Monday, September 29, 2008

Living a Life on Loan: Finding Grace at the Intersections

When you go to a baseball game you might hear something like:
"PROGRAMS... GET YER PROGRAMS HERE!!!"

Now when you go to a Pastor / Teacher conference you might hear this:
"PROGRAMS... GET YER PROGRAMS HERE!!!"

Well that's exactly what you've got here. Another program. Below is a review that I did just based on the author's and co-author's own assessments or synopsis of their book. I have only been through some of the lessons offered to my students, but I've seen and heard enough to get the sense of this "PROGRAM"

And pretty soon our church is going to take a Sunday and suspend the normal day of worship that belongs to God and employ a tactic that is supposed to help us as a congregation "reach out" to those outside the church. Talk about another tactic that is just another distraction to keep us from preaching the Gospel that is already rarely preached in the first place.

Anyone wanna talk about spiritual warfare???
THIS IS SPIRITUAL WARFARE!!!
God have mercy on us and our flock for letting this wolf sneak in without even a challenge.
Please pray for me and my church, and help me to see what eternal good can come out of this mess.

Living a Life on Loan: Finding Grace at the Intersections
by Rick RusawEdition: Hardcover

Distraction from Christ
By Chris Allen

This book has many facets of it that are compelling and motivating. However, I can get this sort of thing outside of the Christian Church. The Mormons do these things recommended by this book and they do it very, very well. My main concern about a book like this is that it really doesn't lend to us a focus on Christ but a focus on the world around us. This external focus of the church is just a distraction for the church as a whole and it is not found in the bible except if you were to stretch bible verses out of context. The people of the church will do the things this book suggests when the church commits itself to preaching the Word of God pointing to Christ and Him Crucified. This is what motivates believers to love those outside of the church and to share what we believe and why we believe it. This book is making the Gospel of Christ easier to swallow. If they like us maybe they'll like our Jesus. But, the Bible says: 1 Corinthians 1:18-25 Christ the Wisdom and Power of God 18For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19For it is written: "I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate."[a] 20Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. 22Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, 23but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, 24but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25For the foolishness of God is wiser than man's wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man's strength.

So, we are called to preach Christ and Him crucified, and people will either reject this as foolishness or they will stumble over it. Or God's Grace will penetrate their hearts and they will be humbled by this message and they will cry out to God... "Have mercy on me a sinner"
I believe that Rick Rusaw and those who read it are truly genuine in their pursuit of reaching out to those outside of the church and I commend them for their desire to reach out. I just think this is mis-guided and I don't see this pattern in the Bible and I see it as a distraction for the Church from Christ and what Paul always said... I only preach Christ and Him crucified. So if you want to go and intentionally reach out to those around you in your community, you can do that through many organizations as a citizen of your country. But, as a citizen of Heaven and the body of Christ reach out with love and share the Gospel message for all of us are sinners and fall short of the Glory of God.
Grace and Peace to you all.

Chris Allen
Coram Deo!!!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Faith That Works

Here is a devotional offered by Truth for Life. The ministry of Alistair Begg. A wonderful Pastor and Teacher.
This is a good message on today's broadcast about "Faith that Works".

Grace and Peace,
Chris

www.Reform-Shire.blogspot.com
Coram Deo!!!
Truth for Life
Truth For Life Daily

today's devotional

September 24, 2008

"I slept, but my heart was awake."
- Song of Solomon 5:2

"Paradoxes abound in Christian experience, and here is one: The spouse was asleep, and yet she was awake. The only one who can read the believer's riddle is he who has lived through this experience. The two points in this evening's text are: a mournful sleepiness and a hopeful wakefulness. 'I slept.' Through sin that dwells in us we may become lax in holy duties, lazy in religious exercises, dull in spiritual joys, and completely indolent and careless. This is a shameful state for one in whom the quickening Spirit dwells; and it is dangerous in the highest degree." read more >


today's broadcast:
"Do What It Says! Part B"
Faith That Works listen now >

Friday, September 12, 2008

Cultural Faith: Is It Real?


Faith.  The gift of God that comes through Grace, because of Christ we are saved by God from God. 
Is salvation based upon our decision, or do we decide because we are already saved?  We have nothing to boast about. 
(Ephesians 2:8-10)  8For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9not by works, so that no one can boast. 10For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

Sola Fide, Sola Gratia, Solus Christos, Sola Scriptura, Sola Deo Gloria!

Faith Alone, Grace Alone, Christ Alone Scripture Alone, All the Glory to God Alone!
Grace and Peace,
 
Chris
www.Reform-Shire.blogspot.com
Coram Deo!!!
Sorry for the tiny text below.  I tried to fix it but now I'm on my way to catch a plane.  G&P.
Pulpit Magazine

New Article from Pulpit Magazine


Cultural Faith: Is It Real?

Posted: 12 Sep 2008 02:11 AM CDT

(By Lee Duncan)

* Lee serves as the Director of Educational Partnerships at The Master's College. 

Every four years the United States goes through the democratic, sometimes painful, election process to select a new president. Television and radio ads inundate the electorate with every conceivable spin that promotes certain candidates while denigrating others. Many Americans stop answering their phones at home because they cannot take any more pre-recorded sales pitches. Every day we hear news reports, read articles, or receive mail about everything from foreign policies to economic policies to educational reform ideas — all with the theme of how to bring "change" to America.

In recent elections there has been a much greater emphasis on the personal faith of the candidates, including how often they attend church, who is their pastor, what they think about God, and how their faith might influence their leadership and decision-making. A new kind of politically correct version of faith is emerging among many candidates and it prompts a question: is it real faith?

Not that long ago "faith" was a word that described a particular set of doctrinal beliefs that identified a person's convictions that affected their lives and decisions. People would claim a certain denomination or doctrinal view as "their faith," determined by allegiance to some written authority or church teaching. Even though not everyone agreed what source was the ultimate authority, at least most people agreed that an outside source was needed as a basis of truth. 

That is no longer the case in America. Today the term faith is used to say that a person believes in something of their own choosing; it does not rely on an external source but each creates his own truth. Political candidates can stand up and say they have faith without having to submit to the authority of God or Scripture; their faith is their own and frankly, they tell us, it is none of our business what specifically they believe because is it personal. 

This is not genuine faith, it is a cultural faith. 

Our modern American culture has changed faith into a personal, nebulous, changing, and relative expression of spirituality. Political candidates stand up and say, "I have faith and it is personal." From the position of an outsider, one might conclude that almost every candidate is a Christian who is committed to God. However, after further review, their faith is often nothing more than an admission that they believe in something that they don't want to talk about. 

Unfortunately, that seems enough for the average citizen because to most Americans religion is personal and we certainly don't want to pry! Modern Americans are willing to accept that one who has faith is religious, regardless of what that faith entails. In reality, to state that you have faith today simply means that you consider yourself a spiritual person and that you have the right to believe whatever you choose. Faith is without accountability.

Biblical faith is something altogether different; it is based on an outside authoritative source that identifies that truth comes from God and is totally consistent with His Word, the Bible. The essence of the word "faith" is that it is a belief or trust in a higher power. Faith is a moral and spiritual quality of fidelity to God and confidence in His Word. "Faith is not simply the assent of the intellect to revealed truth; it is the practical submission of the entire man to the guidance and control of such truth" (Unger, 1957, p. 341). "Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God" (Rom. 10:17).  Faith is based on evidence that we can't see (Heb. 11:1) and is a gift from God. God grants faith and then sustains faith through His eternal power. True faith submits to the Word of God; it is God's view that we follow, His Word that we obey, and His will that we seek. 

Political candidates, and yes, most Americans, see faith as something that is individual and that allows every person to believe whatever he or she thinks is right. All they have to do is say, "I have faith," or "I am a person of faith," and they are excused from explaining what they believe and by what authority they make claims to truth. Politicians say that God's Word is informative, it is comforting, it is motivating, it is inspiring, but never will you hear one of them say, "It is authoritative." Americans like their faith the way they define it and don't want to be confined to a set of writings that has been handed down through the centuries. This is how political candidates can claim to be Christians but promote views that absolutely disagree with the Bible. They have faith all right, but not a biblical faith. Their faith is of their own making and there is no outside authority to which they must submit. It is a convenient faith, an easy faith, but ultimately, a coward's faith because they never have to be accountable for what they believe.

Cultural faith is taking over America, but it is not genuine saving faith. Salvation is through Jesus Christ alone (John 14:6), God is the only source of truth (John 17:17), and God's Word is His inspired message to mankind (2 Tim. 3:16-17).  Unless faith is connected to these truths, then it is not faith at all. 

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Is Divine Election Unfair?

God's Divine Sovereignty is something that... depending whether it is accepted or not affects how a church is run.  It affects, worship, evangelism, tithing, teaching, the church's view of the covenants, and the church's view of eschatology, view of prayer, and the power of God's Word being preached and proclaimed and many other areas.  It is often stated in church  that we believe in God's sovereignty but in practice we sure don't show it.  And our American legacy of Charles Finney and a Pelagian view(emphasis on the decision of the believer as being sovereign), has us embracing all kinds of programs and things that are distractions from the sovereignty of God. 
 
Chris
www.Reform-Shire.blogspot.com
Coram Deo!!!


Pulpit Magazine

New Article from Pulpit Magazine


Is Divine Election Unfair?

Posted: 02 Sep 2008 02:47 AM CDT

Is Election Fair?(By John MacArthur)

In spite of the clarity with which Scripture addresses this topic, many professing Christians today struggle in their acceptance of God's sovereignty — especially when it comes to His electing work in salvation. Their most common protest, of course, is that the doctrine of election is unfair. But such an objection stems from a human idea of fairness, rather than the objective, divine understanding of true justice. In order to appropriately address the issue of election, we must set aside all human considerations and focus instead on the nature of God and His righteous standard. Divine justice is where the discussion must begin.

What is Divine justice? Simply stated, it is an essential attribute of God whereby He infinitely, perfectly, and independently does exactly what He wants to do when and how He wants to do it. Because He is the standard of justice, by very definition, then whatever He does is inherently just. As William Perkins said, many years ago, "We must not think that God doeth a thing because it is good and right, but rather is the thing good and right because God willeth it and worketh it."

Therefore God defines for us what justice is, because He is by nature just and righteous, and what He does reflects that nature. His own free will and nothing else is behind His justice. This means that whatever He wills, is just; and it is just, not because of any external standard of justice, but simply because He wills it.

Because the justice of God is an outflow of His character, it is not subject to fallen human assumptions of what justice should be. The Creator owes nothing to the creature, not even what He is graciously pleased to give. God does not act out of obligation and compulsion, but out of His own independent prerogative. That is what it means to be God. And because He is God, His freely determined actions are intrinsically right and perfect.

To say that election is unfair is not only inaccurate, it fails to recognize the very essence of true fairness. That which is fair, and right, and just is that which God wills to do. Thus, if God wills to choose those whom He would save, it is inherently fair for Him to do so. We cannot impose our own ideas of fairness onto our understanding of God's working. Instead, we must go to the Scriptures to see how God Himself, in His perfect righteousness, decides to act.