Monday, January 25, 2010

Kiki Rescued

Kiki Rescued

My son Charlie(6) was praying for a little boy his age to be rescued and the next day we heard about this story on the news.  So, do we think this is a coincidence?  Charlie thinks God answered his prayer and what confidence this puts in the heart and mind of a 6 year old of just how awesome God really is.
 
Chris
www.Reform-Shire.blogspot.com
Coram Deo!!!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Ambassador Insights Week 15

Hello, This is a very timely insight by Greg Koukl as our church is going to do a series on prayer. I'm a little nervous anytime our church decides to do a series. Especially if it distracts us from the Gospel and the person and works of Jesus Christ. I know that it is strange that I would be hesitant about the subject of prayer. I mean, who could ever question or have an issue with that? But, yet I am afraid of having it become another requirement or burden placed upon us. I'm afraid we will be compelled to add more prayer time to our day. And we will be told that we need to do a better job of praying and having quiet time. Then I will feel the heavy burden and I will feel frustrated because I continue to fail as I strive to be more Godly in my prayer life. However, when I hear the Gospel being preached I feel compelled to pray as I am grateful for all that Christ has done for us. I'm no longer driven by guilt but by gratitude and in light of all that, I love it when the worship service ends with a benediction which is a "good word". And since we have heard that we are forgiven we can go out and share this blessing with those around us and it keeps the things of life in perspective.

Grace and Peace,

Chris
www.Reform-Shire.blogspot.com
Coram Deo!!!


Subject: Ambassador Insights

Stand to Reason

Stand to Reason

Ambassador Insights

Week 15

Devotion, Not Devotions part 1 of 2

I know that nourishing our relationship with God is an important part of cultivating sensible faith. But one way of pursuing that—having a daily "quiet time"—has always been difficult for me. Maybe it's been hard for you, too.

First, I've never done well with the ritual because I could never be consistent. The fact that I'm not really an early morning person combined with a chaotic schedule both seem to sabotage my best intentions.

Second, I don't think you have to have "daily devotions" to be a good Christian. It's become somewhat of an Evangelical sacrament, a source of blessing for many, but also a source of guilt for others who don't (or can't) keep the regimen.

Yes, the Bible says we should pray, study, and meditate—no question there—but it doesn't demand a particular time or pattern. There are a number of ways to satisfy that requirement. Jesus, David, and others often started their days with prayer, but that doesn't mean it's the best pattern for you and I.

Third, I've long suspected the effort is somewhat misdirected. Quiet times are encouraged as a way to "get closer to God," meant to accomplish a subjective goal (generate emotional closeness), not an objective one (gain spiritual understanding).

It's not that such a goal is wrong as much as it's wrong-headed. Feeling close to God, it seems to me, is much like the pursuit of happiness. It's gained not as a goal in itself, but as the outcome of pursuing some other goal. To get something for yourself, you have to focus on someone else: God, in this case.

So I have a recommendation. Instead of trying (unsuccessfully) to have devotions every morning, I have devotion. That is, I take five to ten minutes early in the day to focus on God—not to get something from Him, but to actively devote myself to Him for the day. After I sing a hymn or two, I use a biblical prayer (I'll share it with you in next week's Insight) as a guide to express my dedication to the Lord.

Devotion (in the sense I'm using the word) is different from "devotions." My goal isn't to squeeze a sense of well-being out of the encounter, but to focus entirely on Him, worshipping Him, thanking Him and devoting myself to His purposes for the day. The focus is entirely on God, not on my feelings, surrendering myself to the Father, no matter how I feel nor what befalls me. It's fairly brief by design, but still very meaningful.

My moments of devotion may develop into a longer prayer time, but they don't have to. Instead, no matter what my schedule is, I can start each day devoted to Christ, then anticipate time for regular prayer and supplication later in the day by scheduling it or squeezing it in using the methods I discussed in the last email. And remember to look for next week's Insight where I will share a biblical prayer as a model.

Greg Signature

Want to read more from Greg Koukl? Visit http://www.str.org/ for more free online resources,
visit the online store to purchase books, DVDs and more or call Stand to Reason at 1-800-2-REASON.


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Monday, January 18, 2010

Haiti Relief Effort

Hello Here is an update email from our friends Manno and Prisca Laguerre in Pillatre, Haiti with Haitian Christian Ministries. Please pray for those affected directly and those who are there trying to help with very limited resources.

Grace and Peace,

Chris
www.Reform-Shire.blogspot.com
Coram Deo!!!

Below are videos put together by my son who went to Haiti earlier this summer.








Goodmorning brother Phil;

I kind of receive your email late because I did not have a chance to check my box. Because of the problem of the earthquake, we don't have fuel in Cap. All the gas stations are closed by order of the government. They don't want people to stock while they are going to need for the hospitals, the radio stations, the TV stations and other emergency services.

Since we didn't know that was going to happen, we did not have anything save. What we had, we used it while the missionaries were there.

Thanks God, we are fine in Cap. The earthquake did not hit the northern reagion as bad as the west, south west and the south. Even thouwgh we felt it during the whole time. I was in my office with all the missionaries from Bloomington, Illinois trying to reschedule their flights after spending a long day at the airport of Cap-Haitian and not having the possibility to even board the plane to Port and on to Florida.

God have spared our lives because if it was not His intervention we would have been in Port-au-Prince with a group of about 16 people. Somehow He managed to make us spent all day there at the airport without letting us go.

We practically did not hit and our facilities here in Cap are still okay but as you may have noticed Port-au-Prince is where everything is. That's were the whole country goes to university and to find jobs. So thousands and thousands of family here in the north are affected. Personally, I have a young cousin, she is 25 yrs about who dies. She was at the celebration Sunday and she left Monday to go to schooll and I know of many other families who are hearting.

Many young people left the capital running home to cap without any of their belongings. We made several trips to help bring them home meeting them half way.

We cannot say what their needs are now except I know that they need a lot of prayers and they need counseling because they are in a state of shock. I have a pastor friend who dies also. Please pray for his family. His name is Lamerique Bienne


I will give you more info as I have them


Thank you for your concern and for your prayers support.


Manno

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Discipleship

Recently, I heard the complaint about how so many people in our congregation are only attenders in the church and they need to be about "doing" something.  Especially, with a lost community in the neighborhood.  But, it seems that we go directly for sending them out to evangelize without giving them the "evangel" (good message, good news, gospel) to take with them.  So, sometimes we need to just sit and hear what that message is.  We need to learn the language of faith, the substance of faith.  We need to know the person and works of Christ.  That alone should be motivation enough to cause us to share what we believe and why we believe it.  So, maybe we need to be a little more like Mary in a world of Marthas.  (I believe there is a book out with that title somewhere.

Two sisters, Mary and Martha, were among Jesus' closest disciples. We are told that Mary "sat at the Lord's feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving." When Martha complained that Mary was making her do all the work, Jesus replied, "Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her" (Luke 10:38-42). (Michael Horton, Modern Reformation Magazine)

Maybe sitting and learning is what we need to be "doing" and gazing into the person and works of Christ.  Lets sit at His feet and learn what He wants us to learn.  Lets give the message that He wants us to Give.  Paul said in 1 Corinthians 15
The Resurrection of Christ
 1Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. 2By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.  3For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance[a]: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures

We see what is of "First Importance" and we see that it is "according to the Scriptures."  And the scriptures Paul is referring to is of course the Old Testament.  We also see this when Jesus is walking after His resurrection with the disciples who are distraught over the crucifixion of Christ.  While they didn't recognize Jesus they heard Him tell how the Old Testament scriptures from Moses to all the prophets were about Him.  Luke 24:27
27And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.
So, here is an indication of how Christ can be preached through all of scripture both Old and New Testaments.
So, Discipleship isn't a list of things we should be out doing but it is a long process of learning and talking about the person and works of the one in whom we are grateful for the salvation, grace, and faith which has been given to us.  The Gospel Driven church should be about these very things and our worship and our evangelism should reflect our trust and our motivation for everything Jesus has asked us to do.  Not by spinning or by cleaver programs or even cleaver pastors and worship settings or styles. 
Please view the video segment below in my previous post.

Soli Deo Gloria!!!

Chris
www.Reform-Shire.blogspot.com
Coram Deo!!!

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

"The Seeker-Sensitive Movement: Your Thoughts Al and R.C..."

Look what I just found. Lets really think this through... Do we really want to change our worship service? Maybe we should fashion a golden calf.

Ambassador Insights


Happy New Year from Reform-Shire!!!
I hope you are off to a great start in this new year as we continue to call the church to preach the Gospel.  And not only preaching the Gospel but also relying on the power of God for salvation. 
This power is not just for the beginning of our salvation but to the end of our salvation.  Justification, Sanctification, and Glorification are all a part of the power of God's saving Grace.  Soli Deo Gloria!!!

Romans 1:16-17

16I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. 17For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last,[c] just as it is written: "The righteous will live by faith."[d]

Grace and Peace,
Chris
www.Reform-Shire.blogspot.com
Coram Deo!!!


Subject: Ambassador Insights

Stand to Reason

Stand to Reason

Ambassador Insights

Week 13

Hear, See Handle Believe

The Beloved Disciple brings it all together for us in 1 John.  He opens his letter with the evidence of his own eyewitness encounter with Christ.  Notice how many senses he appeals to:

What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we beheld and our hands handled concerning the Word of Life—and the life was manifested, and we have seen and bear witness and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was manifested to us—what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also…

Then he closes his letter like this:

And the witness is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.  He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life.  These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, in order that you may know that you have eternal life.  (1 John 5:11-13)

To John, faith wasn't a blind leap.  It wasn't wishing on a star.  It was grounded in evidence that led to knowledge.  It was certain.

The record is clear from the Old Testament, to the Gospels, from the very beginnings of the early church, to the epistles of the apostles:  Biblical faith isn't wishing, it's confidence.  It's not denying reality, but discovering reality.  It's a sense of certainty grounded in evidence  that Christianity is true—not just "true for me," but actually, fully, and completely true.

Spiritual growth involves increasing our knowledge and our certainty of God.  So there are two things here:  first knowledge, and second confidence in what we know. 

How do we increase confidence?  Wish harder?  Hope against hope?  Stop our ears to the sounds of the critics without, and ignore the doubts of the agnostic within?  This will never work, because confidence cannot be fabricated.  It must be earned.  As you gather substantiating evidence, your confidence grows automatically and your faith is deepened. 

Faith is not about wishing, but about confidence, and the facts make the difference.  You get a hold of the facts, you study, you learn—even a little—and you'll realize you're not just wishing on a star about eternal things.  You'll realize Christianity is really true.

And that changes everything.

Greg Signature

 

Want to read more from Greg Koukl?  Visit http://www.str.org/ for more free online resources,
visit the online store to purchase books, DVDs and more or call Stand to Reason at 1-800-2-REASON.


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