Jun 30, 2008

Ten Reasons Not To Be A Pharisee/Sadducee

While contemplating things that are currently occurring in my life, I thought of some that make me grateful for God's grace. Whether it is looking onward toward what the future may bring, or reflecting on the past in what the Lord has brought me through, It's all been one huge learning experience. Each day brings about deeper teachings from the Scriptures; the Word of our Lord, and the refining work that it does in each and every believer. In this perspective the main thought that had been recurring most can be summed up in the following ten reasons I've decided not to be a Pharisee.
  1. They were known as a brood of vipers. (Matthew 3:7)
  2. They set a standard of unobtainable righteousness through men. (Matthew 5:20)
  3. Fellowship with sinners was not an option for them. (Matthew 9:11-13)
  4. There piety was based upon their strict keeping of tradition. (Matthew 12:2-8)
  5. Being called an evil and adulterous generation by the Lord is not good. (Matthew 12:38-39)
  6. They were blind guides leading others to a pit, of which the Lord instructed the disciples to let them be. (Matthew 15:13-14)
  7. They produced leaven that was dangerous and puffed up with error and falsehoods. (Matthew 16:11-12)
  8. They plotted and attempted to ensnare the Lord by questioning His words. (Matthew 22:15-46)
  9. There problem was very clear to the Lord, but not to them. (Matthew 23)
  10. They preferred the death of the Lord over that of a murderer. (Matthew 27:26-31)
It might be a good idea (according to the Gospel of Matthew) not to choose the Pharisaical sect of the Jews, or the Sadducee's as a career choice. If you have already embarked on this journey, allow me to suggest you turn back now.

Jun 27, 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: Exposition: I Peter 3:1-6
Speaker : David Doran
Ministry: Pastor, Inter-City Baptist Church
Message Delivered @: June 22, 2008
Download:At SermonAudio

Description: Pastor David Doran admonishes the congregation at Inter-City Baptist Church in Allen Park, Michigan to heed the importance and understand the definition of biblical submission through the text of I Peter.

Jun 25, 2008

Shoring Up the Roof to Cover the Foundation

In writing this post I am doing so to inform you of great news. Approximately one year ago a friend and I began witnessing to a Muslim man at a local gas station. We would drop off tracts, sit and talk with him, and pay him visits when we could. Last Easter, he attended a service after being compelled to go. He commented that he did not think about becoming a Christian that day, nor was he thinking about the Bible. But, he said that he walked out of service that day feeling as if a heavy burden had been lifted from his shoulders. The past week has brought many changes and even baptism! Being baptized into the Christian faith for a Muslim is a serious crime according to the Qu'ran, and is punishable by death. This man has lost his job, family, friends, and is now facing the loss of his home.

I am also writing to request your assistance. This is not something I often do, nor do I often ask for the help of others when It is within my means to do it myself. But this one is a need beyond my own resources. Facing foreclosure on a mortgage and barely being able to support a family are serious threats to many people today. Rarely do we get opportunities to shore up the faith and foundation given by Christ to a former Muslim with the Agape love that can be shown through helping him. He is in need of discipleship, education on the bible, and learning about who the New Testament says Jesus is. All of these things are crucial right here and right now. If you are in a position to financially assist me in helping this man, please do. If you are not please pray. If you are from the area and know someone who can employ him, or would like to learn more about the situation, click here, or contact me at the contact tab up top.

There is also the mention of answered prayer that is necessary. In praying for a means and way to learn Arabic to continue working with the Muslims in my area, the Lord has re-established contact with this recent convert! Amen! The Lord's sovereignty is simply amazing, and never short of inspiring complete awe. With the opportunity to work and disciple with this man, there is also the opportunity to benefit from his fluency in Arabic. He has offered his service in gratitude for the help given him already. How much more does the Lord show that He is the Lord of the harvest and that He waters the seeds planted? Amen!

If I did not witness for myself the genuine conversion that has taken place and the presence of the Spirit working truth and righteousness into this man's life I would not post this. Thank you for your prayers and considerations.

Jun 24, 2008

Sticker Shock and Threats to the American Quality of Life

As I sat in the barber shop awaiting a haircut yesterday afternoon I couldn't help but sit right next to the television as it was blaring all of it's wonderful news. There wasn't many other places to sit as the 5 o'clock rush had just swarmed Dave's barber shop. As I listened to the news coming out of the speaker I was not surprised at the hypocrisy occurring before my very eyes. In one segment they were going on about the exposure young women are experiencing through media. The target was the sexual agenda that many of the "pop" tart icons are promoting and the saturation in all things "poppy" it has had.

The segment was necessary and in accordance to what I would believe to be right, but scattered all throughout the segments were the very images that the report was saying were wrong. It's as if they made every single attempt to visually portray the examples before our very eyes. Needless to say, I think I had to divert my attention many times to avoid the grotesque portrayals the news was telling me were wrong. It's amazing, the 5 o'clock news was worse than the filthy display racks in convenience stores.

Then there was the exaltation of late comedian George Carlin. A brief tribute and elevation of his wonderful accomplishments warranted at least a 5 minute segment in prime time viewing. What was not funny about this late comedians life was that he had an utter disdain and hatred for God that gave testimony of where his eternal state lay prior to his death. I pray he may have had reconciliation before his heart beat it's last. The newscaster found irony in the pioneer of pushing the limits of filthy language on television. He also promoted the irony that Mr. Carlin grew up a Catholic.

Is it any wonder why our culture elevates these things? Is it amazing that after all the debauchery is thoroughly paraded on the television that a segment displaying concern over food prices in America is aired? Should one go further and state that it's a complete display of ignorance when all this is done in the name of informing the public and then straightening our faces, sobering our tones, and discussing the severity of our countries loss through the recent flooding that has devastated many food supplies?

I guess I cannot understand how our concerns of how much we will be paying for pork and corn in a year weigh heavier than the concern that should be had for the moral and ethical conditions of our countries population. Let alone the fact that we are now hurrying to clip coupons while other countries inhabitants go without meals for an entire family, and some for days without food at all. Coupons? For real?

What it boils down to is the state we all will have before the Lord on the final day. Whether we are standing in judgment as Americans or Africans will not matter. The only thing that will matter is if we have repented of our sins. Whether we have received forgiveness for our lying, stealing, adultery, lusting, coveting, rebellion toward God, and blasphemy will depend on our relationship with Jesus. If we have not trusted in Him for the forgiveness of our sins and become made new creatures (2 Cor. 5:17) we will spend eternity in the lake of fire (Rev. 20:14-15) and never see the face of our Lord.

Jun 23, 2008

A Sense of Grace

This past week has brought some interesting turns of events. Gearing up for the Arabic Street Festival in Dearborn has proved to be more exhausting than I had imagined. There were many ministries in town for the occasion, several different conferences going on, and a few hundred Arab-Americans (many Muslim) all concentrated in one central area. At first glance, I would say I feel that I spent more time being confused than actually laboring this weekend. However, seeds were planted, some were sown, and some were harvested. We'll see how that all pans out in light of eternity hopefully.

With the different conferences going on, it's always interesting to see how few of those who come out to "train" for Muslim evangelism ever actually evangelise a Muslim. That said in the sense that many people spend hundreds of dollars on planes, hotels, and food while visiting a city they'll never return too until it's conference time again. Now, this is not an empirical statement. There are many laborers among us who do this faithfully alongside of ministering the Gospel of Jesus Christ to Muslims at the same time, everywhere they go. Amen!

I will take a moment hear to rejoice in seeing old faces from last year's outreach. I will also rejoice at seeing and talking with friends from out of state that I never thought I would see again. One of which I have had the pleasure of ministering in three different states with. Taking it to the streets and learning from each other has proven to be beneficial in many ways.

I wish I could emphasize to you the many DVD's, different tracts, and 1-2-1 conversations that occurred and how wonderful the large number of these would make it sound, but I can't. It would be futile. What's important is that it was done, there were people to do it, and the parallel was illustrated once again. The American Church in Metro-Detroit has shown her face once again, and it wasn't in the streets of Dearborn. Christ's church showed up though, and His followers laborered long hours, underwent verbal persecutions, and even faced physcial threat in a variety of ways. All this for the sake of His words.

I personally didn't get many chances to dialogue with Muslims, but was able to piggy back on a freinds conversation in a barber shop. Pray for my friend as I hope a relationship and dialogue is established that we can continue to talk about Jesus the Messiah and the hope He can give to a Muslim who is lost without any assurance of forgiveness in Islam.

Now that I have said all that, I'm going to make my point. The sense of grace in all of this is knowing the firm foundation of the Rock of Christ. Seeing His mercy in so many other believers and the Grace given them providing the motivation to go and stake everything on a single opportunity to preach Christ crucified. A sense of grace that has also laid a burden on my heart to continue learning about Muslim/Arab culture and reaching out to them in whatever fashion I can. I've also inherited an urgency to complete my very insufficient Arabic speaking skills through vocabulary training that will advance it. This will however be no easy task with the many things I already have before me. The tools needed are not cheap and the cost of training is within reach, but not something I can easily afford. Please pray for the Father's will in this manner and I will be working dilligently to accomplish the tasks necessary to pay the price of the program needed to learn Arabic.

In closing the blessing of the whole experience and the sense of grace felt were the strongest when we said goodbyes. The love for brethren we less often see is greatest when we are departing from each other's presence. The grace felt in the heart felts hugs were overwhelming and renewed in me a joy that reminded me that I soon will see these brothers and sisters again someday. If not here, at home in heaven. What a blessing to have fellowship sweet with those who are separated by large distances.


Jun 22, 2008

Sunday Hymn

"In Christ Alone"
Words and Music by Keith Getty & Stuart Townend
Copyright © 2001 Kingsway Thankyou Music

In Christ alone my hope is found;
He is my light, my strength, my song;
This cornerstone, this solid ground,
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace,
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease!
My comforter, my all in all—
Here in the love of Christ I stand.

In Christ alone, Who took on flesh,
Fullness of God in helpless babe!
This gift of love and righteousness,
Scorned by the ones He came to save.
Till on that cross as Jesus died,
The wrath of God was satisfied;
For ev'ry sin on Him was laid—
Here in the death of Christ I live.

There in the ground His body lay,
Light of the world by darkness slain;
Then bursting forth in glorious day,
Up from the grave He rose again!
And as He stands in victory,
Sin's curse has lost its grip on me;
For I am His and He is mine—
Bought with the precious blood of Christ.

No guilt in life, no fear in death—
This is the pow'r of Christ in me;
From life's first cry to final breath,
Jesus commands my destiny.
No pow'r of hell, no scheme of man,
Can ever pluck me from His hand;
Till He returns or calls me home—
Here in the pow'r of Christ I'll stand.

Jun 21, 2008

Daily Help from Charles H. Spurgeon - Jun 21st.

Rev. Charles H. Spurgeon selected for Daily Help some of his most inspiring thoughts on the human condition. The extraordinary richness and variety of the collection--which covers the whole of human experience--makes this a book to treasured and read every day of the year. Enjoy!

Faithfulness to us in our faults is a certain sign of fidelity in a friend. You may depend upon that man who will tell you of your faults in a kinda and considerable manner. Give me for a friend a man who will speak honestly of me before my face; who will not tell first one neighbor, and then another, but who will come straight to my house and say: "I feel there is a wrong in you, my brother, I must tell you of." That man is a true friend; he has proved himself to be so; for we never get any praise for telling people of their faults; we rather hazard their dislike; a man will sometimes thank you for it; but he does not often like you any better.

Jun 20, 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: Exposition: Book of James
Speaker : Sinclair Ferguson
Ministry: Senior Pastor, First Presbyterian Church Columbia
Message Delivered @: January through June, 2008.
Download: Link to Actual MP3's
Between Two Worlds: List of WMA's

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

Jun 19, 2008

Arabic Outreach Update

There has been a change in locations regarding the Arabic Outreach Conference. If you are planning to attend TONIGHT the new Church location is,

Tabernacle Baptist
22323 S. Chrysler Dr.
Hazel Park, Mi., 48030

7:00pm-7:30pm will be the start time and the expected end of the conference is 9:30pm.

Social Chameleon...

Acts 2:42 (Esv) And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.

If I could for a moment, impose a different perspective on your line of sight? Imagine being a heroin addict. Then, place yourself in a homeless living situation without money, food, or a will to live. Also, any money you have is used to buy more heroin and needles to use it. Sound despairing yet?

Now, slap on about ten more years of hard drug addictions to liquor, crack-cocaine, cocaine, methamphetamine, prescription pills, and whatever other substance that would elude to temporal oblivion.

There yet? No? That's alright, for some it's unimaginable. Trust me here, we aren't even skimming the surface. Nevertheless, all of these blatant failures at fixing an unrepairable internal condition resulted in adaptation. I had to become what everyone wanted me to be. I also had to paint an image of myself that would convince me I was alright when I looked into the mirror. Ultimately I was an expert at "social chameleonism."

Now imagine once again. Christ saves you. Christ teaches you. Christ places you into fellowship with other believers and you desire to devote yourself to the teaching of the word and the breaking of bread and prayer. Do you suppose there would be some sense of anxiety with the paradigm shift? Crackhouse to meeting house? Street corner beggar to redeemed saint? Do you see the dilemma caused?

Finally, at what point do I explode from the utter gratitude for His mercy and grace? Then where do you learn to make adjustments that help you change your perspective from people being targets to people being friends? I wonder if fellowship of the saints was a remedy to the natural inclination our human nature has to surround ourselves with those who reflect what we are on the inside?

edit: To clarify the last line, this tendency to surround ourselves with the unregenerate when we are unregenerate. The principle then applies once we become saved and seek fellowship with believers. Hence the church discipline the Lord taught as well as Paul of putting out unrepentant brethren from the fellowship. In this we would see that fellowship with the redeemed is something to be desired!

What do you say?

Jun 18, 2008

One God One Gospel...

I have a brother and sister in the faith who have put some serious effort into compiling a site that offers resources to the saved and unsaved. There are PDF's compiled for easy download and print, links to useful sermons and videos, and studies straight from scripture that guide the reader in learning about Jesus proper. I am happy to know I have friends who not only live locally, but also aspire to glorify God with their web presence. There is only one God, so there can only be One Gospel. They can be found here at...

One God one Gospel - Home Page
Free Printed Material - Print materials regarding God, Jesus, Salvation, The Bible and Christian Basics.

Jun 17, 2008

Concrete Thistles Choking Out Life...

I was going to make an attempt to come up with a clever comparison for what I want to illustrate here. But, I've decided not too, I would rather go read my Bible. So, In light of that I just wanted to say a few things.

Living in the suburbs for many Americans has choked out any perception of agricultural life, creation's revelation of the Creator, or any understanding of the beauty of new life and death that brings forth new life, I believe it serves a sobering reminder. This reminder is penned in the pages of Scripture by the Holy Spirit, and spoken by the mouth of our Lord Jesus Christ.

When Jesus taught He often used illustrations that clarified the Kingdom of God to His hearers. Not having any idea of what it would be like the listeners conceptualizing it may have been pretty difficult. So Jesus spoke of things they knew. He drew comparisons using the leavening of bread, farmer's fields, and fisherman's nets. These are all things they would've been very familiar with (check out Starr Meade's article in Modern Reformation: May/June). But in our concrete jungle we lose sight of these things don't we?

Many of us don't bake, farm, or fish much. At least for sustenance and provision. A weekend camping trip or vacation provides time to do these things, but during the daily grind they are put away. Since I've been cutting down weeds that have turned into 20 foot trees, old overgrowth that's gone wild for 20 years, and turning over the soil to plant a garden some things have jumped out at me. Two trailers full of thorn bushes, dead branches, and useless weeds hauled to the burn pile in my father's backyard struck a vision of one of our Lord's teachings. How realistic it became to see the uselessness of the things that produce nothing of use for sustenance. These things are burned because they serve no purpose. Useless!

In light of the time I've spent actually doing something that might resemble relying on the land to produce some food for me I've had a chance to see how the walls of work, the siding on houses, the concrete precast on buildings, and the monuments men build to decorate sidewalks all serve as distractions from the creation. In that distraction not having any contact with "real" things would blur words like Matthew 7:16 "You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they?" Might not really hit the mark quite like it was intended would it? Study of the word could most certainly instill guards for making this error. But all the plant life hauled off to the burn pile and to the curb were put there because they would not bear fruit. Nor would they ever. Just more thorns and thistles.

Jun 16, 2008

Open Air Preaching in the Grill

Work often provides plenty of opportunities to preach Christ crucified. It also provides plenty of chances to admonish, encourage, or sometimes rebuke others in and out of the faith. This past Friday was very fruitful in many ways. I count it a blessing to have seen, spoke, and hear some of the things that occurred.

First, there was the phone call from an old friend. He mistakenly dialed the wrong number. This mistake wound up lasting over an hour and we talked about the Word, Christ's sacrifice, the power over sin He had, the sufficiency of the Holy Spirit in the believers life, and just how important it is to walk in holiness before others as a living, breathing, testimony of Christ. He counted it a blessing to have had this conversation and felt extremely happy that his "mistake" worked for the good.

Secondly, the funny question that never comes up, came up. I was asked "why I was so happy" and if it were a result of sinful behavior. I then replied that I refrain from fornication and strive to follow my Lord's commandments. This conversation was during a quiet time in the restaurant and I made sure that it was heard by any in the vicinity. Once again I was able to share with someone else the importance of God's Word, our duty to walk in His counsel, and the power of the Holy Spirit to assist us in doing so. He didn't have much to say outside of ripping scripture verses way out of context and using them to justify his personal sins. I can only pray that those listening become convicted and the seed is planted for someone else to water and the Lord to harvest.

Thirdly, while opportunities to share Christ abound my friend Ben introduced me to a new friend in faith. While sharing my testimony with him, the Lord's providence revealed there is much to be done and that there may be an open door to reach someone with similar struggles to that of my past. All in God's grace I've overcome these things, what a greater blessing to share with others that He can do it for them as well. Repentance and faith bring forth healing and regeneration of the dead man that is quickened by the power of God.

Lastly, I went to a 12-step meeting and was able to see some old friends, minister to a new friend, and establish a relationship with a complete stranger. I pray the Lord is softening his heart for the Gospel to be sown into fertile ground.

A cannot comment further on how much the Lord has shown me these past few days. If I were to do so, It may go on for quite a few pages, but the previous occurred in 12 short hours. Amazing grace no? Please pray for all these things, and continue to pray for the Muslim Outreach this week. Pray for all the saints flying in from around the country, the teachers, evangelists, and all those who are providing for those willing to go into the heart of Dearborn and face possible persecution to minister our Lord's Eternal Message.

Jun 14, 2008

Arabic Outreach Update

Answered prayer! The plans have been finalized and the facility has been secured. For those who have been praying for this, thank you! To the Lord of Hosts; please draw men unto yourself and soften hearts to the Gospel, and bring forth many to repentance and faith!

The evangelism conference kickoff will be free to those interested in coming to hear about the Arabic Outreach in downtown Dearborn next week June 17th-23rd. The time of the conference will be June 19th at 7:30-9:30pm. You are welcome to bring friends, invite your church groups, and bring anyone else interested in learning about Muslim evangelism. The topic being addressed is "Why Reach the Muslims?" with guest speaker George Hussney. The location is...

Calvary Baptist Church - Hazel Park
24520 N. Chrysler Dr.
Hazel Park, MI. 48030

Please come out and join us. You can find out more information about the festival outreach at the conference, email me for details, or call 1-866-533-6659. There will be thousands of tracts and DVD's to handout as well as many, many, Dearborn Arab's and Muslims to speak to about the Lord Jesus Christ. More information can be found at Ministry to Muslims Website.

Jun 13, 2008

Formal Professions or True Conversions?

This from A.W. Pink's "Seven Sayings of the Saviour on the Cross."

Formal professors who seem to run well for a while may grow weary and abandon the race. Those who are moved by the fleshly excitement of a "revival meeting" endure only for a time, for they have "no root in themselves." They who rely upon the power of their own wills and resolutions, who turn over a new leaf and promise to do better, often fail, and their last state is worse than the first. Many who have been persuaded by well-meaning but ignorant advisors to "join the church" and "live the Christian life" frequently apostatize from the truth. But every spirit that has been born again is eternally safe in the Father's hand.

Well said my friend.

Jun 11, 2008

Second Glances Bring Forth Death...

Quick thought while driving...

If we spent more time meditating on the Glory of God, we'd have less time to spend on second glances, covetousness, and idols in our minds!

That's All...

Jun 8, 2008

How do I live today?

Quick thought that I had this morning while mulling over how to live my life as a witness for Christ.

I wish to live my daily life TODAY in preparation of how I can best glorify God in it NOW and tomorrow.

That's all...

Jun 3, 2008

Pistachios and Wesleyans...

No real thought provoking commentary to post today. Matter of fact, I'm just plain tired this week and won't get much done on the blog for a minute. It's gardening time and I'm wrapping up the spring cleaning.

I did get to spend a few hours with some friends of mine yesterday evening. Both are ordained Pastors of the United Methodist Church. Which is often scary whenever theology is discussed. But my closest friend of the two decided to further our past discussions on the "sinner's prayer," and the sovereignty of God in man's salvation. His basic question was, after we preach the Gospel then what? Well, as we ate pistachios and drank coffee, I shared with him in the best way I could articulate it why I think there is good reason to avoid using the sinner's prayer with people. Even the use of the prayer with seemingly contrite and genuinely repentant people rubs a raw nerve, and I feel should be avoided even then also.

I'd like to elaborate more, and I will in another post to come soon. But until then, what are your thoughts on this matter? Let me know in the comments below! I'd like your input.

I'll spare you the details of the rest of my conversations with the two Pastors. In short, they were nothing shy of interesting, that's for sure.