Nov 142014
 

Creation-hands-L“That is why it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his offspring—not only to the adherent of the law but also to the one who shares the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all, as it is written, “I have made you the father of many nations”—in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist. In hope he believed against hope, that he should become the father of many nations, as he had been told, “So shall your offspring be.” He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was as good as dead (since he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah’s womb. No unbelief made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. That is why his faith was “counted to him as righteousness.”

But the words “it was counted to him” were not written for his sake alone, but for ours also. It will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.”

(Romans 4:16–25 ESV)

It’s a big part of theological discussion these days to attempt to parse out what really happened at creation.

I don’t get too dogmatic about it, I wasn’t there… though these days I often feel like I was born shortly thereafter.

I digress…

There are two things however I am very dogmatic about, by faith.

God did the creating, and He created “ex nihilo”…from nothing.

There weren’t scrap materials and creation tools laying around at the dawn of time waiting for someone to cleverly use and assemble them.

There was nothing but nothing and our God called into existence all things that are.

He didn’t stop making something from nothing at creation…Paul tells us that He did so with Abraham…and He’ll do so with us.

Abraham and Sarah were old…so old they needed a category beyond “elderly”.

God promised them a child.

Sarah heard the promise and in the fashion of healthy, logical, rationalist, she laughed.

Abraham believed.

He believed in spite of all the reasons why it was impossible, because he believed the God who proved His chops at creation.

We know the end of the story and we know God kept His promise.

He still keeps His promises…even when they require that He create something from nothing to do so.

“For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory.”

(2 Corinthians 1:20 ESV)

Where there is…

no money,

no food,

no medicine,

no cure,

no prayer,

no joy,

no hope…

There is is God who is able to create what you need out of nothing.

Believe.

Make your own application…

Nov 132014
 

155547_468929542642_7884233_nFirst, thanks to you folks who use the Amazon links to make your purchases.

A small percent comes back to me and it helps out a lot.

Support our advertisers…especially when they are part of the online community.

My book is now free when you subscribe to Kindle Unlimited, 2.99 for the Kindle version if you aren’t.

You can also make direct donations by Paypal using the “donate” button on the top left side of the site.

We covet your continued support and your prayers for what we do here.

I can always be reached at phoenixpreacher@gmail.com with your questions or concerns.

Thank you!

 

Nov 132014
 

We published the article below on Oct 3, 2014.

We now have the actual transcript of the hearing where it’s made clear that this case has been continued.

The basis of the charges is also defined in the document.

Aug29_2014LucenaHearingTranscript

Sources believe that this investigation has been hobbled by political influence from the U.S…Tom Randall has friends in high places.

If the trial is not allowed to continue there is little left that can be done on this side of heaven.

That does not impede the Lord from doing a work Himself, however.

The October article begins below.

We have been covering the ongoing Philippine child abuse scandal and the trial of those accused in it.

The last report we made was when Pastor Joe Coffey of Christ Community Church sent out this tweet;

Screenshot 2014-08-29 13.19.15

That Sunday morning, Tom Randall, the head of the mission organization announced the same thing to great applause.

You can watch him do so here.

When a parishioner tweeted Coffey inquiring as to why he couldn’t find news of this blessed turn of events, Coffey blamed it on the media.

Screenshot 2014-08-29 13.42.43

This was a surprise to those who were actually at the trial, because they had heard the judge continue the case.

Somebody was either greatly confused…or someone was telling a whopper of a lie.

Getting documentation out of the Philippine court system is a chore…but we can now report that someone was lying.

Two someones.

We now have the actual order of the judge from the proceeding.

Aug29_2014Court Order

The charges have not been dropped, the trial has been continued.

The proclamations of Coffey and Randall were not true, nor have they been retracted.

Unless Randall’s Philippine attorneys are intentionally deceiving him, theres a large problem here.

It’s way past time for the supporters of Randall’s mission organization and the people of Coffey’s church to begin asking some hard questions.

It’s also way past time for American authorities to do the same.

You can get the full background on all the stories we’ve written on this by clicking herehere , here, and here.

phoenixpreacher@gmail.com

 

 

 

Nov 122014
 

7430-pastorAfter slaving over a hot blog for over a decade trying to raise awareness about the corruption in the church, I’ve come to a conclusion.

That conclusion is that cleaning up the church will not happen from the top down, but from the bottom up.

There can’t be corrupt leaders if there are no willing followers financing the show.

To accomplish this means we have to look at the church differently and understand our individual roles in the church… and understand that every person in the church has something of value besides money to contribute to the church.

Part of this process (in my opinion) is debunking the mythology around pastors while recognizing the office and respecting the fact that God does want leaders in the local body.

I’m a pastor.

That means that at some point God called me to be a leader and teacher of some of His kids.

It means I am called to care for souls with my gifts in concert with the rest of the gifts in the assembly.

I do this by studying hard and listening well to Him and them.

It means I’m always available to both.

I have no supernatural abilities that anyone has noticed.

I do not sin less than others, nor I do not have access to the throne reserved for a special few.

I struggle with my flesh and my prayers aren’t heard or answered any more or less than anyone else’s.

I am just like the rest of the kids, just with a different job.

The only “anointing” I have is that which is common to all those in the kingdom of God.

“But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all have knowledge.”

(1 John 2:20 ESV)

My sermons have “unction” when I’ve worked hard enough to understand the text and deliver it with some measure of clarity.

The Holy Spirit empowers His word, not me.

The qualifications for ministers are not supernatural…they are all about character.

I barely qualify…and if the day comes when I don’t qualify at all my church needs to remove me from leadership for the sake of their souls and mine.

The worst thing they can do is set me apart as special or more important than them.

I need them as much as they need me…that’s how a body works.

I’m not special.

Jesus is.

I am not more important than anyone.

Jesus is.

If it’s not all about Him…start over.

Make your own application…

Nov 122014
 

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.

This is the latest from his wife, Nagmeh;

 Hi All,

I would appreciate your help in the next critical weeks as the November 24th deadline for the nuclear negotiations with Iran approaches. We want to make sure Saeed is not forgotten. That he is not left behind. A movement has started to blitz the White House with postcards asking that President Obama to not forget Saeed (please see the link below).

You can order post cards or ask your church to order postcards to send to the white house. Postcards are available for purchase through Trinity Worldwide Reprographics by calling (562) 567-2050 or by emailing freesaeed@trinity3in1.net.

You are also welcome to send your own postcard with the below message:

Mr. President,

A man in your position has been given great power and responsibility to represent every American, whether on domestic or foreign soil. Please hold to your own words, that no one is left behind. We, the American people, ask you to do everything within your power to bring U.S. citizen, pastor, husband & father, Saeed Abedini, home to his family from his time of incarceration in Iran.

Sincerely,

Thank you!

God Bless you all

Naghmeh

More info here…

Nov 112014
 

timthumb.phpDr. Dino in more legal trouble…

On homosexuals in the church…

Can scientists and evangelicals work together?

Methodist revival?

Another “lost gospel”…

Matt Redmond on the morning that comes years later…

Sarah on “whereness”…link of the week, in my opinion…

Joseph Smith’s 40 wives…

Five sayings millennials don’t like…

On repentance…

On humility…

Why did Jesus have to die?

The difference between pastoral and platform ministry…

Christians should lead Christians…

The rise of Christianity in China…

Dealing with cultural opposition…

Wenatchee continues to dissect all things Driscoll…

Why every church should have mandatory child protection guidelines…

A panel discussion with a couple of my favorite theologians…

Nov 102014
 

hell-burningI could only handle reading the headline and the caption…the details would have haunted me indefinitely.

The story was about a couple that had tortured their small child until he died from the abuse.

My gut reaction was thank God for hell.

 

There’s nothing we can do on earth that is painful and severe enough to punish that sort of evil.

Hell is a necessity if there is true justice in the universe.

Then, I had a troubling thought.

I remembered Steve Brown struggling with the fact that the notorious murderer and cannibal Jeffrey Dahmer was reading Steve’s books on grace in his cell before he himself was murdered.

What if…they repented of this evil and truly were born again of the Holy Spirit.

Could they be forgiven?

Could heaven be their destiny instead of the hell they so richly have earned?

If we are to be consistent in our theology the answer to both questions is yes.

According to biblical theology (as I understand it) everything they deserve to experience for their evil acts was poured out on Christ…and in Him they can be forgiven.

The beatings, the shame, the humiliation, and the death they deserve were taken by Jesus Christ on behalf of all those who will place their faith on Him.

We can wrestle with that and come to a place of begrudging acceptance that divine justice was satisfied and that grace is amazing beyond our capacity to understand.

But…what if…they were already born again before committing those heinous acts?

Surely that would not be possible.

Born again people would never sin that way…would they?

The problem with that theory is that David believed God and it was “counted to him for righteousness”…before he committed adultery with Bathsheba and had her husband murdered.

His repentance was recorded for the ages, as has been his God given identity…”a man after God’s own heart”.

That’s pretty high praise for a murderer and an adulterer.

Moses, Abraham, Lot, David, Paul…all were men with darkness in their souls and blood on their hands.

We don’t want to believe that, so we have cleaned up their stories when we speak them to each other.

We recreate them as good people like us.

We clean up those stories because only good people should go to heaven and we prove we’re good people by what we don’t do and we have earned heaven by our good choices and decent behavior.

We won’t allow any bad people in this club…

The truth we really don’t like is the truth that we’re not good either.

The truth is that the same blood that can save the worst had to be applied to us as well.

There will be no “good” people in heaven and there will be “good” people in hell, because the key isn’t our goodness but Christ’s.

Heaven will be full of repentant sinners, hell will be populated by sinners who refused to repent.

I can barely grasp this…the Cross is too much for me to comprehend.

I can only hold on to it and invite others to do likewise…and never refuse to allow someone else to take hold of what saved me.

I know I’m not a good person…

Make your own application…

Nov 102014
 

thinking_man_ape_wood_3d_sculpture_thinker_think-480x3251. The back alleys of the internet are buzzing with rumors of Mark Driscoll’s soon return to the stage. 

I have a response to that inevitable news, but it’s too profane to print here.

The only thing that elicits more profanity is knowing that there are people so idolatrous and biblically illiterate that they will be willing to be the first set of carcasses under a brand new bus.

Let’s just end this flood of words and whispers…Driscoll is a narcissistic religious opportunist, a heartless hireling, no more than this generations version of Jimmy Swaggart.

If that’s what you’re looking for in a “pastor”…have at it.

Just don’t call a blogger when you want someone to see the tire tracks he leaves where you used to keep your wallet.

2. I’ve seen a couple of pastors publicly say that they were “saddened” that Mark was disciplined for “unbiblical” reasons. What they are really saying is that unless you catch a tyrant with his pants down, it’s biblically allowable to be a tyrant.

No, it’s not…and unless you understand why Driscoll is unfit for the ministry, you are too.

3. Last night, word came that well known Word Faith teacher Myles Munroe had died in a plane crash. Almost immediately there came of flood of Facebook posts with the phrase “I hope he repented before he died”. That’s actually Christianeze for “I think he split hell wide open”.

4. One of great mercies of God is that He will carry all of the stress and pain of difficult circumstances with you. It is only when you choose to carry them yourself that you find they are far too heavy for your shoulders.

5. It has been claimed that faith is a crutch…I affirm that. It’s also the hospital bed and wheelchair I rely on when I’m too weak for a crutch.

6. Whenever I find myself walking without grace and mercy for others, it’s a sure sign that I’m in need of both myself.

7. Universalism and legalism are two sides of the same coin. 

8. God is not going to let you stand next to Him at the judgment and say “I told you so” to anyone…

9. The most strident critics of Christianity today are not the atheists or pagans…it is those who the church do not love well when they were among us.

10. Hell was created for divine justice, not to be the last word on doctrinal differences.

phoenixpreacher@gmail.com

Nov 082014
 

thumbnail.aspxLord Jesus Christ,

you are the gentle moon and joyful stars,

and watch over the darkest night.

You are the source of all peace,

reconciling the whole universe to the Father.

You are the source of all rest,

calming troubled hearts,

and bringing sleep to weary bodies.

You are the sweetness that fills our mind with quiet joy,

and can turn the worst nightmares into dreams of heaven.

May I dream of your sweetness,

rest in your arms,

be at one with your Father,

and be comforted in the knowledge

that you always watch over me.

Erasmus

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