24 June 2016

This 'n' That

Murphy's Law is real. I know because I've lived it over the past couple of weeks. The good news? God is faithful and good in His provision and protection of His children.

Life's speed bumps aside, last week I promised you garage sale stories and so garage sale stories you shall receive.

Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately, depending on how one looks at it), there seemed to be less ahem...interesting, people visit this year's sale. In other words, no one recounted a story of dying, going to heaven, and returning, and no one claimed that God spoke to them personally. One young woman asked if we had a copy of Jesus Calling. We promptly responded with an explanation of why we wouldn't sell her a copy even if we did have one available. She was very receptive and left with a gift of a far more doctrinally sound devotional and lots of sermons. Please pray for her if you think of it.

There were two men who, separately, sought to walk away with a whole stack of the million dollar bill tracts we had set aside for shoppers to take for free. Suffice it to say that, at first glance, they didn't realize what the back of the bills contained. One man said, "My son will die when he sees all these." The response? "Well if he's going to die, then he needs to read the back of those."

The other man's eyes lit up when I showed him the back of the bills. He teaches Sunday School at his church, he said, and thought they'd be great for that forum. While I've no inkling as to the doctrinal fidelity of his church, I know that God's Word and truth never return void, so I am thankful.

Oh, there was also the man who was very excited to buy up the contemporary Christian music CDs that we were ecstatic to see disappear (Don't judge. Those CDs have been around since the days of false conversion, it's just that no one was stupid enough to buy them in the garage sale until now). He shared which church he attended and when I looked at the website, I saw they were proud to boast of their motto, "Love God, love people." Plenty of Law, but where is the Gospel?

Overall, it was a busy and full weekend with several gospel opportunities presented. It was nice to have a year off from the charismatics and Heaven tourists, but who knows what future sales might bring.

Of course, it was also an exhausting weekend, so while I go take a nap, why don't you take a few minutes to enjoy your week in review (kind of):

17 June 2016

This 'n' That

photo credit: Garage Sale Sign via photopin (license)
Well, I'm sorry to say that I don't have much availability to draft an introduction for this week's This 'n' That. You see, it's Garage Sale Weekend at my house and as you are reading this, I am in the driveway selling off all of my treasures. Depending, of course, on your definition of "treasure."

Garage sales are horrendous. Let's face it, all the marking, all the hauling, all the time, effort, and hassle are not fun. There is one element of a garage sale that is inevitably entertaining, however, and that is the conversations that one can have with the many people who visit and shop.

These conversations can range from the ridiculous to the evangelistic. A perfect example of this can be found in the account of our 2014 garage sale, in the article, "Garage Sale God Whispers, Twice Dead, and the Name of Jesus Ignored." Here is an excerpt:
I also met a woman who denied the authority, inerrancy, and sufficiency of Scripture by her death. Or should I say ‘deaths’?

“I’m a Christian,” she said, “I believe in God. I go to thus-and-so Baptist church.” She continued, “You know, I’ve died twice.”

Really? Say that again.

“I’ve died twice. The first time, I saw my parents who both have passed. They were reaching out to me. The second time I didn’t see anything, but it felt so peaceful. I don’t know why God sent me back because I was so peaceful.”

In my mind, I thought, “Oh, lady, you should thank the Lord that you did not die, because, in His mercy, you still have a chance to repent and be saved!” The actual conversation, though, necessitated a different approach. And the question begged to be asked:

“Did you see Jesus?”

“Huh?”

“You said you died, so did you see Jesus?”

“Oh. No, no..."
Suffice it to say that I'm a bit eager to see what stories this year's sale might bring. Don't worry, I'll be sure to share. For now, though, all I have to share—and all you have to enjoy—is your week in review (kind of):

13 June 2016

Equipping Eve: Making Abortion Convenient


It’s not often that Erin climbs on the abortion soapbox, but in this episode she discusses some recent advances in telemedicine that are making abortion drugs more accessible to patients. Open up the Bible and be reminded that God is the Author of life, and that life begins at conception.

Click here to listen to this episode of Equipping Eve.

Click here for a list of Scripture references and resources used on this episode of Equipping Eve.

Further Listening
Equipping Eve: The Cross of Christ
Equipping Eve: A Blessed State of Affairs
Equipping Eve: What Happens at Small Group

10 June 2016

This 'n' That

Don't discard your headphones, use them!
I love summer. Since I spend my days inside an all-too-air-conditioned office, I particularly appreciate summer evenings. There are few better ways to end a hectic day than by relaxing on the porch at dusk with a good book (there's a perk to Kindle and iPad technology that lets you read even in the dark). Chirping birds, grumpy sounding frogs, and the distant thumping of a basketball being used by the children up the street—these are the sounds of summer evenings.

I experienced just such an evening not long ago. It was peaceful, until I started to hear a faint sound of drums. My thinking went something like this: "Wait, is that music? Those kids better not be starting in with blasting music! If that's the case, I am walking over there to talk to those parents. Wait, it's not the kids. It's getting louder. Oh look, someone is walking in the dark. Oh. She is walking while listening to music on her phone...without headphones. Wait, I know this song. Ugh, it's that Bon Jovi beat, "Livin' on a Prayer." Great, now that will be stuck in my head for days. I hope she enjoyed her walk."

So tell me—in an age of personal devices, all of which are sold with their own pair of headphones, why are people not using headphones? It's weird. I do not understand. I'm pretty sure if I walked up and down the street blasting hymns someone would get annoyed. Hmm...maybe that would be a fun experiment.

While I ponder that, why don't you take some time to enjoy your week in review (kind of):

07 June 2016

The Mission of Amusement Produces No Converts

An evil is in the professed camp of the Lord, so gross in its impudence, that the most shortsighted can hardly fail to notice it during the past few years. It has developed at an abnormal rate, even for evil. It has worked like leaven until the whole lump ferments. The devil has seldom done a cleverer thing than hinting to the church that part of their mission is to provide entertainment for the people, with a view to winning them.

From speaking out as the Puritans did, the church has gradually toned down her testimony, then winked at and excused the frivolities of the day. Then she tolerated them in her borders. Now she has adopted them under the plea of reaching the masses.

Source: Hardwick Shepherd (James Rebanks)
My first contention is that providing amusement for the people is nowhere spoken of in the Scriptures as a function of the church. If it is a Christian work, why did not Christ speak of it? "Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature" (Mark 16:15). That is clear enough. So it would have been if He had added, "and provide amusement for those who do not relish the gospel." No such words, however, are to be found. It did not seem to occur to him.

Then again, "He gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some evangelists; and some pastors and teachers .., for the work of the ministry" (Eph. 4:11-12). Where do entertainers come in? The Holy Spirit is silent concerning them. Were the prophets persecuted because they amused the people or because they refused? The concert has no martyr roll.