Search This Blog

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Encouragement for Biblical Pastors and Church Leaders

I was looking at a notebook from many years ago that had a collection of things from when I was much younger.  A little bit was from junior high, while most of it was from high school and some beyond.   They were mostly connected with Grace Community Church.  What was written was anywhere from very serious to amusing.  One of the things that stood out was a prayer that I wrote in a discipleship group paper from junior high.  Sometimes it is amazing looking back and being reminded of the struggles, and yet see traces of grace in what I was learning.
Pastors, Sunday School teachers, and even small group discipleship leaders -
Don't think that your time is wasted.   I also learned Bible verses as a child (and some as an adult too, of course), and some of that has stuck with me.   While people forget quite a lot, if the foundation is continually built on with Biblical truth - God can still use it in the lives of those you are pouring yourselves into.

Dear Lord,  please help me to realize that I will have hard times in life and that I should cling to you.  Please help me to realize there is  a price to pay.  In Jesus name, Amen.  

Much of what was in the notebook was when John MacArthur was doing a series on Charismatic Chaos along with a lot of notes from Scott Ardavanis' teaching (he was the college group pastor who now pastors another church)...and there were other bits of odds and ends.  Here's a small sampling (not entire notes of the messages), and obviously I editorialized my notes here and there at that time.

 What we think about God will shape our lives.

Don't think you can handle things you really can't.  It's only your pride that says you can handle it.
A small sampling of  my notes from during some of John MacArthur's messages on Charismatic Chaos: 

Matthew 7:15-23
False prophets in sheep's clothing, but are ravenous wolves.
Hagan is a nutty guy who is supposed to have been in a glory cloud I think.
In Corinth there was chaos because of mis-use of the gifts, plus all sorts of other horrible things. They weren't lacking gifts, just perverting them.  This is a lot like what is going on today.
Can you imagine seeing someone dancing on air like that lady did (as said Hagan)? Ha! Ha! Hee! Hee! How creepy!

Biblical.  Check with the Word, and use your mind and reason God has given you.
Miracles do not necessarily produce faith in an unbelieving heart. 
Faith comes from hearing the Word of Christ not by signs and wonders.  Mark 1:38
They promise a Biblical orientation.  Why would God authenticate a person with bad theology?
(Some punctuation added & corrected.)
From Scott Ardavanis: 

God doesn't have a standard.  He is the Standard.  
Do not engage in any business that you can't ask God to bless.
Do not engage in any pleasure that you cannot give thanks to God for.
1. We should be filled with awe how infinitely great God's knowledge is.
2. This should draw us to the fear of God.
3. It should give us great comfort.
Psalm 103:14
We are but dust.

(I had messed up the reference, and I added punctuation.)

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Distressed By Disunity

I have had my physical health affected in a new way of late, and the conflicts between those I believe are genuine believers seems to exacerbate things.  I so want to have peace between people I care about.

Some people take their stand on truth and others on love, but it is so important to speak truth in love.
It's a difficult balance, and I'm no better than others.  It isn't just a matter of how we are online.  It's a matter of who we are offline.  God knows it all.

God is at work in each of His children.  I think that some issues should be dealt with publicly, but there are many times I believe they should be dealt with privately. There must be wisdom to know the difference.  Confrontation should always be for the sake of restoration.  It is easy to be angry or prideful, and I think those are sins many of us struggle with.  If someone turns out not to be a Christian, then we can point to the Gospel.

I started to compose a blog post once upon a time when I was having online conflict, but I never posted it.  I  decided it was one of those cases where I could choose to forgive unilaterally.
What is below has that post as its base:

I need to love and forgive my brothers in Christ while not compromising truth.
Just as the Lord forgives us, so also should we (Colossians 3:13).
1 Peter 3:8-9 tells me not to return insult for insult, to be kind-hearted, and harmonious.  
Amongst Christians, we need to remember we are brothers and sisters and not enemies.

Romans 12:-9-21  goes further talking about how Christians should behave and talks about respecting what is right in the sight of all men.  So far as it depends on me I should be at peace with all men.  

God will punish the evil in this world, so I just need to warn people of His justice and and not seek my own vengeance.  Perhaps God will show mercy, and there will come repentance.  He is in charge of who repents...not I.  This doesn't mean sin shouldn't be confronted or that we should disobey God (Acts 5:28-29). 

We need to seek the good of others (Philippians 2:1-11), rather than just to blow them out of the water or ridicule them.
Christians are lights in the world, and we diminish our lights before the world when our focus gets off the glory of Christ and His Gospel.  

I would appreciate prayer for wisdom in knowing how and when to respond to situations online that I see which cause me distress and sorrow.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

When Scripture Doesn't Fit Your Theological View

I've been listening to a class on historical Theology, and it is amazing to see how false beliefs creep into the church, or how one lone person standing up for the truth of the Bible can be used by God to dispel heresies.  I also can see how heresies came back up and repeated themselves.  This is why doctrine must be based on the inspired Word of God, because man's understanding is fallible.

Many false religions make things up in order to explain what we don't understand about God.  

Our human logic can't fully understand the idea of what we now refer to as the Trinity.
We can accept it, but it is difficult for the human mind to grasp.
Some have made up ludicrous ideas which are used in false religions to try to get around what the Bible teaches...that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are one in essence....One God revealed in Three Persons.

It also goes against our grain to think that we can't do anything to earn or help along even a piece of our salvation, so people develop beliefs that incorporate man's effort and ability into their soteriology.
People have it culturally ingrained in them what they have been taught and believe is fair or reasonable.

I admit that I myself have even read Scripture and thought how something seems to go against what I think is Biblical from another passage.
The thing is, I know the Bible is God's Word, so I know that it is my understanding that must be measured and changed by the Bible and not vice versa.  When I don't understand how two things can both be true, it is the time to dig in and search out how things really do fit together.  It's my reasoning that is the problem.  Maybe I won't always be able to grasp everything, so I can use other learned theologians' learning to give me some possible explanations to assist me with my limited knowledge.
Sadly, many people take their reasoning to the Bible and reject anything that contradicts what they already believe or have been taught is true.

When I was young I was introduced to the idea of God's choosing me.  While over the years I was exposed to both views and hybrids of "Calvinism" and "Arminianism", it is through the reading of Scripture that I have been able to see even for myself God's Sovereign Hand choosing, directing, and molding.  I can't fully understand God, but I'm thankful I don't have to depend on me for my salvation.
If I did, I would surely lose it.  I recognize my sin, and I know that I can never be perfect and keep myself in Christ.

Do You Believe God Is Sovereign?

Understanding What You Believe
Sye has a gift for simplifying doctrine.  If you are unclear about the differences between the doctrines of grace & Arminian beliefs, please listen to this:
Josh Sommer Interviews Sye Ten Bruggencate about Arminianism
It is encouraging to realize that my blunders won't stop God from saving His sheep.

Don't Get Caught Up In Wording
Some people get hung up on the wording of the doctrines of grace as presented by John Calvin.
Perhaps this will help you:
Three Ways to Present the Doctrines of Grace - by David Murray

On What Basis Does God Choose?
I've had the blessing of sitting under some excellent teaching at times in my life.  Before moving to Tennessee, we traveled to a church in Upland, CA.  Pastor David did an excellent series on being Chosen by God.  I don't know that the series I heard can be found online anymore, but the following post is an excellent Biblical summary beginning with Genesis.  I assume this has to be written by the David Forsyth I sat under.
Divine Election: The Ultimate Pride Killer By Pastor David C. Forsyth (a former pastor of mine)

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Personal Update, Live-Stream Understanding The Bible Conference, & Bad News / Good News

Personal Update:

My balance has been crummy lately again (along with dizziness), but I made the most of yesterday even with my fibromyalgia pain before we found out I might not have the test / scan that had previously been scheduled.  They had apparently decided the day of to postpone my appointment, which I had waited for over a month to have (and was unwilling to have at a different time of day due to some health issues).  Thankfully, my sister helped me out, and they allowed me to have my appointment just an hour later the day it was scheduled.

After being put under anesthesia today, I can't do much of anything either.  Yeah, I'm not supposed to sign anything or do anything important, and this post?
Well, we shall see how it turns out!

Actually, since I had some therapy for part of my dizziness issues again a couple of days ago, I had to avoid bending down yesterday.  Even though I am mostly using a companion wheelchair, this increased my limitations even more.  Still, I did have some enjoyment yesterday before the scan today.

Live-Stream Bible Conference

Have you a desire to understand God's Word better?
October 9th-10th, 2015 there is a a Live-stream Conference that should be very helpful for those who are interested.  Pastor Don Green was formerly a teacher at Grace Community Church where John MacArthur is the main pastor, and his last conference on The Bible & Homosexuality was a good one as well.
Understanding Scripture

The Bad News & The Good News

There are some great videos that were recently shared, that I wanted to pass along for others to watch and share!  This is important!
I am going to share the first video, and you can go HERE for the rest.