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Monday, March 31, 2008

Young, Restless, Reformed















Book Description
From places like John Piper’s den, Al Mohler’s office, and Jonathan Edwards’s college, Christianity Today journalist Collin Hansen investigates what makes today’s young Calvinists tick.


Church-growth strategies and charismatic worship have fueled the bulk of evangelical growth in America for decades. While baby boomers have flocked to churches that did not look or sound like church, it seems these churches do not so broadly capture the passions of today’s twenty-something evangelicals. In fact, a desire for transcendence and tradition among young evangelicals has contributed to a Reformed resurgence.


For nearly two years, Christianity Today journalist Collin Hansen visited the chief schools, churches, and conferences of this growing movement. He sought to describe its members and ask its leading pastors and theologians about the causes and implications of the Calvinist resurgence.


The result, Young, Restless, Reformed, shows common threads in their diverse testimonies and suggests what tomorrow’s church might look like when these young evangelicals become pastors or professors.



To read a great review of the book follow this link:


You can order the book at this link:
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A CHALLENGE AND SOME RESCOURCES

I want to challenge all home school parents and students.

Parents have your children work on a detailed research paper on Islam.

Students: Work hard to create the best research paper you can on Islam. Work to show the differences between Islam and Christianity.

Offer a well researched criticism of Islam.

To many times we have low expectations for our children and we do not challenge them. If any students are willing to do the work please send me your paper and I may post some of your work on the blog.

I have been searching for some resources on Islam and I found the following web page:

Islamic History




I also found a DVD that could be a big help in doing research:















You can read about the DVD and order it at this link:

DVD
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TIME TO STUDY ISLAM!



















I think it would be fair to say that most Christians know very little about Islam and would have a hard time responding to their belief system.
What we need to realize is that Islam is growing and Christians are going to have to be ready to give an answer and a defense of the christian faith.
To see how Islam is growing consider the following news report:
Muslims more numerous than Catholics: Vatican

Islam has overtaken Roman Catholicism as the biggest single religious denomination in the world, the Vatican said on Sunday.
Monsignor Vittorio Formenti, who compiled the Vatican's newly-released 2008 yearbook of statistics, said Muslims made up 19.2 percent of the world's population and Catholics 17.4 percent.
"For the first time in history we are no longer at the top: the Muslims have overtaken us," Formenti told Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano in an interview, saying the data referred to 2006.

He said that if all Christian groups were considered, including Orthodox churches, Anglicans and Protestants, then Christians made up 33 percent of the world's population -- or about 2 billion people.

The Vatican recently put the number of Catholics in the world at 1.13 billion people. It did not provide a figure for Muslims, generally estimated at around 1.3 billion.

Formenti said that while the number of Catholics as a proportion of the world's population was fairly stable, the percentage of Muslims was growing because of higher birth rates.


He said the data on Muslim populations had been compiled by individual countries and then released by the United Nations, adding the Vatican could only vouch for its own statistics.


The source for this story is Reuters: You can read the article at this link:



So ask yourself, how much do you know about Islam? Could you engage in an intellectual conversation with a Muslim about his faith?


I would recommend that Christians begin a study of Islam. Begin with books written by Muslims and writings they consider authoritative. The reasons to do this is that you know you are seeking knowledge about Islam from Muslims and not from people who are biased against it.


After you have a good knowledge of Islam from Islamic sources then seek good material from those who are critical of the Muslim faith and who are christian.


Here would be my suggested course of Study:


1. The History of Islam

2. The History of the Qur'an

3. The Teachings of the Qur'an

4. The Holy Days of Islam

5. The Differences between Islam and Christianity.



Does anyone of the Preaching Today blog team want to begin finding good resources on Islam and posting some additional articles?







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THE EXODUS ON THE HISTORY CHANNEL











If you have the History International Channel here is a programing alert.

Tonight they will air the program, The Exodus Decoded.

I have not seen the program but I am expecting they will question the validity of the biblical account. If this is true then the value of the program will be that it allows us to hear the arguments so we can study the issue and formulate a response.

Here is how the History International Channel web-site describes the program

The story of the Exodus invokes an epic tale--Pharaohs and Israelites, plagues and miracles, splitting of the sea and drowning of an army, and Moses. It's at the heart of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. After much research--working with archaeologists, Egyptologists, geologists, and theologians--filmmaker Simcha Jacobovici concluded that the Exodus took place hundreds of years earlier than thought. With a new timetable, Jacobovici reexamined artifacts and discovered that the traditional consensus on the date was reached without reference to Judaic texts that record the oral traditions. When Jacobovici consulted these texts, they revealed names of people and places unknown to researchers until recently when extensive excavations in the Nile Delta took place. Teaming up with special effects designers, he created a unique digital experience of the Exodus. Blending archaeological findings with eye-catching effects, Jacobovici creates a virtual museum to showcase his discoveries.

Tune In:Monday, March 31 @ 8pm ET/PT


I would watch with a pen and paper so that you can take good notes and then research the claims for yourself. If anyone watches the program please post your thoughts here.

Have a great day
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Sunday, March 30, 2008

Context is Key to Bible Interpretation.

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The Insulting Richard Dawkins

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ANOTHER REFOMRED BLOG TO READ

I was contacted today by e-mail from someone looking for a Reformed Church in Eastland, TX.
In the e-mail I noticed a blog address. The name of the blog is Psalm 73:25

You can check the blog out at:
http://psalm73-25.blogspot.com/

Take the time to visit the blog and leave a comment letting them know you found them at the Preaching Today blog.

Have a great Lord's Day
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Saturday, March 29, 2008

USE YOUR IPOD TO BE INFORMED




















When most people think of an IPOD they think entertainment but the IPOD can be used to inform you about what is going on in the world. Christians have a responsibility to know what is happening in the world so we can address issues from an informed and biblical point of view.


Here are the podcast I subscribe to so I can be informed:


Africa Today





The latest African news and analysis from the BBC African News and Current Affairs team behind Focus on Africa and Network Africa. Regular presenters Uduak Amimo, Paul Bakibinga, Audrey Brown, Komla Dumor, Alex Jakana, Bola Mosuro, Bilkisu Labaran Ohyoma and Peter Okwoche bring you daily news highlights from the continent - available to download Monday to Friday from 1630 GMT.


You can subscribe to the podcast for free at this link:
Africa



Documentaries





Throughout the week BBC World Service offers a wide range of documentaries and other factual programmes. This podcast offers you the chance to access landmark series from our archive.




You can subscribe to the podcast for free at this link:

Documentaries



Global News






The best stories, interviews and on the spot reporting from around the world including highlights from Newshour, The World Today and World Briefing. Up to 30 minutes Compiled twice a day from the 24 hour News coverage from the BBC World Service.





You can subscribe to the podcast for free at this link:

News

NewsPod





Daily programme highlights from BBC Radio News. Interviews and reports from BBC Radio 1, BBC Radio 4, BBC Radio 5 live, the BBC Asian Network and the BBC World Service.

You can subscribe the podcast for free at this link:
Pod
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Love Your Enemies















Matthew 5:38-48

38 Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: 39 But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. 40 And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also. 41 And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain. 42 Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.

43 Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. 44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; 45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? 47 And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? 48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.


The following story was found at NPR.org

Morning Edition, March 28, 2008 · Julio Diaz has a daily routine. Every night, the 31-year-old social worker ends his hour-long subway commute to the Bronx one stop early, just so he can eat at his favorite diner.

But one night last month, as Diaz stepped off the No. 6 train and onto a nearly empty platform, his evening took an unexpected turn.

He was walking toward the stairs when a teenage boy approached and pulled out a knife.

"He wants my money, so I just gave him my wallet and told him, 'Here you go,'" Diaz says.

As the teen began to walk away, Diaz told him, "Hey, wait a minute. You forgot something. If you're going to be robbing people for the rest of the night, you might as well take my coat to keep you warm."

The would-be robber looked at his would-be victim, "like what's going on here?" Diaz says. "He asked me, 'Why are you doing this?'"

Diaz replied: "If you're willing to risk your freedom for a few dollars, then I guess you must really need the money. I mean, all I wanted to do was get dinner and if you really want to join me ... hey, you're more than welcome.

"You know, I just felt maybe he really needs help," Diaz says.

Diaz says he and the teen went into the diner and sat in a booth.

"The manager comes by, the dishwashers come by, the waiters come by to say hi," Diaz says. "The kid was like, 'You know everybody here. Do you own this place?'"

"No, I just eat here a lot," Diaz says he told the teen. "He says, 'But you're even nice to the dishwasher.'"

Diaz replied, "Well, haven't you been taught you should be nice to everybody?"

"Yea, but I didn't think people actually behaved that way," the teen said.

Diaz asked him what he wanted out of life. "He just had almost a sad face," Diaz says.

The teen couldn't answer Diaz — or he didn't want to.

When the bill arrived, Diaz told the teen, "Look, I guess you're going to have to pay for this bill 'cause you have my money and I can't pay for this. So if you give me my wallet back, I'll gladly treat you."

The teen "didn't even think about it" and returned the wallet, Diaz says. "I gave him $20 ... I figure maybe it'll help him. I don't know."

Diaz says he asked for something in return — the teen's knife — "and he gave it to me."

Afterward, when Diaz told his mother what happened, she said, "You're the type of kid that if someone asked you for the time, you gave them your watch."

"I figure, you know, if you treat people right, you can only hope that they treat you right. It's as simple as it gets in this complicated world."




You can read and listen to a news report about this at the following link:

Mugger
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Belief in an Age of Skepticism?

This is an amzing video and worth the time to watch it. It is a long video but don't cheat yourself, watch the entire thing!


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Thursday, March 27, 2008

15 Yr Old Boy Nailed To A Cross

It is sad and amazing what some will do for a false religious belief.


Consider the following story:

A 15-year-old boy has been crucified in the Philipines today in a gory ritual to mark the death of Jesus Christ.


Dozens of Filipinos, including the boy and an 18-year-old girl, were nailed to crosses and scores more whipped their backs into a bloody pulp as the country's devout Roman Catholics marked Good Friday.


The voluntary crucifixions in the northern Philippines were the most extreme displays of religious devotion in this mainly Catholic country, where millions are praying and fasting ahead of the Easter weekend.

Here are a few pictures from the event:


































To read the rest of the story follow this link:

This is sad because Jesus Christ finished his work with his death on The Cross. We can not add to his work he completed the work of redemption once and for all.
This is amazing because it makes me wonder, if 1 15 year old boy will be crucified for a false belief what will we do for the truth?


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PRAYING ALWAYS

Each quarter I give all the members of Victory Baptist Church the Feature Daily Bible Study Guide. The goal of this is to encourage everyone to spend time each day in God's word and that all the members can be studying the same thing. Today's study is on Ephesians 6:18-20.

18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;
19 And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.

Whenever we see a scripture that tells to pray always we usually ask ourselves, "How can I do this?"

The Bible study Guide answered that question this way:

"Our heart and spirit must be continually prepared to come before the One who is continually ready to hear"

I would put it this way:

Our first reaction to any news, good or bad, should be to talk to God first.

That is easy to say, but I have found it much harder to do.

I have noticed that over the past few days we are having many visitors to the blog from cities in Texas that are located near or around the Abilene area.

I would like to remind everyone that I am the Pastor of Victory Baptist Church which is located 20 minutes south of Abilene.

If you are looking for a church that is committed to:

*The Verse-by Verse teaching of the scripture

*Teaching Doctrine and Theology

*Teaching Church History

we invite you to come visit us.

You can call me at 325-695-8202 for times and directions. You can also visit our web-site at
vbc.sermonaudio.com
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WHAT'S ON MY I-POD

















Hello everyone,

I have been very sick so I have listened to a lot of things on my I-pod. Here are some of my favorites and I would recommend everyone else take the time to listen.

What is in Your Hand: A sermon based on Exodus 4:1-5

You can download the sermon at this link:
Sermon

Banner of Truth Radio Broadcast

They have done a great series called, What the Church Believes:

It is a great series in which they teach from the Belgic Confession of Faith

You can find the series for download at this link:
Sermons


I will post more suggestions later. If you listen to any of these please let me know what you think.
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Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Book Review: Part 2- The Saving Life of Christ by Major W. Ian Thomas

This is part two of a short review of this very helpful book. I'm not doing a full review of every chapter, instead I'm just sharing some thoughts as I see things in the book that are tremendous and that touch my heart.

Do you ever get frustrated in your Christian walk? How about pastors and Bible teachers...ever get frustrated and feel like giving up because you don't see results and it seems you are just beating the air? I've felt this way many times...and that's why the following quote really touched me at the core...great points to reflect on:

In chapter Five, "Any Old Bush Will Do", the author makes the following statement as he talked about men who many consider to be spiritual giants...men like Robert Mueller, Hudson Taylor and D. L. Moody. Speaking of the stark difference in their apparant success...and many others' obvious failure he asked this question, "Were they God's favorites?

His answer was thought provoking to say the least, "Of course they were not! They were simply men who had qualified in the school of failure and despair. They were men who came to end of themselves and discovered that what they were apart from God was nothing!" He went on to say, 'but is is in the school of destitution- the bitter school of self-discovery- that finally you graduate into usefulness, when at last you discover the total bankruptcy of what you are apart from what God is! These men made this discovery and were blessed!"

Lord- enroll me in the school of destitution, open my eyes to your glory and my wretchedness, not in my mind...but in my heart and allow me to rest in Christ alone, for your glory alone...Christ in me the hope of glory.

Till next time....think...
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Monday, March 24, 2008

Book Review: The Saving Life of Christ by Major W. Ian Thomas

The other day, Resurrection Sunday morning to be exact, I scanned my bookshelf and really wanted to find a book that pointed me to the Saviour, to God Himself, and not to just something about him. Not sure if that makes sense or not...I wanted something that would just simply speak of God...not just about Him. I picked up a book by Major W. Ian Thomas called "The Saving Life of Christ." I remembered a friend recommended it, I bought it...and never read it.

The intro piqued my attention when it said the following, "I can honestly say that I had never once heard from the lips of men the message that came to me then...but God, that night simply focused upon me the Bible message of Christ Who is our Life...The Lord seemed to make plain to me that night, through my tears of bitterness: 'You see, for seven years, with utmost sincerity, you have been trying to live for Me, on My behalf, the life that I have been waiting for seven years to live through you."

Wow! So true...how many of us try to live the Christian life as if it were up to our skill, brains, ability...and not Christ's? The forward, written by Alan Redpath (Pastor, Moody Church) said this also that touched me..."To so many people, the Lord is in danger of being no more than a patron of our systematic theology instead of the Christ Who is our life. There is such a tendency to departmentalize Christian living and to regard our devotions as one department and then to live for the rest of our time almost as religious pagans."

I've developed a love for the reformed bapist movement...but the one critique I have is that we need to be careful to get so into our theology that we forget the "Theos" of the theology. Let's make a covenant to continually guard against this and to always strive to know Him...not just about Him...after all, it makes all the difference in the world.

More later as I read the book...
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Sunday, March 23, 2008

THE MOSES CODE IS COMING

The Moses Code movie is scheduled to open on April 5, 2008. Christians need to be prepared for this:

The following is from Way of Life Literature:

THE MOSES CODE (Friday Church News Notes, March 21, 2008, www.wayoflife.org fbns@wayoflife.org, 866-295-4143) -

Due for release on April 5, The Moses Code movie is a sequel to The Secret, and both present the devil’s ancient lie that “ye shall be as gods” (Genesis 3:5). According to The Moses Code’s blasphemous philosophy, the statement I AM THAT I AM in the Pentateuch is not a name for Almighty God but a magical declaration that any person can chant to create a force field that will produce miracles and even bring in world peace.

The following is excerpted from “The Moses Code - Taking the Next Step toward a World Wide Awakening,” Lighthouse Trails, March 4, 2008:

“On April 5th, The Moses Code film will be released in a ‘unique synchronized worldwide opening,’ just a few weeks after this week’s release of the book with the same title. The book and film without a doubt will become best sellers with expected promotion by Oprah Winfrey and others. The book/film is following the release of last year’s The Secret, which has remained on the New York Times Best Seller list for over 59 weeks. The Secret, also a book/film, was highly promoted by Oprah and carries a similar-type message. In essence, both projects focus on humanity being divine and having the ability to alter our personal lives and ultimately alter the world in which we live through hidden mysteries that the projects supposedly reveal. The publisher of The Moses Code details the theme of the project: ‘Is it possible that nearly 3,500 years ago, Moses was given the secret for attracting everything you’ve ever desired? The Moses Code was first used to create some of the greatest miracles in the history of the world, but then it was hidden away, and only the highest initiates were allowed to practice it. In this book, James F. Twyman reveals the Code for the first time, showing how it can be used to create miracles in your life . . . and in the world.’

The Secret focused on the Law of Attraction, which, if practiced faithfully, promises to help one obtain his or her hopes and dreams. The Secret tells readers and viewers how this is possible:

‘You are God in a physical body ... You are all power ... You are all intelligence ... You are the creator’ (p. 164). Incidentally, the author of The Secret, Rhonda Byrne, thanks a group of spirit guides called Abraham for ‘their inspirational teachings’ (p. xv). Now, The Moses Code takes followers further along the metaphysical road: ‘... You’re here to use the power of Divinity itself to create a world based on the laws of compassion and peace.’ ... The Moses Code says that mysticism is the avenue through which we enter a ‘frequency’ that draws us into a sacred space called God, and this frequency can be entered by turning to the I AM field which ‘helps initiate and enhance sacred experiences.” “For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief” (1 Thessalonians 5:1-4).


Here is the trailer for the film:

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Monday, March 17, 2008

Is This Quality Education?

I just received the following e-mail from the American Family Association:

University of Virginia newspaper mocks Christ and Christians

Dear Trevor,

Last week, the University of Virginia's student paper, The Cavalier Daily, ran a cartoon depicting a naked man smoking a cigarette in bed. Standing beside the bed, a woman in her underwear buttons up her shirt and asks, "Come on God, be honest - Did you really get a vasectomy? I can't let Joseph find out about this." The man replies, "Well, Mary, you're f***ed."

The editors used the week before Holy Week to run this bigoted cartoon belittling Christ and Christians. Just a day earlier, the paper ran a cartoon portraying a crucified Jesus telling jokes onstage.


I have not had the chance to research the story. If any of the Preaching Today blog team members can see if they can find any news stories about this, I would appreciate it.
Please post what you find here on the blog.
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Saturday, March 15, 2008

LANDMINES











A land mine is an explosive device designed to be placed on or in the ground to explode when triggered by an operator or the proximity of a vehicle, person, or animal.

Landmines are deadly and dangerous even after a war is over. Just as landmines are used in physical warfare there are spiritual landmines that are used in spiritual warfare. This is the premise of the book, "Landmines in the path of the believer" by Charles Stanley. I recently purchased the book and the workbook. I am taking some time to today to read the book and answer the questions in the workbook.




















I love the cover of the book!

Charles Stanley does not hold to reformed theology as I do. However, I feel the book has given me much to think about.

From the introduction of the book:

Many people mistakenly think Satan uses obvious means to draw us off course. However, his most devastating weapons of warfare are barley visible. They lay hidden below the surface of our spiritual landscape. Yet when we move in their direction, they explode beneath us, inflicting deep heartache, sorrow, and darkness.

Chapter one is called, "Facing the Hidden Threat" on page 3 Charles Stanley writes,

You must settle two things.
First, God is greater then any weapon Satan can bring against you. No matter how horrendous Satan's attack may seem, God is all-powerful.

Second, to conquer these sins, you must acknowledge that God has forbidden each one.

I will post more thoughts throughout the day.

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The Distortion of Beauty

This ad from Dove and their Campaign for Real Beauty does a great job of revealing how photos of models and celebrities are unrealistically modified. An important message for young ladies and young men.


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The Rebelution Tour

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Justification and Imputed Righteousness

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Hollywood and God

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Friday, March 14, 2008

Institutes of the Christian Religion

I am always telling people they need to read John Calvin's Institutes of the Christian Religion. A great resource in helping you read the institutes and gain a better understanding of Calvin is a class taught by Dr. Bahansen. The audio of that class is available for purchase. I have listened to these lectures over and over when I had them on cassette. I am going to start purchasing the MP3 files and begin listening to them again.

Here is the information about the series

There is nothing comparable to this course of study to be found anywhere. If you are interested in advanced theology, here is the place to start. Dr. Bahnsen offers a masterful and detailed study of Calvin's masterpiece of Reformed theology: Calvin's Institutes of the Christian Religion (Ford Lewis Battles translation, J.T. McNeill, ed.)

Here is a link to audio files
Calvin
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EINSTEIN AND GOD

“We are in the position of a little child entering a huge library filled with books in many
different languages. The child knows someone must have written those books. It does not
know how. It does not understand the languages in which they are written. The child dimly
suspects a mysterious order in the arrangement of the books, but doesn’t know what it is.

That, it seems to me, is the attitude of even the most intelligent human being toward God.
We see a Universe marvellously arranged and obeying certain laws, but only dimly understand
these laws. Our limited minds cannot grasp the mysterious force that moves the
constellations.” (Einstein, as cited in Denis Brian, Einstein: A Life, New York, John Wiley and
Sons, 1996, 186).


“Every one who is seriously involved in the pursuit of science becomes convinced that a
Spirit is manifest in the laws of the universe – a Spirit vastly superior to that of man, and
one in the face of which we with our modest powers must feel humble. In this way the
pursuit of science leads to a religious feeling of a special sort, which is indeed quite different
from the religiosity of someone more naive.” (Einstein 1936, as cited in Dukas and Hoffmann,
Albert Einstein: The Human Side, Princeton University Press, 1979, 33).

“The deeper one penetrates into nature’s secrets, the greater becomes one’s respect for
God.” (Einstein, as cited in Brian 1996, 119).
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Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Christ The Only Way

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Monday, March 10, 2008

Justification Made Plain

I have been preaching on salvation and the fact that we are saved for eternity. We are not saved and then can loose it based on something we do or don't do. To deal with this issue correctly you have to review some of the basic elements of salvation. The doctrine of justification is the foundation for properly understanding salvation. To give the members of Victory Baptist Church additional information I have decided to post an article on the doctrine of justification.

I found the following at Steve Camp's blog:

MARTIN LUTHER:“Justification by Faith Alone is the doctrine on which the Church or individual stands or falls.”

-JOHN CALVIN:“Justification by Faith Alone is the hinge of the Reformation.”

-J. I. PACKER:“It has been common since Melanchthon to speak of justification by faith as the material principle of the Reformation, corresponding to biblical authority as its formal principle. That is right. Of all the Reformers’ many biblical elucidations, the rediscovery of justification as a present reality, and of the nature of the faith which secures it, was undoubtedly the most formative and fundamental.
For the doctrine of justification by faith is like Atlas. It bears a whole world on its shoulders, the entire evangelical knowledge of God the Saviour. The doctrines of election, of effectual calling, regeneration, and repentance, of adoption, of prayer, of the Church, the ministry, and the sacraments, are all to be interpreted and understood in the light of justification by faith, for this is how the Bible views them.
The gospel never begins with man and his needs, but with God and his glory. The issue of the gospel is not how do we get sinful men to a holy God? But the issue of the gospel is how does a holy God come to sinful men without violating His holiness and justice?
The answer is the cross!
On the cross of Jesus Christ, all our sins have been punished; the penalty of sin atoned for; the guilt of sin expiated; God’s wrath propitiated; His holiness reverenced; His justice satisfied; His law fulfilled; His grace exalted; and sinners reconciled. It is not through ourselves in any way, neither by our own merit nor our own efforts. It is all of grace; it is all through Jesus Christ our Lord that we are justified!

Justified by His blood – Romans 5:9
Justified by faith through our Lord Jesus Christ – Romans 5:1
Justified freely by His grace – Romans 3:24
Is not by works – Romans 8:3
It is by God – Romans 8:33

And is obtained by the resurrection of Jesus – Romans 4:25 Romans 3:23-25a,

“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness…”"Those whom, God effectually calls he also freely justifies, not by infusing righteousness into them, but by pardoning their sins, and by accounting and accepting their persons as righteous; not for anything wrought in them or done by them, but for Christ’s sake alone; not by imputing faith itself, the act of believing, or any other evangelical obedience to them as their righteousness, but by imputing the obedience and satisfaction of Christ unto them, they receiving and resting on him and his righteousness by faith, which faith they have not of themselves, it is the gift of God" – WCF Ch 11

“Justification is a judicial act of God, in which He declares, on the basis of the righteousness of Jesus Christ, that all the claims of the law are satisfied with respect to the sinner” (L. Berkhof, Systematic Theology, p. 513)."

The phrase in ipso (in him) I have preferred to retain, rather than render it per ipsum (by him,) because it has in my opinion more expressiveness and force. For we are enriched in Christ, inasmuch as we are members of his body, and are engrafted into him: nay more, being made one with him, he makes us share with him in every thing that he has received from the Father." (John Calvin Commentary on 1 Cor 1:5)"

This calling is an act of the grace of God in Christ by which he calls men dead in sin and lost in Adam through the preaching of the Gospel and the power of the Holy Spirit, to union with Christ and to salvation obtained in him." - Francis Turretin


Justification Made Plain
by C. H. Spurgeon (1834-1892)


Being justified freely by his gracethrough the redemption that is in Christ Jesus—Romans 3:24"

When the thief died on the cross, he had but just believed, and had never done a single good work. But where did he go? He ought to have gone to purgatory by rights if ever anybody did. But instead of that the Saviour said to him, "Today shalt thou be with me in Paradise" (Luke 23:43).

Why? Because the ground of the man's admission into Paradise was perfect."
C.H. SPURGEONMTP Vol 12 pg. 56

What is the Meaning of Justification?
Divines will puzzle you, if you ask them. I must try the best I can to make justification plain and simple, even to the comprehension of a child. There is not such a thing as justification to be had on earth for mortal men, except in one way. Justification, you know, is a forensic term: it is employed always in a legal sense. A prisoner is brought to the bar of justice to be tried. There is only one way whereby that prisoner can be justified, that is, he must be found not guilty. And if he is found not guilty, then he is justified, that is, he is proved to be a just man. If you find that man guilty, you cannot justify him. The Queen may pardon him, but she cannot justify him.

The deed is not a justifiable one, if he were guilty concerning it, and he cannot be justified on account of it. He may be pardoned, but not royalty itself can ever wash that man's character. He is as much a real criminal when he is pardoned as before. There is no means among men of justifying a man of an accusation which is laid against him, except by his being proved not guilty.

Now, the wonder of wonders is, that we are proved guilty, and yet we are justified: the verdict has been brought in against us—guilty—and yet notwithstanding, we are justified. Can any earthly tribunal[2] do that?
No, it remained for the ransom of Christ to effect that which is an impossibility to any tribunal upon earth. We are all guilty. Read the 23rd verse, immediately preceding the text: "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God." There the verdict of guilty is brought in, and yet we are immediately afterwards said to be justified freely by his grace.

The God Who Justifies
Now, allow me to explain the way whereby God justifies a sinner. I am about to suppose an impossible case. A prisoner has been tried and condemned to death. He is a guilty man; he cannot be justified because he is guilty. But now, suppose for a moment that such a thing as this could happen—that some second party could be introduced, who could take all that man's guilt upon himself, who could change places with that man, and by some mysterious process, which of course is impossible with men, become that man or take that man's character upon himself. He, the righteous man, putting the rebel in his place and making the rebel a righteous man—we cannot do that in our courts! If I were to go before a judge, and he should agree that I should be committed for a year's imprisonment, instead of some wretch who was condemned yesterday to a year's imprisonment, I could not take his guilt. I might take his punishment, but not his guilt. Now, what flesh and blood cannot do, that Jesus Christ by his redemption did.

Here I stand, the sinner. I mention myself as the representative of you all I am condemned to die God says, "I will condemn that man, I must, I will — I will punish him." Christ comes in, puts me aside, and stands himself in my stead. When the plea is demanded, Christ says, "Guilty;" takes my guilt to be his own guilt. When the punishment is to be executed, forth comes Christ. "Punish me," he says; "I have put my righteousness on that man, and I have taken that man's sins on me. Father, punish me, and consider that man to have been me. Let him reign in heaven; let me suffer misery. Let me endure his curse, and let him receive my blessing." This marvelous doctrine of the changing of places of Christ with poor sinners is a doctrine of revelation, for it never could have been conceived by nature.

Let me, lest I should have made a mistake, explain myself again. The way whereby God saves a sinner is not, as some say, by passing over the penalty. No; the penalty has been all paid. It is the putting of another person in the rebel's place. The rebel must die. God says he must. Christ says, "I will be substitute for the rebel. The rebel shall take my place; I will take his." God consents to it. No earthly monarch could have power to consent to such a change. But the God of heaven had a right to do as he pleased. In his infinite mercy he consented to the arrangement. "Son of my love," said he, "you must stand in the sinner's place; you must suffer what he ought to have suffered, you must be accounted guilty, just as he was accounted guilty, and then I will look upon the sinner in another light. I will look at him as if he were Christ; I will accept him as if he were my only-begotten Son, full of grace and truth. I will give him a crown in heaven, and I will take him to my heart for ever and ever." This is the way we are saved. "Being justified freely by his grace, through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus."

The Characteristics of Justification

And now, let me further go on to explain some of the characteristics of this justification. As soon as a repenting sinner is justified, remember, he is justified for all his sins. Here stands a man all guilty. The moment he believes in Christ, his pardon at once he receives; and his sins are no longer his. They are cast into the depths of the sea. They were laid upon the shoulders of Christ, and they are gone. The man stands a guiltless man in the sight of God, accepted in the beloved. "What!" say you, "do you mean that literally?" Yes, I do. That is the doctrine of justification by faith.
Man ceases to be regarded by divine justice as a guilty being; the moment he believes on Christ, his guilt is all taken away. But I am going a step further. The moment the man believes in Christ, he ceases to be guilty in God's esteem; but what is more, he becomes righteous, he becomes meritorious, for in the moment when Christ takes his sins, he takes Christ's righteousness; so that when God looks upon the sinner who but an hour ago was dead in sins, he looks upon him with as much love and affection as he ever looked upon his Son. He himself has said it: "As the Father loved me, so have I loved you." He loves us as much as his Father loved him. Can you believe such a doctrine as that? Does it not pass all thought? Well, it is a doctrine of the Holy Spirit, the doctrine whereby we must hope to be saved. Can I to any unenlightened person illustrate this thought better? I will give him the parable we have given to us in the prophets—the parable of Joshua the high-priest. Joshua comes in, clothed in filthy garments; those filthy garments representing his sins. Take away the filthy garments; that is pardon. Put a miter on his head; clothe him in royal raiment; make him rich and fair; that is justification. But where do these garments come from? And where do those rags go to? Why the rags that Joshua had on go to Christ, and the garments put on Joshua are the garments that Christ wore. The sinner and Christ do just what Jonathan and David did. Jonathan put his robes on David, David gave Jonathan his garments. So Christ takes our sins, we take Christ's righteousness, and it is by a glorious substitution and interchange of places that sinners go free and are justified by his grace."But," says one, "No one is justified like that till he dies." Believe me, he is.

The moment a sinner believesAnd trusts in his crucified God,His pardon at once he receives;Salvation in full, through his blood.
If that young man over there has really believed in Christ this morning, realizing by a spiritual experience what I have attempted to describe, he is as much justified in God's sight now as he will be when he stands before the throne. Not the glorified spirits above are more acceptable to God than the poor man below who is once justified by grace. It is a perfect washing, it is perfect pardon, perfect imputation. We are fully, freely, and wholly accepted through Christ our Lord.

Justification is Irreversible

Just one more word here, and then I will leave this matter of justification. Those who are once justified are justified irreversibly. As soon as a sinner takes Christ's place, and Christ takes the sinner's place, there is no fear of a second change. If Christ has once paid the debt, the debt is paid; and it will never be asked for again. If you are pardoned, you are pardoned once for ever. God does not give man a free pardon under his own sign-manual,[3] and then afterwards retract it and punish man: that be far from God so to do. He says, "I have punished Christ; you may go free." And after that, we may "rejoice in hope of the glory of God" that "being justified by faith we have peace with God, through our Lord Jesus Christ." And now I hear one cry, "That is an extraordinary doctrine." Well, so some may think; but let me say to you, it is a doctrine professed by all Protestant churches, though they may not preach it. It is the doctrine of the Church of England, it is the doctrine of Luther, it is the doctrine of the Presbyterian Church: it is professedly the doctrine of all Christian churches. And if it seems strange in your ears, it is because your ears are estranged, and not because the doctrine is a strange one. It is the doctrine of holy writ that none can condemn whom God justifies and that none can accuse those for whom Christ hath died; for they are totally free from sin. So that, as one of the prophets has it, God sees no sin in Jacob or iniquity in Israel. In the moment they believe their sins being imputed to Christ, they cease to be theirs, and Christ's righteousness is imputed to them and accounted theirs, so that they are accepted.
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Saturday, March 8, 2008

BE CAREFUL WHEN TEACHING FROM KINGS

I was listening to a message preached during chapel services at Bob Jones University. I have the message on my I-pod but could not find the audio available on the internet. If you subscribe to their podcast, you may be able to find the audio.

The text for the message was 1 Kings 14.

In this chapter we have the story of Jeroboam and his sick child.
Jeroboam sends his wife to ask the prophet of God what is going to happen to his child. The prophet's name was Ahijah. The person preaching the message decided to give some historical context for the story, which is a good thing. He correctly identified the prophet Ahijah as the one who told Jeroboam that he would be king (1 Kings 11:29-32).

He then went on to describe the story in 1 Kings 13.

He said the man of God confronts Jeroboam about his idolatry, but Jeroboam rejected the rebuke and reached out to grab the man of God. When he did this, his hand was dried up according to the language of the KJV. Jeroboam then asks the man of God to pray for him so that his hand can be restored. The speaker identified the man of God in 1 Kings 13 as the prophet Ahijah.

My question is simple: Is Ahijah the man of God spoken of in this passage? If you think so, explain your answer. If not, explain your answer.

Please post your answers in the comments section, or you can e-mail them to me at:
tsrk30@sbcglobal.net
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A GREAT MINISTRY

I like to point everyone to ministries that I believe will be a blessing to many.

Mount Zion Bible Church has a great ministry that offers many things:

Audio Sermons that can be heard at this link:

sermons


Literature: They have an amazing amount of great things to read.

Here is the link to the literature page:

Reading

They offer a Bible Institute
Mount Zion Bible Institute (MZBI) is a school for knowing Jesus Christ through His written Word, the Holy Bible. Many courses are available; most are based on Christian classics from prior centuries that have stood the test of time. The emphasis is on personal application to the heart (therefore, no 'diplomas' are offered).

Here is the link to the institute

Bible
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Friday, March 7, 2008

The Belgic Confession

The Banner of Truth Radio program has been doing a great series on the Belgic Confession.
The messages are posted on the internet so you can listen to them and download them.

Here is the link:

Banner

If you would like to read the Belgic Confession you can do so at this link:
Confession
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HOMESCHOOLERS' BEWARE!

If you homeschool your children, you need to read this.

The following is excerpted from a WorldNetDaily report dated February 29, 2008:

A California court has ruled that several children in one homeschool family must be enrolled in a public school or ‘legally qualified’ private school, and must attend, sending ripples of shock into the nation’s homeschooling advocates as the family reviews its options for appeal. The ruling came in a case brought against Jonathan and Mary Long over the education being provided to two of their eight children. They are considering an appeal to the state Supreme Court, because they have homeschooled all of their children, the oldest now 29, because of various anti-Christian influences in California’s public schools. The decision from the 2nd Appellate Court in Los Angeles granted a special petition brought by lawyers appointed to represent the two youngest children after the family’s homeschooling was brought to the attention of child advocates. ‘We find no reason to strike down the Legislature’s evaluation of what constitutes an adequate education scheme sufficient to promote the “general diffusion of knowledge and intelligence,”’ the court said in the case. ‘We agree … “the educational program of the State of California was designed to promote the general welfare of all the people and was not designed to accommodate the personal ideas of any individual in the field of education.”’

Here is a link to the entire story:
Parents of 166,000 students could face criminal charges
'Breathtaking' decision on homeschooling now moving to California Supreme Court --WND


Here is another report:
Homeschoolers' setback in appeals court ruling

A California appeals court ruling clamping down on homeschooling by parents without teaching credentials sent shock waves across the state this week, leaving an estimated 166,000 children as possible truants and their parents at risk of prosecution.

The homeschooling movement never saw the case coming.

"At first, there was a sense of, 'No way,' " said homeschool parent Loren Mavromati, a resident of Redondo Beach (Los Angeles County) who is active with a homeschool association. "Then there was a little bit of fear. I think it has moved now into indignation."

The ruling arose from a child welfare dispute between the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services and Philip and Mary Long of Lynwood, who have been homeschooling their eight children. Mary Long is their teacher, but holds no teaching credential.

To read the entire story follow this link:

school


Anyone who teaches their children at home should be very concerned about this, and I offer the following suggestions.

1. Ensure your child is receiving a better education than the public school can offer. If authorities were to come and take your child and test them, how would your child perform? Would they then have proof that you have neglected your child and not provided them with an adequate education?

2. Have your child take a standardized test each year. I would recommend the following:

The Stanford Achievement Test Series, usually referred to simply as the "SAT 9" or "SAT 10" (where the number reflects the series being used), is one of the leading standardized achievement tests utilized by school districts in the United States for assessing children from kindergarten through high school; it is used to measure academic knowledge of elementary and secondary school students. The test is available in 13 levels that roughly correspond to the year in school. Each level of the test is broken into subtests or strands covering various subjects such as reading comprehension, mathematical problem solving, and science.

By having your child take this test each year, you will have documentation of your child's progress.

3. Ensure your child is spending the day in learning and not out in the neighborhood.
People who see a child running around during school hours can become suspicious and call authorities. If you are going to homeschool your child, then ensure you are actually doing that.

I hope this case in California is overturned but if it isn't, this could be something that begins to affect other states. Homeschoolers need to be ready for whatever happens!
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Thursday, March 6, 2008

Confessions of the Reformed Church







Don't miss this!

This month christianaudio.com is offering the audio book, "The Confession of the Reformed Church" for free!

Use the coupon code MAR2008 to redeem this month's free audiobook download from christianaudio.com

Do not wait! go get this audio book today:

Here is the link:

Confession
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MONEY

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Jesus Wept

John 11:35
"Jesus Wept"

This is the shortest verse in the bible yet it offers a powerful picture. Jesus the Son of God, God in the flesh and he weeps!

A lutheran pastor sent me the following:

One of the brothers in our circuit always said he would use this text at the next installation or ordination in our area; we all thought he was kidding.At the next installation, as he laid his hands on his brother pastor, he said, "Jesus wept. To be a true shepherd of the flock that Jesus has entrusted to you, be a man of compassion. Weep with joy when your people celebrate. Weep with sorrow when your people hurt. Weep with Jesus when people reject the Gospel. Weep with and for the people, because, Jesus wept." I have not heard those two simple words the same since that day.

That is a great reminder for all of us who are in the ministry today and for those who desire to be in the ministry in the future. I think it should also serve as a reminder to church members as well.

Weep with joy when your pastor celebrates
Weep with sorrow when he hurts.
Weep with sympathy when he is discouraged
Weep with compassion when he has to do the difficult things ministry often requires.

Something fo all of us to think about today.
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Wednesday, March 5, 2008

2008 Shepherds Conference

The 2008 Shepherds Conference began today! If you could not make it to the confrence you can listen online for free!

Here is the link:

Shepherds Confrence
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Tuesday, March 4, 2008

RESEARCH JOURNAL

Good evening everyone

I apologize for the delay between post but I have been busy. I hope to get back on a regular schedule of posting. The online Answer in Genesis Journal has posted some new articles:

Louis Pasteur’s Views on Creation, Evolution, and the Genesis of Germs

Catastrophic Granite Formation

Microbes and the Days of Creation


I would recommend everyone to take the time read these articles.
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