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Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015 Review: American Devastation & Shame

2015 was a year of devastating judgment on America.

The mockery of marriage, punishing people who stand up for Biblical marriage, evil terrorists killing people who never hurt them, hatred toward the police, and learning that Planned "Parenthood" is harvesting body parts of the babies they slaughter.  Then, to top it off, the Congress that votes to defund  Planned "Parenthood" turns around and funds it in the budget in traitorous fashion.
This is the message I just sent to my congressman (minus the names):
Congressman X,

Why did you vote for a budget that funded Planned "Parenthood" after voting to defund them?    It is unconscionable that a Congress that claims to be pro-life would continue to fund an organization who is out to encourage promiscuity, murders for profit, and does everything it can to encourage irresponsible and murderous behavior.  We are left stunned and stymied at this vote, and no longer trusting of the Republicans who claim to be pro-life.

On top of all of this bad news, so-called Christians want to tell us to tone down what we say about the murder of the unborn.  Some do things that would even appear to console or be supportive of the people involved in murder.
We should never physically harm the people, of course.  We should be willing to speak the truth though.
If you really love someone, you speak the truth.  We can't skip over the bad news of judgment to get to the good news.  There is no good news for those who are unrepentant.  They will face the Judgment Seat, and they won't get an "It's okay" message from God.
This world desperately needs to be warned of God's wrath against sin, and then they need to repent and turn from sin and follow Christ.

In history, Christians were killed for their faith.  They were beaten, imprisoned, crucified, burned at the stake, etc.  Some are dying for their faith today, but sadly in America some would rather flatter the sinner to avoid people thinking ill of them.
We can't make the Gospel appealing to sinners by telling them they aren't that bad.  Christians, of all people should understand how desperately wicked we are without the blood of Christ covering our sin and Christ's righteousness being imputed to us.
When will we stand up?  If not now, then when?
Let us not be ashamed.
This is my hope for 2016....that the Gospel be proclaimed faithfully more than ever before.
Only when the Spirit convicts sinners, and they understand how wicked they are, will they see their desperate need for repentance and the Savior.  Many of us lack courage, but may God give His children a faith and courage outside of themselves through His strength.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Battling Sin & Amish Turning To Faith In Christ

The Battle Against Sin - Proclaim Liberty To the Captives - Phil Johnson gave a Sunday School message that my family listened to online some time back.  It is worth a listen.
I have already played it again, and it is very convicting!

Why God doesn't just zap away our sin - Tim Challies did a blog post not too long ago that complements the message by Phil Johnson (though he probably doesn't know it).

Amish: A Secret Life - I am sharing another video where an Amish couple appears to have become Christians.
I enjoy seeing that slowly these people are getting away from the Pharisaical rules, and beginning to see more Biblically.
Holiness is not a set of man-made rules that are not found in the Bible.
To see my past post (also with a video) about people coming out of the Amish religion to faith in Christ, click HERE.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Happy Christmas & My First Google Hangout (As Guest)

Happy Christmas!

This has been quite a year for our family, but it's good to know God's sovereignly working even the bad things to mold us into what He wants us to be and preparing us for the Kingdom to come.

Today I'm sharing a couple of videos.  The first one is for Christmastime, and the other is a video where I'm one of several people on a video of a Striving For Eternity Q & A.
It's the first time I was ever on a Google Hangout.

The following is quite embarrassing for me, but if you want to watch it. ..
My voice was very distorted most of the time.
I'm not responsible for what Andrew Rappaport says.  I can get into enough trouble on my own.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

"Christians" & Congress Sell Out To Planned "Parenthood"

I just read an Article about a supposed "Christian" minister that volunteers for Planned "Parenthood."  She welcomes girls coming to end the lives of their little boy or girl. 

This woman is neither a Christian or a minister.   She isn't Biblically qualified to be a minister, and her behavior in this matter demonstrates an unregenerate heart.
Abortion isn't healthcare. Murder isn't healthcare.  She is aiding and abetting murder, and murderers need to be confronted with their sin. They need to repent and turn to Christ.  It's a sick world that encourages sin. 

Want to be immoral?  Here's a condom or a pill.

Want to murder your baby? We'll help you do it in a more sterile environment. 
Want to get high? We'll give you marijuana cookies to fry your brain. Want to break the law and stay illegally in the country? We'll give you healthcare and legal status and your children will get to stay and go to our schools. 
Want to continue to be immoral?  We'll give your partner benefits.  We'll even call things marriage to legitmize whatever form of immorality you desire. 
Just yesterday, I read that congress voted for a bill that includes funding for Planned Murderhood.  
The previous vote to defund was good, but turning around and giving them money after all demonstrates the hypocrisy even of the Republican party.  It's hard to fathom, and it's sickening.

This is a country that calls evil good and good evil. This is a country that deserves God's judgment. It needs to repent on its face before the only true Triune God. Christians need to warn people of the wrath to come, and plead for people to repent.  Problem is that many "Christians" are courting the world's evil and need to repent too.  What are you going to do about it?


Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Outstanding Christmas Music

In past years I've shared Christmas music videos as Christmas approached, and so I thought I'd share the most outstanding new music video that I've seen this year (that others shared with me first).
The original song with this tune had crummy lyrics, but here it has been cleaned up again with fresh Christmastime lyrics.  I take no responsibility for anything else this group has done, as they are not one that I am really familiar with.

I had previously shared another improved lyrics version with this tune, but this one is specifically about Christmas.

"A Hallelujah Christmas" by Cloverton from Ross Wooten on Vimeo.

A reminder to those interested - Grace Community Church's Christmas concert is supposed to be live-streamed this coming Sunday (December 20, 2015).   That's at 6 PM Pacific time and 9 PM Eastern.
Here is one of the soloists from last years' concert singing one of my favorite Christmas carols.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Discipleship - From A Pastor's Perspective - Guest Writer Nate Pickowicz

One of the key challenges any pastor will face in ministering to the flock of God is how to disciple believers. As we were planting our church, our EFCA district supporters were encouraging us to think through how this might happen. It’s one thing to preach and teach from the pulpit, but how do you apply the truths of Scripture to the lives of people on an individual basis?
A few years earlier, I had read a blog post about theology reading groups. The concept was simple: take a group of guys, give them the challenging task of reading theology, and walk with them through the process. I was immediately excited about the prospect of teaching theology to a group of men, but I could almost hear the objections, “It’s not practical”, “They’ll never stick it out”, “It’s too academic”, etc. However, I felt convinced that this was the right thing.
I announced in church one Sunday that I wanted to start a men’s theology group and that we were going to tackle Wayne Grudem’s Systematic Theology. The first day, two men approached me. In my mind, that was a huge win. Two guys that would spend the next several months with me, studying the doctrines of the Bible. But then the interest grew. More and more guys started asking me about the group, and by the time we were ready to start, I had ten men who had committed. So we began.
At first, we inched our way in, working through the chapters and discussing the doctrines, as well as their respective Bible verses. Within a few months, a few more men started to show up. But more than the numbers, the interest began to grow; and then interest turned into desire.
Over the next 15 months, I would watch a dozen men—the majority of them had never opened a theology textbook before—become transformed and grow in their love for God, for His Word, and for each other. Each week, these men rose to the challenge, having done their assigned reading, and were ready to discuss meaty subjects.
These men weren’t scholars; they were landscapers, carpenters, servicemen, office workers, and lab technicians. They ranged in age from their early thirties to their late sixties. They had wives and kids. They had hobbies. They were just regular New England men who were growing in grace.
While I don’t personally agree lock-step with all of Grudem’s doctrine, studying together provided many opportunities for us to think through Scripture and theology as a group. And even as we approached controversial doctrines and viewpoints, it gave me the opportunity to teach through it. As a group, we were learning how to “do theology” in an honest, intentional way.

Since the end of the group, some men have moved on to other things, and some have stayed on for more theology. But not a single man has been the same. God has used His Word, combined with the earnestness and faithfulness of these ordinary men, to accomplish in them extraordinary works.

And for that, I am deeply thankful to the Lord Jesus Christ.  

Thank you to my guest blogger and online friend Pastor Nate Pickowicz for writing this post.
I would request Christians to pray for this Pastor and the church he is pastor of.

To learn more about Harvest Bible Church and find messages given by Pastor Nate:


You can also find his contributions to another blog of another online friend:

Entreating Favor

Monday, December 7, 2015

Dealing With Temptation

Coveting / Lust / Sin - its beginnings and where it leads:

People are enticed by their own lusts (James 1:14-15).
Dwelling on our own sinful desires can lead to sin.

Smooth speech (Proverbs 6:24; Proverbs 5:3; ) and visual attractiveness (Proverbs 6:25; Matthew 5:28; Genesis 3:6) are lures and snares.   The end of them is getting burned.  It leads to ruin and disgrace.  It's like fool's gold....and even worse.  It's twisted pleasure that destroys.  Proverbs 7:27 points out the house of the adulteress leads to Sheol.  Stolen water is sweet, but it leads to death.
Those who are immoral are idolaters (Ephesians 5:5), and those whose lives are characterized by sexual immorality, idolatry, adultery, thievery, covetousness, being drunk, reviling, or swindling will not inherit the kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 6:9-10).

1 John 2:16   For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world.
Satan used  those things to try to tempt Jesus (physical need, visual effects, and power/pride of life), but Jesus was not truly tempted in that He did not fall for Satan's tricks to entice Him.  He used Scripture to combat Satan's attempts.

Ways to deal with temptation:

Flee - Whether running away a lot like Joseph, turning the head away, going out of your way to avoid the temptation, getting safety helps and accountibility, even taking radical steps.  If it's your own thoughts alone, redirect / renew the mind as well (Romans 12:2).

Use The Word - It's good to memorize verses to think of when temptations face us...or even get out a Bible and read.

Prayer - We can pray for God to help us and keep us from sin.

Draw near to God. - What is my relationship with God like?  Do I love the things He loves and hate the things He hates?  Why settle for a cheap imitation that will never satisfy?  This earth is temporary, and the pleasures here are fleeting unlike Heaven.  Do I love God enough to flee what in the end leads to guilt and sorrow?  How much time do I spend dwelling on sin compared with dwelling on the Word and spiritual things?

I want to encourage others who are reading this.  If you have been struggling with temptation, it may feel hopeless at times.  That doesn't mean you can't have victory if you belong to Christ!  It's true.   Forget what lies behind and press on.  If you've fallen, get up repent and fight, fight, fight!   If you belong to Christ, He will keep you, and you don't have to be a slave to your sin anymore!  What' more important to you - God and eternity - or wallowing like a pig in the mire?  Christians, we have better things to do!

Friday, December 4, 2015

Live-Stream Christmas Concert Plus Recent Church Resources

Grace Community Church plans to live-stream one of their 2015 Christmas concerts on December 20th at 6 PM Pacific / 9 PM Eastern / 2 AM in the U.K.  It should be a great concert!

Watch Live

Hymns of Grace - There is a new hymnal that they have been announcing at Grace Community Church. It is available beginning this month!
It has some songs included that are being sung by churches, and yet they have not been included in older hymnals.

Generations of Grace - This is a curriculum for Sunday School which is used at Grace Community Church.  Learn more HERE. Radio - This is another source for good teaching online.  It's great that there are now more choices where you don't have to wade through a lot of heretics to get to the good stuff.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

The Subtle Humanism of Arminianism

Why is it that so many people would describe themselves as Arminian in their theology?
Jacobus Arminius believed God's election was determined by the free will or choice of man.
He believed everyone was capable of choosing to believe.

Okay, so everyone likes the idea of choice.  Why?   Is it not because we want to feel we can control our destiny?  Is there not a bit of pride there to want to say that we did something to help effect salvation?
When the Bible talks about receiving, what do we focus on?  Is it us taking something, or is it God's giving something?
How are dead blind sinners able to receive anything?

Acts 16:14 God opened Lydia's heart to respond to what Paul spoke about.

Ephesians 5:2-10  Christians were formerly dead in their sins, and God made them alive.  
Can a dead person choose to make themselves alive?

Who is Sovereign in salvation?  Do you believe that God is all powerful, or do you believe that He is impotent to save anyone He chooses?  Do you really believe that God's power is dependent on your will?   

John 6:37 All that the Father gives to Jesus will come to Him.

John 3:3  To be saved you must be born again.  This is literally translated as "born from above."

Romans 9:16  So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy. (ESV)
So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy. (NASB)

If you truly believe that people can choose, then could not any and all of God's plans go wrong?
Do you really believe He only looked down the corridors of time and decided that He'd use the death of His Son for salvation without orchestrating it?  Do you believe God is Sovereign and omnipotent or not?   Do you believe God's omniscience is limited or controlled by what we do?
See, those who believe in the doctrines of grace do believe people do have responsibility within the nature they have.  A dead enslaved to sin person can choose to fulfill their sin nature.  It is what we all would do, if God didn't make some alive and to desire Him.

John 10:27 "My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me;
It is God's sheep that hear His voice.

The crux of the matter is what we believe about God and His character.  
If we believe that we are sovereign in salvation, then that is not the Gospel I find in the Bible.

While many make "decisions" to be "Christians," true Christians will be known by their fruit.  
True Christians will repent and manifest a changed life.  It may be gradual, but if there is no evidence at all, there is no true saving faith.  When the root is there, the fruit will be there.   Still, we must be cautious, because think of Peter who denied Christ three times.  Paul did things that he didn't want to do.  So, as what you might call a Calvinist, I do believe that true Christians can struggle with unwanted sin at times. 
Sin should not be dominating the life or excused.   It isn't a matter of losing salvation.  It's a matter of whether one truly is a Christian or a counterfeit "Christian."

If we read the Bible looking for God, we see His choice and power everywhere.  That is the God I want to follow...not one that is limited by me and my choices.   I see a God who works His purposes even though people sin.  This is not a license to willfully sin.  May it never be!