Another excellent talk from Joe Rigney. This time he talks about the subject of his book Live Like a Narnian. Click the video and listen in and journey through Lewis’ Wardrobe to learn how we can become better disciples of Jesus Christ
Live Like a Narnian: Christian Discipleship in C.S. Lewis’s Chronicles
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Speak the Truth in Love. This article summarizes this position very well.
by Jonathan Parnell published 4/21/2014 at Desiring God.org
Homosexuality is not the only sin mentioned in 1 Corinthians 6:9–10.
Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.
It’s not the only sin mentioned, but it is different from all the rest, at least right now. At this moment in history, contrary to the other sins listed here, homosexuality is celebrated by our larger society with pioneering excitement. It’s seen as a good thing, as the new hallmark of progress.
To be sure, the masses increasingly make no bones about sin in general. Innumerable people are idolaters, not to mention those who are sexually immoral, or who commit adultery, or who steal and are greedy and get wasted and revile neighbors and swindle others. It happens all the time. And each of these unrepentant sins are the same in the sense of God’s judgment. They all deserve his wrath. And we’re constantly reminded that “such were some of you” (1 Corinthians 6:11).
Concerning Popular Opinion
But as far as I know, none of those sins are applauded so aggressively by whole groups of people who advocate for their normalcy. Sexual immorality is no longer the tip of the spear for the progressive push. Adultery is still frowned upon by many. Accusations of greed will still smear a candidate’s political campaign. Thievery is still not openly embraced, and there are no official initiatives saying it’s okay to go steal things that don’t belong to you. There’s no such thing as a drunk agenda yet. Most aren’t proud to choose a beverage over stability, and there aren’t any petitions that the government should abolish the driving restrictions of inebriated individuals. Reviling others still isn’t seen as the best way to win friends and influence people. Swindling, especially on a corporate level, usually gets someone thrown into jail. In fact, the infrastructure of the American economy depends upon, in some measure, our shared disdain for conniving scammers.
Perhaps excepting fornication, these sins are still seen in a pretty negative light. But not homosexual practice, not by those who are now speaking loudest and holding positions of prominence. According to the emerging consensus, homosexuality is different.
What to Be Against
As Christians, we believe with deepest sincerity that the embrace of homosexual practice, along with other sins, keeps people out of the kingdom of God. And if our society celebrates it, we can’t both be caring and not say anything. Too much is at stake. This means it is an oversimplification to say that Christians — or conservative evangelicals — are simply against homosexuality. We are against any sin that restrains people from everlasting joy in God, and homosexual practice just gets all the press because, at this cultural moment, it’s the main sin that is so freshly endorsed in our context by the powers that be. Let’s hope that if there’s some new cultural agenda promoting thievery — one that says it’s now our right to take whatever we want from others by whatever means — that Christians will speak out against it. The issue is sin. That’s what we’re against. And that’s what should make our voice so unique when we speak into this debate.
Some would like to see this whole issue of homosexuality divided into two camps: those who celebrate it and those who hate it. Both of these groups exist in our society. There are the growing numbers, under great societal pressure, who praise homosexuality. We might call them the left. And there are people who hate homosexuality, with the most bigoted rationale and apart from any Christian concern. We might call them the right.
Those Glorious Words
The current debate is plagued by this binary lens. Those on the left try to lump everyone who disagrees with them into that right side. If you don’t support, you hate. Meanwhile, those on the right see compromise and spinelessness in anyone who doesn’t get red-faced and militant. If you don’t hate, you support.
But true followers of Christ will walk neither path. We have something to say that no one else is saying, or can say.
Distancing ourselves from both the left and the right, we don’t celebrate homosexual practice, we acknowledge God’s clear revealed word that it is sin; and we don’t hate those who embrace homosexuality, we love them enough to not just collapse under the societal pressure. We speak the truth in love into this confusion, saying, simultaneously, “That’s wrong” and “I love you.” We’re not the left; we say, this is wrong. And we’re not the right; we say, you’re loved. We speak good news, with those sweetest, deepest, most glorious words of the cross — the same words that God spoke us — “You’re wrong, and you’re loved.”
God tells us we’re wrong, that the wages of sin is death, that unrepentant rebellion means judgment, that our rescue required the cursed death of his Son (Romans 3:23; John 3:36; Galatians 3:13). And God tells us we’re loved, that even while we were sinners, Jesus died for us, that while we were unrighteous, Jesus suffered in our place, that though we were destined for wrath, Jesus welcomes us into glory (Romans 5:8; 1 Peter 3:18; Ephesians 2:1–7).
Where the Gospel Shines
You’re wrong and you’re loved — that’s the unique voice of the Christian. That’s what we say, speaking from our own experience, as Tim Keller so well puts it, “we’re far worse than we ever imagined, and far more loved than we could ever dream.”
That’s our message in this debate, when society’s elites despise us, when pop songs vilify us, when no one else has the resources to say anything outside of two extremes, we have this incomparable opportunity to let the gospel shine, to reach out in grace: you’re wrong and you’re loved. We get to say this.
That’s why homosexuality is not like other sins.
Call me schizo, but the article below is sort of opposite of my viewpoint, yet I gladly defer to the wisdom of Christian Leaders, Ray Comfort and John Piper, both of whom I am well aware and do revere, in fact I still attend the church that Piper recently retired from, but, call me an intellectual simpleton, I did very much enjoy the book and found it very moving and do hope to see the movie. I too, like Piper, am very skeptical of books like “Heaven Is For Real” in fact I think I know which book Piper refers to in this review (see below) and felt very much the same about it. But, my mother-in-law, who is a strong Christian and also skeptical of these kinds of books actually recommended “Heaven Is For Real” to me a long time ago and I read it on my own and also read it out loud to my family, and we were all moved.
That being said, I share this article below. Even though I cannot argue with Piper or Comfort, I still found the book very moving and very much worth the while of me and my family.
‘Heaven Is For Real’ Movie Reviews by Ray Comfort, John Piper
Christian leaders Ray Comfort and John Piper each recently discussed their views on “Heaven is for Real,” the book turned into a movie starring Greg Kinnear and Connor Corum.
“Heaven is for Real” is about a four-year-old boy who claims that he went to Heaven during a near-death experience. The small boy tells others about the things that he saw in Heaven, including details about deceased family members whom he had never met before. The movie is meant to be told from a Christian perspective and to intrigue those who question whether there is an afterlife. Christian evangelist and author Ray Comfort saw the movie upon its release, saying that it was enjoyable and somewhat comparable to “Little House on the Prairie.” It was, however, lacking the essential message of the Christian faith – the Gospel. “It’s a tear-jerker with a very shallow message,” says Comfort – “God is love, Jesus is friendly, and it seems all is well between Heaven and earth. God’s wrath doesn’t abide on the sinner, and it doesn’t quite fit that Jesus is going to be revealed from Heaven with His mighty angels ‘in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ,'” he says, quoting 1 Thessalonians 1:8-10.
Comfort laments that many will leave the movie theater wondering whether the little boy was telling the truth about the existence of Heaven – “We know that it does [exist], because we have God’s Word on it. That’s enough,” he says.
Comfort explains that God’s word is true, and can be tested through experience – “It says, ‘You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you.’ I believe the Bible, not because I welled up some sort of faith in its words, but because the Gospel came to me ‘in power, and in the Holy Spirit and in much assurance.’ It authenticated itself because it took me out of darkness and brought me into light.” Born again Christians throughout the ages have attested to the same authenticity of God’s word, that the Bible has been tested and found true. “Therefore every other promise in it about the joys of Heaven, the pains of Hell, and everlasting life is utterly true altogether,” Comfort concludes.
Recently retired Christian pastor and author John Piper also gave his thoughts on the book recently in an “Ask Pastor John” episode. “If books go beyond Scripture, I doubt what they say about Heaven,” he says. Piper doesn’t bother to read extra-Biblical books about Heaven because he knows that the only infallible source on Heaven is God’s word – “I have my Bible, which already tells me what I can know for sure about Heaven. Everything in those books, I do not know for sure … it’s all guesswork,” he says.
Piper once began to read a book similar to “Heaven is for Real,” but put it down after finding something which contradicted the Bible in its early chapters. “I don’t believe these books, I’m very skeptical about these books – mainly [because] I have a Bible that tells me what I need to know,” says the seasoned saint.
As with many of my posts on this blog, once again I am sharing other posts or articles and sometimes adding my reflections or my ‘two-cents.’ Here is no exception. Below read this excellent article and view all four videos too in this article. Decide for yourself if you side with Pastor John Hagee or if you side with Hank Hanegraaff or Chris White.
I cannot help thinking, though, “Are we getting it?” When Jesus came the first time, why did people not ‘get it?’ I mean they had the Old Testament writings that all spoke about the coming Messiah and how he would come, and yet I often think why is it that but for a few exceptions, namely the wise men from the east, the mysterious royal court advisers (or Jewish chief priests or scribes?) to King Herod, Simeon and Anna and John the Baptist, why is it that most of all the other people at that time were caught unawares when Jesus came as a baby and then started teaching as an adult. And now I think, are we repeating the same mistakes? Are we going to be caught unaware too? Maybe most are destined (or predestined) to be unaware. Then again why are we given these signs in the Bible.
You might be compelled to just ignore John Hagee’s teachings and writings but whatever you choose we must all be prepared for the coming age of tribulation and of triumph, whether or not this comes about during our lifetime or not for many lifetimes. If you think I am totally off my rocker than you need to read the footnote on this page CLICK HERE: https://willemdax.wordpress.com/surf-sink-or-swim/ and look for the three *** asterisks about two-thirds of the way down that page. Now read article below and view all four videos:
Are ‘Blood Moons’ a Biblical Sign From God That Something Earth-Shattering Is About to Happen?
Yep, just like my earlier post, here is another why-are-they-leaving-the-Church article, which in turn refers to another why-are-they-leaving-the-Church article. Had enough yet? As Jamie says, “The gospel has power. Scripture has power. Everything else is simply window dressing.” Maybe this is oversimplifying but I think we spend way to much time, energy and overall hand-wringing in general on window dressing. We simply need to preach Christ and “…preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles” 1 Corinthians 1:23. A stumbling block and folly to all of us except that we are saved by the Grace of God. We need to earnestly and prayerfully raise our children and show by example, by our behavior, by how we spend our time that we rely on that power of the Gospel and the power of scripture.
“Why Are They Leaving The Church” by Jamie Statema published Aug. 7, 2013 on GoFishGuy.typepad.com
I recently read this article about why kids are leaving the church. I found myself agreeing with a lot of what was said. However, it wasn’t the article itself that prompted me to write this post, it was many of the comments that were posted after it.
Over and over again angry, bitter adults expressed their frustration at the inaccurate teaching they received as children. In a nutshell, they were coddled with a kid-friendly, watered-down version of the gospel. As someone who is passionate about children’s ministry it was heartbreaking to read. However, it also reminded me why we do what we do!
These comments expose a very real problem in children’s ministry and like many of you, we are trying to use our talents and resources to repair it as quickly as possible for the sake of the gospel. Whether you choose to use our resources or not, please keep a few things in mind when you choose what curriculum to teach the children you are responsible for.
- Don’t water down the gospel! It’s easy to leave out tough topics like sin, judgment, and God’s wrath with children. However, when you only teach about God’s love, mercy, grace, and forgiveness you’re giving children half the truth. Jesus made it clear that the world would hate His followers as they hated Him (John 15:18). People who follow Jesus still get cancer, still watch their parents get divorced, and are still subject to ridicule. People, including children, need the bad news in order to appreciate the good news of the gospel. Jesus didn’t sugarcoat the truth and neither should we (Matthew 18). There’s no “easy” way to share the offensiveness of the gospel and if a curriculum company tells you there is…run the other way. Trust the gospel and don’t be ashamed of it. Shoot straight and tell the truth.
- Let Scripture do the work! Why do we replace Scripture with platitudes? Why do we not use Bibles with children? If we do use them, why do we often read a verse or two and spend the rest of the 20 minute lesson doing magic tricks, object lessons, watching cartoons, and playing games? These things are fun…I get it. Children learn by being involved…I get it. I do concerts where we shoot confetti, fire off cryojets, have a live band, dancers, and a big light show…I’m not against entertainment. However, our best attempts to “grab attention” will never change a life like the truth of Scripture. Is it “easy” to teach the Bible to a classroom of wiggly first graders? No. Is it worth the extra work to avoid the comments I read connected to this article? Absolutely. The God who created the universe can surely help children understand His Word by the power of the Holy Spirit. A high view of Scripture leads to a high view of God!
These haven’t always been very popular ideas. However, we have seen what can happen when these changes are implemented. The gospel has power. Scripture has power. Everything else is simply window dressing. The church will stand, and even though I can appreciate articles like the one mentioned for bringing important issues to our attention, I am not fearful for the future of the church. Scripture clearly states that the church will remain strong until the end and hell doesn’t have a prayer of standing against it. This isn’t daycare…this is war. The souls of our children are worth fighting for!
by Jon Bloom | February 15, 2013
The old hymn says it beautifully: “Grace, grace, God’s grace; grace that is greater than all my sin.”
But the grace of God is not only great enough to “pardon and cleanse within.” It is so powerful, as Joseph’s older brothers learned in Genesis 45, that it can turn the most horrible sin you have ever committed against another, or has ever been committed against you, and make it the slave of his mercy.
“What do you mean he’s alive?” Jacob had no place to put Rueben’s words.
“I know it’s unbelievable, Father,” Rueben replied. “We hardly believe it and we saw him with our own eyes. The Egyptian lord—the one who demanded that we bring Benjamin—it’s Joseph. He’s not only alive, he’s…” Reuben stumbled over the strange sentence. “He’s now ruling Egypt for Pharaoh.”
Jacob squinted skeptically. A son dead for two decades is not easily resurrected. “You are cruel to tell me such a thing unless you have no doubt.”
“I have no doubt, Father. It’s going to take hours to tell you everything. But we spoke with him. We ate with him in his house.”
Simeon couldn’t resist: “He sat us around the table in the order of our births! Before any of us knew who he was! We thought he was a magician!”
“And you should have seen how much food he placed before Benjamin!” joked Zebulun, giving Benjamin’s head an affectionate push.
Reuben continued, “He told us himself, Father: ‘I am your brother, Joseph.’ We responded just like you’re doing now. I thought he was tricking us. But after talking to him for hours there’s no doubt. It’s him. And the first thing he wanted to know was, ‘Is my father still alive?’” (Genesis 45:3).
Jacob’s stony expression didn’t change, though his eyes were wet. He moved them from son to son, lingering on Benjamin. Then back to Reuben. “But you showed me his bloody robe. He was attacked by a wild animal. If he survived, why didn’t he ever come home? Why would he go to Egypt? Joseph would never have forsaken me.”
The moment had come — the one they had dreaded the whole way home. For 22 years they had kept this festering wound of wickedness concealed from their father. But now God had exposed it. Shame bent the heads of nine sons. Judah was the exception. He had asked to break this news to their father. He had led in their sin. He would lead in owning it. “Joseph didn’t forsake you, Father,” said Judah, stepping forward. “He was forsaken. No, worse, he was betrayed.”
Jacob stared at Judah. “Betrayed by whom?”
“By his own brothers. Brothers who hated him for having his father’s favor. Brothers who hated him for having God’s favor.” Judah pushed hard the heavy words. “We actually talked of killing him, but decided instead to profit from his demise. We sold him to Ishmaelite traders on their way to Egypt. To my lasting shame, Father, that was my idea — to sell my own brother as a slave. The blood on his robe was goat’s blood. We were the wild animals.”
Jacob sat down. Anger and hope churned together in his soul. The silence was long. Then Judah said, “His dream came true.” Jacob looked up again. “Joseph’s dream; it came true. All eleven of us bowed down before him in Egypt. We sold him into slavery because of this dream, never dreaming ourselves that we were helping fulfill it.”
Rueben added, “Joseph holds no bitterness, Father. You know what he told us? ‘God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant on earth, and to keep alive for you many survivors. So it was not you who sent me here, but God’” (Genesis 45:7-8).
“In fact,” said Judah, “he wants us all to come live near him in Egypt to escape the famine. That’s why we’ve brought all these wagons. He said, ‘You must tell my father of all my honor in Egypt, and of all that you have seen. Hurry and bring my father down here’” (Genesis 45:13).
Jacob sat deep in thought for a long time. Then he shook his head and said, “It is enough; Joseph my son is still alive. I will go and see him before I die” (Genesis 45:28).
What Joseph’s ten older brothers did to him was heinous. They made him the merchandise of international human trafficking. They subjected him to slavery and sexual abuse. With no rights or defense, he was thrown into prison to rot. These likely left Joseph with life-long scars.
But note Joseph’s words: “it was not you who sent me here, but God” (Genesis 45:8). Neither treacherous siblings nor a woman’s lust nor the shame of prison nor a cupbearer’s neglect could thwart the purpose of God (Job 42:2) in preserving God’s people (Genesis 45:7) and fulfilling a prophecy given to Abraham (Genesis 15:13). God made evil the slave of his grace.
And he’s doing the same for you. God is doing more good than you can imagine through the most painful experiences of your life.
If you’ve sinned against someone else, do everything in your power to make things right. But know this: your sin is no match for God’s grace.
And if you find yourself in a place you do not want to be as a result of someone else’s sin, take heart. God knows, and he knows what he’s doing. Stay faithful. In time he will show you that he sent you for redemptive reasons you would have never guessed.
[Read the original article at Desiring God.org]
My friends, this is really important!! Maybe you have already heard about Dr. Ben Carlson and his amazing and courageous speech in front of President Obama at the Prayer Breakfast last Friday. This event has made many headlines. But whether you have or have not heard about this, it still bears repeating many times.
As you may know, according to my political views—well you know my political views if you have perused this blog at all—I am very partisan; I definitely feel that those that are currently in power in our nation, and their ilk, and there ideas are currently the reasons for the bulk of the problems with our nation today. But, stay with me now, Dr. Carson, WITHOUT BEING particularly PARTISAN has really spoken TRUTH at this Prayer Breakfast please see these videos below.
I know this one above is almost a half an hour. If you are pressed for time at this moment start at 17:50, but be sure to come back later. Near the beginning Dr. Carson talks very succinctly about the problems with Political Correctness. So you will have missed that if you are in a hurry and take my advice. But I really feel that the essence of his message starts at 17:50. Also just like Eric Metaxas did last year Dr. Carson appropriately mixes humor throughout his speech. (see my post about Eric Metaxas by clicking here)
This man, Dr Ben Carson has an amazing story. Cuba Gooding Jr. played Dr. Ben Carson in a movie detailing his remarkable life story, click here for that movie. Below is a picture of him receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President George W. Bush in 2008. This is the highest civilian award in the United States.
Below is another must see video 🙂 which is an interview where he talks about why he felt led to give that speech at the Prayer Breakfast. My hope is that you will watch this video as well as the one above in its entirety. Also my hope is that you will feel compelled to share this post with others.
Let’s get our brains back on people…
Dr. Carson’s book AMERICA THE BEAUTIFUL: http://www.amazon.com/America-Beautiful-Rediscovering-Nation-Great/dp/0310330912/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1360280297&sr=8-1&keywords=america+the+beautiful
STORY OF HIS LIFE, GIFTED HANDS:Story of his life:http://www.amazon.com/Gifted-Hands-20th-Anniversary-Edition/dp/0310332907/ref=sr_1_sc_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1360281124&sr=8-2-spell&keywords=giftted+hands
Trailer for the Story of Dr. Ben Carson’s life:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CARsXc5XFmk
Carson Scholarship Fund: http://carsonscholars.org/