A Twisted Crown of Thorns ®

Reformed. Christianity. Evangelism. Modern Culture.

Category Archives: Faith

God’s design in the gospel…

john owen

Remembering Augustus Toplady…

topladyNothing in my hand I bring, simply to the cross I cling;
naked, come to thee for dress; helpless, look to thee for grace;
foul, I to the fountain fly; wash me, Savior, or I die.  – Augustus Toplady (Rock of Ages)

The problem with false Evangelism

“The trouble with all false evangelism is that it does not start with doctrine, it does not start by realising man’s condition… If you and I realised that every man who is yet a sinner is absolutely dominated by the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience, if we only understood that he is really a child of wrath and dead in trespasses and sins, we would realise that only one power can deal with such an individual, and that is the power of God, the power of the Holy Ghost. …Read More!

9 signs your church is growing in the right direction

church growthMark Dever in his book, What Is a Healthy Church? writes, “When you peer into the life of a church, the growth of its members can show up in all sorts of ways.”   Here are just a few good examples – though of course this is not an exhaustive list :

  1. Growing numbers being called to missions—“I’ve enjoyed sharing the gospel with my neighbors from South America. I wonder if God is calling me to …”
  2. Older members getting a fresh sense of their responsibility in evangelism and in discipling younger members—“Why don’t you come over for dinner?”
  3. Younger members attending the funerals of older members out of love—“As a single man in my twenties, it was so good to be taken in by Mr. and Mrs.…”
  4. Increased praying in the church and more prayers centered on evangelism and ministry opportunities—“I’m starting an evangelistic Bible study at work and I’m a little nervous. Would the church pray that …”
  5. More members sharing the gospel with outsiders. …Read More!

Dear Lord, I neglected my soul (and lost it) but as for my body…Look at me, WHOOP WHOOP!!

20121116-182726.jpgTwo things a master commits to his servant’s care–the child and the child’s clothes. It will be a poor excuse for the servant to say, at his master’s return, “Sir, here are all the child’s clothes, neat and clean, but the child is lost.” Much so of the account that many will give to God of their souls and bodies at the great day. “Lord, here is my body; I am very grateful for it; I neglected nothing that belonged to its contents and welfare; but as for my soul, that is lost and cast away forever. I took little care and thought about it.”   ~ John Flavel

The importance of doctrine for young believers

regrets“A young ungrounded Christian, when he sees all the fundamental truths, and sees good evidence and reasons of them, perhaps may be yet ignorant of the right order and place of every truth. It is a rare thing to have young professors to understand the necessary truths methodically: and this is a very great defect: for a great part of the usefulness and excellency of particular truths consisteth in the respect they have to one another. This therefore will be a very considerable part of your confirmation, and growth in your understandings, to see the body of the Christian doctrine, as it were, at one view, as the several parts of it are united in one perfect frame; and to know what aspect one point has upon another, and which are their due places. …Read More!

Northern Australia: Aboriginals get Bible in their native language

aborigine bible

Learning by paradox: The way down is the way up.

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Lord, high and holy, meek and lowly,
You have brought me to the valley of vision,
where I live in the depths, but see you in the heights;
hemmed in by mountains of sin I behold your glory.

Let me learn by paradox
that the way down is the way up,
that to be low is to be high,
that the broken heart is the healed heart,
that the contrite spirit is the rejoicing spirit,
that the repenting soul is the victorious soul,
that to have nothing is to possess all,
that to bear the cross is to wear the crown,
that to give is to receive,
that the valley is the place of vision.

Read more of this post

Reverse Thinking…

Joan Bakewell interviews Dr Martyn LLoyd Jones

Here is a newly released 1970 video of Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones on YouTube! This is a fascinating video where the Doctor is being interviewed about the nature of Man.

martyn lloyd interview

R.C Sproul: I have some regrets…

I found this excerpt quite interesting…

regrets“Do you have any regrets? I have some regrets…I’m ashamed…all the junk I know…all the theme songs of all the TV shows, all the pop songs, all the garbage in my head…because of all the time I wasted. What if I had been studying the bible instead of watching TV, what if I would have been reading great theology instead of listening to all the rock stars of the day?”- RC Sproul on Believing God

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It’s December and the battle for Christmas and Nativity Scenes begin…

A slight hiccup of biblical proportions?santa and nativity scene

Missions: Praying for Africa’s Unreached

This week the focus goes to praying for missionaries all over the world. In particular we will pray that Jacob Lee a church planter and missionary with Reaching Africa’s Unreached who is battling malaria some where between Moyo and Yumbe (in Northern Uganda) will have a steady recovery. Remember him plus many more nameless missionaries who toil day and night to reach the unreached with the gospel and spend some more countless hours teaching them how to read and study the Bible for themselves.

Jacob Lee in Ugandan Village...

Jacob Lee in Ugandan Village…

I have now been fighting malaria the last 4 days with last 2 days being the worse. My definition of malaria is “flu to the 10th power”. I am starting to feel a bit better now. I am so grateful for my dear friends Kevin and Ron with SWI (Strategic World Impact) who have pushing on without me preaching the glorious gospel. …Read More!

Hudson Taylor on Missions

“It will not do to say that you have no special call to go to China. With these facts before you and with the command of the Lord Jesus to go and preach the gospel to every creature, you need rather to ascertain whether you have a special call to stay at home.”
Hudson Taylor

 

Lost in Elveden Forest – Thankfully I had a camera!

I am thankful to God for the few days off we had as a family when we went to Elveden Forest (Center Parcs Suffolk near Norwich) mid November 2013. I had some time to wander about with a camera  not my usual Nikon D40 camera but the pictures were quite good I must say. Well, you be the judge!

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…Read more!

Can anything good come out of Syria?

Yes. The people who were known as infidels, the Christians, are now by God’s grace affectionately being called the “Bible people” as the gospel spreads to areas it has never reached in modern times. Voice of the Martyrs’ recent newsletter recently reported that…

The war in Syria is one of the greatest crises seen in the Middle East in the last 20 years. It has claimed the lives of more than 100,000 people, both Muslim and Christian. More than 2 million Syrians have fled to neighboring countries. In the midst of this crisis, our persecuted family is boldly reaching out. And the reactions of Muslims have been astonishing.

“When you hear about one Muslim coming to Christ, it’s a great thing, and everybody rejoices,” said a VOM Syrian contact. “Today in Syria I’m not talking about one person. We’re talking about hundreds and even thousands of Muslims coming to know Christ.”

…Read More!

Malaria vaccine an answer to prayers is finally here!

I woke up to quite some good news today to hear that we are seeing light at the end of the tunnel in the search for a malaria vaccine….

GlaxoSmithKline’s quest to find a malaria vaccine has survived two mergers, a succession of chief executives and lasted nearly 30 years.
But that effort is now on track to deliver the first vaccine against one of the world’s deadliest diseases.
Scientists working on the product will on [8th October 2013] unveil the results of a trial on 15,000 African children, providing the strongest evidence yet that the shot nearly halves the number of cases of malaria in babies aged five to 17 months, and paving the way for its release. …Read More

St. Augustine on the gift of faith

Why the Gift of Faith is Not Given to All…Faith, then, as well in its beginning as in its completion, is God’s gift; and let no one have any doubt whatever, unless he desires to resist the plainest sacred writings, that this gift is given to some, while to some it is not given. But why it is not given to all ought not to disturb the believer, who believes that from one (Adam) all have gone into a condemnation, which undoubtedly is most righteous; so that even if none were delivered therefrom, there would be no just cause for finding fault with God. Whence it is plain that it is a great grace for many to be delivered, and to acknowledge in those that are not delivered what would be due to themselves; so that he that glorieth may glory not in his own merits, which he sees to be equalled in those that are condemned, but in the Lord. But why He delivers one rather than another,-” His judgments are unsearchable, and His ways past finding out –St. Augustine of Hippo

 

The sermon and the grace of preaching

(The Puritans believed in) the supreme importance of preaching. To the Puritans, the sermon was the liturgical climax of public worship. Nothing, they said, honours God more than the faithful declaration and obedient hearing of His truth. Preaching, under any circumstances, is an act of worship, and must be performed as such. Moreover, preaching is the prime means of grace to the church. ~J.I Packer

 

John Calvin on wisdom…

“He therefore…is a fool in this world, who, renouncing his own understanding, allows himself to be directed by the Lord, as if with his eyes shut – who, distrusting himself leans wholly upon the Lord, places his whole wisdom in him, and yields himself up to God in docility and submission. It is necessary that our wisdom should in this way vanish, in order that the will of God may have authority over us, and that we be emptied of our own understanding, that we may be filled with the wisdom of God.”-John Calvin

What would John Flavel say about MTV (and Miley Cyrus)?

“If you neglect to instruct (your children) in the way of holiness, will the devil neglect to instruct them in the way of wickedness? No; if you will not teach them to pray, he will to curse, swear, and lie; if ground be uncultivated, weeds will spring.” – John Flavel

Samuel Rutherford on Affliction

The secret formula of the saints: When I am in the cellar of affliction, I look for the Lord’s choicest wines. —Samuel Rutherford

Explaining the seven trumpets of Revelation

“A man says to me, “Can you explain the seven trumpets of the Revelation?” No, but I can blow one in your ear and warn you to escape from the wrath to come.” ~ CHARLES SPURGEON

The church in Legionowo (Poland)

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This year the Grace Baptist Mission church planting group in Legionowo, Poland opened their new meeting place. They have had a number of breakthroughs in their work.

Poland is an ancient nation that was conceived near the middle of the 10th century. Its golden age occurred in the 16th century. After years of being a Soviet satellite state, labour turmoil in 1980 led to the formation of the independent trade union “Solidarity” that over time became a political force and by 1990 had swept parliamentary elections and the presidency. A “shock therapy” program during the early 1990s enabled the country to transform its economy into one of the most robust in Central Europe, but Poland still faces the lingering challenges of high unemployment, underdeveloped and dilapidated infrastructure, and a poor rural underclass. Poland remains a strongly Roman Catholic country with more than 90% of the population claiming allegiance to that church.
…Watch Video Below

Preaching as never sure to preach again…as a dying man to dying men

saving drowning manOn the office of a preacher…

“The preacher must be a serious man; he must never give the impression that preaching is something light or superficial or trivial….What is happening [in the act of preaching] is that he is speaking to them from God, he is speaking to them about God, he is speaking about their condition, the state of their souls. He is telling them that they are, by nature, under the wrath of God…that the character of the life they’re living is offensive to God and under the judgment of God, and warning them of the dreaded eternal possibility that lies ahead of them. …Read More!

Heart Corruptions…I am utterly ashamed that I am what I am in myself.

O God, may Thy Spirit speak in me that I may speak to thee. I have no merit, let the merit of Jesus stand for me. I am undeserving, but I look to Thy tender mercy. I am full of infirmities, wants, sin; Thou art full of grace.

I confess my sin, my frequent sin, my wilful sin; all my powers of body and soul are defiled: a fountain of pollution is deep within my nature. There are chambers of foul images within my being; I have gone from one odious room to another, walked in a no-man’s-land of dangerous imaginations, pried into the secrets of my fallen nature.

I am utterly ashamed that I am what I am in myself; I have no green shoot in me nor fruit, but thorns and thistles; I am a fading leaf that the wind drives away; I live bare and barren as a winter tree, unprofitable, fit to be hewn down and burnt. Lord, dost Thou have mercy on me?

Thou hast struck a heavy blow at my pride, at the false god of self, and I lie in pieces before Thee. But Thou hast given me another master and lord, Thy Son, Jesus, and now my heart is turned towards holiness, my life speeds as an arrow from a bow towards complete obedience to Thee. Help me in all my doings to put down sin and to humble pride. Save me from the love of the world and the pride of life, from everything that is natural to fallen man, and let Christ’s nature be seen in me day by day. Grant me grace to bear Thy will without repining, and delight to be not only chiselled, squared, or fashioned, but separated from the old rock where I have been embedded so long, and lifted from the quarry to the upper air, where I may be built in Christ for ever. ~Puritan Prayers

Ezekiel Hopkins on ‘Becoming a Christian’

EzekielHopkins“It is impossible for men by their own strength and natural ability to become Christians, but it is possible for God to make them Christians.” ~ Ezekiel Hopkins (1634-1690 )

(from: The Almost Christian Discovered)

Dear God, Please Remember Egypt…

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Egypt has influenced a lot in the course of History. To Christians it provided a place for refuge for some of its key figures. Speaking of which even Jesus Christ was taken to Egypt when King Herod’s murderous rage grew to a crescendo. Alexandria was one of the great Christian centers in the early church. It was there were the first catechetical school was established by Pantanaeus in 190 AD, producing great scholars such as Athenagoras, Clement, Didymus and Origen. Today it burns and the screams on the streets beg the rest of the world to pray for it’s inhabitants. An exceedingly vulnerable circle is the Christian community in Egypt.
If you get a few moments today please pray for Egypt. Pray that

* The current violence will end soon
* The effective rule of law and order will be re-established for the benefit of all citizens
* There will be effective protection of church and other property against attacks by extremists
* Egypt will be governed for the benefit of all its citizens, with people of different persuasions able to live alongside one another peaceably
* Egyptian Christians will have opportunity to play an increasingly prominent and effective role in addressing the needs of all Egyptians and helping to bring healing and reconciliation in the country

If you want to understand what is going on in Egypt from an Egyptian Christian perspective read here. In Egypt, the majority of the churches belong to The Christian Coptic Orthodox Church Of Egypt, or commonly, the Coptic Church. Coptic tradition traces their history from Mark the Evangelist whom they say founded the church in Alexandria about 41-43 AD, according to the historian Eusebius of Caesarea. We might think that the Copts have always been a persecuted church, but they are proud of their “golden age” in the first 1,000 years from their foundation. Read more on Egyptian Coptic Christians here.

Alistair Begg on Contemporary Worship Music

This is worth a listen:

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A night of Hope? But why?

night of hopeEver watched a mime perform and wished that he would clearly articulate the message he is dying to bring across? The audience a mime has will interprete his gesticulations with a degree of error because most of it is shrouded. But if he speaks and articulates his message, then the listeners are illumined. They are then not in any doubt of the original intention of the message bearer. A good message bearer delivers what he is entrusted with, without subtracting or altering it and leaves his audience with the intended message so that they are without any excuse. This is probably why miming (though is truly entertaining) falls short in many ways in delivering the Gospel message (which requires the hearers to know the name and person of Jesus Christ). Speaking of incomplete messages there’s one other thing….(ha ha look what I just did there!)

There are many conferences going on around us that supposedly are ‘bringing hope’ to the world or ‘happiness’ to the community. These in themselves are not bad but if it comes in the name of ‘Jesus’ then it has got to be clear in it’s intended message. Hope – why does the world need hope? …Read More!

Why do Today’s trendy sermons have a wide road to Salvation (but lack repentance)?

Martin Lloyd Jones once said:

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The preaching and teaching of a false prophet does not emphasize repentance in any real sense. It has a very wide gate leading to salvation and a very broad way leading to heaven. You need not feel much of your own sinfulness; you need not be aware of the blackness of your own heart. You just “decide for Christ” and you rush in with the crowd, and your name is put down, and is one of the large number of ‘decisions’ reported by the press. It is entirely unlike the evangelism of the Puritans and of John Wesley, George Whitefield and others, which led men to be terrified of the judgment of God, and to have an agony of soul sometimes for days and weeks and months. John Bunyan tells us in his book Grace Abounding that he endured an agony of repentance for eighteen months. There does not seem to be much room for that today.

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“The man of God” personality cult has made the Charismatic movement thrive in Africa.

churchConrad Mbewe a pastor of a little church in Kabwata in Africa has written an interesting post on the growth of Charismatic movement in Africa to the point that there is now a fringe mystic personality that has replaced the local witch doctor. This personality called ‘the man of God’ has become an ‘anointed guru’ who brings deliverance, breaks generational curses and dishes out break-throughs at a local center where you have to come ready to sow a seed. Oh let me not spoil the article for you…

Many explanations have been given for the explosion of the Charismatic movement in Africa. Many have seen this as a powerful visitation of the Holy Spirit. Whereas there is probably more than one reason, I want to add my own observation to this for what it is worth. In this blog post, I do not refer to the old conservative form of Pentecostalism once represented by the Assemblies of God churches. I have in mind the current extreme form that is mushrooming literally under every shrub and tree in Africa. How can one explain this phenomenon?

I think that one reason why the Charismatic movement in Africa has been like a wild bushfire is because it has not challenged the African religious worldview but has instead adopted it. It has simply baptised it with Bible verses and Christian words that previously meant something totally different.
The African Spiritual Worldview
Let me explain what I mean. The African spiritual worldview consists of four tiers.
1. God
2. Angels and demons
3. Ancestral spirits
4. Human beings
It is because of this reality that Africans do not question the existence of God, as is the case with many people in the Western world. To an African, God is there. He is the Creator and ultimate Governor and Benefactor of the whole universe.
Rather, in our spiritual worldview, although God is there he is very far away. Between him and us as human beings lie two layers in the spirit world. One is that of angels and demons (i.e. bad angels) and the other—which is even closer to us—is that of the spirits of the departed.
So, although God is a benevolent, loving, and caring Being, unless the beings that dwell in these two layers that lie between him and us are appeased, his blessings cannot reach us. It is, therefore, important to appease the ancestral spirits and defeat the demons. Only after that will God’s blessings come upon us.
This is where in African traditional religions witchdoctors come in. …Read More!

Longings after God…

My dear Lord, I can but tell Thee that Thou knowest I long for nothing but Thyself, nothing but holiness, nothing but union with Thy will. Thou hast given me these desires, and thou alone canst give me the thing desired. My soul longs for communion with Thee, for mortification of indwelling corruption, especially spiritual pride. How precious it is to have a tender sense and clear apprehension of the mystery of godliness, of true holiness! What a blessedness to be like Thee as much as it is possible for a creature to be like its creator! Lord, give me more of Thy likeness; enlarge my soul to contain fullness of holiness; engage me to live more for Thee. Help me to be less pleased with my spiritual experiences, and when I feel at ease after sweet communings, teach me it is far too little I know and do. Blessed Lord, let me climb up near to Thee, and love, and long, and plead, and wrestle with Thee, and pant for deliverance from the body of sin, for my heart is wandering and lifeless, and my soul mourns to think it should ever lose sight of its beloved. Wrap my life in divine love, and keep me ever desiring Thee, always humble and resigned to Thy will, more fixed on Thyself, that I may be more fitted for doing and-suffering.~Puritan Prayers (Valley of Vision)

Atheists hear the gospel for the first time.

The longer version of the video is here: …Read More!

Alas! The Emperor in the West has no clothes on!

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Looking at the trends in the West through the eyes of Christians in Africa it appears as though, says Conrad Mbewe, the Western Emperor is marauding with no clothes on. Yet no one dares say….

Even if you tried to bury your head in the sand, you can still hear the tremor in the ground of the Western carnival that is coming. The music and dancing are getting louder and louder. It is one of human-rights-with-no-holds-barred. It is coming with all the revelry that you would expect. It cannot be ignored.

However, one problem with this procession is that it long left its original route. There are no principles to guide it, except the whims of those who are hiding behind its masks and leading it in whichever direction they please. Even those of us who are in Africa are totally alarmed by its lack of principles.

The other problem is that the issues being fought for under the guise of human rights are so patently wrong that an African like me stands aghast as I look at the current campaigns, debates, and legal reforms in the West. I am asking myself, “But can’t everyone see that the emperor walking in front has no clothes on?”

A century or two ago, Christian missionaries came from the West and taught us the Bible. As a result of this, we did away with polygamy, cannibalism, tribal feuds, etc. We were taught to put on more clothing to hide our nakedness. We learned to desist from tattooing our bodies, which were now temples of the living God. We even stopped sacrificing our babies to ancestral spirits.

The perplexing turn-around
All this made sense. It was logical, once you realised that we were all created by God and in his image. But, alas, the very principles that we were taught from Scripture are now being abandoned wholesale by the countries where our missionaries came from! Sadly, the basic questions are not being answered in this turn-around. As a result, we are bewildered. A few examples should suffice:

Abortion: Who in the West does not know that life begins at conception? It must be obvious to all, therefore, that abortion is murder. Surely, we all know that we are killing fellow human beings in their mothers’ wombs in the millions every year. How come, then, that this reckless killing of babies is not being stopped?

Indecency: It is shocking to see what some adults wear when they leave their homes in the West. They leave very little to the imagination! As if that is not enough, billboard adverts all over the cities are full of naked women, or men and women poised in sexually suggestive positions. As for television and movies, indecency seems to be the stock of the trade. Add to this, public erotic kissing at stations and airports, etc. When visiting the West, I often feel like shouting, “Hey, guys, am I the only one around here who knows that all this is indecent?”

“Living together”: It is commonplace now in the West to have a man and a woman living together who are not married. Their parents know it and they just shrug their shoulders. How? I mean, how? How can a man start living with your daughter without getting your permission, as if she just fell from the sky? Surely it must be wrong. But again, are we the only ones who are seeing the obvious?

…Read More!

“Lord Jesus, Let Me Fly from Myself and Take Refuge in You”

Quoting Augustine (354-430 A.D):

Lord Jesus, let me know myself and know You, and desire nothing but You.
Let me hate myself and love You.
Let me do everything for the sake of You.
Let me humble myself and exalt You.
Let me think of nothing except You.
Let me die to myself and live in You.
Let me accept whatever happens as from You.
Let me banish self and follow You, and ever desire to follow You.
Let me fly from myself and take refuge in You,
That I may deserve to be defended by You.
Let me fear for myself.
Let me fear You, and let me be among those who are chosen by You.
Let me distrust myself and put my trust in You.
Let me be willing to obey for the sake of You.
Let me cling to nothing save only to You,
And let me be poor because of You.
Look upon me, that I may love You.
Call me that I may see You, and for ever enjoy You. ~Augustine of Hippo

Stampedes for holy water, prosperity seekers and disgruntled word of faith congregations

Christianity in Africa is some times very mystical that it borders witchcraft. No, and I do not mean the video game. Ever since prosperity gospel and word of faith teaching drifted in to churches there has been fringe theology sprinkled with Charismatic mysticism. Not many people read their bibles or even see any relevance in doing so. What some pastors are doing in the name of Christianity makes Judas appear a choir boy. A recent report highlighted that...

20130805-102257.jpg“People are leaving churches. Some practice fellowship in their homes, but some leave the church and go back to their old lifestyles. Some leave to stay at home and do nothing,” Thuso writes in Where Are We Heading To? The book critiques the “obsession” of some pastors for material things and large congregations.

“This is because of the disappointments people experience with churches and church leadership. This is more prevalent with so-called spirit-filled or charismatic churches,” Kewana adds in his book. “The greed for worldly wealth, huge church membership numbers, and fame form the cornerstone of such dissatisfaction engulfing the congregants and encouraging them to leave the church of God. Pastors are involved in all sorts of ungodly behaviors.”

The prosperity gospel appears to most find its home in the “word of faith,” or name-it-and-claim-it movement, which positions some charismatic preachers as special carriers of God’s favor and power. These particular ministers are then often looked to by hopeful Christians as their key or source to divine healing and blessings.

A recent example unfolded in a deadly way in May, when a stampede broke out at Temitope Balogun (T.B.) Joshua’s Synagogue Church of All Nations in Ghana. At least four people were killed and 30 others injured when a throng of 1,000 people made a frantic rush to get a hold of free holy water, which usually costs $39.36 and was presumably blessed by Joshua, a popular self-declared Nigerian prophet who has churches around the globe. …Read More!

Doctrinal preaching bores only hypocrites…

“Doctrinal preaching certainly bores the hypocrites; but it is only doctrinal preaching that will save Christ’s sheep. The preacher’s job is to proclaim the faith, not to provide entertainment for unbelievers–in other words, to feed the sheep rather than amuse the goats.” – (Packer, A Quest For Godliness , 285).

 

No Hard Trial to Bear as a Sense of Sin…

On confession and petition…

Holy Lord, I have sinned times without number, and been guilty of pride and unbelief, of failure to find Thy mind in Thy Word, of neglect to seek Thee in my daily life. My transgressions and short-comings present me with a list of accusations, but I bless Thee that they will not stand against me, for all have been laid on Christ. Go on to subdue my corruptions, and grant me grace to live above them. Let not the passions of the flesh nor lustings of the mind bring my spirit into subjection, but do Thou rule over me in liberty and power.

I thank Thee that many of my prayers have been refused. I have asked amiss and do not have, I have prayed from lusts and been rejected, I have longed for Egypt and been given a wilderness. Go on with Thy patient work, answering ‘no’ to my wrongful prayers, and fitting me to accept it. Purge me from every false desire, every base aspiration, everything contrary to Thy rule. I thank Thee for Thy wisdom and Thy love, for all the acts of discipline to which I am subject, for sometimes putting me into the furnace to refine my gold and remove my dross.

No trial is so hard to bear as a sense of sin. If Thou shouldst give me choice to live in pleasure and keep my sins, or to have them burnt away with trial, give me sanctified affliction. Deliver me from every evil habit, every accretion of former sins, everything that dims the brightness of Thy grace in me, everything that prevents me taking delight in Thee. Then I shall bless Thee, [God], for helping me to be upright.-Puritan Prayers

Gay couple to sue Church for not peforming same sex marriage.

Barrie and Tony Drewitt-Barlow

Barrie and Tony Drewitt-Barlow

The Christian Institute reports

Wealthy gay dad, Barrie Drewitt-Barlow, says he and his civil partner Tony will go to court to force churches to host gay weddings.

He told the Essex Chronicle that he will take legal action because “I am still not getting what I want”.

A Government Bill legalising gay marriage passed Parliament recently but it included measures to protect churches from being forced to perform same-sex weddings.

Challenge

Mr Drewitt-Barlow said: “The only way forward for us now is to make a challenge in the courts against the church.

“It is a shame that we are forced to take Christians into a court to get them to recognise us.”

He added: “It upsets me because I want it so much – a big lavish ceremony, the whole works, I just don’t think it is going to happen straight away.

“As much as people are saying this is a good thing I am still not getting what I want.” …Read More!

Why aren’t Christians popular? Why are they persecuted and called ‘bigoted’?

“We have no reason to be discouraged and cast down if the religion we profess is not popular and few agree with us. We must remember the words of our Lord Jesus Christ in this passage: ‘The gate is narrow’. Repentance, and faith in Christ, and holiness of life, have never been fashionable. The true flock of Christ has always been small. It must not move us to find that we are reckoned singular, and peculiar, and bigoted, and narrow minded. This is the ‘narrow way’. Surely it is better to enter into eternal life with a few, than to go to ‘destruction’ with a great company” – J.C. Ryle

PCUSA rejects Hymn “In Christ Alone” because it contains “The wrath of God”

If Presbyterian Church USA (PCUSA) had it’s own way it would write it’s own bible. A bible written in pencil -so that you can erase the bits you don’t like. Speaking of which….

Recently, the wrath of God became a point of controversy in the decision of the Presbyterian Committee on Congregational Song to exclude from its new hymnal the much-loved song “In Christ Alone” by Keith Getty and Stuart Townend. The Committee wanted to include this song because it is being sung in many churches, Presbyterian and otherwise, but they could not abide this line from the third stanza: “Till on that cross as Jesus died/the wrath of God was satisfied.” For this they wanted to substitute: “…as Jesus died/the love of God was magnified.” The authors of the hymn insisted on the original wording, and the Committee voted nine to six that “In Christ Alone” would not be among the eight hundred or so items in their new hymnal. …Read More!

Halling Baptist Church finally gets a new Pastor!

Halling Baptist Church was actually established and built in 1898 by workers from the Halling Cement Works as an alternative place of worship for those who wished to attend a Nonconformist meeting place. It has witnessed great times of joy with many coming to the Lord in faith and repentance and being baptized. It is well remembered by many for it’s ever so well attended Sunday School meetings. It has also gone through times of difficulty and testing, enduring through 2 World Wars and the Great Depression. Recently the congregation has been going through a time of prayer as they didn’t have a pastor. Well, this summer their prayers were answered …

On the 27th July 2013, Kevin Felix-Hollington was inducted into the office of pastor. On this beautiful and warm Saturday afternoon this little Baptist church was the point of convergence of many people from Basildon (Essex), Watford, North London and several members of the Grace Baptist Partnership were in attendance too. Grace Baptist Partnership provides Biblical counsel, training, practical experience, research and assessment services and materials helpful in worship and witness for those involved in planting new Grace Baptist churches.

Here are the highlights of the induction:

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Halling Baptist Church in Kent, England

Halling Baptist Church in Kent, England

University students sign petition to legalise even “4th Trimester” abortions.

I know of three tri-mesters during which a baby is in utero (the womb). I also know that the hearts of men and women is utterly wicked and duplicitous. Now follow this closely

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FAIRFAX – A new video posted by the Media Research Center (MRC) shows a number of university students in Virginia signing a petition to legalize 4th trimester abortion — that is, murdering the infant after birth.

The video was part of an experiment by MRC’s Dan Joseph to see if students at George Mason University would really support the cause, and how many. While most students did not seem to know what a “4th trimester abortion” was, they proceeded to sign the petition anyway–some without question.

“Currently, 4th trimester abortions are illegal in all 50 states,” Joseph begins his pitch.

“We believe that it’s a woman’s right to choose — that men in Washington [should not] get to make the rules about what a woman can do with her body and with her baby,” he tells one group of students in the video. “Are you down with that?”

“I’m down,” answer a couple of females in the group, while a male standing by inquires further about the matter.

“Cool” replies one girl later on in the video, and another student happily explains her affiliation with Planned Parenthood.

In one part of the footage, a female student asks Joseph, “Does it cause harm to the child?”

“Well, the child wouldn’t be there anymore,” he replies. “It’s abortion, you know. The child’s gone.”

The student then proceeds to sign the petition.

Man could be more wicked and depraved than he is if it were not for the grace of God restraining him. Each of us almost appears to have within himself a seed of corruption able to blossom enough to make Hitler appear a choir boy.

Let angel minds inquire no more…

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It’s a divine mystery and it may well continue as such why the darling of Heaven humbled himself and took on the form of man and took on himself the shame of death (even death on a cursed cross) and endured the wrath of God therein for a worm like me. It begs me to ask who can explore His strange design? Charles Wesley’s Hymn probably captures this notion very well…

And can it be that I should gain
An interest in the Savior’s blood?
Died He for me, who caused His pain—
For me, who Him to death pursued?
Amazing love! How can it be,
That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?
Amazing love! How can it be,
That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me? …Read More!

Todd Bentley gets 34,000 people ‘saved’ in one week without the gospel!

Todd Bentley is eccentric in his practice. He loves being the charismatic preacher he is and will draw a crowd and will definitely continue to do so. I have watched and listened to his ‘revivals’ all the way from Lakeland to South Korea and now in Uganda. Most of these trail blazing show men draw crowds because they preach a message that most of the people they attract want to hear. He promises sensations, manifestations and signs and wonders and indeed he does get to mesmerise hundreds with his showmanship. But at what cost? It is at the cost of the gospel.

This is what Todd reports in his news letter:

One time in my life, a curse was broken that I didn’t even know was on me. It doesn’t mean that there was a witch doctor or a warlock practicing magic or sorcery like we see in the movies that was specifically cursing me. That’s happened, too. I’m not just talking about someone out there with a voodoo doll and putting pins in it. These things happen. I believe in that (sic)….

[So Todd tells of going to a Ugandan town called Jinja where “a curse came over the city for many years-nobody was getting saved, nobody was getting healed, and nobody was getting delivered” till he made an appearance]

I got up on the platform [in Jinja] and I started to break the power of witchcraft, and 1,835 people at the same time started manifesting demons and fell to the ground writhing like snakes. We counted 1,835 people vomiting, rolling in the mud, writhing and hissing on the ground like snakes. …Read More!

Children are so Impressionable… and vulnerable!

Children believe all things. They trust everybody. They yearn to learn the difference between right and wrong. The greatest beginning point of knowledge is when you introduce the fear of God to them. For the Bible says that the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom. Sadly children of our times many times fall into the wrong hands and they cascade into a life of utter and total hopelessness. We live at a very precarious time when even most education systems and government programmes (and may I add even lukewarm churches) are allowing questionable material to be served up to toddlers as ‘acceptable’ fodder. Kids are impressionableTo those who sow wickedness and call ‘bad’ good and  good ‘bad’ I urge you to remember the words of Jesus:

“If anyone causes one of these little ones–those who believe in me–to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.- Matthew 18:6”

Why do I have the feeling that our social moral fabric is not only fundamentally eroded but will get worse?

Voddie Baucham and the Youth Ministry.

Voddie Baucham answers the key questions surrounding youth ministry, its historical context, its failures, its industry, and its Biblical solutions.

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When John MacArthur sat in a TBN studio…

[This post was first published in November 2011] Many of you probably do not remember this day because it was a long while ago. In this clip Kirk Cameron (Way of the Master) asks Pastor John MacArthur what the heart of the gospel is. MacArthur then explains (Justification by Faith Alone/Sola Fide) to Actor Kirk Cameron (The Way of the Master) from 2 Corinthians 5:21. Listen to this:

Does TBN still feature questions on the gospel any more?

…Read More!

Can Man become as wicked as before the flood?

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Yes. Man has been exceedingly wicked since the fall. Since our first parents rebelled against God we have all taken after them. But in terms of unity in wickedness the Bible tells us something happened after the flood…

If we go back to the early chapters of the Bible (chaps. 1–6 of Gen.), we read about the creation of man and then about man’s fall into sin. When Adam and Eve sinned against God, profound changes occurred. God drove them out of the Garden of Eden. They became sinful in character. Sin multiplied in the world. There began to be crime and lawlessness.
The world became a dangerous place. And, in the end, whether from violence, disease, or old age, people all finally died. In other words, in just the first six chapters of the Bible, God tells us that we lost something like “heaven on earth” (in the Garden of Eden) and found our- selves in a world that began to resemble hell. We will never understand the truth about ourselves unless we take full account of what has happened. The world of today is better, in some ways, than the world was before the great Flood that finally came in Noah’s day. …Read More!