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Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Grace To You & The Hillsong Controversy

Truth does divide, but we can't ignore error ....
Grace To You has posted some blog articles related to Hillsong during the past couple of days.

Hillsong Music's Weakness 

Hillsong's UnBiblical Message  

The articles by GTY aren't just about music (although one of them is focused  more on the lyrics of the songs).
I am thankful that they have addressed this.

Hillsong's music is very popular in many churches due to the music being pleasing to the ears.
While not all of Hillsong's lyrics are wholly bad, you can see symptoms of poor teaching in many of them.

Hillsong churches are not known to be bastions of solid Biblical teaching.
Like many churches today, sound theology does not seem to be a priority.

Grace To You highlighted one of  Hillsong's churches in California - where the teaching and atmosphere encourage a low view of God.
Sadly, this kind of a low view of God and Scripture, eisegetical teaching, and rock concert mentality are not all that uncommon in America.  It's not just a Hillsong issue.

A lack of sound Biblical teaching, and lack of reverence for God generally leads to unBiblical practices in the church.

Here are a just three symptoms:

Casualness about the things of God

Allowing women to teach and or exercise authority in the church

Allowing people who practice sinful lifestyles to lead

This leads to a church full of people who are either unbelievers or are spiritually malnourished.

Christianity without distinct doctrine is a powerless thing. It may be beautiful to some minds, but it is childless and barren.  - J.C. Ryle

I was rereading a portion of Chapter 2 of Reviving New England (by Pastor Nate Pickowicz) recently, and I'm afraid that many pastors today practice one of more of his examples of wrong ways to handle Scripture.
Even some seemingly good churches can fall into some error by lopsided teaching.
I believe that J.C. Ryle also talked about how it can be wrong to put too much focus in preaching on one point of doctrine to the detriment of others.

Let us never forget that truth, distorted and exaggerated — can become the mother of the most dangerous heresies! - JC Ryle

Ryle also wrote warnings of error to churches (highlighted in the following post on Monergism's site):
15 Key Quotes from J.C. Ryle’s “Warnings to the Churches”

I'm glad that GTY is pointing out serious problems to warn the flock (other Christians), and to encourage right thinking.
This is what leaders in the church should do (although some churches may go overboard when that is most of what they do).
That is not the case with Grace Community Church though.
If people think that it is, then they probably have not really looked into what is taught there.

Christians do need to to pay attention to warnings.
We need to know the Scripture better than we do.
We need to take God more seriously than we do.
It is so easy to get sucked into error and heresy when we don't filter what we believe through the lens of Scripture.

UPDATE: Additional GTY Article on Hillsong
Hillsong & Man  - Here is a partial quote in their response to what Hillsong teaches:
"..., even the greatest victim still needs to appreciate the depth of his own guilt in order to grasp his need for the Savior."

Saturday, November 26, 2016

GCC Christmas Live-Streaming Concert, Christmas Explained By MacArthur, Plus A Capella Christmas Music

Exciting News!

The Grace Community Church Christmas Concerts are coming up, and the one on December 18th, 2016 is planned to be live-streamed at 6-8 PM Pacific Time.  That is 9-11 PM Eastern.

UPDATE:  Here is the concert video!

Grace Community Church Christmas Concert 2016 from Grace Community Church on Vimeo.

John MacArthur Explains Christmas.

It's time for music!

The following video has no connection to Grace Community Church,  but there is a Christmas Card Tract that is from the lyrics of this song.
One thing I would say further than what this song for those who are born again (from above) begins now for the believer.
Yet we still groan in our earthly tents (bodies) as we wait for our redeemed bodies (Romans 8:22).
Christmas is a great time for evangelism.

Sharing this does not mean that I endorse the singers, songwriters, etc., of the song or video.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Deadly Poisonous Speech & New Birth Baptism

Sins of The Tongue  ←This has good food for thought on the sins of the tongue. I believe many of us  fail even without intent. 

I would disagree with this man on some points in the article (like who reigns in Hell...and I believe qualifying praise is actually a good thing when it is to avoid endorsing error).  

I also believe that sometimes things are misconstrued as slander when error and concerns are being pointed out.  There is a fine line, and it is good to be very cautious.  Many times the line can get crossed, but the other side of this is flattery and encouraging people to read or listen to error by pretending error doesn't exist.

I would be interested to read a booklet by John Flavel on this subject  called Sinful Speech.

New Birth Baptism

I have been reading the book of John, and I have been thinking about the idea of being born again.
It isn't the first birth that puts one into the the true's the second birth. 
All Christians are born of the Spirit and are in Christ.

Many people seem to believe that the old covenant is exactly as the new, so they think that unbelieving children of Christians should be included.  
Certainly unbelievers can enjoy the blessings spilled over from a believer, but only believers are included in the universal true church.
Children should be raised up in the way they should go, but they shouldn't be considered as members without a profession of faith (and even then only God knows if they are truly saved at that time).

John's baptism was of repentance.
Even circumcised Jews were baptized by John (and the disciples of Jesus baptized also), so these do not seem to be unrepentant and unbelieving people who were to be baptized.

After Christ died and rose, Christians were also baptized by the Spirit and into Christ.  
They were not required to be circumcised of the flesh...nor were their children.
In the early church in the Bible, water baptism became symbolic of  being baptized into Christ's death and raised with Him.  
Do I hear "imputation" anyone?  

Water baptism followed repentance and faith.
Churches shouldn't wait to baptize a child who professes faith.
They should only question them to ascertain that they understand.
Even adults can be false converts, but baptism shouldn't be kept until we decide people have enough fruit to satisfy us first, should it?

Friday, November 18, 2016

Surgery Side Two

This week I had another ulnar nerve moved (on my other arm).  This time it was a simpler surgery to release it..  I do not feel like the first surgery was as successful in helping anything except the nerve conduction test to come out better.  It made things feel worse for using that hand, so I wanted a different surgeon this time to do the other side.

Well, I have been majorly stressed out, and it is hard to see how I will get through, but at least the surgery seemed to have gone well.  I was awake at least part of the time, but they tented me to not have to view the surgery.  I did see a person holding what they were tenting me with.  I thought of asking the people how it was going, but I kept quiet.  It only hurt at the end with the nerve, and it felt like one side of my brain felt a corresponding  nerve pain / freeze for a bit.

I have been having meltdowns, and the pain has gradually increased from very little to the level of what I think a scrape up from a bike fall was like as a kid.  Ouch!  The side effects of the prescription were too bothersome, so I'm using over the counter medicine now.

I've been typing this all one handed, so I will keep it brief.
I'd appreciate prayer not only for me, but others in my family are facing surgery and pain issues as well.  I feel like I'm having a breakdown, and God is the only One who can get me through.

I'm thankful for family and others who have encouraged me.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Things Satan Doesn't Want You To Know

The sad truth about some who call themselves Christians -

Some who call themselves Christians need to start reading the Bible more, and they need to stop listening to the lies of those who tell them that certain sins are okay.
Romans 1 and 1 Corinthians 6:9-20  and Ephesians 5:3-14 are just a few Scripture portions that talk about some sins that should not characterize believers.

It's Satan who wants to blind the eyes and stop up the ears, and he and his followers let people think that repentance isn't necessary and that God is okay with certain sins.

What is really disturbing is when people who call themselves "Christians" attack those who share the Gospel and Scripture online (or in person) with others.

Some who profess faith in Christ actually don't want people to read or hear the truth of Scripture...that God is not okay with sin...that sin brings eternal punishment in Hell...that Christ came to die on the cross to take the place of that those who repent and trust in Him can be saved.

This leads me to wonder if these people are truly saved themselves, though only God knows for sure.
It's hard for me to imagine true Christians telling other people not to read the Gospel or Bible verses.

Some people think that it is unloving and judgmental to warn someone of the eternal consequences of sin..and to proclaim the good news about repentance and faith in Jesus.
Repentance is a major theme in the Bible, as well at faith.
It is not something to be abhorred and shied away from!
Yet, some think that we should avoid mention of's all about "accepting" Christ rather than remembering that He is to be received as Lord.

Some people actually ridicule and judge those who are warning of God's just judgment...not our own.
They are deceived into thinking that God's being loving means that He accepts sinful behavior, and that He actually affirms people who practice sin!
They don't seem to realize that they are the ones who are not being loving to their friends and others, because true love warns of danger.

Love understands the truth and cares about consequences.
Love wants people to forsake have an understanding of what sin it, so that true repentance can take place if the Spirit is working in the heart of that person to believe the Gospel.
Love wants people to know what they need to be saved from...not to just give a person a warm fuzzy bandage to pretend that sin is not sinful.

Even if someone claims to be a Christian and is living a life of sin,  they must be warned about the consequences of continuing in sin (Ephesians 5:3-13).
If the person is not a Christian, they need to understand the true Gospel, and they need to see that the Gospel transforms lives.  
If a person is continuing in unconfessed sin, and if they think that the sin is perfectly acceptable and natural and commendable, then they should examine themselves to see if they are in the faith.

For believers, we should know that we need to continue confessing and turning from sin.
We desire not to sin.
This doesn't mean that we don't have struggles with sin, but it does mean that we will not rejoice in unrighteousness.  
As we grow, we come to hate sin more, and we want to obey God more.
A true child of God will be convicted when sin is pointed out.
We have been washed /cleansed in the redeeming sense,  but we want to have a deeper and purer communion with Christ by not leaving our sin a dirt smudge on a clean shirt.
  How do you know that you are really a Christian? from The Master's Seminary on Vimeo.

God's love is not about accepting sinful behavior.  God still hates sin, and there is only one way to be reconciled to God.  Once reconciled, there will be a God-ward  growth.  It may be gradual, but people will not grow very well if they don't spend time getting to know God better through His Word.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

The U.S. Election & Christian Reconciliation

Another U.S. Presidential election has been decided.
Neither of the major candidates were my choice, but God is Sovereign.
I voted my conscience...for a write-in that I believe would have been superb...Nathan Busenitz..a professor at The Master's Seminary.
I knew that Donald Trump was highly likely to win the state of Tennessee anyway, so my friends who were anxious about my not voting for him should not have worried.

If Hillary had won, God would still be Sovereign, as much as it would have been bad news for our country.
Many of us may consider Donald Trump the lesser of two judgments, but that doesn't mean that all will be a bed of roses.
Many of my friends voted for Trump - trusting that he actually will stand for unborn babies in the womb.
All Christians should pray that he truly will stand for life, because he has shown himself to be a man of shifting views.

I have been reading 2 Kings, and I have seen how Israel and Judah had many kings who were disobedient to God and allowed false worship - even passing their children through the fire.
Every so often, there was a king who did right.
Some of those still allowed some evil to continue 
Because of the sin, judgment was still coming.
Yet, God showed much patience for His own sake - and for the sake of David.

America is not Israel or Judah.  It is not God's chosen people, but there are still those of us in it who are His adopted children.
Many of us prayed for mercy, and we voted based on our conscience.
Yes, I voted for a state and U.S. well as writing in for President.

Now,  despite the outcome, we can't stop praying, and I hope that Christians who attacked one another will once again show the love that is supposed to mark the children of God.
I never pronounced judgment on those who voted for Trump, but I did stand up against people who seemed to want to judge me for not voting for him.
I have no reason to be counted guilty.

Elections sometimes bring out the worst in people, but my desire is that believers will be reconciled as true Christians should be.
We are to be lights in the world, and I fear that we have not acted very Christ-like.

Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.
Romans 12:10 ESV

Monday, November 7, 2016

Help For The Depressed Believer

If you are down, I hope this well help you.
I am not doing this for you only.   I'm doing it for myself.
Yes, I have learned what it is to be so low that I don't know how I'll get through.
My hope is still in God though, and I must endure no matter how dark things seem or how awful I may feel.
Medicine and those who care can be helpful, but it can't take the place of remembering the greatest Source of my help.

Do not hide Your face from me, Do not turn Your servant away in anger; You have been my help; Do not abandon me nor forsake me, O God of my salvation!  Psalm 27:9 NASB

My soul clings to You; Your right hand upholds me.  Psalm 63:8 NASB

Things the Bible encourages us to meditate on:

The Law of the Lord • His precepts   (Psalm 119:15)

Thy word I have treasured in my heart, That I may not sin against Thee.  Psalm 119:11 NASB

Whatever is true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, of good report, if there be any excellence and anything worthy of praise (Philippians 4:8)

His works & mighty deeds

His lovingkindness

God Himself  (Psalm 63:6) - Thinking on His attributes is a good plan.

This is not an exhaustive list.
Please comment with any other Biblical things that we can dwell on as believers.

Remember you are not alone.
David wrote many Psalms reminding himself and us to hope in God.
Those are inspired words.

Many well-known Christians have suffered low points or depression.
God is a God of all comfort and compassion.
He won't cast His children out.

We can't just wallow thinking about ourselves all of the time.
We need to redirect our thinking over and over!
Don't give up!
Sometimes little things can bring small joys, and God can still use us.

Heaven will be brighter, but God has a purpose for us down here too.

Friday, November 4, 2016

God Is On The Throne - Election 2016

While I've had disagreement in recent time with the Chapmans (the daughter "preaching" somewhere), the lyrics in this particular song are spot on.
I hope that they will encourage my Christian friends in regards to the upcoming election.

The church has continued under great persecution in times past.
We need to stop looking for a utopia government here on this earth, because Jesus said that His Kingdom was not of this world.

We want peace and freedom, but we should not throw away everything that marks us as Christians in order to gain it .
We are completely dependent on Christ.
Evil in this world cannot negate the power of God.  He uses the bad that men do to bring about His purposes.
He brings judgment, He demonstrates His glory, His mercy & love to those whom He has chosen.
And sometimes, surprises come to us for good ....which are not surprises to God.
God is always good, and He will not abandon His children.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Reviving New England Book Review • Part 3 • Conclusion

I've finally finished the book Reviving New England by Pastor Nate Pickowicz.

It is an excellent book well worth reading.
My disclaimer is that at least a couple of the people quoted I personally wouldn't recommend (though the quotes themselves are okay).
I'm not really familiar with some of the others quoted, but some of them I do consider solid.

So, I recommend the book as a whole, and I believe it would be a great book to give to those interested in ministry, seminary students, pastors, church leaders, evangelists, and all Christians in general (who can read English).

It is good to be reminded of what faithful Christians and churches
should be doing, and it is also good to be reminded not to neglect praying for workers and the mission field even in America (as well as for revival in the churches).
It is convicting and motivational, as well as it gives Biblical instruction.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

God's Holiness

I was searching for things online about God's holiness, and a song from my younger days popped into my mind.
It is based on Revelation 15:3-4.
It is difficult to find other videos with the exact tune, so this will give you the idea.

While I was searching for the right tune, I came across another unusual video based on the same verses as the previous song....but with an entirely different tune.

In closing, I want to share an excellent article on God's holiness from the GTY website:

God's Holiness & Your Worship