November 17, 2007

God is an ATM??

Everyday that goes by I am amazed at what is being preached in the pulpits of churches! Is it any wonder we have more churches in the history of our country, but yet we are seeing our culture slide more and more into a pit of immorality. Why you may ask?? Because the church has become prostituted out to the world. It is failing to save the lost any longer. Instead of preaching to save sinners, we are preaching to attract sinners - how does one do this? Preach a message that will attract selfish hearted men, a message that speaks their language - "me" centered.

November 15, 2007

Why Take a Gamble?

I am often taken a back by so called Christians that approve of gambling. As Christ being our example of how we are to live daily and that we are to truly love our neighbors - then is gambling an act of love or an act of selfishness??

Yesterday the US House Judicaiary Committee heard statements as to why Internet Gambling should not be allowed in the US. As I read a statement made by the Family Research Councils, Vice President of Government Affairs, Tom McClusky it made me think again why we as followers of Christ should not participate in such a destructive activitiy such as gambling. Below is just a small excerpt from his speech. After reading his comments, I would challenge any "Christian" who defends gambling as to why this acitivity is deemed appropriate behavior for a child of God?? Again, does this fall into the category of selfishness or love? After reading Mr. McClusky's comments I would hope we could all agree that gambling is indeed an act of selfishness and thus is a sin.......
The report continues that "many families of pathological gamblers suffer from a variety of financial, physical, and emotional problems, including divorce, domestic violence, child abuse and neglect, and a range of problems stemming from the severe financial hardship that commonly results from pathological gambling. Children of compulsive gamblers are more likely to engage in delinquent behaviors such as smoking, drinking, and using drugs, and have an
increased risk of developing problem or pathological gambling themselves. As access to money becomes more limited, gamblers often resort to crime in order to pay debts, appease bookies, maintain appearances, and garner more money to gamble."

November 14, 2007

An Oldie, but Goodie!

Its hard to believe this was written by Charles Finney over 130 years ago - given how relevant it is for today! This might be old in the sense as to when it was written, but it I think we need to apply these words of wisdom from our brother Charles for today!


Preach on every doctrine that centers the attention on man rather than Jesus. Teach every doctrine that makes man the center of God's attention rather than God the center of man's devotion. Tell people only what God will do for them.
Avoid preaching about the necessity of a radical change of heart, through the truth revealed to the heart by the agency of the Holy Spirit.
Let your supreme motive to be popular with all people, then, of course, your preaching will be suited for that purpose, and not to convert souls to Christ.
Avoid preaching doctrines that are offensive to the carnal mind, so that no one should say to you, as they did of Christ, "This is a hard saying, who can hear it?"
Make no distinct points, and do not disturb the consciences of your hearers so that they may become truly alarmed about their souls.
Avoid all illustrations, repetitions, and expressive sentences that may compel people to remember what you say.
Avoid all heat and enthusiasm in your delivery, so that you never make the impression that you really believe what you say.
Make appeals to the emotions, and not the conscience, of your hearers.
Be careful not to testify from your own personal experience of the power of the gospel, so that you never should produce the conviction upon your hearers that you have something which they need.
Do not stir up uncomfortable memories by reminding your hearers of their past sins.
Denounce sin in a general way, but make no reference to the specific sins of your present audience.
Do not make the impression that God commands your listeners here and now to obey the truth. Do not let them think that you expect them to commit themselves right on the spot to give their hearts to God.
Give the impression that they are expected to go away in their sins, and to consider the matter at later time of their convenience.
Preach salvation by grace; but ignore the condemned and lost condition of the sinner so that he never should understand what you mean by grace, and know his need of it.
Preach the gospel as a remedy or a cure, but conceal or ignore the fatal disease of the sinner.
Do not speak of the spirituality of God's holy law (by which comes the knowledge of sin), so that the sinner never should see his lost condition and repent.
Make no appeals to the fears of sinners; but give them the impression that they have no reason to fear.
Preach Christ as an infinitely friendly and good-natured being. Ignore those scathing rebukes of sinners and hypocrites which so often made His hearers tremble.
Do not rebuke the worldly tendencies of the church, so that you should never hurt their feelings, and finally convert some of them.
Admit, either obviously or casually, that all men have some moral goodness in them; so that sinners should never understand that they need a radical change of heart, from sin to holiness.
Say so little of hell that your people will think that you do not believe in its existence yourself.
Make the impression that, if God is as good as you are, He could not send anyone to hell.
Make no disagreeable reference to the teachings of self-denial, cross-bearing, and crucifixion to the world, so that you should never convict and convert some of your church members.
Do not rebuke extravagance in dress, so that you should never make an uncomfortable impression on your vain and worldly church members.
Encourage lots of church socials, and attend them yourself.
Aim to make your hearers pleased with themselves and pleased with you, and be careful especially not to wound the feelings of anyone.
Make sure you avoid preaching to those who are present. Preach about sinners, but not to them. Say "they," and not "you," so that anyone should never take your subject personally, and apply it to their own life, Securing the salvation of their soul.
Preach that the new birth is something God deposits in people, not a fundamental change in the ultimate purpose of our lives.
Never tell people that they must cease from serving self and serve God and do His will.
Never tell them that repentance is man's ability and responsibility to turn from his sin to God! Teach them to delay turning away from all known sin toward God.
Preach predestination in such away that results in fatalism and apathy on the part of all people. Make each person believe that God has already determined who shall be saved, and nothing can change His will. You never want anyone to think that their actions can make any difference.
Preach that man is totally unable to obey God. Teach him that no one can turn to God, but he must wait upon God to turn (change) him. Make sure that no one realizes his true responsibility requiring him to repent in order to be saved. You never want anyone to know that man can turn from sin to God but the real problem is that he will not!
Preach that every one is born a sinner and a criminal. Teach that every baby is born guilty before God. You never want anyone to consider the fact that man is born morally innocent. You do not want anyone to know that he becomes a sinner because, in his rebellion, he has refused to love God with all his heart according to the light and has selfishly sought his own happiness above all else.
Preach that a person can be saved without making Jesus his lord.
Teach that holiness is just an option and not a requirement of the gospel. Teach them that they can be Christian without becoming true disciples.
Preach eternal security in such away that requires no perseverance in faith or continuance in holiness on the part of the believer. Make every person think he has his ticket to heaven that is all paid for so that he will always safely scoff at all calls for repentance and righteous.
Teach Christians that sin is a normal and natural part of their every day life and that they can never truly expect to ever overcome sin through the power of Christ.
Preach that no Christian needs to do anything. Teach them that they are safe and heaven bound even if their lives are disobedient and rebellious.

To be like a child....

Over the past couple of days our son has been sick. But you would never know it by talking with him that he is even remotely sick or under the weather. His demeanor and attitude is really an inspiration to me. For him life couldn't be better - even though his little body has a pretty tough infection. Simply put - he is happy and content with life.

Instead all that matters to him is going to school, playing, and just being with either his friends or family. Last night I watched him lay on the couch and from time to time he would wimper about the pain in his ears, but never once was he whiney or would he become overly annoyed with his infirmity....instead he just wanted to love on his mom and dad. He would get up and get in my wifes lap and snuggle. For him at that very moment he was happy as he could be. I thought to myself this is really what God wants to see in my own life. That whenever I am confronted with pain, disease, stress, sadness, in my life that I am not allowing that to spoil the most wonderful thing and that is loving God and others. No matter how difficult things may get, I just want to jump into my heavenly Fathers lap and hear him say "Trust in me, I am greater than all these things!" To trust in my heavenly Father is such a wonderful thing. To know that the Creator of Life desires fellowship and communion with one of his created beings is just such an amazing thing to me! I just can't express with words how truly amazing this is!

I hope that I can take the attitude that my 5 year old son has and apply that to my own life. Real happiness and contentment is being in sweet fellowship with our benevolent God!

November 12, 2007

Emerging Into What?

Lately it seems like the latest buzz word in the church movement is the "Emerging or Emergent Church Movement". As I had posted previously this weekend, we are beginning to see the horrific results the"Seeker Sensitive" model has produced. So in their great wisdom, men have once again went to reinventing the gospel. Men like Mark Driscoll, Rob Bell, and Donald Miller are at the epicenter of this so called movement of God. What is it they believe in you may ask? The only problem is they themselves aren't really sure what they believe in. For you see the Emerging Church movement is one that mixes Post-modernism and Christianity (I realize this is such a contradiction - but that's my point here!). To give you just a sample of the great next apostasy here is a sample of what we can expect in the very near future.

I do!

This morning I was reading along in one of my second most favorite books in the New Testament - James (Next to 1st John!). What I like most about James is his straight forward attitude on subject matters such as godly living, temptation, selfishness, and idolatry (I mean c'mon any guy that says "Come now, ye rich, weep and howl for your miseries that are coming upon you. Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are moth-eaten. Jas 5:1-2 is a pretty straight forward kind of guy!) Let's face it James was probably the kind of person it didn't take long for you to figure out where one stood with him. As I was reading my bible this morning I came across James 1:21-25:
Jas 1:21-25 Therefore, rid yourselves of everything impure and every expression of wickedness, and with a gentle spirit welcome the word planted in you that can save your souls. (22) Keep on being doers of the word, and not merely hearers who deceive themselves. (23) For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at himself in a mirror. (24) For he studies himself carefully and then goes off and immediately forgets what he looks like. (25) But the one who looks at the perfect law of freedom and remains committed to it-thus proving that he is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of what it requires-will be blessed in what he does.

I think what is so interesting about these verses is it truly tells us how James thought a Christian should behave. First, one is to rid themselves of everything sinful and every "expression of wickedness" - I don't know about you but this is pretty straight forward - no sin period! Next, with a gentle spirit we are to take the very Word of God and plant it into our hearts. James is using a phrase from the Parable of the Sower here to reemphasize that it is by the very Word of God (God's Truths) planted and cultivated in ones heart that will save your soul. I think most Christians think that the phrase "Word of God" here is representative of both the New Testament AND Old Testament, but one needs to remember the canon as we know it will not be fully formed until several hundred years after this letter by James is written. Therefore the Word of God is the teachings of the Old Testament and the words of Christ as handed down by the apostles.

Secondly, James informs us to be "doers" of the Word of God. This word in the Greek is poietes, meaning to "act out" or "perform". This literally means to take action or perform. Now according to most Reformed or Calvinist theology, we often hear that we can not help but sin - as we are "Totally Depraved" in our nature. But James apparently doesn't see it this way at all - instead he gives very concise instructions to the church in Jerusalem to abstain from every form of sin. If we think and meditate on these words from James we will see that God desires people who truly love him and want to bring Joy to his heart. How does one do this? By becoming "doers" of righteousness motivated out of supreme love for our God and King!

Thirdly, we see James say that if we see someone of the faith that hears the Word of God and then goes out and forgets what God has instructed him not to do - is like one who looks into the mirror and forgets what he looks like. Now not to seem too blunt here, but if in actuality we were to meet a person such as this - whereby he looks at himself in the mirror and minutes later totally forgets who he is, we would tend to think this person is one who has been mentally incapacitated or as we say here in the South - "that boy isn't real bright - bless his heart!". I truly think that is what James was trying to get across to his audience here, by saying in a very blunt and straight forward way - is if you can't remember the Truths of God one minute and then turn around and sin, then I am sorry your a half-wit. I realize some will not like this expression, but take time to read and really think about what James is really saying here. This is not to be mean in anyway, but I think James is trying to show us just how serious we need to treat this issue.

Finally, I hope that we all can take instruction from James, whereby when we hear God's Word we will not forget about it and continue with the status quo, but rather let His Word take root in our hearts and transform us into one that brings God real glory and honor - through our faith in Christ that produces action in our lives.

November 11, 2007

Nature of Sin

A very well done video on what exactly is the nature of sin? Is man born sinful? This video does a thorough job of explaining this doctrine. Be Blessed!

Elvis has left the Building!

This morning I came a cross one of those articles that when I read it I just couldn't help but say "Well you don't say (Sarcasm emphasized)!!". Apparently the "Seeker-Friendly" Mega Guru, Grand Pooba Pastor - Bill Hybel of the "World Renown" Super-Duper, Biggie Size, Mega Church Franchise known as "Willow Creek" has recently discovered that his model for building up "devoted disciples of Christ" has become a complete and utter failure (See Article). According to the Baptist Press, Mr. Hybel and company conducted a multi-year study on the effectiveness of their programs and philosophy of ministry. According to the article:
"The report reveals that most of what they have been doing for these many years and what they have taught millions of others to do is not producing solid disciples of Jesus Christ. Numbers yes, but not disciples. It gets worse. Hybels laments:

"Some of the stuff that we have put millions of dollars into thinking it would really help our people grow and develop spiritually, when the data actually came back it wasn't helping people that much. Other things that we didn't put that much money into and didn't put much staff against is stuff our people are crying out for."
Sadly, for many Christians who have for years been crying aloud that the likes of Rick Warren, Bill Hybels, Joel Osteen, and many others having been teaching a doctrine that as Paul says "tickled the ears of men", this is a day of sadness and a day of hope. First, it is a sad day because these wolves in sheep's clothing have so wasted Kingdom money and so distorted and perverted the gospel that countless souls will mostly likely perish as a result of these mens leadership (see 1 Cor 3:10-23). How it must grieve my Lord's heart to see how the church has become like the harlot - playing to the hearts and desires of man! Secondly, this is possibly a day of hope, for I hope that people will leave these "temples of men" and begin to truly search for the Truths of God and fall before God and repent! I hope that the true gospel will now begin to be preached - not by Bill Hybel or Rick Warren - for they have proved themselves unworthy of teaching and need to remove themselves as teachers, but by Godly men - such as likes of Charles Finney, Leonard Ravenhill, or Gordon Olson - who that truly love God and want to see His will done here on earth as it is in heaven!

Personally, I went to a "Sinner....ooops I mean...Seeker Sensitive" church for about 5 years. I pleaded with management and others in the church to stop this "Seeker Sensitive" model as I began to see the horrific results in peoples doctrine and lives (ie. "I sin in word, thought and deed everyday" ad nauseam) . Instead I was greeted with scorn and even called a heretic at one point. So as a result, "Elvis has left the Building"! I left almost a year ago and started a home church and I must say I have never had one iota of regret in making that decision.

One must understand that the Gospel, whenever it is truly preached is OFFENSIVE to the world! How does one know when the gospel is being preached - when the church is persecuted. Never in the history of Christianity was the litmus test for success ever determined by numbers! This is how the world determines success, but God determines success by the strength of one's faith in Him - not numbers. Jesus says in Luke 6:22-24:
22Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man’s sake. 23Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy for behold, your reward is great in heaven; for in the same manner did their fathers unto the prophets. 24But woe unto you that are rich! for ye have received your consolation.
Seems to me Jesus is saying "Whenever your hated and despised by men for your preaching" then rejoice and leap with joy for this is a sign that your doing a job well done. It is my hope that as a result of this latest news, men and women will leave in mass exodus from these men and become Seekers of God rather than "Seeker Sensitive".