28 September 2013

NoCo90: Does Faith Save? Jesus Saves


If you have an idea or suggestion for an episode of NoCo90, contact No Compromise Radio at their  website, on their Facebook page, or via email at: info [@] nocompromiseradio.com.

Additional Resources 
NoCo90: The Misuse of Matthew 18
NoCo90: I Wasn't Led
NoCo90: The Myth of Free Will

27 September 2013

This 'n' That

Few things can frustrate me like a trip to the Post Office. Usually it is because I am forced to stand in line far too long behind someone who is fasting from soap and water. On Monday, though, the parking lot was nice and empty, so I stepped up to the window rather quickly. Simply wanting to mail two envelopes and purchase some stamps, I was told that my credit card, which reads "See ID" on the back, could not be accepted without an accompanying signature. That way, said the clerk, she could match my signature against the one on my driver's license.

"But," I argued, "anyone can forge a signature. That's why I want you to verify my identity from the picture, not a signature." Her response? A blank stare followed by, "Everyone just had to take a class learning how to read the back of a credit card."

Really? "Everyone" did this? Who is everyone? I wasn't invited. And do you really need a class to figure this out? I worked in retail when I was a teenager and reading the back of the credit card was not exactly something that was highlighted with its own day of special training. In fact, I'm pretty sure it was never mentioned beyond, "Make sure the customer's card is signed or check their I.D." A far cry from rocket science if you ask me.

She refused to let me pay with my card unless I signed it right there in front of her, to which I replied, "I could have someone else's card, but if I signed it right now you'd go ahead and let me charge on it just because it has a signature?"

"Yes."

Are you kidding me? By now a line was forming and the other two clerks were just looking on in wonder. I only had $2 in cash so I had to forgo the purchase of the stamps and just pay to send my envelopes. After that little debacle, I hope they get to where they're going. I do not trust the Post Office lady. If nothing else, I suppose now we know why the U.S. Postal Service may be in financial trouble.

What I learned from this little incident (aside from the fact that I should always buy my stamps at the grocery store) is that I am far too impatient with people. My frustration meter rises extremely quickly and easily. Oftentimes I stop myself immediately and think, "Really? As if I'm so much better than this person? As if I've never annoyed another individual?" After this episode, though, it took a couple of hours for my arrogant pride to wear off and for me to be willing to acknowledge my sin. Okay, so it was frustrating and the clerk's argument didn't make any sense. Was it really worth challenging her, especially once it became evident that she was not understanding my reasoning? No, it wasn't.

The moral of the story? I am not perfect. It's true; I am still being sanctified. And because of that reality, I need to strive to extend grace to others even in the midst of the ridiculous. After all, God has extended grace to me for far greater and graver sins.

So, after you recover from the news about my still-existent sin nature, take some time to enjoy your week in review (kind of):

25 September 2013

The Lord Reigns

photo credit: Joits via photopin cc
The LORD reigns, He is clothed with majesty;
The LORD has clothed and girded Himself with strength;
Indeed, the world is firmly established, it will not be moved.
Your throne is established from of old;
You are from everlasting.
The floods have lifted up, O LORD,
The floods have lifted up their voice,
The floods lift up their pounding waves.
More than the sounds of many waters,
Than the mighty breakers of the sea,
The LORD on high is mighty.
Your testimonies are fully confirmed;
Holiness befits Your house,
O LORD, forevermore.

20 September 2013

NoCo90: The Social Gospel


If you have an idea or suggestion for an episode of NoCo90, contact No Compromise Radio at their  website, on their Facebook page, or via email at: info [@] nocompromiseradio.com.

Additional Resources
NoCo90: The Misuse of Matthew 18
NoCo90: I Wasn't Led
NoCo90: The Myth of Free Will

This 'n' That

I've been thinking a lot lately about materialism. Perhaps because I'm sorting through my own 'stuff' and am realizing just how much I actually own. Too much, definitely, but God is gracious and forgives even the sin of 'too much stuff'. I'm even seeing some of these things being taken away, as due to poor storage conditions it seems that some of my most precious childhood possessions are now ruined. Ah, well, tangible memories are overrated anyway, right?

I also had an experience this week that involved an extremely long wait at the jewelry store while I watched a man go from case to case trying on every watch in the store—including the store's most expensive timepiece. Let's put it this way: this man had a choice, either buy the watch or put a kid through college. Me? I go to that store for the free jewelry cleaning and watch batteries. Yes, I'm that person. And I must admit that it was mildly amusing to watch this man and his wife drag the poor salesman all over the store to gaze at every single watch. Just when I thought he surely must be finished, he returned to the first case, almost as though he was ready for a second lap.

Oddly enough, observing as this man watch-shopped (actually, I don't think he bought anything. It was more like show and tell) reminded me of our great blessings and inheritance in Christ.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.

In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory. (Eph 1:3–14)
Honestly, why would we desire anything more? Brothers and sisters, we have Christ! So while you may never own a watch that tells you what time it is in 80 different countries, while you may not be able to run to the store to scoop up the newest iPhone, do not feel dismayed or jilted. You possess a far greater treasure than this world can offer. And those who can afford these more extravagant things can enjoy them to the glory of God, also keeping their eyes on Christ because He is still their greatest inheritance. When was the last time that you thanked God for the eternal riches that He has promised you?

Well, now that I have all of you dissatisfied with that boring, old watch on your arm, take all the time you need to sit back and enjoy your week in review (kind of):

19 September 2013

Former 20-year Elder Board Chairman of Harvest Bible Chapel Offers First Public Statement Since Departure

There is little doubt that many of this blog's readers are aware of the latest ongoings at Harvest Bible Chapel. A recently released video has in particular caused quite a stir. (Update 2 October 2013: Harvest Bible Chapel has since removed this video from its website and from Vimeo.)

Do Not Be Surprised (DNBS) has deliberately chosen not to comment on this latest development for one simple reason: there already are a great many voices crying out and offering thoughts and commentary. To chime in would, in this writer's opinion, be to add another unnecessary voice to an already noisy conversation. Further, while there are many people who are greatly grieved by the situation at Harvest Bible Chapel and who are genuinely concerned for the many deceived and endangered souls who call that place their church home, there are just as many individuals who thrive on the controversy that has been generated by Harvest Bible Chapel and its senior pastor, James MacDonald. Due to the number of blogs and ministries already alerting about this latest situation, then, it seemed wise to this blogger to simply not feed the sinful desires of this latter group of people.

18 September 2013

You Cannot Sneak into Heaven without a Cross

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. (James 1:2–4)
Samuel Rutherford
If your Lord calls you to suffering, do not be dismayed, for he will provide a deeper portion of Christ in your suffering. The softest pillow will be placed under your head though you must set your bare feet among thorns. Do not be afraid at suffering for Christ, for he has a sweet peace for a sufferer. God has called you to Christ's side, and if the wind is now in his face, you cannot expect to rest on the sheltered side of the hill. You cannot be above your Master who received many an innocent stroke.

The greatest temptation out of hell is to live without trials. A pool of standing water will turn stagnant. Faith grows more with the sharp winter storm in its face. Grace withers without adversity. You can't sneak quietly into heaven without a cross. Crosses form us into his image. They cut away the pieces of our corruption. Lord cut, carve, wound; Lord do anything to perfect your image in us and make us fit for glory.

We need winnowing before we enter the kingdom of God. O what I owe to the file, hammer, and furnace! Why should I be surprised at the plough that makes such deep furrows in my soul? Whatever direction the wind blows, it will blow us to the Lord. His hand will direct us safely to the heavenly shore to find the weight of eternal glory.

As we look back to our pains and sufferings, we shall see that suffering is not worthy to be compared to our first night's welcome home in heaven. If we could smell of heaven and our country above, our crosses would not bite us. Lay all your loads by faith on Christ, ease yourself, and let him bear all. He can, he does, and he will bear you. Whether God comes with a rod or a crown, he comes with himself. 'Have courage, I am your salvation!' Welcome, welcome Jesus!

– Samuel Rutherford, The Loveliness of Christ, as quoted in Voices from the Past, ed. Richard Rushing, (Edinburgh: The Banner of Truth Trust, 2009).

Further Reading
Nurturing Perversion
What God Says about His Word
Witnessing to a Blank Stare

13 September 2013

Hillsong Church to Expand Empire to Southern California

Hillsong Church, Australia's megachurch of megachurches, is expanding its global empire. Lead pastor Brian Houston has announced that a campus in Southern California can be expected "some time next year."

Houston made the announcement on his blog that his son, Ben, and daughter-in-law, Lucille, felt a "sense of calling to Southern California," and thus will be leading this future church plant.
Yes, its true - Hillsong Church is expanding into Southern California!! In a city as influential as LA - a city obsessed with putting names in bright lights – our heart and our prayer is that our church will add to the growing skyline a name Higher, Brighter and Greater than any other…JESUS.
“You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine!” Matthew 5:14-16 (excerpt from MSG)
Nearly a year ago, rumours began about the possibility of a Hillsong Church in Los Angeles. Funnily, at that time we had NO plans for LA. But the more I protested, the stronger the rumours became. Then, taking us by surprise, my son Ben and his wife Lucille, came to Bobbie and I at Easter time and shared with us their sense of calling to Southern California…
(Source)
A website already has been created for this new campus, so there is little doubt that it will be in operation as soon as possible in 2014. It is rather remarkable how so many of these pastors are "led" by "God" to plant churches in desirable and exciting locations, is it not?

This 'n' That

photo credit: eschipul via photopin cc
Well, today is Friday the 13th. You know what that means, don't you? For me, it means that I have a series of routines and traditions that I must complete in defiance of the alleged bad luck that this day brings. I began my day doing an umbrella dance—inside, of course. This was followed by the smashing of the mirrors ceremony. Now, I am typing this while sitting underneath a ladder with a black cat on my lap.

Yes, of course I am being utterly facetious with the above. The moral of the story? Superstitions are silly. We as Christians have a far greater truth, do we not? In fact, we have the Truth, the Way and the Life, namely Jesus Christ. We have His Word—a book which is not filled with fantasy and fairy tales, but with His story of redemption.

We talk very easily about the inerrancy and sufficiency of the Word, but how often do you pause to truly reflect upon that reality? Every word contained within your Bible is true and trustworthy and given to you by God. Why would we ever seek for anything more? Why would we ever be so ungrateful as to tell God that His Word is not enough? Do you treasure that Word? Do you thrive on it and crave it, desiring to feast upon it every single day? If not, ask God in this moment to give you a hunger for His Word that never ceases. I cannot help but think that He would delight to answer that prayer.

And when you're done praying and reading the great truths of Scripture, come back here to enjoy your week in review (kind of):

12 September 2013

Pope Francis Lies to All People, Says Belief in God Not Necessary for Forgiveness

Pope Francis
Pope Francis once again has demonstrated his ignorance of the Scriptures and of the true and saving gospel of Jesus Christ. The Independent sums up well the report that is causing an unsurprising stir:
In comments likely to enhance his progressive reputation, Pope Francis has written a long, open letter to the founder of La Repubblica newspaper, Eugenio Scalfari, stating that non-believers would be forgiven by God if they followed their consciences.

Responding to a list of questions published in the paper by Mr Scalfari, who is not a Roman Catholic, Francis wrote: “You ask me if the God of the Christians forgives those who don’t believe and who don’t seek the faith. I start by saying – and this is the fundamental thing – that God’s mercy has no limits if you go to him with a sincere and contrite heart. The issue for those who do not believe in God is to obey their conscience.

“Sin, even for those who have no faith, exists when people disobey their conscience.”
(Source)
Yet, Scripture reveals that man cannot trust himself to know good from evil.
The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; who can understand it? (Jer 17:9)
It is only when a man is born again from above (John 3:30), by the power of God alone, that his heart is regenerated and made new. Even then man's still-sinful heart can deceive, but until or unless he is saved and regenerated by God, man remains a slave to sin.

NoCo90: Faith Healing Frauds


If you have an idea or suggestion for an episode of NoCo90, contact No Compromise Radio at their website, on their Facebook page, or via email at: info [@] nocompromiseradio.com.

Additional Resources
NoCo90: Christ's Federal Headship
NoCo90: Donate Buttons and Christian Begging
NoCo90: No Arminians in Heaven

11 September 2013

When Tolerance Is Valued over Truth

Dr. John MacArthur; photo courtesy of Grace to You
The visible church in our generation has become astonishingly tolerant of aberrant teaching and outlandish ideas—and frighteningly intolerant of sound teaching. The popular evangelical conception of "truth" has become almost completely subjective. Truth is viewed as fluid, always relative, never absolute. To suggest that any objective criterion might be used to distinguish truth from error is to be egregiously out of step with the spirit of the age. In some circles, Scripture itself has been ruled out as a reliable test of truth. After all, the Bible can be interpreted in so many different ways—who can say which interpretation is right? And many believe there is truth beyond the Bible.

All this relativity has had disastrous effects on the typical Christian's ability to discern truth from error, right from wrong, good from evil. The plainest teachings of the Bible are being questioned among people who declare themselves believers in the Bible. . . .

Even to suggest that a sorting between lies and truth is necessary is viewed by many as perilously intolerant. There is a notion abroad that any dispute over doctrine is inherently evil. Concern for orthodoxy is regarded as incompatible with Christian unity. Doctrine itself is labeled divisive and those who make doctrine an issue are branded uncharitable. No one is permitted to criticize anyone else's beliefs, no matter how unbiblical those beliefs seem to be. . . .

We Remember

*This is an edited version of an article that was posted two years ago on the 10th anniversary of 9/11.

photo credit: paulwoolrich via photopin cc 
It is difficult to believe that it has been twelve years since the events of 9/11. Not to sound trite, but it truly does feel like just yesterday that I was wandering a shopping mall in between classes and looked up at a TV screen only to see the Twin Towers tumbling to the ground in a pile of rubble. Twelve years.

I cannot remember precisely what my first thought was that day. Shock, probably. Fright, confusion, sadness. It really doesn't matter. What I do know is which emotion was admittedly and shamefully absent: agonizing grief over the many souls that instantly stood before their Creator without ever having known Him in this life. Twelve years later, it still is this thought that consumes my thoughts surrounding this day.

Every year we remember the horrific events of September 11, 2001. Yet every year they become a bit more distant and while perhaps they do not become foggier, they nevertheless become more intangible. So let me take you back. I do not want to write about terrorism or Islam, because ultimately those things are inconsequential. Let me simply remind you what happened that day.

06 September 2013

This 'n' That

photo credit: Mel B. via photopin cc
There is danger in having a blog (or any public forum). We can begin to assume that all of our pondering and all of our opinions must be shared out loud. We can begin to believe that, if we do not speak up about something, then we have failed. After all, who else will be able to speak their mind as eloquently as we might on a particular subject?

These are the times when, rather than indulge our musings, we better serve ourselves, each other, and most importantly, the Lord, by stepping back and keeping quiet. Just because we have a blog, or a Facebook page or a Twitter account or fill-in-the-blank with whatever forum you desire, does not mean that we must reflect upon every issue being debated in Christendom.
A fool gives full vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds it back. (Proverbs 29:11)
And so, before I begin to babble, I am going to take my own advice and just be quiet. I will not, however, hush up until after you've enjoyed your week in review (kind of):

05 September 2013

Evangelist Reinhard Bonnke at Jesus Culture Event: 'God Will Save America'

When a person believes that they are receiving special, personal revelation from God, no claim is off limits, no matter how absurd or outlandish. How can one argue with 'thus saith the Lord'? What retort is there to 'God told me'? One could respond with the simple challenge of 'Prove it,' but such curtness likely will elicit the response of, 'How dare you question my experience!'

The problem with these claims of private revelation and prophecy ought to be obvious to the Christian who is committed to the objective Word of God. The man who seeks to know the truth through this Word has no time to chase after fanciful, manipulated experiences. The man who devours the truth of the Word will be too full to feast on fairy tales of his imagination.

Yet this is a world that thrives on emotions. It desires the subjective, anything that might make the individual feel more important, more spiritual, more fulfilled. This is why the deceptive (and often damning) teachings of the charismatic movement are so often aimed at young people. Fragile, vulnerable, and always seeking more of anything, the youth of this world are perhaps the favorite delicacy sought by the wolves who have infiltrated the church and are devouring its sheep.

This reality is evidenced by the popularity of such groups as Jesus Culture, a music group that was borne out of the youth group of Bill Johnson's Bethel Church in Redding, California. The group claims that they have been specially commanded by God to 'mobilize' a 'new breed of revivalists':

NoCo90: I'm a 'Visual Learner'


If you have an idea or suggestion for an episode of NoCo90, contact No Compromise Radio at their  website, on their Facebook page, or via email at: info [@] nocompromiseradio.com.

Additional Resources 
NoCo90: The Misuse of Matthew 18
NoCo90: I Wasn't Led
NoCo90: The Myth of Free Will

03 September 2013

A Message Moment with Psalm 1:1


We hope you have enjoyed Eugene Peterson's disgraceful butchering interpretation of Psalm 1:1. It is advised, however, that after every Message Moment you take some time to open and read a valid translation of God's Word.
Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth. (John 17:17)
*Note: Readers who also are regular listeners of No Compromise Radio may have noticed that the concept for this post was stolen. We are certain that the gang at NoCo won't mind, though. After all, use of their 'Message Moment' idea really is conceding this blog's lack of cleverness and celebrating their abundance of the same.

Further Reading
Twisting the Message
Women of Faith Spread "The Message"
"As Above, So Below"

02 September 2013

Resting in the Immutability of God

photo credit: write_adam via photopin cc
To attempt to wrap one's brain around the innumerable and magnificent attributes of our God is a feat which shall never be fully accomplished this side of glory. Yet our mighty God, the Creator and Sovereign King, has revealed Himself in His Word. And what has He revealed? His goodness, His love, His righteousness, His holiness, His faithfulness, His sovereignty, His forgiveness, His justice, His omnipotence, His omniscience, His salvation, His omnipresence, His graciousness, His perfection. The list could go on and on.

There is a marvelous attribute of the Lord that is oft-neglected, however, and that is His unchangeableness—His immutability. The perfection and the eternality of God requires that He possess this attribute.
For I, the Lord, do not change; therefore you, O sons of Jacob, are not consumed. (Mal 3:6)
Says Puritan thinker Stephen Charnock:
Immutability belongs to all the attributes of God. Every one of his perfections is immutable, and none of them will appear glorious without this beam. How cloudy would his blessedness be if he were changeable. How dim would be his wisdom if it might be obscured. How feeble would his power be if it were capable of languishing. O how mercy would lose its luster if it could change into wrath. Unchangeableness is a thread that runs through the whole web of God's attributes to his eternal glory. (Stephen Charnock, The Existence & Attributes of God)

Tyler Perry and T.D. Jakes Offer Strange Fire

Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven.
So when you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. But when you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving will be in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.
(Matthew 6:1–4) 

Perhaps Tyler Perry forgot about this admonition offered by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount? This video was recorded just yesterday following T.D. Jakes' Megafest and shows Perry claiming that God told him to give $1 million to Jakes' new youth ministry. Perry then speaks in tongues and lays hands on Jakes while the crowd waits for Jakes to "push that baby out" (whatever that is supposed to mean). Here is Jakes' response from Twitter:
Source
Million dollars aside, the shenanigans in this video ("He's pushin' that baby out! He's pushin' that baby out!) are just one more example of the chaotic charismatic silliness that continues to deceive millions. Such things are as strange fire offered before the Lord.

Further Reading
Bill Johnson: God Does Not Cause Illness and Never Chooses Not to Heal
God Speaks, but How?
Bad Doctrine Yields Bad Fruit