All posts by Eternity Matters

Love in the Book of Acts

heart.gifHow many times do you think the word love is mentioned in the Book of Acts?  I often use this as a warm up question when teaching about evangelism.  The answers usually range from somewhere in the teens to over 100.

Before you answer, here are a few Acts facts to consider:

  • Acts has 28 chapters (the average book in the Bible has 18 )
  • Acts chronicles the spread of the early church over nearly 30 years, from Jesus’ final words and his ascension into Heaven all the way through the Apostle Paul’s imprisonment near the end of his life.
  • Acts includes 13 presentations of the Gospel to a variety of people – crowds, individuals, Jews, Gentiles, ordinary citizens, high-ranking government officials, etc.

So how many times it the word love is mentioned in Acts?

Here’s the answer: 0.  Zero.  Z-E-R-O.  Seriously.  Do a word search in your Bible software.  It’s OK, I didn’t believe it the first time I heard it.

So what’s the point?  Does that mean love isn’t important?  Of course not.  God displays perfect love throughout his Word and his love for us is displayed in the sacrifice of Jesus the Son on the cross.  And it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t mention God’s love when sharing the Gospel.

But it does tell us some important things about evangelism.  The history of the early church should certainly provide a model for how we should go about sharing the truth of the Gospel.  The primary model used in Acts was to lay out the facts of Jesus’ life, death, resurrection and miracles and to highlight our need for him and his forgiveness.  There are calls for repentance.  But God’s love is never directly mentioned and there is no hint at universalism (the notion that everyone goes to Heaven). 

Preaching God’s unconditional love without the need for repentance and faith in Christ is not a Biblical model.  It can give people a false sense of security, as in, “God loves me without conditions?  Great!  No need to change anything.”

People need to understand the bad news (they are sinners against a perfect and Holy God and rightly destined for an eternity in Hell) before they realize their need for the Good News (Jesus took the punishment for our sins and we can be completely and eternally forgiven and reconciled to God if we put our faith in Jesus).

Also note that the Gospel presentations in Acts rebut the myth that Christianity involves faith without reason.  Each time the message is given it is based on facts, logic and appeals to reason.  At no point is the message to have blind faith.

Acts 17:29–31 Being then God’s offspring, we ought not to think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of man. The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.

Read Acts for yourself and see what I mean, or read about Preaching God’s love in Acts.

Hat tip: Greg Koukl – Stand to Reason

Remember, it is called the Good News for a reason

It is bad enough that Christians aren’t more intentional about sharing the Gospel. But in a twist that Screwtape would be proud of, countless people who profess to follow Christ are actually proud about not sharing the Good News.  Michael Moore gave a good example of this when he said:

I have always believed that one’s religious leanings are deeply personal and should be kept private.

I’m not sure where he came up with that belief, but it isn’t in the Bible.  Since Moore was claiming to speak for Jesus, perhaps he should tell us how the Bible teaches that we should be private about our religious beliefs.  That would make it hard to fulfill the Great Commission: Matthew 28:19-20 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. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

A commenter named Joanne noted that:

Progressive denominations have stopped trying to proselytize with their missionaries YEARS ago. Look at Global Ministries (UCC/Disciples of Christ). They make no efforts to convert people.

She’s right, and it is pathetic that those organizations who willfully withhold the Gospel call themselves churches or “disciples of Christ.”

A regular commenter (“Sunday School Teacher”) noted this:

Our church is currently having a sermon series on Wesley’s “Three Simple Rules”.

The 1st rule is “Do No Harm”. Some people are trying to use this rule to argue that we should not try to change the religious view of others, as this could lead to conflict and thus harm.

I’m glad that SST is trying to lead his church in the right direction, but it is amazing that people learning about John Wesley would ever imagine that he’d discourage people from sharing the Gospel.  They couldn’t be more wrong.

As Paul said in Romans 1:16:

I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.

From the Newsboys song, I’m Not Ashamed:

What are we sneaking around for?  Who are we trying to please?

Shrugging off sin, apologizing like we’re spreading some kind of disease.  I’m saying no way.  No way.

I’m not ashamed to let you know I want this light in me to show. I’m not ashamed to speak the name of Jesus Christ.

This one says, “It’s a lost cause.  Save your testimonies for church time. ” Other ones say, “You’d better wait until you do a little market research.”

I’m saying no way.  No way.

The Gospel can and will offend people.  We don’t want to add to the offense with our own style, but that is no excuse not to share it.  The bad news is that we are all sinners in need of a Savior.  The Good News — and it is still good news worth sharing — is that there is a Savior.  He is Jesus, and He is the only way to salvation.

Hear the Good News, believe the Good News and share the Good News!  But please don’t identify as a Christian if you think it is bad news and refuse to share it with others.

You can’t count on Cunnane

Update at the bottom.

This is just a quick post to share my disappointments with our house builder, the Cunnane Group.

If you make the mistake of going with Cunnane, be sure to get everything fixed before they finish your neighborhood. The responsiveness drops off completely after that. Just one example: They couldn’t get our master shower grout right after four tries and then had the nerve to refer us to 3rd parties that we’d have to pay.  Grout is not a cosmetic issue, and gaps can lead to serious water damage.  And they refused to discuss it or explain why. It is always disappointing to see businesses sacrifice their integrity and reputations to save a couple bucks.

I had initially left positive messages about them on various review sites, so now I’ll need to go back and fix those.

I’ll also be contacting the BBB, but there can’t be any real resolution at this point.  If you can’t get something simple like grout right after four tries, then house building may not be your forte’.  I’m weary of the clown show that is their warranty department.  So I’ll just find a competent repair person while I warn my neighbors about Cunnane.

It takes a special kind of foolishness to be 99.9% complete with a business relationship and then torch your reputation over an immaterial amount of money.

Update

They had completely ignored me until I let them know I’d be leaving bad reviews and writing this post, but then they finally responded defensively.

An excerpt:

We did the best we could under the circumstances. We regrouted your shower 3x.

Part of my response:

You did not do the best you could under the circumstances.  That would have involved getting shower grout right the first time. Or the 2nd.  Or the 3rd. Or the 4th.  And then not just telling me to pay for it myself.   And then not refusing to call me.  You calling that your “best” proves all my points.  A good company would say, “Wow, I’m so sorry for all the trouble! I commit to getting it done right once and for all.”  You have demonstrated what kind of company you are.

Re. “We regrouted your shower 3x.”  Yes, that’s true, because you did it wrong the first time AND on all three retries!  Glad we agree.  Classic.  Again, feel free to tell the BBB and others how unreasonable I am for expecting you to get shower grout done properly.

And they wrote this:

You threaten me with bad reviews of my company.

My response:

You misunderstood.  That wasn’t a threat, just a statement of fact.  If I had said, “Fix my grout or else I’ll leave bad reviews,” that would have been a threat.  My message was: You had your chances and communicated (and then deliberately failed to communicate at all) in bad faith, so even if you offered to come out now I’d refuse.  Therefore I’m reversing the good reviews I had given and changing them to bad ones.  And adding new bad ones.

It is interesting how many points people will concede when they are in defense-mode!

The predictable outcomes of living together outside of marriage

train-wreckSo predictable:

  1. Girl agrees to move in with guy to get closer to marriage but keep her options open.  Guy figures he’ll get more sex and save a little $.  The stigma vanished long ago, so why not?
  2. Real-life challenges strain relationship, making him slightly less likely to want to marry.
  3. Delays in him proposing make her increasingly irritated that he won’t commit, so that makes him much less likely to want to marry her.

The last step repeats until they both hate each other and break up – her deriding his ability to commit and regretting the time she wasted — sometimes years — and him thinking it was good that they lived together first so he could realize how awful she was (“Whew, dodged a bullet there!”).

Here’s another example:

The important part is that Jane has secured the status of public investment while keeping her options entirely open.  If Jane decides that she can do better, she will toss him aside as she has done with so many other men, and find a new man to have sex with. Eventually Jane finds that one of these men is the one she wants to marry, so she pressures him to propose. He could be man #3 in her quest, or man #53. If she chooses man #53 and he doesn’t propose, Jane loudly complains that all men are afraid of commitment. And Jane should know, given her wide experience with men.

Jane then says to any conservative who will listen, which is pretty much every conservative:

Look at cruel Bob. He moved in together with me for free sex, but now I’m afraid he isn’t going to commit. He was just using me!

And the conservative is outraged. Here Jane is following the sacred path to marriage, tirelessly sampling penises (poor Jane sampled 53 just to be thorough) until she finds the one whose owner owes her a marriage vow, and now that she found the one she wants to propose he is ruining the whole thing!

Of course, this is all un-biblical yet rarely challenged in the church.  It is terrible for the man, the woman and any children the union produces.  Abuse is more likely, they are more likely to get divorced even if they do marry and more.

There is a better way: No sex outside of marriage and one man/one woman unions in lifetime commitments.


Also see Global Spike In Cohabitation Is Destabilizing Children’s Lives (Hat tip: Glenn)

Also see The Economics of Sex (Hat tip: Stan).  This seems purely secular, but is deadly accurate from an economic standpoint and is supported by the Christian worldview. Don’t blame the “patriarchy,” blame the dissolution of women collectively keeping standards high.  They chose to compete against each other rather support each other, and they ended up losing.

Virtue-signaling “Christian” Leftists are worse than the hypocrites of Matthew 6

Because at least the hypocrites did something good!

Matthew 6:1–4 “Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. “Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

The Bible is clear that motives and behavior count. Doing your good deeds to be seen by others will merit you no rewards. This is what the hypocrites were doing at the time.

But at least they were doing something.  The virtue-signaling “Christian” Leftists mainly just beg “Caesar” to force you to fund counter-productive programs – and they think that fulfills the call in Matthew 25 to care for the “least of these.”  And yet they are simultaneously adamant that Jesus approves of abortion to the child’s 1st breath and that you should have to fund that as well. The are indescribably hostile to the “least of these” in the womb.

Their latest project is to reduce your safety and increase your taxes by removing strict guidelines on “refugees” from terror-sponsoring nations.  They falsely call it a “Muslim ban,” ignoring that 9 of the top 10 most populous Muslim countries aren’t on the lists.  And they either don’t know or don’t care that you could house 12 times the number of refugees closer to their country of origin.  These do-gooders will spare no expense (of yours) to highlight their virtue.

They also oppose the border wall, hysterically claiming it will cause “climate change.” This is another example where their malice shows through. Even if they wanted amnesty for illegals already in the country, they tip their hands by opposing a wall that would help reduce future illegals from entering the country.

As always, ask these “Christian” Leftists what they are doing with their own time and money to productively help the least of these.  Who would have thought that they would make the Matthew 6 hypocrites look good by comparison?

And keep doing truly good things with your time and your money and for God’s glory, not yours.

Matthew 5:14–16 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

The “Gender Unicorn” and other state-mandated child abuse

From the “I hate being right” category, I saw over a decade ago — along with many others — that the LGBTQX agenda would inevitably evolve to state-mandated child abuse down to kindergarten and even preschool, using anti-bullying and such as the Trojan Horses.

From the “I hate being wrong” category, I naively thought that more parents would say, “Enough!,” when they realized that public schools would teach their 5 yr. old children that they can choose their genders and that boys would be able to share locker rooms with their teenage daughters. Yet here we are. The following is occurring in Charlotte, NC schools and other places in the country and parents are too afraid — or too complacent or brainwashed? — to say or do anything about it.

gender_unicorn3

Source: CMS Introduces the Gender Unicorn as District Embraces Gender Neutral Bathrooms, Lockers and Showers | KeepNCSafe

Meet the gender Unicorn. This was included in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (CMS) training presentation on handling transgender issues under the new CMS policy that goes into effect on August 29th. It’s startling enough that the school district feels they have sovereignty to directly disobey state statute as outlined in HB2, but some of the stuff in here is shocking.Check out some of these quotes:

1. Parental involvement dependent on student’s permission: “Involvement of parents in the plan is determined in working with the student, considering the student’s age and health, wellbeing and safety concerns” (pg. 34).

2. Students can choose their bathrooms and changing facilities: “Students must have access to the restroom/changing facilities that correspond to their gender identity” (pg. 42).

3. CMS will remove some gender-based activities: “CMS will evaluate all gender-based activities; maintain only those that have clear and sound pedagogical purpose” (pg. 46).

4. Students can choose their gender-based activities (intramural sports, dress codes, classes, ceremonies, photos, extracurricular activities, etc). This includes choosing which gender they participate with during overnight field trips: “Students are permitted to participate in gender-based activities consistent with their gender identity.” (pg. 46).5. Students can no longer be referred to as “boys and girls” in classrooms, but “scholars” or “students.”: “Avoid gender specific classroom management techniques” (pg. 46).

In other news, millstone* demand is at an all-time high.

Please fight these evils and protect your children and grandchildren.  Now more than ever, you do not want them in government schools**.  The predictable annual reductions in your parental rights, from the schools teaching more and more perversions to them removing your opt-out rights, will not stop. Remember that the men of Sodom*** groped for the door even after being literally blinded.  Leftists are very, very persistent.  They hate God, they think that they own your children and they will not give up without a fight.


*Luke 17:1–2 And he said to his disciples, “Temptations to sin are sure to come, but woe to the one through whom they come! It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were cast into the sea than that he should cause one of these little ones to sin.

**365 Reasons to Homeschool

***Genesis 19:11 And they struck with blindness the men who were at the entrance of the house, both small and great, so that they wore themselves out groping for the door.

 

Facebook-Free February! Also Twitter.

I decided to give up Facebook and Twitter for a month. They were taking up too much time and it was way too irritating following the idiocy and the ups and downs, especially on Twitter.  I think the fake news about Trump and the Russian hookers was a tipping point. The number of Tweets announcing it, analyzing it, joking about it and ultimately determining it was fake made me realize what a time-waster it was to follow the blow-by-blow of a complete fiction.

Yes, I realize the irony that this post will automatically feed both the Eternity Matters Facebook and Twitter pages.  I will post some links from my Feedbly blog software that will go to both places, and I have some things already set to publish.  And I will glance at the title bars now and then to see if there are any messages (some people only message me through Facebook, for example, and I don’t want them to think I’m ignoring them).

It has only been a day but so far, so good!