May 292010
 

What did you teach?

What did you learn?

Did you hear the Gospel?

We continue in the Heidelberg Catechism

Question 127. Which is the sixth petition?

Answer: “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil”; that is, since we are so weak in ourselves, that we cannot stand a moment; (a) and besides this, since our mortal enemies, the devil, (b) the world, (c) and our own flesh, (d) cease not to assault us, do thou therefore preserve and strengthen us by the power of thy Holy Spirit, that we may not be overcome in this spiritual warfare, (e) but constantly and strenuously may resist our foes, till at last we obtain a complete victory. (f)

(a) John 15:5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. Ps 103:14 For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust. (b) 1 Pet 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Eph 6:12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. (c) John 15:19 If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. (d) Rom 7:23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. Gal 5:17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. (e) Matt 26:41 Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak. Mark 13:33 Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is. (f) 1 Thess 3:13 To the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints. 1 Thess 5:23 And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Question 128. How dost thou conclude thy prayer?

Answer: “For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever”; that is, all these we ask of thee, because thou, being our King and almighty, art willing and able to give us all good; (a) and all this we pray for, that thereby not we, but thy holy name, may be glorified for ever. (b)

(a) Rom 10:11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. Rom 10:12 For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. 2 Pet 2:9 The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished: (b) John 14:13 And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. Jer 33:8 And I will cleanse them from all their iniquity, whereby they have sinned against me; and I will pardon all their iniquities, whereby they have sinned, and whereby they have transgressed against me. Jer 33:9 And it shall be to me a name of joy, a praise and an honour before all the nations of the earth, which shall hear all the good that I do unto them: and they shall fear and tremble for all the goodness and for all the prosperity that I procure unto it. Ps 115:1 Not unto us, O LORD, not unto us, but unto thy name give glory, for thy mercy, and for thy truth’s sake.

Question 129. What does the word “Amen” signify?

Answer: “Amen” signifies, it shall truly and certainly be: for my prayer is more assuredly heard of God, than I feel in my heart that I desire these things of him. (a) (a) 2 Cor.1:20 For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us. 2 Tim.2:13 If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself.

May 282010
 

The other day Madison Bella (Holly) went through a really tough experience that left her raw and frustrated and questioning. I think we’ve all been through those moments; I know that I have in the last year many times. Holly, I hope you don’t mind, but you sparked something in me with your comments that I thought might be worth exploring.

Back in December John Piper spoke at Matt Chandler’s church, shortly after Chandler had been diagnosed with brain cancer. Piper did not explain away the suffering, or the frustration we have, but he did point something out that I have been trying to allow to take root in my thinking.

Holly’s response to the loss of her dog, after many losses of other people and animals in her life, was to exclaim the pain and the frustration of these losses. I’ve had the same reaction (hear me, please, that I’m not coming down on Holly….I’m relating to what she said and at the same time turning my understanding with the pricking of Piper’s teaching.).

Our response is that this is not the way things should be. We are often surprised by suffering, and are uncomfortable with and think it is not how things should be.

The challenge I am sitting with….uncomfortably….is that we do not understand the suffering and pain and decay of creation because we do not understand the severity of sin.

I’ll rephrase that.  I do not understand the severity of sin.

I do not immediately think of the enormous weight of sin when I face suffering. I usually think that the suffering is uncomfortable and how do I get around it.

Piper, in his teaching at Chandler’s church, focused on Romans 8 and how the world has been subjected to frustration in hope.

I have a really hard time getting that truth to sit still in me long enough to absorb.

Creation was subjected to frustration.

In hope.

And “the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.”

I’ve been trying to take this in with the flood. The enormity of the flood, the destruction….is because of sin. Not some bogus judgment, but the mark of sin on creation.

Sin is so severe, so vast, that the suffering we cry out under…and that creation cries out under…is necessary to procure our freedom.

I think I should have an existence that is relatively comfortable and marked by a sense of justice in my interactions.

Instead, Piper has put a seed in my thinking that builds on all the other teachings I’ve heard….that I need to feel and see that it is not God being unfair, but see the severity of the mark of sin on our creation and ourselves.

That the suffering around us, in us and on us is in the end justified in judging sin because sin is so severe. When we do ultimately walk in the glorious freedom and creation is liberated from its bondage to decay….we will see that the price was worth it.

For now, I find that I take my sin remarkably lightly in light of the impact that even my sin has played in the decay of creation and the suffering we walk in.  We are walking in a fallen world, with wonderful life-giving invasions of hope and glory. Still, when loss pains us so deeply that we want to cry out in anger or give up….maybe some of that deep pain is awareness that our sin impacts God this deeply.

I’m still working this out in my thinking and in my heart, and again this is in no way saying that Holly shouldn’t have felt the way she did…..instead it is saying that she should feel precisely that way as we all should when there is suffering that seems without reason. There is a reason, and the weight of the severity of sin should make the Cross all the sweeter and stronger.

May 282010
 

Ҧ Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these, be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace.
And count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him,
as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures.
You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your own stability.
But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.”
(2 Peter 3:14–18 ESV)

I have held to wrong doctrine at times in my Christian journey.

Rumor has it that I hold to some now.

Paul can be hard to understand and Jesus doesn’t always answer in black and white or yes and no.

I’ve never held to any damnable error, but error is error.

I’ll never have it all down and neither will you or anyone else.

That’s because we’re not home yet…we’re growing.

Growing in the grace and knowledge of our Lord.

We started with a limited understanding at one point and we move past that point and keep growing in our understanding until we are glorified.

We see in part…

What I would have wrote or preached ten years ago would sound different today…I thought I had it down then.

Now…not so much.

I affirm the creeds and confessions common to the church and understand beyond those that there will be places of disagreement.

We can disagree on these secondary matters with one of two attitudes toward each other…either with an attitude of love and openness to searching the Scriptures together or one of suspicion.

One will be blessed of God to bring light, one will bring division and strife.

One facilitates growth, one damns the same out of fear.

Fear produces anger, anger produces strife and division.

I don’t have to fear being wrong…Jesus forgives that and He promises that if I follow Him I’ll end up right in the end.

“There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.”
(1 John 4:18 ESV)

We love each other when we allow for growth, when we disagree with grace, and our only objective is truth.

“Love believeth all things—not that the Christian knowingly and willingly allows himself to be imposed upon—not that he divests himself of prudence and judgment, that he may be the more easily taken advantage of—not that he unlearns the way of distinguishing black from white. What then? He requires here, as I have already said, simplicity and kindness in judging of things; and he declares that these are the invariable accompaniments of love. The consequence will be, that a Christian man will reckon it better to be imposed upon by his own kindness and easy temper, than to wrong his brother by an unfriendly suspicion.” Calvin

May 272010
 

“Mr. Sweet is by no scriptural standard a Christian, but by every reasonable standard a New Age mystic and a pure Gnostic. “

So said Jacob Prasch of Moriel Ministries who evidently now has access to the Lambs Book of Life.

Similar accusations by Lighthouse Trails and Apprising Ministries pushed Skip Heitzig to the boundaries of his  character and he removed Sweet from the speakers at a National Worship Leaders Conference being held at Calvary Albuquerque.

Thus, Heitzig joined the Inquisition.

He silently held the coats while the stoning began.

A cursory look at these websites will reveal everyone from Billy Graham to Mark Driscoll to be either heretics or apostates…smeared with vague accusations of being “emergent” or “contemplative” without defining either term.

In the past these sites have been a shameful annoyance, now they’ve drawn blood.

Because they are allowed to accuse without evidence or even explaining the crime, your blood, my friend, may be next.

In a world where the Fall shows greater manifestations every day we struggle mightily against the world, the flesh, and the devil.

We shouldn’t have to be protected from those in the family.

We’re going to find contact information for both sponsors and speakers to this event and we’re going to ask those moved by the Spirit to contact them and ask them to not participate in this conference as a protest to this injustice and as a show of support for the church in general and Sweet in particular.

You can use your Facebook page to share the statement Alan Hawkins made and I copied on my page.

It’s time to say ENOUGH! to the accusers of the brethren.

Leonard Sweets statement.

May 262010
 

Babylons Dread has made a stand on this Facebook page.

http://www.facebook.com/pages/San-Juan-Capistrano-CA/Natl-Worship-Leader-Conference/55292494758?ref=ts&v=wall

Calling on Worship Leader to cancel the upcoming conference in Albuquerque because of the slander of a brothers good name due to the actions of the host.

I just added my name…you can too.

May 262010
 

My wonderful, faithful, friend…we have all been the recipient of the grace of God from you.

We love you and bless you on this day…and we thank you for your pure service to the Body of Christ represented here.

May this be a day blessed of God and may all the days that follow speak of Him.

May 262010
 

Mark Galli’s the end of Christianity “as we know it”.

Nate Spencer on Michael Spencer, whose book Mere Churchianity releases on Kindle June 1.

Scot McKnight interviews N.T. Wright’s After You Believe.

Chaplain Mike Mercer on ballyard religion.

Dan Edelen: “imagine what the next generation of Christians would be like if we set just the one expectation that they would be martyred for Christ because they love Jesus so much.” Also, Edelen comments on unemployed pastors and church layoffs.

This is a probably well-intentioned, but misguided representation of Jesus, who by my limited understanding is looking for more than “the top management position in your heart”.

Tim Challies reviews Eric Metaxas’s Bonhoeffer.

Laura Leonard asks where the CCM female musicians are at.

Timothy Dalrymple of Patheos interviews Baylor theologian Rodney Stark.

Robert Benson’s top five books on prayer.

Pat Robertson’s heckler (as linked to by Todd Rhoades).

Get Religion’s Terry Mattingly interviews journalist and writer Julia Dunn.

Lisa Robinson’s five signs you might be in a cult-like ministry.

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