Daily Archives: January 23, 2014

The 10 Most Important Relationship Laws – Van Moody

The People Factor        Today’s guest post is by pastor Van Moody, author of the new book, The People Factor: How Building Great Relationships and Ending Bad Ones Unlocks Your God-Given Purpose. Known as a “people scholar,” Moody’s advice on building healthy and enduring relationships has been featured in Forbes, in The Wall Street Journal, and on Fox News, and he serves as a trainer for John C. Maxwell’s global leadership initiative. Moody is also the founder and pastor of The Worship Center Christian Church, which has grown to 9,000 members in the last seven years.

Every relationship you have influences your life. There are no neutral relationships; each one lifts you up or weighs you down. It moves you forward or holds you back. It helps you or it hurts you. Only by knowing which is which, and knowing how to turn the tide on those that are negative, can appropriate actions be taken—actions and decisions that will make the difference between a great and happy life, or one riddled with disappointment, failure, and regret.

Relationships are an art, and most of us lack the skill and mastery to help break—or all together avoid—destructive patterns, disrespect, and deception. Here are 10 fundamental principles for living and interacting with others in the complex and ever-changing dynamics of today’s culture that, if adhered to, can best assure relational success in all aspects of life—at home, in social circles, and in business.

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Babies Are Murdered Here | #BAMH

AbbasGirlMe

Babies Are Murdered Here, is the new controversial pro-life documentary that examines the truth about abortion and the single biggest failure of the pro-life movement, not calling abortion what it really is…Murder. I had originally posted the documentary here, but I pulled it in lieu of the truth of those who made it and who are promoting it. I pray you will take heed. There is ONE way to evangelize…GOD’S way as found in His word. You MUST be under the authority of your church and your elders, and if not, stay home for you are out of scriptural bounds, and only serving yourself and your own pride. That said…These are the people who are using your emotions against you in a very emotional issue…dead babies. I am not saying to not evangelize abortion clinics…I am saying that they are NOT the only place where people are perishing, and as…

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Preach the Word: Because It Is the Means God Uses to Sanctify His People – John MacArthur

 

You wouldn’t withhold food from a starving man. Nor would you deny air to a drowning child. Frankly, that kind of monstrous behavior is hard to imagine. But that’s effectively what many pastors and church leaders are guilty of today, as they withhold that which is vital to the spiritual lives of their people: God’s Word.

Pastors must faithfully preach the Word of God because it is the instrument that the Spirit uses to save and sanctify. We are born again by the Word of truth. As Jesus said in John 17:17, “Sanctify them in the truth; Your Word is truth.”  All comfort, all encouragement, all nourishment—everything—comes from the Word (cf. 1 Peter 2:1–3) through which the Spirit works (compare Ephesians 5:18–21 with Colossians 3:16–17). The Word and the Spirit are really inseparable in terms of ministry. The Spirit is the One who breathed out the very Word of God through the human instruments who wrote it (2 Peter 1:20–21), and it is His sword (Ephesians 6:17).

Leaders need to ask themselves what they want for their churches.  Do they want their people to be under the sovereign and blessed authority of God?  Do they want them under the rule and headship of Jesus Christ?  And do they want them in the midst of the powerful work of the Spirit of God?  If they do, the appropriate course of action is straightforward. Open the Bible and tell the people what it means, for the Spirit uses that truth to comfort and convict as it is conveyed to willing souls. It is even by the Word that He makes the unwilling, willing.

Pastors in particular ought to know and value the benefits that come from the study and proclamation of God’s Word.  Even if I never preached another sermon, I would thank God every day of my life for the sanctifying grace that has come to me through the daily study of His precious Word. Pastors, then, should study to know God, not just to make sermons. For me, the greatest joy of preaching comes not in the final step of proclamation but in the transformation of my own life, as the truth pervades my thinking throughout the entire process.  A sanctified preacher, known as such to his people, is a powerful instrument when he opens the Word.

So then, we preach the Word to others because it is the instrument God uses to save the lost and to sanctify His people. We also preach the Word to ourselves, because through our own study of Scripture we are likewise sanctified. And we take our sanctification seriously, lest after we have preached to others, we ourselves might somehow be disqualified (1 Corinthians 9:27).

 

(Adapted from The Master’s Plan for the Church.)


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Ensnared by Lust

BCC Staff Note: You’re reading Part Four in a four-part BCC Grace & Truth blog series on grace-based, gospel-centered approaches to overcoming lust and pornography. In addition to today’s post by Julie Ganschow (Ensnared by Lust), you can read you can read Part One by Luke Gilkerson here: 14 Gospel Promises That Trump the Power of Lust, Part Two by Heath Lambert here: Pornography, Radical Measures, and the Gospel, and Part Three by Deepak Reju here: Dumb Down Your Smart Phone.

Bound and Trapped

I grew up hearing that that women do not enjoy looking at naked bodies the way men do. Yet, women are being seduced into the world of pornography. Young and old, Christian and non-Christian, married and single, women are viewing pornography in record numbers. The temptation for involvement in sexual sin is enormous, particularly since women can now view anything from their couch in the living room.

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15 signs your church is growing in the right way

Yesterday I commented on one of the big problems we have in church ministry—that we think growing numerically is entirely dependent upon the pastor’s preaching ability. But the problem, as I mentioned yesterday, is you can’t tell if a church is healthy simply by checking the attendance.

Instead, the one of the surest signs of the health of a church is to look at the growth of its people. In his book, What Is a Healthy Church?, Mark Dever writes, “When you peer into the life of a church, the growth of its members can show up in all sorts of ways.” Here are fifteen examples Dever offers to show what “growth” means:

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“I’m thinking of going to the doctor for depression meds”

Someone recently told me that he had finally and reluctantly decided to go to the doctor about his painful and debilitating depression and ask about going on meds. I knew this person had tried every other spiritual and commonsense remedy but was simply not getting better.

With his permission, here’s the advice I gave him plus another few points I’ve thought of since. Perhaps it will help others in a similar situation:

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Questions about Creation: Does the String Theory Have Any Connection with Belief in God?

 

In short, the relationship between string theory and God can be stated this way: If string theory is true, then God created it. That is the only definitive statement we can deduce from the Bible about string theory. The Bible doesn’t mention whether God used atoms or elements or quarks or eleven dimensions and tiny strings of vibrating energy. All it says is that God made the world (Genesis 1).

Some, however, try to use string theory to learn more about God—not about His character, but His location. God is not confined to the three spatial dimensions and one time dimension that we are (Isaiah 40:22). Heaven does not exist in a space that we can see, and God is outside of time. Some have taken this to mean that if we can’t see God, and if we can’t see most of the dimensions involved in string theory, then maybe God lives on those dimensions. The biggest problem with this theory is that it still places God inside the particular cosmos that was created for mankind. According to the latest version of string theory, all eleven dimensions (time, the three spatial dimensions, and seven others that are too condensed to see) are necessary for the universe as we know it. If that is the case, then all eleven dimensions are things God created, not places where God is confined.

Thinking about God living in eleven dimensions and interacting with the four we have access to is an interesting mental exercise. It might explain why we can’t see Him—an observer living in four dimensions cannot see all of an eleven-dimensional form, although ultimately God cannot be seen because He has chosen to be seen only through the eyes of faith (Hebrews 11:1). If string theory is true, it also might show how He can interact with the world in ways that we can’t describe—and thus call “miracles.” And, if God can move freely through all eleven dimensions, it would illustrate how He can be “outside” of time. For Him, leaving the confines of time would be no more difficult than if we were to leave the two-dimensional plane of the street and fall down through a manhole.

Ultimately, we don’t know. Scientists are just beginning to try to explain string theory—a theory that isn’t even testable or observable and, therefore, is not yet even considered legitimate science. If string theory is true, then God created it. If it’s not, it’s at least an interesting metaphor in our attempt to understand God and how He works in creation. “And these are but the outer fringe of his works; how faint the whisper we hear of him! Who then can understand the thunder of his power?” (Job 26:14).[1]


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

Questions about the Holy Spirit: What Is the Spiritual Gift of Leadership?

 

The Bible gives the means for the church to accomplish tasks, develop the local congregation, serve the needs of the fellowship, and help it establish a community witness. The Bible describes these means as spiritual gifts, one of which is the gift of leadership. The spiritual gift of leadership in the local church appears in these lists in two passages, Romans 12:8 and 1 Corinthians 12:28. The Greek word translated “rule” or “govern” in these verses designates one who is set over others, or who presides or rules, or one who attends with diligence and care to a thing. In 1 Thessalonians 5:12, it is used in relation to ministers in general: “And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labor among you, and are over you in the Lord.” Here the word is translated “over you.”

Everything rises and falls with leadership. The more skillful and effective the leadership, the better the organization runs and the more the potential for growth increases. In Romans 12:8 the word translated “ruler” indicates care and diligence with reference to the local church. The ruler is to attend, with constant diligence, to his work, which is to watch over the flock and to be ready to sacrifice personal comfort to look after needy sheep.

There are several characteristics of those with the spiritual gift of leadership. First and foremost, they recognize that their position is by the appointment of the Lord and is under His direction. They understand that they are not absolute rulers, but are themselves subject to the One who is over them all, the Lord Jesus who is the Head of the church. Recognizing their place in the hierarchy of the administration of the body of Christ prevents the gifted leader from succumbing to pride or a sense of entitlement. The truly gifted Christian leader recognizes that he is but a slave of Christ and a servant of those he leads. The Apostle Paul recognized this position, referring to himself as a “servant of Christ Jesus” (Romans 1:1). Like Paul, the gifted leader recognizes that God has called him to his position; he has not called himself (1 Corinthians 1:1). Following Jesus’ example, the gifted leader also lives to serve those he leads, and not to be served by them or lord it over them (Matthew 20:25–28).

James, the half-brother of the Lord Jesus, had the gift of leadership, as he led the church in Jerusalem. He, too, referred to himself as “a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ” (James 1:1). James exhibited another quality of spiritual leadership—the ability to sway others to think rightly, biblically, and godly in all matters. James persuaded those in Jerusalem on the contentious issue of how to relate to Gentiles coming to faith in Jesus the Messiah. “And after they had become silent, James answered, saying, ‘Men and brethren, listen to me: Simon has declared how God at the first visited the Gentiles to take out of them a people for His Name’ ” (Acts 15:13–14). With that opening statement he led them to think clearly and biblically, enabling them to come to a right decision on this issue (Acts 15:22–29).

As shepherds of God’s people, ruling with diligence includes the ability to discern true spiritual needs from “felt” needs and to lead others to maturity in the faith. He leads others to grow in their ability to discern for themselves that which comes from God from that which is cultural or temporary. Like Paul, his words are not “wise and persuasive” but are filled with the power of the Holy Spirit, leading and encouraging others to rest their faith on that very power (1 Corinthians 2:4–6). The goal of the gifted leader is to guard and guide those he leads “until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:13).

The spiritual gift of leadership is given by God to men and women who will help the church to grow and thrive beyond the current generation. God has given the gift of leadership not to exalt men, but to glorify Himself when men and women use the gift He gave them to do His will.[1]


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

Characters in the Bible: What Should We Learn from the Tribe of Asher?

 

Asher is one of Israel’s twelve tribes. In the time of Moses, Asher was divided into five clans: the Imnites; the Ishvites; and the Berites; and, through Beriah, the Berite patriarch, two more clans: the Heberites and the Malkielites. The first three clans were named after Asher’s sons; the fourth and fifth after Beriah’s sons (Numbers 26:44–45).

Asher was Jacob’s eighth son. His mother was Leah’s maidservant, Zilpah, and he was her second and last child with Jacob. When Asher was born, Leah said, “How happy am I! The women will call me happy” (Genesis 30:13). Asher’s name means “happy.”

Asher was one of six tribes chosen to stand on Mount Ebal and pronounce curses (Deuteronomy 27:13). Through these curses, the people promised God they would refrain from bad behavior. For example, one curse says, “Cursed is the man who dishonors his father or his mother” (Deuteronomy 27:16). Another states, “Cursed is the man who leads the blind astray on the road” (Deuteronomy 27:18). Still another: “Cursed is the man who sleeps with his mother-in-law” (Deuteronomy 27:23). In all, Asher delivered twelve admonishments (Deuteronomy 27:15–26).

When Jacob blessed his sons, he said, “Asher’s food will be rich; he will provide delicacies fit for a king” (Genesis 49:20). Later, Moses blessed the tribe, saying, “Most blessed of the sons is Asher; let him be favored by his brothers, and let him bathe his feet in oil. The bolts of your gates will be iron and bronze, and your strength will equal your days” (Deuteronomy 33:24). Washing one’s feet in oil was a sign of prosperity, and Jacob’s reference to Asher’s food being “rich” indicated that Asher would possess fertile lands. In Joshua 19:24–31, we learn that Asher received land along the Mediterranean coast.

Despite all its blessings, the tribe of Asher failed to drive out the Canaanites, and “because of this the people of Asher lived among the Canaanite inhabitants of the land” (Judges 1:31–32). In the time of Deborah and Barak, “Asher remained on the coast and stayed in its coves” rather than join the fight against Jabin, a Canaanite king (Judges 5:17). This failure to aid their fellow tribes could indicate a lack of reliance on God, a lack of effort, a fear of the enemy, or a reluctance to upset those with whom they did business. Thus, the example set here is a negative one: although Asher was richly blessed, they did not behave admirably; when the time for action came, they failed to trust in God and honor His plan.

Later in Judges, Asher does respond to Gideon’s call to repel the Midianites, Amalekites, and others from the East (Judges 6:35). In another important gesture, Asher accepts Hezekiah’s invitation to the tribes from the Northern Kingdom to join the Passover celebration in Jerusalem (2 Chronicles 30:11). This was considered an act of humility, proof of a contrite heart before God.

In the end, we find that Asher received many great blessings from God. Having received a blessing, they were expected to obey the Lord’s commands. In this they sometimes succeeded and sometimes failed. We, too, have been blessed by God (Ephesians 1:3), and the Lord expects us to obey His commands (John 14:15). Just as Asher received a prophetic blessing from Jacob, God’s children have received this promise: “For I know the plans I have for you … plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11). Praise the Lord for His wonderful plans for us. What a comfort![1]


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

Fukushima Radiation More Than 10 Times The Normal Level Is Detected On California Beaches

Multiple independent tests have confirmed that levels of nuclear radiation are being detected on California beaches that are more than 10 times the normal level. Many believe that this is the result of highly radioactive water from Fukushima that has crossed the Pacific Ocean and is now washing up on California beaches. Others are blaming the radiation spikes on “natural sources”, but they can never seem to identify what those natural sources actually are. If this radiation is from Fukushima, it is only going to get worse over time. Every single day, another 300 tons of highly radioactive water gets released into the Pacific Ocean at Fukushima. Some of these radioactive elements have half-lives of about 30 years, so the total amount of radioactive material in the Pacific is continually growing and it will be with us for a very long time. As this highly radioactive water hits the west coast of the United States, (Read More…)

U.S. Cattle Herd Is At A 61 Year Low And Organic Food Shortages Are Being Reported All Over America

If the extreme drought in the western half of the country keeps going, the food supply problems that we are experiencing right now are only going to be the tip of the iceberg. As you will see below, the size of the U.S. cattle herd has dropped to a 61 year low, and organic food shortages are being reported all over the nation. Surprisingly cold weather and increasing demand for organic food have both been a factor, but the biggest threat to the U.S. food supply is the extraordinary drought which has had a relentless grip on the western half of the country. If you check out the U.S. Drought Monitor, you can see that drought conditions currently stretch from California all the way to the heart of Texas. In fact, the worst drought in the history of the state of California is happening right now. And considering the fact that the rest of the nation is extremely dependent on produce grown in California and cattle raised in the western half of the U.S., this should be of great concern to all of us. (Read More….)

GodLife: Living Generously

Living Generously

“God loved so much . . . that He gave.” This sums up the generous heart of God, and is an example for us, His children. In fact, we are most like Him when we are giving generously and even sacrificially.

Just for You

It’s only in the power of the Holy Spirit that we can live a full, generous, godly life. Click to learn more about the Spirit-filled life in our New Believer’s Guide.

Personal Help

Do you ever wonder about God’s mercy and how to share His love with others? We have trained followers of Jesus who can help you figure it out! Click here to share your story with us. You will hear from someone shortly.

Prayer Points

Will you pray this week:
• That God will give generous hearts to all believers.
• To thank God for His generosity, mercy, and forgiveness
• To thank God for giving us Jesus
• That God will give you a generous, merciful, and forgiving heart, and give you chances to bless others in new ways.
• To praise the Lord for His example

GodLife Family

Where can you go online to get daily encouragement and inspiration, and to discuss biblical generosity? Visit the GodLife Facebook Page where we can gather daily to share our stories, to express ourselves, and to pray for one another!

A Brief Catechism of Bible Doctrine-14-Justification

Reformedontheweb's Blog

Justification

 

1. What is Justification?

It is an act of God, by which He fully acquits us of all sin.

2. Is it based upon any works of our own?

It is not; by our own works we could never secure it.

3. Is it not, however, intimately connected with some act of ours?

Yes, with the exercise of faith.

4. Is it due to our faith in Christ?

It is not; that faith becomes the instrument only, not the cause of our justification.

5. To what, then, is it due?

Simply to the merits and sufferings of Christ, which are accounted by God as ours.

6. What do the Scriptures mean when they say that we are justified by faith?

In part, they are teaching that our justification is not by works.

7. What else do they mean?

They also speak thus, because in the act of faith…

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And Above All These Put On Love Which Binds Everything Together In Perfect Harmony

Possessing the Treasure

by Mike Ratliff

7 The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self- controlled and sober- minded for the sake of your prayers. 8 Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. 9 Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. (1 Peter 4:7-9 ESV)

Our sanctification is designed by God to transform us unto the image of Christ. The human heart before regeneration is clueless about the ways of God. The unregenerate heart can only comprehend the wisdom of the world. This ‘wisdom,’ such as it is, views the Christian calling as utter foolishness. Sadly, there are innumerable professing Christians in our time who claim that Jesus is their Saviour, but they cling to worldly comforts as they view the self-denied life as peculiar and only for Jesus freaks and fanatics.

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