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Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Christian Fiction - Solid Doctrine Needed!

When I was growing up, I did a lot of reading of fiction books.
I still read some fiction (though not nearly as much as I did when I was younger).
A lot of books purport to be "Christian" fare, but they either support false doctrine, a false gospel, use bad language, advocate women's lib., put men and women in compromising situations, appeal to lust, and have "Christians" who don't seem to care whether a potential spouse is a believer or not.

Also, there is very little fiction written by people who believe in the doctrines of grace and have solid Theological views.
What people write reflects their values and the teaching they have or have not received.
Sadly, much of the writing out there reveals the lack of solid Biblical knowledge and practical wisdom of many professing Christians.

Writers need to think about what they are writing and what its purpose is.
Will it lead people to sin?  
Will it reflect godly truths and values or lead people to accept values that don't honor God?
Will it lead them to antinomianism (an abuse of grace) or legalism (works-based religion) or eisegetical false teaching?
Will your writing lead people to the Gospel and wise behavior, or will it lead them to sensuality, worldliness, and heresy?

Some would throw out fiction altogether, but even "entertainment" can be a subtle way to encourage each other to love and good deeds and obedience, present Biblical doctrine, and direct unbelievers to the Gospel.  
It can be challenging, and yet, it can also be enjoyable.  
It can reflect real struggles, but with a purpose.
There are some good books out there, but sadly they are few and far between.
I really believe that it would be a great idea for more book writers to run their writing by someone (or more than one person) who is doctrinally sound before having it printed or selling it in any format.
Even those of us who write blogs could use some feedback if we get way off track.

Whether it's for kids or teens or adults, I want to encourage those who do write to write for the glory of God, and as a result, what you write may influence people.  
It may be more subtle, but it really can.
It's not a substitute for Bible study, but it can have benefits.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Shepherds' Conference Wrap-Up

The Shepherds' Conference for 2018 is over, and I was blessed to be able to watch much of it live-streaming.
The final message that John MacArthur gave to the pastors to close it off was a necessary confrontation on those who embrace people with a false gospel (adding any work to the Gospel of grace). 
Both the first and last messages were excellent.
The final conference session can be watched online, and no, you don't have to have an account to watch this public video.
The Triumph of The Church

John's first message, like his recent sermons, pointed out how antinomianism, & legalism are both wrong amongst other things. 
I put a few things I shared on social media during the first session at the bottom of this post.
There were some other good messages and also a Q & A.

I look forward to hearing some more of the seminar sessions when they have put them online and one other main session I missed hearing any of.
Meanwhile, most of the streamed messages are on the Facebook Page for the Shepherds' Conference.
Also, you can check HERE (where the rest of the 2018 conference media should eventually be available).


Some highlights apart from the messages were the pastors receiving Preacher's Bibles, the excitement of the pastors and their fellowship shared about on social media, the evangelism that was going on apart from the conference itself, and a family member who volunteered, and though not all at the time of the conference... is/was able to say hi to some of my Christian acquaintances that I have only had contact with from a distance.  I also enjoyed quite a bit of the music, although I admit to already being spoiled and watching Grace Community Church live-streamed most Sundays (since it's afternoon and later in the evening here when they have church going on still there).

Again, below are just a few things I shared on social media during the opening session of the conference.
The order isn't necessarily correct for when John talked about the things I shared, and I didn't get all of his words or the exact wording of some things.

Relevant, real, missional, cool, multi-anything, cultural, no eschatology preferred, formational, heroic - the lingo of pastoral ministry today. 
Missing are Biblical, holy, humble, godly, self-denying & sacrificial. 
Hearing JMac.

The legalist defines his relationship by keeping the law & the antinomian by not keeping the law. 
It's part of the same heresy..both will crash & burn. 
They define their relationship by the law instead of being in & loving Christ. 
It's about the Spirt...not the Law. 

Sanctification is living under the command of God and being disciplined by God to obey those commands.  If you disobey that you may be weak, you may be sick, and you may die. ...
Grace reigns over you...Grace corrects.  Grace disciplines.  
Hearing JMac.

I think we have to identify false teachers, and I think we need to identify false doctrine.... 
I don't think there is a willingness to do this in the age of ... compromise.... 
Protecting people is critical. 
Hearing JMac. 

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Shepherds' Conference 2018 & Hymns of Grace CD

2018 Shepherds' Conference
I'm excited.  It's nearly here!  I've enjoyed watching or listening to the live-stream in recent years.
I know of some pastors that plan to attend, and I'm so pleased for them.
I'm also happy that some will be going to evangelize apart from the conference while in the area.
The conference itself usually is available to watch on the official page, but I'll try to let you know if something changes about that.
The dates are March 7-9th and the first session is scheduled for 10 AM Pacific Time (which is 1 PM Eastern and that would be 6 PM GMT).  Check your time HERE.
Shepherds' Conference Site

The CD is finally coming out!
3,000 male voices singing worship songs!
If you are able to get it, that's terrific!
It is supposed to be available at the Shepherds' Conference first, but after that, it should be available online.
They recently shared this video of one of the songs!

When it is available to everyone, you should be able to find it at the following link:

Hymns of Grace - Live at Shepherds' Conference

For those who were hoping to hear Philip Webb on Iron Sharpens Iron Radio today, I"m sorry I had the date wrong.  Hopefully, it will be uploaded online at some point.

Monday, February 26, 2018

Billy Graham - Are We Venerating The Dead?

Many have talked about and published comments about the death of evangelist Billy Graham of late.
The world praises him and many Christians praise him, but not all do.
Some get angry at those who point out the error of any of those who have died.
Why exactly is this?

It's understandable to want to believe the best about people and want to remember good things, and we can all appreciate tact.
It is a cultural issue to believe that only good should be spoken of the dead...not a Biblical one.
Surely, if you are speaking directly to someone whose loved one has died, kindness should be shown.
There is a right time and place for pointing out the corruption of the Gospel I suppose, but that doesn't mean that those who are sharing with those outside the family are wrong to warn other people not to think more highly of a man than they ought to just because the person has passed on.

Billy Graham abandoned the truth of the exclusivity of the Gospel that he once preached and ecumenism and compromise seemed to have led to a liberal view (that people who hadn't heard the Gospel could be saved and that Hell wasn't literal, etc.) that went against the Scripture. 
There is a danger when people are willing to compromise the Gospel for whatever reason. 
It's not just an issue with Billy Graham.

People don't get a pass just for having once preached the truth. 
I hoped that part of the issue with Mr. Graham was due to the downhill mental state that some have with age, but the early compromises with Catholics can't be chalked up to that. 
Like the Galatians who were bewitched by the Judaizers, he may have been bewitched by liberal false views and still have been a Christian. 
Peter was confronted by Paul for compromising with error, however.

The sad part is that now heretics (such as Joel Osteen) and other unbelievers praise Mr. Graham, and many were led away from the true saving Gospel by what he said as he aged (and Catholics, etc. at the "crusades" very likely pulled people into a false "gospel" that sends to Hell earlier on). 

Billy may be in Heaven and knows better now if he had faith in Christ alone (and I'm not venturing at all to say that he didn't), but what we do and say on earth has repercussions both in our homes and for all those influenced by what we do and say whether it be good or bad.

We shouldn't venerate people so that we can't see the error and warn people of it.
Even those that are loved or learned much from (past or present) were/are mere humans and were not (or are not) sinless.  
Only Christ never sinned.

Friday, February 23, 2018

The Pursuit of Outrage

Lately, the things that stir people's emotions up seem to be coming faster and faster leaving little breathing room to calm down.
People get angry at the justice system, at the police, at the NRA & guns, at politicians, and at whatever the latest popular thing to be angry at is.
People seem to run to the next cause stirred on by emotions.
Emotions are not the best judges.
People are often led by people who have not let their tears dry or their anger and bitterness subside.
Large groups of people are led by the media & politicians who use tragedies for their own agendas.

Today people seem to think that laws should be determined by how we feel about things.
If someone wants to be something they are not, why not let them?
Everyone should be able to marry whoever they want to they say.
If people get murdered using a gun as the weapon, then it must be the fault of the gun, bump stocks, the police, the NRA, or lack of mental health care.
If someone is accused of misconduct, why, they must be guilty whether or not there is any solid evidence.

Sadly, outrage is less about absolute truth and often misdirected.
People are looking for targets outside of the where the guilt really lies.
What can we expect from a culture that scorns the God who created them and murders thousands of babies before they can see the light of day?

Consciences are ignored and people are taught that society creates what is moral.
Disrespect towards the governing authorities that God has placed over people and rebellion toward the God who made us each with a conscience and gives authority is rampant.
People would rather deny God exists than face up to the reality before them.
People have rejected all the stops that God gives people as deterrents to murder, and they no longer fear God and do whatever is right in their own eyes. 
Then we wonder why people copycat each other and try to outdo one another in attacking those who appear defenseless.  Life is devalued.
People are given over to corruption, and this is actually a punishment of God.

What is the answer to evil? 
One day all evil will be at an end and justice will be done. 
It will be of an eternal nature, and all of us are guilty of sin against God.
Eternal Hell will be for all of those who do not repent and trust in Christ alone for redemption and the forgiveness of sin.

Believers need to proclaim the Gospel and make disciples and pray.  One day Christ will return and reign on earth and in eternity, but that doesn't mean that He doesn't still work on earth today. 
Look at history and the horrific evils and see that mercy and grace have been seen before. 
God's goodness still shines through and will one day remove all of the darkness of this world.
The wicked may strut about right now, but their recompense will come. 
God's grace and mercy are still available for now.
Enter through the narrow gate.  The Gospel is a command of warning and love.  Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ.  Don't trust in works.  Believe that Jesus who was fully God and fully man, was born to a virgin, lived a perfect life that you couldn't, did miracles, died on a cross to take the punishment you deserve, and then He rose again conquering death for the justification of life to men.  He is seated with the Father and will one day judge the world.  If you don't believe and receive Christ Jesus as Lord, you will go to eternal death cast into Hell.  If you trust in Christ, you will be forgiven and live eternally with Him in Heaven as an heir with Christ.  You will be the child of God.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Is Jesus Okay With Who You Are?

"Don't judge" and "Love is love."
This is a common way of thinking that often seems accepted by those who have been taught that God is so loving that He must accept you the way you are or the way you perceive yourself.

Recently I saw a story about someone named Jen Hatmaker. Reportedly, she thinks that not accepting sin is "bad fruit".
Hatmaker explains why she rejected the bad fruit of the Bible's teaching about sexuality.

Jen is not the only person out there that rejects and twists Scripture to suit her own views. 
There are so many out there who want a god to suit their beliefs. 
People are so conformed to the culture, that they would rather try to make Scripture fit their worldview (that has been formed by the world) than to accept what God actually clearly says in His Word. 
Some want to allow women to be pastors and teachers of men. 
Some want to accept immoral lifestyles.
Some want a god who didn't create the world in 6 days.
Some want a god who ignores sin and never chastens those who follow him or sends anyone to a Hell that lasts eternally.

This is really a Gospel issue, because if you think that God accepts sin, then you don't even understand the basics of the Gospel. 
We aren't saved to be whatever or whoever we want to be. 
If you think that homosexual marriage (which is not a real marriage in God's eyes), transgenderism (which is really nonexistent in reality), adultery, fornication, abortion, certain forms of lying, etc., are just a matter of acceptable choices, then you are not a Christian who believes the Bible.

Christianity isn't about a faith that brings freedom from holiness and sanctification. 
If you desire to live a life of disobedience to God, then the question is do you really belong to HIm?  It isn't a matter of legalism, it's a matter of the Spirit transforming hearts and lives and giving us new desires.
The problem is that if you don't understand what sin is and its eternal consequences, then what are you being saved from, and what are you being saved unto?

If you think the church should accept you as a believer and allow you to promote your beliefs when you reject clear Scripture, then the bad fruit is not with the church. 
If you have the Spirit indwelling you and have genuine faith, then you would desire to be conformed to Christ's image. 
When your worldview clashes with Scripture, then you would know that Scripture is right and you are wrong. 
There are plenty of churches that will accept people as members who are living for themselves & their perceived identities, but they won't be churches that teach you the truth.

A gospel that doesn't transform you is not the Gospel of Scripture. 
This isn't a Pharisee or Judaizer idea.  The Spirit makes alive, and a sanctified heart desires to please the Lord.  (Ephesians 5:3-13; 1 Peter 3:15)

Are you a Christian? What is the Gospel that saves?

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Marijuana - Gateway To Danger

Recently, my family learned that a favorite small country store was going to be selling cannabis oil.
It was bad news. A family member was so unhappy that they reported it to the DEA.
Yes, and it was the right thing to do. 
It needs to be checked into whether the law would be being broken.
Marijuana is not legal in our state, but the store's supply people are claiming an exception under the Farm Bill.
We shall see, but we won't be going back unless they take it off the shelf.
Harsh? Not really.

While some argue that it's not true that marijuana is a gateway drug,  I believe that they are wrong.
Do all people go on to use other drugs? 
It would seem not from what I have read online, but many do seem more receptive (and some do both marijuana and alcohol) & there are enough people who do go on to harder drugs. 
It seems it may be more likely for those in certain circumstances (started young or are poor, etc. ), but it is not uncommon.
The problem is that some people don't even know what the word "gateway" means.
A gateway doesn't mean that all people automatically start using something else.
It means that it cracks open the door making people more receptive to using other substances to get the effect they want.

Wake up, America, you are headed down the drain with the "medical marijuana" idea!
"Medical marijuana" only leads to full out recreational legalization.
Medical uses are just excuses!
It's happened in enough states already.
I'm not saying that some people who have seizures might not get some help from the oil (although the jury is out due to some using more than one medicine as well).
I would question that being a long-term or highly effective solution from looking at research a couple of places online (one site was a government health site), and there is also a question about the safety of the oil.

Marijuana is not a victimless harmless drug, and the marijuana today may be stronger than what people used at the time of the videos on this blog.

The following one is about a baby that drowned in a bathtub.
The parent was smoking marijuana. These programs were based on true stories, so this isn't just fiction.

Studies on marijuana show that it also does harm to the juvenile brain and impairs the adult.
Study Results

Don't let people fool you into thinking that marijuana is an innocent substance to use. It has had ill effects in the past, and it does today.
Weapon offenses.

For those of us who are Christians, we should be sober. We also shouldn't be so gullible into thinking that medical marijuana won't lead to recreational marijuana.

Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil.
Ephesians 5:15-16 NASB