A Twisted Crown of Thorns ®

Reformed. Christianity. Evangelism. Modern Culture.

Which of these 8 statements is heretical and which ones are orthodox?

Just a little quiz on Christology. Which of the following statements, if any, are orthodox; or which of the following statements, if any, are heretical?
1. The Son of God, the Second member of the Trinity, in the Incarnation, stopped being God for a time and became man for a time.
2. The Son of God took on the form of a man, but was not really a man.
3. The Son of God, the Second member of the Trinity, laid aside some of His attributes for a time and became man for a time.
4. Jesus was simply a common man when He was born and was later glorified by the Father and adopted as God.
5. In Christ there two persons: a human person and a Divine Person. …Read More!

Dabbling in money making schemes and witchcraft while pastoring. What really happened?

If you are wondering about what to pray for when it comes to the church in Africa, do pray for faithfulness to the message of the gospel. Conrad Mbewe a local pastor in Africa in his recent newsletter from Kabwata (Zambia) laments:

[This post was first run here in 2012] I came across a pamphlet today. It was given to me at the traffic lights while waiting for the lights to go green. It read as follows:

My name is Stella Mwanza from Sinda (Eastern Province). I used to read in newspapers and listen to the radio about how different people were testifying concerning Pastor Elijah and I was so impressed with his healing powers that I decided to try him as I had a lot of problems.
First, my husband was divorcing me as he accused me of having an affair with another man and even doubted our lastborn child. Pastor Elijah prayed for me and this calmed down my husband and now we’re happily married with our kids.
I introduced a friend of mine to the same pastor who had an unstable marriage because her husband was sexually weak and had a tiny manhood. She was going out with other men to satisfy her sexual desire though she loved her husband. Pastor Elijah invited the couple to his place and prayed for both of them. Now they are back in a good relationship. Thanks to Pastor Elijah. …Read More!

The missionary’s wife and the “Veggie tale”!

Marvin and Jewell were a missionary couple who were working in Uganda. (Story was first posted in Feb 2013) Every week they sent updates on their progress with evangelism in the community or the growth of the local church and new orphanage that they are setting up. Some times there were moments of deep heart ache (especially when the gospel was rejected) but nothing  lightened up my heart with a good old laugh than this particular week’s ‘veggie tale’. Apparently not every thing that is green and leafy is lettuce:

marijuana-bag-1209The Mistake –  (Jewell writing)  While at the trading center on Saturday, I saw two ladies sitting on the veranda of a little restaurant with bags of green leaves for sale.  The leaves were a lovely shade of green, and I thought I should buy some of them and take them back for our orphan children to eat.  I asked the ladies how much one bag would cost, and they replied,  “It is seven hundred shillings.”  That seemed a little high to me for greens so I went into the little restaurant and gave out some more tracts and asked the owner (who happened to be a lady that I knew quite well) how much a little bag should cost.  She said that 700 shillings was the usual price.  So I went back outside and started digging in my purse for the money.  I was going to buy 7 bags to take home so there would be enough for all of the children to enjoy.  As I was digging in my purse, the lady inside the restaurant called out, “Who are you buying that for?”  I replied that I wanted to take it back for the children at home.  “What children?” she asked. …Read More!

A Dummy’s Guide to Calvinism

The Crucifixion- Matthias Grunewald (1470-1528)

Is there a God? Is He sitting some where twiddling His thumbs or biting His finger nails as the world spirals into debauchery? Ever fancied taking a peek over His shoulder and catching Him taking a cat nap or slumped over in a yoga- pose with legs helplessly inter twined?  Calvinism is associated with Reformed Theology the Theological system associated with the Reformer John Calvin that emphasizes and underlines the vitally important truth that God  is in control of all things, not man; that God is the source of salvation; and that men and women can do nothing to save themselves. It emphasises our total dependence as guilty sinners on the mercy and grace of God for salvation. The Father chose a people, the Son died for them, the Holy Spirit makes Christ’s death effective by bringing the elect to faith and repentance, thereby causing them to willingly obey the gospel. The entire process (election, redemption, regeneration) is the work of God and is by grace alone. Thus God, not man, determines who will be the recipients of the gift of salvation. Read More

Leaving A Church: The Hardest Letter I Have Ever Had To Write

Going through my old mail (this article was first run in 2011) I came across a copy of one of the hardest letters I have ever come to write. I have edited the particulars and specifics but featured the letter in it’s entirety. I have featured it not to cause any malice but to perhaps help somebody who may be in a similar situation. When breaking fellowship with a church that is digressing from orthodoxy, it is never easy especially after you have been a devout member.  I thank God for the journey I have come through, without which I would not have known his providence and grace.

Dear Pastor XX,

Warmest summer greetings to you and your family. The last six or seven months have been a period of soul searching and re-evaluation of our own lives, our family and church visions in light of the Gospel. Read More

Free E-Book: Blood Work by Anthony Carter

FreeEbook-BloodWorkIt’s Easter week….

 In light of this, Reformation Trust is making the ebook edition of Anthony Carter’s Blood Work: How the Blood of Christ Accomplishes Our Salvation free to download until the end of the month. We encourage you to share this resource offer with your family, friends, and church community.

Evangelical Christians often sing and preach about the blessed blood of Christ and the wonderful things it accomplishes for believers. To the uninformed ear, such language can convey the idea that Jesus’ blood had semi-magical qualities. Actually, Jesus’ blood was normal human blood, but the Bible refers to it in metaphorical terms to portray the many benefits that come to Christians because of Jesus’ death.

HT Ligonier Ministries.

Who is an angry Calvinist?

John Newton, Memoirs of the Life of the Late Rev. William Grimshaw (London: 1799), pages 86–87:

NEWTON2_360They 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.

Excerpt from Tony Reinke.

Related stories:

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!

To be born again – a Regenerate.

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What is conversion to Christ? How does one become born again? To answer these very vital questions here is an excerpt from a book I am currently reading by John Caldwell:

Conversion to Christ is not turning over a new leaf; it is the implanting of new life. This new life is the very life of God, Jesus referred to it as the new birth. Regarding the new birth, RC Sproul says, ‘The term born again is a popular synonym for the theological term regenerate .’ There are two essential things we need to understand about regeneration: the first one is that regeneration is how someone becomes a Christian.
If a person has not experienced regeneration, they are not a Christian. Jesus put it in the following terms while discussing the issue with the Pharisee Nicodemus: “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (John 3:3) The second essential thing we need to understand about regeneration is that only God can produce the rebirth in a person’s life. …Read More!

Even in death -Christians do not lose sight of what is important.

Talking of Christian Eulogies -Watch Monty Williams, the 44-year-old associate head coach for the Oklahoma City Thunder basketball team, bring the gospel to bear on the “loss” of his beloved wife, Ingrid:

For a reflection on Williams’ remarks, see Marshall Segal’s “What Would You Say If Your Wife Was Ripped Away?

May the Lord make each of us more like this man: even when hurt and in deep pain, he is fixed on God-centered hope, with an eternal perspective, freely offering forgiveness and freed from bitterness and complaint.

HT: Gospel Coalition.

Picture two Jews on the night of the first Passover

Whatever you do, spare atleast 3 minutes and 28 seconds today, and watch a wonderful and powerful illustration from Don Carson at the recent Bethlehem College & Seminary Pastors Conference:
HT: The Gospel Coalition.

Do you miss men in Church and at home?

Conrad Mbewe from Zambia reports men are missing in many places not only in the work place but also at homes and even church. No, not that he can’t see any of the male species in all these spheres but what is irking is that so few of them seem to be rising to the calling that God has given to them as men in society. Furthermore on the missing men….

prayingLook at the family, for instance. Many men are as good as absent. They seem to be content to being served rather than playing their God-given roles of presider, protector, and provider. There is little effort at leading family devotions, home maintenance, and discipling the kids.

In society where men were once dominant, the trend is also fast reversing. Apart from the push from the West to kick women out of the kitchen and put them at par with men in the business world, men seem to see the workplace as a place where you only go to make money. …Read More!

Seven (7) things your church should not do in missions

The Great Commission is a clear command of Jesus to his church. By and large, part of what it means to be an evangelical church is to support the spread of the gospel to those who have never heard it. Based on decades of experience on the other side of the equation (Zane Pratt as a field worker living overseas), has a list of 7 things your church should NOT do as it considers its involvement in fulfilling the Great Commission:

church1. You should not ignore the missionary imperative.
Lots of excuses can be given for doing nothing about global missions other than, perhaps, an occasional missions offering. Taking the gospel to the unreached is expensive, uncomfortable, inconvenient, and sometimes even unhealthy or dangerous. There are so many lost people right around you where you live. You have so many needs within your own church. The list could go on. …Read More!

Spearheading the gospel into unreached regions is risky BUT…

Spearheading the gospel into unreached regions is risky says church planter and missionary David Sitton. You see…

david sittonIn the time it takes to read this blog post, another Christian will be killed because of his or her faith in Jesus Christ. 160,000 believers around the world will be slaughtered this year alone. . . simply because they love Jesus.

This should not be a news flash. The physical risk of “going public with the glory of God” among Satan-dominated peoples is obvious. Jesus warned his disciples that they would probably be “chugged” (disposed of quickly and without pause), just as lions chomp through lambs (Matthew 10:16; 1 Peter 5:8). That is the likely reality of identifying with Jesus in this world; and most shrivel up at the thought.

However, Scripture describes the butchering of believers as horrifically beautiful. Horrible because of the indescribable torment endured by so many; but stunningly beautiful in their humble Christ-likeness as they are afflicted, persecuted, struck down; but not destroyed (2 Corinthians 4:7-12). As one Chinese Christian martyr confidently testified to his tormentors, “You can kill me, but you can’t hurt me and you can’t stop my testimony!” When Jesus followers are crushed by suffering, the aroma of Christ stretches out even more widely and rapidly among the peoples (2 Corinthians 2:14-16; Acts 8:1). …Read More!

SHOULD OUR CHURCH DO OPEN OR CLOSED COMMUNION?

This is a common question especially when a church is beginning to define it’s rules and how things will be conducted. Here is some help:

Lords-SupperThe Bible’s teaching on Communion, or the Lord’s Supper, is found in 1 Corinthians 11:17-34 and promotes “open” participation for believers. All those who are true believers in God through personal faith in Jesus Christ, His Son, are worthy to partake of the Lord’s Supper by virtue of the fact they have accepted the death of Christ as payment for their sins (see also Ephesians 1:6-7).

The actual reasoning behind some churches practicing “closed” communion seems to be that they want to make sure everyone partaking is a believer. This is understandable; however, it places church leadership and/or church ushers in a position of determining who is worthy to partake, which is problematic at best. A given church may assume that all of their official members are true believers, but even this is not necessarily always true. …Read More!

How then can we pray for France?

mosul monasteryFollowing the recent acts of terrorism and religious extremism on the streets of that ever serene city of Paris, Mike Evans asks a question, How do we pray for Paris? He then goes ahead and outlines four important points:

In the case of the attacks in Paris the intent was to shock and, by shocking, to stimulate nationwide fear and alarm. Even more importantly, terrorism, as practiced by Islamic State, recognizes no difference between civilians and military personnel, because their war is not primarily against a specific nation or state but against a culture.

How should we react as Christians?

1. Mourn with those who mourn.

Families have lost loved ones; many have been seriously or permanently injured and face an uncertain future. Pray for the churches in the Paris area as they reach out to families, neighbors, and friends who have been victims of these attacks that they may not only help them rebuild their lives but also be signposts to the gospel of Jesus Christ. …Read More!

J.I Packer: In his own words [Video]

Who is J. I. Packer?

He once described himself as “English by birth, Canadian by choice, Christian by conversion, and Calvinist by conviction, I speak as an evangelical who finds his home in the worldwide Anglican church family.”

Note in particular Dr. Packer’s moving closing words, when asked how he would like to be remembered: …Read More!

It’s October…Reformation day is upon us again!

On 31 October 1517, Martin Luther wrote to Albrecht, Archbishop of Mainz and Magdeburg, protesting against the sale of indulgences. He enclosed in his letter a copy of his “Disputation of Martin Luther on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences,” which came to be known as The 95 Theses. So what else was enshrined in the Theses? Here we go:

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1. When our Lord and Master, Jesus Christ, said “Repent”, He called for the entire life of believers to be one of repentance.

2. The word cannot be properly understood as referring to the sacrament of penance, i.e. confession and satisfaction, as administered by the clergy.

3. Yet its meaning is not restricted to repentance in one’s heart; for such repentance is null unless it produces outward signs in various mortifications of the flesh.

4. As long as hatred of self abides (i.e. true inward repentance) the penalty of sin abides, viz., until we enter the kingdom of heaven.

5. The pope has neither the will nor the power to remit any penalties beyond those imposed either at his own discretion or by canon law. …Read More!

Encouraging news: Church planting in Lyon France

An App that lets you whizz through the Bible in 60 secs (Or get your money back)!?

download appIn the modern world we live in we like quick fixes. Microwave ovens, fast food restaurants, instant coffee and the list goes on. And so you have come to this post expecting to get a quick bible fix too. No?

Well I would like you to consider a bible study method that lets you understand a text of scripture and study the word of God with enthusiasm. It lets you mine deep rather than skim on the surface. Below is a mid week (actually week two session) of an Inductive Bible study session. If you love it have a look at session one. Its all free!

Sorry there’s no substitute for studying and whizzing thru the bible in 60 seconds sounds more of just a tick box exercise to make yourself feel good. …Read More!

Do you know what ‘Inductive Bible Study’ is?

To help those who love reading the bible or even those who struggle with reading to move to the mature practice of

Study(ing) to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. (2 Tim 2:15)

Well if you don’t know how to begin bible study please watch this inductive study session:


Special thanks to the team that has kept all their 10 weeks of study material online since 2012.

Further reading and resources:

Why do missionaries check on Sparrows every morning?

Many missionaries learn of God’s wonderful providence in times of difficulty and more so in financial difficulty. David Sitton shares in his free book on how to pray and support missionaries Warfare Prayer:

  Financial anxiety increases with the sudden drop of support. Every missionary has gotten the “Dear John” letter explaining why support is being discontinued. One such letter I received had a final check and a hand scribbled note explaining that it was no longer financially feasible to invest in the ministry, as the parking lot of the church building needed re-paving.
My missionary mentor, Joe Cannon, encouraged us during tough financial times by saying: “Check and see if the sparrows have eaten today. As long as they eat, we eat. When God quits feeding the sparrows, missionaries will become extinct.” How true that is. Yet, I wouldn’t have it any other way. Dependence upon God and his daily provision is a wonderful way to live. ~David Sitton

Luke 12:6-7: Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.

William Carey’s 11 Commandments of Missions

An interesting piece here on William Carey’s 11 pieces of advice on missions:

  1. Set an infinite value on immortal souls.
  2. Gain all the information you can about “the snares and delusions in which these heathens are held.”
  3. Abstain from all English manners which might increase prejudice against the gospel.
  4. Watch for all opportunities for doing good, even when you are tired and hot.
  5. Make Christ crucified the great subject of your preaching.
  6. Earn the people’s confidence by your friendship. …Read More!

Are these your feelings about sin? If not, you should doubt whether your religion is “authentic.”

sermon notesIf I came  across Osteen’s sermon notes and they read something like this I would be somewhat encouraged:

“Christianity which is from the Holy Spirit will always have a very deep view of the sinfulness of sin. It will not merely regard sin as a blemish and misfortune, which makes men and women objects of pity, and compassion. It will see in sin the abominable thing which God hates, the thing which makes man guilty and lost in his Maker’s sight, the thing which deserves God’s wrath and condemnation. It will look on sin as the cause of all sorrow and unhappiness, of strife and wars, of quarrels and contentions, of sickness and death–the curse which cursed God’s beautiful creation, the cursed thing which makes the whole earth groan and struggle in pain. Above all, it will see in sin the thing which will ruin us eternally, unless we can find a ransom,–lead us captive, except we can get its chains broken,–and destroy our happiness, both here and hereafter, except we fight against it, even unto death. Is this your religion? Are these your feelings about sin? If not, you should doubt whether your religion is “authentic.” – J. C. Ryle

HT Friends on FB for this quote.

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!

Why don’t men come to Christ -because they will not or cannot?

On man’s moral responsibility…

Scripture invariably treats us as morally responsible agents. It lays upon us the necessity of choice… Why is it that people do not come to Christ. Is it that they cannot, or is it that they will not? Jesus taught both. And in this ‘cannot’ and ‘will not’ lies the ultimate antinomy between divine sovereignty and human responsibility. But however we state it, we must not eliminate either part. Our responsibility before God is an inalienable aspect of our human dignity. Its final expression will be on the day of judgment.~John R. W. Stott & Timothy Dudley-Smith (Authentic Christianity)

Seven ways to bless your missionaries…

blessing missionariesChrist has called us all to be part of His mission to reach the nations with the gospel. Justin Vander Ark of To Every Tribe has a great list of ways that the body of Christ in the local church can support their missionaries.  Here are just seven ways out of ten that were featured in the free mission Ekballo Magazine:

1 . Pray
If you don’t do anything else on the list, please do this. Prayer is a weapon of warfare that God has given to His saints. If you don’t know how to pray for your missionaries, download David Sitton’s free ebook Warfare Prayer and read it. Don’t worry, it’s a quick read. Or, simply ask your missionaries how you can specifically pray for them.
2. Give
Almost every missionary I know is below their monthly support goal and have to spend precious time and resources on support-raising. Partnering with your missionaries financially is one of the most direct ways you can bless them.
3 . Send
More missionaries are needed. With thousands of unreached people groups remaining in the world, the need is great. Join with your local church in sending more missionaries to get trained and sent out into the world.
4 . Mail
Missionaries love getting mail. Send spontaneous cards of encouragement that let them know you are praying for them. Remember their birthdays, anniversaries, special occasions, and holidays. And,who doesn’t like getting packages in the mail? Missionaries love getting care packages. …Read More!

Unlikely converts: A Former Lesbian Professor’s Journey to Faith

Interesting testimony of Professor Butterfield :

As a tenured lesbian professor at Syracuse University, Dr. Butterfield had no desire to become part of the heterosexist, patriarchal culture that she perceived to be the identity of Christianity. …Read More!

Who was Samuel Zwemer?

zwemerIf you have never heard of Samuel Zwemer, he was one of the first American long term missionaries to…wait for it…the Arab world of the Middle East. He sought to go about God’s mission aspiring not to be famous but to be faithful:

Some missionaries are known for their great fruit, their many converts, churches they started, or hospitals they helped build. Samuel Zwemer is not known for these things. After 38 years of missions work throughout Arabia, the Persian Gulf, Egypt and Asia Minor, Samuel had seen his efforts produce fewer than 12 conversions to Christianity.

Yet producing converts was not the ultimate goal for Samuel. The man who would become known as the Apostle to Islam wrote “The chief end of missions is not the salvation of men but the glory of God.” We are faithful to God’s call on our lives for no other ultimate goal than that of bringing glory to God.

Read more of this post

John Bunyan: SIN is the dare of God’s justice…

 IMG_5136“Sin is the dare of God’s justice, the rape of His mercy, the jeer of His patience, the slight of His power, and the contempt of His love”~ John Bunyan

You may speak in tongues if ….

You may indeed speak in tongues if you realise …

What Biblical Tongues Were:

  • The manifestation was supernatural (Acts 2:1-4).
  • The manifestation involved speaking. (We read in Acts 2:4, “and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they began to speak in different tongues, just as the Spirit was giving them to declare” [emphases added]. In fact, we must notice that this activity of speaking in tongues began before any of the listeners heard the speakers. The stress is on what the believers say, not on what the listeners hear. They spoke in other languages. Also, in v. 6 we read, “each one was continually hearing them speaking in his own dialect”; and again, in v. 11, “we hear them speaking in our own tongues the mighty deeds of God” [emphases added]. There is a reason it is referred to as the gift of “tongues,” not “ears.”)
  • The manifestation involved languages that were intelligible. (Cf. Acts 2:9-11; 1 Corinthians 14:19), known (Greek glossa means language; cf. also Corinthians 12:10, 28; 14:21, 22), and not naturally learned (Acts 2:7). …Read More!

Questionable methods in Church.

20140802-170755-61675763.jpg“The problem in our day, which gives rise to highly questionable church growth methods, is twofold:

On the one hand, we are seeing a waning confidence in the message of the gospel. Even the evangelical church shows signs of losing confidence in the convincing and converting power of the gospel message. That is why increasing numbers of churches prefer sermons on family life and psychological health. We are being overtaken by what Os Guinness calls the managerial and therapeutic revolutions. The winning message, it seems, is the one that helps people to solve their temporal problems, improves their self-esteem and makes them feel good about themselves.

Read more of this post

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

An ode for Great Britain…

houses-of-parliament-at-nightOn a day when Great Britain goes to the polls to decide who will be Prime Minister and which party or parties will have the upper hand for the next so many years one can feel the sense of anticipation and uncertainty. What? With all the unrest in the Middle East, the gradual rise of militant Islamic radicals in the homeland and abroad, the desperate and growing pleas of poor and helpless African migrants crammed onto paper boats heading for Europe on the tumultuous Mediterranean seas. Does the hope of the world lie in the outcome of the polls? Well, not quite.

Come away with me once more and visit the writings and quaint thoughts of an English man and former slave trader. His life at sea teemed with wonderful escapes, vivid dreams, and sailor recklessness. He grew into an abandoned and godless sailor. However after converting to Christianity, God completely changed his prioroities. In fact he penned one of the most recognizable hymns when he wrote –Amazing Grace. John Newton (1725) of Wapping, London, also wrote the hymn of our interest today – By faith in Christ I walk with God  a very appropriate message to Christians in Britain and all over the world at such a time as this. The days ahead may be filled with snares and dangers, where many round me blindly stray but ….

1 By faith in Christ I walk with God,
With heav’n, my journey’s end in view,
Supported by his staff and rod,
My road is safe and pleasant too.

2 I travel through a desert wide,
Where many round me blindly stray;
But he vouchsafes to be my guide
And will not let me miss my way. …Read More!

Saint Augustine’s fruitless joys…

 
HT The Old Guys via FB.

Test your child’s theology with five questions….

A Twisted Crown of Thorns ®

Test your child’s theology with five questions and then teach him some more. Here are the first five questions:

1. Who made you?

A. God.

2. What else did God make?

A. God made all things.

3. Why did God make you and all things?

A. For his own glory.

4. How can you glorify God?

A. By loving him and doing what he commands.

5. Why ought you to glorify God?

A. Because he made me and takes care of me.

Excerpt from Catechism for Young Children. (An Introduction to the Shorter Catechism) For free down load click here.

HT Reformed Gene via FB.

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Easter in pictures…

On a lighter note this is why Christians are excited about Easter….

  

HT Jim West via FB.

Conundrums: Did Jesus Go To Hell Between his Death And Resurrection?

A Twisted Crown of Thorns ®

Joyce Meyerand several other preachers say that Jesus suffered in hell. My good friend Tim Prussic got stuck with the same question when going through the Heidelberg catechism. So I decided to look for afew answers to this conundrum. So did Jesus go to hell or not? Well here is something to munch on (get your bible closer too)….

There is a great deal of confusion in regards to this question. This concept comes primarily from the Apostles’ Creed, which states, “He descended into hell.” There are also a few Scriptures which, depending on how they are translated, describe Jesus going to “hell.” In studying this issue, it is important to first understand what the Bible teaches about the realm of the dead.

In the Hebrew Scriptures, the word used to describe the realm of the dead is sheol. It simply means the “place of the dead” or…

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Free morning and evening Spurgeon devotional Ebook 

If you like Spurgeon you will like this Morning and Evening devotional [pdf]…

A wealth of Biblical meditations from Spurgeon with applications that are relevant for contemporary Christians. Spurgeon’s characteristically pithy comments hit home with a wit and elegance rarely found in other writing. Christians young and old will find his words challenging and stimulating.

HT to Twenty of the best daily Devotionals by Word + Life.

The role of Music in Worship…

Talking about the the controversial topic of music in worship here is an interesting video (38 minutes) of good Christian discussion on this often misunderstood topic. 

ISIS: What can wash away my sin?

At a time muslim fanatics pride themselves in treating Christians and all others as inhumanely as they individually feel, I know there must still be a gleamer of a restless conscience among some Muslims. What can take away the guilt of murder? What can absolve any one of such sin and shame? The words of that good old Christian hymn says it all:

What can wash away my sin?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
What can make me whole again?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus. Read more of this post

Preparing for a (Humorous) Reformed Baptist Christmas!

A Twisted Crown of Thorns ®

This is an old humorous clip. It features a Baptist Church singing about Christmas (Er, plus 12 Doctrines that their pastor taught them). The kids seem to learn an earful in one seating…Please, sing along! 🙂

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New Video: Through the Eyes of Spurgeon

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There is a new free video out about the life of the man, Charles Spurgeon, who loved the Lord Jesus Christ and loved to preach and proclaim the gospel. …See More!

An Easter thought on Christmas!

IMG_5006.JPGAt Christmas the time of the year when most people are setting up nativity scenes not many set up a bloodied cross or an empty tomb to celebrate the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ yet his birth goes hand in hand with his death. Only true Christians know the immense and infinite significance of Christ’s death…He came as a lamb of God to take away the sins of the world. He came to die!
Imagine Christ, the sin bearer, approaching that hour…the hour of his appointed death. Is that a “Christmasy” thought? You bet! It gets better when you understand the reason why his death was was necessary.
Horatius Bonar puts it this way…

The feelings of the trembling sinner, when awakened under the terrors of the divine law, and made alive to the hell of sin within him, may help to give us some faint idea of the way in which the burden of our sins pressed upon Christ. It is true He had no sin—not the shadow of sin upon Him, for He was the Holy One; yet He speaks always of our sins as if they were His own, as if He had committed them. He felt under them just as if they were His own. He was perfectly holy, yet so closely were our sins bound upon Him by God, that He felt the pressure just as if they were His own.

Being our substitute, God dealt with Him as such—as if the sins He bore had really been His, not ours. Being thus in the eye of the law identified with those whose sins He bore, He was made to feel what they would have been doomed to feel, had God left them to reap themselves the fruit of their own transgressions. This awful burden He bore alone. He had none to aid Him; none to relieve Him of any part of its overwhelming pressure. There was none that could assist Him. There was none to divide the burden with Him; nor to uphold Him under it. “My lovers and my friends stand aloof…and my kinsmen stand afar off.” They all forsook Him and fled. And, as He bare it alone, so He bare it fully. …Read More!

If only my prayers made people fall over like that!

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There is a video clip of a pastor who seems to be unleashing extra ordinary waves of powers into an emotionally charged congregation with a slight swing of a finger and a swerve of an arm. In some circles such a man is given the almighty title ‘mighty man of God’ placing him above any pastor in the land and becomes the linch pin for any ‘revival service’. For it is then believed that he has reached a higher echelon of power. The preacher’s worthiness becomes the virtue on to which the congregation clings to so as to per chance swing the pendulum of fate and fortune in their own lives.
Such preachers are suave and charismatic and very winsome and convincing in their trade. Once they have amassed a sizeable congregation, they sneakily put their bibles far aside as they go to great lengths to mesmerise and entertain. But once they make you their convert you become seven times worse emotionally, financially and spiritually – you sadly become more faithful and dependant on them for answers to your prayers than to God.
Martin Luther once said on prayer that:

Some say, “I would feel better about God hearing my prayer if I were more worthy and lived a better life.” I simply answer: If you don’t want to pray before you feel that you are worthy or qualified, then you will never pray again. Prayer must not be based on or depend on your personal worthiness or the quality of the prayer itself; rather, it must be based on the unchanging truth of God’s promise. If the prayer is based on itself or on anything else besides God’s promise, then it’s a false prayer that deceives you—even if your heart is breaking with intense devotion and you are weeping drops of blood.
We pray because we are unworthy to pray. Our prayers are heard precisely because we believe that we are unworthy. We become worthy to pray when we risk everything on God’s faithfulness alone.
So go ahead and feel unworthy. But know in your heart that it’s a thousand times more important to honor God’s truthfulness.

…Read More!

Is the ‘Word of Faith’ movement biblical?

I think this will come in handy for any one trying to find out more on Word of Faith movement. I just met some one who is attending a church where the pastor teaches and believes in the movement. This excerpt and the bible verses can be a good primer:

wordsWord of Faith teaching is decidedly unbiblical. It is not a denomination and does not have a formal organization or hierarchy. Instead, it is a movement that is heavily influenced by a number of high-profile pastors and teachers such as Kenneth Hagin, Benny Hinn, Kenneth Copeland, Paul and Jan Crouch, and Fred Price.

The Word of Faith movement grew out of the Pentecostal movement in the late 20th century. Its founder was E. W. Kenyon, who studied the metaphysical New Thought teachings of Phineas Quimby. Mind science (where “name it and claim it” originated) was combined with Pentecostalism, resulting in a peculiar mix of orthodox Christianity and mysticism. Kenneth Hagin, in turn, studied under E. W. Kenyon and made the Word of Faith movement what it is today. Although individual teachings range from completely heretical to completely ridiculous, what follows is the basic theology most Word of Faith teachers align themselves with.

At the heart of the Word of Faith movement is the belief in the “force of faith.” It is believed words can be used to manipulate the faith-force, and thus actually create what they believe Scripture promises (health and wealth). Laws supposedly governing the faith-force are said to operate independently of God’s sovereign will and that God Himself is subject to these laws. This is nothing short of idolatry, turning our faith—and by extension ourselves—into god. …Read More!

Dad, should Christians celebrate Christmas?

IMG_5001.PNGIt’s coming to that time of the year and Christmas is in the air as they say. From movies to merchandising ads every one seems to have the same Christmas thought. Or do they? Say, your little ankle biters walk over to you and this year tell you they are not going to celebrate Christmas. What will you tell them are your reasons for celebrating or not? Here is a good link with resourceful answers…

The debate [reports Got Questions] about whether or not Christians should celebrate Christmas has been raging for centuries. There are equally sincere and committed Christians on both sides of the issue, each with multiple reasons why or why not Christmas should be celebrated in Christian homes. But what does the Bible say? Does the Bible give clear direction as to whether Christmas is a holiday to be celebrated by Christians?

First, let’s look at the reasons why some Christians do not celebrate Christmas. One argument against Christmas is that the traditions surrounding the holiday have origins in paganism.

…Read more!

Brandon Lucas: Why I am now a Calvinist.

regretsThis interesting post has been reblogged from Monergism:

Almost a decade ago I was involved in a titanic spiritual battle between two opposing theological views. I could feel the once rock solid doctrines of free will slipping through my fingers like fine sand. I begged and beseeched the Lord to deliver me from the relentless reasonings and scriptural bombshells ripping the house I had built on the shifting dunes of man-centered doctrines. My pride and self-respect were on the line.

See, for the first decade of my born-again life I embraced a form of Arminianism that many call Semi-Pelagianism. Simply put, I believed that man’s free will is the deciding factor in salvation. Calvinism, which is the belief that God is sovereign over all things, including man’s salvation, had recently started making sense to me and I was drawn to it. (While at the same time being repulsed by it).

Calvinism was a dirty word in my old church. I considered it to be on equal footing with cultic beliefs.

I used to say such things as:

“Calvinism is a doctrine of demons!”

Or worse yet:

“If God is like how the Calvinists describe him, I would never serve such a cruel, heartless dictator who arbitrarily chooses who will and will not be saved!”

…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!

A poem for CHRISTIANS who have lost all their livelihood to ISIS and jihadists

IMG_4991.JPG When we read of persecution and hear of despicable things being done to Christian fathers, mothers and children by people filled with hatred and violence we should remember this was similar to the times of Habakkuk in the time of the Babylonian invasion. At a time when Habakkuk reports his belly trembled with fear, his lips quivered and he felt rottenness in his bones in the day of trouble. Yet his encouragement came from putting his trust in the one True God.
Consider this an encouragement and a poem to all those who have lost everything or are on the verge of losing everything to ISIS OR BOKO HARAM ….

…Read More!