Tag Archives: Jesus Christ

Roundup

Obama’s Snooping Excludes Mosques, Missed Boston Bombers — This the most heinous thing of all with their un-Constitutional searches.  Just as with airport security, they deliberately avoid those most likely to be guilty.

The Art of Leading Congregational Worship — good tips.

1. If we, the congregation, can’t hear ourselves, it’s not worship. Christian worship is not a concert. . . .When the amped sound of the praise band overwhelms congregational voices, we can’t hear ourselves sing–so we lose that communal aspect of the congregation and are encouraged to effectively become “private,” passive worshipers.

2. If we, the congregation, can’t sing along, it’s not worship. … And so your virtuosity gives rise to our passivity; your creativity simply encourages our silence. And while you may be worshiping with your creativity, the same creativity actually shuts down congregational song.

Worship leaders, if you look out over the congregation and you see that we are not singing with you, something has gone wrong. Are you jamming alone up there for extended periods of time? Are you changing well-known melodies just enough to surprise us and make us hesitant to sing out, and/or adding flair that we can’t follow? Are you choosing soloistic songs with complicated melodies rather than musically simple ones designed for group singing?

False teacher spotlight: Rachel Held Evans gets a lot of play in the media posing as an evangelical Christian, but she is anything but.  I don’t care for any false teachers, but I at least prefer those who don’t pretend to be on our side.  Via A Response to Rachel Held Evans on the Today Show | Denny Burk (read it all to see how badly she mocks the  Bible and creates a god in her own image):

4. Redefinition of “evangelical.” Both Natalie Morales and the author identify Evans as an evangelical. I have already written about this elsewhere at length, but I will reiterate here. Evans’ definition of evangelical misses the mark on a number of points. Evans denies the inerrancy of scripture and says that “as a woman I have been nursing a secret grudge against the apostle Paul for about eight years.” As a young adult, she says that she stopped believing in the “Bible’s exclusive authority, inerrancy, perspicuity, and internal consistency.” She came to the conclusion that “the Bible wasn’t what I’d once believed it to be.” Evans has also pressed the case for inclusivism—the view that says people need not have conscious faith in Jesus Christ in order to be saved—and she rejects exclusivism. In a recent post, she defines the gospel without reference to the death and resurrection of Jesus and adopts the reductionism of counterimperial interpreters who say that the “good news” is “Jesus is Lord and Caesar is not.” She supports gay marriage, and she has served communion to practicing homosexuals. We could go on, but that is enough to make it clear that her definition of “evangelical” is strained at best. At worse, it’s not anything close to approaching evangelical. She is not a representative of evangelical faith, despite the assumptions of the reporters at the Today Show.

The One Thing Liberals Fear You Will Do — Abandon government education.

New study: health benefits of marriage are unique to opposite-sex unions — They still aren’t equal.

Students Taught about Homosexual Foreplay Disguised As Tolerance — Oh, but they aren’t trying to indoctrinate anyone!  Right.  These people should be in jail.

An interesting thought exercise I saw on Facebook that exposes the ridiculous idea of people picking their “real” gender.

Extend the “gender identity” idea to race: imagine the outrage if someone declared their “race identity” was black or Native American and demanded, say, affirmative action in the form of scholarships, “even if it isn’t the one that matches their biological [race] at birth?”

And this as well:

Something I don’t understand: If your body actually is male and your mind says it is female, why do we assume that means there is something wrong with the body instead of something wrong with the mind?

If you have an emotional problem with your body’s gender, it seems like common sense that we need to address the emotions which contradict reality instead of the gender which is perfectly fine.
Caleb Jones

The Last Place You Look for New Members — A great post about preaching the Gospel at funerals.  I heard someone once say they didn’t want the Gospel preached at their funeral.  I thought, “Are you kidding me?  That is the last time many of those people will think about me and what I cared about.  While I’ve got their attention I certainly want them to hear the Gospel.”

I’m learning that the Word of God is more than sufficient for every occasion, including—if not especially—funerals. This is why Paul so often declared he wasn’t ashamed of the good news, for it is God’s power unto salvation (Rom. 1:16). For timid Timothys like me, it seems a bit frightening to bring this otherworldly power and wild grace to grieving family members in a funeral service. And yet, not once has someone complained to Tim. On the contrary, even unbelievers and nominal church members appreciate and admire his courage. Perhaps people respect a potent and passionate faith more than a watery and universal hope, even if they don’t agree. And maybe they are even less inclined to so easily dismiss it on their way to the graveside service.

Stan on the “least of these” — the passage actually refers to the least of these my brothers, so it is about fellow believers, not everyone on the planet.  That doesn’t mean you can’t help non-Christians, but that isn’t what Matthew 25 is about.

I saw that misquoted dozens of times (literally) at the Leftist Sojourners’ blog this week.  And of course, these people were helping the least of these with other people’s money and they were pro-abortion (i.e., they voted Democrat and none disagreed with their unrestricted, taxpayer-funded abortion platform), which is a peculiar way to care for the “least of these.”

Gore Says Obama Needs To Get Serious On Dealing With Hotcoldwetdry

Alternate headline: Man with massive “carbon footprint” and lots of money at stake says other man with largest “carbon footprint” in the world needs to Do Something about no statistically significant warming in 15+ years.

The war on young girls: Obama administration approves Plan B morning after pill for young girls

Janice Crouse, also of CWFA, responded: “Once again, those who yell the loudest about caring about the nation’s children and youth applaud a decision to place our kids in a special interest experiment. Plan B, popularly called the ‘morning-after pill’ is a much-higher-dosage version of the regular birth control pill (which used to require a doctor’s prescription and continued doctor’s supervision). It is irresponsible to advocate over-the-counter use of these high-potency drugs, which would make them available to anyone – including those predators who exploit young girls. Mark my words, it will not be long before we see girls and women forced to purchase Plan B for their abuser to keep them and others enslaved. This is a pimp, predator, and pedophile’s dream – unlimited access to Plan B.”

She added: “This is a political decision, made by those who stand to profit financially from an action that puts ideology ahead of the nation’s girls and young women. Where is the scientific data and solid reasoning behind a decision that endangers minors?”

Kristan Hawkins of Students for Life of America also weighed in on the decision.

She told LifeNews: “President Obama is waging a War on Girls by allowing young children to get Plan B without a physician or parent’s care or knowledge. The morning after pill is a megadose of the birth-control pill, which has been categorized by the World Health Organization as a Group I carcinogen. That’s the highest possible ranking – cigarettes are also in Group I. So why are drugstores required to put cigarettes behind the counter and ask for a photo id to stop minors from purchasing them, but President Obama is now ordering the morning after pill be sold over the counter, next to candy bars and packs of gum?  This is not reproductive justice, this is child abuse.”

Just to be clear, according to the drug manufacturer, Plan B does cause abortions in some situations by preventing the implantation of a fertilized egg.

John Lennon Stopped Yoko Ono From Having Abortion of Son Sean

Equal rights!

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False teacher spotlight: Rachel Held Evans

Rachel Held Evans gets a lot of play in the media posing as an evangelical Christian, but she is anything but.  I don’t care for any false teachers, but I at least prefer those who don’t pretend to be on our side.  Via A Response to Rachel Held Evans on the Today Show | Denny Burk (read it all to see how badly she mocks the  Bible and creates a god in her own image):

4. Redefinition of “evangelical.” Both Natalie Morales and the author identify Evans as an evangelical. I have already written about this elsewhere at length, but I will reiterate here. Evans’ definition of evangelical misses the mark on a number of points. Evans denies the inerrancy of scripture and says that “as a woman I have been nursing a secret grudge against the apostle Paul for about eight years.” As a young adult, she says that she stopped believing in the “Bible’s exclusive authority, inerrancy, perspicuity, and internal consistency.” She came to the conclusion that “the Bible wasn’t what I’d once believed it to be.” Evans has also pressed the case for inclusivism—the view that says people need not have conscious faith in Jesus Christ in order to be saved—and she rejects exclusivism. In a recent post, she defines the gospel without reference to the death and resurrection of Jesus and adopts the reductionism of counterimperial interpreters who say that the “good news” is “Jesus is Lord and Caesar is not.” She supports gay marriage, and she has served communion to practicing homosexuals. We could go on, but that is enough to make it clear that her definition of “evangelical” is strained at best. At worse, it’s not anything close to approaching evangelical. She is not a representative of evangelical faith, despite the assumptions of the reporters at the Today Show.

A really, really easy way to spot false teachers

If they say Jesus was wrong about anything then you know you have a wolf.  Via Pastor: Jesus Was Wrong About Marriage.

This exchange in particular was the most glaringly infuriating as White, a proponent of same-sex marriage who angered his own congregation recently because of his adamant belief that Christianity supports such a practice, went so far as to agree that Jesus Christ was wrong about His position on marriage being defined as one man and one woman, and if Jesus were alive today he would, in fact, support gay marriage.

It is very common for the fakes to sit in judgment of God, but rarely do they take off the sheepskin so completely and say it outright.  In a weird way I appreciate people who are so transparently fake.

The other good thing is that he conceded that what the Bible really says!  Even non-Christians and two out of the three types of pro-gay theologians* can see these truths:

  • 100% of the verses addressing homosexual behavior denounce it as sin in the clearest and strongest possible terms.
  • 100% of the verses referring to God’s ideal for marriage involve one man and one woman.
  • 100% of the verses referencing parenting involve moms and dads with unique roles (or at least a set of male and female parents guiding the children).
  • 0% of 31,173 Bible verses refer to homosexual behavior in a positive or even benign way or even hint at the acceptability of homosexual unions.

* 1. “The Bible says homosexuality is wrong but it isn’t the word of God” (obviously non-Christians) 2. “The Bible says it is wrong but God changed his mind” (only about 10 things wrong with that) 3. “The Bible is the word of God but you are just misunderstanding it” (Uh, no, not really.)

Traits of false teachers

Via 7 Traits of False Teachers – read it all for more details.  False teachers aren’t that hard to identify.  The Bible is full of warnings about them.  Some of the fakes that used to visit my blogs (before being banned) would scoff at the notion that the Bible warns against false teachers.  I think that was trait #8.

1. Different Source—Where does the message come from?

2. Different Message—What is the substance of the message?

3. Different Position—In what position will the message leave you?

4. Different Character—What kind of people does the message produce?

5. Different Appeal—Why should you listen to the message?

6. Different Fruit—What result does the message have in people’s lives?

7. Different End—Where does the message ultimately lead you?

I’ll never look at geneologies in the Bible the same way

Faith Comes By Hearing is a ministry that produces audio recordings of the Bible in 371 languages and all are available for free download. Some countries are 80-90% illiterate, so getting the spoken Word to them is a powerful evangelistic tool. They have a product which is just really, really cool. “The Proclaimer is an audio player containing the New Testament on an embedded microchip. It has just one purpose: to proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ to the nations! The Proclaimer is practically indestructible. It can play by solar panel . . .”

This is a great ministry to donate to as well as a terrific source of free audio Bibles for your MP3 player.  Check out their web site and see what I mean.

I heard their President speak a couple years ago and was fascinated at how many of these cultures fixate on the genealogies that we reflexively want to skip over.  But for them, a person’s ancestors have a big impact on their credibility.  So when they realize who Jesus’ ancestors were they were prepared to take him more seriously.

High pressure sales tactics or “take it or leave it?”

I’m not saying it is all one or the other, but what do you think the biblical model of sharing the Gospel is more like?

A. High pressure sales tactics
B. Take it or leave it

I submit that it is more like “B.”  Of course we pray for people and earnestly hope for their salvation, but ultimately it is between them and God.  We’re on the Great Commission, not the paid commission.

When Jesus encounters the rich young ruler and tells him what he must do to attain eternal life, the man walks away sadly.  Then Jesus runs and tackles him and preaches to him some more.

Oh, wait, that last part never happened.  The man walked away and we never hear of him again, even though Jesus loved him.

And consider Paul’s journeys.  While he sometimes stayed in the same place for a while, the typical model seemed to be: Preach, get beat up, leave.  Or, at best:

Acts 17: 32-24 Now when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked. But others said, “We will hear you again about this.” So Paul went out from their midst. But some men joined him and believed, among whom also were Dionysius the Areopagite and a woman named Damaris and others with them.

On the flip side, the book of Hebrews does say three times that:

So, as the Holy Spirit says: “Today, if you hear his voice,  do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion, during the time of testing in the desert . . .

So there is nothing wrong with conveying some sense of urgency to the appeal.

But some evangelism models involve pressuring people to decide, and they border on manipulation — or they jump across the border.  As the saying goes, if I can manipulate people into professing belief based on worldly techniques then someone else can talk them out of it.  And Satan is smarter than I am.  False conversions harm the person and the church.

Consider how few of the typical “converts” of revivals stick around:

 In the Assembly of God’s 1990s “Decade of Harvest,” out of the 3.5 million supposedly converted, they showed a net gain of only 5 new attenders for every 100 recorded professions. When one considers all of our supposed converts, including those who refuse to follow Christ in baptism and who never join our churches, our numbers are much the same. Doesn’t anybody see that there is a serious problem here?

I want to point people to the Bible and let the Holy Spirit do the work.  I reflexively work in key themes to spiritual conversations and am glad to unflinchingly affirm doctrines about the authority and accuracy of the Bible, the divinity and exclusivity of Jesus, the existence of Hell, the minimal facts, etc.  But it is all with an aim to get them to read for themselves.  I trust God to do what He promised:

Isaiah 55:10-11 For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.

Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

I also think that in terms of how the world views the church we come across as much more confident in our views if we just lay them out in a rational way instead of using emotional tricks.  People are bombarded with ads and gimmicks and we shouldn’t be a part of that.  2 Corinthians 4:1-6 explains this well:

Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart. But we have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways. We refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God’s word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God. And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled only to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,”has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

No tricks or high pressure, just sharing the truth in love.  Only God can make spiritually dead people alive.  We just want to be obedient to his model.

Finally, there are the pearl holding / dust shaking teachings of Jesus.  He told us not to press the issue with those who aren’t interested.  We need to be bold but also to trust his timing.

If you have the gift of evangelism, then get out and preach.  If you don’t, then be ready to fulfill your jobs as apologists and ambassadors to share the truth in a winsome way to a world that desperately needs it. Don’t sugarcoat the truth, but don’t feel the need to win every soul you encounter.  You are being obedient to God regardless of whether the person converts or not.  

Said another way, if you are an Arminian then high pressure techniques are counterproductive.  If you are Reformed, then they are unnecessary.

Another great audio Bible testimonial

A friend shared this update about the Proclaimer audio Bibles:

We have an update for you regarding The Proclaimer that is being used by Miguel in the Yauricocha mines in Peru – He goes to the mine to work for 15 days, then he has a 7 day rest period and comes home. He is currently home and came to tell us how the Proclaimer is working. IT IS GREAT!!! They work 12 hour shifts in the mine. Miguel was taking the Proclaimer into the mine during his shift and his team was listening to the machine  during their work shift. Well, this caused a slight problem because the other shift (the opposite 12 hours) heard that the Proclaimer was really great and they wanted to hear it,too.

So Miguel made a deal with another miner on the opposite shift. When Miguel and his team come out of the mine at the end of their shift, they hand the Proclaimer off to the other shift team and they take it down into the mine with them to listen during their shift!So, the Proclaimer is literally being used 24 hours a day!!! And it is functioning downinside the earth! I’m sure that the enemy is REALLY irritated with this development – the miners have always lived in complete fear of demons that live inside the earth, to the point of making sacrifices to them constantly. To have the Word with them, speaking truth into their lives… just think of the changes this could have on the culture of the miners! Please pray for these men and for this project of Miguel’s. Another Proclaimer machine is being used by Miguel’s wife and family (when he is in the mines and away from home)… they started 2 different listening groups that meet on Wednesdays and Saturdays from 5-7pm. They are listening and discussing together with others in the community. When Miguel is home, he is the leader of this group. When he is away, Medely (his wife) leads. Miguel told our team yesterday that he was so thankful thatwe had come to his community and that we had brought the Proclaimer machine… because of our work and this machine, he and his family are now Believers and he is working to spread the news and share the machines with as many people as possible!

Praise God for that!  I never get tired of hearing how his word gets out and transforms lives.

If you go on mission trips be sure to look into these.  Or just donate to help get the word out!

More about the Proclaimers

As I mentioned in my summary of our Kenya mission trip, one of the highlights was taking the Proclaimer audio Bible to the local Christian hospital and churches.  This ingenious device is used to get the word of God out to those who can’t read.  They can be powered by electricity, solar or hand cranked so they can be used over and over almost anywhere.  We took versions in Swahili and English (and are working to get a version in Kimeru, another local language), so they can hear the word in their language.

Faith Comes By Hearing translates the Bible into hundreds of languages in audio form.  Having it translated in writing is important, of course, but when you consider how few people read you realize how important these audio Bibles are.

Last year we took one to Kenya as an experiment.  It was so well received that this year we took a dozen.  As you can see in the video below, my friend Stanley Gitari was eager to get as many of these as possible to get the word out to “all the corners.”  I never get tired of that.

Stanley helped me get the units in the hands of local pastors, who often have 10 small village churches that they serve.  Audio Bibles will be priceless to them.  We also gave some to the church/school in the Kawangware slum in Nairobi, where they can use it to get the word out to the neighborhood.

Here’s an amazing fact: Their 2nd most downloaded language is Arabic!  This is the single best way to get the word of God into Muslim countries.  Many people are listening to the Bible on their phones.  Apparently the governments aren’t aware or haven’t figured out how to stop this yet.

Many peoples know there is a God, but when they don’t have his word in their language they don’t think He is their God.  Faith Comes By Hearing has countless stories of communities transformed by hearing his word in their language.

Be sure to get the free Bible.is app for your iPhone, so you can read and listen anywhere.

If you go on mission trips or just have a passion for getting God’s word out to be who are eager to hear it, please look into the Faith Comes By Hearing organization.  You can get free audio downloads of the New Testament and play them on your computer or iPod, or you can donate to help spread the Word.

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Here is an email from the hospital chaplain about the Proclaimer we took last year.

Let me say we have been using the device and its demand is too high especially in the local church. The one you left us is only used within the hospital and if we could get others we would really appreciate. Our department was thinking if we had an intercom in the hospital we would only use one proclaimer by putting it in one place and connecting it to all the wards for all the patients to listen to the message at the same time. This would be of great help especially because the staffing is not adequate in chaplaincy unit.

For now i can say we are using the device to the maximum. We sometimes leave it with the patients after showing them how to use and they really like it. Thanks a lot to you and those who donate them. They are a great way of taking the word of God to the people.

Receive new year wishes from Maua methodist hospital, church and the chaplaincy unit.

Looking forward to seeing you next year.

God bless you.

Rev Alice

This picture is of Reverend Alice, the hospital chaplain, explaining it to a group of patients and their children.

I’m a firm believer in Isaiah 55:10-11

As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.

From their website:

How does the Proclaimer work? An installed microchip contains Scriptures in the heart language; the chip will not erase or wear out from frequent playing.

The battery will play for 15 hours and can be recharged enough times to play the entire New Testament more than 1,000 times.

The Proclaimer has a built-in generator and solar panel to charge the battery.

The solar panel, in addition to charging the battery, will run the Proclaimer even without battery power as long as there is sunlight.

The sound is digital quality and loud enough to be heard clearly by groups as large as 300.

The Proclaimer was developed primarily as a playback device for poor and illiterate people who may not have any other source to hear God’s Word. Our goal is to use the Proclaimer in the majority of our FCBH programs worldwide.

Very few of these people read, but now they can hear the transforming and powerful word of God.  This is probably the best use of technology I’ve ever seen.