Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Desperate times call for desperate measures -

From The Caucus Blogs

ALBUQUERQUE — President Obama expounded Tuesday on the reasons he became a Christian as an adult, telling a group of residents here that he was a “Christian by choice” and that “the precepts of Jesus Christ spoke to me in terms of the kind of life that I would want to lead – being my brother and sister’s keeper.”

Mr. Obama, who has been criticized by conservative pundits who have questioned his Christian faith, gave a lengthy discourse on it in response to a woman who said she had three “hot topic questions” for him. The first was: “Why are you a Christian?” The second was on abortion — the president said it should be “safe, legal and rare” —and her third was whether Mr. Obama would accept her husband’s chili pepper. He said he would.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Christians cleared for witnessing to Muslims

From WND -

Jurors in Michigan have rejected, at least for now, the concept of a "dhimmi" status for Christians, ruling that four evangelists who went to an Arab festival not just to be present but to "change minds" did not commit a breach of peace as police had claimed.

The word comes from the Thomas More Law Center, which defended the four Christians after they were charged for being at an Arab festival in Dearborn, Mich.

Officials said the verdict came from a jury of six Dearborn residents late Friday, who concluded that Nabeel Qureshi, Paul Rezkalla, Negeen Mayel and David Wood were not guilty of breach of peace charges.

The issue strikes directly at the heart of what many fear is developing across the nation: where Muslims are given a special treatment that subjects those of other faiths to second-class status.

Read rest of story here

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Quote of the Day

As God carries on the work of converting the souls of fallen men through all ages, so He goes on to justify them, to blot out all their sins, and to accept them as righteous in His sight through the righteousness of Christ. He goes on to adopt and receive them from being the children of Satan to be His own children, to carry on the work of His grace which He has begun in them, to comfort them with the consolations of His Spirit, and to bestow upon them, when their bodies die, that eternal glory which is the fruit of Christ's purchase.

Jonathan Edwards

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Names - By Mark Cahill

As most of you know, I played basketball back in the day. I really used to love that sport. It was such an idol in my life. The good news for me now is that sports have taken a huge back seat as I walk through this world. I follow them a little bit, but in no way does it have the same pull in my life like it used to, and I am very glad about that! Have you ever had an idol in your life that you have now put to the side? Isn’t it a great feeling knowing that it isn’t as important anymore? To me, It is one of the best feelings in the world!

I happened to read an article recently about Shaquille O’Neal. As I read it, I ran across a very interesting statement.

“I know I will play in the NBA next season,” said O’Neal. “International? No. The good thing about me and my career is I came in, did it my way, did more than expected. For every athlete or every great person, there’s a time when it has to end. When and if it ever ends it will be very graciously.”

“We’re going to have a big party. We’re going to have a ceremony, and the next thing I’ll be waiting for is the entrance into the place where your name will never be forgotten.”

Now what got me about that last paragraph was ‘the place where your name will never be forgotten.’ Of course, he was talking about the Basketball Hall of Fame. And any basketball player knows that would be one of the major highlights of your career to reach that goal. For many it would be the pinnacle. Of course, there is only one problem. I dare you to go to the Hall of Fame and walk around. You will see these plaques with people’s names on them and you will ask the question, “Who is that?” So even if you got enshrined there, people would still forget who you are! You see, Shaq had set his sights very low.

Philippians 4:3 says,
“And I intreat thee also, true yokefellow, help those women which laboured with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and with other my fellowlabourers, whose names are in the book of life.”

Revelation 20:12 states,
“And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.”

What Shaq doesn’t realize is that there is a place where he really, really wants his name to be written.

It is the Book of Life.

God will be opening that book one day. It will have the names of people that are born again. Is your name in there? It is all that will matter the day you die. If it is written in there, what are you doing to make sure others names are written in there as well?

If you think about it, there are plenty of places where we don’t want our names written:

* A tax notice from the IRS
* A traffic ticket
* A disciplinary report from school
* Some will say an obituary page
* An eviction notice
* Bankruptcy papers
* A non sufficient funds statement from the bank

But also, there are tons of places where we do want our names written:

* A MVP Trophy
* A Report Card with Straight A’s
* A Promotions List
* The Dean’s list
* A Lottery Check

Those all sound really good in one sense, but if your name is not written in the Book of Life, it literally has been a life not worth living.

Jesus says in Luke 10:20 says,
“Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.”

Mark Cahill

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Lost Hymn of the Week: "Let Us Love, and Sing, and Wonder"

Let us love, and sing, and wonder,
Let us praise the Saviour's name!
He has hushed the law's loud thunder,
He has quenched Mount Sinai's flame;
He has washed us with his blood,
He has brought us nigh to God.

Let us love the Lord who bought us,
Pitied us when enemies,
Called us by his grace, and taught us,
Gave us ears and gave us eyes:
He has washed us with his blood,
He presents our souls to God.

Let us sing, though fierce temptation
Threaten hard to bear us down!
For the Lord, our strong salvation,
Holds in view the conqueror's crown,
He who washed us with his blood,
Soon will bring us home to God.

Let us wonder; grace and justice
Join, and point to mercy's store;
When through grace in Christ our trust is,
Justice smiles, and asks no more:
He who washed us with his blood,
Has secured our way to God.

Let us praise, and join the chorus
Of the saints enthroned on high;
Here they trusted him before us,
Now their praises fill the sky:
"Thou hast washed us with thy blood;
Thou art worthy, Lamb of God!"

John Newton

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Repent and believe the gospel -

"Go with me to Scripture and show me, please. I would love you to stand up and tell me where anyone evangelized that way. The Scripture does not say that Jesus Christ came to the nation of Israel and said that “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand, now who would like to ask me into their hearts? I see that hand.”

That is not what it says. He said, “Repent and believe the gospel.”

Paul Washer

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Quran burning??

Updated: Flashback: Muslims burn Bibles and destroy crosses -

From 5ptsalt

However, not to give offense to them, go to the sea and cast a hook and take the first fish that comes up, and when you open its mouth you will find a shekel. Take that and give it to them for me and for yourself.” – Matthew 17:27

In the passage above lies a small phrase that is often overlooked.

Jesus says, “However, not to give offense to them…”.

In context, the passage has to do with the payment of the Temple tax. Our beloved Peter has just finished a conversation with the tax-collector who has asked Peter, “Does your teacher not pay the tax?” (v. 24) to which Peter replies “yes” (v.25).

There are many amazing things in this passage. One being that our Lord was obviously aware of the conversation. In verse 25 we read that after Peter came into the house our Lord and His disciples were staying in, Jesus spoke to Peter first concerning the subject of paying the Temple tax! Our Lord knows all things!

In the news lately, much ado has been made concerning a Florida church which plans to burn the Quran on September 11, 2010. I’ve heard the reasoning’s of the fellowship’s pastor and associate pastor on the news, and I believe their reasons for burning the Quran are, in the end, more an act of intentional offense than anything closely resembling Christian motives. Burning the Quran is not spiritually beneficial for anyone; not in outreach to the Muslim community, not to Christians or their churches. It may be viewed as ‘patriotic’ by some, yet how patriotic is it to purposefully make others angry? More importantly, how Christian is it? How will burning the Quran proclaim the Gospel witness?

It won’t. It will simply inflame the anger of a lost people.

In the passage quoted from Matthew above, our Lord Jesus is willing to pay the Temple tax. The reason He gives is specifically “not to give offense to them.”

Not to give offense. There is a thought we would do well to heed daily. As Christians, we are to further the Gospel of Jesus Christ, not hinder it in any way. We are to be Christ-like in our behavior and indeed, in our thoughts. When it comes to our witness to the world, ‘patriotism’ and anything else must not supersede the furthering of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Burning the Quran will offend Muslims. It will offend them greatly. Now what is the wise thing to do here? What will be the most beneficial, for the Christian Church and for Muslims? What would be most Christ-like?

Don’t burn it.

It’s not necessary, doesn’t help, will bring more harm than good, and according to this passage in Matthew, is not Christ-like at all. It is quite the opposite of Christ-likeness.

You may have strong resentment towards the Islamic community; you may still be angry about 9-11. Yet brethren, burning the Quran is not a Christian act, it is carnal in the worst way. Let us search our hearts in light of the Scriptures and check our motives in this matter so that we, as representatives of the true Church of Jesus Christ, do not give unnecessary offense to those who need the Gospel so desperately.

See HERE for Ten Reasons NOT to burn a Quran - from Jimmy Kinnaird


Remember, folks—the Muslims who are willing to riot and rampage over the burning of a few Qur’an’s in Florida do not need any provocation to destest the “kafirs.” They are offended by our mere existence. Think about it.

- James White

HT - Defending/Contending

The reason not to burn Qurans is that it's unkind – not to jihadists, but to Muslims who mean us no harm. The same goes for building a mosque at Ground Zero – in both cases, it's not a question of anyone's "rights," it's just a nasty thing to do.

Ann Coulter

"People have a constitutional right to burn a Koran if they want to, but doing so is insensitive and an unnecessary provocation -- much like building a mosque at Ground Zero,"

Sarah Palin

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

We have an Advocate!

Be always greatly abased for your remaining sin, and never think that you lie low enough for it; but yet be not discouraged or disheartened by it; for, though we are exceeding sinful, yet we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; the preciousness of whose blood, the merit of whose righteousness, and the greatness of whose love and faithfulness, infinitely overtop the highest mountains of our sins!

Jonathan Edwards

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Calvinism and Evangelism - Bill Welzien

From Evangelism Matters

Many people think that "Calvinist evangelist" is an oxymoron. What do you think? Can someone be seriously Calvinistic and at the same time seriously evangelistic? Does a belief in the absolute sovereignty of God take the wind out of the sails of evangelism?

We live in a day of gross ignorance with regard to sound theology. We should continually yearn for sound (wholesome, healthy) doctrine (1 Pet. 2:2; 2 Pet. 3:18). As we Christians learn and respond rightly to sound doctrine, we begin to think correctly, and our lives begin to demonstrate the resulting godly fruit. So how should a belief in Calvinism affect our belief in evangelism?

What Is a Calvinist?
Well, what is a Calvinist? A Calvinist believes in sola Scriptura. That is to say, he believes that the Bible, exclusively, is God's very word. Therefore, to him the Bible alone is the final court of appeal on all matters of faith and practice.

Additionally, a Calvinist believes that fallen humans can be forgiven of sin and receive a just standing before a holy God, only through faith alone in the Son of God, Jesus Christ, alone. This saving faith comes as a gift of God's grace (Eph. 2:8-9). The Calvinist believes that since fallen humans are dead in their trespasses and sins, they will never have God's life in them unless he takes the initiative and quickens these spiritually dead persons. When God does sovereignly quicken (regenerate) an individual, he will respond to the gospel in repentance and faith and be saved (Eph. 2:1-10). A Calvinist realizes that the only thing he contributes to his salvation is his sin. Salvation is of the Lord from first to last.

These events all take place in time and space. But preceding them all is what God determined in eternity past. Ephesians 1:4 tells us that God chose (elected) certain ones in Christ before the foundation of the world.

The Calvinist believes that God's election is unconditional. That means that almighty God did not base his election upon any good thing (such as faith, good works, etc.) that he foresaw in those he chose. His election could never be based upon anything inherently attractive or good in fallen man. Every last person that the omniscient God foresaw had inherited Adam's guilt and corruption, was totally depraved, and was choosing to sin. Hence, every last one of them justly deserved God's holy wrath.

God's election is based solely upon his own grace, love, and good pleasure (Eph. 1:4-5; Matt. 11:21-27). If God chooses to show mercy to some members of the human race, all of whom justly deserve his judgment, that is grace, and that is his prerogative (Rom. 9:10-23)! Because it depends completely on God, the number of God's elect is certain, definite, and cannot be increased or decreased.

The elect are the Father's gift to Christ. Jesus himself vows that of all the Father gives to him, he will not lose any (John 6:39). Since the elect are sinners both by nature and by choice, and since God is a holy God who will not tolerate sin, but must judge it, a substitutionary atonement needed to be made in order to reconcile God to his elect. And so, the Calvinist does not believe that Jesus Christ died for all men indiscriminately, but that he laid down his life for the elect, his sheep, his church (John 10:11; 14-16; Eph. 5:25).

This explains why the Holy Spirit must do his regenerating work in a person before he is able to repent and believe in Christ. In his natural, fallen mind, man is hostile toward God (Rom. 8:7). Until the Holy Spirit sovereignly replaces a sinner's heart of stone with a heart of flesh, he will continue to be spiritually impervious to the gospel (Rom. 8:7; Eph. 2:1; Ezek. 36:24-27). The Calvinist believes that every last one of those who were chosen in Christ before time will by the end of time be brought to saving faith and a vital relationship with God through the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ!

Does Calvinism Nullify Evangelism?
At this point, the non-Calvinist infers that the impetus and urgency to proclaim the gospel is gone, or diminished at best. After all, if God knows who is going to be saved, and if he will save his elect no matter what, why waste our time evangelizing?

But it is important to recognize that the God of the Bible ordains not only the end (salvation) but also the means to the end (the proclamation of the gospel).

Jesus is the Good Shepherd. And through evangelism, he is calling his sheep to himself. He calls his own sheep by name, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice (John 10:3-4). They know his voice because, at God's appointed time, the Holy Spirit gives the elect ears to hear and hearts to understand (Matt. 13:23).

The ordinary means by which God gathers his people is through their hearing and believing the gospel message. In Romans 1:16, Paul declares that he is not ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes. In Romans 10:13, he states that "everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." Then he adds, "How then shall they call upon Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, 'How beautiful are the feet of those who bring glad tidings of good things!' " (Rom. 10:14-15 nasb).

Paul saw that it is the task of the church to proclaim the gospel. The exhortation Paul gives in Romans 10 is sandwiched between chapters 8-9 and 11. Take some time and reread those chapters. Note especially all they have to say about God's sovereign purposes in election.

Why am I, a Calvinist, so passionate about evangelism? Several reasons immediately spring to mind. First, my Lord Jesus Christ commands me to do so (Mark 16:15). Second, given that my chief duty (and delight) is to glorify God, I am moved by the fact that the Father is honored whenever the Son is honored. The supreme means of honoring the Father is preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ (John 5:22-23)! Third, I know that when the nonelect reject the gospel, as they are wont to do, preaching leaves them all the more without excuse when they receive the condemnation they justly deserve. And last, I know that God brings his elect to himself through the preaching of the gospel.

The apostle Paul said in 2 Timothy 2:10, "Therefore, I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory." It is only when we recognize God's absolute sovereignty that we can be assured of results. God blesses the faithful dissemination of his word. He promises that his word will never return to him void or empty, but will accomplish the purpose for which he sent it (Isa. 55:11).

Does Calvinism take the wind out of the sails of evangelism? Properly understood and sincerely believed, it does exactly the opposite. Believing that God has a sovereign plan to bring all his elect to himself actually encourages evangelism. It gives confidence to us, God's people, to fulfill our God-given responsibility to spread his gospel. We know that our labor in the Lord is never in vain (1 Cor. 15:58)!

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Spurgeon on open-air preaching

“I proposed to them, on one occasion, that I should preach on Sunday evening by the riverside, and the remark was made by one of them “Ah! I do not like it, it is imitating the Methodists.” To him, as a sound Calvinist, it was a dreadful thing to do anything which Methodists were guilty of; to me, however, that was rather a recommendation than otherwise, and I was happy to run the risk of being Methodistical.

All over England, in our cities, towns, villages, and hamlets, there are tens of thousands who will never hear the gospel while open air preaching is neglected. I rejoice that God allows us to preach in churches and chapels, but I do not pretend that we have any apostolical precedent for it, certainly none for confining our ministry to such places.

I believe that we are permitted, if it promotes order and edification, to set apart buildings for our worship; but there is no warrant for calling these places sanctuaries and houses of God, for all places are alike holy where holy men assemble.

It is altogether a mischievous thing that we should confine our preaching within walls.

Our Lord, it is true, preached in the synagogues, but he often spake the mountainside, or from a boat, or in the court of a house, or in the public thoroughfares. To him, an audience was the only necessity. He was a fisher of sits souls of the true sort, and not like those who sit still in their houses, and expect the fish to come to them to be caught.

Did our Lord intend a minister to go on preaching from his pulpit to empty pews, when, by standing on a chair or a table outside the meeting house, he might be heard by hundreds? I believe not, and I held the same opinion that the very beginning of my ministry, so I preached by the river side, even though my good deacon thought that, by so doing, I was imitating the Methodist.”

(Vol 1, page 256, THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF CHARLES H. SPURGEON, American Baptist Publication Society, Philadelphia)

HT - Go Stand and Speak