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Fatigue in the Flesh | FBCN Update October 2010

Over the summer, many of us have been tired and exhausted from everything going on in life and in the life of the church. Some of us are tired because of just not having the physical rest that we need while others are not in good health to begin with. All across the country I have rec’d requests for prayer for many brothers and sisters in the Lord for energy, healing and hope. As I reflected on this for our congregation and looked deeply at my own life, I have concluded that this is normal. Normal in every sense because our flesh is weak and dying because of the fall and yet our spirit is being renewed in Christ each day. Although we pray for rejuvenation and healing, and God does give both, these answered prayers are only temporal, they will only last for a season because all of us are just facing another trial, another sickness or something else.

Although this may seem like bad news, the good news is that the suffering of this life is temporal and that our promise from God is undeniably real and forever! A few passages of scripture that teaches us about our current condition and our future glory might help you as it has helped me.

“But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death is at work in us, but life in you.”
(2 Corinthians 4:7-12 ESV)

Paul is talking about the treasure of the Gospel of Christ and that it is in our bodies as broken and fragile vessels. It is in the suffering of life that we fill up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions to each other and the world. Look at this verse: “Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church, of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God that was given to me for you, to make the word of God fully known, the mystery hidden for ages and generations but now revealed to his saints. To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ. For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me.”
(Colossians 1:24-29 ESV)

Notice Paul’s zeal in the face of suffering for the cause of the Gospel. His hope does not rest in the securities of this life or the desire to see his earthly life as an easy “retirement” life of leisure but looks for that “day” when he is renewed in Christ forever! God has made Himself a people for His own glory, the church that is saved by the Grace through Jesus Christ alone! You, as a child of God, are part of this family of God, you have an eternal and amazing inheritance as Christ Himself is your treasure! Do not be dismayed but be alive in Christ with the fulness of joy knowing that your life is in His hands. I will leave you with Peter’s words to the suffering saints of old:

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.”
(1 Peter 1:3-9 ESV)

Our hope and our joy lies in the promise of God, not the problems of this life.  Rest well oh weary saint!

Soli Deo Gloria,

James Tippins

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DG National Conference Panel | Amazing Christ-Exalting Dialog

I would pray you would take an hour to watch and listen to this magnificent compilation of God’s sovereignty and humility in the lives of ordinary men.

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Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God | Jonathan Edwards

On July 8, 1741, Pastor Edwards delivered half of this sermon before his parishioners were wailing in repentance.  Recently I have revisited this message among other works by Edwards and felt it might be good to break the fast to my public writing by just posting this for your personal devotion.  Please feel free to comment or share other sermons by “dead” men that might relight our life.

    Deuteronomy 32:35
    –Their foot shall slide in due time.–

In this verse is threatened the vengeance of God on the wicked unbelieving Israelites, who were God’s visible people, and who lived under the means of grace; but who, notwithstanding all God’s wonderful works towards them, remained (as vers 28.) void of counsel, having no understanding in them. Under all the cultivations of heaven, they brought forth bitter and poisonous fruit; as in the two verses next preceding the text. — The expression I have chosen for my text, their foot shall slide in due time, seems to imply the following things, relating to the punishment and destruction to which these wicked Israelites were exposed.

  1. That they were always exposed to destruction; as one that stands or walks in slippery places is always exposed to fall. This is implied in the manner of their destruction coming upon them, being represented by their foot sliding. The same is expressed, Psalm 72:18. “Surely thou didst set them in slippery places; thou castedst them down into destruction.
  2. It implies, that they were always exposed to sudden unexpected destruction. As he that walks in slippery places is every moment liable to fall, he cannot foresee one moment whether he shall stand or fall the next; and when he does fall, he falls at once without warning: Which is also expressed in Psalm 73:18,19. “Surely thou didst set them in slippery places; thou castedst them down into destruction: How are they brought into desolation as in a moment!
  3. Another thing implied is, that they are liable to fall of themselves, without being thrown down by the hand of another; as he that stands or walks on slippery ground needs nothing but his own weight to throw him down.
  4. That the reason why they are not fallen already and do not fall now is only that God’s appointed time is not come. For it is said, that when that due time, or appointed time comes, their foot shall slide. Then they shall be left to fall, as they are inclined by their own weight. God will not hold them up in these slippery places any longer, but will let them go; and then, at that very instant, they shall fall into destruction; as he that stands on such slippery declining ground, on the edge of a pit, he cannot stand alone, when he is let go he immediately falls and is lost.

The observation from the words that I would now insist upon is this. — “There is nothing that keeps wicked men at any one moment out of hell, but the mere pleasure of God.” — By the mere pleasure of God, I mean his sovereign pleasure, his arbitrary will, restrained by no obligation, hindered by no manner of difficulty, any more than if nothing else but God’s mere will had in the least degree, or in any respect whatsoever, any hand in the preservation of wicked men one moment. — The truth of this observation may appear by the following considerations.

  1. There is no want of power in God to cast wicked men into hell at any moment. Men’s hands cannot be strong when God rises up. The strongest have no power to resist him, nor can any deliver out of his hands. — He is not only able to cast wicked men into hell, but he can most easily do it. Sometimes an earthly prince meets with a great deal of difficulty to subdue a rebel, who has found means to fortify himself, and has made himself strong by the numbers of his followers. But it is not so with God. There is no fortress that is any defence from the power of God. Though hand join in hand, and vast multitudes of God’s enemies combine and associate themselves, they are easily broken in pieces. They are as great heaps of light chaff before the whirlwind; or large quantities of dry stubble before devouring flames. We find it easy to tread on and crush a worm that we see crawling on the earth; so it is easy for us to cut or singe a slender thread that any thing hangs by: thus easy is it for God, when he pleases, to cast his enemies down to hell. What are we, that we should think to stand before him, at whose rebuke the earth trembles, and before whom the rocks are thrown down?
  2. They deserve to be cast into hell; so that divine justice never stands in the way, it makes no objection against God’s using his power at any moment to destroy them. Yea, on the contrary, justice calls aloud for an infinite punishment of their sins. Divine justice says of the tree that brings forth such grapes of Sodom, “Cut it down, why cumbereth it the ground?” Luke 13:7. The sword of divine justice is every moment brandished over their heads, and it is nothing but the hand of arbitrary mercy, and God’s mere will, that holds it back.
  3. They are already under a sentence of condemnation to hell. They do not only justly deserve to be cast down thither, but the sentence of the law of God, that eternal and immutable rule of righteousness that God has fixed between him and mankind, is gone out against them, and stands against them; so that they are bound over already to hell. John 3:18. “He that believeth not is condemned already.” So that every unconverted man properly belongs to hell; that is his place; from thence he is, John 8:23. “Ye are from beneath:” And thither he is bound; it is the place that justice, and God’s word, and the sentence of his unchangeable law assign to him.
  4. They are now the objects of that very same anger and wrath of God, that is expressed in the torments of hell. And the reason why they do not go down to hell at each moment, is not because God, in whose power they are, is not then very angry with them; as he is with many miserable creatures now tormented in hell, who there feel and bear the fierceness of his wrath. Yea, God is a great deal more angry with great numbers that are now on earth: yea, doubtless, with many that are now in this congregation, who it may be are at ease, than he is with many of those who are now in the flames of hell.So that it is not because God is unmindful of their wickedness, and does not resent it, that he does not let loose his hand and cut them off. God is not altogether such an one as themselves, though they may imagine him to be so. The wrath of God burns against them, their damnation does not slumber; the pit is prepared, the fire is made ready, the furnace is now hot, ready to receive them; the flames do now rage and glow. The glittering sword is whet, and held over them, and the pit hath opened its mouth under them. [click to continue…]
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Blogged Down

Just so you know I have continued to write, almost daily over the last year, however, I cannot ever come to the conclusion of my thoughts.  Thus far, I have written volumes of open-ended thoughts and statements that if compiled would amount to about $5 worth of firewood.  So I guess you could say that I have been blogged down…

Being blogged down is not that bad of a thing but I must say that my expectations of writing has become beyond my ability to pen words.  So, I have to do one of two things:  stop writing and close down my site or just let this be a reflection of my thoughts and forget about the depth at this point.  I have not made up my mind but will tell you that there are many “projects” in the near future that may change the gears of this entire site to begin with.

My calling and passion is to preach the Gospel of Christ and shepherd the flock (these are not one in the same but essential to each other).  So all of my focus must remain on these things first in my home and then in the body of Christ.  As I continue to write, don’t expect much and don’t expect often but do expect focus.

Be blessed as you continue the journey God has set before you and know that His grace is enough.  Cling to the Son of God and push this world away.  Don’t divide your time into such pockets of worldly flavor that you lose your legacy and the Kingdom sight.

Paul tells Timothy that good soldiers do not get entangled in the affairs of life or “civilian pursuits”.  The people of God are to be about the business of the Father and should lay down their lives, their retirement plans, their dreams and live each breath for the glory of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Embrace suffering and know that God’s elect are those who by faith endure until the end.  The church is the fruit of the holy spirit and the blood of the lamb, let us live Him and love Him and be the body that is truly walking with the head of our Lord!

Solus Cristos

James

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Considering the Gospel | Assumption and Adjustment

Each day that we live is a day that assumes. In reality, the assumption of life goes beyond the scope of our comprehension and sight. This is saying that we don’t even see everything that we assume. In the life of the church, the true believers of Jesus Christ, there is a silent assumption that is killing the wisdom of God. (Eph 3:10) This is the assumptive Gospel.

What I mean by this is that there are many people who live with a mouthed profession and a proposed confession of Christ as Lord and Savior. A stated belief that is good, however, when the covers are peeled back, a huge assumption is found lying in decay under the nicely made sheets. This assumption says, “I said the words with my mouth, so I am saved and am a child of God.” This assumption also goes to this point, “Therefore, I have confident security in my own actions in regard to my salvation and am OK with God, period.”

While a confession “could” be proof spiritual adoption by the Father and true adoption empowers such a confession, the confession in itself most of the time is not a confession at all, but a lie. A confession is a statement of absolute truth. In other words, when a criminal confesses to a crime after being caught, he or she “agrees with” the courts and admits what is true. The action of the crime and the confession of the crime are married to the evidence that agrees with such statements and actions. So, as a believer in Christ, one’s confession must also follow this mold.

So, in this context, I want to make a confident observation in the area of most confessing Christians. Jesus asked a question in Luke 6:46 by asking, ““Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you?” See, Jesus is very clear here, among other places, that if we are truly His, our hearts will be in tune with the Father’s will, law and glory. He gives a huge test in Matthew 22 by telling the Jews that the greatest commandment is to love Him above all things and the second of equal importance is to love others as much as you love yourself.

This is what Christ “tells believers to do” and if one is a true believer, then they will most definitely follow this rule. Any other action contrary to this is a slap in the face of the true Gospel, a diminishing of the true nature of the church, which is the body of Christ who died for the church to present her holy and blameless. (Eph 5) Now back to the assumption.

For many who claim Christ, their lives do not “look” like their claim. They do not follow Christ but only “think” they have His ticket to eternal life. In some cases, Christ isn’t their treasure at all, but life and assurance of not experiencing eternal death is their joy, not Christ. This is a dangerous assumption, this is an “adjusted” Gospel and in the words of Paul, “…not that there is another one (gospel), but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the Gospel of Christ.” (Galatians 1:7)

I have seen this played out my entire life. People who claim Christ and then get hurt because of their own selfish desires to have things their way. “So-called” Christians who are willing to sacrifice love and worship for honor and pride. Men who force their ways on others in order to be the one who wins in life. People who hold grudges and refuse to fellowship with someone because of differences of opinion. These are just a few things that are seen in the body. Their root is plain and simple: depravity. The sinfulness of man will rule if the Holy Spirit of God is not in them.

So, how does one get an “adjusted Gospel”? The “Together 4 the Gospel” pastor’s conference this year dealt with this theme directly. Dr. Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Seminary, gave a lecture on “The Trajectories Toward and Adjusted Gospel” and is well worth your listen.

Dr. Mohler gives eight ways the Gospel has been lost or adjusted and he makes it very clear that the church must return to an “Unadjusted” Gospel. Until the church comes to this reality, those who live in a world of assumed salvation with no fruit in their lives are those who are condemned already and on whom the wrath of God remains, despite their faith in their gospel.

The Trajectories to an Adjusted Gospel: (Highly Truncated and Surface Listing)

  1. Modern Trajectory – This is the thinking that says, “It is impossible to believe in the New Testament when we have such modern inventions.”  This line of thinking gives an open line to complete meltdown of essential doctrine and desires to “rethink” the manner of the scripture and its truths because we are smarter than we once were.
  2. Postmodern – In a nutshell, this line of thinking says, “It’s OK if the scripture isn’t the “final” authority, because we can still get a lot of “good” out of it and we’ll just stick to that.”  For example:  The benevolent, let’s love everyone into heaven gospel.  Or the, Jesus is a good role model gospel.  This thinking says that what “I” think is true is true for me and what you believe is OK too, even when it isn’t what I believe.  This destroys the meaning of scripture and defines salvation depending on the weather or feelings.  This moves to defining God and the bible based on what people “think” not on what it actually “says”.  Current teachers of these ideas are Brian McClaren and Rob Bell.
  3. Moral – “The Gospel is immoral because it breeds a degrading of man.”  This thinking eliminates the truth of God’s holiness and desires to see all mankind as essentially good and moral and they are victims of their circumstances and environment.  This thinking says, “hell, sin, wrath and judgment push people away from the love of God, so let’s stop talking about that.”  Many people who teach from this point of view would say that God was an abusive Father because He allowed Christ to suffer on the cross.  This line of thinking says, “This is not fair, God is not fair and His plan of salvation is not fair.”  Well, ask even my 5 year old what fair is, she’ll say, “that we should all be in hell and receive judgment.”  Dr. Mohler says, “God is perfect and “fairness” does not apply to God because perfect is superior to fair and fair CANNOT question perfect!”  Amen.  Brian McClaren also fits into this teaching and teaches that the scripture is a library of learning that we should be careful around.  The scripture says it is absolute truth… so who’s wrong?
  4. Aesthetic Trajectory – “God is sooooo beautiful!”  This type of thinking devalues the cross and gives the idea that we can “win” people to love the beauty of God.  Mankind, however, cannot see God’s beauty until we see our ugly and the ugly that sin has caused.  Some would say, “we don’t need a bloody cross”.  That thinking takes away the beauty of God and His salvation of an undeserving people.  The cross is beautiful even though it is not pretty.  Paul stated, “I chose to know nothing but Christ and Him crucified lest the cross lose its power!” (1 Cor 1)
  5. Therapeutic – This is the largest group of Gospel adjusted people in the country, the “Oprah” gospel.  This says that we are sick but we don’t know why and we need therapy.  For those who are not in therapy at the moment they are “envious” of those that are and find a reason to get therapy for themselves.  The rescue of the soul in this linking is “internal” fixing of one’s sickness that was brought on by mom or dad or the job, but not sin and depravity.  This thinking removes the need for Christ at all but, if you want Christ as part of your therapy, then fine, but understand you go with what “works for you!”  This is a majority of the unchurched in this country and is continually perpetrated by “Christians” who fall into the psychological “needs” trap and try to mold therapy into the gospel of Jesus.  Christ is sufficient alone for salvation.  (**I am not knocking therapy, just the idea that one’s soul and life is “found” or “fixed” through it.”
  6. Pragmatic Trajectory – This started in the garden of Eden.  Adam and Eve, after falling from God’s Glory, decided to do something to “cover” their transgression.  They made clothes out of leaves.  This thinking says, “all solutions must be pragmatic.”  This is the area where most pastors and leaders spend their time.  They consider what someone can “take home” and “use right now.”  Well, the gospel is the power of God above all things, so, what else does one need?  One of the main reasons for this is prideful accomplishment and personl desire to see growth.  Pragmatism is immediate, like fast food.  Could you imagine waiting in line at Burger King for them to grind up beef, bat it out, season it and warm up the grill?  Nope.  And in the church, we have forgotten that the fruit is the Spirit of God, not the heart of man.  This type of thinking results in management, not magnificent worship.  This “cult of efficiency” produces crowds that are not the church and the change in their lives is not regeneration.  (I’m not sure if I wrote this in my notes from a quote from Mohler – if you find it, let me know.)
  7. Emotional Trajectory – This thinking looks for an emotional reward and runs away from what causes an emotional cost (salvation and repentance).  This thinking weighs the reward vs. cost and decides that the reward of feeling and happiness outweigh the cost of joy and life that is not immediate and has to be fought for.  It’s like the junkie who just keeps using wanting that high from old, never to find it again.  Emotionalism is replete in most mainline word of faith churches and churches that put musical feeling and worship style as a high priority.
  8. Materialist Trajectory – This thinking says, “If I can see it and hold it, then it’s real.”  This is the prosperity gospel like that of Joel Osteen, that makes Jesus as a giver of all sorts of gifts and the stays with the idea that if people can find a tangible reality in Christ, then Christ will be more appealing and real to them.  In other words, the “world” is what I really want, so Christ can give it to me.  I’ll write more on this thinking in later posts, but for now understand that this thinking is dominant in missionary efforts across the globe.  A good video on this from Dr. John Piper can give you a quick five minute feel for the problem.

What is the bottom line with this assumed gospel?  That everyone who has an assumed gospel has no gospel at all.  They are those who “think” they have life and their lives are spent pursuing their own desires, passions and treasures, including their own religion, feelings, and spiritual growth for their own glory.  They do not cherish the one true God who is Jesus Christ as their all satisfying everything!  Let us pray for them.  Pray for us, that we might be true to our confession in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Look at the words of Christ in Matthew 7.  May the AUTHORITY of the scripture destroy your assumed Gospel and give you life in Christ alone!

12 “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.

13 “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy [1] that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many.14 For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.

A Tree and Its Fruit

15 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. 16 You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17 So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. 18 A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.

I Never Knew You

21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’

Build Your House on the Rock

24 “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. 26 And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. 27 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.”

The Authority of Jesus

28 And when Jesus finished these sayings, the crowds were astonished at his teaching, 29 for he was teaching them as one who had authority, and not as their scribes.

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Love the Lord with Everything You’ve Got!

Although my title gives a little insight of my ability in the fine art of grammatical usage, the meaning should stand on its own.  (I hope).  Today I received a call from a brother in Christ that I have never met looking to answer a question about Matthew 22:37.  The question revolved around the teaching of Jesus from Deuteronomy 6:5 5 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.

This passage in Matthew parallels Luke 10:27 and Jesus is specifically talking about a part of God’s law that the Jews knew well and repeated twice each day by the faithful.  God’s word in Deuteronomy is talking specifically about the essence of the believer’s love for God.

Although one might be able to consider the different “parts” of a person and allocated spiritual meaning behind each one, the text is plainly revealing that all of a believers being, even strength or efforts, are to be encapsulated by a passionate and spontaneous affection for God.  In the context of the Gospels, Jesus is making sure that the Jews understand that their hearts toward loving God will also follow with their loving others.  You cannot say you love God and hate your brother… (1 John)

The primary question from the call was, “who is Jesus talking about here?”  In essence, and plainly, the law speaks of God the Father, for this is the only way the Jews knew God.  However, the New Testament brings some real light to how God works and acts in three persons as the trinity.  So, to be brief, when believers love God with their entire being, then they are also loving the Son and the Spirit for they are the same God.

In light of New Testament teaching of Jesus, He said He was God and as we see in John’s writing, Jesus will be the focus and object of our adoration and worship as Jesus is the only “One” that can make God known to us.  The Eternal God-Man Jesus is the image of the invisible God!

Colossians 1:15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. 17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. 19 For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.

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Resurrection Blues | Sufficiency of Christ on Monday

Here we are, the day after the world-wide celebration of Easter, the day Christ arose from the grave victorious over sin and death, establishing atonement for the church and propitiation for God the Father who justifies us as a gift of eternal grace upon grace. So what does Monday bring? Usually the typical, “got to get back to work” or “I am glad this isn’t but once per year” attitude.

Sadly, most people who call upon the name of the Lord for Resurrection Sunday, fall into the “blues” of life on Monday. As someone who has been in this place and longed for every week to be as focused as the Easter week, I understand the position and have found that at best, it is a lack of worship and belief.

Jesus claims in John chapter 4 to be the everlasting and eternal fulfillment of EVERY desire we could possibly have in this life, even over food, sex, family and air! Now, many will see these words and just click the close and write me off as an outlandish surreal fanatic and they would be correct, the problem is not with my views on Christ and His sufficiency, the problem is when we do not agree with God on the matter, which is unbelief.

Jesus is enough.

I could have just written that statement and been done with this article, but for many of us, we don’t really feel this, we don’t really know this Jesus, we just have a Jesus who provides a bloody ticket to some fantasy heaven that will continue to allow us to have the joys of our heart that are truly far from the person of Jesus Christ.  I repeat, that Jesus is Enough.

He is the answer everything because He is everything. And He is everything we need in times of suffering, pain, joy, doubt and fear. This world has blended into the life of the Body of Christ to such an extent that we no longer hold to faith alone in Christ Alone but bleed in philosophy, personal reflection, creative thinking and psychological ideals to answer life’s tough questions. Most of the time, these answers revolve around us and our needs and our wants which in turn puts “us” on the throne of God when He is the all in all and in Him we are all.

Colossians 1:11-14 (ESV)
11 May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy,
12 giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.
13 He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son,
14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

We have been qualified to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of Christ who is the bread of life!  Why then do we continue to seek peace in this life with the world and the world’s ways.  The end of this seeking is death.  Emotional, physical and sometimes spiritual death.  The believer in Jesus Christ does not keep looking to the world for answers, but they persevere by the power of God who holds them until the end.

1 Peter 1:3-11 (ESV)
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
4 to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you,
5 who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
6 In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials,
7 so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
8 Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory,
9 obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
10 Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired carefully,
11 inquiring what person or time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories.
In the end, those who are truly His stand firm, trust and cling to the hope while they suffer and die. Jesus said we would suffer, Jesus promised we would die, He gave us assurance that we would be hated and agonize in this world because of our faith, however, He gives us a greater hope in that we are not of this world and in Him, we live forever set apart for His glory that we will share. The gift is Jesus, the glory is Jesus, the answer is Jesus! Is He your answer? Or are you looking another direction and hoping to find comfort in the arms of another lover?
Jesus is the lover of your soul, trust in Him to be your all sufficient and satisfying King!
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Just a Reminder | Health “Care”

Just thought I would post this excerpt from Dr. Piper’s message on “Life” preached in Jan of 2009.  This health care bill is bigger than just handouts and medical coverage.  This is an issue of life and death “if” abortion language is in the bill.  Let us pray for our leaders to have the discernment to know how to do what is right in regard to the life of the unborn.

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Grace my brothers… Caner vs. White continues

As the LU, Dr. Caner saga continues to unfold, the amount of heat placed in the direction of Alpha Omega’s founder, Jim White, is amazing.  Dr. White writes a simple outline of the current issues at hand concerning Dr. Caner.  Find it here. Dr. Caner has given a very humble and precise answer to these claims.  Find it here.

Through it all, we should be praying that men of God will come to a place of integrity and that when this issue is “exposed”, that forgiveness and repentance will remain foundational as the gospel expects.  However, if this shedding of light exposes something and repentance is not the outcome, one must consider the words of John in his first epistle about brotherly love.  A true lover of his brother does not allow sin to run unchecked, especially when the ministry influence of these men are so wide.

May God be glorified in the truth of this matter and may the people of God truly be humble, forgiving and honest.  I pray that in the future, these two men, of whom I respect for different reasons, will be able to take their debate to the level of scholarship afforded in their roles.  I still would love to hear a scholarly debate over the issues of the doctrines of grace and standard evangelical theology.

Staying stupid… soli deo gloria – James Tippins

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Call to Repent SBC, A call for “all” to repent

The SBC National Convention hailed many facts and figures regarding the declination of churches, baptisms and other “measurable” fruit.  Dr. Ronny Floyd spoke as the leader of a task force that is charged with giving evaluation on the problems plaguing the convention’s churches.  While I don’t agree that repentance and vision will result in true conversion, I do agree with his words and am going to use this very statement as an opening for this Sunday as I am continuing to call out many idols every day.

“With rhetoric we bemoan our dismal baptism numbers, our declining and plateaued churches, and our economic selfishness. The casting of criticism has resulted in a caustic cynicism that just adds to our rhetoric and writings. We attempt to treat symptoms rather than the root issues of sin and carnality. The rhetoric needs to cease and the repentance personally and corporately must begin,” the Arkansas pastor said. “We need to repent of our sins and return to God.”

The Christian Post gave a good “overview” article on the issue, so mosey over there and give it a read.  While all of us want to see baptisms and salvation, we need to trust in God and get the church back on track for His glory and not on track so that we will get things moving again.

Christ is the highest treasure of the true believer.  This is result of the New Birth that comes through the Holy Spirit.  The fruit of regeneration is belief, faith and ultimately worship, not rote evangelism efforts.  Through the teaching of God’s Word, people are saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone!  Nuff Said… just check out the article.

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