Tuesday, November 8, 2011

16 Things I Look for in a Preacher

By: Pastor Mark Driscoll on Nov 07, 2011 in Preaching

We’ve got a preachers’ Qualifying Day coming up at Mars Hill Church that I’m excited about. Currently, we have 50 or so elders at Mars Hill and maybe that many more in training. Some of the men are sensing a call to preach and cover the Sundays when I’m out of the pulpit.

So, we thought we’d have some fun with it and have a day when they each take the stage at Mars Hill Ballard to preach. We’ll give each preacher a different text one week in advance. They’ll show up to preach, and we’ll evaluate them.

Only three men will preach this round, but there will be other rounds forthcoming. This round's contestants will be Pastor Thomas Hurst of Mars Hill Bellevue, Pastor Scott Mitchell of Mars Hill Everett, and Pastor AJ Hamilton of Mars Hill Albuquerque. They will have 30 minutes each with a shot clock and buzzer. They can bring only a Bible with them on stage.

This will be fun…for some of us. For our Mars Hill version of American Idol for preachers, I’ll play the part of Simon Cowell, minus the deep v-neck and British accent. Joining me on the judging panel will be Dr. Justin Holcomb who runs Resurgence, Pastor Scott Thomas who runs Acts 29, and Pastor Dave Bruskas, the executive elder who oversees all our churches.

In anticipation of this event, I made a list of 16 things that I’m looking for in a preacher or teacher’s sermon:

1. Tell me about Jesus. Connect it all to Jesus. If you don’t mention Jesus a lot, you need to do something other than preach. And tell me that Jesus is a person, not just an idea. Help me to not only know him but to also like him.

2. Have one big idea. Hang all your other ideas on the one big idea. Otherwise, you will lose me or bore me.

3. Get my attention in the first 30 seconds without being gimmicky. Get to work. Don’t “blah blah blah” around, chitchat, or do announcements. That will make me start checking my phone. Get my attention, and let’s get to work.

4. Bring me along theologically and emotionally. Preaching is not a commentary. Commentaries are boring for even nerds to read. Your job is to do the nerd work and bring it to life. Raise your voice, grab my affections, and bring the living Word.

5. Make me like you, trust you, and respect you so that I can't dismiss you. If you want me to follow you, you have to get me to that point.

6. Avoid Christian jargon and explain your terms. The average person has no idea what fellowship means, or even God for that matter. So, tell us what you’re talking about and don’t assume we have your vocabulary.

7. Don't have points as much as a direction and destination. Take me somewhere. Take me to a place of conviction, compassion, conversion, etc.

8. Don't show me how smart you are, because it makes me feel dumb. I assume you’re smart since you’re standing up talking and we’re all sitting down listening. If you quote words in some language I don’t know, or quote dead guys to show you’re a genius, that makes me feel dumb, which doesn’t serve me well. Don’t come off like that kid in school that the rest of us wanted to give a wedgie to every time they raised their hand.

9. Invite lost people to salvation. Some people in the seats aren’t Christians. So, tell them how to become one. Talk about sin, Jesus, and repentance. At some point in every sermon just do that. If you do, people will bring lost friends. Don’t be a coward.

10. Whether it feels like a wedding or a funeral, be emotionally engaging and compelling. Some sermons are a funeral—convicting, deep, hard hitting, and life shattering. Other sermons are a wedding—exciting, compelling, encouraging, and motivating. Pick an emotional path. Have an emotional trajectory to the sermon, not just a theological point. If you pass the audition and get to preach publicly, have the entire service flow emotionally. If we do wedding songs after a funeral sermon, I’m emotionally confused. Likewise, if we’re singing melancholy hymns after a big motivational sermon, I’m also emotionally confused. So, you and the guy in skinny jeans with the guitar have got to get this figured out together.

11. Look like someone who has it together from clothes to haircut to overall presentation. You don’t need to be a model, but you should look presentable. If you have bed-head, your fly open, keep losing your place in your notes, your shoe is untied, your mic battery dies, and you say, “Um,” a lot because you’re unprepared, I may feel sorry for you but I’m not following you because you don’t seem to have a clue where you are going.

12. Tell the truth and don't be a coward. Look me in the eye and don't flinch. Don’t apologize for what God’s Word says—just say it. Say it like you mean it. Say it like it’s true. Sure, I may despise you, but at least I’ll know what God said. Get over your fear of man and assume that I may just hate you.

13. If you get lost or mess up, make a joke about yourself and keep me interested. I know at some point you’re going to mess up. The Bible is perfect, you aren’t. If I can laugh at you while laughing with you, I’ll trust you.

14. Don’t just preach repentance but also practice it. Don’t talk about everyone else’s sin and never your own. Don’t tell me all the victories you’ve had or that your sin was a long time ago. Jesus is the hero, not you. I don’t trust smug, religious folks who preach how great they are and how I can become like them. It’s smarmy.

15. Answer some objections. You know how most of us are going to push back, question, disagree, or wiggle off the conviction hook. So, anticipate those objections and answer some. Brawl with me a bit, show me you can go a few rounds, get me in a corner, and work me over until I give in and obey God. But, you have to work at it.

16. "It" is the presence and power of the Holy Spirit in you and through you. I’m looking to see if you have it. I can’t explain it, but I know it when I see it.

Originally Posted on www.PastorMark.TV

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

"I Hate You... I'm Going to Kill You"

I read recently where mother from Texas was sentenced to probation, and lost custody of her children--for spanking her daughter! "Rosalina Gonzales of Corpus Christi pleaded guilty on Wednesday to injury to a child for swatting the two-year-old on her buttocks."

More than 53 million babies have been murdered in America through abortion, and the law says that's okay. No crime has been committed. But a judge makes a criminal out of a mother who disciples her child, and then he takes her children from her, leaving them without a mother. 

Judge Jose Longoria said, "In the old days, maybe we got spanked, but there was a different quarrel. You don't spank children." What planet does this judge live on? In days of old we didn't have kids who murdered their parents, shot their schoolmates, lied daily, stole whatever they wanted, blasphemed as a normal part of conversation, or killed themselves with drugs and alcohol.

How is a parent supposed to discipline a child? Andy Griffith used the woodshed. But that was in the days of old, when Americans didn't even need to lock their doors. Nowadays we do. Today our prisons are full of people who weren't given proper boundaries at home, and now they have immovable boundaries given to them by the government.

In Psalm 1, Scripture gives us a clear picture of what a godly person should be, as well as the reward of this godliness.

"Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night. He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper" (vv. 1–3).

Let's meditate on these verses to truly understand their meaning and consider how they apply to parenting.

God says that you are blessed (highly favored) if you don't listen to the world's advice. If you are tempted to heed the "counsel of the ungodly," consider that the world’s "ex¬perts" believe mankind evolved from monkeys. A little thought on our part should help us see why it's wise not to listen to their ramblings, but rather listen to what the Creator has to say.

The fruit of the world's godless advice is seen in the headlines of the daily news. Their counsel may sound right, but so often it proves to be wrong. For example, the world says that if you love your children, you will never physically discipline them. It says to seek alternatives rather than inflicting physical pain.

In the Book of Proverbs, written by the wisest man who ever lived, God's Word gives the following counsel:

"Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of correction will drive it far from him." (Proverbs 22:15)

"The rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother." (Proverbs 29:15)

It's commonly said that he who spares the rod spoils the child, but God's Word actually puts it more strongly:

"He who spares his rod hates his son, but he who loves him disciplines him promptly." (Proverbs 13:24, emphasis added)

So there's your choice: listen to what seems right, or do what God says is right.

As parents, we should always do what the Word of God says to do, and often that's not easy. Applying the rod of correction (often called "the board of education") to "the seat of learning" takes resolution, as well as courage. But love will do it. The Bible says that in doing so you will save your children from hell (see Proverbs 23:13,14), and what parents want their children to go to end up in hell?

We should value the eternal welfare of our children, rather than our own temporal anxiety when it comes to applying discipline.

The contrast between God's ways and the world's ways were clearly demonstrated in an incident that occurred when our eldest son, Jacob, was six years old. We had a neighbor who would never even think of physically disciplining her six-year-old. When he refused to go to school, she would simply bribe him with candy.

One day Jacob said a word to his mother that he wasn't supposed to say. I sent him to his room, and then followed him a moment later. I asked him if he knew that what he said was wrong. He admitted that he did. I then told him to bend over his bed, and resolutely gave him a swift swat across his rear with a small stick. He burst into tears. I went to get him a tissue, then left him for ten minutes.

When I returned, I knelt down in front of him and we hugged. I then looked him in the eyes and said, "I want you to pray and ask God to forgive you, then go out to your mother and tell her that you are sorry." He did just that.

A few minutes later I was helping Sue dry the dishes while Jacob sat at the table, thoughtfully holding a pencil and paper. Suddenly I felt a tug on my shirt. It was Jacob. He reached up and handed me a note. It read: "I love my dad."

This made no sense to me. I had just caused him physical pain, yet even as a six-year-old he could discern that my motive was love. 

In contrast, the neighbor's six-year-old would point a toy gun at his mother and say, "I hate you, I hate you. I'm going to kill you!" Of course, he wasn't disciplined for that either.

Tragically, the world refuses to use the rod of correction to drive "foolishness" from the hearts of their children. The foolishness therefore remains in their hearts as they grow (atheism is a case in point), and many children bring their parents nothing but grief by ending up pregnant, in prison, with drug or alcohol problems, or with broken marriages.

Adapted from How to Bring Your Children to Christ, and Keep Them There.

Picture: Andrew Bardwell, Cleveland, Ohio.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Do You Teach Your Kids the Gospel or Law?

Everything that isn’t gospel is law. Let us say it again: everything that isn’t gospel is law.

Don't breed despair in your kids

Every way we try to make our kids good that isn’t rooted in the good news of the life, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ is damnable, crushing, despair-breeding, Pharisee-producing law. We won’t get the results we want from the law. We’ll get either shallow self-righteousness or blazing rebellion or both (frequently from the same kid on the same day!). We’ll get moralistic kids who are cold and hypocritical and who look down on others, or you’ll get teens who are rebellious and self-indulgent and who can’t wait to get out of the house. We have to remember that in the life of our unregenerate children, the law is given for one reason only: to crush their self-confidence and drive them to Christ.

The law doesn't make us good

The law also shows believing children what gospel-engendered gratitude looks like. But one thing is for sure: we aren’t to give our children the law to make them good. It won’t, because it can’t. In our hearts we know that’s true because the law hasn’t made us good, either, has it?
Every way we try to make our kids good that isn’t rooted in the good news of the life, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ is damnable, crushing, despair-breeding, Pharisee-producing law.
The story of Jonah isn’t about learning to be obedient or facing the consequences. The story of Jonah is about how God is merciful to both the religiously self-righteous, unloving Pharisee (Jonah) and the irreligious, violent pagan. The story is a story about God’s ability to save souls and use us even when we disobey. It’s a story about God’s mercy not our obedience. Here’s how a conversation with a child would differ if we were giving gospel instead of law:
    “Good job, Joshua! Now what does the story teach us?” Mom asked.
    Caleb’s hand was the first one up. “It means that we should obey when God tells us to do something, like go tell people about God.”
    “Yes, Caleb, we are to obey God but that’s not the primary message of the story. Can you think of any other message?”
    Jordan piped up. “Lots of times people don’t want to obey God.”
    “Right, Jordan! That’s exactly right. I know that it’s hard for me to obey. I’m just like Jonah, too. Can you think of any other messages? No? Then let me help you. This story is a message about how kind and merciful God is. He was kind to the bad people from Nineveh because he didn’t destroy them even though they deserved it. He was kind to them by making them believe the message that Jonah told them. But he was also kind to Jonah. Even though Jonah didn’t love his neighbors (the people from Nineveh), God didn’t leave him to die in the belly of a big fish, although that was what he deserved. Instead he gave him another chance and kept giving him chances even though Jonah didn’t really love God or his merciful nature. God gives us so many opportunities to obey him because he loves us and is so merciful. God shows us how he loves us because his dear Son, Jesus, spent three days in a very dark place just like Jonah did. He spent three days in a grave after dying for our sins. But then he rose again from the dead so that we could be good in God’s eyes and tell other people about how loving he is. Can you think of some things we could do so that other people would know about God’s love?”
    Different answers were shouted out. “We could bake cookies for our neighbors and invite them to church! We could offer to do chores for them, too!”
    “Right! Now let’s celebrate God’s mercy and have a party with some goldfish crackers and blue Jell-O I’ve made.”
    Adapted from Give them Grace by Elyse Fitzpatrick and Jessica Thompson, © 2011. Used by permission of Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187, www.crossway.org.
    Originally Posted at www.TheResurgence.com 

Coffee For Dad - Skit Guys

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Love Your Wife!

The Danger of Moralistic Parenting

If a majority of our children are leaving the faith as soon as they can, something has gone terribly wrong.

Certainly the faith that has empowered the persecuted church for two millennia isn’t as thin and boring as “Say you’re sorry,” “Be nice,” and “Don’t be like them.” Why would anyone want to deny himself, lay down his life, or suffer for something as inane as that? Aside from the “Ask Jesus into your heart” part, how does this message differ from what any unchurched child or Jewish young person would hear every day?

Turning God into Santa

Let’s face it: most of our children believe that God is happy if they’re “good for goodness’ sake.” We’ve transformed the holy, terrifying, magnificent, and loving God of the Bible into Santa and his elves. And instead of transmitting the gloriously liberating and life-changing truths of the gospel, we have taught our children that what God wants from them is morality. We have told them that being good (at least outwardly) is the be-all and end-all of their faith.

This isn’t the gospel; we’re not handing down Christianity. We need much less of Veggie Tales and Barney and tons more of the radical, bloody, scandalous message of the God-man crushed by his Father for our sin.

Instead of the gospel of grace, we’ve given them daily baths in a 'sea of narcissistic moralism.'

This other thing we’re giving our children has a name—it’s called “moralism.” Here’s how one seminary professor described his childhood experience in church:

The preachers I regularly heard in the . . . church in which I was raised tended to interpret and preach Scripture without Christ as the central . . . focus. Characters like Abraham and Paul were commended as models of sincere faith and loyal obedience. . . . On the other hand, men like Adam and Judas were criticized as the antithesis of proper moral behavior. Thus Scripture became nothing more than a source book for moral lessons on Christian living, whether good or bad.

Teaching Good Manners Instead of Salvation

When we change the story of the Bible from the gospel of grace to a book of moralistic teachings like Aesop’s fables, all sorts of things go wrong. Unbelieving children are encouraged to display the fruit of the Holy Spirit even though they are spiritually dead in their trespasses and sins (Ephesians 2:1). Unrepentant children are taught to say that they’re sorry and ask for forgiveness even though they’ve never tasted true Godly sorrow. Unregenerate kids are told they are pleasing to God because they have achieved some “moral victory.”

Good manners have been elevated to the level of Christian righteousness. Parents discipline their kids until they evidence a prescribed form of contrition, and others work hard at keeping their children from the wickedness in the world, assuming that the wickedness within their children has been handled because they prayed a prayer one time at Bible club.

The Bible Isn’t a Book of Fairy Tales

If our “faith commitments” haven’t taken root in our children, could it be because they have not consistently heard them? Instead of the gospel of grace, we’ve given them daily baths in a “sea of narcissistic moralism,” and they respond to law the same way we do: they run for the closest exit as soon as they can.

Good manners have been elevated to the level of Christian righteousness.

Moralistic parenting occurs because most of us have a wrong view of the Bible. The story of the Bible isn’t a story about making good little boys and girls better. As Sally Lloyd-Jones writes in The Jesus Storybook Bible:

No, the Bible isn’t a book of rules, or a book of heroes. The Bible is most of all a Story. It’s an adventure story about a young Hero who comes from a far country to win back his lost treasure. It’s a love story about a brave Prince who leaves his palace, his throne—everything—to rescue the one he loves. It’s like the most wonderful of fairy tales that has come true in real life.

This is the story that our children need to hear and, like us, they need to hear it over and over again.

Originally Posted at www.TheResurgence.com 

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Heresy ALERT!! Rob Bell - Love Wins

If you go to the actual youtube site (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pDLCN8GwBHE&feature=channel_video_title) of this video and read the comments.. You will see how many have a desire to have there ears tickled (2 Timothy 4:3) and Rob Bell has truly shaking the heresy tree and many have fallen out of the tree and are feeling vindicated at believing that a God of love will not send anyone to hell...

Approach all teach cautiously and declare it truth only when it unites with the word of God (The 66 Book Canon ~ Genesis - Revelation) and that not according to your "interpretation" but be diligent enough to align that conclusion of agreement with the bible with church history.

Jesus Wins... See both videos and see one is truth and the other is Heresy

If you go to the actual youtube site (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pDLCN8GwBHE&feature=channel_video_title) of this video and read the comments.. You will see how many have a desire to have there ears tickled (2 Timothy 4:3) and Rob Bell has truly shaking the heresy tree and many have fallen out of the tree and are feeling vindicated at believing that a God of love will not send anyone to hell...

Approach all teach cautiously and declare it truth only when it unites with the word of God (The 66 Book Canon ~ Genesis - Revelation) and that not according to your "interpretation" but be diligent enough to align that conclusion of agreement with the bible with church history.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Church of Oprah Exposed!!

Counterfeit Christianity

False forms of Christianity have become increasingly popular in our culture and it seems there is a resurgence of interest in things "spiritual." The media has been compliant with its recent offerings of everything from Brad Pitt scaling a Tibetan mountainside in search of divine inspiration to Nothing Sacred, the controversial TV drama that features a sometimes fallible priest. Joan Osborne sings "What if God Was One of Us," while Michael Jordan, jogging in Tibet in a Gatorade commercial, encounters a holy man who tells him "Life is a sport: drink it up."
Then there are the millions throughout the world who are involved in the occult, astrology, witchcraft, spiritism and Satanism. The Harry Potter series of seven fantasy novels promoting witchcraft among children, written by English author J. K. Rowling. have sold more than 325 million copies and have been translated into more than 64 languages.

Millions of Americans look to Oprah Winfrey and her new age advisors such as Marianne Williamson and Eckhart Tolle for counsel about their lives as they reject the saving grace of God.

The most obvious sign of the spiritual decline of the church is apathy - apathy towards the house of God, the Word of God and the presence of God. Apathy sometimes overtakes a believer - even an entire body of believers - before they are even aware anything is wrong. The fruit of apathy is apostasy.

For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. 2 Timothy 4:3-4

Despite the clear declaration by God that His statutes, laws and judgements are everlasting, many have chosen their own way dismissing God's commandments as being meaningless in light of the end of the Old Testament sacrificial system and the destruction of the Second Temple in A.D. 70.

“It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God". - Matthew 4:4

It's rare to hear a preacher teach from "every word that comes from the mouth of God," calling his flock to fully obey God and even more rare for them to warn their flock of the consequences of their rebellion. For these and many others, they choose to practice a system laid out in the 10 planks of communism rather than the 10 Commandments system ordained by God. Some have already aligned themselves with the Antichrist system to prepare their flock to accept the mark of the beast. The appearances of these false gospels, false Christ's and false prophets is only a prelude to the final apostasy. They are only preparing the way for the ultimate antichrist who will set himself up in the temple and declare himself to be God. You might say he is preparing his followers to accept his ultimate lie.

Originally Posted @ www.jeremiahproject.com

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Atheist Richard Dawkins: "Evangelical Christians have really sort of got it right"

As we approach the release date of the new book Already Compromised—and how it reveals massive biblical compromise in Christian colleges—I thought I would share the transcript of a video clip I have been using in some of my conference talks.

Last month, famous atheist and evolutionist Richard Dawkins was interviewed by Howard Condor on Revelation TV in the UK. Parts of the interview are disappointing regarding how the interviewer made some of his arguments. However, there was one section of the interview that is really worth publicizing.

At one stage, the interviewer asked, “So, was there a defining moment where you made a decision that you didn’t believe in God?”

Richard Dawkins replied, “Yes . . . I suppose, I switched from Christian theism to some sort of deism about the age of fourteen or fifteen. And then switched to atheism about the age of sixteen—fifteen, sixteen.”

Howard Condor then asks, “And was there a particular point, or something you read, or an experience you had that said, ‘Yes this is it, God does not exist’?”

Now note carefully the following statement by Richard Dawkins:

Oh well, by far the most important was understanding evolution. I think the evangelical Christians have really sort of got it right in a way, in seeing evolution as the enemy. Whereas the more, what shall we say, sophisticated theologians are quite happy to live with evolution, I think they are deluded. I think the evangelicals have got it right, in that there is a deep incompatibility between evolution and Christianity, and I think I realized that about the age of sixteen.

I want you to note two things in particular:

1.For Richard Dawkins, who professes to be an atheist, evolution is his justification for rejecting the God of the Bible.

2.Richard Dawkins understands the Bible’s account of origins more than many theologians. He does see that there is an irreconcilable conflict between the Bible and evolution. In fact, in other statements he has made in books and interviews, Dawkins says that the next step for these theologians is to reject the Bible totally. He applauds the theologians for believing in evolution, but he says “the writing is on the wall”—meaning that the next step is to realize the Bible can’t be true.

It is so sad that compromise with evolution and millions of years permeates the church and Christian colleges. For atheists like Richard Dawkins, this is a good thing because he understands that compromise will cause coming generations to eventually walk away from the church, which is exactly what is already happening.

The new publication Already Compromised (released around May 1) details research conducted by American’s Research Group on Christian colleges, showing rampant compromise through many of these institutions.

It’s a shame so many of our Christian academics don’t understand the Bible as much as Dawkins does on this issue of the Bible and evolution!

You can preorder a copy of Already Compromised.
( http://www.answersingenesis.org/store/sku/10-1-489 )

Thanks for stopping by and thanks for praying,


Originally Posted @ http://www.blogs.answersingenesis.org/ By Ken Ham

Monday, April 18, 2011

Since When Did Bunnies Have Eggs?

How in the world did the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus, the most sacred and central event in Christianity, come to be represented by a fluffy bunny who mysteriously has colored eggs and gives out cheap candy to kids?

The Easter Bunny is a commercialized cultural commonplace around the world (though it may be losing ground to the Easter Bilby in Australia), yet for all its familiarity, the Easter Bunny's true origins are a mystery.

Eggs and Bunnies

Eggs and rabbits have been used as traditional symbols of springtime fertility and rebirth by various cultures throughout history. Eggs symbolize new life about to emerge, while hares and rabbits are conspicuous in the spring because they breed... like rabbits. The hare's association with Easter may be a holdover from the ancient pagan spring festivals of Europe. According to Bede, an 8th-century Anglo-Saxon church historian, the British pagans used to celebrate a spring feast in honor of the goddess Eostre, who was represented by the hare.

Eostre and the Hare

When Pope Gregory the Great (540-604) sent missionaries to the British Isles, he instructed them to adapt the existing religious places and festivals for Christian use. He wrote, "Since the people are accustomed, when they assemble for sacrifice, to kill many oxen in sacrifice to the devils, it seems reasonable to appoint a festival for the people by way of exchange. The people must learn to slay their cattle not in honor of the devil, but in honor of God and for their own food…" Because the celebration of the Resurrection replaced the old spring feast of Eostre, the Christian holiday came to be called Easter, and Eostre's pet animal the hare apparently came along for the ride.


The first known mention of the actual Easter Bunny comes from Germany in the 1600s, where the cute little guy was known as the Osterhase, or "Oschter Haws." German immigrants came to America with a tradition in which the kids would build nests around the house out of hats and bonnets, and if they had been good children, Osterhase would leave brightly-colored eggs in the nests. The tradition grew and spread over time, and eventually Osterhase turned into the Easter Bunny and began giving out chocolate and candy as well as eggs.

The Resurrection

Easter is still celebrated as a major holiday all around the globe, but the truth of Jesus' gory crucifixion and glorious resurrection is often obscured by the garish cartoon bunny in the stores and the gaudy displays of springtime fashion among the religious. Traditions of cute bunnies, marshmallowy creatures, colored eggs, and little girls in pink dresses are harmless enough, but at the same time we must not let anything obstruct our view of the earth-shattering reality represented by Easter. There's nothing cute or cuddly about the fact that we killed God. When we were his enemies, he came to us, suffered in our place through the horror that was Good Friday, and rose from his grave on Easter Sunday so that we will one day rise from ours. The curse is broken, and we celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus because we know we will one day experience it (1 Cor. 15:20-23). Let's be joyful, let's never shrink from speaking about Jesus' death and resurrection, and let's never trivialize it.

Originally Posted at http://www.theresurgence.com/ 

Friday, April 8, 2011

Why I Choose To Believe The Bible... Dr. Voddie Baucham Jr. PART 1

Why I Choose To Believe The Bible... Dr. Voddie Baucham Jr. PART 2

Why I Choose To Believe The Bible... Dr. Voddie Baucham Jr. PART 3

Why I Choose To Believe The Bible... Dr. Voddie Baucham Jr. PART 4

Why I Choose To Believe The Bible... Dr. Voddie Baucham Jr PART 5

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


William S. Plumer
The Rock Of My Salvation (1867)

Originally Posted at http://defendingcontending.com/

Monday, March 7, 2011

Honor Codes and Covenants

Posted on  by Sharon Lindbloom 

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is a covenant church. By that I mean that covenants are an important part of LDS faith and culture. Members make covenants with God when being baptized, when getting married, when being ordained to the priesthood, when taking the sacrament, and when receiving their endowments.

A covenant is an agreement between two (or more) parties that carries with it certain terms, obligations and responsibilities. To be accepted at LDS Church-owned Brigham Young University a potential student must agree to live by a code of honor. This agreement is a covenant of sorts. The student obligates himself to maintain a certain level of moral behavior; if he fails in this responsibility, he will suffer the consequences to which he has previously agreed.

Last week BYU announced that basketball forward Brandon Davies has been suspended from the BYU Cougars for the remainder of the season because of an Honor Code violation. The rules for BYU students, and the consequences for breaking those rules, have been clearly set forth. There are no surprises here, and BYU should be commended for putting its moral principles ahead of winning basketball games.

This story gives me pause, though. I think there’s a parallel within Mormonism that is worth considering.

According to LDS doctrine, each of the three heavenly kingdoms — telestial, terrestrial, and celestial – has a set of laws, or an honor code if you will, that must be obeyed in order for a person to live eternally in that particular kingdom. The LDS scripture Doctrine and Covenants 88:22 explains, for example, “…he who is not able to abide the law of a celestial kingdom cannot abide a celestial glory.”

Since “celestial law” is defined as “the whole law” and “keep[ing] all of the commandments,” (Joseph Fielding Smith, The Way to Perfection, 206-207), this is a pretty tough honor code to maintain. In fact, according to the Bible, no one is able to do it (Romans 3:9-18; James 2:10).

In one of his books, the LDS Apostle Spencer W. Kimball included “covenantbreakers” in a chapter titled, “These Things Doth the Lord Hate.” He said covenant breaking is a sin that will keep people from eternal life. Mr. Kimball wrote,

“Of those who break covenants and promises made in sacred places and in solemn manner, we can apply the Lord’s words as follows: ‘… a wicked man, who has set at naught the counsels of God, and has broken the most sacred promises which were made before God, and has depended upon his own judgment and boasted in his own wisdom’ (D&C 3:12-13).” (Spencer W. Kimball, The Miracle of Forgiveness, 57)

So according to Mormonism, one must fully live and obey Celestial Law – the celestial honor code – in order to dwell eternally in the presence of God. But given the fact that no one actually does it – everyone violates the celestial honor code repeatedly – as Aaron Shafovaloff has asked elsewhere, shouldn’t we all be kicked off the team? 
Originally Posted at http://blog.mrm.org/

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Video Games Aren’t Sinful, They’re Just Stupid

One more nugget of a clip from the previous week’s sermon from Pastor Mark, “The Cost of Discipleship“:

Video games are not sinful, they’re just stupid. And they’re stupid in this way: Young, particularly men, and now women are joining it, they want to get on a team, be part of a kingdom, conquer a foe, and win a great, epic battle. So they do it with their thumbs and it doesn’t even count. Nobody’s really liberated. The Taliban is not really conquered. Women are not really freed from oppression. Generations are not really changed. It’s all fake. It doesn’t count.

You want to do something? Get off the couch, unplug the electronics, give your life to Jesus, find some other guys, and do something that actually matters. Leave a legacy for women, children, generations, not just the high score on some stupid game. It’s amazing. A whole world filled with guys who want to be on a team, go to a war, defeat an enemy, and save a princess.

That’s the story of this book, the Bible. And if you want to be part of that kingdom, you got to get off the couch and follow that king. And you do not quit. You fight differently when you fight for ones you love, a kingdom, and a king.

Some great battle leaders, they would historically have their men row to the shore of a place they wanted to investigate and conquer, and then the good generals would light the boats on fire. “There are two options, men: forward or death.” That has to be the attitude that we have. That has to be the attitude we have ’cause the default mode of the human heart is selfishness, laziness, quitting. And some of you are here and you’ve already quit. Don’t.

And some of you would want to say you’re a Christian and not see it through to completion. And let me just say this. All of the slots for hypocrite are already filled. All of those positions are filled. We’re not lacking hypocrites. We’re lacking disciples.

Originally Posted at http://blog.marshillchurch.org/

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Easily Offended?

Are you easily offended? God can work on that. But at least we should be quick to forgive.

Ken Sande (The Peacemaker, p. 83), suggests that overlooking an offense is appropriate under two conditions.

First, the offense should not have created a wall between you and the other person or caused you to feel differently toward him or her for more than a short period of time.

Second the offense should not be causing serious harm to God’s reputation, to others, or to the offender. . . .

He explains that overlooking is active, not passive:

Overlooking is not a passive process in which you simply remain silent for the moment but file away the offense for later use against someone. That is actually a form of denial that can easily lead to brooding over the offense and building up internal bitterness and resentment that will eventually explode in anger.

Instead, overlooking is an active process that is inspired by God’s mercy through the gospel. To truly overlook an offense means to deliberately decide not to talk about it, dwell on it, or let it grow into pent-up bitterness.

If you cannot let go of an offense in this way, if it is too serious to overlook, or if it continues as part of a pattern in the other person’s life, then you will need to go and talk to the other person about it in a loving and constructive manner.

Proverbs 19:11: “Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense.”

Proverbs 17:14: “The beginning of strife is like letting out water, so quit before the quarrel breaks out.”

1 Peter 4:8: “Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.”

Colossians 3:13: “bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.”

On a related issue, see Kevin DeYoung’s excellent post today (you can find on this blog see previous post), “Distinguishing Marks of a Quarrelsome Person.”

Distinguishing Marks of a Quarrelsome Person

Posted By Pastor Kevin Deyoung
Senior Pastor at University Reformed Church in East Lansing, Michigan.

Our evening service was canceled last week because of the snow. The portion below is an edited portion of the larger sermon, a message on conflict from Proverbs. I thought it was worth posting (although now I haven’t preached it yet) as a follow-up to Tuesday’s post.

Quarrels don’t just happen. People make them happen.

Of course, there are honest disagreements and agree-to-disagree propositions, but that’s not what the Bible means by quarreling. While studying Proverbs recently I was struck by the fact that most of the advice about conflict is not on how to resolve it, but how to avoid it.

Quarrels, at least in Proverbs, are unnecessary arguments, the kind that honorable men stay away from (17:14; 20:3). These fights aren’t the product of a loving rebuke or a principled conviction. These quarrels arise because people are quarrelsome. Some Christians have a lifeline to Speedway and love to pour gasoline on every tiny spark of conflict.

You don’t have to be a card-carrying member of the nice Nazis to believe that quarreling is wrong. You only have to believe the Bible (James 4:1). Hot-headed, divisive Christians are not pleasing to God (Proverbs 6:19). We are told to drive them out (22:10) and avoid such people (Rom. 16:17). This doesn’t mean we only huddle with the people we like. We are not talking about awkward folks or those who disagree with us. We are talking about quarrelsome Christians–habitually disagreeable, divisive, hot-headed church people.

So what does a quarrelsome person look like? What are his (or her) distinguishing marks?

1. You defend every conviction with the same degree of intensity. You don’t talk about secondary issues, because there are no secondary issues.

2. You are quick to speak and slow to listen. You rarely ask questions and when you do it is to accuse or to continue prosecuting your case. You are not looking to learn, you are looking to defend, dominate, and destroy.

3. Your only model for ministry and faithfulness is the showdown on Mount Carmel. There is a place for sarcasm, but when Elijah with the prophets of Baal is your spiritual hero you may end up mocking people instead of making arguments

4. You are incapable of seeing nuances and you do not believe in qualifying statements.

5. You never give the benefit of the doubt. You do not try to read arguments in context. You put the worst possible construct on other’s motives and the meaning of their words.

6. You have no unarticulated opinions.

7. You are unable to sympathize with your opponents.

8. Your first instinct is to criticize. Your last is to encourage.

9. You have a small grid and everything fits in it. Everything is a social justice issue; everything relates to the regulative principle, everything is Obama’s fault; everything is wrong because of patriarchy; everything comes down to one thing–my thing.

10. You derive a sense of satisfaction and spiritual safety in being rejected and marginalized. You are constitutionally unable to be demonstrably fruitful in ministry and you will never affirm those who appear to be. You only know how to relate to God as a remnant.

11.You are always in the trenches with hand grenades strapped to your chest, never in the mess hall with ice cream and ping pong. Remember G.K. Chesterton: “We have to feel the universe at once as an ogre’s castle, to be stormed, and yet as our own cottage, to which we can return to at evening.”

12. You have never changed your mind on an important matter.

Just some food for thought. I know I choke on my own words at times.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Can we trust the Bible

Originally posted at http://www.livingwaters.com/ 

Beware: The Bible Is About to Threaten Your Smartphone Focus

Are apps a threat to God-focus? Yes. But it works both ways. Fight fire with fire.

If you are reading your Bible on your computer or your smartphone or your iPad, the presence of the email app and the news apps and the Facebook app threaten every moment to drag your attention away from the word of God.

True. Fight that. If your finger offends you, cut it off. Or use any other virtuous violence (Matthew 11:12) that sets you free to rivet your soul on God.

But don’t take mainly a defensive posture. Fight fire with fire.

Why should we think of the Facebook app threatening the Bible app? Why not the Bible app threatening the Facebook app, and the email app, and the RSS feeder, and the news?

Resolve that today you will press the Bible app three times during the day. No five times. Ten times! Maybe you will lose control and become addicted to Bible! Again and again get a two-minute dose of life-giving Food. Man shall not live by Facebook alone.

I’m serious. Never has God’s voice been so easily accessible. The ESV app is free. The OliveTree BibleReader app is free. And so are lots of others. Let the Bible threaten your focus. Or better: Let the Bible bring you back to reality over and over during the day.

Originally Posted at www.desiringGod.org/blog 

Lovers and Their Loving God...

While it only takes one spouse to be friendly, it takes both spouses to be friends. When both spouses are unfriendly, the marriage is marked by conflict and coldness. When one spouse is friendly and the other is unfriendly, the marriage is marked by selfishness and sadness. But when both spouses make a deep, heartfelt covenant with God to continually seek to become a better friend, the marriage is marked by ever-increasing longing and love.

Guard Your Heart

Sadly, it is common to hear married people speak of “falling out of love” with their spouse and “falling in love” with someone else in adultery. By using the language of “falling,” people are cleverly avoiding any responsibility, as if they are simply required to follow their heart. However, the Bible tells us not to follow our heart, but rather “guard” it because it is prone toward selfishness and sin (Prov. 4:23; Jer. 17:9).

“Love is often first an action based upon obedience to God that results in a feeling for our spouse.”

According to the Bible, love does not come from our hearts, but rather through our hearts. This is because “God is love,” and in relationship with God through Jesus Christ by the Holy Spirit we receive God’s love to share with others (1 John 4:7–21). It is through the presence of God the Holy Spirit in our life that we are able to love our spouse with God’s love. Galatians 5:22 says, “the fruit of the Spirit is love.” Also, Romans 5:5 says, “God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” Even when we don’t feel like being loving with our spouse, we can give love to them and receive love from them if we live a Spirit-filled life.

Love is a Verb

In the Bible, love is often a feeling. Rather than being a feeling that promotes action, though, it is often first an action based upon obedience to God that results in a feeling for our spouse. This explains why the Bible commands husbands to love their wives (Eph. 5:25) and wives to love their husbands (Titus 2:4), rather than commanding them to feel loving. This further explains why the Bible even commands us to love our enemies (Matt. 5:43–47).

“Christian marriage is reciprocal acts of covenant love.”

Thus, love is a verb in the Bible. Love is what we do. Like Jesus’ love for us, marital love is a covenant commitment that compels us to act for the good of our spouse. This also explains why perhaps the most popular wedding Scripture of all time depicts love as a series of verbs, or things to be done: “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” (1 Cor. 13:4–7).

Covenant Love

Christian marriage is reciprocal acts of covenant love. This includes the little things, such as not always getting our way but often eating at the restaurant, watching the movie, and doing the activity that our spouse likes. This also includes studying our spouse to find ways we can give love to them and receive love from them to build our friendship with them.

In what ways has your spouse loved you with God’s love?
In what ways have you failed to love your spouse with God’s love?

This post originally appeared on the Mars Hill Church  blog.
And was re-posted at http://www.theresurgence.com/ on Valentines Day 2011

Friday, February 18, 2011

Husbands: Headship Means Taking the Lead in Reconciliation

John Piper:
Leadership means we must take the lead in reconciliation.

I don’t mean that wives should never say they are sorry.

But in the relation between Christ and his church, who took the initiative to make all things new?
Who left the comfort and security of his throne of justice to put mercy to work at Calvary?

Who came back to Peter first after three denials?

Who has returned to you again and again forgiving you and offering his fellowship afresh?

So husbands, your headship means: Go ahead. Take the lead. It does not matter if it is her fault.

That didn’t stop Christ.

Who will break the icy silence first?

Who will choke out the words, “I’m sorry, I want it to be better”?

Or: “Can we talk? I’d like things to be better.”

She might beat you to it. That’s okay.

But woe to you if you think that, since it’s her fault, she’s obliged to say the first reconciling word.

Headship is not easy. It is the hardest, most humbling work in the world.

Protect your family. Strive, as much as it lies within you, to make peace before the sun goes down.

Originally Posted at Justin Taylors Blog http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/justintaylor/

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Quiz Time! The Pride Test | Sermon Notes, Luke #61

Mars Hill Church on Tuesday, February 8th, 2011 6:01 pm

From the Feb. 6 sermon, “The Parable of the Wedding Feast,” preached by Pastor Mark

Originally Posted at http://www.marshillchurch.org/ 

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Why John Piper Doesn’t Own a TV

John Piper is known for many things. . . .

Some would likely mention the fact that he’s never owned a television! I vividly remember my first visit to John’s home in 1992. He had invited me to speak at his annual pastor’s conference which, as it turns out, is regularly scheduled during the week following the Super Bowl. Upon arriving at his home after the Sunday service, I told John that I had been looking forward for quite some time to watching the game with him. “Not at my house,” he said. “We don’t have a TV.” After I recovered from the initial shock, John graciously agreed to take me to the home of a church member where I could indulge myself in this annual affair. And yes, John stayed and actually watched the game!

Romantically Challenged

This skit and many more like it can be found at http://www.worshiphousemedia.com/ 

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Touching Letter

The following is a letter written to theWay of The Master ministry by an individual who was impacted by what God is doing through that ministry. This letter was taken from the Weekly Update Newsletter on January 31st 2011

"I spent about three weeks listening to this show. Not because I liked what they were talking about but rather because it was hilarious when these over-bearing bible-bangers would just get exploded on by someone who didn't want to hear what they had to say. At some point during this I was laughing at them and I remember saying through laughter, 'God, if this garbage is real, you need to open my eyes. This seems like a scam to me.' Sometime during the third week, they found a guy that was exceedingly convicted by the walk through of the Ten Commandments. The guy never hesitated when he was asked, 'If you were to stand before God in judgment do you think you'd go to Heaven or Hell?' The guy replied, 'Hell.' He had what I remember being a very somber voice. When asked if that concerned him, he simply replied, 'Yes.' ... This day it wasn't funny. This day I sat there thinking, 'This guy is me.' As I heard Ray explain the Good News to the gentleman on the air, I fell apart. I started to cry like a baby. I could hardly see the road as I worked the semi into the wayside rest. I stopped, pulled the breaks on, went back into the sleeper, hit my knees and I've never looked back. I spent almost two hours repenting and praying for forgiveness. I spent the rest of the day listening to Christian radio and talking to God."

Originally Posted in the Living Waters Weekly Update on January 31st 2011

God's Final Warning to America

Psalm 148:8 Fire, and hail; snow, and vapour; stormy wind fulfilling his word:

America is once again tampering with marriage, and the LORD is responding from on high by timing a record breaking blizzard to strike the very location of this rebellion against His holiness! Only the LORD could time the blizzard with the rebellion!

Illinois Gov. Signs Historic Civil Unions Law
01/31/11 "CHICAGO — Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn has signed a bill legalizing civil unions for gay and lesbian couples." "The measure gives gay and lesbian couples official recognition from the state and many of the rights that accompany traditional marriage. That includes the power to decide medical treatment for an ailing partner and the right to inherit a partner's property."

Red Means 20+ Inches
Notice how the worst of the storm is focusing on Chicago the day sodomite unions were legalized in the state! Today, the law was signed in Chicago! The very location of the signing is the location of a record breaking blizzard! What a warning from the Holy God of Israel.

Storm could be one for the record books
01/31/11 "Chicago meteorologists plan to bring cots and a change of clothes to work this week as a massive blizzard is expected to dump up to 20 inches of snow starting Tuesday. A blizzard watch will be in effect starting Tuesday afternoon through Wednesday afternoon for all of northeastern Illinois, according to the National Weather Service."

The following two articles were touching each other on the front page of the Chicago Sun-Times:

‘Life-threatening’ blizzard on its way to Chicago area
01/31/11 "A major blizzard the National Weather Service is calling “life-threatening” is on its way to the Chicago area, also bringing along strong winds that could send 18-foot Lake Michigan waves onto Lake Shore Drive Tuesday night into early Wednesday."

Gov. Quinn signs civil union bill into law 
01/31/11 "Gov. Quinn on Monday signed a bill legalizing civil unions for gay and lesbian couples. “Here we are in 2011 on the eve of Abraham Lincoln’s 202nd birthday and I think this is very special,” Quinn said as 20 politicians joined him on stage and hundreds of supporters packed a hall in the Chicago Cultural Center. “We believe in civil rights and we believe in civil unions.”

The day of America tampering with God's holy institution of marriage is over. The judgments are now instantaneous! The very location of the signing is going to be the center of a fierce blizzard. The church will not defend God's sacred institution of marriage, so the Holy God of Israel is stepping into the gap with judgments.

I can see the snow covering all those pastors and Christians hiding in the tall grass that are so fearful of being criticized as "homophobes". They fear man without the slightest fear of God.

Proverbs 29:25 The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the LORD shall be safe.

Originally Posted @ http://johnmcternansinsights.blogspot.com/ On January 31st 2011

Monday, January 31, 2011

Mining the Archives: Luther Gets Saved in Habakkuk

The book of Habakkuk, a small book of prophecy tucked toward the end of the Old Testament, was written in about the 7th century B.C. Six hundred years later, it was instrumental in the writings of the Apostle Paul, and some 1,500 years later, in the life of the great reformer, Martin Luther. The following is adapted from a  sermon Pastor Mark gave as part of a  sermon series series on the prophetic book in 2003.

“Behold, his soul is puffed up; it is not upright within him,
but the righteous shall live by his faith.”
Habakkuk 2:4

A lot of pastors are in ministry trying to pay God back rather than just trusting Jesus. Martin Luther was one of those guys: his incentive for ministry was to pay God back. He was going to study theology, and he had the mind of an attorney.

Luther tries God v. man

Luther saw God as a judge and as a prosecuting attorney. He saw himself as a defense attorney. He realized that God’s case against him was that he’s a sinful man unfit for heaven and forgiveness. So he picked up ministry, he picked up the Scriptures, he started to study, trying to find a way to defend himself against this case that God has made against humanity.

He came to the conclusion that God has an airtight case: we’re all wicked. That’s the only thing that is absolutely provable in Christianity is the evil of the human heart. That’s why we lock our doors. And that’s why we have jails. That’s why we have attorneys. That’s why we have prisons. That’s why we are reticent to even extend a hand of friendship to a stranger because we know not whether they are a friend or foe.

Luther said, “You know what? God’s case against humanity is a winner. We’re bad. And especially if God is judge, can’t lie to him. And if God is prosecuting attorney, you’re not gonna beat him. There’s no way out.” So he decided was he was going to study the Scriptures and find all the things that God wanted him to do, and then he’d do those so God would like him.

The Pursuit of Perfect Penance

And he tried really hard. Really hard. Harder than any of us. He became a priest, which meant no wife, no sex, no kids.  He actually went that far. He became a monk and a pastor and a professor of theology. He said, “Not only that, since sin requires punishment, I’ll punish myself. I’ll sleep on an uncomfortable bed or the floor. I’ll eat terrible food or starve myself so I rack my body.” And he actually did have intestinal problems for the rest of his life. “I’ll avoid all worldly pleasure. I won’t laugh. I won’t have a good time.”

And this guy was so racked because he was such a clever and clear-thinking mind. When it came to the Scriptures he realized that, in light of God’s Word, he was doomed.

What the monks would do usually is they would send the men into confession with a priest. And you would go in to the priest and you’d tell him all your sins, and then he would absolve you and proclaim forgiveness upon you, and they’d go do their work as monks. (We Christians do the same thing except for our priest’s name is Jesus. He’s our high priest. We go to him and confess our sins, and he died for them and he pardons us and grants us forgiveness.)

Confess? Yes. Hoe? No.

The problem was Martin Luther would be in there all day, every single day. He realized that even the way he confessed sin was a sin, so he would confess his sin and the way he confessed his sin. And then he realized that the motive for confessing his sin was a sin. So he would confess the motive and the mean and the sin. Right? Because it’s not just doing the right thing. It’s doing the right thing in the right way for the right reason. And the other monks thought, “He must be lazy, trying to get out of the work. He goes in there and prays all day so he doesn’t have to go out and hoe the garden.”

Finally, the priest said, “Enough already. Can’t you be in denial like everybody else and just go hoe the garden? Everybody else is in denial. Can’t you just say, ‘Well, I had a bad thought and we say blah, blah, blah, now move on?’”

Luther said, “No. I was reading the Scriptures and it says, ‘Be perfect.’ It says, ‘Do everything.’ It says, ‘Obey God.’ It says, ‘Motives count.’ It says, ‘Method counts. Everything counts.’ I’m not making it.”

And Luther became so depressed that he was almost at this place of suicide and coming apart. And then something amazing happened.

Martin Luther’s room while in exile at Wartburg Castle

The German Theologian Reads the Turkish Apostle Who Reads the Judean Prophet

He was studying the book of 
Psalms, and it brought him back to Romans 1:17, where Paul quotes Habakkuk, which led him all the way back to Habakkuk 2:4. Over 2,000 years after it was written, that same little verse that exploded for Paul, exploded for a guy named Martin Luther.

Luther writes, “There I began to understand that the righteousness of God is that by which the righteous lives by a gift of God, namely by faith. And this is the meaning: The righteousness of God is revealed by the gospel, namely the passive righteousness, which the merciful God justifies us by faith. As it is written,” he quotes Habakkuk 2:4, “he who through faith is righteous shall live. Here I felt that I was altogether born again and have entered paradise itself through open gates. Here a totally other face of the entire Scriptures showed itself to me.”

Martin Luther got saved in Habakkuk 2:4.

The Reformation Takes Form

And out of his understanding came what we call the Reformation, the cleaning up the understanding of the gospel and the recognition that “I don’t save myself. Jesus saves me. I don’t need to be good. Jesus was perfect. I don’t need to please God. Jesus did on my behalf. I don’t need to work my way to God. God has humbled himself and come down for me. I just need to trust him, and he will take away all my sin and he will love me and forgive me and adopt me into his family.”

“He will then give me a new heart. He will give me a new life. He’ll make me a new creation. And then all these Scriptures that I know are good I will begin to live in accordance with those Scriptures by grace because it’s grace that saves me and it’s grace that empowers me to honor God, through the Holy Spirit that the Son of God will send into me so that it’s no longer I who live, but it’s Christ who lives in me and through me and often times in spite of me. And then God gets all his glory and I get my redemption and I trust him, not me, and it’s about him, not me, and he’s God and I’m not.”

And 2,600 years after Habakkuk writes this little verse it’s still working because God said it. That’s how God still transforms and loves and heals and forgives and redeems people.

God says, “Know who I am. Don’t fight me. Trust me. And once you have, keep trusting me until you see me, and then your faith shall be sight.”

At this point, I call you all to response.  Last week a number of people came to Christ in this church. They stopped worshipping themselves and started worshipping Jesus.

If you’re a non-Christian, that is what you need to do: Your trust needs to be in Jesus, not yourself. His death, burial and resurrection, not your morality or spirituality or sincere or insincere attempts. You recognize your sin. You own it, you name it, and you ask Jesus to forgive you, and he will. And you trust him and belong to him and walk with him. And he will give you the grace to become the person that he intends for you to be. He’s good from beginning to end.

There is a wealth of resources in the  Mars Hill media library, including  over 500 sermons preached at the church, some dating back to 2000. Many of the sermons don’t have video, much less a  sleek intro video with scored backing track, just grainy, scratchy audio of a younger Pastor Mark. But the truth of the gospel and the relevancy of the teachings last. So, from time to time, we’ll repost bits from those archived sermons here on the blog so that they can be useful to you in your discipleship. (And because we’ve been studying the Gospel of Luke for over a year now—with another year to go—it’s good to shake things up and learn something from a different book every once in a while.)

Originally Posted at http://blog.marshillchurch.org/ On January 30th 2011

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Skeptics Society—Shame on you!

Written by: Dr. Kent Hovind

At first I thought it was a joke. Someone sent me a fund-raising pamphlet from the Skeptics Society titled “Top 10 Myths about Evolution.” The cover depicts the old cartoon of Darwin’s head on an ape’s body, and the subtitle is: How We Know it Really Happened. The booklet states that if I donate $5,000 or more to the Skeptics Society, I can be a “Patron” and get a free dinner with the Executive Director Michael Shermer at a restaurant of my choice. Wow! That’s an expensive meal!

Let’s debate

Anyway, I’ve debated Michael Shermer twice (see debates “Three Views” and “How to Debate a Creationist”) and will do it again (plus 10 other evolution experts to assist him) any day of the week with 90% of my brain tied behind my back! I’ll even buy dinner AND pay him $500 to debate with me again based on a few simple conditions:

•Anyone is allowed to videotape the debate and sell copies that are not edited other than improving the quality of graphs, charts and visuals used.

•Each side (not each person) gets equal time.

•We talk about one topic at a time. (My experience has been that they will throw out 10 topics in rapid succession—as this pamphlet does—and only give you time to respond to one or two. Then they claim you couldn’t answer the others.)

So, even though Michael’s 10 “evidences” for evolution have been discredited and disproven long ago (many in my debates with him, so he should know better than to use them), I will give a brief summary—again—of why the first three are wrong (all others are covered in my seminar series and even my debates with him. The only reason he keeps using these long discredited “evidences” is because that’s all the atheists have! (See John 8:44 for why)

Skeptics Society fund-raising mailer

#1 “Myth”: Why aren’t apes evolving into humans?

Michael states that creationists say, “If humans came from apes, why aren’t apes evolving into humans?” His answer is that this is not really what evolution teaches, but rather that apes and humans have a common ancestor. This answer is a feeble attempt to draw attention away from the bigger issue: Nobody has ever seen ANY plant or animal (including apes and humans) produce ANYTHING other than their own kind. Dogs produce dogs, humans produce humans and apes produce apes WITHOUT EXCEPTION! If Michael wants to believe apes and humans have a common ancestor, that is fine; but neither he nor anyone else should claim this is SCIENCE.

Every farmer on planet earth throughout all of recorded history has counted on evolution NOT happening! When the farmers plant corn, they expect (and get) CORN—EVERY TIME!

I told Michael he is right to be skeptical of UFOs and other paranormal subjects he often criticizes, but I can’t figure out why he would not be skeptical of his own evolution religion, which teaches everything came from nothing for no reason by no Creator. Why would he not be skeptical of the wild idea that animals can change (slowly or quickly) into different kinds of animals when there is NO scientific evidence that this even CAN happen, let alone evidence that it did happen?

#2 “Myth”: Too many gaps in the fossil record

This one is amazing to me. He claims that critics of evolution say: “There are too many gaps in the fossil record for evolution to be true.” His answer is: “In fact, there are lots of intermediate fossils. Archaeopteryx, for example, is one of the earliest known fossil birds with a reptilian skeleton and feathers …”

Michael, shame on you! First, there is no such thing as a “fossil record.” There are billions of bones in the ground but no “record.” Some people put their interpretation on those bones but NONE have dates on them when they are found and none can talk. The very existence of fossils is evidence of a worldwide flood! Fossils don’t form in any quantity today even though millions of animals die every year.

Secondly, archeopteryx is NOT evidence for evolution! Only six skeletons have been found, all from the same quarry. There is plenty of evidence they are 100% bird, similar to the hoatzin flying around South America today. There are also many who think the archeopteryx fossils have been tampered with and are fraudulent. See my seminar, Part 4, for LOTS more on this and the other supposed “missing links” used as evidence for evolution.

Third, fossils are simply bones in the dirt. You cannot prove those animals had ANY offspring, let alone DIFFERENT offspring. Why should we believe the bones in the dirt can do something that NO animal on earth today can do—produce something other than their kind?

#3 “Myth”: Fossil record does not show gradual change

This one deals with the common complaint that the “fossil record” does not show gradual change. His answer is that the change was rapid “in a process called punctuated equilibrium.” The idea is that evolution happened so fast that no evidence was preserved. Try THAT in any court of law: “Your Honor, we don’t have any evidence so that proves it happened!”

It looks to me like there are only two options in Michael’s (and most evolutionist’s) mind:

•Evolution happened slowly (Darwin’s theory) or

•Evolution happened rapidly (Steven Gould and Niles Eldridge’s theory).

There is a third choice, Michael: Evolution didn’t happen AT ALL! This leaves the only logical option being Creation. That choice brings with it some serious baggage that you seem to be desperately trying to avoid—a CREATOR.

There IS a Creator

Well, accept it! There is a Creator and He WILL be the Judge of the world soon! He has a record of every word (Matthew 12:36) and every deed (Romans 2:6) and even every thought (Hebrews 4:12) of everyone on earth and will bring everything into judgment (Hebrews 9:27).

If you have ever broken even ONE of God’s laws (see the 10 Commandments, Exodus 20) one time (such as lying, stealing, using God’s name in vain, lusting after a woman who is not your wife, etc.), I suggest you get a good lawyer for your trial or repent and ask for forgiveness.

I know one who has NEVER lost a case. He is my advocate for judgment day. “And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” (I John 2:1)

How to be saved

It’s really amazingly simple.

A – Admit you have sinned and broken God’s laws. (Romans 3:23)

B – Believe that God Himself came down in the form of a man, Jesus Christ, and died on the cross to pay for those sins and rose again three days later. (Romans 6:23; 10:9)

C – Call upon Him to forgive you and save you. (Romans 10:13)

That simple act of faith will make you part of God’s family. You will be ‘born again’ (Jn. 3:1-8) and become a new creature (II Cor. 5:17) have your sins forgiven and face God judgment day “justified.” That is “just as if I’d never sinned.” (Rom. 3:24; 5:1, 9; 8:30; Gal. 2:16-17; Titus 3:7, etc.)

Since you will be dead for a lo-o-o-o-ong time, I strongly suggest you get ready for the day you face the Creator. With Christ as your advocate you are saved, forgiven, born again, a child of the Father, justified and Heaven bound. Without Him…well, “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Heb. 10:31) since “God is angry with the wicked every day.” (Ps. 7:11) Think about it!

Originally Posted by Dr. Kent Hovind at www.drdino.com