Tag Archives: Jesus

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.

People who slaughter children for a living are capable of lying. No, really!

Planned Parenthood got busted, again, this time with audio and video showing that 92 out of 97 office contact do not offer prenatal care.  The timing is great considering how they just finished the #womensmarch #abortionmarch and were all saying how awesome and important Planned Parenthood is to women’s health.  Plus, the March for Life is in a few days so it will increase awareness of that.

Please watch and share this video.  So many people are deceived about what Planned Parenthood does.   My favorite part is at the 1:40 mark, where the on-hold recording specifically mentions prenatal care and then the employee says they don’t do prenatal care.  And you can see Cecile Richards lying and how so many clinics just kill children.

Planned Parenthood usually pretends to fire “rogue” employees when they get caught on things like this, so they will have a ton of openings across the country next week!

These people kill children for a living, so it is no surprise that they’d lie about doing prenatal care. Hopefully Trump will keep his promise and defund these ghouls.

Also see Planned Parenthood overview.

If you exclude pro-lifers it’s an #abortionmarch not a #womensmarch

If you exclude pro-lifers your event is an #abortionmarch not a #womensmarch, and that’s exactly what the Molech-worshiping Left — including the “Christian” Left — just did.  Never forget that the #1 goal for them is the right to kill children up to their first breath with taxpayer-funds. Everything else takes a back seat to that, as evidenced by these marches.

First, check out the size of Hillary’s inauguration crowd!  It will warm your heart.

a

Some other thoughts on the #abortionmarch:

  • They really, really, love themselves some abortion. While pretending to march for women, they deliberately excluded over half of women — those who don’t share their pro-abortion extremism.
  • I’m not sure what dressing up as a vagina accomplishes. Seems to objectify women.
  • Same thing with the pu**y hats.  Do they realize that Trump’s infamous quote will have much less impact on future generations now that the Left — including the “Christian” Left — has de-stigmatized that word?  Once again, they can’t think 15 minutes into the future.
  • Not sure what threatening to blow up the White House accomplishes, other than that the senior citizen named Madonna should be arrested.
  • Not sure what creepy speeches about period blood accomplish.
  • Watching the “Christian” Left gush over the pro-abortion ghouls was not surprising. Can’t wait to see how excited they are when the real Christians do the pro-life march in Washington this week. You know, the one that is always much larger than the pro-abort marches but that the media ignores.
  • Noticed that these were Leftists protesting in Leftist cities that Clinton won.  Yes, we get it, you are sad about the election.  Just not sure what you think being a sore loser accomplishes.
  • Abortion kills blacks at over three times the rate of whites – and Hispanics at double the rate — but nearly all the marchers were white.  Seems racist.
  • Still waiting for pictures of the big crowds in Saudi Arabia and other Muslim countries.  Aren’t their abuses of women slightly worse than having to pay more for pink razors?
  • Yes, there were some big crowds.   But what for? Matthew 7:13–14 Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.
  • I’m pretty sure Trump is still President.
  • Trump’s team told some big lies yesterday. I never defend his bad deeds, and I have countless conservatives in my feeds that routinely criticize him.  But I’m waiting to find one Leftist criticizing Trump that also criticized Bill, Hillary and Barrack for their serial lies.
  • The “Christian” Left loved abortion, so they gave the Clintons a pass on all their crimes against women. Therefore, they have no moral authority to criticize Trumps’ sexism (don’t worry, conservatives will do it for you).  Remember that if not for the blue dress, they’d still be demonizing Monica Lewinski.

achl-hillary

  • All the #abortionmarch business distracted us from some great news, such as defunding Planned Parenthood International (hopefully the domestic piece is next!) and especially General Mattis’ appointment.  That alone will reverse much of the perversion-fest of Obama’s reign.
  • If they impeach Trump we get Pence for 2+ terms.  I don’t think they realize how much worse that would be for them.
  • Never be surprised at the volume and persistence of pro-abortion and pro-LGBTQX people.  Remember that the whole towns of Sodom & Gomorrah were destroyed, except for Lot’s family, and that the men of Sodom groped for the door even after being literally blinded.  Christ-haters – especially the “Christian” Left kind — are very stubborn.
  • I believe this is @RachelHeldEvans, or a reasonable facsimile of her and the “Christian” Left.  Hopefully they’ll come to terms with the election soon.  When Obama won twice, one of the things we were able to model for our kids was how to react as Christians, i.e., “That was disappointing, but God is sovereign and we will continue to live our lives with hope and joy while fighting evil.”  If I had behaved like the whiny, sore loser “Christian” Leftists I’d be mortified now.

In closing, check out the size of Hillary’s inauguration crowd!  It will warm your heart — again!  Seriously, even with all Trump’s warts she would have been so much worse.

a

Opposites

One of my irritations with the “Christian” Left and their theology is that it pretends to be slightly different from orthodox Christianity while it is usually 180 degrees away on the essentials of the faith and any current hot topics.  Please note that by “Leftist theology” I don’t mean the theology of political liberals.  I am referring to people who call themselves Christians but deny the essentials of the historic faith (i.e., the kinds of things countless martyrs died for — Jesus’ divinity and exclusivity, the authority of scripture, etc.).  If you want to debate the disputable matters, go right ahead.  I’m flexible on those.  But words mean things, and far too many people use the term Christian in error.

For example, claiming that Jesus is one of many paths to God isn’t a little different than saying He is the only way, it is the opposite.  There is either one way or there is not one way.  The Bible has over 100 passages teaching directly or indirectly that Jesus is the only way to salvation.  If you don’t agree that it is your prerogative, but please don’t claim to be a Christian.

Claiming that Jesus isn’t God isn’t a little different than saying He is God, it is the opposite.  He is either God or He is not God.

Claiming that the original writings of the Bible were not inspired by God isn’t just a little different than saying they were inspired by God, it is the opposite.  The Bible is God’s Word or it is not God’s Word.  It makes roughly 3,000 claims to speak for God, so if liberal theologians think those are all false then why do they bother with the Book at all?  Their claim is that the authors of the Bible were blasphemous pathological liars because they falsely claimed to speak for God countless times.

Claiming that miracles never happen (Virgin birth, loaves & fishes, healings, the physical resurrection, etc.) isn’t just a little different than saying they did happen, it is the opposite.

Claiming that marriage can be for two men or two women isn’t a little different than saying it is between a man and a woman, it is the opposite.  It is claiming that marriage is not just between a man and a woman and that “marriage” is now whatever we want to define it to be.  The Bible couldn’t be more clear about God’s ideal for marriage and sexuality.

Claiming that Jesus approves of killing children up their first breath isn’t a little different than saying, “Don’t murder,” it is the opposite.

The “Christian” Left claims the opposite of what historic, orthodox, biblical Christianity does regarding the essentials of the faith.   They are entitled to their opinions, of course, but it is disingenuous and misleading for them to call themselves Christians while espousing those beliefs.

They have invented their own religion, which is their right.  It would just be less confusing if they would give it a new name.  And it would be more intellectually honest to stop taking money from people who do believe in the essentials that those denominations were founded upon.

They appear to worship a fictional Gandhi-Christ.  The most accurate description would be that of a Hindu sect (nothing personal, Hindus!).

Run, don’t walk, from the wolves of the “Christian” Left.

Video: Pro-life reasoning — The case for life & responding to pro-choice arguments

Hi all,

This is a video version of the PowerPoint slides I’ve shared before.  I taught this for years to volunteers at Care Net Pregnancy Center.  What was always interesting is how these great folks, who were strongly pro-life, hadn’t heard how to make the case for life and how to respond to pro-choice sound bites.  And most of them had never heard of people like Kermit Gosnell, the greatest serial killer in American history, because they got most of their news from the mainstream media that successfully hid his story.

Pro life reasoning from Eternity Matters on Vimeo.

The short version: Decision Making and the Will of God is one of my all-time favorite lessons to teach.  This is such a crucial topic, because we make big and small decisions all the time and are constantly living with the consequences of past decisions.

Does God speak to you about specific decisions when you are reading the Bible, such as whether you should pay off your mortgage, whom you should marry, what job you should take, etc.?  I think this is about how you apply the Bible to decision making and not about whether God sends individual messages through his word.

For example, if you want to know whether paying off your mortgage is the right thing to do, you have a couple options:

1. Ask God for a supernatural sign for the answer, whether it is a yes or a no (a la Gideon).  My guess is that He won’t decide for you that way, but it is always his option.  One thing we know about God is that if He wants to tell you something directly He isn’t very subtle.  There are zero examples of him trying to tell someone something in the Bible and not getting through.

2. Use the wisdom model of decision making.  You don’t have access to God’s sovereign knowledge (Will I lose my job?  Will interest rates go up or down?  Etc.).  You do have unrestricted access to his moral will via the Bible. Example: Is it immoral to pay off your mortgage early?  No, unless that means you won’t have enough money to feed your kids.  After moral considerations, look to the wisdom angle.  Ask God for wisdom, as He promises to deliver.  But as with Solomon, He doesn’t promise to decide everything for you.  Read the Proverbs (and more).  Seek the counsel of others.  Consider the pros and cons.  That’s how to make wise decisions.  Finally, provided the options are moral and wise, consider your personal preferences.  We have tremendous freedom in Christ to do many things with our time and money.  Will paying off your mortgage make you happy?  If so, then do it.

Here’s a picture of what is looks like:

Decision making and the will of God

Really short version: Aside from direct and clear personal revelation from God, you don’t have access to his sovereign will when making decisions.  Therefore you must look at other factors.  If it isn’t moral, don’t do it.  If it is moral but not wise, don’t do it.  If it is moral and wise, then use your personal preferences.

Using this model you can end up with a wise and biblical decision, but you have avoided the traps of the “God told me to ____” routine.  People who run around saying that God told them this and that convey a super-spirituality that can leave less mature believers wondering if they really have a relationship with God (i.e., “God doesn’t tell me every little thing to do, so maybe I don’t really know him.”).

The “God told me ___” routine can also be outright blasphemy, as when “Christians” claim that God is moving in a new direction counter to what He revealed in the Bible.  The United Church of Christ “God is still speaking;” theme is a good example of that.  They didn’t believe what He said the first time around, so why trust them on allegedly new revelations?

Saturating yourself in the word is a key success factor in making good decisions. If we focus on worldly wisdom things go badly:

Jeremiah 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?

But if we repent and do everything we can to see things from God’s point of view we will make better decisions.

Psalm 37:4 Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Romans 12:2 Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

This model will help you make good decisions in all areas of life.  You can also use it to help friends, children, etc. make good decisions.  I even use it at work as a “faith flag” at times.  If people ask career advice, for example, I pull out this diagram and share it with them (i.e., “At the risk of getting all religious on you, here’s the method I use to make decisions like that.”)

Click here to download a set of PowerPoint slides to read or to use yourself to teach others.

P.S. A kid came into my wife’s elementary school library yesterday and asked if she had any books on how to make good choices.  She thought of the diagram above and laughed.  Let’s just say I refer to this model now and then.  She thinks I should write a children’s book on decision making.  I think she is kidding.

Hat tip to Greg Koukl of Stand to Reason for much of this, including the diagram.

2,000 year later, Gamaliel is still right.

Shortly after they saw Jesus killed on the cross, the Apostles were still in Jerusalem preaching the Good News.  As usual, they are being beaten and jailed for not watering down their message.

Acts 5:27–42 And when they had brought them, they set them before the council. And the high priest questioned them, saying, “We strictly charged you not to teach in this name, yet here you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching, and you intend to bring this man’s blood upon us.” But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men. The God of our fathers raised Jesus, whom you killed by hanging him on a tree. God exalted him at his right hand as Leader and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. And we are witnesses to these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him.” When they heard this, they were enraged and wanted to kill them.

This is where Gamaliel comes in and makes an interesting observation.

But a Pharisee in the council named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law held in honor by all the people, stood up and gave orders to put the men outside for a little while. And he said to them, “Men of Israel, take care what you are about to do with these men. For before these days Theudas rose up, claiming to be somebody, and a number of men, about four hundred, joined him. He was killed, and all who followed him were dispersed and came to nothing. After him Judas the Galilean rose up in the days of the census and drew away some of the people after him. He too perished, and all who followed him were scattered. So in the present case I tell you, keep away from these men and let them alone, for if this plan or this undertaking is of man, it will fail; but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them. You might even be found opposing God!” So they took his advice, and when they had called in the apostles, they beat them and charged them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. Then they left the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name. And every day, in the temple and from house to house, they did not cease teaching and preaching that the Christ is Jesus.

And here we are.  The plan and undertaking was of God, and it still advances despite the continued opposition of man and Satan.  And it will keep accomplishing exactly what God wants it to.

And did you see how they rejoiced at suffering dishonor for the name of Christ, and how they did not cease speaking the whole truth?

Acts 5 = worst church marketing program ever?

Short version: If God can grow his church while striking two generous but deceptive donors dead, then maybe — just maybe! — He doesn’t need slick, manipulative, man-made “church growth” programs.  Just preach the Good News inside and outside the church.

The title is sarcastic, of course.  The church grew dramatically even with this not-so-seeker-sensitive approach where God kills Ananias and Sapphira on the spot for lying to the Holy Spirit (and if that wasn’t enough, the next passage is about how the Apostles were arrested and beaten for proclaiming Jesus). It is unfortunate that mainline, “seeker-sensitive” and “emergent” churches didn’t study it more carefully before watering down their doctrine so badly.  When leaders feel that they must twist or ignore the word of God to advance the kingdom it is evidence of weak or non-existent faith.

Acts 4:32–5:11 Now the full number of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one said that any of the things that belonged to him was his own, but they had everything in common. And with great power the apostles were giving their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all. There was not a needy person among them, for as many as were owners of lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold and laid it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need. Thus Joseph, who was also called by the apostles Barnabas (which means son of encouragement), a Levite, a native of Cyprus, sold a field that belonged to him and brought the money and laid it at the apostles’ feet.

But a man named Ananias, with his wife Sapphira, sold a piece of property, and with his wife’s knowledge he kept back for himself some of the proceeds and brought only a part of it and laid it at the apostles’ feet. But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back for yourself part of the proceeds of the land? While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not at your disposal? Why is it that you have contrived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to man but to God.” When Ananias heard these words, he fell down and breathed his last. And great fear came upon all who heard of it. The young men rose and wrapped him up and carried him out and buried him. After an interval of about three hours his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. And Peter said to her, “Tell me whether you sold the land for so much.” And she said, “Yes, for so much.” But Peter said to her, “How is it that you have agreed together to test the Spirit of the Lord? Behold, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out.” Immediately she fell down at his feet and breathed her last. When the young men came in they found her dead, and they carried her out and buried her beside her husband. And great fear came upon the whole church and upon all who heard of these things.

In the midst of the explosive church growth we read this cautionary tale.  Some people read it as the early Christians being communistic, but that isn’t the point at all.  As always, we must read carefully and in context.

The passage describes the general behavior of believers but it doesn’t say God commanded this (“no one said that any of the things that belonged to him was his own.”). 

Peter didn’t say that Ananias and Sapphira were obligated to donate anything at all: “While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not at your disposal?

The sin wasn’t in not giving enough, it was lying to God.   This was a serious thing, especially when the church was forming.  They needed purity and honesty, just like we do today.  Just because we are in the age of grace doesn’t mean that God doesn’t take sin seriously. 

Satan was defeated at the cross in an ultimate sense, but he was and is still active in tempting Christians and non-Christians. 

Despite this event, the church continued to grow.  Consider how lax church discipline is in the U.S. today.  I’m not wishing for judgments like those again Ananias and Sapphira, but the lack of discipline has let all kinds of false teachers in the church and corrupted our witness. 

Again, this passage was not a Biblical command to never own property.  Saying your possessions aren’t your own doesn’t mean anyone can come take them, it is recognizing that ultimately they all come from God.  We aren’t giving him anything He didn’t give us in the first place.

Other passages round out the New Testament guidance on giving, notably 2 Corinthians 9:6-7:

Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

We don’t need deception to spread the Gospel.  We need the truth.  We should share it as ambassadors, but we should share it without apology.  If you distort the message to appeal to spiritually dead people, then don’t be surprised when your church gets off track.