Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Consistenly Inconsistent or Inconsistently Consistent, I am not sure which!

It is not every day that a fisherman brings home the BIG one. In fact, if my own experience means anything, it is rare that the big one is EVER brought home. I call myself a fisherman, because I fish: not because I catch fish, but rather put forth the effort to catch fish. It is not inconsistent that I say "I am a fisherman" as long as the understanding is: my goal is to catch fish and not just fish for fish. (is this sounding fishy?)

At any rate, I say "I am a Christian" and many times I act like I am not. Either in my words, or my deeds, and secretly, in my thoughts I reveal that I am not all that I say that I am.

If there is anything I want to be "consistent" about, it is my faith. Not just my inward faith, but the walking out of my faith. What I am called to do, to be, to embody as a believer is more than meets the eye. Jesus said something to his disciples that should make us consider:

Mar 1:17 And Jesus said unto them, Come ye after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men.

It is not until we follow after Him that we will be made fishers of men. The times I find myself most inconsistent, is when I am following hard after ME. When my flesh is being satisfied, I am being most inconsistent with the faith I say I embrace.

A call to repentance is before me as I examine my own following of the Lord that saved me. Am I inconsistent in the consistency I am called to? Or am I consistently being inconsistent? If the latter is the case, I must ask am I truly following after Christ?

Let the life of a believer be such that no one doubts that he is consistent in his faith, even though from time to time he may appear to be inconsistent. Let him fall, but let him get up seven times. Just because he loads the boat, and spends hours on the lake, and returns with no fish today, is no reason to say he is no fisherman.

But let not his life be one of consistently failing to load the boat and head to the lake. If this is the case, his constant failing to do the work of a fisherman reveals, "He is no fisherman at all."

Lord, make us fishers of men, as we follow hard after you.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Tribulation worketh Patience

Sometimes, when tribulations are pressing in on every side, it can become difficult to believe that the Lord knows exactly what he is doing. Our sight is so limited, that often we only see despair, believing that God has abandoned us and He will not keep his promise to work all things out for our good, (Rom. 8:28-29). Let us not forget, in spite of what we can see, or even reason, that our Creator, our Father, is sovereign, and while working for the advancement of His kingdom, even when things seem darkest, he is working for our ultimate good.

When I meet someone who seems to have lost hope, it is evident physically and verbally. You can take away a man's job, and he will do what he must to survive. Let a husband abandon a wife, and she will pull herself closer to her children and parents, but destroy the hope of either one of these people and you will watch them move toward despair.

We as a people of God have no reason to despair, even in the midst of tribulations. Once we have landed on the unchanging word of God, and determined to believe it, above our subjective experiences, we can with great hope and confidence face the most confusing circumstances.

Rom 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. Rom 8:29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Worldliness does not equal Pre-evangelism

Again, R.C. Jr. has waxed eloquent as he calls us away from the modern view that we must "immerse ourselves in the culture" if we ever think we can win them. This one hits home with some clarity and conviction. I myself have often times toyed with the latest sports score, or movie interest in hopes that I could sound more "hip" or "up-to-date" as I talked with those outside the church. I mean, who wants to sound "disconnected" from society and culture! I didn't want to sound like I was Amish or something! How dreadful (do you sense sarcasm? If so, you have passed the first part of the test. Next, read what Sproul says about this...)

We must stop confusing worldliness with pre-evangelism.

The devil has perfected any number of ways to profane the holy. Worse still, he has perfected any number of ways of encouraging us to do the same. Our worldliness is problem enough. The devil scores the most style points, however, when he persuades us to baptize our worldliness by thinking it somehow holy. So he has done with our wholesale immersion in the culture. He has led us from the observation that Paul quoted an unbelieving poet into believing that our mass consumption of mass quantities of mass culture is a sacrifice the pious ought to be ready to make for the sake of those outside the faith.

How, we wonder, will we ever get the chance to speak with our unbelieving neighbors unless we too get lost in the matrix of Hollywood's latest hits? How can we direct our unbelieving neighbors away from American idols, unless we too learn to sing their songs? And so we spend our time and treasure down at Vanity Fair, never realizing, to mix a metaphor, that we are growing donkey ears. Worse still, we are growing coarse tongues, and numb consciences.

First century Rome was a sports crazed culture. Sundry stadia still dot their ancient cities, all across their empire. As Christianity spread as well, but before Christians would be dragged to these sites to become sport themselves, the Christians did not attend the Roman games. No, they did not organize a boycott in order to protest the skimpy clothing of the combatants. Nor did they carry signs outside the gatherings prophetically denouncing the violence of the games. Their reason for not attending was far more spiritual—they just didn't care. Their lives were focused on better things. This doesn't mean, of course, that the first century Christians were too austere to go to the games. The point isn't that godliness is next to crankiness. Instead, their joys were too grand to be compared to having your favorite athlete win the laurel.

Christ has given us life, and life abundant. And we fill our lives with petty trifles. We think we're doing it for the lost, but are instead showing how lost we are. What the lost need from us is not that we would live lives like theirs, not that we would be consumed with the petty and insignificant. They do not need one more conversation around the water cooler about last night's episode. What they need is to see lives lived for something more important than "Must see TV." We do not need to learn the jargon of this subculture or that. Instead we need to live lives that speak plainly, and we need to speak plainly about our life in Christ. "Repent and believe the good news" is understandable in any language. Better still, when we are speaking our language, at least we will hear it. If the lost are not found through our faithful lives, we are still blessed with faithful lives. Worldliness is no virtue, no matter what end we say it serves. If we were honest, we would admit that it serves our flesh. But, not only are Cretans liars, but Christians are too.

R.C. Sproul Jr. , An excerpt from his book "Believing God"

Believing God

While reading some excerpts from an upcoming book, was impressed with the strength of a couple of articles dealt with. While I don't agree with everything the author espouses, there are certain points he hits "dead on." Just to be clear, this is not my work, though I agree with this thought and enjoy how it was written...

We must stop the psychological equivalent of selling indulgences.

Tetzel, the seller of indulgences that first got Dr. Luther's goat, was known for a rather crass sales pitch. "As soon as the coin in the coffer rings, the soul from Purgatory springs." This practice is what sparked the Reformation. Intent on raising funds for refurbishing the church at Rome, the Pontiff offered to use his powers to hasten the day that people could be set free from purgatory. All it took was a sufficiently sizable donation. Write a check, and grandma can skip the torment of having her sins purged, and skip right to heaven itself.

We, of course, because we are moderns, believe ourselves to be past all that. The Reformation happened, and now even Rome wouldn't practice such flim-flammery. And we, because we are moderns, are hopeless fools that just fell off the turnip truck. The devil doesn't give up easily on successful stratagems. On those rare occasions that we figure him out, he simply repackages the same old snake-oil, and we rush to buy it.

Here is how it works in our day. First, we buy into the world's therapeutic revolution. We believe, like our unbelieving neighbors, that the good life is one of psychological wholeness. We believe, like our unbelieving neighbors, that the purpose in life is self-actualization. We believe, unlike our unbelieving neighbors, that the right church, or church program, or church guru, will get us there. We believe that the church will give us our best life now.

The church offers to help us feel better about ourselves. It promises programs and premium coffee. It presents feel good talks delivered by some charming guy in a sweater, the Christian equivalent of Dr. Feel-Good. And all it asks in return is that we drop a check in the plate, that we purchase the program, that we donate to the guru. These will drive our guilt far from us, and we will be purged of all that makes us feel utterly unlovely. That is how the program is supposed to work, and now we, heirs of the Reformation, build cathedrals to our own glory.

Luther did not have as his goal psychological wholeness. His beef wasn't that indulgences didn't deliver the emotional goods. Neither was his goal the recovery of an abstract doctrine. He wanted instead to recover the very work of Christ. He wanted people to not jettison their feelings of guilt, but to have their guilt taken away.

The church is that place where we must be told the truth. We must be told the ugly truth that we are in ourselves nothing but ugly, a poisonous blending of dust and rebellion. We must be told the ugly truth that our sins drove Christ to the cross, that we crucified Him. We must be told the shocking truth that because God brought this to pass, we now, if we are His, have peace with God, that we have been adopted into His family.

Here we stand. We can do no other. God help us.

R.C. Sproul Jr., excerpt from his upcoming book "Believing God."

Friday, January 15, 2010

Dave Hunt's Book on Calvinism

I met a friend over the Internet named Kevin Williams. He has a great blog that I follow and enjoy reading. He did an extensive review on Dave Hunt's book on Calvinism. Hunt is anti-Calvinistic to say the least. Kevin does a great job dissecting this book. His review is worth the read if you have ever been tempted to read Hunt's book. I have read Hunt's book and for the "uninformed" it would be a great tool to "whip those nasty Calvinists" with, but it fails terribly in accuracy. I have taken the liberty to LINK to Kevin's on with enjoyment! Thanks.

Friday, January 1, 2010

A New Year so Mind the Gap!

The new year is upon us and a hope that we ill live more holy this year than we did last. At least that is the hope I have for myself and my family. In England, it is not uncommon to see "mind the gap" at bus and rail stations if there is a gap between the sidewalk and your mode of transportation. It is a subtle reminder, that if you are not careful, you will fall. God tells us that clearly in His Word that we should "Take Heed" lest we fall.

When a person embraces the fact that we are to strive for the holiness of God more so than for our personal happiness, he will discover the meaning of "Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done" as well as the phrase, "Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness..."

May we in this upcoming year strive to be faithful in all things concerning the Word. One way to aid in this is to faithfully read the Word. If you do not have a reading schedule I will mail you one for free. Simply contact me on our Church Web site listed on this Blog Spot. Just include your name and ask for "Bible Reading Schedule" and I will ship it out as soon as possible. I will not include a request for donations, or any other form of solicitations. I will just sent the schedule and nothing more. This will be as long as my supplies last of course.

If you are in need of Bible Counsel, you may contact us in the same way. Topics like Marriage, Parenting, Work related issues, Addictions, Depression, and a host of other issues can be overcome through obedience to Scriptures. In fact, we believe 2Pe 1:3 is true as it states, "According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:"

Our counseling is really Bible Discipleship, as opposed to "problem centered" counseling. We believe that God's word has an answer to all our needs, and it is our goal to train and encourage others in godly living. We are able to meet face to face if you are local, or we can speak via email or phone if it is possible. Again, we offer this help free, and believe that God will care for our needs as He sees fitting. Our only restriction is time. We will schedule you as there is space available.

It is my hope that the New year is a great blessing to you as you seek to follow the Lord.