August 5, 2015 Truth2Freedom Christian Briefing Report

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I Could Have Been One Of Planned Parenthood’s Victims

My mother never graduated from college. She gave up her academic dreams to marry my father and raise me and my siblings. Although my existence was unplanned, my parents never made me feel it was unappreciated. They are the bravest people I know, and they made it clear that I was, and still am, loved. In 1971, my mother’s choice gave me a future.

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Children: What Should We Do When They Stray?

When I hear about the spiritual straying of the children of believers, I remember that everyone of us needs the same thing–the grace of God in the Gospel. I remember the power of the message of Christ crucified. I remember that part of my task, as a minister of that Gospel, is to remind Christian parents of these things. 

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God’s Rest for God’s People

One of the surprising things about the Gospel is that Almighty God Himself invites us into His own rest! Most of us would probably give some money to someone suffering with a disease or to a newly released prisoner, but we would be less likely to invite him to live in our homes. But that is precisely what Jesus does; He says: “Come unto me.” And this almost unbelievable generosity of Jesus is exactly what the heavenly Father is like (John 14:9).

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5 Reasons the Church Should Embrace Science

How better to solve the questions and problems we face than to combine scientific inquiry with the ability to petition the creator of the universe? Christians who pursue the sciences are in the unique position to do just this. Science can be one more tool we use to serve God and to serve our world for His glory.

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Institutional and Theological Instabilities Threaten Evangelicalism’s Future

If you want an engaging preacher or a flashy conference, you turn to the evangelicals. If you want to know how to think, for example, about marriage, euthanasia, fertility treatment, issues of church and state — matters which are part of a pastor’s daily diet and which are becoming more, not less, complicated — then really you have to look elsewhere for the best Christian material. None of this bodes well for the long-term institutional or theological stability of the movement.

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There Are No Accidents With God

God in his sovereignty even overrides our sins. Maybe you really blew it. You feel like your sin has wrecked your life. Maybe you are suffering long-term consequences for a bad mistake. Remember there are no accidents with God. God is not the author of sin and he doesn’t tempt us to sin. But even when we sin and bring consequences into our lives, God in his sovereignty can even work our failures and sins for our good.

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Reports of Evangelical Christianity’s Demise Are Overblown

Evangelicals, of course, believe that church growth and decline is ultimately in God’s hands. If America goes fully secular, we will receive that as part of God’s providential plans. But the clamor about the imminent death of traditional faith, in the short term, is much ado about nothing.

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Getting To The Root

He who is God’s word made flesh trusted God’s written word through the power of God’s Spirit, and this has produced salvation. God’s word can and should be trusted. The First and Second Adam (1Cor. 15:45-49) reveal this. Who will you trust?

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China Doesn’t Want To Suppress Christianity, Just Control It

The Vatican knows this well. I have been told by insiders that the strategic thrust of Pope Francis’s diplomacy is all directed eastwards, towards the emergence of China as a great religious power. Chinese relations with the Vatican have long been fraught because of conflicts over the control of the Church, and in particular the control of appointments. The Communist party, like Henry VIII, wants to decide who runs the church in its country. The Pope, now as then, is not going to concede the point.

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Columnist Charles Krauthammer: ‘Christian Righteousness’ Emerges in World Full of Chaos

Columnist Charles Krauthammer: ‘Christian Righteousness’ Emerges in World Full of Chaos

Posted on August 5, 2015 by Gospel Herald

Conservative commentator Charles Krauthammer has written a column highlighting both Christian persecution and Christian righteousness. He also elaborated on his personal connection to Lord George Weidenfeld.

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Iowans plan 1,000 anti-gay marriage billboards

Iowans plan 1,000 anti-gay marriage billboards

Posted on August 5, 2015 by Religion News

GRIMES, Iowa — The first billboard, a 14-foot by 48-foot black-and-white sign, went up outside of Durant, Okla., in late July.

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'I'm Born Again': Sudan Frees Pastors Facing Death Penalty

‘I’m Born Again’: Sudan Frees Pastors Facing Death Penalty

Posted on August 5, 2015 by Christianity Today

The good news behind judge’s guilty verdict.

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Vietnam's 'God's smuggler' tells of amazing miracle journey getting Bibles to unreached people

Vietnam’s ‘God’s smuggler’ tells of amazing miracle journey getting Bibles to unreached people

Posted on August 5, 2015 by Christian Today

A Christian carrying Bibles through Vietnam was able to pass through police checkpoints uncontested in what has been hailed as a miracle.

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9 Simple Ways to Read More Scripture Every Day

9 Simple Ways to Read More Scripture Every Day

Posted on August 5, 2015 by Crosswalk

Want to spend more time in your Bible? Here are 9 simple ways to read more scripture ever day.

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What is This World Coming To? Exactly What Jesus Said it Would

What is This World Coming To? Exactly What Jesus Said it Would

Posted on August 5, 2015 by Crosswalk

Every so often I hear someone say in despair, “What is this world coming to?” This kind of comment usually comes in response to a doomsday report of some kind. But we shouldn’t be shocked or dismayed. The world is coming to exactly what Jesus said…

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The Gospel Herald


Why So Many People Think Pope Francis Is The Antichrist

If you type “is Pope Francis antichrist” into Google, you’ll get about 425,000 results in .37 seconds. By way of comparison, if you ask Google the same question about Pope Benedict you only get 137,000 and it takes a little longer—.47 seconds……..  Click here for full story


Pro-Palestinian Coalition Of Churches Calls on Obama To End Israeli “Occupation”

The Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP) group has sent a letter to US President Barack Obama urging him to condemn Israeli settlements in Judea and Samaria while supporting a French-initiated UN resolution to force a two-state solution on Israel ………..  Click here for full story


Archaeologists Uncover Entrance Gate To Goliath’s City

An archaeological expedition has discovered the fortifications and entrance gate of the biblical city of Gath of the Philistines, home of Goliath and the largest city in the land during the 10th-9th century BCE, about the time of the “United Kingdom” of Israel and King Ahab of Israel.……  Click here for full story


The Babylonian Narrative

But to the Pre-Tribulational believer, we know we are walking up to, but just shy of, that heavily prophesied time commonly referred to as the ‘Tribulation’. Although the Bible promises tribulation in this life, it does not however, promise the Church deliverance through the time known as THE Tribulation (or the Day of the Lord). It doesn’t promise deliverance through it, because it promises deliverance, from it.

Overwhelmingly, the New Testament promises deliverance for the Church, from this specific period of time. We know this because, the Church is distinct from the covenant nation of Israel. We also know, through basic Biblical discernment, that period of time, is specifically set aside by God to bring Israel back as a nation to Himself, and to punish the Christ-rejecting world…neither of which, the Church has any role to play in. (Jeremiah 30:7-11; Daniel 9:24-27)

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Silent No More

I remember a pastor speaking on the horror of abortion and how the Lord hated it. I felt a sinking feeling inside, as if perhaps I wasn’t really saved. I kept thinking to myself “How can the Lord think of me as His own, when I had done something so reprehensible. I couldn’t get this out of my mind. I wanted to tell someone, but I couldn’t run the risk of them kicking me out of the church. I was convinced that I had committed the unpardonable sin. I was also convinced that no other woman in that church had ever done something like this. I hated myself.

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WVW-TV Presents: Questions To Ask When Sharing The Gospel with Host Mike Gendron

 
WVW-TV Presents: Questions To Ask When Sharing The Gospel with Host Mike Gendron Click here to watch now: http://www.worldviewweekend.com/tv/video/questions-ask-when-sharing-gospel  
 

Heading into dark places

Today in our program we are going to spend some time asking you to consider the enormous influence of one megachurch empire on the Visible Church:  That global organization is Hillsong, known not only for its music and its millions of fans and members around the world, but its slide down a Word of Faith […]

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Hillsong NYC Celebrates Engaged “Broadway Boyfriends”

Berean Research reports:

Hillsong NYC

When one of Hillsong New York City’s worship leaders announced he is a practicing, unrepentant homosexual, and that he is marrying his fellow church singer and boyfriend, Hillsong leadership says nothing.

The musician, announced to the world a few months ago that he proposed to his boyfriend and also told his church leaders about his sexual practices:

“I need to be truthful with everyone. I became truthful with my church. I’m a part of Hillsong NYC. I’m one of their choir directors. I also sing on their Worship team. They’ve been amazing as well. Nothing has changed there now that I’m completely out and with Reed. He sings in the choir as well. I found that being an honest person has actually come with a lot of benefits. People are more sincere with you, and you find out a lot more about other people when you become honest.”

http://bereanresearch.org/hillsong-nyc-celebrates-engaged-broadway-boyfriends/


Fearing the Lord

In my studies yesterday, I came across this article by the great Dutch Reformer Wilhelmus à Brakel on the fear of the Lord. Because Scripture repeatedly shows how important the fear of God is (Ps. 110:11; Prov. 14:26-27) and because fearing the Lord unfortunately sounds dreadful to many, I hope you might enjoy these quotes.  Read more of this post


Six Ways to Redeem Dating

There was a time when people considered courtship old-fashioned, but now even dating seems to be passé. Is there any hope left for either? I still think so. It may not be easy in our hookup culture, but dating can still be redeemed. Here are six components that we desperately need to recover.

1. Know what time it is.

As Proverbs 18:22 says, “He that findeth a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord.” This shouldn’t need saying, but it does: men, there is a time to seek a wife. After all, “he that findeth” implies “he be looking!”

I’m consistently surprised at how many guys want to get married and show literally no intentionality. Many are just too cowardly to put themselves out there and possibly be rejected. So they arrange what is now known as the “sneak-a-date,” where they just happen to be at the same place as a girl they like. (“Oh, look, we’re here together again! How about that?”)

Fellas, please find your spines. When it’s time to seek a wife, do it with boldness. Put on a shirt with buttons. Bathe. Shave. Actually ask her out on a date. And when you know it’s right, don’t string her along. Marry her. Know what time it is in your life. And if it’s time to get married, then act decisively.

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Should goats and sheep worship together?

We know that the Church – with Christ at the head – is a place for repentant sinners who are being sanctified by the Holy Spirit, where we gather to be equipped, to break bread in fellowship, to love and serve one another and to grow in our faith. The biblical model set up by […]

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Heidelberg 104: Authority And Submission (3)

Nevertheless, despite all our natural resistance to authority and despite our suspicion of the church the fact is that our Lord Jesus, whom we profess to love and whose Word we profess to believe, instituted the very visible church against which we so easily rebel.

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Heidelberg 105–107: You Shall Not Murder (1)

The equivocal translation “you shall not kill” is a little confusing but it is odd that people should think that “you shall not kill” would be absolute. The very same Torah teaches that sometimes, in some cases, some people are to be put to death. This was taught even before the law given to Moses at Sinai.

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Hillsong Issues Press Release 8 months after Choir leader comes out

According to Berean Research:

Hillsong NYC

When one of Hillsong New York City’s worship leaders announced he is a practicing, unrepentant homosexual, and that he is marrying his fellow church singer and boyfriend, Hillsong leadership says nothing. Until this morning. Eight months after news of one of its male members – director of Hillsong’s choir, announced to the world that he proposed to his boyfriend and also told his church leaders about his sexual practices:

“I need to be truthful with everyone. I became truthful with my church. I’m a part of Hillsong NYC. I’m one of their choir directors. I also sing on their Worship team. They’ve been amazing as well. Nothing has changed there now that I’m completely out and with Reed. He sings in the choir as well. I found that being an honest person has actually come with a lot of benefits. People are more sincere with you, and you find out a lot more about other people when you become honest.”

Today the Hillsong crisis communications team issued this press release from Brian Houston:

Hillsong Issues Press Release 8 months after Choir leader comes out


Restraining Evil or Changing Hearts?

We should never cease speaking moral truth prophetically into the culture(s) in which we live … proclaiming God’s standard of right and wrong to which all people’s conscience already bears witness. But we must remember that even if you were to persuade a few people of the truth of your moral cause you have still done nothing to advance the kingdom of God unless you proclaim the gospel with even greater clarity.  Apart from grace it is the natural state of man to love darkness and hate the light (John 3:19, 20) so having them exchange a specific sin for some kind of moralism has done nothing beneficial, in any redemptive sense, for their soul. You have merely exchanged one sin for another. No amount of moral agreement with you or behavior modification will save their soul.

So while we must declare God’s moral law we must take even greater efforts to declare the gospel of Jesus Christ, the only person to have fulfilled God’s law  – this must be our main focus. Only as the Holy Spirit germinates the seed of the gospel does true life begin. It is through this, and this alone that God’s kingdom advances, because the word of the gospel is where God has promised to changes hearts … and indeed moral advance will follow (1John 5:1-4). If you want to change the culture then remember, first and foremost, that people need a new heart. outward laws may restrain certain evils, but the inward writing of the law on the heart transforms the person. While politics certainly has its place, politics is small and limited in scope. On the other hand, Christ touches the whole man – the nature of the universe, the meaning of life and death and everything.


Sex: The Frontrunner for President

Sex: The Frontrunner for PresidentOne decision determines the fate of the American people every four years: Who will be our next president? This man or woman will almost certainly drive our 320-million-person passenger van through economic upheaval, volatile international affairs, violent terrorist threats, and any number of sensitive social issues.

The candidates are pouring in, and the race is heating up. So who’s the favorite?

Sex.

Specifically, sexual autonomy or freedom. The single most powerful, most driving, most appealing person, idea, or reality in American society is sex — the intense and intimate attractions and sensations felt between people. I define it broadly, because Satan’s grassroots campaign has planted sex’s posters and pinups in all kinds of places today, not just the marriage bed. We wish we could define it more narrowly, as God intended when he created sex, but it’s crawled into too many corners and won too many worshipers.

Sex — sexual ecstasy, autonomy, and freedom — is the trump card in American entertainment, politics, and marketing. And as Randy Newman writes in his book Questioning Evangelism, “As long as we uphold our sexual autonomy as the highest value in our lives, we separate ourselves from God’s majestic and redemptive reign” (157). A nation — or a person — governed by sex, and not God, has rejected God. Sex has won far too many elections, but it cannot satisfy like God, nor will it be able to stand against him in the end.

Sex Appeal

Why has sex so captivated American society?

You might say that God is gloriously to blame here. What God has created with sex is unlike any experience or mystery in this life. Newman writes, “Sex uniquely engages all of our being — physical, psychological, spiritual, emotional, and intellectual. It is unparalleled as both pleasurable and profound” (158).

Those who love and follow Jesus enjoy some of the deepest, most intense pleasure in bed with their spouse. And those who refuse or mock Jesus still find some of the same gratification. For some perfectly calculated and good reason, God has allowed men and women to access some of the pleasure of sex in unnatural ways: lust, adultery, premarital sex, pornography, homosexuality. They’re consuming, but not in a way that can truly (genuinely or fully) satisfy, fulfill, or last. They sip and sip, but never quench their thirst.

And captivated by sex, dismissing its Author, the world structures its life, in public and especially in private, to preserve and cultivate their sipping. They passionately, even violently, squeeze and squeeze that little drop of ecstasy, not realizing there’s a freshwater ocean of everlasting pleasure at their disposal.

Sex sells and reigns because God has given it an unusual, mysterious pleasure. It can’t be replicated or replaced by education or vocation or sports or hobbies. On this planet, sex has a kind of monopoly on bodily pleasure for people of every nation, culture, and social status. It’s perhaps the world’s most universal hope for happiness apart from Jesus.

Sin’s Campaign Manager

Now, sex cannot run for president, because sex isn’t a person. The face behind sex’s unrivaled rule in America is Satan. With centuries of experience and supporters everywhere in the world, he deftly leads a massive coordinated effort to enlist generation after generation. He’s the corrupt campaign manager, hidden in the shadows, wielding sex for an agenda. Newman describes his tactics,

God’s enemy (and ours) wants to distort [sex]. His goals are to make it a mere physical act, with no profundity; a painful act, reminiscent of abuse; a comical act, reducing it to crude joking; or an enslaving act, transforming people into addicts or idolaters. (158)

Satan molests the goodness of sex. He has nothing original to wield against us, so he lies in secret, presenting sex as simple and ordinary, or humorous, or powerful. Sex becomes just another toy, or an entertaining and provocative punch line, or the alluring, controlling master of our desires — the president of our hearts — not the pure, spiritual, mysterious union it was designed and given to be.

And now, in a fascinating and shocking political turn, a new pillar of Satan’s platform emerges. He and his followers have worked relentlessly over the years to undermine and sabotage marriage — a sacred (“religious”), exclusive (“enslaving”), lifelong (“boring”) union. Now, they’d like to have marriage, too, but are promoting a new, more dangerous distortion: so-called same-sex marriage. A longstanding, evil, and spiritual platform once utterly opposed to all that marriage stood for has staged a new assault on pleasure by legalizing and solemnizing homosexual unions.

Unseating Sex with Grace

The gospel unseats sex (and every other influential, powerful, and seductive idol) with the grace of God — the pinnacle of his glory, and the controlling theme of our redeemed and repurposed lives. As unlikely as it seems today, there is a force more compelling and more satisfying than sexual temptation and freedom — a marketing campaign that promises and delivers more (Psalm 16:11). But we must submit our souls to a new president.

Do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its lusts, and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace. (Romans 6:12–14)

Sex is not the enemy for Christians. It is God’s good gift, created for those who believe (1 Timothy 4:3), and designed to be experienced in marriage as an act of knowing and enjoying more of God as the Creator and Giver. Illicit, superficial sex exists where true worship doesn’t, but worship is not the holy rival to sex. Sex, like the rest of life on earth, is meant to be worship (Romans 12:1). Sinful distortion and manipulation of sex, though, makes for a deceitful and miserable lord.

True joy and pleasure for us and for our world, then, rests in unseating sex by God’s grace from God’s place, and reseating it in its good and rightful place under God, the one true Treasure and Lord of our lives.


Related Articles


Mike Murdock Likes Onions On His Tacos

Your browser does not support the HTML 5 audio tag.Click Here to Download this episodeProgram segments:

00:09:31 – Mike Murdock Likes Onions On His Tacos
00:19:46 – T.D. Jakes’ Destiny From the Perspective of Focus
00:34:57 – Chris Vallonton and Other People’s Prophecies
00:47:04 – Hillsong’s Statement RE: Their Famous Gay Couple
01:08:10 – Sermon Review: David and Goliath by Korey from CBGlades


3 Ways to Intensify Your Motivation for Evangelism

On January 22, 2006, Kobe Bryant did the unthinkable.  He scored 81 points in a single NBA Basketball Game. One of the greatest players to play the game, accomplished one of the greatest feats in the history of basketball.

And I was there.Kobe-Bryant-81-Points-197x300

You should have seen me. I couldn’t get out of the arena fast enough to call anyone I knew with a cell-phone.  I called my high school basketball coach.  I called my teammates.  I told random people on the street.  For a few months I would figure out ways to bring it up in conversations. And then slowly as time went on, I didn’t talk about it as much. I still figure out ways to stick it into sermons or blog posts, but over time my excitement of that moment has become less than it once was.

I feel like the same thing happens with evangelism. As time passes after our big day, we lose our passion and boldness. Suddenly, something that came so easy for us only a few years ago dissipates.

I believe that Scripture is filled with daily practices that the Lord has given to us, that, if we see the connection to evangelism, will lead us to a greater motivation to share.

Here are three habits that will kindle the fire for your personal evangelism:

Daily Repentance

What happened to the believer who lost His passion for evangelism? Perhaps over time he forgets how sinful he is and how undeserving he is of the gift he has been given. Perhaps he doesn’t see the connection between repentance and evangelism. The Lord has given us an opportunity to be reminded of our salvation through daily repentance. Repentance doesn’t re-save us, but it does restore our relationship with Him. And each time it reinvigorates us to serve our Lord. David in Psalm 51 gives us the model. First he pleads with the Lord for forgiveness (Psalm 51:1-6), then he remembers the Lord’s promises and is purified by the Lord (Psalm 51:7-12), but third it propels David towards proclamation (Psalm 51:13-19).

He guarantees in Psalm 51:13-15,

“Then I will teach transgressors your ways, so that sinners will turn back to you. Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God, you who are God my Savior, and my tongue will sing of your righteousness. Open my lips, Lord, and my mouth will declare your praise.”

He takes this new-found forgiveness which is a reminder of His identity in his Savior and it sends him out encouraged and bold to let everyone know of His wonderful Savior.

A daily pleading with the Lord to forgive us of new trespasses, will lead to being purified by Him, which will lead us to proclaim Him as the forgiving and merciful God He truly is.

Daily Worship

Some Christians don’t realize that evangelism is an extension of what happens in the prayer closet. The reason why we evangelize is because we want our God to be worshipped by all lips, and we are so in love with Him that we cant shut-up about Him.

In Psalm 145:2 David makes a promise. He says that no matter what, every day he will praise Yahweh.  That he will wake up each morning and no matter the circumstances he is in, he will spend that day worshipping His God. The next 19 verses go on to describe the immense and beautiful Creator whom he is worshipping.

He’s in awe of God’s greatness (Psalm 145:1-6), he sings about His goodness (Psalm 145:7-10), he longs for His glorious coming kingdom (Psalm 145:11-13), he rejoices in His generosity (Psalm 145:14-17), and finally he’s captured by His incredible grace (Psalm 145:18-21). It is fascinating to see the connection between thinking about the attributes of God and talking about God. The more you get to know the Lord of Glory the more you have to tell people about Him.  It is unavoidable.

In verse 4 he declares,

“One generation shall praise Your works to another, And shall declare Your mighty acts.”

In verse 7 he shouts,

“They shall eagerly utter the memory of Your abundant goodness And will shout joyfully of Your righteousness.”

In verse 11 he proclaims,

“They shall speak of the glory of Your kingdom And talk of Your power”

And finally In verse 21 he promises,

“My mouth will speak the praise of the Lord And all flesh will bless His holy name forever and ever.”

A daily pondering about who God is, should always lead to praising Him for who He is, and this will always drive to a proclamation of Him.

Daily Evangelism

This motivation is more experiential and less biblical, so take it or leave it. Every time I go out to share the Gospel, or just engage people in conversation in my daily activities, the Lord uses it to motivate me towards more evangelism. It’s a vicious cycle. Through evangelism I get to:

Remember what God did for me

Every time you evangelize you are reminded about the gospel, you are reminded about the fact that you deserve death and hell and that without Christ you would be still on your way to hell. Knowing I will be able to share my testimony and the work He has done in me, is a great motivation to do it.

Remember how lost people are

Each conversation with an unbeliever is a reminder of how lost and in need of the gospel people are. Every time I speak with an unbeliever I am reminded about the fact that they need to hear the truth. This always propels me to do it more often.

Remember my dependance on God

Ultimately every encounter brings you back to your knees knowing that you depend upon the Holy Spirit for everything in life. Evangelism is a humbling experience, and we know that humility and dependance on God are essential for the Christian life.

Hear the Gospel from others

If you go with someone else, every conversation is an opportunity to hear the Gospel once again. Also the encouragement of seeing a fellow member of the body of Christ take time out of their day to share the truth, is uplifting and motivating.

 

I think that if we practice these habits daily we will have plenty of motivation to share our faith boldly.


Don’t Look Back

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. I’ll admit I got taken in the first time. As a grade school child my conception of cool included too tight silk shirts, and blue jeans with more flair than Liberace. I even had my very own polyester jumpsuit. I looked like a cross between Howdy Doody and Elvis, in his latter years. The current fashion craze of recreating the nightmare of the seventies hasn’t filled my heart with a warm dose of nostalgia. Instead it makes me embarrassed for what I used to wear. I’ve learned my lesson well. I won’t get fooled again.

It reminds me, however, of the power of nostalgia, even its most affected and insincere manifestations. Post-modernism, because it is parasitic and destructive, can not build a culture. It can only reconstitute old ones. Because it is cynical and knowing, it goes out of its way to reconstitute that which is garish, immature, and kitschy. We dress like goofballs to demonstrate our knowing superiority over the narrative that is clothing. Because it denies that nothing lasts, it demands that everything be new. The danger is the speed at which our cultural spin-masters are spinning the old cultures. It won’t be long before we are encouraged to practice a faux nostalgia for last week.

Real nostalgia, true longing for days gone by is fed by a different kind of folly. It seems that hindsight can only be had through rose colored glasses. And they never go out of style. We want things not as they used to be, but as we remember that they used to be. Which is why the author of Hebrews went to such trouble, argued with such passion, and warned with such fervor in his epistle. Nostalgia can do worse things than make you dress funny.

Living in a comparatively free country, one where pluralism rules the day, it is difficult to understand what it would have taken for a first-century Jew to embrace the claims of Jesus Christ. More than likely, such would destroy a whole host of family relationships. Friendships would be sundered as well. Those, like Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea, indeed like the apostle Paul, who once were honored and respected men of the community, would now become social pariahs, unable to get a place at the table. And a swift and painful death by martyrdom, with each passing day, became more and more likely.

Like their forefathers before them, we can have some sympathy then when some begin to talk about how they once had leeks and garlic back in Egypt, that though they were slaves, their pots were filled. Present suffering deepens the rosy hue as we look back at past suffering. And so many believing Hebrews struggled mightily with fits of nostalgia. Many were sorely tempted to throw off the dead-weight of this Jesus, that happy days might be here again. Cast off that cross, they reasoned, and they could stand upright in the halls of men again. Many, in short, were tempted to neglect so great a salvation.

Ironically, one could argue that their problem wasn’t that they were looking backward. The old saw that you can’t go back again wouldn’t help. One might say their failure was that they weren’t looking far enough back. A love of the past may be a good thing, as long as what we love is a good thing. They were called not to look back to their recent Judaism. Neither were they to look longingly at the apex of their nation, to the days of David and Samuel. They should not look back to Egypt, nor even to the days of the great patriarchs. Rather, they should have longed to get back to the garden.

The right thing to long for is a world without sin. Our hearts should ache to once again be at peace with God, to walk with Him in the cool of the evening, to see the lion lay down with the lamb. This is godly nostalgia, as long as it moves to godly obedience. While we ought to long for such things, we ought not to do so forlornly, knowing that you can’t go back again. Rather we do so joyfully, knowing that we with every forward step, we move back to the garden. That is, the path to the garden is through the consummation of the kingdom of Jesus Christ. To go home again, we must seek first the kingdom of God.

These things, however, are written for us as well. While our status as outcasts and victims in our own culture cannot compare with the Hebrews in the first century, we are headed in that direction. Like Augustine before us, we are called to witness the destruction of the culture around us. And like the Hebrews we are tempted toward nostalgia. We long for those halcyon days of the 1950’s, when the Hayes Office kept our movies clean, and the daily news wasn’t filled with liberal prelates gayly shouting the “love” that once didn’t dare speak it’s name. And like the Hebrews, we are looking in the wrong place.

As Christians our longing is not that we might have a cleaner pop culture. The Church does not place its hope in military/industrial/cultural American hegemony across the globe. Rather we long for the day when every knee will bow, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. The Church longs for the day when we will be dressed not in the gaudiness and flash of a decadent culture, but will be dressed in the radiant robe provided by our Husband and Lord.

The post Don’t Look Back appeared first on R.C. Sproul Jr..


A La Carte (August 5)

The Anatomy of Sexual Sin – When you think about the sheer prevalence of sexual sin both inside and outside of the church, you realize how important it is to know the anatomy of such sin.

Confessions of a Bibliophile – I enjoyed Keith Mathison’s reflections on a life spent reading.

Gentle Selfishness – “The kind of behavior we usually think of as selfish is obvious: lying, cheating, stealing, hurting, etc., to get what we want. Everyone recognizes it for what it is. But a gentle selfishness, because of its very gentleness, is subtle, deceptive, and far more difficult to detect than the blatant kind.”

The Gates of Gaza – “A recent excavation in Israel has uncovered the historic fortifications and monumental gate of a Biblical-era city called Gath.” You’ll recognize it as home to the infamous Goliath.

The Tricky Ethics of the Lucrative Disaster Rescue Business – You may be interested in this longform article that focuses on the aftermath of the recent earthquake in Nepal.

The 5 Types of Work That Fill Your Day – This is a helpful breakdown of the different kinds of work that can fill each workday.

Patagonia 8K – This video offers an eye-popping trip through Patagonia. Do it full-screen and HD if you can.


Planned Parenthood: 4 Ways to Respond

Planned Parenthood: 4 Ways to RespondWe have come to a singularly important moment in the battle against abortion (which is to say, the battle for life). The stunning undercover videos by the Center for Medical Progress have taken us right to the heart of the abortion industry. They have shown that Planned Parenthood is enriching themselves with the bodies of murdered babies. Not only that, but Planned Parenthood is willingly increasing the risk to the women they serve in order to enrich themselves—altering the abortion procedures to deliver intact bodies. Planned Parenthood is a business, a government-supported business, that buys and sells death.

Yesterday’s video, the fifth, is the most horrendous yet. It shows a Planned Parenthood representative discussing babies as line items, considering how she can maximize profit as she sells “the products of conception.” It continues to the lab where we see people picking through the slaughtered remains of a child, lifting up pieces, separating an arm and a leg, lifting up the intestines and lungs, considering the monetary value of each one. It is absolutely sickening, absolutely shocking, absolutely unflinching, absolutely real. It exposes the industry, shining a billion-watt light into its darkest recesses. What was meant to remain hidden has now been made plain.

Once you see this, you cannot unsee it. Once you know what happens in Planned Parenthood and a host of other clinics, you cannot unknow it. That’s true even for those of us who live on the other side of an international border. What happens in America doubtless happens in Canada, England, and everywhere else.

This is an important moment.

In the face of such overwhelming evil, it can be difficult to know what we, as individuals, can actually do. Few of us have any significant power or ability. We do not have access to the ear of the President or the front page of the Times. But we can still act.

Share

Aborted Baby HandOne small but important thing you can do is share this news. The mainstream media is largely avoiding it, but this is exactly where power has shifted in an age of social media. CNN may control what is broadcast to a few million people on the television, but we control what is shared with hundreds of millions through Facebook. Hashtag activism has been much-maligned, but it is activism nonetheless. Perhaps we have overdone Twitter and Facebook outrage in the past. But not this time. Share. Share this story through your social media channels. Use hashtags like #PPSellsBabyParts and #DefundPP. Share it widely and share it consistently.

I would focus on sharing especially well-written stories, but also the few you will find in major media outlets like the Washington Post or The Atlantic. Where the mainstream press is covering the issue, share it or like it. Don’t let it go away.

Talk

Also, talk to people about this—people in your home, your church, your school, your neighborhood, your workplace. Ask them if they have seen the videos. Ask them if they are willing to watch them.

This is a good time to arm yourself with SLED, a very helpful way of Making the Case for life. A little while ago I prepared a slideshow on the issue, and you may find it helpful.

You are free to download and adapt the slides for your own purposes. Note: The slideshow uses the font Museo Slab. It is available as a free download if you plan to use the Keynote or Powerpoint.

Contact

And, of course, you can and should contact your legislator. March for Life offers some help in that. Contact them, express your horror, and demand action.

Pray

Finally, and most importantly, pray. Pray that God would use this situation to promote the cause of life, to stop the evildoers, to save the lost, and to bring glory to his name.

As I conclude, here are some helpful articles I have collected over the past few days:

And a few books that are worth reading:



Only Two Religions!

I don’t know if you know this but there are only two religions in the entire world.

You might say I’m nuts.  There are hundreds if not thousands!

wearing masksBut there is one religion that likes to put on hundreds if not thousands of different masks on, and so ultimately there are only two: the religion of Human Achievement and the religion of Divine Accomplishment.

You see Islam, Mormonism, Buddhism, Catholicism, Judaism and every single religion that you have ever heard of, ultimately teaches some form of a works-based salvation. They say that you have to be a little more good than bad in order to make it to heaven. These religions encourage you to hand God a resume when you face Him one day. The resume will be filled with all your accomplishments. It will list everything you’ve done for other people, every penny you’ve given to charity and every good deed you’ve done. God will look over this resume and say, “Good job! You’ve made it into heaven”.

The problem is that if you were to enter into heaven because of a resume based on your accomplishments God would get no glory; you would be the one who gets all the praise. In fact, Ephesians 2:9 would say that salvation is not of works lest you patting-self-on-back-1should boast! Genesis chapter one shows us that God created the entire universe including you. Everything He created is designed to bring Him glory. The problem is that sin has entered the world, and from birth we all have replaced exalting God with exalting ourselves. Everything we do from birth is geared towards bringing us glory and bringing praise to ourselves. We all have a throne in our hearts that God should be sitting and reigning on, but instead we are born with ourselves sitting on it. We are so used to it we don’t even notice it to the point where we all think that our resumes are good enough to get us into heaven.

my mom thinks im coolOf course we are going to think that we are good people! Of course my mom is going to tell me I’m a good person! But what does your Creator think? He says in Romans 3:23 that we all have sinned and fall short of His glory. He also says in Romans 6:23 that the wages of sin is death. So if we stand before God and start listing accomplishments or hand Him a resume we might as well slap Jesus in the face because God is going to look at the resume and say, “I killed my only Son because you were not good enough to get to me!”

And that’s where the only other religion comes in.

The religion of Divine Accomplishment. God saw your situation, and decided that since man was so sinful and could not save himself, that He would come Himself and take the form of a man. He humbled himself, spent nine months in a womb he created, grew up with every temptation you and I face every day, but without sinning. He then died on the cross for our sins, and then rose from the dead and defeated death. He made it possible for human beings to stand before God one day and not hand Him a resume and condemn themselves further, but rather, tell God that they deserve His wrath but have placed their faith and trust in the work that Jesus did on their behalf on the cross and through His resurrection.

You see we need someone to be a substitute for us because no matter how hard we try, we can never bridge the gap between God and us. And the substitute can’t be merely a human.  It must be God Himself.

Do you see the difference between Christianity and every other religion?

Source


The Greatest Story Ever Told

Greatest StoryGod’s goal in all of His creative and redemptive work is to bring glory to Himself (Isa 43:7; cf. Eph 1:6, 12, 14).

Read more


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?

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

Source


Our Time is Short

Read: Recommitting Your Life To God and Jesus Christ – Restoration and Forgiveness With God and Jesus Christ (Updated Version)


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 Booklet
Jesus is the Savior of the world. Discover who Jesus is today in this series.

About Christianity
Know Jesus Christ and your life will be transformed


Truth2Freedom Blog Disclaimer

This post was originally posted on:

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(Alternative News, Apologetics, Current Events, Commentary, Opinion, Theology, Discernment Blog, Devotionals, Christian Internet Evangelism & Missions Activist).

“A simple layman armed with Scripture is to be believed above a pope or a council without it…” – Martin Luther

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