Thursday, April 29, 2010

Christ Centered Evangelism

Ever heard a presentation of the Gospel that went something like this? Or perhaps you have approached evangelism this way yourself?

“We all know who God is don’t we? He’s the Big Guy and you’ve been avoiding Him haven’t you? Allow me to latch onto some guilt feelings you’ve experienced. Let me call that ‘conviction of sin’. And now let me promise relief from those feelings if you’ll only return to the Big Guy and bring this speech with you. I guarantee it’ll work (becausetherewasthisthingcalledthecrosswhichyoudon’tneedtoknowaboutnow butIneedtocrowbaritinbecausethesewordsaremagic). Anyway, the ball is now in your court. It’s all down to you. If you’re up to the challenge, carefully repeat this prayer after me…” The whole paradigm is one in which “God” is taken for granted, Jesus is a helpful mechanism to fix the guilt problem but the real Name above all names is Decision before Whom all must bow in self-willed surrender. Almighty Decision towers above you, are you equal to His call?

I stumbled upon this blog post on Christ The Truth. I am convinced that evangelism is a responsibility of every Christian. The presentation of the Gospel message with a heavy handed call to a quick decision often sounds like a Tommy Mayes sales pitch for Oxyclean or Miracle Wax. There are some good reasons for changing our methods besides the obvious that they often turn people away from our message. And besides if we are successful that way are we really drawing people to Christ or simply creating a temporary fix for the twinge of guilt that we suggested?

When we focus instead on Christ and who he is there are some major advantages.
"Decision is dethroned. We don’t so much tell the world to believe in Jesus. Far more than this, we tell the world about Jesus such that they do believe (Steve Holmes). Because faith is a response to contemplating Christ. The spotlight does not fall on the listener and their willingness to summon up the necessary response. The spotlight falls on Christ Himself."

Read the post here on Christ The Truth

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Discouragement is the sorrow of loving self- Encouragement the joy of giving love to others - By Mike T.

Recently I was in one of those really dark moods where everything seems hopeless and my faith in others turned to disdain. I could not see anything positive or joyful about life and no reason to trust or desire the company of others. While my mind considered low thoughts of family and friends I really began to doubt that God cared about my sorrows or needs and for sure most others were too self absorbed to care if I was hurting. My stomach turned sour, my thoughts jumped around, my heart beat loudly, and loneliness crept in and covered me like a thick blanket. What began to turn things around was the prayer list. My wife brought the bulletin back from church. I had been too depressed and discouraged to go that Sunday. As I wallowed in pity and even anger I restlessly scanned the bulletin. Pretty much the same old stuff and little hope that the church would offer any opportunities to pick up my spirits. Then I saw it... a prayer request for someone with cancer. And another with cancer and another with a serious health concern. Talk about conviction. I was being discouraged but maybe my reasoning for being so was less commendable than I believed it to be. Loneliness and dejection were some pretty good reasons to feel down a moment ago. But here God was showing me that I was focused too much on self and not enough on the others that my sorrow preferred to blame my misery. The people listed in the prayer requests needed encouragement and to know that others cared about their burdens and trials. To intercede on behalf of the sick and hurting is an opportunity for joy. To offer a hand to the needy, to visit those in jail or write a letter of encouragement is to delight in the grace of God. I felt ashamed to have been so focused on my self. The worst thing about loneliness is that it brings us to sorrow for self love. Discouragement is the sorrow of self love. Encouragement is the joy of giving love to others. Reach out when you feel down. Help a neighbor who is sick. Visit an elderly shut-in. Bring some groceries to someone without transportation. Send a note to someone in prison. Call up someone on the prayer list and let them know that you are praying for them. Tell a coworker about the Love of God demonstrated by Christ's bearing sin on the cross.

2:1 So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, 2 complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. 3 Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. 5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, [1] 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, [2] being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Lights in the World
12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.

14 Do all things without grumbling or questioning, 15 that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, 16 holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain. 17 Even if I am to be poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrificial offering of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all. 18 Likewise you also should be glad and rejoice with me.

Timothy and Epaphroditus
19 I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon, so that I too may be cheered by news of you. 20 For I have no one like him, who will be genuinely concerned for your welfare. 21 For they all seek their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ. 22 But you know Timothy's [3] proven worth, how as a son [4] with a father he has served with me in the gospel. 23 I hope therefore to send him just as soon as I see how it will go with me, 24 and I trust in the Lord that shortly I myself will come also.

25 I have thought it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus my brother and fellow worker and fellow soldier, and your messenger and minister to my need, 26 for he has been longing for you all and has been distressed because you heard that he was ill. 27 Indeed he was ill, near to death. But God had mercy on him, and not only on him but on me also, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow. 28 I am the more eager to send him, therefore, that you may rejoice at seeing him again, and that I may be less anxious. 29 So receive him in the Lord with all joy, and honor such men, 30 for he nearly died for the work of Christ, risking his life to complete what was lacking in your service to me.
Phil 2:1-30

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

You are Christ's, and Christ is God's 1 Cor 3:1-23 - By Mike T.

I read 1 Corinthians 3 today. The following prayer arose from this meditation and continues the series on praying through 1 Corinthians.

Neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. Each will receive his wages according to his labor. Lord, we often grumble and complain and want to be recognized for the labor that we have done for your kingdom. Though we do good and the Gospel is proclaimed and advanced we forget that it is by your grace that it goes forth. We want to be first, we want to be given accolades for our service, to be patted on the back and to take credit for the growth. This attitude our Lord condemned in his parable from Mathew 20. We should not expect rewards and recognition for the service we render unto the kingdom. Our Lord has called us and makes us worthy by the blood of Christ. It is all of grace and we can not boast. Whether we labor for 12 hours or only the last hour we owe it all to Christ. It is a priviledge to serve the King for His glory, not for our sakes. Let us put aside jealousies and self and work with humility and love to serve the Gospel that others will be brought into fellowship by Christ's good grace to serve and honor and glory God alone.

Let us remember that the church is yours and it is called to holiness. We must serve you as your holy people and put aside the strife and conflicts and self ambition. Lord we pray that you will remind us who's we are... for we are Christ's and Christ is God's. That is the security we have. Not in men and wise doctrine or fancy presentations or inspirational music or comfortable pews. Can we be content to be yours meeting in your presence while sitting on a hard log in a hot open space but with surrounded by your children and those who worship and love and serve you. May the foundation of our churches (your church) and our hope be Christ. May we not build a gospel on anything else. AMEN!

But I, brothers, could not address you as spiritual people, but as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ. I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for it. And even now you are not yet ready, for you are still of the flesh. For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh and behaving only in a human way? For when one says, "I follow Paul," and another, "I follow Apollos," are you not being merely human? What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each. I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. He who plants and he who waters are one, and each will receive his wages according to his labor. For we are God's fellow workers. You are God's field, God's building. According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building upon it. Let each one take care how he builds upon it. For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw-- each one's work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If anyone's work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire. Do you not know that you are God's temple and that God's Spirit dwells in you? If anyone destroys God's temple, God will destroy him. For God's temple is holy, and you are that temple. Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you thinks that he is wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is folly with God. For it is written, "He catches the wise in their craftiness," and again, "The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are futile." So let no one boast in men. For all things are yours, whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future--all are yours, and you are Christ's, and Christ is God's.
(1Co 3:1-23 ESV)

"For the kingdom of heaven is like a master of a house who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard. After agreeing with the laborers for a denarius a day, he sent them into his vineyard. And going out about the third hour he saw others standing idle in the marketplace, and to them he said, 'You go into the vineyard too, and whatever is right I will give you.' So they went. Going out again about the sixth hour and the ninth hour, he did the same. And about the eleventh hour he went out and found others standing. And he said to them, 'Why do you stand here idle all day?' They said to him, 'Because no one has hired us.' He said to them, 'You go into the vineyard too.' And when evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, 'Call the laborers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last, up to the first.' And when those hired about the eleventh hour came, each of them received a denarius. Now when those hired first came, they thought they would receive more, but each of them also received a denarius. And on receiving it they grumbled at the master of the house, saying, 'These last worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the day and the scorching heat.' But he replied to one of them, 'Friend, I am doing you no wrong. Did you not agree with me for a denarius? Take what belongs to you and go. I choose to give to this last worker as I give to you. Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or do you begrudge my generosity?' So the last will be first, and the first last."
(Mat 20:1-16 ESV)

The Message Of The Gospel Is Not Behave

Check out this post on 'The Gospel Driven Church' which hits the nail right on the head. This is as close as I will ever get to a political topic on this blog. I think you will see why. Because I agree with the author of this post. Christ crucified is the message that the Christian church must proclaim.

The message of the gospel is not "Behave!"

But that is the message American evangelicalism -- Southern and Northeastern, and most other places -- has been proclaiming. It is at its heart pharisaical.

We are called to preach not moralism but Christ crucified, foolishness to American culture and a stumbling block to American Christians.

Monday, April 19, 2010

A Christian Looks at Depression

A couple of video posts on clinical depression from "The Parchment and the Pen". Christians don't like to talk about this problem but many experience it and must learn how to deal with it. Spurgeon, Cowper, Luther all went through bouts of depression. So you are not alone. "It is a joyless black hole" and those going through it need our help and prayers. The author of the blog is currently experiencing this dark and frightening period of life. Please pray for C. Michael Patton and others like him.

Pray Without Ceasing - (Puritan Ezekiel Hopkins on Prayer)- By Mike T.

I have been reading a puritan devotional entitled 'Voices From The Past'. Today's reading was based upon Ezekiel Hopkins sermon from 1 Thes 5:17. I have posted a little piece of this writing as it appears online. I have modified it somewhat for length and readability. I hope you enjoy it.

Pray without ceasing. 1 Thes 5:17

To pray without ceasing is not always to be actually engaged in this duty of prayer; either orally, verbally, or mentally: it is not that all other duties shall be swallowed up and give place unto prayer. Yea, although prayer be so spiritual and so heavenly a duty, yet we are not to neglect the duties of our particular callings, only that we may have the more time for prayer: God hath divided out the work, and hath given unto every thing its season, in which alone it is beautiful. Prayer makes melody in God's ears, then only when it is well timed: when we justle out one duty by another, beside the sinful omission of what we should perform, that, which we do perform, becomes unacceptable, because unseasonable. Neither can we hope that that prayer will prevail with God, which appea;s before him guilty of the death and murder, if I may so phase it, of other duties. This, therefore, cannot be the meaning of it, that we should do nothing but pray. That may be said to be done without ceasing, which is done constantly, and at set times and seasons.

To pray without ceasing, is to pray with all importunity and vehemency. So, in Acts xii. 5. the Church is said to pray for St. Peter without ceasing: that is, they were very earnest and importunate, and would give God no rest until he heard them.

To pray without ceasing, is to take all occasions, at every turn, to be darting up our souls unto God in holy meditations. And this we may and ought to do, when we hear or read the word, or whatever duty of religion we are engaged about: per,
this we may and ought to do, in our worldly employments.

If your hearts and affections be heavenly, your thoughts will force out a passage, through the crowd and tumult of worldly businesses, to heaven. For there is a holy mystery in pointing our earthly employments with these heavenly arrows, as men point their writings sometimes with stops ; ever now and then shooting up a short mental prayer unto heaven : such pauses as these are you will find to be no impediments to your worldy affairs. This is the way for a Christian to be retired and private, in the midst of a multitude; to turn his shop or his field into a closet; to trade for earth, and yet to get haven also into the bargain. So we read of Nehemiah 5.4. that, while the king was discoursing to him of the state, of Judea, Nehemiah prayed unto God: that is, he sent up secret prayers to God, which, though they escaped the king's notice and observation, yet were so prevalent as to bow and incline his heart.

And that is this : we may then be said to pray without ceasing, when we keep our hearts in such a frame, as that we are fit at all times to vent ourselves before God in prayer. When we keep alive and cherish a praying spirit and can, upon all opportunities, draw near to God, with full souls and with quick and vigorous affections: this is to pray without ceasing.

And this I take to be the most genuine, natural sense of the words, and the true hope of the Apostle here; to have the habit of prayer, inclining them always freely and sweetly to breathe out their requests unto God, and to take all occasions to
prostrate themselves before his Throne of Grace.

Now those, who would maintain this praying temper, must be especially careful of Two things. That they do not too much engulf themselves in the Businesses and Pleasures of this life. For this will exceedingly damp and deaden the heart to this holy duty. As earth, cast upon the fire, puts it out; so the world, when it is spread over the affections, must needs stifle and extinguish that holy flame, which should ascend up to heaven. How hard is it for a man, who oppresseth himself with a heap of businesses, to raise his heart uhto God under all that load! How hard is it for those, who let out their hearts thus to and fro, a thousand ways, to summon them in the next moment to attend upon God, with that awful and serious frame which becomes all those who appear before him! When we come to prayer reaking hot out of the affairs of this world, we find our hearts subject to manifold distractions and discomposures; and our thoughts scattered like bees, still flying from one flower to another, still bringing some intelligence from worldly objects, even then when we are about divine employments.

If you would maintain a praying temper of soul, be careful not to fall into the commission of any known, presumptuous Sin. The guilt of sin lying upon the conscience, will exceedingly deaden the heart to prayer. Alas how can we go to God with any freedom of spirit; how can we call him Father, with any boldness and confidence ; while we are conscious to ourselves, that we have daringly provoked him by some wilful offence? I may appeal to your own experience in this: do not your consciences fly in your faces? do they not take you by the throat and even choke your speech, while you are praying, with some such suggestions as these? "What! can I pray for the pardon of sin, who frequently commit that, which I know to be sin. Shall I dare to lift up unclean hands before his pure and holy eyes, or to speak to him in prayer, when as those sins, which rankle and fester in my conscience, must needs make my breath unsavory and noisome to him? Will the Lord hear such prayers, or, if he doth hear them, will he not accouut them an abomination?" You now, whose consciences thus accuse you, do you not find such reflections as these to be great deadenings to your hearts, great damps to duty, and clippings of the wings of the Spirit of God and takings-off of the wheels of the soul, so that it drives on but slowly and heavily in the performance of that duty? Certainly, guilt is the greatest impediment to duty in the world: for it takes off from the freeness and filialness of our spirits ; and fills us with distrust, diffidence, and a slavish fear of coming before God, rather as our Judge than as our Father. And therefore we find, that, as soon as Adam had sinned against his Maker, he hid himself from him: yea, and we may observe in ourselves, what a slavish dejectedness and deadness seizeth upon us, when we come to God ip duty, after we have wronged him by any known sin: how doth this make us come with such misgiving fears, as if we would not have God to take notice that we were in his presence ; making us to be continually in pain until the duty be done!

And, thus, you see -what it is to pray without ceasing. It is to pray constantly, at set times and seasons: it is to pray importunately and vehemently: it is, upon all occasions, to be sending up holy petitions unto God: and, especially, to keep alive and sherish a praying frame of heart; which whosoever would do, he must beware of immerging himself in the, world, and of committing any known and presumptuous sin.

Ezekiel Hopkins; Works Volume 4; pp. 503-506

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Dealing with Doubt

Here are a couple of articles that I picked up on today. I am currently experiencing a great level of doubt about faith and spiritual matters. I can honestly say that I hope that something happens to turn it around. I am not one to take such things lightly and am reading two books right now that I had hoped would help. "Spiritual Depression (its causes and cure)"-by Martin Lloyd Jones which is a classic work in this area. The other book is "The Reason For God" by Tim Keller.
Above all the prayers of others may help. I can't pray myself at this time.

View the Parchment and Pen series of articles on doubt.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Won or Lost on Saturday Night

Won or Lost on Saturday Night

This quote on TakeYourVitaminZ by his guest blogger Darryl Dash raises the bar back where it belongs for the night before the Sabath. This generation of Christians is rather lazy when it comes to spiritual preparation. I find it very challenging and worthy of consideration.

Good advice from J.I. Packer in A Quest for Godliness:

Preparing the heart is the most important matter of all, for the Lord's Day is pre-eminently "a day for heart-work." From this point of view, the battle for our Sundays is usually won or lost on the foregoing Saturday night, when time should be set aside for self-examination, confession and prayer for the coming day. Richard Baxter's young people's fellowship used to spend three hours each Saturday evening preparing together for the Sabbath in this way. "If thou wouldst thus leave thy heart with God on the Saturday night," Swinnock assures us, "thou shouldest find it with him in the Lord's-day morning." The last rule for preparation comes from the supremely practical mind of Richard Baxter: "Go seasonably to bed, that you may not be sleepy on the Lord's Day."

Dealing With Disappointment in the Church (3)

Here is the third part of Kevin DeYoung's series on "Dealing with Disappointment In the Church". This time from the perspective of the individual members. This is perhaps the most useful section for me as I am just a member of my local church. Disppointment happens. I have experienced. I have heard others express it. Fact is that we are not perfect and can not be in this life. Others disppoint us and we disappoint others. If I look at it from the pastor's perspective I would say that there must be time they shake their heads in disbelief that 'these people just don't get it. Didn't they hear the sermon last Sunday?' Much the same as Jesus dealing with the dim witted apparent slowness of his disciples who had in Him right there in their midst and often blew it. Thank God for His Grace.

Dealing With Disappointment in the Church (3)

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Dealing With Disappointment in the Church (2)

Here is the second part of Kevin DeYoung's series on 'Dealing with Disappointment In the Church". This time reflecting on the questions leadership should ask in dealing with this subject.

Dealing With Disappointment in the Church (2)

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Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Dealing With Disappointment in the Church (1)- Kevin DeYoung

Here is a new series by Kevin DeYoung that I am interested in seeing where it goes.

This is a problem I myself struggle with and recognize that there are two sides to every situation.

Dealing With Disappointment in the Church (1)

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Tuesday, April 6, 2010

1 Co 2:1-5 Nothing Except Jesus Christ and Him Crucified- Mike T.

And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.
(1Co 2:1-5 ESV)

These recent posts reflect the prayers that I have shared with the Lord as I have been reading 1 Corinthians. The study has been rich with new understanding and hope.

I pray for the ministers of the gospel. They have been called and purposed by God to do as the apostle Paul. Lord, please lift up these men and women that they be of a singular heart; that the center and focus of their work and ministry be on Jesus Christ and him crucified. The faith of the Christian is founded in Christ and the apostle always recognized the cross. The Lord Jesus and the cross go hand-in-hand. May they faithfully witness and proclaim the majesty of a saviour who did in fact die on the behalf of our sins to make atonement. Help the leaders of your church to not be afraid to proclaim the gospel in all of its splendor. In this gospel message God by his spirit saves the lost. May they not rely on their gifts and education and popularity and esteem but humbly proclaim simply Jesus and him crucified for the power of God becomes evident not in the eloquent delivery or the perfect blend of music and atmosphere but in the work of the spirit as the word goes out. Let us focus on our saviour and His work and let that be our message. Subdue our pride and our desire to rely on our wisdom and gifts. Help us to be like Paul to speak the words you called us to proclaim. Get rid of all the stuff we try to add to it.

Lord when we are faithful to your calling as the apostle Paul grant that your spirit would go forth and open the ears, eyes and hearts of those who so deperately need a saviour. As we are faithful to this message of Jesus Christ and him crucified you will act 'in demonstration of the Spirit and of power' to the conversion of sinners from among all classes, ages, and conditions when by all human estimate nothing could be done; that your saints will find peace, joy and happiness as their lives are transformed; that will we see the changes as they become different people - in making the drunkard sober, the thief honest, the pervert pure, the profane reverent, the lazy industrious, the harsh kind, the anxious peaceful. All this is the effect of the Gospel message; the work of Christ; the cross. When we rely on God and his power and not in our efforts then God is glorified and his power demonstrated. The gospel has thus evidenced from age to age that it is from God. Every converted sinner furnishes such a demonstration; and every instance where it produces peace, hope, joy, shows that it is from heaven.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

1 Cor 1:13-31 A prayer for all who believe they are wise - Mike T.

Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius, so that no one may say that you were baptized in my name. (I did baptize also the household of Stephanas. Beyond that, I do not know whether I baptized anyone else.) For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power. For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written, "I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart." Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, "Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord."
(1Co 1:13-31 ESV)

Lord Jesus we pray for the pastors of your church. Be with them that they would have the same heart as Paul and not be concerned with establishing a legacy, a building, a large congregation, accolades but that the gospel be preached to the lost. Today we look at our neighbors, collegues, friends, relatives and all those we come in contact with. For there are two classes of individuals in this world. Those who believe and are saved by the work of Jesus and those who do not believe and are perishing. We are called to proclaim to all men the grace of the gospel message and some will find it foolishness and reject its claim that the death of Jesus on the cross and His resurrection has provided an atonement for their sins. Some will embrace this gospel and be saved. In all of the work of saving men and women's souls it is God's work through and through. Not the work of men, not because of their eloquent words and slick arguments, but the Spirit of God that works to open their eyes and ears to this which before would sound foolish. Lord open our eyes and ears to your Gospel that we would embrace Jesus as our savior and redeemer; as King and our righteousness. May we not succumb to the foolish arguments of men who have their senses dulled and can not see or discern your marvelous grace and mercy that has been give to those in Christ Jesus. And above all let us boast only in Christ for we in and of ourselves have contributed nothing to our salvation which has been bought entirely and wholey by the blood of Jesus Christ. AMEN

Saturday, April 3, 2010

1 Corintians 1:1-12 A Prayer For All Who Call On The NAME Of The Lord Jesus

Paul, called by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus, and our brother Sosthenes, To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints together with all those who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus, that in every way you were enriched in him in all speech and all knowledge-- even as the testimony about Christ was confirmed among you-- so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift, as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will sustain you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment. For it has been reported to me by Chloe's people that there is quarreling among you, my brothers. What I mean is that each one of you says, "I follow Paul," or "I follow Apollos," or "I follow Cephas," or "I follow Christ."
(1Co 1:1-12 ESV)

What distinguishes the Christian church from any other institution is the Lord Jesus Christ. Paul wrote this letter specifically to the church in Corinth but he had in mind all those who call upon the name of the Lord Jesus in worship and unto salvation. We find fellowship with other saints throughout the world and in our own corner of the world because we all share in the worship and devotion to Jesus.

Lord it is a comfort to know that throughout this world, in China, Ethiopia, Iraq, Korea, Europe, Asia, Africa, South America, North America and in all places there are those who you have called and set aside and made holy by the precious work of Jesus Christ our Savior. You have established your church with Christ as the head and adopted a people who though they were sinners you have sanctified and made them saints in Christ and you promise us that you will bring us to the end, guiltless in the day of the Lord Jesus. You have given us your word that is spoken and as a testimony to the marvelous grace that is in Jesus Christ and you have made us knowledgeable of these great truths found in the Gospel. Oh that we would honor you with our testimony and by our actions. Unite us in purpose that others may be told of this Gospel, that there is no other name that we may be saved but the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. All other ways, all other efforts, all other gods, all other roads are false and lead only to destruction. Save us unto life and bring us to know and worship the true God. Lord you are faithful and you will sustain your holy people. Your saints will face hard times and trials and suffering for your sake but you are a faithful and righteous God and in you we trust. Thank you for your church and the body of believers that we share fellowship with Jesus. Let us worship in reverence and joy and remember the grace by which you established us as your saints and your possession for all eternity. AMEN.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Joining Tim Challies in 'Reading Through The Classics Together'

On he is doing the Thursday 'Reading the classics together' again with a new book. This time the book is The Bruised Reed by Richard Sibbes. I am planning on joining in the discussion. I have seen some of Richard Sibbes in the devotional that I started this year entitled 'Voices from the Past'. If you want to have fun and grow in your Christian walk join Tim Challies and the rest of the readers as we tackle this wonderful book. It is available for free online or you can pick it up for less than 5 bucks. I downloaded a PDF copy that is part of The Complete Works of Richard Sibbes Vol 1. Hope to see you there!