Wednesday, July 30, 2008
And immediately the rooster crowed a second time. And Peter remembered how Jesus had said to him, “Before the rooster crows twice, you will deny me three times.” And he broke down and wept.
After reading this I came to the conclusion that many of us are simply not broken enough over our sins. I can recall the days where I have stood in arrogance and perhaps even defiance that I would never deny my Lord only to follow the ways of sin over Him moments or hours later. Forgive me oh Lord.
I can recall countless faces in various church fellowships who would rather sit in defiance of conviction and paint themselves to be above reproach instead of reckoning with and acknowledging their own sin.
How many will of us will sit in pride and arrogance and pronounce that we will never deny our Lord only to be forced later to chew and swallow the thorny briers of sin. When the Spirit of God brings forth our sin from the depths of our minds and we stand with it face to face, how is it then that we do not also "break down and weep". Is this not blasphemy, to pretend our way to righteousness and to claim our good deeds in Christ to be of ourselves and not of Him?
As the repenting apostle wept, did this not bring a restoration to his soul of the teachings and work of the Lord? Why then do not more of us weep over our sin? Why are not more of us broken and brought unto this humiliating place of repentance?
Lord, I pray that your Spirit would be upon us like the rod of Moses upon the rock.
10 Then Moses and Aaron gathered the assembly together before the rock, and he said to them, “Hear now, you rebels: shall we bring water for you out of this rock?” 11 And Moses lifted up his hand and struck the rock with his staff twice, and water came out abundantly, and the congregation drank, and their livestock. 12 And the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not believe in me, to uphold me as holy in the eyes of the people of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land that I have given them.” 13 These are the waters of Meribah, where the people of Israel quarreled with the Lord, and through them he showed himself holy.
Strike us and bring forth water.
Until He Return,
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Monday, July 28, 2008
I MUST give a special shout out to the DBAce Brian McGraw for allowing us to use some of his hosting space on clanmcgraw.com and also helping me (or doing all himself) the rss feed setup.
Anyway - just click on the podcast link on the left......
Until He Returns,
Friday, July 18, 2008
Growing up I was always taken to Bible school and I must admit that I did have a great time. The flannel graphs, the cookies, the Kool-Aid...... ahhhh, those were the days. But wait a minute, aren't those days still here?
Do we not do the same and MORE in our VBS' of today? I will answer this with an adamant YES, we do MUCH MORE.
Instead of relying on the "School" part of VBS and simply teaching children the truths about the Bible and its message, many local churches have turned VBS into children's crusades in which we can often see our weak view of God's power and grace.
Just last night while going door to door I came upon a young woman who adamantly proclaimed that she was the VBS director of her local church. I greeted her in the faith and she began to tell me that 16 children were saved during their VBS.
Now - without trying to be pessimistic, I have my doubts concerning 16 biblical conversions at this one particular VBS for several reasons:
- Many children in our area "hop" from VBS to VBS throughout the summer. This is a great thing for our children to be under biblical teaching but the problem is this..... some of those 16 will be part of someone else's 16 next week and the week after that and then the week after that. That is to say that some of these children, having no concept of sin and Christ's work will make a profession a week for nearly the entire summer.
- At some VBS' children are being herded to the "altar" and manipulated into saying "the sinner's prayer" (by the way, where is that thing in the Bible???). An example of this: Adult: "Who wants to go to heaven when they die, raise your hand?" Children all raise their hands. Adult: "Say this prayer after me....Dear Jesus............". Children repeat. Adult: "Ok, now you are saved and you need to get baptized. We will be baptizing you on Friday night so bring your swim suit's!". Children: "We get to go swimming now!!!!!!"
At first days will go by, then weeks and eventually years and many of these "16" will grow to be teens and adults who engage in drugs, alcohol, pre-marital sex, pornography, fights, dishonoring their parents, bullying, cursing and revalry. Yet despite these acts that are the exact opposite of a regenerate heart the "16" will claim to be the children of God..........and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him (Romans 8:17).
Is this what children of God are? Are these the heirs? Abusive, partying, dishonoring liars? Or is the Bible true when God says, And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh (Ezekiel 36:26).
I pray that we would "School" our children and proclaim to them the truths of God and the gospel of Christ so that when He calls, they answer.
Lord - I pray for each child in our community as we prepare for our own VBS. You alone have set our work into motion and may it not be about ourselves and may it not be about the "16". May You receive the full glory of Your worth as You alone save lost souls, including those of our children. Let us not be fooled by our own professions but let us be changed by Your work of regeneration.
Thursday, July 17, 2008
Layman's guide to the key drivers of the 21st century church
1. Sola Cultura - let culture define church life
2. Sola Successa - let numerical success legitimize activities
3. Sola Entertaina - let entertainment be the guiding principle
4. Sola Edificia - let the edifice be the center of church life
5. Sola Programma - let programs dominate the peoples time
6. Sola Thralldoma – let the people be enslaved by whatever thrills them
7. Sola Processa – let the church be managed by business philosophies and processes
Then there is the contrasting page concerning the five solas of the protestant reformation.
In contrast, to the seven solas of the modern church, the five Solas of the Protestant Reformation were,
1. Sola Scriptura! The Scripture Alone is the Standard
2. Soli Deo Gloria! All for the Glory of God Alone
3. Solo Christo! By Christ's Work Alone are We Saved
4. Sola Gratia! Salvation by Grace Alone
5. Sola Fide! Justification by Faith Alone
Each of these “solas’ stand in sharp contrast with the principles guiding modern evangelicalism because they argue against man made accretions in the church.
We need to consider if we in the modern church are in a similar situation that faced the reformers. Has culture over swept biblical patterns? Have we added practices, offices and principles that are not found in scripture? Have we invented a new brand of Christianity, unknown to the scriptures? If so, it’s time for another reformation.
Here are two Scottish reformers commenting on “Sola Scriptura,” which was the key battlefield during the Scottish reformation. The Scottish reformers despised the inventions of the church and believed they were idolatrous. Here is the testimony of two reformers.
Scottish Lutheran Henry Balnaves declared,
“Among the vaine works invented may man, which outht to be eschewed as unprofitable, wee, “the superstitious worshipping of Saintes; going on pilgrimage; purgeing ,in purgatorie; hallowing of water, or other elements; foundation fo masses to publike or private idolatrie; offering or sacrifices making, not commanded in the Word of God; choice of meats; forbidding marriage in the church of God; and abominable abuses of the whole Christian religion by the shaven, oincted, or smeared priests, bishops, monkes, and firers…”
In a letter answering a question regarding freedom and liberty of conscience in wearing church garb. He called it “unprofitable apparel”. “If surp-claithes, cornett cap, and tippet has bein badges of idolaters in the verie act of ther idolatire, what hes the preacher of Christian libertie and the open rebuiker of all superstitioun to doe with the dregges of that Romish beast.” (From, Patterns of Reform , James Kirk, P340)
John Knox affirmed,
“These Diabolicall inventiouns, Crossing in baptism, kneeling at the Lord’s table, mummeling or singing of the liturgies” and he severly attacked, the Mingle mangle as now is commanded in your kirks including the use of the surplice and the commemoration of the saints day, which he considered neither commanded by Christ nor found in the prayers of the apostles, nather yit received in any well reformed kirk. (From, “Patterns of Reform”, by James Kirk, p337-339)
Similarly, the Belgic Confession explains,
"We believe that [the] holy Scriptures fully contain the will of God, and that whatsoever man ought to believe unto salvation is sufficiently taught therein...Neither may we consider any writings of men, however holy these men may have been, of equal value with those divine Scriptures nor ought we to consider custom or the great multitude, or antiquity, or succession of times and persons, or councils, decrees or statutes, as of equal value with the truth of God... Therefore, we reject with all our hearts whatsoever does not agree with this infallible rule" (VII).
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
my heart leaps for joy psalm 28:7 when was the last time your heart leaped for joy? It seems like joy just does not come around very much. The last few weeks i really wanted a change. more joy in my life. I started praying for joy. I really did not know what would happen. A new car or new hot rod, wake up and 50 pounds fell off, or maybe i would see heaven, or have a vision of a wonderful work GOD had for me. Well GOD answered ! He started moving in my children's life's. My heart leaps for joy. THANK YOU JESUS!
Thursday, July 3, 2008
During this time false teachings had perverted the church and just a handful of men were discerning and preaching the truth of God. Unfortunately we are seeing the same pervasive attitude and situation in evangelical churches today. Numerical values, whether monetary or head count, often out weigh the necessity of preaching the gospel.
It is VBS time in the Southern Baptist world and we now have church after church accepting public professions of faith from five and six year old children that have absolutely zero understanding of sin. I do not expect a child of this age to grasp total depravity but the scriptures are clear that one "must" be born again, forsaking sin through God given repentance and clinging to Christ and Christ alone for salvation.
Look at Luther's first few points:
1. When our Lord and Master Jesus Christ said, "Repent" (Mt 4:17), he willed the entire life of believers to be one of repentance.
2. This word cannot be understood as referring to the sacrament of penance, that is, confession and satisfaction, as administered by the clergy.
3. Yet it does not mean solely inner repentance; such inner repentance is worthless unless it produces various outward mortification of the flesh.(source for Luther's theses)
Many evangelical churches have resorted to this very same distorted view of Catholicism. For many, to repent means nothing more than "confessing that you are a sinner". There is a broader meaning to this word that even children must grasp if they are to be born again by the Spirit of God. This is not to say that children are not under divine protection ( I believe they are) but rather that even children who are recipients of God's grace must come to terms with their sin nature and their own state of depravity.
I see an awakening to biblical truths beginning to take place but not apart from the preaching of biblical truth. Just last night I was part of a conversation that encouraged me greatly. One man who was reading the Bible recognized that his denominational teaching material did not align with the scriptures. Oh' that we would all read the Bible and be converted by God instead of reading a teachers guide and being falsely converted by an upbeat program.
Lord, send us revival as we seek to honor You above all. My you receive glory from our actions, words and deeds and may we never deny Your sovereignty or Your wonderful grace.