Saturday, October 31, 2009

The injustice of God

Can God rightly be accused of injustice?

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

How to avoid reactionary extremes

Reactionary extremes are the cause of many Christians rejecting that which they should not be so quick to reject. Such reactions to extremes has caused believers to form convictions improperly, that is not according to scriptural reasoning.
Such reactions are often formed on the basis of mere experience. Thus all the arguments are formed with extreme examples of 'what I've seen is...' or 'what I've heard was....' instead of first going to the scriptures with a teachable spirit; one which cries out 'Lord show me the way, and correct me where necessary!'.
There are some other variables in forming our convictions which we must also beware of, and that is the 'accepted' norm of the day. We don't seek to be conformed to the majority position of popular Christendom, rather we are to seek to be conformed to the Christ (to the word).
We have one rule of faith, and that rule (standard) is the Word of God. Since the Word is our rule of faith, we should approach all things with a level of skepticism, a healthy desire to be convinced FIRST by the scriptures while being willing to forsake anything which doesn't line up with the word.
Such things would include:
How are we to reach people with the gospel.
How are we to dress as believers?
How are we to approach such issues as dating?
How are we to approach our entertainment choices?
How are we to direct our churches?
How are we to test elders?
How are we to bless our elders?
How are we to understand the power and experience of the Spirit?
How are we to educate our children?
How are we to discipline our children?
How are we to manage our finances?
How are we to interact with fellow believers?
How are we to spend our retirement?
How are we to walk in our God-given roles?
How are we to worship the Lord musically?

Now HERE is the real test of whether we are concerned about DOCTRINE (you can talk all you want about the importance of theology, you can make puffy and pretty statements and confessions, but when it hits home, WHAT'S UP????)
IS the bible silent on such things as these? CERTAINLY NOT! Yet because of extremes, a number of such questions have already conjured up unsavory pictures that cloud an objective and biblical response. Even worse, such questions are usually answered very predictably and very carelessly by many leaders, who answer not with scripture verses which apply to that issue, but with blanket verses which usually leave the person thinking "well I guess it's a matter of choice, and the bible is obviously silent about such things!?".
Another wrong way to approach such issues is asking "is this a salvation issue?" (for some it could be) but that's a very selfish and wicked way to approach such things, rather we should be concerned whether such things please the Lord, whether such issues hurt our testimony (more importantly meaning does it paint a wrong view of Christ?) and whether such decisions will hinder others (like things concerning our children, reaching the lost, leading our churches etc..)?!

Beloved (MINISTERS especially) how would you answer such things? With a generic, non-confrontational, middle of the road reply (what everyone says or does) or have you thoroughly searched the scriptures in such matters??

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Paul Washer 2009 vid on MISSIONS

Here's a little video I made of Bro Paul Washer from the missions conference in Michigan (oct 09). The whole series is absoutely a must listen since it does contain a lot of newer teaching from brother Paul-- this clip is from my digital camera (so the audio is not great) but the message is jam-packed of encouragement for all ministers and believers. (FULL SERMON)

Friday, October 23, 2009

True fellowship following the sermon

What is true Christian fellowship?
“Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”- Galatians 6:2
And we urge you, brothers, warn those who are idle, encourage the timid, help the weak, be patient with everyone. Thessalonians 5:14
But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness.
Hebrews 3:13
Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. Hebrews 10:25

As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another. Proverbs 27:17

Paul Washer asked this question: "How many times do you talk more about sports then about how the sermon applies to your life after the service?"

There simply can't be an exercise more vital to church then this, otherwise you might as well have church at home. If nothing goes past the surface then how can we call ourselves a 'body'. If the only time we are concerned about each other is when we are suffering physically then what more is that then what the world does (for they express concern about that, and even help out)?? How can such a thing as this be cultivated?? More meetings? Perhaps, but more importantly we are in dire need of examples by those in leadership (we need more cutting to the chase talks) for if the leadership can move from the sermon to the vain, to sports, to mere chit-chat then it would only seem natural for the congregation to follow.

It seems that many put 'God-talk' into church time slots, like during bible study or prayer service, and then it's back to 'ordinary' convo. Whereas it must be admitted that the best study classes etc.. are the ones that carry on after the class, that unfortunately is quite rare. I simply don't understand the teacher who can switch so easily once they are 'off the clock', the musician who doesn't ever talk like he/she plays or sings, when will the circus stop?
It's one thing to pray/look for divine opportunities in regards to witnessing to lost people, but have you ever considered praying for such open doors in your conversation with other believers? Have you ever cried out to God, "Lord, please don't let this Sunday be normal, let it be fruitful, that I may receive from my brothers and sisters and that I may give to them, may you bless me this service with humility, with wisdom, with discernment, with compassion, and with boldness, Holy Spirit have your way!"

Elders, Ministers, Pastors, let me ask you this, are you following this command?
Pro 27:23 Be sure you know the condition of your flocks, give careful attention to your herds.
Do you know more than their co-workers, something beyond the obvious? Can you honestly say you would notice if they were slipping away, or growing in Christ? How's their witness? How's their theology? How's their marriage? Are they single, then have you given sound advice as to their search for a mate (like not dating, like making wise boundaries, like what to look for), How is their parenting is going (are they teaching their children, are they biblically training their children), how's their devotional life, what are their gifts (are they being encouraged to use them), etc...

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Michigan 2009, missions conf Paul Washer 2

Well here's yet another post with two sermons
Before that I did want to mention a couple more things which Bro Paul was able to share with us.
One of the things he pointed out concerning apologetics and the way he witnesses to people, is the need to use presuppositional apologetics as opposed to say evidentialism (which bro Paul pointed out that if you have someone that knows there stuff they'll tear you apart-AMEN), he mentioned one of the best (although the good preachers have always used this bible influenced method) Cornelius Van Til, this is the form of apologetics that isn't corrupted by academia, philosophy, nor the lies of men, but actually believes that the word of God is true (salvation can't be argued)and powerful (the only means by which the Holy Spirit convicts) and seeks to bring men face to face with the truth of the word, honestly I'd expect Arminians to use other forms but it blows my mind that Calvinistic people employ such worldly arguments/debates.
One of the books which he continued to recommend every night was by that brilliant historian Iain Murray, PENTECOST TODAY (if you are looking to read a biography and Iain Murray has also written on the same person, then get Iain Murray's first).

This sermon was delivered on Sun morning (the only one which I was not present) although it says 2 of 3.

THIS sermon was delivered on MONDAY night:

10 Specific Things To Pray Earnestly For Your Pastor Each Day

It was Spurgeon who attested his success to the prayers of his people and this was not the pitiful stuff most people call prayer, Spurgeon had a church that believed in intercessory prayer! A biblical attitude toward faithful shepherds will cause us to desire their best spiritually and physically.

This is from written by bro Kevin Williams. A very good exhortation to the body of Christ!
"Brethren, pray for us" 1 Thessalonians 5:25
If the Apostle Paul needed the prayers of the Saints, then how much more does the ordinary Pastor? Following on from yesterday's post encouraging Christians to beseech the Lord earnestly in prayer each day for their Pastors. Today I want to suggest some specific things to pray for him (you may think of many more):

1. Seek Christ first. That he would see more of Christ's love for him, he would love Christ more and nothing would get in the way of simple devotion to Christ. That his prayer life would not be hindered.
2. His family. That he would be a better husband to his wife, and a better parent to his children. For the salvation of his children and the spiritual welfare of his wife. That his family would be provided for.
3. Study. That the Spirit of God will help and guide him in preparing sermons, and that his study time would not be hindered.
4. Love. That he would increase in love, compassion and gentleness.
5. Witness. That he would have divine appointments and God would open doors for him to share the Gospel with people. That his life would also be a witness of the love of Christ.
6. Wisdom. That he would increase in wisdom and God will help him with any council he gives.
7. Holiness. That he would be careful not to grieve the Spirit and will flee temptation. That he would be filled with the Spirit.
8. Unction. That God would give power to his preaching and ministry and souls would be converted.
9. Truth. That he would speak the truth in love and not back down when tough things need to be said, knowing he will receive a stricter judgement.
10. Support. That he will receive support from people around him.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Michigan 2009, missions conf Paul Washer

Berean Baptist in Livonia, MI is having their annual missions conference and their guest speaker is Paul Washer.
It appears they are getting the audio up quickly, since Sunday evenings message is already available.

The sermon is titled 'taking dominion' which was a call to men to be men. Men whose chief ambition is to see God's name be hallowed and His kingdom come, in every aspect of life!

AFTER the sermon, which is typical for Paul Washer a large crowd gathered around to ask questions and to listen to the answers. Among this crowd are young, old, reformed, charismatic, urban, suburban you name it. Paul gave some fresh stories about his time at the Legacy Conference and how real those guys are. He mentioned that he gave marriage counselling Trip Lee (a young Christian rap artist associated with Lecrae). It's always funny to see the reaction of people as bro Paul just isn't what they usually expect, because he's sincere, down-to-earth, and NOT nit picky (he just doesn't look for ways to make something look bad). Ray Comfort from the Way of the Master was also the topic of story after story, by Bro Paul who expressed how much he just loves him and his witnessing, which may be a shocker to some people because they expect him to point out the flaws of that system.

Monday night was even better, the sermon was certainly filled with new material and came in the form of a series of questions falling under this one question: Is your Christianity WORTH exporting?
This message was a real heart searcher, and should be carefully listened to as soon as it becomes available. Following the message many people once again gathered around the weak and tired Paul Washer to ask questions. Their was some heated discussion on the gifts, like prophecy and tongues. Bro Washer is no cessationist yet he wanted to make absolutely clear that the scriptures give no warrant for us to believe that tongues was some unique out of this world speech, yet was actual languages that if translated communicated a message. Well if you've ever been a part of such confusion than you will know how hard it is to accept that or to search the scriptures with an open mind. This was proven when one man cut off Bro Paul because he said no validated and authentic revival ever produced such mess, and the man said 'that's not true, I've also studied church history.....' well after that I could hear him speak to a couple of men going on about his disagreement. What this guy didn't understand was what Paul said, Bro Paul qualified his statement by saying 'validated' and 'authentic' (the kind that produces lasting fruit) revival, yes there are tons of stories concerning WILD fire, yet these can't honestly be looked upon as genuine. The Azusa street revival for instance was just a nesting place for a ton of heresies that came out of that, not to mention how ridiculous it is to think that the Spirit was lying dormant for almost 2000yrs before He manifested Himself through what is called tongues (being that it's so incredibly important to the Pentecostal and many Charismatics). The list could go on concerning disastrous ends to so called revival preachers and those they 'converted'!
One young man asked about getting others in his church to witness, and bro Paul wisely advised him to spend his energies in just doing it rather than trying to get people to go. Answers from questions concerned head coverings (by some Romanian brothers), legalism, antinominism, and once again more stories about his experience in Chicago with the 'brothers' including the night they spent in the worst part of the city with his boys.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Look to HIM!?

Have you looked to Christ today? Have you cast your burdens upon Him today? Have you entered in His presence today?
You know they say the rays of the sun increase your happiness, ah let me tell you that indeed the EXPOSURE to the Son will absolutely increase your JOY!!! Enter into His presence with praise and you will leave full of joy UNSPEAKABLE!
His door, His ear, His arms are open, the VEIL is torn: ENTER IN!!!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

If it wasn't for GRACE

Grace, sweet grace, God's grace is that which He gives us DESPITE what we actually deserve!

The Apostle Paul said that we are saved by grace through faith in Ephesians. Paul also said of himself and consequently all believers that he is what he is by the grace of God. Paul also taught the Corinthians a principle in order to bring the proper perspective to those who were in the error of boasting and despising others, that principle lies in the answer to this question 'what do you have that you have not received'?
How amazing then is grace?
So amazing that the greater majority of God haters woke up today!
So amazing that there are people who while in their sins are consistently exposed to a gospel they reject!
So amazing that Christ did not come upon this earth to cast every single human being into the only place they could rightly claim as theirs, HELL!

Such grace has been extended to and showered upon us who have experienced it through the love of God. Oh how He loves us! Do you wonder how much? Then consider and weigh the worth of Christ; it is beyond our understanding!

Dear believer don't despair at the feelings of God towards you, if you are His then His love isn't contingent upon your performance for it was NEVER contingent upon your faith either!!
In fact what Paul was saying, what the scriptures teach is:
If it wasn't for grace, then man left to himself would NEVER seek God, would NEVER repent of his darling sins! If it wasn't for grace, man would NEVER see any worth or beauty in Christ! If it wasn't for grace, man could not see, could not understand, could not taste of the glories, beauties, and delights found in God!
Dear believer you must also come to grips with yet another reality these passages make clear:
That, if it wasn't for grace the HOLIEST of men would revert to utter hedonistic anarchy! If it wasn't for grace the most fruitful and powerful preachers would be instantly stripped of any ability to hold a single persons attention!
Eternal security? Will God ever take His love from me? Can I lose this grace given salvation?

Oh how He loves us!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Difficult to LEAVE your church?!

When I say 'leave' your church, I mean a humble and biblically informed decision to leave a unhealthy church.
For many leaving 'their' church is an incredibly hard thing to carry out, especially if you've been there a long time. Sometimes it takes a long time to see the health of a church or to see whether they are really seeking to reform themselves to the scriptures. Yet if we find ourselves in a 'church' where we are fearfully unwilling to submit to the leadership, or are afraid to bring guests because we don't have a clue of what to expect, or if we find ourselves having to point out errors to our families week after week then it's time to leave. In otherwords, it's like the Christian woman who discovers the truth of not being unequally yoked with unbelievers BUT her overwhelming 'hurdle' is the 'time' she's already put into the relationship 'but we've been together for 7 yrs!' all the while recognizing that what they have isn't biblical love and commitment, not to mention she's convinced that she will have MUCH difficulty in biblically submitting to such a man; such insanity is paralleled in our relationship to a church which we don't truly love and submit to. When we come o such convictions and we choose to leave our church, we will still have to go through the emotional struggle of leaving those we care and love, knowing that chances are there will not be an opportunity (without divisive gossip/slander) to explain our reasons for leaving and so we might very well suffer being misunderstood, slandered, or forgotten by people within that church (trust me, I really know how hard THAT is).
For some the concept of a healthy/unhealthy church is so hard to grasp because they don't have a biblical view of the local church (too much ignorance in this area). Without a biblical view of the church, our feelings and opinions on the church will be clouded. We must be resolved to have a clear understanding of what GOD wants the church to look like! Some who have a bad experience with a local church, will unbiblically reject the very concept of the church, and this is a reaction of the flesh and a selfish action at that (the church needs us, and we need the church).
I've mentioned this here as well (with some good resources to consider reading)

A unhealthy church is OBVIOUSLY one which doesn't teach sound doctrine or supports those who don't teach sound doctrine (I especially mean the gospel: Justification and Regeneration).
A unhealthy church is OBVIOUSLY one which doesn't LIVE the gospel, I mean that they don't have godly leadership according to the standards given in I Timothy and in Titus for elders (MEN who can led the flock by example not just spit out sermons)
A unhealthy church is OBVIOUSLY one which IGNORES the sinful living of those who attend. Churches MUST follow the New Testament example of biblical church discipline in those who claim to be a part of that church, AND they must seek to discipline in the hope of restoring/saving someone (not mean bitter people just looking to kick people out).
A unhealthy church is OBVIOUSLY one which won't witness to the community around them. A visible heart for the lost is a no-brainer for a biblical church!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

What good is the gospel for believers???

Good question, I'm glad you asked.
It really should be quite surprising that many don't think the gospel can be of any real importance for the believer who's 'accepted' it already. Beyond that there are many who say it's important because someone else said it was, yet they don't seem to mention the gospel much.
I'm speaking about cross-centered living and cross-centered preaching, both are too rare in our day! The cross, the gospel is central to Christianity because it is there that we see ourselves in the clearest light and we see God in the clearest light.
Would we doubt God's love? Then LOOK to the cross!!!!
Would we wonder concerning God's sovereignty and wise workings in our lives? Then look to the cross and see the PERFECT and PRECISE timing and fulfilment of it!
Would we begin to grow tired and faint in our fight against the flesh, the world and Satan? Then look to the cross and as Jesus did run the race with your eyes looking to the prize and to the joy awaiting!
Would we struggle in our ability to forgive and love our neighbors (even enemies)? Then look to the cross and ponder the vileness of your own wickedness and how God gave such mercy to you!
Would we question whether the Father still loves us in our failings, whether we must earn His love? Then look to the cross and consider what exactly YOU contributed on that great day where the love of God was demonstrated, other than your SIN and yet did not God look past you and grant you access through His Son and by His grace ALONE?!

Oh what a beautiful cross it is, what a wonderful Savior, that has lavished such love upon us by taking our shame! Oh for preachers that will lead men to the cross!
Dear reader how long has it been since you soaked yourself in the gospels? Set aside the lofty stuff, set aside the fluffy stuff and study the CROSS (this will BLESS your soul and consequently others)!

I want to be led to the cross, I was just thinking about how this is really what makes me choose the preachers I like, the fact that they drive me to the CROSS (to the feet of Jesus) I don't care a bit about where they are coming from, I don't care if they have ever shared my struggles or experiences, I don't care if their funny, I don't care if their witty, I don't care if their cool, I don't care about their age, I don't care about their finances, I don't care about their endorsements, THIS ONE THING I WANT TO KNOW: Do they preach CHRIST CRUCIFIED (in word and deed)? Then preach on!


Well I had to double check, just one more time as the site is pretty vague,
The first secretary I corresponded with was mistaken concerning SUNDAY morn services. There is only ONE service on SUNDAY morning NOT two. SO that means on OCTOBER 18 there will be a 11am service and a 6pm service (then @ 7 mon-fri)
grace and peace

Monday, October 12, 2009

regeneration may be hard to see

What? Most believers have suffered from the false teaching that assurance is something you feel or simply convince yourself of, yet for many such assurance is absolutely NOT felt and hard to imagine.
Examining oneself to see whether we are in the faith is tightrope theology, meaning it takes great care and attention to the proper details. For a great majority of shallow (in theology) believers, such assurance may be sought in vain if they refuse to do the hard (and joyous) work of studying the scriptures as concerns the gospel.
Compromise also complicates the matter, because the person isn't able to distinguish between struggling with temptation and a lifestyle of unrepentant sinfulness. Of course the best test is always TIME, time will tell, time will reveal those who 'endure to the end'.
I had an inmate ask me towards the end of the service (you always get the complex questions when time runs out) about whether I struggle with sin and how exactly can you tell that God has delivered you from such or is it that he was simply not saved. Well such a question DEMANDS a biblical and honest answer:
First we must recognize that sometimes people are trying to get us to say something so they can weigh themselves by our experience, beware of answering in such a way. So I admit my struggles while I testify to the victories and the incredible difference in my desires AND THEN I explain how I don't want him to judge himself by me, and that I don't want to give a quick answer because I don't want give him false peace.
Second we must not be deceived by appearances, even if there are tears in their eyes and your heart is melting for them, DON'T play the Holy Spirit by giving false peace. We must be convinced that the extent people will go in hypocrisy is amazing, and such should cause us to be careful in telling anyone their saved.
Third we must appeal to the Holy Spirit by begging and persuading others to SEARCH the scriptures for such things and to NOT give up until they are convinced. If you wish to go beyond mere theory then practically proclaim the sufficiency of scripture by teaching others to make that their firm foundation, not your thoughts or opinions.
Finally after you are blue in the face from explaining the implications of a new heart, the love towards God and the hatred of sin, the difference between worldly sorrow and godly sorrow, and the lasting fruits and the brother or sister with puzzled face asks you yet again for more light then there's only ONE solution left: BLOOD, SWEAT, and TEARS! Agonizing prayer, an exhausting searching after God (with the WORD), this is the only remedy left, you must direct them to cry out to God until He answers them, until it is revealed to them. If such a search begins only one of two things will happen, (if it's a work of the flesh) they will either grow weary, frustrated and give up because it's not worth it to them and their carnal passion reached it's limit OR (if it's a work of the Spirit) they will be blessed with a measure of grace concerning the reality of their conversion.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

woe is me, condemnation

Hey you! Yeah you! Why the blues? Your a Christian right, you've been delivered from the wrath of God's hell, you been given a hope of a heavenly home where you will live in joy unspeakable with your heavenly father, right? You also have such a Intimate Lord that is giving you more love than you can conceive of, right? And you are also in the hands of an Almighty Sovereign king that is so orchestrating His world for His glory while working out every detail of your life for good, right?
Then why the blues? Struggles, anxiety, finances, health, persecution, you name it right? Well do you not know the promises? Then what exactly are you doing about it?
Maybe just maybe you experience such condemning thoughts because you are a selfish crybaby? No, seriously STOP looking at you and STOP whining, it's time to MAKE WAR!
As the dear John Owen said 'BE KILLING SIN OR SIN WILL BE KILLING YOU', you can sit around moping as though God's done nothing for you but smack you around and neglect you OR you can yet HOPE in God, you can cry out for His strength and cling to His heart; in short, cast you burdens UPON Him BECAUSE He cares for YOU!!!
Condemnation only leaves you suffocating and frozen looking into self, while biblical conviction recognizes the personal deficiency yet LOOKS to the gracious provision of God. The remedy to the 'I'M A LOSER' mindset is not to think 'NO, I'm a winner' but to proclaim 'BUT GOD PICKED ME, I'M ON THE WINNING TEAM AND WE'RE GOING TO GET THE PRIZE'. Praise God it's all about HIM, praise God we don't motivate Him, HE MOTIVATES US! Praise God HE keeps HIS promises, praise God He's promised to love us with an everlasting love, praise God He's promised to sanctify us, praise God He's promised to provide for us, and praise God He's promised to glorify us!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Tainted gospel of the world

I wrote this as part of an email a while ago and I think I've used it before but I have edited some parts and have added that which is in bold. Grace and Peace

The tainted Gospel of the world is:

That which is of the World I John 2
Lust of the flesh: Appealing to Experience, feelings.
Lust of the eyes: Greed 'godliness a means of gain'
The Pride of Life: Promising Power, earthly purpose, and praise

Men should never be drawn by these nor kept by these.

A high and exaggerated view of man leads to a weak gospel, that gets it's POWER from intellectual persuasion and emotional manipulation. Such a view leads one to adopt methods that are a spiritual version of worldly salesmanship, which puts all it's effort in to getting someone to 'sign' on the dotted line ('repeat after me').

This also brings to mind METHODS. It has been said 'the method does not matter as long as the message isn't changed' NOT TRUE!!!! Some methods are neutral, like music can be neutral. Although sometimes that method is sought out but no longer does the life of the musician matter (as long as he says he's a Christian);never mind if they are just as sensual, just as materialistic, or self-centered as the world. The thing to be weary of is the tendency of people to look to musicians as leaders because they were given a mic, yet it is to our shame if we just use someone because they are talented, not godly. In this case the method (what is seen) can change the message (what is heard)! Some things aren't neutral.

This is why there is such a stir among the body of Christ concerning the filth coming from many pulpits, because such ministers are CLEARLY violating scripture with their speech and conduct not to mention the consciences of many believers. Such 'methods' cloud and blur the message of the gospel!

Sometimes ignorance (intentional or not) can lead to the allowance of anything called 'ministry'. I've seen with teen ministries where a church would never teach or use such a thing, yet allow it in a youth group because the older saints figure "well i guess times have changed, this must be what will reach them." instead of testing it by the word. In the church I'm speaking of i spoke to the head pastor and he agreed that it was sending a mixed message, so when we all got together to address the issue the assistant pastor said "I'm willing to try ANYTHING" what he meant was that these kids are so hardened that the only way to reach them is to lower the standard.
Another False Claim is that "if it works then it must be good": "look at how many people are being reached" hence all the adoptions of church copying (40 days). Yet what does the scripture say? Tell Moses that the test of 'right' is success. He struck the rock the second time in rebellion to God and what??? SUCCESS!!! IT WORKED!!! maybe God didn't care then? Of course not, hence Moses was judged.

Yes and this hold true even if someone is preaching 'reformed' truth and has a large church or is endorsed by respected leaders who for whatever reason have admittedly overlooked certain things (using the 'in this case it's different because...'). Does anyone believe in the power of the word? Did the Holy Spirit weaken in His ability to draw men through the word????

What is the GOAL??? That's the real question, and that goal will show itself. If the call of the church is to win souls, to produce converts then YES, let's use any and everything to get them. Yet contrary to popular belief we know this ISN'T the goal of the church. The CHIEF END OF MAN is to glorify God. So in evangelism when we seek to glorify God (chiefly) then we will refuse to compromise His holiness, His sovereignty, His wisdom, His power, His justice, His love, His wrath etc.. and thus ALL things must be tested against such. This is what propels the 'seeker-friendly' model, their chief end is to reach people, yet when doctrine is shorted then exactly what God or Jesus are they coming to?
Evangelism today looks more like online dating or even a BLIND date, the kind where you 'agree' (commit) to go out with someone who you don't really know and you aren't sure you will be attracted to (and like such situations the person is presented in a way that will entice the 'blind man' while leaving off the unattractive parts). "Who do men say that I am?......Who do you say that I am?" was a pretty important thing to Jesus, it was His constant purpose to CLARIFY who He was and what His purposes were in order to erase the misconceptions. When Moses asked God to give him some sort of description in order to clarify Who it was that was sending him, the LORD most high did NOT say 'Moses, that's not as important as getting them, just do whatever it takes!' On the contrary God is abundantly clear on how He wishes to be described, and concerning the gospel Jesus Christ is abundantly clear on How men must come to Him (we don't see Jesus ever lowering the standard or catering to truth hating men)!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Exposing the Word of Faith sludge

The 'Word of Faith' movement is a plague within the church that not only mars the person and purpose of Christ, but it also oppresses true believers! This is not one of those fad heresies that will quickly pass, and the heresies contained within have little by little spread into many churches (there is NO one denomination that is MORE prone to this, some you will never suspect until you hear the preaching). These false teachers are the FIRST to get access among the nations, first to get exposure on worldwide television, first to get their material into institutions like jails and prisons. I see this garbage everyday (and can spot it in the prayers of some believers) as a chaplain at our county jail, I constantly hear of men being given such garbage (in fact out of 30+ chaplains MAYBE a handful are not full blown or dangerously effected by the Word of Faith movement-where are the solid men who care to teach??)
I beg that you become familiar with such things if you care to defend against the charlatans, and to deliver God's people from it's clutches:
With that said Brother Paul Washer will be preaching at the Martyn Lloyd-Jones Conference in London, England with a minster by the name of Justin Peters (who holds seminars on such a subject) who will be preaching about discernment (in regard to the Word of Faith movement).
Here is a teaching he presented a while back

I appreciate the fact that this brother doesn't get sidetracked by attempting to tie Charismatics and Word of Faith teachers (that needs to be abundantly clear for many well-intentioned believers).
A book I remember reading several years ago tackles such a subject very precisely, and if you want something filled with quotes, interactions, and a biblical critique then get Hank Hannegrafs
CHRISTIANITY IN CRISIS this is the first edition, I just discovered that a new book has been written but I haven't read it (and so I hold my endorsement, I'm not exactly eye to eye with all the 'bible-answer-man' says).
You could also watch my cartoon video on a 'faith healer' scenario

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Church revival/reformations, a great need!

One brother in particular used to ask me the question "Is it easier to reform a church or to start a new one?" It was his thoughts that starting a church is the way to go. Well my answer is the same today as it will always be, 'it depends!' It depends on God, the saying that goes 'you can't teach an old dog new tricks' has nothing to do with biblical truth, since it's a work of God and it's a 'renewing of the mind' for all of us!
The thought that many churches are being planted is a wonderful thing as long as those churches are being built upon the foundation of scripture (and I don't mean in 'statements' but in PRACTICE). Yet I beg you to consider that the reformation of a church is a gloriously better thing, because of the MATURING of believers that are there already there, because of the purifying effect upon the ministers.
If we chose to stay or feel we are supposed to stay (or wait) then in 'the meantime' we should give our blood and tears for such a church. If God has provided a door for us to speak; then use such a door to plead with the leadership of the church (through sound doctrine). We should also not doubt the ability of God to reveal His truth to His people and accordingly we should cry (with great effort) out for such a change. We should NOT try to gather a group of people that are critical, in an effort to tear apart a church from within, nor should we pretend to support things (even with silence) which clearly violate what we have been convinced through scripture is compromising. We should choose our fights wisely, fight for the GOSPEL, the gospel which doesn't shy away from specific denunciations of SIN, that clearly represents the JUSTICE of God in DAMNING the wicked (all men). The gospel which procures not only a justified position but also a drastic sanctifying effect (without which, means there IS NO SALVATION)! This message must also be clearly preached by WHO is supported, it will only confuse and contradict what is said in the pulpit if weak gospels (presentations, crusades, books, and teachers) are promoted and praised, in otherwords the gospel must not only be presented but defended!
Along the lines of this subject, a report of genuine revival among some Venezuelan ministers who through the web were dramatically effected by Brother Washers sermons on the gospel, this is also from the current HEARTCRY magazine

Brother Martin is the HeartCry mission director for Peru. He is a dear friend and trusted colleague. The following is his account of a revival breaking out among a small group of pastors in Venezuela.
Venezuela is a country where Christianity has advanced very slowly and where several non-evangelical charismatic movements have overtaken many of the conservative and Baptist churches. Last year, several Venezuelan brothers contacted us after listening to a series of HeartCry sermons (in Spanish and via the internet) regarding the true Gospel and biblical evangelism. Unaware of the follow-up conference that we were planning in Lima, they contacted us and asked if they could visit us in Lima. They wanted to learn more. Unfortunately, due to the political situation in their country, they were unable to attend. When we learned that they were unable to come to us, we decided that we would travel to Venezuela in order to help them more clearly understand the truth about the Gospel. As a result, my co-laborer Walter Isse and I spent twelve days with several pastors and lay leaders in the city of Caracas. Our time together exceeded all of our expectations, for God had prepared their hearts to receive the truth. The journey was an undeniable work of divine providence. According to their account, one of the pastor/ teachers, who was struggling spiritually, was searching the internet for some sermons. His goal was not to know the truth, but only to find some material that he could then repeat to his congregation. It was then, through the providence of God, that he found the recordings from the HeartCry conference: “The True Gospel.” As he listened, he became frightened when he realized how off base he had been. He then made copies of the teachings and gave them to the elders of the other congregations with which he had fellowship. One by one, the elders began to see that they were in great error. They were so disturbed that they presented the recordings of our conference to the most respected elder in their network of churches. This brother is highly esteemed among the elders and is very wise. His name is Jose Rojas. When he finished watching just introduction, he cried out, “Brothers this is what we have been asking God to show us. We must repent of what we have been doing.” Then he asked, “Do we have any more of these sermons?” When the other elders told him that they had the sermons from the entire conference, he replied, “Then we must watch all of it.” This is how the revival began among the brothers in Venezuela. They began watching the videos on Thursday and did not finish until Monday. They did not even meet with their congregations on Sunday. They watched the videos attentively and tried to examine all that was said in light of the Scriptures. Many times they paused, rewound the message, and re-listened to particular parts that really convicted them. Sometimes they stopped the video to pray and to repent of the unbiblical way that they had been preaching the Gospel and evangelizing. They cried out for God to forgive them. They said among themselves “What have we been teaching?” and “What are we going to teach now? What are we going to tell our congregations?” One of them said “We must ask them to forgive us for ignoring these truths. We must humble ourselves before them as we have humbled ourselves before God.” The fear of God had fallen upon them and His kindness was leading them to repentance. The following weeks led to a time of public repentance as they recognized openly that they had been teaching a perverted Gospel. One of them, Pastor Pedro Diaz, told his congregation the following: Listening to the brothers tell this story about how the Lord had worked in their lives had a powerful effect upon Walter and me. We had never seen such a response to the Word of God. We were impressed by the way these sermons had transformed their lives and ministries. Their focus was on Christ and His message. The Gospel had done away with their methods, strategies, formalities, human goals, and personal glory. The days that we spent teaching in Venezuela were described by my brother Walter Isse as “heaven on earth.” The first four days we did not even set foot on the sidewalk in front of the church. The hunger that the brothers had for the Word was so great that we only took breaks to eat. We began at eight in the morning and we finished at ten at night. Sometimes the meetings continued until midnight. After these first few days together the brothers said, “We can not take it any more! Let’s go out and preach the Gospel.” At this request, brother Walter and I took them to the streets and demonstrated to them how to do open air preaching. One by one they followed us preaching on park benches, on sidewalks, on buses, and in the subway station. There was no place where they did not call people to repent and to believe in Christ. In spite of the political and social situation in the country of Venezuela, and in spite of the exodus of many American missionaries, God is glorifying Himself among His people. I believe that all of the oppression that the country is experiencing is part of a sovereign God’s plan to purify for Himself a people. God wants to show that He is near to His people in times of trials and that He does not need those who, in the face of the slightest threat, flee because they are not willing to pay the cost that God calls them to pay. We should pray for this work in Venezuela that it might continue and that God might raise up men and women who are willing to proclaim the Gospel regardless of what it costs them. We are praying about how we might continue to help these brothers. Please pray that God might give us wisdom to know how to be useful instruments in the work that He is doing in Venezuela and in Latin America.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

JC Ryle on the Lord's supper

This is from J.C. Ryles's Commentary on the gospel (a gift from my wife a few years back). Perhaps the best devotional commentary ever!

The benefit of the Lord's Supper depends entirely on the spirit and frame of mind in which we receive it. The bread which we there eat, and the wine which we there drink, have no power to do good to our souls, as medicine does good to our bodies, without the co-operation of our hearts and wills. They will not convey any blessing to us, by virtue of the minister's consecration, if we do not receive them rightly, worthily, and with faith. To assert, as some do, that the Lord's supper must do good to all communicants, whatever be the state of mind in which they receive it, is a monstrous and unscriptural figment of imagination, and has given rise to gross and wicked superstition. The state of mind which we should look for in ourselves, before going to the Lord's table, is well described in the Catechism of the Church of England. We ought to "examine ourselves whether we repent truly of our former sins--whether we steadfastly purpose to lead a new life--whether we have a lively faith in God's mercy through Christ--and a thankful remembrance of His death--and whether we are in charity with all men." If our conscience can answer these questions satisfactorily, we may receive the Lord's supper without fear. More than this God does not require of any communicant. Less than this ought never to content us.
Let us take heed to ourselves in the matter of the Lord's supper. It is easy to err about it on either side. On the one hand, we are not to be content with staying away from the Lord's table under the vague plea of unfitness. As long as we so stay away, we are disobeying a plain command of Christ, and are living in sin. But, on the other hand, we are not to go to the Lord's table as a mere form, and without thought. As long as we receive the sacrament in that state of mind, we derive no good from it, and are guilty of a great transgression. It is a dreadful thing to be unfit for the sacrament, for this is to be unfit to die. It is a no less dreadful thing to receive it unworthily, for this is most provoking to God. The only safe course is to be a decided servant of Christ, and to live the life of faith in Him. Then we may draw near with boldness, and take the sacrament to our comfort.

Monday, October 5, 2009

NOT ASHAMED! Heartcry Missions

This is an article from the newest Heartcry magazine addressing the need to not be ashamed in preaching the gospel to the nations. (subscribe to the free mag)
I beg you to consider such a missions organization, one which can be found IN the BIBLE; meaning it's fulfilling the same great commission that the Apostles were: To further the kingdon through the "TRUTH" (spoken=preached) and thru the planting of LOCAL churches (that's true mission work rather than trying to make the world a better place by 'shining our lights' hoping they'll just figure it out--> the lost need the GOSPEL and they need CHURCHES)

Marc Glass is our Missions Coordinator for the Middle East. In the following article, he exhorts us not to compromise the singular claims of Christ as we spread the Gospel throughout the world.
When we study what so-called “missions experts” are saying about missions to the Middle East, we oftentimes get the impression that these men are ashamed of their association with the Church of Jesus Christ. They deceitfully attempt to hide that they are a part of that Bride for whom Christ died, and instead opt for a hyper-contexualized method of evangelism
that betrays the very Gospel they should be proclaiming. While it may indeed be necessary
to have indigenous churches that reflect the culture in which they exist, to over contexualize is to syncretize, and to syncretize is to cease from being Christian and a follower of
Jesus Christ. For this reason, HeartCry’s Mission statement for the Middle East is exactly the same as our mission statement for every other region of the world: “To glorify God through the preaching of the Gospel and the establishment of biblical Churches.” Last August, I had a very peculiar experience during my visit to both Israel and Lebanon. On the night of August 7, I walked through the streets of Israel with the son of one of the missionaries with whom we work. He is a soldier in the Israel Defense Forces and he was wearing his uniform because he had just gotten off duty. The next morning, I flew out of Israel and after a short layover in Jordan, I landed in Lebanon that afternoon. That night, as we were returning to Beirut after a trip up into the mountains, we stopped and picked up a young Lebanese man who was waiting on the side of the road for a bus. He was in his early twenties and was dressed in the typical European clothing of which the younger Arab generation is so fond. He sat next to me in the back seat and we carried on a conversation in broken English. Then he began speaking with the two Arabic-speaking missionaries who were traveling with us. For some reason, maybe just his youthful pride, he began carelessly revealing his identity as a member of the terrorist organization Hizballah. He even showed us his two cell phones, the second one having a picture of Hizballah’s leader on it. At first, the missionaries and I were a bit skeptical of his claims because most people who are a part of Hizballah do not go around broadcasting to strangers and foreigners about their association with the group. For security purposes, it is kept quiet. However, it would not have been an unusual claim. Hizballah has up to 10,000 militia soldiers scattered among the general population who can be ready for combat in a matter of minutes. I lost my skepticism about the man’s claims when he pulled a hand gun out of the back of his pants. He did not reveal it to us in a threatening manner, but he simply held it between his hands together with his cell
phones. After speaking to him about Christ, we dropped him off where he wanted to go and headed back to the home of one our missionaries in Hamra. It is amazing to think that one night I was walking with an armed Israeli soldier, and the next I was riding with an armed Hizballah terrorist. Both of them are young men, and both of them are bitter enemies. They are both products of the deadly conflict between Israel and Lebanon. The only way they would ever meet
would be in war. I have conveyed this story to several people since that time and they have all asked a similar question: “When you realized that he was from Hizballah, were you scared?” The answer is “no.” It was not because I am courageous or that I felt safe. It was because when I sat in the back seat with this armed man from Hizballah, I looked him in the eyes and realized that he was a person exactly like me. Though he was a representative of a terrorist organization, he
did not represent that to me. Though he held to a diametrically opposite ideology and world
view, that is not what I saw when I looked into his eyes. This young Arab was a person with a soul that was lost and going to hell. He did not need a lesson in politics, history, geography, or philosophy. He did not need a discourse on human rights or social justice. He did not need to drive down to Tyre and be indoctrinated by the U.N. Most of all, he did not need to be told that he would be a “complete” Muslim if he would only ask Jesus into his heart and add Him to his Islamic religious system (This “method” of evangelism is actually endorsed by many of the so-called conservative and evangelical missions experts in the Middle East!). This young man needed the Gospel and needed someone (a biblical church) to tell it to him. Though he possessed an outward form of religion, he was a God-hater. He needed a supernatural change of heart that is only produced by the Holy Spirit working through the proclamation of the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. I stated at the very beginning that our mission statement is “To glorify God through the preaching of the Gospel and the establishment of biblical churches.” This statement conforms to the teachings of the Apostle Paul who wrote that the manifold wisdom of God is made known through the Church” (Ephesians 3:10). Therefore, it is only the faithful Gospel proclamation of God honoring churches that will be able to change the course of this young man, and millions of others, and save them from the bondage of Islam and the torments of hell.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

If it's worth anything, it must be fought for!

As regards KINGDOM living, if it's of worth then it must be FOUGHT for.

There is a saying which goes something along the lines of 'If it's valuable then it's worth fighting for' yet what I propose is that is it's has worth then it MUST be fought for and that daily!!!

Conformity to Christ is hard and diligent work, now before I'm misunderstood I wish to clarify that all that is good within us is of God, that He alone receives credit for all things! However every believer must come to grips with the reality that God accomplishes His ends by means! God uses diligent work in order to bring forth abundant fruit, we reap what we sow!

The scope of this has no limits, and though the world would consider such attention, such diligence, such seriousness as fanatical, nonetheless we must press hard after God and godliness. As JC Ryle has said you can not be too holy and as Ravenhill has said you cannot be too heavenly minded!!! Progress in sanctification takes diligent WORK!

Before that's addressed let me once again make the point that we (most of us westerners) have a hard time with the word 'work'. We are in constant pursuit of ease, shortcuts, and quick results including our love for overnight success stories! This is also why so many have such a hard time reading the Puritans because they had a different view towards work altogether, the thought that they would call spiritual disciplines 'duties' sounds offensive. Even the Apostle Paul's decision to work in order to be blameless, though commended, is simply foreign.

It seems that a fundamental problem exists, which exceeds the 'how to's' of the Christian life; that fundamental problem is that we simply DON'T believe that things are supposed to take work, hence the CONSTANT pursuit (and success) of Christian 'shortcut' resources!

To glorify God in all things, is something which comes natural to no man, it demands that we crucify the flesh CONTINUALLY!!

--let it be said that the phrase 'HARD WORK' does not mean 'unpleasant' it just means 'not easy'--

Sound doctrine (bible study) takes HARD work, (I don't mean you need a degree or specialized training) I mean you must realize that 'wisdom' is like treasure and it must be sought after (Proverbs makes this crystal clear) a casual reading of the scriptures is DANGEROUS, we receive more and more of the MIND of Christ by listening to the WORD of Christ!

Prayer (intercession, requests, thanksgiving, etc) is HARD work, we must continually fight against our tendency to NOT depend upon Christ for all things nor be consumed with only our problems

Christ-like Marriage is HARD work, we must continually fight to be primarily concerned with serving our spouses and not ourselves. We must diligently REJECT the teachings and patterns of the world as regards marriage, a prerequisite to this is of course sound doctrine.

Christ-like Parenting is HARD work, we must continually fight to protect, to discipline, to teach, to encourage, to lead, and to consider our Children. Likewise we desperately need sound doctrine, while rejecting the norms of this world (including norms that have crept into the church)!

Christ-like Singleness is HARD work, we must continually fight to not give into substitutes for all that God has for us, which takes patient preparation. The single person may treat his/her Christianity as if it's on 'pause' and that the 'goal' is simply to get to a certain stage (graduation, marriage, a certain age bracket, etc..) before going forward, but this ignores the commands of God and limits the promises of God concerning their pursuit of God, fight such lies!

I have not exhausted this subject nor have I prioritized subjects by their importance, these are simply some things that have been pressing my mind and I thought would be good to zoom in on!
Once we believe that such worthy subjects take HARD work then we can receive and walk in such truths as this: Gal 6:9 And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

God is not stoic!

Stoicism which employs 'self-control' of the 'destructive emotions' hate, envy, jealousy etc.... or as is commonly used today (from Wikipedia) The word "stoic" now commonly refers to someone indifferent to pain, pleasure, grief, or joy.
The problem, dear reader is that God is often spoken of in such a way. This view PREDOMINANTLY comes from the lips of Calvinistic Christians who have some handle on the truths of God's decrees. God is indeed Sovereign and what He has decreed WILL come to pass, no man is capable of thwarting the PLANS of God because God IS in full control, from the fall to the cross, to every individual salvation, to 'natural' disasters, the rise and fall of nations, to sickness, to life and to death. Yet there is still much that is incredibly MYSTERIOUS to us, simply because God has NOT been pleased to inform us (we know what we NEED to know), yet man has this incredible ability to attempt to 'fill in the blanks' OR to allow one truth to neglect another!
It may seem logical that since God is in full control (cause) of all things, since He is absolutely perfect and in need of nothing, since He knows (effect) the end from the beginning, THEN He is 'emotionally' neutral to PRESENT time events, yet this is NOT what the bible teaches us.
The reality that God is not emotionally neutral is fully seen throughout the old and new testaments and in the life of Jesus Christ!
God is emotionally affected by the lives of believers and unbelievers alike, hence His 'wrath', His 'jealousy', His 'joy', His 'grieving', His 'regret', His 'compassion', His 'sympathy' and so on. What a wonder this is, yet this only shows the intimacy with which God has towards His creation.
Why is this important? Perhaps you're thinking in terms of the hyper-Calvinist who needs to come to grips with such truths in order to evangelize the lost. On the contrary I think something a little more practical and at home is in order, what about our sin? To think there are believers who respond to every situation by saying 'Well, God is sovereign it's ok!' is quite terrifying. When a believer is unfaithful, when a believer has fallen in sin, or when a church is NOT biblically healthy then the proper response which the bible emphasises is REPENTANCE not a 'well, God will work it out....' such a casual attitude is NOT evidence that you have been freed from legalism (meriting the love of God), it's a symptom of apathy and/or pride. The scriptures never warrant an attitude of indifference towards disobedience, nor should an understanding of God's decrees produce apathetic responses to the suffering and lost estate of mankind.
Why not refresh yourself on the emotional reactions of God through a diligent search of the scriptures, yet another way to produce awe concerning the High and Lofty One!

biblical womanhood, Voddie Baucham

If I'm not mistaken this was preached at a conf that Voddie preached alongside of Paul Washer, I believe this was the beginning of their friendship, sermonaudio published the q&a sessions under Paul Washer's page.
This sermon is so incredibly biblically rich and consequently RARE, that I beg you (men and women alike) to listen to this message: Biblical womanhood (i just listened to it today)

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