10 Steps to a Happy Marriage
One of my life verses is Job 5:7 “man is born unto trouble as the sparks fly upward”. A long marriage will endure the whole gamut of troubles including money, family conflicts, church problems, illness, death—you name it. Run to God and trust in His sovereignty over all of it.
The Cost of Radical Generosity
The cost of all of that stuff is the cost of generosity. At least, it is for most of the people I know. Those donations to the church, those checks to the missionaries, those gifts to the ministries, those bills slipped discreetly to the person in need—tally them up and they could equal some extra vacations. Put them together and you could probably upgrade your kitchen this year instead of five years from now, or you could go up a model or two on the second vehicle. The Christians I know choose to downgrade their lifestyle in order to upgrade their giving.
Changes at Metokos Ministries, Church Revitalization
Next week I will attend the PCA General Assembly. I will not be a delegate, but I will be an exhibitor for Metokos Ministries, a church revitalization ministry begun by my seminary classmate, Don Clements, over a decade ago. In that decade, he has served over 100 churches. Don has mentored me to become the Executive Director as he stays on board and works from his home in Virginia. I will be the one on the road working with churches, raising support and adding staff and regional directors. We plan to incorporate the ministry here in Georgia.
Burned Out By Expectations & Finding Rest in Christ
I can’t. That’s the whole point of the Gospel! The harder I try to do what I need to do, the more my mind turns to a chaos and confusion of fear and distress and the more tempted I am to escape into passion and lust, into appetites for things that only harm me. Jesus did. Jesus is. That’s the whole point of the Gospel!
The Doxological Nature of Calvinism
Of course, hymns may be written to parody Calvinistic doctrine, and on very rare occasions one hears songs that celebrate “free will.” But the great hymns of ages past, like their predecessors in Scripture, praise God for being God, for being sovereign, for being a saving and keeping God. To cast a critical glance sideways in the contemporary evangelical world, it is difficult to imagine what hymns of adoration and praise might be written by Open Theists (whose chief enemy appears to be Calvinism).
Overture 1 to the General Assembly of the PCA
However, one problem remains: the commission that is given full power to render the final verdict would still not be under a final approval or disapproval by the presbytery. It is far more difficult to get a decision overturned by means of a complaint (when, by the time the complaint is heard, most of the presbyters are not really willing to deal with something that they feel is over and done with) than it is simply to overturn the commission’s verdict at the presbytery meeting without using the complaint.
Freedom is … a Sexual Ponzi Scheme?
Would being “freed from monogamy” really make these people more free? Much more can be said on the nature of freedom, but this gives at least some sense of the complexity of the notion and how it has been naively trivialized by a world where sexualized personal pleasure is the solvent of all social bonds and the measure of all things.
3 Reliable Ways to Overcome Sin
In the previous post, we saw Potiphar’s wife demonstrate that sin is often perception-driven and that unchecked sin produces boldness. Now we will let Joseph show us the proper response to sin and temptation.
7 Tips for Creating Time to Think
by Philip Nation
When you are busy… and we’re all busy… we need principles we hold to in order to simply think, dream, and strategize. I recently shared seven ways that I am trying to implement more brain time into my life. Here they are…
Can You Miss God’s Will for Your Life?
by Stephen Altrogge
The fear of missing God’s will is enough to paralyze any Christian. But here’s the question: can a Christian miss the will of God for their life? Could you somehow go your entire life being outside of God’s good plan for you? Yes… and no.
3 Signs of Sexual Abuse in Marriage
by Association of Biblical Counselors
Sexual abuse in marriage is not something that is readily disclosed or discussed. It feels shameful to admit even to one’s self that your own husband treats you as if your sole purpose is to provide him your body whenever and however he wants sex.
3 Ways to Prepare Your Teenager for Adulthood
by Brian Croft
Becoming a teenager can be a scary prospect (for both child and parent). So, how can we help with this transition?
Defending the Biblical Account of Creation
The battle for the hearts and minds of our youth is being waged aggressively within the media and public education. One of the most sinister lies being told is that God did not create all things–rather that life is just a random act of a universe that magically came into existence on its own. Why […]
“No, I Won’t Bless the Food.”
In my travels, at the start of a meal with Christian brothers and sisters, I’m often asked, “Will you bless the food?”
My hosts sit there in stunned silence for a moment. Then, with everyone staring at me with awkward, “What do we do now?” looks, I’ll add, “But I’ll be happy to ask the Lord to bless the food.”
Maybe it reflects the limits of my own experience, but it’s been my observation that nowadays fewer followers of Jesus pause like this at the beginning of a meal to give thanks for what they are about to eat.
This seems to be true for individuals and for families, at home and in public.
Why the decline? As with all Christian practices and disciplines, unless each successive generation is taught the reason for something, it soon devolves into mere a routine, then an empty tradition, and then disuse.
Biblical origins of mealtime prayers
Have you ever been taught the biblical reasons for the Christian tradition of praying before a meal?
5 Errors of the Prosperity Gospel
More than a century ago, speaking to the then-largest congregation in all Christendom, Charles Spurgeon said, “I believe that it is anti-Christian and unholy for any Christian to live with the object of accumulating wealth. You will say, ‘Are we not to strive all we can to get all the money we can?’ You may do so. I cannot doubt but what, in so doing, you may do service to the cause of God. But what I said was that to live with the object of accumulating wealth is anti-Christian.”
Over the years, however, the message being preached in some of the largest churches in the world has changed—indeed, a new gospel is being taught to many congregations today. This message has been ascribed many name, such as the “name it and claim it” gospel, the “blab it and grab it” gospel, the “health and wealth” gospel, the “prosperity gospel,” and “positive confession theology.”
No matter what name is used, the essence of this message is the same. Simply put, this “prosperity gospel” teaches that God wants believers to be physically healthy, materially wealthy, and personally happy. Listen to the words of Robert Tilton, one of its best-known spokesmen: “I believe that it is the will of God for all to prosper because I see it in the Word, not because it has worked mightily for someone else. I do not put my eyes on men, but on God who gives me the power to get wealth.” Teachers of the prosperity gospel encourage their followers to pray for and even demand material flourishing from God.
Five Theological Errors
Russell Woodbridge and I wrote a book titled Health, Wealth, and Happiness: Has the Prosperity Gospel Overshadowed the Gospel of Christ? (Kregel, 2010) to examine the claims of prosperity gospel advocates. While the book is too wide-ranging to summarize here, in this article I’d like to review five doctrines we cover in it—doctrines on which prosperity gospel advocates err. By discerning these errors regarding key doctrines, I hope you will plainly see the dangers of the prosperity gospel.
Cindy Jacobs was first to “prophesy” C. Peter Wagner would be “Apostle”
by Marsha West
John Lanagan of My Word Like Fire continues to expose the false teaching of the NAR “apostles” and “prophets.” While still assessing the damage done through Empowered21’s Jerusalem gathering, where many were exposed to New Apostolic Reformation leaders and teachings, it seems appropriate to share these words from Cindy Jacobs about her own alleged prophetic gift, as […]
Wife of Village Church child porn user speaks out about her abuse
Many questions are mushrooming up over why a megachurch would protect a confessed pedophile awhile disciplining the man’s his wife. The wife of a confessed child porn user working for Matt Chandler’s Village Church has responded to the way she has been treated by the church, You’ll recall last week, Matt Chandler, lead pastor of […]
The Desperate Need to Proclaim Truth and Affirm the Biblical Worldview
by Bill Muehlenberg
All over much of the Western world the church of Jesus Christ is losing ground and failing to impact the surrounding culture. That in large measure is because we have failed to stand solidly for biblical truth, and we have failed to see all of life in terms of the biblical worldview.
Instead of proclaiming absolute truth, we have embraced the relativism, subjectivism and false ‘tolerance’ of the world. And instead of seeing everything through the lens of the biblical storyline, we have adopted so much of the world’s ideas, values and emphases.
Thus we see so many threats to faith and freedom, such as from the radical homosexual movement, the new atheists, political correctness, and the war against the family. Therefore the need of the hour is to proclaim biblical truth, and see the Lordship of Christ extended to every area of life, be it political, social, cultural or intellectual.
But in my current travels throughout North America, I am not seeing very much of that. Instead I am seeing one church after another selling out to the prevailing culture. I see many so-called Christians who seem far more comfortable in the surrounding culture than in Christians circles where biblical truth is proclaimed and lived.
I am coming across way too many folks who simply cannot or will not think biblically and Christianly. It is as if they have never renewed their minds as they are commanded to do (Romans 12:2) and therefore have never really been transformed.
The church is now awakening to an exam for which it is not prepared
The pursuit of the knowledge of God is replaced in many with a pursuit of something that merely works. And by works, often what is pursued is a version of Christianity that brings forth the American dream rather than the Kingdom of God. This prosperity and selfish attitude has caused a slumber, a slumber in the proverbial classroom, and the church is now awakening to an exam for which it is not prepared…There was a time in American history where the pastor and the politician were on a level playing field. There was a time when clergy were thought to have answers. And it was not just because people didn’t know any better back then. It was because many men and women of faith were intellectuals. They knew their bible and their history. They could speak about theology and chemistry. Now many believers are ill equipped to speak about anything that does not have a mascot in a meaningful way. And in that regard, society should place us at the kids table. If we don’t have anything meaningful to say, we ought not say anything at all.
Cold Case Christianity: How the Church Can Turn Teaching Into Training (Cold-Case Christianity Broadcast #33)
In this episode of the Cold-Case Christianity Podcast, J. Warner Wallace plays a video recorded at Green Bay Community Church in which he describes the difference between teaching and training. J. Warner provides a simple T.R.A.I.N. acronym to illustrate the nature of training using media to support each point. Here is part 1 of this week’s broadcast:
Here is part 2 of this week’s broadcast:
Learning to Meditate at Tim Keller’s Redeemer Presbyterian Church
Tim Keller, pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church, has long been beloved by many evangelicals. Over the course of his ministry, he has somehow managed to deftly please both liberal and conservative Christians alike. He has been hailed as a leader among the Reformed movement. His books can be found on the tables of conferences everywhere.
And yet, over time, some have grown increasingly concerned about Keller. Of particular interest is Keller’s obvious affinity for the contemplative. Even a cursory glance at the website of Redeemer Presbyterian leads one to the conclusion that Keller encourages Christians to engage in contemplative prayer practices.
The Future of Denominations – Rainer on Leadership #130
Podcast Episode #130
There are a host of positive benefits to denominations. But their reputations can often be less than positive with those outside of the denomination. We often unfairly ascribe issues in local churches to a denomination as a whole as well as larger denominational issues to local churches within that denomination. So today on the podcast, we discuss the place denominations have in our church culture and their future.
- Some denominations have negative doctrinal reputations. Others have negative personal reputations.
- When it comes to denominations, the media often covers the nutty, the negative, and the naysayers.
- Millennials are less denominationally tied than any other generation.
- Many denominations see the redundancies and inefficiencies present in their structures and are changing.
- Denominations anchor churches in a clear, common doctrinal position.
The eight reasons people are leaving denominational churches for non-denominational churches are:
- Denominational churches have a negative reputation.
- Denominations are known more for what they are against than what they are for.
- There is too much infighting and politics in denominations.
- The denominational churches are too liberal.
- There is a general waning of institutional loyalty in institutions such as denominations.
- Denominations have inefficient systems and organizations. They are too bureaucratic.
- Some of the respondents could see no perceived benefit to belonging to denominations.
- Denominations are not good stewards of their financial resources.
The post The Future of Denominations – Rainer on Leadership #130 appeared first on ThomRainer.com.
I still remember the way the chair squealed slightly as she twisted toward me. I remember the thinly veiled urgency in her voice as she looked at me with pleading eyes and asked me, “Where is he?”
Should We Equate Homosexual and Heterosexual Sin? | Reformation21 Blog
The Shorter Catechism asks: Are all transgressions of the law equally heinous? And answers: Some sins in themselves, and by reason of several aggravations, are more heinous in the sight of God than others.
The 24 Hour Shutdown Experiment
Why is a community of Seventh Day Adventists living 70 miles east of Los Angeles living up to 10 years longer than most Americans? Although some follow a special diet and they all try to exercise regularly, their longevity is being traced primarily to their honoring of the Sabbath as a day or rest and worship. BBC journalist, Peter Bowes, reports:
Many Adventists told me that shutting down from sundown on Friday, for 24 hours, was the highlight of their week. It is a time when they close their minds to work to focus instead on their friends and family. Scientists believe that this period of rest may play a role, alongside diet and exercise, in promoting a long life.
In this article, Bowes reports on the outcome of his own trial “Sabbath.” See also The Sabbath Manifesto for a list of 10 principles aimed at carving out a weekly day of rest.
Something worth pointing out and letting it sink in within the community of believers (and some application to those who do not believe). This has been on my mind quite a while, and it’s especially important for parents, children, families, etc.
(RNS) Church discipline practices raise biblical and legal implications. Are these church shepherds just doing their best to care for their flocks, or are they crossing a line by shaming and shunning their so-called sinners?
The Evangelical Counter-Reformation
I cannot and will not recant anything, for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe. Here I stand, I can do no other, so help me God. Amen. –Martin Luther
Christianity, salvaged by God after centuries of suppression by the hands of Rome, through the great men of the Protestant Reformation, has always been under attack by those who deny Christ. Those great men of faith have been persecuted, and even martyred countless times for defending what they so strongly believed in. In an extravagant display of hatred, John Wycliffe’s bones were dug up forty years after he died, and burned for translating the Bible into English and speaking out against the Papacy. Martin Luther, a monk who pinned the 95 Theses to a church door in Wittenberg, was excommunicated from the church. William Tyndale, who also famously translated Bibles into English though it were illegal, remained faithful until his strangling death, and body burned by the King of England. Thousands upon thousands of Protestants gave their lives during the Reformation era, and against all odds, through all of the persecution, and against the evils of the Roman Catholic Church, Christianity prevailed.
For several centuries, Biblical Christianity’s influenced grew enormously, while the influence of the Papacy dwindled. Though still a forceful presence throughout the world, Roman Catholicism stood in stark contrast to Protestantism, and the differences between them were clear. The reformation produced some of the greatest theologians and preachers of all time. John Calvin, best known for his theological works regarding the doctrines of grace, was very outspoken against the works-based doctrines of Rome. There was the Puritan, Thomas Watson and later there was Charles Spurgeon, and so on. There was no confusing Catholicism with Protestant Christianity–the doctrinal divide was clear.
But this time of biblical enlightenment didn’t come without it’s price. The Catholic Church launched a counter-reformation, in which Protestants were declared “anathema” for their beliefs. From the counter-reformation came the Council of Trent, in which many changes were implemented in the RC Church, and sprung many new religious orders, many who reported directly to the Pope. The most notorious, and well-misunderstood of these religious orders is the Jesuits. The Jesuits would silently infiltrate society, and even Protestant Churches, set with the ultimate task of bringing all Protestants back under the authority of the Papacy. For many centuries, this was a tough sell. With the iniquities of the Roman Catholic Church, the slaughter of innocent peoples, and the outrageous doctrinal claims made by the organization, there were too just too many faithful preachers preaching against Rome’s heresies–until recently.
Enter the modern Evangelical Church.
If you ask the average Evangelical church-goer today what the difference is between Protestantism and Catholicism, you’re likely to get a variety of answers. Some will tell you that Catholics believe in a works salvation, but many won’t really understand what that means. Others may tell you that Catholics worship Mary and Protestants don’t. But the overwhelming majority are likely to have no idea what the difference is, and this is rather disturbing. While many of these people will be able to articulate the Gospel, Catholicism is quickly becoming seen as “just another denomination,” with some strange twists. They are no longer being seen as the counterfeit Church, the ancient enemy of the Gospel that the reformers fought so hard and gave their lives to expose and separate from. The muddying of these waters is not unaccounted for, however, and it comes as no surprise, since today we have so many Evangelicals afraid to speak out against Rome, and fornicating with her in many ways.
Take heed that no man deceive you. … And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. …For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. – Matthew 24:4,11,24
As I wrote before, ecumenism is the new drug of choice in the Church today. It can be rolled up neatly, with a little Scripture twisted around it, and passed on to the next person to intoxicate themselves with. There are many change agents working against the Gospel in the Church. They creep in unawares–they’re very sly and deceitful with their tactics. One-hundred years ago, it would have been unthinkable to have a Protestant leader travel to the Vatican to work with the Church of Rome on cultural issues. Protestants knew that the Church of Rome was their enemy, and any of whom sought common ground with this apostate system would have been seen as a traitor. But through the endless efforts and sly disposition of these change agents, so many have changed their minds. People have been conditioned to believe that the Protestant Reformation was a mistake, and that joining hands with Rome is a great stride towards unification of the Church.
Discussed my experience daring to commit heresy in the courtyard of the High Temple of Secularism (aka, on national media) by even mentioning the lordship of Jesus, briefly commented on the disgusting, reprehensible, immoral act of ESPN in giving Bruce Jenner an award for bravery and courage.
My Bible, My Cell Phone, and My New Conviction
The above items have been used by the Lord today to bring much conviction to my heart and mind. Great conviction.
My cell phone is with me wherever I go. It is my primary source of communication with the world: phone calls, text messages, emails, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, news outlets, the Weather Channel, traffic alerts, law enforcement alerts, my calendar, and Bluetooth for my GoPro camera. The only game on my phone is Chess.
The apps that are least often used on my phone are my Bible apps. I prefer the printed page over the electronic page for most of my reading, especially my Bible reading.
I am in my Bible every day, more often than not for the edification and evangelization of others. In other words, most of my time spent in the Bible is spent in preparation for writing articles and pulpit sermons, or preparing for sermons I preach in the open-air.
An ongoing challenge in my 27 years of Christian living is staying consistent in my Bible reading, for the purpose of worship and devotion.
Reading Pastor Geoff’s article and seeing the image Gayle posted this morning hit me like a ton of bricks.
Making even a cursory, side-by-side comparison today of my daily time on my cell phone with my daily time in my Bible has been shocking to me. Shocking. Appalling. Stomach churning. Discouraging. Convicting. I spend much more time on my phone than I do in my Bible.
I do take a Bible with me most places, but not everywhere. On the other hand, I take my phone everywhere. To be without my phone is like being without my house and car keys; it is like being without my wallet or my driver’s license. But I can’t say I have the same sense of incompleteness, or the sense of not being fully dressed, if I walk out of the house without my Bible the way I do with the before-mentioned items.
What does that say about me? What does that say about my love for the Word of God?
“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?
Our Time is Short
Ready to start your new life with God?
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
Have you ever felt a little lost and wished there was a quick-start guide to your relationship with God? This is it!
30 Day Next Steps
John Beckett, a leading Christian businessman, has written a series to read over 30 days for new believers.
New Believers Guide
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 is the Savior of the world. Discover who Jesus is today in this series.
Know Jesus Christ and your life will be transformed
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