Thursday, January 31, 2008
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
Avoiding Self-Based Faith
2 Corinthians 5:7:We live by faith, not by sight.
Over the years I have run into many businessmen who make the statement, "Whenever I get things in order in my business, I want to get more involved in ministry."
What are these men really saying? They are saying that as soon as they can get the amount of money that creates security, they will trust God. They are saying that what they have been doing to date has not been ministry. This separation of "work and faith" is common among our culture. We fail to understand that life is sacred to God and there is nothing "holy" and nothing "sacred" in itself.
I would love to hear one businessperson say, "I have spent my life in this business. The Lord has blessed me with great resources. However, now I want to see His faithfulness in this stage of my life. That is why I am giving away my wealth and trusting Him to provide for me through new ways." Wouldn't that be a novel concept? That is exactly what C.T. Studd, the great cricket player in the 1800s, did. He was reared in a wealthy home, but his deep conversion experience led him to take actions that forced him to trust God in ways he never had to before. He became one of the great missionaries of all time.
Whenever we seek to plan ways of ministry that depend on our ability to manipulate and plan outcome, this is not faith. The ministry that comes from this will be minuscule. Faith that bears fruit is faith that is born from experience with a living God. It is faith that says, "I don't know where the next check is coming from. All I know is that God told me to do this and trust Him for the next step." That is faith that moves mountains and moves God's heart.
God rarely allows His servant to see beyond the next faith step. However, those who are willing to take the first step and leave the outcome to Him see His works.
Others went out on the sea in ships; they were merchants on the mighty waters. They saw the works of the Lord... (Psalm 107:23-24).
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
That which I know not, teach thou me,
Keep me a humble disciple in the school
learning daily there what I am in myself,
a fallen sinful creature,
justly deserving everlasting destruction;
O let me never lose sight of my need of a Saviour,
or forget that apart from him I am nothing,
and can do nothing.
Open my understanding to know
the Holy Scriptures;
Reveal to my soul the counsels and works
of the blessed Trinity;
Instil into my dark mind the saving knowledge
Make me acquainted with his covenant undertakings
and his perfect fulfilment of them,
that by resting on his finished work
I may find the Father’s love in the Son,
his Father, my Father,
and may be brought through thy influence
to have fellowship with the Three in One.
O lead me into all truth, thou Spirit of wisdom
that I may know the things that belong unto
and through thee be made anew.
Make practical upon my heart the Father’s love
as thou hast revealed it in the Scriptures;
Apply to my soul the blood of Christ, effectually,
and help me to believe, with conscience
comforted, that it cleanseth from all sin;
Lead me from faith to faith,
that I may at all times have freedom to come
to a reconciled Father,
and may be able to maintain peace with him
against doubts, fears, corruptions, temptations.
Thy office is to teach me to draw near to Christ
with a pure heart,
steadfastly persuaded of his love,
in the full assurance of faith.
Let me never falter in this way."
--The Valley of Vision
Friday, January 25, 2008
It is curious how these comments from the likes of Tony Campolo, Brian McLaren, Pope Benedict XVI, Robert Schuller, Rick Warren, The New Baptist Covenant, and others all seem to be repeating the same mantra. There's a common unity in thought and priorities as to what our goals should be.
Their comments also seem to fit well with "The Earth Charter".
Funny, I just listened to a sermon today from Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones which clearly explains what the church should be engaged in rather than today's version of the Social Gospel, as espoused by those mentioned above.
You can listen to Martyn Lloyd-Jones' sermon HERE.
He identifies man-driven priorities which look exactly like Rick Warren's Purpose Driven obsession and the Emergent Church movement years before any of these things were on the radar.
Better be careful or you'll be swept up into this stuff!
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
The Missing Man
(by Leonard Ravenhill)
"God's men are in hiding until the day of their showing forth. They will come."
"The prophet is violated during his minis-try, but he is vindicated by history."
There is a terrible vacuum in Evangelical Christianity today. The missing person in our ranks is the Prophet. The man with a terrible earnestness. The man totally other-worldly. The man rejected by other men, even other good men, because they consider him too austere, too severely committed, too negative and unsociable.
Let him be as plain as John the Baptist. Let him for a season be a voice crying in the wilderness of modern theology and stagnant churchianity. Let him be as selfless as Paul the Apostle. Let him, too, say and live, "This ONE thing I do." Let him reject ecclesiastical favours, let him be self-abasing, non self-seeking, non self-projecting, non self-glorying, non self-promoting. Let him say nothing that will draw men to himself, but only that which will move men to God.
Let him come daily from the Throne Room of a Holy God. The place where he has received the order of the day. Let him, under God, unstop the ears of the millions who are deaf through the clatter of shekels milked from this hour of material mesmerism. Let him cry with a voice this century has not heard because he has seen a vision no man in this century has seen. God send us this Moses to lead us from the wilderness of crass materialism, where the rattlesnakes of lust bite us and where enlightened men, totally blind spiritually, lead us to an ever-nearing Armageddon.
God have mercy; send us PROPHETS!
Monday, January 21, 2008
There is so much talk and discussion about what is wrong with
I wonder if that is not the truth for us today? In the Old Testament book of Haggai, God reprimands His people for not building His house while their homes were built and they were secure and comfortable. I am reminded of the words of Paul to the Church at
Thursday, January 17, 2008
"The Perfect Day"
This is a reminder of what we're dealing with in the defense against terrorism.
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
Tear It Up
"A great man people say, you must hear both sides; but if a man should write me a most slanderous letter about my wife, I don’t think I would have to read it; I would tear it up and throw it to the winds. Have I to read all the infidel books that are written, to hear both sides? Have I to take up a book that is slander on my Lord and Master, Who has redeemed me with His blood? Ten thousand times no! I will not touch it."
--D.L. Moody (1837–1899)
Friday, January 11, 2008
"Mega churches--they are the fastest growing churches in America. If you want to be on the cover of Time, visit with Larry King, and have the spotlight, you need members, baptisms, and a sanctuary the size of a shopping mall. These are the keys to being truly "successful" in the ministry, are they not? That is what we are told, for surely, size means God is blessing!
Besides, anyone who wants to be able to pay-off their student loans from seminary needs to keep "moving up the ladder" to be able to afford those payments. Of course, those who have been through the "mega church" experience can tell you that most churches that advertise 20,000 members can rarely find 7,000 who are regular in their attendance, and only half that number are regulars in Bible Study. And only a thousand are involved in any kind of meaningful fashion in actually doing something in the church. In some of the new breed of mega churches, they've done away with membership completely, and you get the feeling you are entering a big, wide-open theater with a Sunday (or Saturday night) performance going on, though you only see a few folks with any regularity at all. The idea that this is a cohesive body where things like holiness or church disciples are practiced is foreign to the entire project. This is mass entertainment, mass "evangelism".
What is the result of pressing for numbers, numbers, numbers? Can it be done without sacrificing the very heart of worship? What if God actually wanted a small church in a specific location? Could he find a man who could be filled with joy in pastoring such a group? What kinds of pulpit crimes have resulted from just trying to increase the numbers you send into your denominational headquarters at the end of the church year? How high can we get the body count?"
Monday, January 07, 2008
I would recommend reading slowly:
Once it was the blessing, Now it is the Lord;
Once it was the feeling, Now it is His Word.
Once His gifts I wanted, Now the Giver own;
Once I sought for healing, Now Himself alone.
Once 'twas painful trying, Now 'tis perfect trust;
Once a half salvation, Now the uttermost.
Once 'twas ceaseless holding, Now He holds me fast;
Once 'twas constant drifting, Now my anchor's cast.
Once 'twas busy planning, Now 'tis trustful prayer;
Once 'twas anxious caring, Now He has the care.
Once 'twas what I wanted, Now what Jesus says;
Once 'twas constant asking, Now 'tis ceaseless praise.
Once it was my working, His it hence shall be;
Once I tried to use Him, Now He uses me.
Once the power I wanted, Now the Mighty One;
Once for self I labored, Now for Him alone.
Once I hoped in Jesus, Now I know He's mine;
Once my lamps were dying, Now they brightly shine.
Once for death I waited, Now His coming hail;
And my hopes are anchored, Safe within the vail.
Thursday, January 03, 2008
"Serve God with all your might while the candle is burning, and when it goes out for a season, you will have the less to regret. Be content to be nothing, for that is what you are. When your own emptiness is painfully forced upon your consciousness, chide yourself that you ever dreamed of being full. except in the Lord. Set small store by present rewards; be grateful for earnests by the way, look for the recompensing joy hereafter. Continue with double earnestness to serve your Lord when no visible result is before you...
In nothing let us be turned aside from the path which the divine call has urged us to pursue. Come fair or come foul, the pulpit is our watchtower, and the ministry our warfare; be it ours, when we cannot see the face of God, to trust under the shadow of his wings."
Wednesday, January 02, 2008
10. And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.
11. And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands;
12. Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing.
13. And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.
14. And the four beasts said, Amen. And the four and twenty elders fell down and worshipped him that liveth for ever and ever.