September 8, 2015 Truth2Freedom Christian Briefing Report

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The Church’s Most Dangerous Doctrine

‘Easy Believism’ also damages the souls of men and women by suggesting that no ongoing faithfulness to Jesus is required for salvation – that He does not demand we endure to the end. That could not be further from the truth.

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Uncommon Grace, Uncommon Love

“In addition to this common grace and common love shown to all men, there is an uncommon grace and uncommon love poured out from the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit upon some. And just like men have not earned his common grace and common love, so they have not merited in any way this divine intimacy, affection, and attention.”

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The College That Hates ‘Americans’

Instead of referring to the elderly as senior citizens (or even as the elderly), members of the UNH community are encouraged to embrace the most up-to-date politically-correct terminology: “people of advanced age” in this case, according to the guide. This is supposed to be somehow less derogatory than “senior citizen,” which of course was once the politically correct of saying “old.”

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Why Are Anti-Judgmental People So Judgmental?

“There’s a growing trend I’ve noticed and have become concerned about: namely, that people who are anti-judgmental are SO judgmental of anyone else they perceive to be passing judgment. One, they’re often wrong; two, they’re just as harsh as those they condemn and continuously assume the worst.”

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10 Counterfeit Christ Figures We Should Stop Worshiping

“What are some ways we are tempted to mold Jesus, like clay, into whatever we want him to be? Here are 10 partial Jesus’ popular in Christian culture.”

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Being Biblical and unChristian

“But here is the irony: too often the most ‘biblical’ folks are the most ‘unbiblical’. What do I mean by this? I mean that if the whole point of the Bible is the person and work of Jesus and you fail to make this your whole point in your life, preaching, writing, conferences, etc…then you have missed the point! And, in this case, your blind spot is glaring.”

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Three False Gospels You May Not Realize Are in Your Church

“While the Scriptures do teach us to be kind and compassionate towards others, it does not teach us to do so at the expense of truth. This is where the gospel is compromised, and becomes a false gospel. We don’t want to offend people. It’s okay to talk about the positive things in Christianity, but we don’t want to upset anyone by telling them they’re a sinner.”

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Faith Has Its Reasons

“We live in the most anti-intellectual age of history, and even many Christians believe we can compartmentalize faith as a way of knowing completely separate from sense perception and reason. Yet as Augustine told us centuries ago, how could we receive knowledge from God if it were not accessible to the human mind?”

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“The Subordinate Place of Supreme Honor”

For all of Wilson’s assurances to the contrary, the language choices that he consistently makes reveal that for him, a wife is, ultimately, a passive receiver/responder in his view of marriage. She is an object and not a person. Her identity, calling, vocation, and her very self have been subsumed under her husband. She exists to serve and glorify him. Consider that the word ‘listen’ fails to appear even once in the exhortations to husbands. For Wilson, the wife has no self and, it seems, no voice. Far from the glorious picture of honor that Wilson paints, the reality is that she is not on a pedestal. She is the pedestal.

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Church Discipline, Contemporary Grace Style

Rick Phillips of Reformation 21 weighs in on the Tullian Tchividjian affair.  Many of Tullian’s supporters are unaware that he is a leading voice in the  Contemporary Grace Movement (hypergrace). Phillips addresses it here. Billy Graham and his grandson Tullian Tchividjian I have so far refrained from public comment on the resignation of Tullian Tchividjian in […]

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Why I do not recommend Kendrick Brothers’ new movie, “War Room”, part 1

Elizabeth Prata of The End Time reviews the Christian film “War Room.”  In part 1 she sheds light on some of the glaring theological problems with the film and also deals with other Kendrick brothers’ productions, such as “Fireproof” and “Courageous.” The brothers may have good intentions in making “Christian” films, however in so doing they […]

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Anatomy of an evangelical scandal

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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Seances, Spirits and 12 Steps

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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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, […]

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Down the Decadent “Ashley Madison” Avenue

Dr. Peter Jones of truthXchange explores the ways in which our debased culture continues to take a toll on the Church. TruthXchange is a ministry that seeks to understand the culture, as Paul did in his day, so that we will know how share the gospel of Jesus Christ with our neighbors and friends.  Because of the research […]

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400 Pastors Resigned Last Sunday

(Christian Headlines By Jim Denison) 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 […]

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Could It Happen in Your Church?

We all want security.  And as Christians committed to the gospel of Jesus Christ, we are blessed by the security of knowing our destination after this life passes. But what about security and safety in this lifetime?  Eleven Christians were murdered recently during a time of prayer when a stranger walked in and opened fire.  […]

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Church Leaders: Time To Lock and Load?

Christians are called to be people of peace. But does that mean we should sit back and not defend those we love? There’s no doubt Christianity is facing headwinds in America these days – just look at the case of the Kentucky clerk ordered by Judge David Bunning to jail over standing by her Christian […]

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Conservative dissent is brewing inside the Vatican

According The Washington Post’s Berlin bureau chief Anthony Faiola, there’s a theological slugfest going on between the RCC’s conservative and liberal hierarchy with Pope Francis, a liberal, at the center of the fray. Faiola has the story:

On a sunny morning earlier this year, a camera crew entered a well-appointed apartment just outside the 9th-century gates of Vatican City. Pristinely dressed in the black robes and scarlet sash of the princes of the Roman Catholic Church, the Wisconsin-born Cardinal Raymond Burke sat in his elaborately upholstered armchair and appeared to issue a warning to Pope Francis.

A staunch conservative and Vatican bureaucrat, Burke had been demoted by the pope a few months earlier, but it did not take the fight out of him. Francis had been backing a more inclusive era, giving space to progressive voices on divorced Catholics as well as gays and lesbians. In front of the camera, Burke said he would “resist” liberal changes — and seemed to caution Francis about the limits of his authority. “One must be very attentive regarding the power of the pope,” Burke told the French news crew.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/a-conservative-revolt-is-brewing-inside-the-vatican/2015/09/07/1d8e02ba-4b3d-11e5-80c2-106ea7fb80d4_story.html


Homosexual Activist Human Rights Campaign Buys FreeKimDavis.com to Deceptively Raise Funds

According to Christian News Network:

A group co-founded by a man who is currently facing child sexual abuse charges and is a friend of Barack Obama has purchased the domain FreeKimDavis.com to deceptively trick Davis’ supporters into giving money to the homosexual activist organization.

When the domain is entered, one is redirected to the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) website, specifically its donation page.

“Donate to HRC today. Or give the gift of equality to a friend or loved one,” the page reads. “Please note: An HRC sticker is included as part of your donation.”

http://christiannews.net/2015/09/08/homosexual-activist-human-rights-campaign-buys-freekimdavis-com-to-deceptively-raise-funds/

Apostate Pastor Rick Warren And Elton John Hold Hands In Congress, Joke About Kissing Each Other
by Geoffrey Grider, 8/21/15

Laodicean church pastor Rick Warren appeared in Congress with pop icon and outspoken homosexual Elton John on Wednesday to ask for more money for AIDS research. They were clearly having such a good time that they started holding hands as you see in the photo below. After taking their seats at the witness table, the pair laughed and smiled as they held hands, with Warren saying “Amen” and cautioning John that if they kissed it would be “the kiss heard ’round the world.” Is Rick Warren trying to tell us something here, is there a “coming out” moment in his future? Hard to say at this point, but sure looks like it.

Click here to read this article!

Heidelberg 124: Not My Will But Yours But Yours Be Done

One of the most striking moments in the gospels is our Lord’s prayer in Garden of Gethsemane (Matthew 26:36–46; Mark 14:32–42; Luke 22:39–46). For one thing, in those moments we are given compelling evidence of our Lord’s true humanity. This is not a story the Gnostics could tell. It is not a story the Gnostics […]

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I am a Christian, but I don’t follow Christ

http://www.facebook.com/video/embed?video_id=1816363428504531

By now many of you have no doubt seen the viral video “I’m a Christian, but…” (click the image above to view it). Not only has the video been making the rounds, but the hashtag #IAmAChristianBut is ubiquitous on social media right now.

After you watch the video, it’s obvious that this is a propaganda piece for a version of Christianity that is Christian in name only–a progressivist vision of the faith that has more to do with maintaining street cred with Christianity’s cultured despisers than with the faith once for all delivered to the saints (Jude 3). It is what the apostle Paul called a “form of godliness” while “denying its power” (1 Timothy 3:6). It is gutless–literally, a hollowing out of everything essential to the faith. Read more of this post


Get Ready! Christians Are Going To Be Banned From Holding Many Jobs In America

Posted: 07 Sep 2015 12:47 PM PDT

Christianity is being criminalized in the United States. No, I am not talking about the kind of Christianity that is so prevalent in America today where “Christians” just ignore what the Bible says and do whatever they wanted to do in the first place anyway. Rather, I am talking about the kind of faith that Kim Davis has demonstrated. Christians all over this country are being put into positions where they must choose to either submit to the “new morality” or potentially lose their jobs.

For Kim Davis, deciding to take a stand meant that she was thrown into prison. The radical judge that threw her into prison has said that she will stay there until she is willing to change her mind. The pace of which our nation is circling the toilet is absolutely breathtaking. Just eleven years ago, a state constitutional amendment that banned gay marriage in Kentucky received support from 75 percent of the voters. Now, Kim Davis has been locked away, and more county clerks may be next.  There is news that another county clerk named Casey Davis has stepped forward to say that he won’t issue any same sex marriage licenses either. What in the world has happened to America? FULL REPORT

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Six Bible Defenses for Kim Davis Defying Supreme Court

Posted: 08 Sep 2015 06:41 AM PDT

Six Bible Defenses for Kim Davis Defying Supreme CourtAmerica’s attention right now is focused on Kim Davis, the Kentucky county clerk who refused to issue same-sex marriage licenses and was jailed for her stance. Should she have obeyed the law, stood her ground or just resigned? When President Obama defied the Defense of Marriage Act that was passed into law by Congress in 1996 and vowed not to defend it in court, he was applauded for his courage. But when an unknown county clerk defies a law because of her religious beliefs, she is condemned and mocked. Talk about double standards.

If every Christian in America resigned from their jobs instead of standing for their religious beliefs, what would happen to our nation? As Edmund Burk famously said, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” When man’s laws violate God’s laws, Christ-followers have a moral obligation to obey the higher law. Peter and John declared in Acts 4:19, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge.” There is a long history of people who disobeyed man’s laws because they answered to a higher law. FULL REPORT

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My (Not So) Proud Moment

by Beecher Proch

I walked on stage, grabbed the mic, and forgot the lyrics. Suddenly, I was face to face with my pride problem.

Why You Should Stop Trying To Get Everyone To Like You

by Bethany Baird

Sooner or later, you’ll have to choose how you’ll handle your beliefs/convictions and the people and peer pressure around you. When it comes down to it, you really only have three options.

Ripping Off the Labels Stitched onto Our Hearts

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.

How Could He Choose HER?

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.


U.S. and West Victimize Christians Fleeing ISIS

While welcoming Muslim asylum seekers with open arms.

Such “unfathomable mysteries” are reminiscent of the U.S. State Dept.’s habit of inviting Muslim representatives but denying visas to Christian representatives. Since the start of 2015, 4,205 Muslims have been admitted into the U.S. from Iraq but only 727 Christians. For every one Christian the U.S. grants asylum, it grants asylum to five or six Muslims—even though Christians, as persecuted “infidel” minorities, are in much greater need of sanctuary, not to mention more assimilating to American culture than Muslims.

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Churches: Stand up now, or be destroyed

The Obama administration, like all totalitarian regimes, has been at odds with Christianity from the start. Now that Obama is at the tail-end of his occupancy of the White House, the administration has thrown all caution to the winds and is attacking the Christian faith on every front.

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Pope Francis Invites Rick Warren to Speak at Philadelphia Conference on Family

“There are probably going to be a million people in Philadelphia at this final event with Pope Francis, and he’s asked me to be the final speaker,” the Purpose Driven Life author continued amid cheering and applause.

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Russell Moore Speaks Out on Ashley Madison, Says Christians Who Imbibe in Sexual Sin 'Are Never Anonymous to God'

Russell Moore Speaks Out on Ashley Madison, Says Christians Who Imbibe in Sexual Sin ‘Are Never Anonymous to God’

Posted on September 8, 2015 by Christian Post

Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics Religious Liberty Commission, says the anonymity Ashley Madison claimed to provide its clients allowed Christian &cultural warriors& to speak out against an immoral secular culture while many secretly imbibed in it.

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5 Healing Bible Verses for You and Your Family

5 Healing Bible Verses for You and Your Family

Posted on September 8, 2015 by Crosswalk

There’s nothing like a little edification from God’s Word to lift our spirits when we are hurting! These 5 passages will remind you (and yours) why we need to keep on standing… EVEN when we’re in the midst of suffering!

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3 Lessons Depression Teaches Us

3 Lessons Depression Teaches Us

Posted on September 8, 2015 by Crosswalk

Depression will teach us valuable lessons if we are open to learning.

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How Do I Keep from Drifting in a World That Rejects God?

How Do I Keep from Drifting in a World That Rejects God?

Posted on September 8, 2015 by Crosswalk

Our society is drifting away from our godly heritage and is turning its back on God’s dealings with mankind.

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 Hundreds of Muslim Refugees convert to Christianity in German church

Hundreds of Muslim Refugees convert to Christianity in German church

Posted on September 8, 2015 by Christian Today

Pastor Gottfried Martens has seen his congregation at the evangelical Trinity Church in Berlin grow from 150 to more than 600 in just two years.

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John Calvin’s 6 Reasons Why We Should Evangelize

John Calvin’s 6 Reasons Why We Should Evangelize

Posted on September 7, 2015 by Church Leaders

John Calvin: “It is a sacrifice well-pleasing to God to advance the spread of the gospel.”

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The will of the elites

First, progressives can never be taken seriously when they lecture about the “rule of law.” They couldn’t possibly care less about it. If they want “the law” to be obeyed, then why are they crucifying some clerk in some county in Kentucky while celebrating sanctuary cities? And why are they cheering her imprisonment for not signing her name to a piece of paper, yet remaining silent on the multiple felonies committed by Hillary Clinton? Why do they throw stones at a clerk who inconvenienced a few homosexuals, but defend a secretary of state who put our national security at risk by conducting classified business using a private server stored in a bathroom closet?

I mean, the rule of law? THE RULE OF LAW? Sorry for screaming, but I’m afraid my head might explode if I see or hear one more leftist use that term. Where were these progressive proponents of “law” when Barack Obama was illegally enacting the DREAM Act? Where were they when this administration unilaterally and illegally changed Obamacare repeatedly and without congressional consent? Where were they when the IRS was targeting conservative groups? Or when the Department of Justice was prosecuting journalists? Or when Obama was assassinating American citizens?

As a matter of fact, forget all of this, where were they — where was anyone — when this government was running weapons to Syrian terrorists through the consulate in Libya, which led directly to the assassination of an American diplomat, which the administration then lied about in front of the American people? We don’t even talk about that, do we? No, we’re too preoccupied with our mission to hunt down rogue pencil-pushers.

And I wonder how many of these solemn believers in “law” were the same ones making excuses for riots a few months ago? How many are offended by a woman refusing to file paperwork, but were sympathetic to barbarians who burned half a city to the ground?

The hypocrisy is absolutely staggering. These pious little preachers of “law” couldn’t actually give less of a damn about the law. This is about dogma. It always has been.

Second, speaking of whichthe Obergefell v. Hodges decision had absolutely nothing to do with the law. Gay “marriage” was forced upon the states by five human beings in black robes sitting in a big stone temple in D.C. The Constitution, which clearly says nothing about gay “marriage,” was ignored. The consent of the people — many of whom live in states, like Kentucky, where the Constitution expresslydefines marriage as between a man a woman — was not respected or even considered. If Kim Davis is a government official making up her own laws as she goes along, she’s only following the precedent of the federal government. The only difference is that her “made-up” law is the one that existed before a handful of federal judges made up a new one. So who is the lawless anarchist here?

Gay “marriage” is itself nothing but the will of the elites. It is as much a legal abomination as a moral one. Many people have said, “Well, gay ‘marriage’ is the law of the land, so that’s that,” but what they mean is, “Well, five people in Washington support gay ‘marriage,’ so that’s that.” No, that isn’t that. That’s tyranny. That’s injustice. That’s illegal. It might be true that the Supreme Court has, over time, seized the power to write laws and reshape ancient human institutions according to their radical liberal ideologies, but that doesn’t make it law. It might be “law,” but it isn’t law. Just as gay “marriage” might be “marriage,” but it can never be marriage. The whole thing is a travesty, a sham, an outrage.

So are we morally obligated to cooperate with the evil agendas and the rampant tyrannies of the federal government? Is a clerk in Kentucky, elected by the people of her county and subject to the Constitution of her state, morally required to respect the drunken dictates of judicial activists in Washington? Kim Davis says no. And I think it might be time for the rest of us to come to that same conclusion.


This Is the Best of Times, And the Worst of Times

This Is the Best of Times, And the Worst of TimesPerhaps this is true at every point in the history of a God-ruled, sin-pervaded world. It was true in 1859, and it is true today.

Charles Dickens wrote The Tale of Two Cities in 1859. It begins,

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way — in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.

He was referring to 1775, the time of the French Revolution. But his point was that period was like the present period in 1859. In the mid-nineteenth century, “it was the best of times and the worst of times.”

In 1859 Charles Spurgeon was 25 years old, George Müller was 54, Hudson Taylor was 27. And Charles Darwin was 50 years old, John Stuart Mill was 53, and Friedrich Nietzsche was 15.

Rebellion and Revival

God was mightily at work in 1859. In China’s Millions, the most thorough history of the China Inland Mission, Alvyn Austin wrote,

In 1859, while Hudson Taylor was still in China [on his first missionary term before founding the China Inland Mission], a revival broke out in Northern Ireland that led to a religious movement so pivotal in British religious history that it came to be called the Revival or “Awakening of ’59.” . . . Although Taylor missed the first phase of the revival, he arrived in Britain in time to reap its benefits. As J. Edwin Orr noted, “there is reason to believe that the whole [of the China Inland Mission’s first] party [of 1866] was made up of converts and workers of the 1959 Awakening. . . . It is generally agreed that “something happened” in 1859–60, and that its ripples continued to reverberate for the rest of the century. (82–83, 85)

The astonishingly fruitful ministries of Spurgeon, Müller, and Taylor were riding the wave of God’s great work in their day. It was the best of times.

But other things happened in 1859. Charles Darwin published On the Origin of Species, and John Stuart Mill, the atheist and utilitarian, published his essay “On Liberty.”

So alongside growing secularism in science and politics, growing materialism in the industrial revolution, and growing self-reliance, as God was rejected by many, there was a great spiritual awakening and a great global advance of the gospel of Jesus. It was the worst of times and the best of times.

The Good

The same is true today: It is the best of times and the worst of times.

For example, historian Mark Noll points out, “In a word, the Christian church has experienced a larger geographical redistribution in the last fifty years than in any comparable period in its history, with the exception of the very earliest years of church history” (The New Shape of World Christianity, 20). He fleshes it out with concrete examples:

  • At the beginning of the twentieth century, about 71 percent of professing Christians in the world lived in Europe. By the end of the twentieth century, that number had shrunk to 28 percent. Now 43 percent of the Christians lived in Latin America and Africa.
  • In 1900, Africa had 10 million Christians, which was about 10 percent of the population. By 2000, the number of Christians was 360 million, about half the population of the continent. This is probably the largest shift in religious affiliation that has ever occurred, anywhere.
  • There are 17 million baptized members of the Anglican church in Nigeria, compared with 2.8 million in the United States.
  • The number of practicing Christians in China is approaching the number in the United States.
  • Kenya has more people in Christian churches on Sunday than Canada.
  • This past week in Great Britain, at least fifteen thousand Christian foreign missionaries were hard at work evangelizing the locals. Most of these missionaries are from Africa and Asia.

It is the best of times in the history of world Christianity.

The Bad

Or is it? Noll concludes,

Doesn’t the recent history of Christianity spell out the obvious: God’s in his heaven, all’s right with the world? Not exactly. If our era has become the best of times, it remains also the worst of times. . . . The ever-expanding numbers who are turning to Christ in the Global south constitute the great marvel of recent history, but . . .

Global terrorism, ISIS, hypocrisy, colonial imperialism, racism, materialism, and a kind of decadence in the West that turns our shame into our glory with historically unprecedented audacity: calling marriage a union between two men, calling a man a woman because he wants to be one, and calling a baby’s legs and arms and hearts “fetal tissue” for the taking.

It is the worst of times. And the best of times.

The Best and Worst Today

In my lifetime I have seen a glorious and surprising revival of love for the God of sovereign grace and for his mighty gospel. Thousands of churches, seminaries, colleges, discipling centers, publishing houses, magazines, books, videos, websites, radio programs, global missions, music artists (from classical to rap), campus ministries, urban ministries, counseling centers, prolife efforts (and more) have come into being with a dynamic of God-centered, Christ-exalting, Bible-saturated joy and missional courage (what we used to call evangelism) and passion for racial harmony and robust Reformed theology. And none of this is limited to one ethnicity or nation. It is the best of times.

On the other hand, I have witnessed with sometimes depressing heaviness the evisceration of the historic name “evangelical” to a meaningless conglomerate of people whose “evangelical” identity is that they all had grandparents who once believed what the reformers did. I have seen the mainline Protestant denominations collapse from gospel influence to faint cultural echoes. I have watched the rise of enormous churches and ministries who preach and export to poor nations a prosperity “gospel” that mutes the biblical teaching on suffering and reduces the glorious gospel to earthly betterment rooted in human attitudes, not the glory of Calvary.

And to mention just a few more of the many sorrows: the rise of a generation that knows little of the Bible, the disappearance of the weight of God’s awesome presence in worship, the glorification of immorality in entertainment, the explosion and ubiquity of pornography, the indifference in churches to justice for all ethnic groups, the decimation of whole neighborhoods through a dominant drug culture, the collapse of the family with the prevalence of premarital sex and easy divorce and the absence of responsible fathers. And the rise of civic leaders who, instead of standing against the disintegration, function as cheerleaders.

It is the worst of times, and the best of times.

How to Live in a Day Like Ours

What then shall we do?

1. Don’t assume any specific historical trajectory of good or evil is fixed and unchangeable. God evidently loves to do his surprising work in hard and unlikely times.

Surely, this is one of the implications of the history of Kings and Chronicles in the Old Testament. Even great and good kings are sometimes followed by monsters. And wicked kings have godly sons. Josiah was the son and grandson of two of the most wicked kings (Manasseh and Amon). He became king at eight years old. At sixteen he turned the nation on its head with a righteous reformation (2 Chronicles 34:1–4). It is unpredictable. It could happen at any moment, because God is sovereign.

2. Trust the sovereignty of God to turn the insanity of the nations to serve his purposes.

In the face of deadly opposition, the early church prayed with the words of Psalm 2, “Why did the Gentiles rage, and the peoples plot in vain?” (Acts 4:25). In vain? They succeeded in killing Jesus!

Yes. But what had they really achieved? The praying Christians make it clear:

Truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place. (Acts 4:27–28)

They plotted in vain against the Lord and his anointed. Because, in all their fury, they simply fulfilled what the Lord had planned: the salvation of the world.

3. Let us labor to bind the minds and consciences of our young people to the word of God as infallible, and glorious, and utterly timely, and penetrating, and invincible.

The word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12)

I am suffering, bound with chains as a criminal. But the word of God is not bound! (2 Timothy 2:8–9)

4. And, as the apostle Peter says, “Let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good” (1 Peter 4:19).

Ready to suffer — for Christ’s name. Full of trust — in Christ’s grace. Doing good — by Christ’s power. He reigns over this sin-ravaged world. Therefore it is the worst of times and the best of times.


Recent Articles


Help Kids to “Taste and See” How Good God Is

You and I probably have a lot in common. As a parent and kids’ pastor, I want kids to taste and see how good God is, awakening them to run after Him for a lifetime. Psalm 34:8 says, “Open your mouth and taste, open your eyes and see—how good GOD is, Blessed are you who run to him” (MSG).

The Bible helps kids see and taste who God is. It’s vital we make learning from the Bible a priority for boys and girls while also showing them why it’s important. How can we do that?

1. Lead by example.

You’ve heard the saying, “Do as I say, not as I do.” Now, we all know that’s a terrible philosophy to have. But often parents inadvertently lead that way by their actions. If we want our kids to fall in love with God’s Word and be excited to learn from it, then we must lead by example. We must be excited to learn from it and continue to grow in our relationship with God because of how His living Word speaks to us.

Let your kids see you reading your Bible. Use an actual physical Bible, one that’s not on your phone or tablet so they don’t think you’re on Facebook or looking at Pinterest. Read together with your kids from various books of the Bible. Make it fun and exciting for them!

2. Inspire them to discover.   Kids are inundated with do’s and don’ts. “Don’t touch that; go do your homework; don’t act like that in public.” Kids don’t want to read and hear about more do’s and don’ts. God didn’t intend the Bible to be a book of do’s and don’ts, so we shouldn’t make it that. It does guide us but it also inspires us! Help kids understand that the Bible is a written account of connected events that tell a true story—a story of hope, redemption, and an amazing future.

It’s the story of God’s love for them and of His son Jesus who wants to have a relationship with them. When we’re able to shape kids’ perspective of what the Bible is, they will approach it differently and will have a desire to learn from it!

My favorite Bible for kids is the Fire Bible for Kids. It allows kids to discover God’s Word in an interactive and engaging way. I love how it brings Bible stories to life with kid-friendly study notes, book introductions at the beginning of all 66 books, and colorful illustrations. There’s also a free companion app that has 3-D characters, games, puzzles, and quizzes that keep kids engaged in learning. Pair it with the Fire Bible for Kids Devotional that includes a daily devotion and also has a free companion app. You can sample a week of free devotions at http://www.MyHealthyChurch.com/firekidsapp.  

The post Help Kids to “Taste and See” How Good God Is appeared first on ChurchLeaders.com.


7 Ways to Use Facebook in Student Ministry

[Editor’s note: It can be easy to be overwhelmed by the total dominance of Facebook in our society. Everyone is on it! But it doesn’t have to be scary. Here are seven ways you can leverage this powerful social media platform in your student ministry. Have other ideas? Weigh in in the comments section!]

1. iPray. It’s a closed group that students have to request to join. They can post what they need prayer for and pray for each other.

2. Groups. Before or after almost every event there seems to be a group started for it. Before-the-event groups are started to promote the event. After events like camp, groups are started to help students find each other on Facebook and stay connected.

3. Pictures. EVERY week I take pictures (even if it’s just a few) at our weekend service or at Chick-fil-a afterward and throw them up on Facebook. Students love it. Not everybody can get away with that, though. It’s kind of funny. A friend dressed up as me at our Halloween party last year and was taking tons of pictures. People kind of freaked out a little until they realized he was just being me for Halloween. I don’t know how to explain that, but there’s something to be learned about having a person known for taking pics in your ministry. We’ve never made me an “official” photographer, people have just gotten used to me doing it.

4. Tag. I usually tag at least one student in each picture and they usually tag each other from there. Always tag your ministry in each picture. As students tag each other, they might see your ministry tagged. That’s just one more door for people to check you out.

5. Open profile. Have your ministry’s profile open to the general public. People should be able to see everything there is to see without being friended with your ministry. I suggest having a profile instead of a page for your ministry. There’s more stuff you can do that way.

6. Daily activity. Go on once a day and wish people happy birthday. That’s a great way for friends of friends to see your ministry. It’s also a great way to have an extra touch in the lives of students … especially students who have stopped coming.

7. Troubleshooting. Look for concerns. If you see students who post status updates that show they are hurting or are posting inappropriate content, shoot them a Facebook email to touch base, encourage or invite them out for a Coke. Be careful not to jump on their case if they’re posting inappropriate content. Address it in a redemptive way.  

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4 Ways to Keep Millennials in Your Small Groups

Over the past few years, you’ve probably heard rumblings about millennials—Americans between the ages of 18 and 33 who are giving churches a myriad of puzzling behaviors to understand and minister to. Church leaders are scratching their heads and trying to determine how to bring back the 43 percent of once-active church attenders who have stopped attending church altogether. That’s eight million twenty- and thirty-somethings who have stopped attending church.

For a group that’s naturally distrusting of anything institutionalized and who rarely sets down roots (according to PewSocialTrends.org, only 26 percent of this demographic is married—that’s down 22 percent from their Baby Boomer parents) creating a church that makes them comfortable and motivated enough to stay is an ongoing challenge. But recent research from the Barna Group demonstrates one fact that might help churches reach this group in a new way—when 78 percent of millennial Christians described their vision for the ideal church, they chose the word “community.”

It makes sense. Millennials love to be connected—while their well-documented smart-phone reliance might make them seem more distant to the world around them, to millennials, it’s a way of constantly connecting and sharing their experiences with their friends. Every day, new apps are created with the specific purpose of giving young adults new ways to connect with one another in fun and creative ways. They live and breathe constant connection, and because many millennials are waiting to start families (partly because many emerged from college right in the heart of the Great Recession of 2007-2009, putting them significantly behind financially) they have to create this connection and community themselves. They crave it.

How can churches become a place for millennials to feel like they’re part of a community? A thriving small-group ministry is a great place to start.

It seems easy—start more small groups, draw more millennials. But millennials can smell disingenuousness from a mile away, and if they feel out of place or awkward in a small group, they won’t engage. If they feel like your church is “using” small groups to sell your churches’ brand or mission, they’ll run for the hills. And if your church is using study material that barely even glazes over Scripture, chances are good that you’ll see your millennial attenders drop out quickly.

Here are the top four things small-group pastors need to do to successfully minister to millennials:

1. Study the Bible In-Depth.
For the proud and the few young adults who grew up and then remained in the church, there is no higher authority than the Word of God—and no more important spiritual discipline than Bible study. Remember, this is a group of young adults who were raised in the boom of Christian commercialism, who were handed CCM CDs, magazines, and cartoons with Bible-based moral messages wrapped in cool packaging. They attended big, hyped-up youth conferences and felt the excitement acutely—and then they went home and felt, just as acutely, the confusion that arrived when that excitement stopped a week after the conference. They’ve read about famous Christian pop stars checking into rehab, and they’ve seen famous pastors fall. This group knows things are more complicated than they seem.

For those who’ve survived this crash course on discerning what makes real faith, reliance on the Bible for truth is the only thing they’re really interested in. Millennials are looking for an in-depth study on the life of Jesus, not a study on how to become a better person. Create or use content that goes deep into God’s word and avoids “the moral of the story” layouts.  

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4 Myths Christians Should Stop Believing About Depression

“True believers don’t suffer from depression.”

His false statement rang in my ear like a noisy gong—and then hung in the air like smoke, waiting to be cleared away. I wasn’t exactly sure how this conversation had started, but one thing led to another and I here I was with this visitor and a small group of men and women discussing the existence of depression among Christians.

It would have been a hard conversation for anyone to have, but for me—it was even harder still. Because little did this visitor know that I was only now emerging from the terrible pit of depression myself. Little did he know, that for me, this conversation was personal—because I’d felt like I’d just been to hell and back. Little did he know that my heart had wrestled, and my body had collapsed, under the pressure of depression  But that Jesus had held me the whole way through.

As a professional counselor, this was a conversation that I was glad to be a part of. For over a decade, I’ve worked with men, women, children and teens struggling with mild to severe depression. I’ve seen first-hand the pain and paralysis it can bring. But more so, I’ve experienced it in my own life. I know the sinking quicksand that can drain your body, burden your heart and eat away at your mind.

It breaks my heart to hear the myths and lies that Christians believe about depression—and the shame that can be felt surrounding this topic. As I’ve interacted with more and more people on this topic, I’ve noticed that there are a few false ideas that continue to be perpetuated among believers.

Depression Is a Faith Issue. Like the visitor had falsely said, “true believers don’t suffer from depression.” I think this is the worst of all the lies, because not only is it false, but it’s the antithesis of the entire message of Christ. As believers, we are never promised a pain-free, disease-free, struggle-free life. But we’re promised a Savior, a Comforter and a Friend. I look back at the hardest moments I have faced with depression and I see Jesus right by my side. I remember crying out one night and feeling all alone, and just then—God’s presence overwhelmed me in that moment. Just when I needed it the most. Depression has nothing to do with lack of faith, in fact, for me—it has been the catalyst for even deeper faith. Because some days, in the hardest moments, faith was the only thing I had.

Depression Can Be Prayed Away. I prayed more during the days and months of my depression than I ever did in my entire life. But my depression didn’t magically disappear. I believe in prayer, and I believe in a God who can heal all things—in fact, I genuinely believe it was HIS hand that lifted my depression. But freedom from depression requires prayer AND treatment. Whether in the form of support, therapy or medication—as believers we have to have a “next steps” approach as we interact with people struggling with depression. God has given us wisdom, and loads of research, to help us understand the multifaceted disease of depression. It’s time for us to pray—but to also be prepared.

Depression Isn’t Physical. Just as we would never shame a cancer patient or a diabetic for their hurting bodies, we need to shift our perspective to see depression as a struggle of the brain. Only then will we be able to treat it in a proper way. Depression is a disease of the body, that in turn impacts our emotions, our thoughts and even our spirit. There are many causes to depression, and whether it’s rooted in trauma, hormones or stress—it almost always effects our body. Our perspective of depression needs to change so that we can learn to embrace and support those in it, instead of pushing them away.

Depression Shouldn’t Be Talked About. Though I still see hints of this myth among Christians, I am grateful to see this myth slowly dying in the church. There is no shame in feeling depressed, and we should learn to talk about it, to preach about it and to sing about it when it’s all said and done. Scripture is filled with passages of men and women who have struggled through the pit of depression, and their response was to cry out! And crying out is always the first step to healing—because depression is a disease that THRIVES in isolation. It wants to pull us into the prison of loneliness, where it can break us down in weakness. By talking about depression, we slowly begin loosening its grip—allowing us to move in the direction of treatment, of support and of healing.

My deepest prayer is that as a body of believers, our attitudes would shift and our hearts would change as we work through this important issue. May we create an environment where we embrace those who are struggling and in pain—rather than push them away. May we learn to be transparent—but more so, to accept the transparency of those around us. Because at the end of the day, our weakness will always, always, always point us to the one who can make us strong. And isn’t that what Christianity is really about?

*About this time last year, I wrote about the Darkness of Depression and The Christian Response after the heart-breaking suicide of Pastor Rick and Kay Warren’s son. This tragic event caused a ripple effect of awareness in the body of Christ, and has opened the doors to some really meaningful conversations. May God continue to change our hearts and open our minds.  

The post 4 Myths Christians Should Stop Believing About Depression appeared first on ChurchLeaders.com.


Know the Power of Jesus’ Name!

Today’s guest blogger is Lynn Mosher — who writes inspirational devotions to encourage hearts and uplift souls at her website and at many other sites including The Mom Initiative — discovers the power of Jesus’ name. In counseling, as hurting folks learn who Jesus truly is, the deeper their healing. –Ed.
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Have you ever looked up the meaning of your name?
When I looked up the meaning of my name, I found varying version of the origin: pond, waterfall, pool, lake, ruddy-complexioned, dwells by the torrent. But mine, or yours, can never compare to the name of Jesus. What do we know about Him? Wouldn’t you like to know the meaning of His name and its power?
 

In His Name…

Demons bow, evil flees.
Our covenant with God was cut.
Our hunger and thirst are quenched.
The Word goes to work and miracles happen.
The universe was created and all held together.
Our names are written in the Lamb’s book of Life.
The gospel is preached, doors are opened and shut.
The lame walk, the blind see, the deaf have their ears opened.
The sick are healed, the dead arise, mighty storms are calmed.
Help is summoned, temptations are averted, captives are set free.
We have an intimate relationship and our loneliness turns to fellowship.
Marriages are healed, minds are set free, forgiveness of our sins is given.
Which of these power truths touch your heart?

In His Name, We…

live by faith.
take our delight.
offer our prayers to the Father.
have the anointing of the Spirit.
receive His power and authority.
receive salvation and newness of life.
find compassion and grace in time of need.
have a companion, hiding place, strong tower.
were chosen, made holy, righteous, and sanctified.
fight our battles, are made royal heirs, sit at the King’s table.
know and are set free by the Truth, know the Way, know the Father.

How has knowing the power of His Name changed your life?

 

He…

is Love
is Emmanuel, the Messiah.
offers “healing in His wings.”
supplies joy for our mourning.
lives within us and walks with us.
gives beauty to replace our ashes.
has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows.
replaces our failing spirit with a garment of praise.
meets our needs, secures our safety, rebukes the enemy.
guides our footsteps, anchors our soul, rewards our obedience.
was wounded for our transgressions and bruised for our iniquities.

What is your response the power truth of Jesus’ care for you? 

 

His…

Joy is our strength.
Grace is our sufficiency.
Presence is brought near.
Peace replaces our stress.
Light dispels our darkness.
Strength replaces our weaknss.
Favor, grace, and mercy pursue us.
Yoke is easy and His burden is light.
Spirit intercedes for us in our prayers in accordance with God’s will.

Which of these power truths comfort you?  

 

Through and in Him, We Are…

refined and molded in His likeness.
led to still waters and green pastures.
given a banquet table in the midst of our enemies.
made whole, given revelation, preserved, blessed.
delivered from evil, cleansed, comforted in our sorrows and trials.
rewarded, restored, purified, and sanctified, upheld from stumbling, instructed in the ways of life.
Aren’t you sensing Jesus’ power and love for you?

He Is Our…

Joy, hope, rest, sufficiency.
Mighty Warrior, Shepherd.
Father, Brother, Best Friend.
Sacrifice, Mediator, Advocate.
Life abundantly on earth, life everlasting.
Eternal and never-changing love of the Father.
Example of giving, sharing, caring, compassion.
Helper, Teacher, Example, Shield, armor of God.
Encourager, Comforter, Counselor, Sustainer, Provider.
Roadside marker, footprints to follow, a final destination.
Fountain of Life, streams of Living Water in our desert places.
Foundation, our refuge, our Rock, our home, our dwelling place.
Heavenly Bridegroom, Kinsman Redeemer, Counselor, an eternal home.
Sure hand of guidance, a Vine of Life, wisdom, understanding and discernment.
Final sacrifice, our Ark in the flood-have our sanctuary, our victory, a teacher, our Treasure.
Deliverer, Captain, Commander in Chief, Leader, Governor, blessed and only Ruler, Lawgiver.
Wow!

He Is the…

Master of our soul.
Bright Morning Star.
Gift of God, the Holy One.
Head of the body, the church.
Amen, Prophet, Passover Lamb.
Author and Finisher of our faith.
Firstborn of the dead and many brothers.
Apostle and High Priest of our profession.
Bread of Life, Living Bread, Living Water.
Rock, the Living Stone, Chief Cornerstone.
Dayspring, Elect of God, Heir of all things.
Root of David and Jesse, Branch of the Lord.
Alpha and Omega, Life, Door, Lamb of God.
Lion of Judah, Righteous Judge, King of the Jews.
Image of the invisible God, Brightness of His glory.
Light of the heavenly city, True Light, Faithful Witness.

Jesus is the…
Great I AM
Word of God
Everlasting God
Savior of the world
King of kings
Lord of lords
Prince of Peace!

LynnMosher-round-2Yeah, He’s the One! That’s the Name that does and says it all! The Name above every name!
So, what did I leave out?

The post Know the Power of Jesus’ Name! appeared first on Biblical Counseling Center.


Praying in the Spirit

Romans 8:26-27 might be the most comforting passage in Scripture. It reads,

Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.

This is so comforting because, more often than not, prayer is a frustrating endeavor for me. I vacillate between not knowing what to pray, battling wandering thoughts, and not having words for the deep needs of my soul.

praying in the SpiritSo naturally, Colin Smith’s new booklet on prayer, Praying in the Spirit, caught my attention. This short book of only 15 pages is a Mary Poppins’ bag of wisdom. Though not a comprehensive study of prayer, it is brimming with big truth and solid teaching. Smith sets out to teach us to pray in the Holy Spirit and, in doing so, answers many of the issues that hinder the work of prayer in our lives.

In an effort to not copy down the full text of the book for you (because it is all so good), I’ve sifted out four summarizing ideas that will hopefully encourage you to check out Praying in the Spirit.

Pray like the Spirit to pray in the Spirit.

Smith begins to reorient us to prayer by reminding us that Scripture is “directly breathed out by the Spirit of God” (6). Big chunks of the Bible are prayers, namely the Psalms, so why not use them to shape our prayers? He says,

As you learn to form your prayers from the Bible, you will be praying in the Spirit because you are praying in a way that reflects the heart and mind of God. (6)

After including some examples, Smith adds that using Scripture to pray has three key benefits that address three big prayer problems. It keeps our prayers from becoming “dull and repetitive,” as well as “self-centered” (7). And it enables us to pray confidently, knowing that we are asking “in line with the mind and heart of God” (7).

Don’t let yourself get in the way.

Prayer is like a narrow path, with two ditches, one on either side. One ditch is called pride, and the other is called despair. Both are equally dangerous, and the way to avoid them is to get your eyes off yourself. (7)

Goodness, that’s helpful. Smith cautions us to focus on God rather than our successes or failures in prayer (6-8). To that end, he also encourages us to maintain the posture of a servant, remembering that we come to God to receive direction, not to give it (8).

Transform your “what ifs.”

For some of us, worry is our downfall in prayer. Since worry-doused prayers are not reflective of the heart or mind of God, Smith offers a new perspective. He suggests that we switch from “the ‘what ifs’ of worry to the ‘what ifs’ of faith” (11). We’re to think on what God has already done for us and let that inform our thoughts of the future.

Instead of negative “what ifs” about potential harm, we should be offering “what ifs” of thanksgiving in prayer. “What if God were not with me? What if Christ had not died for me?” (11). Smith affirms that “confidence in what Christ has already done builds expectation of what he will do” (12).

Affirm and ask.

“We move forward as we grow in asking for what we need and affirming what God has done” (12). Smith views asking and affirming as key components to prayer. He cautions against only asking or only affirming, warning that the former will lead to defeat and the latter will lead to denial. But using both in equal measure will lead to deliverance (12). Spirit-led prayer is characterized by faith in both the good that God has done, and the good that he is able to do.

In On Writing Well, William Zinsser advised, “Decide what corner of your subject you’re going to bite off, and be content to cover it well and stop.” That is precisely what Smith has done with Praying in the Spirit. He has taken a corner of the extensive subject of prayer and unfolded it to cover a whole area of discipleship.

Prayer directly affects our understanding of the gospel and vice versa. In Praying in the Spirit, Smith reminds us that one of Christ’s gifts to us through salvation is the indwelling of his Spirit. His Spirit is the heart and mind of God, so it only makes sense for us to learn to align our prayers accordingly.

Get a free download of Praying in the Spirit when you sign up for our emails!

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The post Praying in the Spirit appeared first on Unlocking the Bible.


Persecution, Perseverance, and Hope

Foxe's_Book

Recent events suggest that our society is growing increasingly hostile to genuine Christianity. Consequently, more intense forms of persecution may be on the horizon for the American church. In the face of that reality, believers can be encouraged by reflecting on the faithfulness exhibited by previous generations of Christians, and by resting in the promises of God. Hence the re-posting of today’s article…

Fox’s Book of Martyrs is a must read for every Christian. Written by John Fox over 350 years ago, it catalogs the lives of hundreds of believers who, throughout church history, were willing to give their lives for the cause of Christ. When it comes to contagious courage, I can think of no greater testimony than reading about those who embraced their Lord to the point of embracing death.

One such account concerns the lives of Jerome Russell and Alexander Kennedy, two English Protestants who took a daring stand for what they believed. Because of their biblically-sound doctrine, the pair was arrested and imprisoned. Kennedy was only eighteen years old. After some time, the two men were brought before religious officials for questioning. Russell, being older, gave an articulate defense, usI ing the Scriptures to support his belief in salvation through faith alone. Yet, in spite of the evidence, the men’s accusers prevailed and Russell and Kennedy were deemed heretics.

In keeping with the jurisprudence of the times, they were condemned to death—their sentence to be carried out the following day. Early the next morning, Russell and Kennedy were led from their prison cells to the place of execution. They could have denied their Lord, right then and there, and been spared. But when Kennedy, being but a young man, began to display signs of fear, Russell quickly encouraged him to stand firm:

Brother, fear not; greater is He that is in us, than he that is in the world. The pain that we are to suffer is short, and shall be light; but our joy and consolation shall never have an end. Let us, therefore, strive to enter into our Master and Savior’s joy, by the same straight way which He hath taken before us. Death cannot hurt us, for it is already destroyed by Him, for whose sake we are now going to suffer.

In this way, the two men came to boldly face execution without compromise. John Fox finishes the account with this.

When they arrived at the fatal spot, they both kneeled down and prayed for some time; after which being fastened to the stake, and the fagots [kindling] lighted, they cheerfully resigned their souls into the hands of Him who gave them, in full hopes of an everlasting reward in the heavenly mansions.

How could these men calmly submit to being burned alive? Why did they willingly undergo severe suffering and death? The answer begins with the biblical doctrine of hope. By focusing on God and His unwavering faithfulness, they stood firm as a testimony to the truth.

Here are two reasons why:

a. Hope sees death as a beginning, not an end.

For believers death is the beginning of eternity in heaven. Death is not termination but initiation—the start of an existence far better than anything we can imagine. The apostle Paul knew this to be true. The book of 2 Timothy is the last letter he wrote before his execution—chapter 4 indicates that he realized his death was imminent (see v. 6). As he looked back on his life, he realized that his life was almost over (v. 7). Yet, he now looked forward to something far greater: namely, the reward of Jesus Christ and an eternity spent together with Him (v. 8). Paul looked beyond the grave and saw his God. Because Christ had conquered death (1 Corinthians 15:20–28) there was nothing to fear.

It was John Owen, the great Puritan, who wrote on his deathbed: “I am yet in the land of the dying, but I hope soon to be in the land of the living.” Like Paul, he too understood that true life, in its fullest measure, begins where this life ends. In stark contrast, many in the contemporary church live as though this present life is better than the life to come. Tenaciously, they hold on to their short stay on this earth. Some follow every health fad, taking whatever supplement will reduce the risk of a heart attack. Others avoid airplanes, fearful that their trip could end in an unexpected dive.

Our quest for longevity has affected our eating habits, our exercise routines, our travel plans, and even the type of sunscreen we buy. While there is nothing inherently sinful in enjoying the earthly life that God has given, Christians sometimes need to be reminded that the next life is far superior. Death is a doorway, not a dead end. And for God’s children, death’s door opens into heaven.

b. Hope sees the Shepherd through the shadows.

A second reason Christians need not fear death is because our Savior has already conquered death. He is not asking us to go anywhere He has not already been. And, because He arose from the grave victorious (Acts 2:32–33), we can be confident that we also will be resurrected one day (1 Corinthians 15:20). In Psalm 23:4, the writer says, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” For David, whose life was often in danger, comfort came in looking to his Shepherd, even when thinking about death.

Just over 1,000 years later, an early Christian leader named Ignatius shared David’s confident perspective. According to church tradition, Ignatius was arrested by the Roman government and executed because he professed Christ. Shortly before his death, he wrote the church of Rome, saying:

I care for nothing, of visible or invisible things, so that I may but win Christ. Let fire and the cross, let the companies of wild beasts, let breaking of bones and tearing of limbs, let the grinding of the whole body, and all the malice of the devil, come upon me; be it so, only may I win Christ Jesus.

Even in being thrown to hungry animals and torn limb from limb, Ignatius’ commitment to his Lord remained firm. He was willing to endure death because of the Master he sought to please, the Master he knew he would soon see face-to-face.

In considering death, these men focused on the One who was waiting to meet them there. They did not fear death, because they rested in the promises of their Savior. What comes into your mind when you think about death? A biblical perspective thinks first about Christ. And for the soul that loves Jesus, nothing is more exciting than the thought of going to be with Him. We love Him because He first loved us (1 John 4:19), and not even death can separate us from that love (Romans 8:38–39).

Death is the doorway that brings us into the presence of Christ. That is why Paul could triumphantly tell the Philippians, “To live is Christ, and to die is gain.” For those who know the Lord Jesus Christ, Paul’s words summarize both our purpose in this life and our hope for the next.


Known by God Before You Were Born

Known by God Before You Were BornWhen did God know you would be his adopted son or daughter? Peter says that our election is “according to the foreknowledge of God.” In this lab, John Piper asks what it means for God to foreknow us, and then explores the relationship between our election and God’s foreknowledge.

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A La Carte (September 8)

Today’s Kindle deals include Recovering Redemption and Creature of the Word by Matt Chandler ($2.99). The excellent New American Commentary Studies in Bible & Theology series is on sale: Believer’s Baptism, The Lord’s SupperThat You May Know, Lukan Authorship of Hebrews, The End of the Law, God’s Indwelling Presence, The Ten Commandments, Future Israel, Sermon on the Mount, Enthroned on Our Praise. (If you weren’t online yesterday, be sure to check out yesterday’s big list of deals.)

The Public Reading of Scripture in Corporate Worship

Few things irk me more than a very poor public reading of Scripture. This article offers really helpful pointers on doing it right (and explains why we ought to make the effort).

Rosaria Butterfield on Sexuality and Identity

In this short video (less than 3 minutes) Rosaria Butterfield explains why we should not accept sexuality as a category of identity.

The Myth of Quality Time

I enjoyed this reflection on the importance of quantity, not merely quality, of time. “We delude ourselves … when we invoke and venerate ‘quality time,’ a shopworn phrase with a debatable promise: that we can plan instances of extraordinary candor, plot episodes of exquisite tenderness, engineer intimacy in an appointed hour.”

Faithfulness in Small Places

“As I speak in other churches, I find few that are impressive. Again, the people are great, and the ministry significant, but it always seems that things are humble, and that the real action’s taking place somewhere else. It’s tempting to wish that we were there, rather than in the small, humble places where we serve.”

HappinessPre-order Worthy: Randy Alcorn’s next major work, Happiness, releases on October 1. “In Happiness, noted theologian Randy Alcorn dispels centuries of misconceptions about happiness and provides indisputable proof that God not only wants us to be happy, He commands it.” Pre-order at Amazon.

The Drifters

Christianity Today has a neat article and photo gallery celebrating God’s hand in giving us phytoplankton. Yes, you read that right: phytoplankton.

How to Spot a Liar

It turns out that most of the old methods you’ve heard about are pretty much useless at spotting liars. “Forget body language or eye movements. There are much better ways to identify the deceitful.”

Un Petit Enfant

Sometimes I enjoy listening to worship music in other languages. Recently I came across Kim Tran (Faculté Jean Calvin) and have enjoyed his French worship songs.


The Daily Discovery (September 8, 2015)

ARTICLES I LIKE FROM AROUND THE WEB:
(Click title to go to full article)

The Curse of a Godly Wife – “I have seen him far too often. He is the man who rarely takes the lead in his home. He is the man who almost never calls the family together for devotions. He is the man who feels dumb when asking his wife if he can pray for her, or when asking if she would like to sit and read the Bible with him. He is the one who seems almost afraid of being godly.”

Why Kim Davis Was Right Not to Resign – “Should Kim Davis, the Kentucky county clerk who is jail for refusing to issue marriage license, have resigned?  Over the past week many people, including many Christians sympathetic to her cause, have said Davis should resigned from her elected position as Rowan County Clerk if her conscience won’t allow her to do the job as required. While I understand the reasoning, and am even partially sympathetic to that view, I think it misses the reason Davis acted as she did and how her choice does not necessarily conflict with the rule of law.”

God Made All of Me – “Like all little boys between the ages of two and five, my son is fascinated with his boy parts. At least, I think he’s fascinated, considering how he runs around without his pants on. Maybe he just likes to gross out his sisters.”

Persecution, Perseverance, and Hope – “Fox’s Book of Martyrs is a must read for every Christian. Written by John Fox over 350 years ago, it catalogs the lives of hundreds of believers who, throughout church history, were willing to give their lives for the cause of Christ. When it comes to contagious courage, I can think of no greater testimony than reading about those who embraced their Lord to the point of embracing death.”

Don’t Underestimate the Doctrine of Providence – “I shifted uncomfortably in my chair, conscious of the tension in the little room. I’d guessed this conversation was coming, since the people now sitting in front of me had seemed unhappy with my pastoral leadership for a good long time. I wasn’t sure what would happen now, but I was afraid it might end badly, with hurtful words spoken and their bitter departure from our church. I mention this moment not because it’s unusual in pastoral ministry—every pastor experiences such meetings sooner or later—or because it had a miraculous and uplifting outcome, but because I recall my own heart in that conversation. I claimed to be Calvinist, but I wasn’t living like one. I was thinking little of God’s role in this conversation—and much of the people sitting across from me.”


SERMON:

logo-contSermon

Nate Pickowicz – Love & Obedience (John 14:15)


VIDEOS:

Calvinists are Not Christians?

Should Gays Be Stoned?


“All death can do to the believer is deliver him to Jesus.  It brings us into the eternal presence of our Savior.” – John MacArthur



Christian Headlines Daily – Tuesday, September 8, 2015

http://www.christianheadlines.com/

Top Headlines

Tebow Responds Graciously to Being Cut from Eagles Roster

Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics Jumps into Bible, Pot Debate

Charleston Church Shooter Gets Death Penalty Sentence

Christian Rapper and Former Lesbian Speaks about Her Conversion

High School Baptisms on Football Field were Voluntary, Pastor Says

Islamic State Issues 11 Mandates for Citizens of Captured Syrian Town

KY Clerk’s Office Will Issue Marriage Licenses Friday — without the Clerk

Court Rules to Keep Statue of Jesus on Montana Mountain

Oklahoma Attorney General Fights to Keep Ten Commandments Monument

Christians Provide Aid to Displaced Syrian Refugees Facing Persecution

Opinion

Margaret Sanger: Busted

‘In this World You Will Have Trouble’ — Welcome to Rowan County

Comic Rebukes Comedian for Bashing Bible

Yahoos on Campus: What Did You Expect?

Policeman Murdered: Schools Locked Down


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


Resource Links

CanIKnowGod.com is a website inspired by LifesGreatestQuestion.com, with new content, images, audio and video that will help you understand more about who God is and how to know Him. The site is mobile responsive and has an infinite scroll which makes for a very user-friendly experience. After you indicate a decision on CanIKnowGod.com, you are directed to a page that details what it means to have a new and transformed life through Jesus Christ. There’s even a Facebook page for daily updates, encouragement and scripture sharing.

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


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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).

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