Thursday, January 31, 2008

Signs of the Apocolypse: Jesus Wants Your Vote -- and He Needs a Running Mate

He walked on water, he turned water to wine, and now he wants to be your candidate for president. That's right, it's Jesus, ready to lead the free world after George W. Bush leaves the White House. There's only one hitch: He doesn't have a platform. Jesus' would-be political goals are up for a vote on a new Web site launched this month, www.jesusin2008.com. A sort of nominating convention, the site invites participants to academically infer his stances on modern politics and choose a contemporary running mate, using the results as a voting guide in November. “I'm probably not alone in feeling that somehow we are not getting the best possible candidates for president or the best possible process,” says Stephen Heffner, the site's creator.

To read more click here.

How Bad Do You Need Your Coffee?

I think this about sums it up for me.
HT: Shane Vander Hart

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Christians Can Understand the Word of God

Give me understanding, and I will keep your law and obey it with all my heart.
PSALM 119:34

All Christians have a right and duty not only to learn from the church’s heritage of faith but also to interpret Scripture for themselves. The church of Rome doubts this, alleging that individuals easily misinterpret the Scriptures. This is true; but the following rules, faithfully observed, will help prevent that from happening.

Every book of Scripture is a human composition, and though it should always be revered as the inerrant Word of God, interpretation of it must start from its human character. Allegorizing, therefore, which disregards the human writer’s expressed meaning is never appropriate.

Each book was written not in code but in a way that could be understood by the readership to which it was addressed. This is true even of the books that primarily use symbolism: Daniel, Zechariah, and Revelation. The main thrust is always clear, even if details are clouded. So when we understand the words used, the historical background, and the cultural conventions of the writer and his readers, we are well on the way to grasping the thoughts that are being conveyed. Spiritual understanding—that is, the discernment of the reality of God, his ways with humankind, his present will, and one’s own relationship to him now and for the future—will not however reach us from the text until the veil is removed from our hearts and we are able to share the writer’s own passion to know and please and honor God (2 Cor. 3:16; 1 Cor. 2:14). Prayer that God’s Spirit may generate this passion in us and show us God in the text is needed here. (See Ps. 119:18-19, 26-27, 33-34, 73, 125, 144, 169; Eph. 1:17-19; 3:16-19.)

Each book had its place in the progress of God’s revelation of grace, which began in Eden and reached its climax in Jesus Christ, Pentecost, and the apostolic New Testament. That place must be borne in mind when studying the text. The Psalms, for instance, model the godly heart in every age, but express its prayers and praises in terms of the typical realities (earthly kings, kingdoms, health, wealth, war, long life) that circumscribed the life of grace in the pre-Christian era.

Each book proceeded from the same divine mind, so the teaching of the Bible’s sixty-six books will be complementary and self-consistent. If we cannot yet see this, the fault is in us, not in Scripture. It is certain that Scripture nowhere contradicts Scripture; rather, one passage explains another. This sound principle of interpreting Scripture by Scripture is sometimes called the analogy of Scripture or the analogy of faith.

Each book exhibits unchanging truth about God, humanity, godliness, and ungodliness, applied to and illustrated by particular situations in which individuals and groups found themselves. The final stage in biblical interpretation is to reapply these truths to our own life-situations; this is the way to discern what God in Scripture is saying to us at this moment. Examples of such reapplication are Josiah’s realization of God’s wrath at Judah’s failure to observe his law (2 Kings 22:8-13), Jesus’ reasoning from Genesis 2:24 (Matt. 19:4-6), and Paul’s use of Genesis 15:6 and Psalm 32:1-2 to show the reality of present righteousness by faith (Rom. 4:1-8).

No meaning may be read into or imposed on Scripture that cannot with certainty be read out of Scripture—shown, that is, to be unambiguously expressed by one or more of the human writers.

Careful and prayerful observance of these rules is a mark of every Christian who “correctly handles the word of truth” (2 Tim. 2:15).

Monday, January 28, 2008

Baptists Come Together by Splitting Apart??

They say they are trying to bring Baptists together - which is kind of interesting since it seems that they are really dividing. I also have to admit that moderate in today's language sounds the same as luke-warm in biblical language. If I were to go down this path more than likely I think it would end in a compromise of the theological and doctrinal positions that I believe are essential. I appreciate the statements in the article by Richard Land and believe he is dead-on.

Article:

For more than 150 years, Baptists in the United States have splintered along political, theological and racial lines. But this week, some of the country’s largest Baptist groups — representing about 20 million believers — will meet to try to mend the old fractures and, some leaders say, present a more diverse and moderate image of their faith than the one offered by the conservative Southern Baptist Convention.

The three-day meeting of more than 30 groups — known as the New Baptist Covenant Celebration, which begins on Wednesday in Atlanta — is a result of efforts by former President Jimmy Carter to draw together long-divided Baptists.

To read more click here.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Has God Really Always Been?

Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.
PSALM 90:2

Children sometimes ask, “Who made God?” The clearest answer is that God never needed to be made, because he was always there. He exists in a different way from us: we, his creatures, exist in a dependent, derived, finite, fragile way, but our Maker exists in an eternal, self-sustaining, necessary way—necessary, that is, in the sense that God does not have it in him to go out of existence, just as we do not have it in us to live forever. We necessarily age and die, because it is our present nature to do that; God necessarily continues forever unchanged, because it is his eternal nature to do that. This is one of many contrasts between creature and Creator.

God’s self-existence is a basic truth. At the outset of his presentation of the unknown God to the Athenian idolaters, Paul explained that this God, the world’s Creator, “is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else” (Acts 17:23-25). Sacrifices offered to idols, in today’s tribal religions as in ancient Athens, are thought of as somehow keeping the god going, but the Creator needs no such support system. The word aseity, meaning that he has life in himself and draws his unending energy from himself (a se in Latin means “from himself”), was coined by theologians to express this truth, which the Bible makes clear (Pss. 90:1-4; 102:25-27; Isa. 40:28-31; John 5:26; Rev. 4:10).

In theology, endless mistakes result from supposing that the conditions, bounds, and limits of our own finite existence apply to God. The doctrine of his aseity stands as a bulwark against such mistakes. In our life of faith, we easily impoverish ourselves by embracing an idea of God that is too limited and small, and again the doctrine of God’s aseity stands as a bulwark to stop this happening. It is vital for spiritual health to believe that God is great (cf. Ps. 95:1-7), and grasping the truth of his aseity is the first step on the road to doing this.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Outward Christianity - is That All That Matters?

"I grant freely that it costs little to be a mere outward Christian. A man has only got to attend a place of worship twice on sunday, and to be tolerably moral during the week, and he has gone as far as thousands around him ever go in religion. All this is cheap and easy work: it entails no self-denial or self-sacrifice. If this is saving Christianity, and will take us to heaven when we die, we must alter the description of the way of life, and write, “Wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to heaven!"-J. C. Ryle 1816-1900

Cancel The Party NFL Says Churches can't Broadcast Super Bowl

Football fans who also happen to be churchgoers might be in trouble again this year if they choose to attend a Super Bowl party at their usual place of worship. According to Brian McCarthy, a spokesman for the National Football League, the law that prohibits congregations from viewing the biggest game of the year on large TV screens still stands. “It's not a church issue, it's a copyright issue,” McCarthy said. Large Super Bowl gatherings, whether they happen at churches or theaters, erode TV ratings and could negatively impact advertising revenues, McCarthy said. But John W. Whitehead, president of the Rutherford Institute, says he is disappointed that churches aren't willing to sue for the right to host large screenings. “They ought to stand up and fight back,” he says.

Does Our Evangelism Introduce People to the Wrong Jesus?

Nearly half the population of the United States claims to be "born-again." Self-identified "evangelicals" are a voting bloc courted by our major political parties, and a large percentage of citizens attend church services at least once a week. Yet, as we look at the culture around us, God is regularly blasphemed. Professing believers often live no differently from non-Christians, and many churches are captive to the trends of this present age.

Two factors explain this set of contradictory realities. First, the church has failed to preach the biblical Gospel. Secondly, because the church has failed to preach the biblical Gospel, our evangelism has too often introduced people to the wrong Jesus.

By the providence of God, there is a conference that is going to address all these issues.

I would like to hertily encourage you to make plans now to join R.C. Sproul, Sinclair Ferguson, Steven J. Lawson, John MacArthur, C.J. Mahaney, R.C. Sproul Jr., and Joni Eareckson Tada March 13–15, 2008 in Orlando, Florida for Ligonier Ministries' 21st annual national conference, "Evangelism According to Jesus." During three days of worship, fellowship, encouragement, study, and prayer, we will proclaim the different aspects of the Gospel and explain how they must impact our evangelism.

Click here to learn more about this very important conference.

Latest Study Tells All About Unchurched Americans And What They Think

A majority of unchurched Americans are turned off by the institutional church and don’t have a biblical understanding about God and Jesus, yet they believe Jesus makes a positive difference in a person’s life and would enjoy an honest discussion with a friend about spiritual matters.

Those are just a few of the findings from a new study of unchurched Americans conducted by LifeWay Research in partnership with the North American Mission Board’s Center for Missional Research. LifeWay Research, the research arm of LifeWay Christian Resources, and the North American Mission Board are both entities of the Southern Baptist Convention.

The results of the study, which polled 1,402 adults who had not attended a religious service at a church, synagogue or mosque in the previous six months, are available at LifeWayResearch.com.

The findings have important implications for Christian churches and individuals who want to effectively reach unchurched people with the Good News of salvation in Jesus Christ, said LifeWay Research director Ed Stetzer.

"A full 72 percent of the people interviewed said they think the church ‘is full of hypocrites,’" Stetzer said. "At the same time, however, 71 percent of the respondents said they believe Jesus ‘makes a positive difference in a person’s life’ and 78 percent said they would ‘be willing to listen’ to someone who wanted to share what they believed about Christianity."

To read a summary of the study click here.

To see a PowerPoint of the study click here.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Video: John Piper Responds To "The Common Word" Document



As a Pastor that has tremendous concerns over these documents and those that have signed them, I am very thankful that Piper has responded this way and is willing to take a stand. I believe we must contend with love and humilty for the faith and my prayers are with those that witness to muslims.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Quote: Will Going to Church Religiously Save You?

This quote really shows you that not much has changed in the church since the days of Mr. Ryle. Unfortunately if any change is to be noticed it would be that it has only gotten worse.

If you think the mere carrying of your body to a certain building, at certain times, on a certain day in the week, will make you a Christian and prepare you to meet God, I tell you flatly you are miserably deceived.
-J.C. Ryle
1816 - 1900

Signs of the Apocolypse: Transgender Southern Seminary Student has Diploma Issues

A Southern Baptist seminary has declined to change the full name on the diploma of a 1998 graduate who has since undergone surgery to change from a man to a woman. The Rev. Ronnie Elise Elrod, who goes by her new middle name, had requested that Southern Baptist Theological Seminary change its records to reflect her new legal name. “If you're married, if you change your name, if you move to another planet -- it doesn't matter,” said seminary president R. Albert Mohler. “We're not going to change the name on a diploma. ... That long predated anyone asking for it for this reason.”

To read more click here.

Rethink the Rethink Conference: Danger?

Rethink Conference: Crystal Cathedral, California
January 17, 2008

Robert Schuller once said: "Standing before a crowd of devout Muslims with the Grand Mufti, I know that we're all doing God's work together. Standing on the edge of a new millennium, we're laboring hand in hand to repair the breach." He made that statement in his 2001 biography, My Journey (p. 501), and today he has taken a giant step forward in seeing his dream of an all all-inclusive spiritual body come true. What's more, Christian leaders and organizations are helping to bring it to pass.

Today, the Rethink Conference at Schuller's Crystal Cathedral began. This three day event is hosted by Schuller and popular emerging futurist Erwin McManus.

In addition to McManus, the Rethink Conference has several other Christian leaders speaking: Gary Smalley, Henry Cloud, Chuck Colson, and Kay Warren, to name a few. While the speaker list includes several names outside the Christian camp (Larry King, George Bush Sr., Rupert Murdoch, etc.), a majority of the speakers, both Christian and non-Christian, are proponents mystical spirituality. The reason this is important to know is because Schuller's vision of an all-inclusive global religious body cannot happen without mysticism. It is in fact the vehicle through which Schuller's dream will occur. He discloses a little more of this vision in his book:

"I met once more with the Grand Mufti (a Muslim), truly one of the great Christ-honoring leaders of faith. ... I'm dreaming a bold impossible dream: that positive-thinking believers in God will rise above the illusions that our sectarian religions have imposed on the world, and that leaders of the major faiths will rise above doctrinal idiosyncrasies, choosing not to focus on disagreements, but rather to transcend divisive dogmas to work together to bring peace and prosperity and hope to the world. (p. 502)."

In order for this "bold impossible dream" to occur, change agents such as Schuller and McManus realize that Christianity needs to be redefined. Thus, the term rethink. McManus has believed this for some time. In an interview, he stated:

"My goal is to destroy Christianity as a world religion and be a recatalyst for the movement of Jesus Christ.... Some people are upset with me because it sounds like I'm anti-Christian. I think they might be right!"

Wall Street Journal Takes On Church Discipline

BANNED FROM CHURCH

On a quiet Sunday morning in June, as worshippers settled into the pews at Allen Baptist Church in southwestern Michigan, Pastor Jason Burrick grabbed his cellphone and dialed 911. When a dispatcher answered, the preacher said a former congregant was in the sanctuary. "And we need to, um, have her out A.S.A.P."

Half an hour later, 71-year-old Karolyn Caskey, a church member for nearly 50 years who had taught Sunday school and regularly donated 10% of her pension, was led out by a state trooper and a county sheriff's officer. One held her purse and Bible. The other put her in handcuffs. (Listen to the 911 call)

The charge was trespassing, but Mrs. Caskey's real offense, in her pastor's view, was spiritual. Several months earlier, when she had questioned his authority, he'd charged her with spreading "a spirit of cancer and discord" and expelled her from the congregation. "I've been shunned," she says.

Her story reflects a growing movement among some conservative Protestant pastors to bring back church discipline, an ancient practice in which suspected sinners are privately confronted and then publicly castigated and excommunicated if they refuse to repent.

While many Christians find such practices outdated, pastors in large and small churches across the country are expelling members for offenses ranging from adultery and theft to gossiping, skipping service and criticizing church leaders.

Click here to read more.

Click here to read a great analysis of this very one sided article by one of the Pastor's who was interviewed.

Here is a link to an upcoming conference on church discipline.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Bible Reading Plan Anyone?

If you are still following your bible reading plan congrats. If after 14 days into the new year you are already off track - don't worry. I have found the best bible reading plan in the world. That is actually what it is called and it is a much better plan than I have ever seen, so I do have to agree with it's name. I would encourage you to look at it and think through what your current reading plan is and comparitively read through this one. Then think which one you would get the longest lasting value from. Then add water or coffee and start doing it!

World's Best Bible Reading Plan

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Chargers Ride Colts to Victory!!!! 28-24

All I can say is - WOOOOOOHOOOOOO. And we did it ugly and injured. It's time to put the Pats on their back.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Signs of the Apocolypse: Major League Baseball Caskets and Urns

I am just at a loss for words. The following is real and true.


Every Major League Baseball™ urn is hand-designed using die-cast aluminum with proprietary clear coat finish. Each urn sits atop a “home plate” base outlined in black. Each also features a baseball display dome at the top in which a favorite collectible baseball can be displayed. (Please note: the urn comes with a baseball, which the purchaser or family can replace with a special ball from their own collection.)

Currently 13 team urns are available, including the Atlanta Braves, Baltimore Orioles, Boston Red Sox, Chicago Cubs, Chicago White Sox, Cleveland Indians, Detroit Tigers, Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Mets, New York Yankees, Philadelphia Phillies, San Francisco Giants, and St. Louis Cardinals. The balance of teams will be added in 2008. Patent pending.

If you must order one click here.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Winners 17-6: Chargers go Mythical on the Titans

The Chargers scored 17 unanswered points in the second half to beat Tennessee Titans 17-6 in the AFC Wild Card round Sunday before 65,640 fans at Qualcomm Stadium.

The No. 3-seeded Bolts (12-5) claimed their first playoff victory since their 1994 Super Bowl season to earn a trip to the AFC Division Round next Sunday at the No. 2-seeded Indianapolis Colts (14-2).

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Signs of the Apocolypse: I-35 is Road to Salvation, say some Christians

I was literally shocked to see this story today on the front page of my newspaper. Although the Des Moines Register is a terrible newspaper, and now that the politico's have left apparently there is truly nothing important going on. Just more people seeking meaning in the meaningless.

Believers say the highway is straight out of scripture; others call the interpretation skewed, even absurd.

For many drivers it's an efficient route to the cabin up north or the Iowa homestead down south, but for a number of Christians across denominations, Interstate 35 is a holy stretch of asphalt leading not to the site of Buddy Holly's last gig, but to divine salvation.

Some believe I-35 might be shorthand that links the interstate to Isaiah 35:8 of the Bible: "And a highway shall be there, and it shall be called the Holy Way; the unclean shall not pass over it, and fools shall not err therein."

To read more click here.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Pat Robertson is Predicitng the Future: Believe it or Not - Actually Believe It and Wish it Wasn't True

Am I the only one that finds Pat Robertson to be a complete evangelical embarrassment? Somebody needs to explain to him the meaning of silence is golden. The real problem is most people create an identity for Christians based on what they see on TV - and unfortunately Pat gets a lot of air play. My prediction for 2008 is there will be a lot of Christian's explaing away Pat Robertson.

Christian broadcaster Pat Robertson, who has made predicting the future an annual tradition, predicts a recession and a major stock market upheaval are on their way for the United States.

Aside from a recession this year, Robertson suggested Wednesday that Americans will be paying much more for gas at the pump as the price of a barrel of oil rises by 50 percent in the coming months.

Specifically, he said oil would reach $150 a barrel - the price hit $100 on Wednesday - with the dollar continuing to lose value in 2008.

"I also believe the Lord was saying by 2009, maybe 2010, there's going to be a major stock market crash," said Robertson, who is a millionaire businessman as well as an evangelical leader.

But don't unload your portfolio just yet. Robertson acknowledged Wednesday that his prophecy of a nuclear terror attack in 2007 failed to unfold.

He also cited information from God when he predicted on a year go that major U.S. cities would be hit by "very serious terrorist attacks" causing "possibly millions" of deaths.

No such catastrophe occurred.

Robertson also implied that God informed him whom voters will elect president in November.

To read more click here.

Huckabee: 'A new day in American politics'

After having an unintentional lunch yesterday with Obama and his wife I am very happy that Mike Huckabee came out on top. I am even more elated that the Republican voter turnout trounced the Democrat. I truly do not understand how a Christian can vote for a Democrat, I believe their platform is at extreme odds with the bible.

DES MOINES — Long-shot Republican candidate Mike Huckabee declared "a new day in American politics" Thursday after riding strong support from evangelical Christians into a decisive victory in the Iowa caucuses.

Huckabee, an ordained Baptist minister and, like Bill Clinton, a native of Hope, Ark., managed to win despite trailing badly in national polls for most of the year. He out-hustled runner-up Mitt Romney and better-known candidates John McCain, Fred Thompson and Rudy Giuliani with a coalition of pastors, home schooling adherents, gun rights advocates and supporters of a new national tax system.

"This election is not about me. It's about we," the former Arkansas governor told supporters here. He said the victory would ignite "a prairie fire of new hope and zeal."

Click here to read more.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

How Can I Know I'm a Christian if I Can't Remember When I First Responded to the Gospel?

My favorite question to ask Christians is how they came to trust in Christ. The answers I've heard testify to the diverse experiences God uses to bring people into a relationship with himself. Most commonly, people say they trusted him as a child at camp or at Sunday school or while praying with a parent. They often follow with something like, "But my faith really became my own when I was a junior in high school."

How are we to understand this variety of experiences and the apparent two-stage process many seem to undergo in arriving at saving faith?

The term saved is popularly used to refer to regeneration and justification. But when the Bible uses the word salvation in a spiritual sense, it describes the broad range of God's activity in rescuing people from sin and restoring them to a right relationship with himself. Salvation in the Bible thus has past, present, and future tenses. A believer has been saved from the guilt of sin (justification, see Eph. 2:8), is being saved from the power of sin (sanctification, see 1 Cor. 1:18), and will be saved from the judgment and presence of sin (glorification, see Acts 15:11).

Click here to read more.