Posts Tagged ‘Christian’

I have more respect for Rick Warren now having seen this interview. If you have any issues with John Piper, I pray you will watch this amazing interview and hear his heart. This is a great thing for the body of Christ. Thank you Desiring God ministries.

John Piper and Rick Warren interview on Doctrine

These are the tough questions that all Christians should be discussing with each other. Enjoy.

Click on the picture to be taken to the Desiring God blog in order to view the video or click here.

Warren apparently believes the doctrines of grace, or otherwise called Calvinism, with some confusion over limited atonement. This interview at least opens it all up for discussion. Do you think he is Reformed or is he just trying to make all the Calvinists happy? If he is just trying to make the Calvinists happy, is that a good thing? By doing this, wouldn’t he just be making all his Arminian followers angry and in some way shooting himself in the foot with the majority of his followers? What are your thoughts?

2011 has been a crazy year and it is only May 20th, 2011! That is right, my last full day until the rapture and the beginning of the end!

Okay, well maybe Judgement Day is not going to be tomorrow. But then again, maybe it will. Or, maybe it will all end today. Who knows? Well Harold Camping seems to know.

He believes beyond a shadow of a doubt that the rapture and Judgement Day will occur tomorrow, May 21st, 2011, at around 6:00 P.M. Now this isn’t a post about Camping or his thoughts about Judgement Day neither is this an attack on him. He has, hopefully, done something good for all of us. So has other controversial religious leaders in 2011.

Rob Bell wrote a book describing what Heaven and Hell might actually be like and how Hell might not be eternal. This also is a very controversial subject, of which I have spoken out against in other posts, so I will not be offering anymore analysis on his book Love Wins. But Rob Bell has actually done something good for us, regardless of how wrong his suggestions are.

Lastly, Terry Jones and some followers put the Muslim holy book, the Qur’an, on a mock trial and sentenced it to death. So they burned the Qur’an. Following this act, many people in the Muslim world were outraged and many people were killed because of the violent outbursts in response to Jones’ act. Once again, this isn’t an attack on Jones or his actions. We can hopefully look at this situation, as well as the other two, and see some good things that these events have done for all of us.

All three of these controversial events have accomplished one great thing. They have created conversation.

Terry Jones began to see the very dark side of orthodox Islam. And now because of his actions, we can all take a closer look into Islam and maybe even try to understand it. Maybe we can actually have enough interest to read some of the Qur’an and see what it says about Jesus and Christianity. It is rather shocking, especially if you are a Christian. Without supporting or condemning his act of burning the Qur’an, we can at least say that the topic is now a little more out in the open for people to discuss. But I will say this, we are quickly approaching, and I fear we are already arriving, at a place in time when protesting will not be possible. Freedom of speech is just barely holding on right now.

Rob Bell brought the discussion of Heaven and Hell to the forefront once again. The best thing about this controversy is that because Rob Bell offered something so opposite of orthodox Christian belief, many Evangelical Christians came out of the woodwork to defend what the Bible actually teaches about the afterlife, Hell in particular. There was a stronger unity that was created among confessional Christians, as well as a strong call to hold to, and hold high, the true Gospel of Jesus Christ. Heaven and Hell became a growing topic of discussion because of Rob Bell and we can thank him for that.

Now on to Camping. No one knows what will happen tomorrow besides God. But what I do know about all of the controversy of Harold Camping is that the discussion of the end times is now in the limelight, sadly it has been, for the most part, to make fun of Camping and Christians altogether. It reminds me of how they treated Noah in his day. Although most Christians don’t think Camping is correct, Camping has at least made Christians a little more expressive about the fact that Judgement Day could be today.

Jones has at least opened up the discussion about what Islam is truly all about, even though his methods can be debated over.

Bell has brought the topic of salvation into discussion and every Christian should appreciate when that happens because it is a chance to proclaim the Gospel.

And Camping has brought the topic of Jesus’ return and the end times to the attention of the whole world. Our hearts should break for the lost people of this world. We can see how broken and blind they are when they constantly make fun of us Christians, even though sometimes we make it easy for them.

We need to clearly know what the Bible says and preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ to all creatures because it is through the Word preached that people are made alive and brought into the Kingdom of God. We must know what Muslim people actually believe, not what professing Muslims want us to believe, and we must proclaim the Gospel to them as well, in order to bring them out of their bondage and into the freedom of Jesus Christ. Our ignorance of Islam must end. And lastly, Judgement Day may not be tomorrow, but it is coming soon. I have to ask myself, “Am I ready and enthusiastically awaiting Christ’s return?” Are you?

The Lamb’s Book of Life that is. I just finished watching a sermon by a certain pastor that I will not name because he is not the point of this blog post. Something he said was very intriguing though. The message overall was decent, actually one of this pastor’s better messages that I heard in a long time. But one thing he said jumped out at me and I wanted to try to let the Bible speak for itself on the matter. He gave a salvation story about a nameless and faceless man that could be you or I. Near the end of the message he proceeded to try to show what was happening in God’s realm. He said that the Word of God is powerful enough for a man to pick it up and read it and then give his life to Jesus because of the amazing promise found inside of Scripture. I was totally with him. But then he said that after this man believed then his name was written in the Lamb’s Book of Life in Heaven.  Now, you might agree with that statement. I think a lot of people probably do. The problem is with some of the implications of this thought process.

Is it my belief that makes God write my name in the book? If so, that means, in some way, I save myself. I put my name in the book by believing. And then if this is true, it makes perfect sense that I could lose my salvation, because I could just stop believing and then I suppose God takes his giant eraser and removes my name from the book. Is this really how this works? In the book, out of the book. In… out… in… out…

Or could it be something entirely different? Could it be that the fact that you believe is based on the fact that your name was already written in the Lamb’s Book of Life? You may want biblical support for this, and I would hope so. Plus you, the believer in Christ, might start to wonder when the writing of your name in this Book occurred. Well here’s the biblical support and the answer to this question.

Revelation 13:5-8 ESV

“[5] And the beast was given a mouth uttering haughty and blasphemous words, and it was allowed to exercise authority for forty-two months. [6] It opened its mouth to utter blasphemies against God, blaspheming his name and his dwelling, that is, those who dwell in heaven. [7] Also it was allowed to make war on the saints and to conquer them. And authority was given it over every tribe and people and language and nation, [8] and all who dwell on earth will worship it, everyone whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who was slain.”

Notice in the context of these verses, the reason why these people worshiped the beast is because their names were not in the Book. There is power in our names being written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.

God wrote down all the names of those whom He would save. He wrote all of their names down in this book. He wrote every name of every Christian down. When did He write it? “Before the foundations of the world.” One causes the other. If your name is written in the book, then you believe. God puts our names in the book. We do not. If I got myself in, I would surely get myself out. I know myself all too well. Because God put my name in there, he promises to never let anyone take my name out (John 10:28).

Also something to get your mind’s gears turning; notice how before there was anything (before the foundations of the world) there was a book and the book’s title was The Book of Life of the Lamb that was Slain. So before the foundations of the world, God was planning that His Son would be slain. Redemption was not God’s reaction to everything falling apart, it was the plan from the beginning.

I am writing today with eagerness – encouraging whoever reads this to examine your life and what effect it has on those around you. The best passage of scripture I can think of using to illustrate my point today is 1 Timothy 4:15-16,

15 Practice these things, immerse yourself in them, so that all may see your progress. 16 Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.

We have to, as Paul says, “keep a close watch on [ourselves] and on the teaching. Persist in this,  for” or because, “by doing so [we] will save both [ourselves] and [our] hearers.” What is this passage really saying? What are we to persist in? How do we save ourselves and our hearers? What does this mean? Let’s look at the ESV Study Bible note, because it states it clearly and concisely. It states,

“Timothy’s perseverance in sound doctrine and practice will save him, i.e., it will lead him to persevere in the faith, confirming his salvation. This type of ministry will be effective in preserving his hearers as well.”

This verse and it’s implications are quite clear to me. What we believe about the character and nature of God (sound doctrine) and how our beliefs transcend into daily living have an affect on the people around us. My question is does our life help or hinder people’s understanding of the Bible? What I mean by this is if someone were to talk to you and observe how you live, and then pick up the bible and read it for themselves, would what they read in the Bible make sense based off of what they have been taught by you (through your actual verbal teaching and through observing how you live), or would the Bible be even more confusing?

If you are a pastor, a small group leader, or simply a Christian you are going to have people looking at you and then looking at the Bible. If you say that God is not angry, people will then read their Bible and see verses like John 3:36,

“Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.”

So when someone tries to cover up or ignore God’s wrath, it hinders people when they read the Bible because people are going to bump into more verses in the Bible that discuss God’s anger and wrath than His love. A.W. Pink states, “A study of the concordance will show that there are more references in Scripture to the anger, fury, and wrath of God, than there are to His love and tenderness.” Don’t create a new god and then make believe it is truly Yahweh. People will encounter the true God when they read the Bible in its entirety and it will be an earth-shattering experience for them, because they watched and learned from you.

There are a ton of other examples I could talk about. People nowadays are saying that God is okay with homosexuality, the Bible says the opposite (Romans 1:26-27). People say God doesn’t know all of the future because if He did then our human choices wouldn’t matter. The Bible says God knows everything – period (Isaiah 46:10). People say you can lose your salvation. The Bible teaches that God keeps His own (Jude 24) by causing us to walk in His ways, causing us to obey all His commandments (Ezekiel 36:27), and willing and working in us for His good pleasure (Philippians 2:13, Hebrews 13:21); not to mention that He promises to finish what He has started – namely our faith (Philippians 1:6). People say that God only chooses those whom choose him, yet the Bible teaches that God chooses people based solely on his own sovereign choice (Ephesians 1:5). I could say a multitude of things that cults say that are in direct contradiction to the Bible, but for the sake of brevity I won’t go there.

The point is, we need to be thinking and teaching correct things about God, so that when people sit down to study God, they aren’t trying to figure out who they should listen to; us or the Bible.

One example of this in my own life, is when I started to see things in the Bible that really made God out to be a lot bigger than I gave Him credit for in the past. I had a lot of questions that were arising from my own Bible reading. I asked some people their thoughts on the subject, and they completely disagreed with what I clearly saw in scripture. It just felt like the truth, and I couldn’t twist the Bible to mean something else. Every time I tried to change the clear meaning from the text, I felt so convicted and I couldn’t do it. People in my life were making my own personal study of the Bible confusing. They would say things like, “that is not like my god,” and, “I couldn’t worship a god like that.” But this is the only God that makes sense with the rest of the Bible for me. And the people who disagreed with me couldn’t explain how my view of God was not biblical, yet they couldn’t explain how theirs was. Praise God that there were people in my life who did see the same glorious God in scripture and helped me understand Him more accurately. And when they did, it made the whole Bible come alive to me.

Does your life lead people to love the Bible? Not in the sense that they worship the Bible, but they love the Bible because they find their soul’s completely satisfying Savior within its pages.

In closing, I want to look at one more text. Psalm 119:79,

“Let those who fear you turn to me,
that they may know your testimonies.”

I think this verse completely speaks to this topic. David is saying that he wants people who fear God to look at his life, because when they do they will understand God’s word. Those who fear God know that if they don’t know God correctly then He is dishonored. God is strongly to be feared, especially when we attribute to Him less than God-honoring qualities. The person who fears God, knows this. And David is saying that if these type of people, who want to know God accurately, turn to him, they will be brought to a deeper and more accurate understanding of God. I pray that this is the case for myself, and anyone else who is reading this, so that we save ourselves and our hearers.

Know, preach, and teach the things of God accurately, so that God is honored and people are edified.

So I was watching a video online this morning and I saw something familiar. Small world…

I thought I’d just throw out some random things just to get them out there.

  • We finally ordered high-speed internet so Jamie and I will actually be able to use the internet at the same time, and it won’t be over the Cricket network. Right now, we use a Cricket USB modem. Can’t wait for high-speed.
  • Even though I have been off for the summer from my teaching job, I really need a vacation. I have to get out of this town! haha.
  • I am somewhat excited to get back to teaching. I am looking forward to finding new and exciting ways to share the gospel with elementary-age children. If you didn’t know already, I am a worship leader and a full-time tutor at a Christian school. I run a chapel service every Wednesday that is truly a blessing to me and I hope to all the kids as well. I’m allowed to preach and lead worship! What an amazing privilege. Last night, I couldn’t sleep because I felt like God was giving me all these great ideas for things to do during the services. Ever feel like God is giving you these amazing ideas, but you know that you can’t do them on your own and you can’t do them without a great deal of resources? That’s what I feel like now. Not just with my the ministry I do at the school, but with a lot of different things too. I really hope and pray that God enables me to see some of these ideas fleshed out into real life. Do you ever do this though: you’ll have all these ideas and then they just drift into nowhere and they never come to fruition? Like there is a place where all lofty ideas and goals go to die. Hopefully some of these ideas don’t go there! lol.
  • I really have been frustrated lately with … (as I type this I start to realize that God is the one in control so I have to be careful with any frustrations. Ultimately I am frustrated with the way God is doing things so I must repent and instead, offer up prayers to God for him to bring about certain things, but also knowing that it is up to Him and His will to bring about those things and His judgment is perfect and sinless.) Sooooo…. lol.
  • I guess I should say I really pray for things to change. One of things I pray most about right now is for the salvation of one of my best friends who is currently not a believer. Notice I said in the last point that ultimately God is in control. Fully in control. Here is my Calvinism (which I would rather just call biblical thinking) coming out. My friend is blind to the truth of the gospel and Jesus Christ. Jesus says, “No one can come to me unless the Father draws him.” So if my friend is still blind to God and not able to see Him for who He truly is, because of the blinding effect of inherited and willful sin, I need God to do something. I need God to exercise His free will and break that blindness and choose to show my friend mercy and grace. God in no way has to do that. No one has claim on his mercy or grace. God is not in debt to anyone. That is not how it works. God is free to show mercy and grace to whoever He wills (reference Romans 9:14-18). If you are reading this, pray for my friend. Pray that his household comes to know Christ as did Crispus’ household in Acts 18:8.
  • Did you ever really think about the fact that some unbelievers are so much more kind and selfless than believers and wonder why? I was talking to Jamie recently about this and she made a good point. She said, “they believe that as long as they are good people and they do good to others, then they will be in heaven.” Then I thought, we Christians know we are sinners saved by grace and that we are far from being perfect. For us, it almost seems okay that we are stuck in our sin and remain mean and selfish. Then we think, “well Jesus died for our sins so it’s okay.” The Bible warns us of this terribly dangerous way of thinking. Hebrews 10:26, “For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins.” We can learn a lot from non-believers. Although these kind acts may be done in some sad attempt to gain a pleasant afterlife, and in the end find out that all those righteous acts were as filthy rags to God (Isaiah 64:6), they could honestly be doing some of the good acts that the law lays out, because the Bible says in Romans 2:14-16 “For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus.” God judges the heart, but I have been shown great friendship from certain unbelievers. The experience has led me to thank God for them and also it has motivated me to be better marked by love, for Christ sake.
  • I’m not handy at all but, I put in a pulley system so that Jamie can now hang clothes outside our apartment. Here is a picture of that.

    Makes me want to use it as a rip chord but I know it won't hold me.

    I had so much fun making this it makes me want to make some kind of crazy pulley system. Got any ideas?

  • Well that’s all for now.