe. The eurozone is now in the midst of the longest recession that it has ever experienced. Just look at what is happening over in Asia. Economic growth in India is the lowest that it has been in a decade and the Japanese financial system is beginning to spin wildly out of control. One of the only places on the entire planet where serious economic problems have not already erupted is in the United States, and that is only because we have “kicked the can down the road” by recklessly printing money and by borrowing money at an unprecedented rate. Unfortunately, the “sugar high” produced by those foolish measures is starting to wear off. We are going to experience a massive amount of economic pain along with the rest of the world – it is just a matter of time. (Read More….)

Sell US Treasurys Before They ‘Crash,’ Bank of America Says

Investors should sell U.S Treasurys and buy bank stocks because bonds may be headed for a “crash,” according to Bank of America Corp.

“It’s hard to believe that the greatest bond bull market in history will end without some bloodshed,” Michael Hartnett, the bank’s chief investment strategist, recently wrote in a client note.

“Risks of a bond crash are high.”

http://www.moneynews.com/FinanceNews/Bank-of-America-Treasurys-Crash-Bonds/2013/06/03/id/507628

Book: Bill Clinton called Obama ‘incompetent’

Former U.S. President Clinton called President Obama “incompetent” and “an amateur,” a new book out this week alleges. Edward Klein’s new book, “The Amateur: Barack Obama in the White House” (Regnery Publishing) also states campaign sources said Clinton extracted a promise from Obama to support his wife, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, for president in 2016 in return for the former president’s backing in 2012, the New York Post reported Sunday.

http://www.upi.com/Top_News/US/2013/06/02/Book-Bill-Clinton-called-Obama-incompetent/UPI-13931370223558/

Turkey on Rye; Hold Everything

Many Israel watchers in the church have speculated that the famed Gog-Magog War, outlined in Ezekiel 38-39, is about to erupt. Email exchanges between Bible prophecy teachers and students have been burnin’ it up in recent weeks, and now comes word that Turkey herself has some tough issues to deal with. That’s a nice change of pace, frankly, since the Turks/Erdogan have been posturing like Mussolini whenever they look south to the Jewish state.

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Israel: There Are Many Reasons to Expect a War this Summer

Sooner or later Israel will have to bomb Iran. Better sooner, because Iran is quickly approaching Israel’s red line.

Since intelligence is never precise, why wait til the last minute?

Summer and early fall is the best time to attack because that’s when the sky is the clearest.

Israel is committed to destroying the S-300 missile defense systems should they arrive in Syria.

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Wake up! Our freedom is in jeopardy

This is a critical time in American history. I think we all know that something big is happening in America. The steady stream of news out of Washington the past couple weeks is just a fresh reminder of this. We are learning more about how far our Department of Justice went in digging through the phone records of members of the press. We are also learning about how our own government targeted conservative groups by delaying or denying their tax-exempt status. And we are all waiting for the other shoe to drop on Obamacare – the rate increases, the religious liberty violations and the bloated government bureaucracy that it will surely bring. This is troubling stuff, but it’s just more evidence of President Obama’s real agenda.

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Now telling the truth about Islam could violate civil rights laws – Another Obama Assault on Free Speech

The Obama Administration’s latest assault on the freedom of speech is so audacious that it leaves me speechless – and that’s the idea.

According to Politico, Bill Killian, the Obama-appointed U.S. attorney for the Eastern District ofTennessee, “is reportedly vowing to use federal civil rights statutes to clamp down on offensive and inflammatory speech about Islam.” Said Killian: “We need to educate people about Muslims and their civil rights, and as long as we’re here, they’re going to be protected.”

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Scared to Death

airō

And the kings of the earth and the great men and the commanders and the rich and the strong and every slave and free man, hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains; and they said to the mountains and to the rocks, `Fall on us and hide us from the presence of Him who sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb; for the great day of their wrath has come; and who is able to stand?” – Revelation 6:15-17

People fear many things, but hardly do they fear what they should fear most – God. Whether you are a professing Atheist, a religious idolater, or run-of-the-mill carnal christian, you live as an enemy of God in your sinful lifestyle because you do not fear Him. Those who do not fear God will perish in the lake of fire for eternity.

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Fun Facts from Church History

Zwinglius Redivivus

luther5It was on the third of June, 1535 that Luther commenced his very impressive, very detailed lectures on Genesis.  Here’s how he began-

THE first chapter is written in the simplest language; yet it contains matters of the utmost importance and very difficult to understand. It was for this reason, as St. Jerome asserts, that among the Hebrews it was forbidden for anyone under thirty to read the chapter or to expound it for others. They wanted one to have a good knowledge of the entire Scripture before getting to this chapter. Not even with this practice, however, did the Jewish Rabbis achieve anything worthwhile; for in their commentaries men twice thirty and even older prattle most childishly about these extremely important matters.

Until now there has not been anyone in the church either who has explained everything in the chapter with adequate skill. The commentators, with their sundry, different…

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Wealth of most Americans down 55% since recession

Increasing housing prices and the stock market”s posting all-time highs haven’t helped the plight most Americans. The average U.S. household has recovered only 45 percent of the wealth they lost during the recession, according to a report released yesterday from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.

http://m.cbsnews.com/storysynopsis.rbml?pageType=moneywatch&catid=57587033&feed_id=76&videofeed=43

Persecution Update June 2013: Afghanistan

Afghanistan ranks third among nations most severely opposed to the Cross. There are 48,000 mosques in the country—but not a single church building. Afghanistan’s population is 31 million, but estimates show there are less than 5,000 indigenous believers in this nation that has radical Islamic sharia law written into its constitution. Because of strong family traditions, any Muslim who comes to Christ is often in danger of an “honor killing” by the family even before the government decides to pursue them, and Muslims who convert to Christ are subject to harsh imprisonment and possible execution by the authorities. Some make the world news, such as Abdul Rahman and Sayed Musa, who were spared from death as international efforts intervened to get them out of Afghanistan, and Shoaib Assadullah, who was brutally abused in prison before he was finally allowed to flee to Canada due to international pressures—but most others go unnoticed. Please pray both for the Gospel’s advance within the spiritual darkness of Afghanistan and also for grace for courageous believers who bear witness to Christ at great personal cost.

http://www.frontlinemissions.info/?p=1550

Personal Evangelism 101: Confront Sin – John MacArthur

One of the main problems with weak evangelistic methods is the risk of leading people to false conversions. Many sinners are thrilled to learn that “God has a wonderful plan” for their lives and are eager to tap into all the blessings that entails. It stands to reason if you evangelize solely on the basis of God’s gifts, everybody will sign up.

But there is a significant difference between simply wanting the benefits of believing in Christ and actually turning to Him for salvation in biblical faith and repentance. False assurance of faith is a deadly spiritual danger—confidence in shallow belief actually hardens a person to the truth of God’s Word. We have a responsibility to lost men and women to preach the gospel thoroughly and accurately, and to steer them away from empty professions of faith and shallow biblical understanding.

Often the key to breaking through the fog of false faith is confronting sin. Until a person understands the depth and weight of his sin, he can’t fully appreciate his need for a Savior. In fact, it’s usually not until a person learns to see his sin the way God sees it that he is able to truly repent and believe.

That was the case for the Samaritan woman at the well in John 4. In verse 15, she seems ready to receive the benefits of the living water Jesus mercifully offered her. But Christ knew the true state of her heart and the sin she harbored. He graciously yet directly exposed her sin with a simple, abrupt command:

He said to her, “Go, call your husband and come here.” The woman answered and said, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You have correctly said, ‘I have no husband’; for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; this you have said truly.” (John 4:16-18)

Samaritans practiced a distorted, corrupted version of Judaism (we’ll look closer at their religious system next time). But they did accept the Pentateuch, so this woman would have been aware of God’s commandment against adultery (Exodus 20:14) and that the penalty for adulterers was death. Moreover, she would have inherently known she was living a sinful lifestyle (Romans 2:14-15). And as we’ve previously discussed, her pattern of immorality had made her an outcast within her own community.

But it’s not until she sees her sin in relation to the merciful blessings of God that she begins to understand its full weight. And it’s here that the nature and content of their conversation radically shifts. There’s no more talk of mercy, satisfaction, and blessing. This initially indifferent, ignorant, careless sinner has had her wretched immorality laid bare, and she must be brought to conviction and repentance over her condition before she can enjoy the living water Christ has offered.

It’s wonderful to present to the sinner all the glories of the gospel—all the soul-satisfying blessings of an eternity in the intimate presence of God. But it’s not enough to stop there. If all you do is spill out the tremendous benefits of knowing God and then ask for a response, you’re likely to lead him to a false conversion, deceiving him about the true nature of his heart.

It’s critical to bring the sinner face to face with the guilt of his sin—to lead him to measure himself against the holy law of God and feel the weight of divine judgment on his corrupt life. How else will he ever come to true repentance and faith?

 


Available online at: http://www.gty.org/resources/Blog/B130603     COPYRIGHT ©2013 Grace to You

Ministry Conflict of Interest – Hard questions about our leadership ethics

As a church leader, you are asked to counsel a man in your church who is having marital problems. In your first meeting, he tells you he is having an affair that he has no intention of ending. Do you have a duty to disclose this to the other leaders to work toward reconciliation? If his wife is a part of your church, do you also have an obligation to her? Do you have a duty of confidentiality to the counselee? If you didn’t disclose to him that you might be obliged to discuss his disclosure with church leaders, and if no one signed a waiver of confidentiality, you are in the middle of a conflict of interest.

The importance of the broader issue—ministerial ethics—should be obvious: an ethical failure can ruin a ministry. I recently wrote Doing Right while Doing Good with Kenneth Bickel to show how ethics is ultimately about choices. We debate the merits between courses of action because we seek the right choice. When we choose poorly (contrary to Scripture), we have failed. Consequences might include irrelevance, fractured relationships, or even the end of a ministry.

Perhaps some will observe that Scripture does not give exact solutions to every ethical problem. But we do have clear guiding principles that can go a long way toward protecting a ministry. Understanding complex issues will require work, but any serious Christian leader should be willing to embrace the struggle. This article will explore conflicts of interest as an ethical subject applying to Christian leaders, with three intended results:

  • Provide a broad understanding of conflicts of interest and the fundamental nature of the ethical conflict.
  • Provide a framework for working through potential conflicts of interest and deciding upon appropriate responses.
  • Provide several case studies, and other questions to consider, which will allow the reader to navigate potential conflicts and possible remedies.

http://baptistbulletin.org/?p=29898

Questions about Jesus Christ: Who was responsible for Christ’s death?

The answer to this question has many facets. First, there is no doubt the religious leaders of Israel were responsible for Jesus’ death. Matthew 26:3–4 tells us that “the chief priests, and the scribes, and the elders of the people, assembled together to the palace of the high priest, who was called Caiaphas. And they consulted so that they might take Jesus by guile and kill Him.” The Jewish leaders demanded of the Romans that Jesus be put to death (Matthew 27:22–25). They couldn’t continue to allow Him to work signs and wonders because it threatened their position and place in the religious society they dominated (John 11:47–50), so “they plotted to put Him to death” (John 11:53).

The Romans were the ones who actually crucified Him (Matthew 27:27–37). Crucifixion was a Roman method of execution, authorized and carried out by the Romans under the authority of Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor who sentenced Jesus. Roman soldiers drove the nails into His hands and feet, Roman troops erected the cross and a Roman solider pierced His side (Matthew 27:27–35).

The people of Israel were also complicit in the death of Jesus. They were the ones who shouted, “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!” as He stood on trial before Pilate (Luke 23:21). They also cried for the thief Barabbas to be released instead of Jesus (Matthew 27:21). Peter confirmed this in Acts 2:22–23 when he told the men of Israel “you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified and put to death” Jesus of Nazareth. In fact the murder of Jesus was a conspiracy involving Rome, Herod, the Jewish leaders and the people of Israel, a diverse group of people who never worked together on anything before or since, but who came together this one time to plot and carry out the unthinkable—the murder of the son of God.

Ultimately, and perhaps somewhat amazingly, it was God Himself who put Jesus to death. This was the greatest act of divine justice ever carried out, done in “the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God” (Acts 2:23) and for the highest purpose. Jesus’ death on the cross secured the salvation of countless millions and provided the only way God could forgive sin without compromising His holiness and perfect righteousness. Christ’s death was God’s perfect plan for the eternal redemption of His own. Far from being a victory for Satan, as some have suggested, or an unnecessary tragedy, it was the most gracious act of God’s goodness and mercy, the ultimate expression of the Father’s love for sinners. God put Jesus to death for our sin so that we could live in sinless righteousness before Him, a righteousness only possible because of the cross. “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21).

So we who have come to Christ in faith are guilty of His blood, shed on the cross for us. He died to pay the penalty for our sins (Romans 5:8; 6:23). In the movie “The Passion of the Christ,” the director, Mel Gibson, was the one whose hands you see actually driving the nails through Christ’s hands. He did it that way to remind himself, and everyone else, that it was our sins that nailed Jesus to the cross.[1]

 


[1] Got Questions Ministries. (2010). Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

Muslim Questions: Do Christians believe in three gods?

If you’re a Muslim, you have probably heard that Christians believe in three gods. That idea is as blasphemous to them as it sounds to you.

There is one God!
Christians agree with a Muslim’s belief in one God. In our Holy Book (which the Qur’an commends in Surah 4:136), God commands, “You shall have no other gods before me” (Exodus 20:3).

Did Isa/Jesus uphold monotheism? When asked for the greatest command, Jesus responded, “… The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength” (Mark 12:29–30).

The one God exists as three Persons.
The Bible teaches that God is one in essence, three in Person: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Each is fully God. God is not three gods but three in one. This is not a mathematical contradiction. Although humans cannot completely grasp the paradox of the tri-unity of God, we trust His revelation is true. Christians do not believe in three gods. Our one God manifests Himself in three Persons.

Is Jesus God’s Son?
The same Jesus who praised God’s oneness testified with His perfect life, miracles, and own mouth that He was God’s Son in the flesh (Matthew 9:6; John 8:46, 58). Jesus said, “I and the Father [God] are one” (John 10:30). We cannot both praise Jesus’ teaching and refute His deity because He claimed to be from and of God. Therefore, Jesus is either God’s Son or a blasphemer.

Does Jesus’ testimony anger you? It angered the religious leaders of His time. Because Jesus claimed to be God’s Son (symbolizing His relationship to God), they plotted to kill Him. “… Again the high priest asked him, ‘Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?’ And Jesus said, ‘I am, and you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.’ And the high priest tore his garments and said, ‘What further witnesses do we need? You have heard his blasphemy. What is your decision?’ And they all condemned him as deserving death” (Mark 14:61–64).

What is your decision?
Your beliefs cannot change the truth. Is Jesus God’s Son? If not, He did deserve death. If human, His bones would be resting behind a boulder in a garden tomb. But they are not. By the resurrection, Jesus proved Himself divine. If He is God’s Son, why did He die? He didn’t deserve death. His faultless life matched His testimony of deity. Jesus kept the greatest command to love God.

Have you? Unlike Jesus, none of us could love God supremely. Even breaking a small command (such as lying, hating, or coveting) disqualifies us from heaven: “For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all” (James 2:10). We deserve death—eternal separation from God in hell.

But take hope; the Lord Jesus took the punishment for sin on Himself when He died on the cross. “[God] made [Jesus] who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21). After dying on the cross, Jesus rose from the dead, proving His deity and the effectiveness of His sacrifice for sin.

The living Jesus Christ can pay for your sin, providing the way to paradise. When Jesus was promising to prepare a place in heaven for His followers, one asked Him for the way there. “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me’ ” (John 14:6).

Trust Christ’s death on the cross and resurrection from the grave to save you from the penalty and power of sin. He is the Way, Truth, and Life![1]

 


[1] Got Questions Ministries. (2010). Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.