I got into a brief conversation with one my classmates the other day. He is a youth minister and was telling me that one of his greatest challenges is dealing with parents who want him to talk to their teens regarding unChristian behavior. The challenge is not so much talking to the teen but to the parent who insists that their child is a Christian and therefore should be exhibiting Christian behavior. In other words, there is denial that the child may not actually be a Christian.
Now as a parent, I certainly understand where this insistence comes from. You have established your home as a Christian home. Christ and his church have taken priority. You want your own commitment to Christ reflective in your household. No doubt, your children have been immersed in church from birth – Sunday school, VBS, Awana. Hopefully you have spent time with them at home training and exposing them to God’s word and to prayer. It seems reasonable then that they should turn out to be Christian. And let’s be honest, there is a level of personal pride to say that we have intact Christian homes. …Read More!
Ever watched a mime perform and wished that he would clearly articulate the message he is dying to bring across? The audience a mime has will interprete his gesticulations with a degree of error because most of it is shrouded. But if he speaks and articulates his message, then the listeners are illumined. They are then not in any doubt of the original intention of the message bearer. A good message bearer delivers what he is entrusted with, without subtracting or altering it and leaves his audience with the intended message so that they are without any excuse. This is probably why miming (though is truly entertaining) falls short in many ways in delivering the Gospel message (which requires the hearers to know the name and person of Jesus Christ). Speaking of incomplete messages there’s one other thing….(ha ha look what I just did there!)
There are many conferences going on around us that supposedly are ‘bringing hope’ to the world or ‘happiness’ to the community. These in themselves are not bad but if it comes in the name of ‘Jesus’ then it has got to be clear in it’s intended message. Hope – why does the world need hope? …Read More!
But why is it that when the gospel is preached only some believe? The answer is that the gospel itself has no power to quicken the dead. Just as light has no power to give sight to the blind, so the gospel has no power to restore understanding to spiritually blind people. “It is the spirit that quickeneth,” said Jesus (John 6:63). Without a direct work of the Spirit in the heart, men may hear what the preacher says, and may even enjoy it; but they will never he convinced and converted. It was so with some who heard Ezekiel preach! “Lo, thou art unto them as a very lovely song of one that bath a pleasant voice,” said the Lord, and can play well on an instrument: for they hear thy words, but they do them not” (Ezek. 33:32). This is What the Bible means when it speaks of having ears and not being able to hear. It means that people can hear the words (sounds) without appropriating them (the meaning). But when the Holy Spirit regenerates the heart the word has its effect.
There are both do’s and don’ts when it comes to witnessing to cultists. Here are a few tips you will find helpful:
The first do is, do identify with the cultist. Convince him (or her) that you consider him to be a person in his own right — worthwhile, basically honest, and not trying to put something over on you. Cultists are people before they’re cultists. They have families, they have children, they have needs, they have frustrations and fears, and they are brothers and sisters in Adam, though not in Christ. In Acts 17 we are told that all people are God’s offspring. This means that in Adam, all of us share a common heritage. So let’s talk to cultists from the family-of-Adam perspective, prayerfully hoping to bring them to the family-of-God perspective. …Read More!
First Peter 2:24 says of Christ, “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.”
One of the primary rules of biblical interpretation which must never be violated is context. What is the context in 1 Peter 2? Answer: salvation. There is no way to interpret it in any other sense. The verse is talking about Jesus on the cross dying for us, enduring punishment and bearing our sins, thereby providing salvation for us.
When certain people get hold of this passage, however, they change the context from salvation to physical healing. Every time such people see the word “heal” in the Bible they assume it refers to the miracle of divine healing for the physical body, regardless of whether the context indicates otherwise. …Read More!
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!
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!
J. Lee Grady is a clear thinking Charismatic and also the contributing editor of Charisma. Having grown increasingly aware that the so-called “Spirit-filled” churches of today struggle with many of the same things the Catholic church faced in the 1500s, he says he is going to (just like Luther and the Wittenberg door) he is going to nail down his theses on the Charismatic church door. We (says Lee) don’t have “indulgences”—we have telethons. We don’t have popes—we have super-apostles. We don’t support an untouchable priesthood—we throw our money at celebrity evangelists who own fleets of private jets. Further more he laments that its past time for a Charismatic Reformation (this article was first published 26th October 2011 in honor of Reformation Day):
1. Let’s reform our theology. The Holy Spirit is the third person of the Trinity. He is God and He is holy. He is not an “it.” He is not a blob, a force, or an innate power. We must stop manipulating Him, commanding Him and throwing Him around.
2. Let’s return to the Bible. The Word of God is the foundation for the Christian experience. Any dramatic experience, no matter how spiritual it seems, must be tested by the Word and the Holy Spirit’s discernment. Visions, dreams, prophecies and encounters with angels must be in line with Scripture. If we don’t test them we could end up spreading deception.
3. It’s time for personal responsibility. We charismatics must stop blaming everything on demons. People are usually the problem.
4. Stop playing games. Spiritual warfare is a reality, but we are not going to win the world to Jesus just by shouting at demonic principalities. We must pray, preach and persevere to see ultimate victory.
5. Stop the foolishness. People who hit, slap or push others during prayer should be asked to sit down until they learn gentleness is a fruit of the Holy Spirit. …Read More!
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:
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!
Seeking to train and encourage men to preach, Dr. Somerville wrote “Rules for Sermon Writing” below (left column). Nollie Malabuyo ‘s article draws that comparison between Somervilles’s guidelines with the prosperity and megachurch preaching we see and hear today (right column). But who was Somerville? In Glimpses of Old Glasgow (1894), Andrew Aird described Rev. Somerville as…
As a preacher Dr. Somerville was fervent; his style of address was that of a scholar; and his prayers were the outpourings of his heart. As a pastor he was held in high estimation by his people; and he frequently occupied Glasgow and country pulpits, where his discourses, full of the knowledge which maketh rich, were ever listened to by large audiences. There was something in the tone of his voice, and in the light of his eyes and the glow of his countenance which made one involuntarily say, “This man has been with Jesus.” Read more of this post
Have you ever wondered what to pray for when it comes to praying for your elder or pastor? I hope this article makes it easier to understand what he needs most. To begin with Stephen Altrogge asks if have you heard of the word “unction”?
It’s a term that sounds vaguely medical, as in, “I went to the doctor today and he told me that I have a bad case of unction in my lower GI tract.” Or it sounds like a term my mechanic would throw at me: “Yeah man, your unction piston is cracked right down the middle and we’re going to need to replace the entire engine block.”
But the word “unction” actually has a rich history behind it, even if we don’t use it too much any more. And let me tell you, I desperately need unction.
Unction is what separates a mighty sermon from a boring lecture. Unction is what causes a sermon to pierce the heart of a listener. Unction is what transforms a sermon from a boring load of facts to a mighty, God-filled, life-changing sermon. …Read More!
My first contention is that providing amusement for the people is nowhere spoken of in the Scriptures as a function of the Church. If it is a Christian work why did not Christ speak of it? ‘Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.’ That is clear enough. So it would have been if He has added, ‘and provide amusement for those who do not relish the gospel’ No such words, however, are to be found. It did not seem to occur to Him. Then again, ‘He gave some apostles, some prophets, some pastors and teachers, for the work of the ministry.’ Where do entertainers come in? The Holy Spirit is silent concerning them. Were the prophets persecuted because they amused the people or because they refused? The concert has no martyr roll. …Read More!
[pullquote]There are some attributes of God that we as humans try to understand but our finite minds can only go so far.[/pullquote] Take for example the Trinity. How would you explain the concept of the Trinity? Or would you back down in any apologetic discussion for the sake of not rocking the boat and whimper off muttering under your breath, “Que Sera, Sera (Whatever Will Be, Will Be)”. I came across this excerpt from a book written by J.I Packer. Not only is this doctrine broken broken down into simple understandable language but Dr Packer also has a way of maintaining the interest of the reader and drawing you to an awesome realisation of the infinite beauty of God. Read More