September 10, 2015 Truth2Freedom Christian Briefing Report

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Mark Driscoll, Tullian Tchividjian, and Reformed Baptist Polity

The reason, however, is probably not polity. It is far more likely that the problem lies within our hearts. Maybe we do have one of those polities which, to expropriate Adams’ words, is “better fitted for being well administered than others.” Very well, but let us heed Pope also, and administer it well and faithfully.

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Honoring the Dishonorable

David understands that such an action will be great sin in the eyes of God, so instead of removing Saul’s head, he cuts off a corner of Saul’s robe. But immediately, following this action, David’s heart troubles him. Why? I believe it is because David senses he has not rightly honored the authority placed in office by the Authority. David has dishonored the king. He has not struck the king’s head, but he has struck the king’s robe, and he has struck the king’s honor, and now his heart now strikes him.

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7 Ways To Be A Best Friend To A Pastor

Don’t hold him to unreasonable expectations. I’ve seen people who want to be a pastor’s friend get upset when the pastor didn’t tell them everything going on in the church. They get their feelings hurt. Every pastor walks on a certain amount of “eggshells” wondering who will respond and how to things the pastor does. We should never place this burden on a “best” friend. Have no hidden agenda to the relationship — no attempt to gain information or status — just friendship. 

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Wisely Handling the Bible’s Wise Sayings

The book of Proverbs is concerned to give us practical guidelines for daily experience. It is a neglected treasure of the Old Testament, with untold riches lying in wait in its pages to guide our lives. It holds real, concrete advice that comes from the mind of God Himself. If we want wisdom, this is the fountain from which to drink. He who is foolish will neglect this fountain. He who is hungry for God’s wisdom will drink deeply from it.

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Kim Davis: State Criminal? Church Discipline?

“I never imagined a day like this would come, where I would be asked to violate a central teaching of Scripture and of Jesus Himself regarding marriage. To issue a marriage license which conflicts with God’s definition of marriage, with my name affixed to the certificate, would violate my conscience. It is not a light issue for me. It is a Heaven or Hell decision. For me it is a decision of obedience. I have no animosity toward anyone and harbor no ill will. To me this has never been a gay or lesbian issue. It is about marriage and God’s Word.”

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Pastor Outed On Ashley Madison Commits Suicide

Since his death, his family has made a pact to be more transparent with one another about their struggles. Christi Gibson has a message for the 32 million people exposed and their communities. “These were real people with real families, real pain and real loss,” she says. But “don’t underestimate the power of love. Nothing is worth the loss of a father and a husband and a friend. It just didn’t merit it. It didn’t merit it at all.”

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The Return of Slave-Branding: Modern-day Sex Traffickers Using The Practice of Forced Tattoos to Mark Women As ‘Property’

The sickening ritual – which echoes the branding of cattle, of Roman slaves and of Auschwitz prisoners – has given rise to Survivor’s Ink, an organization fundraising to help escaped sex-trafficking victims remove or cover up the tattoos. ‘It very much so is a psychological form of bondage,’ said Jennifer Kempton – founder of Survivors Ink and a survivor of sex trafficking. She now helps other women cover up their tattoos – like she did with the four inkings she was forced to have.

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Resting Place of a Humble Man

And on Reagan’s headstone are these words: “There is purpose and worth to each and every life.” That aptly fits Reagan’s highly positive outlook of humanity. It’s a good statement for remembering Reagan. But it’s also good for remembering Bill Clark. Clark ultimately had a grand purpose in his life, and had a grand worth to his life as well. Yet, amid all of that, Bill Clark always felt himself grandly unworthy.

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Making Differences Disappear: The Evolution of Science on Same-Sex Households

Social science was never going to save marriage’s male-female infrastructure. I never presumed it could or would. What it can do—and that’s what I will always love about it—is reveal what is going on. It has a difficult time laying blame or taking credit, because causality is always challenging to discern. I just wish the charged atmosphere could begin to sustain a healthy and fair debate. Not just yet, it seems.

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UPDATE: Hillsong issues statement 8 months after worship leader announces his upcoming homosexual marriage

When one of Hillsong New York City’s worship leaders announced he is a practicing, unrepentant homosexual, and that he is marrying his fellow church singer and boyfriend, Hillsong leadership says nothing. (UPDATE: The couple’s announcement came in January, eight months ago. Today, less than 24 hours after this story published, finally, Hillsong issues a press […]

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We Could Be Heroes (and maybe that’s not good …)

We have such low standards for heroes.  And I don’t just mean comic book superheroes:  Green Lantern…Hawkeye….Robin (!?!)  No matter how much we equivocate the term, these guys don’t deserve the title “super.”  But that’s a subject for another blog.  In this one, I’d like to explore the tendency among Christians in our modern, Western culture to laud as heroic any non-fictional person who seems even vaguely virtuous.  In a time of moral famine, Christians seem far too eager to gobble up and praise what little signs we see of basic good behavior and to celebrate them as Christ-like.   To borrow and adapt C.S. Lewis’ expression:  When it comes to distinctly Christian heroism, we are far too easily pleased.   Read more of this post


Angelina Jolie Warns ISIS Using Rape, Sexual Violence ‘In a Way We’ve Never Seen Before,’ Calls for Stronger Political Action

 

Coptic Orthodox Church Leader Issues Statement on Refugee Crisis in Europe: ‘Their Plight Must Not be Belittled or Ignored’

ISIS Issues List of 11 Rules for Christians Living In Captured Syrian Town; Threaten Death to Those Caught Praying out Loud to Jesus Christ

Police Hasty, Brutal in Arrest of Christian Accused of Blasphemy in Pakistan: ‘This is Sheer Injustice’

Hundreds of Muslim Refugees Convert to Christianity at Church in Berlin, Pastor Says ‘Whoever Comes Here Will Not be Left Unchanged’

Terrorist Violence in Nigeria Deprives Children of School; Government Asks Christian Ministry to Help

Donald Trump Criticized by Franklin Graham Over Kim Davis Comments: ‘Our Forefathers Gave Us Freedom of Religion at a Great Cost’

Mike Huckabee, Franklin Graham Praise Release of County Clerk Kim Franklin, But Warn ‘Battle for Religious Freedom Isn’t Over’

Scholastic Sends 10,000 Copies of Pro-Transgender Children’s Book ‘George’ To Teachers and Librarians; Christian Group Expresses Concern

 

Tim Tebow Quotes Bible Verse, Thanks Eagles for Giving Him Opportunity After Coach Kelly Cut Him from Philadelphia

 

Jeremy Lin Thanks God for Empowering Him to Overcome Failures and Challenges, Playing With Charlotte Hornets Is Big Opportunity

 

With Josh Duggar in Rehab, Wife Anna Joins ’19 Kids and Counting’ Family for Sermon Message on ‘Sin of Pornography’

 

‘Duck Dynasty’s Phil Robertson and Family Attending Tea Party Rally against Iran Deal, Impressed With Donald Trump

 

Christian Actress Candace Cameron-Bure Noticeably Absent from ‘The View’ Discussions Surrounding County Clerk Kim Davis

 

I’m Looking for a Few Good Weirdos

by Erin Davis

If you stick out like a sore thumb, regularly feel like the oddball, consider yourself a freak, a geek, or a misfit, I’m looking for you.

Psst. . . I’m Recruiting You For a Secret Mission

by Erin Davis

I’d like to recruit you for a secret mission. I want you to take over the Church.

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.


On False Prophets

One has to speak about false prophets so often because there are so many of them around. Scripture throughout warns against false prophets, and we must take this matter quite seriously indeed. Jesus spoke often about false prophets and the need to be on guard against them.

Let me offer just one such passage on true and false prophets as found in Matthew 7:15-20:

Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.

false prophet 2Much can be said about this text, but here I want to focus on just two excellent expository preachers who have both dealt with this passage. The first is the great Martyn Lloyd-Jones, and the second is James Montgomery Boice. Both have their sermons on the Sermon on the Mount available in book form, and they are both well worth quoting from.

The superb volume by MLJ, Studies in the Sermon on the Mount, should be in every Christian’s library. Here are some snippets from his discussion of this passage:

That is the only way to understand rightly this picture of the false prophets. The false prophet is a man who has no “strait gate” or “narrow way” in his gospel. He has nothing which is offensive to the natural man; he pleases all. He is in ‘sheep’s clothing’, so attractive, so pleasant, so nice to look at. He has such a nice and comfortable and comforting message. He pleases everybody and everybody speaks well of him. He is never persecuted for his preaching, he is never criticized severely.

The false prophet very rarely tells you anything about the holiness, the righteousness, the justice and the wrath of God. He always preaches about the love of God, but those other things he does not mention. He never makes anyone tremble as thinks of this holy and august Being with whom we all have to do. He does not say that he does not believe these things. No; that is not the difficulty. The difficulty with him is that he says nothing about them. He just does not mention them at all. He generally emphasizes one truth about God only, and that is love. He does not mention the other truths that are equally prominent in the Scriptures; and that is where the danger lies. He does not say things that are obviously wrong, but he refrains from saying things that are obviously right and true. And that is why he is a false prophet. To conceal the truth is as reprehensible and as damnable as to proclaim an utter heresy; and that is why the effect of such teaching is that of a ‘ravening wolf’. It is so pleasing, but it can lead men to destruction because it has never confronted them with the holiness and the righteousness and the justice and the wrath of God.

In the same way it does not emphasize repentance in any real sense. It has a very wide gate leading to salvation and a very broad way leading to heaven. You need not feel much of your own sinfulness; you need not be aware of the blackness of your own heart. You just “decide for Christ” and you rush in with the crowd, and your name is put down, and is one of the large number of “decisions” reported by the press. It is entirely unlike the evangelism of the Puritans and of John Wesley, George Whitefield and others, which led men to be terrified of the judgment of God, and to have an agony of soul sometimes for days and weeks and months. John Bunyan tells us in his Grace Abounding that he endured an agony of repentance for eighteen months. There does not seem to be much room for that today. Repentance means that you realize that you are a guilty, vile sinner in the presence of God, that you deserve the wrath and punishment of God, that you are hell-bound. It means that you begin to realize that this thing called sin is in you, that you long to get rid of it, and that you turn your back on it in every shape and form. You renounce the world whatever the cost, the world in its mind and outlook as well as its practice, and you deny yourself; and take up the cross and go after Christ. Your nearest and dearest, and the whole world, may call you a fool, or say you have religious mania. You may have to suffer financially, but it makes no difference. That is repentance. The false prophet does not put it like that. He heals “the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly”, simply saying that it is all right, and that you have but to “come to Christ”, “follow Jesus”, or “become a Christian”.

We do not like this kind of teaching against false prophets today. We are living in days when people say that, as long as a man claims to be a Christian at all, we should regard him as a brother and go on together. But the reply is that our Lord said, “Beware of false prophets.” These awful, glaring warnings are there in the New Testament because of the very kind of thing to which I have been referring. Of course, we must not be censorious; but neither must we mistake friendliness and affability for saintliness. It is not a question of personalities. We must not despise these people. Indeed, Dr. Alexander MacLaren is right when he says that they are unconscious hypocrites. It is not that they are not nice and pleasing; they are. In a sense that is their greatest danger, and that is what makes them such a source of danger. I am emphasizing this matter because, according to our Lord, we should always be facing it. There is a way that leads to “destruction”, and the false prophet does not believe in “destruction”.

James Montgomery Boice has also had his expository sermons on the Sermon on the Mount issued in book form, and he is also well worth quoting from. He says this, in part, about Matthew 7:15-20:

According to Jesus, the danger is not so much in the fact that there are going to be wolves in the world – although that is perfectly true – but that there are going to be wolves whop have disguised themselves as sheep. In other words, the danger lies in the fact that there are going to be agents of the devil in the church.
Someone will say, “Do you mean to tell me that God will allow men who are influenced by Satan to become church members?” The answer is “Yes, indeed.” And not only that, he will also allow them to become ministers and speak from the pulpit. This is the real meaning of 2 Corinthians 11:14-15 which says, “For Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve.”
What is a prophet? Today the word usually means one who is able to tell what is coming in the future. In biblical times it had a much broader meaning. A prophet was one who spoke for another and particularly one who spoke for God….
When we carry this understanding of the word over into Christ’s teaching, we see that Jesus actually is warning against men who will appear in the churches and pretend to speak for God when their teaching is really of the devil. These are the men spoken of by Jeremiah: “I did not send these prophets. . . . I did not speak to them, yet they have prophesied. But if they had stood in my council, they would have proclaimed my words to my people and would have turned them from their evil ways and from their evil deeds” (Jer. 23:21-22).
Do we have false prophets today? Do we have wolves in sheep’s clothing? We certainly do. Moreover, we do not only have them in the pews and the pulpits. We have them in the denominational structures, in the seminaries, and in the church-related colleges. I find it amusing, in the light of our text, that today we call an academic degree or diploma a sheepskin. For some professors and ministers clearly cover their intentions with the sheepskins of higher learning while using their knowledge of the Bible and church history to damage the faith of those who listen to them. We are to be warned against such teachers.

He goes on to list various ways we can recognise false teachers and false prophets. One way is this:

False prophets do not have disturbing doctrines in their messages, even though the true state of man demands it. Their message is one of false peace. Jeremiah says, “They dress the wound of my people as though it were not serious. ‘Peace, peace,’ they say, when there is no peace.” Apparently Jeremiah thought that this truth was important enough to state more than once, for the identical verse occurs both in Jeremiah 6:14 and 8:11. And he would undoubtedly say of all the false prophets, as Arthur Pink does in An Exposition of the Sermon on the Mount, “There is nothing in their preaching which searches the conscience and renders the empty professor uneasy, nothing which humbles and causes their hearers to mourn before God; but rather that which puffs up, makes them pleased with themselves and to rest content in a false assurance.”…
True teaching involves the realities of man’s depravity and sin, God’s wrath and coming judgment, the need for repentance, and the answer to man’s sin in Christ’s vicarious atonement. Any teaching that omits these elements is erroneous.

False prophets were a real problem in the Old Testament. They were a real problem in the time of Jesus and the disciples. And they have been so throughout church history. They certainly are a major problem today as well. We must be on guard. False prophets are leading people to hell. Thus they must be resisted fully, firmly and comprehensively.


Answering Critics of the Bible

The Gospel alone has the power to save anyone from eternal damnation.  We cannot save anyone–but we can plant seeds of truth in a person’s life and pray that God makes the seed grow.  That is our responsibility– to share the truth of God’s Word with lost people. But in a world that increasingly rejects […]

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What does a “culture of death” look like and how do we change it?

It’s easy to see things like “legal” child sacrifice and the “legality” of “gay marriage” and gender chaos as clear signs of a culture of death. It’s easy to point to “Caitlyn” Jenner and roll our eyes. It’s easy to point to Planned Parenthood’s openly operating baby butchering facilities with disgust. But what was it about our culture […]

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Calvin’s Response To Being Forced To Observe Christmas

Now, I see here today more people that I am accustomed to having at the sermon. Why is that? It is Christmas day. And who told you this? You poor beasts. That is a fitting euphemism for all of you who have come here today to honor Noel. did you think you would be honoring […]

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War Room’s Priscilla Shirer “will become the main character” in the Bible stories she’s reading?

John Lanagan of My Word Like Fire expresses his concern over the actress the Kendrick brothers cast in their new film:

Photo courtesy newsbusters.org

Photo courtesy newsbusters.org

I saw the movie, War Room, and liked it very much. Priscilla Shirer is an incredible actress, and the director made wise use of her facial expressions to tell much of the story.

Shirer is far more than an actress in a Christian movie. She is an author, speaker, and Bible teacher, and this movie is going to bring many women into her sphere of influence.

That’s not a good thing.

http://mywordlikefire.com/2015/09/10/war-rooms-priscilla-shirer-will-become-the-main-character-in-the-bible-stories-shes-reading/


Willow Creek’s “The Practice” blends New Age & Catholic mysticism

Berean Research reports:

A Catholic priest and a New Ager walk into Willow Creek…

No, it’s not a joke waiting for a punchline. It’s an experiment called The Practice, and it’s the brainchild of Pastor Bill Hybels’ son-in-law, Aaron Niequist. Niequist is also the Worship Pastor at Willow Creek Community Church, and he calls a Jesuit priest his spiritual director.

Be warned; you are about to hear a lot of New Age lingo:

The Practice is an experimental gathering where we immerse ourselves in God’s dream for humanity, practice the historic disciplines that align us with His dream, and carry each other along the way. PracticeTribe.com

Starting this Sunday, Niequist will teach you about “unforced rhythms of grace,” in which you will learn to align your rhythm with God’s rhythm, practice contemplative prayer methods like Lectio Divina, and learn from a Catholic priest.

Willow Creek’s “The Practice” blends New Age & Catholic mysticism


Another Pseudo-Christian ‘Pastor’ In The News

The Kardashians ‘pastor’ is getting his own reality show, curiously named ‘Rich in Faith’ but more properly ‘Another Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing’.

Pastor Rich Wilkerson, Jr. is “not your typical pastor,” according to People Magazine. “I come from a different perspective,” the 31 year-old Florida native said. “I don’t think that people are interested in a bunch of religion, like telling me what I can and can’t do, but I think that people are interested in having a relationship with God.”

Wilkerson and his wife, DawnCheré, will have an opportunity to talk about their “different” perspective on faith in an upcoming TV show, Rich in Faith. The young, hip pastor who married Kanye West and Kim Kardashian last year, has made a career of pastoring some of the biggest celebrities in America, including the Kardashian family and Justin Bieber. Wilkerson’s brand of Christianity is steeped in what’s cool now, from his sermons based on popular songs to his undercut to his wardrobe. It’s a carefully curated presence.

Etc.  Because there isn’t enough fake Christianity on tv already.

Manhattan Declaration
What the Bible Says about Kim Davis
by Eric Teetsel
The ultimate source of authority is the Bible. As I’ve read the arguments from Davis supporters I’m surprised by their lack of biblical evidence. There tends to be a lot of talk about God without reference to God’s own Word.
Eidos
What the Bible Does Not Say about Kim Davis
by John Mark Reynolds
Kim Davis is not taking lives. She is simply refusing to obey an unjust law. The voters of her region can remove her, but they have yet to do so. The Bible does not condemn her actions.
The French Revolution
Kim Davis: Putting the “Protest” Back into “Protestant”
by Nancy French
The theological response was relatively simple: When rulers defy God, they lose their God-ordained authority. When rulers require lesser authorities to cooperate in and facilitate evil, the lesser authorities must resist.
Cranach
Muslim Refugees Converting to Christianity
by Gene Veith
Many Islamic refugees have been converting to Christianity. Some Europeans are skeptical, thinking the conversions are simply a facade to get asylum. But taking that step, for a Muslim would surely be existentially difficult unless it is sincere.
Imago Christi
Christianity Yet Lives
by Kenneth Tanner
By its experience of Jesus this community expects lovingkindness and mercy to triumph over every resistance to love. It expects a good end to history. It hopes, it prays, for the salvation of all.
Tip of the Spear
Learning to Become Love to Those Burned by Religion
by Brandon Showalter
My host parents were atheist existentialist-types who had been scorched by the Church many times, and by default they associated the Christian faith with the corruption and abuse they experienced under Franco.

More Great Reads

The Anxious Bench
The Biblical Case for Organized Labor
by Heath W. Carter
In the late nineteenth century, ordinary believers helped to launch the trade union movement precisely because the Bible told them so – a reading, notably, that was no more popular among the church leaders of their day than it is among our own.
Putting the Protest in Protestant
Don’t Discount Gullibility
by D. G. Hart
I know it won’t sound particularly warm and fuzzy, but I wonder if Merritt misses something not quite so mysterious in the evangelical support for Trump — namely, evangelicals’ gullibility.
Just and Sinner
Are Confessional Lutherans Just Too Sure of Themselves?
by Nathan Rinne
I would suggest that this whole idea of surety and certainty is not a modernist point of view, but an ancient Christian point of view.
Jackson Wu
Can We Skip Over Abraham and Israel?
by Jackson Wu
Despite the variety of methods used, the most common gospel presentations have at least one thing in common. They largely skip directly from creation to Christ. Typically, if there is a reference to Israel story, it will be incidental or non-essential.
Uncommon God, Common Good
An Unguarded Strength Is a Glaring Weakness
by Paul Louis Metzger
Charismatic, creative and energetic leaders can run over people if they are not careful; they must submit their gifts, passions and drives to the Lord.
Everyday Ethics
The Lesson of Eustace
by Jeremy Neill
Eustace’s story suggests to me that it is not possible for us to encounter God and genuinely to experience His sanctifying presence without discarding our old way of life.

American Ultra: Is it ok for Christians to watch violent films?

American Ultra: Is it ok for Christians to watch violent films?

Posted on September 10, 2015 by Christian Today

American Ultra: Is it ok for Christians to watch violent films?

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Bear Grylls: My Christian faith is my backbone

Bear Grylls: My Christian faith is my backbone

Posted on September 10, 2015 by Christian Today

TV adventurer and chief scout Bear Grylls starts every day by kneeling in prayer and says he desperately needs his Christian faith.


Blood moons and the end of the world: How not to interpret biblical prophecy

Blood moons and the end of the world: How not to interpret biblical prophecy

Posted on September 10, 2015 by Christian Today

Interpreters like John Hagee and Mark Blitz link biblical prophecies, lunar eclipses and historical events. Mark Woods on whether they are right to do so.

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SBC Executive Speaking at Muslim-Evangelical Interfaith Gathering

Lifeway – a Southern Baptist entity – will soon have their (arguably) most prominent executive speak at a Muslim-Evangelical interfaith event. Ed Stetzer, Vice President of Lifeway Insights Division and executive director of Lifeway Research, will speak at the upcoming Spreading Peace Convocation. The Convocation is a gathering of Christian pastors and Islamic imams, and is designed – according to their website – to “learn how to relate” and “build bridges” between the various religions.

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Fox’s Shepard Smith rips Christian ‘haters’ who support Kim Davis

News anchor interrupts live TV coverage to rail against marriage clerk

Shepard Smith, Fox News host, cut into his own press conference coverage of the release of Kentucky clerk Kim Davis from jail to rail against her, as well as those who supported her denial of wedding certificates to same-sex couples, saying such is simply a “religious play” that has no business in government service.

He also compared Kim Davis supporters to those who oppose Sharia law, characterizing them as one and the same when it comes to ideology.

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Celebrating The Feast of Trumpets

How long has man been waiting for the Lord to return? I daresay, the Apostles thought it would happen in their lifetime, and man has been anxiously looking forward to His return every day since. And how many of us are familiar with 1 Corinthians 15:51-55: Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed— in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.” Believers recognize that as the Rapture of the Body of Christ.

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Franklin Graham Slams Donald Trump on Kim Davis Remarks: ‘Forefathers Gave Us Freedom of Religion at a Great Cost’

After GOP Presidential candidate Donald Trump said that Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis should follow “the law of the land,” and issue same-sex marriage licenses, evangelical preacher Franklin Graham has argued that what is made into law isn’t always right.

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‘Blood Moons’ Discoverer Fires Back At ‘End Of World’ Claims

The religious leaders in Jesus’ day were rebuked for not understanding the signs of the times. God is again using the signs in the heavens to get our attention that we need to get connected to the Shemitah cycle to properly understand prophecy says Mark Biltz, the head of El Shaddai Ministries and the author of “Blood Moons: Decoding the Imminent Heavenly Signs”. Biltz says critics who claim he is predicting the imminent end of the world have it all wrong…this is just the beginning……….. Click here for full story


At A Berlin Church, Muslim Refugees Converting In Droves

Zonoobi, a carpenter from the Iranian city of Shiraz, arrived in Germany with his wife and two children five months ago. He is one of hundreds of mostly Iranian and Afghan asylum seekers who have converted to Christianity at the evangelical Trinity Church in a leafy Berlin neighborhood. Like Zonoobi, most say true belief prompted their embrace of Christianity. But there’s no overlooking the fact that the decision will also greatly boost their chances of winning asylum by allowing them to claim they would face persecution if sent home………. Click here for full story


How To Prosecute The Legalist Within You

What should you do if you are a legalist? How can you effectively fight legalism? By becoming a prosecuting attorney and putting your legalistic conscience on the stand. When your conscience takes the stand, drill it with these questions:

Question: Who has justified you?

Answer: God has justified me.

Q: How much has God justified you?

A: Fully, totally, and completely. I can never be more justified.

Q: If God himself has justified you, who can condemn you?

A: No one can condemn me. If God himself won’t condemn me, then there is certainly no one else who can.

Q: If no one can condemn you, then why do you keep wallowing around in your guilt?

A: Because I don’t really believe the good news of the gospel. I don’t really believe that God has fully, completely justified me. I feel like I still need to contribute. Like I can add something to my salvation.

Question: What does God require of you?

Answer: Complete, total, perfect obedience. He requires me to love him with every ounce of my energy, and to pour out my life for my neighbors with the same intensity that I love myself.

Q: Have you ever, even for five minutes, loved God as he deserves? Have you ever lived a single day in which you loved your neighbor like you should?

A: No, I have never met the demands of God’s law, and I never could meet the demands of God’s law.

Q: If you can’t meet God’s demands, why do you keep acting as though you can instead of flying to Jesus, who did meet the law’s demands and now offers to give you his righteousness?

A: Because I don’t see the depth of my sinfulness and my total desperation apart from the gospel.

Question: What kind of savior do you need?

Answer: I need a savior who will completely save me. I need someone who will completely pay my debt, totally forgive my sins, and bring me into perfect fellowship with God. I need complete and total rescue.

Q: Is Jesus that kind of savior?

A: Yes he is. Hallelujah, what a savior!


Should Christians Defend Themselves against Persecution or Take What’s Coming?

Many people who are faithful to Christ will be met with violent persecution. What is the correct response when faced with such violence?


Rebellion to Tyrants is Obedience to God (Part 1)

Posted at Virginia is for Huguenots:

Originally posted June 24 of 2009.

Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men. (Acts 5.29)

“Rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God.” — This famous saying of both Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin is said to have been on the epitaph of John Bradshaw (1602-1659), a British judge who presided over the trial of King Charles I, when his body was re-interred in Jamaica (where it was taken by his son to protect it from the fury of the Restoration towards regicides).

“Men must be governed by God, or they will be ruled by tyrants.” — William Penn

“Man will ultimately be governed by God or by tyrants.” — Benjamin Franklin

As our nation draws closer to another Fourth of July commemoration of the U.S. Declaration of Independence, I thought it would be worthwhile to trace some of the known or probable influences of history upon the writing of our national Declaration of Independence and to quote relevant extracts [I am cognizant of the fact that Thomas Jefferson was not a professing Christian, and that many Enlightenment influences among the American Founding Fathers of the late 18th century have affected our nation for ill, particularly with respect to the U.S. Constitution, but this series of posts concerns the major influences upon our other national charter, many of which were Calvinistic].

Read more here…


Let’s Be a Weeping People

“As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it.” -Luke 19:41

On my Mount Rushmore of Bible verses there is one that I continually come back to and meditate on—it is Luke 19:41. Luke is the only gospel writer who notes Jesus weeping over Jerusalem, but I am so thankful he did. The Greek word translated “wept” carries the meaning of bawling and weeping loudly. Jesus does not simply have a tear or two running down his face, but tears upon tears cascading down his cheeks as he sees the city of Jerusalem come into view. It is these tears of Jesus that have always haunted me and encouraged me as I pastor and preach, to enter into the weeping of the world and be okay to stay there.

If we are not a weeping people then we are not the people of Jesus.

Weeping and lamenting, however, are often dismissed in Christian circles.  One must simply turn on any Christian radio station to note how little mention of lamenting or weeping is talked about. We are encouraged to be happy, to stay uplifted, to move quickly over the pain and onto what God can do in and through our pain for his glory.

I am not against be encouraged and being uplifted and I do believe that our pain and suffering have a purpose in the eternal purpose of God, but let’s not be too quick to fast forward past the lamenting and weeping to the the fixing and reasoning.

Let’s enter into the weeping and sit there and stay there and let the tears of the world have a place among us as the people of a weeping King. Lamenting, weeping, and wailing should have a revered place among the people of God.

At the same time that we lament for the sake of the world we lament in hope because our weeping King is also a reigning King. Jesus did not stop his mission in Luke 19:41, but pressed into the heart of darkness that week in Jerusalem—-absorbing the tears of the world and laying the foundation for the day when all tears will be wiped from the eyes of God’s people in the New Jerusalem.

So let’s be an Easter people, gladly celebrating the breaking in of God’s kingdom of life, love, and wholeness here and now and longing for the ultimate breaking in of life, love, and wholeness in the world to come. But let’s also be a Palm Sunday people, a Luke 19:41 people, a people who see the tears of the world and say we, with Jesus, cry too.


09/10/15 Trembling, or Skipping?

READING: Ezekiel 42-43

TEXTS AND APPLICATION:  Ezekiel’s description of the contrast could not be more dramatic. In judgment, the glory of the Lord departed from the Temple and the city of Jerusalem. Years later, the glory would return in restoration grace.

Ezek. 10:18, 11:23  Then the glory of the Lord moved away from the threshold of the temple and stood above the cherubim. . . . The glory of the Lord rose up from within the city and stood on the mountain east of the city.

———————

Ezek. 43:1-4  He led me to the gate, the one that faces east, and I saw the glory of the God of Israel coming from the east. His voice sounded like the roar of mighty waters, and the earth shone with His glory. . . . . The glory of the Lord entered the temple by way of the gate that faced east. Then the Spirit lifted me up and brought me to the inner court, and the glory of the Lord filled the temple.

Read it again. The glory of the Lord filled the temple.

Ezekiel did what all of us, I trust, would do: he fell facedown (Ezek. 43:3). As he had done the first time he saw God’s glory (Ezek. 1:28), and like John years later on the Isle of Patmos (Rev. 1:17), Ezekiel could not stand in the presence of the holiness of God.

This holy God would hold on to His unholy followers, bringing them to anguish over their sin and ultimately establishing His kingdom. A holy God. A completely holy God. A God whose voice is like many waters, whose glory will shine throughout the earth.

A God who dwells among us.

And within us.

I think today about the words of A. W. Tozer as he compared the way we should come before God with the way we often do come before God: “If we came to God dirty, but trembling and shocked and awestruck in His presence, if we knelt at His feet and cried with Isaiah, ‘I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips’ (Isaiah 6:5), then I could understand. But we skip into His awful presence.” 

I fear that sometimes I come to Him skipping when I should be lying on my face.

PRAYER: “Almighty, holy, perfect God, forgive me when I think I can somehow grasp the magnificence of Your holiness. I’m truly an unclean man.”


7 Reasons We Must Teach About Suffering and Persecution

It won’t surprise me if this post is not a popular one. Its topic is not a fun one. I get that. I don’t like thinking about it or reading about it. I don’t particularly like writing a blog post about it – but I must. Here’s why:

  1. Believers suffer for their faith. Paul, in fact, told Timothy to expect persecution: “all those who want to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Tim. 3:12).  The writer of Hebrews clearly showed that many believers pay a price for living in faith (Heb. 11:35-40). If it’s going to happen, we need to prepare for it rather than expect to react properly when it’s suddenly upon us.
  2. We have no guarantee we won’t suffer. It’s easy to talk about suffering as long as we’re talking about a believer on the other side of the world. Or a believer in a war-torn area. Or a follower of Christ in a country where another world faith is dominant. Or just somebody else. Regardless of where we live, though, we have absolutely no guarantee we’re immune to coming persecution and suffering. Today’s education is tomorrow’s preparation.
  3. Spiritual warfare sometimes brings suffering. Job faced this reality (Job 1-2). God was sovereign over Job’s disasters – in fact, it was God who first brought up Job’s name – but it was Satan who brought the pain. Our enemy is fully bent on destruction, and he will do all he can to destroy our faith, particularly through suffering that we deem unfair when we’re living righteously. If we don’t understand the sovereign hand of God over suffering and spiritual warfare, we can quickly get angry and discouraged when they happen.
  4. Faithfulness under suffering and persecution is a witness to others. The Apostle Paul understood this truth. He had suffered at Antioch, Iconium, and Lystra, and he could later refer to those difficulties when teaching and challenging his protégé, Timothy (2 Tim 3:10-11). Sometimes our greatest witness is not when we’re standing on the mountaintop; it’s when we’re trusting God anyway as we go through the deepest valley. It’s finishing the race even if the cost of victory is death.
  5. We need to know and pray for believers who are facing suffering and persecution. The numbers vary, but some stats tell us that 100 million believers around the world are facing persecution. In some parts of the world, believers are being driven into refugee status to protect their families. They need our proactive, intentional prayer support, but how will we pray for our brothers and sisters if we never talk about what they’re facing?
  6. Our children are likely to face more opposition than we’ve faced. Any good parent wants to provide a better world for his or her children, but I see no evidence that Christians will have an easier time in the decades to come. If we don’t teach our children how to follow God in faith – even if faith means death – they’ll be unprepared for reality.
  7. You can’t legitimately teach about suffering and persecution without also teaching about ultimate victory. The devil who deceives the whole world will not win. Those believers who die for their faith will find victory through the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony (Rev 12:7-11). In the end, God will avenge the blood of the martyrs (Rev 19:2). When we know and trust that victorious truth, suffering and persecution lose their power.

What other reasons might you add to this list? 


Review: War Room

Christian movies can’t win. If they are overt about the gospel—such as Courageous or Fireproof—then they are criticized that they are too in-your-face. If they are more subtle—Chronicles of Narnia, for example—then they are criticized for not being Christian enough, whatever that is supposed to mean.

There are two new Christian movies that fill opposite ends of this dichotomy: War Room (in theaters now) and Captive (releasing next week). I saw them both back-to-back and was struck at how they each intentionally aim for different ends of that dichotomy. I’ll review War Room today, and Captive next week.  

Side note: I understand there is really no such thing as a “Christian movie.” Movies aren’t born depraved, regenerated by the work of the Holy Spirit, converted to Christ, baptized, and made members of a local church (not that War Room doesn’t try!). When I use the term “Christian movie” I mean a movie made by professing believers for the purpose of entertaining other believers while advancing a biblical world view.  That’s it.

War Room:

The Kendrick brothers’ newest release is by far their best-made movie so far. It’s also in the top spot in the box office after Labor Day, having already made over $30 million.

This is the crew that produced Courageous, Fireproof, and Facing the Giants, and the company that made October Baby and Mom’s Night Out. Gone are (most of) the cheesy scenes that littered their previous movies. The acting is better, the writing is better, and the production has obviously taken a step up. And—fortunately—this one did not seem to be made for the sole purpose of selling Christian trinkets.

The plot is straight forward. A sleaze-ball husband is ruining his family, while his nominally Christian wife feels powerless to do anything about it. She meets a strong Christian woman who reaches out to her, confronts her luke-warm relationship with the Lord, and challenges her to pray for her family while submitting her life to Christ. The rest, as they say, is history.

Subtlety is not a tool that the Kendrick brothers know how to use. Everything in all of their movies is over-the-top. It is as if they looked at the dichotomy in Christian films and said, “that’s fine; we’ll make a movie that is so over-the-top Christian that nobody can accuse us of leaving anything out.”

This movie has prayer, devil-binding (more on that later), Bible reading, more prayer, the sinner’s prayer (2xs!), more Bible reading, sermon listening, and ESV product placement. It features gym evangelism, ethical quandaries at work, a weepy daughter who asks her mom if she even knows the name of her sport’s team. There is even immorality interrupted by food poisoning. No Christian cliché is beneath the Kendrick brothers, and it is all for the sake saving this one marriage!

I was reminded of something Max McLean often says about critics of C. S. Lewis: people criticized The Screwtape Letters for being too benign—in a world with Hitler on the loose, did Lewis really mean to say that you see the devil in the details of how often a wife has tea, or what past-times consume Joe Englishman? But the truth is that kind of story is often more convicting to Joe Englishman than a WWII study of the holocaust.

That crossed my mind while watching War Room. In a world with war and terrorism, is a story about an upper-class philandering husband really the best vehicle for expounding on the sovereignty of God? Well, I suppose Lewis would say that both have their place, and War Room fills that place nicely.

About that devil-binding—Priscilla Shirer (Tony Evans daughter, and a Dallas Seminary Graduate) plays the wife-who-turns-to-prayer, and Beth Moore makes an appearance in the very minor role of a co-worker (She has one line: “Sometimes submission to your husband looks like ducking so the Lord’s punch hits him instead”). Shirer and Moore are two people whom I would not look to for prayer advice. I don’t trust their theology, and lament that LifeWay sells their stuff.

But in this movie they are not theologians–they are not even real people! They are actresses, and I am able to see War Room without endorsing their theology in the same way I can watch Mission Impossible and not be a Scientologist.

Regardless, the theology of War Room is pretty good. God rules the world, and he can do anything he wants to. Divorce is bad, marriage is good, and Jesus is the only one who can save. Yes, after being a Christian for all of 15 seconds the lead character does banish the devil from her house. But the movie made clear that this was not an endorsement of demon-binding (as if they would listen anyway!), but came from a wife who finally realized sin was her enemy, not her husband.

Which really gets to the main message of War Room. This movie may be about prayer, but its main message is really about marriage. It is very straight forward: the role of a wife is to love her family and pray for her husband. The role of the husband is to lead his family and provide for them. Sin interferes with both, and the only hope of restoration is found through repentance and submission to the Lordship of Jesus, who does use prayer to give people the grace to enjoy marriage.

I left the movie thinking that if a couple contemplating divorce were to watch it, this movie just might challenge them to stay together. Any couple that watches this movie would walk away asking themselves “am I regularly praying for my family?”

That is a good question to ask, and its hard to ask anything more from any movie.

If you have read the Christianity Today review of War Room, read my comment in the thread below where I explain why I found that review seriously misleading.


Bought with Blood for Obedience

Bought with Blood for ObedienceThe Bible stabilizes us in the storms of life by reminding us who we are. In this lab, John Piper highlights our unfathomable relationship to God — Father, Son, and Holy Spirit — all in the very first words of Peter’s letter. God has ransomed us, set us apart from the world, and made us new.

Watch Now


Words of Comfort: All-forgiving, all-loving, compassionate God and Hell.

“I don’t know how anyone can tell me with a straight face that an all-forgiving, all-loving, compassionate God would condemn anyone to eternal pain and agony in the bowels of Hell for eternity just for the actions of a mere 90 years on this planet.”

The Bible doesn’t say that God is all-forgiving and all-loving. You are creating an “idol”–making up a false god in your mind. God is holy and just as well as loving and merciful. His love is seen in that He gave you the gift of life. His mercy is seen in allowing you to sin against Him. But if you refuse to repent and end up dying in your sins, He will give you absolute justice, and that’s a fearful thing.  Damnation means forever being damned from all the pleasures He lavished upon you, for which you were so unthankful.


A La Carte (September 10)

I wasn’t able to dig up any noteworthy Kindle deals today, so will hope for better things tomorrow. In the meantime, let me remind you that most Shepherd Press books remain marked at around $3.99 or $4.99, and they include such parenting helps as Shepherding a Child’s HeartInstructing a Child’s HeartEveryday Talk, Time for the TalkGet Wisdom, Get Offa My Case, and Get Outta My Face.

Sentiment and Principle

Jeremy Walker provides a helpful reflection on sentiment and principle: “Sentiment can be swayed, one way or the other. Sentiment in one direction can be turned back by an opposing sentiment that seems equally reasonably. Sentiment tends to be reactive; it is rarely proactive. It bubbles up in a moment and melts away just as quickly.”

Doctrine 101

This week’s deals from Westminster Books include some great reader-friendly books on doctrine. There isn’t a bad book among them.

Review: War Room

I haven’t seen War Room (and, in fact, can’t even find it in theaters in this area), but this review by Jesse Johnson seems to cover it well. He points to a couple of minor concerns, but generally appreciates it.

Natural Law

In Tuesday’s edition of The Briefing, Al Mohler touched on a critically-important but overlooked aspect of the Kim Davis debacle. If you’d rather read then listen, you can find the transcript here. You’ll want to find the show’s second segment.

This Day in 1718. “Founded in 1701 by Congregationalists who feared Harvard was straying from its Calvinist roots, The Collegiate School at New Haven, Connecticut, changes its name to Yale.” *

Get a Basic Overview of the Bible

R.C. Sproul recommends books of the Bible to read if you’d like to get an overview of the Bible (in place of reading the whole book).

How Marginalization Can Empower Christians On Mission

Trevin Wax: “If the university is a microcosm of the rest of society and a sign of where our culture is headed, then Christians can expect hostility and marginalization to increase in the coming years. The good news is: if Christian organizations on campus are any indication, this marginalization could become the catalyst for more effective mission.”


Check out

Blogs

Get a Basic Overview of the Bible | R. C. Sproul
Excellent guidance from Dr. Sproul, especially if Leviticus has ever thwarted your Bible Reading plans.

Four Reasons Christians Should Support Kim Davis | Rick Phillips, Reformation 21
Is she or is she not in violation of Romans 13:1?

The Scriptural Reverse-Trajectory of the Sexual Revolution | James Faris, Gentle Reformation
Follow our current sexual revolution through Genesis.

Thy Kingdom Come | Mike Wittmer
Information about the one-day conference on The New Creation at Grand Rapids Theological Seminary.

The First Cut is the Deepest: Self Harmers in the Church
“A survey of Scottish young people stated that nearly 20% of females and 7% of males revealed that self-harming had been a lifetime occurrence. The UK has the highest rate of self-harm in Europe and the highest proportion of people who self-harm are statistically between 11 – 25 years of age. ”

Kevin VanHoozer’s 55 Theses on Pastors as Public Theologians
“Why does the church need pastor-theologians? What are pastor-theologians for? Our answer, in brief, is that pastor-theologians are gifts from the risen Christ, helps in building Christ’s church, especially by leading people to confess, comprehend, celebrate, communicate, commend to others, and conform themselves to what is in Christ.”

Recommended Book

A Christian’s Pocket Guide to Loving The Old Testament: One Book, One God, One Story by Alec Motyer $7.99.

Kindle Books

Don’t Waste Your Cancer by John Piper $1.99

The Messianic Hope: Is the Old Testament Really Messianic? by Michael Rydelink $3.99

Video

How to Fight Addiction in a Pornographic Culture | Voddie Baucham, Desiring God


Links I like

Kindle deals for Christian readers

Be sure to grab these before they go back to their regular price:

Creation and Lego

Travis Agnew shares a pretty great illustration about God’s existence and creation.

Christian Virtue in the Age of Authenticity

Kevin DeYoung:

Jesus spared no verbal expense in rebuking the hypocrites of his day (Matt. 23). It’s good to tell the truth. It’s good to be consistent. It’s even good, as a general rule, to learn to be comfortable in your own skin, to refrain from trying to be someone or something you’re not. Authenticity appeals to so many of us because it seems a welcome antidote to calculating, self-righteous priggishness.

But living in the Age of Authenticity comes with many dangers–common vices made more deadly because they are willfully mistaken for virtues.

Divorce for Pornography?

David Murray:

I’ve been asked this question a few times, and was asked it again last week: “Is heavy use of pornography grounds for divorce?”

Until last week, I’ve usually come down on the “No” side, but having seen and heard more and more about this kind of sin, last week, for the first time, I found myself moving towards a hesitant “Yes.”

Before I explain my reasoning, let me offer a few qualifiers.

The Unbearable Burden of Uniqueness

Derek Rishmawy:

While it’s true that your story is your story, it’s also a human story, an Adam and Eve story. Your hopes, fears, scars, emotional paralysis, history of hurt, betrayals, judgments, anxieties, pains, and sins have quirks and twists peculiar to you. But they also participate in the general character of life east of Eden.

You are not fundamentally alone in your experiences. Only human narcissism says our burdens are essentially unshareable and our woes unredeemable.

Moses and Jesus Didn’t Have Their Dream Jobs By 30, Either

Liuan Huska:

People start asking the question, “What do you want to do when you grow up?” when kids are in preschool. I’ve had many responses along the way—a stock broker, a doctor, a journalist, to name a few. When I graduated high school ten years ago, I assumed that by now I would finally be living the answer to that question. Instead, I’ve given up on finding one.


The Daily Discovery (September 10, 2015)

headerImage-dailyDiscovery

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

Why Do Some Christians Accept Theistic Evolution? – “A few months back, I getting dissatisfied with the church I was attending, and wanted to saddle up and find another church in the Kingston, New York area. Not very promising, since there are polar opposites: emotionally-driven gatherings, and the traditional liberal outfits. Those who actually believe the Bible and can give proper exegesis are difficult to find around here.  One church had some standard fare in their statement of faith (including the inerrancy of Scripture, which is very important), and I reckoned that I could get along with that. But not a peep about creation. I sent them an e-mail inquiring about their position on it. The response was disappointing, saying that creation was an unimportant side issue, and anyway, the Framework Hypothesis was just fine for that pastor.  Not hardly! The Framework Hypothesis is a compromise position where Genesis does not mean what it says. His church claims to believe the inerrancy of Scripture, and then he holds a position on Genesis that contradicts their claim.”

The sad truth about the Planned Parenthood videos – “What follows will sound cynical and depressing, but it is merely a reality check. I do not believe any legal action or legislation will come of the recent Planned Parenthood videos, and I think we have already witnessed the decline or near-disappearance of what impact they will have. We need to start considering why and to learn from it.  I have struggled to bring myself to be able to admit this publicly, but I believe it is the truth, and I thought so from the beginning. Like everyone else, when I first saw the videos, I immediately lit up with optimism: “this is a bombshell!” Not just a bombshell, but the bombshell we need.”

The Church Is Not the Enemy – “I’ve seen what church can be. It can be the poor helping the poor, Jesus serving his own; the lonely opening up their doors to one another, praise and worship in the midst of sorrow. A shelter for the orphan and widow.  And through this hard and beautiful obedience the church makes known the character of God—not only on earth, but in the spiritual realms. According to Ephesians 3:10, God’s intent was that “through the church the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms . . .”

Signs of Life from an Unlikely Source – “There are encouraging signs of gospel life in the rap world. One of the most significant developments in contemporary pop culture has been the rise of gospel-driven rap, illustrated especially by The Cross Movement. The Cross Movement was a group of Christian MCs intent on using rhythm, rhyme, and wordplay to proclaim the gospel and point to Christ in a way that subverted the self-aggrandizement and violence of the broader rap industry. Their artistic success led to the creation of a record label and a non-profit ministry, but even more importantly, inspired a generation of gospel-driven MCs.”

Christian Virtue in the Age of Authenticity – “In a day where people disdain hypocrisy more than any other vice and prize transparency more than any other virtue, you can be as obnoxious as you want to be, fail spectacularly, and sin repeatedly, as long as you never pretend to be any better than you really are. It makes no difference what errors you say, think, or do, if only you are true to yourself. This is life in the Age of Authenticity.”


SERMON:

logo-contSermon

Tom Buck – 1 Timothy 5:9-16


VIDEOS:

You Cannot Live The Gospel

Answering the Biggest Objections to Christianity


“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 10, 2015) appeared first on Entreating Favor.



09/10/15 Trembling, or Skipping?

By Chuck Lawless on Sep 10, 2015 01:00 am

READING: Ezekiel 42-43

TEXTS AND APPLICATION:  Ezekiel’s description of the contrast could not be more dramatic. In judgment, the glory of the Lord departed from the Temple and the city of Jerusalem. Years later, the glory would return in restoration grace.

Ezek. 10:18, 11:23  Then the glory of the Lord moved away from the threshold of the temple and stood above the cherubim. . . . The glory of the Lord rose up from within the city and stood on the mountain east of the city.

———————

Ezek. 43:1-4  He led me to the gate, the one that faces east, and I saw the glory of the God of Israel coming from the east. His voice sounded like the roar of mighty waters, and the earth shone with His glory. . . . . The glory of the Lord entered the temple by way of the gate that faced east. Then the Spirit lifted me up and brought me to the inner court, and the glory of the Lord filled the temple.

Read it again. The glory of the Lord filled the temple.

Ezekiel did what all of us, I trust, would do: he fell facedown (Ezek. 43:3). As he had done the first time he saw God’s glory (Ezek. 1:28), and like John years later on the Isle of Patmos (Rev. 1:17), Ezekiel could not stand in the presence of the holiness of God.

This holy God would hold on to His unholy followers, bringing them to anguish over their sin and ultimately establishing His kingdom. A holy God. A completely holy God. A God whose voice is like many waters, whose glory will shine throughout the earth.

A God who dwells among us.

And within us.

I think today about the words of A. W. Tozer as he compared the way we should come before God with the way we often do come before God: “If we came to God dirty, but trembling and shocked and awestruck in His presence, if we knelt at His feet and cried with Isaiah, ‘I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips’ (Isaiah 6:5), then I could understand. But we skip into His awful presence.” 

I fear that sometimes I come to Him skipping when I should be lying on my face. 

PRAYER: “Almighty, holy, perfect God, forgive me when I think I can somehow grasp the magnificence of Your holiness. I’m truly an unclean man.”


Christian Headlines Daily – Thursday, September 10, 2015

http://www.christianheadlines.com/

Top Headlines

Missionary Couple Reunited with Child Swapped at Birth

Choir Replaces Name of Jesus with Hillary Clinton in Rendition of Old Hymn

Pastor, Professor Takes Own Life after Being Revealed as Ashley Madison User

Kentucky Clerk Kim Davis Released from Jail, Will Return to Work

TV Adventure Star Talks About Importance of His Faith

Presbyterian Church (USA) Hosts First Same-sex Wedding at National Office

Church Elder Sues Pastor for Swearing in Sermons

‘War Room’ Trounces ‘Compton’ for No. 1 at Box Office

Violence in Nigeria Prevents Children from Returning to School

Iraqi Prime Minister Appoints Committee Addressing Christian Persecution

Opinion

The Ashley Madison Affair: God’s Grace for Fallen Pastors

Are You Living Fully in the Spirit?

The Dating Apocalypse: Tinder and the Hookup Culture

Controversial Buzzfeed Video Goes Viral

Darwinism Versus the Octopus: An Evolutionary Dilemma


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


Truth2Freedom Blog Disclaimer

This post was originally posted on:

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

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

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