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Thursday, March 24, 2016

Encouragement & Remembering The Cross

Encouragement In The Little Things

I had found awhile back that I still had some million dollar tracts found somewhere I hadn't realized they had been, so I have placed some of those along with my other Gospel tracts in various places when I actually go somewhere. I feel uncomfortable about fake money ones, but I don't want the ones I have left to be wasted!

Well, today, I placed one in a bathroom at a doctor's office in another city. Later I heard two ladies talking. One was saying something about someone leaving that kind of money around, and I heard one say they knew it wasn't real. She figured it had a message. And I heard one say that it had a good message...that you never know how long you might have. I'm not sure, but the other lady might have agreed. It was still there later, so who knows how many people might read it?

Tracts turn up in various places where I've been, but I usually don't get to hear about people reading them.   It is fun when you see or hear a positive reaction!

I would encourage people to think about Gospel tracts, and not to underestimate God's power to use them!

Good Friday & Resurrection Sunday

This week many people around the world will remember Jesus' death and Resurrection, though for Christians  (Imputationists to my friends) we think about it a lot more than just one time a year!
I have enjoyed hearing a song live-streamed from Grace Community Church in recent times that focuses on the cross.
Apparently, the Newsboys made it famous, but I sometimes like to find more obscure people singing songs.  It takes the focus off of stardom, and puts it more on the song.
This is someone I've never heard before, but I enjoyed it!

Monday, March 21, 2016

Lexi Taken From Her Home

Today I watched live-streaming of a girl named Lexi taken from her home.
She is a 6 year old who has been a foster child - loved and desired for adoption by a family in California.  They had her since she was 2 years old.
The Pages go to the church that some of my family are members of in California (where I attended many years ago).

Why was she taken?  She had a small amount of Choctaw blood.  
Yes, for some drops of blood, they can ship off a child to a non-tribe member step "relative" not actually related by blood.
Nevermind that her foster mother is part Native of some sort (though we are all related to each other through Adam and Eve).  Nevermind that she didn't want to go.

Neighbors, church family, media, and the mayor were all close by in the neighborhood to support this family.  People prayed and sang worship songs.

The social workers finally came to their door, and one person wore a smug smile.   He seemed interested to capture the event with a handheld device.
At first it was very quiet, and then there was noise going on inside, and at some point there was some more singing of people in the distance. I think it was the father who finally carried the girl screaming and crying from the house.
People yelled how they loved her, that they would pray for her, and that she would never be forgotten. The uncle fell on the ground crying, his phone videoing forgotten.

This taking of her was so wrong.  Many have been praying for Lexi and the Pages, and even now Christians everywhere can continue to pray.  God is Sovereign.  We don't always know His plan.

Joseph in the Bible was sold into slavery.  We know God had a long term purpose, and one day God used him  to help save his relatives from a time of famine.  He became second over Egypt.  Yet, knowing this, we don't know what God has for Lexi.  It was meant for evil.  God can bring good.  We pray that somehow even yet that this wrong can be made right, and that Lexi can come home to the Pages where she was happy with her siblings and her parents in love.

This world is very unfair.    A child who is 1/64th Native is treated like chattel by people who care nothing about her, or they would let her stay with the family that she loves.

We are in an evil time, but we know God ultimately will bring the nations to their knees one day.  They will either worship Him, or they will be destroyed.

We sorrow, and those who are Christians pray for Lexi and the whole Page family.
We must trust in the God whose purposes cannot be thwarted...even when everything seems to go wrong.

Even Jesus' death could have looked like victory for Satan, but God triumphed.
Jesus fulfilled His purpose coming to earth as a baby, miraculously born to a virgin, living a perfectly righteous life and performing miracles attesting to the fact that He is truly God the Son in human flesh (100% God and 100% man).  Every prophecy concerning the Messiah was fulfilled in Him to the letter.   His plan included choosing one disciple who would betray Him, and He didn't fight when He was led to slaughter.  Why?  Because He was going to take the wrath of God for the sins of undeserving people such as myself, so that my sin and punishment were placed on Him and His righteousness could be placed on me.   He was the perfect sacrifice, because as man He could represent mankind, and as God He could triumph over sin and death.  He rose again from the dead.   Many people saw Him alive, and He ascended to Heaven.  He will judge the world in righteousness, and He will reign.

Those who repent and trust in His death for their sins, will be forgiven and have eternal life.  Their lives are transformed by Christ, and they will be known by their transformed lives.

This Sunday many will think about the resurrection of Christ, but I hope that many will truly come to true faith in Christ.
He is the only One worthy of our trust, and it is this all powerful, all-knowing, righteous, holy, just, in control God that I need to trust for Lexi and the Pages today.

UPDATE: A lot of misinformation has been put out in the public, so I'm posting a link to the facts:
Facts About Lexi's Case

Thursday, March 17, 2016

“Evangelism doesn’t work!” - By Guest Writer Jim Wine

“Evangelism doesn’t work!” 

Have you ever thought these words?  If so, you are like me!  But let’s be honest.  Thoughts like these are totally wrong!  The reality is that evangelism (proclaiming the good news of Jesus) ALWAYS works – often, however, just not in the way we imagined or expected (witness Isa 6:9-10). Moreover, even if evangelism never “worked” we would still do it anyway! Why?  Because, according to the Bible, Christians are a special people to proclaim the excellencies of Him Who called us out of darkness into His marvelous light (1Pet 2:9).  In other words, a person who has experienced the matchless grace of God CANNOT be quiet about it! The Psalmist said it well in Psalm 145:

Men shall speak of the power of Your awesome acts,
And I will tell of Your greatness.
They shall eagerly utter the memory of Your abundant goodness
And will shout joyfully of Your righteousness.

There is nothing more beautiful than seeing a believer share their faith for the first time. God has graciously allowed our family to work in the area of training and mobilizing evangelists for over fifteen years – the last three years in Argentina. Regardless of the “results” (God save us from that expectation!), the incredible joy that follows is incomparable. You and I are meant to declare the Good News, and, when we do, the joy from following our purpose is astounding.

We have seen this over, and over again in South America.  From Argentina to Paraguay. From Buenos Aires to Asuncion, dozens of believers have been trained and are sharing their faith with others. One quick story:

Pablo travelled with our church from Buenos Aires, Argentina to San Lorenzo, Paraguay to share his faith on an evangelistic campaign.  He was so nervous!  I had breakfast with him on Monday morning – two hours before we were due to “hit the streets.” He had never done this before. He told me that he just didn’t think he could do it.  He didn’t “know enough.” What if people asked him tough questions? And on it went.  Poor Pablo. My heart went out to him, but I knew he could do it. He had been trained.  He was ready. Nervous, yes; but ready. He took a deep breath and hit the streets.

I didn’t see Pablo again until lunch time.  I asked him “how did it go?” His answer was typical: “Jim, you wouldn’t believe it! It was amazing!”  He then recounted a story how he shared the message of the Cross with an 80 year old woman.  And how, with tears, she bowed her heart to God, expressing her faith in Jesus’ substitution for forgiveness of her sins.

Pablo was excited.  His joy was, and is, contagious. Moreover, he has not stopped. Two years later he is still sharing his faith.

Please pray for us. It is very difficult for our family to navigate the cross-cultural life-style. As sixty year-old missionaries our stamina doesn’t always allow us to do everything we would like to do.  Now, we are home on furlough.  Please pray for stamina, direction and faithfulness to serve our Savior. Oh yes, one more prayer request: that God would free us from false expectations, and that we would proclaim His goodness and mercy freely and joyfully!

Thanks to my friend Jim Wine for writing this post for me!
Jim was our Sunday School teacher for a time in California before we moved to Tennessee, and he and some of his family went to be missionaries.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Heretical Error, Shepherds' Conference 2017, Reformation & Great Awakening

How do you know what doctrine is the most important, and what heresy sends people to Hell?
The following article is one that is superb on this subject:
 When Does Error Become Heresy? - Mike Riccardi

2017 Shepherds' Conference - 500 year anniversary of the Reformation 
"We Preach Christ" 
I know the last conference seems hardly over with (and it was great), but next year's looks to be quite exciting as well.  Some of my online friends are already planning to go, and those of us who can't attend will hopefully get to watch online again next year!

Watch the Introduction! 

From the Reformation to the Great Awakening:  
I'm still creeping my way through the historical Theology lectures that are online that were given at the Master's Seminary.  Although they are primarily for pastors, you don't have to be a pastor to benefit.  We all can learn about church history, and how heresy creeps in and Theological creeds were helpful.  Also, it shows how God continues to work to keep a remnant for Himself -  even though many stray from Biblical truth.

It is helpful for Christians to see why the Reformation was needed (to recover the truth - especially the Biblical Gospel that had been strayed from), and then again why the Great Awakening was needed as the age of so-called "Enlightenment" began to make idols of human reasoning and science.
This is the Lecture I'm currently making my way through:
Nathan Busenitz talking about what led to the necessity for the Great Awakening.


Saturday, March 12, 2016

Shepherds' Conference: Part 5 -The Death of Christ • Union With The Triune God

This is the final installment of thoughts and quotes from the Shepherds' Conference:

General Session 9: Paul Washer

Why would a man take it upon himself to enter a profession where every time he opens his mouth, he fails? - Paul Washer #ShepCon

With regards to eschatology,  you will know everything about the Second Coming on the day that it occurs. - Paul Washer #ShepCon

The first step in the Gospel is the knowledge of God. ...Your task preacher is to study the attributes of God (and preach them). #ShepCon PW

How can a holy and just God cover sin and still be just? ...
God justifies the wicked. - Paul Washer #ShepCon

God did not take your sin off of you & throw it on the ground & trample it. He took the sin off His elect and cast it on Christ. #ShepCon PW

There has never been a human being ..who for one fraction of a second loved the Lord their God with all heart, mind, & strength. #ShepCon PW

When we believed in Christ, we were legally, forensically, declared to be right with God & He treated us as right with Him.-Washer #ShepCon

Every gift of God should be collected in the box of our heart...everything was bought by His suffering. Paul Washer #ShepCon

God's only Covenant keeper took the place of the Covenant breakers and took the curse that was theirs. - Washer #ShepCon

It wasn't the Romans beating on Jesus that atoned for sin, it was the wrath of God that He bore.  #ShepCon (Hearing Paul Washer)

My sins are so high that only a work like that can save me. - Paul Washer speaking on Christ's taking the wrath of God for sin. #ShepCon

General Session 10: John MacArthur

The elect for whom Christ died & lived have to believe the Gospel. - John MacArthur  #ShepCon

Jesus was inerrant, infallible. - John MacArthur #ShepCon

it's all passed down (the truth) from the Father, to the Son, to the Spirit,  to the apostles.  #ShepCon (John MacArthur)

Faith comes by hearing the words concerning Christ. #ShepCon (Listening to John MacArthur)

What is eternal life?  Eternal life is the true transforming knowledge of God.

When you have been regenerated, you have literally been drawn up and out of the world. - John MacArthur #ShepCon

This is the character of our evangelism...  You are God's prosecutors.  You prosecute the world.  You indict sinners. - JMac #ShepCon

It's the preaching that prosecutes sinners. - John MacArthur
#ShepCon (Exposing sin)

John the Baptist was God's last OT prosecutor, & he lost his head.  #ShepCon Listening to John MacArthur

We're all wrapped up in the Trinity.  We share the same life.  - John MacArthur
 (John 17:23)  #ShepCon

Salvation's not a ticket to Heaven, escape from judgment.  It's being caught up into the life of the Trinity. - John MacArhur  #ShepCon

If God is not all your joy here, then Heaven will be less for you. - John MacArthur #ShepCon #ShepCon2016

We are safe in the eternal sense.  We are unsafe in the temporal sense.  We live in imminent danger. - John MacArthur #ShepCon

Jesus sanctified Himself.   Sanctification is perfect obedience to the Word & will of God by the power of the Holy Spirit. JMac #ShepCon

We're on God's heart.  He's concerned that the sinners He died for get to glory.
Hearing J. MacArthur #ShepCon
He loves His own infinitely.

God has loved us as He has loved Christ Jesus His beloved Son (as we are in Him). #ShepCon

Only a God who is more than 1 Person can love.  Listening to John MacArthur #ShepCon

Next year "We Preach Christ" will be the theme, & it will be 4 days! #ShepCon #ShepCon2016

Al Mohler, Steve Lawson,  Ligon Duncan,  Michael Reeves, Phil Johnson, & Stephen Nichols in February 2017 #ShepCon

Friday, March 11, 2016

Shepherds' Conference: Part 4 - Responses From John MacArthur, Albert Mohler, & Ligon Duncan

Austin Duncan led the question and answer time at the Shepherds' Conference on Friday.
I was watching live-streaming, and below are a combination of quotes and thoughts shared by me on social media taken from the responses of the guys answering the questions.

General Session 8:  Keynote Q & A

Theology is just truth propositionally stated. - @johnmacarthur  #ShepCon

Between Christianity and the modern world there is a deep antagonism.  Listening to A Mohler during Q & A #ShepCon

Just try dropping words like "male" & "female", & you will see the antagonism between Christianity and the world around you.#ShepCon AMohler

They come because they want deliverance. (MacArthur talking about homosexuals) #ShepCon

We need to be courageously clear and Biblical about every area of sin - not just LGBT. #ShepCon

There are a lot of schools that wave inerrancy and do not believe it. - Ligon Duncan #ShepCon

Preachers / pastors need more not less.  We're on the precipice of a chasm. #ShepCon (Al Mohler)

We not only have to overcome the world.  We have to overcome the church.  The world has infiltrated the church. John MacArthur #ShepCon

Pastors need to know who is gifted and send them to the seminary & hold them accountable.  #ShepCon  (I was listening to John MacArthur during Q & A)

You can tell a church where the Word of God is lifted up... JMac #ShepCon

Al Mohler comments on Presidential candidates' clothing.  :) #ShepCon

The one thing you can do that will profoundly matter is to be uncool.  #ShepCon (Al Mohler said something like that.)

When you have a church down the street with clowns & otters... The way you trump entertainment is with relationships. Ligon Duncan #ShepCon

John MacArthur talks about how Mark Driscoll has paved the way for the crude, crassness, & profanity of Donald Trump.  #ShepCon

Morality doesn't define us anymore. - @johnmacarthur
 #ShepCon #ShepCon2016

We counted on cultural Christianity to protect us, but the believing church is a lot smaller.  #ShepCon (Hearing Al Mohler)

We are seeing the humbling of Evangelicalism in America.  (Was hearing Al Mohler & MacArthur)

Your hope is not situated in immediate results.....All of us need to think more long the final judgment.  Ligon Duncan #ShepCon   (I should have put "term.")

Stand in Christ between God and the Devil for the people.  Preach the Gospel. Preach the Word, & consider what an honor that is. AM #ShepCon

Shepherds' Conference: Part 3 - Fear The Lord & Preach The Word • Spiritual Pharisaism

General Session 6: Albert Mohler

There is no more restless person on earth than a preacher who's not preaching when somebody else is. - A. Mohler #ShepCon

There are no minor prophets. There are just short books. - Albert Mohler #ShepCon

Where does true ministry start? What we really start with as a called preacher is the fear of God. - Al Mohler #ShepCon

Albert Mohler points out the lie of Joyce Meyer's book title, "God Is Not Mad At You." #ShepCon

How many of us have ever experienced a second, a moment, of genuine awe? - Al Mohler #ShepCon

We have so temperamentally changed the expectation in worship that they don't expect to experience a moment of awe. #ShepCon Hearing AMohler

To preach anything other than the Word of God & rightly divide the Word of God is to take the name of the Lord in vain. #ShepCon (A Mohler)

Nike says No Fear. The Lord of hosts says to fear God. (Listening to A. Mohler) #ShepCon

Albert Mohler reads from "Holiness" by JC Ryle. ►  

Can you imagine....? Wanted: Messenger of the Lord of Hosts A Mohler #ShepCon

(On FB) Can you imagine... Wanted: Messenger of the Lord of Hosts 1. He must fear the Lord & be in awe of His Name 2. He must walk in peace & uprightness & turn many from iniquity A Mohler ‪#‎ShepCon‬
It's one thing to be a messenger. It's another thing to be a messenger of the Lord of hosts. - Al Mohler #ShepCon

General Session 7: Tom Pennington

As frightening as physical blindness is, spiritual blindness is worse.  Christ is the only One who can treat spiritual blindness. #ShepCon

Nothing undermines our ministry like our lack of spiritual integrity....
Are you excusing or tolerating a secret life of sin? #ShepCon Tom P

It is the integrity of the messenger that establishes the credibility of the message. - Tom Pennington #ShepCon

The drift from Theological  orthodoxy doesn't begin with an exegetical argument, but a drift from moral integrity. #ShepCon

We fail to have compassion for the people under our care when we fail to practice church discipline. - Tom Pennington #ShepCon

Our authority as elders and leaders stops where the Word of God stops. #ShepCon Tom P

Jesus taught His disciples for 3 1/2 years, and we want people to change with one sermon. Listening to Tom P #ShepCon

When our greatest desire is to be noticed by men...who are you worshiping? -Tom Pennington #ShepCon

The sincere Christian's motive is to glorify God.  The hypocrite's motive is for self to be noticed. Don't embezzle God's glory. #ShepCon TP

“Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven. Matthew 6:1 NASB
Listening to Tom Pennington

Is your public persona different than your private character?  - Tom Pennington #ShepCon

What makes a man spiritual?  When he is consumed with a passion for God's glory.
Listening to Tom Pennington #ShepCon #ShepCon2016

"Do not be called leaders; for One is your Leader, that is, Christ. Matthew 23:10 NASB  

One of the greatest mistakes we can make as leaders is forgetting we are just clay pots. - Tom Pennington #ShepCon

The church is the body, and Christ is still it's Head. Hearing Tom Pennington Pastors are just a mouth.

Shepherds' Conference: Part 2 - Wrath, Sovereignty, & Grace • Faithfulness In Suffering

I'm sharing some thoughts, quotes, and verses that I posted on Twitter during the Shepherds' Conference for pastors.
I really enjoy getting to watch!

General Session 3: Steven J. Lawson

This is the day when the moral restraints of the Word of
God are being thrown off by the culture. - Steven Lawson #ShepCon

This is the anarchy of this generation to no longer be contained to one man one woman for life.  Listening to Steven Lawson #ShepCon

He Who sits in the Heavens laughs.  It is the laughter of derision, disdain, and mockery.  Listening to Steven Lawson #ShepCon

The king's heart is like channels of water in the hand of the LORD; He turns it wherever He wishes. Proverbs 21:1 NASB #ShepCon

He it is who reduces rulers to nothing,
Who makes the judges of the earth meaningless.
Isaiah 40:23 NASB #ShepCon

If a man does not repent, He will sharpen His sword; He has bent His bow and made it ready.  Psalm 7:12 NASB #ShepCon

This world is not run as a democracy, but as a Theocracy. - Steven Lawson #ShepCon

In Heaven there are no caucuses, debates, brokered conventions...just God (who is in control).  Listening to Steven Lawson #ShepCon

It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God.  Hebrews 10:31 NASB #ShepCon #ShepCon2016

Worship the LORD with reverence
And rejoice with trembling.
Psalm 2:11 NASB

In the midst of the swirl and storm of gathering judgment there is now this invitation.  Hearing Steven Lawson #ShepCon

To escape the wrath & enter into grace & mercy take refuge in Him.
Hearing Steven Lawson #ShepCon

General Session 4: Ligon Duncan

It is God's wrath and His love that is displayed on the cross. Ligon Duncan speaking at

General Session 5: Nathan Busenitz

I've been watching Nathan Busenitz lectures on Historical Theology, so here I go again watching him speak!

Success is measured in terms of faithfulness. Listening to (Nathan Busenitz)

If success is defined from God's perspective...then the heroes of Heb 11 not only understood what success is, but they lived it. NB

In the eyes of the world Moses was a failure, but he was faithful to his calling. Listening to N. Busenitz

As ministers of the Lord Jesus Christ, you are to be faithful...and leave the results to Him. Hearing N Busenitz

False teachers are lovers of money....The truth is that they are fools.
Hearing N Busenitz #ShepCon

That will be enough to account for on the day of judgment. - Spurgeon on only having 100 in the church.  #ShepCon

Timothy's motivation was to be to please the One to Whom he would one day give an account. Hearing N Busenitz #ShepCon

The true standard of success is none other than the Lord Jesus Christ...and the measure of success is faithfulness to Him.  #ShepCon  NB

The faithful minister is willing to endure suffering if that's what's entailed in serving Christ.  Hearing N Busenitz #ShepCon

(On FB) Our world tells us suffering is the result of failure, but the faithful minister is willing to endure suffering if that's what's entailed in serving Christ. (Hearing N. Busenitz...chopped from what he was saying).

Paul rejoiced in the knowledge that Christ was being glorified. -N Busenitz #ShepCon Paul was only concerned about the reputation of Christ.
Suffering is no sign of failure as long as you are faithful to the Lord. - @nbusenitz

Shepherds' Conference: Part 1- Doctrine vs Cleverness

Over the past days, I've been watching The Shepherds' Conference online.

It has been pretty amazing, and there has been a group of us on Twitter sharing quotes and thoughts from the conference - as well as having fun and fellowship.

I am not fast at typing, so sometimes I mix quotes and thoughts, or I skip over parts to get the gist of what I have gotten from what was said.
There are some quotes that I manage to get in their entirety though!

General Session 1: John MacArthur

The pastor above all is not only to teach doctrine...., but the pastor is the guardian of sound doctrine. (Listening to JMac) #ShepCon
Every significant pastor in church history has been a heavyweight in Theology.  - @johnmacarthur #ShepCon

I submit ..both the death of Christ and the resurrection of Christ fall below the reality of John 17. (Listening to John MacArthur) #ShepCon

If you don't have Theology - not only can you not preach - you can't even pray. - John MacArthur

God and Allah are not the same. - John MacArthur #ShepCon #ShepCon2016

Allah is a form of the devil.  He doesn't have relationship. There is no love in Allah.

As clearly as the Father has given a Name to the Son, He has given a people to Him. #Chosen #ShepCon (Hearing John MacArthur)

"All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out.  John 6:37 NASB #ShepCon #Election

God willed to save those He chose. Christ couldn't have died for the whole world or He would have been out of the Father's will. JM #ShepCon

Salvation is to know know Christ.  - John MacArthur #ShepCon

General Session 2: Phil Johnson

It seems a lot of evangelical churches today think unless you use..gimmicks.., it's a lame & unsophisticated way to do church #ShepCon PhilJ

All of ur gimmicks combined will never give spiritual light to blind eyes..the Word of God is the only thing that can do that.PhilJ #ShepCon

How can you commend yourselves to everyone's conscience, if you're doing things that will offend their conscience?
Hearing Phil J #ShepCon

God's word is the substance of our message....There's no need to mask it behind politically correct jargon, ....Phil J #ShepCon

Paul doesn't answer reviling with reviling....  He commits himself to the One who judges righteously.  Phil Johnson #ShepCon

False teachers don't wear signs openly showing they are ministers of Satan.
Hearing Phil Johnson #ShepCon

Lots of people are simply seeking glory from people. - Phil Johnson #ShepCon

Don't adapt the Gospel to people's felt needs.  People need the unadulterated truth and Gospel.

3 Strategies to avoid in preaching:
1. Trying to be clever
2. Trying to be coy
3.  Trying to be cool
Phil Johnson #ShepCon

This craving to be cool is the besetting sin of this generation.
Listening to Phil Johnson
#ShepCon @shepconf #ShepCon2016

If you think it's important for you to be somebody in order to get the audience that you crave, you are too important to yourself. - Phil J

Part of the problem today is "a glut of pulpiteers who simply are not gifted to teach" Listening to Phil Johnson

The Lord will use His Word to call and convert people. - Phil Johnson

Preach the Word. Preach it with courage, clarity, and conviction
(Was listening to Phil Johnson #ShepCon #pastors

Monday, March 7, 2016

Shepherds' Conference, Book For Jewish Friends, & A Tulip Test

The Shepherds' Conference - I have been informed that the Shepherds' Conference is supposed to be live-streamed (as in previous years), so I recommend checking out their site HERE.
►10 AM PST / 1 PM EST or 6 PM GMT on Wednesday, March 9, 2016
John MacArthur is scheduled for the first main session.
Hopefully we will all be able to watch the main sessions!
They have the rest of the schedule on the site, so if it works you can figure out the time where you are by going HERE.

The Stone And The Glory of Israel - There is a special edition book that is geared for Jewish readers that you might want to look into for sharing with Jewish friends.  I think they may have messed up with the description, as I believe it should read "Jewish people" rather than "Jesus People."
You can see more about it HERE.

The Tulip Test - This is a test that you should take to find out what you really believe about the doctrines of grace -even if you think you will disagree!

Saturday, March 5, 2016

"Amen" To Christian Dental Music

Due to either an e-mail or from following him on Facebook, I had known Steven Curtis Chapman had a new worship album coming out (which has now already been released), and I'd heard a little sampling of what was put out early.
I have not listened to contemporary Christian radio that often lately, but it wouldn't have surprised me to know that they were playing a single from an album before the full release was out.
That is usual.

What did surprise me was to hear the song "Amen" being played while I was getting my teeth cleaned recently.
I think I also heard "Slow Fade" by Casting Crowns, etc. afterward.
It would not have surprised me much at all to hear Christian music at my old dentist's office (though other easy listening music was often played there), since my old dentist used to lead the singing sometimes at a church.  I did not know that it would be played at this office.  If they did it in the past, I had forgotten.

Yes, things like this can and do happen in Tennessee whether at a dentist office, a fast food place, or other places you might not expect it.  Certainly it is unlike California, as you will see people interviewed on TV even talk about God and church in a positive way at times.
They even show events that are being held at or hosted by churches.

Though there are many in the old "South" who have a churchianity mentality rather than being true believers,  I still can enjoy some of the benefits.

Hearing some uplifting music with decent lyrics probably did help add to the easing of my stress of being at the dentist office (especially after having to fill out paperwork - again).
I'll admit that it was also a plus that the dentist chair now has a back massage or vibrator seemingly inside of it.

Though some may strongly disagree, I find this music much more agreeable than the classical music I had to suffer through many years ago as a teenager while getting teeth braces adjusted.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Puritans & Political Change

Political change in this world and age is only temporary even when it has gone well.   While it sometimes brings about benefits, this fallen world is still under the curse of sin.  In the Old Testament there were times of blessing and times of judgment.

In Britain, things changed back and forth from Roman Catholicism to Anglicanism, but there was still the vestiges of Roman Catholicism that brought about persecution and trouble for those who were Christians who held to a stricter belief in what the Bible teaches.

It eventually became so bad that Christians could not teach the Biblical truth of the doctrines of grace (which had been widely accepted previously).
At one point there was actually a civil war where the Puritans finally got control.  Right or wrong methods, this was similar to how the U.S. began.

In the 1600s, the Puritans under Oliver Cromwell were able to make some good church reforms when they took control of the British government (the previous government had already had control over the churches), but after 10 yrs. the positive changes ended (after the death of Cromwell). Sadly, the reforms were undone by the bringing back of a king who did not believe rightly. Not everything that Cromwell did was great even though some good came during that time.  Even the good changes didn't last, although there is some good in the Westminster Confession that some still read today.

Similarly, the U.S. has fallen away from it's Puritan separatist roots that began with the Puritan Pilgrims and others like them.
Even in the early days of the formation of the U.S., some people only held to a form of religion - like Thomas Jefferson who only admitted to deism.  

Some people in America still make a claim to Christianity these days (though a lot don't even pretend anymore since they aren't), but the churches have strayed from the truth.  The world has infiltrated,. Instead of the church conforming to the Word of God, they try to conform the Bible to the world.

Liberalism, sentimentality, emotionalism, and many false teachings have crept back into the "church" like the heresies of old.
So, when we hear about all the "evangelicals" who vote for dishonest and corrupt politicians, or they accept immorality within their church membership roles,  or they claim women as pastors and elders and teachers of men, or they unify with Roman Catholics and other religious groups, or they have strange practices that look like mysticism and other pagan religions ... well, we need to realize that all that glitters is not gold.

Many will claim to be Christians, but they believe and teach strange doctrines that are not from the God of the Bible.  These are not believers, though perhaps some true Christians may be wallowing in their midst.  They should be considered the mission field of the true church.  Praying a prayer, but denying God's truth by your life and beliefs, demonstrates that your faith isn't real.

So,  for Christians who are discouraged due to the political circus and downward spiral of this nation, we can be encouraged that God is still sovereign over the bad times and trials that come.   Much earlier in church history, many Christians suffered and died, and some denied the faith ... it was so bad.  Thankfully, those times did not last forever.
Times of relief and mercy did come for Christians. In Sodom, it was so bad that God's judgment was the destruction of the city.  Still, He rescued Lot and his daughters.

Even if dire persecution comes...which it has come in some countries,  God will give His children grace to endure and shine brightly even if it costs us our temporal lives yet never our eternal life.   Sometimes, faithful Christians have died even for specific truths of the Bible.  Oh, that we should love the truth and despise error so boldly and with such holy zeal!

I admit, I physically do miserably under even a little stress (feeling like passing out even at times due to my physical condition), but God has never failed me yet - though I think I can't endure.
He either gives escape and rescue, or He gives strength and endurance through trials which aid in spiritual growth.

So, my hope isn't in whether we get someone good in the White House though we can pray and ask for mercy.
We have to accept God's will, and it isn't as though America doesn't deserve wicked, dishonest, and corrupt leaders.
But for the sake of all of those of us who are His, we pray to live peaceably.  We don't enjoy misery. We must be a light shining the Gospel in this dark place.

America is a mission field.  The church needs to act like it.  This world is only temporary, so we need to make the most of our time as the days are evil.
I hope that I can be a light, and I hope this post is encouraging to other Christians reading it today.