Understanding and Interpreting the Commandments
The law of God must not just be the rule of our obedience, but also the reason of it. We must not simply obey the law, but obey it because the Lord requires it; we must do what it says out of love for God; the love of God must be the fountain, the impulsive, and the efficient cause of all our obedient to the law (see 1 John).
Why Should We Study Systematic Theology?
The unity of the church demands it. True ecumenicity is not possible apart from robust theological fidelity. Church unity requires doctrinal agreement: “There is one body and one Spirit-just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call-one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all” (Eph. 4:4-6). How can we contend for the faith once for all delivered to the saints (Jude 3) if we do not have a deep understanding of that faith?
False Narratives of Christian Leaders Caught in Abuse
The most significant catastrophe in all of this is that false narratives declare to victims that the horrors of their abuse are not nearly as significant as preserving the all important reputation and career of another Christian leader. These individuals find themselves once again exploited and abused by offenders needing to satisfy distorted self-obsessions and who don’t care for anyone made in the image of the God they claim to worship.
A Grievous Ruin
I wonder if the church that has just hired Tchividjian understands the peril in which they have placed him. I wonder also if they understand what hiring as a minister a newly confessed adulterer broadcasts to their church and community. Do they understand what this action communicates about the gravity of adultery and divorce? Do they understand what this action communicates about sin and repentance?
Virgin Nation: Sexual Purity and American Adolescence
As a confessional Christian, I have to wonder where the church fits in to all this movement-based sexual purity. Moslener demonstrates how purity becomes the answer offered to the problem that needs to be cured. While Jesus is presented as necessary to this “personal transformation,” the language used sounds more like a psychological issue for personal fulfillment or even locking in a happy marriage with a great sex life, rather than an offense to a holy God in whose image we were created. It’s the all too familiar rhetoric of the prosperity gospel
Seeking a Foundation in the Midst of Pastoral Failures
John says that the message that Jesus brought was not, at its core, a message about you and me. It’s a message that starts with God. This means that the anchor of your life, of reality, of your existence isn’t your pastor. Yes, he is important, he is used by God in incredible ways to edify and build you up (thank God for him!) but he isn’t your rock. He isn’t your salvation. He isn’t the one in whom you trust or rest on.
Killing Sin by the Spirit, Post 3 (Get Grace!)
Lots of people will give you lot of ideas about how to be more filled with the Holy Spirit and how to get more grace. They might point you to to the latest best-selling Christian book. Years ago, it would have been The Prayer of Jabez or A Purpose-Driven Life. Today, it might be some book on prayer circles or a Jesus Calling book. But God has not made accessing His grace and the power of His Spirit a secret, nor does He want us seeking Him outside of His word and apart from His people. I suspect what some people want from these trendy fads – perhaps what most people want – is a short-cut formula to a life filled with happiness and free from struggle. God nowhere promises us that!
Europe’s Sinister Expansion of Euthanasia
What’s noteworthy about euthanasia in Europe, though, has been its tendency to expand, once the taboo against physician-aided death was breached in favor of more malleable concepts such as “patient autonomy.” “What is presented at first as a right is going to become a kind of obligation,” Belgian law professor Étienne Montero has warned.
Popular radio talk show host Janet Mefferd has put together the common chain of events that more often than not come about after a Big Christian Name finds himself caught up in controversy. The picture Janet paints is not a pretty one; nevertheless her assessment is dead on. A must read. In recent years, evangelicalism has […]
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by Erin Davis
The trouble with labels is we tend to believe them. In fact, we obsess over them. Eventually they cover over who we really are. We end up confused about why we have value and become desperate for people to see the real us. But Jesus is in the business of replacing our labels.
by Paula Hendricks
It’s too late for me to try to encourage my younger self walking down that cracked sidewalk with cracked insides, but maybe I can encourage you.
by Leanna Shepard
When God confronts you with your sin and starts chipping away at your pride, you’re not being whacked and whittled down to size. You’re being lovingly crafted into the image of His Son.
Thirty years ago I was an atheist. But the type of atheist I was would not have recognized what is called the new atheism. I was not angry, nor did it bother me what religious people believed.
In this recording, apologist William Lane Craig looks into the origins of aggressive atheism.
Our guest today is Love for the Truth Radio’s host, Cindy Hartline. Cindy is a radio host, Bible researcher, teacher, author, conference host, speaker and ministry founder who came to know the Lord in 1977 and has served in various churches and ministries since. Along with her husband Richard, the Hartlines founded Seed Of Hope […]
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Are we free to ask if we’re really free in America? The short answer to that one is, thankfully: Yes. Here I am asking the question, after all, and here you are reading (and presumably considering) it. So yeah, at a basic level, yes, we are indeed free to openly ask if we’re really free […]
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Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole […]
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Ever been called a big, bad meanie for sharing Truth publicly? Ever been called disruptive, divisive, unkind or unloving for taking a clear, public stand on a culturally controversial issue that’s addressed in detail within the pages of Scripture? Have you ever been pressured to be silent after speaking up in such a manner? Have you ever been persecuted […]
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Today we’re talking about something that is finally just beginning to make the mainstream headlines: Increased Christian prosecution. We’re checking in with William J. Murray, a strong advocate for persecuted Christians in America and around the world. Murray’s Religious Freedom Coalition is a non-profit organization that takes on on issues related to aiding Christians in Islamic and Communist nations. Check […]
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Roma Downey and Mark Burnett have asked a number of theologians to help consult and promote their miniseries, The Bible. These “experts” are well known for Scripture twisting and presenting a false gospel to millions of sheep. Along with high-profile names like Rick Warren, Joel Osteen and T.D. Jakes tied to the project, we’ve learned […]
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John Lanagan of My Word Like Fire brings to light what most people are unaware of: the occult origin of Alcoholics Anonymous. A.A. is not a Christian organization, brethren: “[He] knew little of psychics and had heard nothing before this of my adventures.”–A.A. co-founder Bill Wilson, from his official A.A. biography, Pass It On, pg.277 […]
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We all continually fall short of the glory of God and fail to be who He wants us to be. With sexual sin rampant in the world, all of us are in a constant spiritual battle to please God rather than feed our flesh. Word is coming out that several Christian leaders contact information was […]
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In our fallen world, man continues to seek answers outside the truth and hope that is in God’s Word. No, we will not be promoting or attending. From the Resch Center Event page: “Theresa has been a practicing medium for 10 years and is a certified medium with the Forever-Family Foundation, an organization dedicated to […]
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Recently I received a query about which English translation of the 9th article of the Apostles’ Creed is correct: “a holy catholic church” or the holy catholic church”? As far as I can tell the evidence is overwhelmingly on the side of translating the received Latin text of the Creed as “the holy catholic church.” The […]
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U.S. Catholics Open to Non-Traditional Families
According to a study conducted by the Pew Research Center:
45% of Americans Are Catholic or Connected to Catholicism
When Pope Francis arrives in the U.S. for the World Meeting of Families later this month, he will find a Catholic public that is remarkably accepting of a variety of non-traditional families, according to a new Pew Research Center survey that provides an in-depth look at American Catholics’ views on family life, sexuality and Catholic identity.
Nine-in-ten U.S. Catholics say a household headed by a married mother and father is an ideal situation for bringing up children. But the survey shows that large majorities think other kinds of families – those headed by parents who are single, divorced, unmarried or gay – are OK for raising children, too.
Demystifying the Popular Prophecies About Jewish Sabbaths and Blood Moons
Gaylene Goodroad of Herescope has written a book review of David James’ new book “Biblical Guide to Shemitah and the Blood Moons: Discerning Popular ‘Prophecies’ in the Light of God’s Word.” In the book, Dave James lays to rest the notion that Jonathan Cahn (The Harbinger; Shemitah) and John Hagee (Blood Moons) are modern day prophets, as some people believe. In fact, both these men are false prophets.
The book, The Mystery of The Shemitah, by Jonathan Cahn—a runaway sequel to his bestselling book, The Harbinger—has nearly rivaled the success of its predecessor—and has proponents of these ancient mysteries eagerly anticipating the economic destruction of the United States this September (when the “Shemitah” cycles end), in fulfillment of the apocalyptic and calamitous judgments, predicted in the so-called hidden end-time Jewish prophecies, Sabbaths (Shemitahs, pronounced sh’mee’-tah), and current Blood Moon Tetrad (aligned with Jewish feast days), detailed in Cahn’s books.
Jonathan Cahn warns of pending “Shemitah” judgments coming to America
on Sid Roth’s television program, It’s Supernatural
There is extraordinary publicity ramping up over the dire events that are predicted to happen the last few weeks in September this year, 2015.Charisma, for example, just ran an article titled “10 Things That Are Going to Happen Within 15 Days of the End of the Shemitah,” which attempts to prophetically connect the Jade Helm military exercises, selected United Nations conferences, and even the Pope’s upcoming visit to America events to the Blood Moons prophecies that have been popularized by men such as Jonathan Cahn, Mark Biltz and John Hagee.
Paul’s Words to the Ephesians
The beginning of Ephesians 5 is striking. Paul writes to former idolaters and fornicators, reminding them of their new life in Christ. He opens with a call to holiness. Believers must “be imitators of God,” walking “in love.” To walk in love means that believers must live making personal sacrifices to build up others spiritually. But there is more. The Christian life is not simply “Yes” (it is a ‘yes’), but there is also “No,” for some things are so opposed to divine love that they must be completely avoided. In the same way that a father who loves his children will necessarily refuse to mock and abuse them, so the Christian who truly “walks in love” (v. 2) will refuse to embrace practices that inherently unloving. This is the unbreakable logic behind the next paragraph, Ephesians 5:3-14. The Christian who walks in love will live so that “sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness” is “not even … named among you, as is proper for saints” (v. 3). Such a life abstains from “filthiness,” “foolish talk,” and “crude joking,” because thanksgiving to God fills his lips (v. 4). Indeed, such an immoral life is not only incompatible with true Christian love, but those who live in such a way have “no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God” (v. 5). There will be folks who minimize sexual immorality and try to promote it–even to Christians. They may say minimize God’s anger against such sins. But believers must not be deceived “with empty words,” “for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the children of disobedience” (v. 6). ((Peter O’Brien comments, “It is all too easy for believers to be influenced by the surrounding world and to succumb to its ways of thinking and behaving. The result is that what is acceptable to the culture of the day becomes acceptable in the church. This is particularly true in contemporary Western society in the area of sexual morality.” The Letter to the Ephesians, PNTC (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 1999), 364.))
Moreover, the Christian should be so committed to abstaining from sexual immorality that they make no partnership in the debauchery of the sexually immoral. “Therefore do not become partners with them,” Paul says. This life of sin is “darkness,” and though the Ephesian church had formerly lived in this way, “now you are light in the Lord,” the Apostle tells them (v. 8). So Christians should walk, “as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true)” (vv. 8-9). As Calvin observes, such walking in light is done “when [Christians] do not live according to their own will, but devote themselves entirely to obedience to God; when they undertake nothing but by his command.” ((Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, and Colossians (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 1965), 200.)) Christians should utterly avoid “darkness” and prove what pleases God with careful discernment. Instead of involving ourselves in such “unfruitful works of darkness,” we should expose them for the emptiness and iniquity that they are (v. 11). Again, Calvin helpfully explains, “It is not enough that we do not, of our own accord, undertake anything wicked. We must beware of joining or assisting those who do wrong. In short, we must abstain from all fellowship or consent, or advice, or approbation, or help of any sort; for in all these ways we have fellowship.” ((Ibid.)) By calling such works “unfruitful,” Paul rightly identifies them as destructive in nature. In verse 12, Paul’s words are especially poignant as they call the Christian to avoid all association with the immoral culture of the world:
“For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret.”
Paul is likely referring to what we would call “orgies” today. ((See F. F. Bruce, The Epistles to the Colossians, to Philemon, and to the Ephesians, NICNT (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 1984), 375 and O’Brien, Ephesians, 371.)) Think “night life” and “clubs” and the libertine immorality celebrated all around us in the urbane and sophisticated alleys of the world. Paul says we don’t have to participate or even know what the world is doing in its sin. Our lives of holiness are adequate in themselves to expose the wickedness of the world: “But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, for anything that becomes visible is light” (vv. 13-14). We are totally to abstain from such lives.
In light of such a passage, I submit to you this evidence that the contemporary worship scene of evangelical life is now utterly secularized (if you need the words, go here):
Larry and Alice Parker wanted God’s best for their family of six. But their oldest son suffered from diabetes and regularly received insulin injections. When Daniel Badilla held special services in their Barstow, California church, the Parkers “walked the aisle” with 11-year-old Wesley. They sincerely sought a healing miracle. The preacher pronounced Wesley healed. Larry joyfully entered, “Praise God our son is healed!” into Wesley’s insulin log. But Wesley’s next insulin test indicated differently. Yet, by faith, the Parkers claimed the healing and blamed the unexpected insulin results on Satan.
Shortly afterward, Wesley began to suffer the nausea and severe stomach cramps that predictably indicated low insulin. Larry and Alice postponed medical treatment and sought God’s continued healing power through prayer. In spite of their sincere faith, Wesley fell into a coma and died three days later. Newsweek magazine reported the tragedy nationally (cf. “The Exorcist,” Newsweek [September 10, 1973], 31).
A lawyer in Indiana later shared a letter with me that he received from Larry Parker (with Larry’s permission). Years had passed since Wesley’s death. During that time, Larry struggled for the truth and found it only as he sought full scriptural counsel. He wrote:
I am writing this letter with the hope and prayer that somehow I can share with you a lesson that I have learned at great expense. It is only by the grace of God, and the never-failing, all-encompassing love of Jesus Christ our Lord that my wife and I have been able to come through this trial. . . . We wanted to see our son healed, but went about it the wrong way. It was during our trial for involuntary manslaughter and felony child abuse that my wife felt she could tell me what the Lord had shown her. She told me that our love, because it was lacking, failed Wesley, and that God’s word says, “Love never faileth” (1 Corinthians 13:8).
I knew then that we had allowed what we thought was faith to cause us to forget to love. As we prayed for Wesley and saw him in obvious pain, our love for him wanted to give him the insulin that we knew would stop his suffering. However, we felt that would be a lack of faith, and would cost him his healing. We learned that our actions were contrary to what the Scriptures say. God’s Word says that love is greater than faith (1 Corinthians 13:8).
The trouble lies with the fact that we confuse faith and belief. We think that if we believe hard enough, the healing will take place. We tie healing to some ability on our part to believe enough, i.e., to have enough faith. To withhold medicine, especially life-giving medicine, is a very presumptuous act on our part that actually hinders the Spirit of God from His work. My prayer is that you will consider these thoughts at length, for they have come at an incomprehensible price that no one would voluntarily pay. (Cf. Larry and Alice Parker, We Let Our Son Die [Irvine, CA: Harvest House Publishers, 1980]).
I am deeply moved by Larry’s honesty, not to mention the excruciating pain he suffered. The issue could not be more real, for the lives of loved ones are at stake. God can, has, and does heal, but always for His own purposes, in His own way, and at His appointed time. We cannot force God to heal nor can we humanly manufacture a genuine healing experience.
Tragically, our world offers very convincing counterfeits of the real thing. Even more tragic, in our eagerness to see God work, we as Christians sometimes flock to anyone who claims a miraculous healing. In doing so, we trivialize genuine divine healing—we accept man’s deceitful illusions in place of God’s divine intervention.
An honest and complete examination of the defining Scriptures (Isa 53:4–12; 1 Cor 12:9, 28, 30; James 5:13–20; 1 Pet 2:24–25) demonstrates that there is no biblical basis for a ministry of miraculous healing directly through a human healer today. That ceased with the apostolic age. Alleged contemporary faith-healing ministries fall embarrassingly short of the biblical pattern—in purpose, time, scope, and intensity.
On the other hand, God can at times act in such ways that only His direct intervention is an adequate explanation for physical healing. Even so, healing by God’s direct intervention is not instantaneous, nor always complete. Our Lord’s unmistakable touch is not brought about by any demand, gimmick, method, or plea from a would-be healer. It is God’s response to the earnest prayer of a believer that heals a child of the King for our Lord’s glory.
Today’s post is adapted from Dr. Mayhue’s longer article on healing which can be read here: The Gifts of Healing.
The post The Gifts of Healing appeared first on The Master’s Seminary.
The return of Tullian Tchividjian to a ministry role is scarcely surprising, though the speed would no doubt make even Jimmy Swaggart green with envy. It is the logical outcome of the culture of celebrity which has been consciously cultivated most disappointingly by some in reformed evangelical circles over the last decade. Those who have decried the critics of celebrity culture as hypocrites because they too are known outside of their local neighbourhood really missed the point. Celebrity is not just about being well known. It is also about developing informal and formal extra-ecclesiastical structures of authority (and thus of accountability, or lack thereof) which focus on specific personalities and subserve the needs of those personalities. Thus, for example, the faux intimacy of twitter helps build a popular, informal base of support. Twitter followers come to think they really know the individual. They then believe his propaganda, conflate message with messenger, and can ultimately even subordinate message to messenger. This rapidly morphs into an angry bodyguard when the beloved celebrity is threatened…
The longer I lead and the more I see, the more I’m convinced that character ultimately determines a leader’s true success.
Moral failure takes out more leaders than it should. But real success is deeper than just avoiding the ditch.
So where does the deepest level of leadership success come from? Ultimately it doesn’t come from a leader’s skill set; it comes from a leader’s character.
Your character determines your true capacity.
Why is that?
Character—far more than skill set—determines how deeply and passionately people follow you. A leader with character is a leader worth following.
A leader who lacks integrity may have followers, but he’ll never gain their full trust or their hearts.
After all, we all know highly skilled leaders who are never truly embraced; they’re merely tolerated.
Character, more than anything else, draws the hearts of people to your leadership.
The greatest leaders are highly skilled people whom other people love to be around. They’re people others admire, not just because they’re smart, but because they’re the kind of person other people want to become.
So how do you know whether your character passes the test?
In my view, the greatest leaders I know pass all five of these character tests many others fail.
1. Handling success
Often people will ask you how you handled your last failure. And that’s not an entirely bad question.
But how you handle your success is a far greater test.
Failure is, by nature, humiliating. It crushes pride.
Success does the opposite. It naturally inflates a leader’s pride. It’s intoxicating.
It takes both great self-awareness and great self-control to handle success. To not let the reports of your own brilliance or accomplishments go to your head.
The very best leaders remain humble, grounded and even self-deprecating. They don’t claim every perk of office and regularly help people who can’t help them back.
They avoid the gravitational pull of self-focus and, instead, stay focused on the mission before them and before everyone.
The ultimate test of a leader’s character is not failure, it’s success.
The post 5 Character Tests Every Great Leader Passes appeared first on ChurchLeaders.com.
One major mistake churches make is not engaging the youth. This is one of the reasons college students are leaving the church. They do not feel engaged and involved in the ministry of the entire church. I think we recognize this truth, but we rarely discuss and write about how to change this. If your church is struggling to engage the young people of your church, this blog is for you. I want to share a few tips on how to engage the young people in your church.
1. Create a regular youth service. This worked at a church that I served at several years ago. Once a month, the youth would direct the service. They would lead the music, preach, usher, etc. They completely directed the service. This allows the teens and college students to be engaged in the church.
2. Use them in weekly worship. Create opportunities in the music ministry for the youth to use their gifts. Teens and college students are talented, and many of them are musical. Use that. Find places for them to serve. Add service opportunities for them in the band, the choir, the AV, the usher ministry, etc.
3. Recruit them to serve in the AV. Teens are extremely gifted when it comes to technology. They can pick up AV as quickly as anyone, but are so rarely recruited to be used in the AV department of the church.
4. Ask for their opinions. Church leadership should value the opinion of the youth in their church. Pastor, create an event for the church, and ask the teens and college students for advice on how the event should be run. This will energize the young people of your church.
5. Give leadership away to them. This is the biggest area where church leaders are not willing to budge. Give leadership away to them. Allow them to dream about what they would love to see in their church, and give them the resources to get there.
The post 5 Ways to Engage Students in the Local Church appeared first on ChurchLeaders.com.
READING: Ezekiel 22-23
TEXTS AND APPLICATION: Who will stand in the gap between a wicked country and a righteous God, calling that country to righteousness? That question arises from today’s reading about a time when God could find no one to take this position.
While the text refers to the coming fall of Jerusalem, the parallels with our nation are again striking (Ezek. 22:23-29). The ruling class were extorting the poor. Priests were ignoring the holy and disregarding God. Government officials were hurting others for personal gain. False prophets were speaking words for God that God did not give them. It’s no wonder the people lived in open immorality. Bad leaders usually result in bad followers — especially when nobody will stand up for right.
Ezek. 22:30-31 I searched for a man among them who would repair the wall and stand in the gap before Me on behalf of the land so that I might not destroy it, but I found no one. So I have poured out My indignation on them and consumed them with the fire of My fury. I have brought their actions down on their own heads.” This is the declaration of the Lord God.
God could find no one to take the lead. No leaders would make righteous choices. No priests would intercede. No prophets would speak truth. Just as God could not find ten righteous people in Sodom (Gen. 18:22-33), He could not find anyone to stand for righteousness in Jerusalem in Ezekiel’s day.
Nobody would stand in the gap. Nobody. So, God would bring judgment down.
Standing in the gap when no one else will is hard. It’s lonely. It’s dangerous. It’s costly. It’s frightening sometimes. It’s agonizing. And it’s right.
As I read these words, I wonder if we believers have stood in the gap enough. To stand in the gap is to be different, to be holy, to speak truth. But, it’s hard to stand in the gap when you lapse into the gutters of apathy and unholiness. It’s impossible to stand in the gap when you’re falling into mediocrity. If we don’t stand in the gap, we have assured ourselves of God’s judgment.
Are you standing in the gap for righteousness today? Or falling into the ruts of the ways of the world? Am I standing or falling?
PRAYER: “God, give me courage to stand in the gap, even if no one stands with me. I don’t want to fall into the ways of the world.”
Several times in my teaching career, I’ve asked graduate students to give me descriptions of the worst teachers they’ve had. During those same years, I’ve watched leaders, discussed leadership and read leadership books to learn characteristics of good and bad leaders. Perhaps not surprisingly, I’ve seen that some of the characteristics of bad teachers and bad leaders are the same.
1. They don’t communicate well. Sometimes they just don’t communicate; they expect others to read their minds and meet their unstated expectations. At other times, they are simply boring when they do try to communicate.
2. They make others feel dumb. They don’t miss many opportunities to point out when others are wrong. Nor do they miss a chance to show others how much they know. Eventually, no one speaks up around them—and the worst teachers and leaders are too unaware to recognize they are often the problem.
3. They’re disorganized. Maybe they’re just so busy that it’s hard to stay on top of everything, or maybe they’re just plain disorganized. Either way, they usually can’t figure out why others struggle with following their unclear—and often changing—directions.
4. They’re disconnected. Many are the students and staff members who are frustrated by teachers and leaders who are nowhere to be found. When the teacher or leader fails to build relationships, those he teaches or leads become means to an end—not people created in the image of God.
5. They’re lazy. It’s clear from their lack of passion that they lost their focus and energy years ago. They know nothing new, and their teaching/leading has not changed in decades. They may think others don’t realize they’re just “going through the motions,” but they’re kidding no one.
6. They are arrogant. You know what this trait looks like, even in Christian organizations. These teachers and leaders always talk about themselves. Any sense of humility seems to be forced; in fact, others see it as only another way to point out how good they are.
7. They’re critical. Not only do they criticize others, but even more importantly, they almost never praise others. The only time you hear from them is when they want to correct something.
8. They don’t know what they’re talking about. Some teachers don’t know their material well, and some leaders don’t know their field well. In some cases, both have been given their positions for some reason other than their know-how—and it’s obvious.
9. They don’t enjoy their work. People who spend time with them learn quickly that they have no joy in their day-to-day tasks. Their smiles are forced and their laughter is infrequent.
10. Their Christian walk is debatable. That is, some who know them best question the depth of their walk with God—primarily because the leaders they are in public are not always the people they are in private. Needless to say, this problem is, among all these listed here, the most serious one for Christian teachers and leaders.
Recognizing that all of us probably show some of these characteristics at times, what other characteristics would you add to this list?
The post 10 Descriptors of Bad Leaders and Bad Teachers appeared first on ChurchLeaders.com.
In preparing counseling lectures about anger, I came across some horrifying statistics.
- 32% of people say that they have a close friend of family member who has trouble containing their anger.
- 12% say they have trouble containing their own anger.
- Only 13% of that 12% have sought help with their anger problems.
- 28% say they worry about how angry they sometimes feel.
- 20% have ended a relationship or friendship with someone when they saw how they behaved when they were angry.
- 64% strongly agree or agree that people in general are getting angrier.
- 45% regularly lose their temper at work.
- 64% of officeworkers have had office rage.
- 27% of nurses have been attacked at work.
- 33% of Britons are not on speaking terms with their neighbors.
- 80% of drivers say they have been involved in road-rage incidents.
- 25% have committed an act of road rage themselves.
- Every nine seconds in America, a woman is assaulted or beaten.
- 56% of fatal auto accidents are caused by road rage or aggressive driving.
- 72% of internet users admit to having suffered net rage.
- 50% of us have reacted to computer problems by hitting our PC, hurling parts of it around, screaming or abusing our colleagues (which is simply one more argument for an Apple Mac).
- 65% of people are more likely to express anger over the phone compared to 26% in writing and 9% face to face.
The saddest thing about angry people is that they are not only destroying others, they are damaging themselves.
- Aggressive personalities are more susceptible to heart attacks and clogged arteries.
- An angry person with a history of heart problems is five times more likely to suffer a heart attack than someone who is not.
- The risk of stroke is more than three-fold in the couple of hours following any outburst.
In the US, nearly one in 12 adolescents — close to six million young people — meet criteria for a diagnosis of Intermittent Explosive Disorder (IED), “a syndrome characterized by persistent uncontrollable anger attacks not accounted for by other mental disorders.”
- 66% of U.S. adolescents have experienced an anger attack in their lives that involved threatening violence or violent behavior.
- More than 1 in 3 high school students, both male and female, have been involved in a physical fight.
- 1 in 9 of those students have been injured badly enough to need medical treatment.
- 1 in 3 teens, both male and female, have experienced some sort of violent behavior from a dating partner.
I’ll come back to this subject with some analysis of where anger really comes from, as well as hope for change, both for the angry person and their victims. In the meantime, some heavenly wisdom:
But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, ‘Raca!’ shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be in danger of hell fire (Matt. 5:22).
So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God. (James 1:19-20).
Do not hasten in your spirit to be angry, for anger rests in the bosom of fools (Eccl. 7:9).
Make no friendship with an angry man, and with a furious man do not go (Prov. 22:24).
I’ve recently entered a new life stage – the stage of realizing how valuable my parents’ advice is. It wasn’t an easy road to get here, but I made it eventually.
For my dad, this transition means he gets sought out every few months with a big life issue. (Unfortunately for him, I haven’t yet exited the life stage of dramatizing every bump in the road.) I call him in a state of subdued anxiety, or if it’s really bad just invite myself over, and we have a long talk over dinner.
He’s started developing a new set of dad-isms fit specifically for these occasions. One of the first was, “Is this a time when you want my opinion, or are you just looking for me to listen?” Before long, though, he had landed on a zinger that I now know is always coming. I work myself into a frenzy about a frustration or grievance I have, laying out very clearly an explanation of how someone else has wronged me or isn’t living up to my expectations. He listens calmly, then pauses, rests his chin in his hand, and says, “Mm-hmm. So, what does that say about you?”
To suggest that my frustration or disappointment with someone else could point to an issue with my heart? What a concept.
Getting to the Heart of the Matter
Of course, he’s usually right. Underlying my disappointed expectation may be a whole slew of self-centered attitudes: a critical spirit, a sense of entitlement, a refusal to offer grace, an obsession with outward appearances — the list goes on. In these moments of exasperation, my deepest motivation is certainly not a sense of humility, which seeks to honor another person and the Lord more fully.
At first I thought my dad’s line was just a pop psychology nugget that happened to relate to my situation. But the more I’ve thought about it (and the more times the question has been thrown at me), the more I realized that Jesus asked this of people all the time. When the Pharisees or the disciples brought him a criticism or a crafty question, he used their own accusation to expose a deeper issue they were ignoring.
When the Pharisees questioned him for healing on the Sabbath, Jesus asked why they were more concerned that he follow their rules about working than that he do good and restore brokenness.
When the disciples compared their roles in the kingdom and asked if one of them would be privileged to live to see Jesus’ return, he asked why it was even important to them, when their focus should be on following him however he called.
When Martha asked Jesus to point out Mary’s laziness in ignoring rules of hospitality, he turned Martha’s gaze to her own anxiety, which was causing her to miss out on fellowship with him.
Jesus doesn’t let us get away with pointing out other’s failings without self-examination first.
And then there’s his “take out the log in your own eye” analogy that really drives the point home. Jesus doesn’t let us get away with pointing out other people’s failings without a hearty self-examination first. He consistently reminds us that there is more work in our own lives to be done — and that he is at work restoring us, calling us, and fellowshipping with us.
The Answer to Our Frustrated Hearts
So in moments when you are consumed by someone else’s inadequacy, it might be a good opportunity to ask, What does this say about me?
- Could my feeling of frustration say I have tendency to assume the worst of others?
- Could this obsession with my neighbor’s flaws say I have a critical spirit?
- Could my disappointment with my friend say I am withholding grace?
Jesus asked the hard questions. Searching our own hearts for sin is certainly not the most enjoyable exercise. But he didn’t only ask the hard questions — he also provided himself as an answer to all the conviction we face. Because of the gospel, we can open ourselves up for examination, conviction, and transformation — so we might become less focused on satisfying ourselves and more focused on following him.
Consider your own heart right now. What does your frustration, disappointment, or anger say about you?
The post What Does Your Frustration Say about You? appeared first on Unlocking the Bible.
Flashback: the year is 2004, and same sex marriage is illegal in California (by a law approved by voters in 2000 and affirmed by the State Legislature—this was the “everything but marriage” approach to the SSM issue, allowing same-sex couples the same legal rights as married couples, just without the word “marriage”). San Francisco mayor, Gavin Newsom, ordered the county clerk to illegally start issuing marriage licenses to same sex couples. The California Supreme Court stepped in, ordering the process stopped. Eventually the Federal Courts intervened and (a homosexual judge) ordered the process started again, under the ridiculous legal reasoning that since that county clerk had allowed licenses to begin with, there was no rational reason to stop the process.
Present Day: Unlike California, Rowan County, Kentucky elects their county clerks. Before running for clerk herself, Kim Davis (a democrat) had worked in the clerk’s office for twenty-six years. In fact, her mother was clerk before her, and she had been the clerk for 40 years.
But forty years ago the implementation of gay-marriage was not an issue. In fact, even recently he issue was not even likely in Kentucky where there were all kinds of laws against recognizing SSM. There were prohibitions passed by the legislature, by ballot, and finally even a state constitutional amendment. Actually, Kentucky is one of the few states whose laws actually survived Federal Court Challenges, eventually upheld by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals two days after Davis was elected county clerk.
Eight months later, the US Supreme Court ruled that every state needed to recognize same sex marriage, and that they needed to do so immediately. Some governors paused, saying they needed more time before deciding if the decision mandated their compliance. Eventually even those governors just punted on the decision, and are allowing each county clerk to figure out what to do. Their lack of leadership has made this an issue to be settled by every county clerk.
Such is the case in Kentucky. There, four different counties refuse SSM licenses (there are several other counties in other states that also are refusing to follow the Supreme Court’s opinion on marriage). But what makes Rowan County different is the rational used. Other counties have refused to issue SSM licenses, but Davis stopped issuing all marriage licenses. She has said that her reading of the Supreme Court opinion bans discrimination based on sexual preference, and since she does not want her name on a SSM license, she has simply stopped the issuing of marriage licenses all together.
Let me explain why I think Davis is in the right to refuse: As a Christian, she believes SSM to be sinful, and she does not want to support something that is sinful. And in this case, it is not tacit support but she is being asked to literally sign off on the license. She, as the clerk, must sing the certificate saying, “Yep, this is a legit wedding, and I approve.”
That doesn’t mean that a county clerk’s signature is an endorsement of every wedding. She doesn’t ask about their compatibility, or premarital counseling. But it does mean that she is vouching that the marriage is not incestuous, bigamous, or polygamous (because those things are immoral). Basically that she is affixing her name, saying this couple meets the legal requirements for marriage, and she is putting her name on the license.
This is exactly what she will not do. She does not want to be a Romans 1:32 kind of person (or a Psalm 49:11-13 kind of person, or a Lamentations 3:36 kind of person, etc.)
And here is a really important point. In fact, I’ll bold it so you realize this is the main thing I’m trying to say: you might not think it should go against her conscience to sign a SSM license. But you should not tell another Christian to go against their conscience, especially when going against it would mean vouching for something that is obviously immoral (cf. 1 Cor 8, 10).
Imagine that Davis comes to you and asks for your more seasoned Christian advice–after all, she has only been a Christian for four years. What do you tell her? Do you tell to stop hiding behind God, and instead make an argument from Federalism (Federal Courts should not invalidate state constitutions, or something like that)? Do you explain to her why it really shouldn’t be against her conscience to approve a SSM, and explain to her the nuances of the Kentucky clerk system (keep in mind the combined nearly 60 years her family has worked in that office)?
Well, whatever you do, for goodness sakes’ don’t tell her, as your sister in the Lord, to just get over her conscience and sign off on SSM all ready.
If she came to me and asked me what she should do, I would answer her in song:
Rise up, O County Clerks!
Have done with lesser things!
Give heart and mind and soul
to serve the king of kings!
Rise up O County Clerks!
The Kingdom tarries long.
Bring in the day of clerkhood
And end the night of wrong.
Rise up O County Clerks
Government for you doth wait.
Her strength unequal to the task
Rise up and make her great!
What would happen if our leaders, judges, or governors had the courage of this clerk’s conviction? But they don’t. They are (mostly) silent. They say things like, “I am opposed to SSM, and I would never sign off on one myself of course, but tsk, tsk, this woman needs to just do her job.”
In the short-term this will end in one of a few ways. Either A). Davis relents and changes her mind, B). she gets thrown in jail, or C.) the state removes her from office. I submit to you that all three would be a step back for biblical ethics.
In the long-term, this will end either with A). Christians caving on SSM, B). deciding that government jobs are for those without consciences, or (hopefully) C.) a renewed sense of resolve that the government cannot compel us to act against our consciences.
Christians should be supportive of other believers in complex situations trying to do what is morally right in complex times. And it deeply bothers me how many people who just a few months ago were so dogmatic that “the Supreme Court can’t tell me what marriage is!” are now telling Davis to get over herself. We don’t have to choose to be on Davis’ side or on the SSM side. But we do need to be on the side of righteousness, and opposed to sin. In this situation, it should be obvious where the lines are drawn.
You Can’t Be Neutral
For most issues in life—and on social media—I find that I can be neutral. Time after time I can pass by without liking, clicking, or reposting. It’s not that difficult; in fact, my general tendency is to keep surfing—especially if it is political. Who wants to be THAT person? However, some issues force us to not be neutral! We as human beings cannot stand or sit idly by…we as human beings cannot surf on…we as human beings cannot afford to ignore what’s going on under the guise of research for the greater good. What we see on video is us. These gruesome videos bring to our awareness the barbaric practices by abortionists at Planned Parenthood and document the cavalier attitude toward human life in the womb. Continue reading
In this video, David Wood of Acts 17 Apologetics interviews historical Jesus scholar Dr. Gary Habermas. Habermas argues that there is no evidence for the Islamic view of Jesus and that anyone who wants a view of Jesus that lines up with history will therefore needs to looks somewhere other than Islam.
He also nicely summarizes his minimal facts method of arguing for the historicity of the resurrection of Jesus.
Yahoos on Campus
Go ahead and be outraged when young men behave badly at college. But don’t be surprised. Listen Now | Download
Complaining about our leaders seems to be a national pastime.
Interesting how Jesus never complained about the wicked Roman government of his day. He certainly had opportunity. When he was asked, “Tell us, then, what you think. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?” he didn’t start ranting, “Caesar? Pay taxes to that idiot? I wouldn’t give him a widow’s mite if I could get away with it.” Instead, he said, ““Therefore render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s” (MT 22: 17,21).
God commands us to honor our leaders, not grumble about them.
Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor. 1 PE 2.17
Note, Peter didn’t say honor the emperor if he is a good man or worthy of honor. He didn’t say honor the emperor if you agree with him or you think he’s doing a good job. He simply said, “Honor the emperor.”
We tread on dangerous ground when we call the President a “fool”
Psalm 14:1 tells us “The fool has said in his heart there is no God.” Proverbs warns us again and again about the danger of being a biblical “fool” or evil person. So without a doubt the Bible recognizes that many are fools. But Jesus had a strong warning about calling someone a fool.
Whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire. MT 5.22
John MacArthur says:
Because of the testimony of God’s Word, we know that fools of the worst sort do exist. And it is our obligation to warn those who are clearly in opposition to God’s will that they are living foolishly. We certainly are not wrong to show someone what Scripture says about a person who rejects God. Jesus’ prohibition is against slanderously calling a person a fool out of anger and hatred. Such an expression of malicious animosity is tantamount to murder and makes us guilty enough to go into the fiery hell.
He goes on to say:
To call a person a fool is the same as cursing him and murdering him, and to be guilty of that sin is to be worthy of the eternal punishment of fiery hell. (Read MacArthur’s full post here).
Not only is it dangerous to badmouth our leaders, but beyond that let me ask this question:
Do you pray for our President and our leaders as much as you complain about them?
God commands us to pray for our leaders with all kinds of prayers:
First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 1 TI 2:1-4
Look at all the ways we are to pray for all people, including “all who are in high positions”: with “supplications, prayers, intercessions and thanksgivings.” Do you thank God for our President and leaders? God commands us to thank him – for “ALL who are in high positions.” Do you do this? Do you supplicate, pray for and intercede?
3 reasons WHY we should pray for our leaders:
First “that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.” This is what we want our leaders to give us right? This is why we vote, and why people run for office. That we might have decent lives. Grumbling and complaining about the government isn’t going to produce a peaceful and quiet life for us. Cursing the President isn’t going to lead to us leading godly, dignified lives.
Secondly, praying for our leaders “is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior.” It is more important that we please our God and Savior than having great leaders. I may not agree with our leaders. I may think they are doing a terrible job. But I want to please my God and Savior. So I’ll pray for my leaders.
Thirdly, interceding for our government is critical because God “desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” When we pray for our leaders, it leads to peaceful, quiet lives, which give us more opportunities to share the gospel and people to be saved. So ultimately it is critical to pray for our leaders for the sake of the spread of the gospel.
Sure, we don’t like our taxes going up. We don’t like spending more on healthcare for less benefits. But do my taxes even compare to peace and the gospel advancing? Go ahead and pray for lower taxes. Pray for God to give our leaders wisdom with the economy. Vote. Get involved in politics if God calls you to do that. But don’t complain about our government. Don’t call your leaders idiots. Pray for them. Pray that God would move upon our leaders to work for righteousness and life. And don’t forget Proverbs 21:1
“The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the LORD; he turns it wherever he will.”
So let’s pray that God would turn our leaders’ hearts to lead us into peace, so that more and more people might be saved.
God is all powerful and all wise. When we as Christians grasp something of the “bigness” of God – His complete and utter Sovereignty – the inevitable result will be a desire to pray and to pray more. As we go phrase by phrase through Isaiah 40, the transcendent majesty of God is put on display.
Speaker: Dr. Steve Lawson
Title: A Puny God
Text: Isaiah 40:12-31
By Chuck Lawless
I’ve written posts for this site and my own that describe some of the negatives our church consulting teams and “spies” have found in churches. The goal of this post is to show some of the positives we’ve seen in different churches. The topics vary, but perhaps something will help you in your church.
- Greeters at every door. It doesn’t happen often, but occasionally every one of our team members is greeted when each of us intentionally enters a different door. Those churches are ready for guests.
- Strong security in the preschool/children’s areas. Sometimes our team members gain entrance to these area much too easily, but we’ve been in churches that physically halted our team from going beyond the boundaries. I’m pleased to report to the church that their security system worked in those cases.
- Name tags for everyone. Several folks disagreed with my suggestion about this topic in previous posts, but our team appreciates it when everyone can quickly learn names. Name tags simply make it easier for folks to have conversations with people they don’t know.
- Assurances about visitor’s cards. Again, I’ve written about why I likely would not complete a visitor’s card at your church. On the other hand, some churches have made it very clear up front – by saying, “We won’t bombard you with visits, phone calls, and emails, and we won’t embarrass you” – that they won’t put us on the spot. I’m willing to complete a card for those churches.
- Knowledge of the community. We do a demographic study of the church’s ministry area, but we don’t give that information to the church at first. Instead, we now first ask church leaders what they think the demographics will show about their community. Most leaders don’t know their community that well – but occasionally we meet leaders who clearly have already focused externally.
- General friendliness. Most churches, frankly, are not that friendly to our “spies.” They’re friendly, but primarily with people they already know. So, our team recognizes quickly when a church family has been trained to welcome everyone to their family gathering. Our team members are blessed when it does happen.
- Clear direction in the worship service events. Most of our “spies” are believers, but even they appreciate when the leader gives them direction in the Word (e.g., “the book of Malachi is the last book in the Old Testament; it’s about 2/3 of the way through your Bible. If you find the book of Matthew, just back up a book”), guidance for the offering, and direction for the Lord’s Supper.
- Biblical, applicational preaching. The best preaching, in our opinion, goes to the Word, expounds the Word, and helps us know how to apply its teaching past Sunday. Our hope is that our spies can quickly answer the question, “What do you need to do as a result of the biblical truth you learned today?” Sometimes they can.
- Intentional strategies for training teachers. The strongest churches recognize that God holds teachers accountable to high standards (James 3:1), and they prepare current and future teachers accordingly. These churches raise up their next generation of teachers and leaders.
- Clear master plan for facilities. You’ve seen the churches that had no master plan; their buildings are so different that you can tell a different leader was in charge for each structure. Churches with a clear master plan are usually thinking toward the future – and even beyond themselves.
How well does your church do in these areas?
Be sure to check out Dr. Lawless’ daily blog posts at http://www.chucklawless.com. Chuck Lawless currently serves as Professor of Evangelism and Missions and Dean of Graduate Studies at Southeastern Seminary. You can connect with Dr. Lawless on both Twitter and Facebook.
The post 10 Things Effective Churches Do Well appeared first on ThomRainer.com.
This video, excerpted from J. Warner Wallace’s presentation of the evidence for God (from his book, God’s Crime Scene), summarizes the strength of the cumulative case for God’s existence. J. Warner describes the nature of cumulative cases and the role diversity plays in establishing the strength of an inference. For a robust review of the collective case for God’s existence from eight pieces of evidence “inside the room” of the natural universe, please refer to God’s Crime Scene: A Cold-Case Homicide Detective Examines the Evidence for a Divinely Created Universe. (For more information, visit http://www.ColdCaseChristianity.com)
To see more training videos with J. Warner Wallace, visit the YouTube playlist.
As Psalm 11:3 asks, “If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?” Though rhetorical in nature, still one thing the righteous must do is assess the damage accurately. Here are a few important reminders of our culture’s self-destruction that call us to pray for the Lord’s mercy and deliverance.
The ninth video of the Center for Medical Progress on Planned Parenthood’s trafficking of fetal body parts has been posted. “Behold, the wicked bend the bow, they make ready their arrow upon the string” (Psalm 11:2).
In Kentucky, county clerk Kim Davis has refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. She may be jailed for her actions. So many details make this story fascinating – the open hostility of the homosexual community and her relative calmness in the face of it; her open witness that she is taking this stand because of the authority of God’s Word; her own background that includes being in her fourth marriage; the protests in and outside the county building. In light of the media consistently claiming Mrs. Davis is “breaking the law,” I found this article by the America Family Association clarifying. “The Lord is in His holy temple; the Lord’s throne is in heaven; His eyes behold, His eyelids test the sons of men.“
Of course, judgment begins with the house of God. The sad news of R.C. Sproul Jr.’s admission of being one of the names on the Ashley Madison website is difficult to hear, though it is encouraging to see discipline enacted and Dr. Sproul seeming to receive it in the right spirit. The same does not quite appear to be the case in the Tullian Tchividjian matter, where shortly after confessing an adulterous relationship and being defrocked by his presbytery he was hired to be a ministry director at a large congregation in Florida. Many are expressing the concerns reflected in this article. “For the Lord is righteous, He loves righteousness; the upright will behold His face.” (Psalm 11:7).
Many people wrongly believe that Christianity is simply a new set of rules and guidelines for how to behave. More recently, due to the widespread emphasis on missional living, it’s the “missional to-do list” that now determines our personal righteousness. In both cases, people find themselves feeling more like spiritual slaves than gospel-freed children of God.
This is because we easily buy into worldly thinking that claims our identity comes from what we do instead of what God has done.
We have wrongly believed that we’re human doings instead of human beings.
In the beginning, when God created humanity, he created us in his image and likeness and declared we were very good. Adam and Eve could have lived lives trusting in and resting in the work and word of God about themselves.
However, the evil one came along and questioned God’s word and work and deceptively convinced them to put their trust in his word and their own works. This was the beginning of moving from faith-based righteousness (identity based upon faith in God’s word and work to define us) to works-based righteousness (identity based upon lies from the evil one and faith in our own works).
And Adam and Eve aren’t alone. We can all tend to do this. We move from human beings to human doings by giving into the lure of believing lies about God and ourselves and putting our hope in our own works to define us.
But the problem is all we fall short.
Based upon our works alone, we all are lacking. If our sense of being — our sense of identity — comes from what we do, we will be filled with pride when we succeed and shame when we fail. Just like Adam and Eve, we will try to cover up our inadequacies with the fig leaves of good works or hide in the bushes of guilt and shame.
Unfortunately, for many, this is what Christianity has become for them: A missional drive to perform for, or a religious façade to hide behind.
The gospel offers us something far better.
In the gospel we are once again told that God has done a good work and spoken a better word over us.
Jesus is the better word and better work.
Through faith in Jesus’s life, death, and resurrection on our behalf, we are who we are — forgiven, loved, accepted, very good — not because of our work, but because of God’s work in and through Jesus Christ. God speaks over our lives “very good” because Jesus, who is the true and better human, is now our identity.
God’s word is true and his work is very good.
The gospel doesn’t call us to behavior modification — or to a missional-to-do list. The gospel calls us to identity transformation and a missional done list. Our identity is based upon faith in who God is, what he has done through Jesus, which leads to who we are.
We don’t do what we do out of our need to become. We do what we do because in Christ we already are. We are a new creation created in Jesus Christ for good works that he prepared in advance for us to do. Our “being in Christ” leads to our “Christ-like doing.”
We do what we do because of what we believe he has done.
We love because we are loved by him first.
We serve because we were served by Jesus first.
We are on mission, not mainly so that God will be pleased with us, but because he has already sent the Son on mission to make us decisively pleasing to the Father.
He is ultimately pleased with us because of Jesus, who loved, served, and was sent to die in our place. Everything we do comes out of what we believe about God and his work. This doesn’t negate good works or prevent missional living and keep us from desiring to please our Father. It actually produces good works and informs and leads into missional living.
We don’t have to do anything to become someone, but we get to, and want to do what we do because of what God has done to and for us, and is and will be for us, and who we now are in Christ.
Think of it this way: What God has done to us he now wants to do through us to the world.
Our new being in Christ leads to our new doing for Christ by his power.
Jeff Vanderstelt will be providing Soma One Day training for missional living in Minneapolis, September 11–12.
Lessons Learned from Aortic Replacement Surgery | Eric Davis, The Cripplegate
Health scares like these do indeed prove to be “spiritually enriching and sanctifying,” as Eric says.
God, You’ve Got the Wrong Guy | Tim Challies
Moses felt that way, too.
7 Ways To Be A Best Friend To A Pastor | Ron Edmondson
“If ‘best’ is too strong a word, pick your own word. Good. Close. Trusted. Every pastor needs a friend, besides a spouse — of the same gender — who knows them well and can encourage and challenge like no one else can.”
13 Things a Pastor Should Never Say to a Congregation | Joe McKeever, The Aquila Report
The Subordinate Place of Supreme Honor: A Response to Douglas Wilson | Valerie Hobbs and Rachel Miller, Jesus Creed
Unpacking Biblical gender roles in response to Douglas Wilson.
University of Tennessee Tells Staff And Students To Stop Using ‘He’ and ‘She’ – and Switch to ‘Xe’, ‘Zir’ and ‘Xyr’ Instead | Kieran Corcoran, The Aquila Report
Seriously? While not compulsory, yes, seriously…
Kentucky Clerk Didn’t Follow Christianity Before Converting To It | Mollie Hemingway, The Federalist
“Regardless of the media’s strong views in favor of redefining marriage to include same-sex couples, it would be nice if they took the time to at least understand this central teaching of the Christian faith before attempting to report on it.”
Going Beyond the Five Points: Pursuing a More Comprehensive Reformation by Rob Ventura ($1.99).
Praying for Your Prodigal by Kyle Idleman ($0.99).
The Catalyst Leader: 8 Essentials for Becoming a Change Maker by Brad Lomenick ($1.99).
Biblical Theology in the Life of the Church: A Guide for Ministry by Michael Lawrence ($3.99).
Kindle deals for Christian readers
Just a few deals today:
Bob Kauflin’s new book, True Worshippers: Seeking What Matters to God, is on sale at Westminster Books right now for as low as $6.50 (when you buy five or more copies). There are so few good books on this subject, and I’m hopeful that this is going to be one of them (especially if it’s in line with Bob’s recent articles calling out the goofy things we do on Sundays).
Chris Martin on two problems with the “Don’t put God in a box” philosophy.
There is no magic bullet that can make the pain of having a miscarriage disappear. However, in my quest to love women who have experienced this loss (Romans 12:15), and as a woman who has been touched by it herself, there are a few things that have been comforting reminders of how the Lord uses his people to care for one another.
Today, we still face a choice between following one who came as a humble Redeemer or one who would spark a revolution through any means necessary. Far too frequently, I fear we choose the latter, while claiming we are serving the former.
Lisa Cannon Green:
Though pastors are stressed about money and overwhelming ministry demands, only one percent abandon the pulpit each year, LifeWay Research finds.
In a first-of-its-kind study, LifeWay Research surveyed 1,500 pastors of evangelical and historically black churches and found an estimated 13 percent of senior pastors in 2005 had left the pastorate ten years later for reasons other than death or retirement.
…given the fact that our lives are short and that there are things we know that we would be a waste of time for us to read–are there guiding principles to help us know what we ought to read as we seek to grow spiritually and intellectually to the glory of God? Here are a few personal commitments that I have found helpful in seeking to redeem the time in the realm of reading.
Waiting for the ink to dry on my recent PhD diploma, I began reflecting on the last several years of academic activity. Several questions quickly arose in my mind. Does the church need more trained servants with PhDs? With the rise in number of people with PhDs and significant instability in many sectors of Christian higher education, can I, in good conscience, encourage others to pursue PhDs? The title “independent scholar” is becoming increasingly commonplace at academic meetings, and a brief survey of the employment center at an annual Society of Biblical Literature (SBL) meeting reveals the days of getting a degree and simply walking into a professorship are long gone. So, if the PhD no longer holds the same career-enabling power as a “union card” for the academy, why go through the trouble?
There are just a couple of Kindle deals to share today: Rise: Get Up and Live in God’s Great Story, the newest book by Trip Lee, is just $2.99; Hope Reborn by Tope Koleoso & Adrian Warnock is $3.82. Also, a few different Kindle devices are on sale at the moment.
Well, this is hardly a surprise, is it? “The polygamous family starring in the hit TLC reality show Sister Wives believes the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage gives them grounds to live their lifestyle unpunished, according to an appeal filed last week.”
This is a beautiful look at Iceland under the midnight sun. There is no greater artist than God!
Randy Alcorn and his team have some suggestions for speaking to children about abortion. “As the video exposes about Planned Parenthood continue, those with children may be wondering how they can talk to them in age-appropriate ways about the value of life and the reality of abortion.”
This Day in 1752. It’s a trick! There was no “this day” in 1752, nor were there the next 10 days (in Great Britain, that is). This was to adjust from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar.*
Bob Kauflin’s new book True Worshipers highlights this week’s deals from Westminster Books. There are deals on other worship-related books as well.
Ian Hamilton: “One of the most disturbing experiences a believer can face is losing the felt sense of God’s forgiveness. This desolating experience has touched the lives of many Christians throughout the ages.”
Every new technology ushers in a period of cultural negotiation during which we decide together how to use those devices. We are in that period now with our mobile phones.
ARTICLES I LIKE FROM AROUND THE WEB:
(Click title to go to full article)
The 9th Planned Parenthood Video – “The ninth video in the Planned Parenthood baby parts scandal focuses on Advanced Bioscience Resources, Inc. (ABR), the small and secretive company that has harvested and sold fetal body parts at Planned Parenthood clinics longer than any other entity. The video features undercover conversations with Dr. Katharine Sheehan, the long-time medical director of Planned Parenthood of the Pacific Southwest until 2013; Perrin Larton, the Procurement Manager for ABR; and Cate Dyer, the CEO of rival fetal tissue procurement company StemExpress.”
Christians: Increasingly Marginalized and Punished – “It is quickly becoming more and more obvious that religious freedom is declining (quite rapidly) in America. And with the June SCOTUS (Supreme Court of the United States) decision to legalize gay ‘marriage,’ this decline is happening faster than ever. Christians are increasingly being punished by the government for acting on their sincerely held religious beliefs about marriage that are based on the standard of Scripture. And we are hearing of more and more people being disciplined or fired from their jobs because they profess their Christian faith.”
400 Pastors Resigned Last Sunday – “Fallout from the Ashley Madison scandal continues. The company’s CEO has resigned; several people who used the adultery website have committed suicide. And some 400 clergy resigned publicly from their ministries last Sunday.Let’s put that number in perspective.One pastor who seeks to have an affair is one too many. Infidelity shatters the spouse, devastates the children, and wounds the congregation. Pastors who violate their marriage vows sin against God, their family, and the sheep they are called to shepherd.
Gay Atheist Rebukes Church for Moral Slide – “Matthew Parris calls himself a ‘gay atheist.’ After 62 percent of voters in Ireland approved gay marriage recently, he responded to the church’s response. In his view, the Archbishop of Dublin’s statement that the church needed to undertake a ‘reality check’ was troubling and indicative of continued moral compromise. According to Parris, ‘the conservative Catholic’s only proper response to news such as that from Dublin . . . is that 62 percent in a referendum does not cause a sin in the eyes of God to cease to be a sin.’”
What Is America’s Largest Protestant Denomination Doing to Combat Predatory Prosperity Preaching? – “The lobbying entity of the nation’s largest Protestant denomination has made it clear that it is against predatory practices that take advantage of the poor, having joined a broad coalition earlier this year organized to ‘raise awareness about families in financial crisis and how high-cost lending negatively impacts them.’ But what is the high-profile Christian ethics advocacy organization doing to protect vulnerable believers from preying prosperity preachers?”
Mack Tomlinson – Jesus in Gethsemane: The Broken Man (Part 1)
Man Marrying His Dog
“Is this what Jesus wants us doing”?
“All death can do to the believer is deliver him to Jesus. It brings us into the eternal presence of our Savior.” – John MacArthur
The post The Daily Discovery (September 3, 2015) appeared first on Entreating Favor.
Christian Headlines Daily – Thursday, September 3, 2015
The Ashley Madison Hack Points R. C. Sproul Jr. Toward Grace
Marco Rubio Frontrunner among Evangelical Leaders
U.S. Demands China Release Detained Christian Lawyer
Jessa Duggar Withdraws Support from Josh Duggar
76-Year-Old Tennessee Man Charged with Killing Wife over Church Tithe Money
Clerk Kim Davis Cites God While Gay Couples and Crowd Jeer
Bill to Allow Physician-assisted Suicide Advances in CA Legislature
Fiorina’s Advice to KY Clerk Who Refused to Issue Same-sex Marriage Licenses
Georgia School District Investigating Mass Baptism on Football Field
Josh Duggar Loses Support from Family Member over Ashley Madison Scandal
Donald Trump, Evangelical Scam Artist
Debunking the Abortion Crowd’s Favorite Arguments
Clerk Defies Court, Denies Gay Marriage Licenses
4 Reasons Hillary Clinton Should Apologize for Her Inflammatory Abortion Rhetoric
Amazing Grace Amazingly Staged
Our Time is Short
Read: Recommitting Your Life To God and Jesus Christ – Restoration and Forgiveness With God and Jesus Christ (Updated Version)
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