Saturday, October 2, 2010

Jesus is the treasure

Matthew 13: 44"The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.
45"Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. 46When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.


At first glance man in his naturally self-centered worldview, would immediately interpret such as a parable as meaning:
Here we are away from God, because of sin (a sort of sickness, something we are victims of) and God discovered US, God saw how VALUABLE we are, how USEFUL we could be to accomplish His purposes (sort of helping God or allowing God to do things on earth) then God "gave His only begotten Son...", God sacrificed everything to get US!
Hmmm? Sound good? The ego says "yes", but that's not at all consistent with scripture, not at all consist with what the bible describes as God's motive for doing all things and certainly not consistent with the Bible's description of man.
The bible declares that none are good, none seek God, that all have sinned, all have strayed & gone our own way, that man continually sins in his thoughts, motives, actions, words, and that if given more freedom/opportunity would sin all the more, the scripture makes clear that men love the world and consequently hate God, that they find pleasure in sin, are enemies of God, that their minds are at enmity with God, that they are dead in sin, enslaved to sin, willing slaves of sin, haters of God, children of wrath, children of disobedience etc
In otherwords the scriptures condemn all men as guilty sin-loving rebels who only deserve eternal hellfire. The scriptures affirm that God has all, needs nothing, and does all things for His own glory, that what He does, He does because He wants to and has every right to (which would be the most frightening thought IF the character of God wasn't unchanging, but thankfully we can know what God desires, what God opposes, what God promises concerning us. The frightening quality of the character of God is reserved for those who continue to resist him).

With that said, the meaning of the parable is this: The treasure is Christ, He is the one which secures the hope of salvation for all who will repent and believe in Him. When a man discovers (and this happens when God convicts him & opens his eyes) that he is a rebel, that his sins are owing to him alone and that they are worthy of damnation, when man sees his need, he then can place value to the cure. It is only when a man knows that he is lost, can he desire to be found. If one doesn't believe that he needs to be rescued then he will not and can not desire a savior. Finding the treasure, the pearl is such an awakening, it is the realization of the problem & the solution in a moment.

When someone truly is saved, salvation (to be with & for Christ) becomes the most important thing in life (& eternity), no cost is too much. Each man upon the discovery of invaluable treasure, SOLD ALL to get it, when a man is truly saved, he will so desperately desire Christ that he would be willing (whether or not he ever has to prove it tangibly) to LOSE everything for Christ and if he lost everything, he would conclude that he lost nothing, because he has Christ!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

9/11 lessons we shouldn't forget!

I was a fairly new convert of REAL Christianity when the towers fell in New York, however it was a time where I had several friends from different churches & I happened to be working for a telemarketing company (doing "Christian" telemarketing-it was HORRIBLE), and so you could say at this time I was paying attention to a lot of churches/ministries.

I was listening to a song recently and the artist threw out a line that went something like this: "I represent the God you prayed to on 9/11", talk about good wording, and without a doubt it is true many SUDDENLY adopted a "prayer" life when this tragedy occurred!

This was a time of urgency for our nation, and many a church QUICKLY opened it's doors to people who were looking for a place to pray, many churches had their attendance rise rapidly after this event. Do you remember that? Do you remember how easy it was to speak about God (whether people were mad or confused) and eternal things?

Now can i just throw out some food-for-thought statements & questions:


  • Many churches completely WASTED that opportunity & did NOT use it to reach souls or present the gospel, but rather tried to soothe people who were angry at God!

  • If ever there was something that we would have thought would HUMBLE America & cause her to seek God's face, this WAS it, what will it take?

  • I remember seeing on cbn, videos of churches in other countries holding intense prayer meetings for our nation @that time, when's the last time our churches have done the same for other nations (or churches)???

  • Some churches DID see many converting to Christ as a result of their evangelistic efforts, if it was there at all how long did your fervor for souls last at that time (days, wks, months)??
  • When's the last time you prayed that hard?? Did you even pray for eternal things??
  • Many Christians prayed together, had sweet communion, rejoiced together, wept together, worked together all for kingdom purposes, for God purposes, for Christ-centered purposes...is this still happening, shouldn't it?

Integrity of would-be preachers

This is specifically addressed to ministers, however the principles are of use to all believers.
I suppose that it should go without saying that anyone seeking to enter the ministry or is already in the ministry should be striving after integrity,. First because that's what all Christians should desire, to be faithful but secondly because the calling of the ministry is one of leading by example. However we are today surrounded by unending examples of what integrity is not.
I suppose it would be wise to briefly touch on what integrity is, well biblical integrity would then be a life which is consistent with a biblical worldview, not a flawless life, but a lifestyle and speech that reflects the convictions of the individual!
With that, I beg the ears of any & all ministers to consider first that if they are truly called of God then i hope we all can agree that this will mean that we are equipped & qualified by God as well, in otherwords if we lack the gifting & the biblical standards of say an 'elder" then we can safely assume (know) that such a calling is NOT presently ours (if ever).
So you think you are called, you have been gifted & qualified to lead:

NOW WHAT?
Rather then attempt at this moment to teach what constitutes a ministerial call, I wish to touch upon some things worthy of guarding.
It seems to be the reasoning of many, that in order to "get IN the ministry" they must MAKE doors open. As to the matter of integrity, some wrongfully believe it best to work their way up within a church by any means necessary. "By any means necessary?" Yes, because they have a good motive (end) they have ignored that their means is not in keeping with biblical integrity: such are those who are silent about things which truly concern them, things ranging from compromise in leadership, immorality in the church, bad teaching, heretical preaching, etc etc... they are silent because they believe that to speak up would ruin their 'chances' to enter the 'ministry' or become say the "Pastor". This is without a doubt a form of deception, to pretend submission & unity with a church or institution while you clearly disagree with what is going on, some reason that they will "make it up" when THEY finally get in that pulpit (or wherever). This might be the way to advance in the business world & i suppose in some cases it would be reasonable given the fact that such rules, administration, methods, etc change often, but such is NOT the case with the ministry because we DO have something by which we can judge all things and that standard is the Word of God, and we have been given not only the ends but the means as well! "But if i speak up, if i strive for change now, I'll lose my standing, I'll lose opportunities, I'll lose friends" Then SO BE IT! If you get "IN" through compromise then what's to stop that from continuing (do you really believe you can give into temptation & then just shut off when you're good and ready??) and also have you considered the harm, the rightful offenses of the people who will be shocked to see this NEW you once authority has been placed into your hands? Have you considered the effects upon others who witness such a terrible example? Above all those 'consequences' of your actions, the heart of the matter is that you are not trusting God to put you where He wants to, when He wants to! I beg you to also consider that if you have been truly called of God, then don't wait to be an honest minister until you get a "position" in the church, if you have opportunities then take them! Besides you never can tell what God will do with His truth, maybe the reception will be wonderful, maybe your zeal will speed up the 'process', and then maybe you will be misunderstood, maybe rejected, maybe slandered, well that then is between them & God, your hands are clean!
DON'T BE A COWARD/ DON'T BE HARD-HEARTED/ DON'T BE SILENT!
It is nothing but the fear of man & a lack of the fear of God that would cause you to win favor with men by losing favor with God. It is nothing but hard-heartedness that would cause a believer to ignore the abuse of essential doctrine & living in God's church. It is nothing but deception to be silent without, when you are burning within, put your "career path" in the hands of God & seek rather NOW to be a faithful minister!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Voddie Baucham on the Sovereignty of God in our lives

How should we testify to the grace of God in our lives! Pastor Voddie in this clip addresses the need to be careful in how we even testify concerning our victories & our losses....
I made this today, though i planned to do it months ago :) (picture is from the creation Museum)

Monday, August 2, 2010

Why do YOU preach?

Why preacher, why do YOU preach?
Not why "should" you preach? But why do YOU preach? Certainly you have a goal in mind, certainly there MUST be a chief motivator which drives you to preach! I ask you dear preacher to dig deep, to do some heart searching for the sake of Christ & for the sake of His people.
Some preach to reach the lost
Some preach to edify the church
Some preach to glorify God
Others preach out of envy, in order to compete
Others preach because that's what they do (a habit)
Others preach to get money
Others preach to get Fame (big crowds)
Others preach for power (to rule over others)
Others preach to entertain their people
Others preach to get through a series (or a book)
Others preach to fill a time slot
Others preach to feel good
Others preach to please their people
Others preach to comfort themselves
And I suppose the list could on and on, but rather then to think of who might fit into these categories, I beg you again to ask of yourself, but why do I preach, what are you aiming for??

Saturday, June 12, 2010

liberty & entertainment

There is much that can be said about the pros & cons of watching different forms of media. There are many positions concerning what is appropriate and what is not for believers to watch.

I'm sad to say that many of the so-called reformed crowd have really pushed the limits on what is permissable and it is very apparent in their fruit as well. I well remember something a pastor once said when he confronted a man who professed Christianity and who held a high position at the local tv network (abc, nbc something??) and when this Pastor expressed his concerns about a coming very loud & openly blasphemous show, somewhere in the conversation this tv network guy made this comment 'the problem is not with the supply, it's the demand!'. It's quite absurd to complain of the increase of filth when you r a contributor!

Anyhow I wish to speak to something that in no sense is a 'gray' area. That is sexual scenes in movies & television, nudity and intense non-nudity gropping etc.. That's not to say that there won't be objections, but i will say that the objections will NOT contain honesty & biblical harmony.

It's all just acting, what's the difference???
Let's use children to amplify the point: If a child plays 'cops & robbers' or 'cowboys & indians' or 'david vs goliath' etc.. no one has to really get hurt, no real hatred or intention to inflict pain has to exist in order to 'play'. However if children begin to 'pretend' to have sex, to grope each other, then what parent wouldn't IMMEDIATELY interrupt & condemn such 'pretending' pointing out that the 'pretending' is wrong and sinful, because something is actually happening. If any would dare b so hypocritical to object then let me ask, would you let your wife 'pretend' with another man? Would you see it as amusing, if she told you she flashed some men at her job 'to make a point'? Would you consider it 'harmless' for your daughter to play such a part? Christians are instructed to 'flee youthful lusts' to guard our eyes from such things, to guard our minds from such things. Just because we don't know the 'stars' and it's on a screen doesn't make it less then going to a strip club, as this point is well illustrated in the following article: http://www.pluggedin.com/upfront/2007/LiveorOnscreenItsStillVoyeurism.aspx here is a piece:.......Is hypocrisy too strong a word? I don't believe so. Many Christians are willing to watch, by means of a movie camera, what they wouldn't dream of watching in person. You couldn't get them into a topless bar, and yet they cheerfully go to films where they see far more. Would most Christian men be willing to be peeping Toms, roving the neighborhood? Certainly not. But what if they discovered a woman who knew of their presence and was willing to undress in front of a window? That would be worse. What if she were paid to do all this? Worse, worse, and still worse. But what if she is paid lots of money, has a producer and director, does all of this for the movie cameras and has millions of men drooling at her windowsill? This is suddenly different and becomes quite a "complicated" issue—as it may have been this summer for some who lined up to see the R-rated comedy Wedding Crashers. Christian teens and adults across America express love for Jesus Christ yet try to excuse this sort of behavior on the basis of contemporary standards. Many Christians don't want to be different in what they watch. They don't want to admit that their discipleship applies to this area. And they also don't want to admit that sexual activity and nudity on the screen is sexually exciting for them. But those who deny that such things affect them are simply deceiving themselves.....
WHOOPS i forgot, when people say I want it to be 'practical' they don't mean 'apply this personally to my life.'. It's time that we get serious about sin and call it what it is, despite the growing compromise of the day. This compromise is affecting our marriages, our witness, our senstivity & intimacy with God, to the point where most believers have to 'work up' their desires because they continue to grieve the Spirit and aren't looking to make actual lifestyle changes in order to walk in spiritual maturity.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Preaching,teaching marriage & divorce

Briefly I wish to run a few remarks concerning the way in which marriage & divorce is handled wrongly today.

It goes without saying that the underlying problem concerning this relates to many a subject, whenever we start with man and we seek to help him we go wrong. Likewise if we start with experience then with the scriptures we go wrong.

Many teachers, pastors and counsellors (including friends) have sought to bring comfort to their friends by telling them a lie. In their speaking they have implemented only one safeguard and that safeguard, that thing which they are struggling to avoid is to put any shame upon their listeners and so they work from that one safeguard. The problem with this is that we have never been given that power, we don't choose when someone should or should not be convicted. We MUST however seek to be consistent with the teachings of scripture, seeking to preach truth, grace, promises, warnings etc..

When it comes to marriage & divorce, many have given much ammunition to couples who r currently experiencing problems, these couples have found comfort in their wicked lusts. Whereas they should feel afraid and rebuked for even entertaining the idea to leave their spouse, it should not enter their mind as an option. Someone who professes to be a believer who is actually seeking after a divorce, seeking to fulfill their own pleasures and looking for someone to sooth their conscience should NEVER find such in the house of God, rather they should be sharply warned even to the point of examining whether they are in the faith considering how lightly they are viewing such a God blessed and to God vowed union. In doing so the pastor/teacher/counsellor must not present a "well everyone's doing it, the church is just as bad as the world" picture, when in fact though their are certainly real believers who have had divorces, the statistics that are given are quite flawed since the majority of the people questioned are no more saved then demons, 'few enter in'.
Whenever marriage & divorce is addressed the presenter must do all within their power to:

  • explain the purposes and pictures of marriage in a glorious counter-cultural scriptural light,
  • as well as clearly expressing the feelings of God towards divorce
  • seeking to teach those getting ready to marry
  • encouraging and warning those who are married
  • offering forgiveness to those who ARE truly repentant
  • clearly presenting the GOSPEL, given the REALITY that the problem with many marriages is that many are church-going LOST people who are "trying' to have a godly marriage...

Since marriage is to be a picture of Christ and His church, it makes perfect sense to (as always) point to the cross and expound the gospel whenever speaking on the topic of marriage.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Teaching Pastor shepherding ONLY elders??

There's a new book out about Shepherding, that the role of the Pastor is to build relationships with the sheep, to keep close contacts with them in order to watch and encourage real fruit. I haven't read that book, but i did listen to an interview/promotion of the book and it sounded GREAT, a much needed reminder to pastors. A biblical reminder to pastors that they are called not to attempt to emulate celebrity preachers, but are called to shepherd their flock.
HOWEVER through the broadcast was all this emphasis on doing the 'dirty' work of shepherding the people and overcoming the excuses blah blah blah, and when the host asked the guest how he does it, he replied (classically) 'I shepherd the elders & their families'. Well you might ask 'what's wrong with that?' Nothing if you are an APOSTLE, or the director of something, or if you don't believe in the plurality of elders.

  • One problem is that it's kinda hard to teach others about doing the hard work of prying in the lives of others for the sake of the gospel, for the sake of their edification, when you don't have to.
  • Second, If there is a 'plurality of elders' then it's quite difficult for their to be mutual accountability if one person is seen as the 'teacher', whereas there should be the challenging of each other
  • Third, there isn't any scriptural example of such a ministry existing within the local church, where one elder gets to pick the people he will lead by example (The one teaching/preaching is the one who definitely NEEDS to be seen).

Now i know that some would object to the difficulty of doing so or even the impossibility of doing so within larger church contexts, however that doesn't call into question the biblical new testament model, it does however call into question the validity & health of a church that has to adopt new forms of church (whereas many are so large that they operate as multiple churches within a church with one SUPER, irreplaceable, preacher).

The solution? Keep it simple, keep it biblical, promote the glory of God not through corporation like strategies, but through humble, touchable, relational ministry. Healthier churches, not bigger churches and more ministers/laborers not bigger ministries.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Where is Holiness

Once again I wish to speak on something which makes too many people uncomfortable. Holiness, practical holiness that is, is something which is fine and dandy to speak of as long as your not living. In other words there are many believers who enjoy reading 'classics', writers which gave due attention to the need for believers to strive for holiness, but who can't stand when a contemporary preacher and ESPECIALLY someone they know speaks about it and too often they attempt to excuse their attitude by finding something they can call 'legalistic' or it's just something old men preach about because they came from such backgrounds.
The 'in-thing' among many reformed men and women is to see just how close they can get to the world without blatantly sinning. Such are those who, though they can quote with the best of them, ignore and despise the radical lifestyles of 'tried and true' saints of the past. Such an attitude usually springs from over-reaction (having suffered under legalistic ministries or apathetic ministries), a desire to rebel, and even uncrucified pride.
Our culture, the American Christian culture suffers from so many imbalances, and many are too quickly satisfied if they can grasp but one aspect of the Christian life. Allow me to name some categories which many so emphasize that they ignore the rest:
Family Groups (Christianity is Homeschooling & Headship)
Evangelism Groups (Christianity is Witnessing)
Church Groups (Christianity is Religion)
Relationship Groups (Christianity is Community)
Social Groups (Christianity is Charity)
Theology Groups (Christianity is Sound Doctrine)
Political Groups (Christianity is Republican Rule)
Prosperity Groups (Christianity is Enjoying life)
Sacrificial Groups (Christianity is Kingdom spending)
Legalistic Groups (Christianity is Rules)
Music Groups (Christianity is Worship Music)
and so on...........
Naturally many of these things may be quite amusing and yet a great majority of these things are biblical and of great importance, and it should go without saying that we don't have the freedom to pick and choose the ones we would like to emphasize.
This is my problem with 'movements', with catchy and inventive names or even 'challenges' because they too often consume everything else (that's NOT to say we cast something aside JUST because it's such, however we are called to examine it).
Christianity ISN'T that complicated, Christianity is CHRIST!!! Our 'goal', our 'challenge', our 'banner', is Christ and the pursuit of CONFORMITY to CHRIST is the calling of EVERY believer!
The gospel enables us to live unto the glory of God, and whether you like it or not PRACTICAL HOLINESS is a MAJOR part of living to the glory of God.
So what exactly is practical holiness?? Well practical holiness isn't about generalities and only being concerned with matters of 'personal' conviction. There are many NON-negotiables in the scriptures
such as our use and pursuit of MONEY
Our SEXual lifestyles
The use of our TIME
The things we say
How we are to treat our spouses
How we are to raise our children
The way we dress
The places we go
The company we keep
The things we set our eyes on
The way we THINK
The way we FEEL
The things we LISTEN to
How we are to WORK


Do you not know brethren that such things are IN the scriptures and that in the NEW testament?? Are these things in which you care to think about, and do you get bothered when they are brought up or explained?? Then there's a problem, HOUSTON and it's not primarily from external sources, it's an internal problem.
Now if that wasn't enough to cover the range of practical holiness as presented in the scriptures, we are ALSO called and COMMANDED to be concerned with 'our own conscience' and the conscience of others. If anything this has to be the LAST thing anyone wants to think or talk about unless it concerns what 'I have liberty to do'. Whereas Paul in his desire to be 'missional' LIMITED himself to reach the masses, apparently the Apostle Paul didn't grasp that the best way to show the grace of God and the freedom found in Christ would be to EXPRESS his freedom in Christ by IGNORING the immaturity of new believers and the judgmental thoughts of unbelievers with a "I answer to God, not you" attitude. Don't ignore the reality that Paul went out of his way and that by scriptural command, yes he wrote Colossians 2:16-23 but NOT to cancel out Roms 14:13-23 (and yes this apparently covers DRINKING/alcohol in SOME contexts/cultures) and 1 Corinthians 8:9, this same Paul for the sake of the gospel had TIMOTHY CIRCUMCISED (Acts 16, can u think of the arguments u would give against that?).
If we would but live unto the glory of God, then we would desire to know His heart and seek to please Him BECAUSE we are accepted and loved by Him and that would entail us opening our lives before Him to point out ANY areas that need change.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

W.W.J.D and 'on fire' Christians

Do you remember when W.W.J.D was the 'in' thing?? Everyone from ministers to saints to sinners was using this acronym. Through the overuse and abuse of this 'fad' many began to despise and ridicule it's use, but is that fair?? Well it isn't my aim to confront each and every abuse of this phrase, but I wish to consider the good of this.

Is asking in any given situation 'what would Jesus do?' a bad thing? Absolutely not!! In fact it IS a great tool to teach new believers how they should live. Obviously one must rightly understand who Christ is, what He did, and what He says in order to emulate Him, given that, this is a wonderful way to remember that "Christianity'" is about following Christ!!

When I find a new convert and I notice that they are indeed doing exactly this, then I rejoice! When I see a man actually scrutinizing his life by continually asking 'would Jesus do that?' I am personally convicted. Too often when a believer is in hot pursuit of God, there always seems to appear a 'firefighter', (one who lost the fire they once had, or one which tried to produce such fire through legalism, the list could go on) who seeks to 'slow' down this dear believer by easing his/her conscience about many things, or by trying to influence them to not be so 'heavenly minded'.

Praise God for those men and women that actually hear a sermon and try to apply it to their lives immediately, bless God for the believers who learn from those who have gone before them by implementing some of the same safeguards in their life. I bless the Lord for those who actually care to ask 'would Jesus, go here? Would He watch this? Would He enjoy that? Would He say this? Would He listen to that?' Is that not a 'good' thing, is that not the problem most of us have, that we don't do this?

Sure we can listen to the Washers, the Pipers, the Albert Martins, the Ravenhills, the Tozers, the Spurgeons, the Ryles, and the like, and we get excited because they ACTUALLY sound like they BELIEVE this stuff and they actually display deep affection and passion for truth and for God. We can love the way they pour out their hearts, and consider these men (though mere men and flawed men) holy men, men who fear God (and there are PLENTY of scriptures which encourage us to 'mark' out such men and to follow them) and YET our admiration, our love goes no further then ENTERTAINMENT or IDOLATRY. WHY? because when these men start to stress the importance of living holy and they spell it out, we then TUNE them out, when they touch our TV sets, when they touch our use of time, when they touch our children, our marriages, when they touch our music, when they touch our 'liberties', THEN we quietly place them in the 'old school' category, you know the 'poor over-passioned and out of touch minister who was sadly influenced by much legalism'. Though deep down we are convicted and we do notice the difference. Indeed such ministers should be placed in the 'dinosaur' category because as Washer says what we have left is 'a bunch of little boys with laptops'. What we have now is a ever-growing group of witty, funny, sarcastic, professional and dignified boys who are masters at quoting. It is no wonder at all that preachers and preaching is despised in our day, because it's so rare to hear and see real preaching and that lived out.
God help us!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Why people love The shocking youth sermon by Paul Washer

Considering the fact that Paul Washer is fairly normal guy from the sticks. When people meet Paul Washer, they don't think 'great scholar' (though he knows his stuff) nor do they think 'charismatic and motivational' (though he's clearly passionate) neither do people listen to his sermons because of his variety (if you listen to Paul enough you can finish 75% of his sentences). So then how does a guy like that generate such a wide following, why do so many continue to download his messages and more specifically why is 'the shocking youth message....' the top downloaded message from Sermonaudio.com, of all time (considering the many wonderful preachers on there)???????

Apart from the 'grace of God', I believe that the ultimate factor is that this message was spoken directly to the crowd. If we consider the many dead men that many highly admire, of those who were considered bold preachers, their speciality was that they truly and specifically addressed their hearers (if they were stepping on your toes, YOU KNEW IT). For the most part, a minister should be disappointed when he preaches a message which should irritate/convict/rattle many of his listeners and those very same people are the one's shouting the 'AMENS'. To preach so directly is a lost art, it's something which many ministers fail at and it seems some don't even aim at.

The next factor, is a clear refutation of Amercian Christianity. When I say 'clear', I mean Brother Washer doesn't sound like he's quoting some catechism, nor does he speak in terms which only a very intelligent Calvinist could understand, rather it's obvious that he speaks in order to be understood. This in turn has become a blessing to a wide spectrum of believers and lost people who realized they weren't truly saved and have now been converted.

Lastly I suggest that many people enjoy watching passion in a preacher. For some it's about the only passion they experience, they like to read about it, to see it, but rarely do they have it- they are among the many 'reformed' Christians who express their passion in everything but their speaking for and about Christ. In the same manner I believe this is why there are so many people who love John Piper, though they may disagree with many things about him. This can be likened to a form of idolatry if we are not careful to seek the same source of such passion, with is Christ!

Here is the sermon I speak of:

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Ezekiel: A hard work

There aren't many people standing in line hoping to have a ministry like Ezekiel.
Here was a man chosen by God to be a prophet to His people, He shows Ezekiel wonderful things of glory as well as a birdeyes view to the horrific state of wicked Israel

  • Ezekiel was told to speak regardless of the response and then was told by God that despite his efforts the response would continue to be rebellion: Imagine that you're told to pour your heart out, your time, your energy, to be bold, to be thorough and yet you are guarenteed to fail!
  • Even the loss of your wife in order to illustrate a point (one which will be ignored)!
  • Add to all that the incredibly frustrating and deceiving attitude of the people, who will actually pretend to receive and love you!

What's to learn from that???
Ministry is FIRST about pleasing and glorifying God, it's not about producing an effect! Ezekiel's example should shame us when we are slack or ready to throw in the towel because we are facing hardened hearts.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Doctrine which doesn't produce Devotion

Doctrine which doesn't produce devotion will produce pride, which will produce all manner of sin and compromise!
The rise of interest in Calvinism in our day is something which would be foolish to commend too quickly. It is true that true doctrine leads to true devotion, or perhaps we should say true doctrine SHOULD lead to true devotion.
Spiritual maturity is not measured by the amount of intellectual knowledge we possess but by the application of the knowledge we have. (Hebrews 5:14)
There are far too many Calvinists who consume facts, reading up on the Reformers, Puritans, Edwards, Whitefield, Spurgeon, Lloyd-Jones and the like while they pick and choose what they will receive. The sort of nostalgia which enjoys reading and listening to the 'classics' but refuses to walk in the old paths which is a major reason why they finished so well is to be regretted. It has dawned on me recently that of the several books, sermons, or articles that I have read about 'how to' do church the right way, they all seem to downplay the importance of prayer. Prayer is now seen among many, especially in the reformed crowd to be something which you 'touch' upon (usually limiting it by some short time slot) but not something which you put a lot of emphasis upon. It is nothing short of tragic that church has been reduced to a science, and regardless of how witty, even doctrinally rich our suggestions if we don't emphasize the HEART of the church then we are left with an empty shell.
Prayer IS the evidence of our dependence upon God! When Spurgeon could point to the prayers of his church as the 'reason' why such blessing has come upon them, when George Mueller could also point to prayer as the 'secret' to why such things could be accomplished in the orphanage, there should be none who don't unanimously declare 'if that be so, glory be to God!' Likewise when we hear of ministers whom God used mightily and it is pointed out that such men were first men of prayer, we are not only convicted but delighted to learn that IT WASN'T anything special within them.
James 5:16,17 16.......The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.
17Elijah was a man just like us.............

Like it or not the PROMISES attached to the commands and exhortations to pray CLEARLY point out that God desires to work through the 'means' of grace because they bring Him much glory. However of the many popular churches today, of the many witty young church gurus out there how many are described as being 'men of prayer'???
Once again we can turn to James and find 'the reason' why we so desperately search for that ministry which is really doing it right,
It is clear that '..you have not because you ASK not...' James 4:2

Without such personal and corporate devotion we run the risk of modeling either the Ephesus church (Revelation 2:1-7) which 'lost their first love' OR we model the Laodicean church (Revelation 3:14-22) which operated as though it 'needed nothing'.
A church which has a firm grasp upon doctrine AND a fervent expression of dependence in MUCH praying (individually and corporately) will be a church which, DESPITE structural flaws (such as the crowding of programs) will produce a loving community which seeks to edify the church and make disciples.
What sort of Calvinism do you possess?

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Man of sorrows, Matthew Henry

Matthew Henry (taken from his commentary on Isaiah 53)


It was expected that he should live a pleasant life, and have a full enjoyment of all the delights of the sons and daughters of men, which would have invited all sorts to him; but, on the contrary, he was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. It was not only his last scene that was tragical, but his whole life was so, not only mean, but miserable,

-------- but one continued chain
Of labour, sorrow, and consuming pain.
SIR R. BLACKMORE.

Thus, being made sin for us, he underwent the sentence sin had subjected us to, that we should eat in sorrow all the days of our life (Genesis 3:17), and thereby relaxed much of the rigour and extremity of the sentence as to us. His condition was, upon many accounts, sorrowful. He was unsettled, had not where to lay his head, lived upon alms, was opposed and menaced, and endured the contradiction of sinners against himself. His spirit was tender, and he admitted the impressions of sorrow. We never read that he laughed, but often that he wept. Lentulus, in his epistle to the Roman senate concerning Jesus, says, "he was never seen to laugh;" and so worn and macerated was he with continual grief that when he was but a little above thirty years of age he was taken to be nearly fifty, John 8:57. Grief was his intimate acquaintance; for he acquainted himself with the grievances of others, and sympathized with them, and he never set his own at a distance; for in his transfiguration he talked of his own decease, and in his triumph he wept over Jerusalem. Let us look unto him and mourn.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

When will you be satisfied??

1 Timothy 6:6
But godliness with contentment is great gain.


Let me ask you this, when exactly will you be content???

Where does your satisfaction lie? Is contentment attached to some goal, such as:

Graduation???

Marriage???

Birth of Children???

Getting a prestigious degree???

The start of 'your' ministry???

Getting your own car??? Getting a new one???

Getting your own place???

Buying your own house???

Adding an extension to that house???

A swimming pool???

Getting a even bigger house???

Getting a boat???

A tour of Europe, the 'Holy' land???

A management position???

A megachurch???

Receiving some sort of award???

Getting a 'title' in the church???

Retirement???


Are such 'goals' the essence of satisfaction? I think not, the only contentment that will last will be that which lies in our enjoyment of God and His goodness towards us. If we attempt to find contentment in the things of this life we will only be seeking to deceive ourselves into settling for less then we are called to. The believer has been called to the pursuit of God, the enjoyment of God, and the proclamation of God, these are such things we should be striving for MORE and MORE of, never being content with the little we have, but pressing after more and more.

This is a crucial distinction, because we simply can't have it both ways. If we are seeking to find our satisfaction in the things of this world then we will be WASTING the energy and time that we should be spending in the pursuit of God!

Let us never strive to keep up with the world, or to seek it's praise and attention, or we will look back with horror as we realised that we have WASTED our lives.

Live for the GLORY of God, praising Him for what you have and striving to grow in your knowledge and enjoyment of Him! That's the best thing you could do with your life, it's the best thing you could do for your spouse, your children, your church, and the lost!

Forsake the AMERICAN dream, because like all dreams it has an END! Don't envy those who pretend to be satisfied in their abundance, for it's all a mirage and will soon fade away, the best place to be, the most JOYOUS place to be, is in the 'will of God', this 'will' is found in the pursuit of God according to the knowledge of Him found in His word!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Rick Warren, a speaker to avoid!!!

Two days ago I posted my utter disappointment and disgust at John Piper's invitation and defense of inviting Rick Warren to the Desiring God conference.
BTW as Tim Challies points out Rick Warren was invited to speak long before these 'questions' were asked of him, in otherwords the questions were not for Piper they were intended to justify to others why Rick Warren (it should seem odd that such a explanation is needed).
I would recommend reading what Tim Challies has to say concerning this matter. HERE

MAJOR concerns regarding Rick Warren:
(please note I simply don't have the time available to me or the connection speed to link you everywhere, so you'll need to some work if you aren't familiar with something)

I must also point out that many are attempting to make this a 'reformed' battle over non-essentials, I'm sorry but the issue IS NOT about what Rick Warren says about "REFORMED" theology, but rather it concerns the HEART OF THE GOSPEL!!!

Is there a name who could better define: Pragmatism (in it's worst sense)?????

Is there any current pastor who has had a greater influence on countless churches who have further blurred the lines of what a true believer is??????

Is there a name who has influenced more ministers to use translations (good or bad) in order to preach their messages (NOT what the scripture says)..The ULTIMATE example of ISOGESIS

Is it a rare blessing or curse to be the first minister invited to NORTH KOREA (though it didn't take place)????

Likewise is it a blessing or curse to be picked by the Obama administration to pray????? (Did Rick evoke the name ISA??)

What about his endorsements of contemplative spirituality (you can read this)

What do you think about this:
Warren is part of the ultra-conservative Southern Baptist Convention, and all his senior staff sign on to the SBC's doctrines, such as the literal and infallible Bible and exclusion of women as senior pastors. Yet Warren's pastor-training programs welcome Catholics, Methodists, Mormons, Jews and ordained women.
"I'm not going to get into a debate over the non-essentials. I won't try to change other denominations. Why be divisive?" he asks, citing as his model Billy Graham, "a statesman for Christ ministering across barriers."

Taken from a USATODAY article HERE

Does it not also seem quite unusual for a 'doctrinally solid' (HA!) minister to be praised by muslims and for this to be reported:
He also gave a practical example of how Muslims and Christians can work together by pointing to his PEACE plan, a massive effort to mobilize one billion Christians to combat the five biggest problems in the world – spiritual emptiness, corrupt leadership, extreme poverty, pandemic diseases, and illiteracy and lack of education
ARTICLE HERE UM?? Spiritual emptiness(how exactly do we do THAT with MUSLIMS???)

It's OBVIOUS that this man doesn't believe in the sufficiency of scripture (as seen in his twisting it to fit his message). This is also made clear by his numerous invitations of psychologists (and endorsements) at engagements!

IS there ANYONE who RICK WARREN doesn't please and isn't praised by except for those who LOVE the gospel and wish to see it declared and defined?????????????????


------------------------------
Rick Warren's emphasis is NOT on the glory of God but on appealing to the masses and his popularity is continually growing. In a day where Christianity is openly opposed and viciously attacked due to it's 'intolerance' this 'minister' is being praised and promoted!!!???

There is a major disconnect growing within those who call themselves 'reformed/reforming' and that growing disconnect is a MAJOR following after BIG ministries and their ministers DESPITE the fact that these same people say 'Numbers don't mean success!' but as we know 'actions speak louder than words!'. It should seem quite SHOCKING that professed admirers and avid readers of such as SPURGEON, EDWARDS, WHITEFIELD, the PURITANS and the like could actually consider that Rick Warren has some 'minor' (secondary) differences.
This IDOLATRY of men who have large churches is so absolutely clear in the great fear of many to even bring up this subject, when they have clearly seen (if not experienced) the cancer-like effects of Rick Warren's ministry.
No man is above testing, whether it's Piper, Macarthur, Sproul, Washer etc... We should be CONTINUALLY testing all things according to the scriptures despite how emotionally confused we are. Of course that doesn't mean we need to go BEYOND the obvious and begin to imagine and accuse men like Piper of things that we have no clue about. We needn't declare that Piper is a heretic because we feel he has made poor choices, though if it ever gets there (GOD FORBID) we MUST not be fearful to call it what it is. I want to also point out that it's equally foolish to suppose that Piper is clueless concerning the practices, associations, and teachings of Rick Warren.
Ultimately the issue is Piper's sphere of influence, because of this there is 'much required of him'. To confuse and blur the lines of the gospel in the minds of many by bringing in a man who is the essence of 'American Christianity' will NOT edify the church.
I hope that the Ministers who know Piper will beg him to change his mind (like Iain Murray) especially those who devote much of their time and energy to bringing BACK clarity to the gospel, calling ministers to return to the scriptures for guidance, and for the restoration of healthy churches!!!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Things we will never regret

Have you ever considered the things in this life which you will NEVER regret?

You will NEVER regret trusting Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you'll only regret you didn't do it sooner.
You will NEVER regret any sin which you turned from, you'll only regret the ones you kept.
You will NEVER regret the time you spend with God in prayer (sweet communion).
You will NEVER regret the time you gave to interceding for others.
You will NEVER regret the time you gave to the pursuit of God in studying the scriptures.
You will NEVER regret the opportunities you took to witness to the lost.
You will NEVER regret discipling others in the faith.
You will NEVER regret the energy you spent in proclaiming the truth of God.
You will NEVER regret the money you gave to the work of God.
You will NEVER regret the attention you gave to nurturing your wife.
You will NEVER regret the attention you gave to the training of your children.
You will NEVER regret submitting to your husband for the glory of God.
You will NEVER regret 'sacrificing' your career to minister to your family.

You will NEVER regret the amount of children you have.
You will NEVER regret the unnecessary things in this world you didn't buy.
You will NEVER regret the good you do to others.
You will NEVER regret the zeal you gave to knowing and submitting to Christ.
You will NEVER regret the sufferings you endured for the sake of Christ.

More?

Saturday, April 3, 2010

The cross of Christ. Octavius Winslow

Octavius Winslow said


The cross of Christ is still the central
object of attraction to the Christian!

A countless throng of Christ believing,
Christ loving souls gather around it,
finding cleansing in its blood,
extracting joy from its sorrow,
deriving life from its death, and
beholding the brightness of glory
blended with the darkness of shame.

But is this the true spiritual position and
posture of every believer in Jesus? Are all
the professed disciples of the Savior seeking
and cultivating the religion that is drawn
only from, and is cherished only by, close
communion with the cross of Christ?

Are we walking with God in a sense....
of pardoned sin,
of personal acceptance,
of filial communion,
of holy obedience,
of unreserved consecration beneath the cross?

Do we delight to be here?

Do we resort there....
that grace might be replenished,
that the fruits of the Spirit might be nourished,
that backslidings might be healed,
that the conscience might be cleansed?

Is the cross of Jesus....
our confessional,
our laver,
our crucifixion, and
our boast?

These are searching, solemn questions!

We are persuaded that the foot of the cross
is the nearest spot to Heaven; that Heaven's
choicest blessings are found only there; that
beneath its warm sunshine the holy fruit of the
Spirit ripens, and that under its sacred shade
the sweetest repose is found; that, never is the
believing soul so near to God, in such intimate
fellowship with Christ, more really under the direct
teaching of the Holy Spirit, as when under the
cross of Christ.

When you are in believing, loving adoration at
the foot of Christ's cross, you are at the focus
of all divine glory, and at the confluence of all
spiritual blessing.

Rick Warren at Desiring God conference

Just in case you have been in the dark, John Piper has invited Rick Warren to speak at the 2010 desiring God conference.

I'm quite hesitant to even post this, because I don't want to draw fruitless commenting and especially not hate-driven comments.

John Piper has made a video explaining why or better put he has made a video to convince others that Rick Warren is a theologically solid pastor who may have 'secondary' issues that people disagree with. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RlxRKLXk1WE (I don't believe the video explains why this is 'good').

As Piper stands by himself there is much to be said in his honor, however as to his associations and to whom he invites to speak at his conferences this is quite another thing. I am one who has always regretted the 'celebrity' status of people and their contributions to such a status. I do believe that multi-site churches only promote such idolatry, and I do believe that conferences that ONLY invite the 'successful' and 'popular' are also promoting such things. Is it any surprise that Piper feels like he needs a 8-month sabbatical for 'pride' issues (even Mark Dever in a broadcast that included Piper pointed out the need to build more churches not bigger ones)?

I would conclude that Piper is applying the same reasoning which he has applied to such as Driscoll and to Billy Graham as he is to Rick Warren, that their fame and numbers speak a lot louder then their practices. Preaching and defending the gospel is done not simply by what we do but also by who we endorse.

When Piper (at the basics conference-Alistarr Begg's church) defended his support of Mark Driscoll, he referenced to the hundreds being baptised on one day at Marks' church.



Are there not a list of speakers who would be wonderful examples to the thousands that will attend a Desiring God conference? It's scary to think of how many young people will be affected by thinking that Rick Warren and John Piper are fundamentally on the same page. What's more disturbing is that many people who were probably just about to post '50+ ways Rick Warren twists the gospel' heard Piper then DELETED their post and were converted. Regardless of your views on this, it must be said that we can't chose when to use discernment based upon how famous a man is or how influential his teachings have been. I read some comments that ascribed some hidden agenda to 'reach' Rick Warren by INVITING HIM TO SPEAK???? No, I don't think Piper lied in his reasons as to why (i hope no one REALLY thinks 'inviting' someone to speak at a national conference is a good way to reach someone). Others have written 'I love Piper so I trust him...' that's quite disturbing.



If you are clueless to Piper giving honorable mentions to Billy then here is a link to Piper's tribute to him. (keep in mind this Billy is the same one who just didn't know where the people who didn't trust in Christ alone went and the same Billy who had Bill Clinton on his platform stating that the former president 'should have been a preacher' AMONG A LIST OF OTHER THINGS).

http://www.desiringgod.org/Blog/1484_A_Tribute_to_Billy_Graham_at_90/

Paul Washer had this to say about Billy Graham

"I have always sought to be charitable regarding those who preach in the name of Christ. This has been especially true in the case of Billy Graham. However in the last year I have seen and heard several things regarding his beliefs and ministry that have led me to withdraw any recommendation of his person and preaching. I regret my past positive statements regarding the man and his ministry. It saddens me, but I would have to now agree with [the] conclusions: He is either suffering from some sort of dementia or he has denied Christ as the only way, truth, and life."

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN???
It doesn't mean you have to disregard the good you have received from Pastor John. It could certainly mean that you should be praying for him to reconsider this and other things (to carefully tread the path he takes as he is influencing many). It might mean you should think twice before blindly endorsing something you haven't listened to or read by John Piper in the near future. We must be discerning and seek to be objective at that.

Sweet Aroma of Jesus Christ

When we 'taste' of the Lord, we see that He is GOOD! When we smell the mercies of Christ crucified we declare that He is altogether lovely!
2 Corinthians 2:15For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. 16To the one we are the smell of death; to the other, the fragrance of life. And who is equal to such a task?
The smell of Christ causes one of two reactions, to the one who sees, hears, tastes of His glory He is the essence of life, the blessed hope BUT to the other Jesus Christ only smells of death, His ways, truth, and life are revolting to the one who doesn't desire Him, doesn't love and follow Him.

What a wonder is the reality that we have been privileged to know of Him.
Who would have thought that grace Could or Would have been given to such ones as us?
How great indeed is the Father's love towards us, that He washed us white as snow?
Jesus Christ gave us the ability to enjoy Him, He gave us the taste buds to relish Him!
It was Jesus who opened our senses, who gave sight to such blind fools as us!
Had He left us in our filth, had Christ passed over us, who could fault Him?
Glory to God He looked and had pity, He saw you and He saw me and said 'What a worm is that one there, if ever there was one who warranted the full fury of my wrath, here is one, BUT I wish, I desire to give this undeserving beast mercy, to lavish love on this one with ALL my heart, ALL my soul, ALL my mind, and ALL my strength.
Praise the Lord, He found me!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Simplifying church pt 3

In regards to simplifying the church, we should seek and expect to 'have our cake AND eat it too!'
Far too many churches seem split between those who seek theological purity and those who seek a loving community. Indeed it is the opinion of some that you can have one or the other but to attempt to have both would be ridiculous.
Granted human nature is prone to extremes and is quite reckless when it comes to balancing fragile items, but the local church must NOT be conformed to this world, it must be transformed by the word of God!
Considering the example of the early church (not to mention churches throughout history) it is quite possible to have:
Truth and community
Love and correction
Reconciliation and church discipline
Relationship and rebuke
Accountability and grace
Leadership and mutual submission

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Simplifying Church part 2

One major obstacle to the simplification of the local church is the assumed foundation of that church. I mean the preconceived concepts of what a church must have in order to be a 'church'.
The programs, the groups, the activities, the statements, the 5yr plans, the building, the age segregation, the gender segregation, the events, etc...
Too many churches attempt to mimic the diversity and complexity of larger and older churches. Whereas a church which questions such 'norms' is considered radical, but in actuality that church is simply being realistic and practical.
Would it not make much more sense for the local church to begin first with what's of the utmost importance? The ministry of the word, the collective praises and prayers of the saints, and true fellowship! Shouldn't the greatest attention be given to the most important functions of the local church?
While the local church seeks simplicity it must also defend against the 'every other church has this or that' mindset, the list of 'must-haves' seems to be ever growing and as you may suspect that without any biblical reference.
This simplicity, might mean that when you speak of your church to others, there won't be anything spectacular that can be said for observers to praise you for. However the 'fruit' is seen and experienced by those who attend and THAT is for the glory of God.

Simplifying Church

In order for the church, the local church to truly glorify God by fulfilling its role it must seek to avoid complexity and confusion.
The church is being the church when it's living as the 'body of Christ' NOT as strangers who happen to come to the same place on Sundays (and other days) and happen to listen to the same preacher.
Without godly fellowship the purpose, the fruitfulness, the joy of church is LOST! When I say 'godly fellowship' I mean that form of fellowship that REALLY seeks to know one another, that REALLY seeks to bless one another through encouragement, teaching and correction.
A true searcher of truth isn't simply looking to find doctrinal truth that is preached from the pulpit, but is looking for and WELCOMING truth to confront him. In other words the church must be counter-fleshly (beyond being counter-cultural) by inviting and expecting "INVASION of PRIVACY", by 'being' the 'body of Christ' we are functioning as a solid family unit.
A healthy family, a biblical family is and should be one of openness, humility, teamwork, compassion, etc...
The church loses it's proper place when it loses it's relational expression, when it becomes a organization that spins it's wheels to find ways to attract strangers to come together every week. One of the greatest problems with the majority of programs in the church today is that those programs are attempting to imitate, produce, and maintain what should be the natural out workings of like-minded believers who are seeking to become more like Christ, which means they are concerned about seeing others become more like Christ and that also includes seeing the lost come to Christ!
A healthy church then is one which not only are the truths of the gospel being proclaimed and defended, but where the congregation are ACTUALLY growing together in their maturity in Christ. They then are learning the strengths and weaknesses of each other, they then are ALSO able to testify to the grace of God in others since they have actually seen the fruit growing. A church where each person seeks to not only receive but is intent on giving to individuals (and that FAR BEYOND a 'church position'. how much 'help' are you to the body of Christ when it's NOT Sunday??) A church where each individual (and not just the pastor) is 'stirring one another to love and good deeds'.

Friday, March 19, 2010

True preaching by J.C. Ryle

By J.C. Ryle
The instrumentality by which the spiritual reforms of the eighteenth century carried on their operations, was of the simplest description. It was neither more nor less than the old apostolic weapon of preaching. The sword which the apostle Paul wielded with such mighty effect, when he assaulted the strongholds of heathenism eighteen hundred years ago—was the same sword by which they won their victories.

They preached everywhere. If the pulpit of a parish church was open to them, they gladly availed themselves of it. If it could not be obtained, they were equally ready to preach in a barn. No place came amiss to them. In the field or by the roadside, on the village-green or in the market-place, in the lanes or in alleys, in cellars or in garrets, on a tub or on a table, on a bench or on a horse-block, wherever hearers could be gathered, the spiritual reformers of the eighteenth century were ready to speak to them about their souls.

They preached simply. They rightly concluded that the very first thing to be aimed at in a sermon—was to be understood. They strove to come down to the level of the people, and to speak what the poor could understand. To attain this they were not ashamed to crucify their style, and to sacrifice their reputations for learning. They carried out the maxim of Augustine, "A wooden key is not so beautiful as a golden one, but if it can open the door when the golden one cannot, it is far more useful."

They preached fervently and directly. They cast aside that dull, cold, heavy, lifeless mode of delivery, which had long made sermons a very proverb for dullness. They proclaimed the words of faith—with faith, and the story of life—with life. They spoke with fiery zeal, like men who were thoroughly persuaded that what they said was true, and that it was of the utmost importance to your eternal interest to hear it. They threw heart and soul and feeling into their sermons, and sent their hearers home convinced, at any rate, that the preacher was sincere and wished them well. They believed that you must speak from the heart—if you wish it speak to the heart, and that there must be unmistakable faith and conviction within the pulpit—if there is to be faith and conviction among the pews.

But what was the substance and subject-matter of the preaching which produced such wonderful effect in the eighteenth century? I will not insult my reader's common sense, by only saying that it was 'simple, earnest, fervent, real, genial, brave, life-like,' and so forth; I would have it understood that it was eminently doctrinal, dogmatic, and distinct.

For one thing, then, the spiritual reformers of the eighteenth century taught constantly the sufficiency and supremacy of Holy Scripture. The Bible, whole and unmutilated, was their sole rule of faith and practice. They accepted all its statements without question or dispute. They knew nothing of any part of Scripture being uninspired. They never flinched from asserting that there can be no error in the Word of God; and that when we cannot understand or reconcile some part of its contents, the fault is in the interpreter and not in the text. In all their preaching they were eminently men of one book. To that book they were content to pin their faith, and by it to stand or fall.

Furthermore, the reformers of the eighteenth century taught constantly the total corruption of human nature. They knew nothing of the modern notion that Christ is in every man, and that all possess something good within, which they have only to stir up and use in order to be saved. They never flattered men and women in this fashion. They told them plainly that they were spiritually dead, and must be made alive again; that they were guilty, lost, helpless, hopeless, and in imminent danger of eternal ruin. Strange and paradoxical as it may seem to some, their first step towards making men good—was to show them that they were utterly bad; and their primary argument in persuading men to do something for their souls—was to convince them that they could do nothing at all.

Furthermore, the reformers of the eighteenth century taught constantly that Christ's death upon the cross was the only satisfaction for man's sins; and that, when Christ died, He died as our substitute, 'The just for the unjust.' This, in fact, was the cardinal point in almost all their sermons. They loved Christ's person; they rejoiced in Christ's promises; they urged men to walk after Christ's example. But the one subject, above all others, concerning Christ, which they delighted to dwell on, was the atoning blood which Christ shed for us on the cross.

Furthermore, the reformers of the eighteenth century taught constantly the great doctrine of justification by faith. They told men that faith was the one thing needful in order to obtain a saving interest in Christ's work for their souls. Justification, by virtue of church membership; justification, without believing or trusting—were notions to which they gave no countenance. "Everything, if you will believe, and the moment you believe; nothing, if you do not believe," was the very marrow of their preaching.

Furthermore, the reformers of the eighteenth century taught constantly the universal necessity of heart conversion and a new creation by the Holy Spirit. They proclaimed everywhere to the crowds they addressed, 'You must be born again.' "Sonship to God—by baptism; sonship to God—while we do the will of the devil" —such sonship they never admitted.

Furthermore, the reformers of the eighteenth century taught constantly the inseparable connection between true faith and personal holiness. A true Christian, they maintained, must always be known by his fruits. "No fruits—no grace," was the unvarying tenor of their preaching.

Finally, the reformers of the eighteenth century taught constantly, as doctrines both equally true, God's eternal hatred against sin—and God's love towards sinners. Both about HEAVEN and about HELL they used the utmost plainness of speech. They never shrank from declaring, in plainest terms—the certainty of God's judgment and of wrath to come, if men persisted in impenitence and unbelief. And yet, they never ceased to magnify the riches of God's kindness and compassion, and to entreat all sinners to repent and turn to God before it was too late.

Such were the main truths which the English evangelists of those times were constantly preaching.

Monday, March 15, 2010

NEW BLOG gospel filled

I have begun a NEW blog.
This blog is dedicated to proclaiming the gospel to the lost. It is intended for all who might fit under that category including the 'religious'. I've had it for about a month (though I've tried to hide it) and might make some more changes (as it's not exactly how I want it, but I'll get over it).
Please consider linking this blog (make bumper sticks even, who knows)as a blog not filled with a lot of Church language, nor will I personalize it with pics and the like, nor will I seek to proclaim anything that would fall under secondary issues.
Be on the lookout for testimonies as well, I plan to (time permitting) post a plethora of diverse testimonies (including the 'I thought I was saved but......')
As well as pointing out things like 'What Christianity is NOT......' (including health/wealth, Catholic and other perversions).
It is my understanding that such a blog is quite rare, and so I saw the need.
www.authenticbelief.com

grace and peace

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Child #7. ultrasound report

Currently we have been blessed with 6 boys and now the ultrasound revealed that the Lord has seen fit to bless us with ...........................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................Another BOY!!!
Looks like we're going to need lots of coffee and energy drinks to keep up with this wild bunch!

Marital sex is a beautiful thing to be enjoyed!!

The only reluctance I have to such a subject is to stay incredibly clear of perverse and wordly treatments concerning the subject like Mark D, who defiled his bed by spilling intimate details about his wife-which she stated was something she had to get used to! MEN I purposely point out this selfish act because your WIFE should NEVER have to get 'used to' you sharing intimate details,

Martial sex is a beautiful thing to be enjoyed!!

Sex within marriage is ordained of God and that even before the fall. The Lord has created us in such a way that we would find immense pleasure in such a union with our spouses. Let none think it strange to desire their spouse and that often, let none think it pious to restrain themselves because they wrongly perceive that such pleasure must be fleshly.



The only reluctance I have to such a subject is to stay incredibly clear of perverse and wordly treatments concerning the subject like Mark D, who defiled his bed by spilling intimate details about his wife-which she stated was something she had to get used to! MEN I purposely point out this selfish act because your WIFE should NEVER have to get 'used to' you sharing intimate details about the marriage bed!



Husbands! Wives!

Let this one rule PREVAIL in your intimate relations, SEEK TO PLEASE YOUR SPOUSE!!!

That means putting effort into understanding what pleases your spouse, that means paying attention to their body language and not being afraid to speak about sex (though it may seem uncomfortable). This is all ordained of God for you, and since it's of God, it's also perfectly acceptable to ACTUALLY pray for help in this area!



As with marriage as a whole, we must seek to put our spouse before self, we will find our greatest joy in our service to one another. This also means not withholding intercourse from one another because we're offended by something the other spouse doesn't even realise. We must seek reconciliation and seek to maintain a DESIRE to please and serve one another (in all things).

However this union is a SACRED union and being so it's also a PRIVATE union, that means it's NEVER acceptable for a spouse to act like a wicked teenager by spilling details to their friends or even making jokes about their spouse (I was almost tempted to say Men don't do this, but for those clueless on the issus some women ALSO spill details).


grace and peace

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The second generation, Al Martin -must hear 4 Parents, children 8pts

I beg every parent, teacher, leader, AND able child to listen to this gem of a series from Pastor Albert Martin.
This series is a rare find, because it deals specifically with the unique struggles that second generation Christians may come against. This series would be a great means of equipping, warning, and encouragement for every CHristian parent and every child (even grown-up ones)raised by Christian parents! ESPECIALLY 'good' parents!


The Means of Saving Grace 1

Loving, Biblically Framed Nurture 2

Struggles with Assurance of Salvation

Damning Delusion of Presumption 4

Danger of Neglect and Hardness of Heart 5

Struggling with the Spirit of Pharisaism 6

Struggling with the Spirit of Legalism 7

Struggling with the Spirit of Materialism 8

Monday, March 8, 2010

ELDERS!!! Sheep are Led! Tozer

Forget attempting to become a great conference speaker, a distinguished scholar, a Youtube sensation, a superstar blogger, a facebook idol, a megachurch CEO, rather why not seek that which is most needed: A qualified and touchable minister who can actually lead the sheep!


A.W. Tozer says it like this:
Cattle are driven; sheep are led; and our Lord compares His people to sheep, not to cattle.
It is especially important that Christian ministers know the law of the leader--that he can lead others only as far as he himself has gone....
The minister must experience what he would teach or he will find himself in the impossible position of trying to drive sheep. For this reason he should seek to cultivate his own heart before he attempts to preach to the hearts of others....
If he tries to bring them into a heart knowledge of truth which he has not actually experienced he will surely fail. In his frustration he may attempt to drive them; and scarcely anything is so disheartening as the sight of a vexed and confused shepherd using the lash on his bewildered flock in a vain attempt to persuade them to go on beyond the point to which he himself has attained....
The law of the leader tells us who are preachers that it is better to cultivate our souls than our voices. It is better to polish our hearts than our pulpit manners, though if the first has been done well and successfully it may be profitable for us to do the second. We cannot take our people beyond where we ourselves have been, and it thus becomes vitally important that we be men of God in the last and highest sense of that term.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Don't despise 'holiness'

What does it mean to be 'holy'? I don't mean what does it mean for God to be holy, nor do I mean what does it mean for us to be declared 'holy' by the cross work of Christ.
The question I pose is what comes to mind when you hear the call to 'holiness'? I believe from simply observing reactions over the years that for many the word conjures up thoughts of suffocating legalism. This is not limited to those apostates who merely make a profession of faith but truly pervert the grace of God in a license to sin, but even some mature believers.
Practical holiness is usually something accepted as a subject in a systematic theology, or something that is welcomed when it's preached through dead men. It's always amazing to witness people who say they enjoy reading and listening to dead men who were not afraid to apply the word to the daily lives of their hearers, yet the same people that like these Luthers, Puritans, Spurgeons, Ravenhills, DON'T enjoy that 'kind' of preaching from the living.
As many have avoided all teaching concerning the Holy Spirit because of abuses, likewise because of LEGALISM many are shying away from speaking about personal holiness.
Such a situation should be quite frightening since practical holiness is not a minor subject, it's not something which the scripture gives little attention to.
But first, let's get something perfectly clear, I don't know what you mean when you say 'holiness' but as I understand it, it is this:
From God's perspective-It is God conforming you to the likeness of Christ.
From our perspective- It is a continual pursuit of God and His glory in all we do.

Though we must never forget that all the 'work' we do, all the 'effort' we put into seeking after God, He alone gets the glory! Let me ask, am I already making you cringe, is this not what the scriptures teach:
1 Corinthians 15:10 But by the grace of God I am what I am..........I worked harder...not I, but the grace of God that is with me.
Paul 'fought', 'ran', 'strived', 'pressed after', etc... but behind all that it was God who was working through him. Though we are unable to penetrate the divide between our effort and God's sovereign working, we still need to emphasize those things which the Lord demands from us all.
In order to properly exegete the scriptures, we have to believe that God is a better physician then us, that He is not in need of our assistance. That means, though we see believers struggling with doubt, depression, and discouragement we have no right to shy away from teaching what the scriptures teach.
The scriptures call believers to 'obedience', to 'fight', to 'put off; things, to 'put on' things, to 'pursue' things, to 'forsake' things, to be 'separate', to be 'faithful', to 'please Him' etc.. These aren't truths we can't ignore because we have seen or experienced legalism.
Let us also keep in mind that believers are also judged according to their works or the 'quality' of it for that matter, and that faithfulness has rewards!
There is a danger in being zealous to defend against false teaching, and that's throw all we can to tip the scales into the other direction. We should rather fight false doctrine with balance, with truth, in other words if the scriptures have been 'twisted' don't cut the cord, untwist it!
If the cord is cut in an effort to eradicate 'legalism' then the effects will diminish if not create animosity toward the promises and warnings of God concerning believers!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

How much worse do public schools get before they are labeled so??

May I speak hoping that you have not lived under a cave or that you suffer from amnesia?!

Then I wonder for those who encourage children to be sent to public schools:

How bad does it need to get before you pull them out?
How dangerous?
How many shootings before you would pull them out?
How many rapes before you would pull them out?
How many sexual abuse cover-ups before you would pull them out?
How graphic and aggressive would sex class (including homosexuality) need to get before you pull them out? (If you like research and are having trouble forcing yourself to THROW-UP then look up some of the things being taught or about to be, in schools even elementary school)
How anti-Christian and pro-heresy before you pull them out?
How poor do the education results need be (this is probably the ONLY one truly considered by many-the god of education/credentials) before you pull them out?
How intense does the pressure of temptation need be before you pull them out?

In addition to THAT, how much time (hrs a day) do you devote to WASHING out that filth and pouring into them the truths which GOd commands you to teach your children??

May I also be so bold to ask, if you have such 'faith' and you truly are using your children as a light in a dark place (given they've OBVIOUSLY shown yrs of saving evidence) then do you ALLOW (send them) them to go to similar places?? Similar places I say? Yes given the 'school' environment:
Other similar places would be clubs, house parties, street corners at night, even visiting (with 'friends' of course) JW's temples, going to MASS, Buddhist temples, etc.. Oh is that different? Are such places less safe? Less endoctrinating? Less influential?
Or is it that those places are simply not 'accepted' places, and there isn't the illusion of good intentions and safety?

Public Schools?? here's Voddie Baucham

Here is a post from Voddie Baucham Ministries, worth considering:

More from the “Our School Has Christian Teachers” File
Friday, March 5, 2010


As I continue to post The Continuing Collapse each month on this blog, there is a steady stream of public school defenders who insist that, although TCC has been finding and publishing evidence of widespread corruption, under-achievement, radical Gramscian marxism, violence, fraud and more in the American education establishment from coast-to-coast, this has no impact on these people’s educational choice because (altogether now) “their schools are different!” Of course, the main difference is the presence of Christian teachers.
Of course any attempt to point out the lack of biblical worldview of most professing Christians in America, the socialist/neo-marxist leanings of the curricula to which these “Christian teachers” are forced to adhere, and the Gramscian residue that clings to an education degree as relentlessly as dirt clings to fallen snow, is met with blank stares and incredulity. Not to mention the fact that these “Christian teachers” were trained in institutions that bathed them in the worst the left has to offer; and that includes Christian colleges. In a recent Town Hall article, Sandy Rios exposed one of these institutions. Writing about the prestigious Wheaton College, Rios wrote:
So imagine the dismay of many to learn that, in an effort to educate its students, Wheaton has moved to the left, so much so that in a survey by the Wheaton Record, 60 percent of its faculty voted for President Barack Obama, the most pro-abortion, pro-homosexual agenda, spiritually confused president the nation has ever elected.
Beyond this general lunge to the left, the philosophy that has overtaken the school of education is particularly troubling. Rios continues:
In the current document known as the “conceptual framework” of the education department at Wheaton College which must be endorsed by each of its faculty, the thinkers cited include among others, the father of the social justice movement, Brazilian Marxist, Paulo Freire and former Weather Underground terrorist Bill Ayers. Just a glimpse at Freire’s foundational treatise “Pedagogy of the Oppressed” will clearly display his sources: Marx, Lenin and revolutionary murderers Mao Tse Tung, Fidel Castro and Che Guevera (see, “Pedagogy of the Oppressor,” March 28, 2009, in National Review by Sol Stern).
Amazing! If these teachers had been forced to endorse the London Baptist Confession, or the Westminster Confession of Faith there would have been a revolt. However, they endorse the “Conceptual Framework” and parents who are paying obscene amounts of money for an education degree from Wheaton (nearly $40,000.00 per academic year for tuition and more than $50,000 total cost) haven’t heard or made a peep. All of this in the name of “open minded” academia:
Dr. Jillian Lederhouse, chairman of the department of education defended the conceptual framework by saying “we don’t teach our students to be afraid on an ideology as long as we give them a critical perspective. We do not have a list of people we do not read. Our goal is to produce a thinking Christian teacher.” And that is as it should be in an institution of higher learning, except for one thing. Lederhouse went on to admit that the people who were foundational to Wheaton’s conceptual framework were all on the far left.
Isn’t it interesting how real “thinking” always requires one’s mind being open to the Gramscian left? Christ and his Kingdom = closed-minded fundamentalist teacher. Marx and his kingdom (Paulo Friere and Che Guevera) = “thinking Christian teacher.”
Wheaton is not alone in this matter. Christian colleges across the country have been co-opted by the marxist, socialist educational establishment, and the teachers they are producing are the most dangerous of them all. Unlike the teachers coming out of Stanford, Wisconsin, or Columbia, the teachers coming out of the Wheaton’s of the world have instant credibility among unsuspecting Christian parents in both public and private schools who believe that a teacher who professes faith in Christ and has credentials from a Christian college MUST BE the real deal. Who better to send your children to for their education?
For years I have tried to communicate the reality that there are few Christian schools in the country worthy of the title. Almost without exception, Christian colleges and universities in this country are Christian in name only. Perhaps they have a historic connection to a religious founder, a nominal connection to a Christian denomination, or a public acknowledgement of a broad, sweeping, shallow confession of faith. However, most lack the courage and/or conviction to uphold the aforementioned commitments in their hiring practices, or in the development and implementation of their curriculum.
Moreover, these realities are not about to change. As long as schools like Wheaton can “push the envelope” in the name of open-minded “Social Justice,” and still fill their dorms with students whose families are more than happy to pay the $40,000.00 per year price tag we will not see a revival of God-honoring, Kingdom-minded, Christ-exalting, culture-transforming Christian education.
Here are a few predictions:
1)There will be no outcry over this issue (unless you count the outcry against anyone who would dare to question the Christian commitment of Wheaton and other Christian colleges).
2)Those who expose this issue will be vilified as narrow-minded “fundamentalists” while the marxists are heralded as broadminded defenders of education and free expression.
3)Students in the program (and those who’ve graduated) will insist that this is all blown out of proportion, and the education faculty at Wheaton (who supported Obama overwhelmingly) are wonderful, committed Christians who “believe and teach the Bible” (even though they endorse the “conceptual framework” which is completely inconsistent with the Bible).
4)Parents will continue to pay the obscene tuition for the prestige of a Wheaton degree.
5)Wheaton, and other Christian colleges like it, will continue to surge to the left in search of “friendship with the world,” and recognition as a prestigious university.
Nothing would make me happier than to be wrong on this. However, the key here is the tuition. Universities don’t charge $40,000.00 a year unless they can fill their dorms at that price. Any school that can demand that kind of money doesn’t do so because they offer sound biblical education. There is not enough demand for that (which is the primary reason we don’t have an abundance of sound Christian colleges). Parents don’t pay $40,000.00 a year for their children to be trained in godliness; they pay that kind of money for prestige and upward mobility. The bottom line is quite simple: We worship the god of education and status, not the God of the Bible.
The good news is there are schools out there where something like this would never have happened. I would be shocked, for example, to learn that New St. Andrews University (about $9,000.00 per year tuition), Grove City College (about $13,000.00 per year tuition), or The Master’s College (about $25,000 per year tuition), asked their professors to endorse the “conceptual framework.” And none of these schools takes a back seat to Wheaton academically!
Does this mean that Wheaton is the antichrist and the other schools I mentioned are without sin? Absolutely not. I’m sure there are good people at Wheaton who abhor the fact that the school of education has taken such a stance. Nor is every professor at NSA, GCC, or TMC perfect. Don’t miss the point here. This is a serious matter that cannot be ignored. We should all expect more from Wheaton
VB

What is Juvenile Jail ministry like?

I have been involved with a Juvenile Jail (perhaps I'll cover the adult County Jail another time)ministry for about 7yrs, which I became apart of through a church I was going to (an Assemblies of God church). Unfortunately this church only named this ministry as one of 'their' ministries, but when my wife and I left the church, so did the ministry.

The 'service' is more like 2-20 teens who sit around a table within their cell block (which means that we hear all radio calls, interrupted by guests or the nurse, and also have the 'privilege' of being in the same room where the toilets are (which thankfully contains a partial door). If all things go well the time given is 45mins, which usually means 30-35 mins of actual teaching time.

These teens are usually never there for more than a couple of months, some just days, this is the FIRST place the teens have to go.

They do have access to bibles, and they can take them into their rooms.

For the most part the guards control the mood, which means you have very inconsistent oversight, some wishing to be looked at as 'cool', others who have obvious power trips, and a few who really maintain control. There was a time where one guard in particular who was clearly opposed to the gospel, would stall me for 10, 15, even 20mins before bringing the teens for service, and then would make it a point to close the service just a couple mins early (even cutting off a closing prayer), this was absolutely one of the most trying times because I so wanted to do something or say something, not to mention trying to calm teens who would get incredibly angry at such interruptions.

Due to the varying nature of each service and due to the reality that most of the teens are hearing me for the first time, any pattern I follow will consist of small progression through certain passages with a LOT of reviewing/reminding and seeking to press the Gospel each and every week!

One MAJOR problem is the 'type' of ministry they are or have received. A separate ministry comes on a weekday and this group sticks strictly to the four spiritual laws, when I say 'strictly' I mean just that, they go over it every single week. Though I typically go alone to my section (and if accompanied by others it's quite clear that it's my section) there are other days where the teens may be exposed to Word of Faith filth or wild and wacky Charismatic doctrine.

The other sections are constantly bombarded by such faulty teachings, and a great number of them have been deceived into thinking God has saved them and only wants to make them feel good about themselves and to keep them out of prison.

There is one other chaplain who comes frequently that I can say is solid and recently there are a group of brothers who have been coming who actually label themselves 'Anabaptists', in my brief conversations with them they seem to be stuck on pointing out things like 'denominations' and mentioning little things like 'the church met in homes...'. Granted they could be quite legit, but I do wonder, though when they spoke of the Gospel the one brother mentioned the way Ray Comfort preaches the gospel, so if they do likewise I can still rejoice, that the gospel is preached.

As you may have detected the oversight is quite loose, so loose that several yrs back we had a lady who was a 'christian Scientist' who was able to go with our group for several months without ever being confronted, except by me and my wife. I assume that she decided to leave because my wife and I did NOT give her room to spread her poison (though she tried to desperately) at least in the 'girls' section.

Generally girls are the more violent and the more outspoken in their wickedness. We have witnessed several fights, prevented some (though we can't do much), and have even seen one girl enter our service grab the hair of another girl and start punching her in the face during the preaching!

I had a time where I was put into a horrible situation by a reckless chaplain who thought it a good idea to bring communion elements for those who might want it during the service. So the announcement was made before I started, the elements were left on the table beside me and the lady left to go to another section. Well I explained to the girls with all I could how fearful such a thing is, what it signified and why I wasn't going to distribute. Of course I had that ONE girl who demanded it, constantly interrupting me and even walking to the table to get it herself, this problem took the whole service to address. Though the girls have separate sleeping areas, lesbianism is rampant (however most wouldn't claim to be such, even though they may have participated in lesbian acts). It's such a problem that some girls have to be separated because they want to hold hands under their desks (among other things) DURING service!

It is very rare to see these teens again, though sometimes you do and rarely do they wish to talk of Christ, even though some will want to talk to you. One problem is that there isn't a way to communicate with these teens beyond the service, we are not able to find out where they go or how to contact them.

Yes there have been times where a small few have showed some fruit and have made it a point to thank us for proclaiming the gospel to them.
In a sense it's HARDCORE ministry, because you never know what to expect and if you are able to hear of the situations they live in or what they have seen or done it will absolutely crush you.
We have met teens who have been forced by mothers to have abortions, even through violence. We have met little girls even boys involved in prostitution. Met runaways who are in dangerous homes who as a means of survival try to get to that 'safe' relative (and if you're thinking, 'well just tell the authorities' then you must live in a nice world, but that's not really how it works). We have met teens who because shelters or group homes are overcrowded, they are mixed with teens who are criminals and treated as such. We have met teens who have killed, who have parents who have killed, who have seen their parents killed, who have had parents who have committed suicide etc.. So when I say HARDCORE I mean, I don't attempt to 'build relationships' or make them think I'm cool or funny or try to be 'edgy', I don't lower the standards of the gospel nor throw out holiness for the sake of 'reaching the unreached', I lovingly and unflinchingly PREACH the gospel to them and that sometimes shaking, sometimes weeping, sometimes YELLING because some of those teens are literally walking on the edge of death. Though that may seem EXTREME to some, many of these teens are convinced that I care even though they reject the gospel.
However I must say that such things are NOT the biggest hurdle, as any minister would testify the most difficult aspect, the most discouraging is the lack of laborers, the lack of people lifting up such things in prayer, the lack of concern shown in the casual attitude of those who ask about such a ministry for a conversation starter (I mean the type who aren't looking for details, just chit-chat).

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