Apr 232014
 

Josh-3.jpg.pagespeed.ce.GTdorcctdYI’d like to thank Jared Moore for including us on his list of “The Top 250 Christian Blogs”.

After almost 11 years online we are, (according to the Alexa rankings) the #23,868 ranked website overall in the United States and # 156,651 in the world.

That, and $3.00 means that you’ll still have to borrow $.50 to get a coffee at Starbucks. :-)

 

The greater thanks goes to all of you who read here and have supported us through some real thick and real thin times.

My concern now is to make it better, more worth your time to read it and mine to write it.

What can we do better?

What issues or topics would you like to see us address as a community?

Numbers are good, real ministry is better.

It’s been an interesting ride to say the least…when did you get on?

It’s fascinating to me how much closure was accomplished so quickly when Calvary Chapel Ft. Lauderdale spoke to the details of Bob Coy’s moral failure.

There is a positive, healing power in confession…The Roman Catholics and Orthodox may be on to something.

Hopefully, Driscoll is taking notes…

In between  crisis management I’m trying to read our friend Michael Patton’s  book for new believers and Matt Chandlers’s new book also showed up yesterday.

Hopefully we’ll have reviews up soon.

What are you reading that the rest of us should?

We’re still working the church history series…for Protestants, the Middle Ages aren’t real compelling…

New post from Sarah…

I’ll be in and out all day…thanks again for being here.

 

phoenixpreacher@gmail.com

Apr 232014
 

1426163_10152538970789156_1955504315_aOn Wednesdays we remember that a brother languishes in a foreign prison.

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.

In case  you missed it, this was his Easter message from a hospital bed in Iran.

“Happy Resurrection Day.

On the Eve of Good Friday and Easter I was praying from my hospital room for my fellow Christians in the world.  What the Holy Spirit revealed to me in prayer was that there are many dead faiths in the midst of Christians today. That Christians all over the world are not able to fully reach their spiritual potential that has been given to them as a gift by God so that in reaching that potential, the curtain can be removed and the Glory of God would be revealed.

Some times we want to experience the Glory and resurrection with Jesus without experiencing death with Him.  We do not realize that unless we pass through the path of death with Christ, we are not able to experience resurrection with Christ.

We want to have a good and successful marriage, career, education and family life (which is also God’s desire and plan for our life). But we forget that in order to experience the Resurrection and Glory of Christ we first have to experience death with Christ and to die to ourselves and selfish desires.

Jesus said to His Disciples:  “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. (Matthew 16:24)

This means that we should not do things that we like to do (that God does not want us to do) and to do things that we do not like to do (but God wants us to do) so that He may be glorified.

So in addition to spending our days and night in doing the works of faith as described above, we should also transform our dead faiths into living and active faiths through the resurrection of Christ which is an active and constructive love that is effective.

In conclusion, let us resurrect our Dead faiths to living faiths by first dying to our selfish “resurrected” self and experiencing the cross of Jesus. Then we are able to experience the Glorious resurrection with Christ.

A Glorious life with Christ starts only after a painful death (to self) with Christ.

We will start with Christ.”

Pastor Saeed Abedini
Prisoner in the Darkness in Iran, but free for the Kingdom and Light

 

Apr 222014
 

links_image1Bloggers win again in court…

When silence is better…

The feminine side of God?

News release on John the Baptists beheading…

New edition of Themolios theological journal for free…

In defense of the black letters…

China soon to be the worlds most Christian nation…

To experience God’s love…

Interpreting Adam…

The Nones…

On biblical literacy…

Easter is a season, not a day…

The ethics of ultimate fighting…

Wenatchee the Hatchet with more clarity on the Driscoll follies…

Roger Olson on “Heaven is for Real”…

A review of “God’s Not Dead”…

Extreme methods for boosting church attendance…

Apr 212014
 

thinking_man_ape_wood_3d_sculpture_thinker_think-480x3251.  The exposure and discipline of one caught in sin is the easy (though awful) work of the church. The real work is to restore the the fallen one who has repented to full participation and acceptance in the Body. Disqualification from position does not equal exclusion from place. We either affirm or deny the Gospel by our actions and attitudes after the fall.

 

2. We err grievously when we fail to distinguish between the beliefs and doctrines necessary to be part of our particular tradition or sect and those necessary for participation in the kingdom of God.

3. I grow more and more convinced that the biblical doctrine that we both neglect and need the most is that of being members of one family in Christ.

4. The unbiblical exaltation of those in the church with a particular gift also gives rise to the unbiblical desire to bury them when they fall. Error begets error…

5. “For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.”” (Hebrews 12:6 ESV) Love and discipline must be administered together in the church…loveless discipline is retributive and has no place in the Body of Christ.

6. The resurrection is the the guarantee to every other promise in Scripture.

7. I find it baffling that there is no real example of how to deal with a fallen elder in the N.T…

8. God usually works in a process…don’t judge the process when you are in it…“And some people brought to him a blind man and begged him to touch him. And he took the blind man by the hand and led him out of the village, and when he had spit on his eyes and laid his hands on him, he asked him, “Do you see anything?”And he looked up and said, “I see people, but they look like trees, walking.” Then Jesus laid his hands on his eyes again; and he opened his eyes, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly.”(Mark 8:22–25 ESV)

9. I recently read the biography of one of my heroes, legendary Vikings coach Bud Grant. Toward the end of the book he goes out of his way to say that he is not a believer in God. I almost choked up. I still have all the respect and admiration for him I ever had…just accompanied now by a ton of sadness.

10. The Christian life is one in which we are daily either celebrating or anticipating Easter.

 

 

Apr 192014
 

thumbnail.aspxChrist is risen!

We give thanks for the gift of Easter that runs beyond our explanations, beyond our categories of reason, even more, beyond the sinking sense of our own lives.

We know about the powers of death, powers that persist among us, powers that drive us from you, and from our neighbor, and from our best selves.

 

 

We know about the powers of fear and greed and anxiety, and brutality and certitude. powers before which we are helpless.

And then you … you at dawn, unquenched, you in the darkness, you on Saturday, you who breaks the world to joy.

Yours is the kingdom … not the kingdom of death,

Yours is the power … not the power of death,

Yours is the glory … not the glory of death.

Yours … You … and we give thanks for the newness beyond our achieving.

Amen.
Walter Brueggemann. Awed to Heaven, Rooted in Earth: The Prayers of Walter Brueggemann (p. 161). Kindle Edition.

Apr 182014
 

Pastor-Bob-Coy-of-Calvary-Chapel-resigns-over-moral-failing.-www.allchristiannews.com_In the Wednesday night service at Calvary Chapel Ft. Lauderdale, Pastor Chet confirmed the specific allegations about Bob Coy we reported on this blog.

Listen beginning at the 50 minute mark here.

” Our pastor…he committed adultery with more than one woman.”

“Our pastor…he committed sexual immorality…habitually…through pornography”.

The pastor speaking reported that Coy was confronted by “Nathans”, and willingly resigned after confession of his sin.

Evidently, my sources were pretty good after all…and the ‘vicious rumormongering” was fact.

Evidently…

I commend CC Ft. Lauderdale for telling the truth and letting the healing begin.

 

Apr 182014
 

IMG_0078To me and countless others over time, Crater Lake is the most beautiful place on earth.

For those unaware, it is a volcano that blew up, collapsed into itself and slowly filled with the clearest water on earth.

Now it’s the deepest lake in North America, seventh deepest in the world.

It is a wonder of the world, breathtaking in it’s unspeakable beauty.

What it really is…is a scar.

A scar of God.

Before the cataclysmic explosion it was “just” another mountain in the Cascade range, a home for myriad animals and Native Americans.

The eruption was powerful, terrible, awesome.

The mountain was destroyed along with all the surrounding area.

There was nothing beautiful left.

If you had lived here and managed to survive the blast, you would have had to move on…the life you had known before was no longer.

It was all over…but it wasn’t.

Slowly, the land healed…and what God created in the devastation was far greater than what had been before.

It took a very long time, a very long time indeed.

Now, people come from all over the world to see the scar of God.

Some of us find healing in it.

The transformation has triumphed over the devastation.

It always will.

Make your own application…

 

Apr 172014
 

51IlED6lBGLOne of the most damaging tendencies i see in myself and other Christians of late is to  minimize the importance of the study of eschatology.

Weary of and embarrassed by the constant speculations that read the apocalypse into every news event and the character assassination of those who won’t do likewise, many of us just stopped paying attention to biblical prophecy at all.

That is both unwise and unbiblical…the Bible devotes much attention to the topic of the end times.

After wrestling with all the divergent views on the Rapture and the Second Coming many years ago, I believe that the pre wrath scenario best harmonizes all the biblical data and presents the most biblically coherent view of the end times.

I also believe that the foundational structure and doctrine is closest to what the early church believed.

The best book that clearly outlines and defends this position is the one I review today, AntiChrist Before The Day of The Lord: What Every Christian Needs To Know About the Return of Christ by Alan Kurshner.

Kurshner is a Greek scholar pursuing his Ph.D in Greek linguistics and heads up Eschatos Ministries.

The book uses careful biblical exegesis and simple but helpful graphics to explain the pre wrath position, which can be basically outlined by this sentence;

“The church will first experience the Antichrist’s great tribulation, which will be cut short by the return of Christ to resurrect and rapture believers, and then the rapture will be followed immediately on the same day by the onset of the day of the Lord’s wrath executed upon the ungodly—hence, prewrath.”

What this book isn’t is a long screed against the pretribulation rapture doctrine.

Kurshner simply exegetes and harmonizes the critical texts involved and in doing that work, refutes pretribulationism without having to attack it directly.

More importantly than simply being a defense of a particular eschatological position, Kurshner carefully lays out why we need to be ready to face the wrath of the AntiChrist.

Jesus and the NT writers were constantly warning us to be on guard against deception and apostasy and to be ready for persecution…and to be overcomers in Christ of it all.

There will be no escape from the Great Tribulation for believers, but we have been warned in advance of it’s coming.

This book, read with an open Bible at hand, will help you to be biblically and spiritually ready for both the end of the age and our blessed hope of His appearing.

I commend it highly.

For an exhaustive but readable treatment of all the major eschatological views I recommend Biblical Eschatology by Jonathan Menn.

 

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