Category Archives: Christian News/Blogs/Articles Collection

September 9, 2015 Truth2Freedom Christian Briefing Report

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7 Truths to Puncture a Man-Centered Church

This is one of the most encouraging verses in the Bible for faithful ministers laboring in obscurity and anonymity. God does not reward based upon comparisons with other ministers. He does not reward according to talents, gifts, or results. He rewards each pastor “according to his own labor.” God is looking at the hours, the diligence, and the faithfulness of daily unseen and often unappreciated labor, and is piling up heavenly rewards for His laboring servants.

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Youth-Driven Culture

As we need the wisdom of the elderly in the body of Christ, we also need the wisdom of the past. Newer isn’t always better. Sometimes it’s worse; sometimes it’s wrong. As the church, we are a people with a past. The Holy Spirit is not a gift unique to the church in the twenty-first century. We ignore or disdain the past to our detriment.

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Gender, Work, and an Immigrant Family’s Perspective

So can we take off our blinders that keep us from seeing people who are different from us? Can we stop making our experience the norm by which others must follow? Can we stop making assumptions about a person’s choice to work and choice of work when we know absolutely nothing about the back story? Not every woman who works is doing it because she feels entitled to have it all. Not every two-income household is motivated by materialism. Most of the world works because they need to eat.

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I Would Say This Verse Pretty Much Covers All Your Bases

Because I have all of God’s abundant grace at all times I will also have all sufficiency for all things at all times. God himself will give me empowering grace to obey him, love him, trust him, and thank him at all times. This covers everything! Canker sores and cancer, back aches and bronchitis, child birth and child death, retirement and bankruptcy. God’s grace is deeper than the deepest pit and higher than highest mountain. All thing and all times really does mean all things and all times. I don’t have to worry about coming to the end of God’s grace.

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‘Family Values’ and the Way We Never Were

Skirmishes over the family are not the product of blind cultural or historical trends, but instead we must recognize that the family is under assault in every generation, albeit sometimes in craftily veiled ways. And the antidote to our myopic vision of the family, whether myopically nostalgic or myopically apathetic, is not only to focus on the family, but to focus on what’s beyond the family: on the mystery of the kingdom of Christ.

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Heidelberg 123: The Second Petition—Your Kingdom Come

When we pray for the advent of the Kingdom of God we are praying that the Holy Spirit would use his appointed weapons, the Word and church discipline to conquer spiritual enemies. Our Lord never promised a glorious millennium on the earth but he is nevertheless crushing his enemies under his feet (1Cor 15:27). Just as the cross was a paradoxical way to defeat his enemies so to the suffering of the church is a paradoxical, unexpected way to defeat the Evil One and his minions but that is how he has promised to operate, through the foolishness of the gospel (1 Cor 1:21–25). 

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Stripping Down the Gospel: We Must Believe More Than the ABCs

We live in an increasingly pluralistic and pagan age, and so our culture is becoming more like the culture of the ancient Roman Empire. Fifty years ago, we may have been able to rely on a cultural consensus and collective understanding that was generally monotheistic and Judeo-Christian. Today, that’s simply not the case. Unbelievers’ understanding of the nature of truth, the existence and nature of God, the historicity of the Gospels, etc. is all really shaky and unknown. We need to take more time to understand people and their understandings and to carefully explain what it is we believe and why we believe it.

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Encounters With Grace

We’ll know we have encountered God’s grace when we see it. We will feel the conviction of the Spirit and will be prompted to repent. We’ll find a growing distaste for sin. We’ll desire change and feel dissatisfied with where we are. The more we encounter God’s grace the more we’ll want to honor him. The more we’ll want to be like Christ.

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 The ‘Splainer: What’s an Apostolic Christian and why is Kim Davis’ hair so long?

The ‘Splainer: What’s an Apostolic Christian and why is Kim Davis’ hair so long?

Posted on September 9, 2015 by Religion News

(RNS) Apostolic Pentecostals are the strictest of all the Pentecostal groups. They don’t believe in the Trinity, avoid alcohol, don’t watch TV, and ask women not to cut their hair. Oh, and they object to same-sex marriage.

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 Donald Trump Criticized by Franklin Graham Over Kim Davis Comments: 'Our Forefathers Gave Us Freedom of Religion at a Great Cost'

Donald Trump Criticized by Franklin Graham Over Kim Davis Comments: ‘Our Forefathers Gave Us Freedom of Religion at a Great Cost’

Posted on September 9, 2015 by Gospel Herald

Franklin Graham has issued a lengthy critique of Donald Trump after the GOP Presidential candidate said that Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis should follow “the law of the land” and issue same-sex marriage licenses despite her religious beliefs.

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 Kim Davis’ Pastor Breaks Silence: She ‘Was Robbed of Her Constitutional Rights’

Kim Davis’ Pastor Breaks Silence: She ‘Was Robbed of Her Constitutional Rights’

Posted on September 9, 2015 by Christian News

MOREHEAD, Ky. — In an exclusive interview with Christian News Network, the pastor of Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis, who has not spoken to the media since Davis became the subject of national headlines and subsequently disabled the church phone and website, stressed his belief that Americans are being stripped of their Constitutional right to freedom…

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 Hundreds of Muslim Refugees Convert to Christianity at Church in Berlin, Pastor Says 'Whoever Comes Here Will Not Be Left Unchanged'

Hundreds of Muslim Refugees Convert to Christianity at Church in Berlin, Pastor Says ‘Whoever Comes Here Will Not Be Left Unchanged’

Posted on September 9, 2015 by Gospel Herald

Hundreds of Iranian and Afghan refugees seeking asylum in Germany have converted from Islam to Christianity at an evangelical church in Berlin, a church leader has revealed.

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 Why Christians Must Respond to the Syrian Refugee Crisis

Why Christians Must Respond to the Syrian Refugee Crisis

Posted on September 9, 2015 by Crosswalk

It’s tempting for us to remain insulated from this crisis, but this is the hour in which the Church cannot, must not remain silent.

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 Turning to Christ, teen heals from anger & abuse

Turning to Christ, teen heals from anger & abuse

Posted on September 9, 2015 by Christian Telegraph

Karen Pearce for Baptist Press. Seventeen-year-old Justin Spencer was with a team of Texas Baptists when an unexpected thing happened. Standing on the

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 A Prayer for the End of the Day

A Prayer for the End of the Day

Posted on September 9, 2015 by Crosswalk

If you’re unsure what to say as you face another evening alone or a challenging tomorrow, pray along with these words and make Him the Lord of your nights!

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 In Him We Live and Move: Acts 17 Comes to Life

In Him We Live and Move: Acts 17 Comes to Life

Posted on September 9, 2015 by Crosswalk

There’s nothing like stunning images of our vastly vivid universe to put into perspective &the God who made the world and all things in it&! This video really made me stop and revel in the complexity and awesomeness of my relationship with the Cre…

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10 Ways to Overcome Spiritual Weariness

10 Ways to Overcome Spiritual Weariness

Posted on September 8, 2015 by Church Leaders

&When we’re weary we can find fresh strength, joy and motivation in Christ.&

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 20 Differences Between the Psalms and Modern Worship Songs

20 Differences Between the Psalms and Modern Worship Songs

Posted on September 8, 2015 by Church Leaders

&Beware of presumption. We serve a holy God not a cuddly best mate.&

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Willow Creek’s “The Practice” blends New Age & Catholic mysticism

A Catholic priest and a New Ager walk into Willow Creek… No, it’s not a joke waiting for a punchline. It’s an experiment called The Practice, and it’s the brainchild of Pastor Bill Hybels’ son-in-law, Aaron Niequist. Niequist is also the Worship Pastor at Willow Creek Community Church, and he calls a Jesuit priest his […]

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North Korea pressured on human rights

The Southern Baptist Convention’s adoption of a resolution this summer on “religious persecution and human rights violations in North Korea” has coincided with what the resolution’s originator calls a renewed international effort to discuss human rights violations in the nation dubbed by persecution watchdog Open Doors the world’s worst persecutor of Christians for the past 13 years.


Fayetteville voters approve LGBT anti-discrimination law

Fayetteville citizens voted to ratify the city’s Uniform Civil Rights Protection ordinance — that now protects the rights of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community — by a slim margin Tuesday (Sept. 8).


Family speaks out about professor’s suicide

The family of Baptist professor and pastor John Gibson is calling his death a suicide connected to the Ashley Madison website hack. By openly discussing the circumstances surrounding his death, including a CNN interview aired Tuesday (Sept. 8), the Gibsons hope to help other families find forgiveness and reconciliation.


Prepare for temptation, Ezell says on marriage

Kevin Ezell, preaching on temptation in an adultery-ridden culture, counsels Christians not to take Satan’s bait. “God wants your very best, and Satan wants your very worst,” Ezell said in messages as interim pastor of a Nashville-area church.


‘War Room’ tops Labor Day box office

The faith-based film “War Room,” co-written by brothers Alex and Stephen Kendrick, topped the box office over Labor Day weekend, grossing nearly $2.5 million more than the nearest competitor during its second weekend in theaters.


Boy allowed in girls’ locker room sparks protest

A Missouri high school is in the national spotlight after a transgender student — born male but identifying as female — requested permission to use the girls’ locker rooms and restrooms this year. On Aug. 31, about 150 students walked out of classes to protest allowing the student to use female facilities.

Pope Francis Taps Rick Warren To Sell Vatican Socialist Agenda To American Christians

Rick Warren, senior pastor of Saddleback Church, has announced he will be speaking in Philadelphia later this month at the World Meeting of Families event to commence Pope Francis’ highly anticipated visit to the United States.

“Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.” Matthew 5:17 (KJV) 

EDITOR’S NOTE: False Prophet and soon to be global king Pope Francis knows how to build a team, I’ll give him that. He chose Laodicean pastor and Chrislam founder Rick Warren to close his little traveling road show later this month at the World Meeting of Families. In that speech, look for Warren to speak to “all the common ground we have with Catholics“, and how “Pope Francis is our pope“, and all that other nonsense that paid shills get paid to say. Hate to break it to you, Rick, but the Vatican does not believe or teach the Bible, they worship Mary, they pray to idols, they think priests can forgive sins, and they falsely teach that a wafer of bread becomes the body of Jesus. But don’t let that stop you from soaking up the spotlight and fleecing the flock. 

Rick Warren announced his plans to attend the event during the Sunday morning worship service at the Lake Forest, CA church. “Next month, Pope Francis is coming to America for a world gathering on families,” he told the congregation. “I’m not a Catholic, and we have many differences with Catholics. But they love the Lord and we have much in common with that – we believe in the Bible, and the Trinity, and in Jesus and the resurrection.”

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CLICK TO ENTER THE RICK WARREN ARCHIVE

There are probably going to be a million people in Philadelphia at this final event with Pope Francis, and he’s asked me to be the final speaker,” the Purpose Driven Life author continued amid cheering and applause.

According to its website, the World Meeting of Families is a “week-long international event of prayer, catechesis, and celebration that draws participants from around the globe.” The 8th annual event, which organizers say will be attended by up to two million people, seeks to “strengthen the bonds between families and to witness the crucial importance of marriage and the family to all society.”

Rick Warren calls apostate Roman Catholic Pope Francis “our pope”

While acknowledging there are differences between the two groups, Pastor Rick Warren has in the past called on non-Catholic Christians to join with Pope Francis and the Catholic Church in pursuit of common goals, such as the sanctity of life and the sanctity of marriage. In November, the pastor joined the leader of the Roman Catholic Church and 30 other global religious leaders for an interfaith Vatican conference on marriage and family, where he spoke on the “Biblical Meaning of Marriage.” “It’s great to be with leaders from different streams of Christianity from all over the world,” Warren said at the time. “Although we have some differences, we all love Jesus Christ and we all want marriage and families to be healthy and strong.”

“Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,” 2 Corinthians 6:17 (KJV)


The Scriptural Reverse-Trajectory of the Sexual Revolution

A fascinating trajectory of the sexual revolution has become obvious this summer in these United States. The trajectory moves backward through Scripture. The pages of God’s design for humanity have been peeled back, as it were, to the first chapter of Genesis.

  • In a host of ways and over many years, we as a culture have defied God’s design for sexual desire and activity as outlined in his law and summarized in the seventh commandment.
  • Next, we reached back to Genesis chapter two and redefined marriage through the Obergefell vs. Hodges decision by the Supreme Court of the United States.
  • Now, we are reaching back to Genesis 1:26-28 to redefine the nature of humanity by erasing God-ordained distinctions between male and female through the “gender identity” movement. Bruce Jenner brought the movement to the front page. The University of Tennessee’s now-withdrawn suggested use of newly-created gender-neutral pronouns is one example of the effort to institutionalize the erasure such distinctions. The accelerating push for new SOGI (Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity) laws captures the move to codify and enforce the rejection of the God-ordained male and female distinction.

Having reached the hand of defiance against the Creator back through the pages of Scripture to redefine right sexual behavior, marriage, and human identity, the culture almost seems to sense that it is a mere twenty-six verses from laying its hands on the throat of the Creator himself.

Yet, the Lord reigns!


Real Persecution–Even to the Death

Every day hundreds of Christians are imprisoned or murdered because of their faith in Jesus Christ.  And if we ignore their plight, what does that say of our love of the brethren? This morning, Dave Fiorazo and I are joined by Todd Nettleton of Voice of the Martyrs, an organization supporting persecuted Christians and educating […]

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The First Worship War

Ivory_Cain_Abel_Louvre_AO4052The very first conflict following the Fall was a conflict over worship.

Genesis 4:3–8 relates how Abel’s offering to the Lord’s was accepted, while Cain’s was not. These offerings were important because they were God’s means for at least temporarily and partially restoring communion with his people. Yet for some reason that is not explicit in the text, God rejected Cain’s offering. At this point in Genesis we do not have any clear revelation as to the content of acceptable worship. It is at least possible that God had demanded an animal sacrifice, and since Cain brought a food offering instead, that is why God rejected him. There is no way to determine this with absolute certainty, however. On the other hand, some assume that the offering wasn’t the problem; Cain’s heart attitude or motivation were deficient, and that is why God rejected him. This conclusions, too, is based on speculation since the text does not fully explain why God rejected Cain.

Revelation in the New Testament, however, does give a clearer picture. The author of Hebrews explains that Abel proved that he was “righteous” through his sacrifice, while Jude 11 describes Cain as one who “abandoned himself for the sake of gain,” and John 3:12 says that Cain’s deeds were “evil.” These descriptions relate most specifically to the inward spiritual condition of the men, yet Hebrews 11:4 also notes that Abel’s sacrifice itself was “more excellent” than Cain’s and that his righteousness was determined by “his gifts.”

Taken together, this information reveals a two-fold emphasis in evaluating worship, an emphasis that appears often in biblical discussions of worship.

First, the inward heart motivation is of utmost importance in true worship. At least part of what led to Cain’s rejection was an evil heart.

But a heart of worship will manifest itself in excellent, obedient offerings to God. Good heart motivation alone does not justify disobedience of God’s clear instructions or worshiping in flippant, casual ways. On the other hand, doing exactly what God has commanded without a heart that desires to please and glorify him is equally deficient.

Both are important.


Blessed Are the Risk-takers

 

The following is a modified excerpt from Gaining by Losing: Why the Future Belongs to Churches that Send. If you’d like more, be sure to pick up a copy of the book today!

Jesus once told a story that established risk-taking as a necessary component of true discipleship. It was about a rich boss who left behind sums of money for his servants to invest. To one servant he gave five “talents,” to another two, to another one. A talent was a rather large unit of money: about twenty years’ salary! So, to one man he gave twenty years’ salary (in our terms, about a million dollars); to another double that; and to another, a hundred years’ worth.

“He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he made five talents more. So also he who had the two talents made two talents more. But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master’s money.” (Matt. 25:16–18)

The man with two million turned it into four, and the man with five turned it into ten. When the master returned, he commended the first two servants for their wise investment of his resources. But to the one that sat on it, he said:

“You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sowed and gather where I scattered no seed? Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (Matt. 25:26–30)

Two things about that parable grip me. First, Jesus commended the first two servants for taking a risk with his money. Investing it means they could have lost it. That’s the nature of investing: no guarantees! Yet, Jesus doesn’t say, “What were you thinking? You could have lost all my money!” Instead, he commended them.

The second thing that stands out is even more startling, however: He called the one who did not take the risk “wicked.”

Wicked?

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Considering the Kim Davis Situation

When the U.S. Supreme Court reached its opinion that homosexual marriage was a constitutional right, many of us knew that rather than the final battle, it was merely the opening salvo in a battle for religious freedom in our nation.  The key question that would unfold is this:  Can a nation force people of religious […]

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How Many Radical Muslims Are There In The World?

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The true spiritual direction of “Spiritual Formation”

A large number of evangelicals are involved in spiritual formation (SF) which are “disciplines” that those who wish to experience spiritual growth must practice.  Where do the disciplines come from? Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox mystics, which should be a big red flag right there.   In this piece Pamela Couvrette tells of how she […]

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SBC Executive Speaking at Muslim-Evangelical Interface Gatherring

Pulpit & Pen reports:

Ed Stetzer

Lifeway – a Southern Baptist entity – will soon have their (arguably) most prominent executive speak at a Muslim-Evangelical interfaith event. Ed Stetzer, Vice President of Lifeway Insights Division and executive director of Lifeway Research, will speak at the upcoming Spreading Peace Convocation. The Convocation is a gathering of Christian pastors and Islamic imams, and is designed – according to their website – to “learn how to relate” and “build bridges” between the various religions.

SBC Executive Speaking at Muslim-Evangelical Interfaith Gathering


Psst. . . I’m Recruiting You For a Secret Mission

by Erin Davis

I’d like to recruit you for a secret mission. I want you to take over the Church.

My (Not So) Proud Moment

by Beecher Proch

I walked on stage, grabbed the mic, and forgot the lyrics. Suddenly, I was face to face with my pride problem.

Why You Should Stop Trying To Get Everyone To Like You

by Bethany Baird

Sooner or later, you’ll have to choose how you’ll handle your beliefs/convictions and the people and peer pressure around you. When it comes down to it, you really only have three options.

Ripping Off the Labels Stitched onto Our Hearts

by Erin Davis

The trouble with labels is we tend to believe them. In fact, we obsess over them. Eventually they cover over who we really are. We end up confused about why we have value and become desperate for people to see the real us. But Jesus is in the business of replacing our labels.

SBC Executive Speaking at Muslim-Evangelical Interfaith Gathering

Remember when your pastor said that “Glocal” was a thing? You know; a combination of global and local – and how the Church needed to view Glocal as a way to spread unity in the Body. Glocal was indeed a thing in about 2007 for seekermergent churches that pursued a missional, transformational paradigm. It is […]

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One Ex-Lesbian’s Plea to Pastors Across America

Posted: 09 Sep 2015 06:47 AM PDT

One Ex-Lesbian's Plea to Pastors Across AmericaDear Pastors, There are things I urgently need for you to know. And there are things I desperately need you to tell me. I shudder to think where I’d be today if my pastor had not been bold enough to tell me the truth regarding homosexuality, a lifestyle in which I lived for more than 30 years. Pastors, please take time out of your busy schedule to read my humble plea.

First, I need you to tell me in no uncertain terms that homosexuality is a sin. Show me what the Bible says and tell me that the Word of God is eternal and does not change with the times. Please don’t tell me that you won’t address it or that you don’t have an opinion. Because if you don’t speak up, I am going to think that it’s all right and will be headed for an eternity in hell. Pastors, when I come to you seeking answers, I need you to boldly speak the truth in love. My very salvation depends upon it.

Next, please let me know that Jesus’ death on the cross was enough to cover any sin I have committed, including that of homosexuality. Please tell me that every sin, no matter how minor or major it seems, is an affront to God. If you don’t, I will feel like my sin, because it feels more embarrassing or shocking, is harder for God to forgive than the others and I will be left with the wrong impression that homosexuality is the unpardonable sin. It’s not. FULL REPORT

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9 Reasons God’s Judgment Against Us May Be Inevitable

Posted: 09 Sep 2015 06:42 AM PDT

9 Reasons God's Judgment Against Us May Be InevitableAmerica and the West seem to be sinking into the abyss, and it’s time to ask: Is God’s judgement now inevitable? In contemplating the answer, we should consider some of the obvious reasons why judgment could come soon:

  1.  The blood of millions of innocent lives is shed and body parts are sold for profit in this country, while our government supports and funds such monstrous activity.
  2. God’s purpose in Creation, and His declared purpose for marriage, has been ignored and ruled against by the highest court in the land.
  3. Police authority is devalued by a great many people and undermined by political leaders.
  4. God-fearing, Bible-believing Christians are forbidden by the U.S. administration from saying the name of their God in the military.
  5. European businessmen and government officials cannot wait to do business with Iran—a leading state sponsor of the persecution and murder of innocent people.
  6. Persecuted Christians from the Middle East and elsewhere are forbidden entry visas into the United States and Europe. And yet illegal aliens—terrorists among them—get in and are given support.
  7. News programs report nearly every day on the rape and murder of Christian women and children by ISIS, while our government leaders cannot be bothered to condemn it, let alone do something about it.
  8. A sex change operation can get you a call from the highest office holder in the land to commend you for your “courage,” while families of fallen soldiers receive nothing.
  9. Those who announce their choice to reject God’s created order become heroes, while those who have taken a vow of poverty and serve the least among us are discriminated against.

With those, and many other government decisions made to marginalize righteousness and the righteous, can God’s judgment be far behind?

We can already see the signs of the lifting of God’s hand upon America through the cowardice of today’s politicians. Lying by public officials is rampant (and is even considered a virtue by many). Politicians refer to their political opponents as terrorists, while at the same time, they refuse to label the real terrorists as such. Elected government officials, out of fear of criticism, hide behind parliamentary maneuvers to avoid obeying the Constitution and allowing religious liberty. FULL REPORT

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Christians warned to pull kids from public school

Posted: 09 Sep 2015 07:01 AM PDT

Christians warned to pull kids from public schoolImagine an America in which all children are educated according to biblical, Christian principles instead of modern, secular, liberal values. Chaplain E. Ray Moore (Lt. Col. USAR Ret.), such a scenario is not just possible, but essential if Christians wish to reclaim the American culture. “We take the position at the Exodus Mandate that the Scripture and sound theology teach that the education of children belongs to the family and the church or private associations, not government,” said Moore, the founder and president of Frontline Ministries, Inc. and director of the Exodus Mandate Project. “We don’t believe that government, even at the state level, has any role in K-12 education, and the Scriptures are clear and explicit on this. There’s no wiggle room.”

In order to wake Christian parents up to the dangers of public schools, Exodus Mandate has released a new documentary called “Escaping Common Core: Setting Our Children Free.” The film is divided into two roughly 30-minute parts. The first part explores the origins of Common Core and the history of progressive education, from Horace Mann through John Dewey through the education policies of our past four U.S. presidents. The filmmakers argue Common Core is the latest manifestation of the effort to impose a socialist worldview on American children. FULL REPORT

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How I Dumped The Mega-Church Model And Found Something Bigger

Each year, the “nones” in our society (those who check “none” for religious affiliation) grow at an astounding rate. Some have used those statistics to declare the end of the American church. And while this fear of secularism is a bit overblown, the stats do raise an essential point: Churches that want to reach ‘nones’ need to retool.…… Click here for full story


Why Trump Is Triumphant With Evangelicals… For Now

New York Times columnist Frank Bruni is scratching his head over Donald Trump’s growing popularity with Evangelical Christians—and for good reason. How does one explain that a candidate like The Donald who has been married three times, runs casinos, discounts the need for asking God’s forgiveness, and has difficulty citing one verse of the Bible is trouncing card-carrying evangelical candidates like Huckabee and Cruz?……… Click here for full story


From This Point Forward, Christians Are Going To Be Banned From Holding Many Jobs In America

Christianity is being criminalized in the United States. No, I am not talking about the kind of Christianity that is so prevalent in America today where “Christians” just ignore what the Bible says and do whatever they wanted to do in the first place anyway. Rather, I am talking about the kind of faith that Kim Davis has demonstrated. Christians all over this country must choose to either submit to the “new morality” or potentially lose their jobs…………. Click here for full story


Is The End Really Near?

While harbingers of the apocalypse have been gathering for decades, most of the world has been largely oblivious to the gathering tempest and prophetic warnings. The signs—the last of the four blood moons, the biblical Shemitah, rise of end-time “Babylon,” the Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage, the dangerous Iranian nuclear deal and a world drowning in debt and dangling on the edge of economic catastrophe—seem unmistakable now………… Click here for full story


The Rapture Controversy


Should You Do Your Job or Obey Your Conscience?

Should Christians ever disobey their government? Some say no. But Kim Davis sides with Martin Luther King Jr. and thinks civil disobedience is justified. Mrs. Davis is the Rowan County Kentucky clerk who spent four days in jail for refusing to put her name on same-sex marriage licenses.

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From Depression To Faith

I never thought that I would live to see the things which are happening in these days. I suspect that many readers feel the same way.

If ever there was a time that God’s people would be sad and depressed, it certainly is now. I find myself thinking about where this is going. I believe that most of us know where it’s going.

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War Room: A Review by Justin Peters

  If you do not know the Kendrick brothers by name, you almost certainly know them by their films: Flywheel (2003), Facing the Giants (2006), Fireproof (2008), and Courageous (2011).  Stephen, Alex, and Shannon Kendrick have just released their fifth faith-based film, War Room.  War Room, starring popular Bible teachers Priscilla Shirer and Beth Moore, looks like it may well be the most successful of their films to date bringing in $11 million just on its opening weekend; more than triple it’s $3 million production budget.   Given the popularity of Christian themed films and the considerable…
 

Believing in God: How? Why?

Christians believe that our primary purpose in life, our main reason for existing, is that we might glorify and enjoy God. From the Westminster Larger Catechism:

Q. 1. What is the chief and highest end of man?
A. Man’s chief and highest end is to glorify God, and fully to enjoy him forever.

But how can we believe that God exists? What reason do we have for believing in God in the first place? Well, the very next question in the Westminster Larger Catechism addresses that. God does not call us to believe in Him without reason, after all –

Q. 2. How does it appear that there is a God?
A. The very light of nature in man, and the works of God, declare plainly that there is a God; but his word and Spirit only do sufficiently and effectually reveal him unto men for their salvation.

So, we have two parts to this:

1. Everyone alive has “the very light of nature” inside them, testifying to the reality of God and also lives in the midst of “the works of God,” which also declare God’s existence. Thus, everyone has an internal and external witness.

2. However, people do not come to faith in God due to these two witnesses, which everyone has. Rather, it is only the word and the Spirit which reveal God in a way that actually causes people to know Him.

Let’s look at these . . .

Universal Internal and External Witness


Brad Lomenick: 3 Leadership Trends Your Church Needs to Know About

Brad Lomenick is a leadership consultant, speaker, founder of BLINC and author of The Catalyst Leader and H3 Leadership and former president of Catalyst. He understands trends and is engaged with top level leaders.

We recently spoke with Lomenick about the major changes in leadership culture and how the church should leverage these trends for greater impact.

LISTEN NOW! Or check out the highlights below.

https://html5-player.libsyn.com/embed/episode/id/3787869/height/60/width/640/theme/standard/direction/no/autoplay/no/autonext/no/thumbnail/no/preload/no/no_addthis/no/

Here are the three leadership trends your church should know about:

1. The Influence of Social Media

“We’ve seen more speeding up in the leadership landscape and systemic change. Change is happening more quickly than ever before partly because of technology. A blogger or somebody on Social Media can have equally as much, if not more, influence today than somebody who has spent 25 years building a foundation and a platform and a voice.

That 23-year-old who’s blogging or on Social Media can have just as much if not more influence as the 25 year run of the 45-year-old.

That’s a game changer

I don’t think it’s good or bad, I think it’s neutral, but it’s the new essence of leadership.

If you’re influencing people, you’re leading them. We have to realize that the game has changed in terms of the channels and the medium through which we have influence on people and culture. The Social Media technology space is obviously a huge one.”

2. Vulnerability in Leadership

“Authenticity and this idea of vulnerability and transparency is a huge part of the new reality of leadership. You know the old days of ‘never let them see you sweat’ and ‘fake it till you make it’ and ‘hide behind the façade’ are gone.

The leaders today who have the most influence are the ones who are the most authentic. The ones who are willing to show up with the real them. Leading from their true self and not afraid of that, but willing to walk in and be transparent and be honest and vulnerable and be authentic with their team and the people around them.”

3. The Rise of the Free Agents

“The stats today are pretty staggering in terms of the number of people who are basically working in a project basis for many organizations. And this is true for 20-somethings even more than it is for older leaders. The average 20-something today is going to have between 14-16 different projects or seasons of careers they walk through over the next 40 years.

Two generations ago, the average person was in one job or one company for 40 years whether they liked it or not, or whether it was the right fit for them. This is a major shift that we’re going to have to deal with as leaders. How do we motivate people who aren’t necessarily on our team? How do we deal with the realities of project mentality?”

Catch the full interview here–with show notes–here!

The post Brad Lomenick: 3 Leadership Trends Your Church Needs to Know About appeared first on ChurchLeaders.com.


The Tentacles of a Dilemma

A theory that explains everything explains nothing at all. And when it comes to Darwinism, some explanations are smelling fishier by the day. Listen Now | Download

Known by God Before You Were Born

Known by God Before You Were BornWhen did God know you would be his adopted son or daughter? Peter says that our election is “according to the foreknowledge of God.” In this lab, John Piper asks what it means for God to foreknow us, and then explores the relationship between our election and God’s foreknowledge.

Watch Now


Words of Comfort: Good without God.

“I can be a good person without God.”

Anyone of us can be good without God. All we need is a very low standard of goodness. There are 46 dictionary definitions of “good” from which to choose.  The word “good” in God’s Book, however, means moral perfection, in thought, word and in deed. That’s the high standard of goodness that we be will judged by on Judgment Day (whether you believe in God or not).


How Consciousness Points to the Existence of God (Video)

This video, excerpted from J. Warner Wallace’s presentation of the evidence for God (from his book, God’s Crime Scene), summarizes the case for Gods existence from consciousness. How does non-material consciousness emerge in a purely material universe? Is “mind” nothing more than “brain”? For a robust review of the collective case for God’s existence from eight pieces of evidence “inside the room” of the natural universe, please refer to God’s Crime Scene: A Cold-Case Homicide Detective Examines the Evidence for a Divinely Created Universe. (For more information, visit http://www.ColdCaseChristianity.com)

To see more training videos with J. Warner Wallace, visit the YouTube playlist.


I am a Christian, but I don’t follow Christ

https://www.facebook.com/video/embed?video_id=1816363428504531

By now many of you have no doubt seen the viral video “I’m a Christian, but…” (click the image above to view it). Not only has the video been making the rounds, but the hashtag #IAmAChristianBut is ubiquitous on social media right now.

After you watch the video, it’s obvious that this is a propaganda piece for a version of Christianity that is Christian in name only–a progressivist vision of the faith that has more to do with maintaining street-cred with Christianity’s cultured despisers than with the faith once for all delivered to the saints (Jude 3). It is what the apostle Paul called a “form of godliness” while “denying its power” (2 Timothy 3:5). It is gutless–literally, a hollowing out of everything essential to the faith.

Far from being Christocentric, this display is Christo-absent. Not one of these “Christians” even mentions Jesus. Their definition of the faith displays no connection even implicitly to the “author and perfecter of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2). Even disinterested observers can tell that this is more than a glaring oversight. It is an attempt to label love for worldliness as love for Christ. It undermines any credible claim that these testimonials can be in any sense authentically Christian.

And indeed, the substance of their testimony is this. “We are Christian, but are not like those other Christians who actually follow Christ’s teachings.” Nevermind the fact that Jesus taught that sex outside marriage is sin (Mark 7:21). Nevermind that Jesus defined marriage as fundamentally heterosexual in nature—the permanent union of one man and one woman until death parts them (Matthew 19:4-6). Nevermind that Jesus defines discipleship as being willing to follow Jesus even if it costs you your life (Matthew 16:24). These “Christians” have a version of Christianity that dispenses with all of that rubbish that Jesus taught.

The apostle John once warned against those who call themselves Christian but who don’t actually follow Jesus:

“The one who says, ‘I have come to know Him,’ and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him; but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him: the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked.” –1 John 2:4-6

In other words, the mark of authentic Christianity in a person’s life is the willingness to follow everything that Jesus calls us to. This obedience isn’t the cause of our salvation; it is the fruit of our salvation. It is the proof that our hearts truly have been renewed by the Holy Spirit when we love what Jesus loves—including his commands which are countercultural. Jesus himself said it this way:

“He who has My commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves Me; and he who loves Me shall be loved by My Father, and I will love him, and will disclose Myself to him… If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him, and make Our abode with him. He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father’s who sent Me.” –John 14:21-24

The testimonials in this video are not demonstrating this kind of love. They demonstrate a love for the world and its values not a love for Christ and his Kingdom (1 John 2:15-17). And that is the problem.

Contrary to what this video indicates, Christianity is not a choose-your-own-adventure story in which you get to define the terms of your relationship to God. God has defined the terms of our redemption, and they are irreducibly Christocentric. God made Christ who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf in order that we might become the righteousness of God in him (2 Cor. 5:21). Jesus taught us that we receive this salvation by repenting of our sin and trusting in Christ to save us (Mark 1:15). That conversion issues forth in a life devoted to God and His purposes. To miss these truths is to miss Christianity altogether. And that omission is what is on display in this video.

I would say to every person in this video and to all who are sympathetic to what they are teaching. You really can be a Christian. You can know Christ and the power of his resurrection life. You can be saved and be made a part of his family. But you will have to come on his terms—by repentance and faith. And you will have to take up your cross and follow him. If you try to save your life—including your sexual freedom—you will lose your life for eternity. But if you are willing to lose your life—and all that entails—you will save it for eternity (Matthew 16:25-26).

That is real Christianity, and I hope you will join us.


You Can’t Tryout for God’s Team

You Can’t Tryout for God’s TeamGrowing up as a kid in rural eastern Kentucky, I dreamed of one day becoming a University of Kentucky Wildcat basketball player. Even though that dream never came true due to lack of skill, I was good enough to make my high school basketball team.

Every year students in my school would tryout for the basketball team. During the week of tryouts, players displayed their skills to the coaches. The coaches would choose players based on performance and skill. Some would make the team; others would not.

While God does choose his children, it isn’t based on our performance or skill. The children of God don’t have to attend tryouts to be adopted into his family. Paul illustrates beautifully in his letters that unconditional election is the foundation of the New Testament’s presentation of salvation.

His Choice and Our Responsibility

Unconditional election means that God chooses some people to be on his team. God graciously elected sinners in Christ before the foundation of the world to be his people. In Romans, Paul teaches us that Adam’s transgression devastated the entire world (Romans 5:12).

He laments that “there is none good, no not one” (Romans 3:10) and that “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Due to mankind’s total depravity, Paul emphasizes that humans are able to respond to God’s work of salvation only because God chose some to be saved in love (Romans 8:29–30; Ephesians 1:4–5, 11).

This interpretation is often criticized. Some argue that election shuts out the need for personal responsibility. Paul anticipates these criticisms. He continues by saying that God’s choice to save some is just (Romans 9:14–15). God has the right as the Creator to choose some to receive his saving mercy and to choose others to receive his judgment (Romans 9:19–29).

Therefore, God can grant mercy to some and withhold it from others if he desires (Romans 9:6–15). God giving his saving mercy to some, and judgment to others, is solely based on his will, not human effort. Since he is God, he has the right to do whatever he pleases.

Angry About Election

Many respond with anger the first time they hear about unconditional election. They complain that this doctrine makes God unjust and unloving. What makes us respond this way?

Maybe we believe that God owes us something. If so, this response exposes a great deal of pride. Too often we want a God created into our image. The only thing God owes any human being is his unrelenting wrath due to our sin and radical rebellion against him and his Son, Jesus Christ.

Unconditional election reminds Christians that we are naturally children of wrath (Ephesians 2:1–3). But God, by his sovereign grace, freely chose to redeem some from his wrath. This divine act of grace should move Christians to worship our great God with humble and thankful postures (Romans 11:36, Ephesians 1:4–5).

Critics ask, “Why evangelize if unconditional election is true?” My response would be the opposite: “Why evangelize if unconditional election is untrue?” If total depravity is correct, then no one is able to respond to the gospel and every evangelistic effort is destined to fail. Everyone is dead in trespasses and sins (Ephesians 2:1–10). Unconditional election should give us confidence that God will certainly save “all” of those who believe through the foolishness of gospel proclamation (1 Corinthians 1:18, 21).

Election and Doubt

Christians often have doubts about their faith. If we’re honest, many of us have doubted whether God loves us. Unconditional election can help doubting Christians conquer their doubt. Paul states that God chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless (Ephesians 1:4). And he asserts that God predestined us in love unto adoption (Ephesians 1:5).

When Christians doubt God’s love for us, or when we doubt whether we are genuinely saved, we ought to remind ourselves of at least two things:

  • God chose us in Christ to be his people. So everyone who lives in faithful (not perfect) obedience to Jesus is elect and saved because one’s faith-filled obedience to Jesus proves that one is in Christ.
  • God’s love for us is displayed by means of his choice of us in Christ to be his people and by means of the sacrifice of his Son to redeem us as his people, so that we would be saved from his future wrath (Ephesians 1:4–7; Romans 5:6–10). Therefore, when doubt comes, Christians should fight against it with what the New Testament teaches about unconditional election.

The Goal of Unconditional Election

Unlike my high school coaches, God didn’t make this choice based on our skills or any of our foreseen works. He exclusively chose to save some sinners for his glory because he wanted to do so. Unconditional election belongs to God.

Our response to this truth should not be to produce division, to split churches, or to beat up or bully people with a big-God theology. Instead, God has given us this doctrine to move us to worship (Ephesians 1:3–14; 1 Peter 1:1–6) and to faithful Christian obedience.

May God open our eyes to see unconditional election so that we would offer to him God-centered, Christ-exalting, and Spirit-filled worship now and forever.


Related Resources


Don’t Move Beyond The Expiration Date

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Program segments:

00:10:03 Ryan LeStrange – Don’t Move Beyond The Expiration Date
00:19:08 Bill Johnson – Exposed to the Anointing
00:37:29 Jim Bakker – Major Events Happen in the Month of Elul
00:51:24 Buzz Feed’s – I’m Christian, but I’m Not…
01:05:40 Sermon Review: How To Dream Big by Micah Caronna


An atheist voices support for Kim Davis

Well, not so much support for Kim Davis as disdain for the government responsible for locking her up.

Libertarian atheist Stephen Molyneux has never been shy when it comes to criticizing Christianity, but he does admire people who remain true to their convictions. His personal beliefs and anti-Christian worldview aside, I can appreciate his position on this issue, and I think some of the points he makes are more insightful than many I have heard from Christians. Take a look:


Political Prisoner Kim Davis Freed – For Now

After languishing in jail for six days for upholding the laws of Kentucky which she was elected to do, and for resisting judicial tyranny, and for standing strong for Christian conscience, Kim Davis has been freed from jail. This is wonderful news indeed.

But nothing is certain about the future. The same judge says he will jail her again if need be, while Davis is standing steadfast on defending the laws of the state of Kentucky and her God. So this story is not over by any means yet. Here is how one news report covers her release:

davis kim 6The Kentucky county clerk jailed for refusing to issue marriage licenses to gay couples was released Tuesday after five days behind bars, emerging to a tumultuous hero’s welcome from thousands of supporters waving large white crosses.
“I just want to give God the glory. His people have rallied, and you are a strong people,” Kim Davis told the crowd after stepping outside, her arms raised like a victorious boxer, to the blaring “Rocky”-sequel theme song “Eye of the Tiger.” Her lawyer refused to say whether she would defy the courts again.
“Kim cannot and will not violate her conscience,” said Mat Staver, founder of the Liberty Counsel, the Christian law firm representing Davis. As for whether she will issue licenses, Staver said only: “You’ll find out in the near future.”
The Rowan County clerk whose defiance has made her a hero to the religious right walked free after the federal judge who ordered her locked up lifted the contempt ruling against her, saying he was satisfied that her deputies were fulfilling their obligation to grant licenses to same-sex couples in her absence.
But U.S. District Judge David Bunning also warned Davis not to interfere again, or else she could wind up back in jail. Davis, 49, has refused to resign her $80,000-a-year job. As an elected official, she can lose her post only if she is defeated for re-election or is impeached by the state General Assembly. The latter is unlikely, given the legislature’s conservative slant.
As the surprise news of her impending release spread, a crowd of dozens of supporters who had gathered on the jailhouse lawn for a previously scheduled rally swelled to thousands. They broke into “Amazing Grace” and “God Bless America” and waved signs, flags and crosses.
Cries of thanks to Jesus echoed through the crowd as Davis emerged next to Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee and her husband, Joe, who was in overalls and a straw hat. Huckabee and fellow GOP White House candidate Sen. Ted Cruz visited her at the jail just after the decision came down.
“If somebody has to go to jail, I’m willing to go in her place,” said Huckabee, a former Baptist minister and Arkansas governor. He added: “She has shown more courage than any politician I know.”

Mat Staver of the Liberty Council said this:

In ordering Kim’s release, the judge set conditions: “Defendant Davis shall be released from the custody of the U.S. Marshal forthwith. Defendant Davis shall not interfere in any way, directly or indirectly, with the efforts of her deputy clerks to issue marriage licenses to all legally eligible couples. If Defendant Davis should interfere in any way with their issuance, that will be considered a violation of this Order and appropriate sanctions will be considered.”
As I told Fox News, “Kim Davis will not change her conscience and she won’t change her mind on this issue. She thought about this for a long time and prayed about it. Unless her name and her authority is taken off the licenses, she will not allow those licenses to issue in her name or her authority that authorizes a marriage which is contrary to God’s definition of marriage.”
-The legal issues are not resolved.
The Court Order did not resolve the underlying issue. The issue is that Kim Davis has asked for a very simple accommodation. Remove her name and her authority from the marriage certificates, which is what we have asked for from the very beginning. We believe the court could act on that. We believe the governor could act on that. And we believe the Kentucky assembly could act on that request as well. We will continue to assist Kim and pursue the multiple appeals she has filed.
-Today, Kim Davis joined us in a rally on her behalf!
This afternoon, Kim joined former Arkansas Governor, presidential candidate, and Liberty Counsel’s friend Mike Huckabee and me in an “I’m with Kim” rally outside the Carter County Detention Center where Kim Davis was held. This rally coincided with Liberty Counsel’s planned prayer event.
We are pleased that Kim Davis has been released. She can never recover the past six days of her life spent in an isolated jail cell, where she was incarcerated like a common criminal because of her conscience and religious convictions. She is now free to return to her family, her coworkers, and the office where she has faithfully served for the past 27 years.

And Brian Brown of the National Organisation for Marriage made these comments:

While we are thrilled that Kim is out of jail and back home with her family, it’s too soon to know if the case is resolved because the rogue federal judge who ordered her to jail in the first instance has told her she cannot interfere with deputy clerks who are issuing same-sex ‘marriage’ licenses in her name. This is wrong! The state of Kentucky has an obligation to provide clerks like her the ability to not be personally complicit in the lie of same-sex ‘marriage’ which violates her religious beliefs.
As Kim has asked since the beginning, and we have echoed, the state should take her name and reference to her position off the marriage license forms. Gov. Steve Beshear claims he can’t do that, but the state has already changed the forms at the request of gay activists, changing the terms ”Bride” and ”Groom” to ”Party 1” and ”Party 2.” Surely, if the license forms can be changed to accommodate the wishes of gay activists, they can be changed to accommodate clerks with religious objections to being personally connected to the lie that is same-sex marriage.
We don’t know what Kim will decide to do if the license forms are not changed, but NOM will stand with her to defend her religious liberty rights, as well as those of every other American who believes in marriage.
I am writing this from the stage of a huge rally at the Carter County Detention Center where hundreds of people joined to celebrate the good news that Kim is out of jail and to demand that people of faith be protected from gay activists and the judges that seem all too willing to do their bidding.
I reminded the gathered crowd that during the American founding, it was proposed that our national motto be, “Resistance to tyranny is obedience to God.” Throughout our history when unjust laws are promulgated by legislatures or courts, we have an obligation to resist. This was the case with slavery. It was the case with segregation. And it is the case with same-sex ‘marriage.’ My friends, same-sex ‘marriage’ is not the supreme law of the land, it is the supreme lie of the land. I urge you to stand for truth. Do not comply with unjust authority. Stand up to tyranny and don’t be shamed. We are united today in a just cause. Let us be a bold symbol and a bold light in a time of darkness.

Her case of course caused national and international outrage. Even some homosexuals thought the jailing was ridiculous. For example, Madonna’s homosexual brother Christopher Ciccone posted this message on Facebook a few days ago:

Since when are we the arbiter of other peoples faith?…..can you honestly say that you know how much a person is allowed to have??..if i’m not mistaken, it’s in the constitution…..something about religious freedom or something……selective shaming and bullying corrupts a democracy….freedom of press, speech and religion give it strength. Not to mention reason and the god given compassion we as humans have a right and responsibility to practice. Once again, the gay community feels the need to be sore winners. Is it so difficult to allow this women her religion?…or must we destroy her in order for here to betray her faith. No matter how we judge its truth. The rights we have all fought for, mean nothing, if we deny her hers.

He gets it. But many do not. As mentioned, this may well just be a temporary bit of freedom for Davis. She refuses to back down, as do the militants and their coercive statist allies. This is simply one small skirmish in a much bigger war. The homosexual assault on faith, family and freedom is one of the gravest threats we face today.

Writing just before her release, Matt Barber rightly said “Needed: A Million More Like Kim Davis”. He wrote:

Anti-Christian persecution is the civil rights cause of our time. The cultural Marxists in power have seceded from our constitutional republican form of government, with its Judeo-Christian moorings, and have supplanted, in its place, a secular-socialist oligarchy. Like Union troops hunkered at Fort Sumter, faithful Christians are now exiles in our own land. Anti-Christian “progressives” have demanded unconditional surrender, and federal Judge David Bunning has fired the first mortar.
Even as I write, a kind, soft-spoken and well respected civil servant of 27 years sits languishing, like some violent criminal, in a Kentucky prison. She is confined, indefinitely and without benefit of a trial, to a tiny cell. She is a political prisoner in a spiritual war.

It sure is a spiritual war. And heaps of prayer went into this appalling case of a travesty of justice. It is of course terrific that Kim is now free – at least for a while. But the bigger war still rages all around us, and I predict that things will get much worse before they get better.

But in the meantime, thank God for Kim Davis.

http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/clerk-who-fought-gay-marriage-freed-from-jail/ar-AAe4jjf?ocid=sf
http://www.lc.org/index.cfm?PID=14100&PRID=1595
http://www.nomblog.com/40705/
http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/madonnas-brother-defends-jailed-clerk-820753
http://www.cnsnews.com/commentary/j-matt-barber/needed-million-more-kim-davis


Planned Parenthood: Symptomatic of a Deeper Problem

During the fiscal years of 2009-2014 alone, Planned Parenthood performed 1,650,024 abortions.1 In the same five years, Planned Parenthood provided more than twice as many breast exams (3,254,136)2 as abortions—along with a host of other services related especially to women’s health. From their website, Planned Parenthood claims to be “one of the nation’s leading providers of high-quality, affordable health care for women, men, and young people, and the nation’s largest provider of sex education.” The group also claims that only “Three percent of all Planned Parenthood health services are abortion services.”3

Even if one disagrees with how some of the non-abortion services are structured (as I do), it is inarguable that there are people who are benefitting from some services Planned Parenthood provides. The recent efforts of undercover videographers raise questions regarding whether or not young human beings are being carved up—even while alive—so that their various parts can be harvested for research. That research will presumably benefit many, but at what cost? Are we willing to look past some benefits to see atrocities for what they are? Read more about Planned Parenthood: Symptomatic of a Deeper Problem


America’s Deepest Heresy

Studying heresies is a way of studying how orthodoxy came into full expression. As I said in recent post, heresy is the mother of orthodoxy. It is problems that give rise to solutions or resolutions or articulations. In that context Roger Olson, in his fine new book Counterfeit Christianity: The Persistence of Errors in the Church, [Read More…]

The State, Unjust laws, and Civil Disobedience

The perennial question of if and when a Christian should disobey an unjust law and engage in civil disobedience has certainly come to the fore in the case of American prisoner of conscience Kim Davis. She has just been released from a Kentucky jail after spending nearly a week there, because she chose to put the law of God and Christian conscience over unjust human laws.

There has been much discussion in Christian circles about this case, and I have sadly read a lot of foolishness concerning it. Some misguided believers have insisted that she was wrong to take such a stance, and that she had an obligation to do as she was told and not resist. These folks really seem to think that human law is somehow absolute and inviolate.

civil disobedience 1But Christians throughout history have almost never held to that view. Most believers have recognised that while we are to obey the state for the most part, when human law clashes with God’s law, then we must make a choice. Civil disobedience may then be required, but we must be willing to face the consequences as well. I discuss this in more detail here: billmuehlenberg.com/2008/11/02/christians-and-civil-disobedience/

And as I discuss here, we have all sorts of examples in the Bible and in church history of such resistance to the state and civil disobedience: billmuehlenberg.com/2015/09/06/criminalising-christianity-and-resisting-unjust-laws/

As mentioned, a passage like Romans 13:1-7 tells us to submit to government authorities. But this is not an absolute, and there are times when we must refuse to submit. As R. C. Sproul says about this passage:

“We are always and everywhere to obey the authorities over us – boss, police, governor, whatever that authority may be – unless that authority commands us to do something that God forbids, or forbids us from doing something that God commands. Sometimes we are to disobey. If the civil magistrate calls us to sin, we must say no.”

He goes on to say that “the principle is easy; the application is difficult.” I deal with its application in the first article I link to above. But as hard as it may be to undertake, there are times when we must resist, and we must disobey. For those believers who insist that we must always obey human law no matter what, I must simply remind them of the rich Christian heritage of resistance to unjust laws.

Those involved in the Nuremberg Trials insisted that the Germans were not duty-bound to obey Nazi law (“just following orders”), but that there was “a law above the law” which took priority. Exactly so. Ultimately it is God we must obey when human laws come into obvious conflict with divine laws.

This has always been the position of almost all Christians for the past 2000 years, as the following quotes clearly demonstrate. I include a few non-Christians in the mix, but most of these come from Christians. They make it pretty clear that some laws are unjust, and some laws must be disobeyed:

“An unjust law is no law at all.” -Augustine

Unjust laws “are acts of violence rather than laws” and “such laws do not bind in conscience, except perhaps in order to avoid scandal or disturbance, for which a man should even yield his right.” -Thomas Aquinas

“We are subject to the men who rule over us, but subject only in the Lord. If they command anything against Him let us not pay the least regard to it.” -John Calvin

“For earthly princes lay aside their power when they rise up against God, and are unworthy to be reckoned among the number of mankind. We ought, rather, to spit upon their heads than to obey them.” -John Calvin

“True it is, God has commanded kings to be obeyed; but likewise true it is, that in things which they commit against His glory, He has commanded no obedience, but rather, He has approved, yea, and greatly rewarded, such as have opposed themselves to their ungodly commandments and blind rage.” -John Knox

“… whenever the Legislators endeavour to take away, and destroy the Property of the People, or to reduce them to Slavery under Arbitrary Power, they put themselves into a state of War with the People, who are thereupon absolved from any farther Obedience, and are left to the common refuge which God hath provided for all men against force and violence.” -John Locke

“Resistance to tyranny becomes the Christian and social duty of each individual. … Continue steadfast and, with a proper sense of your dependence on God, nobly defend those rights which heaven gave, and no man ought to take from us.” -John Hancock

“The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.” -Thomas Jefferson

“To compel a man to subsidize with his taxes the propagation of ideas which he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical.” -Thomas Jefferson

“Disobedience to tyrants is obedience to God.” -Benjamin Franklin

“I cannot for an instant recognize that political organization as my government which is the slave’s government also.… The only obligation which I have a right to assume, is to do at any time what I think right. … Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also a prison” -Henry David Thoreau

“Civil disobedience becomes a sacred duty when the state has become lawless or corrupt. And a citizen who barters with such a state shares in its corruption and lawlessness.” -Mahatma Gandhi

“It is because men are sinners that justice can be achieved only by a certain degree of coercion on the one hand, and by resistance to coercion and tyranny on the other hand.” -Reinhold Niebuhr

“For to safeguard the inviolable rights of the human person and to facilitate the fulfillment of his duties, should be the essential office of every public authority. This means that, if any government does not acknowledge the rights of man or violates them, it not only fails in its duty, but its orders completely lack juridical force” -Pope John XXIII, Pacem in Terries (Peace on Earth)

“You must never be fearful about what you are doing when it is right.” -Rosa Parks

“One may well ask: ‘How can you advocate breaking some laws and obeying others?’ The answer lies in the fact that there are two types of laws: just and unjust. I would be the first to advocate obeying just laws. One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that ‘an unjust law is no law at all’.” -Martin Luther King, Jr.

“God has ordained the state as a delegated authority; it is not autonomous. The state is to be an agent of justice, to restrain evil by punishing the wrongdoer, and to protect the good in society. When it does the reverse, it has no proper authority. It is then a usurped authority and as such it becomes lawless and is tyranny.” -Francis Schaeffer

The bottom line is that at a certain point there is not only the right, but the duty, to disobey the state.” -Francis Schaeffer

“If there is no final place for civil disobedience, then the government has been made autonomous, and as such, it has been put in the place of the living God.” -Francis Schaeffer

As these and other quotes which could have been provided here make clear, most Christians have never held to the view that human laws are always absolute and inviolate. They have rightly recognised that sometimes certain laws are unjust and conflict with divine law. Then they must be disobeyed.

As stated, generally speaking the believer is commanded to obey the state. But the state is meant to be doing its biblical, delegated duty in upholding true justice and righteousness. The “one in authority is God’s servant for your good” (Romans 13:4). When it refuses to do its divinely appointed duty, then believers may be forced to resist government authorities.


Ten More Ways Churches Drive Away First-time Guests

On November 1, 2014, I wrote a blog post about ten ways churches drive away first-time guests. You can read the article here. Those top ten ways came from an informal Twitter poll. I was surprised by the number of responses we received for both the poll and the blog post.

Of course, there were many more responses than the original ten. I have saved the other responses for nearly a year. The ten items I list below actually represent the second ten most frequent responses. From my perspective, these second-tier responses are somewhat of a surprise. They might be, nevertheless, helpful to you and your church. Each of the ten items has a representative comment.

  1. The congregation was old. “When I looked at the age of those attending, I knew there wouldn’t be anything there for my children.”
  2. There was clutter everywhere. “The church building looked like a Goodwill store for Bibles, books, umbrellas, and clothes. I did not want to return.”
  3. People were gathered in cliques talking to each other. “I could tell before the service that I didn’t belong to their club.”
  4. People got the aisle seats first. “I had to climb over eight people to get a seat. They seemed disgusted I was there.”
  5. There was inadequate signage for people with small children. “From the parking lot to the front door to the preschool area, I had no idea where to go. It was frustrating.”
  6. There was no worship guide or bulletin. “I saved the bulletins from the churches I visited. If a church did not have one, I forgot all about it.”
  7. The check in process for children was slow and disorganized. “My kids were screaming the whole time; I’m not going back.”
  8. There were memorial plaques everywhere. “They were on the pews, the tables, the organ, the piano, and the windows. It was creepy. I felt like I was in a funeral home.”
  9. The service did not start on time. “My family rushed to get there on time, but the service started over ten minutes late. No one seemed to know what they were doing.”
  10. People were saving seats. “They might as well had a sign that said, ‘You are not welcome near me.’”

Keep in mind, these comments are second-tier responses. But they represent many people. They just might represent guests who won’t return to your church.

Let me hear from you.

The post Ten More Ways Churches Drive Away First-time Guests appeared first on ThomRainer.com.


How to Fight Addiction in a Pornographic Culture

How to Fight Addiction in a Pornographic CultureIn five minutes, Voddie Baucham exposes the pornographic nature of our culture and provides men and women with a key tool necessary to fight addiction.


Related Articles


A La Carte (September 9)

Today’s Kindle deals include The Shape of Preaching by Dennis Cahill ($2.99); Real: Owning Your Christian Faith by Dan Darling ($2.99); Jesus, Continued by J.D. Greear ($1.99); The Doctrines that Divide by Erwin Lutzer ($1.99); Contending with Christianity’s Critics by William Lane Craig ($2.99); The Mentor Leader by Tony Dungy ($2.99).

“You’ve Ruined My Life, Professor Craig!!”

What a great email exchange this is between William Lane Craig and one of his former students. Here’s my favorite line: “Jesus is a tremendously attractive person in the wisdom of his teaching, in his character, and in the authenticity of his life.” Indeed, he is!

Conservative Dissent Is Brewing Inside the Vatican

I found this an illuminating look at the conflict between the liberal and conservative wings within the Roman Catholic Church. It tells of a “growing sense of alarm among strict conservatives, exposing what is fast emerging as a culture war over Francis’s papacy and the powerful hierarchy that governs the Roman Catholic Church.”

The First Cut Is The Deepest

Sharon Dickens offers a helpful look at self-harm, what drives people to it, and how you may be able to help them overcome it.

Outdo One Another in Showing Honor

Like Ray Ortlund, “I am grateful for so many who are located elsewhere within the Body of Christ. … Many disparate believers, in many ways, have helped me toward the Lord. How could I be ungrateful?”

Today in History. Queen Elizabeth passes Queen Victoria as the longest-reigning monarch in the history of Great Britian, marking 63 years and 218 days on the throne. God save the queen! *

Metamorphosis

I think you’ll enjoy this short time-lapse showing the incredible transformation of a caterpillar to a butterfly.

Book Reviews

I have been a bit lax in book reviewing lately. Here, from two trusted reviewers, are reviews of a couple of new books: God Made All of Me by Justin & Lindsey Holcomb (reviewed by Aaron Armstrong) and A History of Western Philosophy and Theology by John Frame (reviewed by David Steele).

How Making Time for Books Made Me Feel Less Busy

Speaking of being lax with book reviews, you may appreciate learning how this writer discovered that making time for books made a big difference in his life. “Reading books again has given me more time to reflect, to think, and has increased both my focus and the creative mental space to solve work problems. My stress levels are much lower, and energy levels up.”


The Daily Discovery (September 9, 2015)

headerImage-dailyDiscovery

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

7 Truths to Puncture a Man-Centered Church – “God hates man-centered churches. When preachers’ names are on Christians’ minds and mouths more than God’s, it contradicts everything that He’s about.”

Known by God Before You Were Born – “When did God know you would be his adopted son or daughter? Peter says that our election is ‘according to the foreknowledge of God.’ In this lab, John Piper asks what it means for God to foreknow us, and then explores the relationship between our election and God’s foreknowledge.”

Gideon: From Coward to Conqueror – “We generally associate Gideon’s name with his military victories. But when we first meet the Old Testament hero in the book of Judges, he’s hiding out in the wilderness, attempting to eek out a life while avoiding the notice of Israel’s enemies. Even after the Angel of the Lord told him that he would deliver Israel from the Midianites, he was filled with cowardly doubts.”

For he whom God has sent speaks the words of God – “In John 3:1-21 our Lord spoke the words of God to ‘a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews.’ In this passage our Lord clears the table and tells it like it is. He tells Nicodemus in v3, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.’ Of course, Nicodemus doesn’t ‘get it at first and asks, ‘How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?’ in v4 and, ‘How can these things be?’ in v9. In between those two perplexed questions, our Lord, the Λόγος or logos or Word, the living Christian proclamation as a whole of the New Testament proclaimed τὰ ῥήματα τοῦ Θεοῦ or “the words of God” to Nicodemus in a way that he had never heard before.

Recruiting Violation – “Current American culture is saturated with reports of significant recruiting violations occurring across the collegiate sports world. A new scandal appears to break as soon as the litany of investigations into another scandal comes to an end. Throughout such an investigative process, institutions are monitored extensively in order to discover if any illegal or inconsistent activity occurred. Virtually every time such an investigation is conducted, the program in question is found to have violated protocol. From time to time, however, investigations prove that slander and false accusations are all that truly exists.”


SERMON:

logo-contSermon

Ken Fryer – The Duties of an Elder Part 3 “Living in Humility and Submission to Authority” (Titus 3:1-15)


VIDEOS:

The Dangers, Results, and History of Decisional Regeneration

Church of Tares: Purpose Driven, Seeker Sensitive


“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 (September 9, 2015) appeared first on Entreating Favor.



Christian Headlines Daily – Wednesday, September 9, 2015

http://www.christianheadlines.com/

Top Headlines

Violence in Nigeria Prevents Children from Returning to School

Iraqi Prime Minister Appoints Committee Addressing Christian Persecution

Faster, Cheaper, Easier: Pope Changes Policies for Marriage Annulment

Disney Star Dean Jones Remembered for Faith, Films

China Locks Away Christian Lawyer in ‘Secretive Detention’

TV Adventure Star Talks About Importance of His Faith

Kim Davis Remains Firm in Convictions, Receives Outpouring of Support

Germany: Hundreds of Muslim Refugees Converting to Christianity

Pro-Lifers Reflect on Influence of Undercover Planned Parenthood Videos

Missouri Students Protest over Boy Allowed in Girls Locker Room

Opinion

Darwinism Versus the Octopus: An Evolutionary Dilemma

Sacred Versus Secular: A False Distinction

Margaret Sanger: Busted

‘In this World You Will Have Trouble’ — Welcome to Rowan County

Comic Rebukes Comedian for Bashing Bible


Our Time is Short

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


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

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.

September 8, 2015 Truth2Freedom Christian Briefing Report

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The Church’s Most Dangerous Doctrine

‘Easy Believism’ also damages the souls of men and women by suggesting that no ongoing faithfulness to Jesus is required for salvation – that He does not demand we endure to the end. That could not be further from the truth.

Read More


Uncommon Grace, Uncommon Love

“In addition to this common grace and common love shown to all men, there is an uncommon grace and uncommon love poured out from the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit upon some. And just like men have not earned his common grace and common love, so they have not merited in any way this divine intimacy, affection, and attention.”

Read more


The College That Hates ‘Americans’

Instead of referring to the elderly as senior citizens (or even as the elderly), members of the UNH community are encouraged to embrace the most up-to-date politically-correct terminology: “people of advanced age” in this case, according to the guide. This is supposed to be somehow less derogatory than “senior citizen,” which of course was once the politically correct of saying “old.”

Read More


Why Are Anti-Judgmental People So Judgmental?

“There’s a growing trend I’ve noticed and have become concerned about: namely, that people who are anti-judgmental are SO judgmental of anyone else they perceive to be passing judgment. One, they’re often wrong; two, they’re just as harsh as those they condemn and continuously assume the worst.”

Read More


10 Counterfeit Christ Figures We Should Stop Worshiping

“What are some ways we are tempted to mold Jesus, like clay, into whatever we want him to be? Here are 10 partial Jesus’ popular in Christian culture.”

Read more


Being Biblical and unChristian

“But here is the irony: too often the most ‘biblical’ folks are the most ‘unbiblical’. What do I mean by this? I mean that if the whole point of the Bible is the person and work of Jesus and you fail to make this your whole point in your life, preaching, writing, conferences, etc…then you have missed the point! And, in this case, your blind spot is glaring.”

Read More


Three False Gospels You May Not Realize Are in Your Church

“While the Scriptures do teach us to be kind and compassionate towards others, it does not teach us to do so at the expense of truth. This is where the gospel is compromised, and becomes a false gospel. We don’t want to offend people. It’s okay to talk about the positive things in Christianity, but we don’t want to upset anyone by telling them they’re a sinner.”

Read More


Faith Has Its Reasons

“We live in the most anti-intellectual age of history, and even many Christians believe we can compartmentalize faith as a way of knowing completely separate from sense perception and reason. Yet as Augustine told us centuries ago, how could we receive knowledge from God if it were not accessible to the human mind?”

Read more


“The Subordinate Place of Supreme Honor”

For all of Wilson’s assurances to the contrary, the language choices that he consistently makes reveal that for him, a wife is, ultimately, a passive receiver/responder in his view of marriage. She is an object and not a person. Her identity, calling, vocation, and her very self have been subsumed under her husband. She exists to serve and glorify him. Consider that the word ‘listen’ fails to appear even once in the exhortations to husbands. For Wilson, the wife has no self and, it seems, no voice. Far from the glorious picture of honor that Wilson paints, the reality is that she is not on a pedestal. She is the pedestal.

Read More


Church Discipline, Contemporary Grace Style

Rick Phillips of Reformation 21 weighs in on the Tullian Tchividjian affair.  Many of Tullian’s supporters are unaware that he is a leading voice in the  Contemporary Grace Movement (hypergrace). Phillips addresses it here. Billy Graham and his grandson Tullian Tchividjian I have so far refrained from public comment on the resignation of Tullian Tchividjian in […]

The post Church Discipline, Contemporary Grace Style appeared first on Berean Research.


Why I do not recommend Kendrick Brothers’ new movie, “War Room”, part 1

Elizabeth Prata of The End Time reviews the Christian film “War Room.”  In part 1 she sheds light on some of the glaring theological problems with the film and also deals with other Kendrick brothers’ productions, such as “Fireproof” and “Courageous.” The brothers may have good intentions in making “Christian” films, however in so doing they […]

The post Why I do not recommend Kendrick Brothers’ new movie, “War Room”, part 1 appeared first on Berean Research.


 

Anatomy of an evangelical scandal

Popular radio talk show host Janet Mefferd has put together the common chain of events that more often than not come about after a Big Christian Name finds himself caught up in controversy.  The picture Janet paints is not a pretty one; nevertheless her assessment is dead on. A must read. In recent years, evangelicalism has […]

The post Anatomy of an evangelical scandal appeared first on Berean Research.


 

Seances, Spirits and 12 Steps

John Lanagan of  My Word Like Fire brings to light what most people are unaware of: the occult origin of Alcoholics Anonymous. A.A. is not a Christian organization, brethren: “[He] knew little of psychics and had heard nothing before this of my adventures.”–A.A. co-founder Bill Wilson, from his official A.A. biography, Pass It On, pg.277 […]

The post Seances, Spirits and 12 Steps appeared first on Berean Research.


 

Demystifying the Popular Prophecies About Jewish Sabbaths and Blood Moons

Gaylene Goodroad of Herescope has written a book review of  David James’ new book “Biblical Guide to Shemitah and the Blood Moons: Discerning Popular “Prophecies” in the Light of God’s Word.”  In the book Dave James lays to rest the notion that Jonathan Cahn (The Harbinger; Shemitah) and John Hagee (Blood Moons) are modern day prophets, […]

The post Demystifying the Popular Prophecies About Jewish Sabbaths and Blood Moons appeared first on Berean Research.


 

Down the Decadent “Ashley Madison” Avenue

Dr. Peter Jones of truthXchange explores the ways in which our debased culture continues to take a toll on the Church. TruthXchange is a ministry that seeks to understand the culture, as Paul did in his day, so that we will know how share the gospel of Jesus Christ with our neighbors and friends.  Because of the research […]

The post Down the Decadent “Ashley Madison” Avenue appeared first on Berean Research.


400 Pastors Resigned Last Sunday

(Christian Headlines By Jim Denison) Fallout from the Ashley Madison scandal continues. The company’s CEO has resigned; several people who used the adultery website have committed suicide. And some 400 clergy resigned publicly from their ministries last Sunday.Let’s put that number in perspective.One pastor who seeks to have an affair is one too many. Infidelity shatters the spouse, devastates […]

The post 400 Pastors Resigned Last Sunday appeared first on Berean Research.

 

 


Could It Happen in Your Church?

We all want security.  And as Christians committed to the gospel of Jesus Christ, we are blessed by the security of knowing our destination after this life passes. But what about security and safety in this lifetime?  Eleven Christians were murdered recently during a time of prayer when a stranger walked in and opened fire.  […]

Read more of this post


Church Leaders: Time To Lock and Load?

Christians are called to be people of peace. But does that mean we should sit back and not defend those we love? There’s no doubt Christianity is facing headwinds in America these days – just look at the case of the Kentucky clerk ordered by Judge David Bunning to jail over standing by her Christian […]

Read more of this post


Conservative dissent is brewing inside the Vatican

According The Washington Post’s Berlin bureau chief Anthony Faiola, there’s a theological slugfest going on between the RCC’s conservative and liberal hierarchy with Pope Francis, a liberal, at the center of the fray. Faiola has the story:

On a sunny morning earlier this year, a camera crew entered a well-appointed apartment just outside the 9th-century gates of Vatican City. Pristinely dressed in the black robes and scarlet sash of the princes of the Roman Catholic Church, the Wisconsin-born Cardinal Raymond Burke sat in his elaborately upholstered armchair and appeared to issue a warning to Pope Francis.

A staunch conservative and Vatican bureaucrat, Burke had been demoted by the pope a few months earlier, but it did not take the fight out of him. Francis had been backing a more inclusive era, giving space to progressive voices on divorced Catholics as well as gays and lesbians. In front of the camera, Burke said he would “resist” liberal changes — and seemed to caution Francis about the limits of his authority. “One must be very attentive regarding the power of the pope,” Burke told the French news crew.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/a-conservative-revolt-is-brewing-inside-the-vatican/2015/09/07/1d8e02ba-4b3d-11e5-80c2-106ea7fb80d4_story.html


Homosexual Activist Human Rights Campaign Buys FreeKimDavis.com to Deceptively Raise Funds

According to Christian News Network:

A group co-founded by a man who is currently facing child sexual abuse charges and is a friend of Barack Obama has purchased the domain FreeKimDavis.com to deceptively trick Davis’ supporters into giving money to the homosexual activist organization.

When the domain is entered, one is redirected to the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) website, specifically its donation page.

“Donate to HRC today. Or give the gift of equality to a friend or loved one,” the page reads. “Please note: An HRC sticker is included as part of your donation.”

http://christiannews.net/2015/09/08/homosexual-activist-human-rights-campaign-buys-freekimdavis-com-to-deceptively-raise-funds/

Apostate Pastor Rick Warren And Elton John Hold Hands In Congress, Joke About Kissing Each Other
by Geoffrey Grider, 8/21/15

Laodicean church pastor Rick Warren appeared in Congress with pop icon and outspoken homosexual Elton John on Wednesday to ask for more money for AIDS research. They were clearly having such a good time that they started holding hands as you see in the photo below. After taking their seats at the witness table, the pair laughed and smiled as they held hands, with Warren saying “Amen” and cautioning John that if they kissed it would be “the kiss heard ’round the world.” Is Rick Warren trying to tell us something here, is there a “coming out” moment in his future? Hard to say at this point, but sure looks like it.

Click here to read this article!

Heidelberg 124: Not My Will But Yours But Yours Be Done

One of the most striking moments in the gospels is our Lord’s prayer in Garden of Gethsemane (Matthew 26:36–46; Mark 14:32–42; Luke 22:39–46). For one thing, in those moments we are given compelling evidence of our Lord’s true humanity. This is not a story the Gnostics could tell. It is not a story the Gnostics […]

Read more of this post


I am a Christian, but I don’t follow Christ

http://www.facebook.com/video/embed?video_id=1816363428504531

By now many of you have no doubt seen the viral video “I’m a Christian, but…” (click the image above to view it). Not only has the video been making the rounds, but the hashtag #IAmAChristianBut is ubiquitous on social media right now.

After you watch the video, it’s obvious that this is a propaganda piece for a version of Christianity that is Christian in name only–a progressivist vision of the faith that has more to do with maintaining street cred with Christianity’s cultured despisers than with the faith once for all delivered to the saints (Jude 3). It is what the apostle Paul called a “form of godliness” while “denying its power” (1 Timothy 3:6). It is gutless–literally, a hollowing out of everything essential to the faith. Read more of this post


Get Ready! Christians Are Going To Be Banned From Holding Many Jobs In America

Posted: 07 Sep 2015 12:47 PM PDT

Christianity is being criminalized in the United States. No, I am not talking about the kind of Christianity that is so prevalent in America today where “Christians” just ignore what the Bible says and do whatever they wanted to do in the first place anyway. Rather, I am talking about the kind of faith that Kim Davis has demonstrated. Christians all over this country are being put into positions where they must choose to either submit to the “new morality” or potentially lose their jobs.

For Kim Davis, deciding to take a stand meant that she was thrown into prison. The radical judge that threw her into prison has said that she will stay there until she is willing to change her mind. The pace of which our nation is circling the toilet is absolutely breathtaking. Just eleven years ago, a state constitutional amendment that banned gay marriage in Kentucky received support from 75 percent of the voters. Now, Kim Davis has been locked away, and more county clerks may be next.  There is news that another county clerk named Casey Davis has stepped forward to say that he won’t issue any same sex marriage licenses either. What in the world has happened to America? FULL REPORT

The post Get Ready! Christians Are Going To Be Banned From Holding Many Jobs In America appeared first on .


Six Bible Defenses for Kim Davis Defying Supreme Court

Posted: 08 Sep 2015 06:41 AM PDT

Six Bible Defenses for Kim Davis Defying Supreme CourtAmerica’s attention right now is focused on Kim Davis, the Kentucky county clerk who refused to issue same-sex marriage licenses and was jailed for her stance. Should she have obeyed the law, stood her ground or just resigned? When President Obama defied the Defense of Marriage Act that was passed into law by Congress in 1996 and vowed not to defend it in court, he was applauded for his courage. But when an unknown county clerk defies a law because of her religious beliefs, she is condemned and mocked. Talk about double standards.

If every Christian in America resigned from their jobs instead of standing for their religious beliefs, what would happen to our nation? As Edmund Burk famously said, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” When man’s laws violate God’s laws, Christ-followers have a moral obligation to obey the higher law. Peter and John declared in Acts 4:19, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge.” There is a long history of people who disobeyed man’s laws because they answered to a higher law. FULL REPORT

The post Six Bible Defenses for Kim Davis Defying Supreme Court appeared first on .

My (Not So) Proud Moment

by Beecher Proch

I walked on stage, grabbed the mic, and forgot the lyrics. Suddenly, I was face to face with my pride problem.

Why You Should Stop Trying To Get Everyone To Like You

by Bethany Baird

Sooner or later, you’ll have to choose how you’ll handle your beliefs/convictions and the people and peer pressure around you. When it comes down to it, you really only have three options.

Ripping Off the Labels Stitched onto Our Hearts

by Erin Davis

The trouble with labels is we tend to believe them. In fact, we obsess over them. Eventually they cover over who we really are. We end up confused about why we have value and become desperate for people to see the real us. But Jesus is in the business of replacing our labels.

How Could He Choose HER?

by Paula Hendricks

It’s too late for me to try to encourage my younger self walking down that cracked sidewalk with cracked insides, but maybe I can encourage you.


U.S. and West Victimize Christians Fleeing ISIS

While welcoming Muslim asylum seekers with open arms.

Such “unfathomable mysteries” are reminiscent of the U.S. State Dept.’s habit of inviting Muslim representatives but denying visas to Christian representatives. Since the start of 2015, 4,205 Muslims have been admitted into the U.S. from Iraq but only 727 Christians. For every one Christian the U.S. grants asylum, it grants asylum to five or six Muslims—even though Christians, as persecuted “infidel” minorities, are in much greater need of sanctuary, not to mention more assimilating to American culture than Muslims.

View Article


Churches: Stand up now, or be destroyed

The Obama administration, like all totalitarian regimes, has been at odds with Christianity from the start. Now that Obama is at the tail-end of his occupancy of the White House, the administration has thrown all caution to the winds and is attacking the Christian faith on every front.

View Article


Pope Francis Invites Rick Warren to Speak at Philadelphia Conference on Family

“There are probably going to be a million people in Philadelphia at this final event with Pope Francis, and he’s asked me to be the final speaker,” the Purpose Driven Life author continued amid cheering and applause.

View Article


Russell Moore Speaks Out on Ashley Madison, Says Christians Who Imbibe in Sexual Sin 'Are Never Anonymous to God'

Russell Moore Speaks Out on Ashley Madison, Says Christians Who Imbibe in Sexual Sin ‘Are Never Anonymous to God’

Posted on September 8, 2015 by Christian Post

Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics Religious Liberty Commission, says the anonymity Ashley Madison claimed to provide its clients allowed Christian &cultural warriors& to speak out against an immoral secular culture while many secretly imbibed in it.

Read Full Article »


5 Healing Bible Verses for You and Your Family

5 Healing Bible Verses for You and Your Family

Posted on September 8, 2015 by Crosswalk

There’s nothing like a little edification from God’s Word to lift our spirits when we are hurting! These 5 passages will remind you (and yours) why we need to keep on standing… EVEN when we’re in the midst of suffering!

Read Full Article »


3 Lessons Depression Teaches Us

3 Lessons Depression Teaches Us

Posted on September 8, 2015 by Crosswalk

Depression will teach us valuable lessons if we are open to learning.

Read Full Article »


How Do I Keep from Drifting in a World That Rejects God?

How Do I Keep from Drifting in a World That Rejects God?

Posted on September 8, 2015 by Crosswalk

Our society is drifting away from our godly heritage and is turning its back on God’s dealings with mankind.

Read Full Article »


 Hundreds of Muslim Refugees convert to Christianity in German church

Hundreds of Muslim Refugees convert to Christianity in German church

Posted on September 8, 2015 by Christian Today

Pastor Gottfried Martens has seen his congregation at the evangelical Trinity Church in Berlin grow from 150 to more than 600 in just two years.

Read Full Article »


John Calvin’s 6 Reasons Why We Should Evangelize

John Calvin’s 6 Reasons Why We Should Evangelize

Posted on September 7, 2015 by Church Leaders

John Calvin: “It is a sacrifice well-pleasing to God to advance the spread of the gospel.”

Read Full Article »


The will of the elites

First, progressives can never be taken seriously when they lecture about the “rule of law.” They couldn’t possibly care less about it. If they want “the law” to be obeyed, then why are they crucifying some clerk in some county in Kentucky while celebrating sanctuary cities? And why are they cheering her imprisonment for not signing her name to a piece of paper, yet remaining silent on the multiple felonies committed by Hillary Clinton? Why do they throw stones at a clerk who inconvenienced a few homosexuals, but defend a secretary of state who put our national security at risk by conducting classified business using a private server stored in a bathroom closet?

I mean, the rule of law? THE RULE OF LAW? Sorry for screaming, but I’m afraid my head might explode if I see or hear one more leftist use that term. Where were these progressive proponents of “law” when Barack Obama was illegally enacting the DREAM Act? Where were they when this administration unilaterally and illegally changed Obamacare repeatedly and without congressional consent? Where were they when the IRS was targeting conservative groups? Or when the Department of Justice was prosecuting journalists? Or when Obama was assassinating American citizens?

As a matter of fact, forget all of this, where were they — where was anyone — when this government was running weapons to Syrian terrorists through the consulate in Libya, which led directly to the assassination of an American diplomat, which the administration then lied about in front of the American people? We don’t even talk about that, do we? No, we’re too preoccupied with our mission to hunt down rogue pencil-pushers.

And I wonder how many of these solemn believers in “law” were the same ones making excuses for riots a few months ago? How many are offended by a woman refusing to file paperwork, but were sympathetic to barbarians who burned half a city to the ground?

The hypocrisy is absolutely staggering. These pious little preachers of “law” couldn’t actually give less of a damn about the law. This is about dogma. It always has been.

Second, speaking of whichthe Obergefell v. Hodges decision had absolutely nothing to do with the law. Gay “marriage” was forced upon the states by five human beings in black robes sitting in a big stone temple in D.C. The Constitution, which clearly says nothing about gay “marriage,” was ignored. The consent of the people — many of whom live in states, like Kentucky, where the Constitution expresslydefines marriage as between a man a woman — was not respected or even considered. If Kim Davis is a government official making up her own laws as she goes along, she’s only following the precedent of the federal government. The only difference is that her “made-up” law is the one that existed before a handful of federal judges made up a new one. So who is the lawless anarchist here?

Gay “marriage” is itself nothing but the will of the elites. It is as much a legal abomination as a moral one. Many people have said, “Well, gay ‘marriage’ is the law of the land, so that’s that,” but what they mean is, “Well, five people in Washington support gay ‘marriage,’ so that’s that.” No, that isn’t that. That’s tyranny. That’s injustice. That’s illegal. It might be true that the Supreme Court has, over time, seized the power to write laws and reshape ancient human institutions according to their radical liberal ideologies, but that doesn’t make it law. It might be “law,” but it isn’t law. Just as gay “marriage” might be “marriage,” but it can never be marriage. The whole thing is a travesty, a sham, an outrage.

So are we morally obligated to cooperate with the evil agendas and the rampant tyrannies of the federal government? Is a clerk in Kentucky, elected by the people of her county and subject to the Constitution of her state, morally required to respect the drunken dictates of judicial activists in Washington? Kim Davis says no. And I think it might be time for the rest of us to come to that same conclusion.


This Is the Best of Times, And the Worst of Times

This Is the Best of Times, And the Worst of TimesPerhaps this is true at every point in the history of a God-ruled, sin-pervaded world. It was true in 1859, and it is true today.

Charles Dickens wrote The Tale of Two Cities in 1859. It begins,

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way — in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.

He was referring to 1775, the time of the French Revolution. But his point was that period was like the present period in 1859. In the mid-nineteenth century, “it was the best of times and the worst of times.”

In 1859 Charles Spurgeon was 25 years old, George Müller was 54, Hudson Taylor was 27. And Charles Darwin was 50 years old, John Stuart Mill was 53, and Friedrich Nietzsche was 15.

Rebellion and Revival

God was mightily at work in 1859. In China’s Millions, the most thorough history of the China Inland Mission, Alvyn Austin wrote,

In 1859, while Hudson Taylor was still in China [on his first missionary term before founding the China Inland Mission], a revival broke out in Northern Ireland that led to a religious movement so pivotal in British religious history that it came to be called the Revival or “Awakening of ’59.” . . . Although Taylor missed the first phase of the revival, he arrived in Britain in time to reap its benefits. As J. Edwin Orr noted, “there is reason to believe that the whole [of the China Inland Mission’s first] party [of 1866] was made up of converts and workers of the 1959 Awakening. . . . It is generally agreed that “something happened” in 1859–60, and that its ripples continued to reverberate for the rest of the century. (82–83, 85)

The astonishingly fruitful ministries of Spurgeon, Müller, and Taylor were riding the wave of God’s great work in their day. It was the best of times.

But other things happened in 1859. Charles Darwin published On the Origin of Species, and John Stuart Mill, the atheist and utilitarian, published his essay “On Liberty.”

So alongside growing secularism in science and politics, growing materialism in the industrial revolution, and growing self-reliance, as God was rejected by many, there was a great spiritual awakening and a great global advance of the gospel of Jesus. It was the worst of times and the best of times.

The Good

The same is true today: It is the best of times and the worst of times.

For example, historian Mark Noll points out, “In a word, the Christian church has experienced a larger geographical redistribution in the last fifty years than in any comparable period in its history, with the exception of the very earliest years of church history” (The New Shape of World Christianity, 20). He fleshes it out with concrete examples:

  • At the beginning of the twentieth century, about 71 percent of professing Christians in the world lived in Europe. By the end of the twentieth century, that number had shrunk to 28 percent. Now 43 percent of the Christians lived in Latin America and Africa.
  • In 1900, Africa had 10 million Christians, which was about 10 percent of the population. By 2000, the number of Christians was 360 million, about half the population of the continent. This is probably the largest shift in religious affiliation that has ever occurred, anywhere.
  • There are 17 million baptized members of the Anglican church in Nigeria, compared with 2.8 million in the United States.
  • The number of practicing Christians in China is approaching the number in the United States.
  • Kenya has more people in Christian churches on Sunday than Canada.
  • This past week in Great Britain, at least fifteen thousand Christian foreign missionaries were hard at work evangelizing the locals. Most of these missionaries are from Africa and Asia.

It is the best of times in the history of world Christianity.

The Bad

Or is it? Noll concludes,

Doesn’t the recent history of Christianity spell out the obvious: God’s in his heaven, all’s right with the world? Not exactly. If our era has become the best of times, it remains also the worst of times. . . . The ever-expanding numbers who are turning to Christ in the Global south constitute the great marvel of recent history, but . . .

Global terrorism, ISIS, hypocrisy, colonial imperialism, racism, materialism, and a kind of decadence in the West that turns our shame into our glory with historically unprecedented audacity: calling marriage a union between two men, calling a man a woman because he wants to be one, and calling a baby’s legs and arms and hearts “fetal tissue” for the taking.

It is the worst of times. And the best of times.

The Best and Worst Today

In my lifetime I have seen a glorious and surprising revival of love for the God of sovereign grace and for his mighty gospel. Thousands of churches, seminaries, colleges, discipling centers, publishing houses, magazines, books, videos, websites, radio programs, global missions, music artists (from classical to rap), campus ministries, urban ministries, counseling centers, prolife efforts (and more) have come into being with a dynamic of God-centered, Christ-exalting, Bible-saturated joy and missional courage (what we used to call evangelism) and passion for racial harmony and robust Reformed theology. And none of this is limited to one ethnicity or nation. It is the best of times.

On the other hand, I have witnessed with sometimes depressing heaviness the evisceration of the historic name “evangelical” to a meaningless conglomerate of people whose “evangelical” identity is that they all had grandparents who once believed what the reformers did. I have seen the mainline Protestant denominations collapse from gospel influence to faint cultural echoes. I have watched the rise of enormous churches and ministries who preach and export to poor nations a prosperity “gospel” that mutes the biblical teaching on suffering and reduces the glorious gospel to earthly betterment rooted in human attitudes, not the glory of Calvary.

And to mention just a few more of the many sorrows: the rise of a generation that knows little of the Bible, the disappearance of the weight of God’s awesome presence in worship, the glorification of immorality in entertainment, the explosion and ubiquity of pornography, the indifference in churches to justice for all ethnic groups, the decimation of whole neighborhoods through a dominant drug culture, the collapse of the family with the prevalence of premarital sex and easy divorce and the absence of responsible fathers. And the rise of civic leaders who, instead of standing against the disintegration, function as cheerleaders.

It is the worst of times, and the best of times.

How to Live in a Day Like Ours

What then shall we do?

1. Don’t assume any specific historical trajectory of good or evil is fixed and unchangeable. God evidently loves to do his surprising work in hard and unlikely times.

Surely, this is one of the implications of the history of Kings and Chronicles in the Old Testament. Even great and good kings are sometimes followed by monsters. And wicked kings have godly sons. Josiah was the son and grandson of two of the most wicked kings (Manasseh and Amon). He became king at eight years old. At sixteen he turned the nation on its head with a righteous reformation (2 Chronicles 34:1–4). It is unpredictable. It could happen at any moment, because God is sovereign.

2. Trust the sovereignty of God to turn the insanity of the nations to serve his purposes.

In the face of deadly opposition, the early church prayed with the words of Psalm 2, “Why did the Gentiles rage, and the peoples plot in vain?” (Acts 4:25). In vain? They succeeded in killing Jesus!

Yes. But what had they really achieved? The praying Christians make it clear:

Truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place. (Acts 4:27–28)

They plotted in vain against the Lord and his anointed. Because, in all their fury, they simply fulfilled what the Lord had planned: the salvation of the world.

3. Let us labor to bind the minds and consciences of our young people to the word of God as infallible, and glorious, and utterly timely, and penetrating, and invincible.

The word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12)

I am suffering, bound with chains as a criminal. But the word of God is not bound! (2 Timothy 2:8–9)

4. And, as the apostle Peter says, “Let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good” (1 Peter 4:19).

Ready to suffer — for Christ’s name. Full of trust — in Christ’s grace. Doing good — by Christ’s power. He reigns over this sin-ravaged world. Therefore it is the worst of times and the best of times.


Recent Articles


Help Kids to “Taste and See” How Good God Is

You and I probably have a lot in common. As a parent and kids’ pastor, I want kids to taste and see how good God is, awakening them to run after Him for a lifetime. Psalm 34:8 says, “Open your mouth and taste, open your eyes and see—how good GOD is, Blessed are you who run to him” (MSG).

The Bible helps kids see and taste who God is. It’s vital we make learning from the Bible a priority for boys and girls while also showing them why it’s important. How can we do that?

1. Lead by example.

You’ve heard the saying, “Do as I say, not as I do.” Now, we all know that’s a terrible philosophy to have. But often parents inadvertently lead that way by their actions. If we want our kids to fall in love with God’s Word and be excited to learn from it, then we must lead by example. We must be excited to learn from it and continue to grow in our relationship with God because of how His living Word speaks to us.

Let your kids see you reading your Bible. Use an actual physical Bible, one that’s not on your phone or tablet so they don’t think you’re on Facebook or looking at Pinterest. Read together with your kids from various books of the Bible. Make it fun and exciting for them!

2. Inspire them to discover.   Kids are inundated with do’s and don’ts. “Don’t touch that; go do your homework; don’t act like that in public.” Kids don’t want to read and hear about more do’s and don’ts. God didn’t intend the Bible to be a book of do’s and don’ts, so we shouldn’t make it that. It does guide us but it also inspires us! Help kids understand that the Bible is a written account of connected events that tell a true story—a story of hope, redemption, and an amazing future.

It’s the story of God’s love for them and of His son Jesus who wants to have a relationship with them. When we’re able to shape kids’ perspective of what the Bible is, they will approach it differently and will have a desire to learn from it!

My favorite Bible for kids is the Fire Bible for Kids. It allows kids to discover God’s Word in an interactive and engaging way. I love how it brings Bible stories to life with kid-friendly study notes, book introductions at the beginning of all 66 books, and colorful illustrations. There’s also a free companion app that has 3-D characters, games, puzzles, and quizzes that keep kids engaged in learning. Pair it with the Fire Bible for Kids Devotional that includes a daily devotion and also has a free companion app. You can sample a week of free devotions at http://www.MyHealthyChurch.com/firekidsapp.  

The post Help Kids to “Taste and See” How Good God Is appeared first on ChurchLeaders.com.


7 Ways to Use Facebook in Student Ministry

[Editor’s note: It can be easy to be overwhelmed by the total dominance of Facebook in our society. Everyone is on it! But it doesn’t have to be scary. Here are seven ways you can leverage this powerful social media platform in your student ministry. Have other ideas? Weigh in in the comments section!]

1. iPray. It’s a closed group that students have to request to join. They can post what they need prayer for and pray for each other.

2. Groups. Before or after almost every event there seems to be a group started for it. Before-the-event groups are started to promote the event. After events like camp, groups are started to help students find each other on Facebook and stay connected.

3. Pictures. EVERY week I take pictures (even if it’s just a few) at our weekend service or at Chick-fil-a afterward and throw them up on Facebook. Students love it. Not everybody can get away with that, though. It’s kind of funny. A friend dressed up as me at our Halloween party last year and was taking tons of pictures. People kind of freaked out a little until they realized he was just being me for Halloween. I don’t know how to explain that, but there’s something to be learned about having a person known for taking pics in your ministry. We’ve never made me an “official” photographer, people have just gotten used to me doing it.

4. Tag. I usually tag at least one student in each picture and they usually tag each other from there. Always tag your ministry in each picture. As students tag each other, they might see your ministry tagged. That’s just one more door for people to check you out.

5. Open profile. Have your ministry’s profile open to the general public. People should be able to see everything there is to see without being friended with your ministry. I suggest having a profile instead of a page for your ministry. There’s more stuff you can do that way.

6. Daily activity. Go on once a day and wish people happy birthday. That’s a great way for friends of friends to see your ministry. It’s also a great way to have an extra touch in the lives of students … especially students who have stopped coming.

7. Troubleshooting. Look for concerns. If you see students who post status updates that show they are hurting or are posting inappropriate content, shoot them a Facebook email to touch base, encourage or invite them out for a Coke. Be careful not to jump on their case if they’re posting inappropriate content. Address it in a redemptive way.  

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4 Ways to Keep Millennials in Your Small Groups

Over the past few years, you’ve probably heard rumblings about millennials—Americans between the ages of 18 and 33 who are giving churches a myriad of puzzling behaviors to understand and minister to. Church leaders are scratching their heads and trying to determine how to bring back the 43 percent of once-active church attenders who have stopped attending church altogether. That’s eight million twenty- and thirty-somethings who have stopped attending church.

For a group that’s naturally distrusting of anything institutionalized and who rarely sets down roots (according to PewSocialTrends.org, only 26 percent of this demographic is married—that’s down 22 percent from their Baby Boomer parents) creating a church that makes them comfortable and motivated enough to stay is an ongoing challenge. But recent research from the Barna Group demonstrates one fact that might help churches reach this group in a new way—when 78 percent of millennial Christians described their vision for the ideal church, they chose the word “community.”

It makes sense. Millennials love to be connected—while their well-documented smart-phone reliance might make them seem more distant to the world around them, to millennials, it’s a way of constantly connecting and sharing their experiences with their friends. Every day, new apps are created with the specific purpose of giving young adults new ways to connect with one another in fun and creative ways. They live and breathe constant connection, and because many millennials are waiting to start families (partly because many emerged from college right in the heart of the Great Recession of 2007-2009, putting them significantly behind financially) they have to create this connection and community themselves. They crave it.

How can churches become a place for millennials to feel like they’re part of a community? A thriving small-group ministry is a great place to start.

It seems easy—start more small groups, draw more millennials. But millennials can smell disingenuousness from a mile away, and if they feel out of place or awkward in a small group, they won’t engage. If they feel like your church is “using” small groups to sell your churches’ brand or mission, they’ll run for the hills. And if your church is using study material that barely even glazes over Scripture, chances are good that you’ll see your millennial attenders drop out quickly.

Here are the top four things small-group pastors need to do to successfully minister to millennials:

1. Study the Bible In-Depth.
For the proud and the few young adults who grew up and then remained in the church, there is no higher authority than the Word of God—and no more important spiritual discipline than Bible study. Remember, this is a group of young adults who were raised in the boom of Christian commercialism, who were handed CCM CDs, magazines, and cartoons with Bible-based moral messages wrapped in cool packaging. They attended big, hyped-up youth conferences and felt the excitement acutely—and then they went home and felt, just as acutely, the confusion that arrived when that excitement stopped a week after the conference. They’ve read about famous Christian pop stars checking into rehab, and they’ve seen famous pastors fall. This group knows things are more complicated than they seem.

For those who’ve survived this crash course on discerning what makes real faith, reliance on the Bible for truth is the only thing they’re really interested in. Millennials are looking for an in-depth study on the life of Jesus, not a study on how to become a better person. Create or use content that goes deep into God’s word and avoids “the moral of the story” layouts.  

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4 Myths Christians Should Stop Believing About Depression

“True believers don’t suffer from depression.”

His false statement rang in my ear like a noisy gong—and then hung in the air like smoke, waiting to be cleared away. I wasn’t exactly sure how this conversation had started, but one thing led to another and I here I was with this visitor and a small group of men and women discussing the existence of depression among Christians.

It would have been a hard conversation for anyone to have, but for me—it was even harder still. Because little did this visitor know that I was only now emerging from the terrible pit of depression myself. Little did he know, that for me, this conversation was personal—because I’d felt like I’d just been to hell and back. Little did he know that my heart had wrestled, and my body had collapsed, under the pressure of depression  But that Jesus had held me the whole way through.

As a professional counselor, this was a conversation that I was glad to be a part of. For over a decade, I’ve worked with men, women, children and teens struggling with mild to severe depression. I’ve seen first-hand the pain and paralysis it can bring. But more so, I’ve experienced it in my own life. I know the sinking quicksand that can drain your body, burden your heart and eat away at your mind.

It breaks my heart to hear the myths and lies that Christians believe about depression—and the shame that can be felt surrounding this topic. As I’ve interacted with more and more people on this topic, I’ve noticed that there are a few false ideas that continue to be perpetuated among believers.

Depression Is a Faith Issue. Like the visitor had falsely said, “true believers don’t suffer from depression.” I think this is the worst of all the lies, because not only is it false, but it’s the antithesis of the entire message of Christ. As believers, we are never promised a pain-free, disease-free, struggle-free life. But we’re promised a Savior, a Comforter and a Friend. I look back at the hardest moments I have faced with depression and I see Jesus right by my side. I remember crying out one night and feeling all alone, and just then—God’s presence overwhelmed me in that moment. Just when I needed it the most. Depression has nothing to do with lack of faith, in fact, for me—it has been the catalyst for even deeper faith. Because some days, in the hardest moments, faith was the only thing I had.

Depression Can Be Prayed Away. I prayed more during the days and months of my depression than I ever did in my entire life. But my depression didn’t magically disappear. I believe in prayer, and I believe in a God who can heal all things—in fact, I genuinely believe it was HIS hand that lifted my depression. But freedom from depression requires prayer AND treatment. Whether in the form of support, therapy or medication—as believers we have to have a “next steps” approach as we interact with people struggling with depression. God has given us wisdom, and loads of research, to help us understand the multifaceted disease of depression. It’s time for us to pray—but to also be prepared.

Depression Isn’t Physical. Just as we would never shame a cancer patient or a diabetic for their hurting bodies, we need to shift our perspective to see depression as a struggle of the brain. Only then will we be able to treat it in a proper way. Depression is a disease of the body, that in turn impacts our emotions, our thoughts and even our spirit. There are many causes to depression, and whether it’s rooted in trauma, hormones or stress—it almost always effects our body. Our perspective of depression needs to change so that we can learn to embrace and support those in it, instead of pushing them away.

Depression Shouldn’t Be Talked About. Though I still see hints of this myth among Christians, I am grateful to see this myth slowly dying in the church. There is no shame in feeling depressed, and we should learn to talk about it, to preach about it and to sing about it when it’s all said and done. Scripture is filled with passages of men and women who have struggled through the pit of depression, and their response was to cry out! And crying out is always the first step to healing—because depression is a disease that THRIVES in isolation. It wants to pull us into the prison of loneliness, where it can break us down in weakness. By talking about depression, we slowly begin loosening its grip—allowing us to move in the direction of treatment, of support and of healing.

My deepest prayer is that as a body of believers, our attitudes would shift and our hearts would change as we work through this important issue. May we create an environment where we embrace those who are struggling and in pain—rather than push them away. May we learn to be transparent—but more so, to accept the transparency of those around us. Because at the end of the day, our weakness will always, always, always point us to the one who can make us strong. And isn’t that what Christianity is really about?

*About this time last year, I wrote about the Darkness of Depression and The Christian Response after the heart-breaking suicide of Pastor Rick and Kay Warren’s son. This tragic event caused a ripple effect of awareness in the body of Christ, and has opened the doors to some really meaningful conversations. May God continue to change our hearts and open our minds.  

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Know the Power of Jesus’ Name!

Today’s guest blogger is Lynn Mosher — who writes inspirational devotions to encourage hearts and uplift souls at her website and at many other sites including The Mom Initiative — discovers the power of Jesus’ name. In counseling, as hurting folks learn who Jesus truly is, the deeper their healing. –Ed.
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Have you ever looked up the meaning of your name?
When I looked up the meaning of my name, I found varying version of the origin: pond, waterfall, pool, lake, ruddy-complexioned, dwells by the torrent. But mine, or yours, can never compare to the name of Jesus. What do we know about Him? Wouldn’t you like to know the meaning of His name and its power?
 

In His Name…

Demons bow, evil flees.
Our covenant with God was cut.
Our hunger and thirst are quenched.
The Word goes to work and miracles happen.
The universe was created and all held together.
Our names are written in the Lamb’s book of Life.
The gospel is preached, doors are opened and shut.
The lame walk, the blind see, the deaf have their ears opened.
The sick are healed, the dead arise, mighty storms are calmed.
Help is summoned, temptations are averted, captives are set free.
We have an intimate relationship and our loneliness turns to fellowship.
Marriages are healed, minds are set free, forgiveness of our sins is given.
Which of these power truths touch your heart?

In His Name, We…

live by faith.
take our delight.
offer our prayers to the Father.
have the anointing of the Spirit.
receive His power and authority.
receive salvation and newness of life.
find compassion and grace in time of need.
have a companion, hiding place, strong tower.
were chosen, made holy, righteous, and sanctified.
fight our battles, are made royal heirs, sit at the King’s table.
know and are set free by the Truth, know the Way, know the Father.

How has knowing the power of His Name changed your life?

 

He…

is Love
is Emmanuel, the Messiah.
offers “healing in His wings.”
supplies joy for our mourning.
lives within us and walks with us.
gives beauty to replace our ashes.
has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows.
replaces our failing spirit with a garment of praise.
meets our needs, secures our safety, rebukes the enemy.
guides our footsteps, anchors our soul, rewards our obedience.
was wounded for our transgressions and bruised for our iniquities.

What is your response the power truth of Jesus’ care for you? 

 

His…

Joy is our strength.
Grace is our sufficiency.
Presence is brought near.
Peace replaces our stress.
Light dispels our darkness.
Strength replaces our weaknss.
Favor, grace, and mercy pursue us.
Yoke is easy and His burden is light.
Spirit intercedes for us in our prayers in accordance with God’s will.

Which of these power truths comfort you?  

 

Through and in Him, We Are…

refined and molded in His likeness.
led to still waters and green pastures.
given a banquet table in the midst of our enemies.
made whole, given revelation, preserved, blessed.
delivered from evil, cleansed, comforted in our sorrows and trials.
rewarded, restored, purified, and sanctified, upheld from stumbling, instructed in the ways of life.
Aren’t you sensing Jesus’ power and love for you?

He Is Our…

Joy, hope, rest, sufficiency.
Mighty Warrior, Shepherd.
Father, Brother, Best Friend.
Sacrifice, Mediator, Advocate.
Life abundantly on earth, life everlasting.
Eternal and never-changing love of the Father.
Example of giving, sharing, caring, compassion.
Helper, Teacher, Example, Shield, armor of God.
Encourager, Comforter, Counselor, Sustainer, Provider.
Roadside marker, footprints to follow, a final destination.
Fountain of Life, streams of Living Water in our desert places.
Foundation, our refuge, our Rock, our home, our dwelling place.
Heavenly Bridegroom, Kinsman Redeemer, Counselor, an eternal home.
Sure hand of guidance, a Vine of Life, wisdom, understanding and discernment.
Final sacrifice, our Ark in the flood-have our sanctuary, our victory, a teacher, our Treasure.
Deliverer, Captain, Commander in Chief, Leader, Governor, blessed and only Ruler, Lawgiver.
Wow!

He Is the…

Master of our soul.
Bright Morning Star.
Gift of God, the Holy One.
Head of the body, the church.
Amen, Prophet, Passover Lamb.
Author and Finisher of our faith.
Firstborn of the dead and many brothers.
Apostle and High Priest of our profession.
Bread of Life, Living Bread, Living Water.
Rock, the Living Stone, Chief Cornerstone.
Dayspring, Elect of God, Heir of all things.
Root of David and Jesse, Branch of the Lord.
Alpha and Omega, Life, Door, Lamb of God.
Lion of Judah, Righteous Judge, King of the Jews.
Image of the invisible God, Brightness of His glory.
Light of the heavenly city, True Light, Faithful Witness.

Jesus is the…
Great I AM
Word of God
Everlasting God
Savior of the world
King of kings
Lord of lords
Prince of Peace!

LynnMosher-round-2Yeah, He’s the One! That’s the Name that does and says it all! The Name above every name!
So, what did I leave out?

The post Know the Power of Jesus’ Name! appeared first on Biblical Counseling Center.


Praying in the Spirit

Romans 8:26-27 might be the most comforting passage in Scripture. It reads,

Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.

This is so comforting because, more often than not, prayer is a frustrating endeavor for me. I vacillate between not knowing what to pray, battling wandering thoughts, and not having words for the deep needs of my soul.

praying in the SpiritSo naturally, Colin Smith’s new booklet on prayer, Praying in the Spirit, caught my attention. This short book of only 15 pages is a Mary Poppins’ bag of wisdom. Though not a comprehensive study of prayer, it is brimming with big truth and solid teaching. Smith sets out to teach us to pray in the Holy Spirit and, in doing so, answers many of the issues that hinder the work of prayer in our lives.

In an effort to not copy down the full text of the book for you (because it is all so good), I’ve sifted out four summarizing ideas that will hopefully encourage you to check out Praying in the Spirit.

Pray like the Spirit to pray in the Spirit.

Smith begins to reorient us to prayer by reminding us that Scripture is “directly breathed out by the Spirit of God” (6). Big chunks of the Bible are prayers, namely the Psalms, so why not use them to shape our prayers? He says,

As you learn to form your prayers from the Bible, you will be praying in the Spirit because you are praying in a way that reflects the heart and mind of God. (6)

After including some examples, Smith adds that using Scripture to pray has three key benefits that address three big prayer problems. It keeps our prayers from becoming “dull and repetitive,” as well as “self-centered” (7). And it enables us to pray confidently, knowing that we are asking “in line with the mind and heart of God” (7).

Don’t let yourself get in the way.

Prayer is like a narrow path, with two ditches, one on either side. One ditch is called pride, and the other is called despair. Both are equally dangerous, and the way to avoid them is to get your eyes off yourself. (7)

Goodness, that’s helpful. Smith cautions us to focus on God rather than our successes or failures in prayer (6-8). To that end, he also encourages us to maintain the posture of a servant, remembering that we come to God to receive direction, not to give it (8).

Transform your “what ifs.”

For some of us, worry is our downfall in prayer. Since worry-doused prayers are not reflective of the heart or mind of God, Smith offers a new perspective. He suggests that we switch from “the ‘what ifs’ of worry to the ‘what ifs’ of faith” (11). We’re to think on what God has already done for us and let that inform our thoughts of the future.

Instead of negative “what ifs” about potential harm, we should be offering “what ifs” of thanksgiving in prayer. “What if God were not with me? What if Christ had not died for me?” (11). Smith affirms that “confidence in what Christ has already done builds expectation of what he will do” (12).

Affirm and ask.

“We move forward as we grow in asking for what we need and affirming what God has done” (12). Smith views asking and affirming as key components to prayer. He cautions against only asking or only affirming, warning that the former will lead to defeat and the latter will lead to denial. But using both in equal measure will lead to deliverance (12). Spirit-led prayer is characterized by faith in both the good that God has done, and the good that he is able to do.

In On Writing Well, William Zinsser advised, “Decide what corner of your subject you’re going to bite off, and be content to cover it well and stop.” That is precisely what Smith has done with Praying in the Spirit. He has taken a corner of the extensive subject of prayer and unfolded it to cover a whole area of discipleship.

Prayer directly affects our understanding of the gospel and vice versa. In Praying in the Spirit, Smith reminds us that one of Christ’s gifts to us through salvation is the indwelling of his Spirit. His Spirit is the heart and mind of God, so it only makes sense for us to learn to align our prayers accordingly.

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Persecution, Perseverance, and Hope

Foxe's_Book

Recent events suggest that our society is growing increasingly hostile to genuine Christianity. Consequently, more intense forms of persecution may be on the horizon for the American church. In the face of that reality, believers can be encouraged by reflecting on the faithfulness exhibited by previous generations of Christians, and by resting in the promises of God. Hence the re-posting of today’s article…

Fox’s Book of Martyrs is a must read for every Christian. Written by John Fox over 350 years ago, it catalogs the lives of hundreds of believers who, throughout church history, were willing to give their lives for the cause of Christ. When it comes to contagious courage, I can think of no greater testimony than reading about those who embraced their Lord to the point of embracing death.

One such account concerns the lives of Jerome Russell and Alexander Kennedy, two English Protestants who took a daring stand for what they believed. Because of their biblically-sound doctrine, the pair was arrested and imprisoned. Kennedy was only eighteen years old. After some time, the two men were brought before religious officials for questioning. Russell, being older, gave an articulate defense, usI ing the Scriptures to support his belief in salvation through faith alone. Yet, in spite of the evidence, the men’s accusers prevailed and Russell and Kennedy were deemed heretics.

In keeping with the jurisprudence of the times, they were condemned to death—their sentence to be carried out the following day. Early the next morning, Russell and Kennedy were led from their prison cells to the place of execution. They could have denied their Lord, right then and there, and been spared. But when Kennedy, being but a young man, began to display signs of fear, Russell quickly encouraged him to stand firm:

Brother, fear not; greater is He that is in us, than he that is in the world. The pain that we are to suffer is short, and shall be light; but our joy and consolation shall never have an end. Let us, therefore, strive to enter into our Master and Savior’s joy, by the same straight way which He hath taken before us. Death cannot hurt us, for it is already destroyed by Him, for whose sake we are now going to suffer.

In this way, the two men came to boldly face execution without compromise. John Fox finishes the account with this.

When they arrived at the fatal spot, they both kneeled down and prayed for some time; after which being fastened to the stake, and the fagots [kindling] lighted, they cheerfully resigned their souls into the hands of Him who gave them, in full hopes of an everlasting reward in the heavenly mansions.

How could these men calmly submit to being burned alive? Why did they willingly undergo severe suffering and death? The answer begins with the biblical doctrine of hope. By focusing on God and His unwavering faithfulness, they stood firm as a testimony to the truth.

Here are two reasons why:

a. Hope sees death as a beginning, not an end.

For believers death is the beginning of eternity in heaven. Death is not termination but initiation—the start of an existence far better than anything we can imagine. The apostle Paul knew this to be true. The book of 2 Timothy is the last letter he wrote before his execution—chapter 4 indicates that he realized his death was imminent (see v. 6). As he looked back on his life, he realized that his life was almost over (v. 7). Yet, he now looked forward to something far greater: namely, the reward of Jesus Christ and an eternity spent together with Him (v. 8). Paul looked beyond the grave and saw his God. Because Christ had conquered death (1 Corinthians 15:20–28) there was nothing to fear.

It was John Owen, the great Puritan, who wrote on his deathbed: “I am yet in the land of the dying, but I hope soon to be in the land of the living.” Like Paul, he too understood that true life, in its fullest measure, begins where this life ends. In stark contrast, many in the contemporary church live as though this present life is better than the life to come. Tenaciously, they hold on to their short stay on this earth. Some follow every health fad, taking whatever supplement will reduce the risk of a heart attack. Others avoid airplanes, fearful that their trip could end in an unexpected dive.

Our quest for longevity has affected our eating habits, our exercise routines, our travel plans, and even the type of sunscreen we buy. While there is nothing inherently sinful in enjoying the earthly life that God has given, Christians sometimes need to be reminded that the next life is far superior. Death is a doorway, not a dead end. And for God’s children, death’s door opens into heaven.

b. Hope sees the Shepherd through the shadows.

A second reason Christians need not fear death is because our Savior has already conquered death. He is not asking us to go anywhere He has not already been. And, because He arose from the grave victorious (Acts 2:32–33), we can be confident that we also will be resurrected one day (1 Corinthians 15:20). In Psalm 23:4, the writer says, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” For David, whose life was often in danger, comfort came in looking to his Shepherd, even when thinking about death.

Just over 1,000 years later, an early Christian leader named Ignatius shared David’s confident perspective. According to church tradition, Ignatius was arrested by the Roman government and executed because he professed Christ. Shortly before his death, he wrote the church of Rome, saying:

I care for nothing, of visible or invisible things, so that I may but win Christ. Let fire and the cross, let the companies of wild beasts, let breaking of bones and tearing of limbs, let the grinding of the whole body, and all the malice of the devil, come upon me; be it so, only may I win Christ Jesus.

Even in being thrown to hungry animals and torn limb from limb, Ignatius’ commitment to his Lord remained firm. He was willing to endure death because of the Master he sought to please, the Master he knew he would soon see face-to-face.

In considering death, these men focused on the One who was waiting to meet them there. They did not fear death, because they rested in the promises of their Savior. What comes into your mind when you think about death? A biblical perspective thinks first about Christ. And for the soul that loves Jesus, nothing is more exciting than the thought of going to be with Him. We love Him because He first loved us (1 John 4:19), and not even death can separate us from that love (Romans 8:38–39).

Death is the doorway that brings us into the presence of Christ. That is why Paul could triumphantly tell the Philippians, “To live is Christ, and to die is gain.” For those who know the Lord Jesus Christ, Paul’s words summarize both our purpose in this life and our hope for the next.


Known by God Before You Were Born

Known by God Before You Were BornWhen did God know you would be his adopted son or daughter? Peter says that our election is “according to the foreknowledge of God.” In this lab, John Piper asks what it means for God to foreknow us, and then explores the relationship between our election and God’s foreknowledge.

Watch Now


A La Carte (September 8)

Today’s Kindle deals include Recovering Redemption and Creature of the Word by Matt Chandler ($2.99). The excellent New American Commentary Studies in Bible & Theology series is on sale: Believer’s Baptism, The Lord’s SupperThat You May Know, Lukan Authorship of Hebrews, The End of the Law, God’s Indwelling Presence, The Ten Commandments, Future Israel, Sermon on the Mount, Enthroned on Our Praise. (If you weren’t online yesterday, be sure to check out yesterday’s big list of deals.)

The Public Reading of Scripture in Corporate Worship

Few things irk me more than a very poor public reading of Scripture. This article offers really helpful pointers on doing it right (and explains why we ought to make the effort).

Rosaria Butterfield on Sexuality and Identity

In this short video (less than 3 minutes) Rosaria Butterfield explains why we should not accept sexuality as a category of identity.

The Myth of Quality Time

I enjoyed this reflection on the importance of quantity, not merely quality, of time. “We delude ourselves … when we invoke and venerate ‘quality time,’ a shopworn phrase with a debatable promise: that we can plan instances of extraordinary candor, plot episodes of exquisite tenderness, engineer intimacy in an appointed hour.”

Faithfulness in Small Places

“As I speak in other churches, I find few that are impressive. Again, the people are great, and the ministry significant, but it always seems that things are humble, and that the real action’s taking place somewhere else. It’s tempting to wish that we were there, rather than in the small, humble places where we serve.”

HappinessPre-order Worthy: Randy Alcorn’s next major work, Happiness, releases on October 1. “In Happiness, noted theologian Randy Alcorn dispels centuries of misconceptions about happiness and provides indisputable proof that God not only wants us to be happy, He commands it.” Pre-order at Amazon.

The Drifters

Christianity Today has a neat article and photo gallery celebrating God’s hand in giving us phytoplankton. Yes, you read that right: phytoplankton.

How to Spot a Liar

It turns out that most of the old methods you’ve heard about are pretty much useless at spotting liars. “Forget body language or eye movements. There are much better ways to identify the deceitful.”

Un Petit Enfant

Sometimes I enjoy listening to worship music in other languages. Recently I came across Kim Tran (Faculté Jean Calvin) and have enjoyed his French worship songs.


The Daily Discovery (September 8, 2015)

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

The Curse of a Godly Wife – “I have seen him far too often. He is the man who rarely takes the lead in his home. He is the man who almost never calls the family together for devotions. He is the man who feels dumb when asking his wife if he can pray for her, or when asking if she would like to sit and read the Bible with him. He is the one who seems almost afraid of being godly.”

Why Kim Davis Was Right Not to Resign – “Should Kim Davis, the Kentucky county clerk who is jail for refusing to issue marriage license, have resigned?  Over the past week many people, including many Christians sympathetic to her cause, have said Davis should resigned from her elected position as Rowan County Clerk if her conscience won’t allow her to do the job as required. While I understand the reasoning, and am even partially sympathetic to that view, I think it misses the reason Davis acted as she did and how her choice does not necessarily conflict with the rule of law.”

God Made All of Me – “Like all little boys between the ages of two and five, my son is fascinated with his boy parts. At least, I think he’s fascinated, considering how he runs around without his pants on. Maybe he just likes to gross out his sisters.”

Persecution, Perseverance, and Hope – “Fox’s Book of Martyrs is a must read for every Christian. Written by John Fox over 350 years ago, it catalogs the lives of hundreds of believers who, throughout church history, were willing to give their lives for the cause of Christ. When it comes to contagious courage, I can think of no greater testimony than reading about those who embraced their Lord to the point of embracing death.”

Don’t Underestimate the Doctrine of Providence – “I shifted uncomfortably in my chair, conscious of the tension in the little room. I’d guessed this conversation was coming, since the people now sitting in front of me had seemed unhappy with my pastoral leadership for a good long time. I wasn’t sure what would happen now, but I was afraid it might end badly, with hurtful words spoken and their bitter departure from our church. I mention this moment not because it’s unusual in pastoral ministry—every pastor experiences such meetings sooner or later—or because it had a miraculous and uplifting outcome, but because I recall my own heart in that conversation. I claimed to be Calvinist, but I wasn’t living like one. I was thinking little of God’s role in this conversation—and much of the people sitting across from me.”


SERMON:

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Nate Pickowicz – Love & Obedience (John 14:15)


VIDEOS:

Calvinists are Not Christians?

Should Gays Be Stoned?


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



Christian Headlines Daily – Tuesday, September 8, 2015

http://www.christianheadlines.com/

Top Headlines

Tebow Responds Graciously to Being Cut from Eagles Roster

Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics Jumps into Bible, Pot Debate

Charleston Church Shooter Gets Death Penalty Sentence

Christian Rapper and Former Lesbian Speaks about Her Conversion

High School Baptisms on Football Field were Voluntary, Pastor Says

Islamic State Issues 11 Mandates for Citizens of Captured Syrian Town

KY Clerk’s Office Will Issue Marriage Licenses Friday — without the Clerk

Court Rules to Keep Statue of Jesus on Montana Mountain

Oklahoma Attorney General Fights to Keep Ten Commandments Monument

Christians Provide Aid to Displaced Syrian Refugees Facing Persecution

Opinion

Margaret Sanger: Busted

‘In this World You Will Have Trouble’ — Welcome to Rowan County

Comic Rebukes Comedian for Bashing Bible

Yahoos on Campus: What Did You Expect?

Policeman Murdered: Schools Locked Down


Our Time is Short

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


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

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.

September 7, 2015 Truth2Freedom Christian Briefing Report

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Killing Sin by the Spirit, Post 4 (Put Off and Put On)

Colossians 3 and Ephesians 4 give a number of specific examples of this kind of behavior change, but these chapters are not giving us exhaustive lists. Notice also that when Paul tells us to put off sinful patterns in these chapters, he also uses the language of putting these things to death. In other words, we’re not supposed to be putting things off and folding them and putting them in a drawer to be brought out later when we want to wear then again. We’re to put them off and put them to death!

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He Who Has Ears

Dear Christian, you may be sitting in corporate worship while the pastor is preaching, but this is no idle exercise. We are to be engaged with the Word. The little effect many sermons have upon listeners is less often due to the preacher’s lack of skill in preaching, but rather due to our lack of effort in listening. Listen astutely, attentively, reverently, prayerfully, and responsively. “He who has ears, let him hear” (Matthew 13:9).

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“In this World You Will Have Trouble” — Welcome to Rowan County

What this story reveals beyond the headlines is that the moral revolution on marriage and human sexuality will leave nothing as it was before. No area of life will be untouched, and no address will be far removed from the front lines of the revolution. This story comes from Rowan County, Kentucky. A County Clerk is headed for jail. A legion of Christians struggles to be faithful in their own situations, responsibilities, and callings.

Read more


The Shrug That Scares Me to Death

The shrug is the sign we have become a shell of humanity – a soulless society where the baby hearts we sell are bigger than our hearts that are still beating. We live in a world in which people can look square into the faces of tiny human beings and talk about how much money their organs will bring in. “Shallow are the souls that have forgotten how to shudder,” says Leon Kass. The absence of societal shuddering in response to the Planned Parenthood videos frightens me more than the videos themselves.

Read More


Should Adulterous Pastors Be Restored?

Pastoral adultery, moreover, is an even greater sin. Why? Some sins are more damaging than others precisely because of who it is that commits them. As the Westminster Larger Catechism(Questions 150-51) reasons, persons who are eminent for their profession, gifts, and office are particularly serious offenders because of their influence upon others. This added seriousness is found in every case of a minister who commits adultery. Add to this James 3:1, which suggests that pastors will be held to stricter judgment, and we have a strong argument that pastoral adultery is an even graver sin than adultery in general.

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It’s Good to be a Sheep

But for those who hear the voice of Christ, and are known by Him, they follow their Shepherd (John 10:27). In this sense, sticking out, going against the flow, and not blending in would be a sign of disobedience and rebellion. We are not autonomous. As followers of Christ, we revel in our lack of autonomy! Unfortunately, this is not the case for many evangelicals today who equate an independent and autonomous spirit with spiritual growth and maturity.

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Not All Conservatives

I grew up in a low-income setting where people didn’t have much choice about which “jobs” they took. Today I live and worship in a working-class community where very few of the women in our church have the luxury of not working outside the home. Even fewer would have the luxury of turning down a promotion if it meant she’d find herself “leading” a male co-worker. And yet, these folks would be the first to affirm that “father is head of the home” and that the office of pastor is restricted to men.

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Seven Reasons Why We Should Not Abandon the Term “Church Member”

The essence of church membership is the sense of belonging to something so much greater than any one of us individually. We are thus motivated to give, serve, love, and care. The biblical understanding of church membership is an incredible concept. It is not a term we should abandon.

Read More


 Over 30 North Carolina Judges Opt-Out of Officiating ‘Gay Weddings’ Following New Law

Over 30 North Carolina Judges Opt-Out of Officiating ‘Gay Weddings’ Following New Law

Posted on September 7, 2015 by Christian News

RALEIGH, N.C. — Over 30 judges in North Carolina have opted out of officiating &gay weddings& following the passage of a bill that allows magistrates to decline because of their religious convictions. According to reports, the state court system has received 32 notices from judges since the law took affect in June. The figure amounts…

Read Full Article »


5 Subtle Lies Pop Culture Tells Us

5 Subtle Lies Pop Culture Tells Us

Posted on September 7, 2015 by Crosswalk

We can often underestimate just how much control pop culture exerts over our lives. Here are five subtle lies it frequently tells us,

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Labor Day: 8 Biblical Principles of Work

Labor Day: 8 Biblical Principles of Work

Posted on September 7, 2015 by Crosswalk

Work: Some hate it. Some love it. Some avoid it. Some do it too much. This remains constant: God has a perspective on our work and we are to align our thoughts with His.

Read Full Article »


Where You Stand with the Ten Commandments

Monday, September 7, 2015
“All these I have kept.” Matthew 19:20 (NIV)
Take a moment to consider where you stand in relation to the Ten Commandments. Here are three possibilities:
1. Some of us think we’ve climbed the wall.
 
A man was talking with Jesus about the Ten Commandments and he said, “I’ve kept them all!” He hadn’t murdered anyone, told any whopping lies, or raided a bank. He was a good citizen who flossed his teeth and paid his taxes, but he misunderstood the commands. The commandments aren’t limited to actions, and if you’ve never struggled to keep them, it’s probably time to get started!
2. Some of us are stretched out on the wall.
 
Maybe God’s called you to work in a hostile environment and the pressures are enormous. You’re exhausted from the struggle. The fact that you’re struggling means you are on the wall. The Heidelberg Catechism asks about the Ten Commandments, (Q): Can those converted to God obey them perfectly? (A): No. In this life, even the holiest have only a small beginning of this obedience. Nevertheless… they do begin to live according to all, not only some, of God’s commandments. Christians make a beginning of integrity, a beginning of worship, and a beginning of contentment, but it is a true beginning, and one day it will be complete!
3. Some of us have fallen off the wall.
 
There was a time when you were walking with Christ, but you lost your footing. Maybe it was a workaholic lifestyle, an unresolved conflict, or a secret deception. Thank God for his mercy! If it was not for God’s mercy, you would be lost forever. But mercy’s rope held you. You are not where you used to be, but there is hope for you. Get back on the wall and start climbing.
Where do you stand?
That’s this week’s LifeKEY!
Colin S. Smith
*This devotional is taken from the sermon series The 10 Greatest Struggles of Your Life by Pastor Colin S. Smith.  

J.D. Greear: How I dumped the mega-church model

From FoxNews.com “Each year, the “nones” in our society (those who check “none” for religious affiliation) grow at an astounding rate. Some have used those statistics to declare the end of the American church. And while this fear of secularism is a bit overblown, the stats do raise an essential point: Churches that want to […]

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Brian Houston August 4, 2015 Statement on Homosexuality

Brian Houston released the following statement.

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Surely it Is Near

The bottom line is that there is a strikingly unusual uptick in sin and it has a strange resemblance to Tribulation period events. Surely the Rapture is near and there is no reason for God’s people to despair because Jesus is preparing new homes for His people.

“Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.

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Is September the End? – Eric Barger

Are you focused on doom instead of Him?

The peril of risking your testimony on speculation, wild guesses and faulty conclusions

As some of you may be aware, there is an uncanny, even unprecedented, convergence of events set to take place in the next few weeks that have been the cause of great consternation by some who track such activities. Like many others, I am indeed interested in events forecast for this month, September 2015. My intent with this piece is both to inform and also to encourage Christians to remain focused and on point with what God would have us do when faced with scenarios such as those we are told are just ahead of us.

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Where to bury your depression when Pope Francis is in America

That the president of the United States and the leader of the Catholic Church on earth would come together to shill global warming/climate change as humanity’s biggest scourge is nothing less than an outrage of surrealistic dimensions.

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Why are Democrats Willing to Strengthen Iran and Hurt Israel?

Democrats in Congress are willing to betray their country rather than stand up to a rogue President. What is more important to the liberal politicians? The favors and threats that we know have been emanating from the White House, or decades of bi-partisan support for our national security? Easy answer for these career politicians: first their careers, then their perks, then their Democratic Party. American national interest is no longer on the list.

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On the Syrian Refugees

There are always certain issues, especially when clouded with emotive media imagery, which can result in people ceasing to reflect critically but simply run on emotions. The refugee issue is one such topic where emoting instead of thinking tends to predominate.

This has certainly been the case with the tragic Syrian refugee problem, with many saying we must do something, and we must do it now. Well, critical reflection is actually preferable to knee-jerk reactions, lest we simply make things far worse.

syria 5People are complaining that Europe, Australia and other places must simply take in far more refugees, no matter what. But a few facts and bits of evidence need to be considered here, instead of simply running on feelings. Let me offer a number of such facts.

Tony Abbott has just announced that he will take in more Syrian refugees. And according to a recent United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees report on resettlement, Australia is among the world leaders in helping such refugees: http://www.unhcr.org/543408c4fda.pdf

As I have written elsewhere, no nation can have open slather polices here, and each nation has a right to defend its borders and determine what is a feasible number of refugees or asylum seekers that can be accepted. I discuss in greater detail the political as well as biblical data on this here: http://billmuehlenberg.com/2010/11/09/christians-and-asylum-seekers/

And when it comes to Muslim immigration, we must be even wiser, as the spread of political Islam and creeping sharia is often accomplished by means of immigration. Please read this for more detail: http://billmuehlenberg.com/2009/08/27/western-immigration-and-global-jihad/

For example, the BBC reports that fake passports are already being used to get jihadists into Europe: “German customs officers have seized packages containing Syrian passports and police suspect they are being sold illegally to asylum seekers. A finance ministry official said both genuine and forged passports were in the packets intercepted in the post.”

And IS has threatened to send 500,000 migrants to Europe as part of jihad:

ISIS has threatened to flood Europe with half a million migrants from Libya in a ‘psychological’ attack against the West, it was claimed today. Transcripts of telephone intercepts published in Italy claim to provide evidence that ISIS is threatening to send 500,000 migrants simultaneously out to sea in hundreds of boats in a ‘psychological weapon’ against Europe if there is military intervention against them in Libya.
Many would be at risk of drowning with rescue services unable to cope. But authorities fear that if numbers on this scale arrived, European cities could witness riots. Separately, the militants hope to cement their control of Libya then cross the Mediterranean disguised as refugees, according to letters seen by Quilliam the anti-terror group, reported by the Telegraph.

Or as another report warns:

ISIS says thousands of fighters are already in place in Europe, disguised as refugees, just waiting for the signal. An operative working for Islamic State has revealed that the terror group has successfully smuggled thousands of covert Jihadists into Europe, the Express writes.
The Syrian operative claimed more than 4,000 covert ISIS gunmen had been smuggled into western nations – hidden amongst innocent refugees. The ISIS smuggler, who is in his 30s with a trimmed jet-black beard, revealed the ongoing clandestine operation is a complete success. “Just wait,” he smiled.

We must also ask why most rich Muslim nations are refusing to take in these refugees. Perhaps they know something we don’t: “Five of the wealthiest Muslim countries have taken no Syrian refugees in at all, arguing that doing so would open them up to the risk of terrorism. Although the oil rich countries have handed over aid money, Britain has donated more than Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar combined.”

Imagine that: Muslim nations admitting that Muslim refugees pose a genuine terrorist threat. Yet the West is supposed to throw its doors wide open with no questions asked. That is a recipe for national suicide. Nonie Darwish, who has had to flee the Middle East herself, says this about “why Muslim countries rarely prepare for disaster to save lives of other Muslims and heavily rely on the West to rescue victims of Islamic jihad”:

-Muslim countries know that the West will take care of their mistakes so they don’t have to avoid the negative consequences of their actions.
-Western countries quickly come to the rescue, open their wallets and land to prove to the world that they are not Islamophobes.
-Arab countries lack compassion and action to rescue each other despite the rhetoric of Arab/Islamic unity. Saudi Arabia and Gulf nations never open their borders to poor Muslims in distress. Even Egypt rejected the Darfur refugees who were later forced to go to Israel, which took them.
-Oil rich Arab countries make it very difficult for other Arabs to visit except for haj. They are very tribal and refuse to dilute their culture with influx of foreigners. Third world country workers are treated inhumanely and are rarely given permanent residency, citizenship or equal rights as citizens.
-Arabs would rather spend their petrodollars on expanding their influence in the West rather than making life better for their own citizens or supporting other Muslim nations who are financially less fortunate.
-Islamic groups believe that refugees from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan will spread Sharia in Europe, which is the main goal of jihad.
-By clearing the area from the opposition and citizens who are not contributing to the empowerment of ISIS, clears the way for ISIS to expand beyond Syria and Iraq. Europe and America are absorbing the opposition to ISIS, so why stand in the way?

Emotive images, like that of the poor dead boy lying on the beach, are relied upon to pull Western heartstrings, instead of having them think critically and rationally. As to the tragic case of the boy and his family, they of course had been living comfortably in free housing in Turkey for three years.

As one commentator writes, “Aylan was not in ‘harm’s way’. He was not a refugee. His family was not fleeing danger. Indeed, what his father particularly sought in Europe was a good dentist. Yes, Aylan’s terrible death does not tell us to open our borders. If anything, it warns us to be wary of the consequences of badly directed ‘compassion’.”

And as mentioned, humanitarians concerns must be balanced with national security concerns. The Prime Minister of Hungry has rightly argued that “Those who are overwhelmed cannot offer shelter to anyone”. His entire speech is well worth reading: http://www.kormany.hu/en/the-prime-minister/the-prime-minister-s-speeches/those-who-are-overwhelmed-cannot-offer-shelter-to-anyone

English commentator Peter Hitchens offers some sober thinking on all this. He is worth quoting at length:

Having seen more than my share of real corpses, and watched children starving to death in a Somali famine, I am not unmoved by pictures of a dead child on a Turkish beach. But I am not going to pretend to be more upset than anyone else. Nor am I going to suddenly stop thinking, as so many people in the media and politics appear to have done.
The child is not dead because advanced countries have immigration laws. The child is dead because criminal traffickers cynically risked the lives of their victims in pursuit of money. I’ll go further. The use of words such as ‘desperate’ is quite wrong in this case. The child’s family were safe in Turkey. Turkey (for all its many faults) is a member of Nato, officially classified as free and democratic. Many British people actually pay good money to go on holiday to the very beach where the child’s body was washed up.
It may not be ideal, but the definition of a refugee is that he is fleeing from danger, not fleeing towards a higher standard of living. Goodness knows I have done what I could on this page to oppose the stupid interventions by this country in Iraq, Libya and Syria, which have turned so many innocent people into refugees or corpses.
But I can see neither sense nor justice in allowing these things to become a pretext for an unstoppable demographic revolution in which Europe (including, alas, our islands) merges its culture and its economy with North Africa and the Middle East. If we let this happen, Europe would lose almost all the things that make others want to live there.
You really think these crowds of tough young men chanting ‘Germany!’ in the heart of Budapest are ‘asylum-seekers’ or ‘refugees’? Refugees don’t confront the police of the countries in which they seek sanctuary. They don’t chant orchestrated slogans or lie across the train tracks. And why, by the way, do they use the English name for Germany when they chant? In Arabic and Turkish, that country is called ‘Almanya’, in Kurdish something similar. The Germans themselves call it ‘Deutschland’. In Hungarian, it’s ‘Nemetorszag’.
Did someone hope that British and American TV would be there? I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: spontaneous demonstrations take a lot of organising. Refugees don’t demand or choose their refuge. They ask and they hope. When we become refugees one day (as we may well do), we will discover this.
As to what those angry, confident and forceful young men actually are, I’ll leave you to work it out, as I am too afraid of the Thought Police to use what I think is the correct word. But it is interesting that this week sees the publication in English of a rather dangerous book, which came out in France just before the Charlie Hebdo murders.
Submission, by Michel Houellebecq, prophesies a Muslim-dominated government in France about seven years from now, ushered into power by the French Tory and Labour parties. What they want, says one of the cleverer characters in the book, ‘is for France to disappear – to be integrated into a European federation’. This means they’d much rather do a deal with a Muslim party than with the National Front, France’s Ukip equivalent. If any of this sounds familiar to you, I wouldn’t be surprised. It’s amazing how likely and simple the author makes this Islamic revolution sound.
Can we stop this transformation of all we have and are? I doubt it. To do so would involve the grim-faced determination of Australia, making it plain in every way that our doors are open only to limited numbers of people, chosen by us, enduring the righteous scorn of the supposedly enlightened.
As we lack the survival instinct and the determination necessary, and as so many of our most influential people are set on committing a sentimental national suicide, I suspect we won’t.
To those who condemn reasonable calls for national self-defence as bigotry, hatred and intolerance (which they are not), I make only this request: just don’t pretend you’re doing a good and generous thing, when you’re really cowardly and weak.

As I said, emotional reactions are clearly not what we should rely upon when considering important international issues such as this. Clear thinking and critical evaluation of the evidence and the facts is what is required. And that seems to be in short supply in so much of the West today.

I close with the words of Paul Zanetti:

If there’s any one underlying message that must be read into the story of little Alyan it is that illegal human trafficking must be stopped, that the Abbott government’s successful policies must be widely adopted or the drownings will continue.
This must be balanced with an increased selective intake by all nations of genuine refugees, fleeing persecution or war or both. Australia has a proud history of settling refugees and migrants. This must continue.
Migration has been an overwhelmingly positive contributor to the growth, success and affluence of this nation – with exception, namely criminal ideologists who wish us harm, currently being addressed. Careful, selective immigration and genuine refugee intakes – not open border anarchy – will strengthen Australia and save lives while meeting out international obligations.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-34150408
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2958517/The-Mediterranean-sea-chaos-Gaddafi-s-chilling-prophecy-interview-ISIS-threatens-send-500-000-migrants-Europe-psychological-weapon-bombed.html
http://speisa.com/modules/articles/index.php/item.1872/just-wait.html
http://www.breitbart.com/london/2015/09/05/gulf-states-refuse-to-take-a-single-syrian-refugee-say-doing-so-exposes-them-to-risk-of-terrorism/
http://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/260025/why-did-oil-rich-arab-countries-abandon-muslim-nonie-darwish#.VewQFSyVveo.facebook
https://themuslimissue.wordpress.com/2015/09/04/family-of-drowned-toddler-aylan-kurdi-had-been-given-free-housing-in-turkey-while-fathers-story-is-full-of-holes/
http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/opinion/syrian-refugee-crisis-tragic-boy-aylan-kurdi-needs-more-than-tears/story-fni0ffxg-1227515266729
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-3223828/PETER-HITCHENS-won-t-save-refugees-destroying-country.html
http://pickeringpost.com/story/truth-another-refugee-of-war/5341


Righteous Anger and Sinful Anger — Martyn Lloyd-Jones

A large painting of Dr. D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones

“Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Neither give place to the devil.” – Ephesians 4:26-27

In his commentary on Ephesians 4:17-5:17, taken from among the 232 sermons he preached on that book between the years 1954 and 1962, Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones stated this regarding the right use of anger:

There are some people who think that it means that if you cannot get rid of anger altogether, the best thing to do is to suppress it, and to hold it down as much as you can. And that, I suggest, is quite wrong. The Scripture knows nothing of such teaching. That is what the world does, and the result is that ever and again when men are taken unawares, the trap door suddenly opens and the whole thing reappears, as violent as it ever was before. No, suppression is certainly not the Christian way of dealing with anger and its problems. What then does the Apostle mean? Clearly and obviously this is a positive command. It is not some concession that is made to a weakness. He says that it is out duty to be angry in certain respects, but that we must never be angry in a sinful manner, never in a temper.

There are times when we are meant to be angry—‘Be ye angry’! But never in a way that becomes sinful, and never in a way that opens the door of opportunity to the devil. How are these things to be reconciled? how do we work it out? We can do nothing better, it seems to me, than to take the Apostle’s statements as he puts them, starting with `Be ye angry’. In other words, there is a right kind of anger. In and of itself anger is not sinful. It is a capacity which is innate in every one of us, and clearly put into us by God. We can really call it one of the natural instincts. The capacity for anger against that which is evil and wrong is something which is essentially right and good; and it is because the non-Christian moralists so frequently forget this, that those who follow them find themselves in a false position. The pagan idea always is that you are to crucify your instincts, no matter what they are. But that is a false asceticism. The Bible never teaches us to crucify a natural instinct. What we are to do with them is to control them, not to get rid of them altogether. The Stoics believed in getting rid of them; they tried to kill them; the Epicureans just regarded them with disdain, and both were wrong. According to the Christian teaching, the instincts are to be governed, to be controlled and to be rightly used. Anger is something which is placed in us by God; it is a capacity within man which results in his being roused by the sight of certain things. And the result is that it is a priceless and precious thing.

To prove that anger is not sinful, and indeed something which is altogether right in and of itself, I simply need to draw attention to a statement which is made in the Gospel according to St. Mark about our Lord Himself: `And when he had looked round about on them (the Pharisees) with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts …’ (3:5). A similar statement is found in Luke’s Gospel: `The Lord then answered him and said, Thou hypocrite’! (13:15) One of these lawyers, Pharisees, teachers of the law, was trying to trap Him and to trip Him, and our Lord turned upon him and said, ‘Thou hypocrite’! He spoke with anger! Again, read the account, in John chapter 2, of the Lord’s anger with those men trading in the Temple: `When he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers’ money, and overthrew the tables’ (2:15). Here was our Lord in righteous anger and indignation, making a scourge of small cords and literally driving the traders out, and cleansing the temple.

Furthermore, no-one who is at all familiar with the Bible can have failed to observe a term which is used constantly in the Old Testament and the New about God Himself—the wrath of God! For example, the Apostle Paul, writing to the Romans, says: `I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth; to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, The just shall live by faith’ (1:16-17). Why is Paul so pleased about this? Why is he so anxious to preach it and to proclaim it in Rome and everywhere else? He gives the answer in verse 18: `For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold down the truth in unrighteousness.’ The wrath of God! Both John the Baptist and our Lord preached and exhorted people to `flee from the wrath to come.’ The Apostle John in the Book of Revelation, speaking about the end of the world and of time and history, and about the judgment that will be ushered in by the Lord Jesus Christ, says graphically `for the great day of His wrath is come’ (6:17). So we realize that this is something that we must not dismiss.

And again the Apostle Paul, in writing to the Corinthians in the Second Epistle, makes this thing quite explicit and shows how at a given point we should feel anger and a righteous indignation, with ourselves. He is talking about godly sorrow, and says, `Godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation, not to be repented of; but the sorrow of the world worketh death. For behold this selfsame thing, that ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves, yea, what indignation, yea, what fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge!’ (7:10-11) Indignation! Anger! They were angry with themselves and the cause of the trouble, with the man who had sinned and with their own failure to recognise the sin, and with their failure to react to it as they should have done. The lesson for us is that we should always be angry against and about sin and evil. `Be ye angry’, says the Apostle! In a sense he is just putting in New Testament language what one of the Psalms puts like this: ‘Ye that love the Lord, hate evil’! (97:10) The two things go together: if you really love the Lord you must hate evil; evil and sin are definitely to be hated.

It is not at all surprising that the Apostle should give this exhortation to the Ephesian believers, these Gentiles, whose manner of life before their conversion he describes in the words: ‘having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness’ (4:18-19). We have earlier seen that ‘past feeling’ meant that their consciences had become calloused and hardened, their sensibilities had become dull and blunted, they could not react to anything; they were `past feeling’, they were so steeped in sin that nothing any longer could move them or shock them. They were past feeling!—they had become morally indifferent, they had become supine. This is always characteristic of godlessness and irreligion. It is one of the terrible aspects of paganism, that men and women become so steeped in sin that they are not ware of the fact that they are sinning, they cannot react at all, they never feel any sense of indignation or horror; they never come angry at all; they are past feeling. In the second half of the first chapter of his Epistle to the Romans, Paul tells us all about it. Men and women had forgotten God, and were worshipping birds and four-footed beasts and insects; they were also worshipping one another. And not only had they become immoral, they had almost lost a sense of morality; they were guilty of the most foul and repulsive perversions. The whole world had become a sink of iniquity.

Paul therefore says to the Christians, You have to get right away from the world’s sins; you have got to learn to be angry about them; you must be roused; you must not be complacent and say that sin does not matter! Such an attitude belonged to their past, he said, but they must not be like that any longer. A failure to react with indignation and anger against sin and evil is always a sign of moral decadence and of godlessness and irreligion. I remind you of a word that I quoted earlier from the prophet Jeremiah, chapter 8, which describes sin at its acme. Let me give you the climax to the whole statement because it is such a great one. Listen to this. He says, `Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? No, they were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush.’ What a terrible state to get into! You are not quite hopeless while you can still blush, it means that there is still something in you that makes you feel a sense of indignation and of shame and of anger. But certain people had become so sunk in sin that the prophet says `Neither could they blush’. And what we need if we are in that condition is this exhortation of the Apostle: Be angry! rouse yourselves! Do not allow yourself to be governed by that old mentality! put off that old man, put on the new man! We must learn, says Paul, to be really angry against iniquity and sin. God made us in such a way that that should be our natural reaction; it was the natural reaction of the Lord Himself; it is God’s reaction to sin.

And how greatly this exhortation to anger is needed in the world today! Is not one of the greatest tragedies in the world at this hour the failure to feel moral indignation and wrath because of things that are happening? Is not there a fatal tendency to be complacent and to explain everything away, and to remain indifferent? Even though we hear people `on the air’ and on public platforms deliberately teaching `Evil, be thou my good’, still there seems to be no protest. We seem to have lost the capacity to be roused morally by a sense of indignation. This is, to me, one of the major problems in the world today. There has been a steady decline in morals, not only in behaviour but in outlook and in reaction. We merely shrug our shoulders and allow sin to go unrebuked. I believe this was true of the attitude of the world to Hitler before the Second World War. This attitude would have been unthinkable fifty years before. There would have been protests, and Hitler would have been stopped. But not so in the world decadence of the thirties! We could not be bothered, we wanted to go on enjoying ourselves and having our good time, and we somehow hoped that world troubles would not affect us and all would be well. And so the whole sorry process was allowed to start and to continue.

But this is not only evident in our attitude towards international affairs—as, for example, towards the rise of dictators and the toleration of things in nations, which should never be tolerated—but it seems to me that it is also creeping into the whole of life. I myself cannot be but appalled at the reaction to such a document as the Wolfenden Report [¹], with its idea that you can regard certain perversions as natural. The plain fact faces us that the whole category of sin is rapidly disappearing. Indeed, many are claiming that there is no such thing as sin. No—the man was born like that, he has just got that tendency in him, and it is very strong in him, not so strong in another! Evil is explained away; there is no protest, there is no moral indignation. And it is into such a situation as this that the word of the Apostle, the word of God, comes: `Be ye angry!’ Learn to react against these things! Feel a sense of indignation! There are certain things that should rouse us and should be denounced. An absence of a sense of shame and of anger and of righteous indignation is always the hallmark of deep degradation and sinfulness, and of a loss sense of God. Our Lord was angry when He observed manifestations of sin. And what measures our approximation to Him is that we manifest a similar reaction when confronted by similar things. It is our duty to be angry at certain points and with respect to certain matters.

But we move on to a second point, for the Apostle adds to `Be ye angry’, `Do not sin’! that is, do not be angry in a sinful manner. We have been looking at the right kind of anger, we must now look at the wrong kind of anger. Notice that we are walking on a kind of knife edge. In other words, we can swing from one extreme to the other, and in consequence we have to be very careful. We have already seen other examples of this. The Apostle has already told us to speak the truth in love. Some people put the whole emphasis on truth, while others put it on love; the first set of people have no love, the second set of people have no truth; but they are both wrong, for we must speak the truth in love! Similarly here—`Be angry, but do not sin!’

There is a wrong way of being angry. And what is this? What must we never be guilty of? First, we must never be bad-tempered people. That is entirely and utterly wrong. To be bad-tempered, to be irritable or irascible, is something which is sinful and is condemned everywhere in the Scripture. So it is no use saying, `Ah! but I happen to have been born like that.’ If you are a Christian, you have been born again, so you must not use that argument. It is wrong at any time and on any showing. We are not to explain what we are and what we do in terms of the balance of the various ductless glands, for that would be to do away with sin. We have to know ourselves and we have to deal with ourselves; and we are forbidden to be bad-tempered, irritable, irascible people. But we do not stop at that; there is another thing which we must not be. We must not be easily provoked. In the thirteenth chapter of the First Epistle to the Corinthians the Apostle says that one of the most glorious things about love is that it is not easily provoked. A man who is easily provoked is bound to fall into sin very frequently. We must not be fiery. But let me put the case positively, in terms of the way James in his Epistle describes the wisdom that is from above: `The wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy’ (3:17). We must not be easily provoked. Yet how easily provoked some of us are, by all sorts of things! Now here is the test. Are you easily put off or put out by anything? It does not matter what it is. And can it upset you and disturb you and keep your mind on it and prevent your concentrating on something else? Christians often express to me their irritation at hymns or tunes and such-like things, and I get the impression sometimes that they have been so put out and so put off that they cannot settle down and listen to the sermon. Easily provoked! That is sinful. We should not be easily provoked. We must seek after the love which enables us to hear all things, and which is easy to be entreated.

But we must go further. Any anger or expression of anger that is excessive, violent, uncontrollable, out of control, is a wrong sort of anger. We talk about a man being in a towering rage. That is definitely, utterly sinful. We talk about people seething with anger, shaking with anger. Oh! that is sinning in anger—the white face, the very body trembling, the eyes blazing… . You have seen it, have you not? Now that is altogether wrong and sinful. It is lack of control, and such a man is being angry and sinning; he is being angry in a sinful manner.

The next step is the one that the Apostle himself gives us, in the words, `Let not the sun go down upon your wrath.’ In the original the word wrath is not the same word as anger; hence it is a pity that the Revised Standard Version has put anger in both places. The second word, `wrath’, is a stronger word than `anger’. It means exasperation, it means anger roused and nursed and nourished until it becomes a settled condition; it means hatred, bitterness of spirit, vindictiveness. It means that you are determined to get your own back, to seek vengeance and absolutely determined to get it. It is a settled condition of anger; it has become part and parcel of you; it is a mood; it is a condition which is permanent; and it is bitter and hateful and determined to get its own back. That is wrath as the Apostle uses the word here, but that is not the wrath of God, there is nothing of that in God’s wrath. What the Apostle is condemning is the wrong sort of anger. The anger that we are to feel as Christians must never be felt by us just because we happen to be the sort of person that easily becomes `heated’. That is always wrong. In the same way our anger must never be personal, but rather against the principle of iniquity and sin. My anger must never be the result of my being the sort of man who is rather peppery, as we say, and testy, and a bit on edge always, easily provoked and ready to explode. That is the thing that we are required to put off. In other words, the anger about which the Apostle is speaking is an anger that should always be aroused against evil and sin —those things that caused the anger and the indignation seen in our blessed Lord Himself.

from: Jones, D. Martyn. Darkness and Light: An Exposition of Ephesians 4:17-5:17. Grand Rapids, MI.: Baker Book House, 1989.

¹ Wolfenden Report – a study containing recommendations for laws governing sexual behaviour, published in 1957 by the Committee on Homosexual Offences and Prostitution in Great Britain. It was named for Sir John Wolfenden, the chairman of the committee. Using the findings of psychoanalysis and social science, the report urged that public statutes avoid the attempt to legislate morality and that they concern themselves only with sexual acts that offend public decency or disrupt order. The committee therefore recommended that private homosexual liaisons between consenting adults be removed from the domain of criminal law. Legislation implementing these recommendations was enacted in the Sexual Offences Act (1967).

See also:

Having a Righteous Anger Against Evil — B.B. Warfield


Harvard Announcement: Hir and Ze will be allowed

You know, you just can make this stuff up. From Michael Gryboski, The Christian Post: A school at Harvard University has announced that they will allow students to identify with nontraditional gender pronouns like “hir” and “ze.” Harvard’s faculty of arts and sciences’ registration tool has expanded the number of pronouns students can use to […]

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Mark Driscoll, Tullian Tchividjian, and Reformed Baptist Polity

It has been roughly a year since the evangelical and small-c calvinist worlds were embroiled in the ongoing collapse of Mars Hill Church and the once booming ministry of Mark Driscoll. A cascade of revelations, from plagiarized material to authoritarian abuses to dishonest financial practices all resulted in the collapse of Driscoll’s reputation and, ultimately, […]

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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—creates 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.

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The Guilt and the Shame

It is a theme I have been thinking about quite a lot. It is a theme I have known in my own life at various times and in certain circumstances. I have pondered guilt and shame, and today I want to return to some reflections on them.

So many Christians live their lives racked with guilt and shame. They think back to the things they did, the sins they committed, whether two days ago or two decades, and they live under a cloud of shame. This shame hurts, it burns, it incapacitates. It raises this question: What is the place of guilt, what is the place of shame, in the life of the Christian?

We need to begin by distinguishing between guilt and shame. Here is how I differentiate between them: Guilt is the objective reality that I have committed an offense or a crime; shame is the subjective experience of feeling humiliation or distress because of what I have done. God has made us in such a way that sin incurs guilt and guilt generates shame. But there is a catch and a caution: Guilt and shame come in helpful forms and in paralyzingly unhelpful forms. Guilt and shame can be a good gift of God or a curse of Satan.

When I sin against God I may find that my conscience accuses me, that it convicts me that I have done wrong. My guilt, the realization that I have sinned, brings a feeling of shame. This guilt and shame is a good gift of God when it motivates me to repent of my sin, to look again to the cross of Christ.

When I repent of sin, I am assured by God that Christ himself has already dealt with the guilt of it. At the cross the guilt of that offense was transferred to Christ. He took that sin—the full, objective, legal guilt of it—upon himself to such an extent that my sin became his sin. Jesus Christ took every hateful thought and adulterous glance and spiteful word and every other sin upon himself. He took that sin to the cross and suffered God’s wrath against it to the point that justice was satisfied. This means that the offense has been truly and fully paid for. It is gone. I am no longer guilty before God!

But Christ did more than that. Not only did he take away my guilt, but he also gave me his righteousness. This is the great exchange of the gospel, that my sin was transferred to him and his righteousness was transferred to me. I am not only not sinful, but I am actually righteous. Because the guilt of the offense is gone, the shame is gone as well. Because that sin is no longer my own, the shame is no longer my own.

Think about this. The sin is no longer my own, which means the guilt is no longer my own, which means the shame is no longer my own. The guilt and the shame of that sin now belong to Christ. If anyone ought to be feeling shame for that sin, it is not me but Christ! Do you think Christ is at the Father’s side today racked with shame because of the adultery and murder and envy that he took upon himself? Of course not! Christ knows that those sins have been dealt with, that they have been forgiven, that they have been removed as far as east is from west. There is no shame left for him to feel.

So why, then, do I feel shame for sins I committed so long ago? Why do I get all wrapped up in guilt and shame? Because Satan wants me to be incapacitated by that shame, to doubt that it has been dealt with, to convince me that I still need to carry the weight of it. He wants to destroy my joy, to cripple my usefulness to the church, and he can do this by wrapping me up in guilt and shame.

The hymn “Before the Throne of God Above” speaks powerfully about forgiveness for guilt and shame.

When Satan tempts me to despair
And tells me of the guilt within,

Here is Satan, actively drawing old sins to mind, and convincing me that I still bear the guilt and shame of each one of them. But…

Upward I look and see Him there
Who made an end of all my sin.
Because the sinless Savior died
My sinful soul is counted free.
For God the just is satisfied
To look on Him and pardon me.

The guilt of my sin, the shame of it, cannot withstand just that one glance at the cross, for there I see the death of Christ and with it, the death of sin, guilt and shame.

Christian, when you commit sin and feel shame, embrace it as an opportunity to turn again to the Lord, to repent of that sin, to preach the gospel to yourself, to assure yourself once more of the Lord’s grace for those who put their faith in Christ. And then embrace the freedom of forgiveness and let Jesus feel the shame.


How to Stay Christian on Campus

How to Stay Christian on CampusThey call it “the bubble.” It’s the perception that your campus, however big or small, college or seminary, is cozily quarantined off from the surrounding world. Life is different when you’re safe “in the bubble.” At least for now, you’re protected from the real world and the suffocating responsibilities that being an “adult” will one day bring.

True, the realities of campus life and being a fulltime student often produce a sense of disconnectedness from society. College and grad students aren’t always the sharpest on keeping up with what’s happening outside the bubble.

But while there may be some truth to the bubble experience, it can be unhelpfully deceptive and give way to a crippling lie: that campus life isn’t real life. My race hasn’t started yet. School is just a scrimmage; the real thing begins after graduation. This is one of the most important myths to dispel for the Christian student.

Pop the Bubble

After living four years “in the bubble” as an undergraduate, then working on staff with a college ministry for four more, taking graduate courses, and now interacting with students about How to Stay Christian in Seminary, one of the most important lessons I’ve learned personally, and am eager to pass along to fulltime students, is this: Pop the bubble.

Don’t believe the lie that life really hasn’t begun because you’re a fulltime student. Don’t think that what you do, or don’t do, on campus won’t affect the trajectory of the rest of your life and bring consequences that can be hard to shake. In particular, don’t give yourself a pass on the normal Christian life because “this is a special season” that somehow makes you immune to temptation, demonic attack, and the deep deceitfulness remaining in your own heart.

If you’re a student fulltime, it is a special season for growth — for study, for developing habits of mind and heart that will benefit you, and others, for a lifetime. It is a springboard to lifelong learning, not one long last day of recess. Be vigilant to protect class and study time, within reason; if God’s call on your life for now is to be a student, embrace his call and don’t squander this season of preparation for a life of need-meeting.

But it is vital to fight the instinct to think of ourselves as exceptional. That we’re exempt from saturating our lives in the word of God, or continually availing ourselves of his ear in prayer, or genuinely belonging to his body in a local church. You are not a student first, but ten thousand times a Christian first.

And in Christianity, there are no holding patterns, no pauses or time-outs, no respites from everyday soul-care. No bubbles. Today always matters (Psalm 95:7; Hebrews 3:13) The risen Christ is ever on his throne. Satan is always scheming. And your heart is never in neutral, but either getting hotter or colder. This “special season” of life is way too special (and normal) to give yourself a pass on Jesus, his gospel, or his church.

This Is Real Life

It’s important to hear that the life of a student is not a retreat from real life; it is real life. Real faith, real holiness, real warmth and softness of heart, real relationships, real eternity lie in the balance. As Martyn Lloyd-Jones said, “There is no such thing as a holiday in the spiritual realm.”

The secret to “staying Christian” as a student, whether at a secular college or a Christian seminary, is that there’s no real secret. It’s just ordinary, everyday, world-transforming Christianity. The key to staying Christian in any season of life, any place on the planet, any time in history is simply this: being a Christian today. Hearts don’t harden all at once, but a day at a time.

There’s a sense in which it can be even more dangerous for the Bible and seminary student than for the student at a secular university. If the gospel is the aroma of life to life, and death to death, then studying theology is either the fast-track to sanctification or to condemnation (2 Corinthians 2:15–16), to increasing faith or diminishing belief.

But what’s true in the incubator of Bible college is true as well on the secular campus. All things were created in, through, and for Jesus (Colossians 1:16). Every course of study is about Jesus, if we only have the eyes to see. And “he is before all things, and in him all things hold together” (Colossians 1:17). Biology, physics, business, chemistry, communications, literature, medicine, philosophy, and political science will either draw you nearer to Jesus or pull you farther from him.

Your Most Important Homework

Heart-work, said Puritan great John Flavel, is the “one great business of a Christian’s life.” If you are a Christian, your most important homework (and classwork, for that matter) is heart-work. The life of the student is cognitively demanding, but we should relentless labor to make our mind-work serve our heart-work.

And we do so, not leaning on our own understanding and resources, but with the wind of the Holy Spirit in our sails. Staying Christian in college, seminary, or any other season of life means expending energy to “keep yourselves in the love of God” (Jude 21). And that is the very thing he stands ready to do for and through us: “Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling” (Jude 24).


Related Resources


Some of the Most Educated People Are Christians


What Every Christian Should Know

If you only had a brief time with a new convert, what are the most important things you would want him to know that would establish him in his Christian faith?

Text: Romans 5:1-11

https://www.sermonaudio.com/code_sourcefeatured.asp?iframe=TRUE&reversecolor=FALSE&showoverview=FALSE&flashplayer=TRUE&tiny=FALSE&minimal=TRUE&eventtype=EVENTID&speaker=SPEAKERNAME&sermonid=96152223416


Talking to Your Children about Creation, Christ, and Heaven

You have been taught the holy Scriptures from childhood, and they have given you the wisdom to receive the salvation that comes by trusting in Christ Jesus. (2 Timothy 3:15, ESV)

Second Timothy was Paul’s last letter, written from prison shortly before his execution. In this letter he left final instructions to Timothy, whom he had mentored.

Paul tells Timothy, “I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice” (2 Timothy 1:5). In the absence of a father, Timothy’s mother and grandmother did what God calls fathers to do. They passed on their faith in a way that made Timothy want to take ownership of it. How? In 3:15 Paul says, “But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.”

Hearing God’s Word cultivates saving faith (Romans 10:17). God used His Word to bring Timothy to faith, apparently at a very early age.

The word for “childhood” here is often translated “infancy.” Parents are called to read Scripture to their children at very early ages. Some of our daughters’ earliest spoken sentences were verses, and both Karina and Angela came to Christ very young. There is no set age at which children can come to faith, but there does need to be some understanding of right and wrong, and of the fact that Jesus died so that we might be forgiven and live with Him in Heaven.

May we all look for opportunities to share Scripture and talk about Jesus and Heaven with the children we love. Ask the Holy Spirit to make you sensitive to the needs and interests of your children (and grandchildren). The following points might be good starting places for your conversations with them:

The World God Made

God made the earth, the sun and moon, and all the stars and planets. And He made the animals, then Adam and Eve. He put them in the beautiful Garden of Eden to work and rule the earth and to enjoy God and each other. It was a perfect place. (See Genesis 1–2.)

Adam and Eve sinned by disobeying God. This is known as the Fall. Now we are under the Curse. People—and the earth—are no longer perfect. (See Genesis 3.) This is all because of our sin. God is perfectly holy, so He couldn’t let people get away with sinning. Adam and Eve had to leave the Garden, and work became harder. Suddenly there was suffering and death. Minds and hearts and bodies didn’t work right anymore. It was very sad.

God never gave up his original plan. That plan is for people who love and obey Him to rule a perfect earth, like the one God originally created.

Jesus and Us

Jesus, God’s Son, came from Heaven to earth. He became a human being and grew up to be a carpenter. Carpenters make things and fix things. Someday Jesus will fix us up so we’ll be perfect forever. He will make the earth perfect forever too! Jesus said that everything will be made like new again (see Matthew 19:28; Revelation 21:5).

Jesus loves us so much that He died on the cross for our sins. Then He came back to life. That’s called his resurrection. When we believe that this is true and ask Jesus to forgive us, He becomes our Savior!

We can let Jesus take charge of our lives because He knows what’s best for us. (Sometimes that includes difficult things, such as having a disability or sad things happening.) Letting Jesus be our King means we can enjoy having Him as our friend and leader, now and forever.

Heaven and Us

Heaven for KidsWhen people die, those who know Jesus as their Savior and King will go to Heaven. Life there is much better than it is here and now (see Philippians 1:21-23).

When people we love go to Heaven, we feel sad because we miss them. But we can be happy that they are in a wonderful place. If we love Jesus, we will see them again and live with them forever.

After Jesus comes back to earth, Heaven will be even more wonderful, because God will come down to live with us in a perfect New Earth. Even animals will no longer suffer. (See Romans 8:19-21.) It will be like the Garden of Eden, but better. Nothing bad or sad will be there (see Revelation 20:10; 21:1-4).

On the New Earth we will eat and laugh and play. We will have resurrection bodies like Jesus has (see Philippians 3:20-21). We know Jesus has a physical body, because after his resurrection He ate and let people touch Him. He said, “A ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have” (see Luke 24:38-43).

There will be a great city, the New Jerusalem, where we will worship God and serve Him and rule the earth with Him forever (see Revelation 21:1-2; 22:3-5). This means that we will never be bored. There will always be fun and exciting things to do! We will do what people were made to do—worship and talk and walk and eat and run and play and rest.

People of all different races and nations will be on the New Earth, and they will bring beautiful things to God, the King on the throne in the New Jerusalem (see Revelation 21:23-26). Since God will live there, the New Earth will be at the center of Heaven.

The tree of life, which was inEden, will be there, and we will eat from it (see Revelation 2:7; 22:1-2).

God will live with us, and we’ll never cry or get sick or have pain or disabilities (see Revelation 21:3-4). We’ll live forever with Jesus, the person we were made for, and we’ll live in Heaven, the place we were made for!


Blood Moons: Predicting the Unpredictable

moon over jerusalemThe reason a bevy of justifiably smug journalists was camping on Harold Camping’s front lawn on May 21, 2011 is because yet another of the preacher-cum-radio-broadcaster’s predictions of rapture had misfired.

One would think that after his failed prediction of 1988 Camping’s popularity as an authority on date-setting would have waned. If not then, perhaps after his 1989 repeat performance. Incredibly, his credulous followers remained obdurate about Camping’s abilities to pinpoint an event the Bible says is impossible to predict. When he suddenly appeared to the salivating pack of reporters on his lawn Camping explained that his prophecy must have been fulfilled in a “spiritual” way (preterist much?) but that he foresaw the literal coming of Christ happening on October 21, the same year.

Anyhoo… The reason for this trip down memorable mishap lane, is that it’s about that time of the millennium again, so we are faced with a new date-setting phenomenon at which to furrow our brows. This time the mania for rapture takes on slightly more of a lunatic hue. I mean that fairly literally.

The “blood moon tetrad” is the latest prophecy to make the rounds on social media.

Admittedly, I can’t wax eloquent on its finer details, but as I understand it the prediction is elastically derived from the prophet Joel’s words that reoccur on Peter’s lips in his Pentecost sermon of Acts 2:20 the sun shall be turned to darkness and the moon to blood, before the day of the Lord comes, the great and magnificent day.

Obviously that verse must be referring to the blood moon tetrad. What’s that, you ask? It’s only the most rare event in the history of history. Kinda.

A blood moon tetrad is when four consecutive lunar eclipses, with six full moons in between, but no partial lunar eclipses interfering, happen to coincide with Jewish feasts. Got that? The first in the series was during last year’s Passover: April 15, 2014 (a possible portent of death and taxes?) and sported a deep red coloration. The crimson imbuement is caused by Rayleigh scattering and is not at all uncommon with eclipses, but still. Red. Like blood. Very cool.

The other eclipses presented themselves dutifully during the Feast of Booths on October 8, 2014, then again at the following Passover on April 4 (also the date of Martin Luther King’s assassination, just saying).

And here’s the good part: the final climactic eclipse will be during the Feast of Booths on September 28. Yup, this very month.

Tetrads are gratifyingly rare, but by no means historic. There have been 62 since Jesus’ first advent, and eight of them have coincided with two Jewish feasts.

What do we make of this? Pastor Mark Biltz, pastor and author John Hagee, and apparently enough readers to make his book on this topic a bestseller,  have taken this to be a cosmic omen of Christ’s return or the end of the world as we know it.

This is reminiscent of the Mayan calendar’s 2012 prediction (proven wrong in 2012 in case you haven’t noticed), and like Camping’s pertinacious predictions, and like every other prediction of Christ’s return—ever. Methinks there will be some embarrassed blushing on September 29. If it’s me who’s wrong, I’ll write a retraction. Mayan pacepalm

If only the Bible had something to say about this stuff. Oh wait…

Mark 13:32-33 “But concerning that day or that hour, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Be on guard, keep awake. For you do not know when the time will come.”

Luke 21:7-8 And they asked him, “Teacher, when will these things be, and what will be the sign when these things are about to take place?” And he said, “See that you are not led astray. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am he!’ and, ‘The time is at hand!’ Do not go after them.

When someone presents you with a date that Jesus will definitely return, you can go to your calendar, circle that day, and mark it as “not today.” But then go read 2 Pet 3:11 and remember that any reminder that Jesus is coming back should make us ask “…what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness”? Even when that reminder is a well-meaning crazy person predicting the unpredictable.


Check out

Blogs

When Does Your Religion Legally Excuse You From Doing Part of Your Job? | Washington Post: Eugene Volokh
Bookmark this one. You will probably need it.

The Next Front on the War on Religious Freedom | David Harsanyi

Trump, The Power of Positive Thinking, and American Evangelicalism | Cameron Fowler Laberge

Pastor-Scholar? Not Likely | Ref 21: Mark Jones
“The so-called pastor-scholar…This is a term I’m starting to feel a little suspicious about, especially if the words “pastor” and “scholar” are not going to be diluted regarding their meaning or compromised regarding the quality demanded of each job.”

I Don’t Want to be a Groupie | The Upward Call: Kim Shay
Here are Kim’s six suggestions to prevent you becoming a Christian Groupie.

Thinking of Having an Affair? Count the Cost | Michael Hyatt
A
nd here’s Russell Moore on Ashley Madison is Just the Beginning.

A Triage For Marriage Conflicts | ACBC: Matthew Haste
“Just as Christian thinkers need a theological triage to sort through their doctrines, Christian couples need a moral triage to sort through their conflicts….In this series, we will set forth a moral triage based on four categories found in the Scriptures: sin, wisdom, conscience, and preference.”

An In-depth Interview With Vern Poythress on Biblical Theology and Christ in the Old Testament | Justin Taylor
Well worth study and meditation.

Kindle Book

On Guard: Defending Your Faith with Reason and Precision by William Lane Craig $0.99. (25o reviews on Amazon).

Recommended New Book

Gospel Conversations: How to Care Like Christ (Equipping Biblical Counselors) by Bob Kellemen $12.99.

Video

It’s Time to Defend the Defenseless


A La Carte (September 7)

Happy Labor Day! Today’s new Kindle deals include: What Does the Bible Really Teach about Homosexuality? and The Holy Spirit (free) by Kevin DeYoung ($5.99); Running Scared by Ed Welch ($0.99); The Reformation by Stephen Nichols ($2.99); Zondervan has put the whole Counterpoints series on sale at $4.99 each, and it includes: Four Views on the Book of Revelation; Four Views on Eternal Security; Four Views on God and Canaanite GenocideThree Views on Creation and EvolutionThree Views on the MillenniumFive Views on ApologeticsFour Views on Hell; Five Views on SanctificationFour Views on the Historical Adam; Two Views on Women in Ministry; Three Views on the Bible’s Earliest ChaptersFour Views on Divine Providence; Two Views on the Doctrine of the Trinity; Four Views on the Apostle Paul; Four Views on the Lord’s SupperThree Views on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament; Five Views on Law and Gospel; Four Views on Christian Spirituality; Three Views on Remarriage after Divorce; Four Views on Baptism; Six Views on Worship; Four Views on Church Government; and Are Miraculous Gifts for Today?

What Girls Should Demand

This one is targeted squarely at young ladies. “There aren’t that many things in this life that I believe we are called to demand of others. But, this thing, girls, this demand that I am laying before you today, is a big one. It is a demand that goes against everything society is telling you to do.”

When Religion Excuses You From Your Job

The Washington Post: “Can your religion legally excuse you from doing part of your job? This is one of the questions in the Kentucky County Clerk marriage certificate case. But it also arises in lots of other cases…”

What Is a Fetus?

Justin Taylor turns to Peter Kreeft to give the answers to a simple question: What is a fetus?

You Can’t Stop Me

Here’s how Andy Mineo’s song “You Can’t Stop Me” become the top walk-up song in baseball.

Sexual Immorality: My Personal Insights

If you are even beginning to consider going down the path of adultery, or if you are dabbling in deeper and deeper sexual sin, this article will give you fair warning of all the devastation you will bring.

How Sinful Is Man?

You may have encountered R.C. Sproul’s answer before, but I find it worth reading every time.

Monergism Books

Monergism continues to grow their library of excellent classic theological works. They are all free for the taking.



Christian Headlines Daily –

http://www.christianheadlines.com/


Our Time is Short

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


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

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.

September 5-6, 2015 Truth2Freedom Christian Briefing Report

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Good Works And The Christian Life

“While good works aren’t meritorious of salvation, they are a necessary component of Christian faith. As James states, “faith apart from works is dead” (James 2:26). Paul makes this same point when he contends that we are not saved by good works but that we are saved for good works.

Read more


The Next Front in the War on Religious Freedom

“Citizens and elected officials have every right to work to cut off taxpayer funding to businesses and institutions they find morally distasteful. But if the city council of Anytown, USA, were to concoct reasons to deny permits to gay business owners who support same-sex marriage, many Americans would find that rightfully appalling.”

Read More


Why Same-Sex Marriage Will Never Measure Up To The Real Thing

“Marriage produces longer life spans, especially for men. In 2011, a survey of 90 studies found that single men die eight to 17 years earlier than married males. Life spans for single women decrease by seven to 15 years compared with their married counterparts.”

Read More


The Narnia Church

“Lewis is Mr. Mere Christianity. He does not talk about the Church a lot, although he does so more than many seem to remember. The Screwtape Letters is a great place to look for it. But fair enough. When Lewis set out to champion the Christian faith in his highest profile setting, he explicitly (almost) left ecclesiology out.”

Read More


Can the Church In Scotland Rise Again?

“We are also seeing the first signs of a renewed and reinvigorated Presbyterianism in Scotland in my own denomination, the Free Church. New churches are being planted, people are being converted and membership is increasing. The Free Church College has been relaunched as Edinburgh Theological Seminary, and there is a new leadership rising.”

Read more


John Oliver’s Target Isn’t Crooked Televangelists — It’s Conservative Churches

“Earlier this month, Oliver did a segment on televangelists. He can be forgiven for being late to the topic since he was still a teenager in England when America got bored of talking about predatory preachers on television. The “prosperity gospel” frauds are still a problem, of course, and should be called out for it. But Oliver (or whoever writes for his teleprompter) isn’t really concerned about televangelists.”

Read More


Most Of Our Children Are Average

Why do parents long to have above average children? And why are children willing to go along with their Herculean efforts to achieve such status? According to Time, and a similar story from aeon.com, “You Can Do it Baby!”, it has everything to do with our drive for success.

Read More


AF Colonel to Get Double Promotion to 2-Star General For Top Chaplain Post

“The 1986 Air Force Academy graduate said he came from a devout Baptist home in North Carolina and felt a call to the ministry in high school but was afraid of public speaking and became an industrial engineer in the service instead. He finally switched to the chaplaincy in 1996 and said he has loved having the spiritual role ever since.”

Read More


What Grace Isn’t

Finding loopholes around church discipline–whether by leaving one church or another or by some other way–demonstrates a heart that fails to grasp that God disciplines sons and daughters. In other words, grace and steadfast love grounds discipline; hatred avoids discipline.

Read More


The Pointless Campaign to “Save Marriage”

We face an extremist political ideology, akin to communism or fascism, where in fact it originated. But its political currency is not social class or national identity or race: It is sex. A radical sexual ideology that began with feminism but now includes homosexualism and perhaps other sexualities has wheedled its way to the commanding heights of political power. At stake are no longer simply abstract values; basic civil liberties and constitutional rights have already been lost for many, and the jails are already filling, though this is off the radar screen of most Christian leaders.

Read More


Five Ways To Critique Without Crushing

A critique should not be a monologue but a dialogue. Work with the person to discuss action items and next steps. Without action steps, the team member leaves your office crushed with uncertainty about what is next. Actions steps provide a sense of closure to the issue and a path forward.

Read More


Ashley Madison Is Just the Beginning

The brokenness of sexuality all around us demonstrates something far deeper than a crisis of culture. The brokenness of sexuality around us demonstrates a crisis of worship. We will not get out of this with better Internet filters or more accountability groups. We must recognize that technology will continue to offer fallen humanity what it thinks it wants—the illusion that we can transgress God and not surely die. Our only hope starts with the kind of vision which sees that, no matter the technology, we are never anonymous to God.

Read more


Tullian Tchividjian Bounces Back?

How is the biblical standard of the peace and purity of the church upheld and strengthened by this move? How can the staff and people of Willow Creek PCA work with Tchividjian in an air of normalcy without turning a deaf ear to his history? And how will this ministerial culture affect people’s attention to the “peace and purity of the church?”

Read more


Trump, the Power of Positive Thinking and American Evangelicalism

Trump doesn’t speak to the thin veneer of compulsory sensitivity training we’ve all endured. He speaks to the bones of who we are: people who love the Bible, are Protestant, and went to Sunday School. It doesn’t matter so much that he does not live a Biblical ethic in his personal nor professional life. It doesn’t matter that he fails to treat people as if they are all equally made in God’s image. What matters is that it satisfies the appetite developed by a cultural “can do” mantra.

Read More


The Church’s Hummingbirds

The hummingbird in a nearly worshipful pose surveys the tower that by his efforts he has prevented others of lesser strength or cunning from drinking their fill and becoming renewed.  When the Church allows its main focus to shift to solving the ills of society, however noble and compassionate, without a foundation of the Living water that Jesus Christ provides, we become the hummingbirds who take satisfaction in guarding traditions, only allowing the ‘worthy’ to come in, and placing our righteousness on display as we tolerate the sin rather than engage those with the Gospel that heals all of mankind’s afflictions.

Read more


Packer on Preaching

“Systematic theology is taxing intellectually and spiritually, but preaching consistently well is in many respects more so, because it combines deep biblical-theological knowledge with sharp historical awareness, cultural sensitivity and unvarnished spiritual stature. Only thus will preaching impact the hearts, habits, opinions, affections, and lifestyles of individuals and communities with moral force and intellectual persuasion.

Read More


At A Berlin Church, Muslim Refugees Converting In Droves

Muslims have converted in Germany in recent years — and they are a tiny minority compared to the country’s overall 4 million Muslims. But at least for Berlin, Martens describes the number of conversions as nothing short of a “miracle.” And he says he has at least another 80 people — mostly refugees from Iran and a few Afghans — waiting to be baptized.

Read More


God Bless Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis

Thus today, even when the people disagree with the decisions of the Supreme Court there is no remedy.  The people were misled into thinking that power was in their hands.  The people were flattered, but the people were deceived.  This seed of “We the Supreme Court” was planted in 1789 in Philadelphia, and it was solidified in 1865 at Appomattox. It was set in stone with the passage of the fourteenth amendment in 1868.

Read another opinion article: When does your religion legally excuse you from doing part of your job?

Read more


Muslim family shoots Christian daughter & kills son-in-law

Muslim family shoots Christian daughter & kills son-in-law

Posted on September 5, 2015 by Christian Examiner

After hearing of their conversion, a Muslim family shoots their daughter and leaves her for dead after beating fatally shooting her husband.

Read Full Article »


Mercy, Grace and Learning From Mistakes

We all continually fall short of the glory of God and fail to be who He wants us to be.  With sexual sin rampant in the world, all of us are in a constant spiritual battle to please God rather than feed our flesh. Word is coming out that several Christian leaders contact information was […]

The post Mercy, Grace and Learning From Mistakes appeared first on Stand Up For The Truth.

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Mercy-Grace-and-Learning-From-Mistakes.mp3 21.9 MB


The Danger of Islam and “Chrislam”

According to the 1 John 4:3 Islam is a religion of anti-christ.  Islam denies that Jesus Christ is God, instead referring to him as a prophet who is less than Muhammad. Muslim terrorists and fanatics continue to murder innocent Christians and others in the Middle East.  And yet the Bible teaches us to love and […]

The post The Danger of Islam and “Chrislam” appeared first on Stand Up For The Truth.

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The-Danger-of-Islam-and-Chrislam.mp3 21.7 MB


Serving Two Masters

Jesus warned us sternly that no man can serve two masters–God and money.  That ultimately a man would choose to love one and hate the other.  And as Christians we can easily fool ourselves into thinking we are keeping money in its correct biblical perspective. There are Word Faith televangelists racking up millions of dollars […]

The post Serving Two Masters appeared first on Stand Up For The Truth.

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Serving-Two-Masters.mp3 20.9 MB


It’s Turning Ugly Out There

Bolstered by the sad decision of the U.S. Supreme Court that legalized homosexual “marriage”, secular progressives are pressing their temporary advantage, doing all they can to suppress and silence the voices of Christian churches and ministries.  They’ve found an ally in the court system and an opponent (Christians) who seem apathetic as a whole. Are […]

The post It’s Turning Ugly Out There appeared first on Stand Up For The Truth.

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Its-Turning-Ugly-Out-There.mp3 23.6 MB


Not the law of the land

The Supreme Court ruling on homosexual marriage was based on judicial review. That’s a contentious issue in American jurisprudence, with a very checkered history. To say, without further ado, that judicial rulings are “the law of the land” is not a given:

WHI-1274 | Brand Me

In September we will be looking at issues of authority on the White Horse Inn. To better understand the world in which we live and how to bring the gospel to our culture, it is vital to understand how our culture has come to shape our values, our beliefs, and practices through mere participation in consumer habits and transactions. Unknowingly, we often erect idols which we come to confuse with Christ Jesus.

In today’s consumer culture, the customer is king. But do all our consumer preferences end up determining our identity? What if our desires and preferences have been shaped and manipulated by a culture of marketing? Who are we then? On this program the hosts will introduce this new White Horse Inn series as they explore issues related to personal identity in an age of consumerism and self-expression. Join us this week on the White Horse Inn as we seek to bring the gospel to a world that constantly seeks to fashion Jesus in its own consumer-friendly image.

HOST QUOTE
“It’s really interesting when you see people say, ‘Well, this is where I am. This is my unique niche. I am …’ and they start bullet-pointing the things that identify them and you say, ‘you know, actually that is the major demographic of your age group. You’re not unique. You haven’t chosen anything except to be just like everybody else your age, your socio-economic, ethnic background. Basically, everybody who has the same playlist that you have, kind of dresses like that, kind of has certain characteristics like the ones you have.’
“On the one hand there’s this insatiable desire of all of our generations, especially in America, kind of a narcissistic culture, of being so unique, utterly different, and yet at the same time being passionately concerned about not being left behind, being part of the demographic you want to identify with. That’s kind of a weird irony in our culture.”
– Michael Horton
TERM TO LEARN
Consumer Culture
Consumerism is a social and economic order and ideology that encourages the acquisition of goods and services in ever-increasing amounts. A consumer culture can broadly be defined as a culture where social status, values, and activities are centered on the consumption of goods, services, and experiences. A large part of what you do, what you value and how you are defined revolves around consumption. Some theorists have regarded consumer culture as oppressive and manipulative, and some argue that it is a model of “consumer sovereignty.”
After World War II, consumer spending no longer meant satisfying an indulgent material desire. The American consumer was praised as a patriotic citizen in the 1950s, as someone contributing to the ultimate success of the American way of life. “The good purchaser devoted to ‘more, newer and better’ was the good citizen,” historian Lizabeth Cohen wrote, “since economic recovery after a decade and a half of depression and war depended on a dynamic mass consumption economy.”
Historian Elaine Tyler May argues that the new consumerism was a way to deemphasizing class differences while stressing traditional gender roles. The federal government and the American people saw that what had become defined as “the good life” was now within economic reach. For the working-class people could achieve the upward mobility they craved.
Consumerism has become one of the dominant global social forces that seeks a life of uninhibited consumption of goods, services, and experiences with almost total disregard for the global effects of such lifestyles. It is the pursuit of a good life narrated and marketed to through such practices which has cut across natural differences of religion, gender, class, ethnicity, and nationality. It is central to what Manfred Steger calls the new ‘global imaginary.’ This market driven vision of life has seeped into all aspects of life, turning even rebellion against the status quo into a new market niche ready for branding and consumption, wedding itself to the politics of uninhibited desire.
(Adapted from Lizabeth Cohen, A Consumer’s Republic, p. 119; James, Paul; Szeman, and Imre Globalization and Culture, Vol. 3: “Global-Local Consumption,” p. x; and “Consumerism” from the Britannica Concise Encyclopedia [2008])

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When You Can’t Find a Church

Jan Markell’s first guest is Dr. Ed Hindson. They discuss his newest book, “Target Israel: Caught in the Crosshairs of the End Times.” Find it here. Never has Israel been so marginalized, even by America. Then Jan Markell and Eric Barger talk to Dr. Randy White who says even as a Baptist pastor, he would have a hard time finding a church to attend. What has gone wrong and what is the answer to the church dilemma? We use the mobile app found at www.oneplace.com.

Access Programming Here or Here


The relevance of millennial marketing

Jim Fletcher warns about young evangelicals being led astray

Tickle has been a key pied piper for fellow writers Brian McLaren, Doug Pagitt and Tony Jones (who announced two years ago that he simply no longer believes in original sin).

This is what is being pumped into the bloodstream of young evangelicals in America. Of course, the left loves to distort labels for their own disingenuous purposes, and many call themselves “evangelical,” all the while knowing they are nothing like traditional evangelicals.

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Criminalising Christianity, and Resisting Unjust Laws

Political prisoner Kim Davis knows all about unjust laws, and the criminalisation of Christianity. She is not the first, nor will she be the last to experience this firsthand. The homosexual militants, and the secular extremists and statists in bed with them, are now waging a full-scale war against all dissenters, and what we are now witnessing is just the tip of the iceberg.

The nearly 200 examples of Christians being jailed, fined and fired from their jobs documented in my latest book is only a smattering of the cases of persecution and anti-Christian bigotry. As more and more anti-Christian legislation is passed, and unjust laws become the norm, increasingly believers will need to revive the noble tradition of civil disobedience.

civil_disobedienceTo understand more clearly the biblical and theological rationale for such civil disobedience, please refer to this piece: http://billmuehlenberg.com/2008/11/02/christians-and-civil-disobedience/

While such disobedience is part of the Christian heritage, incredibly I keep hearing rather confused Christians insisting that we can never break a bad law or resist unjust government edicts. These folks need to go back and read their Bibles and study some church history. The truth is, this has been a long-standing tradition in Scripture and in Christian history.

Simply consider some of those who defied the state, resisted unjust laws, and suffered the consequences. In Exodus 1:15-22 we read about the Hebrew midwives who chose to fear God while disobeying Pharaoh. They are even listed in the ‘Heroes of the Faith’ chapter in Hebrews 11 for their actions (v. 23). And in Jeremiah 38:1-6 we learn about how Jeremiah defied the Jewish officials, and ended up being chucked into a miry pit as a result.

We have of course Daniel, a government official in Babylon, defying the king and his unjust laws, as found in Daniel 6. Also, Daniel’s friends Shadrach Meshach and Abednego did the same thing, as we read about in Daniel 3. Peter of course went to jail rather than obey a law which violated the higher law of God.

As we read in Acts 4:18-20, Peter said to the authorities, “Judge for yourselves whether it is right in God’s sight to obey you rather than God” (v. 19). And in Acts 5:27-29 we find the apostles jailed for disobeying the authorities. Peter and the other apostles made it clear where they stood, “We must obey God rather than man”.

Throughout human history both Christians and non-Christians have appealed to the right to disobey tyrannical regimes, and to disobey unjust laws. Plenty of quotes can be provided in this regard. Here are just a few:

“An unjust law is itself a species of violence. Arrest for its breach is more so. Now the law of nonviolence says that violence should be resisted not by counter-violence but by nonviolence. This I do by breaking the law and by peacefully submitting to arrest and imprisonment.” -Mahatma Gandhi

Unjust laws exist; shall we be content to obey them, or shall we endeavor to amend them, and obey them until we have succeeded, or shall we transgress them at once? Men generally, under such a government as this, think that they ought to wait until they have persuaded the majority to alter them. They think that, if they should resist, the remedy would be worse than the evil. But it is the fault of the government itself that the remedy is worse than the evil. It makes it worse. Why is it not more apt to anticipate and provide for reform? Why does it not cherish its wise minority? Why does it cry and resist before it is hurt? Why does it not encourage its citizens to be on the alert to point out its faults, and do better than it would have them? -Henry David Thoreau

But now what? Why, now comes my master, takes me right away from my work, and my friends, and all I like, and grinds me down into the very dirt! And why? Because, he says, I forgot who I was; he says, to teach me that I am only a nigger! After all, and last of all, he comes between me and my wife, and says I shall give her up, and live with another woman. And all this your laws give him power to do, in spite of God or man. Mr. Wilson, look at it! There isn’t one of all these things, that have broken the hearts of my mother and my sister, and my wife and myself, but your laws allow, and give every man power to do, in Kentucky, and none can say to him nay! Do you call these the laws of my country? Sir, I haven’t any country, any more than I have any father. But I’m going to have one. I don’t want anything of your country, except to be let alone, to go peaceably out of it; and when I get to Canada, where the laws will own me and protect me, that shall be my country, and its laws I will obey. But if any man tries to stop me, let him take care, for I am desperate. I’ll fight for my liberty to the last breath I breathe. You say your fathers did it; if it was right for them, it is right for me! -Harriet Beecher Stowe

The famous German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer knew all about resistance to tyranny, and he knew all about paying the price for doing so. As he wrote: “Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.”

Of course Martin Luther King, Jr. penned his now famous “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” in April 16, 1963. In it he said:

One may well ask: “How can you advocate breaking some laws and obeying others?” The answer lies in the fact that there are two types of laws: just and unjust. I would be the first to advocate obeying just laws. One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that “an unjust law is no law at all.”

And again:

How does one determine whether a law is just or unjust? A just law is a man-made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God. An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law. To put it in the terms of St. Thomas Aquinas: An unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal law and natural law. Any law that uplifts human personality is just. Any law that degrades human personality is unjust.

One more: “An individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for the law”

Resistance to tyranny

Indeed, America of course is built on the notion of resistance to tyranny, and the obligation of free men to resist oppressive states. The Founding Fathers, and others, spoke to this often:

“Resistance to tyranny becomes the Christian and social duty of each individual. … Continue steadfast and, with a proper sense of your dependence on God, nobly defend those rights which heaven gave, and no man ought to take from us.” -John Hancock, the first man to sign the Declaration of Independence

“The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.” -Thomas Jefferson

“The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.” -Thomas Jefferson

“To compel a man to subsidize with his taxes the propagation of ideas which he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical.” -Thomas Jefferson

“Disobedience to tyrants is Obedience to God.” -Benjamin Franklin

“It is because men are sinners that justice can be achieved only by a certain degree of coercion on the one hand, and by resistance to coercion and tyranny on the other hand.” -Reinhold Niebuhr

More recently Walter Williams put it this way:

Decent people should not obey immoral laws. What’s moral and immoral can be a contentious issue, but there are some broad guides for deciding what laws and government actions are immoral. Lysander S. Spooner, one of America’s great 19th-century thinkers, said no person or group of people can “authorize government to destroy or take away from men their natural rights; for natural rights are inalienable, and can no more be surrendered to government — which is but an association of individuals — than to a single individual.”
French economist/philosopher Frederic Bastiat (1801-50) gave a test for immoral government acts: “See if the law benefits one citizen at the expense of another by doing what the citizen himself cannot do without committing a crime.” He added in his book “The Law,” “When law and morality contradict each other, the citizen has the cruel alternative of either losing his moral sense or losing his respect for the law.”

The late great Francis Schaeffer spoke about this often, including in a talk delivered in 1982 to the Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Florida. He is worth quoting at length:

Throughout the whole history of the Christian Church, (and again I wish people knew their history. In A Christian Manifesto I stress what happened in the Reformation in reference to all this) at a certain point, it is not only the privilege but it is the duty of the Christian to disobey the government. Now that’s what the founding fathers did when they founded this country. That’s what the early Church did. That’s what Peter said. You heard it from the Scripture: “Should we obey man?… rather than God?” That’s what the early Christians did.
Occasionally – no, often, people say to me, “But the early Church didn’t practice civil disobedience.” Didn’t they? You don’t know your history again. When those Christians that we all talk about so much allowed themselves to be thrown into the arena, when they did that, from their view it was a religious thing. They would not worship anything except the living God. But you must recognize from the side of the Roman state, there was nothing religious about it at all – it was purely civil. The Roman Empire had disintegrated until the only unity it had was its worship of Caesar. You could be an atheist; you could worship the Zoroastrian religion… You could do anything. They didn’t care. It was a civil matter, and when those Christians stood up there and refused to worship Caesar, from the side of the state, they were rebels. They were in civil disobedience and they were thrown to the beasts. They were involved in civil disobedience, as much as your brothers and sisters in the Soviet Union are. When the Soviet Union says that, by law, they cannot tell their children, even in their home about Jesus Christ, they must disobey and they get sent off to the mental ward or to Siberia. It’s exactly the same kind of civil disobedience that’s represented in a very real way by the thing I am wearing on my lapel tonight.
Every appropriate legal and political governmental means must be used. “The final bottom line”- I have invented this term in A Christian Manifesto. I hope the Christians across this country and across the world will really understand what the Bible truly teaches: The final bottom line! The early Christians, every one of the reformers (and again, I’ll say in A Christian Manifesto I go through country after country and show that there was not a single place with the possible exception of England, where the Reformation was successful, where there wasn’t civil disobedience and disobedience to the state), the people of the Reformation, the founding fathers of this country, faced and acted in the realization that if there is no place for disobeying the government, that government has been put in the place of the living God. In such a case, the government has been made a false god. If there is no place for disobeying a human government, what government has been made GOD.
Caesar, under some name, thinking of the early Church, has been put upon the final throne. The Bible’s answer is NO! Caesar is not to be put in the place of God and we as Christians, in the name of the Lordship of Christ, and all of life, must so think and act on the appropriate level. It should always be on the appropriate level. We have lots of room to move yet with our court cases, with the people we elect – all the things that we can do in this country. If, unhappily, we come to that place, the appropriate level must also include a disobedience to the state.
If you are not doing that, you haven’t thought it through. Jesus is not really on the throne. God is not central. You have made a false god central. Christ must be the final Lord and not society and not Caesar.
May I repeat the final sentence again? CHRIST MUST BE THE FINAL LORD AND NOT CAESAR AND NOT SOCIETY.

Not only was America founded by civil disobedience and resistance to tyrannical laws, but this has been part and parcel of the case for liberty over many centuries. Biblically and historically, we have sound precedence to disobey unjust laws on occasion, and as a last resort, and to be willing to face the consequences for doing so.

This must be done prayerfully and carefully of course. As I explain in more detail in the article I link to above, rebellion and disobedience in themselves are no virtues, and are normally great evils. So civil disobedience is something that must be done only in extreme circumstances, and must be undertaken with the greatest of caution and prudence.

But when it becomes necessary to so, then we must thus engage. Kim Davis, who broke no laws, but in fact faithfully upheld the laws of the state of Kentucky, is now suffering for her obedience to Christ. May God raise up millions of other committed Christians who will remain true to Christ, and stand against evil wherever it is encountered.

And if need be, who will pay the price to resist evil laws and tyrannical governments.

http://www.peopleforlife.org/francis.html


Pope Francis U.S. Visit 2015 Schedule and Dates: Pontiff Invites Rick Warren to Speak at Philadelphia Conference on Family

According to The Gospel Herald Ministries:

Rick Warren and Pope Francis

Rick Warren, senior pastor of Saddleback Church, has announced he will be speaking in Philadelphia later this month at the World Meeting of Families event to commence Pope Francis’ highly anticipated visit to the United States.

Warren announced his plans to attend the event during the Sunday morning worship service at the Lake Forest, CA church.

“Next month, Pope Francis is coming to America for a world gathering on families,” he told the congregation. “I’m not a Catholic, and we have many differences with Catholics. But they love the Lord and we have much in common with that – we believe in the Bible, and the Trinity, and in Jesus and the resurrection.”

“There are probably going to be a million people in Philadelphia at this final event with Pope Francis, and he’s asked me to be the final speaker,” the Purpose Driven Life author continued amid cheering and applause.

http://www.gospelherald.com/articles/57540/20150901/pope-francis-visit-2015-schedule-and-dates-pontiff-invites-rick-warren-to-speak-at-philadelphia-conference-on-family.html


Heidelberg 123: The Second Petition—Your Kingdom Come (2)

We have already seen some of the difficulties that come with both an over-realized and under-realized eschatology. In contrast to both we should see that the Gospel of Mark presents our Lord Jesus as proclaiming neither a fully realized, earthly kingdom nor a purely future kingdom. “Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, […]

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Harvard allows students to register with gender neutral pronouns

Boston.com reports:

Students registering at Harvard University now have the option to choose their preferred gender pronouns, including gender neutral terms like “ze, hir, hirs,” and “they, them, theirs.”

The Harvard Crimson reports that the Faculty of Arts and Sciences’ registration tool, which typically asks students to write down their gender marker in terms of “male,” “female,” and “transgender,” now for the first time allows students to write in their preferred pronouns when they registered this week.

http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/2015/09/03/harvard-allows-students-register-with-gender-neutral-pronouns/IM40t3nOzXT8kcvN40RHeO/story.html


The Timid Sheep

It does not take much reading in the newspaper or media sites to realize that our culture is rapidly changing. I am not saying that our culture is going from Christian to secular (that’s another discussion);  but I do believe that we are seeing less toleration of Christianity, especially among the self-proclaimed tolerant.

Fear sets in, doesn’t it? Timidity replaces trust at times. Will the church press on courageously, trusting in Christ’s purposes or will we retreat due to the fear that overwhelms us?

This is going to prove to be a pastoral problem in the church. As the church faces this new age of forced-toleration, how ought we respond to those who who suffer under the fear and timidity that may plague our souls?

Martin Bucer (1491-1551), gives us wisdom here. He writes:

Those who become timid, so that the cross and tribulation become too heavy for them, must be addressed kindly and comfortingly, faithfully impressing on them the goodness of God and the salvation of Christ, so that they may recognize and believe that our dear God’s intentions towards them are entirely fatherly and faithful in all the sufferings he sends them. They are always to be dissuaded from thinking about their sins and all unhappiness, and to be uplifted into the mercy of God and the salvation of Jesus Christ.

Friends, you will have conversations in the next several weeks and months that will include a confession of fear and timidity from a sincere brother or sister in Christ. This is our time. As those anxieties are brought forth, we must remember to be as shepherds who strengthen the sheep, not disciplining or harsh in our care and speech, but pointing those with a lack of courage or strength to the one whose intentions are always fatherly and faithful. We must respond with kindness and comfort as we point them to the Chief Shepherd of their souls.

Use wisdom in your conversations and discernment as you comfort the lambs of God. Point them to the one who has overcome the world.


Why I do not recommend Kendrick Brothers’ new movie, “War Room”, part 1

Elizabeth Prata of The End Time reviews the Christian film “War Room.”  In part 1 she sheds light on some of the glaring theological problems with the film and also deals with other Kendrick brothers’ productions, such as “Fireproof” and “Courageous.” The brothers may have good intentions in making “Christian” films, however in so doing they […]

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The Cost Of Social Collapse

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What we can learn from the arrest of Kim Davis

Kim Davis made a choice to follow her religious conviction instead of obeying man.  Is this the beginning of the end of religious conscience and freedom? From The Christian Post’s Michael Brown: It is jarring to write the words “the arrest of Kim Davis,” speaking of the Kentucky clerk who was remanded to jail for […]

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Church Discipline, Contemporary Grace Style

Rick Phillips of Reformation 21 weighs in on the Tullian Tchividjian affair.  Many of Tullian’s supporters are unaware that he is a leading voice in the  Contemporary Grace Movement (hypergrace). Phillips addresses it here. Billy Graham and his grandson Tullian Tchividjian I have so far refrained from public comment on the resignation of Tullian Tchividjian in […]

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Tradionalism Was Never Going To Hold

Many years before Obergefell, same-sex marriage activists accurately identified the underbelly of their opponents’ political and cultural position: Most support for “traditional marriage” was not based on a sophisticated and principled conviction, but rather the social intuition that supporting marriage-as-it-has-always-been was the safe, respectable opinion. What LGBT activists needed to do, then, was not so […]

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God’s Crime Scene: Following the Evidence of Creation

by John Stonestreet

Standing on the porch of a locked house, rookie homicide investigator J. Warner Wallace peered into the living room. He could see a man on the floor in a pool of blood, gun by his side.

Now the question he had to answer: Was this a murder, an accident, or a suicide?

Entering the room with other detectives, Wallace, quickly surmised that the man had killed himself. But he hadn’t looked closely enough. Wallace’s more experienced team leader found clues indicating someone had come in from outside the room: a piece of mud on the floor, footprints, and the fact that the murder weapon was lying on the left side of the victim even though he was right handed.

The more evidence amassed, the more it became clear that the man was murdered.

As a detective, Wallace learned to follow the evidence wherever it led—to put aside his assumptions and his pre-conceived ideas. And in his fabulous new book, “God’s Crime Scene,” Wallace uses his detective skills and his training as an apologist to examine whether the universe was created by a divine intruder outside the room of natural existence or not.

For years, Wallace was a committed atheist. “I really had a sense,” he said, “that eventually science would have an answer for every important question we could possibly ask about our existence, about the nature of the universe, about how the universe got here, and about how biological creatures like humans evolved on the planet.”

Then Wallace cracked open a Bible…

The Poached Egg ApologeticsFOLLOW THE LINK BELOW TO READ THE FULL ARTICLE >>>

God’s Crime Scene: Following the Evidence of Creation


Judge Who Jailed Kim Davis Ordered Students Who Opposed Homosexuality to Be Re-Educated

According to Christian News Network:

Following yesterday’s jailing of a county clerk for stating that it is not possible for her to obey an order to issue marriage licenses to homosexuals against God’s law, it is now being noted that the same federal judge also once ordered Kentucky students to be re-educated about homosexuality despite their objections.

In 2003, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)—the same group that filed suit against Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis—sued the Boyd County Board of Education to force it to agree to allow a “gay-straight” alliance club to meet at Boyd County High School. A number of parents had strongly opposed the group following its initial formation, with approximately 70 attending a school council meeting to speak out on the matter.

http://christiannews.net/2015/09/04/judge-who-jailed-kim-davis-ordered-students-who-opposed-homosexuality-to-be-re-educated/


Tullian Tchividjian’s Hiring as Ministry Director Shortly After Affair, Divorce Raises Concerns

Christian News Network has the latest in the Tullian Tchividjain saga. Tullian landed a job with Willow Creek Presbyterian Church in Florida! For those who are wondering, WCPC has no connection to Willow Creek Community Church in Chicago and its senior apostate pastor Bill Hybles.

Less than three months following his resignation as senior pastor of a megachurch over his admission to having an affair, and less than two weeks after he filed for divorce from his wife, Tullian Tchividjian, the grandson of evangelist Billy Graham, has been hired by Willow Creek Presbyterian Church in Florida to serve as director of ministry development.

As previously reported, Tchividjian, 42, the son of Virginia Graham, took over the pulpit of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in 2009 following the passing of founder D. James Kennedy. However, the selection divided the congregation, as some approved and others disapproved of his leadership. Several months after he accepted the job, Kennedy’s daughter and others began calling for his removal.

http://christiannews.net/2015/09/03/tullian-tchividjians-hiring-as-ministry-director-shortly-after-affair-divorce-raises-concerns/


Judge Who Jailed Kim Davis Ordered Students Who Opposed Homosexuality to Be Re-Educated

(CN) — Following yesterday’s jailing of a county clerk for stating that it is not possible for her to obey an order to issue marriage licenses to homosexuals against God’s law, it is now being noted that the same federal judge also once ordered Kentucky students to be re-educated about homosexuality despite their objections.

In 2003, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)—the same group that filed suit against Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis—sued the Boyd County Board of Education to force it to agree to allow a “gay-straight” alliance club to meet at Boyd County High School. A number of parents had strongly opposed the group following its initial formation, with approximately 70 attending a school council meeting to speak out on the matter.

Federal Judge Orders County Clerk to Jail Until She Agrees to Issue ‘Gay Marriage’ Licenses

(CN) — A federal judge has ordered a Kentucky clerk to be placed behind bars until she complies with his order to issue marriage licenses to homosexuals despite her Christian identity.

U.S. District Judge David Bunning, appointed to the bench by then-president George W. Bush, declared Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis in contempt of court this morning after she explained in tears that it is not possible for her to comply with the order because of her Christianity.

Missouri Students Protest ‘Transgender’ Teen’s Use of Girl’s Locker Room, Restroom

(CN) — Students at a public high school in Missouri walked out of class Monday in protest of a male student who is being allowed to use the girls’ locker and restrooms.

According to reports, approximately 150 students at Hillsboro High School spent two hours expressing concerns over the permissions granted to a 17-year-old senior who identifies as “Lila Perry.” Perry, born a male, says that he began having female inclinations at age 13. He had been living as a homosexual male up until last year, when he donned a wig and female clothing.

‘You Have to Do It’: Texts Surface in Case of Teen Charged with Urging Boyfriend to Commit Suicide

(CN) — Text messages have been released in the case of a teenage girl who is facing involuntary manslaughter charges for urging her boyfriend to commit suicide, and staying with him on the phone until he went through with it.

Michelle Carter, 18, was officially charged in February in the death of her boyfriend, Conrad Roy III, also 18, who struggled with depression. He died by carbon monoxide poisoning after gassing himself in his pickup truck in the parking lot of the Fairhaven, Massachusetts Kmart.

Other Top News Stories of Interest:


The ‘Before and After’ for This Little Girl in Just One Year Will Blow You Away

Sometimes we can be guilty of consuming the news but not processing the pain, terror and loss of others. For most of us, the horror is happening far away, but that doesn’t mean it’s not happening.

Laughter can turn to tears so quickly. Step into another’s shoes just for a moment. Watch this. It’s powerful.

As the Syrian crisis worsens, learn how you can help today wherever you are.

May God bless you with discomfort,
At easy answers, half-truths, and superficial relationships,
So that you may live deep within your heart.

May God bless you with anger,
At injustice, oppression and exploitation of people,
So that you may work for justice, freedom and peace.

May God bless you with tears
To shed for those who suffer pain, rejection, hunger, and war,
So that you may reach out your hand to comfort them
And turn their pain into joy.

And may God bless you with enough foolishness
To believe that you can make a difference in the world,
So that you can do what others claim cannot be done
To bring justice and kindness to all our children and the poor.

Amen
– Franciscan Benediction

The post The ‘Before and After’ for This Little Girl in Just One Year Will Blow You Away appeared first on ChurchLeaders.com.


Pope Francis U.S. Visit 2015 Schedule and Dates: Pontiff Invites Rick Warren To Speak at Philadelphia Conference on Family

LTRP Note: Posted for informational and research purposes. Courtesy Understand the Times By Leah Marieann Klett The Gospel Herald Ministries Rick Warren, senior pastor of Saddleback Church, has announced he will be speaking in Philadelphia later this month at the World Meeting of Families event to commence Pope Francis’ highly anticipated visit to the United […]

The Line between Rule of Law and Civil Disobedience

Kim Davis, a county clerk in Kentucky who objects to same-sex marriage, stopped issuing marriage licenses altogether, was ordered by a federal judge to resume her duty, refused to comply, and now is in jail for contempt of court. (Take a moment to read Joe Carter’s explainer on this story to catch up.)

I’m still working through what I think about this situation. It’s difficult because there are so many issues involved and goods to weigh, and I’m still trying to separate my feelings about the unfairness of singling out Kim Davis (as opposed to other officials who refuse to do their job) from the question of what Kim Davis should do. To help you think through this, there’s a symposium discussing these issues over at Breakpoint:

[B]ecause Davis is a government employee, it’s a complicated situation with many angles. Christians are divided on Davis’ actions, and the response by authorities. At issue are questions about the nature of religious liberty, the duty of Christians in government, and what godly civil disobedience looks like.

Here are a few excerpts from the symposium:

From Andrew Walker (this one most closely mirrors where I stand as of now):

The Supreme Court is where ultimate blame rests involving Kim Davis. Court rulings that are truly rooted in justice should seamlessly integrate into a state’s laws. Rulings should not circumvent the democratic process, pre-empt state action, and leave civil society in a state of fractious tumult. Unfortunately, that’s what Obergefell did, and now we’re seeing its disastrous effects in state jurisdictions such as Kentucky. That, and needless escalation in terms of incarceration, coupled with government inaction has brought us to the situation we’re in.

We must recognize the crucial difference between the religious liberty claims of private citizens and government officials. While government employees don’t lose their constitutional protection simply because they work for the government, an individual whose office requires them to uphold or execute the law is a separate matter than the private citizen whose conscience is infringed upon as a result of the law. It means the balancing test is different when it comes to government officials because of their roles as agents of the state. Government officials have a responsibility to carry out the law. When an official can no longer execute the laws in question due to an assault on conscience, and after all accommodating measures have been exhausted, he or she could work for change as a private citizen, engaging the democratic process in hopes of changing the questionable law.

From Shane Morris:

[W]e do and should discriminate when it comes to right and wrong, and natural law, which supersede the power of government, contrary to what Judge David Bunning says. This is the very concept that inspired the American Revolution, and a Civil Rights activist generations later from a Birmingham jail cell: There is a Law above the law. And any manmade law in contradiction to it is “no law at all.”

A Christian woman is in jail for upholding the definition of marriage set in place at creation against one just invented by Anthony Kennedy. I don’t feel comfortable telling her she’s wrong, or that she should just do her job. She’s standing on the side of reality, of natural law, and God, against a depraved fantasy.

From Michael Brown:

[W]hat cannot be debated is that the national outrage against Kim Davis has nothing to do with her refusing to obey the law and everything to do with her Christian beliefs. Had she found herself on the opposite end of the conflict and had she stood for “gay rights,” refusing to obey a law that she felt discriminated against them, she would be praised from coast to coast.

I encourage you to read everyone’s full comments over at Breakpoint. At the end of the post, there are links to several articles from different viewpoints that I’ve also found helpful, and there are plenty more out there. Ryan Anderson recommends a way forward where beliefs are accommodated and licenses are still obtained. Rod Dreher comes down hard on Davis and warns her actions will bring about serious consequences for religious liberty. Douglas Wilson takes the opposite position, saying Davis should not back down.

This is not a simple issue. Rule of law is what makes a good society possible, and the value we place on it should be great—it should never be compromised as part of a regular strategy for getting what we want. (I suspect the fact that we don’t believe the other side feels this way is fueling a lot of the support for Davis’s actions.) But there is also a time and place for civil disobedience, grounded in a Law higher than man’s, against an unjust law. Determining where the line should be drawn between them is not a simple task, and it deserves careful thought.


The Promise of God in Threatening Pain

The Promise of God in Threatening PainWe live in a society that is petrified of suffering. Each day starts with a thousand moments of flinching at pain — at our alarm clocks, at the shower’s cold water, at missed emails that threaten loss and tragedy. We resent suffering, and what it could mean for us. Job bewails that suffering looms with the shadow divine disappointment: “I become afraid of all my suffering, for I know you will not hold me innocent” (Job 9:28).

Last night, I bolted onto the football field to face the Miami Dolphins. I was eager, surging with life, energy, and strength. It was the last preseason game of my third season in the NFL. The ball snapped, and with a snap of his fingers, God mercifully showed me how small and weak I am compared to his grand and glorious sovereignty over all creation.

As I was hit from the side in my knee, I felt the pop, fell to the ground in excruciating pain, and knew my year was over before it had even begun.

In the NFL, it’s easy to publicly thank God when we win, when we are victors, when we feel like gods. I want to take the opportunity to thank God when I am afraid — I want to thank him for three things:

  1. his promise to care for me in the midst of threatening pain;
  2. his meaning, which he spins out of the thread of suffering; and
  3. his joy, which resonates most beautifully when superficial pleasures fade.

God’s Sovereign Care

A few wrong angles, and I was hit, falling to the ground in pain. All of a sudden, five people ran out to me. My flesh and Satan would have me believe a thousand stories in that moment. “You’re done.” “You’re worthless.” “You’re going to lose everything.” “You can’t keep up.” “You’re pathetic.” But the more real story echoed through my heart. As I lay on the field, God’s Spirit through the word whispered in my ear, “We know that for those who love God all things work together for good” (Romans 8:28).

That verse was a promise to me. God works all things together for good. It was like the Holy Spirit was repeating it in my heart, over and over again, with each surge of pain through my knee, “For those who love me, I work all things together for good.” God cares for his people. We can’t bank on prosperity-gospel promises. They can’t stand the test of God’s curse over the world. But God promises to care for us better than any worldly shepherd.

When we trust in the richest powers of the world, God says through Jeremiah, “All your lovers have forgotten you; they care nothing for you” (Jeremiah 30:14). But God still works to move the gospel into our lives through people who delight in Christ: “I will set shepherds over them who will care for them, and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, neither shall any be missing, declares the LORD” (Jeremiah 23:4).

“Neither shall any be missing.” Not even me. Not even when I fail. Not even when I have nothing to offer. “Declares the Lord.” It’s his decree: Garrett shall not be left outside his care. Praise Jesus.

God’s Meaning-Making Sovereignty

In that moment of pain, I had a strange “peace of God that surpasses all understanding” (Philippians 4:7). I had heartfelt assurance that everything was going to be okay. But I was assured of something more important:

This season of suffering, this injury, is a gift.

Not only was I reminded of Romans 8:28, that all things work for good, but also that what happened was a gift in so many ways. Suffering is always another opportunity for God to be glorified, and for his satisfying gospel to be made known. King David holds the two in clear tension: “The Lord upholds all who are falling and raises up all who are bowed down. . . . You open your hand; you satisfy the desire of every living thing” (Psalm 145:14, 16). David isn’t saying that God will never let us suffer. He is saying that God fulfills the longing which our suffering brings to the surface.

God makes meaning out of our suffering, because he is sufficient in it. Through suffering, I see in my own heart these desires given to the throne. That’s God’s biggest gift in suffering — to have something taken away from you, and still find joy. A family member. A job. An idol. God satisfies us, not in spite of our unwanted circumstances, but in and through them.

God’s Joy Deeper Than Worldly Pleasures

How does God satisfy us in suffering? Through joy.

If God’s existence has ever been affirmed to me, it has been affirmed in suffering. Like we said above, when God gives us peace, it is peace that transcends understanding. But when God gives us joy, it is “that I may know the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of his sufferings, being conformed to his death, in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead” (Philippians 3:10). The suffering that we experience with Christ is not the searing pain of a physical experience. It is the emotional pain of suffocating our parasitic idols — the labor pains of joy.

Our natural inclination is to experience fear. Our hearts by instinct respond to suffering with fear, frustration, and questioning God’s sovereignty.

That’s what God is already showing me in this and through this. He is not only showing me peace, but delight and joy. It’s a gift, and it shows me the joy of an intimate and loving and compassionate God.

Sufferers, Wait for God

Return with me to Job. We saw him in Job 9, on the ropes, getting beaten up, wondering whether God was the one wearing the gloves. But James called him steadfast. That’s an odd description for Job. How was Job steadfast? He hung in there long enough to joyfully rest in God’s love for him. “Behold, we consider those blessed who remained steadfast. You have heard of the steadfastness of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful” (James 5:11).

Sufferers, wait for God. More than that — wait with me for him. Let’s see what the Lord’s purpose is for us, the one who is compassionate and merciful to his sheep whom he will not forget.


Related Resources


Judicial supremacy

According to Princeton law prof. Robert P. George,

Judicial supremacy is an anti-constitutional doctrine, not a constitutional principle. Cases such as Dred Scott v. Sandford, Roe v. Wade, and Obergefell v. Hodges are unconstitutional usurpations by the judiciary of the constitutional authority of the American people acting through their elected representatives in the Congress and state legislatures. The edicts handed down in these decisions are not “the law of the land” and should not be treated as such by the people or other public officials. What Abraham Lincoln said in rejecting the Court’s lawless and usurpative ruling in Dred Scott remains true: to accept judicial supremacy would be for the American people to “resign their government into the hands of that eminent tribunal.” In the debate between Abraham Lincoln and Supreme Court Chief Justice Roger Brooke Taney, the author of the Dred Scott opinion, we should side with the Great Emancipator. To do otherwise is to abandon republican government and accept, to quote Thomas Jefferson, “the despotism of an oligarchy.”

https://www.facebook.com/robert.p.george.39/posts/884217818313444?pnref=story


For an Example of Lawlessness, See the Supreme Court, Not Kim Davis

http://www.nationalreview.com/article/423579/kim-davis-jail-supreme-court-lawless

Do You Want More Joy? Practice These Two Things

“There are two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” —Albert Einstein

Six months ago, a man came to me looking for help. While his life looked blessed and rich from the outside, inside his soul had grown hollow and numb. He had no joy. Nothing moved him. Though he knew many things were still important to him, like his work and his family, it had all become abstract and academic. Nothing he did seemed to mean anything, or make any difference in his soul.

I know his story is not uncommon among men, and women too. We think we want a life that looks a certain way: to have a certain level of income, to live in a certain kind of home, to have this many kids or that many toys.

But what we really want is a life that feels a certain way: to feel our souls alive and truly free, to feel connected in deeply meaningful ways to others in love, to feel our lives matter and that what we do makes a difference for good in the world.

But after spending years trying to accomplish “A” (a life that looks a certain way), we’re devastated to discover it fails to produce “B” (a life that feels as we desire). Our joy is sucked away like oxygen from the air, and we find ourselves gasping for relief, wondering where we went wrong, and desperate to fix it.

Thankfully, the beginning of recovery doesn’t require a massive overhaul of the life you’ve built. It doesn’t mean quitting your job, or going back to school for a different degree, or moving to some exotic location where you’ve always wanted to live. Some of these changes may (or may not) come in the course of time, but at the beginning such drastic moves are generally not necessary or wise. (The best thing is to get your joy back first, then decide where you want to go from there.)

The Recovery of Joy requires only two things, and both of them are daily practices you can start doing today. They are:

GRATITUDE: The practice of gratitude produces joy. How? It shifts your focus from what’s missing to what’s already here and activates your capacity to enjoy it (“en-joy” … get it?). The practice is simple. Before you go to bed each night, write down three things you are grateful for that day, and spend a minute thanking God for them. That’s it. Do this every day for six months, and your joy will multiply a thousand fold.

WONDER: Remember what it was like to be a kid watching fireworks on the Fourth of July? That’s what wonder is like, and despite what you may think, you haven’t lost the capacity to do it. You’re just out of practice. So practice! All it takes is a spare moment a few times each day, and something beautiful or mysterious on which to focus your attention. For example, the clouds, the wind, the warmth of the sun, the beauty of trees, the wonder of breath, the love of God, the stars, the magic of fire, a beautiful song, your children’s laughter, the beauty of mountains and oceans and meadows and deserts, and … you get the idea. The opportunities for wonder are all around you every day. So practice wonder a few times each day. Marvel at life. Marvel at your life, and before long you’ll find joy has moved back into your house like a long lost best friend who’s returned home for good.

How else do you like to cultivate gratitude and wonder in your daily life? Share your ideas in the comments below.  

The post Do You Want More Joy? Practice These Two Things appeared first on ChurchLeaders.com.


How Long Will It Take for My Church to Really, Actually Change?

One of the most common questions I hear from church leaders is, “How long will it take my church to permanently change?”

It’s such a great question because change sometimes feels, well, impossible.

You hear a constant stream of complaints

You’ve run into too many people who like things the way they are now (or the way they were a long time ago).

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

You’ve got too many friends who got hurt badly trying to lead change.

The committees keep meeting and they keep stalling.

You’re starting to feel like Moses in the desert with no Promised Land in sight.

I get that, I’ve been there.

But don’t get discouraged. Change—even radical change—is possible.

The bottom line? Don’t overestimate what you can accomplish in one year. Don’t underestimate what you can do in five years.

Our Story: From Slow Death to Radical Transformation

I’ve led change in a local church for 20 years with the many of the same core group of people I started with when I was a seminary grad.

I began ministry with three small mainline churches whose total average attendance was less than 50. They churches were about as traditional as churches get: century old buildings, organs, choirs, committees, few kids and zero growth.

Within five years we had sold all three buildings and merged the three churches into a new church with a new name and a new mission. In the process, we changed the structure of leadership, engineered a radical overhaul of the style of worship, moved to an elementary school and launched a building campaign. In the process, we grew to over 10 times our original size.

Then seven years ago, a core of us left the denomination we were a part of. We left a nearly paid for building to start again in neighboring communities as Connexus, launching two locations at once. We moved from a permanent building to rented facilities and planted as a North Point Strategic Partner. Now, we see over 1,000 people on weekends, 60 percent of whom have little to no regular church attendance in their background. This has helped us realize our vision to be a church that unchurched people love to attend.

I realize, that’s a lot of change. Have we lost people? Of course.

The post How Long Will It Take for My Church to Really, Actually Change? appeared first on ChurchLeaders.com.


6 Requirements for Cultivating Community in a Church

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength and all your mind. … Love your neighbor as you love yourself.” Luke 10:27 (NCV)

Cultivating community requires commitment.
If you’re tired of fake fellowship and you would like to cultivate real fellowship and a loving community in your small group, Sunday school class and church, you’ll need to make some tough choices and take some risks.

Cultivating community takes honesty.
Real fellowship depends on frankness. In fact, the tunnel of conflict is the passageway to intimacy in any relationship. Until you care enough to confront and resolve the underlying barriers, you will never grow close to each other.

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

Cultivating community takes humility.
Humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less. Humility is thinking more of others. Humble people are so focused on serving others, they don’t think of themselves.

Cultivating community takes courtesy.
The truth is, we all have quirks and annoying traits. But community has nothing to do with compatibility. The basis for our fellowship is our relationship to God: We are family.

Cultivating community takes confidentiality.
Only in the safe environment of warm acceptance and trusted confidentiality will people open up and share their deepest hurts, needs and mistakes.

Confidentiality does not mean keeping silent while your brother or sister sins. It means that what is shared in your group needs to stay in your group, and the group needs to deal with it, not gossip to others about it.

Cultivating community takes frequency.
You must have frequent, regular contact with your group in order to build genuine fellowship. Relationships take time.

When you look at the list of characteristics, isn’t it obvious why genuine fellowship is so rare?

But the benefits of sharing life together far outweigh the costs, and it prepares us for heaven. 

The post 6 Requirements for Cultivating Community in a Church appeared first on ChurchLeaders.com.


5 Reasons Even Church Leaders Don’t Pray as We Should

Let’s just put this reality on the table: many church leaders struggle with prayer. We know we should pray, but our “oughtness” doesn’t always lead to action. I’m sure the reasons for our failure are many, but here are a few.

  1. Nobody taught us to pray. Sure, our churches told us to pray, but they didn’t always teach us to pray – and there’s a big difference between the two. Telling without teaching results only in frustration and disobedience. Even Jesus’ disciples wanted Him to teach them to pray (Luke 11:1).
  2. We ignore the reality of spiritual warfare. Our very real enemy, Satan, and his forces don’t want us to pray. The Puritan writer William Gurnall put it this way: “Satan hath such an impression of dread upon him— from the remembrance of what he hath suffered from the hands of prayer— . . .  he will turn every stone, and try every way, to obstruct thee in it.”
  3. We don’t see prayer as part of a relationship. Instead, we see it like a transaction at a candy machine or a cell call to 911: we go to God only when we want something or desperately need His help. By definition, then, prayer is not lifestyle.
  4. Sin haunts our life. Any time we still have recurrent sin in our life, we won’t pray like we should (and then the pattern just continues, because prayerlessness is itself a sin). A prayer of repentance is in order, but even that’s difficult.
  5. We can do too much without prayer.  I believe this reason is a primary one, so please hear me out here. I know we can’t do anything of eternal significance apart from the power of God. I’m not talking about making an eternal dent in the darkness; I’m talking about living the daily grind of leading God’s church in our own power.

With that in mind, let’s be honest: we can do a lot without praying. We shouldn’t, but we can. We can teach, preach, sing, lead, counsel, visit, minister, serve, care, enlist, train, direct, employ, mentor, guide, organize, envision, study, write, record, build, travel, plant, etc., etc., without praying.

Many of us know we can because we have. Or maybe we are.

Or maybe we pray without really praying, convincing ourselves that this post doesn’t apply to us. Of course we pray, but it’s five minutes before the next ministry activity – and the words sound strangely like every other prayer we pray. Those prayers are more repetition than relationship, more perfunctory than powerful, and more routine than radical.

And that’s not really praying.

But still, the church work goes on . . . .


How and Why We Need To Live Out The Golden Rule

We all know the Golden Rule. It is found in Matthew 7:12. There Jesus says,

“So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.”

While we have all recited this rule throughout our life, do we know what it really means?

For this is the Law and Prophets

In order to answer the question, we have to start with the last phrase, “For this is the Law and Prophets.” Later on in Matthew we come across a conversation Jesus has with a Lawyer who asks Him, “What is the greatest commandment?”

In response to the question, Jesus says,

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” (Matt. 22:37-40)

It is important we start with this phrase because Jesus’ commandment in verse 12 is another way to summarize the command. We can’t do unto others as we would have them do unto us without first loving God and then loving others.

The reason we need to love God before we can love others has to do with our heart. Before our heart is penetrated by the gospel, we are enemies of God. We don’t love Him; we hate Him.

After our heart is pierced by the gospel, a change takes place. We no longer see God as our enemy. Instead we love Him, which is crucially important because only after we love God, will we obey His command to love others and practice the Golden Rule.

Positive, Not Negative

The second thing we need to look at in order to understand the Golden Rule is the nature of Jesus’ command. His command is given in the positive, not the negative.

Instead of not doing what we don’t want done to us, Jesus tells us we are to do to others what we would want them to do to us. In other words, if you want others to…

Serve you

Love you

Care for you

Give to you

Be nice to you

Respect you

Honor you

Listen to you

Learn from you

Hold you accountable

Comfort you

Counsel you

etc

…then you do these things to them. In the way we want to be treated, we are to treat others, which is the Golden Rule.

Easier Said Than Done

I know it is easier said than done. It is easy to not do what we don’t want done to us. For instance:

If we don’t want others to steal from us, we don’t steal from them.

If we don’t want others to hurt our families, we don’t hurt theirs.

If we don’t want others to aggravate us, we don’t aggravate them.

It is much easier for us not to do what we don’t want done to us because of the benefit we receive.

It is much harder, however, to do what we want others to do for us because we don’t always benefit. We may do and do, but never see any return. Here is why love is necessary:

True Love

True love is not built around our emotions, getting what we want, or what makes us happy. The culture defines love in that way. The Bible, however, defines love as self-sacrifice, which means we don’t always get what we want. When we are not getting what we want, it is harder to live by the Golden Rule.

The golden rule, however, isn’t about us getting what we want. Jesus doesn’t give it so we can be selfish. He gives it because He wants us to understand what it looks like to truly love one another.

Salt and Light

When we live out the golden rule, truly love others, we live as salt and light to the world. We are a witness for the gospel because we live in a way the world doesn’t because the world doesn’t give without getting.

Not only are we a witness to the power of the gospel when we live out the Golden Rule, but we also promote peace and societal flourishing. In other words, we make the world a better place, and give others a glimpse of what the world to come will look like simple by doing unto others what we would have them do to us.


The Trinitarian Gospel Deeps

First, from Octavius Winslow’s Morning Thoughts:

The doctrine of the Trinity is to the Christian the key of the Bible. The Spirit imparting skill to use it, and the power, when used, it unlocks this divine arcade of mysteries, and throws open every door in the blest sanctuary of truth. But it is in the light of salvation that its fitness and beauty most distinctly appear—salvation in which Jehovah appears so inimitably glorious—so like Himself. The Father’s love appears in “sending” His Son; the Son’s love in “undertaking” the work; the Holy Spirit’s love in “applying” the work. Oh, it is delightful to see how, in working out the mighty problem of man’s redemption, the Divine Three were thus deeply engaged. With which of these could we have dispensed? All were needed; and had one been lacking, our salvation would have been incomplete, and we would have been eternally lost. In bringing to glory the church they thus have saved, the sacred Three are solemnly pledged.

And this from Jared Wilson’s Gospel Deeps: Reveling in the Excellencies of Jesus:

Do you see how the Trinity hems us in? We have no defense against this brilliant triangle offense. Praise Jesus! “The salvation that was planned by the Father has been procured by the Son and is now presented and protected by the Spirit” (Ryken and LeFebvre, Our Triune God).

The glory of God is exponentially and eternally magnified by God’s triune self. “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!” (Rev. 4:8). His holiness is threefold-perfection deep and wide and high and long. “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!” (Isa. 6:3). One day the knowledge of God’s glory will cover the earth like the waters cover the sea (Hab. 2:14). He will have the universe covered from every angle—it’s divine geometry—as he has us covered now.

“May grace and peace be multiplied to you.”

The Trinitarian gospel is immediately practical because it entails that Christ is our advocate (1 John 2:1) and intercessor (Heb. 7:25) at this very moment and that the Spirit also is buttressing our prayers (Rom. 8:26).
With salvation’s rapture into the life of the Trinity, God isn’t just commanding us to grace and peace, he is praying for it himself to himself, he is bestowing it himself through himself, he is declaring it himself through himself authoritatively. The result of salvation is that “those who are elect exiles according to God’s foreknowledge, the Spirit’s sanctification, and the Son’s atoning work” receive grace and peace in multiplying (by threes?) abundance. This is incredibly good news.

We are saved from God to God by God through God for God. The godhead works in concert so that salvation will engulf you in God. (pp. 74-75)


09/05/15 For I Have Spoken

READING: Ezekiel 28-31

TEXTS AND APPLICATION:  Today’s reading focuses on God’s judgment on the nations, including Tyre, Sidon, Egypt, and Assyria. Within these four chapters, though, is a continuing pattern of God’s making Himself known both to Ezekiel and to the nations. Notice the recurrent phrases that show God to be a God who speaks to people:

  • “The word of the Lord came to me” [Ezekiel] occurs eight times.
  • “This is what the Lord God says” (or a similar phrase) occurs sixteen times.
  • “For I have spoken” (or a similar phrase) occurs  two times.
  • “This is the declaration of the Lord God” occurs four times.
  • “Then they will know that I am the Lord” (or a similar phrase) occurs twelve times.

Our God is a communicating God. He raises up His spokesmen who declare His message. He initiates the message, confirms the message, and uses the message to make Himself known. Whether He speaks through judgment on the nations or restoration of His people, He declares His name to the world. I am reminded again that He is so much different from idols that have mouths but cannot speak.

Even today, God speaks to us through His Word. Thus, many of us are doubly blessed: our God communicates through His Word, and we have copies of that Word in its entirety in our language. We must not take either gift lightly.

PRAYER: Father, thank You that You speak. Thank You that the words You speak are true. Thank you that through Your Word, we learn that You are the Lord. And thank you that we have Your Word in our language. We are blessed indeed.”

TOMORROW¹S READING: Ezekiel 32-34


The Methods vs. The Message

Many Christians go their entire lives without being used by God to be the human instrument and means by which a person comes to Christ. My own calling is not as an evangelist, but seeing another human being come to Christ is the most meaningful ministry experience I’ve ever had.

I once was hired by a church to be the minister of theology, which meant that my job was to teach. They also added to my job description “minister of evangelism.” I said I didn’t know anything about evangelism. So, they sent me to a seminar to train in evangelism.

The minister leading the seminar talked about how to memorize an outline, how he uses key questions to stimulate discussion, and how there’s a pattern to the way in which evangelism is to flow. The idea behind the method he used was to focus attention on the ultimate issue of a person’s individual redemption—how can he justify himself before God? Most people will say that they have lived a good life; very few will say that they have been justified by faith alone in Christ alone.

Methods such as these have much to recommend them. They are easy to learn, and they make it possible for people to engage in discussions about Christianity, though care must be taken that one is not simply reading a script but rather is really connecting with the other person.

Ultimately, evangelism is less about the method one uses and more about the message one proclaims. Evangelism, remember, is the proclamation of the gospel—telling the story, announcing the news. Some fear that they don’t know enough to evangelize. I say, “Tell them what you do know.” Leave the defense of the truth claims to the apologist and hold forth the simple message of the gospel. Anyone who has the ability to speak about three or four simple principles can become an effective evangelist. This is where evangelism programs and training can help.

This excerpt is taken from What Is the Great Commission? by R.C. Sproul. Download more free ebooks in the Crucial Questions series here.


Notable Voices: September 5, 2015

7 Ways to Be a Best Friend to a Pastor — Ron Edmondson

Pastors often have a tough time truly befriending church members—often because they have been burned by church members in previous churches. Here are seven ways to be a best friend to your pastor.



6 Ways to Improve Your Church Bulletin
 — Rachel Blom

Church bulletins are often an amalgamation of announcements, schedules, and random information. They often lack what this article points to: strategy.


Research Finds Few Pastors Give up on Ministry — LifeWay Pastors

LifeWay Research released some new findings this week on pastors and longevity the ministry. These results correct random stats from around the internet that have been erroneously cited for years.


9 Vision Blockers for Church Leaders — Chuck Lawless

Number one might be the most obvious of this group, but number eight probably is the most common vision blocker.


5 Rarely Talked About Tips for Every Communicator and Writer — Carey Nieuwhof

Pastors, these five points will help your sermons.


3 Things to Remember Before You Criticize Someone’s Theology — Justin Taylor

These are helpful reminders from Justin which come straight from Scripture.


The post Notable Voices: September 5, 2015 appeared first on ThomRainer.com.


Weekend A La Carte (September 5)

I don’t know about you, but I am looking forward to the end of summer and the return of normalcy. In these parts, that transition always happens on Labor Day (or Labour Day for my fellow Canadians). Summer has been beautiful and brilliant, but I’m ready for fall.

Here are today’s links.

The Promise of God in Threatening Pain

Garrett Gilkey: “Last night, I bolted onto the football field to face the Miami Dolphins. I was eager, surging with life, energy, and strength. It was the last preseason game of my third season in the NFL. The ball snapped, and with a snap of his fingers, God mercifully showed me how small and weak I am compared to his grand and glorious sovereignty over all creation.”

Church Discipline, Contemporary Grace Style

A couple of days ago Rick Phillips posted an article in which he made some public comments about Tullian Tchividjian and the unfolding of his situation. Ray Ortlund replied with Can a label edify?. I count it as a helpful interaction.

How I Learned to Live Joyfully

J.I. Packer lets us in on how he learned to live with joy.

What the Duggars Get Wrong About Chastity

This article comes from a Roman Catholic perspective (judging the he quotes from the Catholic Catechism). It helpfully outlines some concerns with elevating chastity and making it an ultimate virtue. “Chastity allows the soul to govern the body so that a person can give of him or herself to others properly in every context. A sexual ethic based on fear, on the other hand, keeps us away from others. Love and fear are mutually exclusive.”

This Day in 1651. Obadiah Holmes received the punishment of 30 lashes for holding a Baptist service in Massachusetts. Shortly thereafter, he would move to Rhode Island and, for 30 years, serve as pastor at Newport Baptist Church, America’s second-oldest Baptist congregation. *

How Many Trees Are There?

Apparently all of our past guesses have been wrong. There are a lot of trees on earth!

Should Adulterous Pastors Be Restored?

The North American church is seriously vexed by the question, “What shall we do with an adulterous pastor?” Kent Hughes and John Armstrong provided a strong answer at Christianity Today.

Do You Pray For The President?

Sure you do. But do you pray for him as much as you complain about him?

The Line between Rule of Law and Civil Disobedience

If you want to catch up a bit on the situation in Kentucky with Kim Davis, and if you would like to know how Christians are responding, Amy Hall’s article will help.

The Myth of Faith Versus Reason

Thanks to PilgrimsRock for sponsoring the blog this week. Sponsorships keep the site’s doors open and lights on!


Links I like (weekend edition)

Links

We Don’t Get to Choose our Martyrs

David Murray:

We all knew the moment was coming when Christians, including those in public office, would begin to suffer for their convictions about marriage, and we all readied ourselves to rally in support of them. But now that it’s happened, many Christians are picking holes in Mrs Davis, her arguments, and her actions.

Can a label edify?

Ray Ortlund:

Labels are a kind of verbal barcode, and that risks coming across as simplistic and even dismissive.  Labels can diminish openness.  Labels can discourage listening.  If they catch on as negative rallying points, labels can become divisive among true brothers in Christ.

The Most Timeless Songs of All Time

As a music nerd, this was really interesting. Data nerds will also love it because it shows the power of data.

Being Biblical and unChristian

Erik Raymond:

We all have blind spots. We have our issues. Whether we are talking about personal, social, or theological blind spots, we have them. And to say you don’t, is to, well, make my point.

The important thing for us to look for said weaknesses, identify them and replace them. This is living life as a fallen sinner it is reality.

But sometimes our blind spots are our hobby horses. And this is a problem.

The Counterintuitive Beauty of the Beatitudes

Timothy Chapman:

No preacher today is likely to open a sermon with a list of aphorisms, but in the Sermon on the Mount this is precisely what Jesus did (Matt. 5:2–12). Maybe it’s because these rich statements—these “Beatitudes”—sound more like Confucius than the Jesus we’re used to—and particularly unlike the theological elaborations of Paul or John—that we simply find it easier to avoid elaborating on them in depth.

And lastly, today’s the last day to get these two excellent books on biblical theology from Crossway on sale:


The Daily Discovery (September 5-6, 2015)

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

What You Should Know About the Kentucky Clerk Marriage License Controversy – “When the Supreme Court handed down the Obergefell v. Hodges ruling, it made same-sex marriage legal throughout the United States and required every state to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Kim Davis, the county clerk in Rowan County, Kentucky, said she could not issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples because of her religious objections. To avoid claims that she was discriminating, Davis stopped issuing all marriage licenses—to both same-sex and opposite-sex couples.”

Inequality Trap – “In a forthcoming book on The Inequality Trap, William Watson argues that the contemporary obsession with inequality is both an error and a trap. An error because ‘inequality, unlike poverty, is not the problem it is so widely presumed to be. Inequality can be good, it can be bad, and it can be neither good nor bad but benign.’ While we may need ways of addressing various kinds of inequality, ‘we do not need, and it would be a mistake to adopt a single perspective or policy for inequality writ large.’ Ignoring the varieties inequality is not only lacks finesse, but can produce injustices: ‘A one-size-fits-all perspective or policy would involve us in meaningful and costly injustice, even, in the now ubiquitous but not always meaningful term social injustice’.”

We Don’t Get to Choose our Martyrs – “All reasons I’ve heard and read in the past few days as to why Kim Davis should either resign from her County Clerk position or else just get on with issuing gay marriage licenses (latest news report here). And that’s coming from Christians, some of whom have been mighty with the pen in arguing against gay marriage, but are now wilting before the sword of the secular State.”

Two Bedtime Prayers for Weary Parents – “God has called parents to a difficult task. We are called to prevent the giant pile of children’s laundry from overtaking the house, cook meals for picky eaters, and clean up never-ending messes. But most importantly, we are given the eternally significant duty to ‘bring [our children] up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord’ (Ephesians 6:4).”

What a good sermon is like – “What should a sermon be like? Should it be the equivalent of a lecture, or a family chat, or feel like a stand up routine? Should it include ten tips, five tricks or three steps, each beginning with the letter ‘p’?  A sermon may be all of these things—or it may be none of them. But a good sermon does not try to be any of them. It is not mere entertainment, any more than mere intellectualism. A good sermon intrigues the mind and stirs the heart—but not through the efforts of the preacher, but through the Word of God.”


SERMON:

Charles Spurgeon – True Prayer, True Power!


VIDEOS:

Sye Ten Bruggencate Debates an Atheist

Selling Jesus: “Christian” Consumerism


“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 (September 5-6, 2015) appeared first on Entreating Favor.


Christian Headlines Daily – Saturday, September 5, 2015

http://www.christianheadlines.com/

Top Headlines

Islamic State Issues 11 Mandates for Citizens of Captured Syrian Town

KY Clerk’s Office Will Issue Marriage Licenses Friday — without the Clerk

Court Rules to Keep Statue of Jesus on Montana Mountain

Oklahoma Attorney General Fights to Keep Ten Commandments Monument

Christians Provide Aid to Displaced Syrian Refugees Facing Persecution

Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics Jumps into Bible, Pot Debate

Charleston Church Shooter Gets Death Penalty Sentence

Christian Rapper and Former Lesbian Speaks about Her Conversion

High School Baptisms on Football Field were Voluntary, Pastor Says

KY Clerk Who Refuses to Issue Same-sex Marriage Licenses Found in Contempt of Court

Opinion

Margaret Sanger: Busted

‘In this World You Will Have Trouble’ — Welcome to Rowan County

Comic Rebukes Comedian for Bashing Bible

Yahoos on Campus: What Did You Expect?

Policeman Murdered: Schools Locked Down


Our Time is Short

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


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

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.

September 4, 2015 Truth2Freedom Christian Briefing Report

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When Should We Read Commentaries?

The saddest thing of all in my mind is when a pastor thinks he is so much smarter than church history that he doesn’t need to read what anyone else thought on a passage of Scripture. Really? So you’re smarter than Calvin, are you? Smarter than Augustine? You have the Holy Spirit and they did not? We are not enslaved to any one interpreter. We are not required to believe everything that any non-inspired theologian wrote.

Read more


The Holy Catholic Church Or A Holy Catholic Church?

Theologically it seems sounder to say that we believe the holy catholic church. The church is not a potential. It is a reality that is manifested in the world. This is what we say in Belgic Confession art. 27. “We believe and confess one only catholic or universal church (une seule Église catholique ou universelle). The confession twice thereafter says “cette Église ” (this church) in art. 27 and “cette sainte assemblée” (this holy assembly) in art. 28. We believe that there is a true church (art. 29) and that the true church is manifested visibly and has marks that are empirically verifiable.

Read More


5 Essentials to Finish Life Well

It doesn’t matter how we start the Christian race. Many explode out of the gate like racehorses, only to stumble along the way. We regularly hear of the failures of Christian leaders. Believers get ensnared by pride, drugs, and sexual sin. 20-year believers sometimes wind up agnostics or atheists. I hope, by God’s grace, I finish well. Here are 15 truths to meditate on as we run this race:

Read more


NCFIC: A New Family Integrated Church Denomination?

Functionally, the NCFIC is in a unique position to be a denomination-that-is-not-a-denomination, working across existing denominational boundaries.  Will regional Presbyteries have to contend with a presbytery-within-a-presbytery if some of their churches join the NCFIC? The question remains: is the National Center for Family Integrated Churches morphing into a quasi-denomination? Only time will tell.

Read more


The Moment Every Pastor’s Wife Is Waiting For

And I have prayed. I’ve prayed for the sick, the suffering, the imprisoned, the persecuted, the poor, the spiritually dead. I have prayed for the rebellious, the hypocrites, the ignorant ensnared by falsehood. I’ve prayed for the babies and for the baby Christians. I haven’t always seen all the answers. But I wait eagerly for them.

Read more


Why I Do Not Recommend Kendrick Brothers’ New Movie, “War Room”

Worse, as ordained ministers formerly operating under the oversight of their home church, (but no longer) listen to how the brothers decide to move forward with the themes for each of their movies. It isn’t from the Bible. God tells them: We go through the better part of a year, saying, ‘Lord what do you want us to focus on, what do you want the plot be?’ It’s usually near the end of that year. It could be eight months, ten months, or a full year… it’s almost like he downloads something to us. … It wasn’t something where we sat in a room and said ‘What do you want to do?’ We’ve never done that. For the movie Fireproof, Kendrick says his team heard God give them a theme of marriage. For the movie Courageous, fatherhood. And so on.

Read More


Sisters, Beware the Cloning Wars

I want my daughters to see the beauty of God-given roles for men and women made manifest as we express God-given individuality within the boundaries of gospel freedom. Our goal should be to live and teach the whole counsel of God, while leveraging the gifts God has given individuals (1 Cor. 12:4–7; Rom. 12:3–8) for his glory and for our good (1 Pet. 4:10). Godliness will look radically different from woman to woman. For some it will look like homeschooling your children (beautiful), for others like leading your church Bible study (beautiful), for others like developing software (beautiful), for others like being president of a non-profit (beautiful). 

Read More


Predictable, All Too Predictable

Morally, however, the situation is this: a man deemed unfit to hold teaching office just three weeks ago is now occupying a position of teaching influence in the same denomination.  Maybe not illegal, but certainly irresponsible towards both him and those he will influence.  At the very minimum it is also most discourteous towards the Presbytery which acted to remove him and whose informed judgment in the matter has been for all practical purposes rejected.

Read more


We Don’t Get to Choose our Martyrs

Like the Apostles, who could also have simply moved on, Mrs. Davis has refused to do the authorities’ dirty work for them. By refusing to resign, she is putting the moral responsibility for that action upon her accusers and judges. Many Christian men and women have done this through the years as they’ve stood before the unjust and unbiblical laws of the State, and sometimes the Church, and said, “We ought to obey God rather than man,” whatever the consequences may be.

Read more


10 Lies You Must Affirm in Order to Look at Porn

In the beginning, God made mankind, males and females, in His image (Gen. 1:26-28). Man was meant to mirror God, to reflect Him. Human purpose and value, therefore, is determined by God, not man.

But do Christians consistently believe that all mankind was made in God’s image to reflect His own glory back to Him?

If the answer is “yes,” then we will seek to view our fellow image-bearers as God’s mirrors who display His glory. If the answer is “no,” then we will value humanity as something less than God’s mirror, as something less than God’s image. And what we do reveals what we truly or consistently believe about God and man. In order words, you and I live out our beliefs, and if we choose to view porn, it’s because we either don’t believe God’s word or we struggle to consistently believe God’s word. One cannot say, “I believe man is made in God’s image,” while simultaneously living like that isn’t true. We live what we consistently believe.

Therefore, when you lust after another human being, you necessarily affirm these 10 lies:

  1. Your object does not have a mind. Yes, I said object. In order to enjoy a human being sexually, the way God intended, you must be married to the individual. Otherwise, as you merely appreciate the object’s outward beauty, you necessarily separate its mind from its outward appearance. You thus necessarily affirm the lie that some humans were not created in God’s image.
  2. Your object is less valuable than a human being. All humans are more valuable than their physical appearances and their sexual availability. Their value comes ultimately from their Creator (Gen. 1:27). As you lust after another human, you do notvalue the main elements that make him or her valuable in God’s eyes. Outward beauty fades and changes depending on culture and time; however, beauty in God’s eyes is bound up in His marvelous creating work. All humans are fearfully and wonderfully made (Ps. 139:13-16).
  3. Your object does not need a spouse. Humans are created to eventually get married. Adam needed a helper, and God provided him with Eve (Genesis 2:20-24). The apostle Paul even argued that those who don’t get married have a spiritual gift of singleness. Most people however do not have this spiritual gift (1 Cor. 7:6-7). No unbelievers possess this gift. Marriage is assumed in Scripture; and you deny that your object needs a human spouse since your object is merely an avenue for lust; and you affirm instead that your object needs a de-humanizer (you).
  4. You do not need protection or your object does not need protection. In the Scriptures, husbands are expected to protect their wives (1 Pet. 3:7). When you look at a woman sexually, and she is not your wife, you are unconcerned about protecting her. If you were concerned about protecting her, you would desire to protect her before you looked at her sexually. In other words, marriage and protection are a result of love, and come before sex. Furthermore, by you lustfully using this woman, you are doing the opposite of protecting her; you are using her for sexual immorality against her will!
  5. Your object was not made in God’s image. When you view a man or a woman as a sex object, you see him or her as created in the likeness of something lessthan the image of God. You might value them a little higher than the animals; but, not as a human being, as God intended.
  6. God should notbe glorified for creating this inhumane object.That’s the consistent end of believing that God merely created an “object” for lust when He created the human being you’re lusting after. In other words, you must call God a liar in order to treat His humans as something less than His image-bearers. If you are a professed Christian, then you represent Christ in all that you do, including in how you think and what you think. By treating God’s image-bearers as merely objects for sexual lust, you value their appearance above everything else about them; thus, you only value God’s creating ability in their outward appearance. The Bible however indicates that every element of every human being was fearfully and wonderfully made, not merely their outward appearance (Gen. 1:27, Ps. 139:14).
  7. Your object is not human. Your object’s humanity includes more than him or her being viewed as an avenue for sexual lust. If they are stripped of everything except their sexual worth, then they are diminished to something less than human, slightly above an animal, if that. If you think deeply about this, thousands of women are being sold into the sex trade every year. Their owners value them onlyin a sexual way. Why would you only value men or women in a sexual way? In your mind, your object of lust is your slave. After all, are you not valuing this human being in exactly the same manner as those men who are involved in the sex trade?
  8. Your object is not an avenue through which to enjoy the Lord. It is impossible to enjoy the Lord through sin. If you look at your object’s body instead of his or her good works, you selfishly use him or her insteadof enjoying the Lord (1 Tim. 2:10). You should rather seek to enjoy the Lord through enjoying this human being sexually within marriage; instead of sinfully enjoying him or her without enjoying the Lord. It is impossible to enjoy the Lord by diminishing another human being to a mere sex object; you’re choosing to enjoy sin instead of choosing to enjoy the Lord.
  9. I am god. The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord (1 Cor. 6:13). If you are a Christian then you are notyour own, for you were bought with the blood of Christ (1 Cor. 7:23). In order to use your body for sexual immorality, you must deny God’s authority, and redefine the reason why He gave you your body. Thus, in order to lust you must claim that you are god. Otherwise, you would use your body—a body that belongs to the Lord—for His glory alone; not your own.
  10. 10.Allmen and women are less valuable than God’s image-bearers. Do not deceive yourself into thinking that you can compartmentalize your value of humanity. If you will use a man or woman in your mind in private as an object for sexual lust, you will treat those men and women close to you as less than human as well. If you are willing to selfishly use a man or woman in private, you will selfishly use men and women that are close to you in your public life as well. Your view of men and women in private will seep into your public view of men and women. Your true view of men and women will flesh itself out in your daily relationships. All of your relationships will be greatly hindered due to your devaluing of humanity!

What do you do if when you look in the mirror you see someone who has been willfully deceived, someone who views porn? The answer is that you must repent of your affirmation of lies and your denial of God’s word. You must repent of your disbelief and believe God’s word. Man was made in God’s image for His glory. We are not God; man was not made for our glory. One cannot abuse God’s image-bearers, whether oneself or others, and simultaneously and consistently believe that God is God, His word is true, mankind exists to mirror Him, and the good news is Christ’s redeeming work…not porn.

Therefore, repent, enjoy the good news, enjoy God’s reflection in His image bearers, and enjoy God by reflecting Him. May we do what we were created to do.


Perversion Versus Purity: The Homosexual War Against God

In America today they jail Christians, not for breaking any law, but for standing true to their Christian convictions. Kim Davis is now in jail because she had the audacity to resist the pink mafia, and to stand against judicial tyranny. That is what has now become of the land of the free.

Perversion is now politically protected, while marriage and family and purity are under attack. This is a war against Christianity, and of course a war against the One True God. A country founded on biblical principles and the notion of freedom, especially religious freedom, is now a nation at war with Christianity.

And as I mentioned, Kim Davis broke no laws. She upheld the laws of Kentucky, and for doing so, was jailed. Here is what the law states:

402.005 Definition of marriage. As used and recognized in the law of the Commonwealth, “marriage” refers only to the civil status, condition, or relation of one (1) man and one (1) woman united in law for life, for the discharge to each other and the community of the duties legally incumbent upon those whose association is founded on the distinction of sex. Effective: July 15, 1998 History: Created 1998 Ky. Acts ch. 258, sec. 4, effective July 15, 1998….
402.010 Degree of relationship that will bar marriage. (1) No marriage shall be contracted between persons who are nearer of kin to each other by consanguinity, whether of the whole or half-blood, than second cousins. (2) Marriages prohibited by subsection (1) of this section are incestuous and void. History: Amended 1946 Ky. Acts ch. 124, sec. 1. — Recodified 1942 Ky. Acts ch. 208, sec. 1, effective October 1, 1942, from Ky. Stat. sec. 2096.

And this:

Any clerk who knowingly issues a marriage license in violation of KRS Chapter 402 shall be guilty of a Class A misdemeanor. Any clerk who knowingly issues a marriage license to any persons prohibited by KRS Chapter 402 from marrying shall be fined $500 to $1,000 and removed from office by the judgment of the court in which convicted (KRS 402.990).

davis kim 3Also, in the 2004 election this ballot measure was passed by 75 per cent of Kentucky voters: “Amend the Kentucky Constitution ‘to provide that only a marriage between one man and one woman shall be a marriage in Kentucky, and that a legal status identical to or similar to marriage for unmarried individuals shall not be valid or recognized?’”

So everything Kim Davis did was to uphold the laws of the land. But for doing so, the power of the secular state – fuelled by the demonic wrath of the homosexual militants – came down upon her like a ton of bricks, and she is now languishing in jail.

I have already heard too many absolutely clueless and compromised Christians actually attacking her, and defending her persecutors. Mind-boggling. Even some thinkers who should know better have been a bit back and forth here. For example, one great commentator whom I often quote wrote a piece a few days ago and equivocated a bit about this case, so I did not run with anything of his.

But today he has come out with a new piece, admitting he got things a bit wrong. I am very glad Matt Walsh had a rethink here. Partly this was due to his reading of a great article by Douglas Wilson, which I quoted from here: http://billmuehlenberg.com/2015/09/03/christianity-the-constitution-and-marriage-wars/

It was indeed a superb piece and I am glad it helped Walsh to get a bit more clarity here. His entire article is well worth reading, but let me offer a few snippets from it:

The Obergefell v. Hodges decision had absolutely nothing to do with the law. Gay “marriage” was forced upon the states by five human beings in black robes sitting in a big stone temple in D.C. The Constitution, which clearly says nothing about gay “marriage,” was ignored. The consent of the people — many of whom live in states, like Kentucky, where the Constitution expressly defines marriage as between a man a woman — was not respected or even considered. If Kim Davis is a government official making up her own laws as she goes along, she’s only following the precedent of the federal government. The only difference is that her “made-up” law is the one that existed before a handful of federal judges made up a new one. So who is the lawless anarchist here?
Gay “marriage” is itself nothing but the will of the elites. It is as much a legal abomination as a moral one. Many people have said, “Well, gay ‘marriage’ is the law of the land, so that’s that,” but what they mean is, “Well, five people in Washington support gay ‘marriage,’ so that’s that.” No, that isn’t that. That’s tyranny. That’s injustice. That’s illegal. It might be true that the Supreme Court has, over time, seized the power to write laws and reshape ancient human institutions according to their radical liberal ideologies, but that doesn’t make it law. It might be “law,” but it isn’t law. Just as gay “marriage” might be “marriage,” but it can never be marriage. The whole thing is a travesty, a sham, an outrage.
So are we morally obligated to cooperate with the evil agendas and the rampant tyrannies of the federal government? Is a clerk in Kentucky, elected by the people of her county and subject to the Constitution of her state, morally required to respect the drunken dictates of judicial activists in Washington? Kim Davis says no. And I think it might be time for the rest of us to come to that same conclusion.

Third, Kim Davis is not preventing anyone from getting married. For one thing, they can just hop in the car and head on down to the next county. It will take a few minutes, but I suspect they’ll survive. Any gay couples waiting around for this Davis situation to be settled are obviously just trying to make a statement, which is probably why the showed up at the clerk’s office with a camera crew.
But for another thing, gay “marriage,” even if it’s legitimized with the obligatory paperwork, still cannot exist. Gay “marriage” is an impossibility, a non sequitur. It has been not only illegally imposed on us, but impossibly. No matter what the Supreme Court says, or what anyone says, men and women will still be different. And it is that difference that defines marriage, that breathes life into it, that gives it a purpose, that makes it integral to society.
We have, then, two different things. On the one hand, we have the relationship between a man and a woman. On the other, the relationship between men and men or women and women. Say what you want about these groups, but you certainly cannot say they are the same. Since the beginning of human civilization up until about 87 seconds ago, all societies have recognized that the man-woman relationship is special and powerful. This bond gives birth to new people, and this new collection of people are what we call “families,” and these families serve as the very bedrock and foundation of humanity. There are other reasons for marriage, but procreation is a primary and defining reason. A relationship that is, in principle (not through deformity or disease or old age or whatever), lacking in this immense and mysterious power cannot be considered its equal. This is not just a moral judgment, but a logical and biological one.
Gay couples cannot produce families. They cannot produce anything. They serve no practical purpose to society. Two men love each other, fine, but there is no reason to officially recognize that love or give it a name. And if we do give it a name, it is absurd to give it the same name when it is so vastly different. The correct name is the one scripture gives it: sin.

Fifth, so here we are. Kim Davis sits in jail. Gay “marriage” has been illegally imposed on the people. The government is operating outside the bounds of the Constitution, morality and Natural Law. Christians in government are being locked in chains while thugs and crooks run the country. Babies are being murdered and sold for parts, and all with the approval and funding of our leaders in Washington. Cops are being hunted down and murdered in the street while race hustlers openly egg on the killers and the president does nothing to stop it.
America is ruled by the whims of petty despots. America is a lawless country. They will make a sacrifice of Kim Davis, but make no mistake that she is standing against lawlessness, not for it. And now the rest of us have to decide if we will do the same.
This is a nation that has rejected truth, constitutional law and God’s law. Our culture is floating untethered in the abyss, besieged by confusion and moral chaos. If we think we can restore peace and truth by “following the law,” I believe we are in for a rude awakening. The law is dead. We are left with two choices: follow truth, or obey the dictates of our culture and the godless tyrants who lead it.
Kim Davis took door No. 1, and it landed her behind bars.
Where will it take us if we open it?
I think we will soon find out.

We sure are finding out. The trouble is, some of us have been warning about this for decades now. We insisted that the greatest assault on faith, family and freedom would come at the hands of the homosexual activists. The media and other side of course laughed at us. And I had plenty of Christians laugh at me as well.

But now as Christians are being jailed, losing their jobs, and being heavily fined, it may be time to say, “We told you so.” Yet incredibly many Christians are still fully asleep, utterly clueless as to the war that has been declared against them.

Will they ever wake up? And if they do, will it then be too late?

http://www.800wvhu.com/onair/the-tom-roten-morning-show-675/the-case-for-kim-davis-rowan-13912021
http://edition.cnn.com/ELECTION/2004/pages/results/ballot.measures/
http://www.theblaze.com/contributions/kim-davis-broke-an-illegitimate-evil-law-and-god-bless-her-for-it/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=story&utm_campaign=ShareButtons


 NPR Helps Push Transgender Children's Book

NPR Helps Push Transgender Children’s Book

Posted on September 4, 2015 by CBN

The children’s publishing giant Scholastic has come out with a pro-transgender book for kids, and they’re getting some extra promotional help from taxpayer-funded National Public Radio.

Read Full Article »


Should Adulterous Pastors Be Restored?

Should Adulterous Pastors Be Restored?

Posted on September 4, 2015 by Christianity Today

The Bible’s teaching about returning fallen ministers to the pulpit.

Read Full Article »


Give to refugee causes – but here's how to avoid being conned

Give to refugee causes – but here’s how to avoid being conned

Posted on September 4, 2015 by Christian Today

The Charity Commission has issued advice warning people to take care that the people asking for money are legitimate.

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Why this Christian says Christianity is harmed by Kim Davis and her fans

Why this Christian says Christianity is harmed by Kim Davis and her fans

Posted on September 4, 2015 by Religion News

In defending Christian faith, Kim Davis and her fans actually harm it. A plea for a different approach, one Christian to another.

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Two Bedtime Prayers for Weary Parents

Two Bedtime Prayers for Weary Parents

Posted on September 4, 2015 by Desiring God

I want to suggest two modest prayers to help you slow down during those moments when you tuck the kids into bed. When your mind is still spinning from the day’s labors, may these three-word prayers enable you take the few extra moments to linger with your children in the quietness of bedtime.

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Hundreds of Muslims Turning to Christ in Germany

Hundreds of Muslims Turning to Christ in Germany

Posted on September 4, 2015 by CBN

In Germany, hundreds of Muslim refugees are turning to Christ at a Berlin church.

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'War Room' Tops Family Friendly Movie List

‘War Room’ Tops Family Friendly Movie List

Posted on September 4, 2015 by CBN

Families looking for indoor, family friendly entertainment will want to stay away from Transporter Refueled, and A Walk in the Woods, and steer toward War Room.

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5 Ways To Stand Up & Be The Church in The World’s Worst Refugee Crisis Since World War II

5 Ways To Stand Up & Be The Church in The World’s Worst Refugee Crisis Since World War II

Posted on September 4, 2015 by A Holy Experience

1. Be Moved  Quick Facts to Understand the Crisis: –> One Stop to Understand it All The world is in the worst refugee crisis since World War II. And Syria’s civil war and the rising of ISIS is the worst humanitarian disaster of our time. The number of innocent civilians sufferi

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Turning to Christ, teen heals from anger & abuse

Turning to Christ, teen heals from anger & abuse

Posted on September 4, 2015 by Baptist Press

Justin Spencer, a skateboarding 17-year-old, did a 360 from a life of anger, abuse and abandonment when he learned that God loves him.

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American Heros in Paris Were 'Strong Christians'

American Heros in Paris Were ‘Strong Christians’

Posted on September 4, 2015 by CBN

According to various media reports, the three young American men who thwarted a terrorist attack in Paris are Christians.

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The Promise of God in Threatening Pain

The Promise of God in Threatening Pain

Posted on September 4, 2015 by Desiring God

Last night, I bolted onto the football field to face the Miami Dolphins. I was eager, surging with life, energy, and strength. It was the last preseason game of my third season in the NFL. The ball snapped, and with a snap of his fingers, God mercifully showed me how small and weak I am.

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Labor Day: Bivocational pastors known for work ethic

Labor Day: Bivocational pastors known for work ethic

Posted on September 4, 2015 by Baptist Press

There are an estimated 10,000 Southern Baptist pastors who are part-time or bivocational, according to the Caskey Center for Church Excellence at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. Known for their work ethic and resourceful scheduling, such ministers comprise 23 percent of all Southern Baptist pastors and participate in a Baptist tradition dating back to the 17th century.

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Do You Want More Joy? Practice These Two Things

Do You Want More Joy? Practice These Two Things

Posted on September 4, 2015 by Church Leaders

The recovery of joy requires only two things, and both of them are daily practices you can start doing today.

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How Long Will It Take for My Church to Really, Actually Change?

How Long Will It Take for My Church to Really, Actually Change?

Posted on September 4, 2015 by Church Leaders

How Long Will It Take For My Church To Really, Actually Change?

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Eidos
Genie Jesus and the War Room Problem
by John Mark Reynolds
Let’s be blunt: this is not so much a Christian film as a perversion of Christianity driven by a consumerist American heresy.
Cranach
Donald Trump to Meet with Prosperity Gospel Preachers
by Gene Veith
Donald Trump meeting with Prosperity Gospel teachers? Sounds like a perfect storm of everything wrong with American religion.
Warren Throckmorton
Tullian Tchividjian Hired as Director of Ministry Development at Willow Creek PCA
by Warren Throckmorton
Just days after former Coral Ridge Presbyterian pastor Tullian Tchividjian acknowledged that he filed for divorce, he has taken a ministry position at Willow Creek Church (PCA) in Winter Springs, FL.
Mere Breath
Suffering and the Mind/Body Connection in Mental Illness
by Abra Carnahan
Prayer and staying in God’s Word are essential to the Christian life and I was and am cultivating both, but sometimes it is easy to forget that God isn’t a magic cure-all. Of course, God can cure all, but He doesn’t because He has a better plan.
Pilgrim’s Road Trip
When the Heart Waits
by Michelle Van Loon
Our well-meaning tendency to try to fix a dark night of the soul, which is often rooted in our own discomfort with the darkness, can short-circuit what God is actually doing in someone else’s life.
ESquared Media Network
Why Churches Are Stage-Driven
by David Murrow
Why is the modern Christian life so stage-driven? Because it keeps things tidy. We like tidy churches. And we punish pastors when things get untidy.
Jesus Creed
Liking Jesus But Not the Church
by Jonathan Storment
We like Jesus and not the church, because we don’t know Jesus. We like Jesus and not Paul because we don’t know the very things that Jesus is really calling us out to be.
Tip of the Spear
Brotherly Affection? Yes, Please. Bromance? No Thanks.
by Brandon Showalter
Count me among the multitudes who are downright exhausted of the sexualization of everything, especially the sexualization of close friendships.
More Great Reads
Roger E. Olson
More Discussion on Malestrom
by Roger E. Olson
Surely in Christ both men and women find fulfillment of their manhood and womanhood, but is it true that outside of Christ, apart from being truly Christian, all “manhood” is evil?
Jackson Wu
Contextualization via Decontextualizing the Bible
by Jackson Wu
In order to make the gospel understandable, people typically reduce the message to a few key principles or ideas that essentially strip the Christian story from its historical and narrative context. Where is this trend most evident? The almost total omission of Israel from most gospel tracts and presentations.
Black, White, and Gray
Myths of Christianophobia Part 4 – Christians Deserve It
by George Yancey
The calculus is quite simple. Conservative Christians are seen as a threat to move our society back to the dark ages. To stop them intelligent, progressive citizens have to keep Christians out of the public square.
Putting the Protest in Protestant
Whose Question, How Big?
by D. G. Hart
Fr. Dwight Longenecker warns Protestants about the seriousness of asking about converting to Roman Catholicism. But what if humans face an even bigger question, such as the one Paul heard from the Philippian jailer — namely, what must I do to be saved?

How Strong is the Cumulative Case for God’s Existence? (Video)

This video, excerpted from J. Warner Wallace’s presentation of the evidence for God (from his book, God’s Crime Scene), summarizes the strength of the cumulative case for God’s existence. J. Warner describes the nature of cumulative cases and the role diversity plays in establishing the strength of an inference. For a robust review of the collective case for God’s existence from eight pieces of evidence “inside the room” of the natural universe, please refer to God’s Crime Scene: A Cold-Case Homicide Detective Examines the Evidence for a Divinely Created Universe. (For more information, visit www.ColdCaseChristianity.com)

To see more training videos with J. Warner Wallace, visit the YouTube playlist.


Christians Jailed, Homofascism Out of Control

It has come to this: Christians who stand for their faith, for conscience, and for religious freedom, are now being jailed in America. County Clerk Kim Davis is now in jail for refusing to violate her Christian conscience and do that which is immoral.

Some of us have warned for decades now that this is exactly where all this is heading. The homofascists will stop at nothing to achieve complete compliance to their agenda. All opposition will be dealt with in the severest fashion. And all this in the name of tolerance and acceptance of course.

Some champions for liberty have immediately sprung to her defence. Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz courageously said this:

davis kiToday, judicial lawlessness crossed into judicial tyranny. Today, for the first time ever, the government arrested a Christian woman for living according to her faith. This is wrong. This is not America. I stand with Kim Davis. Unequivocally. I stand with every American that the Obama Administration is trying to force to choose between honoring his or her faith or complying with a lawless court decision.
In dissent, Chief Justice Roberts rightly observed that the Court’s marriage decision has nothing to do with the Constitution. Justice Scalia observed that the Court’s decision was so contrary to law that state and local officials would choose to defy it.
For every politician — Democrat and Republican — who is tut-tutting that Davis must resign, they are defending a hypocritical standard. Where is the call for the mayor of San Francisco to resign for creating a sanctuary city — resulting in the murder of American citizens by criminal illegal aliens welcomed by his lawlessness?
Where is the call for President Obama to resign for ignoring and defying our immigration laws, our welfare reform laws, and even his own Obamacare? When the mayor of San Francisco and President Obama resign, then we can talk about Kim Davis.
Those who are persecuting Kim Davis believe that Christians should not serve in public office. That is the consequence of their position. Or, if Christians do serve in public office, they must disregard their religious faith–or be sent to jail.
Kim Davis should not be in jail. We are a country founded on Judeo-Christian values, founded by those fleeing religious oppression and seeking a land where we could worship God and live according to our faith, without being imprisoned for doing so. I call upon every Believer, every Constitutionalist, every lover of liberty to stand with Kim Davis. Stop the persecution now.

Various marriage and family groups have also condemned the incarceration, including NOM:

The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) today sharply criticized federal judge David Bunning for jailing Kentucky clerk Kim Davis because she has refused to issue same-sex ‘marriage’ licenses in violation of her deeply-held religious beliefs. The group blamed the US Supreme Court for creating the conflict by redefining marriage and refusing to stay legal action against Davis pending her appeal.
“It is outrageous to jail Kim Davis because she does not want to personally be part of certifying same-sex ‘marriages’ that violate her deeply-held religious beliefs about the nature of marriage,” said Brian Brown. “What this judge is saying is that now that the Supreme Court has illegitimately redefined marriage, every single person in government if not in the country must stand in salute and participate in the act. That is profoundly wrong and violates the spirit of federal law which provides that the government must seek ways to reasonably accommodate people’s religious views in the workplace.”
This past June the US Supreme Court ruled to impose same-sex ‘marriage’ on the nation when it determined that state laws limiting marriage to one man and one woman were unconstitutional.
“While Judge Bunning is the instrument of the inhumane punishing of Kim Davis, the authors of it are the five justices of the US Supreme Court who illegitimately, without a shred of constitutional authority, redefined marriage without any regard to the profound implications their ruling would have on law-abiding, faithful Americans,” Brown said. “With this ruling, the idea of religious freedom that is at the heart of our constitution has been eliminated when it comes to exercising beliefs about marriage. It’s a profound shredding of the constitution on the altar of gay activism.”
Brown called on federal and state officials to find a way to accommodate people who object to gay ‘marriage’ on religious grounds from having to participate in the act.
“It was utterly wrong for the courts to have ordered every state to license same-sex ‘marriages’ and it is judicial tyranny for judges to say that every individual person must be involved in the act despite their deeply-held beliefs. We call on federal and state officials to immediately enact laws to accommodate the beliefs of individuals who do not wish to be a party to something they consider to be wrong.”

At a time like this it is worth recalling earlier acts of defiance to an unjust state, and the place of Christian civil disobedience. On April 16, 1963 Martin Luther King, Jr. penned his now famous “Letter from a Birmingham Jail”. Parts of it are worth repeating here:

There comes a time when the cup of endurance runs over, and men are no longer willing to be plunged into the abyss of despair. I hope, sirs, you can understand our legitimate and unavoidable impatience. You express a great deal of anxiety over our willingness to break laws. This is certainly a legitimate concern. Since we so diligently urge people to obey the Supreme Court’s decision of 1954 outlawing segregation in the public schools, at first glance it may seem rather paradoxical for us consciously to break laws. One may well ask: “How can you advocate breaking some laws and obeying others?” The answer lies in the fact that there are two types of laws: just and unjust. I would be the first to advocate obeying just laws. One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that “an unjust law is no law at all.”
Now, what is the difference between the two? How does one determine whether a law is just or unjust? A just law is a man made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God. An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law. To put it in the terms of St. Thomas Aquinas: An unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal law and natural law. Any law that uplifts human personality is just. Any law that degrades human personality is unjust. All segregation statutes are unjust because segregation distorts the soul and damages the personality. It gives the segregator a false sense of superiority and the segregated a false sense of inferiority. Segregation, to use the terminology of the Jewish philosopher Martin Buber, substitutes an “I it” relationship for an “I thou” relationship and ends up relegating persons to the status of things. Hence segregation is not only politically, economically and sociologically unsound, it is morally wrong and sinful. Paul Tillich has said that sin is separation. Is not segregation an existential expression of man’s tragic separation, his awful estrangement, his terrible sinfulness? Thus it is that I can urge men to obey the 1954 decision of the Supreme Court, for it is morally right; and I can urge them to disobey segregation ordinances, for they are morally wrong.
Let us consider a more concrete example of just and unjust laws. An unjust law is a code that a numerical or power majority group compels a minority group to obey but does not make binding on itself. This is difference made legal. By the same token, a just law is a code that a majority compels a minority to follow and that it is willing to follow itself. This is sameness made legal. Let me give another explanation. A law is unjust if it is inflicted on a minority that, as a result of being denied the right to vote, had no part in enacting or devising the law. Who can say that the legislature of Alabama which set up that state’s segregation laws was democratically elected? Throughout Alabama all sorts of devious methods are used to prevent Negroes from becoming registered voters, and there are some counties in which, even though Negroes constitute a majority of the population, not a single Negro is registered. Can any law enacted under such circumstances be considered democratically structured?
Sometimes a law is just on its face and unjust in its application. For instance, I have been arrested on a charge of parading without a permit. Now, there is nothing wrong in having an ordinance which requires a permit for a parade. But such an ordinance becomes unjust when it is used to maintain segregation and to deny citizens the First-Amendment privilege of peaceful assembly and protest.
I hope you are able to see the distinction I am trying to point out. In no sense do I advocate evading or defying the law, as would the rabid segregationist. That would lead to anarchy. One who breaks an unjust law must do so openly, lovingly, and with a willingness to accept the penalty. I submit that an individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for law.
Of course, there is nothing new about this kind of civil disobedience. It was evidenced sublimely in the refusal of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego to obey the laws of Nebuchadnezzar, on the ground that a higher moral law was at stake. It was practiced superbly by the early Christians, who were willing to face hungry lions and the excruciating pain of chopping blocks rather than submit to certain unjust laws of the Roman Empire. To a degree, academic freedom is a reality today because Socrates practiced civil disobedience. In our own nation, the Boston Tea Party represented a massive act of civil disobedience.
We should never forget that everything Adolf Hitler did in Germany was “legal” and everything the Hungarian freedom fighters did in Hungary was “illegal.” It was “illegal” to aid and comfort a Jew in Hitler’s Germany. Even so, I am sure that, had I lived in Germany at the time, I would have aided and comforted my Jewish brothers. If today I lived in a Communist country where certain principles dear to the Christian faith are suppressed, I would openly advocate disobeying that country’s antireligious laws.
I must make two honest confessions to you, my Christian and Jewish brothers. First, I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: “I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action”; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a “more convenient season.” Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.

While the particulars of these two situations of course differ, the underlying principles remain the same. When unjust and immoral laws are passed, Christians have an obligation to consider carefully and prayerfully how they might deal with such laws. Civil disobedience, and a willingness to suffer the consequences, is one such option.

We need to uphold Kim Davis in our prayers, and do all we can to help and support her during this difficult period. And we need to finally get our heads out of the sand as to the reality of homo-tyranny. Things will simply get much worse as the homosexual militants ramp up their war against any and all opposition to their nefarious agenda.

http://www.christiannewswire.com/news/9682076642.html
http://www.africa.upenn.edu/Articles_Gen/Letter_Birmingham.html


Ryan Anderson talks some sense on Kim Anderson case

http://cbn.com/tv/embedplayernews.aspx?bcid=4462155465001

Here’s Ryan Anderson talking some common sense on the Kim Anderson case. You don’t have to agree with her dissent to see that it was a draconian overreach to send her to jail.


Mercy, Grace and Learning From Mistakes

We all continually fall short of the glory of God and fail to be who He wants us to be.  With sexual sin rampant in the world, all of us are in a constant spiritual battle to please God rather than feed our flesh. Word is coming out that several Christian leaders contact information was […]

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Where is Israel on Evangelical Christian Voters’ List of Priorities?

Perkins said, “Among core evangelical voters, Israel is easily one of the top 10, maybe even the top five issues when considering who to support in a presidential primary. The Old Testament tells us that whoever blesses Israel will be blessed and it’s certainly important to be on the right side of God’s word.”

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TV Network Thought It Could Mock Christians With New Show–Now It’s Coming Back To Haunt Them

The TV Land cable network is wrapping up the first season of its original sitcom titled “Impastor,” a comedy about a fugitive from justice, a drug addict, and a hardcore gambler who has a hand in the death of a gay Lutheran pastor who’s identity he then steals. Presumably, “hilarity” ensues. The show has not received good reviews, but still the folks at Movieguide.org hope to make sure this is the first and only season by organizing a petition to have the anti-Christian show canceled.

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A Time of Great Deception

Duplicity and deceit, treachery and violence are the hallmarks of the “Society of Jesus” (the Jesuits, the worst appellation ever given to any group because the beliefs and behaviors of the men who have been and still are in this society couldn’t be any more divergent from that of the true Jesus of the Bible).

The Society of Jesus was formed to be the militant arm of the Catholic Church, and the deeds done in the name of this so-called “church” are among the most vile and viscous ever perpetrated upon human kind…

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09/04/15 Every Word I Speak

READING: Ezekiel 24-27

TEXTS AND APPLICATION:  God has called me to preach, and I’ve preached for more than 30 years. I shudder to think of all that I’ve said that was not God-directed. I’m embarrassed to consider how many times I’ve spoken my words rather than His words, announced my judgment rather than His judgment, or proclaimed my goals rather than His goals.

I think sometimes that God might have been wise to do with me what He did with Ezekiel: make him quiet unless the prophet were announcing only what God told him to announce. As far back as Ezekiel 3, God gave this calling to Ezekiel:

Ezek. 3:26-27 I will make your tongue stick to the roof of your mouth, and you will be mute and unable to rebuke them, for they are a rebellious house. But when I speak with you, I will open your mouth, and you will say to them, ‘This is what the Lord God says.’ Let the one who listens, listen, and let the one who refuses, refuse—for they are a rebellious house.

The prophet could speak only when God told him to do so. But, the day would come, six+ years later, when God would re-open Ezekiel’s mouth, thus signifying the prophet would now have a ministry of reconciliation and encouragement after the fall of Jerusalem:

Ezek. 24:27  On that day your mouth will be opened to talk with him; you will speak and no longer be mute. So you will be a sign for them, and they will know that I am Yahweh.

How I wish I had spoken only what God told me to speak in all the days of my ministry! While I can’t fix the yesterdays, though, I can set the goals for today. I don’t want to speak a word unless God gives me permission to do so. I know I will answer for every careless word I speak (Matt. 12:36), as will every other person regardless of one’s calling. When I lay my head down tonight, I want to do so knowing I spoke nothing except what God wanted me to speak today.

PRAYER: God, I need you to change my heart and consequently, my words. Stop me today before I say anything that is not honoring to you.”


5 Problems with Roman Catholic Confession

In a not so shocking admission Pope Francis announced to the world that Priests now hold the right to absolve women who have had an abortion and to forgive them for their sin as long as they are contrite. Get this, the Pope has the authority to tell priests that they now have the authority to forgive the sin of abortion. And they say this pope is humble!

Growing up in Rome and watching people pray their way up the “holy” steps, watching them wait to confess their sins to men and many things like this, has caused me to grieve for people who are in theholy steps Roman Catholic Church. Any religion that is built on the backs of the poor and that propagates works based righteousness should bring tears and concern to those who have experienced true grace. It is important that we as believers understand the truth of why Catholic confession is not Biblical, not to win an argument but in order to rescue souls. So here’s five problems with Roman Catholic confession.

1- Priests can’t see the heart

It is fascinating to see the stories of Saul and David. Most people would look at their confessions after being confronted  as very similar. One said Now therefore, please pardon my sin and return with me, that I may worship the Lord. The other “I have sinned against the Lord.” One may even say Saul’s confession was better worded, but ultimately both prophets had come with a clear message from God who had seen their hearts and knew which one was truly repentant. Priests cannot see the heart of man and are definitely not good judges as to whether someone is repentant or not, heck, even if they could tell from the eyes if a person was lying they don’t get to in catholic confession. Man is not a good judge of what happens in someone’s heart and certainly not a good judge of how bad sin is since we love to minimize sin and magnify man’s goodness.

2 – Only God can forgive sin

The Pharisees hated the fact that Jesus forgave sin (Matt 9:3). They knew that it was something only the creator of the universe was allowed to do. When Jesus healed the paralitic man the Pharisees were ready to lynch him for saying that he forgave him of his sin. It’s incredible that the Pope could think that he has the power to absolve someone of sin, give them some work to do and send them on their way absolved of sin. The only one with the power to forgive sin is God himself (1 John 1:9), and thankfully he does not leave it up to us to be the judges of whether someone deserves forgiveness or not.

3 – It encourages easy-believism

After talking with many Catholics it is fascinating to see how many are trusting in three things for their salvation. Their baptism, the mass and ultimately their confession. The idea that you can go and confess your sin in return of saying  a couple Hail Mary’s and really, really, really, feeling sorry for your sin, propagates a mentality that says that, sin isn’t that bad and that I can overcome itroman catholic confession with my works. It doesn’t take a few Hail Mary’s to make up for abortion, a thousand wouldn’t be enough. It takes the shed blood of Christ and a person who repents of their sin and pleads with Him for forgiveness. It takes a heart that doesn’t minimize sin but rather exposes it to their creator admitting the fact that their sin deserves eternal punishment in Hell.

4 – It propagates sin

Whether the Roman Catholic church likes this or not, easy-confession causes people to become calloused to their sin. Rather than having to talk to God they are talking to a human being who is listening to people’s confessions all day, usually can’t see your face, and who gives you some easy task to do in order to be forgiven. I’ve heard dozens of Catholics say to me, “I’ll just go confess it to the priest next week” as they talked about their sin. Anytime you minimize sin to the point where, sin no longer damns you but you can pay for it in purgatory, and you can make up for it through actions you are propagating it. When the thought process In the moment of temptation is “I can do this and I’ll just tell it to the priest later and be ok” we have created a system that leads to more and more sin.

5 – It damns people to hell

Ultimately Roman Catholic confession causes people to minimize sin and believe in a system rather than a Savior. It removes people from speaking to the only one that can forgive them and makes them speak with an impostor selling snake oil. My heart breaks for those who are caught up in this lie, many times I’ve shed tears while walking in “churches”, seeing people lined up to confess their sins who were about to be given easy-fix worldly solutions to eternally damnable offenses, and are never told about the reality of hell but the sweet grace of Jesus Christ. It is imperative that as believers we know the difference between the true gospel and a false one so that we can lead people to a saving relationship with their creator rather than a works based religion.

I hope ultimately that an article like this one, will cause Christians not to pat themselves on the back but rather to be thankful for knowing the truth and feel the incredible need to share our faith with others. here’s an article to help you with that.


Margaret Sanger, Busted

Why would a national museum refuse to remove an exhibit honoring one of the leading racists of the 20th century? Simple. The honoree founded Planned Parenthood. Listen Now | Download

Words of Comfort: Science will make life.

“I’d love to see the creationists response when we do finally make some or other form of life. The day is coming…. science, you gotta love it.”

All the combined brains of our most intelligent scientists haven’t a clue how to even begin to make one grain of sand from nothing, let alone create the utter complexity of even one cell of organic life. It is comparatively simple to recreate, using God’s existing materials, but we can’t make simplest thing from nothing. Such utter human powerlessness reveals the intellectual embarrassment of atheism.


Browse Worthy: Kim Davis

Yes, Kim Davis, the Kentucky county clerk refusing to sign marriage licenses for same sex couples, is doing the right thing. Here are four good reasons why, stated by others clearly and logically.

Kim Davis Broke an Illegitimate, Evil Law, and God Bless Her for It,” says Matt Walsh.

According to Mike Huckabee, she is asking the appropriate question. “Under what law am I authorized to issue homosexual couples a marriage license?” A Supreme Court ruling is not the law.

Douglas Wilson quotes Thomas Jefferson who said, “When Injustice Becomes Law, Resistance Becomes Duty.” He then explains why “it is a shame that a 18th century Deist has a better grasp of the relationship of righteousness to government than do two and a half busloads of 21st century Reformed seminary professors.” Ouch!

And as David Murray says, “We Don’t get to Choose Our Martyrs.”


We Don’t Get to Choose our Martyrs

“It’s the wrong case.”

“It’s the wrong time.”

“It’s the wrong person”

“She’s from the wrong church.”

All reasons I’ve heard and read in the past few days as to why Kim Davis should either resign from her County Clerk position or else just get on with issuing gay marriage licenses (latest news report here). And that’s coming from Christians, some of whom have been mighty with the pen in arguing against gay marriage, but are now wilting before the sword of the secular State.

We all knew the moment was coming when Christians, including those in public office, would begin to suffer for their convictions about marriage, and we all readied ourselves to rally in support of them. But now that it’s happened, many Christians are picking holes in Mrs Davis, her arguments, and her actions.

We wanted a “martyr”; but not this one, it would appear. If only it was someone who could write like Al Mohler, speak like Russell Moore, and debate like Ryan Anderson; someone from a mainline church, someone of impressive appearance, someone who had a perfect marriage record (Mrs Davis is on her fourth marriage, having only recently been converted to Christ). But we don’t get to choose our martyrs. God does that. As with salvation:

“…not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence” (1 Cor. 1:26-29).

And I don’t quote that to denigrate Mrs Davis in any way; I have the highest admiration for her and esteem her far higher than myself. Rather, these verses describe the world’s perspective on God’s people; not God’s, or ours (I trust).

Many Christians have been called to serve and suffer for Christ who have far from the best track records or gifts (just ask the Apostle Paul; or just ask me). It’s not for us to second-guess God’s chosen vessels, but to get behind the ones he has chosen to be His instruments to establish truth and righteousness or expose evil and hypocrisy.

Just resign!

“She should just resign and get a job she can do with a good conscience,” say many. The basic principle behind this “solution” is that we walk (or run) away from every situation where human law contradicts God’s law. We fight to stop secular laws from becoming the law of the land (or the church); but once it’s done, we stop fighting; we either obey or we give up our callings. (Which won’t leave us many callings the way things are going).

Thankfully, the Egyptians midwives refused to do that; Pharaoh’s daughter refused to do that; Daniel refused to do that; Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego refused to do that; the wise men from the East refused to do that; the Apostles refused to do that; many of the Reformers, the Covenanters, and the Puritans refused to do that; Bonhoeffer and many Christians in Nazi Germany refused to do that. Multitudes in North Korea and China are refusing to do that today. Pro-life medical professionals are refusing to do that every day of their lives.

In some areas, Mrs Davis seems to have a better grasp of theology than many who claim to be theologians. However, it’s not exactly complicated. As the Apostles put it in words any child could understand, “We ought to obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29). And in another place: “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge” (Acts 4:19).

Like the Apostles, who could also have simply moved on, Mrs Davis has refused to do the authorities’ dirty work for them. By refusing to resign, she is putting the moral responsibility for that action upon her accusers and judges. Many Christian men and women have done this through the years as they’ve stood before the unjust and unbiblical laws of the State, and sometimes the Church, and said, “We ought to obey God rather than man,” whatever the consequences may be.

So, this morning, let’s pray for a Christian sister who is in prison indefinitely (until she changes her mind, the Judge said) for refusing to issue gay marriage licenses in the USA. (Whoever thought such a sentence would ever be written in “the land of the free and the home of the brave”? And let’s have a bit more of the latter, please). Pray that she would be kept from the “lions”, that she would hold firm and strong, and that she would know the presence of the Son of God beside her in this fiery trial. And may she inspire us all to have the courage of our convictions and stand wherever, whenever, and for whatever God has called us to fight.


The Line between Rule of Law and Civil Disobedience

Kim Davis, a county clerk in Kentucky who objects to same-sex marriage, stopped issuing marriage licenses altogether, was ordered by a federal judge to resume her duty, refused to comply, and now is in jail for contempt of court. (Take a moment to read Joe Carter’s explainer on this story to catch up.)

I’m still working through what I think about this situation. It’s difficult because there are so many issues involved and goods to weigh, and I’m still trying to separate my feelings about the unfairness of singling out Kim Davis (as opposed to other officials who refuse to do their job) from the question of what Kim Davis should do. To help you think through this, there’s a symposium discussing these issues over at Breakpoint:

[B]ecause Davis is a government employee, it’s a complicated situation with many angles. Christians are divided on Davis’ actions, and the response by authorities. At issue are questions about the nature of religious liberty, the duty of Christians in government, and what godly civil disobedience looks like.

Here are a few excerpts from the symposium:

From Andrew Walker (this one most closely mirrors where I stand as of now):

The Supreme Court is where ultimate blame rests involving Kim Davis. Court rulings that are truly rooted in justice should seamlessly integrate into a state’s laws. Rulings should not circumvent the democratic process, pre-empt state action, and leave civil society in a state of fractious tumult. Unfortunately, that’s what Obergefell did, and now we’re seeing its disastrous effects in state jurisdictions such as Kentucky. That, and needless escalation in terms of incarceration, coupled with government inaction has brought us to the situation we’re in.

We must recognize the crucial difference between the religious liberty claims of private citizens and government officials. While government employees don’t lose their constitutional protection simply because they work for the government, an individual whose office requires them to uphold or execute the law is a separate matter than the private citizen whose conscience is infringed upon as a result of the law. It means the balancing test is different when it comes to government officials because of their roles as agents of the state. Government officials have a responsibility to carry out the law. When an official can no longer execute the laws in question due to an assault on conscience, and after all accommodating measures have been exhausted, he or she could work for change as a private citizen, engaging the democratic process in hopes of changing the questionable law.

From Shane Morris:

[W]e do and should discriminate when it comes to right and wrong, and natural law, which supersede the power of government, contrary to what Judge David Bunning says. This is the very concept that inspired the American Revolution, and a Civil Rights activist generations later from a Birmingham jail cell: There is a Law above the law. And any manmade law in contradiction to it is “no law at all.”

A Christian woman is in jail for upholding the definition of marriage set in place at creation against one just invented by Anthony Kennedy. I don’t feel comfortable telling her she’s wrong, or that she should just do her job. She’s standing on the side of reality, of natural law, and God, against a depraved fantasy.

From Michael Brown:

[W]hat cannot be debated is that the national outrage against Kim Davis has nothing to do with her refusing to obey the law and everything to do with her Christian beliefs. Had she found herself on the opposite end of the conflict and had she stood for “gay rights,” refusing to obey a law that she felt discriminated against them, she would be praised from coast to coast.

I encourage you to read everyone’s full comments over at Breakpoint. At the end of the post, there are links to several articles from different viewpoints that I’ve also found helpful, and there are plenty more out there. Ryan Anderson recommends a way forward where beliefs are accommodated and licenses are still obtained. Rod Dreher comes down hard on Davis and warns her actions will bring about serious consequences for religious liberty. Douglas Wilson takes the opposite position, saying Davis should not back down.

This is not a simple issue. Rule of law is what makes a good society possible, and the value we place on it should be great—it should never be compromised as part of a regular strategy for getting what we want. (I suspect the fact that we don’t believe the other side feels this way is fueling a lot of the support for Davis’s actions.) But there is also a time and place for civil disobedience, grounded in a Law higher than man’s, against an unjust law. Determining where the line should be drawn between them is not a simple task, and it deserves careful thought.


8 Scriptural Questions to Ask Yourself Today

Following God requires us to look in the mirror of God’s Word. That process can be what I call “joyously painful” – painful because we see ourselves as we really are, but joyous because there’s great relief when we turn to God and find Him gracious. So, here are some questions to ask in the mirror today:

  1. If I imitated your life today, would I be living like Jesus? Paul knew he was the chief of sinners (1 Tim. 1:15), but he also walked closely enough with Jesus that he could humbly but confidently say, “Imitate me, and imitate Christ” (1 Cor. 11:1). Can you say the same?
  2. If I walked with you non-stop for the next week, would I ask you to teach me to pray like you pray?  Surely the disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray because they had heard Him and watched Him pray (Luke 11:1). They wanted to talk with the Father like He did. Would I want to pray like you pray?
  3. Is the Word of God precious and sweet to you? That’s the way the psalmist described the Word: “They are more desirable than gold—than an abundance of pure gold; and sweeter than honey, which comes from the honeycomb” (Psa. 19:10). Would you say the same?
  4. Is God’s will more important to you than your will? Jesus taught us to pray this way –“Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Matt. 6:10) – and He then modeled His own teaching in the Garden of Gethsemane (Matt. 26:42). If God’s will were to mean your death for the sake of the gospel, how would you answer this question?
  5. Do you give thanks for everything? Paul told us to live this way (1 Thess. 5:18). He so believed this truth that he himself could boast about his weaknesses and take pleasure in his persecutions, for he found God’s strength in his weakness (2 Cor. 12:9-10).  Do your prayers show this much gratitude?
  6. Do you fight your own battles, or do you let God be warrior? David knew his battles were God’s, not his, when he was a shepherd boy (1 Sam. 17:47), but he depended on his own army and strength when he became the king (1 Chron. 21:1-5). Are you more like David the shepherd boy or David the king?
  7. Are you hiding anything? Adam and Eve sinned in the garden, and they convinced themselves that even God couldn’t find them when they hid (Gen. 3:8). Are you doing the same thing?
  8. Who knows Jesus today because you’ve talked about Him this week? Jesus freed a man possessed by a legion of demons, and He told the redeemed man to go tell his friends what He had done. The result: everyone marveled at Jesus (Mark 5:19-20).  Who’s marveling today because of your story?

If this look in the mirror is painful, make it joyous by turning back to God right now.


Biblical theology and Christ in the OT

http://www.thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/justintaylor/2015/09/04/an-in-depth-interview-with-vern-poythress-on-biblical-theology-and-christ-in-the-old-testament/

Consider Taking “A Walk in the Woods”


3 Things You Can Do to Help a Friend Struggling with Depression


When We Struggle: Do We Need a New Technique or a Living Savior?

Re-Post from 2 1/2 years ago (May, 2013) –  “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” – 1 Peter 1:3, ESV

“How can I possibly handle this?” Have you ever felt so overwhelmed by something that you felt like you were suffocating? Maybe it was an impossibly busy schedule or a seemingly unsolvable problem or perhaps a deeply rooted sin that you could not conquer. Whatever it was, you were sure that it was going to overcome you, bury you under its impossible oppression and suck the very life right out of you?

Maybe, by God’s grace, you can look back at that impossible struggle and see that it was not as truly overwhelming as you thought it was. Or maybe you’re still under the weight of it and cannot see the way out. Wherever you are, looking back or under pressure, I can guarantee you that you will face more pressures and more impossible situations in the future. It really does seem like life is often more than we can handle.

So, what do we do? Can we get some new technique that will help us cope and overcome? Is there some magic word or tactic or strategy we can adopt to help us manage an often-overwhelming life? Well, sometimes, the answer is yes, or seems to be. A hectic schedule can be helped by organization- a new calendar, a smart phone, a more organized task list, etc.

Yet the deeper and harder the struggle, the more a new technique just doesn’t seem to be enough. We need more. In the end, tricks and tips may help us use our computers better or manage our task list more effectively, but they do not have real saving power. Praise be to God that He offers us so much more! God does not give us clever tricks for coping with life; He gives us new life and a living hope through a risen and eternally living Savior.

The resurrection of Jesus assures us that, if we belong to Him, the crushing pressures of this life cannot crush us. As we look not to ourselves but to our risen Savior, we will find:

  • We have a Savior who lives forever with the power of an indestructible life (Heb. 7:16).
  • This living Savior is our Head and our Great High Priest.
  • We are joined to our living Savior by faith and, through His Holy Spirit, He lives in us and through us.
  • Thus, the same power which raised Christ from the dead also lives and works within us (Rom. 8:11; Eph. 1:19).

Now some Christians take the living hope resurrection power of Christ as itself being a new kind of technique for overcoming trials in life. In other words, they say that, if we truly believe in Christ and His resurrection power is at work within us, we never need to face any kind of overwhelming trial. We can always be peaceful, joyful, happy and have our circumstances so perfectly adjusted that our trials and burdens disappear.

Yet this is not what the Lord promises. Just as Paul, who suffered more hardships and faced more impossible difficulties than anyone else I know (read 2 Cor. 11:24-29). Union with Christ and the living hope He brings does not make our lives any easier, but it joins our souls to a power greater than ourselves and teaches us complete and utter dependence upon Him in everything. In fact, belonging to Christ often means we will face more trials be more severely tested, if only to teach us not to depend on ourselves and to deepen our trust in Him.

One of my favorite hymns that helps me keep these things in perspective is from John Newton, “I Asked the Lord.” Here is Indelible Grace’s version of this great hymn:


How God Gives Assurance

Am I truly a Christian?

Few questions cause more fearful trembling in believers, and few soul-shepherds are as helpful as John Newton in explaining to trembling saints how God cultivates assurance in the Christian life.

God loves to give his children the gift of “the full assurance of faith” (Hebrews 10:22). It is a precious thing, a source of deep peace and consolation, and he wants us to have it.

But like most things in the Christian life, assurance is something that is cultivated and grows deeper and stronger over time. It is a gift that God gives to us, according Newton (1725–1807), gradually through frequent testing.

Assurance grows by repeated conflict, by our repeated experimental proof of the Lord’s power and goodness to save; when we have been brought very low and helped, sorely wounded and healed, cast down and raised again, have given up all hope, and been suddenly snatched from danger, and placed in safety; and when these things have been repeated to us and in us a thousand times over, we begin to learn to trust simply to the word and power of God, beyond and against appearances: and this trust, when habitual and strong, bears the name of assurance; for even assurance has degrees. (Newton on the Christian Life, 220)

In other words, God’s way of growing the sweet gift of assurance in us is by putting us through numerous and varied hardships. The process is designed to be hard. Trials are the way that faith is proven, refined, and strengthened. This is why James writes, “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness” (James 1:2–3).

Assurance Grows through Spiritual Conflict

It’s why Paul writes, “We rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance [same word translated as “steadfastness” in James], and endurance produces character, and character produces hope” (Romans 5:3–4).

And it’s why the author of Hebrews reminds us,

It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. (Hebrews 12:7–8)

The discipline of enduring trials and sufferings ends up proving that we are God’s children. And though “for the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant . . . later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it” (Hebrews 12:11).

One of the peaceful, consoling fruits of the “righteousness of God that depends on faith” (Philippians 3:9) is assurance. And it’s a fruit that is realized “later” and in increasing amounts.

Why God Grows Assurance this Way

Why has God designed the process of giving us a growing assurance of faith through enduring trials? Newton answers this way:

We cannot be safely trusted with assurance till we have that knowledge of the evil and deceitfulness of our hearts, which can be acquired only by painful, repeated experience. (222)

Like Peter who confidently promised Jesus that he would never deny him only hours before he did, we do not realize as younger believers how powerful our sin nature is and how weak our faith is. We don’t know how proud and self-reliant we are. It is the fiery trials that apply heat to our faith and cause the dross of unbelief in the form of doubt, fear, anxiety, anger, jealousy, bitterness, selfish ambition, fear of man, and more to rise to the surface. And when we see the dross, we can fear that our faith may not be real.

And that’s what God wants. For when see the horrible sin in us and feel our helplessness to get rid of it on our own, it pushes us in desperation to trust Christ’s work on the cross alone. When we see our numerous weaknesses and feel our helplessness to be strong on our own, it pushes us to search out and trust Christ’s promises to us alone.

We can have no security from gifts, labors, services, or past experiences; but that from first to last our only safety is in the power, compassion, and faithfulness of our great Redeemer. (234)

It is the various kinds of pressing, painful, exposing trials that teach us to trust in Christ for everything — to really “live by faith in the Son of God” (Galatians 2:20).

And so God grows the full assurance of faith in us, and causes the joyful, peaceful fruit of righteousness to grow in us through trials. He wants our faith to rest fully on the Rock of Christ, so that we “rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead” (2 Corinthians 1:9). Because, as Newton said,

“We are never more safe, never have more reason to expect the Lord’s help, than when we are most sensible that we can do nothing without him.” This is the paradox of assurance. (234)

Through Many Dangers, Toils, and Snares

Newton spoke of assurance from experience. He said,

In mercy [God] has frequently stirred up my nest, shaken me in it, and forced me to fly to him, when I should otherwise have dropped into sleep and [false] security. (221)

For Pastor Newton, the sweet God-given gift of assurance looked much like verse three of his famous hymn, “Amazing Grace”:

     Through many dangers, toils, and snares
          I have already come;
     His grace has brought me safe thus far,
          And grace will lead me home.

Our assurance of salvation does not come from a confidence in some subjectively measured inner witness, nor how warm our affections for God are at any given moment. Rather, our assurance comes from a growing confidence in Christ’s saving work that purchased the fulfillment of all his great promises to us (2 Peter 1:4) and his power to keep them.

Greater assurance comes through stronger faith. And faith only grows stronger through the vigorous exercise of testing.


If you haven’t yet read Tony Reinke’s Newton on the Christian Life, I hope one fruit of this article is that you will. John Newton once said, “There are silver books; and a very few golden books.” That’s true. And this book is a golden one. The chapter on “Battling Insecurity,” from which the quotes above come, is more than worth the book’s price. But you will find gold from cover to cover.


Related Resources


He Who Has Ears

Some accuse the Protestant emphasis upon the preached Word as pastor-centric and non-engaging, but such an accusation assumes too little about the listener’s responsibility in corporate worship. Every individual in the congregation has responsibilities when the Word of God is preached. As we listen to the Word preached we want to aim at listening to it astutely, attentively, reverently, prayerfully, and responsively.

Astutely: As listeners of the Word, we must insist upon the sound preaching of the Word. We dare not fall into the ways of those who have “itching ears” and accumulate for ourselves “teachers to suit our own passions” (2 Timothy 4:3). The temptation to do so is great and subtle. The Word is our nourishment, we live by “every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4). Our souls and hearts will languish apart from “the whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:27). The pastor who enters the pulpit should not be able to satiate us with stories, jokes, wandering tales, or dispassionate reflections. We want to hear from God, so we will listen astutely for that living Word (Hebrews 4:12).

Attentively: Our worship is never passive, but active as we engage with the Word preached. Of course, it is not our “laboring” that makes the Word preached effectual; that is the work of the Holy Spirit as He attends to the Word and works faith in the listener (John 3). But a disengaged and passive listener to the Word is no listener at all. As the preacher is accountable for what he says, so the congregation is accountable for its faithfulness in listening.

Reverently: God is speaking to His people and so we are to receive that Word reverently. With the Psalmist, we would say, “Let me hear what God the Lord will speak” (Psalm 85:8). The most blessed of sermons occur when the listener begins to forget the preacher and finds their mind filled with the Word of God, their heart moved with love for Him, and their affections running after Him. We are on holy ground in worship and knowingly hang on the edge of our seats as we long to hear the next words from our Heavenly Father. He speaks and we listen.

Prayerfully: The Spirit must attend to the Word, so we labor prayerfully in the pew as much as the preacher labors at preaching in the pulpit. Prayer paves the way for the Spirit’s effectual moving. We want our hearts to be fertile soil (Mark 4) for this eternal seed of truth. Even as our ears and mind our being stirred with the Word, so we are stirring our spirits in prayer.

Responsively: As the Westminster Shorter Catechism states, “The Scriptures principally teach what man is to believe concerning God and what duty God requires of Man.” The Scriptures demand response: faith and obedience. We are to be “doers of the Word and not just hearers” (James 1:22). The fault lies with us if we emerge from a service asking, “Did you get anything out of that sermon?”  Rather, we desire to respond with, “I will believe what God says and will obey Him.” The sermon will never be perfect, because the man preaching it is never perfect. Yet, if the text was read and the text was preached, there is always something for the listener to respond to. Searching our thoughts and lives for where the Word preached that morning is speaking needed truth in my life marks every faithful listener. We dare not excuse ourselves, focus on how much others need to hear this truth, or think we have heard this message too many times. None of us are perfect in any area of our Christian lives, we are all straining forward, pressing “on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14).

Dear Christian, you may be sitting in corporate worship while the pastor is preaching, but this is no idle exercise. We are to be engaged with the Word. The little effect many sermons have upon listeners is less often due to the preacher’s lack of skill in preaching, but rather due to our lack of effort in listening. Listen astutely, attentively, reverently, prayerfully, and responsively. “He who has ears, let him hear” (Matthew 13:9).

 

Richard Steele, A Remedy for Wandering Thoughts in Worship

Joel Beeke, The Family at Church: Listening to Sermons and Attending Prayer


Church Discipline, Contemporary Grace Style (Rick Phillips)

I have so far refrained from public comment on the resignation of Tullian Tchividjian in light of his confessed sexual sin, limiting myself to praying for him and his family.  As one who has strongly criticized his theology, I wanted to avoid the impression that the personal failure of a leader automatically invalidates his teaching (or vice versa).  Only the Word of God proves our teaching.  Recent developments warrant comment, however, particularly as the actions of a theologically motivated community make clear its actual values and beliefs.  In the two-plus months since Tullian’s resignation, we have witnessed the Contemporary Grace Movement (CGM) in action, applying their doctrine to one of its most prominent spokesmen.  It is not fair, of course, to ascribe these attitudes to everyone associated with the CGM.  But if I was a card-carrying member of the movement, or a pastor who frequently endorsed the “grace” and “liberation” teaching espoused by Tullian and company, here are three questions I would be asking myself and other leaders:

  1. Does pastoral godliness matter?  This question is fairly raised, given both Tullian’s writings (including tweets) since his admitted sexual infidelity and now the response to it by his supporters.  For his part, Tullian has expressed an unwillingness to cease his public ministry, saying this would “undermine the very message” he teaches (one can only but regrettably agree).  This attitude has now been confirmed by Willow Creek Church (PCA) in Orlando, which just announced hiring Tchividjian to its ministry staff.  This a mere two weeks after Tullian filed for divorce, three weeks after he was deposed from the ministry, and a little over two months after he resigned his pastorate over admitted moral unfitness.  The apostle Paul’s teaching that a pastor (and by extension, a celebrity preacher) must be faithful to his wife and above public reproach (1 Tim. 3:2) also does not seem to matter.  Perhaps because Paul’s teaching falls into the category of law it is deemed irrelevant to the celebration of grace.
  2. Does the covenant nurture of women matter? One of the more horrific moments in this affair was Tullian’s disgraceful exposing (even highlighting) of his wife’s sin before the national media.  Likewise, Paul Tripp’s public article defending Tullian’s divorce implied that the problem was her unwillingness to reconcile.  One may wonder why a private counselor would even publish such information about his clients (for the answer, see #3).  It certainly does not seem that the CGM emphasizes the duties of husbands to protect and love their wives, perhaps since teaching male obligation would under Tullian’s doctrine amount to legalism.  Sadly, we are reminded of what happens not only when sin is given license but when our “glorious ruin” is celebrated: many vulnerable people, starting with women and children in the home, suffer from the tolerated sins of men.  Of all the people who should express concern about attending CGM churches, prospective wives may be among the first.
  3. Does the church matter?  By immediately seeking a ministry position, Tullian was showing little concern for the division and discouragement that would ensue in the church.  (By the church, I do not mean only Willow Creek PCA, but the broader church, including Coral Ridge and the PCA as a whole.)  Moreover, since the Bible requires good household management as a qualification for both elders and deacons, a church that was concerned for its people would not likely bring a man onto its staff just weeks after he filed for divorce and was defrocked.  Then comes the matter of the role of a celebrity counselor acting in the place of the established courts of the church.  Why was a private counselor the one to oversee Tullian’s repentance instead of his presbytery?  With what authority did Paul Tripp publicly endorse Tullian’s action to divorce his wife (in an article since taken down)?  The most likely answer seems to be that in the concern to minister to Tullian, biblical concerns regarding the church were pushed aside.

In observing this affair, I was perhaps most aggrieved by a statement that is itself wonderfully true.  After reading on Paul Tripp’s website that Tullian’s marriage is damaged beyond repair only two months after the sin was revealed, my eyes wandered downward to read his banner slogan: “Connecting the transforming power of Jesus Christ to everyday life.”  Here, then, is a fourth question I would ask leaders of the Contemporary Grace Movement: what can a statement like this possibly mean in light of the “discipline” of Pastor Tullian?  For if we really believed that Christ has power not only to forgive and remove the sorrow of sin but also to transform and sanctify us from sin itself, it seems to me that the CGM’s response to Tullian’s scandalous sin would be very different.

Now back to prayer…


Are All Sins Equal to God?

It is very common among Christians to hear that all sins are equal. But is that really true? Are all sins equal to God?

The answer is, yes and no! If we are comparing one sin to another, then the Bible makes it clear that not all sins are considered equal by God. This is actually made clear from Jesus’ own teaching. First, Jesus testifies that there are greater sins (and, by extension, lesser sins). Standing before Pontius Pilate, Jesus says, “You would have no authority over me at all unless it had been given you from above. Therefore he who delivered me over to you has the greater sin” (John 19:11). Not only does God regard some sins as greater and some lesser, but Jesus tells us that there is a greatest sin. Jesus states, “whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come” (Matt. 12:32b).

It follows that if there are degrees of sins, then there must be “weightier matters of the law” (Matt. 23:23). In fact, we are explicitly told that there is a “great and first commandment” (Matt. 22:38). So it seems that all sins are not same to a Holy God; some are a greater offense to Him.

However, in another sense, all sin is equal. All sin is the same in the sense that any one sin will separate you from God (James 2:10). Maybe a better way to put it is that any sin has the same consequence of separating us from God. The wages of sin, any sin, is death (Rom. 6:23). It only takes one. That is bad news for every person that has ever drawn breath. The good news is that Jesus died for the sins of the world (1 John 2:2).


Don’t Miss List: Anxiety, Comfort and How Not to Preach the Word

It’s been too long since I put one of these together so here goes nothing.

Anxious? The Psalms have a lot to say

Grace to You has a compilation of Psalms for the anxious here.

Depressed? Hurting? A Sermon Series That May Bring You Comfort

Preaching from some of my favorite chapters of the gospel of John, Pastor John MacArthur’s sermon series: Comfort for Troubled Hearts can do just that. The third sermon particularly ministered to me during a time of distress.

Don’t Fall for Preaching/Teaching Like This!

There’s a lot of false teaching in the world today. That’s why I appreciate Fighting for the Faith so much. The best part of this particular podcast is Ryan Stokes: Proof Jesus Was a Pirate. It’s a perfect illustration of how easy it is to preach the Word incorrectly. I highly recommend listening to that segment (at least). It starts around 51 minutes into the broadcast.

Janet Mefferd: Anatomy of an Evangelical Scandal

Yep, this is pretty much what the scandals look like no matter who is involved.

What Grace Isn’t

Sean Lucas explores “what grace isn’t,” at Reformation 21, the blog of the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals.


This Week in Calvinism – September 4, 2015

  • It’s ignorance like this that keeps me away from theological discussion forums.
  • The Wall Street Journal reviews Inherit the Holy Mountain by Mark R. Stoll, who links Calvinism with environmentalism.
  • God’s big work and your little mission.
  • Joel McDurmon addresses the case of the county clerk jailed for refusing to issue same-sex “marriage” licenses: “Kim Davis is doing what every Christian magistrate should.”

W4YW: The Duggars, Talking to Kids about Abortion, & Emotionally Healthy Churches

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

Articles of the Week

What the Duggars Get Wrong About Chastity, Audra Nakas. “The irony of the Duggars’ sexual mores is that they end up sexualizing nearly all human touch. Holding hands, rather than being a form of affection, or an expression of comfort, or a method of guidance, is reduced to sexual desire. Bumping elbows with your seatmate on the plane becomes an occasion of sin.”

Four Ways PhDs Build Character More than Careers, Rusty Osborne. I (Chris) knew there was some reason I was getting my PhD—character! In all seriousness, Osborne’s reflections here highlight the benefits of the long and arduous task that is the philosophiae doctor. The concluding “three vital things” are also immensely important for anyone considering a PhD. (I’m relieved to see some of the advice I frequently give in there.)

“Here I Stand” – Who Said It Better, Frozen’s Elsa or Martin Luther? Andy Naselli (ft. Tim Keller). Eventually we may all forget that the vapid wonder of Frozen made its appearance on the American stage. But in the meantime, Frozen provides a helpful lens into contemporary culture. Five hundred years apart, a cartoon princess and a German monk said the same thing: “Here I stand.” But their meaning couldn’t have been more contrary.

Four Characteristics of Emotionally Healthy Churches, Peter Scazzero. “For years I believed if I could simply identify the right planning and decision-making process, we would make good decisions at New Life, the church I pastor. That, it turned out, was both naïve and misguided. Over a 20-year period, however, the dramatic difference between our standard process and emotionally healthy planning and decision-making became crystal clear.”

How Do I Talk to My Kids About Abortion? Randy Alcorn. Parents with kids of a certain age know the position of terror that comes when their kids ask an important but difficult question. But it’s more than just the stereotypically awkward “sex talk” (that so few of us actually received). It encompasses issues in the news today, like abortion. So just how should we talk to our kids about the reality of abortion?


This ‘n’ That

  •  Speaking of scheduled revival and God’s calendar, Rod Parsley is definitely in-the-know and you can be too, if you preorder now!
  • John Owen on the greatest benefit of preaching.
  • Surprise, surprise, gluten sensitivity doesn’t appear to actually be real.  So unless you’re one of the 1% of people who has celiac…go ahead, eat that bread!
  • So sad for so many reasons.
  • Here’s your weekly dose of adorable.
  • There are many reasons not to watch the new Kendrick Brothers’ movie, War Room.
  • This happened (scroll to the bottom). And then Carl Trueman wrote this and Rick Phillips wrote this.
  • The Lord’s Word to His Church:

Check out

Blogs

Ten Systematic Theology Resources | Kevin DeYoung, The Gospel Coalition

(Almost) The Whole Continuous Story of The Old Testament in Just 11 Books | Justin Taylor, The Gospel Coalition
A Summary from David Talley’s book, The Story of the Old Testament.

Help Me Teach the Bible: Colin Smith on Jonah | Nancy Guthrie, The Gospel Coalition
On her podcast, Nancy talks to Colin Smith about God’s love and mercy shown through the book of Jonah.

11 Easy Steps to Repenting on the Internet | Barnabas Piper
It’s not so easy.

You Can’t Be Neutral |Kevin Carson, Biblical Counseling Coalition
On the sanctity of human life, we cannot be neutral.

6 Costs of Real Friendships | Jen Thorn, The Gospel Coalition
Friendship is not just about who you are connected to on Social Media.

How to Care for Women Who Have Miscarried | Jasmine Holmes, Desiring God
No doubt someone in your life has been affected by miscarriage. Jasmine seeks to bring understanding for outsiders who want to give comfort.

Kindle Deals


The Gospel According to Tolkien: Visions of the Kingdom in Middle-earth by Ralph C. Wood ($1.99)


Apologetics Study Bible for Students edited by Shawn McDowell ($2.99)


With: Reimagining the Way You Relate to God by Skye Jethani ($2.99)


Truth in a Culture of Doubt: Engaging Skeptical Challenges to the Bible by Andreas J. Kostenberger, Darrell L. Bock, and Josh D. Chatraw ($2.99)


A La Carte (September 4)

I woke up this morning to find that the service I use to collect and organize links had decided to take the day off. So I have reconstructed it to the best of my ability, right down to the bizarre bird calls.

Q&A on Sexual Abuse

Cecelia Bernhardt will be a speaker at this year’s CCEF conference, and in this Q&A she gives some comfort and encouragement when it comes to counselling those who have been victims of such abuse.

Why Do So Many Walk Away?

Mez’s response and challenge is as simple as it gets, but it is also just what I needed to hear. “I remember vividly my early days in the church. Everything was new and fresh. There was a large young people’s group and there was a real buzz, about the place. It was exciting being a Christian around people like that. It made church seem like the place to be.”

11 Easy Steps to Repenting on the Internet

Whether Barnabas Piper means this seriously or tongue-in-cheek, he accurately shows how people deal with scandal in this digital world.

This Day in 1847. Henry Francis Lyte preached his final sermon. Lyte was weak from Tuberculosis and gave his farewell address to his congregation, knowing he had little time left. That evening he handed a relative a final hymn he written, titled “Abide with Me.” The hymn would far outlive the name of its author. I am partial to the version adapted by Indelible Grace. *

How to Care for Women Who Have Miscarried

“There is no magic bullet that can make the pain of having a miscarriage disappear. However, in my quest to love women who have experienced this loss (Romans 12:15), and as a woman who has been touched by it herself, there are a few things that have been comforting reminders of how the Lord uses his people to care for one another.”

“In this World You Will Have Trouble” — Welcome to Rowan County

Al Mohler: “The Commonwealth of Kentucky is now the setting for a dramatic display of judicial arrogance, even as the larger story points to the sweeping moral change that is transforming the nation’s landscape.” Indeed.

The Most Timeless Songs

Digging into Spotify data allows us see which songs from each era are considered timeless.

Dumb-Sounding Birds of North America

You’re welcome.


Friday’s 5 to Live By

BCC Staff

Friday's 5 To Live By

Each Friday our BCC staff links you to the top five biblical counseling and Christian living blog posts of the week—posts that provide robust, rich, and relevant insights for living.

Q & A on Sexual Abuse

At the CCEF site, counselor Cecelia Bernhardt tells about her upcoming conference talk at CCEF’s 2015 National Conference and what she is learning in her counseling related to sexual abuse recovery. Read her insights at Q & A on Sexual Abuse.

4 Biblical Compass Points for Biblical Counseling

At his RPM Ministries site, Dr. Bob Kellemen shares about 4 Biblical Compass Points for Biblical Counseling.

3 Stages of Identity Formation after Trauma

Brad Hambrick shares 3 Stages of Identity Formation after Trauma.

An Amazing Conversation

At the Association of Biblical Counselors’ site, John Henderson writes about An Amazing Conversation from Scripture in Genesis 4.

A Triage for Marriage Conflicts

At the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors’ site, Dr. Matthew Haste helps us to consider A Triage for Marriage Conflicts.


Links I like

Links

Kindle deals for Christian readers

2015 For the Church Conference

Earlier this week, Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary hosted the 2015 For the Church conference. The conference messages are now available online, so if, like me, you weren’t able to attend, be sure to check them out at your leisure.

Ashley Madison Is Just the Beginning

Russell Moore:

Digital technology spawned an entirely different reality. One could seek out pornography with no one knowing, and with the promise that no one would ever know. One could continue to try to feel good about oneself because the porn was part of something one was already doing—surfing the web—and one could pretend that one just happened to find oneself in a bad Internet neighborhood. What has been the result? The result is a pornography industry that has weaponized itself—leaving shame and guilt and broken marriages all over the world, especially among those who thought red states or Bible belts were force-fields against the Sexual Revolution.

Three Dangers of Only Looking at the Present

Eric Geiger:

The present reality is a strong pull on leaders. When a leader wants to rise above the day and look to the future, the urgent can quickly pull a leader back to focusing on today. The problems and challenges of today threaten to stop leaders from looking to the future, and from learning from the past. When leaders want to work on the organization/ministry, there is plenty to work in.

If you only look at the present, you are not leading well.

11 Easy Steps to Repenting on the Internet

Barnabas Piper:

The Internet is in charge of everything. It is the authoritative word on ethics, morality, decency, politics, and now church discipline. Don’t believe me? Spend more time on Facebook and Twitter. You’ll be brainwashed in no time.

Sadly, we often see Christian leaders fall – affairs, leadership blow ups, ethical misconduct. Once upon a time that meant they worked through any discipline within their context (church, organization, etc.) toward restoration. Now, though, the Internet is in charge. This means that the Internet is where we look to see how discipline and repentance work.

It is an 11 step process.

Give ‘em Good Fish and Chips Every Sunday

Erik Raymond:

When I look out upon our congregation on Sunday morning I see a wide spectrum. I see faithful and mature folks who have been walking with the Lord for decades and then some who have been Christians for only a few months. I see people in their 60’s and then folks in their 20’s. In addition to that there are many little 5 year-olds staring up at me trying to understand. There are people from a completely biblically illiterate background and then there are those who have grown up in evangelical churches but never heard the gospel. Then there are many guys who are running hard theologically and wanting to be challenged and fed.


Articles, Resources, and More . . . Oh My! (09/04/15)

A Basketful of Encouragement

Linda Green uses her personal experience to remind us of seven ways God uses the encouragement of brothers and sisters in our lives.

Protecting Your Child, and Mine

This article is a good reminder that we need to be vigilant in protecting our children from the dangers that can lurk on their smart devices. While the boundaries and rules will be different for every family, one thing is sure: The enemy prowls around like a roaring, devouring lion.

Ashley Madison Is Just the Beginning

Russell Moore: “Madison ‘worked.’ Why would people sign up for a service promising to match them with others looking for affairs? Ashley Madison succeeded in drawing in thirty-two million users because it joined original sin to modern technology.”

An Unhappy Marriage Isn’t Hopeless

In the midst of all the marriage heartbreak we’ve been witnessing in recent weeks, here is a story of commitment, restoration, and God’s glory in the fight.


The Daily Discovery (September 4, 2015)

headerImage-dailyDiscovery

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

In Which I Paint With Some Bright Yellows – “A consensus appears to be developing among otherwise reasonable people that Kim Davis, of Rowan County fame, either needs to start issuing marriage licenses or quit her job.  For those just joining us, a county clerk in Kentucky is refusing to issue marriage licenses against her conscience and is also refusing to resign. Her name, which should be on a bronze plaque on the side of the courthouse, is Kim Davis. A federal judge has ordered her to appear in his courtroom Thursday to explain why Davis should not be held in contempt of court for refusing to issue marriage licenses.  File this under sentiments which seem extreme at the time, but heroic when the danger is over, and you are reading them inscribed on the base of a polished marble memorial.  But there is a difference between contempt of court and seeing that the courts have become contemptible.”

Predictable, all too predictable. – “The return of Tullian Tchividjian to a ministry role is scarcely surprising, though the speed would no doubt make even Jimmy Swaggart green with envy. It is the logical outcome of the culture of celebrity which has been consciously cultivated most disappointingly by some in reformed evangelical circles over the last decade. Those who have decried the critics of celebrity culture as hypocrites because they too are known outside of their local neighbourhood really missed the point. Celebrity is not just about being well known. It is also about developing informal and formal extra-ecclesiastical structures of authority (and thus of accountability, or lack thereof) which focus on specific personalities and subserve the needs of those personalities.”

Why publishers change the Bible (and that’s OK) – “English Bible translations get updated from time to time, and that means the Bible, as we read it, can change. And these aren’t just updates that change ‘thee’ and ‘thou’ to ‘you.’ These can be rather substantial: Words get rearranged. Phrases can disappear. Entire verses are pulled out. Often our first response (mine too sometimes) is, ‘Why?! Who’s gutting the Word of God? Who’s messing with the Scriptures? LEMME AT ‘EM!’  Well, the issue comes down to the concept of textual criticism. Unfortunately, it’s a concept that doesn’t come up much in church, or in small group, or in Sunday school.”

Rise Up, O County Clerks! – “Let me explain why I think Davis is in the right to refuse: As a Christian, she believes SSM to be sinful, and she does not want to support something that is sinful. And in this case, it is not tacit support but she is being asked to literally sign off on the license. She, as the clerk, must sing the certificate saying, ‘Yep, this is a legit wedding, and I approve.’”

Evangelicalism Gone Wild: The Continued Folly of Hyper-Grace Sanctification. – “We interrupt our current blog series to bring you an updated press release concerning Tullian Tchividjian and to sadly recount the continued decline of American Evangelicalism…”


SERMON:

John MacArthur – Calvinism in a Nutshell


VIDEOS:

The Gospel According to the Heretic Pelagius

Rick Warren and The Purpose Driven Life: A Discussion


“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 (September 4, 2015) appeared first on Entreating Favor.



Christian Headlines Daily – Friday, September 4, 2015

http://www.christianheadlines.com/

Top Headlines

Christians Provide Aid to Displaced Syrian Refugees Facing Persecution

Rick Warren Offers Words of Hope to Jordin Sparks

Cuban Pastor Released after Six Months in Prison

Child Left in Car Dies in Baptist Church Parking Lot

Nigeria: Suspected Boko Haram Attacks Kill at Least 24

KY Clerk Who Refuses to Issue Same-sex Marriage Licenses Found in Contempt of Court

Family of Imprisoned Pastor Saeed Requests Audience with Iran’s President

Christian Leader in Syria Begs Christians to Stay

Florida Church Defends Decision to Hire Tullian Tchividjian after he Admitted to Affair

Beloved Disney Icon, Christian Actor Dean Jones Dies

Opinion

Yahoos on Campus: What Did You Expect?

Policeman Murdered: Schools Locked Down

Donald Trump, Evangelical Scam Artist

Debunking the Abortion Crowd’s Favorite Arguments

Clerk Defies Court, Denies Gay Marriage Licenses


Our Time is Short

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


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

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.

September 3, 2015 Truth2Freedom Christian Briefing Report

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Understanding and Interpreting the Commandments

The law of God must not just be the rule of our obedience, but also the reason of it.  We must not simply obey the law, but obey it because the Lord requires it; we must do what it says out of love for God; the love of God must be the fountain, the impulsive, and the efficient cause of all our obedient to the law (see 1 John).

Read more


Why Should We Study Systematic Theology?

The unity of the church demands it. True ecumenicity is not possible apart from robust theological fidelity. Church unity requires doctrinal agreement: “There is one body and one Spirit-just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call-one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all” (Eph. 4:4-6). How can we contend for the faith once for all delivered to the saints (Jude 3) if we do not have a deep understanding of that faith?

Read more


False Narratives of Christian Leaders Caught in Abuse

The most significant catastrophe in all of this is that false narratives declare to victims that the horrors of their abuse are not nearly as significant as preserving the all important reputation and career of another Christian leader. These individuals find themselves once again exploited and abused by offenders needing to satisfy distorted self-obsessions and who don’t care for anyone made in the image of the God they claim to worship.

Read More


A Grievous Ruin

I wonder if the church that has just hired Tchividjian understands the peril in which they have placed him. I wonder also if they understand what hiring as a minister a newly confessed adulterer broadcasts to their church and community. Do they understand what this action communicates about the gravity of adultery and divorce? Do they understand what this action communicates about sin and repentance?

Read More


Virgin Nation: Sexual Purity and American Adolescence

As a confessional Christian, I have to wonder where the church fits in to all this movement-based sexual purity. Moslener demonstrates how purity becomes the answer offered to the problem that needs to be cured. While Jesus is presented as necessary to this “personal transformation,” the language used sounds more like a psychological issue for personal fulfillment or even locking in a happy marriage with a great sex life, rather than an offense to a holy God in whose image we were created. It’s the all too familiar rhetoric of the prosperity gospel

Read More


Seeking a Foundation in the Midst of Pastoral Failures

John says that the message that Jesus brought was not, at its core, a message about you and me. It’s a message that starts with God. This means that the anchor of your life, of reality, of your existence isn’t your pastor. Yes, he is important, he is used by God in incredible ways to edify and build you up (thank God for him!) but he isn’t your rock. He isn’t your salvation. He isn’t the one in whom you trust or rest on.

Read more


Killing Sin by the Spirit, Post 3 (Get Grace!)

Lots of people will give you lot of ideas about how to be more filled with the Holy Spirit and how to get more grace. They might point you to to the latest best-selling Christian book. Years ago, it would have been The Prayer of Jabez or A Purpose-Driven Life. Today, it might be some book on prayer circles or a Jesus Calling book. But God has not made accessing His grace and the power of His Spirit a secret, nor does He want us seeking Him outside of His word and apart from His people. I suspect what some people want from these trendy fads – perhaps what most people want – is a short-cut formula to a life filled with happiness and free from struggle. God nowhere promises us that!

Read more


Europe’s Sinister Expansion of Euthanasia

What’s noteworthy about euthanasia in Europe, though, has been its tendency to expand, once the taboo against physician-aided death was breached in favor of more malleable concepts such as “patient autonomy.” “What is presented at first as a right is going to become a kind of obligation,” Belgian law professor Étienne Montero has warned.

Read More


Anatomy of an evangelical scandal

Popular radio talk show host Janet Mefferd has put together the common chain of events that more often than not come about after a Big Christian Name finds himself caught up in controversy.  The picture Janet paints is not a pretty one; nevertheless her assessment is dead on. A must read. In recent years, evangelicalism has […]

Read more of this post


Ripping Off the Labels Stitched onto Our Hearts

by Erin Davis

The trouble with labels is we tend to believe them. In fact, we obsess over them. Eventually they cover over who we really are. We end up confused about why we have value and become desperate for people to see the real us. But Jesus is in the business of replacing our labels.

How Could He Choose HER?

by Paula Hendricks

It’s too late for me to try to encourage my younger self walking down that cracked sidewalk with cracked insides, but maybe I can encourage you.

A Bridge, a Plane, and an Identity Crisis

by Leanna Shepard

When God confronts you with your sin and starts chipping away at your pride, you’re not being whacked and whittled down to size. You’re being lovingly crafted into the image of His Son.


The Origins of Aggressive Atheism

Thirty years ago I was an atheist. But the type of atheist I was would not have recognized what is called the new atheism. I was not angry, nor did it bother me what religious people believed.

In this recording, apologist William Lane Craig looks into the origins of aggressive atheism.


The Challenges of Discernment Ministry

Our guest today is Love for the Truth Radio’s host, Cindy Hartline. Cindy is a radio host, Bible researcher, teacher, author, conference host, speaker and ministry founder who came to know the Lord in 1977 and has served in various churches and ministries since. Along with her husband Richard, the Hartlines founded Seed Of Hope […]

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Are we really free? Do we even want to know?

Are we free to ask if we’re really free in America? The short answer to that one is, thankfully: Yes. Here I am asking the question, after all, and here you are reading (and presumably considering) it. So yeah, at a basic level, yes, we are indeed free to openly ask if we’re really free […]

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Enemy of the Statist: Christ-Centered Liberty vs. Man-Centered Tyranny

Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole […]

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Weaponized “Love”: The perversion of Christian love into a weapon of Christian persecution

Ever been called a big, bad meanie for sharing Truth publicly? Ever been called disruptive, divisive, unkind or unloving for taking a clear, public stand on a culturally controversial issue that’s addressed in detail within the pages of Scripture? Have you ever been pressured to be silent after speaking up in such a manner? Have you ever been persecuted […]

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Christians Should Be Seen But Not Heard?

//embed.gettyimages.com/embed/143070477?et=QXMzezE0TDZ3cKagnphLrw&sig=PF9PeNeOpYJVNBufDyuVVWiENsVAu5Ne1gZ6dW2QwBs= View image | gettyimages.com

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Religious freedom is an oxymoron for Christians

Today we’re talking about something that is finally just beginning to make the mainstream headlines: Increased Christian prosecution. We’re checking in with William J. Murray,  a strong advocate for persecuted Christians in America and around the world. Murray’s Religious Freedom Coalition is a non-profit organization that takes on on issues related to aiding Christians in Islamic and Communist nations. Check […]

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Jim Wallis produces commentaries for “The Bible”

Roma Downey and Mark Burnett have asked a number of theologians to help consult and promote their miniseries, The Bible. These “experts” are well known for Scripture twisting and presenting a false gospel to millions of sheep. Along with high-profile names like Rick Warren, Joel Osteen and T.D. Jakes tied to the project, we’ve learned […]

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Seances, Spirits and 12 Steps

John Lanagan of  My Word Like Fire brings to light what most people are unaware of: the occult origin of Alcoholics Anonymous. A.A. is not a Christian organization, brethren: “[He] knew little of psychics and had heard nothing before this of my adventures.”–A.A. co-founder Bill Wilson, from his official A.A. biography, Pass It On, pg.277 […]

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Mercy, Grace and Learning From Mistakes

We all continually fall short of the glory of God and fail to be who He wants us to be.  With sexual sin rampant in the world, all of us are in a constant spiritual battle to please God rather than feed our flesh. Word is coming out that several Christian leaders contact information was […]

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“Long Island Medium,” returns to Green Bay in October

In our fallen world, man continues to seek answers outside the truth and hope that is in God’s Word.  No, we will not be promoting or attending. From the Resch Center Event page: “Theresa has been a practicing medium for 10 years and is a certified medium with the Forever-Family Foundation, an organization dedicated to […]

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The Holy Catholic Church Or A Holy Catholic Church?

Recently I received a query about which English translation of the 9th article of the Apostles’ Creed is correct: “a holy catholic church” or the holy catholic church”? As far as I can tell the evidence is overwhelmingly on the side of translating the received Latin text of the Creed as “the holy catholic church.” The […]

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U.S. Catholics Open to Non-Traditional Families

According to a study conducted by the Pew Research Center:

45% of Americans Are Catholic or Connected to Catholicism

When Pope Francis arrives in the U.S. for the World Meeting of Families later this month, he will find a Catholic public that is remarkably accepting of a variety of non-traditional families, according to a new Pew Research Center survey that provides an in-depth look at American Catholics’ views on family life, sexuality and Catholic identity.

Nine-in-ten U.S. Catholics say a household headed by a married mother and father is an ideal situation for bringing up children. But the survey shows that large majorities think other kinds of families – those headed by parents who are single, divorced, unmarried or gay – are OK for raising children, too.

U.S. Catholics Open to Non-Traditional Families

 


Demystifying the Popular Prophecies About Jewish Sabbaths and Blood Moons

Gaylene Goodroad of Herescope has written a book review of David James’ new book “Biblical Guide to Shemitah and the Blood Moons: Discerning Popular ‘Prophecies’ in the Light of God’s Word.” In the book, Dave James lays to rest the notion that Jonathan Cahn (The Harbinger; Shemitah) and John Hagee (Blood Moons) are modern day prophets, as some people believe. In fact, both these men are false prophets.

Shemitah book

The book, The Mystery of The Shemitah, by Jonathan Cahn—a runaway sequel to his bestselling book, The Harbinger—has nearly rivaled the success of its predecessor[1]—and has proponents of these ancient mysteries eagerly anticipating the economic destruction of the United States this September (when the “Shemitah” cycles end), in fulfillment of the apocalyptic and calamitous judgments, predicted in the so-called hidden end-time Jewish prophecies, Sabbaths (Shemitahs, pronounced sh’mee’-tah), and current Blood Moon Tetrad (aligned with Jewish feast days), detailed in Cahn’s books.

Jonathan Cahn warns of pending “Shemitah” judgments coming to America on Sid Roth’s television program, It’s Supernatural

Jonathan Cahn warns of pending “Shemitah” judgments coming to America
on Sid Roth’s television program, It’s Supernatural

There is extraordinary publicity ramping up over the dire events that are predicted to happen the last few weeks in September this year, 2015.Charisma, for example, just ran an article titled “10 Things That Are Going to Happen Within 15 Days of the End of the Shemitah,” which attempts to prophetically connect the Jade Helm military exercises, selected United Nations conferences, and even the Pope’s upcoming visit to America events to the Blood Moons prophecies that have been popularized by men such as Jonathan Cahn, Mark Biltz and John Hagee.

http://herescope.blogspot.com/2015/08/blood-moons.html


tobyMac and the state of Evangelical piety

Paul’s Words to the Ephesians

The beginning of Ephesians 5 is striking. Paul writes to former idolaters and fornicators, reminding them of their new life in Christ. He opens with a call to holiness. Believers must “be imitators of God,” walking “in love.” To walk in love means that believers must live making personal sacrifices to build up others spiritually. But there is more. The Christian life is not simply “Yes” (it is a ‘yes’), but there is also “No,” for some things are so opposed to divine love that they must be completely avoided. In the same way that a father who loves his children will necessarily refuse to mock and abuse them, so the Christian who truly “walks in love” (v. 2) will refuse to embrace practices that inherently unloving. This is the unbreakable logic behind the next paragraph, Ephesians 5:3-14. The Christian who walks in love will live so that “sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness” is “not even … named among you, as is proper for saints” (v. 3). Such a life abstains from “filthiness,” “foolish talk,” and “crude joking,” because thanksgiving to God fills his lips (v. 4). Indeed, such an immoral life is not only incompatible with true Christian love, but those who live in such a way have “no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God” (v. 5). There will be folks who minimize sexual immorality and try to promote it–even to Christians. They may say minimize God’s anger against such sins. But believers must not be deceived “with empty words,” “for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the children of disobedience” (v. 6). ((Peter O’Brien comments, “It is all too easy for believers to be influenced by the surrounding world and to succumb to its ways of thinking and behaving. The result is that what is acceptable to the culture of the day becomes acceptable in the church. This is particularly true in contemporary Western society in the area of sexual morality.” The Letter to the Ephesians, PNTC (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 1999), 364.))

Moreover, the Christian should be so committed to abstaining from sexual immorality that they make no partnership in the debauchery of the sexually immoral. “Therefore do not become partners with them,” Paul says. This life of sin is “darkness,” and though the Ephesian church had formerly lived in this way, “now you are light in the Lord,” the Apostle tells them (v. 8). So Christians should walk, “as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true)” (vv. 8-9). As Calvin observes, such walking in light is done “when [Christians] do not live according to their own will, but devote themselves entirely to obedience to God; when they undertake nothing but by his command.” ((Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, and Colossians (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 1965), 200.)) Christians should utterly avoid “darkness” and prove what pleases God with careful discernment. Instead of involving ourselves in such “unfruitful works of darkness,” we should expose them for the emptiness and iniquity that they are (v. 11). Again, Calvin helpfully explains, “It is not enough that we do not, of our own accord, undertake anything wicked. We must beware of joining or assisting those who do wrong. In short, we must abstain from all fellowship or consent, or advice, or approbation, or help of any sort; for in all these ways we have fellowship.” ((Ibid.)) By calling such works “unfruitful,” Paul rightly identifies them as destructive in nature. In verse 12, Paul’s words are especially poignant as they call the Christian to avoid all association with the immoral culture of the world:

“For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret.”

Paul is likely referring to what we would call “orgies” today. ((See F. F. Bruce, The Epistles to the Colossians, to Philemon, and to the Ephesians, NICNT (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 1984), 375 and O’Brien, Ephesians, 371.)) Think “night life” and “clubs” and the libertine immorality celebrated all around us in the urbane and sophisticated alleys of the world. Paul says we don’t have to participate or even know what the world is doing in its sin. Our lives of holiness are adequate in themselves to expose the wickedness of the world: “But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, for anything that becomes visible is light” (vv. 13-14). We are totally to abstain from such lives.

Exhibit A

In light of such a passage, I submit to you this evidence that the contemporary worship scene of evangelical life is now utterly secularized (if you need the words, go here):

Read more


The Gifts of Healing

Larry and Alice Parker wanted God’s best for their family of six. But their oldest son suffered from diabetes and regularly received insulin injections. When Daniel Badilla held special services in their Barstow, California church, the Parkers “walked the aisle” with 11-year-old Wesley. They sincerely sought a healing miracle. The preacher pronounced Wesley healed. Larry joyfully entered, “Praise God our son is healed!” into Wesley’s insulin log. But Wesley’s next insulin test indicated differently. Yet, by faith, the Parkers claimed the healing and blamed the unexpected insulin results on Satan.

Shortly afterward, Wesley began to suffer the nausea and severe stomach cramps that predictably indicated low insulin. Larry and Alice postponed medical treatment and sought God’s continued healing power through prayer. In spite of their sincere faith, Wesley fell into a coma and died three days later. Newsweek magazine reported the tragedy nationally (cf. “The Exorcist,” Newsweek [September 10, 1973], 31).

A lawyer in Indiana later shared a letter with me that he received from Larry Parker (with Larry’s permission). Years had passed since Wesley’s death. During that time, Larry struggled for the truth and found it only as he sought full scriptural counsel. He wrote:

I am writing this letter with the hope and prayer that somehow I can share with you a lesson that I have learned at great expense. It is only by the grace of God, and the never-failing, all-encompassing love of Jesus Christ our Lord that my wife and I have been able to come through this trial. . . . We wanted to see our son healed, but went about it the wrong way. It was during our trial for involuntary manslaughter and felony child abuse that my wife felt she could tell me what the Lord had shown her. She told me that our love, because it was lacking, failed Wesley, and that God’s word says, “Love never faileth” (1 Corinthians 13:8).

I knew then that we had allowed what we thought was faith to cause us to forget to love. As we prayed for Wesley and saw him in obvious pain, our love for him wanted to give him the insulin that we knew would stop his suffering. However, we felt that would be a lack of faith, and would cost him his healing. We learned that our actions were contrary to what the Scriptures say. God’s Word says that love is greater than faith (1 Corinthians 13:8).

The trouble lies with the fact that we confuse faith and belief. We think that if we believe hard enough, the healing will take place. We tie healing to some ability on our part to believe enough, i.e., to have enough faith. To withhold medicine, especially life-giving medicine, is a very presumptuous act on our part that actually hinders the Spirit of God from His work. My prayer is that you will consider these thoughts at length, for they have come at an incomprehensible price that no one would voluntarily pay. (Cf. Larry and Alice Parker, We Let Our Son Die [Irvine, CA: Harvest House Publishers, 1980]).

I am deeply moved by Larry’s honesty, not to mention the excruciating pain he suffered. The issue could not be more real, for the lives of loved ones are at stake. God can, has, and does heal, but always for His own purposes, in His own way, and at His appointed time. We cannot force God to heal nor can we humanly manufacture a genuine healing experience.

Tragically, our world offers very convincing counterfeits of the real thing. Even more tragic, in our eagerness to see God work, we as Christians sometimes flock to anyone who claims a miraculous healing. In doing so, we trivialize genuine divine healing—we accept man’s deceitful illusions in place of God’s divine intervention.

An honest and complete examination of the defining Scriptures (Isa 53:4–12; 1 Cor 12:9, 28, 30; James 5:13–20; 1 Pet 2:24–25) demonstrates that there is no biblical basis for a ministry of miraculous healing directly through a human healer today. That ceased with the apostolic age. Alleged contemporary faith-healing ministries fall embarrassingly short of the biblical pattern—in purpose, time, scope, and intensity.

On the other hand, God can at times act in such ways that only His direct intervention is an adequate explanation for physical healing. Even so, healing by God’s direct intervention is not instantaneous, nor always complete. Our Lord’s unmistakable touch is not brought about by any demand, gimmick, method, or plea from a would-be healer. It is God’s response to the earnest prayer of a believer that heals a child of the King for our Lord’s glory.

Today’s post is adapted from Dr. Mayhue’s longer article on healing which can be read here: The Gifts of Healing.

The post The Gifts of Healing appeared first on The Master’s Seminary.


Predictable all too predictable

New at MortificationofSpin.org, from Carl Trueman:
The return of Tullian Tchividjian to a ministry role is scarcely surprising, though the speed would no doubt make even Jimmy Swaggart green with envy. It is the logical outcome of the culture of celebrity which has been consciously cultivated most disappointingly by some in reformed evangelical circles over the last decade. Those who have decried the critics of celebrity culture as hypocrites because they too are known outside of their local neighbourhood really missed the point. Celebrity is not just about being well known. It is also about developing informal and formal extra-ecclesiastical structures of authority (and thus of accountability, or lack thereof) which focus on specific personalities and subserve the needs of those personalities. Thus, for example, the faux intimacy of twitter helps build a popular, informal base of support.  Twitter followers come to think they really know the individual. They then believe his propaganda, conflate message with messenger, and can ultimately even subordinate message to messenger. This rapidly morphs into an angry bodyguard when the beloved celebrity is threatened…
Read the rest at MortificationofSpin.org.

Labor Day: Why Your Work Matters (and Why it Doesn’t)


W.W.J.D.: Good Motto, or Weak Theology?


6 Steps to Heal Past Wounds and Move On


5 Character Tests Every Great Leader Passes

The longer I lead and the more I see, the more I’m convinced that character ultimately determines a leader’s true success.

Moral failure takes out more leaders than it should. But real success is deeper than just avoiding the ditch.

So where does the deepest level of leadership success come from? Ultimately it doesn’t come from a leader’s skill set; it comes from a leader’s character.

Your character determines your true capacity.

Why is that?

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Character—far more than skill set—determines how deeply and passionately people follow you. A leader with character is a leader worth following.

A leader who lacks integrity may have followers, but he’ll never gain their full trust or their hearts.

After all, we all know highly skilled leaders who are never truly embraced; they’re merely tolerated.

Character, more than anything else, draws the hearts of people to your leadership.

The greatest leaders are highly skilled people whom other people love to be around. They’re people others admire, not just because they’re smart, but because they’re the kind of person other people want to become.

So how do you know whether your character passes the test?

In my view, the greatest leaders I know pass all five of these character tests many others fail.

1. Handling success

Often people will ask you how you handled your last failure. And that’s not an entirely bad question.

But how you handle your success is a far greater test.

Failure is, by nature, humiliating. It crushes pride.

Success does the opposite. It naturally inflates a leader’s pride. It’s intoxicating.

It takes both great self-awareness and great self-control to handle success. To not let the reports of your own brilliance or accomplishments go to your head.

The very best leaders remain humble, grounded and even self-deprecating. They don’t claim every perk of office and regularly help people who can’t help them back.

They avoid the gravitational pull of self-focus and, instead, stay focused on the mission before them and before everyone.

The ultimate test of a leader’s character is not failure, it’s success.

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5 Ways to Engage Students in the Local Church

One major mistake churches make is not engaging the youth. This is one of the reasons college students are leaving the church. They do not feel engaged and involved in the ministry of the entire church. I think we recognize this truth, but we rarely discuss and write about how to change this. If your church is struggling to engage the young people of your church, this blog is for you. I want to share a few tips on how to engage the young people in your church.

1. Create a regular youth service. This worked at a church that I served at several years ago. Once a month, the youth would direct the service. They would lead the music, preach, usher, etc. They completely directed the service. This allows the teens and college students to be engaged in the church.

2. Use them in weekly worship. Create opportunities in the music ministry for the youth to use their gifts. Teens and college students are talented, and many of them are musical. Use that. Find places for them to serve. Add service opportunities for them in the band, the choir, the AV, the usher ministry, etc.

3. Recruit them to serve in the AV. Teens are extremely gifted when it comes to technology. They can pick up AV as quickly as anyone, but are so rarely recruited to be used in the AV department of the church.

4. Ask for their opinions. Church leadership should value the opinion of the youth in their church. Pastor, create an event for the church, and ask the teens and college students for advice on how the event should be run. This will energize the young people of your church.

5. Give leadership away to them. This is the biggest area where church leaders are not willing to budge. Give leadership away to them. Allow them to dream about what they would love to see in their church, and give them the resources to get there.  

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09/03/15 Standing in the Gap?

READING: Ezekiel 22-23

TEXTS AND APPLICATION:  Who will stand in the gap between a wicked country and a righteous God, calling that country to righteousness? That question arises from today’s reading about a time when God could find no one to take this position.

While the text refers to the coming fall of Jerusalem, the parallels with our nation are again striking (Ezek. 22:23-29). The ruling class were extorting the poor. Priests were ignoring the holy and disregarding God. Government officials were hurting others for personal gain. False prophets were speaking words for God that God did not give them. It’s no wonder the people lived in open immorality. Bad leaders usually result in bad followers — especially when nobody will stand up for right.

Ezek. 22:30-31  I searched for a man among them who would repair the wall and stand in the gap before Me on behalf of the land so that I might not destroy it, but I found no one. So I have poured out My indignation on them and consumed them with the fire of My fury. I have brought their actions down on their own heads.” This is the declaration of the Lord God.

God could find no one to take the lead. No leaders would make righteous choices. No priests would intercede. No prophets would speak truth. Just as God could not find ten righteous people in Sodom (Gen. 18:22-33), He could not find anyone to stand for righteousness in Jerusalem in Ezekiel’s day.

Nobody would stand in the gap. Nobody. So, God would bring judgment down.

Standing in the gap when no one else will is hard. It’s lonely. It’s dangerous. It’s costly. It’s frightening sometimes. It’s agonizing. And it’s right.

As I read these words, I wonder if we believers have stood in the gap enough. To stand in the gap is to be different, to be holy, to speak truth. But, it’s hard to stand in the gap when you lapse into the gutters of apathy and unholiness. It’s impossible to stand in the gap when you’re falling into mediocrity. If we don’t stand in the gap, we have assured ourselves of God’s judgment.

Are you standing in the gap for righteousness today? Or falling into the ruts of the ways of the world? Am I standing or falling?

PRAYER: God, give me courage to stand in the gap, even if no one stands with me. I don’t want to fall into the ways of the world.”


10 Descriptors of Bad Leaders and Bad Teachers

Several times in my teaching career, I’ve asked graduate students to give me descriptions of the worst teachers they’ve had. During those same years, I’ve watched leaders, discussed leadership and read leadership books to learn characteristics of good and bad leaders. Perhaps not surprisingly, I’ve seen that some of the characteristics of bad teachers and bad leaders are the same.

1. They don’t communicate well. Sometimes they just don’t communicate; they expect others to read their minds and meet their unstated expectations. At other times, they are simply boring when they do try to communicate.

2. They make others feel dumb. They don’t miss many opportunities to point out when others are wrong. Nor do they miss a chance to show others how much they know. Eventually, no one speaks up around them—and the worst teachers and leaders are too unaware to recognize they are often the problem.

3. They’re disorganized. Maybe they’re just so busy that it’s hard to stay on top of everything, or maybe they’re just plain disorganized. Either way, they usually can’t figure out why others struggle with following their unclear—and often changing—directions.

4. They’re disconnected. Many are the students and staff members who are frustrated by teachers and leaders who are nowhere to be found. When the teacher or leader fails to build relationships, those he teaches or leads become means to an end—not people created in the image of God.

5. They’re lazy. It’s clear from their lack of passion that they lost their focus and energy years ago. They know nothing new, and their teaching/leading has not changed in decades. They may think others don’t realize they’re just “going through the motions,” but they’re kidding no one.

6. They are arrogant. You know what this trait looks like, even in Christian organizations. These teachers and leaders always talk about themselves. Any sense of humility seems to be forced; in fact, others see it as only another way to point out how good they are.

7. They’re critical. Not only do they criticize others, but even more importantly, they almost never praise others. The only time you hear from them is when they want to correct something.

8. They don’t know what they’re talking about. Some teachers don’t know their material well, and some leaders don’t know their field well. In some cases, both have been given their positions for some reason other than their know-how—and it’s obvious.

9. They don’t enjoy their work. People who spend time with them learn quickly that they have no joy in their day-to-day tasks. Their smiles are forced and their laughter is infrequent.

10. Their Christian walk is debatable. That is, some who know them best question the depth of their walk with God—primarily because the leaders they are in public are not always the people they are in private. Needless to say, this problem is, among all these listed here, the most serious one for Christian teachers and leaders.

Recognizing that all of us probably show some of these characteristics at times, what other characteristics would you add to this list?  

 

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It’s Not Just Angry Birds

In preparing counseling lectures about anger, I came across some horrifying statistics.

  • 32% of people say that they have a close friend of family member who has trouble containing their anger.
  • 12% say they have trouble containing their own anger.
  • Only 13% of that 12% have sought help with their anger problems.
  • 28% say they worry about how angry they sometimes feel.
  • 20% have ended a relationship or friendship with someone when they saw how they behaved when they were angry.
  • 64% strongly agree or agree that people in general are getting angrier.
  • 45% regularly lose their temper at work.
  • 64% of officeworkers have had office rage.
  • 27% of nurses have been attacked at work.
  • 33% of Britons are not on speaking terms with their neighbors.
  • 80% of drivers say they have been involved in road-rage incidents.
  • 25% have committed an act of road rage themselves.
  • Every nine seconds in America, a woman is assaulted or beaten.
  • 56% of fatal auto accidents are caused by road rage or aggressive driving.
  • 72% of internet users admit to having suffered net rage.
  • 50% of us have reacted to computer problems by hitting our PC, hurling parts of it around, screaming or abusing our colleagues (which is simply one more argument for an Apple Mac).
  • 65% of people are more likely to express anger over the phone compared to 26% in writing and 9% face to face.

The saddest thing about angry people is that they are not only destroying others, they are damaging themselves.

  • Aggressive personalities are more susceptible to heart attacks and clogged arteries.
  • An angry person with a history of heart problems is five times more likely to suffer a heart attack than someone who is not.
  • The risk of stroke is more than three-fold in the couple of hours following any outburst.

Youth Statistics

In the US, nearly one in 12 adolescents — close to six million young people — meet criteria for a diagnosis of Intermittent Explosive Disorder (IED), “a syndrome characterized by persistent uncontrollable anger attacks not accounted for by other mental disorders.”

  • 66% of U.S. adolescents have experienced an anger attack in their lives that involved threatening violence or violent behavior.
  • More than 1 in 3 high school students, both male and female, have been involved in a physical fight.
  • 1 in 9 of those students have been injured badly enough to need medical treatment.
  • 1 in 3 teens, both male and female, have experienced some sort of violent behavior from a dating partner.

I’ll come back to this subject with some analysis of where anger really comes from, as well as hope for change, both for the angry person and their victims. In the meantime, some heavenly wisdom:

But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, ‘Raca!’ shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be in danger of hell fire (Matt. 5:22). 

So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God. (James 1:19-20).

Do not hasten in your spirit to be angry, for anger rests in the bosom of fools (Eccl. 7:9).

Make no friendship with an angry man, and with a furious man do not go (Prov. 22:24).


What Does Your Frustration Say about You?

I’ve recently entered a new life stage – the stage of realizing how valuable my parents’ advice is. It wasn’t an easy road to get here, but I made it eventually.

For my dad, this transition means he gets sought out every few months with a big life issue. (Unfortunately for him, I haven’t yet exited the life stage of dramatizing every bump in the road.) I call him in a state of subdued anxiety, or if it’s really bad just invite myself over, and we have a long talk over dinner.

He’s started developing a new set of dad-isms fit specifically for these occasions. One of the first was, “Is this a time when you want my opinion, or are you just looking for me to listen?” Before long, though, he had landed on a zinger that I now know is always coming. I work myself into a frenzy about a frustration or grievance I have, laying out very clearly an explanation of how someone else has wronged me or isn’t living up to my expectations. He listens calmly, then pauses, rests his chin in his hand, and says, “Mm-hmm. So, what does that say about you?”

The audacity!

To suggest that my frustration or disappointment with someone else could point to an issue with my heart? What a concept.

Getting to the Heart of the Matter

Of course, he’s usually right. Underlying my disappointed expectation may be a whole slew of self-centered attitudes: a critical spirit, a sense of entitlement, a refusal to offer grace, an obsession with outward appearances — the list goes on. In these moments of exasperation, my deepest motivation is certainly not a sense of humility, which seeks to honor another person and the Lord more fully.

At first I thought my dad’s line was just a pop psychology nugget that happened to relate to my situation. But the more I’ve thought about it (and the more times the question has been thrown at me), the more I realized that Jesus asked this of people all the time. When the Pharisees or the disciples brought him a criticism or a crafty question, he used their own accusation to expose a deeper issue they were ignoring.

When the Pharisees questioned him for healing on the Sabbath, Jesus asked why they were more concerned that he follow their rules about working than that he do good and restore brokenness.

When the disciples compared their roles in the kingdom and asked if one of them would be privileged to live to see Jesus’ return, he asked why it was even important to them, when their focus should be on following him however he called.

When Martha asked Jesus to point out Mary’s laziness in ignoring rules of hospitality, he turned Martha’s gaze to her own anxiety, which was causing her to miss out on fellowship with him.

Jesus doesn’t let us get away with pointing out other’s failings without self-e­xamina­tion first.

TWEET

And then there’s his “take out the log in your own eye” analogy that really drives the point home. Jesus doesn’t let us get away with pointing out other people’s failings without a hearty self-examination first. He consistently reminds us that there is more work in our own lives to be done — and that he is at work restoring us, calling us, and fellowshipping with us.

The Answer to Our Frustrated Hearts

So in moments when you are consumed by someone else’s inadequacy, it might be a good opportunity to ask, What does this say about me?

  • Could my feeling of frustration say I have tendency to assume the worst of others?
  • Could this obsession with my neighbor’s flaws say I have a critical spirit?
  • Could my disappointment with my friend say I am withholding grace?

Jesus asked the hard questions. Searching our own hearts for sin is certainly not the most enjoyable exercise. But he didn’t only ask the hard questions — he also provided himself as an answer to all the conviction we face. Because of the gospel, we can open ourselves up for examination, conviction, and transformation — so we might become less focused on satisfying ourselves and more focused on following him.

Consider your own heart right now. What does your frustration, disappointment, or anger say about you?

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Rise Up, O County Clerks!

Gavin NewsomFlashback: the year is 2004, and same sex marriage is illegal in California (by a law approved by voters in 2000 and affirmed by the State Legislature—this was the “everything but marriage” approach to the SSM issue, allowing same-sex couples the same legal rights as married couples, just without the word “marriage”). San Francisco mayor, Gavin Newsom, ordered the county clerk to illegally start issuing marriage licenses to same sex couples. The California Supreme Court stepped in, ordering the process stopped. Eventually the Federal Courts intervened and (a homosexual judge) ordered the process started again, under the ridiculous legal reasoning that since that county clerk had allowed licenses to begin with, there was no rational reason to stop the process.

Sigh.

Present Day: Unlike California, Rowan County, Kentucky elects their county clerks. Before running for clerk herself, Kim Davis (a democrat) had worked in the clerk’s office for twenty-six years. In fact, her mother was clerk before her, and she had been the clerk for 40 years.

But forty years ago the implementation of gay-marriage was not an issue. In fact, even recently he issue was not even likely in Kentucky where there were all kinds of laws against recognizing SSM. There were prohibitions passed by the legislature, by ballot, and finally even a state constitutional amendment. Actually, Kentucky is one of the few states whose laws actually survived Federal Court Challenges, eventually upheld by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals two days after Davis was elected county clerk.

Then…

Eight months later, the US Supreme Court ruled that every state needed to recognize same sex marriage, and that they needed to do so immediately. Some governors paused, saying they needed more time before deciding if the decision mandated their compliance. Eventually even those governors just punted on the decision, and are allowing each county clerk to figure out what to do. Their lack of leadership has made this an issue to be settled by every county clerk.

Such is the case in Kentucky. There, four different counties refuse SSM licenses (there are several other counties in other states that also are refusing to follow the Supreme Court’s opinion on marriage). But what makes Rowan County different is the rational used. Other counties have refused to issue SSM licenses, but Davis stopped issuing all marriage licenses. She has said that her reading of the Supreme Court opinion bans discrimination based on sexual preference, and since she does not want her name on a SSM license, she has simply stopped the issuing of marriage licenses all together.

Let me explain why I think Davis is in the right to refuse: As a Christian, she believes SSM to be sinful, and she does not want to support something that is sinful. And in this case, it is not tacit support but she is being asked to literally sign off on the license. She, as the clerk, must sing the certificate saying, “Yep, this is a legit wedding, and I approve.”

That doesn’t mean that a county clerk’s signature is an endorsement of every wedding. She doesn’t ask about their compatibility, or premarital counseling. But it does mean that she is vouching that the marriage is not incestuous, bigamous, or polygamous (because those things are immoral). Basically that she is affixing her name, saying this couple meets the legal requirements for marriage, and she is putting her name on the license.

This is exactly what she will not do. She does not want to be a Romans 1:32 kind of person (or a Psalm 49:11-13 kind of person, or a Lamentations 3:36 kind of person, etc.)

And here is a really important point. In fact, I’ll bold it so you realize this is the main thing I’m trying to say: you might not think it should go against her conscience to sign a SSM license. But you should not tell another Christian to go against their conscience, especially when going against it would mean vouching for something that is obviously immoral (cf. 1 Cor 8, 10).

Imagine that Davis comes to you and asks for your more seasoned Christian advice–after all, she has only been a Christian for four years. What do you tell her? Do you tell to stop hiding behind God, and instead make an argument from Federalism (Federal Courts should not invalidate state constitutions, or something like that)? Do you explain to her why it really shouldn’t be against her conscience to approve a SSM, and explain to her the nuances of the Kentucky clerk system (keep in mind the combined nearly 60 years her family has worked in that office)?

Well, whatever you do, for goodness sakes’ don’t tell her, as your sister in the Lord, to just get over her conscience and sign off on SSM all ready.

If she came to me and asked me what she should do, I would answer her in song:

Rise up, O County Clerks!
Have done  with lesser things!
Give heart and mind and soul
to serve the king of kings!

Rise up O County Clerks!
The Kingdom tarries long.
Bring in the day of clerkhood
And end the night of wrong.

Rise up O County Clerks
Government for you doth wait.
Her strength unequal to the task
Rise up and make her great!

 

What would happen if our leaders, judges, or governors had the courage of this clerk’s conviction? But they don’t. They are (mostly) silent. They say things like, “I am opposed to SSM, and I would never sign off on one myself of course, but tsk, tsk, this woman needs to just do her job.”

Sigh.

In the short-term this will end in one of a few ways. Either A). Davis relents and changes her mind, B). she gets thrown in jail, or C.) the state removes her from office. I submit to you that all three would be a step back for biblical ethics.

In the long-term, this will end either with A). Christians caving on SSM, B). deciding that government jobs are for those without consciences, or (hopefully) C.) a renewed sense of resolve that the government cannot compel us to act against our consciences.

Christians should be supportive of other believers in complex situations trying to do what is morally right in complex times. And it deeply bothers me how many people who just a few months ago were so dogmatic that “the Supreme Court can’t tell me what marriage is!” are now telling Davis to get over herself. We don’t have to choose to be on Davis’ side or on the SSM side. But we do need to be on the side of righteousness, and opposed to sin. In this situation, it should be obvious where the lines are drawn.


You Can’t Be Neutral

For most issues in life—and on social media—I find that I can be neutral. Time after time I can pass by without liking, clicking, or reposting. It’s not that difficult; in fact, my general tendency is to keep surfing—especially if it is political. Who wants to be THAT person? However, some issues force us to not be neutral! We as human beings cannot stand or sit idly by…we as human beings cannot surf on…we as human beings cannot afford to ignore what’s going on under the guise of research for the greater good. What we see on video is us. These gruesome videos bring to our awareness the barbaric practices by abortionists at Planned Parenthood and document the cavalier attitude toward human life in the womb. Continue reading

Video: Gary Habermas on Jesus and Islam

In this video, David Wood of Acts 17 Apologetics interviews historical Jesus scholar Dr. Gary Habermas.  Habermas argues that there is no evidence for the Islamic view of Jesus and that anyone who wants a view of Jesus that lines up with history will therefore needs to looks somewhere other than Islam.

He also nicely summarizes his minimal facts method of arguing for the historicity of the resurrection of Jesus.

Yahoos on Campus

Go ahead and be outraged when young men behave badly at college. But don’t be surprised. Listen Now | Download

Do You Pray For The President As Much As You Complain About Him?

Complaining about our leaders seems to be a national pastime.

Interesting how Jesus never complained about the wicked Roman government of his day. He certainly had opportunity. When he was asked, “Tell us, then, what you think. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?” he didn’t start ranting, “Caesar? Pay taxes to that idiot? I wouldn’t give him a widow’s mite if I could get away with it.” Instead, he said, ““Therefore render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s” (MT 22: 17,21).

God commands us to honor our leaders, not grumble about them.

Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor. 1 PE 2.17

Note, Peter didn’t say honor the emperor if he is a good man or worthy of honor. He didn’t say honor the emperor if you agree with him or you think he’s doing a good job. He simply said, “Honor the emperor.”

We tread on dangerous ground when we call the President a “fool”

Psalm 14:1 tells us “The fool has said in his heart there is no God.” Proverbs warns us again and again about the danger of being a biblical “fool” or evil person. So without a doubt the Bible recognizes that many are fools. But Jesus had a strong warning about calling someone a fool.

Whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire. MT 5.22

John MacArthur says:

Because of the testimony of God’s Word, we know that fools of the worst sort do exist. And it is our obligation to warn those who are clearly in opposition to God’s will that they are living foolishly. We certainly are not wrong to show someone what Scripture says about a person who rejects God. Jesus’ prohibition is against slanderously calling a person a fool out of anger and hatred. Such an expression of malicious animosity is tantamount to murder and makes us guilty enough to go into the fiery hell.

He goes on to say:

To call a person a fool is the same as cursing him and murdering him, and to be guilty of that sin is to be worthy of the eternal punishment of fiery hell. (Read MacArthur’s full post here).

Not only is it dangerous to badmouth our leaders, but beyond that let me ask this question:

Do you pray for our President and our leaders as much as you complain about them?

God commands us to pray for our leaders with all kinds of prayers:

First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 1 TI 2:1-4

Look at all the ways we are to pray for all people, including “all who are in high positions”: with “supplications, prayers, intercessions and thanksgivings.” Do you thank God for our President and leaders? God commands us to thank him – for “ALL who are in high positions.” Do you do this? Do you supplicate, pray for and intercede?

3 reasons WHY we should pray for our leaders:

First “that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.” This is what we want our leaders to give us right? This is why we vote, and why people run for office. That we might have decent lives. Grumbling and complaining about the government isn’t going to produce a peaceful and quiet life for us. Cursing the President isn’t going to lead to us leading godly, dignified lives.

Secondly, praying for our leaders “is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior.” It is more important that we please our God and Savior than having great leaders. I may not agree with our leaders. I may think they are doing a terrible job. But I want to please my God and Savior. So I’ll pray for my leaders.

Thirdly, interceding for our government is critical because God “desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” When we pray for our leaders, it leads to peaceful, quiet lives, which give us more opportunities to share the gospel and people to be saved. So ultimately it is critical to pray for our leaders for the sake of the spread of the gospel.

Sure, we don’t like our taxes going up. We don’t like spending more on healthcare for less benefits. But do my taxes even compare to peace and the gospel advancing? Go ahead and pray for lower taxes. Pray for God to give our leaders wisdom with the economy. Vote. Get involved in politics if God calls you to do that. But don’t complain about our government. Don’t call your leaders idiots. Pray for them. Pray that God would move upon our leaders to work for righteousness and life. And don’t forget Proverbs 21:1

“The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the LORD; he turns it wherever he will.”

So let’s pray that God would turn our leaders’ hearts to lead us into peace, so that more and more people might be saved.


The Bigness of God

God is all powerful and all wise. When we as Christians grasp something of the “bigness” of God – His complete and utter Sovereignty – the inevitable result will be a desire to pray and to pray more. As we go phrase by phrase through Isaiah 40, the transcendent majesty of God is put on display.

Speaker: Dr. Steve Lawson

Title: A Puny God

Text: Isaiah 40:12-31


10 Things Effective Churches Do Well

By Chuck Lawless

I’ve written posts for this site and my own that describe some of the negatives our church consulting teams and “spies” have found in churches. The goal of this post is to show some of the positives we’ve seen in different churches. The topics vary, but perhaps something will help you in your church.

  1. Greeters at every door. It doesn’t happen often, but occasionally every one of our team members is greeted when each of us intentionally enters a different door. Those churches are ready for guests.
  1. Strong security in the preschool/children’s areas. Sometimes our team members gain entrance to these area much too easily, but we’ve been in churches that physically halted our team from going beyond the boundaries. I’m pleased to report to the church that their security system worked in those cases.
  1. Name tags for everyone. Several folks disagreed with my suggestion about this topic in previous posts, but our team appreciates it when everyone can quickly learn names. Name tags simply make it easier for folks to have conversations with people they don’t know.
  1. Assurances about visitor’s cards. Again, I’ve written about why I likely would not complete a visitor’s card at your church. On the other hand, some churches have made it very clear up front – by saying, “We won’t bombard you with visits, phone calls, and emails, and we won’t embarrass you” – that they won’t put us on the spot. I’m willing to complete a card for those churches.
  1. Knowledge of the community. We do a demographic study of the church’s ministry area, but we don’t give that information to the church at first. Instead, we now first ask church leaders what they think the demographics will show about their community. Most leaders don’t know their community that well – but occasionally we meet leaders who clearly have already focused externally.
  1. General friendliness. Most churches, frankly, are not that friendly to our “spies.” They’re friendly, but primarily with people they already know. So, our team recognizes quickly when a church family has been trained to welcome everyone to their family gathering. Our team members are blessed when it does happen.
  1. Clear direction in the worship service events. Most of our “spies” are believers, but even they appreciate when the leader gives them direction in the Word (e.g., “the book of Malachi is the last book in the Old Testament; it’s about 2/3 of the way through your Bible. If you find the book of Matthew, just back up a book”), guidance for the offering, and direction for the Lord’s Supper.
  1. Biblical, applicational preaching. The best preaching, in our opinion, goes to the Word, expounds the Word, and helps us know how to apply its teaching past Sunday. Our hope is that our spies can quickly answer the question, “What do you need to do as a result of the biblical truth you learned today?” Sometimes they can.
  1. Intentional strategies for training teachers. The strongest churches recognize that God holds teachers accountable to high standards (James 3:1), and they prepare current and future teachers accordingly. These churches raise up their next generation of teachers and leaders.
  1. Clear master plan for facilities. You’ve seen the churches that had no master plan; their buildings are so different that you can tell a different leader was in charge for each structure. Churches with a clear master plan are usually thinking toward the future – and even beyond themselves.

How well does your church do in these areas?

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 10 Things Effective Churches Do Well appeared first on ThomRainer.com.


How Strong is the Cumulative Case for God’s Existence? (Video)

This video, excerpted from J. Warner Wallace’s presentation of the evidence for God (from his book, God’s Crime Scene), summarizes the strength of the cumulative case for God’s existence. J. Warner describes the nature of cumulative cases and the role diversity plays in establishing the strength of an inference. For a robust review of the collective case for God’s existence from eight pieces of evidence “inside the room” of the natural universe, please refer to God’s Crime Scene: A Cold-Case Homicide Detective Examines the Evidence for a Divinely Created Universe. (For more information, visit http://www.ColdCaseChristianity.com)

To see more training videos with J. Warner Wallace, visit the YouTube playlist.


Browse Worthy: As the Foundations Crumble

As Psalm 11:3 asks, “If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?” Though rhetorical in nature, still one thing the righteous must do is assess the damage accurately. Here are a few important reminders of our culture’s self-destruction that call us to pray for the Lord’s mercy and deliverance.

The ninth video of the Center for Medical Progress on Planned Parenthood’s trafficking of fetal body parts has been posted. “Behold, the wicked bend the bow, they make ready their arrow upon the string” (Psalm 11:2).

In Kentucky, county clerk Kim Davis has refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. She may be jailed for her actions. So many details make this story fascinating – the open hostility of the homosexual community and her relative calmness in the face of it; her open witness that she is taking this stand because of the authority of God’s Word; her own background that includes being in her fourth marriage; the protests in and outside the county building. In light of the media consistently claiming Mrs. Davis is “breaking the law,” I found this article by the America Family Association clarifying. “The Lord is in His holy temple; the Lord’s throne is in heaven; His eyes behold, His eyelids test the sons of men.

Of course, judgment begins with the house of God. The sad news of R.C. Sproul Jr.’s admission of being one of the names on the Ashley Madison website is difficult to hear, though it is encouraging to see discipline enacted and Dr. Sproul seeming to receive it in the right spirit. The same does not quite appear to be the case in the Tullian Tchividjian matter, where shortly after confessing an adulterous relationship and being defrocked by his presbytery he was hired to be a ministry director at a large congregation in Florida. Many are expressing the concerns reflected in this article. “For the Lord is righteous, He loves righteousness; the upright will behold His face.” (Psalm 11:7).


God’s Big Work and Our Little Mission

God’s Big Work and Our Little MissionMany people wrongly believe that Christianity is simply a new set of rules and guidelines for how to behave. More recently, due to the widespread emphasis on missional living, it’s the “missional to-do list” that now determines our personal righteousness. In both cases, people find themselves feeling more like spiritual slaves than gospel-freed children of God.

This is because we easily buy into worldly thinking that claims our identity comes from what we do instead of what God has done.

We have wrongly believed that we’re human doings instead of human beings.

In the beginning, when God created humanity, he created us in his image and likeness and declared we were very good. Adam and Eve could have lived lives trusting in and resting in the work and word of God about themselves.

However, the evil one came along and questioned God’s word and work and deceptively convinced them to put their trust in his word and their own works. This was the beginning of moving from faith-based righteousness (identity based upon faith in God’s word and work to define us) to works-based righteousness (identity based upon lies from the evil one and faith in our own works).

And Adam and Eve aren’t alone. We can all tend to do this. We move from human beings to human doings by giving into the lure of believing lies about God and ourselves and putting our hope in our own works to define us.

But the problem is all we fall short.

Based upon our works alone, we all are lacking. If our sense of being — our sense of identity — comes from what we do, we will be filled with pride when we succeed and shame when we fail. Just like Adam and Eve, we will try to cover up our inadequacies with the fig leaves of good works or hide in the bushes of guilt and shame.

Unfortunately, for many, this is what Christianity has become for them: A missional drive to perform for, or a religious façade to hide behind.

The gospel offers us something far better.

In the gospel we are once again told that God has done a good work and spoken a better word over us.

Jesus is the better word and better work.

Through faith in Jesus’s life, death, and resurrection on our behalf, we are who we are — forgiven, loved, accepted, very good — not because of our work, but because of God’s work in and through Jesus Christ. God speaks over our lives “very good” because Jesus, who is the true and better human, is now our identity.

God’s word is true and his work is very good.

The gospel doesn’t call us to behavior modification — or to a missional-to-do list. The gospel calls us to identity transformation and a missional done list. Our identity is based upon faith in who God is, what he has done through Jesus, which leads to who we are.

We don’t do what we do out of our need to become. We do what we do because in Christ we already are. We are a new creation created in Jesus Christ for good works that he prepared in advance for us to do. Our “being in Christ” leads to our “Christ-like doing.”

We do what we do because of what we believe he has done.

We love because we are loved by him first.

We serve because we were served by Jesus first.

We are on mission, not mainly so that God will be pleased with us, but because he has already sent the Son on mission to make us decisively pleasing to the Father.

He is ultimately pleased with us because of Jesus, who loved, served, and was sent to die in our place. Everything we do comes out of what we believe about God and his work. This doesn’t negate good works or prevent missional living and keep us from desiring to please our Father. It actually produces good works and informs and leads into missional living.

We don’t have to do anything to become someone, but we get to, and want to do what we do because of what God has done to and for us, and is and will be for us, and who we now are in Christ.

Think of it this way: What God has done to us he now wants to do through us to the world.

Our new being in Christ leads to our new doing for Christ by his power.


Jeff Vanderstelt will be providing Soma One Day training for missional living in Minneapolis, September 11–12.


Related Resources


Check out

Blogs

Lessons Learned from Aortic Replacement Surgery | Eric Davis, The Cripplegate
Health scares like these do indeed prove to be “spiritually enriching and sanctifying,” as Eric says.

God, You’ve Got the Wrong Guy | Tim Challies
Moses felt that way, too.

7 Ways To Be A Best Friend To A Pastor | Ron Edmondson
“If ‘best’ is too strong a word, pick your own word. Good. Close. Trusted. Every pastor needs a friend, besides a spouse — of the same gender — who knows them well and can encourage and challenge like no one else can.”

13 Things a Pastor Should Never Say to a Congregation | Joe McKeever, The Aquila Report

The Subordinate Place of Supreme Honor: A Response to Douglas Wilson | Valerie Hobbs and Rachel Miller, Jesus Creed
Unpacking Biblical gender roles in response to Douglas Wilson.

University of Tennessee Tells Staff And Students To Stop Using ‘He’ and ‘She’ – and Switch to ‘Xe’, ‘Zir’ and ‘Xyr’ Instead | Kieran Corcoran, The Aquila Report
Seriously? While not compulsory, yes, seriously…

Kentucky Clerk Didn’t Follow Christianity Before Converting To It | Mollie Hemingway, The Federalist
“Regardless of the media’s strong views in favor of redefining marriage to include same-sex couples, it would be nice if they took the time to at least understand this central teaching of the Christian faith before attempting to report on it.”

Kindle Deals


Going Beyond the Five Points: Pursuing a More Comprehensive Reformation by Rob Ventura ($1.99).


Praying for Your Prodigal by Kyle Idleman ($0.99).


The Catalyst Leader: 8 Essentials for Becoming a Change Maker by Brad Lomenick ($1.99).


Biblical Theology in the Life of the Church: A Guide for Ministry by Michael Lawrence ($3.99).


Links I like

Kindle deals for Christian readers

Just a few deals today:

True Worshippers

Bob Kauflin’s new book, True Worshippers: Seeking What Matters to God, is on sale at Westminster Books right now for as low as $6.50 (when you buy five or more copies). There are so few good books on this subject, and I’m hopeful that this is going to be one of them (especially if it’s in line with Bob’s recent articles calling out the goofy things we do on Sundays).

We Must Put God in a Box

Chris Martin on two problems with the “Don’t put God in a box” philosophy.

How to Care for Women Who Have Miscarried

Jasmine Holmes:

There is no magic bullet that can make the pain of having a miscarriage disappear. However, in my quest to love women who have experienced this loss (Romans 12:15), and as a woman who has been touched by it herself, there are a few things that have been comforting reminders of how the Lord uses his people to care for one another.

Do We Want a Redeemer or Revolutionary?

Aaron Earls:

Today, we still face a choice between following one who came as a humble Redeemer or one who would spark a revolution through any means necessary. Far too frequently, I fear we choose the latter, while claiming we are serving the former.

Research Finds Few Pastors Give up on Ministry

Lisa Cannon Green:

Though pastors are stressed about money and overwhelming ministry demands, only one percent abandon the pulpit each year, LifeWay Research finds.

In a first-of-its-kind study, LifeWay Research surveyed 1,500 pastors of evangelical and historically black churches and found an estimated 13 percent of senior pastors in 2005 had left the pastorate ten years later for reasons other than death or retirement.

Redeeming our Reading

Nick Batzig:

…given the fact that our lives are short and that there are things we know that we would be a waste of time for us to read–are there guiding principles to help us know what we ought to read as we seek to grow spiritually and intellectually to the glory of God? Here are a few personal commitments that I have found helpful in seeking to redeem the time in the realm of reading.

PhDs Build Character More than Careers

Rusty Osbourne:

Waiting for the ink to dry on my recent PhD diploma, I began reflecting on the last several years of academic activity. Several questions quickly arose in my mind. Does the church need more trained servants with PhDs? With the rise in number of people with PhDs and significant instability in many sectors of Christian higher education, can I, in good conscience, encourage others to pursue PhDs? The title “independent scholar” is becoming increasingly commonplace at academic meetings, and a brief survey of the employment center at an annual Society of Biblical Literature (SBL) meeting reveals the days of getting a degree and simply walking into a professorship are long gone. So, if the PhD no longer holds the same career-enabling power as a “union card” for the academy, why go through the trouble?


A La Carte (September 3)

There are just a couple of Kindle deals to share today: Rise: Get Up and Live in God’s Great Story, the newest book by Trip Lee, is just $2.99; Hope Reborn by Tope Koleoso & Adrian Warnock is $3.82. Also, a few different Kindle devices are on sale at the moment.

Sister Wives Star Cites Gay Marriage Ruling

Well, this is hardly a surprise, is it? “The polygamous family starring in the hit TLC reality show Sister Wives believes the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage gives them grounds to live their lifestyle unpunished, according to an appeal filed last week.”

Odyssey

This is a beautiful look at Iceland under the midnight sun. There is no greater artist than God!

How Do I Talk to My Kids about Abortion?

Randy Alcorn and his team have some suggestions for speaking to children about abortion. “As the video exposes about Planned Parenthood continue, those with children may be wondering how they can talk to them in age-appropriate ways about the value of life and the reality of abortion.”

This Day in 1752. It’s a trick! There was no “this day” in 1752, nor were there the next 10 days (in Great Britain, that is). This was to adjust from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar.*

True Worshipers

Bob Kauflin’s new book True Worshipers highlights this week’s deals from Westminster Books. There are deals on other worship-related books as well.

When I Don’t Feel Forgiven

Ian Hamilton: “One of the most disturbing experiences a believer can face is losing the felt sense of God’s forgiveness. This desolating experience has touched the lives of many Christians throughout the ages.”

How Telephone Etiquette Has Changed

Every new technology ushers in a period of cultural negotiation during which we decide together how to use those devices. We are in that period now with our mobile phones.


The Daily Discovery (September 3, 2015)

headerImage-dailyDiscovery

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

The 9th Planned Parenthood Video – “The ninth video in the Planned Parenthood baby parts scandal focuses on Advanced Bioscience Resources, Inc. (ABR), the small and secretive company that has harvested and sold fetal body parts at Planned Parenthood clinics longer than any other entity.  The video features undercover conversations with Dr. Katharine Sheehan, the long-time medical director of Planned Parenthood of the Pacific Southwest until 2013; Perrin Larton, the Procurement Manager for ABR; and Cate Dyer, the CEO of rival fetal tissue procurement company StemExpress.”

Christians: Increasingly Marginalized and Punished – “It is quickly becoming more and more obvious that religious freedom is declining (quite rapidly) in America. And with the June SCOTUS (Supreme Court of the United States) decision to legalize gay ‘marriage,’ this decline is happening faster than ever. Christians are increasingly being punished by the government for acting on their sincerely held religious beliefs about marriage that are based on the standard of Scripture. And we are hearing of more and more people being disciplined or fired from their jobs because they profess their Christian faith.”

400 Pastors Resigned Last Sunday – “Fallout from the Ashley Madison scandal continues. The company’s CEO has resigned; several people who used the adultery website have committed suicide. And some 400 clergy resigned publicly from their ministries last Sunday.Let’s put that number in perspective.One pastor who seeks to have an affair is one too many. Infidelity shatters the spouse, devastates the children, and wounds the congregation. Pastors who violate their marriage vows sin against God, their family, and the sheep they are called to shepherd.

Gay Atheist Rebukes Church for Moral Slide – “Matthew Parris calls himself a ‘gay atheist.’ After 62 percent of voters in Ireland approved gay marriage recently, he responded to the church’s response. In his view, the Archbishop of Dublin’s statement that the church needed to undertake a ‘reality check’ was troubling and indicative of continued moral compromise. According to Parris, ‘the conservative Catholic’s only proper response to news such as that from Dublin . . . is that 62 percent in a referendum does not cause a sin in the eyes of God to cease to be a sin.’”

What Is America’s Largest Protestant Denomination Doing to Combat Predatory Prosperity Preaching? – “The lobbying entity of the nation’s largest Protestant denomination has made it clear that it is against predatory practices that take advantage of the poor, having joined a broad coalition earlier this year organized to ‘raise awareness about families in financial crisis and how high-cost lending negatively impacts them.’ But what is the high-profile Christian ethics advocacy organization doing to protect vulnerable believers from preying prosperity preachers?”


SERMON:

Mack Tomlinson – Jesus in Gethsemane: The Broken Man (Part 1)


VIDEOS:

Man Marrying His Dog

“Is this what Jesus wants us doing”?


“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 (September 3, 2015) appeared first on Entreating Favor.


Christian Headlines Daily – Thursday, September 3, 2015

http://www.christianheadlines.com/

Top Headlines

The Ashley Madison Hack Points R. C. Sproul Jr. Toward Grace

Marco Rubio Frontrunner among Evangelical Leaders

U.S. Demands China Release Detained Christian Lawyer

Jessa Duggar Withdraws Support from Josh Duggar

76-Year-Old Tennessee Man Charged with Killing Wife over Church Tithe Money

Clerk Kim Davis Cites God While Gay Couples and Crowd Jeer

Bill to Allow Physician-assisted Suicide Advances in CA Legislature

Fiorina’s Advice to KY Clerk Who Refused to Issue Same-sex Marriage Licenses

Georgia School District Investigating Mass Baptism on Football Field

Josh Duggar Loses Support from Family Member over Ashley Madison Scandal

Opinion

Donald Trump, Evangelical Scam Artist

Debunking the Abortion Crowd’s Favorite Arguments

Clerk Defies Court, Denies Gay Marriage Licenses

4 Reasons Hillary Clinton Should Apologize for Her Inflammatory Abortion Rhetoric

Amazing Grace Amazingly Staged


Our Time is Short

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


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

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.

September 2, 2015 Truth2Freedom Christian Briefing Report

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Down the Decadent “Ashley Madison” Avenue

What the world needs now is genuine expressions of moral purity. Our task is clear: “I urge you, says the Apostle Peter, as sojourners and exiles [in the pagan world] to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation” (1Peter 2:11-12). We must live this way in a corrupt culture but without any sense of superiority or judgmentalism, since God’s love is sheer redeeming grace.

Read more


A Prayer for the Day; A Prayer for a Friend

Paul longs to see his brothers and sisters in Rome again. He desires to encourage them and be encouraged by them. He knows that God grants sustaining grace and peace through the Word, prayer, and the fellowship of the saints. So while they are praying for them, he is praying for them as well.

Read more


The Importance of What We Do in Secret

Nevertheless, hypocrisy lurks everywhere, not least in Christian ministry, and we ignore it at our peril. Godliness must be found in the heart if it is to be genuine. The one who prays more in public than in private, or only gives at special events when likely to be thanked for it, or practices spiritual disciplines and lets everyone know just how difficult a spiritual routine he keeps, is more concerned about the outward appearance than a heart-relationship with Jesus.

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Did Religion Make the American Civil War Worse?

From the Civil War onward, American Protestantism would be locked deeper and deeper into a state of cultural imprisonment, and in many cases, retreating to a world of private experience in which Christianity remained of little more significance to public life than stamp-collecting or bridge parties. Appeals to divine authority at the beginning of the Civil War fragmented in deadlock and contradiction, and ever since then, it has been difficult for deeply rooted religious conviction to assert a genuinely shaping influence over American public life.

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Pope Francis To Followers: “Koran And Holy Bible Are The Same”

The pontiff drew harsh criticisms in December after photos of the 78-year-old Catholic leader was released depicting Pope Francis kissing a Koran. The Muslim Holy Book was given to Francis during a meeting with Muslim leaders after a lengthy Muslim prayer held at the Vatican.

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In A Liberal Society Trinity Western Should Be Free To Educate According To Its Beliefs

The forces against Trinity Western may say that they are in the business of advancing rights and justice, but they are really on a crusade to subdue and punish everyone who does not see the world exactly as they do. Canadians who actually hold liberal principles should support the university’s efforts to have its law program duly recognized.

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University of Tennessee Tells Staff And Students To Stop Using ‘He’ and ‘She’ – and Switch to ‘Xe’, ‘Zir’ and ‘Xyr’ Instead

‘When our organizational culture shifts to where asking for chosen names and pronouns is the standard practice, it alleviates a heavy burden for persons already marginalized by their gender expression or identity.’  There is no information on the numbers of students on campus who do not identify as the traditional genders, as the university’s official data only recognizes male and female…. After a backlash from critics who called the proposals ‘ridiculous’ and ‘absurd’, the university clarified that nobody would be forced into using the terms.

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13 Things a Pastor Should Never Say to a Congregation

“If you don’t [fill in the blank], I will leave.” Never give a congregation an ultimatum, or you will find yourself on the losing end of that proposition.
“In closing. Finally.” (For the 5th time) Never tell the congregation you’re almost through. They will not hear another word you say. But if you do, keep your promise.

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What does Trump believe anyway?

D. C. Innes has a short piece on Donald Trump’s religious beliefs. Here’s the long and short of it. Even though Trump claims to be Presbyterian, he seems only to be a nominal Presbyterian at best. Innes writes:

So Donald Trump, the early Republican frontrunner for 2016, has come under scrutiny for his own religious beliefs. If he were an ordinary candidate, he would simply say he’s a “Presbyterian,” and that would be the end of it. But because he comes across as so arrogant, coarse, and self-absorbed, the opposite of Christian humility, people have been prying into the substance behind his boasts of religion.

He says he’s Presbyterian, but, in his own words, he’s an infrequent churchgoer: “Always on Christmas. Always on Easter. Always when there’s a major occasion.” He attended Sunday school as a boy at a Presbyterian church in Queens. He was later affiliated with New York’s Marble Collegiate Church (Reformed Church in America), where he has fond memories of hearing Norman Vincent Peale, the celebrated author of The Power of Positive Thinking (1952). Peale’s teaching was popular because it downplayed sin and grace, focusing instead on human ability. You can imagine The Donald perking up in his pew. He seems to have little understanding of even the basics of Christianity. He takes the bread and wine because he feels “cleansed” when he does. But he doesn’t ask God for forgiveness; he just tries not to make mistakes. “I think if I do something wrong, I think, I just try and make it right,” he said last month in Iowa. “I don’t bring God into that picture. I don’t.”

He tells crowds at campaign rallies that his best-seller, The Art of the Deal, is his “second favorite book of all time.” His first, he assures them, is the Bible. But when asked in a recent interview for his favorite passages of Scripture, Trump became uncharacteristically bashful and declined to say. He said it’s very personal, as though he were asked about his medical history or the details of his marriage bed. But it was clear that he simply didn’t know any particular verses, not even John 3:16 or Psalm 23. For evangelicals, this was his Sarah Palin moment.

Read the rest here.


Evangelicals in the World of Islam :: Schwartz in First Things Blog

by Stephen Schwartz
First Things
August 25, 2015

http://www.meforum.org/5462/review-heyrman


ISIS Demolishes 2,000 Year-Old Temple of Bel in Palmyra, Syria: ‘This is the Most Devastating Act Yet’


Chinese Lawyer Faces Up to Six Years Detention for Protesting Cross Removal Campaign, U.S. Calls Arrest a ‘Particularly Alarming Development’


Controversial California Right-to-Die Bill Inspired by Brittany Maynard and Opposed by Rick Warren Advances in Special Session


Former Lesbian Shares How Churches Can Better Minister to LGBT Community: ‘Only Jesus Can Make You Whole’


150 Students Stage Protest After Transgender Student Requests Access to Female Locker Room: ‘Girl’s Rights Matter’


Pope Francis U.S. Visit 2015 Schedule and Dates: Pontiff Invites Rick Warren To Speak at Philadelphia Conference on Family


Interview With Skip Vaccarello, Author of Finding God in Silicon Valley: ‘Take Advantage of Every Opportunity to Reach Out’


Franklin Graham Praises Christian Students at Duke University Who Refused to Read Assigned Porn Novel, Warns Parents About LGBT ‘Propaganda’


R.C. Sproul Suspended from Ligonier Ministries After Visiting Ashley Madison Adultery Website, Says Hacking Scandal Was a ‘Means of God’s Grace’


Serena Williams’ Quest to Win 2015 US Open: What Makes Her Such an Enduring Champion?


Seances, Spirits and 12 Steps

John Lanagan of My Word Like Fire brings to light what most people are unaware of: the occult origin of Alcoholics Anonymous. A.A. is not a Christian organization, brethren:

“[He] knew little of psychics and had heard nothing before this of my adventures.”–A.A. co-founder Bill Wilson, from his official A.A. biography, Pass It On, pg.277

“Do not seek out mediums and spiritists; do not seek out and be defiled by them. I am the Lord your God.” (Leviticus 19:31)

Author Richard Burns, better known as Dick B., has been churning out books and articles on the alleged Christian origin of Alcoholics Anonymous for years. Regrettably, in his numerous books, Dick B. has never acknowledged the demonic origin of the 12 Steps.

His books, however, have deeply influenced the Body of Christ. People frequently justify A.A. attendance with statements like, “Well, Alcoholics Anonymous was originally Christian.” Or, “The 12 Steps are based on the Bible.” A common misconception is that one or both Alcoholics Anonymous co-founders, Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob Smith, were Christians.

http://mywordlikefire.com/2008/09/24/seances-spirits-and-12-steps/


Rainbow Reality: Submit or Else

When the militant homosexual lobby and its supporters tell you no one will be adversely impacted when homosexual marriage goes through, they are lying. They knew full well that everything changes – for the worse. Everyone must bow the knee and submit fully to the homosexual jackboot.

In my recent book Strained Relations I documented around 170 cases of this happening. There I offer one shocking case after another of ordinary citizens being dragged over the coals by employers and governments, resulting in the fines, loss of jobs, and even imprisonment.

Try telling these folks that homosexual marriage will not impact them. And while you are at it, try telling Kim Davis this. She is a committed Christian and a Kentucky county clerk who will not allow her faith to be violated by the militants.

She has been another supersaint, standing strong for her faith in the face of severe persecution. Her story goes as follows:

davis, kim 2Davis’ office has steadfastly denied marriage licenses since the Supreme Court legalized gay marriage this summer, and that practice continued Tuesday morning when at least two same-sex couples were denied as Davis invoked “God’s authority.” Rowan County Attorney Cecil Watkins says the federal court alerted him later Tuesday morning that a hearing was scheduled for 11 a.m. Thursday in Ashland. Watkins says clerk Kim Davis is summonsed to attend, along with all the deputy clerks who work in her office.
After Davis initially stopped issuing marriage licenses, two gay couples and two straight couples sued her. A federal judge ordered her to issue the licenses, an appeals court upheld that decision and the Supreme Court on Monday declined to intervene in the case, seemingly leaving Davis with no legal ground to stand on.
But Davis has refused to issue the licenses, saying her deeply held Christian beliefs don’t let her endorse gay marriages.
As an elected official, Davis can’t be fired. Any impeachment of her would have to wait until the legislature’s regular session next year or could come during a costly special session.
“I have received death threats from people who do not know me,” Davis said in the statement. “I harbor nothing against them. I was elected by the people to serve as the County Clerk. I intend to continue to serve the people of Rowan County, but I cannot violate my conscience.”

Another recent report says this:

A homosexual duo left the Rowan County, Kentucky, clerk’s office early Tuesday “red-eyed and shaking,” according to the Associated Press, after the clerk, citing “God’s authority,” refused to issue them a marriage license despite a court order.
Clerk Kim Davis’ appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court to stay a lower court’s order to issue the licenses was rejected late Monday.
On Tuesday, she was barraged by catcalls of “bigot” when she met people lined up waiting for services.
AP reported James Yates and Will Smith Jr. “marched” into the office to get a marriage license. Davis, however, continued her position of not issuing marriage licenses for anyone in response to the U.S. Supreme Court decision June 24 creating a right to “same-sex marriage.”
Law-enforcement officers told both “gay”-rights activists and the clerk’s supporters to leave.
Randy Smith, who was among Davis’ supporters, said he was aware that Davis might go to jail on contempt charges for defying the federal court order.
“But at the end of the day, we have to stand before God, [who] has higher authority than the Supreme Court,” he said.
When asked on whose authority she would not issue licenses, Davis replied, “Under God’s authority.”
One homosexual activist said, “We’re not leaving until we have a license,” AP reported.
“Then you’re going to have a long day,” Davis reportedly said.

Kim Davis recently issued a very strong statement about why she is risking everything for her Christian convictions:

I have worked in the Rowan County Clerk’s office for 27 years as a Deputy Clerk and was honored to be elected as the Clerk in November 2014, and took office in January 2015. I love my job and the people of Rowan County. I have never lived any place other than Rowan County. Some people have said I should resign, but I have done my job well. This year we are on track to generate a surplus for the county of 1.5 million dollars.
In addition to my desire to serve the people of Rowan County, I owe my life to Jesus Christ who loves me and gave His life for me. Following the death of my godly mother-in-law over four years ago, I went to church to fulfill her dying wish. There I heard a message of grace and forgiveness and surrendered my life to Jesus Christ. I am not perfect. No one is. But I am forgiven and I love my Lord and must be obedient to Him and to the Word of God.
I never imagined a day like this would come, where I would be asked to violate a central teaching of Scripture and of Jesus Himself regarding marriage. To issue a marriage license which conflicts with God’s definition of marriage, with my name affixed to the certificate, would violate my conscience. It is not a light issue for me. It is a Heaven or Hell decision. For me it is a decision of obedience. I have no animosity toward anyone and harbor no ill will. To me this has never been a gay or lesbian issue. It is about marriage and God’s Word. It is a matter of religious liberty, which is protected under the First Amendment, the Kentucky Constitution, and in the Kentucky Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Our history is filled with accommodations for people’s religious freedom and conscience. I want to continue to perform my duties, but I also am requesting what our Founders envisioned – that conscience and religious freedom would be protected. That is all I am asking. I never sought to be in this position, and I would much rather not have been placed in this position. I have received death threats from people who do not know me. I harbor nothing against them. I was elected by the people to serve as the County Clerk. I intend to continue to serve the people of Rowan County, but I cannot violate my conscience.

Yet again we see the intolerant activists, coupled with the heavy arm of the rainbow state, seeking to break the will and the resolve of ordinary men and women who choose to put the lord Jesus Christ over and above the tide of filth and perversion sweeping the land.

These are modern day Christian martyrs, standing steadfast for biblical truth despite everything the gaystapo can throw at them. I and others have been warning about this for many years now. We said this is exactly where we would get to when we start granting special rights to this militant sexual lifestyle group.

This is only the tip of the iceberg. It is getting worse every single day. Please, stand with Kim Davis. She is a hero who needs our prayers and needs our support. And thank God for those groups offering her real tangible help, such as Liberty Counsel.

Also, thank God for others, such as the Foundation for Moral Law in Alabama. As they say in a press release:

The Montgomery-based Foundation for Moral Law, a nonprofit corporation established to defend the Constitution as written and the right to acknowledge God in the public arena, stands firmly with the Kentucky clerk who refuses to issue marriage licenses for same-sex couples….
Foundation President Kayla Moore called Ms. Davis a “woman of exemplary courage who is willing to risk her career to stand for what is right.” Ms. Moore added, “I hope and pray that millions will be inspired to follow her example.”
Foundation Senior Counsel John Eidsmoe said, “The reason the Supreme Court’s Obergefell fails to command respect is that it has no basis in the Constitution. Rather, it is simply an edict of five unelected lawyers, two of whom had no business deciding the case because they had themselves performed same-sex marriages. To regain the respect of the American people, the Court needs to interpret the Constitution for what it says rather than what the Justices wish it said.”

It is time for all true Christians to stand against the rainbow warriors and their war on faith, family and freedom. Thank you Kim Davis for leading the way.

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2015/09/01/will-clerk-issue-gay-marriage-licenses-after-court-ruling/?intcmp=hpbt2
http://www.wnd.com/2015/09/marriage-clerk-cites-gods-authority-to-defy-federal-court/?cat_orig=faith
http://www.lc.org/index.cfm?PID=14102&AlertID=1965
http://www.christiannewswire.com/news/9114876621.html


The Danger of Islam and “Chrislam”

According to the 1 John 4:3 Islam is a religion of anti-christ.  Islam denies that Jesus Christ is God, instead referring to him as a prophet who is less than Muhammad. Muslim terrorists and fanatics continue to murder innocent Christians and others in the Middle East.  And yet the Bible teaches us to love and […]

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The Willow Creek Church (PCA) Situation Explained…

Who doesn’t love spot on tongue in cheek theological excoriation?

toad


If You Could Get God’s Blessing Without God, Would You Take It?

Most of us assume—effectively if not explicitly—that when life is good, that it’s because we’re good folks. But when things are going wrong, we assume that God isn’t pleased with us. You don’t have to read far in Scripture, however, to see that our circumstances aren’t a great barometer for how God feels about us. In fact, in many places, Scripture actually seems to say that circumstantial success is more dangerous than trouble itself.

You probably don’t believe that. Most of the time, I act like I don’t believe it either. But then I come across a passage like Exodus 33.[1]

By the time we get to Exodus 33, Israel has just left Egypt. They are on their way to the Promised Land, but make an important pit stop at Mt. Sinai to get the Law. As Moses is on top of the mountain collecting the tablets, Israel responds in the worst way imaginable: they melt their jewelry down and make a golden cow to worship. Not good.

God is understandably peeved. So we might expect him to tell Moses that he’s going to bring destruction, or stop blessing them, or just do something bad. But here’s what he says instead:

“Depart; go up from here … I will send an angel before you, and I will drive out the Canaanites … Go up to a land flowing with milk and honey; but I will not go up among you.” (Exodus 33:1–3).

Don’t miss this: God promises Moses all the success he could desire. The Promised Land would be theirs. But there’s a caveat. God won’t be going with them.

Most people—particularly Americans—would actually consider this a dream offer. Outward success coupled with no real obligation to God? No religion, and just blessing? Think of it: if you could get all of the blessings of God with none of the obligations that come with his presence, isn’t that the best of both worlds? What could be better than that?

Moses, however, knows it’s a raw deal. “If your presence will not go with me,” he says, “do not bring us up from here” (Exodus 33:15). In other words, “What’s the point of getting everything we dreamed of … without You? You can keep all that success—money, health, legacy, family. If we don’t have your presence, we don’t have anything at all.”

Moses had a level of insight that most of us lack. He was able to see that God+nothing was the better deal, for two reasons.

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Worship Roots

adam_and_eve_in_the_garden_of_eden_by_wenzel_peter_pinacoteca_vaticanaCreation is the very basis of and foundation for worship. The central principle of biblical worship is the fact that it is God-initiated and based upon his self-revelation. There would be no worship had he not created humankind and revealed himself to them. Indeed, this is the very purpose for which man and woman were created (Rom 1:20-21; Ps 19:1).

God himself expressed this purpose in Genesis 2:15 when he put Adam in the garden to “dress and keep” it. Often we interpret these terms to meant that Adam’s purpose was to be a gardener, but remember that this was before the Fall, and thus there was no need to till the ground or pick the weeds. Rather, most Old Testament scholars note that the Hebrew terms translated “dress and keep” are most often used late in the Old Testament to describe the work of the Levitical priests in the Temple. Adam was placed in the Garden of Eden—the perfect sanctuary of God—to literally “worship and obey.” This purpose for humankind is expressed elsewhere in Scripture, such