30 September 2010

Thursday's Spurgeon

"Howl, fir tree, for the cedar is fallen." Zechariah 11:2
When in the forest there is heard the crash of a falling oak, it is a sign that the woodman is abroad, and every tree in the whole company may tremble lest to-morrow the sharp edge of the axe should find it out.
We are all like trees marked for the axe, and the fall of one should remind us that for every one, whether great as the cedar, or humble as the fir, the appointed hour is stealing on apace. I trust we do not, by often hearing of death, become callous to it. May we never be like the birds in the steeple, which build their nests when the bells are tolling, and sleep quietly when the solemn funeral peals are startling the air.
May we regard death as the most weighty of all events, and be sobered by its approach. It ill behoves us to sport while our eternal destiny hangs on a thread. The sword is out of its scabbard-let us not trifle; it is furbished, and the edge is sharp-let us not play with it. He who does not prepare for death is more than an ordinary fool, he is a madman. When the voice of God is heard among the trees of the garden, let fig tree and sycamore, and elm and cedar, alike hear the sound thereof.
Be ready, servant of Christ, for thy Master comes on a sudden, when an ungodly world least expects Him. See to it that thou be faithful in His work, for the grave shall soon be digged for thee. Be ready, parents, see that your children are brought up in the fear of God, for they must soon be orphans; be ready, men of business, take care that your affairs are correct, and that you serve God with all your hearts, for the days of your terrestrial service will soon be ended, and you will be called to give account for the deeds done in the body, whether they be good or whether they be evil.
May we all prepare for the tribunal of the great King with a care which shall be rewarded with the gracious commendation, 'Well done, good and faithful servant.'
From Charles Spurgeon's Morning and Evening devotional.

29 September 2010

Listening for God Whispers

You're all smart enough to see the problem with this "tweet" from Bill Hybels, so I'll forgo the commentary and let it speak for itself:

If you're bored tonight and want to know more about "The Power of a Whisper," you can watch Bill Hybels teach these contemplative lies live here.

In the News...

According to a UN investigation, even if Osama Bin Laden himself had been present on the Gaza-bound flotilla which was blocked by Israel last May, Israel's actions still would have been illegal. Ah, yes, don't you just love how fair and just the world is toward Israel?

CNS News reports:
Israel’s blockade of a Gaza-bound flotilla last May would have been illegal, even if Osama bin Laden himself had been on the ship full of pro-Palestinian activists, a member of a U.N.-appointed fact-finding mission told the Human Rights Council.
The Geneva-based HRC is considering a report by the three-member commission that investigated the so-called “flotilla incident” – Israel’s interception at sea of Gaza-bound vessels, including the Turkish-flagged Mavi Marmara, on May 31, 2010.  The ensuing deadly clashes between Israeli commandos and pro-Palestinian activists left nine activists dead.
Accusing Israel of war crimes, the report stated that the seizure of the ship was illegal, based on the determination that the Israeli blockade was itself illegal under international law.
Israel claimed its soldiers acted in self-defense after being attacked by activists wielding iron bars and other weapons.
U.N. Watch had earlier submitted to the commission a package of more than 40 reports, audio and video clips which it said “documented the jihadist intent and actions of the IHH militants on the ship.” U.N. Watch representative Leon Saltiel asked the commission Tuesday why the evidence had been disregarded.
Both the commission head, Trinidadian Judge Karl Hudson-Phillips, and panel member Desmond da Silva, a British jurist, indicated in their response that the intentions and statements of those onboard the boat were irrelevant to their conclusions.
The points raised by U.N. Watch were “not something which would have altered our conclusions as to the lawfulness or otherwise of the Israeli intervention,” Hudson-Phillips said. “It would not have made the blockade lawful, and therefore it would not have made the interception lawful. It could not have changed our thinking in any way.”
Read the entire article here.

Is Dallas Willard a Christian?

**UPDATE**
I finally was able to embed the audio player directly into this page. Below is audio of a segment from Fighting for the Faith in which Christian apologist Christ Rosebrough reviews and challenges Dallas Willard and his version of the gospel. I also strongly urge you to visit the link below to read Ken Silva's article on the topic.



If your church (or, in the case of all you BSFers, your Christian organization/Bible study) promotes Dallas Willard or Richard Foster, beware. These men not only teach mystical, New Age practices, but they certainly don't adhere to the Biblical Gospel. Want proof? Please take the time to visit Apprising Ministries and read this article by Ken Silva.

Read DEBUNKING DALLAS WILLARD here.

"Christian by Choice"

Okay, let's get this settled once and for all. Just because someone supports and encourages the murder of millions of innocent unborn children, lauds the blatant, unashamed parading of the sin of homosexuality, defends a pagan, hateful, murderous religion at every turn, and fights relentlessly for such unethical scientific research as embryonic stem cell research (by the way, did you hear the ban was overturned?) does not mean that person isn't a Christian! Come on, now, stop being so intolerant and judgmental! (Yes, I hope you heard the sarcasm that is absolutely dripping from these words).

One News Now reports:
"I am a Christian by choice," Obama began, standing beneath a blazing sun, when asked why he is a Christian.
"So I came to my Christian faith later in life, and it was because the precepts of Jesus Christ spoke to me in terms of the kind of life that I would want to lead - being my brothers' and sisters' keeper, treating others as they would treat me," he continued.

"And I think also understanding that Jesus Christ dying for my sins spoke to the humility we all have to have as human beings, that we're sinful and we're flawed and we make mistakes, and that we achieve salvation through the grace of God," Obama said. "But what we can do, as flawed as we are, is still see God in other people and do our best to help them find their own grace."

Obama said he seeks to do that through daily prayer and public service. "That's what I strive to do. That's what I pray to do every day," he said. "I think my public service is part of that effort to express my Christian faith."
"One thing I want to emphasize, having spoken about something that obviously relates to me very personally, as president of the United States I'm also somebody who deeply believes that part of the bedrock strength of this country is that it embraces people of many faiths and no faith," he said. "That this is a country that is still predominantly Christian, but we have Jews, Muslims, Hindus, atheists, agnostics, Buddhists, and that their own path to grace is one that we have to revere and respect as much as our own." (Online source, bold emphasis mine).
I'm thinking our illustrious leader may have gotten lost on his own "path to grace" with such a flawed idea of what it means to be a Christian. Unless he's going for that whole Christian Universalism thing, in which case he's pretty much spot-on. That "path to grace" of his must be awfully wide...
“Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few." Matthew 7:13-14

28 September 2010

The Three "Omnis"

Omniscience. Omnipresence. Omnipotence. Psalm 139 has them all...God is so BIG. Love it.

Search Me, O God, and Know My Heart

To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David.

 O Lord, you have searched me and known me!
  You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
you discern my thoughts from afar.
  You search out my path and my lying down
and are acquainted with all my ways.
  Even before a word is on my tongue,
behold, O Lord, you know it altogether.
  You hem me in, behind and before,
and lay your hand upon me.
  Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
it is high; I cannot attain it.
 Where shall I go from your Spirit?
Or where shall I flee from your presence?
  If I ascend to heaven, you are there!
If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!
  If I take the wings of the morning
and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
  even there your hand shall lead me,
and your right hand shall hold me.
  If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me,
and the light about me be night,”
  even the darkness is not dark to you;
the night is bright as the day,
for darkness is as light with you.
 For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother's womb.
  I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well.
  My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
  Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them.
 How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
  If I would count them, they are more than the sand.
I awake, and I am still with you.
 Oh that you would slay the wicked, O God!
O men of blood, depart from me!
  They speak against you with malicious intent;
your enemies take your name in vain!
  Do I not hate those who hate you, O Lord?
And do I not loathe those who rise up against you?
  I hate them with complete hatred;
I count them my enemies.
 Search me, O God, and know my heart!
Try me and know my thoughts!
  And see if there be any grievous way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting!
Whoa. God truly is awesome!

26 September 2010

Sunday Morning Praise

I've said it before and I'll say it again: Crown Him with Many Crowns is my favorite hymn. I used to hum it all the time but haven't caught myself doing so as often lately. Until yesterday, when I desperately needed to be reminded of God's sovereignty as I struggled to hand control of a difficult situation over to Him. After prayer, I found myself singing this hymn again. Then this morning, it was playing on the radio when my alarm went off. God is good. He is King of Kings and Lord of Lords! He alone can save! Praise Him!

24 September 2010

Thursday's Spurgeon (on Friday)

I know, I know, I'm slacking off. More and more it seems that poor Charles Spurgeon gets neglected until late Thursday or Friday. Not to mention, I seem to have ceased spelling TULIP at TUL, having yet to complete my articles on Irresistable Grace and Perseverance of the Saints. I assure you that laziness is not at the root of my lack of posts. Just the opposite, in fact: I am too busy, am overworked, and overwhelmed. I am currently juggling a full time job, 2 graduate courses, and am a leader in the BSF school program (teaching junior high kids), which, despite what the all-knowing manual says, takes not 2 hours out of my week, but 10+ (once you add up class time, training time, and preparation time). So while I am not asking for a pity-poor-me party (even though it sounds like I am), I do ask for grace when I miss one of my regular posts! I hate to leave you hanging this week without an encouraging word from our dear Mr. Spurgeon, however, so please read on.

The following is excerpted from Spurgeon's work, All of Grace:
 You are not asked to trust in a dead Jesus, but in One who, though He died for our sins, has risen again for our justification. You may go to Jesus at once as to a living and present friend. He is not a mere memory, but a continually existent Person who will hear your prayers and answer them. He lives on purpose to carry on the work for which He once laid down His life. He is interceding for sinners at the right hand of the Father, and for this reason He is able to save them to the uttermost who come unto God by Him. Come and try this living Saviour, if you have never done so before.
    This living Jesus is also raised to an eminence of glory and power. He does not now sorrow as "a humble man before his foes," nor labor as "the carpenter's son"; but He is exalted far above principalities and power and every name that is named. The Father has given Him all power in Heaven and in earth, and he exercises this high endowment in carrying out His work of grace. Hear what Peter and the other apostles testified concerni ng Him before the high priest and the council:

The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree. Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins (Acts 5:30, 31).

    The glory which surrounds the ascended Lord should breathe hope into every believer's breast. Jesus is no mean person—He is "a Saviour and a great one." He is the crowned and enthroned Redeemer of men. The sovereign prerogative of life and death is vested in Him; the Father has put all men under the mediatorial government of the Son, so that He can quicken whom He will. He openeth, and no man shutteth. At His word the soul which is bound by the cords of sin and condemnation can be unloosed in a moment. He stretches out the silver scepter, and whosoever touches it lives.
    It is well for us that as sin lives, and the flesh lives, and the devil lives, so Jesus lives; and it is also well that whatever might these may have to ruin us, Jesus has still greater power to save us.

22 September 2010

Quote of the Day

"The problem with most American Christians today is they have an Americanized Christianity and not a Biblical Christianity. I highly doubt the millions of persecuted Christians in China today are interested in our American view of Christianity and I am certain most of them have the hope and longing of the soon return of Jesus Christ. Persecution has a way of causing true Christians to long for heaven." -Brannon Howse
You can read Brannon Howse's article, Howse, Markell, Hunt, Ice, Reagan, McTernan, Salhus, and Rosenberg, Are Not the Enemy or the Problem with America, here.

20 September 2010

Purpose-Driven Coffee


No, this was not my coffee. Thank goodness for small blessings. What a way to ruin a perfectly good pumpkin spice latte! Thankfully God did not allow me to have to drink my coffee in a Rick Warren-ized cup. Thankfully I was not forced to sip my espresso from a piece of cardboard that was advertising a false gospel. No, this picture was sent out via Twitter by Rick Warren himself with this pithy line:


My favorite thing about Warren's "gospel" really is his ability to make it so me-centered. Who needs repentance? Goodness, who even needs Jesus? As long as you're doing the right things, you'll find your destiny. Yes, we truly are talking about a false prophet with one of the largest flocks of goats ever.

Note: This post originally included links to Warren's original "tweet" on Twitter. However, this morning Twitter is experiencing some major problems with their site. They were hacked and those who are visiting Twitter are being infected with a virus. It seems that all third-party applications, like Tweetdeck, Twhirl, and Hootsuite, are still safe to use, but do not go to the actual Twitter site right now!

One More Time...Should Christians Practice Yoga?

I can't pass up a well-written, thoughtful article on the dangers of "Christian" yoga, so when I read this article by Al Mohler today, I thought it was a great one to share. I will post a few excerpts here, but I hope you will go to Mohler's blog to read the article in its entirety.
The Subtle Body — Should Christians Practice Yoga?

When Christians practice yoga, they must either deny the reality of what yoga represents or fail to see the contradictions between their Christian commitments and their embrace of yoga. The contradictions are not few, nor are they peripheral.
Some questions we ask today would simply baffle our ancestors. When Christians ask whether believers should practice yoga, they are asking a question that betrays the strangeness of our current cultural moment — a time in which yoga seems almost mainstream in America.
It was not always so. No one tells the story of yoga in America better than Stefanie Syman, whose recent book,The Subtle Body: The Story of Yoga in America, is a masterpiece of cultural history. Syman, an engaging author who is also a fifteen-year devotee of yoga, tells this story well. 
[...]Syman describes yoga as a varied practice, but she makes clear that yoga cannot be fully extricated from its spiritual roots in Hinduism and Buddhism. She is also straightforward in explaining the role of sexual energy in virtually all forms of yoga and of ritualized sex in some yoga traditions. She also explains that yoga “is one of the first and most successful products of globalization, and it has augured a truly post-Christian, spiritually polyglot country.”
[...]Yoga begins and ends with an understanding of the body that is, to say the very least, at odds with the Christian understanding. Christians are not called to empty the mind or to see the human body as a means of connecting to and coming to know the divine. Believers are called to meditate upon the Word of God — an external Word that comes to us by divine revelation — not to meditate by means of incomprehensible syllables.
Nevertheless, a significant number of American Christians either experiment with yoga or become adherents of some yoga discipline. Most seem unaware that yoga cannot be neatly separated into physical and spiritual dimensions. The physical is the spiritual in yoga, and the exercises and disciplines of yoga are meant to connect with the divine.
When Christians practice yoga, they must either deny the reality of what yoga represents or fail to see the contradictions between their Christian commitments and their embrace of yoga. The contradictions are not few, nor are they peripheral. The bare fact is that yoga is a spiritual discipline by which the adherent is trained to use the body as a vehicle for achieving consciousness of the divine. Christians are called to look to Christ for all that we need and to obey Christ through obeying his Word. We are not called to escape the consciousness of this world by achieving an elevated state of consciousness, but to follow Christ in the way of faithfulness. 
Read the entire article here.

19 September 2010

Rick Warren says God is Our Cheerleader

Well, not in so many words, but this "tweet" from Warren's Purpose Driven Connection certainly gives that impression.

If you follow the link, you'll end up at this feel-good daily devotional. Thanks to this I'm having difficulty getting the blasphemous picture of Jesus with pom-poms out of my head. Oh brother.

Sunday Morning Praise

When searching for a hymn last night, I so strongly wanted to just lift up praises to our sovereign God. I couldn't think of a better expression of praise than the Hallelujah Chorus from Handel's Messiah. Enjoy!




Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
For the Lord God Omnipotent reigneth.
Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!

For the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.
Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!

The kingdom of this world
Is become the kingdom of our Lord,
And of His Christ, and of His Christ;
And He shall reign for ever and ever,
For ever and ever, forever and ever,

King of kings, and Lord of lords,
King of kings, and Lord of lords,
And Lord of lords,
And He shall reign,
And He shall reign forever and ever,
King of kings, forever and ever,
And Lord of lords,
Hallelujah! Hallelujah!

And He shall reign forever and ever,
King of kings! and Lord of lords!
And He shall reign forever and ever,
King of kings! and Lord of lords!
Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
Hallelujah!

Sunday Mormon Praise

There still seems to be quite a bit of confusion among Christians about Mormonism and Christianity. While I am probably beating my head against a brick wall to try to illustrate again that a Mormon cannot be a Christian, I thought I'd give it one more try. Here are a couple of Mormon hymns. Listen, read the lyrics, and then tell me again how it is that a Christian could affirm a Mormon as a brother (or sister) in Christ.



If You Could Hie to Kolob (all of the verses are not sung, but I felt it important to post them here. The bold emphasis is mine)

1. If you could hie to Kolob
In the twinkling of an eye,
And then continue onward
With that same speed to fly,
Do you think that you could ever,
Through all eternity,
Find out the generation
Where Gods began to be?

2. Or see the grand beginning,
Where space did not extend?
Or view the last creation,
Where Gods and matter end?
Methinks the Spirit whispers,
“No man has found ‘pure space,’
Nor seen the outside curtains,
Where nothing has a place.”

3. The works of God continue,
And worlds and lives abound;
Improvement and progression
Have one eternal round.
There is no end to matter;
There is no end to space;
There is no end to spirit;
There is no end to race.

4. There is no end to virtue;
There is no end to might;
There is no end to wisdom;
There is no end to light.
There is no end to union;
There is no end to youth;
There is no end to priesthood;
There is no end to truth.

5. There is no end to glory;
There is no end to love;
There is no end to being;
There is no death above.
There is no end to glory;
There is no end to love;
There is no end to being;
There is no death above.



Praise to the Man
1. Praise to the man who communed with Jehovah!
Jesus anointed that Prophet and Seer.
Blessed to open the last dispensation,
Kings shall extol him, and nations revere.

[Chorus]
Hail to the Prophet, ascended to heaven!
Traitors and tyrants now fight him in vain.
Mingling with Gods, he can plan for his brethren;
Death cannot conquer the hero again.

2. Praise to his mem’ry, he died as a martyr;
Honored and blest be his ever great name!
Long shall his blood, which was shed by assassins,
Plead unto heav’n while the earth lauds his fame.

3. Great is his glory and endless his priesthood.
Ever and ever the keys he will hold.
Faithful and true, he will enter his kingdom,
Crowned in the midst of the prophets of old.

4. Sacrifice brings forth the blessings of heaven;
Earth must atone for the blood of that man.
Wake up the world for the conflict of justice.
Millions shall know “Brother Joseph” again.

Hm, so much for God being the only one worthy of praise! I am astounded that anyone who calls themselves a Christian could declare that a Mormon is also a Christian. Yes, I am talking to all of you who still jump to the defense of Glenn Beck. Turn off Fox News and open your Bible.

14 Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? 15 What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? 2 Corinthians 6:14-15

17 September 2010

IHOP Sues IHOP

I wanted to write a witty introduction to this article, but it's already been addressed by several other blogs and by Wretched Radio, so all the obvious jokes have already been used. I'll just post some of the article here.

The Kansas City Star reports:
IHOP (the pancake-maker) sues IHOP (the prayer center) over trademark
A sign at the entrance to the prayer room at the International House of Prayer helps keep a prayerful atmosphere. Now, the IHOP restaurant chain is suing the Kansas City-based religious group, alleging trademark dilution and infringement.
File photo by FRED BLOCHER
A sign at the entrance to the prayer room at the International House of Prayer helps keep a prayerful atmosphere. Now, the IHOP restaurant chain is suing the Kansas City-based religious group, alleging trademark dilution and infringement.

Pancakes and prayers — have we reached a point where even those two can’t get along?
Frankly, yes. So praise the Lord and pass the syrup, the International House of Pancakes and International House of Prayer are fixing to throw down.
IHOP (pancake), based in Glendale, Calif., has sued IHOP (prayer), based in Kansas City, for trademark dilution and infringement. The lawsuit, filed last week in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, essentially said there was room for only one IHOP and that would be the restaurant chain that has been using the initials since 1973.
The religious group drawing thousands from around the world to south Kansas City to prepare for “end times” was started just 10 years ago.
Other than an acronym, the two have nearly zilch in common.
The IHOP (prayer) on Red Bridge Road operates 24/7/365, sending a never-ending digital signal of prayers to Jerusalem, where it streams live on God TV for broadcast all over the world.
The other largely operates 24/7/365, too, but it is known for its pancakes, including a signature breakfast specialty called “Rooty Tooty Fresh ’N Fruity.”
But the chain, which has 1,476 restaurants across the country, claims it has six registered trademarks with the IHOP acronym and that the religious group’s use of the same four-letter logo causes, according to the lawsuit, “great and irreparable injury and confuses the public.”
The lawsuit further accuses the church mission of adopting the name International House of Prayer knowing it would be abbreviated IHOP — the intent being to misappropriate fame and notoriety of the food chain.
On Tuesday, IHOP (pancake) spokesman Patrick Lenow said the suit was filed only after the church mission refused repeated requests to stop using the trademark.
“We are compelled to protect the 350 small-business owners who own IHOP franchises and the IHOP good name that’s been around for 52 years,” Lenow said.
Thus the question, why sue now? The church mission started calling itself IHOP a decade ago.
“They’ve expanded — and now some of the branches are serving food,” Lenow said.
Read the entire article here.

16 September 2010

Dare to be a Daniel?

The Crosstalk Blog tells about the latest "Christian" marketing scheme for tweens:
Dare to be a Daniel – Get the Gear
The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association announced today that it has a new website campaign for tweens. There are also new products for sale at DaretobeaDaniel.com. By clicking on the store button, you can get access to whatever you need to be a modern day Daniel. To help tweens be courageous and doctrinally sound, there’s the Dare to be a Daniel hoodie, available for $29.99. Hoodies are historically known to produce unheard of courage in the face of spiritual opposition. Don’t face the modern-day lions without one.
If the hoodie is beyond your tween budget, there’s always the Dare to be a Daniel brown lion t-shirt for $15.00. T-shirts won’t give you the spiritual boost that a hoodie will, but it’s the next best thing. Of course, the very best thing of all to provide strength of character and the tools to fight the evils of today is the Dare to be a Daniel stuffed lion, available for $9.95. If you can’t afford the stuffed lion, there’s always the Dare to be a Daniel flame bracelet for your wrist. It’s a dollar, and it’s better than nothing.
The programs continue to roll out nationwide. Another kit. Another series of books and manuals and DVD’s. Endless DVD’s to “train” and “equip” and make a huge impact on culture. But despite all of the countless marketing campaigns, stuffed animals, bracelets, scented candles, calendars, nose rings, bumper stickers, and breath mints with the latest slogan of the hour, things continue to worsen in the so-called church.
What will it take to preach the holy Word of God again in pulpits? When will big money ministries stop with the big money campaigns, conferences, satellite feeds, raves, seminars, conflabs, powwows, small groups, big groups and the whole tiresome array of events? When will Christians realize the utter futility of these schemes to ever accomplish lasting spiritual change? When will evangelicals give up on themselves and throw down their laptops at the cross? When?

Thursday's Spurgeon

The following excerpt is from Chapter 10 of An All-Round Ministry:
The most mischievous servant of Satan that I know of is the minister of the gospel, who not only doubts the truth in his own soul, but propagates doubt in the minds of others by his criticisms, innuendoes, and triflings with words.

Some ministers believe nothing except that nothing can be believed. Such a man's conscience is withered. In some modern ministers, the faculty wherewith to believe is extinct; they have played with words till they cannot be true if they try.

Against this evil I have protested with my whole soul. People say, "Why did you not speak against these things twenty-five years ago?" I answer, "These evils were scarcely apparent then." Things are not now as in our early ministry. There has been a sudden growth of the toadstools of error. I never heard of Universalism then, nor of post-mortem salvation, nor of probation in the next state. Until very lately, I have not heard of ministers holding up the blood of Jesus to scorn. I will not, however, repeat the sad facts which have of late come to my knowledge, and pierced my heart.

The times are out of joint. The world may well be careless, for the Church in many places is full of unbelief. I trust the present hurricane of evil may soon pass over; but anyone who has his wits about him will sorrowfully admit that the good ship of the Church is now tossed about with contrary winds, and needs that her Lord should come, and say to the winds and the waves, "Peace, be still." So far, I have borne before you "the burden of the Lord."
HT: Pyromaniacs

15 September 2010

Urgent - From Understand the Times

I wanted to pass along this urgent warning from Understand the Times:


Urgent Comment from Understand The Times:
A meeting held recently in Austria attended by the "elite," has set in motion the agenda that will change the world until Jesus comes for His Church in the rapture. (I Thessalonians 4:17).
Expect three trends to happen fulfilling the 666 plan:
1. The development of a global government. (6)
2. The development of a global currency within a global economy. (6)
3. The development of a global religion for peace. (6)
The "fundamental transformation" of the United States and every other country in the world has begun.
Born-again Bible believing Christians will be a remnant. Believers who follow the true Jesus and His Word will proclaim the truth in love and expose the "lie". This will happen worldwide. Christians can expect the following:
1. The shocking collapse of many well respected "Christian" organizations. .
2. The development of a counterfeit bride for a counterfeit Christ (Revelation 17:1-9).
3. Perilous times (2 Timothy chapter 3).


The counter prevention for Apostasy

1. Pray for the peace of Jerusalem. (Psalms 122:6).
2. Read 2 Timothy 4:1-8.
3. Pray each day to be led by the Holy Spirit. (John 16:13).
4. Proclaim the gospel. (2 Corinthians 4:3-5).
5. Be a watchman for Jesus Christ. (Ezekiel 3:17). 

6
. Be a good servant. (2 Timothy chapter 2).
7  Read Colossians chapters 1 though 4
.

Sincerely in the name of Jesus Christ, 
Roger Oakland
Understand The Times 

  
September 8 - EXCLUSIVE: After a Year of Setbacks, U.N. Looks to Take Charge of World's Agenda
Article: One World Government
After a year of humiliating setbacks, United Nations Secretary General Ban ki-Moon and about 60 of his top lieutenants - the top brass of the entire U.N. system - spent their Labor Day weekend at a remote Austrian Alpine retreat, discussing ways to put their sprawling organization in charge of the world's agenda.
As one underlying theme of the sessions, the top U.N. bosses seemed to be grappling often with how to cope with the pesky issue of national sovereignty, which - according to the position papers, anyway - continued to thwart many of their most ambitious schemes, especially when it comes to many different kinds of "global governance."
Not coincidentally, the conclave of bureaucrats also saw in "global governance" a greater role for themselves.
As a position paper intended for their first group session put it, in the customary glutinous prose of the organization's internal documents: "the U.N. should be able to take the lead in setting the global agenda, engage effectively with other multinational and regional organizations as well as civil society and non-state stakeholders, and transform itself into a tool to help implement the globally agreed objectives."
And for that to happen, the paper continues, "it will be necessary to deeply reflect on the substance of sovereignty, and accept that changes in our perceptions are a good indication of the direction we are going."

According to the paper prepared by Secretary General Ban's own climate change team, however, the newly rebranded challenge still depends on the same economic remedy proposed for Copenhagen: a drastic redistribution of global wealth, "nothing less than a fundamental transformation of the global economy."
And to do that, the paper suggests, equally dramatic shifts in political power may be needed. "Is the global governance structure, still dominated by national sovereignty, capable of responding with the coherence and speed needed?" it asks. "Or do we need to push the 'reset' button and rethink global governance to meet the 50-50-50 Challenge?"
In essence, as another paper observes, the U.N. peacekeeping effort is transforming into a new kind of supervisory organism in which not only conflicts but also national institutions and cultures must be regulated for longer and longer periods of time.
But not any old multilateralism. The other major theme of the position papers is that the world organization, a haphazard array of at least 37 major funds, programs, and institutions, and a proliferating number of regulatory and other authorities, should be knitting itself into a much more close-knit global system, with greater control over its own finances, along with a stronger role in setting the international agenda.
Read Full Article ....

12 September 2010

The Quest for "More," Follow-Up

As a result of typing the quote found in my previous post, the following song has been stuck in my head all evening. This embodies everything that I dislike about contemporary worship music.



Has the mind-numbing repetition sent you into an altered state of consciousness yet? Did you notice that the name of Jesus wasn't proclaimed once in that song? It could be sung about anyone or anything. No matter, though, as long as it gave you shivers and tingles and made you raise your hand in the air. That's all this junk that's touted as "worship music" is good for. With all that emotion, it must be Christian, right?

The Quest for "More"

"It is tragic that many believers become entangled in a quest for something more in the Christian life, for something special, something extra that the "ordinary" Christian life does not possess. They talk of getting more of Jesus Christ, more of the Holy Spirit, more power, more blessings, a higher life, a deeper life--as if the resources of God were divinely doled out one at a time like so many pharmaceutical prescriptions or were unlocked by some spiritual combination that only an initiated few can know.
To say, 'I want to get all of Jesus there is,' implies that when we were saved Christ did not give us all of Himself, that He held some blessings in reserve to be parceled out to those who meet certain extra requirements.
Peter explicitly says, 'His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence' (2 Peter 1:3). The New Testament teaching of salvation is that the new birth grants every believer everything in Christ. There is consequently no need and no justification in searching for anything more." (Dr. John MacArthur, The MacArthur New Testament Commentary: Ephesians, 41). 

Sunday Morning Praise



Lo, He Comes With Clouds Descending



Lo! He comes with clouds descending,
Once for favored sinners slain;
Thousand thousand saints attending,
Swell the triumph of His train:
Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
God appears on earth to reign.

Every eye shall now behold Him
Robed in dreadful majesty;
Those who set at naught and sold Him,
Pierced and nailed Him to the tree,
Deeply wailing, deeply wailing, deeply wailing,
Shall the true Messiah see.

Every island, sea, and mountain,
Heav’n and earth, shall flee away;
All who hate Him must, confounded,
Hear the trump proclaim the day:
Come to judgment! Come to judgment! Come to judgment!
Come to judgment! Come away!

Now redemption, long expected,
See in solemn pomp appear;
All His saints, by man rejected,
Now shall meet Him in the air:
Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
See the day of God appear!

Answer Thine own bride and Spirit,
Hasten, Lord, the general doom!
The new Heav’n and earth t’inherit,
Take Thy pining exiles home:
All creation, all creation, all creation,
Travails! groans! and bids Thee come!

The dear tokens of His passion
Still His dazzling body bears;
Cause of endless exultation
To His ransomed worshippers;
With what rapture, with what rapture, with what rapture
Gaze we on those glorious scars!

Yea, Amen! let all adore Thee,
High on Thine eternal throne;
Savior, take the power and glory,
Claim the kingdom for Thine own;
O come quickly! O come quickly! O come quickly!
Everlasting God, come down!


This next tune is a little corny, but it's so true and timely! Jesus is Coming Again...are you ready?!

Sunday Brunch with IHOP

Sorry, no pancakes here. This is the International House of Prayer in Kansas City. Careful now, don't get too tipsy on the Holy Spirit too early in the day!



It is so atrocious the things that take place in the name of Jesus Christ. Blasphemy is too soft of a word.

10 September 2010

MacDonald's Motivational Tweets

I follow a lot of different pastors and leaders on Twitter. Most of those I follow are individuals I don't agree with theologically or doctrinally. It's a good way to stay in the Emergent loop. I also follow James MacDonald of Harvest Bible Chapel and Walk in the Word. I used to attend Harvest Bible Chapel and left last Fall for various reasons. Without going into detail here, the church has a definite mega-church feel to it, and it is clearly being run as a business, not a church. The worship music is mostly praise choruses where the audience (sorry, can't call it a congregation) is afforded the opportunity to worship and sing about themselves for 30 minutes before the sermon. The reverence for God Almighty has rapidly declined in that church since I first began attending a couple of years ago. Perhaps the biggest reason I left, though, is because the sermons preached by Pastor James began to contradict themselves from one week to another and Scripture wasn't being correctly taught. Yet I continued to follow Pastor James on Twitter to keep up with Harvest and his ministry. Lately, though, I can barely tell the difference between his tweets and those of Rick Warren or Joyce Meyer or any other motivational speaker. I admit, there's nothing inherently wrong with these pithy sayings. But with so many people looking up to Pastor MacDonald as a great Bible teacher, it's disappointing to see that these "tweets"could have been sent by any of the "Christian" motivational speakers today. But I guess that's all part of the slide down the seeker-sensitive slope.

 

Redeemer Presbyterian (Tim Keller) Teaching Mysticism

The following was posted over at the Sola Sisters blog.

Redeemer Presbyterian Teaching Mysticism

by Christine Pack & Dwayna Litz (lightingtheway.blogspot.com)

A class being taught at Redeemer Presbyterian Church uses a book by "Christian mystic" Jan Johnson, who has taught and written extensively on a practice known as "contemplative prayer."  Unfortunately, while contemplative prayer is a practice that sounds Christian, it has its roots in pagan, occultic practices.  Johnson writes:

“Contemplative prayer, in its simplest form, is a prayer in which you still your thoughts and emotions and focus on God Himself. This puts you in a better state to be aware of God's presence, and it makes you better able to hear God's voice, correcting, guiding, and directing you.” (Jan Johnson, When the Soul Listens 1999, pg. 16)

Johnson's explanation of the initial stages of contemplative prayer leaves no doubt that "stilling" your thoughts means only one thing; she explains:

“In the beginning, it is usual to feel nothing but a cloud of unknowing.... If you're a person who has relied on yourself a great deal to know what's going on, this unknowing will be unnerving.” (Ibid., pg. 120)

This term "cloud of unknowing" comes from the writings of an unknown 14th-century monk, who wrote about contemplative meditation as a “teachable, spiritual process enabling the ordinary person to enter and receive a direct experience of union with God.” (http://contemplativeprayer.net)

The premise of the "cloud of unknowing" is that in order to really know God, mysticism must be practiced, and the mind has to be "shut down" or "turned off" so that the cloud of unknowing, where the presence of God awaits, can be experienced.  But "shutting down the mind" is an occultic practice, and is therefore off-limits for Christians:
“When you come into the land which the LORD your God is giving you, you shall not learn to follow the abominations of those nations. There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire [an ancient occult practice], or one who practices witchcraft, or a soothsayer, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, or one who conjures spells, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. For all who do these things are an abomination [detestable] to the LORD…" (-Deuteronomy 18:9-12a)
So why then, is the occultic practice of contemplative prayer (also known as centering prayer, Lectio Divina, etc.) literally flooding into today's churches? My guess is that many Christians are simply naive about what exactly occultic mysticism is.  Perhaps they think it comes with a warning label or that spooky music will start playing if somebody starts unwittingly doing a mystical practice.  Whatever the case, mysticism can masquerade by many different names and is found in most faith traditions outside of Christianity: the Native American Indians have their shamanism, the Muslims have sufism, the Jews have Kabbalah, the Roman Catholics have monastic disciplines, the Hindus/Buddhists have yoga and meditation, etc.  What unifies all these different cultural practices is that they all serve one purpose: to corrall the active, thinking mind so that a mystical state can be entered into through an altered state of consciousness.  And, rather than feeling dangerous or scary, mysticism often gives a person a pleasant experience, sometimes even a profoundly spiritual experience.  Unfortunately, the "spirit" connected to in spiritual mystical experiences is not God, as these practices are expressly forbidden by God.

But, most Christians today have virtually no knowledge of New Age/eastern meditation techniques, and so when these practices come into the church with "Christian" names and are taught by their leaders, they don't always immediately recognize that what they are being taught is occultic.  The really scary part is that Christians can unknowingly enter into a mystical state if they do the practices as taught, because unfortunately, ignorance does not afford one protection in the spiritual realm.  You can read here the harrowing testimony of a Christian woman who unknowingly practiced "Christian mysticism" and tells how it took her further away from God, rather than closer.

Christians, please beware of any practice or technique that is done for the purpose of emptying the mind or entering into an altered state of consciousness.  This is not biblical, and is can be found nowhere in Scripture:  In fact, just the opposite:
"And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words." (Matthew 6:7)
Does this not eerily sound like a description of the mantra meditation used in many faith traditions for the purpose of corralling the mind?  Please, brothers and sisters, hold fast to truth and test all things against Scripture.  We are living in perilous times, and sadly, ignorance is no protection against the wiles of Satan.


See also:

Christian Woman Unwittingly Enters a Mystical State

Redeemer Presbyterian Class Schedule

"The Way of the Monk" at Redeemer Presbyterian

Thursday's Spurgeon (on Friday)

The following is excerpted from a sermon entitled, An Encouraging Lesson from Paul's Conversion. It was preached on August 7, 1870.
Now our Lord Jesus Christ not only prays for those whom we pray for, but he prays for those we never thought of praying for. There are some whom he mentions before the eternal throne whom we have never mentioned, who have never yet been observed by any interceding Christian, whose cases have never impressed a single godly heart, yet Jesus knows them: and does he cry to God for them, and shall there not come to them grace in due season? Ay, my brethren, I rejoice in this, that where through ignorance or through the narrowness of my charity my prayer has never stretched itself, the prayer of the great High Priest who wears the Urim and Thummim can yet reach, and the salvation of God shall come to such. I doubt not Jesus might well have said to Paul, ““I have prayed for thee, and therefore thou shalt be mine,”” and in many other cases the like is true.

The intercession of our Lord is a mighty power, and as it wins gifts for men, yea, for the rebellious also, apostles, and preachers, and teachers, are called forth by divine grace. Not our colleges, our councils, our societies, or our conferences, but the intercession of Jesus is the mainstay of our strength, the secret cause of the calling of men into the mystery of the gospel.
HT: The Daily Spurgeon

08 September 2010

It's Here! It's Here!

God is so good. After a less-than-desirable day at work, what could be better than arriving home to find a package from Grace to You? "It can't be," I thought. But it was...


(Forgive the flash!)
If you're on the Grace to You mailing list, then you (hopefully) received an offer for a free hardcover edition of this Bible. I only received my offer a few weeks ago and yet my Bible arrived today. It was just what I needed to perk me up this evening. Seems to me it might be the perfect excuse to start working on that exegetical paper on Ephesians!

I already have the MacArthur Study Bible in the NASB and I love it. I had no plans to purchase the ESV, but who can resist it when it's free? If you didn't receive the free offer because you weren't on the mailing list, but you're looking for a good study Bible, I highly recommend this one. The notes in this Bible are fantastic and now that they're paired up with the ESV, well, it's a practically perfect combination!

MacArthur ESV Study Bible from Crossway on Vimeo.