Daily Archives: August 10, 2015

The wonderful gift of God

Possessing the Treasure

by Mike Ratliff

8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; (Ephesians 2:8 NASB)

What is saving faith? From where does it come?  Is it something within natural man that everyone is born with and so can bring to life through self will or self effort or is it, as the Bible clearly says, that man is dead in trespasses and sins and, therefore, this saving faith is a gift from God and our salvation is His work from beginning to end? 

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“Dr” Brown weighs in to Brian Houston & Carl Lentz controversy

ChurchWatch Central

Dr Brown writes,

Hillsong, Homosexuality, Internet Rumors and Spiritual Clarity

Brian Houston’s answer about gay members at Hillsong was a little fuzzy. (BrianHouston.com)

There’s a lot we can learn from this week’s viral internet accusation that Carl Lentz, pastor of Hillsong NYC, allowed an openly homosexual couple to participate in and help lead a church choir.

The report was posted on Saturday, and by the next day, everywhere I turned, people were asking, “Is this true?” (My ministry team then reached out to Hillsong NYC for clarification.)

Others, not waiting for verification, believed the worst and went on the attack, not just blasting Hillsong in New York City but also across the globe.

On Wednesday, Brian Houston, leader of Hillsong and Carl Lentz’s pastor, issued two statements.

In the first statement, he affirmed that Hillsong held to the clear scriptural teaching on the subject of homosexuality and…

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God’s presents or presence — What do we desire more?

Unfathomable Grace

Consider our youthful fascination with the tooth fairly. We do not know that much about him or her, and frankly that does not concern us in the slightest. We do not bother her, and she does not bother us. We do not talk to her, and she does not communicate to us. If we could continue to have it our way, we would keep the relationship simple and distant. We would lose a tooth; we would put it under our pillow; and all we would expect in return would be to wake up in the morning and be a bit wealthier than when we went to bed. When it comes to the tooth fairy, we do not fancy her presence, but we sure do delight in her presents. Sadly, some of us imagine such a distant and uncomplicated relationship with the Creator of the universe. We don’t want him close. we don’t want him communicating. We just want…

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Greear’s “Gaining by Losing” – A Review

The Reformed Reader

Gaining By Losing One of the newer church planting/missions book on the market is J. D. Greear’s Gaining by Losing (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2015).  The book doesn’t give the details of church planting, but it does tell established churches some basic principles for and motivations to plant churches.  There are two main parts to this 253 page book: first, a sort of introduction; second, Greear’s ten “plumb lines” for sending/planting.  There are also two appendices that give more detail about missions and church planting.

The Good:
There are a some strengths to this book.  First, it is clearly gospel centered.  The main point of the book is that the gospel is central in the Christian life and in church planting/missions.  It was also a good reminder for Christians and churches to be outward focused; Greear clearly stated over and over that churches must be evangelizing at home and abroad.

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Christian, You are the Light of the World


lightbasketDon’t do that.

Right after Jesus identifies His disciples as the salt of the earth, He identifies them as the light of the world:

You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. -Matthew 5:14-16

Just as our being identified as a preservative agent (salt) presupposes a morally-decaying world, our being identified as light presupposes a dark world. This is a primary theme of Scripture – that Jesus Christ is the light of the world, and as His children and He is in us, we are identified as the…

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Are there still apostles in the church today?

Reformedontheweb's Blog

At the outset, we should note that by “apostles” we do not simply mean “sent ones” in the general sense. Rather, we are speaking of those select individuals directly appointed and authorized by Jesus Christ to be His immediate representatives on earth. In this sense, we are speaking of “capital A” apostles – such as the Twelve and the apostle Paul.

It is these type of “apostles” that Paul speaks of in Ephesians 2:20; 3:5; 4:11 and in 1 Corinthians 12:29–30. This is important because, especially in Ephesians 4 and in 1 Corinthians 12–14, Paul references apostleship within the context of the charismatic gifts. If “apostleship” has ceased, it gives us grounds to consider the possibility that other offices/gifts have ceased as well. If the apostles were unique, and the period in which they ministered was unique, then it follows that the gifts that characterized the apostolic age were also…

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Daily Devotionals: (10th Aug.) God in Pursuit of Man

thinkGOSPEL blog

Reading: Genesis 3:9

The “sound of the Lord God walking in the garden” did not reveal the purpose of God (it was general revelation); it is the question “Where art thou?” that shows us God’s intention. “Where art thou?” ought to have been the cry of Adam in search of the God he had so grievously offended. But no, it was God who came seeking (Luke 19:10).

God did not need to know where Adam was geographically, so this is not a call for information. God has not lost man; man has lost God. It is quite probable that the question “Where art thou?” was asked as God looked Adam in the eye through the leaves of the trees. God seeks men not because they are gone from His knowledge, but because they are gone from His communion. This is not a call of chastisement: Adam at this time is…

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Did Carl Lentz mislead James White of Alpha Omega Ministries?

ChurchWatch Central

For decades we have watched Hillsong act underhanded to Christians who question their practices and towards media who do their best to accurately report on the Hillsong movement. We are very concerned seeing similar games played by Hillsong behind the scenes to respected ministers and leaders.

Dr. James White is a respected Christian man in the field of discernment and apologetics. He sometimes weighs in on important church issues and recently decided to tackle the controversy surrounding Hillsong’s vague stance on homosexuality.
James WhiteWe wish to highlight what James White recently said on his show titled ‘Seer Stones, Hillsong Church, and KJVOnly Deceitfulness’:

“So when someone says, “Jesus never addressed this issue,” they’re just ignorant. They just don’t know what they are talking about. And Carl says, “I know that. I agree. And it was a combination of my not speaking clearly enough and them not following up with what I…

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A Look at Dreams and Visions

m'kayla's korner

I wanted to take a closer look at what the bible has to say in the areas of dreams and visions. These experiences have become quite popular over the years with many people  who claim their dreams are from God. Others claim the ability to interpret the dreams and produce many resources and conduct expensive classes to teach the ability to do the same.  Some will go so far as to provide impartations at the conclusion of classes through the laying on of hands so that the attendees will receive the gift of dreams and visions with the ability to interpret same.

I have always been a big dreamer. I dream almost every night and some of those dreams seem to go on for long periods of time. They are filled with all sorts of things, people, some living, some not, places, animals, colors, probably much like you dream. Some…

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How to know if you are a real Christian. Or, True Grace Distinguished from the Experience of Devils.

Regeneration, Repentance and Reformation

Written by Jonathan Edwards
Dated September 28, 1752



“You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that-and shudder.”
–James 2:19

How do you know if you belong to God? We see in these words what some people depend on as an evidence of their acceptance with God. Some people think that they are all right before God if they are not as bad as some evil person. Other people point to their family history or church membership to show that God approves of them. There is an evangelism program in common use that asks people certain questions. One of the questions is, “Suppose you were to die today. Why should God let you into his heaven?” A very common response is, “I believe in God.” Apparently the apostle James knew people who said the same thing: I know I am in God’s favor, because I…

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Possessing the Treasure

by Mike Ratliff

42 They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. (Acts 2:42 NASB)

Most of the churches I attended in my life had something called “fellowship” and some even had  space dedicated to it called “fellowship hall” or something similar. We had time after “church” that was called “fellowship time” that always seemed to be a relaxed time of visiting together and just being friendly with each other outside of normal “church stuff.” In the New Testament the word that is translated as “fellowship” as in Acts 2:42 (above) is κοινωνια or koinōnia, which Greek scholar Kenneth Wuest defined as, “joint participation in a common interest or activity.” Instead of simply a friendly time of visiting together or a coming together for relaxation, κοινωνίᾳ, then, is a partnership, a sharing of something…

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