It has been called “America’s most disturbing holiday”. Black Friday is the day when millions of average Americans wait outside retail stores in the middle of the night in the freezing cold to spend more money that they do not have for more cheap Chinese-made products that they do not need. It is a day when the rest of the world makes fun of Americans for behaving like “rabid animals” and “zombies” as we indulge in a tsunami of greed. It truly is a shameful orgy of materialism for a morally bankrupt nation. It is being projected that approximately 140 million Americans will participate in this disgusting national ritual this year. Sadly, most of them have absolutely no idea that they are actively participating in the destruction of the economic infrastructure of the United States. If you don’t understand why this is true, please be sure to read this entire article all the way to the end. (Read More….)
It is a sad day when some within evangelicalism would classify Joel Osteen as an evangelical Christian. There is no room in Scripture for waffling on the gospel. A person who claims to be a minister of the gospel and yet claim that he doesn’t know whether Jews, Muslims, or Hindus would go to hell if they do not believe in Jesus Christ alone is not worthy to be a minister, and according to Scripture this man is not even a true believer himself. His teaching is nothing short of heresy. True believers, be warned of this wolf in sheep’s clothing. Dr. Steve Lawson does an excellent job addressing Osteen’s waffles.
by Mike Ratliff
10 αἱρετικὸν ἄνθρωπον μετὰ μίαν καὶ δευτέραν νουθεσίαν παραιτοῦ, 11 εἰδὼς ὅτι ἐξέστραπται ὁ τοιοῦτος καὶ ἁμαρτάνει ὢν αὐτοκατάκριτος. (Titus 3:10-11 NA28)
10 As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him, 11 knowing that such a person is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned. (Titus 3:10-11 ESV)
Secular humanism, relativism, pluralism, et cetera are worldly philosophies that have invaded the visible Church. These ways of the world when applied to the Church are some of the things that “stirs up division” within the Body of Christ. Other things that cause this would be majoring in minors such as taking things from the Bible that are not explained in detail enough to be taken literally because they are given to us in an arbitrary fashion. Some take these minor points and make them major points in…
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the grave; and the barren womb; the earth [that] is not filled with water; and the fire [that] saith not, [It is] enough.
The eye [that] mocketh at [his] father, and despiseth to obey [his] mother, the ravens of the valley shall pick it out, and the young eagles shall eat it. (Proverbs 30:15-17)
For the SIH devotional on this subject:
- ‘The Hunger Games‘ Bible study. For those times when God’s Word just isn’t enough.
- I’m all signed up for the 2014 Walk in the Word Caribbean cruise. I just hope James MacDonald isn’t bringing along his catapult. I have a feeling I’d be the first one overboard.
- In what sense was creation ‘perfect‘?
- Now this is beautiful.
- This, not so much.
- Yum. I think I’ll be trying this recipe.
- I know I’m going to get some flak for including an article from Psychology Today, but I think it raises some valid points as to ‘why French kids don’t have ADHD‘ while diagnoses of such conditions are overly abundant here in America.
- No more tax-free housing allowance for clergy?
- If you’ve not kept up with the controversy surrounding Mark Driscoll and the charges of plagiarism that have been raised, it’s time to catch up. Listen to this episode of Janet Mefferd’s show. Then listen to this one. Then look at the evidence here and here.
- Now you can read Carl Trueman’s two cents.
- The publisher for Driscoll’s newest book, A Call to Resurgence, which initially sparked these plagiarism findings, is standing behind the megachurch pastor.
- You should also read Elizabeth Prata’s comprehensive article on the matter.
- We’re still smelling some of the smoke from Strange Fire. One of the accusations from charismatics has been that it is only the ‘fringe’ personalities who commit such theological atrocities as were discussed at the conference and that mainstream continuationists are far more balanced. The Cripplegate shares an article by Lyndon Unger that examines just who exactly is the mainstream of the charismatic movement.
- “The world’s most valuable book” is a copy of the psalms. I have a copy of The Message that I’d be willing to sell for a fraction of this price.
- Mike Gendron answers the question, ‘Should born-again Christians remain in Roman Catholicism?’
- Um . . . thank you?
- Nine lessons from God concerning sickness.
- New Testament apostles were chosen by God.
- The Holy Spirit as Illuminator:
The story is told that, during the International Congress on World Evangelization at Lausanne in 1974, someone asked Billy Graham, “Who will be the next Billy Graham?” In answer, the nonpareil evangelist motioned to the panorama of Christian leaders around him, saying, “They will.”
I agree with Graham. No one person will ever replace him. He has been extraordinarily called to share the gospel at a specific historical moment with more people than anyone before him. No one can “replace” him, any more than anyone could “replace” Alexander the Great, Lincoln, or Churchill. Great leaders break the mold. They can be succeeded but never replaced.
This month Billy Graham marked his 95th birthday with a heartfelt message, “The Cross,” putting a capstone on his long and fruitful public ministry. This seems an appropriate time, therefore, to discuss not who will be “the next Billy Graham,” but how we—his grateful successors—can carry on his cross-centered, proclamational legacy in the church today.
Not Via Politics
We need to remind ourselves that this legacy will not be continued via politics. While many people are alternately discouraged, outraged, or disgusted by our seemingly broken political system, and while a calling into politics is valid and worthy, our salvation will not come through the ballot box or a Supreme Court decision. Though often tempted by the lure of the political spotlight, Graham recognized this fact. For instance, after the fallout of the Watergate scandal, Graham stated, “It is a mistake to identify the kingdom of God with the American way of life.”
The reality of evil and the dehumanizing effects of sin will not find their ultimate cure in a new government program or reform agenda on Capitol Hill. As always, they must be confronted by the (inherently offensive) message of the gospel—that Christ “was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification” (Rom. 4:25).
Power, Humility, and Prayer
The first foundation stone of Graham’s legacy, thus, is his grasp of the gospel, which the apostle Paul says is “the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes” (Rom. 1:16). While we are often tempted to forget the extent of this power, the many lives transformed through Graham’s preaching are a vivid reminder.
Such knowledge has also given Graham genuine humility, the second foundation stone. It’s easy to take Graham meekness for granted, having been accustomed to seeing it for so many decades—that is, until we observe the sins and foibles of other Christian leaders.
During his first crusade in Boston, when asked to identify the one item for which he most wanted prayer, Graham said, “That I will not take credit for the successes of these things whatsoever, because if I do, my lips will turn to clay.”
The Boston church leaders came away from that meeting struck by Graham’s profound humility. In fact, after the meetings, one leader commented, “Never did Billy take any credit. He never let anybody make him a big shot. Such humility I have never seen in anyone else.” Graham’s humility is a model for all of his successors.
This incident also highlights another foundation in Graham’s legacy—one that we must not neglect in the days ahead: earnest prayer. Graham knew that whatever humility he had, it was not his birthright, and it wasn’t guaranteed to continue in perpetuity. This knowledge caused Graham to constantly return to the Source.
“Every time I give an invitation, I am in an attitude of prayer,” he writes. “I feel emotionally, physically, and spiritually drained. It becomes a spiritual battle of such proportions that sometimes I feel faint. There is an inward groaning and agonizing in prayer that I can’t put it into words.”
There are many tools, in the providence of God, that can help us more effectively do evangelism—sociological research, technology, and the like. These are all good things, and Graham gladly employed them when appropriate. But Graham’s successors must never get so enamored with these tools for evangelism that we forget the engine: earnest prayer.
Supremacy of Christ
The final foundation stone in Graham’s ministry I want to highlight here is his commitment to the supremacy of Christ. It is no accident that the name of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association’s magazine is Decision. At his every crusade, the great evangelist emphasized people’s need to see Christ not just as Savior, but also as Lord—and he always sealed this understanding with prayer.
In Graham crusades, there has been no room for what Dietrich Bonhoeffer called “cheap grace.” While attendees were always called to make a decision, they were also challenged to make a thoroughgoing dedication to discipleship. Writing in 1956, Graham indicated the far-reaching importance of this commitment: “After you have confessed Christ, yield every area of your life. Yield your girlfriend, your boyfriend, your family, your business, your career, your ambitions, your soul, the innermost thought and depths of your heart; yield them all to Christ. Hold nothing back.”
No, as much as we would like to, there is no way to manufacture “another Billy Graham” for whatever challenges God has for us in the future. The ministries of the great evangelist’s many successors necessarily will look different and almost certainly produce different fruit.
But there is no reason we cannot carry forward Graham’s cross-centered, proclamational legacy. This legacy is surprisingly simple, yet unmistakably profound: a commitment to the gospel’s power, genuine humility, earnest prayer, and the supremacy of Christ. Despite the cultural pressure we will likely encounter to neglect these foundation stones, this is a legacy any minister of the gospel can embrace.
In fact, we must. God will judge us if we don’t.
It is easy to find excuses not to pray. The busyness of life, a short attention span, or a lack of desire might keep you off your knees and cause you to be dependent on yourself instead of dependent on God.
It is our hope and prayer that the following inspirational quotes on prayer will counter those excuses and fuel your desire for a strong and effective prayer life.
11 Inspirational Quotes on Prayer:
“To pray rightly, you must make God your hope, stay, and all. Right prayer sees nothing substantial or worth being concerned about except God.” John Bunyan
“Heavenly citizenship and heavenly homesickness are in prayer. Prayer is an appeal from the lowness, from the emptiness, from the need of earth, to the highness, the fullness and to the all-sufficiency of heaven.”–E.M. Bounds
“While we are looking at God we do not see ourselves—blessed riddance.” A.W. Tozer
“Prayer is the forerunner of mercy. Turn to sacred history, and you will find that scarecely ever did a great mercy come to this world unheralded by supplication.” Charles Spurgeon
“The Master says (and the experience of His people has confirmed) that men of strong faith are men of much prayer.” Andrew Murray
“All our problems are theological ones, William Temple said. All of them have to do with our relationship to God and his to us, and this is precisely why it makes sense to come to God with them.” Elizabeth Elliot
“Prayer is the supreme instance of the hidden character of the Christian life.” Dietrich Bonhoeffer
“We think of prayer as a preparation for work, or a calm after having done work, whereas prayer is the essential work.” Oswald Chambers
“God has not changed; and His ear is just as quick to hear the voice of real prayer, and His hand is just as long and strong to save; as it ever was.” R.A. Torrey
“No duty is more earnestly impressed upon us in Scripture than the duty of continual communion with Him.” –David McIntyre
“The world was made partly that there may be prayer; partly that our prayers might be answered.” –C.S. Lewis
Fulfilled prophecy is an important evidence of Divine origin, and I’ve already highlighted just a few of the more important fulfilled prophecies in the Old Testament. A fellow law enforcement brother, Sir Robert Anderson, described perhaps the greatest Old Testament prophecy, if his calculations were accurate. Anderson was the Assistant Commissioner of the London Metropolitan Police (Scotland Yard) from 1888 to 1901; he was also a theologian and author. He wrote many books related to Christianity, science and prophecy, including The Coming Prince. In this short volume, Anderson makes the case for a remarkable Old Testament prophecy from the prophet Daniel. While the Israelites were certainly comforted by prophecies predicting their enemies would eventually be destroyed, there was a far more reassuring prophecy described by Daniel. He predicted the coming of a Messiah, a savior who would deliver the Jews. Daniel’s prophecy was incredibly specific. I’ll do my best to reconstruct the case made by Anderson, but I encourage you to research his work for yourself.
This is the second installment of my new blog series which responds to each new episode of the History Channel series, Bible Secrets Revealed (the previous installment can be found here). The latest episode is entitled, “The Promised Land.”
On a positive note, let me say from the beginning that the accuracy and balance of this latest episode is a substantive improvement over the debut episode. There are even interviews with scholars who disagreed with one another, rather than all sharing the same view.
That said, there are still a number of places where the documentary makes some claims that are problematic. Let me just mention a view.