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Tag Archives: Christianity

A day at the cemetery and burial place of the ‘vilest’ woman -ANN FREEMAN!

The other day my wife and kids came across a peculiar head stone. Some other kids who were around got spooked and thought it was the burial place of some witch. I got interested and decided to go and look for this unusual head stone. I have had to wait a couple of days for the snow to settle down and climb up the hill -and go exploring Pitsea Mount.

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This family head stone is found on Pitsea Mount in Basildon just a yard or so behind St. Michael’s church tower. St. Michael’s church was built in the 13th century  but later fell into ruin and only the church tower remains to this day. The inscription reads:

ANN FREEMAN

Born: 30th March 1837

Died: 20th March 1879

HERE LIES A WEAK AND SINFUL WORM

THE VILEST OF HER RACE.

SAVED THROUGH GOD’S ELECTING LOVE,

HIS FREE AND SOVEREIGN GRACE

Apparently this inscription has intrigued people over the years. …Read More!

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Does a man become a Christian by…

‎”A man does not become a Christian by taking a decision. He is made a Christian by God, who had marked him out before the foundation of the world and who sees to it that he is born, and sees to it that he believes.” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (Romans – God’s Sovereign Purpose)

 

I hope you don’t preach that. It will hurt a lot of beautiful people.

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I am currently reading Michael Horton’s Christless Christianity: The Alternative Gospel of the American Church. I only wish I had read such a good book a couple of years earlier. It pulls no punches and zaps like that tonic that the doctor ordered with a wink – and twinkle in his eye. No, it’s not racy and nor does it tickle your ego.

Michael Horton tells of the time when he had an opportunity to interview Dr. Robert Schuller (a self help author and televangelist) who always favoured a ‘human needs approach’ to Christianity insisted that “classical theology has erred in its insistence that theology be ‘God centered,’ not ‘man centered’.” He defined sin as ‘any act or thought that robs,us or another human being of his or her self esteem…[infact says Schuller] a person is in hell when he has lost his self esteem.’

It is easy to see how Dr Schuller’s Christianized gospel lite became very popular and acceptable even among Muslims, Hindus and Atheists. After all who doesn’t like their ego tickled?
But what does the bible actually say? When asked to interpret the portion of scripture below, Dr Schuller’s response was a classic reply that many popular pastors give:

 

But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people. 2 Tim 3:1-5

 

Schuller immediately responded by saying, ‘I hope you don’t preach that. It will hurt a lot of beautiful people.’

Well, oh yes, Robert! But isn’t that exactly what preaching of the truth should do?

…Read More!

Ha! Louie Giglio the “Accidental Hero”?

louie-giglioA hundred to two hundred years ago (just like two thousand years ago) there were bold preachers who preached with Bibles laid wide open and read aloud the text for the people to hear the word of God. Most of these stood on street corners and market places and they reasoned and persuaded men to consider their ways in light of the holiness of God. In more recent times most ‘men of God’ prefer to be popular and few now preach on sin or even call people to repentance. It’s actually more lucrative to hold motivational lectures on personal self esteem and significance. These are topics that have fifty one shades of grey and are liked by the main stream audience.

Recently one popular conference speaker and pastor, Louie Giglio, was hand picked to offer his pastoral blessings and benediction at the soon coming presidential inauguration. An apparent invitation too big to turn down for the popular man of God. However what happened next can only be described as a comedy of errors. Sexual liberation groups picked on an old sermon preached over fifteen years ago on “repentance and sin” leading to Louie being dis invited (or did he dis invite himself?). Some pastors like John Piper were quick to tweet and  call him “a hero” but was he really?

Pastor Louie later [as noted by Ken Silva Apprising Ministries and  Chris Rosebrough of Fighting for the Faith radio in link and audio below] seemed to reluctantly admit that he no longer is keen on stressing some of the things he was passionate about: …Read More!

The difference between a true church and a false one.

The true mark by which to discern the Church of Jesus Christ [is] to be where his holy Gospel is purely and faithfully preached, declared, listened to and heeded; where the Sacraments are rightly administered, even though there continue to be some imperfections and flaws, as they will always be among men. On the contrary, where the Gospel is not declared, heard and received, there we recognize by no means the Church. – John Calvin

HT Jim West.

 

2012: The Best and Worst of the year!

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The year 2012 was interesting and frustrating. This year I will not feature the 10 most popular posts like I did in 2011. However I will give you a running commentary and “warm your little Calvinist hearts” with some grace and hope you won’t end up swimming back to Rome in the end.

The year started with high expectations and has ended on a high note – well unless you are a Mayan apocalypse enthusiast then you might be just a tard deflated. But hey cheer up we have extra time now, don’t we?

In 2012 it was interesting to see that many people were interested in reading how Veggie Tales ended up being a failed experiment. Well to be honest it was a fad that went too far into teaching kids how to be “Christian” without knowing Christ. Ironic but frankly I have come to expect this from most Evangelical fads that it doesn’t surprise me any more. Speaking of fads the year kicked off with a fad…oops thud when Steven Furtick (yup the celebrity pastor who spontaneously baptised 2,000 people in two weeks) invited Matt Chandler into a room full of orange flood lights, orange walls and orange carpets. When Matt began to preach about celebrities and supposed pastors using church as a platform for personal ambition, you could hear a pin drop. The barn burning sermon was a good fire starter for the year it and it ended with a clear gospel presentation too. But nothing prepared us for pastor Jim Murphy’s stance when he decided to root out religious junk from his lukewarm church bookstore. Murphy lamented the disintegration of Christianity and its falling away from the truth of the gospel and into more and more error – he traced the roots of today’s error to the subtle attacks on the authority of Scripture. When he finally asked “How did we get where we are?” Many expected him to point the finger else where but the wise old pastor pointed to him self and said said he was responsible for allowing his church to become lukewarm and hence forth there would be changes. Talk about the perspicuity of scripture.

Don’t blink yet, that was just the beginning!

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The (Perspicuity) Clarity of Scripture:

Many keep saying that the Bible is not clear and therefore we can all dive in and interprete it whichever way we want to and draw forth whatever we can make of it. Well regarding the Clarity of Scripture….

clarity“The Scriptures are clear and perspicuous in all things necessary to salvation.  We allow that there are doctrines revealed in the Scriptures which surpass the comprehension of created beings, such as the doctrine of the Trinity, the eternal generation and the incarnation of the Son of God.  These are mysteries which we cannot comprehend, but the doctrines themselves are plainly taught in the Scriptures, and we must receive them on the divine testimony.”
We also admit that in the Scriptures there are some things obscure and ‘hard to be understood.’  But this obscurity is chiefly in history and prophecies, which do not so nearly concern our salvation.  As in nature everything necessary for the support of life occurs almost everywhere, and may be found on the most easy search, while other things less necessary, such as its gems and gold, lie concealed in certain places, and can only be discovered and obtained by great exertions and unwearied industry; so there are things in the Scriptures, ignorance of which will not endanger the salvation of the soul, that are abstruse and difficult to be understood, even by those who possess acute minds and great learning.” …Read More!

Softening the Truth to Accomodate Prevailing Taste?

“The Bible is the grand repository … It is the complete system of divine truth, to which nothing can be added, and from which nothing can be taken, with impunity. Every attempt to disguise or soften any branch of this truth, in order to accommodate it to the prevailing taste around us, either to avoid the displeasure, or to court the favour, of our fellow mortals, must be an affront to the majesty of God, and an act of treachery to men.” — John Newton

HT Sacred Sandwich via FB

Word of Faith: Origin and Errors (Full Film)

The pressure points in a Marriage.

Pieter Stok has been married for well over thirty years. Apart from being nuts over Lego (who wouldn’t be?) he is passionate about his Christian faith, marriage and family. He looks back to pressure points in his marriage with thoughtfulness and candidly recounts:

A recently married person asked me the other day what the pressure points were in our 38+ years of married life. Things have been so calm for a number of years ( apart from a moment on an Italian motorway), I had to think. Yes, there had been times when we had to work hard to love each other. Or as an old Dutchman once said, “I never, absolutely never, ever thought of divorce – it never entered my mind, never, … but murder, quite a few times.”

For every couple those pressure points will be different. Their personalities, character traits and circumstances will mean unique pressures on their marriage. Here are some that I struggled with. (Continued here)

I love the final bit where he adds that most of all in a marriage we share a journey with God. He is the third strand (Eccl 4:12). If there were times when we were weak, we had to rely on Him even more. So even when we let each other down He has never let us down.

Excerpt from Travels from Ur.

36 Free Sermons by John Calvin

Monergism has a link to 36 free sermons by John Calvin. Click here.

A Mega church pastor and the little known (Un) spiritual gift of “Hype”

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Most mega churches grow by creating Hype! To maintain the experience one has got to keep building up a consumer base by promising a better experience each time and “an awesome entertainment” the next time. It is quite disorienting since its all done in the name of Christianity. Actually some Sunday services experiences these days begin and end without the name of Jesus, God, sin or righteousness being mentioned. Well, recently….

A Colorado Springs megachurch pastor became disillusioned when he began to follow on Twitter around a dozen high-profile pastors whose ministries he respected.
These pastors would regularly tweet something that was, in Pastor Brady Boyd’s opinion, overflowing with hype. “Super Bowl of all Sundays,” “the megamonster of all sermons,” “I can’t think of another time I have been more excited about preaching a message,” they tweeted as they touted upcoming weekend services.
“How can it be, week after week?” Boyd, senior pastor of New Life Church, wrote in his newly released [book].
Sadly, the result of hype is a church full of consumers.
“It would be easy to blame church congregations for the madness that has consumed our gatherings these days, except that from what I see from their pastors, we’re conditioning them to behave this way. We hype and promote and position and tweet and inadvertently create pews full of consumers instead of devoted worshipers of God,” Boyd stated.
“We hyp-ers are setting up our people to expect an experience, instead of teaching them to encounter their Lord.”

Duh, has the penny just dropped?

 

Confessing our sins to God….

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FOOD FOR THOUGHT: A woman brought her dirty laundry to the river, she was so ashamed of her dirty clothes, that she didn’t want to take them out of the basket in the presence of other women. So she dipped the entire basket of clothes in to the water several times and then took them back home. Sometimes that’s the way we confess our sins. We admit them to God very quickly and in one big bundle. We are not honest with God, or the people around us.

HT De Encourager via FB.

Yes, I was “Born this Way” too.

 

[This post was first published in March 2012] Yes, we have heard the chuckle by some vocal ones, “I was born this way”. Jim rightly adds

Except the ‘this way’ referred to has nothing to do with sexual orientation or anything of the kind.  It has to do with the fact that all of us are born totally depraved and that we remain intractably so until and unless the grace of God in Christ aids us to betterment.

As D. Martyn Loyd-Jones puts it

[What does the phrase ‘total depravity’ mean?  It means that ]… man in his fallen condition has an inherently corrupt nature, and the corruption extends through every part of his being, to every faculty of his soul and body. It also means that there is no (observe the adjective) spiritual good in him. Yes, there is plenty of natural good, there is natural morality, he can recognise virtue and so on. But there is no spiritual good whatsoever. That is what it means.

Yup, you were (and so are we all), ‘born this way’. Dead in sin, spiritually bankrupt …Read More!

Ignoring the Atonement leaves you begging at the door step of Christian liberalism for a new Fad.

I while ago my friend Andy wrote a very interesting piece on the consequences of ignoring the Atonement. Was Jesus’ life simply an example for us to follow or did he come as the Lamb of God to take away sins of those who would believe?
[Andy writes] In the early days of liberal theology, it was the vogue to claim that Jesus’ death was the result of His zeal. He shot His mouth off too many times about religious and moral truth, until, finally, His opponents could take no more and had Him assassinated. The theological axe-to-grind of this view was their rejection of the atonement as an objective, meritorious, vicarious sacrifice – in short, as a substitionary death.
Evacuating Christ’s death in such a way, all that remained was His example. Not many evangelicals (a term I am growing increasingly uncomfortable with) would espouse such a radical view regarding Christ’s death, but the accompanying view of His life as merely a pattern or example, has clung on with tenacity in the best of circles. …Read More!

Calvin Unleashed!

Every one of us is, even from his mother’s womb, a master craftsman of idols. ~John Calvin

A church service …in the not distant future.

 

On a lighter note on the i-church…

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Is it true that Illuminati are taking over the music industry and the church?

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You have heard of conspiracy theories. They are all over the place. Trying to join the dots is like chasing rabbits through rabbit holes. Should a Christian be interested in conspiracy theories?

Who killed JFK? What is the Illuminati? Was there equipment on the space shuttle that caused earthquakes? If God reveals the answer to any of these speculations, we should be thankful He has brought light to our mysteries. If not, we should leave well enough alone—especially if dwelling on those mysteries brings fear.

On one level, conspiracy theories are entertaining. Trying to connect the dots through disparate historical events brings a sense of order to chaos. Speculating about mysteries incites a titillating anxiety of the future that relieves boredom and distracts from more pressing dilemmas.

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What is the “Second Blessing” and is it Biblical?

So a new believer who has just come to faith in Christ comes to you. Do you spur him to holiness or do you tell him well there is still a second grace and a “Second Blessing” after conversion that he should seek after? (The Charismatic Movement actually believe there is a “Third Blessing“). The questions on a “Second Blessing” etc are common among many Evangelicals. I prefer to search the scriptures to determine if these teachings are true. I came across this admonition from J.C Ryle and I think I agree with him:

That there is a vast difference between one degree of grace and another–that spiritual life admits of growth, and that believers should be continually urged on every account to grow in grace–all this I fully concede. But the theory of a sudden, mysterious transition of a believer into a state of blessedness and entire consecration, at one mighty bound, I cannot receive. It appears to me to be a man made invention; and I do not see a single plain text to prove it in Scripture. Gradual growth in grace, growth in knowledge, growth in faith, growth in love, growth in holiness, growth in humility, growth in spiritual-mindedness–all this I see clearly taught and urged in Scripture, and clearly exemplified in the lives of many of God’s saints. But sudden, instantaneous leaps from conversion to consecration I fail to see in the Bible. …Read More!

Does re-orientation or conversion therapy work?

Matt has an interesting post on conversion therapy. Matt is a 23-year-old blogger who is sharing his testimony of being engrossed in a homosexual lifestyle and heavy drinking till two years ago when Matt was transformed by the gospel of Jesus Christ (he is no longer a practicing homosexual by the grace of God). I would suggest you read his testimony here. He asks pertinent questions in this article. Do we come to Jesus because of the things we can get from him? Read on….

Although I fully support biblical and spiritual counseling, I am not the biggest fan of the idea of conversion therapy. Nor am I a fan of programs that lead people to focus more on their desire to haveheterosexual attractions than their to desire to know Jesus Christ (who, by the way, is the only One who holds the power to create such a transformation in sexual desires). I just can not bring myself to support the idea of putting someone through a systematic program solely in order to “re-orient” them. Now, with that said, there are many biblical, Christ centered programs out there who help sexually broken people find healing by pointing them toward the grace of God found in Jesus Christ. I would take a bullet for these kinds of ministries, being that I myself struggle with homosexuality and know how confusing and lonely it can be at times. These ministries do great, glorifying work in the Name of Jesus that help many people. They are far from perfect, but what ministry can claim perfection?

Before I became a believer, I heard about Christians who had claimed to be “cured” of their homosexuality by means of conversion therapy, but then these people would later be found in gay bars or having sex with men they met on the internet. After becoming a believer, I have seen and heard this even more frequently. I think the title conversion therapy is often erroneously placed on organizations that are not trying to sexually “re-orient” people, but rather are helping people to find healing through the means of an intimate relationship with their Creator and Savior. Those who have a sound biblical perspective on homosexuality know that the issue of same sex attraction is really just a symptom of a much deeper problem stemming from the innate brokenness and sinfulness of the person’s heart. Sexual re-orientation is not the goal; holiness in Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit is the goal. …Read More!

New generation of snake handling christians take to Facebook to say, “Come join us please!”

Recently there’s been a drastic decline in the numbers of snake handling pastors. Don’t guess why. The theology has been profoundly hermeneutically dodgy and even savvy pagans are out doing them in their fancy snake charming gimmicks. However in a renewed bid to show off to the rest of the world and to other lesser endowed Christians the snake handling fundamentalists are out again to drum up support and to underline the difference between the “haves” and the “have nots”. You see…

NASHVILLE – Hamblin, 21, pastor of Tabernacle Church of God in LaFollette, Tenn., is part of a new generation of serpent-handling Christians who are revitalizing a century-old faith tradition in Tennessee.

While older serpent handlers were wary of outsiders, these younger believers welcome visitors and use Facebook to promote their often misunderstood — and illegal — version of Christianity. They want to show the beauty and power of their extreme form of spirituality. And they hope eventually to reverse a state ban on handling snakes in church.

Since the early 1900s, a handful of true believers in Eastern Tennessee and other parts of Appalachia have practiced the so-called signs of the gospel, found in a little-known passage in the King James Version of the Gospel of Mark:

“And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.”

While other churches ignore this passage or treat it metaphorically, serpent handlers follow it literally. Their intense faith demands sinless living and rewards them with spiritual ecstasy — the chance to hold life and death in their hands.

It began with a tingling

Brother Micah Golden felt it first while standing in the parking lot with other worshipers, waiting for church to start during a three-day revival in early May. It began with a tingling in his hands that spread over his body. Then he began to moan and pray. …Read More!

Looking for a good Bible believing church?

This cartoon depicts what has become of good churches…they are very hard to find!

HT friends on FB.

Learn the ‘Heresy Two-Step’ Technique of False Teachers!

It is a good thing to go to church with the bible firmly tucked under your arm. It’s also a good thing to watch Christian television with an open bible planted firmly under your nose. But some times having a bible with you is not all that the discerning listener needs. False teachers have invented a new smart technique that beats the lazy eyed listener…its the “heresy two step” technique:

The Heresy Two-step starts with two feet on the text. The allusion must be given that the text is going to be taught on. Then a sliding step backwards is taken into an abstraction. You move from the text to an idea about the text or to a word in the text. Once the text is abstracted and a general principle or something along these lines is made. You can now wiggle around and go in any direction you want. You can make the text say whatever you want. Instead of teaching the text you are pontificating on this abstraction which was drawn from the text.

For some of us who are less experienced I hope this explanation is helpful in discerning false teachers, but it would seem to act as a measure for anyone who preaches/teaches. One needs to understand that exegesis and hermeneutics do have a critical role in preaching and understanding what the text says. …Read More!

What does that Bible verse mean to you?

You have probably heard that question before. Brace yourself…

Avoid superficial interpretation. One of the common problems in interpreting the Bible is this little phrase, “This verse means to me….” so forth and so forth and so forth. Let me tell you something. It doesn’t matter what it means to you, the question is what would it mean if you weren’t alive? What would it mean if you didn’t exist? What does it mean PERIOD is the issue, not what does it mean to you. Sometimes you’ll hear people get together and supposedly have a Bible study which is little-more than a pooling of ignorance. People say, “Well, I look at this verse and I feel this verse is saying…
It doesn’t matter what you feel. That has nothing to do with it.
It’s not a matter of how you feel about the verse, it’s not a matter of what you think it means to you. Avoid ad-libbing in Bible interpretation. …Read More!

Away with the gospel we want more signs and wonders and miracles!

Since the time of Simon the magician there has always been a relentless surge for the miraculous. (Actually in the days of Jesus many loved following him just for fish and bread). Simon in his day was a local celebrity. He was a magician of sorts, and had mesmerized the locals with his arts. And they had given him the title “The Great Power of God”. And he loved it. He basked in his reputation and fed off the admiration and respect he received. I bet he would have made it big time on the talk show circuits around Jerusalem.

Speaking of circuits, a local pastor recently found a signs and wonders tent pitched up right near his church. Pastor Scott Rodriguez did what every pastor ought to do in this kind of situation:

Pastor Rodriguez:

Brothers, several have been asking for some backstory/context on these videos. Mrs. Muldoon set her tent up across the street from our church (it is still there until Sunday 5/20.) I received a call from one of our people that some families that attend our church were sitting in her audience. Others were there to pray and share the gospel afterwards with people leaving. They had been accosted by a young man named Devon, (the managers son) on the evening before when he overheard one of our young men talking with someone after the service about the call of Pastor being reserved for men. …Read More!

When the BOOM and FLASH of your testimony is remembered more than the gospel.

A very interesting and very dis heartening occurence these days in many churches and among very well meaning Christians is when time for testimonies exceeds time given to listening to the preaching of the gospel. No, testimonies are not wrong. They indeed remind us that God is doing marvellous things in our midst. But it is also good to remember that it is the gospel that saves and not the flashing lights and THE BOOM in the story – however dramatic the experience was.

If our testimonies, our teachings and our lives are centred around the gospel then we will be known as the gospel guys-Christ followers or Christians saved by grace through faith in Christ to the glory of God.
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Do you “believe to be born again” or are you “born again to believe”?

No it’s not a riddle. It is not even a trick question. I while back some of my friends kept asking, “Why has Michael become a “Reformed Christian” after several years in prosperity driven and seeker sensitive churches?” So to make things alot easier to understand I thought it’s best to go back to the Bible and back to basics. What  exactly does it mean to become a Christian?

I have come to believe that Salvation begins with an unfailing work of God in the hearts of all those who will believe. While most churches in our current day believe that you “believe to be born again”, like the Reformers and Puritans I have come to believe the opposite about that; my belief is that you are “born again to believe” (see the change in order?).

Here’s a simple quiz for bible believing Christians. …Read More!

Seven Days without God….

It’s because of God’s grace and providence that mere mortals get to have sunshine and rain and air to breathe. Yup, even atheists get to enjoy the brilliant colors of the rainbow and the sweet fresh smell of Spring rises up to greet them every  morning when Winter is gone. What would happen if God was to lift His grace from our lives just for a moment? Came across this:

Me thinks: One moment without God and we would not even reach “mournday”…we would be dead in “Sinday” (Col 2:13)  😉

Photo HT: Friends on FB.

God’s Sovereignty in predestination by Augustus Toplady

When I consider the absolute independency of God, and the necessary total dependence of all created things on Him, their first cause, I cannot help standing astonished at the pride of impotent, degenerate man, who is so prone to consider himself as a being possessed of sovereign freedom, and invested with a power of self-salvation, able, he imagines, to counteract the designs even of infinite wisdom, and to defeat the agency of Omnipotence itself…

And yet, because it so exactly coincides with the natural haughtiness of the human heart, men not only admit, but even relish the deception, and fondly incline to believe that the father of lies does, in this instance at least, speak truth. The Scripture doctrine of predetermination lays the axe to the very root of this potent delusion. It assures us that all things are of God; that all our times and all events are in His hand. ~ Augustus Toplady

HT Test all Things.

How do you share the Gospel?

This is a good clip to help you share the gospel in any situation. Every body in this post modern world has a world view even the pagans. So here is how you can launch into the gospel message:

 

The gospel is secondary. Come for the Easter Helicopter Egg Drop! iPads to be given away too. Interested already?

[This post was first published in April 2012 but the lesson still stands] How I wish we still had Easter services that focus on the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Very soon we will have a generation attending church week in and week out that will be the perfect example of a Christless Christianity. It is Easter again and the usual brouhaha is going around

As many churches celebrate Easter with special church services and egg hunts including candy, one North Carolina church will be giving away an Apple iPad, Xbox 360 and two iPod shuffles.

The Shelby campus of Element Church, a recently established congregation of Cleveland County, will be holding a 12,000-egg hunt event at the Keeter stadium of Shelby High School.

Skipper Allen, campus pastor at Element Church, told The Christian Post that the Shelby campus would be doing this along with their other campus in Forest City.

“We have done an egg drop event at our Forest City campus for years now. This year we decided that we would continue doing it in Forest City, and in order to gain more momentum for our Shelby campus we decided to do the exact same service at the same time,” said Allen.

“The Forest City service will be at McNair Stadium which is the home of the Forest City Owls baseball team. The Shelby service will be at Hoyt S. Keeter stadium which is the home of the American Legion World Series.”

“There will be an invitation given so that people have a chance to respond to the Gospel, and after all of that then we will have the egg hunt portion of the event,” said Allen.

A helicopter will drop thousands of eggs, nearly all of which will be filled with candy save four of them which will have markings that make them redeemable for one of the more technological prizes. …Read More!

A lesson from a pastor who has buried 200 members

Erik a young pastor recently visited a pastor who has buried 200 members. No, he wasn’t the village undertaker. And no, his cooking wasn’t that bad. However there is a lot to learn from this profound story.  Here goes….

I was recently spending some time with a minister who is nearing retirement. He was going through his office and packing up boxes, books and other personal items. He directed me to a large box and told me to take a look. I saw dozens of manilla file folders with names on them.

“What are all these?” I asked.

“Funerals.” The pastor said.

“How many?” I inquired.

“Over two-hundred.” He soberly replied.

There in his office I was struck with so many emotions. Here stood a man who has buried over two hundred of his parishioners. And here I stand, a young-buck having buried a grand total of zero of our members.

The seasoned pastor went on to tell me that he cannot throw this box away because in every folder is a life.

“In every folder is a life, a soul. And in each one is a piece of my life.” He said, holding back obvious emotion. I almost lost it too. …Read More!

Perry Noble says sorry for criticizing discipleship but one more thing Perry…

It is probably a step in the right direction when you hear that Perry Noble has used the word “sorry” in a sentence. Many times I have had to send my kids out of the room when he has appeared on television. What? Not only because he played “High way to Hell” as a worship song and declared his sermons are PG-13 rated. No, my concerns are much deeper as he holds the office of pastor yet displays such a lethargy to wards godliness that he is more than a distraction to the preaching of the gospel. It’s good to see that my  concerns over  his course language, aberrant theology and conduct have been shared by many. And you see….

After South Carolina Pastor Perry Noble apologized to his congregation for criticizing those seeking more discipleship, a Christian apologist and radio host said a simple apology isn’t enough. He suggested that Noble go on a “Repentance Tour.”

Chris Rosebrough, host of Fighting for the Faith, noted on his program that the public apology was a step in the right direction, but he also doesn’t think Noble should stop there.

“I personally think that at this point the magnitude of the error disqualifies Perry Noble from being a mentor to pastors,” he said. Because Noble made those statements at a leadership conference for pastors, Rosebrough said he has to do more to undo the damage of those statements than just apologize to his congregation.

The controversial comments were made at a 2009 conference called Unleash, an annual leadership event conducted by Noble’s church, NewSpring.

During his session, Noble told pastors that “the person that always screams I want to go deeper” is “the jackass in the church.” …Read More!

How could some one so good, do something so vile?

The human heart is utterly deceptive. In one vein we are capable of accomplishing unimaginable feats of bravery and charitable deeds and the next moment descend into utter depravity and wallow in the most hideous and vile acts.

A have-a-go hero who tackled a gun-wielding robber has been jailed for life for a brutal murder.

Deivydas Jacikas, 21, was praised for his bravery after he was caught on camera stopping a fleeing jewel thief last February.

But just eight months later Lithuanian immigrant Jacikas carried out a revenge attack on a grandfather-of-nine Henrikas Baranauskas, 56, who he claimed head-butted his father.

Jacikas confronted father-of-eight Mr Baranauskas last October before beating him so savagely his victim sustained 14 fractured ribs and severe brain damage.

Mr Baranauskas was so badly beaten that his family eventually had to make the agonising decision to switch off his life support machine. …Read More!

Quote of the Day….

“Ultra-organised churches give too great opportunity to men who are inferior in everything but ambition. They climb to the position of prestige to the detriment of abler men. On the score of being ‘administrators’, and ‘good business men’, they rule the Church.” – Dinsdale Young. …Read More!

Pray for the Preacher…

Brad Abley has an interesting article on how to get the most out of the preaching of God’s word seeing that these days the most sought after preachers are those with more riddles and stand up knock-knock jokes. There are few preachers who for love of God’s word and love to feed the sheep remain faithful to their calling and expound and preach faithfully the full counsel of God. So then…

Pray for the preacher – before, during and after the message.  [He] needs the prayers of all of God’s people and when he gets those prayers, the preaching becomes a true, corporate effort– not a “one-man show.”

The more God’s people pray for the preacher and the message, the greater the anointing will be upon all.  By asking God … he may be spared the oppression that inevitably comes to preachers soon after the message.

Moreover, when we pray for those who preach, we are far less prone to “rate” or criticize the preacher.

If you know that the person whose pulpit ministry you sit under works hard at preaching and teaching (that involves much prayer, study, preparation and the spiritual warfare that comes along with this high responsibility) and genuinely cares for those he has responsibility for, appreciate and honor him or her (1 Tim. 5:17).

Pray too that the preacher will remain faithful to the text in his exposition, that Christ may be glorified and the gospel will come forth with clarity to encourage the believers and draw the sinners by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Excerpt from How to Get the Most Out of the Preaching of God’s Word.

The Calvinist and his Arminian daughter!

Funny song! 🙂

Why are Mega churches resorting to finding “Church growth consultants” and “High Capacity People”?

The latest buzz in numbers of those flocking to a new church will always cause ears to prick up. The stats are certainly impressive, the buildings expensive, and the congregations expansive. And perhaps there is plenty of reason to be enthusiastic— lost people are attending weekend services. Isn’t it? But does the evangelistic philosophy behind the so-called “Church Growth Movement” match up to or follow the biblical model? Does it meet Scripture’s standards or does it fall short of God’s expectations? Where do “church growth consultants” come from and why do they insist on pastors identifying their number one asset “the high capacity person”? If all this is news to you FBC Jax watch dog explains….

Let’s start things off by looking at a 6-minute video produced by Jim Sheppard, the CEO of a consulting firm named “Generis”…

Jim produced the video [above] for an event called “The Nines” [in 2010], where 100 leaders gave 6-minute talks on the Internet to help church pastors… In his video, Jim explains to church leaders how they need to develop strategies for going after the very wealthy in their community, who he calls “the high capacity people”.

Here are some quotes from the video: …Read More!

One more reason why pagans don’t take Christianity seriously

When pagans see the irreverence that goes on in some circles of Evangelicalism it gives them more impetus to laugh the name of God to scorn. Surely when we call our selves ‘Christ-like’ or ‘Christian’ and make a false representation of who or what God is, don’t we bear or take the name of our God in vain? Blasphemy was the word I was looking for. And it’s the same word that comes to mind when I hear people want to  ‘crank dat holy ghost’.

No. I am actually thick skinned and I am used to being laughed at but I get grieved …Read More!

What Hath Schuller Wrought Now?

Robert Schuller once went from door to door asking people what type of church they would like to attend. His mission was to change his church to a place where non-Christians would feel comfortable enough to come in and then eventually “accept Jesus.” This would be accomplished by preaching only positive messages! It seems the apple didn’t fall far from the tree….

  The Crystal Cathedral’s [Sheila Schuller Coleman daughter of Robert Schuller] announced Sunday that she was leaving to start a new church, a move that appears likely to split the congregation. …Read More!

Its about the Cross.It’s about my sin.

The Ball Brothers are such a breath of fresh air with the profound lyrics in “It’s about the cross”:

The Ball Brothers are four real-life brothers that travel full-time singing Christian music with a unique blend of harmony. This song is their passion. …Read More!

ACTS church emphasized teaching not performance arts or activities.

 A timely message from Dr. Martyn Lloyd Jones:

In Acts 2, what did the Christians come together for? Here were these people who had come out of the world to join the group of people called disciples, and they formed the first church, but what is the Christian church for? What does she do? What does she provide? Do Christian people come together for socials, dances, raffles, dramatic performances, lectures on politics, literature, and sociology? There was nothing like that in the early church. It is not my objective to denounce these things. But I do want to show how far removed they are from the Christian church. You can get all that in the world, and you can get it very much better there. The Christian church makes a fool of herself when she attempts these things–she does them so badly. If you want activities like that, then go and get them organized professionally. But that is not the Christian church. It is a travesty. …Read More!

Where God by His Grace got me from…

I believe I was so spiritually corrupt and prideful and rebellious that I would never have come to faith in Jesus without God’s merciful, sovereign victory over the last vestiges of my rebellion. (1 Corinthians 2:14; Ephesians 2:1–4; Romans 8:7). …Read More!

Meet The Christians: A day in the life of a single Christian lady.

If you haven’t read the read any of the previous anonymized interviews click here. The guests are from different backgrounds, from all over the world and the only unifying factor is that they have been changed by the gospel message. Today’s guest is a single Christian lady, works full time and yes she will tell us what the gospel is in one sentence too.

ATCT [A Twisted Crown of Thorns ®] : Sorry you are masked from your audience today. What is a typical week in your life like?

ANS: Well, I work full time, exercise, and leave gospel tracts everywhere. 🙂

  1. ATCT: Did you have any Christian  influence in your youth or childhood?

ANS: Yes. My mother and I weren’t saved back then, but there were a few instances where I went to church. The kinds of churches I went to is something I don’t remember. *lol*

  1. ATCT: What is the gospel in one sentence? …Read more!

Why health, wealth and prosperity preachers never fall sick or even die (Ahem).

If I am master of my fate, architect of my destiny and my words contain power as the WOF (word of faith) and prosperity preachers tell me then I am pretty much invincible. I do not need to pray to God, afterall what can He do that I cannot speak into existence. I am sovereign. So, do these WOF and health, wealth and prosperity preachers ever fall sick, fill in job application forms, go to the bank for a loan, get drenched by rain or even die? Well check this out

Here’s a rhyme, how much wood could a wood chuck chop, if a wood chuck could chop wood? Here’s another. How much deception can be seen and heard, when there is no word, and nobody is really listening?

How long will we look the other way while people are ravaged by false teaching’s promoted by men who spread their own miracle rumors?

It was E.W. Kenyon in his book the Hidden man on pg.99 wrote, “I know that I am healed because he said that I am healed and it makes no difference what the symptoms may be in my body.” An example would be if they are coughing and you say you have a cough they respond by “no I don’t, I haven’t had a cough in years.” That’s called denial of reality at best, and lying at worst. …REad More!

Preparing a modern day sermon…

After perfecting his visually stunning gimmick, Pastor Antics only had to desperately look for a bible verse to tag along to the message…

How do you solve a problem like King James Onlyism?

Apparently Sam Gipp has recorded a KJV only video (by the way it’s a nicely done video!) that is simply filled with errors–errors historical, errors logical, errors factual, errors biblical. Let’s begin the process of setting the record straight. James White does an excellent job in this 4 part series:

Part 1: …There’s More!!!

BBC Boss: We will mock Jesus but (Umm) Mohammed…NEVER!!

You have seen gaudy and blasphemous caricatures of Jesus Christ and satirical depictions of Christians by major new outlets. Anybody can take a pot shot at Jesus and walk away with a wink and smug look. Is there a bias and how about other religions? How come we do not see satirical depictions of other religions? BBC has come out with an honest explanation…

The head of the BBC, Mark Thompson, has admitted that the broadcaster would never mock Mohammed like it mocks Jesus.

He justified the astonishing admission of religious bias by suggesting that mocking Mohammed might have the “emotional force” of “grotesque child pornography”.

But Jesus is fair game because, he said, Christianity has broad shoulders and fewer ties to ethnicity.

Bias

Mr Thompson says the BBC would never have broadcast Jerry Springer The Opera – a controversial musical that mocked Jesus – if its target had been Mohammed. …Read More!

T.D Jakes’ prosperity and word of faith gospel nearly killed me.

Many times the victims of false teachings (like prosperity gospel and word of faith) are never seen. Some perish in their new found teachings with wads of green money stuck between their teeth. Others wither out in oblivion far from these churches, empty handed with promises of riches and endless frustrations. Why are popular teachers hastily given the rubber stamp of approval without due consideration of the human cost of their destructive teaching?. Thabithi Anyabwile has an interesting article in which he highlights and puts a human face to this discussion. Meet Sean, here is his story…

I am, to be really honest here, very upset by the passé attitudes [towards Jakes] of these brothers (and pastors, I might add). I’m upset for a few reasons, but If I’m being honest, the main reason why I’m so disturbed by this is because the prosperity gospel nearly killed me. Literally. I was so sick I was on the verge of death. I was lying in a hot bath with a temperature of 96 degrees, way beyond dehydrated, and literally dying with mercury poisoning. My mother was crying over my naked body, begging me to go to the hospital for treatment. “NO!” I insisted. How could I put faith in a doctor? “God is my ultimate healer! In him alone will I place my faith!” …Read More!

The “Oneness” side of the Nadarkhani story.

I have not ceased to put this information out not only to highlight the importance of freedom of worship of this young man but also that the gospel may advance in countries like Iran. Today I will highlight another aspect of the story of profound theological importance. You see…

Youcef Nadarkhani has been reported in both the secular and Christian media and periodicals to be under a death sentence for his conversion from Islam to evangelical Christianity. He was arrested on 12th October 2009, in the city of Rasht in the northern part of Iran, where he had been the pastor of the underground church there. He is reported to be the evangelical pastor of “the Church of Iran”. However, what might come as a shock to many evangelical believers is that “Pastor” Nadarkhani is actually one of the leaders in a growing cult in Iran, which is linked with the Oneness Pentecostalism (Jesus Only) cult, which is non-Trinitarian, believes in baptismal regeneration, and is very closely linked and supported by the United Pentecostal Churches outside of Iran. They greatly admire and follow the teachings of an American preacher, William M. Branham, who claimed to be the last of God’s prophets on earth, that the doctrine of the Trinity is from the devil, and only those who are baptised in Jesus’ name are saved.

But what is the wider implication of this? …Read More!