Daily Archives: April 9, 2019

April 9 The Riches of God’s Grace

Scripture Reading: Ephesians 1:3–6

Key Verses: Ephesians 1:5–6

… having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.

Have you ever questioned your acceptability? Have you ever wondered if you are truly loveable? When God holds out His salvation to you, He is not extending a membership to an obscure club. He is inviting you to a profound, wonderful relationship that was made possible through His death on the cross.

Ephesians 1:5–6 teaches us that God’s will was to adopt you as His own through the work of Christ. It was His will that your bond to Him be the strongest it could be, so He did it through the most precious relationship He has ever created: He is accepting you as His child. William E. Brown of Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary writes, “God is a father who graciously adopts believers in Christ into his spiritual family and grants them all the privileges of heirship. Salvation is much more than forgiveness of sins and deliverance from condemnation; it is also a position of great blessing. Believers are children of God.”

The riches of God’s grace provide a wonderful family for you. God does not want a detached relationship. His desire is for deep communion, because He loves you with an overwhelming love. You are accepted by God and special to Him. Enjoy your position as His child.

Lord, thank You for the riches of Your grace. Thank You that I have been adopted into Your family and that I am loved and accepted by You.[1]


[1] Stanley, C. F. (2006). Pathways to his presence (p. 104). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

April 9 God Never Gives Up

Scripture Reading: Colossians 3:1–17

Key Verse: Colossians 1:13

He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love.

When Christ told Peter of his coming denial, Peter stiffened and protested, “Even though all may fall away because of You, I will never fall away” (Matt. 26:33 nasb). But Jesus knew the truth. Peter would deny Him, not once but three times.

Peter’s robust personality vowed never to leave Jesus’ side. But within a matter of hours he was reduced to fear and hiding from Jewish and Roman officials. The encouraging message of the Resurrection is that God never gives up on us.

Among Christ’s last words to Peter before His death were words of restoration: “But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers” (Luke 22:32 niv). Jesus knew Peter would fall, and He loved him anyway. He gave His zealous disciple hope of future service when He said, “Strengthen your brothers.”

God takes our weaknesses and turns them into points of strength and honor for Himself. Jesus was totally committed to Peter. He knew Peter would suffer a bitter defeat, but there was an event coming that would revolutionize his thinking—the Resurrection.

Imagine Peter’s amazement as Jesus stepped into the Upper Room the night of His resurrection. The joy Peter experienced was there because of the love and acceptance Christ portrayed. This same love is yours today.

Dear heavenly Father, let the message of the Resurrection revolutionize my life, as it did Peter’s. Through the power of the Resurrection, take my weaknesses and turn them into strengths that will bring glory and honor to You.[1]


[1] Stanley, C. F. (1999). On holy ground (p. 104). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

How Can We Be Sure the Tomb of Jesus was Empty? (Video) — Cold Case Christianity

J. Warner Wallace discusses the evidence for Christianity with apologist, Sean McDowell, as part of the “Advocates” series from Awana. In this clip, J. Warner talks about why the empty tomb is the best inference from the evidence of history. If you’re interested in this great series for high school students, visit the Advocates webpage.

via How Can We Be Sure the Tomb of Jesus was Empty? (Video) — Cold Case Christianity

April 9 The Sufficiency of Christ

Scripture reading: Romans 6:4–11

Key verse: Romans 8:37

In all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.

The first five chapters of Romans overflow with the Bible doctrine of justification by faith, which is the foundation of our salvation. Through the Cross, we have been declared righteous, and we have been changed from our former relationship of enmity with God to friendship with God.

In Romans 6, Paul introduced a new truth that the believer must embrace by faith and apply if he is to experience a growing, victorious Christian life. It is the principle of identification, and affirming its meaning and relevance is the first step to becoming more than a conqueror through Jesus Christ (Rom. 8:37).

Identification means that you have been identified or placed by God into Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection. In God’s eye and mind your sin was on the cross with Jesus.

That’s not all. You were raised with Christ (Eph. 2:6). Jesus’ resurrection includes you because of your union with Him. This fact is just as certain as justification and reconciliation. To experience its reality, you must believe what the Bible says: you are crucified and risen with Christ (Rom. 6:4). Your role is to reckon or count it as done (Rom. 6:11).

Justification and reconciliation are mine through faith! Thank You, Father![1]


[1] Stanley, C. F. (2000). Into His presence (p. 104). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Freemasons Must Be Ex-Communicated From the Church — Reformation Charlotte

When a man comes to Christ, he is made a new creation. He is born-again, given a new heart–new desires to follow Christ in obedience.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

2 Corinthians 5:17

With an Evangelical landscape that is not only open to, but rampant with freemasonry, one must ask the question: has the old passed away? The purpose of this article is not to explain why Freemasonry is incompatible with Christianity–you can read about that here. However, it is important to note that Freemasonry is not only incompatible with Christianity, but, as a pseudo-religious cult, cannot be tolerated among the ranks.

via Freemasons Must Be Ex-Communicated From the Church — Reformation Charlotte

Jolted JOLTS: Job Openings Plunge By 538,000; Biggest Drop In 42 Months | ZeroHedge News

Back in February, the BLS reported a dismal jobs report, when the unrevised number saw only 20K payrolls added. While the subsequent data saw a marked improvement, and an upward revision to the February number which was a cold-weather related outlier, the JOLTS survey appears to not have caught up, and the result was the ugliest job openings survey in three and a half years. Specifically, in February, the BLS reported that only 7.087 million jobs openings existed, the lowest number since March 2018, and a drop of 538,000 in one month: the biggest plunge since August 2015. Notably, the January print was revised higher to 7.625 million, effectively tied with the all time high in this series.

Ironically, just last month we said that “with the Fed positioned for an economic slowdown, the JOLTS data better turn negative fast or else Powell will soon be facing some very unpleasant questions why the Fed’s rate hikes are on pause when the number of job openings in the economy is soaring to unprecedented levels.” One month later, as if on cue, we got the most negative JOLTS data in almost 4 years.

According to the BLS, the number of job openings fell for total private (-523,000) and was little changed for government. Job openings decreased in a number of industries, with the largest decreases in accommodation and food services (-103,000), real estate and rental and leasing (-72,000), and transportation, warehousing, and utilities (-66,000). The number of job openings fell in the Northeast, South, and Midwest regions.

Despite the plunge in job openings, February was the 12th consecutive month in which there were more job openings then unemployed workers: considering that according to the payrolls report there were 6,21MM unemployed workers, there were 876K more job openings than unemployed workers currently, (how accurate, or politically-biased the BLS data is, is another matter entirely).

In other words, in an economy in which there was a perfect match between worker skills and employer needs, there would be zero unemployed people at this moment (of course, that is not the case.)

Adding to the sharp deterioration in the labor picture to close the year, as job openings tumbled, so did the number of total hires which dropped by 133K, to 5.696 million, the lowest since last September. The hires level hires level was little changed for total private and fell for government (-40,000). The number of hires decreased in construction (-73,000), nondurable goods manufacturing (-33,000), and state and local government education (-22,000).

According to the historical correlation between the number of hires and the 12 month cumulative job change, the pace of hiring right now is precisely where it should be relative to the cumulative change in hiring.

At the same time, the so-called “take this job and shove it indicator”, the quits level, was surprisingly resilient in a month in which everything else collapsed, and dropped by just 3K to 3.480MM.

Putting all this in in context

  • Job openings have increased since a low in July 2009. They returned to the prerecession level in April 2014 and surpassed the prerecession peak in August 2014. There were 7.1 million open jobs on the last business day of February 2019.
  • Hires have increased since a low in June 2009 and have surpassed prerecession levels. In February 2019, there were 5.7 million hires.
  • Quits have increased since a low in August 2009 and have surpassed prerecession levels. In February 2019, there were 3.5 million quits.
  • For most of the JOLTS history, the number of hires (measured throughout the month) has exceeded the number of job openings (measured only on the last business day of the month). Since January 2015, however, this relationship has reversed with job openings outnumbering hires in all months.
  • At the end of the most recent recession in June 2009, there were 1.1 million more hires throughout the month than there were job openings on the last business day of the month. In February 2019, there were 1.4 million fewer hires than job openings.

And visually:

Source: Jolted JOLTS: Job Openings Plunge By 538,000; Biggest Drop In 42 Months

IMF Slashes World Growth Outlook To Weakest In A Decade | ZeroHedge News

Following Christine Lagarde’s warnings last week, The IMF has officially cut its outlook for global growth to the lowest since the financial crisis amid a worsening outlook in most major advanced economies and signs that higher tariffs are weighing on trade.

“Following a broad-based upswing in cyclical growth that lasted nearly two years, the global economic expansion decelerated in the second half of 2018,” the International Monetary Fund says in its latest World Economic Outlook.

“Activity softened amid an increase in trade tensions and tariff hikes between the United States and China, a decline in business confidence, a tightening of financial conditions, and higher policy uncertainty across many economies”

In its latest World Economic Outlook, the IMF forecasts that the world economy will grow 3.3% this year, down from the 3.5% the IMF had forecast for 2019 in January:

This is the third time the IMF has downgraded its outlook in six months.

IMF says risks skewed to downside, citing trade tensions, softness in Europe, no-deal Brexit

  • IMF lowers 2019 U.S. growth estimate to 2.3% vs 2.5% estimate in January
  • IMF cuts euro-area growth forecast to 1.3% this year from 1.6%
  • IMF lowers 2019 trade volume growth est. to 3.4% vs 4% in January

Every single country’s growth outlook was cut… except Nigeria!

Perhaps of most note is the fact that the IMF raises China 2019 economic growth forecast by 0.1 percentage point to 6.3% but then cuts its outlook for China in 2020 back to just 6.1% (catching down to consensus at 6.0%)…

Of course, it would not be a globalist report without some hope and the fund suggests global economic growth will recover in the second half of this year, before plateauing at 3.6% from next year

However, the IMF is warning that risks are skewed to the downside, with a range of threats menacing the global economy, including the possible collapse of negotiations between the U.S. and China to end their trade war, and the departure of Britain from the European Union without a transition agreement, known as the “no-deal” Brexit scenario.

“Amid waning global growth momentum and limited policy space to combat downturns, avoiding policy missteps that could harm economic activity needs to be the main priority,” the IMF said.

IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde warned the world economy faces a “delicate moment” as finance ministers and central bankers prepare to gather in the U.S. capital this week for the spring meetings of the IMF and World Bank.

Source: IMF Slashes World Growth Outlook To Weakest In A Decade

On Samuel, Social Justice, And The Prophetic Office Of The Church (2) — Christian Research Network

“There is a reason why our Lord Jesus, the Prophet, the Priest, and the King said nothing to the powers of this age, even when he had opportunity, about their oppression of the poor or their manifold injustices. That was not his office. He came proclaiming an  eschatological kingdom, a heavenly kingdom, which had, in his person, descended into history in a unique way. He healed, he raised the dead, and he spoke the truth but he never fundamentally challenged the political or economic status quo. If that troubles you, then perhaps you have replaced the Jesus of Scripture with the Jesus sought by the crowds on Palm Sunday, the Jesus in whom Judas hoped?” 

(R. Scott Clark – Abounding Grace)   In the first part of this two-part series, I sketched some of the background to explain how and why, in our late-modern period, it seems plausible to so many to regard the institutional church as an agent for social change….

On the face of the New Testament, this would seem rather implausible since neither Jesus nor the Apostles preached a message of “social justice,” which I defined in part 1. This absence of a clear, unequivocal message of social justice in the New Testament has led to some rather clumsy attempts to wedge a message of social justice into the New Testament. One sees interpreters doing this to Paul’s letter to Philemon concerning the slave Onesimus. It is reasonable to interpret Paul as intending to persuade Philemon to free Onesimus but if Paul intended to upend the institution of Greco-Roman slavery, he whiffed. Recently I heard an attempt to interpret 1 Peter 2:21–22 through the lens of social justice but that interpretation must be judged a failure since it quite misses Peter’s intention altogether. For an alternative interpretation see this commentary. 1 Peter 2:18 is quite clear and it must condition our understanding of Peter’s use of Christ as example.

The Prophetic Office Of The Church

Our Lord Jesus Christ has three offices: Prophet, Priest, and King. This is an ancient Christian way of understanding the person and work of Christ. In the Heidelberg Catechism (1563) the Reformed churches confess this threefold office (triplex munus):

31. Why is He called Christ, that is Anointed?

Because He is ordained of God the Father and anointed with the Holy Spirit to be our chief Prophet and Teacher, who has fully revealed to us the secret counsel and will of God concerning our redemption; and our only High Priest, who by the one sacrifice of His body, has redeemed us, and ever lives to make intercession for us with the Father; and our eternal King, who governs us by His Word and Spirit and defends and preserves us in the redemption obtained for us.

Our Lord Jesus, of course, is the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophetic office, which began with Moses. God the Son, in his pre-incarnate state, revealed through Moses the office of prophet that was to be patterned after Moses (Deut 18:15–22). The function of the prophet was to announce only God’s Word to the people. The Lord gave to the people a test to determine a true prophet from false prophets. If the word they spoke came true, it was from the Lord.  View article →

Part 1

Research:

Progressive (Social Justice) “Christianity”

via On Samuel, Social Justice, And The Prophetic Office Of The Church (2) — Christian Research Network

April 9, 2019 Afternoon Verse Of The Day

United In God’s Temple

having been built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together is growing into a holy temple in the Lord; in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit. (2:20–22)

The foundation of the apostles and prophets refers to the divine revelation that they taught, which in its written form is the New Testament. Because the Greek genitive case appears to be used in the subjective sense, signifying the originating agency, the meaning is not that the apostles and prophets were themselves the foundation—though in a certain sense they were—but that they laid the foundation. Paul spoke of himself as “a wise master builder” who “laid a foundation” and went on to say, “For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ” (1 Cor. 3:10–11; cf. Rom. 15:20). These are New Testament prophets, as indicated by the facts that they are listed after the apostles and are part of the building of the church of Jesus Christ (cf. 3:5; 4:11). Their unique function was to authoritatively speak the word of God to the church in the years before the New Testament canon was complete. The fact that they are identified with the foundation reveals that they were limited to that formative period. As 4:11 shows, they completed their work and gave way to “evangelists, and … pastors and teachers.”

The corner stone of the foundation is Christ Jesus Himself (see Isa. 28:16; Ps. 118:22; Matt. 21:42; Acts 4:11). The cornerstone was the major structural part of ancient buildings. It had to be strong enough to support what was built on it, and it had to be precisely laid, because every other part of the structure was oriented to it. The cornerstone was the support, the orienter, and the unifier of the entire building. That is what Jesus Christ is to God’s kingdom, God’s family, and God’s building.

Through Isaiah, God declared, “Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a tested stone, a costly cornerstone for the foundation, firmly placed. He who believes in it will not be disturbed” (Isa. 28:16). After quoting that passage, Peter says, “This precious value, then, is for you who believe … you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession” (1 Pet. 2:7, 9).

It is Christ Jesus Himself as the corner stone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together is growing into a holy temple in the Lord. Sunarmologeō (fitted together) refers to the careful joining of every component of a piece of furniture, wall, building, or other structure. Every part is precisely cut to fit snugly, strongly, and beautifully with every other part. Nothing is out of place, defective, misshapen, or inappropriate. Because it is Christ’s building, the church is perfect, spotless, without defect or blemish. And that is how He will one day present the church, His own holy temple, to Himself (Eph. 5:27).

Christ’s Body, however, will not be complete until every person who will believe in Him has done so. Every new believer is a new stone in Christ’s building, His holy temple. Thus Paul says the temple is growing because believers are continually being added.

Many cathedrals in Europe have been under construction for hundreds of years. In a continuing process, new rooms, alcoves, chapels, and so forth are built. That is the way with the church of Jesus Christ. It is in a continual state of construction as each new saint becomes a new stone. “You also, as living stones,” Peter said, “are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ” (1 Pet. 2:5). As kingdom citizens, family members, and living stones, believers in Jesus Christ are a holy priesthood who offer up spiritual sacrifices in God’s holy temple. As a living, functioning, and precious part of that temple, we also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit (see also 2 Cor. 6:16).

The term a dwelling (katoikētērion) carries the idea of a permanent home. God in the Spirit makes His earthly sanctuary in the church, where He takes up permanent residence as Lord. This would be a vivid perception for people living amid temples in which pagan deities were believed to dwell, as in the temple to Artemis in Ephesus (see Acts 19:23–41). But the church is no small physical chamber in which an idol is kept; it is the vast spiritual body of the redeemed, wherein resides His Spirit. (It should be noted that this is a distinct truth from that of each believer being the individual temple of the Holy Spirit, as taught in 1 Cor. 6:19–20.)

Through the blood, the suffering flesh, the cross, and the death of the Lord Jesus Christ, aliens become citizens, strangers become family, idolaters become the temple of the true God, the hopeless inherit the promises of God, those without Christ become one in Christ, those far off are brought near, and the godless are reconciled to God. Therein is the reconciliation of men to God and of men to men.[1]


The New Humanity

Ephesians 2:19–22

Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.

For several chapters the apostle has been building toward a consideration of the church, which is the major theme of Ephesians. He has not tackled the theme directly. The word “church” has occurred only once thus far (in 1:22). But this is what he wants to talk about, and everything has been building to a full treatment of it.

Chapter 1 presented the plan of salvation from God’s perspective, beginning with God’s electing grace in Christ and culminating in the exaltation of Christ as “head over everything for the church, which is his body.” Chapter 2 presented the plan from our perspective, showing how we are brought from a state of being spiritually dead to a state of being spiritually alive. But it also ends with the church; for it shows, not merely how we have been made alive in Christ, but how we have been brought into the fellowship of God’s redeemed and regenerated people.

This is the point to which the last verses of chapter 2 bring us.

I am sure you remember, when you were a child, being given books of drawings in which various objects were cleverly concealed. The picture might be of a field with trees, grass, and fluffy clouds. Underneath were the words: “Can you find the animals hidden in this picture?” When you looked at the picture carefully, you would find a squirrel hidden in the wavy lines of the clouds, an elephant tucked into the foliage of a tree, fish in the grass, and so on. In a sense, this is what we have in verses 19–22 of this chapter. Paul is not using the word “church,” but tucked into these lines are three great biblical images for what the church is and how it functions.

Can you find these images? The first is of the church as a city-state or kingdom. Paul refers to it by saying, “Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people” (v. 19). The second picture is of a family. Paul slips that in by continuing, “… and members of God’s household” (v. 19). The third picture is the most carefully developed, a building which turns out to be a temple: “… built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone” (v. 20). And Paul adds, “In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord” (v. 21).

Later in the letter Paul develops the image of the church as Christ’s body (chaps. 4–5), and still later as a well-equipped army (ch. 6).

God’s Kingdom

What a rich field of imagery this first picture unfolds! We think at once of the Old Testament theocracy, in which God was the literal head of the earthly Jewish state. Or we think of John the Baptist’s preaching: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near” (Matt. 3:2), or of Jesus declaring, “The kingdom of God is within [or, in the midst of] you” (Luke 17:21). We pray for the coming of that kingdom each time we recite the Lord’s Prayer: “Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Matt. 6:10).

In scholarly discussion there has been much debate over whether the kingdom of God is past, present, or future. This debate flows from the texts I have cited, among others. In some cases the kingdom seems to have a past aspect, as in God’s rule over Israel. In others it has a present aspect, as in the preaching of John the Baptist, Jesus, and the early Christians. In still other cases the kingdom of God is future; else how could we pray “your kingdom come”?

The solution to this apparent problem is that the kingdom of God actually transcends these temporal concepts and is best dealt with in entirely different terms. Basically the kingdom of God is where God rules. Since God rules over all life and over all worldly kingdoms, there is a sense in which the whole world is God’s kingdom. His kingdom prevails. As a result, those who confess God’s kingship are comforted in the midst of this world’s chaotic conflicts and changes. It is why, although there are always “wars and rumors of wars,” we are not to be “alarmed” by them (Matt. 24:6). The kingdom is also where God rules in individual minds and hearts. Paul described the internal aspects of this kingdom as “righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Rom. 14:17). In this present time the kingdom comes whenever the righteousness, peace, and joy of Jesus enter an individual life, transform it, and bring spiritual blessing.

Paul does not develop this picture at great length in Ephesians. In fact, he does not even use the word “kingdom.” But he introduces his thoughts in such a way that it is clear what he has in mind—the incorporation of gentile believers into the kingdom. In other words, he gets into this image by the things he had said earlier. In these previous verses he had been talking about the hostility that had existed between Jew and Gentile symbolized by the wall around the Jewish portions of the temple in Jerusalem. Paul declares that this wall has been broken down by Christ so that now both Jew and Gentile (and all other elements of human society) are brought near to God on an equal basis and become elements of one great spiritual kingdom, the Christian church.

This is revolutionary thinking—and it has proved itself to be revolutionary historically. When Paul wrote these words the kingdom of Rome was at the height of its territorial expansion and glory. Rome dominated the world. Roman armies kept peace and dispensed justice. Roman roads linked the far-flung reaches of the Empire. Rome had stood for hundreds of years and was thought to be able to stand for thousands of years more. But Paul looked at Rome and saw it, not as one great united Kingdom, but as a force imposed on mutually antagonistic factions: rich and poor, free man and slave, man and woman, Jew and Gentile. And in its place he saw this new humanity, created by God himself, transcending these boundaries. This kingdom was destined to grow and permeate all nations, drawing from all peoples. It is a kingdom that cannot be shaken or destroyed.

God’s Children in Christ

Paul’s second picture of the church is a family. He introduces it in the second half of verse 19: “… and members of God’s household.” The Greek word which Paul uses (oikeios) can refer to an entire family establishment, including friends who live with the family, servants, and hired workers. But in view of Paul’s earlier discussion of our being made alive in Christ, when we had been dead in transgressions and sins, it is most likely that he is thinking of our being born into the “natural” family of God where the ties are of blood and not mere household associations.

No doubt this is why he introduced this image. Wonderful as the relationship of a citizen to a strong, beneficent state may be, it is still a distant, or formal relationship. Family ties are more intimate, the bonds tighter.

To become a member of a family you must be born into it or be adopted into it. Interestingly, the Bible uses both terms to describe what it means to be a Christian. Chiefly it speaks of rebirth. This was Jesus’ teaching to the aging Nicodemus: “You must be born again” (John 3:7). Peter wrote about it in his first letter: “For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God” (1 Peter 1:23).

This idea highlights the similarity or continuity of natures. The life of the child is not the same life as the life of the father or mother, but it comes from them and is like theirs. Today we would speak of a genetic relationship in which characteristics of parents are passed to children. This is why there must be holiness in the church. God is holy. So the children of God must be growing in holiness also. If they are not, they show that they are not truly God’s children.

Being a member of God’s household brings inestimable privileges with it. It brings us into the supportive network of our spiritual brothers and sisters. It gives us a share in the oversight, fellowship, and prayers of the church. It gives us a right to the sacraments and a place in God’s plan. More important, it gives us access to God as Father, which means that we can come to him in prayer at any moment of any day with any need or request and have the assurance that he will hear, receive us, and answer our requests out of his own mercy and according to his own pleasing and perfect will.

God’s Temple

The most extensive picture of the church in these verses is a temple. Paul speaks of Christians being “built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit” (vv. 20–22). As Paul develops it, this image has several important aspects.

  1. The foundation. The strength and durability of a building rests upon its foundation, and that is true of the church too. This is so important that the apostle begins his discussion by reference to this foundation. What is it? Paul says that it is “the apostles and prophets.” We remember that 1 Corinthians 3:11 makes this point differently, saying, “No one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.” But the point is really the same. Jesus is the foundation. He said to the apostle Peter, “On this rock [meaning himself] I will build my church” (Matt. 16:18). But it is right to say that the apostles and prophets are the foundation too, in the sense that for us they are their teaching, which is focused on Christ.

The apostles were the appointed and inspired witnesses to Christ in the first generation of the church. Jesus said that he would give the New Testament through them (John 14:26; 15:26–27; 16:13–15), and he did. In this context “prophets” probably refers to that special class of individuals who received and proclaimed direct messages from God and worked along with the apostles in the early days. Paul refers to them again in 3:5, speaking of truths revealed by the Spirit to “God’s holy apostles and prophets,” and in 4:11, saying that God blessed the church by giving “some to be apostles [and] some to be prophets.”

The point is that the basis of the church’s unity—to which each of the three pictures of the church attest—is truth or sound doctrine. In our day churchmen are often very concerned about unity, and many have been pouring great energy into what is called the ecumenical movement, an effort to get the many diverse branches of the church together. It can be a good thing. True Christians should be united, and it is sad that we are as divided as we are. But when anyone speaks about unity we must be careful to determine what kind of unity we are talking about. Is it the unity of the lowest common denominator? If that is the case, Christianity quickly loses its uniqueness altogether. Is it the unity of an imposed ecclesiastical structure? The church had that to perfection in the Middle Ages, but those were the worst of all days for Christ’s body. No, the only unity that is worth having—the only true unity—is the unity built on the revealed truth of God centering in the person and work of Jesus Christ. Where that is present God blesses the church and enables it to grow “together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit” (v. 22).

  1. The cornerstone. In 1 Corinthians 3:11 Paul called Jesus the “foundation.” Here he calls him the “cornerstone.” A cornerstone was important for two reasons. It was part of the foundation, and it also fixed the angle of the building and became the standard from which the architect traced the walls and arches throughout.

The word also touches upon a rich mine of imagery. We remember that Isaiah, the greatest of the Old Testament prophets, spoke of the coming of Jesus Christ in these terms: “See, I lay a stone in Zion, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation; the one who trusts will never be dismayed” (Isa. 28:16). The psalmist wrote of a stone which was rejected by the builders of the great temple of Solomon but which was later found and used: “The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone” (Ps. 118:22). Jesus applied this Scripture to himself, quoting Psalm 118 (cf. Matt. 21:42); and Peter tied the texts into one great image, to which he also added a citation of Isaiah 8:14.

In Scripture it says:

“See, I lay a stone in Zion,

a chosen and precious cornerstone,

and the one who trusts in him

will never be put to shame.”

Now to you who believe, this stone is precious.

But to those who do not believe,

“The stone the builders rejected

has become the capstone.”

and,

“A stone that causes men to stumble

and a rock that makes them fall.”

1 Peter 2:6–8

Although the leaders of his day rejected the Lord Jesus Christ by crucifying him, God made him the cornerstone of the temple which is the church. This is the Lord’s doing (cf. Ps. 118:23). An individual must therefore either be joined to Christ savingly or be broken by him.

  1. Living stones. Paul does not mention stones specifically in our text, but that is what he is thinking of when he writes, “And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit” (v. 22). Believers are mortared together with Christ, as God the architect through his workmen, the preachers of the gospel, builds his church. Peter said it in the verse just before those I have quoted: “You also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 2:5).

The applications of this part of the picture are so obvious as hardly to need elaboration. Let me suggest a few. First, the stones placed into this great structure are chosen and shaped for their position by God. It is his temple; he is the architect; it is not for us to determine where we will fit in or how. Second, the stones are placed into position in relationship to Jesus Christ. They are attached to him; if they are not, they are not part of this building. Third, the stones are of different shapes and sizes, perhaps even of different material, and they are employed for different functions. Some serve in one way, some another. Fourth, the stones are linked to one another. From where they are placed they cannot always see this; they cannot always even see the other stones. But they are part of one interlocking whole regardless. Fifth, the stones of the temple are chosen, shaped, and placed, not to draw attention to themselves, but to contribute to a great building in which God alone dwells. Sixth, the placing of each stone is only part of a long work begun thousands of years in the past that will continue until the end of the age when the Lord returns.

What a great process this is! And how mysterious! We are told in 1 Kings 6:7 that when the great temple of Solomon was constructed “only blocks dressed at the quarry were used, and no hammer, chisel or any other iron tool was heard at the temple site while it was being built.” To my knowledge, no building in history was ever built in this way. Its construction was almost silent, so holy was the work. Silently, silently the stones were moved and added, and the building rose.

Thus it is with the church. We do not hear what is going on inside human minds and hearts as God the Holy Spirit creates new life and adds those individuals to the temple he is building. But God is working. In the days of the apostles God was adding Gentiles to a temple composed at that time largely of Jewish believers. He was adding Luke, Lydia, Phoebe, Philemon, Onesimus—and the believers at Ephesus, and other Greek and Roman cities. Later he added those we call the early church fathers, then the later church fathers and those to whom they ministered. At the time of the Reformation he added Luther and Calvin and Zwingli and Knox and Cranmer and many others. He is still adding to his temple today.[2]


Having an Inspired Foundation (2:20a)

It is a natural question: “How can I know that God will not change his heart despite the changes in my circumstances?” Paul answers that the heart-house of which we are members is built on a foundation of inspiration. The covenantal inclusion of the Gentiles was not an afterthought or an unplanned by-product. Paul says that the Ephesians are the fulfillment of a building process with foundations laid by those whom God inspired to impart his will in both the Old Testament and the New. The words of the apostles and prophets coordinate.6 Though there is some question as to whether the prophets in this clause refer to the Old Testament prophets, there is no question that Paul is saying that the inspired messengers of the New Testament are speaking in continuity with those of the Old (cf. Eph. 3:4–5). This engrafting of many nations and new peoples was always in the plan. There is not a problem with the new misaligning with the old. The inclusion of the Gentiles was not a surprise or an afterthought; the foundation of the Scriptures was laid broadly enough to include us. God always intended for us to be part of his plan. Those that God inspires to lay the foundation for understanding his purposes have indicated that the Father’s household was always intended to include many nations. The light to the nations was always intended to bring others to the Father’s home. We are welcome despite our differing backgrounds.

Having a Divine Cornerstone (2:20b)

And if the foundation of the apostles and prophets does not itself assure us of the welcome God intends for us, our security in his home is shown to rest on the unshakable cornerstone of Christ himself. The household of God is “built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone” (Eph. 2:20b).

In his death and resurrection, Jesus stands as the chief witness to the enlarging and enfolding intention of the Father. It is by his sacrifice once for all that the barrier between Jew and Gentile is destroyed. No longer is there a ceremonial partition between those inside and those outside of God’s house. Jesus, the One who exactly represents the will of the Father, indicates that the Father’s home is for both those near and those far away, for those included and those excluded, for those once united to the covenant and those separate. His sacrifice is the ultimate testimony on which we can rest our claim of God’s love. His is the cornerstone of our assurance, a divine stone that cannot be shaken, a rock upon which the hope of all who trust him is sure.

With greater clarity we now understand the words of Isaiah describing the ministry of the coming Messiah: “See, I lay a stone in Zion, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation; the one who trusts will never be dismayed” (Isa. 28:16; cf. 8:14–16; Ps. 118:22; Matt. 21:42; Acts 4:11). The witness of the apostles and prophets and the unassailable testimony of the Lord who sacrificed himself in our behalf are the inspired foundation and divine cornerstone of our assurance of his love no matter the temporal transitions and earthly troubles this life may hold.

Seminary president David Sebastian tells the story of his son biking into their garage and saying, “Dad, you’d better come. There’s a crazy lady in the field and she’s drawing a crowd.” As a pastor in a small town, David knew that whenever there was “a crazy lady in the field,” it fit in his job description to go see what was up. The woman in the field had made it from Missourito Oklahoma on the bus before her money ran out. The police had offered her a place in a homeless shelter, but the shelter would not accept the young woman with the puppy she carried. In desperation and fear that someone might take her dog, the woman ran until she ran out of breath. Then she just stood there in the field, out of breath and out of hope, while a crowd gathered around her.

When Pastor David arrived, he received a quick summary of the situation from the police and then asked the young woman her name. With downcast eyes and a voice barely audible she replied, “Mandy.” “Where is your home, Mandy?” he asked. She said, “Missouri.” And that’s when a bell rang in David’s mental register.

“You are Mandy from Missouri?” he said. “I have been expecting you! Your pastor is a friend of mine. He wrote me weeks ago to say that you would come. I have prepared a place for you.”

Mandy looked up with unbelieving eyes and said, “You know about me?”

“Yes,” he said, “Look. I have the letter right here.”

When David showed Mandy the letter, she could hardly believe it. The troubled young woman had not fully understood or remembered why the pastor in Missouri had placed her on the bus. She had not planned to come to this town. But someone had planned for her, and it was there in writing. It was too good to be true, but it was true. And the truth that someone had so cared for her renewed enough hope in her to give her strength to walk out of the field, to show up for work at a new job a few days later, and to start life again.

Seeing in writing that someone had planned all along to care for her provided powerful new hope for Mandy, but the plan touched more than just her. David Sebastian told that story to a group of seminary presidents. This is a group of persons whose occupations make them sophisticated in the matters of faith, but also accustomed to hard realities and public scrutiny. There is not much that moves them. But when they heard the story of Mandy from Missouri, isolated in a field and encircled by gawkers—yet still within the plan and compassion of God—they were touched. I watched as heads went down and hands crept up to wipe tears from eyes. All knew what it meant to feel isolated, alone, and under the scrutiny of others. Something in that story of a girl alone in a field and isolated by the pressures of life touched them. It was for such as them, as well as for such as us, that Paul in essence writes, “God planned for you all along to be part of his household. He loved you, planned for you, and prepared for you. See, he wrote down right here through the apostles and prophets his plan to include you so that you would be sure. And if you were to have any questions yet, he wrote his love in the blood of his Son. You can rest on that foundation, and on that cornerstone you can build much new hope.”[3]


20. And are built. The third comparison illustrates the manner in which the Ephesians, and all other Christians are admitted to the honour of being fellow-citizens with the saints and of the household of God. They are built on the foundation,—they are founded on the doctrine, of the apostles and prophets. We are thus enabled to distinguish between a true and a false church. This is of the greatest importance; for the tendency to error is always strong, and the consequences of mistake are dangerous in the extreme. No churches boast more loudly of the name than those which bear a false and empty title; as may be seen in our own times. To guard us against mistake, the mark of a true church is pointed out.

Foundation, in this passage, unquestionably means doctrine; for no mention is made of patriarchs or pious kings, but only of those who held the office of teachers, and whom God had appointed to superintend the edification of his church. It is laid down by Paul, that the faith of the church ought to be founded on this doctrine. What opinion, then, must we form of those who rest entirely on the contrivances of men, and yet accuse us of revolt, because we embrace the pure doctrine of God? But the manner in which it is founded deserves inquiry; for, in the strict sense of the term, Christ is the only foundation. He alone supports the whole church. He alone is the rule and standard of faith. But Christ is actually the foundation on which the church is built by the preaching of doctrine; and, on this account, the prophets and apostles are called builders. (1 Cor. 3:10.) Nothing else, Paul tells us, was ever intended by the prophets and apostles, than to found a church on Christ.

We shall find this to be true, if we begin with Moses; for “Christ is the end of the law,” (Rom. 10:4,) and the sum of the gospel. Let us remember, therefore, that if we wish to be reckoned among believers, we must place our reliance on no other: if we wish to make sure progress in the knowledge of the Scriptures, to him our whole attention must be directed. The same lesson is taught, when we consult the word of God as contained in the writings of the prophets and apostles. To shew us how we ought to combine them, their harmony is pointed out; for they have a common foundation, and labour jointly in building the temple of God. Though the apostles have become, our teachers, the instruction of the prophets has not been rendered superfluous; but one and the same object is promoted by both.

I have been led to make this remark by the conduct of the Marcionites in ancient times, who expunged the word prophets from this passage; and by that of certain fanatics in the present day, who, following their footsteps, exclaim loudly that we have nothing to do with the law and the prophets, because the gospel has put an end to their authority. The Holy Spirit everywhere declares, that he has spoken to us by the mouth of the prophets, and demands that we shall listen to him in their writings. This is of no small consequence for maintaining the authority of our faith. All the servants of God, from first to last, are so perfectly agreed, that their harmony is in itself a clear demonstration that it is one God who speaks in them all. The commencement of our religion must be traced to the creation of the world. In vain do Papists, Mahometans, and other sects, boast of their antiquity, while they are mere counterfeits of the true, the pure religion.

Jesus Christ himself is the chief corner-stone. Those who transfer this honour to Peter, and maintain that on him the church is founded, are so void of shame, as to attempt to justify their error by quoting this passage. They hold out that Christ is called the chief corner-stone, by comparison with others; and that there are many stones on which the church is founded. But this difficulty is easily solved. Various metaphors are employed by the apostles according to the diversity of circumstances, but still with the same meaning. In writing to the Corinthians, Paul lays down an incontestable proposition, that “no other foundation can be laid.” (1 Cor. 3:11.) He does not therefore mean, that Christ is merely a corner, or a part of the foundation; for then he would contradict himself. What then? He means that Jews and Gentiles were two separate walls, but are formed into one spiritual building. Christ is placed in the middle of the corner for the purpose of uniting both, and this is the force of the metaphor. What is immediately added shews sufficiently that he is very far from limiting Christ to any one part of the building.[4]


20 Straining the metaphor a bit—or perhaps anticipating his shift to the term “building” in v. 21—Paul pictures this closely knit household as having a foundation and a cornerstone, with individual believers as bricks in God’s building. The Gentiles are citizens and householders because (causal use of the participle “built”) they were built by God on the foundation of the apostles and prophets. Paul envisions his apostolic ministry of establishing churches, as he expressed it in 1 Corinthians 3:10 and Romans 15:20—though in those places he identifies Jesus as the foundation he helped lay. He also speaks of “the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth” (1 Ti 3:15). What is the grammatical relationship expressed in “foundation of apostles and prophets”? The genitival construction could be possession—they own the foundation—but not likely. It could be a subjective genitive—they build the foundation, which is Christ. But unlike 1 Corinthians 3:10, where the apostles are builders, this verse calls the apostles and prophets themselves the stones, along with Jesus the chief cornerstone. So the third option is best, namely, an appositional genitive. The apostles and prophets, in fellowship with Christ, are the first layer of God’s new building and can justly be called its foundation.

How did they become the foundation? Though it is a fluid metaphor, the point here remains inescapable: apostles and prophets were the custodians of the special revelation that originated God’s household; no doubt in their preaching and prophetic ministries they extended the “preaching” of Christ to those far away and near (v. 17). For this reason, I believe we must understand these as “Christian” personnel; i.e., “prophets” refers to early Christian prophets, not the OT variety; this reading is confirmed in 3:5; 4:11 (cf. 1 Co 12:28), both by the mention of apostles and prophets and by the order in which Paul lists them—not prophets and apostles. “Apostles” in the technical sense were personally commissioned by Jesus for ministry in his name, including planting churches (as was Paul, 1:1). Though in the NT “apostles” is not limited to this technical meaning (Ro 16:7; 2 Co 8:22–23; Php 2:25; 1 Th 2:6; Ac 14:4, 14; see commentary on 1:1a), Paul may well have that group—the Twelve plus Paul—in view here as foundational (cf. 1 Co 12:28, “first of all apostles”). In addition, “prophets” spoke God’s message to the churches (Ac 11:27; 13:1; 15:32; 21:9–10) and continued to clarify that message in the life of the church (e.g., 1 Co 12, 14). Together they established the normative teaching on which God’s household was built.

Jesus serves as the “chief cornerstone” (akrogōniaios, GK 214). This term’s only two occurrences in the NT—here and at 1 Peter 2:6—may reflect its sole use in the LXX, Isaiah 28:16 (italics added): “So this is what the sovereign Lord says: ‘See, I lay a stone in Zion, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation.’ ” The christological application of the “stone” image in Psalm 118:22—“The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone”—owes to Jesus himself (Mt 21:42; Mk 12:10; Lk 20:17; cf. Ac 4:11). Unlike the NIV’s “capstone” in Psalm 118:22, however, most translations render lěrōš pinnâ (LXX, kephalēn gōnias, both phrases meaning “head of the corner”) as “[chief] cornerstone” (cf. “head stone of the corner,” KJV). “Cornerstone” implies a foundation stone at the corner of a building, perhaps the chief one on which the building is “trued.” A “capstone” is some crowning stone or top stone of a building, or a “keystone,” the stone that locks an arch in place. So what distinctive role does Jesus have: cornerstone, or capstone?

Part of the dilemma arises from the context of 1 Peter 2:6–8, which quotes both Isaiah 28:16 and Psalm 118:22. According to Peter, one can “stumble” over Jesus the stone. It is impossible to trip over a capstone; it seems equally difficult to trip over a cornerstone, set into the foundation as it is. Also, Jesus quotes Psalm 118:22 in his confrontation with the Jewish religious leaders (Mt 21:42–44) and follows up with a very ambiguous, “He who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces, but he on whom it falls will be crushed.” Again, how can one fall on a cornerstone that is part of a foundation, or on a capstone or keystone above an arch? On the other hand, a keystone could fall on and crush a person. Supporting the keystone option, if the apostles and prophets constitute the foundation, then we can readily understand Paul’s exalting of Christ to a position as the “capstone” of the entire building. The image certainly fits. It is more convincing if Paul did not have Isaiah 28:16 in mind but only Psalm 118:22.

But I believe Isaiah 28:16 determined the essential sense for Paul’s and Peter’s uses of the stone metaphor—a stone that formed part of the foundation of a building. This seems the best way out of the finely balanced dilemma. Qumran, too, identified “cornerstone” with the foundation when Isaiah 28:16 was quoted (1QS 5.6; 8.4–5). Theologically, it is difficult to picture the metaphor of Jesus’ placement in the building coming as a capstone or keystone, for many of the bricks would already be laid before his position was secured. As most admit, a decision is difficult, but I find the picture of Jesus as the chief cornerstone to be slightly more convincing. While the foundation of a building is important, the most significant member of the building is its cornerstone, since all else is built in relationship to the position of that stone. For the household of God, Christ Jesus functions as chief. For Paul to picture Jesus as the principal stone in the foundation conforms to his use in 1 Corinthians 3:10–11, where Jesus is the foundation (themelios, GK 2529).[5]


2:20 / From the concept of the household or “family” (oikos) of God, the author turns to discuss the building (oikodomē) of this family, utilizing an architectural metaphor. The language reemphasizes that the Gentiles are part of an ongoing process: You, too, are built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets.

If the Gentiles had been guilty of forgetting or even scorning their relationship to God’s redemptive work in history, these words would serve as a significant reminder that they are not the first or only people in God’s eternal plan. Rather, they have been built (the Greek aorist tense refers to something that has happened) upon a foundation that already had been laid.

Apostles and prophets form the foundation of the church. Though some commentators take prophets to mean those in the ot, the word order—apostles and prophets—makes it more likely that the author has the nt prophets in mind (cf. Acts 11:27ff.; 1 Cor. 12:28, 29; 14:1–5, 24ff.). Both offices are used again in Ephesians (3:5; 4:11) with a clear reference to the nt period. They are considered the foundation of the church because of their importance as messengers and interpreters of the gospel.

The thoughts that the author is developing differ slightly from the picture that Paul gives in Corinthians. In Corinth, he is dealing with a divided church—a church that has polarized around Paul, Peter, Christ, and Apollos. Paul seeks to dispel party strife by showing that the ministry is the cooperative effort of a number of individuals, all of whom are servants of God and partners with each other (1 Cor. 1:10–13; 3:5–9). To anyone seeking to be the foundation of God’s building, Paul warns that “no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ” (1 Cor. 3:11). In Ephesians, the apostles and prophets are the foundation and Jesus becomes the chief cornerstone (cf. 1 Pet. 2:4–8—quoting Isa. 28:16 and Ps. 118:22—where Christ is interpreted as the cornerstone).

The reasons for this apparent shift are not easy to discern. One author suggests that, by the time Ephesians was written, Christ’s centrality in the church was guaranteed, but because of the heresies that threatened the church, it became necessary to establish an authentic line of tradition through the apostles and prophets (Houlden, p. 292). T. K. Abbott reasons that the cornerstone was more important to Orientals because of its function in connecting and bearing the weight of the building (p. 71). This view does have some appeal, because in the context of the passage the emphasis is upon the function of Christ in keeping this growing structure unified. The cornerstone would have provided the key around which the foundation and the superstructure were built (Stott, pp. 107–8).

Though it is natural to think of the cornerstone as being on the foundational level of a building, there is an attractive alternative to this concept that takes the phrase not as a foundation stone but as a “keystone” to be placed at the summit of a building to crown its completion. Some believe that this is a more fitting explanation of the thought in Ephesians, where Christ is the head of the body (1:22) and the church grows into him who is the head (4:15).

The variety of interpretations of the difficult imagery and syntax should not distract the reader from the central message of this passage. The apostle is showing that the church consists of three significant elements: (a) the Gentiles, who are now part of God’s people, and the Jews; (b) the apostles and prophets; and (c) Jesus Christ. But this is more than just a random combination of parts: They are joined together by the principle of unity and growth.[6]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1986). Ephesians (pp. 82–83). Chicago: Moody Press.

[2] Boice, J. M. (1988). Ephesians: an expositional commentary (pp. 88–93). Grand Rapids, MI: Ministry Resources Library.

[3] Chapell, B. (2009). Ephesians. (R. D. Phillips, P. G. Ryken, & D. M. Doriani, Eds.) (pp. 126–129). Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing.

[4] Calvin, J., & Pringle, W. (2010). Commentaries on the Epistles of Paul to the Galatians and Ephesians (pp. 242–244). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

[5] Klein, W. W. (2006). Ephesians. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Ephesians–Philemon (Revised Edition) (Vol. 12, pp. 80–81). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[6] Patzia, A. G. (2011). Ephesians, Colossians, Philemon (pp. 200–202). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

Joel Osteen Saddened To Learn Some Preachers Can Only Afford $6,000 Shoes — The Babylon Bee

HOUSTON, TX—While browsing Instagram Monday, prosperity gospel preacher Joel Osteen stumbled upon the preachersnsneakers account, which collects pictures of pastors wearing expensive footwear.

Osteen was saddened by the images of the downtrodden, impoverished pastors who only had sneakers that cost $4,000, $5,000 or $6,000, sources confirmed.

“It’s really sad that these men are doing faithful ministry for the Lord and can only afford some $6K kicks,” he told one of his butlers as he lounged about his mansion in a pair of custom-made Italian designer shoes. “My heart really goes out to these guys.”

At publishing time, Osteen forced himself to stop browsing the account so the preachers’ poverty wouldn’t rub off on him.

via Joel Osteen Saddened To Learn Some Preachers Can Only Afford $6,000 Shoes — The Babylon Bee

Instagram Account Calls Out Pastors Who Wear Expensive Shoes

Should pastors wear expensive clothing? A new Instagram account has brought national attention to the question, ruffling the feathers of high-profile pastors along the way.

A man who identifies himself as Tyler started the account, PreachersNSneakers two weeks ago. In each post, he pairs a picture of a pastor posted on social media with a screenshot of the price of the shoes he is wearing. Some of the price tags have topped out over $1,000, igniting a debate about pastors’ pay and whether a pastor should dress in clothes members could never afford.

The account created a stir, amassing over 80,000 followers in the first two weeks and has been featured in stories on Buzzfeed and Fashionista.

Tyler told Fashionista about the origin of the account. He explained that he is an evangelical Christian whose wife works for a church and that he has also been “really into buying and reselling sneakers.” He said he was looking for a song by Elevation Worship one Sunday and a noticed the lead singer was wearing a pair of Yeezy 750s, which go for around $800 on resell sites.

This led him to look at photos of Elevation’s pastor, Steven Furtick. He found a picture of Furtick wearing a rare pair of Jordans that resell for $900. Then he looked up other influential pastors and noticing that they were wearing high-end clothing and “the highest resell kicks in the game.” He made videos about the issue for his personal Instagram and received positive feedback from friends, so he created the account.

Some pastors featured on the account have tried to defend themselves. Tyler posted a picture of Chad Veach, pastor of Zoe Church in Los Angeles wearing $795 pants and a nearly $2,000 Gucci backpack.

Veach responded, “Wanna know what’s crazy? I legit did not pay for one thing i am wearing. [sic] Nor the back pack. Is that wild to you? That’s wild to me…shoes hat pants shirt bracelets…none of it. Thanks for the shout out tho. You’re a blessing.” (Veach has since deleted the comment.”

Christian writer Tim Challies addressed the issue with pastors wearing expensive clothing in a recent post about the account. He said, “We can’t forget or deny that by accepting the call to ministry, pastors accept a greater level of scrutiny—a scrutiny meant to consider what they are displaying to the church and the world around them. But while they are called to display something, it’s not labels or brands or prosperity or other markings of worldly success.” He continued, “Pastors are called to display godly character and are qualified only as long as they maintain it. The primary concern of pastors should not be the image they project but the character they display. In this way pastors need to ensure that what they wear doesn’t in any way conflict with the far more important display of Christ-like character. They need to know that their clothes will either complement or contradict the message of Christ. They need to be willing to deny themselves anything that might cause people to have trouble seeing past them to see Christ.”

Tyler said he hopes the account furthers the conversation about pastors and their clothing because he believes the clothes can betray the message. He said, “I do think that you’re held to a different standard if you are leading a church that people are contributing money to and investing some amount of their trust in you to lead them spiritually. That’s a pretty heavy calling. I think you at least need to be aware of the optics of the things that you’re wearing.”

As of this writing, the account has grown to almost 85,000 followers.

Source: Instagram Account Calls Out Pastors Who Wear Expensive Shoes

Financial Tyranny: America Has Become a Pay-to-Play Exercise in Fascism

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https://www.rutherford.org

We’re not living the American Dream. We’re in the grip of a financial nightmare.

“We the people” have become the new, permanent underclass in America.

We get taxed on how much we earn, taxed on what we eat, taxed on what we buy, taxed on where we go, taxed on what we drive, and taxed on how much is left of our assets when we die, and yet we have no real say in how the government runs, or how our taxpayer funds are used.

Case in point: Lawmakers across the country have been acting as fronts for corporations, sponsoring more than 10,000 model laws written by corporations, industry groups and think tanks such as the American Legislative Exchange Council.

Make no mistake: this is fascism disguised as legislative expediency.

As a recent investigative report by USA TODAY, The Arizona Republic and the Center for Public Integrity points out, these copycat bills have been used to “override the will of local voters” and advance the agendas of the corporate state. “Disguised as the work of lawmakers, these so-called ‘model’ bills get copied in one state Capitol after another, quietly advancing the agenda of the people who write them.”

In this way, laws that promise to protect the public “actually bolster the corporate bottom line.”

For example, “The Asbestos Transparency Act didn’t help people exposed to asbestos. It was written by corporations who wanted to make it harder for victims to recoup money. The ‘HOPE Act,’ introduced in nine states, was written by a conservative advocacy group to make it more difficult for people to get food stamps.”

Talk about Orwellian.

So we have no real say in how the government runs, or how our taxpayer funds are used, but that doesn’t prevent the government from fleecing us at every turn.

This is true whether you’re talking about taxpayers being forced to fund high-priced weaponry that will be used against us, endless wars that do little for our safety or our freedoms, or bloated government agencies such as the National Security Agency with its secret budgets, covert agendas and clandestine activities. Even monetary awards in lawsuits against government officials who are found guilty of wrongdoing are paid by the taxpayer.

We’re being forced to pay for endless wars that do more to fund the military industrial complex than protect us, for misguided pork barrel projects that do little to enhance our lives, and for the trappings of a police state that serves only to imprison us within its walls.

All the while the government continues to do whatever it likes—levy taxes, rack up debt, spend outrageously and irresponsibly—with little thought for the plight of its citizens.

We’re being played as easy marks by hustlers bearing the imprimatur of the government.

Truly, if there is an absolute maxim by which the federal government seems to operate, it is that the taxpayers—who fuel the nation’s economy and fund the government’s programs—always get ripped off.

Examples abound of wasteful government spending.

More Than 10% Of Facebook Users Have Quit The Platform: IBD/TIPP Poll

More than one in 10 Facebook users say they have quit the social network due to concerns over privacy and protection of their data, according to the latest IBD/TIPP Poll published by Investor’s Business Daily.

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The poll said 11% of users claimed they quit Facebook (FB), while another 19% said they have never used the social network. When the number of non-Facebook users is subtracted out, the ratio of people who said they quit the platform rises to 13%.

“Facebook users have a lot of concerns about how Facebook handles their personal data,” said Raghavan Mayur, president of TechnoMetrica Market Intelligence, which conducts the poll in collaboration with IBD.

The poll also shows that a majority of those still using the service lack confidence in how Facebook handles user privacy. About 45% said they were “not at all confident” that Facebook adequately protects the privacy of personal data. Another 28% said they were “not very confident,” for a combined total of 73%.

Just 2% said they were “confident” in Facebook’s handling of user data while 17% said they were somewhat confident.

“It’s a big eye opener,” said Mayur. “Facebook has a long way to go to regain the trust of people.”

Worrisome Results From Facebook Users

The IBD/TIPP poll surveyed 902 people aged 18 and older across America. The survey includes the monthly Economic Optimism Index as well as the Presidential Leadership Index.

It’s a worrisome report for the social media behemoth in the U.S., where growth in Facebook users has flattened at about 242 million monthly active users over the last several quarters. The number of daily active users has stalled as well, at around 185 million.

Globally, monthly active Facebook users totaled 2.3 billion in the fourth quarter. That’s up 2% from the third quarter, led by gains in India, Indonesia, and the Philippines.

The amount of people quitting Facebook in the U.S. comes as the company has been hammered by repeated investigations about data privacy issues for more than a year. Facebook is under the threat of increased regulation, both in the U.S. and Europe. Regulators worry over how it handles user privacy and also how it uses data for targeting advertisements.

About 40% of Facebook users said there has been no change in how often they visit the site. Another 28% said they have reduced their usage.

The poll asked respondents if they approve of Facebook using personal information to deliver targeted ads. A total of 74% disapproved while 19% approved.

Facebook Stock Suffers

Facebook stock is down 20% from hitting a record high of 218.62 on July 25.

Shares of Facebook plunged 19% on July 26 after the company reported second-quarter earnings that missed estimates on revenue and lowered its outlook. The drop took a chunk of more than $100 billion off Facebook’s market value that day.

In the third quarter, monthly active users and revenue missed views. Facebook stock surged on Jan. 31 following its fourth-quarter earnings report that beat estimates and showed stable user trends.

Facebook also owns Instagram, Messenger, and WhatsApp. The company eventually plans to phase out Facebook-only community metrics and will combine the metrics of all four platforms.

Source: More Than 10% Of Facebook Users Have Quit The Platform: IBD/TIPP Poll

‘Mountain brought forth a mouse’: Putin says outcome of Mueller report was predictable

The Mueller probe has caused much fuss but predictably did not find any evidence to prove Donald Trump colluded with Russia, Vladimir Putin has said, sarcastically likening it to a “mountain bringing forth a mouse.”

“We said from the very beginning that this Mueller commission will find nothing because we know it better than anyone: Russia did not meddle in any US election, there was no collusion between [US President Donald] Trump and Russia that Mr. Mueller was looking for,” Putin told the International Arctic Forum on Tuesday.

Taking a lighter tone, the president said that the outcome was predictable, likening it to “a mountain that has brought forth a mouse.”

Also on rt.com Putin on Mueller investigation: It’s ‘total nonsense’ targeted at domestic US audience

According to Putin, US President Donald Trump “knows better what witch hunts are.” This was “a dark chapter in American history,” and no one wants to see it “come back.”

The long-awaited report from the Mueller probe was submitted in late March to Attorney General William Barr. The inquiry specifically targeted alleged collusion between Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign team and Moscow. However, its key conclusions mentioned no evidence of a conspiracy.

Source: ‘Mountain brought forth a mouse’: Putin says outcome of Mueller report was predictable

Putin on Mueller investigation: It’s ‘total nonsense’ targeted at domestic US audience

The investigation by Robert Mueller was only aimed at home consumption and revealed a crisis in the US political system, Vladimir Putin said in his first comment on the probe, which found no collusion between Trump and Russia.

This is complete nonsense, which was only aimed at a domestic audience [in the US],” the Russian president said on the investigation, which topped the headlines in the mainstream media for months, but turned-out fruitless.

“Such attacks on Trump are elements of a crisis in the political system of the US,” he added.

There’s an evident divide among the US elites as “the party interests are put ahead of those of the nation and society,” Putin explained.

Putin said that “from the start, we said that Mr Muller’s notorious commission is not going to find anything.”

We knew better than anybody – Russia has never interfered with any US election. There was no collusion between Trump and Russia that Mueller” was investigating.

Source: Putin on Mueller investigation: It’s ‘total nonsense’ targeted at domestic US audience

Deadly germs, Lost cures: A Mysterious Infection, Spanning the Globe in a Climate of Secrecy — Christian Research Network

C. auris is so tenacious, in part, because it is impervious to major antifungal medications, making it a new example of one of the world’s most intractable health threats: the rise of drug-resistant infections.

(Matt Richtel & Andrew Jacobs – MSN.com)   Last May, an elderly man was admitted to the Brooklyn branch of Mount Sinai Hospital for abdominal surgery. A blood test revealed that he was infected with a newly discovered germ as deadly as it was mysterious.

Doctors swiftly isolated him in the intensive care unit. The germ, a fungus called Candida auris, preys on people with weakened immune systems, and it is quietly spreading across the globe.

Over the last five years, it has hit a neonatal unit in Venezuela, swept through a hospital in Spain, forced a prestigious British medical center to shut down its intensive care unit, and taken root in India, Pakistan and South Africa .

Recently C. auris reached New York New Jersey and Illinois, leading the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to add it to a list of germs deemed “urgent threats.”

The man at Mount Sinai died after 90 days in the hospital, but C. auris did not. Tests showed it was everywhere in his room, so invasive that the hospital needed special cleaning equipment and had to rip out some of the ceiling and floor tiles to eradicate it.

“Everything was positive — the walls, the bed, the doors, the curtains, the phones, the sink, the whiteboard, the poles, the pump,” said Dr. Scott Lorin, the hospital’s president. “The mattress, the bed rails, the canister holes, the window shades, the ceiling, everything in the room was positive.”  View article →

via Deadly germs, Lost cures: A Mysterious Infection, Spanning the Globe in a Climate of Secrecy — Christian Research Network

Wal-Mart Is Rolling Out The Robots After Raising Minimum Wage | ZeroHedge News

Offering yet another lesson in how raising the minimum wage can destroy jobs, particularly for the most poorly compensated workers whom activists had intended to help, the Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday that Wal-Mart is deploying robots to carry out mundane tasks like mopping its floors and tracking inventory as it seeks to cut down on labor costs after raising wages last year, while also expanding into new services like grocery delivery.

Wal-Mart, which is the largest employer in the US, said at least 300 stores will introduce machines that scan shelves for out-of-stock products. Meanwhile, so-called “autonomous floor scrubbers” will be deployed in 1,500 stores, and conveyor belts that automatically scan and sort products as they are loaded off of trucks will more than double to 1,200. Another 900 stores will install 16-foot-high towers that will allow customers to pick up their online grocery orders without interacting with humans.

One of Wal-Mart’s automated shelf scanners

Of course, Wal-Mart tried to portray the robots not as job killing machines, but as tools to help free up employees to do other things like pack groceries for its delivery service. But since grocery delivery is still a business in search of a sustainable business model, as WSJ pointed out last month, these tasks will likely soon be automated, too.

The company said the addition of a single machine can cut a few hours a day of work previously done by a human, or allow Walmart to allocate fewer people to complete a task, a large saving when spread around 4,600 U.S. stores. Executives said they are focused on giving workers more time to do other tasks, and on hiring in growing areas like e-commerce.

Instead, Walmart is spending to battle Amazon.com Inc. and serve more shoppers buying online. Walmart has hired around 40,000 store workers to pick groceries from shelves to fulfill online orders. The company is also raising wages, adding worker training, and buying e-commerce startups.

Store workers spend two to three hours a day driving a floor scrubber through a store using the manual machines, said a company spokesman last year. The automatic conveyor belts cut the number of workers needed to unload trucks by half, from around eight to four workers, said executives at a company presentation last June.

“With automation we are able to take away some of the tasks that associates don’t enjoy doing,” said Mark Propes, senior director of central operations for Walmart US. “At the same time we continue to open up new jobs in other things in the store.”

Brain Co., which makes the software that powers Wal-Mart’s floor scrubbers, described a workplace where machines and humans would work in harmony as “operational partners.” And in a tight labor market, it’s difficult for employers to fill some of these low wage positions.

“It’s very hard for employers to get the workforce they need,” Mr. Duffy said. “None of the customers we’re working with are using our machines to reduce their labor costs; they’re using them to allow their teams, their janitorial teams, to perform higher-value tasks.”

Retailers and other companies that hire large numbers of low-skilled hourly workers are increasingly looking to automation as they face higher labor costs and aim to improve retention amid the lowest unemployment in decades. Target Corp. added machines to count cash to backrooms of stores last year, following a similar move by Walmart.

Last week Target said it has raised starting wages for store workers to $13 an hour and has previously said it will raise starting wages to $15 next year. Last month, Costco WholesaleCorp. raised starting wages for U.S. and Canadian store workers to $15. Amazon did the same for U.S. workers last year.

Walmart raised starting wages for store workers to $11 last year. Executives said at a recent investor conference that Walmart is keeping wages competitive by store and market.

Now if they could only teach the robots to hand out stickers and greet customers at the door…

Source: Wal-Mart Is Rolling Out The Robots After Raising Minimum Wage

PAIN CAPABLE: As The Senate Debates Banning Abortions After 20 Weeks, Maybe You Should See What A Baby At That Stage Looks Like — Now The End Begins

The baby girl weighed less than a pound when she was born just 21 weeks into Courtney Stensrud’s pregnancy. Infants that tiny and undeveloped aren’t expected to survive outside the womb, but her mother insisted that she be resuscitated. Lyla — who is now 4 — appears to have made medical history.

Right now, as you are reading this, abortion is being debated in the US Senate under the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. This is a bill to ban late-term abortions nationwide after 20 weeks post-fertilization on the basis that the fetus is capable of feeling pain during an abortion at and after that point of pregnancy.

“I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, thatI have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:” Deuteronomy 30:18 (KJV)

This is not an issue of Republican versus Democrat, Right versus Left, or any of that other political nonsense. This is about murdering babies, plain and simple, cut and dried. If you are a woman, your womb is supposed to be the most the safest place on earth, and not a death chamber for the life you created.

Here is the story of Lyla, the ‘miracle baby’ who was born at 21 weeks. Look very closely at her face, that is what you are killing when you have a 20 week or after abortion. Debate that.

‘Miracle baby’: Born at 21 weeks, she may be the most premature surviving infant

FROM TODAY: Her doctors believe the Texas girl is the most premature surviving baby ever reported. Her case means they can no longer say death is certain for babies delivered at 21 weeks’ gestation, “though it remains highly probable,” wrote Dr. Kaashif Ahmad, a MEDNAX-affiliated neonatologist at the Pediatrix Medical Group of San Antonio, Texas, last year in the journal Pediatrics.

“I feel blessed that we were given this little miracle baby,” Stensrud told TODAY when Lyla’s story first went public in 2017.

miracle-baby-21-weeks-lyla

When TODAY caught up with her on Thanksgiving Eve 2018, she had a lot to be thankful for. Lyla is a little behind on speech, but she’s otherwise “doing really well” and doesn’t have any medical issues or disabilities, her mom said. The girl will soon return to preschool and recently attended a NICU reunion at Methodist Children’s Hospital.

Stensrud has started a blog to tell her daughter’s story and reach other families who may be going through a similar situation.

Doctors can’t predict Lyla’s future, but they have every reason to be hopeful for her continued long-term good health, Ahmad noted.

“Lyla is a beautiful… wonderful little girl,” he said. “Lyla not only fought and survived to make it home, but is thriving today. Knowing her over the past four years has been an extraordinary journey.”

Stensrud, now 36, and Ahmad first met in the delivery room of a San Antonio hospital minutes after Stensrud gave birth. The 14.5-ounce baby — who was lying on her stomach still attached by the umbilical cord — was due in November, but it was only July. “It was shocking to see a living, breathing person that small,” she recalled.

Stensrud went into early labor after experiencing premature rupture of membranes and chorioamnionitis, an infection of the placenta and the amniotic fluid. She had a few moments to research whether a baby born that early could live and knew it wasn’t possible.

“But when I was holding a live baby in my arms, I just absolutely thought she could survive. I felt it in my heart,” Stensrud said.

When Ahmad found out the pregnancy was estimated to be just 21 weeks and four days along, he quickly counseled her about the baby’s dire prospects. Infants delivered before 22 weeks’ gestation are too premature to survive, he said. Their lungs are so underdeveloped that it’s near impossible to deliver oxygen into their bodies. READ MORE

Opening Statements at Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act Hearing

via PAIN CAPABLE: As The Senate Debates Banning Abortions After 20 Weeks, Maybe You Should See What A Baby At That Stage Looks Like — Now The End Begins

Nation’s Progressives Issue Friendly Reminder That If You Don’t Agree With Them On Everything They Will Destroy You — The Babylon Bee

U.S.—Progressive spokespeople issued a statement this morning offering a friendly reminder that if you don’t agree with them on every last issue they will absolutely destroy you.

“It doesn’t matter if you’re with us on 90% of issues. If you disagree on one thing, we will make it our goal to ruin your career, your livelihood, and your reputation,” one woman, speaking on behalf of the nation’s progressives, said. “It doesn’t even matter if you said one tiny thing years ago that seems to go against our progressive agenda. We. Will. Destroy. You.”

The progressive movement also issued a handy list of issues that you must agree with them on:

  • Abortion
  • Healthcare
  • Captain Marvel
  • Taxing the rich and eating their still-beating hearts
  • Universal basic income
  • Democratic communism
  • Donald Trump literally being Hitler reincarnated
  • The Last Jedi
  • Open borders
  • Gun control
  • Seizing the means of production
  • Eliminating the electoral college
  • Free college
  • Free everything
  • Everything else

“If you don’t march in lockstep with us, we will call you a Nazi, reply to your every tweet, haunt your every waking moment, and mob you until you die.”

via Nation’s Progressives Issue Friendly Reminder That If You Don’t Agree With Them On Everything They Will Destroy You — The Babylon Bee