Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Monday, August 30, 2010

Deathbed Repentance by Sproul

“Can you repent at the moment of death and still have the same salvation as someone who’s been a Christian for many years?”

That’s a tricky question, but I think it’s a fascinating one and certainly one that many people are concerned about. We talk about foxhole faith, when people cry out in desperate moments of crisis or postpone to their deathbed the moment of committing their lives to Christ. Some people say that it doesn’t make sense for somebody who has been a Christian all their life to be in the same state as somebody who did as they pleased all their life and waited until the last second to get their accounts square with God.

There’s a parable in the New Testament in which Jesus speaks about those who agree to work for a certain wage, and then at the last minute some other people are hired and only work for a few minutes but they get the same pay. The first group is really bent out of shape, and they say, “What’s going on here? There’s no justice in this!” Does the second group receive the same salvation? Yes and no. They are brought into a state of salvation; that is, they escape the punishment of hell and enter into the kingdom if indeed that last-breath repentance is genuine. The requirement for entrance into the kingdom of God is to repent and believe in Christ.

The thief on the cross did it in the last minutes of his life, and Jesus assured him that he would be with him in paradise. There we have Exhibit A in the New Testament of somebody who actually did that and who was promised by our Lord himself that he would participate in Jesus’ kingdom. Certainly it’s possible for a person at the last moment of their life to repent sufficiently, believe, and be justified and enter into all of the benefits of membership of the kingdom of heaven.

However, Paul speaks of those who make it into the kingdom by the skin of their teeth. I think a “deathbed” believer would be in that category. We tend to think that all that matters is getting there because there is an unbridgeable chasm between getting into heaven or missing it altogether. Yet Jesus tells us to work and to store up treasures for ourselves in heaven because he promises emphatically that there will be rewards dispensed to his people according to their obedience and their works. You don’t get into heaven by your works, but your reward in heaven will be according to those works, according to the New Testament. What that says to me is that although people can make it by the skin of their teeth by repenting in their last dying breath, nevertheless, their degree of felicity will not be nearly as great as that of those who have been serving Christ faithfully for many, many years.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Jesus Answers Prayer!

If you could have one prayer answered what would it be!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Monday, August 23, 2010

Nielson on "Student" Ministry

Jon Nielson is the senior high pastor at College Church in Wheaton, Illinois.

Teens Want More Than Pizza
“Bye-bye church. We’re busy.” That’s how a recent USA Today article on teen involvement in church and youth group begins by describing the general attitude of teenagers today. Faced with increasingly busy schedules—packed full of sports, music, drama, and college-prep classes—many teenagers are finding little time (or need) for the church. While youth group and youth retreat attendance skyrocketed in the late 1990s, many youth pastors are now finding that students are “not even coming for the pizza anymore.” Maybe the pizza was part of the problem to begin with.

Somewhere along the line—as entertainment, social networking, and media technology took off in our culture—we youth pastors began to feel threatened. Could our gross-out food games and acoustic guitars compete with special effects, wild parties . . . and YouTube? Deep down, we knew they couldn’t, but we tried hard. We wooed them with louder music. We promised wild fun. We built youth “warehouses” filled with pool tables and Wii’s. And perhaps we gave them the exact opposite of what they really needed.
I’ve been a high school pastor for about eight months now; I certainly have much to learn! In just those eight months, though, I have formed a few convictions from which, by God’s grace, I will not soon depart:

I cannot compete with my students’ culture in the area of entertainment.

Some youth pastors can keep up much better than I can. Still, even the savviest, coolest, most-in-touch youth pastor around will find himself unable to entertain students in a way that will keep them coming to his youth group. The competition is simply too stiff.

•I can offer high school students the real gospel of Jesus Christ—and they can handle it.

The gospel—the objective reality that “Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures,” which is received by faith alone—is what high school students really crave. The amazing (and constantly humbling) thing about continually offering the gospel to students is the response it brings. The response is not: “Wow, Jon, you’re cool,” or “That music was off the hook!” It’s actually a much more biblical response: repentance and faith in Jesus Christ. High school students crave the real, true, life-changing, not-watered-down gospel of Jesus Christ. Woe to us if we give them anything less.

•Growth happens not by entertaining, but by equipping.

We in youth ministry have been chasing down the wrong “e” word. For a time, especialy during the peak years in the 1990s, we were able to draw huge numbers of students by entertaining them. According to Barna, it’s just not working anymore . . . and maybe that’s a good thing.

It is time that youth pastors return to a surprisingly ancient concept. God gave pastors and teachers to the church to “equip the saints for the work of the ministry” (Eph. 5). Chris Palmer, a youth pastor quoted in the USA Today article, was on to something when he described his new approach to youth ministry: beginning to teach that following Jesus is “hard work,” as well as “radical and exciting.” If high school students crave the true gospel of Jesus Christ, they desire to see lives (including their own) that are radically and genuinely affected by a relationship with Jesus Christ. They spot hypocrisy better than most of us adults.

Youth pastors need to embrace a ministry of gospel proclamation and gospel equipping. We preach the gospel, we make disciples, and then we train those disciples to do the same. We get the students to the point where they say of our gospel work: “Hey, I can do that!” That is more exciting than Wii. The growth that comes through this is called “gospel growth.” And that’s better than kids coming just for the pizza.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Are Students leaving the Church after High School?

Below are two different looks at the stats:
(the video will be discussed at a later date. I have many thoughts about it)

Segregation from Leclerc Brothers Motion Pictures on Vimeo.

Kevin DeYoung's thoughts:

here he quotes a WSJ article and calls it misleading..
"Recent statistics have shown an increasing exodus of young people from churches, especially after they leave home and live on their own. In a 2007 study, Lifeway Research determined that 70% of young Protestant adults between 18-22 stop attending church regularly." end quote

Then Kevin says:
This is a classic example of a good statistic gone bad. For starters, as Brett acknowledges in his book (but probably didn’t have space to explain in the article), the Lifeway study found that 70 percent of young adults 23-30 who attended church for at least a year in high school stopped attending church regularly for at least a year from age 18-22.

And to make matters more confusing, here’s a blog post by Sam Rainer, son of Thom Rainer and co-author of Essential Church (the book based on this Lifeway study), where the statistic morphs into “70% of those that leave the church do so between the ages of 18 and 22.” This is quite a different stat entirely. But in the book the Rainers use the original version of the stat, so we’ll stick that.

The problem is that Brett’s WSJ article takes the Lifeway number about young people leaving church for a year and turns it into this alarm: “Young people [are] pouring out of their churches, never to return.” This is simply not true. If 70% were dropping out never to return, we’d see a huge dip in the next demographic. After all, the Lifeway research was conducted with those ages 23-30. So we should see a 70% dip in church attendance and Christian affiliation among older twentysomethings. But we don’t. In fact, Wright shows (what should be common sense) that religious affiliation increases with each bump in the age demographic. Gallup has found the same trend (and, interestingly enough, that church attendance has increased slightly in 2010).

Just as importantly, we’ve seen over the past decades that the lower percentages among youth increase as the twenty year-olds become thirty year-olds, the thirty year-olds become forty year-olds and so on. Simply put, young adults (especially during their college years) are the least likely to be involved in church, but over time more and more of them (especially the ones with children) come back. Or, as the case may be, they never really meant to leave; they just drifted away for a time. Now, there’s no reason to celebrate 18-22 year-olds dropping out of church for a year, but making things sound worse than they are doesn’t help either.

Here’s how Wright summarizes his research on young people and the church:

So back to our original question: Is the church really losing the young? on the negative side, the number of young people who do not affiliate with any religion has increased in recent decades, just as it has for the whole population. Furthermore, to the extent that religiousness has changed, it has trended slightly toward less religious. On the positive side, the percentage of young people who attend church or who think that religion is important has remained mostly stable. Also, the percentage that affiliate with Catholicism, evangelical Christianity, and Black protestantism are at or near 1970 levels. What I don’t see in the data are evidence of a cataclysmic loss of young people. Have we lost the young? No. Sure, terrible things could happen in the future, but so could great things. (66)

It seems that Christians are, of all people, most eager to believe the worst about themselves. But don’t believe everything you read. There are lies. And then there are statistics.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Humbled in Haiti

Lessons Learned in Haiti

- America is the greatest nation on earth. Without Americans Haiti would be just where they were on Jan. 13, 2010

- We have a good Government. With all our flaws Haiti pales in comparison.

- Most Americans aren't poor. Live in a tent village with no running water and no promise of food, that is poor. Not the "will work for food guy" or people on food stamps. Big difference between wants and needs and survival.

-Haitians get saved the same way Americans do. By confessing Jesus as Lord. Not the TBN American Jesus who looks like Jon Bon Jovi and will give you what ever you ask for. That jesus is being preached in Haiti and he has never saved anyone. Thank God for good Haitian pastors who preach the Word!

- Many Haitians are good people just desperate people.

- Lottie Moon- give, give, give, give, give, give, give, give, give, give, $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$!!!
(our missionaries depend on this offering and they are doing a great job)

- Go!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Going to Haiti

Be Back Friday Good Lord Willing!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Do you eat bacon?

I ate bacon this morning!
Just in moderation.

What about you? Do you eat bacon, ribs, shrimp, pork chops? Joel doesn't.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Gospel Filled Worship- Tullian

If our worship is genuinely gospel-fueled, than we, like Isaiah, will go through a range of expressions when we’re together. The experience of the worshipper should be multifaceted because God’s story—the gospel—is multifaceted. Our worship should have many parts because the gospel has many parts, and is neither one-dimensional nor stagnant.

The cradle, the cross, and the crown of God’s Rescuer are to be rehearsed and in some way felt. For instance, the gospel takes us from a sense of gratitude when pondering theincarnation, to a sense of grief when pondering the crucifixion, and to a sense of glory when pondering the resurrection.

God’s story takes us low and brings us high and gospel-fueled worship services should in some way reflect those ups and downs in their style and substance, context and content. With our Hero, we should experience something of the darkness of the garden of Gethsemane and the daylight of the garden tomb. We cannot ponder the cross without feeling our sin. And we cannot ponder the empty tomb without feeling our salvation.

Our worship should include moments of praise, lament, and thanksgiving—or, in the words of Old Testament scholar Walter Brueggemann, “orientation, disorientation, and reorientation.” It should involve a sense of guilt and gratitude, desperation anddeliverance, somber contemplation and joyous celebration. It should contain silence andsinging, confession and cleansing, commendation of God and conviction from God.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Our God is Greater

Our Choir does a great job with this song!!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Get a Bible with "all the Words"- Piper

such were some of you

Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God?

Do not be deceived:

neither the sexually immoral,
nor idolaters,
nor adulterers,
nor men who practice homosexuality,
nor thieves,
nor the greedy,
nor drunkards,
nor revilers,
nor swindlers

will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you.


you were washed,
you were sanctified,
you were justified

in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

1 Corinthians 6: 9-11