Aug 312015
 

thinking_man_ape_wood_3d_sculpture_thinker_think-480x3251. Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.”(Ephesians 5:25–32 ESV)

All of us who are critical of the church need to keep this passage in front of us. We are talking about something that Christ loves…loves enough that he died for it. Our criticisms must come out of a heart that loves the church, lest we make Christ our enemy.

2. I think my objections to crusade evangelism are summed up in the old saying that “what you catch them with is what you keep them with”.

3. If someone I loved responded to the Gospel in a crusade I probably wouldn’t have any objections at all…

4. Dogs will eat the same thing every day all their life. My cat demands a full buffet table at each feeding. There’s a spiritual application there, somewhere…

5. It is impossible to discern the work of the Holy Spirit from the work of the flesh in crusades and revivals…only time will prove what was true. Both critics and supporters need to allow for that…

6. The question on my mind in this political season is whether the church will be an agent of reconciliation or an aid to division…there are ways in which both are biblical.

7. The culture is in deep trouble when the Planned Parenthood videos are ignored and “Straight Outta Compton” is a big hit…

8. I haven’t heard of any pastoral resignations as was predicted last week would occur because of the Ashley Madison list…and I’m glad I haven’t.

9. “So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you,leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.” (Matthew 5:23–24 ESV) If we actually did this the buildings would be empty for a couple weeks…

10. I am continually overwhelmed with the question “how can I make it better?”…

Aug 292015
 

bible-word-of-god_thumbHebrews 2:10-18

It was being argued that Jesus was greater than the angels and that his greatness is to be seen in the salvation that he obtained for us. But he had lived on earth as an ordinary man. There was nothing about this man Jesus to show that he was greater than the angels – in fact he suffered, was humiliated and died as a convicted felon.

So the author moves on here to show that this should not be an objection to his greatness – but was actually part of his greatness. This is how God would save men – he would be made like those he saves.

An interesting point to ponder on – God walked around the neighborhood for 30 years – and no one knew.

10 For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering.

  • Who determines what is fitting for God?
  • Everything God does come out of his character.
  • ***We are on God’s mind – now and in glory***
  • These words show that the suffering of Jesus was not by chance
  • Other translations say “the author” – the RSV = Pioneer
  • ***I like this – “The Founder” – the trailblazer – the one who goes first.**
  • This is a very monergistic statement – there is only one player here, there is only one actor on the stage – God.
  • Perfect = a sense of completion.

11 For he who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one source. That is why he is not ashamed to call them brothers.

  • It is God who does the sanctifying.
  • ***Sanctification = set apart for God’s use – for himself.***
  • A secondary sense is that we are set apart for ethical and moral purity.
  • Many mistakenly make the secondary the primary
  • Set apart to be holy – then we are actually and progressively purged of sin by the weakening of our sinful habits and the strengthening of our new nature.
  • But, and people do get off track, the purpose of the verse is not a lesson in sanctification – it is the common joining of the sanctifier and the sanctifyees.
  • Jesus is the one who makes people holy
  • ***Note the passive wording of being made holy “and those who are sanctified.” ***
  • “all have one source” – NIV = “of the same family”. The thought being that Jesus is qualified to be our priest and savior because he shares out nature – he is not some far off entity.
  • We are called brothers / sisters.

12 saying, “I will tell of your name to my brothers; in the midst of the congregation I will sing your praise.”

  • A quote from Psalm 22:22 – a Messianic Psalm from the cross.
  • Jesus is not only NOT ashamed to call us brothers, but does so proudly.
  • ***We are now a part of God’s family***
  • When Jesus speaks about us in heaven – – does he have a wallet with our picture?

***The Author now quotes 3 OT verses to show Jesus’ connection with the old covenant***

13 And again, “I will put my trust in him.” And again, “Behold, I and the children God has given me.”

14 Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil,

15 and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery.

  • ***Who are the children? = the church***
  • Jesus did not just appear human – He was not God in a human suit.
  • But actual flesh and blood – the exact same as us
  • ***Through his death, Jesus had defeated the devil – he is defeated, but still active.***
  • It may not look like it now but think of any game with a clock.
  • Basketball game 5 min to go and your team is losing by 35 points. You are still playing the game, making and changing strategies – still trying to make points. Because the clock has not wound down to 0:00.
  • Death has been defeated and since that was the big tool in the devil’s tool box, the only thing he has left is to make us afraid of death.
  • Trusting in Jesus removes that fear – removes those shackles.
  • Jesus, the Pioneer – not the first to die, all the OT guys died, but the first to be the trailblazer to rise from the dead.

16 For surely it is not angels that he helps, but he helps the offspring of Abraham.

  • ***For surely*** – this makes a strong case for information that is shared between the parties
  • Helps – better understood as “to take hold of” or “taken by the hand”
  • “For it was not the angels that he took to himself” – In other words “Jesus came to rescue his people.”
  • Invoking Abraham makes the statement particular
  • So Jesus may “help” many besides the Jews – this is a particular kind of help directed at his people.

17 Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.

  • ***He had to… The purpose of salvation involved a genuine incarnation***
  • ***To make propitiation for the sins of the people***
  • Propitiation vs atonement – NIV = atonement.

18 For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.

  • ***He himself ***– Emphatic
  • Contrary to what might have been expected – he suffered
  • No other religion has a suffering God.
Aug 292015
 

thumbnail.aspx“Oh Lord our God we thank thee more than ever that thou has been pleased to give us thy Holy Word. We realise what frail, fallible creatures we are, and how prone we are to go off on tangents and to trust to our own understanding only. We thank thee that thou has given us thy Spirit and thou has given us thy Word.

Oh God we cry out to thee, as a company of thy people, to have mercy upon us. God of our fathers, let it be known that thou art still God in Israel.

Let it be known in this arrogant 21st Century, that thou art the same God who has acted and operated throughout the running centuries.

Honour thine own Word, oh Lord. Honour thine own dear Son. Exalt his precious name, and bring many to a knowledge of him as their only Saviour and their Lord.

Lord have pity upon us. In the midst of wrath remember mercy. Revive thy work, oh Lord, thy mighty arm made bare. Speak with a voice that wakes the dead, and make the people hear.”

M.L. Jones

Aug 282015
 

Bowdendrawing.jpgIf some insiders are right this coming Lord’s Day will be “Black Sunday” in the church.

Hundreds of pastors and elders are expected to resign in moral failure, having been discovered trolling an adultery website.

 

 

Whether this happens or not, it will be “Black Sunday” in my house, for it will mark the one year anniversary of the death of Charles Bowden.

Bowden was like a living Old Testament prophet to me, a man who told the truth about himself and others without regard for cost or profit.

He was ignored by most, vilified by some, and loved by a few.

If if you speak prophetically, whether you have a mantle or not, this will be your lot.

He warned of our current water crisis back in 1977, he told us what would happen in Mexico in 1995, and he long stated that the greatest issue upon us was the worldwide migration of people fleeing oppression and poverty.

He called out people by name and sometimes the name was your own.

His greatest gift however, was in understanding human nature.

He knew and articulated better than anyone that there is none good, no, not one.

He saw the darkness in our souls and how it resided next to the light…he knew that under it all we are creatures of instinct and desire.

“Good” men are capable of incredibly bad things and “bad” men will sometimes do much “good”.

Bowden stared deeply into the abyss that is our darkness and the darkness sometimes threatened to overcome him…because he, like all of us, contended with darkness of his own as well.

I can relate…

He would not have been surprised by “Black Sunday”.

I won’t be either.

When the church became a corporation dependent on growth to satisfy the “shareholders” it opened itself to every vice and temptation common to leaders in that field.

These would be in addition to the ones common to the vocation they chose.

Men in the ministry are still men and still open to the arrows of the world, the flesh, and the devil.

We will discard a few hundred on Sunday and replace them with a few hundred that will know better how to cover their tracks.

Because the system will not change, nor the expectations of it, the song will remain the same.

We will pretend the abyss is not there and the light is brighter now.

Staring into the abyss almost drove Bowden mad.

I made my own application long ago.

I’m not that “good” myself.

I’m redeemed…and that is the wonder of the Gospel.

Rest in peace , Chuck…I miss you more than I can say.

Aug 272015
 

LooseEnds610The Harvest Crusade is this weekend.

The theme this year is “happiness”.

According to Greg Laurie, “God loves you and wants you to be happy”.

Greg must have a new translation of the Scriptures as I’ve never seen that in mine.

The crusade should be called “the theology of glory as articulated by Greg Laurie”….

Perry Noble gives you all the reasons you can’t meet with him.

He might sell you a back stage pass however…

Ed Stetzer says he thinks around 400 pastors will be resigning this Sunday in the wake of the Ashley Madison scandal.

That is shocking and sad…I commend all he has written on this matter to you.

The ECFA is still reviewing Gospel For Asia…

Someone needs to review the ECFA…

We will be covering more on the Tom Randall orphanage scandal in the Philippines…keep us in prayer.

Aug 272015
 

jonah_and_the_fish_by_jamesnidea-d5swsqc“Then Jonah prayed to the LORD his God from the belly of the fish, saying, “I called out to the LORD, out of my distress, and he answered me; out of the belly of Sheol I cried, and you heard my voice.

For you cast me into the deep, into the heart of the seas, and the flood surrounded me; all your waves and your billows passed over me. Then I said, ‘I am driven away from your sight; yet I shall again look upon your holy temple.’ The waters closed in over me to take my life; the deep surrounded me; weeds were wrapped about my head at the roots of the mountains. I went down to the land whose bars closed upon me forever; yet you brought up my life from the pit, O LORD my God.

When my life was fainting away, I remembered the LORD, and my prayer came to you, into your holy temple. Those who pay regard to vain idols forsake their hope of steadfast love. But I with the voice of thanksgiving will sacrifice to you; what I have vowed I will pay. Salvation belongs to the LORD!””

(Jonah 2:1–9 ESV)

Last week our family was rocked with a bad report.

The report was bad enough to rock anyone by itself, but it came on the heels of a series of bad reports that had already left us reeling.

I’ve been offline more than on… sometimes you get hit so hard that there is little left to say or any energy left to say it.

I’m telling you this in order that I might explain something else.

Theology matters.

Doctrine matters.

What do you do when things are as bad as they can get…then they get worse?

You trust in the sovereignty and mercy of God.

Jonah was the disobedient prophet who ran from what God had asked him to do.

This resulted in him ending up on a boat that was about to sink because God created a great storm.

Knowing that the storm was aimed at him, he had the boats crew throw him overboard, where he was swallowed by a great fish.

From the gut of the fish he prayed the prayer above.

Here’s what I want you to see…Jonah was a Calvinist.

At the very least, he believed in the sovereignty of God.

The men who cast him overboard were simply the hands of God.

“For you cast me into the deep”

The storm was from God.

“all your waves and your billows passed over me”

Even the fish was from God.

“yet you brought up my life from the pit, O LORD my God”

You’re never separated from the love and mercy of God…He’s just a prayer away.

“I called out to the LORD, out of my distress, and he answered me; out of the belly of Sheol I cried, and you heard my voice.”

The answers to your situation are all in Him.

“Salvation belongs to the LORD!””

My friends, I don’t know why God has you and I were we are today.

Hard times and bad reports come to the best behaved of Gods people.

I do know and believe that He is sovereign and good and merciful and nothing has befallen us that hasn’t passed through a nail scarred hand.

I know that His answers come in unexpected ways…Jonah was not praying that a fish would save him from drowning.

That way of rescue never crossed his mind.

Your rescue may be something you cannot conceive of on your own as well.

Trust in Him, rest in Him…and He will deliver you.

Amen.

Aug 262015
 

1426163_10152538970789156_1955504315_aToday, like every Wednesday, we will remember Saeed Abedini.

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.

You can follow Naghmeh Abedini for the latest news on her Facebook page…

Aug 252015
 

timthumb.phpWarren Throckmorton details the movement of millions from India to Texas by Gospel For Asia…

Ted Sherwood does a very thorough review of GFA from Australia…

Wenatchee the Hatchet on the atonement…

Take the flag out of the church…

Five lessons from the Ashley Madison hack…

Former pastor sues mega church…

Sunday schooling our kids out of church…

Anna Duggar and Christian forgiveness…

The sin of the orthodox…

Common Core meets VBS…

John Piper and women cops…

Healing from missional ministry…

Do Christians trust God with anything other than salvation?

Integrating evolution and the faith…

The shemitah blew up the stock market!

Wendall Berry is making me a better pastor…

Life is eternal, don’t have an affair…

Evangelicals in the world of Islam…

On being disqualified from the ministry…

Steve Brown on love…

Josh’s affair wasn’t Annas fault…

Five ways Christian relationships look different…

14 artists that you didn’t know covered Amazing Grace…

Apostasy or coincidence?

12 helps for a hardened heart…

Huge thanks to EricL for the link help…support him supporting us at the top right.

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