Sep 26, 2007

Postscript "Bookstores and Broken Cisterns"

Following the reference to Jeremiah with this post is very important to what I want to say. This post comes from a broken heart that has witnessed and experience the things I'll be describing in the firsthand.

The broken cisterns that are hewed out of the ground the prophet is speaking about were typically hewed out of limestone. The limestone was often porous and over time would give way and leak. While the cisterns could be filled they did not retain water for very long. The prophet makes it very clear here that the people were seeking after things to fill these cisterns with that which has absolutely no eternal value. They're cisterns were the idolatrous desires of their wicked hearts. Being deceived by their own sinful desire they had forsaken the Lord and turned to their own objects of trust.

Bookstores are often places of valuable information of which one can purchase literature, stationary, self-help, magazines, and neat little trinkets. Even the things that are available at secular bookstores can be found in the same fashion at your local Christian bookstores. These trinkets and other collectible nick-nacks and doo-dads can especially be found branded with a "fish-symbol" or some inspirational scripture (most the time ripped completely out of context). One can't help but walk into these stores and become overwhelmed with the attack of commercialism and materialistic pleas of 2-for-1 and Buy-One-Get-One sales that lead you to believe you are getting a great deal. While I will not say that I have not taken advantage of these sales from time to time there is a motive behind them. The main objective of a store's commercial push is to get you to buy their material. The more material, the more money they make. The problem here lies within the purpose of the visit to the store. If you go with a knowledge of what you need or want your visit will be short and purposeful. If you go with the purpose of browsing or looking for a gift to give to a friend, you may be there all day.

So in expressing disdain for the many established "christian" bookstores in this country that are in no way a reflection of true Christianity I would like to bring up the idolatry that is formed through the patronizing of these stores. When you walk through the book aisles, glance at the DVD selections, and browse the Bible display, you can't help but discern the heresy awaiting the next person's purchase. These materials pose themselves as inspirational, new insight, and uplifting material to help you walk with God. The self-help books found here are often the best as I could only imagine Jesus taking a stroll down that aisle and hanging his head in the thought that man has ultimately decided to reject the cleansing power of his blood, and sufficiency of his sacrifice on the cross. Maybe we can also illustrate the craziness that comes from these bookstore visits by the conversations had with those who profess Christ with their mouth but utterly and totally depraved in their thoughts and actions. Or the resultant rejection of his true word written in revelation through the scriptures over the preferred new "understanding" and re-interpreted, modernized, relevant messages of post-modern and new-age leaders? How about we think for one hot minute of the anger that arises within a person when you point them to scripture that contradicts their "bookstore understanding" of God? What does one think about those who honor God not with their mouths and lives, but with the nifty neon light-up cross they got as part of the $5.00 member deal they got with the last purchase of some emergent leaders latest book?

Idols are shaped and formed in many ways. Images can come by way of physical characteristics, and even by way of thoughts concocted in our own minds. Isaiah references some interesting information about those who do this...

Isa 44:9-22 All who fashion idols are nothing, and the things they delight in do not profit. Their witnesses neither see nor know, that they may be put to shame. (10) Who fashions a god or casts an idol that is profitable for nothing? (11) Behold, all his companions shall be put to shame, and the craftsmen are only human. Let them all assemble, let them stand forth. They shall be terrified; they shall be put to shame together. (12) The ironsmith takes a cutting tool and works it over the coals. He fashions it with hammers and works it with his strong arm. He becomes hungry, and his strength fails; he drinks no water and is faint. (13) The carpenter stretches a line; he marks it out with a pencil. He shapes it with planes and marks it with a compass. He shapes it into the figure of a man, with the beauty of a man, to dwell in a house. (14) He cuts down cedars, or he chooses a cypress tree or an oak and lets it grow strong among the trees of the forest. He plants a cedar and the rain nourishes it. (15) Then it becomes fuel for a man. He takes a part of it and warms himself; he kindles a fire and bakes bread. Also he makes a god and worships it; he makes it an idol and falls down before it. (16) Half of it he burns in the fire. Over the half he eats meat; he roasts it and is satisfied. Also he warms himself and says, "Aha, I am warm, I have seen the fire!" (17) And the rest of it he makes into a god, his idol, and falls down to it and worships it. He prays to it and says, "Deliver me, for you are my god!" (18) They know not, nor do they discern, for he has shut their eyes, so that they cannot see, and their hearts, so that they cannot understand. (19) No one considers, nor is there knowledge or discernment to say, "Half of it I burned in the fire; I also baked bread on its coals; I roasted meat and have eaten. And shall I make the rest of it an abomination? Shall I fall down before a block of wood?" (20) He feeds on ashes; a deluded heart has led him astray, and he cannot deliver himself or say, "Is there not a lie in my right hand?" (21) Remember these things, O Jacob, and Israel, for you are my servant; I formed you; you are my servant; O Israel, you will not be forgotten by me. (22) I have blotted out your transgressions like a cloud and your sins like mist; return to me, for I have redeemed you.

So can you say that you find your encouragement in the reading of His word? Have you truly experienced the saving grace of His final work on the cross? Does his truth bring joy to your soul in the midst of trials, tribulations, and persecution? Or does the hard truth of the Bible make you angry? Does the finality of God's revelation give you discomfort? Is it possible that you hate the very things that he has ordained for mankind's existence? Do you fill your broken cistern with the feel-good runoff that oozes from the front doors of the christian bookstore and forsake the eternal fount of life that springs from the Lord thy God?

Are you a bookstore christian?

Sep 25, 2007

Preceding the Words to Come...

Be appalled, O heavens, at this; be shocked, be utterly desolate, declares the LORD, for my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water.
(Jer 2:12-13)

Sep 22, 2007

You Narrow Minded Fundamentalist You!

Isn't there just a hint of irony in the fact that people say Christians, whom are on the "narrow" path toward the "strait" gate are "narrow" minded? When people say this to us wouldn't the proper and most polite response be to say.....
(Matthew 7:14)

Thank you.

-Faithful Servant

Friday night in Downtown Detroit

It was a tough decision and a matter of weighing priorities when it came time to make a decision on whether or not to go witnessing downtown this Friday. I have a huge amount of work to catch up on and am quickly becoming overwhelmed. This is my own fault of course, as I have slacked in areas where I should not have, therefore making this decision more difficult. But, the Lord had made it clear in the scriptures to "Go into all the world..." and this is something that burns in my heart and is often a matter of suppressing the call to do the things of worldly accordance.

We made it out to the downtown area approximately 8:30pm and quickly began our walk toward the Greek town area. We spent a few moments their talking with Clyde and sharing the realities of Hell with him. Then there was a serious feeling within that it might be a good idea to go hang out near Comerica park. This proved to be a good idea as there were many people there to speak and hand tracks to. While wandering through the area we came across Lionel whom was begging for change and said he was hungry. He got honest quick and told us he was trying to get a beer. We gave him a nutri-bar and I was able to minister to him about the bondage of alcohol and addiction, his need for the Lord Jesus Christ, and the reality of standing before the Judgment seat on that fateful day he will meet him once and for all.

Lionel responded, and appeared as if he may have sobered up a bit. He said that what we talked about made perfect sense and it was time that he go and think about these things. We parted ways and now ask that you pray for Lionel's salvation with us!

There were some random conversations here and there and all will prayerfully bring forth fruit in some manner if it be the Lord's will. In all reality I am grateful for the fellowship and the opportunity to serve in the mission field for the purpose of seeking and saving the Lost. The Lord set the tone for the day as I began my morning encouraging a brother, in the evening I was able to assist in service some stranded brethren whom were trying to get to their daughters birthday dinner, and culminating all of this with fellowship with the body of believers and doing what the Lord has called us to do....PREACH!

That said, wherever two or more are gathered in my name....

When the two disciples had reached Emmaus and were refreshing themselves at the evening meal, the mysterious stranger who had so enchanted them upon the road, took bread and brake it, made himself known to them, and then vanished out of their sight. They had constrained him to abide with them, because the day was far spent; but now, although it was much later, their love was a lamp to their feet, yea, wings also; they forgot the darkness, their weariness was all gone, and forthwith they journeyed back the threescore furlongs to tell the gladsome news of a risen Lord, who had appeared to the by the way.

-Daily Help by Charles H. Spurgeon

Sep 18, 2007


Indoctrination is only indoctrination if it takes....therefore having been set free by the renewing of your mind, it has not taken. Praise God. If you think, the entire world has been indoctrinated from birth, indoctrinated with the wiles and ways of the world and culture we have been set apart from. Now that we have this freedom we need not be dismayed or discouraged by the things that "were" but encouraged by the things that "are", and all the things of the past that seem insignificant are but glimpses of His glory being displayed in the life he had set out for you to shape you, culture you, teach you, and edify you into who you are now.

Faithful Servant

Sep 17, 2007

I am not slacking, I promise!

You may be wondering, where are the updates? Where are the posts? No snazzy commentary? Well to be brutally honest, I have been committing more time to my devotions and learning from the word. I'll have to say that I enjoy fellowship with the Lord much more than fellowship with my computer screen and keyboard. However, I will say that I also enjoy very much the ability to interact with my readers or anyone else who may just stop by.

This week I'm diving into Acts 5:1-11 and have been challenged by a viewpoint that has been in opposition to the one I was "holding". This viewpoint has so dramatically been challenged, the evidence has been so well presented, and my opinion has been officially deemed "mashed potato". Not even lumpy, but more like a terrible mixture of instant potato's that have had too much water added to them. Yes, this is true, I said it. I am currently in limbo on my understanding of this text, but am definitely in change mode.

Presupposition Alert! The understanding I had and the one I am coming to establish rests with this, is it possible to be born again and stay that way? If this is so, how does it effect how we see this text? If you are born again, and willing to look at how you see yourself in light of God's will, grace, and wraith, would you see this text has a false conversion story or a just judgement and example being set? More on this later....I'm sure

Until then, time management is the chore, homework is the burden, but I still Love the Lord Jesus and man is his wisdom awesome!

Sep 7, 2007

Brethren? Heirs with Christ? Amen!

John 20:17
Jesus said to her, "Stop clinging to Me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to (My brethren and say to them, 'I ascend to My Father and your Father, and My God and your God.'"

Imagine that my lost friend, knowing the Son of the Most High God, the Creator himself in a relationship of not only him as Lord, but as a brother.

Romans 8:16-17
The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.

And we too as new creations will enjoy the reward of eternal life in the Kingdom of Heaven. Imagine that, being glorified together with all the saints and with Christ himself!

....Trembling yet?