Sunday, November 23, 2008

CHURCH: VITAL IMPORTANCE

Today i heard a good word on the importance of the local church. Much of what i say will sound very obscure if you don't understand this importance. Of first importance as i have said before is NOT what do i want in a church, but WHAT does God desire in a church. NOT what kind of leadership do I WANT, but what kind of leadership does GOD REQUIRE these are non-negotiable issues.
Much of the problem regarding churches is based upon preference and not the bible. There are things that ARE a matter of preference that some churches have made major issues and that WRONGLY.
Worship for instance (singing), is a matter of preference: one standard which must be held is 'biblically sound' lyrics. On the one hand i understand those who like contemporary music, and i understand those who like hymns. Yet i believe it's too far when a church takes a stand on one or the other not by their preference but as though one is more righteous (this of course laying aside shallow music which can be found in any era). Hymns are no superior to contemporary music because it too was contemporary at one time, the argument will always contain flaws unless you demand that only the psalms can be sung. Simple is nice and perhaps the safest way to prevent misunderstanding; yet people are excitable and to say all excitement is sinful is of course ridiculous. As for me, if it's solid and since i know how to come to the Lord and i am truly saved there are times where i don't want to say much i just want to SHOUT, or even JUMP and i would say that's ok and even good; there are times of such tremendous bursts of joy, or delight, or praise that you get undignified! YET again these are matters of preference and should not be used to bind the people of God. There was a time in my infancy (as a Christian) that all i liked was exceptional gospel music (since that's the style of the churches i was in), i mean brilliant artists, drummers, pianists, organists, and singers. I would be frustrated and mock any church we went to where there were noticeable flaws. I was spoiled by predominately 'hypocritical' yet BRILLIANT musicians. Then i met a friend (Chris Drombetta) at work, and we begun to meet several hours before work at his apt (i would teach him some self defense stuff and he would teach me what it meant to be a Christian ---at least that's what i learned as we prayed and studied together). Anyways he was and is a brilliant musician, but before this i had no interest in non-gospel music, and he gave me a bunch of cd's to my first drive to Toledo. From then i have had to check my own heart concerning my thoughts on worship since then; It had dawned on me how God didn't look at what i looked at. That acceptable music to Him has nothing to do with style or ability but with the heart. Also that whether people stand, kneel, sit, jump, whatever doesn't make it more holy or more acceptable to God; yet God knows why they do what they do and i believe that a church should go out of it's way to MAKE THAT clear, so they don't become pridefully critical of how other churches decide to worship.
There is the local church and beyond that the world-wide church, the church that consists of every truly born-again believer. As we recognize that God's people goes far beyond our own four walls, we must also be concerned about our brothers and sisters around the world. I hope to press this further in the future but for now i would say that if you know very little about what's going on in other parts of the world, concerning our 'family', and if you aren't looking to or don't participate in supporting missions or the welfare of the church worldwide then something is really wrong! It would do your pride, your self-pity, your materialism, your fear of man, your discontent well if you would seek to be better informed of the body of Christ around the world.
In our logic of course the local body doesn't seem important, but it is absolutely crucial, it is God who has ordained such a gathering for the purpose of mutual encouragement.
The local church is the place where you should be consistently exposed to the word of God (the gospel), the place where you are consistently confronted with truth and then held accountable to that truth by loving brothers and sisters. The place where we stir one another on to NOT lose heart and to NOT be slack in doing good (with a focus on witnessing). The place where your flaws are confessed and you bear the burden with others who are struggling (A place of humbling). The place that models for families how to conduct themselves and pursue the Lord. The place where you receive rebuke to not backslide, and not slow down your pursuit of the Lord. The place where you recognize the authoritative positioning of God almighty in His kingdom, also a model for husband and wives, that although there is God ordained LEADERSHIP, there is also equality! The local church is the primary means of saving sinners, a place where the lost (SHOULD although it's NOT the norm) hear the gospel consistently. The sermon confronts the sinner in a unique way as well as the love that believers have for one another (not necessarily for them) will be another (along with the stark contrast in values and lifestyle) VISIBLE confirmation of the truths of the GOSPEL (the guarding and maintaining of these visible fruits is called CHURCH DISCIPLINE which most DON'T practice and CAN'T practice because they don't have A CLUE what their people live like).
If these ARE NOT the norm in YOUR CHURCH, if this is not what you look for or what you care about then my friend you have missed it COMPLETELY, consequently these ARE the reasons many shallow or False professors don't LIKE a HEALTHY church (yet a truly healthy church is a center of TRUTH, HUMILITY, REMEMBRANCE, and LOVE.
Please please don't take this lightly, as with my own decision to pursue another church for my family, these decisions have been made BASED upon the BIBLICAL requirements of a CHURCH not upon some internal 'spider-sense', we must base everything upon the WORD OF GOD!! Either the church is a HEALTHY BIBLICAL CHURCH or GOD has placed me here and given me the open door to effect such a change (either way it's a moving FORWARD).
I have just recently listened to a series by Albert Martin on the church's role...... In essence this wonderful shepherd is laying down the biblical grounds for why they have or have NOT done things. It's very solid and it's reveals the large heart of a man, that isn't looking to establish His own preferences but is fighting hard to stand upon the truth of God for the people of God. It's a message that should prevent a younger generation changing everything because they thought that these old fogies did what they did because they were old and senile. I beg you to listen to these fruitful messages, but i WARN YOU they may not line up with what you've always seen and been told; NEVER MIND that, test it by the word and reject the false and receive the truth!!!!
the series goes like this; The role of the church.... 1.in the Saving Purposes of God 2. in Living the Christian Life 3.in Evangelism and Missions 4.in a Call to the Ministry 5.in Ordaining Men to the Ministry pt 1 6.in Ordaining Men to the Ministry pt 2





Saturday, November 22, 2008

Praise God for the nobodies

More and more I am convinced that the best teachers are the least known ones. Yet there are some that you can't figure out how they became known, like Albert Martin. Here is a man, not know through books being published or through being popularized through major national conferences. Rather through faithful preaching of the word, a consistent stand upon the truths of scripture. A man who has not compromised throughout his ministry. Unfortunately beyond my comprehension this is not the norm of many influential leaders today, and i am speaking of those known for there biblical scholarship, that have indeed become much more lax in their thinking over time; convictions becoming weaker and some have even completely changed some views on foundational truths. Of the most known leaders, that when i think of a good example of unwavering conviction i think of John Macarthur jr. who i would call the least likely to ever more towards compromise and i truly believe that's an incredible compliment even though i don't see eye to eye on everything with him. Yet such an enduring ministry, and such consistency in preaching is rare; he's one that you're not going to find endorsing any and everything.
Back to the subject at hand, it's a terrible thing to think that some of the best preachers out there are not being sought after by the majority of churches even reformed churches. Paul Washer remarked how he never went to chapel in seminary and was questioned why by one of his professors, and his reply was that as long as the ONLY men that come to speak are men with megachurches and the faithful small church pastors are ignored, he would not come.
That's a really good point, because although we can mock the schemes of the seeker-sensitive movement, many are still as guilty of the same idolatry of numbers and educational prestige. This should not be, many of the conferences going on could be likened to a popularity contest, not a godly selection of the best teachers and preachers. Not to take away from some of these ministers (who i have intentionally not mentioned) but many sound more like business men, with their networks, connections, projections, and mastery of the culture's evolution; rather then prophets who come with a word from the Lord. When i hear of the lives and involvements of some of these 'giants' i think to myself, where do they find the time to be involved in all these projects, committees, and ministries.
I'd much rather have a small ministry that doesn't operate like a corporation, a small church where the elders really know the condition of the flock (I'm not anti-growth), yet if there was phenomenal growth i believe that's a call to bless another neighborhood with a 'solid' church plant, which is the pattern of some.
I would like to see, and i think it's right: to see more lesser known, smaller church ministers given more respect, and not burdened unnecessarily by a list of 'must-haves' when they should be encouraged to be faithful and disciplined. Of course that is why I naturally greatly anticipate the upcoming true church conference (www.anchoredintruth.org), which will contain many faithful expositors that emphasize the centrality of preaching without all the modern 'requirements'.
Well it's time to eat so i guess I'll stop now. blessings

reading a good book when....

I was just thinking, about good books, and of course my rule of thumb is to chose the most recommended of all books. As i have time I plan in the future to also read more contemporary books; yet y reading time is presently short and so i attempt to get the best i can, not just wanting something but everything!
Anyways I know and perhaps you know or you can know when you are reading a good book.
First of course I'm looking for content, i don't care much what big names recommend them, nor do i care what degrees a man has, I'm looking for good scriptural material.
Then i know if i am reading a really good book when that truth is confrontational, when there is a preaching element to it, an obvious intent to affect me spiritually.
Then (not that this is in any order) i look for a passion for the glory of Christ, a love for souls, and a zeal for holiness within the pages.
Then i know that I'm reading a really good book when it feels as though the writer has just left the closet of prayer, there is intensity and reality to every word.
Then lastly I look at each line, meaning how much do i have to read before it says anything; in other words there are times where i have the urge to highlight or photocopy something or paste something in a post and i can't find a place to start or finish, i mean that it's so good that i feel like i have to highlight everything. Preaching and preachers is one of the only contemporary books i can think of that is like that. A classic example is William Gurnalls Christian in complete armour, it's JAM PACKED full of meat and hard to pick small quotes.
Anyways a word of caution for MOST people that are not fluent readers, especially not of classic writing: don't read every book that is recommended to you, ask WHY they say it's such a good book. blessings yall!!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Content, leadership, individualism

I was listening today to an interview with John MacArthur: In answering one question,
MacArthur made the point that what he had to defend when he was in school was vastly different than today's battle. Today's has to do with the 'sufficiency' of the scriptures. Not whether the bible is accurate and God-inspired, but whether it's really all we need, if it's sufficient.
True expository preaching has lost interest among many today, expository meaning 'to explain'. Of course there are a lot of churches that, even whole denominations like Calvary Chapels' that teach verse by verse thru the scriptures, yet to listen to many people that claim to do this it becomes immediately obvious that's NOT what they are doing. It's not hard to go through a whole book and not REALLY explain it, but use each verse as a starter for a sermon on something different (this i have seen so many times).
Expository preaching demands CONTENT, it demands MEAT!!! Now I FOR ONE am bored to tears by good doctrine that comes from a dead heart, there should be FIRE coming forth, blazing each TRUTH. I believe in VISIBLE passion (which definitely looks different in different types of people). Yet I'm also equally sick and TIRED of sermons full of SMOKE, full of emotional excitement and shooting out the same 10 unrelated memorized verses for every message.
Conrad Mbewe at the trueChurch conf two years ago, answered to the question 'what's the difference between preaching the text and preaching your thoughts' "Well if you just give people your thoughts then they will leave thinking about you, and if you preach the word then they will be thinking of Christ (the word)".
In other words: CONTENT, SUBSTANCE, something to feed on, something to chew; rather than a quick dessert, sweet and FLUFFY.
I believe more than ever that what ails the church is hyper-individualism, which has much to do with the SUFFICIENCY of Scripture. Which in turn has affected many peoples view towards the role of the church and the role of leaders. Churches are no longer looked at as places of instruction, but places of activity. Many churches resemble country clubs (not like I've been to one of those), or YMCA's and in turn the Leaders are more like activity directors, not teachers of the word.
This has been much on my mind and i plan to post more later, but i wonder what most people would respond to the question 'why do you go to church?' or 'what do you look for in a church?' unfortunately I bet the answer for the mos part will be unscriptural. Strip a church of everything that it doesn't need, or better yet in a viciously persecuted land what could they NOT do without? 1.BELIEVERS 2.LEADERS TO TEACH THE WORD: it's NOT just a gathering, but a gathering that is also ADMINISTERED by SHEPHERDS, would you question that? Consider than what Ephesians says are GIFTS to the CHURCH from CHRIST; BIBLICAL LEADERSHIP (MEN OF ONE BOOK).
So if people don't go to be fed the word then what else do they go for? routine (we've always gone to church here), comfort (not too convicting), community (i get along with these people, they accept me), significance (i get to be "involved" in something), freedom (no one bothers me here, only God can judge me), peace and security (i always feel better after a service) and the list could go on, but the point is 'what does GOd have to say about the church?'
The problem is that the whole purpose of Christ giving gifts to the church, the whole purpose for Paul writing to the churches would all be for nothing if we ALL didn't need consistent sound preaching. Preaching is a unique means of God that confronts believers and unbelievers alike for the benefit of their souls. A great many don't even notice that they are missing something, they don't demand better because they have never been exposed to it or they don't care. Yet when they here good preaching they think 'wow this person is a uniquely gifted man of God' when in fact, they aren't unique it's just that they are truly called and qualified for the office whereas many would bless their churches by stepping down and doing something else.
Activity has consumed the modern church, and their are countless people who never get fed the pure milk of Gog, because they are so busy filling all the so-called needs in the church. Men, women, and children were more equipped with truth, and more distinct from the world, when the church didn't have all these needless ministries. For all our gadgets, all our technology, and all our make-believe 'ministries' we are no better, we're only seeing each generation becoming weaker and weaker.
TOO many authorities has also PLAGUED the church and has added to this individualism. I mean all the para-church ministries and even the Christian music world. Here you have all these ministries and the worst of them have no clear intention to preach the gospel regularly, but operate as good-works clubs or cleaned-up versions of any and all worldly amusements. Yet they have created such a mindset that 'you don't need the church, you don't need that type of accountability'. So what happens is that some guy or gal, starts some thing (coffee shop, clothing line, holy hockey club, God-golf, Christ-Chess ministry, Christian video gamers, etc....) but seriously even missions should be church based: well the leader (president or ceo) then goes around speaking in pulpits and conferences and people begin to look at these people like pastors. They become their own authority, and they have decided to put themselves in that position. This can also apply to musicians (why you should be aware and beware who your children listen to---even CHRISTIANS) because too many have incredibly WEAK theology, but they often speak like they have really studied the scriptures and their fans buy into it. I could also include all the storytellers out there, who have an amazing gift to write; yet who rather than tell stories, use their gifts to promote water-downed, sprinkled with scripture fairy tales and people are buying it, they eat this junk food and then their appetite is SPOILED (not liking tough meat).
Even EVANGELISTS, the majority of faithful evangelists (even those who had little education, which doesn't mean they did not know the word) the one's who have stood the test of time in REAL FRUITFULNESS are FIRST theologians then SOULWINNNERS. Yet today when you hear evangelist, most immediately picture a Billy Graham crusade: that my friend is weaker in content then most children's Sunday schools-please be slow to disagree on this one because Billy has "on the record" said countless statements that are embarrassing to repeat (heretical statements, compromising statements). I suppose these examples and many more could be accredited for the attitude of many within the church today.
It would be my desire that more people would start asking the right questions, and searching the scriptures for the right answers. It would be my desire that many leaders examine what they do in church and why they do it, and also for them to take an inventory of all the 'busy' underfed people in their church and ensure they get to be under the teaching of the word.
Teens especially; all the churches that weren't small and had much activity going on, always had teens involved and without exception the teens that volunteered the most, were the teens that needed to be under the teaching of the word the most; yet this is exactly what happens when activity becomes supreme, when the need to fill spots becomes more important than the need to feed the sheep.
Peter was told to feed the sheep, the great commission is about "teaching them everything..", their must be a concern for CONTENT, their must be a cry going forth 'we WANT MEAT'.
Now that's an idea, maybe i'll start a protest, and we'll make signs like 'WE WANT MEAT' 'NO MORE BREASTMILK' 'NO MORE GOOFS, GIVE US THE TRUTH' and we'll stand on the church corners of America on SUNDAY morning!!!!!!!!!!!
Yet i have seen and heard many comment of such an uproar of men, that are begging God for such teachers, men and women desperate for truth and devouring it where-ever they can find it, i pray in the years to come we'll see a remarkable number of solid Christ-centered PREACHING churches established by such men (may i be counted worthy to be a part of that).

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

How is God leading YOU?

Hebrews 5:14
14But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.
I have been meaning to write about this for some time, but i wish to address something that seems to be incredibly problematic among Christians today, and there is certainly a reason for this.
How exactly does God lead, or to better reach a wider audience hows does God PRIMARILY (USUALLY AND COMMONLY) lead His people? When you ask yourself that, then ask this also how can i KNOW, how can I be CERTAIN God is speaking to me? My feelings, by a strong desire, by some kind of confirmation????
THese are things that I have struggled over for years and I've for the most part had to struggled with what i've always heard and what i've always done, not necessarily a conviction. I can't count how many times I missed it when I THOUGHT God was leading me, because I was looking for ALL THE WRONG signs. It's fearful to think of how many times I used His name in vain, by casually using the phrase 'the Lord has told me...' the "Lord lead me....."
Am i anti-supernatural? Not at all. DO I put limits on God, as though He CAN'T lead men through miraculous means even today, would I say that God would NEVER impress a man to do or say something? No I certainly would NOT. Yet I must say this, you search through the scriptures and even the book of Acts and you WILL NOT find God leading people other than by His word, except on the RAREST occasions (it's NOT the norm, and the Lord NEVER wanted you to live by such 'leadings' either).
All that to say; How exactly can you know the will of God?
Well what is the bible? The revelation and will of God
Why do we have the bible? To know how to obey, glorify and enjoy God
2 Timothy 3:15-17
15 and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 16All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.
By what standard, by what are we able to be taught, to be corrected, to be equipped? The word of God. It's the scriptures that should teach us, it's by the word that we are to test all things by, not by our thoughts, not by our feelings, but by the word of God.
The problem is none other than biblical ignorance- we know NOT THE SCRIPTURES. The mature as stated in the opening verse are those who have made it a HABIT to discern, to distinguish between right and wrong, who have used the scriptures to weigh all things. The most consistent Christian, the most biblically minded believer IS THE ONE WHO WEIGHS EVERYTHING BY THE SCRIPTURES!!!
Biblical discernment comes through constant USE, constant examination, by trust: a trust that before jumping to conclusions LONGS to be convinced by the SCRIPTURES knowing that it's the scriptures that give a clear view on all things.
It should also be a clear red flag to you as it is to me, when it seems as though groups of people have this amazing ability to discern the obscure things of God, but yet lack discernment in the obvious???? HMMMMM. How convenient is that, have you no clue to how quick you mind, your flesh works to convince you that everything you feel and want, must be from the Lord.
THe believer that has little knowledge of the scriptures should be terrified to make decisions and judgments, should be weary of answering or acting quickly because of strong feelings. The only way you will ever have confidence in decisions is when you learn how to apply the scriptures to your circumstances.
Called to preach? You have a strong desire? It's been confirmed by 'open doors' and encouragement by leaders? WELL DID YOU KNOW: that it still MIGHT NOT be God leading you to preach!? .........reader do you know why I said this? If not this is perhaps the biggest flaw of many churches and something you must understand. What God has planned is often unclear to us and can be confusing, especially if we don't understand more importantly (from our point of view) WHAT GOD HAS REQUIRED. SO the question is not 'is this man called' (meaning special signs and hints) but the way to test this is to ask "is this MAN BIBLICALLY QUALIFIED" in other words i can KNOW if GOD has PLANNED this (not by hearing His voice) but by witnessing the evidences of a man who is called: those evidences being clearly spelled out in TITUS and 1 TIMOTHY 3 and so if they fail the test, then it doesn't MATTER what outward evidences there are, it's NOT GOD's WILL.
In Light of this example i hope you will understand how much more important, and how much we need the scriptures in order to know WHAT GOD HAS REQUIRED instead of spending all our efforts trying to figure out what GOD HAS planned---my call and your call is to faithfulness!
A small book has been recently written on this subject and i would recommend you checking it out if you haven't already
Macarthur has this to say:
The key to living an uncompromising life lies in one's ability to exercise discernment in every area of his or her life. For example, failure to distinguish between truth and error leaves the Christian subject to all manner of false teaching. False teaching then leads to an unbiblical mindset, which results in unfruitful and disobedient living-a certain recipe for compromise.
Unfortunately, discernment is an area where most Christians stumble. They exhibit little ability to measure the things they are taught against the infallible standard of God's Word, and they unwittingly engage in all kinds of unbiblical decision-making and behavior. In short, they are not armed to take a decidedly biblical stand against the onslaught of unbiblical thinking and attitudes that face them throughout their day.
Martyn Lloyd Jones said:
"There's a very obvious reaction at the present time against intellectualism. This is found among the students in America and increasingly in this country. Reason is being distrusted and set on one side. Following D.H. Lawrence, many are saying that our troubles are due to the fact that we have over developed our cerebrum. We must listen more to our blood and go back to nature. And so turning against intellectualism and deliberately espousing the creed of irrationality, they yield themselves to the desire for experience and place sensation above understanding. What matters is feeling and enjoyment, not thought, pure thought leads nowhere,"
Now this is the statement of a solid expositor of the scriptures, a man who his wife called 'first a man of prayer..." a man who believed God can impress His people, can give experiences, but A man who understood that where men fail and must beware of Most is in the realm of judgment, our thoughts ARE NOT God's thoughts; our REASONING is VERY flawed and limited. GOd has no desire that any man become dependent upon supernatural outward leadings to direct his life, for such a dependency, such a man the WORD OF GOD will NO LONGER HAVE ANY PURPOSE: LET me also tell you that, even among the greatest revivals of history, once men have begun to rely upon and presume upon what they "feel", they quickly fall into error and lead others there too. In fact you MAY NEVER have any impressions upon you and that's perfectly O.K.
I once heard a good preacher say, "that a Spirit-filled life is a word-filled life!"
When He comes (the Holy Spirit).... the Spirit of truth.... He will lead you into all truth.... Your Word is Truth!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Beware Parents

Deuteronomy 30:19This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live

I hope parents (grandparents too) and parents to be have given much thought to this, i speak of mush thought to how they influence their children, whether they are leading them on the path of blessing or cursing.
I DON'T mean what they WISH to do, but what they ARE doing, this reminds me of a Tozer quote: "every man is as close to God as he wants to be; he is as holy and full of the Spirit as he wills to be..... Yet we must distinguish between wanting and wishing. By 'want' i mean wholehearted desire. Certainly there are many who wish they were holy and victorious or joyful but are unwilling to meet God's conditions to obtain."

I would say that's consistent with the testimony of scripture, of the use of the means of grace, and the active obedience to God almighty under His working.
Parents and especially FATHERS this is absolutely CRITICAL; let me say it like this, FORGOT stupid SPORTS and even EDUCATION and their CAREER potential, all those are VAIN pursuits, yet they are the common pursuits of the WORLD.
You have been given a stewardship, so you would do well to first come to a solid conviction of WHAT God desires for your children.....don't be to quick to answer. What is the will of God for your child? CONFORMITY TO CHRIST. Which may not come the way you might want it to come, it may come through much pain and suffering, through much failure and sorrow. It may come through a constant battle between you and your child as long as they live with you.
The world seems only concerned with WHAT their children will be (in the world's eye), or they are only concerned with giving their children as much freedom as they want, in order that there will be less fighting.
Character should be supreme over everything, Christlikeness should be your supreme goal, a goal which is more than WILLING to sacrifice what the world considers profitable. Where then are you leading your children, what then is the impression you are leaving with them as concerns the true treasure?
Much of the problem has been an awful mixture of views, the world having an incredible influence on the minds of believers. Like it or not much of that is happening because you give LITTLE attention to the truth (the WORD) and TOO much attention to the MEDIA. I'd also have to add that the church has addressed very little about this issue, not many are equipping parents. The ministry to children has received the least amount of thought and teaching (scriptural) than any other ministry. THis was perhaps what surprised me most about the Puritans and also J.C. Ryle that great attention was given to warning parents of their duties. Also of preachers i have been most affected by Albert Martin and Paul Washer in this area; to the point of intense conviction and complete redirection; praise the Lord for preachers with backbones. I was absolutely crushed when I first heard Paul Washer speak about how important it is to lead and love your wife and children above all else (contrary to those i heard that spoke of family as the thing you'd have to sacrifice)!
Impressionable minds, I was thinking about this right before the elections. As a friend of mine wanted to warn a sunday school class of the sin of leading children into sin, by illustrating just how bad the school systems have gotten in America. Yet what has come to mind (as i've wrote before concerning salvation and communion) is the GREATER sin of parents who do this, OVER
the world. I'm not surprised at the world, I'm only surprised at the influence of the world on the church.
Allow me then to make several points/questions to how we lead our children:
What about materialism? What impression have you left on their minds concerning things? Do they see you constantly drooling over what you don't have? DO they think the purpose in life is to get sport cars and bigger houses with bigger yards? DO they here how enthusiastically you speak of what someone gets paid or how much this or that is worth? Perhaps you have failed to consider what a TRAP you are setting before them.
What about PRESTIGE (the praise of men)?
Do they see you always competing to be seen? Do they see you often buckle under wanting to please men? Do they see you give great praise to the prestigious, to the abundance of degrees from the finest colleges? Do they see you give MORE worth to men who carry more titles, how have acquired fame? What then have they learned of humility of serving others as a way of leading?
What about MODESTY? This is the most disturbing thing, when i find countless daughters and even wives, that look like they are on the way to a nightclub, as though they have sought out the most body revealing attire possible. As if they have pre-planned to make every married man wish he was divorced. As though they sought the clothes that would bring the MOST attention to the most PRIVATE parts (like WORDS splattered across the rear end). I remember Albert Martin telling of how he stopped his girls from going out to the mall (though they probably were very modest COMPARED to what we see) and how confused they were, until he sat them down and explained what exactly goes through the minds of men when they See certain things he said and i quote 'you will dress in such a way that a man has to be a complete pervert to be turned on by you' now THAT's a FATHER!!! Dad's what IN THE WORLD are you thinking, do you not see? DOn't you warn and FORBID your daughters to dress like harlots? Are you absolutely BLIND?? And WORSE for your wife to do it, THIS IS NOT HIGH SCHOOL, you're NOT THE WORLDLY PARTY ANIMAL captain of the football team who has the LOOSE AND FAST CHEERLEADER on your arm to MAKE every man JEALOUS of you: that's DISGUSTING. that's NOT being proud of your wife, THAT'S taking the role of a PIMP!!! What then do i ask, do you teach your children of their body and how it's to be presented?
What of LUST? What do they see you watch? what do they see you laugh at? Is their perversity on your lips? Yet I must also add naively leading your children into no-win situations; like encouraging them to date and giving them freedom. Proverbs points out that a child left to himself WILL bring his mother to SHAME! Paul Washer makes the point that a father who held such LOVING standards was asked 'don't you trust your child?' and the reply was OF COURSE I DON'T, Paul made the POINT that HE DOESN'T EVEN TRUST HIMSELF so of course you shouldn't trust a child with raging hormones'. Yet you lay a snare before them, because you want to worship the goddess 'normal', yet when your child keeps falling into sin they won't want to talk about it because they will think that they are just sick perverts that can't control themselves unlike the rest of the people. This can also be done through the way you compliment them, a teenage boy or girl doesn't EVER need to HEAR you say "WOW, you're looking good today, i bet they'll be lining up for you today!!" COOL and NICE??? MORE LIKE completely ignorant and hurtful: LOOK at how much our culture is PLAGUED with SEX, with SINFUL ADDICTIONS to SEX and you would dare to think such comments are innocent, or that there's such a thing as innocent puppy love??? It's way before teenage, that kids are experimenting and that crosses all cultures, colors, and classes. BE CAREFUL of the SEEDS you plant in their minds. Also don't give the impression (with media) that there is a certain age where you are no longer affected by open wickedness ('this is a grown-up movie")!
The list could go on, but let me switch this for the sake of (my) time.
Concerning Christ, religion, prayer, scripture, church, and the lost
What impressions have your words and actions left? Do they see an obvious disconnect from your speech in church of you love to Christ and your speech at home? DO they see you merely going through the motions, or do they see daily devotion? Are your children WITNESSING parents who daily wrestle against sin and temptation with continual fruit? Do they get the impression that their souls are the greatest concern you have of them (not school, not their talents, not their morality even)? It has been said 'it's about a relationship, not religion' well what would your children say of that? Is Christ only mentioned during 'devotion' time?
I remember Albert martin making the point that your children should be convinced that Christ is the head of the home, and the reasons why you do this or don't do this is because of Christ's authority. Do your children ever see you worship outside of Church, or only complaining as though God was not good to you?

I beg you to ask yourself these things, to really examine yourself in these areas. It's vital that we take great care to the souls of our children, and this by glorifying God through adherence to the scriptures!
Let me throw out a couple sermons that I would recommend you to listen to:







I beg you to listen to these sermons (listen while you clean up, or wash the dishes or something): There's a lot more available of Albert Martin on Parenting that you could download or buy the set, but hopefully these will stir some thoughts!!!

With the Lord

What a day that will be; i have for several weeks now been preaching around the last two chapters in Revelation to the juvenile jail on Saturdays (some of which have been there each time--others just got there).
Although i may touch many subjects, I refuse and hope to always refuse to get far from the cross, for at the cross we understand everything.

Rev 21:1-4
1Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. 2And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. 4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away."

The beginning of the end, the day when God's secret will and revealed will meet without mystery, the day when we will no longer see through dim eyes. A day of infinite joy, of infinite pleasure, no more fleeting pleasures, no more temporal joys, only ever growing delight in the felt presence of the Lord. Truly the Lord has presented for Himself a bride, and that of His own choosing, oh what joy that he has chosen us! What mercy He has poured out, to such as us. THink of it, a mighty ruler, an all-powerful creator, desiring to DWELL with His creations, to make His former enemies His children. What a concept, a personal God? A King who wants to have the company of His servants continually. The Lord who sits on High, will not be hidden behind some veil, will not (contrary to Hollywood) be somewhere distant, but as a Father delighting in the company of His children, enjoying His children cuddling Him. Is that weird to you? Get over it, it will be intimate, it'll be a hugfest. The pictures ABOUND for this great love, this great intimacy that we merely have shadows of in this life.
A day when there will NO LONGER be the possibility of sin, nothing will displease the Lord, and nothing will displease us. It will forever be a wedding day, a delightful anticipation of new joys, new discoveries and new causes for worship. Who will comfort us? Who will reach out and heal permanently all our sorrow, all our grief, all our pain, all our scars: none other than God Himself, just like Christ touching the lepers.
It's so heartbreaking to think of the many believers that are not reminded enough of this, who spend so little time meditating on these great blessings. This is the hope set before us, this is the finish line we look to, this is the joy set before us! Could I ask you to do what the church has done for about 1900yrs and that's to read the Song of Solomon as a love story between Christ and His people; i marvel at how anti-intimate we've become and it seeps into all our judgment. I'll tell you that I DON'T CARE if you think it's something else, maybe you say it's just a love story of a perfect marriage. Well I'd say with Paul Washer that even if you think that, then it is STILL applicable to APPLY to Christ and His bride since MARRIAGE IS one of the many symbols illustrating God's relationship to His people (so it's unimportant which way you think the ONE illustrates the OTHER either way they can still be related).
The Lord saw us and made us His, He prepared the marriage, it was an arranged marriage, and we fled from this commitment: we wanted our freedom, we saw no beauty in Him, we didn't want to be led, and we didn't care what expense our lover went to. Yet God pursued, God wooed us, He won our love, He swept us off our feet,, he stole our hearts: This great God gave blind ones the sight to behold beauty unspeakable, this God took unfaithful harlots (us) and made us royalty, He clothed us in His dazzling white robes and made us heirs!
What a day that will be when as the perfect picture of a Husband, God showers us with eternal gifts each and every day, He won't TRY to please us, He WILL SATISFY us beyond understanding. This will be the day when all will say, all including those in prison, all including the abused, all including the outcast, all including the crippled, all including the widow, all including the orphan, all including every warrior who fought continually to what seemed no avail, ALL WILL SAY "IT WAS MORE THAT WORTH IT". All will say "FINALLY, I CAN REST, GOODBYE FLESH, GOODBYE TEMPTATIONS, GOODBYE FAILURE, GOODBYE GRIEF, GOODBYE CONDEMNATION, GOODBYE DEPRESSION, GOODBYE DOUBT, GOODBYE HEARTACHE, GOODBYE TEARS!!!!!!!!!!!!"
HALLELUJAH!!!!!!!!!! ALL WILL BE NEW!!!!!!!!!!!

Give them Christ

A quote by Spurgeon:
"I believe that those sermons which are fullest of Christ are the most likely to be blessed to the conversion of the hearers. Let your sermons be full of Christ, from beginning to end crammed full of the gospel. As for myself, brethren, I cannot preach anything else but Christ and His cross, for I know nothing else, and long ago, like the apostle Paul, I determined not to know anything else save Jesus Christ and Him crucified. People have often asked me, "What is the secret of your success?" I always answer that I have no other secret but this, that I have preached the gospel,—not about the gospel, but the gospel,—the full, free, glorious gospel of the living Christ who is the incarnation of the good news. Preach Jesus Christ, brethren, always and everywhere; and every time you preach be sure to have much of Jesus Christ in the sermon."

Without a doubt I will add that if you are ever to preach, ever to witness: if you have not sought to preach Christ crucified, then SIT DOWN!!!!!!!!!
GIVE THEM CHRIST and CHRIST alone. HOW?
Well for ONE you CANNOT FAKE IT, I don't care who you listen to, who you read; if you aren't passionate about Christ, if you are not IMPRESSED with His infinite beauties then it WILL SHOW, it cannot be FAKED.
So why do some still lack it? PERHAPS they're focus is wrong, their devotions are WEAK. Indeed they may have polished sermons, yet lack power because they lack passion. That passion, regardless of disposition should SPILL out of every word. READ the bible like you BELIEVE it, speak of the CROSS like you FEEL it, speak of CHRIST like you LOVE Him.
I believe every subject can be beautiful, and exciting, every bit of theology, every book and verse of the bible should burn within us if taught rightly!
This is above else why I absolutely LOVE the PURITANS despite the flaws, why I LOVE Tozer despite the SHARP differences i have with him. THE undeniable love for Christ and for other to see Christ as beautiful as He is.

Spirit of YOUR church

Ahhh finally i have the chance to write.

I have for a while now been absolutely convinced that each church has a spirit (the meaning will be seen later). Being in the process of searching for a good church, my thoughts have been MORE on this subject then normal. Contrary to some of my fellow brethren, I don't give a lot of weight to doctrinal statements and confessions: What i mean is that i don't believe they can accurately define what the church is like.

It's like reading the mission statement for a evangelistic endeavor: they all sound the same. I want to know instead what REALLY DRIVES this church, what can it be defined by. What impression will stick most in the minds of people who visit or who have attended for years.

HOPEFULLY that answer lines UP with their statements, unfortunately that seems to be rare.

I'm going to throw out some thoughts on what could be SOME of these TYPES- so please allow me to throw out a light commentary to the churches in Revelation.

Revelation chapters two and three (Jesus judges these churches, we'll use them as models) As you read them consider what Jesus condemns and what Jesus commends (this would be a wise way to order your church).

Is your church like the: Egghead church (the Ephesians)

Doctrine? you got it! Exposing false teachers? Got it! Good Works? you got it!

Motivated by love? Not QUITE! Let this be CLEAR, Jesus COMMENDS all these points, Jesus DID NOT SAY 'you guys are just too precise, too worried about truth, too worried about false brethren and teachers' NO NO NO; Yet to those who have these things He does say "you've left your first love" Perhaps that is exclusive to Christ or has a wider scope: either way they have let those 'good and profitable' things become their drive, they have become comfortable with dotting every i and crossing every t, yet they've become dry, they've lost their passion, they have OVER-reacted. They are those who are satisfied with just the facts, learning something new, but they've overlooked biblical motive!

Is it like the: Punching bag church (Smyrna)

A church that has despite it's faithfulness, it's passion, it's sound doctrine, has been chosen to endure intense suffering. What message does Christ give this church? ENCOURAGEMENT, "Keep fighting soldiers". THis is a church that has examined ITSELF, it has sought to make sure they have truth and have the right spirit. Perfect? Certainly a Model to follow.

Is it like the; Carebear church (Pergamum)

This church despite it's strong points, refuses to deal with the false teachings circling around it's members. This is a church that doesn't want to be "judgmental" (it's definition of the word), it REFUSES to attack or CONSIDER the effects of such teaching. And so everyone can do as they please, a church that is content to be happily DIVIDED. A church that won't practice CHURCH DISCIPLINE: it's a church FULL of HIPPIE love, the kind that won't take stands ON TRUTH and ON HOLINESS (at least not in the lives of people). It's a church that is filled with people that believe 'good intentions' are enough.

Is it like the: Oprah show church? (Thyatira)
This church is ALLOWING one called Jezebel to teach DESTRUCTIVE heresies because she calls herself a prophetess: This reminds me of past charismatic (NOT ALL) but many that i have been to that are often lead by very mystical women (OH NO you mean WOMEN PASTORS) NO not necessarily. I mean behind the scenes, their may be women who because of their 'intense devotion and their closeness to the throne of God, they can see things the leaders can't' (this REALLY HAPPENS--it's TERRIBLE) so the Leader who has doubts but is ultimately INTIMIDATED by these people, doesn't deal with the problems he sees. Here is a church that is very weak in being consistent, because of it's lack of a standard for faith and practice: that standard being the word of God. Notice that it isn't commended for it's upholding of truth: Yet like many of these churches, they do contain groups of true believers that DESPITE their lack of exposure to SOLID teaching are putting some who know more to shame, they grow in SPITE of their teaching (but let not that EVER lead you to think-that it doesn't MATTER then: that's NOT the critique of Christ--Again they flourish in SPITE of.... We should NEVER expect GOD to work IN SPITE of us).
Is it like the TOP OF THE CHARTS church?
This church has reputation; this church is that church that is on the 'most recommended' list of even many Christians, perhaps it's the church everyone visits when in town, it's the church you hear maybe on the radio. It's a church growing in numbers, growing in size, maybe it's has several sister churches, maybe it's big or it could be small. Maybe it's the church that holds the most conferences. Yet this church is a dead church, it has no substance, it's a lifeless church. Perhaps it's a dead reformed church, a dead non-denom, a dead pentecostal, a dead Lutheran.... who knows, the point is that it THINKS, it PRESUMES it's alive. This HAS to be due to it's pride, whatever it's pride may be in, it's BLINDING this church to it's true CONDITION: somethings missing but no one can quite put their finger on it- well that something is LIFE!
Is it like the Heart of a Fighter church? (Philadelphia)
Not exactly a shoulder above the rest, and perhaps not much noticed by many. Yet this church, despite it's struggles, has REFUSED to GIVE up, THIS church is still STANDING. Despite the pressure, the persecutions, this church taking blow after blow is still fighting. They may indeed be a church that has not been blessed with incredible talents, or an abundance of anointed workers, yet this church has used what it has been given: it's been faithful!
Or is it like the DISNEYWORLD church? (Laodicea)
THis church is FUN, it's COOL, it's MODERN, it's RELEVANT. This is the type of church that has bypassed the BIBLICAL ways of growing the church, as not NEEDFUL: despite it's intentions it HAS bought the lie that JESUS needs a MAKEOVER, the SALVATION can be INFLUENCED by the SAME TRICKS used by the ADVERTISING world. IT's got CHURCH down to a science. This church could be also those churches that have REMOVED the offensive parts of the CROSS, and unknowingly have REMOVED the POWER OF THE GOSPEL. This is the church that has FIRST looked, listened and examined MAN and THEN it's gone to the scriptures with these foggy glasses and found things THAT THE CHURCH THROUGHOUT HISTORY have NEVER SEEN OR DONE!

Without a doubt more, so much more could be said: yet let this suffice to encourage you to test the spirit of the church you lead, or the church you might be looking for. There is so much at stake, the church is GOd's witness and she is His bride!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Seeing IS believing

Is it? Perhaps you are of the many who assume that men must be telling the truth when they say things like 'well i have to see it to believe it' do you then try to reason with them?!
I hope to convince and encourage the body of Christ with this FUNDAMENTAL truth of the scriptures.
The first "let God be true and every man a liar" (Roms 3:4b) We stand on His truth.
The second "for what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them..." (Roms 1:19-) be convinced that He HAS PROVEN He EXISTS!
NOW i must refer to two extreme proofs of the utter depravity of man, his unwillingness to repent as being his problem, NOT his lack of 'evidence'. It needs to be said over and over again that the MOST POWERFUL weapon the CHRISTIAN has for the CONVERSION of SINNERS is the WORD OF GOD! do you agree? I really don't know a lot of people that really believe that, i know a lot who say it, but from their excitement and expectation they prove they have more faith in a MIRACLE producing such results, or CREATION scientists, or Archaeological discoveries and (even worse) CHRISTIAN FILMS!
There was a rich man sent to hell, that assumed that if only his brothers could see someone from the dead warning them of the wrath to come, then without a doubt they WOULD come to true faith! Sounds reasonable right? humanly speaking yes, if you believe man has the power within himself to be converted, if you believe that salvation is simply a mental or emotional decision: yet the scriptures beg to differ! This rich man (Luke 16:19-31) was told by Abraham that if his brothers did not listen to 'Moses and the Prophets' then nothing will change them. Pay close attention to this: NOTHING is as convincing as the word of God, so when WE say PREACHING is the PRIMARY and USUAL way of God saving sinners, this is why. Let this sink deep in your mind, a man won't believe EVEN IF A GHOST WITNESSES to him, can you see clearly that a man is literally DEAD in sins?!
Don't fall into the trap of trying to make Christianity respectable and prestigious among the sceptics, sometimes (and this with care) you just have to be blunt and tell the person 'whether you admit it or not, YOU KNOW THERE IS A GOD and YOU WILL HAVE TO STAND BEFORE HIM, so let's STOP going in circles, but let me TELL YOU WHAT you MIGHT not KNOW......"
Furthermore let us look at two of the most remarkable miracles in the bible;
1. Moses upon the mountain: The people have been delivered, seeing the plagues of Egypt, seeing the parting of the sea, seeing supernatural provision, seeing a cloud of fire by night, and now seeing the closest thing ever to the very "sight" of God: at Mt. Sinai while Moses is receiving the law. YET despite all this UNDENIABLE "evidence" and "experience" they REFUSE to 'believe' and yes this word MUST be understood ONLY through a biblical understanding. Believing is linked to action, it is a trust, or an entrusting oneself to another (namely putting ourselves in the care and administration of God almighty). Israel NEVER had a problem with the EXISTENCE of God, yet when all their numerous sins are summed up: it's called unbelief (Hebrews 3:18,19)!
Ex 32 tells us, that while Moses is on the mountain less then two months: that the people although still within view of a miraculous sight on top of the mountain, impatiently demand a NEW god, which they immediately give credit for their deliverance (right in front of a visible manifestation of God); Once again, the HEART is so black, so deceitful, so God-HATING that NOTHING EXTERNAL can move it to LASTING CHANGE (fear, hope, belief, etc...), regardless of testimonies or anything else, you should put no hope in anything BUT the WORD of GOD rightly taught! Unless you let the scriptures convince you of these things, the response of the people will make no sense at all (seeing is NOT believing).
THE SECOND great WONDER that, would seem the most convincing is the judgment of God in the book of Revelation (tragedy often strikes and we sometimes hope these will serve as wake-up calls to a sleeping world, yet in this instance the world WILL be CONVINCED that God is controling the judgment). Ever hear the statement "if a man could only see hell for 1min, he'd become a Christian!"? Is this biblical? If you said NO then you are RIGHT (if YES then please reread this post several times before continuing). Let's take a look the remarkable exposing of the deep hate-filled rebellion of man in a couple of passages: REV 6:16,17 Shows how men are only concerned with the consequences of their sins, still not willing to repent but only desiring relief.
REV 9:20-21 Still under intense judgment men grit their teeths and stubbornly REFUSE to repent, though they have NO OTHER HOPE.
REV 16:8-9 & 10,11 & 21 reveal men expressing their disgust with God, they curse Him while being punished, NONE on that day will LIE and claim to be atheists, they couldn't possess more evidence: this as J.C. Ryle would say "if words mean anything" is clear proof that man is dead in sin, that he is incapable of 'turning to God' without the supernatural help of God.
The word is the SWORD, and this sword is powerful (Heb 4:12,13), this sword is the POWER of GOD unto salvation (Roms 1:16).

Friday, November 7, 2008

Short Accts (examine and repent)

Ever heard the saying 'keep short accounts'? This if you didn't know means that we should deal with sin as soon as possible by repenting often.
Self examination is a beautiful means of grace to keep our hearts tender before the Lord. This should be one of the first things that cross our minds when we pray, as we make our requests before the Lord, we should be reminded "how dare i come before the throne filthy, how dare i come flippantly before the One i have offended, I MUST FIRST REPENT!!".
This is the fountain and more fruit and more grace in our lives, when we DAILY come before the Lord with a broken and contrite heart. This is where we are able to glorify God and fix our eyes upon Christ, by daily seeking mercy. This is where we are reminded of the things we didn't take much notice of, like out attitudes at work, or to our spouses, children, parents and church; which leads to a greater resolve to prevent these things. Nothing is worse than ignorance to our non-conformity to Christ.
I say this wanting to emphasize a major neglect among Christians today, and too often this neglect has come from an overreaction to a wrong view of self-examination or a bad experience to it. Nonetheless it can't be debated as something that is not crucial to our growth; because it is simply the welcoming of true conviction.
Conviction is of God, and leads to a desire for change and a hope in the promises of God to help us, whereas CONDEMNATION is of Satan and leads to despair and a dependence upon the flesh.
Let me say that the two may be confused, in fact some people have a tendency towards this condemnation and this in reality could be due to a lack of true trust in God!
Fresh supplies of grace come while we are reminded of the grace that has been given us: when we see need for repentance, we can on one hand mourn our weakness, our ingratitude, our coldness and at the same time we rejoice and are also AMAZED at the grace and mercy of God that is daily extended to sinners like us.
Let me quote Spurgeon, which really hits the biblical understanding of a Christians repentance:

An old saint on his sickbed once used this remarkable expression: “Lord, sink me low as hell in repentance; but”—and here is the beauty of it—“lift me high as heaven in faith.” Now, the repentance that sinks a man low as hell is of no use except there is the faith also that lifts him as high as heaven! The two are perfectly consistent, the one with the other. A man may loathe and detest himself; and all the while, he may know that Christ is able to save and has saved him. In fact, this is how true Christians live. They repent as bitterly for sin as if they knew they should be damned for it; but they rejoice as much in Christ as if sin were nothing at all.

This aligns with the testimony of scripture, especially with psalms of repentance: this is truly healthy to the soul of all believers. This too is a great strength of puritan writing, you find this almost in all their writings. They wrote and i strive to write not to gather a following of people that agree with me, but to see men humbled, broken and blessed!

Sovereign Apathy

BEWARE church, Beware believer of what i would call an apathetic view or response to the Sovereignty of God. A view which responds with indifference, with coldness, with laziness, and ultimately disobedience. Especially when there is little bible knowledge (actual scripture knowledge not theological system knowledge), or growing pride that is not looking within but rather despising the ignorance of others.

The more crucial the doctrine, the more careful we should be to view and teach it within the harmony of scripture and refusing to come to conclusions without that biblical framework.

An apathetic view of the Sovereignty of God responds like this: "whatever will be, will be". It tends toward hyper-calvinism or even fatalism and in turn IGNORES the testimony of scripture.

BEWARE of apathy TOWARDS the LOST: Jesus showed us the father, and from His example towards the lost we don't find apathy. If anyone could be apathetic towards the lost, towards those who would never be saved, surely Jesus could claim that right, but He DOESN'T! Jesus had compassion and so should WE, Jesus wept and so should WE! Even the RESPONSE of the wicked should not leave us indifferent, it didn't leave Paul that way. Whitefield could preach and weep for souls. Let us NEVER forget that there are TWO commands that encompass the whole LAW: Loving God and loving our neighbors. These CANNOT be separated, and so the REQUIREMENT of EVERY preacher (witness) is that they be faithful to the truth (God) and faithful to the right spirit (man): meaning we preach (teach, witness) DESIRING greatly the GLORY of GOD and also DESIRING greatly the salvation of souls. Without both, you have neither!

BEWARE of an apathy towards the trials, tribulations, and needs of the body, don't hypocritically close your heart towards others under the blasphemous guise of a trust in the Sovereignty of God. Once again Our GOD is SOVEREIGN and sovereignty USES means, and these means include our prayers, our words, and our actions. Why did the church pray for Peter to be released from jail? Didn't they trust in the sovereignty of God? Of course they did and that's why they prayed! Why did Paul pray three times for the thorn to be removed? Didn't he trust in the Sovereignty of God? Of course and that's why He prayed! We pray for healings, we pray for blessings, we pray for openings, we pray for peace, we pray for the lost, we pray for the message, we pray for leaders, we pray for nations and we do this because we ARE following the example of the scriptures while trusting in the Sovereignty of God.

Beware of apathy towards your own or the church's growth. If there is neglect and disobedience then we should do all that we can according to our gifts and stewardship: we cannot blame God's sovereignty for lack of conformity, or else we will be guilty of saying God made us sin. If you don't feel 'led' towards something and you think that's the sovereignty of God working within you, then you MUST test that by the word, for if the word gives a command then that overrules your 'feeling of being led'.

This will only fall to deaf ears, IF you don't examine yourself: be willing to see these things if God shows you, beg for His revealing. You can be right and still be wrong, or you can look and 'sound' right and still be totally wrong. Beware of decieving yourself, consider the fruit of what you are thinking. Are the fruits of the Spirit abounding in you as you react to the Sovereignty of God? or are they diminished? Check for pride, for bittness, for annoyance, for anger, for disgust, for sharpness and the like.

The TEMPTATION that is MOST attached to SOUND DOCTRINE (good theology) is the temptation of PRIDE, yet the FRUIT most attached to SOUND DOCTRINE (good theology) is HUMILITY. Let this reality NEVER escape your pursuit of TRUTH, guard your heart by ONLY boasting in the GRACE of God, and if you don't see HUMILITY abounding then repent and repent often!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

expect MORE AMERICA

What a pity, what a further reminder of the problem at hand these elections have stressed.
That problem my brothers and sisters in Christ, is the hope that is put into political leaders.
Discouraged by the results, certainly you might feel great grief over the depravity of man and another revealing of it. YET THE PROBLEM, is the LACK of energy, hope, and support for the CHURCH! Jesus did not say I will build my nation, but He said "I will build my church and the gates of hell will NOT prevail"
This is the need for the body of Christ, in regards to the church:
To have a greater expectation of POWER from the church (the church is the salt)
A greater LOVE for the church (a desire to see it prosper)
A greater FEAR of who the LEADERS are and will be
A greater DRIVE to purify the church, to see that it holds the distinction Christ desires
CHURCH= called out ones (called out of this WORLD system)

This was circling in my mind yesterday and today as i was listening to a Spurgeon message titled 'Eyes right" this quote stands out:

Now if the saints of old time gloried in obeying Christ, I pray that you and I, forgetting the sect to which we may belong, or even the nation of which we form a part, may feel that our first object in life is to obey our Lord and not to follow a human leader, or to promote a religious or political party. This one thing we mean to do, and so follow the advice of Solomon as he says, “Let thine eyes look right on, and let thine eyelids look straight before thee.” Beloved, let us endeavor to be obedient in the minute as well as in the greater matters, for it is in details that true obedience is best seen. Let us copy the faintest touches in the life of our great Exemplar
Let us seek a revival of repentance, let us seek to be more AGGRESSIVE in our preaching and teaching and let us hunger for truth with the end of obeying it.
If indeed the Lord has so chosen for America to endure persecution or to come under His immediate wrath then it's long overdue for the church to examine itself.
It's time we STOP spinning the wheels that are already there, and START putting our attention where GOd puts importance.
Ministers, elders, teachers you are called to FEED the flock of God, in order to do that you must also KNOW where they are: you must not ASSUME they are sound, safe, or even saved.
Do you KNOW the condition of your flock? I would beg you to follow the example of the preachers of past and start to engage and confront individuals, 'but that's not how it's done today' SO WHAT, start random visits if you have to. To the church, you too have a responsibility to know where your brothers and sisters in Christ are at, get personal (they're family you know).
If what we are doing is simply going through the motions, building up a cloud of dust and all the while praising anything called 'Christian' then we WILL NOT be prepared for any change, nor can we truly fulfill the great commission. Let this verse emphasize the point
Psalm 127: 1 Unless the LORD builds the house,its builders labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain.
The gospel more than ever must be defined and defended: Let me say this as clear as possible, EVERYONE thinks they preach or share THE GOSPEL: What GOSPEL do you preach?
DO you preach like PETER? Like PAUL? Do you preach like the men referenced by all as men used greatly of GOD? OR do you preach the modern, seeker friendly, non-confrontational, vague, "Jesus loves you and has a plan for you, so invite Him in your heart" gospel???????
I must quote this because it so rings true with how I and many feel about what we are fighting for:
From 10 indictments by Paul Washer: (and i can understand people that don't like this type of preaching because they don't like REAL preaching-not the sit on grandpa's lap as he lulls you to sleep storytelling)

And I will say this as a warning to the older men. Now, listen to me carefully. I know the admonition in
1 Timothy chapter five of the way I am to address you and so I address you this way, but there is a great awakening going on in this country and not only in this country and Europe where I have been and in South America and many other places, I see young men going back to the rock from which we were cut. They are reading Spurgeon and Whitefield. They are still listening to Ravenhill and Martin Lloyd-Jones and Tozer and Wesley and it is a great, incredible movement. Just because popular media and Christianity today hasn’t discovered what is going on, I want you to know that I would have never dreamed 15 years ago that I would see the awakening I am seeing, not through my ministry, but as I go to different places and see what God is doing without any of our ministries. Whether it is Holland, a thousand young men declaring, “Things have to change,” crying out all night in prayer for the power of God and the truth of Scripture or South America recognizing that they have been so influenced by psychology and all sorts of superficial techniques coming from America with regard to evangelism and now weeping and broken are going back and evangelizing their churches, or the inner city of the United states where I have sat up at times until two and three in the morning discussing theology with young African Americans in the hood whom God is going to raise up to do more preaching than anyone will ever be able to imagine on this day. There is an awakening. And I am going to say this with tenderness. Most men over 40 don’t even have a clue about it. Many of the young people who are turning back to the old men and the old ways and to truths that have brought awakening time and time again in this world, most of these young men are quite young. And they will go to their pastors, they will go to their leaders and say, “Look at this, what we have discovered. Look what happened in Wales. Look what happened in Africa. Look at this and look at this and look at this teaching. It is absolutely amazing.” And most of them will either turn it away or say, “It is nothing any different than what I have been preaching for 25 years,” when, in fact, it is completely different than what they have been preaching in 25 years.

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