Category Archives: Christian News/Blogs/Articles Collection

October 31-November 1, 2015 Christian Briefing Report

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What Is Reformation Day?

“Martin Luther, a scholar, took quill in hand, dipped it in his inkwell and penned his 95 Theses on October 31, 1517. These were intended to spark a debate, to stir some soul-searching among his fellow brothers in the church.”

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When Luther Shook Up Christianity

acquiring national identities: Germany, France, Spain, Portugal and England. Because the church was the largest landowner in Europe, rulers could seldom avoid a papal dispute over revenue. Luther escaped the hangman’s noose in part because he won the backing of a German prince fed up with Rome. But most important, Luther succeeded because he tapped into the root of revolutionary change: the human desire to know God.

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Four Warning Signs You’re Approaching Burnout

When I sense these reappearing in my life, I know it is time to evaluate quickly. I may need to get away for a day, adjust my sleeping, or double-check my eating and exercise routine. I have learned that if I can catch these early, I can address them much more quickly and easily than if I foolishly attempt to push through the approaching burnout. Attempting to push through burnout is poor and stupid self-leadership.

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Eight Life-Changing Things Someone Taught Me

“This are just a few of the small things that have changed me throughout life. If you’ve known me for any length of time, you’ve probably heard me talk about one or all of them. I hope even more, though, that you’ve seen me live them.”

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Let’s Be Clear About What Real Christian Persecution Looks Like

“When we start to take on the language of violence—“culture war,” “attacks on values,” “faith under siege”—to describe ideological differences that are actually relatively peaceful in practice, we not only overstate reality. We risk losing perspective on what real persecution looks like.”

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40 Things I’ve Learned in 40 Years

So much time is wasted on things that just don’t matter:  Life is short and too often is spent pursuing after and worrying about things that don’t matter in the end. I don’t want to live with regrets. I’ve wasted too much time already. You too? Let’s seek to glorify God in what we do with our time that remains.

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Reformation Reminders: Rome & Her Desecration of Christ

Scripture could not be more clear on the adequacy and finality of Christ’s atoning work. Yet, in every mass, Rome asserts that Christ, cannot really be seated anywhere in heaven, but is ready, waiting, and being summoned back down for additional sacrifice to atone for sin. On this teaching alone Rome renders herself a desecration to Jesus Christ. Furthermore, if anyone calls Rome’s mass into question, he is declared anathema

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The Sexual Revolution, Entertainment, and Christian Art

Those are stories worth telling, and the only thing stopping Christians from telling them is a reductionist view of what Christian art can and should be. It is a brave new entertainment world; making art that goes against the flow of the sexual revolution requires bravery. But, on the other hand, the darkness of the current backdrop makes the truth shine all the more brightly.  

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Tips For Being a False Teacher

There is absolutely nothing worse than some punter with their head in the Bible while you’re trying to tell them what God really says. You’ll find them regularly popping up at the worst moments, quoting parts of the Bible and requesting references. Worse still, when you provide those references (ideally obscure Old Testament passages from the King James Version) they go and look them up! This is one of the most frustrating occurrences you can face.

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Letting The Law In The Back Door of Justification

People still do things like this today, mixing a bit of law with the gospel, mixing works with grace.  They talk about a “lawful gospel” or say that the gospel includes law, or they say that we are justified by faith alone – but define faith as “faithfulness” or “obedient faith.”  These types of statements have been used by advocates of the Federal Vision, which is why historic Reformed/Presbyterian churches have very decisively rejected Federal Vision teaching with a loud and unanimous NO.

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Texas Teen Says Teacher Told Students to Deny God in Assignment or Fail

(CN) — A Texas teen says that her teacher told students this week that they must deny God in their reading class or fail the assignment.

Jordan Wooley, a seventh grade student at West Memorial Junior High School in Katy, spoke before the school board Monday night to tell her story.

Massachusetts ‘United Church of Christ’ Hosts Blasphemous ‘Drag Gospel Festival’

(CN) — A United Church of Christ congregation in Massachusetts recently hosted what it called a “Drag Gospel Festival” in support of the homosexual and transgender members in its assembly.

The First Church of Somerville (FCS) hosted the event October 16-18 both during its Friday night drag show and Sunday morning worship service.

Muslim Men, Children Cut and Whip Their Bodies Bloody for Muhammad’s Grandson

(CN) — A number of Shiite Muslim men and children around the world are in the midst of observing a 10-day Islamic festival in remembrance of Muhammad’s grandson—an event that involves cutting ones head with knives or spears or self-flagellating themselves with chains.

Online photos captured the bloodiness of the Muslim traditions surrounding the Day of Ashura, which marks the death of Husyn ibn Ali approximately 1,300 years ago. He was the son of Fatimah, Muhammad’s daughter, and was beheaded during the Battle of Karbala in 680 A.D.

Pastor Delivers Ten Commandments on Horseback to Oklahoma Capital in Protest of Monument Removal

(CN) — Nearly a dozen Texas Christians rode 100 miles to Oklahoma City this week to deliver a tablet engraved with the Ten Commandments after a Decalogue display was removed from the grounds of the capitol building earlier this month.

“We’re riding for the law of God today,” John Riggs, pastor of the Texoma Cowboy Church in Wichita Falls, told those gathered. “We fully believe that this country was founded upon the principles of God’s word. It breaks our hearts to see where this country is headed and to see the removal of the law of God from our land, from our buildings.”

Other Top News Stories of Interest:


Billy Graham’s Warning to American Churches: ‘Prepare for Persecution’

Evangelist Billy Graham speaks at the dedication of the Billy Graham Library in Charlotte, North Carolina, May 31, 2007.

The Rev. Billy Graham has issued a written warning to America’s churches: “Prepare for persecution.”

The renowned preacher and founder of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association penned a commentary that was posted on his website last week and is slated to appear in the November edition of Decision magazine.

In the magazine, Graham notes that the American church has been largely unfamiliar with persecution, writing that this “immunity to persecution that Christians in our country have experienced in the past two or three centuries is unusual.”

“As a whole, our nation does not know what privation is. We do not know what sacrifice is. We do not know what suffering is. Suppose persecution were to come to the church in America, as it has come in other countries,” wrote Graham.

“Since we have experienced little religious persecution in this country, it is likely that under pressure many would deny Christ. Those who shout the loudest about their faith may surrender soonest.”

New Muppets 'too toxic for children,' PTC says

New Muppets ‘too toxic for children,’ PTC says

Posted on November 1, 2015 by Christian Telegraph

In a study of &The Muppets,& the Parents Television Council reports that the new TV show includes a preponderance of sexual innuendos and other offensive content not suited for children,

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Letting the government under the church tent

Letting the government under the church tent

Posted on October 31, 2015 by World Magazine

GOVERNMENT | Letting the government get its nose under the church tent

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A theological and journalistic reformation

A theological and journalistic reformation

Posted on October 31, 2015 by World Magazine

HISTORY | Martin Luther’s bold theological stand on Oct. 31, 1517, made independent journalism possible

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Straight-talking Jesus: There's no one-size-fits-all way of evangelism

Straight-talking Jesus: There’s no one-size-fits-all way of evangelism

Posted on October 31, 2015 by Christian Today

Pastor and author Phil Moore is not afraid of plain speaking when it comes to exploring what the Bible says.

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5 Ways for a Church Member to Leave a Church Well

5 Ways for a Church Member to Leave a Church Well

Posted on October 30, 2015 by Church Leaders

“Sometimes people remember how you arrived. They almost always remember how you left.”

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How Should Christians Think About Socialism?

How Should Christians Think About Socialism?

Posted on October 30, 2015 by Church Leaders

“It may be that Bernie Sanders is naming things in our society that need addressing.”

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Christian Football Coach Suspended for Praying After Games Following Complaints from Satanists, Atheist Students

Christian Football Coach Suspended for Praying After Games Following Complaints from Satanists, Atheist Students

Posted on October 30, 2015 by Gospel Herald

A Christian football coach has been suspended from his position at Bremerton High School in Washington State after he refused to stop praying following a Friday night football game that Satanists had threatened to protest.

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ISIS Unleashes Death Squad to Murder Christians In Syria

ISIS Unleashes Death Squad to Murder Christians In Syria

Posted on October 30, 2015 by Gospel Herald

Radical Muslim terror group ISIS/ISIL is reported to have unleashed its death squad to hunt down and murder Christian refugees in Syrian refugee camps, reported Breaking News Israel. The death squad is the latest horrific tactic employed by the Muslim radicals to eliminate Christians in the region and establish a conservative Muslim society.

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Texas Teen Says Teacher Told Students to Deny God in Assignment or Fail

“Today I was given an assignment in school that questioned my faith and told me that God was not real,” she said. “Our teacher had started off saying that the assignment had been giving problems all day. We were asked to take a poll to say whether God is fact, opinion or a myth and she told anyone who said fact or opinion was wrong and God was only a myth.”

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As Darkness Falls – Hal Lindsey

A shadow descends over our world. Spiritual in origin, this deepening darkness attacks human minds and thought. It diminishes, then destroys the ability to see things for what they are. Put simply, it inhibits people from thinking straight.

We see the process described in the 1st chapter of Romans, beginning at verse 18. The words are both historic and prophetic. Romans 1 does not contain a phrase identifying it as a “last days” scripture. Nevertheless, as we will see, it has great prophetic significance.

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We Cannot be Silent – Albert Mohler

We Cannot Be Silent is a book about that revolution, how it happened and what it means for us, for our churches, and for our children. It is important to trace the revolution, and understand that the most heated controversies of our day did not emerge from a vacuum onto the daily headlines. Every revolution has a story, and the story of this revolution is one that we can now trace. To put the truth plainly, this revolution did not start with same-sex marriage, and it will not end there.

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Godlessness is Reaching Epidemic Proportions

Imagine the world with no rules, accountability, or consequences for evil actions? This image is one where people take a life with no remorse. It is a place where life savings are greedily stolen, women and children are abandoned, and even basic respect that was afforded to a mother and father is absent. This place of our worst imaginings is one fraught with lawless, heartless, and treacherous people who are concerned with no one but themselves. That would be a world where the concept of love is foreign, while brutality, slander, and darkness become the norm.

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Luther’s Reformation in a Neat Video


Halloween, Christ, and Culture

As the world around us becomes darker, Christians are supposed to be the light that points people to Jesus Christ and exposes evil in our culture. With rapidly growing immorality in America, why does it seem like the church is conforming to the pattern of this age rather than influencing culture for Christ? Our children […]

The post Halloween, Christ, and Culture appeared first on Stand Up For The Truth.

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In-The-World-But-Not-Of-The-World.mp3 21.6 MB


Sounds Good But Smells Bad

A clean environment, equality for women, social justice for all, income distribution. Something stinks.

The post Sounds Good But Smells Bad appeared first on Stand Up For The Truth.

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Sounds-Good-But-Smells-Bad.mp3 21.2 MB


Your Painful Story Brings God Glory

Your Painful Story Brings God GloryWe can all think of an instance where someone revealing their difficult story has touched us. What if they never had told their story? What if you never tell yours?

A good friend, who is a pastor, has a child who is a heroin addict. I’m sure he was tempted to hide his family problems from the church where he worked. He could have withdrawn socially and spiritually from the church and maybe someone would have asked about him, or maybe no one would have noticed as he and his wife drifted into isolation with their secret. But isolation rarely leads to anything good.

When God Doesn’t Fix It

As we all know, telling our personal stories of struggle and pain can be dangerous. Fortunately, this minister realized he wasn’t the only one going through a trial. Parents in his church and community were facing the same issues and needed the same kind of support he did. God used him and his willingness to share his pain to form a confidential support group for parents whose children were involved in destructive lifestyles. He wasn’t shouting his story from a megaphone on a Sunday morning, and he wasn’t doing it in a way that would shame his child. He was privately sharing his suffering with those who needed to hear it most.

In the group, parents of alcoholics and drug abusers came together and prayed for their children in a faith-filled, understanding, and supportive environment. Think of how many families have been helped because they now have a safe place to discuss their struggles! I’m so thankful my friend knew God could redeem his broken story, and he was willing to be a part of redeeming other people’s broken stories.

Imagine how thankful the parents who come to this group are for his willingness to be transparent. He didn’t wait for his story to be resolved or to have a happy ending. He shared his story of struggling with a child he loves dearly but couldn’t help.

Lessons You Never Wanted to Learn

His story reminds me that when God uses our stories to heal others, they don’t have to be finished. They don’t have to be wrapped up into a neat, tidy bow with all the answers before God can use them. He can redeem our stories while they’re still tattered, and we’re still in the brokenness.

I know a lot of people who are in troubled marriages, and they feel as if they have to wait until their marriage situation is resolved before they can talk about it. But more people live in the tension than live in the extremes. When people are willing to share their struggles, they can help others who are living under that same burden.

If you’re like me, the testimonies you find the most inspiring aren’t those that are easy, comfortable, and happy all the way through. It’s the testimonies of those who have struggled deeply and found God faithful even in the midst of their brokenness.

Truths You Can’t Live Without

God can use your story, whatever it is, for the salvation of the nations. I say that, not even knowing what your story is, because that is a principle that comes from the Bible. People hear about the gospel from those who are living out the gospel. They are redeemed when we point them to the Redeemer. They can be saved when those of us who are saved point to the Savior.

What trial is God bringing into your life for the purpose of equipping you to do his work? What trials are you going through right now that God is using to equip you for future ministry?

God wants to use your story for the salvation of the nations. Not because of the greatness of your story but because of the greatness of our God.



What Moral/Social Issues on the Horizon Might Surprise Most Christians?

The post What Moral/Social Issues on the Horizon Might Surprise Most Christians? appeared first on ChurchLeaders.com.


Are You Cheating on God? 8 Questions That Reveal Your Heart’s Ultimate Desire

This week, a pastor at a large church in south Florida admitted to an affair. Shortly after the admission, he resigned. It’s a gut-wrenching story. Another leader for Christ forced to resign because of an affair.

Cheating on a spouse is a serious offense. Rightfully so. When a covenant is broken, there are ramifications. But as I read this story, God spurred another question in my mind.

“Frank, are you cheating on me?”

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Hey God, nice to talk with you too. Can you not say hey first? Anyway, the question sunk deep into my heart. And I want to ask you the same question.

Are you cheating on God?

You and I are in a relationship with God. A relationship that parallels (and exceeds) the one between a husband and a wife. When Tiffani and I exchanged vows, I knew what I signed up for. From that point forward, she wasn’t competing with other women. She was the only woman. I pledged to remain pure and faithful to one woman … for the rest of my life. That’s heavy.

And if vowing faithfulness to one person is heavy, how much more so with God?

When Moses delivered the Ten Commandments to the Israelites in Exodus 20:2-3, the first commandment was, “You will have no other gods before me.”

When God says, “You shall have no other gods before me,” he is also saying, “Don’t cheat on me. Don’t place anything in front of me. Vow to remain faithful to me.” You get the idea?

God is jealous (Exodus 20:4-5). He relentlessly pursues you because he infinitely loves you. And when anything other than God sits at the apex of your desires, values, worth and identity, destruction is certain. You place a weight on something only God can bear.

So, I want to ask you again … Are you cheating on God? The following eight questions will reveal the ultimate desire of your heart.

1.) What thoughts occupy your mind when you have nothing else to think about?

If you realized how powerful your thoughts were, you would never think a negative thought. Peace Pilgrim

What we think about most determines what we value. And what we think about most is eventually who we become. Thoughts are powerful. Dr. Caroline Leaf, a Christian pathologist, wrote a fascinating book (the book is titled Switch on Your Brain) about the power of thoughts. In the book, she says this: “Nothing happens until you first build the thought … the thought produces words, actions and behavior.”

That’s real.

Your thoughts expose the desires of your mind and heart. So, where does your mind wander when you are alone? Is your mind turned toward God? If God is the love of your life, the ultimate desire of your heart, your mind will gravitate toward him. You will set your mind on the things above. Your desire to know him and grow toward him will increase.

2.) If everything was taken from you and only God was left, would he be enough?

Really, take a moment to consider this question. If you are a follower of Jesus, this is the end goal. You are on a one-way trip to dwell with God. Forever. That’s weighty stuff. And if God is most important, the thought of dwelling with God forever should excite you.

Is God enough? Just being honest, many days I don’t believe he is. I love my stuff. I love my family. I love golf. If all of these were taken from me, I am not sure God would be enough. Unlike Job, I would probably want to curse God and die.

The post Are You Cheating on God? 8 Questions That Reveal Your Heart’s Ultimate Desire appeared first on ChurchLeaders.com.


Reformation Day: Jesus Came Knocking

Reformation Day: Jesus Came KnockingSometime around A.D. 95, Jesus, through the apostle John, came metaphorically knocking on the door of the church in Laodicea with an unsurpassed invitation:

“Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.” (Revelation 3:20)

Pulled out of its context, this verse can sound like Jesus was calling softly and tenderly. Paintings inspired by this verse tend to portray a gentle Jesus mildly knocking. In reality, he was anything but soft and tender, gentle and mild. This invitation came on the heels of a bracing rebuke and serious warning. Jesus was pounding on the Laodicean’s door with the urgency of emergency:

“I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see. Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent.” (Revelation 3:15–19)

Jesus was pounding on the door of a church whose trust in an idol put them in grave spiritual danger. Their prosperous tepidness made him want to gag. But because he loved these lukewarm Christians, he lovingly disciplined them with hard words and called them to zealous repentance and reformation.

When Jesus Came Knocking in Wittenberg

On October 31, 1517, Jesus, through a little-known German priest/professor named Martin Luther, came quite literally knocking on the Wittenberg door of the Roman Catholic Church.

Unrestrained corruption of power and wealth was a sin-cancer that had metastasized in the Roman Catholic Church and spread to many of her leaders and, through them, into her doctrines and practices. This cancer was killing the church. She too had grown very prosperous and yet did not realize how wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked she had become. She had not listened sufficiently to Jesus’s authoritative voice in the Scriptures, or to the prophetic voices of warning that he had repeatedly sent to her. The Lord was at the end of his patience.

But because he loved his sin-diseased church whose idolatry put her in grave spiritual danger, he sent an unlikely messenger from an unlikely town — so very like the Lord — with a hard word of loving discipline. Professor Luther walked up to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg with a hammer, a few nails, and a parchment listing 95 stinging indictments against the Roman Catholic Church. Unlike what the Laodiceans received, Luther’s theses were not inerrant Scripture. In fact, later Luther knew a number of them did not go far enough. But still, they were a largely biblical call to zealous repentance, as the first thesis so clearly captures:

When our Lord and Master Jesus Christ said, ‘Repent’ (Matthew 4:17), he willed the entire life of believers to be one of repentance.

In the pounding of Martin’s hammer, Jesus came knocking. And his knocking set off a chain-reaction that exploded into the Protestant Reformation, a gospel detonation that is still shaking the world nearly 500 years later.

A Reformation Detonation

As a result of October 31, 1517, hundreds of millions of Christians all over the world have submitted to God’s word as their highest authority (Sola Scriptura) and his teaching that salvation is a gift given by God’s grace alone (Sola Gratia) through the instrument of faith alone (Sola Fide) in the death and resurrection of their one savior and mediator, Jesus Christ (Sola Christus), so that all glory would always redound to the Triune God alone (Sola Deo Gloria).

Wherever the church opened the door to Jesus, repentance and reformation was like chemotherapy to the cancer of spiritual corruption and recovered belief in the gospel of Christ spread spiritual health through much of Europe, then on to the New World, Asia, and Africa. It spawned massive evangelism, church planting, Bible translation, and frontier missions efforts. And in its wake it brought about all manner of social good: stronger families, honest commerce, economic empowerment for the poor, hospitals and clinics for the sick, education for the masses, encouragement for the scientific enterprise, democratic forms of civic government, and on and on.

When we really comprehend the massive floodgate of mercy that was opened to us because Jesus came knocking in Wittenberg, Reformation Day (October 31st) becomes a thanksgiving day — a day for feasting or perhaps for fasting and prayer for another reformation detonation in our lives and churches and nations.

Is Jesus Knocking on Your Door?

In fact, given the prosperity that most of us in the West are experiencing and the arid spiritual climate most of us live in, it may be that the best way we can observe Reformation Day is to do some serious, prayerful soul-searching. Have we allowed a Laodicean type of acedia to settle in? We know that significant portions of the Western church are diseased with various heresies. Do they provoke us to earnest prayer?

And we should ask ourselves, is Jesus knocking — or pounding — on our door? Are we hearing him? Are we ignoring or even resisting him? Are we tolerating and justifying any idols? One clear symptom of idolatry is spiritual lukewarmness. Tepidness typically does not feel like a grave danger. It can feel like a tolerable and even nearly pleasant malaise. But it is deadly. In this state we do not realize how wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked we are.

And because Jesus loves sinful people like us, when we fall into such a state he comes knocking — hard. We often do not recognize it as him at first because he can come in the form of a messenger, sometimes an unlikely one. And the pounding of their hard words can make us defensive and mad.

But let us listen carefully and drop our guard. The hard words are painful, especially to our pride. But Jesus (or his imperfect messenger) is not being mean or condemning us. It is the loving discipline of our Savior to warn us. Lukewarmness means spiritual life-threatening idolatry. The cure is for us to “be zealous and repent” (Revelation 3:19).

If Jesus is knocking on our door, let us welcome him in fully that we may eat with him and he with us (Revelation 3:20). Accepting his unsurpassed invitation to joy through repentance and reformation may be the greatest way to celebrate Reformation Day.


Resources for Reformation Day


Notable Voices: October 31, 2015

3 Ways Social Media Can Help Curb Church Decline — Sam Rainer

I’ll be addressing several points related to church decline in my webinars next week, but in this article Sam points to social media as one step churches can take to turn around declines in church attendance.


Ditch the Preaching “Rules” For Principles  — Erik Reed

Too often, pastors get intertwined in a strict set of rules regarding their preaching. Erik pushes against that preaching trap with some helpful words of advice.


Five Leadership Books You May Not Have Read, But Should — Eric Geiger

Those who lead are those who read, and leaders who are constantly improving are leaders who are constantly reading. In this post, Eric shares five books essential to growing as a leader.


Beware of the Selfie-Preacher — Erik Raymond

Don’t be this preacher. Just say no to selfies…and selfie preachers.


13 Posters to Celebrate Reformation Day — Aaron Earls

Today is Reformation Day as well as Halloween. So here is a little humor for your holiday.


Five Church Trends to Watch for 2016 — Church Answers Live

On this week’s episode of Church Answers Live, I discussed five church trends to look for in 2016. Don’t forget to join us every Thursday at 3:00 PM Eastern for Church Answers Live.

https://katch.me/embed/v/ee7b185f-894c-39f3-aa10-5871ce2b6747



Links I like (weekend edition)

Kindle deals for Christian readers

Today is the last day to get these deals from Crossway:

Also on sale:

Is the Reformation Over?

R.C. Sproul:

Contrary to some of these contemporary assessments of the importance of the doctrine of justification by faith alone, we recall a different perspective by the sixteenth-century magisterial Reformers. Luther made his famous comment that the doctrine of justification by faith alone is the article upon which the church stands or falls. John Calvin added a different metaphor, saying that justification is the hinge upon which everything turns. In the twentieth century, J.I. Packer used a metaphor indicating that justification by faith alone is the “Atlas upon whose shoulder every other doctrine stands.” Later Packer moved away from that strong metaphor and retreated to a much weaker one, saying that justification by faith alone is “the fine print of the gospel.”

Karl Barth, Christ, and the OT

This is long but really interesting.

When God seems unreal

Ray Ortlund:

Sometimes God seems unreal, remote, theoretical. When that is so, there is always a reason. God is in fact real. So are we. That it doesn’t seem so demands an explanation.

Four Things Joy Says

Michael Kelley:

If you’re one of the six people who hasn’t seen Inside Out, this is Joy (by the way, feel free to come back to this post in two hours after you’ve seen the movie. And wept. A lot). The movie takes place inside Riley’s head, and the audience is privy to the personification of emotions like joy, sadness, fear, and disgust. Joy, in the movie, becomes a walking, talking, thinking entity. And it makes me wonder, as a Christian, what she would really say if Joy could talk to us today.

This is an important question because joy is one of those things we tend to confuse with something else. But if joy could talk, maybe she would clear up some of those misconceptions. So what would Joy tell us if she could? I think it would be at least four thing.

Reformation Day: Jesus Came Knocking

Jon Bloom:

Unrestrained corruption of power and wealth was a sin-cancer that had metastasized in the Roman Catholic Church and spread to many of her leaders and, through them, into her doctrines and practices. This cancer was killing the church. She too had grown very prosperous and yet did not realize how wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked she had become. She had not listened sufficiently to Jesus’s authoritative voice in the Scriptures, or to the prophetic voices of warning that he had repeatedly sent to her. The Lord was at the end of his patience.


Weekend A La Carte (October 31)

Here are a few new Kindle deals: The Betrayal by Douglas Bond ($0.99); Recovering the Reformed Confession by R. Scott Clark ($0.99); Tributes to John Calvin by David Hall ($1.99); Martin Luther by Stephen Nichols ($1.99); The Deity of Christ by Christopher Morgan & Robert Peterson ($4.61).

Is the Reformation Over?

If you know much about R.C. Sproul, you’ll be able to anticipate his answer to this question. His final paragraph is pure gold. I predict that as we come to the 500th anniversary of 1517, we will find a resurgence of people disagreeing with him.

An FAQ on Mysticism

Justin Taylor posted a very, very helpful FAQ on mysticism. He defines mysticism, provides historical examples, and then shows both the similarities and differences with biblical spirituality.

Daylight Savings Time

Here are the realities and myths of daylight savings time.

Absurd Creature of the Week

Here’s a bizarre and beautiful creature. “These are the rare dalcerids, also known as the jewel caterpillars, creatures of such beauty that you might just want to wrap one in a gold chain and hang it around your neck.”

This Day in 1517. At age 31, German Augustinian monk Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the door of the castle church in Wittenberg—which sparked the Protestant Reformation! *

The Refugees’ Journey Through Europe

What a sad, sad situation as refugees pour into Europe.

Reformed Presbyterian Theological Journal

Thanks to RPTS for sponsoring the blog this week with news of their new (free) journal. This blog depends upon sponsors to cover the various costs involved, so I am grateful to each one of them.

Why I’m Not a Christian

Cameron Fathauer was one of my summer interns this year (who, after the summer, was involved in a terrible accident). He has been released from hospital and today is leading an event meant to answer tough questions about Christianity. He invites you to participate via livestream.


This ‘n’ That

  • The five fruits of Calvinism.
  • This would’ve come in handy back in college.
  • I cannot vouch for the resources and links provided in this article, but I do think the points are well taken.
  • I really wish I could have taken Martin Luther cookies to the office today. It would have been a nice contrast to grown adults in Halloween costumes.
  • The Master’s Seminary has a good article on the fire that fueled the Reformation.
  • And while we’re on a Reformation streak, I highly recommend this biography of William Farel. I read it several years ago and could not put it down.
  • In honor of yesterday being National Cat Day, here is your weekly dose of adorable.
  • Stay away from Hillsong. All things Hillsong. Even if the lyrics to a song seem orthodox or harmless, just stay away lest you lead some less discerning Christian down a deceptive path. Says Al Mohler of this movement, “What has made Hillsong distinctive is a minimization of the actual content of the Gospel, and a far more diffuse presentation of spirituality.”
  • Have you read J.C. Ryle’s Holiness? You should.
  • Using these words incorrectly may make you look kinda silly.
  • What is the first step down for any church?
  • Helpful stuff from Pastor Tom Chantry.
  • When you’re weary with sin:

photo credit: Candy Corn via photopin (license)


Wisdom For Your Weekend: your weekly installment of things we’ve been reading (and watching) around the web.

Video of the Week

Why Abortion Is Unjust Discrimination, Stand to Reason. The dreaded “a-word.” It’s a topic that’s quickly becoming one of the most charged issues in our society…again. In 1973, when Roe v. Wade legalized elective abortion, some might have thought the discussion would be laid to rest. But it’s never been more in the public’s eye than today. This helpful animated video gets at the heart of the pro-choice position, and offers a handy mnemonic (SLED) to remember how we can defend the “small, vulnerable, and defenseless persons who can’t stand up for themselves.”

Articles of the Week

What To Do When Bible Reading Gets Boring, David Murray. The Bible isn’t a boring book. But sooner or later, regardless of your zeal for Scripture, it’s going to feel boring. Fortunately, re-igniting that zeal isn’t terribly complicated. There are a number of ways (Murray gives us 12) to shake off the dust and see the Bible again for what it truly is—the most life-giving book there is.

Four Warning Signs You’re Approaching Burnout, Eric Geiger. Burnout is common in any job, but it plays a special role in ministry. After all, the stakes seem so high, it’s easy to overwork. The end result, however, is a crash-and-burn—not good for you or the people you lead. So be on the alert: catch the signs of burnout before it becomes an emergency.

Four Tips for Becoming a False Teacher, Tim Grant. For some, the task of wrenching the Bible out of context and teaching creative lies comes naturally. But in case you aren’t a natural heretic, Grant offers a tried and true method. Even you can be a false teacher if you follow his advice. (Hint: don’t follow his advice.)

Your Husband’s Infidelity Is Not Your Fault, Julie Roys. This goes in the growing category of, “Shouldn’t need to be said.” However, the language surrounding affairs almost always includes at least one voice hinting—or outright saying—that affairs are the result of one spouse not meeting the sexual needs of the other. And it’s usually the cheated-on wife that gets the rude accusations. Roys gets at the true heart of adultery, in an article that should be required reading for just about everyone.

On The Lighter Side

How All 50 States Got Their Names, Matt Soniak. I’m proud to say that I knew the origin of my home state (Pennsylvania, a.k.a. “William Penn’s Woods”) and my new home state (North Carolina, named for King Charles of England). See how you fare.

Wisdom For Your Weekend is presented to you by Chris Pappalardo, with occasional guidance from J.D. Greear. This is our attempt to reflect Proverbs 9:9: “Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser; teach a righteous man, and he will increase in learning.”

 


The Daily Discovery (October 31-November 1, 2015)

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

Multi-Site Churches are from the Devil – “At bottom, I think the kind of multi-site churches (realizing there are a few different approaches) that feature one pastor being beamed into several sites around a region—and in some cases around the country or world—is simply idolatry.  It’s certainly cult of personality multiplied and digitized for a consumer audience.  As a brilliant young man remarked to me this morning, ‘The pastor now becomes the new icon in the midst of the Protestant worship service.’  I think that’s well said.  Video multi-site tends to idolatry, pride, and self-promotion—even where the ambition of spreading the gospel is genuine.  In other words, the ends do not justify the means because some of the ends produced will undoubtedly be odious in God’s sight.”

Exegetical Critique of Multi-Site: Disassembling the Church? – “Praise God for our brothers and sisters in multi-site churches who are reaching their communities with the gospel of Jesus Christ! Assenters and dissenters to this approach alike should be able to say with Paul, ‘What then? Only that . . . Christ is proclaimed; and in this I rejoice’ (Phil. 1:18). But the fact that Paul’s primary goal was to see the gospel proclaimed does not mean he cared nothing for how a church is structured. Church structure may be secondary, but it remains important and a matter addressed in the Scriptures, which therefore requires Christian obedience.”

Theological Critique of Multi-Site: What Exactly Is a “Church”? – “In your mind, what are the necessary elements which must be present for a group of Christians to become a local church? I assume you don’t think that three Christians throwing a Frisbee at the park constitutes a local church. So what would? What if the three friends leave the park, head down to the local diner, and pray before their meal? Are they a church then? What if they pull out their Bibles and exhort one another? Agree to meet weekly? Serve communion? Make some sort of covenant? Get the local city officials to recognize them as a church with a legal document? Stop meeting in a diner booth and find a building with a steeple? What’s the tipping point between ‘three Christian friends hanging out’ and ‘three Christians who together constitute a church’?”

Historical Critique of Multi-Site: Not Over My Dead Body – “Congregationalists and Baptists have spilled a lot of ink during the past five centuries arguing about church government. Whether they’ve been fending off Roman Catholics, Episcopalians, Presbyterians, or those within their own ranks, Congregationalists and Baptists have dug deep into both Scripture and their inkwells in order to discover, declare, and argue for a biblical church polity.”

Twenty-Two Problems with Multi-site Churches – “I love my gospel-loving friends in multi-site churches— both leaders and members! But as Christians we work continually to reform our churches in light of Scripture. So I trust a little push back on the multi-site structure serves everyone, assuming my concerns turn out to be valid. Below are 22 misgivings I have about the multi-site model. All of these apply to churches that use a video preacher. Over half apply to churches who employ a preacher on every campus.”


SERMON:

Matt Chandler – The Apostles’ Creed (Part 5): Suffered Under Pontius Pilate; Was Crucified, Dead and Buried


VIDEOS:

The Cross Preachers Ignore

What to say to someone with depression.


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


10/31/15 Giving Up

READING:  Matthew 19, Mark 10

TEXTS AND APPLICATION:  How much am I willing to give up for God? He has been really good to us — so good that we’ve become accustomed to His blessings. I wonder which of these characters of today’s readings would most reflect my life today:

  1. The rich young ruler who refused to give up his possessions to follow God: “When the young man heard that command, he went away grieving, because he had many possessions” (Matthew 19:22).
  2. James and John, who followed God but wanted the best seats in the kingdom: “They answered Him, ‘Allow us to sit at Your right and at Your left in Your glory’” (Mark 10:37).
  3. Jesus, who knew what was coming in Jerusalem and still set His focus on obedience: “Listen! We are going up to Jerusalem. The Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests and the scribes,and they will condemn Him to death. Then they will hand Him over to the Gentiles, and they will mock Him, spit on Him, flog Him, and kill Him, and He will rise after three days” (Mark 10:33-34).

I want to be as obedient as Jesus — to be willing to give up my life for the gospel. If I’m fully honest, though, I suspect I’m sometimes like James and John. At my core, I sometimes assume that faithfulness should bring recognition and reward. May God forgive me.

ACTION STEPS: Evaluate your own life in light of the above three responses to God’s call.

PRAYER: “God, make me willing to give up all for You — and to expect nothing for me when I do.”


11/01/15 Whatever He Commands

READING:  Matthew 20-21

TEXTS AND APPLICATION:  Sometimes the simplest verse in a reading grabs your attention. Today’s reading includes much about Jesus’ rejection of the Jewish leaders. They assumed they were in God’s good standing because they were the people of Abraham, but they were the people who had first rejected the Redeemer. They would, in fact, kill God’s Son.

On the other hand, these chapters echo with what it takes to be a Christ-follower. We are to be willing to be last (Matt. 20:16), servants who are committed to being “slaves” in order to lead (Matt. 20:26-28). We are to serve just as Jesus served.

That’s where a simple verse hits home today. Jesus told His disciples to go to Jerusalem to find a donkey and colt that He would need, and “the disciples went and did just as Jesus directed them” (Matt. 21:6). They didn’t always follow Him so obediently, but this time they did.

I am reminded here of the number of times the Old Testament included a similar summary statement like, “So Moses and Aaron did this; they did just as the Lord commanded them” (Exo. 7:6). The Old Testament leaders Moses and Aaron did just as the Lord commanded them, and the disciples later did just as Jesus directed them.

Christian faithfulness is not rocket science. It’s not that complicated. It may not always be easy, but it’s seldom impossible to know what to do. We’re to do just as Jesus directs us. Period.

ACTION STEPS: Commit to doing whatever Jesus tells you to do today — regardless of what that “whatever” might be.

PRAYER: “God, don’t let me forget this commitment today. Help me to know Your leading and then follow it without reservation.”


Our Time is Short

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


What is The Gospel?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


What Is the Gospel?

There is no greater message to be heard than that which we call the gospel. But as important as that is, it is often given to massive distortions or over simplifications. People think they’re preaching the gospel to you when they tell you, ‘you can have a purpose to your life’, or that ‘you can have meaning to your life’, or that ‘you can have a personal relationship with Jesus.’ All of those things are true, and they’re all important, but they don’t get to the heart of the gospel.

The gospel is called the ‘good news’ because it addresses the most serious problem that you and I have as human beings, and that problem is simply this: God is holy and He is just, and I’m not. And at the end of my life, I’m going to stand before a just and holy God, and I’ll be judged. And I’ll be judged either on the basis of my own righteousness–or lack of it –or the righteousness of another. The good news of the gospel is that Jesus lived a life of perfect righteousness, of perfect obedience to God, not for His own well being but for His people. He has done for me what I couldn’t possibly do for myself. But not only has He lived that life of perfect obedience, He offered Himself as a perfect sacrifice to satisfy the justice and the righteousness of God.

The great misconception in our day is this: that God isn’t concerned to protect His own integrity. He’s a kind of wishy-washy deity, who just waves a wand of forgiveness over everybody. No. For God to forgive you is a very costly matter. It cost the sacrifice of His own Son. So valuable was that sacrifice that God pronounced it valuable by raising Him from the dead – so that Christ died for us, He was raised for our justification. So the gospel is something objective. It is the message of who Jesus is and what He did. And it also has a subjective dimension. How are the benefits of Jesus subjectively appropriated to us? How do I get it? The Bible makes it clear that we are justified not by our works, not by our efforts, not by our deeds, but by faith–and by faith alone. The only way you can receive the benefit of Christ’s life and death is by putting your trust in Him–and in Him alone. You do that, you’re declared just by God, you’re adopted into His family, you’re forgiven of all of your sins, and you have begun your pilgrimage for eternity.


Ready to start your new life with God?

Who do you think that I am?

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

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

Consider what the Bible says about Him: Read more


Resource Links

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

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

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

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

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

About Christianity
Know Jesus Christ and your life will be transformed


Truth2Freedom Blog Disclaimer

This post was originally posted on:

https://truth4freedom.wordpress.com

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

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

“In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, charity.”

— Augustine

This blog is an aggregator of news and information that we believe will provide articles that will keep people informed about current trends, current events, discussions and movements taking place within our church and culture.

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107,material here is distributed without profit for research and educational purposes.

A headline link on this blog post doesn’t necessarily mean that there is agreement or approval with all the views and opinions expressed within the headline linked article. Caution is also warranted with regards to the advertisements and links that are embedded within the headline linked article.


October 27, 2015 Christian Briefing Report

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The Crisis in International Religious Freedom

According to Wolf, there were roughly 150,000 Iraqi Jews in 1950. Today there are fewer than ten—a shocking statistic in its own right, but also an ominous sign in light of an old regional saying: “as go the Jews, so go the Christians.”

Read More


Seven Ways to Involve Older People in Your Church

“Understand that I’m not opposed to change. I’m honestly not. I may not like change, but it’s more because everything seems to be changing than it is my opposition to church change. Help me understand the change, and I’ll be with you. What I’m opposed to is change that’s not well thought out.”

Read More


Overcoming Discouragement in Ministry

“When trials and challenges come, ministers feel their own insufficiency. In the midst of challenges with congregants, ministers remember that they cannot change the hearts of the people to whom God has sent them to shepherd. In many cases, the only course of action in a particular trial is go to the throne of grace and plead with the Lord to bring whatever we are facing to a felicitous end.”

Read More


It’s OK For Guys To Cry

“You might wonder why a godly man, one who has had his sin forgiven, would be marked by tears. While it may be a mark of being human that brings a natural man to tears, it is a mark of being impacted by the gospel that brings a Christian to tears.”

Read More


The National Association of Evangelicals and the Death Penalty

“Presumably church bodies should address moral issues through the lens of historic Christian thought, reflecting with the whole church, past and present, and not striving to align with transitory secular trends. But there’s little theology in the NAE’s new resolution.”

Read More


If the Bible Rarely Talks About It, Does That Mean It’s Not Important?

“The history of theology is riddled with arguments about issues about which the Bible has relatively little to say because they probably shouldn’t be important parts of our theological systems. I hesitate to provide examples here because I know I’ll end up picking someone’s favorite issue. “

Read More


A New Way To View Vitality in Smaller Congregations

“I have found it helpful to describe a dynamic equilibrium for this congregation and other small to mid-sized congregations I have served, and then to hold that condition before them as a measure of vitality. Dynamic equilibrium suggests that the congregation is a complex organism with staying power, but an organism with certain key indicators of health or decline.”

Read More


A Christian Classic on Sanctification

Ryle was a deeply committed and non-compromising evangelical Christian. In fact, Charles Spurgeon referred to him as an “evangelical champion.” His book ‘Holiness’ has been reprinted numerous times since its original publication in 1879. It is deservedly considered a Christian classic on the subject of sanctification.

Read more


Update: Lifeway Peddling Gay-Affirming Prosperity Preacher For Profit

Pulpit & Pen brings to our attention Ed Stetzer’s continuing lack of discernment. This is important because Stetzer runs the publishing arm of the Southern Baptist Convention which means he has a lot of clout.  Following is the full report: Remember the large kerfuffle that started last year involving Lifeway, the media retail branch of the Southern […]

The post Update: Lifeway Peddling Gay-Affirming Prosperity Preacher For Profit appeared first on Berean Research.


Misconceptions About Creation

By Avery Foley. freelance writer for Answers in Genesis A recent article appeared on the Biologos website titled “10 Misconceptions about Evolution.” The author, Jim Stump, writes, “One of the difficulties people have with coming to accept the science of evolution is that they have absorbed incorrect or only partially correct information.” He then goes on […]

The post Misconceptions About Creation appeared first on Berean Research.


Jenner, Transgender and Trans-Lunacy

Bill Muehlenberg states the obvious: Bruce Jenner was born a male and HE will die a male.  Mr. Jenner may self-identify as a woman, but that no more makes him female than Muehlenberg identifying as a milkshake makes him a frozen drink.  Using humor, he addresses the absurdity of men “identifying” as women and visa-versa […]

The post Jenner, Transgender and Trans-Lunacy appeared first on Berean Research.


The Highway to Utopia

 

Progressives are trying to steer the world into Utopia.  How will they accomplish this lofty goal?  Lee Duigon, a contributing editor with the Chalcedon Foundation, reveals their plan, which involves science and coercion: Free will is messy—especially other people’s free will. It’s so annoying, when you know what’s best for them, and you’re kind enough to […]

The post The Highway to Utopia appeared first on Berean Research.


Focus on the Family endorsing a new and unbiblical view of marriage?

Dalrock has a piece entitled “Never let a crisis go to waste.”  He fills us in on what occurred on a recent Focus on the Family radio broadcast when the president of FOTF, Jim Daly, spoke with Christian relationship “expert” Dr. David Clarke.  For those who read and study the Bible, it is evident that Dr. Clark’s view […]

The post Focus on the Family endorsing a new and unbiblical view of marriage? appeared first on Berean Research.


Chick-fil-A Listed as Sponsor of “Faith-Based” Homosexual Film and Arts Festival

According to Christian News Network:

An online petition has been launched over revelations that the popular evangelical-owned fast food restaurant Chick-fil-A has been listed as a sponsor of a “faith-based” homosexual film and arts festival.

Level Ground began as a student-organized event in 2013, and was touted as the “world’s first faith-based LGBT film festival.” It has since expanded to six cities across the country and includes not only film, but music, theater, visual arts, comedy, and various workshops with the goal of “elevating the public discourse around the otherwise polarizing topics of gender identity and human sexuality.”

“The Level Ground Festival draws a unique audience that reflects the full spectrum of religious (and non-religious) beliefs, gender identities, and sexual orientations,” the festival website outlines. “All denominations, theologies, beliefs, races, and ages are welcome.”

http://christiannews.net/2015/10/26/chick-fil-a-sponsors-faith-based-homosexual-film-and-arts-festival/


But What About the Real You?

by Jessie Minassian

Ever morphed into the kind of girl a guy wanted you to be? We think the real you is better. Here’s why.

Freebie Friday! Set Apart Girl Magazine

by Erin Davis

Hot off the presses! Enter to win free copies of Set Apart Girl Magazine!

The Best Way to Tell Your Friends About Christ

by Leslie Ludy

They saw fulfillment, radiance, and peace that hadn’t been there before. And some began to ask me about it. Becoming set apart for my King made it possible for me to lead others to Him.

5 Fun Ways to Share Jesus with Your School This Year

by Erin Davis

How can you point people to Jesus this school year? Here are five fun ideas to try.


Dealing With the New Trans-Madness

The recent announcement that Bruce Jenner will be named “Woman of the Year” highlights the fact that a war on reality has been declared, and insanity now rules our elites – at least in the West. And the entire transgender mania is leading the way in our mental and moral meltdown.

For Bruce to be given this award makes as much sense as calling a circle, “Square of the Year,” or an airplane, “Boat of the Year,” or red, “Blue of the Year”. We have simply denounced and renounced reality, rationality, common sense and the English language. Utter absurdity now reigns supreme.

SSMIf all this was just a harmless fad, that would be one thing. But it is harming plenty of folks, as well as society at large, and for that reason alone needs to be fully resisted. I have written before about the various health risks associated with gender bending.

A recent article highlights some more of the evidence on what a dangerous and risky move this is. Rising suicide rates is one big problem associated with those who go down this path:

Studies repeatedly show that “transgender” people who seek to become the opposite sex are in fact not happy or fulfilled. In fact, a life-or-death internal war is continually going on within, to the degree that many, if not most, seek to end their lives.
That’s what the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and the Williams Institute found when the foundation analyzed results from the National Transgender Discrimination Survey. The numbers of suicide attempts are heartbreaking.
Over 41 percent of active “transgender” people try to kill themselves. That’s ten times the average 4.6 percent suicide attempt rate.
And this study isn’t the only one proving that those who seek to live as if they were the opposite sex are, in fact, killing themselves. Over a dozen other surveys worldwide have found the same alarmingly high suicide rates.
A national survey of more than 6,500 transgender people asked the question “Have you tried to commit suicide?” Forty-one percent answered, “Yes.”
“Chronically high stress levels,” “anxiety,” and “depression” are most commonly reported among active transgender people. Self-harm by cutting is often reported as well.
The suicide hotline for them, Trans Lifeline, handled more than 20,000 calls in its first nine months of operation alone. Greta Gustava Martela, a lesbian who founded the hotline, summarizes, “With 41% attempting suicide, you have to assume something’s just not working for transgender folks.”
The mainstream media attributes the exploding transgender suicide rate to outside influences, such as peer and parental rejection, but does not consider the transgender person’s tragic internal battle as intrinsic to living a psychological dichotomy.
The facts speak otherwise. The University of Birmingham’s Aggressive Research Intelligence Facility (ARIF) conducted a medical review that found that there is no conclusive evidence that sex change operations improve the lives of transsexuals. In fact, many transsexuals remain severely internally distressed and suicidal after the operation.
Chris Hyde, the director of ARIF, explained, “A large number of people who have [sex change] surgery remain traumatized – often to the point of committing suicide.”

These truths need to be made widely known. We are lying to people and greatly harming them – especially our young people – if we tell them that a bit of snipping here and injections there, and some chemical this and surgery that, is going to solve all their problems and transform them into new, happy and well-adjusted people. The opposite is more likely the case.

These are ultimately mental and psychological issues which need to be addressed, not something a bit of physical mutilation will be able to remedy. We are damaging our kids and spitting in the face of reality and biology when we buy the trans lies.

But sadly plenty of Christians are buying these lies as well. More and more are getting on the trans bandwagon, reflection the wisdom of this world instead of running with the biblical worldview. A good example of this, and a good rebuttal to it, appeared recently in First Things.

Robert Gagnon has offered some helpful advice for believers in how to deal with all this, as he critiques a piece by Christian psychologist Mark Yarhouse. Gagnon examines and discusses some of his claims, then goes on to say this:

While I believe Yarhouse’s advice is well intentioned, I respectfully disagree. First, is this not rather distant from the biblical language on these matters? Cross-dressing is called an “abomination” to God in Deut 22:5. Paul includes “soft men” (malakoi) in the offender list in 1 Cor 6:9-10, which in context designates men who attempt to become women (through dress, mannerisms, makeup, and sometimes castration), often to attract male sex partners. The fact that Paul includes such persons among those who “shall not inherit the kingdom of God” suggests that acting on a desire to become the opposite sex can in fact affect one’s redemption.
Further, what will be the effect of encouraging church members to address persons with GID as the sex that they are not? What will be the result of requiring them to accept whatever manner of transgender display of appearance offenders deem essential to their well-being? For some it will mean silencing a conscience correctly informed by Scripture and science. For others it will further confusion about sex and gender already promoted in the world, undermining the church’s resistance to the bonds of sin.
I have no doubt that Yarhouse is aiming for the redemption of those with gender dysphoria. Yet it may be instructive to reflect on Paul’s concern in 1 Corinthians 5 not only for the sexual offender but also for the offender’s impact on the local church: “a little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough” (v. 6). Although Yarhouse refers obliquely to wise counsel from church leaders, he allows the offender to call the shots. Paul rather recommends temporary remedial discipline for the persistently impenitent in order to minimize the harm done both to the offender and to the church (vv. 4-5, 9-13). The church’s complicity in sexual delusion benefits no one, least of all the offender.
How far should Christians following Yarhouse’s suggestions go? For example, can a man who feels that he is a woman use the church’s restroom for females? Can he expect the church to respect his choice of romantic partner, whether a woman (in a pretend lesbian relationship) or a man (in an actual homosexual relationship)? Can he even compel the pastor’s performance of his marriage ceremony to either sex, claiming that otherwise he will feel estranged from the church? And what if the offender has children distressed and confused by his wrong choices? Denise Schick, director of Help 4 Families Ministry, writes courageously about the added stresses put on her adolescent development by a father obsessed with becoming a woman:
“As an adolescent, I had to be careful about how I dressed. I always had to ask myself how he would react to my outfit. Would it make him so envious that he’d ‘borrow’ it (without my consent, of course)? I began to hate my body. It was a constant reminder of what my father wanted to become. When I began to wear makeup, I had to block out the images I had of him applying makeup or eye shadow or lipstick. He was destroying my desire to become a woman.”
In allowing those with transgender desires “to identify with aspects of the opposite sex,” even at a church service, won’t the church be contributing to the distress and confusion of their children?
Yarhouse would certainly prefer that persons with gender dysphoria make peace with their biological sex. He thinks counseling should be directed to “how best to manage gender dysphoria in light of the integrity lens” and advising persons with GID to explore their other-sex desires “in the least invasive way possible.” I have no doubt that his desire is to be loving to persons experiencing this distress. Yet it is possible to be sensitive, gentle, and loving without forcing the church to act as if the lie is the truth.
Lastly, should the church abandon the “culture wars”? Should we stop combatting society’s efforts to persuade vulnerable children in the schools that one’s perceived “gender” need not correlate with one’s biological sex? Is it wrong to try to prevent the state from punishing believers who can’t support a transsexual agenda? Is it a societal good to require schools and businesses to permit males who think they are females to use female restrooms? I submit that the church still has a role to play in terms of being salt and light for the culture at large in matters of sexual ethics.

Needless to say I fully concur with Gagnon. This fight is too important to simply ignore or capitulate to. And simply running with the world’s agenda helps no one here. As always biblical truth must trump trendy social engineering agendas.

There is nothing loving or Christlike about telling a male he is female, or a female she is male. What is loving is pointing these folks to Christ and the healing and restoration he freely offers. Selling out to the gender bender agenda is not the way forward.

https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/gender-confused-suicide-rate-ten-times-national-average
http://www.firstthings.com/author/robert-a-j-gagnon

The Beleaguered Disciple: One Woman’s story of finding discernment and losing Beth Moore
at The Pen, 10/10/15

The bottom line is this.  I don’t care if Beth Moore studies are actually “good” and do not contain false teaching – one cannot separate the studies from what Moore says and does elsewhere, with whom she associates.  She associates with Joyce Meyer, Christine Caine, Joel Osteen, James Robison, and Hillsong.  This is associating with false teaching at best, heresy at worst.

Click here to read this article!

YOGA: Exercise or Religion-Does it Matter? (Booklet)

by Ray Yungen, 10/9/15 LT Publishing

The Yoga boom, which began in the 1990s, is changing the very social fabric of our society in a way that will last well into the future. People need to be aware that Yoga serves spiritual ends and also need to realize just what the nature of that spirituality entails. Yoga is the religion of namasté (i.e., man is God). The fact is, there is no need for the Cross of Jesus Christ in Yoga. To the contrary, Scripture tells us: . . . that in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.(Ephesians 2:7)

Click here to read this booklet! 

by Chris Lawson, 10/7/15 Spiritual Research Network

This audio message touches on the current and future global apostate Christianity and the great metamorphosis into “MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.” (Revelation 17:5b) A Hindu-Christianity for the New Age! Various topics include: (1) Departing from the faith; (2) Apostasy defined, types of apostasy, and safeguarding against apostasy; and (3) Taking heed against all forms of deception and escapism. Subject matter exalts the biblical Jesus of Nazareth, as opposed to false prophets, false teachers, and the coming Antichrist who will be recognized by the unbelieving world as a “man of peace” and an International hero who has come to allegedly save the planet. Audio also includes short informative sound clips from the The Great Apostasy – The Lost Sign (DVD), and Dave Hunt’s documentary, A Woman Rides the Beast – The Roman Catholic Church and the Last Days. Scriptures: Matthew 7:1-5,15-23; Jude 3-4; Luke 18:8; 1 Thessalonians 4; Ephesians 4:11-22; Ephesians 6; 2 Timothy 4; Luke 21:34-38; 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12; Colossians 1:1-6.

Click here to listen to this MP3!
NAR Apostles For “Social Justice” – Coalescing with Southern Baptists

by Herescope, 10/9/15 Herescope

Just when you thought this election cycle couldn’t get any crazier. . . A report has just been issued regarding the latest activities of NAR “apostle” Samuel Rodriguez. He is now openly fraternizing with “apostlette” Cindy Jacobs.[2] Rodriguez has an extensive history of morphing himself into a mainstream leadership role despite his open association with C. Peter Wagner’s dominionist New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) and its many offshoots and entities. For example, in 2014 Rodriguez was a featured speaker on a panel at the Southern Baptist Convention.


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Is Halloween Pagan in Origin?

Is Halloween Pagan in Origin?

Posted on October 27, 2015 by Crosswalk

Many Christians struggle to decide how (or if) to celebrate Halloween, especially with the claim that the holiday is pagan in origin.

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Redeem Halloween: Being Missional on Fright Night

And the Pharisees and the scribes grumbled, saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them” (Luke 15:2).

On October 31, we will turn our porch lights on, set out a sign, and hand out king-sized candy bars to hundreds of kids, moms, dads, and teens. Some will grumble that we receive sinners. But they said this of Jesus, too.

Light of the World

Many Christians believe that handing out candy on Halloween is not a good idea. They assume, “If I hand out candy, I am advocating all this day stands for and will therefore compromise my witness as a Christian.” Yes, Halloween can stand for some really wicked things. Yes, it is a day when people worship Satan, demons, and spiritual darkness. Yes, it is an excuse for unrepentant sinning. But we are the light of the world! Light is intended for darkness. Does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket (Matt. 5:15)?

The darker the day, the more the light stands out.

The darker the day, the more the light stands out. “Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven” (Matt. 5:16). Who needs to see the light of Christ? Saints? Or sinners?

And as he reclined at table in his house, many tax collectors and sinners were reclining with Jesus and his disciples, for there were many who followed him. And the scribes of the Pharisees, when they saw that he was eating with sinners and tax collectors, said to his disciples, “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?” And when Jesus heard it, he said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners” (Mark 2:15–17).

The gospel of Jesus Christ is for sinners. And how did Jesus, the Physician, engage those who were sick? He hung out with them, engaged with them, ate with them. If our Master, Jesus, spent time with sinners in this way, how can we think ourselves too “holy” to do the same? It was the Pharisees who saw themselves as too holy to engage with sinners on the ground level. Let us be like Jesus, not like those spiritually arrogant Pharisees.

Missional Halloween

For a moment, let’s imagine Jimmy and I are missionaries in a foreign country. We have just moved in and are still getting a feel for the culture and daily life of this country’s inhabitants. Very few know about Jesus, and ancestral worship is the most common religious practice. We have been praying about a way to get to know more people and have some opportunities to share about Jesus. Then we hear about a large ancestral worship festival in which all of the city will be attending. If you will only turn on your porch light, they will come to your door singing songs of praise to their ancestors.

There is a way to engage people on Halloween without actually celebrating the day itself.

As missionaries, we’d thank God for such a great opportunity! Instead of spending days looking for a single moment to get to know someone and talk about faith, we now have many who will come to our door with their mind already on spiritual things. I can’t imagine a more perfect opportunity to get to know these foreigners and talk about my faith!

This is exactly what Halloween can be for the Jesus followers in this country. Hopefully, we are already being missional in our neighborhoods, seeking to reach our neighbors with the good news of Jesus. So what a perfect day to get to know the families that live around us! On top of that, there is already an air of spirituality on this day. Yes, it has an evil spiritual feel, but it’s a perfect springboard to bring up the topic of life, death, hell, heaven, and a great God who has defeated Satan on the cross through the unbelievable grace of sacrificing His Son on the behalf of sinners like us.

Jesus received sinners, so likewise, let us receive sinners.

Turn It for Good

There is a way to engage people on Halloween without actually celebrating the day itself. We are very careful to not have any traditional Halloween decorations like ghosts, spider webs, monsters, etc. Instead, we are trying to brand ourselves as the “crazy-generous” house on our street, to make a statement about the generous nature of our God through sending His Son.

How are we doing that? We give out the good candy! King-sized candy bars! And when you’re giving out over 800 of those candy bars, people start asking, “Why?” And that question right there is an open door for the gospel. “Because we serve a generous God who gave His Son to pay the penalty of death I owed for my sinful arrogance and pride and gave me new life I didn’t deserve. So we long to be a small expression of His generosity to us.” I’ve already been able to share my testimony and the good news of Jesus several times just in buying the candy.

Not only that, we are hoping to love people well. With the help of our college homegroup, we have a welcome team that engages people at the foot of the steps, looking for opportunities to talk about Jesus and ask for prayer requests. Those requests are texted to a team in our guest-room-turned-prayer-room. After being loved, welcomed, and blessed with king-sized bars, each person will be pointed to Jesus through signs on the way out proclaiming Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

There is a song we love to sing at our church called “Sovereign Over Us” by Aaron Keyes that says, “Even what the enemy means for evil, You turn it for our good, You turn it for our good and Your glory.” Halloween is a day that Satan has intended for evil, but we are leveraging it for the good of others through sharing the gospel and the glory of God by pointing to His grace.

We Are Sinners, Too

“The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost” (1 Tim 1:15).

Let us not forget that the only reason we are saved is because Jesus condescended into the filth of our life, met us where we were at, and extended grace and love to us there. We are no less sinners than those we seek to reach. We are simply great sinners with a greater Savior! Let us not fall into the well-worn path of the Pharisees, thinking in our religious arrogance that we are better than those who don’t know Him. For Jesus Himself said, “Truly, I say to you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes go into the kingdom of God before you [religious leaders]” (Matt. 21:31)

We are no less sinners than those we seek to reach. We are simply great sinners with a greater Savior!

Let’s remember our Lord’s charge to us on Halloween, not to run from darkness but charge toward it with the loving light of the gospel. “And he said to them, ‘Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation'” (Mark 16:15).

Follow our journey to #RedeemHalloween2015 by watching for pictures and posts on our instagram accounts on October 31 (@kellyneedham and @jimmyneedham). Why not start a new tradition of becoming the generous house in your neighborhood?


Fear Treating God as Trash

Fear Treating God as TrashDo you fear God? The Bible seems to be confusing about fear. In some places, God calls us to live in fear. Elsewhere, he says he’s delivered us from fear. In this lab, John Piper focuses on 1 Peter 1:17–19, but pulls in lots of verses to help us understand what it means for us to fear God.

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Ten Reasons to Revel in Being Chosen

Ten Reasons to Revel in Being ChosenPeter said to the “elect exiles” — that is, to Christians scattered throughout the Roman Empire — “You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession” (1 Peter 2:9).

He meant it as an enormous encouragement for a tiny, beleaguered, persecuted minority in a vast sea of unbelief and growing hostility. The adversaries may seem powerful and numerous and dangerous and dominant. But look again. You are God’s chosen ones, a “people for his own possession.” O, dear suffering Christians, Peter would say, do you feel what that means? Revel in being God’s chosen ones! There are so many reasons!

1. Your faith is not the basis of God’s choosing you, but the result of it.

This means that your faith is a wonder — more wonderful than any of the seven wonders of the world. Jesus said, “You did not choose me, but I chose you” (John 15:16). And there was a deeper choosing going on here than just the selection of the Twelve. We know this because Judas was part of the Twelve, and he was not “chosen.” Jesus said, “I am not speaking of all of you; I know whom I have chosen. But the Scripture will be fulfilled, ‘He who ate my bread has lifted his heel against me’” (John 13:18).

If you have come to Jesus, the wonder is that you already belonged to the Father, and the Father gave you to Jesus. You were not chosen because you came; you came because you were chosen. That’s what Jesus said: “All that the Father gives me will come to me. . . . Yours they were, and you gave them to me” (John 6:37; 17:6).

If you have believed on Jesus, the wonder is that you were first appointed to eternal life. You weren’t appointed because you believed; you believed because you were appointed. When the Gentiles heard that the gospel actually included them, “they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord, and as many as were appointed to eternal life believed” (Acts 13:48).

Revel in the wonder that you are a Christian because God chose you to be one. Your roots, as a child of God, are in eternity — in the infinite mind and heart of God. Your faith, and all its fruits, are God’s eternal gift.

2. Therefore, the basis of God choosing you is not in you, but in grace.

Take God’s Old Testament people Israel, for example. Why did God set his favor on Israel above all the peoples of the earth? What was the basis of God’s calling them, “my chosen” (Isaiah 45:4)? Here’s Moses’s answer:

The LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for his treasured possession, out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth. It was not because you were more in number than any other people that the LORD set his love on you and chose you, for you were the fewest of all peoples, but it is because the LORD loves you and is keeping the oath that he swore to your fathers. (Deuteronomy 7:6–8)

This is amazing: “The LORD set his love on you and chose you . . . because the LORD loves you.” He loves you because he loves you! That’s the deepest, and ultimate, basis of God’s choosing Israel.

Paul underlines the wonder. Why was Jacob, the father of the nation of Israel, chosen over his twin brother Esau? Paul answers, “Though they were not yet born, and had done nothing either good or bad — in order that God’s purpose to choose might continue, not because of works but because of him who calls — their mother was told, ‘The older will serve the younger’” (Romans 9:11–12).

And the principle holds today, Paul would say, “So too at the present time there is a remnant, chosen by grace” (Romans 11:5). So it is with every true Christian. Behind our believing — behind our coming to Jesus—is grace alone. There is no ground for our being chosen beneath the all-wise and incomprehensible love of God. O, the vastness of the repercussions of this unfathomable truth!

3. Since our faith and obedience is owing to God’s choice of us, we can know we are chosen.

It is a wonder that God’s unfathomable, eternal choice of who will be his children can be known by those he chose. Paul said that he knew the Thessalonian believers were God’s chosen ones. “We know, brothers, loved by God, that he has chosen you” (1 Thessalonians 1:4).

How can he know this? And how can they? Paul explains, “We know . . . because our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction. . . . You became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you received the word in much affliction, with the joy of the Holy Spirit” (1 Thessalonians 1:4–6).

Only God’s eternal resolve to save his chosen people can explain the miracle of faith that receives the word of the gospel with joy in the midst of affliction. This is the work of God, and God does this saving work for his chosen ones. If it has happened to you, you may know that you are chosen.

Let the wonder of this sink in. Your faith is not a witness to any prior power in you. It is a witness to God’s choosing you. It is not a testimony to something so small as self-determination. It is a testimony to the same power that created the universe. God chose to raise you from the dead (Ephesians 2:5).

4. Being chosen by God means no charge against us can finally stick.

The multiplied wonders of God’s choosing a people include the unfathomable fact that God sent his Son into the world to cancel all the debts of his chosen ones — to nullify every damning accusation against them, and to give them a righteous standing in the court of heaven.

If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God’s chosen ones? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died — more than that, who was raised — who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. (Romans 8:31–34)

The reason no charge can stick to God’s chosen ones is that God “gave his Son up for us,” and it necessarily follows, “God will graciously give us all things.” The wonder is not only that there is “no condemnation,” but that this was all planned in eternity to be omnipotently successful. He did not do this great work like a fisherman throwing a net to see who might swim into it. We did not just happen to swim into God’s salvation. This was planned and performed with a special view to us, the chosen ones. This is a wonder to revel in.

5. Being chosen by God is designed to secure for us the sweetness of humility.

The more we consider being chosen, the more the wonder of it grows. And Paul tells us to consider it. The reason he wants us to think about being chosen (Do you? — With joy?) is that it will make us humble. Here’s the passage that makes this point. He starts by telling us to consider our “calling,” because this calling — from death to life — is the way we actually experience in time the choice he made in eternity. Then he mentions three times our being chosen.

Consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. (1 Corinthians 1:26–29)

Do you see the point? God is free to choose who will become Christians. And in his freedom he explodes all worldly expectations of who is “special.” Just when we think we may have him figured out in his choosing, we see he has gone another way. Paul doesn’t leave us to guess what the point is. It is this: “so that no human being might boast in the presence of God.” God’s choosing is designed to remove our boasting.

Any group, or any person, who boasts that there is something in them that justifies God’s choosing them, has not experienced what the choosing is for. It is for the annihilation of self as the basis of God’s favor. We did nothing — absolutely nothing — to qualify for being chosen.

Revel in this. You carry no burden to measure up to the merit that qualified you for being chosen. There is no such thing.

6. Being a chosen race is the end of racism among Christians.

It is a wonder that in God’s choosing a people for himself, he nullified the self-exalting effects of all races and ethnicities. “You are a chosen race . . . a holy nation” (1 Peter 2:9). The chosen race is not white or black or Asian or any other natural grouping.

The chosen race are people who are born again to a living hope (1 Peter 1:3). Their new identifying DNA is from the Holy Spirit. Race and ethnicity are not unimportant in our common cultural life. But they are not what unites us to God or to each other in Christ. We are a new creation, a new humanity. Peter even says, a new race! A “chosen race.” A race taken from all races.

God chose us freely — without respect to race — to be in this new race. Then he sent his Son to purchase us from all the ethnic groups of the world: “You were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation” (Revelation 5:9). In this way, he nullified all racism. For he bound together every race and every ethnicity into one new family, with one glorious Father. And he did this in eternity when he chose to make a people from every race into one new race.

Revel in your freedom from racism. And if you can’t, then come learn who you are. Learn what it means to be a “chosen race.”

7. Being chosen by God means being destined for everlasting, all-satisfying praise of the infinitely beautiful God.

The wonder is that the ultimate aim of being chosen is the ultimate joy of being satisfied. And the wonder deepens as we realize that we human beings were designed to find our fullest satisfaction not in front of a mirror, but in front of God. We were made to be mirrors, not see mirrors. Mirrors with eyes. And the joy of seeing all-satisfying Beauty was meant to find its consummation in the reflection of that beauty to God and man in praise.

This is what Paul says in Ephesians 1:4–6, “God chose us . . . and predestined . . . to the praise of the glory of his grace.” And in case we missed it, he says in verse 12, “ . . . to the praise of his glory.” And again in verse 14, “ . . . to the praise of his glory.” We get the joy of admiration. He gets the glory of exaltation.

Revel in the wonder that you were chosen in eternity past for the endless joy of praise in eternity future.

8. Being chosen by God means that God will use all necessary means to bring you to this eternal glory.

The wonder of being chosen includes the wonder that God has chosen means to bring us home. Glory is not immediate and not automatic.

Through many dangers, toils, and snares, I have already come, ’Tis grace that brought me safe thus far, And Grace will lead us home.

We do not travel from new birth to new earth without the trials of a traveler. And if God had not chosen for us to be helped by many fellow travelers, we would not make it. That’s why Paul says, “Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the chosen ones, that they also may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory” (2 Timothy 2:10).

Paul himself was a God-chosen means of saving the chosen ones. So are you. You are one. And you need others. For God’s chosen ones, the means are necessary, and they are certain. For God has chosen them as surely as he has chosen you.

Revel in the wonder that you must fight your way to heaven, and God will see to it that you win.

9. Being chosen by God means that God shapes history on your behalf.

This wonder may be too much for us to comprehend, but here it is: “If those days had not been cut short, no human being would be saved. But for the sake of the chosen ones those days will be cut short” (Matthew 24:22).

The flow of history will be altered. For the sake of the chosen ones. The world of unbelievers, who reject God and his Son, have no idea how the world is run. They do not know what true significance is. They will be stunned someday to learn that the Christians, whom they despised or ignored, were the linchpin of history.

10. Finally, being chosen by God means he will gather us when he comes, and give us justice.

The wonder of vindication is coming. It may be that in this life the chosen ones were treated just like Jesus — a stone which the builders rejected. But in God’s sight that stone was “chosen and precious.” And that very stone became the cornerstone of the kingdom of God (1 Peter 2:6–8). He rose from the dead. There was a glorious vindication.

So it will be with all God’s chosen ones. “He will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his chosen ones from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other” (Matthew 24:31). Finally, it will come true: “Will not God give justice to his chosen ones, who cry to him day and night?” (Luke 18:7). Yes he will. And everything hidden will come to light.

Revel in this promise. You may feel like a rejected stone for now. But when he comes, he will make you a pillar in the temple of God (Revelation 3:12). He will triumph over every enemy of your soul and you will reign with him — you, the chosen ones. “For he is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those with him are called and chosen and faithful” (Revelation 17:14).


Related Resources

 


Six ways to cultivate thankfulness and joy

Thankfulness and joy can be cultivated.

As we make gratitude a habit by practicing it over and over, it becomes part of us. Natural. As natural as complaining. And eventually thankfulness will drive out that demon of grumbling and we’ll experience more and more consistent joy. Here are 6 ways to cultivate thankfulness:

Thank God first thing when you wake up.

I once heard someone say as soon as he wakes he thanks God for the gift of sleep and for his protection during the night. I’ve tried to make this a habit too, thanking God for sleep, for protecting our family, for his mercies new every morning, for his steadfast love and faithfulness.

Keep a thankfulness journal.

After my morning Bible reading I take a few minutes to write one page in a moleskine journal of things I’m thankful for. If I can’t think of anything I start with thanks for the weather or a blessing from the day before. Some write things they’re thankful for on Post-it notes and keep them on a bulletin board. Writing helps me focus plus I can go back and recall blessings and thank God for them later.

Thank God for spiritual blessings.

Most of the time we tend to thank God for our temporal blessings, which is great, but God has heaped multitudes of spiritual blessings on us. He’s adopted us as children, given us eternal life, made us one with Christ, delivered us from the dominion of sin, made us joint-heirs with Christ, filled us with his Holy Spirit, given us eternal hope, blessed us with every blessing in the heavenly places, and removed our condemnation forever, just to name a few.

Thank God for material blessings.

For your spouse or parents or friends. For your health, eyesight, hearing, touch and taste. For a sound mind. For your house or apartment, heat, electricity and indoor plumbing. For your job. For children and grandchildren if you have them. Thank God for your church. Thank him for technology and all the medical knowledge and availability of medicine he’s given us in this country. You get the idea.

Thank God for any hard things you’re going through.

We don’t thank God for the evil in a trial, but we can thank him that he’s causing it work for our good, make us like Christ, humble us, teach us to trust him. Thank him for minor annoyances, like the traffic you’re stuck in, the paperwork you have to do, those dishes you need to wash.

Add thanksgiving to your requests and petitions (Philippians 4:6).

Thank God that he hears your prayers, that he’s faithful and a rewarder of those who seek him. Thank him for all the prayers he’s answered in the past.

If you cultivate thankfulness in your life, you’ll find joy growing with it. Thankful people are joyful. A thankful heart makes a glad face. I’m not talking Pollyanna oh-everything’s-great gladness, but deep abiding joy in Christ.


DELUDED!

DELUDED!

By Sandy Simpson Deception in the Church Seth Dahl, Bethel Church, Redding, CA: Dahl tells the Bethel Redding congregation of his experience with an enormous angel. Dahl asked the angel his name and then Googled in the angel’s answer. The angel’s name was the same as that of a finance company. Dahl then realized the […]

The post DELUDED! appeared first on lighthouse trails research.


A Quiz for Reformation Day

Martin_LutherWith Reformation Day just around the corner, I thought it might be fun to give our readers an opportunity to take a quick Reformation-related quiz. It’s pretty simple. (Just don’t peek at the answers until after you’ve completed the entire quiz.)

For each of the following 10 quotes, identify whether the statement was written by someone during the Reformation or prior to the Reformation:

1. When was this written?

It is well known that You [O Lord] give to all freely and ungrudgingly. As for Your righteousness, so great is the fragrance it diffuses that You are called not only righteous but even righteousness itself, the righteousness that makes men righteous. Your power to make men righteous is measured by Your generosity in forgiving. Therefore the man who through sorrow for sin hungers and thirsts for righteousness, he will let him trust in the One who changes the sinner into a just man, and, judged righteous in terms of faith alone, have peace with God.

2. When was this written?

And we, too, being called by His will in Christ Jesus, are not justified by ourselves, nor by our own wisdom, or understanding, or godliness, or works which we have wrought in holiness of heart; but by that faith through which, from the beginning, Almighty God has justified all men; to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.

3. When was this written?

He gave His own Son as a ransom for us, the holy One for transgressors, the blameless One for the wicked, the righteous One for the unrighteous, the incorruptible One for the corruptible, the immortal One for them that are mortal. For what other thing was capable of covering our sins than His righteousness? By what other one was it possible that we, the wicked and ungodly, could be justified, than by the only Son of God? O sweet exchange! O unsearchable operation! O benefits surpassing all expectation! That the wickedness of many should be hid in a single righteous One, and that the righteousness of One should justify many transgressors!

4. When was this written?

Trust wholly in Christ, rely altogether on His sufferings, beware of seeking to be justified in any other way than by His righteousness. Faith in our Lord Jesus Christ is sufficient for salvation, and that without faith it is impossible to please God; that the merit of Christ is able, by itself, to redeem all mankind from hell, and that this sufficiency is to be understood without any other cause concurring.

5. When was this written?

A person is saved by grace, not by works but by faith. There should be no doubt but that faith saves and then lives by doing its own works, so that the works which are added to salvation by faith are not those of the law but a different kind of thing altogether.

6. When was this written?

But what is the “law of faith?” It is, being saved by grace. Here he shows God’s power, in that He has not only saved, but has even justified, and led them to boasting, and this too without needing works, but looking for faith only.

7. When was this written?

To have brought humanity, more senseless than stones, to the dignity of angels simply through bare words, and faith alone, without any hard work, is indeed a rich and glorious mystery. It is just as if one were to take a dog, quite consumed with hunger and the mange, foul and loathsome to see, and not so much as able to move but lying passed out, and make him all at once into a human being and to display him upon the royal throne.

8. When was this written?

Now, having duly considered and weighed all these circumstances and testimonies, we conclude that a man is not justified by the precepts of a holy life, but by faith in Jesus Christ—in a word, not by the law of works, but by the law of faith; not by the letter, but by the spirit; not by the merits of deeds, but by free grace.

9. When was this written?

It is determined by God that whoever believes in Christ shall be saved and have forgiveness of sins, not through works but through faith alone, without merit.

10. When was this written?

All we bring to grace is our faith. But even in this faith, divine grace itself has become our enabler. For [Paul] adds, “And this is not of yourselves but it is a gift of God; not of works, lest anyone should boast” (Eph. 2:8–9). It is not of our own accord that we have believed, but we have come to belief after having been called; and even when we had come to believe, He did not require of us purity of life, but approving mere faith, God bestowed on us forgiveness of sins.

Congratulations. You made it to the end of the quiz.

Now the moment of truth . . .

The Answers

The reality is the all 10 of the above statements were written prior to the Reformation. None of them come from the Reformers, even though the Reformers would have wholeheartedly agreed with everything that is stated above.

That is because the Reformers weren’t trying to invent new doctrine. Rather, they were committed to the recovery of gospel themes that had been championed by prior generations of believers.

For those of you looking for more specific citations, here is where each of the above ten quotes can be found:

1. Bernard of Clairvaux (12th century), On the Song of Songs, II, Sermon 22, 8.

2. Clement of Rome. (Late 1st century), First Epistle to the Corinthians, 32.4.

3. Anonymous (2nd century), Epistle to Digonetus 9, 2–5; ANF 1:28; cited from Thomas Oden, The Justification Reader, 65.

4. John Wycliffe (14th century), The Writings of the Reverend and Learned John Wycliff (London: The Religious Tract Society, 1847), 41.

5. Didymus the Blind (4th century), Commentary on James, 2:26b.

6. John Chrysostom (4th/5th century), Homilies on Romans, Homily 7 on Romans 3:27.

7. John Chrysostom (4th/5th century), Homilies on Colossians 1:26–28; Cited from Joel C. Elowsky, We Believe in the Holy Spirit, 98.

8. Augustine (4th/5th century), On the Spirit and the Letter, 22.

9. Amrosiaster (4th century), Commentary on 1 Corinthians 1.4; cited from Joel C. Elowsky, We Believe in the Holy Spirit, 97.

10. Theodoret,of Cyrus (5th century), Interpretation of the Fourteen Epistles of Paul; FEF 3:248–49, sec. 2163; cited from Thomas Oden, The Justification Reader, 44.

So how’d you do? Were you surprised?


Check out

Blogs

7 Ways Women Can Grow in Studying and Teaching Scripture without Seminary | Nancy Guthrie
Nancy Guthrie’s answer to this question: “I haven’t been to seminary or received any formal theological training. I’m grateful for all God has taught me over the years through the ministry of the Word on Sunday mornings and in Bible studies in my church, but I often feel inadequate to teach the Bible to others, even though I want to (and others have encouraged me to). What resources are there for theological training I’d be able to use as a non-seminarian—and one who cannot go to seminary at this stage in my life?”

Strong Families Mean Richer States | The Federalist
New research shows people who live in locales that have more married-parent families also enjoy higher incomes and economic mobility overall.

Indulging Transgender Fantasies Makes Them Worse | The Federalist
“Here is the truth I lived. No matter what surgery or hormones one takes, his or her biology, neurology, and genetic composition remain the same, just like that of my dad’s. Yes, he called himself Becky. But my dad was male. He was a son, husband, and father.”

Eight Life-Changing Things Someone Taught Me | Sayable
“There have been seven or eight lessons I have learned over the course of my life that have altered my thinking in profound ways.”

Seminary. Be Here! | Gentle Reformation
Barry York makes the case for on-campus learning as opposed to distance learning.

The Grief, Happiness, and Hope of Late-in-Life Singleness | Her.meneutics
“Over the decades, I have attended countless bridal showers, wedding ceremonies, baby showers, and anniversary parties. Again and again, I celebrated my friends’ milestones while waiting for my own happy ending. Then this year, on my 58th birthday, I bought my wedding dress. Finally, my wait was over.”

Kevin DeYoung Appointed to RTS Faculty
Reformed Theological Seminary has appointed Kevin DeYoung as chancellor’s professor of systematic and historical theology as of January 1, 2016.  Kevin will teach at RTS while he continues as senior pastor of University Reformed Church in East Lansing Michigan . The position of chancellor’s faculty is designed to provide for a professor to teach at multiple RTS campuses benefitting a greater number of students.

Kindle Books

The Reformation: How a Monk and a Mallet Changed the World by Steve Nichols $2.99.

John Calvin: Pilgrim and Pastor by Robert Godfrey $2.99.

The Grand Weaver: How God Shapes Us Through the Events of Our Lives by Ravi Zacharias $2.99.

The Power of Rest: Why Sleep Alone Is Not Enough. A 30-Day Plan to Reset Your Body by Matthew Edlund $2.99.

Recommended New Book

Worshipping with Calvin by Terry Johnson. Been out for a few months now, but well worth a look.

Video

Justified by Faith Alone: New Teaching Series by R C Sproul
So, so good to see Dr. Sproul back to his teaching in this new video series. I love the setting for this. You can watch the first episode free and buy the DVD here.

https://cdnapi.kaltura.com/p/1916491/sp/191649100/embedIframeJs/uiconf_id/29017082/partner_id/1916491?iframeembed=true&playerId=kaltura-player1&entry_id=0_bn3aqelx&flashvars%5BstreamerType%5D=auto


Links I like

Kindle deals for Christian readers

Four books by R.C. Sproul are on sale for $1.99

God’s Love, also by Sproul, is free through the end of the day. The Dark Side of Islam, co-authored by Sproul and Abdul Saleeb, is $2.99. Also on sale are:

Eight Life-Changing Things Someone Taught Me

Lore Wilbert:

There have been seven or eight lessons I have learned over the course of my life that have altered my thinking in profound ways. They have become markers of what Paul calls, “Glory to glory.” They marked a step forward, not in closer or better union with Christ, but in closer and better understanding of him. Today I thought of sharing them briefly with you.

Why Christians Should Speak Openly About Their Struggles

David Qauod:

How can someone bear your burdens if you don’t tell them? And how can you bear someone else’s burdens if they don’t tell you?

You are not a burden. Your problems are. And if you’re in a good church, their will be people around to help carry the load as you likewise help carry theirs. God has set things up to where we need one another.

Mission Agencies Send No One

Darren Carlson:

There is a big difference between a church that “has” missionaries (like a budget item) and a church that sends missionaries. Sending is purposeful and should be done with care. “Having” seems to indicate the missionaries owe you something for being part of your church.

Cyril of Jerusalem, Ron Swanson, and the catholicity of the church

Scott Swain:

In the Nicene Creed we confess that the church is “one, holy, catholic, and apostolic.” Of these four marks, the third mark–the catholicity of the church–is probably the most susceptible to misunderstanding among evangelical Protestants.
The catholicity of the church, according to common Protestant confession, concerns the “universality” of the church. Under the authority and blessing of her risen Messiah, the church is commanded to make disciples of “all nations” through Word and sacrament (Matt 28.18-20) so that a chorus composed of every tribe, tongue, and nation may with one voice offer praise to God and to the Lamb (Rev 5.9-10).
But the catholicity of the church is about more than just the multi-national nature of its membership. The catholicity of the church also refers to the “wholeness” of its doctrine and virtue.

A La Carte (October 27)

Today’s Kindle deals include a lot of R.C. Sproul: The Promises of God ($1.99); How Then Shall We Worship? ($1.99); Pleasing God ($1.99); The Work of Christ ($2.99); and The Dark Side of Islam ($2.99). It’s never the wrong time to read an R.C. Sproul book! Also, Wayne Grudem’s Systematic Theology and Gregg Allison’s accompanying Historical Theology are both marked way down at $7.99.

A Praying Man

This is beautiful: “It is a blessing to my heart to know that this father in the faith is storming heaven on my behalf day by day, that I need only to drop him a note with a particular request and he is sure to take it to the Lord.” Don’t we all want a praying man or woman in our lives?

Bedeviled by My Wife’s Dementia

Douglas Groothuis writes movingly about his wife’s dementia and his deep struggles in and through it.

The Neglected Pastoral Priority

Brian Croft says (rightly no doubt) that prayer is the most commonly neglected pastoral priority. “Ironically, a pastor can be so busy caring for his people that he never makes time to stop and pray for them.”

Eight Life-Changing Things Someone Taught Me

Lore shares eight important lessons she has learned along the way.

This Day in 1978. Today marks 37 years since the New International Version (NIV) Bible was first published. *

Can a Word Be a Punctuation Mark?

I love these articles. In this one Bill Mounce asks whether it is okay to translate a Greek word with an English punctuation mark.

The Cowboy and The Shepherd

Southern Seminary: “Enjoy this brief glance into the life of Southern Seminary Alumnus, Texas Pastor John Powell, who’s learned how to be both a cowboy and a shepherd.”

And, while we’re on the subject of Southern Seminary, you may be interested to note that today Al Mohler has a new book, a new (or redesigned, at least) web site, and a new app.



The Daily Discovery (October 27, 2015)

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

More Than Two Thirds of Patients on Anti-Depressants Not Depressed – “The studies almost exactly mirror some placebo studies which usually find about 60-70% of people prescribed with a placebo do just as well as those given an anti-depressant. No wonder, if 70% of them never met the criteria for depression. As usual, many with their own agendas have jumped on this news to continue their campaign against all medication for mental illness. Such knee-jerk reactions forget or ignore that the statistics still leave 30% who have been accurately diagnosed with depression, many of whom do benefit greatly from medication.”

Keller, Piper, and Carson on Why the Reformation Matters Today – “In 1517 a young monk and theology professor named Martin Luther nailed 95 theses to a German church door—and the world has never been the same. Protestants mark this anniversary every October 31st, and TGC will devote its entire 2017 National Conference to remembering and celebrating the 500th anniversary of this momentous event. But what meaning does the Reformation have for us today? What is its ongoing relevance our lives and ministries? TGC president Don Carson kicks off a new roundtable video discussion with this question.”

We Cannot Be Silent (Review) – “It takes no courage to write a book that simply drifts and bobs along in the cultural mainstream. It takes no courage to say the things that are already popular in the world around us. But to stand firm on ideas, on truths, that people despise—now, that takes courage. In that way Albert Mohler’s We Cannot Be Silent is a genuinely courageous work. It closely and critically examines the defining moral issues of our day—sex, gender, and sexuality—and stands firm on the unpopular, traditional, biblical viewpoints.”

We Cannot Be Silent – “We look out on the horizon around us and realize that our culture has been radically changed. In this case, the storm is a vast moral revolution, and that revolution is not even close to its conclusion. In fact, there will likely be no conclusion to this moral revolution within our lifetimes, or the lifetimes of our children and grandchildren.”

On the Need for Dispensational Publishing House – “As the editor in chief of this new outlet for theological information called Dispensational Publishing House, you would expect me to write in glowing terms about the pressing need for an innovative company that will serve as a repository for the best in contemporary dispensational thought. You would presume that I would describe with exuberance how we hope to obtain the best authors to write noteworthy tomes—meanwhile giving novice authors the opportunity of breaking in with a blog.”


SERMON:

John MacArthur – We Will Not Bow


VIDEOS:

Train Up a Child In the Way He Should Go?

The Roman Catholic Response to Truth: Pray to Mary


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


Christian Headlines Daily – Tuesday, October 27, 2015

http://www.christianheadlines.com/

Top Headlines

High School Principal No Longer to Speak at Prayer Event after Complaints from Atheist Group

Woman Bishop: God Should Not be Referred to as Male or Female

Trump and Carson: Presbyterian Versus Seventh Day Adventist

The Five Best Husbands in the Bible

Teen Mania Loses Half its Independent Board Members

Mike Huckabee: Gun Dealers Should Not Comply with Obama’s Gun Control Policies

Mexican Residents Give Thanks to God for Lessened Impact of Hurricane Patricia

‘Don’t Ignore God, and Don’t Go Through Life Centred Only on Yourself’—Billy Graham

Newly Released Inspirational Film ‘Woodlawn’ an Audience Favorite

Anti-secrecy Site Releases Abortion Industry Videos Despite Gag Order

Opinion

Marijuana Madness: The Negative Effects of Weed

Why Aren’t Young People Getting Married in Church?

Back to Bible Basics: The Worldview Bible at Colsoncenter.org

Having Courage in the Face of an Anti-Christian Culture

Athletes and Spiritual Legacy: Faith Passed Down Through the Generations


READING:  Luke 14-15

TEXTS AND APPLICATION:  I’ve always been amazed by how much we celebrate the birth of a baby and how little we celebrate the re-birth of a lost sinner. We sponsor baby showers, give gifts, throw parties, make announcements, and send pictures when a baby is born. When someone is born again, though, we offer a handshake — and perhaps a round of applause.

Compare that approach to the celebrating Jesus described in the three parables in Luke 15:

Luke 15:6  ‘Rejoice with me, because I have found my lost sheep!’

Luke 15:9  ‘Rejoice with me, because I have found the silver coin I lost!’

Luke 15:32  ‘But we had to celebrate and rejoice, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’

Celebrate — a lost sinner has come to God. Celebrate — a person destined for hell has been redirected toward heaven. Celebrate — a dying person has been given new life. Sometimes it feels like we’re more like the older son in the parable of the prodigal son (upset that we didn’t get a party) than like those who celebrated when something lost was found.

It would do us good to celebrate more when salvation  is evidenced in front of us. Throw a party (literally). Give good gifts (a new Bible, a devotional, a journal, a Christian CD). Invite others to celebrate, too. Share testimonies.

The grace of God that provides eternal life is worth celebrating.

ACTION STEPS: Consider throwing a party in your home to celebrate God’s grace. Invite a few believers, and ask them to share their salvation stories. Rejoice together — and then go tell others.

PRAYER: “God, thank You for loving me enough to send my friend many years ago to tell me about Jesus. Thank You for allowing me to return to my Creator. Help me to celebrate salvation today.”


Our Time is Short

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


What is The Gospel?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


What Is the Gospel?

There is no greater message to be heard than that which we call the gospel. But as important as that is, it is often given to massive distortions or over simplifications. People think they’re preaching the gospel to you when they tell you, ‘you can have a purpose to your life’, or that ‘you can have meaning to your life’, or that ‘you can have a personal relationship with Jesus.’ All of those things are true, and they’re all important, but they don’t get to the heart of the gospel.

The gospel is called the ‘good news’ because it addresses the most serious problem that you and I have as human beings, and that problem is simply this: God is holy and He is just, and I’m not. And at the end of my life, I’m going to stand before a just and holy God, and I’ll be judged. And I’ll be judged either on the basis of my own righteousness–or lack of it –or the righteousness of another. The good news of the gospel is that Jesus lived a life of perfect righteousness, of perfect obedience to God, not for His own well being but for His people. He has done for me what I couldn’t possibly do for myself. But not only has He lived that life of perfect obedience, He offered Himself as a perfect sacrifice to satisfy the justice and the righteousness of God.

The great misconception in our day is this: that God isn’t concerned to protect His own integrity. He’s a kind of wishy-washy deity, who just waves a wand of forgiveness over everybody. No. For God to forgive you is a very costly matter. It cost the sacrifice of His own Son. So valuable was that sacrifice that God pronounced it valuable by raising Him from the dead – so that Christ died for us, He was raised for our justification. So the gospel is something objective. It is the message of who Jesus is and what He did. And it also has a subjective dimension. How are the benefits of Jesus subjectively appropriated to us? How do I get it? The Bible makes it clear that we are justified not by our works, not by our efforts, not by our deeds, but by faith–and by faith alone. The only way you can receive the benefit of Christ’s life and death is by putting your trust in Him–and in Him alone. You do that, you’re declared just by God, you’re adopted into His family, you’re forgiven of all of your sins, and you have begun your pilgrimage for eternity.


Ready to start your new life with God?

Who do you think that I am?

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

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

Consider what the Bible says about Him: Read more


Resource Links

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

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

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

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

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

About Christianity
Know Jesus Christ and your life will be transformed


Truth2Freedom Blog Disclaimer

This post was originally posted on:

https://truth4freedom.wordpress.com

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

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

“In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, charity.”

— Augustine

This blog is an aggregator of news and information that we believe will provide articles that will keep people informed about current trends, current events, discussions and movements taking place within our church and culture.

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107,material here is distributed without profit for research and educational purposes.

A headline link on this blog post doesn’t necessarily mean that there is agreement or approval with all the views and opinions expressed within the headline linked article. Caution is also warranted with regards to the advertisements and links that are embedded within the headline linked article.


October 26, 2015 Christian Briefing Report

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Through Good Works? (2)

What then do good works do in our salvation? In the first instance they remind us of God’s mercy and grace toward us in Christ (3.14.18). In the second case they are “fruits” of his efficacious call (3.14.19). We “take the fruits of regeneration (ex regenerationis fructibus) as proof of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit….” (ibid). Our good works, to the degree they are good, are not ours. They are the Spirit’s. Thus, we do not present them to God as anything but evidence of his grace toward us, which is what the Old Testament believers did when they appealed to their works.

Read More


The World in the Church 2: Ordinary World, Ordinary Church?

We may think that by removing the offense and making all of our corporate worship apart from a portion of the sermon as normal as possible we will be able to make the gospel more approachable, more appealing. But we can’t. If we try to, we do not even achieve what we are seeking to achieve. We do not help the unbeliever, because we deny both who we are and who Jesus is. 

Read More


Are Abuse Survivors Best Served When Institutions Investigate Themselves?

The independence of an investigation is not defined by the words or assurances of the institution being investigated. It is defined by a structure that requires the institution to get out of the driver’s seat and give up control. This can be a profound step forward for an organization who is genuinely focused on demonstrating love and repentance to those who have been hurt. 

Read More


Notecard Answers For Why I Believe the Bible

In the midst of temptation you will hear the words of doubt again, “Did God really say?” You and I need to be ready to muzzle the serpent with truth. Continue to tutor yourself with the reality that God’s Word is in fact God’s Word. Do this in the good times as well as the difficult times. Keep on studying and delighting in this truth that you might be able to properly deal with doubts both from within and from without.

Read More


Undressing Jezebel: The Sexploitation of the Black Woman

I believe the hope in moving forward and breaking the Jezebel brand on black women is found in the Gospel.  By affirming their identity in Christ, black women can learn they are not simply sexual tools made to be sexploited by the hands of selfish men.  They are beautiful women made in the image and likeness of God. They have equal value, dignity and respect, as any man or woman of any race. Their beauty and worth is defined by the God who loves them, not by the lies of a society who oppresses them.

Read More


The Need for Pastor Theologians

The authors make a good case that without pastor theologians, theology has become ecclesially anemic, and the church theologically anemic. While it’s a blessing to have academic theologians working on specialized topics, such as whether James Dunn’s interpretation of Paul viewing the Jewish law as an ethnic boundary marker is correct or not, we also need students of the church who will help us see why that matters. We need pastoral theology that will “deepen the health and faith of God’s people” (91).

Read More


What is the Most Common Ministry Priority Neglected by Pastors?

Prayer may sit on your conscience, but it isn’t complaining. It remains on the list of tasks for the day, but those who are not prayed for are unaware that they are forgotten. As other demands steal our attention, prayer gets pushed to the background. Many pastors, myself included, will go week after week until eventually that soft but necessary voice calling us to stop and pray just fades out. If enough time passes, the voice of conviction and desire will go away. When that happens, prayer gets squeezed out of our life.

Read more


Semper Reformanda: Christ Will Do Everything, or He Will Do Nothing

Christ will do everything, or He will do nothing. Why? Because if salvation “is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works, otherwise grace is no longer grace” (Rom 11:6). To introduce works as any part of the ground of our righteousness is to corrupt the Gospel of grace, which is the only Gospel that saves.

Read More


Kevin DeYoung Appointed Chancellor’s Professor of Systematic and Historical Theology at RTS

The position of Chancellor’s Professor is designed to provide for a professor to teach at multiple RTS campuses benefitting a greater number of students. DeYoung will teach at RTS while he continues as senior pastor of University Reformed Church in East Lansing Michigan where he has been since 2004. University Reformed Church recently moved from the Reformed Church in America to the Presbyterian Church in America.

Read more


7 Ways Satan Will Seek to Attack Your Church This Weekend

7 Ways Satan Will Seek to Attack Your Church This Weekend

Posted on October 26, 2015 by Church Leaders

Where are you most susceptible to the enemy’s attack?

Read Full Article »


5 Women Sue Ministry Linked to Duggar Family Alleging It Covered Up Sexual Abuse

5 Women Sue Ministry Linked to Duggar Family Alleging It Covered Up Sexual Abuse

Posted on October 26, 2015 by Christian Post

Five women have filed a lawsuit against the Institute in Basic Life Principles, whose founder resigned last year amid allegations that he sexually harassed more than 30 women, accusing the organization and its board of directors of not reporting incidents of sexual abuse and harassment, &wilfully& concealing the wrongdoing.

Read Full Article »


20 things you'll never hear in church

20 things you’ll never hear in church

Posted on October 26, 2015 by Christian Today

Church life is rich, varied and can be very funny.

Read Full Article »


Spain's Christians Welcome Syrian Refugees with Open Arms: 'Our Experience Is That They Come To The Lord Fast'

Spain’s Christians Welcome Syrian Refugees with Open Arms: ‘Our Experience Is That They Come To The Lord Fast’

Posted on October 26, 2015 by Gospel Herald

While some in Spain fear the wave of Syrian refugees will bring the influence of radical Islam into the country, one Spanish ministry is eagerly welcoming them, revealing that those fleeing war and poverty often embrace Christianity with open arms.

Read Full Article »


Do Babies Go to Heaven?

Do Babies Go to Heaven?

Posted on October 26, 2015 by Christianity Today

The Bible doesn’t explicitly say. Here is how I have come to answer.

Read Full Article »


Halloween draws focus of new study

Halloween draws focus of new study

Posted on October 26, 2015 by Baptist Press

When it comes to Halloween, most Americans don’t have a problem celebrating the spooky holiday, a LifeWay Research study shows. Yet, one-third say they avoid Halloween or its pagan elements.

Read Full Article »


Oprah’s ‘Belief’ Leads Millions Into False Religious Deception

For the past several weeks, Oprah Winfrey has been sharing her heart about how of the Bible has impacted her life and how God gives her great joy. The only problem is, we aren’t really sure which god she is glorifying but she’s leaving Jesus out of the equation (or at least putting other gods on the same pedestal next to Him).

View Article


Americans Will Splurge an Outrageous $7 Billion on Halloween

Halloween is expected to make an eerily strong showing in sales this year, with consumers expected to spend as much as $6.9 billion.

This month, 157 million Americans will celebrate the holiday by spending an average of $74 per person, according to new research from the National Retail Federation.

View Article


Nine Proofs of the Pre-Tribulation Rapture

There are some that suggest that this is escapism, but the opposite has been true. Christians deeply in love with Jesus and enamored with the hope of His immediate return for the church have been driven with compassion to win souls; whether family, friend, or foe. Our message is a twin concern: get ready for the call to the marriage supper and occupy (be salt and light to hold back the antichrist spirit) until He comes. Both parts of this message are absolutely essential for a balance of Biblical presentation.

View Article


The Stabbing Intifada – Hal Lindsey

A new wave of violence is sweeping across Israel. As of this writing, at least 48 Palestinians have died, and 10 Israelis. Sadly, for much of the world, the story stops there. They conclude that because more Palestinians have died, Israel must be in the wrong. In order to defend its citizens against terror attacks, Israel is again being painted as the aggressor. But it’s not true.

View Article


Why study Bible prophecy? – Greg Laurie

Recently, I was interviewed by a magazine that was doing a story on the topic of end times events, and the writer asked me, “Why should we even study this subject as Christians?”

Some people would discourage it, saying it’s too complex. Yet in the book of Revelation, a special blessing is promised to the person who studies, understands and takes to heart what the Bible says about our future: “Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near” (1:3 NIV).

View Article


Watch Until Our Lord’s Return

Is this your attitude? Do you live in a state of watchfulness every day, every moment? We daresay that this is not the attitude of the majority of people who profess to be Christians. However uncomfortable it may be to admit, most Christians go about their everyday lives as if the return of Jesus is still a millennium away. Who concerns themselves with events 1000 years into the future? No one, quite frankly.

Yet we are told to be watchful, to be in a constant state of alertness for the return of our Lord and Savior.

View Article


Headlines

Rod Parsley Battles Throat Cancer Using Standard Medical Treatment

Bethel Redding children’s pastor and the giant finance angel?

Sandy Simpson – Deluded

Christian Football Player’s Wife Allegedly Aborted Baby of Pastor Who Killed Him

Spiritual Abuse: Word of Life Church’s Path From Bible Group to Lethal Sect

Zimbabwe – Pastor Sells ‘Holy Pens’ That Make Students Pass Exams Without Studying

In City Harvest judgment, Judge singles out Kong Hee’s part in ‘culture of secrecy’

City Harvest trial: Kong Hee apologises to church members for ‘pain and turmoil’…


WVW-TV Presents: The Good Shepherd, His Sheep, & Thieving False Teachers: A Study of John 10 (Part One)  Watch this program now before it rolls into the Situation Room for members only. To join the Situation Room go to http://www.situationroom.net  To watch this program now click here:http://www.worldviewweekend.com/tv/video/good-shepherd-his-sheep-thievin…    
 


Did John Kerry Just Help Set The Stage For The Fulfillment Of Bible Prophecy?

US Secretary of State John Kerry’s solution to keeping the “status quo” involves 24-hour video surveillance of the temple mount area. Some Bible prophecy students point out the interesting verses in Revelation 11 which speak of the whole world being able to watch what happens in Jerusalem when God’s Two Witnesses are killed on the streets and left there for three and a half days. Will they be watching through these newly installed cameras?………….. Click here for full story


Throuples Coming To America – ‘If Marriage Is Not The Union Of A Man And A Woman, Why Limit It To 2 People?’

Has the Supreme Court’s ruling that same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry paved the way for all kinds of non-traditional relationships to be legally recognized? “If marriage is not the union of a man and a woman, why limit it to two people?”………… Click here for full story


Dangerous Narratives – Replacing The Jewish Messiah Of The Bible With A Palestinian Martyr

Jeremiah Wright, who led Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago from 1972 to 2008 and served as served as Obama’s pastor for 20 years, is back at the center of controversy. Wright stoked controversy with his statement that “Jesus was a Palestinian,” alluding to Israel as an apartheid state and comparing “the youth in Ferguson and the youth in Palestine”. Is there any theological justification for the “Jesus was a Palestinian” bandwagon? . ……… Click here for full story


Biometric Trends Spreading Worldwide

In our earlier banking days, for secure proof of identity we initially had simple signature verifications and identity cards with photo identification. As we moved away from banking visits and teller counters, we transitioned towards passwords/PINs for mobile payments and online banking. Today, we are well into the next phase in personal identification and verification technologies: biometrics. .………… Click here for full story


Sounds Good But Smells Bad

A clean environment; equality for women; social justice for all; income distribution.  All these goals might sound good, but when you look at how the U.N. and world religious leaders are planning on implementing these lofty goals, you start to smell the stench of a “One World Government” and the end of religious freedom as […]

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Marijuana Madness

We get asked a lot about Marijuana…especially as more states deal with its legalization. We’re hoping to give you less smoke, and more substance. Listen Now | Download


Kong Hee’s first appearance at City Harvest after fraud verdict: “Pastor is sorry”

One would think that a pastor would understand that saying “I’m sorry” is not the same as asking his flock to forgive him for sinning against them by misappropriating 35 million of their hard earned money. Hee and several cohorts were convicted of using church funds to make his wife a popstar. You can’t make this stuff up, brethren. According to Christian Today:

City Harvest Church’s pastor Kong Hee apologised to his congregation this weekend after the guilty verdict in his trial for fraud.

According to the Asia One news service, on Sunday morning Kong faced a crowded auditorium at the Suntec convention centre, bowed and said, “Pastor is sorry”. He had used the same words at a service on Saturday night.

Kong, his deputy pastor Tan Ye Peng, finance manager Sharon Tan and former finance manager Serina Wee, were found guilty with former board members John Lam and Chew Eng Han of misusing $17 million from the church’s building fund to further the music career of Kong’s wife Ho Yeow Sun, known as Sun Ho. A further $18.5 million was used to cover up the scheme through a complicated system of bond issues and ’round-tripping’ transactions in which the church used its own money to pay debt owed to it.

http://www.christiantoday.com/article/kong.hees.first.appearance.at.city.harvest.after.fraud.verdict.pastor.is.sorry/68734.htm/


Freebie Friday! Set Apart Girl Magazine

by Erin Davis

Hot off the presses! Enter to win free copies of Set Apart Girl Magazine!

The Best Way to Tell Your Friends About Christ

by Leslie Ludy

They saw fulfillment, radiance, and peace that hadn’t been there before. And some began to ask me about it. Becoming set apart for my King made it possible for me to lead others to Him.

5 Fun Ways to Share Jesus with Your School This Year

by Erin Davis

How can you point people to Jesus this school year? Here are five fun ideas to try.

The Next Time You’re Offended

by Paula Hendricks Marsteller

So you feel angry? Insulted? Provoked? Offended? Downright mad? Now what?


City Harvest Church Founder Kong Hee, Wife Sun Ho Apologize to Congregation Following Guilty Verdict, Say They Will ‘Rise From the Ashes’

Catholic Leaders Agree to Soften Line on Divorced Couples, But Will Not Waver on Opposition to Homosexuality 

Donald Trump Issues Call for Civility in Politics, Calls Himself a ‘Unifier’ But Attacks Christian Faith of Ben Carson 

Pope Francis Issues Call for Compassionate Church Before Closing Bishop’s Meeting on Family Issues

Colorado Christian Baker Ordered to Make Wedding Cake for Gay Couple Takes Case to High Court

When Westboro Baptist Church Attacks: This Time, It’s Kim Davis

Certificate of Virginity: When the Celebration of Celibacy Is Criticized

Processed Meat Can Lead to Bowel Cancer, Red Meat Probably Can, World Health Organization Warns 


The Bible Believers Response To Halloween

When we, the Christians, participate in Halloween we are continuing the Druid tradition that was begun in human sacrifices and worship of the gods of the underworld.

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Pope Francis And Vatican Demand Complete ‘Decarbonization’ Of The Entire World

“It’s not just Pope Francis, it’s the whole church throughout the world, and that is powerful,” said Monsignor John Ribat, president of the bishops’ conference of Oceania and archbishop of Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, one of the front-line Pacific island nations most threatened by climate-induced rising sea levels.

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Chosen (Not Forgotten)

Even in the isolation of suffering, God knows you and remembers you as His beloved child. Continue reading

The Girl Behind This Famous Picture Is Speaking Out—And What She Says About Jesus Is Beautiful

Kim Phuc is the little Vietnamese girl running naked from a napalm attack in this photo. Kim, now 52, has an amazing story of resilience, faith and forgiveness and she’s sharing it with the world.

Kim’s peace didn’t come through diplomacy–it came through the person and the work of Jesus Christ. This is powerful.

The post The Girl Behind This Famous Picture Is Speaking Out—And What She Says About Jesus Is Beautiful appeared first on ChurchLeaders.com.


Should Christians Celebrate Halloween?

This is a repost of an article we compiled last Halloween, addressing the ever-controversial question of Halloween among Christians. The question is just as relevant in 2015 as it was in 2014, so we hope these resources can help guide you and your family this October 31st. 

Occasionally we get this question: Should Christians celebrate Halloween? And, by “occasionally,” we mean “every Halloween.” On one side are those who see nothing wrong with a little dress up and candy noshing (other than the accompanying cavities). On the other side are those who stand at their windows and weep to see all the neighborhood kids slowly circling the neighborhood as Narnia’s White Witch fills their baggies with Turkish delight. (Okay, maybe that’s a little dramatic, but you get the point).

We’d posit that neither an aggressively pro- or anti-Halloween approach is completely appropriate. Functionally, Halloween isn’t inherently good or bad. Paul, talking about a similar subject in Romans 14, says that each must be fully persuaded in his own mind; whatsoever is not of faith is sin; and we are not to judge another Man’s servant (Romans 14:4–5, 23). Halloween does offer us all an opportunity, however, to engage our neighbors missionally.

For those that can’t get past the historic ties between October 31 and the occult, that is a matter of conscience and we’d encourage you to be faithful to the Holy Spirit in that. “Hallowed Eve” started as the commemoration of the night before All Saints Day. There is no doubt that some members of the occult have, historically, commandeered it as a time to celebrate the work of evil spirits in opposition to “the saints.” But realize that cultural symbols are like words in a language: their historic roots are not as important as current usage. Most people realize that “rock and roll” was a 1950s euphemism for sex applied to a genre of music. But those today who say, “I like Christian rock music” are usually not trying to infuse sexual overtones into that music. In language, the etymology of a word is less important than its current, semantic meaning.

Cultural symbols work the same way. Thus, a lot of people going “trick or treating” at Halloween are not intending any connection with occult practices. Some even think of it as mockery.

Some believers, however, cannot get past those historic (and they will argue, current) connections between Halloween and occult ideas. Thus they consider anything participation in this history, like giving or receiving candy in its name, to be participation with demons. If that describes your attitude, we would encourage you to follow your conscience carefully. Whatever is not of faith is sin. But Paul tells us to allow freedom for other believers to peaceably disagree in things like this, too. It’s hard to think of a better application point for Romans 14 in our current day than this issue. So, by Paul’s council, follow your conscience before God, but allow your brothers and sisters in Christ to follow theirs without judging them.

For those of you who do send your kids out trick-or-treating, Halloween presents a unique opportunity for outreach. And no, we don’t mean by standing in your yard and preaching against the devil. Here are a handful of articles with some helpful ideas:

3 Tips for Reaching Your Neighbors This HalloweenJeff Mangum. As Mangum points out, the central question regarding Halloween needs to be, “In light of the gospel, how does God want me to put this day to use for the name of Jesus to be magnified?” Regardless of our stance on Halloween and its origins, there is no other time of year when our neighbors congregate outside en masse. Mangum has three creative solutions: 1. Host a costume party, 2. Have dinner on the lawn while you pass out candy (I really like this.), or 3. Go trick-or-treating with your neighbors.

12 Simple Ways to Be on Mission This HalloweenJeff Vanderstelt. Like Mangum, Vanderstelt wants us to view Halloween as missionaries. So how do we do Halloween “on mission?” As Vanderstelt reminds us, we should be hospitablego to “their place, and be prayerful. Some of the easiest (but highest reward) counsel he offers: have something for the parents, join the community events, and don’t just give out candy…give out the best candy.

3 Ways to Be Missional This HalloweenSeth McBee. This is a strong—if periodically sarcastic—defense of engaging in Halloween instead of hiding in the ghetto of your church’s “Fall Festival.” “If you start reading about Halloween’s roots, it’s hard to find an answer of where it came from. But, regardless of where it comes from, the question at hand should be: Why is Halloween celebrated today?  For most of us, Halloween isn’t a time where we celebrate the dead and go and skin a goat and sacrifice it to Satan.  For most of us, it’s a time to dress up our kids as a super hero and send them to strangers’ houses to get free candy. It has become just part of our culture in the West and has very little to do with the ‘darkness’…it’s not good, it’s not evil…it’s just something we celebrate, like the 4th of July.  I know we might have stories of darkness, but there are also many stories of overdrinking and evil happening on our other holidays as well.”

Four Reasons You Should Go Trick-or-Treating TonightEd Stetzer. Ever the missional mind, Stetzer joins the fray to remind us why not only Halloween, but trick-or-treating itself is a good idea for Christians: 1. There is no other night when people you’ve never met come to your door. 2. There is no other night when you get to go to your neighbor’s door and introduce yourself without any awkwardness. 3. You don’t have to worship the devil to go up and ask your neighbor for candy. 4. You can meet more neighbors in one night than any other day of the year.

3 Tips for Discipling Your Kids Through HalloweenJohn Murchison. Finally, here’s an article geared towards shepherding your kids. It’s one thing to have a missional mindset about Halloween; it’s 2.0 to get your kids to share that mindset. (After all, candy is a strong idol.) Murchison gives us some starters: 1. Every decision is an opportunity for discipleship, so lean on the Word, prayer, and community. 2. Do not fear; you’re going to make some parenting gaffes, so accept it and trust God anyway. 3. For or against Halloween, we’re all on the same team. Christians who choose to do something different than you on Halloween aren’t the enemy, so let’s keep the “friendly fire” to a minimum.


Three Truths and a Lie About the Bible

I don’t really enjoy reading the Bible.

I don’t get what a book written thousands of years ago has to do with my life today.

I’m not really a reader.

Did you know that people get drunk and have sex in the Bible?!

I don’t understand what I’m reading.

Did you know in the Bible there are these two people who were naked, in the forest, eating fruit?

I read the Bible everyday…Jesus Calling is my favorite.

These are all comments people have shared with me in regards to reading the Bible. One of them was from an 80-year-old grandmother, the other from a fourth grade student (bet you can’t guess which one?).

So what is it about this book, the Bible, that is so complicated? Is it really that difficult to understand? Is it really relevant for today? What is going on with all the sex, drunkenness, murder, and naked people?

While the Bible is certainly for us, it is not all about us. It’s about God.

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I didn’t grow up in the church, so my experience with the Bible was limited until I was about 20 years old. I just thought it was a list of rules to live by or some ancient book that told the story of the “two naked people in the forest, eating fruit.”

For many of us, perhaps we have learned that the Bible is supposed to only be opened on special occasions. Or you only turn to it when you want to feel good. Better yet, maybe you can just rip a verse out of context and make it mean what you what it to mean (hello, Jeremiah 29:11, anyone?).

It wasn’t until the Lord opened my heart to seek out truth that I discovered the life found on the pages of Scripture. And that’s when the paradigm shift happened: I learned that it’s not just if you read your Bible, but how you read it that will change everything. I learned three truths and lie about the Bible that helped me understand who God is and what his plan is for us.

Let’s start with the lie.

Lie: The Bible is all about me.

While the Bible is certainly for you, it is not all about you. It’s about God.

When we read the Bible, it’s to know and love God more. It isn’t to pull a verse out of context to apply like a Band-Aid; it isn’t to find Scripture to go around Bible thumping those “in sin”; and it isn’t to fill your head with more knowledge. It should produce a deeper understanding of God, greater love for him, and lead us into worship.

Part of the reason I’m not a fan of devotionals is they take you all over the place, pulling a verse here and there out of context, and slapping someone else’s meaning or application on it rather than reading a book in its entirety.

Reading the Bible in a way just to “get something for me” is like only eating dessert at a meal. It is the thing we all want and tastes delicious, but if we only read for application, our diet of God’s Word will be insufficient. We need to observe what is happening and discover the meaning of the text to properly apply it.

What a paradigm shift from what is sold to us in Christian bookstores: “Read this devotional for five steps to a better life!” Those types of things distort what God’s Word is really for: to tell the redemption story of God’s people through the person and work of Jesus Christ.

Truth: The Bible is meant to be studied.

One of the best ways to help grow in the Word is to pick one book or section of Scripture and study it. Sit in the passage for a while, reread it, come back to it, look up words, and become familiar with it. Like a letter written to a loved one, you read it from beginning to end.

So it is with books of the Bible. Reading a book in its entirety changes how you understand it and, therefore, deepens your understanding of God and his redemptive plan. When we read, we read to observe (what do we see?), interpret (what does it mean?), and apply (how should it change me?).

When I began to study the Bible inductively (observation-interpretation-application), when I began to look for what it teaches me about God and how I fit into his greater story, it came to life. Actually, it became my life. I enjoy reading the Bible, I see its relevance for my life (and world) today, it increases my understanding of God, and it helps me know why all those people were getting drunk, having sex, and committing murder — to help me see that I am just like those people, a sinner in desperate need of a Rescuer.

Truth: The Bible has many applications, but only one meaning.

While there are many translations of the Bible, it only has one meaning. Our job is to discover that meaning. We should never ask, “What does this verse mean to me?” but we ask, “What does this verse mean?” Our job as readers and students of the Bible is to uncover the original meaning of the text, to reveal how it is relevant and applies to us today. Biblical truths can apply to us in many ways, but they only have one meaning.

Truth: The Bible is all about Jesus.

The Bible is a collection of books and stories that point to a greater story: Jesus. The Bible has 66 books, written over a time span of 1,500 years, by 40 different authors, in three different languages, on three different continents, about one message: God’s rescue mission for his people through the person and work of Jesus Christ. The Bible is a story meant to be read that points to One who makes the unrighteous, righteous; the unclean, clean; the outcast, redeemed; the sinner, a saint.

This paradigm shift helped me to understand the Bible and, therefore, to better love and understand God and live in obedience to him. What has anchored me in times of pain and suffering has not been a verse I ripped out of context to chant when I’m anxious or afraid, but studying God’s Word in a deeper way. It’s knowing his character through understanding the big picture of Scripture from beginning to end that helps me (and all of us) endure suffering.

How we read the Bible matters — reading it will change your life and shift your paradigm completely.

RELATED POSTS:

The post Three Truths and a Lie About the Bible appeared first on Unlocking the Bible.


Bonfire Repentance

The Heidelberg Catechism’s answer to question 94, “What does God enjoin in the first commandment?” contains eleven verbs, eleven “doing” words.

“A. That I, as sincerely as I desire the salvation of my own soul, avoid and flee from all idolatry, sorcery, soothsaying, superstition, invocation of saints, or any other creatures; and learn rightly to know the only true God; trust in him alone, with humility and patience submit to him; expect all good things from him only; love, fear, and glorify him with my whole heart; so that I renounce and forsake all creatures, rather than commit even the least thing contrary to his will.”

These verbs can be divided into two categories that apply to all kinds of sins:

Sin-ward actions: Avoid, flee, renounce, forsake.

God-ward actions: Learn, trust, submit, expect, love, fear, glorify.

The God-ward actions cannot happen without the sin-ward actions, and the sin-ward actions cannot happen without the God-ward actions. They are two sides of the one experience of repentance.

AN ILLUSTRATION OF REPENTANCE

We can see an illustration of most of these verbs in action in Acts 19v13-21 where the idolatrous magicians and occultists of Ephesus were powerfully impacted by the Gospel of Christ:

  • They feared (v. 17)
  • They glorified the Lord Jesus (v. 17)
  • They believed (v. 18)
  • They came out into the open (v. 18)
  • They confessed (v. 18)
  • They showed their deeds (v. 18)
  • They burned their spell-books (v. 19)
  • They turned to God’s book (v. 20)

I would have loved to see that bonfire of repentance. Some estimates put the value of books burned at several million dollars of today’s money. In burning their spell-books, they were saying three things:

I detest my past: I hate what I was and did.

I want to make sure I do not return: I want to make it as difficult as possible for me to take up these practices again.

I want to make sure others will not be led astray: They could have sold their books to others for large sums of money they didn’t want their financial gain to result in spiritual loss for others.

AN APPLICATION OF REPENTANCE

But let’s not just go back a couple of thousand years to Ephesus, or a few hundred years to Heidelberg. Let’s bring this right up to date and apply it to our own lives with this one question: What should you put on the bonfire? Of course, it need not be a literal bonfire. But if not a literal bonfire, then use these repentance verbs to have a spiritual bonfire.

If the Holy Spirit fell in reviving power among us today, I don’t think Harry Potter conferences and books would be first to go up in flames. But I do believe there would be a huge conflagration of one of the greatest idols of our own time – digital technology. Don’t think you’ve turned your phone, your computer, or social media into an idol? Test yourself with these questions (read the rest at The Christward Collective).


George Mueller’s Timeless Advice for Growing in Faith

George Mueller is considered one of the mightiest prayer warriors to ever storm the throne of grace. For decades, he prayed for resources to provide for hundreds of orphanages in 19th century England and later reflected he had only ever made his needs known to God. And God provided for this man’s ministry prayer after prayer, year after year for decades. Of all of Mueller’s work, his writings on faith have received some of the highest praise.

Here is a wonderful excerpt from his writings on strengthening faith:

Let not Satan deceive you in making you think that you could not have the same faith but that it is only for persons who are situated as I am. When I lose such a thing as a key, I ask the Lord to direct me to it, and I look for an answer to my prayer; when a person with whom I have made an appointment does not come, according to the fixed time, and I begin to be inconvenienced by it, I ask the Lord to be pleased to hasten him to me and I look for an answer; when I do not understand a passage of the word of God, I lift up my heart to the Lord, that He would be pleased, by His Holy Spirit to instruct me, and I expect to be taught, though I do not fix the time when, and the manner how it should be; when I am going to minister in the Word, I seek help from the Lord, and while I, in the consciousness of natural inability as well as utter unworthiness begin this His service, I am not cast down, but of good cheer, because I look for His assistance, and believe that He, for His dear Son’s sake will help me. And thus in other of my temporal and spiritual concerns I pray to the Lord, and expect an answer to my requests; and may not you do the same, dear believing reader?

Oh! I beseech you, do not think me an extraordinary believer, having privileges above other of God’s dear children, which they cannot have; nor look on my way of acting as something that would not do for other believers. Make but trial! Do but stand still in the hour of trial, and you will see the help of God, if you trust in Him. But there is so often a forsaking the ways of the Lord in the hour of trial, and thus the food of faith, the means whereby our faith may be increased, is lost. This leads me to the following important point.

You ask, “How may I, a true believer, have my faith strengthened?”

The answer is this: “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” (James 1:17). As the increase of faith is a good gift, it must come from God, and therefore He ought to be asked for this blessing.

The following means, however, ought to be used:

1. The careful reading of the word of God, combined with meditation on it. Through reading of the word of God, and especially through meditation on the word of God, the believer becomes more and more acquainted with the nature and character of God, and thus sees more and more, besides His holiness and justice, what a kind, loving, gracious, merciful, mighty, wise, and faithful Being He is, and, therefore, in poverty, affliction of body, bereavement in his family, difficulty in his service, want of a situation or employment, he will repose upon the ability of God to help him, because he has not only learned from His word that He is of almighty power and infinite wisdom, but he has also seen instance upon instance in the Holy Scriptures in which His almighty power and infinite wisdom have been actually exercised in helping and delivering His people; and he will repose upon the willingness of God to help him, because he has not only learned from the Scriptures what a kind, good, merciful, gracious, and faithful being God is, but because he has also seen in the word of God how, in a great variety of instances He has proved Himself to be so. And the consideration of this, if God has become known to us through prayer and meditation on His own word, will lead us, in general at least, with a measure of confidence to rely upon Him: and thus the reading of the word of God, together with meditation on it, will be one especial means to strengthen our faith.

The post George Mueller’s Timeless Advice for Growing in Faith appeared first on ChurchLeaders.com.


Check out

Blogs

Sovereign Grace in the Wilderness by Steven Lawson | Ligonier Ministries Blog

20 Ways Being a Mom Makes You a Better Leader | Selma Wilson

Your Husband’s Infidelity Is Not Your Fault | Her.meneutics

Abused Christian Wives, It Is Not Your Fault and You Don’t Deserve It. | One Christian Dad

Knowing When and Where to Apply for a PhD Program – Everyday Theology

Busy Unlike Jesus | For The Church

Relevant, Old Paths by Burk Parsons | Ligonier Ministries Blog

Two Underused Strategies for Addiction | Desiring God

Kindle Books

Two practical books for family and relationships. And one epic history.

Boundaries with Teens: When to Say Yes, How to Say No $2.99.

Beyond Boundaries: Learning to Trust Again in Relationships $2.99.

Dam Busters: The True Story of the Inventors and Airmen Who Led the Devastating Raid to Smash the German Dams in 1943 $1.99.


Links I like

 

Anti-Secrecy Site Releases Abortion Industry Videos 

Leigh Jones for World Magazine:

An online news site that emphasizes publishing information ignored by mainstream media has obtained and posted to YouTube 11 Center for Medical Progress (CMP) videos a judge ordered the pro-life group not to release.

The video clips feature footage taken at a National Abortion Federation event. The abortion industry trade group sued CMP to block it from releasing the footage. But a House subcommittee requested all CMP’s footage as part of its investigation into Planned Parenthood’s involvement in the fetal-tissue trade, and another judge ordered CMP to hand over all the videos.

A Prayer for Dealing with Our Theological Differences Graciously

I really appreciated this.

Kindle deals for Christian readers

Love Like A Dam Break

Jared Wilson:

A fellow sinner may forgive but it takes some working up to do. In some cases, he may even be eager to forgive but this eagerness does not come naturally. In many cases, though, there is not eagerness but dutiful obligation. We bring our sorrow, our repentance, our request for pardon, and we receive questions, probing, testing, measuring. We deserve this, there’s no question about it. And really repentant persons will accept the difficulty of an offended party’s forgiveness as part of that repentance. So we slink, tail between our legs, chastened and stung. It has to be this way because of the nature of human hurt and the antisocial nature of sin.

Grown-Up Churches in an Age of Adolescence

Nick Batzig:

However, the age of adolescence has also taken its toll within the walls of the church. “It was wonderful. I felt like I was in college all over again.” Such was the response of a 48 year old mother of two teenagers when my sister asked her how she liked the church that she recently visited. Her statement is what can only be understood as a typical expression of someone who is part of “the age of adolescence.” We have 60 year old pastors dressing like 10th graders, praise bands scrambling to keep up with the shifting tastes of 20 somethings and a holistic children’s ministry that seems to exist to allow 30 and 40 somethings to convince themselves that they are newly weds and are on a date during worship. A new church arrives in town and the image on the billboard is that of full length sleeve-tattooed arms (which, on the one hand says, “Come as you are,” while, on the other, sends the message that this church is really made up of hip, young adults). In many cases, what passes for relevant church is what might actually be described as “children playing church.” While some would quickly insist that all of these things are part of an attempt to be relevant to the culture (though it’s often the case that it’s really only relevant to the better part of white, middle class, pop-culture America), there may actually be something deeper and more significant going on.

3 Ways to Minister To Your Wife’s Weary Soul

Joshua Hedger:

Wherever this post finds you and your wife, know that your job is not to fix your wife’s tiredness, but your responsibility is to minister to her when she finds herself in this place. Hear that, husband: tired is ok. You cannot create an environment for your wife that is perfect and you cannot protect her from weariness. It’s part of the calling. However, you can minister to her soul when she becomes weary.


A La Carte (October 26)

Reformation Day is coming up this week, and these two Kindle deals will remind you what it’s all about: The Reformation by Stephen Nichols ($2.99) and John Calvin: Pilgrim and Pastor by Robert Godfrey ($2.99). Both are short, accessible introductions to their subject. You may also be interested in God’s Love by R.C. Sproul (free) or The Money Answer Book by Dave Ramsey ($5.99).

This Is a Story About Loss

I really enjoyed this story about the Unclaimed Baggage Center. The author does a great job of discussing her own life and struggles even as she writes about a business.

The Largest-Ever Image of Space

“Space is big, but it’s never been quite this big. This composite image … is, they claim, the largest image of space to date. It shows a long swathe of the Milky Way, photographed piece by piece over a period of five years from the university’s observatory in the Chilean desert.”

Tips for Being a False Teacher

Interested in becoming a false teacher? This tongue-in-cheek article will give you the guidance you need.

Peggy Noonan’s Education in News Craft

Here’s an interesting and biographical column from Peggy Noonan.

Thresholds of Violence

If you are up for a longer read, check out Malcolm Gladwell’s article on how school shootings catch on.

This Day in 1751. Philip Doddridge died 264 years ago today. He is famous for his book The Rise and Progress of Religion in the Soul, which led William Wilberforce and others to Christ. He also wrote the hymn, “O Happy Day” (among hundreds of others). *

Fabulous Fall Foliage

Now that I’ve actually seen fall colors, I’m a bigger fan than ever. Here’s a photo gallery of fall at its finest.

Communicating with the Spirits

There are lots of interesting historical tidbits in this video. It displays some of the ways people have tried to communicate with the dead over the years and, as it does that, it shows the human fear of death and desperation to know what lies beyond it.


The Daily Discovery (October 26, 2015)

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

In Case You Were Wondering: Are Female Bloggers Violating Scripture by “Teaching” Men? – “Complementarian women bloggers and authors are frequently asked this question. Often it’s asked by dissenters looking for a ‘gotcha’ moment. Other times it’s a genuine concern for Christian women who want to write but still be in obedience to God’s word as it speaks to the role of women. But, whatever the motivation for asking, it’s a great question that needs to be answered.”

Inviting Persecution – “No one intentionally seeks out persecution. True, there are some people who enjoy portrayingthemselves as victims and garnering sympathy from others. But no one would willingly invite their own suffering and hardship.  However, as we consider what it means for Christians to be in the world but not of it, we have to accept that persecution is inevitable. There’s a natural friction between our faith and the world’s system bent in opposition to God and His Word. And inasmuch as we hold to the authority of God’s Word and adhere to the righteous example of His Son, we can expect to draw scrutiny and anger from a world that hates Him. Our lives are a testimony to the transforming work of the Lord through His Word, and the watching world finds that truth intolerable.”

Why Dispensational Publishing House? – “I am establishing Dispensational Publishing House to become the ‘go-to’ source for strong, Bible-based, theological, doctrinal and worldview resources from the dispensational perspective. While dispensational theology once had a very strong presence in the United States, today it is often looked upon with disdain and contempt in many evangelical—and most scholarly—circles. However, much of what has been written about dispensationalism is flawed in its assumptions. At DPH, our desire is to adequately present Biblical matters from a sound dispensational perspective. In so doing, we hope to correct some of the misconceptions regarding dispensationalism that exist in the current theological climate.”

Abortion and Child Sacrifice – “If people today were found sacrificing children, as the Canaanites and others did in the Old Testament, I’m sure the public and its elected officials like President Obama would be aghast. Such people would be prosecuted for brutality and murder.”

Equipping Children the Lord Has Enabled Us to Teach – “In a way, I have often likened the AiG outreach ministry to the Israelites as they conquered the land ‘little by little’ (Exodus 23:30; Deuteronomy 7:22). Over the years, we have been going out to churches, colleges, conferences of all types, and little by little have been spreading the truth of God’s Word and the gospel—and equipping people to defend the Christian faith against the onslaughts of evolutionary humanism that pervade the church and culture. I so love to see the thousands upon thousands of children the Lord has enabled us to teach, as they are the coming generation to be leaders in the church and culture. Once again this week, the Lord has enabled us the privilege of teaching people the truth of God’s Word beginning in Genesis. And this morning was another exciting time of teaching hundreds of children and young people.”


SERMON:

logo-contSermon

Nate Pickowicz – Christ’s Comfort in the Face of Persecution (John 16:1-7)


VIDEOS:

We will not bow.

Jesus Hates Religion?


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


10/26/15 Depart from Me

READING: Luke 12-13

TEXTS AND APPLICATION:  My heart is alarmed today, but not because I face any great trial or opposition. It’s not because my wife and I are struggling with anything. It’s not because I fear for my life as a Christ follower. No, it’s because I read these words of Jesus:

Luke 13:24-27  “Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because I tell you, many will try to enter and won’t be able once the homeowner gets up and shuts the door. Then you will stand outside and knock on the door, saying, ‘Lord, open up for us!’ He will answer you, ‘I don’t know you or where you’re from.’ Then you will say, ‘We ate and drank in Your presence, and You taught in our streets!’ But He will say, ‘I tell you, I don’t know you or where you’re from. Get away from Me, all you workers of unrighteousness!’

My anxiety comes from knowing many people who hang out with God’s people, participate in God’s church, and listen to God’s teachings — but who give no evidence of a life transformed by the gospel. They are banking on some previous response and their current “religious activity” more than the repentance and faith that mark the only “narrow door” to knowing God. Jesus was speaking to religious people when He spoke these words in the first century, and we in the 21st century need to hear His words as no less relevant to us.

As a pastor and professor, I believe my responsibility is to seek those who show little evidence of conversion, invest in them if they’ll allow, and help them recognize through God’s Spirit whether their lack of evidence is due to not being saved or not being discipled. Sometimes the problem is the latter, but the only way we know that is to walk beside them to find out. That’s messy — but imperative to address the alarm I feel over some folks I know.

ACTION STEPS: Ask God to direct you to someone whose professed faith is not evident. Begin the process of developing a relationship with the Spirit-led goal of bringing him or her to repentance.

PRAYER: “God, let me examine my own life first. If I’m showing no evidence of conversion, convict and challenge me. Direct me, God, to someone else in whose life I might invest myself. Give me wisdom to know how to connect with him and discern what I need to know.”


Our Time is Short

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


What is The Gospel?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Ready to start your new life with God?

Who do you think that I am?

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

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

Consider what the Bible says about Him: Read more


Resource Links

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

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

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

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

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

About Christianity
Know Jesus Christ and your life will be transformed


Truth2Freedom Blog Disclaimer

This post was originally posted on:

https://truth4freedom.wordpress.com

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

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

“In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, charity.”

— Augustine

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In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107,material here is distributed without profit for research and educational purposes.

A headline link on this blog post doesn’t necessarily mean that there is agreement or approval with all the views and opinions expressed within the headline linked article. Caution is also warranted with regards to the advertisements and links that are embedded within the headline linked article.


October 23, 2015 Christian Briefing Report

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Was/Is There A “Gay Agenda”?

Obviously there’s more to the book than this section, so Mohler does go on to talk about other issues, including how to respond to this massive movement with Christian principles.  Again, I’ll write a more detailed review later.  For now, flag this book as “one to read for sure” if you want more solid info and help in thinking about the sexual revolution from a Christian perspective.

Read more


4 Questions to Ask a Church Visitor

How did you discover our church? On a basic level, this will tell you what types of outreach are successful. And, you will find out what the visitor already knows, e.g., from looking at the church’s website. In addition, some visitors are comfortable with sharing more without being asked. You might learn that they are dissatisfied with their current church or that they are new to the area and don’t know anyone. This will help you understand them better.

Read more


The Reformation & the Rediscovery of Christian Assurance

Sinners do not progressively render themselves righteous before God through works, but are instantaneously declared righteous by faith in Jesus Christ. The penalty for our sin is not gradually purged through a mixture of man’s works, saintly merit, and time in Purgatory, but instantly forgiven through faith in Christ’s sin-bearing death on the cross. Righteousness sufficient for my assurance of heaven is not accumulated through careful keeping of the church’s sacraments, but is instantly credited by trusting in the righteous Christ alone as my mediator. Luther understood that justification is by faith alone in Christ alone. The result is that there is not one ounce of condemnation from God towards the sinner.

Read More


Abused Christian Wives, It Is Not Your Fault and You Don’t Deserve It.

We should not only be aware of the problem of domestic violence, we should also care so deeply about those members of the Body who have been, or who are being harmed by an abuser, that we actually feel their pain, and will do everything in our power to help them…but so often we just say, “but that’s none of my business”, or worse, we side with the abuser. Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 12, that we are all members of one Body and if one member hurts, we all hurt.

Read More


11 Verbs of Repentance

But let’s not just go back a couple of thousand years to Ephesus, or a few hundred years to Heidelberg. Let’s bring this right up to date and apply it to our own lives with this one question: What should you put on the bonfire? Of course, it need not be a literal bonfire. But if not a literal bonfire, then use these repentance verbs to have a spiritual bonfire.

Read More


Negligence Lawsuit Filed Against IBLP

The lawsuit, which was filed in the Circuit Court for Dupage County (Illinois), alleges that IBLP was negligent over the past several decades by failing to properly address alleged sexual abuse and harassment by IBLP employees and that IBLP failed to properly report known or suspected abuse to the proper authorities. The lawsuit further alleges that IBLP’s conduct was “wilful and wanton” because IBLP demonstrated an “utter indifference to and/or [a] conscious disregard for a substantial risk of harm” to the plaintiffs, and that IBLP and its directors engaged in a civil conspiracy to cover up the allegations.

Read More


The Awesome Power to Work for God’s Good Pleasure

We “work out” our salvation. We don’t earn it, but because we are saved, as someone once said, we are to “work out what God has worked in.” God first gives us the will to work then fills us with his mighty power to work for his good pleasure.

Read more


A Theology of Worship

The gospel—Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection— is what makes worship possible. The gospel is what we proclaim in worship. The gospel is what we sing in worship. The gospel is what calls a people together in worship, inspires a people to praise in worship, and sends a people out in a life of worship. Every Sunday is another opportunity to sing about the cross, glory in our Redeemer, and marvel at the good news that is Christ for us and in us. Jesus Christ is at the center of all biblical thinking about worship. He is the mediator between God and man. His substitutionary sacrifice on the cross is the propitiation for our sins. He is the procurer of salvation and blessing for the nations. He is the new temple in which and around which all true believers gather.

Read more


Faith Healer Rod Parsley Turns To Modern Medicine To Battle Cancer

If Mr. Parsley really believed he had the apostolic gift of healing, why wouldn’t he go on his own television show and, before a global audience, receive the miraculous healing power from God he claims to have?

“Then said Jesus unto him, Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe.” John 4:48 (KJV)

Faith healer and prosperity preacher Rod Parsley has for many years made his living by dramatically laying hands on people, “slaying them” in the spirit and pronouncing them to be “healed” as they fall backwards in comical obedience to his commands. Now, faith healer Parsley has been diagnosed with throat cancer, and he doing a strange thing. Instead of having someone in his church with the “anointing” to lay hands on him, or go to another high-profile “healer” like Benny Hinn, Rod Parsley is taking radiation treatments at his local hospital.

Parsley says this about his treatment: “Whatever medication I take, I stand against any side effects. I say, “This medication will do exactly what God and my doctors purpose it to do, and will harm me in no way.” The Bible says, Mark 16—and I’ve stood on this, “If they drink any deadly thing, it shall not harm them,” meaning whatever comes in to my body to help bring healing will not harm me, for I’m a child of God.”

Now we here at NTEB certainly do wish a speedy and full recovery for Mr. Parsley in his cancer battle, make no mistake about that. But we also wish to point out the true powerlessness of self-proclaimed faith healers, and the damage their false doctrine does to the body of Christ. We do not live in the days of the apostles, and as such, the apostolic gifts of healing do not exist in our present Church Age. This is what the Bible teaches us. Rod Parsley is one of the highest-profile faith healers on television today, and yet he is completely unable to obtain the “miracle healing” he has purported to be able to freely dispense to others since he began in the ministry in 1977.

If Mr. Parsley really believed he had the apostolic gift of healing, why wouldn’t he go on his own television show and, before a global audience, receive the miraculous healing power from God he claims to have? Why doesn’t he invite TD Jakes, Creflo Dollar, Benny Hinn or any of the others to perform a healing on him while the cameras are rolling? He won’t do that because it would be the end of his ministry, and the end of the ministries of any of his faith healing buddies when they publically failed to heal him.

So the next time you are tempted to go to a “healing crusade” and have a millionaire televangelist lay hands on you and heal you, just remember what they do when they get sick. They go to the doctors and the hospitals just like everyone else does. Does God still heal? Absolutely He does. Just not through a phony healing crusade by a powerless faith healer.

Get well, Mr. Parsley, and when you do, go back to your church and start preaching the actual gospel.


The Highway to Utopia

Progressives are trying to steer the world into Utopia.  How will they accomplish this lofty goal?  Lee Duigon, a contributing editor with the Chalcedon Foundation, reveals their plan, which involves science and coercion: Free will is messy—especially other people’s free will. It’s so annoying, when you know what’s best for them, and you’re kind enough to […]

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Our Greatest Threat Is Our Greatest Opportunity

Most people still know very little about Islam and the people who call themselves Muslims.

The post Our Greatest Threat Is Our Greatest Opportunity appeared first on Stand Up For The Truth.

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Christianity and Civil Disobedience

Is there every a right time for such a thing? Robert Meyer of Renew America joins us on today’s program.

The post Christianity and Civil Disobedience appeared first on Stand Up For The Truth.

read more

Christianity-Civil-Disobedience.mp3 21.1 MB


Sharpening Each Other Or Turning Against One Another?

There’s a difference between contending for the faith and throwing another under the bus over minor disagreements.

The post Sharpening Each Other Or Turning Against One Another? appeared first on Stand Up For The Truth.

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Sharpening-Each-Other-Or-Turning-Against-One-Another_.mp3 21.9 MB


 

If Patience Is A Virtue, Why Do We Lack It?

The answer is simpler than you think. Dave Wager joins us on the program.

The post If Patience Is A Virtue, Why Do We Lack It? appeared first on Stand Up For The Truth.

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If-Patience-Is-A-Virtue-Why-Do-We-L.mp3 20.9 MB


Education or Indoctrination?

Dr. Duke Pesta of Freedom Project Education gives us the very latest in the campaign to raise awareness about the dangers of Common Core.

The post Education or Indoctrination? appeared first on Stand Up For The Truth.

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Education-or-Indoctrination_.mp3 21.3 MB


Fundamentalist Christian Ministry Attended by Josh Duggar under Investigation for Sexual Abuse

Christian Headlines has the latest on Bill Gothard, founder of Institute In Basic Life Principles. In 2014 Gothard resigned over sexual harassment charges:

A fundamentalist Christian ministry is under investigation for allegedly covering up sexual abuse of employees and children who attended its programs.

Christian Today reports that the Institute in Basic Life Principles (IBLP), which was once a leading organization within the Christian homeschooling movement, has been accused of covering up sexual abuse.

Five women have filed a lawsuit against IBLP, asking for $50,000 in compensation and stating that the organization “frequently received reports” of “sexual abuse, sexual harassment and inappropriate/unauthorised touching,” and that these serious allegations were never reported to authorities.

http://www.christianheadlines.com/blog/fundamentalist-christian-ministry-attended-by-josh-duggar-under-investigation-for-sexual-abuse.html


BREAKING: Here Are All The Unreleased Planned Parenthood Tapes

GotNews.com reports:

GotNews.com has obtained all of the Planned Parenthood tapes but the lawyers representing the National Abortion Federation wants to censor them and us.

Yesterday we were hit with an unconstitutional demand letter from Morrison & Foerster, the firm representing the National Abortion Federation in its suit against David Daleiden and the Center for Medical Progress.

http://www.str.org/videos/thoughts-on-our-sinful-nature


Pastors grow more polarized on Islam

According to Baptist Press:

Protestant pastors are increasingly polarized about Islam, with a growing share labeling the Muslim faith violent while a sharply rising minority calls it spiritually good, a new study shows.
Although a majority considers Islam dangerous, a small but increasing segment believes Islam is similar to Christianity, according to a new survey by LifeWay Research.

And two-thirds of Protestant pastors agree Christianity and Islam should seek to coexist in America.

http://www.bpnews.net/45702/study–pastors-grow-more-polarized-on-islam


65 Million American Adults Have Left the Church?

According to recent research, of the 210 million adults in the United States, 65 million of them used to attend church regularly but no longer do, and 2.7 million more leave every year.

Church as we know it is dying.

[Want to read some of the research for yourself? Find numerous church statistics here (much of which seems contradictory) or get Josh Packard’s book which contains the latest research on this subject.]

leaving the church

But, in my opinion, this does not mean at all the church itself is dying.

How could it? Jesus said, “I will build my church …” Do we honestly think He will fail in this?

No, I believe the church of the future looks absolutely nothing like the church most people are familiar with.

In fact, for many people already, the church of the present looks nothing like the church of the past.

But that is not the point of this post…

I want to talk briefly about those 65 million adults who no longer attend church.

65 Million Adults No Longer Attend Church

A recent study on these 65 million adults discovered that while they no longer attend church, 30 million of them still identify themselves as Christian, and are still actively engaged in various practices and relationships that closely mirror some of the activities and relationships a person might practice in a church building except that they are no longer in a church building.

empty pewsThey firmly believe they are followers of Jesus and are still part of the Church, even though they no longer sit in a pew on Sunday morning.

Do you have a problem with that?

I don’t. I say, “May their tribe increase!”

But I don’t really even want to talk about them.

I want to talk about the other 35 million.

35 Million Have Completely Abandoned Jesus?

I want to talk about the 35 million who used to attend church, and who no longer do, and who no longer self-identify as Christians or claim to follow Jesus or worship God in any meaningful way.

For myself, I find that number highly suspect.

I certainly have not done any sort of scientific research into this segment of the population, but I work in an environment where I get to interact with a lot of religious and non-religious people, and I have had countless conversations with people who probably count as one of the 35 million people who used to attend church and identify as Christian, but no longer do.

And it’s true …

… They don’t attend church. They don’t read their Bibles. They don’t pray. They don’t call themselves “Christian.” They don’t claim to follow Jesus. They use coarse language. They live what appears to be completely “secular” lives.

But do you want to know what I have found?

I have yet to talk to a single person who truly has abandoned God or rejected Jesus.

I am not saying these people don’t exist. I know they do. I just think the number is much, much smaller than 35 million. I would be surprised if it was even 10% of that number.

i quit church

Here is why I say this …

When I talk to individuals who used to attend church but now want nothing to do with God, Jesus, church, the Bible, or anything of the sort, one of the initial questions I always ask is, “So why did you leave it all behind? What happened? What changed?”

Without fail, I get an answer that falls somewhere into one of the following sorts of explanations:

The church told me I had to believe in 6 24-hour days of creation 6000 years ago. I couldn’t believe that, so I figured that if this is what it meant to be a Christian, I couldn’t be one.

OR

The church was all about hate. They hated gay people. They hated democrats. They hated Muslims. I have some gay friends. I have some Muslim friends. I am a democrat. So I left Christianity.

OR

Have you read the Old Testament? God is drowning everybody who lives and telling the Israelites to slaughter people. I once told my Bible study leader that I was uncomfortable with a God who does these sorts of things, and he told me that I had to love and worship this God or I couldn’t be a Christian. So I’m not a Christian.

OR

Have you read all those silly laws in the Bible? Laws about what I can and cannot wear? What I can and cannot eat? Who I can and cannot hang out with? I like cheeseburgers. I like bacon. And I like hanging out with people who also like to eat these things. I couldn’t follow a God who made a bunch of dumb laws like that.

OR

My pastor was a pedophile and the church board tried to cover it up so the church wouldn’t split. I wonder how many children he molested which we will never know about? I couldn’t have anything to do with people who cover up things like that. So I left and never looked back.

There are a few other similar explanations I have heard, but those are the sorts of explanations I typically hear.

And do you know how I always respond?

Here is what I say:

Guess what?

God agrees with you.

When you reject a religious group because they are closed off about science, or teach you to hate people because they’re different, or tell you that genocide is good and holy, or cover up child molestation to protect a pastor, God cheers you on.

When you turned your back on these things, you did not turn your back on God.

No, you rejected the things God Himself rejects. You did not turn from God; you turned to God.

The truth is that you know what God is like, apparently better than many church people do.

God is like Jesus, and Jesus accepts everybody, loves everybody, forgives everybody. If you want to live like this toward others, then you have not abandoned God, but have been following Him (even if you didn’t know it).

Jesus condemned genocidal behavior. He condemned all portraits of a violent God. If you condemn genocide and violence, then you have not abandoned God, but have been following Him.

The only people Jesus ever condemned are the religious leaders who had a bunch of silly rules to keep people away from God and who covered over their own hypocritical sins and perversions for the sake of power, manipulation, and control. If you condemn these sorts of behaviors in religious people, then you are condemning the things that God also condemns, and you have not abandoned God, but have been following Him.

A lot of people, when they hear this, look at me sort of skeptically, because they have heard the exact opposite from most churches and church leaders. They often say,

Well, if you’re right, I could maybe follow a God like that. But I’ve never heard this before from anybody.

So if I get the chance, I approach the topic from another direction. I might say,

I don’t know if you believe in God or not. You say you don’t. Fine. But hypothetically, IF God did exist, IF there was a God, what would you like Him to be? How would you like Him to behave? What would you like Him to do?

I am not asking you what you think God is like, or what you think the church says God is like. I am asking you what you would like God to be like … if He exists.

what is god likeThey sit back, and they usually joke around a bit about how they want God to give them a million dollars and a mansion on the beach and let them live forever in perfect health.

But eventually, if I press a bit, they get around to describing a God who is not that worked up about sin, but who loves everybody and teaches people to love everybody.

They describe a God who understands how painful and difficult life is, and who knows that a bunch of religious rules and regulations don’t help.

They dream about a God they can talk to and who is with them in their pain, and fear, and sorrow.

They hope that God accepts people regardless of their sexual or political orientation, who sides with the poor and the outcast, who doesn’t have favorites, and who wants equality, justice, freedom, and fairness for all.

And as they dream dreams out loud about God, I get to smile and, when they are done, say,

Guess what? I’ve got some really good news for you.

The God you have described is the God who exists. THAT is what God IS like. THAT is the God revealed by Jesus.

The God you rejected, the God of popular Christianity, is not God.

You rejected a god who kills, steals, and destroys. But God doesn’t do that. You rejected a satanic version of God, which means that by rejecting that false god, you were actually worshipping the true God!

In your heart, you know God. You know what He is truly like. And so when you rejected the god of religion, you actually turned toward the God who truly is.

In fact, in turning away from that god, you were actually following the true God, and you just didn’t know it.

Most people cannot believe this right away, because they have never heard such a thing before.

But sometimes, this idea leads to further conversations, and further questions.

leaving church

Do you know someone who is angry at God, the Bible, or the church?

If you know someone who is angry at God, the Bible, or the church, praise them for it. Most likely, their anger is Godly anger. Most likely, their disgust is righteous. Most likely, they are representing God’s true heart.

The next time you encounter someone who has “left the church” or “rejected God” rather than tell them that they need to come back, instead, strike up a conversation by asking them what happened, or why they made the decision they did.

And whatever you do, never ever ever EVER have this conversation with the goal of inviting such a person to come to your church. Never.

no churchIf you have this sort of conversation with someone, and then you end it with, “So come to our church on Sunday! This is what our pastor teaches! His sermons are great!” you will probably never have a conversation with that person again. They will think that the only reason you said what you said was to get them into a pew at your church. They will see it as manipulative (and they would be right).

In fact, even if the person offers on their own to attend your church, please, tell them not to. Obviously, you cannot forbid them to visit your church, but gently tell them that since they know God so well, they don’t really need to “attend a church” on Sunday morning.

Invite them instead to just be open on a daily basis to what God wants to show them about Himself. Tell them that apparently, God has led them out of the institutional church for a reason, and so He might not want them to go back in. They are still part of His Church, but there might be something else He has in store for them that does not involve singing songs and listening to a sermon on Sunday morning.

Tell them that apparently, they have been doing a fine job of following Jesus, and they should simply be open to seeing where He leads them next.

This will be such a relief to them, that it might be just the thing they need to hear to encourage them to seek God and follow Him intentionally for the first time in their lives. For you have just told them that God is with them, that God wants to lead them, that they can hear from God and know Him within the community of friends they already have. They don’t need to add something “spiritual” to their life; they only need to recognize that God is already there with them, that their entire life is already spiritual.

So those are my thoughts about the so-called “35 million who have turned away from God.” I don’t think they need someone to invite them to “return.” No, what they need is for someone to praise them for their choice, and tell them that in rejecting a manipulative, fear/guilt/shame-based, violent religion, they have not abandoned God, but have actually followed Him into a place that look, sounds, and acts more like Jesus.

Maybe you will be that someone…


You’re not the old you anymore – 15 descriptions of a Christian’s new identity in Jesus

Many Christians, describe themselves this way: “I’m just a sinner saved by grace.”

This is true, and good to remember. Some, genuinely seeking to be humble say, “I’m the worst of sinners,” referring to Paul’s statement in 1 TI 1:15 about being the foremost of sinners. When Paul said that he was referring to Christ’s mission to come into this world to save sinners, even someone like him who persecuted the church. But Paul didn’t mean that he continued to be the worst of sinners. That was in the past. It was good to remember in order to be grateful, but he didn’t continue to be the worst of sinners.

After Christ saves us, though we still sin and must fight daily to put it to death, our PRIMARY IDENTITY is NOT sinners. In 1 CO 6 Paul says the unrighteous won’t inherit the kingdom – the immoral, adulterers, homosexuals, thieves, drunks, etc, but in verse 11 he says:

“And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”

Did you catch that? Such WERE some of you! Yes, we WERE unrighteous sinners. But now in Christ, we have a NEW IDENTITY. God counts us righteous in Christ. So rather than identifying ourselves as the worst of sinners, we should think of ourselves as the New Testament describes those Christ has saved. Think about these amazing truths. We are:

New creations

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 2 CO 5.17

Children of God

But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God JN 1.12

Co-heirs with Christ

and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him. RO 8.17

Created after the likeness of God

and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. EPH 4.24

No longer slaves of sin

We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. RO 6.6

Welcomed in Christ

Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God. RO 15.7

Joined to Jesus and one spirit with him

But he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him. 1 CO 6.17

Clothed with Christ

for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. GA 3.27 (NIV)

Adopted as sons

he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will EPH 1.5

Citizens of heaven

But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ PHP 3.20

Loved by Jesus

As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. JN 15.9

Loved by the Father

for the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God. JN 16.27

Chosen, royal priests, holy, God’s own possession, proclaimers of his excellencies

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 1 PE 2.9

Raised with Christ

If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. CO 3.1

Temples of the Holy Spirit

Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own… 1 CO 6.19

This is who we are now in Christ. Yes, we WERE unrighteous, vile sinners. But NOW we have new fundamental identities. Reflect on these things. Meditate on them and rejoice. If it would help you, print this out and put in on your fridge or save it so you can reflect on these verses again. And remember, though you must still fight sin, the old you has passed away and the new has come.


Why the Evidence in the Universe Points Most Reasonably to the Existence of God (Cold Case Christianity Broadcast #48)

In this episode of the Cold-Case Christianity Broadcast, J. Warner Wallace concludes his six part mini-series summarizing material from his latest book, God’s Crime Scene: A Cold-Case Detective Investigates the Evidence For A Divinely Created Universe. J. Warner describes the power of cumulative cases and assembles the case for God’s existence. Is the existence of God reasonable given the diverse evidence in the universe? Are explanations from “inside the room” of the natural universe more reasonable than the explanation from “outside the room”? (For more information, visit http://www.ColdCaseChristianity.com)

Here is the audio podcast (the Cold-Case Christianity Weekly Podcast is located on iTunes or our RSS Feed):

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Don’t Coddle Your Fears

Don’t Coddle Your FearsWe obey what we fear. Some fears are instinctual but others are conditioned. Most fears are expressions of things we believe. And what we believe governs our behaviors.

Courage is the positive expression of faith — we believe good will result from an action or non-action. Fear is the negative expression of faith — we believe bad will result from an action or non-action.

Fears are extraordinarily powerful, but frequently they do not tell us the truth.

Fears can be overcome, but only by changing the beliefs that fuel them.

Sometimes we have good reason to fear. Much of the time, however, our fears are unfounded or greatly exaggerated.

Fear of the Deep End

When I was six or seven years old, my mother enrolled me in swimming lessons at a local junior high school. At first they were fun, as we learned new skills in the familiar security of the shallow end. But as the lessons progressed the instructors had us spend more time in the deep end of the pool where we were forced to rely on what we had learned about treading water, floating on our backs and our new swimming strokes. That was a bit scary, but the instructors stayed close.

But then came a dreaded day: all of us would have to jump off the diving board into the deep end.

I didn’t fear jumping. I loved taking running leaps into the shallow end. After a while, I was even willing to take tentative jumps into the deep end, provided that the side of the pool was within reasonable reach. But the diving board was a good 15-20 feet away from the side of the pool and the thought of jumping off of it into the abyss was terrifying.

Why was I so afraid? If you had asked me back then, I’m not sure I would have been able to articulate my fear. I probably would have answered something like, “I just don’t want to do it!” I just knew it was overwhelming. But looking back, I know what I was afraid of — drowning.

Facing My Fear

When my turn to jump finally came, I got up on the board, walked carefully toward the end, and stood there, scared to death. My fear was immobilizing. I couldn’t jump. My instructor was close by, treading water beneath me. He said, “Don’t be afraid! You can do it! You’re going to be okay.”

Why did he tell me that? He told me that because he had equipped me with the skills to swim and he was nearby to help me if I got into trouble. Therefore my fear of drowning was unfounded. However, it was still governing my behavior. I was not in real danger, but I still believed that this jump might be the last I ever took. My instructor knew that the only way to cure my fear and rid me of my unbelief was to make me face it. I had to jump in order to make the discovery that his promise that I would be okay would prove true. He knew that if I jumped, my fear would lose its power over me.

I don’t know how long I stood there debating with my instructor; maybe five to seven minutes. But it felt like an hour. He was exhorting and encouraging me and I was explaining to him that I just couldn’t jump. I would start walking to the back of the board and his exhortations would get stronger. I’d come back up to the front of the board and begin to muster the courage to jump and then lose heart and back away. What I was experiencing was a faith struggle. Would I believe my fears or would I believe my instructor’s promises? What I chose to believe would make all the difference in my behavior.

Finally, in my mind and heart the scale of faith tipped from believing my fears to believing the encouraging promises my instructor was making to me. And I jumped. It was not a heroic jump. But it was a life-changing jump. When I jumped, I discovered that my instructor’s promises were true and my fears had been unfounded. A whole new dimension of swimming joy began to open up to me. Faith replaced fear, confidence replaced paralysis. I got up and jumped again. And then I did it again.

Life-Changing Jump

The next week, when they had us jump again the old fear was back again and the first jump was a bit hard, but not as hard as it had been before. I jumped after a short battle for faith. And then I was off. It wasn’t very long before I was diving off the board and later off a high dive at a local beach.

My instructor could have coddled my fear. He could have pitied that terrified little boy cowering on the diving board, begging him not to force me to do what terrified me. He could have come up and put his arm around me and guided me off the diving board and escorted me back to the comfort and security of the shallow end. I would have been grateful to him that day. But I would not have been grateful later. I would have spent much more of my childhood splashing in the shallows and missing out on the joy of the deeps.

Are you standing on a diving board? Is your heavenly Instructor telling you to jump in? Are you terrified, pacing back and forth on the board, begging him not to make you do it? Are you telling him why you can’t? Is he making precious and very great promises to you that if you jump, a whole new dimension of joyful faith-swimming will open up to you?

His promises are true, but you won’t really know that until you jump. It doesn’t have to be a heroic jump. But it just may prove to be a life-changing jump.


Related Resources


3 Reasons God’s Holiness Terrifies Us

C.S. Lewis once noted that many people talk about “meeting God” as if it would be a warm, cozy experience. “They need to think again,” he says. I’ve recently been reading through scenes in Scripture that depict people meeting God. And Lewis is right: It’s never an experience that creates warm fuzzies. More often than not, it’s a scene of abject terror.

Isaiah illustrates this well. When Isaiah saw God in his holiness, Scripture says,

“And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke. And I said, ‘Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!’” (Isaiah 6:4–5)

Isaiah, God’s prophet, catches a glimpse of God in his perfection. But his response isn’t, “How cool!” Rather, it’s “I’m lost!” That’s what seeing God’s holiness does. It terrifies us. The seraphim—whose name literally means “blazing ones” because they are too brilliant to look at—are here covering their faces before God. And the pillars of the temple—God’s holy house—are shaking. They aren’t even people, and they’re quaking in fear.

Why is God’s holiness terrifying? I see three reasons.

1. Just to be in the presence of greatness is terrifying.

When I was a teenager, Michael Jordan was my hero. Like every other kid in North Carolina, I had a poster of him in my room. I imitated (poorly) his trademark shots. So when he came to a nearby golf tournament, I went to see if I could just brush shoulders with him. My friends and I wandered around all day … with no luck. But as the event was shutting down, I saw his purple Porsche round the corner. And in a strange confluence of events, he rolled his window down at the same time my buddy pushed me forward into the now-opened window. For a brief moment, I was inches away from MJ’s face, until he calmly said, “Get outta my car.”

It’s an odd scene, but that typifies what it’s like to be in the presence of human greatness. It was a mixture of fascination and fright. I was—at the same time—attracted to him and afraid to approach him. And that experience is, in an astronomically small measure, what it’s like to approach the greatness of God.

I know that the idea of a frightening God is out of fashion today. It seems backward and un-modern. But in the presence of human greatness, we feel a measure of intimidation and fear. How much more would we feel that in the presence of divine greatness?

2. God’s holiness is terrifying because it reveals our goodness to not be good.

I love the KJV translation of Isaiah’s statement. “Woe is me! For I am undone.” That’s a vivid depiction of what Isaiah was feeling. The “glue” that had held his life together—his sense of goodness—was being torn apart when faced with pure, absolute goodness.

That’s always what it feels like when God’s presence begins to enter your life. It’s disorienting to the point of feeling like a disaster. As Rosaria Butterfield aptly puts it, conversion is like a train wreck. It jumbles you up and leaves you feeling undone before it ever starts putting you back together.

In fact, one of the surest signs that you’ve never met God is that you feel pretty good about yourself. We’re creatures of comparison, so we tend to console ourselves by comparing our moral worth to others. “I’m not as bad as …” But when you see true holiness, all that falls apart. When we see goodness for what it is, we feel without being told that our goodness is, as Isaiah would say, “filthy rags.”

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8 Warning Signs of Church Division

Over the years, our Lawless Group church consulting team has worked with many churches that have recently endured a “church split.” Sometimes the division results in more than one congregation, but sometimes the same church simply exists in a divided state.

What we’ve learned is the no division happens overnight; every one has some kind of previous problem that no one addressed. To help you evaluate your church’s possibility of division, here are some of those warning signs:

  1. Unresolved, but hidden, anger over a past church issue. I’m amazed by how many times we’ve talked with church members who are angry over things that happened years, if not decades, ago. On the outside it looks like they’ve “gotten over it”; but when our team gives them opportunity to talk, the volcano erupts.
  2. Bitterness among members. I don’t understand it, but I’ve surely seen it: members who are so bitter at each other that they’ll change small groups, intentionally sit on opposite sides of the worship center, and avoid each other on the Lord’s Day. It’s crazy, actually….
  3. Turf wars. Look around to see who in the church is protecting something. The ministry group that refuses to change meeting places. The bad leader who threatens to create a ruckus if you really ask him to step down. The leadership team that rebels against sharing any of their power. The more entrenched people are in their roles, the more likely the church faces division when changes are needed.
  4. Rigid small groups. By “rigid,” I mean small groups that are unwilling to change, are quite comfortable with their current fellowship, are unwelcoming (although seldom intentionally) to guests, and are often “doing their own thing.” In essence, they’ve become their own little church. That’s division.
  5. Unchanging lay leadership. When the primary lay leadership of the church (deacons, teachers, etc.) has not changed in years, the church may be developing an “us vs. them” or “older folks vs. newer folks” division. Eventually, the folks left out will sit in apathy or attend elsewhere.
  6. Parking lot and hallway meetings. The conversations may be quiet ones, but they’re not unnoticed. Even “secret” meetings are seldom secret for long. Frustrated members who meet behind the scenes (even those who in the long run take a right position) are only fostering division.
  7. Fewer guests attending. I can show you this trend in many churches: when a church is on the verge of conflict, its members stop inviting others. Unless the church is simply in an exploding area where newcomers visit regularly, the number of guests naturally decreases when division begins to bubble up in a church.
  8. Fewer fellowship events. The happy church plans times to hang out together because they genuinely enjoy being together. Those events tend to decrease in number (and certainly in attendance) when inner turmoil is developing.

7 Things Youth Need From Their Parents So They Won’t Abandon God

Why are young people leaving the church? If I had a dollar for every time I heard this question, I would have a lot of dollars. And I get it. The rate at which young people are leaving the church is alarming. Everyone has experienced a young person throwing aside their faith, either directly or indirectly. It’s devastating.

So, how does the church need to change? While this question needs to be addressed, I don’t think it provides an answer to the problem.

Stick with me, I am going somewhere.

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You see, I believe parents are the primary link between young people and God. Not the church. In his book Soul Searching, Christian Smith says this:

The most important social influence in shaping young people’s religious lives is the religious life modeled and taught to them by their parents.

In an interview with Drs. Kara Powell and Chap Clark, Smith goes even further:

When it comes to kids’ faith, parents get what they are.

Whoa. That’s real.

Here’s the deal. Parents, you are painting a portrait of God for your children every day. Every word, action and conversation is a brushstroke. And when your children prepare to leave home, they are staring at a portrait of God. A portrait that shapes their actions and decisions about faith moving forward.

Are there exceptions? Absolutely. As a youth minister, I witnessed young people leave Jesus, even though the faith of their parents was rock solid. I also saw young people continue into college on fire for God, even though their parents had shaky, fickle faith. So, this isn’t a black and white issue. Few issues are.

But will you, as a parent, play an enormous role in shaping the faith of your children? No doubt.

With that being said, I want to point out some things young people need from their parents. I present these as someone who left God for a season in college, someone who ministers to young people every day, and someone who is passionate about reaching the next generation.

Here are seven things youth need from their parents so they won’t abandon God.

1) They need you to stop handing their faith off to youth leaders.

I grew up in church. But I was never part of a youth group. I didn’t receive formal training in youth ministry. So, when I jumped into youth ministry, the whole thing was new to me.

In the first few months, I noticed something alarming. It appeared as though parents looked to me as the primary person responsible for the spiritual growth of their kids. Why is this alarming? The Bible makes no mention of this model.

Unfortunately, most churches have created this mess. And reinforced it. Calendars are filled with events, and a cultural pressure is placed on young people to get a gold star for perfect attendance. Don’t get me wrong. I am not against youth ministry. I think it is a great tool for building faith in young people.

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A Response to Christians Who Are Done With Church

You hear it all the time.

I’m done with church.

I don’t really need to go to church  … my relationship with God is personal.

I’ve had it with organized religion.

The church is a man-made invention, not God’s idea.

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I completely understand why a growing number of people are bailing on church. Even people who used to lead in the church often stop attending (here are nine reasons why church leaders do that).

We’ve spent a lot of time working through the issue of declining church attendance (and growing disillusionment with the church) on this blog and in my leadership podcast. (For a summary of the issues, here’s a piece on the 10 reasons even committed church attenders are attending church less often).

I get it.

The church is far from perfect. Life is complex. There are growing options. And the post-modern mind distrusts most things organized or institutional.

But as trendy as the idea of writing off the church may be, it’s a mistake.

While writing off the church passes as sophisticated thinking, it’s actually the opposite; what if it’s a simplistic and even reductionist line of thinking that leads nowhere constructive?

The church isn’t even biblical, is it?

People argue the idea of church isn’t even biblical.

So let’s start with the basics.

First, if you’re a Christian, church is not something you go to. It’s something you are.

You can’t disassociate from church as a Christian any more than you can disassociate from humanity as a person.

You don’t go to church. You are the church.

Second, the church was not a human invention. Half-reading the New Testament with one eye closed will still lead you to the inescapable conclusion that the church was God’s idea.

In fact, most of the New Testament is not about the teachings of Jesus. It’s about the work of the church that Jesus initiated and ordained. I won’t fill this post with scripture verses that prove my point, because, quite frankly, you’d have to get rid of the majority of the New Testament to argue that the church was a parenthetical, made-up organization.

If you want to get rid of the church, you also need to get rid of Jesus.

You can’t have one without the other. He created it.

Maybe what bothers you should actually amaze you.

I understand that the idea of the church being imperfect makes some people despair.

But rather than making us despair, the fact that Jesus started the church with imperfect people should make us marvel at God’s incredible grace.

That God would use ordinary, broken human beings as vessels of his grace, and delight in it is awe-inspiring. He’s proud of how his grace is beating through your imperfect-but-redeemed life and through the church (have you ever read Ephesians 3:10-11?).

The idea that God would use you and me is pretty amazing. He had other options.

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Semper Reformanda: Christ Will Do Everything, or He Will Do Nothing

Semper ReformandaReformation Day is fast upon us. Next Saturday will be the 498th anniversary of Martin Luther famously nailing his 95 Theses to the Castle Church door in Wittenberg, Germany, and kick-starting the Protestant Reformation as a result. Because of that, there will likely be many posts in the Christian blogosphere celebrating the recovery of the biblical Gospel from the perversions of Roman Catholic theology. And because of that, there will likely be many Romanist sympathizers who chide us Protestants as divisive, overly-narrow, unity-destroying, and judgmental. They’ll say something like this (a comment we’ve received before at The Cripplegate):

This is what drives me nutty about Christianity. We all believe in the Bible, Jesus Christ, the road to salvation and the Resurrection. Do I believe exactly as you do? I’m sure I don’t, but I don’t believe you’re any less Christian than I am. We need to understand that there’s more that unites us than divides us.

The problem, of course, is that Protestants and Catholics don’t all believe the same things about the most foundational aspects of the Christian Gospel. That means that we’re not just other Christians from another “denomination.” When two people disagree on issues as fundamental as the basis and instrument of salvation (i.e., Christ’s righteousness alone imputed through faith alone, versus Christ’s righteousness imparted through faith and our works) and whether good works are part of the ground of our righteousness or merely the evidence——one of them is a Christian and the other isn’t.

We see that proven plainly by the way the Apostle Paul spoke about the Judaizers. The Judaizers were professing Christians who “began teaching the brethren, ‘Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved’” (Acts 15:1). In other words, they taught that the righteousness of Christ received by faith alone is not enough to secure your salvation. To be sure, you need to have faith in Jesus; they wouldn’t deny faith in Christ is necessary for salvation. They would just say it was insufficient; instead, you must “complete” your justification by performing certain good deeds. In other words, the Judaizers sought to add personal works of righteousness to the ground of their justification. They were the first-century counterpart to the Roman Catholic Church, which teaches, “If anyone says that the [justification] received is not preserved and . . . increased before God through good works but that those works are merely the fruits and signs of justification obtained, but not the cause of the increase, let him be anathema” (Council of Trent, Session 6, Canon 24). For the Judaizers, those works were circumcision and the other Mosaic ceremonies. For the Catholics, those works are baptism, participation in the Eucharist, and the other sacraments.

Severed from Christ

But notice how Paul speaks of these teachers in the New Testament. He does not count them to be merely misled brothers in Christ. The churches of Galatia hadn’t even become propagators of this doctrine yet; Paul wrote to them while they were simply being tempted to believe in it. And even then Paul writes to them and says, “I fear for you, that perhaps I have labored over you in vain” (Gal 4:11). That is to say, he fears they may not have ever been truly saved (cf. 1 John 2:19).

He goes on to say that if they receive circumcision—that is, if they allow even the smallest of religious rituals to become part of the ground of their confidence for salvation—“Christ will be of no benefit to you” (Gal 5:2). Notice, he does not say, “Christ will be of some benefit to you, just not as much as otherwise. You’ll differ a little doctrinally, but we can still rejoice in our unity.” No. Paul says that everyone who receives circumcision as a ground of their righteousness is obligated to keep the whole law (Gal 5:3). In other words, if you want your righteousness to be based even partly on works, you’re under obligation to earn the whole thing by works (cf. Jas 2:10). And in that case, since you would then be seeking to be justified by law, it would be right to speak of you as “severed from Christ, . . . fallen from grace” (Gal 5:4). You would be one of those whom the Apostle John said “went out from us, but . . . were not really of us” (1 John 2:19).

Finally, Paul speaks about those who preach such a soul-destroying false-gospel. His conclusion regarding such a teacher is: “he will bear his judgment” (Gal 5:10). Again, this is not merely an estranged brother. He is not one of Christ’s sheep, just from another fold. He will bear his judgment. He will face the condemnation of Almighty God that no true believer can ever face (cf. Rom 8:1).

Beware the Dogs

Moving from Galatia to Philippi, Paul warns with the greatest severity the Philippians who were vulnerable to this teaching. He does not say, “My Philippians, do be careful of our dear misguided brethren.” No, he says, “Beware of the dogs! Beware of the evil workers! Beware of the mutilators of the flesh!” (Phil 3:2). Paul wasn’t exactly helping the advance of ecumenical dialog, was he?

Beware of DogsThey are dogs. And the Jews especially hated dogs. Because they were willing to eat anything, including garbage and even their own vomit, dogs were regarded as ceremonially unclean animals (cf. Matt 7:6; Luke 16:21; Rev 22:15). In biting irony, Paul uses the very term that the Judaizers would have flung at Christians who didn’t submit to the Mosaic Law—the very derogatory term that signified viciousness, uncleanness, and impurity—and uses it of them!

They are evil workers. In many instances in the New Testament, “workers” refers to servants of Christ who share in the Christian ministry (Rom 16:3; Phil 4:3; Phm 1:24). And the Judaizers were workers all right. Like the Pharisees, they traveled around on sea and land to make a proselyte (Matt 23:15). But when they made one, they’d make him twice as much a son of hell as themselves, because their doctrine of human achievement undermined the Gospel of the sufficient work of Christ and the free grace of God. They were workers, but they were evil workers. Perhaps even with good intentions, in seeking to help the Church, they do nothing but ruin and destroy it, because they draw attention away from Christ and the sufficiency of His accomplished redemption, and give His glory to a law that was never able to impart life (cf. Gal 3:21)—to man and his own dignity and willpower. And so all of their labors, are evil labors.

And that goes just the same for the Roman Catholic who would persuade you to trust even partly in your own merit for justification before God. It doesn’t matter how much of a practical benefit they might be. They may feed the hungry, they may shelter the homeless, they may care for the orphans, they may preserve the environment, and they may devote their entire lives to making this world a better place. But if they trust in their good works to satisfy the wrath of God against them—and if they teach others to rest on their own moral achievements to admit them into the presence of a holy God—they are evil workers. Because they dull men’s senses to their need for divine grace, and lead them to believe that they can be their own savior, when they can do no such thing.

Not only are they dogs. Not only are they evil workers. With the most serrated sarcasm, Paul calls them “the mutilation.” This is just an amazing play on words. The Greek word for “circumcision” is peritome, and the word for “mutilation” is katatome (the word used here). In effect, Paul is saying, “These false teachers think they are of the party of the circumcision. But because they undermine the grace of God in the Gospel by mingling human works with Christ’s righteousness, their sacramentalism is nothing more than katatome—than ritual pagan mutilation. They call themselves the circumcision. They’re no better than pagans.”

Because the Judaizers trusted in their circumcision and added that work to the work of Christ in the Gospel, that which would have been the surest sign they were God’s people became the surest sign that they were cut off from Him. “But Israel, pursuing a law of righteousness, did not arrive at that law. Why? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as though it were by works. . . . For not knowing about God’s righteousness and seeking to establish their own, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes” (Rom 9:30–10:4).

Five Solas 4

“Be More Like Jesus!”

How many professing Christians would take Paul to task over his language. “Paul, good grief! Dogs? Evil workers? Mutilators? Take it easy! These people believe in the inerrancy of Scripture! Old and New Testaments! They believe in Christ, that He was God and man, that He was sinless, that He died for sins and rose from the grave, and that salvation is to be found in no other name! Now sure, they may have some doctrinal issues, but how can you be so divisive over such a minor point of doctrine?! Paul, we need to be more like the Lord Jesus!”

And in fact, that’s exactly what Paul was doing. He was following in the footsteps of His Lord, who called these legalists ravenous wolves (Matt 7:15), whitewashed tombs full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness (Matt 23:27), and blind guides of the blind (Matt 15:14). Gentle Jesus, meek and mild, called those who would lay upon men’s shoulders the burden of contributing even in part to their own justification “sons of hell” (Matt 23:15).

Christ Will Do Everything, or He Will Do Nothing

Why would our Lord speak so severely? Because the gospel of “Christ-plus”—the gospel of faith in Christ mingled with human effort and human merit—is a soul-destroying doctrine of demons (1 Tim 4:1). Like Paul’s disagreement with the Judaizers, the disagreement between Protestants and Catholics is not some minor doctrinal quibble; it is the difference between heaven and hell. Dear friends, ours is a Gospel-driven protest. We speak so severely because the very Gospel is at stake.

J. Gresham Machen said,

“It [is] the difference between a religion of merit and a religion of grace. If Christ provides only a part of our salvation, leaving us to provide the rest, then we are still hopeless under the load of sin. For no matter how small the gap which must be bridged before salvation can be attained, the awakened conscience sees clearly that our wretched attempt at goodness is insufficient even to bridge that gap. . . . Such an attempt to piece out the work of Christ by our own merit, Paul saw clearly, is the very essence of unbelief; Christ will do everything or nothing, and the only hope is to throw ourselves unreservedly on His mercy and trust Him for all” (Christianity and Liberalism, 21).

Christ will do everything, or He will do nothing. Why? Because if salvation “is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works, otherwise grace is no longer grace” (Rom 11:6). To introduce works as any part of the ground of our righteousness is to corrupt the Gospel of grace, which is the only Gospel that saves.

Repent and Trust in Christ Alone

Nothing LessSo, while I understand that we’re not saved merely by confessing the doctrine of sola fide, we are saved by trusting in Christ alone for righteousness. And that is incompatible with outright denying sola fide and insisting that salvation is grounded at least partly by works, as Rome does. Insisting that the Reformation is not over is not Catholic-bashing. It is simply seeking a biblical view of the divide between us, so that we might be properly informed about the necessity of taking the Gospel to our Roman Catholic friends and family. If we are wrongfully lulled into the notion that Catholics are merely misguided but nevertheless true Christians, then our focus will shift from our necessary mission, which is a full-scale rescue from the sin that still holds them in bondage.

I ask you: Can we regard these things so lightly when it is so plain that the Apostle Paul took them so seriously? Can we relegate the difference between (a) good works as the evidence of salvation and (b) good works as the ground of salvation to a petty doctrinal quibble among people who are overly-narrow and academic, when the Apostle Paul, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, could write so severely? Friends: words, ideas, and doctrines are the difference between an eternity in heaven—with fullness of joy and pleasures forevermore at the right hand of God (Ps 16:11)—and an eternity in hell, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power (2 Thess 1:9).

If you’re reading this and you’re not absolutely sure which eternity you’re headed for, I want to you to be sure today. And so I would point you away from yourself and the filthy rags of your own righteousness (cf. Isa 64:6). Put the filth of your own good works away. Turn to a perfectly sufficient Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who accomplished all the good works necessary for your acceptance with the Father, who counts you to be righteous—just as if you had lived the perfect sinless life of Jesus—when you trust in His righteousness and His righteousness alone for salvation. Turn from the sinking sand and perennial uncertainty of your own moral accomplishments, and set your feet upon the rock of the perfect righteousness of Christ that is yours through faith alone.

Christ will do everything, or He will do nothing. Your only hope is to throw yourself at His mercy and trust Him for all.


Transitioning a Senior Adult Church to One Who Reaches all Generations – Rainer on Leadership #168

On today’s episode, we discuss a recent post on senior adult churches who are wanting to reach a younger generation and the consequences of not being willing to change to do so.

Some highlights from today’s episode include:

  • True power in a church comes from God through the prayers of His people.
  • Any successful ministry in a church begins with the power of prayer.
  • Two areas in which churches often lack intentionality: evangelism and prayer.
  • Churches who are reaching young adults have seniors who are intentionally making relationships with younger Christians.
  • If you expect young families to come to your church, your children’s area needs to be ready before they come.
  • Unfortunately, when faced with a life or death choice, most churches end up choosing death over change and life.

The five ways churches comprised mostly of senior adults can reach younger members are:

  1. Praying for younger people to come to the church.
  2. Being willing to change.
  3. Expanding their social circles to younger people.
  4. Starting Bible studies with younger adults.
  5. Asking younger adults to be “missionaries” to the older-adult congregation.

Resources

The post Transitioning a Senior Adult Church to One Who Reaches all Generations – Rainer on Leadership #168 appeared first on ThomRainer.com.


Fox News Contributor Kirsten Powers Exits Evangelicalism to Embrace Catholicism – Timothy Keller & Other Evangelical Leaders Partly to Blame

Fox News Contributor Kirsten Powers Exits Evangelicalism to Embrace Catholicism – Timothy Keller & Other Evangelical Leaders Partly to Blame

By L. Putnam Kirsten Powers, Fox News’ pundit, happily announced on October 9, 2015 to “The Five” on “One More Thing” that the next day she would become Catholic.  Immediately, Powers was “high fived” by Kimberly Guilfoyle, and Eric Bolling. Exactly why was this announcement so news worthy?  Well, for starters Kirsten, once an Episcopalian and later […]

The post Fox News Contributor Kirsten Powers Exits Evangelicalism to Embrace Catholicism – Timothy Keller & Other Evangelical Leaders Partly to Blame appeared first on lighthouse trails research.


Would A “Loving” God Allow Anything Bad to Happen to His Creation?

Loving GodThe “problem of evil” is often cited by unbelievers when they explain their disbelief: How could an all-powerful, all-loving God allow His created children to experience pain and suffering? In my latest book, God’s Crime Scene, I examine the problem of evil as one of eight pieces of evidence in the universe. Evil is often cited as a form of exculpating evidence, eliminating the reasonable inference of God’s existence. An ancient form of the problem is sometimes attributed to Epicurus:

“Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent.
Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent.
Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?”

If the morally benevolent, all-powerful, Divine Creator of the universe I describe in God’s Crime Scene does indeed exist, how are we to explain the existence of evil? My experience as a homicide detective taught me a lot about how difficult it is to explain any act of evil. When trying to explain the manner in which a crime occurs (or when trying to make a case for the involvement of a particular suspect), we must always be prepared to explain and illustrate the cumulative, complex, interconnected causal factors involved. There are no easy answers. The truth is always more complicated than we would like.

In a similar way, whatever explanation there may be for the presence of evil and injustice in the world, it will certainly involve a cumulative, complex set of explanations and causal factors. There will be no easy answer. Instead, we should expect a tangled web of complexity. In God’s Crime Scene, I offer a seven part template to illustrate the important considerations that must be taken into account when trying to explain any act of evil. One of these is simply our definition of “love”:

GCS Chapter 08 Illustration 03

Illustrations from God’s Crime Scene

What precisely does it mean to be “all-loving”, particularly when we apply this definition to the Divine Creator of the universe? Popular cultural definitions of “love” typically refer to “kindness,” “gentleness,” “adoration,” or “affection.” But if you’re a parent, you know love is much more than this. There are times when kindness and tenderness are appropriate expressions of love, and there are times when love demands stern discipline, correction, and guidance. Good parents learn to embrace a fuller, richer, more complex definition of love.

If our concept of love, when applied to the Creator of the universe, is limited to gentleness and tenderness, we will likely have difficulty reconciling the existence of a Divine Creator with the presence of nearly any hardship we experience. No one likes to experience “tough love”; we much prefer to experience love in its more hedonistic, self-serving forms. As C. S. Lewis so aptly observed, “We want, in fact, not so much a Father in heaven as a grandfather in heaven—a senile benevolence who, as they say, ‘liked to see young people enjoying themselves,’ and whose plan for the universe was simply that it might be truly said at the end of each day, ‘a good time was had by all.’”

But there’s a difference between the love of a parent and the love of a grandparent. Parents must embrace a more balanced approach with their children if they truly love them. If the loving nature of the Divine Creator is as broad and all-encompassing as that of a parent, we should expect some difficult circumstances to be an evidence of the Creator’s love, especially if a greater good is achieved as a result of temporal suffering. Parents often discipline their children to accomplish an important goal, but our children usually fail to see our efforts as loving.

Love, in its truest sense, however, is concerned with more than our immediate happiness and pleasure. Love aims for something more lasting. The love of an eternal Creator would seek something beyond our temporal happiness, even though we may fail to see our circumstances as an expression of this love. C.S. Lewis puts it this way: “The problem of reconciling human suffering with the existence of a God who loves, is only insoluble so long as we attach a trivial meaning to the word ‘love’, and look on things as if man were the centre of them. Man is no not the centre. God does not exist for the sake of man. Man does not exist for his own sake.”

Any effort to explain a particular act of evil must take into account an appropriate definition of “love” along with an accurate view of eternity, a proper reverence for free agency, and an understanding of the role of evil in character development and its power to draw us to God. We must also remember our own accountability in acts of evil and our limited understanding of what God might be doing given His omniscience. That’s a lot to consider; explaining the problem of evil is a problem of its own, given the complexity of the answer. That shouldn’t surprise us, it’s the nature of all my homicide cases. A murder occurs in a moment, the explanation will take weeks in front of a jury.

To better understand the interconnected relationship between the seven considerations for evil I’ve mentioned, please refer to God’s Crime Scene, Chapter Eight – The Evidence of Evil: Can God and Evil Coexist?

J. Warner Wallace is a Cold-Case Detective, a Christian Case Maker, and the author of Cold-Case Christianity and God’s Crime Scene.


This ‘n’ That

  • Within driving distance of Pittsburgh and looking for something to do this weekend? Then you should attend this conference.
  • It’s always refreshing to see justice in situations like this.
  • Head to Britain if you’re looking for a white Christmas this year.
  • This is your weekly dose of adorable (speaking of being tired).
  • Enjoy a free download from Pastor Mike Abendroth’s new book.
  • Sigh. I don’t envy parents today at all.
  • A new episode of Simon’s Cat is out!
  • Here’s a little conviction for you the next time you find yourself grumbling or complaining.
  • This sermon may be directed at parents, but there are lessons and some conviction in there for all of us.
  • And here is Part 2 of Mike Abendroth’s sobering message on the truth about Hell.
  • Preparing for spiritual war:

Check out

Blogs

A Marriage Leaning on Jesus and Longing for Heaven | Desiring God
A short update on Ian and Larissa. See Kindle book offer below.

Why the Race Conversation Is So Hard | 9Marks
Jonathan Leeman highlights a number of political and spiritual difficulties with discussing race issues.

The Sgt. Schultz generation | World Magazine: Marvin Olasky
“We’re certainly not the greatest generation. We’re not even a pretty good generation. We’re the Sgt. Schultz generation.”

Helicopter parents are not the only problem. Colleges coddle students, too. | The Washington Post
“In the past decade, college campuses have turned into one big danger-free zone, where students live in a bubble and are asked to take few, if any, risks in their education.”

The Best Colleges for Low Income Students | Lifehacker
“College is an insanely expensive endeavor, and for low income students there are all kinds of factors to consider. Priceonomics crunched some numbers to attempt to come up with the best schools for low income students.”

Insomnia – The Non-Sleeping Giant | The Aquila Report
“All of a sudden, out of the blue, as if the Lord needed to teach me to be more humble and compassionate with others, I found that I had insomnia.”

Gospel Conversation in an Age of Texting, Tweeting, and Distraction | Randy Newman
“I expected a revolt. Instead, I got gratitude. I anticipated accusations of being a crotchety old man, but students told me they felt a sense of relief. I had just announced my decision to no longer allow computers or cell phones (or other tools of technology) in my classroom. ”

Recommended Resources from ACBC on Homosexuality | Biblical Counseling Coalition Blogs

Recommended New Book

A History of Western Philosophy and Theology by John Frame.  So glad for this book, especially as I’ve been using older books of a similar nature for the past six months. A modern cataloging and analysis is most welcome.

Kindle Books

Eight Twenty Eight: When Love Didn’t Give Up by Ian and Larissa Murphy $2.99.

Unlimited Memory: How to Use Advanced Learning Strategies to Learn Faster, Remember More and be More Productive by memory world champion Kevin Horsley $4.99. Worth a try! It’s fascinating even to see the potential of the human mind.

Everyone Communicates, Few Connect: What the Most Effective People Do Differently  by John Maxwell $3.99.

Video

Mom-Judging
For education not edification. If you want to know where our culture is at regarding that most important of influences – motherhood – have a look at this video. You’ll weep when one mom describes her desire to raise a gender-neutral child. What’s so painful is to see this being equated with the “evil” of judging someone for not breastfeeding.


Articles, Resources, and More . . . Oh My! (10/23/15)

Single You Will Be the Married You

It’s hard for us singles to believe, but marriage doesn’t magically change you. Philip Holmes writes more about this at Desiring God.

12 Pillars of Faith for Parents of Children with Disabilities

I hope these biblical reminders will wash over weary hearts and bring fresh strength to faithfully press on.

6 Great New Books for Kids

Tim Challies is always a good resource for new books.

3 Truths to Help Our Children Weather the Gender Storm

“My fourth-grade daughter plays with a boy next door named Jeremy. Next year he will return to school as Jenny. What do I tell my daughter?” Dannah Gresh helps us think through these inevitable questions.

Boredom Is Not a Problem to Be Solved

This article was good food for thought, especially in a day and age when we try to fight off boredom with all of our technology.


Why Your Faith Will Not Fail

Why Your Faith Will Not FailWhat makes you think you will be a Christian tomorrow morning? In 15 minutes, John Piper builds a foundation for the perseverance of your faith through all the world’s temptations and all of life’s trails. Your faith will not fail because God holds your faith and is utterly committed to keeping you.

Watch Now


Links I like

 

Kindle deals for Christian readers

He Who Resigns is Nothing

Jared Wilson:

One year ago this month — October 3, to be specific — I took to the pulpit of Middletown Springs Community Church and announced my resignation. Over the last 12 months, have shared some reflections on that time, primarily in a well-received post I titled The Gospel for Ministry Quitters, which resonated with folks far more than I anticipated, but I’ve never shared my actual resignation letter. I know there are readers who are interested in such things — I’d be one of them, honestly — so I thought I’d share it with you. Below is the announcement I read — or, rather, sobbed through — before preaching a long-beforehand-scheduled sermon on 1 Corinthians 3:1-9. The Lord has a very remarkable sense of humor.

11 Steps to Memorizing an Entire Book of the Bible

Andy Naselli follows up on his earlier post (which I shared yesterday) with a plan for Bible memorization.

Marty and Doc meet Jimmy Kimmel

This was actually pretty funny:

HT: Denny Burk

David Was a Rapist, Abraham Was a Sex Trafficker

David Lamb:

The gospel tells us that no one is beyond the reach of God’s redemption. To be sure, the sin of perpetrators of sexual violence needs to be taken seriously. We cannot ignore sexual violence when it arises in our communities. We should acknowledge these tragedies for what they are, and address them appropriately. If a member of a church confesses a crime like rape, for instance, it will need to be reported to the police immediately. But we also need to proclaim to them the message of God’s forgiveness, knowing that God calls us to extend his grace to people taking big risks in confessing their sin. And we are wise to realize that even severe consequences of sin are opportunities to experience God’s grace and redemption (Heb. 12:7–11). God disciplines his children and uses human judgment as a part of his care for them.

The Subtle Pride of Self-Condemnation

Michael Kelley:

While self-condemnation might come off as holy in our churchified contexts, the truth is that self-condemnation is more than a bad character trait; it’s sin in and of itself. There is a subtle but unmistakable pride that comes when we accuse ourselves.

The Importance of Ministry to Senior Adults

R. Lucas Stamps:

But in my relatively young ministry, I have also developed deeply meaningful and mutually beneficial relationships with senior adults.  At several different stops in my ministry, I have had the blessing to minister to and receive ministry from seasoned Christian laypeople. It’s difficult to express in words what these relationships have meant to me and my family, but I offer below a few lessons learned in senior adult ministry.


A La Carte (October 23)

Today I am heading home from Germany—a process that will consume 15 hours or so. Thanks to all who prayed for me. It was a sweet time of teaching and fellowship and I leave here having made several new friends. I hope to tell you more about it in the near future.

Far Side Christians

WORLD magazine interviews Albert Mohler on what we can learn from two unorthodox sources about responding to crises of faith.

Reflections on the New Spurgeon Library

Donald Whitney gives an interesting report on the dedication of the new C.H. Spurgeon Library at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, MO.

If the Bible Rarely Talks About It

I appreciate Mark Cortez’s comments on this subject: “In my theology classes, we often find ourselves wrestling with questions about which the Bible has relatively little to say. And students always wonder if that means these issues aren’t that important. If the Bible doesn’t have much to say about it, should we?”

When Routines Become Idols

Oh, shoot. I’m guilty as charged. “How do we know if our routines are an idol? The ways we respond to interruptions in our routines are a good indicator. If we have a strong emotional reaction or resistance to the disruption of our routines, it should give us pause to stop and consider whether our routines have turned from a good thing to a counterfeit god.”

Letter to a Perplexed Eleven-Year-Old

John Piper posts a public response to a note he received.

This Day in 877. Ignatius, patriarch of Constantinople, died 1,138 years ago today. *

Carl Trueman’s Lecture

I haven’t had time to listen to it yet, but I’ve heard really good things about this lecture by Carl Trueman.


The Daily Discovery (October 23, 2015)

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

Hallows’ Eve: Betrayal of the Martyrs & Betrayal of Christ – “In just over a week, Americans will be participating in the fourth most popular holiday, Halloween. Of course, the holiday didn’t always mean ‘trick or treating,’ costumes, and children intoxicated with candy. We’ve come quite far from the original intent of the holiday (what holiday hasn’t?), which, in name, calls to remembrance the many saints who have been martyred for the cause of Christ (hallow’d + eve = Halloween). That’s why in my last post, I encouraged you to remember the martyrs in order that you may be encouraged by them and be strengthened by their faith on the holiday that originally intended to encourage us to do that very thing.”

Our Decomposing Lusts – “So J.R. Daniel Kirk has decided to go the inclusive route for all his ‘LGBTQ sisters, brothers, and others.’ Get that? And ‘others,’ to be announced later, in whatever order the imperious kultursmog may decide. Kirk is a professor of New Testament at Fuller — a seminary which is now just a few short steps away from the apogee of irrelevance, at which point we may start calling them Fullest. They are almost at Gnostic pleroma levels already, so it will be exciting to see that particular hermeneutical hot air balloon finally take off. I expect it to get to 10,000 feet before disappearing through the aperture of sexual correctness. And please read this paragraph in light of the update above.”

Covenant Theology vs Dispensational Theology – A interesting document by Fred Butler discussing the two theologies.

The Other Side of Church Discipline – “For those who are unfamiliar, church discipline is a process in which a person who claims to be a disciple of Jesus but is engaging in continued, unrepentant sin is confronted humbly and lovingly by another believer, then a few believers, and ultimately a pastor of his church. If the person still refuses to repent of his sin even after being shown his fault using the Scriptures, the church has the responsibility to renounce publicly this person’s membership in that local congregation. The members of that congregation are encouraged to treat him, not as a brother, but as they would treat an outsider, with respect and dignity but not brotherly affection.”

Semper Reformanda: Christ Will Do Everything, or He Will Do Nothing – “Reformation Day is fast upon us. Next Saturday will be the 498th anniversary of Martin Luther famously nailing his 95 Theses to the Castle Church door in Wittenberg, Germany, and kick-starting the Protestant Reformation as a result. Because of that, there will likely be many posts in the Christian blogosphere celebrating the recovery of the biblical Gospel from the perversions of Roman Catholic theology. And because of that, there will likely be many Romanist sympathizers who chide us Protestants as divisive, overly-narrow, unity-destroying, and judgmental. They’ll say something like this (a comment we’ve received before at The Cripplegate)…”


SERMON:

Matt Chandler – The Apostles’ Creed (Part 1) | I Believe In


VIDEOS:

A Part of Me Thinks They Don’t Have a Choice

Sexual Fidelity: No Compromise


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

The post The Daily Discovery (October 23, 2015) appeared first on Entreating Favor.


Christian Headlines Daily – Friday, October 23, 2015

http://www.christianheadlines.com/

Top Headlines

UN Body Helping Palestinians Lay Claim to Religious Sites and Rewrite Biblical History

Six Churches in St. Louis Set on Fire within 2 Weeks

Al Mohler: Contraceptives and Divorce Paved the Way for Same-sex Marriage

Paul Ryan Gains Support of Key Conservative Caucus for Speaker Run

Christian Drummer Shot Dead by Policeman after His Car Broke Down on the Interstate

Naghmeh Abedini under Fire for Commitment to Christian Faith

What CNN Isn’t Telling Us about the Planned Parenthood Story

Air Force Commander’s Office under Fire for Sending Email in Support of Operation Christmas Child

Fathers of Kidnapped Chibok Schoolgirls Say the Girls are ‘in the Hands of God’

Israeli Cafe Offers Discount to Jews and Arabs Who Dine Together

Opinion

Athletes and Spiritual Legacy: Faith Passed Down Through the Generations

Why is ‘Star Wars’ so Uniquely Popular?

How to Effectively Argue against Evolution and for Creation

Oprah Winfrey’s ‘Belief’: ‘Millions of Ways’ to God?

Ben Carson Wouldn’t Vote for Muslim President Because He Takes Religion Seriously


10/23/15 You Are Not from God

READING: John 7-8

TEXTS AND APPLICATION:  When Jesus challenged the Jews to follow Him, they claimed their bloodline to Abraham as assurance of their “rightness” before God. Jesus not only shot down their claims, but He did so with absolute clarity: “Why don’t you understand what I say? Because you cannot listen to My word. You are of your father the Devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires” (John 8:42-44).

Further, Jesus re-emphasized the relationship between genuine salvation and hearing/following His word: “The one who is from God listens to God’s words. This is why you don’t listen, because you are not from God” (Matt. 8:47). I don’t know how to read these words in any other way than Jesus stated them: genuine believers hear and do God’s words; those who not follow God’s words are not God’s. This conclusion that those who don’t listen aren’t God’s followers is, as one writer said, “deadly in its grip.”* If I don’t listen and follow God’s Word, I have reason to question my salvation.

As I have read through the scriptures this year, I simply can’t get away from a holy God who expects His people to be holy. It feels as if every word I read reverberates with a call to godly living — a trumpet blast that cannot easily be ignored. If I claim to be a follower of Jesus, my life (that is, every thought I have, every word I speak, every action I take) must  be an undeniable illustration of His holiness.

ACTION STEPS: My plan today is to ask God to point out to me any area of my life that is less than holy. I suspect this day will be a long one . . .  but a needed one.

PRAYER: “God, start the cleansing process right now. Show me any place where my life doesn’t show that I’m Yours. Pound my heart until I hear You if I choose to be hard of hearing.”


Our Time is Short

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


What is The Gospel?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Ready to start your new life with God?

Who do you think that I am?

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

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

Consider what the Bible says about Him: Read more


Resource Links

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

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

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

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

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

About Christianity
Know Jesus Christ and your life will be transformed


Truth2Freedom Blog Disclaimer

This post was originally posted on:

https://truth4freedom.wordpress.com

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

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

“In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, charity.”

— Augustine

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In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107,material here is distributed without profit for research and educational purposes.

A headline link on this blog post doesn’t necessarily mean that there is agreement or approval with all the views and opinions expressed within the headline linked article. Caution is also warranted with regards to the advertisements and links that are embedded within the headline linked article.


October 22, 2015 Christian Briefing Report

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New Study Reveals Most Children Unrepentant Sociopaths

“The most disturbing facet of this ubiquitous childhood disorder is an utter lack of empathy,” Mateo said. “These people—if you can even call them that—deliberately violate every social norm without ever pausing to consider how their selfish behavior might affect others. It’s as if they have no concept of anyone but themselves.”

[Editor’s Spoiler Alert: The Onion is a magazine that writes articles spoofing cultural views and ideas. In order for sarcasm to work there has to be a modicum of truth. In this article, The Onion, in its attempt to address selfish behavioral patterns in children, stumbled into a truth the Bible teaches that we are all born in and with sin. David confessed, “Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me” (Ps. 51:5). So what was intended as a parody of our supposed young “innocents” is really a theological reality.]

Read More


8 Reasons the Worship Industry Is Killing Worship

It spreads bad theology. Mostly because it comes from the wrong sources. The best of the church’s hymnody was written by pastors and theologians. It was crafted by poets and scholars. The result are texts of high quality. But the industry in its quest to be marketable only has room for marketable people who write marketable songs. It entrusts sacred storytelling to many with dubious credentials as artists, poets, or theologians.

Read More


Houston Pastors Fight Gender-Bending Rule

Last week, HAPC held a news conference to demonstrate the unity within the racially, denominationally, and politically diverse coalition opposed to the Equal Rights Ordinance (ERO), which makes sexuality and gender identity protected classes. Pastors representing 150 churches gathered at the 70,000-member Second Baptist Church on Oct. 7 to make clear their opposition to Proposition 1 and urge Christians to do their civic duty and vote.

Read more


You’re Not As Virtuous As You Think

We would see fewer headlines about scandal and malfeasance, and we could get our actions to better match our expectations, if we tempered our moral overconfidence with some moral humility. When we recognize that the vast majority of us overestimate our ability to do the right thing, we can take constructive steps to limit our fallibility and reduce the odds of bad behavior.

Read More


Insomnia – The Non-Sleeping Giant

If you have never had a problem with sleeping, you are blessed.  However, don’t be proud about it because things can sometimes change quickly and unexpectedly.  Your first confrontation with a sleepless night may be a crisis, but take hope, there is help.  Don’t blame it on a lack of faith.  Sometimes you just have to blame it on the genes.  Seek medical attention, and of course, even in the midst of a crisis, keep that hope in Christ.

Read more


Evangelicals Now Officially Divided on Death Penalty

Last week, the board of directors voted to update the NAE’s stance, and acknowledge for the first time that opposition to the death penalty is also a legitimate application of Christian ethics. “Evangelical Christians differ in their beliefs about capital punishment, often citing strong biblical and theological reasons either for the just character of the death penalty in extreme cases or for the sacredness of all life, including the lives of those who perpetrate serious crimes and yet have the potential for repentance and reformation.”

Read More


Church Discipline and Jesse James

Accountability is always in order; discipline is not. So we must be discerning about when and when not to discipline. We do not want to be like a church in northeast Arkansas with which I am familiar. The minutes from one of its business meetings of long ago tell how the congregation debated whether or not watching a square dance was grounds to be “churched.” Not dancing, mind you, but just seeing others dance. The church concluded that this indeed was sufficient cause and duly kicked out the guilty parties.

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Why Trying To Help Poor Countries Might Actually Hurt Them

Deaton argues that, by trying to help poor people in developing countries, the rich world may actually be corrupting those nations’ governments and slowing their growth. According to Deaton, and the economists who agree with him, much of the $135 billion that the world’s most developed countries spent on official aid in 2014 may not have ended up helping the poor.

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 Why Halloween is a 'Tricky' Holiday

Why Halloween is a ‘Tricky’ Holiday

Posted on October 21, 2015 by Crosswalk

It’s that time of the year when the world—or at least the United States—seems to embrace the dark side of Halloween revelry.

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Mass Evangelism: Is it Still Necessary?

Mass Evangelism: Is it Still Necessary?

Posted on October 21, 2015 by Crosswalk

&And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?”

Read Full Article »


7 Ways Senior Pastors Can Keep Teenagers Listening to Their Sermons

7 Ways Senior Pastors Can Keep Teenagers Listening to Their Sermons

Posted on October 21, 2015 by Church Leaders

Engaging the short attention span of teenagers (and even adults) is not easy.

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8 Advantages of the Local Church

8 Advantages of the Local Church

Posted on October 21, 2015 by Church Leaders

&Most people have no idea how many Christians there are in the world: More than 2 billion people claim to be followers of Jesus Christ.&

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Kong Hee and City Harvest Church: How a music 'ministry' led to a megachurch pastor's downfall

Kong Hee and City Harvest Church: How a music ‘ministry’ led to a megachurch pastor’s downfall

Posted on October 22, 2015 by Christian Today

The Kong Hee case appears to epitomise most of what can go wrong with megachurch ministries.

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RC Sproul and Ashley Madison: The Prodigal Son vs Reformed Theology

RC Sproul and Ashley Madison: The Prodigal Son vs Reformed Theology

Posted on October 21, 2015 by Christian Today

How do we empower Christians to remain faithful to their spouses and avoid today’s siren songs of pornography and easy hook ups?

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Singapore megachurch leaders convicted in pop music fraud case

Singapore megachurch leaders convicted in pop music fraud case

Posted on October 22, 2015 by Religion News

The mix of money, faith and scandal in the case has fascinated the public in affluent Singapore.

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Platform: why a culture of self-promotion threatens to throttle the church

Platform: why a culture of self-promotion threatens to throttle the church

Posted on October 22, 2015 by Christian Today

The biggest danger to our emerging leaders is their own egos, writes Martin Saunders.

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It’s chaos out there: Christian moral pluralism in America today

It’s chaos out there: Christian moral pluralism in America today

Posted on October 22, 2015 by Religion News

The spectrum of moral views among Christians on just about every subject spans dizzyingly from one extreme to another.

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Are Smartphones Making Christianity Too Convenient?

Are Smartphones Making Christianity Too Convenient?

Posted on October 22, 2015 by Christianity Today

When there’s an app for everything, practicing my faith doesn’t feel like a sacrifice.

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David Was a Rapist. Abraham Was a Sex Trafficker

David Was a Rapist. Abraham Was a Sex Trafficker

Posted on October 22, 2015 by Christianity Today

What we miss when we downgrade Old Testament abuse stories to sexual peccadilloes.

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PERSECUTED CHURCH: Britain should seek release of Chinese lawyer & Christians during state visit

PERSECUTED CHURCH: Britain should seek release of Chinese lawyer & Christians during state visit

Posted on October 22, 2015 by Christian Examiner

Even as Chinese President Xi Jinpin begins a four-day visit to great Britian in what the Queen described as a defining moment of relations between the two nations — an official representing the persecuted church worldwide is urging the release of illegally detained Christians.

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Do science and religion conflict? It’s all in how you ‘see’ it

Do science and religion conflict? It’s all in how you ‘see’ it

Posted on October 22, 2015 by Religion News

(RNS) Most say there’s a clash of worldviews &in general& but only 30 percent say so when asked if their own belief conflict with science.

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Pew: Churchgoers Least Likely to See Science and Religion in Conflict

Pew: Churchgoers Least Likely to See Science and Religion in Conflict

Posted on October 22, 2015 by Christianity Today

Survey finds ‘surprising number of topics’ where faith does not influence views on science.

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5 Fun Ways to Share Jesus with Your School This Year

by Erin Davis

How can you point people to Jesus this school year? Here are five fun ideas to try.

The Next Time You’re Offended

by Paula Hendricks Marsteller

So you feel angry? Insulted? Provoked? Offended? Downright mad? Now what?

When Marriage Meets Insecurity

by Samantha Nieves

A boyfriend or a husband won’t be your ticket to freedom from insecurity. Jesus Christ is the true source of confidence, security, and freedom.

Freebie Friday! Project Modesty

by Erin Davis

Here’s a fashion-forward freebie!


Thou shalt not bow to the gods of the culture. Living faithfully in Babylon. Great chapel sermon by Mike Kruger.

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Bethel Redding children’s pastor and the finance angel?

From John Lanagan of My Word Like Fire:

Lanagan writes:

The prophets prophesy falsely, And the priests rule on their own authority; And My people love it so! But what will you do at the end of it? (Jeremiah 5:31)

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As previously covered, Bethel Redding children’s pastor Seth Dahl has blasphemously claimed that in a vision Christ came to him and asked Dahl for forgiveness. You can watch this right here.

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In the above video, Dahl tells the Bethel Redding congregation of his experience with an enormous angel. Dahl asked the angel his name and then googled in the angel’s answer. The angel’s name was the same as that of a finance company. Dahl then realized the angel was “here for our finances at Bethel…”

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Dahl states, “You just need to hear a testimony so you can know what’s available to you ’cause I’m not trying to preach a sermon, I’m trying to invite you to a new way of life.”

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Yes, a way of life full of false visions and prophecies and dreams. Bethel Redding has taken many away from biblical Christianity.

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But it is apparent something else is happening as well. Because of these excesses (from Bethel Redding and elsewhere) many Christians are now afraid to draw near to God.

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“Experiencing God” has become a dreaded term. The great Reformed preacher Martyn Lloyd-Jones, were he alive today, would be criticized by some well meaning discernment ministries for speaking about the “presence of God.”

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Related videos: Bethel Redding Snack Pack

Republished with permission


Strangers And Aliens (6): Like Newborn Infants (1 Peter 2:1–3)

The word “therefore” is more important in Scripture than we probably realize. It signals a relationship between what is being said now to what was just said. Remember, the chapter divisions we have in Scripture are not original. They were introduced into the text in the 13th century AD. Chapters were divided into verses by […]

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Al Mohler: Contraceptives and divorce led to same-sex marriage

In an interview with Christian Today Albert Mohler tells it like it is:

A leading Southern Baptist theologian and commentator is to issue a call for “faithful, biblical witness” in a book to be released next week.

The president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Rev Dr Al Mohler, reflects in We Cannot Be Silent on the legalisation of same-sex marriage, the emergence of “transgenderism” and on divorce.

Interviewed for the seminary’s Southern News, Mohler said: “I am confronted daily with Christians who are asking one of the most basic questions and that is, ‘How did this happen?'”

In his book, Mohler says America’s Supreme Court will be held accountable by the court of “divine judgment” for legalising same-sex marriage.

http://www.christiantoday.com/article/al.mohler.contraceptives.and.divorce.led.to.same.sex.marriage/68406.htm/


Christianity and Civil Disobedience

In Romans 13, Paul tells us to obey the governing officials–because they are supposed to be God’s enforcers of true justice.  But what do we do as Christians when those governing us approved the murder of unborn children, redefine marriage and pass other laws in direct conflict with the Word of God? Are we supposed […]

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God’s Top Secret – Church & Culture Blog

I am often surprised by the number of people I talk to – including pastors and leaders – who struggle with feelings of unworthiness.
 
It reminds me of a game that psychotherapist and author Larry Crabb once wrote about.
 
A group therapist would play a game with people in his groups called “Top Secret.” Here’s how the game worked.
 
He would ask them to write out the one thing about themselves that they were the least inclined to share, and to then return the paper unsigned. In other words, write down the one thing that nobody knows about you – the one thing you’ve never shared.
 
Over the years, one answer consistently emerged as the most frequently admitted top secret: “I feel utterly worthless.”
 
When we are real, open, vulnerable – willing to be truthful with ourselves and the world – what we admit is that we do not consider ourselves of much real value.
 
Many may not know this, but Martin Luther felt the same way. In 1527, he wrote, “For more than a week I was close to the gates of death and hell. I trembled in all my members. Christ was wholly lost.”
 
This reached a point of spiritual crisis, with Luther writing that “the content of the depressions was always the same, the loss of faith that God is good and that he is good to me.”
 
So what made the difference?
 
Luther insisted on listening to another, more important, voice.
 
The voice of the truth of God’s Word, over and against his own insecurities, doubts and misgivings.
 
Even over the accusing voice of the evil one.
 
He tells of how the devil approached him one day and accused him of the enormous sin in his life. Satan laid out a long list of sins of which Luther was guilty, and thrust them under his nose in accusation.
 
Luther said to the devil, “Think a little harder; you must have forgotten some.” So the devil thought a little harder and added another few hundred to the list. When the devil was finished, Luther said, “Okay, now take a pen and some red ink and write across that list ‘The blood of Jesus Christ, God’s Son, cleanses us from all sin.’”
 
You can take up the same pen, writing as Luther himself did in his magnificent hymn “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God,” the title now etched around the tower of Castle Church,
And though this world, with devils filled,
should threaten to undo us,
we will not fear, for God hath willed
his truth to triumph through us.
The Prince of Darkness grim,
we tremble not for him;
his rage we can endure,
for lo, his doom is sure;
one little word shall fell him.
God desires nothing more than to infuse your heart and mind with a sense of meaning and purpose, and to call you to the front lines of what He is doing on this planet in light of His divine plan for your place and role.
 
Your mission, your place, will be unique from all others. He has a vision for your life that is yours and yours alone.
 
But following that vision will demand listening to His voice. Yes, it may include the voice of conviction, but never the voice of accusation. And the loudest voice of all will be that of affirmation.
 
Because if you answer the call of God, and walk with Him in obedience, submission and devotion, if you give your life over to Him – then you will become who you were created to be. And you will do incredible things.
 
Because God is a big God, who wants to do big things and He wants to do them through us.
 
That’s God’s “top secret” for you.
 
James Emery White

10 Reasons Church Leaders Should Admit It If They’ve Never Been Discipled

It’s tough to admit, but I was a local church pastor before anyone truly discipled me. Sure, I grew as my Sunday school teachers and pastors taught me, but still I needed a disciplemaker to take me under his wing. It’s even tougher to admit that I didn’t always invest in leaders myself, so I often had church leaders who themselves were not discipled. I’m convinced, though, that all of us who were not discipled need to admit it and start on a strategic journey of discipleship. If that’s your situation, here’s why this admission matters:

  1. Your story is not unusual. Over the years, I’ve met far more undiscipled people than discipled ones. I sense that pattern is changing, but that still leaves many of us longing for help and growth. There’s nothing wrong with being honest about where you are.
  2. If you’re undiscipled, that’s not where God wants you. God wants us, especially as leaders, to move past the milk of the Word to the meat of His Word. He wants us to be growing – and that process takes intentionality. God is glorified as we are transformed to be more like Jesus.
  3. You’re missing out if you’ve not been discipled. Something happens when we learn to love God more, devour His Word more, and pray to Him more often. There’s an unexplainable joy in really knowing God.
  4. Your work will be easier when you’re growing as a disciple.  Church work is not easy. It takes effort and patience. It demands a godly spirit. To do God’s work well, we need to know Him more and more each day.
  5. Your leadership will be more godly. I’ve met many Christian leaders whose Christian walk is weak. The more you know them, the more you wonder about their discipleship. Often, these same folks will admit that no one ever invested in them. Strong discipleship helps address that problem.
  6. Your church will grow stronger as you’re discipled. God’s church is people – sinful people, yes, but people who should be in the process of becoming more and more Christlike. God honors and blesses that congregation that intentionally helps each other follow Him.
  7. You’ll have opportunity to admit and overcome your weaknesses. You might be like so many other believers who hide their weaknesses and carry the weight of their sin alone. The more a person becomes a leader in the church, in fact, the less likely it is that he or she will admit failures. That’s carrying a burden you don’t have to carry if you’re in a discipleship relationship.
  8. Others will recognize your growth. When God really works in even the holiest life, other people take note. When He moves in our life, our loved ones and friends will take note that something’s different. The door will be open to being a Great Commission witness.
  9. Somebody wants to walk beside you. If you’re honest enough to admit it if you’ve never been discipled, I’m trusting that some leader in your church will be willing to invest in you. If you’re a pastor, I’m trusting that you’ll help your members find a discipler. And, if you’re a pastor in need of discipleship, I trust that some other pastor in your area will help you grow. God will provide somebody.
  10. Honesty is a first step toward victory. Being honest might be painful, but it could also be the first step toward integrity and growth. Admit where you are, church leader, if this blog post represents you.

3 Barometers for Church Growth

I am a numbers guy. I enjoy analyzing and trying to find trends or indicators that point to how well we are doing. I was genuinely excited when invited to look at our church’s 2016 numbers with another elder. I had been taught as a kid, “Numbers don’t lie.” My father drilled that concept into my head. In the business world, I spend much of my time calculating what is needed to be purchased to complete open sales orders, timing when I will bring those in (inventory control), and scheduling production to complete the orders. Every week I am looking over our company’s financial reports to make sure there is nothing amiss and ensure our company continues to grow and expand.

But it’s different for the church. Well, I guess, some don’t see a difference. Oftentimes, people — and as one who struggles with this, I count myself in this lot — measure success in a church by sheer attendance on a Sunday morning. The more people who show up, the healthier a church is though to be.

We can’t discount attendance numbers, of course. I believe they do give a good indication on certain aspects of a church. But I don’t see attendance numbers as a reliable barometer for church health. I know of (and I am sure you do too) many large churches that are, for all intents and purposes, spiritually dead, and I know of many many small churches that are vibrantly alive in Christ.

So how does one measure health in the church? This has been a question that has plagued me for years. How do we take a step back and take an honest view about where we are at as a church?

The issue comes down to the fact that as church leaders we cannot truly judge the hearts of another. We see the fruit (or lack thereof) in lives and bring up the issue, but only God truly knows the heart.

I tend to think that through 1) baptisms, 2) participation, and 3) membership, one can gauge the health of a church.

Baptism

Baptism doesn’t justify an individual. Yet, there is something significant that takes place in the baptismal waters. Baptism is an outward reflection of an inward heart commitment. When one stands to be baptized, one is declaring their participation in the life, death, and resurrection of Christ. Ideally and normally, those participating in baptism are new converts. So when we see individuals being baptized, we should rejoice that the Spirit has softened their hearts and moved them in such a way that they desire to make a public proclamation of faith. Baptisms helps to indicate the health of the church as your church reaches out and proclaims the goodness of God.

Participation

How involved are congregants in the life of the church and each other? Are individuals involved in Community Groups where they rub shoulders week to week encouraging and admonishing each other to abandon sin and cling to Christ?

Sunday morning is not necessarily the barometer for the health of the church; what goes on the rest of the week is. If our people begin to live in such a way that Sunday morning is what they see as the highlight of their spiritual formation, then we as leaders have done nothing more than to lead our people to embrace our own idol, Sunday attendance report. It is throughout the rest of the week where faith is being worked out — in Community Groups, Discipleship Groups, Prayer Meetings, and other informal gatherings.

Membership

How committed to the local church are our people? This is not merely a tactic to make individuals commit to a church, but membership reveals a heart that is willing to covenant with others to the glory of God. In membership, individuals commit to support each other, love each other, challenge each other, and pray for each other. They give permission to the church to speak into their lives and to highlight blind spots that they are not seeing.

Membership is also a reflection of our love for Christ. As Christ’s body, as Christ’s bride, when individuals refuse to be accountable or to covenant in community, they are also refusing Christ. It would be like having a relationship with out the commitment of marriage. I have long hated the expression “I love Christ but hate the church” because it’s basically nonsensical! To hate the church is to hate Christ. Active, participating members in the local church are a great barometer to a church’s health.

How do we measure success in the church? Is it through programs, attendance, or finances? Though we can’t truly see another heart, actions reflect where our hearts are at. When we see baptisms taking place, we see individuals coming to know the Lord in such a way as they desire to make a public proclamation of an inward commitment. When individuals participate in the life of the church they show their heart and desire for sanctification, the ongoing work of the Holy Spirit through the word and others. In membership, one commits to each other to always be there for each other.


Ten Dangers of Passive Sanctification

Having highlighted Five Attractions of Passive Sanctification, here are ten dangers that accompany this error.

1. The danger of lost doctrine

One danger of passive sanctification is of confusing and conflating sanctification with justification, which may end up with us losing both of them. Thus, the worthy desire to exalt justification ends up with us losing it, and the commendable desire to connect sanctification with justification in this way ends up with us losing both. As Kevin DeYoung wrote:

If in trying to honor justification by faith alone we provide the same formula for sanctification, we are destroying the former as much as the latter.

It’s like hot and cold water. When I want a shower, I want piping hot water. When I want a refreshing drink, I want the water to be ice cold. But if I mix the two, I end up have a disgustingly lukewarm drink and a very brief and unpleasant shower.

2. The danger of lost law

There is a real danger here that we lose God’s moral law from the Christian’s life. I’m not saying that those who advocate passive sanctification deliberately aim for this. But it’s the end result at least for many who read and follow such teaching.  The only imperative left seems to be “Believe in your justification.”

But if salvation is from sin, and sin is transgression of God’s moral law, then we surely want God’s moral law in our lives at least to help us identify the sins we are to confess and flee from, and, as God’s children, to know what pleases Him.

3. The danger of lost effort

Passive santification seems to focus all effort and work upon resting in Christ’s effort and work for us. However, there’s a lot more effort and work than that if sanctification is to happen. In his classic work, Holiness, J.C. Ryle said:

In justification the word to be addressed to man is believe — only believe; in sanctification the word must be ‘watch, pray, and fight.’

The very same apostle who says in one place, “the life that I live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God,’ says in another place, “I Fight,” “I run,” “I keep under my body”; and in other places, “let us cleanse ourselves,” “Let us labour,” “Let us lay aside every weight.

The effort is much more than merely spiritual or intellectual. There’s a muscular physicality to it involving our eyes, our mouths, our arms, our hands, our legs, our muscles, our tendons, our sexual organs, and every other part of our body. organs,

4. The danger of lost motivation

By reducing the motivation for obedience to one item (justification) we lose multiple motivations to holiness. Kevin DeYoung wrote that he found 20 motivations for holiness in 2 Peter alone! I need all the motivations I can get.

5. The danger of a lost dimension

If nothing we do can influence our experience of God’s love, then the primary focus of good works becomes our fellow man. However, the Bible says that, by God’s grace, we can do good works of Christian service to others which ALSO please God as sweet-smelling sacrifices (Phil. 4:16; Heb 13:16; Heb 13:21).

In other words, our works on a horizontal level also impact our vertical relationship with God. Our creature-to-creature relationships influence our creature-Creator relationship.

6. The danger of lost love

Although the advocates of passive sanctification believe they are exalting and securing God’s love for the believer, there’s a real danger of their views leading to a loss of the sense and experience of God’s love for them. How so? Because, contrary to what they teach, God does respond to our obedience with more manifestations of His love.

Yes, we love Him only because He first loved us (1 John 4:19); and, yes, we love him first then keep His commandments, not vice versa (John 14:15); but yes also, when we do respond to His love with love-fueled obedience, Christ responds to that with loving indwelling, divine communion, and Trinitarian manifestation (John 14:15, 21, 23). What a powerful motivation to active sanctification!

God’s love for the believer never changes, but the believer’s experience of that love can change. God may withdraw the assurance and the daily experience of His Fatherly love because of my disobedience. He loves me no less, but I don’t have his love shed abroad in my heart to the same extent or degree. But He also may pour more of that love into my heart in response to loving service and obedience.

7. The danger of lost chastisement

If there is no link between our works and pleasing God, then there can be no link between our afflictions and displeasing God. Although we certainly want to avoid the error of Job’s friends who said all suffering is a result of personal sin, we must also avoid the idea that it never has anything to do with our conduct and character.

There is a benefit from suffering if we see it as the loving discipline of a loving heavenly Father, all for our good. We cannot make infallible links between sin and suffering but God does sometimes link them and calls us to search for these links too.

Paul expects moral and ethical change to result from our sufferings (Rom. 5:3-5) and the Apostle expects fruit form our suffering (Heb. 12:10-13).

8. The danger of lost spirituality

There’s so much more to Christian experience than the rather one-dimensional presentation of it in passive sanctification. Yes, the Spirit drives us back to Christ’s finished work every day. That’s one element of the Spirit’s work in us – and it is a wonderful experience, no question – but the Psalms, John 14:21&23, Revelation 3:20, and many other places, invite us to a far wider, deeper, richer, and more soul-satisfying experience of communion with God through His Spirit. There’s a vast amount of Christian literature, not least among the Puritans, that widens the vista of the life of God in the soul of man way beyond this limited view of the Spirit’s subjective work.

9. The danger of lost unity

This teaching around passive sanctification often divides God’s people, weakening the church. Now if it was truth that was causing the division, we would accept that. However, as I hope has been demonstrated, it is not truth, or at least not a biblically balanced and complete presentation of truth. J C Ryle says it best of the passive sanctification teaching of his own day.

I must deprecate, and I do it in love, the use of uncouth and newfangled terms and phrases in teaching sanctification. I plead that a movement in favor of holiness cannot be advanced by new-coined phraseology, or by disproportioned and one-sided statements, or by overstraining and isolating particular texts, or by exalting one truth at the expense of another…and squeezing out of them meanings which the Holy Ghost never put in them… The cause of true sanctification is not helped, but hindered, by such weapons as these. A movement in aid of holiness which produces strife and dispute among God’s children is somewhat suspicious.

10. The danger of losing Christ

The Gospel is not justification. But one of the dangers of this imbalanced emphasis on justification is that it seems to put justification in the foreground and Christ in the background. As W Evans wrote:

The fact of the matter is that the heart of the gospel is not justification.  Nor is it sanctification.  It is Jesus Christ himself, who is “our wisdom and our righteousness and sanctification and redemption.” The Apostle Paul came preaching “Christ crucified” and more often than not he directed Christians, not to their own justification, but to the crucified and risen Christ in whom they are both justified and sanctified.  The gospel involves freedom from both the penalty and the power of sin, and the latter is not simply to be collapsed into the former.  Only when we begin with Christ and our spiritual union with him will we give both justification and sanctification their proper due.


Lies About Anger

Have you let anger get the best of you? Did you blow up and toss pointy words across the room? Did you clam up, steely eyed and mouth shut, and kill with silence?

Anger is an emotion brought on when you’ve been wronged, real or perceived. In this post I hope to help you learn common lies about anger so you can handle this emotion well and live a life that brings you peace and honors Jesus Christ.

Like you, I’ve believed lies about anger. My mom snapped an embarrassing photo of me at age 3. My bottom lip protruded from Chicago to Shanghai, my blue eyes glared.

Back then I believed the lie that the best way to handle anger is to not talk about it. Last week I felt wronged when I learned that the cost of our family’s health insurance would increase $150 a month. I complained to my husband who took the high road and said, “It could be a lot worse,” then resumed watching TV. I responded to his indifference with more quiet anger.

Can you identify a few lies you’ve believed about anger? Did you know anger ranges from mild irritation to frustration to self-pity to rage? 

Lie 1: Anger Is Sinful

Anger is a God-given emotion. It is neither morally right nor wrong. Consider Jesus, fully God and fully man, who never sinned. He became angry at the sight of money changers in the temple.

Jesus entered the temple courts and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. “It is written,” he said to them, “‘My house will be called a house of prayer,’ but you are making it ‘a den of robbers.’” Matthew 21:12-13, NIV

Some thirty times in Psalms the word anger is used, often referring to God’s anger. God’s anger is always righteous. Righteous anger is holy.

Shepherd-King David implored God regarding his enemies:

Pour out your indignation upon them,
    and let your burning anger overtake them. Psalm 69:24, ESV

Lie 2: Punch a Pillow When Angry

The way you express anger determines whether it becomes sin, or a violation of God’s will.

Ephesians 4:26 says, “In your anger do not sin.” This suggests it is possible for you to angry without sinning. But let’s be honest: You and I almost always express this emotion by acting out loudly and destructively–yelling, slamming doors, using fists, name-calling, and punching pillows. Or. . .

Lie 3: Hold in Your Anger

We bottle it. Bottled anger may set up an unexpected volcanic blow up or even despair and depression.

Did you know that suicide might be considered an extreme and tragic expression of anger turned inward?

The apostle Paul says,

Instead, speaking the truth is love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. Ephesians 4:15, NIV

When I was little, I missed the memo on speaking out loud. Yes, I said awful things to myself. My soul-speak was full of condemnation for those who violated my “rights,” quite often my older brother who snatched the last chocolate chip cookie, and toward myself. My self-talk overflowed with lying Lucy words like “You’re not enough” and “You’re a loser.”

Do you tend to hold in your anger? When you speak to your soul, what do you often say?

Practical Solutions to Expressing Your Anger

Now that you know several lies about anger, you may wonder how to handle this emotion.

First know the common sources of anger. They are:

  1. Hurt. When you feel hurt, you may use anger to protect yourself from additional emotional pain.
  2. Fear. When you feel threatened, you may give in to worry because you lack trust in God.
  3. Injustice. When you sense that your rights have been violated, you probably will feel anger.

At its root, anger is based on a wrong belief that life should be fair.

When you believe that life should be fair, and you’ve been mistreated, you’ll probably think your anger is justified, even good. You may believe that expressing it–loudly or quietly–is your right.

Second, exchange your wrong belief with a right belief. This is was a right belief sound like.

Right belief:

“God is in control of all my circumstances so I can trust him and give him my rights. I believe that when I act upon the truth of the Bible, no matter how I feel, God will bring about a good result. I choose to allow my anger to motivate me to do what God wants me to do.”

Finally, look upon anger as a type of warning signal.

It tells you something is amiss. Recognizing your emotion helps you stomp lies about anger and choose to handle it well.

May I Pray for You?

Heavenly Father,

Please help me when I feel angry. Let it be a motivator to speak the truth in love to the person who has wronged me or to simply accept a situation that seems unfair. Give me patience and deeper faith. Amen.

Resources for You!

DOWNLOAD: Get this complimentary download on the Many Faces of Anger.

COUNSELING: The certified biblical counselors would like to come alongside you in your emotional pain and point you to Jesus and the timeless truths of the Gospel. Contact us for information or schedule an appointment online.

The post Lies About Anger appeared first on Biblical Counseling Center.


The myth of race

One of the most harmful effects of evolutionary theory is the concept of race. Despite having zero scientific validity to it, the idea that human beings can be categorized into general “races” that are supposedly connected to their biology has wormed its way into our world views. It needs to make a quick exit—stage left.

Thabiti Anwaybwile (pastor of Anacostia River Church in DC) said it this way: “Believing in race is like believing in unicorns, because neither exist.”

Certainly cultures exist. Certainly ethnicities exist. And certainly racism exists (largely fueled by the whole notion of race to begin with).

But unicorns do not, and neither does race.

Here is a definition of race, followed by four reasons you should evict the concept of race from your vocabulary and your worldview: 

“Race”

Dictionaries and biology textbooks define race this way: “Each of the major divisions of humankind, having distinct physical characteristics.” When different races are listed, they often consist of African-American, Caucasian, Asian, Native-American, Native Hawaiian, and other sub-sets. Hispanics are considered (by those who consider such things) to not be a race but to be a subset of White.

Race is distinguished from culture/ethnicity. Race is supposedly fixed, objective, genetic and scientific. Culture is flexible, subjective, linguistic and social.

Here four reasons why you should reject the validity of race as a concept:

Race goes against logic

There is no logical grid for race. If a man can trace his ancestry back 500 years in Africa, and then immigrates to the United States, does that make him African-American? How long does he need to be in the United States before he becomes “American?” If immigration can change his racial status, in what sense is it biological?

And does it matter if his skin is white? What race is he then? Or his kids?

I suppose exceptions like this used to be just that—exceptions to the fixed concepts of race. But in today’s world, those exceptions are the rule. From our President (what race is someone with a Kenyan father, white mother, born in Hawaii, school in Asia, but the president of the Untied States?) to our friends, multi-ethnic marriages are becoming the norm. The concept of fixed races has simply become illogical.

And while we are on “illogical,” how can Hispanics be considered a subset of Caucasian, when the entire concept of “Hispanic” is connected to the mixing of African slaves with Spanish and Native Americans? Plus, Hispanics make up 20% of the American Population! If a concept of race misses—by definition—at least 20% of the population, it is ceased to become functional.

Race goes against science

Simply put: there is no scientific evidence that human beings can be categorized in any meaningful way by genetics.

University of New Mexico professor (Go Lobos!) Susan Chavez Cameron wrote a 2011 article surveying the history of scientific inquiry into race. She concluded that humans share at least 99.8% similarities in genes, but that the last .2% diversity is not connected to traits normally associated with race. In fact, only about .0002% of genetic diversity fits into what we might consider “racially identifiable” characteristics.

Chavez Cameron goes on to say that genetic diversity is actually greater within racial groups than it is outside of them. She ends her article by saying the concept of race “itself is passe” and “leads to harm” in counseling, medical treatment, and other areas.

Eloise Menses, Anthropology Professor at Eastern, has written a similar article covering the anthropologic evidences that humans can be categorized by race. She concludes:

“Essentially all anthropologists have given up the attempt to identify races of human beings. This is very simply because the best evidence indicates that there are physically no clear boundary lines between the various communities of people around the world. All of the traits that distinguish human beings from one another are found in all communities, although in varying degrees.”

Collin Kidd, a professor at University of  St. Andrews and the author of The Forging of Races, examined all manner of genetic diversity in humans, trying to categorize people by skin color, height/weight, stature, enzymes, hair types, and even ear wax types (who knew?). He concluded that while people can be divided along those lines, those divisions do not produce anything close to our concept of race.

Which should be obvious. You can have two people stand up side-by-side, and they can look identical, but be two different races; there is no underlying genetic differences that validate our desire to separate them by race.

Race goes against history

Throughout history, the concept of race has been used to oppress people. Here is the logic: if you agree that different races developed differently, and that these differences are genetic, then the obvious conclusion is that they are not equal. And if they are not equal, then some races (or at least one race) must be superior.

This gives way to banning inner-racial marriages—after all, you have to guard the purity of the elevated race. This gives justification for slavery—if people are inferior, ought they serve the superior?

In fact, much of our culture’s current understanding of race can be traced back to the German doctor Johan Blumenbach. In the early 1800’s, he examined skulls from around the world and declared that there were five races (Caucasian, Mongolian, Ethiopian, Malay, and American). Blumenbach is the first that I know of to divide races by color (white, yellow, brown, black, red).  But he also argued that because of this diversity, a hierarchy must be established.

Well, it turns out that not only is the concept of a hierarchy based on skin color absent of any scientific backing, but it also is the source of much harm. That harm has been manifest in perhaps every nation of the world, and certainly one of the main evils in American history. While the harm of the past cannot be undone, eliminating the concept of race from our world view would be a good start.

Race goes against the Bible

If you believe in a historic Adam and Eve, then this should be a no-brainer.

The Bible makes it clear that we are all descended from Adam, and that we are all one blood. Every human being has the same genetic core, because we all have a common ancestor. Genesis 1:27 describes the creation of all humans, and 2:7 shows that his occurred through the physical creation of Adam. His name means “man” because we would all come from him.

After the flood, the earth is populated again, but this time with a different approach. All the genetic diversity of the pre-diluvium world was in Noah’s three sons, and the divisions at Babel can trace their roads back to the ark (Gen 10:1-6).

This is why Paul says that all people on the earth are really “one blood” (Acts 17:26; KJV). The Holman says it this way: “From one man he has made every nation.”

The Bible never uses the concept of race, but it does use the concept of ethnicity. God is glorified with there is diversity in the church. The gospel is powerful enough to transcend cultures, social classes, languages, continents, and centuries. Heaven will be a diverse place, and the diversity comes from the transcendent power of the gospel, not from genetic make-up supposed classes of people.

I know our culture treats race like an idol, but the emperor has no clothes, and underneath our skin and hair, we are all pretty much the same. Celebrate diversity of cultures and ethnic groups, but run far away from the idea that humans can be meaningfully divided by race.


Seven Ways to Involve Older People in Your Church

By Chuck Lawless

I’m not that old – I’m 54 – but I increasingly realize that I’m not young, either. Sometimes I, too, long for what I thought were the “good old days.” At the same time, I realize the importance of being involved in a local church today. I may not speak for all older folks, but here’s how you could get me more involved in your church’s ministry:

  1. Understand that I’m not opposed to change. I’m honestly not. I may not like change, but it’s more because everything seems to be changing than it is my opposition to church change. Help me understand the change, and I’ll be with you. What I’m opposed to is change that’s not well thought out.
  2. Ask me to serve. Sometimes it easy for me to think I’m not as needed as I used to be. I realize the church needs younger leadership at some point, and I don’t want to get in the way of that transition. I’ll help in any way I can, but you may need to recruit me directly.
  3. Trust me with some of your prayer concerns. Some of us have spent decades trying to figure out how to pray, and many of us have more time than others to pray. I want to pray specifically and intentionally for you as my spiritual leaders. Share a bit of your heart with me, and I’ll be on board with you.
  4. Invite me to join you on a ministry visit. I know that would take more of your time, but I’d be genuinely honored to assist you. If I can, I’ll even clear my calendar to help you. I’ve been around long enough to know not to take your invitation lightly.
  5. Keep reminding me that you want to reach my kids and grandkids. I want them to be faithful to God, yet I don’t always have the answers to lead them. They really are a different generation. If you can help me figure out how to help them walk with God, I’ll be willing to overlook little things that tend to bug me.
  6. Help me understand that younger folks really do want older folks in their lives. I’m learning that young people understand the importance of cross-generational relationships much better than my generation has. They even like to listen to my stories about black-and-white TV’s, dot matrix printers, and computer modems that sounded like an airplane. Connect me with young people who like to hang out with me, and I’ll have new life in church.
  7. If you’re a church planter, recruit me. I’d want you to talk to my pastor also, but you might find that I’m praying about and looking for a new adventure. The older I get, the more I want to make sure I’m maximizing my gifts for the kingdom. I can tell you for certain that I’ll be your friend if we’re walking together for God’s glory.

Older folks, what would you add? Younger readers, what do you think? Let us hear from you.


Be sure to check out Dr. Lawless’ daily blog posts at http://www.chucklawless.com. Chuck Lawless currently serves as Professor of Evangelism and Missions and Dean of Graduate Studies at Southeastern Seminary. You can connect with Dr. Lawless on both Twitter and Facebook.

The post Seven Ways to Involve Older People in Your Church appeared first on ThomRainer.com.


Grace Supplies Strength for Today

Grace Supplies Strength for TodayIf grace empowers us to live like Christ, how do we access that grace day after day? What does it mean to live in the strength that God supplies? In this lab, John Piper unpacks a life sustained by faith in God’s future grace, where God’s power meets our needs for his glory moment by moment.

Watch Now


Check out

Blogs

I Saw Color For the First Time | Challies Dot Com

10 Phrases that Encapsulate Your Journey with an Eating Disorder | Brad Hambrick

Even Though It’s Not A Game | Gentle Reformation

Why the Printed Book Will Last Another 500 Years | Literary Hub

Questions to Ask the Text | Daryl Dash

Don’t Waste Your Fall | Sayable

Rest | Biblical Counseling Coalition Blogs

14 Reasons to Memorize an Entire Book of the Bible | Andy Naselli

The Reformation & the Rediscovery of Christian Assurance | The Cripplegate

The Church is Not a Drive-Through Restaurant by Daniel Hyde | Ligonier Ministries Blog

New Book

Held in Honor: Wisdom for Your Marriage from Voices of the Past by Robert Plummer and Matt Haste.

Kindle Books

The Case for Faith: A Journalist Investigates the Toughest Objections to Christianity by Lee Strobel $0.99.

Stopping Stress before It Stops You: A Game Plan for Every Mom by Dr. Kevin Leman $0.99. Though not a mom, I’ve been reading this the past few days and would recommend for Dads as well, not just to help Mom better but also to deal with male stress too.

A Path Through Suffering by Elisabeth Elliot $1.99.

The New One Minute Manager $1.99. New edition of the classic.

Video

Sexuality and the Christian Faith: Google Hangout with Rosaria Butterfield


A La Carte (October 22)

Here are a couple of new Kindle deals. The big one is the brand new NIV Zondervan Study Bible (edited by D.A. Carson) at just $7.99. The Church: Why Bother? by Jeff Johnson is a bargain at $0.99.

Ten Dangers of Passive Sanctification

David Murray: “Having highlighted Five Attractions of Passive Sanctification, here are ten dangers that accompany this error.”

11 Steps to Memorizing an Entire Book of the Bible

“How do we go about memorizing an extended section or an entire book of the Bible? Here are 11 basic steps I’ve followed and commend to others…”

The Church is Not a Drive-Through Restaurant

“Because of cultural influences on the church in America in our time, we tend to treat the church like a drive-through restaurant.” It’s true of Canada, too.

The Pleasure of Pleasing God

“God so cares about us as a Father, that he finds happiness in our obedience and sadness in our disobedience.”

This Day in 1746. The charter for the College of New Jersey—whose Board of Trustees included men from William Tennent’s Log College—was granted to revival leader Jonathan Dickenson 269 years ago today. The College would later become Princeton University. *

Five Steps to Meditating on the Bible

“To meditate is to think deeply about what God has said to us in the Bible and to prepare our minds and hearts for prayer. Scripture is the foundation of our praying; meditation readies us for it by helping us focus, understand, remember, worship, and apply.”

Preach As If You Would Die & Go to Heaven When You’re Finished

“If it were revealed to you that you were about to preach the last sermon you would ever give, how would you preach and what would you do different?” Here is some sound counsel.


Christian Headlines Daily – Thursday, October 22, 2015

http://www.christianheadlines.com/

Top Headlines

Christian Drummer Shot Dead by Policeman after His Car Broke Down on the Interstate

Man Sends Partner a Text While She Waits in Abortion Clinic Which Saves Unborn Child’s Life

Evangelicals Soften Death Penalty Stance

Eric Metaxas Says Carson, Fiorina, Trump His Top Presidential Picks

Couple Behind Viral Pregnancy Announcement Video Asks for Prayer for Preemie Son

Israeli Cafe Offers Discount to Jews and Arabs Who Dine Together

Republicans Hope to Find ‘Missing’ Evangelical Voters

Video Released from Libya of Beheading of Christian from South Sudan

Huckabee Given an ‘A,’ Trump an ‘F’ According to ‘Christian Voting Guide’

Church Attack Routs Thousands of Indonesian Christians

Opinion

How to Effectively Argue against Evolution and for Creation

Oprah Winfrey’s ‘Belief’: ‘Millions of Ways’ to God?

Ben Carson Wouldn’t Vote for Muslim President Because He Takes Religion Seriously

Planned Parenthood Changes Its Plans, But We Do not

Lindsay Lohan for President?


10/22/15 Do Whatever It Takes

READING: Matthew 18

TEXTS AND APPLICATION:  How hard do you and I work to eradicate sin from our lives? The words of Matthew 18:8-10 sound much like the previous words of Matthew 5:29-30, thus creating emphasis through repetition and reminding us again about the serious nature of sin:

Matthew 18:8-10  If your hand or your foot causes your downfall, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life maimed or lame, than to have two hands or two feet and be thrown into the eternal fire. And if your eye causes your downfall, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye, rather than to have two eyes and be thrown into hellfire!

Matthew 5:29-30  If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of the parts of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of the parts of your body than for your whole body to go into hell!

In both cases, Jesus’ point is clear: He so demands that we live godly, pure lives that He uses intentional, dramatic, heart-stopping hyperbole to catch our attention. While it might be easy to hear the word “hyperbole” and think Jesus didn’t mean what He said, to go that route is to miss the point completely. It’s true that He didn’t mean the words literally, but He still meant what He said. We are not to take sin lightly. We are to take whatever measures are necessary to walk in godliness. Repentance may not be easy, but it is always necessary — regardless of the cost.

ACTION STEPS: Consider today what steps you need to take to avoid sin in your life. Is it to be fully honest with somebody? To avoid going to certain places or watching particular shows? To toss your computer or phone? Drastic steps, even when painful, are worth the effort to please Jesus.

PRAYER: “God, grant me wisdom and courage to do whatever it takes to live in purity.”


Our Time is Short

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


What is The Gospel?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Ready to start your new life with God?

Who do you think that I am?

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

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

Consider what the Bible says about Him: Read more


Resource Links

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

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

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

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

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

About Christianity
Know Jesus Christ and your life will be transformed


Truth2Freedom Blog Disclaimer

This post was originally posted on:

https://truth4freedom.wordpress.com

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

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

“In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, charity.”

— Augustine

This blog is an aggregator of news and information that we believe will provide articles that will keep people informed about current trends, current events, discussions and movements taking place within our church and culture.

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107,material here is distributed without profit for research and educational purposes.

A headline link on this blog post doesn’t necessarily mean that there is agreement or approval with all the views and opinions expressed within the headline linked article. Caution is also warranted with regards to the advertisements and links that are embedded within the headline linked article.


October 21, 2015 Christian Briefing Report

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Through Good Works? (1)

This raises the question: did the Reformed teach that good works are co-instrumental in salvation in the fullest sense? Did they teach that it is partly through faith and partly through good works that we are delivered from the wrath to come and from the effects of sin? On its face it seems improbable that evangelical Protestants, who had just emerged from the medieval doctrine of justification through progressive sanctification (by grace and cooperation with grace) should turn around and posit that we are delivered from the wrath of God, even in part, by or through our cooperation with grace or good works.

Read More


What is the Earliest Complete List of the Canon of the New Testament?

In the end, we actually have very good historical reasons to accept Origen’s list as genuine.  And if it is, then we have evidence that (a) Christians were making lists much earlier than we supposed (and thus cared about which books were “in” and which were “out”); and (b) that the boundaries of the New Testament canon were, at least for some people like Origen, more stable than typically supposed.

Read More


Why Theology Matters

Theology fuels our devotion to God and our passion for sharing the Gospel. A solid theological vision of God and the Christian life is a powerful tool for mission. Imagine if every Christian were a good theologian. Not just a good theologian, but a good theologian in the distinctively Christian sense. Theology matters for your church because theology is for everyone. Every Christian is a theologian.

Read More


Are There Degrees of Sin?

Why is it important for us to emphasize this point? Many times I’ve talked to men who struggle with lust and they say to themselves or to me, “I might as well go ahead and commit adultery because I’m already guilty of lust. I can’t be in any worse shape in the sight of God, so I might as well finish the deed.” I always answer, “Oh yes, you can be in much worse shape.” The judgment of actual adultery will be much more severe than the judgment upon lust.

Read more


How Not to Ask for Forgiveness

The truly amazing thing about being forgiven is that it is a liberating experience. As God in Christ has set us free from sin’s misery, power and curse, so too when we confess sin sincerely to others, an enormous burden is removed from our shoulders. Insincere repentance never removes that burden. In fact it adds to is.

Read More


15 Arguments in Favor of Covenant Child Baptism

Paul clearly makes a connection between circumcision and baptism. Be careful, though! These verses are not referring to either physical circumcision or water baptism, but rather to the spiritual reality to which these covenant signs point. Both circumcision and baptism are covenant signs that point to the regenerating and cleansing work of the Holy Spirit. However, circumcision was an Old Covenant sign, given only to boys and with the shedding of blood. Now that Christ has shed His blood, baptism is given to both male and female and with the washing of water, not the shedding of blood.

Read more


Did Jesus Have a “Gospel-Centered” Ministry?

This brings me back to the original question: did Jesus’ have a gospel-centered ministry?  The answer, it turns out, depends on whether or not the trademark is applied.  Under the “gospel-centered”TM rubric, a true ministry must constantly and almost exclusively hammer home the free offer of forgiveness through faith alone in Christ’s blood.  Teaching theology is deemed irrelevant, instruction is legalistic, and confronting false teaching is ungracious.  In this approach, the biblical evidence shows that Jesus did not have a “gospel-centered”TM ministry.  In fact, most of what Jesus did in Mark’s Gospel involves messages that a “gospel-centered”TM ministry does not approve. 

Read More


A Prayer for the Weeping Heart

Father, grant me gospel joy; help me to rejoice in Christ even as I grieve. Envelope me with the peace and comfort only you can provide. As the days move into months, may this burden lessen. As the months move to years, use me to encourage and bless someone else who must walk a similar path. Help me to point them to you as the God of all comfort.

Read more


Tennessee Parents Concerned Over the Teaching of Islam in Schools

Tennessee Parents Concerned Over the Teaching of Islam in Schools

Posted on October 21, 2015 by Tru News

Some parents in White County, Tennessee are fighting the public school board over the 7th grade curriculum that they believe promotes Islam. Teachers are using the textbook myWorldHistory and Geography: The Middle Ages to Exploration of the Americas in Social Studies classes. The book is published by Pearson Corporation, which is partially owned by the Libyan Investment Authority, which also has ties to CAIR – the Council on American-Islamic Relations. Other Libyan Investment Authority par

Read Full Article »


Franklin Graham Slams Oprah Winfrey's 'Belief' Series for Claiming There are 'A Million Paths' to God

Franklin Graham Slams Oprah Winfrey’s ‘Belief’ Series for Claiming There are ‘A Million Paths’ to God

Posted on October 21, 2015 by Gospel Herald

Prominent evangelist Franklin Graham has criticized Oprah Winfrey’s new documentary series, “Belief,” which suggests that one can reach God through a number of paths — not just through the blood of Jesus Christ.

Read Full Article »


Pop Singer Selena Gomez Opens Up About Her Christian Faith, Reveals Her Favorite CCM Artist

Pop Singer Selena Gomez Opens Up About Her Christian Faith, Reveals Her Favorite CCM Artist

Posted on October 21, 2015 by Gospel Herald

Pop singer Selena Gomez recently opened up about her Christian faith and revealed her favorite CCM artist to be an award-winning Hillsong worship leader

Read Full Article »


‘We cannot be silent,’ Mohler says in new book

‘We cannot be silent,’ Mohler says in new book

Posted on October 21, 2015 by Baptist Press

R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, issues a call for faithful, biblical witness in his latest book, “We Cannot Be Silent,” that he says is ever more urgent in the wake of recent landmark events.

Read Full Article »


National Apologetics Conference Kicks Off Stressing Destructive Ideas, God's Answers

National Apologetics Conference Kicks Off Stressing Destructive Ideas, God’s Answers

Posted on October 21, 2015 by Christian Post

Charlotte, N.C. -The National Christian Conference on Apologetics kicked off in Charlotte, North Carolina Friday, lifting its theme from Richard Weaver’s seminal book Ideas Have Consequences.

Read Full Article »


The American Christian Voting Guide Ranks Mike Huckabee #1 For President: 'He Will Do God's Will For The Nation'

The American Christian Voting Guide Ranks Mike Huckabee #1 For President: ‘He Will Do God’s Will For The Nation’

Posted on October 21, 2015 by Gospel Herald

The influential American Christian Voting Guide has found that out of the candidates currently seeking the presidential nomination, Mike Huckabee is the most likely to bring religious freedom, jobs, and national security from God blessing the United States.

Read Full Article »


Are We Ashamed of the Bible?

Are We Ashamed of the Bible?

Posted on October 21, 2015 by Crosswalk

The reality is scripture contains many difficult texts that can make even the staunchest believer cringe. What should we do when confronted with such harsh words?

Read Full Article »


Why Churches Should Study Systematic Theology

Why Churches Should Study Systematic Theology

Posted on October 20, 2015 by Church Leaders

&If our young people were taught systematic theology before going off to college, they would be equipped to answer the questions and challenges to their faith they’ll see and hear every day.&

Read Full Article »


Give Your Weakness to God

Give Your Weakness to God

Posted on October 20, 2015 by Church Leaders

&Christian community should be one of the places where people can actually be vulnerable.&

Read Full Article »


Ken Ham Warns Parents About ‘The Good Dinosaur’ Movie

A well-known Christian apologist has spoken out about the “evolutionary indoctrination” in Disney-Pixar’s latest animated film, saying parents should be aware of the unbiblical presuppositions permeating the movie.

View Article


The Next Time You’re Offended

by Paula Hendricks Marsteller

So you feel angry? Insulted? Provoked? Offended? Downright mad? Now what?

When Marriage Meets Insecurity

by Samantha Nieves

A boyfriend or a husband won’t be your ticket to freedom from insecurity. Jesus Christ is the true source of confidence, security, and freedom.

Freebie Friday! Project Modesty

by Erin Davis

Here’s a fashion-forward freebie!

How to Pick a Best Friend

by Erin Davis

What makes the best kind of best friend? Here’s what’s on my list.


 jesse johnson.jpg

If I Deny Christ Can I Still Go to Heaven?
In light of the shooting in Oregon, where the gunman asked students if they were Christian, and if they said ‘yes’ the gunman shot the student in the head, what would happen if a Christian lied? What if it would have been me, and I would have said ‘no’? Would I still go to heaven when I die?
http://www.worldviewweekend.com/news/article/if-i-deny-christ-can-i-still-go-heaven


usama dakdok on new tv set.jpg

WVW-TV Presents: What Does The Koran Say Should Happen To “Moderate” Muslims & How Can You Identify a “Moderate” From a Radical Muslim? with Usama Dakdok
http://www.worldviewweekend.com/tv/video/what-does-koran-say-should-happen-moderate-muslims-how-can-you-identify-moderate-radical


mike gendron and brannon on tv set.jpg

WVW-TV Presents: Understanding & Refuting The End Time Beliefs of The Church of Rome
http://www.worldviewweekend.com/tv/video/understanding-end-time-beliefs-catholic-church


radiostudiobestoneyet.jpg

Worldview Weekend Radio:
Topic: Did Pope Francis & Tim Keller encourage Fox News contributor Kirsten Powers to become a Catholic? Reports are that Powers has announced she has converted to Roman Catholicism. Powers attended the Presbyterian Church of Tim Keller in NewYork. Today Brannon plays an audio clip of Keller praising the writings of Catholic mystics and refers to their writings as great stuff. Perhaps Keller should also be credited, along with Pope Francis, for the conversion of Powers to Roman Catholicism. One would think that if Tim Keller was really teaching as a proper pastor should do that perhaps Powers would know understand and reject the false Christ, false gospel, and paganism of the Church of Rome? However, can Keller be critical of the Church of Rome while also praising as great stuff, the writings of it mystic writers? Topic: Brannon reveals why he believes that Christians that live in more liberal areas may actually be better at contending for the faith. Topic: Why is it that many once conservative parents are now embracing and defending the liberal Christianity and churches of their adult children? Topic: We take your calls.
http://www.worldviewweekend.com/radio/audio/brannon-howse-october-19-2015-0


Squashing Seven Excuses to Not Evangelize
All believers have the desire to be faithful ambassadors for Christ. We want to bring the message of salvation to those around us. But like a deer in headlights we tend to freeze up instead of joyfully sharing the lifesaving news we possess. Like a diabetic rationalizing himself into eating that piece of cheesecake, Christian’s justify their disobedience with some well-crafted excuses. I’d like to help squash some excuses so that when we have the opportunity nothing would come in the way of those around us hearing about the hope that’s only found in Christ.
http://www.worldviewweekend.com/news/article/squashing-seven-excuses-not-evangelize


Obama Plans Takedown of Another U.S. Ally
President Obama failed to take out Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu but now he’s going after Canada’s Conservative Party Prime Minister Stephen Harper, a big supporter of Israel and opponent of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

It’s a story the U.S. media won’t cover. But Judi McLeod of the Canada Free Press has been documenting how Obama is planning the “fundamental transformation” of Canada by taking down Harper’s government and bringing to power a progressive majority assembled from Canada’s Liberal Party and New Democratic Party (NDP), an affiliate of the Socialist International.
http://www.worldviewweekend.com/news/article/obama-plans-takedown-another-us-ally


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No Compromise Radio with Mike Abendroth:
Jesus Meet Mr Self Righteous (Part 4) Mike continues to examines the most popular chapter in all the Bible: John 3Open in Logos Bible Software (if available). Listen to John’s description of Jesus preaching the truth to the teacher in Israel. A modern day way of think would go like this: what would Jesus say to the Pope of Roman. Tune in to learn some very important counter intuitive truths.
http://www.worldviewweekend.com/radio/audio/mike-abendroth-october-21-2015


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Noise of Thunder with Chris Pinto
SOCIALISM, SATANISM & GLOBALISM Chris continues his discussion on the progress of radical socialism in our country, and reviews parts of the book, “The New World Order” by A. Ralph Epperson. The author completed his book in 1989, but made a number of predictions (such as the legalization of gay marriage and the war on the family) which have clearly come to pass, along with the growing hostility towards Christianity. At the heart of his research is the acknowledgement of the spiritual forces at work, since those who have followed the Marxist agenda historically often proclaim praise for Lucifer and/or Satan. The devil, who rebelled against God, provides for them a model as they seek to resist all that is good, in their attempts to destroy Christianity.
http://www.worldviewweekend.com/radio/audio/chris-pinto-october-21-2015


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Encounter God’s Truth with Dr. John Whitcomb:
This week on Encounter Gods Truth from Whitcomb Ministries, Bible teacher Dr. John Whitcomb presents part one of a message called The Necessity of Gods Power. We go to Appalachian Bible College in Mount Hope, West Virginia, along with host Wayne Shepherd, to learn how the Bible clearly explains that every person possesses a sin nature that renders us totally depraved. This desperate condition requires Gods perfect ability in order to make it possible for anyone to believe the gospel and be saved. This can never be accomplished by our feeble attempts to manipulate or trick people into accepting the gospel. In this lesson, Dr. Whitcomb unfolds the place that arguments and evidences for the Christian faith should have in our witness in light of both the total depravity of man and the inspiration and authority of the Scriptures. Gods Word is true from the beginning to the end! Thanks for listening to it today on Encounter Gods Truth.
http://www.worldviewweekend.com/radio/audio/dr-john-whitcomb-october-19-2015


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Women with the Master with Susan Heck:
The Dangerous Sin of Anger! Passage: Matthew 5:21-26: Description: Recent statistics tell us that there are about 16,000 murders in the United States each year. That number does not include the 41,000 suicides which is murder by the way, as one is taking their own life. When you combine those numbers together you have about 60,000 murders in the United States each year. That might not seem like a huge number in comparison to the population of the United States which is roughly about 318 million. But I wonder how many of the 318 million people which live in this country would admit to ever being angry which includes being annoyed; being exasperated; being impatient; being irritated? I imagine most Americans, if they were honest, would at least admit to moments of anger. But few would admit their anger would qualify as being equal with the 60,000 murders which take place each year. But as kingdom citizens that belong to another country, we have a King that says something startling as He speaks on the mount regarding the dangerous sin of anger.
http://www.worldviewweekend.com/radio/audio/women-master-october-19-2015


 

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Steel on Steel with John Loeffler:
The silly season is heating up and this week we witnessed an early boil. Democrat party candidates held their first debate with a fireworks display of droll talking points. In this weeks boralogue, John looks at politicians promises of free stuff, despite economic problems on the horizon, a changing Middle East chessboard, impending terror attacks in America, and an out of control debt. Remember one thing: before Obamacare, before the housing crisis, before terrorists breached our borders, and with debate promises made this week, they lied to us. A recent report from Judicial Watch shows proof that ISIS has infiltrated our southern border. Irene Garcia, Investigative Reporter for Judicial Watch, joins us to discuss the failure of security on our porous border and a possible cover-up by Homeland Security officials who say they have no knowledge of any problems. Some ISIS members were caught, but many more have snuck through undetected. Wake up and smell the infiltration. Now that ISIS is here, what is the likelihood of terrorist attacks? Dan Perkins, bestselling author of The Brotherhood of the Red Nile trilogy, examines ISISs ability to obtain nuclear materials and reveals that terrorists may target Americas heartland rather than New York or Washington.
http://www.worldviewweekend.com/radio/audio/john-loeffler-october-19-2015


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Crosstalk
Jim began discussion of this topic by noting a story reporting that just 2 weeks after Attorney General Loretta Lynch’s Justice Department announced a plan to globalize local police departments through the Strong Cities Network, the Obama administration has added a new tool to its fight against violent extremism. The person who heads up this effort will target extremists who plan mass shootings, hold racist, bigoted or anti-government views or see themselves as sovereign citizens. Are these not some of the descriptions used against born-again believers? The Domestic Terrorism Council will serve as the main point of contact for this effort. Part of their responsibility will be to ‘analyze legal gaps that need to be closed’. That’s according to Assistant Attorney General John Carlin. It’s not clear what he meant by that statement. What’s unique about this effort is that the Justice Department sees Islamic jihadists as no more dangerous than mentally ill individuals such as Dylann Roof, the Charleston, South Carolina, church shooter who killed 9 Black Christians. In fact, Justice Department officials have indicated that these home-grown White ‘right wingers’ are possibly more numerous and dangerous than the jihadis.
http://www.worldviewweekend.com/radio/audio/crosstalk-october-21-2015


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Justin Peters Program:
Attributes of God – Omnipresence: This week we will discuss the incommuni
cable attribute of God’s Omnipresence. What exactly does omnipresence mean? Is God truly in all places at all times and, if so, how is this different from pantheism and even panentheism? In this program we will discuss the Scriptures which speak of God’s omnipresence and their rather surprising contexts. What are the practical implications of God’s Omnipresence for the lost and the believer? God’s Omnipresence should both instill fear and also provide great comfort and encouragement.
http://www.worldviewweekend.com/radio/audio/justin-peters-program-october-19-2015


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Running to Win with Dr. Erwin Lutzer:
Habakkuk the prophets complaints belong on todays front page. Evildoers are having a field day, and the foundations of the nation are being torn apart. Yet in the midst of turmoil, the prophet has a burst of faith that God is still in charge.
http://www.worldviewweekend.com/radio/audio/dr-erwin-lutzer-october-21-2015


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Truth About Islam with Usama Dakdok
Revealing The Deception of Islam: When Muslims Speak in Churches (Program #8)
http://www.worldviewweekend.com/radio/audio/truth-about-islam-october-21-2015


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Prophecy Today Radio with Dr. Jimmy DeYoung
Jimmy DeYoung has on PTIB, as his special guest today, Itamar Marcus, the director of Palestinian Media Watch. Itamar and his team monitor the Palestinian media, the print and the electronic media, and reveal what the Palestinian leaders are really saying. PMW has revealed that PA President Abbas lied about the IDF killing a 13 year old Palestinian terrorist, who is actually in the hospital recovering; Fatah is calling for attacks on Jews; and there are videos among the Palestinians that are teaching them how to kill Jews.
http://www.worldviewweekend.com/radio/audio/prophecy-today-intell-briefing-october-21-2015


TV Review: Oprah Winfrey’s “Belief”

Brian Lowry of Variety reviews “Belief,” a seven-night miniseries Oprah produced that explores the origins and impacts of different world religions. Without getting too far afield, Oprah says she’s a Christian. However, when we examine the beliefs she holds it becomes clear that her religious views are more in line with New Age/New Thought.

Now to Lowry’s review:

Oprah BeliefOprah Winfrey narrated Discovery’s splendid nature series “Life,” and seeks to bring similar production values — including sleek photography and a sweeping score — to OWN’s take on faith in “Belief.” Yet as earnest and human-interest oriented as this seven-part production is, it will play best among those who buy into the billionaire mogul/personality’s particular brand of “Live your best life” mumbo-jumbo, a mix of spirituality and self-help. The Oprah seal of approval should make this a winner by OWN’s standards, but for all its positive energy, “Belief” will likely wind up preaching to the choir.

“My confidence comes from knowing there is a force, a power, greater than myself, that I’m a part of, and that is also a part of me,” Winfrey says in voiceover at the outset of each installment, summing up where she stands on the belief continuum. After that, however, the program is — literally and by design — all over the map, flitting to different spots across the globe to explore manifestations of faith in all its varied forms.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/entertainment/tv/ct-oprah-winfrey-belief-review-0151019-story.html


Focus on the Family endorsing a new and unbiblical view of marriage?

Dalrock has a piece entitled “Never let a crisis go to waste.”  He fills us in on what occurred on a recent Focus on the Family radio broadcast when the president of FOTF, Jim Daly, spoke with Christian relationship “expert” Dr. David Clarke.  For those who read and study the Bible, it is evident that Dr. Clark’s view […]

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Luther On The Comfort Of Christ’s Return

45. Without a doubt, He has spoken this comforting word also for the fainthearted, who, though they are godly and prepared for the Last Day, are yet filled with great anxiety and [thus] hinder their desire for this coming, which is especially found at the end of the world; therefore, He calls it their redemption. […]

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Sharpening–Or Turning On–One Another?

One thing we know for sure:  The Word of God is eternal truth and teaches us everything we need to know about God, sinful man, and salvation and sanctification through Jesus Christ alone.  But some of the particulars of the Word of God are not always easy to understand; and because we are still humans […]

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Even Though It’s Not A Game

Let’s try out a phrase: “spectator Christians.”

The trend toward spectatorship is a culture-wide phenomenon seeping into the church. Sports used to be something we did; now it’s something we watch. Music used to be a reason to get together with neighbors and have fun; now it’s something our headphones use to keep us separate from others. Christianity is, to my eyes, similarly and increasingly becoming a spectator event.  Read more of this post


All Aboard the Anti-Christ Train

JD Hall

Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God. Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things? And you know what is restraining him now so that he may be revealed in his time. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work. Only he who now restrains it will do so until he is out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will kill with the breath of his mouth and bring to nothing by the appearance of his coming. The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders,10 and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. 11 Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, 12 in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness. – (2 Thessalonians 2:3-12)

Take heed, this is Paul’s warning to the Thessalonians, who were in serious error concerning the imminent return of our Lord Jesus. Many had either misunderstood him or purposely misrepresented his teachings on this. Paul admonishes the church to not be deceived by those spreading untruths, as there were many things that must happen before Christ’s return. But in his exhortation also comes a great prophetic warning–the coming of the lawless one, and what he will bring.

What we see in Paul’s warning is exactly what we see unfolding in front of our eyes in the Church today. During the Protestant Reformation, Christianity was salvaged by God after centuries of suppression by the hands of Rome. There were great men of faith that have been persecuted and even martyred countless times for defending what they so strongly believed in. In an extravagant display of hatred, John Wycliffe’s bones were dug up forty years after he died and burned for translating the Bible into English and speaking out against the Papacy. Martin Luther, a monk who nailed the 95 Theses to a church door in Wittenberg, was excommunicated from the church. William Tyndale, who also famously translated Bibles into English though it were illegal, remained faithful until his strangling death, and body burned by the King of England. Thousands upon thousands of Protestants gave their lives during the Reformation era, and against all odds, through all of the persecution, and against the evils of the Roman Catholic Church, Christianity prevailed.

For several centuries, Biblical Christianity’s influence grew enormously, while the influence of the Papacy dwindled. Though still a forceful presence throughout the world, Roman Catholicism stood in stark contrast to Protestantism, and the differences between them were clear. The reformation produced some of the greatest theologians and preachers of all time. John Calvin, best known for his theological works regarding the doctrines of grace, was very outspoken against the works-based doctrines of Rome. There was the Puritan, Thomas Watson and later there was George Whitefield, Charles Spurgeon, and so on. There was no confusing Catholicism with Protestant Biblical Christianity–the doctrinal divide was clear. The Roman Catholic Church, especially the Papacy, is anti-Christ–this is what the reformers believed.

We here are of the conviction that the papacy is the seat of the true and real Antichrist…personally I declare that I owe the Pope no other obedience than that to Antichrist.  – Martin Luther

When the western church was divided for about 40 years between two rival popes, one in Rome and the other in Avigon, France, each pope called the other pope antichrist – and John Wycliffe is reputed to have regarded them as both being right – Wycliffe

[The pope] is in an emphatical sense, the Man of Sin, as he increases all manner of sin above measure. And he is, too, properly styled the Son of Perdition, as he has caused the death of numberless multitudes, both of his opposers and followers… He it is…that exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped…claiming the highest power, and highest honour…claiming the prerogatives which belong to God alone. – John Wesley

But what we see unfolding today is an unraveling of all the work the protest stood for, and a merging of ecumenical partnerships between the false church, and bible-believing evangelicalism. The flagship denomination of evangelicalism, the Southern Baptist Convention, is not only now succumbing to these antichrist forces, but leading the way. The Church that once stood strong and hard against the influences of the world and its false religion has now been diminished to another propaganda machine for the works of darkness. And sadly, there are those who will do anything–anything to defend it.

Then I heard another voice from heaven saying, “Come out of her, my people, lest you take part in her sins, lest you share in her plagues; – Revelation 18:4

The Roman Catholic church is not the only false church we battle though it is the mother. Evangelicalism is loaded with its apostate ministers and business organizations masquerading as houses of God. No matter what your lifestyle is, homosexual, drug users, fornicators, idolators, “personally included and accepted in our community,” they say. Our preachers MUST preach in a manner that “leaves people feeling better about themselves than when they came in,” they write. Affirmation of sin is the new gospel. They water down the bible and hand people a Get-Out-Of-Hell-Free card with their easy altar-calls and sinner’s prayers, followed by baptisms and affirmations of being members of the body of Christ while practicing unrepentant sin.

But our leadership has long abandoned the defense of sound doctrine and have taken many aboard the anti-Christ train with them. Our influential evangelical organizations water down the lines between truth and apostasy and join hands with them any chance they get to promote a political agenda. The average evangelical, even a born-again bible-believing evangelical has no idea that the Roman Catholic church teaches a false Gospel, and that the pope, leading millions to hell, is anything but a good man. “If we are going to form opinions about important global leaders like Francis (and many of us will) we should do so based on factual information. It’s not enough to say Pope = Bad,” proclaims one influential Southern Baptist leader. In fact, promotion of the Papacy and Popery has become the norm at these so-called evangelical organizations. What do bible-believing Christians need to learn from a pope?

Doesn’t the pope need the Gospel? Shouldn’t the pope be called to repentance? Do we simply have “minor disagreements” with the pope? Of the 9 things an evangelical leader say we as Christians need to know about the pope, the most important thing about him wasn’t even mentioned–the fact that he is lost, and on his way to Hell.

How can a once-claimed born-again evangelical forsake her Protestant roots, and become a Roman Catholic while under the church leadership of one of the most widely promoted pastors in the evangelical church? Is it because this ecumenical promoter of Roman Catholicism has forsaken God’s Word himself? Is it because he allegorizes Scripture rather than stand on it and proclaim it as truth? This should be an embarrassment to the evangelical leadership, but there hasn’t been one word mentioned of it from him. How can pastors like this become so widely promoted by bible-believers? Isn’t this the deception of the elect? Isn’t this the forsaking of truth for unity?

But those who have boarded the train have lost all sight of this. The church, to them, is no longer about proclaiming God’s word boldly, risking your reputations, friendships, and even your life to speak truth and to do God’s will. No, the false gospel of prominence now is niceness, unity, and love. Men who once stood strong against the apostasy have now left and are full-steam ahead. People who once defended the faith mercilessly have now taken it upon themselves to join forces with the anti-Christ to oppose sound rebuke, and will grasp at every straw possible to discredit anyone who speaks against the agenda. Even the elect have been deceived to a certain level, and their pure, vile hatred of the few men who are left to stand against the invasion from Hell, has completely overcome them (Mark 13:22, Matthew 24:24).

Hell is real. The anti-Christ is real, and you are either with him, or against him, but “all who dwell on earth will worship it, everyone whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who was slain.” (Revelation 13:8) And the train is leaving the station.

All Aboard!


Joyless Christianity Is Dangerous

Joyless Christianity Is DangerousAre you in spiritual danger? If you were, how would you know?

One key sign of spiritual danger is losing your joy. Don’t skim past what Paul says at the end of Philippians 3:1: “Finally, my brothers, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you is no trouble to me and is safe for you.” Paul reminds them to rejoice because it is safe.

Joy is one of the vital gauges on the dashboard of the Christian life. When the needle dips — when you lose your joy — you should take note. To stay safe, you need to pay attention to your joy.

Life-and-Death Canaries

How does this work? Here’s an illustration.

Coal miners know that dangerous gases can gather silently and secretly in the tunnels. Carbon monoxide will asphyxiate them. Methane explodes.

A methane explosion took the lives of 12 men in the 2006 Sago mine disaster in West Virginia. In 1906, almost 1,100 miners were killed in Courrières, France in one massive chain of explosions.

But in the early days of coal mining, they found an effective, low-tech solution: They brought canaries into the mines. A canary’s metabolism is very sensitive to air quality. As long as the bright yellow birds chirp and sing, miners know the air is safe. If gas levels rise, the canaries stop singing, wobble on their perch, and eventually fall to the floor of the cage.

Christian joy is like that singing, yellow bird. One of the first effects of sin or doctrinal error is that we lose our joy in Christ. When your heart stops singing, that is a warning to watch your life and doctrine closely.

Jesus’s Joy in You

Jesus himself connected our daily spiritual life with joy.

“If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love. . . . These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.” (John 15:10–11)

If your soul is satisfied in Christ, you will rejoice in Christ. Take your eyes off Christ, and you’ll lose your joy. Christian joy is a barometer of your spiritual life.

Don’t confuse this unique joy with other upbeat feelings. Genuine Christian joy is not the power of positive thinking. Joy is not a bubbly, optimistic personality. Joy is not being happy because life is going my way. Joy is not walking through life with a naïve, glass-half-full attitude.

Jesus says it is my joy . . . in you. And Paul says, Rejoice in the Lord. Joy is the emotion of salvation. It is the joy of seeing, knowing, loving, and trusting Jesus Christ. We cannot generate this true joy ourselves — it is the product of the Holy Spirit in us (Galatians 5:22). Joy is a glorious gladness and deep delight in the person of Jesus Christ.

Such joy cannot be extinguished by the circumstances of life. It is a God-given joy greater and stronger than any trouble that comes into my life. As the prophet Habakkuk says,

Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. (Habakkuk 3:17–18)

As a spiritual barometer, joy is not a slave to circumstances. The light of Jesus’s face shines in the darkest night. Jesus said, No one will take your joy from you (John 16:22).

Joy Protects from Religion

How does Christ-gazing, Spirit-given joy keep us safe? Here are two ways.

First, joy keeps you safe as you serve. If you lose your joy, that could be a sign that your work for the Lord is no longer worship. Joy protects you from serving God for the wrong reasons.

George Müller was an evangelist and orphanage director in Bristol, England. He is famous for his tremendous faith and amazingly effective ministry — he cared for over 10,000 orphans over the course of his life. And joy was Müller’s first priority each day.

I saw more clearly than ever that the first great and primary business to which I ought to attend every day was to have my soul happy in the Lord. The first thing to be concerned about was not how much I might serve the Lord but how I might get my soul into a happy state, and how the inner life might be nourished.

Working hard for Jesus — even caring for thousands of orphans — is a cold and empty duty if we have lost the warmth of our love for Christ. Joy keeps you safe from serving as a religious duty.

Joy Protects from Temptation

Second, joy keeps you safe from temptation. Matthew Henry said, “Joy in the Lord will guard you from the empty pleasures the tempter uses to bait his hooks.”

Joy protects you because joy in Christ comes from being satisfied in Christ. I like what Jonathan Edwards says.

The enjoyment of (God) is the only happiness with which our souls can be satisfied. To go to heaven, fully to enjoy God, is infinitely better than the most pleasant accommodations here. Fathers and mothers, husbands, wives, children, or the company of earthly friends are but shadows, but God is the substance. These are but scattered beams, but God is the sun. These are but streams, but God is the ocean.

When I get up from the table after Thanksgiving, the last thing I want is more food. You can’t tempt me with another bite. In the same way, it’s hard for Satan to tempt a joyful believer with the empty pleasures of this world.

A joyful believer is already more than satisfied in Christ — what more could he possibly want? Make it a point to be satisfied in Christ so that you rejoice in the Lord, and you will find safety and strength in your fight against sin.

Coal miners know that if the canary is not singing, there is trouble on the way.

So rejoice in the Lord! To write the same things is safe for you.


Related Articles


Debate Report Including Gagnon/Kirk Encounter

Did a jumbo edition of the DL today reporting on my trip to South Africa along with my attendance at the Gagnon/Kirk debate on homosexuality.  Spent nearly the first hour on the homosexuality topic (interspersed with comments about South African Rooibus Tea) and then moved on to the Muslim debates in the last half hour.

https://www.sermonaudio.com/code_sourcefeatured.asp?iframe=TRUE&reversecolor=FALSE&showoverview=FALSE&flashplayer=TRUE&tiny=FALSE&minimal=TRUE&eventtype=EVENTID&series=SUBTITLE&speaker=SPEAKERNAME&sermonid=102015125534

Here is the YouTube link:

The post Debate Report Including Gagnon/Kirk Encounter appeared first on Alpha and Omega Ministries.


Chain Reaction

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Program segments:

00:09:03 Prophecy Open Mic
00:18:58 Jentezen Franklin Botches Pharaohs’ Dreams
00:41:16 Hillsong Gay Couple Update
00:45:40 Steven Furtick: Chain Reaction
01:35:17 Sermon Review: The Power Of I Am – “Pastors” David & Nicole Crank with Joel Osteen


Five Attractions of Passive Sanctification

Passive sanctification is an error that has stalked and hurt the Christian church and many Christian lives through the years. The basic idea is that personal holiness is achieved without any personal activity, without any physical effort. Rather, holiness is received the more we are enabled to yield, to give up, or to believe.

The older form of this error has been summed up in the phrase, “Let go and let God.” We are passive and God is active. The more passive we become the more active God becomes. The less we try to succeed the more God will succeed in us.

The newest form of this error can be summed up in the phrase “Believe in your justification and you will be sanctified.” The idea is that the more you believe in your justification the more holy you will become. As faith receives and embraces justification, spiritual growth will happen. Faith simply receives, and this automatically produces godliness. There is no effort or activity on our part, apart from the effort of believing and receiving what Christ has already accomplished. Sanctification happens by believing in our justification.

There are a number of reasons (good and bad) why so many Christians are attracted to this modern version of passive sanctification.

1. Keeps justification central in the Christian life

Although we are only justified once, by our initial act of saving faith, yet we need to appropriate that justification time and time again. We do need to understand it more, believe it more, know it more, and experience it more. “Remember it, recognize it, realize it, relax in it, and rejoice in it. Yes!

2. Reduces the danger of legalism in the Christian life

Some Christians have the tendency to think “I’m saved by God’s sovereign grace, but now it’s over to me.”  “I get in by Christ’s work but I go on by my work. I’m saved passively but I’m made holy by my activity.” The Christian life then becomes a ceaseless round of activity, service, obligation, targets, resolutions…and failures, disappointment, frustration, etc. By helping the Christian return again and again to their justified status, the danger of legalistic activism is avoided.

3. Re-connects justification and sanctification

The re-connection of justification with sanctification keeps obedience faith-fueled and love-driven. Sanctification does not begin with “I resolve…I will” but with “I believe.” As David Powlison said: “Don’t ever degenerate into giving advice unconnected to the good news of Jesus crucified, alive, present, at work and returning.”

4. Relieves exhausted Christians

Some Christians are on the sure road to spiritual burnout. Passive sanctification can sound extremely attractive to such activists. Stop your ceaseless round of doing, stop your works for justification and sanctification. You are saved by faith and sanctified by faith. Justified by receiving Christ in the Gospel, and sanctified similarly.

5. Offers silver bullet for sanctification

Christians are always looking for the quickest and easiest way to be holy. This sounds like a very plausible silver bullet for sanctification. It’s very attractive to those who feel their sense of failure and lack of progress and are anxious for a fast lane to spiritual success.

Tomorrow we’ll see that despite the attractions of this view, there are a number of serious spiritual dangers that accompany it.


The Reformation & the Rediscovery of Christian Assurance

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It was a saying frequently heard in those days. As they would make their way up to the doors of the monastery, history records that those daring to enter the Augustinian ranks chanted the following: “In thy holy name we have clad in the habit of a monk, that he may continue with thy help faithful in thy Church and merit eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”

With the hope of accumulating that merit, the monk candidate then stepped foot into a life of austere devotion to Roman Catholic tradition. It would not be easy, but with enough rigor and exertion, the candidate could move himself that much closer to the possibility of heaven.

There was one such man who dared enter the Augustinian ranks at the age of 22. After nearly being struck by lightning, Martin Luther vowed to abandon his secular studies to become a monk. Two weeks later, on July 17, 1505, Luther presented himself at the monastery of Erfurt.

No Assurance, Necessary Torment

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As he read Scripture, Luther came to grasp God’s towering standards. He knew that man’s moral and spiritual condition was simply too depraved to satisfy God. Commenting on the Sermon on the Mount, Luther wrote, “This word is too high and too hard that anyone should fulfill it. This is proved, not merely by our Lord’s word, but by our own experience and feeling.” Thus, Luther was faced with the dilemma of the ages: how can sinful man be permanently in right standing with holy God?

So, Luther devoted himself to solving that dilemma. He gave himself fully to gaining the assurance of righteousness before God. For example, he would often fast for multiple consecutive days, supposing to inch himself closer to God’s favor. In an effort to cast off the guilt of sin, Luther would whip himself, cast off his blankets, sleep in the cold, and nearly freeze to death with the hope that the self-atonement would suffice. Moments when Luther supposed to have obeyed enough, his conscience would fire back: “But have you fasted enough? Prayed enough? Impoverished yourself enough?” He spent hours upon hours in confession, hoping to appease his conscience and God’s wrath that way. One of his mentors, Johann von Staupitz, once remarked, “If you expect Christ to forgive you, come in with something to forgive—parricide, blasphemy, adultery—instead of all these peccadilloes.” But Luther was bringing something in need of forgiveness: failures to perfectly love God from the heart at every moment. Under Rome, he had no assurance.

An Achieved Catholic

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Yet, he far exceeded the monastery’s requirements of prayers, discipline, fasting, confession, and piety, for he knew full well that such rigor still landed him short of God’s requirements for righteousness. Neither was Luther indulging in secret, flagrant sin. He was a chaste man. Even so, he was tormented with the awareness of falling short of God’s requirements. Luther was not plagued with hallucinations of his sin, but a well-oiled conscience being made aware of his undealt-with sin. And his diligent attempts at killing his sin only kindled it. Luther, like so many under Rome, had no assurance that they could ever stand righteous before God.

Some scorn Luther for such behavior. But contrary to what some Romanist theologians claim, Martin Luther was not a psychopath engaged in self-abuse because he was deranged in the mind. Rather, he was of sound mind. Sound in the sense that he grasped his own sinfulness, and, consequently, his condemnation. In a system like Rome’s where eternal life must be earned, Luther was not a bad Catholic, but one of the best there ever was. Like a smoke alarm that fires off in response to smoke undetectable to the average human nose, so Luther’s conscience fired off in response to his violations of God’s law which were undetectable by most. Luther wrote:

I was a good monk, and I kept the rule of my order so strictly that I may say that if ever a monk got to heaven by his monkery it was I. All my brothers in the monastery who knew me will bear me out. If I had kept on any longer, I should have killed myself with vigils, prayers, reading, and other work.

Hamster-wheel

Luther knew that such rigor was the only way make ground on the assurance of heaven under Rome. As Roland Bainton remarked of Luther: “The man who was later to revolt against monasticism became a monk for exactly the same reason as thousands of others, namely, in order to save his soul…Monasticism was the way par excellence to heaven.”

But Luther realized something profound in his Romanist devotion. One might work to merit righteousness by confessing all known sins, but that does not deal with man’s deeper problem. We are not condemned only by various sins we commit. We are condemned because of the sinful nature we possess. We sin because we are sinners. So, Catholic confession is merely clipping leaves on a bursting-forth willow tree. You cannot keep up with the leaf-clipping. Something more needs to be done for assurance.

Assurance Rediscovered

And then, it happened. Luther writes:

My situation was that, although an impeccable monk, I stood before God as a sinner troubled in conscience, and I had no confidence that my merit would assuage him. Therefore I did not love a just and angry God, but rather hated and murmured against him…Night and day I pondered until I saw the connection between the justice of God and the statement that ‘the just shall live by his faith.’ Then I grasped that the justice of God is that righteousness by which through grace and sheer mercy God justifies us through faith. Thereupon I felt myself to be reborn and to have gone through open doors into paradise. The whole of Scripture took on a new meaning, and whereas before the ‘justice of God’ had filled me with hate, now it became to me inexpressibly sweet in greater love. This passage of Paul became to me a gate to heaven.

assuranceWith that, the once tormented monk rested in the righteousness of Christ. Christian assurance had been rescued from the dark dungeon of Roman Catholicism. Luther realized that truth which every Christian has embraced and celebrated: the sinner’s assurance of right standing with God depends not on man’s moral proficiency before God, but on faith in the Person and finished work of Christ. Sinners do not progressively render themselves righteous before God through works, but are instantaneously declared righteous by faith in Jesus Christ. The penalty for our sin is not gradually purged through a mixture of man’s works, saintly merit, and time in Purgatory, but instantly forgiven through faith in Christ’s sin-bearing death on the cross. Righteousness sufficient for my assurance of heaven is not accumulated through careful keeping of the church’s sacraments, but is instantly credited by trusting in the righteous Christ alone as my mediator. Luther understood that justification is by faith alone in Christ alone. The result is that there is not one ounce of condemnation from God towards the sinner. And where there is an absence of condemnation, there is a presence of assurance.

Assurance Denied

But, the sad reality is that Roman Catholicism still plagues its adherents with the lack of assurance. The promise of heaven is something that Rome simply cannot give her devotees. Rome’s doctrine confirms this: “No one can know with a certainty of faith…that he has obtained the grace of God” (Council of Trent, 6th session, paragraph 9). Cardinal Robert Belarmine wrote, “The principle heresy of Protestants is that saints may obtain to a certain assurance of their gracious and pardoned state before God” (De justificatione 3.2.3). Christ’s sacrifice opens the possibility to heaven, but the sinner must rigorously work towards that possibility. And even then, the possibility remains only that.

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Rome has many other teachings which demonstrate her heresy of jeopardizing assurance. Purgatory, for example, is a teaching that must exist in a system of progressively earned righteousness. Though heaven is possible for those who “die in God’s grace and friendship,” they must yet be purified, or purged, in Purgatory for an indefinite amount of time. Some learned Catholics you speak with today will portray a nervousness over that indefinite duration.

If you listen carefully to contemporary Roman Catholic theologians, you will hear of assurance only in relation to those who have been canonized as saints. For example, when pope John Paul II and John XXIII were declared saints in April of 2014, one Catholic official said that the declaration affirms that these men are in heaven. For Roman Catholicism, saints are individuals who have been canonized by Rome’s official declaration. They are said to have possessed heroic virtue, performed two miracles (one after their death, which is said to confirm their place in heaven), and are nominated by the church. The saints, then, are usually the only individuals who are said to be in heaven. “The title of saint tells us that the person lived a holy life, is in heaven, and is to be honored by the universal Church.”

Biblical Assurance

Cross-on-Block

Tragically, Roman Catholic teaching on assurance differs radically from that of Scripture. For example, the Apostle writes, “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom. 5:1). To be justified here refers to having been declared in an absolute, unalterable state of perfect righteousness by God through Jesus Christ. Faith alone accesses that sufficient righteousness. Peace with God, or Christian assurance, is the consequence. No wavering. No wondering. No purging needed. Justification by faith alone in Christ alone renders us in a state of assurance. Christ proclaimed, “It is finished” (John 19:30).

Later, Paul wrote, “Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 8:1). Notice something amazing here. The consequence of union with Christ (“in Christ Jesus”), is a state of no-condemnation. The instant a sinner enters into union with Christ by faith, at that moment, there is no guilt, no penalty, and no remaining sentence for sin. It’s over and done. If the Christian dies with unconfessed sin, not to worry. They will awake, and stand before Christ in complete righteousness. Christ’s atoning death on the cross absorbs all of the Christian’s condemnation with the result that not one ounce of sin remains for expunging. Christ’s death satisfies the wrath of God. And we would not dare suppose that our puny, imperfect human acts of righteousness could ever add to Christ’s one, colossal, perfect act at the cross. Simply put, Rome offers assurance as a mere possibility to the highest moral heroes. God offers assurance as an absolute certainty to the lowest moral failures.

Five Solas 4Because Roman Catholicism maintains the heresy of a lack of assurance, its teaching must be vehemently opposed. The true gospel offers to sinners tormented with a guilty conscience the real peace through the assurance of Christ’s work, not theirs. Contrary to Rome, God offers sinners the free, instant gift of assurance through faith in Christ. That no-condemnation status can belong to any sinner because Christ took our condemned status on himself.

During this 498th official Reformation season, let us celebrate the rediscovery of Christian assurance: the certainty of right standing with God and entrance into heaven through faith alone in the Person and substitutionary atoning death of Jesus Christ.


Seven Great and Seven Bad Experiences of First-time Church Guests

If you want to make an immediate difference in your church, read these fourteen brief experiences. The readers at ThomRainer.com responded to an informal Twitter survey about their experiences as first-time guests in churches, both good and bad.

I chose seven from each of the good and bad experiences. My decision to choose those in this article was largely based on what I see and read on a regular basis. In other words, these “7 + 7” represent issues that are common in many churches. The good experiences, in particular, represent some of the best practices of healthy churches.

After each of the fourteen experiences, I cite a lesson to be learned. I hope these lessons can have specific application in your church. Most of the quotes are verbatim. Some have been slightly modified without changing the essence of the comment.

Seven Great Experiences

  1. “They went out of the way to make my children calm and happy.” Lesson: Many guests are looking for something in a church for their children. Go out of the way to make the children happy and safe.
  2. “A lady befriended us and took us to her small group.” Lesson: Assimilation and discipleship are highly effective in small groups. This church member was on target.
  3. “The pastor offered to take us to lunch.” Lesson: Connections with the pastor are highly effective in getting guests to return. Churches should consider including in the budget a meal fund for their pastor to take guests to lunch.
  4. “A church member wrote our children a letter after meeting us.” Lesson: Personal and individual attention can go a long way toward reaching guests.
  5. “The church was clean and had great signage.” Lesson: First impressions are very important to connect with first-time guests. Cleanliness and signage communicates: “We care.”
  6. “A church member invited us to lunch.” Lesson: Churches need to make certain their friendliness is more than a perfunctory greeting. This action by the church member was great.
  7. “We were greeted in the parking lot and walked to where we were supposed to go.” Lesson: Well-trained parking lot greeters can be a huge factor in guest retention. These greeters did it the right way.

Seven Bad Experiences

  1. “I didn’t know what they were talking about. It was a lot of internal language and acronyms.” Lesson: Don’t expect guests to speak your churchy language. Expect them not to return if you do.
  2. “No one spoke to us.” Lesson: Most churches perceive they are friendly, but they are not. Members only speak to those they know.
  3. “We were given ear plugs when we walked in.” Lesson: Know what you’re communicating by your actions. In this case, they were saying the guests were too old for the music, or the music was too loud for everyone.
  4. “My wife and I are a mixed race couple. The greeter suggested we might be at the wrong church.” Lesson: Don’t be stupid.
  5. “The friendliness seemed contrived and fake.” Lesson: If the members are only friendly during a time of greeting, it can actually be perceived more negatively than no friendliness at all.
  6. “They asked us to stand up and introduce ourselves.” Lesson: Such a request is terrifying to many people. Don’t do it.
  7. “The greeter gave me a children’s bulletin and told me I could color on it. I’m twenty years old.” Lesson: Some greeters have no business being greeters.

Share with me some of your experiences. Let me hear from you about your feelings about these fourteen experiences. Let us hear about the good, the bad, and the ugly.

The post Seven Great and Seven Bad Experiences of First-time Church Guests appeared first on ThomRainer.com.


More Megachurch Misconduct

The founder of a popular Singapore church was found guilty Wednesday of misappropriating more than $35.5 million in donations to support his wife’s singing career in Asia before helping her break into the U.S. market for evangelization purposes. Kong Hee, the founder and senior pastor of City Harvest Church, was found guilty with five other church leaders of stealing 24 million Singapore dollars ($17.3 million) designated for building and investment-related purposes through sham bond investments.

The State Court also found that they used another 26 million Singapore dollars to hide the first embezzlement from auditors. It is a rare case of corruption of such magnitude in the city-state, which has an image of being highly law-abiding and largely graft-free. “They were not genuine transactions because the accused persons controlled these transactions,” presiding judge See Kee Onn said in finding Mr. Kong guilty on three counts of criminal breach of trust.

No one anywhere should pastor any church that they don’t know the name of every person who is a member of the congregation.  If your church has too many people for the pastor to know, send them off and start a new church in a different area.


Three Motivations to Give It All For Jesus

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the pastor and theologian who would eventually die at the hands of the Nazi regime, offered up one of the most sobering summaries of the Christian faith: “When Jesus bids a man to follow him, he bids him come and die.”

Jesus pointed out that to truly follow him, his disciples were to pick up a cross. We use crosses decoratively these days: we wear them as jewelry, put them on the walls in our houses, even have them tattooed on our bodies. But for those first disciples, the cross was anything but decorative. It was a symbol of torture. Wearing a cross as jewelry in the first century would have been as out of place as an African American wearing a decorative noose around his neck in the 19th century.

Bonhoeffer was right: the demands of Jesus are total. His call to follow isn’t an offer of a different way of life, but a call to give it all, even life itself. What kind of motive would make anyone follow a call like that? Mark 8:35–38 gives us three motivations:

1. God brings life through obedience.

Obedience to Jesus sometimes feels like death. But that feeling isn’t the end of the story. As Jesus put it, “Whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it” (Mark 8:35). Obedience to God may feel like death, but the result is actually life.

The forgiveness you extend will come at a cost to you; it will feel like a death. But that “death” will restore a relationship and release you from the poison of bitterness.

The sinful relationship you walk away from will feel like a death. But that “death” will open up the possibility for a healthy, life-giving relationship for you and for that other person.

The financial sacrifice you make will force you to die to some of your comforts and your ambitions. But that “death” will yield life—not only through the ministries you support, but in your own heart as well.

Obedience to God is never easy. On many days, it will feel like the cost of the sacrifice is too great, that the only outcome is a kind of death. But if we could only see clearly, we’d realize that this is actually God’s instrument of life.

2. You can’t hold on to it anyway.

There’s a subtle logic behind Jesus’ words here: “What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? For what can a man give in return for his soul?” (Mark 8:36–37). Whatever you’re holding onto now that keeps you from full surrender to Jesus—in the end, you simply can’t keep it.

Think about it: what would you hang onto now that would be worth your soul then? I know so many college students who won’t consider the lordship of Jesus because they want to keep their sexual freedom. Jesus is asking, “Is that really worth the trade?” Do you really think a few sexual escapades now are worth more than your eternal soul?

Or I think of the thousands upon thousands of people in our churches who simply won’t give Jesus control of their career or their finances. Sure, you can hang on to your money for a while in this life. But then what? When you die and the undertakers dress you up for your funeral, your death suit won’t have pockets—because you aren’t taking a dime of your life’s savings with you.

Whatever you’re holding onto now, you’re going to lose it eventually. So if you and I are both going to end up with empty pockets, why trade our soul away for those things now? As the missionary Jim Elliot once said, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”

3. Jesus was not ashamed of you.

“For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels” (Mark 8:38). I’ve always read that verse as a warning for us to never deny Jesus. And that’s partially true. But we also need to read it in the context of Jesus’ life.

The irony of this verse is that Jesus, who should have been ashamed of us, wasn’t. The cross he picked up for us was voluntary. We have a lot to gain from picking up our crosses; he had nothing to gain, and everything to lose.

And yet. And yet, out of love for me, he identified with me and picked up a cross to save me. Jesus Christ is the only God who shows his greatness in this—by stooping down from heaven to take on hell. As the only perfect man in history, Jesus was the only one who had the right to avoid death. And yet, out of love for me, he endured death so that I might live. Is that not a God worth leaving everything for?

 

For more, be sure to listen to the entire message here.


Twelve Points That Show Christianity Is True

I’ve had the privilege of taking a course on apologetics with Dr. Norman Geisler. He’s considered by many to be one of the foremost apologists alive today. I’ve certainly come to appreciate Dr. Geisler all the more since becoming one of his students.

In his lectures, he was adamant about driving home the twelve points that show Christianity is true. This is a logical case that starts by arguing for the existence of objective truth and concludes that the Bible is the Word of God. These twelve points have provided me with a strategy to keep in the back of my mind when asked about the veracity of the Christian faith. I hope this will be as helpful to you as it has been for me.

  1. Truth about reality is knowable.
  2. Opposites cannot both be true.
  3. The theistic God exists.
  4. If God exists, then miracles are possible.
  5. Miracles can be used to confirm a message from God.
  6. The New Testament is historically reliable.
  7. The New Testament says that Jesus claimed to be God.
  8. Jesus’ claim to be God is confirmed by miracles.
  9. Therefore, Jesus is God.
  10. Whatever Jesus (who is God) teaches is true.
  11. Jesus taught that the Bible is the Word of God.
  12. Therefore, it is true that the Bible is the Word of God (and anything opposed to it is false).

When Depression Descends, Do the Next Thing

When Depression Descends, Do the Next ThingIn episode 711, John Piper addresses Christians who are facing spiritual darkness, and calls them to sing and preach.

Listen Now


How to Know the Will of God

How to Know the Will of GodDo you want to know God’s will for your life — your job, your marriage, your ministry? In this sermon, John Piper helps us understand the will of God and how to know it. More than revealing his secret plans for tomorrow, God wants to make you new. That’s his good purpose for you in all things.

Watch Now


Check out

Blogs

Women more than men adjust their careers for family life | Pew Research Center
“In a 2012 Pew Research survey, the vast majority of Americans (79%)rejected the notion that women should return to their traditional role in society. Yet when they were asked what is best for young children, very few adults (16%) said that having a mother who works full time is the “ideal situation.”

The Best Leaders Are Constant Learners| Harvard Business Review
“Leaders must scan the world for signals of change, and be able to react instantaneously. We live in a world that increasingly requires what psychologist Howard Gardner calls searchlight intelligence. That is, the ability to connect the dots between people and ideas, where others see no possible connection. An informed perspective is more important than ever in order to anticipate what comes next and succeed in emerging futures.”

A Wonderfully Helpful Piece of Advice in the Midst of Conflict | Borrowed Light
“It is a simple principle that every Christian knows—but for some reason we usually don’t apply it to conflict. Here it is: Our all-consuming aim is to please God. Whenever I make that my goal in relational conflict it changes things. It gives me something to hone my eyes and heart upon.”

Four Warning Signs You’re Approaching Burnout | Eric Geiger
Many leaders struggle with reading the signs that they are approaching burnout….Here are signs I look for and encourage other leaders to look for in their own lives.”

9 Things You Should Know About Global Persecution of Christians | TGC
Last week the State Department released its International Religious Freedom Report for 2014. Here’s Joe Carter’s commentary.

Single You Will Be the Married You | Desiring God
Marriage sanctifies but not immediately and not without pain.

What is the most common ministry priority neglected by pastors? | Practical Shepherding
Every pastor knows the answer to this without clicking.

I Want My Husband To Have A Gun On Campus | The Federalist
This is the most sensible suggestion that I’ve read recently.

Recommended New Book

The Meaning of Marriage Study Guide: A Vision for Married and Single People by Tim and Kathy Keller. So happy to see this companion study guide for The Meaning of Marriage: Facing the Complexities of Commitment with the Wisdom of God. It’s been the most influential marriage book I’ve read. Guess I can take down my “unofficial study guide” now that the real thing has arrived.

Kindle Books

Mere Apologetics: How to Help Seekers and Skeptics Find Faith by Alister McGrath $3.99.

Faith Speaking Understanding: Performing the Drama of Doctrine by Kevin Vanhoozer $2.99.

Think Like a Freak: The Authors of Freakonomics Offer to Retrain Your Brain $1.99.

15 Secrets Successful People Know About Time Management: The Productivity Habits of 7 Billionaires, 13 Olympic Athletes, 29 Straight-A Students, and 239 Entrepreneurs $0.99.

Video

Family Reunion after 40 Years
They were separated decades ago in South Korea only to have been reunited in Florida this year while working the same shift, on the same floor, in the same hospital.


Links I like

 

Kindle deals for Christian readers

How Confidence Makes Us Kind

Russell Moore:

How do we engage the culture with convictional kindness? How do we remain compassionate and loving, even in the face of intense opposition and hostility? If we’re going to be obedient in this, we must have confidence.

Train Up a Parent

Trevin Wax:

To interpret Proverbs 22:6 as a promise without exceptions is to misread the genre. Sometimes, you’ll find children who are faithful to the Lord – more faithful than their parents. In these cases, the “good outcome” did not depend on their parents’ training.

Joyless Christianity is Dangerous

Jim Johnston:

Are you in spiritual danger? If you were, how would you know?

One key sign of spiritual danger is losing your joy. Don’t skim past what Paul says at the end of Philippians 3:1. “Finally, my brothers, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you is no trouble to me and is safe for you” (Philippians 3:1). Paul reminds them to rejoice because it is safe.

Joy is one of the vital gauges on the dashboard of the Christian life. When the needle dips — when you lose your joy — you should take note. To stay safe, you need to pay attention to your joy.

Four Warning Signs You’re Approaching Burnout

Eric Geiger:

The pressure, responsibilities, and pace placed on leaders can be immense. If leaders don’t care for themselves, burnout is inevitable. Sadly, many leaders struggle with reading the signs that they are approaching burnout. Despite all the advice, books, and sessions calling leaders to care for themselves, many leaders struggle with slowing down. Many fail to listen continually to their bodies, their friends, and their emotions.

9 Things You Should Know About Global Persecution of Christians

Joe Carter offers an update on the plight of Christians around the globe:

Last week the State Department released its International Religious Freedom Report for 2014. A major concern addressed in this year’s report is the violent opposition to religious freedom, including the persecution of Christians. Here are nine things you should know about the persecution being faced by our brothers and sisters in Christ around the globe.


A La Carte (October 21)

Today’s Kindle deals include Kindle devices: The base model is down to $59.99 and several others are discounted as well (including the Paperwhite). As for books, try Faith Speaking Understanding by Kevin Vanhoozer ($2.99) Religious Affections by Jonathan Edwards ($2.99), or Eight Twenty Eight by Ian & Larissa Murphy ($0.99).

The Ology

The Ology is a neat new resource for kids from Marty Machowski. It is on sale this week at Westminster Books. It is also available at Amazon.

Single You Will Be the Married You

“Joining a gym won’t instantly transform your physique. Starting a blog won’t immediately make you a good writer. Purchasing a piano won’t make you a musician. The same principle is true for marriage. Getting married will not make you a good spouse or a better person.” Indeed.

Her Heart So Kind and So Weary

Barry York wrote a sweet tribute to his mother.

Five Attractions of Passive Sanctification

“Passive sanctification is an error that has stalked and hurt the Christian church and many Christian lives through the years. The basic idea is that personal holiness is achieved without any personal activity, without any physical effort.” David Murray shows why this is attractive.

This Day in 1885. The martyrdom of two Christians in Africa inspired James Hannington to offer himself as a missionary 130 years ago today. *

The Reformation & the Rediscovery of Christian Assurance

Assurance is such a powerful and important doctrine.

How Confidence Makes Us Kind

“How do we engage the culture with convictional kindness? How do we remain compassionate and loving, even in the face of intense opposition and hostility? If we’re going to be obedient in this, we must have confidence.”


The Daily Discovery (October 21, 2015)

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

The Church is Not a Drive-Through Restaurant – “Paul describes the unity and diversity of gifts in the body of Christ by saying: ‘Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good’ (1 Cor. 12:4–7). All of us are gifted from the same Spirit; all of us are called to serve in the power of the same Lord; all of us are called to be active by the same God; all of us have gifts to serve the common good. As Paul goes on to say to the Corinthians, ‘all were made to drink of one Spirit’ (v. 13).”

Dawkins’ Mind Is Closed – “During the interview, Dawkins was asked ‘whether the atheist leader would ever change his mind about God, he said that he’s open to the idea. ‘Just show me some evidence and I’ll change,’ Dawkins said.’ Well, Dawkins has been shown overwhelming evidence by many people through books, discussions, a radio debate with my friend Dr. Andy McIntosh, and so on! In fact, God tells us that people like Richard Dawkins are without excuse (Romans 1:20). Dawkins reminds me of the Pharisees in John 9. After Jesus had healed the man blind from birth, the Pharisees questioned the man and his parents, and even with the evidence glaring at them, they refused to believe.”

Ben Carson and the Religious Test for Public Office – “Ben Carson doesn’t think a Muslim should be president and despite widespread criticism he hasn’t backed down. The controversy over Carson’s commentsencapsulates the ambiguity of our country’s relationship to religion — a relationship that goes back to the Founding Fathers and the writing of the Constitution. It’s clear that by not having an established national church, the earliest Americans did not want to impose a religious test for public office. No one would be automatically disqualified due to religious reasons.”

How to Know the Will of God – “We are going to look at the first two verses in Romans 12 and talk about the will of God, what it means, how to find it, and what it means to have your mind renewed to find it. As you know, chapter 12 follows the first eleven chapters. And it begins with a glorious ‘therefore’ (‘I appeal to you therefore’). The wonders that he is calling us into in walking with Christ in a renewed way are built on massive theology in chapters 1-11. It doesn’t get any bigger than Romans 1-11. It doesn’t get any deeper than Romans 1-11. And this is what it was all building towards: new minds discerning the will of God and lives of worship.”

14 Reasons to Memorize an Entire Book of the Bible – “I recently spent about 16 months memorizing 1 Corinthians and then recited it as a sermon to my church. I want that text in my blood. Here are some lessons I’ve learned along the way regarding both why and how to memorize an entire book of the Bible. Today I unpack the rationale for memorizing Scripture, and tomorrow I’ll provide a method I’ve found helpful for memorizing God’s Word. Here are 14 reasons to memorize a whole book of the Bible…”


SERMON:

John MacArthur – The First False Convert


VIDEOS:

Damnable beliefs.

Synergism: The Weak Jesus of Catholicism and Evangelicalism


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



Christian Headlines Daily – Wednesday, October 21, 2015

http://www.christianheadlines.com/

Top Headlines

Church Attack Routs Thousands of Indonesian Christians

Family Uses Cancelled Wedding as Opportunity to Serve the Homeless

Actor Kelsey Grammer Makes Bold Statement with Anti-abortion Shirt

Elderly Christian Nurse Cries out to God and is Saved from Islamic Terrorist Attack

‘Black Jesus’ TV Show Outrages Christians Nationwide

Christian Choir Ordered to Stop Singing and Called a ‘Nuisance’ by Neighborhood

Assyrian Christian Refugees Pursued to Sweden and Threatened by Islamic Militants

Republican Candidates Appeal to Religious Conservatives

Illinois School Sparks Controversy by Making Students Learn Muslim Vocabulary Words

Ben Carson Says He Believes God Created the Earth but Does Not Know When

Opinion

Ben Carson Wouldn’t Vote for Muslim President Because He Takes Religion Seriously

Planned Parenthood Changes Its Plans, But We Do not

Lindsay Lohan for President?

Autism and Human Dignity

How to Fail until You Succeed


10/21/15 Why Could We Not Cast It Out?

By Chuck Lawless on Oct 21, 2015 01:00 am

READING: Matthew 17, Mark 9, Luke 9:28-62

TEXTS AND APPLICATION:  They were Jesus’ disciples, but they could not cast out a demon. A hurting, desperate father brought his possessed son to the disciples, and the combined texts of the three gospel readings today speak of the tragedy: “I brought him to your disciples, but they couldn’t heal him” (Matt. 17:16); “so I asked your disciples to drive it out, but they couldn’t” (Mark 9:18); “I begged your disciples to drive it out, but they couldn’t” (Luke 9:40).

Both Matthew and Mark record Jesus’ words about why they could not cast out the demon. They had too little faith (Matt. 17:20), and they weren’t praying (Mark 9:29). Apparently, they had some faith they could cast out a demon, but that faith also apparently didn’t necessitate prayer. It’s quite likely they simply assumed that because they had previously been victorious in days gone by (Mark 6:12-13), they would necessarily be victorious this day, too. That is, they were banking on today’s victory on the basis of yesterday’s power. 

And, as they learned, that’s a bad way to do ministry.

ACTION STEPS: Take up your cross today. Seek God today. Don’t assume victory this day just because you had victory yesterday.

PRAYER: “Father, thank You for a new day. Lead me in Your power today.”


Our Time is Short

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


What is The Gospel?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Ready to start your new life with God?

Who do you think that I am?

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

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

Consider what the Bible says about Him: Read more


Resource Links

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

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

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

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

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

About Christianity
Know Jesus Christ and your life will be transformed


Truth2Freedom Blog Disclaimer

This post was originally posted on:

https://truth4freedom.wordpress.com

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

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

“In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, charity.”

— Augustine

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A headline link on this blog post doesn’t necessarily mean that there is agreement or approval with all the views and opinions expressed within the headline linked article. Caution is also warranted with regards to the advertisements and links that are embedded within the headline linked article.


October 20, 2015 Christian Briefing Report

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You Are Not Enslaved to Your Past

“His commands always come with freeing, life-changing truth to believe. For example: “Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other [that’s the command], just as God in Christ also has forgiven you [that’s the life-changing truth].”

Read more


Overcoming Pride in Ministry

“Men who aspire to one of the separticular offices ought not to aspire to having a title in the church, but ought rather to aspire to reflect the only One who is worthy of praise, glory, and honor—Jesus. Such a perspective keeps us from checking the bulletin and annual report to see if our names are mentioned in them.”

Read more


A Grief Like No Other: When a Friend Loses a Child

“There is a tremendous desire for the parent to rejoin their child in heaven; the best thing you can do for a grieving friend is sit quietly with her in the waiting room. It’s not much, but with a burden they are carrying alone they need not be alone in their grief.”

Read More


J. I. Packer on Why Annihilationism Is Wrong

“The traditional doctrine of hell is currently undergoing significant challenges from both within and without the church. Many question the reality of hell outright, while many others opt toward annihiliationism—the belief that the damned won’t suffer eternally but will instead have their consciousness extinguished at some point.”

Read More


The Five Distortions of Calvinism

Some don’t want to go all the way with all the five points. For many, the sticking point is limited or definite atonement. Others reject the idea that no believer can ultimately fall away from the faith. But as Steve Lawson points out, “compromising any one of the five points dilutes and diminishes the grace of God.”

Read more


Stop Your Complaining (Book Review)

“Gratitude does not come easily to me. It should. I live an easy, convenient, first-world life. I have been given innumerable blessings, not the least of which is the gift of salvation. But still, I like to complain.”

Read More


Living As Resident Aliens (1 Peter 1:13–21)

“We are live as those who have been redeemed. The logic of Peter’s instruction is clear. Our future salvation is not contingent upon our behavior now. It is not even contingent upon our cooperation with grace. Our present life is, however, to be shaped by that future favor of which we are now in possession by grace alone, through faith alone.”

Read More


Mountaintop Theology

“It is of no small significance that the LORD ordained the King’s house and the Temple to be built on a mountain in Jerusalem. This act symbolized the exalted nature of God’s heavenly dwelling. The earthly king of Israel was to be typical of the heavenly King–Jesus.”

Read More


Assyrian Christians largely ignored by U.S.

Assyrian Christians largely ignored by U.S.

Posted on October 19, 2015 by World Magazine

ISIS | Assyrian Christians brutally executed by ISIS are largely ignored by U.S. and other Western officials

Read Full Article »


The oppressed have a savior, and deliverance

The oppressed have a savior, and deliverance

Posted on October 19, 2015 by World Magazine

PERSECUTION | This day of prayer, the oppressed shall have a savior, and his deliverance

Read Full Article »


Dear American Church … I Am Not Renewing My Membership This Year

Dear American Church … I Am Not Renewing My Membership This Year

Posted on October 19, 2015 by Church Leaders

“I can’t sit comfortably in a club any longer.”

Read Full Article »


Famous Evangelist Franklin Graham will visit Russia

Famous Evangelist Franklin Graham will visit Russia

Posted on October 19, 2015 by Christian Telegraph

Franklin Graham, the President of Samaritan’s Purse and Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, will visit Russia on October 31, Christian Te

Read Full Article »


First Ever 'Greater Church of Lucifer' in Houston, Texas Draws Criticism from Christian Community

First Ever ‘Greater Church of Lucifer’ in Houston, Texas Draws Criticism from Christian Community

Posted on October 19, 2015 by Gospel Herald

The first “Greater Church of Lucifer” is preparing to open its doors in a Houston, Texas suburb, sparking controversy across the Bible Belt.

Read Full Article »


Assyrian Christians in Sweden Receive Chilling Graffiti Message from ISIS: 'Convert or Die'

Assyrian Christians in Sweden Receive Chilling Graffiti Message from ISIS: ‘Convert or Die’

Posted on October 19, 2015 by Gospel Herald

Christians living in one of Sweden’s largest cities have been threatened with chilling messages linked to the Islamic State terrorist group, according to local reports.

Read Full Article »


Faith, religious liberty among presidential forum topics

Faith, religious liberty among presidential forum topics

Posted on October 20, 2015 by Baptist Press

About 6,000 people gathered to hear from six presidential candidates at Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, Texas, during a presidential candidate forum Oct. 18.

Read Full Article »


The Good Book? Why we still believe the Bible, in spite of all the bloodshed

The Good Book? Why we still believe the Bible, in spite of all the bloodshed

Posted on October 20, 2015 by Christian Today

One of the things that strikes any thoughtful reader of the Bible is the sheer quantity of blood that soaks its pages.

Read Full Article »


What’s in the future for Christian talk radio?

What’s in the future for Christian talk radio?

Posted on October 20, 2015 by World Magazine

Q&A | Tim Wildman talks about taking his father’s place at the American Family Radio Network

Read Full Article »


Debunking the Dream Destiny Thingy Heresy

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Click Here to Download this episode

Program segments:

00:08:56 Fini de Gersigny – A Beach Barbeque
00:27:39 Terri Savelle Foy – Make Vision Boards Work For You
00:52:11 Troy Gramling Lays Out the Dream Destiny Thingy Doctrine
01:41:35 Sermon Review: Whatever It Takes by Andy Wood


When Marriage Meets Insecurity

by Samantha Nieves

A boyfriend or a husband won’t be your ticket to freedom from insecurity. Jesus Christ is the true source of confidence, security, and freedom.

Freebie Friday! Project Modesty

by Erin Davis

Here’s a fashion-forward freebie!

How to Pick a Best Friend

by Erin Davis

What makes the best kind of best friend? Here’s what’s on my list.

Announcing ‘Project Modesty’!

by Bethany Baird

Is it possible to combine modern fashion with modest clothing?


The Orwellian “Worship” Industry

When someone has to describe a thing with a term like “worship industry,” it is clear enough that the idea of worship has undergone some fundamental revision. Orwell’s Newspeak comes to mind.

With his characteristic ardor, Jonathan Aigner gives eight reasons why he believes that the Worship Industry is killing worship. While I don’t agree with all of his solutions, he understands the problems and communicates them clearly.

Ponder Anew | 8 Reasons the Worship Industry Is Killing Worship


Psalm 139 Tells Us All We Need to Know

Psalm 139 Tells Us All We Need to Know

Posted on October 20, 2015 by Crosswalk

For you created my inmost being;you knit me together in my mother’s womb.I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Click here for Bible Study Tools

Read Full Article »


Why are Reunions So Important to Our Faith?

Why are Reunions So Important to Our Faith?

Posted on October 20, 2015 by Crosswalk

As a Christian, I believe there is something inherently spiritual about reunions, and in many ways they point us to toward the redeeming message of Jesus.

Read Full Article »


What Autumn Teaches Us about Life, Death, and God

What Autumn Teaches Us about Life, Death, and God

Posted on October 20, 2015 by Crosswalk

Just like autumn, I will not last forever on this earth. Winter is a stark reminder that there is a price for the curse we were born under…but there is hope.

Read Full Article »


Disney-Pixar Promoting Evolution? Ken Ham Warns Parents About “The Good Dinosaur” Movie

Christian News Network reports on Disney’s latest attempt to entice children into their worldview, which is anything but Christian.  This should be of concern to Christians, as Disney has a huge influence on children’s thinking. Ken Ham of Answers in Genesis believes that “this new film will be watched by many children and will only reinforce […]

The post Disney-Pixar Promoting Evolution? Ken Ham Warns Parents About “The Good Dinosaur” Movie appeared first on Berean Research.


The Tolerence Jesus Will Not Tolerate

Are you aware that the church in Thyatira’s big sin was……..tolerance? (Revelation 2:18-29)  Tolerance “made being a Christian a lot easier, much less costly, must less counter-cultural,” writes pastor and best-selling author Kevin DeYoung.  “But it was a compromised Christianity, and Jesus could not tolerate it.” So why has the visible Church become so […]

The post The Tolerence Jesus Will Not Tolerate appeared first on Berean Research.


Homosexual Men “Divorce” to Become Threesome, Now Plan to Use Sisters as Surrogates

Heather Clark, Christian News Network columnist, reports this disturbing, albeit not surprising, story about what will happen in an “anything goes” society like Canada’s.  This is just the beginning, brethren, and it’s coming to America: Two homosexual men recently “divorced” under Canadian law so that they could include a third man in their relationship, and now […]

The post Homosexual Men “Divorce” to Become Threesome, Now Plan to Use Sisters as Surrogates appeared first on Berean Research.


The Church Does Not Need Christian Radio

Is so-called Christian radio an instrument of God being used to bring people to Christ?  Blogger Timothy Hammons takes a look at what is being passed off as Christian radio.  Should we financially support this stuff? In regard to “Christian contemporary music,” does it matter if the lyrics to the songs are theologically and biblically […]

The post The Church Does Not Need Christian Radio appeared first on Berean Research.


Boycott Gay Weddings, Even Family, Says Southern Baptist Leader Al Mohler

Albert Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, has written a new book entitled “We Cannot Be Silent.”  The subtitle of the book is “Speaking truth to a culture redefining sex, marriage & the very meaning of right and wrong,” In this piece over at Christian Headlines Andrew Wolfson writes: Mohler, a prolific blogger, speaker […]

The post Boycott Gay Weddings, Even Family, Says Southern Baptist Leader Al Mohler appeared first on Berean Research.


Replacing Christianity

Lee Duigon, a contributing editor with the Chalcedon Foundation, calls to our attention that because of  “biblical illiteracy—or, in many cases, willful blindness and rebellion—people can call themselves “Christians” while rejecting Christian teachings.” I actually coined a term for these so-called Christians: low-information evangelicals.  I penned a piece about them entitled “The low-information evangelical“(LIE) and made […]

The post Replacing Christianity appeared first on Berean Research.


Pope asks forgiveness after sex scandals rock Vatican and Rome

The real scandal is that Pope Francis asked a large gathering for forgiveness in the name of the church yet he failed to mention that any sins we commit (he conveniently left out what they were) are first and foremost against a holy God.  The pontiff not only failed to remind the crowed of this […]

The post Pope asks forgiveness after sex scandals rock Vatican and Rome appeared first on Berean Research.


Surprised, Shocked, and Saddened over Statistics on Twenty-Somethings

Ken Ham of Answers In Genesis lays out the cold hard truth that a large number of the younger generation of Christians–millennials–who attend church regularly are biblically illiterate.  What happened in our churches that brought this sad state of affairs about? By Ken Ham If I told you the following statistics about a certain group […]

The post Surprised, Shocked, and Saddened over Statistics on Twenty-Somethings appeared first on Berean Research.


Should Type-R Charismatics Get A Free Pass?

In October 2013 Grace to You (GTY) hosted the Strange Fire conference at Grace Community Church to launch John MacArthur’s book Strange Fire.  The conference critiqued those on the fringe of the charismatic movement who flagrantly misrepresent the work of the Holy Spirit.   The conference caused quite a stir, to say the least.  But […]

The post Should Type-R Charismatics Get A Free Pass? appeared first on Berean Research.


Unrepentant Creflo Dollar still says Jesus died to make us rich

A couple of days ago Berean Research editor, Amy Spreeman, posted this story (here) and it went viral. Amy later posted a video of Creflo Dollar actually dancing around on dollars (here).  She lamented that, “when I saw that someone captured yet another horrific, blasphemous lie on social media this morning, I just about fainted:  ‘Jesus bled […]

The post Unrepentant Creflo Dollar still says Jesus died to make us rich appeared first on Berean Research.


Oh My Gog

The motivation for this future Battle of Gog and Magog is not totally clear but seems to be an invasion of Israel because of 1) strategic location, and 2) Israel’s treasure.

So what is Israel’s treasure she was to acquire at this end time event that was to come?

View Article


What Do You Long For?

I struggle with these things from time to time, too. But then I read Isaiah 35 and see how wonderful the Millennial Kingdom and heaven will be. I recommit to praying for Christ’s return. We cannot and will not create heaven on earth ourselves. Hopelessly deluded people in the 19th century were convinced that humankind could. History answered with the 20th century.

View Article


Last week I was doing a Q/A session with AWANA students, and one of them asked this question: In light of the shooting in Oregon, where the gunman asked students if they were Christian, and if they said ‘yes’ the gunman shot the student in the head, what would happen if a Christian lied? What if it would have been me, and I would have said ‘no’? Would I still go to heaven when I die? This question is of particular importance because Christianity contains no exception to prohibitions against lying. Islam, for example, has a doctrine called Taqiyya, which allows a Muslim to temporarily deny his…
 


All believers have the desire to be faithful ambassadors for Christ. We want to bring the message of salvation to   those around us. But like a deer in headlights we tend to freeze up instead of joyfully sharing the lifesaving news we possess. Like a diabetic rationalizing himself into eating that piece of cheesecake, Christian’s justify their disobedience with some well-crafted excuses. I’d like to help squash some excuses so that when we have the opportunity nothing would come in the way of those around us hearing about the hope that’s only found in Christ.   I’ll do more harm than good…
 


Through Good Works? (2)

In Institutes 3.14.21 Calvin, in speaking of the relations between the good works of believers (bona fidelium opera) and salvation (salutis) used the expression “per bona opera” (through good works). That expression is translated “through good works” or “by good works.” It seems that Calvin ascribed to good works a co-instrumental role, along with faith, […]

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Patience is a Virtue? But Do We lack It?

The Word of God of course has much to say about the life a true Christian should lead once we are saved by the grace of God through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.  And if we are honest with ourselves we will each admit that at times we just want to ignore some of the […]

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The Word Of Salvation Versus Moralism

The reason there was so much opposition to Jesus ministry is because his gospel got the heart of matters. He wasn’t giving a muddled dry expositions, his goal wasn’t the dissemination of information, or simply create controversies about how to correct human behavior. Jesus had one great goal: the salvation of people. That they would […]

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Fuller Theological Seminary professor caves. Comes out in support of same-sex relationships

Berean Research editor Amy Spreeman reports:

Fuller Theological Seminary professor Daniel Kirk has changed his position on LGBT inclusion in the church. He announced on his blog this weekend that he now fully affirms same-sex relationships:

Is it time for us, not to “accept them into the body,” as though we were making some momentous decision ourselves, but to recognize that God has already accepted them—and we simply need to acknowledge what God has done? We could, like the apostles, exercise our faith by pointing to what it seems that the Spirit is doing and walk by that Spirit in our embrace of those whom God has already embraced. This is the road I’m choosing.

Full post is here. We share this not out of shock or surprise, but to keep you apprised of the daily darkening of the so-called visible Church that has departed from the truth of Scripture. Fuller, after all, was one of the first seminaries to become infected by emergent thought. (See Paul Smith’s must-read book, New Evangelicalism: The New World Order. It is also the home of famous alumni wolves Rob Bell and Tony Jones, a former professor.


Rejoicing Through It All – What The Scripture Tells Us (Booklet)
by Warren B. Smith, 9/28/15 LT Publishing

As challenging as it may seem at times, God’s Word tells us to rejoice always (Philippians 4:4) and evermore (1Thessalonians 5:16). The various Hebrew and Greek words for rejoicing range in meaning from calmly happy to exceedingly glad and jumping for joy. The Bible reminds us that God’s people should be a “happy” people because our God is the Lord (Psalm 144:15). We know that “though our outward man perish” yet our “inward man is renewed day by day. Therefore, we rejoice and give thanks for the “abundant grace” so mercifully bestowed upon us by God our Savior.

Click here to get this booklet!

What is your covering?
by Sandy Simpson, 10/3/15 ACT Logo 2

The question every human being must ask themselves is this: “What is my covering?”  Is it fig leaves or animal skins? I state this not literally but figuratively.  Are you depending on your good works or the blood of Jesus Christ to save you?  This is the ultimate question all the way from the Garden of Eden.  It is apparent that those who are truly saved are “in Christ” (Rom. 6:7, 8:1), washed in the Blood (1 Cor. 6:11, Rev. 7:14), crucified and buried with Christ (Gal. 2:20, Rom. 6:4) and born again (John 3:3, 1 Pet. 1:23), anticipating eternal life (John 17:3, Rom. 6:23). But there are also those who rely on their works (2 Tim. 1:9). Every person will be judged according to their works (Eph. 2:8-9, Rev. 20:12), whether they were relying on them to be saved or relying on the work of Christ on the cross for their salvation.  Even many people who call themselves Christians will end up trying to rely on works instead of grace.

Click here to read this article! 

Read What Pope Francis Said at New York’s St. Patrick’s Cathedral
at Understand The Times, 9/30/15 Understanding The Times

“I would like to express two sentiments for my Muslim brothers and sisters: Firstly, my greetings as they celebrate the feast of sacrifice. I would have wished my greeting to be warmer. My sentiments of closeness, my sentiments of closeness in the face of tragedy. The tragedy that they suffered in Mecca. In this moment, I give assurances of my prayers. I unite myself with you all. A prayer to almighty god, all merciful.”

Click here to read this article!

The Devil’s Algebra (Video)
by Jacob Prasch, 10/5/15 Moriel Ministries

What happens when someone adds to or takes away from the Word of God?

Click here to watch this video!

Will Americans Perish from Lack of Prophetic Knowledge?

A nation can reach a point of no return, when the Lord determines that its destruction cannot be averted. This happened to the Southern Kingdom of Judah about 2700 years ago during the time of the Hebrew prophet Jeremiah. Three times he was essentially told not to waste time praying for the people of Judah. In His foreknowledge, the Lord knew that Judah would not have a Nineveh or 2 Chronicles 7:14 moment. If Judah would have repented, the Lord would certainly have relented from judgment. The question for Americans to ask is; does America have a national repentance forthcoming in the near future? ………….  Click here for full story


Reaping Liberalism – Drop In Attendance Forces Anglican Church To Only Open Some Churches On Holidays

Imagine showing up at ‘festival church’ just twice each year – Christmas day and Easter Sunday. In between, you may show up for that occasional wedding or funeral. Otherwise, you have no business being in church and certainly not every Sunday. That’s about the highest level of commitment that most non-Christians are willing to muster if they ever choose to darken the doorways of a church building…………..  Click here for full story


Christians Aren’t “Just Forgiven”

We Christians love our bumper stickers. I’ve never spoken with someone whose life was forever changed by seeing a cliché slapped on the back of a vehicle, yet we just can’t seem to quit the darned things. From the passive-aggressive Christian (“Are you following Jesus this close?” or “Honk if you love Jesus; text if you want to meet him.”) to the cheesy Christian (“C H__ __ C H , What’s missing?”) to the confrontational Christian (you’ve seen the Jesus-fish eating a Darwin-fish) … the possibilities are nearly endless, and usually rather embarrassing.

One of the worst Christian bumper stickers is this: “Christians aren’t perfect, just forgiven.” It’s true, of course, that Christians aren’t perfect. But they aren’t just forgiven.

As the Apostle Paul put it, “If we have been united with [Jesus] in a death like his [through baptism], we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his” (Rom 6:5). In other words, the gospel doesn’t just provide us with a way of escaping the penalty of sin, but a way of escaping the power of sin, too.

Many Christians live their lives nearly unaware of the power God gave them in Christ. They’re looking for so little when it comes to salvation. They want inner peace, or purpose, or a ticket out of hell. And the gospel can provide those things, but it’s so much bigger than that. Union to Christ means that what is true of Jesus is now legally true of us. We have his perfect record. We have his resurrection power. Christianity isn’t about turning over a new leaf at all; it’s about the power of a new life.

This should be encouraging for messed up people like us. The people God uses to change the world aren’t those with a morally clean slate. Peter was a coward. Paul was harsh and abrasive. John was arrogant and vengeful. They were not made of more promising material than you or me. But the new birth turned them into men of incredible power. There is no brokenness or corruption or weakness that the power of Christ’s resurrection cannot remove, heal and redeem.

And how do we tap into that power? Paul shows us the way: “Likewise, you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom 6:11).

“Reckon” is the Greek word logizomai, often translated “count,” “consider” or “credit.” It’s the word Paul uses in Romans 4 to illustrate how God credits us with righteousness, even when we aren’t actually righteous. When God sees our faith in Jesus, he reckons our faith to be righteousness.

The post Christians Aren’t “Just Forgiven” appeared first on ChurchLeaders.com.


5 Stupid Things Small Group Pastors Need to Stop Doing

We all do them. They’re just stupid. And we need to stop doing them.

Here are a few that we MUST. STOP. DOING.

1. Matchmaking. Few of us actually have time or available horsepower to place members in groups with room for members. Time spent matchmaking is almost always better spent (a) focusing on launching new groups and (b) training leaders to learn to fish for their own new members. See also, Top 10 Ways to Launch New Groups and Skill Training: Top 10 Ways to Find New Group Members.

2. Settling for warm and willing (instead of hot and qualified). If your coaching structure includes anyone who is a coach “in name only,” you’ve settled for warm and willing. Effective coaching structures are built when we insist on hot and qualified and accept no substitutes. We are truly better off when we hold out for high capacity leaders-of-leaders who are fulfilled in the task. Anything less is a waste of time. See also, How to Build an Effective Coaching Structure and Imagine If Your Coaching Structure Looked Like This?

3. Turning a blind eye to sideways energy. You have them and I have them. Bible studies, classes, programs and events that pose as destinations and don’t lead in the direction we want people to go are a distraction. If they lead anywhere other than where we want people to go (i.e., saved seats in a row) … we need to be proactively working to reimagine, redesign and relaunch (or cancel). See also, Sideways Energy.

4. Saying “maybe” when “no” is the best answer. The most effective small group pastors learn to say “no” to anything that compromises the objective. Anytime saying “yes” simply delays a “no” down the road, it is better for everyone to learn to say “no” with gentleness and respect in the very beginning. See also, Think Twice—and Then Think Again—Before You Approve the New Menu Item.

5. Repeating a failed strategy and hoping for different results. We all know that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing again and again and expecting different results. But how many of us have settled for exactly the same failed strategy and hoped for the best? Stop doing that! Instead, invest in a brutally honest evaluation of the failed strategy and make the necessary adjustments to move to a new trajectory. See also, Top 10 Signs Your Small Group Ministry Is Schizophrenic

The post 5 Stupid Things Small Group Pastors Need to Stop Doing appeared first on ChurchLeaders.com.


Steps to Breaking Sin Patterns

Do you know people who struggle with recurrent sin patterns? Who seem to live in continual defeat? Are you that person, even as a church leader? If so, here are some steps to breaking those patterns.

1. Recognize the spiritual warfare element of the struggle. For the sake of illustration, imagine a “sin line” that marks the place where we cross from obedience into disobedience.  On one side of that line, the Enemy is the enticer (1 Chron. 21:1) who seeks to draw us across the line. He makes sin look inviting, exciting, and satisfying, even as he ensnares us with his messages:  “Go ahead and do it, nobody will know.”  “Look at what you’re missing.” “Everybody else is doing it.” So alluring is the sin, and so loud are the messages, that we choose to cross the line.

Then, the Enemy changes his approach. The enticer on one side of the line becomes the accuser (Rev. 12:10) on the other. Here’s what it sounds like before and after the sin line, when the encouragements to sin become taunts of accusation:

Enticer                                                                         Accuser

“Go ahead and sin; God will still love you.”              “God will never love you again.”

“Just one more time, and you can stop.”                    “You’ll never overcome this sin.”

“Don’t worry; God will forgive you.”                        “God won’t forgive you this time.”

“You deserve this. Don’t miss it!”                              “You’re just a loser.”

The process is clear.  The Enemy dangles the lures in front of us, and we take the bait. Then, in a demonic twist, he turns on us and beats us up with accusations. When we accept his charges as truth, our resolve to fight future temptations is weakened. We accept lies as truth and fall even more into sin that cannot satisfy.

If that’s where you are, know that the Enemy doesn’t have to win.

2. Be honest with somebody about your struggles. I know that’s a risky step, but we don’t overcome sin patterns when we fight the battles alone. God has designed the church in such a way that we can lean on each other for help. Ask God to direct you to someone with whom you can confess your struggle (James 5:16).  Then, trust that godly love, restoration, and forgiveness will trump the power of sin (Gal. 6:1).

3. With the help of others, focus on the glory of Christ. When we’re caught in a sin pattern, we keep drinking from the well of sin while thinking that our choices will somehow bring fulfillment – only to discover that sin leaves us thirstier in the long run. Only Christ can satisfy the heart so accustomed to turning to sin for fulfillment. When we see Him as the priest who prays for us (Heb. 7:25) and the king who is above every power (Eph. 1:20-23), sin will lose some of its attraction.

To get there, find somebody in your church who’s simply walking with Christ. Take him or her to lunch. Ask questions. Learn about his walk with God. Listen to how she prays. Your goal is to learn to long for Jesus, meet Him, long for more of Him, grow in His grace, long for more still . . . and just keep longing for and loving Him more. Ask God today to cure your sin addictions by making you captivated by Him.

4. Repent, and rejoice in small victories. That’s the bottom line, of course. We must turn from our sin, but God gives us His Word, His Spirit, and His people to lead us to victory. Each time you successfully fight through a temptation, take time to praise the Lord – and remember that every small win is one step closer to victory. I pray that victory will become real for you today.


Freedom from Authority vs. Freedom in Authority

In a country and culture focused on freedom, it’s striking how many different definitions and expressions of freedom exist. Typically, though, the central character in any of those definitions or expressions is you. Your rights. Your choices. Your freedom from oppression or opposition. And the perceived outcome of that freedom is the fulfillment and validation of what you want, think, and feel. These ideas are expressed in all sorts of ways—sometimes boldly and sometimes subtly.

The starting place for freedom must be God and His Word—our authority.

Like in one of the most overused songs of the last couple years—”Happy” by Pharrell. It’s a catchy tune you’ve probably heard at a store, a ballgame, or on a commercial.

Clap along if you feel like happiness is the truth.
Clap along if you know what happiness is to you.
Clap along if you feel like that’s what you wanna do.

A You-Focus

When the song first kept popping up and I realized what lyrics were, I discussed them with my kids. I pointed out the focus on “you” and the folly of defining happiness and truth based on your thoughts and feelings. Now, I fully admit that I drive my kids crazy every time this song comes on and I loudly and sarcastically say, “Ah, listen children! Go ahead! Clap along!! YOU define truth! YOU do what YOU want! Whatever makes YOU happy!”

Despite those somewhat exaggerated teachable moments with my kids, I know there are times when a you-focus seems perfectly logical and wholly compelling. Like when . . .

  • You know what you want, and you know how to get it.
  • You have a better way.
  • You feel restricted.
  • You have doubts.
  • You’ve been hurt or wronged.
  • You don’t feel valued.

So is the emphasis on “you” a good thing? Is there freedom, fulfillment, and truth found by focusing on you? The answer we often find in the results of that focus—and the answer we always find in God’s Word—is “no.”

Finding True Freedom

True freedom does not begin with you. It does not begin with a focus on your experiences, circumstances, wants, and needs. True freedom cannot be found if you are the starting point to understanding, living in, and responding to the world. The starting place for freedom must be God and His Word—our authority.

Now, when the word “authority” is mentioned, it seems to go completely against the concept of freedom. Authority may bring to mind the very oppression and opposition freedom is supposed to combat. But I implore you to reconsider. True freedom is found in our Authority, not in freedom from authority.

Freedom comes from knowing a holy, all-powerful, all-knowing God who has created and ordered life.

Here’s what I mean: Freedom comes from knowing a holy, all-powerful, all-knowing God who has created and ordered life. Freedom comes from Him sending His Son, Jesus, to earth to live a perfect life that illustrates to us in all circumstances how to live an obedient and sacrificial life.

Freedom comes when we recognize and understand what sin is according to God’s Word. Freedom comes when we see the chains of that sin wrapped around us and believe that Jesus paid the penalty for that sin with His very life and those chains are broken. Freedom comes when we don’t have the enormously weighty responsibility to define life and truth, but instead come out from under that weight and believe God in His authority defines life and truth.

True freedom is found in Christ. We see this stated in Galatians 5:1:

Christ has liberated us to be free. Stand firm then and don’t submit again to a yoke of slavery.

We see how freedom is lived out in Galatians 5:13:

For you were called to be free, brothers; only don’t use this freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but serve one another through love.

And we find in Galatians 5:16 that we’re fueled to live in freedom by the Holy Spirit:

I say then, walk by the Spirit and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.

Freedom is not found in you, but freedom is offered to you through Christ

Freedom is not found in you, but freedom is offered to you through Christ. Look at the order of creation and know there is an Author of life. See the effects in your life and all over this world of a broken relationship with that Creator, and know a restored relationship with Him is offered through Christ Jesus. Believe and trust in the plans and purposes of God. That is where true freedom will be found.

If you enjoyed this post, you may want to read “The Freedom of Abiding in Christ.”


Planned Parenthood Changes Its Plans, But We Do not

Responding to all the pressure, Planned Parenthood has agreed to stop taking money for fetal tissue! Listen Now | Download

Grace Empowers the Best Work

Grace Empowers the Best WorkFor many, the message of grace means the end of all effort. But the Bible will not let us settle for that kind of Christian life. In this lab, John Piper connects key texts to inspire real, consistent, passionate effort to live like Jesus today. The grace that saves us also empowers change in us.

Watch Now


The Awesome Power To Work For God’s Good Pleasure

DL Moody once said:

“When I was converted I made this mistake: I thought the battle was already mine, the victory already won, the crown already in my grasp. I thought that old things had passed away, that all things had become new; that my old corrupt nature, the Adam life, was gone. But I found out, after serving Christ for a few months, that conversion was only like enlisting in the army, that there was a battle on hand, and that if I was to get a crown, I had to work for it and fight for it.”

Jesus did all the work to purchase our salvation. Eternal God, he took on human nature, lived a sinless life, died on the cross to pay for our sins, rose from the dead and and ascended on high as Lord of Lords and King of Kings. He gives us the free gift of salvation when we believe in him. That’s when our work begins. But we don’t have to work in our own power:

Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. PHP 2.12-13

We “work out” our salvation. We don’t earn it, but because we are saved, as someone once said, we are to “work out what God has worked in.” God first gives us the will to work then fills us with his mighty power to work for his good pleasure.

Peter echoes this in his second letter:

His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue,e and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. (2 PE 1:3-7)

God has given us ALL WE NEED for life and godliness – the knowledge of his glory, incredible promises, a participation in the divine nature being joined to Christ, deliverance from the corruption caused by sinful desires – so we are to MAKE EVERY EFFORT to become more and more like Christ – in moral excellence, knowledge, and love. God’s grace shouldn’t make us lazy or lead us to sin. As Paul said:

But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me. 1 CO 15.10

How we need God’s grace. We can’t do anything for God on our own, for we are far too weak. But let’s remind ourselves again where our strength comes from:

It is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.

If you’ve waned or wandered or fallen or failed, don’t quit. Confess your sins and Jesus will forgive you and cleanse you. Then get back up and start working again. Ask Jesus to give you the will to work and to fill you with his power. Start putting sin to death again. Start serving again. Start praying and thanking God again. And remember, God wants you to succeed in him even more than you want to.


Can justification be lost? (Mark Jones)

I have a work in progress, defending the Reformed doctrine of justification by faith alone. In this work I am trying to make it as pastoral as possible for the average layman in the church to benefit from in his mind and heart. Some treatments can be a little dry, even if they are solid. I hope this post can show how glorious the doctrine of justification is for those who believe.

Here is a little preview from one of the chapters:
Can justification ever be revoked if someone is justified?
There are many reasons why this is impossible. I want to offer two (and perhaps some others in a future post). First, because we are justified by faith alone. Second, because of the nature of Christ’s intercession.
That sinners are justified by faith alone is a key aspect of the biblical Reformed doctrine of justification. Interestingly, Martin Luther may never have called justification the article by which the church stands or falls, even though the concept is clearly found in his writings. I am still looking for a primary source that proves that Luther is the originator of the phrase, but the saying may still have come from him. For example, William Eyre refers to justification as “articulus stantis aut cadentis Ecclesiae, as Luther calls it.” As a result, Richard John Neuhaus wrongly argues that the ‘stands or falls’ phrase did not originate until the eighteenth century.
The term “by faith alone” (sola fide) originated with Luther, though the idea is much older. In his German translation of Romans 3:28, Luther added the word allein (“alone”), rendering “justified by faith” as “justified by faith alone.”
Owen speaks of and defends justification by faith alone by noting:
“That it is faith alone which on our part is required to interest us in that righteousness, or whereby we comply with God’s grant and communication of it, or receive it unto our use and benefit; for although this faith is in itself the radical principle of all obedience…yet, as we are justified by it, its act and duty is such, or of that nature, as that no other grace, duty, or work, can be associated with it, or be of any consideration.”
Owen’s argument for faith alone is fivefold.
First, in the New Testament justifying faith is most frequently expressed as “receiving.” Only faith can receive Christ, “and what it receives is the cause of our justification” (John 1:12). Moreover, even the grace of God and righteousness itself, “as the efficient and material cause of our justification, are received also.”
Second, “faith is expressed by looking” (John 3:14-15). By looking upon Christ alone “the nature of faith is expressed” and is therefore “exclusive of all other graces and duties whatever.”
Third, faith denotes coming to Christ (Matt. 11:28). “To come unto Christ for life and salvation, is to believe on him unto the justification of life; but no other grace or duty is a coming unto Christ: and therefore have they no place in justification.”
Fourth, faith is expressed by “fleeing for refuge” (Heb. 6:18):
“For herein it is supposed that he who believes is antecedently thereunto convinced of his lost condition, and that if he abide therein he must perish eternally; that he hath nothing of himself whereby he may be delivered from it; that he must betake himself unto somewhat else for relief; that unto this end he considers Christ as set before him, and proposed unto him in the promise of the gospel; that he judges this to be a holy, a safe way, for his deliverance and acceptance with God.”
Finally, the terms by which faith is expressed in the Old Testament are “leaning on God…or Christ…resting on God…cleaving unto the Lord…as also by trusting, hoping, and waiting.” Those who acted on this type of faith “declare themselves to be lost, hopeless, helpless, desolate, poor, orphans; whereon they place all their hope and expectation on God alone.”
Owen is aware that the Scriptures do not explicitly say “justification is by faith alone.” However, he points out that “faith alone” is implied in the words “by faith in his blood”; for “faith respecting the blood of Christ as that whereby propitiation was made for sin,–in which respect alone the apostle affirms that we are justified through faith–admits of no association with any other graces or duties.”
The doctrine of justification by faith alone is a theological doctrine rooted in the Scriptures. But the doctrine itself requires not a proof-text here and there, but good and necessary consequence. Some may be sheepish about “good and necessary consequence” (cf. Matt. 22:32) when it comes to baptizing babies, but that principle of interpretation is vital to the “alone” in how we are justified.
If we were not justified by faith alone, we would have some other “qualification” which would then bring our state of justification into doubt. If justification is not at once complete, but rather in need of a second justification, “no man can be justified in this world” (Owen).
The second reason a justified sinner will always remain justified is because of Christ’s intercession. The application of Christ’s life and death relate to his intercession. But the difference between Christ’s death and his intercession is that Reformed theologians call his death “medium impetrationis, that is, the means of procurement or obtaining it for us; but his intercession, medium applicationis, the means of applying all unto us” (Goodwin).
Therefore, the justification of the ungodly depends on Christ’s intercession. In fact, the continuation of our justification depends on the continuing of Christ’s intercession since his intercession is the “virtual continuation of his sacrifice” (Goodwin).
In layman’s terms, this simply means that for a sinner who is justified to lose his or her justification, Christ would have to relinquish his office as priest. So, pastorally speaking, we can say: you will lose your justification when Christ decides he doesn’t want to be a high priest.
Though Christ’s death happened once, “yet is it done over every moment, for it is continued by acts of free Grace, and so renewed actually every moment” (Goodwin). Thus Christ is infinitely more interested in maintaining the justification of his people than they can ever be.
After all, the Father has made a declaration, and Christ wants to honour his Father’s declaration by being the faithful, sympathetic high priest that he has been called to be.

If this were my only blog post, I would invite you to do one thing…

I have participated in the Synchroblog for quite a while. But just as all good things must come to an end, the Synchroblog is closing shop. For this last synchroblog, participants were asked to write a blog post as if it were their only blog post ever.

In other words, if I had just one blog post to write, what would it be?

I have spent the last several weeks thinking about what I would write if I could write only one post.

I knew that it had to have something to do with Scripture and theology, since that is what I enjoy writing about. I wanted to write about some of the central biblical and theological truths that had rocked my world over the past decade, such as mimetic rivalry and scapegoating, or my growing conviction that God is not violent.

I also knew that it had to have something to do with the radical, free grace of God in Jesus Christ. Since so many people are caught up today in some form of works-based, guilt-based, performance-based religion, the outrageous, shocking, scandalous grace of God is a nuclear bomb that demolished everything you think you know about God and following Jesus, but at the same time, rebuilds and regrows everything into a new relationship with God built on love, joy, and freedom.

follow JesusBut I also knew that knowing Scripture, and knowing theology, and knowing about grace is not really the point of it all. The point of it all is to actually live this stuff out in real-world relationships by loving other people.

In the end, I finally realized that all these themes were centered on one common thing. Or I should say, they were centered on one common person: Jesus.

Jesus truly is all

If you want to understand the character and nature of God, just look at Jesus. Since God looks like Jesus, all proper thinking about God begins and ends with Jesus. Once you view God through Jesus, you begin to understand God so much more.

It is Jesus who revealed the mimetic rivalry and the scapegoating sacrifices that both threaten and bind all human cultures, civilizations, religions, and relationships. Once you view humanity through Jesus, you begin to understand humanity so much more.

It is Jesus who reveals that God is not violent; that there is no violence in God at all. And because of this, if you want to understand the violence of God in the Bible, you need to begin by looking at Jesus, and especially what Jesus did on the cross and how He appeared on the cross. “Christ, and Him crucified” is the key to understanding divine violence.

It is in the life of Jesus where you see most clearly what shocking, scandalous, outrageous grace looks like. While religion keeps sinners at a distance, Jesus parties with them like there’s no tomorrow. He makes friends with the worst of the worst (from a religious perspective) and tells stories which make heroes out of all the wrong people. He loves those the world says are unlovely. He touches the untouchable. He forgives those who think they cannot be forgiven.

All of this, of course, was no mere “theology” for Jesus. Jesus didn’t have a “theology” so much as He had a life focused on love. Everything that He said and did was to show people that He liked them, that He loved them, that He wanted to be with them.

The example of Jesus is so strong, that even people who do not believe in God, or who think that Jesus is a figment of historical imagination, are still inspired by the example of Jesus to live with more love toward others. The pull of Jesus is so strong, that in one sense, all the world is following Jesus.

following Jesus

So if I only had one message, one article, one blog post, or one thing to say to you, it would be this:

Follow Jesus.

I don’t care what you think about Jesus. I don’t care what you think about God. I don’t care what you think about Christians, or the Bible, or church, or politics, or religion, or anything else that people get so wrapped up in. My invitation to you is still the same:

Just follow Jesus.

follow JesusAnd trust me … if you follow Jesus, you will never get bored.

Jesus will lead you to the craziest of places and teach you the most amazing things. He will help you become truly “you.”

If you want to learn about God, Jesus will show you what God is like.

If you want to understand the Bible, Jesus will be happy to explain it to you.

If you want to get along with your neighbor, your boss, your spouse, or even your enemy, Jesus specializes in helping us learn to love.

I have written over 2000 blog posts on this blog, and while it may not be obvious on all the posts, every single one of them has been focused on one thing: I want to follow Jesus wherever He leads and I invite you to do the same.

But how can you follow Jesus?

I always try to be somewhat practical on this blog. I know that the invitation to “follow Jesus” is a little vague. We hear it so often in sermons and books, it has come to be almost meaningless.

So you might be asking these sorts of questions:

What does it mean to follow Jesus? How can someone do it? What are the steps? How can you follow someone you cannot see or hear?

My answer will probably not be very helpful, but it’s the best one I’ve got. My answer this:

You follow Jesus by believing that He’s leading you.

That’s it.

I know this is still terribly impractical, but it’s the only way I know to describe it.

There are no 10 steps for you to learn.

There are no doctrinal statements to sign.

There are no meetings to attend.

There are no Bible studies to take.

You simply trust that as you go about your day, Jesus is leading you. Following Jesus begins with a mental conviction, a mindset, or a frame of reference that Jesus is leading you.

And He will.

You won’t see much change immediately.

It might take a couple months, years, or even decades. But eventually, you look around in wonder and think, “How in the world did I get here?”

Jesus will wink and smile, and say, “Just wait until you see where I take you next. You ready?”


How to Love Those Struggling with Depression

More than 350,000,000 million people in the world are affected by depression. In the U.S., 6.7% of adults experience major depressive disorder. Women are 70% more likely to experience depression than men. The World Health Organization says that is the leading cause of disability in the world. They also report that between 76 and 85% of those in low-income countries who need treatment for their mental heal problems do not receive it. In high-income countries, 35-50% of those who need treatment for mental health problems do not receive it.

The statistics are overwhelming and show that depression and mental health issues are worldwide problems. Yet many who grapple with these issues still struggle with the stigma that comes with mental illness, even in the church.

Mental health and depression have recently come into the spotlight in the church, with leaders like Ed Stetzer and Kay Warren calling for the church to recognize and help individuals in the church who suffer from mental illness. While a high-level awareness of depression and mental illness in the church is good and necessary, many still wonder how to love those close to them who have been diagnosed with mental illness in some way.

While each situation is different and presents its own complications, there are things each of us can do to love those who suffer and walk with them along their journey.

Get Educated.

There are plenty of resources online that discuss the issue of depression and mental illness. The World Health Organization and the National Institute of Mental Health both offer in-depth looks at roots and causes, statistics, and ways to get help. Also, talk to the doctor of your loved one. This is not to get personal information, but to learn how you can better help those in your life impacted by depression. The doctor can also explain medications, possible side effects of that medication, and provide next steps for treatment.

Listen.

Those struggling with depression often feel like they are alone and have no way out. Be available to them. Let them honestly express what they’re feeling and where they are. Don’t immediately try to fix them, but give them time to verbally process where they are. Sometimes, just talking about feelings and the depression can help clear away some of the sadness and darkness and offer hope. However, you feel that someone is suicidal or is a harm to themselves, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

Pray.

Prayer isn’t something that replaces medication or treatment. However, as Christians, we are called to intercede for each other before the Lord. And we’re called to bear one another’s burdens. Pray for friends and family as they seek treatment or enter counseling. Engage with them honestly and truthfully in the Word. Encourage them. Ask the Lord for wisdom as you listen and support those in your life who suffer.

Depression and mental illness are very real issues that impact millions worldwide. We owe it to our families and friends to recognize this and educate ourselves accordingly. The church needs to actively be a part of removing the stigma of mental illness. We must be a place where those who struggle can find love, hope, and help.

 

The post How to Love Those Struggling with Depression appeared first on ChurchLeaders.com.


Gospel-Centered Counseling: How to Care Like Christ

You care about hurting people, but what do you do after the hug? What do say do after you pray with them?

These questions formed the foundation for my recent weekend seminar on Gospel-Centered Counseling: How to Care Like Christ.

In the first half of the seminar, we addressed 8 Ultimate Life Questions that the Bible answers. This portion of the seminar is based upon my recent book, Gospel-Centered Counseling: How Christ Changes Lives.

8 Ultimate Life Questions

In the second half of the seminar, we explored 4 Biblical Compass Points for Gospel Conversations. This portion of the seminar is based upon my just-released book, Gospel Conversations: How to Care Like Christ.

4 Biblical Compass Points

3 Free Resources 

I’m making 3 free resources from the seminar available for download.

*Download for free the complete 100-slide PowerPoint Presentation: Gospel-Centered Counseling: How Christ Changes Lives  

*Download for free the complete 75-slide PowerPoint Presentation: Gospel Conversations: How to Care Like Christ  

*Download for free the two-page illustrative summary of our complete salvation: So Great a Salvation  

More Free Resources  

You can learn more about both of the books and download additional free resources here:

*Gospel-Centered Counseling: How Christ Changes Lives 

*Gospel Conversations: How to Care Like Christ 

Tweet It & Pass It On 

Let your friends know about these free resources with these shortened links, perfect for Twitter and Facebook:

*Free Resources for the book Gospel-Centered Counseling: http://bit.ly/GCCrpm2015

*Free Resources for the book Gospel Conversations: http://bit.ly/GCH2CLC2015  

*The Free Resource: So Great a Salvation: http://bit.ly/CL2015Salvation

*The Free Resource: 100-Slide PowerPoint on Gospel-Centered Counseling: http://bit.ly/CL2015GCC

*The Free Resource: 75-Slie PowerPoint on Gospel Conversations: http://bit.ly/2015CLGC


How God Interrupts Your Spiritual Journey

How does God get your attention on your spiritual journey? Often you pay attention to pain, don’t you? Biblical counselor and teacher Donna Hart, PhD, shares encouragement in this post that first appeared on her blog.

logoThe exodus is a wonderful metaphor for the journey of our spiritual life.

It is likened to the spiritual bondage we face until we find freedom in Christ. We take this journey as individuals and also together as the people of God. It can literally be seen as the metaphor for the whole journey from salvation to resting in our true home in heaven, or a time when God is calling us to greater freedom in a particular area of our life, or a time when God is calling us to leave familiar territory behind so that we can enter into something new.

“From the wilderness of Sin the whole congregation of the Israelites journeyed by stages, as the Lord commanded.” Exodus 17:1

Often in this journey we become aware that things are not right. Awareness calls us to take responsibility for responding to what we are seeing. Most of us avoid awareness as long as we can, until the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of changing. And in that place, we are ripe for making a move. The emotions we feel in response to what we have seen might be volatile during this time, but they serve a good purpose; they give us the energy and resolve to begin preparing to move in a new direction. Awareness opens us to the possibility of living life in a new way.

In this place it is useful to have people around us who can help us see what is real about our current situation, but we also need people to assure us that there is another way, and that it is possible for us to move in that direction, risky as it might be. We begin to give up our resistance to God and surrender to Him as He gives us a vision for what it would be like to say yes to the spiritual journey.

When Things Get Worse

But things often get worse before they get better. While the Israelites’ awareness was growing, the circumstances causing their suffering got worse. Life for the Israelites in Egypt grew dim as they were required to make bricks without straw, and were brutally beaten when they weren’t able to keep up with the quotas. Like them, the deterioration of our situation might seem like an unnecessary piece of the journey, but it is actually an important part of the process because it brings us to a turning point where we are willing to do something about our situation. We can say it is the straw that breaks the camel’s back; it can push us over the edge; and after that, nothing can be the same.

Like the Israelites, we might find it hard to listen to the voice of hope in the midst of the journey “because of [our] broken spirit [our] cruel slavery,” (Exodus 6:9). But we’re not alone in that struggle.

Moses went through this too as he led the Israelites out of Egypt, the people were no longer listening to him, and he took it personally.  It confirmed his worst fears about being a poor and ineffective leader. He even had an “I told you so” moment with God: “The Israelites have not listened to me; how then shall Pharaoh listen to me, poor speaker that I am?” (Exodus 6:12).

But God Comes Breaks Through

spiritual journeyThat was God’s moment to come through for Moses, and He did!  He does it with us too, through signs and wonders that free us for the journey that is ahead. It is as Leonard Cohen said, “It is good to be between a ruined house of bondage and a holy promised land.” When all things seem lost God is right in there with us, ministering to us with His faithful love, letting us know as we lean into Him, He will be with us every step of the way. Start looking for a glimmer of the promised land that is over the hill, in all the little ways that God is blessing you.

Are you between the house of bondage and the promised land?

Know God comes through with signs and wonders getting you free for the journey ahead. May we be excited for the Lord has for us.

Resource for YOU!

You’re welcome to download this diagram of the sanctification of your spiritual journey. Click here to get it.

The post How God Interrupts Your Spiritual Journey appeared first on Biblical Counseling Center.


Check out

Blogs

Lecture Me. Really |  NYTimes.com
Molly Worthen argues that the lecture is not yet dead.

Her Heart So Kind and So Weary | Gentle Reformation
Barry York’s moving account of his mother’s passing into eternity.

Observations on Preaching Without a Manuscript | Borrowed Light
Mike’s computer sabotaged his notes. Only one thing for it…
And if you want to learn how to do it here’s How to Preach without Notes for only $1.99.

Did Jesus Have a “Gospel-Centered” Ministry? | Reformation21 Blog
Intriguing statistics and conclusions.

Feeding on Christ Overcoming Discouragement in Ministry | Feeding on Christ
Seven lessons from discouragement in ministry.

Take A Quiz on Christ | Tim Challies
Great way to learn the most important truths about the most important person

Twenty Great Leadership Quotes | Eric Geiger

4 Reasons Christianity Isn’t Actually Dying | OnFaith

Texas Banned Planned Parenthood From Medicaid Program | The Federalist
The inspector general of the Texas Health and Human Services Commission announced today that the state plans to ban Planned Parenthood from receiving funds from the state’s Medicaid program,

Kindle Books

Psalms: The Prayer Book Of The Bible by Dietrich Bonhoeffer $3.99.

Preaching for God’s Glory by Alistair Begg $1.99.

Ashamed of the Gospel: When the Church Becomes Like the World by John Macarthur $2.99.

Recommended New Book

Awakening the Evangelical Mind: An Intellectual History of the Neo-Evangelical Movement by Owen Strachan.

Video

And here’s a video for Owen’s book above.


Links I like

Kindle deals for Christian readers

 

Single You Will Be the Married You

Phillip Holmes:

When I was single, I thought marriage might be the magic bullet. I believed that it would miraculously transform me. I assumed I would suddenly possess a new measure of love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control that I had not yet known or experienced as a single man. I believed that once I said, “I do,” I would see the world through a different lens and become a responsible and loving man — a responsible and loving husband.

I probably would have denied believing any of the above if you’d asked me before marriage. Privately, though, I believed that marriage was the missing link on my journey to Christlikeness. I could not have been more wrong.

 

The latest Star Wars trailer is here

This looks promising:

I Was Embarrassed by the Bible

Brian Cosby:

That’s when it stopped. My pen did a hop, skip, and jump to “and lead me in the way everlasting” (v. 24). Looking through other portions of my Bible, I noticed the same trend. From Genesis to Malachi, Matthew to Revelation, it seemed as though I didn’t want to encounter the offensive and the edgy. I didn’t want to ponder the scientific improbability of the sun standing still (Josh. 10:13) or why the man with crushed testicles wasn’t allowed to enter the worship assembly (Deut. 23:1).

Am I embarrassed by the Bible?

How Can I Help Women Struggling with Sexual Issues?

Trillia Newbell:

Many Christian women who struggle with sexual sin feel great shame and embarrassment. This is aggravated by the fact that sexual sin is far too often deemed a men’s issue. We’re hearing from more and more women who struggle in this area. We can help by intentionally and unashamedly acknowledging the presence of sexual sin in our lives. More women will begin to open up and seek help the more they hear others share about their experience. As broken, sinful image-bearers who’ve been designed as sexual beings, each of us needs God’s forgiving grace for sexual sin. The good news is that he delights to give us such grace.

Meet the millennial who infiltrated the guarded world of abortion providers

I enjoyed this profile of David Daleiden, founder of the Center for Medical Progress (the organization behind the Planned Parenthood videos).

Observations on Preaching Without a Manuscript

Mike Leake:

For the first time preaching on a Sunday morning I walked into the pulpit with only a bare outline and a few quotes typed up.

I wish I could say that I did this intentionally. That I had finally gotten over my fears and decided that the benefit outweighed the risk. But that would be a lie. I walked into the pulpit without a manuscript because something happened to my computer on Sunday morning. Before I could print my sermon—the one I wrote out in full manuscript form—the entire thing was erased. I knew I didn’t have time to write it all out again, and frankly I didn’t want to. I knew that it was time to do what I’d been wanting to do for awhile.

I survived.


A La Carte (October 20)

I’ve got just a couple of Kindle deals for you today: Mere Apologetics by Alister McGrath ($3.99); Help My Unbelief by Barnabas Piper ($3.99); I’m not familar with this one, but it looks like it may be worth at least a look: The Quick-Reference Guide to Counseling on Money, Finances & Relationships by Tim Clinton ($3.03).

Sexual Orientation Doesn’t Mean Anything

“Laws backed by substantial fines and penalties, not to mention the potential for publicly shaming violators, require some form of objective clarity.” But there is no clarity as to what sexual orientation actually means.

6 Marks of Healthy Sexuality

This is a really good article from Gary Thomas. He asks, “What are the markers of a wholesome sexual experience that is accomplishing God’s relational intent?”

Did Jesus Have a “Gospel-Centered” Ministry?

Rick Phillips went looking through the gospel of Mark to see if Jesus had a gospel-centered ministry (according to at least one conception of the term “gospel-centered”).

Overcoming Discouragement in Ministry

Here are some takeaways from a meeting of pastors as they discussed discouragement in ministry.

This Day in 1949. The Inklings—which included the likes of C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and Charles Williams—met for their final time 66 years ago today. *

Why Doesn’t Mark Say Anything About Jesus’ Birth?

J. Warner Wallace: “If the virgin conception was an historical event that was well known to the earliest Christians, why wasn’t it mentioned by Mark?”

The Earliest List of the NT Canon

Michael Kruger: “It is often claimed that the New Testament was a late phenomenon. We didn’t have a New Testament, according to Athanasius, until the end of the fourth century.” But that isn’t quite the case.


The Daily Discovery (October 20, 2015)

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

9 Things You Should Know About Global Persecution of Christians (2015 Edition) – “Last week the State Department released its International Religious Freedom Report for 2014. A major concern addressed in this year’s report is the violent opposition to religious freedom, including the persecution of Christians. Here are nine things you should know about the persecution being faced by our brothers and sisters in Christ around the globe. (Note: The title of this article includes “2015” (to mark the year it was posted), but the details are about events that occurred in 2014.)”

Fuller Theological Seminary Professor Caves. Comes Out In Support of Same-Sex Relationships – “Fuller Theological Seminary professor Daniel Kirk has changed his position on LGBT inclusion in the church. He announced on his blog this weekend that he now fully affirms same-sex relationships…”

Train Up A Parent – “‘Train up a child.’ Rarely is a proverb so often quoted and so often misunderstood. It has become the slogan of parenting seminars. It gets referenced as a surefire promise – a divine reward for our toil and sweat as parents. Young parents latch onto the proverb with the hope that their training will ensure the faithfulness of their children. Older parents feel the proverb’s implicit judgment, weary from watching a child or two depart from ‘the way,’ and wondering whether their children’s disobedience points backward to their own failure in ‘training.’”

The Great Christ Comet – “What do we do about that pesky star? Inseparable from the narrative of Jesus’ birth is the ‘star of wonder, star of night / Star with royal beauty bright’ that we sing about in our Christmas carols (and, of course, read about in the book of Matthew). What was that star? Where did it come from? If it was so unusual and magnificent that it could lead wise men from the East all the way to Bethlehem, why don’t we read about it in other sources? That star is the subject of Colin Nicholl’s new book The Great Christ Comet. And, as you may surmise from the title, he does not believe it was a star at all.”

What Is Love? – “No one can hate you as much as they hated Christ. No one will ever be mistreated as unfairly as was our Lord. He was stricken, smitten and afflicted. He was despised and rejected by men—his own creatures. He was a man of sorrows, familiar with suffering, like one from whom me hide their faces. He was despised and we esteemed him not. When reviled, Jesus did not revile in return. He was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities. When he rode in on that donkey on Palm Sunday, he did so knowing that he would bear the punishment to bring us peace and that by his wounds we would be healed.”


SERMON:

logo-contSermon

Nate Pickowicz – Enemies of the World (John 15:18-27)


VIDEOS:

David Platt and Mark Dever discuss evangelism, false conversion, and the sinner’s prayer.

Why People Don’t Make Disciples


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

The post The Daily Discovery (October 20, 2015) appeared first on Entreating Favor.


Christian Headlines Daily – Tuesday, October 20, 2015

http://www.christianheadlines.com/

Top Headlines

Ben Carson Says He Believes God Created the Earth but Does Not Know When

Lawmakers Demand Change in How House Operates

Hungary Closes Border to Refugees to Preserve ‘Christian Values’

India No Longer Requires Two-Parent Homes for Adopted Children

Washington High School Football Coach Refuses Demands to Stop Post-Game Prayers

With ‘Woodlawn,’ Christian Films Enter New Playing Field

Derick and Jill Dillard Offer Refunds to Fans Who Donated to Mission Work

California Pregnancy Centers Fight New Abortion-Referral Mandate

Aid Shortfalls are Driving Desperate Syrians Back Home

Detroit Pastor Fatally Shoots Intruder Who Entered Church with Brick and Hammer

Opinion

Autism and Human Dignity

How to Fail until You Succeed

Planned Parenthood’s Problems Go Far Beyond Whether it Sells Organs

Do You Know God’s Purpose for Your Life?

Dr. Ho Feng Shan: A Lesser-Known Christian Hero Who Changed the World


10/20/15 Out of the Same Mouth

READING: Matthew 16, Mark 8, Luke 9:18-27

TEXTS AND APPLICATION:  Yesterday’s devotion was a reminder that our words reflect our heart. Today’s devotion takes us in the same direction, though with a more dramatic application and picture.

The day was a good day for Simon Peter. He didn’t always have those, but this day was one. Jesus asked the disciples who they thought He was, and Simon Peter got it right: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matt. 16:16). He got it right, though, not because he was so brilliant, but because God the Father directed him: “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven” (Matt. 16:17). Simon listened to God and then spoke what God had given him. It was indeed a good day.

Some time later, Jesus began talking about His coming death, and Peter did not like those words. In fact, he rebuked the Lord — to which Jesus spoke these strong words: “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man” (Matt. 16:23). In his attempt to dissuade Jesus from the cross, Peter had become the voice of the enemy. The same man who had previously spoken the words of the Father had temporarily listened to the wrong voice. This day was not one of Simon’s better days.

Here’s what we learn from these texts: out of the same mouth can come the words of God and the words of Satan. Sometimes on the same day. Sometimes in the same conversation. Sometimes, even, in the same sentence.

Monitoring our words must be an ongoing, Spirit-led, Word-informed process.

ACTION STEPS:  Be keenly aware today of any tendency to speak something that is more from the enemy than from God. Think and pray before you speak.

PRAYER: “God, forgive me when my words reflect Satan more than You. I want to say only what You give me today.”


Our Time is Short

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


What is The Gospel?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Ready to start your new life with God?

Who do you think that I am?

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

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

Consider what the Bible says about Him: Read more


Resource Links

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

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

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

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

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

About Christianity
Know Jesus Christ and your life will be transformed


Truth2Freedom Blog Disclaimer

This post was originally posted on:

https://truth4freedom.wordpress.com

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

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“In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, charity.”

— Augustine

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October 19, 2015 Christian Briefing Report

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Beware Of Those Who Never Admit Fault

When a five-year-old child denies doing something wrong, that’s one thing.  But when someone who is more mature never admits fault it is clear sign of pride and it shows that the person does not understand the pervasiveness of sin in his or her own heart.  In fact, the more I meet people who never admit fault and never apologize, the more I am very cautious around them – especially if they call themselves Christians.

Read more


The Recompense of Good Works

I doubt that on that wonderful Judgment Day any who are Christ’s will be thinking about, looking upon, or even dare to offer up their best works of sanctification. Then we will be robed both within and without in only the Righteousness of the Lamb; and yet even our blood-washed garments of righteousness will not draw our attention. Rather, all eyes will be fixed on him who died for us.

Read More


Grace is a Person

Sinclair Ferguson, in his 2007 Banner of Truth Minister’s Conference lecture, “Our Holiness: Abiding in Christ’s Love,” made the bold assertion that “There is no such thing as grace. There is only the Lord Jesus. Grace is not some appendage to His being; nor is it some substance that flows from Him. All there is is the Lord Jesus.”

Read More


Hymns We Should Sing More Often: O Word of God Incarnate

I am always looking for good songs that can lead us into the preaching of God’s word, and this hymn does the trick. O Word of God Incarnate works well as a prayer of illumination or a prelude to it. It fits well into Sunday morning liturgy immediately before the sermon because it centers its hearers on the light we receive from the incarnate Word of God in the form of the Bible. The written Word is a “lantern to our footsteps”, which “shines from age to age”; it is the “chart and compass” that guides us through the perils of life to Christ.

Read more


Faithful Christian Communities in a Darkening Future

Today we are faced with a civilizational disaster, Dreher asserted. It is a comfortable collapse, but a collapse nonetheless. Now a new Benedictine rule is needed to teach Christians how to order their lives. We need practice for resilient and faithful Christian communities. No longer can we identify Christianity with the American Empire. We must examine and purge ourselves for a new mission and community, forming new Christians for Christ’s service.

Read More


“Everyone You Know Will Be Able to Rate You on the ‘Yelp for People’”

There is a judgment coming before a holy God, One whom we have all offended. Without Christ, we could not bear to even hear this judgment, much less take the time to decide which parts we will keep and publicize and which we will keep to ourselves. There are no private affairs. And no social network makeover will help us when we are exposed for who we truly are.

Read More


Worship Etiquette

What I am trying to describe is a simultaneous grasping of both extremes in our corporate worship: humbling ourselves before our Holy God Who has condescended to us in His Son, Jesus Christ, while at the same time showing respect to our fellow worshippers who are co-heirs of grace. These principles guide all that we do in our lives, and especially in our worship. It impacts and informs how we respond to God in our worship service, as well as how we treat one another in His family.

Read more


4 Reasons Christianity Isn’t Actually Dying

So is Christianity dying? No. Like Mark Twain’s demise, the report of the inevitable death of Christianity is also exaggerated because of mistaken identities. It will frustrate its critics and comfort its followers, but Christianity is still alive and well.

Read More


The Tolerance Jesus Will Not Tolerate

Christians in the ancient world didn’t have to go searching for idolatry. It was woven into the fabric of their whole culture. To not participate in these pagan rituals was to stick out like a Yankees fan at Fenway Park. These feasts, with their idolatry and the sexual revelry which would often follow, were a normal part of life in the Greco-Roman world. To remove yourself from them could be socially and economically disastrous. Which is why false teachers like this Jezebel in Thyatira or the Nicolaitans in Pergamum gained such a hearing. They made being a Christian a lot easier, much less costly, must less counter-cultural.

Read more


The Difference Between Ethics and Morality

In the first instance, ethics is called a normative science; it’s the study of norms or standards by which things are measured or evaluated. Morality, on the other hand, is what we would call a descriptive science. A descriptive science is a method to describe the way things operate or behave. Ethics are concerned with the imperative and morality is concerned with the indicative. What do we mean by that? It means that ethics is concerned with “ought-ness,” and morality is concerned with “is-ness.”

Read more


The Will of God and Your Next Decision

Sometimes your wise and worshipful decisions will lead to fun; other times they will result in misery. Sometimes God will use your decisions to provide riches in abundance; other times he will take you to the poor house. Sometimes your best plans can come to nothing while your worst decisions result in everything. However, keep in mind that your experiential negatives are often part of God’s positive program. So don’t second-guess. Don’t live in the past. Don’t wonder “What if I’d taken the road less travelled, or more travelled?” God is sovereign. He is in control. He loves you.

Read more


Planned Parenthood Drops Fetal Tissue Fees

The sudden shift in policy comes as Planned Parenthood tries to defend itself from an ongoing conservative push to cut off its federal funding. A series of undercover videos released by the Center for Medical Progress this year show Planned Parenthood employees haggling over the payments they would receive in exchange for providing organs from babies aborted in Planned Parenthood facilities.

Read more


The Supreme Court, 9-0, On Student Organizations’ “Freedom To Express ‘The Thought That We Hate’”

Although registered student groups must conform their conduct to the Law School’s regulation by dropping access barriers, they may express any viewpoint they wish — including a discriminatory one. Today’s decision thus continues this Court’s tradition of “protect[ing] the freedom to express ‘the thought that we hate.’”

Read More


Meet The Millennial Who Infiltrated The Guarded World Of Abortion Providers

Whatever the outcome, Daleiden’s project has already exceeded the wildest expectations of antiabortion activists. He has released 10 videos from clinic visits, Planned Parenthood meetings and lunches with executives, and put the abortion issue back on the front burner in Washington and on the presidential campaign trail.

Read More


10 Things I Wish Everyone Knew About Heaven

“To believe in a future, endless, and human-populated heaven means Christians will think about that heaven by examining the resurrected body of Jesus. It means heaven will be an embodied existence and not just a spirit-y or soul-y kind of ethereal, spiritual existence.”

Read More


A Songwriting Rant

“Many modern songs are scatty, cloying, fluffy, incoherent, repetitive, flighty, bumbling, empty, careless, shallow, heretical, repetitive, nauseating, anaemic or repetitive. The fact that they nevertheless make their way into our times of corporate worship is not primarily the fault of the songwriters.”

Read More


Trophies And Martyrs

“Last Thursday, October 1, the killing of eight students and their professor at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon added some names to the small but growing roll of American Christian martyrs, regardless of what some detractors who have been scrounging for evidence that this is not true now say.”

Read More


South African Church Latest to Fold on Same-Sex Marriage

The move to allow same-sex marriage in the church should not come as a surprise to observers. In July, the church decided it was time to pursue equal rights for homosexual pastors. The church had been contemplating the change since 2007, when it opened its doors to openly homosexual members and refused to exercise church discipline against them.

Read More


Jesus Died To Make You (Spiritually) Rich

“Mr. and Mrs. Prosperity Teacher, Scripture calls you to repent of your sin: Your sin of leading astray the sheep, robbing them of their money, and lying to them. Jesus died for the sins of the world; that’s a heavy thing to disregard as secondary to prosperity.”

Read more


Human Dignity According to the Gospel

“The gospel says that those found in Christ are joined to the judgment he endured to the cross, and they stand with him in the new creation of an empty tomb. The repentant woman who had an abortion, the repentant man who empowered an abortion, and indeed the repentant abortionist who committed the abortion, are not beyond the grace of God.”

Read more


5 Resources for Cultivating a Beautiful Culture of Marriage and Sexuality

“We underestimate just how much cultural cultivation we have to do if we think success is just getting people to say “no” to same-sex marriage. We need the wider narrative of Scripture, and the bigger picture of marriage, if we are going to make sense of Christianity’s vision for family.”

Read More


10 Fall Outdoor Activities to Grow Closer to God and Each Other

10 Fall Outdoor Activities to Grow Closer to God and Each Other

Posted on October 19, 2015 by Crosswalk

Just as Autumn brings the beauty of falling leaves, going outdoors frees us to shed busyness and draw closer to God and each other.

Read Full Article »


How Much Do You Know about Abraham? 4 Things You May Not Remember

How Much Do You Know about Abraham? 4 Things You May Not Remember

Posted on October 19, 2015 by Crosswalk

God knew that Abraham would struggle with the call before him, but He also knew that Abraham’s struggle would produce great growth and faith.

Read Full Article »


From the Bahá’í Faith to Porn to Alpha to Jesus

From the Bahá’í Faith to Porn to Alpha to Jesus

Posted on October 19, 2015 by Christianity Today

God has been faithful all during my winding journey to complete surrender.

Read Full Article »


What I Learned From Being a Vegas Call Girl

What I Learned From Being a Vegas Call Girl

Posted on October 19, 2015 by Christianity Today

Hookers for Jesus founder: Lamar Odom news is just a glimpse at the industry’s brokenness.

Read Full Article »


Freebie Friday! Project Modesty

by Erin Davis

Here’s a fashion-forward freebie!