Monday, March 30, 2009
Imagine that, the privileged reaching out to assist the unprivileged. I know it is not on par with the Creator and our salvation. However, I can't help but allegorically compare a football team with absolutely no hope and was exalted as if they had an undefeated season to we humans who apart from Christ are without hope but though Him can live an undefeated life.
12:1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us....
We ourselves are being cheered on by those who have gone on before us. The should cause us to live our lives in Christ for all its worth. Here is a group of kids who finally had someone to cheer them on despite the failure of life.
Click here for the full story on ESPN.
Sunday, March 29, 2009
Movies with no foul language compared to average box office in 2008:
- No obscenities/profanities averaged: $55,568,733
- 0-25 obscenities/profanities: $32,145,527
- More than 25: $22,934,908
Movies with no sexual content compared to average box office in 2008:
- No sexual content averaged: $42,953,235
- Implied adultery, promiscuity, sexual perversion or sexual immorality: $33,290,253
- Depicted adultery, promiscuity, sexual perversion, or sexual immorality: $19,390,655
- Graphic adultery, promiscuity, sexual perversion, or sexual immorality: $14,878,503
Movies with no nudity compared to average box office in 2008 movies:
- No nudity: $36,274,503
- Some sexual nudity: $29,132,665
- Extensive sexual nudity: $19,874,327
Movies with no alcohol abuse compared to average box office in 2008 movies:
- Some drunkenness: $32,809,224
- Extreme abuse: $14,014,314
Movies with no drug references compared to average box office in 2008 movies:
- No drug references: $48,819,627
- Some drug references: $18,880,203
- Very strong drug references: $11,621,557
Friday, March 27, 2009
Click here for the clip from NightLine
I am not sure what the recent infatuation is with our adversary the devil but I sure am not a fan of him gaining the attention during Lent and right upon the time of the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Kudos to Mark Driscoll for a good defense and opening liner about Christ and Him crucified!
By the way, the "Bishop" Pearson claims to have "faith" in the devil and that the devil is omnipresent and omniscient!!!! There is no way that I could have sat on my hands.
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
The Shack on Slice of Laodicea
I was also told tonight that this book was given to students to study at the church I answered the call to ministry in. I am sorrowful and disappointed that our local churches are beginning the slippery slope of pushing our students to study fantasy over scripture.
Here is another good digest of The Shack Heresies
****Update**** The book was not given out as a study, but as a prize. Unsettling none the less.
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
The Gift of Tongues in the Early Church
I. The View of Tongues
i. One common view is to see Paul’s use of the word “tongue” (glōssa) against the background of first-century pagan religions and thus define it as ecstatic speech similar to that expressed by the sibylla, or female prophetesses.
1. The Cumaen sibyl (Virgil Aeneid 6. 77-102) was the most famous of the 10 female prophetesses claimed by various regions.
2. Others see the tongues-speaking in 1 Corinthians as ecstatic speech similar to that of Pythia, the female oracle at Delphi (Plutarch Moralia 5. 409e)
3. Or similar to the maenads of Dionysus in their ecstatic frenzy (Ovid Metamorphoses 3. 534, 710-30; cf. Euripides Bacchae).
b. Scriptural view or Scripture Interpreting Scripture
i. This is evident by Paul’s use of glōssa outside of these three Corinthian chapters. He used the word 21 times in 1 Corinthians 12-14 but only 3 other times in his other letters. Each of Paul’s other uses was either in a quotation from the Old Testament (Ps. 5:9 in Rom. 3:13; Isa. 45:23 in Rom. 14:11) or in an allusion to it (Isa. 45:23 in Phil. 2:11). In all three instances he used the word “tongue” as a figure of speech for the statement or confession made. Whether good (Rom. 14:11; Phil. 2:11) or bad (Rom. 3:13) the statement was clearly intelligible.
ii. The same may be said of the meaning of the word glōssa elsewhere in the New Testament. Whether it was used literally of the physical organ (e.g., Mark 7:33; James 3:5; Rev. 16:10) or figuratively of human languages (e.g., Acts 2:11; Rev. 5:9; 7:9; 10:11; 11:9; 13:7; 14:6; 17:15), it nowhere referred to ecstatic speech.
Another big problem is the aspect of who “has” the gift of tongues. Some denominations today say it is possible for all to speak in tongues because of the following verse:
1 Cor. 14:5
5 Now I want you all to speak in tongues, but even more to prophesy. The one who prophesies is greater than the one who speaks in tongues, unless someone interprets, so that the church may be built up.
However, Paul also said the same thing of celibacy:
1 Cor. 7:7
7 I wish that all were as I myself am. But each has his own gift from God, one of one kind and one of another.
This also contradicts Paul’s own words in 1 Cor 12:
1 Corinthians 12:28
And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, helping, administrating, and various kinds of tongues.
Given the fact that the controversy over speaking in tongues nearly always occurs within the bookends of 1 Corinthians 12-14, the best way to understand the meaning is a proper exegesis of these chapters and verses.
When all is said and done, chapter 14 of 1 Corinthians is dealing with the issues of a proper order service.
I once had a visitor in our congregation that came from a charismatic background and he asked if I believed in the gift of tongues. My answer was, “of course I do”. It is in the bible and to say anything contrary would deny the Word of God. However, he was in fact referring to ecstatic speech and not the biblical gift of languages and interpretations.
I immediately took him to 1 Cor. 14 and walked him through the text and explained the emphasis on prophecy:
1 Cor 14:22-25
22 Thus tongues are a sign not for believers but for unbelievers, while prophecy is a sign not for unbelievers but for believers. 23 If, therefore, the whole church comes together and all speak in tongues, and outsiders or unbelievers enter, will they not say that you are out of your minds? 24 But if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or outsider enters, he is convicted by all, he is called to account by all, 25 the secrets of his heart are disclosed, and so, falling on his face, he will worship God and declare that God is really among you.
He then went on to tell me that his former pastor would often stop the sermon in order to speak in tongues. This is absolutely contrary to what Paul says here in scripture. This pastor had exalted a gift above the proclamation of the Word of God.
It is also critical that we remember that those in the church of Corinth at the time of Paul’s writing did not have a canonized volume of God’s Word like we have today.
1 Cor 14:29-32
29 Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others weigh what is said. 30 If a revelation is made to another sitting there, let the first be silent. 31 For you can all prophesy one by one, so that all may learn and all be encouraged, 32 and the spirits of prophets are subject to prophets.
This means that the congregation would have to discern from the words given to determine if it was of God.
“The words weigh carefully translate the verb diakrinetōsan, related to the noun diakriseis in 12:10, which speaks of distinguishing “between spirits.” It was their responsibility to ascertain if the message delivered was indeed from God (1 John 4:1).”
John F. Walvoord, Roy B. Zuck and Dallas Theological Seminary, The Bible Knowledge Commentary : An Exposition of the Scriptures (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1983-c1985), 2:537.
e.g. exempli gratia, for example
John F. Walvoord, Roy B. Zuck and Dallas Theological Seminary, The Bible Knowledge Commentary : An Exposition of the Scriptures (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1983-c1985), 2:537.
John F. Walvoord, Roy B. Zuck and Dallas Theological Seminary, The Bible Knowledge Commentary : An Exposition of the Scriptures (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1983-c1985), 2:540.
Thursday, March 19, 2009
We then set out to the city of Jerez to visit with Steve Benedict who runs an orphanage outside of the city. It was an incredible visit and Bro. Sonny and Bro. Chris both had a blast playing with the children there. They all took to Chris and followed him around everywhere asking questions about his tatoos. He was able to share with them his testimony and how now he serves only Jesus. It was awesome! Bro. Chris has been able to share his personal testimony several times and he is getting very comfortable in the faith.
While we were at the childrens home (Casa Hogar), we met Bro. Steve's parents who had driven down from Michigan to help out. While we were sitting there his parents left to go and do some shopping and moments later Bro. Steve nearly fell out with pain in his lower back. The pain kept getting worse and I wound up having to drive him to the local hospital in Jerez. Bro. Jim, Sonny and Chris stayed at the childrens home and looked after the kids while Bro. Bob and I started driving.....
We got there a while later and Bro. Steve went in to a pharmacy that had a doctor. It's crazy but the pharmacies are doctors offices. Anyway, he goes in and is diagnosed with kidney stones. His parents later showed up and we were able to head back to the childrens home. They returned a bit later and Steve had three stones to pass...... We sat and shared testimonies a while and then headed back out to Zacatecas. It was amazing that God placed us at the right place at the right time in order to be of service to someone else. Had we not been there Steve would have had a difficult time getting the medical attention he needed.
The childrens home is an amazing place and the children there have some incredible stories. Steve and his wife Amber have an incredible ministry and please pray for them and the children.
We have since settle back in to Zacatecas and are having dinner. We will rise early and hit the road tomorrow morning for a LONG drive back.
Pray for our saftey as we travel back.
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
We set out early today to meet up with a pastor in training named Dezi. Dezi speaks English and loves to have fun and joke around but unfortunately today he is ill and has taken on a stomach illness. However, he still took the time to meet us early this morning and take us outside of the city of Zacatecas to his ranch in San Jose De La Isla. He and his wife Selia treated us to a traditional breakfast on the ranch in a single room adobe (mud hut).
Our breakfast consisted of home made chilaquila and home made hot chocolate. I am not sure if it was the breakfast or something else that I have had but my stomach is paying the price right now. MONTEZUMA has laid hold!
We also went into the village down below Dezi's ranch and they also worship a "child god" that they call a saint. The official name is "santo niño de las cumbres". Inside of the village are statues of the santo niño and also a Catholic cathedral. Most of the places that I have been you see a merger of catholosicm and idolatry and one of the most heart breaking scenes is that of the people making a living off of making idols. Their entire livelyhood is made off of visitors coming in to worship and leave offerings and gifts to these idols.
From there we went to the "La Bufa" which is the mountain top of the city of Zacatecas. We were able to have a magnificant view of the city and ride the sky lift across the valley.
We have just arrived back at the church and we are getting ready for our bible studt tonight with the local Dios es Amor congregation.
By the way, please pray for Kristy and the kids. They all have a stomach bug and Kristy has her hands full.
Please continue to pray for the work of the local pastors here and the missions that are starting. I am witnessing some amazing things. Today while I was in a gift shop Bro. Jim noticed that the music playing (in Spanish) was Christian music. He then began to speak with the shop keeper who shared his testimony with us. He was a former drug addict and was in a rehad when someone shared the gospel with him. He was converted and is now teaching others in the rehab about what the Lord has done for him. Here's the kicker; because they do not have all of the fancy resources that we have, he is manuaaly writing out his own Bible studies. He probably has 20 pages of a notebook full (line for line) and he is teaching others about subects like freedom in Christ, the truth concerning God and other topics.
I am tired and I am not feeling well..... I am out!
PS> I am trying to upload the pics..... when I get them up they will be on te left of the screen.
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
We each woke up early and had our quiet time and then set out to find some breakfast. Trust me, there is no waffle house or Cracker Barrel here but Bro. Jim introduced us to a local place called "VIPS" (pronounced "veeps"). I had scrambled eggs, fruit and chilaquila (chips with green salsa, cheese and sour creme). The chilaquila is muey brueno!!!!
We then set out to Plateros and saw some serious false god worship. They worship and adore a child god called "santo niño de atocha". Plateros is the third largest pilgrimage city in Mexico, all for the sole purpose of worshiping this "child idol". I am going to include pics as soon as I can get them off my camera. While we were there we had prayer of their cathedral and asked the Lord our God to break the stronghold of paganism and the falsehoods of Catholosism.
We then set out to the city of Fresnillo and met up with the pastor (named PePe) of a local fellowship called "Jesus es el buen pastor" (Jesus is the Good Shepherd). PePe and his family received us into their home where the church originated and he then told us about his future vision of adding on to the church to create a Bible School. This will be used to bring in Mexican locals and train them to become true disciples, missionaries and pastors. Please pray for PePe and his family. Their income is limited but his vision is HUGE! Pictures to come....
So far we have had a wonderful trip and have had the priviledge of praying for the area and for PePe and his ministry. Tonight we will be meeting with Javier who is the pastor of La Roca Fiel a local felowship that we also visited today. They are in the process of building a new facility in one of the poorer areas of Zacatecas. Also, Lord willing, we will finally meet the pastor of Dios es Amor tonight. Please pray for us as we make connection here in Mexico in order to fulfill the Lord's commission of making His Name known among all nations.
I hope to make updates daily but I am not sure how our internet access will be available from day to day. It all depends on where we are and what we are doing.
Until He Returns,
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
The Coming Collapse Of Evangelical Christianity?
By Charlie Jane Anders, 4:30 PM on Tue Mar 10 2009, 6,043 views
"In The Christian Science Monitor, predicts a massive collapse of evangelical Christianity within ten years. "Within two generations, evangelicalism will be a house deserted of half its occupants." And it gets worse.
According to Spencer, there are a few reasons for evangelicalism's dire prospects. Evangelicals focused too much on the culture war, and didn't spend enough time on promoting a compelling theology. And the only thriving churches are "megachurches."
Ironically, the billions of dollars we've spent on youth ministers, Christian music, publishing, and media has produced a culture of young Christians who know next to nothing about their own faith except how they feel about it. Our young people have deep beliefs about the culture war, but do not know why they should obey scripture, the essentials of theology, or the experience of spiritual discipline and community. Coming generations of Christians are going to be monumentally ignorant and unprepared for culture-wide pressures.
But meanwhile, there's going to be a rising tide of secularism as our culture becomes more "religiously antagonistic" and "Intolerance of Christianity will rise to levels many of us have not believed possible in our lifetimes, and public policy will become hostile to evangelical Christianity, seeing it as the opponent of the common good." The biggest beneficaries of evangelicalism's downfall, however, will be Orthodox and , which can offer more doctrinal underpinnings and a long history. The whole article is worth reading, as is the commentary on it at BeliefNet."
Monday, March 9, 2009
Thanks to Pastor Jim Gunn for this word today:
“When the Reformers spoke of “grace alone” (sola gratia), they were saying that sinners have no claim upon God, none at all; that God owes them nothing but punishment for their sins; and that, if He saves them in spite of their sins, which He does in the case of those who are being saved, it is because it pleases Him to do it and for no other reason. Today, large numbers of evangelicals undermine and effectively destroy this doctrine by supposing that human beings are basically good; that God owes everyone a chance to be saved; and that, if we are saved, in the final analysis it is because of our own good decision to receive the Jesus offered to us.”
Whatever Happened to the Gospel of Grace? , , 2001, page 107.