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Thursday, February 20, 2020

Pastoral Authority Limitations, Critical Race Theory Explained, + Should Churches Use Hillsong & Bethel Music?

How Much Authority Does a Pastor Have?

Have you heard of or been to a church where the people seem to be micromanaged in a way that raises red flags?  
The following article is not exhaustive but helpful to explain the Scriptural pattern for pastors /elders.

What is Critical Race Theory, and why is it wrong?

If you are like me and struggle to remember and articulate things, having things available to review  in written form can be very beneficial.  
Not long ago someone asked me what CRT was, and I found myself fumbling to attempt to answer them (despite all I've heard before).
Eric Davis has a blog post which takes information from different sources and describes what Critical Race Theory & Intersectionality are (and their un-Biblical worldview).

Should Churches use Hillsong & Bethel Music?

I've watched a few newer videos in recent times which gave good reasons for avoiding using music from these sources. 
While an occasional song might have okay lyrics and your individual conscience might let you sing those privately, there are ramifications of churches singing their music. 
It can encourage people to look them up and get led to their false teaching, financially aid their dangerous teaching, etc.
Much of the lyrics also reflect the poor Theology and dangerous views of those places.

(I don't know the pastor here or what version or paraphrase he was using, but this was a thoughtful message to consider.)

Thursday, February 6, 2020

Thoughts on God's Grace

Salvation is by God's grace alone through faith in Christ alone.

For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. Ephesians 2:8-9 NASB

Grace is unmerited favor.

I think Spurgeon might have described it something like this (which I borrowed from an old post that I did): 
The fountain of God's grace is like a heart pump sending blood through the blood vessel of faith to me (my soul) from God.

God's grace is not a commodity bestowed on us for things we do (the Catholics wrongly treat it like that).

His grace should also not be cheapened by believers as some have tried to do by seeming to think that they can sin all the more that grace may abound.

What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? 
May it never be!  How shall we who died to sin still live in it?
Romans 6:1-2 NASB

It is God's grace that He saves sinners who are unworthy, and believers stand in His grace and grow in grace.
Grace is not a one time event in the life of those whom God has chosen to save.

Grace was realized through Jesus.

For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ. 
John 1:17 NASB

Believers stand in grace.

Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God. 
Romans 5:1-2 NASB

God's grace instructs believers to deny ungodliness.

instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, 
Titus 2:12 NASB

Are you a Christian?
We cannot be justified by or kept by our works (Law or good deeds).
Nothing we do can make or keep ourselves right with God. 
We are sinful, and God is holy. 
That's why we need Christ as the substitute for us....who lived the perfect life & died taking the punished deserved for all who would ever believe (satisfying God's just wrath against our sin), and He also rose from the dead for the justification of life ---the validation that the sacrifice was accepted. 
All men everywhere are commanded to repent and believe the Gospel.
Those who belong to Him are His children and will have eternal life.  Those who do not believe are condemned and will be judged.  Hell is real.
We aren't promised tomorrow, and there will be no excuses.

Friday, January 31, 2020

What Does Christian Love Look Like?

John MacArthur gave some convicting messages on love at The Master's University this week.
I highly recommend them for other Christians to watch.

Part 1  
"Pursue Love."
"The loveless person is zero." 
- John MacArthur

Part 2  
"Love doesn't demand to be heard."
"Love doesn't insist on its rights."
"True love is always unselfish."
"Love never becomes exasperated with people. 
Love never loses its temper." 
- John MacArthur

Part 3
Loving the truth means hating error.  
Loving the truth means hating iniquity.... 
We should live a life marked by joy... 
Some Christians become so negative that they 'find the manure pile in every meadow.'
Love is slow to expose anything...and only does so when it is dangerous to the church. 
It should be exposed for love's sake...not resentment.
(This is from what I heard from John MacArthur.)

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Kobe Bryant, U.S. Senate Trial, Q & A, Baby Names, & Discernment

A lot of news stories have been coming up that I'm not going to say a whole lot about.
It's not that I'm not paying attention, but I'm not stirred up enough to address all of them.

Kobe Bryant
Kobe Bryant's death in the helicopter in California (along with his daughter and the seven other people with them) reminds us that life can be shorter than we expect, and that people need to hear the Gospel while they are still here on earth.
As someone who liked the Lakers, I was familiar with Kobe's name.
I was more of a team fan than a personal fan, but it is still sad.
I saw other news recently about a 24 year old police officer killed, and so all of these deaths are so sad...especially if you learn they didn't belong to the Lord.

U. S. Senate Trial
From all I've seen President Donald Trump has not committed a prosecutable crime, but some are so angry at him that they are looking for any possible excuse to try to get him removed from office. 
The House manager Adam Schiff is the one who originally got into office through redistricting (which was the Democrats way of getting back at James Rogan who helped lead in the impeachment of now former President Bill Clinton - Clinton actually did commit a legally prosecutable offense). 
That's all I'll say about that at least for now.

I've saved up a few more things to share with you:

The Q & A You Likely Missed
The other week, we watched a very interesting Q & A that Pastor Don Green of Truth Community Church did on a Tuesday night.
Making decisions in political elections was just one of the things that he responded about.
Truth Community Church Q & A

Popular Names by Decade
The Social Security Administration has lists of the top 200 names used for boys and girls in the U.S.A. born in each decade. 
You can check and see if your name is among them!

Discernment: Spiritual Survival for a Church in Crisis
I saw that GTY was offering a booklet on discernment, so I searched on their site and found that I could read it there. 
I believe it would be a good resource for people to get and distribute. 
I have recently had an online conversation with someone that would likely claim to be a Christian yet supports abortion, doesn't believe the Gospel of Scripture, and the person doesn't believe in Hell.  There are a lot of people who don't treat Scriptural truth as their final authority.
I'd encourage people to read the booklet HERE.

Monday, January 13, 2020

Monday Mix-up: Soleimani's Evil, Don't Be a Heart Follower, & a Seventh Day Adventism Exposé

I realize it's been awhile since I shared anything on here, and today I'm just going to share some things that I've read of late that stood out to me.

The Story You Might Have Missed
In recent times people are divided on Trump's decision to attack Quasem Soleimani.
This story highlights some of the awful things happened with this guy in power.
I Saw Qasem Soleimani’s Brand of Evil Firsthand — It’s Worse Than You Could Possibly Imagine

Don't Follow Your Heart
A lot of people encourage people to follow their heart or their dreams.  Some people will even teach you to listen for an inner voice (and even attribute it to God).  Our inner thoughts and feelings and what we imagine to be God's voice is often not from God or His Word.
Here is an article that I read this week.
Slogans That Don’t Save: “Follow Your Heart” by Owen Strachan

Is Seventh Day Adventism Christian?
I've run across a number of Seventh Day Adventists in the past, and I didn't know everything that they believed.  I did some research, and I realize that a lot of people probably don't know a lot about them.  I knew that I'd had doctors from the SDA who wanted to pray with me, and when I researched what they believe I decided to not go along with it anymore.
An Interview with Phil Johnson on Seventh Day Adventism