Friday, March 31, 2006

"I Want My Dessert First"

The insatiable quest for spiritual PLEASURE from the postmodern and emergent types could be considered a form of covetousness, spiritual covetousness. That is, if the pursuit is pleasure in place of obedience. Before we go any further let me clarify. God brings pleasure to the believer. It's called JOY. But let us not confuse the joy that God gives with pleasure or temporal happiness which is very often lacking in our christian lives as we live it out properly. It seems that those who over emphasize spiritual pleasure in following Christ have often not lived much life yet (they're young).

This spiritual pleasure we hear talked about among the emergent movement is one that is supposedly achieved as a result of certain mystical like "spiritual disciplines" being practiced and maintained in the christian's life. But this approach to following God is dangerous and will turn out to be a devastating blow to many young people who are being taught this in their youth groups. If their earthly lives end up resembling anything like those of the Old Testament believers described in Hebrews 11, the pleasure part ain't never gonna come and they'll be left looking down into an empty spiritual cookie jar. No pleasure on earth, only pain. The believers in Hebrews 11 had plenty of pain but it was patiently endured because of the Joy of the Lord which they had as a result of their obedience on a daily basis.

Our number one pursuit should be God's glory and his righteousness (Matt. 6:33). The way we live this out is in a relationship with God expressed through our obedience. Not in the pursuit of all the good stuff God has. "If you LOVE me you will OBEY my commandments." Jesus said. Our obedience is the expression of our love for Him. Obedience in our heart first, in our thoughts second and in our actions last. That is the obedience Jesus was talking about.

Obedience is the meal. Pleasure is the dessert, it comes later, in glory. Finish the meal before you reach for the dessert.

"Trust and Obey, for there's no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey"

Take at look at what it says in Heb. 11:8-10, 13, 16;
By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.
By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise.
...For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.
All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth.
Instead, they were longing for a better country— a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.


A Perspective on Grace

The picture speaks for itself...

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Not Corrupting the Word by J.C. Ryle

This is another gem from J.C. Ryle. This is very helpful to remember in today's climate of undetected false teachings entering into our churches at an alarming rate. God have mercy on us if we should become ashamed our the precious gospel for which so many died to defend.

Check it out:
"For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ" (2 Corinthians 2:17).

When can it be said of us, that we corrupt the Word of God in the present day? What are the rocks and shoals which we ought to shun, if we would not be of the "many" who deal deceitfully with God’s truth? A few suggestions on this head may not be without use.

We corrupt the word of God most dangerously when we throw any doubt on the plenary inspiration of any part of the holy Scripture.

This is not merely a corrupting the cup, but the whole fountain. This is not merely corrupting the bucket of living water, which we profess to present to our people, but poisoning the whole well.

Once wrong on this point, the whole substance of our religion is in danger. It is a flaw in the foundation. It is a worm at the root of our theology. Once allow the worm to gnaw the root, and we must not be surprised if the branches, the leaves, and the fruit, little by little decay.

Secondly, we corrupt the Word of God when we make defective statements of doctrine.

We do so when we add to the Bible the opinions of the Church, or of the Fathers, as if they were of equal authority.

We do so when we take away from the Bible, for the sake of pleasing men; or, from a feeling of false liberty, keep back any statement which seems narrow and harsh or hard.

We do so when we try to soften down anything that is taught about eternal punishment or the reality of hell.

We do so when we bring forward doctrines in their wrong proportions.

We do so when we exhibit an excessive anxiety to fence and guard and qualify such doctrines as justification by faith without the deeds of the law, for fear of the charge of antinomianism; or when we flinch from strong statements about holiness, for fear of being thought legal.

We do so, not least, when we shrink from the use of Bible language in giving an account of doctrines. We are apt to keep back such expressions as 'born again,' 'election,' 'adoption,' 'conversion,' 'assurance,' and to use roundabout phraseology, as if we were ashamed of plain Bible words."

-J. C. Ryle

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Sometimes We Need to Sit Down and Shut Up !

I have a confession to make. To some who may be reading this I am old but to others I am actually still young. Without letting you know my actual age, let me just say that there are things in my life, which I have not yet been able to get a handle on. There are character flaws which haunt me every day. Prayer sometimes can be difficult because when I approach the throne of God I feel inadequate. I am reminded of the verses in Hebrews 4:14-16. I can be confident approaching the throne of God since I realize that I am always in a state of need before God. It is there that I can obtain His mercy and grace.

I have learned, as I get older that I really do have an awful lot to learn. I see older men who have gone through difficulties in life similar to things I have gone through or am going through and I find myself slow to speak and much more willing to listen.

Below is an excerpt from a series of exhortations by J.C. Ryle (1816-1900) addressed to young men entitled "THOUGHTS FOR YOUNG MEN".

The excerpt below deals with the danger of falling into pride. The entire article addresses many issues and is well worth the time to read.

I thought this section was particularly important to highlight due to how applicable this is to many young men today in our postmodern American culture.

Guys...sometimes it IS good to just "sit down and shut up" (to quote an anonymous source).


"Young men, take to heart the Scriptures just quoted ("Do you see a man wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him"-Proverbs 26:12). Do not be too confident in your own judgment. Stop being so sure that you are always right, and others wrong. Don't trust your own opinion, when you find it contrary to that of older men, and especially to that of your own parents. Age gives experience, and therefore deserves respect. It is a mark of Elihu's wisdom, in the book of Job, that "Elihu had waited before speaking to Job because they were older than he" (Job 32:4). And afterwards he said, "I am young in years, and you are old; that is why I was fearful, not daring to tell you what I know. I thought, 'Age should speak; advanced years should teach wisdom" (Job 32:6-7). Humility and silence are beautiful graces in young people. Never be ashamed of being a learner: Jesus was one at twelve years; when He was found in the temple, He was "sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions" (Luke 2:46). The wisest men would tell you they are always learners, and are humbled to find after all how little they know. The great Sir Isaac Newton used to say that he felt
himself no better than a little child, who had picked up a few precious stones on the shore of the sea of knowledge.

Young men, if you would be wise, if you would be happy, remember the warning I give you--Beware of pride."

-J.C. Ryle

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Hungry Believers

" Hungry believers desirous of a local church to call home & worship with likeminded believers, CANT FIND ONE, because so many that they have visited are too busy jumping onto the latest Christian Trend. Something old, something new, something re-defined, something hip, something “relevant” something pragmatic, something “authentic”. When churches are so busy focusing on these things, you can be sure the simple preaching of the word is being tossed out the window. I actually had one pastor who defined himself as "missional-centered" tell me that preaching isn't enough. For him, the simplicy of preaching the written word of God was not enough! For him it was decided preaching the word wasn't enough to draw a man to Christ, or keep a man in solid teaching. Can you imagine such arrogance? I was stunned to read this.

Teaching about sin, repentance, holy living, suffering and God’s wrath is secondary (if preached at all) since that doesn’t fall in line with the Trend-o-the-week. The small group studies aren’t focusing on these things, so neither should you. The youth group leader isn’t hearing these things in his weekly podcasts, so your kids aren’t hearing it from him (or her). The pastor is reading McLaren or Peterson or quoting Merton, so that’s what you’re going to hear about from the pulpit. And your Bible study leader is using THE MESSAGE & promoting some kind of touchy-feely-happy-warm-fuzzy idea of “redeeming the environment” equaling doing God’s business on earth.

All this, while young or new believers are starving for teachings from the Scriptures.

It’s a brutal, painful and grievous thing to be left wanting solid teaching, when the local churches are being led by a woman, someone preaching postmodern philosophies mixed with Christianese language, or have no pastor at all but forms opinions of doctrine by some kind of community agreement . Influenced by postmodern garbage, or whatever else happens to catch the fancy of the leaders, finding a solid local church any more is not easy, for a lot of people."

-Carla Rolfe from EmergentNo

Monday, March 27, 2006


I remember as a kid, the age of about 4 or 5, being in my old church, looking over at a very very elderly man sitting next to me as the congregation sang "The Old Rugged Cross". I remember watching him as he sang, somehow it seemed as though he understood. He understood the story of the old rugged cross. I did not know who he was or even if I ever saw him again but just looking at that old man and hearing that song for the first time made an impression on me as a small child. Generations apart, yet as a child I marveled at him and remembered the words to that old song.

I also will never forget Dorothy Cleveland. Always smiling. I was told she was born on a missionary trail in Africa. I never once saw that lady open up a hymn book but she sang every word of every song. I always wondered about that. Mrs. Cleveland used to look across the room during the service and give me the biggest smile. I knew that there was one person who looked right through me and loved the person deep inside regardless of my childish faults.

It was a small church but every Wednesday night we would gather. Kids and adults. The elderly and the very young. We gathered for prayer. We sang the old hymns. I wasn't ushered off to some children's program. I was there with these old people. I know it was boring, I know kids can't relate to that, I know I would wander off into la la land and would become totally bored with church and when I get older I will have no interest in God because of those old songs that don't relate to the youth and the boring speakers...blah blah blah. You've heard it all before. We've all heard it all before by the experts.

I know there is nothing inherently sacred with old hymns. It's not really about the hymns. It's more about a truth which transcends generations. A truth which unites generations. The songs that I saw Dorthody Cleveland sing without ever opening a hymn book were the same songs that I was learning as a child. It was the same songs that my mother and father were singing. It was the same songs that Dorthothy Cleveland's parents and grandparents were singing as she looked up at them as a child, studying their faces the same I had done when I was a child. There was a heritage. There was a legacy.

I can't understand what we are doing. Why are we so eager to get rid of the hymns which have lasted from generation to generation ? Aren't we supposed to get rid of the things which are a hinderance to our faith being built up ?

Why are we so sure that we have to separate the old people from the young ? For crying out loud, isn't there any value in our young children and teenagers being in the same room as the older people ? Do we think it's right to just throw out the value and spiritual wisdom and stability the kids can learn from being with, worshiping with, even participating in bible studies with the elderly ?

Some of my fondest memories as a child learning about this marvelous faith in Christ was the interaction I had with the elderly. Some of the richest and most spiritual acts of faith I saw demonstrated as a child were manifested in the character and actions of the elderly.

I learned from them. I sat listening to them, silent. I sat there and did not say a word. I listened. I learned. I remembered.

"Blest Be the Ties That Bind"...every Wednesday night, as we ended our prayer meeting, we would all hold hands in one big circle and sing that old hymn. I look forward to that day when we will sing that song again together, the old and the one.

"Blest be the tie that binds
Our hearts in Christian love;
The fellowship of kindred minds
Is like to that above.

Before our Father’s throne
We pour our ardent prayers;
Our fears, our hopes, our aims are one
Our comforts and our cares.

We share each other’s woes,
Our mutual burdens bear;
And often for each other flows
The sympathizing tear.

When we asunder part,
It gives us inward pain;
But we shall still be joined in heart,
And hope to meet again."


The Emergent Emperor's (not so new) Clothes

There's one thing I just do not understand about these Emergent types (actually there are many but I will only deal with one now). When it comes to the issue of homosexuality you would think you're reading the children's story of the emperor's new clothes.

To illustrate my point take a look at this post on the blog of JASON CLARK from the UK commenting on his observations at a Generous Orthodoxy event (apparently lauding the praises of the Emergent Emperor Brian McLaren). See how nonchalantly and permissively homosexuality is dealt with. It's an automatic "give-in" that it's OK to be this way. According to Jason Clark the highlight of the event was how the acceptance of the homosexual "christians" permeated the meeting to the point of being precious.

It's no surprise this was a Brian McLaren event. In his LECTURE to students at Princeton he stated that what if there are thousands of John Calvins out there, and God decided to make them gay ? (toward the end of the audio)

Again, another unbiblical position of confusion not uncommon within the Emergent Church by their most prominent philosophical leader Brian McLaren.


Saturday, March 25, 2006

JESUS DIED for the BIRDS, the FISH and the ENVIRONMENT too

Have you ever heard anyone say that about Christ's atonement on the cross ? Not exactly traditional evangelical orthodoxy is it.

I had never heard of anything like that until one evening in October of 2005 I heard a youth pastor start to go into this bizarre explanation of God's plan of redemption.

This is what this youth pastor told the kids:

"This is much bigger than human souls. God doesn't just want to reconcile humans...He wants to fix and bring peace to animals, to the environment, to mountains and trees, to stars and cities and culture".

I couldn't believe what I was hearing, so I was patient and gave him the benefit of the doubt (seems like we always have to keep doing that). Maybe he just sort of didn't mean exactly what he said or maybe he just didn't make his point very clear and he will get it back on track in a minute.

So I waited as he continued, he went on to say:

"To make the cross just about human salvation, which has happened in the last fifty years in this make the cross only about human salvation, misses out on that God wants to save everything. That's how big his dream is. He wants to save the whole earth, the whole world. Salvation is the entire universe being brought back into harmony with it's maker".

My jaw dropped. Needless to say I was very disturbed. This was being taught within an evangelical denomination, a traditionally conservative one at that.

It wasn't until later did I realize that the strange gospel that this youth pastor was teaching these kids was from Rob Bell's book Velvet Elvis. In case you may not know Rob Bell is one of the young mavericks of the EMERGENT church movement. He is the pastor of the church Mars Hill in Grandville, Michigan where it is reported that they have a regular attendance of about 10,000 weekly to their church service. Rob Bell is also responsible for the NOOMA video series geared specifically to the postmodern audience where some of these same concepts are dealt with by Bell.

Why would a youth pastor teach kids that the sacrifice that Jesus suffered on the cross, the precious plan of redemption–God in human form coming down to earth to pay for the sins of humanity also includes animals and stars ? I am still not sure whether or not the animals or trees have to go through the same process of repentance as we humans do and I am curious to know whether or not if these birds or fish are among God's predestined elect ? This is a perfect example of the confusion found rampant all throughout this Emergent movement.

To understand the erroneous teaching of Rob Bell and their misunderstood teachings of the redemption of "all things" pastor Ken Silva of Apprising Ministries has written a two part series on the subject.

This was briefly dealt with in an EARLIER POST here on thinkerup. It also ties into the different views of the KINGDOM OF GOD and just what does the bible actually teach about it.

This is all very important because it is an example of the false teaching coming out of the Emergent church movement. It is finding its way into evangelical churches all over the U.S. and Europe.

Young people need to be aware of it and their parents need to know what their kids may be learning in their youth groups.

We pray that you will be aware of these things.


Friday, March 24, 2006

God Hates A Mixture

by Joseph R. Chambers, D.D.
of Paw Creek Ministries

The church of this apostate generation has lost its power and purity by allowing a mixture. This is clearly one of Satan's primary battle strategies.

When liberalism is on the outside, it begs the church for fair play and the right to be a part. But, when liberalism is inside, it slowly leavens the lump until it is in the majority and then it says to those whom it begged acceptance, "Get out! We do not need your old-fashioned ways."

When psychology was but the little fox, all it appeared to desire was just the right to be a part. Psychology wanted to help make the gospel more effective for those who had pain and were emotionally wrecked. Oh, but when psychology gains a place of authority, it then says to the Gospel, "You are too old-fashioned and out-dated, I'm the better way." Psychology makes a beautiful dressed up rational for compassion, but it is nothing but Satan as an angel of light.

The Holy Bible is a book of the "strait and narrow." It is perfect in every part and aspect of its message. The pure church is the powerful church. All you need to do to produce a false gospel is add one element of the world and its imaginations. When you add the twelve-step programs to your church, you become a social agency, not the Bride of Christ. When psychology enters the door of a church, it becomes religious humanism, instead of the Holy Ghost possessed House of God. When social programs replace the prayer meeting, you have a community club instead of a rescue mission.

God will have a Bride unspotted and undefiled. She will not be a mixture of the world and the church. Our Heavenly Father is still possessing those who have been redeemed, called out, and established in His absolute Word. An admixture of religion is more deadly to the lost soul than the beer parlor.

Separation as a Virtue

Divisions and separations are most objectionable in religion. They weaken the cause of true Christianity ...But before we blame people for them, we must be careful that we lay the blame where it is deserved. False doctrine and heresy are even worse than schism. If people separate themselves from teaching that is positively false and unscriptural, they ought to be praised rather than reproved. In such cases separation is a virtue and not a sin.

-J.C. Ryle (1816-1900)

Tadpoles in the Shallow End

Nobody wants frogs in the swimming pool. But are you ignoring the tadpoles in the shallow end? 

The Emergent movement in evangelicalism today does have many church pastors and leaders concerned. Just like one would be when finding frogs in the family swimming pool. There are many flaws in the Emergent church model. Pastors and leaders should be concerned and many are using good discernment in making sure their church avoids many of the EMERGENT CHURCH PITFALLS. They're keeping the frogs out. But are they aware that many of the tadpoles are in?

Look at a great number of the YOUTH GROUPS in many of our churches today. Too often they resemble characteristics of the Emergent church's philosophies and methods. They, in many cases, are Emergent Tadpoles and are in the local church's shallow end.

The trend in youth groups today is to put heavy emphasis on relationships, the senses in worship, secular music, "relevant" speaking college grad pop stars as youth pastors,  entertainment and isolation from older church members. In contrast, there is a hugh lack of a visible studying of the scriptures, prayer meetings, interaction with the older folks and the call to "obey parents".

Tadpoles are harmless, fun to play with but we all know what they become. Frogs.

TAKE A LOOK at a similar situation.


Thursday, March 23, 2006


My family and I have been visiting a small PCA church for the past several weeks now. We have been enjoying the bold biblical and doctrinaly sound teaching and preaching, the friendliness of the members and the the fact that this small church gives top priority to a weekly Wednesday night prayer meeting. When was the last time you heard of a church doing that ?

Last week one more thing occurred which I have never seen take place in the last 20 years in the "mega-church" my family and I have stopped attending. Displayed on the overhead screen was a compilation of several verses and expressions of statements of confessions of sin. The congregation stood and read these out loud.

Now the preacher at this church proclaims God's truth through God's word with power and boldness. Every time I hear him preach I am blessed. But by the time we were finished reading this out loud I felt like I was before the cross of Jesus again for the first time. By the time this was completed I felt broken, I felt sorrow for my disobedience toward God.

I got more out of that confession of my sin than I did from anything that occurred that Sunday morning.

Again, when we are better able to understand our sin from God's perspective, as taught in scripture, then we are more prepared to receive, appreciate, and understand God's mercy and grace. After we have died to ourselves, He is willing to offer new life through the forgiveness of Jesus Christ.

This is not so complicated that we cannot believe it and receive it but it is so deep that this side of heaven I will never be able to completely understand it.




Merciful Father in Heaven, we confess that we have sinned and left off from following You with our whole hearts. We have followed too much our own desires and wants.

We are sinners, conceived and born in guilt and corruption who are prone to do evil and unable of ourselves to do any good. Because of our depravity, we continue to transgress Your holy commandments.

So, Father, we humble ourselves before You now, and we confess that we have not believed in You, our one God and Father, but have put our faith and trust more in creatures than in You, our God and Creator.

We confess that we have formed worthless idols in our hearts, idols of wealth, power, and earthly treasure, and we have bowed down and served them.

We confess that we have misused Your Name and have not professed it or kept it holy as we ought.

We confess that we have not honored our parents, and have been disobedient to them and to all those to whom we owe honor and obedience.

We confess that we have not respected life, but have murdered in our hearts, venting our anger against our neighbors whom we are to love.

We confess that we have been ungodly. In our flesh, we have sinned against You and have been excessive in eating, drinking, clothing, and in other things, and have been improper in our thinking, seeing, hearing, and speaking.

We confess that we have lied, that we have been untrue and unfaithful toward our neighbor, that we have shaded, twisted, and denied the truth.

We confess that we have coveted the possessions and spouses of others. In summary, we confess that our whole life is nothing other than sin and transgression of your holy commandments and an inclination toward all evil.

Therefore we beg of you, O gracious Father, that you would forgive us of these and all our sins. Keep and preserve us from now on that we may walk only in Your ways and live according to Your will, through Jesus Christ, our Savior.

Assurance of Pardon

Leader: These are the promises of God to you who truly repent of your sins and trust in Jesus Christ: He forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases; He redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion; He satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.

The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. He does not treat you as your sins deserve or repay you according to your iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed your transgressions from you. From everlasting to everlasting the LORD's love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children's children. Praise the LORD, O His people, and forget not all his benefits--Amen.


We're in a fight. We're in a spiritual battle which rages on daily even when we choose not to acknowledge it. If we decide not to become engaged in the warfare we have unwittingly decided to assist the enemy. There is no neutral ground. Every morning when you wake up the battle continues and throughout your entire day the strategy will change to suite the enemy's next ploy.

A.W. Tozer puts it well:

"The Old Testament prophets were men of contention. Our Lord Jesus while on earth was in deadly conflict with the devil. The Apostles, the Church Fathers and the Reformers were men of controversy. They fought the devil to the death and kept the torch of truth burning for all succeeding generations. Is our contribution to history to be the ignoble one of letting the torch go out?"

The difficult thing is that our enemy will cleverly use even the people closest to us. He may use family members, friends, even trusted senior pastors and youth pastors within our trusted churches.

Remember what it says in Jude v. 3-4

Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints.
For certain men whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men, who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord.

Among the many topics and issues we post on this site now and in the future, the issues which concern us the most are those which involve the erroneous doctrines, subtle false teachings and pragmatic church methodologies making its way throughout the entire church body today.

THIS ARTICLE posted last month gives a brief overview of one of these current trends, namely, "Emergent Church" which is slithering it's way into churches all over. It is usually first manifested in the churches' youth groups. The fact that this trend or movement is geared toward the post-modern generation, the perfect recipients of this would be the "post-modern" youth.

It is absolutely imperative that we understand what the Emergent Church movement is really all about. It will take some time to understand but it is crucial to know about and read about since this movement's ideologies are either blatantly or subtly heretical. And for the sake of protecting our kids since many youth groups today is where this trend is catching on like wildfire.

PBS did a two part story (link to PART ONE and PART TWO) on the Emergent Church movement. This is a good introduction to Emergent but this movement actually runs much deeper into many other things. One of which is it's tendency toward mysticism from the "ancient" Roman Catholic mystics and desert fathers (monks).

Also thanks to Richard Foster's book on mysticism "Celebration of Discipline" and other various authors, many among the current generation of spiritually hungry young people are being tutored on unbiblical ancient mystical practices.

I haven't even begun to get into the heresies of Brian McLaren or the bizarre theologies of Rob Bell. Those will be for a future series of posts.

One important verse to keep at the forefront of your mind when reading into these things is Colossians 2:8:

See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.

PS: more info on it's way soon.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Giving the Bad News First-and Accurately

While giving a talk at a local Barnes & Noble, someone asked why it was necessary for him to believe in Jesus. He was Jewish, believed in God, and was living a moral life. Those were the important things, it seemed - how you lived, not what you believed.

To him our message depicted a narrow-minded God pitching people into Hell because of an arcane detail of Christian theology. How should I answer?

Remember that the first responsibility of an ambassador is knowledge - an accurately-informed message. What is our message? One way to say it is, "If you don't believe in Jesus, you'll go to Hell. If you do believe, you'll go to Heaven." That's certainly true, as far as it goes. The problem is it's not clear. Since it doesn't give an accurate sense of why Jesus is necessary, it makes God sound petty.

So how do we fix this? Here's how I responded to my Jewish questioner. I asked him two simple questions.

"Do you think people who commit moral crimes ought to be punished?"

He thought for a moment. "Well, since I'm a prosecuting attorney...yes."

"So do I," I agreed.

"Second question: Have you ever committed any moral crimes?"

There was a slight pause. This was getting personal. "Yes, I guess I have," he admitted.

"So have I," I confessed, agreeing with him again.

"So now we have this difficult situation, don't we? We both believe those who commit moral crimes ought to be punished, and we both believe we've committed moral crimes. Do you know what I call that? I call that bad news."

In less than 60 seconds I had accomplished a remarkable thing with this approach. I didn't have to convince him he was a sinner. He was telling me. I didn't have to convince him he deserved to be punished. He was telling me. I was tapping into a deep intuition every person shares: knowledge of his own guilt. And I didn't do it arrogantly or in an obnoxious, condescending way. I freely admitted I was in the same trouble he was.

Now that we agreed on the problem it was time to give the solution. "This is where Jesus comes in," I explained. "We both know we're guilty. That's the problem. So God offers a solution: a pardon, free of charge. But it's on His terms, not ours. Jesus is God's answer because He personally paid the penalty for us. He took the rap in our place. No one else has done that. Now we have a choice to make. We either take the pardon and go free, or refuse it and pay for our own crimes."

This approach reveals a very important sequence in making our message intelligible: First the bad news, then the good news. There are other illustrations you could use to do this, but the sequence is critical. It's the way any good doctor proceeds. And it was the consistent method used by the apostles. Take a look for yourself. In every one of the 13 times the Gospel was preached in Acts, the disciples used the same approach.

Why is this technique important? Because it gives an accurate sense of why Jesus is necessary. It shows that God is not trivial, but merciful, not petty, but kind, graciously offering forgiveness to those who desperately need it.

I didn't say to him, "If you don't believe in Jesus you'll go to Hell." I said if he didn't receive a pardon for his crimes, he'd suffer the punishment he knew he deserved. This gave him an answer that didn't mislead and also something to think about.

by Gregory Koukl from STAND TO REASON ministries


THIS IS AN OUTSTANDING ARTICLE on the controversial issue of women's role of leadership in the church.

Our culture seems to have a very powerful influence on the church of today. How should churches handle the issue of women in positions of spiritual leadership ?

The majority of church members are women after all and they do in many cases tend to have a genuine desire and compassion for ministry.

Also, culture is not exactly the same it was when the New Testament was written 2000 years male authors.

Check out the article !


Feeding Sheep or Amusing Goats?

by Archibald G. Brown

An evil is in the professed camp of the Lord, so gross in its impudence, that the most shortsighted can hardly fail to notice it during the past few years. It has developed at an abnormal rate, even for evil. It has worked like leaven until the whole lump ferments. The devil has seldom done a cleverer thing than hinting to the church that part of their mission is to provide entertainment for the people, with a view to winning them.

From speaking out as the Puritans did, the church has gradually toned down her testimony, then winked at and excused the frivolities of the day. Then she tolerated them in her borders. Now she has adopted them under the plea of reaching the masses.

My first contention is that providing amusement for the people is nowhere spoken of in the Scriptures as a function of the church. If it is a Christian work, why did not Christ speak of it? "Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature" (Mark 16:15). That is clear enough. So it would have been if He had added, "and provide amusement for those who do not relish the gospel." No such words, however, are to be found. It did not seem to occur to him.

Then again, "He gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some evangelists; and some pastors and teachers .., for the work of the ministry" (Eph. 4:11-12). Where do entertainers come in? The Holy Spirit is silent concerning them. Were the prophets persecuted because they amused the people or because they refused? The concert has no martyr roll.

Again, providing amusement is in direct antagonism to the teaching and life of Christ and all his apostles. What was the attitude of the church to the world? Ye are the salt" (Matt. 5:13), not the sugar candy---something the world will spit out not swallow. Short and sharp was the utterance, "Let the dead bury their dead" (Matt. 8:22) He was in awful earnestness.

Had Christ introduced more of the bright and pleasant elements into his mission, he would have been more popular when they went back, because of the searching nature of His teaching. I do not hear him say, "Run after these people Peter and tell them we will have a different style of service tomorrow, something short and attractive with little preaching. We will have a pleasant evening for the people. Tell them they will be sure to enjoy it. Be quick Peter, we must get the people somehow." Jesus pitied sinners, sighed and wept over them, but never sought to amuse them.

In vain will the Epistles be searched to find any trace of this gospel of amusement! Their message is, "Come out, keep out, clean out!" Anything approaching fooling is conspicuous by its absence. They had boundless confidence in the gospel and employed no other weapon.

After Peter and John were locked up for preaching, the church had a prayer meeting but they did not pray, "Lord grant unto thy servants that by a wise and discriminating use of innocent recreation we may show these people how happy we are." If they ceased not from preaching Christ, they had not time for arranging entertainments. Scattered by persecution, they went everywhere preaching the gospel. They turned the world upside down (Acts 17:6). That is the only difference! Lord, clear the church of all the rot and rubbish the devil has imposed on her, and bring us back to apostolic methods.

Lastly, the mission of amusement fails to effect the end desired. It works havoc among young converts. Let the careless and scoffers, who thank God because the church met them halfway, speak and testify. Let the heavy laden who found peace through the concert not keep silent! Let the drunkard to whom the dramatic entertainment has been God's link in the chain of the conversion, stand up! There are none to answer. The mission of amusement produces no converts. The need of the hour for today's ministry is believing scholarship joined with earnest spirituality, the one springing from the other as fruit from the root. The need is biblical doctrine, so understood and felt, that it sets men on fire.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

I Walk in Danger All the Way

Many of the old hymns have a depth of content to the lyrics unlike many of the contemporary songs we hear in churches today. Unfortunately many churches are shying away from singing hymns and missing out on the rich treasures of the lyrics and biblical truths proclaimed in many of these songs. Check out this old hymn. These lyrics remind us of a reality of life which we're not likely to hear in a song very often.



"I Walk in Danger All the Way"
by Hans A. Brorson, 1694-17
Translated by Ditlef G. Ristad, 1863-1938

I walk in danger all the way.
The thought shall never leave me
That Satan, who has marked his prey,
Is plotting to deceive me.
This foe with hidden snares
May seize me unawares
If e'er I fail to watch and pray.
I walk in danger all the way.

I pass through trials all the way,
With sin and ills contending;
In patience I must bear each day
The cross of God's own sending.
Oft in adversity
I know not where to flee;
When storms of woe my soul dismay,
I pass through trials all the way.

Death doth pursue me all the way,
Nowhere I rest securely;
He comes by night, he comes by day,
And takes his prey most surely.
A failing breath, and I
In death's strong grasp may lie
To face eternity for aye.
Death dost pursue me all the way.

I walk with angels all the way,
They shield me and befriend me;
All Satan's power is held at bay
When heavenly hosts attend me;
They are my sure defense,
All fear and sorrow, hence!
Unharmed by foes, do what they may,
I walk with angels all the way.

I walk with Jesus all the way,
His guidance never fails me;
Within His wounds I find a stay
When Satan's power assails me;
And by His footsteps led,
My path I safely tread.
In spite of ills that threaten may,
I walk with Jesus all the way.

My walk is heavenward all the way;
Await my soul, the morrow,
When thou shalt find release for aye
From all thy sin and sorrow.
All worldly pomp, begone!
To heaven I now press on.
For all the world I would not stay;
My walk is heavenward all the way.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Our Obligation to God

It is always beneficial to be reminded of God's sovereignty in our lives and the whole of human history and just how little we actually are in his sight. In the course of a normal day there is enough self-indulgence to completely cloud out any remembrance of God. I think it causes us to appreciate his grace even more when we focus on his majesty.

I'm reminded of this passage in 1 Chronicles 29:11

Thine, O LORD is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O LORD, and thou art exalted as head above all.

Below is an excerpt from The Justice of God in the Damnation of Sinners by Johnathan Edwards (1703-1758)


When men are fallen, and become sinful, God by His sovereignty has a right to determine about their redemption as He pleases. He has a right to determine whether He will redeem any or not. He might, if he had pleased, have left all to perish, or might have redeemed all. Or, he may redeem some, and leave others; and if He does so, He may take who He pleases, and leave who He pleases. To suppose that all have forfeited his favor, and deserved to perish, and to suppose that he may not leave any one individual of them to perish, implies a contradiction; because it supposes that such a one has a claim to God's favor, and is not justly liable to perish; which is contrary to the supposition.

It is right that God should order all these things according to His own pleasure. By reason of His greatness and glory, by which He is infinitely above all, He is worthy to be Sovereign, and that His pleasure should in all things take place. He is worthy that He should make Himself His end, and that He should make nothing but His own wisdom His rule in pursuing that end, without asking leave or counsel of any, and without giving account of any of His matters. It is fit that He who is absolutely perfect, and infinitely wise, and the Fountain of all wisdom, should determine every thing [that He effects] by His own will, even things of the greatest importance. It is meet that He should be thus Sovereign, because He is the first being, the eternal being, from which all other beings are. He is the Creator of all things; and all are absolutely and universally dependent on Him; and therefore it is right that He should act as the Sovereign possessor of heaven and earth.

Our obligation to love, honor, and obey any being, is in proportion to his loveliness, honorableness, and authority; for that is the very meaning of the words. When we say any one is very lovely, it is the same as to say, that he is one very much to be loved. Or if we say such a one is more honorable than another, the meaning of the words is, that he is one that we are more obliged to honor. If we say any one has great authority over us, it is the same as to say, that he has great right to our subjection and obedience.

But God is a being infinitely lovely, because He has infinite Excellency and beauty. To have infinite Excellency and beauty, is the same thing as to have infinite loveliness. He is a being of infinite greatness, majesty, and glory; and therefore He is infinitely honorable. He is infinitely exalted above the greatest potentates of the earth, and highest angels in heaven; and therefore He is infinitely more honorable than they. His authority over us is infinite; and the ground of His right to our obedience is infinitely strong; for He is infinitely worthy to be obeyed Himself, and we have an absolute, universal, and infinite dependence upon Him.



Finally there's a COOL JESUS who can appeal to teens. One that we don't have to be embarrassed about. One who looks like Brad Pitt and hangs out with a hooker.

Man, the Jesus that draws people to himself with his gift of eternal salvation and redemption for the lost just doesn't seem to cut it anymore. If Jesus was really cool like this then I can see following a Jesus like this. I wouldn't feel like an outcast around my friends. I wouldn't feel like a weirdo...I'd feel excepted by them...AND I can easily persuade my friends to follow a cool Jesus like this !

This whole new image thing could totally "reform" our faith, in a new way. We could apply this new image technique to all sorts of areas in our dealings with spiritual issues. Just think of how appealing we can make Jesus look to the unchurched and the world.

Paul just didn't get it when he said in 1 Cor. 1:18 the message of the cross is foolishness to them that are perishing. If he only realized how to generate a message of Jesus as cool, he would not have had so much difficulty with opposition to his message.
The same goes for all of the disciples and apostles. They should have tweaked the image of Jesus just enough to make him look appealing to the world around them.

Kind of like...well, a celebrity, or movie star, or a rapper.

So much for the One who will be exalted above all things that at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow and tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. (Phil. 2)

So much for the one to whom we should proclaim "Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory. (Is.6)

So much for the image of the Son of God whose eyes are like blazing fire and whose feet are like burnished bronze. (Rev. 2:18)

So much for God creating us in His image, now we can create God in our image.

I can go on and on...apparently so can they, with their "creative" reinterpretations of God's image.

One more thought from Exodus 20:4:

Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.


Saturday, March 18, 2006


Can you imagine a church sooooo big that you would need to have a professional football stadium to hold your church services ? I heard a preacher say that one Sunday morning.

WOW ! Imagine that. You almost get giddy thinking about that.

For so long people have just been coming to church totally bored out of their minds. No wonder why people just kind of fade away, never to return again. There are so many other things out there competing for their attention that we have GOT to figure out a way to get MORE people into the door of the church.

We've got to find ways to bring more people into the church... gotta get those numbers up. I mean we've got to do WHATEVER IT TAKES.

I guess the next question would be... How do we do this ? How do we fill Dolphin stadium ?

Let's see what technique the apostle Paul used in the New Testament to grow the church, because after all we can't imagine the church today using a method which is not found in the bible.

1 Cor. 2:1-5:

When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit's power, so that your faith might not rest on men's wisdom, but on God's power.

Oh, wait...the techniques Paul used were weakness, fear, trembling.

What about Jesus Christ and him crucified ? Yeah that's going to get a lot of people in the door. Somebody should have told Paul about seeker sensitive.

What about the techniques Paul did NOT use–He did not use eloquence or superior wisdom (except maybe the wisdom that comes from knowing about Christ crucified).
What else did he not use–he did not use wise words or persuasive words. Gosh that is so not post-modern or intellectual.
Oh boy lookie here, Paul says that his PREACHING was with a demonstration of the Spirit's power. Why would he use such a method ? Oh yes the answer's right that the christian's faith might not rest on MEN'S wisdom but on God's power.

I guess after all Paul did not actually use ANY techniques, methods or experiments. He allowed the Holy Spirit to do the work. All that Paul did was to preach Jesus Christ and him crucified.

So go ahead pastors and keep coming up with new techniques, new methods and the latest trends to try to get those numbers up but when your congregations rely on your wisdom instead of God's power don't complain about spiritual immaturity, shallow superficiality and doctrinal ignorance rampant among your church members. They're getting what they're being fed.

If God decides to increase the church enough to fill up a professional football stadium or not makes no difference. That should not be our goal. That is His decision to make. Our responsibility is to be guided by his Word in obedience and rely upon His methods which are to trust his Holy Spirit for the increase if He desires to do so. Our goal should be to pursue holiness through the process of santification surrendering each day to His guidance and direction as found through his holy Word.

If your church has the philosophy of "do whatever it takes" I hope that does not include neglecting the Word of God.


Friday, March 17, 2006


What makes us admire a man? In the old days a man was admired for his integrity and inner character, which was naturally visible in his actions. I don't think that has changed. Many of us can still point to someone whom we admire and respect based on those same reasons. But what is happening to men today? I believe men, young and old, are striving to find short cuts to the admiration and respect they crave by superficial means, i.e. brutality, profanity, earrings, homosexuality, gangs, drinking, over sensitivity, submission to female spiritual leadership, allowing women to control them and so on.

Doc Chastain yanked my hair from behind and said " I thought you were a girl". I was 22 years old. My hair was bushy and long. Doc was in his 70's. He was raised in South Georgia. You know, where the men were men and the women were women, and they liked it that way. My Father understood this as well.

At the age of 12 Marshall Saunders gave me a little talk about being a man, acting like a man and "looking" like a man. This he did after I grumbled about how short my mom had accidently cut my hair. He changed my attitude instantly. I don't even know much of what he said. But it rang true.

Today we see men acting more feminine than women, putting in earrings, paying big bucks for braided hair and even getting there nails done. (What is that called? A pedicure or manicure or something?) Up until recently, I've been relieved to see that we do not yet have makeup for men. But wait a minute, come to think of it I did see men's makeup being sold at Bloomindales. Yep, makeup for men, lipstick and more! My wife and I were surprised. How did we get this far? Where are we headed? Where are all the real men? Somebody please, bring some clarity to this!

Perhaps we should see what God has to say on this.
Deut. 22:5 says: "A woman must not wear men's clothing, nor a man wear women's clothing, for the Lord God detests anyone who does this."

Now how do we deal with this in today's cultural climate? I find it interesting that there is no explanation of women's or men's clothing in scripture. Could it be that the difference was plain to see within the context of that culture? I think so. Also, Paul tells women not to over-adorn themselves with braided hair and jewelry, to focus on the inward beauty (1 Tim. 2: 9, 10). If this was the instruction to women, should it not apply to men even more? I say absolutely YES.

So what is the principle here? The principle is that we must not blur the distinctions between men and women! God made them different inside and out. To blur the differences is an insult to His image, in which we were all made.

Then should men have earrings, feminized hair or even makeup if they so wish? Well, I can't stop them. Most men would not use makeup. But to overlook and condone one practice traditionally viewed as feminine (like earrings, hair styles) and disapprove of other things like makeup seems to be inconsistent. If earrings are okay, then why not makeup? Where does it stop? In applying Biblical principles, we must consider the traditions and practices the current culture sees as feminine to a point. But at a greater point the Christian man must ask himself "how far is too far and what is the Biblical view of a man?"

Today's culture militates itself against manliness. The man with good old fashioned manly character is looked down upon, called a male chauvinist pig and in our churches, often considered a bully. Harvard professor Harvey Mansfield refers to this cultural phenomenon. He says that we are becoming a "gender neutral society" and how this is accomplished is by the feminizing of men as a whole. Our young men especially are falling for this junk left and right.

With such modern day confusion over the roles of men and women in our society, it's no wonder that these issues have even church leaders afraid (like mice, not men) to bring Biblical clarity for fear of being labeled insensitive to women or even worse, a male chauvinist. Afterall, one of the most intolerant, insensitive things you could do today is to define what a real "man" or a real "woman" ought to be.

My Father, Doc and Marshall Sauders brought clarity. The clarity came from their manly character far before it came from their words. I never wanted to look like a women and most men don't. But let's take a hard look at what we may be allowing our young men to be influenced by, perhaps too much by the world. Our sons need some clarity. Our daughters even more.

You think about that and I'll go over here and work on a little bit of Biblical Manly integrity and Godly character.


Thursday, March 16, 2006


This is from Steve Camp's website. It's an excellent but sobering article on the state of too many pastors today.
Spiritual Malpractice - Part One
by Steve Camp

The greatest threat to Christianity is not political correctness, liberal politicians, the ACLU, religious cults or their leaders, post-modernism, materialism, pragmaticism, asceticism, rationalism, syncretism, Romanism, humanism, etc. The greatest threat to Christianity are pastors who have forgotten their biblical duty and role; who have not modeled themselves after Christ, who have failed to disciple God’s people and have not trained other men for ministry so that the church is led by a plurality of godly leaders. Sadly, there are those who have fallen prey to the spirit of the age; who have abandoned their calling and responsibility to the local church to pursue their own celebrity; who have been reduced to a self-consumed, pragmatic, gimmick driven dictatorial rule, posing as pseudo-psychological storytellers, who once a week--for one hour a week turn into superficial biblical motivational speakers giving 'sermonettes for Christianettes' that utterly fail to equip the body of Christ for the work of the ministry with the truth of God's Word (Ephesians 4:11-16). It is as Hosea says it is, "Like people, like priest" (Hosea 4:9). Listen beloved, no church will ever rise above the depth that they perceive in their leadership. The pastors and elders set the tone and the mark for the entire church. Poor, incompetent pastoral leadership has split and crippled more churches than any other singular thing in the evangelical world and it is sin!

There seems to be mass confusion today as to what the role, function and purpose of the pastor is supposed to be. Some say he is to take on the role of a CEO, a manager, a professor or academician, a kingly ruler, or chairman of the board. Others might think he should play psychologist or even social worker. Still others think he should simply be a referral service to various counseling agencies so that they--not them--can deal with the real deep seated problems of the mind and heart.

But in reality, none of those things capture what the pastor is supposed to be. Biblically, the most powerful imagery that fully represents the heart and role of a pastor is that of the shepherd. This is what the Lord so wonderfully is to us (John 10) and gives as the grandest of all names for a faithful minister of the Lord Jesus Christ (1 Peter 5:1-4). The under-shepherd of Christ is to pray, love, care for, feed faithfully and disciple the sheep. He is to correct, admonish, rebuke, and even discipline the sheep if necessary. This is servant-leadership at its core and woe to those shepherds who abandon their post and are lax in their God commanded duty.

I want to say at the outset of this very important series, that I love and appreciate greatly my pastor and thank the Lord for him. He is a "servant of Christ, a steward of the mysteries of God, and is being found faithful [in life and doctrine each day]" (1 Cor. 4:1). All of us at Community Bible Church are blessed people to have Byron Yawn as our under-shepherd. He is the real deal and I thank the Lord every day for him and the entire eldership of our church.

I know that to biblically shepherd God's people is hard and sometimes lonely work. Certainly there is joy and tremendous fulfillment in serving the Lord. But it is not a playground for would be pretenders, it is a battlefield for the soul. To shepherd the flock of God as under-shepherds of Christ, to care for His sheep as servant-leaders, to love His people with a selfless self-sacrificial patient love takes the grace that is in Christ Jesus, tremendous courage, brokenness and contrition, humility, holiness of life, uncompromising dedication, strength of character, a high view of God, undiminished commitment to the Word, a face set as flint for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus, and an unfettered heart. I hope you daily thank the Lord for your pastor and go out of your way to encourage him if you have been blessed with a faithful man of God as I have. Nothing is so wonderful than to have capable leadership within the local church. And at the same time, nothing is so bitter to the people of God than an unfaithful, unqualified pastor.

The pastor has the unique privilege of having his job description completely and thoroughly carved out by the Lord Himself. There is no equivocation as to what he is to do and how to do it. There is no doubt as to what the Lord expects from him and through His Word and by His grace equips him to do. May I encourage you to faithfully pray for him and serve him. Submit to his godly counsel and leadership (Hebrews 13:17) and at the same time hold him accountable. Be a faithful "Berean" in his life and examine carefully everything he teaches and is called by God to do. Love him and honor his authority. Correct him when he has strayed from this holy calling and embrace him when he honors the Lord. Be faithful to gently point out his blind spots and let him know you are there to walk with him and see him conformed to Christlikeness. You might be asking yourself, "Why should I even do this?" For one primary reason, these are men that will one day give an account to the Lord Himself as to how they have cared for and watched over the souls of His people. They are to live, serve and submit to Christ and His people—as we all are to—in the fear of God. Oh for pastors who will guard the trust (1 Timothy 6:20), tremble at God's Word (Isaiah 66:2), by the terror of the Lord pursuade men (2 Corinthians 5:11a), who are not afraid to discipline sin (Matthew 18:15-20), preach the Word (2 Timothy 4:1-5) and disciple God's people (1 Thessalonians 5:12-13).

This series I am calling "Spiritual Malpractice"--when pastors fail to biblically shepherd God's people. It is a burden and issue that has consumed my heart. I would like to begin by calling your attention to what the Apostle Paul has outlined in 1 and 2 Timothy as the character, role and duty of the faithful shepherd. This list was compiled almost in entirety by the eldership of Grace Community Church and professorship of The Master’s Seminary under the leadership of my friend Dr. John MacArthur. It is a powerful reminder of what the man of God is called to be and do. Encourage your pastors and elders to read this today. Email it to them immediately and don't delay. It will enrich their lives and ministry and serve as a loving remembrance of the high and holy calling that a faithful under-shepherd of the Lord Jesus Christ should be.

Paul's instruction to Timothy in First Timothy:

-Correct those teaching false doctrine and call them to a pure heart, a good conscience and a sincere faith (I Tim. 1:3-5)

-Fight for divine truth and for God's purposes, with sound doctrine (the faith) and godly character (a good conscience) (1:18-19)

-Pray for the lost and lead the men of the church to do the same (2:1-8)

-Call women in the church to fulfill their God-given role of submission and to raise up godly children, setting an example of faith, love and sanctity with self-restraint (2:9-15)

-Carefully select spiritual leaders for the church on the basis of their giftedness, godliness and virtue (3:1-13)

-Recognize the source of error and those who teach it and point these things out to the rest of the church (4:1-6)

-Constantly be nourished on the words of Scripture and its sound teaching, avoiding all myths and false doctrines (4:6)

-Discipline himself for the purposes of godliness (4:7-11)

-Boldly command and teach the truth of God's Word and be a model of spiritual virtue that all can follow (4:12)

-Faithfully read, explain and apply the Scriptures publicly (4:13-14)

-Be progressing toward Christlikeness in his own life (4:15-16)

-Be gracious and gentle in confronting the sin of his people (5:1-2)

-Give special consideration and care to those who are widows (5:3-16)

-Honor faithful church leaders who work hard (5:17-21)

-Choose church leaders with great care, seeing to it that they are both mature and proven (5:22)

-Take care of his physical condition so he is strong to serve (5:23)

-Teach and preach principles of true godliness, helping his people discern between true godliness and mere hypocrisy (5:24-6:6)

-Flee the love of money (6:7-11)

-Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance and gentleness (6:11)

-Fight for the faith against all enemies and all attacks (6:12)

-Keep all the Lord's commandments (6:13-16); and instruct the rich to do good, to be rich in good works and to be generous (6:17-19)

-Guard the Word of God as a sacred trust and a treasure (6:20-21)

In his second epistle, Paul reminded Timothy to:

-Keep the gift of God in him fresh and useful (II Tim. 1:6)

-Not be timid but powerful (1:7)

-Never be ashamed of Christ or anyone who serves Christ (1:8-11)

-Hold tightly to the truth and guard it (1:12-14)

-Be strong in character (2:1)

-Be a teacher of apostolic truth so that he may reproduce himself in faithful men (2:2)

-Suffer difficulty and persecution willingly while making the maximum effort for Christ (2:3-7)

-Keep his eyes on Christ at all times (2:8-13)

-Lead with authority (2:14); interpret and apply Scripture accurately (2:15)

-Avoid useless conversation that leads only to ungodliness (2:16)

-Be an instrument of honor, set apart from sin and useful to the Lord (2:20-21)

-Flee youthful lusts and pursue righteousness, faith and love (2:22)

-Refuse to be drawn into philosophical and theological wrangling (2:23)

-Not be an arguer but kind, teachable, gentle and patient even when he is wronged (2:24-26)

-Face dangerous times with a deep knowledge of the Word of God (3:1-15)

-Understand that Scripture is the basis and content of all legitimate ministry (3:16-17)

-Preach the Word - in season and out of season - reproving, rebuking and exhorting with great patience and instruction (4:1-2)

-Be sober in all things; endure hardship; do the work of an evangelist; fulfill your ministry (4:5)

-Fight the good fight; finish the race; keep the faith (4:7)

Wednesday, March 15, 2006


I do believe Jesus loves people, all kinds of people.

I know that Jesus can save anyone.

Would someone please explain to me why you would create a t-shirt design that says "Jesus Loves Porn Stars" (SEE THIS LINK) or "Jesus Loves Rapists" ?

Is this a method of evangelism ? Is this a joke or a parody ?
What are we doing here ?
How far can people take this stuff ?

I can't figure out any way where this would allow for an opportunity to speak to a rapist or porn star about Jesus.

If you're wearing a shirt like this or drinking from a coffee mug, is a porn star or a pedophile supposed to come up to you and repent of their sin and hunger to have a life changing encounter with the God of the universe ?

First of all how many porn stars do we run into in the course of a normal day ? At least I don' far as I know.

Well...I don't know...God will do what He will do to accomplish His work but I gotta believe that for starters, if we want to be a part of His work, we ought to at least begin to approach the method of evangelism with a sense of awe and respect in regard to the sacred and precious message of redemption to an evil and lost world bound for an eternity in hell absent from the presense of the Almighty.

Once again the message of LOVE LOVE LOVE is completely out of balance when addressing the issues of sin. When sin is dealt with it ought to be communicated with the truth as manifested in the scriptures, in the proper context, then the redemptive message of the gospel of God's love makes sense in light of the clear teachings of sin and then followed up with God's grace and forgiveness through Jesus.



My three year old boy will no longer eat whatever I put in front of him, that is, unless he likes it or unless it's real food. Once I tried to give him one of those fake rubber grapes to see if he would fall for it. He did, the first time. He believed it to be the real thing. It looked right, felt right, but as soon as he bit it, he knew something was wrong. Every grape I give to him thereafter was suspect. He began to use discernment.

Babies never worry about the food given to them, no concerns of anything bad, dangerous or unhealthy. The baby totally trusts the parent. He'll never spit out the food saying "I think there's a trace of arsenic in my baby food mommy". We should expect total trust from a baby. But should we expect the same from supposedly "spiritually mature" christian adults? Let me explain:

How is it that my three year old child will use greater discernment in determining the realness of a rubber grape, which has no eternal consequence associated with it, than many full grown adults will do in our churches today? Mature, elderly adults in our churches refuse to apply spiritual discernment when it comes to what they are being fed by their pastors or churches, which could determine their eternal destiny! These adults today are feasting on spiritual fake grapes. Even fewer are concerned about what is being taught by the youth pastors of their church. Just so long as the kids are coming I guess that's all that matters. Why? Because they are totally trusting their leaders to filter the unbiblical teachings from the biblical teachings. But God requires the exact opposite!

2 Timothy 2:15 tells us: "Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth."

We are told to be a workman, approved before God, who will not be ashamed because we have learned to rightly divide the Word of Truth.

We should never totally trust the pastor or youth minister to give the truth without error. Rather, we must test everything he says with scripture, like the Bereans did in Acts 17:11. Once tested, hold on to what is good or true according to scripture and shun all forms of evil or error. 1 Thess. 5:21, 22: "Test everything. Hold on to the good. Avoid every kind of evil." This is the responsibility of every believer. Nowhere in scripture are we to totally trust the pastor or teacher with what is being presented, that is unless, of course, the teaching aligns itself with the Bible. Are you or your children or grandchildren munching on FAKE GRAPES in your church? You'd better find out before it's too late.

P.S. Lastly, using good, biblical, critical discernment is an absolute necessity in the church today. Hundreds of once traditional, trustworthy evangelical churches across America are falling for just about every newfangled way of reinventing, re-imagining, revising, rethinking methods of functioning as a church. The biblical models of the church as described in the books of Timothy, Ephesians, Titus and elsewhere are being replaced with whatever the Rick Warrens, Bill Hybels, Brian McLarens, Richard J. Fosters or Rob Bells of evangelicalism spoon feed the milk-craving underdeveloped and malnourished christians in today's churches (remember, the fake grapes are on the serving plates).


Tuesday, March 14, 2006


There is a great wave of deception going on in many churches today. The church my family and I left has fallen prey to many of the things listed below. Has your church?

(Most of the items below were taken from John MacArthur's sermon series on Discernment, Part 1, 2/20/06).

1. The rejection of doctrine in place of relationships.

2. Fascination with entertainment (in the church) and boredom with exposition (of the Word of God).

3. The emphasis on feelings and the lowering of the value of thinking clearly.

4. The looking down on one who emphasizes discernment and complimenting of one who emphasizes understanding and unity.

5. Persons who take firm stands on Biblical doctrine are criticized for splitting hairs and being unloving.

6. A tendency to gaze lazily at the surface of scriptural truth with a desirable generosity of spirit toward those who differ.

7. The discouraging of dogmatic positions of scripture so as to not come across as being unloving to someone else who has a different opinion.

8. Sharing replacing preaching.

9. The moving away from clarity and conviction of doctrine in the name of unity, love and relationships. Doctrine and conviction are scorned.

10. The tendency to favor openness while rejecting narrowness and dogmatism.

11. The embracing of uncertainty where the act of questioning is more desired than biblical clarity.

12. The placing of experience and sensation above intellectual understanding (of doctrine).

13. The descending of worship from singing great truths about God, lyric centered music, to
music where sound, rhythm and harmony dominate to induce warm and fuzzy feelings.

14. The preacher is comedian, story teller and counselor instead of a powerful, theological herald and proclaimer of divine truth.



Do you see church as lame? Is it irrelevant and boring? How about the music, is it just too outdated and dull?

The messages; ever finding yourself tuning out and wishing you were somewhere else, thinking about a million other things other than the what the preacher's talking about? And why are those old time preachers always so negative? Always talking about what I should NOT do. Always talking about sin and what's wrong with me. And hell, can we just calm down a little on that subject?

How about those bibles, the ones written with all the Thee's and Thou's. Ever find it mentally exhausting trying to understand it?

When was the last time you could relate to the prayers? Ever wonder why they have to go on so long? Do they really expect us to stay focused?

Then you have the pastors. Wouldn't it help if they had someone who's a little younger, who can really relate to the younger generations? I mean, let's at least get rid of the tie and lighten up a bit. Could we please?

My dear friend, if you have ever found yourself asking these questions and thinking these thoughts, as I have at times, then there needs to be some serious examination of your commitment to the true self-sacrificing gospel of our Lord. These are attitudes which should never be allowed to exist in the believer. Never! These attitudes are, as I have been guilty of, self-centered and missing the whole call to being a disciple of Jesus Christ. If you have fallen prey to this way of seeing things, then you have been tricked by modern day ideas of the freedom many people believe we have in reinventing the church, the youth group, the gospel and worship. Repent of it. We must set aside our self-centered preferences and desires of how we want our youth group or church to be. We need to step aside and elevate our affections to the lofty, high calling of God to self-denial and humility in the fear of the Lord.

We must elevate our understanding of the gospel and relate to it through the disciplines of study, prayer and denial of sin, instead of dumbing it down and expecting the gospel to relate to us.

Take a look at the comments recently posted by Ingrid from Slice. She brings a healthy biblical perspective on the issue.



Saturday, March 11, 2006

God Loves You (don't forget to add "JUST AS YOU ARE")

Why do people say that, just as you are ?

Saying "God loves you" is not enough ? When we speak to people about God and we get to the point of telling them that God loves them why do we need to add the words "just as you are" ?

Is this a reaction to some people thinking that God is mean and is mad at them for something and by adding just you are we're making God's message to them not so harsh ? Have some people witnessed to others in the past and made them feel bad about their sins a little too much ? Have they focused too much on the bad stuff ? Is this more sensitive method of telling people about God's love better than the other method of "too much fire and brimstone".

If God is mad at us should He be ? Does He have to adjust His expression of love for us to accommodate our potential reaction to it ?

I can imagine a cop catching someone in a crime and walking up to him and apologetically saying..."hey I just wanted to let you know don't worry, the judge is not mad at you, the judge loves you just as you are. I just have to tell you that no matter what you've done, no matter how bad you think it is the judge is not mad at you. When you see him just really really tell him that you are sorry and didn't mean to make wrong choices and he will automatically pay all of your fines and completely forget that anything bad ever happened. Remember he loves you...he is longing for you to come to him and share his love with you..." blah blah blah.


Just as you are ! It confuses me. It skews my view of what I have always understood about my crime and offense to our Holy God. It takes the emphasis off of my crime and soothes me before I even have a chance to grasp or fathom the depth of my crime. Maybe I need to spend some time coming to terms with the crimes I have committed and the harm that it has done to His holy nature.

If I was caught in a crime and received the penalty which would be impossible for me to pay and if it was clearly communicated to me what the consequences would be and they were very severe I would be scared, fearful, guilty, ashamed, nervous, troubled, trembling and whatever other emotion associated with a person who has been caught in a crime with the knowledge they will have to face a judge whose job it is to execute a sentence to match the crime (I have experienced those emotions). No one has said anything yet about love or anything like that. I'm not much in the mood to hear about thoughts of love. I've just been caught in the act of a crime.

What if God IS mad at us ? Does that make you feel uncomfortable ? When I read the bible I see many many occasions where it appears that God is not too pleased with our behavior.

Check out Romans 3:10-18:

As it is written:
"There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one."
"Their throats are open graves; their tongues practice deceit."
"The poison of vipers is on their lips."
"Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness."
"Their feet are swift to shed blood;
ruin and misery mark their ways,
and the way of peace they do not know."
"There is no fear of God before their eyes."

This is like the cop catching you red-handed in the act of the crime.

If these are the crimes you were caught committing (breaking the 10 Commandments) and you were arrested and standing before the Judge and had no way of hiding your offenses, were embarrassed, ashamed–stripped of all dignity, dirty little secrets that no one knew about–EXPOSED, confronted with guilt and felt completely helpless to rectify the damage done to the Holy Judge who can tolerate NO wrong (Habakkuk 1:18-Your eyes are too pure to look on evil; you cannot tolerate wrong) then as He delivers the sentence for your crime all of the sudden things now go from bad to worse. Not only are you found completely guilty but it is impossible for you to even come close to paying the penalty which would satisfy the perfect law of the Judge.

You hang your head in shame...then you fall to the ground pleading for mercy.

How long do you stay down there ? What if He decides to let you stay down there and suffer for a little while ? This story could end there and all would be well in the Judge's just world.

This perfect Holy untouchable Judge steps down from His bench and picks you up off the floor and gently tells you that He has the penalty paid for. He decides to do this only at His good pleasure. Only because He decides to do this.

The Judge does not even need to say I love you. His love is evident in His action toward us.

This person would not have even been able to understand God's love AT ALL if he had not been in the position to be full aware of his offensive crimes and their evil consequences.

To attach anything behind the statement "God loves you" is very dangerous. God's love means nothing to a person except that He is some kind of needy, dependent God who just can't live without us...huh ? –nothing could be further from the truth. God needs nothing. He certainly does not need us. He can cause the rocks to praise him if He so pleases.

We can begin to understand God's love only after we've received His mercy. Only after we have admitted we are totally deprived and unworthy. We can then receive His grace. We can then be allowed to receive His sanctification which will then allow us the privilege to worship Him.

"Just as you are"–I still don't know what they mean by that. The only thing I can think of is they are trying to make people not feel so bad. But I think people NEED to feel bad...very very bad. Then they can experience God's love.

If you choose to say "just as you are" after saying God loves you to someone, you better make sure they understand how they actually are.

Romans 5:6-8
You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.


Friday, March 10, 2006


• Before you bring the Kingdom of God to your city and world;
Ask yourself if you're bringing the love of God to your family.

• Before thinking about how to feed the poor in Uganda;
Try obeying your parents with the joy of the Lord at home where it really counts. Maybe clean your room, or do the dishes without being asked to.

• Before becoming "soul naked" with your small group and telling them all of you problems;
Say the words your parents are longing to hear, how much you love and appreciate them.

• Before trying to fix your friends and get revenge for wrong done to you;
Go and apologize and ask your brother or sister, mom or dad how you have wronged them. Ask them to forgive you.

• Before hugging your friends or girlfriend or boyfriend;
Give you father and mother a hug and let them know that you appreciate all the sacrifices they've done for you.

• Before praying for peace in the Middle East;
Bring peace to your home. Forgive and mend broken relationships. Pray for the peace of God in your family.

• Before fighting against pollution and saving the environment;
Take a few minutes and tell your unsaved friends about their eternal destination unless they repent and seek God's forgiveness.

• Before dancing and hip-hopin' with your "peeps" at youth group meeting;
Spend time with alone God. Ask him to teach you to tremble at the piercing of his Holy Word.

• Before admiring the eloquence of speech of the bible teacher;
Humble yourself in the fear and awe of almighty God as He reveals His sovereign character in scripture.

• Before spending countless hours on "myspace" or surfing the internet;
Spend some time weeping and mourning over unconfessed or hidden sin you have committed against the Holy God.

• Before rushing into sacred worship of the almighty Lamb of God;
Come to the foot of the cross and pour out your sin before the Lord in a broken and contrite heart pleading for His undeserving mercy.

Before you save the world, save the environment, bring the Kingdom, pray for peace, feed the poor, be the friend, surf the web or whatever it might be, the first place where God expects you to be a real agent for Him is AT HOME. If it's not being done there, it is NOT REAL !

One of the highest priorities for the young person must be the first small group God placed us all in, the family. No matter how messed up it might be. Your 1st responsibility ? "Obey your parents in the Lord for this is right" (Eph. 6:1).

For the young person, there is no greater way to love and honor God than to obey Him AT HOME.
2 John 1:6. And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands.


Wednesday, March 08, 2006

"Jesus Isn't Enough"––TONY CAMPOLO Needs Mysticism

If you're surprised at the following statement from Tony Campolo then you don't know the real Tony Campolo:

"When I sensed that believing in Jesus wasn't enough and yearned for more, I turned to older forms of prayer."

What is Campolo talking about ? What Campolo is referring to here is an ever increasing popularity in various forms of mysticism. I guess this is one of the latest trends sweeping through christianity today.

There is absolutely no biblical support for dabbling in this ancient form of what some people think is an experiential encounter with the Divine. Bad enough Campolo quotes from what he even admits is the counter-reformation Saint Ignatius of Loyola. Tony Campolo is getting his spiritual inspiration from a person who was involved in the attempt to COUNTER what Martin Luther and numerous other reformers accomplished through guidance of the Holy Spirit known as THE PROTESTANT REFORMATION. Maybe Campolo forgot what that was all about.

THIS ARTICLE demonstrates the vulnerability of men like Tony Campolo to become suckered into practicing contemplative prayers and repeating mantras believing it to be an avenue of entering into the presence of God.

DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME...or anywhere for that matter.


(I will be posting more articles on Tony Campolo and his views on how Muslims may also be among those who enter into heaven even though they may not even know Jesus Christ.)

RICHARD FOSTER'S Mystical Influences

Any christian who indulges in reading authors like Richard Foster for reasons other than to critique his work and expose it for it's unbiblical teachings I would say at best greatly lacks much needed biblical discernment and at worse finds pleasure playing with the devil's alluring and beautiful strange fire.

As a sort of follow-up to the previous post (RICHARD FOSTER and "Christian" Mysticism), THIS ARTICLE from Light House Trails Research goes further in explaining Foster's tangled web of mystical associations and influences as indicated in his book Celebration of Discipline.

"A man is known by the company he keeps"


Tuesday, March 07, 2006

RICHARD FOSTER and "Christian" Mysticism

"Mysticism and contemplative prayer is seeping into evangelicalism from many sources and a deluge could very well be in the offing. We need to be prepared to defend the faith against this highly dangerous perversion of biblical Christianity."

-Gary E. Gilley, Pastor-Teacher

These comments from Gary Gilley are alarming. More alarming is the realization that a drift toward mysticism may be occurring in many of our very own trusted neighborhood protestant churches and denominations. Could this be possible in denominations such as Baptists or Presbyterian ? You'd be surprised.

Gary Gilley presents the case how Richard Foster's book "Celebration of Discipline" has led the way for a reintroduction of mysticism and how it is currently sweeping throughout evangelicalism. THIS ARTICLE is in 5 brief parts but worth the time to read especially when we realize that in many cases youth pastors are the ones standing before trusting high school and middle school kids promoting and flirting with this yet another subtle form of delusion from the father of lies.

Parents, find out what your kids are being exposed to. Find out what kind of curriculum is being used at your church. While you're at it, find out what books your youth pastor reads and what influences his thinking and ideologies.

This is not something for us to become complacent with. The enemy is relentless and very clever and subtle.

• TIP: Parts 1 through 3 deal more specifically with defining mysticism, Richard Foster and contemplative prayer. Part 4 deals with labyrinths and their increasing popularity and part 5 shows how the desire to "experience God" has created a climate for christians to be open to mysticism.


Sunday, March 05, 2006


Any of us can be deceived. We need to deliberately spend time each day in the Word of God and in prayer. This devotional from the Institute for Creation Research reminds us of the importance of keeping ourselves protected with the Truth of God's Word which will enable us to be able to stand when facing the deceptions of the devil.
"Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand" (Ephesians 6:13).

There are many military metaphors in Scripture, but none more famous than this passage on the "armor of God." We are commanded to "put on the whole armor" so we can "stand" (be firm, well established) against "the wiles of the devil" (Ephesians 6:11). Each piece is crucial. "Truth" is first on the list (v.14).

This "girdle" (lower body armor) was designed to protect from wounds which, though not fatal, would cause extreme pain and incapacity. Truth is our protection against Satan's lie. "He is a liar" and does not live "in the truth, because there is no truth in him" (John 8:44). Satan's strength is in this untruth which he uses to "deceiveth the whole world" (Revelation 12:9). In fact, we are warned by Paul that the devil is able to disguise himself and "his ministers" as "ministers of righteousness" (II Corinthians 11:15). We can be spoiled by philosophy and other false teachings (Colossians 2:8). We can be beguiled by good-sounding words (Colossians 2:4). We can be tossed to and fro by crafty and deceptive men (Ephesians 4:14). We can even depart from the faith after listening to "seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils" (I Timothy 4:1).

Our defense against each of these potential disasters is truth. Truth is the essence of the strength of Jesus who claimed to be Truth personified (John 14:6) as He fulfilled His mission as spokesman for the Father (John 12:46-50). That "truth" is now verified by the Holy Spirit (John 16:13-15) and by the Word of God (John 17:17). We are to be doers of the Word (James 1:22), being willing to walk in the truth (III John 3), and to let our deeds be made manifest by doing truth (John 3:21). HMM III

Friday, March 03, 2006

"Who Can I Trust ?"

I'll never forget the look on the face of a particular high school girl as we were intently discussing the onslaught of erroneous teachings being infiltrated into churches all over–particularly her church. She looked directly in my eye, almost in tears and asked..."Kenny, who can I trust ?" That question of hers haunted me. It disturbed me. It still disturbs me. Pastors she had trusted, youth pastors, senior pastors, she began to wonder...are these men being deceived ?

It didn't stop there. I heard of her tell about friends she had known from childhood who had gone off to seminary, when coming back home to visit, started to speak about these strange doctrines and theologies she had never heard of before. I just started to shake my head in disbelief. I paused several times in silence, I paused in grief. We spoke for over two hours.

What is it that is causing so many pastors to dabble in these "new" church growth trends ?

Unlike many pastors today, this high school girl had enough discernment to recognize a drift toward false teachings and had a hunger for the pure truth of God as revealed through God's holy scriptures instead of blindly following along with whatever the church leadership wanted to try next. Awesome kid !

THIS ARTICLE does a good job at explaining how many of these pastors fall into these traps. Many of these pastors are sincere. They do need to be prayed for. Just as God spared this high school girl from the delusion, he will spare pastors who are among his elect.

No one ever said this stuff was going to be easy.