May 27, 2015 Truth2Freedom Daily Christian Blog/Article Collection


An Open Letter to Christian Parents of Unbelieving Adult Children

Dear Christian parent, your trial is great, but your God is greater still. He is not blind to your anguish and He does not ignore the prayers of His children. May God hear your heart’s cry, answer, and work in your child’s life. May He take your child and make him or her His own. He is worthy of our trust, pour out your heart before Him (Psalm 62:8).

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Love Theologically

The Bible nowhere suggests that good theology can hinder love. Paul spends the first half of his letters expounding good theology. When he transitions to application in the second half, he never warns that some of that good stuff he mentioned up front might now become a hazard. And neither should we.

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Republication of the Covenant of Works

So here is where I currently am: I advocate a form of republication that is very similar to Colquhoun’s. The republication was given to Israel primarily for the purposes of the pedagogical use of the law (though not only for this purpose). Of course, it is helpful to bear in mind that in this pedagogical sense, the covenant of works is always republished throughout the entire Bible. It is always there, sometimes more in the background, sometimes more in the foreground.

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The Rural Church Dilemma

Be energized by the concept that your church could become the most loving church in the world. I find this compelling. There will be many things your church may not be. It may not be the most educated church or the most innovative church, or the most evangelistic church, etc., but it can be the most loving church. There is nothing to stop that from happening except your lack of determination and/or the will of the people. Love, after all, is the sign of maturity as a church.

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Workout for the Soul: A Review of Theological Fitness

For fitness fanatics, fitness fakers, and everyone in between, the searching questions and robust exegesis of Theological Fitness contain a workout plan for the soul. Writing about 1 Pet. 3:15, Byrd explains: “There are two qualifications of fitness here: knowing God’s truth, and the patient endurance of suffering for the sake of it. This requires conditioning, strengthening, and training. Just as our bodies need continual practice in any kind of physical training, so do our minds in theological growth.” (p. 85)

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Witsius on Law, Gospel, and Antinomianism

“Therefore every prescription of virtues and duties, all exhortations and dissuasions, all reproofs and threatenings also all the promises of a reward in recompense of perfect obedience, belong to the law. But to the gospel appertains whatever can give a sinner the hope of salvation, namely, the doctrine concerning the person, offices, states, and benefits of Jesus Christ, and all the promises wherein is included the pardon of sins, and the annexed possession of grace and glory, to be obtained by faith in him. This is the strictest notion of both words, to which we must attend, in the whole of this disputation.”

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7 Sure-Fire Ways to Recognize False Teachers

A false teacher isn’t going to tell you he’s teaching heresy. In fact, he’ll usually look and sound so sincere and passionate that you wouldn’t know he’s actually twisting God’s Word. The size of the crowds around him won’t tell you much either, since many people have been and continue to be led astray by teaching that pleases their ears.

The prophet Jeremiah kept telling the people of Judah over and over what God planned for Jerusalem, urging them to turn from their wicked ways. But the people preferred to listen to false prophets who told them what they wanted to hear. We have to make sure we’re not doing the same.

So, how exactly can you tell if someone is “wolf in sheep’s clothing”? You become a “fruit inspector,” just as Jesus said (Matthew 7:15–16). According to Pastor Shane Idleman of Westside Christian Fellowship, there are 7 telltale signs that can take the wool from our eyes:

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In Faith Communities Like the Duggars, Abuse Victims are Encouraged to be Filled with Grace

Easy “forgivism” may gloss over the terrible situation in the short term, but it reinforces to everyone that the egregious, soul-siphoning sin committed against the victim was trivial, easy to get over. It forgets Jesus’ strong admonition that “whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a heavy millstone hung around his neck, and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.”

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God Gave You the Holy Spirit … For a Reason

by Pastor J.D.

There was a time, believe it or not, when churches didn’t call themselves “missional.” Missions was, for most Christians, what other people did. It was for the elite, the varsity level, the Navy Seals of the Christian world. The rest of us praised our missionaries and considered them heroes…but we never really considered that we, too, were supposed to be missionaries.

That attitude is beginning to change, but the American church has a long way to go. It is immensely encouraging to hear of churches around the country catching the vision that mission is part of the very essence of the church. God doesn’t call us into his kingdom, and only at some later time call a few more of us into his mission. His call to join him in mission is tied up in his call to salvation. “Follow me,” Jesus said, “And I will make you fishers of men.”

As Charles Spurgeon so prophetically put it, “Every Christian is either a missionary or an impostor.” That doesn’t mean that every believer must pack up their bags and move to Afghanistan (though many more should!). It means that the call to follow Christ is a call to follow him where he goes, as he seeks to make his name known throughout the world. It means that whether you’re a hairdresser or a pastor, a stay-at-home mom or an overseas missionary, God’s got a mission for you. He gave you the Spirit, and he did that for a reason.

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by Scott Aniol

Last week I suggested that data transmission alone does not create disciples. Rather, we must focus upon the heart’s inclinations in order to shape one’s behavior.

With the limits of data transmission in mind, what will it take, then to nurture true discipleship? If cultivating holy behavior requires influencing the heart’s inclinations, how does this take place?

First, we must recognize that there is a difference between what we might call higher and lower inclinations. The lower inclinations—or passions—are those impulses that respond primarily to physical appetites. Paul describes those who live according to these lower appetites: “their god is their belly” (Phil 3:19). When set in conflict with the mind, these lower appetites will always win since, as I have already claimed, we act primarily on the basis of inclination. Thankfully, there is a second aspect to our inclinations, the higher inclinations—or affections—of the soul. When the affections are cultivated toward what is right and good, we act accordingly. Notice that we still nevertheless act according to out inclinations, but as C. S. Lewis so famously stated, “The head rules the belly through the chest.” ((C. S Lewis, The Abolition of Man, New Ed (HarperOne, 2001), 24.)) Therefore, if we want to produce disciples characterized by holy behavior, then we must give attention to cultivating noble inclinations for what is true and good. Peter tells us to “put on affections of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.” Yet the question still remains, how is this accomplished? How do we teach people’s affections?

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The 7 Characteristics of Servant Leadership

I think it is so important for the church to understand the real meaning of servant leadership. So important.

“But Jesus called them to him and said, ‘You know that the rulers of the Gentiles ilord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but kto serve, and lto give his life as a ransom for many’ (Matthew 20:25-28).”

“‘But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are hall brothers. And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven. Neither be called instructors, for you have one instructor, the Christ. The greatest among you shall be your servant. Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted’” (Matthew 23:8-12).

A servant leader:

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About those gifts

There are a lot of Christian leaders out there who are manipulating everything from spiritual gifts tests to oracles from God to signs and wonders in their church services. There are those who are cessasionists – who believe speaking in tongues and speaking prophecies are not active for today, and those who believe the gifts […]

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Cold Case Christianity: Why We Need to Stop Teaching (and Start Training) Young Christians – Part 2 (Video)

J. Warner Wallace (author of Cold-Case Christianity) speaks to Green Bay Community Church about the important difference between teaching and training. How can a shift in our thinking help young Christians learn how to defend their faith? In this video, J. Warner finishes his description of five key characteristics of training.

“Charlie Charlie” Ouija Board-Like Challenge Has Youth Trying to Summon A Demon

by Marsha West

We’re posting this Christian News Network piece to alert parents that their child may be attempting to summon a demon. Doing that sort of thing “just for fun” is dangerous for both children and adults. In the Bible, God makes it clear that Christians are not to attempt to contact the spirit world.

We must also point out that some of the weird and scary experiences kids who have played “Charlie Charlie” claim they’ve had does not line up with the Bible’s teaching on demons.

A new challenge being shared on Twitter has youth across the nation and around the world engaging in an Ouija board-like ritual in an attempt to summon a demon.

According to reports, the “Charlie Charlie” challenge involves a Mexican occultist ritual of writing “yes” and “no” on a sheet of paper and crossing two pencils. The ritual is stated to be a type of “rite” for Mexican children.

“Charlie, Charlie, are you there?” those sitting around the paper chant, and then wait to see if the pencils move to point to either yes or no. If yes, those involved ask the demon questions to see how he will answer.

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An Ode to Conservatism

by Christopher Ames

While we believe that Roman Catholicism has strayed from the truth due to a rather early set of unscriptural innovations away from orthodoxy and orthopraxy, some (certainly not all) Roman Catholics have managed to conserve vestiges of orthopathy. This, I believe, is why Rome is often attractive to those who wish to recover a rightly proportioned set of affections: they almost never get to see such affections in the evangelical world. In light of this, we don’t automatically label people who make such an ill-fated conversion idiots: we seek to recover orthopathy in our own churches.

Dwight Longenecker may have swum the Tiber after graduating from BJU, but he did not leave all of his good sense on the hither bank. This article avoids the pitfalls of theological differences (which are, by the way, a life-and-death issue) and focuses on what ought to be the essence of conservatism. I can commend this article to you because it is devoid of reference to doctrine or practice in particular, and its principles are, in the best sense, universal.

Intercollegiate Review | How to Be a Creative Conservative

Better gear up for the 5 major changes coming to the Church

Marsha West
May 27, 2015

John Burton has written a piece entitled “Ancient and Emerging: 5 Major Changes Coming to the Church.” Before you get all excited, or maybe even concerned over those changes, you should know a bit more about Burton. As it turns out he’s a “prophet in the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) movement. According to his blog, John Burton, he “has been developing and leading ministries for over 20 years and is a sought out teacher, prophetic messenger and revivalist . . . [Click for more]

After Relationships Shatter

Some conflicts are so egregious, believers can actually find reconciliation and forgiveness a distasteful calling. When a professing believer has left a community and caused a great deal of harm and has lived unrepentant for a long time, his repentance and return is often met with anything but a joyful heart. Yet, Scripture guides the church in how to respond in this type of difficult situation. Continue reading

When Assurance is Lacking

Today’s post is taken from a letter to an individual who is struggling with assurance of salvation.

DoubtDear ____________:

I am so sorry to hear about your struggle with the assurance of your salvation. Seasons of doubt can be some of the most difficult valleys we walk through. Maybe you’re doubting God’s love (“Could he really love someone like me?”), the reality of your conversion (“I don’t think I’m regenerate because I___”), the possibility of certainty (“Can I even know for sure that I’m saved?”), or something else. Whatever the case, know that this is a common battle. You are not alone.

I understand a bit of what that is like as I battled with the darkness of doubt for a time in seminary. The source of my doubt was multi-faceted. On the one hand, it arose from a sudden realization of previously unseen sin. I claimed to believe in the gospel, but my “new” sin seemed to eclipse the cross. My excessive self-analyzing exacerbated the problem. The deeper and longer I beheld my thoughts, the more assurance fled (as it often will). Maybe you are experiencing doubt for those reasons. Or maybe it’s Satan, your natural temperament, or something else. I don’t know.

So, I want to share with you a few things that I have found helpful in battling the darkness of doubt.

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9 Things You Should Know About Mental Health

In 2013, President Obama proclaimed May as National Mental Health Awareness Month, a time set aside to bring the issue of mental health to the attention of the American public. Here are nine things you should know about issues related to mental health:

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Seven Concerns about Christians and Tipping

The following is a true story. Granted, it happened several years ago. But I wonder how often such scenarios unfold.

Two pastors were at lunch together. The older pastor paid for their previous meal, so the younger pastor picked up the tab for this meal. The younger pastor paid cash for the meal, so his older friend asked if he had included a tip. He said he forgot the tip, so he put some cash on the table.

As they were departing, the younger pastor said he forgot something, and returned to the restaurant. The other pastor saw him through the window. The younger man went back to the table, picked up the cash, and put it in his pocket.

Hopefully, such stories are rare. But we do have reasons to be concerned when church members and Christian leaders treat restaurant servers and other service employees so poorly. Allow me to outline seven key concerns.

  1. Tipping is an opportunity we may not otherwise have. We have social contact with people with whom we may not interact on a regular basis. This is our opportunity to represent the name of Christ well. God has put these people in our paths for a reason.
  2. Our generosity is one way we point people toward Christ. We demonstrate our priorities with the ways we spend money. We have seen in numerous studies that churches with a passion and heart for their communities are the churches making a difference. We can’t have a positive witness with a greedy attitude.
  3. We can help counter some of the negative impact of other church members. A server in a restaurant told me she hated working the Sunday lunch shift. She said church members were the rudest and stingiest customers she encountered. Our positive witness with a generous tip can counter some of the negativity caused by others.
  4. Generous tipping reflects a compassionate and grateful heart. Many servers work long hours and endure verbal abuse on a regular basis. Often their pay is very low. They may depend on tips to make ends meet. When we tip generously, we are demonstrating compassion for these servers, and we are expressing our gratitude for their service.
  5. Most of us are blessed with abundance. We should be generous with that which God has given us. Healthy tipping is thus a matter of evangelistic witness and wise stewardship.
  6. Generous tipping can reinforce positive conversations with servers. If we are kind to servers, and if we speak with graciousness and gratitude toward them, our witness is reinforced when we tip generously.
  7. Poor tipping can be a negative witness that takes time to overcome. A few years ago, several people in my organization went to lunch together. They tipped very poorly. The server wrote on Facebook about these employees with clear reference to our organization. Our witness was thus compromised with the server and with the public in general.

I have little patience with those who are stingy to servers. If we can afford to eat out, we can afford to tip generously. Church leaders would do well to remind their members about this often-neglected topic of witness in the community.

By the way, the older pastor in the story I began above went back to the restaurant and apologized to the server. He also left her a 100 percent tip.

It is both amazing and tragic how the simple act of tipping can affect our witness in the communities in which we live. What do you think about this topic? Let me hear from you.

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Those Who Once Stood With Us in the Gospel Now Capitulating to the World.

It always saddens to me see those who once stood with us to go out from us by capitulating to the world and its narrative. It is especially distressing to see this among professing Christians. Dr. Adrian Warnock’s recent article, among other things, is a call for Christians to apologize and repent for calling to those with same-sex attraction to faith and repentance. He clearly seems to be advocating the idea that those Christians who proclaim the gospel to those with same-sex attraction are Pharisees because, he believes, very few persons in this category can change, so it is abusive and hurtful to call them to repent of something they are unable to repent from.  Never mind what they Bible teaches.

I am wondering whether Dr. Warnock understands that the Bible declares that none of us can change ourselves. Does he think those with same-sex attraction are alone in their moral inability to change? As such would he affirm the following statement which the Bible indicates is true about all sinners?


Is America Post-Christian?

We hear a lot these days about America being “post-Christian.” This sort of language has accelerated in recent weeks, with the Pew Center survey demonstrating a spike in the numbers of Americans who claim no religious affiliation.

Arminian vs Reformed on Justification

Who are ‘the least of these’? Scholars say they may not be the poor

(RNS) According to a growing chorus of prominent Bible scholars, Jesus was speaking about persecuted Christians rather than the poor.

The post Who are ‘the least of these’?

Since Grace is Free, YES … You CAN just go sin all you want

I hold to radical, outrageous, shocking, scandalous, limitless grace. I believe there is no other kind of grace.

But whenever I teach or write about this sort of grace, it is almost guaranteed that someone will object by saying, “So are you saying that we can just go sin all we want?”

sin all you wantThey are referring, of course, to the statement in Romans 6:1 where a person objects to Paul’s teaching about grace in exactly the same way. And Paul’s answer, of course, is “God forbid!”

Can I sin all I want?

In the past, I have responded similarly as Paul. I say “No, of course not!” And then I go on to explain that just as obedience does nothing to help us earn or keep eternal life, sin does nothing to cause us to lose it or prove we never had it. ⇦ Tweet that!

The reason God doesn’t want us to sin is because sin damages us.

(By the way, if you have a presentation of the Gospel which never gets the Romans 6:1 objection, then I submit to you that you are probably not teaching the same Gospel Paul was. If, after teaching about grace, no one says to you, “So are you saying I can just sin all i want?” then you probably have not taught grace. I call this question the Grace litmus test.)

But this past week I was talking to someone about grace, and they objected with the grace litmus test, and I don’t know what happened, but I sighed out of exasperation and decided to give a different answer than the one I had always given before.

The man said to me, “So are you saying I can just go sin all I want?”

And I smiled and said, “Yep. If that’s what you want to do, go right ahead.”

I got the “Deer in the headlights” look back from him. I think he had heard rumors that my type of theology existed, but he had never met anyone who was so willing to give him a license to sin as I had just done.

license to sinSo yes, in a way, grace is a license to sin.

He started getting huffy with me, and tried to show that my response to him was different than what Paul said in Romans 6:1, and how therefore my understanding of grace different from that of Paul and so on…

But the more he preached at me the more convinced I became of what I had said out of exasperation.

Grace allows you to sin all you want … if that’s really what you want

If you really understand grace, and if you really understand God, and if you really understand God’s love for you, and after understanding all this, you really want to go sin, then be my guest, go right ahead.

Although grace teaches us to deny ungodliness and worldly lust (Titus 2:12), grace also allows you to go sin all you want … if that is really what you want. ⇦ Tweet that!

Let me put it another way.

If I told my daughters that I loved them completely, and that no matter what they did, I would always love them, forgive them, and be willing to die for them, and if, after I told them this, one of my daughters looked at me and said, “So I can just go stick my hand in the blender and you will still love me?” I would look at her a little strangely and say, “Well … yes … if that’s really want you want to do, go ahead. But know that if you do that, it’s going to be extremely painful. I will, of course, pull your hand out of the blender and rush you to the hospital to stop the bleeding and rescue what I can of your hand. But no matter what, I will still love you and cherish you as my daughter.”

This is what Paul means in Romans 6 when he responds with “God Forbid!” He is not saying, “No, you cannot!” but rather, “Why would you want to?”

grace sin all I wantYou see, sin doesn’t stop God from loving us, nor does it stop God from doing everything He can to rescue us from the devastating and destructive consequences of sin. Sin definitely doesn’t prove that we were never His son or daughter to begin with.

No, sin hurts us. It cuts us. It ruins us. Sin destroys our relationships, our health, our finances, our marriages, our jobs, our longevity, our emotions, our psyche.

Asking the question “So I can just go sin all I want?” simply shows that you do not fully understand the love of God, the grace of God, or even God Himself! It also reveals that you do not understand the devastating and destructive consequences of sin.

Asking the question, “So I can just go sin all I want?” reveals that you don’t understand how painful sin can be.

Asking the question “So I can just go sin all I want?” is like asking, “So I can take this knife and stab it into my leg?” … Yes, if that really what you want to do, go right ahead.

The post Since Grace is Free, YES … You CAN just go sin all you want appeared first on Redeeming God.

 Dr. Robert George’s Defense of Marriage

So what is marriage anyway, and why is the Supreme Court case so important? I’ll let one of the smartest men I know fill you in.
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Humility and Anxiety

The Bible’s solution to anxiety can seem a bit strange. The Bible impresses upon anxious souls the importance of humility. In writing to Christians undergoing severe persecution the apostle Peter guides them to a place of confidence and rest outside of themselves. We see this in 1 Peter 5:6-7. Humility is the key to overcoming fear, worry, and anxiety. Continue reading

The Pattern Among Fallen Pastors

During my time in seminary I took a leadership course taught by the late, great Howard Hendricks. As we studied the life of David, Hendricks shared a study he conducted with a group of men in full-time ministry who had fallen into a morally disqualifying sin.

At the time, I had only been a Christian for a few years, but unfortunately the subject was all too relevant. During my early days I had witnessed several men whom I loved and respected fall into serious sinful compromise. At one point in those days, the falls came so frequently I felt as if I was on the spiritual beach of Normandy watching buddies’ lives get blown apart all around me.

Fallen Soldiers of Christ

The study examined 246 men in full-time ministry who experienced moral failure within a two-year period. As far as Hendricks could discern, these full-time clergy were born-again followers of Jesus. Though they shared a common salvation, these men also shared a common feat of devastation; they had all, within 24 months of each other, been involved in an adulterous relationship.

After interviewing each man, Hendricks compiled four common characteristics of their lives:

  • None of the men was involved in any kind of real personal accountability.
  • Each of the men had all but ceased having a daily time of personal prayer, Bible reading, and worship.
  • More than 80 percent of the men became sexually involved with the other woman after spending significant time with her, often in counseling situations.
  • Without exception, each of the 246 had been convinced that sort of fall “would never happen to me.”

As I reflect on this study, four lessons come to mind. These are applicable for pastors, plumbers, stay-at-home moms, and anyone else who seeks to follow Christ.

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Video: Answering Questions Non-Christians Ask by Michael Ramsden

For more about Michael Ramsden, see here.  If you have not had a chance to listen to him,  I encourage you to do so.


5 Things Every Christian Leader Should Pray for Themselves Everyday

Kevin Halloran:

I desperately wanted to honor Christ and influence others toward Him, but learned the hard way how to damage relationships by trying to force-feed them what I thought was best—I tried to do the work of the Holy Spirit. Reading Jesus’ words “you can do nothing” at the close of the year seemed to be a fitting description of the recent fruit of my labors for the Lord. I quickly learned that I couldn’t bear fruit apart from abiding in Christ.

An Open Letter to Christian Parents of Unbelieving Adult Children

Jason Helopoulos:

“What about our son?” “What about our daughter?” As a pastor there are conversations that I routinely have with parishioners. One of the regular exchanges I have had over the years begins with a Christian parent or both parents approaching with downcast gazes. The discouragement, and at times even despair, are apparent in their eyes. The opening words are either, “Pastor, would you pray for our child?,” or “Pastor, what advice would you give to us for child?” They then proceed to explain that their adult child has wandered from the faith. With anguish in their words, they detail how they brought him or her up in the faith: their child had attended Sunday School each week, participated in corporate worship, and attended Youth Group. A few times, I have even been told that they were a paragon of virtue and seemed to love the Lord in their teenage years. Their parents were not shy about sharing the faith with their child at home and they tried to surround him or her with good and godly friends. But now, sadly, their child has rejected Christ. They are living a life of unbelief and their parents are filled with grief.

Christian Ethics, Evangelicals, and Functional Marcionism

Jake Meador:

All we need, apparently, is the red letters. The Old Testament God is angry and vengeful and not very Christian, but New Testament God is great. Old Testament God is just God in his teen years when he was ready to fight if you looked at him the wrong way. But New Testament God has grown up. He doesn’t lose his temper over little things any more. He’s chill now. He listens to NPR and loves Portlandia and is kinda embarrassed by all that wrath and judgment stuff in the Old Testament. So don’t worry about that 2/3 of the Bible. Just read about Jesus and you have everything you need to understand Christian ethics.

Of course, to any student of church history this thinking should sound familiar. All of these arguments trade in a form of Marcionism, the ancient Christian heresy attributed to Marcion, a second century Christian who rejected the Old Testament.

Letter to a Teen Unboxing Their First Smartphone

Tim Challies:

You just got your first smartphone! This is a major milestone in your life. That phone you are about to take out of the box is one of the most amazing devices ever created, and it is going to be your constant companion for the next couple of years. It is an incredible piece of technology that can be used in many different ways.

It can be used to do so many good things, but if you are not wary, it can also be used to do an awful lot of bad things. So before you power it on for the first time, I think it would be wise to invest just a few minutes in thinking and planning.

How to get millennials back in church


The Daily Discovery (May 27, 2015)


Social Justice and Scripture: Untie the Knot Pt.13 – “Many Christians (including professors, pastors, and leaders) reason that since God desires us to do good toward others, the government should step in to provide for those whose needs are not met. They call this the ‘safety net.’ They consider it an aspect of caring for one’s neighbor. They deny that the result is “confiscation” and “redistribution” of wealth.”

Who Holds the Media Accountable? – “Another anti-AiG article full of misinformation and untruths told by a secular media source (this time in my native Australia) has made me once again think about who holds the media accountable. It seems they are often a law unto themselves. And it also appears that for much of the media, freedom of speech includes making up whatever reporters want, and they can spread untruths to the public without much or any accountability.”

Deuteronomy – “The book of Deuteronomy (meaning: ‘second law’), serves as an imperative to the sons of Israel. We will briefly examine what Yahweh (יהוה) required of Israel. We will also examine what the book of Deuteronomy revealed about יהוה. The Laws, statutes and ordinance are vital to the understanding of God requirements and His character. The fear of יהוה, the worship of Him, Idolatry and the land will be discussed in light of Deuteronomy’s revelation of יהוה.”

What Does “coram Deo” mean? – “I remember Mama standing in front of me, her hands poised on her hips, her eyes glaring with hot coals of fire and saying in stentorian tones, ‘Just what is the big idea, young man?’”

Grabbing a dog’s ears. – “In Sunday School recently, we began working through the Sermon on the Mount, so this verse was pretty fresh in my mind: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.” Something I shared in the Sunday School discussion last Sunday was that peacemakers don’t pick fights with others, provoke fights between others, or extend fights that should be ended.”


Charles Spurgeon – Heaven and Hell


I’ll See Ya In Hell Buddy

Andy Stanley: Expositors are cheaters

“If you alter or obscure the Biblical portrait of God in order to attract converts, you don’t get converts to God, you get converts to an illusion. This is not evangelism but deception.” – John Piper


Hate the Sin, Love the Sinner?

“My Last Day” — the Jesus Anime

9 powerful minutes of animation that begins with a thief behind bars watching the scourging of Jesus, and it ends with the thief dying next to Jesus, and waking to see Him in a beautiful place.

The dying thief: What was so great about his faith?

There are many acts of extraordinary faith in the Bible. The one that has impressed me the most concerns the dying thief on the cross. We could take the approach that he had nothing to lose, so he decided to cast his lot with Jesus. But this makes absolutely no sense of the text and the context.
In this conversion we have a specific fulfillment of Christ’s first words on the cross. No sooner had Christ spoken the words, “Father, forgive them,” had the Father answered that prayer by turning a once-reviling criminal into a Christ-glorifying saint. While the soon-to-be converted criminal was not directly responsible for Christ’s death, he nevertheless joined with those who were and was thus indirectly addressed when Christ asked for God to forgive “them.”
Christ, the sinless one, was numbered with or counted among the transgressors (Isa. 53:12; Luke 22:37), all of whom have a bigger problem than the day-to-day sins they commit. They hate Christ, the God-man. Anyone who has a master other than the Lord Jesus hates him (Lk. 16:13; Gal. 4:8). That these two criminals loathed him is clearly manifested during the crucifixion: “And the robbers who were crucified with him also reviled him in the same way” (Matt. 27:44).
When the criminal who was converted was doing his worst against Christ, Christ was doing his best for this criminal.
The conversion of the one criminal was most extraordinary and testifies to the power of Christ’s prayer and the grace of God. Why?
This criminal’s faith did not come at a time such as when Christ turned water into wine; or performed miracles, such as walking on water, opening the eyes of a blind man, or raising Lazarus from the dead. No! The criminal believed on the Messiah while he was hanging as one cursed upon a tree. The criminal trusted in and boldly defended the one whose disciples had abandoned him. Jesus was at his lowest when this criminal asked to be remembered in Christ’s kingdom.
When he was on the cross, did anyone publicly cry out, as John the Baptist did, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (Jn. 1:29)? But this is essentially what the dying thief did. Little wonder, then, that Christ should promise him a place in his kingdom: “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise” (Lk. 23:43).
The criminal acknowledged he was guilty; he acknowledged that Christ was not (“this man has done nothing wrong”); he feared God; but, and here is the key: the criminal did not merely want to be in a better place. He wanted to be with Christ in a better place: “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom” (Lk. 23:42). The criminal believed “against all hope”.
Heaven is a better place because that is where Christ is. Everyone wants to go to heaven, but not everyone wants to go to Christ’s heaven. Not so with this criminal: he saw, with his eyes, Christ at his worst; but with the eyes of faith, he believed that Christ would soon be at his best, and so put his faith in a dying king.
Christ is always – always! – willing to save even the most miserable of sinners. A recognition of guilt (Lk. 23:40) and a confidence in him and not ourselves (Lk. 23:42) will always lead to the most assuring truth a sinner can receive: the Savior welcomes such into his paradise!
“One is saved, and we may not despair; the other is lost, and we may not presume.” Spurgeon

Remember the thief.

It can be a difficult situation if someone you are witnessing to asks about the fate of a loved one who died and was not a Christian. Simply say, “Only God knows the eternal destiny of the person, and the Scriptures assure us that He will do what is right. So we can take consolation from that.” Some may be tempted to say that the loved one went to hell, but the truth is that we don’t know what happened minutes before their death. Remember the thief on the cross.

Our Time is Short

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Who do you think that I am?

With that brief question Jesus Christ confronted His followers with the most important issue they would ever face. He had spent much time with them and made some bold claims about His identity and authority. Now the time had come for them either to believe or deny His teachings.

Who do you say Jesus is? Your response to Him will determine not only your values and lifestyle, but your eternal destiny as well.

Consider what the Bible says about Him: Read more

Look to Jesus
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30 Day Next Steps
John Beckett, a leading Christian businessman, has written a series to read over 30 days for new believers.

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The New Believer’s Guide is a series of articles designed to show you how to walk in the new life Christ has given you— a life of faith and freedom.

Jesus Booklet
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About Christianity
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