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!

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