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Monday, December 22, 2008

The Gospel According to St. Nick?!

I had never really given much thought to the words of  "Santa Claus is Coming to Town", until I saw this excerpt from John Piper.  When held up to the person of Christ (Isaiah 9:2-7; John 3:16), one can't help but notice a stark contrast between the two:

-Santa Claus is coming to judge me for what I've done and will reward me accordingly.

-Jesus came in order to save me from what I've done because he is full of grace and mercy, AND, he is in fact coming again to redeem the world from what I've done.  And since he has already accomplished everything that is required of me in himself (Matthew 5:17-20; John 19:28-30), all I have to do is believe in him...

So, which one should we be singing about?!

Bad News:  Santa Claus is Comin' To Town  -  John Piper

Come Thou long-expected Jesus 
Born to set Thy people free;
From our fears and sins release us,
Let us find our rest in Thee.

Israel's strength and consolation, 
Hope of all the saints Thou art; 
Dear desire of every nation, 
Joy of every longing heart.

Born Thy people to deliver,
Born a child and yet a King, 
Born to reign in us forever, 
Now Thy gracious kingdom bring.

By Thine own eternal Spirit
Rule in all our hearts alone; 
By Thine all sufficient merit, 
Raise us to Thy glorious throne.

Come Thou long-awaited Emmanuel.

Soli Deo Gloria,


Sunday, November 02, 2008

Christianity and Politics: A Savior on Capitol Hill?!

It is so easy to get caught up in all of the hype and spin that surrounds election time.  It can be an enticing thing to buy into the people and the promises that are being placed out before us.  Each trying to sell themselves as agents of "hope" and "change".  These claims at time become somewhat Messianic!  But as I said in a previous blog, Jesus Christ is not running for office in 2008.  Does this mean that Christians should have no care or have nothing to do with politics?  Not at all!  We definitely should.  But as Christians, our view of government should be shaped by something other than a popularity contest or personal political agendas.  It should be shaped by Christ through the Word of God (Matthew 22:15-21, John 18:33-37, Romans 13:1-7, 1 Peter 2:13-17).

In this segment from Issues, etc., Dr. Uwe Simeon-Netto lays out a great framework by which we Christians should govern and discern our political viewpoints. Enjoy!

"A Savior on Capitol Hill" - Derek Webb

*My name is Shon White, and I approve this message.  But more importantly, Jesus Christ does...

Soli Deo Gloria,

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Jesus: Too Scary for Halloween?!

This is sad and hilarious at the same time...

I'm pretty sure that this kid never thought that he would end up winning the scariest outfit award by dressing up like Jesus Christ.  After all, on Halloween you have people dressed up as superheroes, monsters, killers, even demons; but Jesus had to go.  Why? Because he was there.  It's not even as though the kid was trying to make some sort of evangelical/religious statement (this is apparent from the description of the religious value in his home- talk about polar opposites!).  To him it was just a costume.  But to the watching world, it was a symbol.  It smacks of the same controversy that was brought on by Mel Gibson's Passion of the Christ, which was deemed to be 'too violent' by critics.  Did I forget mention that Saw V opened in the theatres last weekend...?  The outfit was deemed to be offensive because it was Jesus. That's all.  Nothing more.  Nothing Less.  The thing that makes this story hilarious is that same thing that makes it sad:  The fact that it's true!  But in the words of singer/songwriter Bob Dylan, "You don't have to be a weather man to know which way the wind blows." 

So what's the message that the discerning Christian takes away from a news story like this?  The more that one looks like Jesus (apparently physically or spiritually), the more offensive you are to the world (Matthew 5:11-12, Ephesians 2:2, 1 John 5:19-20).  And to the world, know that there is a day coming when getting rid of Jesus won't be as simple as sending him home for a "dress code violation" (Revelation 19:11-16).

Soli Deo Gloria,

Monday, September 01, 2008

Francis Schaeffer's "Stupid" Question

I just had to post this...even though this was done more than 20 years ago now, this message is still just as timely as ever. May you find it both convicting, encouraging, and insightful. Enjoy!!

Where Have the Bible Believing Christians Gone?

Therefore my people go into exile for lack of knowledge; their honored men go hungry, and their multitude is parched with thirst. - Isaiah 5:13 ESV

My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge; because you have rejected knowledge, I reject you from being a priest to me. And since you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children. - Hosea 4:6 ESV

Soli Deo Gloria,

Friday, August 08, 2008

Evangel Lies: "Not THAT Death...Your Other Death!"

For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. - Philippians 1:21 ESV

What you are about to see is indeed disturbing. At times it may seem funny (as they do make some really outlandish statements), but please remember that these are real people talking about real events that they have actually taken part in. But understand, this is what happens when there is a famine of the word and a poor understanding of the gospel; where people rely on dreams and visions rather than relying on the whole revelation of Christ that we find in the scriptures...

These twelve Jesus sent out, instructing them, “Go nowhere among the Gentiles and enter no town of the Samaritans, but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And proclaim as you go, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons. You received without paying; give without pay. - Matthew 10:5-8 ESV

A Mortuary Outreach?!

Comments on the Xtreme Prophetic Teams urging fellow Christians to start up a "morturary outreach "(raising people from the dead).

No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day. - John 6:44 

And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him. -Colossians 2:13-15 

And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him. - Hebrews 9:27-28 ESV

Here is a call for the endurance of the saints, those who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus. And I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.” “Blessed indeed,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow them!” - Revelation 14:12-13 

Blessed and holy is the one who shares in the first resurrection! Over such the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with him for a thousand years. - Revelation 20:6 

Soli Deo Gloria,

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Salt of the Earth: Unapologetically Apologetic

Blog Shut Down by 'Christian' Apologist's Threat
Contact: Pastor Dustin Segers, Coalition of Concerned Bloggers,
ChristianResearchNetwork.com, 336-848-7197

Christian Newswire/ -- Pastor Dustin Segers submits the following and is available for comment:

How safe are our blogs? That question was raised again when on the evening of July 26, 2008, a popular religious blog was shut down by an Internet service provider. A complaint filed by Christian author and apologist, Richard Abanes, claiming that one article on the religious opinion site,
Apprising.org, had slandered him, caused the web host, IPower, to send its publisher, Ken Silva, a 48-hour warning to remove the offending piece or be taken down. In that the piece was not believed to be slander at all, but rather religious and theological opinion, he refused to be forced into censoring his site by Richard Abanes. The site went down.

There are serious implications here for all bloggers, regardless of what sort of blog they publish. Anyone who has a complaint about your views can claim that you have engaged in slander and the ISP Terms of Service usually allow for the companies to remove your website if you don't take the material in question down. The First Amendment means nothing in these cases. ISP's cannot and will not explore the claims of slander and simply notify bloggers to remove whatever is causing the problem. This opens the door for anyone to censor what a blogger writes online.

Everyone who values the right to read and publish blogs on the Internet has a vested interested in the issue. There is growing concern in the blog world over this, and a number of servers are popping up that offer "First Amendment" hosting. These are web hosts which require a court order before they will remove someone's website. Their day has clearly come.

Below are some comments that I have about this article (In word and song, no less!!)

Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says,
“Awake, O sleeper,
and arise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you.” - Ephesians 5:11-14

“The more you love something, the more you will want to defend it against abuse. If you want to get a mother bear mad, just attack her cubs. Jesus, who was normally meek and gentle, cleansed the temple because he loved his Father’s house so much and it made him angry to see it abused. We often forget that Jesus is not just a Lamb, he is also the Lion of Judah. So also when we see God’s Word misused and abused, it is an issue worth defending. If anything is worth fighting for, it is God’s truth.” - anonymous

Soli Deo Gloria,

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

"Uncommon Nonsense": G.K. Chesterton's Critique on Modern Man and the Rise of Postmodern Thought

For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. - Romans 1:21

I think that it can easily be said that G.K. Chesterton is one of the most gifted commentators on modern thought and life in almost every area. I was watching Ravi Zacharias', Deliver us from Evil the other day (one of the rare times that I've actually watched Christian TV!), and I was reminded how profound Chesterton's analyses were when it came to the thought of modern man and the coming trend that we now know as "Post-Modern" thought. While there is some difficulty in labeling what postmodernism is, I believe that Chesterton does one of the best jobs of actually nailing down such a slippery topic. In his book, Orthodoxy, he states:

"In case the point is not clear, an historic example may illustrate it. The French Revolution was really a heroic and decisive thing, because the Jacobins willed something definite and limited. They desired the freedoms of democracy, but also all the vetoes of democracy. They wished to have votes and not to have titles. Republicanism had an ascetic side in Franklin or Robespierre as well as an expansive side in Danton or Wilkes. Therefore they have created something with a solid substance and shape, the square social equality and peasant wealth of France. But since then the revolutionary or speculative mind of Europe has been weakened by shrinking from any proposal because of the limits of that proposal. Liberalism has been degraded into liberality. Men have tried to turn "revolutionize" from a transitive to an intransitive verb. The Jacobin could tell you not only the system he would rebel against, but (what was more important) the system he would not rebel against, the system he would trust. But the new rebel is a Skeptic, and will not entirely trust anything. He has no loyalty; therefore he can never be really a revolutionist. And the fact that he doubts everything really gets in his way when he wants to denounce anything. For all denunciation implies a moral doctrine of some kind; and the modern revolutionist doubts not only the institution he denounces, but the doctrine by which he denounces it. Thus he writes one book complaining that imperial oppression insults the purity of women, and then he writes another book (about the sex problem) in which he insults it himself. He curses the Sultan because Christian girls lose their virginity, and then curses Mrs. Grundy because they keep it. As a politician, he will cry out that war is a waste of life, and then, as a philosopher, that all life is waste of time. A Russian pessimist will denounce a policeman for killing a peasant, and then prove by the highest philosophical principles that the peasant ought to have killed himself. A man denounces marriage as a lie, and then denounces aristocratic profligates for treating it as a lie. He calls a flag a bauble, and then blames the oppressors of Poland or Ireland because they take away that bauble. The man of this school goes first to a political meeting, where he complains that savages are treated as if they were beasts; then he takes his hat and umbrella and goes on to a scientific meeting, where he proves that they practically are beasts. In short, the modern revolutionist, being an infinite skeptic, is always engaged in undermining his own mines. In his book on politics he attacks men for trampling on morality; in his book on ethics he attacks morality for trampling on men. Therefore the modern man in revolt has become practically useless for all purposes of revolt. By rebelling against everything he has lost his right to rebel against anything."

Amen and Amen!! For more on Chesterton, click here.

Soli Deo Gloria,

Friday, June 13, 2008

Selling Jesus: "Christian" Consumerism

This is great vid from my favorite radio program, The White Horse Inn. These guys give a great critique on the model of modern evangelicalism and its roots...seriously awesome stuff!! God bless these guys in the work that they do. Also, a special shout out to Lane for posting this on YouTube. It's rare that you get to see a live broadcast of WHI. It is about an hour long, but worth every minute. Enjoy and be edified.

WHI Live from Oceanside, CA

Soli Deo Gloria,

Thursday, June 12, 2008

The Top of the Dunghill: The Spirituality of Oprah Winfrey

Most Bible-believing Christians may be quick to just dismiss the things that come from Oprah's mouth as silly. However, I think that this is one of the times that we must, as it says in the scriptures, to answer a fool according to their folly. While it may be apparent to some, you can't just make the leap and assume that it is apparent for all. Regardless of how ridiculous it may be, we have to take into account that Oprah has one of the largest (if not the largest) fan bases in the world. Knowing that we must entertain the things that she says and take them seriously as to be able to enlighten people to the truth when the opportunity presents itself. There are after all many earnest Christian folks who also at times have been led astray by some of the things that Oprah has said. It is the job of those who are more mature in the faith and who have grown into a fuller knowledge of the truth to edify and teach our spiritually younger brethren.

Listen to the "doctrine" that Oprah presents and then hear the objections of Pastors Mark Driscoll and R.C. Sproul as they lay out a clear and concise apology to Ms. Winfrey's postmodern, quasi-theological rant - specifically pertaining to the person and work of Jesus Christ. All roads may very well lead to Rome, but there is only one way to God...

Oprah's Spirituality (w/ scripture references)

Mark Driscoll's Response the "Oprah Spirituality"

R.C. Sproul on the Exclusivity of Jesus Christ

Isaiah 64:6
Philippians 3:8-11

Soli Deo Gloria,

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

God and Mammon: Piper on the Economic Stimulus Payment & Christ

For a moment, forget the political puzzle of getting money back when the country is nine trillion dollars in debt. The more immediate question is: How will you make much of Christ with your "economic stimulus payment"? The president says it will be in the mail in time for Cinco de Mayo.

Clue: Nobody in the world will see you spend your money on yourself and conclude that Christ is your treasure. They will assume you are just like them, no matter how loudly you thank God for this boon. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t spend it on yourself (the way we do with most of what we earn). Not everything we do can look different from the world—eat, pay utilities, fill up the car, wear clothes (even thrift-store clothes). And yes, we hope (somehow) that spending on ourselves in some way contributes to our being more Christ-exalting people.

But do we really need this money? Very few do. We would have gotten on fine without it. If we didn’t know it was coming, we wouldn’t even be feeling the desires we are feeling right now.

May I encourage you to be radically creative and hedonistic. Jesus said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). And those crazy Macedonians in a “severe test of affliction” and in “extreme poverty” had an “abundance of joy” that overflowed in a “wealth of generosity.” They even begged Paul “for the favor of taking part in the relief of the saints” (2 Corinthians 8:2-4). They really believed what Jesus said. Really.

Before the check comes dream of some person or ministry which might make much of Christ because you treasured him above your next home project.

The reason God created money and enabled us to earn it is so that we could show by the way we use it that money is not our treasure, Christ is. That’s why the checks are coming. So we can make Christ look great.

“Be content with what you have, for he has said,
‘I will never leave you nor forsake you’” (Hebrews 13:5-6).

- John Piper

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Resurrection: Jesus Christ Was Raised From The Dead

But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared. And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. - Luke 24:1-3 ESV

"Jesus' resurrection, which was a divine act involving all three Persons of the Godhead (John 10:17-18; Acts 13:30-35; Rom. 1:4), was not just a resuscitation of the ruined physical form that was taken down from the cross for burial. It was, rather, a transformation of Jesus' humanity that enabled him to appear, vanish, and move unseen from one location to another (Luke 24:31-36). It was the creative renewing of his original body, the body that is now fully glorified and deathless (Phil. 3:21; Heb 7:16, 24). The Son of God in heaven still lives in and through that body, and will do so forever. In 1 Corinthians 15:50-54, Paul envisages that Christians who are alive on earth at the moment of Christ's return will undergo a similar transformation, though in 2 Corinthians 5:1-5 he shows himself aware that Christians who die before the Second Coming will be "clothed" with their new body (the "eternal house in heaven") as a distinct event, at or after the time of the old body's return to the dust (Gen. 3:19).
Christianity rests on the certainty of Jesus' resurrection as a space-time occurrence in history. All four Gospels highlight it, focusing on the empty tomb and resurrection appearances, and Acts insists on it (Acts 1:3; 2:24-35; 3:15; 4:10; 5:30-32; 13:33-37). Paul regarded the Resurrection as indisputable proof that the message about Jesus as Judge and Savior is true (Acts 17::31; 1 Cor. 15:1-11, 20).
Jesus' resurrection demonstrated his victory over death (Acts 2:24; 1 Cor. 15:54-57), vindicated him as righteous (John 16:10), and indicated his divine identity (Rom. 1:4). It led on to his ascension and enthronement (Acts 1:9-11; 2:34; Phil. 2:9-11; cf. Isa. 53:10-12) and his present heavenly reign. It guarantees the believer's present forgiveness and justification (Rom. 4:25; 1 Cor. 15:17) and is the basis of resurrection life in Christ for the believer here and now (John 11:25-26; Rom 6; Eph. 1:18-2:10; Col. 2:9-15; 3:1-4)." - J.I. Packer, Concise Theology, pp. 125-126

2nd Chapter Of Acts - Easter Song

And as they were frightened and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise.” - Luke 24:5-7 ESV

He is risen. He is risen, indeed!!

Soli Deo Gloria,

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Evangel Lies: Happy Easter from John Dominic Crossan...

Watch. Listen.

This may very well be one of the most bizarre statements that I've heard in a long time. John Dominic Crossan's statement is heretical. There, I said it. Some of you may think that this is a little harsh--that I've crossed the line by passing such a harsh judgement on a man who claims to be of the same faith that I claim as well. But the difference between myself and JDC is where we get our material. Basically, Crossan says, "If he [Jesus] is in fact dead, so what? It doesn't shake my faith at all!". But the statement begs the question: WHAT exactly is it that he would believe in?!

Let's take our current holiday into consideration. The focus of the Easter holiday for the Christian community is the death AND resurrection of our Lord. To be sure, we are celebrating the passion of the Christ and his triumph over the grave which frees all of those who believe in him from death and hell as well. This is the Gospel in shorthand. Now, when we take this into consideration up and against what Crossan says, it makes you wonder how in the world anyone who is a rational, thinking Christian can basically say that they are essentially indifferent about the death and more particularly, the resurrection. This is the culmination of the Good News of the Gospel--if we get to the end of the story and Jesus did everything else, but does not rise after the third day, we are indeed nothing more than dead men walking. This is the same sentiment expressed in the scriptures themselves:

Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied. - 1 Corinthians 15:12-19 ESV

So while nothing will change for Crossan, it's pretty clear from the Bible itself that everything changes. There is no salvation for sin without the resurrection of Christ from the dead. Every prophecy of scripture, every orthodox creed and confession gets turned on its head. There would be no good news to tell; we are left with just another Friday and relegating Easter to a day of Egg-laying Bunnies and Cadbury's. Sweet. A guy couldn't ask for more...

I doesn't take long for Crossan's hypothetical to step over into the heretical. The fact that he's willing to go out on a limb and make such a statement means that he doesn't have much faith in the deity of Jesus Christ, which ultimately leaves him with no faith at all. He assumes Christianity based solely on it's moral teachings, but he denies the very thing that makes it viable for the salvation of mankind. That's not what I would call contending for the gospel--it's offending the gospel delivered once for all to the saints.

As you go about your business this Easter weekend, please take the time to meditate not just on the life of Jesus; meditate on our risen Lord and his triumph over the death, sin, and hell. Without this monumental historical event there is no hope for any. I would also urge you to pray for men like Crossan who have a muddled view of the savior. Pray that they come to the knowledge of the truth. And lastly, for those who do believe, don't forget to share this wonderful news with someone over the holiday....

He is risen. He is risen, indeed. Amen.

But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. He must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death. For “God has put all things in subjection under his feet.” But when it says, “all things are put in subjection,” it is plain that he is excepted who put all things in subjection under him. When all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to him who put all things in subjection under him, that God may be all in all. - 1 Corinthians 15:20-28 ESV

Soli Deo Gloria,

Preserve and Light the Way: On Being Salt and Light (Pt. 2)

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. - John 1:5 ESV

"But the fallen human beings need more than barricades to stop them becoming as bad as they could be. They need regeneration, new life through the gospel. Hence our second vocation to be 'the light of the world'. For the truth of the gospel is the light, contained indeed in fragile earthenware lamps, yet shining through our very eartnenness with the more conspicuous brightness. We are called both to spread the gospel and to frame our manner of life in a way that is worthy of the gospel." - John R.W. Stott

As for our second role as Christians, being the light of the world, Jesus gives a simpler explanation. That is, at least it is simpler in our ability to comprehend what we are to do. While there can be some linguistic and historical wrangling as to what definition of salt we are to be in a metaphorical sense. It also gives us a better understanding of how these two functions of being salt and light compliment one another. Without salt to "prepare the way", in a manner of speaking, the light will have little or no effect.

"This Little Light O' Mine..."

As the light of the world, Christ describes his followers in two ways--the first of which is 'a city on a hill'. We are not to be hidden; we are to stand out. It should be almost impossible for us to stay hidden. We should always seek to make ourselves as visible as possible, to be in plain sight of the watching world. In a second metaphor, Christ explains this as a lamp that is used to light a house. He points out how ridiculous it would be for anyone to light a lamp and then try to conceal the light that it gives off. John Calvin comments on this issue:

"This means that they ought to live in such a manner, as if the eyes of all were upon them. And certainly, the more eminent a person is, the more injury he does by a bad example, if he acts improperly. Christ, therefore, informs the apostles, that they must be more careful to live a devout and holy life, than unknown persons of the common rank, because the eyes of all are directed to them, as lighted candles; and that they must not be endured, if their own devotion, and uprightness of conduct, do not correspond to the doctrine of which they are ministers."

The Christian's life is one of ultimate exposure and exhibition. We are to be on display for all the world to see. How else are we suppose to light the way for a world that remains in darkness? People everywhere are searching for a "better way". Take a trip on the Internet highway or a click of the remote control and we are immediately overwhelmed with all sorts of products of "salvation". Everyone has an angle promising to save us from the problems and misery of life. It comes in all shapes and forms--from money to miracle creams. Yet these things never truly satisfy and leave us wanting. We, by our fallen nature are conditioned for the darkness. As Jesus told Nicodemus, "man loves darkness more than the light".

"...I'm Gonna Let it Shine!"

Therefore it is the duty of the Christian to spread the light of the gospel into the world. We are to illuminate the darkened eyes by our example. This is why Jesus admonishes his disciples to take care that they always have the light shining. That we do not try to hide ourselves because of our own human frailty. Also, we must not allow ourselves to be extinguished by discouragement of our failures at times. Christ sustains us in both our failures and our successes. There are many examples in the Bible to point out the shortcomings of many mighty men and women, both old and new testaments, who had moments of faltering. But the thing that will sustain us through it all is that we remember that we are not doing any of this for ourselves. Our light is not to be shown for our own gratification and glory, but to the Glory of God Alone. We are in the business of shining the light that points to salvation in Christ as the only way, not through us. As Paul states to Timothy,

though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life. To the King of ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen - 1 Timothy 1:13-17 ESV

So as we go about our business of being in the world and not of it, we must always remember that salt and light must go together like law and gospel--you can't have one without the other. Light the way for the watching world.

Hoobastank - Crawling in the Dark

Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” - John 8:12 ESV

"As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world." - John 9:5 ESV

Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart. But we have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways. We refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God's word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to everyone's conscience in the sight of God. And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled only to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. - 2 Corinthians 4:1-6 ESV

that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world - Philippians 2:15 ESV

Soli Deo Gloria,

Sunday, March 16, 2008

For all you Ben Stein Fans...

I've heard a lot of buzz about this film. I can't wait to see it when it comes out (I hope). Go to the website, check out the trailers...

Also don't forget to sign up for updates so you can find out ways to get this movie played in your area.

Oh yeah...one more thing...TELL YOUR FRIENDS!!!



In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. - Genesis 1:1 ESV

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. - John 1:1-3 ESV

Soli Deo Gloria,

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Preserve and Light the Way: On Being Salt and Light (Pt. 1)

"You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people's feet. You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven." - Matthew 5:13-16 ESV

"For everyone will be salted with fire. Salt is good, but if the salt has lost its saltiness, how will you make it salty again? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another." -
Mark 9:49-50 ESV

"No one after lighting a lamp puts it in a cellar or under a basket, but on a stand, so that those who enter may see the light. Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eye is healthy, your whole body is full of light, but when it is bad, your body is full of darkness. Therefore be careful lest the light in you be darkness." - Luke 11:33-35 ESV

At the beginning of the Jesus' sermon, we have learned through the beatitudes what the characteristics of his followers should be. Now as we start to move further into Matthew 5, the verses following begin to give a picture of what they are to accomplish in the world in which they live. In other words, they have learned how they are to be--now they are going to learn what they are to do...

These two elements, Salt and Light are not two different metaphors for the same function. As John Stott states in his commentary on the Message of Sermon on the Mount:

"In fact their effects are complementary. The function of salt is largely negative: it prevents decay. The function of light is positive: it illuminates the darkness...For it is one thing to stop the spread of evil; it is another to promote the spread of truth, beauty and goodness."

Salt of the Earth

Salt in the time of Jesus and the apostles was not as we know it today; we use refined salt. But they used an unrefined salt--a sort of sea salt, if you will--collected from deposits on the Dead Sea Coast. The only reason that I bring this up is because it can matter in the interpretation of the verses above. The sodium chloride in which we use pure. Because of this it cannot lose its "saltiness". However, because the sea salt was unrefined, this meant that if it was mingled with other elements and that it could indeed lose its saltiness over a period of time. The point of pointing this out is that it adds weight to the warning that Jesus gives them. If we misunderstand the context of the salt, we may be led to believe that Jesus is merely speaking in hypothetical terms. We may also be led to believe that we as Christians in the world are to be "savory"--simply appealing to others because we "taste good". But be assured that the threat of losing saltiness is very real and we as followers of Christ are not simply left here in the world to be the spice of life.

The salt in those times was used as a preservative due to a lack of refrigeration. Things such as raw meat and fish would spoil rapidly (especially considering the climate) if they weren't salted. Seeing as how these things were already dead, the decaying process can be slowed through a preservative, but not stopped. So it is with the human race. Since the fall of man in the Garden of Eden, all of the created order has been degenerating; in particular--Man--who was made in the image of God, while he still retains that image, it is a broken and decaying one (Genesis 6:5-7, 11-12; Isaiah 53:6; John 3:18-19; Romans 1:18-32, 3:10-18; 1 Corinthians 7:31; 1 John 2:17). Therefore the Christian's first role in this world is to act as a slowing agent to the retrograde process that has been brought about by man's disobedience and hostility toward God. To quote Stott again:

"What does it mean to be Christian? To begin with, we Christian people should be more courageous, more outspoken in condemning evil. Condemnation is negative, to be sure, but the action of salt is negative. Sometimes standards slip and slide in a community for want of a clear Christian protest."

As we salt ourselves in Christ-likeness, it should have an overflowing effect. We preserve by being in our communities. As I said earlier, the salt of their day was mingled with other things. This is much like Christians in the world; we too are together with non-believers. This is an act of grace by God who sends us out into all of creation that the influence of the gospel may saturate the cultures of the world in order to hold back the destructive effects of evil. But when we fail to do our job, it leaves us and them worse for the wear. John Calvin states eloquently on the admonition of Christ to his disciples,

"There is nothing better than to receive this seasoning, by which alone our tastelessness is corrected. But, at the same time, let those whose business it is to salt it beware lest they encourage the world in their own folly, and still more, that they do not infect it with a depraved and vicious taste."

To say it another way, if we allow ourselves to become too saturated with the desires of this world, we lose our effectiveness. Christ leaves no wiggle room here. To be anything less than salt is to be worthless (Hebrews 6:1-8; Revelation 2:4-5). We become nothing more than something to be trampled upon.

"I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world." - John 17:15-16 ESV

Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person. -
Colossians 4:5-6 ESV

Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation. - 1 Peter 2:11-12 ESV

Soli Deo Gloria,


Saturday, February 16, 2008

Evangel Lies: Come Thou UNACCEPTED Jesus...?!

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.’”) And from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father's side, he has made him known. - John 1: 14-18 ESV

"I don't target Jewish People for conversion." - John Hagee

So let's take the verse we just read above into consideration as we watch and listen to this clip by Pastor John Hagee.

Just when you thought it couldn't get any worse, it does!! John Hagee releases a new book that makes outlandish claims as to who Jesus Christ "really" is and how that relates to the Jewish Nation (Israel). Here are a few thoughts that I wanted to share...enjoy!!

Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. - Isaiah 7:14 ESV

For to us a child is born,to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder,and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peacethere will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousnessfrom this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this. - Isaiah 9:6-7 ESV

Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet:

“Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us). - Matthew 1:18-23 ESV

The disciples of John reported all these things to him. And John, calling two of his disciples to him, sent them to the Lord, saying, “Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?” And when the men had come to him, they said, “John the Baptist has sent us to you, saying, ‘Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?’” In that hour he healed many people of diseases and plagues and evil spirits, and on many who were blind he bestowed sight. And he answered them, “Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, the poor have good news preached to them. And blessed is the one who is not offended by me.” - Luke 7:18-23 ESV

But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel, and not all are children of Abraham because they are his offspring, but “Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.” This means that it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of the promise are counted as offspring. - Romans 9:6-8 ESV

Brothers, my heart's desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved. For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. For, being ignorant of the righteousness of God, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God's righteousness. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes. For Moses writes about the righteousness that is based on the law, that the person who does the commandments shall live by them. But the righteousness based on faith says, “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’” (that is, to bring Christ down) or “‘Who will descend into the abyss?’” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?” So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ. But I ask, have they not heard? Indeed they have, for “Their voice has gone out to all the earth, and their words to the ends of the world.” But I ask, did Israel not understand? First Moses says, “I will make you jealous of those who are not a nation; with a foolish nation I will make you angry.” Then Isaiah is so bold as to say, “I have been found by those who did not seek me;I have shown myself to those who did not ask for me.” But of Israel he says, “All day long I have held out my hands to a disobedient and contrary people.” - Romans 10:1-21 ESV

The woman said to him, “I know that Messiah is coming (he who is called Christ). When he comes, he will tell us all things.” Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am he.” - John 4:25-26 ESV

Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. - John 20:30-31 ESV

Verbum Domini Manet in Aeternum,


Monday, January 21, 2008

Welcome to The Struggle: The Peace That Starts the War (Pt. 2)

“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.“Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you." - Matthew 5:10-12 ESV

"If you are to have peace with God, there must be war with Satan." - Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Contra Mundum (Against the World)

What we are quick to find in the verses following Matthew 5:9, is that Peace with God is not equivocal to peace with our fellow man. In fact, what Jesus is plainly laying out before his followers is the exact opposite; you should expect hostility from the world once you've been brought out of the darkness and bondage of sin. As we have seen and read in our previous studies, "friendship with the world is enmity with God" (Genesis 3:14-15, James 4:4). Notice that Paul says that we are to try ("as far as it depends on you") to live peaceably with all (Romans 12:18). Not at any time are we guaranteed that this sentiment will be reciprocated. Once believers have been brought from death and sin to life in Christ, they are now set apart (sanctified) up and against the world. It makes them public enemy No.1 in the devil's domain (Ephesians 2:1-10; 1 John 5:19). The reason that we often times struggle with the concept of Blessed are the peacemakers, is largely due to our misinterpretation of what peace it is that we're seeking (Matthew 10:34-39; Luke 12:49-53). Once you enlist in the army of the Lord, it is an inevitable fact that you will see combat and that the stakes are high; eternity hangs in the balance. Knowing what we know, we must be willing to hang all conviction on the line - even lay our lives on the line, for this is no ordinary combat scenario. This is not your father's war; it is fought on a cosmic stage with cosmic, as well as, supernatural consequences (Ephesians 6:12).

Fighting The Good Fight

This sort of language in our age of the peace and prosperity "gospel" may be called disturbing. However, it is only disturbing when we take our eyes off of Christ as our assurance and the promises that are made to those who follow him (Matthew 16:24; John 15:18-20; 16:1-4, 33). The peace that Christians obtain doesn't turn them into pacifists (Luke 22:35-38), but it must be fought with a different type of weaponry (John 18:36; 2 Corinthians 10:3-6; Ephesians 6:13-18). Even though the battle that rages is a spiritual one, it will manifest itself at times in the physical realm; ungodly people will seek to do us harm, at times, and succeed (Matthew 11:12). As strange as it may sound, this should not concern us. In his letters to Timothy, Paul uses war-like analogies to encourage the young pastor in the hardships he would face in his service for Christ:

Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. - 1 Timothy 6:12 ESV


Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him. - 2 Timothy 2:3-4 ESV

Dying to Live

A strange response indeed, but the concern for our safety should not be an issue. Our priority should be proclaiming the gospel of Christ promiscuously; knowing all the while that our lives are hidden in Christ, and that regardless of the outcome of our physical well-being here in this life, we will be raised again to a better life with him in the consummation of his kingdom. No accusation of guilt by the Devil, or ill-will, or harm threatened to our bodies and/or reputation by enemies (from any side they may come from) will be able to thwart God's plan of bringing his children into his glory. We should live in confidence that whatever troubles spiritually or physically that may come, we will be more than conquerors (Matthew 10:28; John 6:37-40; Romans 8; Philippians 1:21; Hebrews 11:32-38; Revelation 2:11, 20:6).

DMX - Lord Give Me a Sign

No weapon that is fashioned against you shall succeed, and you shall confute every tongue that rises against you in judgment. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord and their vindication from me, declares the Lord. - Isaiah 54:17 ESV

The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. - Romans 16:20 ESV

Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ. - Jude 3-4 ESV

“When principles that run against your deepest convictions begin to win the day, then battle is your calling, and peace has become sin; you must, at the price of dearest peace, lay your convictions bare before friend and enemy, with all the fire of your faith.” - Abraham Kuyper

Soli Deo Gloria,


Sunday, January 20, 2008

The Peace That Starts the War (Pt. 1)

"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. " - Matthew 5:9 ESV

"The mere absence of war is not peace." - John F. Kennedy

When asked to define peace, most people will give an answer that equates more or less to something like, "a world without conflict, suffering or violence". Yet, in a reading at the close of the beatitudes in Jesus' Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 5:9-12), we are forced (once again--as we have been throughout our study of the beatitudes) to take a deeper look at what it truly means to be a peacemaker as a follower of Christ. In light of the verses that follow verse 9, it can appear at first glance to be an outright contradiction. How can he possibly expect us to make when we are being attacked and slandered? Intuition tells us to fight; in some cases, run. This sounds more like surrender--like giving up. But as we shall see, it is all about priority; how true peace is accomplished, how it transforms us, and how we are to strive or contend for it in this world.

Peace with God

If a person truly wishes to have any sort of real peace in the world, he must first be able to answer this question:

"What must I do to escape the wrath of a holy and righteous God?"

As it says in Scripture,

Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation. - Romans 5:1-11 ESV

Martin Luther comments on these verses:

“With ‘peace’ the Apostle here means that peace of which all prophets speak, namely, spiritual peace, as he indicates this by the phrase ‘peace with God’. This peace consists properly in an appeased conscience and in confidence in God, just as conversely the lack of peace means spiritual anxiety, a disturbed conscience and a mistrust over against God.”

As we can see from the text, peace has a much deeper connotation than just the absence of violence. It is the relenting of an angry God against worthy sinners. Through the person and redeeming work of Jesus Christ, God no longer seeks to destroy us and clears our conscience and hearts of sin. It is only through the repentance of sin and faith in Christ that we are saved from the wrath, as God himself initiates reconciliation with sinful man by offering up his own son as a propitiation (turning away) of his anger against us (1 John 4: 9-10). Without this perfect peace, we should seek peace no further, for it would be utterly meaningless and vain in its end. It will serve only as an act of futility, due to the interference of self-interest, greed, and evil (James 4: 1-3).

Like Father, Like Sons

We read from our key text that we find peace with God by becoming "sons of God". As we are made sons through Christ, we must then begin to take on the attribute of peace that has been granted to us. God himself is a God of peace (Romans 15:33; 1 Corinthians 14:33) and we are to become like him, seeking to reconcile ourselves, by his grace, to the rest of the world:

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. - Romans 12:14-21 ESV

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. - Philippians 4:4-7 ESV

Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person. – Colossians 4:5-6 ESV

It should be noted that the outpouring of our peace with God is an active one. We should strive for peace with the rest of the world, first and foremost, through sharing the Gospel. This will definitely be a difficult task. We will have to fight for this peace; at times, the price will be costly.

“Nothing can give perfect peace of conscience with God but what can make atonement for sin. And whoever attempts it in any other way but by virtue of that atonement will never attain it, in this world or hereafter.” - John Owen

Happy MLK...

Soli Deo Gloria,


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