Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Character

"Ideal" is what you wish you were (fame is a vapor);
"Reputation" is what people say you are (popularity is an accident);
"Character" is what you are.

Robert Louis Stevenson (1850 - 1894) told the story of a Muslim veiled prophet who was a great teacher and was considered to be a light among the people. He wore the veil, he said, because his countenance was so glorious none could bear the sight of his face. But, eventually the veil decayed and fell away revealing nothing hut an ugly old man. Stevenson stressed that, “however high the truths the preacher taught, and however skillfully he might excuse the blemishes of character, the time comes when the veil falls away, and a man is seen by people as he really is."

Think of what this means for those in ministry. Charles Spurgeon wrote in his "Lectures to My Students:"

"Traveling one day on a train from Perth to Edenburgh, on a sudden we came to a dead stop, because a very small screw in one of the engines had been broken, and when we started again we were obliged to crawl along witi one piston—rod at work instead of two. Only a small screw was gone. If that had been right the train would have rushed along its iron road, but the absense of that insignificant piece of iron disarranged the whole. The anology is perftct; a man in all other respects fitted to be useful, may by some small defect be exceedingly hindered, or even rendered utterly useless in the ministry."

Monday, June 29, 2009

Depravity of the World

"I regard myself as an optimist. An optimist is a person who knows exactly how sad a place the world can be. A pessimist is one who is forever finding out."

(Peter Ustinov, 1921 - 2004)

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Carrying the Burden

When a Backpacker puts a pack on his back for an all day hike he can carry it one of two ways: either with his shoulder straps (placing the weight on his shoulders and back); or, with his hips (placing the weight on the lower part of his body).

If he uses the first way, his shoulders bear all the weight and he tires out easily and quickly because his shoulders aren’t built to carry that weight.

But if he uses his hips to bear the weight he can go all day without suffering greatly. The key is how he carries the load.

The same is true for the Christian: when carrying a load, he should be concerned with "how" it is carried and not the "why" or for "how long."

Friday, June 26, 2009

Online Evangelists Tap Millions Looking for God - ABC News

Online Evangelists Tap Millions Looking for God - ABC News

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That Mysterious "Something"

"Everything has that mysterious 'something' nowadays, whether washing powder or gasoline or vitamin pills or shaving cream or tooth paste-- everything has that new added element that no other brand has. This magic X has a wonderful unpronounceable name not yet in any dictionary. We smile, but thousands of gullible mortals will buy truckloads of the hokum and find it no better than something else they fell for months ago.”

(Vance Havner, 1901 - 1986)

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Local professor says Americans can relate to Iranians

By Jody Barr

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - With protests in Iran reaching a fever pitch, many Americans are watching the situation with curious eyes.

Columbia International University's Dr. Warren Larson spent 25 years of his life in the Middle East. He now teaches Muslim studies in Columbia.

Larson says all Americans can relate to the demonstrators filling the streets in Iran.

"What they're saying is down with the dictator," said Dr. Larson.

Read the rest of the article and view the video at http://www.wistv.com/Global/story.asp?s=10574972.

St. Jean Baptiste Day (Quebec)

Cher ami, j’aimerais vous poser une question, en fait, la plus importante de votre vie. Votre bonheur ou votre perte, pour toute l’éternité, dépend de votre réponse.

Voici la question: “Etes-vous sauvé ? Etes-vous sûr d’aller au ciel à votre mort?” Je ne vous demande pas si vous êtes membre d’église, mais si vous êtes sauvé. Il ne s’agit pas non plus de savoir si vous êtes bon, mais si vous êtes sauvé. En effet, personne ne peut obtenir les bénédictions de Dieu ou même aller au ciel sans être préalablement sauvé. Jésus a dit à Nicodème dans l’évangile selon Jean, au chapitre 3 et au verset 7 : “ Il faut que vous naissiez de nouveau ”. Dieu nous donne dans sa parole, la Bible, le SEUL plan de salut qui ait jamais existé; ce plan est simple et vous pouvez être sauvé dès aujourd’hui.

Le Simple Plan de Salut de Dieu

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

A Lesson On Complaining

A horse can’t pull while kicking,
This fact we merely mention,
And he can’t kick while pulling,
Which is our chief contention.

Let us imitate the good horse,
And lead a life that’s fitting;
Just pull an honest load, and then
There will be no time for kicking.

(Anonymous)

Monday, June 22, 2009

When Reason Ends Like A Bad Dream

"A sound explanation may exist for the explosive birth of our Universe, but if it does, Science cannot find out what the explanation is. The scientist’s pursuit of the past ends in the moment of creation.

This is an exceeding strange development, unexpected by all but the theologians. They have always accepted the word of the Bible, 'In the beginning, God created the heaven and earth' to which St. Augustine added, 'Who can understand this mystery or explain it to others?' The development is unexpected because science has had such extraordinary success in tracing the chain of cause and effect backward in time . . .

Now we would like to pursue that inquiry farther back in time, but the barrier to further progress seems insurmountable. It is not a matter of another year, another decade of work, another measurement, or another theory; at this moment it seems as though science will never be able to raise the curtain on the mystery of creation. For the scientist who has lived by his faith in the power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountains of ignorance; he is about to conquer the highest peak; as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries."

Robert Jastrow (1925 - 2008) from his book, "God and the Astronomers."

"For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe." (1 Corinthians 1:21)

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Strip Club Church?

Read about it here, pray like crazy, then get out there and preach sin, righteousness, judgment and repentance by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ!

Relatively Confused

Didja hear the one about the little boy who went into great distress when he heard his sister was going to have a baby?

His problem? "I don't know if I can wait nine months to find out if I am an an aunt or an uncle!"

Friday, June 19, 2009

Proven Character

A man is judged fairly well by his choice between a light burden or a strong back.

"And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope." (Romans 5:3-4)

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Buck Hatch Library

The Buck Hatch Library is NOW OPEN!

Best known for his seminars on marriage, the family and parenting, James M. “Buck” Hatch, served Columbia International University (CIU) as teacher, counselor and administrator for almost 40 years. A pioneer in the field of biblical counseling, Hatch taught and counseled not from a platform of strength, but from his own experience of brokenness and pain.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Audio Bible Ambassador Equips You For Virtual Ministry

David is a passionate believer in Jesus Christ with big dreams to help fulfill the Great Commission. In his younger days, he briefly braved the foreign mission field during a short-term trip, boldly sharing his faith. But now, he's an average office worker with a newborn baby and a new mortgage.



Audio Bible Ambassador Reach Map

During a meeting at work recently, he was asked to stand up and share something positive.



"Just last night, I reached 12 people with the Gospel message," exclaimed David. "My computer is distributing the Bible to people in Brazil, Germany, and all over the world. People are downloading the Audio Bible in their own language while I'm standing here talking to you, and some are hearing about Jesus for the first time."


David's story is not uncommon. Many believers desire to do great things for the Lord, but just don't know how. His story took a dramatic turn after a virtual visit to FaithComesByHearing.com. While there, he downloaded his free Audio Bible and signed up to become an Audio Bible Ambassador.



"An Audio Bible Ambassador is someone who has said, 'I want to reach the nations and make a difference for Christ by helping distribute the Scriptures through the Internet,'" explained Troy Carl, Faith Comes By Hearing's national director.



Faith Comes By Hearing, the world's foremost Audio Bible ministry, recently launched this revolutionary Bible distribution campaign.




Here's how to become an Audio Bible Ambassador - in 4 easy steps!



  1. Download a free Audio Bible.

  2. Register to become an Audio Bible Ambassador.

  3. Sponsor languages from around the world.

  4. Check back often to see your impact.




"Becoming an Audio Bible Ambassador is simple," said Carl. "You start by downloading an Audio Bible for yourself. Then you sign up online and choose languages to sponsor. When people search for their free Audio Bible in one of your sponsored languages, your computer talks to their computer and sends over the Audio Scriptures."



To see the impact, Audio Bible Ambassadors visit a secure, friendly, and interactive webpage that graphically displays a world map showing all those that they've shared the Word of God with.



"Through this outreach, you can make a difference for Christ and reach people while at work, surfing the web, or even while you're sleeping," Carl said. "By becoming an Audio Bible Ambassador, you will help thousands all over the world get the pure Word of God in audio in their heart language."



"Your computer becomes a Bible distribution center for those searching for the Bread of Life," said Carl.



On Monday morning, David encouraged his co-workers, "Over the weekend, I

reached 61 people with God's Word in audio. You need to go home today and become an Audio Bible Ambassador."


"This program is a great way to help fulfill Jesus' commands in the Great Commission," David added.



Become an Ambassador Today!





Quote




All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.
--Matthew 28:18-20








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Monday, June 15, 2009

The Insanity of Doubt

"To believe is to be 'in one mind' about accepting something as true; to disbelieve is to be 'in one mind' about rejecting it. To doubt is to waver between the two, to believe and disbelieve at once and so be 'in two minds'."

(Os Guinness, from his book, "In Two Minds")

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Decisions, decisions

There are at least two sides to every question, just as there are two sides to a sheet of flypaper--it makes a big difference to the fly which side he chooses.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Being Open-minded: Priceless

An open mind is priceless only when it's owner has the courage to make a final decision, which in turn, closes the mind after all sides of the question have been viewed and considered.

Remember: compromise is changing the question to fit an answer.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The "Missing Link" is Still Missing!

"Creation Moments Responds to the Latest 'Missing Link' in Human Evolution."

"It is now May and Creation Moments has been wondering when – during this Darwin’s bicentenary year – some startling new fossil discovery would be announced confirming Darwin’s Theory. Well, the announcement is a bit late – Darwin’s birthday was February 12. And, to put it mildly, the discovery is not at all spectacular.

It’s a skeleton of a lemur monkey a mere 21 inches long, but half of that is the tail. It is claimed to be 47 million years old, and it was found in two parts by an amateur fossil hunter in Germany in 1983. The fossil female monkey, squashed as flat as a beer mat, was cleaned and set in polyester resin, then hung on a wealthy private collector’s wall like a Picasso painting until 2006. She then came into the hands of a private dealer, Thomas Perner, who took her to the Hamburg Fossil and Mineral Fair in Germany. It was there, in the murky world of fossil-trading, that he learned the possible market price. Perner asked for more than $1 million – ten times the amount of even the rarest of fossils on the black market."

Read the rest of the article on the Creation Moments website.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Monday, June 08, 2009

Evangelical Group Banned From Tulsa Housing Projects, Chapter Leader Says - Local News | News Articles | National News | US News - FOXNews.com

Evangelical Group Banned From Tulsa Housing Projects, Chapter Leader Says - Local News | News Articles | National News | US News - FOXNews.com

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Setting the Table

In the year 1818, the King of Huachine, one of the South Sea Islands, became a Christian. He discovered a plot among his fellow natives to seize him and other converts and burn them to death.

He organized a band to attack the plotters, captured them unawares and then set a feast before them. This unexpected kindness surprised the savages, who burned their idols and became Christians.

(From the Encyclopedia of 7700 Illustrations)

Saturday, June 06, 2009

The Church

"The church is not a gallery for the exhibition of eminent Christians but a school for the education of imperfect ones."

(Henry Ward Beecher, 1813 - 1887)

Friday, June 05, 2009

Obama promises Arabs Jerusalem will be theirs

Obama promises Arabs Jerusalem will be theirs
Official: President said Palestinian state with holy city capital 'in American interest'

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One More Round

"Fight one more round.

When your feet are so tired that you have to shuffle back to the centre of the ring, fight one more round.

When your arms are so tired that you can hardly lift your hands to come on guard, fight one more round.

When your nose is bleeding and your eyes are black and you are so tired that you wish your opponent would crack you on the jaw and put you to sleep, fight one more round.

Remember: the man who fights one more round is never whipped."

(James J. Corbett, heavyweight boxing champion from 1892 to 1897)

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Perspective

When Goliath came to the Israelites, the soldiers all thought, “He’s so big we can never kill him!”

When David saw him, he thought, “He’s so big, I can’t miss!”

Now THAT's seeing from God's perspective!

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Studying: Our Redemption and Inheritance in Christ (Ephesians 1:6-14)

1) "Redemption Through His Blood." Listen to the message, or read the transcript and use the study guide for Ephesians 1:6-10.

2) "Divine Promises Guaranteed." Listen to the message, or read the transcript and use the study guide for Ephesians 1:11-14

Drive On!

"Any temptation that comes to us is not unique. Others have endured it and others have come through it.

A friend tells how he was once driving Lightfoot, the great Bishop of Durham, in a horse carriage along a very narrow mountain road in Norway. It got so narrow that there were only inches between the wheels of the carriage and the cliffs on one side and the precipice on the other. He suggested in the end that Lightfoot would be safer to get out and walk. Lightfoot surveyed the situation and then said, 'other carriages must have taken this road. Drive on.'"

(William Barclay, in commentary on Corinthians)

Monday, June 01, 2009

The Lamb and The Book (Revelation Revelation 6:1-8:5)

Stunned. That's the only word that can describe my reaction the first time I read through Revelation. As a junior-high school boy, the imagination was fertile and the curiosity insatiable. There may have been a book or two around the house that received a measure of consultation as my mind tried to absorb the imagery, action and statements of the Revelation, but that was not enough. Once I was so overwhelmed by the six and seventh chapters that I called my pastor, made an appointment and rode my bike the short few miles to the church so I could sit down with him to perhaps gain even a small measure of understanding. I've been dwelling on this ever since, and have by no means concluded my contemplations.

These two chapters of Revelation have been the object of much consideration and debate. Many of the problems solve themselves when we reconsider "how" the book is to be read--and our Western way of reading will not help. Everything described in these chapters point ahead to the great event of Chapter 19, and are not to be understood in a "linear" fashion as our way of reading leads us to believe; rather, we are to understand the unfolding of events, or "progress of revelation" as it is presented to the reader. We have already considered a painting motif in a previous post to help explain how the images are presented and how we are to understand the whole picture through a general survey, then a closer consideration of its parts.

Summative Overview (the book must be considered as a whole, not in parts):

Revelation 1: The Risen Christ commands John to write;
Revelation 2-3: Greetings to the Seven Churches;
Revelation 4: Vision of God in Heaven;
Revelation 5-6: The Lamb and The Book with Seven seals;
Revelation 7: Sealing of 144,000 and preview
Revelation 8-9: Trumpets 1-6
Revelation 10: The Angel, The Little Book, the Announcement of the 7th Trumpet
Revelation 11: Two Witnesses and the 7th Trumpet
Revelation 12: The Woman, Child and Dragon
Revelation 13: Beast and False Prophet
Revelation 14: 3 Harvests, 3 Angellic Announcements
Revelation 15-16: Bowls of God's Wrath
Revelation 17-18: Fall of Babylon
Revelation 19: The Second Coming of Christ
Revelation 20: Millennium, 1st Resurrection, Gog and Magog, Great White Throne
Revelation 21: New Heaven and Earth, Conclusion

First, the context Revelation 6-8 is Revelation 4 where we see the general and overall picture of heaven: God is seated on His stormy throne surrounded by elders and "living creatures." The setting to understanding The Book is Heaven, where God sits on the Throne. Chapter 5 focuses our view to see the Lion/Lamb who is worthy to break open the seals of The Book held in the right hand of Him who sits on the throne. The picture here is the a culminating event of Revelation 20. Just as the progress of redemption is unfolded throughout all of scripture and more fully understood in the life, death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ (God giving pieces of information along the way and not the full explaination all at once), so we have the progress of glorification here--given to us in pieces. Once we understand one part, then we can move on to another and a greater understanding. Think: 3-D, or "layers" of information.

What is this Book that only the Lamb can open? The Book is one of those opened before The Throne from which men are judged (Revelation 20:11-15). All creation is standing before God and history is unfurled so that all may see. "Every living thing which is is heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all things in them I heard saying . . ." (5:13). As heaven and earth are passing away, the wicked will be looking for places to hide in order to escape the wrath to come (6:15-17) when they learn that God is calling all men to account (20:11-15).

What is The Book About? We won't know until the Book is "opened;" that is, the all seals are broken. Also, the seals cannot be understood apart from The Book. Think of it this way: the seals are the Table of Contents that reveal what is written inside the Book: things about to happen; namely, conquest, war, famine, death and hell, martydom and the great day of God's Wrath. But none of the events take place until the Book is fully opened (7:1-3). Nothing hurts the earth, sea or trees during the breaking of the seals (7:3). None of the devestations described take place until the book is fully opened, all seals are broken and the first angel has sounded the first trumpet, which by the way, is one of seven described after the opening of the seventh seal.

Chapter 7 describes the final preparations before the rest of the Book is opened. Everything is on HOLD until: 144,000 redeemed Israelites are sealed (7:1-8); a preview of the Great Multitude, redeemed from all nations is given (7:9-17); an offering of prayers ascends before God for half and hour (8:1-5) and seven angels prepare to sound (8:2, 6). The earth is not to be hurt (7:3) until the first trumpet sounds (8:6-7).

The seals presents four riders, souls under the altar, sweeping physical changes to the heavens and the earth as well as the introduction of 144,000 bond-servants of God, concluding with silence and the distribution of seven trumpets and a angel with a censer. The first four visionary seals present four visionary horse riders commonly called, "Horsemen of the Apocalypse." These may be the same spirits of heaven who patrol and report to the Lord of all the earth, only now they are bringing a report of unappeased wrath (Zech 6:1-8). The key to understanding the imagery here is to remember that 1) this is an eschatological vision; 2) this is all tied to the Revelation of Jesus Christ. Nothing here occurs apart from this.

The riders of the seals are not identified (identity is not the point of the vision) as only one of the four is clearly named. These are personifications, ("incarnations" as it were) of events. In other words, in a spiritual fashion, this is the report of the riders concerning the depravity of men on the earth. The first rider is on a white horse and is carrying a bow. A crown is given to him and his went out conquering and to conquer. Historically, the rider has been indentified as the returning Christ and it is not until more recent time that the antichrist has been the suggested figure. Identity is not the point of the vision, but to report what is happening on earth: men are ruled. The second rider is a on red horse and is granted with global peace-taking and a sword is given to him--men murder one another. The third rider, on a black horse, has a pair of scales in his hand. A voice from among the four creatures gives his job description--men defraud one another. The fourth rider, on an ashen horse, is named "Death" and he is followed by hell. Authority is given to both Death and Hell to kill with sword and famine and pestilence; in other words, to use the accoutriments found with riders 2 and 3. Men die and enter eternity.

The fifth seal shows those who have been slain because of the Word of God and the testimony they maintained. These people have turned from sin through repentance by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and have lived their lives to the death in obedience to God's Word. Their testimonies are unlike those of mankind who unleash wickedness on the earth and are deserving of God's judgment. While these are kept under the altar, for safe-keeping, the wicked and unrepentant will find no place to hide--even under the rocks of the mountains being removed. These are the events of the sixth seal, as the very fabric of space and earth is becoming unraveled.

Remember the events described in 6:1-8, and how the last rider (Death followed by Hell) are given the authority over 1/4 of the earth to kill with sword, famine, pestilence and wild beasts. After John sees the souls under the altar looking for vengeance and souls under the rocks looking for deliverance, he sees four angels standing at the four corners of the earth holding back the four winds of the earth. Another angel ascends in the east and tells the four angels who have the ability to harm the earth and sea (6:8) to hold off until the 144,000 servants of God are sealed (14:1-4).

After these things, an uncountable multitude from every nation, tribe, people and tongue stand before the Lamb in white robes (6:9-11; 7:13) and cry out praises to God and to the Lamb. These who were under the altar are also under the tabernacle of God (7:15). The elders and living creatures are doing what they do: fall down and give worship on their faces. Judgment is over and beleivers are reconciled to God at last.

Now, when the seventh seal is broken there is a measurable period of silence in heaven. During this time, seven angels are given seven trumpets, which announce the plagues of the seven bowls (11:15-19; 15:1ff).

What does any of this have to do with the our Lord Jesus Christ? First, this is the introduction to His return in Chapter 19. Second, the imagery of the visions show the wickedness of men in the face of righteousness. There is no accident in the way men walk out sinfulness at this point. Wisdom literature is loaded with instruction for those who receive it, showing that righteousness delivers from death. Third, those who repent and are cleansed in the blood of the Lamb are preserved by Him and have all boldness to stand before the throne. Fourth, the Word of God proves unalterable. All history has pointed to this moment and nothing is going to change what is to come--the wicked will not stand with the righteous in judgment (Psalm 1). God is in control of all things and Jesus will receive the praise that is all His to the glory of God the Father who sits on the throne.

What can we do?

1) Repent. Turn from your sins and place your faith and trust in the finished work of our Lord Jesus Christ. Be of those under the altar (as it were) and not of those under the rocks.

2) See the fate of those who will not turn from their wickedness and let that drive you to go into all the world and preach the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus. What is animosity of unbelievers toward you compared with those who make a literal life and death decision when they follow Christ? Jesus is the object of hatred, or love.

3) Obey and Worship like you never have before.

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