Friday, July 27, 2007

Just checking in

Wow. It feels like a hundred years since I last made a meaningful post—I am not going to look in the archives to see when I posted anything other than a quote. I’ve actually been very busy this summer, with the University mostly, and besides teaching Sunday School and some evangelism (not as much as I would like), I’ve not really had the time to sit down and write.

School is keeping me busy: June Intensives are over and we are on our way to the Online courses now. In the meantime, we’ve been working hard on accreditation in the background. I am spending my days accumulating documentation and preparing them for the accreditation visit—I actually enjoy the research, the organization and publishing. Certain faculty have declared me “sick.” I like to think of it as “gifted in other areas they are not.” Anyhoo, the work is demanding, but I love it—though it leaves me drained.

For the first time since I can’t remember when, I actually sat down and read an entire book in one weekend. And it wasn’t even on my reading list! Ha! I’ve actually read two-and-a-half books in the last month. First, I read “D.L. Moody: The Greatest Evangelist of the Nineteenth Century,” by Faith Coxe Bailey (Moody Press, 1987) that, truthfully, left me scratching my head. I felt the author did not do her best to portray the man—and D.L. himself deserves a head-scratching all on his own accord. Personally I was surprised Moody Press published such a weak, inconsistent account.

Disgruntled but not distraught, I remembered I had another biography on Moody sitting on my shelf that I am now half-way through (a much better one too), called “Moody without Sankey” by John Pollock (Hodder and Stoughton, 1963). D.L. will always be “crazy Moody” no matter who writes of him, but this is a much better book. I realized that, even after two books, not much is said about his messages or writings specifically (they say more about his style than content), so I got to Googling and found a small wealth of work from Moody’s pen that I’ve been entertaining on the side.

The one book I actually read in one weekend was, “Bruchko” by Bruce Olson (Charisma House, 1995). This was a riveting account of a 19 year-old who heard the call of the cross and left everything for the South American jungles and spent years with the murderous Motilone Indians. Very inspiring and challenging. You can almost feel the bug-bites.

Other than that, we’ve been enjoying getting to know God better through His wonderful and miraculous provisions. Each day He astounds and amazes me just a little more, and I fall just a little deeper in love with Him. We’ve faced some family/health/life challenges, but it is only through His marvelous grace we’ve been able to get through. All I can say is, “wow.”
Keep praying for open doors for evangelism and clear communication of the gospel!

I’m gonna go find another book.

You have a nice day.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Everyone was happy!

"IT WAS STRICTLY FORBIDDEN to preach to other prisoners, as it is in captive nations today. It was understood that whoever was caught doing this received a severe beating. A number of us decided to pay the price for the privilege of preaching, so we accepted their terms. It was a deal: we preached and they beat us. We were happy preaching; they were happy beating us - so everyone was happy."

--Richard Wurmbrand

Friday, July 20, 2007

Three stages in every great work of God

"I have found that there are three stages in every great work of God: first, it is impossible, then it is difficult, then it is done." --Hudson Taylor

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

A prayer by D.L. Moody

"Our Heavenly Father, we pray that thy blessing may rest on each one of us who profess to be Christians. O Lord, help us to love Christ more than we love ourselves: help us to be more like him in our way of life. Help us, O Lord, to walk humbly, prayerfully, consistently on, in the dust of our pilgrimage so that men may not stumble over us and say, "They profess only; they never do anything." o God, help us to live up to what we profess, through thee, in Christ Jesus, and may it be shown in each one of us. We pray for any that may have backslidden in this assembly, who may have wandered from God. This day fill them with regret that they ever turned their backs on thee. We pray that thou, O Lord, may meet them this day in this Tabernacle, and turn their faces to thee again. O God, they have wandered from thee; but do thou grant that this day they may meet the Lord of eternal life. We pray for those also without God and without hope. We pray for the unsaved in this assembly. O God, let them meet thee here and now. O God! touch their hearts. Open their eyes, that they may see their sin and know how great the sin is that possesses them; for Satan has blinded their eyes, O God, and they have abandoned thee. Make them to know how hard their hearts are. Open their eyes this day. O Lord, may the angels rejoice over souls saved this afternoon. May the wanderers, who have drawn back and rejected thee for years, open the door of their hearts and welcome thee in. We pray that the power coming forth from this meeting may be felt on the shores of eternity. O God of Adam and God of our Fathers, hear our cry and bring salvation; and may many this day receive the gift of God, and come down to this house and testify. We pray that thy blessing may rest on these mothers gathered here to-day. If they have children, who are rushing down to death and ruin, may God hear their cry, and may their children be turned from darkness to light, from Satan to thee. We pray that thy blessing may rest richly on those who have gone to the overflow meeting. May the Spirit of God be poured out on this church and on all thy churches; and may many be drawn to thee and love thee. May the work go on through Boston, we pray thee, and all through New England; and Christ shall have the glory. Amen."

A Prayer by D.L. Moody as recorded in "The Gospel Awakenings, Sermons and Addresses, Prayer-Meeting Talks and Bible Readings of the Great Revival Meetings Conducted by Moody and Sankey," pp.721-733. Published in 1885.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

The Reward of the Faithful

"Think of the privilege, my friends of saving a soul, if we are going to work for good we must be up and about it. Men say, "I have not the time." Take it. Ten minutes every day for Christ will give you good wages. There is many a man who is working for you - Take them by the hand. Some of you with silver locks, I think I hear you saying, I wish I was young, how I would rush into the battle." Well, if you cannot be a fighter, you can pray and lead on the others. There are two kinds of old people in the world. One grows chilled and sour, and there are others who light up every meeting with their genial presence, and cheer on the workers. Draw near, old age, and cheer on the others, and take them by the hand and encourage them.

There was a building on fire. The flames leaped around the stair case, and from a three story window a little child was seen who cried for help. The only way to reach it was by a ladder. One was obtained and a fireman ascended, but when he had almost reached the child, the flames broke from the window and leaped around him. He faltered and seemed afraid to go further. Suddenly some one in the crowd shouted, and then a cheer went up. The man was nerved with new energy, and rescued the child. Just so our young men. Whenever you see them wavering, cheer them on. If you cannot work yourself, give them cheers to nerve them on in their glorious work. May the blessing of God fail upon us this afternoon, and let every man and woman be up and doing."

D.L. Moody, "The Reward of the Faithful."

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Preaching the Cross

Click on the image to go to WTS Books, "Preaching the Cross" by Mark Dever, Ligon Duncan III, Al Mohler, C.J. Mahaney, John MacArthur, John Piper and R.C. Sproul.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Speak up!

“A buoy off the Mumbles in South Wales bears a bell which is meant to warn mariners of a dangerous rock. This bell is quiet enough in ordinary weather, but when the winds are out and the great waves rush in towards the shore, its solemn tones are heard for miles around as it swings to and fro in the hands of the sea. I believe there are true men who are silent when everything is calm, who will be forced to speak when the wild winds are out. Permit me to assure you that a storm is raging right now and it is growing worse and worse. If I rightly read the signs of the times, it is meet that every bell should ring out its warning note lest souls be lost upon the rocks of error. You that have fallen behind because the fight did not seem to require you, must quit your positions of ease. I summon you in the Master’s name to the war! The Lord has need of you! If you come not to His help against the mighty, a curse will light upon you. You must either be written across the back as cowards, or else you will, today, solemnly espouse the cause of Jesus!”

Charles Spurgeon, Sermon #1789, Volume 30—Joseph of Arimathaea

Thinking about: Matthew 11:28

Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)

There is no question here as, “do you want to come?” or “will you come?” or “would you like to.” He gives an imperative, “Come,” communicating the necessity for movement from one point to another. There is no vagueness when He commands, as if we would hear a distant sound and in some adventurous meander attempt to discover from whence it came. He is very specific, so let there be no mistake when He is understood to say, “Come unto Me.” What Jesus says is, “Come here, to this place. Leave where you are and come to where I am.” The Lord Jesus Christ does no begging, He chases after no one. God almighty has already emptied Himself into the form of this bondservant in order to become obedient to the point of death, even death on the cross. He will not move from His place to go chasing after those who need to move.

That we may move, we must be broken away from that to which we cling. We must leave our place of comfort and those things which receive the love of our heart—our idols and adulteries. “Think of the things we will not come to Jesus Christ about. If you want to know how real you are, test yourself by these words – ‘Come unto Me.’ In every degree in which you are not real, you will dispute rather than come, you will quibble rather than come, you will go through sorrow rather than come, you will do anything rather than come the last lap of unutterable foolishness – ‘Just as I am.’ As long as you have the tiniest bit of spiritual impertinence, it will always reveal itself in the fact that you are expecting God to tell you to do a big thing, and all He is telling you to do is to ‘come.’” (Chambers, Oct 8)

Herman Melville’s Father Mapple preached to us from that 9th chapter of Moby Dick, wherein he exclaimed, “if we obey God, we must disobey ourselves; and it is in this disobeying ourselves, wherein the hardness of obeying God consists.”

Jesus calls men to Himself. And where is He? He is ahead, in front. “He will always be ahead of you, bidding you follow Him as the soldier follows his captain. He will always go before you to pave your way, and clear your path, and you shall hear His animating voice calling you after Him all through life; while in the solemn hour of death, His sweet words with which He shall usher you into the heavenly world shall be ’Come, ye blessed of my Father.’” (Spurgeon, Day by Day.)

Think of it. “How often have you come to God with your requests and gone away with the feeling, ‘Oh, well, I have done it this time!’ And yet you go away with nothing, whilst all the time God has stood with outstretched hands not only to take you, but for you to take Him. Think of the invincible, unconquerable, unwearying patience of Jesus – ‘Come unto Me.’” (Chambers, Oct 8)

Who is it that needs to come to Him? Who does Jesus call? “All who are weary (labor) and heavy-laden.” Jesus has been pronouncing woes against cities very near to his ministry centre who will not repent. In those woes He has declared the ends of Tyre and Sidon, even Sodom in the Day of Judgment to be better than those in Capernaum who hear His words and see His works and will not turn from their sin. Jesus’ call, “To Me! To Me!” is not separated from His call to repent. He calls those who are worked to spiritual exhaustion. He calls those who have wasted their lives in pursuit of nothing eternal. He calls to those who with each step are bent a little further down as the weight they should roll over onto Him grows heavier.

And why should anyone come? For rest.

“’. . . and I will give you rest,’ i.e., I will stay you. Not, ‘I will put you to bed and hold your hand and sing you to sleep’; but, ‘I will get you out of bed, out of the languor and exhaustion, out of the state of being half dead while you are alive; I will imbue you with the spirit of life, and you will be stayed by the perfection of vital activity.’” (Chambers, June 11)

“It is never God's will that we should be anything less than absolutely complete in Him. Anything that disturbs rest in Him must be cured at once, and it is not cured by being ignored, but by coming to Jesus Christ.” (Chambers, Aug 11)

Will God say of you, “I called and you did not answer; when I spoke, you did not hear and did evil before My eyes, and chose that in which I did not delight.” (Isaiah 65:12)

Sam Storms is quoted from his book, “Signs of the Spirit: An Interpretation of Jonathan Edwards's "Religious Affections”, explains how we must “Come” from our various places in life:

“Come, confessing your utter inability to do or offer anything that will empower God or enrich, enhance, or expand God.

Come, with heartfelt gratitude to God for the fact that whatever you own, whatever you are, whatever you have accomplished or hope to accomplish, is all from him, a gift of grace.Come, declaring in your heart and aloud that if you serve, it is in the strength that God supplies (1 Pet. 4:10); if you give money, it is from the wealth that God has enabled you to earn; if it is praise of who he is, it is from the salvation and knowledge of God that he himself has provided for you in Christ Jesus.

Come, declaring the all-sufficiency of God in meeting your every need. Praise his love, because if here were not loving, you would be justly and eternally condemned. Praise his power, because if he were weak, you would have no hope that what he has promised he will fulfill. Praise his forgiving mercy, because apart from his gracious determination to wash you clean in the blood of Christ, you would still be in your sin and hopelessly lost. So, too, with every attribute, praise him!

Come, with an empty cup, happily pleading: ‘God, glorify yourself by filling it to overflowing!’

Come, with a weak and wandering heart, joyfully beseeching: ‘God, glorify yourself by strengthening me to do your will and remain faithful to your ways!’

Come, helpless, expectantly praying: ‘God, glorify yourself by delivering me from my enemies and my troubles!’Come, with your sin, gratefully asking: ‘God, glorify yourself by setting me free from bondage to my flesh and breaking the grip of lust and envy and greed in my life!’

Come, with your hunger for pleasure and joy, desperately crying: ‘God, glorify yourself by filling me with the fullness of joy! God, glorify yourself by granting me pleasures that never end! God, glorify yourself by satisfying my heart with yourself! God, glorify yourself by enthralling me with your beauty . . . by overwhelming me with your majesty . . . by taking my breath away with fresh insights into your incomparable and infinite grandeur! God, glorify yourself by shining into my mind the light of the knowledge of God in the face of Jesus Christ!”

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Open Air Preaching at the 2007 "Follow the Christ" Jehovah's Witness Convention

Why is there a one-way street?

Help Wanted: goddess needed.

By BINAJ GURUBACHARYA, Associated Press Writer Tue Jul 3, 4:26 PM

A 10-year-old Nepalese girl was stripped of her title as a living goddess because she traveled overseas to promote a documentary about the centuries-old tradition, an official said Tuesday.

Sajani Shakya had her status revoked because she broke with tradition by leaving the country, said Jaiprasad Regmi, chief of the government trust that manages the affairs of the living goddesses.

Read the rest here.

This is sad.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

The potency of Free Will

"A man's free will cannot cure him even of a toothache or a sore finger, and yet he madly thinks it is in his power to cure his soul of sin. Actually, the greatest judgment which God Himself can in this present life inflict upon a man is to leave that man in the hand of his own boasted free will."

-- Augustus Toplady (1749-1778)

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