Daily Archives: October 26, 2018

OCTOBER 26 CHEAP RELIGION

Neither will I offer burnt offerings unto the Lord my God of that which doth cost me nothing.

2 Samuel 24:24

What passes for Christianity in our day is cheap religion! To listen to the current concepts of Christianity, we would conclude it is little more than bits of beautiful poetry, a man-made bouquet of fragrant flowers, a kindly smile for our neighbor and a couple of good deeds on behalf of a brother or sister.

When I consider some of the elements now offered in Christianity as acceptable religion, I have to restrain myself lest I speak too disapprovingly. I fear my words would be so strong that I would have to repent of them! And I read in the Scriptures that there are some things God does not want us to say even about the devil.

What do we find surfacing in much of our Christian fellowship? The complaint that God takes a long time to work out His will. We do not want to take the time to plow and cultivate. We want the fruit and the harvest right away. We do not want to be engaged in any spiritual battle that takes us into the long night. We want the morning light right now!

We do not want the cross—we are more interested in the crown!

Lord, help me to be satisfied with Your timetable concerning certain issues in my life. You are the sovereign God who is never late! Your divine timing is impeccable![1]


[1] Tozer, A. W. (2015). Mornings with tozer: daily devotional readings. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

OCTOBER 26 IDOLATRY

Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.

—Exodus 20:4

Idolatry is of all sins the most hateful to God because it is in essence a defamation of the divine character. It holds a low opinion of God, and when it advertises that opinion, it is guilty of circulating an evil rumor about the Majesty in the heavens. Thus it slanders the Deity. No wonder God hates it.

We should beware of the comfortable habit of assuming that idolatry is found only in heathen lands and that civilized people are free from it. This is an error and results from pride and superficial thinking. The truth is that idolatry is found wherever mankind is found. Whoever entertains an unworthy conception of God is throwing his or her heart wide open to the sin of idolatry. Let that person go on to personalize his or her low mental image of the Deity and pray to it, and he or she has become an idolater—and this is regardless of his or her nominal profession of Christianity.

It is vitally important that we think soundly about God. Since He is the foundation of all our religious beliefs, it follows that if we err in our ideas of God, we will go astray on everything else. TWP104

Lord, forgive me for insidious idolatry that portrays You as anything less than You are. Even to try to picture You in my mind tends to distort Your image. I fall on my knees to worship the incomprehensible God. Amen. [1]


[1] Tozer, A. W., & Eggert, R. (2015). Tozer on the almighty god: a 365-day devotional. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

Our Favorite Heresies of 2018: Experts Weigh In | News & Reporting | Christianity Today

Scholars explain what is most discouraging and encouraging about Ligonier theology survey that found 3 out of 4 US evangelicals are “Arians.”

In this analysis, CT theology editor Caleb Lindgren compares Ligonier’s 2018 theology survey to the 2016 version, followed by nine expert reactions to the overall results.

Are American Christians really this bad at theology? Are we simply just a band of unwitting heretics? Ligonier Ministries and LifeWay Research’s recent State of Theology study seems to indicate that, yes, a large percentage of us are.

But while it may be tempting to declare a state of theological emergency, a further look at the groundbreaking survey, now in its third wave, shows there is room for optimism amid the concern.

Clearly the theological acuity of Christians in the United States could improve. But the findings from Ligonier’s study actually indicate that where instruction and education do occur, at least evangelicals can be remarkably orthodox. By comparing the questions and the results between this year and the previous study from 2016, we can gain a better idea of what these results do and don’t say about how heretical we American Christians are.

Let’s focus on just evangelicals by belief, as defined by the National Association of Evangelicals, and start with the questions that were reworded between the 2018 study and the 2016 study. In 2016, the survey phrased one question as follows: “People have the ability to turn to God of their own initiative.” About 8 in 10 respondents agreed (82%). Compare that to this year’s question about the same concept but worded very differently: “Only the power of God can cause people to trust Jesus Christ as their savior.” This phrasing garnered an essentially identical agreement of 83 percent. This means that between 2016 and 2018, nearly the same percentage of evangelicals believed diametrically opposed positions on the very same issue. (To be fair, the Council of Orange in A.D. 529, which attempted to clarify this matter, struggled with just this question. But church leaders ultimately kept the initiative solely in God’s hands.)

Another example of how the wording of a question greatly influences the results appears in the question regarding faith and works. The 2016 version states, “My good deeds help me earn my place in heaven,” to which 39 percent of evangelical respondents agreed. This year’s wording reverses the emphasis: “God counts a person as righteous not because of one’s works but only because of one’s faith in Jesus,” to which 91 percent agreed. That’s a 30-percent swing, when you account for the opposite wording. Again, different phrasing yields very different—and more orthodox—results. (One explanation: In both cases, the 2018 wording sounds much more like standard confessional statements evangelicals would be familiar with.)

Also, the 2018 versions allow respondents to agree with an orthodox statement rather than disagree with a heterodox one. As church history shows us again and again, it’s much easier to agree with orthodoxy than to identify heresy.

Occasionally, the study used a clearer wording and yielded different results. For instance, the prosperity gospel saw an uptick in popularity of 9 percentage points off the back of more specific wording (additions in italics): “God will always reward true faith with material blessings in this life” (46% of respondents agreed). Likewise, there was a drop of 24 percentage points of people who think political engagement is a problem as long as it is “Christians” doing it, rather than “the church.”

Now in cases where the wording remained the same, the study found slightly more evangelical respondents departing from the historic doctrines of Christianity than in 2016, but there were also a few new questions in this year’s survey that provide food for thought and even some encouragement.

In the 2018 survey, nearly all evangelicals (99%) agreed with the statement, “God created male and female,” and high numbers affirmed that “sex outside of marriage is a sin” (89%), and “abortion is a sin” (88%). (At the same time, 30 percent of evangelicals said that “gender identity is a matter of choice,” a striking number considering that almost all believe that “God created male and female.”)

Likewise, while the majority of evangelicals hew to the traditionalist perspective on homosexuality, 1 in 5 agreed that “the Bible’s condemnation of homosexual behavior doesn’t apply today.” Yet all 581 of the evangelical respondents in the survey had to strongly agree that “the Bible is the highest authority for what I believe” to be classified as “evangelical by belief.”

Another new question that was similar was “the Holy Spirit can tell me to do something which is forbidden in the Bible,” to which 21 percent of evangelicals agreed. While this is a relatively low percentage, it is still higher than we’d expect at 1 in 5. As with the question on homosexuality, these responses are hard to square with the high view of Scripture evangelicals are supposed to have and indicate quite a bit of confusion about the Holy Spirit, which the theologians we queried two years ago noted in the 2016 study.

One surprising aspect of this study is how comfortable evangelicals are with hell and judgment. Eternal judgment and a real place where that happens are classic barriers to faith for non-believers. But evangelicals don’t seem to have much concern about these ideas: 93 percent agreed that “hell is a real place where certain people will be punished forever,” and a whopping 98 percent agreed that “there will be a time when Jesus Christ returns to judge all the people who have lived.” So while hell and judgment are very unpopular in the general culture, evangelicals are sticking with Scripture on these.

CT also asked nine scholars to explain what they find most discouraging and encouraging about Ligonier’s 2018 State of Theology survey:

Continue reading
— Read on www.christianitytoday.com/news/2018/october/evangelicals-favorite-heresies-ligonier-theology-survey.html

October 26 Daily Help

OF the Saviour, and only of the Saviour, is it true in the fullest, broadest, and most unqualified sense, “He went about doing good. From this description it is evident that He did good personally. The evangelists constantly tell us that He touched the leper with His own finger, that He anointed the eyes of the blind, and that in cases where He was asked to speak the word only at a distance, He did not usually comply, but went Himself to the sick bed, and there personally wrought the cure. A lesson to us, if we would do good, to do it ourselves. “He hath left us an example that we should follow in His steps.”[1]


[1] Spurgeon, C. H. (1892). Daily Help (p. 303). Baltimore: R. H. Woodward & Company.

This ‘n’ That for October 26, 2018

  • I’m linking this free offer because it looks like a really great resource, but, as a disclaimer, it’s been my experience that Ligonier tends to stalk you once they have your personal information (email, address, etc.). Personally, I find that obnoxious and unbecoming, but if you’re willing to deal with it, I do think this is a generous offer for Reformation month!
  • I really commend Joshua Harris for publicly recanting for his book I Kissed Dating Goodbye. His book was quite popular in my Christian high school, though I never read it. I’ve seen a lot of the principles from that book lived out by others, though, and I’ve seen how unhelpful, perhaps even harmful, they can be. That is, after all, the ultimate result of legalism. So kudos to Harris. Thank you, sir, for demonstrating true humility.
  • There are some good points in this article about women’s Bible studies (though, due to unfamiliarity [and the fact that this is an article at TGC], I cannot vouch for any of the recommendations contained therein).
  • This is cool (HT: Elizabeth Prata).
  • This is not cool. At all.
  • It’s October, which means lots of people get all Reformation-y (which isn’t a bad thing!), but here are some important points to remember about this time in Church history.
  • Scripture is not a piece of putty that we can mold to fit our own agendas.
  • Every time I read Revelation, I wonder what Jesus might say to my church, or to churches I’ve attended in the past.
  • Today is National Pumpkin Day, so if someone would please make this and bring it to me, that would be great.
  • I’m convinced that someday, our jobs will just be to check the work performed by computers rather than doing the work ourselves, and that sounds really boring.
  • Here are two short bios of women in Church history (one and two).
[J]oy in the Lord is one of the best preparations for the trials of this life. —Charles Spurgeon

RenewAmerica Newsletter for October 26, 2018

October 25, 2018
JERRY NEWCOMBE — There is an incredible movie with pro-life implications in the theaters right now, Gosnell: The Trial of America’s Biggest Serial Killer, starring Dean Cain, Sarah Jane Morris, and Nick Searcy (who directed the film)…. (more)

October 25, 2018
NATIONAL REVIEW — The pipe bomb and white powder that forced an evacuation at CNN headquarters in New York City Wednesday morning were harmless, a law enforcement source told the Associated Press. The purported explosive device was similar in construction to those sent Wednesday to former President Barack Obama, former attorney general Eric Holder, Hillary Clinton, Representative Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D., Fla.), and Representative Maxine Waters of California. A package containing white powder was delivered later in the day…. (more)


October 25, 2018
NATIONAL REVIEW — New Jersey Republican congressional candidate Jay Webber received a letter Wednesday that contained threats of violence against his children and demanded that he withdraw from the race to represent the state’s eleventh district…. (more)

October 25, 2018
NEWSMAX — CIA director Gina Haspel heard audio that purportedly depicts the murder of Saudi dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul when she visited Turkey this week, according to a new report…. (more)


October 24, 2018
Says Honduran president told him caravan organized by ‘leftist groups’ and funded by Venezuela
WASHINGTON TIMES — Venezuela is funding the illegal immigrant caravan, Vice President Mike Pence said Tuesday, backing up President Trump’s claims that there are bad elements within the thousands of people. Mr. Trump said he doesn’t have specific proof to back up his claim a day earlier that Middle Easterners are part of the caravan, but said there “could very well be.”… (more)

October 24, 2018
People ‘with significant criminal histories’ headed for U.S.
ART MOORE — The Department of Homeland Security said Tuesday it can confirm that gang members and males from the Middle East and Asia are in the caravan headed for the United States that began in Honduras…. (more)

October 24, 2018
NEWSMAX — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Tuesday lashed out at the “extreme mob behavior” of the “far left,” recounting how he and his wife were targets of “aggressive intimidation” at a restaurant in his home state by a fist-slamming, shouting protester…. (more)


October 24, 2018
‘Existential threat to our individual liberties,’ government
ART MOORE — Positioning themselves as “thought police,” Facebook, Google and other “Big Tech” companies pose an “existential threat to our individual liberties as well as our system of government,” contends the manager for President Trump’s 2020 presidential campaign…. (more)

October 24, 2018
‘Each administration-threatening scandal dissolves into a giant nothing-burger’
ART MOORE — British journalist and TV host Piers Morgan is at odds with Donald Trump on many issues, but the two are in agreement that the president is “winning.”… (more)

October 24, 2018
WASHINGTON TIMES — President Trump’s often-criticized effort to forge better relations with Russia has morphed into a confrontational stance that this week scored economic and national security wins. German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced that her government is backing construction of a shipping depot for importing liquefied natural gas from the U.S., bowing to Mr. Trump’s demand that she loosen Russia’s grip on the country’s energy supply…. (more)


October 24, 2018
REUTERS — Trump spoke hours after Turkey’s president, Tayyip Erdogan, dismissed Saudi efforts to blame Khashoggi’s death on rogue operatives. Erdogan urged Riyadh to search “from top to bottom” to uncover those behind Khashoggi’s death in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2, an incident that has sparked global outrage and strained relations between Riyadh and Washington…. (more)


October 24, 2018
Loss of key ally could upend U.S. national security calculations in the region
WASHINGTON TIMES — The admitted killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi government agents is risking not only Washington’s long-standing diplomatic and economic ties with Riyadh, but could also imperil one of the Pentagon’s most vital military partnerships…. (more)

October 24, 2018
Jockeying to fill void is low-profile but intense, including an influential anti-Cuba faction led by Marco Rubio
WASHINGTON TIMES — During her almost two years serving as President Trump’s ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley carved out a distinct niche as the administration’s most prominent voice confronting Latin America’s leftist regimes and even joined the occasional street demonstration…. (more)

October 23, 2018
DENNIS HOWARD — The current desperation of the Democrats reminds me of the guy falling past the 50th floor of the Empire State Building while reassuring himself, “So far, so good.” The only thing saving them from awareness of their own imminent disaster is their failure to recognize the disproportionate impact of abortion on vital Democrat voting blocks…. (more)

October 23, 2018
LIFE NEWS — It’s one of the most sacrilegious acts a religious leader could perform, but it’s happening again – – this time in Columbus, Ohio. There, on the evening of November 9, the so-called Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice is planning a “blessing” of the Planned Parenthood abortion center…. (more)

October 23, 2018
Trump called O’Rourke a “stone-cold phony”
HOUSTON CHRONICLE — President Donald Trump on Monday called Rep. Beto O’Rourke “a stone-cold phony” and took a few sharp jabs at Sen. Ted Cruz’s Democratic opponent, but otherwise focused on national issues while praising Cruz and a laundry list of Texas Republicans. Trump, in Houston for a rally to support Cruz, also encouraged the Toyota Center crowd to vote for Rep. John Culberson, acknowledging the nine-term Republican faces a tough re-election challenge. He is up against trial lawyer Lizzie Pannill Fletcher, a Democrat, in the 7th Congressional District…. (more)


October 23, 2018
BUZZFEED — Former president Barack Obama was onstage at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Monday, doing a familiar, uncomfortable job. He was here to rally Democrats and to fight cultural tides the party didn’t quite anticipate…. (more)

October 23, 2018
NEWSMAX — The Department of Justice must investigate funding behind the massive migrant caravan heading to the U.S. border, and the people traveling from Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador won’t be able to make a legitimate asylum claim once they arrive, Rep. Louie Gohmert said Monday…. (more)


October 23, 2018
BUZZFEED — On Sunday night, Kim Kardashian West appeared on The Alec Baldwin Show to talk about her marriage to Kanye West, her commitment to criminal justice reform, and her reality show. However, it was the topic of Caitlyn Jenner that proved the most difficult for the pair to navigate. As highlighted in the trailer for the episode, both Kardashian West and Baldwin referred to Jenner as “Bruce,” her pre-transition name – transgender individuals refer to as a “dead name.” Over the course of the interview, they used the wrong pronouns more than two dozen times…. (more)

October 22, 2018
ALAN KEYES — I am not at all surprised that Facebook is practicing repressive policies aimed at stifling political views at odds with its elitist totalitarian corporate culture. Facebook’s success rests on luring people into accepting a corporate culture that amounts to indentured servitude/slave labor…. (more)

October 22, 2018
WASHINGTON TIMES — Sen. Lindsey Graham said Sunday the midterm elections come down to mob rule, saying if voters elect Democrats, they’ll be rewarding bad behavior. The South Carolina Republican will be campaigning in 13 states over the course of 12 days, cheering on Republicans ahead of the November election…. (more)

October 22, 2018
NATIONAL REVIEW — An angry constituent confronted Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and his wife, Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao, while they were dining in a Louisville, Ky. restaurant Friday night. “Why don’t you get out of here? Why don’t you leave the entire country?” the man yelled at McConnell, local CNN affiliate WLKY reported…. (more)

October 22, 2018
ROBERT KNIGHT — During the lead-up to the Vietnam War, the media sometimes carried horrific images of Buddhist monks setting themselves afire to protest the South Vietnamese government. These tragic self-immolations were literally Pyrrhic victories for the protesters, who never got to see the results of their sacrifice…. (more)

October 22, 2018
WASHINGTON TIMES — The combined efforts of Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and the U.S. were not enough to deter thousands of migrants who broke through barricades or swam into Mexico over the weekend, defying their home government’s calls for them to return and America’s warnings that their journey is futile…. (more)


October 22, 2018
NATIONAL REVIEW — Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Friday that the U.S. is quickly approaching a “moment of crisis” when it comes to immigration. Speaking at a press conference in Mexico City alongside his counterpart, Mexican foreign secretary Luis Videgaray Caso, Pompeo stressed the need to address the influx of immigrants to both countries. “We are quickly reaching a point which appears to be a moment of crisis,” he said…. (more)

 

Weekly Watchman for 10/26/2018

Comments and Questions from the Week

We certainly hear the phrase, “God accepts you just the way you are” thrown around quite liberally in Christian circles. But is that actually what the Bible teaches? This is one question we tackle this morning as we read your questions and comments from the week. Other topics include:

The eternal security of true believers.
Is there such a thing as ‘Christian yoga’ or Christian tarot cards’?
The apostate Social Justice theology infiltrating churches.
Do we tend to view the world and Christianity through our “American eyes”?
Should Christians allow themselves to be hypnotized in effort to break a bad habit or addiction?
What did John Loeffler mean by there’s a difference between liberals and new radical liberals?
How do we know that our conscience is being led by the Holy Spirit and not our own flesh?
With the lack of solid, sound teachings, at what point can mature believers consider starting a home church?
Can a Christian lose their salvation? What about those who add to the Scriptures?
Today’s podcast seems like a political show.
How does God’s Law still apply to the life of born-again believers?
Does suicide prevent a person from going to heaven?

Got a question for Mike? Connect with us text the words Speak Up to 90100 or email us at comments@standupforthetruth.com

Daily podcast, relevant articles on issues pertaining to Christians and more can be found on Stand Up For The Truth.

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Can a True Believer Lose His Salvation?

Can a true believer lose their salvation? This question has been debated for nearly 2,000 years and remains an issue that even theologians disagree on. It is an important discussion to have, because your beliefs can have a big impact on how you choose to live as a Christian.

Those who believe you can lose your salvation will point to the dangers of professing Christians becoming lazy in their faith or those who continue to sin without any perceived consequence since they believe in they cannot lose their salvation. What about the process of sanctification, how does that fit in this conversation? Those who believe in eternal security might look at others and think they are trying to be saved by their good works.

Pastor Mike Abendroth of No Compromise Radio joins us to see what the Bible says about the subject as well as how we have assurance of eternal life in Christ.

Daily podcast, relevant articles on issues pertaining to Christians and more can be found on Stand Up For The Truth.

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Former Atheist on Need for Christian Maturity, Apologetics

First time guest, Vas Avramidis, Ratio Christi chapter director at Rutgers University, joins us today. Being a former atheist, Vos quickly learned at college that most Christian students could not explain why they believed what they believe. He tried Buddhism, became a Wiccan, and even explored Hare Krishna before coming to faith in Jesus Christ.

He then realized how important and vital it was for Christians to not only share the gospel, but to disciple and prepare young people for the hostility toward Christianity on most college campuses. We also discuss a lack of maturity overall in the church today which goes right along with the high degree of biblical illiteracy. We’ll talk solutions.

Daily podcast, relevant articles on issues pertaining to Christians and more can be found on Stand Up For The Truth.

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Order vs. Chaos

God is a god of order. Satan is a master of chaos and the prince of this world. Christians are called to be light and salt to the world. How do we as disciples of Jesus Christ navigate this life in an orderly, biblical fashion when the world thrives on chaos and confusion? Dave Wager of Silver Birch Ranch and Nicolet Bible Institute joins us to discuss this challenging dilemma.

Daily podcast, relevant articles on issues pertaining to Christians and more can be found on Stand Up For The Truth.

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Dismissing Doctrine, Islam, Witchcraft

Last week, some media outlets covered a story of a group of Witches gathering to cast a curse on Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. Their curse called for him to suffer physically and emotionally and lead to his eventual death. The secular outlets that covered it mostly laughed it off as foolishness. But to dismiss witches casting spells may be foolish and ignorant as well. Should these curses be dismissed or taken seriously?

Elijah Abraham has traveled to dozens of countries sharing the gospel with Muslims, and equipping Christian pastors and leaders to share the gospel in their nations. Some of these nations are ones where witch doctors and spiritual shamans cast similar spells. Abraham also equips Christians in nations where going public with your Christian faith might be met with violent opposition. He joins us to share his ministry experiences, and to discuss the effectiveness and maturity of professing Christian Churches in our own nation as we continue to see compromise with the world.

Daily podcast, relevant articles on issues pertaining to Christians and more can be found on Stand Up For The Truth.

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October 26, 2018 Afternoon Verse Of The Day

34:8 Experiencing God’s goodness anticipates the experience of goodness in Christ (1 Pet. 2:3).[1]


34:8 Taste and see Describes the act of trusting, fearing, and seeking Yahweh (compare note on v. 9).[2]


34:8 taste. The psalmist describes his personal experience of God’s goodness. After tasting God’s goodness in Christ, Peter alludes to this passage (1 Pet. 2:3).[3]


34:8 Taste can mean “judge” in the sense of determine for oneself (Pr 31:18). See most likely carries the same sense in order to reinforce the concept.[4]


[1] Crossway Bibles. (2008). The ESV Study Bible (p. 978). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[2] Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (Ps 34:8). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

[3] Sproul, R. C. (Ed.). (2005). The Reformation Study Bible: English Standard Version (p. 765). Orlando, FL; Lake Mary, FL: Ligonier Ministries.

[4] Warstler, K. R. (2017). Psalms. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 847). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

October 26 Recognizing the Trap

Each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed.

James 1:14

Temptation doesn’t come from God but from within. The term drawn away was used in hunting contexts to describe animals being lured into traps, and enticed is a term used to describe catching fish with bait. Every person is tempted when the trap of sin is baited with that which appeals to his lust. A person’s lust responding to enticing bait deceptively draws him away to the point where he is trapped.

What pulls us so strongly to the bait? It’s not God. And it’s not Satan, his demons, or the world’s evil system that entice us to sin, although they bait the hook. It is our lustful nature that pulls us to take hold of it. Our flesh, our fallen nature, has a desire for evil.

From a spiritual perspective, the problem is that even though we’ve been redeemed and have received a new nature, we still have an enemy within. The resident passion of the flesh, not God, is responsible for our being tempted to sin.[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. (2001). Truth for today : a daily touch of God’s grace (p. 323). Nashville, Tenn.: J. Countryman.

Conrad Mbewe: Complete Joy in Christ — Wretched

– Episode 2373 –

Conrad Mbewe: Complete Joy in Christ

Segment 1 (00:00) Happy or Joyful?

Segment 2 (07:47) Who You Are Because of Christ Matters

Segment 3 (16:46) Joy is Found in Fellowship with Christ

Wretched Surprise! (26:19) Sermon Sizzler: Conrad Mbewe

Conrad Mbewe: Complete Joy in Christ — Wretched