Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Right or Wrong?

If Christianity is wrong, then when I die I would just be dead and I will not be aware of anything. I will be "as dead as a door nail." At best, I lived a good life and maybe I will have left a legacy for my children to follow. Hopefully, they will have become responsible adults. However, if Christianity is right, then not only would I have lived a good life and hopefully left a legacy for my children, but I would be with Jesus for eternity.

Now, if the fool who says there is no God is right, then he would be "as dead as a door nail" also and aware of nothing once he died. He would have lived a life indulging in as many sinful acts as he could to satisfy his selfish desires. Hopefully, his kids will learn from his life, do the opposite, and become responsible adults. But judging from the world today, I doubt it. However, if he is wrong, then he will have to face his choice (to deny God) in hell for eternity.

I don't know about you, but I am going to follow Christ, because either way, I think that I'll be a winner.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Ecumenism-Good or Bad?

The word “ecumenical” comes from the Greek word oikoumenÄ“.[1] The Greek word can be found in Matt 24:14; Acts 17:6; and Heb 2:5 where it is translated “world.” The idea of unity in the Church comes from different passages in the Bible, some of which are John 17:21; Ephesians 4:3-5; Galatians; Colossians; 1 and 2 Corinthians. All of these passages speak of unity in Christ, or “one Lord, one faith, one baptism” (Eph 4:5b).

Early ecumenical councils gathered to deal with heresies and doctrinal disputes in the Church.[2] More modern ecumenical councils seek to battle social issues as well as to unify the Church, but evangelicals have pretty much stayed out of councils like these, as they are more concerned with evangelizing than social issues. However, evangelicals created unifying organizations among their own kind that would aid with humanitarian relief while promoting evangelism and the Bible.  

By the 1990s, there were two types of “ecumenism,” one of which that did not stress doctrinal positions for members of the ecumenical councils, but instead wanted social justice. The second type stressed evangelism, hoping that people’s hearts would be changed and, as a result, there would be a more visible unity in the churches.

As I read the Declaration Toward a Global Ethic from the Parliament of the World’s Religions, I could not help but think about how utopian in nature this document is.[3] The document pointed out all of the injustice in the world against the poor, women, and children. These are important issues that the Church should not ignore. However, there will never be a utopia on earth before the second coming of Christ. Human nature is a fallen nature and there will always be contention between the religions of the world, and there will always be those that take advantage of the weak. The Church does need to focus more on taking care of the poor and less fortunate. This is ministry, and ministry is not an option, it is a mandate by our Lord (see Matt 25:35-36).

With that said, I do strongly believe that evangelism is the way to approach the world’s injustice. If you, with the help of the Holy Spirit, change the hearts of the people, it only makes sense that everything that the Declaration Toward a Global Ethic set out to achieve would follow. Without heart change there is no change and things will continue with the status quo.

So as I read the document I kept thinking, “Well this is all nice but it will not work unless there is heart change.” It all starts with one person or one family at a time, and if we stay committed then we might see real change. However, the focus should never be to change the world; the focus should always be redeemed souls. The focus is on Jesus Christ and His redemptive work for the sinners of the world.

[1] Walter A. Elwell, ed., Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, 2nd ed. (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker, 2001), 363.
[2] Ibid., 363.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanksgiving Thoughts

When you do a word study in the Bible on the word thankfulness, you get the sense that you are giving something to whoever has given something to you; that someone being God. Giving is a deliberate action that is thought about before acted upon.

The Bible tells us over and over to be thankful and to give thanks to God. Therefore, when you sit down and think about what you can be thankful about, think about your health, your family, your material possessions, and your freedom. These are the things that come from God, and these are things that we as Americans take for granted every day; in other countries they are hard to come by.

Here is a short list that you can start with to thank God for:

1. The Bible
2. Answered prayer
3. Heaven
4. Forgiveness
5. The Holy Spirit
6. Your Church
7. The ability to see, walk, taste, and smell
8. A place to live, clothes, food, transportation
9. Ability to read
10. Lessons that He has been teaching you in your life
11. The people in your life (friends, neighbors, family, and fellow workers)
12. Pastors, missionaries, and spiritual leaders

Above all always give thanks to God for His perfect gift to us all for all time, Jesus Christ. Who died on the cross and was resurrected the third day so that whosoever believes in Him will have eternal life. The greatest gift of all is Jesus for the forgiveness of our sins.  

So whether you are spending time with family this Thanksgiving Day, or you are going through a rough period in your life, remember that all things work together for good for those who love God, those who are called according to His purpose. And even in rough periods we can be thankful for the good things that have blessed us in the past.

But before you begin to give thanks today, take a minute and think about the following verses:

  • 1 Tim 4:4 “For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with gratitude.”
  • Jam 1:17 “Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.”
  • 1Thes 5:18 “[I]n everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
  • 1 Cor 2:14 “But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place.”
  • 1 Tim 1:12 “I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, putting me into service.”
  • 2 Tim 1:3 “I thank God, whom I serve with a clear conscience the way my forefathers did, as I constantly remember you in my prayers night and day.”
  • Heb 13:15 “Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name.”
  • Eph 5:20 “[A]lways giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father.”

When you sit down at the dinner table, give back to God by praising Him and thanking Him for all that He has done and is yet to do. Amen!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Can You Hear Me?

There are times when I wonder if my prayers are falling on deaf ears, and I remember that God already knows what I am praying about. Prayer is not just asking for things, it is being in the presence of God and spending time in His presence. It is worshipping God more then it is to make my petitions known. God knows my needs before I do, so even though it may at times not feel like it, He is listening when I pray.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Sunday, November 18, 2012


By nature we are idolators. We worship things other than God. Mostly we worship ourselves. More often than not we have made ourselves gods because we worship our inner nature.

We do not seek the things of God but instead we seek the things that are self fulfilling. We follow our own will and our will is made up of those things that make us feel good, although short lived, not knowing that eternal happiness—true happiness—comes only from God. This is happiness that lasts forever.

It is when we realize this fact that we turn from worshiping the wrong things to worshiping the one true God. It is at that point that we leave behind our idolatrous behavior.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Finite Fame

Neil Armstrong, the first man on the moon, has died today at age 82. What a feeling it must have been to know that you were the first man on the moon. No other man or woman will have a feeling like that. That feeling of prestige died with Mr. Armstrong today. It is humbling to know that not even that can escape death. I don't know if Mr. Armstrong was a Christian, but he is standing in front of Jesus today either way, moon or no moon.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Friday, August 24, 2012

JC Ryle quote

JC Ryle was a great preacher in his day. Here he gives a warning that is on time for today's culture:

"Beware of manufacturing a God of your own: a God who is all mercy, but not just. Such a God is an idol of your own." ~ J.C. Ryle

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Thursday, August 23, 2012

The Sower- A farmer; someone who sows or plants seed.

Charles Spurgeon is one of my favorite preachers that has ever expounded upon the word. Here is a quote that comes from his words on Matthew 13:3;

"You must go forth to sow! You cannot sit at your parlor window and sow wheat--and you cannot stand on one little plot of ground and keep on sowing there. If you have done your work in that place, go forth to sow elsewhere! Oh, that the Church of Christ would go forth into heathen lands! Oh, that there may be among Christians a general feeling that they must go forth to sow! What a vast acreage there still is upon which not a grain of God's wheat has ever yet fallen! Oh, for a great increase of the missionary spirit! May God send it upon the entire Church until everywhere it shall be said, 'Behold a sower went forth to sow.'"

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Our Stronghold.

Imagine you are traveling during biblical times, or you are a warrior in David’s army, you notice an overwhelming force coming at you. You see the army of your enemy coming down on you right where you are with such anger, hate, and violence. You are all alone—you look around and see that you stand in the path of this terrible force—you have no chance of survival. What can you do except stand and fight and be surely killed?
During biblical times there were fortresses, castles, or strongholds where the king and his army would, if necessary, retreat and be able to defend from within the walls of their refuge. When a king received news that an opposing army was marching to attack and plunder his kingdom, he would send out word for all of his subjects to retreat to within the walls of the fortress. When the word spread of this oncoming attack, the people would then pack all of their valuables and hightail it to the fortress in the hopes of making it on time, before being overtaken by the aggressing army, to take refuge within its walls.
Some strongholds had a fortress within a fortress. It was a place where the king and his army would make their last stand if the outside walls of the stronghold had been breached. These strongholds served to give people hope that they would be able to withstand an attack on their kingdom. It gave them a sense of security to know that they could always retreat within the walls of the fortress. All through the land fortresses could be seen from great distances because of their immense size.
Some of these fortresses were carved into a mountain or sometimes they were a cave where the king would hide, such as in the case of David when he was hiding from King Saul. Saul was seeking to kill David, so David would hide by day and travel at night to stay out of sight. David hid in the caves of the mountain ranges in the En-gedi, such as Wady Charitun, which at one time sheltered thirty thousand warriors from their enemy. Fortresses served as places of protection and hope.
Now imagine you are going about your day in your normal life and your phone rings. It’s your wife; she tells you that the bank has sent notice that they are going to foreclose on your home because you have missed a few payments. We all know that the economy is taking its toll on our finances. Imagine your wife tells you that the doctor said that you two will never be able to have a baby and start a family of your own.
Imagine that your car has broken down and you have no money to fix it; it is your only transportation. You ask your friend for a ride every morning to work but he is unreliable and sometimes you are late, or you just do not have a way into work. Your boss is tired of this problem and he lets you go, he fires you. Now you cannot pay your bills because you do not have a job, and you cannot fix your car to go look for a job. This is not really too big of a deal for those of us who live in a city where there is a public transportation system, but it could spell real trouble for someone in a rural area.
You are being overwhelmed and you do not know if you can take it anymore. You need somewhere that you can retreat and call your stronghold to help you face your problems head on. So today we are going to be looking at Psalm 62, more specifically verses 5-6, to see what we can learn that will help us in our daily struggles.
It is important for us to understand the type of literature that the verses we are studying come from. We read a newspaper differently than we do a novel. When we read a history book, we do not approach it as if we were reading a poem. So we must first present what type of literature Psalm 62 is.
The Psalms in general are poetic writings, or hymns. They represent the way that the Hebrews worshiped God. They can be seen today as a modern hymnal. Knowing this aids us in understanding what the author is presenting to the reader.
So now we know not to approach the psalms as a history book, for example, because the author does not intend for us to discover historical facts within the verses, but instead worship that is given to God. In general the psalms can be broken down into psalms of lament and psalms of praise.
This particular psalm would fall under the lament category of psalms, but to do it justice this psalm is served better by calling it a psalm of confidence. This psalm was written at the time when Absalom, David’s son, had rebelled against his father the King and had taken Jerusalem from his father and driven David out of the city. In this psalm David is speaking metaphorically when he calls God his rock, his stronghold, and his refuge. We will be focusing on God as a stronghold in this study, because at times in our lives we need to know that we have hope and protection.
What does David mean when he calls God his stronghold? From the beginning of his rule as the King of Israel, from the time that Samuel had anointed David as the King, he has had to be on the run from King Saul. Saul wanted to kill David out of jealousy. However, at the time that David is writing this psalm, Psalm 62, he is running from his oldest son, Absalom. David calls God his stronghold for a very good reason. When we look in the Bible at the word “stronghold” as it is used here in Psalm 62 we begin to see what David means by this metaphor.
In second Samuel, David wrote a psalm of deliverance wherein he says that God is his rock, his fortress, his deliverer in who he takes refuge (2Sam 22:2-3a). He goes on to say that God is his shield, the horn of his salvation, his stronghold, and his refuge (2Sam 22:3b). He ends verse three by calling God his savior, who saved him from violence (2Sam 22:3c). In verse one of this same chapter of second Samuel, it is explained that David wrote this psalm the day that the Lord saved him from all of his enemies including King Saul. Here we see the acknowledgement that God is in control and He delivers those that are His from all of their enemies.
David also says that God is a stronghold for those who are oppressed, and in times of trouble He delivers His people (Psalm 9:9). In Psalm 9 David is thankful for God’s judgment against his enemies and he writes that God can be trusted because He is a stronghold for the oppressed and He is a stronghold in times of trouble.
Furthermore, David writes that God is a stronghold and a refuge in the day of his distress (Psalm 59:16). In Psalm 59 David is asking for deliverance from his enemies and concludes the psalm with the proclamation that he will sing praises to God for being his stronghold. In Psalm 144 David says that God is his lovingkindness, his fortress, his stronghold, his deliverer, his shield, and the one in who he takes refuge (Psalm 144:2).
We get the idea that God is where we should turn in times of trouble and distress. Times where we do not know what to do and have no clue how we are going to make it through any of our problems. God is the stronghold we can run to when attacked. He is the fortress that the army seeks shelter in during a war, so to speak.
In Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary the definition for stronghold is: a fortified place, a place of security or survival. From our study here we come up with a similar definition, except our stronghold is not a place; our stronghold is God. God provides us with security and the means of survival in the world by His constant watch over us. God as our stronghold sustains us from all kinds of evil and attacks that can be hurled at us by the world. His high impregnable walls surround us day and night. We can find safety inside of His walls, safety from the arrows that are launched at us by the enemy.
In applying what we have learned to our lives, we need to remember three things. The first thing to remember is that God is in control. In other words God is sovereign. This means that God is King; He is the supreme ruler and lawgiver of the entire universe. Nothing happens without God’s knowledge.  The Bible says that God is the ruler over the kingdoms of men and that He does with it as He pleases (Dan 4:17). Knowing this, we can be assured that whatever happens to us, God knows it and sees it.
The second thing to remember is that God is merciful. This means that although we do not deserve His mercy, God has compassion on us and extends His mercy towards us anyway. Because God is merciful, He will ensure that there will be justice for those that are His; for the oppressed and the persecuted.
The third and last thing to remember is that God loves us. This one goes kind of hand in hand with merciful. Because God loves us he has compassion to extend His mercy towards us. God will not deny us protection or provision if we are His children. John writes in the New Testament that God’s love made it possible for God to present His son as an atoning sacrifice for us (1John 4:10). If God’s love for us allowed Him to do that for us, then we can be sure that He will be our stronghold.
Remembering these three things aids us in applying our lesson, for it is because of these three things that we make God our stronghold and why David can metaphorically call Him his stronghold. God is God and there is no other; He is in control and nothing can harm Him. He is the fortress of all fortresses that stands in the way of the arrows that the enemy throws at us; a fortress that is an impregnable force in which we can hide and seek security when attacked by the enemy. 
This does not mean that nothing will happen to you when you turn to God for protection. The Bible never says that we will not be harmed by the enemy, but actually it tells us to expect to be harmed. When we obey God’s Word and dedicate our lives to Him, the enemy attacks full force. The fiery arrows that the enemy throws our way come fast and are many.
In ancient times when armies attacked a fortress and the people poured into the gates of the fortress for safety (due to the tall, strong walls), there were still some that were wounded and even died. In the same sense, we can expect to be wounded by the enemy. However, God always stands as our stronghold; He has His plan that we all must live by. Although we may get wounded, He is always there to heal us and protect us according to His plan.
When the King sent out word for the people to retreat to the fortress to prepare for the oncoming attack by an aggressing army, the people ran for safety inside of the fortress. In the same way we must turn to God and trust Him for our protection when we come under attack.
When your wife calls you and tells you that the bank is going to foreclose on your home, remember that God will work it out according to His plan and provide the safety that you need from this problem in your life. When the doctor tells you and your wife that you two will never have a baby of your own, remember that your stronghold, which is God, will provide the security that you need. This is not to say that God will stop these things from happening, but He will provide you with the strength to overcome these things and to bounce back from them.
When you pray it would be right to acknowledge God as your stronghold in your prayers. God was David’s stronghold in David’s time and He is our stronghold in our time. So acknowledging that He is our stronghold is the right thing to do. God does not leave you alone to handle troubled times on your own. He is there providing you with the strength to overcome by being your stronghold who you can retreat into for security. Pray to God and acknowledge Him as your stronghold, because He is.
In ancient days as armies retreated into their fortress they had trust and confidence that they would survive the onslaught that the aggressing army was about to unleash. Today as we go through our daily struggles of disappointments, temptations, and attacks, we can retreat into our fortress (God) because He sustains us and keeps us secure from harm according to His plan.
David, in this same psalm, also writes in verse eight to trust in God at all times and that God is a refuge for us. The word refuge means shelter; similar to stronghold. So whatever ails us, whatever is happening in our lives, no matter the attack coming from the enemy, we have a stronghold that we can retreat into. God our stronghold is always there, Amen.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

The Black Robed Regiment

This describes the character of the ministers of God at the time of the American Revolution.

"Mighty men they were, of iron nerve and strong hand and unblanched cheek and heart of flame. God needed not reeds shaken by the wind, not men clothed in soft raiment [Matthew 11:7-8], but heroes of hardihood and lofty courage. . . . And such were the sons of the mighty who responded to the Divine call." Charles B. Galloway

Visit the Wallbuilders website for more information on the black robed regiment.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Saturday, September 10, 2011

The Pulpit Is Responsible For It!

Prophetic indeed!

"If there is a decay of conscience, the pulpit is responsible for it. If the public press lacks moral discernment, the pulpit is responsible for it. If the church is degenerate and worldly, the pulpit is responsible for it. If the world loses its interest in Christianity, the pulpit is responsible for it. If Satan rules in our halls of legislation, the pulpit is responsible for it. If our politics become so corrupt that the very foundations of our government are ready to fall away, the pulpit is responsible for it." ~ Rev. Charles Finney

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Is preaching the primary task of a pastor?

I believe that preaching is the primary task of the pastor.  Jesus focused on preaching the Good News (Matthew 4:23), and Paul told Timothy to preach the Word (2 Timothy 4:1-2).  I strongly agree with what Charles Jefferson (author of The Minster s Shepherd) said: "In a sermon he can warn, protect, guide, heal, rescue, and nourish".  These are exactly the things that Jesus and Paul did when they preached to the people.  Pastors can do the same when they get behind the pulpit and preach the Word.  They can tell their people about the dangers of following what the world says about happiness or the meaning of life.  All of these things, when not grounded in Scripture, lead to empty feelings and destructive behavior.  So the pastor, through preaching, leads the sheep to eternal life, which is the ultimate duty for a pastor, in my opinion.

Not only that, but Jesus said that the reason that He was born was to testify to the truth (John 18:37).  The truth is Jesus (John 14:6), He is the Word (John 1:1) and the way (John 14:6).  This truth is contained within the pages of the whole Bible, not just the New Testament.  By preaching the Word, a pastor is also testifying to the same truth that Jesus was born to testify to.

What are the top five tasks of a Pastor?

Preaching the Word - 2Tim 4:1-2: We all know that a pastor is to preach the Word. However, visit a couple of churches and you will soon discover that just the surface is touched, and there is no depth in the preaching. There is no sound preaching on the holiness of God or what it truly means to claim Jesus as Lord over your life. I understand that some church models use the Sunday morning worship service to reach the unchurched, and that can be one reason why the preaching is shallow. They do not want to go too deep for fear of losing the sinner because they cannot understand the theological lingo. These churches claim that they use another day during the week for the teaching of the believers, but even then the preaching is shallow. I believe that you can preach with theological words as long as you remember that there are lost people sitting in the pews that might not understand, and so you take time to explain those words to your audience. So preaching is one of the top five tasks.
Shepherding the flock - Acts 20:28, 1Pet 5:2: Here we have another task that should go without saying. The Scriptures that I have identified here say it all. A pastor should shepherd his flock. A shepherd takes care of his sheep even to the point of risking his life. That is something to ponder, is it not?
Studying the Word - 2Tim 2:15: This sort of goes hand in hand with preaching the Word. The thing about studying the Word is that it is the truth from God. It is the truth about life and our relationship with Him. That also includes the truth about eternity. There are many pastors who have twisted Scripture to mean something more than, less than, or other than what it is meant to be. So it is important that the pastor study the Word in truth so that he will lead his people in truth and guards himself from leading them into damnation because of the wrong interpretation of Scripture.
Evangelizing - Matt 28:19-20, Acts 5:42:  This goes without saying for the simple reason that we are all commanded to evangelize and the pastor should lead by example. 
Prayer - 1Tim 2:1-8: Prayer is of the utmost importance not just for the lost, but for his flock and for himself. A pastor should always pray to watch over his heart and the hearts of his flock, for the enemy is always on the attack.