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).

Friday, March 5, 2010

Do numbers and popularity mean the BLESSING of God??

It seems odd to pose such a question, because so many Christians say that 'just because a ministry is small doesn't mean God is not blessing them' and they also say 'just because a church is big doesn't mean God is blessing them', yet that's such a difficult statement to believe, when in 'practice' many believers respond quite differently.
How could such a belief exist among those who only read, listen and reference mega-ministries/ministers???
How could such a belief exist among leaders (in conferences and seminaries) who only invite men who have 'achieved' some sort of status through bestselling books, large ministries, and/or a 'one of the fastest/largest ......churches' status???

As A.W. Tozer rightly spoke:
In Christian circles today, the church that can show an impressive quantitative growth is frankly envied and imitated by other ambitious churches. Numbers, size and amounts seem to be very nearly all that matter-with a corresponding lack of emphasis on quality! This is the age of the Laodiceans. The great goddess, Numbers, is worshiped with fervent devotion and all things religious are brought before her for examination. Her Old Testament is the financial report and her New Testament is the membership roll. To these she appeals as the test of spiritual growth and the proof of success or failure in most Christian endeavors. A little acquaintance with the Bible should show this up for the heresy it is. To judge anything spiritual by statistics is to judge by another than scriptural judgment. Yet this is being done every day by ministers, church boards and denominational leaders. And hardly anyone seems to notice the deep and dangerous error!

The sad reality is that such a mindset is NOT limited to the mainstream churches, but is quite common among Reformed/Reforming churches. Such superstars then reach a place where anything questionable in their ministries or lives is 'overruled' by the 'OBVIOUS fruit' that they are producing (NUMBERS).

What's the danger?? (a short list)

  • Divisive hero worship as seen in the Church at Corinth.
  • Faithful ministers and churches who by the pleasure of God have not grown large and are looked down upon and who may indeed struggle with their faithfulness (though they are more faithful).
  • Smaller churches being burdened because they can't possibly do nor afford the things they are being told is 'necessary'.

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