Sunday, June 28, 2009

Artistic, doesn't mean sin-free

A biblical worldview! Hmm for some that phrase seems to go no further then evolution vs creation, and then there are some more 'radical' ones that also include their political choices.
On the contrary to have a biblical worldview, means that we apply the scriptures to EVERY aspect of our lives, not what we consider the more important items. It's a worldview that must be acquired through DILIGENT study of the scriptures, through much humility (teachableness) and much repentance and it's a practice of a lifetime!
Well there is one aspect of our culture that some seem to still not apply the scriptures to, and that's entertainment (that's no surprise), but I want to address one specific aspect of entertainment and that's 'art'.
A rule to keep in mind and I hope you will see as you apply what I say to the scriptures, not to your 'taste', not to 'popular' opinion, not your 'feelings', no not one of those factors has ANY WEIGHT WHATSOEVER when it comes to 'what saith the scriptures': that rule being, if it's lustful it is SINFUL!
A major factor in 'art' is sex appeal, is it's use of man's (including women) LUSTS. To call something 'art' doesn't place something in neutral category and NO true believer REALLY thinks so; I say that because if you take whatever excuse they use to extremes, then they WILL at some place want to place boundaries (that place being where 'they' find it too objectionable).
Let the world call it art, let the world give it special names and special allowances but let the people of God call it for what it is, SIN!
Now you may that I love to dance, I like my music loud and I physically respond to music: BUT there are things that I don't enjoy and that I don't like. I absolutely HATE all sensual dancing (unless it's between you and your wife), I hate sensual lyrics (naturally I exclusively listen to Christian and to be more clear 'Christ-centered' music, unless it's instrumental). I also HATE men that dance feminine (please don't miss how significant a role art places in shaping a cultures mindset about these issues). Yet a great deal of 'dancing' has so much to do with sexual lust, it doesn't matter if it's called Latin, urban, romantic etc. if it's sexual then it's sinful, that's NOT something any believer should EVER admire. Not just including, but even MORE especially regarding children, it's not 'cute' for a 6yr old girl to move her hips sexually (and yes even during service some ladies need to be more aware of what parts of their bodies they are moving).
Let the world think what it wants but let us REFUSE to admire 'art' if it's sexual: that includes so called 'fashion shows' or 'beauty pageants' which AT BEST is soft porn. That includes paintings and sculptures which are simply 'respectable pornography' for the higher classes.

That reminds me of something else I absolutely hate, something that turns my stomach: Catholic art with it's perversion of God, Christ, angels and it's insistence on making men look feminine and women look masculine- someone could buy me a million dollar piece and it will NOT be found in my house. What blasphemy those pieces are and how incredibly sad that there are Christians that actually admire this garbage.
Please, I beg you examine yourself in these matters and don't brush it off so lightly, is it no longer because it's called 'artistic'? Will your arguments only show your hypocrisy later on when you attempt to limit that 'artistic' expression when your children want to be Madonna? That's as weak an argument that would contend that something is no longer sinful if it's 'funny'.
A point of application? Well if you got a 'one eyed devil' (an old term used for the TV, which still cracks me up) but seriously, this would be a good time to stop watching those 'competition' shows where a great majority of it is purely sensual. It's not art, it's simply selling sex and you're buying it (the 'idol' shows, the dancing with shows and whatever I don't have any clue about), whether you realize it or not, these things ARE affecting you; sensual lust is one of those things the scriptures commands us to FLEE from (not hold your ground, not intercede about, not endure, not even fight) from this BAIT we MUST FLEE!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Sermon Jam, Albert Martin

A must listen!!!!! I put this together from this sermon

Pastor Conrad Mbewe, a good model

Pastor Conrad Mbewe is a well-known and well respected pastor in Africa, one whom Paul Washer has called his favorite preacher. If you wish to learn about this church planting pastors ministry and how his relationship to Paul Washer started then listen here (which was a midweek missions presentation--my thoughts? Mark Dever should have had him PREACH!).
Well every time Pastor Conrad makes it to the states he preaches at various places above whatever special conference he has been invited for. If you follow his blog you will see times where he sought out people who used to live and attend his church in Africa (what tender care).
Recently he came for the F.I.R.E conference, which was too far for me; but when i checked his blog and saw a post that he was in Michigan (I'm in Ohio) i was a little upset. He got to meet Joel Beeke and do some preaching up there, but what is interesting and also quite rare is that this internationally known preacher, was preaching at a house church! In fact I was just speaking with some brothers a few weeks ago about how rare it would be for 'big' preachers to ever preach to small congregations (which one pastor (of a newer church plant) i met in NC was humbled that when he invited Paul Washer to speak, Bro Paul was not concerned with 'how many people?').
Pastor Conrad could teach us westerners much about humility and popularity. At the true church conference that i recently attended, one thing which stuck out in my mind (I'm an observer) was how 'available' Pastor Conrad was and how much he spoke with people (whereas usually speakers are never to be found-which in some cases may be understandable, but shouldn't be a norm).
May his tribe increase!

Friday, June 26, 2009

more churches, not bigger churches

Kinda choppy, but here goes:
Mega churches? Good or bad? 'Depends!' Really?
The importance of being connected to a local church, is the fulfilling of all that the scriptures point out in regards to our ministering to one another through the various giftings God has given us, it is a God ordained means of maturing His people. Yet for this to happen there needs to be intimacy, involvement, transparency, in otherwords there needs to be 'family-like' relationships being nurtured within the local church.
Of course as i have noted before there are not a lot of churches that seek or emphasize this, on the contrary they are very shallow and never intrude or facilitate real fellowship; they function more as community centers then Christ centered organisms.
Well one downfall of the mega church model (and yes I'm speaking of 'sound' churches) is that it's extremely easy to fall between the cracks. in otherwords a person who doesn't wish to ever be personally engaged will find a mega church VERY comfortable. If that were the only downfall, then that would be enough to avoid such a model.
There was an dialogue that I heard a while back in which at some point Piper and Dever arrived on the topic of revival. Well Piper spoke of being prepared for say 10000 people getting converted, Dever however pointed out that even in revival times such numbers were unheard of but more importantly Dever pointed out that rather then expect or desire 10000 people to be added to your church, you should wish that ALL the good churches in your area would be blessed with growth. Mark Dever wisely advised that the way you prepare for such a thing would be to disciple ministers who would be able to plant churches. AMEN!
A mega church or even worse satellite churches which function more like movie theaters (campuses where people watch a live video, rather than actual church plants with different pastors), is in my estimation a failure to recognize and shepherd godly ministers within your church.
Beyond that there is a REAL problem within a mega church when their super pastor dies and the 5000 thousand plus members can't imagine any one else 'filling' that mans' shoes.
The LACK of spiritual fathers is appalling, there are SOOOO many young guys WISHING they could get around older ministers who would pour themselves into them as Paul did to the elders he appointed.
Do you wish God to be glorified? Do you wish to be mightily used? Why? For the glory of God? Paul Washer says of his younger years that instead of praying Lord use me, he should have prayed Lord use that guy. Do you get it? I remember years and years ago when i was attending an Assemblies of God church and i would hear people speak of wanting the 'gift of healing' (to an extent very early on I wanted this too) yet for many there seemed to be a big problem. 'What could be wrong with such a good request?' Well I'm glad you asked, the problem was that these people weren't asking because of the person who needed healing and they weren't asking because they wanted to see God glorified, no they wanted to be the ONE who was used. Likewise in preaching I guess most go through this transition (i did), where you want revival right? Yet YOU want it to come through YOU, you pray in a sense 'Lord bring revival through my preaching' not 'Lord bring revival however you please and through whoever'.
Likewise do you want a mega church? Why? For souls, for discipleship, and for the glory of God? Yet why so much through you? Are you indispensable, is there something unique found in you that couldn't be passed on? Don't you desire with George Whitefield to have your name die with you and for people to only look upon Christ? Then share the blessing with others, search out qualified ministers and help them to grow in their callings and then send them out, don't just build bigger!
Another reason why I admire Voddie Baucham who's church is intentionally doing this, discipling and preparing ministers (i believe something of a 3 year plan) to be sent out, in the words of Bro. Voddie 'we are a church planting church plant' and this from a newer church.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The glorious sight of Fanny Crosby

I remember hearing this quote long ago and have never forgot it..... It is one of those quotes that should convict us all of our weak appraisal of Christ in comparison with what this world causes our eyes to look at! I listened to a sermon by bro. Paul Washer today where he made the point that the only pull card we have is Christ (i think that's the phrase). It was Piper's book whose title says it all "God is the gospel". It was A.W. Tozer who constantly spoke of the need to 'magnify' God, to 'see Him bigger', that we have a 'small god'.
The malady of the church today is it's lack of seeing the beauty of holiness in the face of Jesus Christ, this is also the lack of any weak gospel preached today.

Here then is a quote and very short bio of Fanny Crosby

About her blindness, Fanny said:
"It seemed intended by the blessed providence of God that I should be blind all my life, and I thank him for the dispensation. If perfect earthly sight were offered me tomorrow I would not accept it. I might not have sung hymns to the praise of God if I had been distracted by the beautiful and interesting things about me."
If I had a choice, I would still choose to remain blind...for when I die, the first face I will ever see will be the face of my blessed Saviour."
Frances Jane Crosby was born into a family of strong Puritan ancestry on March 24, 1820. As a baby, she had an eye infection which an incompetent doctor treated by placing hot poultices on her red and inflamed eyelids. The infection did clear up, but the result was that scars formed on the eyes, and the Fanny became blind for life. A few months later, Fanny's dad became ill and died. Mercy Crosby, widowed at 21, hired herself out as a maid while Grandmother Eunice Crosby took care of little Fanny.
Fanny's grandmother took on the education herself and became the girl's eyes, vividly describing the physical world. Grandmother's careful teaching helped develop Fanny's descriptive abilities, she also nurtured Fanny's spirit. She read and carefully explained the Bible to her, and she always emphasized the importance of prayer. When Fanny became depressed because she couldn't learn as other children did, Grandmother taught her to pray to God for knowledge.
A landlady of the Crosby's also had an important role in Fanny's development. Mrs. Hawley helped Fanny memorize the Bible, and often the young girl learned five chapters a week. She knew the Pentateuch, the Gospels, Proverbs, the Song of Solomon, and many of the Psalms by heart. She developed a memory which often amazed her friends, but Fanny believed she was no different from others. Her blindness had simply forced her to develop her memory and her powers of concentration more. Blindness never produced self-pity in Fanny and she did not look on her blindness as a terrible thing. At eight years old she composed this little verse:
Oh, what a happy child I am, although I cannot see!I am resolved that in this world contented I will be!

How many blessings I enjoy that other people don't!So weep or sigh because I'm blind, I cannot - nor I won't.


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

modesty, validates the gospel

Well it's summertime, and is particularly a tempting time for believers as to modesty. For women to allow their body heat (best scenario) or their lust to be lusted after, and to give in to what the culture preaches as acceptable. Why is it acceptable? "because the majority has accepted it!"
Ladies and those men responsible, the biblical reality is that there is NOT as much 'liberty' as you may think there is. It's not a gray area, where the scriptures are incredibly silent, no the scriptures are quite clear but as with other things are not beyond 'twisting'.
The first question before reading any further is to ask yourself, 'do I really want to know what the scriptures say, even if it goes against all I've ever known?' if you can say 'by Gods' grace YES' then praise the Lord!

I listened to a very good message on this today from Pastor Albert Martin and he quoted several times from an article Mary Mohler (wife of Al Mohler) wrote concerning modesty. So I beg you to listen to this message and read the article. This is one of those messages you may never hear preached but you wish you would. PASTORS I double dog dare you to address this topic so biblically, unless you don't have the holy reverence, godly care, and self-denying boldness contained in this message.

Here's a piece from Mary Mohler's Modeling Modesty

What about the way we dress for church? Let me be clear. If you arrive at church and your perfume arrived five minutes before you, there is a problem. If you arrive at church dressed in such a way that you have spent more time and effort preparing your clothing, hair and make-up than you have preparing your heart for corporate worship of the one true and living God, there is a problem. But, if you arrive at church dressed like you are ready to slop the pigs on a farm, there is a problem. If you arrive at church dressed in such a way that by the end of the service the people around you, by no fault of their own, now know the color of your underwear and they have watched you do a shimmy dance as you try to get your too-short, too-tight skirt to go under you, there is a big problem.
Don’t blame the men around you who happen to be unfortunate enough to be within sight and say that they need to get their minds out of the gutter. Proverbs 30:20 says, "This is the way of an adulterous woman; she eats and wipes her mouth, and says, ‘I have done no wrong.’" Ladies must remember what battles men face to stay pure as they are stimulated visually by women. They should never have it flaunted in their faces and to have it done at church is an abomination.
What started out as a well-intentioned move to counter ostentatious attire has resulted in opening the floodgates such that anything goes..............

......Another important issue relates to how successful we are as parents in teaching modesty to our daughters. So many mothers make the critical error of trying to be their daughter’s friend instead of being her parent. Often, the first thing the teenager picks off the rack is something that is just over the edge. Then mom starts rationalizing. Her daughter is a good kid. She doesn’t smoke or drink. She is going to buy it with her own money. All of her friends are wearing this style. Plus, if you say "no," it is going to ruin the whole mood of the outing. So, she gives in and approves. We all want our kids to love us but at what cost? When do we plan to start teaching them? As they are heading off for college? No, we must teach them early on that they must stand for something or they are going to fall for everything.
Suitable fashions for teenage girls are out there. Sometimes you have to look a little bit harder for them. Bypassing the juniors’ department is a good start. Am I saying that my teenaged daughter cannot wear jeans, tee shirts, shorts, a bathing suit or skirts that are above her knee? No, there are times when certain garments within those categories are appropriate. Am I saying that never, ever, not even once can she wear a halter top, tube top, cropped top, mini skirt, skin tight shirts, anything that shows cleavage or midriff, hip-hugger jeans and shirts that don’t meet, that she can’t even go into an Abercrombie store, that she can’t keep Clinique in business when she is 14, and that her Sunday clothes are going to be different from her other clothes? Yes, that is exactly what I am saying. Unlike the discount store whose tags say, may God give us both the desire and the wisdom to live lives that are holy in every aspect. A lost world is watching. "there are no rules," her father and I believe there are rules. There are absolutes. There is a line that you just don’t cross. I hasten to add that it wouldn’t matter if her father was a seminary president or a ditch digger, the rules would be the same.
Do I sound like an authoritative parent? Good. Parents are to love, shepherd and nurture their precious children but they are also commanded to teach and admonish them, because they are still children. They need direction. So many parents have the nurturing part down, but they abdicate the whole authority issue. They allow their daughters to go out and "go along with the crowd, express themselves and develop their own personalities," and when they come in looking like harlots, the parents throw up their hands and say, "She doesn’t seem to think like we do about fashion."
Mothers of sons have often asked me, "What can we do? We don’t have daughters that we can influence, but we have sons that are looking at how your daughters dress." Men of all ages struggle with this. It is our job as mothers of daughters to make sure that our daughters’ appearances are not causing males to stumble or causing females to point to them as examples to make their cases.
Richard Baxter, the great Puritan preacher, said to women, "And you must not lay a stumbling block in their way, nor blow up the fire of their lust, nor make your ornaments snares but you must walk among sinful persons as you would do with a candle among straw or gunpowder, or else you may see the flame which you would not foresee, when it is too late to quench it." What a timely warning. On the one hand, there is a world that says there are no rules and anything goes. Then you have some libertarian type Christians who cry, "Liberty, liberty, we are not under law, we are under grace. It doesn’t matter. Wear whatever you want to." On the other hand, there are also some legalistic Christians who radically restrict what they believe women are allowed to wear. Finally, there is a wide area in the middle of Christian modesty in practice. There is great diversity in this middle ground. This is where our tastes and styles are reflected by the many different options that allow for us to express our preferences.

And here's the sermon you gotta listen to:

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Albert Martin on Fatherhood

from effective fatherhood part 1

Now you see, in this age, that is radical. We live in the age of no-commitment, live-in relationships. No strings attached one week bed-downs. The day of do-your-own-thing- ism. Assert your own rights mania. That’s the age in which you and I live. And the idea that, if you father a child, you are committed for life to a relationship of deep, intense, sensitive, self-giving love that seeks not its own--I say that is utterly radical in the mindset of this generation. But it is absolutely essential for effective fatherhood. And I want to press the question on the conscience of you dads here this morning. How much do you know of that love? Can you say as the Apostle could, we were gentle as a nurse caring for her children? Amidst all of the holy assertiveness and the principled toughness of a real father, do your children know you to be so tough and, oh, so gentle? Not sinfully pliable, melting into a little glob of unprincipled back-downs, because they shed a few tears and learn how to manipulate you with their tear ducts. I’ve seen fathers like that, and could hardly look at them without the shame that I was one of their sex. Children, manipulating with whines and tears. But I’ve also seen fathers of whom I’ve been ashamed because I’ve wondered if they were all stone and no heart. Everything by the book! But no sensitivity to the peculiar cycles of the child’s emotional development and reactions and the problems and pressures impinging upon that child. Everything was run like Camp Lejeune, as though the children were a bunch of little marines. No, my friends, what is desperately needed above all else is this intense, sensitive, self-giving love that will make us gentle in our bearing, that will make us selfless in our disposition. How many fathers father children, only to calculate their relationship to those children in what the children can give back to them in the way of prestige and standing in the community? The feeding of their own ego! Fathers driving their sons to be little pro ball players before they’re twelve. Why? So they can sit in the stands and feed their own un-mortified ego,
and practically cursing a child because he struck out in the 9th inning with men on bases! Beating the child down emotionally and psychologically! Why? Totally self-centered! And, when the child gets older, driving him to get straight "A’s" Why? To feed the ego of that parent! That’s all! Not concerned about character molding! Just feeding on un-mortified ego. Total self-centeredness, that is a stench in the nostrils of Almighty God! One looks almost in vain to see that kind of arduous labor among fathers who are so willing to leave so much of the development of the children to mamma. When the Word of God says in Ephesians 6:4: Fathers, nurture them. Not mothers! Fathers, nurture them!! "Oh, but I put in my 8 or 9 hours." So does your wife, and many more. "Well, when I come home from work, I like to relax a little." So would your wife! But you have only so many years to mold and shape those precious children, now, in the name of God, when are you going to get away from your thumb-sucking? Your self-centeredness? And get alone and cry to God that He will mortify that cursed selfishness and baptize your heart with deep, sensitive self-giving love.
You, young ladies, what are you looking for in your future husband? Don’t look at his pretty face. Don’t look at the size of his shoulders. Don’t look at his ability to fill a purse with money. Don’t look at his shiny car. You know what you should look for? You look for a man who manifests a heart beating with this kind of sensitive, self-giving love. And if he’s only five foot four and weighs 190 lbs., a little dumpy, a little out of shape, a little bald, he can have a lot of drawbacks, but I’ll tell you one thing, fifteen years down the road, on a Father’s Day, if, when you gather for your meal, your kids can lead in prayer and say, "O God, thank you for a daddy who has shown by his life that his heart is full of self-giving love," I tell you, you’ll feel that the guy is six foot two built like an Adonis, and second cousin to Rockefeller. That’s right! That’s the truth! That’s the grace needed above all else.
And you young men, seeking to become desirable marriage partners, what graces are you cultivating? "Oh", you say, "I pump the iron to look good." That’s all right. A little bit of that
won’t hurt you. Don’t make it a god. "Well," you say, "I’m working hard at my job to be a good provider." Good! Good! Fine! But what are you doing right now to step across the grain of your native selfishness? What are you doing right now to cultivate sensitive, self-giving love? What are you doing right now? What do you do right here at church? Do you break yourself away from that young lady who’s caught your fancy and go find one of the little kids and, Lord knows, we’ve got them all over the place. They’re coming out the seams, the drapes. Are you finding little kids and taking an interest in them? Coming down to their little world of innocuous little nothings, until, in their eyes, you’re somebody special, because you count to them. You girls, you look for a fellow like that. Walking down an aisle and slipping a ring on his finger isn’t going to change him from the self-centered, egoistical prig that he is, into a selfless out-going sensitive father. Do you see how relevant all of this is?

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Voddie Baucham on Children

Here is a quote from Voddie Baucham concerning children,
Once again I beg the question: Is your view of children in line with scripture or with the culture? A twisted view concerning children has at it's heart 'selfishness' (most of us could never imagine 'sacrifice' as being a blessing) and greed (we consistently use the word 'need' and rarely use the word 'want'- in fact the most stressed and complaining people i've met seem to be in the 'well-off' bracket).

Here's Voddie

You want to avoid disappearing in the midst of a pagan culture? Out breed them.
Let me tell you something. There are some of us in the room that need to repent because
of our attitude toward children and because of what we have said to people
communicating our attitude and not the biblical attitude toward children. Some of us need
to get on our faces before a holy God because we have mocked being fruitful. I have
heard pastors from pulpit, from the pulpit talk about their children like they despise the
number of children that God has given them. I heard a pastor from the pulpit talk about
their third children being named Miny.
“Yeah, Eeny, Meeny and Miny because we ain’t having no more.”

That is a mockery before almighty God. Children are a gift of the Lord. The fruit of the
womb is a reward. Our attitude from here is why a lot of people out there aren’t having
enough kids. It starts with us. And it all goes back to prosperity. The poorest nations in the world see children as a blessing. The richest nation in the world, we talk about children in terms of
how many we can afford. God help us. We are dying one generation at a time because we
refuse to receive the gift that God wants to bring through the womb.
Our attitudes. God says, “You want to continue to be my people? You do two things.
Number one, you gladly receive these blessings that I give you called children. And,
number two, you disciple them in your homes so that they don’t look like the culture
around them.”
The minute you stop receiving the gift of God through the womb and the minute you stop
discipling them in your home, they begin to look like the culture and the community of
God begins to vanish before your eyes. Two Christian families in this generation to get one generation into the next. I believe that is a plague on us. It is amazing. We always talk about how we want more souls in the kingdom. If we were honest, here is what we would say. “We want more souls in the kingdom, as long as we don’t have to birth them, raise them and feed them.”

Amen and amen brother Voddie!!!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Elders fulfilling their ministry??

What is an elder who doesn't have his home in order?
What is an elder who isn't able to teach the word?
What is an elder that doesn't have a blameless testimony?
What is an elder who isn't shepherding people?
If we were to write the characteristics of an elder according to what we see, would such a description come close to the biblical standard? For the most part, NO. Naturally this would be expected in apostate churches, in churches where the scriptures have little exposure, but this tragedy is taking place within so called 'sound' churches.
Unfortunately the 'path' to eldership in many churches seem to follow the pattern of worldly enterprises: rather then a fearful and diligent testing process regulated by the biblical qualifications, many get the 'job' because of:
Seniority (they were there in 'the beginning')
Friendship (they are buddies with the pastor or committee)
Special skill (despite their obvious disqualifications, they are incredibly skilled at something)
Family (they're family so they are 'in')
Popularity (lots of people love them and may be loyal to them)
Finances (they are big giver$)
How in the world can we ever expect to see the blessing of God upon the local church if the leadership isn't in order?? HOW?? One thing I continually tell inmates that i may never see again as regards looking for a church whenever they finally get out, is to at the very least find a church where the leadership are in UNITY and are leading by EXAMPLE (if there's hypocrisy in the leadership, then RUN!!!!!).
Elders who are you ministering to? Even beyond 'membership' you have a duty to reach out to those who come to your church. Church membership is an excellent tool and a wise part of a good church, but it's not a condition of a good church. Why do I say that? Well, say someone doesn't want (or understand) to be a member, are you then 'free' from caring for them, even though they come to your church? Maybe in some man made document, but you didn't get that idea from scripture!
How can growth be measured unless people are being personally shepherded? How's the home life of those who come to your church? Do you pay attention to how families interact with each other? DO you know of the family habits? How are the husbands and fathers leading the homes? Are the children well behaved, are they properly disciplined and loved? How do the wives speak and act towards their husbands?
Have you EVER inquired into the daily habits of your congregation?
It seems we've so personalized our 'walk' with Christ and so emphasized our liberties and the ugliness of legalism, that we don't minister to one another. We react so sharply that we refuse to go beyond small talk, and we think everything MUST be great if only people attend every function of the church! This is something I'm constantly noticing that growth has been translated by some as ATTENDANCE to prayer, bible study, service, and other functions and that the 'real' lack or problems are those who aren't 'attending' as much as others.
Attendance translates NOTHING! If we are content with externals then we'll never know where there is need for improvement. Dear elders you MUST by the grace of God get your hands dirty and pry into the affairs of your congregation and seek to study them, to learn how they live out their faith!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

The gospel doesn't need your help Vblog

Not your intelligence to bring it respectability
Not your personality and contextualization to make it cool and popular
Not your creativity to make it more appealing
Not your customizing (compromise) to make it more comfortable
Not your marketing skills and charisma to make it more sell able

The power that leads to salvation is in the GOSPEL!!!!!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The only remedy to an undisciplined life

Has your strength been failing, dear believer? Do you search in vain for a remedy?
Perhaps you could do with a better church, better fellowship, or a better relationship (a spouse or a child) maybe?
No believer, the only remedy to an undisciplined life, is a disciplined life.
Imagine if Paul Washer was your personal mentor, John Macarthur was your next door neighbor, Voddie Baucham was your father in law, and John Piper was your pastor, then and only then would you...........NOPE!!! Even under the best possible conditions (what YOU may think they are) if you neglect the means (tools, disciplines) that God has ORDAINED for your sanctification (your progressive holiness, conformity to Christ) then you can expect the best of men to profit you nothing.
In otherwords the Lord wishes to teach you dear believer to lean upon Him, not upon man. He indeed uses men, but they do not replace the work of the Spirit! Would you blame others for your weakness? A pastor, a church, a friend, a spouse, a child, a parent, or even your present location? None can be blamed but yourself, for God has provided all you need in order to grow fruitfully for him. Yet when you blame your surroundings, your circumstances for the lack of holiness in your life, you ultimately blame God. You may as well charge God with making a mistake because you would dare claim that His sovereign plans have led you to fail.
At the very least, you must have, what God has made available to you:

The scriptures must be read and studied, do you wish to meditate upon them,then read much of them. Expect very little from rushed time with God (as you would expect no effect from telling your wife 'ok babe I have ten minutes to hear what's on your heart and then I'm gone"). There will be no 'renewing of the mind' with the scriptures given as much attention as is given to commercials.
Prayer must also be diligently pursued: pleading to God on behalf of self and on behalf of others is vital to your growth, because God wishes you to learn your dependence upon Him. Thanksgiving and praise towards God will increase your faith, teach you contentment and cause you to give God all the glory.
Although we fight, although we press hard, and though we struggle much; it is all done in the strength and grace that God provides. There should no retreat and no surrender to the weaknesses within, to our excuses, instead we should lay hold upon our great and glorious redeemer. Lastly we must approach all these things with one focus and that is our desire to be closer to God; to have greater intimacy with Him and so these 'disciplines' are in fact wonderful opportunities to enjoy God more!

Monday, June 15, 2009

4 tests of Conversion Vblog

Sunday, June 14, 2009

John Newton Letter to daughter

Before you read this: Take special note to the content of this letter addressed to a 13yr old. Would you admire such a letter only hypocritically because it's 'history'? I fear there are some who would admire such a letter from the past, yet think it too 'super-spiritual' to write such a letter today! If only more parents would be as intentional about heavenly things as John Newton was (true parental care)!

(The following is a letter of John Newton to his 13 year old adopted daughter, who was away at school)

"The LORD does whatever pleases Him--in the heavens and on the earth, in the seas and all their depths!" Psalm 135:6

My dear Betsy,
How vain are all things here below! "Vanity of vanities!" says the preacher. And you, and I, and your mamma, may say so likewise; for we all counted upon seeing you last Sunday. We listened at the door--and peeped out of the window--but no Betsy came! Now we will venture to expect you next Sunday.
Indeed, it is not amiss that you should now and then meet with a hindrance--that you may learn, if possible--not to count too much on what tomorrow may do for you--and that you may begin to feel the impossibility of being happy, any further than your will is brought into submission to the will of God. In order to learn this--you must have your own will frequently crossed. And things do and will turn out, almost daily in one way or other--contrary to our wishes and expectations.
When such disappointments happen--most people fret and fume! They are angry and impatient! But others, who are in the Lord's school, and desirous of being taught by Him--get benefit by these things, and sometimes find more pleasure in yielding to His appointments, though contrary to their own wills--than they would have done, if all had happened just as they had desired!
I wish for you my dear child, to think much of the Lord's governing providence. It extends to the minutest concerns. He rules and manages all things; but in so secret a way, that most people think that He does nothing. When, in reality--He does ALL!
He appointed the time of your coming into the world. And the day and hour of your coming home from school to us--totally depends upon Him likewise! Nor can you safely travel one step of the road--without His protection and care over you!
It may now seem a small matter to you and I, whether you came home last Sunday--or are to come home next Sunday. But we know not what different consequences may depend upon the day--we know not what hidden danger you might have escaped by staying at school last Sunday. The Lord knows all things! He foresees every possible consequence! Often what we call disappointments, are really mercies from Him to save us from harm!
If I could teach you a lesson, which, as yet, I have but poorly learned myself--I would teach you a way to be never be disappointed. This would be the case--if you could always form a right judgment of this world, and all things in it.
If you go to a bramble-bush to look for grapes--you must be disappointed; but then you are old enough to know that grapes never grow upon brambles. So, if you expect much pleasure here in this world--you will not find it. But you ought not to say you are disappointed, because the Scripture plainly warned you beforehand, to look for crosses, trials and hindrances, every day. If you expect such things--you will not be disappointed when they happen!

"At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship and said: Naked I came from my mother's womb--and naked I will depart. The Lord gave--and the Lord has taken away! May the name of the Lord be praised!" Job 1:20-21

Friday, June 12, 2009

Loving to Obey God

Sunday, June 7, 2009

the real heaven isn't popular VBLOGS

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Men i'll quote but not blindly endorse

Without a doubt, no man is flawless and no man's doctrine is flawless. Yet that doesn't mean we all equally share in weaknesses or a lack of doctrinal clarity. Naturally there are many things that can be quite confusing, and some things that will always be confusing; which are things which men should be more careful trying to define (doctrines which aren't really doctrines because they aren't clear).

Like many of my family in Christ, I have been benefited by many dead people. Usually we start learning from the most popular (radio or tv) and then we begin to learn from what we stumble upon at our local bookstores, and after we've had all that cotton candy, we finally begin to find something of substance and we follow different trails of people and books quoted from.
There are men like David Wilkerson, Leonard Ravenhill, A.W. Tozer, Nicky Cruz, Steve Hill and many more that were incredible blessings to me. BUT to be honest they ALSO crippled me, because I lacked a proper grasp of grace: how it was lavished on me and how it worked in me. So like many of my peers (mostly young adults) I tried to preach 'hard', became on the one hand rightly dissatisfied but on the otherhand very critical and impatient with 'true' believers, judging them by the standards of these men (it's very easy now to spot this in others).
Of course the guys that are still living are less quoted and used as examples even though they are contemporaries of these men, which is quite interesting. If I can use the dead then I should be consistent enough to use the living. I can say now that the men I listed and some others like Paris Reidhead, Wesley, and so on would be my last recommended to read. I say this because to go back and even read Tozer, sure there's an amazing exaltation of God (Piper would be better) but a lot of the things he's said were flat out legalistic. Tozers' mysticism was always a red flag to me (even while I attended a Pentecostal church), of course reading some of his recommended mystics didn't help, yet it must be said that unlike Edwards, Tozer's 'devotion' to God led him to neglect his family and his flock (which i first caught glimpse of in his biography and was reminded in Voddie Bauchams 'What he must be....').
With each of these men we could point out the inconsistencies, the legalistic quotes and the like. Yet to read them now, I have to read them through the interpretation of the gospel of grace, the God of grace; to read or listen to such men require a solid grasp of the doctrines of the gospel, the doctrines of grace, of God's workings, of God's love towards His saints and then there may be much that can be learned. I wish with every quote preachers had the time to warn others about things to be careful of but that might be too much, but i would hope that every believer would realize that a quote doesn't mean 'full' endorsement and that some preachers, some authors are for mature audiences only.
We all have blind spots or memory lapses and quite often we make too many allowances for dead preachers, and so we have our picks for who we will or won't quote. I for one can't stomach to quote a heretic like Charles Finney, nor do I think I could quote Billy Graham favorably (due to his leading role in the mess of today's gospel and evangelicalism), nor can I get out of my mind the inconsistencies in the beliefs of C.S. Lewis and so I don't quote him either; like I said those are just some of mine and i guess we all have our own. I guess I'm seeking to beg my family in Christ to use discernment in what and who you read; and for the mature, be especially careful in who you recommend (analyze their teachings as you would others) (at least give a little warning).

Forgotten Calvinists

The doctrines of grace, what Paul taught, the teachings of Jesus or in other words what has been called Calvinism, as regards God's work in the gospel: well it really covers God's work in all things and declares quite clearly and consistently that God alone receives ALL the credit!

These are doctrines that REQUIRE much diligent searching of scripture, it demands the rule that 'scripture doesn't contradict itself' to be upheld. It is very apparent that MANY do NOT diligently search the scriptures and it would be no wonder that there is so much confusion. Beyond that it takes great humility to allow the scriptures to speak plainly. Yet when we do not regularly feed on the word, then we are left to 'feel' around for truth, which often comes through mass consensus (what does everyone else say) and to add to that, our weak logic will also lead us to think that those preachers and teachers that are most known must be (because popularity must equal success) authorities on the scripture we buy into the typical 'Christian' cliches'.

So it is no wonder that when Calvinists are pitted against contemporaries of different (variants of Arminianism) beliefs concerning the gospel and it's work, that even if they had more remarkable and especially more lasting fruit they are pushed towards the back. Whitefield and Wesley are prime examples, Wesley is the better known by far, and given the most credit. Although Whitefield was the head and shoulders above the rest, and though he spoke highly of Wesley, that has MUCH to do with grace not with discernment. For if they had belonged to one body and had both been elders, Wesley would have warranted discipline on numerous occasions!
If you wish to dive further into such histories then read Dallimore or Iain Murray on such things but that's not my intention to give short bios.
The point is that Whitefield has been shoved to the back because he held to what he called the doctrines of grace. It's very important to note that biographers/historians (popular) will do one of two things when it comes to this subject (Calvinism); either they will not give fair attention to the Calvinist (perhaps due to the lust of readers to read about 'events', great 'moments', not lasting fruit) OR when given no suitable alternative (no other preacher to put in front) they will do all they can to IGNORE what the man taught or believed! John Piper isn't the greatest biographer and his biographies are more likened to surveys, but to his credit Piper searches to find what a man truly believes and what motivates him, so read or listen to Piper's biographies as well.
Why then would preachers who happened to be Calvinists who had 'numerical' success (which is NOT the only kind, nor the test of success), be either pushed back or misrepresented? My theory is because their testimony DEFIES the logic of the NON-Calvinist. Which is 'Those who believe in Calvinism don't preach the gospel, don't love souls, and don't win souls'! Men such as Calvin, Mueller, Carey, Spurgeon, Edwards (which if it wasn't for his 'academic achievements' would also be totally forgotten), Whitefield, Nettleton, Lloyd-Jones and many many more.

I personally wish more was written about Asahel Nettleton, who might have been considered one of the greatest evangelists ever if it wasn't for the fact that he has been pushed behind the heretic Charles Finney. Do a search on this remarkable preacher who bore incredible fruit and was also a consistently biblical preacher.

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