Monday, March 19, 2018

Trusting God in the Dark Times of Life and Ministry

All of us will experience times of difficulty and they come in various forms. Death of a loved one, fatal diagnoses, or your church is thinking about shutting down. The one comfort we can have in this world is that God is in control and we can trust Him.

Maybe you are going through some dark times right now whether you are a pastor of a church, a regular 9 to 5 working man, or a stay-at-home mom. I hope this message from Juan Sanchez will encourage you as you journey through a time of difficulty.

Music Monday: Psalms 11-20 by My Soul Among Lions

Friday, March 16, 2018

We Hear The Lord In All of Scripture

Faith comes by hearing, not in some general sense, but by hearing Jesus Christ speak. Jesus himself is the Son who was sent by the Father, and he “speaks the words of God, for God gives the Spirit without limit” (John 3:34, NIV). He testifies to what he has seen and heard in heaven (John 3:31-32). The words that he speaks are Spirit and life (John 6:63, 68). Paul does not suppose that every believer has heard Jesus speak in the same way that he did on the Damascus road. Paul’s hearing was part of his seeing the risen Lord. The Lord sent him as a chosen vessel to bear his name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel. Paul as an apostle could speak of his gospel as that climactic revelation of the mysteries of God that enabled him to declare the word of Christ to the Gentiles as well as to the people of Israel (Eph. 3:2-12).

As God’s ambassador, Paul spoke for God, for God was speaking through him (2 Cor. 5:20). The gospel that Paul preached was not of men, received from or taught by men, but received by revelation from Jesus Christ (Gal. 1:11-12). We hear our Lord, not just in the red letters of a Bible, but in the whole revelation of the Lord, the Word.

Adapted from Preaching Christ in All of Scripture by Edmund Clowney

Around The Web-March 16, 2018

How Can We Know That the Bible is from God? by Miska Wilhelmsson

On Pastoring Through Theological Controversies (with Ligon Duncan) from Pastors' Talk

Dan Dewitt- Life in the Wild: Fighting for Faith in a Fallen World from Equipping You In Grace

7 Ways to Protect and Pass On the Gospel Nathan Rose

The Call to Repentance and the Championing of Grace by Trevin Wax

Tim Keller, Rachel Held Evans, and the Authority of the Whole Bible by Jonathon Woodyard

Things People Really Hate About Christians Today by Nicholas Davis

Why do People Object to the Concept of Membership in a Local Church? by Sam Storms

Michael Kruger answers the question, “Did Jesus say He would return in the 1st century A.D.?”

Thursday, March 15, 2018

The Red Letters Are Not The Only Inspired Passages

Back during my working a Christian bookstore days, whenever people come in looking for a Bible whether for themselves or someone else, one of the biggest requirements for shoppers was if it is a red letter edition. For those who are not familiar with that term, it simply means the words of Christ are in red. Most Bibles have Jesus's words in red while the rest of the Bible is in black.

As people went through various Bibles, some were offended that the words of Christ were not in red (after they realized it was not a King James Version they were reading). Some Christians get very angry when certain Bibles don't have the words of Christ in red. Is this an area of concern? To be honest, not really.

The red letting in some of the Bibles that are published are meant as a tool to help the reader recognize in the New Testament that is was Jesus talking. When the New Testament was originally written, I can guarantee that Christ's words were not in red. I don't think they had red ink back in the day.

What was meant to be a tool has turned into the standard for anyone to have a Bible or give it as a gift, but the one area of concern that I do have is when Christians think the red letters are the only inspired words in the entire Bible. Yes, they are the words of the Savior and we should heed them, but they are not the only inspired words. The Apostle Paul wrote, "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 Timothy 3:16-17).

Notice Paul said, "All Scripture is breathed out by God." All of the Bible is inspired, not just the red letters, if your Bible does have them. If your Bible does not have Christ's words in red, its okay. You have the inspired word of God. It does not matter if it has red letters or not. One Bible is not more holier than the other because it has red letters.

Christians, rejoice that you have the written word of God in your hands. It is a treasure to behold.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Book Review: The Human Right by Rice Broocks

The gospel of Jesus Christ is the most important message that mankind needs to hear. The gospel tells us why we are considered sinners before a holy God and why we need a Savior. The gospel tells us that we are enslaved by sin and can be set free from sin by Christ.

Some would even calls this a human right. Rice Broocks calls it the ultimate human right, which is the subject of his latest book, The Human Right: To Know Jesus Christ and to Make Him Known. Broocks is the author of God's Not Dead, which looked at the logical reasoning for the existence of God, which inspired a movie by the same title, and the author of Man Myth Messiah, which looked at the existence of Jesus Christ. This book looks at the gospel and why it is important for all of mankind to hear this message.

As I read this book, there are things I did agree with Broocks on such as how he defined the gospel and even the importance for the church to proclaim it. The more I got into this book, the more I saw that it was making the gospel a social issue. The book is titled The Human Right, which begs the question, does mankind have a right to hear the gospel. Yes, the church does have the responsibility to share the message of Christ to everyone, but this is a message no one deserves.

We are sinners and deserve judgment and hell, which I did not see Broocks denying in any part of the book. I did not see any indication of universalism in the book as well. However, he does suggest that hearing the gospel is the right of all mankind and the church will do an injustice if we do not. You see why I think this book was turning proclaiming the gospel into a social issue.

I had some good expectations with this book considering I did enjoy the other two Broocks has written. Yes, God's Not Dead is better than the movie version. This book was very much like "Spider-man 3," the worse of the trilogy.

Thanks BookLook Bloggers for letting me review this book.

New Identity and New Story

Union with Christ tells you a new story about who you are. If you are “in Christ,” you too have been given a new identity. God has called you into a new life, rooted in a history that predates you, anchored in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. You discover who you are “in Christ,” and you are given the DNA to prove it, the Holy Spirit. You once were lost, but now you are “found in him” (Phil. 3:9).

This truth can change everything for you, but living in this new reality will require your imagination. The Christian message is simple enough for a child to understand. At the same time, the Bible says that because of the new life you have been given in Christ, “from now on, therefore, we regard no one from a human point of view” (2 Cor. 5:16 NRSV). Coming to see your union with Christ is like finally putting on a pair of desperately needed glasses—Wow! Look at that! We see ourselves, and everything else, with new eyes.

Adapted from Union with Christ: The Way to Know and Enjoy God by Rankin Wilbourne

Around The Web-March 14, 2018

Preaching series from John MacArthur back in 2013, The Gospel According To God

The messages from the Ligonier 2018 National Conference are now available

Why Controversy Is Sometimes Necessary by Albert Mohler

5 Tips for Engaging with Scripture by Tim Challies

The Most Dangerous Prayer a Christian Can Pray by Darrell Bernard Harrison

Are the Five Solas Biblical? by Stephen Wellum

What is going on in the Western Baptist Convention of Cuba? by Tom Ascol

A great discussion on discipleship, theology, and the local church from the 2018 G3 conference

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

The Church Is To Bring In True Converts

Soul winning is not accomplished by stealing members from already-established churches, just to train them to utter our peculiar pronunciation of Shibbolet (Judges 12:4-6). Instead, soul winning means bringing souls to Christ rather than making converts to our assembly.

Sheep-stealers beyond the walls of the church are not acting in a brotherly fashion...The increase of God’s kingdom should be desired more than the growth of a sect. It would be a great trade to make a Paedo-Baptist brother into a Baptist, because we value our Lord’s ordinances. But rather, we should labor earnestly to raise a believer in salvation by free-will into a believer in salvation by grace, because we long to see all spiritual teaching built upon the solid rock of truth and not upon the sand of imagination.

At the same time, our far-reaching objective isn’t the revision of opinions but the regeneration of natures. We long to bring men to Christ and not to our own peculiar views of Christianity. Our first concern must be that the sheep are gathered to the great Shepherd...By all means let us bring true converts into the church, for it’s a part of our work to teach them to observe all things Christ has commanded. However, this is to be done to make true disciples and not Christians in word only. If we aren’t careful to obey in this matter, we may do more harm than good at this point.

Adapted from The Soul Winner by Charles Spurgeon

Monday, March 12, 2018

The Nicene Creed

Yesterday, our church read together the Nicene Creed, which is one of the earliest creeds in the church:

We believe in one God,the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all things visible and invisible.

And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, begotten from the Father before all ages, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made; of the same essence as the Father. Through him all things were made. For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven; he became incarnate by the Holy Spirit and the virgin Mary, and was made human. He was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate; he suffered and was buried. The third day he rose again, according to the Scriptures. He ascended to heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again with glory to judge the living and the dead. His kingdom will never end.

And we believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life. He proceeds from the Father and the Son, and with the Father and the Son is worshiped and glorified. He spoke through the prophets. We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic church. We affirm one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. We look forward to the resurrection of the dead, and to life in the world to come. Amen.

What Songs Do I Want At My Funeral?

There have been many articles written about Billy Graham since he passed away a couple of weeks ago. One article that I found interesting was about the six songs that Graham picked to played during his funeral. According to the article, Graham wanted a lot of music. I have been to only one funeral where there was a lot of music.

It got me thinking what songs do I want at my funeral whenever that time comes, which means I need to have this in my last will and testament. The problem with what songs is that I like a lot of songs. Thankfully, I am not going to list all of them but here is my list of songs I would love to have played at my funeral, if it was to happen in the next few years:

1. Holy, Holy, Holy

2. Jesus, Thank You

3. Endless Hallelujah

4. The Power of the Cross

5. In Christ Alone

Music Monday: Psalms 1-10 by My Soul Among Lions

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Book Review: How To Be A Perfect Christian by The Babylon Bee

Christian, do you long to be perfect? I am sure you do. Do you long to life a life of easy and comfort? I am sure you do. Do you want to know how to be the best Christian in the world and have people marvel at your holiness? By now, you are thinking I flipped my lid or you caught what book I am reviewing.

Yes, the guys behind the popular website, The Babylon Bee have written a book. This book is for those who long to be a perfect Christian without any sin in their life and go through life without any pain. I hope you that the Babylon Bee is satire. For those who do not know what satire is, it is basically "the use of humor, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose and criticize people's stupidity or vices, particularly in the context of contemporary politics and other topical issues." Yes, I googled it.

Satire is what the Babylon Bee does really well. They write about what is happening in Christian culture and write in a satirical form to show everyone how stupid it is. This book does the same thing as it does on the website. In this book, the Babylon Bee (I am going to call it the Bee for short) shows us what it means to be a perfect Christian, at least in the minds of some Christians. You must join the right church where everyone knows your name, with the right Bible translation, and your favorite donut. It also shows to be that perfect Christian, you must belief what most mainstream Christians believe in and vote for the right candidate. They even have a translation of what Christians mean when they speak "Christianese."

I am sure you are thinking, why would I review a book like this without chastising it or giving my own two cents. Remember, this is all satire. It is suppose to be humorous, but at the same time, it is also sad. I have know Christians who think some of the things in the book as ligament ways of reaching people for Christ or growing in your faith. The Bee shows how idiotic those things are.

Truth be told, we will should strive for holiness knowing that we sin, have an advocate that speaks to the Father on our behalf, Jesus Christ (1 John 2:1-2). We may never achieve perfection in this life, but that does not mean we stop at being holy for God is holy (1 Peter 1:15-16). When do sin, we must confess and God is faithful to forgive us (1 John 1:9).

Now, I got that serious part out of the way, if you looking for a light-hearted book to read, I highly recommend the Bee's book. I received an advance readers copy so the book will not be available till May 1 (that ain't no joke). This will be a perfect book to read during the summer. Till then go the Bee's website and enjoy those articles before the book is released.

Thanks Multnomah for letting me review this book.

Now if you will excuse me, I need to get out of these skinny jeans and wash this temporary tat from my arm showing I have a past.