September 30, 2015 Christian Briefing Report

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Why Evangelicals and Catholics Cannot be “Together”

The Bible Says that Christ Died Once and For all (1 Peter 3:18). He does not need to continue dying like the animals in the Old Testament sacrificial system. He is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. The only reason he would need to continue dying would be if we needed our sins re-forgiven each week, or if we were trying to earn our salvation. In the Roman Catholic Church Jesus Christ is still on the cross and every week the Father crushes Him over and over again.

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Think the Church’s Precarious Cultural Situation is Unique? Think Again

In fact, it is a return to normal. Of course, I don’t mean normal in the history of America.  In the American experience, the pundits are right: this is an unprecedented cultural shift.  But, in the history of God’s people, this present situation is not at all unusual.  Indeed it has often been the norm; indeed, even the means by which God has advanced his Kingdom in unique and special ways.

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Does Hebrews 12:4 Teach Sanctification Through Works?

It seems evident from Hebrews 12 that our obedience is the logically and morally necessary product of our faith, our union with Christ, and that gracious sanctification. Certainly we do struggle against sin. Certainly we do freely exert ourselves against sin and toward godliness but we do so as those who are being graciously sanctified and we lay hold of all the graces that accompany salvation through faith alone. The power of faith is its object. The object of faith is Christ.

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Some Thoughts on the Reading of Books

Maintain regular reading projects. I strategize my reading in six main categories: Theology, Biblical Studies, Church Life, History, Cultural Studies, and Literature. I have some project from each of these categories going at all times. I collect and gather books for each project and read them over a determined period of time. This helps to discipline my reading, and it also keeps me working across several disciplines.

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Accidental Saints

Let me say it candidly: Bolz-Weber has no business being a pastor and, therefore, no business writing as a pastor. She proves this on nearly every page of her book. Time and again she shows that she is woefully lacking in godly character. Her stories, her word choice, her interactions with her parishioners, her temper, her endlessly foul mouth, her novel interpretations of Scripture—they lead to the alarming and disturbing picture of a person who does not take the office seriously enough to ask if she is qualified to it.

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Reaching a Boiling Point

In light of these videos, clearly both of these mothers are heating up the rhetoric to express their views. They reflect that the very nature of the subject is bringing to the surface the rawest of human emotion. Culturally things appear to be reaching a boiling point. We need to pray that the Lord has not reached His yet with our nation.

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Adding To and Taking Away From the Gospel

For example, the Roman Catholic Church, the New Perspective on Paul, and legalism in its many forms add to the gospel. Even if there is an acknowledgement of what Christ has done, it is not all sufficient to make us right with God. However, liberal theology takes way from the gospel by teaching that we don’t need redemption in the first place. We may need a life coach. We may need some encouragement, but we aren’t as bad as the Bible has made us out to be. But what about systems that do both?

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I Don’t Want Your Good Vibes. I Want Prayer.

The Bible does not offer us any spiritual placebo effect, by which a sugar tablet of good wishes just might have the same effect as the penicillin of prayer. Prayer is the thing that weak, sick, anxious, sinful, needy Christians must have. Do not substitute.

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Restoring Free Speech On Campus

Backed by a strong commitment to freedom of expression and academic freedom, faculty could challenge one another, their students and the public to consider new possibilities, without fear of reprisal. Students would no longer face punishment for exercising their right to speak out freely about the issues most important to them. Instead of learning that voicing one’s opinions invites silencing, students would be taught that spirited debate is a vital necessity for the advancement of knowledge.

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Evangelism: Your Message Means More Than Your Motives

Evangelism: Your Message Means More Than Your Motives

Posted on September 29, 2015 by Crosswalk

God isn’t blind to the fact that my heart can lead me astray and get me completely off track, even when I’m trying to do what’s best and glorify Him.

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10 Ways to Love Your Neighbor (Without Being Weird)

10 Ways to Love Your Neighbor (Without Being Weird)

Posted on September 29, 2015 by Crosswalk

Loving our neighbor doesn’t have to be weird, just be yourself and let spiritual conversations flow from natural relationships.

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Be Filled with the Spirit, Not Alcohol

Be Filled with the Spirit, Not Alcohol

Posted on September 29, 2015 by Crosswalk

The believer is not to be controlled by alcohol, but by the Holy Spirit.

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10 Bible verses for when you're feeling overwhelmed

10 Bible verses for when you’re feeling overwhelmed

Posted on September 30, 2015 by Christian Today

?However well life is going overall, we all have moments when we feel totally overwhelmed – unable to get perspective or see beyond that particular problem.

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More Christians Discovering Biblical Beliefs Could Cost Them Their Jobs

It should come as no surprise that Christians will encounter opposition to their Biblical beliefs at the workplace. What might surprise them is that expressing those beliefs both at work and at home (such as social media) could cost them their job…………..  Click here for full story


8 Reasons Why I Didn’t Change My Name (and 6 Reasons I Did)

by Paula Hendricks

There’s power in a name! Here are good (and not so good) reasons to take your future husband’s name.

Why You Should Risk Losing Their Friendship

by Paula Hendricks

Here’s why you should be brave enough to confront that friend.

Freebie Friday! Graffiti: Learning to See the Art in Ourselves

by Erin Davis

Take our body image quiz for your chance to win the true beauty book, “Graffiti: Learning to See the Art in Ourselves.”

From the Archives: Is It Okay to Date Just for Fun?

by Erin Davis

One of you recently asked, “Is it okay to date just for fun?” In a word—yes. That being said, I think there is a more important question we should be asking. Is it wise to date just for fun? In two words—probably not.


“Please Pray for Me, Holy Father:” Kim Davis Embraces “Pope Francis,” Bursts Into Tears Receiving Rosary

Kim Davis has joined with Rick Warren, Joel Osteen and fellow Oneness Pentecostal T.D. Jakes in fawning over the man who leads the apostate Roman Catholic Church. Christian News Netwwork has the report:

The embattled Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis, who identifies as an Apostolic Pentecostal, met privately on Thursday with Jorge Bergoglio, also known as “Pope Francis,” who is the head of the Roman Catholic religion, during his visit to the United States.

According to reports, the meeting took place in Washington, D.C. following the pontiff’s address to Congress and just before he flew to New York City. Davis was in the area to receive an award from Family Research Council.

http://christiannews.net/2015/09/30/please-pray-for-me-holy-father-kim-davis-embraces-pope-francis-bursts-into-tears-receiving-rosary/


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The Proof Pope Francis & The Vatican Are Pushing For World Government
The connection between the Church of Rome and the United Nations spans many years. Former U.N. Secretary General Dag Hammarskjold noted that “there were two Popes on this planet, a spiritual Pope in Rome and a civilian Pope in New York, namely, the Secretary-General of the UN.” For years, the papacy has done its part to encourage the mutual admiration society between the pope and the secretary general. On October 4, 1965, for example, Pope Paul VI turned over the Papal Tiara, a symbol of the papacy, to the United Nations and declared that the United Nations is “the last, best hope of mankind.” The United Nations and the Vatican are inextricably linked in order to prepare the world population for the coming religious Reich.
http://www.worldviewweekend.com/news/article/proof-pope-francis-vatican-are-pushing-world-government


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With Pope’s Help, U.N. Bypasses Congress on Global Socialism
Pope Francis didn’t make the list of “Eminent Persons” [1] assembled by the U.N. Secretary General to plan the “global development framework” for the world beyond 2015 and culminating in 2030. But the pope didn’t need to be on the list. After all, the Vatican has endorsed [2] the anti-capitalist “sustainable development” agenda that is being voted on by the nations of the world at the U.N.
Click here to read complete article:
http://www.worldviewweekend.com/news/article/pope-s-help-un-bypasses-congress-global-socialism


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Worldview Weekend Radio: Guest: Susan Heck. Topic: Susan Heck explains why Biblical counseling is the answer and not psychologists. Susan reveals that most psychologists will not tell their client that their problem is sin. Susan and Brannon also discuss how many so-called churches have now turned their members over to psychologists instead of opening the Bible with their church members. What are these staff members being paid for if they cannot give Godly counsel to those under their care as well as those that are paying their salaries? Topic: Susan talks about her new fall Bible study for ladies that has just begun and how any lady is welcome to join the study via worldviewradio.com. Topic: Susan talks about Pope Francis and why he is a false prophet. The comments by Brannon and Susan led to a lady calling into the program to chastise Brannon and Susan. Listen how Susan and Brannon respond to the caller with truth but in love. Topic: Susan explains what she believes Jesus would say to many of the religious leaders of today that did not refute the false gospel of Pope Francis. Susan explains the true meaning of being salt and light and how many of the pro-family and evangelical leaders of today want you to believe that salt and light is Christian activism when the light is the gospel that most of them will not proclaim or defend consistently or accurately. Susan explains why she believes this is the case. Topic: We take your calls.
http://www.worldviewweekend.com/radio/audio/brannon-howse-september-28-2015


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Women with the Master with Susan Heck:
We will continue on with the last four beatitudes in this lesson, one being that we are blessed when we are persecuted. Perhaps this is not one of your favorite beatitudes, but for the genuine Kingdom citizen it as cherished as much as the other seven. In fact, one pastor in Romania recalls being in solitary confinement with chunks of his flesh being cut from his body and being given no food. Yet amidst that suffering he recounts that the joy of the Lord would so overtake him that he would dance with joy in his prison. To us, this type of suffering might sound foreign. In a short time from now it might not sound so foreign but common place for those who are Gods children. Some of us may be persecuted and yes, even killed for righteousness sake. This my friend is one of the eight beatitudes that Christ taught on the Sermon on the Mount.
http://www.worldviewweekend.com/radio/audio/women-master-september-28-2015


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No Compromise Radio with Mike Abendroth: 

Image Matters: What does it mean that we are created in the image of God? The implications are vast and as current as todays headlines.
http://www.worldviewweekend.com/radio/audio/mike-abendroth-september-30-2015


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Justin Peters Radio:
Part 2 of the incommunicable attribute of God’s Decree.
http://www.worldviewweekend.com/radio/audio/justin-peters-program-september-28-2015


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Steel on Steel with John Loeffler:
This weekend the United Nations is hosting the Sustainable Development Summit 2015, with representatives from around the world in attendance, including Pope Francis. Is sustainable development nothing more than an attempt to establish a one-world government? What will societal change and social justice look like? Will our foundation begin to shake? Joining us for a round table discussion this week are Karen Schoen (www.karenschoen.com), Found of AgEnders and Host of American Freedom Watch Radio, and Tom DeWeese (www.americanpolicy.org), President of the American Policy Center and author of the DeWeese Report. They reveal the truth behind sustainable development and the 2030 Agenda, and discuss wealth redistribution, climate change, abolishment of property rights, and who has ultimate control over water resources, education, and the economy. Beware the fundamental transformation of society!
http://www.worldviewweekend.com/radio/audio/john-loeffler-september-28-2015


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Encounter God’s Truth with Dr. John Whitcomb:
Dr. John Whitcomb concludes his message called, Basic Biblical Answers this week on Encounter Gods Truth. Host Wayne Shepherd invites you to join those who first listened to this teaching when it was given at Appalachian Bible College in Mount Hope, West Virginia, to demonstrate that Gods Word is true from the beginning to the end. In drawing on some life lessons he has learned the hard way, Dr. Whitcomb explains the clear Scriptural basis for contending for the faith. He shows how the self-authenticating message of the Word of God and prayer empowered by Jesus Christ, the living Word of God are the means that we must use when talking with others about our faith. We must never rely on our own limited knowledge or abilities. As Dr. Whitcomb emphasizes, we need to be humble, patient and teachable leaving the results in Gods hands. Thank you for listening to this latest installment in our series on Biblical Apologetics. May the Lord help you as you seek to apply it.
http://www.worldviewweekend.com/radio/audio/dr-john-whitcomb-september-28-2015


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Noise of Thunder Radio with Chris Pinto:
THE JESUIT POPE IN AMERICA Chris discusses the past few days of overwhelming media coverage on the visit of Pope Francis to the United States. People have been gushing with adoration over the so-called “holy father,” some even weeping with great emotion — not the least of whom was soon-to-be former Speaker of the House and devout Catholic, John Boehner. Judging from the coverage by Fox, CNN and MSNBC, it is clear that mainstream media serves some purpose other than objective journalism. Ironically, when the Puritans came to the new world, they proclaimed their desire to “raise a bulwark against the kingdom of Antichrist, which the Jesuits labor to rear up in those parts.” What would our forefathers say about this visit from a Jesuit Pope?
http://www.worldviewweekend.com/radio/audio/chris-pinto-september-28-2015


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Prophecy Today with Dr. Jimmy DeYoung:
Today on PTIB Jimmy DeYoung has two of his Broadcast Partners, Steve Herzig and Dr Rob Congdon. Jimmy and Rob will discuss a report on the European Union, and in particular the migrant crisis. But first, Jimmy and Steve will discuss the Jewish Feast of Tabernacles. This is the last of the seven Jewish Feast Days given to the Jewish people by God, Leviticus 23, and is a seven day feast. The Jews around the world will live in a “succa”, a thatched hut similar to the huts the Jews lived in during their wanderings in the wilderness for a forty year period. The Feast also has a connection to the Kingdom yet to come, and promised to the Jews.
http://www.worldviewweekend.com/radio/audio/prophecy-today-intell-briefing-september-30-2015


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Crosstalk:
Mark Crutcher has done some very thorough research and investigation on this very issue of Planned Parenthood and their relationship to the Black community. He is the founder and director of Life Dynamics which is widely acknowledged as one of the most innovative and professional pro-life organizations in America. Mark may be best known for his bold undercover operations that have exposed shocking and even illegal activities inside the abortion industry.
http://www.worldviewweekend.com/radio/audio/crosstalk-september-30-2015


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Running to Win with Dr. Erwin Lutzer:

When we are the victims of economic collapse or slander, something within us demands an answer. Through the life of Job, lets explore the heavenly reasons for our earthly misfortunes and how Jesus would answer Jobs painful cries.
http://www.worldviewweekend.com/radio/audio/dr-erwin-lutzer-september-30-2015


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The Truth About Islam with Usama Dakdok
http://www.worldviewweekend.com/radio/audio/truth-about-islam-september-30-2015


Be Still and Know That YOU Are God? Is That Really What Scripture Says?

By Warren B. Smith Ironically, Psalm 46:10 (“Be Still and Know” . . . )  was the founding credo of the pioneering New Age community of Findhorn in Scotland. Co-founder Eileen Caddy distinctly heard the words “Be still and know that I am God” in a meditation, and as a result, Findhorn was founded on […]


[Allegedly] Homohobic people “more likely to display other undesirable psychological traits”

Not surprisingly a new study has just come out of Italy claiming that people who “harbor homophobic attitudes” suffer from a psychological disorder — a phobia.  So now liberal’s can point to a  scientific study that supposedly shows that people who believe homosexuality is a sexual perversion, such as Bible believers, are “homophobic,” as if […]

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Four Blood Moons and Shemitah Bring Judgment…Upon Charismatics

JD Hall of Pulpit and Pen has something to say to Charismatics in regard to their propensity to dabble in mysticism or what he calls witchcraft. When two prophecies uttered by highly regarded men in the charismatic community failed to come to pass, JD concluded that “God has, in his Providence, chosen to use these astrological omen interpretations to bring judgment against America’s charismatics for their embarrassing naivety, abominable discernment, and systemic false prophecy…”

JD begins by informing us that,

Two “significant” events (read that, rather ordinary, foreseeable and cyclical events that are predictable by the Farmer’s Almanac) recently brought God’s judgment – as expected and promised – by America’s prophets. That God used these “signs” to judge was not surprising, but who God ultimately judged was surprising.

Jonathan Cahn, who calls himself a Messianic Rabbi (whose credentials are dubious), wrote a book detailing ten signs present before Israel’s collapse, comparing them to ten signs now present in America, called The Harbinger. With the success of that book, Cahn springboarded into a new divination, this time pulling from the Old Testament ceremonial law the command in Exodus 20:11 that the ground lay fallow every seven years, which was both agriculturally astute and required the Israelites to trust God for their provision. Debts were also to be canceled during that year as well, which was one of a number of safeguards against the holding of longterm debt in Israel’s economy. This year was called the Shemitah, meaning a “releasing” (referring to release from debt), which Cahn has interpreted more ominously as a “shaking.” Doing the math, Cahn reveals that September 25 2014 to September 13 2015 is the Shemitah Year

Four Blood Moons and Shemitah Bring Judgment…Upon Charismatics


Exposing the Hypocrisy of “Christian” Social Justice

There are few things worse than when the Word of God is twisted and abused to support an agenda of humanism.  Yet it is happening at an increasing rate as the social justice movement gains momentum in our nation.  Disguised as “biblical”, this movement is actually a political and social agenda misusing scripture to advance […]

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Church of Scotland minister says to teach Jesus died for sins is “ghastly theology”

“Jesus did not die for our sins. No No No No. That is Ghastly theology. Don’t go there.” This “Pastor” has now joined the ranks of rank heresy shared by Brian Mclaren, Tony Jones, Rob Bell, Jay Bakker and many others who deny propitiation, or atonement for sins that Jesus’ blood covers. Pastor Scott McKenna, […]

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Bill Nye’s Unscientific Tirade on Abortion

Here is a great response to Bill Nye’s recent attempt to show the problems with the pro life position. 


“Pope Francis” Leads Philadelphia in Prayer to Mary and Joseph to “Protect Families”

Protestants should know that praying to any deceased person is unbiblical. Christian News Network asked former Catholic Mike Gendron of Proclaiming the Gospel Ministries to comment on this and Mike responded: “The pope would do well to study the truth of God’s word so that he will stop deceiving people. For him to ask people to pray to Mary and Joseph, who are physically dead, is an abomination to the Lord.” Deuteronomy 18:11-12 forbids communicating with the dead. One wonders if Protestants in the crowd bowed their heads and prayed the Hail Mary prayer led by the head of the apostate Roman Catholic Church.

Heather Clark has the full report:

During his final remarks at the Festival of Families in Philadelphia, the Roman Catholic pontiff Jorge Bergoglio, known as “Pope Francis,” led the thousands in attendance in a prayer to Mary and Joseph out of his belief that the former earthly parents of Christ serve as protectors of families in the present.

“Before the final blessing, let’s pray a prayer to Mary and also an invocation to Saint Joseph, so that they can protect our families and they can help us to believe that it’s worth the struggle and the fight for the good of the family,” he said at the conclusion of the event, which included song and dance from various musical celebrities, as well as speeches from Catholic families from around the world.

http://christiannews.net/2015/09/28/pope-francis-leads-philadelphia-in-prayer-to-mary-and-joseph-to-protect-families/


Planned Parenthood’s problems have to do with facts that are not in dispute

I watched a good bit of the testimony that Cecile Richards offered to Congress yesterday, but I suspect that most Americans did not. Most Americans will view news reports about the hearings if they hear anything at all. That means that most Americans are going to be woefully under-informed about what happened yesterday. So let me give you the bottom line about what came out in the hearings.

1. Planned Parenthood harvests organs from aborted babies and gives those organs to researchers in exchange for money. Planned Parenthood disputes the claim that they “profit” from this exchange, but they do not dispute that the exchange happens. They provide the baby parts, and the researchers (or middle men) give them money for the parts. That is the bottom line confirmed again by yesterday’s hearings, and no one disputes those facts.

2. Planned Parenthood’s revenues exceed their expenses by $127 million dollars. This exchange between Representative Mick Mulvaney and Cecile Richards is particularly revealing:

http://www.mrctv.org/embed/139692

Cecile Richards says that Planned Parenthood doesn’t profit from its work. And maybe in some technical, legal sense that is true. But most Americans know what it means that an organization’s revenues exceed expenses by $127 million dollars.

Congress may want to haggle over whether we should call this situation “profit” or “reinvestment.” They may want to argue with Richards about whether the exchange of baby parts for money is a “sale” or a “reimbursement.” But these are just arguments about nomenclature that at the end of the day conceal the reality of the undisputed facts.

Planned Parenthood kills over 300,000 unborn human beings every year. Planned Parenthood receives money in exchange for providing baby parts to researchers. Planned Parenthood’s revenues exceed expenses by $127 million dollars. American taxpayers are funding about 40% of the annual budget of our nation’s leading abortion provider.

Those are the facts, and they are not in dispute. And the undisputed facts should be enough to scandalize every conscience that confronts them.


Their Custom, Our Complicity

Children are being sexually abused in Afghanistan, and our soldiers are being told to turn a blind eye. That’s got to stop. Listen Now | Download

5 facts about PP’s congressional testimony

http://erlc.com/article/5-facts-about-planned-parenthoods-congressional-testimony

The Pope or Christ – Who is the Church’s Head?

The fanfare is all over. The speeches to the U.S. Congress and to the U.N.have been given. The Mass was celebrated at Madison Square Garden and in Philadelphia with hundreds of thousands. And now Pope Francis is back at the Vatican after his historical visit to the U.S.

But the question that I would like to consider and that must be asked is: Who is the real Head of the Church – The Pope or Christ?

In his epistle to the Colossians where he highlights the supremacy of Christ, the apostle Paul categorically states in Scripture that Christ is the Head of the Church.

“And he is the head of the body, the church.”

Colossians 1:18

Who is the “he” referring to?

It is referring to the one in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.(Colossians 1:14)

It is referring to the one who is the image of the invisible God.(Colossians 1:15)

It is referring to the one who is the Creator and Sustainer of the universe.(Colossians 1:16-17)

It is referring to the one in whom all the fulness of God was pleased to dwell(Colossians 1:19)

It is referring to the one through whom there is reconciliation with God by His death(Colossians 1:20-22)

It is referring to God’s beloved Son!(Colossians 1:13)

Throughout church history, God raised up men to remind us once again that Christ, not the pope, is the head of the church. One such man was Martin Luther.

“I am persuaded that if at this time, St. Peter, in person, should preach all the articles of Holy Scripture, and only deny the pope’s authority, power, and primacy, and say, that the pope is not the head of all Christendom, they would cause him to be hanged.”

Martin Luther(Table Talk)

Another such man was Charles Spurgeon, who declared unequivocally the headship of Christ over His Church in a sermon entitled “The Head of the Church.”

“Of all the dreams whatever deluded men and probably of all blasphemies that were ever uttered, that has never been one which is more absurd and which is more fruitful in all manner of mischief than the idea that the Bishop of Rome can be the head of the church of Jesus Christ. No, these popes die and how could the church live if its head were dead? The true Head ever lives and the church ever liveth in Him.”

Charles Spurgeon

In yet another sermon entitled “Jesus is Lord”, Spurgeon drives the stake home in answering the question of who is the real head of the church.

“It is awful blasphemy for any man on earth to call himself Christ’s vicar and the head of the church, and it is a usurpation of the crown rights of King Jesus for any king or queen to be called the head of the church, for the true Church of Jesus Christ can have no head but Jesus Christ Himself.

Charles Spurgeon

Jesus Christ is the true Head of the Church because it is Christ Himself who loved the Church and gave Himself for her(Ephesians 5:25) Jesus Christ is the true Head of the Church not only because of his loving substitutionary atonement, but also because of His resurrection, conquering death, and because of His exaltation to the right hand of the Father, as head over all!

“that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. 22 And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.”

Ephesians 1:20-23


Authentic and Counterfeit Christianity

If you have been united to Christ, Jesus has broken the curse and brought us into fellowship with God. The bondage of sin has been broken.  When as Christians we sin, we are acting in unbelief – not believing that our actions are being openly beheld by God and others. It is to forget our identity and the gift of the Holy Spirit and to live as if we were still under sin’s dominion. Living genuinely and transparently, then, means by the grace of God, to consciously live every moment with the belief that all of our thoughts and life are truly open before God and man. It means to walk in the light (1 John 1:7), to have nothing hidden, but for your life to be laid bare before all (Heb. 4:11-13) So when we do sin, we don’t hide it but confess it (1 John 2:1),we judge ourselves and grieve over it (1 Cor 11:31-32). And then we keep moving toward the goal (Phil 3:14). knowing that we are clean and forgiven in Christ (1 John 1:9).


The 5 Sins of Social Media Users

Social media such as Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram are now not only personal expressions but company branding machines. With the proliferation of this new media, I have identified five sins that create weak impact—unless you are into rewarding stupidly bad behavior. And, they drive me crazy! The dark side of social media might hurt you more than help. Many companies see added stats to follower lists, but do they know that their supposed social media manager is cheating a system instead of engaging people? 

Here are five sins of social media users I hope we all can avoid!

1. Follow and dump. This is sometimes called “churning,” where you follow a bunch a people at a time to get them to follow you back. Then, once they do you dump them. This sin represents a bait-and-switch approach to what could otherwise be a human interaction. The tick of an additional follow is more important than connecting. Is this dirty trick really how you would deal with potential customers or clients in real life?

2. Buy your fame. The laziest and most tempting thing you can do is buy your followers. This can be done with anything from Facebook and Twitter to YouTube and Pinterest. These “fake” followers might be from Russia or some other country where a digital sweatshop of people clicking on accounts exists. An employer may be happy to see that his or her social media manager has grown followers, but is that employer being well-served?

3. Robot responses. The automated responses to Twitter are truly more than an annoyance. Spam is one thing, but this is far worse. Also, if you use direct messaging, private messaging or the like, you are violating personal space and spending valuable attention with advertisements. It is one thing to share personal and “live” news, it is another to automate or simply cut-and-paste responses to people. Is your message worth being personal or would you rather be robotic?

4. Fire-hosing dogma. For those of us who are personal or individual brands, sharing too much about our political views is annoying on social media. Discussions with friends online is fantastic. But you may have people who follow you not for your politics or dogma. And if you are using a personal account to constantly push your multilevel marketing scheme, you will not be effective. How much of people’s attention will you take before you give something of value?

5. Spam commenting. If you are truly desiring to connect, a comment on a post is appropriate. Some cut-and-paste a standard “this is great” comment or like a post of yours to get you to follow them. While it is important to interact, it is spam to use someone’s Instagram account simply to get them to follow you. Do you “mean” the like and make the comment personal, or is it all really only about you?

These five sins of social media users are driving me crazy! I would love to hear about your experiences online. What drives you crazy about social media?  

The post The 5 Sins of Social Media Users appeared first on ChurchLeaders.com.


Our Mighty Fortress

And though this world, with devils filled, should threaten to undo us,
We will not fear, for God hath willed His truth to triumph through us.

Martin Luther wrote those stirring words during the height of the Reformation, as he and his friends faced fierce physical persecution—and even death—for their faith. For almost 500 years, “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God” has been a rallying cry for the church, buoying heavy hearts in the midst of Satan’s attacks.

And while we don’t often encounter the same level of persecution Luther did, his words remain a powerful encouragement to this day. They’re a helpful reminder of the Lord’s sovereignty, especially in the face of institutionalized immorality and the aggressive perversion of God’s design.

https://www.churchleaders.com/article-headlines-widget.html

We shouldn’t be surprised when a government full of unrepentant sinners institutes sinful laws and policies. We shouldn’t be shocked when immorality is celebrated and purity is ridiculed. And we shouldn’t be scared when the church is vilified as the enemy of progress, science or society at large.

In fact, no persecution, in any form, should surprise us. Christ Himself warned His followers that they would face fierce opposition: “If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you” (John 15:18). The apostle John echoed that warning in 1 John 3:13: “Do not be surprised, brethren, if the world hates you.”

In fact, the surprise is not that Western society has turned against the church in America, but that it ever tolerated the influence of the church in the first place.

This is where we remind ourselves of the great comfort and freedom we know in serving a sovereign God. While the appetite for His Word and tolerance for His people may wax and wane in society, the light of His truth cannot be extinguished. He is still on His throne, and nothing that happens to us is outside of His plans or His control.

The true danger for the church, then, is not any external threat that the culture presents to us. They can mock us, fine us, outlaw us and even kill us—God’s truth will march on.

The post Our Mighty Fortress appeared first on ChurchLeaders.com.


If You’re a New Convert, Here’s a Guide for Translating Christian Code

Congratulations on getting saved! Now that you’re a Christian, there are a few things you really should know. First, you must listen to the songs “Secret Ambition” and “Jesus Freak.” These two songs will come up a lot in conversations, and have the potential to make you a lot of friends. Familiarize yourself with them. Be ready to lip sync to them on demand.

Second, get used to drinking awful coffee. Since the very first meetings in Jerusalem, Christians have insisted on drinking coffee that tastes like scalding hot paint thinner. It is one of the trials and tribulations we must endure.

Finally, learn the Christian code words. What you may not have realized is we have our own special code language. If you’re going to communicate with other Christians, you need to memorize our code words and their definitions. What exactly are these code words? I’m glad you asked. What follows is a guide to understanding Christian-speak. Think of this as the Rosetta of the Christian world.

Terms and Definitions

Story—Most people think of a story as something contained within a book. Oh how wrong they are! All of us have a story, and each of our stories is important. Your story (also called “Journey” or “Road”) includes: all your life experiences, the most recent book you’ve read, your friends (even though they have their own stories, they’re also part of your story), your Moleskine journal (in which you record thoughts about your story), that one mission trip that was a defining moment in your story, and the existential crisis you had in college (the dark part of your story). Get used to referring to every experience as being a part of your “story.”

Traveling Mercies—Contrary to popular opinion, “Traveling Mercies” is not the name of a Rich Mullins cover band. Rather, traveling mercies refers to divine mercies, which, oddly enough, can only be found on highways and in airplanes. No matter how much you ask, you simply cannot get traveling mercies for a trip to the grocery store. Regular mercies cover that. However, if you fail to ask for traveling mercies prior to a long trip (not to be confused with “Journey”), there is a 95 percent chance your car engine will catch on fire.

Echo—You’re in a prayer meeting, it’s your turn to pray and your mind goes blank! What do you do? Don’t panic. You simply “echo” what the person before you prayed. To echo another person’s prayer, simply take their exact words, add the word “just” to the beginning and add the words “really asking this” to the end. This simple tactic will rescue you out of every prayer jam (not to be confused with a Prayer Jam, which is praying to hip-hop music).

Do Life—Christians don’t simply live life. No sir, we do life! And don’t you DARE confuse the two. Living life is boring and shallow, while doing life involves thrilling, exciting, awesome things, like Wednesday night Bible studies.

In This Place—This is a phrase included in many of our prayers as a way of making sure God knows exactly where we are located. We want God to bless us, in this place. We don’t want him to accidentally fire his blessings into the church down the street, so we alert him to our precise location. Think of this as the GPS of Christianity.

The post If You’re a New Convert, Here’s a Guide for Translating Christian Code appeared first on ChurchLeaders.com.


Arminianism & Its Hazards

calvins flowerChances are you’ve discussed it lately. Who chose whom? God? Man? Both? Whose will and choice triggers salvation? Man’s? God’s? Both? It’s a common occurrence to spar over Calvinism (the doctrines of God’s sovereign grace) vs. Arminianism.

This post could not possibly address all the issues. Instead, it will take a brief look at some of Arminianism’s consequences. But first, a quick reminder of common Arminian teaching.

Arminianism typically holds that God elects individuals to salvation based on his foreknowledge of their personal worthiness. It’s claimed that God’s election means that he chose those whom he foresaw would trust in Christ for salvation prior to them doing so. God chose those whom he foreknew would choose him. Humanity, therefore, is fallen, but not incapable of seeking God. Though sinful, man is still able to arouse his will so as to choose God savingly. Some reject election, arguing that it is incompatible with human freedom and responsibility, thus rendering things like evangelism, prayer, and discipleship unnecessary. It follows, then, that many argue that one is able to lose their salvation.

arminian flower

Arminianism has had its propagators over the years. Jacob Arminius, of course. Pelagius before him. Later, John Wesley wrote, “I reject the blasphemy clearly contained in the horrible decree of predestination…I would sooner be a Turk, a Deist, yea an atheist, than I could believe this” (Cited in Demarest, The Cross and Salvation, 102). About 100 years later, Charles Finney held that there are essentially two types of people; the savable and the unsavable. God chose those who inherently possessed the ability by their freedom to choose God and be saved.

Wherever we might find ourselves theologically, there are a number of hazards for consideration which are consequent of Arminian teaching:

  1. Harming the plain sense of a large amount of Scripture.

James_Arminius_2

At best, much Arminian teaching must violate the natural reading of many passages. For example, the assertion of free will is biblically untenable. Free will indicates that man is free to do as he pleases.

However, our will has two big constraints, rendering it not free. The first is God’s sovereignty (e.g. Prov. 19:21 “Many plans are in a man’s heart, but the counsel of the LORD will stand”). We are only free to do what God has ordained. The second constraint is human depravity. We are unwilling to seek/choose God so as to be saved (Rom. 3:11 “There is none who understands, there is none who seeks for God”). We are unable to seek/choose God so as to be saved (Eph. 2:1 “You were dead in your trespasses and sins”). Whatever the word “dead” asserts, it is not man’s ability. The dead are not able to do anything but stay dead. Thus, Arminianism’s assertion that man is able, and even willing, to choose God is untenable.

God is the only Being whose will is free: “Our God is in the heavens; he does whatever he pleases” (Ps. 115:3). No such statements are made of man. And incredibly, God uses his will, in love, to unlock ours from sin. When it comes to salvation, the only one willing and able to do the choosing and seeking is God. For that reason, Scripture speaks of salvation is an act of grace (Eph. 2:8-9).

Regarding God’s sovereign choice of his people, Ephesians 1:4-5 says, “he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will.” From this text, and many like it, we simply cannot responsibly conclude that, “God chose us because he saw that we would choose him.” The word, “chose,” is an aorist middle, indicating an active, willful choice on the part of the subject (God), independent and unconditional of the object of choice (believers). Finally, contrary to much Arminian reasoning, God did not chose because he saw that we would choose, but “according to the purpose of his will.” And the passage continues, emphasizing that God’s work in salvation had nothing to do with man’s foreknown actions, but to the praise of God’s glory.

But what about the word “foreknew” in Romans 8:29? When speaking of God, the word can refer to either the simple knowing of something before or foreordaining. In the biblical context of salvation, to “know” or “foreknow” can refer to an intimate love, thus speaking of God’s independent choice to love his chosen. Further, the focus of the text is not on man’s actions; that God foreknew man would choose him, but on God’s actions; that God foreknew because he sovereignly decided to bestow grace on those he chose to love (hence the word, “predestined,” in v. 30).

sure thing

Romans 9 is another passage which contains several massive problems for Arminianism. Arminian friends often ask, “Why do you guys always go to Romans 9 to argue your case?” For the same reason that the Bears always handed off to William “Refrigerator” Perry, when it was 4th and goal at the one yard line.

Some propose that the choosing spoken of in Romans 9 is concerned with nations and groups, not individuals. But that will not do, since Paul mentions individuals (e.g. Isaac, Ishmael, Jacob, Esau, Pharaoh), as objects of his sovereign choice who serve as illustrations of God’s sovereign dealings with humanity. Then, that truth is crystallized, shown to be the manner of God’s sovereign prerogative, as Creator, with all humanity, his creation, in vv. 20-24. If God did not ordain some for salvation and others, not, Romans 9 is not a good way to say that.

Furthermore, v. 19 and following is Paul’s response to Arminian-like rejection. “How can God find fault? If election is true, who can resist his will?” And, if Paul were not arguing for the case of God’s sovereign election of individuals in salvation, then his anticipation of the rejection as stated in v. 19, followed by his response in vv. 20-26 (e.g. “…Has the potter no right over the lay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable useand another for dishonorable use?…”) makes no sense. If Paul is not saying that God chooses individuals for salvation according to his own will, then why ask, “Then who resists his will?”

Many other passages could be brought into the discussion, such as John 1:12-13, John 3, John 6:39, 44, and 65, to name a few. I would point us to thorough treatments on the issue, such as R.C. Sproul’s, Chosen by God, or Bruce Demarest’s, The Cross and Salvation, to name a few contemporary writers.

  1. Tending towards salvation by works. 

Arminian soteriology asserts that the cause of salvation is both God’s grace and man’s ability. The Holy Spirit saves by cooperating with man’s will. Man and God partner to accomplish salvation. Consequently, salvation is the product, in part, of man’s will or ability. Another way to say that is man’s salvation is partly due to his doing, or, his work.

noBut Romans 9:16 is telling. Speaking of the divine election of individuals, the Apostle Paul says, “So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy.” The issue could not be more clear. And to that we could add the overwhelming testimony of Scripture declaring that salvation is purely the work of God’s grace (e.g. Eph. 2:8-9). The determining factor pertaining to who will be saved is not man’s will, decision, or ability, but God’s sovereign decision to extend saving mercy.

And as a sidenote, if we are going to reject God’s sovereign grace for Arminianism, then we should stop praying for anyone’s salvation. We should instead pray to the particular man for that man’s salvation: his will is the Sovereign when it comes to his salvation.

  1. Exalting man’s ability to reason over the plain sense of God’s word.

Though not all, much of Arminianism’s rebuttals to the doctrines of grace take the form of, “Then how can God…?” or, “How can man…?” For example:

“How can God be fair and loving if he’s already fixed who will be saved? He cannot be, because he is not really giving everyone the opportunity to be saved.” Paul settled this in Romans 9:20-26. The answer ultimately lies in God and his sovereign prerogative by virtue of being God. Further, if we struggle to understand his love there, let us take an unrushed walk around the cross as a fresh reminder. Perhaps the more clear sheds light on the less.

Bareback rider bucked off, Miles City Bucking Horse Sale, Montana, Richard Wilson, MODEL RELEASED on Rider only.

“How can man have a free will if he is called to repent but God chooses?” Scripture never says that man’s will is free, but that he is dead in sin. And, the call for man to be saved should not be taken ipso facto that his will is free. Instead, it should be taken plainly: man is responsible to repent. We do well to leash our reasonings from going beyond what is written.

“How can God be loving if he only chose some? Why didn’t he choose more?” On the contrary, even if we are never saved, it would only be right for us to marvel that God would choose to save even one in light of man’s wickedness. Furthermore, Scripture clearly says that God is loving, thus we joyfully submit to the truth, whether or not we can ascertain how God’s dealings are loving in our radically finite minds.

“How can the call for all to be saved be genuine? It is a farce—a false offer—since God has already determined some, not all, to be saved.” God did not come to redeem all humanity (universalism is not true), but his people. And, salvation is a command (Acts 17:30). Just because man is unable and unwilling to obey a command of God’s does not invalidate the command.

“How can we really evangelize? Isn’t it pointless?” Wesley claimed that evangelism would be futile if election was true. But that some are chosen is far more motivation to evangelize than if the choice was up to man. If salvation were contingent on man’s will, then evangelism would be futile since man is unwilling and unable to choose and seek God in his natural state.

The problem with these objections is clear and singular. What is the governing authority common in the rebuttals? Man’s ability to figure out the “How can?” If he cannot, then the plain sense of Scripture is rejected. It boils down to man’s ability to reason.

For the most part Arminianism is man’s fallen philosophical response to God’s clear, biblical self-disclosure. Thus, it appears almost as a theology of response. Many of the objections center more on our fallen philosophical conundrums, than the plain sense of Scripture.

  1. Forbidding God from doing as he wishes. 

Perhaps the most God-ness thing about God is his sovereignty. His sovereignty rules over all (Ps. 103:19). And long, long before puny, sinful man was around to comment on the extent and limitations of that sovereignty, he did as he does now: whatever he pleases. His plan of salvation is simply one area in which he exercises his sovereignty, both in the designing and doing of the plan.

fence

Sadly, however, we come along (as a consequence of God’s sovereignty), and strap him with boundaries. And, we do so through the grid of our not-Godness; our non-sovereignty. We do things like question and complain and resist the most God thing about God. We are all, by nature, a bit Arminian (cause for more alarm).

But Arminianism permits God to do as he wishes, except when it comes to his most prized doings in history: salvation. He is permitted sovereignty over rocks, rain, rhinoceroses, and raises, but not the plan around which all these things revolve: redemption. God sits in the heavens and does whatever he pleases, except when it comes to exercising his grace. Something is amiss.

Charles Spurgeon said it well: “Some men cannot endure to hear the doctrine of election. I suppose they like to choose their own wives, but they are not willing that Christ should choose his own bride, the church.”

  1. Disregarding the testimony of church history.

(c) Palace of Westminster; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

A brief look at church history demonstrates the scores of faithful men who have embraced the doctrines of grace over Arminianism. A small sampling of those includes Tertullian (2nd-3rd century), Athanasius (4th), Augustine (4th-5th), John Knox (15-16th), Luther (16th), Calvin (16th), John Bunyan (17th), the some 150 Westminster Divines (17th), John Gill (18th), Charles Spurgeon (19th), and Martyn Lloyd-Jones (20th). It could not be said that these men were theological novices. And it’s not that they are above theological examination. But it is to say that we do well to carefully examine a teaching, first, because it is backed by sound exegesis and hermeneutics, and second, because it was held by many competent theologians.

I tremble when I hear so many in our day spurn the doctrines of grace as if they are a strange teaching fabricated by theological lightweights.

  1. Man shares glory and credit with God for salvation.

The reason there are so many passages ascribing glory to God in the context of salvation is because he did, and does all, of the work, since man cannot and would not.

“And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, ‘Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord’” (1 Cor. 1:30-31).

“But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world” (Gal. 6:14).

“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast” (Eph. 2:8-9).

good job man

Now, if salvation depends even the slightest bit upon man (whether his choice or ability to seek God), then man deserves part of the glory and credit for it. If man is able to choose, he contributes something to his salvation, and should be praised for that contribution. We must laud him for his choosing abilities and accomplishment. Ephesians 2:8-9 should, then, be edited to read: “For by grace and your choice you have been saved, through faith and your ability to choose. And this is partly your doing; it is both a gift of God and your ability to choose, so that you and God may boast it up together.”

Bottom line: when it comes to our God’s glorious plan of salvation, we do well to step away from his throne by letting the clear testimony of Scripture speak, permitting him to choose, ordain, predestine, and foreknew whom he wishes from a hopelessly rebellious human race.

Charles Spurgeon: “I believe the doctrine of election, because I am quite certain that if God had not chosen me I should never have chosen Him; and I am sure He chose me before I was born, or else He never would have chosen me afterwards; and He must have elected me for reasons unknown to me, for I never could find any reason in myself why He should have looked upon me with special love. So I am forced to accept that doctrine.”

“Salvation is from the Lord” (Jonah 2:9).


The Most Common Reason Pastors Give When They Leave a Church

This blog and our podcast have been a blessing to me because of the readers and listeners. I learn so much from your comments on the site, on social media, and in emails. For example, hundreds of you have shared with us your decision-making process when you leave a church. Though there are many different reasons given, these pastors did share one reason much more frequently than any others:

The most common reason pastors leave a church is: from their perspective they have taken the church as far as they can.

But what does that mean? What are the specific areas where a pastor sees such limitations? I have asked that question on numbers of occasions. Here are the most common responses:

  1. “The church has grown as much it will under my leadership.” Commonly, a pastor will lead a church to some growth, but that growth stops after a season. Not understanding why the growth has stopped, the pastor concludes that it is a personal leadership problem.
  2. “I am just not a good fit for this church.” A recent example of which I am aware is where a pastor was significantly culturally different from the church he served as pastor. He deemed those cultural differences to mean he could not lead the church further.
  3. “I’m spending most of my time putting out fires.” In this example, conflict is the problem, and the pastor does not have the solution. Hence, the pastor concludes a departure is in order.
  4. “The church has grown too large for my leadership skills.” I have been surprised to hear from a number of pastors who think their respective churches outgrew them. One pastor, for example, was comfortable leading a church of 150 in attendance. But, four years later, the church had an attendance of 375. He did not think he could lead an organization of that size.
  5. “The church needs to relocate, and I’m not the person to lead them.” That same reason is often used when the church needs to build facilities or become a multi-site church.

Many times, pastors are sincere when they believe the church has outgrown them. But I also believe pastors and other staff can grow and learn. Not all of them need to conclude they can’t take the church further.

I am encouraged by how many pastors and staff persons have joined our Church Answers training and development. It is one way they are saying: “I can grow, and I want to grow.” For that reason, we will keep the subscription open a few more days.

Let me know what you think of this main reason pastors and church staff leave their church? Is it always legitimate? Are there more underlying and unspoken reasons? Let me hear from you.

The post The Most Common Reason Pastors Give When They Leave a Church appeared first on ThomRainer.com.


A La Carte (September 30)

Today’s Kindle deals include a new title from GLH Publishing: John Owen’s Communion with God ($0.99). You might also consider: 131 Christians Everyone Should Know by Mark Galli ($2.99); Christian Worship by Segler & Bradley ($2.99); Perspectives on Christian Worship by various ($2.99); and The Remarkable Wisdom of Solomon by Henry Morris ($2.99). Also, The Paradox of Choice isn’t a Christian book, but is interesting nonetheless ($2.99).

Sooner Count the Stars

Today marks the release of Sooner Count the Stars, a new album from Sovereign Grace Music. I’ve listened to most of it and have really enjoyed it.

James Is, You Know, in the Bible

Rick Phillips says it well: “I can think of few messages more urgently needed by our worldly churches today than the necessity of pursuing practical holiness through obedience and good works.”

Happiness

Randy Alcorn has a new book out titled Happiness. He is also hosting a webcast and Twitter chat this afternoon and invites you to participate.

Popular Popes and Priestly Pretenders

Nate Busenitz’s article “addresses one of the many reasons why evangelicals should neither endorse nor applaud the office of the papacy.”

Mars and the Majesty of Christ

“The vastness and beauty of the Milky Way should elicit a response from us. That response should be neither one of pagan nature worship nor greedy utility, but of wonder and awe at Christ Jesus in his infinite vastness and immeasurable beauty.”

This Day in 1953. Bruce Ware was born. Happy 62nd birthday, Bruce!

Clean Up Your Gmail Inbox

When and if you run up against GMail’s limits, this article will help you get cleaned up.

The Difficulty of Prayer (and a Solution)

Mark Jones admits the difficulty and works toward a solution.


“I AM” Transforms Our Identity

This is the last of a three-part series on God’s name, I AM.” Be sure to go back and read Part One (“‘I AM’ shows us how we encounter God”), and Part Two (“‘I AM’ gives us the ground rule for knowing God”).

Most of us know what it’s like to feel insecure, to feel like we just aren’t up to a particular challenge. Maybe you just got hired for a job you aren’t sure you can handle. Or you’re dating someone and are nervous about living up to family expectations. Or you’re a parent, and you’re worried that you just don’t have what it takes.

The bad news is that, in ourselves, we probably don’t have what it takes. The good news is that, with God, we don’t need to. Knowing God as “I am” transforms our identities and overcomes our insecurities.

Moses knew insecurity. By the time he meets God at the burning bush, he’s a pretty defeated man. He had started out his life with a lot of confidence, a good-looking guy in a high-paying job. But things went horribly wrong. He tried to stand up for his Jewish people and ended up killing a man. Because of this, the Jews rejected him and Pharaoh banished him. For the next 40 years, Moses was wandering around in the wilderness, nursing that failure.

How does God overcome this? Not with any “power of positive thinking.” He doesn’t say, “Moses, here’s a mirror. Look into it and repeat after me: ‘I see pride! I see power! I see a bad man who won’t take no garbage from nobody!’” None of that. Simply this: “I will be with you.” Real confidence comes not from competence, but from the assurance of God’s presence.

So when Moses says to God, “Who am I?” God says to Moses, “It doesn’t matter who you are. It matters who I am.” Moses says, “I’m not eloquent, or smart or successful.” And God says, “I didn’t choose you because you were those things. I’ve got enough of them for the both of us.” God doesn’t want the guy who has bought his own publicity. He wants the guy who knows he’s an empty vessel.

Feeling inadequate is actually a prerequisite to being used by God. So God says to Moses (and to you and to me):

I am the God of very unpromising material. You think you’re unskilled? Lacking courage? Not very good? You don’t even know the half of it! You’re so weak you can’t even guarantee tomorrow. You’re like a wisp of smoke, a blade of grass. In the scope of this universe, you are smaller than a grain of sand. But it’s not about you! You are not, but my name is I am.”

Whatever you’re not, whatever you need, whatever you didn’t get from your parents, whatever you aren’t getting from someone else … God says, “I am!”

“Who can I trust?” I am.

“I’m not sure who is really on my team.” I am.

“Nobody is listening to me.” I am.

“How am I supposed to know which way to go?” I am.

“My marriage is crashing and I do not know where to turn.” I am.

“I’m 50 years old and I feel like I am starting all over.” I am.

“What if I fail again?” I am.

“I’m not sure I believe anymore.” I am.

“I have given all I can give and it is not enough.” I am.

“I’m pouring into everybody but nobody is pouring into me.” I am.

“I can’t hold on.” I am.

“I am tired.” I am.

“I quit.” I am.

“I need a drink or a fix or a hit.” I am.

“I need a lover.” I am.

“I need a fresh start.” I am.

“I just need somebody to hold me.” I am.”[1]

The name I am is the answer to every insecurity in our lives. And here’s the amazing thing: when we became believers, that name became ours. We took God’s name and became one with him. So when we start to look at ourselves and say, “I am so stupid. I am a loser. I am such a terrible mom,” God says, “I am not any of those things! And if I am in you, you are not either.

So when you say, “God, I am so dysfunctional,” he says, “Yet I am so complete.” You say, “I am so deficient,” and he says, “I am so sufficient.” You say, “I am so doubtful,” and he says, “I am so faithful.” You say, “I am so sinful,” and he says, “I am so gracious.”

When the voices in our lives and in our hearts whisper, “You are not…” we can shout back, “You’re right! But he is, and now I am in him. I am not, but I know the great I AM.”


[1] I’m deeply indebted here to Louie Giglio, and his inspiring book, I Am Not, But I Know I Am.


The Daily Discovery (September 30, 2015)

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

Can You Reject Biblical Inerrancy and Still Be a Faithful Mentor? – “This article is not so much about methods of mentoring as it is about the consequences of mentoring. Mentoring has at its core that of training disciples for the glory of Jesus Christ. When Jesus’ pronounced the Great Commission, discipleship or mentoring was at its core (‘make disciples’—Matthew 28:19-20). He commanded his followers to mentor or make disciples of all nations. The content of mentoring was to be that of His teaching (‘teaching them to observe all the things that I have commanded you’—Matthew 28:20) as well as that of conforming to His Person, i.e. Jesus’ disciples were to be like Him (‘It is enough for the disciple that he become like his teacher, and the slave like his master’ (Matt. 10:25).”

A Quick And Easy Guide To The Planned Parenthood Videos – “The journalism project immediately went viral, with millions of people watching the videos. But the media have largely struggled to even mention the videos and what they show. When presidential candidate Carly Fiorina mentioned the videos during the 2nd GOP presidential debate, the media claimed to have no idea what she was talking about. The weak media coverage has left many Americans in the dark about the content of the videos. And sloppy reporting has led to misinformation about the videos.”

When Dad Doesn’t Disciple the Kids – “Three kinds of ‘single moms’ exist in the church: the literal single mom who is raising children on her own, the mom whose husband is an unbeliever and the mom whose husband professes belief but does not partner in the spiritual nurturing of the family. For the true single mom and the mom married to an unbeliever, the task is clear: Train your children in the Lord because no one else will. For the wife of the believing father who is guilty of being spiritually absent, the lines are blurry. She lives in the tension between wanting to honor her spouse and wanting to disciple her children. All three ‘single moms’ desperately need the support of the church, but I want to focus specifically on the third mom, a woman trapped in a dilemma.”

Arminianism & Its Hazards – “Chances are you’ve discussed it lately. Who chose whom? God? Man? Both? Whose will and choice triggers salvation? Man’s? God’s? Both? It’s a common occurrence to spar over Calvinism (the doctrines of God’s sovereign grace) vs. Arminianism.  This post could not possibly address all the issues. Instead, it will take a brief look at some of Arminianism’s consequences. But first, a quick reminder of common Arminian teaching.”

Why Knowing Your Flock Is Critical to Meaningful Preaching – “The preacher paced the stage, staring earnestly out into the congregation. It was time for his weekly invitation. He asked for respondents to raise their hands. Not a single hand was raised. But he had no way of knowing this because he was on a video screen. I was at the nearest campus of this multisite church on assignment from the pastor himself, a man who’d recently hired me to do some freelance research work for him. Visiting one of his many remote services was supposed to help me get a ‘feel’ for his ministry. It certainly did. But I couldn’t help but be struck with the feeling that this way of doing ministry couldn’t really help the preacher get a “feel” for his congregation.”


SERMON:

Pastor Emilio talking to an Agnostic


VIDEOS:

Rick Warren is Dangerous to Roman Catholics

Tony or Zachary: One Is of His Father the Devil


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


Featured Blogs


Christian Headlines Daily – Wednesday, September 30, 2015

http://www.christianheadlines.com/

Top Headlines

Willie Robertson Aligns with Trump

Christian Author Points out Similarities between the Church and ‘The Walking Dead’

Christian Missionaries Told to Leave Nepal

Pastor Saeed Won’t be Freed until U.S. Releases 19 Iranian Criminals, Says Iranian President

Freedom for the Same-Sex Attracted

Pope: Those Who Covered up Sexual Abuse ‘are Guilty’

President of Planned Parenthood Prepares to Testify before Congress

Conflict between Christian and Muslim Refugees Prompts Germany to House Them Separately

Pop Star Ciara Teaching 1-Year-Old Son to Praise Jesus

Anna Duggar Busies Herself with Homeschooling Her Children While Husband is in Rehab

Opinion

Some Thoughts on Reading Books and Tips to Help Cultivate Good Reading Practices

Refugees and the Moral Crisis of Our National Debt

Because of Christians, America Isn’t a Theocracy

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READING: Malachi 1-4

TEXTS AND APPLICATION:  Do I fear God? Do I have sense of holy reverence for who He is? The book of Malachi, the last book of the Old Testament, is a reminder — a painful one, actually — that even God’s people can lose their sense of godly fear. The result inevitably is disobedience and idolatry.

1.  The priests had so lost their fear of God that they despised His name by offering Him only their “leftover” animals — those that would cost them the least.

Mal. 1:6  A son honors his father, and a servant his master. But if I am a father, where is My honor? And if I am a master, where is your fear of Me?” says Yahweh of Hosts to you priests, who despise My name.

2.  The people turned against God when they did not fear Him, evidenced in their absolute rebellion.

Mal. 3:5  I will come to you in judgment, and I will be ready to witness against sorcerers and adulterers; against those who swear falsely; against those who oppress the widow and the fatherless, and cheat the wage earner; and against those who deny justice to the foreigner. They do not fear Me,” says the Lord of Hosts.

3.  On the other hand, those who truly feared God would receive God’s blessings, and even the nations would have a healthy fear of Him.

Mal. 1:14, 4:2  For I am a great King,” says Yahweh of Hosts, “and My name will be feared among the nations” . . . .  But for you who fear My name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings, and you will go out and playfully jump like calves from the stall.

My personal application questions are simple but penetrating ones today:

  • What do I do that reveals my lack of fear of God? What sin do I cling to as if God were not the judge?
  • Will the nations fear God because of my witness before them?

PRAYER: “God, increase my fear of You. May my reverence be evidenced in my obedience.”


Our Time is Short

Read: Recommitting Your Life To God and Jesus Christ – Restoration and Forgiveness With God and Jesus Christ (Updated Version)


What is The Gospel?

God made everything out of nothing, including you and me. His main purpose in creation was to bring him pleasure.

The chief way in which we as humanity do this is through loving, obeying, and enjoying him perfectly.

Instead of this, we have sinned against our loving Creator and acted in high-handed rebellion.

God has vowed that he will righteously and lovingly judge sinners with eternal death.

But God, being merciful, loving, gracious, and just, sent his own son, Jesus Christ, in the likeness of man to live as a man; fulfilling his perfect requirements in the place of sinners; loving, obeying, and enjoying him perfectly.

And further, his son bore the eternal judgment of God upon the cross of Calvary, as he satisfied the eternal anger of God, standing in the place of sinners. God treated Jesus as a sinner, though he was perfectly sinless, that he might declare sinners as perfect.

This glorious transaction occurs as the sinner puts their faith (dependence, trust) in the Lord Jesus Christ as their substitute. God then charges Christ’s perfection to the sinner, and no longer views him as an enemy but instead an adopted son covered in the perfect righteousness of his son.

God furnished proof that this sacrifice was accepted by raising Jesus from the dead.

God will judge the world in righteousness and all of those who are not covered in the righteousness of Christ, depending on him for forgiveness, will be forced to stand on their own to bear the eternal anger of God.

Therefore, all must turn from sin and receive Christ Jesus as Lord.


Ready to start your new life with God?

Who do you think that I am?

With that brief question Jesus Christ confronted His followers with the most important issue they would ever face. He had spent much time with them and made some bold claims about His identity and authority. Now the time had come for them either to believe or deny His teachings.

Who do you say Jesus is? Your response to Him will determine not only your values and lifestyle, but your eternal destiny as well.

Consider what the Bible says about Him: Read more


Resource Links

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

Look to Jesus
Have you ever felt a little lost and wished there was a quick-start guide to your relationship with God? This is it!

30 Day Next Steps
John Beckett, a leading Christian businessman, has written a series to read over 30 days for new believers.

New Believers Guide
The New Believer’s Guide is a series of articles designed to show you how to walk in the new life Christ has given you— a life of faith and freedom.

Jesus Booklet
Jesus is the Savior of the world. Discover who Jesus is today in this series.

About Christianity
Know Jesus Christ and your life will be transformed


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

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