0

Does your anchor hold?

Posted on Mar 25 , 2014 in Blog

This week “World Vision America” made the decision to now allow homosexual couples in a marriage to be employed by them, but as they have held in the past adultery by any will be grounds for discharge/nonhire. Franklin Graham released a statement (Samaritan Purse and World Vision were started by the same person) that expresses his sadness The Bible is clear that marriage is between a man and a woman. 

Quoting Piper:

Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. (1 Corinthians 6:9–10)

In other words, to treat regular homosexual intercourse as less dangerous than fornication, adultery, greed, theft, and drunkenness is to treat perdition as if it were a small thing, or not really coming. The same text that imperils active fornicators and adulterers and thieves and coveters, also imperils those who practice homosexuality.

Make no mistake, this so-called “neutral” position of World Vision is a position to regard practicing homosexuals (under the guise of an imaginary “marriage”) as following an acceptable Christian lifestyle, on the analogy of choosing infant baptism over believers’ baptism.

Over against this, the apostle Paul says they will not enter the kingdom of heaven. It is that serious. If it were not, God would not have given his Son to be crucified for our rescue. Therefore, World Vision has trivialized perdition and the cross.

I would encourage to read the rest of the article here; adultery no, homosexual practice yes.  Sadly this appears to have nothing to do with theology, but rather that a larger portion of their contribution base is in favor of this move.

John McArthur sums up situations like the best: "It is far more important to be divided by truth than be united by error."

These are days that will challenge our hearts, but let’s continue to hold to the truth that the Bible is the Inspired Word of God.

 

PH

0

See a need…pray and see how you can met the need.

Posted on Mar 20 , 2014 in Blog

(This is an article taken from 9Marks http://www.9marks.org/answers/i-don%E2%80%99t-feel-there-are-opportunities-me-get-involved-my-church-what-should-i-do)

I don’t feel like there are opportunities for me to get involved in my church. What should I do?

Sometimes we get so fixated on programs and official positions in the church that it’s easy to miss opportunities right in front of our eyes. To help remedy that potential near-sightedness, here are two ways that you can always get involved in any church.

  1. Find needs to meet. No church, even the best-staffed and best-served, has absolutely all of its needs met. There are always children to watch, meals to cook, rooms to clean, members in times of special need, and much more. So pray that God would enable you to find others’ needs and meet them in a spirit of humble service, even if they aren’t particularly glamorous.
  2. Find Christians to disciple. All Christians this side of heaven are works in progress, and God wants all Christians to build up the church to maturity by speaking the truth in love (see Eph. 4:11-16, Col. 3:16-17). So find people whom you can speak the truth in love to, and who can do the same for you. Ask a couple of new members over to your home for dinner and get to know the state of their souls. Find a younger Christian and begin reading Scripture and praying together.

Serving in the church is not something we should need a special invitation to do. In every church there will be needs to meet and Christians to disciple. So take the initiative and find ways to do others spiritual good.

0

Do others consider you a faithful person?

Posted on Mar 20 , 2014 in Blog

Just what does it mean to be faithful?  We often use the word, but do our lives truly exemplify the idea behind the word?

Webster defines faithful as :

  • having or showing true and constant support or loyalty
  • keeping your promises or doing what you are supposed to do

Homan’s Bible Dictionary:

OT: Steadfast, dedicated, dependable, and worthy of trust. It is derived from the Hebrew root having the basic meaning “to trust (a person),” or “to believe (a statement).” This is the same root that gives us the word “amen.” The derived meaning is that the one so described is trustworthy, dependable, trusting, or loyal.

NT: The adjective “faithful” is a derivative of the Greek noun meaning “faith.” Here we get the translation “faithful” as a natural derivative of faith. Once again the fundamental meaning is that the one so described is trustworthy and loyal. The root idea is that one has fidelity toward another person or toward God.

Now let me ask this question: If God were as faithful in keeping His promises to us, as we are in keeping our promises made to God, spouse, church, and family would we be demanding “change”?

To God we have made the promise that we have repented of our past sinful life and now desire, by His grace, to live a life of progressive sanctification.

  • It doesn’t mean we use progressive sanctification as justification for sinful habits.
  • It does mean that when convicted of our sin we repent, [the Hebrew words means (A) to regret, or (B) to turn around, return, turn back. The most frequent Greek word means a mental paradigm-shift.]  That is we change our way of thinking about our sinful habit and/or desires, and begin to think about those things as God does (Col 3:5 Paul describes it as slaying/putting to death/mortifying our old way of doing things, then in :12 describes it as putting on something new).  Thus when convicted of sin we mortify it and replace it with God’s way of doing things.

To our spouse we have made certain promises.

  • remember those vows: “for better, for worse… richer or poorer…in health, in sickness…”
  • Husband to love her as Christ loved the church (Eph 5:25)
  • wife to respect her husband (Eph 5:33)

To our local church(taken from our church constitution).

  • an evident desire to worship the Lord with other members and friends at all of the Church’s scheduled services
  • to seek God’s will in our business decisions by attending the corporate meetings
  • to cultivate and cherish brotherly love for all other members of the church
  • to show this love by using all proper measures to promote their spiritual benefit and prosperity
  • to pray for one another
  • to continually protect one another’s reputation

 

To our family: parents, kids, siblings.

  • To bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord
  • To honor our father and mother (as we get older it doesn’t mean we always agree but we do respect their decisions/opinions)

 

Here’s the question to wrap it all up (today anyways): Does God, our spouse, our local assembly, and our family us an active, faithful person toward them?

 

PH

0

Marriage

Posted on Mar 08 , 2014 in Blog

I know many Christians are, like myself, up in arms with the homosexual agenda in the area of same-sex-marriage.  Now what I’m about to say may shock some of you, but that’s alright.  The issue on marriage was lost by the church when the church, yea Christians failed to stand for a God defined marriage.  Let’s look at Mark 10…

And Pharisees came up and in order to test him asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?” He answered them, “What did Moses command you?” They said, “Moses allowed a man to write a certificate of divorce and to send her away.” And Jesus said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart he wrote you this commandment. But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’ ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh.What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”

And in the house the disciples asked him again about this matter.And he said to them, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her, and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.” (Mark 10:2-12, ESV)

For way too long the church has overlooked, or looked the other way in the matter of sexual sin.  Then some decades ago the law was changed to “no-fault divorce”.  Allow me to suggest that what this did was reduced marriage to a contract.  A contract which could be broken for any cause, at any time.  Allow me to also suggest it was just a matter of time before man in his fallen state, would push the boundaries of what or who could be married.  In my opinion its just a matter of time  before the courts are going to be forced to accept marriages of polygamy,  bestiality, and the like.

WHY? because marriage has been reduced to a contract between two parties.

What can Christians do about it?  Get back and hold onto what God says.

1. Marriage is between one man and one woman.

2. Marriage is a lifetime commitment.

3. Take seriously the vows; ‘for better or worse”, “till death”…

4. “The church needs marriage because it is a necessary part of God’s order in creation.”

5. “The church needs marriage because broken people need to be sanctified and to learn the meaning of sacrifice and love.”

6. “The church needs marriage to fully and rightly demonstrate the Gospel to society”

7. Remember that marriage is a picture of Christ and the church, the Gospel (Eph 5:25-32)

For more you can read this article Why the Church needs marriage. 

Bottom line, unless the Church and individual Christians become serious about a God honoring marriage, we shouldn’t expect the world to be serious about marriage.

 

PH

0

Death

Posted on Mar 08 , 2014 in Blog

As I was reading this article "Singing about Death", and going through the home going of my mother-in-law…I was struck by several things:

1. We avoid conversations about death.

This is interesting considering that in Gen 2 and 3 God clearly warned Adam that if he ate of the Tree of knowledge of good and evil he would die.  Well he ate and in Gen 3 the death sentence was pronounced upon Adam and the whole human race.  Now, perhaps this is why we don’t like to talk about death, it points out that we are sinners and sin has consequences.  The cold hard facts of death is that it is final, and whenever death touches us, it reminds us that our life is just a vapor.

BUT, as Christians death is not the final stop.  As ones who believe in the Bible as the Word of God we are reminded that death simply exposes us to our true final destination, heaven or hell.  Friends let me suggest that this why we need to talk about death, because there is a final abode for everyone, and it is not the ‘grave”.

Paul to the the Thessalonians in 1 Thessalonians 4:13ffBut we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope.14 For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. 15 For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words.”

Let this sink in as Christians talking about death is healthy for the following reasons;

  • It gives us hope about our future
  • It reminds us we will be reunited with loved ones who knew the Lord
  • It reminds us that Christ died, was buried, but he also ROSE AGAIN (hint-this just isn’t an Easter conversation)
  • It gives us an opportunity to share the Gospel

2. Too often there’s an unhealthy view, everyone and (everything) is going to heaven.

When we talk biblically about death it gives us an opportunity to share the gospel.  During the memorial service for my mother-in-law I tried very heard to share that the reason we have hope in seeing “x” family members again is because they had repented of their sin, turned to Christ alone for salvation and then lived their lives for Him.  Yes, I left some family members out of the conversation because I either had knowledge of their rejection of Christ, or there was simply not proof that they had accepted the gospel of Jesus Christ (in the end God is the final judge).  My point was not to offend, but to use a very sensitive moment to allow the Holy Spirit  to work in hearts.

Let me also state times of death and yes hymns about or containing references to death is a good time to share with our children; about the realities of death, THE way to overcome the sting of death, and give them hope about death.  Our kids need BIBLICAL answers let’s help them learn by giving them the answers they so desperately desire.  Perhaps a reason we don’t like this is because it’s not our children who are struggling with death, but us.  We’re the ones struggling with our own immortality and perhaps we have become so dependent on “X” that  their death a new faith walk that MUST trust God as never before.  In times like these we need to reminded of “…for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?” (Hebrews 13:5b-6)

3. As the article suggest, we avoid songs and or the stanzas about death.

Why?  Well let me quote Aaron Blumer “Somehow, part of the uniquely-Christian joy of life lies in calmly accepting the immanence of death—along with thinking rightly about death in many other ways. But we can’t think rightly or feel rightly about death if we avoid looking at it squarely. It needs our attention even in our worship, even in our songs.

So the next time we are tempted to either avoid a hymn or discussion about death, let’s look death squarely in the eye and remind ourselves “Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. (Psalm 139:16, ESV)

 

PH

0

Be a servant in the those moments when you don’t want to be

Posted on Feb 15 , 2014 in Blog

Ever had one of those moments in time (ok, may-be several) where it just seems like everything that could go “wrong/bad” seems to?  I have to admit that the last several days have appeared to be one of those “moments”.  Then an Aunt posted this video be a Servant.  Though what you may be going through is rough, when we are aware that other people are going through things potentially worse or equal to our situations, a servants heart changes everything.

Yesterday was valentines, a day that Hallmark gets people to get all lovey dovey.  Yet if we truly have a servant’s heart every day can be a day, out of the love of Christ that constraineth us, we can show love (compassion, mercy) to others. 

When the moments come, and yes they do come, HAVE A SERVANT’S HEART AND SERVE RATHER THAN COMPLAIN.

0

Remembering our responsibilities

Posted on Feb 08 , 2014 in Blog

I was doing some reading for another topic when I came across the topic “The grace relationships” in Chafer’s Systematic Theology.  He listed the Christians relationship 1) to God,  2) the world system, and 3) to the Body of Christ.

I think we live in a day where we tend to “pigeon hole” certain topics and try our best to see items as individual matters rather than as a whole.  I think this can be the case when it comes to the Body of Christ and our varied relationships.

Chafer list the following relationships that are intertwined in the daily life of a believer:

  • A Christian’s relation to other Christians
  • A Christian’s relation to those who are in authority in the assembly of believers
  • The relation of Christian husbands and wives
  • The relation of Christian parents and children
  • The relation of Christian masters and servants
  • A Christian’s obligation to an erring brother
  • A Christian’s obligation to a weak brother

 

Now if we’re not careful we will get involved in pigeon holing these areas and not see them as whole.  Let me give us just one example from Ephesians 5:17-6:9 just note how several Christian “relationships” flow from one another and are dependent on each other:

  • Understand what the will of the Lord is 5:17
  • Be filled with the Spirit 5:18
  • address one another in psalms, hymns and spiritual songs 5:19
  • be in a constant attitude of thanksgiving to God 5:20
  • Be submitting to one another 5:21
  • Wives be submitting to your husband 5:22
  • Husbands love your wife 5:25
  • Children obey your parents in the Lord 6:1
  • Fathers bring your children up so they’re pointed to the Lord 6:4
  • Servants obey your boss 6:5
  • Bosses treat your servants as God treats you 6:9

 

So what do we learn?  Simply this our Christian life can not be lived in isolation from the Lord, the Body, our spouse/family, or our work place.   Is one more important than any other?  Yes, our relationship to the Lord (5:17-18),  because if our relationship with the Lord is not right NONE of the other relationships have a chance. 

If a Christian be neglectful of his head (God) then his body (all other relationships) will fall apart.

0

Do you live so that people may know the LORD?

Posted on Feb 01 , 2014 in Blog

As I was reading through 1st Samuel 6 yesterday my thoughts stopped at verse 6 “Why should you harden your hearts as the Egyptians and Pharaoh hardened their hearts?  The context is that the Philistines had just defeated Israel in battle and had taken the Ark back with them.  But, after a period of time, God caused issues for their idols and plagues began breaking out where ever the Ark was.  The Philistines religious leaders gave their advice to send the Ark back to Israel based on how God had dealt with Pharaoh and Egypt by sending the plagues.

It’s interesting that in Exodus 7:5 God states that His purpose for sending the plagues was that they (Egypt) “…might know that I am the LORD”.  Allow me to suggest that God’s purpose in working through His people whether Israel in the OT or the Church in the NT is that the unsaved “might know that He is the Lord”.  (cf, Joshua 2:8-11) I find it interesting that between Exodus 7 and 1 Sam 6 several generations had come and gone; Joshua and Caleb were deceased; the Judges had come and gone; at last Samuel is priest and judge in Israel.  Yet even after all those years the effects of the 10 plagues and Israel’s departure from Egypt CONTINUED TO HAVE AN IMPACT IN THE LIVES OF PEOPLE WHO REJECTED GOD.

Now here’s the question: Are you living you life in relationship to God in such a way that it is having an impact in the lives of the unsaved?

Allow me to suggest that when Christians live in right relationship to God, the world system, and to the Body of Christ we can have both a current and lasting impact on the world around us.

 

PH

0

How doctrine impacts our mercy ministry

Posted on Jan 11 , 2014 in Blog

Over the years I have had numerous people knock at the parsonage door looking for mercy.  OK, those who know me well can stop laughing now Smile.  Whether it be for gas, food, or simply looking for a few dollars for this and that.  Early on I use to give as they came to the door.  then one day I received a phone call from our local police department to notify me that someone in the local community was going around to various churches looking to “rip them off”.  Sadly, our governmental policies have developed an attitude of looking for handouts (a nation of leaches), rather than “working” for the money.  if someone stops by the church and says I’ll do “x” for some food/gas money, if the job needs done, will willing give to that person. 

I later on began using a form for people to fill out asking for references and if they worked.  On the back of the form are several paragraphs explaining our ministry philosophy of assistance.   Trust me that really weeds out the moochers from those truly in need.  BUT, along with the filling out the form I also required the person in question to attend one morning worship service before receiving any monies, you guessed it this weeded out the really needed from this who were looking for a hand-out.

Some by now may be asking why not help everyone?  That’s a good question, and one which goes to the the doctrine I believe in.  I do not believe that we are living in the kingdom age, that’s still to come.  if I did I would want to try to help eliminate poverty and social injustice.  Instead, my theology is based on dispensational theology.  That is the Church and Israel are two distinct groups and that the Kingdom age is not here.  I believe that we are still looking for the great hope and glorious appearing of Christ Jesus our Lord (Rapture-tribulation-2nd coming).  

Now I must admit that I have not always articulated my thoughts quite this nicely ( http://thecripplegate.com/biblical-pillars-for-mercy-ministry-reprise/ ), but it caused me to think about why I do what I do in “mercy ministry”.  And as you begin to look at the NT, particularly from Acts 2 on, you note one thing Mercy ministry/relief of the poor is always pointed to the those in the CHURCH BODY.  Thus as you read a passage such as Eph 4:11-16, you see that the mission of the church is to edify the Body of Believers to do the work of ministry, which would include evangelism.  NO where in the NT do you see the church mandated/commanded to relieve the physical suffering of the poor.  Rather we are commissioned to help them see their spiritual need and eternal destiny without Christ.

“This explains why the NT commands Christians to meet the needs of those inside the universal church, but not outside (for my understandinging of the “Good Samaritan,” read this).”

So are you following your doctrine or your feelings when it comes to mercy ministry?

0

What Christ came to do

Posted on Dec 20 , 2013 in Blog

As we reflect at this time of year on the Incarnation of Christ, I think it appropriate to remind ourselves why Christ came to earth.

Matt 1:20-23  20 But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” 22  All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: 23  “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us).

Luke 2:11 for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.

Gal 4:4-7 4 But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, 5  to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. 6 And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” 7 So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.

Paul to the Romans (Rom 3:9-26) Paul said that NO ONE seeks for God, we are all lost and dying in our sin…BUT when a sinner repents, and turns to Christ alone for salvation (Rom 10:9-13) , and does deeds befitting of their repentance (Acts 26:20) they are saved. 

You see Christ came to earth (that’s Christmas) to die in our place (that’s Easter), for our sins (substitutionary atonement) , that we might be saved from our sins(redemption). 

If you’re not careful you’ll get so caught up in the commercial and cultural Christmases that you may actual miss the reason for Christmas…A Savior is born.