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Thursday, February 28, 2008

PREACHER OR SALESMEN?

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Amillennialism 101

I just received a phone call from Matt and he pointed me to a blog that offers many resources that promote Amillennialism. I struggle with Eschatology and will admit that I believe that every system has problems. Most people in America have only been taught the typical Dispensational Premillinial view. I like to expose people to the other views on Eschatology so they can grow in their understanding.

The blog adress is:
http://kimriddlebarger.squarespace.com/

Please take the time to read the articles and look for the audio series on Amillennialism.


Have a great day.
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Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Self-Denial

by Richard Baxter

"If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me." Luke 9:23

You hear ministers tell you of the odiousness and danger and sad effects of sin; but of all the sins that you ever heard of, there is scarce any more odious and dangerous than selfishness; and yet most are never troubled at it, nor sensible of its malignity. My principal request therefore to you is, that as ever you would prove Christians indeed, and be saved from sin and the damnation which follows it—take heed of this deadly sin of selfishness, and be sure you are possessed with true self-denial; and if you have, see that you use and live upon it.

And for your help herein, I shall tell you how your self-denial must be tried. I shall only tell you in a few words, how the least measure of true self-denial may be known: wherever the interest of carnal self is stronger and more predominant habitually than the interest of God, of Christ, of everlasting life, there is no true self-denial or saving grace; but where God's interest is strongest, there self-denial is sincere. If you further ask me how this may be known, briefly thus:

1. What is it that you live for? What is that good which your mind is principally set to obtain? And what is that end which you principally design and endeavor to obtain, and which you set your heart on, and lay out your hopes upon? Is it the pleasing and glorifying of God, and the everlasting fruition of Him? Or is it the pleasing of your fleshly mind in the fruition of any inferior thing? Know this, and you may know whether self or God has the greatest interest in you. For that is your God which you love most, and please best, and would do most for.

2. Which do you most prize—the means of your salvation and of the glory of God, or the means of providing for self and flesh? Do you more prize Christ and holiness, which are the way to God—or riches, honor, and pleasures, which gratify the flesh? Know this, and you may know whether you have true self-denial.

3. If you are truly self-denying, you are ordinarily ruled by God, and His Word and Spirit, and not by the carnal self. Which is the rule and master of your lives? Whose word and will is it ordinarily that prevails? When God draws, and self draws—which do you follow in the tenor of your life? Know this, and you may know whether you have true self-denial.

4. If you have true self-denial, the drift of your lives is carried on in a successful opposition to your carnal self, so that you not only refuse to be ruled by it, and love it as your god—but you fight against it, and tread it down as your enemy. So that you go armed against self in the course of your lives, and are striving against self in every duty. And as others think—it then goes best with them, when self is highest and pleased best; so you will know that then it goes best with you—when self is lowest, and most effectually subdued.

5. If you have true self-denial, there is nothing in this world so dear to you, but on deliberation you would leave it for God. He who has anything which he loves so well that he cannot spare it for God, is a selfish and unsanctified wretch. And therefore God has still put men to it, in the trial of their sincerity, to part with that which was dearest to the flesh. Abraham must be tried by parting with his only son. And Christ makes it His standing rule, "Any of you who does not give up everything he has, cannot be my disciple" (Luke 14:33).
Yet it is true that flesh and blood may make much resistance in a gracious heart; and many a striving thought there may be, before with Abraham we part with a son, or before we can part with wealth or life; but yet on deliberation, self-denial will prevail. There is nothing so dear to a gracious soul, which he cannot spare at the will of God, and the hope of everlasting life. If with Peter we would flinch in a temptation—we should return with Peter in weeping bitterly, and give Christ those lives that in a temptation we denied Him.

6. In a word, true self-denial is procured by the knowledge and love of God, advancing Him in the soul—to debasing of self. The illuminated soul is so much taken with the glory and goodness of the Lord, that it carries him out of himself to God, and as it were estranges him from himself, that he may have communion with God. This makes him vile in his own eyes, and to abhor himself in dust and ashes. It is not a stoical resolution, but the love of God and the hopes of glory—which make him throw away the world, and look contemptuously on all below, so far as they are mere provision for flesh.

Search now, and try your hearts by these evidences, whether you are possessed of this necessary grace of self-denial. O make not light of the matter! For I must tell you that self is the most treacherous enemy, and the most insinuating deceiver in the world! It will be within you when you are not aware of it and will conquer you when you perceive not yourselves much troubled with it. Of all other vices, selfishness is both the hardest to find out and the hardest to cure. Be sure therefore in the first place, that you have self-denial; and then be sure you use it and live in the practice of it.
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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Duties Of Church Members

by John Angell James

These are so numerous and various, that they must be classed under different heads. I do not now intend so much those duties, which they owe in common to God as Christians—as those which they owe to the church, as members. If I was speaking of the former, it would be proper to enumerate, supreme, habitual, practical love to God, Matthew 12:37: unreserved, cheerful, and perpetual devotedness to Christ, Rom. 14:7-9. 1 Cor. 3:23; 6:19, 20. Phil. 1:21: entire and constant dependence on the Holy Spirit, Rom. 3:13, 14, 16, 26. 1 Cor. 6:19. Gal. 5:16, 25: a life of faith. 2 Cor. 5:7. Gal. 2:20: spirituality of mind. Rom. 8:4-6: deadness to the world, Col. 3:2, 3. 1 John 2:15-17. 1 Cor. 7:29-31. 1 John 5:4: heavenly mindedness, Col. 3:2, 3. Phil. 3:20, 21: supreme regard to eternity, 2 Cor. 4:16-18, 5:1-4: separation from the world, 2 Cor. 6:17, 18. Rom. 12:1, 2: universal and high toned morality, Phil. 4:7. 2 Peter 3:10-14: eminent social excellence in all the relative duties of life, Ephes. 5, 6: all the gentle and passive virtues, Matt. 5; Ephes. 5:26-32: diligent attendance on all the means of grace, Heb. 10:25. O, what a character is that of a consistent Christian, how holy and heavenly, how meek, how gentle, how benevolent, how just, how devout, how useful, how happy!! "Lord, who is sufficient for these things?" "My grace is sufficient for you."

But I now enumerate the duties which belong to church members as such—

I. There are solemn duties which members owe to the pastor.

Love and affection for his work's sake. 1 Thess. 5:12, 13. Submission to his authority as the servant of Christ, appointed to enjoin obedience to the precepts of our Lord, and to rule his church. Heb. 13:17.

Constant, punctual, and devout attendance on his ministrations, not neglecting him for others, not led by curiosity to indulge a rambling taste for novelty. Heb. 13:7. 2 Tim. 4:3, 4.

Provision for his temporal comfort. Gal. 6:6. 1 Tim. 5:17. 1 Cor. 9:13, 14.

Tender regard for his reputation. Phil. 2:9.

Cooperation with him in all his scriptural and judicious schemes for the good of the church, or the spread of religion in the world. 2 Cor. 1, 2. Phil. 4:3. Rom. 16:2, 3, 4,-12. 3 John 5-8.

Sympathy with him in his personal, relative, and official sorrows and anxieties. Acts 28:15.

Earnest and constant prayer. 2 Cor. 1:12. Ephes. 6:19. Philip. 1:19. 1 Thess. 5:25.

Deep and constant interest in the success of his ministerial labors.

II. There are solemn duties which the members owe to each other.

The bond which unites the members of a Christian church is a very sacred and very tender one. It is altogether peculiar; there is nothing like it in the world. It is not a tie of interest or blood kinship, or mere friendship, but of holy love: they are all one in Christ, and are therefore to regard one another for Christ's sake, as well as for their own.

1. There is a duty of reciprocal love. The whole system of the gospel is a system of love: God is love, and redemption is a manifestation of his love; Christ is love incarnate; and His religion is love, love to God for his own sake, love to man for God's sake, and love to Christians for Christ's sake. All who make a profession of such a religion should therefore be distinguished by its characteristic feature, and shine forth in the mild beauty of holy love. This is enjoined upon us in many parts of the New Testament: "Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love." Rom. 12:10. "Let brotherly love continue." Heb. 13:1. A Christian church is a society of brothers, and they ought therefore to love as brothers. But how is this love to show itself?

By a feeling of deep interest in each other, not only as belonging to the church universal, but to that particular branch of it with which we are in direct association and communion.

By bearing with each other's infirmities of manner, temper, and ignorance, and neither despising each other for those infirmities, magnifying, misrepresenting, nor reporting them. "We then who are strong ought to bear with the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves."

By sympathizing with each other in our sorrows and cares, "Weeping with those that weep." We ought to visit one another in sickness, or any personal or family trouble of mind, or estate. Without being meddling or obtrusive, we certainly ought to feel it our duty to offer to the afflicted our kind condolence. This is "bearing one another's burthens, and so fulfilling the law of Christ."

By relieving each other's temporal needs. How explicit is the language of the apostle: "Distributing to the needs of saints, given to hospitality." Perhaps there is scarcely one duty more neglected by Christians than this. The richer members of our churches are strangely neglectful of their poorer brethren. It is true that considerable caution is necessary, lest the poor should be induced to desire to enter into church fellowship for the sake of having their temporal needs relieved; against this danger, however, our mode of admission is a sufficient check. The monthly contribution at the Lord's supper is not, in most cases, what it ought to be. It is oftentimes matter of surprise and grief to the deacons, who carry round the plates, to see how many pass it on without adding a farthing to its contents, from whom, too, better things might be expected. Every single member, however poor, not excepting even those who are relieved from the church fund, ought to put something into the plate, if it were only a single penny. But the richer members should not satisfy themselves with what they do at the Lord's supper for their poorer brethren; but ought, especially the females, to make themselves personally acquainted with the condition and needs of the poor, in order to supply them.

How striking is the language which Christ represents himself as addressing to his people at the last day: "For I was hungry and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty and you gave Me nothing to drink; I was a stranger and you didn't take Me in; I was naked and you didn't clothe Me, sick and in prison and you didn't take care of Me.' Then they too will answer, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or without clothes, or sick, or in prison, and not help You?' Then He will answer them, 'I assure you: Whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for Me either.'" (Matthew 25:42-45)

2. Reciprocal watchfulness is another duty that church members owe to one another. "Am I my brother's keeper?" is a question which no church member should ever allow himself to ask: for we are united in fellowship for the very purpose of endeavoring to watch and care for each other. The pastor is appointed to take the oversight of the church; but this by no means relieves the church from the duty of also taking the oversight of itself. How utterly impossible is it for one man efficiently to watch over several hundred members! How can the members of the church really love one another, if they do not in some measure watch over one another? Can we pretend to love a person, and yet not warn him of the danger into which we see him running? Is it compatible with affection never to warn or admonish those who are in imminent peril? Even the Old Testament enjoins this duty in the following striking language: "You shall not hate your brother in your heart; you shall rebuke your neighbor, and not allow sin upon him." This duty is still more explicitly enjoined in the New Testament, "Comfort yourselves together, and edify one another. Now we exhort you, brethren, warn those who are unruly, comfort the feeble minded, support the weak, be patient towards all men." This was addressed to church members, not to church officers. If any one sees his brother living in the known neglect of an obvious duty, or in the commission of a known sin, or in a careless and lukewarm manner; it is his duty, in a spirit of true humility, meekness, and affection, to mention it to him. This, however, it must be admitted, is an extremely difficult and delicate matter, and ought not to be attempted in any case, but in a spirit of the purest love, and in a manner the most gentle, unassuming, and inoffensive. All appearance of officiousness, superiority or dictation; all that savors of accusation, scolding, and reproach, must be avoided, for such things instead of producing conviction will only excite irritation.

Except in rare cases, this is a duty which ought generally to be performed by the old towards the young, and the experienced towards the inexperienced, and by superiors towards inferiors. Still no man, whatever be his situation, ought to be offended in being told in a kind, humble, and delicate manner, of his faults. Every man in whom is the meek and humble spirit of the gospel is ready to say with David, "Let the righteous smite me, it shall be a kindness; and let him reprove me, it shall be as excellent oil, which shall not break my head." To give warning and reproof, and to take it in a right spirit and manner, are both difficult; but yet, for all that, incumbent duties.

3. Reciprocal helpfulness is another duty of church members, and another end of church fellowship. We all need assistance in the way to glory, not only from God, but as his instruments—from each other; and we are associated together for this purpose. This appears to be plainly our duty from 1 Thess. 5:11, "Therefore, comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as you also do. Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feeble minded, support the weak." Nothing can be more plain than that the members of a church are to help their fellow-members in their spiritual course, in such manner and measure as their circumstances may allow; by promoting religious conversation, by uniting with them in social prayer, encouraging their hopes, dissipating their sorrows, instructing their ignorance, removing their doubts, and promoting their edification. O how much were it to be desired that they could all be baptized into the spirit of that holy love: "Love is patient; love is kind. Love does not envy; is not boastful; is not conceited; does not act improperly; is not selfish; is not provoked; does not keep a record of wrongs; finds no joy in unrighteousness, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things." (1 Corinthians 13:4-7)

III. There are duties which the members owe to the church in its collective capacity.

They ought to take a deep interest in its welfare. They should not of course, cherish a sectarian spirit, an exclusive feeling of separation from the church universal, from other denominations of real Christians, or other congregations of their own denomination. But they should consider the church with which they are united as the special object of their interest, affectionate solicitude, and fervent prayer. They should attend all its meetings, when convenience will allow. They should endeavor to promote its welfare by leading suitable people into its communion. They should in an especial manner do all they can to preserve or restore its peace. If they know any of the brethren in a state of alienation or strife, they should do nothing to fan the coals of contention, but all they can to extinguish the unholy fire. They should never lend their ear to the tale bearer, and sower of discord, but discourage him.

They should never connect themselves with those who on any occasion are seeking factiously to make a party in the church, either on the ground of dissatisfaction with the pastor's labors, or the church's decisions in matter of discipline. The peace of the church should lie so near their hearts, that for the sake of it, they should be willing to make any sacrifice of feeling, and any surrender of their own will, except in matters of truth and conscience. They should consider a spirit of cabal, and party, and faction, as a species of high treason against the well-being of the church. "Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of the Lord Jesus, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no division among you; but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind, and in the same judgment." "Mark those who cause divisions and offences, contrary to the doctrines which you have learned, and avoid them." "All of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility." "Let nothing be done through strife or vain glory, but in lowliness of mind, let each esteem others better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others." "Pray for the peace of Jerusalem; they shall prosper, who love you. Peace be within your walls and prosperity within your palaces. For my brethren and companions' sakes, I will now say, Peace be within you. Because of the house of the Lord our God, I will seek your good."

IV. The duties of church members to Christians of other congregations and other denominations.
With Christians of other congregations of their own denomination, it is their duty to keep up friendly fellowship and to be ever ready to cooperate with them in every proper scheme for the promotion of the gospel in general, or the good of their own denomination in particular; avoiding at the same time all feelings of envy and jealousy, and all expressions in reference to their respective ministers or churches, in the smallest degree calculated to produce hostility or alienation. Towards other denominations that agree with us in the fundamental truths of the gospel, there should be a charitable forbearance of those things wherein they differ from us; a belief that they are as conscientious in their views, as we are in ours; a candid respect for their conscience, combined with an opposition to their opinions; an abstinence from all ridicule, sarcasm, and bitterness, though at the same time a readiness, on suitable occasions, by reason and persuasion, to convince them and the world of their errors; a unity of spirit with them as fellow Christians: a love to them for the sake of the truth which is in them; and a willingness not only to blend with them in the fellowship of private life, but to cooperate with them in all those public objects which admit of union without compromise. "John said to Him, "Teacher, we saw someone driving out demons in Your name, and we tried to stop him because he wasn't following us." "Don't stop him," said Jesus, "for whoever is not against us is for us." "Grace be with all those who love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity." "Who are you that judge another man's servant? To his own master he stands or falls. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind." "We then that are strong, ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let everyone please his neighbor for his good to his edification."

V. Duties of church members in reference to the world.

It is their manifest duty to pay all due respect and obedience to civil governors in secular affairs, honoring the king, upholding the constitution, observing the laws, paying all lawful taxes, and never defrauding the revenue, nor in any way obstructing the administration of public justice. While at the same time they may lawfully exercise all their rights and enjoy all their privileges as citizens of a free state, in such peaceable and orderly manner as they believe will be for the benefit of their country; and remembering that as it is by God that kings reign, and princes decree justice, it is their duty to sanctify their loyalty and their patriotism, by earnest prayer for their king and country. Rom. 13; 1 Tim. 2:1-3; 1 Peter 2:12-17.

It is no less the duty of church members meekly, but firmly to refuse obedience to all laws that are manifestly in opposition to the Word of God. Acts. 4:18,19.

Towards the world they owe all the ordinary duties of social life; and it should be their especial care, in all their transactions with the ungodly, to manifest the utmost kindness, the most transparent morality of every kind, the greatest courtesy, the most conciliatory spirit, and throughout the whole of their demeanor, avoiding everything that is in the smallest degree inconsistent, that savors of spiritual pride, or that looks like contempt, or conscious moral superiority. "Walking in wisdom towards those that are outside."

It is the duty of church members to avoid what are called worldly amusements, such as theatrical representations, card playing, balls, and all kinds of gambling, frequenting taverns, fashionable concerts of music, private dancing parties, and fashionable games, and oratorios: for although some of these entertainments may not be demoralizing, yet they abate seriousness and spirituality, promote levity and frivolity of mind, are a great waste of time, and are a part of that conformity to the world in which Christians are forbidden to indulge. It is a sad proof of little or no true vital piety, when people feel it a hardship to be debarred by their profession from such engagements. 2 Cor. 6:17; Rom. 12:2.

Nor ought real Christians to intermarry with worldly and unconverted people. "She is at liberty," says the apostle, "to marry whom she will—but only in the Lord." This law of Christ is strangely forgotten in the present day; and to the neglect of it may be attributed in a great measure, the low state of religion in the hearts of many professors.

It is the solemn duty of church members to seek the conversion of the world to Christ. Every church ought to be a home and foreign missionary society within itself, and every professing Christian should consider himself converted to seek the conversion of others. "From you;" said the apostle to the Thessalonian church, "sounded out the word of the Lord, not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith to Godward is spread abroad." A similar testimony should be borne to every church.

Such then are the solemn and incumbent duties of all who have made a profession of piety, and taken upon them the name of Christ. Let them often read over this Manual of their obligations, be humbled that they have lived so far below the standard of their duty, and beg renewed grace from God, to live more and more to his glory.
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Monday, February 25, 2008

PREPARATION FOR DEATH

by Archibald Alexander


You are placed in solemn circumstances. Eternity rolls its boundless waves just before you! Every year, every month, every week, every day, every hour lessens the distance between you and the unchangeable state to which you are hastening. The precise moment of your entrance into this untried, unknown world is hidden from you. Death often comes and knocks at the door at a time when least expected. At a time when men think not--they receive the awful summons. And often they are hurried away, little time being allowed for preparation. Many, while they know they must die at some time, never in their lives think seriously of the matter. When the summons reaches them, they are taken by surprise. It is practically a new subject; they are alarmed, and filled with consternation. They cling to hope as long as there is a ray of hope that they may be spared a little longer. But when it is announced to the unhappy sufferer that there is no hope of recovery—that the physician has given him up, O what a poignant anguish pierces the soul! Who can describe the horror by which the guilty sinner is overwhelmed?

Are you prepared for death? Some one is perhaps ready to say, "I am no worse than my neighbors. I have never done anything very bad. I have tried to live a good life; I hope that I shall find favor of the Lord when I come to die." And is this all the ground of hope you have? Are you willing to appear before the solemn judgment with no better righteousness than this? Though you may have lived a decent moral life, yet you have failed to love God with all your heart. His service you have habitually neglected. The offers of mercy made in the gospel you have rejected. Unless you obtain a better preparation, your soul will be lost, and your misery will be great. And though you may be in no worse a condition than many of your neighbors, yet it will be small alleviation, when enduring the torments of the damned, that many others are in the same condemnation. No doubt they that perish will have company enough, but this will be no alleviation, but perhaps an aggravation of their misery. "Wide is the gate and broad is the way which leads to destruction, and many there be that go in thereat." The Judge is at the door. Be therefore ready.
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MONDAY NIGHT THOUGHTS

I hope everyone had a great Lord's Day and a wonderful time in the word at your church.

Monday nights I usually take it easy since I spent over 3 hours teaching on Sunday.

I thought I would take a few moments and point people to a few interesting articles and news stories.

Chuck Colson: Muslims are 'Better Theologians' than American Christians

Chuck Colson, founder of Prison Fellowship, says radical Muslims would make better theologians than most Christians in America.

In his new book, The Faith, the prominent evangelical observes that radical Islamists have a better understanding of the Muslim faith than most Christians in America have of Christianity.
A study by Barna Group shows that 60 percent of Americans fail to name five of the Ten Commandments, cites Colson in his book.


To read the rest of the story follow this link:
Christians


Colson calls American church back to basics

A leading evangelical Christian says the church in America is being seduced by the comforts of modern culture. And life should be a pursuit of holiness and not happiness, says Chuck Colson.

In his newest book The Faith, Colson says many Christians in America do not have a proper view of sin, redemption, mercy, and grace. He believes many Christians cannot defend their faith because they do not know what they believe -- nor do they have a right view of the role of the church.

To read the rest of the article follow this link:
Church

Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormons fastest-growing 'churches' in US

The two fastest-growing church bodies in the United States and Canada, according to a newly published report, are ones whose beliefs are known to conflict with traditional Christian teaching.

Jehovah's Witnesses and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, regarded by many Christians as cults, reported the largest membership increases in a year, according to the National Council of Churches' 2008 Yearbook of American & Canadian Churches.

Although Jehovah's Witnesses currently rank 25th in size with over 1.06 million members, they reported a 2.25 per cent increase in membership since the publication of the 2007 Yearbook.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints – also known as the Mormon church – grew 1.56 per cent and is listed by the NCC as the fourth largest 'church'. ...

To read the rest of the article follow this link: Growth


A story that was more personal to me was about the death of Larry Norman

Many readers may have no idea who he was so let me provide some background:

Larry David Norman (April 8, 1947February 24, 2008

was an American musician, singer, songwriter and producer. Norman's recordings are noted for their Christian and social subject matter, and he is often described as the "father of Christian rock music". Norman has also been described as having had a significant influence on many artists, secular and religious.

Norman had long been associated with what has been referred to as the Jesus People movement of the late 1960s and early 1970s, although it has been reported that "he did not particularly identify himself with the youth–oriented 'Jesus movement' of the time".

I have sitting before me as I type a copy of the album, Only Visiting This Planet by Larry Norman. I have listened to this album a hundred times easily.

Here some information about the album:
Only Visiting This Planet is the title of an album recorded by Larry Norman in 1972. The album has been voted "The Best Contemporary Christian Album of All Time" by CCM Magazine
contributing editors[1].


Here is th message that Larry posted on his website on the 23 Feburary 2008:

feel like a prize in a box of cracker jacks with God's hand reaching down to pick me up. I have been under medical care for months. My wounds are getting bigger. I have trouble breathing. I am ready to fly home. I won't be here much longer. I can't do anything about it. My heart is too weak. I want to say goodbye to everyone. In the past you have generously supported me with prayer and finance and we will probably still need financial help. My plan is to be buried in a simple pine box with some flowers inside. I'd like to push back the darkness with my bravest effort. There will be funeral information posted on my website, in case some of you want to attend. We are not sure of the date when I will die. Goodbye, farewell, we will meet again.

He influenced music in a mighty way and sadly many have no idea who he is.

Christ is the most bountiful physician. Christ elevates all his patients: he doth not only cure them, but crown them (Rev. 2:10). Christ doth not only raise them from the bed, but to the throne;he gives the sick man not only health, but also heaven."-Thomas Watson

Steve Camp has posted a very good article about Larry. You can read it at this link:
Norman


Everyone have a great night
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More From Cotton Mather

Taken from A sermon titled "what must I do to be saved?"


by Cotton Mather




Awake up my soul! the awful day.

Is coming swiftly on,

When thou must leave this House of Clay,

And fly to Worlds unknown.

Oh! do not pass thy Life in Dreams,

To be surpriz'd by Death:

And drop unthinking down to Flames,

When I resign my Breath.

No: every day thy Course review,

Thy real State to learn:

And with an ardent Zeal pursue

Thy Great and Chief concern.

Rouze all the man: thy Work is great,

And all the man demands;

Thine Head, thine Heart, thy Breath, thy Sweat,

Thy Strength and both thine Hands.

Oh! let the important Work be done,

Done whilst 'tis call'd to Day.

Lest thou the time of Hope out-run,

And rue the mad Delay.

Repent (my soul) Believe and Pray:

Bid every lust farewell.

To thy Redeemer haste away,

And scape from Death and Hell.

To whom Dear Jesus, should I live

To whom but Thee alone.

Thou didst at first my being give,

And I am all Thine own.

To Thee I'll then my self devote,

My Life and all my Pow'rs.

Each warm affection, busy thought,

And all my passing Hours.

O Let those glorious Hopes refine,

And elevate my Soul.

To heavenly Things my Heart incline,

And meaner Joys control.

May Faith and Hope stretch all their wings,

And bear me up on high;

And as I mount may Earthly Things,

Below unheeded lie.

JESUS my Saviour and my God,

My Life and Sacrifice,

My Hopes deep founded in thy Blood,

Raise far above the skies.

Prepare me, Lord, for thy Right Hand,

Then come the joyful Day:

Come Death, and come Celestial band,

To bear my Soul away.

F I N I S
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Sunday, February 24, 2008

The “New” Atheists

The Following is from Stand To Reason

The “New” Atheists

There has been an attack on religion.

Christopher Hitchens, God Is Not Great—How Religion Poisons EverythingDaniel Dennett, Breaking the Spell—Religion as Natural PhenomenonRichard Dawkins, The God DelusionSam Harris, The End of Faith—Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason and Letter to a Christian Nation

These guys are really angry.

There’s really nothing new about the “new” atheism, except the attitude. The new twist: Theists are dangerous.

“Faith is one of the world’s great evils, comparable to the smallpox virus but harder to eradicate,” writes Richard Dawkins, author of The God Delusion.

“Religion is capable of driving people to such dangerous folly that faith seems to me to qualify as a kind of mental illness.”

According to Sam Harris, author of The End of Faith, religion is so bad it should be eradicated just like slavery was eradicated: “I would be the first to admit that the prospects for eradicating religion in our time do not seem good. Still the same could have been said about efforts to abolish slavery at the end of the eighteenth century.”

These writers have tremendous emotional appeal.

Two aspects of dealing with these new aggressive atheists (both are hard):

1. The argument
2. The interplay, the gamesmanship, the footwork

Regarding number two: I can dispatch a good portion of Christopher Hitchens’s analysis of religion with one statement: Ridicule (or sneering, or swearing) is not an argument. Hitchens regularly employs ad hominems, red herrings, hasty generalizations, ridicule, and fallacies of all sorts.

The argument is a little different. The details and claims are important. You have probably heard this statement thrown around pretty regularly today: More wars have been fought and more blood as been shed in the name of religion than anything else. It is the greatest cause of evil in the world.

Here are four quick points to correct the record.

First, the crimes themselves have often been misconstrued or exaggerated.
Second, the greatest evil in the world has actually come from those who deny God’s existence.
Third, Christianity cannot be held responsible when Christians do un-Christian things.
Finally, Christianity’s real record of good is without peer in world history.

Christianity, properly understood, is a cause for good and not evil in the world. The problem isn’t religion; it’s religious error: either false religion, or true religion improperly or inconsistently applied.

This evidence gets to one of the standard argument that these new atheists put forward. But to stand against them you need the skill of an ambassador to see through the smokescreen of their attitude. Employ the tactic "Just the Facts, Ma'am" when the critic makes factual claims. Often, it's easy to correct these with a little research.


Recently Greg Koukl of Stand To Reason Ministries spoke on this subject:

You can purchase the MP3 files of the lecture at this link: Atheist

If anyone listens to the lectures please write a review of them and post it in the comments section here or e-mail me at: tsrk30@sbcglobal.net
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Saturday, February 23, 2008

CHRISTIAN T.V.

Everyone knows that having a T.V brings about certain challenges. What should you watch and what should you not watch. Having a family makes this even more difficult. In fact most christian struggle with how much time they watch T.V. and the programs they watch that they probably know they shouldn't. I think most Christians struggle with this. Sky Angel is a christian T.V. service. I don't know if it can solve all the questions about T.V but I think it is at least worth talking about.

Sky Angel offers you a positive television and radio alternative 24 hours a day with 30 Christian television channels, 20 Christian radio channels and as many as 20 popular family, news and educational channels. Plus have access to our expanding library of Video On Demand faith and family titles.

Sky Angel is received through what is knows as IPTV (Internet Protocol TV)
This simply means it comes through the Internet. It is for your T.V not your computer.


To watch a video about the service follow this link:

Sky Angel


Here is a list of channels that are available through Sky Angel

Click here for a quick overview of Sky Angel's Faith programming.

Click here for an overview of Sky Angel's Family programming.

Click here for an overview of Sky Angel's Faith and Family channel lineups.

They also offer a great Video on Demand Library:

Click here to browse our Video On Demand library.

I ordered the service on Friday. When the equipment arrives I will post a detailed review with pictures.
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Tuesday, February 19, 2008

A Father's Resolutions

by Cotton Mather



PARENTS, Oh! how much ought you to be continually devising for the good of your children! Often device how to make them "wise children"; how to give them a desirable education, an education that may render them desirable; how to render them lovely and polite, and serviceable in their generation. Often devise how to enrich their minds with valuable knowledge; how to instill generous, gracious, and heavenly principles into their minds; how to restrain and rescue them from the paths of the destroyer, and fortify them against their peculiar temptations. There is a world of good that you have to do for them. You are without the natural feelings of humanity if you are not in a continual agony to do for them all the good that ever you can. It was no mistake of an ancient writer to say, "Nature teaches us to love our children as ourselves."


RESOLVED—

1. At the birth of my children, I will resolve to do all I can that they may be the Lord's. I will now actually give them up by faith to God; entreating that each child may be a child of God the Father, a subject of God the Son, a temple of God the Spirit—and be rescued from the condition of a child of wrath, and be possessed and employed by the Lord as an everlasting instrument of His glory.

2. As soon as my children are capable of minding my admonitions, I will often, often admonish them, saying, "Child, God has sent His son to die, to save sinners from death and hell. You must not sin against Him. You must every day cry to God that He would be your Father, and your Saviour, and your Leader. You must renounce the service of Satan, you must not follow the vanities of this world, you must lead a life of serious religion.

3. Let me daily pray for my children with constancy, with fervency, with agony. Yea, by name let me mention each one of them every day before the Lord. I will importunately beg for all suitable blessings to be bestowed upon them: that God would give them grace, and give them glory, and withhold no good thing from them; that God would smile on their education, and give His good angels the charge over them, and keep them from evil, that it may not grieve them; that when their father and mother shall forsake them, the Lord may take them up. With importunity I will plead that promise on their behalf: "The Heavenly Father will give the Holy Spirit unto them that ask Him." Oh! happy children, if by asking I may obtain the Holy Spirit for them!

4. I will early entertain the children with delightful stories out of the Bible. In the talk of the table, I will go through the Bible, when the olive-plants about my table are capable of being so watered. But I will always conclude the stories with some lessons of piety to be inferred from them.

5. I will single out some Scriptural sentences of the greatest importance; and some also that have special antidotes in them against the common errors and vices of children. They shall quickly get those golden sayings by heart, and be rewarded with silver or gold, or some good thing, when they do it. Such as,

Psalm 11:10—"The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom."

Matthew 16:26—"What is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?"

1 Timothy 1:15—"Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief."

Matthew 6:6—"When thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret."

Ephesians 4:25—"Putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour."

Romans 12:17, 19—"Recompense to no man evil for evil . . .. Dearly beloved, avenge not
yourselves."

6. Jewish treatise tells us that among the Jews, when a child began to speak, the father was bound to teach him Deuteronomy 33:4—"Moses commanded us a law, even the inheritance of the congregation of Jacob." Oh! let me early make my children acquainted with the Law which our blessed Jesus has commanded us! 'Tis the best inheritance I can give them.

7. I will cause my children to learn the Catechism. In catechizing them, I will break the answers into many lesser and proper questions; and by their answer to them, observe and quicken their understandings. I will bring every truth into some duty and practice, and expect them to confess it, and consent unto it, and resolve upon it. As we go on in our catechizing, they shall, when they are able, turn to the proofs and read them, and say to me what they prove and how. Then, I will take my times, to put nicer and harder questions to them; and improve the times of conversation with my family (which every man ordinarily has or may have) for conferences on matters of religion.

8. Restless will I be till I may be able to say of my children, "Behold, they pray!" I will therefore teach them to pray. But after they have learnt a form of prayer, I will press them to proceed unto points that are not in their form. I will charge them with all possible cogency to pray in secret; and often call upon them, "Child, I hope, you don't forget my charge to you, about secret prayer: your crime is very great if you do!"

9. I will do what I can very early to beget a temper of kindness in my children, both toward one another and toward all other people. I will instruct them how ready they should be to share with others a part of what they have; and they shall see my encouragements when they discover a loving, a courteous, an helpful disposition. I will give them now and then a piece of money, so that with their own little hands they may dispense unto the poor. Yea, if any one has hurt them, or vexed them, I will not only forbid them all revenge, but also oblige them to do a kindness as soon as may be to the vexatious person. All coarseness of language or carriage in them, I will discountenance.

10. I will be solicitous to have my children expert, not only at reading handsomely, but also at writing a fair hand. I will then assign them such books to read as I may judge most agreeable and profitable; obliging them to give me some account of what they read; but keep a strict eye upon them, that they don't stumble on the Devil's library, and poison themselves with foolish romances, or novels, or plays, or songs, or jests that are not convenient. I will set them also, to write out such things as may be of the greatest benefit unto them; and they shall have their blank books, neatly kept on purpose, to enter such passages as I advise them to. I will particularly require them now and then to write a prayer of their own composing, and bring it unto me; that so I may discern what sense they have of their own everlasting interests.

11. I wish that my children may as soon as may be, feel the principles of reason and honor working in them—and that I may carry on their education, very much upon those principles. Therefore, first, I will wholly avoid that harsh, fierce, crabbed usage of the children that would make them tremble and abhor to come into my presence. I will treat them so that they shall fear to offend me, and yet mightily love to see me, and be glad of my coming home if I have been abroad at any time. I will have it looked upon as a severe and awful punishment to be forbidden for awhile to come into my presence. I will raise in them an high opinion of their father's love to them, and of his being better able to judge what is good for them than they are for themselves. I will bring them to believe 'tis best for them to be and do as I will have them. Hereupon I will continually magnify the matter to them, what a brave thing 'tis to know the things that are excellent; and more brave to do the things that are virtuous. I will have them to propose it as a reward of their well-doing at any time, I will now go to my father, and he will teach me something that I was never taught before. I will have them afraid of doing any base thing, from an horror of the baseness in it. My first response to finding a lesser fault in them shall be a surprise, a wonder, vehemently expressed before them, that ever they should be guilty of doing so foolishly; a vehement belief that they will never do the like again; a weeping resolution in them, that they will not. I will never dispense a blow, except it be for an atrocious crime or for a lesser fault obstinately persisted in; either for an enormity, or for an obstinacy. I will always proportion the chastisements to the miscarriages; neither smiting bitterly for a very small piece of childishness nor frowning only a little for some real wickedness. Nor shall my chastisement ever be dispensed in a passion and a fury; but I will first show them the command of God, by transgressing whereof they have displeased me. The slavish, raving, fighting way of discipline is too commonly used. I look upon it as a considerable article in the wrath and curse of God upon a miserable world.

12. As soon as we can, we'll get up to yet higher principles. I will often tell the children what cause they have to love a glorious Christ, who has died for them. And how much He will be well-pleased with their well-doing. And what a noble thing 'tis to follow His example; which example I will describe unto them. I will often tell them that the eye of God is upon them; the great God knows all they do and hears all they speak. I will often tell them that there will be a time when they must appear before the Judgment-Seat of the holy Lord; and they must now do nothing that may then be a grief and shame unto them. I will set before them the delights of that Heaven that is prepared for pious children; and the torments of that Hell that is prepared of old for naughty ones. I will inform them of the good things the good angels do for little ones that have the fear of God and are afraid of sin. And how the devils tempt them to do ill things; how they hearken to the devils, and are like them, when they do such things; and what mischiefs the devils may get leave to do them in this world, and what a sad thing 'twill be, to be among the devils in the Place of Dragons. I will cry to God, that He will make them feel the power of these principles.

13. When the children are of a fit age for it, I will sometimes closet them; have them with me alone; talk with them about the state of their souls; their experiences, their proficiencies, their temptations; obtain their declared consent unto every jot nd tittle of the gospel; and then pray with them, and weep unto the Lord for His grace, to be bestowed upon them, and make them witnesses of the agony with which I am travailing to see the image of Christ formed in them. Certainly, they'll never forget such actions!

14. I will be very watchful and cautious about the companions of my children. I will be very inquisitive what company they keep; if they are in hazard of being ensnared by any vicious company, I will earnestly pull them out of it, as brands out of the burning. I will find out, and procure, laudable companions for them.

15. As in catechizing the children, so in the repetition of the public sermons, I will use this method. I will put every truth into a question to be answered with Yes or No. By this method I hope to awaken their attention as well as enlighten their understanding. And thus I shall have an opportunity to ask, "Do you desire such or such a grace of God?" and the like. Yea, I may have opportunity to demand, and perhaps to obtain their early and frequent (and why not sincere?) consent unto the glorious gospel. The Spirit of Grace may fall upon them in this action; and they may be seized by Him, and held as His temples, through eternal ages.

16. When a Day of Humiliation arrives, I will make them know the meaning of the day. And after time given them to consider of it, I will order them to tell me what special afflictions they have met with, and what good they hope to get by those afflictions. On a Day of Thanksgiving, they shall also be made to know the intent of the Day. And after consideration, they shall tell me what mercies of God unto them they take special notice of, and what duties to God they confess and resolve under such obligations. Indeed, for something of this importance, to be pursued in my conversation with the children, I will not confine myself unto the solemn days, which may occur too seldom for it. Very particularly, on the birthdays of the children, I will take them aside, and mind them of the age which (by God's grace) they are come unto; how thankful they should be for the mercies of God which they have hitherto lived upon; how fruitful they should be in all goodness, that so they may still enjoy their mercies. And I will inquire of them whether they have ever yet begun to mind the work which God sent them into the world upon; how far they understand the work; and what good strokes they have struck at it; and, how they design to spend the rest of their time, if God still continue them in the world.

17. When the children are in any trouble—if they be sick, or pained—I will take advantage therefrom, to set before them the evil of sin, which brings all our trouble; and how fearful a thing it will be to be cast among the damned, who are in ceaseless and endless trouble. I will set before them the benefit of an interest in a CHRIST, by which their trouble will be sanctified unto them, and they will be prepared for death, and for fullness of joy in a happy eternity after death.

18. Among all the points of education which I will endeavor for my children, I hope to see that each of them—the daughters as well as the sons—may gain insight into some skill that lies in the way of gain (however their own inclination may most carry them), so that they may be able to subsist themselves, and get something of a livelihood, in case the Providence of God should bring them into necessities. Why not they as well as Paul the Tent-Maker! The children of the best fashion, may have occasion to bless the parents that make such a provision for them! The Jews have a saying worth remembering: "Whoever doesn't teach his son some trade or business, teaches him to be a thief."

19. As soon as ever I can, I will make my children apprehensive of the main end for which they are to live; that so they may as soon as may be, begin to live; and their youth not be nothing but vanity. I will show them, that their main end must be, to, acknowledge the great God, and His glorious Christ; and bring others to acknowledge Him: and that they are never wise nor well, but when they are doing so. I will make them able to answer the grand question of why they live; and what is the end of the actions that fill their lives? I will teach them that their Creator and Redeemer is to be obeyed in everything, and everything is to be done in obedience to Him. I will teach them how even their diversions, and their ornaments, and the tasks of their education, must all be to fit them for the further service of Him to whom I have devoted them; and how in these also, His commandments must be the rule of all they do. I will sometimes therefore surprise them with an inquiry, "Child, what is this for? Give me a good account of why you do it?" How comfortably shall I see them walking in the light, if I may bring them wisely to answer this inquiry.

20. I will oblige the children to retire sometimes, and ponder on that question: "What shall I wish to have done, if I were now a-dying?"—and report unto me their own answer to the question; of which I will then take advantage, to inculcate the lessons of godliness upon them.

21. If I live to see the children marriageable, I will, before I consult with Heaven and earth for their best accommodation in the married state, endeavor the espousal of their souls unto their only Saviour. I will as plainly, and as fully as I can, propose unto them the terms on which the glorious Redeemer would espouse them to Himself, in righteousness, judgment, and favor and mercies forever; and solicit their consent unto His proposals and overtures. Then would I go on, to do what may be expected from a tender parent for them, in their temporal circumstances."


—Cotton Mather

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Monday, February 18, 2008

MONDAY MORNING

Good morning,

I hope everyone had a great Lord's Day. At Victory Baptist Church I preached on Zechariah 14 last night. I want to post some links to commentaries on this chapter to give people an idea of the diffrent views.

Mattew Henry

John Calvin

John Macarthur

Here are three sermons Spurgeon preached from Zechariah 14

Light at Evening Time

Light at Evening Time The same title but a diffrent sermon

A Peal of Bells

As you read these commentaries and sermons please post your comments here.


Music, I love it but I refuse to argue with christians about it anymore. I have decied that the arguing about music has to be the biggest waste of time in the history of the world! Arguments just go in one big circle and nothing is ever accomplished. In-spite of all the arguing about it people still listen to music and need to be pointed to music that is not filled with filth and that attacks a chrisitan worldview. I will continue to mention music here from time to time but I felt a seprate blog needed to be created that is dedicated to music. The, "Music With A Message" blog has been created. I will be creating post throughout the day so please check the blog out and leave comments. I have a lot of work to do to make the blog look better. If you check it out let me know what you think about the design as it looks right now.
Here is the link: http://www.musicwith.blogspot.com/


Have a great day
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Saturday, February 16, 2008

Hawkins indicted

From KTXS.com

ABILENE -- A Callahan Country grand jury decided Friday that there is enough evidence to try House of Yahweh founder Yisrayl Hawkins for bigamy. Hawkins was arrested Tuesday near his Callahan County compound. The 73-year-old Hawkins is also facing a misdemeanor charge for allegedly breaking child labor laws. Watch the story: Hawkins
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A SONG FOR SATURDAY NIGHT

Good evening everyone,

It is Saturday night and I hope everyone is preparing themselves for worship tomorrow.

I have been listening to an amazing song for the last hour and I think it is perfect for a Saturday night.

The name of the Song is Indescribable by Chris Tomlin:

Please let me know what you think about the song:


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GREAT CONVERSATION

Hello everyone,
Last night I had a great time of fellowship with some other beleivers. We had some very good theological discussions. One issue that came up was that of the Church. Some who were present come from a strong disspensational background. They do not believe that the church is invisible and visible. They would not believe in what is known as the universal church. This is the belief that all beleivers are part of the true church that is to say a part of the invisible church.


















Here is how the confessions of faith of the past would speak of the Church:


The London Baptist Confession of 1644

That Christ hath here on earth a spiritual Kingdom, which is the Church, which he hath purchased and redeemed to himself, as a peculiar inheritance: which Church, as it is visible to us, is a company of visible120 Saints,121 called and separated from the world, by the word and122 Spirit of God, to the visible profession of the faith of the Gospel, being baptized into that faith, and joined to the Lord, and each other, by mutual agreement, in the practical enjoyment of the123 Ordinances, commanded by Christ their head and King.

XXXIV.
To this Church he hath124 made his promises, and given the signs of his Covenant, presence, love, blessing, and protection: here are the fountains and springs of his heavenly grace continually flowing forth;125 thither ought all men to come, of all estates, that acknowledge him to be their Prophet, Priest, and King, to be enrolled amongst his household servants, to be under his heavenly conduct and government, to lead their lives in his walled sheepfold, and watered garden, to have communion here with the Saints, that they may be made to be partakers of their inheritance in the Kingdom of God.


The 1689 London Baptist Confession:

Chapter 26: Of the Church1._____ The catholic or universal church, which (with respect to the internal work of the Spirit and truth of grace) may be called invisible, consists of the whole number of the elect, that have been, are, or shall be gathered into one, under Christ, the head thereof; and is the spouse, the body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all. ( Hebrews 12:23; Colossians 1:18; Ephesians 1:10, 22, 23; Ephesians 5:23, 27, 32 )

2._____ All persons throughout the world, professing the faith of the gospel, and obedience unto God by Christ according unto it, not destroying their own profession by any errors everting the foundation, or unholiness of conversation, are and may be called visible saints; and of such ought all particular congregations to be constituted. ( 1 Corinthians 1:2; Acts 11:26; Romans 1:7; Ephesians 1:20-22 )

3._____ The purest churches under heaven are subject to mixture and error; and some have so degenerated as to become no churches of Christ, but synagogues of Satan; nevertheless Christ always hath had, and ever shall have a kingdom in this world, to the end thereof, of such as believe in him, and make profession of his name. ( 1 Corinthians 5; Revelation 2; Revelation 3; Revelation 18:2; 2 Thessalonians 2:11, 12; Matthew 16:18; Psalms 72:17; Psalm 102:28; Revelation 12:17 )

4._____ The Lord Jesus Christ is the Head of the church, in whom, by the appointment of the Father, all power for the calling, institution, order or government of the church, is invested in a supreme and sovereign manner; neither can the Pope of Rome in any sense be head thereof, but is that antichrist, that man of sin, and son of perdition, that exalteth himself in the church against Christ, and all that is called God; whom the Lord shall destroy with the brightness of his coming. ( Colossians 1:18; Matthew 28:18-20; Ephesians 4:11, 12; 2 Thessalonians 2:2-9 )

5._____ In the execution of this power wherewith he is so intrusted, the Lord Jesus calleth out of the world unto himself, through the ministry of his word, by his Spirit, those that are given unto him by his Father, that they may walk before him in all the ways of obedience, which he prescribeth to them in his word. Those thus called, he commandeth to walk together in particular societies, or churches, for their mutual edification, and the due performance of that public worship, which he requireth of them in the world. ( John 10:16; John 12:32; Matthew 28:20; Matthew 18:15-20 )

6._____ The members of these churches are saints by calling, visibly manifesting and evidencing (in and by their profession and walking) their obedience unto that call of Christ; and do willingly consent to walk together, according to the appointment of Christ; giving up themselves to the Lord, and one to another, by the will of God, in professed subjection to the ordinances of the Gospel. ( Romans. 1:7; 1 Corinthians 1:2; Acts 2:41, 42; Acts 5:13, 14; 2 Corinthians 9:13 )


The Philadelphia Confession, 1742

Chapter 27
Of the Church

The catholic or universal church, which, with respect to the internal work of the Spirit and truth of grace, may be called invisible, consists of the whole number of the elect, that have been, are, or shall be gathered into one, under Christ, the head thereof; and is the spouse, the body, the fulness of Him that filleth all in all.1

All persons throughout the world, professing the faith of the gospel, and obedience unto God by Christ, according unto it, not destroying their own profession by any error, everting the foundation, or unholiness of conversation, are and may be called visible saints;2 and of such ought all particular congregations to be constituted.3

The purest churches under heaven are subject to mixture and error;4 and some have so degenerated as to become no churches of Christ, but synagogues of Satan;5 nevertheless Christ always hath had, and ever shall have, a kingdom in this world, to the end thereof, of such as believe in Him, and make profession of His name.6

The Lord Jesus Christ is the Head of the church in whom, by the appointment of the Father, all power for the calling, institution, order, or government of the church, is invested in a supreme and sovereign manner;7 neither can the Pope of Rome in any sense be head thereof, but is that Antichrist, that man of sin, and son of perdition, that exalteth himself in the church against Christ, and all that is called God; whom the Lord shall destroy with the brightness of His coming.8


Waldensian Confessions of Faith, 1520

4. We believe that there is one holy church, comprising the whole assembly of the elect and faithful, that have existed from the beginning of the world, or that shall be to the end thereof. Of this church the Lord Jesus Christ is the head - it is governed by His word and guided by the Holy Spirit. In the church it behooves all Christians to have fellowship. For her He [Christ] prays incessantly, and His prayer for it is most acceptable to God, without which indeed their could be no salvation.

I could quote from many more but I believe you get the idea.

During our discussion it was mentioned that they believed the term Bride of Christ was to be only used for a local congergation. This term comes from Ephesians 5 in which Paul is speaking about the marriage of a man and a women and he goes on to say:



So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.

For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church:

For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.

For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.

This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.

The Church is spoken of as a wife who is united with her husband. Christ has one bride and that bride is made up of all believers!

Matthew Henery wrote these beautiful words to describe this:

For we are members of his body, of his flesh and of his bones, Ephesians 5:30. He assigns this as a reason why Christ nourishes and cherishes his church--because all who belong to it are members of his body, that is, of his mystical body. Or, we are members out of his body: all the grace and glory which the church has are from Christ, as Eve was taken out of the man. But, as one observes, it being the manner of the sacred writings to express a complex body by the enumeration of its several parts, as the heaven and earth for the world, evening and morning for the natural day, so here, by body, flesh, and bones, we are to understand himself, the meaning of the verse being that we are members of Christ.--For this cause (because they are one, as Christ and his church are one) shall a man leave his father and mother; the apostle refers to the words of Adam, when Eve was given to him for a meet help, Genesis 2:24. We are not to understand by this that a man's obligation to other relations is cancelled upon his marriage, but only that this relation is to be preferred to all others, there being a nearer union between these two than between any others, that the man must rather leave any of those than his wife.--And they two shall be one flesh, that is, by virtue of the matrimonial bond. This is a great mystery, Ephesians 5:32. Those words of Adam, just mentioned by the apostle, are spoken literally of marriage; but they have also a hidden mystical sense in them, relating to the union between Christ and his church, of which the conjugal union between Adam and the mother of us all was a type: though not instituted or appointed by God to signify this, yet it was a kind of natural type, as having a resemblance to it: I speak concerning Christ and the church.


I can respect those who disagree but for me the doctrine of the Church is a beautiful thing. Local congergations are a mix of true believers and unbelivers no matter how careful we may be but in spite of this Christ has a bride that he has redeemed and justified and has washed! That bride is made up of all believers!

Many who read this may disagree and that is ok but I do challenge all to study the doctrine of the church more.

Have a great day.
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Friday, February 15, 2008

A COLD NIGHT

Hello everyone,
It is late Friday night and we have freezing rain outside. Which is not the norm for west Texas. I am beginning to turn my thoughts toward Sunday morning and what I am going to teach. For Sunday school we are studying the Puritan Catechism. We are in part two of the catechism, which is the section about God. If you would like to read the catechism you can at this link: Puritan

Here is the section we are studying:

Q.
What is God?
A. God is Spirit (Jn. 4:24), infinite (Job 11:7), eternal (Ps. 90:2; 1 Tim. 1:17), and unchangeable (Jas. 1:17) in his being (Exod. 3:14), wisdom, power (Ps. 147:5), holiness (Rev. 4:8), justice, goodness and truth (Exod. 34:6-7).

Q.
Are there more Gods than one?
A. There is but one only (Deut. 6:4), the living and true God (Jer. 10:10).

Q.
How many persons are there in the Godhead?
A. There are three persons in the Godhead, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and these three are one God, the same in essence, equal in power and glory (1 Jn. 5:7; Matt. 28:19).

Q.
What are the decrees of God?
A. The decrees of God are his eternal purpose according to the counsel of his own will, whereby for his own glory he has foreordained whatever comes to pass (Eph. 1:11-12).

Q.
How does God execute his decrees?
A. God executes his decrees in the works of creation (Rev. 4:11), and providence (Dan. 4:35).

Q.
What is the work of creation?
A. The work of creation is God's making all things (Gen. 1:1) of nothing, by the Word of his power (Heb. 11:3), in six normal consecutive days (Exod. 20:11), and all very good (Gen. 1:31).

We need to finish question 4 dealing with the attributes of God.

We are working on God’s justice and goodness. We also need to look at the attribute of truth.


A great help in studying the catechism is the book, A Body of Divinity. You can read it online at this link: Divinity

Divinity
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Thursday, February 14, 2008

HOMOSEXUALITY

Good evening everyone,

Last sunday I covered 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 in my sermon. In that text the subject of homosexuality is mentioned. I did not cover the subject in any detail but this subject I plan on covering it carefully. As I have been studying for the sermon I recieved the following in my mailbox:

Exodus Metropolitan Community Church

Palm Sunday at the Paramount
352 Cypress Street, Downtown Abilene, Texas

Your are invited to
Worship 10:30 AM
Rev. Elder Nancy Wilson, Preaching
"For the Bible Tells Me So" 3 PM

Panal Discussion 4:30 PM
"Call Me Troy" 7:30 PM
Meet and Greet Rev. Elder Troy Perry

As soon as I saw the card I knew what this church is about. Notice the name of the church:

Exodus Metropolitan Community Church

does that mean anything to you?

Let me see if I can clarify things for you:

Here is how they describe themselves at their website:

Metropolitan Community Churches (MCC) were founded by Rev Troy D. Perry in 1968. This Fellowship of Churches plays a vital role in addressing the spiritual needs of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered community around the world. For those of us who were raised in a religious atmosphere, homosexuality was usually associated with shame and guilt. As a result, many of us were cut off from the spiritual dimension of our lives. Metropolitan Community Churches provide an opportunity to explore a spiritual experience that affirms who we are. We find great truths in the religious tradition, and we find that our encounter with God is transformational and healing. We have seen how people have been changed by this experience. Quite simply, God makes a difference in people's lives. We experience our communities of faith as places of healing and hope, places of reconciliation with family, with self-esteem, and with individual spirituality.

All are welcome at Exodus Metropolitan Community Church. We are a Christian Congregation of people who are Inclusive, Loving, and Affirming without condemnation or judgment based on Gender, Ethnicity, Religion, or Sexual Orientation. We believe that God is Calling us through the redeeming Gospel of Jesus Christ. Help us create a community of healing and reconciliation through faith, hope, and love.


Now do you understand? This is a church that claims to be chrsitian however they don't believe homosexuality is sinful!

Here is a link to their website: Church

In my preperation for my sermon I am making good use of the, "Faculty Chapel Lecture Series" at Masters Seminary. They have done a series on homosexulity that I believe everyone should listen to:

Here is the link to the series:

homosexuality

I would love to have the readers listen to this series and post their comments here. I think it could be a great discussion.

Have a great night.
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Wednesday, February 13, 2008

House of Yahweh leader arrested

A few months ago we began a series of articles on the House of Yahweh. You can read all the articles at this link: Yahweh

Today a news report just occured that I want people to know about:


CLYDE, Texas — The founder of the House of Yahweh religious sect remained jailed Wednesday on four counts of bigamy, officials said.

Yisrayl Hawkins was being held at the Taylor County Jail, with bail set at $10 million.
Bigamy involves having more than one spouse at the same time. Additional information about the charges was not immediately available.

Hawkins, who founded the sect in 1980 after leaving the Abilene Police Department, was arrested in Callahan County on Tuesday afternoon.

It was unclear if Hawkins had an attorney. A message could not be left at the House of Yaweh's office in Abilene on Wednesday morning.

The House of Yahweh is an Old Testament-based group with a 50-acre compound near Clyde.
Several hundred of its followers changed their last names to Hawkins in honor of its founder. Hawkins changed his name from Bill to Yisrayl in 1977.

Police have investigated members of the group before.

In July 2006, Abilene police investigated the death of a 1-month-old boy. The infant's death and burial had not been reported to authorities and an autopsy indicated the child died of malnourishment and traumatic asphyxiation. No charges have been filed in the death.

A sect member pleaded guilty to injury to a child by criminal negligence in October 2006 for performing surgery on her 7-year-old daughter, which authorities said led to her death.

Last year, another group member, Yedidiyah Hawkins, was arrested on suspicion of the sexual assault of his 14-year-old stepdaughter.
___
Information from: Abilene Reporter-News, http://www.reporternews.com/

You can alsoe read the above artice at this link: House
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Tuesday, February 12, 2008

CHRISTIANITY 101

I just recieved the following e-mail:

Dear Friends,

Let me commend very warmly to you this e-book, "Christian Thumbnails," by my friend in Italy, Dr. Joseph Mizzi. He just finished writing it, and I, reading it. It is one of the finest books of its kind--an introduction to the basic doctrines of the Christian faith with a very discerning biblical orthodoxy. Particularly if you are relatively new to the Reformed faith and Reformed Baptist fellowship, it may help a great deal to read through this precious volume. Dr. Mizzi is eminently gifted to explain complex things simply and winsomely.



I am going tom be reading this book hopefully tonight and see if maybe therre is a way my church can use this. Here is a link for those who may be interested in reading it as well:

http://www.justforcatholics.org/ebook.htm
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PSALM 101:3 AND OUR TV AND COMPUTER

Good evening everyone,

It is Tuesday night and I am taking a few minutes from working on my sermon for tomorrow night to make my daily blog post.

Psalm 101:3 reads:

I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes: I hate the work of them that turn aside; it shall not cleave to me.

That may be a verse you want to put above your TV or on your computer! In the world in which we live we all must honestly say how difficult it is to put this into practice. This world offers many things and living in it can be difficult escpecially for teenagers who feel that they must be accepted by the world. I think the following song speaks well to this:

All That Matters - Addison Road

I may never be the one that gets a second glance
I may never be the one they call the prettiest
But that’s alright with me

And maybe I don’t follow every crazy passion
Spend all my time trying to get a good reaction
But that’s ok with me

This world is like a trampoline
High and low no in between
Jumping at the chance to please
Everyone but that’s not me

Cause all that matters is
All that matters is
I know your love has set me free
And that’s all that matters to me

Some people tell me to step out and do my own thing
And others say I got to blend in just to be the same
And stop being me

But this shallow world is no longer what I’m made of
I’ve been changed by grace
I’ve been saved by love
What more do I need

My life comes from the One
Who made the stars and brought the sun
He loves me more than these
So I don’t need another identity



Have a great night everyone.
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Monday, February 11, 2008

RAMBLINGS FOR A MONDAY

Hello everyone,

The scripture readings for today are:

Leviticus 19:1-2, 11-18
Psalm 19:8-10, 15
Matthew 25:31-46

I found the following quote and I believe it should give everyone something to think about:

“Atheism turns out to be too simple. If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning…”

C.S. Lewis-Mere Christianity



I am taking it easy tonight and listening to a lot of music. Last night I preached a message that I believe was very important for my church. Late saturday night I begin to think about a very simple question: How much do we love Christ? Are we passionate about Christ and the things of God? I can say that the people of my church don't hate God or dislike the things of God. As I was thinking about this the song Somewhere in the Middle by Casting Crowns came to mind and I immideatly said, "that's it"!

Consider the lyrics:

Somewhere between the hot and the cold
Somewhere between the new and the old
Somewhere between who I am and who I used to be
Somewhere in the middle, You'll find me

Somewhere between the wrong and the right
Somewhere between the darkness and the light
Somewhere between who I was and who You're making me
Somewhere in the middle, You'll find me

Just how close can I get, Lord, to my surrender without losing all control

Fearless warriors in a picket fence, reckless abandon wrapped in common sense
Deep water faith in the shallow end and we are caught in the middle
With eyes wide open to the differences, the God we want and the God who is
But will we trade our dreams for His or are we caught in the middle
Are we caught in the middle

Somewhere between my heart and my hands
Somewhere between my faith and my plans
Somewhere between the safety of the boat and the crashing waves

Somewhere between a whisper and a roar
Somewhere between the altar and the door
Somewhere between contented peace and always wanting more
Somewhere in the middle You'll find me

Just how close can I get, Lord, to my surrender without losing all control

Lord, I feel You in this place and I know You're by my side
Loving me even on these nights when I'm caught in the middle


When I think of that song I know that it describe many chrisitans. We become so distracted with this world and the things in the world and over time our love for Christ becomes a fire that has been drenced in water. There is still somke buit the flame is gone! We find ourselves in this middle, we are doing spiritual things but there is no passion, zeal or love! Please pray that God uses the message to ignite a fire in me and my Church.

Have a great night.
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Sunday, February 10, 2008

The Twenty-First Time














The Twenty-First Time

Nowhere to live
Nowhere to fall
He used to have money
But he's wasted it all
His face is a photograph burned in mind
But I pretend not to see him for the twenty-first time


He sleeps under stars, it's all he can afford
His blanket's an old coat he's had since the war
He stands on the corner of Carter and Vine
But I pretend not to see him for the twenty-first time


He may be a drifter who's grown old and gray
But what if it's Jesus and I walk away
I say I'm the body and drink of the wine
But I pretend not to see him for the twenty-first time


She's 29 but she feels 48
She can't raise three kids on minimum wage
She's crying in back of the welfare line
But I pretend not to see her for the twenty-first time


She may be a stranger trying to get through the day
But what if it's Jesus and I walk away
I say I'm the body and drink of the wine
But I pretend not to see her for the twenty-first time


This is a call for a change in my heart
I realize that I've not been doing my part
When I needed a Savior, I found it in HimHe gave to me, now I'll give back to them


Drifter or stranger, daughter or son
I'll look for Jesus in everyone'
Cause I am the body and drink of the wine
And I'm thankful there's more than the twenty-first time


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Saturday, February 9, 2008

COME LORD JESUS

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What's Love Got To Do With It?

"What's Love Got to Do With It"
was the second single released from Tina Turner's breakthrough solo debut album, Private Dancer. The song is widely credited for the huge success of the album itself. I remember listening to the song probably a thousand times when I was a teenager. Many of the readers probably remember the song as well but do you remember the lyrics?

What's Love Got to Do with It - Tina Turner

You must understand
That the touch of your hand
Makes my pulse react
That it`s only that thrill
Of boy meeting girl
Opposites attract

It`s physical
Only logical
You must try to ignore
That it means more than that

CHORUS:
Oh, what's love got to do with it
What's love but a second hand emotion
What's love got to do with it
Who needs a heart
When a heart can be broken

It may seem to you
That I'm acting confused
When you're close to me
If I tend to look dazed
I've read it someplace
I've got cause to be

There`s a name for it
There`s a phrase for it
But whatever the reason
You do it for me

CHORUS

I've been thinking of a new direction
But I have to say
I've been thinking about my own protection
It scares me to feel that way

What's love got to do with it
What's love but a sweet old fashioned notion
What's love got to do with it
Who needs a heart when a heart can be broken

Remember now?

In the song she asks What’s love got to do with it?

The answer is simple! Everything, especially for a Christian. Jesus said:

37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

Matthew 22:37-38

It’s all about our love for God and for others. The question every Christian must face everyday is simple, do we truly love God? I am talking about a heart that is filled with a burning passion for Christ and his word. A love that desires Christ and his pleasure more then anything else, a heart that is satisfied with Christ alone!

We need a love like this:

Love the Lord Jesus Christ!

by Thomas Brooks


Look that ye love the Lord Jesus Christ with a superlative love, with an overtopping love. There are none have suffered so much for you as Christ; there are none that can suffer so much for you as Christ. The least measure of that wrath that Christ hath sustained for you, would have broke the hearts, necks, and backs of all created beings.

O my friends! There is no love but a superlative love that is any ways suitable to the transcendent sufferings of dear Jesus. Oh, love him above your lusts, love him above your relations, love him above the world, love him above all your outward contentments and enjoyments; yea, love him above your very lives; for thus the patriarchs, prophets, apostles, saints, primitive Christians, and the martyrs of old, have loved our Lord Jesus Christ with an overtopping love: Rev. xii. 11, 'They loved not their lives unto the death;' that is, they slighted, contemned, yea, despised their lives, exposing them to hazard and loss, out of love to the Lamb, 'who had washed them in his blood.' I have read of one Kilian, a Dutch schoolmaster, who being asked whether he did not love his wife and children, answered, Were all the world a lump of gold, and in my hands to dispose of, I would leave it at my enemies' feet to live with them in a prison; but my soul and my Saviour are dearer to me than all. If my father, saith Jerome, should stand before me, and my mother hang upon, and my brethren should press about me, I would break through my brethren, throw down my father, and tread underfoot my mother, to cleave to Jesus Christ. Had I ten heads, said Henry Voes, they should all off for Christ. If every hair of my head, said John Ardley, martyr, were a man, they should all suffer for the faith of Christ. Let fire, racks, pulleys, said Ignatius, and all the torments of hell come upon me, so I may win Christ. Love made Jerome to say, O my Saviour, didst thou die for love of me?-a love sadder than death; but to me a death more lovely than love itself. I cannot live, love thee, and be longer from thee. George Carpenter, being asked whether he did not love his wife and children, which stood weeping before him, answered, My wife and children!- my wife and children! are dearer to me than all Bavaria; yet, for the love of Christ, I know them not. That blessed virgin in Basil being condemned for Christianity to the fire, and having her estate and life offered her if she would worship idols, cried out, 'Let money perish, and life vanish, Christ is better than all.' Sufferings for Christ are the saints' greatest glory; they are those things wherein they have most gloried: Crudelitas vestra, gloria nostra, your cruelty is our glory, saith Tertullian. It is reported of Babylas, that when he was to die for Christ, he desired this favour, that his chains might be buried with him, as the ensigns of his honour. Thus you see with what a superlative love, with what an overtopping love, former saints have loved our Lord Jesus; and can you, Christians, who are cold and low in your love to Christ, read over these instances, and not blush?

Certainly the more Christ hath suffered for us, the more dear Christ should be unto us; the more bitter his sufferings have been for us, the more sweet his love should be to us, and the more eminent should be our love to him. Oh, let a suffering Christ lie nearest your hearts; let him be your manna, your tree of life, your morning star. It is better to part with all than with this pearl of price. Christ is that golden pipe through which the golden oil of salvation runs; and oh. how should this inflame our love to Christ! Oh that our hearts were more affected with the sufferings of Christ! Who can tread upon these hot coals, and his heart not burn in love to Christ, and cry out with Ignatius, Christ my love is crucified? Cant. viii. 7,8. If a friend should die for us, how would our hearts be affected with his kindness! and shall the God of glory lay down his life for us, and shall we not be affected with his goodness i John x. 17, 18. Shall Saul be affected with David's kindness in sparing his life, 1 Sam. xxiv. 16, and shall not we be affected with Christ's kindness, who, to save our life, lost his own? Oh, the infinite love of Christ, that he should leave his Father's bosom, John i. 18, and come down from heaven, that he might carry you up to heaven, John xiv. 1-4; that he that was a Son should take upon him the form of a servant, Phil. ii. 5-8; that you of slaves should be made sons, of enemies should be made friends, of heirs of wrath should be made heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ, Rom. viii. 17; that to save us from everlasting ruin, Christ should stick at nothing, but be willing to be made flesh, to lie in a manger, to be tempted, deserted, persecuted, and to die upon a cross!

Oh what flames of love should these things kindle in all our hearts to Christ! Love is compared to fire; in heaping love upon our enemy, we heap coals of fire upon his head, Rom. xii. 19, 20; Prov. xxvi. 21. Now the property of fire is to turn all it meets with into its own nature: fire maketh all things fire; the coal maketh burning coals; and is it not a wonder then that Christ, having heaped abundance of the fiery coals of his love upon our heads, we should yet be as cold as corpses in our love to him. Ah! what sad metal are we made of, that Christ's fiery love cannot inflame our love to Christ! Moses wondered why the bush consumed not, when he sees it all on fire, Exod. iii. 3; but if you please but to look into your own hearts, you shall see a greater wonder; for you shall see that, though you walk like those three children in the fiery furnace, Dan. iii., even in the midst of Christ's fiery love flaming round about you; yet there is but little, very little, true smell of that sweet fire of love to be felt or found upon you or in you. Oh, when shall the sufferings of a dear and tender-hearted Saviour kindle such a flame of love in all our hearts, as shall still be a-breaking forth in our lips and lives, in our words and ways, to the praise and glory of free grace? Oh that the sufferings of a loving Jesus might at last make us all sick of love! Cant. ii. v. Oh let him for ever lie betwixt our breasts, Cant. i. 13, who hath left his Father's bosom for a time, that he might be embosomed by us for ever.
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