When Leaders Fall, All Are Punished
The immorality of leaders has been a reality among God’s people for as long as God has had a people. The temptations for leaders are as real as they are for the rest of us, but the consequences are more severe. When a leader falls, all are punished. Not punished for the pastor’s sin, but by his sin. It’s fair, then, to say they are punished because of his sin.
Cheers to the Magna Carta
The Magna Carta talks of rights, but these are not Lockean Natural Rights, given to individuals through the unmediated powers of their Creator. Quite the contrary, the opening articles of the Magna Carta clearly assert that rights come from God (not “the Creator”) to the king who then bestows them, not to individuals, but to communities. All these communal, inherited rights come with duties attached to them. If any community failed to uphold their obligations, their freedoms would be jeopardized, and not only for themselves, but for their descendants, too.
The Multi-Dimensional Love of Christ
One multi-year study did find that over 60% of all songs in the Top 40 were love songs. Not surprising really, given how wonderful an experience it is to love and to be loved. However, a large number of love songs, perhaps the majority, lament the difficulties and disappointments of human love.
Dear Pope Francis: Here Are Five Times Weapons of War Saved Christians
One the most famous naval engagements in history pitted forces of the Holy League, Christians supported by Pope Pius V, against the invading Ottoman Turks. It was the first major victory for a Christian naval force over a Turkish fleet, a victory driven, by, among other things, technological advances in weaponry.
A Summary of PCA Statements on Homosexuality
In light of recent decisions by some denominations to approve ordaining openly homosexual individuals to the ministry, to allow ministers to officiate and bless same-sex marriages, and because of the public debate on legalizing same-sex marriages, it is appropriate to note that not all denominations have taken these actions. And since one of these denominations in the news recently is “Presbyterian,” it is important to note that there are a number of Presbyterian denominations and that not all of them have taken the above actions. One of these churches is the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA). Here is a brief overview of actions on sexuality of past PCA General Assemblies.
Lessons Learned From The Civil Rights Resolution At The 2015 PCA General Assembly
How then do we add feet to our repentance regarding the Civil Rights era, while maintaining this purely spiritual mission and authority? That is what we will need to work out in the year to come in our sessions and presbyteries. I might suggest that we begin by looking to the book of Philemon as a patient model of how to urge repentance that stems from sincere love, rather than that which is merely external and formal, which no one wants.
Why The Gay Marriage Debate Was Over In 1950
Once self-fulfillment becomes the end towards which individuals are moving, then there is no longer any fixed council or direction to govern any particular individual’s choice—only what a person claims will lead to his personal betterment, as only he is entitled to determine. Individual autonomy and self-indulgence trump all else…. Having enshrined individual autonomy as authoritative, it’s just a question of time and the tide of personal inclination. Justice Kennedy based his opinion on just such an appeal…. The battle wasn’t over marriage. It was over what’s left of the traditional Christian understanding of human design and destiny.
The Symbolism of the Rainbow
God, by placing the rainbow in the sky, was, in a sense, aiming His weapon of war and judgment at Himself; and, as it was with the cutting of the covenant with Abraham in which God alone passed through the animals that had been cut apart in judgment, God is saying in the Noahic covenant that there will be judgment; but, for those for whom the Father has sent the Son into the world to redeem, that judgment will fall on Himself at the cross.
Episcopalians Approve Religious Weddings For Gay Couples
On Tuesday, the House of Bishops had approved the resolution, 129-26, with five abstaining, and it was overwhelmingly passed by the House of Deputies, the voting body of lay people and clergy, on Wednesday… The Episcopal Church is the U.S. branch of the global Anglican Communion, and before the vote, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby had expressed concern about redefining marriage.
Let me offer a brief but tragic history lesson, at least of more recent history. It has to do with self-professed enemies of the church, and how believers have responded to them. It especially has to do with whether or not the church has taken seriously these threats, or simply capitulated and compromised.
Sadly all too often it seems the threats are minimised while ignorant believers side with these opponents. It seems hardly a day goes by when I am not discussing this with yet another Christian who is so very clueless as to the war(s) we are involved in.
These folks have their heads in the sand concerning the very real threats which exist to faith, family and freedom. And they seem to take pride in their ignorance and lack of understanding. So let me offer three recent example of this:
-We had clueless Christians siding with the communists during the Cold War.
-We have clueless Christians siding with Islam now.
-We have clueless Christians siding with the homosexual agenda now.
All three groups almost drive me to despair with their inability to think clearly and to perceive danger when it stares them in the face. No wonder the church keeps losing and losing and losing. When the church cannot or will not identify its own enemies, it is asking for trouble.
Today we continue to look at the fall out from the legalization of homosexual marriage and how Christian “leaders” are responding. Some government employees are refusing to issue homosexual marriage licenses, citing religious conviction. The response: comply or be fired. And Joel Osteen has weighed in on the decision. Could he actually have a strong […]
Cold Case Christianity: Now More Than Ever, It’s Time for the Church to Be a Thermostat
Sometimes it feels like we, as Christians living in the twenty-first century, are the first to find ourselves surrounded by a culture that seems to reject much of what we believe. Of course, nothing could be farther from the truth. The earliest Christians, struggling to survive in the first century, were surrounded by a far more hostile culture. In spite of the obstacles and challenges, this group continued to grow, unlike the present Church in America, which appears to be shrinking each and every year. What’s the difference between these two groups? One important distinction is simply the response each group expressed (and is currently expressing) toward the culture in which they live(d). The first century Church was a thermostat, while the twenty first century Church (in America, at least) is often little more than a thermometer.
Thermostats control the temperature, while thermometers simply reflect it. The first century Church was well trained by its Master. Jesus told the earliest disciples and followers that they needed to resist the temptation to simply reflect the temperature of their culture:
“You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men.” (Matthew 5:13)
Jesus told his followers to set the tone for the world around them. To change the flavor of the culture rather than simply adopt the flavor of their first century environment. We are salt. And we are light:
“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:14-16)
Light guides and exposes. Jesus’ command to be “light” assumes two things. It assumes the world around us is dark and needs light, and it assumes the practices and beliefs of the culture are misguided and need correcting. That’s why we need to be thermostats rather than thermometers. We are called to set the tone, add truth to the culture, shine a light on the darkness and guide people to something better. The Church is at a crucial point of decision. We can acquiesce, shrink in silence, or stand tall in spite of the consequences. Jesus called his followers to do the latter. That’s why he did his best to prepare them for the reaction they would surely receive from the culture:
“If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you.” (John 15:18-19)
There would be no reason to prepare His followers for persecution if Jesus intended them to either compromise or remain silent. He must want something more from us as His ambassadors. He must want us to do the right thing, not the easy thing.
But we can’t (and won’t) do anything if we aren’t sure about what we believe and why our beliefs are true. Sadly it seems many of us are willing to compromise and reflect the views of the culture (like thermometers) rather than attempt to impact the world for Christ (like thermostats). Thermometers don’t effect change, they simply record it. Jesus never took this approach and He never advocated such an approach for His disciples. Christ followers are called to be uncompromising change agents. That’s why it’s time for all of us to be thermostats rather than thermometers.
Night Is Falling
From this moment on we will never be as free as we once were in our faith. We will be systemically harassed. I believe that there will be a brief pause now, a moment of calm while people and forces take stock of what has happened and what it means.
Then will come the outright persecution. You are in the crosshairs. You have been warned.
Attend to your God and His Son and be about His work. The night is coming when it is not possible to work. In fact, I think that dusk has already begun to settle on this fallen world.
Watchman Warning: Troubled Greece – Hal Lindsey
This is more than a global economic event. As a minister and former pastor, it breaks my heart to see such suffering. Think about what it would be like to have your life’s savings in a bank in a country that might confiscate it. Imagine working forty years expecting a certain pension, only to have most of it taken away just as you’re set to retire. Imagine stocking up on toilet paper this week because next week the store shelves could be bare.
Gay Pride Came Before America’s Fall—Franklin Graham Sounds Off
Franklin Graham has been outspoken about the judgment of God in the wake of the Supreme Court’s gay marriage ruling.
Now, he’s quoting Scripture—and one dissenting Supreme Court justice—in his latest comments about the misuse of the rainbow: “Pride goeth before a fall.”
MassResistance (MR), a pro-family group based in Massachusetts, admits that the pro-family movement as a whole made huge blunders in their approach to winning the “culture war.” According to MR, the “religious pro-family establishment is as treacherous and opportunist as the national Republican Party establishment.” No surprise there. Many of us in online discernment have reported on the deceptive pro-family movement for years. Our beef with pro-family groups is mainly who they choose to align themselves with. One example is the apostate New Apostolic Reformation. So that you’ll know who these pro-family leaders are and the ways in which they’ve given credibility to the worst sort of false teaching imaginable, we’re including a few eye-opening articles:
4 Things the “Same-Sex Marriage” Ruling Isn’t
by Erin Davis | 7/01/15
I’m sure you’ve heard by now about the historic decision passed down by the Supreme Court last week legalizing gay marriage in all 50 states. I don’t know what’s happening in your world, but in mine, people are either over the moon excited or totally freaked out about the ruling. I finally deleted Twitter from my phone because the reactions on both sides were so fast and furious that my head started to spin.
Getting some distance from the hype allowed me to squeeze the Supreme Court’s decision through the grid of God’s Word. Yes, it’s true that the Court’s ruling and the changes happening right now in our culture are a big deal. But God’s Word allows us to see the bigger picture. Here’s what the Supreme Court’s ruling on “same-sex marriage” isn’t.
by Samantha Loucks | 7/02/15
I still remember sitting at my youth leader’s kitchen table, a senior in high school, worrying about having to choose a college. A deadline was quickly approaching, and I was frustrated that God didn’t send a messenger who would put me out of my misery by telling me which one to pick.
I was passionate about fulfilling God’s will for my life. I knew He was placing desires and dreams in my heart. But I also thought achieving those big, huge, massive dreams hinged on just a few big, huge, massive decisions in life.
God walks with us, blesses our faithfulness, and directs our hearts when we don’t even realize it.
And I was really scared to make those big decisions. I didn’t want to make the wrong choice, the one that would lead me down an entirely different path, far far away from my dreams and goals. I wanted a sign. Something from God that said: “Pick this one!”
Why doesn’t He give us heavenly road markers? Why did this feel like a guessing game? If I picked Door #1, would I be blessed? If I picked Door #2, would I
be smacked in the face with failure and disappointment?
Driscoll Publicly Repents…For Criticizing Osteen
“At the end of the day we’re all on the same side,” says Hillsong celeb Brian Houston of Mark Driscoll’s sudden attack of conscience. Our friends at Pulpit & Pen have audio of Driscoll’s statement. Here is a snippet, but do go to the site and listen for yourself: Speaking at the Hillsong conference, Mark […]
Driscoll Publicly Repents…For Criticizing Osteen
From Pulpit & Pen:
Speaking at the Hillsong conference, Mark Driscoll repented for a number of things. Praise God. Hallelujah.
Milking the Best-Seller’s List by Improperly Using Church Funds Asking staff about their wive’s favorite sexual position Well more than a dozen counts of plagiarism Porno-graphic discerno-vision Throwing people under the Mars Hill bus
No. Driscoll didn’t repent for any of that stuff. Driscoll repented for having criticized Joel Osteen.
Pulpit & Pen has the audio.
Christians are looking to their leaders for guidance and wisdom on SCOTUS’ disastrous ruling on same-sex “marriage.” Enter John Piper. Dr. Piper was once looked upon as a leader in the Church. However, in the past couple of years he has been under fire for uniting with and giving his stamp of approval to false teachers. Thus, many […]
Cold Case Christianity: Why the Case for Christianity Is More Important Than Ever (Cold-Case Christianity Broadcast #36)
In this episode of the Cold-Case Christianity Broadcast, J. Warner Wallace returns to the recent Pew Research Poll data and makes an important observation about the state of belief in America. Does this data reveal a unique opportunity for those of us who want to make the case for Christianity? Is America becoming a more secular nation, or does theism still rule the day? Here is part 1 of this week’s broadcast:
Here is part 2 of this week’s broadcast:
What your average evangelical is concerned about after Obergefell
The video above is from a Roman Catholic group, but I can testify that many evangelical Christians are feeling the same way these folks are.
I am a pastor, and the testimonies in this video look very similar to what I have been seeing with the folks in my church. Our members by and large don’t have questions about the Bible’s teaching on homosexuality and marriage. They get that. Nor do they have questions about their obligation to love their neighbor, to seek their good, and to be at peace with everyone (Mark 12:29; Luke 6:33; Rom. 12:18). They get all of that. Read more of this post
Resources about the sin of homosexuality for believers, parents, and gay folks wanting to emerge from their sin
Rainbow White House
I write this post not as a partisan, but as an American. The White House should not ever be used as an icon or celebration for any particular political or even social cause or purpose, regardless of our personal belief on the rightness of that cause. It just shouldn’t.
There are many reasons.
Seven Key Reasons Your Church Attendance May Be Declining
My five-year old grandson asked me how old I was. When I told him I would turn 60 in a few weeks, he responded: “I didn’t realize people got that old.”
Indeed, in 60 years, like any of us who have lived a few years, I have seen change, lots of change. And I am seeing change in local congregations faster than any time in my lifetime. One of the most disheartening changes I am seeing is the declining attendance in a majority of churches. I am asked repeatedly to diagnose and help with these challenges.
Though addressing the issue of declining attendance cannot be covered in a brief blog post, I hope it will be helpful to share some high-level perspectives. See if any of these seven reasons apply to your church.
- “Cultural Christians” no longer see the need to attend church. “Cultural Christian” is really an oxymoron. I refer here to those men and women who once attended church for social, political, or business reasons. Most of them no longer feel it is necessary to be in church to be a regarded citizen in the community.
- Church members are attending less frequently. I have noted in other articles how I see this development as potentially the greatest contributor to attendance decline. Three decades ago, a very active church member attended three times a week. Today we call those who attend three times a month an active church member.
- Expectations are lower for church members. One of the reasons church members attend less frequently is that very little is expected of them in many churches. If we expect little of our members, that is exactly what we will get.
- Insufficient emphasis on groups. This reality may be one of the most neglected areas of church life. Groups of all kinds – home groups, small groups, Sunday school classes, life groups, and others – are key to assimilation and greater commitment. The importance of groups must begin with the pastor and all other key leaders in the church.
- Inward focus. In too many churches, the emphasis is on “me, myself, and I.” Some members are more concerned about the temperature in the worship center than the eternal destinations of their neighbors. The “me-focused” church is on its way to decline.
- No clearly defined process of discipleship. Eric Geiger and I reported on this issue in our book, Simple Church. Growing churches are much more likely to have a clearly grasped and implemented process of discipleship than declining churches.
- No strategic plans for multi-venues or multi-campuses. As I noted in my post Monday, the trend of multi-venue and multi-campus churches may be the most significant in church practices in the past three decades. Even smaller churches are now planning for more than one site or venue. Those churches not making such plans are more likely to be declining.
Decline in church attendance cannot be defined in seven simple statements. But these reasons are at least broad explanations of what is taking place in many of our congregations. I would love to get feedback from you on these issues.
The post Seven Key Reasons Your Church Attendance May Be Declining appeared first on ThomRainer.com.
In the video below you can watch my sermon, delivered at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, on 2 Chronicles 7:1-22.
The Rapture And The Anti-Christ
What view do you hold based on Scripture with regard to the amount of time that may lapse between the Rapture and the revealing of Antichrist? Dave Hunt spoke convincingly of a very short duration between the two events. What say you?
More On Jephthah And His Daughter
We were doing a bible study on book of judges 11 about Jephthah’s daughter. This caused a debate. Some said that it could have been her virginity that was taken or some other sacrifice, not necessarily Jephthah killing his daughter. In a recent post you said it was an abomination to the Lord to do that so therefore unlawful. Could you please clarify what actually happened. Did Jephthah sacrifice his daughter?
This past weekend I heard a wonderful TV sermon on forgiveness. I have been struggling with a certain person and situation for about 15 years and had no desire to forgive him because he continually hurt me emotionally. Praise God, at the end of the program I was able to raise my hands, ask God for forgiveness and then to forgive those I felt had hurt me. The lifting of the burden was instantaneous and I am at such peace. My question is: Do I need to get in touch with the people I have forgiven or is that forgiveness between me and God? Thank you for your insight and God Bless you for your wonderful teaching!
The Parable of the Unmerciful Servant
A Bible Study by Jack Kelley
Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?”
Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy times seven times.
Seeker Friendly To Contemplative Spirituality
The seeker-friendly model was the brainchild of Peter Drucker. The concept of finding out what a consumer would like in a church has been a very successful way to get people to come to a church. At least for a while! This consumer-friendly model worked as long as sinners were not faced with the message of the cross, hell, and other convicting things the Bible teaches.
However, as everyone knows, trends come and go like waves on the ocean. The seeker-friendly wave will not last forever. This, of course, is predictable. Fallen man has had a spiritual void since the fall of man. Satan is more than happy to fill that void and has always had a deceptive plan to do so.
This is why I was not surprised when Pastor Bill Hybels, founder of the Willow Creek church-growth model, announced that their church had repented from their seeker-friendly ways and was now moving towards a method that would transform Christianity by introducing spirituality. Here’s how one Christian reporter explained the transition:
Willow Creek has released the results of a multi-year study on the effectiveness of their programs and philosophy of ministry. The study’s findings are in a new book titled Reveal: Where Are You? co-authored by Cally Parkinson and Greg Hawkins, executive pastor of Willow Creek Community Church. Hybels himself called the findings “earth shaking,” “ground breaking,” and “mind blowing.” And no wonder: it seems that the “experts” were wrong. 
Or this is what Bill Hybels said:
Some of the stuff that we have put millions of dollars into thinking it would really help our people grow and develop spiritually, when the data actually came back it wasn’t helping people that much. Other things that we didn’t put that much money into and didn’t put much staff against is stuff our people are crying out for. 
Certainly, the results of this survey should not come as a surprise to Hybels and the Willow Creek bunch. Dan Kimball, author of The Emerging Church: Vintage Christianity for New Generations, predicted the seeker-friendly movement would give way to the emerging church years ago. Postmoderns, you see, want a God they can smell, feel, touch, taste and see. The seeker-friendly movement does not provide this environment. It was only a matter of time for the seeker-friendly wave to crash.
Actually, Bill Hybels’ consultant Peter Drucker had previously informed him what was coming years ago. Faith Undone explains how Hybels was connected to Leadership Network founded by Bob Buford and Drucker.  Certainly, Hybels would have known about the next wave coming that Drucker understood. Another influential pastor influenced by Drucker was Rick Warren. He knew this as well! He wrote a foreword to Dan Kimball’s book in 2003 published by Zondervan stating that the emerging church was only what the purpose-driven church would become in the postmodern era. 
So what will the Willow Creek spiritual transformation (aka “spiritual formation”) look like? It will be contemplative, mystical, and sensual. It will become the full-blown emerging church. The teachings will pave the way toward Christian Babylonianism, otherwise known as the Last Days apostate church.
Rainbow White House – “I write this post not as a partisan, but as an American. The White House should not ever be used as an icon or celebration for any particular political or even social cause or purpose, regardless of our personal belief on the rightness of that cause. It just shouldn’t. There are many reasons.”
Love Didn’t Win– It Was Redefined – “‘Love wins’ is the hashtag of choice for those in support of the newest Supreme Court decision that passed that legislative body by a 5-4 vote. If you’re not content with that, you’re just an evil bigot who needs to shut up and support this new legislation. Forget the fact that you have very rational reasons for keeping marriage between a man and a woman. For example, genderless marriage changes the cultural understanding of marriage from the well being of children to merely the romantic desires of adults. Mothering and fathering certainly isn’t genderless. For kids who all deserve a mom and a dad and need a culture to support that, love hasn’t won.
Driscoll Publicly Repents…For Criticizing Osteen – “Driscoll used the opportunity to publicly apologize for having ever criticized Osteen, and claimed to have asked Osteen permission to send him a private letter of apology. Houston, of course agrees, and says ‘…at the end of the day, we’re all on the same side.’”
Something Dreadful – “‘Hypochondriasis’ was first diagnosed as we understand it today in the 19th century. This debilitating condition is the result of an inaccurate perception of the condition of body or mind despite the absence of an actual medical condition. An individual suffering from hypochondriasis is known as a hypochondriac. “
Socialism Isn’t A “Right-Wing” Issue – “What happens when the government can’t fund coverage for the sick, the disabled and the elderly? Will our government now be in the business of selecting who lives and who dies?”
Tim Conway – God’s Testimony Must Be In Us
Are You Clothed With Power?
The Sanctification debate: Holy Water?
“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
What is The Gospel?
“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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