30 November 2010

29 November 2010

What is the Gospel?

Have you ever asked around in your church, small group, or Bible study to see how many people can actually verbalize the Gospel? If you did, I suspect you would be shocked to find out how many individuals cannot articulate this central element of the Christian faith! Here is a major flaw in today's churches and Bible studies. They are so busy  servicing people's felt needs that they fail to address the only true, legitimate need that any of us has...the need to know and believe and share the Gospel of Jesus Christ. So what is the Gospel? John MacArthur teaches it beautifully in the November 27 reading of his devotional, Daily Readings from the Life of Christ, Volume 2.
THE DANGER OF UNBELIEF
"Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am He, you will die in your sins." John 8:24
Repeating His warning from verse 21, Jesus declared that those who reject Him will die in their sins because they refuse to "believe that I am He."
The Lord Himself says that those who reject Him cannot be saved, but will die in their sins. To be a Christian one must believe the full biblical revelation about Jesus: that He is the eternal second person of the Trinity, that He entered space and time as God incarnate, that He was born of a virgin, that He lived a sinless life, that His death on the cross is the only sufficient, substitutionary sacrifice for the sins of all who would ever believe in Him, that He rose from the dead and ascended to the Father in heaven, that He now intercedes for His own redeemed people, and that He will one day return in glory.
Persistent unwillingness to believe the truth about Jesus Christ, by its very nature, precludes the possibility of forgiveness, since salvation comes only through faith in Him (3:16, 36; 6:40; Rom. 10:9-10; 1 John 5:10-13). Those who continue in unbelief, refusing to embrace in faith all that Jesus is and has done, will die in their sin and be lost forever (cf. 3:18, 36; Heb. 2:3). Apart from the knowledge of the gospel of Jesus Christ, no one can be saved.
For more resources from Dr. John MacArthur, visit Grace to You.

28 November 2010

Sunday Morning Praise - First Sunday in Advent



COME, THOU LONG-EXPECTED JESUS

Come, Thou long expected Jesus
Born to set Thy people free;
From our fears and sins release us,
Let us find our rest in Thee.
Israel’s Strength and Consolation,
Hope of all the earth Thou art;
Dear Desire of every nation,
Joy of every longing heart.


Born Thy people to deliver,
Born a child and yet a King,
Born to reign in us forever,
Now Thy gracious kingdom bring.
By Thine own eternal Spirit
Rule in all our hearts alone;
By Thine all sufficient merit,
Raise us to Thy glorious throne.

Sunday Morning Praise

I will also be posting an Advent edition of "Sunday Morning Praise," but I simply had to post Great is Thy Faithfulness this morning! This hymn was in my head most of yesterday (not a bad thing!). As I went for my morning run today, I was listening to a sermon by Pastor John Munro and he closed his message with words from this same wonderful hymn. So it has been blessing me for two days now and even though I post it often, I pray it will also bless you this morning!

27 November 2010

What Does this Verse Mean to You?

Have you ever sat in a Bible study that asked questions like, "What do you think this verse means?" or "What does this verse mean to you?" The nature of these questions makes us think that there's no real right or wrong answer, doesn't it? Well, in actuality there is a right answer to these types of questions and it is this: It doesn't matter what I think or what the verse means to me. What matters is, what does the verse mean? Period.

25 November 2010

Top Ten Thanks

Well, Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Even though "Top Ten Thanks" will be ending for the year, may all of us (myself especially included) remember to thank God for His countless blessings everyday!

  1. I am thankful for God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. I am thankful how each has worked in my life.
  2. I am thankful for mysteries such as the Trinity, as they are remarkable, comforting reminders that I cannot comprehend God because He is SO BIG!
  3. I am thankful for lessons learned in hastiness.
  4. I am thankful for what promises to be a quiet Thanksgiving with my parents.
  5. I am thankful for the Christian fellowship that I find right here among my own family!
  6. I am thankful for tried-and-true (and delicious!) family recipes.
  7. I am thankful for this life and for the promise of the next.
  8. I am thankful for safe travels.
  9. I am thankful that the weather forecast was wrong and it's not raining buckets!
  10. I am thankful for Revelation 22:20 and I say, "Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!"

Thursday's Spurgeon

In those days, and in that time, saith the Lord, the iniquity of Israel shall be sought for, and there shall be none; and the sins of Judah, and they shall not be found: for I will pardon them whom I reserve. (Jeremiah 50:20)

A glorious word indeed! What a perfect pardon is here promised to the sinful nations of Israel and Judah! Sin is to be so removed that it shall not be found, so blotted out that there shall be none. Glory be unto the God of pardons!

Satan seeks out sins wherewith to accuse us, our enemies seek them that they may lay them to our charge, and our own conscience seeks them even with a morbid eagerness. But when the Lord applies the precious blood of Jesus, we fear no form of search, for “there shall be none”; “they shall not be found.”
 The Lord hath caused the sins of His people to cease to be: He hath finished transgression and made an end of sin. The sacrifice of Jesus has cast our sins into the depths of the sea. This makes us dance for joy.

The reason for the obliteration of sin lies in the fact that Jehovah Himself pardons His chosen ones. His word of grace is not only royal but divine. He speaks absolution, and we are absolved. He applies the atonement, and from that hour His people are beyond all fear of condemnation.
Blessed be the name of the sin-annihilating God!
Amen and thank you, Father!

HT: Apprising Ministries

24 November 2010

Top Ten Thanks

  1. I am thankful for lessons in humility.
  2. I am thankful for the peace of God in trials and joys.
  3. I am thankful for God's strength in the midst of exhaustion.
  4. I am thankful for warm blankets on a cold night!
  5. I am thankful for reminders of God's grace and mercy.
  6. I am thankful for the faithfulness of the writers of the Bible to respond to God's call.
  7. I know I've said it a lot this week, but I am so thankful for GOD'S WORD!!
  8. I am thankful for Titus 2:11-14.
  9. I am thankful for the amazing example of the Apostles Paul.
  10. I am thankful for Psalm 118:1 and to it I must say, Amen!

23 November 2010

Top Ten Thanks

  1. I am thankful for a safe commute home last night in a very scary storm!
  2. I am thankful for Jesus' promise in John 14:2-3.
  3. I am thankful for the creativity of God!
  4. I am thankful that God has chosen me to live in these exciting times, as He makes it more and more clear that His return is very near!
  5. I am thankful for the many names of Jesus, and how each one reminds us of His nature and character.
  6. I am thankful for the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, who guides and convicts.
  7. I am thankful for (some) modern technology. Long drives are always more enjoyable with an iPod and some Wretched Radio podcasts!
  8. I am thankful that I am still close with my parents, and that we can look forward to a pleasant Thanksgiving together!
  9. I am thankful that "in the beginning, God." He always was and always will be!
  10. I am thankful for the memory of my Grandma through one lonely pink carnation that is thriving on a plant that was thought dead long ago.

22 November 2010

New Look

As you probably noticed, I decided to give the blog a little makeover. I know, I know, change is risky, but I really wanted to minimize the white space on the sides of the blog and get a cleaner look. I'd love to get some feedback on whether you like, love, hate, or don't care about the new look. Take a moment and vote in the poll on the right side of the page and let me know what you think! Don't worry, my feelings won't be hurt if you hate this new layout, and I can always change it back! I am also contemplating a name change for the blog (very risky, I know!), but that is still up for debate. I was thinking of something simpler, like "Contending" or something like that. I'll post a poll for the name change after the Thanksgiving holiday. In the meantime, feel free to comment or send me a note if you think a name change is necessary or if you are vehemently against it!

Top Ten Thanks

  1. I am thankful for a Spring rain in November!
  2. I am thankful for the promises of 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17.
  3. I am thankful for encouraging words from my older brother.
  4. I am thankful for the ministry of Pirate Christian Radio and Fighting for the Faith.
  5. I am thankful for shortened work weeks!
  6. I am thankful that Jesus Christ is the Good Shepherd!
  7. I am thankful for the courage, boldness, and zeal of the Reformers, as well as their conviction to stand upon God's Word alone.
  8. I am thankful for all of the doors God has closed in my life, because I know that they were for my good and my protection.
  9. I am of course also thankful for all of the doors God has opened, especially the unexpected ones!
  10. I am thankful that God has given me another day on this earth, and I pray that I may glorify Him this day!

21 November 2010

Little Black Dress

You know, it really is all about the perfect little black (or red) dress. At least, that's what Mattel and Target are advertising to your daughters this Christmas season with their "Barbie Basics" collection. Looks like "basic" and "modest" aren't the same thing.


So tell me, parents, what's on your daughter's Christmas list?

Sunday Morning Praise

I found a two really beautiful instrumental versions of "Blessed Assurance," so I am posting both of them this morning. I'm sure you won't have any difficulty singing along! Enjoy!






Blessed Assurance

Blessèd assurance, Jesus is mine!
O what a foretaste of glory divine!
Heir of salvation, purchase of God,
Born of His Spirit, washed in His blood.

Refrain
This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior, all the day long;
This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior, all the day long.

Perfect submission, perfect delight,
Visions of rapture now burst on my sight;
Angels descending bring from above
Echoes of mercy, whispers of love.

Refrain

Perfect submission, all is at rest
I in my Savior am happy and blest,
Watching and waiting, looking above,
Filled with His goodness, lost in His love.

Refrain

Top Ten Thanks

  1. I am thankful for our blessed hope and the promise that Jesus Christ will return (soon!) for His Church.
  2. I am thankful for so many of the hymns of old, which not only sound beautiful, but also teach truth.
  3. I am thankful for the scholars who dedicated years of their life to ensure that we may have accurate Bible translations in our own language (this does not include Eugene Peterson. I am not thankful for his heretical paraphrase The Message).
  4. I am thankful for Grace Community Church and the ministry of Grace to You.
  5. I am thankful for Psalm 119, which declares over and over the sufficiency of God's holy Word!
  6. I am thankful for my nephew, Jakob, and for his soon-to-be little brother, James!
  7. I am thankful for the memory of a fun Thanksgiving spent in San Francisco with my big brother (even though he made me drive over the Bay Bridge and I'm terrified of bridges).
  8. I am thankful that God's mercies are new every morning (Lamentations 3:22-24)!
  9. I am thankful that there is still some beautiful Fall color clinging to the trees.
  10. I am thankful for a torn curtain.

20 November 2010

Top Ten Thanks

  1. I couldn't ask for a more beautiful late November morning...thank you, God!
  2. I am thankful for a Savior "who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross." (Philippians 2:6-8 ESV)
  3. I am thankful that when I know I am standing on the Word of God, I can stand tall.
  4. I am thankful for that God gave someone the idea to make peppermint Oreos!
  5. I am thankful for the book of Hebrews. I just finished studying through it yesterday and hated to leave it!
  6. I am thankful for the blessings of Ephesians 1 that are granted to believers upon salvation.
  7. I am thankful for the ministry of Wretched Radio.
  8. I am thankful for the ministry, wisdom, and service of Charles Spurgeon.
  9. I am thankful that, by the grace and power of God, I am growing in sanctification.
  10. I am thankful for my two kitties, who God has entrusted to me and who bring me smiles, laughter, and the occasional bit of terror (as something fragile is about to teeter off of the counter).

19 November 2010

Top Ten Thanks

  1. I am thankful for the Bible, the holy Word of God.
  2. I am thankful that I can rest knowing that all I need to "hear" from God is contained in the pages of Scripture. I do not need to rely on visions or voices, warm-fuzzies, fleeces, handwriting, angel dust, or a special anointing.
  3. I am thankful for the holiday season and the memories it offers.
  4. I am thankful for men like John MacArthur, Alistair Begg, Paul Washer, and Art Azurdia, who preach the Word faithfully and without shame or apology.
  5. I am thankful for the MABS program at The Master's College and for God's clear confirmation (and no, I did not get a voice or vision) that it is where He wants me to be right now.
  6. I am thankful for the many Bibles that are scattered throughout my small house, because I realize that many Christians do not even have one Bible. (By the way, have you checked out Bible League International?  If you want to give a great Christmas present, why not send a Bible to someone who doesn't have one?)
  7. I am thankful for the extra free time that suddenly appeared in my schedule!
  8. I am thankful that God rested on the seventh day so that we too may rest.
  9. I am thankful for God's blessing of stability.
  10. I am thankful for the undeserved grace of God upon me, a wretched, vile sinner.

18 November 2010

Thursday's Spurgeon

If all the philosophers in the world should contradict the Scriptures, so much the worse for the philosophers; their contradiction makes no difference to our faith. Half a grain of God’s word weighs more with us than a thousand tons of words or thoughts of all the modern theologians, philosophers, and scientists that exist on the face of the earth; for God knows more about his own works than they do. They do but think, but the Lord knows.

With regard to truths which philosophers ought not to meddle with, because they have not specially turned their thoughts that way, they are not more qualified to judge than the poorest man in the church of God, nay, nor one-half so much. Inasmuch as the most learned unregenerate men are dead in sin, what do they know about the living things of the children of God? Instead of setting them to judge we will sooner trust our boys and girls that are just converted, for they do know something of divine things, but carnal philosophers know nothing of them.

Do not be staggered, brothers and sisters, but honor God, glorify God, and magnify him by believing great things and unsearchable—past your finding out—which you know to be true because he declares them to be so. Let the ipse dixit of God stand to you in the place of all reason, being indeed the highest and purest reason, for God, the Infallible, speaks what must be true.
HT: Pyromaniacs

Top Ten Thanks

Well, last year I spent the week before Thanksgiving counting just a few of the things for which I am thankful. God has richly blessed me, and the least I can do is spend time thanking Him for all of those undeserved blessings! I encourage you to do the same!

I am thankful for:
  1. Jesus Christ, my Lord and my Savior, and His obedience to His Father even unto death.
  2. A country where I can (for now) freely speak the name of Jesus Christ.
  3. Parents who raised me to know and love the Lord.
  4. God's provision in even the tiniest circumstances.
  5. The sovereignty of God, in which I can rest and know that He is in control even when things appear to be spinning without order.
  6. Crisp, autumn morning air.
  7. A warm house that keeps me protected from that air!
  8. Boldness granted by the Holy Spirit, because I could never exercise it on my own!
  9. A wonderful, godly best friend who makes me laugh and smile, who prays with me and for me, and who graciously listens to me vent whether it's been a good or a bad day!
  10. A healthy, working body that allows me to eagerly and avidly serve the Lord.

17 November 2010

Don't You Forget It!

Over at the blog Dr. IBEX Ideas, my professor has been walking through the Psalms daily. It's provided some really wonderful devotions for me, and I particularly enjoyed his latest post on Psalm 103. So, as I always do when I find something that blesses me, I like to pass it along to my readers! Enjoy, and if you have a moment, stop on over to Dr. IBEX Ideas!
"Don't You Forget It!" - Psalm 103
There are no requests directed toward God is this psalm. It is all praise and a huge reminder to not forget His blessings, or as verse two calls them: “His benefits.” He focuses on three of those benefits in verses three to five and structures the psalm around them. They are forgiveness, redemption, and satisfaction. But first, let’s read the psalm and look for those three benefits. http://bit.ly/bC5IXY
Bless the Lord for Forgiveness (Ps.103:3,10-14). Notice how David mentions the blessing (Ps.103:3) and then elaborates on it later (Ps.103:10-14). Forgiveness is like relief when you are burdened (Ps.103:11-12), and reconciliation when you have hurt someone (Ps.103:13-14).
Bless the Lord for Redemption (Ps.103:4,6-9). God redeemed the nation from bondage and from the difficulties they faced on their journey to Canaan. He frees us that He might be our Master and care for us forever. When He crowns us, He transforms slaves into princes (Rom.5:17).
Bless the Lord for Satisfaction (Ps.103:5,15-18). Man is frail and temporary, but believers can enjoy “eternal youth” and spiritual renewal. David likens us to an old eagle who still soars upward with new strength because of the thermals that lift him (Isa.40:31).

You belong to the King who rules over everything (Ps.103:19)! The angels praise Him (Ps.103:20-22), so how much more should we praise who have experienced His benefits!
Oh, didn’t you hear? It’s not all about you! Now don’t you forget it!!

Wiersbe adds: “Just as God renews the face of the earth and brings it new life and beauty (Ps.104:30), so He can renew your life. It begins with a renewed mind (Rom.12:1-2) as the Spirit teaches you God’s Word (Eph.4:23; Col.3:l0). Wait before the Lord in worship, and He will renew strength (Isa.40:31). When you walk by faith, you have constant renewal in spite of the changes of life (2Cor.4:16-18).”

15 November 2010

Unequaled Greatness of the Son of God

Yesterday's devotional time took me to Hebrews 10. And then I heard this:



Whoa. Amen and amen!

14 November 2010

Sunday Morning Praise



How Firm a Foundation

How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord,
Is laid for your faith in His excellent Word!
What more can He say than to you He hath said,
You, who unto Jesus for refuge have fled?

Fear not, I am with thee, O be not dismayed,
For I am thy God and will still give thee aid;
I’ll strengthen and help thee, and cause thee to stand
Upheld by My righteous, omnipotent hand.

When through the deep waters I call thee to go,
The rivers of woe shall not thee overflow;
For I will be with thee, thy troubles to bless,
And sanctify to thee thy deepest distress.

When through fiery trials thy pathways shall lie,
My grace, all sufficient, shall be thy supply;
The flame shall not hurt thee; I only design
Thy dross to consume, and thy gold to refine.

The soul that on Jesus has leaned for repose,
I will not, I will not desert to its foes;
That soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake,
I’ll never, no never, no never forsake.

13 November 2010

"Touch Not My Anointed"

A couple of months ago, I received an email from a reader who was very upset with my June 30 posting, Strange Encounters of the Jesus Kind. This post contained an article by Pastor Larry DeBruyn which questioned (rightfully) the validity of modern-day claims of visions of Jesus Christ. This particular reader took issue especially with what she perceived to be an attack on the late Oral Roberts, who she believes to have been a biblically solid teacher. Her main argument and warning to me was that I should heed the Bible's warning to "touch not God's anointed." The use of this verse (or rather, half-verse) has always intrigued me. It seems to be used as an "easy out" when people want you to stop exposing the truth about a false teacher or teaching. I was confronted with this verse again today and, though I'll admit my focus was a bit shaky at the time (more on that later), I am certain that it was once again misused and plucked from its context. That caused me to search my email archives for my response to this particular reader, and to share with you the presentation I offered as to why the use of "touch not mine anointed" is not a particularly effective argument just because you think someone said something mean about someone who you happen to like. The following is taken directly from my response to this reader with minor modifications for the sake of confidentiality and clarity:
In your note you also urged me to "touch not my anointed ones," a common quote from Scripture that is used especially by the Word-Faith crowd to silence their critics. The problem with using this half-verse is that it is taken out of context. This phrase appears in both 1 Chronicles 16:22 and Psalm 105:15. If you review the context of these verses, you can see clearly that the "anointed ones" that are spoken of are actually the offspring of Abraham--Israel. These passages speak of God's care, provision, and protection of His children Israel. In fact, I was just reading this sermon of John MacArthur's regarding God's promises to Israel in which he says,
"Now to further understand this thought, look with me to Psalm 105...Psalm 105 verse 8. And here we have a whole psalm speaking about God's covenant relationship to Israel. And just picking it up in verse 8, "He hath remembered His covenant forever...that is His promise made with Israel...the word which He commanded to a thousand generations which covenant He made with Abraham and His oath unto Isaac and confirmed the same unto Jacob for a law and to Israel for an everlasting covenant." So Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, all of those people had the covenant repeated, "Which covenant was made to the nation as an everlasting covenant, saying, Unto thee will I give the land of Canaan the lot of your inheritance. When they were but a few men in number, yea very few and sojourners in it, when they went from one nation to another, from one kingdom to another people, He permitted no man to do them wrong, yea He reproved kings for their sake saying, Touch not Mine anointed and do My prophets no harm."
Now what the psalmist is saying is that when God called out Israel and established a covenant with them, He built into that covenant protection against Israel's injury and ultimate harm so that they would not be wiped out, so that He could fulfill ultimately His promise to them. So Israel then is said to be the apple of His eye, is said to be His special anointed, "Touch not Mine anointed."
Let me draw you to another passage in Deuteronomy chapter 28. And this gives us even another insight into God's relationship to this nation Israel. And in the chapter we find God promising blessing for obedience. In verse 10 it says, "All people of the earth shall see that thou art called by the name of the Lord," the world will see that you belong to Him. Then verse 13, "And the Lord shall make thee the head and not the tail and thou shalt be above only and thou shalt not be beneath."
Now the point that he's making there is of all the nations, Israel is to be the head. Of all the nations, Israel is to be the unique recipient of divine blessing. So Israel then is the apple of God's eye. Israel is the anointed of God. Israel is by design the head of all nations in terms of special and unique blessing."
To apply this half verse of "touch not my anointed" any other way is to twist God's Word to accommodate one's own situation. So while I appreciate your concern that I am on "dangerous ground" by speaking against God's supposed "anointed" ones, it is not necessary. Those who are on dangerous ground are those who have been deceived by these men and women or worse, those who have endorsed them.
Using "touch not my anointed" out of context for one's own purposes is no better than Joel Osteen using every mention of the word "treasure" in Proverbs to teach his congregation that God wants them to be rich. We can only stand firmly on God's Word when we stand upon it in its entirety. If we merely stack up half-verses and half-truths, we will eventually teeter, wobble, topple, and fall.

Contending for the Faith

In this Q & A soundbite, John MacArthur answers the question of, "What does it mean to contend for the faith?" You can also read more on this topic from his commentary on the book of Jude here.

If you want to delve deeper into the topic of fighting, or contending, for our faith, I highly suggest you read Dr. MacArthur's book, The Truth War

"Never Waste a Whisper"

"Never waste a whisper." This was perhaps one of the most amusing--and concerning--quotes from the interview posted below with Bill Hybels, pastor of Willow Creek Church. In promotion of his latest book, The Power of a Whisper: Hearing God and Having the Guts to Respond, Bill Hybels shares his false teaching that God speaks to us in whispers. Haven't heard a whisper from God lately? Well, you must have ignored one in the past and now He's not going to talk to you!

Chris Rosebrough of Fighting for the Faith and Pirate Christian Radio does a marvelous job of reviewing this interview given by Hybels. Pour a cup of coffee and take a listen. Just a warning, though, your head may explode as you wade deeper and deeper into Hybels' lies.




See Also:
THE PROBLEM WITH "HEARING" FROM GOD
LISTENING FOR GOD WHISPERS

11 November 2010

Thursday's Spurgeon

The following is from Spurgeon's devotional, Morning and Evening:
Matthew 10:25
It is enough for the disciple that he be as His Master.
No one will dispute this statement, for it would be unseemly for the servant to be exalted above his Master. When our Lord was on earth, what was the treatment He received? Were His claims acknowledged, His instructions followed, His perfections worshipped, by those whom He came to bless? No; "He was despised and rejected of men." Outside the camp was His place: cross-bearing was His occupation. Did the world yield Him solace and rest? "Foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay His head." This inhospitable country afforded Him no shelter: it cast Him out and crucified Him. Such-if you are a follower of Jesus, and maintain a consistent, Christ-like walk and conversation-you must expect to be the lot of that part of your spiritual life which, in its outward development, comes under the observation of men. They will treat it as they treated the Saviour-they will despise it. Dream not that worldlings will admire you, or that the more holy and the more Christ-like you are, the more peaceably people will act towards you. They prized not the polished gem, how should they value the jewel in the rough? "If they have called the Master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of His household?" If we were more like Christ, we should be more hated by His enemies. It were a sad dishonour to a child of God to be the world's favourite. It is a very ill omen to hear a wicked world clap its hands and shout "Well done" to the Christian man. He may begin to look to his character, and wonder whether he has not been doing wrong, when the unrighteous give him their approbation. Let us be true to our Master, and have no friendship with a blind and base world which scorns and rejects Him. Far be it from us to seek a crown of honour where our Lord found a coronet of thorn.

10 November 2010

Embracing Globalism

From Watcher's Lamp:
Although it received very little coverage in the mainstream media, Barack Obama made some comments about globalism during his speech in Mumbai, India that were very eye-opening. As he was discussing the new realities of world trade in 2010, Obama warned against "those who see globalization as a threat" and he spoke of the "integrated world" in which we all now live. But is merging the entire globe into a one world economy, a one world financial system and a one world labor market really the best thing for the American people?

..."This will keep America on its toes. America is going to have to compete. There is going to be a tug-of-war within the US between those who see globalization as a threat and those who accept we live in a open integrated world, which has challenges and opportunities."

Joel Osteen's New Age Life Now

Joel Osteen's New Age Life Now?

Brannon HowseBy Brannon Howse 
Worldview Weekend 

"Whatever you conceive you can achieve."

With this favorite karma-changing promise, New Agers believe you need only use the "unlimited" power and consciousness of your mind to bring about all your dreams, desires and wishes.

Cloaked in a "Christian" package, Joel Osteen's Your Best Life Now, bears an uncomfortable and dangerous similarity to this most popular of New Age claims. Sample a few of the Osteen versions:
  • "You will produce what you're continually seeing in your mind. If you foster an image of defeat and failure, then you're going to live that kind of life. But if you develop an image of victory, success, health, abundance, joy, peace, and happiness, nothing on earth will be able to hold those things from you." (page 5)
  • "You must conceive it in your heart and mind before you can receive it." (page 6)
  • "You must look through your 'eyes of faith' and start seeing yourself as happy, healthy and whole." (page 15)
  • "What you will receive is directly connected to how you believe." (page 22)
  • "We receive what we believe." (page 72)
  • "Learn how to conceive. Keep the image of what you want to become in front of you. You're going to become what you believe." (page 81)
Osteen now travels the country, packing out stadiums with his happy-talk. But I'd like to see Osteen pay a visit to China, preach his "your best life now" drivel, and see how Christians there respond. Let Osteen look into the eyes of Pastor Lei who has been repeatedly arrested and beaten for preaching the Word of God in his church - a church not licensed by the Chinese government. How would the American's best life work out for Pastor Lei and his congregation? Perhaps their jail time for the Gospel would give them time to assess Rev. Osteen's claims.

Have these and countless other persecuted Christians been beaten, jailed and murdered because they "received what they believed," or did these terrible things happen to them because they did not "develop an image of victory, success, health, abundance, joy, peace, and happiness"?

Were eleven of Jesus' disciples martyred because, "they received what they believed"? Were the disciples living under a "curse of poverty and defeat" as Osteen says of so many? Here's a role call of questions I'd like to ask Mr. Osteen. Why is it, Joel, that:
  • Paul and Matthew were beheaded?
  • Barnabas was burned to death?
  • Mark was dragged to death?
  • James, the less, was clubbed to death?
  • Peter, Philip, and Andrew were crucified?
  • Thomas was speared to death?
  • Luke was hung by the neck until dead?
  • Stephen was stoned?
How would these disciples take to the best-life message?

Yes, I know. Joel's promises sound so much better to American ears than all those warnings of Jesus about being hated by most people for His sake. But it remains that in large measure, Joel's offering can be described as nothing less than blasphemy. On page 36, he claims, "God has a big dream for your life." On page 56:
"God sees you as a champion. He believes in you even more than you believe in yourself!"
And on page 110:
"God has confidence in you."
Osteen does not provide a single Bible verse to back up these statements…because there are none. Nowhere in the Bible do we read that God believes or has confidence in us. He loves us, but does not believe in us. On the contrary, He knows all too well how unbelievably fickle and untrustworthy we humans actually are. It's not like Joel describes on page 57:
"Believe it or not, that is how God sees you, too. He regards you as a strong, courageous, successful, overcoming person."
Furthermore, God does not define our success in materialistic terms as Joel does. God is interested in our obedience above all. On page 63, Joel writes:
As long as you are pressing forward, you can hold your head up high, knowing that you are a "work in progress," and God is in the process of changing you. He's looking at your last two good moves.
Joel, where in the Bible do you read that God is not looking at our last two bad moves but our last two good moves? Isaiah 64:6 says that even our righteous deeds are like filthy rags or wickedness to God because He is so holy. Even if God did look at our last two good moves, He would still see filthy rags.

Or how about this Osteen gospel gem from page 95:
"Be the best you can be, then you can feel good about yourself."
Where in the Bible do we find this teaching? What if your best is getting drunk just once a week instead of twice a week? Should you still feel good about yourself?

But wait. I've saved Joel's most outrageous statement for last (drum roll please). On page 144, Joel elevates us to the heavenlies by pointing out that "You may even need to forgive God."

Whoa! And exactly what would we be forgiving God for? As I recall, forgiveness is for sins - or at least mistakes. But which of those has God made? Not a one according to any Bible I've ever read.

Oswald Chambers offers a perspective on the kind of thing the Osteens of the world do to Christians:
"Satan's great aim is to deflect us from the center. He will allow us to be devoted to the death to any cause, any enterprise, to anything but the Lord Jesus."
Hebrews 13:9 instructs us to not be carried away by all sorts of strange teachings (deflected from the center) but sadly, that is exactly what is happening for many at the hand of Joel Osteen.

Instead of pursuing our best life now, we should pursue the things of the Lord so we can have our best life later. I fear that for many who follow Joel's false teaching, this life is the best they will get. The false gospel proclaimed by Joel Osteen and accepted as truth by millions may allow many to achieve what they can conceive of the things in this world, but true to Jesus' promise, they may lose their souls in the pursuit.
HT: Worldview Weekend 

A Little Midweek Humor

09 November 2010

AWESOME.

As I watched the video below in my office this afternoon, tears came to my eyes. A couple weekends ago, shoppers at Macy's in Philadelphia were treated to a "Random Act of Culture" as the Opera Company of Philadelphia broke into an amazing perfomance of Handel's Hallelujah Chorus. Over 600 choristers were mingling with the shoppers when they began to sing. (Just an observation: you'll notice that the woman wearing the headband with the "devil's horns" continued to work on the makeover she was giving after she got over the initial shock of the name of Messiah being proclaimed.) Chances are that such a performance will warrant arrest next year, so I hope those present enjoyed!

07 November 2010

Sunday Morning Praise




O THE DEEP, DEEP  LOVE OF JESUS

O the deep, deep love of Jesus, vast, unmeasured, boundless, free!
Rolling as a mighty ocean in its fullness over me!
Underneath me, all around me, is the current of Thy love
Leading onward, leading homeward to Thy glorious rest above!

O the deep, deep love of Jesus, spread His praise from shore to shore!
How He loveth, ever loveth, changeth never, nevermore!
How He watches o’er His loved ones, died to call them all His own;
How for them He intercedeth, watcheth o’er them from the throne!

O the deep, deep love of Jesus, love of every love the best!
’Tis an ocean full of blessing, ’tis a haven giving rest!
O the deep, deep love of Jesus, ’tis a heaven of heavens to me;
And it lifts me up to glory, for it lifts me up to Thee!

05 November 2010

Everything is Possible with Rick Warren

Rick Warren truly is a talented man. He can rip Scripture out of context, twist it into a pretzel, preach a motivational gospel of works, and tickle the itchiest ears all in 90 seconds! Did you know there are 6 phases to your faith? Yes, I know that the Bible doesn't say that, but I'm sure that Rick will convince us that this is what God meant to say. What are the 6 phases? Well I guess you'll have to buy his new DVD to find out! I personally can't think of anything else I'd want to find under the Christmas tree this year. Oh wait...



I get to choose how much God blesses my life??? Did I hear that correctly? Oh yes, because I know that God is sitting in Heaven, wringing His hands each time I keep Him from blessing me---or each time I DO something that forces Him to bless me. This is how Rick Warren is teaching Matthew 9:29? How is it that God has not struck this heretic with lightning? Oh, come quickly, Lord Jesus, before this wolf leads anymore ignorant lambs to the slaughter!

Slave

A couple of years ago, I heard this sermon by John MacArthur on the true meaning of the Greek word doulos, or slave, in the New Testament. Until that time, I hadn't realized how much our English translations had softened the true meaning of a Christian being purchased by the blood of Christ by removing the word slave from the Bible. This undoubtedly has added to the lightweight "Christianity" that abounds today, where Jesus can be your Savior, but doesn't necessarily have to be your Lord. I'm excited to see now that, coming in January 2011, Dr. MacArthur will be releasing a new book simply entitled SLAVE. 



See Also:
SLAVES OF CHRIST (PDF)
SLAVES OF CHRIST (Audio)
SERVANT OR SLAVE? (Audio)

**REPOST** Alpha Exposed: Part 3

I apologize that it's taken so long for me to produce Part 3 of this series of articles. I've been distracted and, quite honestly, wasn't sure how to go about presenting the multiple dangerous ties of friendship that Nicky Gumbel possesses. Even as I type this, I'm not sure where God will take the following paragraphs! My only motive is to expose Gumbel as one who maintains relationships with many men who should be considered quite questionable individuals, at least by any Bible-believing Christian. Without going into detail about any of the following men, please consider the following connections between Nicky Gumbel and:

  • Tony Blair. This man, a recent Catholic convert, is quite possibly the world's greatest proponent of globalism today. Through the Tony Blair Faith Foundation, he is striving not only for a world religion, but also world government, and world peace (hello, Bible prophecy!). You can see a recent interview Gumbel did with Blair here. Interestingly, Blair is being heavily touted as the front runner to become the first permanent president of the EU. That decision will be made this week, on November 19.
  • Rick Warren. "America's [apostate] Pastor" has heavily endorsed Gumbel's Alpha Course. Also interesting? Warren holds a seat on the Religious Advisory Council for Blair's Faith Foundation (a council that is made up of multiple religions, further proving that global religion is the goal!).
  • Bill Hybels. We all know how I feel about Bill Hybels and his seeker-sensitive Willow Creek Church! Remember, I speak from personal experience when it comes to Willow Creek and I can say with certainty that it is a church focused on the social gospel, not the Lord's gospel. There is no conviction coming from the pulpit. In fact, there is no pulpit! There is a stage and they put on a show. That's it. Hybels offers his praise to the deceptive course in saying, "Alpha is one of the best known evangelistic programs in the world.  I don't think anyone rejoices more in its effectiveness than I do." Online Source.
  • Tony Campolo. Oh, where do I begin?! I'll keep this brief and say that Campolo is one of the leaders of the Emerging Church movement. You can find multiple articles about him at Apprising Ministries. Campolo says about Alpha, "The Alpha Course is intelligent, biblically based, and incredibly interesting....For the inquiring mind, there is nothing better around the world than the Alpha course." Online Source. Now, if Tony Campolo thinks that the Alpha Course is Biblically based, then we have a problem, because Campolo himself has difficulty properly understand God's Word!
  • Dr. Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury. His words about Alpha? "What Alpha has to offer is a unique mixture of Christian content and Christian style.  I recommend it...as a very special tool of evangelism." Online Source. What does this even mean? "Christian content and Christian style?" Remember, Williams is an Anglican bishop...hopefully that will clear things up! Oh, and Williams is also a buddy of Blair and his Faith Foundation.
  • Joel Hunter. Ah, yes, Joel Hunter. He leads a mega church in the Orlando area, Northland, A Church Distributed. You can read more about Northland's efforts with Alpha in my article, Alpha Exposed: Part 2b. The 2009 Alpha National Conference was held at Northland. But why does any of this matter? Joel Hunter is considered one of Barack Obama's "Faith Leaders"! Well, we're sitting under the most anti-Christian administration in our country's history, so apparently Hunter isn't having much influence. Or, could it be that Hunter is just as liberal in his values as our president? This article indicates that Hunter, among other things, holds little if any pro-life view. Forgive me, but I desperately fail to see how one can claim to be a Christian and not uphold the sanctity of an innocent unborn human life. Hunter is even such a friend of liberals that he was invited to give the prayer at the 2008 Democratic National Convention. So tell me, if Gumbel decided to hold his national Alpha Conference at Hunter's church, doesn't one naturally assume that the two men share similar ideals and beliefs? Yeah, I thought so... 
I'm sure that, given more time, I could provide more names that would cause discomfort and unease. Among these already listed, do not forget that the Catholic Church heavily praises and uses the Alpha Course. There even exists a specially designed Catholic Alpha Course! If the Catholic Church is in agreement with something that claims to be Christian, then we have to seriously question the validity of that Christian claim! Catholicism is a religion of works and idolatry and does not preach the true Gospel of Jesus Christ. For Catholics to embrace Alpha, it must be very non-threatening to their beliefs, and that means that Alpha is failing to properly proclaim the substitutionary death of Jesus Christ on the cross for our sins! But what do Catholics believe in? Besides salvation by works, they hold to many mystical beliefs and practices. (For example, this paragraph in the Catholic Catechism encouraging contemplative, meditative prayer.) We've seen from Alpha Exposed: Part 1 that the Alpha Course is deeply rooted in dangerous, even demonic, mystical forces, so the jump to Catholicism is not that far.

Finally, let me acknowledge that I have taken the time to listen to some of Gumbel's "sermons" that he has preached at Holy Trinity Brompton. While he failed to quote the Bible more than once or twice (and then took Scripture grossly out of context), he found time to often quotemen like Emergent Church leader Rob Bell and, even better, found multiple instances where he could quote Barack Obama. Gumbel preaches a social gospel and fails to preach the TRUE gospel. Are Christians called to feed the poor, etc? Absolutely. But if I fail to also share the good news of Jesus Christ crucified and resurrected for the forgiveness of sins, then all I have done is helped send someone to Hell with a full stomach. Our first call as Christians is not to end poverty, sickness, "global warming" and the like. Our first duty as Christians is to proclaim the Gospel. And I fear that Nicky Gumbel has misunderstood that call.

In the end, all false teachings are interconnected in one big deceptive web. One of the biggest connectors is the practice of contemplative prayer, encouraging people to empty their minds and respond to their emotions and the supposed voice of God that they may hear. This is the perfect opportunity for the Enemy and his minions to enter in and take over. For further illustration, see the picture below. It can also be accessed within the Bayith Ministries article, The Dragnet Behind Alpha, Vineyard, ‘Purpose-Driven’, ‘Toronto’ etc.

I hope that, if nothing else I've raised a bit of a red flag for you concerning the Alpha Course and Nicky Gumbel. Sure, it sounds good. What could be better than a non-threatening, easy-going approach to the Gospel? But we must be so discerning! We must test everything against Scripture! Sadly, nowadays, we must test our churches, their sermons, their leaders, their activities, more than ever before. Liberal, unoffensive Christianity is rapidly replacing the Truth. Follow the example of Jesus and point fingers where you know the Gospel is being twisted. Speak boldly against forces of darkness disguised as angels of light! And pray, dear brothers and sisters! Pray for courage, for wisdom, and for discernment. Above all else pray for protection in these last days. And keep looking up, for our redemption draweth nigh!

But when these things begin to take place, straighten up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near. Luke 21:28 (NASB)

See Also:

04 November 2010

Thursday's Spurgeon

The following is excerpted from the sermon Holding Fast the Faith delivered February 5, 1888.
Doth that man love his Lord who would be willing to see Jesus wearing a crown of thorns, while for himself he craves a chaplet of laurel? Shall Jesus ascend to his throne by the cross, and do we expect to be carried there on the shoulders of applauding crowds? Be not so vain in your imagination. Count you the cost, and if you are not willing to bear Christ's cross, go away to your farm and to your merchandise, and make the most of them; only let me whisper this in your ear, "What shall it profit a man if he gain the whole world and lose his own soul?"

03 November 2010

Election Results

I apologize for posting so many articles from other websites today, but my RSS feed seems to be overflowing with "must reads" that I simply "must share." The following was posted by Frank Turk of Pyromaniacs. We'd all do well to note its simple, yet overlooked, truth. Many self-proclaimed Christians these days have sacrificed the biblical Gospel for a social gospel. They've traded God's Word for a political platform. Your good intentions and good works and strong stands against abortion and gay marriage, while commendable, will not save you. God isn't fretting over the political state of our nation, so why are you?
There were no surprises last night, least of all to God. This seems like a really hackneyed point of God's sovereignty, but I think that those thinking that are not really thinking very hard. 
See: when Barack Obama was elected president, God wasn't surprised. His plan wasn't sent into a tailspin -- not for the U.S., and not for the grand scheme to glorify himself and save people. But many of our dear friends were very undone by the election of President Obama -- and today I think we will see many of them overdone about the giant changes in store now that President Obama's election may be moot at best.
That doesn't mean it doesn't matter how you voted or how you should vote. What it does mean is that we cannot trust in salvation through politics. We also cannot trust in salvation through our nation.

We have to trust in a salvation which actually addresses our danger, a salvation which saves us from what we are actually dying from. This is what God is working on.
And those are the election results we should be focused on.
HT: Pyromaniacs

Ed Young Wants Your Checking Account Routing Number

This man is an abomination to the title of pastor.


Ed Young Goes After Access to Bank Accounts of Church Members from FBCJax Watchdog on Vimeo.


HT: Crosstalk Blog

Mass Surveillance: How Private is Your Private Life?

From Prophecy News Watch:
Steadily escalating is the program of warrantless wiretapping of millions of American’s personal, electronic communications, which began under the Bush administration. This mass dragnet of personal email messages, phone calls, and Internet searches is now being done with a virtual blank check from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance (FIS) courts, which were originally created in 1978 to assure that, in gathering foreign intelligence, the government would not abridge the Fourth Amendment rights of Americans.

The Obama administration has just announced its intention to make it easier to wiretap Internet communications that use encryption such as Blackberry transmissions, social networks like Facebook, and direct peer to peer transmissions like Skype. The Justice Department is also now seeking to get a federal appeals court to overturn a ruling prohibiting the clandestine planting of GPS tracking devices on people’s cars without a warrant.
In public places such as a city street Americans have been well advised not to expect privacy. However, in their own homes, Americans have always enjoyed a right to privacy. Unfortunately, the public/private distinction has already begun to be dismantled. A global positioning (GPS) device on your car over weeks, months, or years can paint an elaborate profile of you—whether you are having an affair, how often you frequent the local tavern, what people you visit, what political gatherings you attend, what congregation to which you belong, how often you attend services, and so on.
Radio frequency Identification (RFID) tracking devices placed on the things you buy are also a potential goldmine of private information about you; and it may be only a matter of time before these items come complete with both RFID and GPS tracking capabilities.
I suggest you read the entire article, which can be found here.

Max Lucado Confirms His Contemplative Bent

While most discernment ministries had already placed popular author Max Lucado in the Contemplative Spirituality camp, Lighthouse Trails Research confirms with the following report:
Cure for the Common Life, by author Max Lucado, is a book about “living in your sweet spot.” Lucado tells readers in chapter one to “[h]eed that inner music,” and quoting mystic Martin Buber from his book, The Way of Man (a book on Jewish mysticism), Lucado tells readers they each have a “divine spark.” Buber had panentheistic affinities as he embraced the teachings of Hasidism (Jewish mysticism) and believed that this divine spark that Lucado refers to is in every human being and every part of creation.
Read the article in its entirety here.

01 November 2010

Monday Musings with Patricia King

It's been awhile since we've gleaned from the false teachings of Patricia King. Are you in your secret place? Well, if not, Patricia will help you get there. Are you ready?



Heavy-revvies? It truly is all about feelings and experience for these false teachers, isn't it? Ugh.