Friday, December 30, 2005

No Church? No Problem - Christianity Today Magazine

read here: No Church? No Problem - Christianity Today Magazine

I think it will sound good to the person trying to justify not going to church (just think, I can tithe to myself! sweet deal!) but it is a hard pill to swallow for someone who thinks we should 'Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together". Seems more to be the logical conclusion of the seeker friendly church movement.

"The third question: Is this Revolution motivated primarily by the Spirit of God, advancing the kingdom beyond the walls of the stiff and often ineffective local congregation, or by the anti-institutional and individualistic drives of our time? Barna argues the former, and in the book's strongest chapter, he provides a relentless statistical indictment of the local church's failure to develop mature disciples. Barna is rightly incensed at the low level of spiritual maturity in the American church: 'As the research data clearly show, churches are not doing the job.'"

The fact that the church is not doing it's job should be a wake-up call to the church, not a justification to disband.

Reminds me of the episode of the Simpson where Homer stays home from church while the rest of the family braves the cold weather and goes to church.

This is almost funny till you realize that it is right on as far as where it is heading.
One Sunday morning, Homer decides that he'd rather sleep late than go to church. Marge is disappointed, but doesn't argue with him. While home alone, Homer dances in his underwear, drinks waffle batter and loafs around watching TV. Having thoroughly enjoyed his morning, Homer decides to forgo church for good and start his own religion. Marge doesn't approve, but that night Homer has a dream in which God visits him and expresses his acceptance of Homer's new religion. While home on Sunday, worshipping in his own special way by reading Playdude and smoking cigars, Homer causes a fire that nearly destroys the house. Ned Flanders is the only one who can save Homer's life, and after speaking with Reverend Lovejoy, Homer realizes that he should give up his religion and return to church.

Quote from Homer the Heretic:
God: Thou hast forsaken My Church!
Homer: Uh, kind of, b-but...
God: But what!
Homer: I'm not a bad guy! I work hard, and I love my kids. So why should I spend half my Sunday hearing about how I'm going to Hell?
God: Hmm. You've got a point there.

Yet membership in a confessing body is fundamental to the faithful Christian life. Failure to do so defies the explicit warning not to forsake “our assembling together.” His understanding of this prompted Martin Luther to say, “Apart from the church, salvation is impossible.” Not that the church provides salvation; God does. But because the “saved” one can’t fulfill what it means to be a Christian apart from the church, membership becomes the indispensable mark of salvation.

“So highly does the Lord esteem the communion of His church,” Calvin wrote,” that He considers everyone a traitor and apostate from religion who perversely withdraws himself from any Christian society which preserves the true ministry of the word and sacraments.”

The Body, Charles W. Colson, 1992, Word Publishing, Page 70

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

NBC program - The Book of Daniel

NBC program - The Book of Daniel

On January 6, NBC will begin a new series entitled The Book of Daniel.

While the public has not seen the program, NBC is promoting "The Book of Daniel" as a serious drama about Christian people and the Christian faith. The main character is Daniel Webster, a drug-addicted Episcopal priest whose wife depends heavily on her mid-day martinis.

I have started seeing promo's for this show. This is very concerning to me. If this was about some other religious group such as a Muslim or Jew, about some other 'class' such as a homosexual, black, or Hispanic, there would be an outrage.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Hell fire...

Original article: Hell fire... by Terry Dashner

Apostles' Creed "He descended into Hell..."

Terry Dashner (

"Hell fire!" To many, even to many prominent Christian denominations, the word "Hell" has become nothing more than an expletive. It's something many people say without much thought about its reality. Why have we stopped teaching, preaching on the topic of Hell? Is it because the subject has gone the way of all other politically incorrect speech? No one wants to hear about a place reserved for those who rebel against God. No one wants to be "judgmental" of some people's behavior. No one wants to frighten people with the threat of eternal punishment. I'm afraid the topic of "Hell" is just too much to process for some in this promiscuous age.

Let me give you an example of just how disdained the subject of hell is. Not long ago I wrote on the subject of hell for the daily devotions. I was amazed at the responses. I received one positive response, essentially thanking me for addressing the subject, and I received a number of requests to be dropped from the daily devotion list. Hell is hard to accept; nevertheless, it is Biblical. Jesus, Himself, talked about it. The early church preached about it, especially with an added emphasis during periods of revival. And the Apostles' Creed declares it--" He [Jesus] descended into Hell."

According to Dr. D. James Kennedy in his book, Knowing the Whole Truth, "the expression can be traced back to the late 300s, to the church of Aquileia; it later became incorporated into what we know as the Apostles' Creed. 'He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried; He descended into hell.' The Descensus ad Infernos is a part of the Creed and it is a part of the teaching of the Word of God. 'Thou wilt not leave my soul in hell,' the Scripture says."

It is often said that people, when they die, see their whole lives flash before their eyes. Every word, every scene, sharpens into focus. As Jesus hung upon the cross, He saw with the eye of His mind the entire wretched history of a depraved world. In crystal clarity, sin after sin of every human being who had ever lived or would ever live flashed before Him in all of its vileness, its uncleanness, and its horribleness. Jesus saw it all, and after His Father extended the cup of wrath before Him, He drank it down, and Christ became sin for us. Jesus experienced divine judgment and retribution for sin upon the Cross. In body and soul, He endured the incredible agonies of crucifixion, which are beyond our explanation or comprehension. But more than that, in His soul He experienced the very infinite wrath of God as the God-man, the theanthropos. At the hour of darkness as reported in the Gospels, Christ stepped into outer darkness and, experiencing that catastrophic curse of Almighty God, He plummeted into the abyss of hell. He went to the depths to proclaim to every creature there that He was the Christ. That's why the Bible says that Jesus is Lord over everything in the heavens, in the earth below, and over everything below the earth.

Neither time nor space allows me the liberty to write more about this topic. There is so much more that needs to be said but can not be said without greater explanation. The one thing I've tried to say in this devotion is this: Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, took upon Himself the wrath of God for humanity's sin. In becoming sin for us, He descended into the pits of hell to proclaim Himself as the living Savior of the world. He displayed authority over every creature in the universe, even Satan and his abode. Because Jesus took God's wrath for me and you, you and I may now call upon Jesus for salvation from sin. By calling upon the Lord for deliverance from sin, Jesus exchanges our dead works of sin for new garments of righteousness. What an exchange! I give Him my condemnation and rags of iniquities; He gives me His robe of righteousness. Believe me. I'm getting the better end of the deal. Jesus is everything to me!

Keep the faith. Stay the course. Jesus is our soon coming King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

Pastor T.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005


Studies indicate that within two to three years after conversion, most believers loose their network of relationships with their lost friends and associates. What a tragedy! By default, we find ourselves gravitating toward the more comfortable and safe world of believers – at the expense of continued involvement with the lost. Today, it is possible through home schooling, Christian schools, church involvement, etc. to almost totally disengage from people outside the pale of Christian influence. By default, we become part of the Christian ghetto!

If you are looking to remedy this unfortunate situation, take out a sheet of paper and “map” all your relationships by name. Categorize them on the paper as “relatives”, “friends”, and “associates/acquaintances.” Most will be the people where you live, work, and play. List everyone by name. Then ask, “With whom among these people is God working?” Tag them. Then make a commitment to pray daily for them. Ask God to continue to draw them to Himself. Also ask God to give you a heart of compassion for them. Then ask the Lord if, how, and when you should become more involved in their lives to influence them spiritually.

To significantly affect the lost among consider this:

  • Intentionally become engaged in the lives of the lost. While in line at the supermarket, for example, choose to converse with the person next to you. Get their name or card. Begin praying for them. A week or two later when you run into them again, call them by name. In time this acquaintance could lead to coffee together, and so on.

  • View evangelism (and discipleship) not as an event, but as a process. Think of everyone you meet as living at some point on a continuum. Our desire is to be used of God to help move them on the continuum toward +10:

  • -10 ------------------------ 0 ------------------------ +10
    (No interest in Christ)(Neutral)(Total commitment to Christ)

  • Rather than preach at the lost, allow them access to your life so they can observe the effect of the Gospel as to how you treat your spouse, handle your money, and deal with issues such as ethics, personal purity, pride, etc. In other words, live out Matthew 5:3-9 in such a manner that they can see the “salt” and “light” of your life. (Matt. 5:13,16)

  • In your social relationships, generally opt for more involvement with the lost than with the saved. (See Lk. 14:12-14) Develop a mindset that allows you to move naturally among the lost. Jesus was accused of being glutton and drunkard because of his natural engagement among the lost. (Matt. 11:19)

  • ”Later, when Jesus was eating supper at Matthew's house with his close followers, a lot of disreputable characters came and joined them. When the Pharisees saw him keeping this kind of company, they had a fit, and lit into Jesus' followers. "What kind of example is this from your Teacher, acting cozy with crooks and riff-raff?" Jesus, overhearing, shot back, "Who needs a doctor: the healthy or the sick? Go figure out what this Scripture means: 'I'm after mercy, not religion.' I'm here to invite outsiders, not coddle insiders." (Matt. 9:10-13 Msg.)

    Ultimately it boils down to a question as to whom we choose to offend: God, for our failing to obey his injunction to fish for men (Matt. 4:19), or our Christian friends who may not understand our involvement among the lost. Given the choice, I’ll choose to offend the latter. How about you?

    My prayer is that you are having a great week!

    R. Dwight Hill
    Facts of the Matter © 2000 - 2005 - R. Dwight Hill - - Unlimited permission to copy without altering text or profiteering is hereby granted subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.

    Tuesday, December 20, 2005

    Increased Our Church Attendance

    I do not know if I should laugh or cry because of this cartoon...
    Increased Our Church Attendance

    Monday, December 19, 2005

    Christmas - Quotations to stir heart and mind

    Christmas - Quotations to stir heart and mind: "DESPITE OUR EFFORTS to keep him out, God intrudes. The life of Jesus is bracketed by two impossibilities: a virgin's womb and an empty tomb. Jesus entered our world through a door marked 'No Entrance' and left through a door marked 'No Exit.'
    Peter Larson, Prism (Jan/Feb 2001)"

    I think this is my favorite quote of the bunch...

    Friday, December 16, 2005

    Commie cookies

    If you are a patriotic guy like me you don't want to be eating "Commie cookies". Beware! Better read this article if you want to be a good American! ;o)

    Commie cookies

    Christmas Poem

    Christmas Poem

    Twas the night before Christmas
    He lived all alone
    in a one bedroom house made of
    plaster and stone.

    I had come down the chimney
    with presents to give,
    and to see just who
    in this home did live.

    I looked all about,
    a strange sight I did see,
    no tinsel, no presents,
    not even a tree.

    No stocking by mantle,
    just boots filled with sand,
    on the wall hung pictures
    of far distant lands.

    With medals and badges,
    awards of all kinds,
    a sober thought
    came through my mind.

    For this house was different,
    it was dark and dreary,
    I found the home of a soldier,
    once I could see clearly.

    The soldier lay sleeping,
    silent, alone,
    curled up on the floor
    in this one bedroom home.

    The face was so gentle,
    the room is such disorder,
    not how I pictured
    a United States soldier.

    Was this the hero
    of whom I 'd just read?
    Curled up on a poncho,
    the floor for a bed?

    I realized the families
    that I saw this night,
    owed their lives to these soldiers
    who were willing to fight.

    Soon round the world,
    the children would play,
    and grown-ups would celebrate
    a bright Christmas day.

    They all enjoyed freedom
    each month of the year,
    because of the soldiers,
    like the one lying here.

    I couldn't help wonder
    how many lay alone,
    on a cold Christmas eve
    in a land far from home.

    The very thought
    brought a tear to my eye,
    I dropped to my knees
    and started to cry.

    The soldier awakened
    and I heard a rough voice,
    "Santa don't cry,
    this life is my choice;

    I fight for freedom,
    I don't ask for more,
    My life is my God,
    my country, my Corps."

    The soldier rolled over
    and drifted to sleep,
    I couldn't control it
    I continued to weep.

    I kept watch for hours,
    so silent and still
    and we both shivered
    from the cold night's chill.

    I didn't want to leave
    on that cold, dark night,
    this guardian of honor
    so willing to fight.

    Then the soldier rolled over,
    with a voice soft and pure,
    whispered, "Carry on Santa,
    It's Christmas day, all is secure."

    One look at my watch,
    and I knew he was right.
    "Merry Christmas my friend
    and to all a good night."

    This poem was written by a Marine stationed in Okinawa, Japan. The following is his request. I think it is reasonable..............

    PLEASE, Would you do me the kind favor of sending this to as many people as you can? Christmas will be coming soon and some credit is due to our U.S. service men and women for our being able to celebrate these festivities.

    Let's try in this small way to pay a tiny bit of what we owe. Make people stop and think of our heroes, living and dead, who sacrificed themselves for us. Please, do your small part to plant this small seed.

    Thursday, December 15, 2005

    Let There Be LIGHT!

    Let There Be LIGHT!

    Wednesday, December 14, 2005

    Picture of a Prophet

    Original Link:
    Picture of a Prophet

    The prophet in his day is fully accepted of God and totally rejected by men.

    Years back, Dr. Gregory Mantle was right when he said, "No man can be fully accepted until he is totally rejected." The prophet of the Lord is aware of both these experiences. They are his "brand name."

    The group, challenged by the prophet because they are smug and comfortably insulated from a perishing world in their warm but untested theology, is not likely to vote him "Man of the year" when he refers to them as habituates of the synagogue of Satan!

    The prophet comes to set up that which is upset. His work is to call into line those who are out of line! He is unpopular because he opposes the popular in morality and spirituality. In a day of faceless politicians and voiceless preachers, there is not a more urgent national need than that we cry to God for a prophet! The function of the prophet, as Austin-Sparks once said, "has almost always been that of recovery." The prophet is God's detective seeking for a lost treasure. The degree of his effectiveness is determined by his measure of unpopularity.

    Compromise is not known to him.

      He has no price tags.
      He is totally "otherworldly."
      He is unquestionably controversial and unpardonably hostile.
      He marches to another drummer!
      He breathes the rarefied air of inspiration.
      He is a "seer" who comes to lead the blind.
      He lives in the heights of God and comes into the valley with a "thus saith the Lord."
      He shares some of the foreknowledge of God and so is aware of impending judgment.
      He lives in "splendid isolation."
      He is forthright and outright, but he claims no birthright.
      His message is "repent, be reconciled to God or else...!"
      His prophecies are parried.
      His truth brings torment, but his voice is never void.
      He is the villain of today and the hero of tomorrow.
      He is excommunicated while alive and exalted when dead!
      He is dishonored with epithets when breathing and honored with epitaphs when dead.
      He is a schoolmaster to bring us to Christ, but few "make the grade" in his class.
      He is friendless while living and famous when dead.
      He is against the establishment in ministry; then he is established as a saint by posterity.
      He eats daily the bread of affliction while he ministers, but he feeds the Bread of Life to those who listen.
      He walks before men for days but has walked before God for years.
      He is a scourge to the nation before he is scourged by the nation.
      He announces, pronounces, and denounces!
      He has a heart like a volcano and his words are as fire.
      He talks to men about God.
      He carries the lamp of truth amongst heretics while he is lampooned by men.
      He faces God before he faces men, but he is self-effacing.
      He hides with God in the secret place, but he has nothing to hide in the marketplace.
      He is naturally sensitive but supernaturally spiritual.
      He has passion, purpose and pugnacity.
      He is ordained of God but disdained by men.

    Our national need at this hour is not that the dollar recover its strength, or that we save face over the Watergate affair, or that we find the answer to the ecology problem. We need a God-sent prophet!

    I am bombarded with talk or letters about the coming shortages in our national life:
    bread, fuel, energy. I read between the lines from people not practiced in scaring folk. They feel that the "seven years of plenty" are over for us. The "seven years of famine" are ahead. But the greatest famine of all in this nation at this given moment is a FAMINE OF THE HEARING OF THE WORDS OF GOD (Amos 8:11).

    Millions have been spent on evangelism in the last twenty-five years. Hundreds of gospel messages streak through the air over the nation every day. Crusades have been held; healing meetings have made a vital contribution. "Come-outers" have "come out" and settled, too, without a nation-shaking revival. Organizers we have. Skilled preachers abound. Multi-million dollar Christian organizations straddle the nation. BUT where, oh where, is the prophet? Where are the incandescent men fresh from the holy place? Where is the Moses to plead in fasting before the holiness of the Lord for our moldy morality, our political perfidy, and sour and sick spirituality?


    They will come. The prophet is violated during his ministry, but he is vindicated by history.

    There is a terrible vacuum in evangelical Christianity today. The missing person in our ranks is the prophet. The man with a terrible earnestness. The man totally otherworldly. The man rejected by other men, even other good men, because they consider him too austere, too severely committed, too negative and unsociable.

    Let him be as plain as John the Baptist.
    Let him for a season be a voice crying in the wilderness of modern theology and stagnant "churchianity."
    Let him be as selfless as Paul the apostle.
    Let him, too, say and live, "This ONE thing I do."
    Let him reject ecclesiastical favors.
    Let him be self-abasing, nonself-seeking, nonself-projecting, nonself- righteous, nonself-glorying, nonself-promoting.
    Let him say nothing that will draw men to himself but only that which will move men to God.
    Let him come daily from the throne room of a holy God, the place where he has received the order of the day.
    Let him, under God, unstop the ears of the millions who are deaf through the clatter of shekels milked from this hour of material mesmerism.
    Let him cry with a voice this century has not heard because he has seen a vision no man in this century has seen. God send us this Moses to lead us from the wilderness of crass materialism, where the rattlesnakes of lust bite us and where enlightened men, totally blind spiritually, lead us to an ever-nearing Armageddon.

    God have mercy! Send us PROPHETS!

    -- by Leonard Ravenhill
    Copyright (C) 1994 by Leonard Ravenhill

    Tuesday, December 13, 2005

    Time 4 Bible Study

    The Word of God well understood and religiously obeyed is the shortest route to spiritual perfection. And we must not select a few favorite passages to the exclusion of others. Nothing less than a whole Bible can make a whole Christian. — A. W. Tozer
    My Bible Study Blog: