Feb 27, 2010

Francis Chan Speaks Regarding Persecuted Christians: Update

A brother of mine from our local assembly sent some of the Saints a video via Facebook. His plea was for us to first pray, and secondly, consider our ease as Christians in America. Please watch the video, and as you do, think about what you currently are doing to spread the good news of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Update 02/28/10: Justin Taylor at Between Two Worlds has posted regarding the video previously shown here by Francis Chan and the persecution of Christians. I am in agreement with the following statement made.

I’ve been in touch with the folks from Cornerstone Community Church, and the videos are being pulled until their accuracy can be verified.

The question is not, as one commenter thought, about whether or not we doubt that severe persecution is occurring in India or in other parts of the world. The question is whether or not the footage in these videos is depicting Christians being persecuted for their faith. If it’s not, we don’t want to show it, as doing so knowingly would be both misleading and manipulative.

I apologize for my contribution to any confusion. I hope this doesn’t distract from the fact that such persecution is real and terrible, requiring prayers for our brothers and sisters. Again, I commend to you The Voice of the Martyrs for ways to get involved and informed.

I will try to post an update as soon as I hear more on this as well, and also agree with the apology for adding to any confusion. Needless to say, I feel that the images (be it they are Christians or not) brings to mind the imagery of believers being persecuted for their faith, it can, and DOES happen. So as stated originally, let us pray!

Feb 24, 2010

Back Online

If you have tried visiting in the past few days, you might have found the blog to be offline. We seem to be up and running smoothly once again, but there is a good chance that some bugs may be lingering. So if you visit and the blog is not up, please be patient. I will hopefully have everything worked out this week.


Feb 22, 2010

The Golden Rule and Tit for Tat

Van Parunak has posted an interesting blog lending some insight about our modern ideologies relating to the 'Golden Rule' and the 'Tit for Tat' practice of modern 'Game Theory.' Below is a brief excerpt from his post. You can find the rest at the Cyber-Chapel Blog.
We follow the Golden Rule, not because it leads other people to treat us well, but because we fear the One who gave the Rule in the first place. And we do not fear predatory behavior on the part of others, because we trust the rule-giver to defend us (Ps 56:11):
In God have I put my trust: I will not be afraid what man can do unto me.
This principle is a reflection of the most important truth in the Bible: God is the creator, and we are his creatures. He stands outside of our world, yet remains actively, causally involved in it. Only when we grasp this fundamental truth will we understand why the Golden Rule, contrary to modern game theory is a better idea than Tit for Tat. And we’ll understand a good deal more, as well.
I hope you enjoy this post. It definitely was interesting.

Feb 21, 2010

Divorcing Egypt : A Sermon on Hebrews 11:24-27

A couple months back I had the wonderful opportunity to give the morning message to the Saints. I figured that some of you might be interested in hearing the message I gave that day. I struggled greatly with this text while thinking that if I just had the enough commentary, Bible software, and charismatic punchlines, it would all go well. It did indeed go well, but the anxiety I experienced behind presenting it was solidly rooted in the knowledge that I would be delivering the sermon to a body of believers who are diligent in study, and could be likened to the 'Bereans' of sorts. I knew that I could not just present a message and make it sound good, I knew that them message had to be faithful to the Word of God, and soaked in much prayer. I was told it was received well, and I was edified not only in study for it, but in delivering it. I found that the richness of preaching was in seeking to build up those who would be hearing what is said. Enjoy!

Feb 20, 2010

A History of the Bible from Ancient Papyri to King James

The University of Michigan Library is presenting its collection of Papryri and historic Bibles. Today I will have the privilege and joy of joining the Assembly I meet with and visiting the exhibit. It will surely be an exciting time. If you are in the Ann Arbor, MI area the exhibit runs to the end of March. Below you will find the information as it is posted on U of M's library website.

From ancient Egyptian manuscripts on papyrus to Medieval manuscripts to the printed book, you can follow a path of documents that led to the creation of the 1611 King James Version of the Bible. These direct ancestors and related works were spread across nations, peoples, and languages. If you have seen this fascinating exhibit before, look for it this time in the Audubon Room, on the first floor of the Hatcher Graduate Library.

The earliest documents on display are Egyptian papyri, including examples of a census record from the year 119 and the oldest known copy of part of the New Testament. Medieval manuscripts document the preservation of the text until the invention of movable type printing by Gutenberg around 1450. The early printed Bibles include versions in Latin and Greek, and several that show the struggles among various political factions and church reformers to control the translating of the Scriptures into the language of the people. See the King James Bible of 1611 that became the accepted standard. 

Date: Jan 7th, 2010
Time: 8:30am - 7:00pm
Occurrence: Repeats every day until Wed Mar 31 2010 8:30am - 7:00pm

Audubon Room/First Floor

Feb 19, 2010

Root of Compromise: Judas Iscariot

All of us have good reasons why we do things. These reasons even sound good to us when others remind us that they really are not that good. It is not often that we see the stupidity behind our decisions, and it is even less often that we realize their stupidity before they do significant damage to someone else. Worse yet, that we sin against the Lord Jesus Christ.
Then one of the twelve, whose name was Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, "What will you give me if I deliver him over to you?" And they paid him thirty pieces of silver. And from that moment he sought an opportunity to betray him.
(Mat 26:14-16 ESV)
"The root of compromise is often a consideration of personal reputation."

What do you suppose Judas could have possibly done with thirty pieces of silver? Maybe he was looking to buy just a little more comfort for himself?

Feb 18, 2010

Big Macs and Bologna Sandwiches Part Deux: Repost 2007

It was storming and and raining very heavily in the Metro Airport area and I was debating on whether or not to just save the sandwiches for the next day, or venture into the stormy night anyways. The benefit of the rain is that all of our homeless friends would be under the tunnels in large number and we would be able to feed a lot of them at one time, whereas there was also the danger of getting soaked in the torrential rain. A sister and I decided that we were going to go out and follow the faithful Postal Worker Creed of "Neither snow nor rain...."

When we arrived downtown we took a slight detour for awhile and took in some new sights as we were observing other possible fishing spots now that the Hart Plaza festival season was over. We journeyed through Greektown and stopped to take a look at the place that I received the Lord Jesus Christ as my savior, The Wayne County Jail. After reflecting on His grace for a period of time we went and had a conversation with Christopher who was begging on one of the corners. He listened intently and acknowledged understanding of his need for the Lord Jesus Christ's forgiveness. We then ventured back to Hart Plaza to feed the citizens of the tunnels.

While we were underneath giving out two and three sandwiches to everyone the most significant event of the night occurred. While we were being thanked for the sandwiches we would correct them and tell them to thank Jesus Christ for the food. Since there was only two of us, most of our time was spent making sure we stayed safe and the food got out. After repeating this phrase several times to several people and having brief conversations with them, one man who was sleeping on the concrete started to angrily ask, "Why do you keep saying that?" He was referencing the name of Jesus Christ and was growing angrier by the moment. I inquired and asked him several times what he was talking about and came to the conclusion that this man was severely angry at God and was bitterly living in a state of unforgiveness, or was demonically posessed. It was hard to tell and I didn't want to waste time standing around trying to figure it out. This man did not want to hear the name of Jesus and was provoked more every time we mentioned His Holy Name.

We returned to the surface level and ministered to Kenny and Thomas for awhile before eventually departing for home. The weather remained clear for the entire night and the Lord set aside a few divine appointments for us in our witnessing, and for that we are grateful. Praise His Holy Name for His mercy and grace. Pray for the men we spoke to and that one soul who was at enmity with God, "Kevin."

Feb 17, 2010

New Poll Question: What Do You Think of New Layout?

Please let me know what you think about the new blog look and layout. I have added a poll in the right-top column for you to participate. If you read via feed, please swing by DeliverDetroit.Com to let me know. Thanks!

Big Macs and Bologna Sandwiches : Repost 2007

Throughout the entire week last week I was in serious conflict with making my way to the mission field downtown. While I have encountered some financial setbacks involving paying off bills, I have had difficulty making the means to pay for the trip in gas and time. The Lord has given clear instruction to "sell all your possessions" and "follow me." In doing this, once we have become his, he now owns everything we once "owned." Now we have the dilemma of being good stewards of what the Lord allows us to have. Whether this is actually a "dilemma" is another story indeed, but more or less boils down to a matter of obedience or rebellion to the Lord's commands.

That being established, things changed considerably in my agenda as of Friday afternoon. Working at one of the major fast food chains in the world (McDonald's) I often see 100's of pounds of food wasted every day. This food is not wasted just cause, but in the facet of quality and service. This food that is wasted on a regular basis troubles my conscience when I witness it being done, or have to do it myself. The significance of this is the event that occurred that changed my plans. In the crew room of the restaurant I observed some 75-80 wasted Big Mac buns. These buns had just recently expired two days prior (according to the freshness date). To me this is not justified and the food should be used to some extent. My steps then changed from going home and relaxing and doing some studies to asking permission to take the wasted buns and make sandwiches for the homeless in Detroit's Hart Plaza.

A co-worker of mine named "Elissa" (for anonymity sake) decided she would come with me to help make sandwiches. This was a glorious opportunity because Elissa, is unsaved and does not know what it is to be born again. The fast, hectic, and stressful environment in the work place does not usually provide for the atmosphere that would be conducive to witnessing. However, the steps that took place after allowed us to go to Calvary Baptist Church in Romulus after purchasing ten packages of bologna, four packs of cheese, and a box of sandwich baggies. We were able to utilize their kitchen and space to make 75 bologna sandwiches. The time we spent there allowed for good conversation and progress to take place, our friendship outside of the workplace as begun to slowly develop aside from the usual teamwork necessary to manage a restaurant. I pray that the Lord uses the seed that was sown and allows further witnessing opportunities in the future, as well as future chances to fellowship with believers to show the glorious power of the gospel that can change someones life. Something everyone needs, but doesn't necessarily receive. She has expressed interest in further discussion and desires to know more about Jesus.

This was only the beginning of the night....

Feb 16, 2010

Commenting Issues : Fixed!

The comments option at Deliver Detroit has been changed to an embedded below the post model, I have done this hoping. Some users may have some issues getting comments to function. I have tested the blog code and checked the issue with several different browsers. It appears to function well with IE 8, Mozilla Firefox 3.5.7, and Safari's latest browser as well. If you have Mozilla Firefox 3.5.7 or lower it may cause some issues. Please note, Firefox 3.6 has some bugs that need to be worked out and I would not recommend upgrading to it if you have not already done so. If so, I will provide links below to remedy this issue. If you have upgraded, or have not upgraded yet, then go ahead and download the appropriate file. Also, if you have previously been a reader/visitor of the Deliver Detroit blog, you should clear out your browser's cookies and reset your computer/browser before visiting again. This should fix the problem with the comments.

Also, a special thanks to my readers and friends who have brought this issue to my attention! I thank God for you!

Mozilla Firefox Upgrade/Downgrade 3.5.7:
MAC - Download Here
PC - Download Here

Feel free to contact me if you have difficulties with this, I will be more than happy to help!

Christ Our Life Podcast

Christ Our Life now has a podcast available on iTunes. It is a very convenient way to download and listen to their many wonderful songs and allow you to easily put them on your iPOD or PC/Mac.

The Podcast link is HERE

I hope you enjoy.

Feb 15, 2010

The Big Red Tractor: A Modern Day Parable

Here is an interesting video demonstrating the paradigm of 'Doing Church.' It was originally presented at The Verge10 Conference by Francis Chan. It is not deep seeded with theological nuggets, but is brimming with insight that we could all stand to listen to, especially those of us who are 'Church Goers.' Francis Chan gives an explanation at the end of the animated segment that clarifies any confusion viewers might have while watching it. So if you do not get it at first, you will if you hang out until the end. The original post resides @ SimpleChurch Journal.

(HT: Alan Knox)

Enjoy the video...

The Big Red Tractor from Jacob Lewis on Vimeo.

Valentines Day : What Example of Love Do You Have?

Valentine's day. Come and gone. Did you send your child to school with pre-packaged valentines cards containing harmless 'quotes' and 'greetings' on them? I remember this practice from my days in elementary school. The teachers had us decorate our personalized mailboxes made of colored construction paper and hung them in the hallways outside our primary classrooms. They would hang there for a week awaiting the receipt of a classmate(s) contribution. Sometimes, other classes were allowed to send valentine cards to members of other classes. Every student was required to bring a box of cards to class, given a list of student names, and required to write one for each student.

Not every student received one. Some hardly received any. I do not suppose that my commentary is directly aimed at the practice itself, but I am curious if it contributes to the fleeting devotion to relationships that so many people today have. Sure, the blame can be passed on to television, pornography, and a sexually charged onslaught from the media on our youth regularly, but the truth in this matter is the adults are not exhibiting an example of love for children to emulate. Early on in my childhood, love was a fleeting shot in the dark or twisted version of anonymous love bingo that resulted in short term 'flings' and 'casual' encounters. What really is love?

Valentines day brings in truckloads of money for candy and card makers, but principally does no justice for the concept of love. If you grew up with the ideology of motel room excursions, drunken stupors, and 12:00 am police visits shortly after watching a 'valentine's day' celebration take place, then your perception might be slightly jaded like mine.

I am grateful I have an example that illustrates the true love that can be given to others. This love is demonstrated best by the one who has authored it, God. Incarnated as a man, lived on earth as Lord, and spoke to us through His Word the Bible, we hear from Him, and see by His actions, how to love.

(Rom 5:8 ESV)  but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

(Rom 8:34 ESV)  Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died--more than that, who was raised--who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.

(2Co 5:14 ESV)  For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died;
Love expressed out of gratitude for the person for who they are AND what they have done embodies true love.  Knowing that I have been forgiven requires me to consider a few things for myself as I act toward others in my life,

(Php 2:3 ESV)  Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.

(Joh 13:34-35 ESV)  A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. (35) By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another."

Uniquely expressing love for other members in the Church of Jesus Christ teaches me to love others in similar fashion. In an example of conditional love, meaning that the requirement for the love given of Christ is repentance, faith, and obedience to Him, we see an expression that is often interpreted as 'unconditional' love. It is too bad that so many see the need to perform acts, or give gifts to get love in return. Sadly, not receiving something in return often crushes the giver because all their hope is resting in reciprocation.

If we love because we have been loved first, our reward is in sharing the blessing given us. We get to love in the same fashion that our Lord has loved us by showing this love out of gratitude for what He did, not what others do for us. Reciprocation is not necessary for us to love others. Praise God. I think the principle given in Matthew 6:14-15 helps us understand love. Forgiveness, something we all need everyday and some time or another can only be given by those who have received it.

(Mat 6:14-15 ESV) For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you,
(15)  but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

Feb 13, 2010

Resistance and Pacifism Part IV: James White or John Piper?

So I thought the resistance and pacifism posts were dead. I suppose revamping my perspectives after starting the series two plus years ago would indicate this to myself. I guess that was not the case. I received a message from a friend of mine the other day related to the latest post. Of course the last post in question contained a summary of my perspectives and some links to other posts. You can find the post 'Resistance and Pacifism Part III: Final Cut' here. Of course, you can see the entire series thus far, here. In my last post I was hoping to skirt out of further explanation of my perspective.

The message I received was a link to a post from James White of Alpha and Omega Ministries. His post entitled 'I Beg to Differ, Brother Piper,' in every sense of Dr. White's style, speaks for itself. He articulates his point and clarifies his intention is only to speak briefly on the matter. He also aims to clarify that he does not intend to start a 'blog war' on the topic and merely expresses his brief opinion about John Piper's statements about Guns and Martyrdom following the Supreme Court ruling on guns in the homes of Americans.

Summarily, John Piper's post considered the sacrifice made by the missionaries to the Auca (Waudoni) Indians in Ecuador in 1956. The missionaries Jim Elliot, Peter Fleming, Ed McCully, Roger Youderian, and Nate Saint lost their lives attempting to reach an otherwise unreached people. Although these men met physical death that day they could have easily averted it with the side arms in their possession, right? Had these men simply chosen to fire their weapons in defense of their lives they may well still be here today, and there would be no story to tell regarding this matter. (Guns and Martyrdom: John Piper)

I would like to begin by looking at the sentiments expressed by Dr. White, and as he invokes the right to disagreement in lieu of Christian liberty, so shall I. Dr. White states that his intention behind the blog was not to start a blog war, and this is not an attempt to awaken a sleeping dog. I just want to touch on the topic as it is often a response that mirrors those I often encounter from many other Christians as well.

Dr. White says that he cannot agree with John Piper’s prototypical man breaking into his home  as being similar to the heathen who carries a spear and lives in a remote land. While illustrating his disagreement he takes Piper’s potential intruder and makes him a “meth-laden gang member seeking to rob, rape, and murder.” This is a logical assumption in many cases, as we know intruders come with many motives, and meth addiction definitely could be one of them. Dr. White says,

In the second place, I don't believe a Christian is a martyr if they fall prey to the random, drug-induced violence of a gang member or criminal. There is a difference between being a victim because you did not take the proper precautions and being a martyr because you purposefully expose yourself to danger and even death in the service of the gospel.

Now, on the surface this does not seem to impose much threat to a typical Christian worldview. Unfortunately, this statement propagates the view that a person who is Christian can only qualify as a martyr when persecution or affliction occurs within the context of preaching the gospel, or doing missions work. I concede to the view that dying while falling prey to an unsuspecting attacker or disastrous consequence would not qualify a believer as a ‘martyr’ but I do feel that this situation is insufficient to stand as justification for arming or defending one’s family or self with a weapon during the time that you are not ‘proclaiming’ the Gospel.

John Piper states that his view of a would be attacker into his home holds the same stature as the tribesmen who attacked the missionaries with their spears and killed them. He believes that they too are not prepared for eternity and should receive the same consideration a Christian missionary would give any islander or savage who is lost and blind to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In Piper’s words,

Here’s the connection. The missionaries had guns when they were speared to death. One of them shot the gun into the air, it appears, as he was killed, rather than shooting the natives. They had agreed to do this. The reason was simple and staggeringly Christlike:
The natives are not ready for heaven. We are.

Ending this post, and looking forward to the next one to come, I leave you with this question. What differentiates what James White says,

The gang member in the streets of Phoenix has every possible opportunity to do good, to obey the gospel, to work and abide by the law. But he chooses, purposefully and knowingly, to do otherwise. He chooses to enter into my home, threatening the lives of my family. And he comes armed.

And what Paul an Apostle of Jesus Christ writes,

For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
(Rom 1:20-21)

And the end result of what Dr. White’s position creates is that those who are native to a civilized concrete jungle are exempt from the treatment given to those who are native to remote locales where the proclamation of God solely resides in the testimony of creation, which in fact will incriminate any who are not able to receive a spoken Gospel message, or witness a Christian who embodies the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ? Does the ‘meth-laden gang member’ receive a different version of Christian love because he lives in a christianized Western context?

I would suggest to those sharing the position of Dr. White that the purposeful and knowing wrongdoer is equal to the heathen who carries a spear to skewer a passive missionary. The ability to obey the gospel, work and abide by laws, and do good is not unfulfilled in the action of the individual, but the lack thereof is a direct result of man’s depravity, just like the man who carries a spear to murder an innocent Christian missionary.
The next post “Resistance and Pacifism Part V: Binding the Strong Man” I aim to address the Scriptures cited in Dr. White’s blog post. Until then,

Peace be with you,

In Good Conscience and Domain Hosting

Knowing that one cannot completely separate from the world as a Christian, we can make wise decisions and discern how we conduct our business relationships as well as our personal ones. With that said, my current domain hosting solution and domain have embraced a marketing strategy that is not only at complete odds with my worldview, it is promoting a lifestyle that promotes lasciviousness and immorality.

I have made a decision to cancel my account long before its scheduled expiration/renewal date. If in the next few days you visit the blog and are unable to access it you can always access the blog at http://www.deliverdetroit.blogspot.com. In the time being, you can leave your bookmarks and feed subscriptions the same as the transfers may go smoothly and you will not notice any glitches in the transition.

If you are indeed interested in the name of the company that I currently host with and will be switching from, please utilize the contact form and send me a personal correspondence.

Feb 12, 2010

Headcoverings and Cues from the Culture

R.C. Sproul of Ligonier Ministries has produced a talk from his series "Hard Sayings of the Apostles." One of the messages is in relation to the topic of head coverings in 1 Corinthians 11:1-16. It is a very interesting lesson and worthy of your time regardless of your position on the matter. The message is entitled "To cover or not to cover." Enjoy!

Feb 2, 2010

Plead for Mercy!

Here is an old re-post from 08', enjoy...

Foolish, corrupt, and contempt filled hearts,
shaking your fists at God
Do you not really know why this world is falling apart?

Glory is to be had in the destruction you see,
wish it was yours don't you,
but for Him alone the glory will be.

In all things, grace, peace, and mercy.
are you alone?
In Christ Jesus, this world can never hurt me.

Praise Him who has lit the lights of the heavens,
how do you hate the author of life
Don't you know your hate is more than just leaven?

A bitter seed that's planted by the enemy,
you love the world don't you?
Aren't you aware that friendship with it is with God enmity?

I plead with you who hear these words,
repent oh wicked ones
Bow down to Christ and serve.

Not with debt and unwanted duty
Love for Him for whom worship is worthy!

He has secured for His sheep a place of mercy,
A gift of salvation of which you are not worthy...

Today is the glorious day of salvation,
now go forth
Preach the gospel to every tongue, tribe, and nation!