Photobucket

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Exegesis...Eisegesis...Whatever! I Just Need Jesus!

Ever heard such a statement? I am an ex- Independent Fundamental Baptist (IFB), now reformed Baptist, and I've heard such statements before. For example, it's very common to hear a statement such as, "Theology is for theologians, I just preach the Word!"...or "My people don't need long, intellectual speeches on justification, imputation...just give them Jesus!" One time I was preaching a verse-by-verse study on the book of II Peter. The pastor hinted that I was taking too long...I'd only taken 6 messages to get through one and 1/2 chapters...apparantly that's too much time on God's precious Word!

There is an element of willing stupidity in today's "church" where people seem to shun doctrine and context. As long as people are entertained and the message sounds right they just accept it as "good preachin' brother!"

What makes for good preaching anyway? Let me share a thought from Dr James White's book, "Scripture Along" that you can find on his ministry's website, http://www.aomin.org/catalog/product_info.php?cPath=60_62&products_id=53



For those who hate to study and don't think big "theological" words are spiritual...sorry! What's the difference between "exegesis" and "eisegesis"? Knowing the difference between the two words makes all the difference in the world on whether you are preaching a true message from the Lord or not.

The following quote is found on pages 80-81 of his book: "In vitally important ways it is a science, requiring of its regular and careful practitioner painstaking attention to detail and the utilization of the tools of his trade. In other ways it is an art, something which one becomes ever more skilled with practice and the passage of time. In other aspects it is an act of worship, requiring spiritual preparation and a willing heart marked by obedience." (p. 80)

A thought...do you prepare your sermons/lessons as an act of worship? Do you joy in the painstaking and diligent study...hard study...of God's Word? Or is it a burden? Listen again...

"For some it is a nuisance, something only "elitests" do to prove their theologies. And then there are those who find it nothing more than a chore, something to be done because it needs to be done, though it fires no passions and doesn't engage the heart of mind" (p. 80)

I'll be blunt...if this second description is you, please do yourself, and all of us, a favor...get out of the ministry! If you don't want to spend the time (12-15 hours per sermon as a suggestion) to truly prepare to preach then you don't belong in the pulpit...how could you be called to preach. Preaching is not "getting up a message"...it's careful exegesis of the Word of God.

What is exegesis? I fully agree with Dr White's definition where he says that exegesis is "the process of seeking to understand the written text of Scripture in its own context."

Why don't many people do this? Because it takes work...work that most modern preachers have no time for amidst many other more pressing tasks such as carnival planning, scheduling the next planned evangelistic scheme, setting up stageshows and lighting/sound boards, etc, etc.

Here's a thought...study the Word of God and let it speak for itself...you'd be surprised what happens.
Bookmark and Share
> posted by Jim Leavenworth at 2 Comments Links to this post

Friday, November 28, 2008

DEATH AT WAL-MART AFTER STAMPEDE

Christmas in America!







Worker dies at Long Island Wal-Mart after being trampled in Black Friday stampede



A Wal-Mart worker died after being trampled when hundreds of shoppers smashed through the doors of a Long Island store Friday morning, police and witnesses said.

The 34-year-old worker, employed as an overnight stock clerk, tried to hold back the unruly crowds just after the Valley Stream store opened at 5 a.m.

Witnesses said the surging throngs of shoppers knocked the man down. He fell and was stepped on. As he gasped for air, shoppers ran over and around him.

"He was bum-rushed by 200 people," said Jimmy Overby, 43, a co-worker. "They took the doors off the hinges. He was trampled and killed in front of me. They took me down too...I literally had to fight people off my back."

The unidentified victim was rushed to an area hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 6:03 a.m., police said.

The cause of death was pending.

A 28-year-old pregnant woman was knocked to the floor during the mad rush. She was hospitalized for observation, police said.

Three other shoppers suffered minor injuries, cops said.

Before police shut down the store, eager shoppers streamed past emergency crews as they worked furiously to save the store clerk's life.

"They were working on him, but you could see he was dead, said Halcyon Alexander, 29. "People were still coming through."

Only a few stopped.

"They're savages," said shopper Kimberly Cribbs, 27. "It's sad. It's terrible


Here is the link to the original story:
Christmas
Bookmark and Share
> posted by Trevor Hammack at 1 Comments Links to this post

Directives for avoiding dissension in the home


by Richard Baxter (1615-1691)


It is a great duty of husbands and wives to live in quietness and peace, and avoid all occasions of wrath and discord. Because this is a duty of so great importance, I shall first open to you the great NECESSITY of it, and then give you more particular directions to perform it.

(1) Your discord will be your pain, and the vexation of our lives. Like a disease, or wound, or fracture in your own bodies, which will pain you until it is cured; you will hardly keep peace in your minds, when peace is broken so near you in your family. As you would take heed of hurting yourselves, and as you would hasten the cure when you are hurt; so should you take heed of any breach of peace, and quickly seek to heal it when it is broken.

(2) Dissension tends to cool your love; frequent dissension tends to leave a habit of distaste and averseness on the mind. Wounding is separating; and to be tied together by any outward bonds, when your hearts are separated, is but to be tormented; and to have the insides of adversaries, while you have marital outsides. As the difference between my 'home' and my 'prison' is that I willingly and with delight dwell in the one, but am unwillingly confined to the other; such will be the difference between a quiet and an unquiet life, in your married state; it turns your dwelling and delight into a prison, where you are chained to those calamities, which in a free condition you might flee.

(3) Dissension between the husband and the wife, disorders all other family affairs. They are like oxen unequally yoked--which can perform no work, because they are always striving with one another.

(4) It exceedingly unfits you for the worship of God; you are not fit to pray together, nor to confer together of heavenly things, nor to be helpers to each other's souls. I need not tell you this, you feel it by experience. Wrath and bitterness will not allow you so much exercise of love and holy composedness of mind, as every one of those duties requires.

(5) Dissension disables you to govern your families aright. Your children will take example by you; or think they are at liberty to do what they desire, when they find you taken up with such animosity between yourselves. They will think you unfit to reprove them for their faults--when they see you guilty of such faults and folly of your own. Nay, you will become the shame and secret derision of your children, and bring yourselves into contempt.

(6) Your dissensions will expose you to the malice of Satan, and give him advantage for manifold temptations. A house divided cannot stand; an army divided is easily conquered, and made a prey to the enemy. You cannot foresee what abundance of sin you put yourselves in danger of.

By all these reasons, you may see what dissensions between husband and wife do tend to.

DIRECTIVES for avoiding dissension in the home

(1) Keep up your marital love in a constant heat and vigor. Love will suppress wrath. You cannot become bitter upon small provocations, against those whom you dearly love; much less can you proceed to reviling words, or to averseness and estrangedness, or any abuse of one another. Or if a breach and wound be unhappily made, the balsamic quality of love will heal it. But when love once cools, small matters exasperate and breed antipathy.

(2) Both husband and wife must mortify their pride and passion, which are the causes of impatience; and must pray and labor for a humble, meek, and quiet spirit. A proud heart is troubled and provoked by every word or action that seems to tend to their undervaluing. A peevish, proud mind is like a sore and ulcerated member--which will be pained if it be touched. He that must live near such a sore, diseased, impatient, proud mind--must live even as the nurse does with the child, that makes it her business to rock it, and lull, and sing it quiet when it cries; for to be angry with it, will do no good. And if you have married one of such a sick or childish temper, you must resolve to bear and use them accordingly. But no Christian should bear with such a malady in themselves; nor be patient with such impatience, pride and haughtiness in themselves. Once get the victory over yourselves, and the cure of your own impatience, and you will easily keep peace with one another.

(3) Agree together beforehand, that when one is in a tempestuous, angry fit, the other shall silently and gently bear it--until it be past and you have come to your senses again. Do not both be angry at the same time. When the fire is kindled, quench it with gentle words and demeanor, and do not cast on more fuel, by answering provokingly and sharply, or by multiplying words, and by answering wrath with wrath.

(4) If you cannot quickly quench the anger in your heart--yet at least refrain your tongues! Speak no reproachful or provoking words. Talking hotly and angrily does blow the fire, and increase the flame. Be but silent, and you will the sooner return to your serenity and peace. Foul words tend to more displeasure. As Socrates said when his wife first railed at him, and next threw a vessel of foul water upon him, "I thought when I heard the thunder, there would come rain"; so you may foretell worse following, when foul, unfitting words begin. If you cannot easily allay your wrath, you may hold your tongues, if you are truly willing.

(5) Let the sober party condescend to speak gently and to entreat the other. Say to your angry wife or husband, 'You know this should not be between us; love must allay it, and it must be repented of. God does not approve it, and we shall not approve it when this heated argument is over. This frame of mind is contrary to a praying frame, and this language contrary to a praying language; we must pray together soon; let us do nothing contrary to prayer now. Sweet water and bitter come not from one spring,' etc. Some calm and humble words of reason, may stop the torrent, and revive the reason which passion had overcome.

(6) Confess your fault to one another, when angry passion has prevailed against you; and ask forgiveness of each other, and join in prayer to God for pardon. This will lay a greater engagement on you the next time, to refrain from argument. You will surely be ashamed to do that which you have so confessed and asked forgiveness for--of God and each other.

If you will but practice these directives, your family peace may be preserved.
Bookmark and Share
> posted by Charles Fry at 0 Comments Links to this post

For whom did Christ die?

The following is from Spurgeon’s sermon,
"LAUS DEO" (No. 572, Romans 11:36)

We hold that Christ did not redeem every
man, but only redeemed those men who will
ultimately attain unto eternal life.

We do not believe that he redeemed the damned.

We do not believe that he poured out
his life blood for souls already in hell.

We never can imagine that Christ suffered
in the room and stead of all men, and that
then afterwards these same men have to
suffer for themselves.

We do not believe that Christ pays their
debts, and then God makes them pay their
debts again a second time.

We hold to this- that Christ laid down his
life for his sheep, and that his laying down
his life for the sheep involved and secured
the salvation of every one of them.
Bookmark and Share
> posted by Charles Fry at 0 Comments Links to this post

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Behar on Homeschooling

Bookmark and Share
> posted by Trevor Hammack at 0 Comments Links to this post

The Porpoise Driven Life

A little humor for today!


Bookmark and Share
> posted by Trevor Hammack at 2 Comments Links to this post

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

True Repentance

From Spurgeon's sermon, "APART"

True repentance is always accompanied by sorrow.

Repentance is a deep, radical, fundamental, lasting change;
and you will find that, whenever you meet with it in Scripture,
it is always accompanied with sorrow for past sin.

And rest assured of this fact-- that the repentance which has
no tear in its eye, and no mourning for sin in its heart,
is a repentance which needs to be repented of.

In such false repentance, there is no evidence of conversion,
and no sign of the existence of the grace of God.

The man who knows that his sin is forgiven,
does not cease to mourn for it.
No, brethren, his mourning becomes deeper as
his knowledge of his guilt becomes greater.
His hatred of sin grows in proportion as he understands
that love of Christ by which his sin is put away.

In true believers, mourning for sin is chastened and sweetened,
and, in one sense, the fang of bitterness is taken out.

But, in another sense, the more we realize
our indebtedness to God's grace, and the more we see of
the sufferings of Christ in order to effect our redemption,
the more do we hate sin, and the more do we lament
that we ever fell into it.

The man who has led the purest life, when he is brought
before God by the humbling influence of the Holy Spirit,
is the man who almost invariably considers himself
to have been viler than anybody else.

"Repentance is to leave
The sin we loved before,
And show that we in earnest grieve
By doing so no more."
Bookmark and Share
> posted by Charles Fry at 1 Comments Links to this post

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Web Site Makes Millions by Connecting Cheaters

From NPR. org

There are hundreds of Internet dating sites catering to just about every kind of person looking for love — sites for single parents, sites for Jewish people and sites for members of the military.

Now, there are also dating services to help you find that special someone, even when you already have someone special.

AshleyMadison.com, which caters to men and women who are already in relationships and are looking for something more, is the largest dating service of its kind. The Toronto-based company has made millions of dollars by helping people cheat on their spouses. Their tag line gets right to the point: "Life is short, have an affair."

Their radio ads even recommend cheating on the company dime.

"When you have a private moment at work today, visit AshleyMadison.com. You'll be happy you came," the ads say.

Don, a 52-year-old IT specialist living in Southern California who, not surprisingly, preferred not to give his real last name, is one of the site's hundreds of users.

"The ad sounded pretty interesting, so I thought I'd give it a shot and see if I got any action," he says.

Don, or "Don Deshizzle" as he is known online, says he is looking for an "NSA" — no strings attached — relationship. So far, he says, he has paid about $100 to e-mail and instant message with other Ashley Madison members.

"What you do is you buy credits — I think 100 credits at a time for $55 — and then each e-mail you initiate costs five credits. You burn through them pretty quickly," he says.

Don says he likes the site because it gives him the opportunity to be upfront about his marital status.

"Because, I guess, all the cards are on the table. It's not like if you go to a singles or a standard site, then you kind of have the stigma of being a cheater and that doesn't seem right," he says.

He doesn't feel too ethically troubled by what he's doing, he says, though he hasn't met anyone in person yet.

As for the people profiting from the Ashley Madison Web site, they say they have no moral qualms.

"This is just a business to me. This is a market need, just like any other business that's successful. There's huge demand for it," says Chief Operating Officer Noel Biderman, who is married with children. Biderman says he is faithful to his wife, but he doesn't object to the fact that cheaters have helped his online business make more than $20 million since it started in 2002.

"This is just a fact of life. Monogamy is not in our DNA," he says.

In fact, Biderman goes so far as to claim that a little infidelity may do a person good — helping an insecure man or woman reclaim a sense of self-worth.

"Women come to a service like Ashley Madison because they haven't been sent roses or flowers in God knows how long. Valentine's Day gets forgotten. That re-validation comes in a female user in our site within 30 or 40 minutes — as a number of guys are knocking at her door and professing their desire to be with her," he says.

Framingham State College sociology professor Virginia Rutter, who specializes in marital relations and sexuality, says there is nothing wrong with having a vivid sexual imagination.

"It's great to have a relationship that can tolerate and actually support and enjoy the fact that partners will flirt, will be interested in other people," she says.

What is not great, Rutter says, is lying to your partner or spouse and secretly conducting outside relationships.

"That kind of injury, that kind of loss of trust is going to make ... your relationship a lot harder to conduct," she says.

She urges people to take the time and energy that it takes to troll a cheating Web site, and re-invest it in their existing relationships.
Bookmark and Share
> posted by Trevor Hammack at 0 Comments Links to this post

Bible Reading

by Thomas Brooks--

"Remember that it is not hasty reading,
but serious meditation on holy and heavenly truths,
that makes them prove sweet and profitable to the soul.

It is not the mere touching of the flower by the bee that gathers
honey, but her abiding for a time on the flower that draws out the
sweet.

It is not he that reads most, but he that meditates most, that will
prove to be the choicest, sweetest, wisest, and strongest Christian."
Bookmark and Share
> posted by Charles Fry at 0 Comments Links to this post

'Life is Short, Have an Affair'

As Christians we know that we love in a fallen world however, there are times that we are still shocked by what we see and hear. Today there has been a lot of discussion on the news about a commercial. The ad was created by Ashley Madison.com

Let me give some background and information about the company.


Ashley Madison Agency Says Life Is Short, Have an Affair


Pimps are not what they used to be. In the past, they were the slimy guys in the alley who would seek to procure paying customers for the bodies of the women they victimized. Nowadays they are online services advocating secondary and even tertiary relationships, swinging, and affair guarantees - for a price.

The Ashley Madison agency pimps married folks looking for a quick romp in the hay. Hailing itself the "world's #1 married dating service specifically for attached men and women who are looking to have an extra-marital affair," the service makes no bones about its mission.

Life Is Too Short, Have an Affair with the Affair Guarantee Program for $249

Payment of $249 entitles the customer to participation in the "affair guarantee program," which pledges you to find "someone" within three months or your money back. To ensure that you keep up your end of the bargain, you must set up an attractive profile with photo, send at the very least 60 priority mail messages to different members, send five Ashley gifts, and engage in at least 180 minutes of instant messaging during that timeframe.

If after 90 days and 60 sex laced messages, five gifts and three hours of begging for attention and sexual favors there is still nobody to be found who willingly does (part of this sentence has been removed due to the fact it could offend some preaching today readers ), Ashley Madison, too, will throw in the towel, refund your money, and allow you and your battered ego to slink off.

If one may believe Noel Biderman, president of Ashley Madison, the Canadian agency has been in business for seven years and counts 2.5 million members. Your odds of finding a home wrecker for your purposes are better than average


What Do The Numbers Say?

According to the statistics quoted by the Truth about Deception website, 30-60% of American married folks do buy into the idea that life is too short, and have an affair. Of those who do have extramarital sex, 2-3% will welcome a child into their lives that is the issue of the extramarital affair. Most women will not reveal their misstep to their husbands and thus the number of men unknowingly raising someone else's child is hard to guess.


It is easy to take the high road and look down your nose at the home wreckers, but consider that monogamy, once again according to the numbers, is an extraordinarily tough road to travel, and divorce statistics show that while rutting like bunnies is easy, maintaining a monogamous relationship with one partner till "death do you part" is a challenge to which the majority of marital partners cannot or will not rise.


You can read the original article at this link:
affair



Here is the commercial that is getting talked about today:




AshleyMadison.com Commercial - Watch more Free Videos



NPR did a story about Ashley Madison. You can listen to their report here:


Web Site Makes Millions by Connecting Cheaters



Husbands and wives need to understand this kind of web-site is out there! They need to have open and frank discussions about temptation and struggle. They need to spend some time together in a serious study of 1 Corinthians 7.

I would think this post should generate some very interesting discussions.
Bookmark and Share
> posted by Trevor Hammack at 0 Comments Links to this post

Monday, November 24, 2008

Thoughts From the Institutes

I was reading Calvin's Institutes again and wanted to pass on a thought that I felt was very relevant to us today. As a believer, what do you desire? What do you hunger for? If you're Baptist like me you often think of food (he he!). Would any of us think seriously about skipping food for a week? Not a chance! Now...for a sobering thought...what about feasting on the Word of God...could you go that long without coming to the table and feasting on spiritual food?


Here is what Calvin said (Institutes, Vol 1, p. 83 of McNeill translation): "As far as Sacred Scripture is concerned, however much froward men try to gnaw at it, nevertheless it clearly is crammed with thoughts that could not be humanly conceived. Let each of the prophets be looked into: none will be found who does not far exceed human measure. Consequently, those for whom prophetic doctrine is tasteless ought to be thought of as lacking in taste buds."

So here's my question/exhortation...are you proving that you are "lacking in taste buds" for the Word of God? How often do you put food in your mouth...how often do you put the Word of God into you heart? If you have no appetite for spiritual food you might have a big problem...ever see a dead man eat a Big Mac? Does he desire one? No...because he's dead. Spiritually dead people don't desire and crave the Word either!
1 Peter 2:2-3- "As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: 3 If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious."

Food for thought...
Bookmark and Share
> posted by Jim Leavenworth at 0 Comments Links to this post

The Devil's Mission of Amusement

I know this is a lengthy post but it is well worth your time to read.
The Church today is always trying to be relevant, well here is a post that is relevant to the Church.


The Church's Task—Entertainment or Evangelization?

By Archibald Brown

(Archibald Brown was a student of Charles Spurgeon. Under Brown's ministry, scores were saved and instructed.)


Different days demand their own special testimony. The watchman who would be faithful to his Lord and the city of his God, has need to carefully note the signs of the times and emphasize his witness accordingly. Concerning the testimony needed now, there can be little, if any, doubt. An evil is in the professed camp of the Lord, so gross, so brazen in its impudence, that the most shortsighted of spiritual men can hardly fail to notice it. During the past few years it has developed at an abnormal rate, ever for evil. It has worked like leaven until now the whole lump ferments. Look which way you may, its presence makes itself manifest. There is little if anything to choose between Church, Chapel, or Mission Hall. However they may differ in some respects, they bear a striking likeness in the posters which disfigure their notice boards. Amusement for the people is the leading article advertised by each. If any of my readers doubt my statement, or think my utterance too sweeping, let them take a tour of inspection and study "the announcements for the week" at the doors of the sanctuaries of the neighborhood; or let them read the religious advertisements in their local papers. I have done this again and again, until the hideous fact has been proved up to the hilt, that "amusement" is ousting "the preaching of the Gospel" as the great attraction. "Concerts," "Entertainments," "Dramatic Performances," are the words honoured with biggest type and most startling colors. The Concert is fast becoming as much a recognized part of church life as the Prayer Meeting, and is already, in most places, far better attended.

"Providing recreation for the people" will soon be looked upon as a necessary part of Christian work, and as binding upon the Church of God, as though it were a Divine command, unless some strong voice be raised which will make themselves heard. I do not presume to possess such a voice, but I do entertain the hope that I may awaken some louder echoes. Anyway, the burden of the Lord is upon me in this matter, and I leave it with Him to give my testimony ringing tone, or to let it die away in silence. I shall have delivered my soul in either case. Yet the conviction fills my mind that in all parts of the country there are faithful men and women who see the danger and deplore it and will endorse my witness and my warning.

It is only during the past few years that "amusement" has become a recognized weapon of our warfare, and developed into a mission. There has been a steady "down grade" in this respect. From "speaking out," as the Puritans did, the Church has gradually toned down her testimony; then winked at and excused the frivolities of the day. Then she has tolerated them in her borders, and now she has adopted them and provided a home for them—under the plea of "reaching the masses and getting the ear of the people." The devil has seldom done a cleverer thing—than hinting to the Church that part of her mission is to provide entertainment for the people with a view to winning them into her ranks. The evil nature which lies in every heart, has risen to catch the bait. Here, now, is an opportunity of gratifying the flesh—and yet retaining a comfortable conscience. We can now please ourselves, in order to do good to others. The rough old cross can be exchanged for a "costume," and the exchange can be made with the benevolent purpose of elevating the people.

All this is terribly sad, and the more so because truly gracious souls are being led away by the specious pretext, that amusements are a form of Christian work. They forget that a seemingly beautiful angel—may be the devil himself, "for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light" (2 Cor. 11:14).


Church amusements are not supported by Scripture

My first contention is—that providing amusement for the people is nowhere spoken of in Holy Scripture as one of the functions of the church. What her duties are, will come under our notice later on. At present it is the negative side of the question that we are dealing with. Now, surely, it our Lord had intended His church to be the caterer of entertainment, and so counteract the god of this world—He would hardly have left so important a branch of service unmentioned. If it is Christian work, why did not Christ at least hint it? "Go into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature," is clear enough. So would it have been, if He had added, "and provide amusement for those who do not relish the Gospel." No such addendum, however, is to be found, nor even an equivalent for such, in any one of our Lords utterances. This style of work did not seem to occur to His mind. Then again, Christ, as an ascended Lord, gives to His Church specially qualified men for the carrying on of His work, but no mention of any gift for this branch of service occurs in the list. "He gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers—for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ," Where do the "public entertainers" come in? The Holy Spirit is silent concerning them, and his silence is eloquence.

If "providing recreation" be a part of the Church's work, surely we may look for some promise to encourage her in the toilsome task. Where is it? There is a promise that, "My Word shall not return unto Me void." There is the heart-rejoicing declaration concerning the Gospel, "it is the power of God unto salvation." There is the sweet assurance for the preacher of Christ that, whether he is successful or not as the world judges success—that he is "sweet savor unto God." There is the glorious benediction for those whose testimony, so far from amusing the world, rouses its wrath: "Blessed are you when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for My sake. Rejoice, and be exceedingly glad—for great is your reward in heaven! For so persecuted they the prophets who were before you." Were the prophets persecuted because they amused the people—or because they refused to? The Gospel of amusement has no martyr roll. In vain does one look for a promise from God—for providing recreation for a godless world. That which has no authority from Christ, no provision made for it by the Spirit, no promise attached to it by God—can only be a lying deceit, when it lays claim to be "a branch of the work of the Lord".


Church amusements are not taught by the Savior

But again, providing amusement for the people—is in direct antagonism to the teaching and life of Christ and all his apostles. What is to be the attitude of the Church towards the world according to our Lord's teaching? Strict separation and uncompromising hostility. While no hint ever passed His lips of winning the world by pleasing it, or accommodating methods to its taste—His demand for unworldliness was constant and emphatic. He sets forth in one short sentence, what He would have His disciples to be: "You are the salt of the earth." Yes, the salt—not the sugar-candy! Something the world will be more inclined to spit out—than swallow with a smile. Something more calculated to bring water to the eye—than laughter to the lip.

Short and sharp is the utterance, "Let the dead bury their dead: but you go and preach the kingdom of God." "If you were of the world—the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hates you." "In the world you shall have tribulation, but be of good cheer; for I have overcome the world." "I have given them Your Word, and the world has hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world." "My kingdom is not of this world."

These passages are hard to reconcile with the modern idea of the Church providing recreation for those who have no taste for more serious things—in other words, of pleasing the world. If they teach anything at all, it is that fidelity to Christ will bring down the world's wrath—and that Christ intended His disciples to share with Him, the world's scorn and rejection. How did Jesus act? What were the methods of the only perfectly "faithful witness" the Father has ever had?

As none will question that He is to be the worker's model, let us gaze upon Him. How significant the introductory account given by Mark, "Now, after John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee preaching the Gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent! and believe the Gospel." And again, in the same chapter, I find Him saying, in answer to the announcement of His disciples, that all men were seeking for Him, "Let us go into the next towns that I may preach there also, for therefore came I forth." Matthew tells us, "And it came to pass when Jesus had made an end of commanding His twelve disciples, He departed thence to teach and preach in their cities." In answer to John's question, "Are You the one who is to come?" He replies, "Go and show John those things which you do hear and see . . . and the poor have the Gospel preached to them." There is no item in the catalogue for providing amusement, such as: "And provide the people with innocent recreation."

We are not left in doubt as to the matter of His preaching, for "when many were gathered together, insomuch that there was no room to receive them, no, not so much as about the door, He preached the Word unto them." There was no change of method adopted by the Lord during His course of ministry. His first word of command to His evangelists was, "As you go, preach!" His last command was, "Preach the Gospel to every creature." None of the gospels suggests that at any time during His ministry, He turned aside from preaching—to entertain, and so attract the people. He was in solemn earnestness, and his ministry was as earnest as Himself. Had He been less uncompromising, and introduced more of the "bright and pleasant" element into His ministry, He would have been more popular.

Yet, when many of His disciples turned away, because of the searching nature of His preaching, I do not find there was any attempt to increase a diminished congregation, by resorting to something more pleasant to the flesh. I do not hear Him saying, "We must keep up the gatherings at any cost! So run after those people, Peter, and tell them we will have a different style of service tomorrow! Something very short and attractive, with little, if any, preaching. Today was a service for God, but tomorrow we will have a pleasant evening for the people. Tell them they will be sure to enjoy it, and have a pleasant time. Be quick, Peter! We must get the people somehow; if not by Gospel, then by entertainment!" No, this was not how He argued. Gazing in sorrow on those who would not hear the Word, He simply turns to the twelve, and asks, "Will you go away also?"

Jesus pitied sinners, pleaded with them, sighed over them, warned them, and wept over them; but He never sought to amuse them! When the evening shadows of His consecrated life were deepening into the night of death, He reviewed His holy ministry, and found comfort and sweet solace in the thought, "I have given them Your Word." As with the Master, so with His apostles- their teaching is the echo of His. In vain will the epistles be searched to discover any trace of a gospel of amusement. The same call for separation from the world rings in everyone, "But not conformed to this world, but be you transformed," is the word of command in the Romans. "Come out from among them. and be you separate and touch not the unclean thing." It is the trumpet call in the Corinthians. In other words it is come out - keep out - keep clean out - for "what communion has light with darkness, and what concord has Christ with Belial?"

"God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom the world is crucified unto me and J unto the world." Here is the true relationship between the Church and the world according to the Epistle to the Galatians. "Do not be partakers with them. Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them," is the attitude enjoined in Ephesians. "That you may be blameless and pure, children of God who are faultless in a crooked and perverted generation, among whom you shine like stars in the world. Hold firmly the message of life," is the word in Philippians. "Dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world," says the Epistle to the Colossians, "Abstain from all appearance of evil" is the demand in Thessalonians.

"If anyone purifies himself from these things, he will be a special instrument, set apart, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work," is the word to Timothy. "Let us then go to Him outside the camp, bearing His disgrace," is the heroic summons of the Hebrews. James, with holy severity, declares that "Friendship with the world is enmity with God; whoever, therefore, will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God." Peter writes: "As obedient children, do not be conformed to the desires of your former ignorance but, as the One who called you is holy, you also are to be holy in all your conduct; for it is written—Be holy, because I am holy." John writes a whole epistle, the gist of which is, "Do not love the world or the things that belong to the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in him. For everything that belongs to the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride in one’s lifestyle—is not from the Father, but is from the world. And the world with its lust is passing away, but the one who does God's will remains forever."

Here are the teachings of the apostles concerning the relationship of the Church and the world. And yet, in the face of them, what do we see and hear? A friendly compromise between the two—and an insane effort to please and amuse the world. God help us, and dispel the strong delusion. How did the apostles carry on their mission work? Was it in harmony with their teaching? Let the Acts of the Apostles give the answer.

Anything approaching the worldly amusements of today, is conspicuous by its absence. The early evangelists had boundless confidence in the power of the Gospel, and employed no other weapon. Pentecost followed plain preaching. When Peter and John had been locked up for the night for preaching—the early Church had a prayer meeting. Directly they returned, and the petition offered for the two was, "And now, Lord, grant unto Your servants, that with all boldness they may speak Your word." They had no thought of praying, "Grant unto Your servants more wisdom, that by a wise and discriminating use of innocent recreation, they may avoid the offence of the cross, and sweetly show the unsaved, how happy and merry a lot we are."

The charge brought against the apostles was, "You have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine." Not much chance of this charge being brought against modern methods! The description of their work is, "And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ." Then, it they "ceased not" from this, they had no time for arranging for entertainments! They gave themselves continually to the ministry of the Word. Scattered by persecution, the early disciples "Went everywhere, preaching the Word."

When Philip went to Samaria, and was the means of bringing "great joy to that city," the only recorded method is, "He preached Christ unto them." When the apostles went to visit the scene of his labors, it is stated, "And they, when they had testified and preached the Word of the Lord, returned to Jerusalem, and preached the Gospel in many villages of the Samaritans." When they had finished their preaching, it is evident they did not think it was their mission to stay and organize some "pleasant evenings of entertainment" for those people who did not believe.

The congregations in those days did not expect anything but the Word of the Lord, for Cornelius says to Peter, "We are all here in the presence of God—to listen to everything the Lord has commanded you to tell us." The message given was, "Words whereby you and all your house shall be saved." Cause and effect are closely linked in the statement, "Some of them went to Antioch and began to speak to Greeks also, preaching the good news about the Lord Jesus. The Lord's hand was with them, and a great number of people believed and turned to the Lord." Here you have their method—they preached. Their matter—the good news about the Lord Jesus. Their power—the hand of the Lord was with them. Their success—a great number of people believed and turned to the Lord.

What more does the Church of God require today? When Paul and Barnabas worked together, the record is, "The Lord gave testimony unto the Word of His grace," When Paul, in a vision, hears a man of Macedonia saying, "Come over and help us," he assuredly understands that the Lord had called him to preach the Gospel unto them. Why so? How did he know, but that the help needed was the brightening of their lives by a little amusement, or the refining of their manners by a collection of paintings? He never thought of such things! "Come and help us!" meant to him, "Preach the Gospel." "As his custom was, Paul went into the synagogue, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures, explaining and proving that the Christ had to suffer and rise from the dead." That was the "custom" of evangelistic work in those days, and it seems to have been wonderfully powerful; for the verdict of the people is, "These who have turned the world upside down—have come here also!" Just now, the world is turning the Church upside down; that is the only difference.

When God told Paul that He had many people in Corinth, I read, "And he continued there a year and six months, teaching the Word of God among them." Evidently then, he judged that the only way to save them, was by the Word. A year and a half—and only one method adopted. Wonderful! Our modern preachers would have had a dozen methods in that time! But then Paul never reckoned that providing something pleasant for the ungodly, was part of his ministry; for, on his way to Jerusalem and martyrdom, he says, "But I count my life of no value to myself, so that I may finish my course and the ministry I received from the Lord Jesus—to testify to the gospel of God's grace." This was all the ministry he knew.

The last description we have of the methods of this prince of evangelists, is consistent with all that has gone before, "For two whole years Paul stayed there in his own rented house and welcomed all who came to see him. Boldly and without hindrance he preached the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ." What a contrast to all the rot and nonsense now being perpetrated in the holy name of Christ! May the Lord clear the Church of all the rubbish that the devil has imposed upon her, and bring us back again to apostolic methods!


Church amusements are not spiritually fruitful

Lastly, the mission of amusement utterly falls to effect the desired end among the unsaved; but it works havoc among the young converts. Were it a success, it would be none the less wrong. Success belongs to God. Faithfulness to His instructions is my only responsibility

Nonetheless, providing amusements for the people is a contemptible failure. Let us see the converts who have been won by amusement. Let the harlots and the drunkards, to whom a dramatic entertainment has been God's first link in the chain of their conversion stand forth. Let the careless and the scoffers who have cause to thank God that the Church has relaxed her spirit of separation and met them half-way in their worldliness, speak and testify. Let the husbands, wives, and children, who have been saved by church amusements, tell out their joy. Let the weary, heavy-laden souls who have found peace through a pleasing concert, no longer keep silence. Let the men and women who have found Christ through the reversal of apostolic methods declare the same, and show the greatness of Paul's blunder when he said, "I determined not to know anything among you—but Jesus Christ, and Him crucified." There is neither voice nor any to answer. The failure is on a par with the folly—and as huge as the sin! Out of thousands with whom I have personally conversed, the mission of amusement has claimed no convert!

Now let the appeal be made to those who, repudiating every other method, have staked everything on the preaching of the Gospel. Let them be challenged to produce results. There is no need. Blazing sacrifices on every hand attest the answer. Ten thousand times ten thousand voices are ready to declare that the plain preaching of the Word was, first and last—the cause of their salvation!

But how about the other side of this matter—what are baneful effects of providing entertainment? Are they innocent? I will here solemnly as before the Lord, give my personal testimony. Though I have never seen a sinner saved by amusements, I have seen any number of backsliders manufactured by this new departure from the Scripture. Over and over again have they come to me in tears, and asked what they were to do, as they had lost all their peace and fallen into evil. Over and over again has the confession been made, "I began to go wrong by attending worldly amusements that Christians patronized." It is not very long since that a young man, in an agony of soul, said to me, "I never thought of going to the theater—until my minister put it into my heart by preaching that there was no harm in it. I went, and it has led me from bad to worse—and now I am a miserable backslider; and he is responsible for it."

When professors begin to forsake the gatherings for prayer, and grow worldly, I almost always find that worldly Christianity is responsible for the first downward step. The mission of amusements is the devil's half-way house to the world! It is because of what I have seen that I feel deeply, and would sincerely write strongly. This thing is working rottenness in the Church of God, and blasting her service for the King. In the guise of Christianity, it is accomplishing the devil's own work! Under the pretense of going out to reach the world—it is carrying our sons and daughters into the world, With the plea of "Do not alienate the masses with your strictness," it is seducing the young disciples from the simplicity and the purity of the Gospel. Professing to win the world, it is turning the garden of the Lord into a public recreation ground! To fill the church with those who see no beauty in Christ—a grinning Dragon is put over the doorway!

It will be no wonder if the Holy Spirit, grieved and insulted, withdraws His presence; for "What harmony can there be between Christ and the Devil?"

"Come out!" is the call for today! Sanctify yourselves! Put away the evil from among you. Cast down the world's altars and cut down her groves. Spurn her offered assistance. Decline her help, as your Master did the testimony of devils, for "He did not allow them to speak, because they knew Him." Renounce all the worldly policy of the age. Trample upon Saul's armor. Grasp the Book of God. Trust the Spirit who wrote its pages. Fight with this weapon—only and always. Cease to amuse—and seek to arouse with the preaching of the Word. Shun the clap of a delighted audience, and listen for the sobs of a convicted one. Give up trying to "please" men who have only the thickness of the ribs between their souls and hell! Warn, and plead, and entreat—as those who see the fires of eternity about to devour the lost!

Let the Church again confront the world—testify against it—and meet it only behind the cross! And, like her Lord, she shall overcome, and with Him share the victory!
Bookmark and Share
> posted by Charles Fry at 1 Comments Links to this post

Bible Doctrine For Older Children


By James W. Beeke

Bible Doctrine for Older Children is a two volume series consisting of twenty chapters which contain simple explanations of all major biblical doctrines. Book A contains chapters 1-10 and Book B chapters 11-20. The explanations were written for children eleven years of age and older. This series contains more than 150 stories and illustrations to help explain the doctrinal concepts being taught.

These books were written for home, personal, or family reading; school Bible doctrine teaching; or church catechetical instruction.

Book A
Chapter

1. Introduction, God’s Revelation, The Bible
2. God’s Names, God’s Attributes, The Trinity
3. God’s Decree, Predestination
4. God’s Creation, Angels
5. God’s Providence
6. The Creation of Man, The Image of God, Man’s Soul and Body, The Covenant of Works
7. The Fall of Man, Sin, Death
8. The Covenant of Grace
9. The Mediator, The Natures of Jesus Christ, The Names of Jesus Christ
10. The Offices of Jesus Christ, The States of Jesus Christ

Buy book A here

Book B
Chapter

11. Doctrinal Standards,
Creeds,
The Five Points of Calvinism
12. Calling, 
Regeneration,
Conversion
13. Faith,
Types of Faith
14. Justification, Sanctification
15. Prayer
16. The Church,
The Church Offices,
Church Government,
Church Discipline
17. The Means of Grace,
God’s Word,
God’s Law and Gospel
18. God’s Sacraments,
Holy Baptism
19. The Lord’s Supper
20. The Soul After Death,
Christ’s Second Coming,
The Resurrection of the Dead,
The Final Judgment,
Eternity


Buy book B here
Bookmark and Share
> posted by Charles Fry at 0 Comments Links to this post

Bible Doctrine for Younger Children


By James W. Beeke

Bible Doctrine for Younger Children is a two volume series consisting of twenty chapters which contain simple explanations of all major biblical doctrines. Book A contains chapters 1-10 and Book B chapters 11-20. The explanations were written for children nine years of age and older. This series contains more than 150 stories and illustrations to help explain the doctrinal concepts being taught.

These books were written for home, personal, or family reading; school Bible doctrine teaching; or church catechetical instruction.

Book A
Chapter
1. Bible Doctrine, God Reveals Himself,
The Bible
2. One God
God’s Attributes,
The Trinity,
God’s Decrees
3. God’s Creation,
God’s Providence
4. Creation of Man,
The Covenant of Works
5. The Fall of Man,
Sin, 
Death
6. God’s Law,
The First Table of God’s Moral Law
7. The Second Table of God’s Moral Law
8. The Covenant of Grace
9. The Mediator,
The Two Natures of Jesus Christ,
The Name of Jesus Christ
10. The Offices of Jesus Christ,
The States of Jesus Christ


Buy book A here

Book B
Chapter

11. Calling, 
Regeneration,
Conversion
12. Faith,
Types of Faith
13. Justification,
Sanctification
14. Prayer
15. The Church,
The Church Offices
16. Doctrinal Standards,
Creeds,
The Five Points of Calvinism
17. The Means of Grace,
God’s Word,
God’s Sacraments
18. Holy Baptism
19. The Lord’s Supper
20. The Soul After Death,
Christ’s Second Coming,
The Resurrection of the Dead,
The Final Judgment,
Eternity


Buy book B here
Bookmark and Share
> posted by Charles Fry at 0 Comments Links to this post

Charismatic Chaos

Bookmark and Share
> posted by Charles Fry at 4 Comments Links to this post

King David's city of Sha'arayim identified

Good morning everyone,

I just came across the following story. I have not had time to do more research on it. When I find more information I will post it.


Archeology: King David's city of Sha'arayim identified

Elah Fortress excavation yields monumental find – second gate to the city, leading experts to believe site was the ancient city of Sha'arayim, which literally means two gates

The Elah Fortress excavation, being developed by Foundation Stone under the direction of Professor Yosef Garfinkel, Yigal Yadin Chair of Archeology at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, has announced the discovery of a second monumental find in as many months.



Archeologists digging at the site have uncovered a second gate to the city. This “two-gate” feature is the only one of its kind found in the Kingdoms of Judah or Israel to date and is understood by Professor Garfinkel as revealing the Biblical name of the city: “Sha’arayim” – literally meaning two gates.

The second gate was discovered in recent weeks as part of ongoing excavations at this site which has already yielded numerous historic finds. The gate faces an easterly direction, towards Jerusalem. Already proven to be a Judean city, this latest find lends further credence to the assumption that it was part of a regional governing system connected to King David. The gate is comprised of massive stones, each weighing about 10 tons, leading archeologists to conclude that the fortification of the city was orchestrated by some form of centralized government.


Carbon 14 dating conducted on burnt olive pits uncovered at the site have already concluded that the city was active in 1,000-965 BC, during the time of King David.

The discovery is the first ever of an Iron Age fortified city with two gates. Coupled with the location of the Elah Fortress in close proximity to the Biblical strongholds of Socho an Azekah, numerous factors are leading Professor Garfinkel to conclude that the Fortress is in fact the Juadaen city of Sha’arayim.


“This discovery is critical towards our further appreciation of the enormous historic value this site played in the kingdom of Judah.” said Barnea Selevan, co-Director of Foundation Stone, the organization leading the development of the Elah Fortress including its educational components for visitation and participation by students and the general public in the excavations. Sha’arayim appears three times in the Bible and the city is twice linked to King David.

The find of the second gate follows the discovery of an ostracon (pottery shard inscribed with writing in ink) also within the Elah Fortress site. The writing visible on the pottery piece is believed to be the earliest and longest known ancient Hebrew text ever found.

Uncovering two discoveries of such substantial importance in such a short period of time is almost unprecedented in the field of Biblical archeology,” said Professor Garfinkel. “With only a small percentage of the site dug so far, we are very excited about what we will continue to find in the period ahead.”

Here is the link to the original article: David




If you are interested in the subject of Biblical Archaeology check out this:

Insight's Archaeology Handbook

Insight’s Archaeology Handbook, is one of the finest handbooks we’ve ever produced. Full of color photos, you’ll read and learn about ten key archaeological discoveries and how they support the historical accuracy of God’s Word.

At Insight for Living we are constantly developing tools to encourage you as you seek to grow in your relationship with Jesus Christ and in your knowledge of the Bible. You will find this wonderful book both highly readable and utterly fascinating, as it sheds light on the various historical people, places, and events mentioned in the Bible.

Insight’s Archaeology Handbook will help you deepen your understanding of the Scriptures by bringing to life the stories you’ve read and heard.

118-page softcover book


You can buy the book at this link: Book
Bookmark and Share
> posted by Trevor Hammack at 0 Comments Links to this post

Christians And Church Attendance

Bookmark and Share
> posted by Charles Fry at 0 Comments Links to this post

Rob Bell Part 2

Here is part 2 of our look at Rob Bell. The article was written by Eric Mire.


Rob Bell Part 2

DUST

Rob Bell begins his teaching by explaining how he has recently learned more about himself through the story of Jesus walking on the water and rebuking Peter for his lack of faith found in Matthew 14:22-33. Rob doesn’t simply expound on the text but takes the listener on to a historical understanding of Jewish Rabbis. He explains how in Jewish culture, young children around the age of 6 would go to school to learn the Torah, in what was known as “Bait Torah.” They would be taught by a local rabbi until the age of 10, and upon completion would have the entire Torah memorized. Most of the children after the age of 10 would move on to learn the family trade, but the “best of the best” would move on to the 2nd level of training called “Bait Talmud.” At the conclusion of “Bait Talmud,” around the age of 14 or 15, the child would be able to memorize all of the Jewish scriptures—Genesis to Malachi. From this group of kids, the “best of the best of the best” would move on the next level of education known as the “Bait Midrash.” In order to be accepted into the “Bait Midrash” the student would have to find a specific rabbi to apply to and become the rabbi’s disciple. Rob says that a disciple is “deeper than a student” because the disciple “wants to be like the rabbi, and do what the rabbi does.” Each rabbi would have different interpretations of scripture, known as the “rabbi’s yoke.”

A disciple would want to take on the “rabbi’s yoke in order to know what the rabbi knows, to be able to do what the rabbi does, in order to be like the rabbi.” The rabbi would then “grill” the student with questions and testing to see if the student could be a valid follower. If the rabbi doesn’t think the student can follow him, he gently releases him to go back and learn “the family trade.” However, if the rabbi thinks a student can be a good follower, the rabbi would invite the student to “follow me.” The young 15 year old kid would then leave “family, friends, synagogue, and village to devote your entire life to being like your rabbi. This is what it means to be a disciple.” So the student would daily walk with the rabbi through the hot desert terrain and by the end of the day “you would be caked in whatever your rabbi stepped in.” Rob explains that there was a saying among the sage’s and wise men of the day—“may you be covered in the dust of your rabbi.” Hence the title “Dust.”


Rob moves on to explain how Jesus began His ministry as a rabbi at the age of 30 (which is the common age of a new rabbi), and how Jesus was revolutionary based on the fact that He went to fisherman to call them to be His disciples instead of a young, bright child who was schooled in the “Bait Talmud.” They are not the “best of the best.” But the rabbi Jesus who is the “best of the best of the best” calls them to be his disciples. This explains why they would be so eager to “drop their nets at once and follow him.”


Back to the story of Jesus walking on water; why would Peter’s first response be, “if it’s you Lord tell me to come to you?” Rob’s explanation is because as a disciple Peter has organized his whole life around Jesus, “he’s dedicated his whole life to do what he sees his rabbi doing.” So as Peter sees his rabbi walking on water, he too wants to walk on water. Peter begins to walk on water and then starts to sink and calls out for Jesus. Jesus’ response was “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”


*HERESY ALERT* Now this is the most crucial part of Rob’s whole lesson, and even though the historical context can have some validity to it, this is where Rob takes you into heresy. Rob states that he always assumed “that Peter doubts Jesus, but Jesus isn’t sinking. So who does Peter doubt? He doubts himself. He loses faith in himself that he could actually be like his rabbi. Jesus wouldn’t have called him if he didn’t think Peter could be like him, Jesus even reminds his disciples at one point when he says, ‘You didn’t choose me, I chose you,’ the rabbi doesn’t choose you unless the rabbi thinks you can do what he does, that you can be like him. All my life I heard about people believing in God, but God believes in us, in you, in me. Faith in Jesus is important, but what about Jesus’ faith in us? He must have faith in us because he leaves it all in the hands of the disciples… He leaves it in the hands of these anybodies and they do it. What if we could actually be the kind of people that lived like Jesus lived?”


Now this is incredibly dangerous. Rob Bell is a great communicator and teacher. However, when he comes to his conclusions on a passage using his understanding of historical contexts, they end with a self-exaltation of interpretation. What is completely missing from this study of Jesus and Peter walking on water is the doctrine of total depravity, man’s need for salvation, the doctrine of sanctification, and the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. I’m not going to critique Rob Bell’s explanation on Jewish education and culture because it is not detrimental to your eternal salvation as much as the “believing in yourself” worldview is.

Let’s start by explaining what the parable is supposed to show us. This parable is supposed to show us that Jesus is the Christ. He is all-powerful over creation and He can do what we can’t do. Peter sinking shows us our need for a savior.

I honestly do not know why Peter would have been so bold as to want to get out of the boat in the first place, but it is a good illustration for us today to understand that we are to keep our faith on Christ alone. There will always be trials; we do not seek Jesus for the absence of trials because inside and outside the boat the waters were fierce, but Jesus is Lord over all creation and sovereign over all life’s happenings. This is not an illustration of a disciple following a rabbi, but of Christ being a savior, a call to perseverance, and our Lord’s ability to deliver us. It is the complete opposite of “having faith in ourselves.”

Here are a few scriptures to show us that we are to not have faith in ourselves, please read them carefully and understand that this is God’s Word written to you: Jer. 17:7-9; Isaiah 64:1-7; Psalm 51:5; Romans 3:10-18; Romans 5:12; John 6:44; Ephesians 2:1-10. All of these scriptures were given to us by God to show us our sin and need for a savior. Because we are sinners, then there is no way we can be like the rabbi through our own strength, wisdom, or abilities. Jesus has come not show us a better way to live, but to quench the wrath of God brought on by our sinfulness. The only one we are to believe in is Jesus Christ, because without Him you are dead in your trespasses. Your walking on water is really a bloated body faced down if you believe in yourself.


The next error that needs to be refuted through scripture is the idea that we can be like Jesus because “he chose you.” There is some truth to this because this falls in line with the doctrine of sanctification, but Rob Bell does not explain it as such. He does not explain our total dependence on God to make us holy. Sanctification is an ongoing process that Christians must go through, and cannot do so by believing in ourselves. In my honest opinion, I don’t think there is many people out there today who don’t want to be like Jesus, believers or non-believers. Who wouldn’t want to command nature to do what they want it to do. Who wouldn’t want to have the power that Jesus had. Who wouldn’t want to have a following like Jesus attained. But this is not the Jesus that sanctification aims us to become like. Sanctification aims at producing fruit in our lives. Read Galatians 5:16-26. If your idea of the outcome of following Jesus does not line up with the fruit of the Spirit, then you do not have a proper understanding of God’s will in sanctification for you while here on earth. Read Romans 7. By this point in Romans, Paul has already addressed the depravity of mankind, our need for a savior, how to attain salvation, and now begins to speak on how sanctification works in the life of a believer. We will always struggle with the sin nature, but must “walk in the Spirit to not fulfill the lusts of the flesh.” And realize that sanctification will not be complete until we die and go to be with Him (if in fact you are saved). Read 1 Cor. 15:42-29. This shows us that you will not be able to fully be like your rabbi here on earth, but we must wait for the day that our heavenly body’s “bear the image of the Man of heaven.”


SMALL GROUP QUESTIONS FROM THE WORKBOOK: My answers will be in italic.

1) Have you ever thought about Jesus as your rabbi? Not in the historical context that Rob uses.

2) Would you consider yourself a disciple? A biblical disciple; I strive to be… A “belief in myself” disciple; God forbid.

3) Have you ever thought about your faith as being an interpretation? What?!?

4) Is it okay to have different interpretations of the Scriptures? No because there is only one truth, and truth is not relative.

5) What message was Jesus sending us by not choosing the best of the best? It wasn’t to show us that He believes in us… it was to gather a group of men that had not been corrupted by the “leaven of the Pharisees and the Sadducees.” And also to show us God’s election not man’s election, so that no one could boast of being worthy.

6) What impact are Christians today having on the course of human history? We’re making the top 50 influential lists and teaching a different Jesus.

7) How big of a role do your insecurities play in your life? I constantly need a hug and someone to validate my worth and increase my self-esteem.

8) Do they ever affect your faith? If my faith revolves around myself, then my faith is already negatively affected.

9) Do you believe that God believes in you? NO HE DOES NOT! IF HE DID HE WOULDN’T HAVE SENT HIS ONLY BEGOTTEN SON TO DIE IN MY PLACE!

10) What does it mean to be like Jesus? To be sanctified according to scripture, not try to be all-powerful like He is. He is God and I cannot be God too.

11) Can you do it? He alone can do it. He alone is my Savior. He alone justifies and sanctifies me. I am not and never will be God. All people should be careful of this teaching because it leads you to self-exaltation, self-glorification and finally the condemning sin of self-deification.
Bookmark and Share
> posted by Trevor Hammack at 3 Comments Links to this post

Sunday, November 23, 2008

365 Days With Calvin


Here is the perfect Christmas gift:

365 days with Calvin—A unique collection of 365 readings from the writings of John Calvin, selected and edited by Joel R Beeke

John Calvin exercised a profound ministry in Europe, and is probably one of the most seminal thinkers ever to have lived. A godly pastor, theologian and preacher, he led his flock by example and worked hard to establish consistent godliness in his city. A prolific writer, his sermons, letters, and, of course, his ‘Christian Institutes’ have been published again and again. His writings—once described as ‘flowing prose’—are characterized by clarity, simplicity, and yet profoundness, too. In these heart-warming pieces, drawn from his commentaries and sermons, Calvin brings us to Christ, the glorious Savior of all his people.

Buy it Here.
Bookmark and Share
> posted by Charles Fry at 2 Comments Links to this post

Saturday, November 22, 2008

CUTTING

What Is Cutting?
Injuring yourself on purpose by making scratches or cuts on your body with a sharp object — enough to break the skin and make it bleed — is called cutting. Cutting is a type of self-injury, or SI. Most people who cut are girls, but guys self-injure, too. People who cut usually start cutting in their young teens. Some continue to cut into adulthood
People may cut themselves on their wrists, arms, legs, or bellies. Some people self-injure by burning their skin with the end of a cigarette or lighted match.

When cuts or burns heal, they often leave scars or marks. People who injure themselves usually hide the cuts and marks and sometimes no one else knows.

Why Do People Cut Themselves?
It can be hard to understand why people cut themselves on purpose. Cutting is a way some people try to cope with the pain of strong emotions, intense pressure, or upsetting relationship problems. They may be dealing with feelings that seem too difficult to bear, or bad situations they think can't change.

Some people cut because they feel desperate for relief from bad feelings. People who cut may not know better ways to get relief from emotional pain or pressure. Some people cut to express strong feelings of rage, sorrow, rejection, desperation, longing, or emptiness.

There are other ways to cope with difficulties, even big problems and terrible emotional pain. The help of a mental health professional might be needed for major life troubles or overwhelming emotions. For other tough situations or strong emotions, it can help put things in perspective to talk problems over with parents, other adults, or friends. Getting plenty of exercise can also help put problems in perspective and help balance emotions.

But people who cut may not have developed ways to cope. Or their coping skills may be overpowered by emotions that are too intense. When emotions don't get expressed in a healthy way, tension can build up — sometimes to a point where it seems almost unbearable. Cutting may be an attempt to relieve that extreme tension. For some, it seems like a way of feeling in control.

The urge to cut might be triggered by strong feelings the person can't express — such as anger, hurt, shame, frustration, or alienation. People who cut sometimes say they feel they don't fit in or that no one understands them. A person might cut because of losing someone close or to escape a sense of emptiness. Cutting might seem like the only way to find relief or express personal pain over relationships or rejection.

People who cut or self-injure sometimes have other mental health problems that contribute to their emotional tension. Cutting is sometimes (but not always) associated with depression, bipolar disorder, eating disorders, obsessive thinking, or compulsive behaviors. It can also be a sign of mental health problems that cause people to have trouble controlling their impulses or to take unnecessary risks. Some people who cut themselves have problems with drug or alcohol abuse.

Some people who cut have had a traumatic experience, such as living through abuse, violence, or a disaster. Self-injury may feel like a way of "waking up" from a sense of numbness after a traumatic experience. Or it may be a way of reinflicting the pain they went through, expressing anger over it, or trying to get control of it.


Here is the link from which the above information was found: Cutting








Bookmark and Share
> posted by Trevor Hammack at 2 Comments Links to this post

Great Music From Skillet!





Bookmark and Share
> posted by Trevor Hammack at 0 Comments Links to this post

TRUE SECURITY














Here are the lyrics:


Verse 1:
There's a young girl, up in her teenage years
Up in tha world, thrivin with teenage peers
Popular but there's one thing to be made clear
Low self esteem was tha reason for her teenage tears
She thought she was pretty enough or cool as tha next chick
She thought she wasn't skinny enough so dudes she would mess wit
So they'd be chillin wit her and she'd feel accepted
But in the end it would suck cause she'd still get rejected
And nah she couldn't really see seekin the Lord but
Thought she could find peace in an eatin disorder
Every time she'd lose 10 and said just 10 more but
Her friends all confused like you what you do this for huh?
And she started to cling to this foolish disorder
She figured it's all she had if tha students ignored her
Dag, I'm praying for my sister
That she would cling to God that can save and deliver

Hook:
I'm praying for my sister
That she would cling to the God that can save and deliver
True security is found in Christ
He'll never leave you, He's down and around for life
(Repeat)

Verse 2:
There's a young dude, up in his teenage years
Huggin tha block to fit in wit his teenage peers
He still doesn't it's one thing to be made clear
Not bein down with tha rest is his teenage fear
See where he come from, sellin work ain't that crazy
And it's few cats his age that ain't had babies
All he wanna do is lay around and hang out crazy
Maybe smoke something, drank got his vision hazy
Plus he just got that new Jeezy cd
Wanna be like them D boys he see on TV
Heard of church but ain't got a suit that's three piece
So he think it that just ain't for him
But some girls down tha block wanna date from him
Bout a decade down tha road his baby will be 10
But he'll be locked up I'm prayin for my brother
That he would cling to the God that can save when we suffer

Hook:
I'm praying for my brother
That he would cling to the God that can save when we suffer
True security is found in Christ
He'll never leave you, He's down and around for life
(Repeat)

Verse 3:
Another young one, up in they teenage years
Put on a pedestal above all they teenage peers
Father's a pastor and one thing that he made clear
We serve Christ, but daddy couldn't see they tears
See they felt insufficient, like they could not match
Up to Dad, no matter how much good they stacked
Like they was failin every single test they facin
Felt like Satan next to the expectations
Suicidal thoughts, ran through they brain
Had dreams of killin, but self is who they'd slain
Didn't realize that Christ is perfect in our weakness
So they tried to hide it like they life was sweetness
Frontin in front of fam even quotin scripture
But just couldn't understand He who wrote the scripture
Dag I'm prayin for my family
That we would realize He died so guys would have a plan B

Hook
I'm prayin for my sister
That she would cling to the God who can save and deliver
True security is found in Christ
He'll never leave you, He's down and around for life
I'm prayin for my brothers
That we would cling to the God who can save when we suffer
True security is found in Christ
He'll never leave you, He's down and around for life
I'm prayin for family
That we would realize He died so guys would have a plan B
True security is found in Christ
He'll never leave you, He's down and around for life
I'm prayin for family
That we would realize He died so guys would have a plan B
True security is found in Christ
He'll never leave you, He's down and around for life
Bookmark and Share
> posted by Trevor Hammack at 0 Comments Links to this post

Christ The King Sunday












This Sunday is the last Sunday of the church year. Next Sunday is the beginning of Advent ans is the fist Sunday of the new church year. For many the last Sunday of the church year is known as, Christ The King Sunday. I want to share the history of this day and some information about it.



From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Christ the King, a detail from the Ghent Altarpiece by Jan van Eyck.Christ the King is a title of Jesus based on several passages of Scripture and used by all Christians. Many denominations, including Catholics, Anglicans, Episcopalians, Presbyterians, and some Lutherans and Methodists, celebrate, in honour of Christ under this title, the Feast of Christ the King on the last Sunday of the liturgical year, before a new year begins with the First Sunday of Advent (the earliest date of which is 27 November). The Feast of Christ the King is thus on the Sunday that falls between 20 and 26 November, inclusive (however, the Catholic calendar of pre-Vatican II had this feast on the last Sunday of October).


The name is found in various forms in scripture: King Eternal (1 Timothy 1:17), King of Israel (John 1:49), King of the Jews (Mt. 27:11), King of kings (1 Tim 6:15; Rev. 19:16), King of the Ages (Book of Revelation 15:3) and Ruler of the Kings of the Earth (Rev. 1:5).

The ideological movement of Christ's Kingship was addressed in the encyclical Quas Primas of Pope Pius XI, published in 1925, which has been called "possibly one of the most misunderstood and ignored encyclicals of all time." The Pontiff's encyclical quotes with approval Cyril of Alexandria, noting that Jesus' Kingship is not obtained by violence: "'Christ,' he says, 'has dominion over all creatures, a dominion not seized by violence nor usurped, but his by essence and by nature.'"

Pope Benedict XVI has remarked that Christ's Kingship is not based on "human power" but on loving and serving others. The perfect exemplar of that acceptance, he pointed out, is the Virgin Mary. Her humble and unconditional acceptance of God's will in her life.


You can read the encyclical of Pope Pius XI here:
QUAS PRIMAS (On the Feast of Christ the King)
Pope Pius XI





Here are the scripture readings for this Sunday:
Ezekiel 34:11-12, 15-17
Psalm 23:1-3, 5-6
1 Corinthians 15:20-26, 28
Matthew 25:31-46


Take some time today and read these passages of scripture and see what you can learn about Christ as King.


A Catholic source said it this way:

Sunday's Mass also describes the qualities of Christ's kingdom. This kingdom is: 1) supreme, extending not only to all peoples but also to their princes and kings; 2) universal, extending to all nations and to all places; 3) eternal, for "The Lord shall sit a King forever"; 4) spiritual, Christ's "kingdom is not of this world".
With an ever-growing desire, all Advent awaits the "coming King"; in the chants of the breviary we find repeated again and again the two expressions "King" and "is coming." On Christmas the Church would greet, not the Child of Bethlehem, but the Rex Pacificus — "the King of peace gloriously reigning." Within a fortnight, there follows a feast which belongs to the greatest of the feasts of the Church year -- the Epiphany. As in ancient times oriental monarchs visited their principalities (theophany), so the divine King appears in His city, the Church; from its sacred precincts He casts His glance over all the world....On the final feast of the Christmas cycle, the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, holy Church meets her royal Bridegroom with virginal love: "Adorn your bridal chamber, O Sion, and receive Christ your King!" The burden of the Christmas cycle may be summed up in these words: Christ the King establishes His Kingdom of light upon earth!

If we now consider the Easter cycle, the luster of Christ's royal dignity is indeed somewhat veiled by His sufferings; nevertheless, it is not the suffering Jesus who is present to the eyes of the Church as much as Christ the royal Hero and Warrior who upon the battlefield of Golgotha struggles with the mighty and dies in triumph. Even during Lent and Passiontide the Church acclaims her King. The act of homage on Palm Sunday is intensely stirring; singing psalms in festal procession we accompany our Savior singing: Gloria, laus et honor tibi sit, Rex Christe, "Glory, praise and honor be to Thee, Christ, O King!" It is true that on Good Friday the Church meditates upon the Man of Sorrows in agony upon the Cross, but at the same time, and perhaps more so, she beholds Him as King upon a royal throne. The hymn Vexilla Regis, "The royal banners forward go," is the more perfect expression of the spirit from which the Good Friday liturgy has arisen. Also characteristic is the verse from Psalm 95, Dicite in gentibus quia Dominus regnavit, to which the early Christians always added, a ligno, "Proclaim among the Gentiles: the Lord reigns from upon the tree of the Cross!" During Paschal time the Church is so occupied with her glorified Savior and Conqueror that kingship references become rarer; nevertheless, toward the end of the season we celebrate our King's triumph after completing the work of redemption, His royal enthronement on Ascension Thursday.

Neither in the time after Pentecost is the picture of Christ as King wholly absent from the liturgy. Corpus Christi is a royal festival: "Christ the King who rules the nations, come, let us adore" (Invit.). In the Greek Church the feast of the Transfiguration is the principal solemnity in honor of Christ's kingship, Summum Regem gloriae Christum adoremus (Invit.). Finally at the sunset of the ecclesiastical year, the Church awaits with burning desire the return of the King of Majesty.
Bookmark and Share
> posted by Trevor Hammack at 0 Comments Links to this post

Friday, November 21, 2008

Rob Bell Part 1
















There has been a lot written about Pastor Rob Bell across the Internet. His teaching is influencing many people. I begin to do a little research on him and I felt that his teaching could be dangerous and needed to be addressed. Erick Mire is a young man who attends my church. I spoke with him about Rob Bell and he begin to tell me about is exposure to his teaching. After we talked, I decided he would be a good person to write a few articles about his experience and what he thinks of Rob Bell's teaching.

So here is

Rob Bell Part 1
by
Erick Mire




For the last few years I have been a part of numerous college small groups and Bible studies. I was even asked to be the head of the college ministry of my former church. During this time, I was exposed to many modern day heretical teachings. At the time I sensed nothing was wrong with the teaching I was hearing because it was being given to me by men I respected, such as my head pastor and youth pastor. For over three years I labored hard in the church, working in two to three ministries at a time. Then finally I crashed and burned. I was completely burned out from Christianity! I became cynical and began to doubt God in many areas. I praise God for pulling me out of that church and opening my eyes to the real problem at hand: False doctrines and false Christianity.


In the last few months of attending my former church, I began to listen to other sermons online from well-respected preachers and noticed significant differences from what I had been hearing in every sermon being preached from my churches pulpit. To sum it up, good sermons teach exaltation of Christ, mankind’s need for a savior, how truth is found in scripture alone, and all other teaching that leads to sound doctrine, but what I was hearing was preaching that catered to self. It’s not about you, but about Christ! That sounds so elemental, but the teaching that I would hear on a regular basis was telling me that Jesus wants me to come to Him for a good life, i.e. good relationships, career planning, financial stability, health and wellness, and more. Sure there would be occasional teachings on how we need to be followers of Christ, but it was all law-based living and never the true Gospel.

Since having my eyes open by our gracious Lord Jesus Christ, I am hungry to know the TRUTH. I am even willing to proclaim it even if my friends hate me for it. All people are totally depraved and will die and go to hell in their sins, unless they believe in the finished work of Jesus Christ. Jesus does not save us from a miserable life, but from a miserable eternity. Wanting Jesus to save you from a miserable life is a Hedonistic view of Jesus.

In this blog, I would like to discuss one of the false teachings that was being presented to me by my former church. It is the video series called “NOOMA” by author and Pastor Rob Bell, the founding pastor of Mars Hill Bible Church in Grandville, Michigan. NOOMA’s website, nooma states Mars Hill Bible Church is “… one of the fastest growing churches in American history.” So as you can see, he is very influential in today’s American Christianity. Rob Bell’s church has even landed the #10 spot on Church Report Magazine’s, “50 Most Influential Churches in America 2007.”

http://www.thecronline.com/mag_article.php?mid=875&mname=January.



As for the NOOMA videos, I will let nooma.com explain what they are intended to be:

“We can get anything we want, from anywhere in the world, whenever we want it. That's how it is and that's how we want it to be. Still, our lives aren't any different than other generations before us. Our time is. We want spiritual direction, but it has to be real for us and available when we need it. We want a new format for getting Christian perspectives.

NOOMA is the new format.

It's short films with communicators that really speak to us. Compact, portable, and concise. Each NOOMA touches on issues that we care about, that we want to talk about, and it comes in a way that fits our world. It's a format that's there for us when we need it, as we need it, how we need it. “

As I mentioned earlier, NOOMA was one of the influential teachings going on in my previous church. It is so influential that earlier this week, a friend of mine who attends college in South Dakota tried to rebuke me for saying anything harsh against Rob Bell. Many, many college age Christians in America either have or possibly will come in contact with a NOOMA video. I realize by doing this blog, there will be many people, especially young people, who will disagree with me. It is my hope and prayer that a reformation would happen in America; that we would reclaim the Jesus of the Bible, and spur ourselves on to Biblical literacy.

Let’s move on now to discussing one of the NOOMA videos. We will look at the 8th installment of the NOOMA-series entitled “Dust.” Each NOOMA package comes with the DVD and small group workbook to engage the topic that Rob Bell presents. The workbook is designed in a very artistic, sort of edgy style. The video, workbook design and layout are specifically geared for a teen-to-college age audience. Inside the workbook there are many questions catered to an open-forum type discussion. From my own personal experience, this is dangerous because there is a lack of pastoral authority among the members to help refute false beliefs. True there may be a college pastor in the group, but most of the time he is a novice, which the Bible warns against. (1 Tim. 3:1-6).

My college pastor at the time was 20 years old and a junior at an undergraduate college, with no real credentials to hold such a position. This is most likely true in a majority of the churches that utilize the NOOMA teachings.



Part 2 will be posted Saturday 22 November, 2008.
Bookmark and Share
> posted by Trevor Hammack at 0 Comments Links to this post

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Hope and Money


John MacArthur

Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy. (1 Tim. 6:17)

A very real danger facing Christians is the temptation to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches. To base their hope on the uncertainty of riches, instead of God, is foolish. Proverbs 11:28 warns that “he who trusts in his riches will fall.” Proverbs 23:4–5 adds, “Do not weary yourself to gain wealth, cease from your consideration of it. When you set your eyes on it, it is gone. For wealth certainly makes itself wings, like an eagle that flies toward the heavens.”

Rather than trusting in riches, believers are to fix their hope on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy. God provides far more security than any earthly investment. Psalm 50:10–12 describes His incalculable wealth: “Every beast of the forest is Mine, the cattle on a thousand hills. I know every bird of the mountains, and everything that moves in the field is Mine. If I were hungry, I would not tell you; for the world is Mine, and all it contains.” God is not stingy; He richly supplies His children with all things to enjoy. Ecclesiastes 5:18–20 reads,

Here is what I have seen to be good and fitting: to eat, to drink and enjoy oneself in all one’s labor in which he toils under the sun during the few years of his life which God has given him; for this is his reward. Furthermore, as for every man to whom God has given riches and wealth, He has also empowered him to eat from them and to receive his reward and rejoice in his labor; this is the gift of God. For he will not often consider the years of his life, because God keeps him occupied with the gladness of his heart.

The highest form of joy for the believer is to bring glory to the Lord. True gladness, then, comes when believers give heed to Jesus’ words in Matthew 6:19–21:

Do not lay up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

Later, in that same passage, Jesus gives the command three times not to be anxious (vv. 25, 31, 34). When we trust in God rather than riches, we have no reason to worry.

Today’s post adapted from John’s commentary on 1 Timothy (Moody, 1995).
Bookmark and Share
> posted by Charles Fry at 1 Comments Links to this post