May 31, 2008

Daily Help from Charles H. Spurgeon - May 30th

I've been reading the end of I Chronicles and the Gospel of John this week. In my reading I've seen the wonder of faith in the Israelites as they brought forth their treasures and valuables in dedication to the building of "Solomon's" temple. Then in John 11:28-44 we see the faith of our Lord in knowing that the Father always hears Him. This matter of Lazarus' death, the disciples unbelief, and the grief brought upon by the doubt of Jesus' words prompts our Lord to weep. Ironically, once again, the words of Charles Spurgeon are not far from where the Lord as me in the Scriptures. Amen!

Here's C.H. Spurgeon for May 30th...

Beloved reader, what is thy desperate case? What heavy matter hast thous in hand this evening? Bring it hither. The God of the prophets lives, and lives to help his saints. He will not suffer thee to lack any good thing. Believe thou in the Lord of Hosts! Approach him pleading the name of Jesus; thou too shalt see the finger of God working marvels for his people. According to thy faith be it unto thee. In our hours of bodily pain and mental anguish, we find ourselves as naturally driven to prayer as the wreck is driven upon the shore by the waves.

Faith, then, we choose, rather than doubt, as the mainspring of our life.

May 30, 2008

Featured Sermon/Audio - Conference Messages

Once in awhile, there's a sermon that helps you deal with some hard things. Sometimes, there's a sermon that hits the nail on the head. Often, the Lord speaks directly to you through the proclamation of His Eternal Word. But there also comes a time when a message does more than make you go hmm, It makes you rejoice and be glad that the Lord has chosen the preaching of His word as a communication of His oracles. And lastly, there are always those sermons that help you paint a clearer picture of just what it takes to walk in righteousness and how to live a life that conveys a better testimony of His work in you! Here are one of those sermons...

Title: New Attitude Conference 2008 (Memorial 9Day Weekend)
Speaker(s) : Josh Harris, Mark Dever, Al Mohler, C.J. Mahaney, Eric Simmons, and John Piper
Message Delivered @: Memorial Weekend 2008
Download: Visit the New Attitude Live Blog for the List of Fresh New Messages!

Description: This year at Na 08 we’ll rediscover the well-worn pages of our Bibles. We’ll spend time considering the certainty, sufficiency, and relevance of God’s word – that it may become to us a joy and our delight.

May 28, 2008

Christian Library at Your Browser's Disposal

I have always found this to be a very useful resource. If anything it's a buried treasure. I don't know how many of you out there are familiar with it, but I thought I would share it with the blog's readers anyway. It's Christian Classics Ethereal Library located on Calvin College's servers. There are Pdf's, TxT's, and many other electronic sources for Christian literature, history, and reference material online at your fingertips. They allow free downloading of all material, but after downloading many times, they ask for donations, which is understood. Considering that the cost of operating a service that gives stuff away free, is not free....

May 27, 2008

Movement: Detroit Outreach

This past weekend was the annual Detroit Electronic Music Festival, or newly known as "Movement." As thousands of music fans, citizens of it's subculture, locals, and suburban pilgrims descended upon Hart Plaza and the inner-city. While techno/electronica beats thumped into the airspace above one of America's worst cities. While many found joy and ecstacy through the repetitious music and beats that invoked trance like states and sensuous behavior the thought of their last breath or their eternal state grew further and further from their minds.

If you've found this post unintentionally, please check this out for curiosity's sake?

Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday there were various believers out making an attempt to reach some, if any, just one person with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Many tracts and Gospels were distributed, one to one conversations were had. There were even quite a few conversations with believers who took tracts to distribute and were encouraged to go and share their faith as well! Please pray for all those who received tracts, Gospel literature, and prayer this week. And especially remember one in particular, let's just call her the Anti-Yahweh Lady. We run into her and her "people" at almost every outreach we do and she hates God adamantly. I attempted to show her that her hatred does not affect my love for her soul and I pray that it provides a witness of my Savior's grace in me.

If you are in the Detroit area, a believer in Christ Jesus, and interested in doing local outreach, please contact me HERE.

May 26, 2008

Dreaming of Idols and Wisdom from Solomon

I'm almost sure that the prevalent news of disasters recently has provided my subconscious materials that inspired a recent dream. Then again, I rarely ever look at the news; and the little exposure that I do have are in brief media snippets on my home page. This I'm sure is quite enough, as our human minds are capable of plenty of carnage on their own.

Saturday morning I awoke from my sleep and procrastinated waking up. But as I laid there the jist of my dream had not hit me. When I sat down to read my devotion and the Word for the morning it all began to come together. I will try to make this as brief as possible without compromising what I honestly believe is wonderful, as it shows the power of the Lord through His Word.

The Dream: Sleeping on an embankment, alone, insecure, and uncertain of what is occurring, I could recall feeling far away from home. Secondly there had been a great flood, earthquake, or some other huge disaster that had devastating effects. While I was sheltered from the results of the event, the fallout is what hit me hardest. I attempted to reach home and soon learned that everything I treasured had been destroyed. Of the items that I felt the most heartbroken about, I was most saddened by the loss of all my books. I was panicked and immediately began concocting ways to rebuild my "library." This is where I placed my faith and relied upon as my source of "wisdom." Without my books, I am nothing.

The Scriptures: When I began reading my morning devotions and the Word, I came across something that startled me, struck me as odd even. The amazement that came over me was joy and peace, knowing my Lord was speaking to me through His Word. How happy was I that the Lord was correcting me. I read briefly in Matthew 12:41-42 and then referred back to the Old Testament in I Kings 10:1-13. What was so humbling about this experience was that immediately I could see my own sin that was impeding my reliance upon Christ Jesus. I have made idols out of many of my "extra-biblical" sources and not stood firmly on His Word as my soul provision. I am ashamed. But I am grateful He has allowed me to be corrected. Just as Jesus points out, I have been seeking "wisdom from Solomon" and ignoring the presence of my Lord here and now. As valuable as these sources may be, I have exalted them, or prioritized them over my daily Scripture reading. Therefore, I humbly repent, here and now.

Are you idolizing your books and theology?

Update: 5-26 12:39am, Seemingly Tim Challies expresses a slightly similar thought. Check it out, and read the Puritan Prayer he has posted along with his mutual struggle.

May 24, 2008

Daily Help from Charles H. Spurgeon - May 24th

Question: What do we do with the sin of our past after we are converted? How do we feel about it?

Concerning the consciousness of evil in the past of our lives and the tendency to wrongdoing in nature, the Bible is very clear, and it is most admirably explicit as to God's way of removing this barrier to our future progress. In Holy Scripture we see a most wise and gracious method for the putting away of guilt, without injury to the divine justice. The atonement offered by the Lord Jesus, who is the essence of the revelation of God, is an eminently satisfactory solution of the soul's sternest problem. Our feeling is that God the universal Ruler, must do right, and must not, even for mercy's sake, relax the rule that evil done must bring evil as it's consequence.

-Charles H. Spurgeon

May 23, 2008

Featured Sermon/Audio

Once in awhile, there's a sermon that helps you deal with some hard things. Sometimes, there's a sermon that hits the nail on the head. Often, the Lord speaks directly to you through the proclamation of His Eternal Word. But there also comes a time when a message does more than make you go hmm, It makes you rejoice and be glad that the Lord has chosen the preaching of His word as a communication of His oracles. And lastly, there are always those sermons that help you paint a clearer picture of just what it takes to walk in righteousness and how to live a life that conveys a better testimony of His work in you! Here are one of those sermons...

Title: Let Your Passion Be Single
Speaker : John Piper
Ministry: Desiring God Senior Pastor, Bethelehem Baptist Church
Message Delivered @: November 12th, 1999
Download: Secure the file to your computer.

Description: You will be the happiest if your one goal is to magnify Christ.

May 22, 2008

Patience is Knowing Your Place

Being a fast food manager is a trial laden profession to persevere. I would not necessarily call this an esteemed vocation, nor would I encourage anyone to pursue it. Initially my thoughts about donning the manager's tie, the stuffy shirt, and clever little name tag that says "manager" on it are anxious and apprehensive. Often when this ritual begins, the thoughts of another day (or night) of stress are about to commence. I wish that I could say that it is the wage I earn that makes me uncomfortable with the job, but that is not the case. I've actually attempted to remedy that in many ways by pursuing raises. These attempts have only been met with humbling experiences that make me realize my selfish efforts have done nothing more than provide a temporary masking of the obvious. The job is still stressful. So, money is not going to fix this problem.

Understanding that patience is knowing my place means that I know waiting on the Lord is the best option. Knowing His Sovereignty is at work in the world and in my life enables me to immediately revere His grace and mercy. It empowers me to know that when I am being impatient, I am resentful that my will is not what is being done. When I am impatient, I am not trusting that He is King and I am but a slave. My impatience is essentially my rebellious nature warring against His will and my place in it.

What then shall I do? I trust in the Lord Jesus Christ, His providential will, and my calling to whatever vocation He has placed me in. In this placement I shall be a faithful minister of the Word, and strive to make disciples of every tribe, tongue, and nation! Be it McDonaldland, tourists to it's borders, or it's natives (workers). I shall be a servant of my Lord and rejoice in the privilege of participating in His great commission!

May 21, 2008

The Mysterious Providence of Our Lord

I found some interesting posts concerning the providence of our Lord. Ballantyn Presbyterian Church's blog, "True North with Dr. John Currid", has posted some cool stories regarding said providence. Check these out.

Mysterious Providence I - "D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones tells the story of an extraordinary event in the early days of his ministry at his first church in Aberavon."

Mysterious Providence II - "The Metropolitan Tabernacle in London, where Charles Spurgeon pastored, was at one time undergoing massive renovation."

Mysterious Providence III - "Daniel Webster Whittle was a major in the Union army during the American Civil War during the 1860’s."

In reading these three posts, I couldn't help but to think, "How cool is that!"

May 20, 2008

I Know, Let's Play Church!

The news of hearing about teachers, ministers, elders, and pastors in positions of leadership that abuse their office, or in my opinion neglect it, is often very prevalent. But, how often does it become ultimately real when you witness a loved one or close friend who becomes a victim of it?

It is not to say that the direct abuse of these positions is the causality of deterring people from attending fellowship with other believers, as true believers will seek and find fellowship with others. But the case being made here is that it's completely frustrating to see men in an office of overseer or elder and be completely neglectful of their wife and their family.

As a sibling, and a follower of Christ, I am appalled and angry with the abuse that I've witnessed. Not physical abuse, but blatant neglect because men are much too content with "playing" church then they are satisfied in serving Christ. Maybe they've forgotten to read their Bibles.


May 16, 2008

An Ocean of Sinners, and One Light, The Savior.

Wednesday evening brought about some interesting observations. Last week I was asked by my employer to be present at an awards banquet given for the class of 2008 at the high school adjacent from my job. Coincidentally, this is also my Alma Mater. It is also quickly approaching my ten year class reunion. Alas, I am but a pup to many, but to myself, age is coming quickly. My bones tell me so, trust me. Anyway, I was asked to fill in for a position that couldn't be occupied by our scholarship committee chair and I obliged.

After receiving the pre-written speech to be used at the banquet I was appalled and quickly asked permission to deviate. My supervisor said she trusted me, so I took the green light. Granted all the conditions were palatable for making me a nervous wreck I was able to pull off what I hoped to be glorifying to God. My stay at this school was not one of honor and scholarly dedication. Many of my old instructors were present and most remembered me. It was graduation by the skin of my teeth. Nevertheless, I chose to speak briefly on human culture's dedication to exalt self in such a way that to achieve security is the goal. This goal is elusive and amounts to being of absolutely no use to anyone else because you're too busy satisfying yourself. Our achievements are only satisfactory in a moment to moment basis and the payoff is temporary in light of eternity.

I presented a scholarship to a deserving candidate, and shortly afterward I spoke to her personally and gave her a New Testament. I made note that it was from me and not the organization I represented. I hope she was listening to what I was telling her, and I pray that she reads that New Testament to hear the words of life before she embarks on a journey into one of the most hostile environments I've ever been in. Academia.

Whats the contrast here? If you don't see it let me share one last observation. The valedictorian of the class, whom was well celebrated and won many awards, made out well. She received much acclaim from her peers and teachers. However, she has in my personal experience with her disrespectful behavior. Of the many students I've asked to leave the lobby at work, she is one of them. Yet, we as a culture praise accomplishments instead of God. Go figure. Makes me think about how a notorious murderer and infamous gang founder was revered by many in his ethnic community for writing children's books.

Thank You Jesus Christ, For Being Our Only Hope.

May 14, 2008

Friday Night Witnessing

Last Friday night was eventful. There were no fantastic light shows, no collection plates passed after emotional pleas, and no sinner's prayer admonitions to the masses. But there was an outpouring. That's right, an outpouring. What kind of outpouring? Is it anything like Florida's? Were the signs and wonders in our midst? Man, not the kind you would expect to see. As a matter of fact, Team Pyro has affectionately penned a response to "Revival" in the context of Florida HERE. I would encourage you to check that one out.

I digress, the outpouring involved the Holy Spirit's move amongst the redeemed to encourage them to reach out to the lost around them. This outpouring also involved the bringing together of saints from different cities, churches, and backgrounds. The unity was in the preaching of Christ Crucified. The venue was the thousands of people that flooded the streets of downtown Detroit. The tools were tracts, open-air preachings, and one to one conversations. One brother, Benny seemed to be drawn into several conversations one after another, while some of us had none.

Altogether it was a good night. We enjoyed some fellowship in the lobby of a local hotel in which one of the security guards allowed us to congregate hassle free. The most interesting thing that I personally witnessed was the encouragement come from God through the guard that allowed me to use the facilities/restroom with his key card, considering I was not a hotel guest, this was awfully nice of him. Knowing that my brethren labor downtown regularly his comment was edifying, confirming, and no doubt uplifting to the highest. In response to my thanking him, he replied, "No problem, as long as you are with those guys, you are more than welcome, I know what you guys have been doing." Can I end that with an amen?

Please pray for the tracts that went out, hearts to be opened unto Him, and for strength, guidance, and mercy for those who faithfully minister His words.

May 12, 2008

Off the Top O' My Head

I am not a theologian
nor Catholic Roman
I don't think I'm all knowin
and I'm sure that i'm still growin.

I'm weak and bound by flesh
and every sin I resist is a test
to flee temptation I'll do my best
but without Him I have no rest.

Not being perfect and under the law
as a human will be my fatal flaw
but the Lord of Glory sure foresaw
that He'd save me and that'd be all.

No more need for my own perfection
I now know the author of my redemption
to the cross of Calvary I now set my affection
and the Savior upon it is now my obsession.

So remember the plea I now set before you
grace is the key and remedy I appeal to
the plank and the splinter will not do
but removal of them both will bless the two.

May 8, 2008

Flesh Slaves Milling About…

Think for a moment. In my work environment it's more interesting and educational than I often make it sound. While I've not experienced any reprieve from the daily threats by irate customers (this past week), I have learned a thing or two about being an example both as a Christian and as a Manager (I Peter 3:16). Today being my day off may be the only reason I've not received a physical threat from an angry food consumer. I've been able to think about the blessing's the Lord sends that we would say are "disguised" but are actually obvious! I have bosses above me and coworkers around me that are believers and more often than not, they'll offer encouragement when such trials occur in a stressful work environment (I Thess. 5:11). I thank the Lord for these blessings. It is in light of the trials that I rejoice in His sovereignty. Ultimately, the bottom line results into being a front-row witness of a diverse population of people indulging in the temptations of their flesh. Not only are they enslaved, ensnared, and completely bound by sin, they are examples of what we need to be saved from.

May 7, 2008

Red Alert - Nature Vs. Nurture

From His Book 'The Church' p.148, Edmund P. Clowney writes regarding the nurture of The Church,

The new life in Christ is a life of love, not 'sloppy agape' - not sentimental gush, but strong sacrificial love, ready to pay the price of service. Cultivating such love requires practice, but it must flow from the deepest spring of devotion to Christ. More the fruit of prayer than of programmes, it is gained in obedience as the church serves the prisoner and the outcast, the lonely and the friendless, the Forgotten in London, New York and Mexico City, the lost in Bangladesh, the starving in Africa - yes, and the neighbours across the street, those in the suburbs who have found no higher goal than money and amusement.

Tosses the self-absorbed, better me, best life now message right out the window does it not? This kind of sacrifice would mean a total change of human nature is necessary.

May 5, 2008

My Habit of Making People Mad...

The old adage "If it walks like a duck..." has been on my mind lately. Within a short span of a few weeks I've encountered more circumstances of making people angry with me then I feel my flesh is comfortable with. I've been assessing, examining, questioning, and measuring this behavior against the Scriptures and what the Christian example is to entail. It's seeming to be a slight irony that I've been studying I Peter this month. What I've experienced pales in comparison to the Saints Peter was addressing, but the principle sure is transferable.

Being in a customer service environment during a high-pace and short handed lunch rush is not one of my favorite situations to endure as a Manager. But, this happens more often than not and does not seem to have any end in sight. During these situations one can become stretched thin and unable to provide every single individual with the service they (entitled?) to. When customers don't obtain their expected level of service they become hostile and very angry with management.Often, I find that management is me. Oh for joy!

Let me get to my point here, before I go off into a tangent and miss my purpose. These particular situations have seemed to result in more than just an average angry customer experience. I've managed to be physically threatened twice inside of a week. These are not your average threats either. Without disclosing the colorful language shared by the angry customers it could be said that they desired to, "Wipe the floor clean with me."

I'd like to justify their reactions based on their personal dispositions, unregenerate states, or drug addictions (a demographic we get often), or own faults; But, I am inclined to examine myself and the reactions I give them that may provoke them to anger (James 1:19-22). This first and usual initial reaction to respond negatively is a consistent and daily struggle. This struggle is not within conformation of my managerial responsibilities, nor my conduct as a Christian and disciple of Christ's Words. This is something I strive to work on daily and pray to crucify it with all other sin.

So here's I Peter again, telling me what to do in situations where my behavior is ultimately a reflection of God's glory. If I fail to assume my duty and practice the precepts of my Lord, then i fail to participate in this reflection of truth for those who in the end will see what they've rejected.

Whilst attempting to practice patience, virtue, and a loving manner with customers/people who have become expectant of a "serve me first" attitude, I need to keep in mind that they are ignorant of what is going on behind the scenes. The personal, self-righteous, self-absorbed, and total depravity of human nature plays a major role in this matter. It blinds the individuals who often scream tolerance in the defense of others being offended, while they fail to see the offense they cause in their treatment of those who do not cater to their whims on their terms. While I very well may work for the conglomerate who has helped propagate the "My Way" attitude of our fast-food nation, I surely don't see how that excuses people in their treatment of the workers who provide that service. After all, how can you expect an unskilled profession to be flawless in all that it provides?

May 4, 2008

Featured Sermon/Audio

Once in awhile, there's a sermon that helps you deal with some hard things. Sometimes, there's a sermon that hits the nail on the head. Often, the Lord speaks directly to you through the proclamation of His Eternal Word. But there also comes a time when a message does more than make you go hmm, It makes you rejoice and be glad that the Lord has chosen the preaching of His word as a communication of His oracles. And lastly, there are always those sermons that help you paint a clearer picture of just what it takes to walk in righteousness and how to live a life that conveys a better testimony of His work in you! Here are one of those sermons...

Title: Discerning the Graymatters
Speaker : Eric Simmons
Ministry: Covenant Life Church (Singles Pastor)
Message Delivered @: New Attitude 2007 Conference
Download: Secure the file to your computer.

Play Now:

Can I have a beer with dinner? Can I watch the movie and just fast-forward past the sex scene? Can I smoke a cigar with my father, who’s not a Christian? How tight is too tight? Can I buy the expensive car?

These and many other areas of our lives can seem like the “gray areas.” If the Bible doesn’t give any rules for these, does God really care?

As Eric Simmons shows us in this message, in God’s eyes there’s no such thing as gray. With hard work and constant practice, we can learn to discern between good and evil—even when it’s not easy.

Eric gives three principles for helping us practice biblical discernment: think biblically, distrust your heart, and imitate the Father.

Humble orthodoxy means applying Scripture to our lives—even in the gray areas.

This was the fifth message delivered at the 2007 New Attitude conference.

May 1, 2008

Arabic Outreach Update

We are still praying and looking for a host facility for the upcoming conference in June. Talks with one had showed promise and agreement, however they were asking way too much money to host the conference. Two other facilities have been approached in the Wayne/Romulus area, and we are praying that one of them decide to sponsor this event. In sponsoring we do mean provision of the facilities at no cost (or very little), in order to provide an ample supply of resources to continue the ministry on the street where the direct fruit of the conference is harvested.

Everything is contingent upon the Lord's will and we ask that you just pray for us, for a location, and for laborers for the harvest.