The First Worship War
The author of Hebrews explains that Abel proved that he was “righteous” through his sacrifice, while Jude 11 describes Cain as one who “abandoned himself for the sake of gain,” and John 3:12 says that Cain’s deeds were “evil.” These descriptions relate most specifically to the inward spiritual condition of the men, yet Hebrews 11:4 also notes that Abel’s sacrifice itself was “more excellent” than Cain’s.”
The very first conflict following the Fall was a conflict over worship.
Genesis 4:3–8 relates how Abel’s offering to the Lord’s was accepted, while Cain’s was not. These offerings were important because they were God’s means for at least temporarily and partially restoring communion with his people. Yet for some reason that is not explicit in the text, God rejected Cain’s offering. At this point in Genesis we do not have any clear revelation as to the content of acceptable worship. It is at least possible that God had demanded an animal sacrifice, and since Cain brought a food offering instead, that is why God rejected him. There is no way to determine this with absolute certainty, however. On the other hand, some assume that the offering wasn’t the problem; Cain’s heart attitude or motivation were deficient, and that is why God rejected him. This conclusions, too, is based on speculation since the text does not fully explain why God rejected Cain.
Revelation in the New Testament, however, does give a clearer picture. The author of Hebrews explains that Abel proved that he was “righteous” through his sacrifice, while Jude 11 describes Cain as one who “abandoned himself for the sake of gain,” and John 3:12 says that Cain’s deeds were “evil.” These descriptions relate most specifically to the inward spiritual condition of the men, yet Hebrews 11:4 also notes that Abel’s sacrifice itself was “more excellent” than Cain’s and that his righteousness was determined by “his gifts.”
Taken together, this information reveals a two-fold emphasis in evaluating worship, an emphasis that appears often in biblical discussions of worship.
First, the inward heart motivation is of utmost importance in true worship. At least part of what led to Cain’s rejection was an evil heart.
But a heart of worship will manifest itself in excellent, obedient offerings to God. Good heart motivation alone does not justify disobedience of God’s clear instructions or worshiping in flippant, casual ways. On the other hand, doing exactly what God has commanded without a heart that desires to please and glorify him is equally deficient.
Both are important.
This Is the Best of Times, And the Worst of Times
“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.”
The Best Day Of The Week
“Lord’s Day worship isn’t a burden to endure, but a joyful offering from God to receive. Christians don’t put aside their earthly cares each week to earn God’s favor, but to enjoy worshipping the God whose favor has already been granted in Jesus Christ.”
Colbert on Faith: Logic Has Nothing to Do with It
Colbert’s reasons for believing are actually quite logical. He loves the world and feels grateful toward it (these are the same premises he mentioned in the GQ article from a couple of weeks ago), and as a result he chooses to direct that gratitude toward an entity he calls God.
Kim Davis Is Winning
“The judge has not shown much regard for the legal merits of Davis’s claims, and it’s far from clear that she’s chosen the right venue for her complaints. But this is a political fight as much as it is a legal one. Increasingly, religious conservatives fear there will not be space in public life for those who oppose same-sex marriage, especially after the defeat of Obergefell.”
The Ex-Baptist Pastor Who Popularized Ben Franklin’s Electrical Experiments
“Kinnersley was born in Gloucester, England, the same hometown as Franklin’s friend George Whitefield, the greatest evangelist of the eighteenth-century revivals. As a three-year-old, Kinnersley came with his family to Pennsylvania the same year, 1714, that Whitefield was born.”
Kevin Vanhoozer’s 55 Theses on Pastors as Public Theologians
“Pastor-theologians in the early church used the ancient Rule of Faith to provide the parameters for understanding the theological realities that are part and parcel of the gospel, and to identify the God of Israel with the Father of Jesus Christ, the Creator of all things with the Redeemer of the church.”
One of the greatest benefits of extemporaneous preaching is that you have to know–and, I mean, really know–the exposition of the passage that you are preaching. It has to be a part of you. As John Owen said, “No man preaches that sermon well to others that doth not first preach it to his own heart.”
To a Woman Considering Abortion
“Why do you want to do this?” I asked, with urgency and a heavy heart. “Because I don’t wanna get fat or have to tell my parents,” she responded. Her voice was calm and full of indifference, as if my…
Atheist joins Bible study to disprove Christianity… ends up following Jesus
When Caleb Kaltenbach joined a bible study in high school, his intention was to disprove the bible. But he ended up following the God he had been taught hated him, The Blaze reported.
Time to Worry? What Russia’s Really Up to in Syria
Since World War II, a major U.S. strategic objective has been to keep the Russian military out of the Middle East. But now the Russians are moving into the neighborhood…
8 things every Christian should know about Rosh Hashanah
Don’t be confused if someone wishes you a happy new year today. Impress your friends with this knowledge instead.
Rapping for Jesus: Former prisoner is now a Gospel rapper on the subway
A former prisoner who converted to Christianity in jail, has combined his passion for rapping and evangelism to start a train ministry.
5 Options for Settling Differences with Your Pastor
If we take a moment to consider the root of our disagreement we may discover that our differences are simply preferences and not primaries.
The gift of Caryl!
It has been about one year since my friend Caryl Matrisciana spoke at the Great Lakes Prophecy Conference, and then suffered horrific injuries in a bicycle accident shortly after. A few months later, she was diagnosed with an aggressive breast cancer that spread to her bones and throughout her body. Yet through it all, Caryl […]
Shemitah is over – But nothing happened
Well, almost nothing. We had a whole bunch of Hebrew Roots Americans jumping on to the fear-wagon promoted in the Mystery of the Shemitah book which claimed that we’re all doomed if we don’t keep the seven-year observation from the Old Testament. I’ve been warning Christians to not be fooled by the “Shemitah” ever since […]
Are churches too big?
This is a question many of us struggle with as we look at what has happened in the church growth movement over the years: Ginormous, supersized conglomerates with tens of thousands packed into stadium seating to watch a show on a jumbo tron. Multi-site campuses where the only “live” element is the rock band, smoke […]
Who are the genuine children of God
Watch the video below and you will see liberalism at work in the Church. What you will witness, brethren, is “progressive” aka “social justice” Christianity, which is not true Christianity; it is a counterfeit. In his piece Mike Ratliff of Possessing the Treasure lays out what authentic Christianity should look like, according to what the Bible […]
War Room’s Alex Kendrick and a movie magic medallion
John Lanagan has written a second piece on the hit film War Room. In his first piece he informed us that the film’s star, Priscilla Shirer, is into highly unorthodox teaching, which the three Kendrick brothers were unaware of or they wouldn’t have chosen her to star in the movie. Now we learn that writer/producer/director/actor […]
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New TV Series to Help Christians Back up Pro-life Position
(Christian Headlines, By Veronica Neffinger) A new TV series which will help pro-lifers back up their position Biblically is set to air. Todd Friel, the executive producer of the show called Life is Best, says that the show’s purpose is threefold. “Number one is saving babies. Number two, saving souls. And number three, equipping Christians to prepare […]
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“Mindfulness” meditation fad popular with celebrities including Emma Watson can make you dream up false memories
This piece over at the Daily Mail explains how Buddhist mediation, which is what mindfulness is, can play tricks on your mind. So it seems emptying one’s mind is not all it’s cracked up to be. For those of you who are unfamiliar with this practice, Marcia Montenegrro has written a piece on it that […]
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: 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 […]
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Willow Creek’s “The Practice” blends New Age & Catholic mysticism
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 […]
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SBC Executive Speaking at Muslim-Evangelical Interfaith Gathering
Remember when your pastor said that “Glocal” was a thing? You know; a combination of global and local – and how the Church needed to view Glocal as a way to spread unity in the Body. Glocal was indeed a thing in about 2007 for seekermergent churches that pursued a missional, transformational paradigm. It is […]
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Blood Moon September 2015: Is It a Sign of the End Times?
The night of September 27-28 will bring a “blood moon” or “supermoon,” a cosmic event where the moon takes on a copper color during an eclipse. For some, the rare occurrence is a sign of the end times.
Jim Wallis, Progressive “Cleric” Tortures Bible to Promote Intolerant Islam
When Ingrid Schlueter hosted Crosstalk and blogged for Slice of Laodicea, she never held back her contempt for liberal “Christians” who attacked Christian orthodoxy and felt it was their “calling” to change the face of Christianity. Rev. Jim Wallis was one of those liberals. There’s a lot more about this man coming up, but first let’s […]
Michael Patrick Leahy, columnist for Breitbart, reports:
Jim Wallis, the far-left founder of Sojourner Magazine and beneficiary of George Soros donations who has built a career out of subverting constitutional liberty in America by quoting the Bible out of context, is at it again.
In his latest effort in transparent left-wing propaganda, Wallis extends his love for open borders from the huge populations of Middle East and Africa to the United States to all of Europe.
At The Huffington Post, the self-proclaimed “Christian leader for social change,” preaches to both sides of the Atlantic. “In Europe and in the U.S. — we must welcome the stranger,” he writes.
In the United States, that means, Wallis—acting in his capacity as a self proclaimed divine prophet on earth—commands us to open our borders to illegal aliens from every country on earth.
“[W]e should all without shame enroll as apprentices in the school of contemplative prayer.”1-Richard Foster, Celebration of Discipline: :the Path to Spiritual Growth Christianity is not complete without the contemplative dimension.”2-Richard Foster In Portland, Oregon there is a large bookstore devoted entirely to New Age spirituality. Every Eastern mystical and metaphysical topic under the sun is found there. Interestingly, there is a sizable section on contemplative prayer with Catholic monk Thomas Merton having a whole shelf devoted just to his writings. Why would a New Age bookstore give valuable space to a topic that purports to be Christian? That is a legitimate question. May I suggest the reason is that the “Christian” mystical tradition (i.e., contemplative prayer) shares a sense of profound kinship with the Eastern mystical tradition. There is ample evidence to support this claim. Click here to read this booklet!
|For Pope Francis, Mary’s greatness comes down to this one virtue|
at Understand The Times, 8/29/15
On the feast of the Assumption of Mary, Pope Francis said that faith is the defining virture of her greatness and that the mysterious way she was taken into heaven is a foreshadowing of what awaits each of us. Dogmatically defined in 1950, the assumption of the Virgin Mary’s body into heaven is celebrated Aug. 15 every year, and is one of the most important Marian feast days in the Catholic Church. Francis pointed to the famous canticle Mary uttered in response, called the “Magnificat,” in which she praises God for the marvelous deeds he has done both in her own life and throughout history. In this prayer Mary expresses her joy, because she is fully aware of what all the great works in her life at that point mean, namely that through her the Lord will accomplish the salvation her people have long been waiting for, the Pope said.The prayer also shows us the full meaning of Mary’s life, he added, explaining that “if the mercy of the Lord is the engine of her story (then) she who bore the Lord of life (could not be touched by) the corruption of the tomb.” Click here to read this article!
by Timothy Keller
Reviewed by Gary Gilley
That the people of God should be concerned about injustice and social issues of the world at large and that they should be model citizens who do good to those around them, is not the issue. The issue Keller is addressing is resisting, and changing the legal, political and social systems. It is adding the Cultural Mandate to the Great Commission as the mission of the church (p. 130). This is Keller’s argument but he does not make his case biblically. His cutting and pasting of random Scripture verses, mostly out of context, might give the appearance that he has proved his thesis but the vast teaching of Scripture stands against his view. I do agree with Keller when he is affirms that individual Christians working within parachurch or even secular organizations might devote time to social issues, while leaving the church to do what only the church can do. However, the author is not consistent throughout the book and dangerously confuses the mission of the church and God’s people.
Click here to read this book review!
Liberty University, you should be ashamed of yourselves for allowing this anti-American and absolutely anti-Christian trash in your school.
“I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.” Revelation 3:15,16 (KJV)
Hey, remember the days when Liberty University used to be a Christian college? Not so much anymore. Proof of that is yesterday’s speech by anti-American Socialist and candidate for president Bernie Sanders who opened his speech with these words: “I believe in women’s rights (for abortion), and the right of a woman to control her own body (kill the baby). I believe in gay right’s and in gay marriage. Those are my views and it is no secret.” The reaction from the fabled “christian” university? Thunderous applause and a standing ovation. Nighty, night, Liberty U, may you rest in piece. Welcome to Laodicea.
Watch as much of this trash as you can stand to absorb. Bernie Sanders wants to find the “common ground” between him and you. But unless you are a pro-gay, pro-abortion, pro-Socialist, what type of common ground are you ever going to find? A post-Christian America is a scary, scary place to be, but so it is after 7 years of the reign Muslim-raised King Barack Hussein Obama. Bernie Sanders wants to take what Obama started, and jack it up every further is you can imagine such a thing.
Sanders kept saying “I know you as a Christian school and I disagree on many issues”, but as you watch the video he got huge applause every time he spoke in favor of abortion and gay rights. There didn’t seem to be much “disagreement” from the sold-out crowd at Liberty. Sanders hammered home his Socialist mantra of wealth redistribution, and his supposedly Christian audience cheered wildly every time. This was not a speech, this was indoctrination of the highest order.
Liberty University, you should be ashamed of yourselves for allowing this anti-American and absolutely anti-Christian trash in your school.
In advance of China President Xi Jinping’s visit to the U.S. (Sept. 24-25), Kody Kness, vice president of China Aid, helps us think through the predicament of our fellow Christians in China and prisoners of conscience around the globe.
- Washington Post editorial, “China’s anti-Christian crusade.”
- Letter to President Obama
- Kody Kness, biography
- Book: God’s Double Agent: The True Story of a Chinese Christian’s Fight for Freedom
- by Bob Fu, President of China Aid
Related news items
- WSJ – Xi Jinping’s Visit and Human Rights
- WSJ – China’s Ailing Prisoners
- Kody’s visit to Chinese prison
- China 18
- U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF)
- What you need to know about USCIRF via ERLC.com
- State Department: Ambassador-at-large for International Religious Freedom
- Defending Freedoms Project
Kody Kness is currently Vice President of China Aid, previously serving as Deputy Executive Director for Sudan Sunrise; Advocacy Manager for the Better World Campaign at the United Nations Foundation; International Human Rights Advisor for U.S. Senator Sam Brownback, advising on foreign policy issues such as religious freedom, Internet freedom, human trafficking, conflict commodities, and rule of law; Associate Director for Government Relations and Outreach at the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, where he worked closely with non-governmental organizations, the U.S. Congress, and both the George W. Bush and Obama Administrations to promote religious freedom and related human rights abroad.
And it’s perverse. Had we left Iraq alone, and left their tyrant in command, this vile and perverse slaughter would never have happened. And make no mistake, without the iron fist of tyrants like Hussein and Assad, there is no stability in British constructed paper states. Ask Saudi Arabia if you don’t believe me.
The Gulf War was the greatest evil perpetrated on the Christians of the Middle East ever. It destabilized the region and opened the floodgates of tribalism and ISIS is simply the logical consequence of that truth.
Bush didn’t have the foresight to see what would happen or the hindsight to understand the region’s history well enough to make an intelligent decision. It’s a shame the Christians have borne the brunt of his ignorance and the ignorance of American and European policy in the region since.
“The wicked plots against the righteous and gnashes his teeth at him, But the Lord laughs at the wicked, for he sees that his day is coming.” Psalms 37:12-13 It is easy for Christians to look at the spiritually decaying world around us and be concerned. Wars; terrorism; growing economic […]
We might first associate the word doxology with the song often sung at the close of public worship services but it is, in fact, two Greek words (δόξᾰ + λογία), which was taken over into medieval Latin and thence into English in the mid-17th century. The Oxford English Dictionary defines it as a “liturgical formula […]
Letter to the Editor From a Former Young Life Leader: Watered-Down Gospel, Contemplative Authors, & Emergent Leanings
Proponents of atheism have a more prominent voice than perhaps they would have in years past. Is there any validity to their logic? How can Christians answer the critiques? Ravi Zacharias explains why he is not an atheist to an audience at Princeton University. Part two of this message from Ravi can be viewed below:
By Chuck Lawless on Sep 15, 2015 01:00 am
READING: Daniel 4-6
TEXTS AND APPLICATION: Today’s reading includes the story of Daniel in the lion’s den. King Darius (regretfully) sent the prophet there when he prayed to God rather than follow the king’s edict to petition through no one but him (Dan. 6:6-18). God protected Daniel, of course, and sent an angel to clamp shut the lions’ jaws.
It’s the background to this story that is the focus of this devotion, though. Other leaders whom the king had appointed were jealous of Daniel (who was about to be placed in authority over the other leaders), so they tried to find cause to accuse him and remove him. What they found, though, was nothing:
Dan. 6:4 The administrators and satraps, therefore, kept trying to find a charge against Daniel regarding the kingdom. But they could find no charge or corruption, for he was trustworthy, and no negligence or corruption was found in him.
His enemies wanted evidence of Daniel’s wrongdoing, but they could not find any. Though they likely would have capitalized on anything even remotely wrong, no such problem could be found. Everything was above board enough that Daniel’s opponents had to seek another law to capture him.
Even for Christians, temptations to be less than honest, especially in business, are real. Adjust only a few numbers. Nobody will miss a dollar or two. Change the report. Avoid the taxes. Break your word. Undercut the team . . . after all, nobody will know. Business corruption can become so pervasive that it’s almost assumed to be the norm.
It simply cannot be the norm for believers, however. Integrity really does matter — especially for people whose responsibility is to proclaim truth.
PRAYER: “Father, make me a person of complete integrity. Grant me grace to avoid even the appearance of negligence or corruption. Make me so trustworthy that even my enemies will listen when I share the gospel with them.”
There is no doubt that some of the practices of ancient Hebrew worship bear remarkable resemblance to the worship practices of the pagan nations around them. Other nations practiced similar sacrificial systems, had temples and priests, and many scholars note the the idea of covenants established by God with his people is virtually identical to that of other peoples of the ancient near east.
How can we account for these similarities?
There are at least three possible ways to explain similarities between Hebrew worship and pagan worship. First, some argue that Israel simply borrowed ideas from their neighbors and adapted them. This idea is usually espoused by those who discount the possibility of direct revelation from God, however. In fact, the biblical accounts tell us that every time Israel did that sort of thing, it always led them away from the worship of Yahweh.
The second possibility, one that accounts for the fact that the people’s worship came by way of divine revelation, says that when God instituted worship forms for Israel, he “contextualized” worship in cultural forms and practices they would understand. Andrew Hill argues this for example, saying that the institution of sacrifices “demonstrates God’s willingness to accommodate his revelation to cultural conventions. Human sacrifice was practiced in ancient Mesopotamia, and Abraham was no doubt familiar with the ritual since he came from Ur of the Chaldees (Gen. 11:21).” However, God clearly says that Israel’s worship is patterned after the worship of heaven (Exodus 25:8-9), not after the worship of the other nations.
A final possibility, and one that I believe to be the best, says that the similarities exist because the basic elements of worship existed since the beginning of human history (see this essay). For example, the practice of sacrificing and the idea of covenant can be traced as far back as the Fall, indicating that these kinds of ideas would have been passed down to future generations and would have been in the consciousness of all people from the beginning. The pagans were borrowing ideas from true worship, not the other way around. With the Law, God was simply codifying the structure that had been in place since Adam sinned and that was patterned after the worship that takes place in heaven itself.
Similarities do exist, but the differences are far greater. For one thing, every other nation we know of at the time was polytheistic, while Israel was uniquely monotheistic. For pagans, worship was meant to appease angry, selfish gods; for Israel, worship was a response of gratitude for acts initiated by a kind God himself. For the pagans, immoral acts such as murder and fornication were part of the worship acts; such was not true for the Hebrews.
The central difference between Hebrew and pagan worship is that Hebrew worship is a response to God’s gracious works, while pagan worship is an attempt to appease spiteful gods. Yahweh initiates Hebrew worship. The pagans initiate pagan worship.
No, Hebrew worship, or Christian worship for that matter, is not merely an attempt to worship the true God using forms familiar from the worship of unbelievers.
Hebrew (and Christian) worship is a God-initiated privilege whereby God himself provides a way for communion with him, and his people respond with hearts of thanks and praise.
For a much more thorough treatment of this subject, see my article in the Answers in Genesis Research Journal.
It is safe to assume whether you sit in a pew or stand in a pulpit, philosophical trends are trickling into minds all around you. They drip, drip, drip into the intellectual habits of those you worship with, those who teach your children, and those who will eat turkey with you in November. No one needs to read bad philosophy to be influenced by it. To borrow a phrase from Peter Berger, “cognitive contamination” happens every day in our ordinary work-a-day lives. One philosophical trend trickling into western culture, first embraced by leftist academics 50 years ago, is postmodernism.In his little 1979 book, The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge, French philosopher Jean-Francois Lyotard gave this definition of postmodernism: “Simplifying to the extreme, I define postmodern as incredulity toward metanarratives.” Metanarratives are grand structural stories that govern and explain all other stories.Postmodernists cynically teach that metanarratives are tall “tales” we have been told all our lives about existence, but these tales have not kept their promises. Instead, the postmodernist argues, these grand stories have been told so those telling them could gain power over the people.This is why extreme postmodernists wish to dismantle all metanarratives. Abolish overarching stories such as Christianity, science, capitalism, Marxism, democracy so people can live their own stories without judgment and coercion. Your truth will be yours and mine will be mine.
The challenge of a growing suspicion toward metanarratives is that Christianity is unavoidably a metanarrative. Christianity is the one story that rules them all. It is the one narrative that explains mankind’s origins, miseries, death and ultimate destiny. Our faith testifies to an ontological and metaphysical reality that applies to all men – past, present and future.
Because Christianity is a metanarrative, it is targeted for contempt in cultures being saturated by the postmodern drip, drip, drip. People do not find the miracles of our faith so far-fetched anymore (that is a modernist reaction), they find our call to be reconciled to one grand story as vile power-mongering.
Though a growing suspicion of metanarratives creates a challenge in calling people to Christ, we should understand that proclaiming God’s glorious and gracious metanarrative is still the only way to face the challenge. Consider Paul’s ministry to the idolatrous people of Athens.
In Acts 17:16 we find Paul out walking in the Greek city of Athens. He notices many altars to false gods. The text says, “His spirit was provoked within him as he saw that the city was full of idols.” Being provoked by Satan’s achievements, Paul begins to speak to Jews in the synagogue and Greeks in the marketplace (v. 17). Eventually he is brought to the Areopagus where he publicly challenges the idolatry of the Athens before its top philosophers.
It is one of the greatest speeches of the ancient world.
The content of Paul’s speech is God’s glorious and gracious metanarrative. He begins with, “The God who made the world and everything in it” (v. 24). He goes on to tell how God cannot be contained by manmade temples (v. 24) – a direct critique of pagan altars in Athens. Paul then tells how God has ordered the time of each man’s birth and the place of each man’s dwelling.
The speech crescendos with an undiluted metanarrative claim: “The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead” (30-31).
Notice what Paul did in his message.
First, Paul critiqued the idolatrous stories the Athenians told themselves through their pagan altars.
We must see in this that critiquing metanarratives is also the task of the Christian. In our time and place men’s idols are embedded in metanarratives rather than stone. Things that were to be kept under God have been raised up by sinners to become gods. Sex. Science. The state. Particular economic systems. These are the uncarved idolatries of our age. Men hope and seek deliverance in these instead of in Christ. This should provoke our spirit. But to do something about it we will have to critique the very metanarratives where these idols have been erected.
Second, Paul told the one story to rule them all.
He proclaims the God who made everything; the God who commands all people; the God who will judge all the world. He preached metanarrative without embarrassment. Yet do not overlook that Paul proclaimed Christ! There is “one man” appointed to judge. But is not this what those suspicious of metanarratives hope to avoid, the consolidation of power into the hands of a few, into the hands of one?!
Yes, but who is this one man who has been raised from the dead? He is the Lord Jesus Christ, the one also crucified for our sins. What mercy! His power and authority are real, but his is power and authority that does not lie to you. His power and authority dies for you.
Christian gospel is a metanarrative unlike any the world has heard. It is not a metanarrative of corrupt power-grabbing, it is a metanarrative of holy grace. Proclaim it.
John Hartley has been pastor of Apple Valley Presbyterian Church since 2010, having previously been a pastor for 10 years in Vermont. He is a Wisconsin native and a graduate of University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee as well as Dallas Theological Seminary. John lives with his wife Jen and their five children.
Questions concerning ecumenical affiliations are among the most difficult for any minister to answer. There is a spectrum along which every minister falls regarding their involvement and interaction with ministers of other ecclesiastical fellowships. On one side of the spectrum, there are ministerial fellowships–in any given town–in which clergy of every group that could possibly be considered a part of “Christendom” meet together to talk about social issues in the community and how they can together make a difference. The members of said ministerial fellowship will talk about pastoral and developmental aspects of their churches. However, there is one Shibboleth. You can never talk about anything of doctrinal substance were deep disagreement abounds. On the other end of the spectrum, you find ministers who have adopted an isolationist approach and segregated themselves from the church universal in the name of doctrinal purity. Such ministers are leery of any approach made by a fellow minister in the area. When they are asked to consider participating in a joint worship service or outreach event, they sheepishly give an insincere verbal affirmation of agreement (or evasively change the subject), knowing full well that they would never run the risk of holding hands with another church–even another church of similar evangelical commitments. The former group fears losing unity–the latter, purity. So, the question with which we are constantly faced is, “How do we to avoid giving into doctrinal compromise (1 Tim. 1:10; 2 Tim. 4:3; Titus 1:9; 2:1) in the name of unity without schismatically rejecting the unity that Christ wants for His people throughout the world (John 17:11; 21-23) in the name of purity?” Here are five principles with which I have often attempted to discern when and how to be associated with other ministers and other churches:
1. Establish Doctrinal Boundaries. This is, of course, the starting point. “How can two walk together unless they are agreed” (Amos 3:3)? There is no more important question to answer when seeking ecumenical unity than the following: “What truths unite and what truths divide?” In fact, it was this question that lay at the foundation of Desiring God’s 2003 Conference for Pastors on “Good Fences, Bad Fences, and the Glory of Christ” (see esp. the panel discussion beginning at the 48:31 min. mark). Personally, I tend to find the Solas of the Reformation to be the best fence posts when seeking to answering this question. Protestantism (in the old and original “protesting Rome” sense of the title) was founded solidly on the five Solas of the Reformation. It is necessary that a man believe in salvation by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, by the Scriptures alone to the glory of God alone if we are to have any sort of meaningly “fellowship” with one another. Otherwise, our fellowship is not in the truth of the Gospel but in some sort of affinity for community, organizational leadership, education or some other non-biblically defined activity or endeavor.
This does not mean that everyone who does not intellectually affirm the Solas of the Reformation are not saved. In the words of Sinclair Ferguson, “It is hard to draw the line between the confused head and the washed heart.”
2. Seek to Discern the Spirits of Men. Just because a pastor gives assent to the Solas of the Reformation doesn’t mean that he is a good or a godly man. The Scriptures are constantly calling us to discern the spirit of a man that is in him. In fact, there are many men who are robustly Reformed in their theology, but who are mean-spirited or proudly ambition in their hearts. We have to ask the question, “Is the pastor we are considering partnering with for the sake of mutual ministry a proud man, a heavy-handed man, a rash man, a greedy man, a selfish man or a foolish man? Those are just a few of the categories that we should consider prior to committing to “holding hands” with a pastor or session of another church (Proverbs 14:7; 22:24). This does not mean that we should be overly scrupulous or overly cautious when pursuing ecumenical affiliation–but it does mean that we should be seeking to discern the sort of man/men with whom we are seeking to partner. Otherwise, a casual and cautious–if any–friendship may be best. Nowhere in the Scriptures are we commanded to partner with just any church–no matter what they believe or who leads them–to labor for the spread of the Gospel. In fact, Diotrephes (3 John 9-10)–a minister who loved the preeminence and who rejected others–is a biblical example of a man who was said to be avoided.
3. Proactively Forge Friendships with other Ministers. The only way to know where a man is doctrinally and where he is spiritually means having to do the hard work of forging friendships with other ministers in their community. It means stepping out of your comfort zone and seeking to get to know other ministers and congregants. It means being proactive in wanting to see relationships formed for the sake of the Gospel and biblical fellowship, with other churches that are outside of your own ecclesiastical fellowship or denomination.
4. Start Theology Groups. One of the best ways to form ecumenical partnerships with other ministers and churches is to invite those ministers who you believe truly hold to the most important doctrinal commitment–and who are seeking godly living–to come together for a monthly fellowship in which you have lectures or in which you work through a theological book together. It doesn’t have to be something that everyone in the group agrees upon in its entirety. For instance, we have a monthly fellowship called the “Coastal Empire Reformed Fellowship” (CERF). It has been in existence for 25 years. Ministers from various PCA churches come together with independent Reformed, New Covenant Theology and Progressive Dispensationist churches. Soteriologically, all of the ministers who attend are Calvinistic or believe in sovereign grace in the work of redemption. One of the men from the group gives a talk on any given subject. We then interact on how ministry is going. Finally, we pray together and have a sweet time of fellowship over a meal. This has helped to knit our hearts together. I pray regularly from the pulpit for each and every one of the churches represented in this group.
5. Put Territorial Ambition to Death. While compromise is a great evil with which many are easily beset, so too is territorialism. We must eagerly seek to put territorial ambition to death. Ministers must never allow themselves to pastor by greed or fear. It is quite possible–and actually quite easy–for ministers to be greedy for “success” in growth and numbers. This is a great enemy to that sort of partnership with other ministers and churches that will most readily aid the advancement of the Kingdom of God. That Proverb holds true in this regard: “Greed takes away the life of its owner” (Prov. 1:19). Additionally the following Proverb can be applied to pastoral ministry: “There is one who gives away more than what is right, yet increases; and, one who withholds what is good and yet suffers lost.” Again, Diotrephes (3 John 9-10) is the example of a territorial and ministerially greedy man who fell under the condemnation of the Apostles. In no sense whatsoever, can territorialism and biblically ecumenical unity stand together.
Winning people to Christ involves the recognition of a need that only Christ can meet. There is one need, among many, which, if not met, will nullify the good of any other needs being met. We all need to escape the wrath of God, a wrath which is coming on the world. If we don’t, all other blessings come to nothing. Therefore, one indispensable truth of the good news of Jesus Christ is that he — and he alone — delivers believers from the wrath to come.
This truth is clear from 1 Thessalonians. Paul preached the gospel to this city and, amazingly, many “received the word in much affliction, with the joy of the Holy Spirit” (1 Thessalonians 1:6). Something Paul preached was so thrilling and so compelling that these people joyfully accepted affliction as the price of believing it. What was it?
It was that, because of Jesus Christ, they could be delivered from the coming wrath of God. “You turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come” (1 Thessalonians 1:9–10).
Paul had warned them that “while people are saying, ‘There is peace and security,’ then sudden destruction will come . . . and they will not escape” (1 Thessalonians 5:3). And he had encouraged the believers, “God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thessalonians 5:9).
Paul knew that Jesus himself had said, “Whoever does not obey the Son, the wrath of God remains on him” (John 3:36). And so he warned the hypocrites of Romans 2, “Because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed” (Romans 2:5). And he promised believers, “Since we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God” (Romans 5:9).
It seems to me that many gospel preachers today have little confidence that this message (“Jesus delivers from the wrath to come”) can be heard by contemporary people as good news. It seems that modern people lose little sleep over the impending wrath of God. It’s not a matter of discussion at work. It is not prominent in the news. To bring it up in a conversation seems so strange that people might think you are cultic or unstable.
The World Knows This Already
I think our silence is a big mistake. There are many reasons, but the one I want to emphasize is this: All unbelievers that you know, or ever will meet, know already about the coming wrath of God and that they deserve it. When you talk to them about it, you will be touching on something deep in their souls. They may have suppressed this knowledge, but it is there.
I see this truth in Romans 1. First, Paul says that all people know God and know a good deal about God, but have suppressed what they know. He is speaking of mankind in general when he says, “Although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him” (Romans 1:21). Nevertheless, “by their unrighteousness they suppress the truth” (Romans 1:18). So “claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images” (Romans 1:22–23). So they know God — all people know God! — but, at the level of consciousness, they have kept him out.
The same is true of God’s judgment — the coming wrath of God. In Romans 1:29–31, Paul lists over twenty typical sins of those who suppress the knowledge of God. Then he says in verse 32, “Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.”
What They Already Know
Notice carefully what they know. First, they know “God’s righteous decree.” Not just a general sense of right and wrong, but also that God himself is the one who determines what is right and wrong. It is “God’s righteous decree” that everyone knows.
Second, they know the content of God’s decree. There are kinds of behaviors that are wrong: “those who practice such things deserve to die.” Such things. They know these things are wrong.
Third, they know the content of God’s decree that they “deserve to die.” They know that the breaking of God’s standards leads to the experience of God’s wrath. Paul’s wording is not that death follows sin in the same way that a disease follows infection. The wording is that they “are worthy of death.” That is, they have incurred real guilt before a real judge, and there is a moral fitness about the punishment to follow. And it is real punishment from a personal, righteous, wise God, not a mere sequence of natural outcomes.
That is what all people know. They know they do wrong. They know the wrong is the breaking of a divine standard. They know that they have real guilt before a personal Judge. They know they deserve the penalty God has assigned: death. And so they know God’s anger awaits them. And they know that the vast distance between their own unworthiness and the greatness of their Creator means that probably the penalty of death means more than losing consciousness at the end of physical life.
We often speak of common ground between us and unbelievers — common ground that will give us a way into their souls to help them see the worth of the gospel. Well, there is a universal common ground. They all know that wrath is coming. They all know that they are guilty and will be swept away.
They may have suppressed this knowledge, as they have the knowledge of God, but it is there. And you, filled with the Holy Spirit and with the good news that there is a way of escape, you may be the one appointed by God to awaken this dormant truth and give them hope.
My plea is that all of us who love the gospel of Jesus and who love people will not shrink back from speaking boldly and clearly and wisely about the whole counsel of God, including the wonderful truth that Jesus delivers from the wrath of God. Nothing is more terrible than to be the deserving object of the just and omnipotent wrath of God. The world, and everyone in it, needs to know that God has made a way of escape through Jesus Christ. This knowledge is essential to the gospel we preach.
Why did Paul say to the Ephesian elders that he was “innocent of the blood of all”? He gave the reason in the next verse: “For I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:26–27). In other words, a judgment is coming. Either the blood of Christ will cover you from the wrath of God, because you taken refuge in him, or you will pay your own blood.
But that will not be on my hands, Paul says. For I warned you that wrath is coming. And I showed you the way of escape. It has cost me dearly. But I live in order to “finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God” (Acts 20:24).
According to the Bible, every believer in Jesus Christ is born a second time by the Spirit. In this lab, John Piper looks at this beautiful and spectacular mystery, asking what it means and how it happens. He also draws out the implications of serious study of the Bible for our worship.
There’s a silent killer in the church today, a killer that feeds off the body of Christ like a cancer. It tears apart relationships, destroys lives, drenches people with guilt and shame and ultimately takes them out of the race altogether. It’s affecting our relationships, our leadership, our parenting and our mission.
It’s probably the most dangerous four-letter word in the church.
You’ve heard church leaders talk about it, you’ve probably read the statistics on the Web about the magnitude of the industry and, more than likely, you’ve seen it firsthand.
I don’t want to throw around any more stats or paint a bleak picture about the future of the church. Instead, I want to ask you to do something with me … a short little exercise.
I want you to dream with me for a minute.
What if the church was 100 percent porn free?
I’m not even talking about the world, just the church—you know, you and me. What would the church look like if we eradicated every ounce of porn? What if no one in the church ever watched, experienced or clicked on porn again their entire life? What would our marriages look like? What would our parenting look like? What would our pastors look like?
Dream with me for a minute about a porn-free church.
I dream of a church where marriages aren’t dashed to the rocks over porn ever again. A church where marriages are filled with Christ-honoring intimacy, steeped in integrity and the God-given erotic passion that comes only from purity, love and unselfishness—lifting up the other over self. A place where the husband relinquishes his cycle of addiction and replaces it with an addiction to the glory of Christ and the goodness of others. Not some otherworldly prudence, but a down-to-earth gentleness and purity toward his wife that sets her apart like Christ did the church. I dream of a church where men are more passionate about upholding the glory of their wives than the pleasures of porn.
I dream of a church where single men and women are not anchored to the unbearable guilt and shame of hidden sin. A church where singles fear God like the holy hurricane he is and seek him for his unmatched companionship through the journey of life. A place where single men and women are not looked down upon with skepticism for their marital status but looked up to for their passion and purity to serve God in any given status or distinction—free from the choking clasp of porn. I dream of a church where single men and women are a godly force so great that the powers of darkness shudder in fear when they hear their names.
I dream of a church where there are no teenagers stuck in the lonely, grief-riddled cycle of porn and masturbation. I dream of a church where teens view the opposite sex with holy wonder and not a burning, selfish lust. I dream of a church where teens fight for the gospel without the weight of hidden sin tied around their necks, pulling them back to the bottom of the ocean every time they struggle toward God’s presence. I dream of a church where every teen knows their identity is set in Christ, and they experience the full goodness of his mercy every day.
I dream of a church where women are held up as beloved sisters in the family of God.A place where they are protected; a place where they can trust that the men are good and pure and easily trusted. A place where their beauty is not cheapened, their bodies are not objectified and their spirit and strength is not quenched. A place where their value to the Kingdom is fully appreciated and freely respected.
I dream of a church where no pastor watches porn on Saturday and preaches a message on Sunday. A place where every youth leader, senior pastor and worship leader comes in front of the church to lead from a place of integrity and honesty and with a clean conscience. A place where there is no “shoe” waiting to be dropped at the board meeting. A place where there is no need for paid administrative leave to “work things out.” I dream of a church where every leader sheds the cancer of porn like a heavy winter jacket in spring.
If this dream came true, what would the bride of Christ look like to the world? Just remove this sin—not every sin—just this one. How would the world see our marriages, our families, our leaders?
I don’t think it will come true through a sermon series, small groups, accountability partnership or cumbersome set of purity guidelines. No, this kind of radical change can only happen when we pray, confess, repent and ask God to do something miraculous.
I have a dream of a porn-free church. I believe it’s God’s dream, too.
Are you with me?
I love how God keeps His promises to us. In Leviticus 23, God gave Moses seven days of feasts at specific times throughout the year.
Each of these feasts represents a promise and a meaning Jesus would later fulfill. Got Questions wrote, “From the Old Covenant to the New, Genesis to Revelation, God provides picture after picture of His entire plan for mankind and one of the most startling prophetic pictures is outlined for us in the Jewish feasts of Leviticus 23.”
The Hebrew word for “Feasts” is moadim which means “appointed times.” God uses these feasts to tell His great story. We see the Gospel and his redemption through these feasts.
There are spring feasts and fall feasts. We saw Jesus fulfill the spring feasts in scripture on the exact feast day during his first coming. “These three fall feasts, it is believed by many, will likewise be fulfilled literally in connection to the Lord’s second coming.”
“The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, ‘Speak to the people of Israel and say to them, These are the appointed feasts of the Lord that you shall proclaim as holy convocations; they are my appointed feasts.’”
Passover was first celebrated when God delivered his people from Egypt and slavery. Now we celebrate the day Jesus died as the ultimate sacrificial lamb. Paul references this fulfillment in 1 Corinthians 5:7.
2. Unleavened Bread
In the Bible, leaven or yeast in a symbol of sin and evil. The feast of Unleavened Bread points to Jesus’ sinless life. During the first few days of this feast, Jesus’ body was in the grave.
3. First Fruits
First Fruits is the day Jesus was resurrected. Paul refers to this in 1 Corinthians 15:20 when he says Jesus is “the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.”
Pentecost represents the “great harvest of souls and the gift of the Holy Spirit for both Jew and Gentile” as we see in Acts 2. This is the day the Church was established when “God poured out His Holy Spirit and 3,000 Jews responded to Peter’s great sermon and his first proclamation of the gospel.”
The Day of Atonement will be fulfilled with the second coming of Jesus (Romans 11:25-26) when “The Deliverer will come from Zion.”
This is the day devout Jews would build small shelters outside their homes and worship in them to celebrate how God provided shelter for His people in the wilderness. “Many scholars believe that this feast day points to the Lord’s promise that He will once again ‘tabernacle’ with His people when He returns to reign over all the world (Micah 4:1-7).”
“Then everyone who survives of all the nations that have come against Jerusalem shall go up year after year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Booths. And if any of the families of the earth do not go up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, there will be no rain on them.”
There is a theme of sacrifice in these feasts, and overwhelming proof of God fulfilling His promises to his people.
You remember the cowardly lion from The Wizard of Oz, don’t you? He was supposed to be the king of the jungle, but he had no courage.
I’ve known some leaders like the cowardly lion. If I’m completely transparent—at times it’s been me.
Let’s face it. Leading others is hard. There is often loneliness to leadership. Leadership takes great courage.
You have no doubt encountered cowardly leaders. Perhaps would even admit you’ve been one too.
Here are seven characteristics of cowardly leadership:
Say what people want to hear. They might say, for example, “I’ll think about it,” rather than “No”—even if no is already the decided answer. I get it. It’s easier. But the ease is only temporary. These leaders are notorious for saying one thing to one person and another to someone else. They want everyone to like them.
Avoids conflict. In every relationship there will be conflict. It is necessary for the strength of relationships and the organization. When the leader avoids conflict, the entire organization avoids it. Hidden or ignored problems are never addressed.
Never willing to make the hard decisions. This is what leaders do. Leaders don’t have to be the smartest person in the room. They don’t even have to be the one with the most experience. Leaders make the decisions no one else is willing to make.
Pretends everything is OK—even when it is not. When everything is amazing, nothing really is. Cowardly leaders gloss over the real problems in the organization. They refuse to address them either because they fear they don’t know how or their pride gets in the way.
Original article appeared here.
Jesus is still very popular these days, even at a time when Christianity seems to be facing more social marginalization. From political and social movements to kitschy products to bumper stickers, we’ve appropriated Jesus as a mascot for our favorite causes. But we have to wonder, is this the real Jesus of the Bible or a Jesus of our own making?
In Romans, the Apostle Paul teaches of Christ’s mission to call out a people and form them into His likeness, but it seems we are more interested in forming Jesus into our image. Even conservative, Bible-believing evangelicals are fond of making statements like, “The Jesus I know would …” as if Jesus—who claimed to be the Triune God, one with the Father—can be easily molded into whatever we wish him to be.
Soon the Jesus we claim to worship looks strangely like the man in the mirror.
What are some ways we are tempted to mold Jesus, like clay, into whatever we want him to be? Here are 10 partial Jesus’s popular in Christian culture:
1. Guru Jesus
This is the Jesus of the enlightenment, the Jesus who existed in human history, but is not nearly as radical as that Jesus of the gospels. Guru Jesus is the wise, winsome, slightly supernatural figure who fits nicely alongside other religious titans like Buddah, Muhammad, Vishnu and others. This is a safe Jesus, who will only ever tell us good, affirming, uplifting things, but doesn’t bother us with dangerous talk of the Kingdom of God.
But here’s the problem with Guru Jesus: Not only does he defy the historical record and the claims of Jesus Himself, he’s also much less compelling than the Christ of Scripture. Guru Jesus doesn’t meet the deepest longings of the human experience, doesn’t answer the problem of evil, and offers no hope for future cosmic renewal.
2. Red-Letter Jesus
This Jesus is in vogue among many well-meaning, progressive evangelicals. He’s a Jesus I’m tempted, at times, to embrace. He’s present in the kind of Christianity that only takes seriously those quotes of Jesus in the gospels that are marked out by Bible publishers in red ink.
What is convenient about this Jesus is that he replaces the so-called angry God of the Old Testament with a mostly peaceful, healing, non-controversial Jesus of justice. What’s more, he’s way more likeable than that irascible Apostle Paul who just doesn’t understand 21st-century social norms.
There is only one problem with Red-Letter Jesus: Jesus, in his very red-letter statements, declared solidarity with the Old Testament Scriptures. He spoke of an “unbreakable Bible” and coming not to abolish “one iota or jot of the law.” If we accept Jesus as a full member of the Trinity and if we accept the idea of inspiration of Scripture, we’d have to say that all the letters in the Bible are red, not just the statements from Jesus we like to put on coffee mugs.
Plus, have you read those red letters? Jesus said some pretty controversial things in there about marriage, about hell and about his coming kingdom.
The post 10 Counterfeit Christ Figures We Should Stop Worshiping appeared first on ChurchLeaders.com.
Tony Evans tells this story: “Our God is sovereign. That means there’s no such thing as luck. Anything that happens to you, good or bad, must pass through His fingers first. There are no accidents with God. I like the story of the cowboy who applied for health insurance. The agent routinely asked him, ‘Have you ever had any accidents?’ The cowboy replied, ‘Well no, I’ve not had any accidents. I was bitten by a rattlesnake once, and a horse did kick me in the ribs. That laid me up for a while, but I haven’t had any accidents.’ The agent said, ‘Wait a minute. I’m confused. A rattlesnake bit you, and a horse kicked you. Weren’t those accidents?’ ‘No, they did that on purpose.’”
There are no accidents with God.
God’s sovereignty is his complete and absolute rule, control and power over all things. God has decreed all that has ever happened and ever will happen and ultimately brings about all things he has purposed.
He has total control of all things past, present and future. Nothing happens that is out of His knowledge and control. All things are either caused by Him or allowed by Him for His own purposes and through His perfect will and timing. … He is the only absolute and omnipotent ruler of the universe and is sovereign in creation, providence and redemption. http://www.GotQuestions.org
There are no accidents with God. And he has a perfect timing for everything he does.
Remember the former things of old; for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose.’ Isaiah 46:9-10
Have you ever felt like you were in the middle of a perfect storm? How did I get here? How did this happen? Wherever we find ourselves and whatever we have to deal with we can know that God in his infinite wisdom has designed it for our good and to make us like Christ and bring him glory.
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Mondays are tough on pastors. For some, feelings of discouragement, anxiety, and depression will begin to kick in as early as Sunday afternoon.
This really isn’t unique to pastors. Even if you aren’t a pastor I’m guessing that you have had times of a great spiritual high, only to find yourself the next day feeling like a total schmuck. This experience is what Archibald Hart calls “Post-adrenaline depression.”
Eric Stoltz is still in Back to the Future
Most pop culture nerds/Back to the Future fans know that while Michael J. Fox was the first choice to play Marty McFly in the series, the role initially went to Eric Stoltz due to scheduling conflicts. After four weeks of shooting, Stoltz was let go from the film, and Fox was brought in, with everything getting reshot—everything, it seems, except one shot:
Questions concerning ecumenical affiliations are among the most difficult for any minister to answer. There is a spectrum along which every minister falls regarding their involvement and interaction with ministers of other ecclesiastical fellowships.
If you attempt great things, you will experience moments of failure and disappointment. You will make mistakes. Your plans will not always go as they were mapped out to go. Life will mess with your best plans. As Mike Tyson once said, “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.”
In some of these moments you may likely lose some credibility with your leader. Credibility with your leader is essential. If your leader does not trust you, your influence and impact will be greatly hampered. So how do you regain your leader’s trust in the midst of difficult challenges and disappointment? Here are six steps to regain your leader’s trust.
Great answer from Jonathan Leeman:
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“It might take many years of sanctifying marriage for a husband to learn Christlike headship, and even then it will be imperfect. Wives, as helpmates, come alongside their husbands in this unfinished work.”
There are some good challenges in this article. “For fear of being legalistic, we can rob ourselves of the benefits of a regular pattern (or ‘spiritual disciplines’) of walking with God. Is this biblical or beneficial? Not at all!”
Here’s Joe Carter keeping you informed on today’s headlines.
A couple of weeks ago was the initial For the Church conference. They have just released conference audio and video. Speakers include David Platt, Russell Moore, and H.B. Charles Jr, and Darrin Patrick.
This Day in 1648. “The Larger and the Shorter Catechisms—both prepared by the Westminster Assembly the previous year—were approved by the British Parliament. These two documents have been in regular use among various Presbyterians, Congregationalists, and Baptists ever since.” *
If you enjoy history, you may enjoy this tale of how a black man from Missouri transformed himself into the Indian Liberace.
A Canadian former politician tries to get to the bottom of the Donald Trump phenomenon: “Donald Trump has them flummoxed. The media, his Republican and Democratic opponents, they don’t know what to do with him. And because they don’t, more and more Americans like him.”
ARTICLES I LIKE FROM AROUND THE WEB:
(Click title to go to full article)
Five Things I Want to Teach My Son – “Should the Lord be pleased and I have a son (tentatively named Kofi Jr – has to be born on a Friday though but we can dream!), here are five life lessons I want to impart him – lessons I’ve learned the hard way but lessons I’m glad to have learned (and in most cases, am still learning!)…”
How to Fight Addiction in a Pornographic Culture – “Young men and women struggle with pornography. I think one of our greatest mistakes is that we talk about pornography only in terms of young men. There are young women who struggle with pornography. Not in the same way, not in the same numbers, but it is real. We live in a pornographic culture and that is one of the things that makes it very difficult. We have been so inundated with pornography and as a result we are desensitized to pornography. The line at which we will say, “That is pornographic” has been drawn so far out into the realm of the inappropriate, that we have people who dress pornographically and they are not bothered by it and we are not bothered by it anymore.”
Giving Your Pastor Feedback After a Sermon… – “‘Good sermon.’ ‘Helpful!’ ‘Interesting.’ ‘Awesome message.’ ‘Thanks, Pastor!’ Pastors hear these sorts of comments after sermons from time to time. Some may come more frequently than others. But if you ask most pastors who care about feeding the flock and who have literally emptied all that they have in that hour of heralding, many who approach them after sermons unknowingly do not provide helpful feedback. It’s not necessarily bad. It’s not necessarily harmful. It’s just not the most helpful. Preachers have heard the standard lines that people give on their way out of the church building when they give a brief word before heading home. Ministers have heard those. But feedback that is more helpful and more thoughtful is what every pastor needs.”
What Is the Eye of A Needle? – “I haven’t always sat under the teaching ministry of John MacArthur. In fact, earlier parts of my Christian walk have been tarnished by over-exposure to some really bad Bible teachers, and attendance in some very man-centered churches. A lot of my expertise in error comes from first-hand experience. It took longer than I care to admit, but eventually, the reckless handling of Scripture became too hard to ignore. One of the most blatant examples was related to Christ’s interaction with the rich young ruler. Luke 18:22-25 explains the sad end to their conversation.”
Five things I learned in an unhealthy church – “When I went off to college as a bright-eyed 18-year-old, I found a church to get involved with right away. The church had a college group that met in my dorm, and I loved it from the beginning. It was an incredibly friendly group and I forged deep relationships that are still some of my closest friendships 19 years later. We were deeply committed to giving our lives to Christ, and many of our unchurched friends from the dorm gave their lives to Christ as well. I myself was baptized that fall in a frigid alpine lake at the top of a mountain.”
Nate Pickowicz – The Promised Holy Spirit (John 14:16-24)
Hear From A Woman Who Survived An Attempted Abortion
John Macarthur responds to heckler incident
“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 15, 2015
Judge Orders Ten Commandments Monument Taken Down Within 30 Days
Having Chaplains in Workplace May be Way to Prevent Violence
Anglican Church in Kenya Expels Priests Accused of Practicing Homosexuality
South Africa: Teacher Martyred for Refusing to Engage in Witchcraft to be Honored as Saint
Pastor Defends Baptisms on High-School Football Field
Religious Leaders in U.K. Disagree with Extremism Prevention Policy
Polls Show Trump not Leading with Devoutly Religious Republicans
Evidence Mounts for Viability of Babies not Considered Legally ‘Human’
Christians Call on Indonesia’s President to Combat Islamic Extremism
Navy Stands Behind Chaplain Who Shared Christian Beliefs
Your Life Expectancy and Your Social Security
Planned Parenthood and Abortion in the States: Good News in the Battle for Life
The Death of Good Journalism
Meet ‘The Secret Christians of Brooklyn’
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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
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 is the Savior of the world. Discover who Jesus is today in this series.
Know Jesus Christ and your life will be transformed
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