Monday, June 29, 2009
He saved you that you might be conformed to the image of His Son, however costly that may be.
Thursday, June 25, 2009
The sinners prayer is nothing more than “leading” a sinner through a series of words that mean absolutely nothing if the person repeating those words is merely mimicking what he/she is hearing. Sometimes when I’m out street witnessing I will hear people say, “I prayed the prayer when I was younger”. When you press them about it, they really can’t remember what they prayed only that they “asked Jesus into their heart” when they were seven or eight years old. After you talk with them awhile you learn that they are un-churched, they do not pray regularly, they do not read the Bible daily, etc.
Does that sound like a conversion to you?
The ‘sinners prayer’ can only be effective if the person understands what he/she heard from a Gospel presentation before the prayer was cited and if the person is truly repenting and trusting Christ to save them. What I mean to say is this:
Before the prayer was there…
· A clear presentation about sin: Sin defined; who has sinned, why and how we sin, the consequence and penalty of sin.
· What did God do for us to deliver us from the penalty of sin.
· What should we do in response to what God has done for us.
In other words; A clear and precise understanding of sin and the Gospel before any prayer is offered.
A lot of times at a lot of services I attend or hear before the 'alter call' prayer was prayed there is hardly a minor mention of the word ‘sin’. Sometimes there is no definition to what sin is. There is sometimes no definition to how or why we sin. Sometimes the only mention of the penalty of sin was the proverbial “separation from God” blurb that fails miserably in conveying the severity of spending eternity in the Lake of Fire if one dies in their sins.
For the most part some Pastors do talk about what God has done for us so that we won't have to be ‘separated from God’ but usually they fail horribly as to what our response should be. In fact, a common plea during an alter call is that if one were to pray the following prayer, the sinner would have eternal life.
Actually, Pastors, everyone ever born has eternal life in once place or another; Heaven or Hell. That’s it.
Here is basically the 'sinners' prayer:
With every head bowed and every eye closed, repeat after me; “Dear Lord Jesus, I admit that I’m a sinner. You died on the cross for my sins. I know that you are standing at the door of my heart and knocking and all I have to do is open the door for you to come in. I accept you as Lord and Savior. Come into my heart and give me eternal life. If you prayed that prayer, please slip your hand up so I can see. No one is going to come to you or make you feel uneasy. We don’t want to embarrass you. Good. Thank you. You may put your hands down now.” The Pastor may go onto say that if you prayed that prayer, congratulations, you are now in the family of God.
Let me say one thing first; can God use a botched 'sinners prayer' to save a sinner?
Yes; if the person praying the prayer was repenting of their sins and trusting Christ to save them from their sins on the day of wrath.
God knows the heart.
God knows if a person is merely parroting a prayer versus truly repenting and trusting. But, on the other hand, if a person is merely feeling a little guilty about some of the things he/she has done and prays this type of prayer thinking it’s all good now, signs the card, gets baptized, joins the church and then attends for a few months and slowly fades away from the fellowship….did that person get saved? Are they just backsliding a bit? Or, could it be, that they were never born-again like Jesus said we must be? The ever so popular sinners prayer has claimed another victim.
Let’s break down some of the above ‘sinner prayer’.
“With every head bowed and every eye closed” – Why? Why must every head be bowed and every eye closed? If a person has heard a clear and concise biblical message about sin, repentance, God’s Grace and trusting Christ to save them, they should be running to the alter! I certainly did. No one could hold me back when I heard what God had done for me in spite of my sins.
“I admit I’m a sinner” – Yes, that’s a good start. But admitting you’re a sinner and repenting of your sins are two different things. The Bible says that you must repent for remission of sins (Acts 2:38). Jesus said in Luke 24:46-47, “Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.” In fact the first words recorded in Mark at the start of Jesus ministry was “Repent and believe the Gospel.” The word ‘believe’ is better translated ‘trust’. Like one would trust a parachute to save you from the law of gravity. You must repent and trust Jesus to save you from God’s Law. God will enforce His Law on the Day of Judgment and the only thing that can save you is the atoning blood sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
“I stand at the door and knock” - Some Pastors use incorrectly Revelation 3:20 that say’s “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.” Jesus is not ‘knocking’ at the door of a sinners heart in this context of Scripture, He is knocking at the door of the church. Jesus is speaking to the church (believers, not un-believers) in Laodicea. This church had grown ‘lukewarm’ because of their works. Look at what Jesus says to this church in response to their ‘lukewarm-ness’ in verse 19, “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent.” Because Jesus loves the church (the believers) He rebukes and chastens them. Jesus tells these believers to get zealous for Him and repent for being lukewarm. To use Revelation 3:20 as an evangelism verse is to clearly take out of context what Jesus is saying to the church. At best using this verse for a sinners prayer is pure ignorance of the Scriptures and at worst performing eisegesis (taking from Scripture and applying ones own idea).
“Accept Jesus as you Lord and Savior” – Wrong. We need Jesus to accept us. And He will, if we repent and trust Him.
“Come into my heart and give me eternal life” – We already have eternal life. What needs to be asked of God here is that, after repenting of your sins, you trust Him to forgive you. He will do so and give you eternal life in Heaven.
There are many other things a Pastor may say and even might have some soft heart tugging music being played while all this goes on. But here is all that needs to happen:
Jesus said in John 3:3, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Jesus said we must be 'born again.' Why? Why must we be born again?
Simple - You have broken God's Law's. You know, the Ten Commandments. If you are honest, you will say that you have lied (9th Commandment), you have stolen something sometime in your life (8th Commandment), you probably have coveted (10th Commandment), looked with lust at someone (7th Commandment), probably have taken the Lord's Name in vain (3rd Commandment).
These are just Five of the Ten Commandments. If you have broken just one of them, you are guilty of breaking them all.
Because you have broken God's Law's, you will have to answer for that one day when you die. And you will die won't you? Hebrews 9:27 says, And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment."
You are going to have to stand before a Holy and Righteous Judge on judgment day; God. And it's not just you either. The Bible says in Romans 3:23 that, "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God”
When your standing there before God on judgment day, your are going to have to pay for your sins (breaking the Law). The Bible says in Romans 6:23. "The wages of sin is death...." This 'death', is not just only an eternal separation from God, but eternity in hell where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth in the lake of fire.
But there is hope my friend. 2000 years ago, God did something truly amazing. He sent His one and only Son, Jesus Christ, born of a virgin to be a sacrifice on your behalf. The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 5:21, "For He (God) made Him (Jesus) who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
There it is!
We need to be made righteous before God. How do you do that?
Repent of your sins. Acts 17:30, "Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent" Repent and turn from your sins. and call on the name of Jesus. Acts 16:31, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved." Romans 10:13, "For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
Pray to the God who gave you your first life to give a second life. This is the only way to have everlasting life with God. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me."God's Word is true.
Repent of your sins and call upon the name of the Lord and you will be saved. Do it from you heart and not from some man-made prayer.
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
The Tennessee legislature has dispatched a strong message to Planned Parenthood.
About $1.1 million set aside for family planning in the state will now be distributed mostly to local health organizations and not the taxpayer-supported abortion provider. Susan Allen of Tennessee Right to Life was there for the vote. "In the House, the vote was 69-to-22," she notes, "and in the Senate, 25-to-7."
Allen is thankful that Planned Parenthood will no longer receive the annual automatic nod from the state. "For approximately 40 years, Planned Parenthood was given preferential treatment in the Tennessee state law for getting family planning funds that are under Title X from the federal government," she explains.
Earlier this year, Lila Rose of Live Action conducted an undercover video probe at Memphis Planned Parenthood, during which she posed as a 14-year-old girl impregnated by an older man. A staff member advised her how to obtain the abortion without identifying the molester. Allen believes Rose's revelation had an effect on lawmakers.
Now if other states will start following this lead maybe, God willing, Planned Parenthood will soon be a very bad memory.
(From the Letters of John Newton)
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Southern Baptists are abuzz about a Great Commission Resurgence they hope will move the denomination past the infighting and toward proclaiming the Gospel and winning souls to Christ.
As falling baptism and membership numbers are beginning to become a trend in the Southern Baptist Convention, pastors, ministers, students and lay people are signing on to the Great Commission Resurgence (www.greatcommissionresurgence.com) to reverse the decline and return to what they feel is most important – being Christ's witnesses.
Since the release of the declaration on Monday, more than 1,200 Southern Baptists, including SBC president Johnny Hunt and R. Albert Mohler, Jr. of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, have added their signatures.
"What unites us in this movement is not some naive notion that we are all the same or that we all agree on every doctrinal or practical issue that confronts us," wrote Tom Ascol, senior pastor of Grace Baptist Church in Cape Coral, Fla., on his blog Thursday. "Rather, we agree that the gospel is central to any and every Christian effort and that we must not allow anything, no matter how good and noble it might be, to detract from proclamation of that gospel around the world."
Any time more Christians want to get out in the mission field and help the rest of us witness to a lost and dying world is welcome news to me.
But I feel there is a problem and I see it in the second paragraph of the story.....
"As falling baptism and membership numbers are beginning to become a trend in the Southern Baptist Convention, pastors, ministers, students and lay people are signing on to the Great Commission Resurgence (www.greatcommissionresurgence.com) to reverse the decline and return to what they feel is most important – being Christ's witnesses." (Bolding mine)
Feelings.......whoa, whoa, whoa feelings........
The motive is wrong here.
The reason this group wants to get back to what they feel is most important (being Christ's witnesses) is so they can get their membership numbers back to a level they feel comfortable with.
Folks, that is not what evangelism is all about.
Evangelism, the proclamation of the good news, is not about how many people we can get saved and how many people we can get baptised and onto our church membership roles.
Evangelism is not about our motives.
Evangelism is not about our desires.
Evangelism is not about us being self-centered.
Evangelism is the joyful proclamation of the good news of Jesus Christ from an obedient Christian!
The article did go on to say this.........
"Southern Baptists who sign the Great Commission Resurgence manifesto affirm a commitment to: Christ’s Lordship, Gospel-centeredness, the Great Commandments, biblical inerrancy and sufficiency, a healthy confessional center, biblically healthy churches, sound biblical preaching, methodological diversity that is biblically informed, more effective convention structure, and distinctively Christian families."
.......this is good (although a more 'effective convention structure' doesn't sound like something Jesus would promote), but I think we can see that declining baptisms and memberships roles is the main reason this group has signed up to get back out there with those crazy evangelists and not the fact that taking the Gospel to 'the ends of the Earth' is what obedient Christians should be doing everywhere they go to begin with.
Monday, June 22, 2009
"Oh my friends, we are loaded with countless church activities, while the real work of the church, that of evangelizing and winning the lost is almost entirely neglected."
Oswald J. Smith
"God save us from living in comfort while sinners are sinking into hell!"
Now go share the Gospel today
Friday, June 19, 2009
Him to suffer." Isaiah 53:10
Not all the vials of judgment that have or shall be poured
out upon the wicked world, nor the flaming furnace of a
sinner's conscience, nor the irreversible sentence pronounced
against the rebellious demons, nor the groans of the damned
creatures--give such a demonstration of God's hatred of sin--
as the wrath of God let loose upon His Son!
Never did divine holiness appear more beautiful and lovely than at the
time our Savior's countenance was most marred in the midst
of His dying groans--when God had turned His smiling face
from Him, and thrust His sharp knife into His heart, which
forced that terrible cry from Him, 'My God, My God, why
have You forsaken Me!'
(Stephen Charnock, 1628-1680)
Thank God He loved the world so much as to send His only Son to be inflicted on my behalf (John 3:16). Thank God Christ was obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross (Phil 2:8).
Through repentance and faith in Christ God has delivered me from the power of darkness and delivered unto me the right to inherit the Kingdom of His Son because He has redeemed me and forgiven me my sins. (Col 1:13-14)
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
You almost can't write this stuff for a Hollywood movie - The depravity of man is really something to behold.
Free abortions to the first 100 women who sign up to receive newsletters from NARAL?
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
The Christian leaders were gathered in Pastor Li Ming’s house church at 5:30 p.m., in Lanzhou city, when several dozen officials in six to seven police vehicles from the local Domestic Security Protection Squad surrounded the site, then arrested all of the Christians and searched the house.
The 13 leaders who received 15 days of administrative detention are: Wang Fang, Ma Zhongqiong, Wang Huaying, Pang Kaizhen, Chen Deying, Hu Xiuying, Li Daxiu, Deng Shuhua, Chen Jingfang, Wang Yulan, Song Liangqing, Wang Shixiu and Li Shufeng.
The five leaders who received criminal detention are likely to face a formal criminal indictment or up to three years of re-education through labor. They are: Pastors Gao Guofu, Pastor Li Ming, Zhang Guofen, Gu Lianpeng and Yu Zhipeng. Pastor Li Ming was sentenced to three years of re-education through labor in recent years because of his Christian faith.
ChinaAid calls on Christians around the world to pray for the imprisoned Christians and their families. ChinaAid also strongly denounces the Langzhong authorities in Sichuan for their reprehensible conduct which violates both Chinese and international laws guaranteeing freedom of religion.
Please pray for our persecuted brothers and sisters in Christ around the world. These Christians were arrested for merely gathering together to worship and study the Bible.
Of course this could never happen here in the USA..........
Monday, June 15, 2009
The gospel is still the power of God unto salvation to all who believe. I heard somebody say, "Well, you know, there’s a different approach today".
Is there really?
Is there any difference between the grief of somebody who’s heartbroken today and the grief of somebody who lived three thousand years ago? We say, "Human nature is changed". Human nature has not changed! Human nature is still a sinful nature. Human nature still needs God. It seems though, God is trying to check us, but we won’t take the checking. We won’t take the warning. And again I say to you, the most distressing area, I believe, is the area of the church itself.
We are trying to steady the ark.
We don’t want God Almighty to govern the whole thing.
We want a little bit of flesh in it.
We want a little bit of humanism in it.
We want a little bit of organization in it.
We want some of our skill in it.
And God holds off.
The word of God says, "Some trust in chariots, and some in horses, but we will remember the name of the Lord our God."
Oh, I’m aching on the inside to see somebody that really, really, really has no confidence in the flesh.
Friday, June 12, 2009
We had a great time Boogie Boarding, playing in the sand, playing in the pool, smoking cigars (wait, that was just me), walking on the beach, watching a Myrtle Beach Pelicans (Atlanta Braves Single A team) game, doing nothing and, for the first time ever, metal detecting (wait, that was just me again).
My wife gave me a metal detector last year for Christmas and I couldn't wait until we went to the beach to try it out in the sand. I have played around with it a little bit over the past few months getting used to the feel and sound of the thing and found a couple coins and a kids action figure but mostly nothing but garbage.
But at the beach, one has the hope of finding that century old coin or some poor bride's lost diamond ring or maybe a cool watch...anything but trash.
So I set off the first evening with detector in one hand, implement of destruction in the other and headphones on my ears in hopes of cashing in big on other peoples misfortune.
Oh yeah, one other item I had on me was a few Million Dollar Bill Gospel tracts.
The one thing I read over and over from metal detecting sites and publications was to be prepared for people to come up to you and ask you if you have found anything yet. This, according to the publications, was a good time for you to introduce people to the joys of metal detecting.
I had a different idea; introduce them to Law and Gospel.
I'll be honest, sometimes I struggle with 'the right time and the right place' to witness with people. It's one thing to hand out Gospel tracts while people are on the move and going to and fro, but I find that there are some venues where people are less likely to have that one on one conversation with you.
So I thought if people are going to go out of their way and stop me on the beach and engage me in conversation, then I have the perfect opportunity to turn the conversation around and not only get a Gospel tract in their hand, but ask them a few questions concerning the things of God.
So I did.
The first night I went by myself and handed out a few tracts and talked briefly with those who stopped me.
The second night my wife and kids came with me and walked the beach while I scoured the beach for lost possessions. My wife brought the camera to capture some family moments and I told her if someone stops me tonight make sure you get a photo or two of the witnessing encounter.
That was the night I met Mickey.
Mickey walked straight up to me and ask me if I had found any treasure yet. I told him I had found a lot of beer bottle tops and pull rings but nothing that made my evening of detecting worthwhile yet. The I told him that I did have something that might make his night worthwhile; a Million Dollar Bill.
He took the MDB with joyful fascination.
I told Mickey that there was a Gospel tract on the back and then asked him the million dollar question; if you were to die tonight, where would you spend eternity?
Mickey told me that he was sure he was going to Heaven when he died. I asked him how he knew that. He told me that he came to know about God through AA. I asked him what he meant when he said know about God. He gave me his personal testimony from his alcohol years to going through the AA steps and then finding God along the way. When Mickey told me he was a local in the area, I asked him which church he attended. He told me that he sometimes went to a particular church along the strip.
I immediately took him through the Law to make sure he understood the seriousness of his sins in light of a holy and just God. I reasoned with him on the penalty of those sins in light of God's perfect justice and then I magnified God's amazing grace through the shed blood of His Son Jesus Christ.
I made sure Mickey knew what repentance was and explained why he needed to fully trust in Jesus to save him from God's wrath on the Day of wrath like his life depended on it; because it does.
I went through all this even though Mickey said he was a Christian. Why? Because I had a sense that Mickey was relying on something other than the blood of Christ.
I had a good long chat with Mickey and I hope to run into him again someday when we come back to the beach. I pray that Mickey indeed is a Christian and, if not, the Holy Spirit moves him to repenting and putting his faith in Christ alone.
By the way, I never did find any rings or watches or century old coins but I did find almost $5 dollars in change and that, if you're willing, God will use you no matter where you are are.
Friday, June 05, 2009
It's that annual time of the year where we pack up the family and head to the beach for a week of rest and relaxation.
I don't want to leave you empty handed though. I want to give you all something to talk about for a few days.
Question: Is an eternal Hell reasonable? Why or why not?
Rules: I can't police the language so mind your manners. Use the golden rule of 'do onto others as you would have them do onto you'.
Back in a week -
Thursday, June 04, 2009
and you will find that, whenever you meet with it in Scripture,
it is always accompanied with sorrow for past sin.
And rest assured of this fact-- that the repentance which has
no tear in its eye, and no mourning for sin in its heart,
is a repentance which needs to be repented of.
In such false repentance, there is no evidence of conversion,
and no sign of the existence of the grace of God.
The man who knows that his sin is forgiven,
does not cease to mourn for it.
No, brethren, his mourning becomes deeper as
his knowledge of his guilt becomes greater.
His hatred of sin grows in proportion as he understands
that love of Christ by which his sin is put away.
In true believers, mourning for sin is chastened and sweetened,
and, in one sense, the fang of bitterness is taken out.
But, in another sense, the more we realize
our indebtedness to God's grace, and the more we see of
the sufferings of Christ in order to effect our redemption,
the more do we hate sin, and the more do we lament
that we ever fell into it.
The man who has led the purest life, when he is brought
before God by the humbling influence of the Holy Spirit,
is the man who almost invariably considers himself
to have been viler than anybody else.
"Repentance is to leave
The sin we loved before,
And show that we in earnest grieve
By doing so no more."
Wednesday, June 03, 2009
If the Muslim population in the United States is around 8 million (using the highest estimates) and we live in a country of more than 300 million, that would put the Muslim population at around 2.5%.
The press really needs to start holding the president accountable to statements like this.
Tuesday, June 02, 2009
object of the law. It was given to lead us too him. The
law is our schoolmaster to bring us to Christ, or
rather our attendant to conduct us to the school of Jesus.
The law is the great net in which the fish are
enclosed that they may be drawn out of the element of
sin. The law is the stormy wind which drives souls into
the harbour or refuge. The law is the sheriff's officer
to shut men up in prison for their sin, concluding them
all under condemnation in order that they may look to
the free grace of God alone for deliverance. This is
the object of the law: it empties that grace may fill,
and wounds that mercy may heal.
It has never been God's intention towards us, as fallen men, that the law
should be regarded as a way to salvation to us, for a
way of salvation it can never be. Had man never fallen,
had his nature remained as God made it, the law would
have been most helpful to him to show him the way in
which he should walk: and by keeping it he would have
lived, for "he that doeth these things shall live in them."
But ever since man has fallen the Lord has not
proposed to him a way of salvation by works, for he
knows it to be impossible to a sinful creature. The law
is already broken; and whatever man can do he cannot
repair the damage he has already done: therefore he is
out of court as to the hope of merit.
The law demands perfection, but man has already fallen short of it; and
therefore let him do his best. He cannot accomplish
what is absolutely essential. The law is meant to lead
the sinner to faith in Christ, by showing the
impossibility of any other way. It is the black dog to
fetch the sheep to the shepherd, the burning heat which
drives the traveller to the shadow of the great rock in a weary land. "
Monday, June 01, 2009
WICHITA, Kan. — A man suspected of shooting and killing Dr. George Tiller, one of the few doctors in the U.S. who performed late-term abortions, was in jail Monday while investigators sought to learn more about his background, including the extent of his connections to anti-abortion groups.
Tiller, 67, was serving as an usher during morning services Sunday when he was shot in the foyer of Reformation Lutheran Church, police said. The gunman fired one shot at Tiller and threatened two other people who tried to stop him.
The suspect, identified by one law enforcement agency as Scott Roeder, was taken into custody some 170 miles away in a Kansas City suburb about three hours after the shooting.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Let me be very clear here; we are a nation where rule of law must exist and be enforced. We do not live in a vigilante land where, if you think you have been wronged or if you believe certain legislation does not apply to your morals and ethics, you can hunt down those whom have hurt you or wronged you and 'make it right' according to your principles of justice.
Scott Roeder is suspected of committing, more than likely, premeditated murder.
If he is the guilty person, he should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
Roeder is not above the law.
Here is what President Obama had to say concerning this event: "However profound our differences as Americans over difficult issues such as abortion, they cannot be resolved by heinous acts of violence,"
I find that statement very ironic in the light of what the abortionist, George Tiller, made his living doing; committing heinous acts of violence.
Here is what another late tem abortionist had to say concerning Tiller's murder: "Dr. Tiller's assassination is not the lone and inexplicable action of one deranged killer," Hern said Sunday. "This was a political assassination in a historic pattern of anti-abortion political violence. It was terrorism."
Again, the irony is very thick here, "It was terrorism."
There is a huge disconnect here.
I define what Roeder allegedly did as a rogue vigilante who took the law into his own hands without letting due process of altering legislation and changing the public heart over abortion rather than pronouncing what Roeder did using language that would succinctly describe Tiller, and every other abortionist, in the same exact language.
I hate abortion.
Abortion is a horrific heinous act of violence and terrorism on a helpless human being in the womb.
Murdering abortion doctors is not the cure to this problem.
We have a heart problem. We have left the God of the Bible and have been led down the road of idolatry by the one who has lied from the beggining.
The answer to the problem of abortion and all the woes of this country and the world is simple: