Mar 27, 2010

End Times Primer

Ever want a simple definition of the varying end-times worldviews, or better known as 'eschatology', it is essential for the Christian to know what they believe and why they believe it. I have always found that the framework in which we read the end-times Scriptural references has a significant impact on how we live today as believers.

At Head Heart Hand, David Murray has posted several videos from his most recent presentation at the 2010 Philadelphia Conference on Reformed Theology. He has also included an e-book for download. The videos are also available for download on Vimeo for your viewing/sharing purposes.

For simplicity sake, I have compiled his four videos concerning Dispensational Premillenialism, Amillenialism, Post-Millenialism, and Historic Premillenialism, along with the Endtimes Q&A e-book into a compressed zip file for download.

I hope this resource is beneficial to you as you seek to learn more about these varying end-times views.

Mar 24, 2010

Street Preaching in Detroit: Stoplight Style

Some retro street-preaching in downtown Detroit, stop-light style about 3 years ago. Law and Grace and the Gospel in 60 seconds.

First Up:

Second Up:

Mar 23, 2010

My Utmost For His Highest: Am I Carnally Minded?

Where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal . . . ? —1 Corinthians 3:3 
The natural man, or unbeliever, knows nothing about carnality. The desires of the flesh warring against the Spirit, and the Spirit warring against the flesh, which began at rebirth, are what produce carnality and the awareness of it. But Paul said, "Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh" ( Galatians 5:16  ). In other words, carnality will disappear.

Are you quarrelsome and easily upset over small things? Do you think that no one who is a Christian is ever like that? Paul said they are, and he connected these attitudes with carnality. Is there a truth in the Bible that instantly awakens a spirit of malice or resentment in you? If so, that is proof that you are still carnal. If the process of sanctification is continuing in your life, there will be no trace of that kind of spirit remaining.

If the Spirit of God detects anything in you that is wrong, He doesn’t ask you to make it right; He only asks you to accept the light of truth, and then He will make it right. A child of the light will confess sin instantly and stand completely open before God. But a child of the darkness will say, "Oh, I can explain that." When the light shines and the Spirit brings conviction of sin, be a child of the light. Confess your wrongdoing, and God will deal with it. If, however, you try to vindicate yourself, you prove yourself to be a child of the darkness.

What is the proof that carnality has gone? Never deceive yourself; when carnality is gone you will know it-it is the most real thing you can imagine. And God will see to it that you have a number of opportunities to prove to yourself the miracle of His grace. The proof is in a very practical test. You will find yourself saying, "If this had happened before, I would have had the spirit of resentment!" And you will never cease to be the most amazed person on earth at what God has done for you on the inside.

You can get more of these devotionals at RBC Ministries

Mar 15, 2010

Your Church Is Too Small by John Armstrong: Book Review

John Armstrong's subtitle, "Why Unity In Christ's Mission Is Vital To The Future Of The Church" helps bring in to perspective just what he means by the statement, "your church is too small." I wish that I had more time to be a little more thorough with this review, but am confident that the following will provide as much of my thoughts regarding the read as possible.

Admittedly, the reading began with a reservation of Armstrong's perspectives regarding catholicity and the call to a missional ecumenism. Don't know what those words are? That's okay, Armstrong has provided a handy glossary at the end of the book to help clarify terms that most of us may not use in conversation regularly. However, I believe the audience that will be reading this book will be acutely aware of the buzzwords missional, catholicity, and ecumenism that generally raise the heresy antennae for the majority of us. It is indeed nice to see someone being thoughtful enough to consider that most believers may be completely unaware of this terminology.

John Armstrong takes a narrative approach and introduces us to his journey from what I would call close-mindedness to open-dialogue with the historic Christian powerhouses of Protestantism, Catholicism, and The Orthodox Church. His agenda is simple, promoting a desire within Christian congregations to accept the idea that the Christian Church is much larger than their local assembly. Armstrong does not stop there, he goes on to implore with his readers that there is a need to assess their own position in the current state of dialog occurring with members of different denominations and faith backgrounds in the Christian context.

Armstrong addresses several different spectrum's concerning the Church today. Where I resonate with him is his desire to see the restoration of what he calls an "Ancient-Future" faith. It is essential for the Christian to understand the roots and heritage of their faith in order to approach the future and their place in the mission of the Church. While Armstrong does not appear to be calling for a new reformation, he does infer that reformation will occur when the Church at large, the universal, Catholic Church of the Apostle's Creed realizes it's true place in history, its present need for mobilization, and the removal of a handicap that inhibits the actions of believers. The Church must wake up from its slumber and take note of those who may belong to other historic schools of faith but yet love Jesus.

By reading this book you will be challenged to think outside of the closed mind perspective that is often bred by our local assemblies. You will find yourself challenged to consider your own position in the theater of Christianity. You will have to evaluate your own membership of the Church of Christ that inherits, proclaims, and trusts in the Kingdom of God. I do not affirm all of Armstrong's perspectives regarding Catholicity with faiths that historically embrace doctrines long accepted as heresy, but do sympathize with the need to interact with those who believe they are trusting in Jesus and loving them because we are required to do so. If you know the Apostle's creed, and often wonder why you recite affirmation of the 'Catholic Church' this book will help you understand the implications that these words have.

Armstrong appeals to the unity of Ephesians 4 as a guiding premise for his thoughts and assessments. I accept that sectarianism and denominationalism have shattered and polarized many assemblies in the whole of Christian history and believe that a true embrace of Ephesians 4 will impact the believers life in more than just an ecumenical approach to modern ministry. Although I believe the continuity of this book redeems the uneasiness first felt in the beginning, I still have one last question for John Armstrong to answer.

Is the unity proposed by a missional ecumenism a unity that promotes an agreement to disagree for the sake of unity, or is for the purpose of believers being lead by the Holy Spirit in to unity of the faith, which then precedes an opportunity that allows us to fellowship in more than macro-ministry, but in the breaking of bread and drinking of the cup?

This book is for purchase at Zondervan
Find out more about the book and the author at the book's website

Scripture... As We Live It: From Alan Knox @ The Assembling of the Church Blog

Alan Knox posts a series at his blog that takes the Scriptures and adds a twist to them. This twist often infers upon the text what we see currently being practiced in our modern settings. Below you will find his latest installment, it was too good to pass up so I am re-posting it here. Thanks Alan!

This is the 97th passage in “Scripture… As We Live It“:

They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to move them with their finger. They do all their deeds to be seen by others. For they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long wear their nice suits and clerical robes, and they love the place of honor at feasts and the best seats in the synagogues church buildings and greetings in the marketplaces and being called rabbi Pastor by others. (Matthew 23:4-7 re-mix)

(Please read the first post for an explanation of this series.)

Mar 11, 2010

Zacchaeus the Tax Collector With a Twist

Some of you might be interested in a post from a brother at 'Flee From Babylon'. It offers a few twists on how some of our ridiculous sectarianism suppresses the Holy Spirit, or at least, does so by acting as if there is such a thing as exclusive licensing on when, and how He works. Here's a snippet below, the rest can be found here.

The religous [sic] crowd of that day had nothing good to say about the saving work of Jesus Christ.  I was thinking that if this were to take place in America today, here are some of the comments you might hear shouted from the crowd after our Lord finished speaking…

“Lord – did you hear how Zacchaeus was trying to justify himself by his works, teach him the five points of Calvinism so he can REALLY be saved” ~ Hyper Calvinist

“Very good Lord, because that man has made a good moral decision he is now righteous in the site of God and so it is as you said, he has saved himself!” ~ Hyper Armenian / Pelagian

“Quick Lord, get Zacchaeus to repeat a sinners prayer and ask you into his heart before he changes his mind” ~ Modern Evangelist

Mar 10, 2010

Six World Vision Aid Workers Killed In Pakistan : NPR

Six World Vision Aid Workers Killed In Pakistan : NPR

I am impressed. NPR is actually reporting an incident that illustrates Muslims killing Christians. I wonder when the last time there was an incident involving Christians killing Mohammedans? Seriously, consider this, and if you just responded with a comment in your head like 'well the crusades ring a bell,' let me encourage you to brush up on your history, read the Bible, and re-evaluate the Christian by the standard of Scripture, not by the standard of the Papists or the American Evangelical.

Just think, coming in the name of Christ, loving your neighbor on behalf of Christ, or even affiliating with the name of Christ, can get you killed. How much more for those who boldly proclaim the truth of the Gospel in its entirety? What have you done for His namesake today Christian?

Rom 10:15 And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!"

Good Ministry, Bad Ministry, You Decide...

Good Ministry: Running after the lost sheep, feeding the sheep, equipping the Saints, and obeying your calling as teacher all of your days.

Bad Ministry: Speeding down the freeway in your Lincoln while announcing to the world your 'Retired Pastor' status on your handicap license plate frame.

Wonder where one should park in this case?

Mar 8, 2010

Testimonies of Grace: Darlene Rose Part 2

And as promised previously, here is part 2, featuring the conclusion to Darlene Diebler-Rose's testimony.

You can find this 2-CD set, which is a recording of a 3-part broadcast at I not only encourage you to listen in here over the next few days, but to purchase this set for yourself to share with others that they may be encouraged by this sister's testimony.

Today, you can hear part two. Feedreaders, please click here to hear the audio!

Mar 6, 2010

Testimonies of Grace: Darlene Rose Part 1

A couple years ago, I was listening to Way of the Master Radio (now called Wretched Radio), of which I was a faithful listener for quite some time. The show's host Todd Friel played a Focus on the Family Broadcast that was recorded at an event where a woman named Darlene Diebler-Rose had shared her testimony. Ladies and gentlemen, this is one of the most touching testimonies I have heard in my time, and yes there will be many more, I am sure. But, this one will always remain a favorite. Some of you may be familiar with it already, and it has earned the nickname 'The Banana Story' amongst many of us, and if you listen, you will see why!

You can find this 2-CD set, which is a recording of a 3-part broadcast at I not only encourage you to listen in here over the next few days, but to purchase this set for yourself to share with others that they may be encouraged by this sister's testimony.

Today, you can hear part one. Please come back tomorrow for part two. Feedreaders, please click here to hear the audio!

Mar 3, 2010

Testimony of Wally Magdangal

Thinking about persecution of our brothers and sisters in lands where it is abundant it is something I do regularly. I have embedded a video of Wally Magdangal, a man who served as a Pastor in Saudi Arabia, was imprisoned, and tortured for his faith in Jesus Christ. But, Wally's persecution was not in vain, but for Christ's glory. Play the video and see the highlighted version of his full DVD. You can find his website, and DVD at Christians In Crisis International.

Challenging God to Judge Us

The innate human nature is oft times rebellious. The presupposition of our innocence is debatable when you consider one's theological position on the subject matter. Instead of opening the issue to create a comparison of positions, I would rather dive right into the concept of our habit as humans to challenge God to judge us.

Paul wrote in the Roman epistle that sin did enter into the world through one man (Rom 5:12) and through this man and his sin, death spread to all mankind, because all have sinned. Notably, Paul indicates that in the time before Moses and the Law given at Sinai, that sins were not counted where there is no law (Rom 5:13). This leaves very little room for self-righteousness. If at all any opportunity for man to positionally say to the Lord God that he is innocent of sin. The guilt of man was still accounted to him despite any revelation from the Lord concerning how one could essentially be counted as righteous in the eyes of God. Although the sin of man during this time is not written of as being worse than Adam's transgression, it was still sin. The final restitution for the sin passed to all mankind was inevitably man's life (Rom 5:14).

Man has a tendency to seek justification for his actions through many means. The most abundant situation that man finds himself justifying his actions in is sin. In the light of our own knowledge of what depravity is, the modern psychological perspective attributes the occasion of depravity to circumstantial situations despite the examples of obvious occurrences in every human being.

While pondering this dilemma, and the notion that man not only sins with no consideration that he will ultimately pay for sin with his life, he gives little assent to the second life he will have to live beyond this world. Man pays for sin with death. Death has come because through one man sin has entered the world. We all unfortunately inherit this sin 'nature' and guilty charge before God, and are left holding nothing in our hands to accredit us as righteous.

Taking this one step further, those us who suppress the truth in all unrighteousness (Rom 1:8) seek daily ways to not only challenge God, but seek to challenge Him to judge us for our unrighteousness. IF you read this today and yet not believe on the Lord Jesus Christ to be a sole provider of righteousness for the sin you have committed, let me plead with you.

While some have perished with no revelation, we have been given what is necessary to understand our state. The Law was revealed through Moses to the people to create a standard that was necessary to be righteous before God. This Law required man to worship and love only God, to not make idols for themselves, not blaspheme, keep the sabbath day holy, honor your parents, not murder, commit adultery, steal from others, bear false witness or lie, and lastly not to covet things or persons belonging to others (Exo 20:3-17).

Regrettably, I nor you, have been able to live to these standards. For some of us, we would see a God that requires these unmeetable laws to be held as capricious, arrogant, or unrealistic. It is indeed too bad that while these statements may be true, we are not in a position to argue with the creator. This perspective only remains valid if we discount the evidence that He has provided a means through the revelation of this law, and an ends through the sacrificial system that appeases God for our sins. Fortunately for those who were unable to meet these difficult standards, God indeed cares enough to provide an ends to the means.

The Bible provides many sufficient examples of those who have chosen to take the latter position of assessing God's character, finding it to be so, and completely ignoring the means that He has provided for them to be seen as righteous in His sight. For instance,

Psa 52:7 "See the man who would not make God his refuge, but trusted in the abundance of his riches and sought refuge in his own destruction!"

Psa 73:11 And they say, "How can God know? Is there knowledge in the Most High?"

Dan 5:23 but you have lifted up yourself against the Lord of heaven. And the vessels of his house have been brought in before you, and you and your lords, your wives, and your concubines have drunk wine from them. And you have praised the gods of silver and gold, of bronze, iron, wood, and stone, which do not see or hear or know, but the God in whose hand is your breath, and whose are all your ways, you have not honored.

Isa 10:12-14 When the Lord has finished all his work on Mount Zion and on Jerusalem, he will punish the speech of the arrogant heart of the king of Assyria and the boastful look in his eyes.

And lastly, the words of Job, express clearly the point I would hope to articulate here.

Job 9:2-4 "Truly I know that it is so: But how can a man be in the right before God? If one wished to contend with him, one could not answer him once in a thousand times. He is wise in heart and mighty in strength --who has hardened himself against him, and succeeded?"

I would like to end with this. It is increasingly obvious to all of us that mankind does extreme evil in the sight of others. What is unseen though, is the evil that is done in secret, in our thoughts, and behind closed doors. The Lord God witnesses these things daily and it is against Him that we sin. He has given us the law as a guardian until we could be justified by faith in Christ Jesus (Gal 3:24), who bore our sins on the cross and provided a final payment for our law debt to God. This is good news for all of us! For we all have transgressed the laws mentioned previously, and we all have a debt to God.

If these things are not what you believe this is fine. You have an option. You can pray for understanding and repentance, and the Lord is just and faithful to forgive those who honestly seek His face. Or you can continue to reject it and live, and die in your sins, finally appearing at the resurrection of the dead to a throne of judgment and being dealt with according to what you deserve.

Today I plead with you, if you are unsaved, or have simply uttered a prayer and have not lived a life bringing forth fruit in keeping with repentance, and your life stinks of sin, consider that each day that you reject God and His Son whom He has sent to save you, you harden your heart against Him. You will not succeed in this and He will punish the speech of those who are arrogant and proud in their own eyes for their sins.

I too have stood on the other side of the law, and I stand condemned without the blood of Christ being my final provision for justice in His sight. I too was with those who have challenged God to judge us.

Mar 1, 2010

A Poem by John Newton

"Though troubles assail
And dangers affright,
Though friends should all fail
And foes all unite;
Yet one thing secures us,
Whatever betide,
The scripture assures us,
The Lord will provide.”