Saturday, May 31, 2008

Guarding Against "Protestant Popery" and "Spiritual Abuse"

Are we to submit to the authority of our pastors? Of course we are. Hebrews 13:17 instructs us to, "Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you."
But that authority (rule) is not absolute or unlimited. Pastors who demand unquestioning submission are guilty of abusing their power and authority.

Singer/Songwriter, Bible Teacher, Reformed Apologist and Evangelist, Steve Camp wrote;

It is significant to note that a pastor of a church possesses no inherent authority over the church by virtue of office alone; it is only through that which Scripture affords him that gives him a position of authority. Where Scripture exhorts, he may exhort. Where Scripture calls for obedience, he is to call the church to obedience. Where Scripture edifies, he is to edify. And where Scripture commands, he is to command. But where Scripture is silent, he cannot be vocal and has no inherent authority. He may pray for the flock, he may give wisdom when weighing the facts or circumstances of a particular situation, he may counsel from the principals of the Word, but he possesses no authority. He, in other words, is to guard against spiritual abuse, by faithfully honoring and submitting to the Word of God by which he is thoroughly equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17). And then in response to that truth, humbly serve the flock of God as an under-shepherd of Christ.


Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Politics and Prostitution

"It has been said that politics is the second oldest profession. I have learned that it bears a striking resemblance to the first."

Ronald Reagan

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Does Anyone Care About Doctrine Anymore?

I asked a pastor friend of mine that question some time back; his answer was depressing but not surprising. He said in the early days of his pastoral ministry, when he would go calling on visitors, most people would quickly get to questions about his beliefs and the church’s doctrinal statements. Today, very few people ever give doctrine any thought. They just want to know what programs the church has for their children and how the church can “meet my needs.”

I think doctrinal error must be prevalent among most Christians in almost every church; that is just a fact of life. And most of the time it is not purposeful or deliberate. It is just born out of ignorance of Scripture and carried along by traditions and emotions.

For the most part, I think we can endure much of it with grace and gentleness. I understand when parents or Sunday school teachers tell their children that Jesus lives in their hearts. And I cringe when I hear well-meaning adults, whose hearts are sensitive to the lost, instructing people to “just invite Jesus into your life and you will be saved.” Nevertheless I have confidence in God’s sovereign ability to accomplish His work in His people with His Word for His glory regardless of the ineptness and sloppiness of our methods due to errant theology. But that doesn’t mean that we should just ignore faulty doctrine; it must be corrected.

Dennis Prager has said that naivety in children is to be expected; in adults, it is a sin. The way to correct the problem of doctrinal ignorance and error is with regular attention to preaching and teaching the Word of God. Those are both New Testament words and they should be understood by their Greek definitions.

The Greek word for preaching is Kerusso. It has a sense of formality, gravity and authority. Preaching is not a casual or flippant "how to" or “feel-good” Sunday morning talk designed to relate with the audience. Real biblical preaching occurs when the preacher brings a sense of awesome reverence, fear and respect for God and delivers the whole counsel of His Word with uncompromised authority to sinful men.

The Greek word for teaching is Didasko. It means to “instruct in doctrine.” It has the sense of one who has wisdom, understanding, and knowledge, imparting that knowledge to the students in an authoritative way. It is about transferring absolute truth and not about reaching conclusions about beliefs by group consensus or discussions about what the verse "means to me."

When churches preach the Word of God and teach right doctrine, the people are edified in the faith and equipped for the work of the ministry.

So does doctrine really matter? One preacher had this to say about it over 150 years ago:

Depend upon it, doctrinal ignorance will always make Churches weak; but where saints are fed upon the finest of the wheat, and are made to suck of the honey out of the rock, and to eat of the manna and fatness of Gospel doctrine, they will, all other things being equal, become the strongest and most valiant believers on the face of the earth. There is a tendency in these times to depreciate the value of Gospel doctrines. Oh! I beseech you, be not led astray of this error. There are in the Word of God certain things really taught.

Do not believe that the Bible is a lump of wax to be shaped just as you please. Do not imagine that “Yes” is right, and that the “No” which contradicts it is right too. The Lord has written this Book intending to teach us something, and a moderate understanding, sanctified by the teaching of the Holy Spirit, will enable you to know what the Lord does mean to teach you... Do not, I beseech you, say, “Oh, it does not much matter what doctrines I hold.”
Charles SpurgeonFrom a sermon entitled "The Love Of Jesus, What It Is, None But His Loved Ones Know," delivered June 18, 1862.


Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Tone Down The Sarcasm

Those of you who visit this blogsite regularly (all five of you) may have noticed a few subtle changes in my blog in the last couple weeks. More changes are coming. The purpose for the change is to diminish the overwhelming use of “cutting” sarcasm. In other words, “tone it down a little.”

Why am I doing that? Well, this blog has recently come under some severe criticism. Not that I am necessarily intimidated by that but in this case, some of the criticism came from a friend and has some merit. So let me try to recap the concerns.

The first issue was the definition of “sarcasm.” When my friend read it to me, I was somewhat shocked by it. But, in my own defense, I need to say that the terrible, evil, vicious nature of sharp, cutting sarcasm, as it was read to me, is not the only definition nor is it the first or most popular definition. In fact, that definition doesn’t even appear in several dictionaries. There is another more common definition that, I believe, better describes my understanding and the predominant utilization of sarcasm where it appears in my speech and in my writing. It is this:

Sarcasm - A form of irony in which apparent praise conceals another, scornful meaning. For example, a sarcastic remark directed at a person who consistently arrives fifteen minutes late for appointments might be, “Oh, you've arrived exactly on time!”
American Heritage New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition.

But the one definition I like best does not appear in any dictionary; it is a quote I found on the site of another sarcastic blogger: Sarcasm: - intellect on the offensive

However, my purpose here is not to defend or excuse myself because my friend’s rebuke truly deserves some serious consideration.

The next issue was concerning a particular item I posted (Angry, Purpose Resistant Leaders From Hell) which my friend thought to be overtly angry and bitter and unbecoming a Christian. A careful review of the whole post in context revealed the allegorical intention of the comment that, at first, seemed so outrageous. However since my friend and others whom I have asked were distracted by the harshness, my point was obscured by the out-of-context, shocking language. With that being said, I have revised it with an explanation for the sake of clarity.

Third, I do have strong opinions, ideas, and convictions but I am trying to take a new objective look at this blog for the overall “feel.” I am concerned that people who might find their way onto my site are not distracted from my messages (which I believe are right and brilliant and worth reading) by an inaccurate or eccentric caricature of my own making. That is why I am making this confession here. It is in this public venue that my sharp edginess crossed the line so it is appropriate that my contrition and repentance is demonstrated here for all five of you who regularly visit this site. And besides, I have eight grandchildren. I really don’t want them to find my writings some day after I am gone and conclude that their grandfather was an angry, raving lunatic.

Proverbs 27:6 says, “Faithful are the wounds of a friend.” Ironically, my friend’s rebuke of my sarcasm (as cutting remarks intending to wound) was, in itself, very cutting but as the Proverb indicates, not all, cutting language is bad; in fact, some of it is necessary for correction. I appreciated his willingness to “do the cutting.”

So what kinds of changes am I making? I am glad you asked. I have subjected myself and my blog to five different people, whom I respect and trust, to review my posts and hold me accountable for my attitude and the content of my blog (that move actually doubled my readership). Sarcastic wit will still be present but probably a better word to describe much of my prose is “satire.” But with that, I have begun to bring more variety, balance, and substance to the content. I have reviewed and edited some of the peripherals on my site and I am allowing articles from “guest contributors” as well as some quotes and links to other respectable, orthodox Christian bloggers, writers and theologians.

Dennis Prager is a conservative radio talk show host who said, “…this (stuff) will either make you laugh or cry. Given the choice I would prefer to laugh.”

I share that preference with him. The ideological battles between conservative values and insanity; between honest thinking and stupidity; the battles between fundamental, orthodox Christianity and the fluffy, feel-good worship of a designer Jesus are raging hot and can make you crazy. But one of the differences between those on the right and those on the left is that the right can laugh; the left gets offended.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Christian Wackos and Nut Jobs

Some Christians are so doctrinally vacuous and theologically eccentric that they embarrass the rest of the Christian community and frustrate the true work of the Gospel. You know the type; they are zealous for God but they say and do things that are so nutty that they become distractions to good works. Most people just excuse them as religious whackos but some really do think that these screwballs are representative of all Christians.

Walter owned an apartment building in Houston. One day, in a "vision," he claims that God showed him a “mission” and instructed him to transform his entire complex into a home for distressed people after some tornadoes had struck the area.

So he opened his doors to the poor, stopped paying the bills and appeared on television to tell the world of his plans. Soon, sixty-four poor and homeless families moved in to live rent-free. Before long, the utility companies cut off services and the bank started the foreclosure.

The grumbling, raw tempered residents, mostly unemployed, sweltered inside the dark apartments without air conditioning in the summer heat wave. Walter was convinced that the problems were only temporary; the residents were just worried because "they lacked faith” But Walter “walked in the faith of Jesus Christ,” laying claim on his belief that there would be no foreclosure; the utilities would be restored and all the bills would be paid.

Walter trusted God to unite the Christian community and believed the donations would roll in to provide the $440,000 he needed to pay off the mortgage and all his other debts including $23,000 in utility bills, back payments on his personal residence and $24,000 that he owed on a Mercedes Benz (after all, God wants His people to be rich). His public appeals finally netted him a whopping $150.00 worth of donated food and $40 in cash.

Walter was sincere but he was sincerely wrong and he did irrational things all in the name of faith. The poor showed up; the money did not. Walter lost his property, the world laughed, and the name of Jesus Christ was ridiculed.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Some Days It Just Isn't Worth Getting Up!


"The next thing I know, I'm under several tons of rhinoceros - and Simba and Nala are nowhere in sight! Some days it just isn't worth getting out of the nest."

taken from Disney's " The Lion King ZAZU'S VIEW.
a Golden Book adapted by Justine Korman and illustrated by Josie Yee.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Protecting The Fragile Self-Esteem Of Children

I was asked to judge a scholastic "competition" a few years ago. I am not likely to ever do it again; I was appalled at the fluffy feel-good happycrap I heard that day. It was more about protecting the students' fragile feelings, building up their self-esteem, and protecting them from disappointment than it was about healthy competition, real achievement and striving for excellence.
So, for all you liberal, touchy-feely parents and educators, I suggest the following

Grading Guidelines
for Classroom Teachers

Start with the premise that all students are winners. They have all achieved a certain level of deserved success by simply showing up for class. And they have each completed the preceding grades; that should account for something (kindergarteners are winners by virtue of the fact that they just exist because, after all, every child is a winner).
Because they are all winners, it logically follows that there are NO losers. Therefore, all grading, must occur on a standard scale of 60-100%. Any failing scores (those from 0-59%) must be automatically eliminated.

Any scores accumulated throughout the year that are below 60% must be thrown out. Teachers may only consider scores on homework assignments, class work, and tests that are above 60%.

Since most kids are fairly consistent in their performance, all scores that fall more or less than ten points outside of the individual student's average should all be disregarded. The discrepancies are probably due to teacher error or incompetency.

The remaining scores will then be averaged to determine the students' final grades. All final grades will fall into one of the following three ranks with their respective definitions:

  • Blue Ribbon Winner- You are a “Super Star.” Not that you are any better than anyone else. Your high scores are only attributable to the fact that you are a lucky winner in life’s lottery. You probably have two college educated parents, a unique gene pool, a relative on staff, blond hair and blue eyes or else you have mastered the art of making kissy noises to the teacher.
  • Red Ribbon Winner- You are a “High Achiever.” You didn’t get the highest scores but don't feel bad; it’s not your fault. Anyway, you’ll still get to be Valedictorian some day, along with 17 of your other classmates because its not fair to punish someone just because he (she, it, or they) missed by only a few points.
  • White Ribbon Winner- This is the “Attaboy” award. Don't feel bad, grades are not that important anyway. What is important is that you tried; that you gave it some effort; that you showed up and put in your time.

With my proposed grading system, everyone gets to feel good. Each parent will receive a "My Child Was Student Of The Year" bumper sticker so they can brag about their little achievers. Teachers will be warmly regarded and everyone will get to walk across the stage and receive their diplomas at graduation time. Then we can launch the darlings into the real world and dump them into the job market where their unsuspecting new bosses think they know something. And, by the way, if anyone cries "foul" we can just blame the whole problem of our failed education system on lack of funding, George Bush or the war in Iraq.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

A Very *Queer Thing Just Happened In California


*Queer. adjective. 1. strange or odd from a conventional viewpoint; unusually different; (Dictionary.Com Unabridged.)

Today, May 15, 2008, the California Supreme Court, in a single, outrageous act of arrogance, has thumbed its collective nose at the people, the constitution, and God by declaring homosexual marriage legal. Of this one thing, we can be absolutely sure; God will not be mocked. His wrath is certain and imminent.

In the hymn, “How Firm A Foundation,” the author asks this rhetorical question, “What more can He say than to you He hath said?”

There is nothing more that anyone of us can say on this subject and there is nothing more that God will say. HE HAS SPOKEN.
  • You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination. Leviticus 18:22
  • For whoever does any of these abominations, those persons who do so shall be cut off from among their people. ‘Thus you are to keep My charge, that you do not practice any of the abominable customs which have been practiced before you, so as not to defile yourselves with them; I am the LORD your God.’” Leviticus 18:29-30

  • If there is a man who lies with a male as those who lie with a woman, both of them have committed a detestable act; they shall surely be put to death. Their bloodguiltiness is upon them. Leviticus 20:13

  • For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error. Romans 1: 26-27

  • ...and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them. Romans 1:32

  • Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor £effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God. 1 Corinthians 6:9-11

  • But we know that the Law is good, if one uses it lawfully, realizing the fact that law is not made for a righteous person, but for those who are lawless and rebellious, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers and immoral men and homosexuals and kidnappers and liars and perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound teaching, according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, with which I have been entrusted. 1 Timothy 1:8-10

(The Supreme Court Judges who dissented the decision were Justices Marvin Baxter, Ming Chin, and Carol Corrigan. The majority, whose votes resulted in this high court overstepping its authority, are Werdegar, Moreno, Kennard, and George. Those four need to be recalled.)

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The Need For God's Power

"I refuse to pattern our ministry after the “seeker-sensitive” mentality of the modern church-growth teachers. Nor will I lead, as President, our college in the “market-driven” philosophy of modern-day educators. It is our desire to be Saviour-sensitive and Bible-driven in all of our decisions for our church, college, and Christian day school. Furthermore, I do not want to place myself in a position where I would ever be tempted to minimize the importance of an academically-qualified and spiritually-growing faculty. For example, one danger I see is that since accredited Christian colleges must have a certain number of professors with earned doctorates to maintain accreditation, there would be a temptation to maintain a professor who was not obedient in an area of the Christian life such as soul winning, or even church attendance, to keep the status with the accreditation agency, and subsequent cash flow. We would rather not place ourselves in that position.

I may be old-fashioned (I can live with that criticism), but I remain convinced that if a student is properly trained by godly and qualified teachers in both spiritual and academic areas, hears Spirit-anointed preaching on a daily basis, keeps his heart hot by serving in the ministry of a local church, and has the power of God upon his life upon graduation, God will use that student to impact the world regardless of the cultural expectations. It is that kind of graduate whom God has used in the past and the world is waiting to hear from today!"

From an article on school accreditation by Dr. Paul Chappell,
Pastor, Lancaster Baptist Church

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

I Really Am A Tree Lover

Why I Love Trees

Regardless of the rants I have posted here before about all the extreme, fear mongering, tree-hugging, earth worshipping, hand-wringing, industry hating, bottled water drinking, global greening, sterilized liberal environmental happycrap, I really am a TREE LOVER. Trees are a wonderful part of God’s creation.
  • Trees make good shelters from the wind and shade from the hot summer sun.
  • You can stretch a hammock between two trees growing close together
  • A good mature tree in your back yard can be a fun place for kids to climb, swing, and build a tree house.
  • If you cut it down, you can use the remaining stump for a pedestal for an outdoor table.
  • Chopped and stacked trees make good fuel to keep us warm in the winter.
  • Trees provide lumber to build homes.
  • They are good for holding up strings of Christmas lights.
  • Trees are at their best when they are transformed by skilled craftsmen into fine furniture, paneled walls or polished gunstocks.
What I Learned About Trees On The Road To Washington


On one of my many trips from southern California to Washington State, I tuned my radio to a talk show broadcasting from Boise, Idaho. The host was in dialogue with a city employee whose job it was to water the city's trees. I believe the caller stated that they maintained about 35,000 city owned trees and that no trees grew naturally in the region before people started settling in the area. Following that conversation, several things occurred to me about trees.

Privately owned trees in any city probably outnumber city owned trees by at least twenty to one, if not much more. I have no data to support that but I would think my estimate is very conservative, considering private and commercial landscaping, tree farms, groves and orchards. Anyway, it is safe to assume that there may be in excess of a million trees in the city of Boise, none of which existed before PEOPLE moved in.

People plant trees where they live. Except for a few mountainous areas on the route to eastern Washington, most of the terrain is, what I would describe as, high desert or high plains; miles and miles of nothing but sagebrush and wild grasses as far as the eye can see in every direction but very few trees (There was one lone tree along the highway, miles from nowhere, that I stopped at a few times. It was mutually beneficial; I was relieved and it was watered). I noticed that whenever I spotted a large group of trees on the horizon, usually a small town was located under them. People do not always locate where trees are but trees generally grow where people live. Johnny Appleseed was a real character in our history who traveled the country planting apple trees wherever he went. There are more trees on our continent today than there were when the Pilgrims first set foot on Plymouth Rock.


The Agricultural Value of Trees


Virgin forests are not nearly as dense as those forests where timber harvesting occurs. Trees planted on purpose are planted close together. In other words, where people harvest trees, there are many times more trees than in naturally occurring forests.

For those of you who think you are helping to preserve trees by refusing to use fresh cut Christmas trees, here is a news flash. Using artificial trees will NOT rescue one single tree from the loggers’ chainsaws. Should the entire population refuse to buy fresh cut trees, there would actually be millions fewer trees. Why? Because trees are a marketable commodity. Farmers who cannot sell their crops would destroy them to make room to grow more profitable crops.

An unused tree is a wasted tree. A forest of unused trees is a travesty. Forests, properly managed and harvested produce renewable resources. The only difference between groves of trees and a field of corn is the time required to bring the crop to harvest.

Preventing the harvesting of forests to protect the habitat of a bird is like firing your gardener for a grasshopper. The bird will come back to a new tree just like the grasshopper will come back after you mow the lawn.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Another Voice Weighs In On True Spiritual Worship

Mike Ratliff posted this great item titled, "Spiritual Worship" on his blog at Possessing The Treasure. It is a good description of true, biblical worship with a personal insight into his own struggles with a confused church that had slipped into a man-centered kind of "Feel Good" Worship.



"Nearly two years ago my wife and I left our old church because the leadership there began the processes to change it to the Purpose Driven Church model. There were warning signs that something was not quite right well over a year earlier. For instance, some couples had left the church because they wanted less “frivolous worship” and more Biblical preaching. About that time the Pastor created care groups. Each of the Deacons was given families to care for. There is nothing wrong with that, but when I began calling those in my group I came across some of those families which had left. They were nice to me when I called, but firmly told me that they weren’t coming back. I asked the Pastor what was going on. He told me that those folks wanted “only Hymns” and no “Contemporary” music. I looked at him and suggested that perhaps we could have both. He just shook his head and said that nothing could be done and that I should just cross them off my list."
Mike Ratliff

Rhino and Tickbird in Dead-End Relationship

Note: This item first appeared here in September, 2007 in The Onion, a humor publication that calls itself "America's finest news source." If you enjoy a good laugh, you might get a kick out of this selection from their weekly satire.

POLOKWANE, South Africa (The Onion) -- After three rainy seasons together, a black rhinoceros and a parasite-eating tickbird are beginning to suspect that their symbiotic relationship has fallen into a rut, the couple reported Sunday.

"We're really symbiotic -- almost too symbiotic," the rhino said. "It's just gotten so predictable lately that I'm starting to wonder, 'Is this all there is?'"

First meeting at a local watering hole in 2004, both creatures immediately saw themselves as natural for one another and, in the words of the rhino, felt something "new, gratifying, and mutually beneficial." Within hours, the tickbird had moved into the rhino's habitat and set up house on his thick hide.

But as time went on, it slowly dawned on the couple that their partnership was perhaps merely one of convenience.

"I admit, when we first got together, I was a total mess," the rhino said. "She really helped me clean up my act. But we've been together so long now that I always know exactly what she's going to do next."

Devouring horsefly larvae embedded in her 3,000-pound partner's back, the tickbird seemed to agree that there was little fire left in their symbiotic relationship. At worst, she said, it feels like she and the rhino have been trapped in the same dead-end symbiosis for "countless millions of years."

"We just go through the motions, and there's hardly any communication," the tickbird said. "And we do it the exact same way every time. I get on top and take the parasites off while he just lays there."

"Feed off the embedded ticks on his hide, chirp when the predators come. Feed off the embedded ticks on his hide, chirp when the predators come. Where's the passion, the heat?" the tickbird continued.

The tickbird also accused the rhino of trying to make her "feel small."

"He doesn't realize everything I do for him," the tickbird said. "If it wasn't for my 'incessant squawking,' as he calls it, he would be shot by poachers before he even saw them coming."

Both creatures separately expressed envy of their neighbors, a plover and crocodile, who "never seem to have the problems we do," the rhino said.

"That crocodile appreciates having his teeth cleaned, and he makes sure she knows," the tickbird said. "Look at that big grin."

The rhino said that he often feels like a victim of her nitpicking.

"I might look tough, but I have feelings," the rhino said. "I give her plenty to eat and a great place to perch, but it feels like she's constantly pecking an open wound. Ugh, why can't we just be friends with mutualistic benefits?"

The frustration has caused the pair to act out in passive-aggressive ways. The rhino will frequently charge without warning, jarring the tickbird from her perch. Meanwhile, the tickbird often deliberately embarrasses her partner by speculating aloud about a symbiotic relationship with a cape buffalo or zebra, often within earshot of those species.
According to a nearby elephant, this sense of stagnancy commonly occurs in symbiotic partnerships across sub-Saharan Africa.

"The rhino and tickbird may have evolved physiologically to meet each other's needs, but it's clear they haven't evolved emotionally," the elephant said. "They need to recognize that in order to go forward. The rhino's loud snorting is very alienating. And obviously the tickbird is projecting her own feelings of inadequacy when she criticizes the rhino for being a typical Diceros bicornis."

For all their friction, both creatures conceded that they weren't sure they could actually live without each other.

"I don't know why we stay together," the rhino said. "I guess we're just creatures of instinctual habit."

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Satirical Motivational Posters

The guys over at Pyromaniacs have a whole series of these Motivational Posters for the Emerging Church. These are great! They are pointed, cutting, sarcastic, and downright funny. And they are downloadable for free and suitable for framing. Check them out here. If you don’t really get a kick out of them you will probably be highly offended. Oh well, get over it!



Friday, May 9, 2008

Training Your Children For The Glory Of God

my daughter, Valerie, and her husband are both credentialed teachers who understand the importance of keeping their children far away from the evil influences of the godless public school system. They have five children so now Valerie is a stay-at-home Mom.

She has been busy evaluating Christian home school curriculum for next semester with her friend, Debbie. The following post is from her blog site titled, "Growing In Him":

"I have always had a desire to homeschool. I desire to train my children for the glory of God. I want to teach them that God is Creator of all things and we can have a personal relationship with our Creator. I want them to know God's Word and learn to hide His Word in their hearts. I want to train them in righteousness, to fear the Lord and to serve Him. This is what I believe God wants me to do, so I will act in obedience. I believe training my children is my God-given responsibility "Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it." Proverbs 22:6

Through many hours of praying and researching curriculum, we have chosen to use Students of the Word - http://www.sowcurriculum.com/.

This curriculum is Bible-based and all instruction comes from God's Word. This is a Christian Discipleship curriculum. “…from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:15-17

God's Word says, "The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.” Deuteronomy 6:4-9.

As we use this curriculum, God's Word will be impressed upon their hearts. We have chosen classical conversations curriculum and Ray's Arithmetic to use as well.

I look forward to beginning the adventure. I look forward to spending my days with my children as we work together and learn. I am excited to see my children learn and grow in wisdom and understanding."

Valerie Hixson

Bible Translations and Paraphrases

Pastor John Carlson is a friend. He has written the following article about the importance of accuracy in the translation of the Word of God.


What Are We Teaching?
By John Paul Carlson


Do we compromise the Word of God with the indiscriminate use of multiple Bible translations? I believe that many, for seemingly good reasons, teach less than Scripture, and in the process, teach a view of Scripture that is wrong.

Today we are privy to many different styles and philosophies of Bible teaching and different translations available to make the Bible easy to understand. One of the benefits is that we no longer need to struggle with a translation’s archaic language. But what I am concerned about is the “word for word” vs. “thought for thought” debate.

When we teach Scripture, we must be careful to present the Bible, according to the doctrine of inspiration, as God’s Word revealed to man with precision and detail. We study the original languages in order to understand the text and to maintain accuracy in teaching. We insist on textual integrity, and rightly so!

Jesus said, "Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished.” Matt 5:17,18

Dynamic equivalent translations, if used properly, can be wonderful tools for study enhancement and understanding. But, by definition, dynamic translations must include a sense of commentary. To do that, translators must interject thoughts, not words, and therefore the translations cannot be literal. Words have meanings. Dynamic equivalents take liberties where liberties should not be taken. A case in point is Romans 6:4:

  • Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. Romans 6:4 (NASB)
  • We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. Romans 6:4 (NIV)

The word “walk” in the NASB certainly denotes living. But the word “walk” carries with it a progression of moving forward that simply does not accompany the word “live” in the same way.
That being the case, the dynamic equivalent does not convey the exact detail and accuracy of the literal translation. If that is true, should we even call anything but a literal translation a Bible at all? Perhaps dynamic equivalents fit more in a category of a translation/commentary versions, or expanded versions. Either way they are not pure translations of the Bible.

When memorizing Scripture, we should only incorporate a literal translation. If our purpose is to truly hide God’s Word in our hearts, we must make sure it is God’s Word in its purest form and not a translator’s thoughts..

An accompanying issue is that of proof-texting. A popular practice in preaching today is to provide printed outlines or display Power Point presentations with the corresponding Scriptures included. This is fine unless those references are all from different translations and paraphrases. It seems as if the translations are often chosen because of how it uses a particular English word that fits into the speakers outline. The agenda is then set by the speaker in order to make his point, and not necessarily God’s. Such misuse of Scripture is common, and alarming! What does that teach people concerning the Bible? Can Scripture be twisted to say whatever we want it to say? Can the message of the Bible be adjusted to fit the meaning of the speaker?

Finally, where did we ever get the idea that literal translations are too difficult to understand? Sure, there are some passages more difficult than others. Isn’t that what pastors, commentaries, Bible study, prayer and meditation are for? If we are not teaching and demonstrating the Bible as the pure, unchanging, infallible Word of God, we are teaching and demonstrating something far less. And that is very dangerous.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Why Can't We Be Friends?

As president, McCain said, he'd be able to work well with members of Congress on the Democratic side of the aisle.

"We're going to get a dispute and a debate done, but in a respectful fashion," McCain said. "And I know how to reach across the aisle to [the Democrats]."

Why doesn't he just move his seat across the aisle; then he won't have to reach so far. Someone ought to reach across the aisle and slap him silly.

No Obama Nation

“We don’t deal with the serious issues that are in front of us, we try to figure out what’s going to poll well and what can we do to get through the next election.”

—Barack Obama


If that quote doesn't blow your mind, maybe you'll like this one better:

"I WILL raise taxes."

A Clear Trumpet Sound

In the past two decades there has developed an increasing interest in the subject of aging and spirituality. That topic has emerged to the center of attention by elder specific service providers and publications and in the field of academic gerontology. It is appropriately recognized that people are multi-faceted in essence; beyond the physiological, there is the emotional, the psychological and the spiritual.

The stated mission in our residential facility for the elderly is to minister to the entire person. We recognize that people have spiritual needs as well as physical and emotional needs. So I am especially interested in the concentrated attention this subject is receiving. As good as that sounds though, it raises some concerns.

In most disciplines of human study, there are certain bodies of truth that are generally insisted upon by mainstream scientists and practitioners. We know what is healthy and what is not, and we know what is normal and what is problematic.

So it seems reasonable to assume that there must be some truth or absolutes in spiritual matters also. The questions must be answered, “Does God exist?” and if so, “Has He absolutely and authoritatively revealed truth?”

Answers to those questions would certainly impact the way we address spiritual needs. Apart from God, treatment of the spiritual being remains very subjective and experiential. There is no foundation in truth. We are left to flounder within ourselves in search of personal truth that can only be validated by our feelings. That results in all sorts of subconscious, unconscious and intuitive activity. The goal becomes self-realization or self-actualization (whatever that means). Meditation is focused on inner voices (the spirit within). Faith is thought to virtuous or even therapeutic but it has no real object. Each individual’s personal experience is legitimized. Everybody is right; nobody is wrong. No wonder people are confused.

The Apostle Paul warns us in I Corinthians chapter 14. When it comes to spiritual matters, we are to speak in words that make sense. What value is there in words that no one understands? In verse 8 he asks, If a trumpet call isn’t clear, how would you know to get ready for battle? He concludes by challenging God’s people to be clear in speaking forth God’s Word so that when others hear, they will know that they are sinners and will bow down to God with understanding.

One of our desires when dealing with our elderly residents is that we give a clear sound in matters of spirituality. Do you ever question the meaning of life or wonder how to get to heaven? Do you get confused by many voices, philosophies and ideologies? Do you want to have the assurance of eternal life in God’s favor? Most people do.

Well there really is a God and He has spoken. And because He has spoken, we understand that we are all sinners in need of a savior. And we can also know that God has provided a savior for us in His Son, Jesus Christ. In John 14:6 Jesus said to Thomas, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No man comes unto the Father, but by me. God’s good news is clear and simple; “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved.” He is God’s only provision for our salvation. There is no other way.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

What a Wonderful World This Will Be!

“I want the Iranians to know that if I’m the president, we will attack Iran. In the next 10 years, during which they might foolishly consider launching an attack on Israel, we would be able to totally obliterate them.”

Hillary “Rambo” Clinton




photo and post by "PatriotPost.US"
<patriot-RA13678021@m1.PatriotPost.US>


I feel a whole lot better now knowing who might be answering that red phone at 3:00 in the morning.

"Feel Good" Worship

When my father told me, before he left for work, “Son, today I want you to take out the trash,” I understood two things about that directive.

First, I knew exactly what he meant. There was no language barrier or misunderstanding about the precise definitions of the words he used when he gave the command. This is a very important point - WORDS MEAN THINGS. It would not have been acceptable for me to go out to the garbage can, reached inside, remove all the trash, and spread it around on the driveway even though, to do so, some might argue, would have been a technically accurate response to the command, “take out the trash.” He knew that I knew exactly what he required. He expected me to place all the weekly household refuse at the street for pickup. There was no problem with his communication.

Second, I knew exactly what he expected. I knew how he wanted it done because he had given me detailed instructions in the past so that I was without excuse. He expected me to systematically empty every wastebasket in the house. He wanted the contents of those baskets placed in the large outdoor trash containers and he wanted those containers placed in the proper position at the curbside before the garbage truck arrived. I did not have the freedom to reinterpret his directive or exercise my ingenuity, variety, cleverness or creativity. It was not my prerogative to decide to burn the trash, bury the trash or recycle the trash. I could not delegate the responsibility to my younger siblings or pay one of the neighbor kids to do it for me. I was not at liberty to put our refuse into a neighbor’s can. My father gave me explicit instructions on what he wanted me to do and how he wanted it done. I understood that anything more than that or less than that, even if my intentions had been good or sincere, would not have been acceptable; it would have been disobedience.

So what, you might be asking, does taking out the trash have to do with worship?

Worship is something that God has commanded and therefore it is incumbent on us to understand the command. We are not at liberty to invent our own ideas of what worship is and what God should be pleased with. That is what Cain did and regardless how sincere Cain was, God was angry. Worship is not about our emotions, or feeling the warm fuzzies. And it is not about our music or our entertainment. In fact, the worship wars in most churches, over styles of music would end if we understood that the audience and object is God. It is not about our personal preferences or tastes. It is not about entertaining unchurched and unregerate "seekers." It is not for our edification or providing a venue for us to showcase our talents. It is for God's glory. He has given us plenty of instruction regarding the elements and content of our collective worship and He expects us to do it His way.

It was Thomas Watson who penned, “This Divine worship God is very jealous of; Divine worship must be such as God Himself has appointed, else it is offering strange fire" (Lev 10).

In its most common usage in Scripture, the definition of worship is to “bow down and obey.” Real worship has little to do with "experiencing" God. Real worship occurs when we humbly recognize and submit to God’s authority and lordship, and then obey His commands. Cain should have just brought the sacrifice God required rather than disobeying the command and bringing the best of his own works. It seems ludicrous that we think we can “go to worship” on Sunday mornings with our sincere offerings of euphoric music and "feel good about me" happytalk and then return home to spend the rest of the week unrepentantly continuing in our sinful habits and activities. It would be far better to skip the “worship services” and just recognize God's lordship and live in obedience to His commands.

"Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD," 1 Samuel 15:22-23

More of Algore's Symbolism Over Substance

“Gore’s new climate-change campaign calls itself ‘We,’ as in ‘wecansolveit.org.’ But its focus is not on how We can reduce our greenhouse gas emissions now. No, it focuses on how We can tell others how They should think about global warming. We’s focus is not on what We can do to reduce emissions, but what We can do to get Them to walk and talk in lockstep with the crowd. So when you click on ‘We are Succeeding,’ you don’t read about how entire towns have begun to carpool or that Hollywood biggies are giving up private jets to save the planet. No. For the most part, success is tallied by a convert count. As in: ‘Thousands Urge the Press to Ask Questions on Global Warming,’ ‘Stunning Response to Calls for a Global Treaty,’ ‘State Department Feels Public Pressure in Run-Up to Climate Conference.’ Then again, the global warming movement always has been more about symbols and professing belief than results.”


Debra Saunders
Patriot Post

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Passover Lamb Sacrificed In Jerusalem

In chapter 9 of the book of Daniel, we are told that antichrist will put a stop to the temple sacrifices in Jerusalem. Yet, there have been no sacrifices in Jerusalem since 70 AD. Or has there?

Just a few days ago during the Jewish Passover, the first Passover lamb was sacrificed in nearly 2000 years. You can see the video clip here at SHOFAR MINISTRIES.

It is not for the squeamish but it is prophetically significant and worth viewing.

Monday, May 5, 2008

The Rhinoceros by Francis C. Woodworth





rom the accounts of those who are best acquainted with the rhinoceros, it appears that the animal is tamed only with great difficulty, and never to such an extent that it is always safe to approach him. Sir Everard Home gives the following account of one in a menagerie in London: "He was so savage, that about a month after he came, he endeavored to kill the keeper, and nearly succeeded. He ran at him with the greatest fury; but, fortunately, the horn of the animal passed between the keeper's thighs, and threw him on the head of the rhinoceros. The horn struck a wooden partition, into which it was forced to such a depth, that the animal, for a minute, was unable to withdraw it; and during this interval, the man escaped. By discipline, the keeper afterward got the management of him; but frequently, more especially in the middle of the night, fits of phrensy came on, and while these lasted, nothing could control his rage. He ran, with great swiftness, round his den, playing all kinds of antics, making hideous noises, breaking every thing to pieces, and disturbing the whole neighborhood. While this fit was on, the keeper never dared to come near him."

When the rhinoceros is quietly pursuing his way through his favorite glades of mimosa bushes (which his hooked upper lip enables him readily to seize, and his powerful grinders to masticate), his horns, fixed loosely in his skin, make a clapping noise by striking one against the other; but on the approach of danger, if his quick ear or keen scent makes him aware of the vicinity of a hunter, the head is quickly raised, and the horns stand stiff, and ready for combat on his terrible front. The rhinoceros is often accompanied by a sentinel, to give him warning—a beautiful green-backed and blue-winged bird, about the size of a jay—which sits on one of his horns.

The following account of the perils of a party hunting for the rhinoceros is given by Mr. Bruce, a traveler of celebrity: "We were on horseback, at the dawn of the day, in search of the rhinoceros; and after having searched about an hour in the thickest part of the forest, one of these animals rushed out with great violence, and crossed the plain toward a thicket of canes, at the distance of nearly two miles. But though he ran, or rather trotted, with surprising speed, considering his bulk, he was in a short time pierced with thirty or forty javelins. This attack so confounded him, that he left his purpose of going to the thicket, and ran into a deep ravine, without outlet, breaking about a dozen of the javelins as he entered. Here we thought he was caught in a trap—for he had scarcely room to turn—and a servant, who had a gun, standing directly over him, fired at his head. The animal fell immediately, to all appearance dead. All those on foot now jumped into the ravine, to cut him up. But they had scarcely begun, when the animal recovered himself so far as to rise upon his knees; and he would undoubtedly have destroyed several of the men, had not one of them, with great presence of mind, cut the sinew of the animal's hind leg. To this precaution they were indebted, under God, for their lives."

The rhinoceros and the elephant have been known to engage in a pitched battle, in which case the former always comes off victor. The combat, however, is a very furious one.

There are two species of the rhinoceros. The one which is represented in the engraving is the double-horned rhinoceros. It is perhaps the largest of land animals, with the exception of the elephant. When pursued, notwithstanding its large, unwieldy body, it can run with astonishing swiftness.



from Project Gutenberg - "Stories about Animals: with Pictures to Match by Francis C. Woodworth."

The Virtue of Good Character

If you are a business owner or manager, chances are, you have had to recruit new employees. When you do, you hope to find good ones. So it is frustrating that labor laws actually make the process very difficult. The legal system would have us believe that experience and education are the only relevant qualifiers and standards by which we may evaluate an applicant. I think that’s insane. Most employers prefer to hire people of good character. For Christian ministies, it is more than just a preference; it is crucial. But it is nearly impossible, if not illegal to attempt to obtain insightful information regarding the backgrounds, private lives or morals of potential employees.

It wasn’t always like that. In the past our examination and evaluation of a person’s character for the work place was expected because good character was a valued virtue. How did we get to the place, in this nation, where character no longer matters? We have elected amoral lawmakers and we have learned to tolerate amoral leaders. So it is no wonder we now have laws to protect people’s personal lives from public scrutiny.

When our founding fathers set about to create constitutions for the colonies, two conflicting fundamental approaches to civil government emerged for public debate. One approach assumed that by passing good laws, we would fix civil problems. The other approach suggested that if we elected the right kinds of people, they would do the right things.

John Locke was a proponent of the first approach. He proposed that good, sound laws must be written. He believed that if laws are good, it really doesn’t matter who is elected to office. They will be bound by the good laws.

In contrast, William Penn believed that good men should be elected. He said that good laws may lack good men but good men will never lack good laws and will never allow bad laws. If the elected men are good, the government cannot be bad. If the men are bad, their government will never be good. So it really doesn’t matter how good the laws are, it matters how good the leaders are.

William Penn’s approach was founded in the biblical Proverb, “When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice; but when a wicked man rules, the people groan.”

One of the most popular textbooks in America’s history was written in 1812. It was a favorite of Abraham Lincoln and was used in public education for many years. This is what it taught about character; “Public character is no evidence of true greatness, for a public character is often an artificial character. If you want to know what a man is really like, you should watch him when he thinks no one is looking.”

Throughout the years, others have expressed that in similar ways. You may have heard some of these:
  • “The measure of a man's real character is what he would do if he knew he would never be found out.” - Lord Macaulay

  • “Character is what a man is in the dark.” - D.L. Moody

  • “Be more concerned with your character than with your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.” - John Wooden former UCLA basketball coach

  • And here’s an amusing old English one-liner: "A gentleman is one who uses the butter knife when he is alone." In other words, it's what someone does when no one's watching that indicates the true person. - J. I. Packer

The textbook goes on to illustrate the point by using a real life example. The man was a Brigadier General in the Continental Army and a patriot leader in the American Revolution. He was a war hero of the battle of Saratoga, the battle that turned the war. Those were his public credentials and they were quite impressive.

But he also had a private life. He was the General who was responsible for dispatching food and supplies to General Washington’s troops at Valley Forge. He sold wagonloads of supplies on the black market while Washington’s men were freezing, starving and dying. Later, he sold out West Point to the British for money.

His name was Benedict Arnold and he was tried and convicted for treason. His private life was a better indicator of his true character that his public life. The textbook closed with this statement: “…it is in the private life that we are to look for the man. Private life is always real life; that’s where a man is always sure to act himself.”

It wasn’t until the late 1800’s that our nation started entertaining the notion that a man’s private life is irrelevant in the political or public arena. Robert Ingersol espoused that, when selecting leaders, they should be elected on their public competence alone and their private lives should be disregarded. And we have bought it. We accept immoral behavior from our leaders and we have allowed our lawmakers to hinder our ability to discover good people of moral character for the workplace. If Benedict Arnold lived in contemporary America, he would not only be employable, he might be a very electable candidate for public office.


(some of this historic information was derived from David Barton)

The Happy Heresy of Easy Believism

Rick Warren has developed a series of Christian Life And Service Seminars that are available to and widely implemented by thousands of churches. There are four segments in his C.L.A.S.S seminars. The first one is CLASS 101 Membership. In the first section of the booklet, he deals with the subject of salvation and asks the question, "What Does It Mean To Be A Christian?"


Printed below in green text is a paraphrase of that new member discipleship material. The accompanying passages of Scripture are all in the New King James Version and are printed in red text. In the paraphrase, I have tried to set aside my preconceived understanding of biblical salvation and my bias regarding Rick Warren, and attempted to read and reiterate the content from an unchurched and scripturally ignorant "seeker" point of view.


YOUR SALVATION

“For you are all sons of God
through faith in Christ Jesus.
For as many of you as were baptized
into Christ have put on Christ.
There is neither Jew nor Greek,
there is neither slave nor free,
there is neither male nor female,
for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
Galatians 3:26-28

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE A CHRISTIAN?


Are you happy? Does your life have meaning or purpose? Are you satisfied?

Those are some of the most important, basic questions anyone can ask.

What is it that would really make you happy? Some people think that acquiring lots of things would make them happy. Others try to achieve happiness in pursuing and experiencing life’s pleasures. And others want to have notoriety, respect, or prestige.

These are not bad things. Did you know that God wants you to be happy? He loves you and He created you in His own image so that He could enjoy a relationship with you. You see He really wants for you to have the same things you want.
Jesus said, “…I have come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” John 10:10

God created the world for your use, your enjoyment, and your pleasure. You are special.
“So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.’” Gen. 1:27-28

“…God…gives us richly all things to enjoy.” 1 Tim. 6:17b

An eternal, loving relationship with God, a guilt-free conscience, a peaceful, and full life, purpose, self-confidence, security, health and strength, personal satisfaction, and freedom; all the benefits you want in life are freely yours to enjoy if you live in harmony with God’s purpose for creating you. It is not about just living; it is about living the lifestyle God wants for you. That is the abundant life Jesus came to tell us about.

So then what is the problem? Why are you not happy? Well, the answer is really simple. You want to satisfy your own desires instead of letting God make you happy. You want to do it your own way. That self-sufficient attitude is what the Bible calls sin.
“All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own
way…” Isaiah 53:6

“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23

That attitude, that desire to do it your own way, breaks your relationship with God. And when that happens, you are outside of His will. Then you are on your own, insufficient and unable to make yourself happy, and fearful about the future.

The ultimate consequence of that sin attitude is death.
“For the wages of sin is death…” Romans 6:23

Now there are two kinds of death. The first kind is physical death and everyone will experience that.
“And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment,” Hebrews 9:27

But there is another kind of death. It is a spiritual death, which is eternal separation from God.
“But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.” Rev. 21:8

The one thing you need most in life is an eternal, personal relationship with God. How can you have that? Well God has graciously made a simple way for you to enjoy that relationship. It is a gift; He has provided it free of charge, without cost. But, here again is the same problem. Most people want to pay their own way for that relationship. They will sincerely try real hard to create that relationship in all the wrong ways. They do that by trying to live right, and clean, and do good works. They try to kick bad habits. They try religion. And they try to keep the Ten Commandments.

Trying to pay your own way is that same attitude again, of wanting to do it your way that the Bible calls sin. And sin is what keeps you from a personal relationship with a God who desperately wants you to be happy. And, not only that, it will result in your eternal separation from Him.
“Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law.” Romans 3:28

“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” Eph. 2:8-9

“Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according toHhis mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit.” Titus 3:5

So how can you have that personal relationship? How can you enjoy the good life here and now, and forever?

Jesus Christ said, “I am the WAY, the TRUTH, and the LIFE, no one comes to the Father, except THROUGH ME.” John 14:6

Here is GOOD NEWS! Your sin problem (the attitude of wanting to do things your own way) that has resulted in your broken relationship with and eternal separation from God has already been taken care of by Jesus.
“For the wages of sin is death, BUT the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23

God did that for you because He loves you and He has a wonderful plan for you and He wants you to know and love Him.
“But God demonstrates His own love towards us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8

“For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.” 1 Tim. 2:5

God has done everything He can to restore your relationship with Him. He took the first step. He made the effort. He took the initiative. Now all He wants is to enjoy you and love you. He is patiently waiting for you to decide to accept what He has done for you.

Are you ready to accept Him? Are you ready to make a decision? Before you can make an informed decision, there are some things you should understand.
  1. We are all in the same condition. We all have that “I want to be in charge” sin attitude that has broken your relationship and keeps you from the glorious life that God wants for you.
    “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23

  2. Because of that attitude, you are in danger of the second death, which is eternal separation from God in hell.
    “For the wages of sin is death.” Romans 6:23

  3. God sent his only son to die in your place for your sin attitude.
    “But God demonstrates His own love towards us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8

  4. God loves you so much that He made this way to forgive you for your sin and to save you from eternal separation from Him.
    “The gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23

  5. God offers all this - the benefits of a personal relationship with Him now and the promise of eternal life. That is the GIFT of SALVATION. It has all been paid by Jesus. He died in your place. But, like all gifts, it is not yours until you receive it. The decision is up to you.

Here is how you can receive it:

  • You must speak audibly; that you accept Jesus into your life and you must believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead.
    “If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” Romans 10:9
  • You must call out to God to save you.
    “For whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Romans 10:13
    “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:12

    That’s all there is to it! That is what it means to be a Christian. It is so simple that most people miss it. Just believe and trust Jesus to save you. If you just did that and you invited him into your heart, then “welcome to the family.” Because you have made that decision; because you invited Jesus into your life, there are several things that God has just now, miraculously done for you:
  • He has given you eternal life.
    “And this is the testimony; that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God.” 1 John 5:11-13

  • He has forgiven all your sins.
    “In whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.” Colossians 1:14

  • He has given you new life and placed you into the family of God.
    “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” John 1:12-13

  • He has placed His Spirit in you, He has guaranteed a place for you in heaven, and you will never be in danger of losing your relationship with Him.
    “In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory. Eph. 1:13-14

-----------------------------

I asked a couple people I know to read and comment on it. Their analyses were kind of spooky. One man said, "Well, it sounds a little strange but basically I don't disagree with it." Another said, "It is biblically based."

That's where I freaked out. There are just too many Christians who really think that the test of legitimate doctrine is that something is "biblically based."

But that is the wrong test. When Satan tempted Eve in the garden, his argument was "biblically based." He used the Word of God with just a little bit of a tweak. The doctrine of Jehovah's Witnesses is "biblically based." All kinds of nutty practices and doctrines are "biblically based." the fact of the matter is that ALL HERESY IS BIBLICALLY BASED.

The important test of a teaching has nothing to do with its biblical basis; it has everything to do with its doctrinal soundness. We are commanded to "rightly divide the Word of Truth." That implies that it is possible to wrongly divide it.

Rick Warren's CLASS 101 presents a heretical, unbiblical, anemic, man-centered, false gospel where anyone can simply choose to accept Jesus without repentance or obedience.

Don't Worry; Be Happy!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

The MAGIC PRAYER That Will Change Your Eternity


WARNING! WARNING! WARNING!

You are about to read something that WILL NOT WORK. If you are not a Christian, understand this; THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A MAGIC PRAYER. DO NOT TRUST THIS PRAYER TO SAVE YOU FROM ETERNAL DAMNATION AND PROVIDE YOU A TICKET TO HEAVEN.
If you have any questions about your standing with God, please click on the "Important Information" link at the top of the right hand column on this site titled "HOW CAN I BE FREE FROM THE WRATH OF GOD?"

Sometimes people ask me why I am so cynical or critical about beliefs. The reason is that wrong beliefs can have eternally wrong consequences. The following, so-called, "Plan of Salvation" is offered by Rick Warren on pages 58-59 in his book, THE PURPOSE DRIVEN LIFE.


“Right now, God is inviting you to live for his glory by fulfilling the purposes he made you for (sic). Will you accept God’s offer?

“First, believe. Believe God loves you and made you for his purposes. Believe you’re not an accident. Believe you were made to last forever. Believe God has chosen you to have a relationship with Jesus, who died on the cross for you. Believe that no matter what you’ve done, God wants to forgive you.

“Second, receive. Receive Jesus into your life as your Lord and Savior. Receive his forgiveness for your sins. Receive his Spirit, who will give you the power to fulfill your life purpose. The Bible says, “Whoever accepts and trusts the Son gets in on everything, life complete and forever!” John 3:36a (Msg). Wherever you are reading this, I invite you to bow your head and quietly whisper the prayer that will change your eternity:

“Jesus, I believe in you

and I receive you.”

Go Ahead. “If you sincerely meant that prayer, congratulations! Welcome to the family of God!”


It matters not how sincere or loving we are in our intentions; it matters not that God accomplishes His purpose with His Word regardless of our ineptness or frailties, heresy by any other name is still heresy.