Tuesday, March 31, 2009
He could have talking To President Obama and the Democrats in Congress.
From "Ways to avoid dealing with your sin"by Dan Phillips
Monday, March 30, 2009
With the far-left, it’s always “do as I say and not as I do.”
From the Center for Consumer Freedom:Today the nonprofit Center for Consumer Freedom (CCF) published documents online showing that People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) killed 95 percent of the adoptable pets in its care during 2008. Despite years of public outrage over its euthanasia program, the animal rights group kills an average of 5.8 pets every day at its Norfolk, VA headquarters.
According to public records from the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, PETA killed 2,124 pets last year and placed only seven in adoptive homes. Since 1998, a total of 21,339 dogs and cats have died at the hands of PETA workers.
Q. How do you know a liberal is lying? A. When their lips are moving. Every time you see a commercial or an ad from PETA, People for the ethical treatment of animals, or hear of some actress drop her clothes for PETA or attack people who wear fur coats just know they are hypocrites. These people don't care about animals just about money and power.
"The 'true riches' obviously have nothing to do with money. To have spiritual power to overcome the awfulness of the post-Christian world -- that is true riches. The church is constantly saying, 'Where's our power? Where's our power?' Jesus' statement here gives us at least part of the answer. We must use money with a view to what counts in eternity. If a child cannot take his father's money, go to the store, purchase what is requested and return home with the change, it does not make sense for the father to increase his allowance. So since . . . the money we handle is not our own, if we do not bring it under the lordship of Christ, we will not be given the greater wealth of spiritual power."
Francis A. Schaeffer, "Ash heap lives," in No Little People, page 266.
"You can't have her," was the abrupt answer of Jonathan Edwards,
"But I love her," the young man replied.
"You can't have her," said Edwards.
"But she loves me," replied the young man.
Again Edwards said, "You can't have her."
"Why?" asked the young man.
"Because she is not worthy of you."
"But," he asked, "she is a Christian, is she not?"
"Yes, she is a Christian, but the grace of God can live with some people with whom no one else could ever live."
Sunday, March 29, 2009
Brethren, I like to warm my hands; but if I cannot warm them without burning them, I would rather keep them cold.
Many things are in a measure desirable; but if you cannot obtain them without exposing yourself to the smut of sin, you had better let them alone. Has not our Lord called us to go without the camp? Are we not warned against being conformed to this world? Deny yourselves the warm place around society's charcoal brazier, for its sulphurous vapor will do you more harm than the cold. Some tell us that we must keep abreast of the times; but if the times run the wrong way, I see no reason why we should run with them. Rather let us leave the times, and dwell in the eternities. If I must, in warming my hands, defile them—I will sooner let them become blue with cold.
“Atheism that consists in vacuous arguments afloat on oceans of historical ignorance, made turbulent by storms of strident self-righteousness, is as contemptible as any other form of dreary fundamentalism.”
From David Hart's new book, Atheist Delusions: The Christian Revolution and Its Fashionable Enemies (Yale University Press).
Saturday, March 28, 2009
Vance Havner, Pepper 'n' Salt, pg. 103
Friday, March 27, 2009
Special T-shirt! You'll need an ambulance!
C. H. Spurgeon, 10 January 1858
Thursday, March 26, 2009
These words are a continuation of the statement which begins at verse 11. The apostle Paul wants us to realize that our salvation is so great, nothing less than the power of God himself could have accomplished it. The power that makes us Christians is the same power that raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule, power and dominion (Eph.1:19-21). Paul wants us to know “The exceeding greatness of his power toward us who believe” (Eph.1:19), so he prays that the eyes of our understanding would be enlightened. There are two things that are essential if we are to understand the greatness of our salvation:
1. The realization of our condition apart from it.
2. The realization of our condition as the result of it.
Man’s condition apart from salvation— “Without Christ, aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in this world” (Eph.2:12). What’s amazing is not that there are so many who are not Christians, the amazing thing is that anybody is a Christian! Here are the two extremes that everyone who is a Christian has found themselves: First— outside of Christ and second— in Christ. In verse 13 Paul first gives the negative and then he shows the positive. He did the same thing in the first 10 verses of Ephesians chapter 2. We were dead in transgressions and sins, by nature objects of wrath and then made alive in Christ, raised up in Christ and seated in heavenly places. When I find people who are unhappy with their salvation, who have no assurance and no joy in their Christian life it’s due to one of two things or both together.
1. People are in this condition because they have never been convicted of sin, they have never seen their hopeless condition and are still outside of Christ.
2. The 2nd possibility is that they are really in Christ but have never been taught or understood their true position in Christ, or seen all that Christ has accomplished for them.
Paul always starts with a negative. In Acts 20:17-35 Paul had called the elders of the Ephesian church together and told them that he had kept nothing back from them but had taught both Jesus and Greeks alike “Repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ” (20:21). Paul never told people to come to Christ first and then repent. He always preached repentance first. This is what you were, this is what you are. Only when you understand the negative does the positive make sense. Ask yourself a simple question: “Do you realize the greatness of your salvation?”, “Are you rejoicing in your salvation?”, “Are you boasting in the fact that at this moment you are a Christian above anything else in your life?”. This is what Paul was saying in Galatians 6:14, “May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ”. If you really see this you know nothing compares to it. Here is the Gospel in a sentence— “But now in Christ Jesus you who were once far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ”. There are three things we will look at in this verse:
1. The contrast between what we were and what we are.
2. What we are now as Christians.
3. How we have become what we are.
Comment: Words need to have meaning or all argument becomes nonsense. Either salvation is open to all or it is not. Either it is predestined who goes to heaven or it’s an individual’s choice to choose salvation through Christ. You can not have it both ways and be thinking logically and rationally. The bottom line, the predestination doctrine eliminates the role of an individual’s free will.
Response: Hi and thanks for your comment. However, the Bible does not teach anywhere that natural man has a free will ... but rather that his will is in bondage to sin (2 Timothy 2:26; Rom 6:17, 20; 1 Cor 2:14). and since I agree with you that words do mean something, last time I looked, that which is in bondage is not free. Ask yourself, in light of clear biblical teaching, can a person believe the gospel apart form the work of the Holy Spirit? If not, then you agree that, left to himself, man is morally powerless to come to Christ. (i.e. has no free will.) He can make voluntary choices but he sins by necessity. No one coerces him since he voluntarily chooses to sin and yet he cannot do otherwise until Christ set him free - so until we are joined to Christ by the Spirit we will ALWAYS reject the gospel. And this is exactly what Jesus teaches when he tells us that no one can believe the gospel unless God grants it (John 6:65).
Secondly, it is important to consider that God demands that you obey the ten commandments perfectly? Have you? No, none of us have. That is why we need a Savior ... who Himself was without sin having obeyed all God's commands. He does for us what we cannot do for ourselves. In the same way the command to believe the gospel cannot be obeyed apart from the Holy Spirit. HIs salvation includes delivering us from the bondage of the will. The Holy Spirit gives us a new heart, opens our blind eyes and unplugs our deaf ears ... without which we would never come to saving faith on our own. The scripture says no one can say 'Jesus is Lord' apart form the Holy Spirit. If someone owes a debt they cannot repay (like us) then the inability to repay the debt does not alleviate us of the responsibility to do so. The point is that you appear to have a lot of unbiblical assumptions in your statement. Back up what you say with Scripture, not just your unaided logic and then we have a place to start.
Please consider this question:. If many of us hear the gospel and some people end up believing and others do not, what makes these people to differ? Are some more natually inclined to the gospel? Are some more wise? No, it is Jesus that makes people to differ. Salvation is by the grace of Jesus Christ alone. If we believe the gospel then it is by grace we have believed. Only a new heart can love and trust Jesus. Faith does not come from an unregenerate heart. We did not come up with faith ourselves. Otherwise we could boast and thank ourself for not being like other men who did not make such a good choice. Our choice is real but requires regenerating grace or we would all perish. From Reformation Theology
"For He has made Him who knew no sin to become sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him." 2 Cor 5:21
Picture a moral ledger sheet with every word, thought, deed and motive of yours entered on that sheet. Most hope the good will outweigh the bad. The problem is that all of our deeds are stained, all are unclean and impure. There is no such thing as a positive ledger sheet - except in the case of Christ. His ledger sheet was perfect. So at the cross, our ledger sheet was charged to Christ, all our sin; and so His ledger sheet is credited to us."Justified" is not "Just as if I'd never sinned." That is a great truth. But it is actually better than that: "Just as if I'd always obeyed." God has credited the very righteousness of Jesus Christ to every believer. - Jerry Bridges (from a recent message at PCRT 2009 Sacramento)
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
So often we're ignorant of the signs, the symptoms of worldliness. People can be attending church, singing the songs, apparently listening to the sermons...
But inside, that person is drifting. He sits in church but is not excited to be there. She sings songs without affection. he listens to preaching without conviction. She hears but does not apply.
A love for the world begins in the soul. It's subtle, not always immediately obvious to others, and often undetected by the people who are slowly succumbing to its lies.
It begins with a dull conscience and a listless soul. Sin does not grieve him like it once did. Passion for the Savior begins to cool. Affections dim. Excitement lessens for participating in the local church. Eagerness to evangelize starts to wane. Growth in godliness slows to a crawl. (page 20).*
Let's pray that we would not forsake our first love (Rev. 2:4).* From Worldliness edited by C. J. Mahaney
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Sam Storms in his book “Reaching God’s Ear” said, “Prayer in and of itself possesses no power. Prayer is powerful because God is powerful and prayer is the means through which that divine power is released and channeled into our lives”. In other words all the power in prayer is really God’s power activated by prayer and faith. When you pray for another person nothing flows from you to him — no vibes, no force, no energy. Instead your prayers go to heaven and the power of God moves from Him to the ones you’re praying for. When James says that “the prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective” (NIV), it means that God acts powerfully and effectively through the prayers of His people. Prayer is the instrument by which God has chose to have His power directed in the universe.
In his classic book, “Prayer”, Ole Hallesby says, “This power is so rich and mobile that all we have to do when we pray is to point to the persons or things to which we desire to have this power applied, and He, The Lord of this power, will direct the necessary power to the desired place at once.” What a surprising arrangement — God partnering with human beings to accomplish His purposes. R.A. Torrey captivated by the enormity of this power, states in “The Power of Prayer” that “Prayer is the key that unlocks all the storehouses of God’s infinite grace and power. All that God is, and all that God has, is at the disposal of prayer. Prayer can do anything that God can do, and as God can do anything, prayer is omnipotent.” That means that prayer can do what political action cannot, what education cannot, what military might cannot and what planning committees cannot. All of these are impotent by comparison. Prayer can move mountains, it can change human hearts. It can change families, neighborhoods, cities, and nations. It is the ultimate source of power, because it is the power of almighty God. This power is available to the humblest Christian. It was “a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain” (James 5:17 NIV) and God stopped the rain in Israel for three and a half years.
Bob Dylan, The Essential Interviews, pg 276-277
Monday, March 23, 2009
Jonathan Edwards, "Thoughts on the Revival," in Works, I:401.
Sunday, March 22, 2009
"Faith is chosen by God to be the receiver of salvation, because it does not pretend to create salvation, nor to help in it, but it is content humbly to receive it. Faith is the tongue that begs pardon, the hand which receives it, and the eye which sees it; but it is not the price which buys it. Faith never makes herself her own plea, she rests all her argument upon the blood of Christ. She becomes a good servant to bring the riches of the Lord Jesus to the soul, because she acknowledges whence she drew them, and owns that grace alone entrusted her with them."
—Charles Spurgeon, All of Grace
The single most amazing truth about the Gospel of Jesus Christ is this: it is all of grace. It is the work of God, not of man. It is the story of a powerful Savior who redeems His people, and He does so completely. It is about a sovereign God, a perfect Savior, and an accomplished redemption.
Saturday, March 21, 2009
Friday, March 20, 2009
- Jonathan Edwards, 'The Christian Pilgrim,' in The Works of Jonathan Edwards, ed. EdwardHickman, 2 vols. (1834; reprint, Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 1974), 2:244.
And if you get a congregation liking that over time—"God is great, and we're going to celebrate his magnificence and his power and his sovereignty" (just leave it undefined for the time being. Everybody believes in the sovereignty of God, one way or the other)—what happens is that when your heart begins to get shaped around a massive, big, glorious view of God, then when you get to specifics in Romans 8 and 9 or Ephesians 2, about election and whatnot, your heart is more ready for it.
So the flourishing could be that you're taking people where you know you want them to go, just because God is magnificent. And your Reformed orientation makes you keenly aware of that. Their Arminian orientation doesn't naturally make them as aware of that. And you're going to take them there. And when the whole spirit of the place changes, then the theology might grow. And that's what I mean by flourishing. READ MORE
'What is being taught in Christendom today is this, that since we have got the New Testament canon, since we have got the Word now, we do not need these direct interventions, we do not need God to speak to us directly, as He spoke to Abraham and to Isaac and to Jacob and these patriarchs. We have got the Word now! Is this superior to the direct speech of God? I think we are mad! There is no other word for this. We are mad.
We are meant to be in a superior position to every Old Testament saint because of what has happened in our blessed Lord and Saviour! But this teaching would have us believe that we do not need this direct contact with God now, and that all that has come to an end since the formation of the New Testament canon.......remember that the great point of the whole teaching of the Bible, of all you can deduce from it, is to tell you that God is a God who acts. And our only hope this afternoon is that this is still true. He has not finished acting. He is going on....There is only one hope. That is that He is still the living and the acting God. Christ is at His right hand, and He is seated and waiting until His enemies should be made His footstool.......
I have been defending the faith - and people have praised me for doing it. Rubbish! What a miserable failure it has all been! From now on I am determined to do one thing only, and that is to give God no rest nor peace, until He does prove Himself and show Himself. I have expended so much energy in reasoning with the people about this faith. We have got to do that, it is part of preaching. But if we stop at that it will avail us nothing. But what I now am concerned about and I am concentrating on is this - asking God to show Himself, to do something,to give this touch, this manifestation of power. Nothing else will even make people listen to us. ....Nothing is going to call the attention of the masses of the people to the truth of this faith save a great phenomenon, such as the phenomenon of the day of Pentecost, the phenomenon of any one of the great revivals, the phenomenon of a single changed life. This is something that always arrests attention, maybe curiosity - what does it matter? The people come and listen......
We must not be content until we have had some manifestation of the activity of God. We must concentrate on this. This is my plea, that we concentrate on this, because it is the great message of the Bible....... Let us put it like this: Do we really believe that God can still act? That is the question; that is the ultimate challenge. Or have we, for theological or some other reasons, excluded the very possibility? Here is the crucial matter. Do we individually and personally really believe that God still acts, can act and will act - in individuals, in groups of individuals, in churches, localities, perhaps even in countries? Do we believe that He is as capable of doing that today as He was in ancient times - the Old Testament, the New Testament times, the book of Acts, Protestant Reformation, Puritans, Methodist Awakening, 1859, 1904-5? Do we really believe that He can still do it? You see, it is ultimately what you believe about God. If He is the great Jehovah - I am that I am, I am that I shall be, unchanged, unchanging, unchangeable, the everlasting and eternal God - well, He can still do it.
D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, The Living God
Thursday, March 19, 2009
What we want, if men become Christians at all, is to keep them in the state of "Christianity And." You know--Christianity and the Crisis, Christianity and the New Psychology, Christianity and the New Order, Christianity and Faith Healing, Christianity and Psychic Research, Christianity and Vegetarianism, Christianity and Spelling Reform. If they must be Christians, let them at least be Christians with a difference. Substitute for the faith itself some Fashion with a Christian coloring. Work on their horror of the Same Old Thing (Letter XXV).
Today, we see this in terms of Christ and America; Christ and Self-Esteem; Christ and Prosperity; Christ and the Republican or Democratic Party; Christ and End-Time Predictions; Christ and Healing; Christ and Marketing and Church Growth; Christ and Traditional Values, and on we could go, until Christ himself becomes little more than an appendage to a religion that can, after all, get on quite well without him. That is not, of course, to say that the evangelical enterprise could do this without some difficulty. After all, every movement needs a mascot. We say we are Christ-centered, but what was the sermon about last Sunday?
"The deceitfulness of sin." Hebrews 3:13
Sin is of a penetrating nature. It pierces and
winds itself into every corner and chink
--into our thoughts, our words, and our works.
Sin will wind itself . . .
into our understandings to darken them,
into our judgments to pervert them,
into our wills to poison them,
into our affections to disorder them,
into our consciences to corrupt them,
and into our lives to debase them.
Sin will wind itself into every duty--and every
mercy; it will wind itself into every one of our
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Robert Murray M'Cheyne, preaching on Psalm 85:6, "Will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in you?"
We are sinners and thieves, and therefore guilty of death and everlasting damnation. But Christ took all our sins upon him, and for them died upon the cross . . . all the prophets did foresee in spirit, that Christ should become the greatest transgressor, murderer, adulterer, thief, rebel, blasphemer, etc. that ever was for he being made a sacrifice, for the sins of the whole world, is now an innocent person and without sins . . . our most merciful Father, seeing us to be oppressed overwhelmed with the curse of the law, and so to be holden under the same that we could never be delivered from it by our own power, sent his only Son into the world and laid upon him all the sins of all men, saying: Be thou Peter that denier; Paul that persecutor, blasphemer and cruel oppressor; David that adulterer; that sinner which did eat the apple in Paradise; that thief which hanged upon the cross; and, briefly, be thou the person which hath committed the sins of all men; see therefore that thou pay and satisfy for them. Here now cometh the law and saith: I find him a sinner, and that such a one as hath taken upon him the sins of all men, and I see no sins but in him; therefore let him die upon the cross. And so he setteth upon him and killeth him. By this means the whole world is purged and cleansed from all sins, and so delivered from death and all evils.
From Luther's Commentary on Galatians
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
There is much we do not know about these Irish exiles. Their clay and wattle buildings have long since disappeared, and even most of their precious books have perished. But what they knew -- the Bible and the literature's of Greece, Rome, and Ireland -- we know, because they passed these things on to us. The Hebrew Bible would have been saved without them, transmitted to our time by scattered communities of Jews. The Greek Bible, the Greek commentaries, and much of the literature of ancient Greece were well enough preserved at Byzantium, and might be still available to us somewhere -- if we had the interest to seek them out. But Latin literature would almost surely have been lost without the Irish, and illiterate Europe would hardly have developed its great national literature's without the example of Irish, the first vernacular literature to be written down. Beyond that, there would have perished in the west not only literacy but all the habits of mind that encourage thought. And when Islam began its medieval expansion, it would have encountered scant resistance to its plans -- just scattered tribes of animists, ready for a new identity.
From the book "How The Irish Saved Civilization" by Thomas Cahill
I also included the song Skellig by Loreena McKennitt.
Temporality vs. Eternity
Resentment vs. Grace
Despair vs. HopeSo for the Moz, in the end there is only despair. “There is no hope in modern life,” he tells us in “Something is Squeezing My Skull.”
Things couldn’t be more different in U2’s world, where Bono proclaims, “I know I’m not alone” (”I’ll Go Crazy if I Don’t Go Crazy Tonight”). There is plenty of pain and sorrow, but it is redeemed: “This foolishness can leave a heart black and blue. Only love can leave such a mark. But only love can heal such a scar. Only love unites our hearts” (”Magnificent”). There is a profound and exhilarating sense of purpose: “Every day I die again, and again I’m reborn. Every day I have to find the courage to walk out into the street with arms out. Got a love you can’t defeat, neither down nor out. There’s nothing you have that I need. I can breathe” (”Breathe”). And there is that final hope: “We’re gonna make it all the way to the light” (”I’ll go Crazy”). (I have focused on U2 to read more about Morrissey follow the link below.)
Seek to see and feel the gospel as bigger as years go by rather than smaller.
Our temptation is to think that the gospel is for beginners and then we go on to greater things. But the real challenge is to see the gospel as the greatest thing—and getting greater all the time.
The Gospel gets bigger when, in your heart,
- grace gets bigger;
- Christ gets greater;
- his death gets more wonderful;
- his resurrection gets more astonishing;
- the work of the Spirit gets mightier;
- the power of the gospel gets more pervasive;
- its global extent gets wider;
- your own sin gets uglier;
- the devil gets more evil;
- the gospel's roots in eternity go deeper;
- its connections with everything in the Bible and in the world get stronger;
- and the magnitude of its celebration in eternity gets louder.
So keep this in mind: Never let the gospel get smaller in your heart.
#2. Omitting that the diseases everyone is talking about curing (diabetes, Parkinson's, paralysis) have already been treated with adult stem cells.
#3. Perpetuating the myth that stem cell research will likely cure Alzheimer's disease
#4. Omitting the dangers of HESCR
#5. Confusing or combining reproductive cloning with research cloning
#6. Creating a false choice that “leftover” embryos will either be used for research or be killed
#7. Dehumanizing human embryos
#8. Responding to a Strawman argument that pro-lifers are concerned about embryos being misused in laboratories (other than killing them)
#9. Bush’s policy restricted tax dollars being used on “all” stem cell research
Read The whole article here
Vance Havner, Pepper 'n' Salt pg.96
Monday, March 16, 2009
The answer, Bridges says, is the most important thing he will say this evening. For Paul, justification was not only a past even that he could look back to, but also a present event having an impact on every day of his life. We have a tendency to base our ongoing relationship with God on our performance. We are saved by grace, but then we try to change the rules of the game, and live by performance. Every day, Paul looked outside of himself to Jesus Christ's shed blood and righteousness. As Romans 5:1 says, having been justified, we have peace with God, now.
We must work at turning away from ourselves and relying entirely on Jesus Christ. If we do not, we will default into a performance-based relationship. We must be proactive, we must preach the Gospel to ourselves every day.
I have to add my amen. Most Christians I know are still basing their ongoing relationship with God on their performance, they still do not understand the grace of God and are relying on themselves instead of Christ. They will deny this and even get angry at you for suggesting it. They don't preach the gospel to themselves because they don't really know what it is.
The central work of God's kingdom is change. God accomplishes this work as the Holy Spirit empowers people to bring his Word to others.
We bring more than solutions, strategies, principles, and commands. We bring the greatest story ever told, the story of the Redeemer.
Our goal is to help one another live with a "God's story" mentality.
Our mission is to teach, admonish, and encourage one another
*to rest in his sovereignty rather than establishing our own;
*to rely on his grace rather than performing on our own; and
*to submit to his glory rather than seeking our own.
This is the work of the kingdom of God: people in the hands of the Redeemer, daily functioning as his tools of lasting change.
Sunday, March 15, 2009
Pundits have often noted that many in the Western world have become single-issue people. The church is not immune from such influences. The result is that many Christians assume the gospel (often, regrettably, some form of the ‘simple gospel’) but are passionate about something on the relative periphery: abortion, poverty, forms of worship, cultural decay, ecology, overpopulation, pornography, family breakdown, and much more. By labelling these complex subjects ‘relatively peripheral’ I open myself to attack from as many quarters as there are subjects on the list. For example, some of those whose every thought is shaded green will not be convinced that the ecological problems we face are peripheral to human survival. But I remain quite unrepentant. From a biblical-theological perspective, these challenges, as serious as they are, are reflections of the still deeper problem—our odious alienation from God. If we tackle these problems without tackling what is central, we are merely playing around with symptoms. This is no excuse for Christians not to get involved in these and many other issues. But it is to insist that where we get involved in such issues, many of which are explicitly laid upon us in scripture, we do so from the centre out, ie beginning with full-orbed gospel proclamation and witness and passion, and then, while acknowledging that no one can do everything, doing our ‘significant something’ to address the wretched entailments of sin in our world. The good news of Jesus Christ will never allow us to be smug and other-worldly in the face of suffering and evil. But what does it profit us to save the world from smog and damn our own souls? There are lots of ways of getting rid of pornography. For instance, one does not find much smut in Saudi Arabia. But one doesn’t find much of the gospel there, either.
The point is that in all our efforts to address painful and complex societal problems, we must do so from the centre, out of a profound passion for the gospel. This is for us both a creedal necessity and a strategic choice. It is a creedal necessity because this gospel alone prepares men and women for eternity, for meeting our Maker—and all problems are relativized in the contemplation of the cross, the final judgement, and eternity. It is a strategic choice because we are persuaded that the gospel, comprehensively preached in the power of the Spirit, will do more to transform men and women, not least their attitudes, than anything else in the world.
Saturday, March 14, 2009
- Your thinking will become less individualistic…
Why do you need to study theology? Because as you do, you will realise that you are not the first ever Christian. Great men of God have gone before you. Great minds, great theologians, men who have considered God to a depth that you will likely never achieve, have all gone before you. You will begin to realise that it isn’t all about ‘you’, nor is it all about the men of God who have gone before you. Ultimately, it’s all about your sovereign God, the One who is building His Church (Matthew 16:18).
- Your discernment will be sharpened…
Why do you need to study theology? Because as you study theology you will better know the faith that ”was once for all handed down to the saints” (Jude 1:3c) and consequently your discernment will be sharpened. Jude knows all to well that error abounded in his time, and would abound in yours, and the only way to “contend earnestly for the faith” (Jude 1:3b) as he commanded is to return to God’s Word and study. Without it, you won’t be sharp, being able to discern truth from error.
- Your view of the Bible has changed…
Why do you need to study theology? Because your view of the Bible has changed. The Bible is no longer a book of stories and myths belonging to antiquity. You now see the Bible as the very Word of the living God, who condescended and graciously decided to reveal Himself to man. This understanding alone should be enough to drive you to the Word, to study it so as to know what God has said to the best of your ability.
- Your defense of the faith depends on it…
Why do you need to study theology? Because we are commanded “to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you…” (1 Peter 3:15) and unbelievers will have questions about what you believe; this is theology. Unfortunately, when Christians answer people’s questions they can give poor answers, confusing answers, or worse still, answers that aren’t Biblical; all because they haven’t taken the time to study theology. God will and does use you despite your frailty, however the gospel is an offense enough without you misrepresenting the One who sent you as an ambassador.
- Your theology has likely been formed due to ‘where’ you heard the gospel…
Why do you need to study theology? Because most of what you believe has likely been formed due to ‘where’ you heard the gospel. For example, as I examine what I believe now in comparrison to what I did when I was first converted, my beliefs are vastly different! So why is it that you believe what you believe? Is it because that church where you first heard the gospel believed it, or is it because you have studied the Scriptures and studied theology for yourself?
Friday, March 13, 2009
25-26The way God designed our bodies is a model for understanding our lives together as a church: every part dependent on every other part, the parts we mention and the parts we don't, the parts we see and the parts we don't. If one part hurts, every other part is involved in the hurt, and in the healing. If one part flourishes, every other part enters into the exuberance.27-31You are Christ's body—that's who you are! You must never forget this. Only as you accept your part of that body does your "part" mean anything. (1 Corinthians 12:25-31)
I have been in Atlanta GA for the past couple of days, in a series of meetings for all senior pastors in our network of churches, which is called MasterBuilders. As with any local Church this group of leaders has all the different gifts and members that we see reflected in the local church. We gather around a central purpose which is the extension of God's kingdom for his glory proclaiming the work of our wonderful mighty savior Jesus Christ. There was a sharing of hurts which means that we all hurt and a sharing of some parts flourishing causing all to celebrate. We are all Christ's body and only when we accept our part of the body does that part mean anything.
What a joy it was to see people I have not seen in awhile and to reconnect and catch up on what God is doing in all of our lives. What a joy it is to labor in God's kingdom and to be involved in spreading the gospel of the grace of God to the nations. All of us were challenged to to step forward and embrace the challenges God had set before us. There is only a certain number of days each one of has to live. As I get older I am much more aware of how few days I have left. I am thankful for every day that God allows me to live and I don't want to waste the ones I have left.
I encourage you to find your place in the body of Christ that God has given to you. Until you do that, your part will lack real meaning. Your own body is the model for understanding how we are to live our lives together as the Church. The Church was created by Christ for Christ and his glory. We must learn what it means to be the Church and then live out our lives fulfilling God's purposes not our own.
John Calvin Institutes of the Christian Religion (3.11.16)
Thursday, March 12, 2009
- Jobs Are the New Assets
- Recycling the Suburbs
- The New Calvinism
- Reinstating the Interstate
- Africa, Business Destination
- The Rent-a-Country
- Survival Stores
- Ecological Intelligence
I think it's good to pause to reflect on the blurb that Carson wrote for Hansen's Young, Restless, Reformed: A Journalist's Journey with the New Calvinists:
While other movements have been making a bigger splash in the headlines, a number of strategic ministries have been quietly (and sometimes not so quietly!) upholding the doctrines of grace, planting churches, seeing people converted, teaching the whole counsel of God. These are now beginning to coalesce in a variety of mutually encouraging ways. It is a pleasure to recommend Collin Hansen's survey of some of these movements. This is not the time for Reformed triumphalism. It is the time for quiet gratitude to God and earnest intercessory prayer, with tears, that what has begun well will flourish beyond all human expectation.Amen and amen.
What we know as evangelicalism is a temporary cultural expression of the Christian faith. It comes with idiosyncrasies, good and bad. It has produced the populist Religious Right activist Jim Dobson and the careful, moderate scholar Mark Noll. Out of its publishing houses come books like Left Behind and books like Knowing God. It has proven itself to be small-minded, judgmental, and legalistic, as well as generous, sacrificial, and heroic (I think especially of evangelical work with HIV/AIDS and sexual trafficking today). It has at times been totally out of touch with contemporary culture, and at other times on the cutting edge (for example, we have consistently been early adopters of new technology — radio, TV, the Internet).
Read the wole article click here
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
An anti-Christian chapter in Western history is about to begin. But out of the ruins, a new vitality and integrity will rise.By Michael Spencer
from the March 10, 2009 edition
Oneida, Ky. - We are on the verge – within 10 years – of a major collapse of evangelical Christianity. This breakdown will follow the deterioration of the mainline Protestant world and it will fundamentally alter the religious and cultural environment in the West.
Within two generations, evangelicalism will be a house deserted of half its occupants. (Between 25 and 35 percent of Americans today are Evangelicals.) In the "Protestant" 20th century, Evangelicals flourished. But they will soon be living in a very secular and religiously antagonistic 21st century.
This collapse will herald the arrival of an anti-Christian chapter of the post-Christian West. Intolerance of Christianity will rise to levels many of us have not believed possible in our lifetimes, and public policy will become hostile toward evangelical Christianity, seeing it as the opponent of the common good.
Millions of Evangelicals will quit. Thousands of ministries will end. Christian media will be reduced, if not eliminated. Many Christian schools will go into rapid decline. I'm convinced the grace and mission of God will reach to the ends of the earth. But the end of evangelicalism as we know it is close.
Why is this going to happen?
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
As he did so, Obama also chose to repeat the familiar cliché that the Bush policy was a betrayal of science. In his administration, he argued, “we make scientific decisions based on facts and not ideology.” The facts of the Bush administration’s funding of the research, its support for science funding more generally, and the emergence of alternatives to embryo destruction seem not to count. And the fact that every human embryo is a living human being seemed unworthy of mention.
Science policy is not a science: It must seek to use science to the benefit of the larger society, and also to restrain science in those rare instances when it threatens that society’s ideals. In hindsight, it seems increasingly clear that President Bush’s stem-cell-funding policy will stand as a model of how to strike a balance between these concerns. President Obama’s overturning of the Bush approach offers an unfortunate example of how fragile that balance often is.
— Yuval Levin is a fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, senior editor of The New Atlantis, and author of Imagining the Future: Science and American Democracy.
May people live in the blame game. They blame everybody and everything for their troubles. Your biggest problem is not the devil, its not the government, its not your mate or your children, its not your boss or the company you work for, its not the courts, the police, the Church, the pastor, the elders, your neighbor, your friends, the driver in the car in front of you, the really slow person in whatever line your in, or anyone else you can think of, its you. You are your biggest problem. Your problem - YOU - is what drives everyone else crazy. Moody had it right, he understood that his biggest problem was himself. The reason you don't get this, is because you don't believe this, you think," it couldn't be me, I'm not the problem," oh, but you are, it's true, it's really really true. Once you discover that life doesn't revolve around you, you can get over yourself. It's true, you are your own worst enemy.
"Beware of no man more than yourself; we carry our worst enemies within us."
How should we repent when rightly rebuked? In four ways:
1. "I was wrong." Plain, honest, no evasions.
2. "I am sorry." Brokenhearted, realizing the damage done.
3. "It won't happen again." Rebuilding trust for the future.
4. "Is there anything I can do to make it up to you?" Performing deeds in keeping with repentance (Acts 26:20; Matthew 3:8).
"And let us be in earnest, not as fencers but as warriors." Thomas Watson, The Doctrine of Repentance, page 122.
Monday, March 9, 2009
The All-Sufficiency of Christ in Our Redemption
(Conclusive Evidence for Definite Atonement)
by John Hendryx
Sunday, March 8, 2009
Sum of the Christian Life: Denial of Ourselves (p. 690)
For it [being a Christian] is not a doctrine of the tongue but of life. It is not apprehended by the understanding and memory alone, as other disciplines are, but it is received only when it possesses the whole soul, and finds a seat and resting place in the inmost affection of the heart.
We are not our own: let not our reason nor our will, therefore, sway our plans and deeds. We are not our own: let us therefore not set it as our goal to seek what is expedient for us according to the flesh. We are not our own: in so far as we can, let us therefore forget ourselves and all that is ours. Conversely, we are God’s: let us therefore live for him and die for him. We are God’s: let his wisdom and will therefore rule all our actions. We are God’s: let all the parts of our life accordingly strive toward him as our only lawful goal.
Bearing the Cross (p. 710-711)
This, therefore, we must try to do if we would be disciples of Christ, in order that our minds may be steeped in such reverence and obedience toward God as to be able to tame and subjugate to his command all contrary affections. Thus it will come to pass that, by whatever kind of cross we may be troubled, even in the greatest tribulations of mind, we shall firmly keep our patience. For the adversities themselves will have their own bitterness to gnaw at us; thus afflicted by disease, we shall both groan and be uneasy and pant after care and sorrow; thus we shall be smitten by the pain of disgrace, contempt, injustice; thus at the funerals of our dear ones we shall weep the tears that are owed to nature. But the conclusion will always be: the Lord willed, therefore let us follow his will...If it be clear that our afflictions are for our benefit, why should we not undergo them with a thankful and quiet mind? Therefore, in patiently suffering these tribulations, we do not yield to necessity but we consent for our own good.
HT: Deyoung, Restless and Reformed
Saturday, March 7, 2009
Vance Havner, Paper 'n' Salt, pg. 44
1Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. (New American Standard)
There is a clear message here that follows the formula "if this, than that." If you have been raised up with Christ, if you have been born again, if you are actually a Christian, than act like it, pursue it, don't act like nothing has happened to you, don't be self-absorbed and only concentrate on what's right in front of your face. Set your mind on things above, heavenly things, what is going on around Christ, don't get stuck in the right here and now, don't get stuck in only things that concern the flesh. Instead of that "see things from his perspective", look at life with spiritual eyes not just natural eyes, realize that what is going on around you has eternal implications not just temporary implications. I have heard people say, "he's so heavenly minded he's no earthly good" as if they were quoting the bible. The truth is that most Christians are so earthly minded they are no heavenly good. They are just shuffling along with their eyes to the ground, oblivious to people and things around them and are not in tune with Christ, they have no idea what he's doing and wants them to do. Paul admonishes us to"keep seeking the things above", implying what we should be doing and keep on doing. the question to us, "is that what you are doing?", "are you in pursuit?"