Christianity

A Facebook Comment Could Render Wheaton College’s Statement of Faith Meaningless

A Facebook comment could render Wheaton College’s statement of faith meaningless if the member faculty council gets its way and the administration withdraws its efforts to fire Dr. Larycia Hawkins. I previously explained that Wheaton professor Larycia Hawkins was not suspended for wearing a hijab. Rather, she was suspended over the theological implications of stating that Christians and Muslims worship the same God. While Wheaton’s administration began the process of firing Hawkins, the faculty council disagrees potentially bringing more controversy on the school. In fact, Wheaton’s faculty council recommends the move to fire Hawkins be withdrawn. Now, Sarah Pulliam Bailey, writing for …keep reading »

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Sunday Considerations: Christmas After Christmas

What becomes of Christmas, when the day is gone? It is the gladdest day of the year. It is celebrated in all Christian lands. The churches observe it, sometimes with great pomp and splendor, with stately music and elaborate ceremonial, sometimes in simple, homely worship. It is kept in homes, with happy greetings and good wishes, and universal giving of gifts. Everyone, even the miser, grows generous at the Christmas time. Men who are ordinarily cold and unmoved toward human need, wax warm-hearted in these glad days. People everywhere rise to a high tide of kindly feeling. There is scarcely …keep reading »

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Ethics: Black Baby Jesus in the Nativity Scene

What would you do Wednesday! Christmas is here and it is time to check out all the Christmas lights and decorations. You decide to head over to your local city park. The park has a huge Christmas tree and several decorations including a nativity scene. As you are walking around checking out the park’s decorations, you hear some unusual commotion by the nativity scene. Curious, you walk over to what sounds like complaining – about the nativity scene. You figure someone is upset that the city actually put up Christmas decorations. You hear a white guy shout, “But Jesus wasn’t …keep reading »

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Sunday Considerations: After Church

All of us must go out from the sweet services of the Sunday—into a week of very real and very commonplace life. We must mingle with people who are not angels. We must pass through experiences that will naturally worry and vex us. Those about us, either wittingly or unwittingly, annoy and try us. We must mingle with those who do not love Christ. We all meet many troubles and worries in ordinary week-day life. There are continual irritations and annoyances. The problem is to live a beautiful Christian life—in the face of all these hindrances! How can we get …keep reading »

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The Wheaton College Professor Suspension Is Not About the Hijab but the Nature of God

Wheaton College, an Evangelical school, recently suspended Dr. Larycia Hawkins, Associate Professor of Political Science. Two issues are in view in this suspension: 1) she wore a hijab standing in religious solidarity with Muslims and 2) she claimed Christians and Muslims worship the same God. The Chicago Tribune gets it wrong by seeming to focus on Hawkins wearing a hijab. USA Today gets it right by focusing on Hawkins’ same God comment. Wheaton College did not suspend Dr. Hawkins because she wore a hijab, but over the nature of God. Her claims that Christians and Muslims worship the same God do not …keep reading »

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Ethics: School Announces Students Will Engage in Religious Activity

What would you do Wednesday! Religious disagreements in public schools is a hot topic today. People get upset over various issues from a school is forcing non-Muslims girls to wear a hijab, allowing a “Walk a Mile in Her Hijab” campaign, or banning prayer. What if your child came home with a notice that, in the name of religious tolerance and understanding, all students will participate in the “John 3:16 Challenge” which has the following theme. 16 “For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not …keep reading »

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Sunday Considerations: True Love

Love is an affection of the soul, not a contract: it cannot rise from a mere agreement, nor is it so to be gained. It is spontaneous in its origin and impulse; and true love is its own satisfaction. It has its reward; but that reward is the object beloved. For whatever you seem to love, if it is on account of something else, what you do really love is that something else, not the apparent object of desire. St Paul did not preach the Gospel that he might earn his bread; he ate that he might be strengthened for …keep reading »

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Ethics: Muslim Friend Attacked While Having Lunch!

What would you do Wednesday! OK here is the scenario. In an effort to reach out to a Muslim friend in light of all the anti-Muslim sentiment, I took a Muslim friend to lunch. I hoped to get his perspective on the anti-Muslim attitudes, see if he has experienced any hate, and, most importantly, share the gospel with him. While I have only known him for five months, he has been in the U.S. for about five years. He assumes most Americans identify as Christians or have some connection to a church. We decided to meet at 11:30 to beat …keep reading »

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Sunday Considerations: Suffering Christian

Suffering Christian! Jesus is at your side, witnessing your sufferings. He sympathizes with you in your sorrows, and will do you good by every pain. He is always present with His people — for He has promised that He will never leave them nor forsake them. He is especially present with them when they are suffering trials. It is our responsibility to accept by faith that He is with us, and to commune with Him for the good of our souls. But when we are in great pain or extreme weakness, we are apt to forget, or at least we …keep reading »

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Ethics: Thanksgiving Dinner is Terrible!

What would you do Wednesday! Thanksgiving Day is upon us once again. This is a time of year most people will share a meal with family and friends. Thanksgiving dinner is normally a great time of food and fellowship. But what if the food at your Thanksgiving dinner was terrible? Imagine this… You are at your first Thanksgiving dinner with your new spouse and both of your families. Your spouse’s mother is hosting and has done most of the cooking at her insistence. Your spouse has bragged about their mother’s delicious cooking! So you can’t wait to dig in. The …keep reading »

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Ethics: Syrian Refugee Family Moves Into Your Neighborhood

What would you do Wednesday! There is a lot of division over whether or not the United States should receive Syrian refugees who have been driven from their homes by ISIS – radical Islam. While there is some balance in the discussion, much of debate seems a black and white, yes or no response. Like it or not, some of the refugees are being settled here in America. What if a refugee family moved into your neighborhood? You have just finished reading news reports that there is a vetting process in place that attempts to ensure the refugees are not radicals …keep reading »

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Pastor Robert Jeffress On the Paris Attacks and Radical Islam

Dr. Robert Jeffress, Pastor of First Baptist Dallas, shares his view of how Christians should respond to the Paris terrorist attacks. He addresses the government’s role in protecting its citizens and how radical Islam (ISIS) should be bombed. In this short clip, it is not clear that Jeffress shares his thoughts on every aspect of the Paris attacks including its effect on the refugee crisis. Christians, per Romans 13, expect the government to seek justice on radicals like ISIS et al. Yet, caught in the middle are thousands of Syrian refugees who have been driven from their homes. These refugees …keep reading »

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Sunday Considerations: Craving Beauty

The beauties of this world whisper to our souls that there is someone ultimate. But the ultimate is never found in the wonderland of creation. We keep looking and longing for the beauty behind the beauty, the One who will satisfy the cravings of our soul. This explains why the drug addict keeps shooting up and the porn addict keeps looking and the materialist keeps buying and the thrill-seeker keeps jumping. On the other side of one thrill is the constant need for another. C. S. Lewis wrote, “We are on the outside of the world, the wrong side of …keep reading »

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Ethics: Friend Lashes Out at Starbucks’ Barista for Not Saying ‘Merry Christmas’

What would you do Wednesday! Recently, responses to a fake war on Christmas by Starbucks spread across social media. While a majority of Christians careless what kind of cup Starbucks uses during the Christmas season, there are some who get offended. What if one of those offended happened to be one of your friends? Imagine finding yourself in the following scenario. It is the middle of December. The Christmas season is here. You met a friend and fellow Christian at Starbucks. Upon connecting in the parking lot, you both talk about some of the current, exciting ministry opportunities. Just as you …keep reading »

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Starbucks’ Terrible War on Christmas

Starbucks’ terrible war on Christmas has recently been revealed. Some guy made a video exposing this terrible war by rhetorically asking, “Do you realize that Starbucks wanted to take Christ and Christmas off of their brand new cups? That’s why they’re just plain red. In fact, do you realize that Starbucks isn’t allowed to say ‘Merry Christmas’ to customers?” Thankfully, he explains how to win this terrible war. Simply tell the Starbucks’ barista that your name is Merry Christmas forcing them to say your “name” out loud. This is like trying to get someone to say a sinner’s prayer and …keep reading »

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Sunday Considerations: My Precious Savior

Oh, my precious Savior What a blessed thing it is that we are not to live here always, that our existence is not bounded by this lower sphere! Holy Father, may our hearts, while aching, praise You that Your chastenings but wean us from this sinful and disappointing world, and fill our minds with holy joy, and longing hope for the blessed heaven to come. Oh, may Your love more completely fill these truant hearts! May Your ceaseless affection, changeless ever, when we wander, link our souls in closer union with You. Oh, my precious Savior, may that look of …keep reading »

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Jay Z: The Bible and Qu’ran Speak of the Same God

    The above clip is from an episode of Oprah’s Master Class which features “stories you’ve never heard from the people you thought you knew best.” Basically, the show is famous people sharing personal stories. And Jay Z shares an interesting belief about who God is. He thinks that “however you find God, that’s a fantastic thing” and “people that are reading the Qu’ran and people that are reading the Bible are really reading about the same person.” Sadly, Jay Z is wrong about God and he is influencing many. And even more with Oprah’s reach. If people simply …keep reading »

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Sunday Considerations: The Only Hope

Christ and him crucified, is the only hope of the sinner. Here is the only substantial, permanent foundation of all our hopes. “For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” A crucified Christ is the only hope of the world. In vain do we hope for salvation from any other source. “Truly in vain is salvation hoped for from the hills, and from the multitude of mountains: truly in the Lord our God is the salvation of Israel.” The Lord alone is the salvation and strength of his people. The Christian boldly exclaims, …keep reading »

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Beware: John Boehner Quotes the Bible

Many who are first to cry separation of church and state recently celebrated a visit by Pope Francis to speak at the White House. While cheers for the Pope still echoed in the air, Speaker of the House, John Boehner, announced his coming resignation. Many of Boehner’s fellow Republicans have been critical of his leadership or lack thereof. He has been equally critical of his critics even calling Presidential candidate Ted Cruz a jackass. But beware, as Boehner begins walking toward retirement, he rips conservatives in his own party again, this time by quoting the Bible. “The Bible says beware of …keep reading »

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Sunday Considerations: Be Holy

When God then directs us in the Bible, “Be holy, for I am holy”; when we are exhorted to “follow holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord”; when we are expressly told “God has not called us unto uncleanness–but unto holiness”–we are to know that by these words, God calls us unto godliness, or God-likeness, to be like God in all those moral qualities wherein we can walk in His ways, and copy His acts, and manifest His spirit. In the language of the Psalmist, it is setting the Lord always before us, just as the artist always …keep reading »

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Kim Davis is Not the Problem with Evangelical Christianity

Fellow Southern Baptist, Pastor Russell Williams, gave three reasons related to Kim Davis’ case for why Evangelical Christians are losing. He begins: Since I am a pastor of a southern Baptist church please allow me to weigh in on the case of Kim Davis, the lady in Kentucky who refuses to issue a marriage licenses to a same sex couple. I am a licensed Southern Baptist Minister which means I can legally marry people (not that this makes my position more authoritative). I simply disagree with brother Williams and do not believe Kim Davis is the problem with Evangelical Christianity.  Below …keep reading »

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Sunday Considerations: Self Examination

Queries for Self Examination by John Angell James Do you regularly attend the public ordinances of religion, and feel the inward power of godliness while observing its outward forms? Do you attend the week-day services, and if not, is it from the lack of opportunity—or inclination? Are you more indifferent to the ordinances of religion now, than you were formerly? Do you keep up family devotion daily and seriously? And in addition to this, are you in the habit of solemnly and anxiously instructing your children in the principles of true religion? Do you set apart a portion of each …keep reading »

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Conscience Vs. Constitution: Stephanopoulos Grills Huckabee, Overlooks When Obama Ignored Constitution

Mike Huckabee was recently interviewed about Kim Davis’ jailing by George Stephanopoulos on “this Week” on ABC (video below). The interview went well for Huckabee who made some good points about law making, the Supreme Court, and the Constitution. Stephanopoulos asked a gotcha question attempting to pit Huckabee’s conscience against the Constitution while overlooking President Obama’s actions when he ignored the Constitution in favor of conscience. At about the five-minute mark, Stephanopoulos plays a clip of President John F. Kennedy discussing conscience vs. national interest. Kennedy explained that were he to face a dilemma that pitted his conscience against national interest, …keep reading »

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Hillary Replaces Jesus and President Obama Is Inserted Into a Hymn

Voices from the Heart, a women’s alternative chorus, recently changed the words for a Christian hymn replacing Jesus’ name with Hillary Clinton’s. According to a Facebook post, they sang this alternative hymn to about 1,200 people. I would understand if this were a Weird Al Yankovic tune – there would have been some creativity and humor. But these women were serious! Yep, this chorus took the African-American hymn Woke Up this Mornin’ which is about Jesus and made it about Hillary. This alternative hymn certainly comes across as Hillary worship. I wish I were surprised, but I’m not. People have been worshiping …keep reading »

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Sunday Considerations: Obey in Christ

How Can I Obey in Christ?—Faith Further, we must seek to know how, through Christ, we can walk in line with the gospel and render the obedience of faith. No obedience apart from faith is true obedience, and only by walking in line with the truth of the gospel do we perform the obedience of faith (Rom. 1:5, 16:26). Not only are we declared righteous by faith alone (justification), but we also grow in likeness to Christ by faith alone (sanctification). Thus, what every person needs from Scripture, believer and unbeliever, is the gospel. We cannot claim any of the …keep reading »

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Sunday Considerations: Speak Peaceably

Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Your heart must not be troubled or fearful. John 14:27 (HCSB) Another thing to be done in fulfillment of our duty is, to speak peaceably. The peace of neighborhoods is often destroyed by words. “Grievous words stir up anger.” Proverbs 15:1. “For lack of wood a fire goes out. Without gossip, a quarrel dies down. As coals are to hot embers, and wood to fire, so is a contentious man to kindling strife.” Proverbs 26:20, 21. “The words of …keep reading »

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If Chick-fil-A is Denied a Lease, Will Christians Have to Stop Sharing Their Views Publicly?

Denver City Council members have placed a Chick-fil-A lease at the Denver International Airport on hold over its LGBT positions. Apparently, some council members do not like the Christian positions CFA president, Dan Cathy, shared three years ago. The backlash from Cathy’s comments energized supporters to hold a Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day giving the company huge revenues. But the Denver council members believe a moral issue is in play if they allow CFA a place in the Denver International Airport. One of the members is concerned CFA profits would be used to promote discrimination. (Despite the fact that CFA allowed itself to …keep reading »

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Sunday Considerations: Enemies of the Christian

The enemies of the Christian have been commonly divided into three classes—the world, the flesh, and the devil. But though these may be conceived of, and spoken of separately, they resist the Christian soldier by their combined powers. The devil is the agent; the world furnishes the bait or the object of temptation; and the flesh, or our own corrupt nature, is the subject on which the temptation operates. Sometimes, indeed, Satan injects his fiery darts, enkindled in hell, to frighten the timid soul and drive it to despair; but in this he often overshoots his mark, and drives the …keep reading »

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National Protest Planned Parenthood Day Marietta, GA with Dr. Alveda King

On the morning of August 22, 2015, my wife and I attended the National Protest Planned Parenthood Day in Marietta, GA. We had a mixture of around 600-700 people. I jumped on Periscope and recorded live video on the scene and captured Dr. Alveda King  speaking. Dr. King spoke against abortion and in favor of defunding Planned Parenthood. A couple of pro-Planned Parenthood folks slipped in with their signs behind King while she was speaking. This gave King a chance to address those folks, share her story about her two abortions, and set the record straight about her uncle, Martin …keep reading »

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Men, You Are Only A Few Clicks Away From Being Josh Duggar

Josh Duggar has been caught in yet another sexual sin once the hacked Ashley Madison database was leaked. (His responses noted below.) On one hand, I am surprised at this revelation. On the other hand, I am not surprised because, sadly, any of us men are only a few clicks away from being Josh Duggar. It Could Have Been You Do you think you are better than Josh Duggar? Do you think nothing like that could happen to you? Think again. We live in a culture that is saturated in sexuality. Sex appeal was discovered long ago to be a key ingredient …keep reading »

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Sunday Considerations: Under New Management

God identifies all believers with Christ, not in some mystical or theoretical way, but by changing our legal relationships. Before our conversion, we were obligated to obey the sinful impulses of our fallen nature. Even when we became tired of sin and resolved to change, the most we could do was rearrange our lives, but we could not change on the inside. God has done what we could not do. He has given us a new nature, and the personal presence and power of the Holy Spirit so we can say no to our old nature. To picture what God …keep reading »

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Ethics: Customer Requests White Delivery Driver

What would you do Wednesday! For today’s scenario, you are middle management at a home improvement store. In your position, you are responsible for several stores in the district. The store managers in that district answer to you. A customer calls and places an order for $1,000 worth of flooring. The store manager gets called to the flooring department by the employee taking the order because the customer has an unusual request. The customer demands that a white driver deliver her order to her home. He explains to the customer that her request is discriminatory and he very uncomfortable with …keep reading »

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Sunday Considerations: The Mind of Jesus

 “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus” Philippians 2:5 “Arm yourselves likewise with the same mind” 1 Peter 4:1 THE MIND OF JESUS! What a study is this! To attain a dim reflection of it, is the ambition of angel — higher they cannot soar. “To be conformed to the image of His Son!” — this is the design of God in the predestination of His people from all eternity. “We shall be like Him!” — this is the Bible picture of heaven! In a former little volume, we pondered some of the gracious Words …keep reading »

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Another Planned Parenthood Undercover Video

Planned Parenthood has been caught on video in another undercover sting. If you thought past undercover videos were bad, this time the Senior Director of Medical Services for the Planned Parenthood Federation of America has been caught selling body parts of aborted babies. Dr. Russell Moore, president of Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, weighed in on the video. Sadly, some have reported his article “Planned Parenthood and the Atrocity of Corpse-Selling” to Facebook as abusive thereby blocking the link. Dr. Moore writes: I must admit I was speechless for close to an hour. I saw a video …keep reading »

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Ethics: Same-Sex Married Couple Come to Faith and Repent

What would you do? The recent SCOTUS decision to legalize same-sex marriage will bring new challenges to local churches. One of the challenges may involve a same-sex married couple who comes to faith in Jesus as in the scenario below. Similar questions have been raised about advising an unbelieving transgendered person who comes to faith. Let’s think about it! A same-sex couple made up of two men begin attending your church. You get to know them after the first two months. You have shared the gospel with them, explained Christianity, and invited them to your small group. Six months pass. …keep reading »

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The SCOTUS Ruling Reveals Christian Hate for Homosexuals

The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) recently ruled that gay marriage is a right legalizing such marriages. thereby redefining marriage. The support for this decision among professing Christians has been striking but so has the backlash. The reaction to the SCOTUS ruling from some Christian circles has revealed a kind of hatred for the homosexual community. Let me explain. Jesus commanded Christians to love others. In fact, he taught that one of the greatest commandments is to love our neighbor as ourselves. But that was the second greatest commandment. The first is to love God with all our …keep reading »

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Ethics: Pastor Flies Confederate Flag on Church Grounds

What would you do Wednesday! The recent racist and tragic killing of 9 African Americans by a white man at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston has brought up a national debate over states flying a Confederate flag. Emotions run high on all sides of the Confederate flag debate. What would you do if, upon arriving at church Sunday morning, you noticed a Confederate flag hanging from a wall-mount at the corner of the front of the church? Then, you notice your pastor standing at the front doors so you ask him about the flag. He asks that you wait for him …keep reading »

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Ethics: Parents Disagree on Attending Son’s Same-Sex Wedding

What would you do Wednesday! As the same-sex marriage debate continues among some Evangelicals, tough decisions among families are bound to arise. How about when those tough questions come between husband, wife, and child? Consider the following scenario. Five years ago, the son of Evangelical Christians finally told his parents he is gay. Today, that son is planning a same-sex wedding with his partner. His parents have strongly disagreed with his lifestyle though have always welcomed him and loved him. The son has invited the parents to his same-sex wedding. The parents are admired and known in their community for being leaders …keep reading »

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Loving Bruce Jenner

Bruce Jenner, the 1976 Summer Olympics men’s decathlon gold medal winner, recently declared himself a woman and changed his name to Caitlyn. As you might imagine, reactions from those supporting Jenner, as well as those disapproving, has been intense. I am one who disapproves. Yet, I have been praying for him. At the same time, I wonder how an Evangelical Christian, like myself, might love Bruce “Caitlyn” Jenner? There are at least three reasons: 1) he is made in God’s image, 2) he is a sinner, too, and 3) he needs the Savior, too. Jenner is made in God’s image …keep reading »

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Ethics: Should Wife Tell Her Husband About 8 Year Old Affair?

What would you do Wednesday? The issue of whether or not to tell one’s spouse about an affair, past or present, is a question some in the church may eventually face. There are many facets to consider in such a situation. You might be the one hiding the affair or the one it is being hidden from. Let’s think about the following scenario which is loosely based on a real situation. It is Tuesday night and your couples discipleship group has just begun. The topic being discussed is the confession of past and present sins to one’s spouse. Also being …keep reading »

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Can Christians Be Happy?

Are Christians allowed to be happy in this life? I mean – is God okay with Christians being happy? There is a lot of doom and gloom in the world. There is a lot of negativity towards Christians and the Christian worldview today (and throughout history). Maybe a better question is: how can Christians be happy on this side of eternity? Dr. David Murray answers some of those questions in his new book The Happy Christian: Ten Ways to Be a Joyful Believer in a Gloomy World. If you would like to get a taste of The Happy Christian, consider the …keep reading »

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Wheaton Drinks the Kool-Aid by Larry Farlow

Wheaton College, a leading evangelical university, now sponsors a student group for homosexuals. This group, called “Refuge,” is designed to provide a “biblically faithful community” for homosexual students. According to an article on the Christian News Network: …the Wheaton Chaplain’s Office hired Julie Rodgers, a “celibate gay Christian,” to lead the group as student counselor. Rodgers believes God uses her homosexuality to glorify Him. “As God has redeemed and transformed me, he’s tapped into those gay parts of me that now overflow into compassion for marginalized people and empathy for social outcasts—he’s used my gay way of being for His glory …keep reading »

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Ethics: Would You Rent from a Racist Landlord?

What would you do Wednesday! NYMag.com recently ran an article titled “‘I Put in White Tenants’: The Grim, Racist (and Likely Illegal) Methods of One Brooklyn Landlord.” Consider what you would do if you discovered your landlord was racist like the one in the article in the following scenario. You recently moved your family into a newly updated neighborhood. A new job brought you to the area along with a good school system for your kids. Plus, the house you decided to rent seemed to be in the safest neighborhood around and there was not much to choose from. One …keep reading »

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Trials and the World Today by Robert Hudson

I am currently teaching through a series on the Book of James at church. We are only into the second chapter but one thing is certain, James is not bashful, he is not afraid of speaking the truth. James is the brother of Jesus and he did not believe his older half brother was his Savior until after Jesus’ death and resurrection. Reviewing James’ letter shows us that his faith was strong and he was determined that people would hear the rightful message AND how it should impact their lives. James’ faithfulness in speaking the Word of God eventually led to …keep reading »

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When Don Lemon Does Not Understand Ryan Anderson’s Arguments for Marriage

In the above clip, CNN Anchor, Don Lemon, debates Dr. Ryan T. Anderson, Fellow at The Heritage Foundation and author of What Is Marriage?: Man and Woman: A Defense, over same-sex marriage. However, Lemon does not seem to understand Anderson’s points. Specifically, Lemon does not grasp that 1) same-sex marriage is not illegal, 2) SCOTUS is deciding on redefining marriage, and 3) children do best when with their married parents. Same-sex marriage is not illegal Anderson’s point is that two people of the same sex will not be arrested for marrying each other. The “marriage” may not be recognized, but the …keep reading »

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Refusing Service to a Same-sex Wedding is About Marriage Not Homosexuality

When a Christian baker or florist refuses service for a gay same-sex marriage, the issue is marriage not homosexuality. Apologist Greg Koukl has made this point several times and I agree. But is the claim true? Yes! Barronelle Stutzman, for example, owner of Arlene’s Flowers, refused to provide flower for the same-sex wedding of her gay friend, Rob Ingersoll. Stutzman provided flowers for Ingersoll for years despite him being gay. The issue clearly was not simply about his homosexuality, but her Christian convictions about marriage. I would further assume that Stutzman (and other Christians of the same convictions) would have …keep reading »

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Ethics: Should a Christian Blogger Give Away an “American Sniper” DVD?

What would you do Wednesday! I got some push back for doing an “American Sniper” giveaway on this Christian blog. I thought it might be interesting to see what others thought by doing a Wednesday ethics post on the topic. In today’s scenario, you are a Christian blogger who has not read American Sniper nor seen the movie based on the book. You get approached to offer a blu-ray/DVD pack giveaway of American Sniper. Part of the promotion is to let people know that Warner Bros. will donate up to $1,000,000 to Wounded Warrior Project®. The movie is not in anyway Christian-based, but …keep reading »

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Ethics: Would You Tell Muslims They Are Passing Out Anti-Islamic Books?

What would you do Wednesday! Today’s scenario is based on a recent true story of a Mosque giving away anti-Islamic books. Actually, they were giving away a Christian book meant to help evangelize Muslims. Let’s see what you would do. You are with a group from your church at the yearly local festival. The festival provides a place each year where local businesses, groups, religious organizations, etc. set-up booths to meet the community. The festival also has live music, food, arts and crafts for sale. There are also many giveaways. Your church has a booth with the intent of sharing the …keep reading »

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Ethics: Participate in Gay Pride Parade or Be Fired

What would you do Wednesday! The following scenario is based on a true story. So far, I have only heard one such story. There may be more, or similar, situations out there. And there may be more to come. How would you handle the situation? A company email arrives in your inbox about an upcoming local event. The event is a local gay pride parade which your company sees as a way to embrace diversity and gain some politically correct good will.  The email states that attendance is mandatory. You speak with your manager about getting excused from attending. You …keep reading »

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Ethics: Unmarried Couple Requests Room from Christian-Owned Hotel

What would you do Wednesday! In light of the nationwide disagreements over Indiana’s (and other state’s) Religious Freedom Restoration Act, let’s play the role of a Christian hotel owner. Consider what you would do in the following scenario. You are in your office at the hotel discussing Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act with a friend. You both agree that private business owners should have the right to refuse service to anyone whose requests would go against your Christian moral positions. In fact, since you have a Christian-owned hotel, you believe you should be able to deny a room to a same-sex “married” …keep reading »

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Ethics: Friend Called to Online Discernment Ministry

What would you do Wednesday! A friend and fellow church member comes to you with a ministry idea. He recently spent quite a bit of time studying church history and apologetics. Believing God gifted him with discernment, he decides to start an online discernment ministry so he can use this gift. He wants to be known for standing up for and promoting truth! However, you have concerns from knowing him for several years and observing his Facebook interactions. You ask if he is the humility, temperament, and biblical grounds to start such a ministry. You also ask what he will …keep reading »

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Ethics: 50 Shades of Grey at a Sunday School Outing

What would you do Wednesday! Most Christians I know – every one actually – has no plans to watch 50 Shades of Grey. In fact, they do not think Christians should watch the 50 Shades of Grey movie. However, how would they, and should they, respond if they were caught in the following situation? Friday night is here and your Sunday School class is having an outing. The plan was to catch movie around 5 o’clock. The movie was to be picked out together at the theater. Then, you all would have a fellowship dinner to discuss the movie, life, your walk …keep reading »

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Ethics: Christian Alabama Probate Judge Receives Same-Sex Marriage Application

What would you do Wednesday! Judge Roy Moore, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Alabama, recently defied orders from a federal judge telling Alabama probate judges not to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Moore took his stance arguing that the decision to issue Alabama marriage licenses falls under his authority. For today’s ethical situation, you, dear reader, play the role of an Alabama probate judge. You are a judge who is also a Christian with convictions that homosexuality activity and same-sex marriage are sins. You just received Judge Moore’s orders the previous day not to issue marriage licenses for …keep reading »

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Ethics: Seminarian Knows a Church Would Not Hire Him

What would you do Wednesday! A friend of yours is in seminary. In fact, he is in the senior class working towards a Master of Divinity (M.Div.). One Sunday afternoon you catch up with him over lunch. The conversation turns toward ministry, seminary, etc. You ask him how long he has before finishing his M.Div. He explains it will probably take him about 1.5 years to finish given he works full-time and has a family. Then, you ask about his future plans, “What are you going to do vocation-wise once you have your M.Div.?” He answers explaining that he probably will not …keep reading »

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Ethics: Bible College Student Can’t Get Over Fiance’s Promiscuous Past

What would you do Wednesday! A friend of yours is in Bible college. He is 23 years old and became a Christian when he was 20. He met a great Christian lady who is also in Bible college. They recently became engage, but he has a dilemma. His fiancée is also 23 and saved at 20. Before becoming a Christian she was a bit promiscuous. In fact, your friend was also promiscuous before coming to the Lord – maybe more so than his fiancée. The fiancée understands their promiscuous past has been forgiven and is behind them in their old life. However, …keep reading »

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Video: Muslim Challenge on Deity of Jesus Christ Answered by Christian (Former Muslim)

In the video below, a Muslim respectfully challenges Christian Apologist, and former Muslim, Nabeel Qureshi on the deity of Jesus Christ. The Muslim asks a few important questions that address his main problems with Christianity. Qureshi answers provides biblical answers. Ironically, he even shows how Muslims use similar reasoning for their own doctrines pointing to Tawhid as one example.

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Ethics: Christian Friends Disrespect the President on Social Media

What would you do Wednesday! During the latest State of the Union speech, several of your fellow Christian friends showed a lot of disrespect toward President Obama. They took to social media sharing many sarcastic and bitter comments toward the President. You think Scripture demands is a better way to think about the President even though you do not agree with his politics. For your own thought life, you look up a few Bible verses to consider how you will think about the President. 1 Tim. 2:1-3 says that it pleases God to make “prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made …keep reading »

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Ethics: Pastor Asks Congregation to Donate for Best-seller List

What would you do Wednesday! Almost a year has passed since it was revealed that Mars Hill Church spent over $200,000 to put Mark Driscoll’s book Real Marriage on the New York Times best-seller list. In the following scenario, I would like to explore your reactions to your pastor directly asking for money to get his book on a best-seller list. Let’s think about it. Sunday morning announcements are about to start as you make your way to the pew. You greet some friends around you as your family settles in. Your pastor steps up to the podium. He has a special request …keep reading »

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Ethics: Transgender Teen Refuses Christian Counseling

What would you do Wednesday! In the follow scenario, you, the reader, face questions from the parents of a transgender teen. The parents are part of your Bible study group. The teen is a boy who believes his true gender is female and wants to live as a girl. The parents have recently shared with the group their son’s growing resistance against meeting with a Christian counselor. After meeting with a counselor for a month, their son now says he will not meet with him anymore. He claims the Christian counselor is trying to change him – to keep him …keep reading »

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3 Sacred Cows in Preaching that Need to Be Tipped by Jared Moore

Guest blogger Jared Moore is the pastor of New Salem Baptist Church in Hustonville, KY. You can find him on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+. Below is an excerpt from his book 10 Sacred Cows in Christianity That Need to be Tipped which is currently free on Amazon Kindle – get it while it’s free! A ‘sacred cow’ in the church is a tradition that has been exalted to a position of normalcy without Biblical warrant. It’s time for some cow tipping in the local church. Here are three sacred cows in preaching that need to be tipped. . . Sacred Cow #1 Entertaining Sermons There is …keep reading »

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Ethics: Unbelieving Children Practice Communion in Sunday School

What would you do Wednesday! It is the Sunday School hour at church on Sunday morning. There is a special class for unbelieving children this morning. You take your 9-year-old son to the class deciding to stick around to see how the gospel is presented, etc. Since none of the children present professed faith in Christ, the teachers explain that Jesus is God the Son who died on the cross to save sinners. They explained sin and putting faith in Christ alone for forgiveness of sin and salvation. Then, the teachers taught on the Lord’s Supper – by practicing taking …keep reading »

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Ethics: Transgender Student Elected to Homecoming Court

What would you do Wednesday! Recently, here in Metro-Atlanta, a local CBS news headline tells a story that will most likely become more common in the days ahead. The headline reads: Transgender student at Metro Atlanta school elected to homecoming court. Some may be surprised to find out that the high school in question is in a very conservative area. In this post, I would like Christian parents to consider what they would do if they found their kids in the scenario in the above story. Your son comes home from school excited. You ask him, “What’s up?” He tells you that …keep reading »

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Sunday Considerations: Beatitude for Sorrow

A great preacher has said, “It is worth our thought how small that audience must be that would assemble, life through, to listen to a gospel that said nothing to sufferers, nothing to sorrow.” An old theological professor said to his students, “Never go through a service without some word, in sermon or prayer, for the troubled; for in every congregation there will be at least one heart hungering for comfort.” The gospel is for all experiences. The religion of Christ is for our times of gladness—as well as for our days of trouble. It is not merely a lamp to shine in our dark nights. We never …keep reading »

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2 Reasons the SBC Resolution on Christians Suing Fellow Christians was Rejected

Below is a follow-up article by Tom Buck, Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church Lindale, explaining the results of the submission of his SBC resolution on Christians suing fellow Christians.  Last month I submitted a resolution to be considered at the SBC Annual Meeting in Baltimore concerning Christians suing fellow Christians. My motivation for addressing this issue was directly related to multiple lawsuits occurring between members of the SBC. I believed the infighting that was overflowing into the public court system was bringing shame upon the church and was a direct violation of 1 Corinthians 6:1-8. This precipitated a considerable …keep reading »

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SBC Resolution on Christians Suing Fellow Christians

My fellow Christians, have you ever been sued? Have you ever sued anyone? A “yes” to either of those questions would not be surprising since there are millions of lawsuits filed every year in the United States. But there is a more important question. Have you ever sued a fellow Christian? Despite the fact that 1 Corinthians 6 has strong language against Christians taking other Christians to court, many do so anyway. Unfortunately, we Southern Baptists are not strangers to lawsuits. For example, in recent years a seminary professor sued the Baptist seminary where she once worked.1 More recently, a former Baptist college VP …keep reading »

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Sunday Considerations: Fear and Worship

Fear God Guard your steps when you go to the house of God. To draw near to listen is better than to offer the sacrifice of fools, for they do not know that they are doing evil. Be not rash with your mouth, nor let your heart be hasty to utter a word before God, for God is in heaven and you are on earth. Therefore let your words be few. For a dream comes with much business, and a fool’s voice with many words. (Ecclesiastes 5:1-3 ESV) Meditate on the above verses as you prepare for corporate worship this …keep reading »

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Working for Wind

I’ve been busy lately reading and writing closing out the seminary semester. Throw in the fact that I’ve not been sleeping much and I’ve got a battle between sleep and school. Juggling seminary, work, and home life can be exhausting at times and even frustrating. Sometimes I wonder – why all this studying? What’s the motivation? As with anything we Christians do in life, our motivation should be to glorify God (1 Cor. 10:31). Our reason should be kingdom motivated. That is, God’s kingdom, not our own. One of the temptations in America, in ministry or otherwise, is the temptation to seek our …keep reading »

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Sunday Considerations: As Little Children

“I assure you,” He said, “unless you are converted and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 18:3 (HCSB) When our Lord says, we must be converted and become as little children, I suppose he means also, that we must be sensible of our weakness, comparatively speaking, as a little child. Every one looks upon a little child, as a poor weak creature; as one that ought to go to school and learn some new lesson every day; and as simple and artless; one without guile, having not learned the abominable art, called dissimulation. Now in all these …keep reading »

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Congregationalism

Congregationalism is one of the areas of church government Southern Baptists have debated in recent years. Many arguments over congregationalism tend to reduce to disagreements over being led by a single vs. that of a plurality of pastors. The debate further reduces to pastor/elder-led vs. pastor/elder-ruled. As you might imagine, there is much disagreement in this areas. In my estimation, the arguments are framed in light of the roles of church offices while ignoring the actual functions those offices carry out. For example, some argue for single, pastor-led congregationalism against a congregation led by a plurality of pastors/elders claiming such a church …keep reading »

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Sunday Considerations: After the Sermon

Fellow Christians, what will we do with sermon(s) we hear it this Sunday? What will we do with the sermon once we get home? On Monday morning? Below are some thoughts from Charles Spurgeon on “after the sermon.” Many think it is all right with them, when it is all wrong with them. They always hear the Gospel—how can they be castaways? They sit under a thoroughly evangelical Divine—how can they be reprobates? They know what is what—they will not consent to hear false doctrine—they have a discriminating faculty and will not abide unorthodox teaching. I am very glad they will not, but …keep reading »

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Ethics: Son’s Scoutmaster Comes Out as Gay

What would you do Wednesday! Last year, the Boy Scouts lifted a ban on openly gay youth allowing them to participate in their organization. However, there is still a ban on openly gay scoutmasters. At least one scoutmaster has recently come out revealing his homosexuality. The sponsoring church were this scoutmaster serves is standing by him causing the Boy Scouts to revoked their charter. Today’s scenario deals with the situation where your son’s scoutmaster reveals he is a homosexual. A little over a year ago, your son got a new scoutmaster. He’s been a great scoutmaster for the troop. The kids love …keep reading »

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Sunday Considerations: Glorious Resurrection

Previously, I shared some pre-Christian Good Friday thoughts. My aim was to encourage people this Easter weekend to consider the sins – their sins – that put Jesus on the cross.  For further consideration this Easter, below are some insights from Charles Spurgeon on Jesus’ resurrection. His resurrection is glorious in its effects. He was “delivered for our offenses,” but, “He was raised again for our justification.” In death He discharged our debt. In Resurrection He exhibited the receipt of all our liabilities! He was Surety for us and, therefore, He smarted and went down to the prison of the grave. But by …keep reading »

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My Good Friday: When I was God

Every day was my Good Friday. Every day I was my own god. I loved my sin. Not a day went by that I was not planning another moment celebrating sin. What sins can I do tomorrow because today they were so satisfying? Which ones will fill my soul next? During the week I was a pretty good guy. I lived to make the most of myself for myself. I strived to be better both personally and in business dealings. I wanted more out of life to make the most of myself. A slight exaggeration here or there didn’t really …keep reading »

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Ethics: Church Rejects Pastor Over His Race

What would you do Wednesday! Today’s scenario will be considered from the perspective of a deacon (though church member would work too). In case anyone is wondering, yes, the following scenario, or similar, has happened – sadly. The senior pastor has been serving in your church for 20 years. The time has come for him to retire. As a deacon, you helped put together a pastoral search committee. However, two weeks ago, before the committee could be formed, the executive pastor of the last seven years asked to be considered for senior pastor role. The executive pastor’s desire was discussed …keep reading »

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Sunday Considerations: Christian Behavior

Christ is risen, and we have risen with Him and sit at the right hand of the Father with Him in spirit— and one of these days with a human body. In the meantime, we’re to act as if we are up there in heaven, but a little bit different. A farm boy comes to the city and acts different because he belongs on the farm. The city boy goes to the country and acts different because he belongs in the city. The man who has not been on a farm walks around gingerly, trying to keep out of the …keep reading »

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Ethics: Millionaire Gay Couple Sues to Make Your Church Hold Their Wedding

What would you do Wednesday! In the United Kingdom a Millionaire gay couple is suing to force a church to hold their wedding. If the couple were to win lawsuit it would not directly affect the United States, but it could motivate some Americans to pursue similar lawsuits. This post offers a similar scenario American churches could face someday. What if a similar lawsuit were happening here in the U.S. and it was against your local church? What if a millionaire gay couple were suing to force your church to hold their wedding? The congregation eagerly sits in the pews waiting. …keep reading »

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Sunday Considerations: What Will You Do with Jesus?

What Will You Do with Jesus? by A.B. Simpson, 1891. Jesus is standing in Pilate’s hall, Friendless, forsaken, betrayed by all; Hearken! what meaneth the sudden call? What will you do with Jesus? What will you do with Jesus? Neutral you cannot be; Some day your heart will be asking, “What will He do with me?” Jesus is standing on trial still, You can be false to Him if you will, You can be faithful through good or ill: What will you do with Jesus? Will you evade Him as Pilate tried? Or will you choose Him, whate’er betide? Vainly …keep reading »

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Ethics: Pastor Changes Views on Homosexuality Over Son’s Sexuality

What would you do Wednesday! It is Sunday morning. You are at the regular worship gathering with your local church. Your pastor is preaching on the topic of grace – that we are all sinners in need of God’s grace. You sit listening. As you listening, you think about how big God’s grace is that He received and redeemed a sinner like yourself. Your mind runs through all your horrendous past sins, current sins, and recent temptations. Your lips muster a silent, “Amen!” as you humbly listen. The sermon turns to a personal of grace in the pastor’s life. He …keep reading »

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3 Tests for Assurance of Salvation

Are you sure of your salvation or could you be deceived? I’m sure this is a question with which many Christians have or do struggle. Many wonder if we can really be sure. In his book Blessed Assurance: How to Know That You Are Saved, Eric Douglas looks to God’s word in the writings of the Apostle John for the answer. He provides three biblical tests in which you can discern your salvation. First, there is the upward test of faith. This test will help us determine whether or not we have biblical faith. Everyone has faith in something; we just need …keep reading »

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Sunday Considerations: Losing the Wonder

There are some Christians, and even preachers, who have lost the wonder of the Christian Life. They pray prayers that have no meaning and preach sermons that have no passion. The salt has lost its savor and it’s good for nothing but to be trodden underfoot; insipid, flat, tasteless (Matt. 5: 13). There ought to be something about our Christianity to smack the lips over. There ought to be a taste and a zest and a relish. I’ve seen more cheerful faces on iodine bottles than I’ve seen on some saints over America. Where is the blessedness I knew when …keep reading »

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Ethics: Stop Sponsoring World Vision Children?

What would you do Wednesday! Consider the recent World Vision fiasco in light of a fellow Christian friend who wants to cut-off support to the three children he sponsors. When the news of World Vision’s policy change hit social media you reached out to a friend you highly respect. Since he is not big on social media so he does not often get breaking news within Christendom right away. The two main reasons you asked for your friend’s opinion is: 1) he is one of the most faithful Christians you know who is always present on Sundays, actively shares the …keep reading »

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Does World Vision Hate Homosexuals?

Update: World Vision reversed its decision discussed below. I think they have answered my question that they do not hate homosexuals, but love them enough to not affirm same-sex marriage. They love God enough to have their mistake corrected by the authority of Scripture and to stand on the biblical view of marriage.  World Vision president, Richard Stearns, recently announced a policy change to accept gay same-sex married couples. Given that World Vision identifies itself as a Christian humanitarian organization, this move causes me to ask: Does World Vision hate homosexuals? Stearns would not probably not answer affirmatively calling the …keep reading »

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Sunday Considerations: Everlastingness

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God,and the Word was God. John 1:1 (HCSB) Every religion in the world had a beginning. You can trace it starting with its founder. All these religions have a beginning and they all have an ending. Christianity is different. Where does Christianity start? It has no beginning and it has no end. The human heart wants that which had no beginning and never can have any ending—namely, the Word, which was with the Father in the beginning; the Word, which was God; and the Word, which is God. Oh, how wonderful …keep reading »

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John MacArthur on Duck Dynasty and Theology

I have written on Duck Dynasty and baptism a few times on this blog (see below). I have even stood with Phil Robertson when he made his remarks about Christianity and homosexuality. In one sense, I am glad the Robertson’s are open about their faith, mention Jesus, etc. On the other hand, I am skeptical about their views on the necessity of baptism for salvation. In the video below, Todd Friel asks John MacArthur his thoughts on Duck Dynasty and their (church’s) view on baptism and salvation. Todd and I shared concerns about this topic a few months ago when …keep reading »

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Ethics: Church Members Do Not Feel Connected

What would you do Wednesday! Today’s issue is relatively common in the church as far as I can tell. So I’d like to  offer a scenario and ask the Christian blog readers what they would do. I am also curious how common the following issue actually is. Maybe (hopefully) I am wrong about its frequency. Fellow church members, a married couple, have been sporadic in attendance over the last three months. You noticed the lack of attendance and involvement when it started, but wanted to make sure it was a pattern that might continue before saying anything. You run into …keep reading »

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3 Reasons Why I Am Encouraged By Mark Driscoll’s Open Letter Apology

I am going to share a couple of reasons why I am encouraged by Mark Driscoll’s leaked open letter apology (copied below). And it is not because he and I share the same first and middle names, spelling and all. Seriously though, I was just about to close twitter when I saw a link to the letter in my twitter feed. I was going to come back to it later, but decided to click the link instead of clicking close. Not sure what to expect, I was encouraged by Driscoll’s letter. So, instead of second guessing Driscoll’s motives and picking …keep reading »

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Sunday Considerations: A Good Tree

Trees are beautiful objects. If we had never seen this part of the creation before, we would be filled with admiration at the sight. A stately oak or cedar is really a majestic object. It stands firmly by its own strength. It raises its head towards the heavens, and spreads out its arms on every side; and when verdant, affords a canopy and grateful shade to the weary traveler, and a secure habitation for the birds of the air. Trees are the handsomest ornaments of gardens and pleasure-grounds. Eden itself, without trees, would have been shorn of its glory. But …keep reading »

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Must Christian Art Be Evangelistic?

Over at the Gospel Coalition, Alex Medina asks in the title of his post Must Art Be Evangelistic to Be Christian? Since the question is really about art made by Christians, let me re-phrase the question. Must Christian art be evangelistic? Or, a fuller version of the question from a Facebook friend, “Does a Christian who does music have to talk about Christianity or anything about the gospel in their music?” I emphasized the words “must” and “have to” above to set-up my brief answer. No, a Christian artist does not “have to” only produce evangelistic art. Evangelistic art is …keep reading »

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The Missing Cross of the Christian Right?

It is no secret that Conservative Christians sometimes blur the line between their faith and politics. At times you might think Jesus had changed the good news from believing in him to voting Republican. David Rogers recently shared some good thoughts about this topic in his post The Worst of “the Christian Right”. Rogers basically points out the wrong-headed call for Christians to put political strategies over biblical mandates. He also asks the essential question, “Where is the cross of Jesus here?” Is the cross of Christ often missing in the politics of the Christian right? Consider the quote below …keep reading »

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Sunday Considerations: Cultivate Joy

There is an obligation upon a Christian to be happy. Let me say it again—there is a responsibility laid upon a Christian to be cheerful! It is not merely an invitation, but it is a command—“Be glad in the Lord and rejoice, you righteous.” “Rejoice in the Lord always; and again I say, Rejoice.” Gloomy Christians who do not resist despondency and strive against it, but who go about as if midnight had taken up its abode in their eyes and an everlasting frost had settled on their souls are not obeying the commands of God! The command to rejoice …keep reading »

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A Warning for Lent from Charles Spurgeon

Lent is here and more Protestants are participating. I am not a fan nor partaker Lenten activities. Fasting and other forms of self-denial for this season remind me too much of Roman Catholic piety. As a Protestant, I feel as though I am pointing fellow Evangelicals to Rome if I suggest some sort of Lenten practice. Though I am always curious what fellow Baptist Charles Spurgeon said about Lent. While Spurgeon was no fan or Roman Catholicism, he curiously did not say much (that I have found) explicitly about Lent. He did not call Lent a superstitious observance as did …keep reading »

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Ethics: Pastor Calls Married Couples to Abstain from Sex for Lent

What would you do Wednesday! The Lenten season is here for the Christians. While Lent has mostly been a tradition observed by Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox, more Protestants are participating. This year is no different except your Protestant pastor actually made some appeals from the pulpit. While not attempting to make any spiritual requirements beyond Scripture, your pastor thought a challenge or two for Lent may be good for the congregation. He thought practicing some spiritual discipline during this time may be healthy for everyone. Among the Lenten exhortations of sacrificing and self-denial, he had a very interesting suggestion for …keep reading »

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Debate: Christian Vs. Black Hebrew Israelite

Brother Saiko Woods recently debated a Black Hebrew Israelite (whose name I did not catch). The debate topic was Black Hebrew Israelites & The Authority of Scripture. I’m not sure how influential the Black Hebrew Israelites (BHI) are, but there are several YouTube videos showing them in public in a few big cities. The only person I know who has had any face-to-face with BHI’s is a Facebook friend who used to be one. Check out the debate below!

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Sunday Considerations: Peace of God

There are three words, pregnant with precious and important meaning, commonly used by the apostles in their salutations and benedictions, GRACE, MERCY, and PEACE. These words include everything which man needs or can desire. Peace is the legacy which Christ gave to his disciples: “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you.” And after his resurrection, the first time he met with his disciples when assembled together, he said, “Peace be unto you.” He gives peace not as the world gives. He is the PRINCE OF PEACE, and his gospel is the “gospel of peace.” It is …keep reading »

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Ethics: Church Member Requests Church Building for Gay Marriage

What would you do Wednesday! You are on the Building and Grounds Committee for your church. This committee handles all requests to rent the church building for various events. In recent months, the committee has come together to revise the stipulations for who can rent the facilities. Now only church members may request to use the facilities. The main concern is possibly being forced to allow usage of the facilities for a same-sex marriage given the recent legal troubles of a Christian t-shirt printer, bakery, photographer, and florist. Ironically, the first request ever to use the church building for a …keep reading »

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This Adorable Little Girl Will Challenge You To Memorize Scripture!

But when the chief priests and the scribes saw the wonderful things that he did, and the children crying out in the temple, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” they were indignant, and they said to him, “Do you hear what these are saying?” And Jesus said to them, “Yes; have you never read, “‘Out of the mouth of infants and nursing babies you have prepared praise’?” ~Matthew 21:15-16 (ESV) Memorizing Scripture can be difficult. It takes time and effort.But so does anything that’s worthwhile. Does this adorable girl’s Scripture memorization challenge you to memorize Scripture? Here I blog… Mark

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Sunday Considerations: Watch and Pray

“Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation.” Mark 14:38 As Christ is the church’s friend—so Satan is the church’s enemy: her greatest enemy, her cruelest enemy, her worst enemy, her continual enemy. He makes war against all who keep the commandments of God, and the testimony of Jesus Christ, Revelation 12:17. The devil envies our happiness, and seeks our ruin: 1. By tempting of us, 1 Corinthians 7:5. 2. By persecuting of us, Revelation 2:10. 3. By accusing of us, Revelation 12:10. 4. By hindering of us, 1 Thess. 2:18. 5. By deceiving of us, 2 Corinthians 11:3. “Stay …keep reading »

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Ethics: Asked to Start a ‘Celebration Creation Ministry’

What would you do Wednesday! You desire to get more involved in the ministries of our church. You want to help – to serve more. In your desire as a faithful member, you set a meeting with one of your pastors. At the meeting, you ask where the church can most use your service. You tell him you’re ready to help in any place, but especially those areas where the need is high. Your pastor says he has just the place for you. You would be a perfect fit. You pastor explains that leadership has been putting together a new …keep reading »

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Using Movies in Evangelism

The Son of God movie will be in theaters soon. So far, this movie has not been near the spectacle Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ had been. In fact, it may be said that the lack of success of using The Passion in evangelism may be the reason Son of God is not getting much press. Maybe this lack of success means Christians should not use movies as part of their evangelistic outreach. Tim Challies wrote about this issue in his post Writing Checks to Mel Gibson. Tim was thoughtful without condemning. However, Tim quotes a follow-up Barna …keep reading »

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Sunday Considerations: Joy to Every Believer

Once more, there is joy to every Believer when he remembers that, as Christ said, “It is finished,” every guarantee was given of the eternal salvation of all the redeemed. It appears to me that if Christ finished the work for us, He will finish the work in us. If He has undertaken so supreme a labor as the redemption of our souls by blood and that is finished, then the great, but yet minor labor of renewing our natures and transforming us even unto perfection, shall be finished, too! If, when we were sinners, Christ loved us so as to …keep reading »

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Atlanta Storms: A Reflection on Life

The South is getting hit with unusual weather lately. In fact, a couple weeks ago I wrote about, and shared pictures of, the ice and snow storm that hit Metro-Atlanta. Now, as I write this, the ice is melting from another storm. The storm lasted two days and is hopefully over though its effects will last a bit longer. Thankfully, people, especially buses full of children, were not stranded on the roads this time. Unfortunately, people did lose power and there were some emergencies. Sadly, there have been about a dozen or so deaths in the South due to the …keep reading »

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Ethics: School Serves Watermelon for Black History Month

What would you do Wednesday! In the United States, Black History Month is observed in February – this month. The month is observed in various ways. Sometimes the so-called observance is offensive, even racist. The offence is even carried out in public schools. For example, School sorry for Black History lunch menu of watermelon, fried chicken. Today, I’d like to ask what you would do if your child’s school planned to “observed” Black History Month by putting watermelon on the lunch menu. Your child comes home with a flyer about Black History Month (BHM). The flyer was given out last week, but …keep reading »

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How I Pray Scripture

I will briefly share in this post how I pray through Scripture. While this action seems easy to do, questions arise at times about how to pray Scripture. People have been very thankful when I have shared this simple approach in person. So, maybe some readers will also appreciate the following perspective. First, of course, you will have to choose a Scripture to pray through. You might chose a Scripture that is a favorite, one you’ve memorized, or one that speaks to a certain issue you are currently dealing with. For my example, I will use Romans 5:1-5 which was …keep reading »

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David Platt on Sports and Idolatry

I get what Platt is saying. I wish we (yes, me) would be more excited about our Sunday times of worship and fellowship. I wish we Christians would learn how to relay the excitement about our weekend fellowship just as we would after seeing the latest box office hit. Anyway… Your thoughts? Here I blog… Mark

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Sunday Considerations: The Soul Needs Spiritual Rest

The soul needs spiritual rest: “The shadow of a great rock” in this “weary land.” It has tried many plans of worldly greatness — and found them vain! It has traversed many ways of promised pleasure — and found them painful! It has sought out many inventions to hold it up in the day of its prosperity — and found them “miserable comforters all.” It is the peculiar office of the Holy Spirit, to cause men to perceive the weariness and burdensomeness of sin. For so accustomed are we to sin, so infatuated with it, so blinded by nature to its evils and its sorrows — that unless made to …keep reading »

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Why Donald Miller Should Worship God by Singing

Donald Miller caused a ripple in the Christian blogosphere with his post I Don’t Worship God by Singing. I Connect With Him Elsewhere. He claims the reason he does not often attend Sunday worship is because he is a kinesthetic learner – he learns by doing. Contrary to Miller’s claims, he should attend Sunday worship because he is a kinesthetic learner and in spite of this excuse. Let’s explore why. Kinesthetic Learning Kinesthetic learners are people who learn best by, as Wikipedia states, “carrying out a physical activity, rather than listening to a lecture or watching a demonstration.” Among the studies …keep reading »

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Ethics: Christian Architect Asked to Build Mosque

What would you do Wednesday! A fellow church member comes to you for advice. He is faced with a work place dilemma. In fact, he may be faced with a career impacting decision. He is an architect and his company recently assigned him as the lead architect on a large project. It is a $10 million project. He has been assigned as the lead architect to build a Mosque! The area has a growing Muslim population so they need a larger Mosque to accommodate their growth. So your friend’s firm was hired and he does not feel right building a …keep reading »

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Free Live Debate: Bill Nye Vs. Ken Ham

Update: The debate is over, but you can watch the recording below. The comments are disabled on YouTube, but not here if you have anything to share about the debate. Also, you can order the debate: Uncensored Science: Bill Nye Debates Ken Ham Order your DVD copy today! On Tuesday, February 4, 2014, Bill Nye debates Ken Ham on evolution vs. creation. The debate is free and will be live streamed online at 7 PM ET. Sign-up here -> Bill Nye Debates Ken Ham Live Streaming FREE*! While there may be churches in your area streaming the debate, my Sunday School class and …keep reading »

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Sunday Considerations: Satan’s Subtle Devices

My fellow Christians, as you prepare for Sunday worship, consider the following words from William Tiptaft (1803 – 1864) on Satan’s subtle devices in light of your love for Jesus Christ. Satan is a very subtle enemy, and never spreads his snare in your sight. I hope you will not be induced to value any knowledge which does not cause you to love Christ more, and to live more decidedly as a member of His kingdom. Satan does not care how much knowledge you have in your head, so long as he can keep possession of the citadel of your …keep reading »

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Why Christians Should Study Philosophy

Some Christians are opposed to studying philosophy thinking it is opposed to biblical thinking. I am not sure they grasp what they think they are against when they oppose philosophy. Therefore, I would like to share some brief thoughts on the benefits for Christians to study philosophy. First, what is philosophy? Oxford Dictionaries defined philosophy as “the study of the fundamental nature of knowledge, reality, and existence, especially when considered as an academic discipline.” In Philosophical Foundations of a Christian Worldview, J.P. Moreland and William Lane Craig offer a definition that philosophy is “the attempt to think rationally and critically about …keep reading »

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Sunday Considerations: Suffering Together

If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.  (1 Corinthians 12:26, ESV) We American Christians are not necessarily good at suffering though we are particularly gifted at celebrating the good in our lives. We have certainly not suffered the way the early church did nor as some Christians across the world in countries were Christianity is not welcomed. However, when we do suffer in various ways, we must do so together in as much as we rejoice together. But in order to suffer together as the church we must be together. In 1 Cor. …keep reading »

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Mormon Myths by Glenn Beck

As much as I appreciate Glenn Beck at times for some of his advancement of conservative issues, we still have a huge, eternal disconnect. The disconnect? Beck is a Mormon and I (though once RLDS) am a Christian. Yet, given the political landscape in the U.S., Mormons and Christians often stand side-by-side supporting a conservative worldview. There is also concern at times when religion and politics mix to a point that political positions become the deciding factor for fellowship. Political partnering and agreeable morality over shadow the Christian gospel. Christians who hold politics and morality as near and dear may …keep reading »

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Ethics: Illegal Alien Considers having a Baby to Stay in the U.S.

What would you do Wednesday! You begin a conversation with an acquaintance of yours after worship service one Sunday morning. The lady has only been attending for a couple of months so you don’t really know her very well though you have talked to her on occasion. Even though you know you don’t know each other well there’s a certain level of trust that she has for you. She tells you that she enjoys coming to this church because the people have always been friendly and come across as non-judgmental. But she doesn’t really know anyone. Noticing she is upset, you …keep reading »

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Considering La Shawn Barber on the Theological Beliefs of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Martin Luther King, Jr. is an American icon who is rightly remembered for giving his life working to advance Civil Rights. He was also a Baptist pastor though it seems not much is known or said about his theological beliefs. Below, King’s beliefs will be noted as La Shawn Barber laid them out in her article Assessing the Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Her piece will help answer the question – what where Martin Luther King, Jr.’s theological beliefs? First, Barber’s whole article is worth reading to get a good sketch of King’s life under the following subtopics: “Kings Life …keep reading »

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Sunday Considerations: Fellowship in the Light

6 If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. (1 John 1:6-7, ESV) Most of us Christians, on a normal Sunday morning, wake up, get ready, and go to corporate worship. Or, as we say, we go to church on Sunday. Not only do we worship together, but we fellowship together. How do we think about and prepare for that fellowship? …keep reading »

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The Catch 22 of Keeping Your Christian Faith Private

In various debates on social and political issues, Christians are often told to keep their faith out of the public forum. And that faith has no place in the public decision making process. Not only is it impossible for Christians to put away their faith as if it is something carried around in a portable first-aide kit, but it puts them in a catch 22 if they ignore their faith. One one hand, when Christians are public about their faith by expressing that the foundation of their decisions are faith-based, they may be scoffed at. They are told by opponents …keep reading »

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Free Sanctity of Human Life Bible Studies

In 1984, President Ronald Reagan designated the third Sunday in January as the National Sanctity of Human Life Day. This designation continued with the presidents who followed Reagan. The third Sunday of January is upon us and LifeWay Christian Resources would like to help us think biblically about the sanctity of human life. The sanctity of life is something we should think about everyday. In fact, everyone thinks about the sanctity of their own lives everyday without realizing it. Each of us subconsciously act in ways of self-preservation because our lives are important to us. Self-preservation actions include visiting the doctor …keep reading »

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Ethics: Graduating Seminary Student Admits Breaking Covenant 4 Years Ago

What would you do Wednesday! For the following scenario, you will be part of a seminary’s leadership. You are part of those who decide how to punitively apply the seminary’s code of conduct to students who break the rules. In this post, you think about what to do with a student who broke the moral covenant they signed when entering seminary. A particular seminary student is set to graduate in a month with his Master of Divinity (M.Div.). He visits you in your office to talk about graduation preparation. He also wants to talk a bit about his future. You …keep reading »

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Sunday Considerations: Impelled by Love

Impelled by Love, Follow Jesus The followers of Plato, Aristotle, or Bacon, are not supposed to be influenced by any personal attachment to those philosophers. But the followers of Jesus are not merely admirers of His teaching, but lovers of Himself. Christianity is not a creed, but a devotion; not a mere approval of a theology, but intense affection for Christ. The assent of the intellect may suffice for the adoption of an intellectual system; but much more is required to secure a persevering course of sacrifice and toil. There must be heart impulses, as well as logical convictions. The …keep reading »

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Ethics: Seminary Student Chews Tobacco in Dorm

What would you do Wednesday! This scenario involves a fellow seminarian as you play the role of a seminary student. You are on campus for the week for accelerated classes. The classes involve plenary sessions that include Q&A at the end as well as break-out sessions held in individual classrooms. You check in and are given a dorm room with three to a room. The three of you are distance students from surrounding states. You do not know each other prior to this week. The first night, you all have some great theological conversations as you get to know each …keep reading »

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Sunday Considerations: A Pilgrim

When we look at the brevity and vanity of human life, we may well exclaim, in the beautiful and touching reflection of Edmund Burke, “What shadows we are, and what shadows we pursue!” And in the similar impressive language of Patrick Henry, “l am but a poor worm of the dust, as fleeting and unsubstantial as the shadow of the cloud that flies over the fields, and is remembered no more!” Or we may rather open the pages of Holy Writ, and say, with the wisest of men, “Vanity of vanities; all is vanity;” and with other inspired penmen, “As …keep reading »

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Duck Dynasty Rebrief: Phil Robertson Is Not My Spokesman

Below is a brief response to Trevin Wax’s article at the Gospel Coalition site titled Duck Dynasty Debrief. I am in basic agreement with most of Trevin’s piece. However, I am going to respond to a few items under the subtitle “Phil Robertson Is Not Our Spokesman.” If you have not heard of Duck Dynasty you probably have not been to Kroger, Walmart, social media, or almost anywhere on the internet in the last month or so. The Duck Dynasty brand is showing up on various products including candy, motor oil, bedding, jewelry, t-shirts, etc. Seeing the brand everywhere is …keep reading »

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Sunday Considerations: Of Pleasure

“I said of laughter: It is madness! And of mirth: What does it accomplish?” Ecclesiastes 2:2 Of natural gifts none is more rare than cheerfulness; that elasticity of mind, and buoyancy of spirit; that even temper, and sunshine disposition — which cheers the man himself, and all who know him. Cheerfulness, gilded with grace, and sanctified — savors most largely of the mind of Christ. It speaks . . of peace with God, of resignation to His will, and freedom from sordid appetites and cares. Who would reprove the beaming smile; or, in due season, the hearty laugh? In youth, especially, …keep reading »

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Duck Dynasty: A&E Tolerates Phil Robertson…Sort of

Duck Dynasty patriarch, Phil Robertson, was suspended from filming by A&E on December 18th. Now, 10 days later A&E has removed the suspension. Phil is again filming the show with his family. A&E released a statement to The Hollywood Reporter explaining their reversal. The network stated, in part: “We at A+E Networks expressed our disappointment with his statements in the article, and reiterate that they are not views we hold. But Duck Dynasty is not a show about one man’s views. It resonates with a large audience because it is a show about family… a family that America has come to love. As …keep reading »

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Start Small for Big Change by Ben Reed

Ben is the small groups pastor at Long Hollow, a multi-site church in the Nashville, TN area. In addition to pastoring, preaching, and writing, Ben has a great passion for coffee. Good coffee, that is. And CrossFit. But not at the same time! (He is also the author of Starting Small: The Ultimate Small Group Blueprint. Connect with him at his blog, book site, and on twitter.)  We can’t live the Christian life on our own. It’s just not possible. Not possible to do well.  You can’t love the Lord your God with all your heart, and soul, and might by yourself. You can’t …keep reading »

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Merry Christmas: An Unknown Workman

Christmas is a great reminder of God’s Gift to us of His Son, Jesus Christ. This time of year also reminds us of what we do with God’s Gift – believe in Him for the forgiveness of sins and eternal life. God transforms us by His grace through our faith, but that is just the first step into our new life. We are to continue walking by faith. Furthermore, Scripture commands we do all things for God’s glory. So, why not use Christmas to consider for Whom you are living and working? Are you doing all things for the praise …keep reading »

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Ethics: Regift from Grandma on Christmas

What would you do Wednesday! Christmas is here which means Grandma is too. Every year Grandma comes to stay with the family a few days before Christmas. She normally stays a few days into the new year. The kids are always excited to see Grandma as she comes bearing gifts! This year something different happened. While opening gifts Christmas morning, your 12 year old opens their gift from Grandma. It is a pretty, silver cross necklace. It is the same necklace the family got Grandmas for Christmas two years ago. Before your child can say anything, Grandma interjects, “I picked …keep reading »

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Santa Claus was Never a Savior

Some Christians refuse to lie to their kids by telling them about Santa Claus. Other Christians do not see harm in teaching young children about Santa to put some fun into Christmas knowing they will some day reveal the jolly truth. Yet, there is a way to tell your kids about Santa Claus with all the fiction and fun without lying to them. There are Christian parents that will not teach their kids about Santa Claus and all that comes with him. These parents worry that teaching their kids about Santa is actually lying to them in violation of Scripture. …keep reading »

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What You Believe About Homosexuality Matters

One United Methodist Youth Pastor, Tyler Smither, stated his position that What You Believe About Homosexuality Doesn’t Matter. He wrote the article in light of the recent Phil Robertson GQ interview and  Frank Schaefer’s defrocking over performing his son’s same-sex marriage. Smither is wrong that it does not matter what someone believes about homosexuality. The importance of what is believed on the subject is easily seen, for example, by how it divides each side, both for and against. The big issue Smither raises is the one he uses  as the reason why one’s position on homosexuality does not matter. He asserts that calling homosexuality …keep reading »

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Sunday Considerations: God’s Indescribable Gift

God’s Indescribable Gift If while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation. —Romans 5:10–11 How do we practically receive reconciliation and exult in God? One answer is: do it through Jesus Christ. Which means, at least in part, make the portrait of Jesus in the Bible—the work and the words of Jesus portrayed in the New Testament—the essential content …keep reading »

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GLAAD Spins Louisiana Poll Claiming Robertson Family Out of Touch

In light of the recent controversy staring Phil Robertson and A&E, GLAAD ( Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation), is claiming Duck Dynasty’s Robertson family is out of touch with their fellow Louisiana citizens. GLAAD quickly spoke out against Robertson’s comments from his GQ interview. Now the the group is inaccurately using a Louisiana poll against the Robertson’s. Their headline reads Vast majority of Louisianans support LGBT legal protections. The author, Alexandra Bolles, cites a recent Louisiana poll stating that: Despite Robertson attempting to pass off his anti-LGBT sentiments as objective and theologically-rooted, it seems that the people of Louisiana would beg to differ. How, exactly, …keep reading »

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AETV not Happy, Happy, Happy with Phil Robertson

Christian free speech is under attack again – this time from the A&E television network. A&E has suspended Duck Dynasty patriarch Phil Robertson for comments he made on homosexuality in the GQ interview “What the Duck?” Ironically, A&E’s current theme is “Be Original,” yet they shut down Robertson for not conforming. Granted, Robertson’s ideas, in a sense, are not exactly original since the started with God. While I do not fully agree with Duck Dynasty theology, we certainly agree that God created Adam and Eve, a man and a woman, as the proper order of marital and sexual relations – in that order. Of course, …keep reading »

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Ethics: Christmas Gift for Wife or Give to Family in Need?

What would you do Wednesday! Christmas is here once again. It is a great time to receive and, especially, give gifts. As much as you would like to get all of your loved ones everything they ask for, there is never enough money for everything. (And everyone probably does not need everything they ask for!) As a husband who cares for and loves his wife very much, you really wanted to give her something special this year. It has been a trying year for her, especially, with the miscarriage back in May. In fact, May is when you started slowly …keep reading »

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Sunday Considerations: Life and Death at Christmas

LIFE AND DEATH AT CHRISTMAS “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” — John 10:10 As I was about to begin this devotional, I received word that Marion Newstrum had just died. She and her husband Elmer have been part of Bethlehem longer than most of our members have been alive. Marion was 87. They had been married 64 years. When I spoke to Elmer and told him I wanted him to be strong in the Lord and not give up on life, he said, “He has …keep reading »

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How Important is Unity in the Church? by Larry Farlow

Guest blogger Larry Farlow lives in Metro-Atlanta and is an elder and adult Bible study teacher at Grace Fellowship. Follow @larryfarlow Episcopal bishop, Peter James Lee once said “If you must make a choice between heresy and schism, always choose heresy.” Sadly, this has become the battle cry of large swaths of the church, Episcopal and otherwise, from the mid-20th century until today. I’ve seen echoes of this mindset recently as I’ve followed the coverage of the church trial of United Methodist minister Frank Schaefer over his support for same sex marriage. Unity at all costs. But is that as it should be? …keep reading »

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Ethics: Man Leaves Church, Invites Former Church Members to Bible Study

What would you do Wednesday! A man has been at your church and in your Sunday school class for several years. He is known and liked among the people in Sunday school. Then, over a series of two months he begins having some differences with the church leadership and direction. You are one of the few people in class he confides in. You try to encourage him, but he is not as excited as he once was. He as come to a point where he is ready to move his membership to another church several miles away. Even though you tried …keep reading »

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Ex-Gang Member Surrenders Life to Jesus Christ

The following is by guest blogger, Tommie Scott, who is the son of one of the first Crip gang members in the United States—Big Tommie from Watts Jordan Down Projects in Los Angeles, California. He is the author of “The Tommie Scott Story: From Gangs, Drugs, and Crimes To Soldier For Christ.” His documentary may be found on YouTube. Check out his story below! We live in a world that says, “Live for the here and now!” “It’s all about me.” “It’s all about my race, my group, my social standing.” A world that says, “Just go on and gain all …keep reading »

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Preach Us a Sermon

Preach us a sermon, Preacher, But don’t preach very long; Just tell the story of Christ’s love, But don’t condemn the wrong. Say not a thing of doctrines false, Lest others be offended. Then they’d turn away from us, And call us narrow-minded. Preach us a sermon, Preacher, But don’t preach very plain; Let others guess at what you mean; Don’t ever call a name; We’ll sing your praises loud and long, And keep you many a day, But make it clear, and you will hear, “Brother, be on your way.” Preach us a sermon, Preacher, But say nothing of …keep reading »

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Sunday Considerations: Bethlehem’s Star

BETHLEHEM’S SUPERNATURAL STAR “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him.” —Matthew 2:2 Over and over the Bible baffles our curiosity about just how certain things happened. How did this “star” get the magi from the east to Jerusalem? It does not say that it led them or went before them. It only says they saw a star in the east (verse 2), and came to Jerusalem. And how did that star go before them in the little five-mile walk from Jerusalem to Bethlehem …keep reading »

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Ethics: Do You Keep the Unclaimed Lost Money?

What would you do Wednesday! One busy day while picking something up at a shopping mall, you find a green envelope full of $20 bills. The parking lot was full, but no one was around at the moment. You count the money and find that there is $1,500 total. Instead of keeping it, you do the right thing and turn it in to the police department. The police give you a receipt. They then explain that if you no one claims the money after 30 days you can bring the receipt in and claim it yourself. You wonder if this …keep reading »

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How About a CROSSmas Tree for Christmas?

How about putting up a CROSSmas Tree for Christmas instead of a Christmas tree? A what? A CROSSmas Tree! You know, the tree that stands 6 ft. tall x 4.5 ft. wide that’s shaped like a cross? The tree Darren Howard created to bring attention and remembrance back to the whole purpose of Christmas – to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, the Savior. Watch Darren tell his story in the video below. Learn more about the CROSSmas Tree and how to get one at CROSSmasTree.com. Also, check out the CROSSmas Tree Kickstarter page to help fund this project. Spread the …keep reading »

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Sunday Considerations: Grief in Wisdom

“In much wisdom is much grief; and he who increases knowledge increases sorrow.” Ecclesiastes 1:18 What kind of wisdom causes grief? What kind of knowledge is it, that increases sorrow? Perhaps it means the knowledge of the world, its vileness, its vanity, its futility, its uncertainty — to have learned that all its show is vain, and all its pleasure is fleeting. This causes grief to those who see its vanity. God’s people mourn it. And worldlings oftentimes disgusted with themselves and all around, and having nothing to sanctify the feeling — are filled with bitter disappointment. Also to know …keep reading »

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Ethics: They Brought Tofu Turkey for Thanksgiving!

What would you do Wednesday! In light of Thanksgiving being here, I thought I would have a little fun with today’s ethics post. You are having Thanksgiving dinner for the first time with a couple from church who you are trying to get to know better. You are responsible for side dishes while they are bringing the turkey and ham. Another couple, who are long-time church friends are bringing the desserts. Thanksgiving day has arrived! You are looking forward to the wonderful sides and, especially, some good, fresh-baked turkey. You begin setting up the table as the afternoon dinner guests …keep reading »

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Köstenberger on Plagiarism

In his book, Excellence: The Character of God and the Pursuit of Scholary Virtue (Good News Publishers, 2011.), Andreas Köstenberger addresses the topic of plagiarism. He tackles the subject under the sub-title “Diligence and Vices” encouraging the reader to be diligent in their work breaking sinful vices including laziness. In part, he writes that is is a form of theft. “If you plagiarize, you are engaging in a form of theft, stealing the intellectual property of others. What is more, once a scholar’s reputation has been marred by plagiarism, it is virtually impossible to regain credibility. Even if those whom you harmed by …keep reading »

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Trueman on Christian Celebrity Culture

Carl Trueman writes about the recent dust up between Janet Mefferd and Mark Driscoll in If the Top Men take over, who will ask the hard questions? He touches on the pass that celebrity Christians often seem to get versus that of ordinary Christians. Trueman points out that “celebrity culture” has “corrupted the young, restless and reformed movement.” However, such an infection goes beyond the YRR movement, as I can personally attest to as a Southern Baptist who received threats over a recent article. Ironically, I know a few men who would probably be considered celebrity Christians in certain areas of …keep reading »

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Sunday Considerations: Cannot Be Numbered

“That which is lacking, cannot be numbered.” Ecclesiastes 1:15 How simple is the truth here spoken, yet how deep! Of wounded hearts, of withered hopes it speaks — of losses, trials, and sorrows; some lighter, some more serious; yet in them all, the truth is still the same. Your favorite flower droops and dies; some keepsake gift is lost; some cherished member of the family has died. How often it rends the heart — it always costs a pang — to count one’s treasures over, and to find one lacking! Objects may still be found to fill the vacant place. But …keep reading »

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Being Ministers of Reconciliation Part II by Brandon Smith

In case you missed part one, read it here: Being Ministers of Reconciliation Part I by Brandon Smith. Hope In the end, we do not know the answers to every question about how and why God saves anyone, but his Word is very clear that the proclamation of the gospel is a key component to transformation (Romans 10). People’s hearts cannot be ultimately changed for the better by new legislature, war, personal enlightenment, or secret philosophies; it can only be changed by the sin-stomping, life-altering life, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ. He is the way, the truth, and the …keep reading »

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Being Ministers of Reconciliation Part I by Brandon Smith

In a world of subjective truths, tolerance, and acceptance, Christianity has become nothing more than ‘another’ religion in the eyes of many. Western culture, in particular, is grievously enamored with the idea of self-reliance, self-dependence, and self-worth. Christianity is extremely counter-cultural because it teaches the actuality of human depravity, the necessity for a savior, and an eternal focus for our temporal lives. For unbelievers at-large, this can be something that can seem intolerant and outdated, a tradition steeped in rigid tradition, and a stumbling block to the progress of the society and the world. For Christians, however, depraved humanity in …keep reading »

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When Christians Disagree

I took a short time-out to read Francis Schaeffer on the topic of Christian disagreements and love. The time-out was well spent as he offered refreshing and much needed advice. In part, Schaeffer explained how Christians must show the love of Christ through disagreements even to the point of suffering for each other. The quote below is longer than I might I normally share, but is well worth the read. What happens, then, when we must differ with other brothers in Christ because of the need also to show forth God’s holiness either in doctrine or in life? In the …keep reading »

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Ethics: Christian Assigned to Sell Pro-Gay Marriage Apparel

What would you do Wednesday! Today, I want to think about Christians who are in compromising situations in their employment. The scenario is that you, a Christian, are working full-time at a local department store. The store is a large, national chain. You have been working there for six months enjoying the job so far. The job has benefits and flexibility. In fact, the manager knows you are a Christian who attends church on Sundays. When you were hired the manager agreed to give you Sundays off so you could worship and be with your family. Recent news named your …keep reading »

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Video: Eric Hankins Discusses Southern Baptist Doctrine and Theology

Video description: “Dr. Blake Newsom, Dean of Chapel at NOBTS, sits down with Dr. Eric Hankins, Pastor of FBC Oxford, MS, to discuss the issue of doctrine and theology in Southern Baptist churches.”

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Not THAT Blogger!

Note: I previously stated that “if Brewton-Parker states on record that Dr. Caner is not being considered for president in any fashion, this post will be removed.” Just to be clear, I did not receive that on record statement. I have other reasons, which are below, for taking down the post. After much prayer and some counsel, I took down today’s post on Brewton-Parker’s potential presidential consideration. It served its purpose. Though Georgia Baptists still do not have clear answers, Brewton-Parker will make its decision soon enough. Let’s pray for all parties involved for God’s wisdom, guidance, and discernment. Furthermore, …keep reading »

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Sunday Considerations: Cannot Be Made Straight

“That which is crooked, cannot be made straight.” Ecclesiastes 1:15 Do what you may, crosses are crosses still. No are of man’s device can make the crooked, straight. The train, or ship, which bears some dear friend away; the quiet sea, after a night of shipwreck; the rain that robs you of a holiday; the broken pieces of some favorite vase — all say the same, “The crooked must be crooked, do what you will.” Oh, there is anguish in the thought, as disappointment, stealing over the mind, throws its dark shadows on the brow — that nothing can be …keep reading »

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Russell Crowe: Surprised by Noah?

Yesterday, I posted the official movie trailer of Noah which stars stars Russell Crowe, Sir Anthony Hopkins, Jennifer Connelly and Emma Watson. I even posted brief insights about the stars’ religious views. I wondered about the biblical accuracy of the movie. I think Russell Crowe in the interview blurb below partially answers my inquiry. Crowe believes the audience is going to be surprised to find out what kind of person Noah is…. Ironically, Crowe implies that the movie is what teaches us the truth about Noah. He says: At one point in the story the son says, “I thought you were chosen …keep reading »

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Noah: Official Movie Trailer

The official movie trailer for Noah has been released. Noah stars Russell Crowe, Sir Anthony Hopkins, Jennifer Connelly and Emma Watson. It will be in theaters March 28th, 2014. The synopsis: After visions of an apocalyptic deluge, Noah, the world’s only righteous man, is chosen to undertake a divine mission to build a massive ark to save his family and all of creation before the impending rains fall and the flood waters rise. Check it out! Looks like a fantastic production with top rated actors. However, I am sure many of us will be watching closely for biblical accuracy. Whenever Hollywood …keep reading »

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Ethics: Blogger Writes Ethics Posts Based on True Stories

What would you do Wednesday! A blogger writes a weekly ethics post from a Christian perspective. The ethical and moral issues covered concern the Christian life and range from individuals to family and from church in general to church leadership, etc. One day while reading the weekly ethics post you stumble upon a situation that sounds familiar. As you read, you realize it sounds familiar because the details are somewhat similar to something that happened in your own church that involved you. However, the details are vague, some changed, and nothing close to a real name of either persons involved …keep reading »

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Video: Robby Gallaty Teaching on Discipleship

Robby Gallaty’s book on discipleship just released this week which has the foreword by David Platt. The book is available on Amazon and is titled Growing Up: How to Be a Disciple Who Makes Disciples. He is also offering from freebies on his website GrowingUpBook.com for those who order the book before November 15 and for certain bulk orders. Robby recently spoke on discipleship at First Baptist Woodstock. His teaching was titled, “The comma that has put the church in a coma.” Check out the video below (he starts around 17:00) and consider getting your own copy of Growing Up: How to Be …keep reading »

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Imitating Church: Atheists Engage in the Sincerest Form of Flattery

“Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery,” wrote Charles Colton in 1824. Today, Colton’s words are possibly being lived out in the most ironic fashion – Atheist ‘mega-churches’ take root across US, world reports Gillian Flaccus in the AP. The AP reports that “several hundred people” attended or, more specifically, USA Today‘s version of the story states “more than 400 attendees.” The problem is that 400 people does is not enough to meet the definition of a megachurch. The numbers to qualify as a megachurch is attendance between 1,600 to 2,000 plus. But it is a catchy headline. Not A Church Next, the biblical definition …keep reading »

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Sunday Considerations: Never Satisfied

“The eye is never satisfied with seeing, nor the ear with hearing.”  Ecclesiastes 1:8 The senses are but servants to the soul. The soul desires to look — and sets the eye to see. The soul desires to hear — and sets the ear to hearken. The soul is never wearied. It listens to sweet music, and lingers, longing still for more. When had the soul enough of a sweet flower? When was it ever filled to overflowing with viewing the masterpieces of nature? Nothing on earth can satisfy the soul! It leaves its pleasures, with a craving for more. It …keep reading »

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Creating Persecution: Bus Driver Pastor Fired for Praying with Students

The StarTribune is reporting that a Pastor loses bus driving job for praying with students in Burnsville, Minnesota. George Nathaniel, a bus driver and pastor, was fired for praying with students on his bus after being warned not to. When I read the story I thought – why create this kind of controversy or persecution? Granted, the news report Mr. Nathaniel complained of persecution over his firing. Yet, this is certainly a controversy that could have been avoided. The StarTribune reports the termination letter stated: “There have been more complaints of religious material on the bus as well as other complaints regarding performance. In accordance …keep reading »

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The Great Charismatic Gifts Debate!

The debate is now over, but you can watch the recording below as Dr. James White moderates Dr. Michael Brown and Dr. Sam Waldron debate the following topic: Have the New Testament Charismatic Gifts Ceased?

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Ethics: Friend to Start Missionary Dating

What would you do Wednesday! A single friend from church has some exciting news to tell you about his dating life. He wants to tell you over lunch after the Sunday morning worship time. You are excited to hear the news since you have been praying that he find a godly, Proverbs 31 woman. While at lunch he starts to tell you the news – his new revelation on dating. There is a woman who wants him to ask her on a date. And the attraction is mutual. However, he has been hesitant because she is not a Christian. But …keep reading »

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Sunday Considerations: Full of Labor

“All things are full of labor.” Ecclesiastes 1:8 Reader, how many things remind you what you are — a fallen creature! Not least of these, the toil and trouble of this changing world. The sun and moon, and planets in their course — the restless wind — the ever-flowing, never-tarrying river — are pictures of the ceaseless toil of man. (verse 4-7.) The hum of cities; the labor of the field; the crowded factory; the cottage loom; the bread you eat; the clothes you wear; the house you live in; the fire on your hearth — all speak of labor! How …keep reading »

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Preach Off: Making a Mockery of the Church

Apparently, the guys from the Preachers of L.A. TV show had a “preach off.” A preach off is like a bad version of a rap battle for preachers. It has all the workings of stand-up comedy improv without the humor. I have no idea what someone is supposed to win in a preach off. Preachers preach the gospel to feed the sheep and win souls to Jesus Christ. Scripture also warns about the content of preaching. For example: For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of …keep reading »

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Happy Reformation Day: 95 Thesis Rap Video

“The Word did it all. Had I wished I might have started a conflagration at Worms. But while I sat still and drank beer with Philip and Amsdorf, God dealt the papacy a mighty blow.” ~Martin Luther~

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The Annual Christian Debate Over Halloween Post

As soon as candy in the trick-or-treat bag rings, a smile on a child’s face sings. It is Halloween again in America. Christians will discuss and debate whether or not they can or should participate in Halloween. In this post, I will offer some brief thoughts on Christians and Halloween. One thought that crosses my mind is: if Paul could eat meat sacrificed idols with a clear conscience Christians can take their kids trick-or-treating to get candy for fun. Some Christians object to Halloween regardless of whether or not some form of satanic promotion is involved. The claim sometimes made is that …keep reading »

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Ethics: Divorcing Pastor Preaches on Marriage

What would you do Wednesday! It is Sunday morning and you have just found your spot in a pew. You have brought two friends with you – a couple – who is struggling with their marriage. This morning’s message is supposed to be on marriage. You thought your friends would benefit by hearing a sermon on marriage – they agreed as they work through their marital issues. The worship service progresses. It is now time for the sermon. The pastor stands behind the pulpit and makes an announcement before he begins the sermon. As has been announced over the last …keep reading »

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Warren Cole Smith and Pete Kaliner Discuss Steven Furtick’s $1.7 Million Mansion

Warren Cole Smith was on the Pete Kaliner Show discussing the recent controversy over N.C. Pastor Steven Furtick, of Elevation Church, spending $1.7 million to build his new 16,000 square-foot mansion. Smith and Kaliner begin the show talking about pastors’ salaries in light of accountability, transparency, and living sacrificially. Kaliner brings up Furtick’s answer to critics that he makes his money from book sales and conferences. And that Furtick and his board of advisers speak at each other’s conferences and events promoting each other.Smith argues that the church is what gave pastors like Furtick their platform for success. He then points to …keep reading »

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Video: Amazing Grace by Josh Wilson

Check out this instrumental version of Amazing Grace by Josh Wilson on guitar. Very cool!

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Sunday Considerations: Vexation of Spirit

“All is vexation of spirit!” Ecclesiastes 1:14 Who has not felt vexation? Who knows not what it means? The infant in its cradle, the schoolboy at his play; youth in all its freshness, manhood in its prime, and especially old age — all, all have felt vexation! My soul, you know it well! Your sins, your fallen nature, your infirmities — all lay you open to vexation. How easily irritated you get! How quick to feel offenses! How swift to gather sorrows to yourself through your excess of sensitivity! Often have you murmured at your lot, rising in mutiny against …keep reading »

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Strange Fire: ‘And I See God the Father’?

Motivated by the recent disagreements over the Strange Fire Conference, Dan McGhee shared the following video on Facebook. The video is Kim Walker of Jesus Culture Music sharing a testimony of an alleged supernatural vision with Jesus Christ and God the Father. I’m sharing the video here not to promote it, but to ask – how does a Christian discern whether or not what Walker describes really happened and is of God? For example, Walker claims the following in the video. And I was in Heaven with Jesus, and I was standing there. And Jesus standing next to me. And I see God …keep reading »

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Ethics: Pastors Refuses Baby Dedication

What would you do Wednesday! It is Sunday morning just after announcements during worship service. The pastor stands at the pulpit and calls some families up for baby dedication as is done in some Baptist churches. Eight families go forward and are standing side-by-side facing the congregation. A young lady in her 20’s, sitting right in front of you, stands up and takes her 1-year-old baby forward. You know the lady’s first name, but don’t really know her otherwise outside of chatting on Sunday mornings. The lady stands with her baby whispering back and forth with the pastor for a …keep reading »

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Preaching Hell Washed in Tears

A particular church in a hierarchical denomination had become well known as a graveyard for ministers. The internal conflicts of the church usually resulted in requests to transfer the pastors after a brief residence. A new bishop arrived on the scene and immediately sent to this church one of the brightest and apparently most capable ministers in the district. True to form, within a year the chairperson of the personnel committee called the bishop and informed him that the church wanted the minister moved on to another setting. “What’s the problem?” asked the bishop. “Well,” came the reply, “all he …keep reading »

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Charles Spurgeon: Private Prophecies and New Revelation

Charles Spurgeon has been mentioned a few times by both Christian cessationists and continuationists since Pastor John MacArthur’s recent Strange Fire Conference. Spurgeon is appealed to as a well-known and respected historic authority in this tense theological debate over spiritual gifts. Phil Johnson who has worked with MacArthur since 1981 and owns The Spurgeon Archive, addresses the question of Spurgeon and cessationism.1 Pastor Johnson’s article begins. Charles Spurgeon was a cessationist. He regarded the charismata as apostolic signs—unique gifts for a unique era. He taught (as did virtually every evangelical preacher of his era) that the miraculous gifts described in Acts and 1 Corinthians …keep reading »

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Video: How to Deal with Cell Phones in Church

This is a funny video on how to deal with cell phones that go off during church service. Even his these things were implemented I’m sure there would be folks who would still not turn their phones off. Enjoy!  

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Sunday Considerations: Vanity of Vanities

“Vanity of vanities, all is vanity!” Ecclesiastes 1:2 My soul, why seek your happiness below — here in this fallen world, where “all is vanity?” Often have you tried it, anxious still to find someearthly good. As often you have found Solomon, the Preacher, right, that “all is vanity.” The worldling, too, can say that all is vanity — and yet pursues it still. Be it not so with you! Let all that is empty here on earth, lead you to what alone will satisfy — -the grace of God, the love of God, the Lamb of God; to “Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today, and …keep reading »

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Liverpool Care Pathway, Obamacare, and Death Panels

The Affordable Care Act (ACA), or Obamacare as some call it, is in the process of being implemented in the United States. As the ACA moves forward concerns over death panels have increased. Some dispute whether or not death panels truly exist in the ACA. Yet, even some Democrats are concerned: ObamaCare ‘death panel’ faces growing opposition from Democrats. The issue is that someone outside the family – bureaucrats – would have the power to make life and death decisions. Will the ACA be similar to The Liverpool Care Pathway (LCP) healthcare program in the United Kingdom?  The LCP gives power to health …keep reading »

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Can Cuss Words be Used to Share the Gospel?

I recently challenged Christians to boldness by not shying away from biblical language when talking publicly. I made the challenge using worldliness as an example explaining What Christians Can Learn from a Carefree Cussing World.  Jake Swink asked an interesting question in the comments on that post. The question also took into account cuss words, but from a different angle. Given the current societal moral decline in this ever-changing landscape of evangelistic opportunities, I thought the inquiry was worth a look. Jake commented and asked: What do you think overall if using cuss words can be used for sharing the gospel?? …keep reading »

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Sunday Considerations: Sermon All Week

“Why do you go to hear that minister preach? He is not a brilliant preacher.” “Very true,” was the sensible reply; “I know that his pulpit performances are not brilliant—but his life is a sermon to me all the week.” With a minister, as much as with the private Christian, character is of the greatest import. More than one pulpit orator has destroyed the effect of his discourses by his self-seeking egotism, or his unscrupulous practices, or his overbearing temper, or some other very unchristian trait. On the other hand, a full one-half of the power of some eminent pastors lies in their pure, unblemished piety. Everybody trusts them. …keep reading »

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What does Duck Dynasty Really Believe About Baptism?

In the video below, Todd Friel on the Wretched show addresses the topic, “Duck Dynasty: What EXACTLY do they believe?” I was recently in the Wretched studio and spoke with Todd about Duck Dynasty and baptismal regeneration. He told me he was going to cover the topic. I gave Todd the name of a mutual friend who has actually spoken to the main preaching elder at White’s Ferry Church of Christ, the church were the Robertson’s are members. The We Care Ministries Todd mentions in the video is headed by Larry West who he also mentions. Just so there is no …keep reading »

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What Christians Can Learn from a Carefree Cussing World

A few years ago at a football game at my daughter’s high school I was blessed with some free profanity. While walking to the car, five teenage boys were walking together close by cussing generously and loudly. Also walking close by was a family with two little kids. After about the third blessing from the teens, I spoke up telling them to watch their language. Thankfully, they stopped. When I was a teenager I rarely cussed, but when I did, I certainly did not do it in public or around adults. I had too much respect for people to freely …keep reading »

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Ethics: School to Celebrate Muslim Appreciation Month

What would you do Wednesday! It is a normal day at home. Your middle-school child arrives home from school. Your child tells you they have some information for next month’s school theme. Your child – who can’t remember – then asks the difference between an Abayas and a Thobes. “An Abayas and a Thobes?” you wonder. You take a look at the paper your child just handed you about the school theme. “Please join the school staff in encouraging your child next month as we celebrate Muslim Appreciation Month. In an effort to help society become more sensitive, understanding, and tolerant of Muslims, we …keep reading »

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Three Pastors Met in an Accountability Group

Did you hear about the three pastors who met in an accountability group? One day they told one another their greatest hidden sins. The first said, “Don’t tell my congregation, but I’m an alcoholic.” The next confessed, “If my people knew I’m a compulsive gambler, they would fire me.” The third said, “I hate to admit it, but I’m addicted to gossip, and I can’t wait to get out of here!” It seems more Christians are better at talking about other things or people than about the gospel. And more talk about evangelism than actually do it. In this chapter, …keep reading »

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My Podcast Appearance on Faith, Etc.

Friend and fellow Christian blogger Joshua Breland has started a podcast called Faith, Etc. For some reason he asked me to be his first guest. Then, for some reason – I said yes. Actually, I was honored to say yes. Joshua asked me some questions about my RLDS background and life leading up to becoming a Christian. Much more could have been said, but I tried to touch on the heart of the issues in the time available. I pray the podcast edifies some in the body of Christ. If you care – or dare – to listen click the …keep reading »

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Sunday Considerations: Honey from Heaven

The most growing Christian never outgrows his Bible; in that exhaustless jewel mine, every stroke of the hammer reveals new nuggets of gold and fresh diamonds. Even as a mental discipline, there is no book like God’s book. Nothing else so sinews up the intellect, so clarifies the perception, so enlarges the views, so purifies the taste, so quickens the imagination, so strengthens the understanding, and so educates the whole man. The humblest day laborer who saturates his mind with this celestial schoolbook becomes a superior man to his comrades—not merely a purer man—but a clearer-headed man. It was the feeding on …keep reading »

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6 Questions for Atheists, Unbelievers, and the Unchurched

Below are questions that were part of one of my assignments. I thought the questions very interesting as were the answers I got in reply. The answers I got were from a face-to-face meeting, but I thought it interesting to get some online answers. The exercise involves simply getting answers and not arguing or debating the answers. I hope to get some online feedback on these questions. One atheist answered me and his answers are below the following questions. 6 Questions 1.a. If you believe in God, what is God like?  Describe God. 1.b. If you don’t believe in God, …keep reading »

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Would Jesus be a Democrat?

In his own entertaining style, Alfonzo Rachel answers the question – would Jesus be a Democrat? He makes some interesting points. What do you think?  

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Ethics: You Find Out the Church Pianist is Gay

What would you do Wednesday! The church pianist has been playing during Sunday worship for the last two years. Sometimes he sings and plays the piano. He is liked by all and has been a faithful member always present and always serving others. The pianist is single. And you wonder when some lucky lady is going to catch this great servant. One night on an Evangelical Facebook page you are discussing homosexuality and Christianity. There are a few who support gay Christianity and same-sex marriage. You notice two comments that the homosexual life-style is acceptable within Christianity that are from …keep reading »

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Ethics: Kicked Out of Church for Touching the Pastor

What would you do Wednesday! There is a mega-church in the next town over where your neighbor attends. The church has a young, hip 35-year-old pastor whose church has grown to around 10,000 in a few years. Your neighbor has been trying to get you to visit the mega-church with him for a while. He promises you the message will be good, the people friendly, and the atmosphere worshipful. You give in and decide to attend one Sunday morning with your neighbor. The Sunday morning agenda is to attend the first of three services and then go to Sunday school. …keep reading »

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Why Calvinist Al Mohler Wrote the Preface for Paige Patterson’s Anabaptist Festschrift

Sometime last year was a report that B&H Academic was going to publish a festschrift in honor of Paige Patterson. The festschrift is now available. Edited by Malcolm Yarnell, professor of systematic theology at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, the book is entitled, The Anabaptists and Contemporary Baptists: Restoring New Testament Christianity, Essays in Honor of Paige Patterson. Some may wonder who would endorse such a book given the eternal theological in-fighting among Southern Baptists – I know I did! Well, inside the cover you will find endorsements from Calvinist Michael Haykin to the Calvinstic Daniel Akin and Russell Moore to Mennonites John Rempel and John …keep reading »

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Rob Bell and Andrew Wilson Debate Homosexuality

Rob Bell and Andrew Wilson debate the acceptability of homosexuality within Christianity on the Unbelievable Radio Program. The Bell – Wilson exchange below is fascinating – fascinating because Bell never directly answers Wilson’s question about the biblical foundation for accepting homosexuality in the church. Bell makes general statements about Scriptural interpretation without naming general Scripture. Toward the end of the video, Bell makes emotional appeals about Christian fellowship around the disagreements over homosexuality. Bell says he and Wilson are brothers and would take the Lord’s Supper together. Wilson doesn’t say whether or not he would break bread with Bell. Check …keep reading »

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Sunday Considerations: Precious Faith

There is a legend that a traveler over the desert who was nearly perishing with hunger, came upon the spot where a company had lately encamped. Searching about for some article of food, he found a small bag which he hoped might be a bag of dates. Opening it, he discovered that it contained shells and silver coins. Throwing it down, in bitter disappointment, he exclaimed, “Alas! it is nothing but money!” A single date or a fig would have been worth more to him—than than a chest-full of gold. There is a time coming to all of us when …keep reading »

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Why are Southern Baptist Churches Hemorrhaging?

Guest blogger Jared Moore is the pastor of New Salem Baptist Church in Hustonville, KY. He is the author of 10 Sacred Cows in Christianity That Need to be Tipped and The Harry Potter Bible Study. You can stalk find him on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+. Why are Southern Baptist churches hemorrhaging? Let’s begin by asking a couple of pertinent questions. Should Southern Baptist churches seek to be entertaining? Should churches add entertainment to their worship services as a form of pragmatism in the name of attracting lost souls? I imagine many Evangelicals would shout an emphatic “yes!” But, from Scripture, there is no evidence that …keep reading »

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The Perfect Pastor

“He preaches exactly 20 minutes and then sits down. He condemns sin but never hurts anyone’s feelings. He works from 8 A.M. to 10 P.M. in every type of work from preaching to custodial service. He makes $60 per week, wears good clothes, buys good books regularly, has a nice family, drives a good car and gives $30 per week to the church. He also stands ready to contribute to every good work that comes along. He is 26 years old and has been preaching for 30 years. He is tall and short, thin and heavy-set, handsome. He has one …keep reading »

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Preacher Arrested in Scotland for Street Preaching

Josh Williamson, pastor of Craigie Reformed Baptist Church in Perth, Scotland, was recently arrested in Scotland. The charge? A breach of peace. Some allegedly complained he was preaching too loudly. He wasn’t even using an amplification system. The arrest was captured on video. Read the whole story at: Jailed for Preaching Jesus in Scotland! Here I blog… Mark

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Ethics: Would You Call This Youth Leader to Repentance?

What would you do Wednesday! Your church has an active youth ministry due in part from reaching out to the many low-income families within a mile of the church. An additional 50-80 kids attend from these families.  The youth are a large part of both Wednesday evening and Sunday morning services. The downside of this thriving youth ministry is a lack of parental involvement. Some parents are reached through their kids and join the church, but a majority of the youth grow up in the church without their parents. Now, an issue comes up with one of the youth lay leaders. …keep reading »

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How Miley Cyrus Could Really Shock the World!

Given that her name seems to pop-up just about everywhere these days – I was thinking about how Miley Cyrus could really shock the world. It seems every other day Miley Cyrus is a top twitter trend. She is one of the top searched people on Google. One of her recent music videos broke a record for most views in 24 hours. Cyrus has seemingly shocked her way to attention with her recent actions. Many fans and onlookers tuned in and continue to do so with every new sexually suggestive Cyrus performance. And everyone is shocked! But why is everyone shocked? …keep reading »

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Sunday Considerations: Waiting on God

“Those who wait on the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint!” Isaiah 40:31. It is very easy to misunderstand this word “wait,” and regard it as meaning inactive passivity. There is a vast deal of nerve in the original Hebrew; it signifies to be strong enough to hold out. It expresses a solid endurability such as belongs to a stiff piece of oak, which never bends and never breaks under heavy pressure. The word signifies patience—as opposed to worry and …keep reading »

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What a Great Christian Testimony?

Christian testimonies can be powerful. They are often used in powerful ways to share the gospel. Imagine someone gave you the following testimony about the gospel of Jesus Christ. “You may be someone searching for truth and answers. The gospel of Jesus Christ has them. Regardless of your background, your lifestyle, or your current belief system, the gospel of Christ is for you, and you can accept it wherever you are. The truths found in the gospel of Jesus Christ will change your heart and give you the courage and strength to make good and needed changes in your lifestyle …keep reading »

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Preaching: Emotional Manipulation

Of course an eager evangelist might argue that getting a person down the aisle to make a public profession is always in the “best interest” of the professing person, but the millions of inactive religious converts suggest that some of those lured down the aisle hated themselves and the evangelists the next morning. Seduction was the way of the serpent, not the way of Christ. The use of conversion statistics for personal promotion implies a scalp-gathering mentality that is for the advantage of the persuader. In a sermon contrasting the orthodox and liberals, the preacher climaxed his harangue with the …keep reading »

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Ethics: Men Invited to Evangelize at Strip Club

What would you do Wednesday! This scenario is directed at Christian men. Christian women are welcome to comment and probably have just as much insight on this topic, especially, if married to one of the men at the following prayer breakfast. Men, your alarm sounds at 6 am Saturday morning. It is time for the monthly men’s prayer breakfast at church. As much as you’d like to roll over, you enjoy the much needed Christian fellowship more than the extra shut-eye. As usual, the breakfast starts with brief prayer before eating followed by a testimony or two. After testimonies are …keep reading »

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Preaching: Loaded Language and Name Calling

Loaded language and name calling have become a fine art in American religious rhetoric where they should have no place at all. “Redneck,” “fundamentalist,” “secular humanist,” and “liberal” are almost as common as favorite biblical terms. Religious periodicals advertise conferences on “real” evangelism and for “real” women, implying of course that some are unreal. Name calling is intensified when a strong contrast is made. An example of such contrast occurred in the context of a debate within a Southern Baptist association meeting. Referring to the preceding speaker, a pastor declared that he was not surprised at the speaker’s position because …keep reading »

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Facebook Unfriending: Shaking the Digital Dust

Jesus sent his Apostles out to visit homes to proclaim God’s kingdom taking nothing with them. At those homes where the message was rejected, Jesus told them to shake the dust off their feet as they left. Shaking the dust off their feet was a sign of judgement against them for rejecting God’s message. Christian do not witness door to door as they once did. However, many Christians go from digital door to digital door in this age of social media. Sometimes Christians on social media have an encounter from which they must shake the digital dust and move on. …keep reading »

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Sunday Considerations: So Little Joy

I shall now inquire into the reasons why so little of this joy is experienced by the majority of Christian professors. I assume that the multitude have far less than they might or should have. Look at the prosperous among them, and whence does their joy arise? From their religion? Or from their good spirits, their health, their family, their fiends, their success, and home enjoyment? Look at the afflicted—how oppressed with care; how tortured with anxiety; how overwhelmed with sorrow; how cheerless for the present, and how hopeless for the future, do they seem to be! How few appear …keep reading »

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Conclusion: What Every Christian Needs to Know About the Qur’an

Several weeks ago I invited to a read along in Let’s Read About the Qur’an Together! The plan is to read together – What Every Christian Needs to Know About the Qur’an by James R. White. We have finally reached the end of the read along. However, I still encourage you to grab a copy of the book and study it. Below are links to all the chapters. Today’s final post touches on White’s brief concluding chapter that is only six pages. Introduction: Why Study the Qur’an? Chapter 1a: The Qur’an and Muhammad of Mecca Chapter 1b: The Qur’an and …keep reading »

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Why Invite Unbelievers to Church?

Asking why a Christian would invite an unbeliever to church may strike some as provocative. Yet, it is a valid question. Consider a if a Muslim asked you, Christian, to come worship with him at the mosque. Wouldn’t you wonder why he thought you would consider worshiping Allah? When the church gathers for Sunday morning worship the primary audience is professing Christians. The very definition of the word church is the “called out ones” who are believers. Technically, no believers equals no church. Yet, we know there will be unbelievers in the pews on Sunday morning. Unbelievers should be welcomed …keep reading »

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Always Remember

I will always remember the September 11, 2001 attacks (9/11) that took place 12 years ago today. I will always remember the big screen TV I was watching in my office as the attacks were happening. I shared this information in 2011 in Never Forget. A lot has happened in the United States in the past 12 years since 9/11. That attack united Americans – for a short time anyway. No doubt we will express feelings that we are again united on this anniversary of the attacks. During our time of mourning and recovery, religions that do not go together …keep reading »

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Ethics: Twins Marry Each Other!

What would you do Wednesday! Today’s situation is unusual – beyond unusual. The scenario involves twins who married each other. Keep reading. A married couple from church who confides in you is coming to dinner. They have something very important to share. They also need your advice. It is dinner time. While at your dinner table the couple brings up a very difficult issue to discuss asking this be kept in complete confidence. They begin discussing their marital back ground. They have been together three years with the first being the dating/engagement stage. In fact, it was just last month …keep reading »

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My Sermons on Philippians

The 2nd VP of the Southern Baptist Convention, Jared Moore, asked me to preach at the church he pastors, New Salem Baptist Church in Hustonville, KY, at the end of this past June. I don’t get the opportunity to preach often so I was grateful for the opportunity. (And I hope these sermons don’t give me even less opportunities to preach!) I accepted Jared’s invitation even though time was short. The Lord helped me put these sermons together in about two weeks. The folks at New Salem were wonderful hosts to my wife and I. I pray these sermons are …keep reading »

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Sunday Considerations: Grace is Everything

But we believe that we will be saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, just as they will. (Acts 15:11, ESV) Did you ever hear of a martyr dying in the triumphs of self-righteousness, giving glory to human nature, lauding his own ability, extolling his own works? All those faithful witnesses held one doctrine, namely—that works avail nothing, and grace is everything. Hear blessed old Tyndall: “If you would obtain heaven by the merits and deservings of your own works, you wrong and shame the blood of Christ. Faith alone justifies. In believing we receive the Spirit of God, …keep reading »

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Chapter 11: What Every Christian Needs to Know about the Qur’an

Several weeks ago I invited to a read along in Let’s Read About the Qur’an Together! The plan is to read together – What Every Christian Needs to Know About the Qur’an by James R. White. Feel free to grab a copy of the book and join in at anytime! So far, we’ve covered: Introduction: Why Study the Qur’an? Chapter 1a: The Qur’an and Muhammad of Mecca Chapter 1b: The Qur’an and Muhammad of Mecca by Ken Temple Chapter 2: The Qur’an: A Brief Introduction Chapter 3: Allah: Tawhid, Shirk, the Mithaq and the Fitra Chapter 4: “Say Not Three”: …keep reading »

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But Jesus Hung Out with Sinners!

Sometimes Christians disagree over participating in certain activities. One Christian may be convicted that a certain activity is sin or at the very least the appearance of evil so they avoid it. Another Christian may come to a different conviction about the same activity and feel free to participate. For example, the recent news out of Oregon where Christian bakery owners felt they would not be honoring the Lord by providing food for a same-sex wedding. (An event that inspired a recent post.) Since the owners refused service to the gay couple’s wedding, some in the LGBT did all they …keep reading »

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Ethics: Pastor Retires But Starts Another Church Down the Road

What would you do Wednesday! Your pastor has been serving your local church for the last eight years. One Sunday morning in the pulpit he announces that it is time for him to move on. He has enjoyed serving everyone during his time, but he believes the Lord has other plans for him for the next season of his life. He plans to retire from the pastorate in the next 60 days. He wanted to give everyone time to adjust to his coming absence and make a slow transition. Since he is only 55 years old he is not retiring …keep reading »

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Infant Salvation in the Baptist Faith & Message

Some Southern Baptists have been disagreeing (imagine that!) over what the Bible teaches about infant salvation. Actually, some Southern Baptists don’t like what other Southern Baptists believe or might believe (imagine that!) about infant salvation. My point is not to take sides or even express a position, but to quote below exactly what the Baptist Faith and Message 2000 – the Southern Baptist confession of faith – states about infant salvation. –         – Here I blog… Mark

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Why is Rehabilitating Christians OK?

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) complained last year about a psychiatrist in Oregon who used reparative therapy. The SPCL complained that this type of conversion therapy – “literally converting from gay to straight” – is unethical and dangerous. But this year it is okay for Oregon’s Bureau of Labor and Industries to seek a sort of conversion therapy if you are Christian business owners who seek to life and work by your Christian convictions. You must need help if you are Christians who run a bakery that refuses to promote a same-sex wedding with your product, right? Even if …keep reading »

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Sunday Considerations: Loving Christ’s People

We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death. (1 John 3:14, ESV) So, Brothers and Sisters, if we can say that we love God’s people, as God’s people, because they are God’s people, that is a mark that we have passed from death unto life! Do you love them for Christ’s sake? Do you say to yourself, “That is one of Christ’s people. That is one who bears Christ’s Cross. That is one of the children of God and, therefore, I love him and take …keep reading »

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Praying to the Abortion God

When the battle over the separation of church and state rears its ugly head, it is normally Democrats who are attempting to keep the church  from participating in state issues. At times, the fight is to remove prayer from political gatherings. Given the types of prayers recently promoted by some Democrats in Iowa, it is easy to understand why some want the church separated from the state. Why? Seems some Democrats and pro-abortion activists have their own god to pray to! The prayers in the video may not be clear enough to understand. Let me help. (HT: Robert Laurie) “We …keep reading »

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Chapter 10: What Every Christian Needs to Know About the Qur’an

Several weeks ago I invited to a read along in Let’s Read About the Qur’an Together! The plan is to read together – What Every Christian Needs to Know About the Qur’an by James R. White. Feel free to grab a copy of the book and join in at anytime! So far, we’ve covered: Introduction: Why Study the Qur’an? Chapter 1a: The Qur’an and Muhammad of Mecca Chapter 1b: The Qur’an and Muhammad of Mecca by Ken Temple Chapter 2: The Qur’an: A Brief Introduction Chapter 3: Allah: Tawhid, Shirk, the Mithaq and the Fitra Chapter 4: “Say Not Three”: …keep reading »

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Can Christians Eat Black Pudding?

In his book, In Christ Alone: Living the Gospel Centered Life,  Sinclair Ferguson writes the following in chapter 37, “Eating Black Pudding.” It was years ago now, but I still remember the discussion. I was making my way out of our church building some time after the morning service had ended, and was surprised to find a small group of people still engaged in vigorous conversation. One of them turned and said to me, “Can Christians eat black pudding?” To the uninitiated in the mysteries of Scottish haute cuisine, it should perhaps be said that black pudding is not haggis! …keep reading »

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Ethics: Fiancée Disagrees with You on Female Pastors

What would you do Wednesday! A friend brought the question up on Facebook recently of marrying someone with whom you disagreed with about female pastors. I thought the subject would make an interesting WWYDW topic. You met at the local church you have both been members of for a few years. You had been courting for about a year. But the courtship is now over and you are engaged. The date set for marriage six months away. Biblical marriage counseling begins with the pastor. While the pastor explains the biblical roles of men and women in the home, the topic …keep reading »

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Sunday Considerations: Praying in the Spirit

Praying in the Holy Spirit is praying in fervency. Cold prayers, my Brothers and Sisters, ask the Lord not to hear them! Those who do not plead with fervency, plead not at all. As well speak of lukewarm fire as of lukewarm prayer! It is essential that it be red hot. Real prayer is burnt as with hot iron into a man’s soul, and then comes forth from the man’s soul like coals of juniper which have a most vehement heat. Such prayers none but the Holy Spirit can give. I have heard from this spot prayers which I never …keep reading »

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Chapter 9: What Every Christian Needs to Know About the Qur’an

Several weeks ago I invited to a read along in Let’s Read About the Qur’an Together! The plan is to read together – What Every Christian Needs to Know About the Qur’an by James R. White. Feel free to grab a copy of the book and join in at anytime! So far, we’ve covered: Introduction: Why Study the Qur’an? Chapter 1a: The Qur’an and Muhammad of Mecca Chapter 1b: The Qur’an and Muhammad of Mecca by Ken Temple Chapter 2: The Qur’an: A Brief Introduction Chapter 3: Allah: Tawhid, Shirk, the Mithaq and the Fitra Chapter 4: “Say Not Three”: …keep reading »

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Worship Video: Keep Yo Business off Yo Facebook

Facebook has now infiltrated a local church through a praise song of sorts. The song offers a much needed warning message for Christian Facebook users. The proverbial joyful noise warned the congregation – “Keep yo business off of Facebook, Sunday you actin’ like a saint, But yo Facebook status say you ain’t, Keep yo business off of Facebook.” While it is unclear which gospel musician is going to turn this hit song into the next Grammy, I hear next week’s social media Sunday sensation will be titled – Don’t Be Tweetin’ Yo Trashtags. Whether you love or hate the song, …keep reading »

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Ethics: Pastor Requires Women Wear Head Coverings!

What would you do Wednesday! As far fetched as it sounds, a Texas pastor banned weaves in his congregation. No doubt we church folks certainly do some weird things sometimes. Banning weaves in church is pretty far-fetched, but what about pastor requiring women to wear head coverings? Well…. One Sunday morning your pastor begins a new sermon series starting in 1 Corinthians 11. He explains that while preparing the series he came across a new movement – The Head Covering Movement. He began to read and dig deeply into the topic of head coverings. He came to some new – …keep reading »

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Now Free: Once Persecuted Christians in the Muslim World

Mike Huckabee briefly shares the story of the persecution of Marzieh Amirizadeh and Maryam Rostampour. Both women are former Muslims who converted to Christianity. In 2009, they were jailed and sentenced to death for their faith – locked up in the notorious Tehran prison, Evin. They were eventually given asylum in the United States upon their release due to international pressure. Read their remarkable story in Captive in Iran: A Remarkable True Story of Hope and Triumph amid the Horror of Tehran’s Brutal Evin Prison. Watch the latest video at video.foxnews.com Here I blog… Mark

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Extra: Martin Luther King Uninvited from Own Event!

The above headline is not beyond imagination were Martin Luther King, Jr. alive and scheduled to appear at a recent event from which gospel singer Donnie McClurkin was uninvited. McClurkin was set to appear at a Martin Luther King Jr. memorial concert, but was uninvited over his views on homosexuality. What I will show below is that McClurkin and King have similar views on homosexuality. And if McClurkin was uninvited there is good reason to believe that King would also have been uninvited. Ironically, McClurkin is a former homosexual who was delivered from the curse of homosexuality. I understand that …keep reading »

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Sunday Considerations: Superficial Religion

How many are there who never put their trust in Him who was slain for the sons of men? They love a superficial religion, but when a man talks deeper than that, they set it down for cant! You may love all that is external about religion, just as you may love a man for his clothes—caring nothing for the man, himself. If so, I know you are one of those who reject the Gospel. You will hear me preach. And while I speak about the externals, you will hear me with attention. And while I plead for morality and …keep reading »

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Chapter 8: What Every Christian Needs to Know About the Qur’an

Several weeks ago I invited to a read along in Let’s Read About the Qur’an Together! The plan is to read together – What Every Christian Needs to Know About the Qur’an by James R. White. Feel free to grab a copy of the book and join in at anytime! So far, we’ve covered: Introduction: Why Study the Qur’an? Chapter 1a: The Qur’an and Muhammad of Mecca Chapter 1b: The Qur’an and Muhammad of Mecca by Ken Temple Chapter 2: The Qur’an: A Brief Introduction Chapter 3: Allah: Tawhid, Shirk, the Mithaq and the Fitra Chapter 4: “Say Not Three”: …keep reading »

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Help the Scott Family!

Imagine Imagine – you just celebrated 15 years of marriage along with 6 little blessings from the Lord. Despite the rough economy, you’re doing okay. Your wife resigns from her job to follow her dream of going to nursing school. You put down the $5,000 you saved on a late model car. Then – imagine losing your job. Thankfully, early retirement money saves you – for a few months – while you both look for new jobs. Your wife’s nursing school is on hold. Unfortunately, the car and rent payments don’t have a hold button. The bank gets the late …keep reading »

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Ethics: National Religious Entity Not Representing Its People

What would you do Wednesday! Let’s think about Christian leaders who are supposed to nationally represent the people  they serve, but don’t. This idea comes from a piece Mark Tooley wrote at The American Spectator  in response to Jonathan Merritt on immigration reform. The topic here is not specific to immigration reform (though it could be an issue). Rather, we want to consider Tooley’s idea that leadership may be out of step with the people it represents. For example, in Evangelical Grassroots versus ‘Grasstops’ Tooley writes: Perhaps there is an expectation, based on stereotypes about evangelical docility, that churchgoers will …keep reading »

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Should Pastors Try to be Uncool?

Should pastors try to be cool? was published on the 9Marks ministry website. In response, I will provide a different perspective by asking the question – Should pastors try to be uncool? 1. Being an uncool pastor is not the power of God unto salvation—the gospel is. If your evangelistic success is thought to depend on a cultivated uncool image, your trust may not ultimately be in the Holy Spirit working through God’s word; but in the ability to attract people to said image because it is outwardly different from everyone else. 2. Being disconnected to the culture is a …keep reading »

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Why Christian Lawsuits?

So if you have such cases, why do you lay them before those who have no standing in the church? I say this to your shame. Can it be that there is no one among you wise enough to settle a dispute between the brothers, but brother goes to law against brother, and that before unbelievers? To have lawsuits at all with one another is already a defeat for you. Why not rather suffer wrong? Why not rather be defrauded? But you yourselves wrong and defraud—even your own brothers! (1 Corinthians 6:4-8, ESV) Why are Christians suing, or threatening so …keep reading »

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Sunday Considerations: Remember and Rejoice

Believer, the hour is fresh in our memory when the divorce was signed between ourselves and our lusts. We can rejoice that we have now dissolved our league with hell. But, oh, how much we owe to sovereign grace! for we had never left the garlic and fleshpots of Egypt if the Passover had not been slain for us. Our inward man rejoiceth greatly at the recollection of the hour which proclaimed eternal war between “the new creature in Christ Jesus” and the sin which reigneth unto death. It was a night to be remembered: we crossed the Rubicon—peace was …keep reading »

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Chapter 7: What Every Christian Needs to Know About the Qur’an

Everyone was invited to a read along in Let’s Read About the Qur’an Together! The plan is to read together – What Every Christian Needs to Know About the Qur’an by James R. White. Feel free to grab a copy of the book and join in at anytime! So far, we’ve covered: Introduction: Why Study the Qur’an? Chapter 1a: The Qur’an and Muhammad of Mecca Chapter 1b: The Qur’an and Muhammad of Mecca by Ken Temple Chapter 2: The Qur’an: A Brief Introduction Chapter 3: Allah: Tawhid, Shirk, the Mithaq and the Fitra Chapter 4: “Say Not Three”: The Qur’an …keep reading »

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The Alabama Baptist and the Wrath of God

Bob Terry, president and editor of The Alabama Baptist, has responded to the PCUSA’s rejection of the hymn In Christ Alone, over a lyric that sung of God’s wrath. I am going to briefly address a few items in Terry’s article Why Disagree About the Words of a Hymn? as they relate to the Holman Bible Dictionary (HBD). Note that the HBD, published in 1991, was replaced in 2003 by the Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary (HIBD). Both books have the section “Expiation, Propitiation” from which Terry quotes. The HIBD more clearly explains the relationship between God’s anger and wrath, propitiation, …keep reading »

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Reeder on Christians Skipping Church for Ball Practice

“Pastor Reeder,” they explained, “we want to honor the Lord’s Day, but our children’s sports programs are on Sunday.” We sat down and I listened to their story. Their local recreation league scheduled ball practice on Sundays. Should their families skip worship for ball practice? Should they pull their kids off the teams? Eventually they decided, appropriately, that obedience to Scripture and family worship on the Lord’s Day was far more important than team sports. That may seem like an obvious choice to some readers, but it is not the norm. In the child-driven families of today’s culture, it took …keep reading »

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Ethics: Unchurched Christian Tries to Take Girlfriend Out of Church

What would you do Wednesday! You notice that one of your friends from church recently began dating again. She has been part of your local congregation for about three years. In fact, you are in the same Sunday school class. While she has brought her new boyfriend to church a couple of times in the past two months, you don’t know much about him. After Sunday school one Sunday you ask about her new boyfriend. She says he’s a good guy and a Christian who was raised in a Christian home, etc. They are at a point where they are …keep reading »

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Of Genealogies and Charter Church Members

While definitions may vary slightly, a charter church member is basically someone who was an original or founding member of the congregation. In some churches, charter members are celebrated, looked up to, or held in special esteem. Often, their family members share some of this esteem. There is no such celebration of charter church members in Scripture. However, Scripture does not precisely lay out every atom of church practice. However, there are thinks Scripture prohibits and charter church membership just may fall into one of those categories. In Sunday school this past weekend we studied Titus 3. After class, a …keep reading »

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Sunday Considerations: Thoughts of Home

Thoughts of Home by Anna Shipton O Lord, ’twas Thine to labor and wear the thorns for me; Thou sharest all my sorrows; Thou knowest what ’twill be To see the Father’s glory, to hear Thy welcome there, Where never cross or burden remains for us to bear.   I seem to pace the glittering street, and hear the harps of gold, The echo of the new song that never groweth old; I hear Thy praise, Lord Jesus, my Life, my Lord, my King, Until my worn heart pineth the strains of heaven to sing.   Safe in the better …keep reading »

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Chapter 6: What Every Christian Needs to Know About the Qur’an

Everyone was invited to a read along in Let’s Read About the Qur’an Together! The plan is to read together – What Every Christian Needs to Know About the Qur’an by James R. White. Feel free to grab a copy of the book and join in at anytime! So far, we’ve covered: First Discussion: What Every Christian Needs to Know About the Qur’an Chapter 1a: What Every Christian Needs to Know About the Qur’an Chapter 1b: What Every Christian Needs to Know About the Qur’an by Ken Temple Chapter 2: What Every Christian Needs to Know About the Qur’an Chapter …keep reading »

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Ethics: Get a Tattoo to Better Share the Gospel?

What would you do Wednesday! Today’s scenario involves a Christian friend who is thinking of getting a tattoo to help them better relate to unbelievers and share the gospel. A friend comes to you Sunday morning before worship service starts. Your friend has been doing local prison ministry lately. After visiting the prison and spending time with some of the prisoners all day Saturday, your friend gets an idea. ‘Maybe I should get a tattoo to help me relate to the prisoners so they might be more open to listening to me to help me better share the gospel?’ Your …keep reading »

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Why Did Reza Aslan Write ‘Zealot’ – A Book About Jesus?

The interview below from the FoxNews show Spirited Debate between host Lauren Green and author Dr. Reza Aslan has lit an internet fuse. Green, a Christian, interviewed Aslan, a Muslim, about his book Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth. The question has been asked if this is the worst interview Fox has ever done. Some charge Green with holding double-standards when comparing this interview to another she did with a Baptist who wrote on Islam. One of the reasons for Green’s questions was to allow Aslan to address criticisms from Christians. The bigger picture is that Dr. Aslan …keep reading »

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Sunday Considerations: Faith Then Love

Does the condition of loving others mean that before we can claim a promise of future grace, we must already be what the promise is designed to help us become—namely, a radical, risk-taking person of love? Must we perform, before faith, what faith is meant to perform? The answer is no. The reason is that faith toward God and love toward man are not coordinate conditions; they do not arise side by side in the heart. Faith arises first and begets love. This is clear from Galatians 5:6: “In Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything, but faith working …keep reading »

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Chapter 5: What Every Christian Needs to Know About the Qur’an

Everyone was invited to a read along in Let’s Read About the Qur’an Together! The plan is to read together – What Every Christian Needs to Know About the Qur’an by James R. White. Feel free to grab a copy of the book and join in at anytime! So far, we’ve covered: First Discussion: What Every Christian Needs to Know About the Qur’an Chapter 1a: What Every Christian Needs to Know About the Qur’an Chapter 1b: What Every Christian Needs to Know About the Qur’an by Ken Temple Chapter 2: What Every Christian Needs to Know About the Qur’an Chapter …keep reading »

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How Racist Are Americans?

The verdict in the George Zimmerman trial has given Americans a view of the racial division and sensitivity that exists in this country. There is no question that racism exists in America, but many have wondered just how deep that racism runs. The question, “How racist are Americans?” may be difficult to answer accurately. However, we can get an idea of how racist Americans are perceive to be by one another. Rasmussen Reports provides such a perception in More Americans View Blacks As Racist Than Whites, Hispanics. Thirty-seven percent (37%) of American Adults think most black Americans are racist, according …keep reading »

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Ethics: Male Friend has Lunch Frequently with Female Coworker

What would you do Wednesday! While out at lunch one day during the week you spot one of your friends from church. You walk over to his table to say hello. Spotting an empty chair with a half eaten lunch, you ask if he is having a business lunch. He is having a business lunch with a coworker. He mentions that the coworker is a manager in another department. He admits, “I am hoping to build some goodwill with the manager. So, for the past three months we have had lunch together a few times per month.” Just as you …keep reading »

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From Gangster to Christian Soldier

Below is a video introduction of the Tommie Scott story. Brother Tommie first sent me a video link of himself addressing Al Sharpton about the George Zimmerman trial. He certainly has a different perspective given his background. I then found his testimony on his YouTube channel and decided to share it. I hope his testimony blesses you! Here I blog… Mark

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Sunday Considerations: By Him

By Him creation consists. “For by him were all things created that are in heaven and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones or dominions or principalities or powers; all things were created by him and for him” (Col. 1:16). How many Christians ever think of Christ as the One “by whom all things are created,” as Colossians puts it; “by whom all things were made: as John puts it; “by whom God made the worlds,” as Hebrews put it? Why did God make the universe, anyway? He made it that one day Christ might be …keep reading »

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Chapter 4: What Every Christian Needs to Know About the Qur’an

Everyone was invited to a read along in Let’s Read About the Qur’an Together! The plan is to read together – What Every Christian Needs to Know About the Qur’an by James R. White. Feel free to grab a copy of the book and join in at anytime! So far, we’ve covered: First Discussion: What Every Christian Needs to Know About the Qur’an Chapter 1a: What Every Christian Needs to Know About the Qur’an Chapter 1b: What Every Christian Needs to Know About the Qur’an by Ken Temple Chapter 2: What Every Christian Needs to Know About the Qur’an Chapter …keep reading »

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Ethics: Anti-Calvinist Evangelist Passes Out Tracts at a Church

What would you do Wednesday! I don’t write on Calvinism much anymore though I am a Southern Baptist who understands there is unnecessary tension over Calvinism among Southern Baptists. I think Southern Baptists can, should, and do work together for the gospel. The purpose of this is not to fan the theological flames, but the core of this post is based on a true story. A story I would not favor whether a non-Calvinist went into a Calvinist church to pass out tracts or vice-versa. So, let’s talk about it. An evangelist friend asks if you want to go pass …keep reading »

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Sunday Considerations: Glory Seen

In the Old Testament, God displayed his glory in typical, visual form as an awe-inspiring expanse of bright light (the shekinah, as later Judaism called it). This was the sign of his beneficent presence in both the tabernacle and the temple (Exodus 40:34; 1 Kings 8:10ff.). The essential and abiding revelation of God’s glory, however, was given by his great acts of merited judgment and unmerited love, and in his “name”—which was no mere label, as our names are, but a disclosure of God’s nature and character. Jehovah (Yahweh, as modern scholars render it) means “I am (and will be) …keep reading »

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Chapter 3: What Every Christian Needs to Know About the Qur’an

I recently invited everyone to a read along in Let’s Read About the Qur’an Together! The plan is to read What Every Christian Needs to Know About the Qur’an by James R. White together. Feel free to grab a copy of the book and join in at anytime! So far, the following has been covered: First Discussion: What Every Christian Needs to Know About the Qur’an Chapter 1a: What Every Christian Needs to Know About the Qur’an Chapter 1b: What Every Christian Needs to Know About the Qur’an by Ken Temple Chapter 2: What Every Christian Needs to Know About …keep reading »

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Loving Matthew Vines

Matthew Vines promotes the acceptance of “gay Christianity.” His approach includes changing Christian teaching on homosexuality by offering re-interpretations of long-standing biblical views on the subject. So how might Christians respond to Matthew Vines? How might the church love him? First, I am aware of two thorough responses to Vines’ interpretations promoting gay Christianity. The responses are listed below and they provide great apologetic responses worthy of study to correct Vines’ agenda and interpretations. Matt Slick at CARM offers a written response – Matthew Vines. James White at Alpha and Omega Ministries offers an audio response – Gay Christianity Refuted. …keep reading »

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Ethics: Christian Friend Wants to Sue Pastor Over Copyright

What would you do Wednesday! Today’s scenario is inspired by Ergun Caner’s lawsuit filed against Jason Smathers claiming copyright infringement on videos obtained by Jason from the U.S. Marines. (More on the lawsuit here: Ergun Caner Has Sued Witnesses Unto Me) However, this post is not about the above lawsuit – only inspired by it – so please comment accordingly. A friend, who is an adjunct professor at a seminary, comes to you for advice. He is thinking about suing a pastor who posted a video of him on YouTube. His goal is to claim ownership of the video and have …keep reading »

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Everything by Prayer?

In Philippians 4:5-6, Scripture tells us, “Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” (ESV) But do Christians really take everything to prayer? Do we let everyone know our reasonableness by appealing to God in prayer? Praying is normal and expected when Christians are in church, Sunday School, small groups and such. We comfortably give and take prayers and prayer requests in those settings where it would be easiest to live out the …keep reading »

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Sunday Considerations: An Easy Hell

Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:11-13, ESV) Whatever affliction or trouble a child of God meets with—it is all the hell he shall ever have! Whatever eclipse may be upon his name or estate—it is a little cloud which will soon be …keep reading »

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Chapter 2: What Every Christian Needs to Know About the Qur’an

I recently invited everyone to a read along in Let’s Read About the Qur’an Together! The plan is to read What Every Christian Needs to Know About the Qur’an by James R. White together. Feel free to grab a copy of the book and join in at anytime! So far, the following has been covered: First Discussion: What Every Christian Needs to Know About the Qur’an Chapter 1a: What Every Christian Needs to Know About the Qur’an Chapter 1b: What Every Christian Needs to Know About the Qur’an by Ken Temple Today’s post covers chapter 2 “The Qur’an: A Brief …keep reading »

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I Am Not Proud To Be An American

Today is July 4, 2013 – American Independence Day. And I say Happy Independence Day, but I am not proud to be an American. I did not choose to be born in America. In fact, I had no choice in the matter. Therefore, I find is hard to raise the flag of pride for something I had no hand in. However, I understand Americans are a proud people. We united around pride after the attacks on 9/11 for a time – a short time. The power of pride to unite Americans was short-lived. The sword of pride cuts off others …keep reading »

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Ethics: Should Church Reject Million Dollar Offer for Property?

What would you do Wednesday! Today’s scenario is inspired by the current negotiations of the city of Atlanta to buy Friendship Baptist Church. More information on the negotiations can be read in this article: Friendship Baptist rejects Atlanta’s $13.5 million offer for stadium site. In this scenario, you are a church board member. The board has just sat down to review an offer from the city to buy the church property including the land and building. The city wants the property to build a sports complex which will grow the area economically and bring many visitors. The church owns property …keep reading »

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Sunday Considerations: Trials

RESIGNATION IN TRIAL “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.” “Yet I want Your will to be done — not Mine!” — Luke 22:42. Where was there ever resignation like this? The life of Jesus was one long martyrdom. From Bethlehem’s manger to Calvary’s cross, there was scarcely one break in the clouds; these gathered more darkly and ominously around Him — until they burst over His devoted head as He uttered His expiring cry! Yet throughout this pilgrimage of sorrow — no murmuring accent escaped His lips. The most suffering of all suffering lives …keep reading »

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Chapter 1b: What Every Christian Needs to Know About the Qur’an

I recently invited everyone to a read along in Let’s Read About the Qur’an Together! The plan is to read What Every Christian Needs to Know About the Qur’an by James R. White together. Feel free to grab a copy of the book and join in at anytime! So far, we’ve covered the following: First Discussion: What Every Christian Needs to Know About the Qur’an Chapter 1a: What Every Christian Needs to Know About the Qur’an Today, guest blogger Ken Temple leads the discussion through chapter 1b covering pages 36-49. Ken is very knowledgeable about Islam – much more than …keep reading »

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Need Help Pronouncing Bible Words?

Have you ever come across words in the Bible that you can not pronounce? Maybe you were working on a lesson, a sermon, or just reading the Bible and a word throws you off. If you’re like me, you’ve got to find out how to pronounce the word or it will sit in the back of your mind the whole time. This is especially so if I’m teaching or preaching the material. Well, this just happen to me while sitting going over my four sermons so I can preach them this weekend in Hustonville, KY. The fact that I’m actually …keep reading »

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Ethics: Pastor Throws Fit from Pulpit!

What would you do Wednesday! Today’s post is a based on a true story. In fact, let’s use an actually story that has recently been making rounds. I’ve provided the text and video below. The pastor is preaching Sunday morning. He pauses and throws a fit going into the following rant. Son, don’t sleep when I’m talking. Hey, hey, hey! Don’t you lay your head ba..I’m important.  Now you might do your English teacher that way, but I’m not teaching English. I’m teaching eternal life. I love you. You know I love you. Have I convinced you that I love …keep reading »

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Jesus Christ: Not First Priority

When Christians are asked about the importance of Jesus Christ in their lives they may say he occupies first place in their lives. He is the first priority. I understand this thought process, but I think it is short-sighted. When we speak of priorities in life we often think of order of importance. For example, the first thing many Christians do when they wake-up is have a prayer and devotion time. This time is the first priority of the day. It is the most important part of the day that gets one ready for the rest of the day. The …keep reading »

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Sunday Considerations: Renewal of Heart

FOR RENEWAL OF HEART “In the morning, O Lord, You hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before You — and wait in expectation.” “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.” — Psalm 51:10 Almighty God, who has mercifully preserved me during the unconscious hours of slumber, I desire to dedicate my waking moments and thoughts to You. Pre-occupy my mind with hallowed and heavenly things. May I be enabled throughout this day, by the help of Your Holy Spirit, to exclude all that is vain and frivolous and …keep reading »

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Chapter 1a: What Every Christian Needs to Know About the Qur’an

I recently invited everyone to a read along in Let’s Read About the Qur’an Together! The plan is to read What Every Christian Needs to Know About the Qur’an by James R. White together. Feel free to grab a copy of the book and join in at anytime! The first post covering the introduction is here – First Discussion: What Every Christian Needs to Know About the Qur’an.This is the second installment covering chapter one, “The Qur’an and Muhammad of Mecca.” Due to length, I’ve broken chapter one into two parts – a and b. This post covers part a …keep reading »

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Christian Kindle eBooks: Free and Under $5

Currently On Sale 99¢ Wisdom & Wonder by Abraham Kuyper Baptist Foundations edited by Mark Dever Manhood Restored by Eric Mason Nothing Is Impossible with God by Rose Marie Miller $1.99 The Conviction to Lead by Albert Mohler Rooted & Grounded by Abraham Kuyper Why Believe the Bible? by John MacArthur The Three Wise Women by Christin Ditchfield The Invention of Lefse by Larry Woiwode $2.99 Don’t Waste Your Life by John Piper One Small Candle: The Pilgrims’ by Thomas Fleming Beat God to the Punch by Eric Mason The People of God by Trevor Joy Brothers, We Are Not Professionals by John Piper Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus by Nancy Guthrie The Dating Manifesto by Lisa …keep reading »

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Legalism and Love: The Motive Behind Our Works by Joshua Shaw

Joshua Shaw is a church planter, seminary student, and writer. He and his wife are in the process of planting a church in Denver, CO where they work for the outreach organization CARES with Apartment Life. Read more from Joshua and learn more about his ministry at Spirit-Filled Truth. He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit Titus 3:5 O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified. Let …keep reading »

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Ethics: Pastor Forced to Resign for Unknown Reasons

What would you do Wednesday! One year has passed since the congregation voted to affirm your pastor. He is one of five pastors who have equal authority in the church through the congregation. But he is also functions as the preaching pastor who has preached 95% of the sermons in the pastor year. Today’s sermon was different though – the preaching pastor just resigned at the end of Sunday’s sermon. Church members were called to the planned order of business after the time of worship. One of the pastors explained that issues over the last two months have caused four …keep reading »

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Sunday Considerations: Fatherhood of God

God brings before us the truths of his kingdom; we cannot see their beauty, we cannot appreciate them; we seem to be as if we were totally demented ignorant, unstable, weary, and apt to slide. But, thanks be unto God, we are his children still! And if there be anything worse that can happen to a father than his child becoming a lunatic or an idiot, it is when he grows up to be wicked. It is well said, “Children are doubtful blessings.” I remember to have heard one say, and, as I thought, not very kindly, to a mother …keep reading »

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First Discussion: What Every Christian Needs to Know About the Qur’an

I recently invited everyone to a read along in Let’s Read About the Qur’an Together! The plan is to read What Every Christian Needs to Know About the Qur’an by James R. White together. This post is the first installment covering the “Introduction: Why Study the Qur’an?” Under the subtitle of the chapter White quotes Imam Malik stating that whoever does believes the Qur’an is created and not from Allah and refuses to repent should have his head cut off. Quite a quote to begin with, but it does illustrate the high standing of the Qur’an within certain areas of …keep reading »

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Christianity: the New Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell?

Could Christianity become the new don’t ask, don’t tell in the U.S. Military? If what Todd Starnes reports in Obama ‘Strongly Objects’ to Religious Liberty Amendment is true, the answer is – yes! Starnes gives the following sample list of “Christian service members and chaplains being punished for their faith.” The Air Force censored a video created by a chaplain because it include the word “God.” The Air Force feared the word might offend Muslims and atheists. A service member received a “severe and possibly career-ending reprimand” for expressing his faith’s religious position about homosexuality in a personal religious blog. …keep reading »

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Man of Steel: 20 Reasons Superman is Not Jesus

Ross McD over at Metro blogged Man of Steel: The top 20 reasons why Superman is Jesus. Some of the comparisons are silly and some are loose parallels. I get the comparison to Jesus which could be made in some sense anytime a singular hero saves the world. Life is filled with the creation, fall, redemption theme starting in the book of Genesis. Man’s sinful passion is to be God. Or more so – to be better than God. Superman is not Jesus though he may be a super man; he is not the God-Man. Jesus did not need a …keep reading »

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Ethics: Group of Pastors Leave 5% Tip After Meal

What would you do Wednesday! The Southern Baptist Convention takes place this week in Houston, TX. I was not able to go, but I have been able to listen (mostly) and follow the events on twitter. And on twitter is where I can across this tweet from “Fake J.D. Greear” that inspired today’s post. BREAKING: in advance of #SBC13, 1000s of Houston waitresses daydream about what they'll do with those extra 25 cent tips. — Fake J.D. Greear (@FakeJDGreear) June 10, 2013 I laughed. I cried. I hope the joke did not come true. I digress. We’ve talked about Christians …keep reading »

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Baptists, Boy Scouts, & Homosexuality

Many Southern Baptists have decided to cut ties with the Boy Scouts of American since the Boy Scouts have officially welcomed openly homosexual scouts beginning 2014. Cutting ties over homosexuality is understandable, but ignores the larger, overlooked gospel issue of pluralism. Southern Baptists (I am one) passed a resolution in 1992 supporting the Boy Scouts for their “refusal to allow homosexuals as Scout leaders and its commitment to maintain references to God within its oath and literature.” As far as I know, these are still the Boy Scouts’ positions. Of course, they folded on allowing openly gay scouts (not leaders) …keep reading »

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Sunday Considerations: Sea of Sins

He will again have compassion on us; he will tread our iniquities underfoot. You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea. (Micah 7:19, ESV) Another striking metaphor expressing the completeness of God’s forgiveness occurs in Micah 7:19. There the prophet Micah said of God, “You will tread our sins underfoot and hurl our iniquities into the depths of the sea.” When I was a naval officer I had an experience where equipment was lost in the depths of the sea through a small boat accident. I know what it is to drag grappling hooks across the …keep reading »

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Let’s Read About the Qur’an Together!

I’m stealing Tim Challies’ Reading Classics Together idea. However, we won’t be reading a classic Christian book. We will be reading What Every Christian Needs to Know About the Qur’an by James R. White. As Islam grows in the United States and worldwide, it is important for Christians to have an understanding of what the Qur’an teaches in order to engage our Muslim neighbors. White’s book will help Christians better understand Islam including what Muslims believe about Christian doctrines. Here’s the plan: Get a copy of the book. Read the introduction for next week. Discuss the introduction here on Friday, …keep reading »

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Ethics: Openly Gay Scout in Son’s Boy Scout Troop

What would you do Wednesday! I thought the following scenario would be interesting since the Boy Scouts of America recently changed their policy to accept openly homosexual scouts. Your son gets home from his latest Boy Scout Troop meeting. He is dropped off by the father of a fellow scout. The father calls you over to the car to say hello. He also has a concern. He explains to you the Troop tonight was introduced to two gay scouts who, in light of the policy change, decided to open up about their sexuality. They were tired of hiding their sexuality …keep reading »

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Sunday Considerations: The Shepherd

“The LORD is my shepherd; I have everything I need!” Psalm 23:1 The shepherd is a favorite Scriptural picture of the divine love and care. In the Old Testament, the twenty-third Psalm gathers the whole wonderful truth in exquisite lines, which are dear to young and old wherever the Bible is known. Then in the New Testament, when our Lord would give His friends the sweetest revealings of His heart toward them, and tell them what they are to Him and what He would be to them—He says, “I am the Good Shepherd.” The Hebrew shepherd lives with his sheep. …keep reading »

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When Tolerance Attacks

While thinking about tolerance I decided to poke around online. I found the incredible video embedded below. It’s incredible in the sense that it is hard to believe how awful the  American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property (TFP) volunteers were treated by same-sex marriage advocates. The video is ironically titled – Attacked By “Tolerance”. I don’t know much about the TFP group, but they appear to be Roman Catholic. As a Protestant, I tolerate TFP’s theology while standing with them on marriage and family (best I can tell). But what is shown in the video is clearly …keep reading »

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Tolerance: Person Vs. Idea

The world is full of ideas because the world is full of people. Many of us are professing Christians whose ideas differ from that of other professing Christians. We don’t always tolerate non-Christian worldviews very well. But many non-Christians are quick to return the favor – and then some – as they don’t always tolerate us. Getting along in certain circles can be difficult because tolerance become intolerance object of this intolerance moves from the idea to the person. My observation is people today don’t seem to do well tolerating others when they can’t tolerate others’ ideas. In fact, it …keep reading »

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North Point Responds Concerning Andy Stanley’s Comments on Scripture

I recently posted a video of Andy Stanley providing an apologetic on addressing the objection that Adam and Eve were not historical figures. My concern is set as a question in the title of my post – Andy Stanley Separates the Gospels from the Bible? I thought the answers Stanley gave brought more confusion than clarity. Plus, the answer given to the thinking skeptic would most likely not be satisfied by Stanley’s answer. Since my post, reader Tom Garito reached out to North Point Ministries which Stanley founded in 1995. Tom received a kind reply from Stanley’s assistant. (Apparently, Stanley …keep reading »

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Andy Stanley Separates the Gospels from the Bible?

In the video below, Andy Stanley explains his apologetic approach to objections to the historical Adam and Eve. He beliefs Christians have done a disservice to previous generations of children the way they are taught Scripture all hangs together or crumbles. He begins with a personal story from his freshman English class in college. The professor potentially dismantled the faith of the Christians present after teaching on various creation myths – the story of Adam and Eve being one of those myths. Since Adam and Eve was just another creation myth the question arises of what else in the Bible …keep reading »

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Ethics: Transgendered Person Becomes a Christian

What would you do Wednesday! Today’s scenario is inspired by an ethics situation Russell Moore mentioned in a sermon. He made up the situation for for future pastors for an ethics test. I altered the scenario to be applicable to any Christian. Pat, a single mother, moved into the neighborhood a year ago. Since she moved in you have made friends with and invited your new neighbor to church. She has always politely declined the invitation until two months ago. Pat attended church with you twice last month and twice the current month. On the second visit Pat responded to …keep reading »

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Sunday Considerations: Memorial Day 2013

This weekend is Memorial Day weekend here in the United States. Memorial Day, originally named Decoration Day, is a day of rightful remembrance of all who died while serving in the U.S. Armed Forces. Many churches will pause Sunday morning to recognize those who have and who are currently serving in one of the branches of America’s Military. I’ve struggled over the years of how much patriotism is implanted into some worship services this time of year. The church gathers to worship God not man’s achievements and service to each other. However, many Christians have served in this country’s Armed …keep reading »

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What Was Awesome About Your Weekend?

It was a normal Monday. A co-worker asked about my weekend though it could have been a friendly acquaintance, office neighbor, etc. Before I could get a word out my co-worker unloaded telling me about the “best movie of year” – Star Trek Into Darkness. There never seems a shortage of new movies being released and Star Trek would have been among my top three guesses. But Star Trek was his number one. He was excited to tell me about it. He talked faster than the Micro Machines Man. I felt like I watched all two hours of the movie in 10 …keep reading »

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Preaching Effectual Sermons by Andy Hynes

Guest blogger Andy Hynes (@ABHYNES) is a PhD candidate at Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary. The Puritans understood the power of the sermon.  Effectual sermons opened the door to the Father’s work.  John Flavel supposed that hearing God’s Word regularly was necessary for Him to draw a man toward Himself.  The Father consistently drew the elect to Himself through the Son.  General revelation was insufficient to allow this to happen. When Paul wrote Ephesians 4:20-21 Flavel understood, Of necessity of divine teaching, in order to believing, the apostle speaks, in Eph. iv. 20,21. “But ye have not so learned Christ; ‘if …keep reading »

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R.C. Sproul’s Crucial Questions Series Free on Kindle

Ligonier Ministries has made R.C. Sproul’s Crucial Questions series eBooks free – forever! Download the Kindle editions below. Don’t forget to check out more deals at: Christian Kindle eBook deals! What Is the Trinity? Who Is Jesus? Who Is the Holy Spirit? What Is Faith? Can I Be Sure I’m Saved? Can I Have Joy in My Life? Can I Know God’s Will? Can I Trust the Bible? Does God Control Everything? Does Prayer Change Things? How Should I Live in this World? What Can I Do with My Guilt? What Does It Mean to be Born Again? What Is …keep reading »

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Ethics: Pastor Called to Church is on Third Marriage

What would you do Wednesday! There are differing views within Christianity on marriage, divorce, and re-marriage. Some are black and white on these issues while others take into account when the people involved became Christians. And there are those who question whether divorce and/or re-marriage is ever permissible for pastors. That said, I thought this would be an interesting topic for today’s scenario. The situation takes place in a Baptist church which uses a pastoral search committee. The committee has agreed upon a candidate who has accepted the nomination. The next step is for the congregation to vote to invite …keep reading »

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Faith-Based FEMA

Check out the short interview below in devastated Oklahoma where the tornado struck. Brian Williams, the reporter, mentions that “there’s FEMA and then there’s the faith-based FEMA.” The man being interviewed explains that we can’t wait on the government to help in this situation, but the Baptist men are going to “get it done tomorrow.” If you’d like to donate to Southern Baptist Disaster Relief to help those affected in Oklahoma City click here to donate online or call 1-866-407-NAMB (6262).

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How to Make a Lot of Money Preaching

Below is a clip from the 1972 documentary Marjoe. Marjoe was a fake evangelist which he admitted in the documentary explaining that he would manipulate people. His real name is Hugh Marjoe Ross Gortner who may be recognized from past movie roles or from the 80’s TV series Falcon Crest. The Internet Movie Database provides the follow quote from Marjoe. It is not clear from where and when Marjoe was quoted. I emphasized in bold what seems a key part of his approach. Apparently, he knew the kind of experience people wanted and could draw them and control them by …keep reading »

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Charles Spurgeon on God’s Judgment and Tragedies

In the wake of the recent tragedies from the tornado in Oklahoma, I thought sharing a 150 year old sermon from the Prince of Preachers might be appropriate. The sermon below was delivered by Charles Spurgeon on Sunday, September 8, 1861 in light of two disasters that hit close to home for him. In weeks prior to the sermon, two different train collisions happened weeks apart. The train wrecks took more than 38 lives and left hundreds injured. Some Christians replied that the lives taken in those wrecks were part of God’s judgment. In response, Spurgeon preached to refute the …keep reading »

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Theological Tribe Handbook

Ironically, the more fervently we pursue theological uniformity, the more the Bible takes a back seat, even among people who pride themselves on having the Bible in the navigator’s seat. That’s because the lens of uniformity insists that everyone interpret difficult or controversial Scripture passages exactly the same way. There’s no room for differing opinions, blind spots, or simply being wrong. Those who don’t toe the company line are cast aside. The result is that every time a tough biblical question comes up, we have to consult the tribal manual for the “correct” answer. Instead of our answers and theology …keep reading »

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Sunday Considerations: The Only Message

In Acts 1:10–11 we read: “Two men stood by them in white apparel; which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.” If you think that Jesus finished when He died and was buried, listen to the message of Luke, listen to this treatise written to Theophilus—it is written to you. He will come again, even as He went. He will return, in bodily, visible fashion, riding the clouds of …keep reading »

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Composition Fallacy: Theological Debate and Christian Blogging

Lots of theological debate and assertion takes place in the Christian blogosphere. Lots! In fact, I wonder if 80% of Christian blogs would exist if the debating stopped. I can see an end to Christian blogging debates – that day the sun stops rising. So we’ll be here a while. Christian debating is not necessarily a bad thing, but it can be. We just have to get better at it. By better, I mean more Christ-like. Part of being more Christ-like is found in how we accuse one another which Scripture speaks to in more than one place, in more …keep reading »

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Free Live Stream Debate Tonight: Evolution Vs. Design

Tonight, May 16, 2013, Bioloa University will host The Origin of Life: The Great God Debate II Evolution Vs. Design between Michael Ruse vs. Fuz Rana moderated by Craig Hazen. The debate starts at 7 PM PDT/10 PM EDT. Click-> To watch live! Follow on twitter with the hashtag #GODdebate. The format which includes questions from the audience, twitter and text is as follows. Opening Arguments: 20 minutes each 1st Cross-Examination: 6 minutes each side Rebuttals: 10 minutes each 2nd Cross-Examination: 6 minutes each side Concluding Arguments: 5 minutes each Q &A: 40 minutes The topic: “Are natural processes sufficient …keep reading »

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Who Are You In Christ?

In his letter to the rambunctious church at Corinth Paul reminds us that Jesus Christ is our wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption (1 Cor. 1:30). In Philippians we can find confidence with Paul that “He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus” (Phil. 1:6). Our benefits in Christ are noted in the following chart.  Position (Standing)  Condition (State)  In heaven Spiritual Life New birth New man New nature New creature Justified Forgiven In Christ  On earth Physical Death First birth Old man Old nature Old creature Condemned Guilty In Adam Over …keep reading »

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Ethics: Pastor Ignores Matthew 18 Over Facebook Offense

What would you do Wednesday! Given the widespread use of social media the following scenario is bound to happen if it hasn’t happened all ready. It’s a normal day on Facebook. Some people are sharing pictures of their kids and their food. Others complain about or praise something going on in their life. And many people share political and religious pictures and postcards – both funny and serious. On your wall, you decide to post something expressing disagreement with a relatively well-known Christian speaker. While you did not necessary disagree doctrinally, the real issue was his crass approach to the …keep reading »

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Duck Dynasty: Some Clarity on Baptism

I wrote A Few More Things You Should Know About Duck Dynasty when I found out these fellows belonged to a Church of Christ – White’s Ferry Road Church of Christ. That post documents a ministry from White’s Ferry, that trains people in evangelism, explaining that people should be re-baptized for salvation who claim, “I am already saved; I was saved when I believed in Jesus” or “Were baptized to show [they] had already been saved.” I have had several conversations – online and off – on this topic. Several of my fellow Southern Baptists have concerns since the Duck …keep reading »

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Fallacy Journal II: Piers Morgan Edition

I’ve got to do a fallacy journal (for a class) based on 15 informal logical fallacies.1 The fallacies are to be pulled from every day mediums such as reading, TV, social media, etc. I first shared some fallacy findings in Fallacy Journal I. I will share a few more findings in the same-sex marriage debate below featuring Ryan Anderson versus Piers Morgan and Suze Orman. And if anyone cares to explore these fallacies further here is an online fallacy list. Division – argues without warrant what is true the group must be true of its parts. Morgan uses this approach …keep reading »

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Sunday Considerations: Priority of the Gospel

The gospel is the good news of how God reconciles his rebellious image-bearers to himself by the death and resurrection of his Son. This good news properly entails transformed living that touches all our horizontal relationships, but which is never reducible to horizontal relationships. The proclamation of this gospel that has freed us and prepared us to meet our Maker is our joyous privilege and solemn responsibility. When the discharge of this mission is met with God’s blessing, it produces men and women who are ready for both this life and the next. Thus Christian mission can never be reduced …keep reading »

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Ministry Success: Being or Having?

I found the following quote from Overcoming the Dark Side of Leadership very interesting in today’s church environment. I don’t understand the authors to say that having a large congregation, facilities, et al. are bad or sinful. Rather, they are focused on the desire to have those things that is the problem – the state of being vs. having. At the core of the problem is personal ambition and the insidious desire to have or possess something that is not able to be possessed-namely, success. We live in a culture obsessed with both having and success. And this desire has …keep reading »

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Ethics: Traditionalist Baptist Seeks Pastorate of Calvinist Church

What would you do Wednesday! Today’s post is especially for Southern Baptists as we think through how to get along as Calvinists and non-Calvinists working together for the gospel of Jesus Christ. There are some of us who believe Calvinists and non-Calvinists can serve together in a local church under the Baptist Faith & Message 2000. There are others who don’t believe such unity is, or should be, possible. Let’s think about Southern Baptist unity in terms of today’s scenario. You have a pastor friend who affirms the recent Southern Baptist Traditionalist Statement. This statement goes somewhat beyond the current …keep reading »

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The Invisible Bible Verse on Judging Others

I recently commented in a comment stream on that wonderful social medium of gracious exchange – Facebook! In the heat of the exchange that Bible verse from Matthew 7 used its powers of invisibility again. The issue was on judging sin in others in light of loving the sinner and hating the sin. (Something from Gandhi, not the Bible.) I’m not opposed to loving the sinner and hating the sin, but I wonder if this mindset makes it easier to excuse or overlook sin. I was then given the ole log in my eye challenge. Let’s look at the verses …keep reading »

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Chapel Sermon by Aubrey Sequeira, Clyde T. Francisco Preaching Award Winner

Aubrey Sequeira won the 2013 Clyde T. Francisco Preaching Award at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. The Baptist Press covered his story – Indian student wins SBTS preaching award. Sequeira preached the final chapel message at SBTS with his sermon entitled, “Following in the Footsteps of a foot-washing King – John 13:1-17.” Russell Moore is quoted in the Baptist Press article about the sermon: The best preachers in the world have preached in SBTS chapel. But I have never heard such a Gospel-powerful sermon as Aubrey Sequeira today. Watch Sequeira preach the final chapel sermon below. Congratulations to brother Aubrey Sequeira! …keep reading »

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Sunday Considerations: On Hearing Sermons

Christian, how will you listen to and receive this week’s sermon? Consider the last two paragraphs of John Newton’s letter “On Hearing Sermons” as you think of your answer. Farther: I advise you, when you hear a Gospel sermon, and it is not in all respects to your satisfaction, be not too hasty to lay the whole blame upon the preacher. The Lord’s ministers have not much to say in their own behalf. They feel (it is to be hoped) their own weakness and defects, and the greatness and difficulty of their work. They are conscious that their warmest endeavours …keep reading »

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Johnny Hunt Women’s Conference Day 2

I had previously announced the upcoming Johnny Hunt Women’s Conference with the theme – What Makes a Godly Woman?  Proverbs 31. Yesterday, I blogged day one and today is day two of the conference – the final day. I also want to mention that worship music was lead by Shelly Johnson. Below is the second day’s recap of the conference – in rough draft. First presentation: Andy Andrews He begins talking about speaking and listening using kids as an example. We begin encouraging them when they are young and slowly slide away from encouragement as they age with humor mixed through …keep reading »

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Johnny Hunt Women’s Conference Day 1

I had previously announced the upcoming Johnny Hunt Women’s Conference with the theme – What Makes a Godly Woman?  Proverbs 31. Below is the first day’s recap of the conference. The notes are in rough draft form. First presentation: Pastor Johnny Hunt Johnny starts talking women who win. We need men to be the prophets, priests, and kings in the home that God has called them to be. But often the women are an important part, foundational, of their leadership. Where there is no prophetic vision the people cast off restraint. (Proverbs 29:18a ESV) It’s now how we start, but how …keep reading »

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The Problem is Repentaphobia Not Homophobia

Much debate as ensued in the current push to redefine marriage as accepting same-sex couples. This redefinition of marriage is touted as a “homosexual rights” issue. Within this current climate of said debate a new mile stone for homosexual rights activists has come to pass – the first active male professional athlete has come out admitting he is gay. That athlete would be, of course, NBA player Jason Collins. OK, great! Now let’s play ball, right? Not so fast because – for some reason – the conversation quickly turned to religion. It appears that Collins claims to be a homosexual …keep reading »

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Chris Broussard Answers Questions on Homosexuality and Christianity

Today, on Power 105.1 FM, Chris Broussard, Christian and sports analyst for ESPN, called into the Breakfast Club radio show. He began explaining that he is not perfect, but strives to be Christlike. He then explains the mark of a Christian in light of falling into sin, willful sinning, the repentant, and the unrepentant. When challenged about the Bible condemning homosexuality, Broussard briefly explains where Christians stand in Christ today under the New Covenant vs. adhering to particular laws under the Old Covenant. Broussard handled himself well and was a great witness for the Kingdom despite some of the crass comments …keep reading »

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Ethics: Retired Pastor Pushing Advice on New Pastor

What would you do Wednesday! Today, dear reader, you get to be the confidant of a pastor. This pastor, who is a close friend, was recently called to a new church. This new church needed a new pastor because the former pastor retired after leading this particular congregation for 20 years. The back story is that your friend was called away from the first church he led where he served for five years. He had not planned on leaving his previous church. However, a well-known pastor who served one church for the last 20 years was about to retire. This …keep reading »

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Homosexual Activist Agenda: Destroy Marriage

A friend recently pointed me to a radio show on which LGBT rights activist and journalist Masha Gessen was a guest. Gessen, herself a lesbian,  made some interesting admissions about the homosexual agenda. While some may deny that such an agenda exists, she was very clear that those pushing for same-sex marriage lie when they don’t admit that such a marriage would change the institution of marriage. (Thanks to the Illinois Family Institute for the transcript.) “It’s a no-brainer that (homosexual activists) should have the right to marry, but I also think equally that it’s a no-brainer that the institution …keep reading »

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Ravi Zacharias on the Acceptance of Homosexuality in Christianity

Ravi Zacharias is asked, “Is it possible for a man or a woman to live a sincere Christian life as a homosexual?” Zacharias was very interesting because frames the answer by placing sexuality in the sacred category. He does this by sharing a story of someone asking him why Christians treat racism differently than homosexuals.  

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Sunday Considerations: Victorious Living

So we learn the story of all noble, cultured character. It is reached only through struggle; it is not natural—but is the fruit of toil and conquest; it bears the marks and scars of many a conflict. We often hear people say they would give large sums to have such a person’s contentment, or self-control, or sweetness of disposition, or submissiveness to God’s will, or power of giving sympathy. These are things that cannot be bought, and that cannot be learned in any school. Such qualities can be gotten only through victorious struggle during years of experience. We say that …keep reading »

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Bad Girls Club Meets the Gospel: A Sample of American Christianity?

The video below is an interaction between pastor Jon Speed and Rocky, a cast member of the reality TV show Bad Girls Club. Speed originally shared the video in his post asking the question – Is Rocky Your Convert, Pastor? Brother Speed encountered the reality star while street preaching. Speed points out in his post what Rocky claims to believe and the easy believism that goes along with her profession. Before you get too upset with Rocky, please read Speed’s P.S. in his post where notes that he spent 20 minutes explaining the gospel to Rocky. What I fear about …keep reading »

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The Need for Preparatory Conviction by Andy Hynes

Guest blogger Andy Hynes (@ABHYNES) is a PhD candidate at Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary. Since man was dead in sin, and unable to move in a spiritual way toward God, something must take place.  God’s electing work guaranteed the sinner’s redemption, but God never says in His Word how long that process might take.  God was not going to magically redeem or convert someone.  The process of drawing an individual to the knowledge of his sin and need for grace was a genuine step.  There was great need for preparatory acts.  Flavel penned, The Spirit knocks by the gracious invitations …keep reading »

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Ethics: Child Forced Into Same-Sex Kiss at School

What would you do Wednesday! This post is inspired by the recent Christian Post article, “Parents Upset After Middle School Girls Forced Into ‘Lesbian Kiss’ at NY School Read.” It’s a regular Friday evening. Nothing out of the ordinary until you sit down at the dinner table and your two kids begin an unbelievable story. Your son and daughter broke down – nervous and ashamed – that they each had to kiss someone of the same-sex in school! Apparently, the middle school they both attend, had all grades, 6th – 8th, go through homosexual sensitivity training. The goal was to …keep reading »

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Tom Schreiner, Romans 5 and Original Sin

Dr. Terrance Tiessen, Professor Emeritus of Systematic Theology and Ethics at Providence Theological Seminary, in Manitoba, Canada reflects on Dr. Tom Schreiner’s paper “Original Sin and Original Death:Romans 5:12-19” which was presented at the 2012 Evangelical Theological Society annual meeting. Tiessen compares the 1925, 1963, and 2000 versions of the Baptist Faith and Message (BFM) finding tension between Schreiner’s position on Rom. 5:12-19 and the latest BFM. Keep in mind that Tiessen is Baptist, but not Southern Baptist. He would like to better understand the tension between Schereiner and the BFM. Tiessen begins the article considering Schreiner’s proposal. Romans 5:12-14 …keep reading »

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Sunday Considerations: His Own

Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. (John 13:1, ESV) Beloved, you are “His own,” now, because you have yielded yourselves to Him. You delight to think that you are His. There is no greater joy to you than to feel that you belong to Christ! The fact that you are truly Christ’s is the fountain of innumerable pleasures and blessings to your heart! Jesus calls us, “His …keep reading »

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The Idea of Preparation in Puritan Preaching by Andy Hynes

Guest blogger Andy Hynes (@ABHYNES) is a PhD candidate at Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary. Puritan preaching never took a sharper prominence than during the period of preparation in the life of the sinner.  As the Father drew each elect sinner, the Holy Spirit was bringing about His convicting work.  Preparation/vocation became a staple in Puritan preaching and was referred to as God’s use of His law to convince sinners of their guilt and helplessness so that by His grace they may come to Christ.[1]   Seventeenth Century Puritanism developed a vast discourse of exhorting sinners to respond to God’s grace through …keep reading »

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Coming up: Johnny Hunt Women’s Conference!

Join me at the up coming Johnny Hunt Womens Conference! I’m not a woman – I know. But since I live blogged the men’s conference I was asked back. Plus, my wife will be there. So, let’s see then…. The theme:  What Makes a Godly Woman?  Proverbs 31 Who? The speakers are Johnny Hunt, Janet Hunt, Andy Andrews, Anita Renfroe, Francesca Battistelli, and Shelly Johnson. When? Friday Evening, May 3 and Saturday Morning, May 4. Where? First Baptist Woodstock. How much? Purchase online for $50-$60. The schedule? Friday Evening, May 3 2:00 PM Doors Open 4:30 –  6:30 – Dinner …keep reading »

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Ethics: Former Oneness Pastor Will Not Publicly Confess Trinity!

What would you do Wednesday! Today’s scenario involves a former Oneness pastor who is also a comedian. Your church has hired this comedian to come in and do a fundraising show for a mission trip. While you had heard of this comedian, curiosity lead you to do an online search about him. Your search lead you to several Christian apologetic sites which claimed that this comedian denied the Trinity. The evidence seems to clearly show this comedian is a Oneness Pentecostal. His parent church (the one that planted his current church) has clear anti-Trinitarian statements on their website. The current …keep reading »

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Shai Linne Responds to Paula White Ministries

I recently wrote about Christian rapper, Shai Linne’s song in which he names false teachers in New Song Drops Names: “False Teachers” by Shai Linne. Some people asked Linne to explain why he considered those he named to be false teachers. I followed up with some examples of false teaches for each person Linne rapped about in Did Shai Linne Really Name “False” Teachers? Then, something you don’t see everyday happened, Paula White Ministries responded to Linne’s accusations with an Open Letter to Shain Linne from Paula White Ministries. The challenge to Linne, brought by White’s son, Brad Knight, was a …keep reading »

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Ray Comfort on the Sinner’s Prayer

Ray Comfort, E.Z. Zwayne and Mark Spence discuss the biblical foundation and use of the sinner’s prayer. Comfort is not one who favors the sinner’s prayer though is does a lot of evangelism. He uses some interesting Scriptural proof-texts to argue against using a prayer in salvation. However, I’m not sure I agree with all of Comfort’s objections as he’s laid them out though on some points I agree. I’m interested to hear your thoughts on this sinner’s prayer discussion. Watch below!

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The (Almost) Forgotten Day of Celebration by Doug Erlandson

Guest blogger Doug Erlandson writes at Faith Seeking Understanding. He can also be found on his Facebook Kindle Page where he promotes his books on witnessing, bioethics, the problem of evil, and more. Now that we are past Easter (or, as some would prefer, Resurrection Sunday), it is time to focus on the significance of what I like to call the forgotten day of the church calendar–Ascension Day, which this year falls on May 9. While Ascension Day is not forgotten in all quarters (the Roman Catholic church still regards it as a holy day of obligation), many Protestants simply …keep reading »

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I Care What Some of You Think, but Not All of You by Jared Moore

Guest blogger Jared Moore writes at Exalt Christ, where this article was originally posted.  You can connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+. Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (ESV) I care what you think if. . . 1. I know you love me. If I know you love me, you can say whatever you want to me. But, if you …keep reading »

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Sunday Considerations: Father’s Everlasting Love

My father was known to be a generous man. He was quick to help people in need and those who had experienced serious reversals in their financial affairs. After his death, I was startled to receive unrequested and unexpected benefits from several of them. When I was in seminary, my wife and I were poor. Many weeks we subsisted on peanut-butter sandwiches. One afternoon I went to the mailbox, where I found an envelope with no canceled stamp on it. Inside the envelope was one hundred dollars in cash from a man I had not seen in more than ten …keep reading »

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Interview: ThaKidd Jopp on His Letter to Lecrae

ThaKiddJopp (Rickey Joppy) recently released the hip-hop song My Letter to Lecrae (listen below). Joppy’s song was written out of concern for Christian rapper, Lecrae. However, some folks are concerned about Joppy’s motives or possible missteps in writing the song. So, this Saturday, April 13, 2013 at 7pm EST/6pm CST, Rickey Joppy will be on His Word His Way radio show with Saiko Woods to explain why he wrote the song to Lecrae.  Follow the link to tune-in and even call-in with your own questions and concerns. The Interview Mark: I want to make it clear to the readers that you …keep reading »

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Instant Tweet Resources to End the Gosnell Media Blackout!

Why was I invited to the Facebook event Break the Gosnell Media Blackout – TweetFest Public? First, the event page provides the following background on Gosnell. Kermit Gosnell is currently standing trial on 7 counts of first degree murder for killing newborn babies delivered during abortions. Gosnell has also been charged with one count of third degree murder for the overdose death of his abortion patient, Karnamaya Mongar. If convicted, Gosnell could face the death penalty. The problem is the main stream media seems to be avoiding the case. So, let’s get #Gosnell trending on twitter. I’ve taken the suggested …keep reading »

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Richard Sibbes on the Doctrine of Election by Andy Hynes

Guest blogger Andy Hynes is a PhD candidate at Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary. Follow him @ABHYNES on Twitter. Richard Sibbes would not conform to the ideals of the times.  Dewey Wallace considered Sibbes one of the eager pastors who believed that taking the Gospel of Grace to the common folk of England was the greatest urgency.[1]  Making a strong appeal for salvation to the lost described the center of Sibbes’ yearnings. He still held a Christ-only salvation while maintaining the need to promote Christ to the masses. Sibbes spoke about Psalm 28:4 and a longing for God.  The desire for God did …keep reading »

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Open Letter to Shain Linne from Paula White Ministries

Well-known ministries that are criticized for their teaching do not often respond, especially, directly and publicly. This occasion is different since Paula White Ministries has responded to the charge by Christian rapper, Shai Linne, that Paula White is a false teacher. I first wrote about and provided the audio of Shai Linne’s song on false teachers here: New Song Drops Names: “False Teachers” by Shai Linne. I followed up with Did Shai Linne Really Name “False” Teachers? providing examples of false teachings from each person Linne called out in his song. Then, DJ Wade-O dropped by to share that Paula …keep reading »

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Listen to Shai Linne Rap Amillenialism

First, I noted Shai Linne’s new album and song in New Song Drops Names: “False Teachers” by Shai Linne. Then, I noted some of the false teachings named in Linne’s song in Did Shai Linne Really Name “False” Teachers? Now, Linne releases another song from Lyrical Theology, Pt. 1: Theology about the end times. Yes, he actually raps Amillenialism in a song titled “The Millenium”. It’s like a hip-hop catechism – or something.

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Ethics: Accept the Invitation to Son’s Same-Sex Marriage?

What would you do Wednesday! I don’t know any Christians who have faced today’s scenario of being invited to their gay son’s same-sex wedding. However, I’m sure there will be Christians who have and who will face such a dilemma. So let’s think about it…. You are a Christian who believes that marriage is something only between people of the opposite sex. You raised your three kids with this belief about marriage. This is the position on marriage from both the Bible and from a natural law perspective. Not only have you taught you kids that same-sex marriage is actually …keep reading »

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Fallacy Journal I

I’ve got to do a fallacy journal (for a class) based on 15 informal logical fallacies.1 The fallacies are to be pulled from every day mediums such as reading, TV, social media, etc. I thought I would share some of my findings. Below are a few recent fallacy finds in no particular order. In case you want to explore these fallacies further – an online fallacy list! Appeal to Pity ( or Ad Misericordiam) – tries to persuade due to a sense of pity rather than an actual argument. I posted a link on Facebook the allegations that Auburn University …keep reading »

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Huge Gospel Coalition Kindle eBook Sale!

No, I am not at The Gospel Coalition Conference this year, but I do like to keep up with great eBook deals. The prices range from $1.99 to $5.99. Check ’em out! Update! Only $5.99 Historical Theology: An Introduction to Christian Doctrine by Gregg Allison. $1.99 Grounded in the Gospel: Building Believers the Old-Fashioned Way by J. I. Packer and Gary Parrett ($1.99) Shepherding a Child’s Heart by Tedd Tripp ($1.99) Instructing a Child’s Heart by Tedd & Margy Tripp ($1.99) $3.99 or less Creature of the Word: The Jesus-Centered Church by Matt Chandler, Eric Geiger, Josh Patterson ($3.49) The Hardest Sermons You’ll Ever …keep reading »

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Did Shai Linne Really Name “False” Teachers?

I recently posted about a new Christian hip-hop song: New Song Drops Names: “False Teachers” by Shai Linne. This song is off Shai Linne’s new album Lyrical Theology, Pt. 1: Theology which releases April 9, 2013. In the song Linne names 12 false Bible teachers which I listed in the above post. A commenter in that post suggested some evidence needs to be shown why Linne and others call these 12 false teachers. Hence, my question of whether the teachers Shai Linne named are really “false” teachers. Below I’ve provided a examples of false teachings from each of the teachers …keep reading »

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Sunday Considerations: God Will Hear

“My God will hear me.” Micah 7:7. WHAT a charming sentence! Can you say it? Only five words, but what meaning! Huge volumes of poetry have appeared from Chaucer to Tennyson, but it seems to me that the essence of poetry lies hidden in a marvelously condensed form within these few words! It shall take you many an hour to suck out all their sweetness. There is an almost inconceivable depth of meaning in them—and of richness of assured experience and of sweet conclusions of a hallowed faith they are full to the brim! “My God will hear me.” There …keep reading »

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New Song Drops Names: “False Teachers” by Shai Linne

Check out Shai Linne’s new rap song Fal$e Teacher$. The beat is good, but the message is better! Shai even drops the following names as false teachers. (Be sure to check out my follow-up post where I provide examples of false teachings from these teachers: Did Shai Linne Really Name “False” Teachers?) Joel Osteen Creflo Dollar Benny Hinn TD Jakes Joyce Meyer Paula White Fred Price Kenneth Copland Robert Tilton Eddie Long Juanita Bynum Paul Crouch This song is off his new album Lyrical Theology, Pt. 1: Theology which releases April 9, 2013. Get it! Below Shai Linne talks about …keep reading »

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The Predestinating Work of God the Father by Andy Hynes

Guest blogger Andy Hynes is a PhD candidate at Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary. Follow him @ABHYNES on Twitter. The predestinating work of God the Father carried a variety of thoughts.  There were the old pelagians who said it was the work of man alone to call upon God for salvation. There was also the idea that God chose men to be saved based on foreseeing their decisions and rejected everyone else to damnation. However, William Perkins taught, “the cause of the execution of God’s predestination is his mercy in Christ in them which are saved, and in them which perish, the fall …keep reading »

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Is Liberty University a Gay-Affirming School?

To ask whether or not Liberty University is a gay-affirming school seems like an odd question given the reputation of its founder, Jerry Falwell. Many conservative Evangelicals today would not go as far as Falwell did in certain areas, for example, calling one of the Teletubbies gay. Given Liberty U’s “Reprimands and Consequences” in the code of conduct, one may even wonder how well Jesus would fair as a student. Nonetheless, I ask the question of gay-affirmation and Liberty based on Brandon Ambrosino’s story in The Atlantic. Ambrosino shares his coming out story in Being Gay at Jerry Falwell’s University A former …keep reading »

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Ethics: Christian Rapper Teams Up with Snoop Dogg

What would you do Wednesday! A few Christian hip-hop artists have moved to secular record labels. Some Christian rappers are now performing in the same venue with secular artists. This type of affiliation is seen by some as being missional and/or as breaking the sacred-secular divide. But what happens when your son’s favorite Christian rapper goes on tour with Snoop Dogg and does a couple songs with him? Rapper X, arguably the top Christian rapper at the moment, is your 10 year old son’s favorite artist. Your son owns all four of his albums which listens to daily. Your son …keep reading »

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You Aren’t Who They Say You Are by Ray Carroll

Ray Carroll is author of Fallen Pastor: Finding Restoration in a Broken World. He blogs at Fallen Pastor and is a contributor to Provoketive Magazine. All of us have been called a horrible name at some point in our lives. Whether we cut someone off in traffic, hurt someone’s feelings, committed a major sin and caught the eye of the public, or someone just didn’t like us – we’ve all been called something bad. I can think of hundreds of names I’ve been called. Three years ago, while pastor of a Southern Baptist church, I committed adultery and disappointed a …keep reading »

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Sunday Considerations: The Resurrection

This Sunday Easter is celebrated here in America. Some Christians are bothered by the Easter holiday and prefer to call this time of year Resurrection Day. Others avoid any special celebration whatsoever. Of course, every Sunday is a celebration of the resurrection of our – the only – Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Like it or not, Easter is a special time of year and provides a potential to reach more people for Christ since many will attend a Christian who don’t normally attend. Be reminded by the Apostle Paul. Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I …keep reading »

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Good Friday: What Evil Has Jesus Done?

Herod had just sent Jesus back to Pilate. As Jesus stood before Pilate for a second time, Pilate addressed the chief priests, the rulers and the people. He explains to them that upon examination neither he nor Herod found Jesus guilty of the charges against him. Therefore, Pilate was only going to beat Jesus and release him, but that was not good enough. But they all cried out together, “Away with this man, and release to us Barabbas”—a man who had been thrown into prison for an insurrection started in the city and for murder. (Luke 23:18-19)1 Much like today, …keep reading »

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Covenant of Grace (foedus gratiae) by Andy Hynes

Guest blogger Andy Hynes is a PhD candidate at Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary. Follow him @ABHYNES on Twitter. Westminster Confession of Faith, 7.3 Man, by his fall, having made himself incapable of life by that covenant, the Lord was pleased to make a second, commonly called The Covenant of Grace: whereby He freely offereth unto sinners life and salvation by Jesus Christ; requiring of them faith in Him, that they may be saved, and promising to give unto all those that are ordained unto eternal life His Holy Spirit, to make them willing and able to believe. (italics mine).[1] The Covenant of …keep reading »

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Why Don’t They Ever Stomp on Muhammad?

Earlier this month, FAU instructor Deandre Poole told students in an intercultural communications class to write the word “Jesus” on a piece of paper, throw it on the floor and stomp on it. Ryan Rotela, a junior at FAU’s Davie campus, later complained he was thrown out of class when he refused to participate. So reports Tia Mitchell at the Miami Herald in the article ‘Jesus’-stomping incident at FAU draws rebuke from Rick Scott. Florida Atlantic University has apologize for the incident after Rotela, a Mormon, complained. So far, no one was fired for the incident. When I read about …keep reading »

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Ethics: Complementarian Pastor Invited to Mother’s Pastoral Ordination

What would you do Wednesday! Today’s scenario is difficult. The dilemma puts a Christian pastor in a situation where he must decide in favor of his family or his biblical convictions. Is today’s post based on a true story? That’s for me to know and you to guess. A pastor gets a formal invite from his father in the mail. The invite is for the pastor to bring his family to his mother’s ordination; her pastoral ordination. He closes his eyes and prays for wisdom. Chills sweep across his body. The problem is this pastor is a strong complementarian. He …keep reading »

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The Starbucks CEO, a Shareholder, Same-Sex Marriage and Grande Lies

Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz was recently alleged to have said that he does not want business from those who oppose same-sex marriage and support traditional marriage. But did Schultz really say that or is someone passing out grande lies? Let’s briefly consider what Schultz allegedly said on gay marriage and investing in Starbucks, what he actually said, and why the shareholder is still invested in Starbucks. The Allegations. A shareholder noted that Starbucks sales and earning were disappointing the quarter after the National Organization for Marriage boycotted them for supporting same-sex marriage. Howard Schultz is alleged to have answered the …keep reading »

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Duck Dynasty Inspired Question on Baptism and Salvation

Last week I wrote A Few More Things You Should Know About Duck Dynasty. As a result of that post, a question about baptism and salvation came up on my Facebook page. I would love to hear some thoughts on my answer, but first, a few observations. I did not realize the huge amount of interest the Duck Dynasty post would generate. Nor did I realize there would be such silence from the more influential Evangelical wing of blogdom. Please, don’t misunderstand, I’m not demanding anyone must Say Something Right Now, or Else! as Kevin DeYoung wrote. However, it is …keep reading »

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Bet Your Pastor Can’t Do This!

No Comment.

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5 Biblical Affirmations Not to Affirm

I will ascend to heaven; above the stars of God I will set my throne on high; I will sit on the mount of assembly in the far reaches of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High. Those affirmations are from Isaiah 14:13-14 (ESV). The verses are taunting the king of Babylon in his downfall expressing his evil motives and thought life. All of those prideful, worldly affirmations seems to be man’s default. We may not literally express ourselves like these affirmations, but the spirit of them may …keep reading »

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Sunday Considerations: By Contentment

By contentment we come to give God the worship that is due to him. It is a special part of the divine worship that we owe to God, to be content in a Christian way, as has been shown to you. I say it is a special part of the divine worship that the creature owes to the infinite Creator, in that I tender the respect that is due from me to the Creator. The word that the Greeks have that signifies, ‘to worship’ is the same as to come and crouch before someone, as if a dog should come …keep reading »

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Your Wife Needs a Bath!

“My wife and I have been married for five years and she still hasn’t learned how to treat me with respect and honor that the Bible requires a wife to show to her husband.” When I hear statements such as this one, where a husband is complaining about some longstanding character deficiency in his wife, my usual response is to ask the husband to consider his leadership. “How is it that you’ve been married to this woman for so long and she still hasn’t changed? What exactly have you done to help her with her problems?”1 So writes Lou Priolo …keep reading »

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Covenant of Works (foedus operum) by Andy Hynes

Guest blogger Andy Hynes is a PhD candidate at Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary. Follow him @ABHYNES on Twitter. Westminster Confession of Faith, 7.1, 2 The distance between God and the creature is so great, that although reasonable creatures do owe obedience unto him as their Creator, yet they could never have any fruition of him, as their blessedness and reward, but by some voluntary condescension on God’s part, which he hath pleased to express by way of covenant. The first covenant made with man, was a covenant of works, wherein life was promised to Adam, and in him to his posterity, upon …keep reading »

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Ethics: Christian Cuts Unbelieving Family Members Out of Life

What would you do Wednesday! I have no idea how often something similar to today’s scenario happens, but I know it does. While catching up with one of your fellow Christians, you ask about their family.  Your friend says,”Most of them are well, but I’m not sure about my sister since we aren’t talking anymore. She’s pretty much out of my life now.” Pausing, you ask, “What in the world are you talking about?” Your friend explains that for years the relationship with their sister has not been the most fruitful. There has always been some underlying, unidentified tension, but …keep reading »

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Why “Preachers’ Daughters”?

A&E has a new reality TV show named “Preachers’ Daughters”. The hashtag for the show was trending on twitter. While I was reading what people were saying about the show on twitter to my wife I went to the Facebook page that was linked on twitter. The Facebook page describes the show as, “Lifetime’s provocative new reality show, “Preachers’ Daughters,” follows the lives of three families for a behind-the-altar look at what happens at home after the sermon concludes.” The show got even worse and we had not even watched it. Out of curiosity, I pulled up episode 1 on …keep reading »

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A Few More Things You Should Know About Duck Dynasty

Joe Carter at The Gospel Coalition Voices blog gave us “9 Things You Should Know about Duck Dynasty.” Those nine things are pretty interesting and are far from the norm for a reality TV show. What other show has men with three foot beards wearing bandanas? Admittedly, I have never seen the show since I don’t have cable. I have seen clips and plenty of praise for the show on Facebook and twitter. The stars of the show seem pretty cool in a redneck sorta way. As best I can tell they are more down to earth than their appearance …keep reading »

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Open Letter to Chuck Swindoll and Stonebriar Church on Phillips, Craig & Dean

Update: Praise God! Phillips, Craig, and Dean have affirmed the Trinity. Click and read their signed statement – PC&D affirm the Trinity. Dear Elders of Stonebriar Community Church, Grace to you and peace in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. I pray all is well with you. In October 2009, Pastor Swindoll wrote, “We never seek a fight, but we dare not remain silent when the claims of Christ come under assault.”[1] This line is from the article No Time to Remain Silent – an appropriate title since that time is now upon us. Pastor Swindoll writes …keep reading »

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Sunday Considerations: Thy Kingdom Come

Thy Kingdom come But what is the kingdom of God? Answer: Nothing else than what we learned in the Creed, that God sent His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, into the world to redeem and deliver us from the power of the devil, and to bring us to Himself, and to govern us as a King of righteousness, life and salvation against sin death, and an evil conscience, for which end He has also bestowed His Holy Ghost, who is to bring these things home to us by His holy Word, and to illumine and strengthen us in the faith …keep reading »

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Is Facebook Becoming the Mormon Police?

Facebook friend Aaron Shafovaloff, who writes at the excellent Mormon Coffee blog, recently had his Mormon Research Ministries Facebook account blocked for 30 days. The images above are screenshots of the warnings he received. Note, he was replying to a Mormon explaining a Christian perspective on an aspect of salvation. As you can see, all he wrote was: “God, I promise you nothing. Help me.” Jesus prefers that over temple vows. That’s all it took to get him banned. There are many more offensive items on Facebook than Aaron’s statement. I’m not even sure how that is offensive and violates …keep reading »

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Is There a Salvific Process? (by Andy Hynes)

Guest blogger Andy Hynes is a PhD candidate at Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary. Follow him @ABHYNES on Twitter. While studying the English Puritans many interesting ideas pop out.  One of the main ideas was their understanding of a salvific process.  That process began with three salvific covenants.  The first was the Covenant of Redemption or (Pactum Salutis).  They ended up giving credence to the doctrine in their Westminster Confession of Faith, 8.1 It pleased God, in his eternal purpose, to choose and ordain the Lord Jesus, his only-begotten Son, to be the Mediator between God and men, the Prophet, Priest, and King; …keep reading »

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Great Kindle Deals for Preaching & More!

The two books below on preaching, by Haddon Robinson and Bryan Chapell, are only $3.99 on Kindle right now. They are great resources for those who preach, want to preach, and even for those who teach. And a few more great Kindle deals right now! The prices listed are correct as of the time of this post. Price: $4.61 Price: $2.99 Price: $3.74 Price: $3.82 Price: $3.99 Price: $2.99 Price: $1.99 Price: $3.03 Price: $4.49 Price: $4.61 And Monergism Books is having a huge moving sale!

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Hilarious Video: St. Patrick’s Bad Analogies

This video is by The Lutheran Satire and is described as, “The problem with using analogies to explain the Holy Trinity is that you always end up confessing some ancient heresy. Let the patron saint of the Irish show you what I’m talking about.”  

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No Pope for All Christians

“Why believers of all stripes should care about the new head of the Catholic Church,” begins Timothy C. Morgan in his Christianity Today article A Pope for All Christians. Historically there has never been a pope for all Christians and there is not today. Rome begs to differ, of course, claiming themselves the one true church that holds the keys to the Kingdom making the pope head of all Christendom. According to Rome, all other churches are not even true churches. Morgan claims the health of Roman Catholicism affects all Christians because of globalization. Globalization is knocking down walls that …keep reading »

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Ethics: Popular Preacher Cancels Podcast Due to Small Audience

What would you do Wednesday! The following scenario is based on a true event. The names have been changed to protect the guilty – and the innocent! A friend of yours is the pastor of a church plant. In addition to his pastoral duties he also hosts a podcast a couple times per week. The church faithfully supports and endorses the podcast where your friend addresses theological and cultural issues. Sometimes on the podcast another man from the church will teach the Bible. Other times, another pastor or author will be a guest where they can discuss a current book, …keep reading »

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Blog Brief: The Golden Rule and Same-Sex Marriage

According to President Obama the Golden Rule was his reason supporting same-sex marriage. Is this a justified position from a Christian perspective as Obama posits? I don’t think so. Ed Stetzer wrote a piece on the latest research that, sadly, 64% of Americans believe legalization of same-sex marriage is inevitable. Stetzer reminded us of Obama’s Golden Rule comment. What Obama actually said was quoted in a 2010 USA Today article. The President stated that he and Mrs. Obama are: both practicing Christians and obviously [same-sex marriage] may be considered to put us at odds with the views of others but, …keep reading »

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A Great Letter for Christian Husbands to Write Their Wives!

My mentor had me do an interesting exercise that involved writing a one page letter to my wife. The contents of the letter were me expressing to my wife what it is to be a Christian husband. I was to write what it should look like for me, Mark – not you, a pastor, a preacher, or anyone else – to be a Christian husband. The letter was a very fruitful exercise, but it was more than an exercise. I had to take a long, hard, prayerful look at what I had been, versus what Scripture says I should have …keep reading »

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Video: Write a Worship Song in 5 Minutes or Less

I just thought this was fun.

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Sunday Considerations: Father, Son, Holy Spirit

Consider these words from Herman Bavinck on the Father, Son and Holy Spirit as you prepare to worship the Triune God – the only God, an awesome God, a Holy God – on this Lord’s Day. This very special, this unique, relationship between Father and Son did not develop in time by way of the supernatural conception of the Holy Spirit, or of the anointing at baptism, or of the resurrection and ascension—though many have maintained this—but is a relationship which has existed from all eternity. The Son who in Christ assumed human nature was in the beginning with God …keep reading »

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Another Ban on Christian Prayer

Nick Provenza at The Seattle Times reports that praying in the name of Jesus Christ is no longer allowed at Longview City Council invocations. The ban was enacted due to a atheist’s complaint. LONGVIEW (AP) — Ministers should refrain from invoking Jesus Christ in invocations for City Council meetings, Longview Mayor Don Jensen said. Jensen told the Kelso-Longview Ministerial Association last month that such prayers were not acceptable because they could expose the city to a lawsuit, The Daily News reported Tuesday. “It’s not my choice to stop this, but I don’t know how we can put our citizens at jeopardy …keep reading »

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Ethics: Finding An Envelope Full of Cash!

What would you do Wednesday! Pamela North Holloway, a part-time Atlanta airport employee, recently founds an envelope stuffed with $7,000.1 Holloway’s story is the inspiration for today’s scenario. You work part-time, unable to find a full-time job yet. Monthly bills are piling up. Most of them going on two months late. This is the first month that your mortgage may be late. Though money has been tight, it is really only the last few months that have set you back. Unexpected car repairs, a higher than normal gas bill, gasoline prices and the like have been your nemesis. You haven’t …keep reading »

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Pontius Pilate’s Inscription

This inscription—found in Caesarea—confirms Pontius Pilate’s historical existence. It describes him as “Prefect of Judaea.”1 I found this image in Logos Bible Software when I logged in tonight. I thought I’d share!

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Sunday Considerations: Holiness Privileges

My soul is waiting upon God to be filled with His fullness! The hand of faith had enabled me to grasp the utmost limit of the privileges of holiness that the Lord Jesus purchased for me with His precious blood. I do not know what they are either in their nature or their effects. I do not know what it means what we are told that the body of sin was destroyed by the crucifixion of Christ and when we are commanded therefore to “reckon ourselves dead to sin.” But I do know that it means something which will enable …keep reading »

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Blog Brief: On Taming the Tongue

Quick and easy access to social media like blogs, twitter, Facebook et al. make it easy for Christians to pop-off with the fingers at a moments notice. Sometimes we may not even think about the repercussions of our words. I know because I’ve done it. After we catch ourselves we think we’ve got to be more careful with our words. We try harder. Yet, Scripture, in James 3:7-8 states, “For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is …keep reading »

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Ethics: Fellow Christian Recommends 50 Shades of Grey

What would you do Wednesday! Today’s scenario is between two Christians who are friends and fellow church members. You catch up on each others’ lives during a regular luncheon with a church friend. You try to have lunch a couple times per month for prayer, encouragement, and fellowship. While having a spiritual conversation you ask about their spouse. Since so many marriages have spiritual struggles in this age of busyness and information overload discussions about each others prayer and devotional life within the marriage is always a topic. Today, your friend tells you that their prayer and devotional life is …keep reading »

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Video: Pastor Jeffress Speaks on Tim Tebow Controversy

Toward the end of the video Pastor Jeffress names several Evangelicals who have supported him during the controversy of Tim Tebow’s scheduled speaking appearance and abrupt cancellation. He then comments about those men who stood with him. “I am grateful for men of God like these who are willing to stand up and act like men rather than wimping out when it gets a little controversial and an inconvenient thing to stand for the truth. God bless men like that.” Now, there are some people who would say, “Well, God’s given me a different ministry. God has calle me to …keep reading »

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Church? No Thanks, Hypocrite!

People often dismiss the church because they claim Christians are hypocrites. And all non-Christians have a perfect symbiotic relationship between belief and practice, right? Wrong, but Christians need a better answer than, “You do it too!” A comment about Christians being hypocrites came up yesterday while teaching Sunday School. I was teaching from James 3 on taming the tongue. The gist of the comment was that if Christians would tame their tongue (through the power of the Holy Spirit) and stop gossiping, etc. unbelievers would not call us hypocrites. Generally speaking, are Christians really hypocrites? I don’t think so. First, …keep reading »

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Sunday Considerations: A New State

“Therefore since Christ has suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves, likewise, with the same mind: for he that has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin; that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God. For the time past of our life may suffice us to have worked the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, drinking parties and abominable idolatries.” 1 Peter 4:1-3. Our Lord Jesus Christ has suffered for sin and He has …keep reading »

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Thoughts on FBC Dallas and Welcome Back Tim Tebow

Yesterday, I wrote Farewell Tim Tebow? in response to Tebow canceling his appearance at First Baptist Church of Dallas. Today I want to say welcome back – I think. I also want to briefly address some of the charges leveled against the theology of FBC Dallas showing that the church fits into generally held Southern Baptist positions. FBC Dallas released a statement in response to Tebow’s cancellation. In part, the church wrote: Mr. Tebow called Dr. Jeffress Wednesday evening saying that for personal and professional reasons he needed to avoid controversy at this time but would like to come to …keep reading »

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Farewell Tim Tebow?

A few days ago I wrote about some who called on Tim Tebow to cancel his upcoming appearance at First Baptist Dallas. The post was – In Light of Tim Tebow Invitation Baptist Church Answers Anti-Gay, Anti-Semitic Charges. Not once did I think Tebow would give in to the critics. Apparently, I was wrong. Tebow shared his reasons for canceling in four tweets. Hat tip to Denny Burk for putting those tweets together. While I was looking forward to sharing a message of hope and Christ’s unconditional love with the faithful members of the historic First Baptist Church of Dallas …keep reading »

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Ethics: Adult Toy Seller to Sing at Church Event

What would you do Wednesday! Today’s scenario is based on the true story of Kandi Burrus as reported by the Christian Post.1 According to CP, Burrus is a reality TV star, sells adult toys online and recently recorded the gospel song “Stay Prayed Up”. For the past several months your church has been planning a gospel music event. The event is well advertized, open to the public, and church members encouraged to bring friends and family. You have invited friends and family to the event some of whom include your neighbors. The whole night is planned out including coffee with …keep reading »

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Different Gospel Presentations: Who Gets Saved?

The following hypothetical conversations take place when evangelist A shares Jesus with unbeliever A while evangelist B shares with unbeliever B. The reason for this exercise are the recent assertions that Calvinists and non-Calvinists are promoting different gospels. Let’s see…. A B Evangelist A (EA) and Unbeliever A (A):EA: A, I’m glad we could meet today so I can share Jesus with you and explain how to be saved – how to be right with God. A: I told you I would listen to what you have to say about Jesus so here I am! EA: First, I want you …keep reading »

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In Light of Tim Tebow Invitation Baptist Church Answers Anti-Gay, Anti-Semitic Charges

Todd Starnes at Fox News documents anti-Christian attitudes against First Baptist Dallas in light of Tim Tebow’s upcoming appearance in his article Southern Baptists Defend Church Smeared by NBC. Starnes gives details about First Baptist Dallas being labeled as anti-gay and anti-Semitic. Because of these improper anti labels some have called on Tebow to cancel his appearance. Starnes also published the church’s response which I’ve quoted below. Recent media reports regarding an appearance by New York Jets’ Quarterback Tim Tebow at First Baptist Church of Dallas have grossly misrepresented past comments made by First Baptist’s pastor, Dr. Robert Jeffress, specifically …keep reading »

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One Step to Peace with God

Sometimes Baptists would come to our door in Ft. Lauderdale passing out gospel tracts. They would share Jesus and tell us all we had to do was believe. My mother and I would shake our heads holding to our RLDS beliefs that we must have faith and works to go to have peace with God. I don’t know if the Baptists at the door did a poor job explaining God’s plan of salvation; or if we just did not understand because our Joseph Smith lens. Scripturally speaking I know better today. We were spiritually blind and could not accept the …keep reading »

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Sunday Considerations: God’s Presence

God’s love is unfailing, His grace is always sufficient. But there is even more good news. He is with us in our troubles. He does not merely send grace from heaven to meet our trials. He Himself comes to help us. He says to us, “Do not be afraid … for I myself will help you” (Isaiah 41: 14). In Isaiah 43: 2, God says, When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; …keep reading »

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Pour Yourself Into the Church?

Lately, there seems a strong re-emphasis on the importance of being an active, participating member in one’s local church. Some Christians are encouraged to pour themselves into their local church to be and stay connected. But is pouring yourself into the church always the right answer? Recently, I talked to a friend in another city. He and his family have been somewhat disconnected from his church family due to various life circumstances. He sat down to talk with his pastor about the situation. Upon explaining that he felt a little like an outsider and did not know most of the …keep reading »

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Jesus is My N*gga?

I recently questioned the words used in Sho Baraka’s song “Jim Crow aka N*gga Island”. Imagine my surprise when I find out this morning that Sho is not the first Christian to use n*gga in a hip-hop song. (I’m using “hip-hop” loosely. Read on.) While tuning in to Power Talk, my favorite black talk radio show, the host and callers are discussing a recent YouTube video (embedded below) called “Rappin’ for Jesus” aka “Jesus is My N*gga”. What?! I listened closer. I even called in. The host asked for input about the song wondering if the song would be acceptable …keep reading »

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Ethics: Pastor Says Tithe Even If You Can’t Met Monthly Expenses

What would you do Wednesday! This week’s ethics post is inspired by Dave Miller’s recent post The New Testament Standard of Giving at SBC Voices. A couple from church have been missing for a few Sundays. You wonder where your friends have been so you give them a call one Sunday afternoon. Your friends tell you that they have been struggling financially and have not been able to give 10% of their gross income; their tithe. They have fallen on financial hard times. The economy is down, the husband took a pay cut, the wife was injured in an accident …keep reading »

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Unexpected, Expected Death

The Lord Jesus said,”Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”1 For Christians, anxiety shows a lack of trust in God. Anxiety can also be very unhealthy and can destroy a person. So many, some say most, things people worry about never turn out the way the person worried it would anyway. Yet, there is part of life that is unavoidable no matter how much worry is poured into it. No matter how filled with anxiety or how at peace one is there is the unavoidable …keep reading »

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Sunday Considerations: Our Protector

God Is Our Protector Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. Psalm 23: 4 David came to learn through years of being led by the Good Shepherd that his security did not lie in his environment, whether “green pastures” or “still waters” (Psalm 23: 2), but in his Shepherd. His words in today’s verse are, “You are with me.” Many read Psalm 23: 4 and immediately think of the grave; however, the word translated as death can …keep reading »

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JHMC: Session 3 – Walking Out of Our Prisons

This is a live blog of the Johnny Hunt Men’s Conference. You can find the conference on twitter @JHMensConf_FBCW and follow the official twitter hashtag here: #JHMC2013. The conference topic is: “ESCAPE PLAN: SIN IS A PRISON; LET’S BREAK OUT!” Session 3: Unspoken: I can’t Forgive Myself (Walking Out of Our Prisons) 1 JOHN 1:8-10 If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, …keep reading »

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JHMC: Session 2 – Truth that Keeps Us Free

This is a live blog of the Johnny Hunt Men’s Conference. You can find the conference on twitter @JHMensConf_FBCW and follow the official twitter hashtag here: #JHMC2013. The conference topic is: “ESCAPE PLAN: SIN IS A PRISON; LET’S BREAK OUT!“ Session 2: “Power to Walk Free” (Truth that Keeps Us Free) Gal 5:16-18, 22-24 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep …keep reading »

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JHMC: Session 1 – Truth that Frees

This is a live blog of the Johnny Hunt Men’s Conference. You can find the conference on twitter @JHMensConf_FBCW and follow the official twitter hashtag here: #JHMC2013. The conference topic is: “ESCAPE PLAN: SIN IS A PRISON; LET’S BREAK OUT!“ Session 1: “Bible Engagement/Bible Reflection” (Truth that Frees) Psalm 19:7-14 The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes; the fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever; …keep reading »

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Blog Brief: No One is Infallible

When a preacher or teacher has made statements or engaged in actions some find questionable the response is often dismissed with – but no one is infallible! True, no one is infallible. But does that lead to the conclusion that no one is questionable? Or accountable? What, I think, is really being said when the “no one is infallible” reason is used is that “since no one is infallible we ought not question someone’s teaching or their methods.” Graceful questioning without an ulterior motive is not a bad thing. Questioning does not mean condemning, but may just be needed for …keep reading »

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What if You Say the Sinner’s Prayer and Mean It?

There is a lot of disagreement among Christians over the use of the sinner’s prayer. Some are quick to point out abuse of the sinner’s prayer and all together dismiss it. Others seem quick to overlook its abuse and to point out its usefulness. Personally, I have witnessed its abuse. Yet, I often wonder if we will ever find a common ground on the sinner’s prayer. But yesterday’s ethics post about the sinner’s prayer raised a question in my mind. What if someone says the sinner’s prayer and means it? Of course, then questions about the question begin. People will …keep reading »

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Westboro’s Phelps Family: America’s Most Hated Family in Crisis

Louis Theroux of the BBC does a video expose of Westboro Baptist’s Phelps family. I hate calling them a church and hate calling them Baptists though I know those are empty labels. Also, see the previous article about Westboro on this site: Westboro Baptist Revealed: Evangelized, Interviewed, Reviewed. – Remember as you watch – If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to …keep reading »

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When Deacons Get Saved!

A deacon in our church got saved during my circumcision sermon in Genesis. He had to be elect. I love my "job". — Pastor Mark Driscoll (@PastorMark) February 5, 2013

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Ethics: Pastoral Candidate Preaches Salvation through the Sinner’s Prayer

What would you do Wednesday! The following scenario is based on a true story that was submitted through the contact page. What follows is the blog reader’s main concern in this church’s path to find a new pastor. The following scenario gets to the heart of the concern while not precisely describing every aspect of the situation. A deacon friend comes to you with concerns over the pastoral candidate most of the search committee favors. He is also on the search committee along with two other pastors and three other deacons. The former pastor gave a five month resignation notice …keep reading »

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Should Males Make Decisions on Abortion?

There is a pro-choice abortion argument that states men should not make decisions or laws on abortion since they are male. Since only females are anatomically designed to carry and give birth to a child they are the only ones who may have a valid say on abortion. Pregnancy and abortion will never physically affect a man the way it they do a woman so men should be silent. There are several angles in which to frame this argument. Some, like recently retired libertarian radio talk show host Neal Boortz, even blamed President Obama’s recent victory on the position taken …keep reading »

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Book Review: The Spiritual Condition of Infants by Adam Harwood

Southern Baptist Pastor and fellow blogger Chris Roberts did a very thorough book review of The Spiritual Condition of Infants: A Biblical-Historical Survey and Systematic Proposal by Dr. Adam Harwood. The review is worth a read so I wanted to highlight it. A Review of The Spiritual Condition of Infants – Harwood’s stance becomes clear early in the book, though he waits until the end to give a “declarative statement on the spiritual condition of infants” and to “speculate how God might deal with people who die in their infancy”. He concludes that although people are born with a sin …keep reading »

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Interesting Tidbits on John Calvin and Preaching

I recently live blogged the G3 Conference. One of the pastors, Dr. Steve Lawson, gave a presentation on John Calvin’s preaching and what we can learn from it. I found a few items about Calvin fascinating. First, note that Lawson scaled down his material from 30-something points (as I recall) to the following six points. Authority of Biblical Truth Priority of Sequential Exposition The Accuracy of Sound Exegesis Committed to the Energy of Lively Preaching Necessity of Gospel Defense Fervency of Evangelistic Passion I agree with Lawson when he said that no man more loved or more hated or more …keep reading »

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This Week: Join Me at the 2013 Johnny Hunt Men’s Conference

Join me this week at the 2013 Johnny Hunt Men’s Conference! “Escape Plan: Sin is a prison; let’s break out!” Register now for the dates below. Conference 2 February 8-9, 2013 (Contact me if cost is keeping you from registering.) I will be live blogging conference 2 this coming weekend. Check out the break out sessions at: 2013 Breakout Speakers. Johnny Hunt will be delivering the following three keynotes. KEYNOTE 1: “Bible Engagement/Bible Reflection” (Truth that Frees) Ps 19:7-14 The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple; …keep reading »

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Sunday Considerations: Liberal Giving

Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father, who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and word. (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17 ESV) We ought to be free in our giving to others since God has been so free in His giving to us. As He has abounded toward us in infinite liberality, we ought to abound towards all with whom we come in contact up to the full measure of our ability in all love and kindness and mercy. In every benevolent …keep reading »

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Note to Christians: Tip Well or Don’t Eat!

Of course, the story of “pastor” Alois Bell scratching out the 18% mandatory tip on the receipt and writing in “I give God 10% why do you get 18?” is all over the internet now. I first learned of the story when my friend Marty wrote “An open letter to a fired waitress: I’m sorry we are so stingy.” Bell has explained herself in an interview (see below). One waitress, who did not wait on Bell, posted an image of the receipt on the atheism section of reddit which set off the current viral firestorm. Bell left out of her …keep reading »

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On Theological Fighting: Proclaim Christ Instead of Grinding Out Your Theology

During the recent G3 Conference I live blogged there was a panel discussion Q&A. Questions were submitted months in advance of the conference. The first question was for Paul Washer. The question was on substitutionary atonement pitting limited atonement against general atonement. Washer’s answer modeled a great way to think in terms of Christian unity through all of our internal, and often public, theological battles. Brother Paul gave a wise answer. The submitted question. If substitutionary atonement is the true biblical doctrine, does it provide any room for a universal or general atonement as many Free-Will Baptists believe – that Jesus …keep reading »

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Sunday Considerations: Redeemed

The greatest of all transactions The costliest purchase price Father, Your Son’s atoning death Was given in payment for mine To buy me back from slavery To set me free from my chains Redeemed, how I love to proclaim it Redeemed by the blood of the Lamb Redeemed through Your infinite mercy Your child and forever I am Now I’ll never know Your judgment My Savior was judged for me Jesus, Your death and Yours alone Has cancelled the debt that I owed You satisfied the law’s demands And new life’s been given to me Redeemed, how I love to …keep reading »

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G3: Paul Washer – Penal Substitution – The Core of God’s Saving Plan

I had to slip out and tend to some family matters so brother Len blogged this for me. Find him on twitter: @OneOver99. I appreciate his help. —- Pastors raise your hands. He read a passage about being established. He said he is blessed to be here and to hear these men preach. Some of the best in the ministry. He says pastor, if you are faithful you are worth your weight in gold. Pastor,  He will come one day…and you will see…your labor was not kn vain. The entire ocean in a cup of water. All the sand of …keep reading »

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G3: Paul Washer – The Priority of Prayer for Christian Life, Ministry, and Mission

This is a live blog of the G3 Conference. I will be updating along with the speakers. You can follow the line-up at: G3 Schedule. Some of what’s written are paraphrases of quotes that I am unable to catch. Pastor, if you truly want you people to serve you then present Christ before them crucified. It is the mystery of all godliness. Truly converted people do not need a whip, but need to know the justice and mercy of God. Every minister that preached at this conference could have preached on the same text, used the same manuscript and it …keep reading »

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G3: Donald Whitney – When God Turned His Back on Jesus

This is a live blog of the G3 Conference. I will be updating along with the speakers. You can follow the line-up at: G3 Schedule. Some of what’s written are paraphrases of quotes that I am unable to catch. Open the Bible to Matthew 27. Whitney opens with thankfulness for the conference. Those who accuse Christians of simply believing in God with a blind faith are totally unaware of how many times we question God. We wonder why God is doing what He is doing. We continue to trust in Him and His sovereign care despite circumstances. Though we do …keep reading »

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G3: Voddie Baucham – Doctrine Matters – Getting the Gospel Right

We hear much talk about the gospel. In some ways the gospel has become a fad. When something becomes a fad some people jump on the bandwagon and have no idea about what they are involved in. When some people say gospel they are celebrating social gospel. Others, when they hear gospel they are excited because they hear all the moral teachings of Jesus. Legalism. There’s another form of legalism going around – love God, love people. Love God, love people is actually an abbreviation of Jesus’ teaching on the two greatest commandments. The two greatest commandments are a summary …keep reading »

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G3: Joel Beeke – What Really Is the Gospel?

Turn to 1 Tim 1:15-17. The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life. To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen. (1 Timothy 1:15-17 ESV) Five facets of answering the question – what is the gospel? [I lost …keep reading »

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G3: Friday Q&A Panel Discussion

Q: If substitution atonement is the true biblical doctrine does it provide any room for a universal atonement that Jesus died for the whole world without exception? Washer: I’m going to answer the question without really answering it. When he thinks about the glorious doctrine such as the atonement it upsets me that some people only think about it when they want to argue over Calvinism. The doctrine is best used proclaimed to the masses that Christ died and to call all men to repent. Even John 3:16 is not to argue a particular doctrine of the atonement but to …keep reading »

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G3: Steve Lawson – The Preaching of John Calvin and What We Can Learn

This is a live blog of the G3 Conference. I will be updating along with the speakers. You can follow the line-up at: G3 Schedule. Some of the words are paraphrases of quotes that I am unable to catch. Lawson explains that no man more loved or more hated or most misunderstood than John Calvin. Even so, Calvin is the most influential. To omit John Calvin from the history of western Christianity is to read history with one eye shut. Calvin stood at the top of the movement that shaped history. He has been estimated to be greatest theologian since …keep reading »

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G3: Tim Challies – Mission in a Changing World

This is a live blog of the G3 Conference. I will be updating along with the speakers. You can follow the line-up at: G3 Schedule. Tim begins by rightly making fun of how the South shuts down at the mere mention of ice and snow. A preemptive shutdown he called it. Tim going to speak about how the way we communicate the unchanging gospel will change. What are the specific challenges that come to us as Christians in a changing world? We are in the middle of a massive shift in communication – computer to internet. There has been a …keep reading »

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Is Mark Driscoll (@PastorMark) Right on President Obama?

On the day of President Obama’s inauguration, Mark Driscoll sent out the tweet below. There was mixed reaction to the tweet. A lot of people agree with Driscoll and a lot disagree – probably, much like the divide in the country. Regardless of personal feelings, is Driscoll right biblically in his comments on Obama? Why or why not? Praying for our president, who today will place his hand on a Bible he does not believe to take an oath to a God he likely does not know. — Mark Driscoll (@PastorMark) January 21, 2013

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Ethics: Pastor Offers Money to Attend His Church

What would you do Wednesday? Today’s scenario may be the weirdest yet! And it’s based on a true story…or is it? You are at lunch sitting in a local restaurant with a few friends one Sunday after worship service. A pastor of another local church walks by. Though you are both Baptists this pastor is adamantly opposed to your theology which leans more on the side of the Protestant Reformers. Despite disagreements you are always cordial to each other and consider each other brothers in Christ. The pastor does not see you as he walks through the restaurant so you stop …keep reading »

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Why Do So Many Christians Live this Way?

The section quoted below was part of last night’s discipleship group meeting. The authors then asks the reader to reflect on the evidence for their own walk with Christ in relation to Luke 6:40. But the broad question of why so many who profess to be Christians, but don’t actually follow Christ as evidenced by a changed life is not addressed. When Jesus called His first disciples, they may not have understood where Jesus would take them or the impact it would have on their lives, but they knew what it meant to follow. They took Jesus’s call literally and …keep reading »

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Sunday Considerations: Overcome Evil

“Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.” Romans 12:21 THIS is a very meaty verse and the form of it greatly assists the memory. It is worthy to be called a Christian Proverb. I would recommend every Christian to learn it by heart and have it ready for use, for there are a great many Proverbs which convey a very different sense and these are often quoted to give the weight of authority to unchristian principles. Here is an Inspired Proverb – carry it with you and use it as a weapon with which to parry the …keep reading »

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Ten Commandments for Small Groups

I came across the “Ten Commandments for Small Groups” in my reading. I thought I would share the summary of those commandments since a lot of Christians are part of small groups. A Summary of the Ten Commandments for Small Groups This group may have many leaders, but only one Lord, God (“You shall have no other gods before me,” Ex 20:3). This group will discern all persons, relationships and things in recognition and measure of the ever-present Creator God (“You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth …keep reading »

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Warning: Mormon Acceptance Propaganda

On January 8, 2013, I was contacted through my blog by Eric Shuster. He is releasing a new book soon so he asked if I would like to help promote it via a blog tour. The book’s title alone – Where are the Christians? The Unrealized Potential of a Divided Religion – grabbed my interest. But this inquiring mind wanted to know more about it since I had never heard of the author nor the upcoming book. A quick check on Amazon and Shuster’s website answered the blog tour question for me – no! The author is a former Roman …keep reading »

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Video: Baptist History Rap

HT: Nathan Finn. This is one of Dr. Finn’s students, Ashley Unzicker.

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Ethics: Pastor Won’t Reveal His Salary

What would you do Wednesday! Money is a touchy subject for most people; especially, their own money. Even many Christians are adamant that they know exactly where every dime they give to the church is being spent. There are times when churches need to raise additional funds so they have a special plea for members to give. Some members give more, some give the same, and some don’t give at all. Though it might be argued that Christians in general don’t give sacrificially anyway. Today’s scenario is one in which your church needs to raise a bit of extra money …keep reading »

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Does Sho Baraka’s Song “Jim Crow” (aka Nigga Island) Harm the Gospel?

Chrisitan hip-hop artist, Sho Baraka just release his latest album Talented 10th. Prior to the album release the single “Jim Crow” was released at Hip Hop DX. The official name of the song seems to be “Jim Crow,” but many also refer to it as “Ni**ga Island.” The title of the song alone is bound bring disagreements, especially, from a Christian artist. You can read the lyrics and listen below, but here is the hook: I feel I’m trapped in a crazy place. Asking the Lord for amazing grace. I see the masses wanna change me. I’m waiting for someone …keep reading »

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Recent Free and Cheap Kindle eBooks

The prices on the books below are subject to change and the prices in the tweet reflect the price at that time. So, get them while they are free and cheap! #Free on #Kindle “Ten Indictments against the Modern Church” by Paul Washer. amzn.to/10ublvk #fb — Mark Lamprecht (@hereiblog) January 14, 2013 #Free on #KIndle “A Reason for the Hope: Essays in Apologetics” by @maxmassimo of Frontline Ministries. amzn.to/WWmNYm #fb — Mark Lamprecht (@hereiblog) January 14, 2013 Only $1.99 on #Kindle “Famine in the Land: A Passionate Call for Expository Preaching” by Steven J. Lawson amzn.to/UGhamR — Mark Lamprecht (@hereiblog) …keep reading »

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Sunday Considerations: Walk with God

“The commandment to walk with God is indefinite, without limitation, therefore must be understood to be a walking with him in all things, and that in all things, and, at all times, in all companies, and in all changes, conditions, and estates of your life, whatsoever. To walk with God in general and at large is not sufficient. You are not dispensed with for any moment of your life; but all the days of your life, and each day of your life, and each hour of that day, and each minute of that hour; you must pass the time, the …keep reading »

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When a Good Guy Writes an Inconsistent Blog Post

I love Tim Challies. That is, as a Christian brother. In fact, I hope to say hello to him this month at the G3 Conference as he travels to my neck of the woods. Last time I saw him was at the 2010 Band of Bloggers gathering. We stood next to each other talking to different people and did not get to meet. Anyway, Challies is a good guy. He has even been gracious enough to help me get votes the last two years for the Blogging Scholarship. I’m letting you know up front that I have nothing against him. …keep reading »

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Sadly, Giglio Withdraws from President Obama’s Inauguration

Jonathan Capehart is joyfully reporting at the Washington Post that Louie Giglio has withdrawn from President Obama’ inauguration.1 Just yesterday I defended Giglio from an attack by a Liberal at HuffPo. So I post with sadness that Giglio has removed himself from Obama’s inauguration. I know Christians are divided (what’s new?) over whether or not an Evangelical should participate in an event like the Presidential Inauguration. However, many of us saw Giglio giving the benediction as a great gospel opportunity. Maybe another Evangelical will replace him who is also not ashamed of the gospel. The full text of Giglio’s reasoning …keep reading »

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Join Me this Month at the G3 Conference in Metro-Atlanta!

Lord willing, later this month from January 24th – 26th 2013, I will be live blogging the G3 Conference. (G3 stands for Gospel, Grace and Glory – check out the website for more info.) The conference was created by Pastor Josh Buice of Prays Mill Baptist Church. The conference will be held in Metro-Atlanta or, more precisely, 20 miles west of Atlanta in Douglasville, GA at Prays Mill Baptist. The G3 speakers are Paul Washer, David Miller, Tim Challies, Steve Lawson, Donald Whitney, Voddie Baucham, Joel Beeke, Chip Thornton and Jon Payne. Pastor Buice is a friend and I am …keep reading »

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Intolerant Liberal Targets Louie Giglio

The liberal attacks against Louie Giglio are already starting.  Paul Brandeis Raushenbush at the Huffington Post goes after Giglio in his article “Obama, Inaugural Prayers and the Evangelicals Who Don’t Like Him.”1 As I’ve previously noted, Giglio has accepted President Obama’s invitation to give the benediction at his inauguration. Giglio is a Conservative, Evangelical Christian and some liberals like Raushenbush are not happy with the President’s choice of Giglio. Below I will quote and comment on the pertinent part of Raushenbush’s article showing his misrepresentation, inconsistency and political broad brushing. Rev. Louie Giglio, the conservative evangelical pastor of Passion City Church …keep reading »

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Ethics: Parents to Put Child on ADHD Medication

What would you do Wednesday! Friends and fellow church members are contemplating putting their kid on ADHD medicine. Your pastor is very outspoken against any type of ADHD medication. In fact, the pastor has made it clear that any church member who believes their kids need ADHD medication are simply not doing their jobs as parents. Those parents lack a biblical model of discipline in the home. He has asked that any parent considering such mediation seek biblical counsel by talking to him first. Your friends explain that they decided to have their kid tested by a psychiatrist in stead …keep reading »

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Louie Giglio to Give Benediction at President Obama’s Inauguration

The Hill is reporting the that civil-rights activist Myrlie Evers-Williams and Evangelical pastor Louie Giglio will participate in President Obama’s 2013 inauguration.1 Evers-Williams will give the invocation and Giglio is set to give the benediction. The last Evangelical to participate in Obama’s inauguration was Rick Warren of which I shared some thoughts at the time. (See: Apostle Paul On Inauguration Day) It’s interesting that Giglio is not only Evangelical, but also a Calvinist. I am glad, yet cautiously optimistic about Giglio’s participation. Events like the President’s inauguration tend to be highly ecumenical. Surely, Giglio will carefully choose his words while facing …keep reading »

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Huge Sale on Crossway eBooks!

Crossway is having a great sale on all of their eBooks this month. What a great time to pick up The MacArthur Study Bible eBook format (which is my plan). The GreekTools listed below are also tempting. Check it out! Between January 8 and January 15, all ebooks on Crossway.org will be priced at $5.99 or less. This special sale also includes ESVBible.org modules, including the ESV Online Study Bible, the Online Global Study Bible, and GreekTools, along with many others. You can find a complete list here. The study Bible modules contain all the study notes, articles, charts, and …keep reading »

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Word of Faith Vs. Reformed Baptist: A Theological Dialogue

Reformed Pastor Saiko Woods and Word of Faith Pastor Fred Price, Jr. enter the theological ring with the gloves off. Woods and Price candidly discussion their theological differences both turning to Scripture to defend their theology. This discussion is a breath of fresh air given the way theological disagreements are often carried out. I wish more face to face discussion like this could take place. I mean – I’d love to see James White sit down with T.D. Jakes to discussion the Trinity. I have not had time to note some of my thoughts on the following Woods-Price discussion, but …keep reading »

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Sunday Considerations: Be Wholly Thine

“Lord, our Heavenly Father, Eternal God! Blessed be Thy divine power and might; magnified Thy fathomless goodness and mercy; praised Thine eternal wisdom and truth. For Thou hast shielded me with Thy hand against the perils of this night, and hast suffered me to rest and slumber in peace under the shadow of Thy wings. Thou hast kept and safeguarded me with a father’s care against the Evil One and all his wicked designs and purposes. Therefore, I magnify Thy goodness and the wonders which Thou doest for the children of men. I will exalt Thee in the congregation. Thy …keep reading »

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Christian Code Language

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Good Christian Spouses

What is it to be a good Christian spouse? Many Christians believe they are pretty good spouses. What is a typical day for a good Christian spouse? The alarm clock sounds. It is time to get up for one or both spouses. Some Bible reading together or at least some prayer time would have been good, but hitting the snooze button a few times was necessary. It’s been a long week and it’s only Tuesday. Running late. Got to get going. Got to get to work. The spouses say their goodbyes. One spouse calls the other during the day. The …keep reading »

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Ethics: New Years Eve Party, Alcohol and the Pastor

What would you do Wednesday! Christmas has just passed and the new year is almost here. You make plans all week for a New Years Eve fellowship at your home with some friends from church. As you invite friends you make sure they understand that you will have champagne for the happy new year toast. The annual champagne toast is a reminder of the freedom in Christ there is to have a drink of alcohol. It is also a celebration of coming out of the cult of Mormonism where alcohol is forbidden based on Joseph Smith’s ‘Word of Wisdom’. Friends …keep reading »

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Sunday Considerations: Amazing Grace

Then King David went in and sat before the LORD and said, “Who am I, O LORD God, and what is my house, that you have brought me thus far? And this was a small thing in your eyes, O God. You have also spoken of your servant’s house for a great while to come, and have shown me future generations, O LORD God! (1 Chronicles 17:16-17 ESV) Perhaps you’ll be surprised to learn that “Amazing Grace” is a New Year’s hymn. On Friday morning, January 1, 1773, John Newton, former slave trader and infidel, preached a New Year’s message …keep reading »

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2012 Thoughts on Blogging, Life and Stuff

The sand in the hour glass of 2012 has almost run out. Time sure seems to go by fast these days. The end of 2012 means another year of blogging also ends. All is not lost since a new year, 2013, begins – Lord willing. I’ve been blogging for several years. Yet, I do not know if I would consider myself a successful blogger. I’m not sure if I am even a good blogger, but I know my writing has improved. Hopefully, my content has also improved. Personally, 2012 was the most spiritually difficult year while also the most spiritually …keep reading »

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If Government Mandates Prayer in Public Schools

In light of the tragic Sandy Hook massacre, one of the reasons given for such incidents is that God has been kicked out of public schools. One argument for inviting God back into public schools is to reinstate prayer. I am not arguing whether reinstating government mandated prayer is right or wrong. But I am wondering something…. If government mandates prayer in public schools who faith will lead the prayers – a Muslim, a Jew, a Hindu, a Buddhist , a Sikh, a Jehovah’s Witness, a Mormon or a Christian? Which prayer would please God and actually invite Him into …keep reading »

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One Question for Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan)

In the above video, Piers Morgan says to Rick Warren, “The Bible and the Constitution were well-intentioned, but they are basically, inherently flawed. Hence, the need to amend them. My point to you about gay rights, for example, it’s time for an amendment to the Bible. You should compile a new Bible.” Since Morgan is all about equal rights and fairness, as he defines them, I thought it only proper to include our Muslim friends in on the conversation. Let’s be fair to Islam in this discussion and give Muslims equal time and consider the state of the Qur’an alongside …keep reading »

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Free eBook – Still Not Professionals: Ten Pleas for Today’s Pastor

In my review of Brothers, We Are Not Professionals: A Plea to Pastors for Radical Ministry by John Piper, I recommended that all church members read this book. My thoughts are that church members might be better members if they better understand the “what” and “why” of their pastor’s struggles and temptations. Reading this book should greatly help church members understand the pastoral role. Members would better realize not only why, but how different decisions are made within the church by the pastor(s). This is probably a good reminder to take my own advice. An updated edition of the book …keep reading »

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Top 10 Ethics Posts for 2012

In July 2010, I started the Wednesday series called “What Would You Do Wednesday!” In those Wednesday posts I try to come up with real life situations faced by Christians in order to help us think through how we might react and apply biblically based ethics. Sometimes the situations are based on actual events as people started contacting me with situations in which they have been involved. Of course, I would never reveal who is submitting these situations. Often those who submit a situation are curiously seeking advice with a wider audience than they might have otherwise. The goal is …keep reading »

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Merry Christmas: Linus Explains

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” (John 3:16-17 ESV) Merry Christmas!

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A Blogger’s Night Before Christmas

To blog before Christmas when all through the ‘net, Watchbloggers were reading for their appetite to whet. Drafting a post to spread cheer – a Christmas song, But wait – someone on the internet might be wrong! The blog readers wonder and wait with baited breath, For the next post to be published to their RSS. That’s what he tells himself this Christmas Eve, His true presents come with the comments they leave. Hearing clatter outside, he jumped out of bed, But then thoughts of blog stats ran through his head. To check for new comments and stats he did …keep reading »

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Sunday Considerations: Everybody that Celebrates Christmas

I wish everybody that celebrates Christmas this year, would keep it as the angels kept it. There are many persons who, when they talk about celebrating Christmas, mean by that, that they would never forget to go to church on Christmas Eve or Christmas morning, yet their way of celebrating the rest of the day is very remarkable; for it would be with gluttony and drunkenness. There are many who think Christmas cannot be celebrated, except with a lot of merriment and festivity in the house, and added to that the noisiness of sin. Now, my brethren, we being true …keep reading »

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Because We have a Black President?

Sometimes while driving to the office I flip the radio over to local, liberal, black radio on am 1390 WAOK and listen to Powertalk with Lorraine Jacques-White. This morning was one of those times. I heard an amazing assertion by a Christian caller whose politics got in the way of reasoning. As I turned to the station to 1390, a man called in who quoted Genesis 1:26 asserting that it taught there is more than one God. Host White rightfully corrected him and gave an analogy defending the Trinity. The next caller also corrected the man by defending the Trinity. …keep reading »

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Christmas Like Clouds and Wind

Like clouds and wind without rain is a man who boasts of a gift he does not give. (Proverbs 25:14 ESV) Gray clouds darken the sky. Gusts of wind moves trees like an invisible force. The sun is hidden yet still there. Check the weather report, put on a rain coat, grab an umbrella – prepare. Your hair blows wildly as you walk to the car, but everything else is in place in case you have to change plans. You’re prepared; prepared for rain. Rain is a glorious life-giving, life-sustaining act of nature – God’s nature. As a Christian, you …keep reading »

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Ethics: Christmas Tree Vs. Fellowship

What would you do Wednesday! The following scenario takes place during the first week of December which means Christmas is around the corner. A friend called a wanted to come over to discuss Christmas trees. While reading about Christmas trees online, as a Christian, he became uncomfortable with them. A week later he stops by your house. Since you last talked he has come to the clear conviction that Christmas trees have some sort of pagan origins; therefore Christians should not put them up to celebrate the birth of Jesus. On your living room floor he notices a box packed …keep reading »

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Hardest Part of the Christian Life is the Easiest to Understand

I was talking with a brother about our upcoming discipleship groups. He mentioned that the material is not as doctrinally deep as he would have liked. Knowing how proud doctrine and knowledge once made me – I got his point! Not that he was being prideful, but I understood. I thought about my own failings for a moment. Like a flashback in a movie that  takes the viewer through years in a few seconds – I thought about all of theological readings, seminary classes, etc. Despite my studies I was no champion over sin. I encouraged my brother that these …keep reading »

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Grief: Finding Hope Again

Grief: Finding Hope Again by Paul David Tripp (New Growth Press) is being offered online by the Christian Counseling & Educational Foundation (CCEF). You can read it below and may find it extremely helpful if you are grieving or helping someone else who is grieving.   Open publication – Free publishing – More ccef

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Sunday Considerations: Rest

Man, without God, is like the mariner in the story, condemned to sail on forever and never to find a haven. He is the real wandering Jew, immortal in his restlessness. Like the evil spirit, man by nature walks through dry places, seeking rest and finding none. Of our race, by nature, it might almost be said as of our Redeemer, varying but a little His words, “Foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the soul of man has not where to lay its head.” I speak to many this morning to whom this has …keep reading »

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Death, Murder, Hope

Death Death is one of the few parts of life that is unavoidable. Death comes in various ways from natural to accidental to sometimes murderous. All death is sad, especially, to those close to the deceased. Yet, it is normally less difficult to mourn a natural death than an accidental or, especially, a murderous one. What happened at Sandy Hook Elementary School was neither natural nor accidental – it was murder. Pure evil. It is time to pray for all of those affected by the murder of the six adults and 20 children. Pray for the family, friends, and acquaintances. …keep reading »

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Is Erick Erickson Right on the Evangelists’ Failure?

Conservative political blogger and talk radio host Erick Erickson, in his article “The Evangelists’ Failure“on RedState.com, shares what he sees as one of Evangelical America’s biggest failures. Erickson is more than a conservative political pundit. He is also an Evangelical of the Presbyterian persuasion. I have listened to Erickson many times on the local radio station while sifting through Atlanta traffic. He is a sharp, insightful, and fair brother. Based on some of the information he provides to his listeners, he is also politically well-connected. I appreciate brother Erickson’s insights on culture and politics, but I’m not convinced of his conclusion …keep reading »

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Coexist: Truth or Fairytale?

 

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Ethics: Pastor Threatens to Call Out Facebook Posts from Pulpit

What would you do Wednesday! The following situation is based on a true story. Though I don’t always note when an ethics post is based on a true story, but I thought this one a bit odd so I mention it in case anyone wonders if I just made it up. The concern stems from Facebook posts and made its way to the pulpit. Your teenage son is on Facebook. Like all good teenaged Facebook users he updates his wall often. Your son shares his feelings on his wall about various issues in life. If he is struggling, frustrated or …keep reading »

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Field Trips and Work Detail

I want to make two general observations of the attitudes exuded by Christians ministering in the church. Those Christians range from pastor to deacon to those who sneak in late and sit on the last pew. The types of ministering ranges from preaching to teaching to walking an elderly lady to her car. Some Christians give the impression that they are on work detail when ministering to others. It’s as if they force a joyless smile just to get through a laborious task. Their motivation seems to flow out of a love for God as they dutifully serve their neighbor …keep reading »

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Sunday Considerations: In Prayer

In prayer God and the soul meet, and hold communion together; then the curtain of heaven is drawn aside, that I may look in, and see my large possessions. Then do I get a glance of the King in his beauty, and a glimpse of the excellences of the life above—so that I am filled with wonder, and desire to depart, and to be with Jesus! This is the well at which I drink the heavenly water, and am refreshed and strengthened for my journey. “Lord, while allowed to come into your presence with boldness, let secret sin, (ah! what …keep reading »

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Embarrassing the Kids

If you have kids or have ever been a kid then you know what it’s like when kids are embarrassed by their parents. Kids may feel embarrassed at any given time they are around their friends or simply in public. Kids feeling embarrassed by their parents is not a new or isolated idea. Such embarrassment is portrayed on TV shows and in movies. Sometimes kids make up any excuse or walk longer distances to avoid being picked-up, dropped-off or escorted somewhere in front of their friends. Sometimes parents catch on and, in good fun, purposely embarrass their kids. Why are …keep reading »

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Genius the Movie Featuring John Lennon

Living Waters ministry has put a new video called Genius. Check it out below!

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Ethics: Sermon Illustration Used as Real Personal Experience

What would you do Wednesday! It’s Sunday morning just before worship service begins. As you talk to some friends, you remember the joke you read on a blog last night about a pastor, a rabbi and a priest fishing together. You begin telling the joke, but the music starts so you have to finish afterward. Worship service begins and a wonderful time of worship feeds your soul. Toward the end of sermon the preacher begins an illustration to help make a particular point. The illustration turns out to be a joke – the same joke you read last night on …keep reading »

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The Reach of Pornography in the Church

Denny Burk quotes Heath Lambert on pornography from the latest issue of JBWM. Pornography is the defining sexual sin of our day. In Christian circles adultery and homosexuality often capture more headlines, but I am persuaded that in terms of sheer numbers they cannot hold a candle to the devastation of pornography. Last year I counseled six people struggling with homosexuality and around eighteen caught in adultery and fornication. I don’t know exactly how many I helped who were locked in pornography, but the number is in the dozens. As bad as that number sounds those people are not the …keep reading »

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Not with Other Christians

“With whom is the Christian soldier meant to fight? Not with other Christians. Wretched indeed is that man’s idea of religion, who imagines that it consists in perpetual controversy! He who is never satisfied unless he is engaged in some strife between church and church, chapel and chapel, sect and sect, faction and faction, party and party — knows nothing yet as he ought to know. As a general rule, the cause of sin is never so much helped as when Christians waste their strength in quarreling with one another, and spend their time in petty squabbles.” – J. C. …keep reading »

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How Do You See Other People?

Apparently, the “Get Service” video below has been around since 2007 or so. I saw it for the first time yesterday. It offers an interesting perspective on self-centeredness and thinking about other people. As a Christian, this video hit home for me in light of the gospel. For example, driving everyday in Metro-Atlanta offers a buffet of frustration from inconsiderate and illegal driving – if I choose to eat from that platter. Unfortunately, some days I eat well to my own sinful demise. I can’t control other peoples’ driving or anything else for that matter. But I can control myself and …keep reading »

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Sunday Considerations: Greatest Need

Heavenly Father, help me realize today that You are more than enough to meet every need that I will be confronted with today. Help me feel with Your heart and touch with Your hand. I surrender afresh right now and bow in Your presence to confess, “You are Lord.” In Christ’s name, Amen. Then Peter said, “Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk.” And he took him by the right hand and lifted him up, and immediately his feet and …keep reading »

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Chemist James Tour: Nanotech and Jesus Christ

Dr. James Tour recently spoke at The Veritas Forum at GA Tech, a ministry in which a friend is involved. James M. Tour, a synthetic organic chemist, received his Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry from Syracuse University, his Ph.D. in synthetic organic and organometallic chemistry from Purdue University, and postdoctoral training in synthetic organic chemistry at the University of Wisconsin and Stanford University.1 I’ve had two years of Spanish, one year of Japanese and two semesters of biblical Greek, but I can’t understand the scientific language brother Tour speaks. Dr. Tour is a smart man. An intellect. But you don’t …keep reading »

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Where Are You?

On a recent Saturday morning, some of us from Sunday School class got to live out our faith a bit. A struggling, single mother needed a new roof on her house because it was leaking. That Saturday morning she received a new roof. She also received the gospel of Jesus Christ. Both were our pleasure. She knew the gospel and professed to be a believer. We kept talking to better understand her situation and how we could pray for her. She was hurting economically like many people right now. She was also hurting spiritually like many people right now. There …keep reading »

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R.I.P. Zig Ziglar: Zig Talks About Coming to Jesus at Age 45

Christian and motivational speaker Zig Ziglar has gone home to be with the Lord at 86 years old. Zig was a Southern Baptist Sunday School teacher at Prestonwood Baptist Church in Texas. In 1985-86, he even as first vice president of the Southern Baptist Convention. Zig is famously known for motivational speaking. He has helped many people throughout the years in their business and their personal lives. I started listening to Zig’s motivational tapes in the mid-90’s through the encouragement of a co-worker. I still occasionally listen today. In the video below Zig shares with talk show host Philippe Matthews …keep reading »

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Funny Man Tim Hawkins: National Athems

Christian comedian Tim Hawkins is always good for a laugh. My wife and I saw him life earlier this year when he came to the Atlanta area. So how would The Star-Spangled Banner sound if done by Bob Marley, Neil Young, Dave Matthews and Bob Dylan? Great times!

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Todd Friel Graciously Answers Critic During Open-Air Preaching Event

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Contentment: Philippians vs. Black Friday

Black Friday and all of its craziness has come and gone for another year. Now it’s Cyber Monday’s turn. It is a good thing that Black Friday has passed because of all of the crazy things it makes people do, right? Wrong. Black Friday isn’t the cause of peoples’ sinful behavior, but an avenue that draws it out. Black Friday allows people to show, to an extent, where many find contentment. Some people like comfort foods, some people like comfort buying. There is nothing inherently evil about Black Friday or Cyber Monday. Rather, it is people acting on their evil …keep reading »

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Sunday Considerations: Then You Will Be Thankful

If you wish to be thankful, get a heart deeply humbled with the sense of your own vileness. A broken heart is the best pipe to sound forth God’s praise. He who studies his sins, wonders that he has anything, and that God should shine on such a dunghill: “I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man—but I was shown mercy!” 1 Timothy 1:13. How thankful Paul was! How he trumpeted forth free grace! A proud man will never be thankful. He looks on all his mercies as either of his own procuring or deserving. If …keep reading »

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Thankful Poem

Thankful Lord, I am thankful for so many things. You gave me new life of which my soul now sings. I am closer to going home with each breath. On my final day – eternal life through your death. Thankful Lord, I am thankful for so many things. I can trust you each day no matter what trouble it brings. When I am overcome and my soul in despair. You do not let me go Your saving hand is there. Thankful Lord, I am thankful for so many things. Until I reach Your presence You keep me on eagles’ wings. …keep reading »

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A Reply to the Danger of Calling Behavior ‘Biblical’

Recently, Rachel Held Evans’ article “My Take: The danger of calling behavior ‘biblical’” was published on the CNN Belief blog.1 I’m going to reply. My goal is not to take hammer to fingers, but to point out inconsistencies in her positions. My assumption is that, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work” (2 Tim. 3:16-17 ESV). Therefore, the Bible does have something to say, directly or indirectly, on most life issues. There should be no …keep reading »

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Ethics: Mormon Neighbor Asks You to Help Feed People on Thanksgiving

What would you do Wednesday! It is Thanksgiving morning. You stand in the front yard admiring God’s creation thinking about the gospel. There is nothing to be more thankful for – nothing more important – than the gospel of Jesus Christ. The gospel that saved you and shapes your worldview. It’s going to be a great day! “Good morning,” your neighbor yells from across the yard. After exchanging a few words your neighbor asks if you’d like to come help serve food to people in need for a couple of hours. He explains that his church serves food for Thanksgiving …keep reading »

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After Nearly 60 Years Nativity Scene Denied in Park

Funny, the actual Federal American holiday is Christmas, but some don’t want a Nativity scene displayed about the holiday. Maybe some Christians can take turns standing in the display spots and sharing the gospel via the Christmas story to passersby.

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New LifeWay Study on Selflessness and Spiritual Maturity

LifeWay Research has released a new study noted in the article below that links spiritual maturity and serving others. Ed Stetzer, president of LifeWay Research is quoted below stating, “Growth leads to service and serving leads to growth – it’s deeply connected.” Stetzer’s statement is a great summary sentence correlating Christian service and growth. Of course, there are different types of growth and service. I’m not sure exactly what kind of spiritual growth the study measured that is taking place through serving others. Maybe the areas in which spiritual growth is taking place would be worth considering if LifeWay has …keep reading »

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Sunday Considerations: Keep His Law

I will keep your law continually, forever and ever. (Psalm 119:44 ESV) We speak of heaven; but oh! to be there! To be engaged throughout eternity in the service of love to a God of love! In one day’s continuance in the path of obedience even here, in the midst of the defilement which stains our holiest services, how sweetly do the moments roll away! But to be ever employed for Him, in that place, where “there shall in no wise enter anything that defiles”-this gives an emphasis and a dignity to the heavenly joy, which may well stamp it …keep reading »

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On How Christians Engage Each Other Online

If you have spent any amount of time engaging Christians on any type of social media it is not hard to conclude that some Christians have the gift of the cyber-hammer. Feeling the smashing blows of the cyber-hammer are unmistakable no matter how many internet connections away you may be. My fellow Christians, this ought not be since we are to live at peace with all while praying for our enemies (Rom. 12:14-21) and do good to all, especially, our fellow Christians (Gal. 6:10). I admit, I am guilty! I am also repentant. I am hoping the way I respond …keep reading »

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Ethics: Homosexual Couple Comes to Bible Study

What would you do Wednesday! It’s Friday evening. You just got home from work, pulled into the driveway, and turned off your car. Running a little late for the dinner date with your spouse, you hurry toward the house so you can turn around and get to the restaurant on time. While heading for the front door your new neighbor, whom you’ve not officially met, says hello. He notices that your are carrying a Bible (it had been left in the car). Being new to the neighborhood, he mentions the Bible and says that he wants to talk to you …keep reading »

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When a Roman Catholic Comes to Your Door

Dr. R. Scott Clark, a professor at  Westminster Seminary California, recently had a home visit from two Roman Catholics. Saturday morning a Roman Catholic laywoman and a male companion (who stood behind her with his rosary saying prayers) came to my door on behalf of St Mary Church in Escondido. She asked if there were any Catholics in the house. I said, yes and no. Yes, we confess the holy catholic faith of the Nicene Creed, the Definition of Chalcedon, the Apostles’ Creed, and the Athanasian Creed but no, we are not Roman Catholics, we reject the papacy. I told …keep reading »

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Music Minister Fun: Hymn Sung in Various Musical Styles!

The music minister in the video below, Rob Mills, has some fun singing the hymn “Leaning on the Everlasting Arms” in various musical styles representing different musical eras. While the hymn was written in 1887 by Eli­sha A. Hoff­man, Mills begins with a 1940’s style of music and moves a decade at a time ending in one of today’s hip-hop styles. Enjoy!

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A Christian Politician, What If?

The U.S. presidential election is over. Many American Christians believe that we had to choose between two not-so-great candidates. We argued over what kind of person for whom a Christian should or should not and could or could not vote. When is the last time America had a solid Christian presidential candidate? What would such a candidate look like? Pulling together a few Scripture verses instructing Christians on how they ought to live their lives – I thought, what if? Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you …keep reading »

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Sunday Considerations: Daily Strength

But they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. (Isaiah 40:31 ESV) Waiting on God not only gives strength, it gives inspiration. “They shall mount up with wings as eagles.” God means that every soul which waits on him, shall not creep in the muck and the mire, nor crouch in abject slavery to men or devils. When a soul has its inner life hid with Christ, and lives a life of true consecration, it is enabled …keep reading »

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Calvinism Undermines Evangelism, Right?

If I have heard it once, I’ve heard it a thousand times: “A Calvinist evangelist? Isn’t that an oxymoron? Calvinism undermines evangelism.” This accusation has been repeated so many times that few make the effort to argue it. Instead, it is simply assumed. Never mind that some of the church’s greatest evangelists have been Calvinists. One need only be reminded of men such as George Whitefield, David Brainerd, or “the father of modern missions,” William Carey. “Yes,” we are told, “these men were great evangelists and Calvinists, but that is because they were inconsistent.” But is this true? The fact of …keep reading »

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Ethics: New Friends Serve Lord’s Supper at Dinner Date

What would you do Wednesday! A new couple moved into town two months ago and joined your church. In order to get to know you better, they invited you and your spouse over for dinner. Something unusual happened during dinner. All of the food set on the table was covered; presumably to keep it warm. Your new friend, the husband, asked that you all bow your heads to give thanks for the food. He ends his prayer reading about the Lord’s Supper in 1 Corinthians 11:23-29. For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the …keep reading »

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Election Thoughts: Christians Live Among Evil Choices

During this 2012 Presidential election cycle many Christians feel they are left with only two voting choices: a liberal, professing Christian and a non-Christian, Mormon. Therefore, many Christians feel they are left with a choice to vote for the lesser of two evils. Other Christians will not vote at all or choose a third party candidate effectively giving their vote to one party or the other. The overlooked issue? Christians often daily choose between the lesser of evils. Even though Christians often choose between the lesser of evils it seems that this dilemma only matters during Presidential election time. Two …keep reading »

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Sunday Considerations: Singing in the Rain

People often say that if they had only ease and luxury all the time—costly furniture, sumptuous meals, automobiles—that they would be gladder and would live more sweetly. But if our hearts are right—we should sing all the better, the more joyously—when life is hard, when we have heavy tasks and sharp trials, keen losses and bitter sorrows. An invalid who loved to hear the birds sing at her window said she liked the robin best of all the birds—because the robin sang in the rain. There are some people who have not learned to sing in the rain. They are …keep reading »

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Video: Mitt Romney Speaking Passionately About Mormonism

Jan Mikelson of WHO-Iowa discusses Mormonism with Mitt Romney. Mikelson challenges Romney’s Mormon faithfulness. Mormon eschatology and values are discussed including views on abortion. Romney is tired of defending and talking about Mormonism because he “is not running as a Mormon.” (HT: Chad Miller)

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Did Mike Huckabee Warn that Voting for Obama Will Send You to Hell?

The following video narrated by Mike Huckabee is called “Test of Fire.” The video challenges Christian voters in the 2012 Presidential election. Some are claiming that Huckabee is assigning those who vote for Obama to hell. What did Huckabee just say? Again, at about 42 seconds he states: Christians across the nation will have an opportunity to shape the future for our generation and generations to come. Many issues are at stake, but some issues are not negotiable: The right to life from conception to natural death. Marriage should be reinforced, not redefined. It is an egregious violation of our …keep reading »

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Are All Black People Going to Hell?

Imagine if I or any white Christian stood up in front of a group of people in a church building and said, “All black people are going to hell!” Can you imagine the standing ovation with thundering applause that would follow? Yeah, me neither. In fact, if any Christian said such a thing I would expect lots of deserved public and private rebuke. So, when 91 year old, Civil Rights icon, Joseph Lowery recently said that all white people are going to hell1 – I would hope for the same type of rebuke. Lowery is a professing Christian, a United …keep reading »

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Free Reformation Day Resources

First, my favorite Reformation Day tweet was by SooperMexican: “I got 95 theses but a Pope ain’t one.” Reformation Day Free Download: R.C. Sproul’s Luther and the Reformation R.C. Sproul’s recently released ten-part series, Luther and the Reformation in both audio and video formats with study guide. Free Calvin eBooks  by John Piper from Desiring God With Calvin in the Theater of God John Calvin and His Passion for the Majesty of God Portrait of Calvin by T. H. L. Parker (foreword by John Piper) Martin Luther Biography  Chris Rosebrough is offering FREE Reformation Day Books and Resources Here I …keep reading »

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Reformation Day Video: Post Tenebras Lux

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Ethics: Neighbor Will Not Attend Church Over Racism

What would you do Wednesday! Today’s situation deals with a white Baptist Christian who invites his unbelieving black neighbor to church. You, a white Christian, have been neighbors with a black unbeliever for the past year when he moved into the neighborhood. The two of you have built a pretty good relationship. You have borrowed tools and other items from each other. You’ve been there for each other during car problems, yard work, house sitting, etc. The level of trust has been established in many everyday areas except spiritual in issues. You have tried to talk with him about Jesus, …keep reading »

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Christians Should Cherish the Opportunity to Vote

For the Christian, involvement in the political realm is as mandatory as involvement in the other ordained institutions of God. If “righteousness exalteth a nation” (Proverbs 14:34), then the righteous must be involved. It is through godly influence of righteous citizens that a city prospers (Proverbs 11:11). The Creator of heaven and earth is also the Creator of social institutions, and He wants His people involved in these institutions. He wants us to bring Him honor and glory by our involvement. A classic example of such involvement is provided by the Apostle Paul, who was not ashamed to be a …keep reading »

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God’s Sovereignty and Voting

A heated Presidential election is upon the consciences of many Americans. It is time to vote. Many will vote and some will abstain. Only one of the two main candidates will win. How does a Christian react if their candidate loses? How is a Christian comforted when voting – as many believe – for the lesser of two evils? As with all of life Christians trust in God. The plans of the heart belong to man, but the answer of the tongue is from the LORD. (Proverbs 16:1 ESV) What of the lesser evil? What if the lesser evil turns …keep reading »

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Sunday Considerations: God’s Offer

God says to us, Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. (Isaiah 55:1) The gospel is addressed to those who have no money or good works. It invites us to come and “buy” salvation without money and without cost. But note the invitation to come is addressed to those who have no money not to those who don’t have enough. Grace is not a matter of God’s making up the difference, but of God’s providing all the …keep reading »

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Friday Church Sign Fun

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I was Almost Born this Way

It was a nice warm day like most days. I’m not sure if the sun was out or not. I have not actually experienced the warm glow of the sun – yet. I looked forward to it though. I heard so many things from the outside. I could only guess what they were. I looked forward to them all. Oh, I yearned to experience a life filled with love. I just knew that life was coming soon with the way you cared for me and fed me. I was so warm and comfortable all the time on the inside. I …keep reading »

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Ethics: Sponsoring a Female Church Planter

What would you do Wednesday! The following situation is based on true events…. Your church recently made contact with a husband and wife missionary team who are back home in the U.S. to raise support. They have been missionaries in a poor country for five years. The couple is known for starting house churches in the poor country though not a lot organizational or procedural details are known. Your church has been promoting a missions theme during the current month. Every Sunday morning missionaries get to share what they are doing on the mission field for a few minutes before …keep reading »

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Matt Chandler Responds to Criticism of ‘David, Goliath and the Gospel’

In the video below Matt Chandler attempts to explain how the gospel runs through the David and Goliath story in a mere 3.5 minutes. Dr. Eric Hankins raised concerns about Chandler’s interpretive approach in the video in his recent critique of ‘Christ-centered homiletics’.1 However, back in January Mike Riccardi, using Chandler’s explanation in the video as an example, wrote a very thorough and gracious explanation of the problems with such an interpretation.2 Chandler was contacted for a response to Riccardi’s article and he replied. “Thanks for your encouragement and email.  I read Mike’s critique and agree with most of it.  The …keep reading »

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Sunday Considerations: Christ’s Love

Let us stand still, and admire and wonder at the love of Jesus Christ to poor sinners; that Christ should rather die for us, than for the angels. They were creatures of a more noble extract, and in all probability might have brought greater revenues of glory to God: yet that Christ should pass by those golden vessels, and make us vessels of glory, Oh, what amazing and astonishing love is this! This is the envy of devils. and the admiration of angels and saints. … Christ’s love is like his name, and that is Wonderful, Isa. ix. 6; yes, …keep reading »

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Ethics: Paralyzed Christian Wants to Die

What would you do Wednesday! This situation is inspired by the tragic situation of Grace Sung Eun Lee, a 28 year old paralyzed Christian, who is ready to die.1 Her parents believe removing the breathing and feeding tubes would be suicide sending her straight to hell. Today’s situation will be slightly different than Lee’s, very sad, real life situation. Six months ago a 30 year old friend was paralyzed. Your friend has been in the hospital for the last six months and is kept alive by breathing and feeding tubes. You visited your friend frequently for encouragement and prayer. Your friend’s …keep reading »

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9Marks Workshop in Atlanta: Register Today!

9Marks is bringing a conference about the church and for the church to Atlanta, GA. The following topics will be covered: theological vision, preaching & biblical theology, gospel, conversion & evangelism, membership, discipline & discipleship, leadership, covenanting together. Each session ends with a Q&A. More info and registration below. When? Monday, October 29, 2012, 9 am – Tuesday, October 30, 2012, 12 pm. Who is speaking? – Mark Dever – Matt Schmucker – Aaron Menikoff – Zach Schlegel How much? – General Registration: $45 – Student Registration: $35 Where? Mount Vernon Baptist 850 Mt Vernon Hwy NW Atlanta, GA 30327 …keep reading »

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Muslims Protest at Google Offices Over Anti-Islam Video

The Telegraph reports that “Muslims protest ‘age of mockery’ as thousands descend on Google HQ.” Many Muslims are understandably offended by the anti-Islam video ‘The Innocence of Muslims’ published on YouTube. They do not care about free speech and plan to protest until the video is banned. At least one of these Muslim leaders wants to shut down free speech and the spread of ideas contrary to Islam. He even redefined terrorism to include hurt feelings and calls Google’s right to free speech anarchy. One of the speakers, Sheikh Faiz Al-Aqtab Siddiqui, told The Daily Telegraph: “Terrorism is not just …keep reading »

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Demon Test Only $9.95 – A Helluva Deal!

Bob Larson is offering a 21 question Demon Test® for only $9.95. On his personal website the headline reads “Spiritual Freedom Church” with a registered acronym “DWJD®.” If the Demon Test® were not bad enough Larson’s daughter and friends have the site ‘Teenage Exorcists’. Why is this test a helluva deal? Satan will take your soul for free, but to pay $9.95 for a “Demon Test®” to dabble where Jesus has not called Christians to dabble is a deal from hell. Larson may laugh all the way to the bank while Satan laughs at the opportunity to play on peoples’ …keep reading »

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Sunday Considerations: Christ a Guide

“Surely, I am with you always — even unto the end of the world!” Matthew 28:20 Christ is with us, as our guide. How deep our need of Him as such, and how endeared does it make Him! So blind are we, so dark is our future, so perplexing is our present path — that the very next step might be a false one — taking us into a wrong direction, entailing untold anxieties and sorrows, or hurling us from a precipice into total ruin! Yes, we need just such a guide as Christ! What Alpine traveler would attempt the …keep reading »

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Heroes in Black and White: Precious Puritans Vs. Martin Luther King Jr.

Christians are not immune to racial, cultural, or theological bias and blindness. Those types of bias and blindness may be more apparent in Christendom for the Puritans and Martin Luther King, Jr. – cultural and theological heroes to many Christians. Precious Dust Up The dust up over Christian rapper Propaganda’s lyrics in his song “Precious Puritans” recently brought some of these issues to the surface. Propaganda charged the Puritans, broadly defined, with certain racial moral failures charging white privilege against some pastors who quote the Puritans. Some Christians argued that Propaganda defined the Puritans too broadly and unfairly charged them. …keep reading »

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Ethics: Too Fat to Enter the Ministry

What would you do Wednesday! A friend is told by his pastor that his weight is keeping the pastor from signing off on his seminary application. A good friend of yours approached his pastor about going to seminary and entering vocational ministry. The pastor knew of his ministry aspirations. They finally met to discuss the pastor’s approval and endorsement on the seminary application. A point in the meeting was reached where they discussed the pastoral qualifications in 1 Timothy 3. Your friend read verses 1-7 out loud. Your friend then asked the pastor if he thought there were any apparent …keep reading »

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Introduction Video: The Gospel According to Barack

Check out the video below and my interview with Dr. Breshears: Five Questions with Dr. Breshears on His Book: The Gospel According to Barack. Author Jefrey D. Breshears gives a brief introduction and excerpt from his new book, “The Gospel According to Barack,” which sets out to answer the question – where did Barack Obama get his ideas about Christianity?

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Why Do People Go To Hell?

One answer given on twitter (HT: Ben Simpson): People go to hell not because God predestined them to go there, but because we as Christians don’t share the Gospel with them. — Steve Gaines (@bellevuepastor) October 8, 2012 While it is essential that Christians share the gospel; a few Scriptural proof-texts give another answer to the question of why people go to hell. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23 ESV) Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born …keep reading »

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How the Southern Baptist Convention Works

Check out the slideshow from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary explaining how the Southern Baptist Convention works. Find a few more files at the NOBTS website.

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Sunday Considerations: All Need Supplied

“My God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” Phil. 4:19 O God, my Heavenly Father, who has permitted me to see the light and to enjoy the comforts of a new day, I bless You for the liberty of access into Your presence. Rend Your heavens and come down; fill my heart with Your love, as I draw near to the footstool of Your Throne. I thank You for Your gracious assurance that these Gates of Prayer lead to an abounding treasury of spiritual blessing, out of which all my need shall …keep reading »

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5 Essential Questions on Playing the Pharisee Card

The folks from the excellent Lutheran radio show Issues, Etc. have allowed me to post their article “Playing the Pharisee Card”. Calling someone a Pharisee when disagreeing over Christian doctrine or methods is a great way to shut down debate. But how accurately is the Pharisee Card actually played? The article below answers the following five essential questions on playing the Pharisee Card. Were the Pharisees concerned with doctrinal purity? Were the Pharisees resistant to change? Were the Pharisees unconcerned for the lost? Why did Jesus really condemn the Pharisees? Who are the real Pharisees? Playing the Pharisee Card I …keep reading »

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Ethics: Visiting Non-Member Friend Wants to Take Lord’s Supper

What would you do Wednesday! LifeWay’s recent survey on the Lord’s Supper practices among Southern Baptists has incited some discussion in Baptist blog world. So today’s situation is in the context of the Lord’s Supper being served in Baptist church that practices closed communion. An old friend is in town staying with you over the weekend. While catching up over dinner Friday night your friend begins a spiritual conversation. He admits something that has been spiritually weighing him down – he had some unresolved anger toward you and decided not to take communion until after this visit where he could …keep reading »

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Church Sign: Pet Blessings?

I snapped pictures of these two interesting church signs in Metro-Atlanta over the weekend. Is this a new kind of seeker-centered outreach? I wonder if anyone showed up and how they “blessed” the animals. By the way, I blessed my steak last night – does that count?  

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Sunday Considerations: The Pursuit

Is it asked-What will most effectually “turn my eyes from vanity?” Not the seclusion of contemplative retirement-not the relinquishment of our lawful connection with the world; but the transcendent beauty of Jesus unveiled to our eyes, and fixing our hearts. This will “turn our eyes from vanity” in its most glittering forms. The sight of the “pearl of great price” dims the luster of the “goodliest pearls” of earth; at once deadens us to the enticements of the world, and urges us forward in the pursuit of the prize. And is not this our object? It is not enough, that …keep reading »

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Will the Southern Baptist Convention Dissipate in the Smoke of Reformed Theology?

“Shall the Southern Baptist Convention which was born in the fires of evangelism dissipate in the smoke of Reformed Theology?” Southern Baptist Pastor Steve Brumbelow asks.1 This question was stated in an letter sent to discourage Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (MBTS) trustees from approving presidential candidate Dr. Jason Allen. However, Brumbelow’s assuming question is historically inaccurate. Union University president David Dockery notes the strong presence of Calvinistic (Reformed) theology at the birth of the Southern Baptist Convention. At the founding of the Southern Baptist Convention in May 1845, it would have been difficult to find leaders who were not Calvinistic in their …keep reading »

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Ethics: a Pastor Secretly Records Conversation with Another Pastor

What would you do Wednesday! The following scenario is inspired by actual events as told by Peter Lumpkins.1 Please note that inspired by does not mean an exact, actual portrayal of said events. Rather, the scenario is loosely based on the actual event. Okay? OK! Pastor Friend calls you and tells you about an interesting conversation he just had with Pastor Blogger. Pastors Friend and Blogger just happened to be eating lunch in the same restaurant so Friend approached Blogger to challenge him on his approach to blogging. A conversation ensued. Friend tells you that the tone of the conversation …keep reading »

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A Christian Presuppositionalist Explains ‘Why I Believe’

My friend Brian Knapp who writes at Choosing Hats takes the presuppositionalist approach to defending the Christian faith.  (Actually, Choosing Hats is dedicated to presuppositional apologetics.) Brian recently engaged an unbeliever online and was encouraged to write a brief about the engagement. Brian then wrote an article titled, “Why I Believe” explaining why he is a Christian from a presuppositional perspective. So tell me about yourself. You aren’t a Christian, correct? Do you believe any sort of god exists? It seems like you are saying it is at least possible that the Christian God exists, the one described in the Bible. …keep reading »

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Why Every Head Bowed, Every Eye Closed?

Why, when and on what biblical basis did preachers begin altar calls with ‘every head bowed, every eye closed’? Whenever I have heard an altar call being with ‘every head bowed, every eye closed’ I always wonder why? I wonder what purpose it serves to ask everyone to bow their heads and close their eyes. Is the preacher trying not to embarrass someone who may respond to the gospel? Would not the person who just believed the gospel be over joyed with their new life in Christ that they would have no shame so that bowed heads and closed eyes …keep reading »

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Sunday Considerations: Rule of Peace

Nevertheless, we should mark well the lesson that one phase of Christian growth should be this – the spirit entering into more and more loving peace. If the peace of Christ is ruling at all in our hearts it should rule a little more fully today than yesterday, and tomorrow than it does today. We should be growing continually in al that belongs to peace. Worry is not only a sin – it is also one of the most disfiguring of the vices. It mars and spoils the beauty of a life. Discouragement is a sin, and discouragement hurts a …keep reading »

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Does Dr. Jason Allen Meet Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary’s Presidential Profile?

The Baptist Press reported that Dr. Jason K. Allen was chosen as the nominee to be Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary’s next president,1 but does he meet their ‘Presidential Profile’? While questions have been raised about Allen’s qualifications, questions have also been raised about Allen’s theology and the Midwestern Trustees’ silence on their vetting process. Below I will briefly comment on the Presidential Profile, trustee silence and Allen’s theology. The Presidential Profile Midwestern’s website lists the “Key Responsibilities of the Next President” with the following major points which conclude with their ‘Desired Qualifications’.2 Spiritual Leadership Institutional Leadership Fundraising/Enrollment Leadership Academic and …keep reading »

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Ethics: Beth Moore Unexpectedly Guest Preaches Sunday Morning

What would you do Wednesday! Popular Southern Baptist author Beth Moore recently preached at Passion City Church on Sunday morning. The video of Beth Moore preaching at Passion City Church is still online. In light of her recent sermon – let’s consider how you might react if Beth Moore were to unexpectedly preach at your church on Sunday morning. The scenario. Your church has advertised for the past two months that Beth Moore is visiting soon to lead a Sunday School class. She is visiting to teach, promote a book, answer questions, etc. Several of your friends hear that Moore …keep reading »

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Open Forum: Should an Inability to Encourage and Show Compassion Disqualify a Pastor?

In their article, “What are warning flags to watch out for when considering a man as a potential elder?” 9 Marks ministries offers 13 warning flags. Two of the warning flags stood out in a discussion I had with a good friend in early 2011 as I was going through my seminary courses. The discussion was part of the ongoing process of understanding how one’s theology works out in real life; a road that never ends. While all of the warning flags are worthy of discussion, the two that stood out and seemed to go together well were 6 and …keep reading »

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LifeWay surveys Lord’s Supper practices of SBC churches By Carol Pipes

NASHVILLE, Tenn.— The majority of Southern Baptist churches permit anyone who has put their faith in Jesus Christ to participate in the Lord’s Supper, according to a recent survey by LifeWay Research. The survey also revealed that 57 percent of SBC churches observe the Lord’s Supper quarterly. “Denominational distinctives are often evident in how the Lord’s Supper is observed,” said Scott McConnell, director of LifeWay Research. “We sought to measure two attributes of Southern Baptists’ remembrance of Jesus’ death and resurrection: who may participate in the Lord’s Supper– with five distinct options listed– and the frequency it is observed.” The …keep reading »

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John Newton: Christians, True Patriotism and Government Involvement

John Newton (1725 – 1807), well-known for penning the hymn “Amazing Grace,” wrote a letter to a friend giving his views on Christian involvement in government affairs. Newton briefly defines true patriotism from a Christian perspective. Would Newton title his position today as – Gospel-Centered Patriotism? Dear friend, Allow me to say, that it excites both my wonder and concern, that a Christian minister such as yourself, should think it worth his while to attempt political reforms. When I look around upon the present state of the nation, such an attempt appears to me, to be no less vain and foolish, …keep reading »

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Sunday Considerations: Chasing God

“My soul follows hard after You—Your right hand upholds me.” Psalm 63:8 Did the question ever arise in your mind—how David composed the Psalms? Of course, the answer would be, “He composed them by divine inspiration.” But that is not my meaning. We will put the question in another form. Do you suppose that David wrote his psalms, as the college clergy and learned ministers prepare their sermons on a Saturday evening; that is, that he sat down with his pen in his hand, for the express purpose of composing a psalm? I do not think so. I believe that …keep reading »

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One Million Porn Free Christian Men?

Southern Baptist Pastor Jay Dennis has started a movement to address the problem of pornography in the church. The movement and website is called One Million Men Porn Free. Christian counselor Harry Schaumburg comments show the seriousness of the church’s pornography problem. For the last twenty years thousands of men from across America struggling with sexual sin have come to our intensive counseling workshop. Over half were pastors and missionaries. I wish our experience was unique. Several years ago a seminary professor told me: “We no longer ask our entering students if they are struggling with pornography, we assume every …keep reading »

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Help The Harry Potter Bible Study Be a #1 Free Kindle Book!

Help my friend Jared Moore move his book, The Harry Potter Bible Study: Enjoying God Through the Final Four Harry Potter Movies, to the #1 spot on Amazon as in the Kindle Non-fiction, religious book category. I know – a Harry Potter Bible Study book sounds crazy, right? It’s actually gotten some pretty good reviews. Right now, Jared’s book is currently free on Kindle. (Download it here!) In the U.S. it is the 12th most popular free Non-Fiction religious book on Kindle today, and the 6th most popular free Non-Fiction Christian book on Kindle in the U.K. market. What does that …keep reading »

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Freedom From Religion Foundation Shuts Down High School Football Game Prayer

Haralson County High School has been praying before football games for 50 years. Frank and Sarah McIntyre, parents of a Haralson County football player, complained that the prayer was unconstitutional. The McIntyre’s, who claim they are not atheists, were surprised that a larger than usual crowd attended the football game after prayer was removed. TALLAPOOSA, GA (CBS ATLANTA) – For more than 50 years the Haralson County High School Rebels have been praying before football games over their public announcement system. For the first time since the prayers began all those years ago, the loud speaker was silenced. In their first …keep reading »

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Ethics: Pastor Uses Company for Sermon Preparation

What would you do Wednesday! Today, I’d like to find out what people think about pastors using sermon preparation companies like Docent Research. Docent will be used for illustrative purposes to show that a sermon preparation service actually exists and to show what they offer. Always curious about what your pastor is reading you browse the books on his desk while waiting to meet him. While shifting one of the books in order to get the title of another book an envelope falls to the floor. “Oops,” you mutter as you bend down to pick it up just as your …keep reading »

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Dear Southern Baptists, the Calvinistic Roots of Dispensationalism

Warning shots against Calvinistic influence in Southern Baptist churches is all the rage today. While some anti-Calvinist Southern Baptists have been involved in end times conferences promoting Dispensationalism, they do not seem to fear its Calvinistic roots. To be fair, many Southern Baptists may not know the Calvinistic history of Dispensationalism. Dr. Thomas Ice of Liberty University (hardly a pro-Calvinist institution) is here to help with his article – The Calvinistic Heritage of Dispensationalism. Dr. Ice explains the systematization, history and growth of Dispensationalism. He begins: If systematic Dispensationalism is rightly understood it logically makes sense only within a theocentric …keep reading »

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The Gospel Coalition, Carl Trueman and Complementarianism

Lydia McGrew makes some observations on Carl Trueman’s response to The Gospel Coalition leaders’ recent discussion on how complementarianism relates to the gospel. …Carl Trueman, who teaches Church History at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, put up on his blog a series of posts in which he argues that, though he himself is a complementarian, a parachurch organization like TGC should not make complementarianism a foundational part of its identity by putting that position into its confessional statement. His posts can be found here and here. At first when I read Trueman’s posts and saw the video, I hadn’t noted the …keep reading »

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Why Do You Call Yourself a Christian?

Why do you call yourself a Christian? I said a prayer. Why do you call yourself a Christian? I walked the aisle at church. Why do you call yourself a Christian? I believe in God. Why do you call yourself a Christian? I read the Bible. Why do you call yourself a Christian? I pray everyday. Why do you call yourself a Christian? I feed the homeless and the hungry. Why do you call yourself a Christian? I take care of widows and orphans. Why do you call yourself a Christian? I’ve been baptized. Why do you call yourself a …keep reading »

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Sunday Considerations: More Excellent than Jesus?

Can you find a more excellent object for your love than Jesus? If you search through the whole creation, could you find any like him? Are riches, honors, pleasures, or other relationships comparable to Jesus, whom you ought to love supremely? Should not the highest good be the best object of your love? Can you love lesser things, and not the greatest good? Is not all the goodness in the creature but as a drop to the sea, as a candle to the sun, as a speck of sand to a mountain—when compared to the goodness that is in Jesus? …keep reading »

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Politicians: Promise Heaven, Deliver Hell

I shared the following illustration a couple of years ago. It is a story (author unknown) illustrating how politicians campaign for votes on promises that look nothing like what they actually deliver once elected. Thankfully, the illustration is unbiblical concerning heaven and hell. Unfortunately, the illustration reflects well on political campaigning. Read it for yourself…. While walking down the street one day a Corrupt Senator was tragically hit by a car and died . His soul arrives in heaven and is met by St. Peter at the entrance. “Welcome to heaven,” says St. Peter. “Before you settle in, it seems …keep reading »

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Ethics: Female Pastors Volunteer at Complementarian Church

What would you do Wednesday! Your church financially supports and hosts an after school Bible club. The club is interdenominational, but has doctrinal parameters to which volunteer teachers must agree. One of those doctrines is complementarianism which states that a woman cannot hold the office of pastor. It just so happens that two local female Methodist pastors volunteered to help with the Bible club. The pastor found out about the female pastors and explained to the Bible club director that having female pastors goes against the club’s doctrinal agreement. The pastor further explained that if the church cannot continue supporting …keep reading »

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Yes, a Pastor Should Have Close Friends in His Church

Yes, is my answer to Dave Miller’s question asked at SBCVoices.com, “Can a pastor have close friends in his church?”1 I’ll explain why my answer is yes that a pastor should have close friends in his church even if he feels like he cannot. Note my subtle switch answering whether a pastor can have close friends in his church with whether or not he should. My answer is based on three premises: 1. pastors are members of the local church too, 2. pastors must be known for the congregation to know they are biblically qualified, and 3. pastors must be …keep reading »

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SBC Plodder Featured in Forbes on Clergy Housing Allowance

Forbes contributor Peter J. Reilly enlists the writings of retired Southern Baptist pastor and blogger William Thornton, a.k.a. SBC Plodder, in his article Southern Baptists Against Clergy Tax Abuse. Reilly begins: Southern Baptists Against Clergy Tax Abuse (SBACTA)  is not a real organization.  I just made it up.  There is no question, though, that if it did exist who its spokesman would be.  The Reverend William Thornton who blogs on Southern Baptist Convention issues under the title SBC Plodder is the man.  I have been following his blog for sometime now.  He has gotten me hooked on the conflict in the …keep reading »

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Celebrate Labor Day: Work to Rest

The first Labor Day was celebrated Tuesday, September 5, 1882. However, it was not until 1894 that Congress made Labor Day a legal holiday on the first Monday of every September. Over 100 years have passed since the first Labor Day and the United States is still celebrating. It is tough to imagine much celebration in parts of America with the official unemployment rate charting over 8%. Celebrating Labor Day when there has been no labor to celebrate might seem ironic. Americans, however, have always been a resilient people who fight to recover and restore what has been lost. Even …keep reading »

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Sunday Considerations: the Cross

The death of Christ on the cross may well be reckoned mysterious, for it was at the same time a cursed and a blessed death. Christ was “made a curse for us,” that he might deliver us from the curse of the law. And yet Christ’s death on the cross is the most blessed event which ever occurred in the world; for on the cross the price of our redemption was paid. Christ “bore our sins in his own body on the tree.” He died, “the just for the unjust,” to bring us unto God. This led Paul to say, …keep reading »

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Catholic Priest Blamed Victims in Abuse Cases

In an interview with the National Catholic Register, Benedict Groeschel, a Roman Catholic Priest, claimed that “in a lot of cases” the “youngster is the seducer” in cases involving priests and sexual abuse. The link to the original story is still active, but the offending interview replaced with an apology. However, Catholic columnist Matt C. Abbott capture part of the interview and reposted it with commentary. Some of Groeschel’s disturbing comments follow. [Interviewer]: Part of your work here at Trinity has been working with priests involved in abuse, no? [Father Groeschel]: A little bit, yes; but you know, in those …keep reading »

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Five Questions with Dr. Breshears on His Book: The Gospel According to Barack

Dr. Jefrey D. Breshears was gracious enough to answer five questions about his timely book, The Gospel According to Barack: Where Did Barack Obama Get His Ideas About Christianity? (available on Amazon). He also generously provided a copy of his book to giveaway – so check back tomorrow for a chance to win a free copy. (Click here to enter the giveaway.) Dr. Breshears is a Christian historian, apologist, and the founder and president of The Areopagus, a Christian education ministry and study center in the Atlanta area that offers seminars and forums in Christian history, apologetics, Christian spirituality, and …keep reading »

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Ralph Reed: Republicans Don’t Need Southern Baptists

Ralph Reed, founder of the Faith and Freedom Coalition, had a chat with Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Political Insider, blogger Jim Galloway. Reed spoke about bigotry against Mormons coming from the left. When chatting about “anti-Mormon prejudice” Southern Baptists came up. It’s okay – Southern Baptists don’t matter much anyway. Galloway noted Reed’s position that, “Not that Southern Baptists have changed their mind, Reed said. But politically, they don’t matter as much:” ”Remember, if you’ve got a grandma sitting in the third row of an independent Baptist , white sideboard church who can’t bring herself to vote for a Mormon because …keep reading »

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Ethics: Your Pastor Asked to Pray at Republican National Convention

What would you do Wednesday! The Republican National Convention (RNC) kicks off this week. It is no secret that Mormon Mitt Romney is the Republican Presidential nominee. As with most national political events prayers will be offered. In fact, the NY Times reports that prayers at this years RNC will be given by a Jewish Rabbi, a Roman Catholic and “a Hispanic evangelical Christian, a Sikh, a Greek Orthodox archbishop and two Mormon leaders.”1 Today, think about how you would react if your Protestant pastor were invited to pray at the 2012 RNC given the above information. Your pastor has …keep reading »

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Fire Church Too Nice – LGBT Group Cancels Protest

On Sunday, August 26, 2012, a LGBT group cancels protesting Fire Church in Concord, NC. A local NC LGBT group set out to protest at Fire Church in Concord, NC. Fire Church is pastored by Scott Volk and is home of Dr. Michael Brown. Brown is a Christian apologist who is no stranger to LGBT issues. Many in the gay community are probably aware that Brown wrote A Queer Thing Happened to America: And What a Long, Strange Trip It’s Been and has addressed the pro-homosexual lifestyle numerous times on his radio show, The Line of Fire. The LGBT group …keep reading »

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Golfing for God Mission Update

Yesterday, I had the privilege of playing in the Sandy Springs Mission 5th Annual Golf Challenge. It was a great time of golf and fellowship. Thankfully, the weather was pretty good and the heat didn’t wipe us out. The Chick-fil-a sandwich for lunch really hit the spot! Although I had a great time, raising money by playing golf doesn’t always make sense. Yet, for the past five years this golf outing has been vitally important to keeping the Mission running throughout the year. This year’s golf challenge has brought in over $20,000 so far with more pledges on the way. …keep reading »

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Sunday Considerations: Lord, I Did Not Choose You

My Lord, I did not choose You, For that could never be; My heart would still refuse You, Had You not chosen me. You took the sin that stained me, You cleansed me, made me new; Of old You have ordained me, That I should live in You. Unless Your grace had called me And taught my op’ning mind, The world would have enthralled me, To heav’nly glories blind. My heart knows none above You; For Your rich grace I thirst. I know that if I love You, You must have loved me first.1

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Wisdom from Francis Schaeffer for Baptist Infighting

Some Southern Baptists are heavy weight champs at theological infighting. Maybe it’s time for Baptists to step outside the ring and consider another way to disagree. A quote from Francis Schaeffer below offers wisdom on how Baptists might better engage each other. In 1845, at the founding of the Southern Baptist Convention, most leaders were Calvinistic while the laity were less so.1 Today, most Southern Baptists are not Calvinists though there is a rise in Calvinistic theology in leadership and laity. Southern Baptists have worked together with Calvinist leaders and with non-Calvinist leaders. If Calvinistic Baptists were instrumental in forming …keep reading »

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4 Minutes on Mormonism with ABC News (with Christianity Comparison Chart)

Will exposing Mormon beliefs and practices affect voting decisions for some Americans? Who will be helped most in the upcoming Presidential election by reporting on Mormon beliefs – Obama or Romney? How many national news outlets covered black liberation theology outside of President Obama’s relationship with Jeremiah Wright? Media bias? Brief Comparison between Mormonism and Christianity Mormonism Christianity God More than one god. God the father is an exalted man   who was as we are now and has a body of flesh and bones. God There is only one God who is spirit and eternal. Trinity The father, son and …keep reading »

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Ethics: Your Pastor Takes Away Sunday School Material

What would you do Wednesday! It is no secret that Pastor Ralph Green is dissatisfied with the new LifeWay Sunday School curriculum, The Gospel Project.1 It is also no secret that many disagree with Green’s criticisms. Green’s criticisms have inspired today’s applied ethics post. I’d like to bring a similar situation to your local church. I know that pastors and laity read this blog so there could be some interesting perspectives offered. The situation. New Sunday School classes started three weeks ago. An SS teacher brought in some new curriculum which he told the pastor about. The pastor wanted to …keep reading »

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What if All Parents Rapped Like This?

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Decline in SBC Baptisms: Three Critical Invitation Factors?

One of the books assigned to read for one of my classes is Pastor’s Handbook by John R. Bisagno which offers a lot of practical advice. The advice is mostly pragmatic seemingly from a consequentialist perspective. That is, Bisagno writes from experience with little Scriptural support for his advice. Bisagno’s advice is not intrinsically good or bad, right or wrong, but at times questions arise when experience seems to be his authority. Previously, I commented on Bisagno’s perspective on extending the gospel invitation during corporate worship.1 Below I will comment on the three reasons he offers a partially contributing to …keep reading »

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Sunday Considerations: He is My Father

They are God’s “SONS.” I know no higher and more comfortable word that could have been chosen. To be servants of God, to be subjects, soldiers, disciples, friends–all these are excellent titles; but to be the “sons” of God is a step higher still. What does the Scripture say? “The servant abides not in the house forever–but the Son abides ever.” (John 8:35.) To be son of the rich and noble in this world, to be son of the princes and kings of the earth–this is commonly reckoned a great advantage and privilege. But to be a son of the …keep reading »

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Racism, Not Religious Freedom

It is not racism if someone does not want to vote for Barack Obama and wants him out of office because of his politics. It is racism if you tell a black man that you do not want him bagging your groceries because he is “negroidal”. This really happened in Big Sandy, TX. BIG SANDY — A Hawkins man is claiming his civil rights and religious freedom were violated earlier this year when a black man sacked his groceries and a Big Sandy grocery store owner banned the customer from the business. DeWitt R. Thomas filed a federal lawsuit in …keep reading »

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If Pat Robertson Were Jesus

Be glad that Pat Robertson is not the Savior Jesus Christ, but imagine if he were. A female viewer wrote into The 700 Club with a question. This lady is a mother to three adopted children from foreign countries. She wanted to know why the men she dates always leave once they find out she has three adopted children from three different countries. Host Pat Robertson provided…an answer. “you just never know what’s been done to a child before you get that child; what kind of sexual abuse there has been, what kind of cruelty, what kind of food deprivation” …keep reading »

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Ethics: Church Pressured to Support Burned Down Mosque

A Mosque in Joplin, MO recently burned down possibly due to arson. The St. Louis Post-Dispacth reported that churches in Joplin joined together to support a Mosque that burned down.1 Not only did churches come together to support the burned Mosque, but the article states that they will participate in an Islamic spiritual practice – iftar. They’ll be taking part in an “iftar,” which is a meal to break a fast during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.  What if a Mosque burned down in your town and your church was pressured to help? Several churches in your town, civic …keep reading »

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Pray for Late Term Abortion Day

Kelly Clinger at LifeSiteNews shares a heart-breaking story about a woman who aborted her twins when she was about 20-weeks pregnant.1 Clinger reports that the abortion took place on a Wednesday – late term abortion day – at Orlando Women’s Center. The only mother’s warmth those twins had known was taken away from them by their mother. The woman also has daughters who will never know their twin siblings. How will her daughters react to the abortion? What will mom tell them? What do mom’s actions teach the daughters? Admittedly, the mother does not want her daughters. Those poor daughters, …keep reading »

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Want to Help Over 200 Children?

The life of a child is priceless, but helping children is not free. Sandy Springs Mission helps over 200 children year round and they need your help! The Mission helps kids in grades 1-12 through their After School Program, Life Skills Program and Summer Camps. These enrichment programs help many at-risk students from low-income families living in Sandy Springs, GA. The Mission, with your support, will give these young people help they might not otherwise receive. The Mission changes kids’ lives and helps them succeed. Mission volunteers help the kids: increase self-confidence, improve grades, and keep them working toward their diplomas. …keep reading »

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Book Review: Gospel-Centered Family

Chester, Tim, and Ed Moll. Gospel-Centered Family. New Malden, Surrey, England: The Good Book Company, 2011. Guest review by Doug Young. I recently taught my children the meaning of an old, and all but lost saying—A rift in the lute. A lute is the predecessor to today’s guitar. The rift, or crack, is evidence of a problem that, if not addressed, threatens the instrument. Tennyson’s line in his epic poem Merlin and Vivien gives us the meaning: “It is the little rift within the lute that by-and-by will make the music mute, and ever widening slowly silence all.” What poetic …keep reading »

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Sunday Considerations: Our Refuge

The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge,my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. (Psalm 18:2 ESV) On every side are hosts of enemies ever invading our souls—trampling down every good thing in our hearts—accompanied by a  flying troop of temptations, doubts, fears, guilt and bondage sweeping over our soul. And we, as regards our own strength, are helpless against them. But there is a refuge set before us in the gospel of the grace of God. The Lord Jesus Christ, as King in Zion, …keep reading »

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Register Today: 9Marks Workshop in Atlanta!

9Marks  is bringing a conference about the church and for the church to Atlanta, GA. The following topics will be covered: theological vision, preaching & biblical theology,  gospel, conversion & evangelism, membership, discipline & discipleship, leadership, covenanting together. Each session ends with a Q&A. More info and registration below. When? Monday, October 29, 2012, 9 am – Tuesday, October 30, 2012, 12 pm. Who is speaking? – Mark Dever – Matt Schmucker – Aaron Menikoff – Zach Schlegel How much? – General Registration: $45 – Student Registration: $35 Where? Mount Vernon Baptist 850 Mt Vernon Hwy NW Atlanta, GA 30327 …keep reading »

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Do Christians Pray for Barack Obama’s Death and Spiritual Disembowelment?

Walter Rhett at the Democrats for Progress website claims that some Christians are wrongly using Psalm 109:8 to pray against President Obama.1 Is there something unbiblical about praying Psalm 109:8 for Obama which states (ESV), “May his days be few; may another take his office!”? That verse alone does not seem problematic to pray for someone whom a Christian deems as a poor leader for the country. However, Rhett paints a wider picture in his criticism by noting the context of verse 8 as if one must pray verses 7 – 15 also. When he is tried, let him come …keep reading »

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Ethics: A Pastor’s Disobedient Children

What would you do Wednesday! Unfortunately, the following situation is based on actual events. Your wife and kids got to spend the day with your pastor’s wife and kids. Although four kids, ages 9 to 12, can be a handful, your wife came home surprisingly frustrated. Your wife explains that the pastor’s children were very rude and disrespectful to her outside their mother’s presence and even to their mother directly. The children were even disrespectful to their father, your pastor. Your children confirm your wife’s frustrations. After asking your children if they had fun with Jack and Diane, your pastor’s …keep reading »

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Seven Years Ago Today My Life Changed

Seven years ago today on Burnside Island in Savannah, GA, I stood facing the window behind the pulpit at the front of a small church in Wesley Gardens. Through the window the famous Moon River could be seen still rippling from the end of the down pour. I stood next to my my bride as we each finished saying “I do.” I kissed my bride; then, the pastor, James White, presented us for the first time as husband and wife. Then, Steve Camp, struck the piano keys and began singing Luther’s A Mighty Fortress Is Our God as we walked …keep reading »

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Sunday Considerations: If Love be Lacking

“Now, dear friends, look at love—gaze upon its lovely form, its beautiful countenance, and its graceful actings; and observe its seraphic glow, its divine temper, until you are all enamored with its charms. But look at it not only as something to be admired—but to be possessed and practiced. Unless this be your temper, you are no Christians. I do not say you cannot be Christians unless you have it in perfection—but you must have the principle, and must be living in its exercise; and you are Christians no further than you live under its influence. Hear what the apostle …keep reading »

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An Observation: If Gay is the New Black

Some who fight for the acceptance and legalization of same-sex marriage not only attempt to redefine marriage, but frame the topic as a civil rights issue. One of the more persuasive arguments for same-sex marriage is to contend that the issue is conceptually/ideologically the same as black Americans’ fight for civil rights. In other words – gay is the new black. Brother Voddie Baucham recently penned the article – Gay is Not the New Black.1 Bauchman begins with the following statements concerning same-sex marriage and civil rights. The idea that same-sex “marriage” is the next leg in the civil rights …keep reading »

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Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day Photos

I enjoyed a Chick-fil-A #2 combo today for lunch on Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day. By the time I was able to get lunch it was 2 pm; Chick-fil-A was packed! I asked the young lady who took my order how long the place has been this busy. She replied, “Since 11.” Inside the restaurant was shoulder to shoulder and a police officer was directing the two drive-thru lines. There was even a lone protester outside walking back and forth on the sidewalk carrying a little boycott sign and a rainbow flag. So I snapped a few photos with my trusty iPhone …keep reading »

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Ethics: Excommunicated During Sunday Morning Worship?

What would you do Wednesday! Unfortunately, today’s scenario is inspired by true events. Consider the situation below. Explain why the pastor(s) should or should not carry out excommunication during the Sunday morning worship service on a church member who is under church discipline. Background Three months ago, a husband’s illicit affair was uncovered. The man admitted to a five year affair. He has been married for 15 years and has two kids. He has been in counseling with his pastors. Despite the counsel for the man to repent and reconcile with his wife, he has decided to leave his wife for …keep reading »

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Tapping My Way into the Freelance Writers Den

Are you ready to see me tap dance? Even I would pay to see that! Sorry to disappoint my dear readers, but that is not the kind of tapping I am talking about. I’m talking about the tap of a keyboard – that little noise the keyboard makes as I pump out prose on the digital screen. Some of the tapping is from the backspace key, but we won’t talk about that. I am moving forward with my writing – which brings me to the Freelance Writers Den. In short, the Freelance Writers Den (FWD) is a place where writers …keep reading »

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Sunday Considerations: How Deep

How Deep the Father’s Love for Us (by Stuart Townend) How deep the Father’s love for us, How vast beyond all measure That He should give His only Son To make a wretch His treasure How great the pain of searing loss, The Father turns His face away As wounds which mar the chosen One, Bring many sons to glory

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Free Book Comparing the Methods of Charles Finney and John Nevin of Promoting the Gospel

Free on Kindle eBooks right now: Theology Drives Methodology: Conversion in the Theology of Charles Finney and John Nevin by  Karl Dahlfred. Don’t have a Kindle, but like free eBooks? That’s okay, there is a Kindle app for your Mac, PC, etc. – Free Kindle Apps. This looks like a very interesting book. The description states that Dahlfred examines the different theologies of Finney and Nevin and explains how their beliefs affected their methods of sharing the gospel. Finney’s beliefs led him to use high-pressure revival meetings to induce conversions. Nevin’s beliefs led him to emphasize preaching, catechism, and pastoral …keep reading »

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What do LGBT Rights Group Equality Illinois and Westboro Baptist have in Common?

LGBT Rights Group Equality Illinois wrote a petition against Chick-Fil-A and plans to have a “Kiss-In” where “LGBT supporters will show their disdain for Chick-Fil-A’s policies with public displays of affection in front of their restaurants.”1 The infamous ‘god hates fags’ Westboro “Baptist Church” that seems to protest just about anything American that draws attention to themselves.2 What could these two opposing groups possibly have in common? A few thoughts. Both act against God’s word. Both are intolerant of opposing views. Both need the gospel. OK, what else?  

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Ethics: Church Member Tries to Get Rid of Calvinist Pastor

What would you do Wednesday! Inside a Southern Baptist Church the following is taking place at a congregational meeting. (Not Southern Baptist? Play along anyway!) The time has come for church members to speak about any praises or concerns on their hearts. One member says that he has a concern and moves to the microphone. Member: I have a concern about our pastor! He has been our pastor for three years and within the last year he started preaching out of the ESV Bible. In the last eight weeks alone he has quoted John Piper, RC Sproul and Augustine. My concern …keep reading »

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Book Review: Practical Theology For Women

Alsup, Wendy Horger. Practical Theology For Women: How Knowing God Makes a Difference in Our Daily Lives. Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway Books, 2008. Reviewed by guest blogger Priscilla Barry. A friend once sent me a story that illustrates the importance of an ever-expanding knowledge of theology. A sailor, working on a cargo ship with a rigorous deadline for delivery, was assigned the late night watch on deck. During the first minutes of his watch, a freak accident culminated in the sailor falling overboard. It was the next morning before the sailor’s absence was discovered. When a thorough search of the ship …keep reading »

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Sunday Considerations: Jesus Dying and Rising

So it behoves us, if we would have Christ for a frequent guest, to fill our hearts with faithful meditations on the mercy He showed in dying for us, and on His mighty power in rising again from the dead. To this David testified when he sang, “God spake once, and twice I have also heard the same; that power belongeth unto God; and that Thou, Lord, art merciful (Psalm 62:11f). And surely there is proof enough and to spare in that Christ died for our sins and rose again for our justification, and ascended into heaven that He might …keep reading »

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Husbands Test Your Wives!

Christian husbands ought to give their wives a short biblical test every now and then. This post suggests the kind of biblical test husbands may want to take their wives through. (Hint: The test is really aimed at the husbands!) I recently took my wife through this test during our devotion time. This test may be easier for wives than for husbands; try it and see. Ready? To get started you will need: a Bible or two, a blank sheet(s) of paper, and a pen or pencil. Open your Bible(s) to Ephesians 5. Pray for this time together. Read and …keep reading »

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Gone Fishin’, a Sabbatical

In case some of you have noticed my absence and  have wondered where I have been, I’m going to tell you. I have been on a temporary sabbatical. Lord willing, I will return. During this time I’m going fishing in a sense by revisiting the time when Jesus reeled me in. This is a time of repentance, renewal, refreshing and a seeking of joy in Christ for my soul. Life can be overwhelming at times. For example, Christians have daily spiritual needs of which I have been lately neglectful. Sprinkle some recent financial issues on top and this time of …keep reading »

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Sunday Considerations: Psalm 51

Create in Me a Clean Heart, O God [1] Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. [2] Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin! [3] For I know my transgressions,  and my sin is ever before me. [4] Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you may be justified in your words and blameless in your judgment. [5] Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me. [6] Behold, you delight in …keep reading »

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Book Review: Business for the Glory of God

Grudem, Wayne. Business for the Glory of God: The Bible’s Teaching On the Moral Goodness of Business. Wheaton, IL: Good News Publishers/Crossway Books, 2003. Guest review by Wayne Elliott. Why, we may wonder, would one of today’s most respected evangelical theologians care about the world of business, much less be moved to write a book analyzing the theological basis for business? After all, isn’t business far removed from the halls of the theological academy? Wayne Grudem is a graduate of Harvard University (BA), Westminster Seminary (MDiv), and the University of Cambridge, England (PhD). He has served as president of the …keep reading »

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Sunday Considerations: Abide in Love

Christ underlines a further principle, “Abide in My love” (15:9), and states very clearly what this implies: the believer rests his or her life on the love of Christ (the love of the One who lays down His life for His friends, v. 13). This love has been proved to us in the cross of Christ. We must never allow ourselves to drift from daily contemplation of the cross as the irrefutable demonstration of that love, or from dependence on the Spirit who sheds it abroad in our hearts (Rom. 5:5). Furthermore, remaining in Christ’s love comes to very concrete …keep reading »

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Christian Kindle Books Under $5

Amazon.com Widgets

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Are SBC Resolutions Only Valid for One Year?

While citing the Southern Baptist Convention website on resolutions for yesterday’s applied ethics post1 I noticed a interesting statement about resolutions. Note the following from the SBC website [emphasis added]. 21. How do I find out the official SBC stance on various issues? The Southern Baptist Convention makes official statements regarding specific issues by means of resolutions passed at our annual gatherings each June.  Southern Baptist polity views these resolutions as expressions of opinions or concern which are representative of the messengers attending the meeting, but are not binding upon any individual church or successive Convention.  Generally speaking, resolutions are …keep reading »

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Ethics: Anti-Calvinism Resolution at the Southern Baptist Convention

What would you do Wednesday! The annual Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) meeting is two months away1 so a situation that could take place during this meeting may provide an interesting discussion. In order to help those who are not Southern Baptists better participate in this topic, a few citations expressing Southern Baptist positions are provided below. Southern Baptists have prepared a statement of generally held convictions called The Baptist Faith and Message. It serves as a guide to understanding who they are.2 There is nothing in the Baptist Faith and Message that excludes Calvinists nor is the aim to do …keep reading »

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Three Times in Modern History the Word “Person” Has Been Redefined

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Sunday Considerations: Stir Up Your Soul

Now, I say we must put heart in our worship. Do not venture to come to this beautiful place of worship, or whatever place of worship you attend, and just sit languidly down to see if the choir can stir you or to see if the preacher can stir you. Oh! stir up your own souls. It is your solemn duty when you go to engage with others in the worship of God-it is your duty to yourself, it is your duty to others, it is your duty to the pastor who wishes to lead your worship, it is your …keep reading »

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Fred Luter on Race Relations in America

Pastor Fred Luter, who will probably be the first black president of the Southern Baptist Convention, spoke to PBS recently on race relations in America. Below is an excerpt of the interview. Watch Rev. Fred Luter on Race in America on PBS. See more from Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly. I have not heard the whole interview, but will offer some thoughts on the above excerpt. I agree with brother Luter that America still has a long way to go in race relations. However, he has couched his insight into the need for racial reconciliation based on the way President Obama …keep reading »

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Ethics: Leaking Confidential Meeting Details

What would you do Wednesday! The characters: You are one of twenty board members of a local Christian school. You have a friend who writes an online column for a local newspaper. The situation: Your friend has recently written critically in his online column about some of the recent decisions of the Christian school. You have mostly agreed with your friend about his concerns and have worked within your capacity as a board member to correct these recent decisions. A recent board meeting discussed some of the details about one of the school’s recent decisions. You shared those confidential details …keep reading »

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‘The Exchange’ with Ed Stetzer Live Today on this Blog

I will be hosting Dr. Ed Stetzer’s (President of LifeWay Research) webcast “The Exchange” as part of a test syndication. Tune in today! Today on “The Exchange” Pete Wilson, pastor of Cross Point Church in Nashville, discusses his newest book Empty Promises: The Truth about You, Your Desires, and the Lies You’re Believing. Philip Nation, Director of Ministry Development at LifeWay Christian Resources, will be guest-hosting. Click the image below to start the webcast at 2pm cst/3 pm est!

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Congratulations Bubba Watson for Winning the Masters!

Bubba Watson has won the 2012 Masters golf tournament. This is Watson’s first win in a Major golf tournament and only his fourth on the PGA Tour. Watson won in a dramatic play-0ff against South Africa’s Louis Oosthuizen. Both men hit errant drives at the second play-off hole. However, Watson’s ball landed in a tougher spot to play from than Oosthuizen’s though Watson was around 50-60 yards closer to the hole. Watson preceded to hit in incredible golf shot by hitting the ball out of the woods and curving it to land on the green. The shot was incredible! It is …keep reading »

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Sunday Considerations: Easter, the Battle Won

The Strife is O’er, the Battle Won The strife is o’er, the battle done; The victory of life is won; The song of triumph has begun: Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! The powers of death have done their worst; But Christ their legions hath dispersed; Let shouts of holy joy outburst: Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! The three sad days are quickly sped; He rises glorious from the dead; All glory to our risen Head! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! He closed the yawning gates of hell; The bars from heaven’s high portals fell; Let hymns of praise His triumphs tell! Alleluia! Alleluia! …keep reading »

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Preparing For Easter

The Rev. Alfred W. Wishart, Jr., opened his Easter sermon at the Arlington Avenue Presbyterian Church of East Orange, N.J., with these words: “Did you ever stop to think how much time it takes to get all of you looking so nice for today? What with the shopping and all, I’d conservatively estimate that it took each of you four hours to get ready. Since there are about 500 of you here, that comes to 2,000 hours. Now if you divide that up into 40-hour workweeks and allow two weeks for vacation, it breaks down into a full year of …keep reading »

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Cheap Kindle eBooks Under $5

I’m not sure what the problem is with the original content since it worked fine initially, but I’ve added the books in another format below. Yet, for some reason Broken-Down House for Kindle would not add. Amazon.com Widgets

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Ethics: George Zimmerman Secretly Visits Your Church

What would you do Wednesday! The tragic shooting death of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman that happened in Sanford, FL has taken over the internet recently.1 Passionate replies have been poured out from both Martin and Zimmerman supporters. Many in the court of public opinion have already tried Zimmerman and found him guilty of murder. Others believe that Martin may have brought the confrontation and shooting upon himself by causing Zimmerman to act in self-defense. Yet, what seems to be a minority of responders have decided to wait until all of the evidence is presented before a judge and jury …keep reading »

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Why is this Good News?

Dear readers, read the following Scripture. “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know—this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it. (Acts 2:22-24 ESV) Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, …keep reading »

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Sunday Considerations: Bitter and Sweet

Bitter and Sweet by John Newton Kindle, Saviour, in my heart, A flame of love divine; Hear, for mine I trust thou art And sure I would be thine; If my soul has felt thy grace, If to me thy name is known; Why should trifles fill the place Due to thyself alone? ‘Tis a strange mysterious life I live from day to day; Light and darkness, peace and strife, Bear an alternate sway:

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Sunday Considerations: Lord, Strengthen Us

Grant, Almighty God, that as we are prone to every kind of wickedness, and are so easily led away to imitate it, when there is any excuse for going astray and any opportunity is offered, – O grant, that being strengthened by the help of thy Spirit, we may continue in purity of faith, and that what we have learnt concerning thee, that thou art a Spirit, may so profit us, that we may worship thee in spirit and with a sincere heart, and never turn aside after the corruptions of the world, nor think that we can deceive thee; …keep reading »

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Sunday Considerations: All of Your Mind

If Jesus Is Not Worshiped, God Is Not Loved Jesus is the fullest revelation of God. “Whoever has seen me,” he said, “has seen the Father” (John 14:9). This means that knowing and loving Jesus is the test of knowing and loving God. So Jesus said, “I know that you do not have the love of God within you. I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not receive me” (John 5:42–43). His adversaries “do not have the love of God within [them]” because they do not  receive him. “The one who rejects me rejects him who sent …keep reading »

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Bisagno On Extending the Gospel Invitation

One of the books assigned to read for one of my classes is Pastor’s Handbook by John R. Bisagno which offers a lot of practical advice. The advice is mostly pragmatic seemingly from a consequentialist perspective. That is, Bisagno writes from experience with little Scriptural support for his advice. Bisagno’s advice is not intrinsically good or bad, right or wrong, but at times questions arise when experience seems to be his authority. Bisagno offered an interesting perspective on extending the gospel invitation during corporate worship. I am not convinced the reasoning in the advice given about extending the invitation is …keep reading »

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Sunday Considerations: The Saints Reward

Nothing besides God can be the saints’ reward. Nothing on earth can be their reward. The glittering of the world dazzles men’s eyes; but, like the apples of Sodom, it does not so much delight as delude. The world is gilded emptiness. The world is made circular; but the heart is a triangle. A circle cannot fill a triangle. The world is enough to busy us, not to fill us. Job 20:22, “In the fullness of his sufficiency he shall be in straits.” It seems a riddle to have sufficiency—yet not have enough. The meaning is, when he enjoys most …keep reading »

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Sunday Considerations: Go Speedily

“And the inhabitants of one city shall go to another, saying, Let us go speedily to pray before the Lord,and to seek the Lord of Hosts: I will go also.” Zechariah 8:21 (KJV) When the angels serve God they never do it as though they were half asleep. They are all alive and burning like flames of fire. They have six wings and, I guarantee you, they use them all! When the Lord says, “Gabriel, go upon My bidding,” he outstrips the lightning! O, to exhibit some such ardor and zest in the service of God! If we pray, let …keep reading »

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Sunday Considerations: Many Mansions

In my Father’s house are many mansions. (John 14:2a NKJV) But the mansions in God’s house above are everlasting mansions. Those that have seats allotted ’em there, whether of greater or lesser dignity, whether nearer or further from the throne, will hold ’em to all eternity. This is promised, Rev. iii. 12: “Him that overcometh I will make him a pillar in the temple [of my God, and he shall go no more out].” If it be worth the while to desire and seek high seats in the meeting-house, where you are one day in a week, and where you …keep reading »

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Franklin Graham on President Obama’s Christianity

Below is a one minute clip cut from a longer interview (see below) where Franklin Graham is asked whether or not he believes President Obama is a Christian. Check it out. The MSNBC hosts call Graham out for inconsistent answers. On the one hand, Graham will not definitively say whether or not he believes Obama is a Christian, but leaves the question for Obama to answer. On the other hand, Graham has no problem believing that Rick Santorum is a Christian. However, the above clip does not tell the whole story. In the actual interview Graham says the following. [Obama] has …keep reading »

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Sunday Considerations: Betrayed and Disappointed Confidence

One you thought a friend, tender and true, has deserted you; a judgment upon whose guidance you leaned has misled you; a source upon whose supplies you depended has failed you; a confidence in which you too implicitly reposed has betrayed you; and thus you are learning the lesson Jesus learned when, “all His disciples forsook Him, and fled.” Cheer up, my soul! there is One who has promised never to leave you. When father and mother, husband and wife, lover and friend, forsake you, the Lord will take you up. He who was deserted by friends and followers, will …keep reading »

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Woody Harrelson On Christianity

GQ magazine published an interview with actor Woody Harrelson. In the interview, Harrelson is asked about the Gospel and his Christian upbringing.1 He was raised in church studying the Bible and preached his first sermon at age 17. GQ: Can you tell me about when you preached the Gospel as a child? Woody Harrelson: I was very religious growing up. My mom still is. We went to church all the time, went to Bible study; we even did Bible study at my house. I went to a Presbyterian college, you know, I was in….all the way, and so I remember …keep reading »

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Sunday Considerations: Sins on Jesus

I Lay My Sins on Jesus I lay my sins on Jesus, the spotless Lamb of God; He bears them all, and frees us from the accursèd load; I bring my guilt to Jesus, to wash my crimson stains White in His blood most precious, till not a stain remains. I lay my wants on Jesus; all fullness dwells in Him; He heals all my diseases, He doth my soul redeem: I lay my griefs on Jesus, my burdens and my cares; He from them all releases, He all my sorrows shares. I rest my soul on Jesus, this weary …keep reading »

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Sunday Considerations: Comparing Lives

J.C. Ryle offers some advice to help rightly count the cost of the Christian life. Consider the words below as you prepare for and worship corporately with the body of Christ. Count up and compare, for another thing, the life that now is and the life to come, if you are a true-hearted and holy Christian. The time present, no doubt, is not a time of ease. It is a time of watching and praying, fighting and struggling, believing and working. But it is only for a few years. The time future is the season of rest and refreshing. Sin …keep reading »

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Sunday Considerations: Forsaken by Man

Consider Jesus– as Forsaken by Man “Then all the disciples forsook Him, and fled.” –Matt. 26:56 What a sad contrast does this picture present to the one we have just been viewing–“Jesus, our fellow-sufferer.” His time of suffering has now come, but, lo! “all His disciples have forsaken Him, and fled.” Is there nothing, my soul, in this affecting and significant fact from which you may gather much that is instructive and consolatory concerning your own condition? We have been contemplating the sympathy of Jesus with His afflicted saints. And oh, what heart can conceive, or imagery portray, the reality, …keep reading »

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TD Jakes Reviews: Elephant Room and 11 Various Books

First, James White weighs in on his Dividing Line radio show for two hours. There were so many listeners that the servers crashed.  Find the link and a description below. A Mega-Friday DL on TD Jakes and Elephants in the Room In any case, I addressed the TD Jakes: is he a Trinitarian? issue head on during the first hour, and then took calls on the topic for a full hour after that. The callers were wide ranging, and while none defended the ER or Jakes, they did provide some good insights. Lots of positive feedback on Twitter and FaceBook. …keep reading »

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Angry Apostles and the Trinity

On the Trinity First, Pastor Tom Chantry has provided a actual transcript of T.D. Jakes words on the Trinity from The Elephant Room 2, session 4.1 Chantry then made a follow-up post in which he shares his thoughts in the following five points.2 1. Jakes masterfully deconstructs the entire practice of theology. 2. Driscoll and MacDonald are too much in awe of Jakes’ massive numeric success to call him on this. 3. James MacDonald is angry. 4. The mega-pastors are one big lovin’ family! 5. If you aren’t defined at least somewhat by what you are against, you aren’t really …keep reading »

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Sunday Considerations: My Lord and My God

Thomas, one of Jesus’ chosen twelve Apostles, initially doubted that Jesus had risen from the dead. Thomas’ story is recorded in the gospel of John chapter 20. He was not with the other disciples when they saw Jesus. Thomas declared that unless he could see and touch Jesus he would not believe. Thomas did see and touch Jesus. John records the exchange between Thomas and Jesus that followed. Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” (John …keep reading »

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On Public Rebuke

As far as I know, being rebuked is not something to which most Christians look forward, especially, being publicly rebuked. However, Scripture says it is good for rebuke (2 Tim. 3:16). Scripture even includes the well-known example of one Apostle publicly rebuking another Apostle (Gal. 2:11, 14). Today, there is no shortage of Christians rebuking one another online. Though direct, public rebukes in person is not often carried out. Occasionally, one might hear a public rebuke about  a particular person, but the more popular route is to address poor teaching in general leaving the teacher unnamed. In the past, I …keep reading »

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Sunday Considerations: Outdo One Another

Competition moves, feeds, and entertains the world. Competition can be a positive or a negative in life. I would like to encourage a biblical competition that I fail at often. Christian, think about your attitude and actions toward those in your own home and in the household of faith. How do you think about those family members? How do you treat them? Have you followed the Apostle Paul’s admonition to outdo them? Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. (Romans 12:10 ESV) Have you considered to then owe them nothing but love? Owe no one …keep reading »

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Sunday Considerations: Called to Die

Christians are called to come together for corporate worship with one another. As many of us prepare for corporate worship I’d encourage each Christian to ask themselves what else Christ has called you to. Christ has called us to die to self and take up our cross daily. The cross is laid on every Christian. The first Christ-suffering which every man must experience is the call to abandon the attachments of this world. It is that dying of the old man which is the result of his encounter with Christ. As we embark upon discipleship we surrender ourselves to Christ …keep reading »

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Sunday Considerations: This Year Also

In preparation for the new year, Charles Spurgeon wrote the following sermon excerpts from his bed while he was sick. The sermon is based on three words from Luke 13:8,  “this year also.” Spurgeon’s words put new year’s resolutions and goals into a Kingdom perspective. However, there should be no dispute that a kingdom is in view with new year’s resolutions, but whose kingdom, yours or God’s? The interceding vinedresser pleaded for the fruitless fig tree, “let it alone this year also,” dating, as it were, a year from the time wherein he spoke. Trees and fruit-bearing plants have a …keep reading »

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What Will You Do with the Christmas Gift?

Another Christmas has come and gone and a new year is around the corner. A year lies ahead both to use this year’s Christmas gifts and think about next year’s. However, some gifts are all ready used up although some are advertised as gifts that keep on giving. There is only one gift that keeps on giving. This gift was given to all, but did you receive Him or reject Him? What will you do with the Christmas gift? The Christmas gift given, but not received by all is Jesus Christ. Yet, His birth is celebrated by millions on Christmas …keep reading »

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Sunday Considerations: What is Christmas? A Spoken Word

[Note: I wrote the poem below in the spirit of spoken word poetry.] What is Christmas? “What Child is This?” we sing, He is the One who is to be King. It’s the time of year to celebrate His birth, Which began His life of eternal worth. This baby Jesus was born to die, And we sinners might ask, “Why?” Why would God send His Son to save us, From the sin in which we ourselves enslaved us? A gift so great that the world can’t fathom, Compared to Santa’s gifts, you can have them! The true meaning of Christmas …keep reading »

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Sunday Considerations: Prepared for the Lord

In the excerpt below, Spurgeon is preaching on the past phrase of Luke 1:17 (ESV) “To make ready for the Lord a people prepared.”  During this Christmas season as non-Christians are invited to and attend various Christmas services, these words are a great reminder that sinners bring nothing to Christ for salvation. Just as the birth of Jesus was a work of God so is the re-birth of the lost soul. The fact is, dear friends, that to get men to come to Jesus just as they are, is not an easy thing. To get them to give up the …keep reading »

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Is Tim Tebow a Religious Hypocrite?

In his article, “Tim Tebow Trivializes Religion” Bill Press uses Jesus’ words in Matthew 6:5 to call Tim Tebow a hypocrite. 1 In light of Press labeling Tebow a hypocrite he also wishes that Tebow would “STFU”.2 Press, a Roman Catholic, attended a Catholic university and earned a degree in theology.3 The 71 year old Press, then, would be considered an older more learned man than Tebow who, it seems, should have some wisdom to share. Did someone say hypocrisy? In Matthew 5, Jesus did say: “And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love …keep reading »

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Preaching On Sin and Responsibility

Sin and responsibility may not be the most comfortable topics about which to talk or preach. No one really wants to consider that they are responsible for something they did i.e. sin. It is much easier to blame sins on someone else as if they some how caused the sin and, therefore, avoid personal responsibility. It is much easier to compare one’s sin to another person’s much worse sin in order to minimize sin and personal responsibility. Is taking personal responsibility of sin minimized because of the way sin is expressed at times from the pulpit? Is the sinner a …keep reading »

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Sunday Considerations: Heaven Desired

O MY LORD, May I arrive where means of grace cease and I need no more to fast, pray, weep, watch, be tempted, attend preaching and sacrament; where nothing defiles, where is no grief, sorrow, sin, death, separation, tears, pale face, languid body, aching joints, feeble infancy, decrepit age, peccant humours, pining sickness, griping fears, consuming cares; where is personal completeness; where the more perfect the sight the more beautiful the object, the more perfect the appetite the sweeter the food, the more musical the ear the more pleasant the melody, the more complete the soul the more happy its …keep reading »

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A Quick Note of Thanks!

I would like to thank all of my friends in the real world and those in the cyber-world via twitter, Facebook and blogs who help get the word out to vote for me for the $10,000 Blogging Scholarship.1 I was overwhelmed by all of the support. It meant a lot! A special word of thanks (sorry if I missed anyone) to Frank Turk2, James White3, Tim Challies4 and Aaron Armstrong5 for promoting the scholarship contest on their blogs. And an extra-special thank you to all those who used the donate button on the sidebar. You know who you are. I …keep reading »

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The Gospel in the Liquor Store

The following true story is about a seminary student sharing the gospel in a liquor store. The student is an acquaintance and the story is shared with permission. This is all that will be revealed of this student. One of the most divisive disagreements among conservative Christians is the subject of Christians drinking alcohol. Tim Challies highlighted and commented on some of the recent disagreements about Christians and alcohol.1 Challies provides a big picture view of the subject with a caution to younger Christians to use their freedom wisely when it comes to alcohol. I pray the following story is …keep reading »

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Sunday Considerations: With Thanksgiving

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. (Philippians 4:6 ESV) Always must we offer prayer and supplication with thanksgiving. No matter though the prayer should struggle upward out of the depths, yet must its wings be silvered o’er with thanksgiving. Though the prayer were offered upon the verge of death, yet in the last few words which the trembling lips can utter there should be notes of gratitude as well as words of petition. The law saith: “With all thy sacrifices thou shalt offer …keep reading »

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Sunday Considerations: Pure and Holy

Grant, Almighty God, that as we are prone to every kind of wickedness, and are so easily led away to imitate it, when there is any excuse for going astray and any opportunity is offered, – O grant, that being strengthened by the help of thy Spirit, we may continue in purity of faith, and that what we have learnt concerning thee, that thou art a Spirit, may so profit us, that we may worship thee in spirit and with a sincere heart, and never turn aside after the corruptions of the world, nor think that we can deceive thee; …keep reading »

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Sunday Considerations: But in the Cross

Then seeing Christ and his dear disciples have glorified God with their tribulations, let us also embrace them joyfully, saying with Saint Paul, God forbid that I should glory but in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. And let us work and behave ourselves in such sort that the world (to his own hurt) may know and see with his eyes the marvellous effects that God worketh in them that sincerely embrace the grace of the Gospel; let the man of the world (I say) see with how much tranquillity and quietness of mind the true Christians sustain the …keep reading »

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Sunday Considerations: The Special Consideration

It is a special consideration to enhance the love of God in giving Christ, that in giving him he gave the richest jewel in his cabinet; a mercy of the greatest worth, and most inestimable value, Heaven itself is not so valuable and precious as Christ is: He is the better half of heaven; and so the saints account him, Psalm. 73:25, “Whom have I in heaven but you?” Ten thousand thousand worlds, says one, as many worlds as angels can number, and then as a new world of angels can multiply, would not all be the bulk of a …keep reading »

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Reformation Day 2011: Luther on the Power of God’s Word

Love, therefore, demands that you have compassion on the weak, as all the apostles had. Once, when Paul came to Athens, a mighty city, he found in the temple many altars, Acts and he went from one to the other and looked at them all, but did not touch any one of them even with his foot. But he stood in the midst of the market-place and said they were all idolatrous works, and begged the people to forsake them; yet he did not destroy one of them by force. When the word took hold of their hearts, they forsook …keep reading »

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Sunday Considerations: Behold Each Other’s Graces

It is sad to consider that saints should have many eyes to behold one another’s infirmities, and not one eye to see each other’s graces, that they should use spectacles to behold one another’s weaknesses, rather than looking-glasses to behold one another’s graces. Flavius Vespasian, the emperor, was more ready to conceal the vices of his friends than their virtues. Can you think seriously of this, Christians, that a heathen should excel you, and not blush? Erasmus tells of one who collected all the lame and defective verses in Homer’s works—but passed over all that was excellent. Ah! this is …keep reading »

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Sunday Considerations: The Paymaster

Sin is a debt–Jesus paid it when He bore our sins in His own body on the tree. Obedience is a debt–Jesus paid it when, by the obedience of One, many were made righteous. Death is a debt–Jesus paid it when He bowed His head on the cross and gave up the spirit. And when thus we behold Him dragged into the court of human justice, and sentenced to a felon’s death–and when we follow Him to the garden of His sorrow, sweating great drops of blood, and thence to Calvary, and see Him nailed to the accursed tree–suffering, bleeding, …keep reading »

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What I Wish TV Hosts Would Ask Christians

Trevin Wax has an excellent post on how he wishes the homosexuality debate would go between TV hosts and pastors.1 Trevin offers an example of good dialogue with the Christian re-directing the conversation so it is not concentrating on homosexuality. The dialogue could actually work with a dose of patience, focus and enough time. I wish the homosexuality debate would be as Trevin described too, but I also wish something else. TV show hosts like to press on hot button. Some of the on going hot button issues are just about anything on homosexuality, on whether Mormonism is Christian, or …keep reading »

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Sunday Considerations: A Thankful Meditation

Meditation May 11, 1661 by Anne Bradstreet My thankful heart with glorying tongue Shall celebrate Thy name, Who hath restored, redeemed, recured From sickness, death, and pain. I cried, Thou seem’st to make some stay, I sought more earnestly And in due time Thou succour’st me And sent’st me help from high. Lord, whilst my fleeting time shall last, Thy goodness let me tell, And new experience I have gained My future doubts repel. An humble, faithful life, O Lord, Forever let me walk; Let my obedience testify My praise lies not in talk. Accept, O Lord, my simple mite, …keep reading »

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Sunday Considerations: Overlooking the Gospel

How long has it been since you looked up from the earthly details of life and came face to face with the Grand Canyon of what God has done for us in the gospel—his unfathomable grace in forgiving people who have rebelled against him, his breathtaking plan to send his Son to suffer and die in their place, to establish the throne of the resurrected Jesus over a kingdom of perfect righteousness, and to bring those who are saved and redeemed by his blood into a new heavens and new earth where sin and evil will be forever conquered! How …keep reading »

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Book Review: The World-Tilting Gospel

Phillips, Dan. The World-Tilting Gospel: Embracing a Biblical Worldview and Hanging On Tight. Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications, 2011. 320 pages. Dan Phillips is probably best known to the Christian blogging world from his writing at Pyromaniacs as well as his personal blog, Biblical Christianity. Phillips, now an author, was more than just a blogger. He holds an MDiv from Talbot Theological Seminary, has pastored four churches, has taught college and seminary classes and presented at Bible seminars. In The World-Tilting Gospel (TWTG) Phillips explains how the gospel is antithetical to the natural world and actually changes (or should change) the …keep reading »

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iHeaven: Steve Jobs (1955-2011)

The creative genius of Steve Jobs has left its mark on the world. Jobs’ ideas and implementation of those ideas raised the bar significantly in technological advancement. He left us with Apple products that have changed the ways information is used, accessed and shared. His ideas will live on and most likely continue to spur competition providing continued advances in technology. These advances will continue to change the way many work and live. It might be said that Steve Jobs left us with an iHeaven. The idea of iHeaven is one of here and now because it will not be …keep reading »

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Did Mark Dever Withdraw from Elephant Room 2?

I my previous post I shared that I leaned toward Mark Dever withdrawing from participating in Elephant Room 2(ER2) due to T.D. Jakes scheduled participation.1 A commenter on that post informed me that Dever’s bio, pictured above, is missing from the ER2 website. If Dever does or did withdraw from the event it should not come a surprise. In 2008 he was challenged on the issue of biblical separation. Dever answered the challenge explaining that he does practice separation. Others may be able to learn from his practice. The following quote is part of Dever’s article on separation which applies …keep reading »

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Sunday Considerations: Blessing of the Trinity

THE BLESSING OF THE TRINITY A true and accurate knowledge of the Trinity is a blessing in and of itself. Any revelation of God’s truth is an act of grace, of course, but the Trinity brings to us a blessing far beyond the worth normally assigned by believers today. Why? Because, upon reflection, we discover that the Trinity is the highest revelation God has made of himself to His people. It is the capstone, the summit, the brightest star in the firmament of divine truths. As I will assert more than once in this work, God revealed this truth about …keep reading »

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Sunday Considerations: Humility

Humility makes a man peaceable among brethren, fruitful in well-doing, cheerful in suffering, and constant in holy walking (1 Pet. 5:5). Humility fits for the highest services we owe to Christ, and yet will not neglect the lowest service to the lowest saint (John 13:5). Humility can feed upon the lowest dish, and yet it is maintained by the choicest delicacies, as God, Christ, and glory. Humility will make a man bless him who curses him, and pray for those who persecute him. An humble heart is an habitation for God, a scholar for Christ, a companion of angels, a …keep reading »

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Sunday Considerations: Contentment

Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. (Philippians 4:11 ESV) Timeless words from A.W. Pink on contentment. Discontent! Was there ever a time when there was so much restlessness in the world as there is today? We very much doubt it. Despite our boasted progress, the vast increase of wealth, the time and money expended daily in pleasure, discontent is everywhere. No class is exempt. Everything is in a state of flux, and almost everybody is dissatisfied. Many even among God’s own people are affected with …keep reading »

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Never Forget

I will never forget September 11, 2001. I was sitting in the office with my colleagues waiting for the stock market to open watching the news on the big screen TV. Around 8:45 am the news channel’s focus moved from stock to shock as it reported that a plane had hit the North Tower of the World Trade Center in New York City. We were glued to the TV not understanding what just happened. About fifteen minutes later we watched the second plane hit the South Tower. We sat stunned not knowing that at that moment the U.S. was under …keep reading »

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Sunday Considerations: Comfort In Affliction

This is my comfort in my affliction, that your promise gives me life. (Psalm 119:50 ESV) The worldling clutches his money bag and says, “this is my comfort”; the spendthrift points to his gaiety, shouts, “this is my comfort”; the drunkard lifts his glass, and sings, “this is my comfort”; but the man whose hope comes from God feels the giving power of the word of the Lord, and he testifies, “this is my fort.” Paul said, “I know whom I have believed.” Comfort is desirable all times; but comfort in affliction is like a lamp in a dark place. …keep reading »

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Would You Pray at Ground Zero?

An interfaith prayer vigil will be held at the National Cathedral for the tenth anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks. It seems that no Evangelicals were invited to participate along side the “dean of the Cathedral, the Bishop of Washington, a rabbi, Buddhist nun and incarnate lama, a Hindu priest, the president of the Islamic Society of North America and a Muslim musician.”1 Should Evangelicals have been invited? Carl Trueman addressing Southern Baptists seems to think that not being invited is a good thing since no invitation means no compromise.2 Mike Horton weighs in with a thoughtful response asking …keep reading »

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Sunday Considerations: Look Backward and Forward

Living between the two comings of Christ, Christians are to look backward and forward: back to the manger, the cross, and the empty tomb, whereby salvation was won for them; forward to their meeting with Christ beyond this world, their personal resurrection, and the joy of being with their Savior in glory forever. New Testament devotion is consistently oriented to this hope; Christ is “our hope” (1 Tim. 1:1) and we serve “the God of hope” (Rom. 15:13). Faith itself is defined as “being sure of what we hope for” (Heb. 11:1), and Christian commitment is defined as having “fled …keep reading »

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Preach the Law to Rest In the Gospel

5. Those who already believe. We must teach them: (i) The gospel: the biblical teaching on justification, sanctification and perseverance. (ii) The law: but as it applies to those who are no longer under its curse, so that they may be taught how to bear the fruit of a new obedience in keeping with their repentance (Rom. 8:1; 1 Tim. 1:9). Here Paul’s teaching in Romans serves as a model. (iii) Although someone who is righteous and holy in the sight of God should not be threatened with the curse of the law, the opposition of the law to their …keep reading »

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Sunday Considerations: End of All Love

The end of all love is the good or the happiness of its object, as that happiness is conceived of by its subject. The great end which Christian brotherly love contemplates, is the well-being of its object, viewed as a Christian man; his deliverance from ignorance, and error, and sin, in all their forms and all their degrees; his progressive, and ultimately his complete, happiness, in entire conformity to the mind and will of God; the unclouded sense of the Divine favor, the uninterrupted enjoyment of the Divine fellowship, the being like “the ever-blessed” Holy, Holy, Holy One. It does …keep reading »

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Israel, A Christian Idol?

In the following video Mormon Glenn Beck sits with Evangelical David Barton who introduces hyper-dispensationalist, prosperity preacher John Hagee1. These men are together for the sake of supporting the modern day state of Israel. Supporting Israel is not a bad thing, but are they supporting Israel in a biblical sense? For starters, Hagee, a professing Christian, asks God to bless Glenn Beck, a professing Mormon, for their work together supporting Israel. I, too, ask God to bless Glenn Beck though in a different manner. I pray God would bring Beck to repent of his Mormonism and believe the true gospel …keep reading »

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A Rough Seminary Semester, Part II

In part I, I shared about some of the issues my family and I faced during the 2011 spring semester which ran from January – May. God taught me a lot during that time. Some of what He taught me I’m still digesting while other lessons He taught me I’m not sure exactly how to put into words. In this post I will share some of what I am able to express that I believe God taught me through this time as well as some of the activities He lead me through. Running over the potholes of life describe in …keep reading »

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A Rough Seminary Semester, Part I

This past 2011 spring semester (January – May) was rough. A lot happened in that five month span. I knew it was going to be busy since I was taking four classes in addition to my family, job, deacon duties, my daughter’s high school graduation and a teaching assignment at church. I began to feel the weight of the semester at the beginning when I found out how much reading and writing two of the classes required (these were week long intensive classes). Not long after being home from the one week intensives a friend’s father committed suicide. In light …keep reading »

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Sunday Considerations: Earthly Comforts

Meditate upon the uncertainty of all earthly comforts. Creature-delights have their flux and reflux. How oft does the sun of worldly pomp and grandeur goes down at noon. Xerxes was forced to fly away in a small vessel, who but a little before lacked sea-room for his navy. We say everything is mutable; but who meditates upon it? The world is resembled to “a sea of glass mingled with fire” Rev. xv. 2. Glass is slippery; it has no sure footing; and glass mingled with fire is subject to consume. All creatures are fluid and uncertain, and cannot be made …keep reading »

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Servant Evangelism: Gimmick or Grace?

Steve Sjogren is know for what is called Servant Evangelism which, as I understand it, is a way of doing outreach through acts of kindness in hopes of sharing the gospel. At SermonCentral.com Sjogren has an article titled 94 Servant Evangelism Ideas for Your Church. The ideas he lists are certain good, kind things to do for your neighbors. How should we think about such acts in light of evangelism? When this topic comes up it reminds me of something I call Amway Evangelism. This involves churches hosting events to draw non-Christians and then at some point unexpectedly springing the …keep reading »

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Sunday Considerations: Hearing the Word

We may bring our bodies to the preaching of the Word with ease—but not our hearts, without offering violence to ourselves. When we come to the Word preached, we come to a business of the highest importance, therefore should stir up ourselves and hear with the greatest devotion. Luke xix. 48. “All the people were very attentive to hear him.” In the Greek it is “they hung upon his lip.”—When the Word is dispensed, we are to lift up the everlasting doors of our hearts, that the King of glory may enter in!1 _________________

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Anders Breivik Needs to be Crucified

After Anders Breivik went on a killing spree various media sources identified him as a fundamentalist Christian. Many Christians rejected that claim, not only because of his actions, but because of the words he wrote in his manifesto. I even quoted Breivik’s manifesto in Was Anders Breivik a Christian? to refute the claim that he was any kind of Christian. Defending the name of Christ in light of those claiming Breivik was a believer was the right thing to do. Yet, in defending Christ many of us missed an opportunity in the moment. Of course, Breivik is still being talked …keep reading »

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IMB Missionary Interview for LovingMuslims.com

The International Mission Board (IMB) of the Southern Baptist Convention recently launched a website to encourage Christians reach out to their Muslim neighbors. The website is LovingMuslims.com and the timing of the launch was no mistake as the 10 year anniversary of 9/11 approaches. I had the privilege to send a few question to the person behind the vision for the website. That person is, Lil Brooks, the IMB Project Coordinator for Loving Muslims. Lil Brooks may be reached via the email linked here. I pray the interview is helpful and the website useful to help Christians reach their Muslim …keep reading »

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Sunday Considerations: Hidden Treasure

When you read the Word, look on it as a soul-enriching treasury. Search it as for hidden treasure! Proverbs 2:4. In this Word are scattered many divine sayings; gather them up as so many jewels. This blessed book will enrich you; it fills your head with divine knowledge, and your heart with divine grace; it stores you with promises: a man may be rich in bonds. In this field the pearl of price is hidden! What are all the world’s riches compared to these? Islands of spices, coasts of pearl, rocks of diamonds? These are but the riches that reprobates …keep reading »

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Discipleship Through Judgement

Look at the word discipleship. There within it is the word disciple, which is obviously related to the word discipline. In view of the next section on corrective church discipline, I would point out that discipleship is the other side of the coin—it is formative church discipline. These words, discipleship/discipline/ disciple, all connote ideas of training, and all training sometimes feels like punishment (cf. Heb. 12:7–11). The training in view here involves being taught to obey everything Jesus commanded. The commands of Jesus 4 often go against our instincts, impulses, inclinations, and desires. Sometimes they seem to make no sense. …keep reading »

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Sunday Considerations: Read the Word

Read the Word as a book made by God Himself. It is given “by divine inspiration” 2 Tim. iii.16. It is the library of the Holy Spirit. The prophets and apostles were but God’s amanuenses to write the law at his mouth. The Word is of divine original, and reveals the deep things of God to us. There is a sense of deity engraved in man’s heart, and is to be read in the book of the creatures; but who this God is, and the Trinity of persons in the Godhead, is infinitely, above the light of reason; only God …keep reading »

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On Frivolous Prayer and Reverence

Given the discussions on the recent NASCAR prayer both here (A NASCAR Prayer, Parody or Blasphemy?) and elsewhere the commentary below from Calvin offers helpful perspective to consider on prayer. In the first quote, Calvin addresses the state of the mind and reverence to God in prayer. Let the first rule of right prayer then be, to have our heart and mind framed as becomes those who are entering into converse with God. This we shall accomplish in regard to the mind, if, laying aside carnal thoughts and cares which might interfere with the direct and pure contemplation of God, …keep reading »

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A NASCAR Prayer, Parody or Blasphemy?

Below is a transcript and video of the invocation “prayer” that Pastor Joe Nelms of Family Baptist Church in Lebanon, TN (near Nashville) recently gave at a NASCAR event. I’m not sure how to respond other than to scratch my head and think of this in light of the state of American Christianity. Of course, he had to be Baptist, but atleast he’s not Southern Baptist as far as I can tell. So was Nelms offering a prayer, a parody or blasphemy? Heavenly Father, we thank you tonight for all your blessings. You said in all things give thanks so …keep reading »

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Sunday Considerations: Glory of Redemption

Faith is a sensibleness of what is real in the work of redemption; and as we do really wholly depend on God, so the soul that believes doth entirely depend on God for all salvation, in its own sense and act. Faith abases men and exalts God, it gives all the glory of redemption to God alone. It is necessary in order to saving faith, that man should be emptied of himself, that he should be sensible that he is “wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked.” Humility is a great ingredient of true faith: he that truly …keep reading »

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Dear Same-Sex Marriage

Dear Same-sex marriage, May I call you SSM? Thanks! So, what are you? And what have you done with marriage? Actually, you haven’t done anything with marriage. I’m here writing you. Yes, this is Marriage sending you a note. I’m a little upset that you’re trying to do away with me by re-defining me. However, I am not some novelty act, but a staple of society. Men and women use me to build families by bringing children into the world who then repeat the cycle. I am still here today, but not if it were up to you, SSM. For …keep reading »

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Sunday Considerations: Alive or Dead

Sunday Considerations attempts to offer something edifying for Christians to consider as they prepare to come together as the body of Christ to worship. Below are a few words from J.C. Ryle to consider. I speak to you yourself, and to none else—not to your neighbor—but to you, not to Africans or New Zealanders—but to you. I do not ask whether you are an angel, or whether you have the mind of David or Paul—but I do ask whether you have a well-founded hope that you are a new creature in Christ Jesus, I do ask whether you have reason …keep reading »

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Sunday Considerations: Humility

Labor to be clothed with humility. Humility makes a man peaceable among brethren, fruitful in well-doing, cheerful in suffering, and constant in holy walking (1 Pet. 5:5). Humility fits for the highest services we owe to Christ, and yet will not neglect the lowest service to the lowest saint (John 13:5). Humility can feed upon the lowest dish, and yet it is maintained by the choicest delicacies, as God, Christ, and glory. Humility will make a man bless him who curses him, and pray for those who persecute him. An humble heart is an habitation for God, a scholar for …keep reading »

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Sunday Considerations: Christian Citizenship

“But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 3:20 ESV) So with Christians here. They are content very much to let the potsherds strive with the potsherds of the earth. Their politics concern their own country, they do not care much about any other. As men they love liberty and are not willing to lose it even in the lower sense. But, spiritually, their politics are spiritual, and as citizens they look to the interest of that Divine republic to which they belong. They wait for the time when, having …keep reading »

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A Response: Patriotism and Christian Worship

Pastor David Brumbelow recently posted Patriotism and Christian Worship at SBC Voices. I will admit upfront that I disagree with Brumbelow on this topic. I’ve even written about patriotic worship in the past on more than on occasion. Christians will probably continue to disagree about this topic this side of heaven. Make no mistake that even though I disagree with Brumbelow on patriotic worship, I am not anti-American. I love America and am very thankful that I was born here. I will say the Pledge and sing patriotic songs with a warm heart. I just won’t do so during corporate …keep reading »

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Freedom: More Than An American

Christian, what will be at the forefront of your mind during corporate worship this 4th of July weekend? (HT: John Strickland)

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Sunday Considerations: Make Me Ashamed 6/26/11

As many Christians prepare for corporate worship I offer an excellent prayer to consider from Charles Bridges’ exposition of Psalm 119:25* which states: My soul clings to the dust; give me life according to your word! O Lord, make me more deeply ashamed, that “my soul should cleave to the dust.” Breathe upon me fresh influence from Your quickening Spirit. Help me to plead Your word of promise; and oh! may every fresh view of my sinfulness, while it prostrates me in self-abasement before You, be overruled to make the Savior daily and hourly more precious to my soul. For …keep reading »

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Transcript and Commentary: Al Mohler On Homosexuality at the SBC

Dr. R. Albert Mohler, President of Southern Seminary, recently answered a question from Dr. Peter Lumpkins concerning alleged comments he made about Evangelicals and homosexuality. The question was answered from the floor of the 2011 Southern Baptist Convention’s annual meeting during his report on Southern Seminary. Dr. Mohler confirmed that the statements in question were his and further expressed some of his views on the topic of Evangelicals and homosexuality. His answer has attracted much attention in parts of the internet world. For example, Al Mohler’s Response to Peter Lumpkins: The Complete Video at SBC Voices received over 350 comments …keep reading »

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A Teenager On Youth Ministry

I’m recycling a post about a teenager named Erica who was given an assignment to write an editorial on the subject of her choice. She choose youth ministry. Youth ministry is difficult. Questions are often asked about how to best reach and minister to youth. It can be hard to get into the mind of a teenager. Adults may be surprised of the wisdom that may be found in those young, developing minds. The article offered below may be one such surprise. Erica’s editorial is republished below exactly as it was sent to a friend of mine who is also …keep reading »

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Sunday Considerations 6/19/11 Come Holy Spirit

Come, Holy Spirit, heavenly Dove, With all Thy quick’ning powers; Kindle a flame of sacred love In these cold hearts of ours. Look how we grovel here below, Fond of these trifling toys; Our souls can neither fly nor go To reach eternal joys. In vain we tune our formal songs, In vain we strive to rise; Hosannas languish on our tongues, And our devotion dies. Dear Lord! and shall we ever live At this poor dying rate? Our love so faint, so cold to Thee, And Thine to us so great! Come, Holy Spirit, heavenly Dove, With all Thy …keep reading »

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NFL Star David Tyree On Gay Marriage

A few highlights and comments. At the beginning of the video Tyree offers a question which all Christians can apply to their lives regardless of profession. He asks, “Do our fans mean more than our position in eternity?” He then explains that marriage is the “only relationship that actually mirrors a relationship with God. It’s very unique in that way.” He also states that society permeates three things on males 1) sexual conquest, 2) economic prowess and 3) athletic prowess. Further, he explains that those three things aren’t intrinsically bad, but they can become that way if they are the …keep reading »

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The Southern Baptist Phantom Menace

Imagine for a moment that a church friend comes to you and expresses his frustration over another member of the church. Your friend mentions that he is tired of Sunday School at various times. He does not like the way things are taught sometimes or some of the methods used in the lessons. In his frustration he mentions that he may just stop tithing for a while and maybe stop attending Sunday School too. Realizing that you are in the same Sunday School class and that you sometimes teach, you think to yourself, “Who or what exactly is he talking …keep reading »

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Sunday Considerations 06/12/11 Joys of Heaven

There is no good in this life but what is mingled with some evil; honours perplex, riches disquiet, and pleasures ruin health. But in heaven we shall find blessings in their purity, without any ingredient to embitter, with everything to sweeten them. O! who is able to conceive the inexpressible, inconceivable joys that are there? None but they who have tasted of them. Lord, help us to put such a value upon them here, that in order to prepare ourselves for them, we may be willing to forego the loss of all those deluding pleasures here. How will the heavens …keep reading »

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Sunday Considerations 06/05/11 Be Stripped

Let us “look off unto Jesus.” Away from past failure and success; away from human applause and blame; away from the gold pieces scattered on the path, and the flowers that line either side. Do not look now and again, but acquire the habit of looking always, so that it shall become natural to look up from every piece of daily work, from every room, however small, from every street, however crowded, to his dear, calm, sweet face; just as the sojourner on the northern shores of Geneva’s lake is constantly prone to look up from any book or work …keep reading »

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Did Mark Richt Make Me A Dawgs Fan?

Being a graduate of Georgia Southern University (GSU) hasn’t really influenced me to be a Georgia Bulldogs (UGA) fan. I was actually not a fan for a few years after I got to see how poorly Dawg fans treated GA Southern fans when played against each other. See, UGA and GSU play each other every four years in what is essentially a money game. GSU is a smaller school and so UGA is expected to win, but a lot of money is raised and the smaller school gets larger than normal exposure. At the game I attended you would have …keep reading »

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Lord’s Day 5/29/11 Let All the Nations Sing

O God, to us show mercy and bless us in Thy grace; Cause Thou to shine upon us the brightness of Thy face; That so Thy way most holy on earth may soon be known, And unto every people Thy saving grace be shown. O God, let all men praise Thee, let all the nations sing; In every land let praises and songs of gladness ring; For Thou shalt judge the people in truth and righteousness, And through the earth the nations shall Thy just rule confess. O God, let people praise Thee, let all the nations sing, For earth …keep reading »

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Camping Missed It: Judgement Day is Everyday

Unfortunately, by now Harold Camping is probably a household name. A household name that is probably not widely cherished among households. Camping will most likely be known as that false Christian Judgement Day teacher until the day he dies. Since he is approaching 90 years old he probably will not be with us much longer. But is there still time for him to get it right? Yes, there is still time for Camping to get it right. I don’ t mean that his third time for predicting the end of the world later this year will be the charm. Maybe …keep reading »

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Lord’s Day 05/08/11 Spurgeon On Mothers

Happy Mother’s Day! Below are some excerpts from the section “Early Religious Impressions” found in Charles Spurgeon’s Autobiography. I thought they would be appropriate for Mother’s Day. Yet I cannot tell how much I owe to the solemn words of my good mother. It was the custom, on Sunday evenings, while we were yet little children, for her to stay at home with us, and then we sat round the table, and read verse by verse, and she explained the Scripture to us. After that was done, then came the time of pleading; there was a little piece of Alleine’s …keep reading »

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Hell Now

Whatever change of trouble a child of God meets with, it is all the hell he shall have. Whatever eclipse may be upon his name or estate, I may say of it, as Athanasius of his banishment, it is a little cloud that will soon be blown over, and then his gulf is shot his hell is past. Death begins a wicked man’s hell, but it puts an end to a godly man’s hell. Think with thyself, what if I endure this? It is but a temporary hell: indeed if all our hell be here, it is but an easy …keep reading »

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Daily Appropriating the Gospel

When we look at Paul’s letter to the Galatians, we realize that it is easy for us to follow false gospels of various kinds. We need to remind ourselves that all of us follow and lean on various false gospels. Detecting them is difficult because they often are below our theological radar. Few well-churched Christians would actually claim that good parenting, punctuality, etiquette, physical fitness, and active church involvement would be a way of achieving peace with God, but we live as if these are proven ways of gaining God’s love and favor. We need to begin with an assumption …keep reading »

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Universalism: Rob Bell and Paul Dean

Even before the release of his latest book, Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived, Rob Bell set the blogosphere ablaze. The biggest charge against Bell is that of him being a universalist. In a recent interview with Newsweek’s Lisa Miller, Bell first states, with qualifications, that he is not a universalist. Then, moments later denies the charge again. (Thanks to Denny Burk’s partial transcript.) Miller: So this sort of universalism that you are preaching that’s exclusive and inclusive… Bell: That I just denied? Yeah, that one. Okay. Kevin DeYoung does …keep reading »

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Lord’s Day 03/13/2011 Mourning Hearts Revive

Now let our mourning hearts revive, And all our tears be dry; Why should those eyes be drowned in grief Which view a Savior nigh? What though the arm of conquering death Does God’s own house invade? What though the prophet and the priest Be numbered with the dead?

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Lord’s Day 2/27/11 Forever

“Forever with the Lord!” Forever in His will, The promise of that faithful word, Lord, here in me fulfill. With You at my right hand, Then I shall never fail; Uphold me, Lord, and I shall stand, Through grace I will prevail. So when my latest breath Breaks through the veil of pain, By death I shall escape from death, And life eternal gain. That resurrection word, That shout of victory: Once more, “Forever with the Lord!” Amen, so let it be! James Montgomery, Forever with the Lord, 1835. (Last two stanzas.)

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Lord’s Day 2/20/11 Pray for Kingdom Advancement

As you are gathered together for worship this weekend and are thinking about prayers and prayer requests, remember Jesus’ words (emphasis mine). Pray then like this: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. (Matthew 6:9-10 ESV) If you don’t have a habit of doing so, ask that God’s Kingdom would be advanced in addition to your regular prayers and prayer requests. Seek out how the Lord might use you both corporately as a local church and individually.

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Open Email: SBC Pastors’ Conference 2011 Doctrinal Concern

Please note: Mr. Jones’ name and the link to the Potter’s House website have been removed from the Pastor’s Conference website. On Feb. 17th I sent an email to Vance Pitman, President of the 2011 Southern Baptist Pastors’ Conference about a doctrinal concern. The email is posted below and contains within it the first email that I sent on Feb. 16th to Jamal Jones who serves under T.D. Jakes at The Potter’s House. Jones is set to participate in this year’s SBC Pastors’ Conference. My concerns may be understood by reading the emails below. I thought I’d post this for …keep reading »

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Michael Horton: What is the Gospel?

(Source: What is the Gospel?) Horton states that the Gospel is “a very precise term. It is not equivalent to whatever is good and important in Christianity. Gospel is a very particular word, or kind of speech in the Bible. From Genesis to Revelation the Gospel is God’s promise of a Son who will crush the serpents head, forgive the sins of His people, raise them from the dead, and give them ever lasting life solely on the basis of His grace for the sake of Christ.” He also states that the Gospel “never tells us something to do. The …keep reading »

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“Live the Gospel” Charles Spurgeon Advised

Can anyone but Christ live the gospel? Disagreements on the answer to this question can be seen from Open Letters to The Fear of Antinomianism. I wonder if the disagreements lie within what one means when challenging others to “live the gospel.” I don’t know of anyone who uses this phrase to mean that Christians should literally live Christ’s life. Nevertheless, it is interesting that Spurgeon used this phrase on a few occasions. Some (all?) of these occasions are quoted below, bold emphasis mine. To be prepared for the coming conflict, we have only to preach the gospel, and to …keep reading »

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Lord’s Day 1/6/11 Persuaded To Love

Let us be persuaded to love God with all our heart and might. O let us take our love off from other things, and place it upon God! Love is the heart of religion, the fat of the offering; it is the grace which Christ inquires most after, John xxi. 15, “Simon lovest thou me V Love makes all our services acceptable, it is the musk that perfumes them. It is not so much duty, as love to duty, God delights in; therefore serving and loving God arc put together, Isa. lvi. 0. It is better to love him than …keep reading »

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Lord’s Day 1/30/11 Other Christians

How should we think of our fellow Christians? As many of us prepare to worship corporately with our fellow Christians it may be a good question to consider. While it”s always a good question to consider we often see people in corporate worship who we don’t see at other times during the week. Yes, even those Christians who might annoy us of whom you might be one. Below are a few good thoughts on this topic. Our attitude and response to every fellow Christian must be consciously dominated by the thought that he or she is indwelt by the same …keep reading »

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Wisdom of Solomon, Obama and Abortion

Obama and Solomon1 There has been much past discussion about Obama concerning his stance on abortion.  This discussion is not going to end anytime soon and rightly so.  I’ve made the point and so have two other bloggers recently that as Christians we must pray that Obama seeks God’s direction and changes his position on abortion.  The wisdom Obama has shown thus far is what he said at a Planned Parenthood event earlier this year. “The first thing I’d do as president is sign the Freedom of Choice Act” (source) I don’t see any wisdom in that statement.  For more …keep reading »

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Lord’s Day 01/01/11 Another Year Is Dawning

Another year is dawning, dear Father, let it be In working or in waiting, another year with Thee. Another year of progress, another year of praise, Another year of proving Thy presence all the days. Another year of mercies, of faithfulness and grace, Another year of gladness in the shining of Thy face; Another year of leaning upon Thy loving breast; Another year of trusting, of quiet, happy rest. Another year of service, of witness for Thy love, Another year of training for holier work above. Another year is dawning, dear Father, let it be On earth, or else in …keep reading »

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Paul Washer: The Great Sin of the American Pastor

Below is an excerpt of Paul Washer from the DVD Divided by Philip Leclerc. Because we have dumbed-down the gospel. Because we’re not preaching the true gospel and we are using carnal means to attract people. If you use carnal means to attract men you’re going to attract carnal men and you’re going to have to keep using greater carnal means to keep them in the church. So, what has happened is this; we have these large churches filled with many unconverted carnal people, but in those churches we also have this small group of people that honestly want Christ …keep reading »

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Lord’s Day 12/26/2010 Joy Born at Bethlehem

“‘Twas mercy filled the throne, And wrath stood silent by, When Christ on the kind errand came To sinners doomed to die.” Rejoice, ye who feel that ye are lost; your Saviour comes to seek and save you. Be of good cheer ye who are in prison, for be comes to set you free. Ye who are famished and ready to die, rejoice that he has consecrated for you a Bethlehem, a house of bread, and he has come to be the bread of life to your souls. Rejoice, O sinners, everywhere for the restorer of the castaways, the Saviour …keep reading »

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Lord’s Day 12/19/10 The Real God

God the Father is altogether Jesus-like!—it is the most breathtaking news that anyone can ever hear. But do we attend to what is revealed? I fear not.Imagination takes over again. What do we do? We imagine a clash between the presentations of God in different parts of the Old Testament, and between the entire Old Testament presentation and what we imagine Jesus to have been. What sort of person do you think of him as? Gentle, meek, and mild? Kind, and endlessly ready to be entreated and forgive? True—but only half the truth, and a half-truth treated as the whole …keep reading »

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Lord’s Day 12/12/10 A Son Given

Bright and joyful is the morn, For to us a Child is born; From the highest realms of Heaven, Unto us a Son is given. On His shoulders He shall bear Power and majesty, and wear On His vesture and His thigh, Names most awful, names most high.

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Lord’s Day 12/05/10 Knowing Forgiveness

“So let us be clear about this. It is no sign of humility, no mark of saintliness, to go into the presence of God doubting whether God is forgiving you. That is unbelief, lack of faith. That is a failure to understand the truth. So, my friend, never again try to give the impression that you are such a sensitive Christian that you do not like to be certain that your sins are forgiven. It is our business to know that our sins are forgiven! We derogate from the grace and the glory of God and the wonder of this …keep reading »

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Lord’s Day 11/28/10 Thanks Feeling

“There is such a thing as thanks-feeling—feeling thankful, and this ought to be the general, universal spirit of the Christian. Suppose, my dear brother, you are not rich, be thankful that you have to eat and to drink, and wherewithal you may be clothed. Suppose, even, that you had not a hope of heaven, I might say to a man, “Be thankful that you are not in hell.” But to you, Christian, I would add, “Be thankful that you never will be there, and that, if just now your present joys do not overflow, yet “there remaineth a rest for …keep reading »

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Gee, Thanks

It’s The Hurt That Counts Marie Paule Thielle of Metz, France, who is only 3 years old, has received the Bronze Medal for “an act of courage and dangerous sacrifice.” But the one she rescued does not like her. The story: When Marie’s playmate, two-year-old Denis fell into the municipal pool, she grabbed him by the hair and held his head out of the water until her screams for help were answered. Said Marie: “He doesn’t like me now because it hurt when I pulled his hair.” [Tan, P. L. (1996). Encyclopedia of 7700 illustrations : A treasury of illustrations, anecdotes, facts …keep reading »

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Lord’s Day 11/21/10 Fellowship

If you would walk with God, you will associate and keep company with those that do walk with him. ‘My delight’, says holy David, ‘is in them that do excel’ in virtue. They were, in his sight, the excellent ones of the earth. And the primitive Christians, no doubt, kept up their vigor and first love, by continuing in fellowship one with another. The apostle Paul knew this full well, and therefore exhorts the Christians to see to it, that they did not forsake the assembling of themselves together. For how can one be warm alone? And has not the …keep reading »

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Lord’s Day 11/14/10 Burden Bearer

Jesus Christ gives eternal life for all those believing in Him. Below is a hymn by Fanny Crosby that is a great reminder of life without Christ and then with Him that comes from His work on the cross. When the Burden Bearer Came On a desert wild and lonely, Where no hope I dared to claim, I was troubled, sad and lonely, When the Burden Bearer came. Refrain Christ the Burden Bearer came, Hallelujah to His Name! All my sins He rolled away, Now rejoicing every day, I am trusting in the Savior’s precious love.

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Lord’s Day 11/07/10 Hypocritical Prayer

Hypocritical Prayer I knelt to pray when day was done, And prayed, “O Lord bless every one, Lift from every saddened heart the pain, And let the sick be well again.” And then I woke another day, And carelessly went upon my way. The whole day long I did not try To wipe a tear from any eye.

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Lord’s Day 10/31/10 A Mighty Fortress

A Mighty Fortress Is Our God, written by Martin Luther in 1529, is an appropriate hymn for Reformation Sunday. This hymn is special to the Reformation as it was also called The Battle Hymn of the Reformation. It is also a great hymn on its own and the first song my wife and I heard as husband and wife as brother Steve Camp played the piano and sang it for us as we exited the church. A Mighty Fortress Is Our God A mighty fortress is our God, a bulwark never failing; Our helper He, amid the flood of mortal …keep reading »

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Poll: Is the Reformation Over?

Reformation Day 2010, October 31, falls on this coming Sunday. In light of this, I thought this would be an interesting question to ask. Are the theological positions of the Protestant Reformation and the Council of Trent now reconciled? Or are we still divided? Does it matter? What do you think? Discussion welcomed.

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Lord’s Day 10/24/10 the Gospel Mystery

…because the most comfortable thing we know in the gospel is that it is the will of God to save sinners. Mark what I say – if you knew all that God knows (which is saying something very great) but you not know that His mind and will were to save sinners, you would be undone; the knowledge of this is worth all the rest. To know that God is merciful in his nature is not enough. You might have known that and despaired, for it might have been said, “It is true, He is merciful in his nature, but …keep reading »

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Is Your Church White?

Is your church white? That is the disturbing question what was email to a church in Apex, NC. Ken Keathley recently shared this inquiry over at Between the Times in his post A Shocking Question. The context of this disturbing question was: We know the Lord loves all of us, but we believe in honoring the Culture the Lord gave us, so we are seeking a traditionally ‘White’ church as opposed to Multi-cultural. Is your church White? Read the whole post to find out how the pastor answered this disturbing question. A question that I’m mostly surprised about, but not …keep reading »

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Lord’s Day 10/17 The King’s Child

A Child of the King by Harriet E. Buell, 1877. My Father is rich in houses and lands, He holdeth the wealth of the world in His hands! Of rubies and diamonds, of silver and gold, His coffers are full, He has riches untold. Refrain I’m a child of the King, A child of the King: With Jesus my Savior, I’m a child of the King. My Father’s own Son, the Savior of men, Once wandered on earth as the poorest of them;

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A Letter From Hell

Pastor Jeremy Rhode of  Faith Lutheran Church in Capistrano Beach, CA has graciously allowed me to publish the text of his sermon A Letter From Hell. This sermon is based on the parable of The Rich Man and Lazarus from Luke 16:19-31. Pastor Rhode offers what a letter from the rich man writing from hell may look like. Though not a rich man, the materialism in the letter really hits home. It is scary just how easy it is to identify with the rich man. Yet it is eternally comforting that Christ offers forgiveness of those sins and a new identity for …keep reading »

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Lord’s Day 10/10/10 Christ is All

In preparation to worship with your church family this weekend, I offer some wonderful words from Jeremiah Burroughs to reflected on concerning contentment in Christ, that He is all in all. If Christ is all in all, then let us bless God that ever we knew Christ, and that the great mystery of the gospel has been revealed to us. For otherwise we would have been without God in the world, and what would have become of us had not this grace of God in the gospel been revealed to us? Could it ever have entered into your heart? Certainly …keep reading »

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Thabiti On the Gospel and Witnessing, Secrets and Tricks

Desiring God 2010 National Conference Thabiti Anyabwile’s topic was Thinking for the Sake of Global Faithfulness: Confronting Islam with the Mind of Christ. Of all the good words Thabiti shared one thing stood out as a great reminder for all Christians. Although he was speaking about witnessing to Muslims, any type of person or group may be easily substituted and Thabiti’s words applied. It is an especially good reminder as we think of how to witness to non-Christians today. (Hint: It is the same as it was in the 1st Century.) What I fear is a lack of confidence in …keep reading »

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Lord’s Day 10/03/10 Walk Cheerfully

Ought Christians glorify God in their attitudes? We should. We have so much to be thankful for. Just think , Christ was nailed to a cross and hung there to die for us; all we are called to do is pick up our cross. What a great time to reflect on our attitudes through the lens of what Christ has done on our behalf in preparation for corporate worship. Thomas Watson’s A Body of Divinity contains a sermon titled “Man’s Chief End is to Glorify God,” where he asks, “What is it to live to God?” 

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Thomas Brooks’ Four Prime Things

I did some quote mining from Thomas Brooks Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices from the chapter ‘The Epistle Dedicatory’. I found Brooks’ words to be very insightful, practical and challenging. The ‘The Epistle Dedicatory’ is a letter he wrote to his congregation. He was very humble in the letter which can be seen in the prayers he asked for concerning himself. However, the quotes I chose are focus on his exhortations to his congregation of which the universal congregation may benefit. We live in a different culture and time than did Brooks. Yet, it just seems like we don’t think as …keep reading »

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A Six-Word Memoir of the Christian Life

Legend has it that Ernest Hemingway was once challenged to write a six word short story. The result was: “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.” That’s quite a story in six words. Along that line of thought, SMITH Magazine, who believes everyone has a story, challenges people to tell theirs in six words or less. A six-word memoir is an interesting concept. I figured I’d give it a try

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Lord’s Day 09/26 Set Free

My soul is filled with joy and gladness Since Jesus came to me. His love has banished all my sadness, From sin I am set free. The Comforter divine is dwelling Within my soul today; His love to others I am telling Since Jesus came to stay.

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Describing the Rejoicing of the Heart

The precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart. (Psalm 19:8a, ESV) Last night in men’s Bible study we used this verse in part of the lesson. One of the things our teacher asked us is to explain what it is for God’s word and the gospel to rejoice the heart. Several of us tried to describe the rejoicing with words such as: joy joyful carefree burden-less free worry-free It seems that such rejoicing can be difficult to describe or explain. Yet, it’s not difficult to experience when the gospel first changes your life and continues to change your …keep reading »

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Lord’s Day 09/19 Love Jesus

Will­iam R. Fea­ther­ston wrote My Jesus, I Love Thee in 1864 when he was on­ly 16 years old. When singing hymns like this during certain season in life it makes me stop and think. I search my heart and think – Do I really love Jesus? I know I’m singing that I do, but do I? I do because He first loved me. Jesus taught me what love is. He loves me in spite of myself and He’s all I have. My Jesus, I love Thee, I know Thou art mine; For Thee all the follies of sin I resign. …keep reading »

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Help Request for a Metro-Atlanta Mission

The Sandy Springs Mission is at that point of the year again where they need help! Yes, it is fund raising time. Praise the Lord as He has blessed and continues to provide for this Mission. The challenge is to raise $50,000 by Friday, October 8, 2010. The money is needed to continue the work of the their after-school enrichment program in Sandy Springs, Georgia. So I’m reaching out again as I’ve done the last two years. I appreciate the past donations and hope you will prayerfully consider giving if you’re able. Believe me, I know times are tough, but …keep reading »

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Lord, Help Me Submit to the Pain

Below is a guest post from my wife. She is also my best friend, my partner, my joint heir of grace and my crown so it is difficult for me to read. As my family, church family, friends and many readers know my wife suffered back injuries from a car accident in August 2008. It’s been a long two years; two years of needles, meds and prayer. The Lord has guided us to a procedure that may finally give my wife some pain relief. The first half of the procedure will be done this Tuesday to one side of her …keep reading »

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Lord’s Day 09/12 Adopted Life

Grant, Almighty God, that as thou hast once adopted us, and continues to confirm this thy favour by calling us unceasingly to thyself, and dost not only severely chastise us, but also gently and paternally invite us to thyself, and exhort us at the same time to repentance, — O grant that we may not be so hardened as to resist thy goodness, nor abuse this thine incredible forbearance, but submit ourselves in obedience to thee; that whenever thou mayest severely chastise us, we may bear thy corrections with genuine submission of faith, and not continue untameable and obstinate to …keep reading »

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Did Jesus Preach Paul’s Gospel?

As I was thinking recently about faith and justification a commenter made an assertion about a conflict between Jesus’ and Paul’s gospel. I was reminded John Piper’s excellent talk from T4G 2010 where he answers the question: Did Jesus preach Paul’s gospel? The text Piper spoke on was from Luke 18:9-14 about the Pharisee and the Tax Collector. He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by …keep reading »

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Justification: Through Faith Not To Faith

It can be difficult to explain that salvation comes by grace through faith in the gospel. Faith being the instrument by which God’s grace is received. Understanding this helps us not to ground our faith in our faith. For example, if I am struggling with my standing before God and I look to my faith which I am already struggling with for comfort, I am attempting support my weak faith upon itself. Rather, that weak faith is that which holds onto Christ for strength and perseverance trusting in Him not in itself. I thought Horatius Bonar has some helpful words …keep reading »

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Lord’s Day 09/05 Example of Christ

The Example of Christ We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. For Christ did not please himself, but as it is written, “The reproaches of those who reproached you fell on me.” For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with …keep reading »

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Thoughts on Moore on Glenn Beck and the Gospel

Glenn Beck as been a recent driving force for (neo?) Conservative politics in America. His big push is to bring God back to the center of American life both politically and socially. I understand his sentiment. There is a sense in which I agree. In recent times when Glenn Beck has spoken on the issue of putting God back into American culture he mentions God, Jesus, the atonement, etc. On the surface, these sound like something Christians should embrace. And they should

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Lord’s Day 08/29 Pass Me Not

Pass Me Not, O Gentle Savior Pass me not, O gentle Savior, Hear my humble cry; While on others Thou art calling, Do not pass me by. Savior, Savior, Hear my humble cry; While on others Thou art calling, Do not pass me by.

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Study Your Sin

Should Christians study their sin? Do we have a tendency to take sin for granted? Each person must answer that question for themselves. The answer may become clear upon an individual’s study of their sin. It reminds me of hearing Paul Washer’s challenge, “Do you have a new relationship with sin? Because, if you don’t have a new relationship with sin, you don’t have a new relationship with God.” In light of this I’ve recently thought about a question that Christians might challenge one another with, “How is your private sin life?” Then, I came across the excerpt below which …keep reading »

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Lord’s Day 08/22 Thy Will

I am no longer my own, but thine. Put me to what thou wilt, rank me with whom thou wilt. Put me to doing, put me to suffering. Let me be employed for thee or laid aside for thee, exalted for thee or brought low for thee. Let me be full, let me be empty. Let me have all things, let me have nothing. I freely and heartily yield all things to thy pleasure and disposal. And now, O glorious and blessed God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, thou art mine, and I am thine. So be it. And the …keep reading »

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Don’t Waste Your Life Sentence Livestream Tonight

Don’t Waste Your Life Sentence Voices from the Louisiana State Penitentiary This video will be streamed live tonight at 7:30 CT/ 8:30 EST. Click here for the live stream location. I’m looking forward to it. If you want to know more about this powerful trailer, below is the description from the Desiring God website. The Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola, LA is one of the largest and historically one of the most bloody maximum-security prisons in the USA. In 2009, Desiring God and John Piper were invited to Angola to learn about prison life, hear from men who have been …keep reading »

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Lord’s Day 08/15 Glorified Fruit

Grant, Almighty God, that since thou art pleased kindly to invite us to thyself, and hast consecrated thy word for our salvation, — O grant that we may willingly, and from the heart, obey thee, and become so teachable, that what thou hast designed for our salvation may not turn to our perdition; but may that incorruptible seed by which thou dost regenerate us into a hope of the celestial life so drive its roots into our hearts, and bring forth fruit, that thy name may be glorified; and may we be so planted in the courts of thine house, …keep reading »

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Lord’s Day 08/08 Adversities

Grant, Almighty God, that since we are by nature so prone to rash judgement, we may learn to submit to thee, and so quietly to acquiesce in thy judgements, that we may patiently bear whatever chastisements thou mayest daily allot to us, and not doubt but that all is done for our well-being, and never murmur against thee, but give thee the glory in all our adversities; and may we so labor to mortify our flesh, that by denying ourselves we may ever allow thee to be the only true God, and a just avenger, and our Father, and that …keep reading »

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Lord’s Day 08/01 Wonderful Jesus

I stand all amazed at the love Jesus offers me, Confused at the grace that so fully He proffers me; I tremble to know that for me He was crucified— That for me, a sinner, He suffered, He bled, and died. I marvel that He would descend from His throne divine, To rescue a soul so

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Lord’s Day 07/25 Christ Is All

The exhibition of the Christ-life in the saints is the legitimate inference from the fact that Christ is all to them. If Christ is all, and yet I being a Christian am not like Christ, my Christianity is a transparent sham, I am nothing but a base pretender, and my outward religiousness is a pompous pageantry for my soul to be carried to hell in—nothing more. It is a gilded coffin for a lifeless spirit. I shall perish with a double destruction, if I have dared to profane the name of Christ by

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Lord’s Day 07/18 About Sin

We argue endlessly over matters of religion and philosophy, about ethics and politics but each person must ultimately face the personal issue squarely: “What do I do about my sin?” That I sin and that you sin is debated by none save the most dishonest of men. We sin. We violate each other. We assault the holiness of God. What hope do we have in such dreadful turmoil? We can deny our sin or even the existence of God. We can exclaim that we are not accountable for our lives. We can invent a God who forgives everybody without requiring …keep reading »

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Lord’s Day 07/11 Tune of Life

Some years ago, musicians noted that errand boys in a certain part of London all whistled out of tune as they went about their work. It was talked about and someone suggested that it was because the bells of Westminster were slightly out of tune. Something had gone wrong with the chimes and they were discordant. The boys did not know there was anything wrong with the peals, and quite unconsciously

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The Center of Christian Union

The doctrine of Christ crucified is the grand centre of union among true Christians. Our outward differences are many without doubt: one man is an Episcopalian, another is a Presbyterian; one is an Independent, another a Baptist; one is a Calvinist, another an Arminian; one is a Lutheran, another a Plymouth Brother; one is a friend to Establishments, another a friend to the Voluntary system; one is a friend to Liturgies, another a friend to extempore prayer: but after all, what shall we hear about most of these differences in heaven? Nothing, most probably: nothing at all. Does a man …keep reading »

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Lord’s Day 07/04 Fourth of July Prayer

O God, whose Name is excellent in all the earth, and Thy glory above the heavens; who on this day didst inspire and direct the hearts of our delegates in Congress to lay the foundations of our national peace, liberty, and safety; We bless and adore Thy glorious Majesty for all Thy loving kindness manifested towards this land and people; and we humbly beseech Thee to continue Thy goodness to us, that the heritage received from our fathers may be preserved in our time, and be transmitted unimpaired to the generations to come; that all nations of the earth may …keep reading »

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The Political Gospel of Glenn Beck and Liberty University?

Glenn Beck recently gave the Commencement Speech at Liberty University’s 2010 graduation. In light of Liberty’s statements of being Christ-centered and how this relates to their goals, mission, vision, etc. I wrote critiquing Beck’s speech in Liberty University, Glenn Beck and the Gospel. Beck’s speech had more theology than some sermons in the pulpit on Sunday. It was very disturbing for a Mormon like Beck to speak theologically as he did at the world’s largest Christian university. Some have said that it it not uncommon for places like Liberty to have a non-Christian conservative speak at such events. This is …keep reading »

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Lord’s Day 06/27 counted free

The verses below from the hymn Before the Throne of God Above were written in 1863 by Charitie L. Bancroft. Almost 150 years later these verses are an wonderful summation of what Jesus accomplished on the cross for all who would believe in Him. How can a sinner like me deserve an innocent Jesus to die for my sins so I may be forgiven? The beautiful part is that I don’t deserve such forgiveness, but it’s only by God’s grace that I have it. How does one reflect on the incomprehensible? Because the sinless Savior died My sinful soul is …keep reading »

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Father to Father to Father

A Father’s Day Limerick At this time of year I’m not sure what to say, A time to honor dads in a special way. So I think really hard End up buying a card, All just to say “Happy Father’s Day!” I wrote that limerick for my father inside his Father’s Day card. It’s hard to know

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Lord’s Day 06/20 forsake me not

I will keep your statutes; do not utterly forsake me! (Psalm 119:8 ESV) Forsaken we may be—but not utterly. David was forsaken, not like Saul. Peter was forsaken, not like Judas, utterly and forever. What foreboding have you of such desertion? Is your heart willing to forsake Him? Have you no mournings and thirstings for His return? “If, indeed, you forsake Him, He will forsake you.” But can you forsake Him? ‘Let Him do as seems good to Him (is the language of your heart); I will wait for Him, follow after Him, cleave to His word, cling to His …keep reading »

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Lord’s Day 06/13 awake my soul

Awake, my soul, and with the sun Thy daily stage of duty run; Shake off dull sloth, and joyful rise, To pay thy morning sacrifice. Thy precious time misspent, redeem, Each present day thy last esteem, Improve thy talent with due care; For the great day thyself prepare. Heav’n is, dear Lord, where’er Thou art,

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Liberty University, Glenn Beck and the Gospel

On April 23, 2010 Liberty University announced that Glenn Beck would deliver the Commencement speech for Liberty University’s Class of 2010. The graduation took place on Saturday, May 15. Beck’s speech can be viewed online at The Rightscoop. Success came early for Beck when just before his speech, Liberty conferred an honorary Doctorate of Humanities degree upon him. Beck then went on to speak to the more than 4,000 students present. The result of the Commencement speech? “Best commencement we’ve ever had,” said Jerry Falwell, Jr.,

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Lord’s Day 06/06 my Redeemer

I will glory in my Redeemer Whose priceless blood has ransomed me Mine was the sin that drove the bitter nails And hung Him on that judgment tree I will glory in my Redeemer Who crushed the power of sin and death

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Black Church White Church

Below is a hip-hop song dealing with something we are all familiar with. Racial segregation on Sunday morning in our local churches. The song is from Voice’s new album Christ the King. Black Church White Church by avoice Below is the third verse of the song. Whatever version of American English you speak, whatever your

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A Memorial Day Prayer

Heavenly Father, as an American, thank you for this great country. I am not proud, but humbled, that in Your sovereignty I was born in such a Nation. Thank You for those serving in the military that you have used to help raise up and protect America. Thank you for those men and women in our military who were willing to give their lives and who gave their lives to fight to keep this country free. It is a great service to lay down one’s life for others. Father, as a Christian, this is a great reminder of the incomparable …keep reading »

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Lord’s Day 05/30 life’s battle

To us, also, in due time, shall be brought the message, “The Master is come and calls for you.” My ear hears a voice crying aloud, “Set your house in order; for you shall die and not live.” Will not you hear it? Will any one of you refuse the voice which speaks from Heaven? Death evidently pays no respect to character, age, or hopefulness. A man may addict himself to the service of his country, but his patriotism will not protect him.

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Lord’s Day 05/23 Christian needs

Oh! it is impossible relief can now come; What? Are not all things possible to him that hath all things in his hand? Yea, “All things are possible to him that believeth;” and it is possible for you to do all things through Christ strengthening you, even to overleap the highest walls, to break bows of steel in pieces, and wade through the deepest fords in your way. “What ailed thee, O sea! that thou fleddest? and thou Jordan, that thou wast driven back? Tremble thou earth at the presence of the Lord, at the presence of the God of …keep reading »

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My take: On fear, faith and being a sinner

The CNN Belief Blog recently published My Take: On fear, faith and being gay by Jennifer Knapp. So I thought I’d give my take. As a young boy I learned to take risks. Climbing trees and jumping ramps on a bicycle will do that to a boy. Falling down from a tree or flying off the bicycle in the air ties the stomach in knots as the ground approaches to stop the fall. But I learned to rely on myself and try harder. Climbing 10 feet up and jumping from one tree to another or jumping a ramp stacked three …keep reading »

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Lord’s Day 05/16 death transformed

Death was transformed for the believer when God sent His Son into the world and placed Him on the cross. Jesus Christ experienced the second death on behalf of His people – second death is biblical shorthand for the eternal judgment and punishment that awaits those who have not trusted in the Lord Jesus Christ. After the believer experiences the first death, he does not taste the second death. For the Christian, death is no longer a precursor to the final judgment and separation of God; instead, death is now transformed to the portal into the presence of God. – …keep reading »

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Lord’s Day 05/09 mothers

I praise the Lord for the mother He has given me. (Ephesians 6:2a “Honor your father and mother” [ESV]) I praise Him even more the mother He has given me in my wife. (Proverbs 31:28 Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: [ESV]) The blessings that the Lord gives through various people in life are wonderful! Sometimes these special people can be taken for granted.  I’m reminded that our time here is short. Give It Now! If you have a smile for Mother, Give it now. If you have a kindly word, …keep reading »

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Lord’s Day 05/02 meditation

I will ponder all your work, and meditate on your mighty deeds. Psalm 77:12 (esv) I will meditate also of all thy work. Sweet work to enter into Jehovah’s work of grace, and there to lie down and ruminate, every thought being absorbed in the one precious subject. (C.H. Spurgeon, Treasury of David)

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Lord’s Day 04/25 remember the message

Remember. The message. There is but one message that can include the whole world, in spite of all divisions and distinctions. There is but one power that can bring all men together and unite them and bring them to true brotherhood. There is but one solution to the problem of individual man and of the whole world. It is the ‘gospel of Christ which is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth.’ We have but to believe on Him, to yield ourselves to Him, and to begin to make of Him our only boast here and …keep reading »

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Lord’s Day 04/18 Jesus, my life

All I Have Is Christ1 First verse I once was lost in darkest night Yet thought I knew the way The sin that promised joy and life Had led me to the grave I had no hope that You would own A rebel to Your will And if You had not loved me first I would refuse You still Second verse But as I ran my hell bound race Indifferent to the cost You looked upon my helpless state And led me to the cross And I beheld God’s love displayed You suffered in my place You bore the wrath …keep reading »

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