Monthly Archives: December 2012

Out of the Mouths of Babes

The Friday of the tragic Connecticut shooting was eye opening for several reasons.  The largest eye opener came from my 3 year old daughter.

That evening, my family and I were going to spend time with a few families from our church.  Although some had suggested that we not talk to our kids about the school shooting that day, we figured it would be better to hear the day’s events from us rather than another kid or adult. My wife began to explain to our children a portion of what we know. She told them that we are sad, and that the shooter did not love God in his heart when he did this.

My daughter replied, “he had himself in his heart.”

I’m still floored by this thought. 

Isn’t that the root of sin, loving self more than God?

I encourage you to love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. I pray that your love for Him shines as you love your neighbor.

His peace.

Link

Paul Washer on Evangelism

This link takes you to a sermon by Paul Washer on the foolishness of the message of the Gospel, how modern presentations of the Gospel are not Biblical, and an alternative.  Many may be turned off by how straight he talks, but I encourage you to value truth over tone. 

Link

Testimony of the Danger in “Experiencing God”

The link above will take you to a blog from Chris Rosebrough, host of Pirate Christian Radio.  He interviews a former practitioner of contemplative mysticism, Christine Pack.  Pack shares her testimony of God’s deliverance in her life from these practices, her story of being saved, and how contemplative prayer and meditation does not line up with what is taught in the Bible. 

Softly & Tenderly

If you are humming the old hymn in your head due to the title of this post, I encourage you to think about the lyrics.  Now I encourage you to think or search the Scriptures for the records of God calling His people into repentance.  Think of Paul’s conversion, the first believers after Pentecost, and check out the reactions of all those who rejected the Gospel.  Would we really call being knocked off of a horse, or being cut to the heart soft and tender?

I went through the Christianity section of Barnes and Noble a few days ago, and saw another Sarah Young book.  In case you are not familiar with Sarah Young, she authored the best selling book Jesus Calling.  Apparently Jesus had more to say to people through her, so this best seller was followed by other books, one of which I browsed through.  I found it interesting that the Jesus that speaks by Young’s pen is always gentle and seems to feel positive and uplifting.   I have a big problem with this series, this author, this premise for several reasons:

  • if Jesus had something to say to His people, then why is the messenger selling His words?  Yes, there are lots of people making money off of Christianity (which could be another post,) but would Paul have charged for his epistles, or Peter or John for their letters?  Just think of all of the money that could have been made off of Revelation!!  If pay-per-prophecy was okay in the early Church, would there even be a debate as to the author of Hebrews?  I don’t care if I am broke, if God gives a word to His people, it is to be spoken.  If His people choose to support by giving, then so be it.  Ultimately, I know that God will provide whatever I need in order to get His word out and His work done!
  • Sarah Young admits that her inspiration was from a book written years ago by Catholic mystics called God Calling.  Part of this mysticism is talk of being in the presence of God.  For more on mysticism, and how it has crept into non-Catholic Christianity, please read this.
  • After browsing through one, and hearing someone speak from two of Young’s books, where are the words of Christ that made so many people reject Him (hating family members, suffering, judgment for good/bad deeds when He returns?)  Would any non-believer be offended by any of these books?

I have heard of several people using this book as their main source of seeing what Christ has to say.  Some are younger to the faith, some have called themselves Christian for years.  Why are we so quick to try to get knowledge from anyone, anything and anywhere other than the Bible?  What blessings are we missing out on?

Lots of books will show you how to live.

Only one will show you how to die, and allow you to learn of the One who didn’t deserve to, yet did so that we could have eternal life!

Is Scripture as easy to understand as a Sarah Young devotional?  No!

Is He worth learning about regardless of what you may feel about your level of intelligence?  Yes!

Jesus calls us to repent from believing in dangerous teachers like Sarah Young.  Repenting is turning away…regardless of how good it sounds don’t listen to it!

Jesus calls us to love one another as He loved.  I encourage you to study (through the Bible) how He loved.  It wasn’t always a feel-good experience.

Jesus calls us to love Him more than any other person, culture or idea.  Jesus calls us to offer ourselves as a living sacrifice.

We are called to give Him glory regardless of what it costs us.

Why?

Because He could have called angels to deliver Him from a criminal’s death… yet He gave Himself for us to call a people for His own.

If you have found this offensive, or it hurts, I completely understand how you feel!  Guess that could be another post as well…

Praying that you walk worthy of His calling!

Additional book reviews of Jesus Calling:

http://www.challies.com/book-reviews/jesus-calling

http://www.whitehorseinn.org/blog/2013/03/05/review-of-jesus-calling/

http://www.solasisters.com/2013/09/jesus-calling-by-sarah-young-wui.html

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Good Intentions

I pray that His grace gives Him glory through this post.  That is my intention.  I want to encourage you all to see that good intentions do not always equal acceptable offerings.

Check out 1 Chronicles 13. 

There is good intention – bringing the ark of God back to the land of Israel.

There is community agreement that this has a good intention and people who are willing to assist in making this good intention become something pleasing.   

There is sincere worship (13:8.)

There is more good intention!  Uzza does not want the ark to fall. 

God is angry by this and kills Uzza.

What??????  Why?  These people had good intentions!!!  Isn’t that what matters???

Read chapter 15.

God was mad because He wasn’t consulted about how He wanted everything to go down.  The sincere worship, the new cart, even the unity of the people didn’t matter.

Good intentions may not equal God’s best.  Good intentions can bring death.

If God saved us by offering His best, shouldn’t we offer our best in pursuing and discovering His best for His sake? 

His best is His people worshiping Him in spirit and in truth.  Sincere worship without both is not His best.  Sincere worship without truth is ignorant worship. 

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We don’t have to search hard on the news to see various acts of worship.  The “What Would Jesus Do?” movement was pretty popular years ago.  But before we ponder that question, shouldn’t we ask and search for the answer to “What Did Jesus Do?”

They could be the same, or it could be the difference of life and death. 

It could be the difference between words of life and causing a stumbling block.

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Rick Warren, well known author, pastor of a large church in California, and speaker, looks like he has good intentions.  But what is the fruit?  I read the Purpose Driven Life years ago, even led a small group on it.  Here is what I failed to see back then.

Warren has expressed a desire to eliminate poverty, disease, illiteracy and other large problems in the world.  Great intention!  I also want the same for everyone.  But, more importantly than that, I desire for everyone to come to the knowledge of Jesus as God’s appointed son.  Truth is, being rich, healthy and well-educated may make your life comfortable, but it won’t save you!

For more on Warren’s message and the desire to use worldly means for good intentions, check out this link on Church of Tares: Purpose Driven, Seeker Sensitive, Church Growth & New World Order.

May His grace guide you to do His best for His sake.

 

The Depth of Grace

grace

Grace.

What a powerful word.

What an awesome, patient, and loving God who gives it!

I was not aware of how little I knew about His grace until I began to hear it mentioned so often amongst the current body with which I fellowship.

I am completely aware that now that I know more about His grace, I still know very little about it.

But I encourage you to read and study more about it, and to thank Him for His grace.

The most known reference to grace is Ephesians 2:8-9.  It is good news– we are saved by grace!  We cannot be prideful as if we have earned our salvation.

But here is what I don’t hear preached and proclaimed often– that we were saved by grace to do good works.  It is interesting because you only have to go to the next verse (10) to see that.  Why is this not talked about often?
I encourage you to see what the Bible says about grace, and how it changes our walk. Here is a portion of the little I know:

  • grace teaches us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires(Titus 2:12)
  • grace teaches us to live righteously and godly (Titus 2:12)
  • grace is given to those who humble themselves (Proverbs 3:34)
  • living under grace is not an excuse for continuing to practice sinful behavior (Romans 6:15)
  • grace causes thankfulness to abound to His glory (2 Cor. 4:15)
  • your words should always be spoken with grace (Colossians 4:6)
  • words you speak can give grace to those who hear them (Ephesians 4:29)
  • those who profess faith in Christ can fall short of His grace, and defile others.  We are called to look out for this amongst our brothers and sisters (Hebrews 12:15)
  • believers should rest their hope on the grace that is to come (1 Peter 1:13)
  • by grace we serve God with reverence and godly fear (Hebrews 12:28)
  • King James version says that we sing with grace in our hearts to the Lord (Colossians 3:16)

There are many more references to grace in the Scriptures, but hopefully you can see there is depth to His grace.

Learning more about grace helps me further understand the lyrics “oh for grace to trust Him more,” or “twas grace that taught my heart to fear, and grace my fears relieved.”

I want to encourage you to allow His grace to do all that He allows in your life.  Go forth in Grace Alone, knowing that He Giveth More Grace!

The grace of Christ be with you.