1. Now that the ghastly reality of what an abortion is really like has been thrust in the cultures face, we have an opportunity to speak to the issue from a Christian perspective to people much more willing to listen.
What we say and how we say it will make the difference in how successful we are in persuading people.
The thing that has to be foremost in our intercourse is a message of grace for the millions of women who have already submitted to the procedure and the millions of men who have affirmed a partner doing so.
Only the Gospel can cover the guilt and shame that so many are feeling right now. We must call sin what it is…but we must offer the Savior in greater measure.
2. I might be crazy…but it is my perception that while we have lived through a time of great spiritual deception, God is now opening blinded eyes to those deceptions. We must have the Gospel ready at hand for those who are seeing clearly for the first time. If we do not respond in love and humility, we will be done for at least another generation and the fault will be all our own.
3. My church knows me too well…last night they gave me a sign that read “the more people I meet, the more I like my cat”…
4. In Amos 7 the Lord speaks judgment over His covenant people twice…and twice the prophet intercedes with God on their behalf and the Lord “relents” of the judgment spoken. The true “prophets” of God have a broken heart for those on the verge of judgment, not a spirit of malice. In truth, that may be the mark of a true prophet…and thus the opposite is true as well.
5. I have said this over and over again since we started in 2003. The story of Achan in Joshua 7 should inform us on why we lose battles with the world and the culture. Hidden sin in the camp removes the Lords hand of victory…
6. In that story the covenant people of God took Achan out and stoned him for bringing defeat down on the people. Today we take the ones who reveal hidden sin out to the rock pile and let the sinners stone them…
7. Here’s a fun exercise… whenever you read the name “God” in the Older Testament, substitute the name “Jesus”. Trinitarian theology is the theology of orthodox Christianity.
8. In any discussion of divine sovereignty and the will of man it must be remembered that God works through means…and the main means through which He accomplishes His work is through the prayers of His people. Those prayers result in actions…both by God and his people…
9. I wonder how many churches that support Gospel for Asia have addressed the current issues around GFA with the congregations that actually provide the support. People deserve to know that information. It’s not your money, pastor…
10. I read the letter about GFA written by the Canadian pastor again…and wonder gain why the American pastors are choking silently. It’s a disgrace.
As a short introductory reminder, the writer is not describing Jesus just for the sake of description, but is making his plea and his case to keep this Christian congregation(s) of Jews from leaving the fold and returning to what they think is not only less persecution, but also “isn’t Temple Judaism just as good as following Jesus?”
3 He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,
- So we have more descriptions
- Radiance – Moses just glowed for a few days
- He is the wisdom and the glory of the Father.
- The exact imprint – 1 Col 1:15
- He is the exact representation of his nature and of his character.
- The sustainer of all things – He holds the universe together. Let’s hope Jesus doesn’t sneeze. Col 1:17
- Jesus, by the word of his power is the Lord of creation and history.
- He directs everything so that it reaches its final goal.
- He is superior to the priests
- After purifying all things of sin – he sits down
- The priests had to make their sacrifices continually.
- Having completed his work – It is finished!!!
- He sits at the right hand of God
- Sitting at God’s right hand (God does not have a Right Hand) = Possessing the authority of God
- Col 3:1 – “If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.”
4 having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.
- Superior to the angels – because of who he is
- But why the comparison to angels? Who brought messages from God? Angels did and Jesus did.
- The writer must make the distinction.
5 For to which of the angels did God ever say, “You are my Son, today I have begotten you”? Or again, “I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son”?
- First is quoted from Psalm 2:7
- Has any angel ever been called God’s son? Sometimes called sons of God.
- The same heavenly benediction is pronounced on Jesus at his baptism – Mark 1:9-11 – ““In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 10 And when he came up out of the water, immediately he saw the heavens being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. 11 And a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.
- And again at the Transfiguration – Mark 9:7-8 ““And a cloud overshadowed them, and a voice came out of the cloud, ”This is my beloved Son, listen to him.” 8 And suddenly, looking around, they no longer saw anyone with them but Jesus only.”
Second quote is from 2 Sam 7:14 – “I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son. When he commits iniquity, I will discipline him with the rod of men, with the stripes of the sons of men,”
- Nathan assures that through David, He will build a Temple (through Solomon) – but not just any Temple, but one where the Throne will endure forever.
- Luke 1:32 – The angel Gabriel says about Mary’s son – “He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David,”
- Matt 12:6 – “I tell you, something greater than the temple is here.”
- John 2:19-21 – “Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” 20 The Jews then said, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will you raise it up in three days?” 21 But he was speaking about the temple of his body.”
So, to end this section, let’s review and wrap up and look forward to the remainder of chapter 1.
- The end game – Jesus is better (superior is the key word – 13 times).
- Why go back to something less?
- The Temple is less
- Animal sacrifice is less
- The priesthood is less
- Caesar worship is less
- God has spoken – the people know this.
- Jesus Christ is his Son
- Jesus is superior to all created things
- Jesus has completed the work of redemption for all mankind.
- It is finished – he has sat down.
You, Lord, did create the earth on which we dwell,
You, who are faithful in all generations,
just in judgments,
wonderful in strength and majesty,
with wisdom creating and with understanding fixing the things which were made,
Who is good among them that are being saved and faithful among them whose trust is in You;
O merciful and Compassionate One, forgive us our iniquities and offenses and transgressions and trespasses.
Reckon not every sin of Your servants and handmaids, but You will purify us with the purification of Your truth; and direct our steps that we may walk in holiness of heart and do what is good and well-pleasing in Your sight and in the sight of our rulers.
Yes, Lord, make Your face to shine upon us for good in peace, that we may be shielded by Your mighty hand and delivered from every sin by Your uplifted arm and deliver us from those who hate us wrongfully.
Give concord and peace to us and all who dwell upon the earth, even as You gave to our fathers, when they called upon You in faith and truth, submissive as we are to Your almighty and all-excellent Name.
Clement of Rome
This time, he has linked to the writings of a Canadian pastor who has stopped giving to GFA and tells us why in a devastating 13 page report/letter.
The pastor details his attempts to get clear answers to the questions raised about GFA and the conclusions that must be drawn from the answers he received.
I quote from that letter;
“Success in ministry can lead to a perception of entitlement that is quite opposite to biblical precepts and patterns. Elements of western culture, imbibed with a sense of privilege that is exercised at the expense of others, should merit strong disfavour among Christians. Instead, stories of abuse at the hands of spiritual leaders are far more common than they should be. Some church leaders treat those they are called to serve in a manner opposite to the counter-culture values that Jesus taught and demonstrated. Jesus never leveraged His position and authority in order to cajole others. He never practiced deception through the use of misleading statements. He treated others with respect, conferring dignity on those most dishonoured and downtrodden by the sinful treatment of others. Jesus opened the door to a kingdom unlike anything human sovereigns can provide. He calls the church to humble and honest service, not in a spirit of ineptness, but with Holy Spirit anointing that enables us to continue the things that Jesus began to do and teach. His kingdom is ours to embrace.
The Bible warns against spiritual complacency when it comes to judging sin in the church. When spiritual leaders do wrong, others should not be silent. The Bible also warns against judging from a platform of arrogance instead of humility, or of bias as opposed to impartiality. When judging, Jesus taught us to give the greatest weight to introspection, to examine the beam in one’s own eye before examining the sliver in another’s. It is only then that true redemptive outcomes flourish.
It is with both a sense of reluctance, but also of moral responsibility, that I write this letter to the larger body of Christ. Reluctance – from the unpleasantness of speaking about the need for correction in a Christian ministry, and responsibility – since silence in instances such as I will describe herein is complicity.”
Calvary Chapel’s have been huge supporters of Gospel For Asia.
Two of it’s board members are Calvary Chapel pastors.
One, Skip Heitzig, serves on the Calvary Chapel Association board.
The movement as a whole should either demand accountability or resignations from Heitzig and Gayle Erwin.
All giving to GFA should cease until the questions are answered in order to protect those giving.
Anything else…is complicity.
This week I’m cross posting this article by Sarah from her blog, The Small Rain.
She asked if I’d by interested in doing so….and you can read why I was.
Fearfully and Wonderfully….and not forgotten.
I have been listening to the debate raging on my FaceBook feed, on Twitter and in the news. The debate about the Planned Parenthood video. It seems issues of deep importance, with political ramifications, keep demanding my attention. As I said the other day, I am not a fan of entering political or theological debates on FaceBook or Twitter. I simply do better hearing the voice and having the chance to draw out my thoughts in dialog.
Still. I was left feeling chilled and deeply saddened by the video. Many of us were impacted as deeply by the callousness of the conversation as we were by the topic. I’m not sure I could have eaten in the discussion.
There are certain truths that define us. For myself, the reality of God as Creator places such a deep value on each person. I confess I do not always carry that value in the forefront of my thoughts…and that is to my shame. As a mother of four, though, the amazing wonder of infancy and of simply the reality of how we are made is staggering.
We truly are fearfully and wonderfully created.
It should take our breath away when we realize we are carrying a life within us. Staggering. There should be a healthy fear, a Godly fear, of the gift we have in carrying life within ourselves. Carrying that Image Bearer. It is not something to be taken casually….it is staggering.
For some that reality is overwhelming to the point they feel the need to end that life.
I cannot go there. We have to do better in helping those who are overwhelmed by a pregnancy….but we so deeply need to be formed by the reality of the God of Creation marking each soul as an image bearer of Himself.
Still…my voice seems so small, and sometimes I feel I don’t have a ‘right’ to talk because I have no experience with abortion. I do, however, have a dear friend who is intimately formed by the abortion practice.
Gianna Jessen has spoken for most of her life about her experience.
“Born during saline abortion” is stamped on her birth certificate.
Intended not to live, she survived. And she values life in a way that shouts not only of that auspicious entrance, but also of the deep mark of a Creator who knew her, cared for her and has loved her since she was formed. Listen:
Who better to be engaged in this dialog than one who survived abortion?
I asked her permission to cull some of her thoughts from her FaceBook page to share with you here:
“Enough with the cocktail party Jesus we create with our enlightenment. the one that makes the neighbors happy.
He’s not even real. we created him in the image of tmz.
All these things we face, will bring us face to face with what, and who we do or do not want. do we really want the Jesus that can raise us from the dead? the only One that can heal our land?
I am sitting here singing. in the darkness. All I want to do is sing to my passionate, beautiful God.”
“I know it’s not uber cool to mention Jesus anymore. But we have the blood of over fifty million unborn children on our hands as a nation. How can we bear the weight of that burden without Him?
How can I be embarrassed to proclaim the God Who spared me from that?
If you are in a position to share Gianna’s story, what better time? She has a perspective few of us have. A perspective that is vital in this dialog.
It is not simply that abortion is bad. It is this…you are created by a loving God. The little one within you is created, not forgotten or ignored. Not simply a lump of tissue…a little soul and light and life with a purpose.
Did you hear? You….sitting right there….you are known and loved and marked by the image of a Creator God. He knows you, loves you and has so much grace for you. And, Oh my soul, we need to be moved by these videos and by this reality.
You are Loved by God and not forgotten. Nothing about you is forgotten.
(For booking info see giannajessen.com. Text message updates (no spam) text: gianna to 95577)
Last week, two books arrived in the mailbox from B&H Publishing.
I hadn’t ordered them, they were sent to me in hopes of being reviewed here on the blog.
Upon opening the package and looking at the titles and authors I threw them in the “only if I have to spend a month in the bathroom” pile.
Feeling guilty about this, I decided to read them and review them anyway.
Rainer then gives nine ways to focus inwardly and change your attitudes and be a good church member.
Rainer says it’s not a “to do” list, but it is another “to do” list…not a bad list, or a list without truth, but yet another list that focuses on what we do instead of what He’s done.
The other book that arrived was by Russell Moore entitled “Onward: Engaging The Culture Without Losing the Gospel”.
Moore is the head of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention.
I assume he is also is a conservative Republican.
I’m not a Southern Baptist or a Republican…and I was prepared to hate this book in Jesus name.
Instead, I will say that this is the best book written on this topic since Francis Shaeffer’s salad days.
The introductory chapter is worth the price of the book all by itself.
Moore understands both the culture and the Gospel and his keen insights on both inform the way forward.
His is a kingdom centered approach wherein we go from being the “moral majority” to being the “prophetic minority”.
Moore writes about the book;
“In the book, I argue that the church is, if we ever were, a moral majority no more. We are, on our best days, a prophetic minority, rooted in the gospel of the kingdom. This minority status doesn’t mean siege mentality. The prophetic word, after all, uproots and rebuilds. The new era before us, though, gives us the opportunity to toss aside some aspects of our past that never reflected the gospel in the first place: starting with our bargain-basement prosperity gospel.
We are not ambassadors of “traditional values.” We are stewards of the mystery of the gospel.
The book argues that the kingdom of God should set our priorities, that the kingdom should reorient the cultures of local congregations to speak to the outside world, and that a holistic mission ought to define our engagement. This kingdom-culture-mission framework drives us then to a distinctively Christian vision of human dignity, of religious liberty, and of family integrity.”
In my opinion the path laid out by Moore can be a manifesto of cultural engagement by the church that crosses political party lines as well as denominational ones.
I highly commend it to your reading.
Among other nuggets, he told me two things I found hard to believe.
One was that programs centered around apologetics are the most popular he airs.
Two, was that there are a very large number of people who are searching for answers and are deeply curious about the Christian faith.
As the culture grows more and more secular, that number grows accordingly.
To put it simply…people who are already Christians want to know why they believe what they believe and non believers want a reason to believe.
The fields are white to harvest…but the workers are few or are busy doing other things.
This is not the narrative we’ve been hearing as Christians sing the blues about their place in the culture.
The latest polls show that more people oppose same sex marriage than approve of it.
The video exposes’ of Planned Parenthood have made the culture face the grisly results of abortion and the culture has recoiled in horror.
We all have seen and fear the reality of Islamic terror…just as the church has since the 7th century.
The country and the world is looking for answers and looking for hope.
The answers they thought they had have failed them.
We have the answer to all of these issues.
We have the only answer to all these issues.
We have the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
We haven’t spread it as we should, nor practiced it in truth.
We have let power and money defile the truth and the name of the Lord in the eyes of the culture.
If…if… we repent of our own sins and walk in His ways, He will turn the tide.
We have the truth, but we must walk in that truth and tell that truth in love.
God has not abandoned us, though He could have done so righteously.
What He has done is set the table for a feast of revival and renewal by making many hungry for only that which will satisfy.
We can either serve the feast or stay in the kitchen complaining about the diners.
If we choose to stay the course we are on…of self seeking and self serving religion… we will lose and receive what we deserve.
If we repent…a feast awaits with new family.
Which will it be?
We do more than just remember, however…we stand with him by using our social media to advocate for his release.
We ask that you change your Facebook profile picture to his and that you “like” the “Free Saeed” Facebook page and participate in some of the activities that promote his cause.
We ask…that you remember him and his family in prayer…and that you refuse to give up on efforts to secure his release.