Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Sunday, December 28, 2008
December 16, 2008
Saturday, December 27, 2008
Friday, December 26, 2008
According to The Department of Justice’s Bureau of Statistics, older Americans are ten times less likely to become victims of violent crimes than younger people. During the years from 1992 through 1997 there were an average of 5.3 violent crimes for every 1000 U.S. residents age 65 compared to an annual average of 56 attacks for every 1000 residents between the ages of 12 and 65. That is astounding.
Although the Department notes that the elderly are less likely to fight back or argue with their assailants, the key reason cited for the low incident rate is that the elderly stay home at night.
That makes sense because most violent crimes occur out of view or under cover. People who perpetrate evil most often hide their actions under the cover of darkness.
The Light from heaven came into the world, but men love the darkness more than the light because their actions are evil. They hate the light because they want to sin in the darkness. They stay away from the light for fear their sins will be exposed and they will be punished. But those who do what is right come to the light gladly, so everyone can see that they are doing what God wants. John 3:19-21 (NLT)
I've said it before and I will reiterate; there is a real danger and a compelling tendency for all ministries to lose sight of their God-centered purposes and succumb to the seduction of pragmatic marketing techniques. Think about it. The people (members) will exert pressure to meet their “needs” which is usually nothing more than their wants or preferences. Staff will respond by providing the necessary stimuli in the forms of target-marketed programs or activities designed to retain them and attract more. More programs require more staff, resources, and money and so the sustenance becomes the objective. If the people are not satisfied; it the giving or attendance drops, budgets will be cut, programs will be ended, and staff will be laid off. That is the reality of marketing. Grow or die. Pragmatism in church leadership will always result in the downgrading of your doctrine.
On the other hand, God has provided a very different growth plan. He insists that pastors faithfully preach the Word, teach sound doctrine, and pray and leave the increase up to Him.
Nobody really cared much about Rick Warren’s church membership policy regarding homosexuality until Obama asked him to deliver the inaugural prayer. Now it is a major, divisive issue with most of the heterophobic population. So what did Rick Warren do about it? He removed his policy statement from the website of the Saddleback Church.
Well, that action is understandable and consistent. This is the same Rick Warren who said about Christian fundamentalists, they have a "very narrow and legalistic view of Christianity." So, given the fact that he admittedly holds to a less-than-authoritative view of Scripture, one of his latest statements should come as no surprise at all. In an attempt to show himself tolerant he said, “You don’t have to see eye to eye in order to walk hand in hand.”
I guess Mr. Warren knows better than that narrow, archaic book we call the Bible:
“Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” Amos 3:3
“Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? And what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? Or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? For ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, ‘I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate,’ saith the Lord, ‘and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters,’ saith the Lord Almighty.” II Cor. 6:14-18
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
- John Ashbrook
But, some will argue, these four spiritual laws are "biblically based" as though the standard for right practice is that the practice has a biblical basis. That's insane. All kinds of nonsense can be justified by that standard. The real question is this; Is our practice doctrinally sound?
LAW ONE: God is holy and has a plan for your life whether for wrath or for mercy.
LAW TWO: His wrath burns against you and you are hopelessly lost. There is nothing you can do about it. You are sinful and utterly lost; totally depraved, conceived in sin, and are incapable of saving yourself by the merits of your own righteousness.
LAW THREE: The Lord Jesus Christ came into this world, born of a virgin, tempted as we are yet without sin, died in our place and as our merciful and faithful High Priest fulfilled God’s law, took upon Himself every sin that would ever be committed by every(one) who would ever believe, with its guilt and penalty, and all of the wrath of God that persists against our sin.
LAW FOUR: Repent of your sin and confess and receive Christ Jesus as your Lord and Savior for eternal life and have peace with Him forever. His love, mercy and grace no one can ever take away once your life is hid in Christ. This is God’s wonderful plan of salvation.
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Friday, December 12, 2008
Bethlehem – The nativity scene is the symbol of Christmas for those who understand that Christmas is about Christ, not the worldly trappings of the holiday. This event happened at exactly the time and place God intended. …when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons (Galatians 4:4-5, NKJV).
The angel Gabriel announced to a young teenager by the name of Mary that she was to be the mother of the virgin-born Son of God. We can be certain than many things went through her mind, but her response was one of willingness and obedience, whatever the cost. Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word (Luke 1:38, NKJV). Mary and her husband-to-be, Joseph, traveled to Bethlehem to register for Roman taxation, and there Jesus was born in a lowly stable, visited by lowly shepherds. It is quite significant that the birth of the Lamb of God was first announced to shepherds. Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger” (Luke 2:10-12, NKJV).
Calvary – As important as the birth of Christ is, the baby in the manger does not save anyone. After thirty years of relative obscurity, growing up and living in the home of a carpenter, Jesus began His earthly ministry. He taught many things and performed many miracles, all of which validated His identity as the Son of God. In the end, the religious authorities turned on Him because of their fear of losing their influence over the people and the crowd was incited to demand His crucifixion by the Romans. This was all part of God’s plan. In reality, it was not the crowd, it was not the Jewish people, and it was not the Romans who crucified Him. It was our sin that nailed Him to the cross, and He willingly laid down His life as a sacrifice for our sins. The Apostle Paul said, This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief (1 Timothy 1:15, NKJV). …God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8, NKJV).
The Empty Tomb – The fact of the resurrection of Jesus Christ is the pivotal event in all of history. Without it, the Gospel becomes meaningless. With it, Christianity is true without any doubt. In recent years, in a Christian school not far from here, a student who practiced the religion of Islam had his Bible class the last period of the day. He did his work and studied well, and he was one of the best students in the class. He stayed after class almost every day to discuss biblical issues with the teacher. One day, he made a particularly revealing admission. He said, “If the resurrection really happened, Christianity is true.” How right he was! Although he accepted neither the resurrection nor Christianity, he had made a profound statement.
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Here are a couple quotes from my favorite president which are relevant in view of our unconstitutional race toward the nationalization of industry, banking, labor, and real estate as a means to fix our economic crises. Congress should pay attention:
"The most terrifying words in the English language are:
I'm from the government and I'm here to help."
"Government's view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it."
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Amazed, he asked: "Did you kill that?"