Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Quotes from Billy Graham



A child who is allowed to be disrespectful to his parents will not have true respect for anyone.

A real Christian is a person who can give his pet parrot to the town gossip.

Being a Christian is more than just an instantaneous conversion - it is a daily process whereby you grow to be more and more like Christ.

Comfort and prosperity have never enriched the world as much as adversity has.

Everybody has a little bit of Watergate in him. (amen)

I think when a person has been found guilty of rape he should be castrated. That would stop him pretty quick. (ouch!)

If we had more hell in the pulpit, we would have less hell in the pew. (amen)

The Christian life is not a constant high. I have my moments of deep discouragement. I have to go to God in prayer with tears in my eyes, and say, 'O God, forgive me,' or 'Help me.' (been there done that and will again)

The highest form of worship is the worship of unselfish Christian service. The greatest form of praise is the sound of consecrated feet seeking out the lost and helpless.

The only time my prayers are never answered is on the golf course. (and all God's people said.....AMEN!)

Jury Duty

Saturday, June 27, 2009

A Presidential Prayer for America


(HT:Reformed Baptist Blog)

The following prayer for the Untied States of America was composed by George Washington on June 8, 1783, and sent to the governors of the states:

Almighty God, we make our earnest prayer that Thou wilt keep the United States in thy holy protection, that Thou wilt incline the hearts of the citizens to cultivate a spirit of subordination and obedience to government and entertain a brotherly affection and love for one another and for their fellow citizens of the United States at large.

And finally that Thou will most graciously be pleased to dispose us all to do justice, to love mercy, and to demean ourselves with that charity, humility, and pacific temper of mind which were the characteristics of the Divine Author of our blessed religion, and without a humble imitation of whose example in these things, we can never hope to be a happy nation.

Grant our supplications, we beseech Thee, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Death is Dead by Ravi



“Have you ever wondered what you would do to frighten Lazarus after he’d been raised from the dead? What would you do to threaten him? Lazarus, I’m gonna’ kill you? Caligula says, ‘I’m going to kill you.’ He says, ‘Ha, ha, ha.’ He says ‘stop ha, ha, ha-ing. I’m going to kill you as I’m killing all the Christians.’ He doubles over in uncontrollable laughter, comes up for air and says, ‘Caligula haven’t you heard? Death is dead! Death is dead!’

How do you frighten somebody who has already been there and knows the one who’s going to let him out? …

Behind the debris of the fallings of our solemn supermen and imperial diplomatists lies the gigantic figure of one person, because of whom, by whom, in whom, and through whom, mankind may still survive. The person of Jesus Christ.”
Ravi Zacharias

The Blood of Jesus as our Battle Axe


By Spurgeon:

“Some, I fear, use the precious blood of Christ only as a quietus to their consciences. They say to themselves, ‘He made atonement for sin, therefore let me take my rest.’ This is doing a grievous wrong to the great sacrifice. … A man who wants the blood of Jesus for nothing but the mean and selfish reason, that after having been forgiven through it he may say, ‘Soul, take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry: hear sermons, enjoy the hope of eternal felicity, and do nothing’ — such a man blasphemes the precious blood, and makes it an unholy thing. We are to use the glorious mystery of atoning blood as our chief means of overcoming sin and Satan: its power is for holiness. See how the text puts it: “They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb” (Rev. 12:11): these saints used the doctrine of atonement not as a pillow to rest their weariness, but as a weapon to subdue their sin. O my brothers, to some of us atonement by blood is our battle-axe and weapon of war, by which we conquer in our struggle for purity and godliness — a struggle in which we have continued now these many years. By the atoning blood we withstand corruption within and temptation without. This is that weapon which nothing can resist.”

Spurgeon on Gossip




“The words of a gossip are like choice morsels; they go down to a man’s inmost parts (Proverbs 18:8).”

Spurgeon on gossip:
“Nor taketh up a reproach against his neighbour.” He is a fool if not a knave who picks up stolen goods and harbours them; in slander as well as robbery, the receiver is as bad as the thief. If there were not gratified hearers of ill reports, there would be an end of the trade of spreading them. Trapp says, that “the tale-bearer carrieth the devil in his tongue, and the tale-hearer carries the devil in his ear.” The original may be translated, “endureth;” implying that it is a sin to endure or tolerate tale-bearers. “Show that man out!” we should say of a drunkard, yet it is very questionable if his unmanly behaviour will do us so much mischief as the tale-bearers insinuating story. “Call for a policeman!” we say if we see a thief at his business; ought we to feel no indignation when we hear a gossip at her work? Mad dog! Mad dog!! is a terrible hue and cry, but there are few curs whose bite is so dangerous as a busybody’s tongue. Fire! fire!! is an alarming note, but the tale-bearer’s tongue is set on fire of hell, and those who indulge it had better mend their manners, or they may find that there is fire in hell for unbridled tongues. Our Lord spake evil of no man, but breathed a prayer for his foes; we must be like him, or we shall never be with him."

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Golden Chain of Salvation: Link 3,4, and 5

"For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified" -Romans 8:29-30.

3.) God called: James Boice in his excellent commentary on Romans says,
"The next step in this golden chain of five links is what theologians call effectual calling. It is important to use the adjective effectual at this point, because there are two different kinds of calling referred to in the Bible, and it is easy to get confused about them.

One kind of calling is external, general, and universal. It is an open invitation to all persons to repent of sin, turn to the Lord Jesus Christ, and be saved. It is what Jesus was speaking of when he said, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest" (Matt. 11:28). Or again, when he said, "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink" (John 7:37). The problem with this type of call is that, left to themselves, no men or women ever respond positively. They hear the call, but they turn away, preferring their own ways to God. That is why Jesus also said, "No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. .." (John 6:44).

The other kind of call is internal, specific, and effectual. That is, it not only issues the invitation, it also provides the ability or willingness to respond positively. It is God's drawing to himself or bringing to spiritual life the one who without that call would remain spiritually dead and far from him.

There is no greater illustration of this than Jesus' calling of Lazarus, the brother of Mary and Martha, who had died four days before. Lazarus in his grave is a picture of every human being in his or her natural state: dead in body and soul, bound with graveclothes, lying in a tomb, sealed with some great stone. Let's call to him, "Lazarus, Lazarus. Come forth, Lazarus. We want you back. We miss you. If you will just get up out of that tomb and return to us, you'll find that we are all anxious to have you back. No one here is going to put any obstructions in your way."

What? Won't Lazarus come? Doesn't he want to be with us?

The problem is that Lazarus does not have the ability to come back. The call is given, but he cannot come.

Ah, but let Jesus take his place before the tomb. Let Jesus call out, "Lazarus, come forth," and the case is quite different. The words are the same, but now the call is no mere invitation. It is an effectual calling. For the same God who originally called the creation out of nothing is now calling life out of death, and his call is heard. Lazarus, though he has been dead four days, hears Jesus and obeys his Master's voice.

That is how God calls those whom he has foreknown and predestined to salvation."

4.) God justified: Here is the great Reformation truth of the gospel, justified by faith alone. It means that the Sovereign Judge of the universe declares us “not guilty” by grace through faith through our Lord Jesus Christ (Roms. 5:1). We are no longer under the wrath of God, no longer the enemy of God. We have become His children and are now the objects of His love and mercy and no longer estranged by His enmity. But being justified is not just a declaration; but also a reality for the Christian. We have been clothed with the perfect righteousness of Christ. As Dr. MacArthur so wonderfully says, "Christ was treated on the cross as if He lived your life, so that we might treated as if we lived His life." He was clothed with our sin, though sinless; and we are clothed with His perfect righteousness, though sinful. Our sin imputed to Him; His righteousness imputed to us (Roms. 5:21). This is the great doctrine of imputation in our justification.

"Those whom, God effectually calls he also freely justifies, not by infusing righteousness into them, but by pardoning their sins, and by accounting and accepting their persons as righteous; not for anything wrought in them or done by them, but for Christ’s sake alone; not by imputing faith itself, the act of believing, or any other evangelical obedience to them as their righteousness, but by imputing the obedience and satisfaction of Christ unto them, they receiving and resting on him and his righteousness by faith, which faith they have not of themselves, it is the gift of God" – WCF Ch 11

“Justification is a judicial act of God, in which He declares, on the basis of the righteousness of Jesus Christ, that all the claims of the law are satisfied with respect to the sinner” (L. Berkhof, Systematic Theology, p. 513).

"The phrase in ipso (in him) I have preferred to retain, rather than render it per ipsum (by him,) because it has in my opinion more expressiveness and force. For we are enriched in Christ, inasmuch as we are members of his body, and are engrafted into him: nay more, being made one with him, he makes us share with him in every thing that he has received from the Father." (John Calvin Commentary on 1 Cor 1:5

"This calling is an act of the grace of God in Christ by which he calls men dead in sin and lost in Adam through the preaching of the Gospel and the power of the Holy Spirit, to union with Christ and to salvation obtained in him." - Francis Turretin

5.) God glorified: Notice that Paul says this in the past tense. Our future glorification is already secured and perfected in Christ in eternity future. He knew us, determined our destiny to be like Christ, called us, justified us, and now the fifth link in the chain of our salvation... He glorified us. What hope, what promise of eternal life in and with Christ! Paul wrote in Philippians, "I always pray with joy ... being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus" (Phil. 1:4, 6). God began the "good work" by foreknowledge, predestination, calling, and justification. And we can know that He will carry it on until the day we will be like Jesus Christ, being glorified.

No wonder Jude proclaims with absolute confidence: "Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, 25to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen" (Jude 24-25).

What a fitting doxology for us today. Here it is beloved: have you gone through a time of trial and brokenness lately? Has your world been shaken--turned upside down by tragedy? Have you been through a divorce, death of a family member or suffered the loss of a child? Maybe you've lost a job or been fired for living honorable for the Lord? Who can bear the weight of such overwhelming pain on their own? But friend in Christ... here is our hope. The golden chain holds you fast. "Cast all your cares on Him for He cares for you;" "He will never leave nor forsake you;" and that "nothing can separate you from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord."

Rejoice in the Lord and find your hope, security, significance, rest, worth, and purpose only in Him. He is everything we need!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Chandler on the De-Churched

(HT:John Piper)

The Golden Chain of Salvation: Link 1 and 2

(HT:Steven Camp)

"For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified" -Romans 8:29-30.

This is one of the most profound and assuring promises in all of Scripture. It is commonly referred to as, "The Golden Chain of Salvation." It is a chain of five eternal links: God foreknew; God predestined; God called; God justified; and God glorified. Every aspect of our salvation is all and only of Him. No room for man's self-glory here; no room for a hint of human praise; no room for boasting in ourselves. This is the great work of the Lord alone in our salvation. Past, present and future hope secured for us in Christ Jesus. So therefore, we joyfully say with the apostle Paul, "if God be for us, who can be against us? For it is God who justifies..." (Rom. 8:31f).

1.) God foreknew: foreknowing (and/or foreknowledge) does not mean here to know about future events in advance--even though God does know all things. That is in keepting with Him being omniscient. He knows all things, in all times (past, present and future), concerning all His creatures and creation. Nothing is hidden from His sight and He, contrary to the heresy of The Open Theists, is not "presently learning" nor stunted in His knowing (Psalm 139).

Foreknew/foreknowledge, however, is never used in terms of knowing about future events, times or actions (omniscience). "Foreknowledge is a predetermined relationship in the knowledge of God. God brought the salvation relationship into existence by decreeing it into existence ahead of time" (MacArthur Study Bible, 1 Peter 1:2). God foreknew us by setting His electing love in pre-establishing an intimate relationship with those that He has sovereignly chosen in Christ before the foundations of the world (Eph. 1:4-6; 1 Peter 1:1-2). It is, I believe, only used in regards to God's electing love of His people and not, as some suggest, a "knowing ahead of time of events and actions." God knew us, had established relationship with us in times past eternal. He foreknew us. The antithesis of this is what the Lord said in Matthew 7:23, "depart from, I've never known you." Those are the most frightening words in Scripture, aren't they?

Foreknowledge was also used pertaining to Christ. Peter says, "He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for your sake" (1 Peter 1:20). Christ was foreknown in the eternal Trinitarian relationship of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. There was intimacy of relationship within the Trinity before anything that was made was made. The promise for us is that He foreknew us before the world was made... What God established in eternity, He brought about in time in our salvation through Christ our Lord.

John Murray says: "
Even if it were granted that `foreknew' means the foresight of faith, the biblical doctrine of sovereign election is not thereby eliminated or disproven. For it is certainly true that God foresees faith; he foresees all that comes to pass. The question would then simply be: whence proceeds this faith, which God foresees? And the only biblical answer is that the faith which God foresees is the faith he himself creates (cf. John 3:3-8; 6:44, 45, 65; Eph. 2:8; Phil. 1:29; 2 Peter 1:2). Hence his eternal foresight of faith is preconditioned by his decree to generate this faith in those whom he foresees as believing."

The late Dr. James M. Boice summarizes that:
"foreknowledge means that salvation has its origin in the mind or eternal counsels of God, not in man. It focuses our attention on the distinguishing love of God, according to which some persons are elected to be conformed to the character of Jesus Christ, which is what Paul has already been saying."

2.) God predestined: It means to determine a person's destiny beforehand. To be "pre" - before; "destined" - appointed. God in His sovereign electing love has predestined us, marked out beforehand, our eternal destiny. Again, what comfort this brings to the discouraged believer in the Lord in our daily sanctification in Christ. It tells us that, God, having fixed his distinguishing love upon us (foreknew), he next appointed us "to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers." And what is that destiny for the people of God? To be made like Jesus Christ--"conformed to the image of His Son." That is why beloved, "we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose."

Friday, June 19, 2009

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

J. Ligon Duncan III on Women Pastors



God teaches in the Bible that He gives spiritual leadership in the Church to qualified male elders, and thus restricts the teaching office of the church to men who meet the range of qualifications He has established in the Word.

Let me just say something about that statement. You notice that it emphasizes that the qualification for church office is not just that you are male and you have a brain. The qualification is that you are male and that you meet the rest of the qualifications for eldership. There's a long list of them, and being a male is only one of them. So, it's not just a male versus female thing. It's qualified males to hold this particular office. So let me say that one more time. God teaches in the Bible that He gives spiritual leadership in the church to qualified male elders and thus restricts the teaching office in the church to men who meet the range of qualifications He has established in the Word. Consequently, the ministry of preaching and teaching in the church is undelegatably vested in the men who serve as the elders of the church.

Then he states: There are at least five NT passages that explicitly establish an all-male teaching office in the Church.
1 Timothy 2:8-15
1 Timothy 3:1-2, 4 and 12
Titus 1: 5-6
1 Corinthians 11:5-10
1 Corinthians 14:34

Monday, June 15, 2009

Jesus wants the Rose

Worship?

(taken from Jared Wilson)

Someone asks him this question: why can't every Sunday can't be a worship experience like Hillsong United created last night.

Here is his answer:
I do think there is a marked difference between music leaders who know how to lead a congregation into worship and those who do not. In the same way there are preachers who are better than others at leading people to focus on Christ. So I don't think we can necessarily discount the importance of the quality of pastoring involved in such "worship experiences."

On the other hand, it ain't like God is a genie in a bottle and you gotta rub him the right way (bay-bay). Unless your congregation is a bunch of heretics, God is there among you every Sunday, and every day he is ready to be worshiped. If the majesty of God were truly in our hearts and minds, if our selves were alive to the wonder of the gospel, I doubt it would really matter if Hillsong United were on stage or if it were Brother Bob with his ukelele.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that most times the real difference in worship experience between Hillsong United's set list and a choir and a pipe organ leading you in hymns is not what's on stage, but what's in our hearts.

Your thoughts?

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Louie on "Real" Worship



Louie’s Definition of worship
“Worship is a full life response to the greatness and the grace of God”

Marks of True Worship (Romans 12:1-2)

1. Is God happy? – A preoccupation for God’s happiness
At the end of the day – worship for God (pleasing to God) in Romans 12:2
God decides if the worship is acceptable or not

2.Is there an aroma? – An acceptable offering of worship that is pleasing to God
Jesus offered himself as a fragrant aroma, an acceptable offering
This is our spiritual act of worship
Are we more concerned if they like it or if we like it, instead of wondering if it was a sweet sweet sound in his ear
Here’s the question – God, did you like it?
We don’t ask, ‘cause we’re afraid of the answer
Sometimes we need to stop singing, put our hands down and repent

3. Has it reached the least of these? – The mark of demonstration
Is worship still a meal for you?
Or is it fuel for missions?
It is trickling down to the least of these?

Friday, June 12, 2009

Missional Living by Jonathan Dodson

Eat with Non-Christians
We all eat three meals a day. Why not make a habit of sharing one of those meals with a non-Christian or with a family of non-Christians? Go to lunch with a co-worker, not by yourself. Invite the neighbors over for family dinner. If it’s too much work to cook a big dinner, just order pizza and put the focus on conversation. When you go out for a meal, invite a non-Christian friend. Or take your family to family-style restaurants where you can sit at the table with strangers and strike up conversations. Have cookouts and invite Christians and non-Christians. Flee the Christian subculture.

Walk, Don’t Drive
If you live in a walkable area, make a practice of getting out and walking around your neighborhood, apartment complex, or campus. Instead of driving to the mailbox or convenience store, walk to get mail or groceries. Be deliberate in your walk. Say hello to people you don’t know. Strike up conversations. Attract attention by walking the dog, carrying along a 6-pack to share, bringing the kids. Make friends. Get out of your house! Last night I spent an hour outside gardening with my family. We had good conversations with about four of our neighbors. Take interest in your neighbors. Ask questions. Engage. Pray as you go. Save some gas, the planet, and some people.

Be a Regular
Instead of hopping all over the city for gas, groceries, haircuts, eating out, and coffee, go to the same places at the same times. Get to know the staff. Smile. Ask questions. Be a regular. I have friends at coffee shops all over the city. My friends at Starbucks donate a ton of leftover pastries to our church 2-3 times a week. We use them for church gatherings and occasionally give them to the homeless. Build relationships. Be a regular.

Hobby with Non-Christians
Pick a hobby that you can share. Get out and do something you enjoy with others. Try city league sports or local rowing and cycling teams. Share your hobby by teaching lessons, such as sewing, piano, knitting, or tennis lessons. Be prayerful. Be intentional. Be winsome. Have fun. Be yourself.

Talk to Your Co-workers.
How hard is that? Take your breaks with intentionality. Go out with your team or task force after work. Show interest in your co-workers. Pick four and pray for them. Form moms’ groups in your neighborhood and don’t make them exclusively non-Christian. Schedule play dates with the neighbors’ kids. Work on mission.

Volunteer with Non-Profits.
Find a non-profit in your part of the city and take a Saturday a month to serve your city. Bring your neighbors, your friends, or your small group. Spend time with your church serving your city. Once a month. You can do it!

Participate in City Events
Instead of playing XBox, watching TV, or surfing the net, participate in city events. Go to fundraisers, festivals, cleanups, summer shows, and concerts. Participate missionally. Strike up conversation. Study the culture. Reflect on what you see and hear. Pray for the city. Love the city. Participate with the city.

Serve Your Neighbors.
Help a neighbor by weeding, mowing, building a cabinet, or fixing a car. Stop by the neighborhood association or apartment office and ask if there is anything you can do to help improve things. Ask your local Police and Fire Stations if there is anything you can do to help them. Get creative. Just serve!

Mohler on "Moralistic Therapeutic Deism"



(HT:Fide-O)

Dr. Albert Mohler reports that when Christian Smith and his fellow researchers with the National Study of Youth and Religion at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill took a close look at the religious beliefs held by American teenagers, they found that the faith held and described by most adolescents came down to something the researchers identified as “Moralistic Therapeutic Deism.”
Therapeutic Deism consists of beliefs like these:

1.“A god exists who created and ordered the world and watches over human life on earth.”
2.“God wants people to be good, nice, and fair to each other, as taught in the Bible and by most world religions.”
3.“The central goal of life is to be happy and to feel good about oneself.”
4.“God does not need to be particularly involved in one’s life except when God is needed to resolve a problem.”
5.“Good people go to heaven when they die.”

Notice that the belief system of these youth is very inconsistent. It is a muddled mixture of both moralism and hedonism. In short, they are creating a god in their own image, according to their own pleasures. They want a Divine parent… who will provide for them so they can have fun.

By the way, #3 reveales that “goodness” is completely subjective. In other words, the god that these young people believe exists is not the righteous God of the Bible but the god of their own imaginations.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

DeYoung on Jesus

“There are a lot of popular versions of Jesus in culture. There’s a Republican Jesus who’s for free-market economics. There’s a Democrat Jesus against Wall Street and Wal-Mart. There’s a therapist Jesus who helps us cope with life’s problems. There’s a Starbucks Jesus who loves fair trade coffee and Apple computers. There’s a touchdown Jesus who helps Christians run faster and jump higher. There’s the martyr Jesus who died so that we could feel sorry for him. There’s nice guy Jesus. There’s spirituality Jesus. There’s good example Jesus.

And then there’s Jesus of Nazareth.

Jesus asks, “Who do you say that I am?” Peter says, “You are the Christ of God.”

Most people have a shrunken, domesticated Christ who is safe, easy and manageable instead of the real Christ. The closer you get to him the more you love him and the more you fear him. God is calling you to stop playing games and to stop making excuses and to open your eyes to see Jesus as the Christ. He is more glorious and loving and gracious and powerful and more wonderfully terrifying that any of us can ever imagine.”

-Kevin DeYoung from the Next Conference
HT: On Earth as it is in Heaven

Winslow on Forgiveness

“A certain immoral woman heard Jesus was there and brought a beautiful jar filled with expensive perfume. Then she knelt behind him at his feet, weeping. Her tears fell on his feet, and she wiped them off with her hair. Then she kept kissing his feet and putting perfume on them.” Luke 7:37-38

She washed Christ’s feet with the tears of grateful love. Jesus had pardoned all her sins, had absolved her from their guilt, and had released her from their power. How natural was the feeling of gratitude, how appropriate this service of love!

The most genuine contrition for sin flows from a sense of its forgiveness. Nothing breaks the heart so thoroughly as the experience of God’s pardoning love, love flowing from a sight of the cross!

Octavius Winslow from “The Disciple Washing Christ’s Feet”

Monday, June 8, 2009

Jerry Bridges on Grace

(HT: Tullian Tchividjian)

My observation of Christendom is that most of us tend to base our relationship with God on our performance instead of on His grace. If we’ve performed well–whatever “well” is on our opinion–then we expect God to bless us. If we haven’t done so well, our expectations are reduced accordingly. In this sense, we live by works rather than by grace. We are saved by grace, but we are living by the “sweat” of our own performance.

Moreover, we are always challenging ourselves and one another to “try harder.” We seem to believe success in the Christian life (however we define success) is basically up to us: our commitment, our discipline, and our zeal, with some help from God along the way. We give lip service to the attitude of the Apostle Paul, “But by the grace of God I am what I am” (1 Corinthians 15:10), but our unspoken motto is, “God helps those who help themselves.”

The realization that my daily relationship with God is based on the infinite merit of Christ instead of my own performance is a very freeing and joyous experience.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Paul said:

“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen. For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.” (Romans 1:18-27 ESV)

What is so hard to understand about this scripture?

Middle School Sex?

(HT: churchrevelance)

The University of Texas School of Public Health recently discovered that middle school sex happens more often than most think. According to their study:

1/3 of students experienced precoital touching behaviors
>> 43% of these students experienced sexual intercourse
12% of students experienced vaginal sex by age 12
7.9% of students experienced oral sex by age 12
6.5% of students experienced anal sex by age 12
4% of students experienced all three types of sex by age 12

Among sexually active middle school students:

1/3 experienced vaginal or anal sex without a condom within the past three months
1/4 had four or more partners
Obviously, this trend is alarming morally. But researcher Christine Markham also states:

These findings are alarming because youth who start having sex before age 14 are much more likely to have multiple lifetime sexual partners, use alcohol or drugs before sex and have unprotected sex, all of which puts them at greater risk for getting a sexually transmitted disease or becoming pregnant.

I think middle school ministry is usually too soft. It is a difficult age to teach because some students are still years away from puberty while others are already beginning to experiment with sex, drugs, alcohol, and porn. Children’s ministers don’t like to touch taboo topics, but when 1 in 3 students are feeling each other up, how can they afford not to?

It takes tact, grace, and wisdom to discuss these things with students without offending or embarrassing them or their parents. It is challenging but worth it. It is much easier for a middle school minister to teach a preventive message than it is for a high school minister to rewire students’ established bad habits.

For Discussion:
- At what age does your church begin approaching tough topics?
- What do you think is the best way to teach tough topics to young students?

Cho on Megachurches

Eugene Cho of Quest Church (Seattle, WA) said this about the popularity of megachurches

Megachurches only comprise 1% of the churches in North America. But then why do the majority of the conferences revolve around the megachurches and their pastors?

I think megachurches and their leaders are doing phenomenal ministry. I really do. But we’ve elevated this 1% as the epitome and face of a successful ministry and created a machine of conferences, publishers, books, and networks based on this very limited expression.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Chan on the being a Pastor

Spurgeon on Repentance

(ht:ortlund)

"Remember that the man who truly repents is never satisfied with his own repentance. We can no more repent perfectly than we can live perfectly. However pure our tears, there will always be some dirt in them; there will be something to be repented of even in our best repentance. But listen! To repent is to change your mind about sin, and Christ, and all the great things of God. There is sorrow implied in this; but the main point is the turning of the heart from sin to Christ. If there be this turning, you have the essence of true repentance, even though no alarm and no despair should ever cast their shadow upon your mind."

C. H. Spurgeon, All Of Grace, page 70.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

From the office of the President



(taken from: whitehouse.gov)

LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL, AND TRANSGENDER PRIDE MONTH, 2009
- - - - - - -
BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
A PROCLAMATION

Forty years ago, patrons and supporters of the Stonewall Inn in New York City resisted police harassment that had become all too common for members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community. Out of this resistance, the LGBT rights movement in America was born. During LGBT Pride Month, we commemorate the events of June 1969 and commit to achieving equal justice under law for LGBT Americans.

LGBT Americans have made, and continue to make, great and lasting contributions that continue to strengthen the fabric of American society. There are many well-respected LGBT leaders in all professional fields, including the arts and business communities. LGBT Americans also mobilized the Nation to respond to the domestic HIV/AIDS epidemic and have played a vital role in broadening this country's response to the HIV pandemic.

Due in no small part to the determination and dedication of the LGBT rights movement, more LGBT Americans are living their lives openly today than ever before. I am proud to be the first President to appoint openly LGBT candidates to Senate-confirmed positions in the first 100 days of an Administration. These individuals embody the best qualities we seek in public servants, and across my Administration -- in both the White House and the Federal agencies -- openly LGBT employees are doing their jobs with distinction and professionalism.

The LGBT rights movement has achieved great progress, but there is more work to be done. LGBT youth should feel safe to learn without the fear of harassment, and LGBT families and seniors should be allowed to live their lives with dignity and respect.

My Administration has partnered with the LGBT community to advance a wide range of initiatives. At the international level, I have joined efforts at the United Nations to decriminalize homosexuality around the world. Here at home, I continue to support measures to bring the full spectrum of equal rights to LGBT Americans. These measures include enhancing hate crimes laws, supporting civil unions and Federal rights for LGBT couples, outlawing discrimination in the workplace, ensuring adoption rights, and ending the existing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy in a way that strengthens our Armed Forces and our national security. We must also commit ourselves to fighting the HIV/AIDS epidemic by both reducing the number of HIV infections and providing care and support services to people living with HIV/AIDS across the United States.

These issues affect not only the LGBT community, but also our entire Nation. As long as the promise of equality for all remains unfulfilled, all Americans are affected. If we can work together to advance the principles upon which our Nation was founded, every American will benefit. During LGBT Pride Month, I call upon the LGBT community, the Congress, and the American people to work together to promote equal rights for all, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim June 2009 as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month. I call upon the people of the United States to turn back discrimination and prejudice everywhere it exists.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this first day of June, in the year of our Lord two thousand nine, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-third.

BARACK OBAMA


GOD HELP US!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The Don't Song

Better listen to this song men. It is by “Johnny and Chachi.” They know what they are talking err singing about. Don't!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Al Mohler on the murder of Dr. George Tiller

‘Violence in the name of protesting abortion is immoral, unjustified, and horribly harmful to the pro-life cause. Now, the premeditated murder of Dr. George Tiller in the foyer of his church is the headline scandal — not the abortions he performed and the cause he represented.


‘We have no right to take the law into our own hands in an act of criminal violence. We are not given the right to take this power into our own hands, for God has granted this power to governing authorities. The horror of abortion cannot be rightly confronted, much less corrected, by means of violence and acts outside the law and lawful means of remedy. This is not merely a legal technicality — it is a vital test of the morality of the pro-life movement. . .


‘Murder is murder. The law rightly affirms that the killing of Dr. George Tiller is murder. In this we must agree. We cannot rest until the law also recognizes the killing of the unborn as murder. The killing of Dr. George Tiller makes that challenge all the more difficult.’