Wednesday, December 24, 2008
And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria.
So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city. Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child. So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered.
And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid.
Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.
And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:“ Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”
So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, “Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.”
And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger. Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child.
And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds.
But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart. Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them.
Saturday, December 20, 2008
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Are American evangelicals abandoning the exclusivity of the Gospel?
A new report out from the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life suggests that many evangelical Christians are, at the very least, badly confused about the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
As Cathy Lynn Grossman of USA Today reports:
Most American religious believers, including most Christians, say eternal life is not exclusively for those who accept Christ as their savior, a new survey finds.
Of the 65% of people who held this open view of heaven's gates, 80% named at least one non-Christian group - Jews, Muslims, Hindus, atheists or people with no religion at all- who may also be saved, according to a new survey released today by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life.
This most recent report, released today, clarifies a report issued earlier this year. That earlier report became the cause of some controversy because some researchers questioned the accuracy of the responses, since some of those surveyed may have confused other Christian denominations for other religions.
In releasing this updated report, the Pew Forum isolated the question and made it far more specific. Those who affirmed other ways of salvation were then asked to specify what they meant. As USA Today reports, the vast majority of those who affirmed other ways of salvation went on to specify "Jews, Muslims, Hindus, atheists or people with no religion at all" as valid options.
The report indicates that 52% of those belonging to churches and denominations that teach that Jesus is the only way of salvation reject that teaching.
More from USA Today:
Christian believers who named at least one non-Christian faith that could lead to salvation included 34% of white evangelicals, even though evangelical doctrine stresses that salvation is possible only through Jesus.
Higher levels of church attendance made some difference, particularly among white evangelical protestants. But an overall majority (54%) of people who identified with a religion and who said they attend church weekly also said many religions can lead to eternal life. This majority included 37% of white evangelicals, 75% of mainline Protestants and 85% of non-Hispanic white Catholics.
This survey cannot easily be dismissed. The specificity of the responses and the quality of the research sample indicate that we face a serious decline in confidence in the Gospel. When 34% of white evangelicals reject the truth that Jesus is the only Savior, we are witnessing a virtual collapse of evangelical theology.
There is also additional cause for concern. As Cathy Lynn Grossman reports, "Pew's new survey also found that many Christians (29%) say they are saved by their good actions; 30% say salvation is through belief in Jesus, God or a higher power alone, which is the core teaching of evangelical Protestantism; and 10% say salvation is found through a combination of behavior and belief, a view closer to Catholic teachings."
I was interviewed for the USA Today story and expressed my concern:
Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, calls the findings "a theological crisis for American evangelicals. They represent at best a misunderstanding of the Gospel and at worst a repudiation of the Gospel."
Overall, the new findings are "an indictment of evangelicalism and evangelical preaching," said Mohler. "The clear Biblical teaching is that Jesus Christ proclaimed himself to be the only way to salvation."
Mohler sees behind the statistics the impact of pluralism and secularism in U.S. society and the challenge of facing family and friends with "an uncomfortable truth." "We are in an age when we want to tell everyone they are doing just fine. It's extremely uncomfortable to turn to someone and say, 'You will go to hell unless you come to a saving knowledge of Jesus,' " Mohler says.
Over twenty years ago, Professor James Davison Hunter of the University of Virginia sounded a similar alarm in Evangelicalism: The Coming Generation. In that work, Hunter warned that the rising generation of younger evangelicals -- then mostly college age -- were increasingly uncomfortable with the claim that Jesus is the only Savior and that belief in Christ is necessary in order for a person to go to heaven. Now, those students are old enough to be parents and their influence is becoming more evident year by year. One can almost draw a straight line between Hunter's analysis of 1987 and the Pew report released today.
As I told USA Today, this report reveals that a good number of those who attend evangelical churches either misunderstand or repudiate the Gospel. The New Testament reveals not only that Jesus claimed to be the only way to the Father [see John 14:6] but also that the Gospel of Christ is the only message that saves [see Romans 10]. This claim has been central to evangelical conviction -- at least until now.
I am confident that much of this confusion can be traced to the superficiality that marks far too many evangelical pulpits. The disappearance of doctrinal understanding and evangelical demonstration can be traced directly to the decline in expository preaching and doctrinal instruction. A loss of evangelistic and missionary commitment can be fully expected as a direct result of this confusion or repudiation of the Gospel.
This new survey should be received with great concern. Will it awaken today's generation of evangelicals to the catastrophe before our eyes?
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Hindu extremists may have burned a 10-year-old Christian girl's face, inflicted shrapnel wounds on 40 percent of her body and forced her family to hide in a forest and flee to a refugee camp in Orissa, India, but her plight hasn't shaken her faith and thankfulness to God this season.
"Christmas is a time to thank the baby Jesus who saved me from the fire and saved my face which was disfigured and wounded," Namrata Nayak told Asia News.
Nayak's face was severely mutilated after Hindu extremists bombed the home where she was staying on Aug. 26. They broke into the house and burned it while Nayak and her siblings hid in a small bathroom. Before exiting the home, they left a bomb in a dresser, according to the report.
While the little girl surveyed the destruction, the bomb detonated and burned her face.
The explosion also lodged shrapnel into her face, hands and back.
Maybe we can get the Osteen's out to Orissa, India, to promote their latest books ("Become a Better You" and "Love your Life") and keep these kind of things from happening to Christians in foreign lands.
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
The Influence of Tradition on Interpretation -- The American Evangelical Assault on the Bible
"Jesus is standing at the door of your heart. He's knocking and waiting for you to invite him in."
"If you ask Jesus into your heart, He will definitely come in.""God has a wonderful plan for your life."
"God will never give you more than you can handle."
"God is all-loving and all-forgiving."
"God loves you just the way you are, a sinner, but He loves you too much to let you stay that way."
And the list of pithy, evangelical statements goes on and on.
If you profess to be a Christian and live in the United States, then you have likely heard and/or uttered one, some, or all of the above statements. They are all very encouraging. There's just one problem.
None of the above statements can be found in the Bible. The origins of each of the statements can be traced to misinterpretations of various verses or passages of Scripture.
"Jesus is standing at the door of your heart. He's knocking and waiting for you to invite him in." -- A misinterpretation of Revelation 3:20
"If you ask Jesus into your heart, He will definitely come in." -- A misinterpretation of Romans 10:9-10
"God has a wonderful plan for your life." -- A misinterpretation of Jeremiah 29:11
"God will never give you more than you can handle." -- A misinterpretation of 1 Corinthians 10:13
"God is all-forgiving and all-loving." -- A misinterpretation of 1 John 1:9; 4:8
"God loves you just the way you are, a sinner, but He loves you too much to let you stay that way." -- A misinterpretation of Romans 5:8
Read the rest of Tony's blog post here
Monday, December 15, 2008
"Do not speak evil against each other, brethren." James 4:11
That which is here forbidden, is the saying of anything, be it true or false, to the harm of another. God requires that our words should be governed by "the law of kindness" (Proverbs 31:26), and anything which would hurt or injure the reputation of another, is to be rigidly shunned. Whenever I cannot speak well of my brother or sister, I must say nothing at all. To speak evil of others, proceeds from ill will or malice--desiring that they should be made odious in the esteem of others.
It is devilish to take delight in exposing the faults of fellow-Christians, and stirring up prejudice and bitter feelings against them (Rev. 12:10). God requires that our words should agree with love--as well as with truth. Since Christians are brethren, the last thing they should be guilty of is defaming one another!
Except where the glory of God plainly requires it, and the good of that person demands it--we must refrain from all evil speaking of others. If we are duly occupied with and humbled over our own many faults--we shall have neither time nor inclination to dwell upon or publish those of others! If we properly heed the exhortation of Philippians 4:8, we shall cultivate the habit of admiring the graces in our brethren--instead of being like filthy flies, settling on their sores!
Well may we pray, "Set a guard over my mouth, O Lord! Keep watch over the door of my lips!" Psalm 141:3
Tuesday, December 09, 2008
So let’s think about that for a second. Why would a question like, “what do you think happens after you die,” be considered a personal question? Here are questions most of us have heard at some point in our lives: Where are you from? Where were you born? Where did you go to college? What did you study? How were your grades? What hobbies do you have? Where do you work? Are you married? Do you have a family? Do you go to church anywhere? Etc. So here is my real question. What is the common denominator to all of those questions? They are all personal questions. All questions are personal.
The real issue is whether or not someone wants to answer the question you asked. As for this gentleman, he just didn’t want to talk about it, which was his choice.
We have this feeling that we can keep our religious faith or belief to ourselves. It is personal just between me and God. But, I am here to tell you, it is not.
Luke 2:7-12 states:
“And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.”
Jesus was born publicly in a manger. Angels publicly announced His birth in the sky to shepherds in the field. It was a public event in the skies when a star shined so brightly that the wise men followed it to find Jesus. The birth of Jesus Christ was very public.
Mark 15:30-34 states:
“Save thyself, and come down from the cross. Likewise also the chief priests mocking said among themselves with the scribes, He saved others; himself he cannot save. Let Christ the King of Israel descend now from the cross, that we may see and believe. And they that were crucified with him reviled him. And when the sixth hour was come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour. And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? which is, being interpreted, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?”
Jesus carried His cross publicly. He was nailed to His cross publicly. He spoke publicly from that cross. He was in pain publicly on that cross. He took His last breath publicly. The death of Jesus Christ was very public.
1 Corinthians 15:3-6 says:
“For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep.”
Jesus rose from the dead not in private, but in public. He appeared to Peter publicly. He appeared to the disciples publicly. He appeared to over five hundred brethren at once publicly. The resurrection of Jesus Christ was very public.
Mark 16:15 states,
“And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.”
The world is a public place. Jesus taught the things of God publicly. The disciples shared their faith publicly. Paul at Mars Hill was sharing his faith publicly. The sharing of Jesus Christ to the lost was very public.
Jesus’ birth, death, and resurrection were all public. The disciples who followed Him shared their faith publicly to all the people that they could. We here at the end of 2008 should be doing the same. The Christmas season and the coming New Year are as good of times as any to be about the Lord’s business of reaching the lost. I remind people all the time that they have no biblical right to keep Jesus Christ to themselves.
Thanks for not letting your faith be so personal that you will not be public about reaching a lost and dying world for the Lord Jesus Christ.
Until the nets are full,
MCFADDEN: Is it literally true, the Bible?
BUSH: You know. Probably not ... No, I'm not a literalist, but I think you can learn a lot from it, but I do think that the New Testament, for example is ... has got ... You know, the important lesson is "God sent a son."
Stop - God sent a son? Did you notice that the 's' in son is in lower case. That's ABC's fault there. But a Son Mr. Bush? How many son's does God have? God has only one begotten Son and His Name is Jesus Christ.
MCFADDEN: So, you can read the Bible...
BUSH: That God in the flesh, that mankind can understand there is a God who is full of grace and that nothing you can do to earn his love. His love is a gift and that in order to draw closer to God and in order to express your appreciation for that love is why you change your behavior.
Stop - God in the flesh. God is full of grace. Nothing you can do to earn His love. On the right track, but this next sentence: "His love is a gift and that in order to draw closer to God and in order to express your appreciation for that love is why you change your behavior." What in the world does that mean? The only way my behavior will change is if He draws me to Himself, gives me the gift of repentance, forgives me of my sins and sends the Holy Spirit to indwell in me. Other wise the 'changing of behavior' is something one is doing out of their own device (and will always fall short).
MCFADDEN: So, you can read the Bible and not take it literally. I mean you can -- it's not inconsistent to love the Bible and believe in evolution, say.
BUSH: Yeah, I mean, I do. I mean, evolution is an interesting subject. I happen to believe that evolution doesn't fully explain the mystery of life and ...
MCFADDEN: But do you believe in it?
BUSH: That God created the world, I do, yeah.
MCFADDEN: But what about ...
BUSH: Well, I think you can have both. I think evolution can -- you're getting me way out of my lane here. I'm just a simple president. But it's, I think that God created the Earth, created the world; I think the creation of the world is so mysterious it requires something as large as an almighty, and I don't think it's incompatible with the scientific proof that there is evolution.
You can have both Mr. Bush? I think we see very clearly how far off base this 'Evangelical' President is. Of course evolution is incompatible with creation Mr. Bush and, no, the creation of the world is not so mysterious that it requires another explanation to 'help' God get it all done.
Mr. Bush is not an 'idiot' like all his detractors try to make him out to be, but he is greatly mislead in the things of God and His holy Word.....continue to pray for him.
Monday, December 08, 2008
(Theodore Cuyler, "Wayside Springsfrom the Fountain of Life" 1883)
"Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims--to abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul." 1 Peter 2:11
Here on earth, I am but a pilgrim--a transient lodger, for this world is not my rest. I am seeking for and pressing towards, the magnificent city with eternal foundations--a city designed and built by Almighty God!
"Do not be conformed to this world; but be transformed by the renewing of your mind." Romans 12:2
The world around us has its unwritten code of morals and of manners. It sets up its standards and fixes its fashions to suit itself. But they are no rule for the Christian. Jesus has "chosen us out of the world," and given His own life to be our standard and our pattern. "If you love Me," said our loving Redeemer, "keep My commandments.
"The first question of a Christian should be, "What does my Master command? Would He approve my style of living, my amusements, my temper, my whole daily conduct? If so, that is enough! I am not to copy the behavior of this world--when sinful customs make their claims, or worldly seductions offer their bribes. I am Christ's servant!
"As high as the heavens are above the earth, so much higher should a Christian's ways and words and whole conduct--be above the ways of the world!
"Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends You, and lead me along the path of everlasting life." Psalm 139:23-24
Thursday, December 04, 2008
OLYMPIA, Wash. — An atheist group has unveiled an anti-religion placard in the state Capitol, joining a Christian Nativity scene and "holiday tree" on display during December.
The atheists' sign was installed Monday by Washington members of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, a national group based in Madison, Wis.
With a nod to the winter solstice - the year's shortest day, occurring in late December - the placard reads, in part, "There is only our natural world. Religion is but myth and superstition that hardens hearts and enslaves minds."
The foundation's co-president, Dan Barker, said it was important for atheists to offer their viewpoint alongside the overtly religious Nativity scene and Christmas-style holiday tree.
"Our members want equal time," Barker said. "Not to muscle, not to coerce, but just to have a place at the table."
Rest of the story can be found here
I guess atheism is a religion after all! The next thing you know atheism groups will be filing for the same tax exemption status that most religions in the U.S. enjoy today.
Wednesday, December 03, 2008
"God has called you out of darkness--into His marvelous light." 1 Peter 2:9
The papists cry up 'ignorance' as the mother of devotion. But we cry down 'ignorance' as the father of superstition.
It is no wonder that Christ should be so much undesired--when He is so much unknown.
Satan binds all his captives down in the dark dungeon of ignorance! Like the cunning falconer, he blindfolds his birds--that he may carry them to hell more securely!
Darkness is the devil's element--and the sinner's punishment.
Utter darkness--is the recompense of inward darkness. "My people perish--for lack of knowledge." Hosea 4:6
An ignorant man neither cares what he does--nor knows where he is going. When such a one is taken off the earth--he cannot be taken into heaven! "Taking vengeance with flaming fire on those who do not know God!" 2 Thessalonians 1:8
Tuesday, December 02, 2008
Delete Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) from the list of admirers of the new Capitol Visitor Center.
DeMint issued a statement Tuesday criticizing the new facility for "omitting the history of faith." DeMint noted that the new tourist spot ignored his request to include the phrase "In God We Trust" and the Pledge of Allegiance.
DeMint said the center, which opened Tuesday, also has displays that are "left-leaning and in some cases distort our true history."
Here's DeMint's full statement:
“The Capitol Visitor Center is designed to tell the history and purpose of our nation's Capitol, but it fails to appropriately honor our religious heritage that has been critical to America’s success. While the Architect of the Capitol has pledged to include some references to faith, more needs to be done. You cannot accurately tell the history of America or its Capitol by ignoring the religious heritage of our Founders and the generations since who relied on their faith for strength and guidance. The millions of visitors that will visit the CVC each year should get a true portrayal of the motivations and inspirations of those who have served in Congress since its establishment.
“The current CVC displays are left-leaning and in some cases distort our true history. Exhibits portray the federal government as the fulfillment of human ambition and the answer to all of society’s problems. This is a clear departure from acknowledging that Americans’ rights ‘are endowed by their Creator’ and stem from ‘a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence.’ Instead, the CVC’s most prominent display proclaims faith not in God, but in government. Visitors will enter reading a large engraving that states, ‘We have built no temple but the Capitol. We consult no common oracle but the Constitution.’ This is an intentional misrepresentation of our nation’s real history, and an offensive refusal to honor America's God-given blessings. As George Washington stated clearly in his first inaugural address:
‘…[I]t would be peculiarly improper to omit in this first official Act, my fervent supplications to that Almighty Being who rules over the Universe, who presides in the Councils of Nations, and whose providential aids can supply every human defect, that his benediction may consecrate to the liberties and happiness of the People of the United States, a Government instituted by themselves for these essential purposes: and may enable every instrument employed in its administration to execute with success, the functions allotted to his charge.’
“The fundamental principles of the freedom we enjoy in this country stem from our Founding Fathers’ beliefs in a higher power, beliefs put forth in the Declaration of Independence and manifest throughout our Constitution,” said Senator DeMint. “If we cease to acknowledge this fact, we may cease to enjoy some of the freedoms we take for granted. We must not censor historical references to God for the sake of political correctness. And we must truthfully represent the limited form of government the Constitution lays out so that our ‘government of the people, by the people, and for the people, shall not perish from the earth.’ So help us God.”
Monday, December 01, 2008
"Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!"
2 Corinthians 9:15
What could Jesus do more--than to die for us!
What can we do less--than to live for Him!
You cannot fathom all the good which He has bestowed upon you--nor all the evil which He has forgiven you!
"Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy--to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God!" Romans 12:1
Saturday, November 29, 2008
Contrasts of death, and another “invitation.”
November 28, 2008 by The Pilgrim
While just a couple days ago over 100 people died in India at the hands of merciless, bloodthirsty Muslims (and the city is still currently under siege as of the writing of this post), today in America a 34 year-old Wal-Mart employee was killed after being trampled to death when a mob of shoppers broke down the doors to get their hands on the holiday shopping bargains. What was this mans life worth?
The CBS news article also contains a cellphone video from a shopper which shows emergency personnel futility trying to save the mans life. What a contrast between us in the States and the rest of the world.
America, oh America, what have you become? While the world is in turmoil we numb ourselves on video games, text messaging, television, and worshiping our pop idols who attend 20 million dollar parties. We simply don’t get it, do we? Today we eat, drink, be merry, and shop till we drop, yet we have no idea that tomorrow we die.
And while we’re out consuming, consuming, consuming, we have received yet another “invitation” from the bloodthirsty terrorists to “embrace Islam.”
For those who don’t understand the significance of this, I urge you to check out the post A Storm is Brewing While the Masses Sleep and be sure to listen to the accompanying short audio clip on that post.
And He told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man was very productive.”And he began reasoning to himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no place to store my crops?’ “Then he said, ‘This is what I will do: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods.’And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years to come; take your ease, eat, drink and be merry.”‘ “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your soul is required of you; and now who will own what you have prepared?’ Luke 12:16-20
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Around 2004, I was with our film crew in Las Vegas. We were interviewing people for our television program outside the famed Bellagio Hotel. One of the reasons it’s famous is because it has a magnificent computerized fountain that plays music as water bursts into the sky with each crescendo.
During that time they played some music that almost brought me to tears. I never knew what that song was called, and for years I have longed to hear it again. But recently, to my great joy, I heard it. Here is the song:
As I listened to its incredible melody, tears streamed down my face. One of the reasons for the tears was its title. It is called "Time to Say Goodbye." I have often watched people say goodbye to their loved ones at airports and my heart breaks for them, because one day there will be a last goodbye. All of us will say goodbye to everything we love and hold dear to us.
The Christian carries around a deep and heavy sorrow. He is like a man who sees villagers happily living beneath a great dam. He has seen cracks in the dam and he knows that they will soon die if they don’t move from where they are living. But the villagers refuse to believe his warning, and even mock his every word. His sorrow is that their deaths will be totally needless.
I know that when I say goodbye to my loved ones for the last time, I will see them again at the resurrection of the just and the unjust. If you want that incredible consolation, stop doubting, and take a long and honest look at the Ten Commandments. They are going to justly damn you forever. Then take a long look at the Savior on the cross. That’s what can save you completely. Then move out of the sinful village of this world, through repentance and faith in Jesus.
When your sins are forgiven, instead of having God against you, "God will be with you":
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Can we please get back to preaching the Gospel and not some man-made, man-centered, wishy washy 'ask Jesus into your heart because He's standing at the door and knocking' nonsense.
HT: Lawman Chronicles
Monday, November 24, 2008
"The wages of sin--is death." Romans 6:23
The 'ways of sin' may have popular approval--but they shall also have divine abhorrence marked upon them.
This Delilah may please us for a time--but she will betray us at last!
Though Satan's apples may have a fair skin--yet they certainly have a bitter core!
Methinks the flaming sword in one hand, and the golden scepter in the other hand--should guard us from the forbidden tree; and make our hearts like wet tinder to all the sparks of Satan!
Reader, if you behold nothing but pleasure in the commission of sin--you will experience nothing but the most dreadful pain in the conclusion of sin! "The wages of sin--is death." All workmen should have their wages; and it is only reasonable that those who employ you--should pay you. But, however you may delight in the works of sin--you will by no means relish the wages of sin! Ah, what wise man would toil so long in sin's drudgery--whose wages are no better than eternal misery!
Though all sins are not equal in their nature--yet all sins are in their very nature, deadly. "The wages of sin--is death." The candle of man's life is blown out--by the wind of his lusts! The corruption of nature--tends to the dissolution of nature. Reader, you began to be sinful--when you began to be mortal. If you had never had anything to do with sin--death could never have had anything to do with you.
It is at that vile enemy, SIN--which God shoots all His arrows!
Sin is like a serpent in your bosom--which stings you! Sin is like a thief in your closet--who plunders you! Sin resembles poison in the stomach; or a sword to the heart--both of which tend to death! Like John's little book--sin may be sweet in your mouth--but it will be bitter in your belly!
The foul dregs--lie at the bottom of the vessel. The golden cup of sin--is filled with the most poisonous ingredients! Sinner, that which is now like a rose flourishing in your bosom--will in a very little time be like a poisoned dagger at your heart!
While such a 'Judas' kisses--he kills! While the ivy twines round the oak--it eats out its sap.
If sin were not so delightful--it would not be so deceitful. Like a cunning angler--sin shows the bait, but conceals the hook! If you, O man, are found nibbling at the bait--you may justly expect the hook! O think, you who now boast in nothing so much as sin--that there is a time approaching, when you will be ashamed of nothing but sin! You will be eternally sinful--but you cannot be eternally joyful. In hell, all that sugar will be melted, in which this bitter pill of sin was wrapped! Hell is too hot a climate--for wanton delights to live in!
The pleasures of sin are but for a season--but the torments of unpardoned sin are of an eternal duration! Death will turn all the waters of pleasure--into blood! The serpent of sensual delight--always carries a deadly sting in its tail! All the blaze of worldly pomp--will soon end in midnight darkness and horror!
It is better to make your lodgings in a bed of snakes--than in the forbidden bed of sinful lusts!
When the pale horse of death goes before--the red horse of wrath follows after! When the sinner's body goes to the worms to be consumed--then his soul goes to hell to be tormented! A wise man knows, that it is far better to forego the pleasures of sin here--than to undergo the pains of wrath hereafter!
"There was a certain rich man who was splendidly clothed, feasting lavishly every day." What pleasure does Dives now reap in hell, from all the choice banquets he sat down to, on earth? "I am in agony in this fire!" The stench and torment of everlasting burnings--will take away the sweetest perfumes which ever covered sin!
Friday, November 21, 2008
This is awesome.
Tony the 'Lawman' Milano is a very compassionate soul winning evangelist for the Lord.
Tony takes to heart Spurgeon's words.....'If sinners be dammed, at least let then leap to Hell over our bodies. If they perish, let them perish with our arms about their knees. Let no one go there unwarned and unprayed for."
"Only acknowledge your guilt. Admit that you rebelled against the Lord your God and committed adultery against Him by worshiping idols under every green tree. Confess that you refused to follow Me. I, the Lord, have spoken!" Jer. 3:13
God has laid great stress in His word upon the confession of sin. How touching His language addressed to His backsliding people, whose backslidings were of a most aggravated character;than which none could have been of deeper guilt, seeing that they had committed the sin of idolatry!
"Only acknowledge your guilt." This was all that He required at their hands. "Only acknowledge.
" Poor penitent soul, bending in tears and self reproaches over this page, read these words again and again, and yet again, until they have scattered all your dark, repelling thoughts of this sin forgiving God, winning you to His feet as His restored and comforted child, "only acknowledge your guilt."
"What! Lord! after all that I have done, after . . .
my base returns,
my repeated wanderings,
my aggravated transgressions,
my complicated iniquity,
my sins against conviction, light, and love; do You still stretch out your hand to me, a poor, wretched wanderer as I am?
Do You go forth to meet, to welcome, to pardon me?
Do You watch the first kindling of penitence, the first tear of contrition, the first word of confession, 'Father, I have sinned!' Lord, I fall at Your feet, thegreatest of sinners . . .
Your power has drawn me,
Your love has subdued me,
Your grace has conquered me!"
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Until we taste the bitterness of our own misery--we will never relish the sweetness of God's mercy. Until we see how foul our sins have made us--we will never pay our tribute of praise to Christ for washing us.
Outward acts are most scandalous among men--but inward lusts are most atrocious before God!
Reader! if you would know the heart of your sin--then you must know the sins of your heart! "For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. These are the things that defile a man!" Matthew 15:19-20. These streams of defilement which appear in your life--do but show what a fountain of wickedness there is in your heart! Even the "thought of foolishness in sin!" There is no sin so little--as not to kindle an eternal fire!
"When sin has conceived--it brings forth death!"
Sin's first-born is death--and its last-born is hell.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Jesus said “Go!” .
Porta-potties are a great place to go because that’s where people have “to go” at the USC pre-game tailgate parties. I didn’t expect to be shouted down, yet I was prepared for the worst. (Read the first 3 parts of “USC Ugly” by clicking here.)
At big events like the USC vs. Cal Berkeley game we bring two types of sound systems:
This is “Little Mike”. I started preaching to the crowd waiting in line using this portable sound system.
“Hey folks,” I began amiably, “since you have nothing better to do, I thought we’d have a little church before you have to go. I want to ask you this question: If you were to die today would you go to Heaven or Hell?
I didn’t say Heaven or Cal, I said Heaven or Hell?” People didn’t get the joke, or they didn’t like my humor, or maybe they thought it was unholy to have church while waiting for the head, either way, they started catcalling and making noise. I cranked up “Little Mike’s” volume, to no avail. Then they started a cheer.
“Give me a U!” the guys at the back of the line shouted.
“U!” the guys at the front repeated.
“Give me an S!”
“Give me a C!“
I tried to preach but couldn’t. “Little Mike” was drowned out; he was the little speaker who couldn’t.
“What does that spell?” USC! USC!!! USCCCCCCCCC!!!!!!!”
I bent down to turn off “Little Mike”.
The crowd began to mock, “C’mon now. Don’t give up!” they egged. “Don’t give up that easy!”
I looked up and said very softly, “I’m not giving up.”
You see, they didn’t know that I also had with me our second sound system, ”Big Bertha”. 50 watts of pure headache inducing power. And up to a million decibels. Or so.
When people hear this speaker they squint, cover their ears, and run for cover. Even the kids at the high school where we preach hold the sides of their heads when they hear “Big Bertha”.
I turned it on.
And cranked the volume control: “HELLO?!! HELLO!!!”
“NOW WHERE WERE WE? DO YOU THINK THAT YOU ARE A GOOD PERSON? LET’S SEE IF YOU ARE.”
The cheering stopped abruptly as the crowd fell silent in defeat. My voice thundered like the sound of many waters and “Big Bertha” faithfully fulfilled her task. The heavens opened, the earth shook, and hearts were rent in two as the eternal Word broke stiffnecks and shattered eardrums.
And yes, the people in line at the Porta-Potty all thought that I was full of it.
Amazingly, a lot of people suddenly had to… go!
For pictures of this street preaching incident go here
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Well, Ray Comfort happened to be out on that same pier doing some witnessing and open air preaching a couple weeks ago when he thought he saw one of those gang member guys walking by. He ran him down and asked the guy if he was a gang member.
The guy said "no, I’m a Christian." Ray said, "oh, I thought you were someone that Kirk Cameron witnessed to a couple years ago out here on the pier." The guy said, "yeah, that was me." The guy said that he was ashamed of that day because he was drunk. He also told Ray that ‘Mario’ the main guy that Kirk was witnessing to……got saved too and was now involved in a local church teaching Sunday school!!
How cool is that?
You just never know whose life God is going to let you intervene with to change that person forever. Now get out there and let compassion swallow your fears and share the Gospel!
Monday, November 17, 2008
- Paul Washer
HT - Defending. Contending
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Take any opposition that you get from worldlings as a token for good, a sign that you are of a different race from those who despise you, a testimonial to your character from those whose homage to goodnessembodies itself in persecution. That is the way in whichthey compliment us.
Thursday, November 06, 2008
2. Which faith except every one do keep whole and undefiled, without doubt he shall perish everlastingly.
3. And the Christian faith is this: That we worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity;
4. Neither confounding the persons nor dividing the substance.
5. For there is one person of the Father, another of the Son, and another of the Holy Spirit.
6. But the Godhead of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit is all one, the glory equal, the majesty coeternal.
7. Such as the Father is, such is the Son, and such is the Holy Spirit.
8. The Father uncreated, the Son uncreated, and the Holy Spirit uncreated.
9. The Father incomprehensible, the Son incomprehensible, and the Holy Spirit incomprehensible.
10. The Father eternal, the Son eternal, and the Holy Spirit eternal.
11. And yet they are not three eternals but one eternal.
12. As also there are not three uncreated nor three incomprehensible, but one uncreated and one incomprehensible.
13. So likewise the Father is almighty, the Son almighty, and the Holy Spirit almighty.
14. And yet they are not three almighties, but one almighty.
15. So the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God;
16. And yet they are not three Gods, but one God.
17. So likewise the Father is Lord, the Son Lord, and the Holy Spirit Lord;
18. And yet they are not three Lords but one Lord.
19. For like as we are compelled by the Christian verity to acknowledge every Person by himself to be God and Lord;
20. So are we forbidden by the Christian religion to say; There are three Gods or three Lords.
21. The Father is made of none, neither created nor begotten.
22. The Son is of the Father alone; not made nor created, but begotten.
23. The Holy Spirit is of the Father and of the Son; neither made, nor created, nor begotten, but proceeding.
24. So there is one Father, not three Fathers; one Son, not three Sons; one Holy Spirit, not three Holy Spirits.
25. And in this Trinity none is afore or after another; none is greater or less than another.
26. But the whole three persons are coeternal, and coequal.
27. So that in all things, as aforesaid, the Unity in Trinity and the Trinity in Unity is to be worshipped.
28. He therefore that will be saved must thus think of the Trinity.
29. Furthermore it is necessary to everlasting salvation that he also believe rightly the incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ.
30. For the right faith is that we believe and confess that our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is God and man.
31. God of the substance of the Father, begotten before the worlds; and man of substance of His mother, born in the world.
32. Perfect God and perfect man, of a reasonable soul and human flesh subsisting.
33. Equal to the Father as touching His Godhead, and inferior to the Father as touching His manhood.
34. Who, although He is God and man, yet He is not two, but one Christ.
35. One, not by conversion of the Godhead into flesh, but by taking of that manhood into God.
36. One altogether, not by confusion of substance, but by unity of person.
37. For as the reasonable soul and flesh is one man, so God and man is one Christ;
38. Who suffered for our salvation, descended into hell, rose again the third day from the dead;
39. He ascended into heaven, He sits on the right hand of the Father, God, Almighty;
40. From thence He shall come to judge the quick and the dead.
41. At whose coming all men shall rise again with their bodies;
42. and shall give account of their own works.
43. And they that have done good shall go into life everlasting and they that have done evil into everlasting fire.
44. This is the Christian faith, which except a man believe faithfully he cannot be saved.
Wednesday, November 05, 2008
(Letters of John Newton)
"The Lord reigns! Let the earth rejoice!" Psalm 97:1
My dear madam,
He who once bore our sins, and carried our sorrows--is seated upon a throne of glory, and exercises all power in heaven and on earth! Thrones, principalities, and powers, bow before Him! His providence pervades and manages the whole universe, and is as minutely attentive to every part--as if there were only a single object in His view! From the tallest archangel--to the smallest ant or fly--all depend on Him for their being, their preservation, and their powers. He directs the sparrows where to build their nests, and where to find their food. He over-rules the rise and fall of nations; and bends, with an invincible power, and unerring wisdom--all events to His sovereign will! So that while many intend other outcomes--their designs all concur and coincide in the accomplishment of His holy will.
Jesus restrains with an almighty hand--the still more formidable efforts of the powers of darkness. Satan with all his hosts cannot exert their malice a hair's-breadth beyond the limits of His permission!
This omnipotent Savior is the head and husband of His believing people. How happy are those whom it is His good pleasure to bless! How safe are those whom He has engaged to protect! How honored and privileged are those to whom He is pleased to manifest Himself, and whom He enables and warrants to claim Him as their Friend and eternal potion!
Having redeemed them by His own blood--He esteems them as His treasure, His jewels; and protects them as the pupil of His eye! They shall not lack any good thing. They need not fear. His unerring eye is upon them in every situation; His ear is always open to their prayers; and His everlasting arms are under them for their sure support! On earth He guides their steps, controls their enemies, and directs all His dispensations for their spiritual good. While in heaven He is pleading their cause, preparing a glorious home for them, and communicating down to them reviving foretastes of the glory which they shall shortly enter into!
We sinful worms were once blind to His beauty, and insensible to His love, and would have remained so to the last--had He not revealed His goodness and grace to us!
"Hallelujah! For the Lord our God, the Almighty, reigns!" Revelation 19:6
Tuesday, November 04, 2008
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
On October 29th, 1994 I took my mom, wife and then 7 year old son to a Billy Graham Crusade at the Georgia Dome. I had no intention of anything happening other than people watching and getting to have my first look inside the relatively new Georgia Dome.
My mother had asked me if I would take her to see Billy Graham as that Crusade might be the last one he would ever do in the Atlanta area.
No problem. We’ll pack up the family and head down to Atlanta to see ole Billy.
The place was packed; kind of a concert type atmosphere. There was singing……some testimonies….and lots of people with Bibles.
Then the place got quiet when Billy Graham took to the platform. Billy preached on the Lamb’s Book of Life. I would be dishonest if I said I remember everything he preached on that night; I don’t.
I do remember this though……
At the end of his preaching, with tears in my eyes because I knew that my sins would cause God’s wrath to come onto me on Judgment Day, Billy asked the crowd if our names were in the Lamb’s Book of Life. I knew my name wasn’t. God was drawing me to Himself and convicting me of my sins.
An invitation was given to come down to a makeshift alter. Before Mr. Graham could finish the invitation I was already headed down. I didn’t say a word to my wife or mom; I just got up and walked down to the 50 yard line of the Dome.
I was met by a little old man named Arthur Steele. Mr. Steele was an alter counselor for the Crusade. He asked me a simple but profound question.
“Why did you come down here?”
What kind of question was that I remembered thinking? Did he not just hear the preaching?
After a few minutes of talking he told me to get down on my knees and pray to ask God to forgive me. ‘Repent’ is what he called it. I did……I got down on my knees and cried out to God for forgiveness for my sins. He prayed with me and then told me that I needed to put my trust in Christ and walk with Him everyday. I said I would…and I continue to do that today.
Ocotober 29th 1994, I became a new creation in Christ. All my sins were forgiven and God continues to work and grow me to this day.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Here is a video that we shot at the Dallas, TX gay pride parade with a guy named Scottie. Scottie has a typical evangelical background, as do many in the gay community in Dallas\Fort Worth. It might seem surprising to some that a homosexual would claim to be a Christian. In the pride parades in the Bible belt, it is not uncommon for churches to not only participate in the parade, but in the case of Fort Worth, the church actually sponsored it.
Why should we evangelicals be surprised that homosexuals easily claim Christianity as their own? Our seeker sensitive and Emergent churches have so watered down the Gospel that anyone who names the Name of Christ is embraced as a Christian. The Lord Jesus does not do the same thing (Matthew 7:21-23). As a result, the homosexual community wraps itself in the banner of Christ, freely printing His Name on their t-shirts, banners and promotional stickers. They have embraced the typically evangelical view of Jesus, but have they embraced the true Jesus, or another one? The Scripture is clear that they must be embracing a "Jesus" of their own making and thus violating the second commandment.
Behold, the fruit of the modern Gospel.
Friday, October 24, 2008
To aid and abet in the commission of a crime, three key elements must be present: 1) an underlying violation of law by a principal party must take place; 2) one must have knowledge of that violation of law or the intent to facilitate said violation; and 3) one provides assistance to the principal in the violation of the law.
One who aids and abets (which are synonymous terms) in the commission of a crime is referred to as an accomplice or an accessory, either before or after the fact, to that crime.
Here's an example:
Your friend tells you that he just lost his job. He was habitually late to work and falsified his time sheet. He got caught and was fired. Your friend tells you that unless he comes up with some money, quick, he is going to lose his apartment. He's behind three months on his rent.
Your friend tells you that he has a gun and wants to rob a 7-11. He's desperate and you feel sorry for your friend. Your friend asks you to drive him to the 7-11. You agree, but you tell your friend that you are going to wait in the car. You don't want any part in the actual robbery.
You try one last time to talk your friend out of robbing the 7-11; but your friend is insistent that he has no other options. You feel sorry for your friend and you think, "While robbery isn't my personal preference--I wouldn't do it, who am I to judge?"
You drive your friend to the 7-11 and wait in the car. Your friend goes inside. Moments later, you hear the sound of gunshots coming from inside the store. Your friend runs out, jumps in your car, and tells you to drive away. You drive your friend back to his house.
According to the law, you are an accessory before and after the fact. You aided and abetted in the commission of the crime. Your friend shot and killed the store clerk. Although you didn't pull the trigger, you are guilty of murder.
Obama Aids and Abets in the Murder of the Unborn
According to the definitions of "aid and abet," "accessory," and "accomplice," Barack Obama is guilty of the murder of the unborn.
The following statements by Barack Obama are chronicled on the On The Issues website.
Q: The terms pro-choice and pro-life, do they encapsulate that reality in our 21st Century setting and can we find common ground?
A: I absolutely think we can find common ground. And it requires a couple of things. It requires us to acknowledge that..
There is a moral dimension to abortion, which I think that all too often those of us who are pro-choice have not talked about or tried to tamp down. I think that's a mistake because I think all of us understand that it is a wrenching choice for anybody to think about.
People of good will can exist on both sides. That nobody wishes to be placed in a circumstance where they are even confronted with the choice of abortion. How we determine what's right at that moment, I think, people of good will can differ. And if we can acknowledge that much, then we can certainly agree on the fact that we should be doing everything we can to avoid unwanted pregnancies that might even lead somebody to consider having an abortion.
Source: 2008 Democratic Compassion Forum at Messiah College Apr 13, 2008
Q: Do you personally believe that life begins at conception?
A: This is something that I have not come to a firm resolution on. I think it's very hard to know what that means, when life begins. Is it when a cell separates? Is it when the soul stirs? So I don't presume to know the answer to that question. What I know is that there is something extraordinarily powerful about potential life and that that has a moral weight to it that we take into consideration when we're having these debates.
Source: 2008 Democratic Compassion Forum at Messiah College Apr 13, 2008
[An abortion protester at a campaign event] handed me a pamphlet. "Mr. Obama, I know you're a Christian, with a family of your own. So how can you support murdering babies?"
I told him I understood his position but had to disagree with it. I explained my belief that few women made the decision to terminate a pregnancy casually; that any pregnant woman felt the full force of the moral issues involved when making that decision; that I feared a ban on abortion would force women to seek unsafe abortions, as they had once done in this country. I suggested that perhaps we could agree on ways to reduce the number of women who felt the need to have abortions in the first place.
"I will pray for you," the protester said. "I pray that you have a change of heart." Neither my mind nor my heart changed that day, nor did they in the days to come. But that night, before I went to bed, I said a prayer of my own-that I might extend the same presumption of good faith to others that had been extended to me.
Source: The Audacity of Hope, by Barack Obama, p.197-8
Oct 1, 2006Obama voted "NO" on prohibiting minors from crossing state lines to have abortions:
CONGRESSIONAL SUMMARY: To increase funding for the vigorous enforcement of a prohibition against taking minors across State lines in circumvention of laws requiring the involvement of parents in abortion decisions consistent with the Child Custody Protection Act.
SUPPORTER'S ARGUMENT FOR VOTING YES:Sen. ENSIGN: This amendment enables enforcing the Child Custody Protection Act, which passed the Senate in a bipartisan fashion by a vote of 65 to 34. Too many times we enact laws, and we do not fund them. This is going to set up funding so the law that says we are going to protect young children from being taken across State lines to have a surgical abortion--we are going to make sure those people are protected.
OPPONENT'S ARGUMENT FOR VOTING NO:Sen. BOXER: We already voted for $50 million to enhance the enforcement of child protective laws. If Sen. Ensign's bill becomes law, then that money is already there to be used for such a program. LEGISLATIVE OUTCOME:Amendment rejected, 49-49 (1/2 required, or 50 votes; Sen. Byrd & Sen. McCain absent)
Reference: Bill S.Amdt.4335 to S.Con.Res.70 ; vote number 08-S071 on Mar 13, 2008
Barack Obama insists that he is not pro-abortion. His record and his statements show otherwise. He is a liar. His record shows that he has and he will continue to aid and abet in the brutal murder of the unborn. If he is elected to serve as President of the United States, he will continue to facilitate infanticide in this country.
"Christian," Are You Guilty?
Most of those who read this blog are either followers of Jesus Christ, or they profess to be followers of Jesus Christ. What has troubled me lately is the number of professing Christians who have stated that they plan to vote for Barack Obama.
Are you ready? Watch as the number of subscribers to this blog drops after I make the following statement.
I believe there is reason to question the validity of the faith of anyone who votes for Barack Obama.
Life begins at conception. The one in a mother's womb is a person, a human being, not a thing or a glob of tissue (Job 8:10-12; Psalm 139:13; Isa. 44:2, 24; Luke 1:41).
Murder is the premeditated killing of another human being; and hatred for another person is tantamount to murder (Genesis 9:6; Exodus 20:13; 21:12; Matthew 5:21-22).
Therefore, abortion is murder. Those who perform or receive abortions, and those who give hearty approval to the same do not love the unborn. They hate the unborn. Murder is hatred and hatred is murder (1 John 2:9-11; 3:15).
Giving hearty approval to sinful behavior, either actively or passively, is consistent with the behavior of the unsaved, not the saved (Romans 1:28-32).
To go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth is consistent with the behavior of the unsaved, not the saved (Hebrews 10:26-31; James 4:17; 1 John 1:6).
A vote for Barack Obama is a vote for the continued murder of the unborn. A born again follower of Jesus Christ will not willfully aid and abet the murder of the unborn. They will not act as an accessory or an accomplice, before or after the fact, in the commission of the crime of infanticide.
Some may argue that Christians shouldn't be one-issue voters. Really? Isn't this one issue enough?
"Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you--unless indeed you fail the test" (2 Corinthians 13:5)?
To aid and abet: "Christian," are you guilty?
I am the WayneDawg and I approved this post!!!!!!
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Well, it's time.
I've held off on writing this series of articles for as long as I could. I don't know how often I will write these articles. They will appear as I sense a need to write them.
Warning: these articles will be pointed, at times. For that reason no person, church, or ministry will ever be mentioned by name. I will leave it to you, the reader, to decide if you have ever come across churches and/or ministries whose names could be inserted into the text.
Don't bother e-mailing or calling me to try to ascertain the identity of the principals in any article. I won't tell you. I'm not writing a gossip column. But it's time to talk about what many Christians around the world already know. The American Church is desperately sick.I know there are very fine churches throughout our once-great country. I know there are pastors and congregations who are truly committed to the truth of God's Word, to authentic worship (although the word "authentic" is abused by churches that are anything but), to biblical evangelism, to a Christ-centered philosophy of ministry, and to fulfilling the two greatest commandments.
I know there are no perfect churches.
So long as human beings are involved in ministry, churches will be flawed. However, I know there are churches around this nation that are doing everything they can to glorify God in everything they do.But let's be honest, shall we. Churches such as I've described above are very hard to find these days. Oh, but how easy it is to find churches that a lost and fallen world love.
How easy it is to find churches where man is worshiped, where the Word is mishandled and even maligned, and where the philosophy of ministry is described with highly pious words, but are little more than pragmatic forays into the world. How easy it is to find churches where cowards instead of shepherds stand in the pulpit afraid to talk about sin, judgment, hell, righteousness, holiness, godliness, and the dreaded "D" word--doctrine.
Here's a reason why church "American style" is not for me.
A dear friend of mine did something very loving and kind for a church he doesn't even attend. He had 2,500 tracts printed that included the church's name and contact info on them. My friend hoped that his gesture would serve as an encouragement to the church and enhance the church's evangelism efforts. He delivered them to the church without fanfare and without expecting anything in return. I'm amazed my friend's heart fits in his chest. It is that large.
My friend received the following e-mail from a member of the recipient church's staff. The name of the church has been changed.
I just saw the tracts you had made, and I am excited that you are seeking to take a secular holiday and sanctify it.In the future, however, please do not include One American Church on any materials without asking first. While we donʼt want to hinder others from using this form of evangelism, we have chosen as a church to avoid tracts. We used to get phone calls frequently about tracts. Not in regards to the offense of the gospel, but quite often concerning them left laying on floors, hidden in awkward places, and littered from people dropping them after being handed them. Others were offended at the deceptive nature of many tracts as well (being illusory towards one thing to bait and switch someone into reading). I know people meant this for good, but they hurt the work of the gospel through One American Church.Again, thank you so much for caring deeply about people embracing the truths of the gospel, but I hope this helps you see why we would prefer our name not be attached.
Now, should my friend have checked with the church first before printing the tracts? Probably. I will concede that contact with the church before printing the tracts might have saved my friend a few bucks and hurt feelings. But, in my friend's defense, he never expected to receive the above response. I don't like it when my friends are hurt. That being said, I'm sure the church staff member that sent my friend the e-mail had no intention of hurting my friend's feelings. He was merely articulating his church's policy as nicely as possible.
Now, let me deal with some of the content of the e-mail.
First, with less than 2% of Christians in America sharing their faith, I seriously doubt that the church received a plethora of complaints regarding gospel tract "litter."
Second, contrary to what the staff member wrote, the offense was likely the fact that the gospel was on the literature. If the literature invited a person to a free concert, picnic, marriage or financial seminar, carnival, or movie night at the church no offense would have been taken. Why? Because it is the gospel that is offensive to the unbeliever (1 Cor. 1:18).
Third, the author of the e-mail said that gospel tracts hurt the work of the gospel at his church. How can a gospel tract hurt the work of the gospel?
Fourth, any church that conducts any of the before-mentioned activities should be extremely careful when trying to remove the splinter out of a tract-distributing brother's eye, before surgically removing the "let's get the world to like us before we share the gospel with them" plank out of their own eye. Tread lightly and check your church's activities calendar before accusing those who use creative gospel tracts of "bait & switch."
In closing, I would like revisit Point #3.
Gospel tracts hurt the work of the gospel?I would agree that a gospel tract that offers a lost soul purpose, their best life now, or a wonderful plan for their life; or that encourages a lost soul to pray a prayer and ask Jesus into their heart; or gives a lost soul the false assurance of salvation without addressing sin, righteousness, judgment, hell, regeneration, repentance and faith is a gospel tract that hurts the work of the gospel.
Sadly, the American Church has become infamous for tracts such as these.
But a well-written, Christ-centered, biblical gospel tract does anything but hurt the work of the gospel.
Spurgeon also said, "When preaching and private talk are not available, you need to have a tract ready. . . Get good striking tracts, or none at all. But a touching gospel tract may be the seed of eternal life. Therefore, do not go out without your tracts.'
K.P Yohannan, founder of Gospel for Asia, had this to say about the effectiveness of gospel tracts in India. "How much does salvation cost? The Bible tells us that salvation is the free gift that God gave us that first Christmas—His Son, Jesus Christ. But what about those who still don’t know about that gift? One of the easiest ways for them to hear the Good News is by reading a simple Gospel tract."
Billy Graham once said, "Nothing surpasses a tract for sowing the seed of the Good News."
The Lord used a gospel tract to bring the gospel to China. How? Missionary Hudson Taylor was saved after reading a gospel tract.After George Whitefield read a gospel tract called The Life of God in the Soul of a Man he said, "God showed me I must be born again or be damned." He went on to pray, "Lord, if I am not a Christian, or if I am not a real one, for Jesus Christ’s sake show me what Christianity is, that I may not be damned at last!'
Then his journal tells us 'from that moment . . . did I know that I must become a new creature."
So, to my dear brother in Christ who was discouraged by the e-mail he received, chin up my friend. I'm sorry that you were subjected to church "American style."
Keep distributing those gospel tracts. The greatest preachers since the printed page was invented have used them for the glory of God. So, you are in good company; and I am sure you will one-day hear the Lord say "well done."
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
The truly repentant person hates all of his sins, not just certain ones. He says, "Cover yourself with the finest gold, O sin, I will still hate you! Yes, cover yourself with pleasure,make yourself flashy, like the snake with its turquoise scales-I still hate you, for I know your venom, and I run from you,even when you come to me in the most illusive clothing."
All sin must be given up, or else you will never have Christ; all evil must be renounced, or else the gates of heaven must be locked to keep you out forever.
Let us, remember, then, that for repentance to be sincere, it must be total repentance.
True repentance is a turning of the heart, as well as of the life; it is the giving up of the whole soul to God, to be His forever and ever.
It is a renunciation of the sins of the heart, as well as the corruptions of the life.
Monday, October 20, 2008
"What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death!" Romans 7:24
Though we can fall of ourselves--we cannot rise without God's help! Indeed, every sin, in its own nature, has a tendency towards a final apostasy! By our repeated slips and falls into sin, we gain a more emphatic conviction of our own vileness and depravity; and we experimentally learn and feel our own weakness.
In His own time, Jesus returns to convince, humble, pardon, comfort and renew the soul. We begin at length to learn that we are nothing, have nothing, call do nothing--but sin! And thus we are gradually prepared to live more outside of ourselves--and to derive all our sufficiency of every kind from Jesus, the fountain of all grace. We learn to tread more warily; to trust less to our own strength; to have lower thoughts of ourselves, and higher thoughts of Jesus!
This wretched state of sin and temptation, makes the thoughts of death and eternity desirable. Then this conflict shall cease! Then I shall sin and wander no more, shall see Him as he is, and be like Him forever!
I sincerely cannot articulate my words rightfully to express how this conference impacted me.
My personal walk with God was taken to a whole new level. The word deeper may not be an adequate word used to describe this new level of godliness I find myself in.
The speakers were incredible.
Paul Washer – Ray Comfort – Todd Friel – Marshall Foster – Ken Ham – Emeal Zwayne – Pastor Johnny Hunt – Kirk Cameron
Topics ranged from the essential truths of the cross to the sufficiency of the Bible. From apologetics to the transforming work of the Gospel through the ages.
I met folks who I only knew from blogs and Christian sites. I made new friends and reacquainted with friends not seen in a while.
We had incredible worship times where the hymns glorified God and exalted Him in all His glory and attributes.
We gathered over 500 folks when the conference was over and descended upon Atlanta to preach and witness the Gospel at several strategic points across the city.
Just an incredible weekend
In saying all this (and not saying enough; I just don’t know how) I came away with a deeper walk with God and how I look at the world around me.
I want to please God and glorify Him in everything I do……in everything I say……in everything I see and hear.
This blog will be godlier than it has been in the past. I will not link questionable blogs or sites that do not honor and exalt God to the fullest.
I will not visit questionable blogs or sites that do not honor and exalt God to the fullest.
This is not an isolationist move by no means. My blog is a public blog and will remain so. Anyone is free to visit here and comment (within my parameters of course) with opposing viewpoints, questions, etc.
I will seek to glorify Him and hold myself to higher godly standards on this blog from now on. I apologize to anyone who may have found questionable blog links on this site.
I will be in a process of updating and changing the format of this blog…so stay tuned!
God bless - Wayne
Thursday, October 16, 2008
David Kingsley served as a Portland firefighter before entering the Army Air Corps in April 1942. He answered his nation's call to service when it needed him most.
Kingsley received his bombardier wings during the Summer of 1943, after which he joined the 97th Bombardment Group. Kingsley's group was stationed in Italy.
On June 23, 1944, Second Lieutenant Kingsley and the rest of his fellow bomber crewmen participated in an attack on the oil targets around Ploesti, Romania. It was Kingsley's 20th mission over enemy territory. The flak and enemy fighter assaults were particularly ferocious in the area of Ploesti, and this day was no different.
Kingsley's bomber was badly damaged during the bomb run, but the pilot was able to maintain control of the aircraft, which allowed Kingsley to drop the bombs with precision. Kingsley's bomber was so badly damaged that it fell behind the rest of the formation and began to lose altitude. Three German ME-109 fighter pilots saw an opportunity to exact vengeance and mercilessly fired upon the wounded bomber.
The tail gunner was severely wounded in the arm. Other crewmen yelled to Kingsley, asking him to render aid. The tail gunner's parachute and flak jacket was removed and he was covered in blankets, in order to make him as comfortable as possible.
Moments later, eight ME-109's attacked the bomber. This time the ball turret gunner was severely wounded. The bomber was going down. There was no hope for the plane.
Kingsley immediately put the ball turret gunner's parachute on him. The tail gunner's parachute was lost in the chaos of flying blankets and equipment as the bomber continued to descend. Kingsley, with no regard for himself, took off his parachute and put it on the tail gunner. When the pilot ordered the crew to bail out, Kingsley helped his two wounded comrades to the open bomb bay and pushed them out of the plane, saving their lives.
As the the rest of the bomber crew members jumped for their lives, they reported last seeing Second Lieutenant Kingsley standing on the bomb bay catwalk. The bomber remained in the air for just a few more moments until it crashed into the ground and burned. Kingsley's body was later found in the wreckage.
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of life above and beyond the call of duty, Second Lieutenant David Kingsley was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor--our nation's highest military award.
Had Kingsley not put the parachutes on the wounded men, they, would have died in the plane crash. This certainly was true for the wounded tail gunner to whom Kingsley gave his own parachute, sacrificing his life in the process. He literally took the tail gunner's place on the mortally wounded bomber.
Theological Insights from a True Story
What an extraordinary picture of Jesus Christ's substitutionary atonement on the cross and the regeneration of fallen, helpless people!
First, some very encouraging Scriptures regarding the substitutionary atonement of Jesus Christ:"Even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many" (Matt. 20:28).
"Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends" (John 15:13).
"I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep...I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me, even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep...For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life so that I may take it again. No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This commandment I received from My Father" (John 10:11, 14-15, 17-18).
"Being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed; for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus" (Romans 3:24-26).
"For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will hardly die for a righteous man' though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:6-8)."For our sake He made Him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God" (2 Cor. 5:21)."
Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us--for it is written, 'Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree'--so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith" (Galatians 3:13-14)."
But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who are under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons" (Galatians 4:4-5)."
For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time" (1 Timothy 2:5-6).
Without a propitiation making payment for the sins of men, without a substitute taking the place of punishment for the penal debt men owe to God for their sins against Him, there would be no hope whatsoever for any member of the human race. Jesus Christ, God in the flesh, took upon Himself the punishment every person deserves for their sins against God when He voluntarily, and in obedience to the Father's will, went to the cross and shed His perfect sinless blood as a ransom for many--as a ransom for the Elect who bear in their redeemed souls and who exhibit in their lives the fruit of the gifts, of repentance and faith.
Without the substitutionary death of Jesus Christ on the cross no one has been saved; no one can be saved; no one will be saved. Praise and thanks be to Almighty God that instead of condemning all of mankind to eternity in hell, which all of mankind deserves for their sins against Him, He chose--in accordance with His loving, gracious, merciful, and kind nature--to save some through the sacrificial death and the glorious resurrection of His Son, Jesus Christ. God would be just if He condemned everyone to hell. And God is just if He chooses to save, if He chooses to pardon some, accepting as propitiation the death of His one and only Son.
And now, Scriptures that articulate the beautiful doctrine of regeneration:
"But to all who did receive Him, who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God" (John 1:12-13)."
Jesus answered him, 'Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God...That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, "You must be born again"'" (John 3:3, 6-7).
"No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day" (John 6:44).
"But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ--by grace you have been saved...For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not as a result of works, so that no one may boast" (Ephesians 2:4-5, 8-9)."
But when the goodness and loving kindness of God and Savior appeared, He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to His own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by His grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life" (Titus 3:4-7).
"Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures" (James 1:18).
"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to His great mercy, He has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time" (1 Peter 1:3-5).
Salvation is of God, by God, and for the glory of God. Salvation is by the grace of God alone, completely devoid of and separated from the works of sinful mankind. Even repentance and faith are gifts from God, which are made manifest as a result of God causing a person to be born again.
Just as a person must be born physically before they can live in this world, a person must be born again before they can have eternal life, and before they can repent and believe the gospel. And just as a person has nothing whatsoever to do with their physical birth, a person likewise has nothing whatsoever to do with their spiritual rebirth.
Yes, a person responds to the preaching of the Gospel. Yes, a person turns away from their sin and believes the Gospel. But a person can only do so if the Father is drawing that person to faith in the Son. Regeneration is not a result of the heritage of any man, or the will of any unregenerate man's sinful flesh. It is entirely a result of the sovereign, gracious, divine, and miraculous intervention of Almighty God in a person's life and soul. A person who is physically dead can do nothing to bring himself back to life. Likewise, a person who is spiritually dead can do nothing to bring himself to life spiritually.
God is sovereign. Man is not.
The only atonement acceptable to God, for the remission of sins against God, could only be accomplished by the sinless God Man, Jesus Christ the Lord. As a result, the regeneration of any man is caused by God, according to the will of God, for the glory of God.
These are weighty subjects; and not all genuine followers of Jesus Christ agree. I know that the positions I've articulated here so briefly, and without the scholarship of theologians far better schooled than I am, are positions that some Christians find offensive--even heretical. While I do not desire to offend any of my Christian brethren, and while I do not seek to cause strife or to cause any of my brethren to stumble, and without seeking to make my point with dramatic flair, I must agree with Martin Luther when he said, "Unless I am convinced by Scripture and plain reason, my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and I will not recant anything, for to go against conscience would be neither right nor safe. God help me. Here I stand, I can do no other."
"Let God be true though every one were a liar" (see Rom. 3:4).
God's Word is true.
There is only one right interpretation of any verse or passage in the Word of God. It is not your opinion that matters. It certainly is not my opinion that matters. How one feels about what God says in His Word is utterly irrelevant. The only thing that matters when it comes to studying, interpreting, and conveying to others the Word of God is what God means by what He has said in His Word. Therefore, the challenge for every true follower of Jesus Christ is to find out what God means by what He has said.
Now that I've shared the analogy and the rich theology it contains, how can this analogy be used in the context of biblical evangelism?
After sharing the Law and the Gospel, and having shared the story of the heroism of Lt. David Kingsley, I might say something like this to an unsaved person:
There was absolutely nothing the wounded bomber crewmen could do to save their own lives. They were helpless. Had Lt. Kingsley not sacrificially intervened on their behalf, they would have perished in a ball of flames when the bomber hit the ground.
Likewise, there is nothing you can do to save yourself, spiritually. You are every bit as helpless as the wounded crewmen in the bomber. Unless God miraculously, graciously, and lovingly intervenes in your life you will perish and spend eternity in the fires of hell, as the just punishment for your sins against God.
Lt. Kingsley's sacrifice was evidenced by the fact that he died a horrible death as he went down with the plane, literally taking the place of his wounded crewmen. "Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends" (John 15:13). The effect of Lt. Kingsley's sacrifice was evidenced by the fact that he caused the wounded crewmen to be saved when he fitted them with parachutes and caused them to float to safety when he pushed them through the open bomb bay doors, before the plane crashed.
Likewise Jesus Christ died a horrible, bloody death on the cross for the sins of those who belong to Him. There is no more vivid and tangible evidence of the sacrifice and love of God than the cross of Jesus Christ. And the evidence that God has extended to you the free gift of eternal life, the evidence that He has literally caused you to be born again will be this: You will repent. You will turn away from and forsake your sins against God. And by faith alone you will receive Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior.
What do you think the attitude was of the wounded crewmen who were saved by Lt. Kingsley? Do you think they were grateful? Do you think they took any credit for their rescue? Do you think they forever had a fond affection for Lt. Kingsley? Do you think they spoke highly of him and spoke of him often? And how do you think those crewmen would respond to anyone who tried to drag Lt. Kingsley's name through the mud, deny his valor, or even deny his existence?
So, too, will it be with you--if God saves you. You will repent of your sins against God and you will receive Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. You will love the Lord Jesus Christ, with thankfulness in your heart. You will gladly submit to him as the Lord of Your life and take no credit for your salvation. You will begin to love the things that God loves, and you will begin to hate the things that God hates. You will think often about Jesus Christ. You will love to read His Word. You will want to spend time with Him in prayer. You will long to be with Him, in heaven. You will defend His name and His honor against anyone who would blaspheme His name or deny His existence and life-saving power. And you will tell others about what He has done for you, with the hope that God will extend to them the salvation He has given to you.
And when you sin against Him, when you fall short of God's glory (and you will), instead of trying to justify your sin or exonerate yourself, you will cry out to God for mercy and forgiveness.
I wonder what the conversation was like in the bomber between Lt. Kingsley and the wounded crewmen. I can hear them crying out to Kingsley, begging him to help them. They realized that there was nothing they could do to save themselves. They knew that unless Kingsley intervened they would perish when the plane crashed.
Cry out to God, right now. Repent. Confess your sins--the sins you've committed against Him. Beg for His forgiveness and ask Him to save you. Place your faith and trust in Jesus Christ alone for your salvation. Lt. Kingsley, a hero, was the only hope for the wounded crewmen. Jesus Christ, the Lord, is your only hope. Apart from Him, without His miraculous intervention in your life, you will perish in your sins.
My hope is that He saves you.