Wednesday, January 31, 2007
"Most evangelical churches have elders; these elders are responsible for the Lord’s flock. My interviews with people who have witnessed their churches being infiltrated by unbiblical teachings and practices have opened my eyes to a serious problem in our evangelical movement: elders who do not think that what is being taught and practiced in their church is important enough to judge biblically. This is serious. In many cases, these elders consider their primary job to be—support the senior pastor and his reputation at all costs. Their secondary job—watch over the financial well being of the church as a corporation. Their tertiary job—make sure no one rocks the boat. Thus, in these elders’ interpretation of their job description, the problem in the church becomes those concerned members who care about the integrity of the gospel message."
Read the rest of the article here.
Tuesday, January 30, 2007
I'd encourage you to listen to this sermon by Tom Chantry at Christ Reformed Baptist Church.
Code Blue: Churched Students and Families
in Final Throes of Worldview Crisis
By Brannon S. Howse
"The church in America is in critical condition. Christian adults and young people alike embody worldviews that are no different from those outside the church. Jesus’ warning in Revelation 3:16 should be ringing in our collective ears: “So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I am going to vomit you out of my mouth” (HCSB). Separation from Christ means spiritual death follows quickly. For that reason, Worldview Weekend has declared CODE BLUE for America’s church. Urgent action is vital, or the vibrant Christian faith we all should be sharing will soon be dead. Studies Show the Real Us Researchers of the problem continue to come up with increasingly grave statistics that explain how serious the condition is. Among Christian adults:
• 64% believe moral truth depends on the situation;
• 60% believe male/female co-habitation outside of marriage is acceptable;
• 55% believe a good person can earn his or her salvation;
• 44% believe Jesus Christ committed sins while on earth.
And consider the peril of college students:
• 67% of college professors approve of homosexuality; • 84% of professors approve of abortion;
• 65% embrace socialist and communist ideals;
• 88% of students from “Christian” homes deny their faith before they graduate from college;
• 91% of students from evangelical churches do not believe in absolute moral truth. Recognizing the life-and-death nature of the issue, the Southern Baptist Convention, to its credit, has even done a self-study and found that 88% of young people from SBC homes deny their faith before they graduate from college."
Read the rest of the article here.
Saturday, January 27, 2007
From Dr. John MacArthur:
"One of the favorite topics on the evangelical agenda these days is how the church should “engage the culture.” Do Christians need to imitate the boorish aspects of a quickly-decaying civilization in order to remain “relevant”? Some evidently think so."
Find the rest of the article here.
In our day, there are lots of "dwelling places" that know not God. People who profess to be Christians but aren't. Even in our churches, so many of us find ourselves wanting to seek out those we perceive to be true converts. We value their fellowship. We welcome them as we would Christ Himself.
This has been a common effort for me in our seeker-sensitive, false gospel days.
As I thought of this, I found 1 John coming to mind. John told his readers how to discern the true from the false. Tests including belief and practice. Tests regarding beliefs about Christ, the practice of God's love and obedience to God's Word.
Does the person profess Jesus as the Messiah? Does the person continue to purify him or herself, or are they content in their flesh? The true "dwelling place of God" will show signs of Who lives there.
Let us be discerning in these days of compromise.
A warning which needs to be repeated is that "the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches," and the lust for other things, will choke out the life of God in us (Matthew 13:22). We are never free from the recurring waves of this invasion. If the frontline of attack is not about clothes and food, it may be about money or the lack of money; or friends or lack of friends; or the line may be drawn over difficult circumstances. It is one steady invasion, and these things will come in like a flood, unless we allow the Spirit of God to raise up the banner against it.
"I say to you, do not worry about your life . . . ." Our Lord says to be careful only about one thing-our relationship to Him. But our common sense shouts loudly and says, "That is absurd, I must consider how I am going to live, and I must consider what I am going to eat and drink." Jesus says you must not. Beware of allowing yourself to think that He says this while not understanding your circumstances. Jesus Christ knows our circumstances better than we do, and He says we must not think about these things to the point where they become the primary concern of our life. Whenever there are competing concerns in your life, be sure you always put your relationship to God first.
"Sufficient for the day is its own trouble" (Matthew 6:34). How much trouble has begun to threaten you today? What kind of mean little demons have been looking into your life and saying, "What are your plans for next month— or next summer?" Jesus tells us not to worry about any of these things. Look again and think. Keep your mind on the "much more" of your heavenly Father (Matthew 6:30).
How often I have to deal with this. Not that I'm worried about God supplying, but letting things crowd God out. By education, I am a computer professional. for the past 6 years I have been working in the health care industry, mostly in nursing. So, I keep up with my "profession" at home. I have projects I do and enjoy.
How often though I find myself consumed by this and having to remind myself this isn't what I'm really here for. After I get good and empty (and sometimes stressed because things aren't the way I want them to be), I stop and realize I've been crowding God out. Then comes repentance and a return to where I should be.
I'm sure that this isn't unusual. I'm certain that we all deal with this. We really want to focus on God all the time but life creeps in and takes over. We are then robbed of our intimacy with God.
Be encouraged. None of us are alone in this. But do what you can to be separate to God.
Friday, January 19, 2007
Is there a balance? Is global warming true? If there is a balance, where is it?
Thursday, January 18, 2007
"Some of today's bio-ethicists claim that if you don't have self-awareness, you don't count as a human being! But that is certainly not ethical, and it contradicts the facts of biology! Can you counter such unfounded bigotry? Learn how, from Dr. D. James Kennedy's guest, Scott Klusendorf, on Truths That Transform."
Here is part one and part two.
NOTE: The above links are now dead. Until I fix this, here are Scott's main points:
1. Size--Men are typically bigger than women, but does this fact give men the right to kill women? Shaquille O'Neil is bigger than me, but that does not make him more human, or give him more value.
2. Level of Development--Four year olds are less developed than 20 year olds, but we recognize both to be equally valuable.
3. Environment--Why does where you are have anything to do with what you are? How does traveling down an 8" birth canal give someone value?
4. Degree of Dependency--Are people on insulin, or the elderly of less value than a healthy 20 year old because the latter is less dependent? Newborns are entirely dependent on their mother. Does this mean they have no value?
Wednesday, January 17, 2007
"The growing influence of the so-called emergent church movement has generated much interest and debate in recent times. As a columnist for the Christian Worldview Network, people often ask me for my take on the emergent church movement. Thus, the purpose of this article is simply to offer my humble perspective on the emergent church movement, based upon my unique firsthand interactions with many of its leaders, many of whom I count as friends in-spite of my disagreements with them. My initial entrance into the emergent church conversation came about six years ago while I was a student in seminary. One of the key figures in Emergent, the official title of the organization that is the primary voice for the emergent church movement, Doug Pagitt (Pastor of Solomon’s Porch in Minneapolis), is a close friend of mine. Doug had a profound influence on my life during his time as my youth pastor when I was in high school. Between my years in youth group and my entrance into seminary, Doug became intimately involved with many of the key movers and shakers who would eventually form the organization, or “generative friendship” as they call it, which is now Emergent. During these formative years of Emergent, actually back then it was called The Terra Nova Project, Doug invited me to many of the early gatherings of this group, it was at these events where I was introduced to and spent much time with people like Brian McLaren, Tony Jones, Pagitt and others. During my interactions with my friends from Emergent, I was challenged both intellectually and spiritually through what I encountered, and I was really forced to wrestle with what I believe and hold dear. Over the course of about three years of fairly regular interaction with members of Emergent and participation in many of their gatherings and events, I became increasingly concerned over what I believe are serious deviations from biblical truth taking place within the Emergent “conversation” (how they refer to the movement). Many other commentators have drawn attention to these dangers within Emergent, but here are some of the key errors that I observed, errors that eventually led to my disengagement with the movement:..."
Read the rest here... See how many of his observations are visible in your church, even if it doesn't claim to be "emergent".
Sunday, January 14, 2007
Come to think of it, you might like this too...it's a review of Rick Warren, his little serial Syrian deception and even includes excerpts from a sermon by Alistair Begg. Seems like Paul's warning in Galatians 1 might be fitting for many prominent "pastors" these days.
Awww shucks -- you've talked me into it; here's a third that includes a discussion of Joel Osteen, who "has no problem not using scripture". Hmmmm.
That usually bothers me, because our conference is being invaded by emergent "christianity" via New Ager Erwin McManus through Bethel Seminary. And of course, if our conference had a problem with it, he wouldn't be there. Enough said. No surprise, the Southern Baptist Conference is buying into this garbage, and they have (historically) been more conservative than the BGC.
Then of course is the influence of Rick Warren on our conference. Seems like there is no escaping the error of warrenism.
At our church lately one would be able to easily hear the influences of Rick Warren's marketing techniques. Hearing about how we need to "bring them in and wow them" and such. No, that isn't what Sunday morning is about. On another Sunday morning, we heard about how, when a visitor pulls into our parking lot, we have ten minutes to convince them to come back. Give me a break!
Then this morning, I heard a testimony from two people who went to Africa to spend time with a missionary there from our conference. What did I hear about? The spread of the Gospel? The proclaimation of God's saving message? No. What did hear the most? HIV, AIDS, getting test kits from the U.N. and how polygamy is common there but "we weren't there to make them Americans" or something like that. silliness. I heard alot about helping people with AIDS, (and I'm for that) but little or nothing about the saving message of repentance and faith being given to these people. Just alot of talk about doing alot so maybe one day they can hear the gospel.
I hope they live long enough to hear it. And who are we to assume that any given person will be here tomorrow to hear a gospel that we wont give them today?
So when I heard them say this guy from our conference was preaching today, I was tempted to think "here we go again". Well, I have to admit, I was pleasantly surprised, and a bit comforted in my recent struggles.
I'm not saying it was exegetically perfect or that I agreed with it. One text was Ephesians 6:17 and 18. When he explained "the sword of the spirit" he said it means the Bible...and of course, he had everyone hold up their "sword". No, the word there means a specific verse which is appropriate for a given situation, not the Bible in entirity. The "word" which Paul speaks about there is the specific utterance for close combat in spiritual warfare. We don't chase the Devil with a bible. We give specific utterances such as Jesus did during his trial in the wilderness.
But I was thankful for the rest of his message. He took his other text from Acts 1, where the disciples and others, including women, were in prayer. This was the "between time" between the ascention and Pentecost, the birth of the Church.
And in this in between time during the Church age, we need to pray in the same way. As Paul said, in the Spirit.
The point of the sermon was "Pray the scriptures". Simple message. But he was dead on. And in a day where we hear so much garbage about "seekers" and "felt needs" we hear so little about the need for corporate prayer. His challenge to us, and mine to you, is to begin praying the scriptures. Maybe the Psalms. There are lots of great prayers in the works of Paul. Let us use them, for ourselves, each other and those outside Christ.
So I give thanks to the Lord for the encouragement I received this morning. No, I didn't agree with everything he said. But the message was timely. For me and so many of us.
Friday, January 12, 2007
When a 14 month old, 15 pound peke-a-poo says you're going down, you're going down.
This past week has been a challenge for other reasons as well which I won't go into at this time.
And of course there is news with the new congress. "Hate Crimes" legislation (as if hatred of some sort isn't involved in all crimes), "Lobbying reform" which would silence anyone who reaches 500 people or more with nothing more than an appeal to "call your congressman" (including, of course, examptions for large coporations and labor unions), a possible revival of the "fairness doctrine" and an attempt to expand monetary support for embryonic stem cell research (aka "infanticide in the name of scientific research").
If you haven't heard this stuff being discussed, listen to VCY America. It's all there. Janet Folger's Faith2Action web site is also a good source.
And I've been battling a really bad cold now for the past few days, but am improving.
I've had a number of biblical topics wandering through my head over the past week, but alas never had the opportunity to write them down. But I'm sure they'll come back around. Basic topics such as the practicality of true saving faith. I need to get my old Handspring PDA working again (can't find my charger and data cable!). Then I'd be taking more notes!
Thanks for your ongoing prayers.
Oh, today on Crosstalk Vic discussed (in part) the ongoing trials of Chaplain Gordon Klingenschmitt, who has been dismissed from the Navy for praying in Jesus' name. What this means is that this hero of the faith is now put in a very difficult position having lost his pension and healthcare. During the program, I called in and asked if there was any mechanism to send Captain Klingenschmitt financial relief. Vic responded by saying that if you send a check for the chaplain to VCY America, they will forward it to him. Note, however, that there is no support for tax exemption for this. Here is the address Vic gave me over the air:
3434 West Kilbourn Avenue
Milwaukee, WI 53208
The irony is that he won the battle to pray as he did, but was booted out as a retaliatory action afterwords.
As the Lord leads, pray about supporting this man of faith. He needs it!
More later. Again, thanks for your prayers and support.
Friday, January 05, 2007
Got a few minutes? Here's an interesting video by Ray Comfort. Just scroll down and view the video. The fun part is that these young people who believe in evolution defend it just as well as many degreed "scientists" I've heard.
I can't testify about the board game they've come up with and advertise at their site but maybe someone who reads this can give us an evaluation.
Thursday, January 04, 2007
That's my life. Period. I've had enough. There, is that unambiguous enough? Do I need to define the word "is"?
I'm tired of watered down preaching, where funny stories are told followed by a reference to a verse in the bible. Or taking a whole chapter and blowing over it in 30 minutes. It's time to repent and preach the entire counsel of God without apology. God gave us the tools and the brains to delve into the depths of the Word and it is to our shame that we don't do it.
Now, let me additionally recommend to you (as a repeat post) this sermon by Paul Washer, who has gotten it right.
If this convicts you, good. If it angers you, good. If you disagree with it, let me recommend that you examine yourself to see if you are in the faith.
Wednesday, January 03, 2007
Monday, January 01, 2007
"Mike Gendron is an evangelist with Proclaiming the Gospel Ministries. This message was recorded at a Steeling the Mind Bible Conference.
Mike begins by explaining that, unlike the '60's pop song, what the world needs now is not love, but discernment. Why? Because churches today are proclaiming positive, feel-good messages as though all that matters is belief in the historic figure of Jesus Christ.
What is discernment? Discernment is to separate things at their point of difference; to note how things are distinctively different.
What's at stake? The glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, the sanctity of his church, as well as the purity of the gospel.
Mike teaches a number of principles that allow Christians to prevent false teachers from entering the church. This involves discovering the knowledge of God in order to discern the fear of God, examining ourselves to make certain we are in the faith, knowing and proving what the will of God is by renewing our minds and turning from worldliness to godliness, examining everything carefully, and learning how to identify false servants and preachers.
The importance of these principles takes on even greater significance when Mike details what the church truly is, why discernment is dying, along with the six most prominent attacks of Satan on the church."
Here's the link you need to hear this.