May 252010
 

Grant, Almighty God, that as thou dost so kindly call on us daily by thy voice, meekly and calmly to offer ourselves to be ruled by thee, and since thou hast exalted us to a high degree of honour by freeing us from the dread of the devil, and from that tyranny which kept us in miserable fear, and hast also favoured us with the Spirit of adoption and of hope, — O grant, that we, being mindful of these benefits, may ever submit ourselves to thee, and desire only to raise our voice for this end, that the whole world may submit itself to thee, and that those who seem now to rage against thee may at length be brought, as well as we, to render thee obedience, so that thy Son Christ may be the Lord of all, to the end that thou alone mayest be exalted, and that we may be made subject to thee, and be at length raised up above, and become partakers of that glory which has been obtained for us by Christ our Lord. Amen.

Calvin

May 252010
 

Michael Patton thinks the series finale of LOST is the greatest hoax in American TV history.

Tim Brister, a self-professed “casual viewer”, was more charitable.

Phil Johnson on an example of a pastor being contextual in…not the right way (the F word is referenced, but not used – this is Pyromaniacs after all). 🙂

Tonight: Ask Paul Tripp whatever you like, live at Desiring God.

What Mark Driscoll suggests you do with internet critics. And what Dan Phillips suggests you do with Driscoll’s suggestions 😉

Tim Brister: Twitter is not real. Maybe that is why some of you don’t tweet 🙂

Matt Chandler tells Adrian Warnock why he IS friends with staffers, and recaps his health issues.

Why Michael Patton is not charismatic.

James White on Norman Geisler’s comments regarding Ergun Caner.

Ed Welch: Counseling is practical theology.

3 questions for Bob Kauflin.

Donald Miller says you can have the right theology and not know God.

Kevin DeYoung interviews Andreas Kostenberger.

16 items only sold at Chinese Wal-Marts.

May 252010
 

Facebook, Twitter, and many blogs have had two main concerns this week.

The last episodes of “Lost” and “24”.

I never saw a single episode of either…but I’m amazed at the amount of passion and devotion accorded these two broadcasts.

If Wednesday night prayer meetings received the same devotion we might have a revival…

It better happen soon because Harold Camping says we’ve got less than a year left.

The Rapture has been scheduled by Family Radio for May 21, 2011.


While a lot could be said about this foolishness, the main lesson is that once you remove yourself from the historic, catholic, community of believers to follow your own doctrines, shipwreck is inevitable.

Family Radio was at one time a respected Reformed media outlet…until Harold Camping went completely off the rails and people followed one man instead of the foundational teachings of the church through the ages.

True biblical faith only grows in the community of believers…

May 252010
 

For those who were wondering why Skip Heitzig canceled Leonard Sweet…Moriel Ministries and Jacob Prasch give us a little insight

Actually, I gave you the insight when it happened…he caved in to the wicked demands of the ODM Inquisition.

“Mr. Sweet is by no scriptural standard a Christian, but by every reasonable standard a New Age mystic and a pure Gnostic. It was therefore with some delight we are informed from the USA that the event has been cancelled”

We believe pastor Heitzig made the correct decision. It may be that he and his staff were not fully informed about the nature of Mr. Sweet’s heretical beliefs at the time he agreed to host the conference. We are aware that multiple Calvary Chapel pastors contacted Pastor Heitzig expressing their own concerns, but in this regard we cannot comment further. Plainly however, it was not Skip Heitzig who was the villain. Mr. Sweet on the other hand propounds views nothing short of apostate which many would hold to be of demonic inspiration. Our own fear of course is that such an event featuring Mr. Sweet would have damaged the reputation of Calvary Chapel.

In light of these events we have removed our own report and we urge the various other ministries and websites to remove their own as well. None of us are immune from mistakes and in today’s world they can be very easy to make. We applaud Skip Heitzig’s actions and salute the godly integrity of his decision to cancel the event. We trust other websites and electronic newsletters will drop the matter quickly and consider it a closed affair.

There’s the deal Skip cut with the real devils in this debacle…slime Sweet or be silent when these talking snakes do so, and all will be forgiven.

Heitzigs actions do not reflect any sort of integrity or godliness, but are the cowardly reactions of what he is, a pure opportunist.

While Prasch was posting this ungodly libel of a brother, Heitzig was in Southern California hosting a faux “celebration” of Chuck Smiths life which was also an opportunity to pitch his new documentary “Riptide” which is about the past, present, and future of the Calvary Chapel movement…a future that I’m convinced still includes Skip in Southern California if he can find a way back in.

Let me be clear here at the risk of offense.

If this is the kind of leadership that CC is going to endorse the future looks bleak.

If the real power in the “movement” belongs to accusers of the brethren like Jacob Prasch then be assured that the Holy Spirit of truth will remove Himself from the premises.

A hate crime has been perpetrated against a brother by Prasch, the ODMs, and Heitzig…and I refuse to believe that God will not respond.

If hating the brethren and teaching the brethren to hate continues to be a Calvary distinctive then  “Ichabod” will replace the dove as a symbol of “movement” parked in the mud it has slung.

There’s a battle for the soul of the “Jesus Movement”…the question before the house is whether the real Jesus people will win.




May 242010
 

Sunday afternoon I was sitting in a small duplex hidden behind a church, it is quiet and clean and peaceful. My in-laws are staying there for free for an undetermined length of time, having lost their condo in the Great Flood of Nashville. It really was quite a flood; their place was in the 1000 year flood area while our neighborhood received enough rainfall in two days to be classified a 500 year flood. Amazing.

As I sat and talked with my mother-in-law, I couldn’t help think about the article David Foster wrote about the flood. He had some good points, especially about the impact of despair in this situation. The line that stuck with me, however, was that he said the organized churches had responded poorly and “really suck at getting much done.” He clarified that if you consider the church as its people then this isn’t true, but the organizations had not done well and some were just out looking for credit.

I have to confess this has bugged me since I read it. It would have bugged me if I read it and hadn’t been in the midst of the mess, but it bugged me even more being in the midst. First, we simply have to get past this distinction all the time of the “organized church” versus the “people”. The church is the people, the people are the church. There are some people who are humble and true in their walk with God and there are charlatans. There should be no surprise that the same is true of “churches”…since, you know, the church is made up of people.

That said, I wanted to share a little of my experience these last few weeks. The first day that we went down to work on the condo, just two days after the flood, the devastation was really pretty amazing. The people who lived in the condos were in a state of shock. As we pulled down drywall and loaded up dishes, we would make trips up to the street to deposit the debris. Each time we would pass other people doing the same. I had my truck with coolers in the back opened up and filled with Gatorade and water and pop. We offered it to anyone. That day, in 90 degree weather, the ice never melted and when I left three hours later both coolers were still full, even though people were constantly grabbing drinks. God blesses us even in small things.

In the midst of this activity we saw several acts of mercy. A truck drove through with men who would get out and ask if we needed sunscreen, spraying us down if we needed. A woman came through with a rolling cooler and water. Dominos pizza donated pizzas and kept them warm in one of the usable clubhouses. Pizza Hut donated 100 personal pan pizzas and had a man drive through the condos handing them out. My mother-in-law told me that one morning some women came through with breakfast and when she asked if there was coffee the ladies told her they didn’t have any, but would be right back. They were back quickly with coffee in hand.

There was a crew from my father-in-laws church that helped with demolition, along with a volunteer from our church. They also provided a storage unit and transported everything there once it was boxed and ready to go. Others took the clothing and washed, including precious quilts that have been restored. Others, including myself, took photographs and dishes and papers and are working through them, cleaning and restoring. My in-laws are staying in their little peaceful duplex because of another church that provided it for free as long as they need.

Yes, those are mostly the actions of “people”. So what about the “Church?” Well, when my parents went to church yesterday the 1st and 2nd graders had decorated little buildings, like bird houses, for each of the 44 people in their church that had lost a home. The houses will be their mailboxes as they are staying in a variety of places for different lengths of time. Each mailbox already had notes from the children. The organization of the children’s ministry helped organize that.

My in-law’s church, the Bellevue Church of Christ, has sent out construction teams daily and has helped provide storage units and workers throughout these three weeks. When donations of food and water and clothes began piling up at the church, they worked with Bellevue Baptist across the street to make things simpler; the Church of Christ took the food and water and the Baptists took the clothes. It was all given away to those affected by the flood. There is a United Methodist Church that took in people who could no longer be housed by the Red Cross Shelter. Cross Point church has sent volunteers out each weekend, including 600 that were sent to areas that had not had attention yet. On their website they say, “We are going to let people know that Hope and Help aren’t just reserved to families in our own back yard, but to everyone who asks for it.”

I could multiply the story many times over for the churches in the community. Our church, The Village Chapel has worked on a minimum of 20 houses, some we will be with all the way through their final construction. We had 400 volunteers sign up (and although I’m not sure our membership, I would guess we are around 800-900 members, so that’s almost half our church), serving in manual labor, skilled labor, food prep, supply purchasing, delivering, victim hand holding, general planning and administration of communicating the details and assignments.

Yesterday when I was praying at the end of the service, one man came and thanked our administrator. He said that there were so many eager to serve, but the organization and the help of knowing where to serve best has been a huge help. The service has been cathartic.

So, I’m not sure where David Foster was when he said the organized church hasn’t helped, or has just been out for photo ops. That has surely not been my experience. On the receiving end with my in-laws, we have been encouraged by offers ranging from a drink of water toa place to live. They have had congregations take up special offerings for them. They have been blessed by the individuals who acted on the guidance of the organized church. On the serving end, I have not been able to do as much as I’d like, but I have found ways to serve because my church has opened my eyes to needs…I prepared sandwiches for a crew of workers this past week. I have prayed for needs.

In each of these things, the people we have encountered and served with have become community in a different way. There is a depth of emotion when you are gutting a house with strangers in the midst of emotional despair that is so hard to convey. The hundreds of volunteers who just showed up in the first days was staggering, and so encouraging.

However, when in the midst of that despair someone comes in the name of Christ and offers hope, it is immeasurable the impact that has. If we all did so just as individuals, that would be pretty amazing….however when we move out in the name of Christ as part of organized churches, we also offer a place for these people to return to. There are the guys in the truck with sunscreen who blessed me, but I’ll never see again, and then there are the crews from our church who I know I’ll see on Sunday. There is security and hope in knowing that there is a community that acted under the guidance of its leadership and I’ll be able to find them months from now when there is lingering despair.

Yes, the organized church does some goofy things. Sometimes it is out just for photo ops. So are we as people. Sometimes, though, the organized church acts as it is called to, as a body of believers who love their Lord and want to minister to those who are in need. In the midst of that some have come to know Him, and others have been saved from despair and from physical distress. I’d say that’s a pretty good testimony.

May 222010
 

What did you teach?

What did you learn?

Did you hear the Gospel?

We continue in the Heidelberg Catechism

Question 126. Which is the fifth petition?

Answer: “And forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors”; that is, be pleased for the sake of Christ’s blood, not to impute to us poor sinners, our transgressions, nor that depravity, which always cleaves to us; (a) even as we feel this evidence of thy grace in us, that it is our firm resolution from the heart to forgive our neighbour. (b)

(a) Ps 51:1 <<To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David, when Nathan the prophet came unto him, after he had gone in to Bathsheba.>> Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. Ps 51:2 Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. Ps 51:3 For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. Ps 51:4 Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest. Ps 51:5 Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me. Ps 51:6 Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom. Ps 51:7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Ps 143:2 And enter not into judgment with thy servant: for in thy sight shall no man living be justified. 1 John 2:1 My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: 1 John 2:2 And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. Rom 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. (b) Matt 6:14 For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: Matt 6:15 But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

May 212010
 

Our friends at NRP are giving away Rod Rosenbladts “Gospel For Those Broken By the Church”

This is one of the most powerful messages I’ve ever heard.

Go get it and bless Ted and Pat for providing it to us.

May 212010
 

Dear brethren,

I have one message for you this morning.

You’re not stupid.

You’re not weak, vulnerable, emotionally and intellectually unstable people who need to be protected from ideas by religious authorities.

You’re sheep of the Great Shepherd and He says that you will hear His voice.

You are indwelt and sealed by the Holy Spirit and have been entrusted to the care of Jesus Himself.

He says He’ll lose none of those the Father gives Him.

That includes you.

There’s nothing to fear…even from the bad guys.

Ҧ Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. Therefore we know that it is the last hour.
They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us.
But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all have knowledge.
I write to you, not because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and because no lie is of the truth.
Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son.
No one who denies the Son has the Father. Whoever confesses the Son has the Father also.
Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you too will abide in the Son and in the Father.
And this is the promise that he made to us—eternal life.
¶ I write these things to you about those who are trying to deceive you.
But the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie—just as it has taught you, abide in him.”
(1 John 2:18–27 ESV)

There are folks who would deceive you.

They’re easy to spot.

They leave the Body (“they went out from us”) and they deny that Jesus is the Christ.

It’s that simple.

There, the ODM’s can retire…we don’t need them now.

God promises that the Holy Spirit will guide you, Jesus will protect and keep you, and the Word will inform you of the truth.

Stay in the Body, stay in the Word and feel free to jump any traditional fence you please.

God will keep you inside the only fence that counts.

May 202010
 

Heavenly Father, if I should suffer need, and go unclothed, and be in poverty, make my heart prize Thy love, know it, be constrained by it, though I be denied all blessings. It is Thy mercy to afflict and try me with wants, for by these trials I see my sins, and desire severance from them. Let me willingly accept misery, sorrows, temptations, if I can thereby feel sin as the greatest evil, and be delivered from it with gratitude to Thee, acknowledging this as the highest testimony of Thy love.

When thy Son, Jesus, came into my soul instead of sin He became more dear to me than sin had formerly been; His kindly rule replaced sin’s tyranny. Teach me to believe that if ever I would have any sin subdued I must not only labour to overcome it, but must invite Christ to abide in the place of it, and He must become to me more than vile lust had been; that His sweetness, power, life may be there. Thus I must seek a grace from Him contrary to sin, but must not claim it apart from Himself.

When I am afraid of evils to come, comfort me by showing me that in myself I am a dying, condemned wretch, but in Christ I am reconciled and live; that in myself I find insufficiency and no rest, but in Christ there is satisfaction and peace; that in myself I am feeble and unable to do good, but in Christ I have ability to do all things. Though now I have His graces in part, I shall shortly have them perfectly in that state where Thou wilt show Thyself fully reconciled, and alone sufficient, efficient, loving me completely, with sin abolished. O Lord, hasten that day.

Valley of Vision

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