Saturday, December 25, 2010

Billy Graham's Fox news Interview

Billy Graham, one of the 20th century's greatest evangelist recently gave an interview to Fox News. When asked if he had the opportunity to live his life over again, he said there are things he would do differently.

"I would study more. I would pray more, travel less, take less speaking engagements. I took too many of them in too many places around the world," he said. "If I had it to do over again, I'd spend more time in meditation and prayer and just telling the Lord how much I love Him and adore Him and [am] looking forward the time we're going to spend together for eternity."
Read his wonderful interview here

Monday, December 20, 2010

Read Through the Bible in 2011

You are invited to read the entire Bible in 2011!Have you ever read the Bible cover to cover?  2011 can be the year that you make this spiritual goal happen!  I want to encourage you to embark on the One Year Bible journey starting on January 1st, 2011.  The One Year Bible allows you to read through the entire Bible in 2011 by reading just 15 minutes a day from the Old Testament, New Testament, Psalms and Proverbs.  It is a wonderfully easy daily habit that you can undertake in 2011!  To sign up, please go to this website:  www.OneYearBibleBlog.com .  Sign up for free weekly emails of commentary, encouragement and questions for reflection as you read through the entire Bible in 2011.  We hope you will take the One Year Bible journey in 2011!


I am trying to get as many people involved in this exciting journey. Let me know if you decide to join me in reading through the bible in 2011!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

The demise of television?

A new survey by Forrester tracking U.S. consumer activity has revealed that the Net has caught up with TV as a pastime--and while TV's not going away just yet, this pretty much cements the future of web-based TV. Click here to read more!


Questions to reflect on:

  • Do you spend more time on TV, or on the Net? 
  • What does this mean for the future of reading great books and the reading of Scripture?
  • Because a vast ocean of information is just a mouse-click away, are you reading more and are you more informed ?

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Do you know him?

Someone has said that Jesus came from the bosom of God into the bosom of a woman. 
He put on humanity so that we can put on divinity. 
He became Son of man so that we might become sons and daughters of God. 
He was born contrary to the laws of nature, he lived in poverty, was reared in obscurity, and only once crossed the boundary of the land in which he was born—and that in his childhood, he traveled to Egypt
He had no wealth or influence and had neither training nor education in the world’s schools. 
His relatives were inconspicuous and uninfluential. In infancy he startled a king. 
In boyhood he puzzled the learned doctors. 
In manhood he ruled the course of nature. 
He walked upon the billows and hushed the sea to sleep. 
He healed the multitudes without medicine and made no charge for his services. 
He never wrote a book, yet all the libraries of the world could not hold the books about him. 
He never wrote a song, yet he has furnished the theme for more songs than all the songwriters together.   
He never founded a college yet all the schools in the world cannot boast of as many students as he has. 
He never practiced medicine yet he has healed more broken hearts than all the doctors who have healed broken bodies. 
This Jesus Christ is the star of astronomy, the rock of geology, the lion and the lamb of zoology, the harmonizer of all discords and the healer of all diseases. 
Throughout history great people have come and gone, yet he lives on. 
Herod could not kill him. 
Satan could not seduce him. 
Death could not destroy him and the grave could not hold him

An important ethical question

There are certain questions now pressed upon us that previous generations would never believe could be asked. One of these is thrust upon us by events in New York City, where a well-known Ivy League professor has been arrested for the crime of incest. What makes the question urgent is not so much the arrest, but the controversy surrounding it.... Read more of Al Mohler's take on this icky subject of incest here

Monday, December 13, 2010

Suffering Church of Iraq

Here's another article about the church in Iraq:

A new wave of Iraqi Christians has fled to northern Iraq or abroad amid a campaign of violence against them and growing fear that the country’s security forces are unable or, more ominously, unwilling to protect them.

Christians on the run in Iraq

We often make the mistake of thinking that countries like Iraq are thoroughly Islamic. A recent article by the New York Times sadly reveals the suffering of Iraqi Christians at the hands of intolerant Muslims. The Church of Jesus is present in Iraq but they need Christians around the world to stand with them in prayer. I Peter 5: 7-9

Pray that the forces of darkness seeking to silence the witness of Jesus in Iraq would not prevail.
Pray that pastors, their families and their congregants remain steadfast in the face of death.
Pray for the peace of Iraq and the growth of the church in that region


Friday, December 10, 2010

Gifts of the wise men


Why Were Gold, Incense, and Myrrh Appropriate Gifts for Jesus?

To celebrate Jesus’ birthday, the wise men brought gifts of gold, incense, and myrrh. James Montgomery Boice shared why these gifts were more than appropriate for Jesus the King, High Priest, and Sacrifice.
Gold: It is easy to see why gold is an appropriate gift for Jesus Christ. Gold is the metal of kings. When gold was presented to Jesus, it acknowledged his right to rule. The wise men knew Jesus was the King of kings.
Incense: Incense was also a significant gift. It was used in the temple worship. It was mixed with the oil that was used to anoint the priests of Israel. It was part of the meal offerings that were offerings of thanksgiving and praise to God. In presenting this gift the wise men pointed to Christ as our great High Priest, the one whose whole life was acceptable and well pleasing to his Father.
Myrrh: Myrrh was used for embalming. By any human measure it would be odd, if not offensive, to present to the infant Christ a spice used for embalming. But it was not offensive in this case, nor was it odd. It was a gift of faith. We do not know precisely what the wise men may have known or guessed about Christ’s ministry, but we do know that the Old Testament again and again foretold his suffering.
James Montgomery Boice from Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The audacity of Faith


Jack Welch, the former corporate chief at General Electric, grew up as a devoted Irish-Catholic. Early on, he was an altar boy, and later, as an adult, his religion was so important to him that he was known to travel more than an hour to attend mass. However, his commitment to faith changed 34 years ago when his mother died of a heart attack. In his book, Jack: Straight from the Gut, he writes, "I felt cheated, angry, and mad at God for taking my mother away." He claims still to believe in God, but says he lost his heart for religion and no longer attends church. Pg. 38

There are days when I feel sorry for God. I know this is a silly thing to say, but I feel that people in their grief and deep loss make a huge mistake blaming God when things fall apart.

Our disappointment with God stems from the expectation that God exists to save us from every pain, sickness, relationship problem, and death; that God exists to grant personal happiness. C. S. Lewis seems to echo this sentiment in The Problem of Pain, where he says in part, we want not so much a Father in heaven as a grandfather in heaven, whose plan for the universe was such that it might be said at the end of each day, a good time was had by all.

There are no simple solutions. We live in a beautiful yet evil world. Joy and pain flow as one river through our lives. Babies are born and then die. Planes crash instead of fly. People contract diseases and never receive a cure. Life is not fair.

One way to deal with the seeming unfairness of life is to sink deeply into the promises of God. For example: For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us (Romans 8:18). This verse is a great anchor for a storm tossed soul. These present troubles are momentary; they will one day give way to the glory of God and the coming reign of God.

Don’t blame God. We are not home yet. He does not promise us heaven on earth. He promises to never leave us or forsake us. He promises us life beyond this life. Instead of taking leave of God like Welch, cling to him for strength, and hope.This is the message of Advent: Christ has come, Christ is coming again.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

All things work together for good?

How big is your vision of God? Do you believe that God can use the tragedies of our lives for a redemptive, God-glorifying purpose? I believe this! Take the following story as an example:

Over 100 years ago, a tornado struck the prairies of Minnesota. Many were killed, hundreds were injured, and one small town was almost demolished. In the midst of the disaster, an elderly British surgeon and his two medically trained sons worked almost around the clock for days aiding the stricken, bandaging wounds, and setting broken limbs.


Their heroic work did not go unnoticed. Their excellence as physicians and their selflessness in the service of those in need created a following among the tornado victims. The doctor and his sons were offered financial backing to build a hospital, provided that they took charge.

The men agreed and in 1889 founded a clinic that soon attracted nationwide attention. Their little clinic grew.

The city was Rochester, Minnesota.

The elderly doctor’s name: William W. Mayo.

His sons: William J. and Charles Mayo.

Their clinic is called simply “The Mayo Clinic.” It now consists of over 500 physicians treating more than 200,000 people a year. It is known worldwide as one of the premier places of health, healing and excellence in medicine.

I’m sure if you asked the citizens of Minnesota about the Rochester tornado at the time, they would have said it was all about death and destruction, an unqualified disaster.
But, put in the perspective of better than a century, and in the hands of a creative God, the tornado was really about life, help, and healing.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Pray for church in North Korea



I heard it today in church from our visiting preacher, that for many people who live under repressive regimes, coming to faith in Christ is very costly. Please take a few minutes and listen to the testimony of this 18-year-old high school student speaking at Lausanne Conference last month in South Africa, then act. Please join me in praying great prayers for the people of North Korea and for the spread of the gospel in that country.

Here's my question: which is preferable...having political freedom (as in the West) but have a passive/luke warm faith; or facing  persecution and trials (as in many repressive countries) and yet have a vibrant faith?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Life on Purpose

Max Lucado has done it again. With his keen understanding of Scripture, his love for God and his love for people, Lucado’s newest book, Outlive your Life: You were made to make a difference, encourages readers to live for causes that are bigger than their own personal ambitions. Personal ambitions have a limited shelf life that will dissipate after death. The key is to live for some greater purpose that impacts the world long after you are gone. The book, based on a series of sermons preached on the book of Acts, seeks to motivate Christians to do more than talk; Christians are called to live their faith in very tangible ways.


Lucado’s heart for our troubled world is felt through every page. The statistics are grim: 1.75 billion people are desperately poor, 1 billion are hungry, millions are trafficked in slavery, and pandemic diseases are gouging entire nations. Each year nearly 2 million children are exploited in the global commercial sex trade. And in the few minutes it took you to read these pages, almost ninety children died of preventable diseases, and on and on it goes. This is why all the royalties raised from the sale of Outlive Your Life will be given to benefit children and families through World Vision.

I was deeply moved by Lucado’s writing. He is an effective communicator; he presents his ideas simply, yet profoundly. Since reading Outlive your life, I am more conscious of the need to pray, think, and act with compassion to the people I meet. If you are not interested in being disturbed and roused from our entertainment induced somnolence, then stay away from this book. But if you are seeking to grow, pray, and serve the needs of others, Outlive your life, will help you demonstrate the compassion of Christ to the world.

At the back of the book are a set of very helpful discussion questions and action guide. For example, one of the practical action points asks the reader to grow in their cross-cultural awareness. Learn about the group that lives on the other side of a dividing social wall in your community or region. Eat where they eat, shop where they shop, and meet people. Listen to their stories, Find out what you have in common. Find out what differences are crucial and be sensitive to them. Instead of creating paralysis due to information overload, Outlive your Life, motivates the reader to find even one thing, and do it; anything done in the name of Christ for others helps to heal the world.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Christian Burn out?

10_questions.jpgDonald S. Whitney, Ten Questions to Diagnose Your Spiritual Health.
Christians today are busier than ever before, doing the "spiritual" work they feel called to out of devotion for God. But are these earnest followers of Christ actually living their faith in a manner that is pleasing to Christ? Whitney effectively challenges this "busy hands, empty heart" epidemic. Whitney poses intensely introspective questions to aid Christians as they gauge their own level of spiritual health. Whitney also discusses the spiritual disciplines of prayer, fasting, meditating upon Scripture, taking communion and fellowship with others of like faith, showing readers how to transform these often automatic enterprises into faith-building activities. He advises Christians to spend more energy enjoying God and developing a Christlike nature, rather than accomplishing ever-accelerating goals. Here are the 10 diagnostic questions...

1. Do you thirst for God?
2. Are you governed increasingly by God's Word?
3. Are you more loving?
4. Are you more sensitive to God's presence?
5. Do you have a growing concern for the spiritual and temporal needs of others?
6. Do you delight in the bride of Christ?
7. Are the spiritual disciplines increasingly important to you?
8. Do you still grieve over sin?
9. Are you a quicker forgiver?
10. Do you yearn for heaven and to be with Jesus?

So...how did you do?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

My Church?

The words "My Church" are a bit misleading, in that the church is not of our own making; the church belongs to Jesus Christ. But I still think there is much wisdom in these words and I offer them to you. I checked all over and could not find the person responsible for writing these words. If you know the author let us know. 

My church is composed of people like me.
I help make it what it is.
It will be friendly, if I am.
Its pews will be filled, if I help fill them.
It will do great work, if I work.
It will make generous gifts to many causes, if I am a generous giver.
It will bring other people
into its worship and fellowship, if I invite and bring them.
It will be a church of loyalty and love,
of fearlessness and faith,
and a church with a noble spirit,
if I, who make it what it is,
am filled with these same things.
Therefore, with the help of God,
I shall dedicate myself to the task
of being all the things
that I want my church to be.


Do you agree with these words? Why?

Friday, October 15, 2010

A provocative Question

I heard it again this week: every 15 seconds over 35,000 people (mostly men) are staring at online porn. I know it is a real problem that's corroding the souls of our brothers in Christ and destroying marriages. But I was intrigued to read Randy Alcorn's most recent blog where he raises an equally important concern: what about the issue of modesty in the church? Go here to read more


God so Loved the World

More great news updates about Lausanne Conference in South Africa. Remember to pray that the gospel will increase to the ends of the world!

http://www.cbn.com/cbnnews/world/2010/October/World-Evangelization-Event-Draws-Thousands-to-Africa/

2012 and the end of the world

Human beings have always been captivated by doom’s day and end of the world scenarios. Charismatic leaders, prophets, seers, have  made a dizzying array of predictions about the end of the world. The fact that we are still here says much about the accuracy of their predictions.

I just finished reading a very balanced treatment of this subject by Raymond C. Hundley, PH.D. He is the author of Will the World end in 2012? A Christian Guide to the Question everyone’s asking. And everyone’s asking this questions these days.

In a little over 200 pages, Hundley addresses the ever popular Mayan myths, Nostradamus, and other theories, such as the earth colliding with outer space projectiles and planets.

Hundley's 2012 was most helpful for me in his handling of the end of the world from Scripture’s perspective. Scripture is clear that God has a future plan for the heavens and earth. According to 2 Peter 3:10-12, "The day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat…

Hundley does not rule out the possibility that Jesus Christ could return in 2012. He could also return today or twenty years into the future. The point is, no one knows the day or the hour when the Son of Man will return. Readiness for the Son of Man is the Christian's call. He is coming at an hour when we least expect him (Matthew 24:44). I can’t get over his question: What would happen if Christians in the world lived as if the Lord was indeed coming back in 2012?

This book should be read by anyone who is interested in the condition of the world and wants biblical reassurance of God's plan for the future. Christ is coming again and if he came today, would you be ready to meet him? Pastors, youth leaders, and lay leaders would be helped in reading this book. He does a great job of limiting technical and obscure theological jargon. With numerous study questions for further reflection, this resource would also be a great resource for small groups and Sunday school classes.

The Lausanne Movement and Its Covenant

The Lausanne Movement and Its Covenant: "The Lausanne Movement begins this weekend. We have four people from our church in attendance. Please remember to say a prayer for Ron and Eleanor, Dave and Sally. Check out this link to the conference and take time to read many of the papers, and listen to the speakers.

Nothing but grace

One day in 1514, Professor Martin Luther was in his private office on the second floor of a tower attached to his monastery. He was studying Paul's epistle to the Romans, and he came to Romans 1:16-17. Luther began to grasp the fact that God's justice and His grace are at cross purposes. Justice would require that we be judged for our sins, but grace provides a way of escape. "I see the answer," said Luther. "God punished Jesus in my place, the same Jesus who had kept God's holy Law. But punishing His Son, God carried out His threat that sin will be punished by death. All I have to do is accept this fact and I need not fear that God will punish me with eternal death. I am holy in God's sight because I know and believe that Jesus is holy for me and has taken my punishment."
When we realize this and accept Christ, we have our own "tower experience." Our sins demand justice, but God gives grace; and that's why we are not ashamed of the Gospel!
Should we ever get tired of hearing the story of grace over and over again? I surely hope not!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

7 deadly Sins

I want to encourage everyone to consider getting a copy of a book I finished reading not too long ago. The book is called Glittering Vices : A New Look at the Seven Deadly Sins and Their Remedies by Rebecca Konyndyk DeYoung. Her writing is crystal clear and goes deep into the heart. Here's a sample from her book as she describes how moral formation happens. This is good stuff for how we think about forming the mind of Christ, and the practices of Christ.

A virtue (or vice) is acquired through practice— repeated activity that increases our proficiency at the activity and gradually forms our character. Alasdair MacIntyre describes a child earning to play chess to illustrate the process of habit formation. Imagine, writes MacIntyre, that in hopes of teaching an uninterested seven-year-old to play chess, you offer the child candy—one piece to play, and another piece if the child wins the game. Motivated by his sweet tooth, the child agrees. At first, he plays for the candy alone. (And he will cheat to win, in order to get more candy.) But the more the child plays, the better at chess he gets. And the better at chess he gets, the more he enjoys the game, eventually coming to enjoy the game for itself. At this point in the process, he is no longer playing for the candy; now the child is playing because he enjoys chess and wants to play well. And he understands both the intrinsic value of the game and the way cheating will now rob him of that value. He has become a chess player. Moral formation in virtue works much the same way.

We often need external incentives and sanctions to get us through the initial stages of the process, when our old, entrenched desires still pull us toward the opposite behavior. But with encouragement, discipline, and often a role model or mentor, practice can make things feel more natural and enjoyable as we gradually develop the internal values and desires corresponding to our outward behavior.

Blessings or Burdens: A short story

dirt poor farmer is awakened by an angel standing at the foot of his bed. The
angel shares: ‘God desires to bless you as He did your ancestor Abraham. He has
empowered me to grant you and your wife three wishes. The only condition is this: your
neighbor whom you dislike will receive a double portion of what is given to you and your
wife.’ They are amazed and astonished. Since they were very, very poor, the first request
was for 1,000 head of cattle. This would break the cycle of poverty that his family had
endured for years. No sooner had he made the request - he heard noises now coming
from his land. He and his wife rushed out the door - and lo and behold 1,000 cattle.

They knelt down - gave thanks to God - and praised his name. They were filled with great
joy. He and his wife went out in the afternoon to survey the land to see where a barn could
be built to hold all the grain necessary to feed such a herd. They decided to construct a
barn near the first hill on the property.

However, as they reached the hill - they could see their neighbor’s field - and their
herd of 2,000 cattle. Immediately their joy disappeared and they went home angry. They
were so upset they could not eat their supper. All they could see was their neighbor’s herd
- and not their own.

The farmer and his wife considered their second request. They always had wanted
a child. This became their second request. The wife joyfully announces at the local
synagogue they will be parents. Sure enough one Friday evening as the Sabbath was
about to begin, a baby was born into their circle of love. The next occasion the farmer went
to the local synagogue, and when the time came for the prayers of the people, he stood
and exclaimed, “God is surely gracious, for a child was born into our family last
night.” As wave of delight went through the whole congregation and then, from the other
side of the synagogue, his neighbor arose and said, “Indeed, God is good, for last night
my wife gave birth to twins.” No sooner had his neighbor said these words, all the joy
that the farmer had been feeling disappeared again, and he went home in a very different
frame of mind from the way he had started the day.

This time the dark discontent did not abate, and he knelt down late that night to
make his final request, “Lord, God, I ask you to gouge out my right eye.” As soon as
he had said these grim words, the angel materialized at the foot of his bed once again and
said solemnly, “Oh son of Abraham, why have you turned to such dark desiring?”
The farmer replied with utter bitterness, “I cannot stand the sight of my neighbor’s good
fortune - so I will gladly sacrifice half of my vision for the satisfaction of knowing that he will
be blind and unable to see his great blessings.” A long silence ensued, in which tears
formed in the eyes of the angel, who then said, “Why have you taken an occasion for
blessing and turned it to such destructiveness? Hear this, your third request will not be
granted, not because God lacks integrity but because God is full of mercy. You should
know, too, that you have brought great sadness not only to yourself but also to the Holy
One by virtue of how you have chosen to respond to His generosity.”

This story from the reverse side clearly demonstrates how the power of greed and
possessions can turn great blessings into unfortunate burdens. Why do people turn God's blessings into a burden and a bitter, joyless experience?

Only God!

This past Sunday night, October 10, 22 year-old amputee Liu Wei won America's version of  China's Got Talent. He began playing the piano at the age of 9 with his toes and always had the burning passion to be a musician. He never gave up on his dream and here is playing the popular song, You're Beautiful. He brought the audience to tears with this moving rendition of the song in English at that!

Where does someone find the inner strength to soar above the limiting circumstances of their life? Only God!

 

Monday, September 20, 2010

Pray for church in Afghanistan

Each month I receive a news letter from my friend Dan McNerny, Associate Director for Presbyterian Frontier Fellowship. His most recent article, Dying to have access, addresses the need for unreached people groups to have access to the gospel of Jesus Christ. It was also disheartening to read of the incredible pressures facing Christians in Afghanistan. Please remember to pray for Christian communities under fire for their faith in Jesus Christ.

When you read his letter try to imagine what it would be like if the American government treated Christians the way the Afghani government treated believers in their country! Here's an excerpt from his letter:
Presently, there are very few Christian communities in Afghanistan. Those that do exist, meet underground in hidden places. Recently, the Afghani government planted hidden cameras in these underground churches, which exposed the faces and identities of many members. Images of these people appeared on television throughout the country and many members of the current Afghani Parliament cried for these followers of Jesus to be executed. As a result, the Christians in Afghanistan are now scattered, some having left the country; and all of this is coming on the heels of 14 Christian eye doctors and nurses being murdered last month by the Taliban. These blatant acts of hostility and prejudice are no different from what many of the Christians endured in the First Century.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Praying for the will of God

For the Christian, knowing and doing God's will is the path to real joy. Here's a wonderful prayer by Scotty Smith. May it encourage you in your pursuit of God's will.

In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps. Proverbs 16:9


Sovereign Father, I am currently facing some important decisions about the next several years. Therefore this Scripture brings me great peace, humility, and joy. I am so thankful you are vitally engaged in determining and directing every one of my steps… that you’re working all things together after the counsel of your will… that you’re working in all things for your glory and for our good. You open doors no man can shut and you shut doors no man can open. Indeed, you’re no mere life coach, you’re the Lord of all things… including me.

Many years I labored under the arrogance and anxiety of assuming that if I prayed hard enough and long enough… that if I was really walking in the Spirit, I could know the specifics of your will for my life, well in advance of decision making time. My assumption was that if I was in your will, life would be enjoyable, pleasant and hassle-free.

If I bought the right car, it would never break down…If I bought the right house, the roof would never leak… If I married the right person, we would never disagree… If I went to the right college I’d get the right job and life would be all-right... If I sent my kids to the right school they would never act out and would probably end up on the mission field. Through a better understanding of the gospel, you’re rescued me from these self-centered self-serving pragmatic notions. Thank you!

Father, I certainly realize we must work hard to make good plans, based on the revelation of your will in the Scriptures. It’s critical for us to seek and heed, wise prayerful counsel of good and godly friends. But help us to live with more confidence that Jesus is the Good Shepherd, not a consulting partner… a very present Lord, not an absentee landlord… the reigning King, not an impotent bystander.


Because of Jesus, I’m confident your will is being done… on earth as it is in heaven. Because the gospel is true, I have peace as I enter into this next chapter of my life. Write new stories of redemption and restoration, to your glory. So very Amen, I pray, in Jesus’ exalted and trustworthy name.

Friday, September 10, 2010

The meaning of grace


In his best-selling book, The Reason for God, Tim Keller, pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian in Manhattan, shares the story of a woman in his congregation who was learning how grace extended to us through Christ's work on the cross can actually be more challenging than religion. He writes:
Some years ago I met with a woman who began coming to church at Redeemer and had never before heard a distinction drawn between the gospel and religion [i.e. the distinction between grace and what is often a works-based righteousness]. She had always heard that God accepts us only if we are good enough. She said that the new message was scary. I asked why it was scary and she replied: If I was saved by my good works then there would be a limit to what God could ask of me or put me through. I would be like a taxpayer with "rights"—I would have done my duty and now I would deserve a certain quality of life. But if I am a sinner saved by grace—then there's nothing he cannot ask of me."
She understood the dynamic of grace and gratitude. If when you have lost all fear of punishment you also lose all incentive to live a good, unselfish life, then the only incentive you ever had to live a decent life was fear. This woman could see immediately that the wonderful-beyond-belief teaching of salvation by sheer grace had an edge to it. She knew that if she was a sinner saved by grace, she was (if anything) more subject to the sovereign Lordship of God. She knew that if Jesus really had done all this for her, she would not be her own. She would joyfully, gratefully belong to Jesus, who provided all this for her at infinite cost to himself.
When in your life have you experienced grace?

The Wonder of God's creation

Every thing that God created has a purpose, even if it does not make much sense to us. Take this story for example:


Slate.com has an amazing story about mosquitoes"hypodermic needles with wings," as they call them (shudder). Here you find a staggering look at the intricacy of creation—even a fallen creation. 


Most of us see mosquitoes as a menace, in that they do spread disease and cause death. But just when you long for them to be wiped from the face of the earth, you have to consider this little fact: "Their huge numbers of larvae feed small fish, and those small fish feed big fish, and those big fish are the primary source of protein for much of the developing world." Like I said: "the intricacy of creation—even a fallen creation. Read Genesis 1: 20-23, when God created even the mosquitoes he said it was good!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Don't bash the Church

On Wednesday night, a few of our elders and staff met with 17 folks interested in becoming members of FPE. Not only was the time a totally joyful and laughter-filled time, these people were from all races, places, ages, stages and experiences. God is building his church and the gates of hell will not prevail against her.

I want to share a very encouraging article written by Randy Alcorn. I pray that it lifts you up and renews your love for the Lord, His Church and also His people. Click here

Monday, September 6, 2010

Reaching People for Jesus

My previous post failed to provide the proper link to the article that I cited. Click here to read what believers in England are doing to reach folks who have left the church.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Reaching people for Jesus

Churchgoing may be declining, but nearly three million lapsed worshippers say they would return the pews with the right encouragment, new research has found.

After reading this article, I am convinced that every Follower of Jesus has the God given ability to reach others for Jesus. Here's my question: what keeps you from having spiritual conversations with people?

Continue reading here

Thursday, September 2, 2010

God's Work or Man's Work?

One of the more dramatic chapters in Acts of the Apostles is chapter 5. Check it out and see what you think. The deaths of Ananias and Sapphira for their hypocrisy and lies is of course very sad. Even though God's Spirit is powerfully moving in this young church, people are still flawed.

The chapter turns next to the arrest of Peter and John by the Sadducees. These religious leaders were filled with jealousy and no small measure of anger that the apostles preached with great success the resurrection of Jesus. Everywhere they turned people were talking about Jesus and the preaching of the apostles. These men had filled Jerusalem with their teaching (Acts 5: 28), so they were arrested and plans were made to kill them.

But these lowly apostles were not intimidated by the opposition's anger and threats. They firmly said: We must obey God rather than men (Acts 5: 29). Maybe they remembered Jesus's words, "Do fear those who can destroy your body; rather, fear those who can destroy both body and soul in hell (Matthew 10:28). Maybe they were so filled with the Spirit that nothing on earth could shake their confidence and resolve in God. Whatever the reason, these men could not be moved.

They would have killed them on the spot, but a leading rabbi among them, Gamaliel stood up and cautioned their murderous desires. "Keep away from these men and let them alone," he said, "for if this plan or undertaking is of man it will fail. But if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them. You might even be found opposing God."

These are very encouraging words for those among us who walk with the Lord. Here are a few observations:
  • Those who fear the Lord must never be concerned about what people say or think about them.
  • In the end, man's work does not last
  • Never allow external pressure to undermine obedience to God
  • Obedience to God always costs something
  • In the end the glory of God is more precious and desireable than the empty praise of man

Monday, August 9, 2010

The unity of Scripture


Many years ago, as a young Christian, someone explained the two testaments to me this way : the NT is contained in the OT and the OT is explained in the NT.
This made a lot of sense to me back then and 
to this day still does. The bible is two covenants or testaments with one overarching message of God's plan to redeem creation through the death and resurrection of Jesus. These testaments do not contradict each other and are therefore reliable for our spiritual growth.


For example, in reading through Acts, I noticed one of many examples where the OT contains a clear reference to the resurrection of Jesus. In Acts 2:25–31 Peter quoted Ps. 16:8–11 as a text pointing to the resurrection of Jesus, noting that David spoke of God not abandoning him to death. He then reasoned that, because David died, the psalm must have been speaking about one of his descendants. Since Jesus is the only one who conquered death and is a descendant of David, he must be the promised Messiah whom David foresaw.

Praise God for the unity and reliability of Scripture. Can you think of other examples where the message of the Old and New Testament show unity of thought?

Voice of an angel

If you love good singing, then sit back and enjoy the singing of this little girl and her father.

Christopher Hitchens, cancer, his views on God and prayer

This is a very moving interview between Christopher Hitchens and Andersen Cooper. Here he talks about his cancer and how he deals with the reality of dying as one who does not believe in God or the power of prayer. Despite his obvious resistance to following Christ, please pray that God in his mercy would save him. How do you pray for someone who does not believe in the power of prayer?

Friday, August 6, 2010

What is the Gospel?

I am reading a very concise, well written book by Pastor Greg Gilbert, What is the Gospel? 
In order to understand the gospel, Gilbert believes, we must not confuse sin with sins.

"There is a huge difference between understanding yourself to be guilty of sins, and knowing yourself to be guilty of sin. Most people have no problem at all admitting that they've committed sins (plural), at least so long as they can think about those sins as isolated little mistakes in an otherwise pretty good life--a parking ticket here or there on an otherwise clean record.
He illustrates this point with the following story:
On the second floor of the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, there is what is said to be the largest, flawless quartz in the entire world. The sphere is a little bigger that a basketball, and there is not a single visible scratch, pockmark, or discoloration on the entire thing. It is perfect. People often think human nature is like that quartz sphere. Yes, every now and then we may smear it up with dirt and mud but underneath the grime it remains as pristine as ever, and all we really need to do is wipe it clean in order to restore its brilliance. 


The Bible's picture of human nature, though, is not so pretty. According to Scripture, the sphere of human nature is not pristine at all, and the mud is not just smeared on the outside. On the contrary, we are shot through with sin. The cracks, mud, filth, and corruption go all the way to the center. Romans 8:7 bears this out: The mind that is set on on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God's law; indeed, it cannot. It's not enough to say that Jesus came to save us from sins, if what mean by that is that he came to save us from isolated mistakes. It's only when we realize that our very nature is sinful--that we are indeed dead in our trespasses and sins, as Paul says (Ephesians 2: 1, 5)--that we see just how good the news is that there is a way to be saved."

Pick up a copy and refresh your mind on this very important subject.