Dec 252015
 

baby-jesus-christmas-nativity-wallpapers-1024x768-300x225“She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.””
(Matthew 1:21 ESV)

Those were the angels words to Joseph upon his discovery that his girlfriend was pregnant and he knew he wasn’t the father.

 

It would have required angelic visitation to calm me down too.

What an odd way for a thrice holy God to make His entrance into humanity.

Scandalously.

Messily.

I’m occasionally called by Trey’s mom to help him clean up his room.

This is usually when the carnage is such that it looks like power equipment will be needed to get in the bedroom door.

I can’t just instruct him how to clean up the mess.

Chastisement for the mess is appropriate, but will not clean up the mess.

I have to go and get in the middle of the mess with him.

Jesus came to save us from our sins and one day He will clean up all this mess.

He didn’t just send an instruction book, He came Himself.

He didn’t come to chastise, but to save.

He’s not afraid of you scandals or your mess.

He came for sinners.

He came for me.

He came for you.

Most of you who read here know all of this already.

Some of you have forgotten that there is no limit on the number of messes He is willing to clean up.

Some of you are acting like He never came at all…

Give yourself a Christmas present this morning and call Him again.

He will enter in to your mess with you.

God with us.

God for us.

Today.

Make your own application…

 

Dec 242015
 

480px-Joachim_Wtewael_-_Annunciation_to_the_Shepherds_-_Google_Art_Project“And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”
(Luke 2:8–11 ESV)

 

 

The announcement of Christ’s birth wasn’t given to professional clergy, politicians, or celebrities…it was given to the most common of men.
It was entrusted to those to whom it would mean the most, to those who would receive it with great joy.
“Unto you is born a Savior”…
Unto you too, my friends …
Merry Christmas to you all…

 

“For the Son of God to empty himself and become poor meant a laying aside of glory; a voluntary restraint of power; an acceptance of hardship, isolation, ill-treatment, malice, and misunderstanding; finally, a death that involved such agony – spiritual, even more than physical – that is his mind nearly broke under the prospect of it. It meant love to the uttermost for unlovely men, who “through his poverty, might become rich.” This Christmas message is that there is hope for a ruined humanity – hope of pardon, hope of peace with God, hope of glory – because at the Father’s will Jesus Christ became poor and was born in a stable so that thirty years later he might hang on a cross. It is the most wonderful message that the world has ever heard, or will hear.

We talk glibly of the “Christmas spirit,” rarely meaning more by this than sentimental jollity on a family basis. But what we have said makes it clear that the phrase should in fact carry a tremendous weight of meaning. It ought to mean the reproducing in human lives of the temper of him who for our sakes became poor at the first Christmas. And the Christmas spirit itself ought to be the mark of every Christian all the year round.

It is our shame and disgrace today that so many Christians – I will be more specific: so many of the soundest and most orthodox Christians – go through this world in the spirit of the priest and the Levite in our Lord’s parable, seeing human needs all around them, but (after a pious wish, and perhaps a prayer, that the Lord might meet those needs) averting their eyes and passing by on the other side. That is not the Christmas spirit. Nor is it the spirit of those Christians – alas, they are many – whose ambition in life seems limited to building a nice middle-class Christian home, and making nice middle-class Christian friends, and bringing up their children in nice-middle class Christian ways, and who leave the submiddle-class sections of the community, Christian and non-Christian, to get on by themselves.

The Christmas spirit does not shine out in the Christian snob. For the Christian spirit is the spirit of those who, like their Master, live their whole lives on the principle of making themselves poor – spending and being spent – to enrich their fellow humans, giving time, trouble, care and concern, to do good to others – and not just their own friends – in whatever way there seems need….”You know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich” (2 Cor 8:9).’

J.I. Packer, Knowing God, pps 70-71

Dec 232015
 

Warren Throckmorton has the story on GFA possibly losing it’s certification for the Combined Federal Campaign and all the federal employee payroll deductions that go with it.

Christian Charities U.S.A. has decertified the charity and thus, there is no one left to verify where and how the group spends it’s money.

If this becomes reality, I don’t see how losing their tax exempt status can be far behind if donors petition the I.R.S. for an investigation.

Throckmorton also reports that the CBS affiliate in Dallas has released another report.

Dec 232015
 

MYOA Book1 Cover-4jIt was inevitable, but it still stung like a scorpion.

I received my first negative book review on Amazon.

Really negative.

I handled it pretty well…I swore off writing for the rest of my life, then poured two fingers of good whiskey to ease my pain.

Whoever those fingers belonged to had huge hands…

The reviewer was a pastor and his pastoral objection was that if you are going to call a book a devotional, you must cite the Scripture, then exegete it for the reader.

It’s our job to tell people what the scripture means and how to apply it.

Leaving something open for personal interpretation and application can evidently lead to all sorts of mischief.

It was “foreign” to his way of thinking.

I understand…but I don’t agree.

Yes, it’s the teachers job to exegete and teach the Word.

The problem is that if you take five different teachers they will often teach the same passage five different ways.

My job is to give you not just interpretation, but the tools to interpret on your own.

The Word of God is no longer chained to the pulpit.

The pastor is not the only one in the house with the Holy Spirit, though it provides job security to convince people that he is.

His other objection was that some of the stories had no scripture at all.

When the point of the books is that God is always speaking to us, that probably shouldn’t be a surprise.

I could find a Scripture for each story…but that would defeat the purpose for writing them in the first place.

My hope in writing these stories is to empower people to think for themselves and to see God at work in the mundane occurrences of daily life.

God is active, present, and speaking, to all His kids, not just the ordained ones.

They are free to hear Him and “make their own application”.

The conclusion of the matter is that the swelling has gone down and I’m still pecking the keyboard.

Like black coffee and Calvinism, I’m evidently an acquired taste.

Thank you all for reading and being part of what we do.

Dec 232015
 

1426163_10152538970789156_1955504315_aOn Wednesdays we encourage people to advocate for the release of Saeed Abedini.

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.

We will continue to do so until he is released.

For some time (since the last big social media push) Facebook has turned yellow on Wednesdays with profiles promoting the release of Saeed Abedini.

Those yellow profile pictures are now few and far between.

This campaign is dead in the water, killed by his wife’s accusations of spousal abuse.

There are still a few pockets of fervent support, but most of the emotional energy is now spent or re directed toward Naghmah.

I have a hard time believing that she didn’t understand that this would be the result of taking her charges public.

I have a hard time understanding why there has been no statement from her pastor, Bob Caldwell.

I have a hard time understanding the whole situation, period.

What I do understand is that we are capable of doing two things concurrently.

We can support Naghmah Abedini in light of her statements and wishes.

We can continue to demand the release of an American citizen held illegally in Iran.

Conscience demands that we do both.

Dec 222015
 

wmns_gfaThe Facebook ad shows up in my timeline every day.

It’s a pitch for “Revolution In World Missions”, Gospel For Asia’s time tested marketing tool of choice.

It claims K.P. Yohannan as it’s author, but we know better about that now.

The ads very existence puts the lie to the claim that “every dollar goes to the field”.

A bunch of dollars have gone to social media hubs to combat the truth about an “allegedly” corrupt organization led by an “allegedly” corrupt man.

When it has popped up in the past, I and other like minded brethren have put up links to this site and to Warren Throckmortons work exposing the charity for what it “allegedly” is.

It popped up again this morning, freshly scrubbed of negative comments and full of praise for the book and the charity.

I have been blocked from commenting, but not from viewing.

Block this, boys.

We’re not afraid of your lawyers or your lies, or your master.

You can out spend us, but you can’t out fight us.

Every day in this country God’s people are being lied to and defrauded in Jesus name.

They are being taken advantage of because they have large hearts and generous spirits.

While the big name pastor/toadys protect GFA, we’ll be here to try to protect those good people of God.

We will not be silenced until justice is done and righteousness has it’s day.

Meanwhile, deep in the heart of Texas…

We made much of Gayle Erwins confession and repentance and we should make even more of pastor Bill Gehm of CC Amarillo.

His repentance from supporting GFA from the pulpit was something we would hope others would emulate.

I was shocked to see it for a number of reasons.

Texas is GFA country and there are pastors in Texas who have known of these issues for some time and remained silent.

Gehm’s video is an indictment not only of GFA, but of their refusal to protect their own flocks.

Gehm is also one of Skip Heitzigs assistants as the Calvary Chapel Association regional leader.

Heitzig has remained quiet except for an email he dictated to one of our readers calling into question whether there was a scandal here at all.

Many pastors have reached out to him as a “leader” of the “affiliation” and have so far been stonewalled.

For whatever reason, Gehm seems to understand what “leadership” really means.

So do the handful of Calvary Chapel pastors who have made public statements about Gospel For Asia to protect the people they serve.

So far, the Calvary Chapel Association doesn’t.

That…doesn’t shock me at all…

 

Dec 222015
 

timthumb.phpHow Christians should fight…

God was a lot younger than I had expected…

Muslims and Christians don’t worship the same god…

Muslims and Christians might worship the same god…

Christians, Jews, and Muslims, absolutely do not worship the same god…

Megachurch pastor sentenced to life at hard labor in N.Korea…

Doug Wilson and more plagiarism…

Myth of the pagan origins of Christianity…

Five errors to drop from your Christmas sermon…

What was the star of Bethlehem?

Caitlyn goes to church…

Roger Olson plays the curmudgeon…

The Gospel Coalitions top ten stories of 2015

Are evangelicals addicted to pseudo events and outrage?

Misplaced sacramentality…

Arguments against hell…

Don’t be quick to copy megachurches…

Matt B. Redmond has a new book out and it is both inexpensive and priceless…

How to be Christmas to the world…

Franklin Graham quits the Republican Party…

World Nuts Daily pushing the “Jefferson Lies”…

On Elizabeth Elliot…

Phil Metzger on finding balance on the refugee issue…

Intelligent design on trial…

Churches serve beer to attract younger set…

When Christians love theology more than people…

Many thanks to EricL for helping with the links…support him at top right!

 

Dec 212015
 

thinking-picI think I’ve got way too much going on to think clearly right now.

I’ll let you folks do the thinking today.

Just don’t try for 10…that’s for professionals only.

 

 

 

Dec 192015
 

thumbnail.aspxOur God, our hope in ages past, help in ages past, our hope for years to come.

We lift our hearts to Thee.

We thank Thee Thou didst ever createst.

 

We grieve that we ever marred that creation by sin; but, having done that, we rejoice that Thou didst find a way through love to save us: the sacrifice of Thy Son.

He who was from the beginning, yielded Himself on a tree that He might die.

We can never thank Thee enough.

We pray Thee for those who are lost in our midst this evening.

Oh Holy Spirit, Thou would draw and pull.

May the unsaved hear the voice of Jesus say, ‘Come unto me and rest.’ May the thirsty hear Him say, ‘Come unto me and drink.’ May the blind hear Him say, ‘Come unto me and see.’ May the dead hear Him say, ‘Come unto me and live.’

Oh Lord, kindly do this for Jesus sake.

Amen

Tozer

Dec 192015
 

wmns_gfaWarren Throckmorton has the story…this is “must see” TV indeed.

Pastor Bill Gehm repents in front of his church for his endorsement of this charity.

This is what a real man of God looks like…and how he handles a mess like this.

More on Monday…

 

 

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