Chloe made this for me tonight. I "heart" Chloe!
Monday, February 22, 2010
I know that after my departure fierce wolves
will come in among you, not sparing the flock;
and from among your own selves
will arise men speaking twisted things,
to draw away the disciples after them.
Therefore be alert, remembering that for three years
I did not cease night or day to admonish everyone with tears.
Surely some of the most heartfelt and poignant verses ever recorded in scripture. What made Paul cry? Was it the beatings? The shipwrecks? The snakebites? The imprisonment? No--what made the Apostle Paul weep was knowing that the wolves would come and the flock would be threatened.
Perhaps bitter still was the knowledge that some would arise from within the Ephesian church. They would speak twisted things (KJV says "perverse") and their misinterpretation of the precious Word of God would result in disciples being drawn away.
Paul's warning: "Be Alert"!
In The Price of Neglect Tozer writes:
Within the circles of evangelical Christianity itself there has arisen in the last few years dangerous and dismaying trends away from true Bible Christianity.A spirit has been introduced which is surely not the Spirit of Christ, methods employed which are wholly carnal, objectives adopted which have not one line of Scripture to support them, a level of conduct accepted which is practically identical with that of the world -- and yet scarcely one voice has been raised in opposition.And this in spite of the fact that the Bible-honoring followers of Christ lament among themselves the dangerous, wobbly course things are taking.The times call for a Spirit-baptized and articulate orthodoxy. They whose souls have been illuminated by the Holy Ghost must arise and under God assume leadership. There are those among us whose hearts can discern between the true and the false, whose spiritual sense of smell enables them to detect the spurious afar off, who have the blessed gift of knowing. Let such as these arise and be heard.
Saturday, February 20, 2010
Thursday, February 18, 2010
Oh Lord, take Your plow to my fallowed ground
Let Your blade dig down to the soil of my soul
For I've become dry and dusty, Lord I know there must be
Richer earth lying below
For I've been living in Laodicea
And the fire that once burned bright, I've let it grow dim
And the very Word I swore that I would die for all has been forgotten
As the world's become my friend
We have turned from Your Law to try to find a better way
Each man does today what is right in his own eyes
We will pay the price for our sinning
We can never know true living, we've exchanged His truth for lies
It is no small of a thing that He's done for you
By shutting the gates of hell upon the cross
We were sentenced once but now we are pardoned
And He chooses to use us though we fall
So while we're living in Laodicea
Keep the fire burning bright, don't let it grow dim
For the very Word we swore that we would die for, it must not be forgotten
Fear the world become a friend
~ Steve Camp
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Greg Laurie writes:
The trend in some churches today is away from the teaching of Scripture. Instead, you are likely to hear more topical message, with the Bible merely referenced but not exposited. There is plenty of time for worship, video, and other things, but not much given to the teaching of what the Word of God says.This is a dangerous trend and it is producing Bible illiteracy. I fear these sermonettes are creating Christian-ettes!On the other end of the spectrum, you have preaching in churches today that is disconnected and frankly boring! This is the fault of the communicator who has not prepared properly.I have no understanding of how speakers can take the dynamic, power-packed Word of God and make hearing it . . . dull!Our “job” as communicators is to, as one commentator put it, “Get the hay out of the loft to where the cows can get to it.” Or as another said, “Put the cookies on the lower shelf so the children can reach them.”There is nothing impressive about preaching over the heads of the people you speak to.The effective communicator needs to connect. We are not in the pulpit to impress, but to feed; not to put on a show, but to call people to Christ.
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
"So skilled is error at imitating truth
that the two are constantly being mistaken for each other.
It is therefore critically important that the Christian take full advantage
of every provision God has made to save him from delusion -
prayer, faith, constant meditation of the Scriptures,
obedience, humility and the illumination of the Holy Spirit"
~A.W. Tozer in That Incredible Christian
Mike Gendron writes:
We need to ask God for courage and boldness as we rely on the power of His Word. May we all become more like the apostles who were strong, bold, fearless, dogmatic, unaccommodating of error, courageous, intolerant of sin, inflexible concerning the Gospel, controversial, willing to die for the truth and fully devoted to Christ. We are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming (Ephesians 4:14). During these times of great deception, the Body of Christ must respond with a theological, biblical worldview that defends the glory and honor of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
The futility of trying to be always positive:
"God's plan for church leadership does not call us to leave the wolves to munch."
~ Mark Dever (via Phil Johnson)
Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock,
in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God,
which he obtained with his own blood.
I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock;
and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things,
to draw away the disciples after them. Therefore be alert...
~ The Apostle Paul (Acts 20:28-31)
I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.
He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep,
sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees,
and the wolf snatches them and scatters them.
~ The Lord Jesus Christ (John 10:11-12)
Friday, February 5, 2010
This is a longer post than normal--but I hope you'll take a few minutes to read through it.
Phil Johnson and Dan Phillips from the Pyromaniacs blog wrote this week regarding humility and certainty. Both posts (Phil's here and Dan's here) are worth reading in their entirety. Here are a few quotes from each:
If you're looking for a blog where ambivalence, uncertainty, backpeddling, and indecision are valued more highly than clarity and firm beliefs, there are plenty of blogs like that out there. It's a very popular thing to be wobbly nowadays. But that's not authentic humility. Search the Scriptures and see for yourself. I can't think of a single verse in the Bible that equates humility with vacillations of the heart and mind. In fact, before you can be truly humble you must at least be certain of your own fallenness and guilt.Who is more "arrogant"? Someone who refuses to compromise even when popular thinking shifts against him, or the guy who never really settles on any truth and yet constantly argues about everything anyway—not because he himself has stumbled on something he is certain about, but merely because his contempt for other people's strong convictions is the way he justifies his waffling in his own mind?Once more: Scripture never commends people for the "humility" of claiming they're not sure what's true and what's false, or that it's impossible to clearly understand what God's Word actually means. The Bible never encourages us to remain unanchored about what we believe and celebrate our doubts—especially while we're functioning as teachers of others. Jesus referred to that as the blind leading the blind, and He indicated that it's a Really Bad Thing.
So cast your mind back to Psalm 1. You know the characteristic of the blessed man: rather than join in the walk and worldview of the wicked, he delights in and dwells on God's Word. To what does God liken him? To a tree, transplanted by streams of water (v. 3).Think of trees. They're boring! They just stand there. And stand there, and stand there, and stand there. Imperceptibly, yet steadily, they grow and bear fruit — but their characteristics are (1) life, (2) fruitfulness, and (3) a certain immobility.Much more exciting is the chaff. Watch the chaff driven by the wind: now here, now there, ever in motion, ever moving, ever dynamic — ever dead. See, that's why it's so mobile. It has no roots, no life, and no future (vv. 4-5).God's stance is very plain. He in no way calls dithery, compromising instability "humility." In fact, listen to what He does so categorize: "But this is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word" (Isaiah 66 2b).So, in sum:The soul of humility is to seek a clear word from God, and respond with "Amen" — that is, to find it, and stand on it without compromise or apology. It is about God and His glory.The soul of arrogance is to take a clear word of God, and respond with "Has God really said?" — that is, to put energies into defending compromise, dithering, uncertainty, unbelief. It is about man and his straying.God grant us true humility as He defines humility.
Wednesday, February 3, 2010
Peter Mead at the Biblical Preaching blog writes:
When the Word of God is preached, something happens. God’s Word, inspired by God’s Spirit, pointing toward God’s Son, spoken by a person empowered by the Spirit of God for their calling from God’s Son, to people prepared by the Spirit of God – it’s a recipe for response!At times we can see that response. We get to see the people moved, the individuals gripped, the lives changed. Sometimes we see something at the moment of preaching, or soon afterwards. Sometimes we only see the response over months and years of ministry.Nevertheless, let’s be committed to preach for response, even an apparently negative one, rather than playing safe and settling for nothing other than polite platitudes.Let’s not settle for smooth, let’s rather preach the Word with sensitivity to God and to His people, with a prayer-fuelled passion to see Him prompting response rather than apathy, transformation rather than safety.
“Behold, the days are coming,” declares the Lord God,
“when I will send a famine on the land--
not a famine of bread,
nor a thirst for water,
but of hearing the words of the Lord."
I finished reading through the book of Amos this morning and was struck by this verse. Though obviously first speaking to the nation of Israel, it also has application for us today.
Larry DeBruyn writes:
We find ourselves living in times like Amos who indicated of his day that there was, “a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord” (Amos 8:11). And seeing the helpless churches dying in the drought, pseudo-prophets seize the opportunity to “speak a vision of their own heart, and not out of the mouth of the Lord” (Jeremiah 23:16b). In many former evangelical pulpits the Scriptures are no longer taught, and correspondingly, in those pews the Scriptures are no longer learnt. Survey after survey reveals the abysmal state of both biblical belief and behavior in the evangelical nation.With methods (i.e., doing church) having replaced the message, pan-evangelicals no longer find Scripture to be solely sufficient for matters of faith and practice. So absent the life that comes from God’s Word (1 Peter 1:23), many local congregations lay dead or dying amidst the spiritual famine. And energized by the sight of corpses that were once churches, prophets for profit circle like buzzards over what were once vibrant local churches, bodies of Christ, congregations that, for reason of possessing no real life in them, can now only perpetuate “a form of godliness” while “denying the power thereof” (2 Timothy 3:5).