A Twisted Crown of Thorns ®

Reformed. Christianity. Evangelism. Modern Culture.

7 Ways to Teach Missions to Kids

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIn this day and age when kids think being a missionary and going into all the world is dressing up like an Avenger or Captain America or one of those Marvel comic characters and busting a few skulls in the process makes you realise there’s a whole lot of teaching to be unlearned and re-learned the right way.

Needless to say Scripture is clear when it explains God’s desire for his church to participate in global evangelism (Matt 28:18-20, Acts 1:8) and take the good news of the gospel to the ends of the world. Scripture is equally clear in explaining God’s desire for his people to train up their children in his ways (Deut 11:18–21, 32:46, Prov 22:6; Isa 38:19; Eph 6:4; 2 Tim 1:5, 3:14–15).

Mike Pettengill has written an article on how to engage the youth from an early age to understand missions. For the expansion of Christ’s kingdom, it is vital that the youth in our churches be taught about God’s passion for the lost and that he desires his disciples to reach out to non-believers and teach them about the grace and mercy of Christ.

Here are  seven ways (adapted from Mike) on how your church can reach the kids of your congregation and teach them about the importance of world missions:

1. Study Missionary Biographies

In your children’s church and youth groups, include a series of stories about the great missionaries of the past. Tell your kids about the incredible missionaries who have served in the name of the Lord. Revere the martyrs and laborers who sacrificed for God. Let the youth see how these great servants were not super-Christians, but simply obedient Christians. Have the youth study, write, and report on their favorite missionaries of today and the past.

2. Video Conference With Missionaries

Help the children of your church get to know missionaries by asking missionaries to use video conferencing technology to talk directly to your Sunday school or VBS classes. Take a few minutes to interview the missionaries and their kids and let the kids of your church ask questions that interest them. Help your youth to get to know the missionaries your church is supporting and praying for. Allow the kids to learn missionaries are normal people just like they are.

3. Study Biblical Missions

Make concerted efforts to regularly study what Scripture says about the relationship between the church and missions. Help your youth understand missions and evangelism are central themes throughout the Bible. Train the kids of your church to see missions was on the heart of God from the beginning of time and that it is a command every church is to follow. Learn about biblical missionaries like Abraham, Jonah and Paul and study how God used average disciples to accomplish amazing things. …Read More!

Christ can soften the hearts which seem hard…

“Christ can soften hearts which seem as hard as the millstone. He can bend stubborn wills which have long been set on self-pleasing, sin and the world. He can create, transform, renew, break down, build and quicken with irresistible power. There are no incurable cases with Christ. Let us never despair about the salvation of others for as long as we live. Let us name them before the Lord day and night and cry to Him on their behalf.” J.C. Ryle

What to Look for in a Good Church

One of the most important questions for a Christian after where will I spend eternity and whom shall I marry is what church shall I attend? Well of course if you just need a joint where to spend Sunday morning ‘s hang over then you may as well a steer away from this site. Steer far away.
I was recently asked by a friend how to choose a good church. To be honest it is a head ache. Possibly a migraine of a decision. With the plethora of churches on the high street these days one needs a lot of prayerful patience. You probably won’t find a perfect church but a good solid Biblical church with sound doctrine is indeed a God send. There’s More

How may I shorten my sermons?

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“If you ask me how you may shorten your sermons, I should say, STUDY THEM BETTER. Spend more time in the study that you may need less in the pulpit. …Read More!

When a man came to Spurgeon with a “brand new revelation”.

preacherIs the truth that which I imagine to be revealed to me by some private communication? Am I to fancy that I enjoy some special Revelation and am I to order my life by voices, dreams and impressions? Brothers and Sisters, fall not into this common delusion! God’s Word to us is in Holy Scripture. All the Truth that sanctifies men is in God’s Word! Do not listen to those who cry, “Lo here!” and, “Lo there!” I am plucked by the sleeve almost every day by crazy persons and pretenders who think that they have Revelations from God. One man tells me that God has sent a message to me by him—and I reply, “No, Sir, the Lord knows where I dwell and He is so near to me that He would not need to send to me by you.” Another man announces, in God’s name, a dogma which, on the face of it, is a lie against the Holy Spirit. He says the Spirit of God told him so-and-so, but we know that the Holy Spirit never contradicts Himself. If your imaginary Revelation is not according to this Word of God, it has no weight with us! And if it is according to this Word, it is no new thing! …Read More!

Martyn Lloyd-Jones on Spiritual Depression

We must not concentrate overmuch upon our feelings. Do not spend too much time feeling your own pulse taking your own spiritual temperature, do not spend too much time analyzing your feelings. That is the high road to morbidity.—Martyn Lloyd-Jones. (Spiritual Depression)

Being at peace with indwelling sin.

Or rather not being at peace with indwelling sin…

jc ryle

Quote of the day: Ulrich Zwingli…

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“The Christian life, then, is a battle, so sharp and full of danger that effort can nowhere be relaxed without loss…” -Ulrich Zwingli, 16th Century Swiss Reformer

What can the church in the West learn from the church in Africa?

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This is an excerpt from a Table Talk (TT) magazine interview with an African pastor (Conrad Mbewe) of Kabwata Baptist Church in Zambia…

TT: What are two important lessons that Western Christians can learn from the African church?

CM: Western civilization has lost a lot of its interpersonal virtues. It has become overly individualized—if you see what I mean. Issues like hospitality, respect for authority and the elderly, being more people-conscious than time-conscious, and so on are largely lost. This has affected not only the society generally but Christians as well.

Western Christians have filled their lives with too many things (toys?) that have robbed them of eternal perspectives. Electronic gadgets, holidays, sports, recreation, and so on have almost become idols. Even church must be about having fun.

…Read More!

Saint Augustine’s fruitless joys…


HT The Old Guys via FB.

Knowing the God of all Comfort

20130805-102257.jpgGod brings different seasons in our lives to teach us different lessons.  There are times of joy, plentifulness and happiness and there are also times of difficulty and trials where our most immediate cry is almost”Lord, how long?”

This is an excerpt from an article of a man who learnt of the comfort that only comes from the God of all comfort when he and his family went through a very tough time:

I had known throughout my ministry, of course, that God comforts His own. I had taught about the ministry of the Holy Spirit, our paraclete, who was sent by Christ to help us. And I had seen that the reading of the Bible brings solace to sorrowing hearts and peace to those in great turmoil.

But now my wife and I are experiencing God’s comfort for ourselves. In the months since Elsie’s stroke, we have known daily the comfort of the Savior, the indwelling Holy Spirit, and the precious Word of God…

The faith of the Christian should grow stronger in times of trial and trouble. Trials have a way of digging up the soil of our hearts and turning up weeds. That is good for us, for it is not in the sunshine but in the storm that we discover the depth of our need. Someone has said, Great soldiers are not made in the barracks nor on the parade ground, but on the battlefield where the going is tough.

Trials provide opportunities for us to get to know God better. In his epistle to the Colossians, Paul assured the Christians that he was praying for them on a regular basis. Included in the list of things for which he prayed was the request that they might be increasing in the knowledge of God (Colossians 1:10). Paul knew that one of the secrets to a full and blessed life is getting to know God better.

…Read More!

7 tips on starting out in ministry

starting-out-in-ministryA few words of encouragement from a man who has seen many days go by.  So, when Jim Sayers stops to give you a few tips on starting out in ministry then you had better take notes.

Here are seven of Jim’s fifteen tips for starting well as a pastor:

  1. Preach within your range. The Bible is like a mountain range, and some peaks are a lot higher than others, so don’t set out to preach beyond your capabilities. We grow into the task of preaching, so don’t set out to preach through revelation as your first series, or John 14-17 or 2 Cor. 10-13. (I tried the latter, and am still scarred by the experience.) Preach what your congregation needs to hear most, and what you can make clear and apply well. Your preaching will reach first class standard after about five years, and test match standard….maybe! meantime, know your limits. John Chapman says ‘Preaching’s not that hard. It’s just the first forty years that’s the worst!’ After twenty four years I am starting to appreciate that quip more and more.
  1. Make a preaching plan for your first few years that takes you to a different genre of Scripture in each ‘term’ of the year. I watched my pastor in Abingdon, Simon Hutton, do this in his early years in Abingdon, and it is a great plan (which had never occurred to me). So we had Exodus 1-15, Colossians, some of Mark, Job (the best early series), Amos and Micah, and so on. As he tackled each series, so he became used to handling that Scripture genre ready for whenever he handled a similar book in future. See your early years in preaching as developing your skills gradually.

…Read More!

UH, BRETHREN. WE ARE DEBTORS!!

Quoting Spurgeon:

Consider how much you owe to his forgiving grace, that after ten thousand affronts he loves you as infinitely as ever; and after a myriad sins, his Spirit still resides within you. Consider what you owe to his power; how he has raised you from your death in sin how he has preserved your spiritual life, how he has kept you from falling, and how, though a thousand enemies have beset your path, you have been able to hold on your way! Consider what thou owest to his immutablity. Though thou hast changed a thousand times, he has not changed once; though thou hast shifted thy intentions, and thy will, yet has he not once swerved from his eternal purpose, but still has held thee fast. Consider thou art as deep in debt as thou canst be to every attribute of God. To God thou owest thyself, and all thou hast. “Brethren, we are debtors.”[1]

Spurgeon, Charles H. Spurgeon’s Sermons.  Vol. 2. The Christian, A Debtor. August 10, 1856.

Do not be discouraged at the difficulties…

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If God is for us, who can be against us?
Romans 8:31

Do not be discouraged at the difficulties and oppositions that will rise up before you when you begin resolvedly to walk with God. Discouragements turn multitudes from religion, and provide a great temptation for many young beginners to turn back. Israel in the wilderness was ready to retreat to Egypt. God himself will have his servants and his graces tried and exercised by difficulties, and Satan, will quickly raise up storms before us, as soon as we are set out to sea.

But God is on your side and has all your enemies in his hand, and can rebuke them, or destroy them in a moment. O what is the breath or
fury of dust or devils, against the Lord Almighty! In the day you entered into a covenant with God, and he with you, you entered into the most impregnable rock and fortress, and covered yourself in a castle of defence, where you may (modestly) defy all adverse powers of earth
or hell. If God cannot save you, he is not God. …Read More!

What were The Effects of the 1904 Welsh Revival?

The Blaenannerch Church.

It’s the 21st century now and it’s been awhile since we heard of nation wide outpourings of a sense of conviction over sin and a turning to the Lord in revival. It almost feels like no body prays for revival any more.

Speaking of which I recently went to Wales. Yes … the land of the Welsh revival of 1904! Oh yes again… I also had an opportunity to visit a church with an interesting historical root – the church at Blaenannerch. It’s pronounced differently by the Welsh and markedly differently by the English – Pahaha. Please just don’t ask me to explain.

Well, it is quite sobering what happened in that year in Wales. Listen to this account…

Thousands of people were saved. Public houses became almost empty. Men and women who used to waste their money getting drunk were now saving it and giving it to the church. They were using their money to buy clothes and food for their families.

Stealing and other offences became less and less. Often a magistrate came to court and found that there were no cases for him to try.

Men who blasphemed learned to talk purely. The miners put in a better day’s work but the pit ponies could not understand what had happened to the miners as they spoke to them more kindly. They were so used to being sworn at that they became disobedient!

People who had been careless about paying their bills or paying back money they had borrowed gave back all they owed.

…Read More!

David Livingstone: Going to Africa ON MISSION was no sacrifice. It was a PRIVILEDGE!

livingstone7David Livingstone gave his life to serve Christ in the exploration of Africa for the sake of the access of the gospel.
Here is what Livingstone said to the Cambridge students about his “leaving” the benefits of England:

For my own part, I have never ceased to rejoice that God has appointed me to such an office. People talk of the sacrifice I have made in spending so much of my life in Africa. . . . Is that a sacrifice which brings its own blest reward in healthful activity, the consciousness of doing good, peace of mind, and a bright hope of a glorious destiny hereafter? …Read More!

Are You Recklessly Abandoned to the cause of Christ?

There is a book I am yearning recklessly to read and I will not abandon this pursuit. The book Reckless Abandon has been aptly summarised in this blog post from Cripplegate…

PNG-woman“It wasn’t the half-naked woman breastfeeding her baby on one breast that captured my attention. Rather, it was the piglet munching down on the other breast that stunned me into silence.”

So begins David Sitton’s autobiography, and I must say that the tone of that first sentence captures the tenor of the book. Reckless Abandon is a the summary of Sitton’s 35 years as a church planter among unreached people groups in Papua New Guinea, with a few forays into México (and one pit-stop in Minneapolis). The introduction explains that for Christians there is no such thing as a risk, because the worst-case scenario to all of our actions is death (“airmailed to Jesus” is Sitton’s phrase), and the rest of that book demonstrates this kamikaze world view.

 If Jesus is worth more than our lives, then we should be willing to face death to take the gospel to the nations. What would a person’s life look like if they a) actually believed that, and b) actually lived that out? Reckless Abandon provides a good answer to that question. Sitton labors among the most difficult to reach groups in PNG, capitulates home to get a wife, returns to PNG until he gets expelled, then recapitulates to the states to start a lifetime of tourist visas. Reading this book made my passport feel tired.

…Read more!

Sermons of a man called George Whitefield.

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Some one once said George Whitefield preached a pure gospel, a powerful gospel and a passionate gospel. He was a man of deep prayer, tremendous spiritual fortitude with a burdened heart, burning lips and brimming eyes. A contemporary of Jonathan Edwards and John Wesley, he was an English Anglican preacher who spent most of his life spreading the gospel by preaching in open air and was one of the major instruments of God used in the Great Awakening in Britain and the United States.

He drew great crowds when he preached to people from all walks of life. From a lordly chamber heavy with the pungent aroma of costly perfumes, Whitefield would race off to a street meeting. Catch his joy as he says, “There I was honored with having stones, dirt, rotten eggs, and pieces of dead cats thrown at me.”

Now it’s possible to download read and study atleast 59 George Whitefield sermons either as a kindle ebook, pdf or EPub.

Spurgeon: A godly mother…can any man estimate what he owes her?

“Fathers and mothers are the most natural agents for God to use in the salvation of their children. I am sure that, in my early youth, no teaching ever made such an impression upon my mind as the instruction of my mother. Neither can I conceive that, to any child, there can be one who will have such influence over the young heart as the mother who has so tenderly cared for her offspring. A man with a soul so dead as not to be moved by the sacred name of ‘mother’ is creation’s blot. Never could it be possible for any man to estimate what he owes to a godly mother. Certainly I have not the powers of speech with which to set forth my valuation of the choice blessing which the Lord bestowed on me in making me the son of one who prayed for me, and prayed with me. How can I ever forget her tearful eye when she warned me to escape the wrath to come? Read more of this post

Heinrich Bullinger: The Day Zwingli Died

So, did Pastor Ulrich Zwingli (the Reformer) die hacking and water boarding enemy soldiers in battle as some snidely suggest? I will leave that bit of history for the urban myth busters to refute. However today we will go through the Heinrich Bullinger’s account of the day Zwingli died.

On the battlefield, not far from the line of attack, Mr. Ulrich Zwingli lay under the dead and wounded. While men were looting . . . he was still alive, lying on his back, with his hands together as if he was praying, and his eyes looking upwards to heaven. So some approached who did not know him and asked him, since he was so weak and close to death (for he had fallen in combat and was stricken with a mortal wound), whether a priest should be fetched to hear his confession. …Read More!

A letter from Spurgeon to his wife when attacked by Mosquitos in Venice.

godseesour-tearsThis note was written while Charles Spurgeon was in Venice. We all love Spurgeon for his impeccable use of the English vocabulary. This note to his wife when he was being plagued by mosquitoes will make you see the human and mortal side of the Spurgeon as he battles the mundane. This should be a light hearted read for you…please do not laugh (well enjoy it whichever way)

6 a.m.—I awake grateful for another night’s peaceful rest, only to find myself very badly bitten by mosquitoes. A mosquito is the most terrible of beasts. A lion delights in blood, but he does not suck it from living animals; he does not carefully prolong their tortures. A viper poisons, but he is generally content with one use of his fangs; but these small-winged serpents bite in scores of places in succession.
My hands are a series of burning mountains. The creatures are as nearly omnipresent as Satan, which means that, though a mosquito cannot be everywhere, yet no mortal can be sure that he is not near him, or tell where he is not. Curtains are a delusion, pastilles are a snare; the little enemies are irritated by such attempts to escape their malice, and give you double punishment. O Italy! I have shed my blood for thy sake, and feel a love of thee (or something else) burning in my veins!

…Read More!

The Four Groups Of Cessationists.

In Christian theology, cessationism is the view that the charismatic gifts of the Holy Spirit, such as tongues, prophecy and healing, ceased being practiced early on in Church history. Cessationists usually believe the miraculous gifts were given only for the foundation of the Church, during the time between the coming of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost, c. AD 33 (see Acts 2) and the fulfillment of God’s purposes in history, usually identified as either the completion of the last book of the New Testament or the death of the last Apostle.Cessationists are divided into four main groups: Read More

What Did Paul mean by the head Covering for Women and Does it apply to us today?

Walk into a modern church and tell the women to come back the next sunday with hats and fancy head covering and you will have started a fad. But any one reading through 1 Corinthians 11:2-16 will always ask what is the head covering Paul is talking about and does it apply to us today? Well a couple of views:

The following ‘exegesis’ (if we can call it that) is really no more than an attempt to wrestle with the major hermeneutical-pragmatic double question of this passage, viz., what is the head covering and in what sense is this text applicable today?

There are several views in vogue on the text, but within evangelicalism three or four come readily to mind:

Read more of this post

Lessons from the conversion of Zaccheus

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preacherFrom a sermon by George Whitefield:
O that the Lord would be pleased to pass by some of you at this time! O that he may call you by his Spirit, and make you a willing people in this day of his power! For I know my calling will not do, unless he, by his efficacious grace, compel you to come in. O that you once felt what it is to receive Jesus Christ into your hearts! You would soon, like Zaccheus, give him everything. You do not love Christ, because you do not know him; you do not come to him, because you do not feel your want of him: you are whole, and not broken hearted; you are not sick, at least not sensible of your sickness; and, therefore, no wonder you do not apply to Jesus Christ, that great, that almighty physician. You do not feel yourselves lost, and therefore do not seek to be found in Christ. O that God would wound you with the sword of his Spirit, and cause his arrows of conviction to stick deep in your hearts!

Modesty: It’s for both women and (yup)….

bow tiesWhen we have young children going into teenage or young adults at church it’s not un often that the topic of modesty comes up. Some say women must dress modestly so as not to stumble the weaker ones (read brothers).  Either way – its good you are reading this article as this is a good opportunity to reflect on a couple of things. Modesty is an issue that should be looked at with alot of seriousness and thoughtfulness both by women and men.

Tom Hicks when writing about this prickly issue actually highlights 5 important points as he cautions on modesty.

He says:

I recently read an article about modesty that prompted me to write this post. The article says that women, particularly young women, should dress modestly to keep their brothers from stumbling into sin. I’ve talked that way in the past, and I’ve even taught it, but I’ve come to believe that it’s not helpful. Biblical modesty is really about humility and the glory of God.

1. Modesty as Humility. Often when Christians speak of modesty, they speak in terms of dress, but in reality, modesty is about not “showing off” any of your attractive qualities in words or deeds. It’s about refusing to set yourself above others and refusing to draw attention to yourself as an end. Modesty means not bragging about our work accomplishments, not showing off how intelligent we are, or even how “godly” we are, and it also means not showing off our physical bodies. Modesty means that we regard others as more important than ourselves and refuse to make ourselves out to look better than others.

2. Modesty is a Matter of the Gospel. Because of Christ’s imputed righteousness, we don’t have anything to prove to anyone. We are clothed in His holy robes of perfect obedience, which means we don’t have to grasp for the high opinions of men, the attraction of others, or for feelings of superiority over them. As believers in Jesus, we already have Him and all things in Him. Jesus says we will inherit the earth. We are seated in the heavenly places with Christ. God says we are “righteous” and that we are His “sons.” It really doesn’t matter what others say or think about us and it doesn’t matter whether others desire us. God wants us. He accepts us freely. Therefore, we can be modest.

…Read More!

Correcting the offending brother

I am currently reading a rare and out of print 1993 book that  was kindly given to me by a retired pastor and I have reached the interesting section on ‘church discipline’. Indeed my coffee cup is filled to the brim and I am sprawling on a tiny chair as I indulge in savory words of virtue and wisdom. Okay lets back track a bit -church discipline -this of course is a delicate issue facing any congregation of Christians:

correcting the brotherOn one hand, believers are sensitive to the claims of truth on the conscience. They are further aware that truth is for the purpose of promoting godliness. Consequently, sin is to be taken seriously, and discipline  when necessary, is to be administered according to the gravity  of the offense in question. ‘If your brother sins,’ says our Lord, ‘correct him.’ (Matt 18:15).

On the other hand, Christians are aware that the truth has not been entrusted to the church in abstraction from the welfare of the people who are recipients of that truth.

If sin is exposed and corrected, it is only to the end that Christ may be glorified by the recovery and restoration of his errant sheep (cf James 5:19-20). The problem of church discipline, accordingly resides in the BALANCE of the truth and love of people… Read More!

O Lord, I need a personal revival

Quoting John Newton:

NEWTON2_360Do you ask how it is with me?  Just as the weather is this morning.  My heart is cold as the snow under foot, and cloudy as the sky over my head.  Not a beam of sunshine, but it is a mercy to have daylight.  It will not be always winter, though it has been a long winter with me.  We want a revival at Olney both for the shepherd and the sheep.  Yet my mouth is not stopped.  I can sometimes talk loud and look big in the pulpit, but how different a creature am I behind the scenes!  Enter not into judgment with thy servant, O Lord!

Spurgeon and those in pulpits who waste people’s time

“I had sooner die than live to be such a being as many who stand up in the pulpit wholly to waste people’s time and not to win souls!” – Charles Spurgeon

WWUTT: Hates the sin but loves the sinner? Not so fast dear!

This is quite interesting….

HT: Rated R for Reformed.

When sin shall be unmasked.

PNG-womanAh, souls! when you shall lie upon a dying bed, and stand before a judgment-seat, sin shall be unmasked, and its dress and robes shall then be taken off, and then it shall appear more vile, filthy, and terrible than hell itself; then, that which formerly appeared most sweet will appear most bitter, and that which appeared most beautiful will appear most ugly, and that which appeared most delightful will then appear most dreadful to the soul.

~ Thomas Brooks, Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices

HT Reformed Quotes.

The degradation of culture due to sin

Excerpt from Crossing cultures in Scripture:Biblical principles in Mission:

Perhaps up to 800 years of Adam’s 930 (Gen 5: 5) were spent watching human culture deteriorate from the perfection that he and Eve once enjoyed. He experienced the heartbreak of a murdered son and of another being a castaway (Gen 4: 15-16). His heart was grieved as he witnessed his descendants sliding deeper into a culture of “sexual immorality, impurity , sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies” (Gal 5: 19-21). What a contrast to that perfect pre-sin wholesome culture of “love, joy, peace , patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Gal 5: 22-23)!

It is therefore no wonder that when one preaches the gospel to the ultra modern millenial or the most savage unreached tribe and they come to a realisation of their helpless state, both are anxious to free themselves from their degraded cultural practices. The light of the gospel brings them hope.
Oh how wonderful it is to hear that even though we like sheep have gone astray, each one in his own way -the Lord has laid on Christ the iniquity of us all. 

Amen!

Ye Are The Salt!—Not Sugar Candy

By Charles Spurgeon

An evil is in the professed camp of the Lord, so gross in its impudence, that the most shortsighted can hardly fail to notice it during the past few years. It has developed at an abnormal rate, even for evil. It has worked like leaven until the whole lump ferments. The devil has seldom done a cleverer thing than hinting to the church that part of their mission is to provide entertainment for the people, with a view to winning them. Read More

Holding the feet of televangelists and faith healers to the fire of Scripture.

It is not that often that televangelists and faith healers open their doors and have their theology and doctrinal practices tested against the standard of scripture. More often than not these offices always come shrouded in mystery and sadly mysticism. However a brave Chris Rosebrough managed to get an interview with Brian Powers a popular televangelist and faith healer and they decided to go through some honest doctrinal issues.

Listen to link here.

Tony-Allen Cucolo writes an interesting summary of  common responses when most of these “hyper” anointed men are confronted with scripture.

  • A complete and utter inability to answer any direct question (here especially regarding the Trinity, his personal sin, etc.), usually going off on another tangent instead.
  • A double standard in regards to accusing someone of harping on doctrine (eg., Trinity), while at the same time accusing others of violating Christian doctrine (eg., Charismatic Gifts of the Spirit).
  • Almost zero knowledge of church history.

…Read More!

People never reject the Bible because they don’t understand it…. Au Contraire!

Stoning-of-Stephen2“Be very sure of this–people never reject the Bible because they cannot understand it. They understand it too well; they understand that it condemns their own behavior; they understand that it witnesses against their own sins, and summons them to judgment. They try to believe it is false and useless, because they don’t like to believe it is true. An evil lifestyle must always raise an objection to this book. Men question the truth of Christianity because they hate the practice of it.” – J. C. Ryle

When God ordains thorns for me…

hopeHaving faith in God and putting your trust in Him involves trusting Him for your salvation and through your sanctification. Your sanctification is for His glory and for your good through times and situations you do not understand. More times than not there will be tough times; occasions when the proverbial thorn remains in your side and He will not take it away. In such times where do you draw your strength from? Our trust should always be in The Sovereign God knowing that what God ordains is always good for me for His glory. In the words of Nancy Guthrie…

Some claim that strong faith is defined by throwing our energies into begging God for a miracle that will take away our suffering and then believing without doubting that he will do it. But faith is not measured by our ability to manipulate God to get what we want, it is measured by our willingness to submit to what he wants. It takes great faith to say to God, ” Even if you don’t heal me or the one I love, even if you don’t change my circumstances, even if you don’t restore my relationship, even if you allow me to lose what is most precious to me, I will still love you and obey you and believe that you are good.  – Nancy Guthrie (Hearing Jesus Speak Into your Sorrow …Read More!

Bruising is required before conversion

hopeQuoting Richard Sibbes:

This bruising is required before conversion that so the Spirit may make way for himself into the heart by leveling all proud, high thoughts, and that we may understand ourselves to be what indeed we are by nature. We love to wander from ourselves and to be strangers at home, till God bruises us by one cross or other, and then we `begin to think’, and come home to ourselves with the prodigal (Luke 15:17). It is a very hard thing to bring a dull and an evasive heart to cry with feeling for mercy. Our hearts, like criminals, until they be beaten from all evasions, never cry for the mercy of the judge. …Read More!

The neglected duty of private prayer

IMG_4982.JPGQuoting J.C Ryle on prayer…

We live in days of abounding religious profession. There are more places of public worship than there ever was before. There are more people attending them than there ever was before. And yet in spite of all this public religion, I believe there is a vast neglect of private prayer. It is one of those private transcripts between God and our souls which no eye sees, and therefore one which people are tempted to pass over and leave undone.
I believe that hundreds of thousands never utter a word of prayer at all. They eat. They drink. They sleep. They rise. They go forth to their work. They return to their homes. They breathe God’s air. They travel on God’s earth. They enjoy God’s mercies. They have dying bodies. They have judgment and eternity before them. But they never speak to God. They live like the animals that perish. They behave like creatures without souls. They have not one word to say to Him in whose hand are their life and breath, and all things, and from whose mouth they must one day receive their everlasting sentence. How dreadful this seems; but if the secrets of men were only known, how common.

Adonirom Judson’s letter to his prospective father in law Mr Hasseltine.

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Adoniram Judson, Jr. (August 9, 1788 – April 12, 1850) was the first Protestant missionary sent from North America to preach in Burma. Judson is remembered as the first significant missionary in Burma, as well as one of the very first missionaries from America to travel overseas. The story of his biography has touched many people, however I will just dig into a small bit here and it’s his letter to his prospective father in law shines some light into the kind of person he was and his passion for missions and evangelism of the dangerous heathen lands:

“I have now to ask whether you can consent to part with your daughter early next spring, to see her no more in this world ? Whether you can consent to her departure to a heathen land, and her subjection to the hardships and sufferings of a missionary life? Whether you can consent to her exposure to the dangers of the ocean; to the fatal influence of the southern climate of India; to every kind of want and distress; to degradation, insult, persecution, and perhaps a violent death? Can you consent to all this, for the sake of Him who left His heavenly home and died for her and for you; for the sake of perishing, immortal souls; for the sake of Zion and the glory of God? Can you consent to all this, in hope of soon meeting your daughter in the world of glory, with a crown of righteousness brightened by the acclamations of praise which shall resound to her Saviour from heathens saved, through her means, from eternal woe and despair?”

HT J.D Greer

Adoniram Judson ended up spending his missionary career not in India, but in Burma. During his thirty-seven years of service there, he persevered through seventeen months of brutal imprisonment, several bouts of life-threatening illness, and the death of two wives and six children. He succeeded in translating the Bible into Burmese and compiling an English-Burmese dictionary. He waited six years for his first Burmese convert, but by the time of his death in 1850, there were a hundred Burmese churches and over 8,000 Burmese Christians. A very readable biography, To the Golden Shore by Courtney Anderson, recounts the epic story of his remarkable life.

How do I get our church to focus on evangelism rather than entertainment?

outreach-ideasWell, by the time you ask your self that kind of question its very likely you may be in the wrong kind of church or your church has probably missed the point and gone off with the wrong priorities. That being said, it is always a good thing to start thinking about evangelism and having a desire to see others come to a true knowledge of Christ through the gospel. The gospel rightly should be the beginning place for every evangelistic endeavor or discipleship program. In this day and age where churches have resorted to hiring ‘church growth’ gurus to bring about astronomical increase in numbers (with no love for the things of God or commitment) it’s quite encouraging to come across pastors who are keen on evangelism and biblical discipleship.

Missionary and church planter David Cloud (together with his wife Linda) have got a free ebook called Ideas for Evangelism (see free download link below) that is a fruit of collective effort gleaned from many sources as well as from their more than 40 years missionary experiences. They have been church planters, ministered on bus routes, in jails, taught Sunday School classes, witnessed on military bases and university campuses, nursing homes and gladly and humbly tackle several issues in  Ideas for Evangelism. This book is for people and churches that feel ‘stuck in a rut’ with their gospel outreach and feel they need to – prove all things; hold fast to that which is good in a bid to uphold a biblical standard in their worship and practice. …Read More!

What is the greatest gospel transformation you have ever seen?

This was a question posed to Missionary David Sitton who went to Papua New Guinea at the age of 22 to preach to tribes of cannibals. Listen to his answer…

HT To Every Tribe Ministries

How do the deaf hear the gospel?

That is a good question to ask a lady called Jean. I have had a really wonderful evening hearing of the missions work among the deaf in Austria. I must say any day I hear of God’s glorious works in the salvation of any soul I am always intrigued and amazed. This time I was glad to hear of how the gospel is spreading among the deaf in Klagenfurt, Austria. Jean Ellis has given over thirty years of her life to work in Austria.  Her ministry in affiliation with Grace Baptist Mission (GBM) has almost been exclusively among the deaf and their families. By God’s grace some have come to repentance and faith in Christ and by the grace of God the number of deaf believers is growing who are now led  by local sign language using pastors grounded in sound Biblical teaching. The work in Austria has been blessed with conversions and even baptisms.

The work among the deaf:

There have been many challenges in the work; part of the challenges were to translate the Bible into Austrian sign language, prayers of the leaders and new believers. Much prayer is still needed for missionaries to this community group (as well as to many missionaries to deaf people around the world). More missionaries are needed to special needs people whether deaf, blind or mute. Why? Because we as believers have an obligation and a commission from the Lord to spread the gospel. Besides…

How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? [Rom 10:14]

May God send workers in to the harvest. May the Lord equip the workers for the harvest. May the glory go to Him alone.British sign language letter A

Take the Calvinism Test.

The label Calvinist is thrown about flippantly. In some circles it’s used with a snarl and a growl. In most cases people do not actually know what it means. However Times Herald has noted that….

 This label that once was considered very bad in almost all Christian circles is enjoying incredible new popularity. Surging numbers of Christians are attending Calvinistic conferences and reading Calvinistic books and articles.

Calvinism is still misunderstood and is recovering from so many decades of bad press. In spite of that, however, more people opening called themselves Calvinists or variations of that, like mild Calvinists or moderate Calvinists. Have you been labeled a Calvinist? How can you know if you or someone else is such an animal? In a moment I’d like to give you a simple test to determine just that.

The nickname Calvinist comes from the Reformer John Calvin (1509-1564). Although John Calvin taught through books of the Bible day-by-day in Geneva, Switzerland, he is known mostly for teaching that God is sovereign over the salvation of sinners. He taught that God chose to save some people before time began, and then predestined that they would become believers in Christ. …Read More!

Steven Lawson: The kind of preaching that God blesses

There is a kind of preaching that God blesses, specifically the proclamation that exalts the crucified Christ by the power of the Spirit. Conversely, there is a kind of preaching that God does not bless, a mere echoing of man’s empty wisdom that is devoid of Christ. ~ Lawson, Steven J.  from The Kind of Preaching God Blesses

Why Do We Say Grace Before Meals?

Isn’t it rather odd in it self that we have different meanings for “Grace” these days? Just saying… 🙂

[HT to Facebook Friends]

Ecce Homo: Behold The Man!

It’s about two thousand years since Pilate said, “Ecce homo” (behold the man). How  easily we forget that God was among us (Emmanuel). How easily we forget that the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

How easily we let our focus shift to material give aways and easter eggs. What if we beheld the crucifixion of Jesus and remembered that:

Death by crucifixion was agonizingly slow, and came about by suffocation. A medical expert on crucifixion describes the physical effects that Jesus would have endured while nailed to a cross,

“As the arms fatigue, great waves of cramps sweep over the muscles . . . With these cramps comes the inability to push Himself upward. Hanging by His arms, the pectoral muscles are paralyzed . . . Air can be drawn into the lungs, but cannot be exhaled. Jesus fights to raise Himself in order to get even one short breath. Finally, carbon dioxide builds up in the lungs and in the blood stream and the cramps partially subside. Spasmodically He is able to push Himself upward to exhale and bring in the life-giving oxygen.” (The Crucifixion of Jesus: The Passion of Christ from a Medical Point of View, Arizona Medicine, vol. 22, no. 3 (March 1965), 183-187).

This process would continue for hours until all strength in the legs is gone, and Jesus is no longer able to push up in order to breathe.

Aside from the physical pain of crucifixion, there was also the stigma of disgrace and humiliation that was attached to it. Victims were beaten, whipped, and taunted even before reaching the cross. They were usually hanged naked, made a spectacle of shame for all to see. Read More…

Charles Spurgeon: “Give them all the more of it”

praying“If anything is hated bitterly, it is the out-and-out gospel of the grace of God, especially if that hateful word ‘sovereignty’ is mentioned with it.

Dare to say ‘He will have mercy on whom he will have mercy, and he will have compassion on whom he will have compassion,’ and furious critics will revile you without stint.

The modern religionist not only hates the doctrine of sovereign grace, but he raves and rages at the mention of it. He would sooner hear you blaspheme than preach election by the Father, atonement by the Son, or regeneration by the Spirit. …Read More!

So Who Was Junia And Did Her Role Contradict Paul’s Admonition on Women’s Roles in Church?

This week’s excerpt comes from Tribulogue [an interesting blog I came across this week]. It is an in-depth look into a portion of Paul’s letter to the Romans  where two characters Andronicus and Dunia are mentioned in the sixteenth chapter. So who was Dunia and did her ministry contradict Paul’s admonition about women’s roles in church?

Greet Andronicus and Junia, my fellow Jews who have been in prison with me. They are outstanding among the apostles, and they were in Christ before I was (Romans 16:7, NIV).

I’ve spent a lot of time working through the research that describes the households of Rome as one of the basic building blocks of Roman society. How commerce in the city led to movements in and out of the city at the time Paul wrote the letter to the Romans, in the middle of the first century. How wealth and patronage, even as evidenced in the New Testament, naturally led to “leadership positions” that existed in the house churches in Rome, prior to the arrival of the Apostles. …Read More!

Breakthrough: The documentary of Missionary James O. Fraser and the Lisu people

Above is a trailer of documentary of James Fraser:

James Fraser was only 22 years old when he left his engineering career and went to China. From the very first time he saw the Lisu tribespeople of Yunnan Province, he was filled with God’s love for them. He spent the rest of his life laboring to bring them the gospel. Breakthrough came only after his partners back home took up the challenge to pray. …Read More!

Moving from Angry Calvinism to gentle forbearing….

Isn’t it a wonder some times when one discovers some truth about a facet of God’s divine design or the doctrines of grace and then we lose all patience with those slow to taste the honey dew? The term used here is usually –Angry Calvinist. Could it be that we become angry with them and not realise we too were once blind to these truth until the light of God’s grace shone on our paths? On becoming a humble Calvinist – John Newton, Memoirs of the Life of the Late Rev. William Grimshaw (London: 1799), pages 86–87 writes something that rings true:

Church Reformer Martin LutherThey who avow the doctrines distinguished by the name of Calvinism, ought, if consistent with their own principles, to be the most gentle and forbearing of all men, in meekness instructing them that oppose. With us, it is a fundamental maxim, that a man can receive nothing but what is given him from heaven (John 3:27). If, therefore, it has pleased God to give us the knowledge of some truths, which are hidden from others, who have the same outward means of information; it is a just reason for thankfulness to him, but will not justify our being angry with them; for we are no better or wiser than they in ourselves, and might have opposed the truths which we now prize, with the same eagerness and obstinacy, if his grace had not made us to differ. If the man, mentioned in John 9, who was born blind, on whom our Lord graciously bestowed the blessing of sight, had taken a cudgel and beat all the blind men he met, because they would not see, his conduct would have greatly resembled that of an angry Calvinist.

HT Tony Reinke on Humble Calvinism.

So, allow me to (re) introduce Jesus Christ to you

Blair Wingo Linne the wife of Christian musician Shai Linne minces no words as a spoken word artist in her poem as she re introduces Christ… Here is the transcript:

Allow me to reintroduce the Christ…

We got a false Jesus being portrayed
As seen on TV, acting cool, you see He’s changed
A different Jesus from the Bible so
Allow me to bring the real Christ on stage
Not that whack Jesus, the one not based on fact Jesus, too often displayed
The Christ in glory, not the one on your chain
Cause He is the real Jesus peace that only dwells in the saved …Read More!