Solus Christus Sola Scriptura Sola Gratia Sola Fide Soli Deo Gloria Solus Christus Sola Scriptura Sola Gratia Sola Fide Soli Deo Gloria Solus Christus Sola Scriptura Sola Gratia Sola Fide Soli Deo Gloria Christ Alone Scripture Alone Grace Alone Faith Alone Glory to God Alone Christ Alone Scripture Alone Grace Alone Faith Alone Glory to God Alone Christ Alone Scripture Alone Grace Alone Faith Alone Glory to God Alone

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Reformation Day!

Today is the anniversary of the day that Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the Castle Church in Wittenberg, an event which sparked the Protestant Reformation.

I pray that people and churches examine themselves today and if they are not living a God-honoring life that they would turn from their man-centeredness and towards God for His glory.
I am greatly dismayed over the lack of reverence and lack of following the Bible as our authority that is found in a lot of lukewarm churches.
May we as the body of Christ, concentrate our efforts on Him and give Him the glory that He is due.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Some Things Never Change

oday, I read an interesting article on one of the sites that I frequent. It talked about "authenticity", showmanship and half truths that are taught by todays "modern teachers". It admonished us to check all things with the Bible, which is the inerrant Word of God and the final arbiter on issues of man, God and the like.

I invite you to read it for yourself. Please read all the way to the end :)

Many things combine to make the present inroad of false doctrine peculiarly dangerous. There is an undeniable zeal in some of the teachers of error: their "earnestness" makes many think they must be right. There is a great appearance of learning and theological knowledge: many fancy that such clever and intellectual men must surely be safe guides. There is a general tendency to free thought and free inquiry in these latter days: many like to prove their independence of judgment, by believing novelties. There is a wide-spread desire to appear charitable and liberal-minded: many seem half ashamed of saying that anybody can be in the wrong. There is a quantity of half-truth taught by the modern false teachers: they are incessantly using Scriptural terms and phrases in an unscriptural sense. There is a morbid craving in the public mind for a more sensuous, ceremonial, sensational, showy worship: men are impatient of inward, invisible heart-work. There is a silly readiness in every direction to believe everybody who talks cleverly, lovingly, and earnestly, and a determination to forget that Satan often masquerades himself "as an angel of light" (2 Corinthians 11:14). There is a wide-spread "gullibility" among professing Christians: every heretic who tells his story plausibly is sure to be believed, and everybody who doubts him is called a persecutor and a narrow-minded man. All these things are peculiar symptoms of our times. I defy any observing person to deny them. They tend to make the assaults of false doctrine in our day peculiarly dangerous. They make it more than ever needful to cry aloud, "Do not be carried away!"

If any one should ask me, What is the best safeguard against false
doctrine?--I answer in one word, "The Bible: the Bible regularly read, regularly prayed over, regularly studied." We must go back to the old prescription of our Master: "Diligently study the Scriptures" (John 5:39).

It's interesting to me that this so accurately describes the state of some of our churches today. What is especially interesting is that it is from All Kinds of Strange Teachings by J.C. Ryle, who lived from 1816-1900.

Calling Down The Fire

Yesterday, our church had the beginning of what will, God willing, be a four day revival. There are several unique parts of that sentence that I'd like to address. The first is that our church is having a revival. I've heard it said by people that "you can not schedule a revival" because God schedule is not dictated by men. I'll tell you that I did learn that although man cannot dictate God's actions, there are men that are called for the purpose of leading a revival.

These men come with a unique gift of prophetic wisdom that the Holy Spirit uses to speak to the hearts of those present and move them for His will and purposes.

The topic yesterday used the story of Elijah calling down fire in 1 Kings and how when the fire falls, the people "fell on their faces: and they said, The LORD, he is the God; the LORD, he is the God". That's the effect that the fire has on people,it makes people realize the one true God.

The second thing that I wanted to talk about was the statement "God willing". It's a statement that I'm adding to my vocabulary thanks to Carl Scarlett, our guest preacher. You see, he said that he never makes a promise about anything in the future because the Lord could call him home or come back before that event. To me, that phrase, "God Willing" or "Lord willing" is a constant acknowledgement of the sovreignty of God and also points to the promise of our Lords return.

I look forward to what the rest of the days will bring. I pray that people will be drawn to the Lord and trust and follow Him with faith and obedience.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

There's Sugar Cubes in the Kitchen

Tonight was my first night of teaching youth at our church. I used to teach adult Sunday school at our church. Now, I co-teach Sunday evenings with thise oither great guy from our church. Tonight was the first Teen Sunday night at the church. We had 7 kids and I praise God for them.

The night started with prayer and introductions.

I then handed out a roll of toilet tissue and asked each one to take whatever they thought they needed. With no other explanation, the roll went around the room. Some took 9 or 10; one boy took 1. My son took 23. He later regretted it as he and the others who took a lot of TP tried to think of things about themselves to share.

After they all had them counted, I told that for each sheet of toilet paper that the had that they would have to tell one thing about themselves as well as one thing from each of the people that went before them.

We learned a little something about each other then Mr. T (not THE "Mr. T") opened the Bible and we talked about unity and what that means to a Christian. We looked at Collossians 3:12-15

12 So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; 13 bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. 14 Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. 15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful.

We also talked about what we were trying to accomplish in the kids lives and asked for input and we tried to keep a dialog going.

One of them jokingly mentioned that they needed sugar. I said that I would bring some snacks next week. Without missing a beat, this boy said, "There's sugar cubes in the kitchen!"

Ummm, I know that I'm new to the teen ministry thing, BUT I DO have a teenaged son and other kids close to that age to the point that I know that that didn't sound like a good idea.

It was a great time. I pray that God continues to lead and bless us.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

I Love Sugar!

I just had to share something cute about Juliana. She says the most cute and wonderful things, but while I was in my bedroom today, she found a container of candy corn. There were only a few left in it, but she brought it to me, opened it and took one. Then she looked up at me and asked, "What are they made of?"
"Sugar," I replied.
Without missing a beat she smiled and said, "I love sugar!"
On a side note, she is watching me post this and just said, "That's what I 'eated'."

Friday, October 05, 2007

Deep inside the forest...

Tonight Diana and Megan left for a GA camping trip. This is a really cool time as Diana hasn't been camping since she was a little girl. Megan has been camping with me and the boys in our back yard.

During this trip, they will spend time cooking, hiking and riding horses.

The boys, Jules and I will "camp" in our livingroom tonight and roast mashmellows tomorrow.

I'm excited to hear about the all of the "adventures" of what will happen.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Would You Like to "GIga-size" That?

Who hasn't been through a fast food establishment and after placing your order, asked if you would like to "up-size", "mega-size", "go large" or "king size" the order? What this usually means is an upgrade to a half a gallon of soda and a bucket of french fries. That can't be good for you.

Now, in being honest here, I've gotten the larger portion a time of two, but just found out that, to quote my mom, "my eyes were bigger than my stomach". I usually ended up really full and feeling sick afterwards. Pouring all of that sugar and fried food into my body had an adverse effect.

I was recently reading an article on "Gigachurches". Yes, you read that correctly; not megachurches. Gigachurches. Those who are familiar with computers know that "giga" is a LOT more that a "mega" anything. It means more speed, power, etc. and is better, but is it the same for churches?

The following list of the Top 10 largest churches is from the previously mentioned article.

Top 10 Largest U.S. Churches

1. Lakewood Church, Houston Texas – Joel Osteen (47,000)
2. Willow Creek Community Church, South Barrington, Ill. – Bill Hybels (23,500)
3. Second Baptist Church, Houston – Ed Young Sr. (23,198)
4. Saddleback Church, Lake Forest, Calif. – Rick Warren (22,000)
5., Edmond, Okla. – Craig Groeschel (19,907)
6. Southeast Christian Church, Louisville, Ky. – Dave Stone (18,013)
7. North Point Church, Alpharetta, Ga. – Andy Stanley (17,700)
8. Thomas Road Baptist Church, Lynchburg, Va. – Jonathan Falwell (17,445)
9. Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale, Fort Lauderdale, Fla. – Bob Coy (17,000)
10. The Potter's House, Dallas – T.D. Jakes (17,000)

While I don't discount the hearts or passion of these churches, for me, it raises a red flag... Numbers do not neccessarily mean Christian converts.

Other churches like Elevation Church in Charlotte, N.C., pastored by Steven Furtick have seen their congregations experience viral growth. Elevation has experienced a growth of 444 percent.

To quote from CH Spurgeon,

"It is a serious injury to a person to receive him into the number of the faithful unless there is good reason to believe that he is really regenerate. I am sure it is so, for I speak after careful observation. Some of the most glaring sinners known to me were once members of a church; and were, as I believe, led to make a profession by undue pressure, well-meant but ill-judged. Do not, therefore, consider that soul-winning is or can be secured by the multiplication of baptisms, and the swelling of the size of your church. What mean these despatches from the battle-field? "Last night, fourteen souls were under conviction, fifteen were justified, and eight received full sanctification." I am weary of this public bragging, this counting of unhatched chickens, this exhibition of doubtful spoils. Lay aside such numberings of the people, such idle pretence of certifying in half a minute that which will need the testing of a lifetime. Hope for the best, but in your highest excitements be reasonable. Enquiry-rooms are all very well; but if they lead to idle boastings, they will grieve the Holy Spirit, and work abounding evil"

- Spurgeon, What Is It To Win A Soul, Chapter 1

I'm not saying that large churches are bad, but one has to be very careful of "claiming a number of salvations" as well as making sure that all of these people are properly shepherded and discipled.

Because Truth matters,

Monday, October 01, 2007

National Breast Cancer Awareness Month

This month, October is National Breast Cancer Awareness month. It's a subject that I feel compelled to writ a bit about.
It is a cause/subject that is very important to me for a number of reasons...

  1. My mom fought breast cancer twice, finally dying from it.

  2. My mother-in-law is currently fighting it.

  3. Breast cancer can affect men, too.

  4. My wife and I have so many friends that are fighting breast cancer.

  5. Breast Cancer is beatable. We have a very close friend of the family that fought breast cancer and is a survivor.

  6. My wife and two daughters now have a family history on both sides of breast cancer.

  7. My wife is a hardcore supporter of awareness and I love her for it. Please visit her post here on awareness month.

Knowledge, early detection and HOPE are the keys!

Because HOPE matters,

What is a Pharisee?

It is interesting to note that when someone uses the term "Pharisee", it is used erroneously. A lot of people use the term to reference someone who is speaking out for Biblical doctrine. These people are seen as legalistic, divisive and pharisitical.

But, what was their problem? What was a Pharisee?

Pharisees "became so wrapped up in their own traditions that they downplayed the truth of Scripture and distorted sound doctrine. Far from being theologically orthodox, they had simply invented their own traditions and used a man-made system to nullify the truth of divinely inspired Scripture (Matt. 15:3-6)."

Does this sound familiar? This is often the sounding board, the darts that are thrown from emergent and seeker-sensitive churches. If you question the Bibilical accuracy of what is happening, your weak-minded or a pharisee.

John MacArthur states that,

As doctrine has been deemphasized, the church has moved from preaching the Word to other activities: drama, music, entertainment - things designed to evoke an emotional response rather than enlighten the mind. The charismatic movement has supplanted doctrine with experience. Psychology has elevated "felt" needs over real needs and behavioral theory over revealed truth. All this has accelerated the move away from doctrine and focused the pulpit message on everything but the objective truth of Scripture. Preachers have become comedians, storytellers, therapists, showmen, and entertainers rather than powerful envoys of divine truth...

It seems so ironic that churches characterize anyone who is concerned with biblical doctrine as Pharisaical when the seeker-sensitive's are judging using their own criteria for 'true Christianity', which is what they're accusing people of doing to them.

To quote Jim from
Old Truth,

Jesus prayed: "Sanctify them in the truth; Thy word is truth... For their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they themselves also may be sanctified in truth. I do not ask in behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; that they may all be one" (John 17:17-21).

The unity for which He prayed is preceded by and grows out of sanctification in the truth. Fellowship that ignores or glosses over the crucial doctrines of the faith is not Christian unity; it is ungodly compromise.

A good friend of mine recently wrote about the the reverence that a preacher of the Gospel should have and how he needs to check his heart and spirit and line them up with Christ.

Obviously, this just struck a chord with me today. I pray that all men who are given the honor of serving our Lord with examine and continue to examine ourselves that we may not bring dishonor on the name of our Lord.

May we continue to grow in the knowledge of His Truth, love, mercy and grace and not bow down to worldy influences. May we stand strong for Christ, for He stood for us.

Because Truth matters,