October 24, 2006

Christ on my Right, Christ on my Left

Missionary activity throughout the centuries in the church has born much fruit.
For example, in Ireland Patrick was converted in AD 385.
He was used of God to continue the work of evangelism in Europe.
Here are two of the soul fortifying hymns he wrote:

Today I arise, through God’s strength to guide me!
God’s might shall uphold me,
God’s wisdom shall lead me;
God’s eye looks before me;
God’s ear shall hear for me,
God’s word shall speak through me;
God’s hand shall protect me. –

For Christ is now with me, before and behind me;
Christ is within me, and beneath and above me.
Christ is on my right, and Christ is on my left
Christ is where I sit; and Christ is where I sleep.
Christ is where I rise, each day I get up.
Christ is in the hearts of all who recall me.
Christ is in the mouth of all who address me.
Christ is in the ear of all who do hear me.
Translated by F. Nigel Lee

Be Thou my vision, O Lord of my heart;
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art;
Thou my best thought, by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.

Riches I heed not, or man’s empty praise,
Thou mine inheritance, now and always;
Thou and Thou only, first in my heart,
High king of heaven, my treasure Thou art.

High King of Heaven, my victory won,
May I reach heav’n’s joy, O bright heav’n’s Sun.
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
Still be my vision, O ruler of all.

October 18, 2006

Foundation for Love in the Church - The Gospel

Here is an excerpt from good article by John Piper from an exposition of Romans 16 on the subject of brotherly/sisterly affection in the church. Below is an excerpt and then a link in case you would like to read the whole article.

May it be that we would never see one another the same again, as we contemplate what we have been saved from.

"The Foundation of Affection

Second, let’s remember that the foundation of this affection is in the death of Christ and our union with him. The reason I make this one of my points is that Paul draws attention to it eight times. Eight times he refers to these precious friends as being in Christ or in the Lord. Verse 7: “in Christ.” Verse 8: “in the Lord.” Verse 9: “in Christ.” Verse 10: “in Christ.” Verse 11: “in the Lord.” Verse 12 (two times): “in the Lord . . . in the Lord.” Verse 13: “in the Lord.”

What is the point of referring so often to very precious friends as being in Christ or in the Lord? It comes from a very intense feeling of being rescued from infinitely long suffering at infinitely great cost and then placed together into an infinitely safe and happy place. Listen to Romans 5:9. “Since . . . we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.” And Romans 8:1. “There is . . . now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” We have been rescued from infinitely long suffering, namely, the wrath of God. We have been rescued at infinitely great cost, namely, his blood—the blood of Christ. And then, put together into an infinitely safe and happy place, namely, in Christ Jesus.

Have you ever watched on television as trapped miners are rescued after being hundreds of feet underground for days with their families keeping vigil on the ground above? When they come out, they are not the only ones hugging and kissing. Everybody is hugging. There is something deeply bonding about a family defined by imminent loss and glorious rescue, safe on solid ground, surrounded by people they wouldn’t trade for all the gold in the world.
Experiencing the Gospel Again and Again

The foundation of Paul’s profound affection for these people is that he knows that he stood with them on the precipice of the wrath of God called hell, where he and they deserve to be today, and that he and they were snatched to safety by the Son of God as he went over that precipice. And they stand trembling, happy, hugging on solid ground, namely, in Christ. That’s why he says in Christ and in the Lord eight times. That’s where Paul lives with them.

We were in as much danger as we could possibly be in—together. And now, we are as safe in Christ as we can possibly be—together. This was so real for Paul he could still smell the flames. He could feel still feel the ice in this thighs as he looked over the edge of the abyss into the wrath of God. And now, rescued by Christ, and living in Christ, nobody looks the same anymore. Everybody here in Christ is blood-bought and safe."


October 17, 2006

Evangelicals Fear the Loss of Their Teenagers

Ron Luce praying with teens at "Teen Mania", which has entertained 2 million youth in the last 15 years at their events.

Data from all sides indicates that evangelical churches are in big trouble with their youth. In spite of all the money spent to "relate" to young people and with all the staff dedicated to evangelizing and mobilizing youth, they are leaving the church in droves.

New York Times writer Laurie Goodstein states,

"Despite their packed megachurches, their political clout and their increasing visibility on the national stage, evangelical Christian leaders are warning one another that their teenagers are abandoning the faith in droves.

Their alarm has been stoked by a highly suspect claim that if current trends continue, only 4 percent of teenagers will be “Bible-believing Christians” as adults. That would be a sharp decline compared with 35 percent of the current generation of baby boomers, and before that, 65 percent of the World War II generation.

For instace, she quotes Ron Luce, founder of Teen Mania.

"More than two million teenagers have attended in the last 15 years... That’s more than Paul McCartney has pulled in,” Mr. Luce asserted, before bounding onstage for the opening pyrotechnics and a prayer.

For the next two days, the teenagers in the arena pogoed to Christian bands, pledged to lead their friends to Christ and sang an anthem with the chorus, “We won’t be silent.” Hundreds streamed down the aisles for the altar call and knelt in front of the stage, some weeping openly as they prayed to give their lives to God.

My perspective on this: Millions of Church dollars are spent on youth ministry staffing and budgets as well as events with hip entertainment for millions and kids and almost nothing to show for it. This is nothing more than the results of setting aside God's revealed methods of evangelism and discipleship (Deuteronomy 6:1-9).

For the rest of the article, click link below


October 16, 2006

Marrieds - The New Minority in America

Here is a post on The Long War Against Creation Order Doctrines

New York Times author, Sam Roberts has reported that for the first time in American history, married people are outnumbered by the unmarried, making for a new minority.

Over the last century guidelines for marriage outlined in scripture have been progressively set aside. For example, he states that , "In 1930, married couples accounted for 84 percent of households in the U.S. By 1990 that number had declined to about 56 percent. In 2005 it slipped to 49.7 percent. "

He says that divorce, later marriages, cohabitation and homosexuality are the primary culprits. In each of these there is a devaluation or rebellion against scriptural teaching on these matters. As the trend continues, it is easy to see that we are headed for the kind of perspective on marriage that reigns in Sweden, where most people don't bother to get married anymore.

This is what happens in a culture when the creation order doctrines are ignored.


October 13, 2006

Sending Children to Public School as "Salt and Light"

Albert Mohler, President of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville Ky, comments on the argument that we should send our children to public schoos to be "salt and light". He says,

“I don't think God calls upon Christian parents to put our children in the schools as guinea pigs as salt and light. I'll be honest. I just don't think that at all is the biblical vision. The public schools are an innovation. They are not a fact of nature. And there's an agenda behind them. During the age of the 20th century the agenda was making American citizens. The central ideological character behind that was John Dewey, who taught most extensively at teachers college at Columbia University. He really set the agenda for the public schools nationwide in terms of separating children from their parents, in terms of ethnicity, in language and creating a common culture. He was explicitly anti-Christian. He wanted a common faith that had nothing to do with belief in God… I don't think the salt and light argument has to do with putting our children under the authority of persons who are going to teach the opposite of what we believe.”

I was asked by someone the other day, 'Why would you not allow your children to be in the public schools, and when they come home talk about the same issues and then correct whatever they have been learning from those who oppose what you believe?'

There are about two or three reasons for that. Number one, those school teachers often have kids, in terms of their attentive time, more than even parents--that they're outside the home, they're in the sphere of the school's control. Secondly especially for young children, I think the introduction of authorities other than parents, who are going to teach in contradiction of what the parent thinks, is a very dangerous thing. When you've got elementary kids saying, 'I know this is what Mom and Dad say but the teacher, who's got a college degree and she's got a master's degree, she's accredited.' When she has this kind of credibility I don't think that's something I want to do.

Transcript from radio program May 4, 2006

Family Integrated Thinking Comes to Southern Baptist Seminary

Randy Stinson (This is an outdated picture - he has two more young children not pictured)

Randy Stinson, who has been a warrior defending the creation order doctrines regarding manhod and womanhood for many years, has been appointed Dean of the School of Leadership and Church Ministry at Southern Seminary in Louisville Ky. He has always been an inspiration to me and I believe that his work in the last few years at CBMW has been one of the most significant influences in the theological community in America to reconsider the feminist hermeneutic. And he has been instrumental in challenging the feminized christian culture we have grown to accept as normal. For the last few years I have watched Randy labor over these issues in spite of the fact that many people in the church could not have cared less. Regardless, Randy deliberately and patiently continued to sweat and risk his reputation over critical theological issues, when many in the church were either yawning indifferently, or criticizing him or just happily sipping their (feminist) tea.

He has some interesting and groundbreaking objectives for his students:

New dean communicates family-centered vision for SBTS leadership school to trustees

October 13, 2006By Jeff Robinson

LOUISVILLE, Ky.—The School of Leadership and Church Ministry at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary will take a new approach to equipping students for local church ministry, but it will be centered around creation’s oldest institution—the family, new dean Randy Stinson told seminary trustees Tuesday during the board’s annual fall meeting.

In recent years churches have fragmented families by segregating them according to gender, age or other categories, Stinson said. Southern Seminary hopes to change that by teaching future leaders how to integrate local church ministries in a way that builds healthier families and churches, Stinson said. "

for more: http://www.towersonline.net/printer.php?grp=news&id=375

October 02, 2006

God's Kindness in Using Our Deprivations Here on This Earth to Woo us To Himself

The kindness of God is everywhere... even in the things He witholds from us.

Elisabeth Elliot says,

"Heaven is not here, it's there. If we were given all we wanted here, our hearts would settle for this world rather than the next. God is forever luring us up and away from this one, wooing us to Himself, and His still invisible kingdom, where we will certainly find what we so keenly long for."

Elisabeth Elliot, Keep a Quiet Heart