29 February 2016

Equipping Eve: Equipped to Evangelize, Part 1

Every person who has been born again is equipped to evangelize the lost. So why is it that some of us are hesitant to engage unbelievers with the gospel? Ladies, let's see what God's Word says about evangelism, and then let's be faithful to follow that Word.

Click here to listen to this episode of Equipping Eve.

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

Additional Resources
Equipping Eve: Thou Changest Not
Equipping Eve: What Happens at Small Group
Equipping Eve: Simeon's Psalm

26 February 2016

This 'n' That

When I am at a restaurant, I do everything possible to keep the silverware from touching the table. Think this through: the silverware has been run through a hot, disinfecting dishwasher. The table was wiped down with a germ-infested rag by the busboy who has also touched everyone's used, dirty dishes. The conclusion we must draw, then, is that the tables at a restaurant are riddled with microscopic ickiness that you do not want to deliberately welcome into your body.

Always rest your fork on your plate!
Keeping all of this in mind, then, picture this: as usual, I went out to lunch after church on Sunday. Just as our meals arrived, my fork slipped off of my plate and onto the table. Ew. So I asked for another fork. The waitress went in the back and brought back a clean fork; you could tell it had recently come out of the dishwasher. Fantastic. I reached for it, thanking her as she handed it to me, and then, for some inexplicable reason, instead of continuing to hand it to me, she attempted to set it down on my plate...and it slipped onto the table! Why? Why would you not just continue to hand it to me? What evilness possessed you to taint my new, clean fork? At that point, I felt that I couldn't ask for yet another fork, so I sighed, dug my hand sanitizer (peppermint scented) out of my purse, and washed my new fork.

Now, perhaps I am a bit overboard on the germ thing but, considering that I am down with the flu as I type this, I don't think so. Germs are everywhere and people are disgusting (don't even get me started on people who leave the restroom without washing their hands). All of that aside, however, let's create a lame sermon illustration out of this, shall we?

All it takes is one to infect you: one E. coli-tainted bowl of food to upset your tummy, one flu-driven sneeze or cough to render you feverish, achy, and miserable for 2 weeks, just one. Likewise, all it takes is one sin for us to be guilty of them all. Not only are we born with a sin nature, we also cannot keep the Law no matter how hard we try. And all it takes is committing one sin to make us guilty of them all.
For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all. (James 2:10)
And this is why we need a Savior. Not only can we know that, one day, there will be no more sickness, we know that one day, there will be no more sin for those who have been saved by the Lord Jesus Christ. And we long for that day when we can see Him face to face, don't we? Come quickly, Lord Jesus.

With that, there is not much more to say. Stay healthy and take some time to enjoy your week in review (kind of):

19 February 2016

This 'n' That

Are any of you as weary of all the political talk as I am? It is absolutely astonishing to me how caught up Christians get in these matters every single time another election rolls around. And all the worry and the commentary simply prove to demonstrate a functional doubt of God's sovereignty. I hate to break it to you, but even if Trump does get the Republican nomination (which, let's be honest, is likely a longshot), God knew it. Not only did He know it, but if it happens, He ordained it. True story. So please, please, please, please, stop allowing politics to consume your life and conversation.

What has been an unexpectedly helpful side effect of all this political nonsense is that I am slowly (or on some days, rather quickly), cleaning out my social media feeds. Yes, I have "unfollowed" or "muted" quite a few people in recent days. Unfortunately, I've found that I've had to unfollow for more than mere political commentary overload, however, and am selectively unfollowing so-called "discernment ministries" and other well-known Christian personalities. Some of these decisions were based on the publishing of inappropriate material and, when it comes to the discernment world, well, let's just say that it is really exhausting watching the same old ambulance chasers do/say/write the same old thing day after day after day.

Dr. Claw
On a completely random, unrelated, and strange note: I found myself wearing just one glove this week while I was cold but still needed full use of my other hand. It was weird and made me feel a little like Dr. Claw from Inspector Gadget. I know, I know, technically Dr. Claw wore his gloves on both hands, but you rarely saw them both. Come on, fellow children of the 80s, do not pretend you don't know what I'm talking about.

On that bizarre note, it is finally Friday, and that means it is time for your ever-faithful, but slightly sparse, week in review (kind of):

12 February 2016

This 'n' That

So, I was doing a little perusing of proper office and computer ergonomics (I know, I'm weird and boring, but I had my reasons) and noticed a trend, not just at the website of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), but also at sites like Apple. They were all displaying pictures of those old, huge, really, really deep, curved-screen computer monitors. I mean, could we please update our photos? I found it mildly amusing that so many ergonomic instructions used pictures or illustrations that were clearly at least 20 years old. It was like a step back in time.
photo credit: One Click Or Two? via photopin (license)

But oh well. Perhaps we should be comforted by these photos of simpler times. Times before our computers were available everywhere, at our fingertips, on our wrists, in our pockets. Perhaps we should take time to reflect on those days when we actually could function without these electronic beasts. When we communicated via telephone, and actually heard people's voices. Perhaps we should reminisce over the days when our private lives were just that—private—and were not readily and willingly put on display for all the world to see and comment. Perhaps those days weren't so bad after all.

Of course, those days were also pre-blogs, and where would we be without those? Well, let's be honest, we'd have a lot more time on our hands, but we wouldn't have the wonderful pleasure of enjoying our week in review (kind of):

05 February 2016

This 'n' That

What are the signs of true "repentance" in the sight of God?

First, I tell you, there is always sorrow with it. No man ever repents of sin without having some kind of sorrow with it. More or less intense, it may be, according to the way in which God calls him, and his previous manner of life, but there must be some sorrow. We do not care when it comes, but at some time or other it must come, or it is not the repentance of the Christian...What I would have you understand is, that there must be some real sorrow. If the prayer may not be vocal, it must be secret. There must be a groan if there is no word; there must be a sigh if there be no tear, to show the repentance, even though it be but small.

There must be in this repentance, I think, not only sorrow, but there must be practice—practical repentance.

Many people are very sorry and very penitent for their past sins Hear them talk. "Oh!" they say, "I deeply regret that ever I should have been a drunkard; and I sincerely bemoan that I should have fallen into that sin; I deeply lament that I should have done so." Then they go straight home; and when one; o'clock on Sunday comes you will find them at it again. And yet such people say they have repented. Do you believe them when they say they are sinners, but do not love sin? They may not love it for the time; but can they be sincerely penitent, and then go and transgress again immediately, in the same way as they did before? How can we believe you if you transgress again and again, and do not forsake your sin? We know a tree by its fruit, and you who are penitent will bring forth works of repentance...True "repentance" will yield works meet for repentance," it will be practical repentance.

Yet farther. You may know whether your repentance is practical by this test. Does it last or does it not? Many of your repentances are like the hectic flush upon the cheek of the consumptive person which is no sign of health. Many a time have I seen a young man in a flow of newly acquired, but unsound godliness, and he has thought he was about to repent of his sins. For some hours such an one was deeply penitent before God, and for weeks he relinquishes his follies. He attends the house of prayer, and converses as a child of God. But back he goes to his sins as the dog returns to his vomit. The evil spirit has gone "back to his house, and has taken with him seven others more wicked than himself; and the last state of that man is worse than the first." How long has your penitence lasted? Did it continue for months? or did it come upon you and go away suddenly? You said, "I will join the church—I will do this, that, and the other, for God's cause." Are your works lasting? Do you believe your repentance will last six months? Will it continue for twelve months? Will it last until you are wrapped in your winding-sheet?

Yet again, I must ask you one question more. Do you think you'll repent of your sins if no punishment were placed before you? or do you repent because you know you shall be punished for ever if you remain in your sins? Suppose I tell you there is no hell at all; that, if you choose, you may swear; and, if you will, you may live without God. Suppose there were no reward for virtue, and no punishment for sin, which would you choose? Can you honestly say, this morning, "I think, I know, by the grace of God, I would choose righteousness if there were no reward for it, if there were nothing to be gained by righteousness, and nothing to be lost by sin." Every sinner hates his sin when he comes near to the mouth of hell; every murderer hates his crime when he comes to the gallows; I never found a child hate its fault so much as when it was going to be punished for it. If you had no cause to dread the pit—if you knew that you might give up your life to sin, and that you might do so with impunity, would you still feel that you hated sin, and that you could not, would not, commit sin, except through the infirmity of the flesh? Would you still desire holiness? Would you still desire to live like Christ? If so—if you can say this in sincerity—if you thus turn to God and hate your sin with an everlasting hatred, you need not fear but that you have a "repentance" which is "unto life."

—Charles Spurgeon, "Repentance Unto Life"
Good stuff, isn't it? Well, the links that follow may not be quite as convicting or searching as Spurgeon's sermon, but they will help you get up to date with your week in review (kind of):

03 February 2016

Equipping Eve: You Make the Choice, God Makes the Change? (Part 2)

Ah, the church sign. Who would have thought it was possible to cram so much bad theology into such a small space! One church sign recently caught my eye and read, "You make the choice, God makes the change!" Is this what the Bible says about conversion?

Click here to listen to this episode of Equipping Eve.

Click here for a list of resources used in this episode of Equipping Eve.

Additional Resources
Equipping Eve: You Make the Choice, God Makes the Change? (Part 1)
Equipping Eve: Perfect Perspicuity
Equipping Eve: True Worship

01 February 2016

Do You Know?

Do you know that you are converted? Can you find this wonderful change upon your souls? Have you been thus born again, and made anew? Are not these strange matters to many of you? And such as you never felt upon yourselves? If you cannot tell the day or week of your change, or the very sermon, that converted you, yet, do you find that the work is done; that such a change indeed there is, and that you have such hearts as before described? Alas! The most do follow their worldly business, and little trouble their minds with such thoughts: and, if they be but restrained from scandalous sins, and can say, "I am no whoremonger, nor thief, nor curser, nor swearer, nor tippler, nor extortioner; I go to church, and say my prayers"; they think that this is true conversion, and they shall be saved as well as any. Alas, this is foolish cheating of yourselves; this is too much contempt of an endless glory, and too gross neglect of your immortal souls. Can you make so light of heaven and hell? Your corpses will shortly lie in the dust, and angels or devils will presently seize upon your souls, and every man and woman of you all will shortly be among other company, and in another case than now you are; you will dwell in those houses but a little longer, you will work in your shops but a little longer; you will sit in these seats, and dwell on this earth, but a little longer; you will see with those eyes, and hear with those ears, and speak with those tongues, but a little longer; till the resurrection day: and can you make shift to forget this?

—Richard Baxter, A Call to the Unconverted

Further Reading
Actively Seeking Holiness
So You Call Yourself a Christian
Even the Demons Believe