Monday, November 30, 2009

Bell Ringer Outreach

This weekend marks the emergence of the familiar Bell Ringers of the Salvation Army--At least here in the Phoenix area.

Each year I select both English and Spanish gospel tracts to hand out to them along with a short verbal history of the Salvation Army. I've found this to be a great ice-breaker since the organization was deeply interested in evangelism when it started. Many are surprised at the information.

Here is a brief excerpt from the Salvation Army's official web site:

William Booth embarked upon his ministerial career in 1852, desiring to win the lost multitudes of England to Christ. He walked the streets of London to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ to the poor, the homeless, the hungry, and the destitute.

Booth abandoned the conventional concept of a church and a pulpit, instead taking his message to the people. His fervor led to disagreement with church leaders in London, who preferred traditional methods. As a result, he withdrew from the church and traveled throughout England, conducting evangelistic meetings. His wife, Catherine, could accurately be called a cofounder of The Salvation Army.

In 1865, William Booth was invited
to hold a series of evangelistic meetings in the East End of London. He set up a tent in a Quaker graveyard, and his services became an instant success. This proved to be the end of his wanderings as an indepedent traveling evangelist. His renown as a religious leader spread thoughout London, and he attracted followers who were dedicated to fight for the souls of men and women.

Thieves, prostitutes, gamblers, and drunkards were among Booth's first converts to Christianity. To congregations who were desperately poor, he preached hope and salvation. His aim was to lead people to Christ and link them to a church for further spiritual guidance.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Islamic Extremists Execute Young Convert in Somalia

Christian accused of trying to convert Muslim teenager found shot on Mogadishu street.

NAIROBI, Kenya, November 23 (CDN) — Islamic extremists controlling part of the Somali capital of Mogadishu this month executed a young Christian they accused of trying to convert a 15-year-old Muslim to Christianity.

Members of the Islamic extremist group al Shabaab had taken 23-year-old Mumin Abdikarim Yusuf into custody on Oct. 28 after the 15-year-old boy reported him to the militants, an area source told Compass. Yusuf’s body was found on Nov. 14 on an empty residential street in Mogadishu, with sources saying the convert from Islam was shot to death, probably some hours before dawn.

“Our brother Yusuf has been murdered,” the source told Compass. “His body was dumped in Yaqshid district of Mogadishu, and his body is said to be on an empty residential street.”

Al Shabaab, said to have links with al Qaeda terrorists, controls parts of Mogadishu and much of southern parts of Somalia, as well as other areas of the nation.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Pakistani Christian on Run from Taliban Death Threat

Islamic extremist sermonizing leads to altercation at barbershop in South Waziristan.

LAHORE, Pakistan, November 27 (CDN) — A young Christian man is in hiding in Pakistan from Taliban militants who seek to kill him for “blasphemy” because he defended his faith.

In February Jehanzaib Asher, 22, was working in a barbershop his family jointly owns with his cousin in Wana, South Waziristan – a Taliban stronghold in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas in Pakistan’s northwest – when the Islamic militants showed up to try to convert him to Islam.

It was not the first time the Taliban’s Noor Hassan had delivered strident sermons to him and his relatives, and this time Asher decided not to listen silently. He defended Christianity by citing verses from the Bible, and Hassan and another Islamic militant viciously beat him – breaking his left leg and some ribs and leaving his left hand non-functional.

He told Compass that he only defended Christianity and did not comment on Islam.

“One can bear the death of one’s father or mother, but can we keep listening to insults of our religion?” Asher said.

Friday, November 27, 2009

The Gospel: The Power of God Unto Salvation

Here is a bit of a follow up on my post this past Wednesday.

Five qualities in the Gospel which command our confidence in its power to save:

1. Strictly speaking, proper gospel preaching is done "with the Holy Spirit sent down from heaven" (1 Peter 1:12). Otherwise it come to men only in word, with no saving effect at all (1 Thessalonians 1:5). But where the Holy Spirit is operative, convicting men of sin, righteousness and judgment, there the gospel comes with power and with much assurance.

2. The gospel is the narration of historical facts, interpreted by God for us, to be embraced and kept. Since Christ truly died and was raised, therefore our salvation is in him alone; he is our hope. The gospel is the outworking of God's eternal decree to save his elect. The same God who plans our salvation has also executed it. It must therefore be powerful and infallible in its purpose.

3. It is the gospel of grace, as Paul called it (Acts 20). Grace from beginning to end. We can be confident because the gospel does not depend on men's capacities and goodness (for he is totally depraved); rather it depends on God; it is the declaration of what he has accomplished through his Son on Calvary. The mission is already accomplished. Man does not need to sign on the dotted line, as if the gospel depends on him for success. No! By grace, God himself gives us the gift of faith, to embrace His Son in all his saving efficacy.

4. It is the gospel suited for sinners par excellence. Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance. I came to serve and to give my life a ransom for many. The gospel addresses all as condemned sinners, under God's wrath, but it goes us to speak of a way of escape. Sinners, who are made poor in spirit, will certainly realize how adapted the gospel is to them. It's exactly what they need to hear. It is relevant to all in every age.

5. Preachers may be bound and beaten; but the Word is not and cannot be bound. God, in his sovereignty, send the gospel wherever he desires and to whomsoever he wishes, so that it accomplishes his purpose. God's ministers are unto him "a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish; to the one we are the savour of death unto death, and to the other the savour of life unto life." (2 Corinthians 2:15-16). Even where it seems to fail, the gospel accomplished God's wise and inscutable purpose.

Copyright Paul Mizzi Used by Permission.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Calvanistic Turkeys

I just couldn't resist this one. Compliments of Sacred Sanwich!

Proclamation Establishing Thanksgiving Day

October 3, 1863

... I do therefore invite my fellow-citizens... to set apart... a day of thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens....

The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequalled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle, or the ship; the axe had enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years, with large increase of freedom.

No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.

It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and voice by the whole American people. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to his tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.
In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand, and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the city of Washington, this third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the independence of the United States the eighty-eighth.

Abraham Lincoln

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

First Things First

Yesterday I posted an article with several quotes from LDS founder Joseph Smith Jr. I received some comments from Terri, a StreetFishing reader and former Mormon. She made a couple of excellent points.

Here is what she said:

"The sad thing is that most Mormons, unless they start digging into their beliefs and read the history of church, will never realize that these statements were made and will deny their existence, or if they have heard them, will try to explain them away. One main characteristic of Mormons is their blind faith (even though many would deny this). As a result, most will never question their beliefs... unless God is working in them. And since we do not know who God is working on or how we may reach them, it is important to share the truth about Christ at every opportunity, whether we know all of the intimate details of Mormonism or not. For me all it took was someone saying, 'Your Jesus is not my Jesus.'"

One objection I get from Christians enthusiastic about reaching the LDS with the true gospel is that my "method" of using the Law and the Gospel won't reach Mormons because it doesn't address their particular beliefs enough. I believe that they are mistaken because scripture tells us that the Gospel is the power of God unto salvation. (Romans 1:16) We also read this: "How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher? (Romans 10:14-16)

Personally, I try to always get the gospel communicated at the beginning of a conversation no matter what. Then if the person loses patience later in the discussion concerning differing doctrines or has somewhere else to be, I know they have heard the truth.

The true Gospel speaks of a different Jesus than the Jesus of Mormonism. For Terri, that was all it took to really get her thinking.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Interesting Quotes from Joseph Smith, the Founder of Mormonism

Here are some fascinating quotes from Joseph Smith at CARM. I've asked about some of these when witnessing to Mormons, but they're pretty good abou dancing around them. Better to stick to sharing the true Gospel with them first and foremost, then discussing specifics about their beliefs. Otherwisse, we find ourselves down endless rabbit trails and fruitless debate.

Joseph Smith boasted that he did more than Jesus to keep a church together.

"God is in the still small voice. In all these affidavits, indictments, it is all of the devil--all corruption. Come on! ye prosecutors! ye false swearers! All hell, boil over! Ye burning mountains, roll down your lava! for I will come out on the top at last. I have more to boast of than ever any man had. I am the only man that has ever been able to keep a whole church together since the days of Adam. A large majority of the whole have stood by me. Neither Paul, John, Peter, nor Jesus ever did it. I boast that no man ever did such a work as I. The followers of Jesus ran away from Him; but the Latter-day Saints never ran away from me yet . . . " (History of the Church, vol. 6, p. 408-409). Click here to see this quote in context.

Joseph Smith said the Book of Mormon was more correct than the Bible.

"I told the brethren that the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book," (History of the Church, vol. 4, p. 461).

Joseph Smith made a false prophecy (one of several).

". . .I prophesy in the name of the Lord God of Israel, unless the United States redress the wrongs committed upon the Saints in the state of Missouri and punish the crimes committed by her officers that in a few years the government will be utterly overthrown and wasted, and there will not be so much as a potsherd left . . . " (History of the Church, vol. 5, p. 394). Click here to see this quote in context.

Joseph Smith said mothers have babies in eternity and some are on thrones.

"A question may be asked, ‘Will mothers have their children in eternity?' Yes! Yes! Mothers, you shall have your children," (Journal of Discourses, vol. 6, p. 10). "Eternity is full of thrones, upon which dwell thousands of children reigning on thrones of glory, with not one cubit added to their stature," (Journal of Discourses, vol. 6, p. 10).

Joseph Smith said there are many gods.

"Hence, the doctrine of a plurality of Gods is as prominent in the Bible as any other doctrine. It is all over the face of the Bible . . . Paul says there are Gods many and Lords many . . . but to us there is but one God--that is pertaining to us; and he is in all and through all," (History of the Church, vol. 6, p. 474). "In the beginning, the head of the Gods called a council of the Gods; and they came together and concocted a plan to create the world and people it," (Journal of Discourses, vol. 6, p. 5).

Joseph Smith said the Trinity is three gods.

"I have always declared God to be a distinct personage, Jesus Christ a separate and distinct personage from God the Father, and the Holy Ghost was a distinct personage and a Spirit: and these three constitute three distinct personages and three Gods," (Teachings of Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 370).

Joseph Smith said God was once a man.

"God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted Man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens...I say, if you were to see him to-day, you would see him like a man in form -- like yourselves, in all the person, image, and very form as a is necessary that we should understand the character and being of God, and how he came to be so; for I am going to tell you how God came to be God. We have imagined and supposed that God was God from all eternity, I will refute that idea, and will take away and do away the veil, so that you may see....and that he was once a man like us; yea, that God himself the Father of us all, dwelt on an earth the same as Jesus Christ himself did." (Journal of Discourses, vol. 6, p. 3).

Joseph Smith said our greatest responsibility is to seek after our dead.

"The greatest responsibility in this world that God has laid upon us is to seek after our dead," (Journal of Discourses, vol. 6, p. 7).

Joseph Smith said that there are men living on the moon who dress like Quakers and live to be nearly 1000 years old.

Since he was wrong about the moon, is it safe to trust him regarding the way to Heaven? (The Young Woman's Journal, vol. 3, p. 263-264. See reprint in Mormonism -- Shadow or Reality? by Jerald and Sandra Tanner, p. 4.)

Monday, November 23, 2009

Origin Into The Schools: Part two

Here are a few pics of our outing at Arizona State University on the day "Origins" went out to college students en masse. Our little corner of the world saw two thousand copies distributed in about two hours.

Wating for our team to arrive at the parking garage.

Arrival of the team and briefing from Linda Essary

The Nelsons!
The task at hand. How would it go?

My first load. Eighty books.

Well underway!

The Atheist table

The Atheist guy.
Property of.....Now that's just not right!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

A Life Well-Lived

Every so often God raises up an exceptional person whose great positive influence changes their family, friends, community, culture, country and even the world. Such a man was Doming Lucasi who was buried on January 28, 2007. Over a thousand people attended his funeral. A taxi driver passing the funeral was overheard to say, “He must have been a very important person.”

You might have imagined, as you passed by, that this person had been a wealthy businessman and great philanthropist, someone who had lived in a grand villa overlooking the ocean. But none of that is true of the Doming Lucasi that I and so many others knew and loved.

Doming was a Balangao—one of a people group found in central Luzon in the Philippines. His childhood home was nestled among nearly inaccessible thousand-year-old rice terraces that stair-step their way up the steep slopes of the surrounding mountains. Doming’s early life was not easy. There were no roads, no electricity and no running water. The Balangaos, while culturally rich in many ways, were former headhunters who lived in constant fear of spirits. Vengeance on their enemies was one of their highest values.

But in 1962, their lives—and Doming’s—changed forever.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Iran Releases Two Christian Women from Evin Prison

Here is something to praise God over. Continue praying for these young women. Although they've been released, charges have not been dropped.

Maryam Rostampour and Marzieh Amirizadeh Esmaeilabad
No bail required; charges of ‘proselytizing’ and ‘apostasy’ remain

ISTANBUL, November 18 (CDN) — Two Christian Iranian women, Maryam Rostampour, 27, and Marzieh Amirizadeh Esmaeilabad, 30, were released from prison this afternoon with no bail amid an international campaign calling for their freedom since their arrest on March 5.

The two women, whose health deteriorated while in detention at the notorious Evin prison in Tehran, are at their homes recovering from their nine-month ordeal, an Iranian source told Compass. They still could face charges of proselytizing and “apostasy,” or leaving Islam.

Continue reading.....

Friday, November 20, 2009

Human Depravity

This story defines human depravity. How can be any more clear than this.

Read the story here...

Can God's biblical blueprint be true in raising children?

Read some TRUTH here!

The Amazing Evidence of the Bible

Many times in evangelism outings, we are quizzed on the evidence for God and the bible. Most of the time, this is used as a smoke screen for unbelief and a hardened heart. It's pretty common on a college and university campuses to hear things like "The bible has been translated many times, and things have been left out and added."

Our goal is to make sure that they have heard the Gospel before we get too far into intellectual discussions. This ensures that we accomplish the commission set before us, and that we don't waste time in fruitless debate. Once we have appealed to the conscience that God has given them, we are happy to defend our faith as best we can. Tools like this article help us to do just that.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Origin Into The Schools--Local Update

Our local team here in the Phoenix area distributed 2,000 copies of this special edition of Origin of Species to students at Arizona State University campus in about two hours. There were around twenty of us and we worked in pairs. Even so, it seemed a daunting task for our team to give away so many books

Most were surprised and delighted to get something free. But several who started reading came back to return their books.

Overall, the mission as it was planned, emerged a success. Pictures to come soon!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Do You Pray?

The following is a timely reminder adapted from an essay by J.C. Ryle, on the vital importance of this oft-neglected spiritual discipline. To read the full essay, click here.

I have a question to offer you. It is contained in three words, DO YOU PRAY?
The question is one that none but you can answer. Whether you attend public worship or not, your minister knows. Whether you have family prayers in your house or not, your relations know. But whether you pray in private or not, is a matter between yourself and God.
I beseech you in all affection to attend to the subject I bring before you. Do not say that my question is too close. If your heart is right in the sight of God, there is nothing in it to make you afraid. Do not turn off my question by replying that you say your prayers. It is one thing to say your prayers and another to pray. Do not tell me that my question is unnecessary. Listen to me for a few minutes, and I will show you good reason for asking it.
I ask whether you pray, because a habit of prayer is one of the surest marks of a true Christian.…

Monday, November 16, 2009

Does God Want Everyone To Be Saved--R.C. Sproul

I'm not sure what the occasion was for this pairing of Mark Driscoll and R.C. Sproul, but this is an interesting commentary from Dr. Sproul nevertheless.

God's Judgement And Wrath

This comes to us from the John MacArthur archive of questions and answers.

"What is God's purpose for judgment and wrath?"

I think that I can just answer that just very simply.

1. It is to punish those who reject Him, and that is simply what the Bible says. God's wrath is set to punish. Romans 1:18, "The wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all the ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who hold the truth in unrighteousness." God will punish them for that. There is a price to pay for the rejection of the truth. So, the first purpose of God's judgment and wrath is punishment.

2. I would add a second purpose. I really believe that secondly (and this is in a large theological framework) I believe that God's purpose for punishment is the ultimate elimination of evil from His kingdom, once and for all, and forever. In other words, I think God, throughout the history of man, in allowing sin, allowed it in order that He might destroy it. Do you understand what I am saying?

If there is an up--there is a down, and if there is an in--there is an out, if there is a left--there is a right. In other words, we live in a world of opposites. And if there is a good--there was always potentially an evil, and eventually that evil was made manifest. It was as if God had allowed it to happen so that He could once and for all destroy it. He allowed it to run its full course, with its full power, and its full impact, and shows in the end that He can utterly destroy and eliminate it from His eternal kingdom. All of this is happening in a brief span, in the mists of eternity. Once evil has finally run it course and God has finally set it aside, it will never again exist throughout all of forever. And so I believe that there is a sense in which there is an individual perspective that God is angry because He is punishing individuals for rejection, and on a broader scale God is exhibiting His wrath for the purpose of ultimately destroying evil and setting it in the place it belongs--outside His kingdom forever and ever.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Christian in Somalia Who Refused to Wear Veil is Killed

‘Moderate’ Islamist group had long suspected woman in Puntland was Christian.
NAIROBI, Kenya, October 27 (CDN) — Three masked members of a militant Islamist group in Somalia last week shot and killed a Somali Christian who declined to wear a veil as prescribed by Muslim custom, according to a Christian source in Somalia.
Members of the comparatively “moderate” Suna Waljameca group killed Amina Muse Ali, 45, on Oct. 19 at 9:30 p.m. in her home in Galkayo, in Somalia’s autonomous Puntland region, said the source who requested anonymity for security reasons.
Ali had told Christian leaders that she had received several threats from members of Suna Waljameca for not wearing a veil, symbolic of adherence to Islam. She had said members of the group had long monitored her movements because they suspected she was a Christian.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Zanzibar Evicts Congregation from Government Building

Officials on Tanzanian island cite ‘renovations,’ but pastor sees pandering to Muslims.
NAIROBI, Kenya, June 22 (CDN) — A pastor in Zanzibar City said his church is without a worship place after government officials, at the instigation of radical Islamists, evicted the congregation from their rented building on Tanzania’s Zanzibar Island off the coast of East Africa.
With just two days’ notice, government officials ordered Christians of the Church of God Zanzibar from their rented government building effective April 19, ostensibly to pave the way for renovations. But two months later, said pastor Lucian Mgayway, no renovation work has begun and none appears to be forthcoming.
The government has not only failed to renovate the building but has since turned it into a business site, Pastor Mgaywa said. The church had been worshipping in the building since October 2000.
In evicting the church from its building in the Kariakoo area of Zanzibar City, Pastor Mgaywa said, the government gave in to partisan demands. “Our being told to vacate the premise by the government was a calculated move to disintegrate the church and to please the Muslims who do not want us to be in this particular area,” he said.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Did Christianity Cause the Crash?

by Hanna Rosin

Like the ambitions of many immigrants who attend services there, Casa del Padre’s success can be measured by upgrades in real estate. The mostly Latino church, in Charlottesville, Virginia, has moved from the pastor’s basement, where it was founded in 2001, to a rented warehouse across the street from a small mercado five years later, to a middle-class suburban street last year, where the pastor now rents space from a lovely old Baptist church that can’t otherwise fill its pews. Every Sunday, the parishioners drive slowly into the parking lot, never parking on the sidewalk or grass—“because Americanos don’t do that,” one told me—and file quietly into church. Some drive newly leased SUVs, others old work trucks with paint buckets still in the bed. The pastor, Fernando Garay, arrives last and parks in front, his dark-blue Mercedes Benz always freshly washed, the hubcaps polished enough to reflect his wingtips.

It can be hard to get used to how much Garay talks about money in church, one loyal parishioner, Billy Gonzales, told me one recent Sunday on the steps out front. Back in Mexico, Gonzales’s pastor talked only about “Jesus and heaven and being good.” But Garay talks about jobs and houses and making good money, which eventually came to make sense to Gonzales: money is “really important,” and besides, “we love the money in Jesus Christ’s name! Jesus loved money too!” That Sunday, Garay was preaching a variation on his usual theme, about how prosperity and abundance unerringly find true believers. “It doesn’t matter what country you’re from, what degree you have, or what money you have in the bank,” Garay said. “You don’t have to say, ‘God, bless my business. Bless my bank account.’ The blessings will come! The blessings are looking for you! God will take care of you. God will not let you be without a house!”

Continue reading...

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Defending the Pro-life View Just Takes a Little Dancing

This a valuable article from the Stand To Reason blog that appeals to my senses. Simple, pithy, and solid. Most of our coffee table apologetics could be similarly handled. The objections to Christianity or Creation come in fairly typical forms from skeptics and atheists. Keeping it simple but founded on God's truth is the key.

I was invited to publicly defend the pro-life position at Central Michigan University last Tuesday. I began by presenting a 25-minute case for the pro-life position. The first claim I defended was that the unborn is a distinct, living, and whole human being from the moment of conception. The second claim was that abortion is discrimination: it disqualifies a group of human beings (the unborn) from being valuable because of an arbitrary quality or characteristic.

Then, the audience was invited to debate me. One by one they offered their challenges. This lasted for about an hour. I anticipated most of the arguments and was able to refute the defenses for abortion. It was a good event. In the end, there was no challenge that threatened the pro-life view. It was fairly easy to answer the questions thanks to the abundant amount of scientific and philosophical support the pro-life view enjoys.

When I do an event like this, there’s a method to how I organize all the objections that are offered. I call it the “pro-life two-step.” It helps me categorize every objection in my mind so I know how to respond appropriately. The vast majority of objections against the pro-life view come in one of two forms. They either assume the unborn is not a human being. Or, they disqualify the unborn from being a valuable human being based on an arbitrary quality or characteristic. When I hear a defense for abortion, I figure out which category it falls in. Then, I can show them the misstep by appealing to one of the two claims I defended in my opening remarks.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Action Steps For Anxiety

Another really good article from the blog of Tullian Tchividjian.

Given the trying times all of us are having to endure in one way or another, I found Susan Fiske’s excellent article in the Fall 2009 edition of byFaith (the official magazine of the PCA) entitled Be Anxious for Nothing–Now? especially relevant–and deeply helpful.

In it she writes, “It is in prying open our hands from our abilities, accomplishments, and possessions that we can discover the true promise of God: Himself. [Paul] Tripp says, ‘The hardest thing to hold onto, but the most beautiful when we get it, is that what God promises to us in times of suffering is not first relief of the suffering. His promise is to give us Himself.’”

She then, very helpfully, outlines Paul Tripp’s six action steps for anxiety (these are golden):

Remind Yourself That God Is In Control: When you convince yourself that your world is out of control, you are on the verge of paralysis. Watch your self-talk. Are you saying to yourself: “God is in control of this circumstance, He is my Father, and He is ruling this for my benefit”?

Accept Confusion: Believing in God’s sovereignty doesn’t mean life will make sense. Believing in God’s sovereignty is needed because life doesn’t make sense. Your rest is not in figuring out your circumstances–your rest is in the God behind the circumstances.

Don’t Allow Emotions To Rule: As much as the emotions you experience will be right, good, and appropriate, don’t let them set the agenda. There is a temptation to do that, but allowing yourself to be pulled away by the emotions of the moment could cause you to regret your decisions later.

Distinguish Needs From Wants: Be very careful what you put in your catalog of “need.” The minute you tell yourself something is a need, you’re saying it is essential for life. Then you are going to determine that you can’t live without it. It’s easy to attach yourself and your sense of security to the gift rather than to the Giver.

Know Your Job Description: God promises to provide. Your job is to live the way God has called you to live. Instead of giving way to discouragement, look for ways you can contribute to God’s people at the moment.

Run To God, Not Away From Him: God’s promise to us is not first the relief of the suffering–His promise is to give us Himself. He will never turn a deaf ear to the natural cries of a person of faith when life doesn’t make sense. God hears and answers and works and comforts.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Halloween Night Open Air

This is Rob-roy Nelson preaching the Gospel on Mill Avenue in Tempe, Arizona on Halloween night. Way to "bring it" Rob-roy!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Grace Under Pressure

Tony "The Lawman" Miano is a tough cookie, but I could see that this young woman was really starting to push it. I'll let the profanity warning on the video speak for themself. You can check out the rest of his post at his blog.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Seizure of 15,000 Bibles in Malaysia Stuns Christians

Imports confiscated for using “Allah,” a forbidden word for non-Muslims.

FRESNO, Calif., November 7 (CDN) — Malaysian port and customs authorities have seized at least 15,000 Bibles in recent months because the word “Allah” for God appears in them.

Some 10,000 of the Bahasa Malaysia-language Bibles, which were printed in Indonesia, are in Kuching, capital of Sarawak in East Malaysia, and another 5,000 copies are in Kelang near Kuala Lumpur.

The Christian Federation of Malaysia (CFM) on Wednesday (Nov. 4) called for the immediate release of the confiscated Bibles. At the same time, CFM Executive Secretary Tan Kong Beng told Compass that the federation is striving for amicable relations with government authorities.

“We are open to and desire further discussion with officials so that this problem can be resolved,” the CFM official said.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Six Months Later, Pastor Still Missing

The Rev. William Reyes’ wife awaits word, fears for safety of her children.
INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana, March 22 (CDN) — Six months after the disappearance in Colombia of the Rev. William Reyes of Maicao, La Guajira, no one knows what happened to him.
This week marks six months of agonizing uncertainty for the family of Rev. Reyes. On Sept. 25, 2008, the pastor of Light and Truth Inter-American Church disappeared en route home from a ministers’ meeting in Valledupar, a city in the neighboring department (state) of Cesar.
Family members and friends fear that guerrilla fighters kidnapped the veteran minister; they have not seen or heard from him since his disappearance. Rev. Reyes and colleagues in the Fraternity of Evangelical Pastors of Maicao had received repeated threats from illegal armed groups operating in the La Guajira peninsula since March 2008.
Guerrillas or their paramilitary rivals may have assassinated Rev. Reyes and disposed of his body, and some observers even speculate that he may have fallen victim to rogue units of the Colombian army that murder innocent civilians to inflate the body counts of “terrorists” killed in battle.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Christ The Only Way: R.C. Sroul

Thursday, November 5, 2009

A Knock On The Door Is Always An Opportunity

This is a recent entry from Tony Miano's blog. The interesting thing is that around the same time, I had a young man named Terrell from Chicago come to my door. Their scripts were almost identical. Right down to him calling me "Mr. Robert."

This is a good example of why to have a recording device handy for evangelism encounters. Check your state laws for the legalities. Much like California, Arizona has a"one party consent law," which means that a recording of a conversation can be made so long as at least one person in the conversation (and it can be the person making the recording) knows that a recording is being made.

Michael, a young man from the mean streets of North St. Louis, knocked on my door today. A former gang member who was now trying to right his moral ship, was out trying to sell magazine subscriptions. He didn't make a sale. He received something much more important.

If for some reason the player doesn't work on your computer, click here to listen to my conversation with Michael.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Why Read The Puritans Today?

The God we worship and adore must be the God who has revealed Himself in the bible and in His Son Jesus Christ. Approaching God casually will not do. Our pastors and churches are supposed to be there to guide us in our worship and growth, but sadly, it is far more common for churches to model themselves after the culture in the name of "relevance."

The puritans had a very different view of God in all His majesty, holiness and sovereignty. Reading their works is both a comfort and blessing, ushering us into a revererant mindset seemingly long lost. May we seek to worship Him in spirit and in truth giving full honor to his Lordship.

Soli Deo Gloria!

by Don Kistler

Soli Deo Gloria just reached a milestone for us: we sold our 200,000th volume in January. And I dare say few would have thought that you could make it in publishing selling 300 year old religious books by the Puritans! There are several reasons, I believe, for the resurgence in interest in the Puritans and their writings. One is that people are getting tired of religion offering things it can't deliver. All kinds of promises are being made, but people come out of self-interest and when these things don't come true, they are disappointed. I think they are also tired of shallow, superficial religion.

Most people don't worship God because the God most people hear about really isn't worth worshipping. He is not the "high and lofty one," He is not the "Lord God Omnipotent Who Reigneth Forever and Ever." He is just "my friend," and familiarity surely breeds contempt!

The Puritans, people are finding men who were passionately obsessed with the knowledge of God. I have listed several thing that I think are reasons why we should read the Puritans today, and every one of those reason is directly derived from the Puritans view of God and Scripture.

Continue reading...

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Anchored In Truth

Here's another great web site for solid sermons and links from a solid ministry. Jeff Noblitt may best be known as Paul Washer's pastor. A title I'm guessing neither of them care for.

Visit Anchored In Truth to find a wealth of edifying resources.

Monday, November 2, 2009

In Love With Jesus?

by Michael Spencer

Come follow me, and I will make you all mushy
Jesus, I am so in love with You
-Matt Redman
Let what we do in here, fill the streets out there. Let us dance for you (x2)
All of my life, and nothing less, I offer You, my righteousness
- Charlie Hall, "Madly"
O the deep, deep love of Jesus, vast, unmeasured, boundless, free!Rolling as a mighty ocean in its fullness over me!Underneath me, all around me, is the current of Thy loveLeading onward, leading homeward to Thy glorious rest above!
O the deep, deep love of Jesus, spread His praise from shore to shore!How He loveth, ever loveth, changeth never, nevermore!How He watches o’er His loved ones, died to call them all His own;How for them He intercedeth, watcheth o’er them from the throne!
O the deep, deep love of Jesus, love of every love the best!’Tis an ocean full of blessing, ’tis a haven giving rest!O the deep, deep love of Jesus, ’tis a heaven of heavens to me;And it lifts me up to glory, for it lifts me up to Thee!
-Samuel Francis
The times, they are a-changin'. We have gone from singing about the overwhelming, faithful, constant, covenant love of Jesus Christ for Christians, to singing about the most changeable, gullible and frothy of human emotions- romantic love. These days, our worship is full of announcing that we are "in love" with Jesus.
If the problem were simply music, I'd leave it alone. Better people than this writer have painfully noted the "God is my girlfriend" bent of modern praise and worship music. In fact, the brilliant people over at Lark News have taken us over the edge into the possibility that Wal-mart might have to ban certain Vineyard worship CDs in the future for their explicit lyrics. The satirical article says "The ground-breaking — some say risqué — album includes edgy worship songs such as "My Lover, My God," "Touch Me All Over," "Naked Before You," "I'll Do Anything You Want," "Deeper" and "You Make Me Hot with Desire." If you think that's over the top, you aren't listening to much CCM these days.
Some very sharp culture watchers have traced the influence of romanticism and romantic language on evangelical piety over the last two centuries. A hymn like Samuel Francis's "In The Garden" could be interpreted in several ways, but the romantic interpretation is the most obvious. Such a hymn could only be accepted and become popular in an evangelicalism that had already been considerably influenced by femininization and romantic imagery.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Christian in Somalia Who Refused to Wear Veil is Killed

‘Moderate’ Islamist group had long suspected woman in Puntland was Christian.

NAIROBI, Kenya, October 27 (CDN) — Three masked members of a militant Islamist group in Somalia last week shot and killed a Somali Christian who declined to wear a veil as prescribed by Muslim custom, according to a Christian source in Somalia.

Members of the comparatively “moderate” Suna Waljameca group killed Amina Muse Ali, 45, on Oct. 19 at 9:30 p.m. in her home in Galkayo, in Somalia’s autonomous Puntland region, said the source who requested anonymity for security reasons.

Ali had told Christian leaders that she had received several threats from members of Suna Waljameca for not wearing a veil, symbolic of adherence to Islam. She had said members of the group had long monitored her movements because they suspected she was a Christian.