Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The deaths of McMahon, Fawcett, Michael Jackson

Much has been said about the Ed McMahon, Farrah Fawcett, and Michael Jackson.

Dan Phillips reviews their spiritual state and the real issue at hand:
McMahon's celebrity largely rested on another's talent: the quick-witted quipster and twitchy talk-show host, Carson. He was the butt of Carson's affectionate jokes, and largely served to make Carson look good. (I once employed McMahon's role in a post about the ministry of the Holy Spirit.)
Farrah Fawcett grabbed the spotlight because of her great beauty, dazzling smile, a poster every teenaged boy (including me, as I recall) had on his wall, and some acting stints. Beyond the report that she was subjected to the (at-best) meaningless deathbed magic of Rome, I know nothing of her spiritual state.

Michael Jackson — well, what do you say? He definitely dwarfs the other two, in our culture, and for a strange amalgam of reasons.
Raised a Jehovah's Witness, Jackson appended a disclaimer to his history-making video for "Thriller" disavowing belief in the occult. In his later videos, Jackson went out of his way to distance himself from any notion of moral boundaries. They were a mixture of sweetness and creativity, and depravity. Catchy tunes and engaging inspiration were mixed with obscene or otherwise jarring imagery, in videos for such songs as "The Way You Make Me Feel" and "Black or White" or "Bad." A Jackson video came to be like a dazzling table setting, spattered with dung.

As you shrink from the Frankenstein shock of Jackson's visage, reflect: mankind was created in God's image (Genesis 1:26-28), and still bears that image (Genesis 9:6). But in seeking to take God's place and make themselves gods (Genesis 3), our foreparents did to their whole beings what Michael Jackson did to his face: they horridly disfigured themselves and all of us, leaving a repulsive mockery of what we were meant to be.

He is dead at the age of 50. He had everything the world offered--but no Jesus.

Justin Taylor commented on the liner notes from an album of his, where Jackson quoted the final lines from William Ernest Henley's famous poem, Invictus:
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.
Those are not the words you want written on your tombstone.

It is hard to think of a sadder public figure in recent years. A black man who never found his identity as one created in God's image, and who never experienced the identity of being conformed to the image of Christ. Black and white, male and female, rich and bankrupt, genius and punchline, private and public, innocent and deceptive--everything seemed to be jumbled up.

The one thing that comes to mind about Jackson is how bad he was at hiding his brokenness. Even while living in a literal fantasy land, it was obvious to everyone that this was a person--enormously gifted--desperately seeking a mask to cover, in futility, who he was.

May God use even this to increase our compassion and ministry to the lost, broken, and confused.

Andrew Sullivan weighs in:
There are two things to say about him. He was a musical genius; and he was an abused child. By abuse, I do not mean sexual abuse; I mean he was used brutally and callously for money, and clearly imprisoned by a tyrannical father. He had no real childhood and spent much of his later life struggling to get one. He was spiritually and psychologically raped at a very early age - and never recovered. Watching him change his race, his age, and almost his gender, you saw a tortured soul seeking what the rest of us take for granted: a normal life.

But he had no compass to find one; no real friends to support and advise him; and money and fame imprisoned him in the delusions of narcissism and self-indulgence. Of course, he bears responsibility for his bizarre life. But the damage done to him by his own family and then by all those motivated more by money and power than by faith and love was irreparable in the end. He died a while ago. He remained for so long a walking human shell.

I loved his music. His young voice was almost a miracle, his poise in retrospect eery, his joy, tempered by pain, often unbearably uplifting. He made the greatest music video of all time; and he made some of the greatest records of all time. He was everything our culture worships; and yet he was obviously desperately unhappy, tortured, afraid and alone.

I grieve for him; but I also grieve for the culture that created and destroyed him. That culture is ours' and it is a lethal and brutal one: with fame and celebrity as its core values, with money as its sole motive, it chewed this child up and spat him out.

Dan Phillips concludes:
The only solution for us is not a succession of endeavors to remake ourselves. Each attempt leaves a worse spectacle than the previous, and moves us further from what we truly need.

The only solution for us is the solution to which Michael Jackson never submitted himself, as far as is known: to be born anew, under the good hand of our Creator. We do not need new faces. We need new natures. We need the miracle of regeneration, not the tragedy of manmade makeovers.

And this can only come through the Lord Jesus Christ.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Sermon Outline: Ruth 2:1-7. “God Provides”

1) A Godly Government. Ruth 2:1-3

· Deuteronomy 24:19-22

· 2 Thessalonians 3:10

2) A Godly Providence. Ruth 2:3b-4a

· Proverbs 16:33

· Proverbs 16:9

· Proverbs 3:5-6

3) People of Godly Character. Ruth 2:4b--7

· Luke 6:38

Friday, June 26, 2009


Ken Silva provides a very detailed examination of Philippians 2:5-6

Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped. (Philippians 2:5-6)

What The Scripture Says

How Can We Know For Sure What Is True?

If they do not speak according to this Word, they have no light (Isaiah 8:20).

Do not listen to what the prophets are prophesying to you; they fill you with false hopes. They speak visions from their own minds, not from the mouth of the Lord (Jeremiah 23:16).

Test everything. Hold on to what is good (1 Thessalonians 5:21).

Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true (Acts 17:11).

Christ Is The Very Essence of God

(Phil. 2:6) in very nature God is “affirming” that Jesus is fully God.” And further, the word “nature” here (morphe in the Greek) is “the sum of those qualities that make God specifically God”

Ontologically, what we are saying is, that in this verse of Holy Scripture the Bible is unmistakably teaching that Jesus of Nazareth by being in very nature God is literally made of the same essence that makes God Who He is.
Silva provides an illustration:

Now, you and I are human beings in our nature. Are we not? And as such we are made up of all of the stuff (essence) that comprises a human being.

Christ Was Already Living Before He Lived On Earth

The Deity of Christ Is Not A Human Invention

What The Bible Tells Us About The Historic Person Jesus Of Nazareth

John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. Here it is again broken down in the original Greek. En arche. In the beginning — before anything originated and began to exist. En ho Logoswas the Word. The Word already was existing. Do you see how this agrees with what Paul wrote in Philippians 2:6? Now John himself is also telling us the Word—Christ Jesus—was already existing.

Colossians 2:9. Here the Apostle Paul tells us — For in Christ pleroma tes Theotes somotikos — in the Greek. This means — “everything that makes God Who He is” lives in the Man Jesus of Nazareth.
Hebrews 1:3 The Son [Jesus] is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of His — [the Father’s] — being. Charakter hautou hupostasis — in the original. The substance—or essence—of God’s exact nature—Deity. Once again we learn here that the Father and the Son are identical in their nature, which is what makes them Who they are—and that is Deity—God. And so Christ Jesus really could say — “He who has seen Me has seen the Father” (John 14:9).

As Dr. Robert Lightner informs us:

The term translated nature morphe in verses 6 and 7 is a critical term in this passage. This word (trans. form in the KJV and NASB) stresses the inner essence or reality of that with which it is associated (cf. Mark 16:12). Christ Jesus, Paul said, is of the very essence (morphe) of God, and in His incarnation He embraced perfect humanity. His complete and absolute deity is here stressed by the apostle
(The Bible Knowledge Commentary, NT, 653,654).

What was Jesus claiming that made His adversaries so mad:

The Savior’s claim to deity infuriated the Jewish leaders (John 5:18) and caused them to accuse Him of blasphemy (John 10:33)” (ibid.). Which you will recall, is the very crime for which Jesus Christ of Nazareth was crucified.

The Deity of Christ Is A Crucial Issue

We need to remember that the Bible tells us to have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them (Ephesians 5:11). We also must understand that the Deity of Christ is Satan’s prime target of attack. And here’s why. In the Gospel of John 8:24 our Lord says something that cuts to the very heart of all that we have been talking about. Jesus of Nazareth, the Lord of Glory, and the only Savior of this lost world is quoted by the Apostle John who is an eyewitness to this event.

But What Does The Watchtower Say To Jehovah’s Witnesses?

Finally Dr. Walter Martin (1928-1989) gives us the benefit of his wisdom in this critical area of the classic historic orthodox Christian faith. From his classic text book The Kingdom of the Cults we read:

No treatment of the deity of Christ would be complete without mentioning the greatest single testimony recorded in the Scriptures. John 20:28 presents that testimony… Following through the sequence of events in verses 26 and 27, we learn that the Lord appeared to Thomas together with the other disciples and presented His body bearing the wounds of Calvary to Thomas for his inspection.

This was no spirit or phantom, no “form” assumed for the occasion, as Jehovah’s Witnesses maintain. This was the very body of Christ that bore the horrible imprints of excruciating torture and the pangs of an ignominious death. Here before the eyes of the unbelieving disciple was the evidence that compelled him by the sheer power of its existence to adore the One who manifested the essence of Deity. “Thomas answered and said unto him, My lord and my God.” This was the only answer Thomas could honestly give; Christ had proved His identity; He was truly “the Lord God.” Let us substantiate this beyond doubt…

The picture is clear. Thomas adored Christ as the risen incarnation of the Deity (Jehovah); John declared that Deity was His from all eternity (John 1:1); and Christ affirmed it irrefutably: “If ye believe not that I am he [Jehovah], ye shall die in your sins.” (John 8:24, cf. Exodus 3:14, bracketed mine). All of the pseudo-scholastic and elusive tactics ever utilized can ever change the plain declarations of God’s Word. Jesus Christ is Lord of all; and like it or not, Jehovah’s Witnesses will never destroy or remove that truth. Regardless of what is done to God’s Word on earth, it remains eternal in the glory, as it is written, “For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven” (Psalm 119:89).

So, Who Are You Going To Believe?

The problem we run into immediately is that none of this agrees with the historic record of the actual Person of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, which we read about in the Bible—the true history of our Lord and Savior—Christ Jesus. This would mean then, according to Holy Scripture, that all people who believe the things that we just read, and who deny His full Deity remain condemned to Hell (see—John 3:36).

You’ll recall that the Apostle John, in his eyewitness deposition we call the Gospel of John, records the real Jesus as saying — “I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I Am — [the eternal God Himself come in human flesh] — you will indeed die in your sins.” And so, clearly, we are not dealing with some minor issue here. But rather, this is the heart of the very Gospel of Jesus Christ itself!

We should now be able to see that many who would claim to be Christian really have little idea about what the Bible actually says concerning our great God and Savior Jesus Christ (see—Roman 9:5; Titus 2:13).

The Bible tells us that Jesus went to that grisly death for the joy set before Him (Hebrews 12:2). And what was that joy set before Him? His unfathomable love for —you. Do you see it? God doesn’t just talk about His love for us. No; the Bible says God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8).

It Was God Upon That Cross

As has been asked elsewhere: Do you realize that when the very Creator of the universe came into His world there was no room in His world for Him? So, the next time you look at a nativity scene, just think about it. God became man, born as a tiny, helpless, infant making Himself vulnerable to His rebellious creatures. Why? So that He might demonstrate to us what He had said all along in Holy Scripture — the LORD your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you (Deuteronomy 31:6).

And Now The Rest Is Up To You

Thursday, June 25, 2009

The History of Martyrdom

Christianity Today has a helpful post in the history of Martyrdom here.

The number of Christians killed for their faith has been growing since the beginning of Christianity, in AD 33.
World Christian Trends, William Carey Library, David Barrett & Todd Johnson

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Ten Questions to Assess Your Spiritual Health

Steve Randall suggests Ten Questions to Assess Your Spiritual Health

#1 Do you thirst for God?
Psalm 42

#2 Are you governed increasingly by God’s Word?
2 Timothy 3

#3 Are you more loving?
John 13:34-35; 1 Corinthians 13

#4 Are you more sensitive to God’s Presence?
Genesis 28:16

#5 Do you have a growing concern for the spiritual and temporal needs of others?
James 2:15-16

#6 Do you love being with other followers of Christ?
1 John 3:14

#7 Are the spiritual disciplines increasingly important to you?
Hebrews 12:14; 1 Timothy 4:7

#8 Do you still grieve over sin?
2 Corinthians 7:8-11

#9 Are you a quicker forgiver?
Mark 11:25

#10 Do you yearn for heaven and to be with Jesus?
Philippians 1:21-24; Colossians 3:2

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Watch out for the Reiki Occult practice.

Ray Yungen provides a helpful overview of Reiki and its disturbing practice:
In Reiki, a type of therapeutic touch, it is believed that the ki (chi) energy (a supposed universal energy that flows through all things) can be used to heal people. In the Reiki News article written by Reiki proponent William Lee Rand, Rand expresses a concern about a statement released by US Catholic bishops asking Catholic hospitals not to use Reiki because of its Buddhist roots. Rand tries to show that Reiki is a scientific method that has healing results.
As you examine the practice, certain disturbing practices emerge:
  • Reiki is not scientific at all but rather a spiritual approach.
  • It's necessary for the practitioner to set their own desire, will and ego aside, and allow the Reiki energy to guide itself."
  • "When doing it, I become a channel through which this force, this juice of the universe, comes pouring from my palms into the body of the person I am touching, sometimes lightly, almost imperceptibly, sometimes in famished sucking drafts. I get it even as I'm giving it. It surrounds the two of us, patient and practitioner."1
  • A Reiki attunement is an initiation into a sacred metaphysical order that has been present on earth for thousands of years ... By becoming part of this group, you will also be receiving help from the Reiki guides and other spiritual beings who are also working toward these goals."2
  • "For me, the Reiki guides make themselves the most felt while attunements are being passed. They stand behind me and direct the whole process, and I assume they also do this for every Reiki Master. When I pass attunements, I feel their presence strongly and constantly. Sometimes I can see them."3
Ray Yungen concludes with some helpful observations:,
  • if something is of God it will conform to the very cornerstone of God's plan to show His grace through Christ Jesus and Him alone (Ephesians 2:7). Reiki, as I defined earlier, is based on the occult view of God."
  • "And the light of a candle shall shine no more at all in thee; and the voice of the bridegroom and of the bride shall be heard no more at all in thee: for thy merchants were the great men of the earth; for by thy sorceries were all nations deceived." Revelation 18:22-24

1. "Healing Hands" (New Woman Magazine, March, 1986), p. 78.
2. William Rand, Reiki: The Healing Touch (Southfield, MI: Vision Pub.,1991), p. 48.
3. Diane Stein, Essential Reiki (Berkley, CA: Crossing Press, 1995), p. 107.
Source page: http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/newsletter061609.htm

Monday, June 22, 2009

"Pastor Dad" Spiritual Insights on Fatherhood: Free eBook from Mark Driscoll

Mark Driscoll and Resurgence are making available online a free 48-page eBook called Pastor Dad: Scriptural Insights on Fatherhood.

Here's the description of this sermon-turned-book:
Every dad is a pastor. The important thing is that he is caring for his flock well. This book by Pastor Mark Driscoll looks at the ways that a father can raise his children well.

Table of Contents:
  1. Worshiping the God of Our Fathers
  2. The Fruitful Vine
  3. Cultivating Kids
  4. The Masculine Duty to Provide
  5. Instruction Followed by Correction
  6. Protecting From Sin and Folly
  7. Countering Culture

Five Myths on Fathers and Family

Bradford Wilcox a professor of sociology at the University of Virginia and a senior fellow at the Institute for American Values outlines the Five most common Myths on Fathers and Family

1. THE ‘MR. MOM’ SURGE [There are actually very few stay-at-home dads.]

2. WOMEN WANT EVERYTHING 50-50 [They actually don't.]

3. MARRIAGE IS JUST A PIECE OF PAPER [Married fathers are far more involved with their kids than live-together fathers.]

4. THE KIDS ARE ALRIGHT [Children do much, much better when they are raised by both parents.]

5. DADS ARE DISPENSABLE [Dads are indispensable.]

Read the full article here.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Biblical Manhood by Paul Washer

image-4-14280 Here is part one and part two of Paul Washer’s message entitled Biblical Manhood on this Father’s Day.

Biblical Manhood 1

Biblical Manhood 2

Friday, June 19, 2009

Paul Washer (Sermon Jam)

Sermon Excerpts by Paul Washer
Music by Sinima Beats
Edited by eyeztothesky

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Ray Comfort & Paul Washer on "Carnal Christianity"

There are folks out there today that maintain that when "Lordship Salvationists", as they are called, tell sinners they must turn from their sins that they are not only adding works to salvation, but are condoning sinless perfectionism, but is that realy the case? Do folks like Comfort or Washer really teach 100% sinlessly perfect sanctification?

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Paul Washer - Are You A True Disciple?

Are You A True Disciple? This sermon was preached at Faith Bible Church in Springfield, IL:

This sermon was posted by Grace Community Church in San Antonio, TX:

A God-Centered View of Time Management by Jonathan Edwards

Jonathan Edwards wrote a short essay entitled The Preciousness of Time and the Importance of Redeeming It (December 1734).

Justin Taylor provided a helpful summary of Edwards's main points:
In the first section Edwards explains why time is precious, and he offers four reasons. Time is precious because (1) a happy or miserable eternity depends on the good or ill improvement of it; (2) time is very short; (3) we are uncertain of its continuance; (4) when it is past, it cannot be recovered.

In the second section Edwards offers some reflections—with a serious of rhetorical questions—regarding time past.

In the third section Edwards asks who chiefly deserves to be reproved on this subject of the preciousness of time, and in particular he identifies those who spend their time in (1) idleness; (2) wickedness; and (3) worldly pursuits while neglecting their soul.

In the fourth section Edwards exhorts us to improve time by considering the following four things: (1) that you are accountable to God for your time; (2) consider how much time you have lost already; (3) consider how time is sometimes valued by those who come near to the end of it; (4) consider what value is set upon time by those who are past the end of it.

In the fifth and final section Edwards gives three pieces of advice to those seeking to improve their use of time: (1) improve the present time without any delay; (2) be especially careful to improve those parts of time which are most precious; (3) improve well your time of leisure from worldly business.
Building off of this teaching as well as C.J. Mahaney's blog series on busyness and productivity, Stephen Witmer offers some fruitful reflections on the relationship between priorities and the investment of time:
I don’t think priority levels are a direct function of time spent, because, even though I count my wife as a higher priority than my job, I spend more hours a week working than I do with my wife. So, what does it actually mean to prioritize my role as husband over my role as a Christian minister?

A diagnostic question arose from our discussion that I think can be extremely helpful: ‘Is the investment I am currently making in this particular priority also honoring the priorities that are above it?’

For example, am I pursuing my job today in such a way that it is clear I value my wife above my job? Am I pursuing my marriage in such a way that it is clear I value God above my wife? This question is helpful because it doesn’t imply that the biblically faithful thing to do at any given moment is to leave the lesser priority and go work on the higher priority. It doesn’t, for instance, call for a 24-hour prayer vigil of endless personal devotions or a seven-night-a-week date night. But the diagnostic question does honor the urgent need for priorities. We work, we are parents, we are spouses, we are Christians. We must pursue the lower priorities in ways that honor the higher priorities.

You can read Edwards' whole essay here, C.J.'s series here, and Stephen's post here.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

"De-churched"-Matt Chandler

"Preaching the Gospel to the De-churched"

Monday, June 15, 2009

Functioning as a Member of Christ's Body - Matt Haney

Functioning & Thinking Properly as a Member of Christ's Body within a Local Church

Nine Hindrances to Fruitful Intercessory Prayer:

Matt Waymeyer @ expositorythoughts provides a helpful list of Nine Hindrances to Fruitful Intercessory Prayer:

1. Cherishing unrepentant sin in your heart (Ps 66:18)
2. Asking with selfish motives (James 4:3)
3. Failing to ask in faith (James 1:5-7)
4. Failing to pray according to God’s will (1 John 5:14-15)
5. Failing to care for your wife (1 Peter 3:7)
6. Failing to ask in the name of Jesus (John 14:13-14)
7. Failing to abide in Christ (John 15:7)
8. Failing to let Christ’s words abide in you (John 15:7)
9. Failing to be persistent (Luke 11:5-10; 18:1-8)

If God has not been answering your prayers lately, could it be that one (or more) of these is the reason?

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Sermon Outline: Ruth 1:19-22. “New Beginnings"

1) Total Loss. Ruth 1:19-21

  • Hebrews 12:3-17

  • Genesis 17:1-9

  • Psalm 9:10

2) Total Gain. Ruth 1:22

  • Leviticus 23:9-11

  • 1 Corinthians 15:20-23

Friday, June 12, 2009

God is Love, is this your God? - Tim Conway

Do you believe in the True God? Is your God Love? Is He an consuming fire? Watch the full bible study here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JzWkk2...

Thursday, June 11, 2009

God is Love - Tim Conway

Tim Conway talks about how God is love... and God is a consuming fire.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Sermon Outline: “You Can’t Cover Sin”.Ruth 1:6-18

1) Covering up in Difficult Circumstances: The testimony

of Naomi. Ruth 1:6-7

  • Isaiah 55:7

  • Numbers 10:29

  • Psalm 132

  • Proverbs 28:13

2) Giving up in Difficult Circumstances: The testimony of

Orpah (Ruth 1:11–14).

  • Deuteronomy 25:5-6

3) Standing up in Difficult Circumstances: The testimony of

Ruth (Ruth 1:15–18).

  • Deuteronomy 30:15-20

Friday, June 05, 2009

The Murder of a Murderer

If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler. Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name. For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? And “If the righteous is scarcely saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?” Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good. (1 Peter 4:14-19 ESV)

Notorious late-term abortionist George Tiller was shot and killed this Sunday at Reformation Lutheran Church in Wichita, Kansas, the congregation of which he was a member. Tiller was excommunicated by his former church for refusing to repent of his sin.

The background

For many years, Dr. George Tiller has represented the horrific reality of the abortion industry in this nation. Infamously known to the pro-life movement in America, Tiller was known as "Tiller the Killer" because of his well-known willingness to perform late-term abortions almost no other doctor in the nation would perform. Because of Dr. George Tiller, Wichita became the destination of choice for women seeking abortions in the late third trimester.

In 1993 Tiller was shot in both arms by an assailant. His clinic was regularly protested and was once bombed. Tiller had many brushes with the law, and just weeks ago he was acquitted of charges that he had colluded with another physician to illegally justify late-term abortions.

George Tiller was shot to death Sunday morning as he was serving as an usher at Reformation Lutheran Church in Wichita. Witnesses said that a lone assailant entered the church, shot Dr. Tiller with a single shot, threatened two others, and then fled the scene. A suspect was arrested hours later. Wichita police said that the unnamed suspect would likely face multiple charges as early as Monday.

Violence in response to the horror of abortion is rare, but not new. According to some news reports, Dr. Tiller was the fifth physician to be murdered by abortion opponents. In other cases, abortion clinics have been bombed and workers have been hurt or killed.

The irony of the situation is strong:
So the man who had no respect for human life is murdered by a person who had no respect for his life. While one can see a Biblical irony to it, that fact does not provide moral "cover" for the murderer (Dan Phillips).
Dan Phillips also provides a helpful context:
George Tiller chose to make his mark on this planet, and in history, by killing babies. He embraced abortion as ardently as President Obama. The distinction is that Tiller actually killed babies, while Obama and his enablers are simply there making sure that Tiller and his kind have the protection and respectable veneer of law to do so.
From the words of Doug Phillips, let us Mourn:
We mourn for the many children he murdered whose names will never make headline news, but whose murder were painful, violent, and bloody at the hands of this man. Second, we mourn for the future children who may be killed as a result of the way the pro-abortion movement will capitalize on this unlawful killing. Third, we mourn for a nation that has broken covenant with God, and that is deserving of God’s just wrath for its complicity in child sacrifice.

Finally, our mourning must lead us to prayer for the Church. God forbid that the blood of the innocent would be on our hands. If we would humble ourselves before the Lord and simply refuse to tolerate abortion in our own ranks, who knows what great things might be lawfully done, with God’s blessing, to bring murderers like George Tiller to an appropriate and earthly justice?

For a helpful examination of Biblical texts see

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Learning Evangelism from Jesus

Here is the summary and description of an interesting new book by Jerram Barrs.


Studying Jesus’ conversations with a diversity of people during his life, this director of the Francis Schaeffer Institute draws lessons and principles for modern evangelistic practice from the four Gospels, offering believers timeless wisdom in their approach to unbelievers.


Studying Jesus’ conversations with diverse people in his day, Jerram Barrs draws lessons and principles for attractively communicating the gospel to unbelievers in our day.

Living in a culture that is opposed to Christianity tempts God’s people to conform, to retreat, to be silent. But Jesus showed the way to live faithfully before an unbelieving world.

As the greatest evangelist, Jesus exemplified how to attract people to the gospel. He modeled how to initiate spiritual conversations full of grace and truth. Christian evangelism, then, both in theory and practice, must be shaped by his pattern.

Seeking to articulate the passions and principles present in Christ’s life and words, longtime L’Abri staff member Jerram Barrs has studied Jesus’ diverse encounters with people throughout the Gospels. Each chapter of Learning Evangelism from Jesus recounts one of those stories, draws useful lessons for readers’ lives and communication of the gospel, and concludes with questions for further reflection and application. This highly practical book will guide Christians in how to live before unbelievers and how to love them into the kingdom, just as Jesus did.

1. The Christian’s Calling to the World 11
2. Caught in the Act 21
3. The Woman of Samaria 35
4. Jesus and the Bible Teacher 53
5. A Wealthy Young Leader of the Church 69
6. An Unusual Dinner Invitation 83
7. The Lost Sheep and The Lost Coin: Parables for a Mixed Gathering 101
8. The Two Lost Sons: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly 117
9. The “Sinful Woman” and the “Righteous Man” 131
10. Revealing the Pharisee’s Heart 149
11. Religious and Moral Traditionalists: The Problem of Rules and Traditions 163
12. Faith among the Canaanites 179
13. The Faith of the Centurion: An Officer and a Gentleman 193
14. A Night Visitor 205
15. The Shrewd Manager: Money, Money, Money 219
16. Not the Most Comfortable Guest! 233
Conclusion 249
Study Guide 253
Notes 269
General Index 273
Scripture Index 279

Browse this book online
  • the full text

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

John Piper - We're Born Sinning

"The Father Has Given All Things into Jesus Hands"
John 3:31-36

Is Christianity Intellectual Suicide?

Speaker: Dr. Mark Dever
Scripture: Various
Length: 31:28

Audio File (MP3)

Book review: Dispensationalism: Essential Beliefs and Common Myths, by Michael J. Vlach

Dan Phillips has a good overview Dispensationalism: Essential Beliefs and Common Myths, by Michael J. Vlachat at his blog: Biblical Christianity . Highlights:

The Author:
Vlach earned his Master of Divinity degree from The Master’s Seminary, followed by a Ph.D. in Systematic Theology from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. His doctoral dissertation was The Church as a Replacement of Israel: An Analysis of Supersessionism, and it is available online, for a fee. Vlach has a web page that looks almost as due for a face lift as mine, and it's bristling with helpful documents. Vlach is an Assistant Professor of Theology at The Master's Seminary, and a member of the Evangelical Theological Society, where he presented a paper on Supersessionism in 2007.
Vlach believes that essential dispensationalism can be defined, and states this as his purpose:Vlach says that he is a dispensationalist by conviction, not by being married to any given system (5).
The purpose of this brief book is to highlight the foundational beliefs of dispensationalism that are truly at the heart of the system. It will also look at misrepresentations and myths about dispensationalism that have muddied the waters of understanding (3, emphases original)
Vlach deals first with the history of dispensationalism (7-12), beginning with J. N. Darby's recognition in the 1800s of Israel's distinction from the church (7), a position Darby said was fully formed for him by 1833 (8). Vlach goes on to discuss three key periods of dominance in the development of dispensationalism: Classical (1802-1940s), Revised or Modified (1950-1985), and Progressive (mid-1980s).

After discussion, Vlach lays out and explains his six essential beliefs of dispensationalism (18-31). Much abbreviated, they are:
  1. NT revelation does not override or cancel the original meaning of OT writers "as determined by historical-grammatical hermeneutics" (18)
  2. Types exist, but Israel is not a type that is superseded by the church (22)
  3. Israel and the church are distinct; the church is not "new" or "true" Israel (24)
  4. Though Jews and Gentiles share spiritual unity in salvation, national Israel has a future role (26)
  5. The nation Israel will be saved and restored with a unique identity and function in the future earthly millennial kingdom (29)
  6. The phrase "seed of Abraham" has multiple senses, so that "the church's identification as 'seed of Abraham' does not cancel God's promises to the believing Jewish 'seed of Abraham'" (30).

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

God's Purpose in Our Pain - 2 Corinthians 12:7-10

How privileged we are to hear from the living God through His living Word. Take your Bible, if you will, and turn to the twelfth chapter of 2 Corinthians and I want to read for you verses 7 through 10 which will provide the text for our study in the Word of God...2 Corinthians chapter 12 beginning at verse 7.

How Then Should We Choose

Dan Phillips @ http://teampyro.blogspot.com provides a helpful book review and summar of "How Then Should We Choose?", edited by Douglas S. Huffman (Kregel: 2009; 269 pages)

This book is in the series of multi-perspective books were spokesmen for particular views on disputed issues (prophecy, ordinances, doctrines) present their own positions relatively concisely, then interact with each other.

With this volume, Kregel presents a symposium of sorts on the vital issue of the will of God.

In the body of the book, three views are presented.

  • First to sally forth are Henry and Richard Blackaby, presenting the "Specific-Will" view (33-85).
  • Then, the first to evaluate it is Garry Friesen, author of Decision-Making and the Will of God, representing the "Wisdom" view.
  • Then Gordon T. Smith critiques from the "Relational" perspective.
  • Next up is Garry Friesen for the "Wisdom" view (101-159).
Friesen comes to summarize his own view in four principles:

1. "Where God commands, we must obey
2. "Where there is no command, God gives us freedom (and responsibility) to choose
3. "Where there is no command, God gives us wisdom to choose
4. "When we have chosen what is moral and wise, we must trust the sovereign God to work all the details together for good" (103)