Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Real Hope, Real Truth

Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.” Then Pilate said to him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world–to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.” Pilate said to him, “What is truth?” After he had said this, he went back outside to the Jews and told them, “I find no guilt in him. ~John 18:36-38

"Idolatry is the sin in which Man makes something or someone other than God his or her god. Tragically, there are many false versions of Jesus Christ being worshipped in our time. These other forms of Jesus are not the real Saviour, but are man-made versions in the form that is easy for the unregenerate heart to love and worship. These idolatrous forms of Jesus never demand holiness and repentance. They never confront false teachers and false prophets because that would be divisive." (Mike Ratliffe- "Possessing the Treasure")

In these difficult times, people are searching for answers. They're searching for solutions to the economic woes and for a way out. Sadly, many are turning away from the truth; putting their trust in man or man-made systems. The below article identifies one way this is happening that should remind all of us where real truth and real hope comes from.

read the full article here...



Thursday, April 23, 2009

Unfashionable Church

Interesting article over at 'The Christian Post' on Pastor Tullian Tchividjian who recently took over as Senior Pastor of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Florida. For what it's worth, Tchividjian is the grandson of Rev. Billy Graham.

"Young Christian Leader Makes Case for 'Unfashionable' Churches"

A few great quotes from this article...

"...he is among those Christian leaders who believe that main problem churches face is not that they are culturally out of touch, but that they are theologically out of tune."

"And Jacksonville-born preacher is convinced that serious seekers today aren’t looking for something appealing and trendy. “They’re looking for something deeper than what’s currently in fashion,” Tchividjian insists."

Truthfulness, not trendiness is what new generations are thirsting for,” Tchividjian writes."

"Tchividjian hopes to mobilize a generation of God-saturated missionaries who will “live against the world for the world” and not be “seduced by cool” or what’s fashionable."

Could this perhaps be the start of a shift from the Emergent, feel-good movement where church is all about attracting & entertaining the seeker to a more God-centered, theological approach? The surveys & polls have already shown that people are growing tired of the silly, squisshy churches as they hunger for more of the Gospel; a church where the focus is on God and His Word rather than the methods of man to keep them from being bored.


Monday, April 20, 2009

Why I Blog

“Wisdom is the right use of knowledge. To know is not to be wise. Many men know a great deal, and are all the greater fools for it. There is no fool so great a fool as a knowing fool. But to know how to use knowledge is to have wisdom.”
~ Charles Spurgeon


With the advent of the Internet came a whole new approach to communication. E-mails, instant messages, chat rooms, forums, bulletin boards, MySpace, Facebook and blogging. Now more than ever, everyone has something to say about everything or nothing at all. For those information-junkies (I'm one of them), there is an endless flow of fact, fiction, theory, opinion and everything in between available on the 'Net. For those who feel the need to share what they've discovered, observed, pondered or stumbled across, there is Blogging.

The purpose behind this blog is to share the truth. Not just any truth but more specifically, the truth that leads to Jesus Christ, the author of Truth. Despite what the post-modernist may think, truth is not relative. Some things are true whether you choose to believe them or not. Christ came in order that we may know life-changing truth. That in knowing this truth, we might be freed from the bondage of our sins. As such, what I hope to convey through this Blog is that which will encourage others to find and grow in the Way, Truth and Life of Jesus Christ. Just because we're passionate about something doesn't necessarily mean we ignore our responsibility to apply biblical principles in all that we do and say.

"If the tongue is a fire, the Internet is a nuclear bomb; and blogs, if wrongly used, are the radioactive waste that endangers us all." ~ Pastor Scott Thomas, Director of Acts29


There are generally two topics that many people prefer to keep private and not talk about. Politics and religion. Why? Because everyone has an opinion and we see things differently. What's right for you may not be right for the next person. The question is, who defines what is right and true? If there is a God (and I believe there is), then He has established the standard of right and wrong. For the Christian, we have God's inspired Word to guide us in truth and morals. This Word is also where we find instruction for living and sharing the good news of the Gospel with the world. Evangelizing is not a special gift nor is it an option. All believers are called to preach, teach and share the truth of the Gospel. This Blog is one way for me to attempt to do just that.


What motivates me to write or share the things I do on this Blog:


"Paul sought to save men; and because he sought to save them, he was not content merely to throw truth at them; but he went out of his way to get alongside them, and to start thinking with them from where they were, and to speak to them in terms that they could understand, and above all to avoid anything that would prejudice them against the Gospel...in his zeal to maintain truth he never lost sight of the needs and claims of people." ~ J.I. Packer

"Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." ~ Matthew 28:19-20

"This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come." ~ Matthew 24:14

"for "WHOEVER WILL CALL ON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED." How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher?" ~ Romans 10:13-14

"but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth." ~ Acts 1:8


"All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work."
2 Timothy 3:16-17

"You must teach what is in accord with sound doctrine." ~ Titus 2:1


"but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love."
Ephesians 4:15-16

"Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true." ~ Acts 17:11

"Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching; persevere in these things, for as you do this you will ensure salvation both for yourself and for those who hear you." ~ 1 Timothy 4:16


"Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints. For certain men whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men, who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord." ~ Jude 1:3-4

"Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves." ~ Matthew 7:15

"Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment." ~ John 7:24

"For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry." ~ 2 Timothy 4:3-5


"Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction." ~ 1 Timothy 4:2

"Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing." ~ 1 Thessalonians 5: 11


"The real test of being in the presence of God is, that you either forget about yourself altogether or see yourself as a small, dirty object. It is better to forget about yourself altogether."
~ C.S. Lewis ("Mere Christianity")

"but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence."
1 Peter 3:15

"Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth." ~ 2 Timothy 2:15

"In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us."
Titus 2:7-8


"I urge you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them. For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naive people." ~ Romans 16:17-18

"You adulterous people, don't you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God." ~ James 4:4

"This testimony is true. Therefore, rebuke them sharply, so that they will be sound in the faith..." ~ Titus 1:13


If you're a genuine follower of Jesus Christ, one thing you will discover is that you will encounter resistance to what you believe and what you share. No matter how hard you try, sooner or later you're going to offend someone with what you say or write. Again, the purpose of this Blog is to share the truth of the Gospel in love, without compromise. I'm not a theologian nor am I without fault. Some of what I share comes from personal experience. Don't take what I say to be the final word on anything. There are much wiser biblical scholars and then there is the Word of God. I'll try to reference these sources whenever I'm trying to make a point. Check them out and above all, pray and ask God to reveal His truth to you through the bible.

"And you shall be hated by all men for my name’s sake. But he that shall endure unto the end, he shall be saved." ~ Mark 13:13

On occasion, some have confronted me regarding certain comments in my posts that seem to be speaking directly to them. Some have accused me of attacking them or their church. It's been said that if you throw a rock into a pack of dogs, the one that squeals is the one that got hit. The Gospel offends. Never should we try to soften it in order to avoid this. The power of the Holy Spirit is what convicts us of sin and ultimately what opens our eyes to the truth that saves. Our responsibility is simply to share the truth in love. Both in our words and in our actions.

Christianity remains under attack from the world. Jesus warned us of this. Furthermore, there is a split taking place within evangelical Christianity as a result of the Emergent movement. In an effort to try and reach the lost, many have resorted to methods that appeal to world which often leads to compromising the Word of God. There is no room within the truth of the Gospel for tolerance of sin or compromise of moral principles that God put in place. Our purpose here on earth is to glorify God. We do this by preaching the Word and demonstrating love in all things in order that sinners be saved through repentance and faith in Jesus Christ. God Himself is the one who does the saving.


No where in scripture does God instruct us to appeal to the world or become like the world in order to draw people to Him. Mega Churches, marketing, programs, entertainment, drama, music and charismatic preaching are pointless if the Gospel is not being rightly proclaimed. There is one way to God and that is through Jesus Christ. How we present this is where it gets tricky. Our pride-filled, self-centered nature often leads us in an attempt to win others through persuasion, debate or coercion. We must be careful of our motives and focus on the main thing otherwise we may find ourselves winning the battles but losing the war.

Should we speak boldly for the truth, contend for the faith, and champion the gospel? Absolutely! Should we encourage each other to love and good works? Yes! Should we plead with others with tears to turn and repent if we see them heading down a wrong path? Unquestionably! But let us do so with self-sacrificial love, reverence for God and respect for one another. May we do so abandoning anger, wrath, slander, gossip, bitterness and malice. May we not strive to just be right, win an argument, publicly champion an issue, and on our blogs try to one up each other by tearing each other to pieces in the combox turning someone's life, ministry, and failings into blogging sport for the week. ~ Steve Camp

The goal should never be about numbers or success but rather, about teaching sound doctrine. Church was designed to be a place where Christians gathered to worship God. Where people are discipled in the truth and sent out into the world to reach the lost with the Gospel. Sadly, many churches have become like the world in order to please the seeker-sensitive crowd. This has led to more emphasis on a Social Gospel rather than a Cross-Centered Gospel.

"Spiritual decline...is the result of the presence of falsehood where there should be truth...gospel truth, not unity, was the first need....We can be sure that it will not be addressed effectively until there is renewed anointing of power upon those whose only authority is the Word of God." ~ Iain Murray

As I've said before, the purpose of this Blog is truth. If ever you come across something that contradicts the truth in what I write, confront me with it. I welcome your comments, critique and criticism. I will try my best to heed the advice I've offered above when it comes to sharing the truth in love. Certainly, I will fail at times. For that, I apologize in advance. My intent is not to cause dissension within the body of believers but at the same time, I will not sugar-coat the Word of God in order to avoid offending someone. I recognize that everyone is at a different point in their spiritual journey but, we should all be striving for the same thing.. to glorify God.

In summary, if you're only interested in "God is love", feel-good, best-life-now, purpose-driven, seeker-sensitive messages, this is probably not a Blog you'd like. If you're looking for God in the Shack, behind the Velvet Elvis or some sort of New Christianity, you're in the wrong place. If however, it's truth you are seeking without everything having to change, then you're in the right place.


Saturday, April 11, 2009

The Cross: Your Best Life Now?

"If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it. ~Luke 9:23-24

"God wants us to prosper financially, to have plenty of money, to fulfill the destiny He has laid out for us." ~Joel Osteen

What brought you to the Cross? What motivated you to become a Christian? Was there an emptiness within that the world could not fill or a longing for purpose in life? Perhaps you were driven by a fear of hell or inspired by an emotional sermon to accept Jesus into your life in order that your sins could be forgiven. Or, was it the power of the Gospel that brought you to your knees before a Holy God, revealing your sinful condition and need for salvation? Whatever it was, one thing is certain; The Christian life is not about having your best life now. It's not about finding happiness and having all of your earthly needs met. It's not even about comfort.

The abundant life Jesus promised us (John 10:10) was not a reference to the good things of life according to worldly standards. In fact, Jesus reminded us often to avoid being consumed with the things of the world. He also made it clear that to follow Him meant to deny ourselves and expect to be hated by the world (Matt. 10:22). That doesn't sound like your best life now does it?

Christ went to the Cross to suffer and die for us. The ultimate expression of love. The ultimate sacrifice. He paid the ultimate price; the payment required for our sins in order that we might be saved from God's just wrath. In order that we might be restored to the Father. His work on the Cross was the completion of His purpose on earth...

When he had received the drink, Jesus said, "It is finished." With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. ~John 19:30

Those who followed Christ during His earthly ministry continued to do so after His death and resurrection. They remained "in Him" and they paid the price for their commitment to the Cross...

- Matthew was killed by the sword in Ethiopia.

- Mark died in Egypt after being dragged by horses.

- Luke was hanged in Greece.

- Peter was crucified upside down.

- James (the Just) was beat to death after being thrown from the Temple.

- James (the Greater) was beheaded.

- Bartholomew was flayed to death by whipping.

- Andrew was crucified.

- Thomas was killed by the spear.

- Jude (the brother of Jesus) was killed with arrows.

- Matthias was stoned then beheaded.

- Barnabas was stoned to death.

- Paul was beheaded.

- John was boiled in oil although he lived to die as a prisoner on Patmos.

Followers of Christ living their best life now.

When Christ told us to "take up our cross", He was referring to giving our entire lives to Him. Complete dedication to Him. Living for Him and not for self. His suffering on the Cross was much more than the physical suffering; It was experiencing separation from God and receiving the full wrath of God intended for us...

About the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?"—which means, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" ~Matthew 27:46

Through Jesus Christ, we have forgiveness of sin and reconciliation to God.

Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through him! For if, when we were God's enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! ~ Romans 5:9-10

The entire message of the Bible points to the completed work of Jesus Christ on the Cross. Fallen man, lost in our sins, unable to save ourselves, unable to attain righteousness before a just God. God simply cannot forgive sin without payment for those sins. Because of our sins and rebellion from God, we deserve the full wrath of God. The perfect Law of God demands death for sin. Christ stepped in and took our place to save us. That is the purpose of the Cross.

Sadly, the true significance of the Cross has been watered-down over time. The Gospel message softened in order to not be so offensive. In striving to bring people to Jesus, many have left out the reasons behind the Cross and instead, focused on what Jesus can do for you in the here and now.

Consider all the programs and marketing strategies of churches today designed to draw people in. Church has become a place of entertainment to some extent. A place where your ears are tickled and your senses massaged with all sorts of feel-good topical presentations. The new approach to evangelism is meeting needs and focusing on social issues rather than getting to the root of our problems; sin. The Gospel of 21st America is no longer about slaying the sinner; It's about renewal, redirection and rediscovery. The Cross should be where we die and where we are reborn. This should be a daily process in the life of the believer. It should cut us to the heart and make us squirm. The Cross is where the old life ends and new life begins. No turning back to the false appeals from the world but instead, moving forward to the abundant life found only in Christ.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. ~ Galatians 5:22-25

The faith of Christ does not parallel the world, it intersects it. In coming to Christ we do not bring our old life up onto a higher plane; we leave it at the cross. We who preach the gospel must not think of ourselves as public relations agents sent to establish good will between Christ and the world. We must not imagine ourselves commissioned to make Christ acceptable to big business, the press, the world of sports or modern education. We are not diplomats but prophets, and our message is not a compromise but an ultimatum. God offers life, but not an improved old life. The life He offers is life out of death. The cross that ended the earthly life of Jesus now puts an end to the sinner; and the power that raised Christ from the dead now raises him to a new life along with Christ...Let us preach the old cross and we will know the old power. ~ A.W. Tozer


Friday, April 10, 2009

His Blood Was Shed For Us

Good Friday was not a good day for Jesus Christ. True, it was the beginning of the atonement for our sins but the price to be paid was great. Dan Phillips over at "Pyromaniacs" explains the contrast between the blood sacrifice, the cross and the price of our salvation...

A holy day- not a pretty day

In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. ~ Hebrews 9: 22

For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. ~ 1 Peter 1: 18-19

But what does "the blood" mean in Scripture? It means not merely suffering, which might be well typified by blood, but it means suffering unto death, it means the taking of a life. To put it very briefly, a sin against God deserves death as its punishment, and what God said by the mouth of the prophet Ezekiel still standeth true, "The soul that sinneth, it shall die." The only way by which God could fulfill his threatening sentence, and yet forgive guilty men, was that Jesus Christ, his Son, came into the world, and offered his life instead of ours ~ Charles Spurgeon (MTP, vol. 40, p. 325).

For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures. ~1 Corinthians 15: 3-4


Monday, April 6, 2009

Amazing Love

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. ~ John 3:16

"Amazing Love" ~ Newsboys

"I’m forgiven because You were forsaken...I’m accepted, You were condemned "

About the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?"—which means, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" ~ Matthew 27: 46

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace. ~ Ephesians 1: 7

When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross. ~ Colossians 2:13-14

"I'm alive and well, Your Spirit lives within me...Because You died and rose again"

You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ. But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness. ~ Romans 8: 9-10

"Amazing love, how can it be That You, my King, should die for me?"

This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. ~ 1 John 4:10

You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. ~ Romans 5: 6-8

"...It’s my joy to honor You In all I do."

Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body. ~ 1 Corinthians 6: 19-20

It's difficult if not impossible for us to imagine what it would be like to give our only child to be killed in order for someone else to live. To further expand this point, imagine that this person for whom your child would die is not even deserving of such love. Imagine the recipient of this great sacrifice was perhaps the most evil person to have ever lived. Would you sacrifice your only child to save Hitler?

That's exactly what God did for us.

He gave His perfect, sinless, innocent Son to atone for the sins of the most evil, wretched, vile human beings to have ever existed. The natural human response to love is that somehow we're deserving of it. When someone expresses love for us, we tend to think that it's because of something we have that's worth loving. Christ didn't die for good people. He died for those condemned. For those who rebel against God. Those under the wrath of God.

He died for me and He died for you.

We are these wretched people for whom a Father gave a Son to suffer and die for. Not only did Christ endure the physical suffering of death, He also experienced the full wrath of God by paying the price for our sins. This is beyond all human understanding. It simply doesn't make sense according to human standards. Jesus Christ, God in the flesh taking our sins in exchange for His righteousness. The cost to us? No charge... "Paid In Full". Ours is simply to receive God's grace by repenting (turning from) our sins and putting our trust in Christ.

My friend, it doesn't get any better than that.
THAT is truly "Amazing Love".

"In all I do, Let me honor You."